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Racial complexity; building code violation disparities; rap lyrics on trial; COVID in animals; plunging college enrollment

Of note: This week we highlight a Green Bay Press-Gazette story examining how the revamped U.S. census allowed survey takers to list more than one race — more accurately reflecting the diversity and complexity of race and ethnicity in Wisconsin and America. Multiracial residents comprise Wisconsin’s fourth largest population group, accounting for about 6% of the state’s population, Natalie Eilbert reports.

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Mario and Jennifer Gonzalez play with their 3-year-old daughter Evelyn at DeBroux Park in Green Bay, Wis., on Feb. 1, 2022. Evelyn, whose mother is white and whose father is Hispanic, is part of northeast Wisconsin’s growing multiracial and multiethnic population. (Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin)

The census pushed people into strict racial categories for 200 years. A new approach reveals Wisconsin’s racial complexity and diversity.

Green Bay Press-Gazette — March 30, 2022

The number of people who identified as multiracial in the U.S. census increased 245% statewide between 2010 and 2020. While these data illustrate the growth of interracial families, a larger part of the change is explained by the correction of a historical oversight. 

Read more from the NEW News Lab, our Northeast Wisconsin partnership

This rap song helped sentence a 17-year-old to prison for life

Type Investigations — March 30, 2022

The use of rap lyrics in a Wisconsin homicide case illustrated what legal scholars sometimes call racialized character evidence: details or personal traits prosecutors can use in an insidious way, playing up racial stereotypes to imply guilt.

Into the wild: Animals the latest frontier in COVID fight

Associated Press — March 30, 2022

Scientists are concerned that the coronavirus could evolve within animal populations – potentially spawning dangerous viral mutants that could jump back to people, spread among us and reignite what for now seems to some people like a waning crisis.
Read more from PBS Wisconsin: How widespread is the coronavirus among Wisconsin’s deer?

Jim Gaillard, vice president of Ezekiel Project of hope, a housing improvement group, examines an outlet in a home owned by the City of Milwaukee. (Ebony Cox / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Rentals in Milwaukee’s impoverished neighborhoods could be getting new electrical inspections to make them safer

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — March 31, 2022 

Milwaukee’s most-impoverished neighborhoods have by far the highest number of building code violations, according to new data that elected officials hope opens the door to resurrecting an inspection program aimed at addressing dangerous electrical problems in rental properties.

Fewer Wisconsin high school students are going to college. A hot labor market may be the reason.

WPR — March 28, 2022

Enrollment at Wisconsin’s 13 two-year branch campuses has fallen by nearly 57%, or around 7,400 students, since 2010. Some universities, like University of Wisconsin-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point and UW-Milwaukee, have seen enrollment decline between around 21% and 26% in that time.

Read more from Wisconsin Watch: MATC broadens access for Milwaukee students amid historical inequities, dropping enrollment

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