Students keep drunks from drowning in Wis. city

Last year alone, River Watch patrollers intercepted nearly 1,300 people near river


By Todd Richmond
The Associated Press

LA CROSSE, Wis. — The city of La Crosse might have found a way to save drunken college students from themselves.

The city has struggled for years to end a string of alcohol-related drownings and close calls. Officials have tried task forces and new ordinances, but the binge drinking culture continues.

Finally, the area's college students took it upon themselves to save each other by guarding a portion of the Mississippi River that rolls past the downtown bar scene in a program dubbed Operation: River Watch.

Last year alone, River Watch patrollers intercepted nearly 1,300 people near the river. Since River Watch began in 2006, two college-age students have drowned. Both went into the Mississippi outside the patrol's area.

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