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News and current affairs discussions with an emphasis on people, places, issues and organizations in western Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota and northeast Iowa; produced by WPR's La Crosse News Bureau.
March 28, 2013: LA CROSSE MAYORAL CANDIDATES DEBATE
Wisconsin voters go back to the polls Tuesday, April 2, to cast their votes in a variety of state and local races, including La Crosse's mayoral race. On this edition of Newsmakers, one last word from La Crosse mayoral candidates Doug Farmer and Tim Kabat - they faced off during a debate hosted by UW-La Crosse on Monday, March 25. Co-sponsors of the debate included the UWL Student Association, the UWL Political Science/Public Administration Department, the UWL Joint Legislative Relations Committee, WKBT-TV, WIZM Radio, the League of Women Voters, the La Crosse Tribune and Wisconsin Public Radio.
Listen to PART 1; listen to PART 2.
La Crosse mayoral candidates Tim Kabat (left) and Doug Famer (right) talk with attendees following Monday's debate. (Maureen McCollum/WPR)
For additional insights, listen to the debate in its entirety.
March 21, 2013: REGULATING FRAC SAND MINING IN WESTERN WISCONSIN AND SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA
A discussion on frac sand mining, a contentious issue on both sides of the Mississippi River. Some say the industry could bring jobs to the region, while others say mining could negatively impact the environment. One thing that is certain is that neither state has developed frac sand mining regulations and chosen instead to leave it a local issue. Guests include MN State Senator Matt Scmit, WI State Senator Kathleen Vinehout, WI Towns Association Executive Director Rick Stadelman, and MN Industrial Sand Council Representative Kirsten Pauly.
Listen to PART 1; listen to PART 2.
(photo, above) Houston County Frac Sand Study Committee member Kelly Stanage encourages county commissioners in March 2013 to extend the frac sand mining moratorium for another year. (Maureen McCollum)
March 14, 2013: LA CROSSE MAYORAL CANDIDATES FORUM
A political forum featuring candidates in La Crosse's April mayoral election, Doug Farmer (left), and Tim Kabat (right).
Listen to PART 1.
Listen to PART 2.
La Crosse's city elections are on April 2.
March 7, 2013: RALLYING AROUND MISSISSIPPI RIVER ISSUES; STATE BUDGET INSIGHTS, TAXES, AND MORE
Part 1: Governmental and private groups are working to make the Mississippi River a priority in Washington this year. There are two new Mississippi River caucuses, a group of mayors have banded together, and existing commerce and environmental interest groups have high hopes that the river starts getting the federal support they say it needs. Guests include Congressman Ron Kind who co-chairs the new Mississippi River Caucus, and spokespeople representating the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative, the Waterways Council, the Mississippi River Network, and the Biodiversity Project.
Part 2: From new budget proposals to filing our personal 1040s, taxes continue to be a major topic on our minds these days. Joining us with insights into Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's recently proposed state budget, as well as a few tips on filing personal income taxes, is Rick Chandler, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. Learn more about the proposed Wisconsin 2013-15 Executive Budget from the Department of Administration Division of Executive Budget & Finance; information regarding tax filings is available from the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.
PLEASE CHECK BACK FOR AUDIO ARCHIVES OF THIS PROGRAM.
February 28, 2013: "CREATIVE PLACEMAKING" INFORMS LA CROSSE PLANNING STRATEGIES; ADVOCATING FOR THE DEAF
Part 1: La Crosse residents who want to improve neighborhoods and the economy through the arts had a chance to attend a presentation this week on the concept of "Creative Placemaking". We talk with presenter Ann Markusen (left) of the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Learn more about "creative placemaking" in this Presentation to the National Council on the Arts.
Part 2: We talk with Dr. Jane Fernandes (right); the Iowa native was born deaf but learned how to speak as a child, and learned American Sign Language in her 20s. As a provost and vice chancellor at the University of North Carolina-Asheville she is an advocate for the deaf and works against white privilege. She was in La Crosse this week to talk with the UWL community.
February 21, 2013: THE STATE OF THE REGIONAL BUSINESS CLIMATE; BOTANIST-TURNS-ARTIST COMMITTED TO PRESERVING UNIQUE LANDSCAPES
Part 1: The economic challenges of business and the hope for more jobs are on the minds of political leaders at both the national and state levels, but there's little agreement on just how 'good' or how 'bad' things really are -- and even less agreement on how to improve things. Vicki Markussen, executive director of the 7 Rivers Alliance, and UW-La Crosse associate economics professor TJ Brooks, share their perspectives on the local business climate and what the future holds.
Part 2: Preserving unique tracts of land for future generations is a long-held belief by a growing number of area residents, helped along by the efforts of area land trusts. In turn, these land trusts are now being helped along by one area resident who has embarked on a project she calls River Sojourn. We talk with southeast Minnesota scientist-turned-artist Sara Lubinski (at right) about her commitment to create greater awareness of the need to conserve the landscapes unique to the Upper Mississippi River valley.
February 14, 2013: FUNDING MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES; WISCONSIN'S EXTREME WEATHER
Part 1: We have local reaction to Governor Scott Walker's recent announcement that he has plans to increase state funding for mental health programs as part of his proposed state budget. Guests include La Crosse County Human Services Director Jason Witt, and Lacie Anthony, Director of Mental Health Services at Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse. Listen to WPR's story on the governor's proposal.
Part 2: A recent national report from the Natural Resources Defense Council says Wisconsin was among the top ten states in the country in 2012 for extreme weather. We talk about local weather patterns with Warning Coordination Meteorologist Todd Shea and Forecaster Jeff Boyne from the National Weather Service office in La Crosse.
February 7, 2013: FUNDING REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION NEEDS; NATURAL GAS-FUELED TRANSPORTATION
Part 1: This could be an important year for future transportation funding in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Transportation Finance and Policy Commission has come up with a report on how the state should fund road maintenance and construction and public transportation over the next decade. The state legislature could make decisions about future transportation funding this year. We talk with western Wisconsin's 94th district state representative Rep. Steve Doyle who is also on the Assembly Transportation committee.
He's joined by La Crosse County Highway Department Highway Commissioner Ron Chamberlain who adds some perspective about county road maintenance and funding issues.
Part 2: A discussion with Kwik Trip Alternative Fuels Superintendent Joel Hirschboeck about the company's rapid expansion into compressed natural gas pumps (at right).
