Wisconsin Weekly: Wisconsin Watch expands staff

New editor arrives; WI residents use cannabis as medicine; Evers issues more pardons; birthday balloons gum up Great Lakes; police warned about Wausau shooting suspect


Of note: We are pleased to inform you that Wisconsin Watch is growing. On Monday we will welcome Jim Malewitz as our first-ever investigations editor. We have known Jim since his days as a graduate student at the University of Iowa, where he was the first reporter for Iowa Watch, a small nonprofit like us. Jim will bring his enthusiasm, bright ideas and generally good nature to Wisconsin Watch, which is growing and poised to tackle even more ambitious investigative projects! 

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Courtesy of Katie McMullen

Jim Malewitz has pursued a career almost exclusively in nonprofit, public affairs journalism — with an eye toward cross-newsroom collaboration. He most recently covered the environment for Michigan’s nonprofit Bridge Magazine, earning numerous statewide awards.

Jim Malewitz named Wisconsin Watch investigations editor

Wisconsin Watch — November 14, 2019

After a nationwide search, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism has chosen Jim Malewitz, a veteran of nonprofit journalism, as investigations editor. In his new role, which begins on Monday, Malewitz will help run the Wisconsin Watch newsroom along with Managing Editor Dee J. Hall and Digital and Multimedia Director Coburn Dukehart. He will join a leadership team that includes Executive Director Andy Hall, Associate Director Lauren Fuhrmann, Membership Manager Emily Neinfeldt and Senior Strategic Adviser Barbara Johnson.

Reports: Neighbors concerned about suspect’s welfare before shooting

Wausau Pilot & Review — November 13, 2019

Dozens of pages of reports released Nov. 12 by the Everest Metro Police Department show officers had contact 29 times with Henry “Hank” West over a seven-year span, including a suspicious activity call just weeks before he allegedly opened fire at a Wausau cemetery. West, 64, of Schofield, faces charges of first-degree intentional homicide, 11 counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide, three counts of attempted arson, one count of arson of a building without the owner’s consent and resisting or obstructing an officer.

Emily Hamer / Wisconsin Watch

Harvested cannabis flower is seen at LeafLine Labs in Cottage Grove, Minn., on April 18. The 42,000-square-foot indoor cultivation and production facility is used to grow marijuana for medical uses and create pharmaceutical cannabis products. Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states, including Minnesota, but not in Wisconsin. A bipartisan group of lawmakers has proposed legalizing marijuana for medical uses in Wisconsin.

Wisconsinites use cannabis as a medicine, but research and the law are not yet on their side

Wisconsin Watch — November 9, 2019

Although it remains illegal federally, 33 states and the District of Columbia have authorized medical use of cannabis. A bipartisan group of lawmakers has proposed legalizing it for medical use in Wisconsin, and another group of Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill in October to decriminalize possession of less than 28 grams. But Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald remains opposed. The story is the latest in The Cannabis Question series.

Balloon Effect: Survey highlights Great Lakes’ balloon pollution problem

Great Lakes Now — November 11, 2019

Balloons are synonymous with celebration – birthdays, weddings and graduation ceremonies. But once the party is over, discarded balloons can kill wildlife and pollute the environment. In June, Lara O’Brien, a master’s student at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability, launched a citizen science survey to collect reports of balloon debris on local beaches and riverbanks. As of the end of October, she had just over 1,500 unique reports of balloon fragments. That’s 1,500 possibilities for seabirds or other wildlife to be injured or killed when they mistake fragments for food or become entangled in long ribbons or string.

Steve Apps / Wisconsin State Journal

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers issues eight more pardons for marijuana, theft, tax fraud felonies

Wisconsin State Journal — November 10, 2019

After breaking a nine-year drought of gubernatorial pardons in Wisconsin in October, Gov. Tony Evers issued eight more pardons Friday to men and women who committed felonies between 13 and 30 years ago. That brings the total number of pardons issued by Evers so far to 12. The previous governor, Scott Walker, did not issue any pardons during his eight years in office.

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