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Special Senior Moments Upcoming Holiday Event

Aimee Hackbarth

La Crosse County Library-Onalaska Public Library branch

November 8, 2018


The Onalaska branch of the La Crosse County Library will be hosting a special “Senior Moments” holiday event on Wednesday, November 21st at 10am. For our “over 50” crowd, bestselling author, award-winning columnist and celebrated sto4ryteller, Rochelle Pennington, will be here to discuss the Christmas Truce of 1914, the WWI Miracle.

World War I was a particularly brutal and destructive war spanning four years and with over 9 million casualties. Most of the fighting was trench warfare, with two sides fighting each other in the dugout trenches in a battlefield. The conditions in the trenches were horrendous with disease, death and decay all around.

But on Christmas Eve in 1914, the year the war started, something miraculous happened. The sound of Christmas carols being sung stunned the ears of the downtrodden soldiers and trees alit with candles shown bright along the trenches. The soldiers responded in kind and were received with applause and cheering.  As written by Scottish Lieutenant Kennedy, “For the time being, all the horrors and discomforts of the war seemed to be forgotten.  The Christmas spirit was in the air. As we filed out of the trenches that evening, we exchanged Christmas greetings.”

Pennington will be sharing her extensive knowledge of that special day. Through collected newspaper articles, letters and diaries of the soldiers and vintage photographs of the gift exchanges combined with Rochelle’s incredible storytelling, this true story comes to life once again. This event should not be missed!

We hope to see you on November 21st for this free, heartwarming event generously funded by the Ben C. Sias and Floyde J. Sias Library Trust Fund.

For more information about any of our services, please check our website at or visit us at our locations in Bangor, Holmen, Campbell, Onalaska and West Salem.



Ashley Giese
La Crosse County Library- Hazel Brown Leicht Memorial Library - West Salem
November 1, 2018

I am not a runner. I never thought that I wanted to be a runner. Running a half marathon was never something on my bucket list, or even on my radar for that matter. Then one fateful day, my friend Melissa asked me if I would be interested in running the Mini Donut half marathon for suicide prevention, awareness and education. I immediately told her “Ummmm, NO!” Her silky smooth response was, “Well, there are margaritas and free mini donuts at the end!” Darn it! She knows me too well and played me! So, of course I told her “I’m in!”
Mini donuts at the finish? Seriously? That’s just…evil. But, I do love them…and lots of other yummy desserts! They are so delicious. If you are like me,  you'll love I’m Just Here for Desserts: Macarons, Mini Cakes, Ice Creams, Waffles & More by Caroline Khoo. It has stunning photography and great recipes. I personally think that the photos are almost as important as the recipes themselves. And of, course, they have a basic recipe for donuts! Just add a mini donut pan and some cinnamon & sugar or powdered sugar and voila you have mini donuts. Who knew?

Now, let’s try to move past the yummy donuts for a bit. The La Crosse County Library with locations in Bangor, Campbell, Holmen, Onalaska and West Salem has many great resources available for all the things you need to know for training for the actual half marathon (where they serve you donuts when you are done.) Runner’s World magazine is a magazine that covers training regimens, nutritional tips and gear advice needed for upcoming races on a monthly basis. It is a great resource available at the library, where each issue contains advice on warm ups, places to run, reviews on clothing, competitive running reports and more. Marathoning for Mortals by John “The Penguin” Bingham and Jenny Hadfield is another great book. It is a great read for beginners just starting to run. This book is full of solid advice from two seasoned runners beginning with training all the way to the proper running gear. And trust me, the proper gear is extremely important. They also emphasis running for fun, which was an alien concept before I found that I kind of liked it. But, your race is about YOU! Training for the half marathon for me was more than just running. It was working with a great group of women for a common goal. It was team work. I might have been successful training by myself, but I can guarantee it would not have been as fun.

When I was training, I did have some setbacks. My biggest setback was spraining my ankle six weeks out. This was not only painful, but mentally it was a big hit for me. I wasn’t able to train beyond running 9 miles. Nine miles? I never thought I could run nine miles…but I digress. The day of the race, I’ll admit, I was more than a bit worried. But that is where my team came in. I received nothing but support from my team mates all the way to the end. The motivation on race day started when one of my team said to me, “You’re going to make it even if we have to carry you across the finish line.” I can’t tell you what that meant to me. Each mile marker along the way let me know where I was in the race, but what I really loved was the ½ mile motivational signs. I was so happy when I saw the “you’re over half way there” sign and I laughed when my running partner said “we better keep going it’s shorter to the end than to turn around”. Another favorite sign was “PAIN is weakness leaving the body” or “Sweat is your fat cells crying”, or my husband’s favorite, “Run? I thought you said Rum!”

