• nancy stencil

Oh, how our communities are struggling! I ask myself: how has our society failed so badly? What can you and I do in these tough economic times to make our communities safe again? What will it take to break this cycle?

I look at the recent mother and daughter drug arrest of April Pirillo and Ashley Baumgartner. This one hits home, personally, for me. It was April Pirillo’s now ex-husband, Larry, who sold methadone to my nephew, which led to his death by overdose. I recall my brother’s voice over the phone that dreadful day he told me this horrifying news.

I see this not only as a horrible situation that effects a mother and daughter of two generations, but how it also effects a third generation–Ashley Baumgartner’s children.

I remember my brother’s words, echoing after that day in court, telling Mr. Pirillo that he still has an opportunity to change and better himself. This is one thing my nephew, Chuck, would not have the opportunity to do.

If we, as a society, do not educate and help raise people up this trend will take another generation. Somehow we need to break the cycle of poverty through education.

These truly are tough economic times, but I don’t think building more prisons is the answer, not when so many of our incarcerated suffer mental illness and addiction. Our communities need to take a good hard look at these misfortunes and see them not as a failure, but rather an essential tool for education and treatment.

Let’s work together to protect our communities, and to renew hope. We should have a vision for the future that looks to actively treating addictions in our communities.

Nancy Stencil is a candidate for the State Assembly District 86. You can reach her at 715-581-7983.