News Reporting

Want fireworks? Pass the hat.

When Jim Davis was growing up in blue-collar Austintown, Ohio, in the 1980s, Fourth of July fireworks were the highlight of the year. The best place to view the display was on a dead-end road near his home. He and his friends would tie aluminum cans to parked cars while the owners were watching the display, then delight in the noisy ruckus when the spectators drove away. “It became a local tradition,” says Mr. Davis, who is now a town trustee. “We started saving soda pop cans and beer cans all year long.”

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Are new voter ID laws an assault on the “Greatest Generation?”

Genevieve Winslow of Milwaukee belongs is a member of the Greatest Generation. In 1948, at age 20, she married Alex Winslow, who fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Beginning a year later, at 21, she’s voted in nearly every election since. Now, she worries she might get turned away at the polls in the future.
It is a common concern among older Americans living in states that have enacted photo ID requirements for voting. Passed by Republican state legislatures as a hedge against voter fraud, the laws have been assailed by critics who say they discriminate against the elderly and minorities.

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (l.) looks on as Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President Charlotte Jones Anderson speaks at a press conference
Christian Science Monitor

NFL domestic violence policy matters to more than just football wives

Twenty years after a crime spree that shocked Wisconsin, Susan Oswald Williams still regrets that she was unable to free her teenage son, Ted, from the grip of her violent ex-husband. When domestic abuse made national headlines in the wake of NFL player Ray Rice’s arrest, Williams tracked me down (I had covered the Oswald crime) and found the courage to tell her story.

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Trump endorses Ryan in House race, McCain and Ayotte in Senate contests

I covered an appearance in Milwaukee by Democratic vice presidential nominee, Sen. Tim Kaine, for the Washington Post, shortly after Wisconsin’s new voter ID laws were struck down in court. Presidential hopeful Donald Trump made an appearance in Green Bay, Wis., the same day, so the Post combined the stories, with Trump’s endorsement of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan as the lead news, but I nabbed the quotes in which Kaine not so subtly blasted Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

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Sinking economy could mean rise in employee theft

Statistics compiled by the National White Collar Crime Center and the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance show that embezzlement by employees may be on the rise during the current economic downturn — at a time when businesses can least afford the losses associated with employee theft.

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Milwaukee City Hall earns recognition for energy efficiency

Century-old historical landmarks and ‘green’ buildings might seem worlds apart, but hidden within the ornate, steeplelike Milwaukee City Hall, constructed in 1895 and recently renovated to the tune of $70 million, is a 21st-century success story: The City Hall complex, which includes two attached office buildings, has earned silver LEED certification for energy efficiency.

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Manufacturers wary of new e-waste recycling bill

As sweeping new legislation regarding disposal of electronic waste moves through the Legislature, some technology groups and recycling businesses are lauding the measure even as electronics manufacturers say it places an impossible task on them to control what happens to their products once in the hands of consumers.

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Real estate pros lukewarm to Walker’s HSA relief proposal; some disappointed by high-speed rail loss

Wisconsin’s real estate trade association had vigorously backed Scott Walker’s bid for governor, but individual real estate professionals appear underwhelmed by Walker’s proposed tax break on health savings accounts and divided over his decision to kill high speed rail. Although real estate professionals, who are largely self-employed, say any break on health insurancecosts is a step in the right direction, they say job growth and mortgage loan incentives would be more likely to rescue their struggling industry.

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