Will Cushman - PBS Wisconsin

Will Cushman

email | @Will_Cushman

Will Cushman is an associate editor at WisContext.

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Will's Recent Stories

A growing Wisconsin brewery faces high demand, tight supply

Economy

A growing Wisconsin brewery faces high demand, tight supply

The pandemic and international conflict have wreaked havoc with supply chains around the world – Octopi Brewing is adjusting to these increasingly uncertain business conditions, trying to keep raw materials flowing and machinery running as interest in its canned beverages grows.

Wednesday May 25, 2022


A pack of Paxlovid sits on a table with the evening doses opened to show the pills.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Antiviral use low as another Omicron wave builds

Health officials urge more people to seek out therapeutics after COVID-19 infection, particularly as multiple subvariants lead to the highest reports of new cases and hospitalizations in several months.

Thursday May 19, 2022


A plastic tray containing COVID-19 testing materials sits next to an instruction manual on top of a wood table.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Hospitalizations creep up, interrupting a pandemic lull

Multiple Omicron subvariants are fueling a new rise in transmission around the state, ending a multi-month downswing – at the same time, health officials are promoting the growing availability of antiviral medications that reduce the risk of serious disease.

Thursday May 5, 2022


Tourists go down waterslides and float on tubes in a lazy river in an outdoor waterpark, with multistory hotel buildings in the background.

Economy

Wisconsin’s tourism jobs see rebounding interest by international workers in 2022

Hospitality businesses around the state struggled through the pandemic, first with a drop in demand and subsequently with filling open positions, but hopes are high in the Wisconsin Dells area that the number of students getting J-1 work visas will address seasonal labor needs.

Thursday April 28, 2022


A masked passenger disembarks from a bus while another passenger wearing a mask sits at a bus stop

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Most public transportation goes mask-optional amid rising case counts

Local officials in the state’s largest metro areas have responded differently to the abrupt end of a federal pandemic rule requiring masks on buses, commercial flights, and other public transportation.

Friday April 22, 2022


Fast Facts: Wisconsin’s rising housing costs

Economy

Fast Facts: Wisconsin’s rising housing costs

The price of a place to live is on the rise in Wisconsin, in terms of both real estate and rent, as changing demographics help drive high demand amid a limited housing supply, with each factor intensified in the wake of the pandemic.

Friday April 15, 2022


A close-up image shows several turkeys huddled together in a flock.

Agriculture

What the 2022 bird flu outbreak means for Wisconsin poultry

Poultry producers and government regulators in Wisconsin are closely monitoring the spread of the H5N1 avian influenza virus among chickens, turkeys and wild birds around the state, putting biosecurity measures in place and depopulating infected flocks.

Thursday April 14, 2022


A hospital bed surrounded by medical equipment sits empty as seen through a door.

Coronavirus

What more at-home COVID-19 tests mean for Wisconsin’s pandemic surveillance

A new coronavirus subvariant is spreading, a combination of vaccination and past infections have provided some level of broad immunity, and public health officials are keeping tabs on multiple data sources — case counts, hospitalizations and wastewater — to gauge the threat of emerging outbreaks.

Thursday April 7, 2022


Cavalier Johnson grasps the hand of one supporter and smiles at another while standing in a crowd in front of the flags of Wisconsin and Milwaukee.

Elections

Milwaukee elects first Black mayor, as Cavalier Johnson sails to landslide victory

The city's Acting Mayor won nearly three-quarters of the votes cast in the first race since 2004 without an elected incumbent, following a campaign that focused on rising violent crime, addressing employment disparities and other issues.

Wednesday April 6, 2022


A child inside a train looks out a window and makes a heard symbol with their hands.

Social Issues

How many Ukrainian refugees have resettled in Wisconsin over the past decade?

As the U.S. commits to accepting 100,000 people from Ukraine who are fleeing invasion by Russia, local resettlement agencies don't expect to see many make their way to the state given policies that favor reuniting families and familiar communities.

Thursday March 31, 2022


Paul Knapp, wearing a field uniform and a face mask, speaks with other individuals in field uniforms and medical scrubs in a hospital hallway.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Omicron subvariant could test ‘return to normal’

While hospitalizations around the state have fallen to their lowest levels in eight months, wastewater samples suggest transmission of COVID-19 is picking up steam again as full responsibility for mitigation measures is at the individual level.

Tuesday March 22, 2022


A yacht in calm waters is docked next to a modernist building with a city skyline in the background.

