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Local Advocates Celebrate Bird & Bee Days

Sunday May 20 signals two “world events” - World Migratory Bird Day and the first World Bee Day. A couple of groups in the Milwaukee area are concerned about the health of the populations and will shine a light on their importance Sunday. WORLD BEE DAY On December 17, 2017 the General Assembly of the United Nations unanimously declared May 20 World Bee Day: “ (Inviting) all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system, other international and regional organizations and civil...


Schlitz Audubon Nature Center's Partnerships Help On The Ground & In Its Canopy

Unexpected partnerships are helping the 40-year-old Schlitz Audubon Nature Center manage its 85 acres along Lake Michigan’s shore in Bayside, Wisconsin. David Pacifico coordinates research and policy in Cardinal Stritch University's School of Continuing and On-line Learning. He also holds a PhD in Anthropology. Digging into how people from long ago lived their lives is Pacifico's passion. And, that passion resulted in him wanting to figure out what people left behind on the landscape that is...


Oak Creek Transforms Industrial Brownfield Into Greenspace

It took 10 years and over $7 million to create Lake Vista Park in Oak Creek. The project is far more than a facelift of the 98-acre parcel overlooking Lake Michigan. Back in the 1920s and 1930s, a chemical plant operated there, leaving behind arsenic and other contaminants. The City of Oak Creek has gradually transformed the lakefront property, featuring tall grasses and native plants. But first crews had to carefully cap most of the site with two-feet of clay. Oak Creek environmental...


Mequon Nature Preserve's Fairy Shrimp: Will They Survive?

Have you ever heard of fairy shrimp? Until recently, I hadn’t. Mequon Nature Preserve, located at the southern edge of Ozaukee County, is home to the teeny, tiny crustacean.


Could Lead-Contaminated Water Lead To Infant Death?

Sherrie Tussler, executive director of Milwaukee's Hunger Task Force , says it’s her job to make sure kids eat healthy food, not to talk about infant mortality. But earlier this year – on Valentine’s Day to be exact – Tussler says she learned something startling. “Forty to 49 infant deaths occurred along North Avenue from 2012 to 2016,” she says. Tussler thinks the cause might be lead in water. That's because of a map she obtained after a Common Council committee meeting last January. “I...


Milwaukee Teen Leadership Program Makes Neighborhood Greenhouse Its Home

In 1931 Webers Greenhouses opened on Green Bay Avenue, north of Capitol Drive. Two years ago it closed, but starting this weekend it will become a greenhouse and experiential learning headquarters to an internship program called Teens Grow Greens . Nursery manager Claire Muza will oversee all living things in four greenhouses this season. Before she joined Teens Grow Greens, Muza ran her own vintage clothing business, but it doesn’t take long to realize that plants and soil run deep in the...


The State of Wisconsin's Air

The American Lung Association recently issued its annual State of the Air report . Parts of Wisconsin fared very well - others, not so much. For nearly two decades the group has taken air quality data from the EPA and departments of natural resources from each state. Individual cities and counties are graded based on the latest EPA standards. It turns out that warm weather played a big role in our air quality over the last few years. "Of course, we can’t control the weather, which is why...


Madison Foundation Hopes Interactive Climate Change Website Cultivates Action

The Outrider Foundation 's website opens with a dramatic satellite view of the earth slowly rotating as the sun blazes in the background. Click on climate change and images of intensely populated, highly industrialized scenes unfold. A giant ice formation crashes into an icy sea. Tia Nelson is managing director of climate at the Outrider Foundation. It created this website, Nelson says, to educate people. “Learn how climate change impacts you and all of us no matter where we live from...


Salamander Influences IKEA Development in Oak Creek

Wildlife probably doesn't automatically come to mind when we think about the excitement about the soon-to-open giant home furnishings store. But Julia Robson thought about it. She was natural areas coordinator with Milwaukee County Parks as the IKEA site has been under construction. Robson has spent a lot of time in Falk Park. The 222-acre parcel stands just north and west of the new store. Now a 3-foot tall wooden fence divides them. It’s not for show. The structure is called an amphibian...


Foxconn Clears Major Environmental Hurdles

Foxconn's massive manufacturing project slated to take shape in what is currently rural Racine County successfully jumped through two major environmental hoops this week.