January 31, 2013: QUESTIONING HEALTH SERVICES IN WISCONSIN'S JAILS; LA CROSSE'S WARMING CENTER PROVIDES HELP
Part 1: We discuss recent reports by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism which show mental health services in most Wisconsin jails are inadequate. We also talk about what's happening with mental health care in the La Crosse County jail. Read the Center's reports on mental health care issues and gaps in suicide prevention.
Part 2: In just its second full winter, the La Crosse Warming Center in the First Baptist Church basement on West Avenue is helping shelter people from the cold.
January 24, 2013: GAYS MILLS - COPING WITH FLOODING IN THE KICKAPOO RIVER VALLEY; AND MEASURING THE 'BIG BANG'
Part 1: Having been inundated by two straight summers of flooding five years ago, the village of Gays Mills has been making accommodations for the future. WPR's Steve Roisum visited with business owners and talks with Julia Henley, the recovery and development director about changes that have moved part of the village uphill and out of the flood plain.
Part 2: A discussion with John Mather (right), the 2006 winner of the Nobel Laureate in Physics for his work with NASA's COBE satellite, which measured the spectrum of radiation from the Big Bang; he visited UWL this past semester. Learn more in this NASA article and interview.
January 17, 2013: EXPANDING THE ARTS IN DOWNTOWN LA CROSSE
Part 1: A tour of the new Weber Center for the Performing Arts (left) and a discussion with Weber Center Executive Director David Kilpatrick (right), and Viterbo University School of Fine Arts Dean Dr. Tim Schorr. Viterbo and the La Crosse Community Theatre are partners in the new venture.
Part 2: We talk with members of the city of La Crosse arts board about the new synergy the opening of the Weber Center will have on an arts district in downtown La Crosse.
The center recognizes supporters Don and Roxanne Weber (right).
January 10, 2013: FROM STOREFRONTS TO FARMING, WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESSES ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Part 1: A roundtable discussion about the growth of women-run businesses. Guests include: Anne Hlavacka, director of the UW-La Crosse Small Business Development Center (left); Amy Stodola, a financial advisor for Edward Jones (center); and Debbie Lee, a Westland Insurance agent who cofounded the networking group, Women of Worth (right).
Links to additional resources:
* Women in Networking and Support
* Coulee Region Professional Women
* Women's Alliance of La Crosse
Part 2: We talk about the growth of women in farming; Annie's Project is a series of workshops that help women learn the ins and outs of running a farm. We also talk to Vernon County farmer Gail Klinkner who runs her family's dairy farm in the Liberty Pole area.
January 3, 2013: WESTERN WISCONSIN LAWMAKERS SET THE STAGE FOR 2013
Part 1: We preview the 2013 Wisconsin legislative session with state Senator Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) [photo, left] and state Representative Jill Billings (D-La Crosse) [photo, right].
Part 2: Learn more about why Wisconsin Congressman Ron Kind supported a compromise to avert the fiscal cliff this week, and what more federal lawmakers need to do to avoid major budget problems in the next two months.
December 27, 2012: HISTORIC PRESERVATION: REVISITED (First broadcast in June 2012)
Part 1: In this encore broadcast from June, we take a trip down memory lane through historic preservation. We talk about efforts to restore the Hollywood Theater (at left) in downtown La Crosse, historic tourism with a trip to La Crosse's Hixon House, and the efforts of a group of people to preserve the McGilvray-Seven Bridges Road in northwestern La Crosse County.
Part 2: We talk with the president of the Preservation Alliance of La Crosse Barbara Kooiman and Mike Keil, a local developer of historic buildings about the state of historic preservation in the La Crosse area.
December 20, 2012: COMMUNITY GIVING AND THE HOLIDAYS
Part 1: We discuss community giving with local philanthropists Don Weber and Dave Skogen.
Newsmakers Audio Extras:
* Dave Skogen and Don Weber relate a story of helping a boy from Iraq.
* Dave Skogen reads a letter that he shares with other potential donors for fundraising projects he's involved with.
Photo: LHI Founder & CEO Don Weber and Festival Foods Founder and Chair Dave Skogen. (Maureen McCollum/WPR)
Part 2: Our report on community giving shifts to businesses and organizations that count on this time of year for raising funds to support the community: Rotary Lights ; Hunger Task Force of La Crosse ; Coulee Region Humane Society; Catholic Charities; and Neighbor for Neighbor.
Learn more about a national study of giving that was done by the Chronicle of Philanthropy: How America Gives; and read about other area organizations involved in supporting the community as chronicled in the La Crosse Tribune's 25 Days of Giving.
Photo above: Coulee Region Humane Society's Liz Miel holds Archie, one of the many cats available for adoption at the shelter. (Maureen McCollum/WPR)
Photo at right: The Rotary Lights in downtown La Crosse. (Maureen McCollum/WPR)
December 13, 2012: LA CROSSE PREPARES TO REMOVE ASH TREES; WORKING TOWARD CIVILITY IN WISCONSIN
Part 1: The city of La Crosse has a plan to cut down nearly 900 ash trees is city parks to deal with an expected invasion of the Emerald Ash Borer. We get both side of the issue from why the Parks Department is proposing the plan, and a La Crosse arborist who says there's another way.
Part 2: The Wisconsin Council of Churches says public discourse can be improved in the United States. Religious leaders throughout the state have proposed the "Season of Civility Initiative" as a way to get there.
December 6, 2012: LA CROSSE MARSH HEADING FOR THE DNR; HOPE ACADEMY AND LOCAL CHILDREN'S CENTER ANNOUNCE MERGER
Part 1: The city of La Crosse and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources have been negotiating for several months on deeding about 500-600 acres of land in the La Crosse River Valley Marsh from city to state ownership. The end result would allow the DNR to own and manage part of the marshland that's used by wildlife, for recreation and for flood control. History of the marsh is available from UW-La Crosse's Murphy Library or the La Crosse Public Library.
Part 2: We talk about the announced merger of the Hope Academy of western Wisconsin with the Family and Children's Center of western Wisconsin and southeast Minnesota. The new partnership begins January 1, 2013.
November 29, 2012: LA CROSSE MAYOR MATT HARTER ANNOUNCES HE WON'T SEEK REELECTION; THE STATE OF PHY ED IN OUR SCHOOLS; PROTECTING NATIVE AMERICAN ARTIFACTS
Part 1: La Crosse Mayor Matt Harter has announced he won't seek reelection; we have the latest. [An expanded interview with Harter is also available here.]
Then, the North Crawford school district has received a $900,000 federal grant to improve its physical education program; we talk with area phy ed instructors about the state of physical education programs.
Part 2: We talk about the issues and problems that are associated with stealing or copying Native American artifacts or arts and crafts. Learn more at these links to the Mississippi Valley Archeology Center and the Indian arts and crafts act.
