WisconsinWeekly: Cranberry tariffs, Foxconn jobs, frac sand pressure, Facebook ads, Paul Ryan’s future

WI cranberry growers fear tariffs, Racine may miss Foxconn boom, DNR fast-tracks project, state targeted by shadowy ads, and Paul Ryan early exit as speaker predicted

Of note: Donald Trump’s tough talk on trade helped get him elected president. Now, WUWM reports, some parts of Wisconsin that voted for Trump could bear the brunt of threatened Chinese tariffs on cranberries. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that Racine residents, traumatized by years of economic and other woes, may be ill-suited to fill the tens of thousands of jobs promised by Foxconn. Citing public records and an interview with a former Department of Natural Resources supervisor, Wisconsin Public Radio reports that DNR staffers were pressured to quickly approve permits allowing destruction of rare wetlands for a planned frac sand facility in western Wisconsin. Channel 3000 reports on research by a UW-Madison journalism professor who found that many of the anonymous Facebook ads aimed at influencing the 2016 election targeted people in Wisconsin. And Axios, the political website that broke the news of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision not to seek re-election, is now predicting the Janesville Republican will likely not finish the year as speaker.

WisconsinWeekly is produced by Andy and Dee J. Hall, a couple who founded the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism. Andy is the executive director and Dee is the managing editor.

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Cranberry tariffs may pose risks to Wisconsin’s largest fruit crop

WUWM — April 5, 2018

Recent Chinese tariffs on more than 100 U.S. products include a 15 percent tariff on cranberries — a move that could have a tremendous impact on the economy in Wisconsin as it’s estimated that the state produces more than half the world’s supply of cranberries.

Foxconn’s promised jobs boom could miss neighboring city Racine

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — April 6, 2018

Despite its multibillion-dollar taxpayer subsidy, Foxconn’s jobs boom might ripple right past Wisconsin’s fifth-largest city — Racine. Racine’s manufacturing identity has been largely erased in the digital age. The city needs to urgently overhaul its job training and social agencies, and the clock is ticking. Foxconn could prove to be a one-time window of opportunity, with hiring in two years — even sooner for the construction work to build the facilities.

DNR staff felt pressure to approve wetland fill for frac sand mining project

Wisconsin Public Radio — April 9, 2018

Staff at the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources say they felt pressured by department administration to rush the approval of a controversial permit to fill 16 acres of rare wetlands in Monroe County in order to build a frac sand plant. The more than two-year struggle over the wetland permit could be decided as soon as the end of April, when a judge will decide if the DNR followed the law when it approved the project last year. Earlier from WCIJ: Frac sand boom creates thousands of jobs and Controversy on Wisconsin-Iowa border as frac sand mine, No. 1 in violations, seeks to expand

UW-Madison research finds anonymous groups, diverse posts on Facebook ‘rampant’ in 2016

Channel 3000 — April 10, 2018

Wisconsin was one of the second most targeted state for anonymous Facebook ads that sought to sow political and societal division before the 2016 election, according to UW-Madison researcher Young Mie Kim of the School of Journalism & Mass Communication. Kim analyzed 10,000 Facebook accounts in what she believes to be the first large-scale research effort outside of government investigations to look at the groups and targets of ads that were shared on Facebook during the 2016 campaign.

Ryan may be forced to leave speakership by summer

Axios — April 12, 2018

After House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin announced Wednesday he will not run for re-election this fall, Axios reports that although Ryan said he plans to remain speaker through the end of 2018, he may be forced out sooner. One anonymous source described as close to Ryan told the political website, “Scuttlebutt is that Paul will have to step down from speakership soon. Members won’t follow a lame duck, he’ll have no leverage to cut deals, and the last thing they need in this environment is six months of palace intrigue and everyone stabbing everyone else in the back.”

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