Skip to main content

Author: knutson4

UW-Platteville Richland campus cancellation of in-person classes ‘should not be read as a sign’ for other Wisconsin branch campuses

Wisconsin Public Radio

The cancellation of in-person classes at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s Richland campus next year” should not be read” as a cautionary tale for other branch campuses.

That’s according to UW System President Jay Rothman, who appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “The Morning Show” Thursday. He said the decision was “based on facts” specific to that location.

Wisconsin’s next partisan battle will be over the balance of power on its Supreme Court

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: It is a highly consequential election because it’s going to determine the balance of the court until at least 2025,” said Robert Yablon, an associate professor at the University Wisconsin-Madison Law School.

Although Wisconsin’s Supreme Court elections are officially non-partisan, UW-Madison political science professor Howard Schweber notes highly partisan issues are at stake. That includes abortion rights, gerrymandering and the way elections are run.

“Even 15 years ago, Wisconsin judicial elections really were kind of genteel affairs,” Schweber said. “And then they got very, very viciously partisan, primarily because Republicans and conservative groups made a very concentrated effort to capture the court, through what in Wisconsin, at least, were really unprecedented styles of campaign ads, highly partisan appeals.”

Schweber said that strategy proved largely successful, although Democrats were able to narrow the court’s conservative majority in 2020 when Democrat-backed Jill Karofsky beat former Justice Kelly. Kelly, who’s running this again this year, was first appointed to the state highest court by Republican Gov. Scott Walker to fill a vacancy.

Extreme rains and the ‘monster’ below: Study finds lag time between extreme storms and algal blooms

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: In Madison, a four-inch rainfall in one day that used to occur once every five years now happens every other year, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That got University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Steve Carpenter wondering whether extreme storms would lead to an increase in toxic blooms.

“I had thought maybe get a rainstorm, get a bloom, but it’s not that simple,” Carpenter said, who is lead author of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Carpenter, emeritus director of UW-Madison’s Center for Limnology, worked with other researchers to examine data collected from Lake Mendota. He said around three-quarters of all phosphorus pollution stems from extreme storms. While those storms play a large role, they don’t necessarily trigger a bloom right away.

‘Some come every single day’: Wisconsin college students’ use of campus food pantries soars this year

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A ribbon-cutting event for a former storage room marked a milestone for Milwaukee Area Technical College.

MATC converted the small space at its Walker’s Square campus into a food pantry that opened Tuesday. It’s the last of MATC’s five campuses to open a food pantry for students, all of which launched within the last year.

The pantries couldn’t have come at a better time.

Soaring food costs have college students feeling the pinch. The need is especially great at Walker’s Square, which is on the near south side in the heart of Milwaukee’s Latino community. Many students at the campus are enrolled in the GED or English as a Second Language programs while working minimum wage jobs that don’t provide enough to cover rent, gas, groceries and other expenses.

Smith: DNR social science work finds majority support for wolves in Wisconsin

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: Even Aldo Leopold, famed author and former University of Wisconsin professor who is considered by many as the “father” of the field of wildlife management and advocated for increased deer harvests to help prevent deer starving in over-browsed Wisconsin forests, was unable to win that battle.

“The real problem is not how we handle the deer in their emergency,” Leopold told Gordon MacQuarrie, former outdoors editor for the Milwaukee Journal. “The real problem is one of human management.”

Fans asked to remain in Kohl Center following Badgers game due to police activity outside

TMJ4

Fans were asked to remain inside the Kohl Center following Tuesday night’s Badger men’s basketball game due to police activity outside the center.

UW-Madison issued a statement on Twitter saying towards the end of the game, Madison Police asked UW Athletics officials to keep fans inside as police “dealt with a situation outside.”

Confused about health insurance during open enrollment? A navigator can help.

Wisconsin Watch

Health insurance can be confusing.

Meet Quentella Perry, who helps people plow through the complexities while working for Covering Wisconsin, a nonprofit organization based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that educates people about health insurance and helps them choose a plan.

Just as accountants are busy during tax time, Perry and her colleagues have their hands full helping people navigate the choices offered during the Affordable Care Act open enrollment period from Nov. 1 to Jan. 15.

Team USA defeats Iran in pivotal match-up to advance in World Cup

WPR

Quoted: About 150 people gathered at the Memorial Union on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus to watch the game. Eyes were glued to the projector screen.

“It’s really relieving,” said UW-Madison freshman Owen Weisse, adding that the game marked “the first time in eight years they’ve been in a World Cup.”

