WEC supporters start fund drive

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Going all-out in their effort to save the Work Ethic Camp, supporters have launched a fund drive to raise money for legislative lobbying.

The account -- called the "Work Ethic Coalition" -- has been established at AmFirst Bank. Donations may be made at the bank, or sent to: Work Ethic Coalition, %AmFirst Bank, P.O. Box 1447, McCook, NE 69001.

"We will need at least $8,500 and possibly more for the lobbying campaign," said Greg Wolford, one of the leaders of efforts to save the camp.

To launch the drive, the McCook Daily Gazette is donating all the money collected for $15 Work Camp signature ads to the fund. The signature ads will be included in a special edition which will be published this week and sent to each of Nebraska's 49 state senators. Additional signature ads will be published in coming weeks, with all money collected from those donated to the Work Ethic Coalition Fund, Publisher Gene Morris announced.

Wolford and other Work Camp supporters were in Lincoln Tuesday to seek support for the camp. They met with members of the Appropriations Committee and representatives from the Governor's office.

If one more member of the Appropriations Committee can be convinced to cast a vote in favor of camp funding for 2004-05, the Work Ethic Camp would be included in the state's next biennial budget proposal.

Even if that happens, Wolford said the fight is not over. An effort to eliminate the camp could still arise from the floor of the legislature, he said.

"We need to act and we need to act quickly," Wolford said. "This is much more than an economic development issue. This is an effort to save a correctional program which is changing the lives of young, non-violent offenders and saving the state millions of dollars in the process."

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