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Of note:  This week we highlight the story by Wisconsin Watch’s Matthew DeFour about how gerrymandering affected Wisconsin’s 2022 midterm elections. DeFour found the Assembly maps, redrawn after the 2020 census, are even more skewed than maps drawn after the 2010 census — which have been measured as among the most advantageous toward Republicans in the country. And DeFour previews a looming Wisconsin Supreme Court election battle that Democrats hope will lead to more balanced maps.

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Democrats won the 14th Assembly District this year by 27 points after Wisconsin Republicans redrew it to ensure they could win back the 13th Assembly District. (Image courtesy of Ballotpedia)

Wisconsin’s Assembly maps are more skewed than ever. What happens now?

Wisconsin Watch — December 6, 2022

It’s Election Day 2022 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and voters in this majority blue city once again have no chance of electing a Democrat to legislative office. That wasn’t always the case. 

Earlier coverage from Wisconsin Watch: In evenly split Wisconsin, partisan divides may only grow

Black residents in Milwaukee County are committing suicide at a higher rate this year than in any other time during the past 10 years, according to data from the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office. (simplehappyart via iStock)

Milwaukee County sees rise in suicides in Black communities

Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service — December 5, 2022

Black residents, who make up the largest minority group in Milwaukee County, are committing suicide at a higher rate this year than in any other time during the past 10 years, according to data from the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Related coverage from Milwaukee NNS: As drug overdose deaths soar, Milwaukee County considers use of opioid settlement funds

Many nursing homes are poorly staffed. How do they get away with it?

USA TODAY — December 2, 2022

Regulators have allowed thousands of nursing homes across America to flout federal staffing rules by going an entire day and night without a registered nurse on duty, a USA TODAY investigation has found. One Wisconsin nurse reported being “tired to my soul” after working 25-hour-long shifts.

Dairy cows are seen in a freestall barn on a farm in northern Buffalo County, Wis. on March 8, 2017. (Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Watch)

A tiny Wisconsin town tried to stop pollution from factory farms. Then it got sued.

Grist — December 7, 2022

The small community of Laketown, Wisconsin, home to just over 1,000 people and 18 lakes, is again at the center of a battle over how communities can regulate large, industrial farming operations in their backyards. The state’s largest business lobbying group sued the town, claiming it overstepped its role in enacting a local ordinance to prevent pollution from concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs.

Related coverage from the Wisconsin State Journal: 2,000-cow Kewaunee dairy operation charged with fraud, conspiracy in manure spills

UW System’s merger couldn’t save UW-Platteville Richland. What about other UW branch campuses?

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — December 8, 2022

The UW’s 13 two-year campuses have been hit hard by the state’s shifting demographics and economic factors. Collectively the branch campuses have shed 48% of the enrollment UW officials reported in the first year after they were restructured in 2018.

Related coverage from WPR: Enrollment at Wisconsin technical colleges grows by more than 10 percent

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The byline "Wisconsin Watch" represents members of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism's editorial and public engagement and marketing staff.