Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council names ‘Opee’ winners

Two citizens, two journalists, one fired government worker and one small but gutsy Wisconsin newspaper are among the recipients of the 2016-17 Openness Awards, or Opees, bestowed annually by the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council. The awards, announced in advance of national Sunshine Week (sunshineweek.org), March 12-18, recognize extraordinary achievement in the cause of open government.

Your Right to Know: A tough year for transparency

In 2015, Wisconsin advocates for open government faced a disquieting truth: If we want to preserve our state’s tradition of transparency and accountability, we must fight for it, against powerful players who will be fighting back.

Your Right to Know: Back open government? Prove it!

On July 9, the members of the Wisconsin state Assembly collectively affirmed their support for open government. They passed a resolution stating that the Assembly “remains committed to our state’s open record and open government laws and policies, and will take all necessary steps to ensure that these laws and policies are preserved without modification or degradation.” They vowed to “continue to work to uphold these principles and protections.”

Dick Wheeler, knower-in-chief

Dick Wheeler, whose career was dedicated, first and foremost, to the Public’s Right to Know, died of a heart attack Nov. 11, as he was preparing for work. On April 25 he will be honored posthumously in Madison with the Distinguished WisconsinWatch.orgdog Award, presented by the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Madison professional chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.