Wisconsin Weekly: Property owners near Foxconn cry foul

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Relocated homeowners say they were misled; 50,000 unvaccinated WI kids head to school; dairy group leaders get rich while farmers struggle; Great Lakes awash in plastic


Of note: This week we highlight a story by Wisconsin Public Radio’s Corri Hess, in collaboration with Wisconsin Watch, on the shifting road plans at the Foxconn site in Mount Pleasant that have left property owners feeling misled. Landowners near the planned factory were told their homes were needed for road widenings. But in some cases, those plans were scaled back or scrapped even before the homes were taken, leaving some residents to charge the purchases were aimed not at improving roads but in lining up land for Foxconn.

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Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Watch

Peter Burbach lived in Sturtevant, Wis., since 1984. He and his wife Pat were the last ones on Braun Road when their house was bought for the Foxconn project. He was 79 years old when they moved. “We did alright financially, but I thought this was going to be our last place, but it wasn’t,” he says. Photo taken July 1, 2019.

Property owners near Foxconn say they were misled. Now their homes are gone.

Wisconsin Public Radio / Wisconsin Watch — September 3, 2019

Homeowners near the Foxconn facility say they sold their homes for road widenings that were either abandoned, embellished — or never planned. Wisconsin law gives municipalities the power to acquire private property using eminent domain as long as there is fair compensation and the property will be used for a public purpose. Records show the village threatened eminent domain against some homeowners, saying their property was needed for road improvements. But in some cases those plans changed or were dropped even before the homes — some of them newly built — were bulldozed, state records show.

50,000 unvaccinated children head to Wisconsin schools as the U.S. copes with worst measles outbreak in 27 years

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — September 3, 2019

When Wisconsin children return to school this week, close to 50,000 of them will have waivers that exempt them from vaccines, leaving them vulnerable to measles at a time when the nation has experienced its largest outbreak in 27 years. Health officials across the U.S. have reported 1,215 cases of measles this year as of Aug. 22, the highest number since 1992, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Measles had been declared eliminated in 2000.

A nonprofit that’s supposed to promote dairy pays its leaders millions — while the farmers who fund it are going out of business

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — September 4, 2019

As the number of dairy farms nationwide has plummeted by nearly 20,000 over the past decade, there’s one corner of the industry doing just fine: The top executives at Dairy Management Inc., who are paid from farmers’ milk checks. The Illinois-based nonprofit is charged with promoting milk, cheese and other products — spending nearly $160 million a year collected through federally-mandated payments from dairy farmers. IRS records show 10 executives at the organization were paid more than $8 million — an average of more than $800,000 each.

Emily Hamer / Wisconsin Watch

Cows are seen on the farm of Wayne Byrnes on Feb. 15, 2019, in Kendall township in Lafayette County, Wisconsin.

22 million pounds of plastics enter the Great Lakes each year. Most of the pollution pours into Lake Michigan

Chicago Tribune — September 4, 2019

Plastic debris makes up about 80% of the litter on Great Lakes shorelines. Nearly 22 million pounds enter the Great Lakes each year — more than half of which pours into Lake Michigan, according to estimates calculated by the Rochester Institute of Technology. Regardless of size, as plastics linger in the water, they continue to break down from exposure to sunlight and abrasive waves. Microplastics have been observed in the guts of many Lake Michigan fish, in drinking water and even in beer. Perhaps the most worrisome aspect is that the impact of microplastics on human health remains unclear.

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