Author: Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Wisconsin state parks battered as Lake Michigan shrinks beaches, smashes boardwalks

The state Department of Natural Resources is weighing a fundamental question: Preserve land or let nature take its course?

By Mario Koran Wisconsin Watch/WPR  Lake Michigan’s winds and waves have sculpted the landscape of Whitefish Dunes State Park, a must-see treasure along Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula. Water delivers fine sand to a shoreline that supports threatened plants like the dune…

Wisconsin’s special ed system: High stress, sparse state funding

Over the past five decades, state support for special ed has dwindled, and staff shortages and turnover make it difficult to provide required services

From the time she wakes up in the morning until the time she goes to bed at night, Green Bay parent Denise Seibert’s life centers around her son, Tyler

A national debt: Should government compensate for slavery and racism?

Evanston, Illinois is compensating victims of housing discrimination. Big questions remain about whether and how reparations should be handled.

Reggie Jackson, a writer for the Milwaukee Independent and the former head griot, or oral historian, at America’s Black Holocaust Museum in Milwaukee, has a long history of military service in his family stretching back to the Civil War. 

‘It’s all or nothing’: A small pay bump can cut benefits for Wisconsin workers

A 25-cent raise threatens loss of needed benefits for some low-income families, making it hard to get ahead.

With a workforce shortage affecting some industries, employers are raising wages to attract workers. Low-income workers have a better opportunity to reduce dependence on benefits and increase wages, as long as they find pay high enough to survive loss of benefits caused by the benefit cliff. 

Cow manure predicted to cause most sickness from contaminated wells in Kewaunee County

A new study predicts the incidence of gastrointestinal illness in private drinking wells, identifying manure as the main cause of contamination

The No. 1 factor for acute gastrointestinal illness in Kewaunee County’s private drinking water wells is cow manure, according to a federal study released today. The findings raise questions about the effectiveness of existing regulations aimed at protecting residents from tainted drinking water.

Convictions bar Wisconsinites from many jobs, making re-entry ‘a real struggle’

People of color in Wisconsin have higher incarceration rates than whites, which means many jobs and opportunities remain out of reach for them.

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Janie Ocejo put her social work education and bilingual, bicultural background to work by supporting Madison’s Hispanic folks through positions at various community organizations.

Ancient human remains unearthed at proposed Kohler golf course site in Wisconsin

The rapidly eroding Lake Michigan shoreline is also raising questions about the future of the controversial project adjacent to Kohler-Andrae State Park

Archeologists have unearthed human remains of Native Americans who lived up to 2,500 years ago during excavations of the Sheboygan County site along Lake Michigan where Kohler Co. wants to build an 18-hole golf course.

Wisconsin Supreme Court weighs state power to protect water from farm pollutants

The outcome of a nearly decade-long dispute in Kewaunee County could shape regulatory power across state government.

The state Supreme Court on Monday hears arguments in a case that could determine whether the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources failed to adequately protect water from manure pollution when awarding a permit to a giant dairy farm in northeastern Wisconsin — or whether the agency lacks the authority to issue such restrictions.  

Undocumented immigrants qualify for rent relief, but Wisconsin sends mixed signals

Some intake forms ask for Social Security numbers — a ‘red flag’ for renters who are not U.S. citizens, advocates say

At least eight of the 14 organizations administering the Wisconsin Emergency Rental Assistance (WERA) program ask applicants to share their Social Security numbers through pre-screening forms, a Wisconsin Watch review has found.

Bids to alter Wisconsin elections fall mostly along partisan lines

Republicans want to restrict drop boxes and absentee voting. Democrats aim to make it easier to vote. Both parties favor quicker vote counting.

Proposals to change Wisconsin’s voting system could determine how one of America’s top swing states picks congressional candidates, how it awards its 10 Electoral College votes, how fast results can be announced and who can use the increasingly popular method of absentee voting.