Economy

From Sturgeon Bay to sanctioned: The shipbuilding story of the ‘Lady M’ superyacht

A 213-foot luxury vessel constructed by Palmer Johnson Yachts and completed at shipyards in Door County in 2013 was seized by the Italian government in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine — its industrial legacy can still summon strong feelings in Wisconsin.

Tuesday March 15, 2022


A island with a dirt surface is surrounded by calm waters, with a bridge, cityscape and more water in the background.

Policy

Speeding cleanup of pollution at ‘Areas of Concern’ on Wisconsin’s waterways

One target of the 2021 federal infrastructure package is a decades-long effort to remediate industrial contamination in five locations in the state where rivers and estuaries flow into the Great Lakes — conservationists are hopeful the funding will accelerate this restoration process.

Tuesday March 8, 2022


An SUV drives on an ice road on a lake with trees and buildings on the shore in the background.

Science

Wisconsin climate change research confirms impacts of warming winter nights

The UW-Madison Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Department of Natural Resources have issued a scientific report examining how global warming has affected the state over the past decade, with measurable effects differing by season and time of day.

Tuesday March 1, 2022


A colorized electron micrograph image shows a SARS-CoV-2 virus particle.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: The response to the pandemic enters a new phase

Disease metrics are falling to their lowest levels since the end of summer 2021, and as the final mask mandates in the state come to an end, public health officials are preparing to rely on recommendations and surveillance to keep infections to a minimum.

Friday February 25, 2022


A paper sign attached to a glass door with the UW-Madison seal reads ENTRY with specific precautions of Stay 6 feet apart, Wear a face covering, Wash frequently, and Stay home if you have symptoms with accompanying graphics.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Omicron plunge persists, local mask rules expiring

New COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations around the state continue to plummet barely a month after hitting pandemic peaks, spurring officials to proceed with ending most remaining public health restrictions.

Friday February 18, 2022


A wolf stands near logs piled in a leaf-covered forest clearing.

Policy

The future of Wisconsin’s wolf management is unclear following federal ruling

With a court decision placing the gray wolf under Endangered Species Act protection once again, more uncertainty has been added to the state's path forward for managing the animal as a new report reflects deep divisions in a DNR advisory committee.

Thursday February 17, 2022


Multiple PAPR hoods hang on medical IV poles in a hospital hallway.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Disease metrics drop, long-term impacts loom

The number of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths caused by COVID-19 around the state continues to plummet from their omicron wave peaks, while researchers are learning more about how infection can heighten health risks related to heart conditions and pregnancy.

Friday February 11, 2022


A white-tailed deer doe standing in lightly wooded area, looking at the camera.

Science

How widespread is the coronavirus among Wisconsin’s deer?

Scientists are finding that white-tailed deer around the nation are carriers of SARS-CoV-2, and are seeking to learn whether the species could serve as a wildlife reservoir for the virus.

Tuesday February 8, 2022


An instructor teaches Wisconsin National Guard troops wearing medical scrubs how to care for patients in a simulated hospital setting with beds and other medical equipment.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Welcome to year three of the pandemic

Two years after the first COVID-19 infection in the state was confirmed, the number of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths are dropping from peaks caused by the omicron variant of the coronavirus, even as public health officials remain wary about the potential for more variants.

Friday February 4, 2022


Noon Wednesday: Covid cases, hospitalizations plunge again

Coronavirus

Noon Wednesday: Covid cases, hospitalizations plunge again

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Wisconsin are plummeting as fast as they grew when the omicron variant struck the state, while deaths due to the virus continue to linger. How likely is it this reprieve will continue? "Here & Now" reporter Will Cushman discusses the state's shifting pandemic numbers, testing, an emerging omicron subvariant and the status of a vaccine for children under 5.

Wednesday February 2, 2022


A line of vehicles waits at a COVID-19 testing location next to low office buildings, with signs on a snow-covered lawn providing instructions to drivers.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Omicron starts retreating, leaving rising deaths in its wake

New pushes for COVID-19 testing and treatment continue to roll out as the rapid and intense omicron surge declines from peak levels in many parts of the state, though fatalities caused by the disease continue at the highest rate in more than a year.

Friday January 28, 2022


An electron micrograph highlights COVID-19 viroids on a cellular surface.

Coronavirus

Wastewater surveillance for COVID-19 virus poised to detect future Wisconsin outbreaks

A statewide network that tracks coronavirus in sewage has served as a "leading indicator" of infections during the omicron wave of the pandemic, and while testing remains the primary method of surveillance, health agencies are working to continue refining this population-level tool.

Tuesday January 25, 2022


Keeping track of COVID-19’s omicron barrage

Coronavirus

Keeping track of COVID-19’s omicron barrage

PBS Wisconsin reporter Will Cushman discusses the record number of new COVID-19 cases reported during the omicron wave and how the state health department is working to keep pace with the numbers.

