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WisconsinWeekly: Farmers and suicide; crime victims fight for compensation; MN welcomes immigrants; MKE ‘plagued’ by reckless driving

Dairy farmers in New England offered suicide help, WI gun victim struggles for compensation; MN touts immigrants; ‘red light roulette’ endangers MKE drivers
Of note: This week we offer stories from Wisconsin and beyond that resonate in our state. New England Public Radio reported that one dairy co-op is so worried about farmers in this era of low milk prices that it distributed a suicide hotline number with the milk checks. The Trace finds that crime victims such as Milwaukee shooting victim Claudiare Motley — featured in a Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism report about the high cost of gun violence — routinely have a hard time accessing state compensation funds. The Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service reports on the spike in deadly crashes caused by drivers running red lights. And MinnPost highlights a state report that reveals that Minnesota needs immigrants to keep its economy healthy — a message that runs counter to political debate heard in Wisconsin and elsewhere.

WisconsinWeekly: Dangers of concussions; Foxconn deal gives $200,000 per job subsidy

Hits to the head, and hits to taxpayers
Of note: This week we highlight one of our own stories, which examines  the mounting evidence of the danger of brain injuries in contact sports, including football, and Wisconsin’s central role in this national controversy. Luke Schaetzel, reporting for the Center, found many University of Wisconsin-Madison football players push aside fears about concussions in order to play. In related news, the Washington Post reports that the NFL saw an increase this season in reported concussions; the wife of former NFL player Rob Kelly writes poignantly in The New York Times about her husband’s mental and physical deterioration; and former Green Bay Packer Sam Shields says he is ready to get back in the game, despite suffering five concussions. Our final story has nothing to do with head injuries but it is a bit of a head scratcher. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Jason Stein found the $2.85 billion state subsidy to Foxconn amounts to $200,000 per job — eight times higher than other similar job-creation deals — and nearly four times higher than the minimum average salary of $53,000 that Foxconn promises to pay.

WisconsinWeekly: Ron Johnson’s ‘secret society’; gerrymandering debate; injuries, bankruptcy among WI farmers

Explosive allegation withdrawn; experts evaluate alternatives to partisan redistricting; farm families face physical and financial perils
Of Note: This week we highlight national stories with Wisconsin angles, including PolitiFact Wisconsin’s exploration of how U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson alleged and then withdrew the explosive claim that there was a “secret society” in the FBI. Two stories discuss the effects of partisan gerrymandering and how difficult it could be to make the voting districts more fair as the U.S. Supreme Court mulls whether to throw out Republicans’ redrawing of Wisconsin’s map. Two more stories explore some problems unique to farmers. The New York Times features a Wisconsin family in its report on the thousands of injuries and roughly 100 deaths among children and teenagers working on farms each year. And Wisconsin Public Radio found that our state is home to the highest number of farm bankruptcies in the United States.

Your Right to Know: Citizens have a right to electronic records

Computers have made examining government records easier than ever. The smallest townships across Wisconsin post the meeting agendas and minutes online. And websites for government agencies at all levels contain an enormous amount of other information. Electronic records are also available on request. Say you want to see a skate-park-feasibility study you’ve heard about.

WisconsinWeekly: DNR OKs manure rules; WI farmers debate ‘organic’ label; VA pushes back against vets; Menominee seek to block MI mine

What to do about manure, organic labeling, vets’ class-action suit and a sulfide mine
Of Note: This week we’re highlighting news affecting Wisconsin farmers, Veterans Administration patients and members of the Menominee Tribe. State farmers may face new rules for handling manure in parts of Wisconsin where the geography makes groundwater susceptible to pollution. The U.S. Department of Agriculture wants to withdraw a rule that would require certified organic meat and poultry producers to abide by stricter animal welfare standards. The VA is pushing back against a class-action lawsuit over emotional distress claimed by patients who risked exposure to HIV because of improper sterilization by a dentist at the Tomah Medical Center. And the Menominee Tribe is suing the federal government, trying to block approval of a mine across the border in Michigan that it fears will pollute the Menominee River.

WisconsinWeekly: Lead failures force out MKE health official; suspensions in Green Bay; lawyer shortage; long-term solitary struck down in Canada

You read it here first: Center stories provide crucial backdrop for this week’s news
This week we feature some stories that advance previous coverage by the Center on important topics including lead in drinking water, racial disparities in Wisconsin’s educational system and the dire effects of long-term solitary confinement on inmates. Also this week, former Center intern Abby Becker details the impact of a state bill that would pre-empt Madison’s protections for certain classes of workers. And University of Wisconsin-Madison journalism student Peter Coutu — who worked on the Center’s ongoing Broken Whistle series — writes about the lack of lawyers in rural Wisconsin, which is making it difficult to address the growing crime problem caused by the opioid epidemic. WisconsinWeekly is produced by us, Andy and Dee J. Hall, a couple who founded the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Andy is the executive director and Dee is the managing editor.

WisconsinWeekly: Shrinking coastline, Trump real estate, Russian trolls — our former interns rock!

Former WCIJ interns breaking news all over the planet
Of note: This week we highlight recent stories from some of the interns we trained over the past nine years. They include Tegan Wendland of New Orleans Public Radio. She produced a piece for the investigative news program Reveal about the lack of government help for Louisiana residents whose homes are being swallowed by rising waters in the Gulf of Mexico. Nick Penzenstadler of USA Today continues to break news about President Donald Trump’s private businesses. Alec Luhn of The Telegraph’s Moscow bureau investigated the Russian “troll factory” thought to be a source of propaganda during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.