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Author: Wisconsin Public Radio

Report finds that 430K Wisconsin residents lack high-speed internet access in rural areas

Major gaps in broadband access plague rural areas of Wisconsin where hundreds of thousands of people are going without high-speed internet. Yet, local governments might play a unique role in identifying underserved areas and connecting internet providers to programs that can help pay for broadband infrastructure. The findings are part of a report from research firm Forward Analytics that examined data on broadband deployment from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for 2019, the most recent data available. The report found more than 430,000 people, who make up 25 percent of the state’s rural population, lack access to high-speed internet....

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Wisconsin proposes legalization of recreational marijuana to provide more tax revenue and create jobs

Governor Tony Evers will include a proposal in the next two-year budget to legalize recreational marijuana, as part of plan to generate more than $165 million each year for rural schools and underserved communities. The proposal to tax and regulate marijuana similar to alcohol sales is likely to be shot down by the Republican-controlled Legislature, which has opposed efforts to legalize marijuana in the past. Thirty-six states have passed laws legalizing medical marijuana and 15 states are regulating recreational use of marijuana, including neighboring states Michigan and Illinois. Governor Evers said in a statement that the proposal would provide...

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New lawsuit seeks to stop part of Waukesha’s $286M plan to drain drinking water from Lake Michigan

The city of Waukesha’s $286 million plan to pipe in water from Lake Michigan has hit another snag in its decades-long effort to provide residents with safe drinking water. The Village of Waukesha has filed a lawsuit against the city that aims to shut down construction of the water diversion project within its village limits. The hearing will take place on February 11 in Waukesha County Circuit Court. Great Lakes governors approved the city of Waukesha’s controversial request to divert 8.2 million gallons of water from Lake Michigan per day as its drinking water source in 2016 after years...

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Dasha Kelly Hamilton becomes Wisconsin’s first female poet laureate of color

Wisconsin’s new poet laureate Dasha Kelly Hamilton wants to help people find the pulse of poetry and bring it into their everyday life. “In my experience that’s reminding all of us that poetry is always here, always around us and in us, and to exercise that almost superpower is a way to keep us together and remind us that we’re all important, all of our stories,” she said. Hamilton has been an ambassador for poetry and the arts for years. Her work includes three poetry collections, four spoken word albums, stage productions and two novels. She describes herself as...

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Multiple projects with a total output of 2.2 Gigawatts are speeding Wisconsin’s transition to solar energy

Wisconsin is seeing a rapid conversion to solar energy as a growing number of utilities set goals to go carbon neutral by 2050. The investment comes despite challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. New solar installations nationwide are expected to increase 43 percent from 2019 to a record 19 gigawatts of capacity installed in 2020, according to projections from the Solar Energy Industries Association. Solar also accounted for 43 percent of all new electricity generating capacity added this year. The state currently has 20 solar farms under active development that will generate more than 2.2 gigawatts of power, according...

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Wisconsin developer creates mobile app that teaches people how to recycle and track their composting

A Wisconsin-made smartphone app that helps people recycle better and track their composting is expanding its reach. Michelle Goetsch launched Betterbin in May 2018. The Wausau-based company’s app allows people in participating communities to scan barcodes on groceries and household products to find out whether or not the items can be recycled where they live. Recycling rules can vary a lot from place to place and what is recyclable isn’t always intuitive. In many cities, for example, cardboard milk cartons and the plastic containers used for fruits aren’t recyclable — even though the products likely have the three-arrow recycling...

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