November 15, 2012: DIVORCE AND KIDS; DEBUNKING MEDICAL CLAIMS AROUND AUTISM
Part 1: A discussion about the impact of divorce on children with Elizabeth Marquardt. She's the director of the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values in New York City. She was a recent speaker at Viterbo University.
Part 2: Our guest is British Journalist Brian Deer. During a visit this fall to UW-La Crosse, he joined us to recount his investigative reporting that debunked a medical report that suggested vaccines cause autism in children.
November 8, 2012: POST-ELECTION REVIEW; BRINGING CULTURAL THEMES INTO THE CLASSROOM
Part 1: This year's general elections are over ? and the results are mixed. What happens next? We talk with La Crosse County Republic Party Chair Julian Bradley, State Representative Chris Danou (D-Trempeleau) and UW-La Crosse political scientist Joe Heim about the results and what it means for Wisconsin's future.
Part 2: Organizers of the 9th Annual Act 31: Widening the Circle Native American & Hmong Indigenous Education Symposium discuss the multicultural educational goals of the gathering, underway November 8-11 in La Crosse.
November 1, 2012: CANDIDATE DEBATES IN WISCONSIN'S THIRD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT, AND 32ND STATE SENATE DISTRICT
Part 1: The October 30 UWL-sponsored debate featuring candidates in Wisconsin's Third Congressional District, incumbent Congressman Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) and challenger Ray Boland (R-Sparta).
Photo: Congressional candidates Ron Kind (left) and Ray Boland (right); with moderator Joe Heim (center).(Maureen McCollum/WPR)
Part 2: The October 23 UWL-sponsored debate between candidates in Wisconsin's 32nd state Senate District, incumbent Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) and challenger Bill Feehan (R-La Crosse).
October 25, 2012: WISCONSIN'S 32nd SENATE DISTRICT CANDIDATES FORUM
A political forum featuring candidates in Wisconsin's 32nd state Senate District, incumbent Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) and challenger Bill Feehan (R-La Crosse). The forum was recorded October 22 in the Wisconsin Public Radio studios in La Crosse.
Listen to PART 1 here; Listen to PART 2 here.
October 18, 2012: DEBATES IN WISCONSIN'S 94th AND 96th ASSEMBLY DISTRICTS; ETHICAL DECISION-MAKING WITH RICK KYTE
Part 1: A political debate featuring candidates in Wisconsin's 96th Assembly District, incumbent
Lee Nerison (R-Westby) and challenger Tom Johnson (D-Viroqua). The debate was recorded at UW-La Crosse on October 9.
Part 2: A conversation with the director of Viterbo University's D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership, Rick Kyte. He is the author of a new book: An Ethical Life: A Practical Guide to Ethical Reasoning.
Part 3: A political debate featuring candidates in Wisconsin's 94th Assembly District, incumbent Steve Doyle (D-Onalaska) and challenger Bruce Evers (R-Holmen). The debate was recorded at UW-La Crosse on October 9.
October 11, 2012: VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS RECOGNITION
A discussion on the state of volunteer firefighters, nationally and in the Coulee Region. Our guests are La Farge Fire Chief Philip Stittleburg and Onalaska Fire Department Chief Don Dominick who talk about the challenges of recruiting and retaining volunteer firefighters.
Listen to PART 1 here;
Listen to PART 2 here.
Learn more about volunteer firefighters issues from the National Volunteer Fire Council; information about Wisconsin volunteer fire departments is available through the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services.
Photo: La Farge Fire Chief Philip Stittleburg and Onalaska Fire Chief Don Dominick (Maureen McCollum/WPR)
October 4, 2012: 94th ASSEMBLY DISTRICT CANDIDATES FORUM
WPR regional election forum: candidates in Wisconsin's 94th State Assembly District, incumbent Steve Doyle (D-Onalaska) and challenger Bruce Evers (R-Holmen).
Listen to PART 1 here;
Listen to PART 2 here.
Photo: Steve Doyle and Bruce Evers (Maureen McCollum/WPR)
September 27, 2012: MISSISSIPPI VALLEY CONSERVANCY RESPONDS TO AUDIT FINDINGS; PROPOSED LA CROSSE SCHOOL GOES TO REFERENDUM
Part 1: We talk with Mississippi Valley Conservancy Executive Director Tim Jacobson about accusations the non-profit land trust owes money to the city of La Crosse and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as part of the La Crosse Bluffland Protection Program.
Part 2: The La Crosse School District is asking voters to decide if it can borrow up to $15.7 million to replace two north-side elementary schools with one new school. We talk with school board president Connie Troyanek and superintendent Randy Nelson about the referendum.
September 20, 2012: THE FUTURE OF LA CROSSE'S SIGN ORDINANCE; COULEE VISION 2050, NOW UNDERWAY
Part 1: The pros and cons of a new sign ordinance for the city of La Crosse. The city council approved changes on a 14-3 vote last week, but this week, La Crosse Mayor Matt Harter vetoed the ordinance, which could force many business owners to change the style of on-premise sign they have now. The council will vote at its meeting in October to override the veto.
Part 2: Learn more about a regional survey that will help guide future transportation planning for the La Crosse/La Crescent area. The La Crosse Area Planning Committee is gathering opinions for the project known as Coulee Vision 2050. Take the survey here.
Audio archives of this show will be available after its broadcast.
September 13, 2012: UNIVERSITY 'UPDATE' WITH UW REGENTS PRESIDENT BRENT SMITH; AGRICULTURAL WASTE-TO-ENERGY DEVELOPMENTS
Part 1: We talk with UW System Board of Regents President Brent Smith about the future of higher education in Wisconsin.
Photo at right, UW System Board of Regents President Brent Smith (Maureen McCollum/WPR)
Part 2: Using anaerobic digesters to turn animal waste into electricity could be expanding to small Wisconsin dairy farms. We visit a Coon Valley-area farm where the technology is being tested, and talk with Dairyland Power Cooperative which has nearly 10 years of experience buying power from farmers.
September 6, 2012: PAYING FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE; SUICIDE PREVENTION SUMMIT
Part 1: There's a grassroots effort underway to change the way the state of Wisconsin pays for criminal justice, it could reward those counties that have programs designed to keep people out of prison. Learn more about the proposed Wisconsin Community Justice Reinvestment Act and the role La Crosse County may play in its enactment. We talk with Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, who's spearheading the proposal, and La Crosse County Justice Sanctions Director Jane Klekamp.
Part 2: The La Crosse Suicide Prevention Initiative is holding a series of events next week to help educate the community and professionals about suicide. Board members talk about those events and the mission of the initiative.
