Agriculture contributes nearly half of the phosphorus pollution that causes Green Bay's annually recurring dead zone, where the water lacks oxygen to support life.

Farmers vow to reduce phosphorus, bane of Green Bay

Despite fish kills, toxic algae blooms, unsafe beaches and an annual dead zone in the Lake Michigan bay sparking concern across the region, the level of phosphorus loading has changed little over the past two decades, and even gone up in the past couple of years. “I’m part of the problem,” said John Pagel of Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, one of the largest farms in Wisconsin, at a summit hosted by U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble in Green Bay. “But I’m also part of the solution.”

Rebecca Underwood’s son Aaron has lived at Central Wisconsin Center, one of the state’s centers for the developmentally disabled, for more than 30 years. She says the care the center provides its patients and their families “turns their lives around.” Photo Feb. 25, 2015, in Madison.

Wisconsin cuts back on long-term institutional care for the disabled

It’s part of a national trend. But parents and guardians of patients at Central Wisconsin Center, one of the state’s facilities for the developmentally disabled, are worried that the state’s no-new-admissions policy could endanger people who could benefit from the centers’ services. Now a couple have gone to court to keep their child at the center.

State auditors say two family planning clinics overbilled Medicaid for $3.5 million, largely for birth control; the providers say the state is using the wrong reimbursement rate. Now Republican legislators are seeking an audit of all such clinics in Wisconsin.

Republicans seek Medicaid audit of all family planning clinics, including Planned Parenthood

The 32 legislators’ action was prompted by a Center story in November about state auditors alleging that two family planning clinics overbilled Medicaid by $3.5 million, largely for birth control drugs and devices. Family planning providers say the auditors’ stance could force many clinics to close, while the state maintains it is protecting taxpayers.

Candles with names attached, at a Dec. 30 memorial in Milwaukee for victims of gun violence there.

Profiles in carnage

This story is the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism’s first report for Precious Lives, a newly launched two-year project investigating the problem of gun violence among young people, its causes, and potential solutions in the Milwaukee area and statewide. Read more about the project. Main story
Bullets exacted terrible toll on children, African Americans A Center analysis found that African Americans were more than 30 times as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be murdered by guns in Wisconsin last year. James A. Witt: In January, police asked to check on the well-being of this 60-year-old resident in the village of Summit in Waukesha County found his body wrapped in a blanket; he had died from a gunshot wound. His son Shawn Witt was charged with first-degree intentional homicide and possession of heroin.