WisconsinWeekly: Blast renews focus on dangerous chemical, errors surround WI youth inmate suicide try; CWD concerns persist

Dangerous chemical at refinery, a young inmate’s suicide try, CWD threatens WI, MKE doctor implicated in sex cult, Green Bay shines in Rust Belt, EPA shrinks smog zone

Of note: First, we highlight an editorial thanking WCIJ and other news organizations for our early warning seven years ago about hydrofluoric acid used at a Superior refinery that exploded in late April, causing nearly a dozen injuries and a mass evacuation. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports about the “litany of errors” that preceded a young female inmate’s suicide attempt, leading to a nearly $19 million settlement. Columnist Patrick Durkin warns about the growing threat of chronic wasting disease on Wisconsin’s deer herd.

The Journal Sentinel reveals that a doctor named as the person who branded women as part of a sex cult formerly worked in Milwaukee. The New York Times examines Rust Belt cities including Green Bay that have survived or even thrived after manufacturing jobs left. And Wisconsin Public Radio reports on the EPA’s decision to shrink the areas of Wisconsin violating ozone standards at the request of Gov. Scott Walker.

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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Our view: Near tragedy shouldn’t have been necessary

Duluth News Tribune — May 3, 2018

In an editorial, the Duluth News Tribune cites 2011 reporting by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, the Center for Public Integrity and ABC News that alerted residents to the use of dangerous hydrogen fluoride at the then-Murphy Oil plant in Superior. An April 26 explosion at Husky Energy injured 11 people — one seriously — and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people in the Twin Ports area. Earlier from WCIJ: Dangerous chemical still in use at Superior refinery despite alternatives

Prison workers were promoted after teen inmate suicide attempt that is costing nearly $19 million

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — April 27, 2018

“A litany of errors” occurred before and after the 2015 suicide attempt by Copper Lake School for Girls inmate Sydni Briggs. Gov. Scott Walker’s administration reached a settlement with Briggs, costing Wisconsin nearly $19 million, but employee promotions — not discipline — followed the incident.

Patrick Durkin: CWD continues to spread in Wisconsin

Wisconsin State Journal — April 28, 2018

Two deer far outside Wisconsin’s endemic zone for chronic wasting disease tested positive last week for the always-fatal disease, and yet the Department of Natural Resources downplayed the news in a press release. The DNR hasn’t conducted widespread systematic testing for CWD in more than a decade, columnist Patrick Durkin said. In related stories, Gov. Scott Walker announces tougher rules to slow the spread of CWD and a University of Wisconsin-Madison researcher find prions, which carry CWD, in the soil at deer-feeding locations.

Doctor accused of branding women in sex cult worked at Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel — April 30, 2018

Danielle Roberts, the doctor accused of branding female members of the New York “sex cult,” Nxivm, worked at Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital and two of its affiliates as recently as last summer. Roberts has been identified as a leader of Nxivm and members of the group have identified her as the physician who branded them.

Lessons from rust-belt cities that kept their sheen

The New York Times — May 1, 2018

Despite the loss of its fifth-largest employers, St. Cloud, Minnesota doesn’t at all fit the “tale of woe” that spread across the Midwest over the last 50 years. Since 1970, manufacturers in Stearns County have added 5,000 jobs and total employment has tripled. The problem is that there are too few places like St. Cloud, though Green Bay is one of them. Formerly vibrant industrial cities across the Midwest today present a landscape of high unemployment and opioid addiction.

EPA narrows ozone nonattainment for Wisconsin counties

Wisconsin Public Radio — May 1, 2018

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has narrowed its list of Wisconsin counties that do not meet tougher standards for ground-level ozone pollution to lakeshore areas of Kenosha, Door, Manitowoc, Sheboygan, northern Milwaukee and Ozaukee counties. The Walker administration and state business groups had objected to the EPA’s original plan listing the entire counties as not meeting federal ozone standards.

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