August 30, 2012: WESTERN TECHNICAL COLLEGE BUILDING REFERENDUM; WHOOPING COUGH CASES ON THE RISE
Part 1: We explore the details of a $79.8 million referendum that would pay for six different remodeling or new building projects at Western Technical College's La Crosse campus. Voters in 11 western Wisconsin counties will vote on the referendum during the November 6 election.
Part 2: The number of whooping cough cases is up in western Wisconsin, just as it is nationwide in 2012. We'll talk to a La Crosse County public health nurse about how to recognize whooping cough, and reasons the illness is reappearing.
Audio archives of this program will be available after the broadcast.
August 23, 2012: NEW APPROACHES TO EDUCATION; THE NEED FOR BLOOD DONORS
Part 1: Educators from the La Crosse School District and UW-La Crosse talk about blended learning, which incorporates new technology with traditional classroom learning. More information at Blended Learning Institute and WI Technology Initiative.
Part 2: We talk with representatives from the American Red Cross and the Blood Center of Wisconsin about the need for blood in the summer, where the blood that's collected goes and what they are looking for from donors.
August 16, 2012: AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE...SORTING OUT THE DETAILS
Part 1: Steve Roisum reports on an informational session held this week in La Crosse that addressed the Affordable Care Act; and a discussion with UW Extension Health Policy Specialist Dr. Roberta Riportella about how the Affordable Care Act will impact health consumers.
Part 2: We continue our discussion about what the Affordable Care Act means for people. Our guest is Dr. Roberta Riportella, a health policy specialist for UW Extension. Learn more about Health Reform from UW-Extension. Additional information about the Affordable Care Act can be found at HealthCare.gov or
Citizen Action of Wisconsin.
Note: Following the broadcast of this show, Roberta Riportella asked we post the following clarification to comments she made during the program: "Independent insurance agents are likely to be among the pool of supported 'navigators,' a new role that CMS is trying to support in communities. All navigators may help consumers purchase insurance but yes, likely through the Exchanges."
August 9, 2012: WISCONSIN'S 94TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT REPUBLICAN PRIMARY; IMPACTS OF REDISTRICTING
Part 1: There's a primary on Tuesday, August 14 between the Republican candidates in Wisconsin's 94th state Assembly district race.
Kevin Hintz of West Salem (left) and Bruce Evers of Holmen (right) are in the area's only legislative primary. The primary winner will face incumbent Democrat Steve Doyle of Onalaska in November's general election. We talk with both during this candidate forum.
Part 2: This is the first election in 10 years with new political boundaries in Wisconsin. UW-La Crosse Political Scientist Joe Heim talks about the impact of redistricting on the political process. To learn more, view maps of Wisconsin's redistricting or trace some of the history of the most recent redistricting.
August 2, 2012: PARKINSONS CONFERENCE PREVIEW; FINANCIAL ISSUES FOR LOCAL LGBT CENTER
Part 1: We preview an August 18th symposium in La Crosse that will provide the latest advances in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. We talk with Neurologist Jason Aldred of the Gundersen Lutheran Movement Disorders Center and Kent Grainger who was diagnosed with Parkinson's two years ago.
Part 2: La Crosse's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender center is struggling financially. We talk with LGBT Resource Center Board President Cindy Killion and Gary Hollander, Executive Director of Milwaukee-based Diverse and Resilient. We also revisit a conservation we had earlier this year with Jamie Nobozny who won an anti-bullying lawsuit against the Ashland, Wisconsin school district in 1996. It's helped hold school administrators more accountable when bullying happens in their school.
July 26, 2012: FEDERAL FUNDING FOR THE DRIFTLESS REGION; WILDLIFE IN SEARCH OF TERRITORY
Part 1: The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing Driftless Area landowners with $1.2 million in conservation funding to support improvement projects for area forests, waterways, and farmland. We talk with Matt Otto, a Resource Conservationist with the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, George Howe, from the Mississippi Valley Conservancy,
and an area farmer about how the grant program can benefit the area.
Photos: The Driftless Region abounds in spring-fed trout streams (above). Don Schwartz is seeking support to help with conservation efforts on his farm near Wilton (right). (Maureen McCollum/WPR)
Part 2: Earlier this month, a picture of a cougar was detected on a trail camera in northern Buffalo County. Just a half-dozen male cougars have made their way to Wisconsin since 2008. We talk to a wildlife biologist from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources about some of the reasons there have been more rare wildlife sightings in the Badger state in recent years.
July 19, 2012: DROUGHT'S IMPACT ON FARMING; WILL STEGER ON CLIMATE CHANGE
Part 1: A drought emergency has been declared for the entire state of Wisconsin by Governor Scott Walker. Reports this week from the Drought Monitor and National Weather Service outline just how bad it is. We discuss the impact a sustained drought may have on agriculture with UW-Extension Ag Agent Steve Huntzicker, and then hear from Harriet Behar, an organic specialist with Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services , or MOSES, about how organic farmers are fairing.
Part 2: Minnesota native Will Steger, a longtime explorer of the earth's Polar Regions, has first-hand knowledge of the impact climate change is having on our world. We revisit an interview we did with Will Steger during his visit to UW-La Crosse this past winter. He currently lives in Ely, MN where he heads up the Will Steger Foundation.
July 12, 2012: PRACTICING SUSTAINABILITY -- GAINING GROUND IN THE REGION
Part 1: While people around the country are increasingly discussing the importance of sustainability in their communities, some organizations around the Coulee Region are actually practicing what they preach. We talk with Luther College professor of religion Jim Martin-Schramm about the Decorah, Iowa college's goal to be carbon neutral by 2030. Martin-Schramm specializes in environmental ethics and coordinates the college's sustainability programs.
We also visit with Tom Thompson, the Sustainability Coordinator for Gundersen Lutheran, in La Crosse, about the health system's goal of being energy independent by 2014.
Part 2: An update on Sustainable La Crosse - efforts by the City of La Crosse and La Crosse County's to save energy and reduce waste. Our guests include Raintry Jean Salk, an assistant professor of sustainable management at Viterbo University; Amy Peterson, the City of La Crosse's Planning and Economic Development Administrator; and Nick Nichols, the La Crosse County Ssutainability Coordinator.