Kenosha Hopes New Financial Formula Will Speed Up Replacement of Lead Pipes

Kenosha hopes to roll out a plan that requires homeowners to replace their lead pipes, but at the same time, helps them finance the project. Water utility manager Ed St. Peter has been working on the idea for a while, saying he wants to expeditiously replace every inch of the city’s 8800 lead lines that connect homes to water mains. The city owns the pipe from the water main to the property line; while the homeowner is responsible from the property line to the building. Without dramatic...


Wauwatosa: One Of Many Wisconsin Communities Grappling With Lead In Water

The community four miles west of downtown Milwaukee shares a problem with its neighbor. Thousands of lead service lines deliver water from the main into Wauwatosa households. Public Works director David Simpson estimates nearly 10,000 of its 15,000 customers. Simpson says Wauwatosa recently changed its policy surrounding pipes that break, “We replace the entire city side. So if we have a break on the city-owned lateral, we’ll go in and replace the entire city-owned side.” Simpson says before...


$3 Million Grant Awarded To Help Restore Milwaukee Wetland

Update: The EPA awarded the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee a $3 million grant to help restore the Grand Trunk wetland in the city's Harbor District. "Milwaukee's landscape has changed significantly over the past 200 years, and the wetland marshes that dominated the center of the City have all but vanished," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said in a news release Tuesday. "This restoration work will reestablish a small portion of that wetland." Original post, December 4, 2017:...


Two Takes On Milwaukee's Lead In Water Challenge

It’s hard to get away from discussions about lead in Milwaukee this days. Meet two people who understand the issues but have lingering concerns. Carol Hayes – Riverwest Resident Like many people Hayes’ awareness of the risks associated with lead in water date back the crisis in Flint, Michigan. She was quite sure her duplex - built in 1924 - had lead service lines, but had trouble sorting out how best to filter her water and that of her upstairs tenants. Hayes went to the City of Milwaukee’s...


Manager of Milwaukee's Embattled Childhood Lead Program Suspended

Longtime Milwaukee Health Department employee Lisa Lien, who coordinated the city’s struggling childhood lead program, has been suspended. Just hours before that news broke Monday, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett held a press event on the topic of lead but didn't say a word about Lien. She worked in various capacities at the health department for 26 years; nine years ago assuming leadership of its Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program . The program has been under intense scrutiny since...


Marquette University Scientist Proves Rice Will Grow In Wisconsin

Rice typically is grown in hot, humid areas. Yet, a Marquette University researcher has successfully cultivated a small crop on the edge of Milwaukee.


Neighbors of Oak Creek Power Plant Demand Transition to Cleaner Energy

A month ago, winds blew dust off a huge pile of coal, stored outside of the We Energies' Oak Creek Power Plant onto homes and cars of families just north of the operation. The episode seems to have galvanized broader concerns among neighbors about the health impacts of the coal-burning plant. Over 160 people attending a listening session with We Energies executives filled an Oak Creek Library meeting room to capacity Wednesday evening. Hand-written ground rules were posted to remind people...


Small Crowd Gathers For Public Hearing On Air Permits Requested by Foxconn

About four weeks ago so many people crowded the SC Johnson iMet Center in Sturtevant, they had to be shuttled in from a nearby movie theater parking lot. The topic of that hearing was the City of Racine’s request to divert Lake Michigan water so that Foxconn can pump up to 7 million gallons a day to feed its water-intensive manufacturing system. On Tuesday the DNR gave people a chance to have their say about the rules Foxconn must follow if granted air permits for the massive plant. Kristin...


Milwaukee Advocacy Group Says Mayor's Lead in Water Efforts Fall Woefully Short

A group called FLAC – Freshwater For Life Action Coalition - formed out of concern about Milwaukee’s lead in water problem. Spokesperson Robert Miranda calls it a major public health issue. He requested records from January 2015 through 2017 of meetings Mayor Barrett held with the Milwaukee Health Department; he wanted to determine how frequently the health department’s progress in informing the public and later, as it began distributing free water filters was discussed. Miranda says...


Reducing Your Expose To Lead: Workshop Wednesday Aims To Help Milwaukee Families

Milwaukee has a lead problem. Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers isn't waiting for city leaders to come up with a comprehensive plan, instead it is holding workshops to inform families how to better protect themselves.


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