Friday January 21, 2022


A vaccinator gives a COVID-19 booster shot to a teenager in a medical exam room.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Omicron ascent persists as health efforts turn to kids

The number of new COVID-19 cases is hitting record levels while deaths are at their highest in over a year as the variant surge continues building, with state officials focusing on promoting vaccinations, tests and masks among children to curb transmission and keep schools open.

Friday January 21, 2022


A woman passes a bag through the open window of a stopped car on a road, with snow covered vehicles and lawns in the background.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Omicron eruption pushes hospitals to their limits

Local groups and the state are mobilizing to provide emergency relief to struggling care facilities and individuals as the latest variant spreads like wildfire, pushing the 7-day average above the ten-thousand mark for the first time.

Friday January 14, 2022


An airplane ascends over a chain-linked fence topped with barbed wire that faces a wetland area with rusty culvert mouths.

Environment

Major promise, big questions flow from a PFAS cleanup study in Madison

A Canadian company has launched a bioremediation effort around the Dane County airport and National Guard air base that deploys soil microbes to consume the vexing chemicals — within weeks, early results showed positive outcomes, but the science behind this work remains unclear.

Thursday January 13, 2022


Signs on a business's doorway instruct patrons that face coverings are required and to maintain social distance of 6 feet (or one cow length) apart.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Omicron drives explosive case growth as hospitalizations, deaths remain high

While most fully vaccinated and boosted people infected with the new variant have mild infections, Omicron’s extreme transmissibility and the continued impact of Delta are further straining hospital staff as the number of ICU patients reaches a pandemic high.

Monday January 3, 2022


An illustration in which a transmission electron micrograph of a SARS-CoV-2 virus particle takes the place of 0 in 2021

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: A pandemic roller coaster in 2021

The severity of COVID-19's impacts around the state ebbed and flowed over the course of the year as the task of vaccinating as many people as possible converged with the threat of emerging variants that have fueled new waves of disease.

Wednesday December 22, 2021


An electron micrograph that is colorized shows a cell infected with a variant strain of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: The year is ending as it started — at near-peak pandemic levels

The Delta variant of COVID-19 is responsible for the still-growing wave of cases and hospitalizations around the state, which are at their highest levels in a year, but public health officials are bracing for the more transmissible (but possibly less severe) Omicron variant to take over.

Friday December 17, 2021


Six vials of different COVID-19 vaccines sit in a row on top of a display listing preparation requirements and ingredients.

Coronavirus

International covid vaccine recipients in Wisconsin get guidance on boosters

After months of confusion and frustration for people who received COVID-19 vaccines that aren't approved for use in the U.S., including thousands of students at UW-Madison, federal guidelines outline what booster doses they should seek and when.

Tuesday December 14, 2021


A health care worker attends to an intubated COVID-19 patient in an ICU room as seen through it's glass door.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: State moves to help struggling hospitals, Milwaukee numbers reflect vaccination gaps

A months-long surge in COVID-19 patients is making for minimal hospital capacity across the state, prompting Gov. Tony Evers to request help from FEMA, while pandemic conditions in southeast Wisconsin underscore the protective power of vaccines.

Friday December 10, 2021


Noon Wednesday: A chronic covid condition

Coronavirus

Noon Wednesday: A chronic covid condition

Over the course of 2021, the fight to contain COVID-19 has lurched from expanding vaccine availability to the emergence of variants that raise new concerns about the risks of the pandemic. PBS Wisconsin reporter Will Cushman discusses the latest developments in Wisconsin's covid condition and recaps what the state experienced through the year.

Wednesday December 8, 2021


A highway sign reads FACE MASK REQUIRED TO ENTER in front of an entrance sign to a hospital.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Omicron looms as Delta continues crushing hospitals

A year after the state's worst surge of the pandemic to-date started subsiding, the Delta variant of the coronavirus keeps fueling rapid growth in new cases and hospitalizations, even as the potentially highly transmissible Omicron variant threatens to emerge.

Friday December 3, 2021


An electron micrograph of COVID-19 viroids on a cellular surface is superimposed by a cutout graphic of an antique syringe with astrological gender symbols on its handle.

WisContext

What’s causing a gender gap in Wisconsin’s covid vaccinations?

More women are getting COVID-19 vaccinations than men around the state, and factors like age, job, politics and attitude toward health care each play a role in this persistent phenomenon.