“It feels so awesome to actually qualify out of the group stage,” Weisse continued. His father gifted him a USA jersey during the school’s Thanksgiving break.

What causes lake-effect snowstorms? And why are the eastern Great Lakes most at risk?

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: It’s not exactly clear how lake effect snow will change with climate change, said Steve Vavrus, a climate and atmospheric scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He called it a “climatic tug-of-war.”

On one hand, a warmer climate may cause fewer cold and dry air masses pushing down from the Arctic and sucking up the moisture over the Great Lakes. That would mean fewer and less intense storms, said Vavrus.

On the other hand, a warmer climate should lead to less ice on the lakes, giving more time for the warm lakes to come into contact with cold air in the atmosphere during the winter. That would favor more storms, said Vavrus.

What we heard surveying and listening to Wisconsin voters: Substance and civility matter, the people and their politicians have major disconnects

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: The survey is not a scientific poll, and its results cannot be generalized to the entire population of Wisconsin, but the responses do provide a snapshot of what was on the mind of voters during the survey period from June 28 to Nov. 8. The project is a collaboration of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (and USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin papers), Wisconsin Public Radio and the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Wisconsin researchers have tracked neutrinos to distant galaxy, supermassive black hole: Discovery comes from UW-Madison’s IceCube Neutrino Observatory below surface of South Pole

For the first time ever, an international team of scientists has traced neutrinos coming from the galaxy NGC 1068 in the constellation Cetus. The “ghost particles” appear to be accelerated toward Earth by a supermassive black hole.

In a scientific breakthrough, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s 1-billion-ton IceCube Neutrino Observatory, buried around 1 mile under the ice at the South Pole, detected the neutrinos.

Report: Public development subsidy deals should guarantee better jobs, working conditions

Wisconsin Examiner

A proposed development that would bring a new soccer stadium to downtown Milwaukee should include guarantees of good wages and a path to union representation for workers in the stadium district in return for public subsidies, a new report recommends.

The report, “Worker Power Levels the Playing Field,” was released Tuesday by COWS, a think tank at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It says taxpayer-funded support for the proposed Milwaukee soccer stadium project, dubbed the Iron District, should come with strings that ensure local hiring and strong job standards even after the project is built out.

“It’s important for Milwaukee to see itself as a national leader in this way and to reapply the lessons from the Deer District as new development is considered,” says Laura Dresser, associate director of COWS. Dresser is coauthor of the report along with Pablo Aquiles-Sanchez, a COWS research analyst.

Wisconsin’s pandemic-era high school students are now in college. Some need more help

Noted: At UW-Madison, the most selective school in the state, it’s too early to say what, if any, academic recovery will be needed, according to John Zumbrunnen, the university’s vice provost for teaching and learning. There hasn’t been a spike in tutoring sessions. Nor has there been a higher rate of D and F grades awarded. But the university offered two semesters of a pass/fail grading policy, which “muddies the data picture for us.”

That’s not to say Zumbrunnen hasn’t fielded concerns from some instructors. In math, there’s been a slightly larger share of students placing into pre-calculus instead of calculus. A STEM instructor told him this year’s crop of students scored lower on a basic exam than in past years. He’s heard from a social sciences instructor who felt that students this fall weren’t quite as ready to read at a college level than in past years.

Luke Fickell talks recruiting, the transfer portal and Wisconsin’s high academic standards

Luke Fickell’s coaching staff will be a work in progress for the next few weeks.

One area that the University of Wisconsin’s new football coach plans to hit the ground running is recruiting.

Fickell was set to return to Cincinnati on Monday night and when he gets back to town Tuesday is expected to bring a couple of key pieces of his old staff: recruiting assistants Max Stienecker and Pat Lambert.

Rash of illnesses among Wisconsin kids keeping caregivers home from work

Quoted: Laura Dresser, associate director of COWS, a University of Wisconsin-Madison think-tank, said there’s also been a fundamental change in how employers and employees navigate illness.

“There is this thing that’s changed about what we do when we’re sick, when our kids are sick, what our child cares will accept or tolerate when our kids are sick,” Dresser said. “I think people send their kids or themselves to school or work sick less often than we used to.”

She expects people having more access to sick time hasn’t had a major impact in their decision to take time off.

“The fact that more workers get paid now when they’re sick than used to makes it slightly more likely that they’ll stay home,” Dresser said. “But even in the olden days, they stayed home when their kid was sick, they just didn’t get paid.”

