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Turningpoint services outlined for chamber

Victims of domestic and sexual violence have a friend in Turningpoint, an organization serving Pierce and St. Croix counties with services that were outlined for the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce Thursday.

The organization served 2,570 victims of domestic and sexual violence last year, according to Bree Adams, in-house advocate for Turningpoint. Seventy-two percent of these were women, 26 percent were children and two percent were men.

Crisis and information calls totaled 1,500 in 2006, while 183 people received shelter, 288 participated in group counseling and 341 in individual counseling, Adams said.

From locations in River Falls and New Richmond, Turningpoint officials distribute information about dealing with violence and working with victims, both men and women, she said. Case managing and crisis counseling are provided, as are one-on-one meetings with victims and their families. There are support groups for domestic violence victims, children and sexual assault victims.

All services are free and confidential, she said. The New Richmond location is home to Turningpoint's outreach coordinator, community response team and legal advocate. Harassment, divorce and emotional support are among matters being handled there.

The River Falls site houses administrative offices for the organization and the shelter, she said. Advocates for sexual assault and children are headquartered there. Other services are a Second Chance program and thrift store, Home Start effort, which supplies clients with housing needs, pet foster care, elder abuse and later life abuse services, community education and emergency transportation.

Information is available on topics such as: why women stay in relationships, red flags of abusers, coordinated community responses, what is domestic abuse, and power and control, the advocate said.

Director of Development Annette Walker said 60 percent of Turningpoint's funding comes from government agencies, while 30 percent is from individuals and 10 percent from corporations. Fundraisers included a walk last year, the upcoming "Seeds of Hope" and the store. Additionally, the organization is a partner with the St. Croix Valley Foundation, meaning if it can raise $70,000 by 2009, the foundation will match it for a total of $140,000.

In other chamber business:

--Thirty-two booth spaces have already been reserved for the Spring Fling Business Expo, Coordinator Kim Johnson announced. The event will be held March 18 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Ellsworth High School. Admission will be $3 and there will be a drawing for up to 150 chamber dollars.

--The Miss Ellsworth Committee is organizing a fundraiser to be held in conjunction with the first Ellsworth Rod and Gun Club chicken dinner of the season, President Raynee Farrell said. Farrell also said sponsorship letters for the Ellsworth Cheese Curd Festival this June are to be mailed in the coming week. Donations of used brochure racks from the River Falls Chamber of Commerce and a paper cutter for the chamber office from American Title Services were acknowledged.

--Police Chief Greg Place discussed a recent state law which will have a collection firm contracting with the county to handle worthless checks issued to businesses. If the money can't be collected, the district attorney's office will continue to prosecute. People in difficult financial situations will get help from the firm, Place said.