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Author: Wisconsin Public Radio

Federal funding to help Wisconsin communities boost investments in solar and clean energy solutions

Communities across Wisconsin are funding a variety of solar projects after the $1.7 trillion bipartisan Omnibus Appropriations Act earmarked more than $255.7 million for Wisconsin. Sun Prairie is receiving a hefty $3.2 million in federal funding that will go toward a solar radiation water pollution control facility. Leaders describe it as a more sustainable process for treating wastewater. Jeremy Cramer, Sun Prairie’s wastewater treatment director, said the system cleans water using bacteria before it’s removed and digested in an anaerobic digester — a material that becomes “biosolids,” or sewage sludge. “We would use the sun’s solar rays to actually...

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Reinforcing Redlining: Why Wisconsin’s outdated zoning codes adds to housing shortage difficulties

Wisconsin’s housing shortage is expected to worsen by the end of the decade, and outdated zoning codes could make it harder for municipalities to address the issue. A recent report from Forward Analytics, the research arm of the Wisconsin Counties Association, found the state needs to build at least 140,000 housing units by 2030 to keep up with current demand. If Wisconsin hopes to increase its working-age population by the end of the decade, the number of housing units needed jumps to 227,000. The report said the number of baby boomers retiring and remaining in their homes long after...

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Concerns over sexual assault and pandemic response among factors causing military recruitment decline

The U.S. military is working to combat a different kind of enemy this year, a significant decline in the number of new recruits signing up for service. The Wisconsin Army National Guard’s goal for recruitment was about 1,000 new recruits this year. But Lt. Col. Shannon Hellenbrand of the Wisconsin Army National Guard said recruitment numbers are around 25 percent below the target for 2022, both nationwide and in the state. “It really does impact the functionality of our units, our ability to accomplish our missions at the rate and at the skill level that we’re used to,” Hellenbrand...

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Authorization by Congress of a new heavy icebreaker seen as a boost for winter shipping on Great Lakes

Congressional lawmakers have authorized another heavy icebreaker on the Great Lakes as part of the $858 billion defense bill to be approved by President Joe Biden. Wisconsin lawmakers, including Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and Republican U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher, said the authorization of a $350 million heavy icebreaker is vital after thick ice cover in the last decade has cost billions of dollars in shipping delays. They say authorization is a key step toward securing money for a new U.S. Coast Guard cutter to keep commerce moving. “In the cold winter months, icebreaking helps keep the economies and...

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Collective behind Milwaukee Theater District aims to help entertainment industry recover from pandemic

New York has Broadway, England has the London West End and now Wisconsin’s biggest city has its own theater district. After years of speculation about the future of a Milwaukee Theater District, it’s finally coming to fruition. The collective is part of a statewide effort to celebrate the arts and draw more visitors. Nine performing arts and live entertainment groups have joined the collective, including the Marcus Performing Arts Center. “All great cities, you know, you need a few hooks to hang the story,” said Andrew Flack, chief commercial officer for Marcus Hotels & Resorts, adding that the arts...

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Win or go home: Green Bay Packers are just one win away from clinching Super Bowl playoff spot

It has been an eventful time for players and fans, who watched in horror on January 9 as Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field and had to be given CPR before leaving the field in an ambulance. A few days later, those same players and fans have watched with joy as Hamlin recovered. After losing to the Philadelphia Eagles on November 27, the Green Bay Packers’ playoff aspirations were all but dead. With a record of 4-8, the Packers had a 3 percent chance of making the playoffs going into its week 13 matchup with the...

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