Triumph of the turkeys: Wild birds flourish in Wisconsin cities and suburbs

Wisconsin Public Radio

When Audrey Evans works from home, a throaty warble is her soundtrack.

Her building for graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison isn’t air-conditioned, so during the warmer months, Evans likes to open the windows.

“I’ll be working away at my computer, and I’ll hear turkey noises,” said Evans, who created the Instagram account “Turkeys of UW Madison” as a fan page dedicated to the urban birds. “It’s always like the perfect opportunity to take a break and go look out my window to see the turkeys right underneath it.”

Yung Gravy returns to Wisconsin a star, at Milwaukee’s Eagles Ballroom with bbno$

A fair number of famous musicians have called Wisconsin home. Les Paul. Al Jarreau. Steve Miller. Justin Vernon.

Now, there’s Yung Gravy.

Matthew Hauri didn’t actually grow up in Wisconsin; he was born in Rochester, Minn. But the now 26-year-old was a student at the University of Wisconsin in Madison when he uploaded his first Yung Gravy EP to SoundCloud in 2016. A year later, he signed a deal with Universal Music Group’s Republic Records (the label behind Taylor Swift, the Weeknd and other A-listers), before graduating in December 2017.

Here’s how social media is reacting to Wisconsin’s decision to hire Luke Fickell as its next head football coach

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The reactions on Luke Fickell, and not Jim Leonhard, set to become the next head football coach at Wisconsin, are pouring in across social media.

Many are stunned by the hire, with plenty praising the move, while others are surprised by UW deciding not to go with Leonhard, the hometown player turned interim head coach.

Center for Black Excellence in Madison will celebrate Black culture in Wisconsin

Noted: My mother moved to Madison from Chicago just over 50 years ago to pursue a college degree and provide a brighter future for my sister and me. The Gee family now consists of three generations of University of Wisconsin-Madison graduates. The university, and a small but thriving community of Black UW alumni, offered opportunities, resources and friendships that allowed us to create lives of unlimited promise, rooted in Black excellence and Black culture.

Wisconsin Republicans fell short of a legislative supermajority, but they now have enough senators to impeach state officials, speed up bills

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: “It seems like a very remote possibility. No one’s really talked about it in a meaningful way. However, in the last four years, we’ve really seen the rise of hardball tactics between Republicans in the Legislature and Gov. Evers,” said Barry Burden, University of Wisconsin-Madison political science professor and director of the university’s Elections Research Center.

Burden said though the bar is high to impeach state officials, especially high-ranking ones elected statewide, politics in Wisconsin has become even more of a blood sport in recent years under divided government, making anything a possibility.

“The last four years have not really been cooperative lawmaking in any way,” Burden said. “There really is not a premise for cooperation between the branches and now Republicans have a bigger and more conservative majority, they’re going to feel emboldened. So it’s possible that some of what seemed like extreme tactics, like impeachment, might be on the table.”

UW-Eau Claire employee files complaint alleging racial discrimination because she’s white

Wisconsin Public Radio

A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire employee has filed a racial discrimination complaint that alleges she was harassed and demoted because she is white.

The complaint follows the firing of a former vice chancellor for equity, diversity, inclusion who alleges students and employees of color were opposed to white individuals having leadership roles in the campus’s multicultural affairs office.

Lack of units in Madison, ever-growing population results in racial disparities in housing

Madison Commons

Quoted: University of Wisconsin–Madison urban planning professor Kurt Paulsen describes the overarching narrative in Dane County as a shortage of housing, which means prices are rising and affordability will continue to be a struggle in Madison.

“On the extreme end, people who have [lower] income spend more than 50% of their income on rent,” said Paulsen. “You see people being doubled up [which] is overcrowding the housing. Young people can’t afford to buy a starter home. You see homelessness and of course it manifests itself in tremendous racial disparities in housing burdens and homeownership.”

Wisconsin-based company under investigation for allegedly using child labor

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Laura Dresser, associate director of the COWS economic think tank at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the labor shortage may make some companies more likely to violate protections for minors.

“It is probably the case that tight labor markets mean that there may be more sorts of violations like this because firms are desperate to fill jobs and may cut corners in order to do so,” she said.

Child labor laws help to ensure that minors are able to gain an education and receive a high school diploma, Dresser said.

“If we’re going to prioritize and require that students be enrolled in school and do everything we can to encourage them to graduate, then kids shouldn’t be working on overnight shifts (and) they shouldn’t be working excessive numbers of hours,” she said.

