Marinette, Menominee residents cleaning up needles
MARINETTE - People in Marinette and Menominee say they've had enough of what they believe is a growing drug problem.
For the past few months, people say they've been finding needles throughout the community.
Through social media, residents are organizing cleanups to try to get rid of the danger.
Wednesday afternoon, some of those people gathered at Red Arrow Park in Marinette.
“I just feel sorry for my grandchildren if they come down to this beach and I used to swim here a lot when I was a child,” said Tina Rupert, who found a needle while cleaning up the beach.
Rupert joined a few dozen other people who want to keep the community clean.
“I think there's enough people who are fed up and are looking to take back their town, their cities,” said Jamie Peterson of Peshtigo.
“In the last week this suddenly happened due to a few of us going out on the beach one night finding needles,” said Benjamin Conley, the organizer of the cleanup.
Conley helped organize the cleanup through Facebook. Conley says a similar outing last week produced about a dozen needles in three hours.
“Heroin is a big problem in this community,” said Conley.
“It could be heroin,” said Sgt. Scott Ries of the Marinette Police Department. “It could be other types of drugs being used intravenously.”
Police say no matter what the needles are being used for, they are extremely dangerous because of the potential for disease.
“There's really no rhyme or reason as far as where the needles are,” said Ries. “Wherever people travel, that's where the needles are arriving, so there isn't a set area that's really high in crime or high in drug use.”
Police and residents agree drug use has always been an issue. But they say the needles are making the problem more visible.
“Now it's just to the point where it's really bad,” said Peterson. “We have posters, people finding needles in their mailboxes, in their lawns.”
“I think it's really bad, I really do,” said Rupert. “We're going to continue to go on to other beaches too.”
The group's organizer says four needles were found in the park on Wednesday.