Speaking of Rum, didn’t I mention margaritas earlier? Summer Cocktails: Margaritas, Mint Juleps, Punches, Party Snacks, and More by María del Mar Sacasa is another book with fantastic photographs as well as great recipes. Not only does this book have some yummy cocktail recipes including margaritas it also has some interesting facts sprinkled throughout the book like how to prep a melon as well as some tasty food recipes to go along with the drinks.
Completing the half marathon was an incredible personal accomplishment. Something I did not think I could or ever would do. But after completing it, would I do it again? YES! The La Crosse County Library, helping me acquire additional resources for my pre and post run, along with my fantastic team, made this incredible adventure possible. If you would like to check out or reserve any of these titles, stop into your favorite branch of the La Crosse County Library in Bangor, Campbell, Holmen, Onalaska or West Salem or visit us on the web at Give it a shot. Who knows, you might find you enjoy running, too! There are many great running adventures waiting for you in the Coulee Region. Get out there, find your place on the road.



Susanne Stranc, Reference Librarian

La Crosse County Library – Holmen Branch

October 25, 2018


Dopesick. It is what an opioid addict wants to avoid at any cost. An addict will lie, cheat, and steal to avoid this happening to them. Dopesickness is what happens when an addict withdraws from opioids. It is not pretty and very painful. Beth Macy takes us through 20 years of the devastating opioid crisis in America in her book Dopesick: dealers, doctors, and the drug company that addicted America.

Macy spent six years in the Roanoke Virginia area talking with parents, drug users, drug company reps, drug dealers, medical and law enforcement personnel. She starts with the development of OxyContin in 1996 and how the drug company Purdue Pharma marketed the drug to doctors. They all believed it wasn’t addictive. They were wrong. Even after they found out about its addictive qualities they dragged their heels in changing the formulation to make it less so. It wasn’t until after 3 executives were taken to court [where they received a slap on the hand and fines] that the formulation was changed but the damage had already been done. When addicts could no longer gets pills to get their high they turned to heroin which was much cheaper and easy to obtain.

Appalachia was ground zero for the opioid epidemic. When Oxycontin was first developed the coal mines and furniture factories were closing. Many people went on disability to survive.  A child was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up. He answered “recipient”. When asked to explain he said he wanted to receive government checks when he grew up. The disabled were given this new wonder drug to deal with pain that only led to further problems and abuse. Outside of the poverty stricken areas teen athletes were give 90 day supplies of the drug for minor injuries. This led to “surprise parties” where they would put pills in a bowl and everyone would take some having no clue what they took. After the money ran out for pills and the teens were addicted they turned to heroin.

Many of the stories were harsh and brutal. Too many politicians and policy makers believe addiction is a personal moral failing and criminal offense rather than a treatable disease that robs victims of their dignity and freedom of choice. The opioids change a person’s brain chemistry. They don’t understand that the addict’s fear of “dopesickness” overcomes any desire to be drug-free. Drug rehabilitation facilities are few and far between. Families have gone through their life savings to try and get their loved ones into treatment. Providers of rehab facilities disagree about using MAT [medication assisted treatment]. Many will not accept a patient until they are free of all drugs including those used to help overcome their addiction. Medical experts contend that MAT is absolutely necessary to battle the drug cravings and increase rates of successful treatment. Suboxone [similar to the drug methadone] is a drug that has been developed to help wean addicts off opioids. Unfortunately it also has the potential for abuse. Another drug, Vivitrol, also used in the treatment of alcoholism, has shown promise in the treatment of opioid abuse in when used in treatment facilities.

Now after years of the crisis growing we see it in our own back yard. A local politician’s wife was accused of stealing drugs from her patients to support her habit. The Tomah VA discovered and slowly dealt with their pill prescribing problem that led to changes in state prescribing laws and a database doctors now check before prescribing opioids. Local addiction and drug overdose calls have risen precipitously.

Dopesick shows how the opioid crisis got started and spread. Now politicians, health care professionals and law enforcement need to find more ways to deal effectively with the problem.














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