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Free Clinic busy preparing for Mardi Gras fundraiser
Jan. 30 at Boscobel Bowl
Free Clinic NuPak
AMONG THE PRIZES at the InHealth Community Wellness Free Clinics Jan. 30 Mardi Gras celebration is this Northwoods tandem bicycle. Pictured with the bicycle and a $1,000 donation fron NuPak are, from left, Pam Stuckey, clinic coordinator; Starr Blodgett, fundraiser committee; and Lorene Conley, fundraising coordinator.

Since 2007, Boscobel’s InHealth Community Wellness Free Clinic has served over 10,000 people thanks to generous donations from its sponsors. However, following the passage of the federal Affordable Care Act in 2010, many of those sponsors have reduced or eliminated their support.

“Everybody thinks that the Affordable Care Act is working for everyone and we don’t need free health care, but that’s not true,” says Lorene Conley, Free Clinic board member and fundraising coordinator. “We’re actually having more people coming back because they can’t afford the premium, finding it cheaper to pay the fine. Along with that, when the Affordable Care Act debuted many of our major sponsors dropped us, placing the clinic in dire need.”

That’s bad news for the many people in Grant and Crawford counties who don’t have health insurance and rely on the Free Clinic to help them deal with chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes, including Conley.
“This place saved my life and I’m trying to give back,” says Conley. “When I became disabled I had no place else to go for medical care.”

Mardi Gras Party

Over the past several months Conley has been working hard organizing the Free Clinic’s major annual fundraiser, the third annual Mardi Gras Party, this year set for Saturday, Jan. 30 at Boscobel Bowl & Banquet.

“We’re gearing up for our annual Mardi Gras fundraiser and it should be the biggest and best ever,” says Conley. “I’ve got 30 volunteers helping me and I’m planning big.”

“Queen Lorene,” as she’s known around the clinic, was named the clinic’s 2015 Volunteer of the Year and promises a fun festival atmosphere. She encourages people to dress up for the occasion. They might even win one of three categories in the costume contest: Best, Most Creative or Best Mask.

Contests and auctions

Other events include a King Cake Contest (Best Flavor, Most Beautiful), Bead Contest and Coloring Contest. Mystic reader Starr Blodgett will be on hand with her crystal ball. There will also be a photo booth, Chinese Auction, live music, and a live auction at 8 p.m. featuring many numerous donated items, including a Northwoods tandem bicycle donated by Robin Transø in memory of Brad Lantzer.

A $10 meal ticket includes the $5 cover charge, six free Chinese Auction tickets and the Taste of Mardi Gras—featuring jambalaya, rice and cornbread, as well as ham sandwiches, scalloped potatoes and baked beans. A vegetarian option is also available.

In addition to contests, auctions and a Mardi Gras meal, the Boscobel Men’s Bowling Association will be holding two, 9-pin tap tournaments, one beginning at 1 p.m. and the other at 4 p.m.

All proceeds benefit the InHealth Community Wellness Free Clinic, open every Monday from 4:30-8 p.m. and the first and third Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon. The clinic is located in the lower level of 109 E. Bluff Street behind the Tuffley Center.

For more information, call (608) 375-4324, or visit