WisconsinWeekly: Lincoln Hills, lead in water, whistleblowers, frac sand, voter ID

Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to replace problem-ridden teen prison with five smaller centers lauded — and criticized

Of note: Gov. Scott Walker announced plans to close the Lincoln Hills teen prison while opening five regional teen prisons. Lincoln Hills would be turned into an adult facility to ease crowding in adult prisons. The proposal was embraced by some Democrats who also labeled it an election-year attempt to defuse an issue that could be used against him.

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WisconsinWeekly is produced by us — Andy and Dee J. Hall, founders of the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

Lincoln Hills: Scott Walker to close troubled teen prison and open five regional centers for juvenile offenders

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – Jan. 4, 2017

Gov. Scott Walker announced that he plans to convert the long-troubled Lincoln Hills teen prison into an adult facility and to open five smaller teen prisons around the state. The planned closure comes after years of problems at the facility and is supported by both Democrats and Republicans across the state.

Lead-water resolution that would make Milwaukee national leader in limbo

Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service- Jan. 2, 2018

Despite a resolution passed in November that would include women ages 15-45 in the group that is most at risk for lead poisoning, the Milwaukee Health Department has not yet updated guidance to its water filter distribution partners or notified the public. The resolution would recommend that women of childbearing age use a water filter, making Milwaukee a national leader in protecting citizens against tainted water.

‘Nobody Really Cares’

Better Government Association – Dec. 20, 2017

Part of the Power Struggle series, this report details how whistleblower complaints filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by employees at the nation’s nuclear power plants are rarely investigated or upheld. From 2010-2016, employees filed nearly 700 complaints, claiming retaliation for raising safety concerns. The NRC investigated about one-third of the allegations, and none resulted in a finding of wrongdoing. Earlier from WCIJ: Two Wisconsin whistleblowers recall journeys from reporting to ‘retaliation’

Major frac sand companies with mines in Wisconsin to merge

Wisconsin Public Radio – Dec. 27, 2017 

Two of the country’s largest frac sand producers, both with operations in Wisconsin, announced a merger that would create a new company capable of producing up to 45 million tons of sand per year with more than 1 billion tons more in reserves. Earlier, from WCIJ: Sand mining surges in Wisconsin

A dead-simple algorithm reveals the true toll of voter ID laws

Wired – Jan. 4, 2018

Researchers Stephen Ansolabehere of Harvard and Eitan Hersh of Tufts have created an algorithm that matches voter ID information with corresponding records across government databases using basic identifiers. Using the algorithm, the researchers proved that black voters in Texas were less likely to have proper identification under voter ID laws than white voters. “In a recent Supreme Court hearing over partisan gerrymandering in Wisconsin, Chief Justice John Roberts dismissed research-backed methods to measure gerrymandering as ‘sociological gobbledygook.’ Hersh and Ansolabehere wanted to develop a tool that could be easily understood.”

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