In post-Roe Wisconsin, what’s the role of crisis pregnancy centers? Critics say they mislead, pressure women.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison estimated in an August report that patients in 42 of the state’s 72 counties would see the distance they have to travel to get an abortion increase by an average of 82 miles, one-way. In Milwaukee and Dane counties, which accounted for 56% of the state’s abortions before the Dobbs decision, residents would have to travel 70 and 120 more miles to reach an abortion clinic, respectively. In the state’s 30 other counties, the distance to an abortion clinic didn’t change because they were already closest to an out-of-state clinic.

Wisconsin’s voter turnout was high in this November’s election, but still lower than 2018

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: Barry Burden, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, attributed high turnout in recent congressional elections in part to the effect of former President Donald Trump, who was elected in 2016.

“Increasing turnout everywhere, not just in Wisconsin, really is a phenomenon that happened after Trump took office,” said Burden, who directs the university’s Elections Research Center. “He’s no longer in office, but I think is enough of a presence in American politics and it was enough of a factor in this year’s elections that it continued to bring out lots of Democratic voters and lots of Republican voters.”

Wisconsin’s biohealth industry is growing quickly, fostering innovation

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: In fact, the state’s higher education system is a major reason the industry is thriving, according to Dr. Zachary Morris, a researcher and associate professor for the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Medicine and Public Health.

He said colleges and universities throughout Wisconsin are producing the highly-skilled workers that the biohealth sector needs, and research being done at those institutions also is helping to strengthen the industry.

“The universities, through the faculty, are in many cases steering or developing innovative technologies that these companies are then helping to spin out and commercialize,” he said.

Meat cultivated at UW-Madison offers glimpse into possible food future

PBS Wisconsin

An unconventional yet burgeoning project looming on the horizon of the grow-your-own movement is the development of cultivated, or cultured meat. It is real animal meat and seafood that is produced by cultivating animal cells, according to the Good Food Institute (GFI). Backers say it reduces the land and water pollution caused by large-scale meat agriculture.

Masatoshi Suzuki is a researcher and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In recent years, Suzuki’s lab has worked in collaboration with GFI to create a prototype of a beef patty grown from the stem cells of a cow.

UW System relaunches controversial free speech student survey

Wisconsin Examiner

The University of Wisconsin System sent a survey to students on Monday looking for their feelings about the state of free speech on the system’s campuses across the state.

The survey had previously been planned for May, but objections from chancellors, including by UW-Whitewater Chancellor James Henderson, who criticized the survey when he resigned from his post, caused it to be delayed.

Milwaukee stars in National Book Award finalist ‘All This Could Be Different’

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: Sneha, the narrator and protagonist, is a young Indian immigrant and University of Wisconsin-Madison grad who comes to work in Milwaukee in 2013. She’s a low-level contract consultant doing dehumanizing work at a corporation. Every boss encounter is fraught, because she’d like to be sponsored for permanent residency in the United States.

UW-Madison provost stepping down, launching new search for an important position

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is launching a search for a new provost, an administrative position ranking just second to the chancellor in terms of importance.

The current provost, John Karl Scholz, will serve until the end of the school year and then return to the economics department, where he has taught since 1988. A new provost is expected to start sometime next summer, UW-Madison announced Tuesday.

Respiratory illness surge forces Children’s Wisconsin to adjust appointments, surgeries

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: At American Family Children’s Hospital, RSV is contributing to a very busy time at UW Health Kids. Currently, RSV hospitalizations make up approximately 10% of the patients admitted, according to Dr. Joshua Ross, the chief medical officer and pediatric emergency medicine physician, UW Health Kids.

“We are seeing a record number of patients in our pediatric emergency department, with most coming in due to upper respiratory illnesses like RSV,” Ross said.

School for beginning dairy farmers slated for closure

Wisconsin State Farmer

It looks as if the University of Wisconsin-Madison is getting ready to close down the School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers, which has graduated almost 600 budding farmers after training them in grazing practices as well as business planning for their new operations.

The school was founded and directed by Dick Cates, a Spring Green beef farmer who also served on the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s citizen policy board and various state sustainability panels.

Absentee voting numbers in Wisconsin soar over the 2018 midterms

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: “There is substantial voter engagement in this year’s elections,” said Barry Burden, director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, “but the larger number of early votes compared to 2018 is more a sign of changing preferences about the method of voting than a sign of much higher turnout,” Burden said.

