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After six rejections, inmate receives a yes; Illinois Foxconn flooding threat; Ryan exits; Harley’s dilemma; ice replaced by fires

Of note: A judge decided to shorten the sentence of  Milwaukee man rejected six times for parole after finding that the state has changed the rules for release since he was sentenced 22 years ago. Baron Walker, whose quest for parole was highlighted in an earlier WCIJ story, had argued that the sentencing judge specifically conditioned his release on completing required programming — which WCIJ found he had done. Walker was serving a 60-year sentence for robbery. At the time he was sentenced, inmates could be released after serving as little as one-fourth of their sentences.

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

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Downstream from Foxconn, anxiety mounts over floods

WisContext — August 7, 2018

The Des Plaines watershed has experienced heightened flooding in recent years, and could be in for a lot more, according to projections. Local and state officials in Illinois are beginning to worry about another force that could direct more water into the Des Plaines: the large campus Foxconn in building in Racine County. Water is already one of the most complex and politically fraught aspects of the Foxconn development as the factory will use millions of gallons of water per day from Lake Michigan.

This is the way Paul Ryan’s speakership ends

The New York Times Magazine  — August 7, 2018

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced in April that he would not be seeking re-election, ending a 20-year run in Congress that, for most of it, seemed to be on a straight-up trajectory. Ryan’s official reason for leaving was that he no longer wanted to be a “weekend dad.” The New York Times, however, writes that “it’s easy to suspect otherwise.” As has been noted, President Donald Trump and Ryan are stylistic and philosophical opposites.

Trump’s war with Harley-Davidson has divided America’s bikers

The New York Times — August 11, 2018

Many of Harley-Davidson’s most loyal customers were enraged by the company’s announcement this summer that, because of the Trump administration’s trade fight, it would begin manufacturing the bikes it sells in Europe outside the United States. Their anger echoed that of President Donald Trump, whose public denouncement of Harley’s decision has put one of the country’s most iconic brands in the uncomfortable position of clashing with a president who is immensely popular with most of its customers.  

Ten times more wildfires in Russian Arctic than a decade ago as ice melts and gives way to flame

The Telegraph — August 12, 2018

From former WCIJ intern Alec Luhn, The Telegraph reports that Russia this year has suffered the most Arctic wildfires since satellite monitoring started. Climate change creates the conditions necessary for blazes to start and then take hold. Monitoring by two NASA satellites recorded 10 times more hotspots in Russia’s Arctic territory by the start of August than were found in the same period a decade ago.

Denied parole six times, inmate featured in ‘Milwaukee 53206’ documentary wins release

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — August 16, 2018

A Milwaukee County Circuit judge found that a policy change enacted after Baron Walker was convicted in 1996 was unfairly causing him to remain in prison long after the judge who sentenced him intended. Judge Mark Sanders granted a motion by the defense, joined by the prosecution, to shorten Walker’s 60-year sentence for robbery to the 22 years he has served. At the time of Walker’s conviction, state law allowed him to be released after serving as little as one-fourth of his sentence. Earlier, WCIJ featured Walker’s case in a story about Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal, later rejected, to eliminate the state Parole Commission: Families, experts wary of Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to abolish Parole Commission.

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