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Jennifer Havens, right, county recycling specialist, and Heather Wolske, assistant corporate counsel, encourage residents click on St. Croix County's new Facebook pages.

County has social media friends

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News River Falls,Wisconsin 54022 http://www.hudsonstarobserver.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/14/0701/facewolskehavens.jpg?itok=k6lQQ5kB
Hudson Star Observer
715-386-9891 customer support
County has social media friends
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

New Facebook pages offer quick messages to the public

St. Croix County has plunged full-scale into the 21st century, at least communication-wise.

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Five new Facebook pages have been operating over the last six months as an experiment in alternative communication.

The project started April 1 said Heather Wolske, assistant corporate counsel, who was in charge of writing the legal policy.

"It has been successful," said Wolske who was ready to make a formal announcement after thoroughly testing the market.

Jennifer Havens, recycling specialist, has probably the hottest Facebook page in the county.

"Our budget was cut by the state which forced us to cut one of our two newsletters a year," she said. The new social media helped her department pick up the slack to inform the public about recycling events.

As it turns out, recycling page friends are 70 percent female and 40 percent of the total reaches the 35-44-year-old demographic.

"We have an e-mail list of 580 people but with so many spam filters, the message wasn't getting to everybody," Havens said.

Recycling, however, isn't the only place to face-up for information. The other offerings are the county's main page, emergency support services, public health and St. Croix Industries.

The county's page lights up when there is a hot issue before the board, such as the future of the nursing home recently.

Wolske produced data the revealed the county pages had 179 likes and 28 business likes as of Oct. 8; Emergency Support Services, 83 personal and 11 business likes, Public Health, 65 personal and 25 business, Recycling 177 personal and 18 business and St. Croix Industries 104 personal and 12 business.

"In event of a mass disaster, the Emergency Support Services page could be very important," said Wolske.

She said when the I-35 bridge collapsed in Minneapolis on Aug. 1, 2007, the cell phone system was overwhelmed. If the same kind of mass disaster happened in St. Croix County, the ESS Facebook page could solve the problem of communication.

A lot of traffic has been recorded between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on the new pages, after regular working hours in the government center, said Wolske. The new social media site offers access to information after the building is closed for the day.

The county's Facebook page addresses include:

--St. Croix County's main page: www.facebook.com/stcroixcountywi

--Emergency Support Services: www.facebook.com/sccwiess

--Public Health: www.facebook.com/sccwipublichealth

--Recycling: www.facebook.com/sccwirecycling

--St. Croix Industries: www.facebook.com/STCROIXIND

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