Latest Stories

Big farms, frac sand mines could feel force of judge’s groundwater ruling

The number of CAFOs, or concentrated animal feeding operations, has shot up in the past decade — as have concerns about their impact on water quality and quantity.

Two weeks ago, Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey Boldt approved the state Department of Natural Resources’ issuance of permits for a large and controversial dairy farm in Central Wisconsin. But he also reduced the amount of water the farm could pump from proposed high-capacity wells and required the DNR to consider the impact of the withdrawals in conjunction with other, nearby wells — a concept known as cumulative impacts. Continue Reading

Undercover students used in drug busts at some University of Wisconsin campuses

A former University of Wisconsin-Whitewater student poses with a playing card distributed by the campus warning of the penalties of a drug conviction. The student, who requested anonymity because he is looking for a job, sold drugs to another student on campus who was a confidential informant. UW-Whitewater is one of three four-year University of Wisconsin campuses to acknowledge using students to make controlled buys from suspected drug dealers. Photo shot Sept. 4, 2014, Madison.

Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism checks at the UW System’s 13 four-year campuses turned up three sites at which officials acknowledge using students arrested for drug activities to make controlled buys. Opponents say this practice could place students in dangerous situations and exploits their vulnerability to losing thousands of dollars of federal financial aid and tuition by being suspended from school. But supporters say it provides an opportunity for students to avoid felonies.
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Lauren Fuhrmann promoted to WCIJ associate director

Lauren Fuhrmann has been promoted to associate director of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Fuhrmann, who joined the Center in 2011, was promoted from public engagement director to associate director in recognition of her growing responsibilities and outstanding performance, Executive Director Andy Hall said. “Lauren’s willingness to tackle new challenges, and to stretch her skills, have helped the Center, and its counterparts across the nation, to produce better journalism and improve the measurement of its impact,” Hall said. Fuhrmann leads WCIJ’s public engagement efforts, including events, social media, newsletter and promotional materials; is co-director of the website; tracks the distribution and assesses the impact of WCIJ’s news stories; assists with development of donors and writing of grant reports; handles bookkeeping duties; and produces photos, audio and video content. In 2013, she was among five young leaders in the inaugural group of “Future Headliners” honored by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association. Continue Reading