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Author: Wisconsin Watch

Trump policies impacting Dairyland with exodus of migrant farmers

The Hernandez family and other dairy workers are heading back to Mexico amid hostile rhetoric and rising immigration arrests in the Midwest and nationwide. In the driveway of a two-story house on a dairy farm in western Wisconsin, five men focus on a unique construction project. Using a drill, hammer and nails, plywood and rope, they work together in the afternoon sun to erect a structure that resembles a makeshift corral in the bed of a Honda pickup. Every so often, Luisa Tepole, 25, carries a suitcase or packaged appliance out of the house, handing it to her husband,...

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Local dairies struggle to keep immigrant workers under Trump

Workers cite hostility and heightened enforcement, while dairy farmers raise wages to attract and keep Mexican and Central American employees. Twenty-six-year-old Rosa Jiménez and her husband, Manuel, 36, used to do the grocery shopping together. They would take the kids and make a day of it. But, lately, Manuel goes alone. “Imagine if they (immigration authorities) picked us up there. I won’t take the risk of them taking my children,” Jiménez says, bursting into tears as she sits in her kitchen on a recent afternoon. The couple always planned on one day returning to Mexico when they came to...

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Children exposed to lead in drinking water at schools and day care

Gaps in federal drinking water standards enforced by state leave sites untested, numerous lead service lines remain. Almost two weeks into the school year, Melissa Corrigan got an email from the principal and superintendent of her daughters’ elementary school. Water from four West Middleton Elementary School faucets taken Sept. 1, the first day of school, had tested high for levels of lead or copper. As a safety precaution, the school would provide bottled water to students until the issue was resolved. Corrigan — whose daughters Brooklyn and Carly are in first and fourth grades — thought little of the...

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In wake of Flint crisis, Wisconsin DNR testing remains outdated

The Department of Natural Resources has not alerted public water systems to stop flushing before testing, which can understate the level of lead in drinking water. Nine months after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warned against flushing water systems before testing for lead, the state Department of Natural Resources has not yet passed that advice on to public water systems in Wisconsin. The EPA issued a memo in late February as the lead-in-drinking-water crisis in Flint, Michigan was exploding into public view. The memo, intended to clear up confusion over testing procedures, declared that flushing water systems before sampling...

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Milwaukee families suffer as cost of prescription drugs skyrocket

Costs of widely prescribed drugs jumped up to 5,241 percent in recent years, joint investigation shows. University of Wisconsin doctor says this is what families agonize over. Jess Franz-Christensen did not realize the seriousness of her son’s Type 1 diabetes diagnosis until staff in the doctor’s office offered to call an ambulance to take him to the hospital. Her next shock: The cost of Jack’s medicines. The drugs, administered through an insulin pump, cost $1,200 a month. “We’re really fortunate. We’re able to pay for stuff,” said Franz-Christensen, whose husband, Scott, is a physicist, while she stays home to...

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Wisconsin Millennials could influence 2016 elections

Dissatisfaction with the two-party system, mobility and a different view of politics are features of voters 18 to 35 who make up one-third of the voting age population. Millennials get a bad rap. They’re labeled narcissistic, self-absorbed and apathetic. (Just look at their nicknames: the selfie generation, generation me, the unemployables.) And they’re the least likely generation to turn up at the polls this November. However, many young Americans do care about politics. They may just show it differently than their parents. At a recent Black and Brown Vote event at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, many of the attendees...

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