New report lists four priorities for improving Marathon County - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

New report lists four priorities for improving Marathon County

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WAUSAU (WAOW ) - A new snapshot of life in Marathon County has identified four issues as community priorities - mental health, substance abuse, income and ensuring kids get a great start in life.

The United Way's 20015-2017 LIFE Report, which is based on a survey of more than 1,000 people and nonprofit groups, called these issues the "root causes for many of the community's challenges." The report was unveiled Tuesday at a community forum in Wausau.

"These issues are all very important and very intertwined. It will take a long time to work on them. We hope by pooling our intellect, our capital and time, we can in fact have a positive impact," said Rick Nevers, chairman of the project.

For example, the report said to address the income issue, community leaders and employers should explore what can be done to increase educational levels, to attract higher income jobs and to increase wages for current jobs that don't provide a living wage.

According to the 98-page report, the 2010 per capita median income in Marathon County was $27,607 ($13.27 per hour), which does not meet the minimum threshold for one adult with one child. No more recent figures were reported.

The report found the median household income in Marathon County for 2013 was $53,363, up $213 from 2010 

As for reducing alcohol and drug abuse, it is time to "rethink current practices to change culture and attitudes," the report said.

The report - designed to serve as a catalyst for change by promoting community conversations and partnerships - found the area is rich in resources. Economic diversity, education, healthcare, recreation and natural resources all registered as strengths.

This is the 20th anniversary LIFE report, which has been published every two years since 1997. 

To see the full report, go to www.unitedwaymc.org

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