July 5, 2012: BEATING THE HEAT; ADVANCING LA CROSSE'S STORMWATER UTILITY PROJECT
Part 1: This week's extended heat and high humidity is coming to an end, but not without creating health-threatening situations for area residents, growing concerns about drought, and lots of new records for the weather record books. We have the latest from the National Weather Service, and reminders of how to protect ourselves from heat-related health issues. Learn more from:
* National Weather Service
* Alert La Crosse
* Ready Wisconsin (Wisconsin Emergency Management)
Part 2: The city of La Crosse is in the process of beginning a stormwater utility. Homes and businesses will soon start seeing quarterly bills designed to help improve stormwater quality that's discharged into the Mississippi River. It will also help reduce problems with localized street flooding over time. Learn more about property changes that can be made to receive credits and reduce stormwater utility bills.
June 28, 2012: SUMMER FOOD PROGRAMS FOR YOUTH; THE "LA CROSSE PROMISE"
Part 1: The effort to feed children in the summer. WPR's Steve Roisum takes us on an audio tour with the Salvation Army's Feed the Kids program. We also talk with the Viroqua and La Crosse school nutrition officials about the summer meal program now offered to more than just students.
To learn more, visit:
* Feeding America's "Map the Meal Gap" project
* The Salvation Army, La Crosse
* The La Crosse School District's Summer Breakfast and Lunch Program
* Viroqua School District
* The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Summer Food Service Program
Photo: Volunteers fill sack lunches for the Salvation Army "Feed The Kids" program.
Part 2: We talk to those behind the idea of the La Crosse Promise , an economic development plan that would help ensure high school students from La Crosse have money for higher education.
June 21, 2012: HISTORIC PRESERVATION IN LA CROSSE
Part 1: A trip down memory lane through historic preservation. We talk about efforts to restore the Hollywood Theater in downtown La Crosse, historic tourism with a trip to La Crosse's Hixon House, and the efforts of a group of people to preserve the McGilvray-Seven Bridges Road in northwestern La Crosse County.
Hollywood: The lights recently turned back on outside the Hollywood Theater, after it was purchased by Phil and Julie Addis. (Maureen McCollum/WPR)
Part 2: We talk with the president of the Preservation Alliance of La Crosse Barbara Kooiman and Mike Keil, a local developer of historic buildings about the state of historic preservation in the La Crosse area.
June 14, 2012: ADVANCING BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT IN THE COULEE REGION
Part 1: A discussion with Sue Noble, executive director of the Vernon Economic Development Association. VEDA has won several awards in its five years of existence giving advice to small businesses. VEDA is also a driving force behind the Food Enterprise Center, a reclamation project of a former manufacturing plant in Viroqua that helps small businesses with a food or wellness component. (Learn more at Fifth Season Cooperative. )
Part 2: An interview with the regional director and the Wisconsin director of the U.S. Small Business Administration. They maintain it's a good time to start a small business, and despite the perception of a yet uncertain economy, plenty of financial help is available for smaller companies.
June 7, 2012: POST-RECALL: WHAT'S NEXT?
Parts 1 & 2: What is the fallout from the June 5 recall elections? GOP Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch survived, but Democrats gained control of the Wisconsin Senate and now share power with Republicans who control the Assembly. UW-La Crosse political scientist Joe Heim, Democratic state Rep. Jill Billings of La Crosse, and La Crosse County Republican Party chair Julian Bradley join us for a panel discussion of what's next for Wisconsin politics.
Photo: Panelists Julian Bradley, Jill Billings, and Joe Heim in the WPR-La Crosse studio.
May 31, 2012: FOOD CO-OPS AND PROVIDING LOCAL FOODS; WHO OWNS THE WATER?
Part 1: A discussion about the growing food cooperative industry and local foods movement with Viroqua Food Co-op General Manager Jan Rasikas and La Crosse People's Food Co-op General Manager Michelle Schry.
* Web Extra: An extended interview with Viroqua Food Co-op's Jan Rasikas and People's Food Co-op's Michelle Schry. Topics include how they decide to sell the products they do and why, for example, a product like Coca Cola is offered.
* A listing of La Crosse-area Farmers Markets is available from La Crosse County Environmental Health.
Part 2: A recent lecture by Onalaska conservationist Marc Schultz about the question of "Who owns the water?" Marc spoke to the League of Women Voters of the La Crosse Area in early May.
May 24, 2012: TEENS AGING OUT OF SUPPORT SERVICES, PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE
Part 1: It can be difficult for teenagers with disabilities to turn 18 and find themselves in a job or in college without the support system they've grown up with. We talk with Ahna Geiwitz and her mom Karen of La Crosse; and Steve Johnson, a disability independence advocate, and Liza Collins, a social worker, with Aging and Disability Resources of Western Wisconsin about where children and their families can turn.
Part 2: We continue the discussion about disabled teens "aging out" of their support system and preview a conference called "The Next Step" taking place on Thursday, May 31 from 4:00-7:30 pm at Western Technical College's Lunda Center.
May 17, 2012: REACTION TO THE CAPX2020 POWER LINES DECISION; DNR PLANS TO HELP CLEAN UP RIVER PROPERTY IN LA CROSSE
Part 1: We have reaction to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission's decision to approve the CapX2020 project in western Wisconsin that will expand power lines between Alma and Holmen. Interviews include someone from the utilities, the president of the village of Holmen and a Galesville woman whose property will be affected by the project. Detailed maps can be found here
Part 2: The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources awarded a $250,000 Brownfields grant to clean up what's known as the 12 acre Patros property near the Black and Mississippi Rivers. Patros is part of a much larger 65 acre development the city of La Crosse owns just north of downtown. We talk with a DNR employee about the award and importance of the program that helps reclaim urban lands. We also talk with two La Crosse officials about plans to redevelop the land.
Archives of this show will be available following its broadcast.
May 10, 2012: JOBS FOR COLLEGE GRADS; ASSESSING NEEDS FOR A NEW LA CROSSE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Part 1: More than 3,000 college students graduate this weekend from Western Technical College, Viterbo University and UW-La Crosse. We convene a round table of career professionals at each school to examine the strength of the job market.
Part 2: The La Crosse school district is surveying community members about a number of educational topics, first and foremost whether people support the concept of a new elementary school on the city's northside. Superintendent Randy Nelson joins us to talk about the issues surrounding the need for a new school.
Archives of this program will be available following the 5 p.m. broadcast.
May 3, 2012: LA CROSSE-AREA NATIVE COMPETES IN WARRIOR GAMES; SPRING WEATHER IMPACTS PLANTS/TREES
Part 1: An inspiring conversation with a Coulee Region native and wounded soldier who's competing in the Olympic-style Warrior Games in Colorado soon. Retired Army Staff Sergeant Chanda Gaeth is originally from French Island. We also have part of a recent interview we did with retired La Crosse Police Chief Ed Kondracki who left office last week.