Partisan observers have always monitored the polls in Wisconsin. Here’s why they’re likely to be out in force more than ever

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: Barry Burden, director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Elections Research Center, said this election may see a “different style of observer” who is more aggressive about wanting to have close inspection of the process and is potentially disruptive about challenging voters.

“These are not nonpartisan, disinterested people hoping to help out the voting process,” he said. “These are people who start with the premise of denying or being skeptical of the results in 2020 and that’s what’s motivating them to be involved.”

Scholars of Urban Education Gather for Solutions-Based Conference

Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Noted: Over 270 sessions were offered at the conference, including a keynote address by Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings, one of the world’s most prolific educational researchers. Ladson-Billings is Professor Emerita and former Kellner Family Distinguished Professor in Urban Education in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The widening racial disparities between Blacks and whites is dramatic, noted Ladson-Billings, who pointed out that in 2019, about 30% of Black children lived in poverty, with 1 and 4 Black children facing severe food insecurity. With regard to public schools, she noted that 45% of Black students attend high-poverty schools compared to 8% of white children.

During the COVID pandemic, a number of Black children were only able to access the internet through their smart phones.

“Think about remote learning,” she said, adding that children struggled to receive their lessons via a small phone screen. “But that’s the reality.”

Additionally, Ladson-Billings noted that 75% of Black students who are considered eligible for advanced placement (AP) courses never take one, in part because so many of these students are enrolled in schools where these accelerated courses are not even offered.

“They’re bright enough, but there’s no access,” she said, adding that too many Black students are frequently discouraged from achieving their full potential by schoolteachers and administrators, even as suspension and expulsion rates for Black children steadily inclines.

Tim Michels is calling for big changes in Wisconsin from taxes to elections to education, but offers few details on his plans

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: Barry Burden, director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Elections Research Center, said there is not a lot of pressure on Michels to provide more details because he will be working with a Republican-controlled Legislature.

“Michels has not served in government, so he is getting educated during the course of the campaign about what he might do as governor,” Burden said.

Burden also said a broader trend emerging in 2022 is candidates “not really making themselves open to public questioning,” noting the race’s single debate, which hasn’t happened since the 1990s.

“Candidates have decided to package themselves through press releases, controlled events and social media, which means they’re not really called upon offer specifics,” Burden said. “That’s not just a Wisconsin thing — that is happening across the country this year.”

From Tucker Carlson to Ron DeSantis, The Right is Targeting Young LGBTQ+ People

Teen Vogue

Noted: There has also been a spate of recent threats towards facilities providing gender-affirming care. In late September, The New Republic’s Melissa Gira Grant followed one week’s worth of news on anti-LGBTQ threats, documenting attacks on Boston Children’s Hospital, Akron Children’s Hospital, the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University, one specific doctor at a University of Wisconsin hospital, and an adolescent clinic at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, in that order.

10 Non-Disciplinary Approaches To Correcting Tween’s Behavior

Moms

Noted: Parenting tweens can be challenging for parents, because their ‘little kid’ who liked to cuddle, learn about the world around them, and was generally happy has suddenly been replaced with a moody, impulsive, physically maturing little human says Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, associate professor of Pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. As frustrating as this might be sometimes for parents, it is all developmentally normal.

Is ‘democracy on the ballot’ in Wisconsin? Here’s how voting rules could change under GOP control

Wisconsin Public Radio

Quoted: “There could likely be big changes to election law in Wisconsin between 2022 and 2024,” said Barry Burden, a professor of political science and director of the Elections Research Center at the University of Wisconsin Madison. “There’s an array of things that have been proposed in not very concrete ways.”

Ron Johnson fought for a tax cut as his family was amassing luxury real estate around the country

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Quoted: Ross Milton, an assistant professor at La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the pass-through provision is “still a hotly debated topic among tax policy people.”

“I think these pass-through provisions have been criticized because much of the benefit of them goes to very high income and/or high wealth households,” Milton said. “And presumably the Johnson family is a high-income household.”

As the election approaches, transgender athletes like me have reason to worry

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Noted: I started as a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in September 2021, and instantly I found the men’s water polo team to be of my homes on campus. I have never been the fastest swimmer or the highest scorer on the team, and most of the guys are at least half a foot taller than me. But I love this sport and I love my team to pieces, whether it is the exhilaration of setting up my teammates up for a great goal or joking with them on the pool deck. I wouldn’t trade them for the world. They accept me as their teammate