Tuesday November 30, 2021


A discarded oxygen tank sits on the floor outside the entrance of a hospital ICU room with medical personnel standing next to an empty bed stacked with pillows.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: The pandemic hits its worst levels since 2020

The number of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across Wisconsin is growing rapidly as the holiday season begins for a second consecutive year, and health officials continue urging people who aren't vaccinated to do so to protect their loved ones and stave off more crisis conditions in hospitals.

Thursday November 18, 2021


A scientist wearing a white coat and nitrile exam globes pipettes liquid from a plastic bottle.

Science

The cost, complexity and very local scope of Eau Claire’s PFAS response

After testing found "forever chemicals" in multiple municipal drinking water wells used by Eau Claire, the city has taken steps to mitigate this contamination, but it's an expensive and time-consuming problem faced by communities around Wisconsin.

Tuesday November 16, 2021


Inside a library, a seated child is held by an adult as another adult administers a shot and a second child watches.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Amid Aaron Rodgers drama, the pandemic surges again

Public health officials and advocates are concerned about how opposition to COVID-19 vaccination by the star quarterback for the Green Bay Packers will affect efforts to expand the uptake of their use, particularly among parents of newly eligible young children, even as new cases and hospitalizations start growing rapidly once again around the state.

Thursday November 11, 2021


A hand holds two boxes containing vaccination vials.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Vaccinations Begin for Younger Kids

State health officials hope rolling out the first pediatric COVID-19 vaccine will provide another boost to ending the pandemic as the Delta wave threatens to start growing again.

Friday November 5, 2021


A whiteboard in the shape of an arrow with Vaccines and an arrow written on it stands in a school hallway.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Youth Vaccines Approach as the Delta Wave Lingers

Cases and hospitalizations around the state are gradually declining from the most recent pandemic surge, and a slackening rate of vaccinations is expected to pick up again as mandates are implemented and the first pediatric vaccine is approved.

Thursday October 28, 2021


A sidewalk sign reading COVID-19 Vaccine Enter Here stands in front of a building entrance.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: The Delta Outbreak Declines Slowly, More Booster Shots Are Recommended

The state's numbers of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are starting to drop slowly from their early autumn highs, with more protection from the disease imminent as the FDA and CDC recommend more options for fully vaccinated people to get an additional dose and mix-and-match vaccine types.

Friday October 22, 2021


Smoke flows out of of a masonry chimney on a snow-covered roof.

WisContext

What Wisconsinites Can Do to Lower Heating Bills as Fuel Prices Spike

Households across the state have multiple options for reducing the cost of keeping their homes warm in winter, including direct assistance and incentives for weatherization and efficiency upgrades, depending on income levels.

Thursday October 21, 2021


A COVID-19 vaccination record card with stickers noting two doses sits on a white surface.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Hospitals Require Vaccines for Staff, More Evidence Shots Work Well

A new round of state data show hospitalizations and deaths are far higher among people who haven't had COVID-19 vaccinations than those who have, one reason health care systems are requiring their staff to get vaccinated.

Friday October 15, 2021


A microscopic image shows round virus particles inside cellular structures.

WisContext

Why Wisconsin’s Covid Breakthrough Numbers Show the Power of Vaccination

When the state health department compiles figures about people vaccinated for COVID-19 who become infected with the virus, the role of age is paramount in understanding differing impacts across the state's entire population.

Tuesday October 12, 2021


Two people wear medical gowns, gloves, masks and goggles as they prepare to enter a room inside a hallway filled with medical equipment

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Delta Maintains Its Grip as Hospitalizations Remain High

While a wave caused by a coronavirus variant is waning in other parts of the U.S., new cases and hospitalizations are hanging at higher levels in the state as the total death toll passes 8,000.

Friday October 8, 2021


Three hospital workers put on personal protective equipment including gowns, masks and face shields in the hallway of an intensive care unit.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Hospitals Increasingly Strained as Delta Cases Multiply

More Wisconsinites are receiving intensive care for COVID-19 than at any point since December 2020, while health officials hope newly approved Pfizer vaccine booster shots will cut breakthrough illnesses.

Friday September 24, 2021


Staff members check IDs and proof of vaccine cards of concert-goers outside a venue in downtown Madison, Wisconsin.

Economy

Why More Wisconsin Venues Require Covid Vaccinations to Withstand the Delta Wave

In response to artist requests, in the hope of bolstering safety and in the interest of keeping their doors open, larger performance spaces in Milwaukee, Madison and Eau Claire are requiring their audiences to offer proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative test in order to attend shows.

