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Of note:  This week we highlight Wisconsin Watch’s top stories and photos of 2022. From PFAS in water to prosecutors who bend the rules and a state law that polices pregnancy, we covered the gamut of issues important to Wisconsinites in stories and photos. When Kiel, Wisconsin, erupted in a culture war, we explained the roots of the conflict over race and gender identity, prompting parents to pressure the local district to keep making the schools more welcoming. We explored trends that threaten democracy in Wisconsin, including the “stop the steal” movement, gerrymandering and bullying of local election clerks. Look for more in-depth, fact-checked coverage in 2023! 

In other news, we’re excited to share that we’re so close to meeting our goal of raising $82,500 by Dec. 31! But we need your help to get across the finish line.

This year, NewsMatch and generous members of our Watchdog Club Leadership Circle are pledging $82,500 to encourage you to match this amount by Dec. 31! NewsMatch and generous donors will match your new monthly donation 12 times or double your one-time gift. That means that, with your support, we can raise up to $165,000.

For a nonprofit organization like us, this is a big deal and will help us deliver the kind of in-depth journalism you’ve come to expect, every day. It’s the kind of reporting that can make a real difference in our community. And it’s worthy of your support.
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Among Wisconsin Watch’s top coverage from 2022 was the Democracy on the Ballot series. One story showed how some GOP candidates continued to push the lie — a few loudly, others quietly — that the 2020 election was “stolen.” (Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Watch)

Wisconsin Watch’s top 2022 stories shine spotlight, offer solutions, on complex issues facing Wisconsinites

Wisconsin Watch — December 20, 2022

Read about top stories produced by our reporters in 2022, including our seven-part online series and podcast Open and Shut. Produced in collaboration with WPR, Open and Shut explores the largely unchecked power of prosecutors told through the careers of two former district attorneys in Wisconsin. You can listen wherever you get your podcasts.

Also from Wisconsin Watch: Wisconsin Watch’s best photos of 2022

Protesters rally outside Milwaukee City Hall in below-freezing temperatures on Dec. 20, 2022 to express their displeasure to Ascension St. Francis Hospital’s decision to close its labor and delivery unit. (Devin Blake / Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service)

Ascension to close South Side Milwaukee’s only labor and delivery unit, prompting questions and protest

Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service and Wisconsin Watch

The looming closure of Ascension’s St. Francis Hospital Birthing Center — the only labor and delivery unit on Milwaukee South Side — is drawing strong pushback from healthcare workers and patients. Critics question the timing and lack of communication over a shutdown that will disproportionately affect the South Side’s heavy Latino population.

Lawmakers to consider changes to how Wisconsin National Guard handles sexual misconduct

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — December 19, 2022

State lawmakers next year will consider a series of major bipartisan changes in how the Wisconsin National Guard addresses sexual misconduct, including requiring more reporting and a tracking system.

3M headquarters are shown in Maplewood, Minn. (Anthony Souffle/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

3M to end manufacture and use of harmful PFAS by 2025

Minneapolis Star Tribune — December 20, 2022

By the end of 2025, 3M will stop making the “forever chemicals” that for decades have bedeviled the environment. 3M halted production of an earlier generation of the chemicals 20 years ago due to concerns over toxicity. On Tuesday, the Maplewood, Minnesota-based industrial giant said it would phase out all forms of the chemicals, called PFAS for short, as regulators worldwide take a tougher stance.

Related coverage from WPR: State regulators seek federal help to investigate unsafe PFAS levels in northern Wisconsin town

Students at St. Margaret Mary Catholic School in Milwaukee receive COVID-19 vaccine doses during a clinic held on Nov. 9, 2021. (Matt Martinez / Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service)

Although free and available, few young children in Milwaukee are getting COVID-19 boosters

Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service — December 16, 2022

As of Dec. 7, only 2.9% of Milwaukee County children ages 5 to 11 had received an updated dose, compared to 3.4% across Wisconsin. Experts cite COVID fatigue, parental skepticism and structural barriers in explaining low rates of vaccination. 

A black carp collected by USGS scientists from the Mississippi River. (Courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey)

A black carp collected by USGS scientists from the Mississippi River. (Courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey)

WNIJ-Northern Public Radio — December 19, 2022

The black carp, one of four invasive species of carp in North America, has made it into the  Mississippi River basin. A new multi-year report from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) found the range of black carp in the Mississippi River basin now includes the entirety of the river.

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The byline "Wisconsin Watch" represents members of the Wisconsin Watch editorial and business staff.