Wisconsin frac sand sites double

An overview of the 400-acre plot of Preferred Sands mine in Blair, Wis., in Trempealeau County on June 20, 2012.

Frac sand fever has hit much of west-central Wisconsin, catching residents and local governments by surprise when demand for sand suddenly soared and permit applications began to pour in. The number of Wisconsin frac sand mining operations has more than doubled in the past year. Continue Reading

Bills would let health providers say, ‘I’m sorry’

A couple of years ago, Dr. Erik Severson transferred a heart patient to a different hospital. When the man died under Severson’s care, the physician took a risk as he broke the news to the man’s son. He apologized — although he knew his words could be used against him in court. Now a Republican lawmaker, Severson has introduced a bill to let doctors do just that without fearing malpractice.
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Gaps persist in campus mental health services

Matt Vohl (left) meets with Rachel Steidl in the Student Activity Center on East Campus Mall in Madison, Wis., Jan. 27, 2012. Vohl and Steidl help lead the UW-Madison campus chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

A decade ago, Thomas Murphy was a college dropout who used alcohol and drugs to deal with undiagnosed depression. Therapy made the difference for him. But he can’t receive it at school. When he re-enrolled at UW-Madison and went to the counseling center, he walked out with no appointment and a list of referrals.

Murphy’s story underscores a national dilemma: a surge in students seeking intensive counseling and psychiatric care, which college mental health centers often lack resources to provide. Continue Reading