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Author: Wisconsin Public Radio

Heat mapping finds that Milwaukee experiences hotter summer nights in densely developed urban areas

It may be the dead of winter, but a recent mapping campaign found heavily developed urban areas of Milwaukee stayed about 10-degrees warmer at night than other parts of the city during hot summer days. Last summer, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources coordinated with groups and agencies to measure how extreme heat is affecting the city. During July 21 and 22, a group of 43 volunteers drove vehicles donned with sensors around the city to collect temperature and humidity data every second for about an hour. They drove along nine routes during the morning, afternoon and night. Volunteers...

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Milwaukee’s lead pipe replacement rate would take six decades without Federal funds to accelerate program

Beginning in 2017, the city of Milwaukee started the tall task of replacing its 73,000 lead water service lines. Six years later, there is around 67,000 of the water lines still in use in the state’s largest city. Federal funding could help ramp up the removal process, but some community leaders are still worried the city is moving far too slowly. At its current rate, it would take Milwaukee over 60 years to replace the remaining lines. Joe Fitzgerald is water city program manager with Milwaukee Water Commons, a non-profit organization focused on water quality. Fitzgerald said he would...

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New Amtrak service running between Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Chicago could roll out by late 2023

Some Wisconsinites could soon have a more convenient commute between Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Chicago. A new Amtrak service, tentatively called the “Great River” route, could become available to passengers as early as late 2023. The Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago, or TCMC train, will run on the same track as the Empire Builder, which travels between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest, with stops throughout Wisconsin. “The plan was 2024, but we’re all trying to get it done faster,” said Lisa Stern, chief of railroads and harbors at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Stern said it will offer additional transportation opportunities for...

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Resettlement agency aims to place nearly 300 refugees across Central Wisconsin within two years

In its first year of operations, a central Wisconsin refugee resettlement agency has helped 160 people from Afghanistan and other nations find homes in Wausau, Stevens Point or Marshfield. Agency leaders said employers in the labor-challenged region have embraced the new arrivals, and some have contacted the nonprofit to request job interviews with the refugees. At a celebration last week of the Wausau Multicultural Community Center’s first year, individuals and families who had settled in the region thanked their communities for helping them, and agency leaders outlined plans to place roughly another 150 refugees in the region in 2023....

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Governor Evers proposes expanded spending to cover unmet mental health needs in Wisconsin schools

The state of mental health in Wisconsin is a “quiet, burgeoning crisis,” and that includes unmet mental health needs in schools, Governor Tony Evers said during his State of the State address. He dubbed 2023 “the year of mental health” and laid out a long list of proposals to address that cause. The wish list totals $500 million over two fiscal years, and more than a half of the proposed funding relates to education. Last year, Wisconsin officials announced one-time pandemic relief funding, so that schools could develop comprehensive mental health programs. Governor Evers suggested spending more than $270...

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Ranked-choice voting: Green Party leader pushes for broader changes in how Wisconsin elections are run

As ranked-choice voting gains steam elsewhere in the country, a leader of Wisconsin’s Green Party is calling for that method of electing government officials to be adopted here, as the future of democracy and a way to increase enthusiasm for voting. “The current system is centered around getting people to fear and hate the other side,” said party co-chair Dave Schwab. “Ranked-choice frees people from the idea that you have to vote for the lesser evil.” “The current system is centered around getting people to fear and hate the other side,” Schwab said. “Ranked-choice frees people from the idea...

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