Series

Wisconsin's deal with electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn has stirred up a mix of excitement and doubt. The state offered the Taiwan-based company about $3 billion in economic incentives and a waiver on a variety of environmental and other regulations to build a large LCD fabrication complex. In return, Foxconn touted the possibility of creating thousands of jobs and invigorating Wisconsin as a Midwestern tech hub. This type of manufacturing would place considerable demands on the state's natural resources, especially water, and can create significant pollution. The net effect of this deal will take years to emerge, but boosters and skeptics alike agree that a Foxconn footprint would have profound and complex implications for Wisconsin's future.More
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Opioid overdoses kill hundreds of Wisconsinites every year, amid a nationwide surge in painkiller and heroin abuse that's been building since the turn of the century. Opioids are a category of pain relief drugs that include long-known substances like morphine and heroin, but also powerful synthetic pharmaceuticals like hydrocodone and fentanyl. Years of widespread opioid prescriptions helped initiate the crisis, and the increasing cheap cost of these drugs fueled the spread of abuse in rural, suburban and urban communities alike. All levels of government are mobilizing to address opioid abuse, and like many states, Wisconsin is adopting policies that focus on public health approaches over emphasizing criminalization. As the contours of this epidemic continues to shift, so do efforts to contain and reverse it among health care providers, law enforcement and community organizations.More
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Rural Wisconsin faces a broad array of economic challenges. Many communities are experiencing a decrease in population and struggling to retain young people and attract newcomers. As the workforce ages, additional factors including limited infrastructure, agricultural and manufacturing business woes, and the dictates of distance and cost can combine to frustrate entrepreneurial and job opportunities. At the same time, the distinct attributes of rural areas can encourage economic development, and both public and private efforts to revitalize individual communities and broader regions are being pursued around the state. One particularly notable element is access to broadband internet, which is sparse in many rural areas but has the potential to be transformational for both work and lifestyle. Rural Wisconsin's economy is changing, but its future course has yet to be charted.More
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Overt expressions of hatred along lines of race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, sexuality and gender identity surged across the United States during the campaign and following the election of President Donald Trump. While American society has long grappled with discrimination and systemic disparities, attacks on immigrants, Muslims and others have emboldened organized hate groups and bigoted individuals. Wisconsinites have experienced the reemergence of public hate in a variety of forms, in places around the state. Amid this wave of incidents, various educators, elected officials and community groups have continued to push for tolerance and communication in a state that has a long history of immigration and continues to grow more diverse.More
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Climate science is complex. Because changes to the global climate span continents and develop over decades, their effects on individual places and weather events are difficult to pinpoint. But with an ever growing body of historical climate data and sophisticated computer modeling, scientists can forecast how climate change is unfolding — and likely continue to play out — in places like Wisconsin with increasing confidence. In coming decades communities around the state are projected to continue experiencing warmer and more extreme weather. These effects are increasingly being recognized, with winter and nighttime temperatures rising, and heavier rainstorms occurring with increasing regularity. From the environment to human health to the economy, gauging the impacts of a changing climate is an urgent scientific endeavor with implications for every Wisconsinite.More
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