Photo: Ret. Army Staff Sgt. Chanda Gaeth, a La Crosse, Wis., native, practices for the 2012 Warrior Games at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., April 23, 2012. The games feature injured, ill and wounded veterans and service members from across the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard in a variety of competitive sports, which highlight their strength, resilience and fitness. (Jennifer Spradlin/DVIDS)
Part 2: Extension agriculture agent Steve Huntzicker about the unusual Spring weather and the impact it could have on plants and trees.
April 26, 2012: THE GROWING DRUG AND ADDICTION DILEMMA; RECYCLING OUR SOLID WASTE
Part 1: Since 2010, law enforcement and drug counselors have noticed an increase in drug arrests and addiction for heroin and opiates. We talk with Coulee Council on Addictions Executive Director Pat Ruda and Hiawatha Valley Mental Health counselor Brett Knutson about the issue.
Part 2: As part of Earth Week, we talked to La Crosse County solid waste department officials about present and future efforts to recycle waste. Right now, about 42 percent of the waste the county receives is diverted to places other than the landfill.
Audio archives of this show will be available following broadcast, Thursday, April 26.
April 19, 2012: THE PREVALENCE OF BULLYING; EFFORTS TO CURB LA CROSSE-AREA CHILD ABUSE
Part 1: In 1996, Jamie Nabozny of Ashland, Wisconsin became the first person to file and win a federal lawsuit related to bullying he encountered in middle and high school for being gay. The lawsuit has helped hold school administrators more accountable for the negative behavior of bullying. With efforts to reduce bullying increasing in recent years, we talk to Nabozny and UW-La Crosse pride center director Will Van Roosenbeek about the issue.
Part 2: La Crosse County had 3,000 reported cases of child abuse in 2011. While that may seem like a lot, it's really average for Wisconsin counties of similar size. People who deal with child abuse estimate another 9,000 child abuse incidents went unreported last year in La Crosse County. April is child abuse prevention month, and we talked to the President and CEO of the Family and Children's Center Mike Boehm, Nancy Pohlman, the manager of the Family and Children's section of the La Crosse County Human Services department and Great Rivers United Way President James Falvey about the scope of the problem.
April 12, 2012: WISCONSIN JUSTICES VISIT LA CROSSE; POLITIFACT'S BILL ADAIR
Part 1: Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices Shirley Abrahamson and Ann Walsh Bradley were in La Crosse this week speaking about celebrating the contributions of Wisconsin women. A media panel also asked them about recent discord among the justices, and whether or not the court would soon consider a controversial voter ID law that the state's circuit courts have said is not legal.
Photo: Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Ann Walsh Bradley and Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson. (Tami Bartels/WPR)
Web Extra: A video of Chief Justice Abrahamson and Justice Bradley presenting "Wisconsin Women: Celebrating Their Contributions" at UW-La Crosse. The program focused on monumental moments for women in the state's history.
Part 2: Politicians have been known to stretch the truth from time to time. Politifact.com was created to hold the politicians and pundits to the truth. The editor of Politifact is Bill Adair, he's also the Washington, D.C. bureau chief for the Tampa Bay Times. He spoke to a number of groups in La Crosse this week.
April 5, 2012: APRIL BRINGS WITH IT A RETURN TO SEVERE WEATHER...AND THE TAX COLLECTOR!
Part 1: Our weather has been a bit of a roller-coaster for many months...record-setting warmth, dryer than normal precipitation, and now the severe weather season. We talk with National Weather Service-La Crosse meteorologists Dan Baumgardt and Jeff Boyne who look ahead to this year's severe weather season, and back at recent weather patterns, record warmth and ongoing drought conditions. Severe weather awareness week details and information brochures are available through the NWS's "Preparedness" website.
Part 2:Wisconsin Department of Revenue Secretary Richard Chandler talks taxes. With residents having less than two weeks to file their tax returns, Chandler gives advice on filing and also talks about changes to taxes in the state.
Assistance in preparing tax returns is available here; additional information is available through the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.
March 29, 2012: ASIAN CARP CONTINUE THEIR TREK UP THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER; LA CROSSE'S POLICE CHIEF IS STEPPING DOWN
Part 1: Earlier this month, a silver carp was found in the Mississippi River near Winona. That's the farthest north that type of Asian carp has been found. Army Corps of Engineers' St. Paul District commander and district engineer Col. Michael Price talks about actions the Army Corps has taken since that carp was discovered. Also, USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center Aquatic Ecosystem Health Branch Manager Mark Gaikowski discusses different control methods his office is studying.
Part 2: La Crosse Police Chief Ed Kondracki is retiring at the end of April. Hear him reflect on his career and how the community has changed over his 19 years with the department.
Photo: La Crosse Police Chief Ed Kondracki. (Maureen McCollum/WPR)
March 22, 2012: AARP'S "YOU'VE EARNED A SAY" INITIATIVE; DOCUMENTING LIBERATION EFFORTS DURING WWII
Part 1: There's a new national dialogue underway to address the future of Social Security and Medicare -- Wisconsin's series of conversations began this week in La Crosse. We talk with organizers from AARP-Wisconsin about this new initiative and what they hope to accomplish; Lisa Lamkins is the federal issues advocacy director for the AARP-Wisconsin office in Madison, and Pat Killeen is an AARP volunteer-advocate who lives in La Crosse. Learn more about this series of conversations at "You've Earned a Say".
Part 2: Hear from Stevens Point resident and veteran John Regnier, who witnessed and experienced major WWII events, such as the Battle of the Bulge and the liberation of a slave labor camp. He's joined by La Crosse Aquinas High School junior Sean Van Domelen, who made a documentary about Renier's experiences. Both presented at Viterbo University's Holocaust Educators Workshop held this week.
March 15, 2012: WISCONSIN CONGRESSMAN RON KIND
Part 1: Congressman Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) talks about the latest bipartisan effort to receive federal funding to replace the Stillwater Bridge, future Mississippi River projects, and the Farm Bill.
Part 2: The discussion with Kind continues as he addresses his future in politics, the CapX2020 and ATC energy transmission upgrades, and the situations in the Middle East.
Photo: Congressman Ron Kind talks with reporters in WPR's La Crosse studios. (Tami Bartels/WPR)
March 8, 2012: SPRING MIGRATION, EAGLES AND MORE
Part 1: Scott Mehus, Education Director at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota, and La Crosse-based Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Biologist Craig Thompson discuss this year's atypical winter weather, its effects on migrating birds, resident eagles, and places to observe both.
