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Lots of Discussion But Little Agreement At City Meeting On Lead

What was different about Friday’s meeting than the many before it was that community members and city department leaders were equal participants at the Public Safety and Health Committee session. Chairman Bob Donovan said he was hoping for some resolution. The city has been at odds with activists for several years over the city’s response to the risks of lead in lateral pipes that carry city water into private property. “ I know my colleagues agree with me when I say we have an obligation to...


Not All Hives Survived This Bee-rutal Wisconsin Winter

Bees play an important role in our — and nearly every — corner of the world. Eco- and food systems depend on their power to pollinate. With bees already at risk, what sort of impact does extreme weather like the polar vortex have on honey bees in Wisconsin? In Wauwatosa, some of honey bee hobbyist Brad DeLanty's four hives — each a series of stacked wooden boxes called Langstroth systems — didn't fare so well. "This past weekend I came and unfortunately these three hives are gone. So, I...


Don't Worry, Milwaukee's Roverwest Dog Park Is Safe For Your Canine Pals

The practice of designating green space, especially for dogs to romp freely, have become more and more popular. But one dog park in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood has some questioning the safety of the ground where their dogs frolic. What's under the grass at the Roverwest dog park in Riverwest? Some say it was a poisonous dumping ground. Are our dogs safe there? James Bruss submitted those questions to Bubbler Talk — our series that answers your questions about Milwaukee and the region....


Milwaukee High School Students Join International Call For Climate Change Action

More than one hundred students staged a walkout Monday at the Milwaukee School of Languages on the city's west side. It was a follow-up to a global call for action on climate change on Friday orchestrated by teenagers around the globe - from Albania to Venezuela. The rallies were inspired by a spunky Swedish student. Greta Thunberg staged weekly sit-ins outside the Swedish Parliament, criticizing her government for doing too little about climate change. So why did it take the hundred-or-so...


Researcher Hopes A Long-Term Survey Helps Improve Health Of Wisconsinites

For more than a decade a group of Wisconsin researchers based at UW-Madison have been gathering data through a program called SHOW (Survey of the Health of Wisconsin). Kristen Malecki has been involved in the program since its inception, starting as a researcher just before it was about to launch in the field. "Many other investigators and faculty in the Department of Population Health Sciences, including the department chair were responsible for the initial vision and planning for the...


Shorewood Launches Clever Campaign To Keep Dog Poop Out Of Sewers & Waterways

There’s more to being a dog owner than loving and caring for it. Owners also have to deal with their dog’s droppings. The village of Shorewood, just north of Milwaukee, is launching a campaign aimed at keeping dog poop out of local waterways — a daunting environmental challenge, according to an environmental consultant. "There's 73 million dogs in the United States. They generate 40 billion pounds of waste a year. Only a fraction of that is picked up. When it rains it goes into our waterways...


How Do Fish Survive Frigid Conditions In Northern Wisconsin?

Loads of snow in northern Wisconsin has been great for cross-country skiers and snowmobile enthusiasts, but what about for fish? Thick ice coupled with deep snow cover can drive down oxygen levels in lakes. Mike Vogelsang is based in the heart of the snowy winter scene. He’s North District Fisheries Supervisor with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources . “The good news with this winter is all that the heavy snow came late and prior to that we had very little snow cover on the ice and...


What Does Milwaukee’s Lead Service Line Replacement Mandate Mean?

It’s been more than two years since Milwaukee’s lead service line replacement mandate went into effect. Yet questions persist and priorities are questioned. READ: Milwaukee Common Council approves Lead Water Pipe Replacement Ordinance Wednesday during the city’s Public Works Committee, Ald. Bob Bauman was looking for answers. “Under what circumstances the city will mandate a lead service line replacement by the private property owner. We’ve got to line all of that up so we’re clear on what...


Safe Drinking Water Is Top Priority Of Evers' State Budget

During his campaign for governor, Democrat Tony Evers pledged to increase the role of science in the Department of Natural Resources. That’s something that had diminished during the tenure of his Republican predecessor Scott Walker. Evers also promoted renewable energy projects, saying they would both protect Wisconsin resources and boost economic development. When he was sworn into office, Evers mentioned he would take the issue of global warming seriously. But Thursday night during his...


Eco-Friendly Wedding Planning: Have Your Special Day & Be Green Too

Earlier in February in the middle of a snowstorm, people showed up at a Milwaukee event to explore eco-friendly wedding ideas. The green wedding expo, held at the Urban Ecology Center on Milwaukee's East Side, was the brainchild of MaryBeth Kressin. When she got married, Kressin instructed her guests not to buy new clothes for the occasion. She bought decorations at thrift and rummage sales. Instead of generating loads of glasses to washed or wasted, each guest was allotted a single drinking...


