Jim Servais milks more than 300 cows on his organic dairy farm. Still, he and his son, Tim, struggle to make ends meet with depressed milk prices. Jim says he would not have been able to pay for his double knee replacement were it not for his wife's health insurance, and his son's family has qualified for BadgerCare, the state's Medicaid program for low-income residents. Jim says most farmers struggle if they do not have a family member working at a job that pays for health insurance. Photo taken Aug. 30, 2019. Parker Schorr / Wisconsin Watch
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Farmer mental health, football concussions, accused clergy, Evers scrutiny, domestic terrorism

Of note: We highlight a story by Dan Simmons, a Wisconsin freelancer writing for The Washington Post. He shed light on efforts to prevent dairy farmer suicides at a time when Wisconsin leads the nation in farm bankruptcies. Groups such as the Farmer Angel Network, launched by friends of a Loganville farmer who killed himself in 2018, are delivering outside resources to struggling rural communities — including social workers, economic development consultants and pastors. Those efforts come as state lawmakers consider how to help. In his State of the State address Wednesday, Gov. Tony Evers called for a special session to address the farm crisis. The Democrat proposed eight farm-related bills, including one that would add mental health-focused staff positions at the agriculture department.

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Farmers struggle to make ends meet on their organic farm with depressed milk prices. Photo taken Aug. 30, 2019. Parker Schorr / Wisconsin Watch

Fighting suicides in dairy country through ‘farmer angels’

The Washington Post — January 18, 2020

Farmers in Wisconsin are trying to pull each other through harsh times. One remembers past struggles: “I felt so alone.”

Chris Borland criticizes Wisconsin Badgers, NFL in Aaron Hernandez Netflix documentary

Wisconsin State Journal — January 19, 2020

Former University of Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland spoke harshly of the football program and his brief time in the NFL on a Netflix documentary released this week. 

Previously from Wisconsin Watch: Countering Concussions, a series examining the effectiveness of efforts to prevent sports-related brain injuries.

Diocese of La Crosse releases names of clergy accused of child sexual abuse

La Crosse Tribune — January 19, 2020

The Diocese of La Crosse released the names of more than two dozen clergy who have faced substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse. Meanwhile, the Green Bay Press Gazette reports that a St. Norbert College administrator is accused of mishandling sexual assault cases.

Previously from Wisconsin Watch: ‘I was such a little kid’: As Wisconsin Catholic clergy accused of sexual abuse grows, the trauma lingers

Gov. Tony Evers is seen at his first State of the State address in Madison, Wis., at the State Capitol on Jan. 22, 2019. Emily Hamer / Wisconsin Watch

Heightened scrutiny: Speaker Robin Vos has increased oversight of Gov. Tony Evers’ administration

The Cap Times — January 22, 2020

Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos is deploying staffers to closely monitor Gov. Tony Evers’ administration, including the social media accounts of agencies and top appointees. It is part of his push to counterbalance the Democratic executive.

A new face of white supremacy: Plots expose danger of the ‘Base’

The New York Times — January 23, 2020

A neo-Nazi group called the Base recruited cells across the United States, hoping to ignite violence that would lead to the creation of a white ethno-state. A Wisconsin man was among seven alleged members of the group. 

Previously from Wisconsin Watch: Across Wisconsin, recent rises in hate, bias incidents spark concern

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