Part 2: Mehus and Thompson continue the discussion, looking at habitat, the impact of human development, and the future.
Craig Thompson and his efforts to save bird habitat is explored in the Wisconsin Public Television documentary, Our Birds, released in 2011. WPR's John Gaddo reported on this project in May 2011. Listen to that report here.
March 1, 2012: HOUSING, TAXES AND THE FUTURE OF LA CROSSE'S NEIGHBORHOODS
Part 1: A joint city/county of La Crosse Housing Task Force is hoping to improve upon aging and low-valued housing in La Crosse. The task force met regularly since last June and recently wrapped up its meetings, but in the end, produced a final report, complete with recommendations to improve housing. We talked about the group's work with Task Force Chair and President of Gerrard-Hoeschler Realtors Rick Staff, Task Force member and Couleecap Housing Director Todd Mandel, as well as La Crosse County Community Development Specialist Brian Fukuda, who helped compile the report.
Part 2: If the housing stock is to improve in the city of La Crosse, people who own the homes will have to lead the way. We wanted to get the perspective on housing issues from people who are players at the neighborhood level. Sara Sullivan is a city council member and the chair of the Neighborhood Revitalization Commission in La Crosse. Randy Magno heads the Washburn Neighborhood Association and also sits on the commission.
This edition of Newsmakers is part of WPR's multi-part series of reports focused on making sense of housing in La Crosse: the taxes, the rentals, the future of neighborhoods. Additional reports are available on our La Crosse News Specials archive page.
February 23, 2012: WILL STEGER VISITS LA CROSSE; JIM JORSTAD REPORTS ON WISCONSIN FOR SOCIAL MEDIA
Part 1: Famed Minnesota native and polar explorer Will Steger was in La Crosse this week talking about climate change. During an interview with a media panel, he talked about how he became a polar explorer, his storied career, and climate change, a passion that drives his work today.
Listen to the entire Steger discussion.
Part 2: How news travels fast today and gathering the news can change a person's life. We talk with UW-La Crosse Academic Technology Services Director Jim Jorstad who suddenly got involved in researching and following the political drama in Wisconsin a year ago through CNN's iReports. Here's an example of a CNN iReport on the Wisconsin Recall.
February 16, 2012: CITY ADMINISTRATORS...THE PROS AND CONS
Part 1: People in the city of La Crosse go to the polls April 3 to vote on a binding referendum on whether or not the city should hire an administrator to run the day-to-day affairs at city hall. We bring you part of a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Greater La Crosse, UW-La Crosse political science department and the UW-La Crosse Legislative Relations Committee. This segment features Dr. Karl Nollenberger, professor at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and Ed Madere,City/County Manager Association's Range Rider Program
Part 2: In the continuation of a public forum designed to weigh the pros and cons of a city administrator, we feature the perspective of two-term city of Beaver Dam Mayor Tom Kennedy.
* Listen to the entire panel discussion.
* Listen to additional WPR stories on this issue.
* Opposing views from the La Crosse Tea Party.
* In December, we talked with La Crosse City Council members Jim Bloedorn, who opposes the idea, and Dick Swantz, who favors it. That conversation is available here.
February 9, 2012: WISCONSIN'S AFRICAN-AMERICAN CONNECTIONS TO THE CIVIL WAR
On the occasion of Black History Month, we look back at this past year's recognition of the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War with a specific focus on Wisconsin African-Americans connected to the war, their involvement in both the Union and Confederate Armies, and their eventual role in shaping the state.
This program was first broadcast in July (2011), the month we celebrate Independence Day, and a time Americans from all walks of life celebrate the sense of freedom realized by living in the United States. The Civil War, which began in 1861, led to many new "freedoms" that
underscore what this nation is all about. And while we typically think of the Civil War as an event that took place in the south, it reached north to Wisconsin and beyond. We share some of that story in this edition of Newsmakers.
List to part one and part two.
Arthur "Green" Reese (left) served in the Confederate and Union armies during the Civil War. He says he was born a freeman and raised by gypsies, although his family says that's unclear. After the war, Reese moved to Waukesha and ran a barber shop. He lived to be 103. (Photo courtesy of Pat Roberson)
John J. Valentine (above) of Janesville, WI, enlisted in the Union army at age 42. He is one of 353 African-Americans in Wisconsin who volunteered to fight in the war. (Photo courtesy of Pat Roberson)
February 2, 2012: COMPASS 2012 REPORT; EDUCATION FOUNDATIONS
Part 1: Alcohol abuse, low wages and health care access remain major problems in the Compass Now 2012 survey done by the Great Rivers United Way and other Coulee region organizations. The challenges aren't that much different from when the first survey was done in 1995. We talk with James Falvey, Great Rivers United Way president, and Diana DiazGranados, the Compass survey coordinator, about the report that looks at human needs in a five county area.
Read the full report: 2012 Compass Now
Part 2: In an interview first broadcast last December, we talk about the growing importance of public education foundations to bring extras to the classroom. Our guests include La Crosse Public Education Foundation executive director Geva Thole and Lauri Berg, president of the Onalaska Foundation for Educational Excellence.
January 19, 2012: THE COST OF MENTAL ILLNESS IN AND AROUND LA CROSSE
Part 1: A new study indicates that over $52-million dollars was spent to treat mental illness in the La Crosse area in 2009 and 2010. We talk with the study's author, Tara De Long, and Patti Jo Severson, co-chair with the Mental Health Coalition of the Greater La Crosse Area and co-president of the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Read the full report at: The Burden of Mental Illness: A Report on La Crosse and the Surrounding Region ; and learn more at:
* Mental Health Coalition of the Greater La Crosse Area
* National Alliance of Mental Illness
Part 2: Author and journalist Kathy Cronkite -- daughter of the late television journalist Walter Cronkite -- talks about living with depression and ways to end the stigma that surrounds mental illness. She was in La Crosse this past fall to speak at the annual luncheon to benefit the Women's Fund of Greater La Crosse. (First broadcast in October 2011.)
January 12, 2012: WISCONSIN'S READ TO LEAD INITIATIVE
Over the past two decades, children across the country have been falling behind on learning how to read. A task force created by Governor Scott Walker has released a series of recommendations designed to reverse that. In part one of Newsmakers, we explore Wisconsin's "Read to Lead" efforts and what it could mean for local schools. Listen to this part of Newsmakers here. Learn more from the Wisconsin Reading Coalition and the Read to Lead Task Force Report.
In part two, we hear from Governor Walker whose recent visit to Stoddard included reading to students and sharing his thoughts on the
"Read to Lead" initiative with local media. We also hear from DeSoto
Area Schools superintendent James Kuchta. Part two can be heard here.
