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Local parents forced by Wisconsin Legislature to work for FoodShare benefits

The Republican-run Legislature has expanded the work mandate to parents of school-age children and increase requirement to 30 hours a week. Jim McLaughlin is an instructor at Just Bakery, located in a one-story brick building on Madison’s East Side. McLaughlin, a burly man in a white apron, works for a program that partners with Dane County to help unemployed people earn college credit and certification as commercial bakers. McLaughlin said the goal of Just Bakery is not necessarily to churn out more bakers. Instead, his mission is to train people to hold down a job. “Our goal is to...

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Suspicious patterns in frequent Wisconsin lottery winners points to fraud

Since 2009, Khalil Audi of Cudahy, Wisconsin, has cashed in lottery tickets 33 times to the tune of about $80,000. His $10,000 win from Badger Cash Blowout? A one-in-72,000 chance. When he bought a $30 Super Millions scratch-off ticket, he had a one-in-200,000 shot of winning $5,000 — the same odds as giving birth to conjoined twins. But that ticket cashed, too. With wins as recent as 2017, Audi’s luck has not run out. Along the way, he has won Pick 4 a handful of times. Audi’s wins are surprising, but he is not even the luckiest person in...

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Brain injury proof piles up while Wisconsin football players downplay warnings

Doctor of ‘Concussion’ movie fame and former Badger, NFL player Chris Borland, agree: It is time to get honest about the dangers of brain injury in sports. It was a freak hit — a blow to the back of University of Wisconsin fullback Austin Ramesh’s helmet by an opposing Illinois player. Ramesh described being “a little dazed” as he walked off the field. He had suffered a concussion in Wisconsin’s Oct. 28 matchup against Illinois and ended up missing a week of practice and the next game against Indiana. Ramesh, a senior who had gotten used to violent collisions...

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Researcher says brain injury in sports is “the Civil Rights issue of our time”

The subject of the 2015 movie “Concussion,” Dr. Bennet Omalu’s discovery of a degenerative brain disease in former Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster and others has spurred a national debate about the safety of high contact sports including football, ice hockey, mixed martial arts, boxing, wrestling, rugby, lacrosse and soccer. In 2002, Omalu identified chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a crippling neurodegenerative disease found in football players, including Webster. He went from Hall of Fame inductee and Super Bowl champion to homeless. Webster’s erratic behavior included tasing himself into unconsciousness in order to sleep. Omalu likens the American obsession with football...

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Critics say independent medical examiners routinely rule against injured workers

As an administrative law judge hearing worker’s compensation cases in Wisconsin for three decades, Joe Schaeve said he often knew how certain doctors hired by employers and insurance companies would rule even before opening their reports. “It winds up with the doctor saying ‘Not work related’ or ‘It’s all in his mind,’ ” said Schaeve, who retired in May. “You can almost sense it coming when you spend 30 years reading these reports.” Schaeve said a few of the experts’ opinions were so predictable that “it’s almost a waste of time to read the report because you know what...

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Incidents of hate were on the rise across Wisconsin before Trump

The contentious 2016 presidential election raised religious and racial tensions, but experts say the fears fueling hate and bias incidents began years earlier. The reports came in at an alarming pace. A student at a middle school near Milwaukee drew a stick figure with a swastika on its face. The image held a gun pointed at another stick figure, which had the name of the student’s Jewish teacher on it. A voicemail left on the phone of a leader of a local Jewish organization said, “Pack up your bags with all of your other kikes and get the f***...

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