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Tainted water, fighting drugs with drugs, tax breaks for big box stores, few doctors in distant places, and where are the women in Wisconsin politics?

Of note: In a lawsuit, dozens of Wood and Juneau county residents allege that two large dairy operations have contaminated their wells — and that the source of the pollution has been known to the farm owners for at least a decade. The farms are providing clean water while arguing that some of the nitrate found in the wells may have come from old farming practices.

WisconsinWeekly, a collection of stories for people who care deeply about the state, 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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Juneau County lawsuit: Dairy companies knew they were contaminating groundwater, wells

Daily Tribune Media — January 7, 2019

A total of 81 plaintiffs claim Wysocki Farms and Central Sands Dairy failed for at least a decade to warn residents of harmful water pollutants. Previously from WCIJ: Cost of most drinking water pollution borne by consumers

Too many overdoses: ERs fight drugs with drugs amid opioid crisis

USA TODAY — January 3, 2019

Overwhelmed emergency room doctors are considering anti-addiction drugs for overdosed patients who end up in the ER. The rise in Wisconsin emergency department visits was the highest in the nation, with an astounding 109 percent increase between 2016 and 2017. Other coverage from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: How to treat Wisconsin’s opioid epidemic by expanding Medicaid

As big retailers seek to cut their tax bills, towns bear the brunt

The New York Times — January 6, 2019

If Walmart, Lowe’s and other companies win their property tax appeals, homeowners and small businesses will have to pay more or live with smaller town budgets. Wauwatosa is fighting property tax appeals in court dating back to 2015 from Lowe’s, Nordstrom, Best Buy, Meijer and United Healthcare. It recently settled with Target, Walgreens and a KFC franchise.

For women in rural Wisconsin, access to maternity care is often a long drive away

Wisconsin Public Radio — January 8, 2019

When Beth Miller of Trego, Wisconsin went into labor with her second child in February 2018, she thought she was going to have him in her car. It’s not just a Wisconsin issue: Pregnant in rural Michigan? Fill up your gas tank for delivery day.

Why wasn’t 2018 a big election for women in the Wisconsin Legislature?

WisContext — January 7, 2019

As women vying for public office made historic waves across the United States in the 2018 midterm elections, former WCIJ intern Hayley Sperling examines why Wisconsin did not quite follow that national trend.

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