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Our view: Elkhorn must allow this domestic violence shelter to open
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Our view: Elkhorn must allow this domestic violence shelter to open

New Beginnings shelter location Elkhorn

Located at 20 N. Church St. in Elkhorn, the former health clinic being donated by Aurora Health Care is across the street from the Elkhorn Police Department.

There really is not much debate left about whether the New Beginnings group should be allowed to open a domestic violence shelter in Elkhorn.

All that remains of the opposition are a few neighbors whose myopic fears about the shelter have been exposed by a judge as foolishness.

The Elkhorn City Council has one more chance to get this right on June 29.

A special council meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. June 29 to reconsider the issue, as ordered by a Walworth County judge who scolded the city for mishandling the shelter proposal on the first go-around.

We urge the city council to join the rest of Walworth County this time in supporting New Beginnings. Approve the city permit necessary for the nonprofit group to establish a domestic violence shelter in downtown Elkhorn.

We are listing here the names and phone numbers of all seven members of the Elkhorn City Council. Regardless of whether you live in Elkhorn, please take a few minutes to call council members and urge them to allow this shelter to go forward.

It is worth noting which aldermen voted “no” previously: Tim Shiroda, Ron Dunwiddie, Tom Myrin and Karel Young. Call and tell these four public servants to stop being obstructionist on this badly needed public improvement for Walworth County.

New Beginnings serves hundreds of women and children annually who have been victims of domestic violence. But there is no emergency shelter in Walworth County. For those needing safe haven in urgent situations, shelters as far away as Milwaukee and Madison are often the only option.

New Beginnings has found an ideal location at 20 N. Church St. in a former medical clinic whose owners are donating the building. The site is across the street from the Elkhorn Police Department and is situated near other resources to help domestic violence victims embark on their recovery surrounded by a nurturing community.

The proposal has the support of law enforcement leaders, health care experts, social service professionals, city planners and many others. One Elkhorn alderman, Scott McClory, is a retired Walworth County sheriff’s captain who has backed New Beginnings.

Still, a vocal group of neighbors have hired lawyers and fought hard to stop the shelter. They have tried everything from scare tactics to counting parking spaces.

Walworth County Circuit Judge Daniel Johnson rightfully saw through this charade when he ruled in April that nobody had presented any sound legal rationale for denying New Beginnings its permit.

That the taxpayers of Elkhorn are paying lawyers to fight New Beginnings in court is an embarrassment to begin with. That the city is waging this fight with the intent of keeping domestic violence victims from safe haven and recovery is an atrocity that impacts all of Walworth County.

The Elkhorn City Council must vote “yes” and allow the New Beginnings shelter to open its doors.

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