Environmentally-Focused Paintings About Great Lakes On Display At Marquette University

Five massive murals are the centerpiece of a body of work created by New York-based artist Alexis Rockman on display at Marquette University’s Haggerty Museum of Art until May 19. Titled The Great Lakes Cycle , the oil paintings explore the lakes’ ecosystems and the impact humans have had on them. Rockman says he gravitated to the natural world early in life. “Growing up in Manhattan, I always longed for wild places as a place of enchantment but they were very much a part of my imagination...


Lead Threat In Milwaukee’s Water Causes Clash Between Community Advocates & City Leaders

The Get The Lead Out Coalition and the Freshwater For Life Action Coalition had been looking forward to formally sharing what they consider compelling evidence to Milwaukee city leaders for weeks. They insist contamination caused lead pipes through which more than 70,000 homes receive city water is as important a threat to public health as lead in paint. A diverse crowd filled the third floor meeting room to watch the conversation unfold at the Common Council's Steering & Rules Committee...


Citizens Speak Out Against Mercury Discharge Into Lake Michigan

We Energies hopes to increase the amount of mercury it is allowed to release from its coal-burning Oak Creek power plant into Lake Michigan. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources held a hearing Monday as part of its review process . Jason Knutson, wastewater section chief with the DNR, attempted to appease the crowd and explain the mind-numbingly complex five-year waste water permit We Energies wants to renew. "I would like to go over some of the noteworthy changes proposed in the...


The Price Of Water & Not Tending To The Pipes That Deliver It

Clean drinking water has become a topic of conversation throughout the U.S. - from arid states worrying about sufficient quantities, to rust belt cities grappling with failing infrastructure and old lead pipes. While the Great Lakes represent one of the world’s largest freshwater systems, its cities are not immune from concerns about drinking water. American Public Media and Great Lakes Today investigated water rates and reported that in recent years water rates have doubled in Cleveland and...


Nature Itself Can Help Combat Climate Change, Report Says

The Nature Conservancy, a conservation group with programs spanning the globe, hopes that a report it compiled will help build the case for “natural” climate solutions. The report lays out how forests, wetlands and agricultural lands can significantly drive down greenhouse gas pollution. The Nature Conservancy also developed a carbon mapper to help people visualize the benefits of natural climate mitigation strategies. Joe Fargione, North America Region science director, says natural climate...


Milwaukee Commission Considers Marcus Center For Historic Designation

Milwaukee’s Historic Preservation Commission voted Monday to consider the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts and its grounds for historic designation. Designed more than a half century ago, the facility fills a large city block along the eastern edge of the Milwaukee River between Kilbourn and State Streets. In 2017 the Marcus Center signed a 99-year lease with Milwaukee County to manage the performing arts complex. It announced plans early this year to update the building and its grounds...


Are Giant Dairy Farms Dangerous For Wisconsin's Waters?

Farming has been a cornerstone of Wisconsin’s heritage and economy, but its landscape is changing. Small family farms have given way to large ones called CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations). The trend has heightened concerns among some that raising large numbers of farm animals is harmful to the environment. Twenty years ago, the CAFO count was close to 90. Today, there are more than 300. While some raise hogs and others poultry, the majority are dairy operations. Water is central...


Can Understanding Earth's Geologic History Help Preserve Our Place On It?

Understanding the enormous timescales in our planet’s long history can be difficult — practically mind-boggling. But Marcia Bjornerud hopes her new book Timefulness: How Thinking Like A Geologist Can Help Save The World makes that history accessible and helps us grasp the magnitude of our effects on the planet. The professor of geology at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis., says the term "timefulness" is a counterpoint to timelessness. “We like things to be unchanging forever and somehow...


What Milwaukee Can Learn From The Flint Water Crisis

Detroit-based journalist Anna Clark's recently-published book The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy is a a deep dive into the public health crisis that continues to reverberate in Flint, Mich. Clark was in Milwaukee Wednesday talking about her research at Marquette University. She hopes other communities can avoid the tragedy that struck Flint where children's health had already been permanently impacted before the city took action. "As in Flint, it’s children’s...


The World's Dangerous For Birds — Fiserv Forum Makes It A Little Safer

The new Bucks arena is the world's first bird-friendly arena, according to the U.S. Green Building Council . Bryan Lenz, bird collision campaign manager with the American Bird Conservancy , had a lot to do with Fiserv Forum's owner's decision to consider bird safety. The world is becoming more perilous for birds. They have to contend with cell towers, pesticides and loss of habitat. Cats alone kill 2.4 billion birds every year in the U.S.; another billion die after colliding into buildings....