Series

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
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
Elizabethkingia culture
A bacteria named Elizabethkingia anophelis infected scores of people in Wisconsin in late 2015 and early 2016, and at least 18 of these patients subsequently died. The bacteria occurs commonly in the environment, but the aggressive, drug-resistant infections it causes are very rare. State and federal public health officials have struggled to understand the source of this outbreak. Elizabethkingia bacteria are relatively new to science, and this pattern of infections differed significantly from others in the medical literature. Previous outbreaks have usually centered around specific hospitals and intensive-care units, whereas the Wisconsin patients were spread around the southern and eastern parts of the state and didn't have any one medical facility in common.More
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
Chickens
An unprecedented avian influenza epidemic struck the poultry industry in the U.S. over the spring and early summer of 2015. It was concentrated in several Midwestern states, with Wisconsin seeing infections in several counties that are home to major turkey and chicken operations. Both federal and state government agencies worked in tandem with poultry farmers to halt and prevent further spread of the disease, resulting in the destruction of more than 1.9 million birds in the state. The epidemic was a serious agricultural challenge for the nation, driving up egg prices and spurring officials and poultry producers to strengthen biosecurity measures intended to limit the spread and impact of animal diseases.More