Series

Gooseneck pipes
Drinking water quality varies across in Wisconsin. In communities with public utilities, drinking water is subject to disparate levels of treatment depending on local needs and budget concerns. Nearly one million households get their water from private wells, which depend on property owners for monitoring and treatment. Across the state, many natural processes and human activities can introduce pathogens and chemical contaminants into water supplies. Wherever their drinking water comes from, Wisconsinites can use various resources to better understand and improve its quality.More
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Schools have long served meals to students in programs supported by state and federal policies, but there's rising interest in using foods grown and raised closer to home. Farm-to-school programs aim to improve the nutrition of schoolchildren and teach them about agriculture, health, business and more. These efforts are likewise structured to create new markets for growers in nearby communities. Schools across Wisconsin have implemented farm-to-school projects and curricula. But the programs take a wide variety of forms, and making them work often requires schools, farmers and advocates to build complex new relationships and infrastructure.More
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More Wisconsinites have become homeless since the Great Recession, but their numbers have proven difficult to track. In fact, different methods of counting the homeless yield wildly different numbers. But it's clear that homelessness spans both urban and rural areas in Wisconsin, and is having a huge impact on children and families, not just single adults. Researchers, advocates and policymakers across the state are exploring new approaches to address homelessness, from experimenting with the "housing-first" model to proposing controversial ordinances that restrict where people can sleep or ask for money.More
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Aerial view of Milwaukee, looking southeast
Milwaukee experienced a dramatic increase in shootings and homicides in 2015. This violence was concentrated in the poorest areas of Wisconsin's largest city, one with entrenched racial and economic disparities. The locations of most homicides correspond with the zip codes that have the highest poverty rates, the lowest levels of educational attainment, weak access to mental-health services, and high numbers of people struggling to pay rent. These issues are also connected to historical events like the city's urban-renewal programs of the 1960s, which displaced many African-American families from their homes.More
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Fleeing conflict and persecution around the world, refugees are a small but significant part of Wisconsin's population. While it's not the biggest destination for resettlement in the United States, the state is home to thousands of people who arrived as refugees from several dozen countries. A Hmong community took root across Wisconsin in the 1970s, and a small Somali community settled in rural Barron County in the 1990s, but large numbers of refugees from countries including Burma, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have arrived in the 21st century. People seeking refugee status in the U.S. — which is distinct from other kinds of immigration — have gone through an extensive vetting process, but a rise of xenophobia and new federal policies threaten to make their position more uncertain.More
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