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Former Center interns take center stage, Dane County helps elect liberal justice, water quality and quantity issues dominate, white supremacist dies while making bombs

Of note: In this week’s edition, we highlight work of two of the Center’s former interns and a former fellow along with other news stories of interest to Wisconsin. Former Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism intern Tara Golshan, now writing for Vox, explains the growing speculation about whether House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin will seek re-election to his Janesville-area seat. Former WCIJ photojournalism intern Lukas Keapproth, now working for Loyola University, chronicles the school’s unlikely and thrilling trip to the NCAA Final Four men’s basketball tournament. Former Wisconsin Public Radio/WCIJ fellow Bridgit Bowden reports for WPR that groundwater quality is an election issue for some voters this fall.

We also feature a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analysis of the recent state Supreme Court race that saw liberal Rebecca Dallet beat a well-funded conservative candidate largely on the strength of high turnout in Dane County. WisContext explains the reach of the Great Lakes Compact when it comes to water-intensive projects such as the massive planned FoxConn plant. And the Fond du Lac Reporter finds that a Beaver Dam man killed while making explosives had a large cache of weapons and white supremacist literature. The story reinforces findings from our Documenting Hate series that speech and actions targeting people based on race, ethnicity, gender identification and religion are both dangerous and on the rise in Wisconsin.

WisconsinWeekly is produced by Andy and Dee J. Hall, a couple who founded the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Andy is the executive director and Dee is the managing editor.

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Why so many Republicans think Paul Ryan is ready to quit Washington

Vox — April 5, 2018

“The speaker is not resigning,” Paul Ryan’s spokesperson AshLee Strong said to Vox in a succinct email in late March. It was not the first time she’s had to field the question. On Capitol Hill, the likelihood of Ryan’s departure is no longer a question of will it happen but a matter of when and how. Written by former WCIJ intern Tara Golshan, Vox examines why so many Republicans think Ryan is ready to quit Washington.

Liberal Supreme Court victory boosted by fired-up Democratic base, Dane County landslide

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — April 4, 2018

With a 62-point margin virtually unheard of in competitive statewide elections, Rebecca Dallet was elected to the state Supreme Court. Dane, Wisconsin’s fastest-growing and “bluest” county, turned out to vote at a rate 50 percent higher than the state as a whole. It is no coincidence that this Dane County landslide has come since Donald Trump’s ascension to the White House, which is mobilizing Democratic voters heading into the fall midterms.

Where the Great Lakes compact ends and Wisconsin law begins

WisContext — March 26, 2018

Wisconsin has yet to wrap up one big conversation about how it uses Great Lakes water, and is already embarking upon another. In following both the Waukesha and Foxconn bids for Lake Michigan’s water, it’s easy to become confused. An especially tangled point is where the rules of the Great Lakes Compact begin and the discretion of the Wisconsin Legislature and state regulators begins.

Groundwater quality a cause for concern for some Wisconsin voters

Wisconsin Public Radio — April 5, 2018

There are about 900,000 private wells in Wisconsin, and people across the state reply on the water for drinking, cooking and bathing. Some are worried about their wells becoming contaminated with bacteria from manure from nearby farms. Written by former WPR/WCIJ fellow Bridgit Bowden, Wisconsin Public Radio tells the story of Janet McConaughey who is worried about the six dairy and beef concentrated animal feeding operations, farms with more than 1,000 animals, in Jefferson County. So, she decided to run for office.

Man who died in Beaver Dam apartment explosion had white supremacist literature, guns, bomb lab

Fond du Lac Reporter — April 5, 2018

Benjamin Morrow of Beaver Dam was killed March 5 when his unit in Village Glen Apartments exploded. In search warrants, investigators found that Morrow had a “homemade explosives laboratory” in the apartment, along with white supremacist material, guns and ammunition.

Access to the madness

April 5, 2018

On a lighter note, former WCIJ photojournalism intern Lukas Keapproth provides behind-the-scenes insights into the innocence and emotions that powered Loyola’s historic March Madness run.

The nonprofit Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism ( collaborates with Wisconsin Public Radio, Wisconsin Public Television, other news media and the UW-Madison School of Journalism and Mass Communication. All works created, published, posted or disseminated by the Center do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of UW-Madison or any of its affiliates.

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