Listen to an extended version of Walker's reading of Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go to Stoddard Elementary School third graders (on January 6, 2012) here.
January 5, 2012: PARKLAND VERSUS DEVELOPMENT; WISCONSIN'S VOTER ID LAW
Should a popular bluff-top recreational area near La Crosse's Hixon Forest become a full-fledged park, or should part of the land be reserved for development? That's a question before the La Crosse City Council. We hear the perspectives of La Crosse's Parks and Recreation Director Steve Carlyon and city council member Jim Bloedorn in the first part of this week's Newsmakers which can be heard here.
Details of Wisconsin's new Voter ID law are still creating confusion for voters as they approach 2012 elections ? so efforts are underway to help explain the law and guide those who need assistance to people and places willing to provide some help. We learn about local efforts in part two of Newsmakers.
Learn All About the New Voter ID Law at these meetings:
* Tuesday, January 10, 2012, 10:30AM Onalaska City Hall
* Wednesday, January 11, 2012, 1:30PM Holmen Village Hall
* Thursday, January 12, 2012, 1:30PM West Salem Village Hall
* Friday, January 13, 2012, 10:30AM La Crosse City Hall
What is an acceptable ID?
How & Where to get a free ID
How to get a copy of a birth certificate
Mail in registration and voting
Call 888-300-9796 for transportation to get your ID or to attend one of the educational seminars listed above. Representatives from the League of Women Voters, AARP and the Aging Unit will be there to assist you with filling in the correct forms, giving assistance and answering questions. Need more information? Call 608-785-9710
Additional NEWSMAKERS archives can be found at 2010-2011 Newsmakers shows.
SPECIALS: Timely reports and interviews on current issues.
(you must have RealPlayer - see above for details)
BLACK HISTORY MONTH, FEBRUARY 2011
Members of UW-La Crosse student-organization Black Student Unity share their thoughts on historic events and people who influenced their lives, but also question why textbooks and school curriculum don't introduce these stories into student's education earlier. WPR reporter Steve Roisum produced this two-part feature.
Listen to part one of the broadcast here (broadcast 2-24-11); Listen to part two here(broadcast 2-25-11).
To learn more about UWL's Black Student Unity organization, visit its website here. For more about Black History Month, visit the
Association for the Study of African American Life and History.
AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH, April 2010
Autism afflicts an estimated 1- to 1.5-million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and it's among the fastest-growing developmental disabilities in the country. La Crosse County is no different; local officials report they continue to see the numbers grow, with a similar increase in the demand for services to support families challenged by the disorder.
On the occasion of National Autism Awareness Month, Steve Roisum prepared the following series of reports and interviews on autism in the La Crosse area.
Part one: An overview of the disorder with Dr. Deb Olufs, an education specialist with Gunderson Lutheran Health System. Hear part one here. (aired 4-28-10)
Listen to an extended interview with Dr. Olufs here.
Part two: We meet 15-year-old Spencer Mahlun, of rural Holmen, and his family who discuss the challenges of living with autism. Hear part two here. (aired 4-29-10)
Part three: Living with asperger syndrome, a form of autism. Willtrude Aumon talks about how the disorder has impacted her life and her search for employment. Hear part three here. (aired 4-30-10)
Additional information can be found at the following links:
National Autism Association
Autism Society of Wisconsin
Gunderson Lutheran Health System
Franciscan Skemp Healthcare
Meet the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra's new music director, ALEXANDER PLATT!
The La Crosse Symphony Orchestra has named Alexander Platt to the position of music director and conductor of the LSO. Platt was selected from among six finalists for the position, each of whom was a guest for Wisconsin Public Radio's Arts & Entertainment Weekly, part of its partnership with the LSO.
Participating in the conversation, moderated by WPR's John Gaddo, are Terry Rindfleisch of the La Crosse Tribune, and Jim Gallagher, chairman of the LSO's music director search committee.
Meet the new LSO conductor and music director in this extended interview with Alexander Platt. [recorded 4/14/10]
Learn more at La Crosse Symphony Orchestra.
THE LONG ROAD TO RECOVERY
Wisconsin Public Radio began its Long Road to Recovery series of special reports in January 2010. The series features stories from reporters across the state on the current economic climate in Wisconsin and what's being seen on the unemployment front.
In the first of her local reports for this series, Danielle Kaeding spoke to several La Crosse-area officials to get their take on where the Coulee Region stands two years after the recession took hold of the nation. Hear this report here. [first broadcast 1/29/10]
In this second report looking at economic recovery in the La Crosse area, we look into displaced workers and job training. Wisconsin has lost more than 150-thousand jobs since the recession began. Of them, nearly a third occurred in the manufacturing sector. Meanwhile, education and healthcare?two prominent sectors of the La Crosse area economy?saw job gains. Many dislocated workers are looking for those jobs that appear recession proof. For some, as Danielle Kaeding reports, that means additional training or hitting the books once again. Listen here. [first broadcast 2/12/10]
Part three: Tight credit forced some small businesses in Wisconsin to close during the recent recession. Others have been looking for ways to thrive, and government officials have been looking for ways to help whenever possible. Danielle Kaeding reports on how small businesses have fared in the last year?" Hear her report here. [first broadcast 2/16/10]
Part four: It's tough enough to find a job these days, and tougher yet for people with poor work histories or resumes that raise red flags for potential employers. However, one La Crosse program has helped such people find work by creating transitional jobs. Danielle Kaeding followed troubled job-seekers taking part in Workforce Connections' "Constructing Opportunities" program ? which entered its final training session the week of April 18th. Her report can be heard here. [first broadcast 4/7/10, updated for this report on 4/18/10]
Additional reports in this ongoing WPR series, as well as other economic coverage from WPR and Wisconsin Public Television, can be found here.
2010 WISCONSIN LEGISLATIVE SESSION WRAP-UP
As local lawmakers are reporting back on how the 2010 legislative session worked ? or didn't work ? to benefit western Wisconsin residents, Danielle Kaeding found that the session's success depends in part on which side of the aisle you're sitting on. Hear her report here. [first broadcast 4/27/10]
To learn more, listen to extended interviews with Assembly Representatives Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) and Mike Huebsch (R-West Salem).
Arts & Entertainment Weekly: A weekly guide to Coulee Region arts events and activities featuring timely previews, interviews and occasional performances; with host John Gaddo.
"Everything Rhubarb" and Lanesboro's 2010 Rhubarb Festival (aired 6-4-2010)
The 2008 Viroqua Writers Conference (aired 12-19-08)