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Author: WisContext

Offering a “Taste Of Place” puts Farmers Markets in competition over locally sourced food

Farmers markets provide many benefits for communities of all sizes. They offer a physical location for people to connect with their neighbors, access farm-fresh and healthy foods, and learn more about how food is grown. In addition, farmers’ markets help generate economic activity at local businesses and may attract tourists looking for a special “taste of place.” Perhaps most importantly, farmers’ markets provide an opportunity for small and medium-sized farms to reach consumers directly and retain a larger share of profit from their products’ sales. Around the nation, farmers’ markets are on the rise. The U.S. Department of Agriculture...

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Downstream residents fear impact of Foxconn factory will create flooding

Flooding along the Des Plaines River in northeastern Illinois in the summer of 2017 damaged more than 6,000 buildings and prompted disaster declarations across three of the state’s counties. These floods broke records previously set in 2013, when the Des Plaines and other rivers around Chicago swelled with torrential rains. In June 2018, the Des Plaines flooded yet again, as did the Fox River to the west. The Des Plaines begins at the southern edge of Racine County and, after a pair of bends in Kenosha County, flows south, then slightly southeast, for 133 miles through Chicago’s suburbs until...

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Refugee resettlements in Wisconsin plummet over first half of 2018

Over the first sixth months of 2018, 221 refugees were resettled in Wisconsin. During the same period in 2017, that number was 443. In 2016, it was 778. Wisconsin isn’t the biggest destination for refugee resettlement by far, but the multi-year decline in the state accompanies a similarly dramatic nationwide trend — detailed in data from the U.S. State Department’s WRAPSnet system — as the Trump administration increasingly bars the way for displaced and persecuted people hoping to build a new life in the United States. The United Nations, U.S. State Department and international refugee resettlement non-profit groups each...

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Local immigration lawyers struggle to represent their clients between detention and court

Imagine not being able to speak English, or not very much of it, and facing deportation proceedings in federal immigration court. An undocumented immigrant in this situation might not know what their rights are or what avenues of relief — such as seeking asylum — are available, much less how to mount a convincing legal defense. If they can’t persuade an immigration judge to let them stay in the country, the government will deport them. Immigration detainees’ rights and resources are limited, though, and so is the number of attorneys in Wisconsin who are willing or able to take...

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Wisconsin exports from paper to agriculture hit hard by Canada’s retaliation tariffs

“Let’s keep a good thing growing!” declares a 2017 fact sheet in which the Canadian government’s agriculture agency touts the nation’s trade relationship with Wisconsin. Indeed, Canada is the United States’ largest trading partner, and the biggest destination by far for exported goods from Wisconsin. Between 2008 and 2017, the state’s exports to Canada have averaged about $6.85 billion per year, while imports from the U.S.’s northern neighbor have averaged around $4.1 billion annually. But as the Trump administration ignites trade wars around the globe, Canada is fanning the flames, and has clearly done its homework on Wisconsin. After...

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Black Suffrage: Slavery, citizenship, and securing the right to vote in Wisconsin

Wisconsin entered the Union as a free state in 1848, and has its share of associations with the abolitionist movement — the state Supreme Court, in what is among its most significant decisions, declared the federal Fugitive Slave Act unconstitutional in 1854, and opposition to slavery drove the genesis of the Republican Party in Ripon the same year. But slavery was present in pre-statehood Wisconsin, and the institution writ large shaped attitudes that would impede efforts by African Americans in the state to secure their right to vote. Understanding the history of black suffrage in Wisconsin requires reaching back...

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