Monday September 20, 2021


A door to the Tomahawk schools complex with a sign stating Attention Face Masks Recommended and a painted Welcome Back message.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: 18 Months Later, the Pandemic Drags On

Schools once again wrestle with masking rules, public health departments return to crisis modes for contact tracing and efforts continue to push vaccination rates higher through incentives and mandates as the Delta variant of COVID-19 advances across the state.

Friday September 17, 2021


A yard sign stating COVID testing with an arrow pointing left stands in front of a canopy with a table underneath and a queue of people in front of a table.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Vaccine Mandates and a Booster Debate

Hospitalizations related to COVID-19 have hit their highest levels in the state since the start of 2021 with even more demand for intensive care, with national and local vaccination requirements growing in response to the pandemic's Delta wave.

Friday September 10, 2021


A nurse prepares a syringe in a storage room with theater costumes hanging in the background.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: The Delta Variant Prompts Fears of Pandemic Deja Vu

Health care professionals and officials are bracing for COVID-19 patient numbers to continue rising in the state’s largest wave of infections in nearly a year as students return to classes.

Friday September 3, 2021


A wolf stands in forest undergrowth with light snow covering.

Environment

How Wisconsin’s Wolf Hunt Quotas May Prompt Federal Review

Whether or not wolves remain off the federal endangered species list or receive renewed protections is based on their numbers in the upper Midwest, and DNR policies are set to cut deep into the state's population of the species.

Monday August 30, 2021


Nurses and doctors wearing personal protective equipment walk through a hallway.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: State Sees Highest Number of ICU Patients Since 2020

Vaccinations are also rising, albeit slowly, as the Pfizer shot receives full FDA approval and political fights over masking and vaccines drag on.

Friday August 27, 2021


Staff applaud a student wearing a face mask walking into a school with a sandwich board sign noting mask required.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: The Delta Surge Disrupts a Third School Year

With the continuing spread of a more dangerous coronavirus variant among the unvaccinated and rise in breakthrough cases, schools around the state are determining what course to take as classrooms take center stage in the political fight over public health policies.

Friday August 20, 2021


A sign on a door reads Mask Policy: We strongly recomment that all customers wear a mask, regardless of vacciation status.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: Hospitalizations Skyrocket with Delta

A nationwide surge of infections driven by an extremely contagious coronavirus variant is prompting hospitals around the state to care for a new wave of patients, nearly all of whom aren't vaccinated.

Friday August 13, 2021


Noon Wednesday: The Pandemic’s Fifth Wave

Coronavirus

Noon Wednesday: The Pandemic’s Fifth Wave

Reporter Will Cushman discusses how communities across Wisconsin are coping with another surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations as the Delta variant spreads with about half of the state's population remaining unvaccinated.

Wednesday August 11, 2021


A Public Health Madison & Dane County vaccinator administers an injection.

WisContext

What’s Next for Wisconsin’s Most Vaccinated Locales as Delta Variant Spreads

Health officials in Dane and Door counties are trying to push local vaccinations even higher as employers are left to set their own vaccine and mask rules in the face of another highly contagious coronavirus wave.

Monday August 9, 2021


A window reads Face coverins recommended unless you're fully vaccinated for COVID-19 — Face coverings are still required where mandated by state or local regulations.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: CDC Calls for Universal Masking in Schools, Hotspots as Delta Variant Fuels Spike in Cases

New COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising quickly in Wisconsin as recently gathered data about the Delta variant prompts anxiety among public health officials while school districts and universities consider safety measures.

Friday July 30, 2021


Narcan kit with medication, gloves and other supplies in bag on table

WisContext

Overdose Deaths in Wisconsin Soared in 2020 as Pandemic Intensified Opioid Crisis

While fatalities caused by overdoses of opioids and other drugs have been growing for years in the state, numbers surged in 2020 as the coronavirus struck and disrupted social services, prompting emergency response agencies to pursue more harm reduction strategies.

Thursday July 29, 2021


A yard sign next to bushes reads Schedule your free COVID-19 vaccine today with a Walgreens URL.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s COVID Condition: Variants Fuel Rise in Cases, Hospitalizations as Half of State Remains Unvaccinated

State health officials pushed vaccines for eligible kids before school starts and expressed concern about the massive crowds that gathered to celebrate the Milwaukee Bucks' championship amid rapid spread of the Delta variant.

Friday July 23, 2021


Six gray wolves stand on snow-covered and frozen wetlands

Science

The Swelling Scientific Fallout From Wisconsin’s Wolf Hunt

Five months after hunters blew past the DNR's harvest quota, a population study by UW-Madison researchers highlights an additional estimated impact of poaching the species after it lost federal protections.

Monday July 12, 2021


Human cells (in gray) infected and covered with SARS-CoV-2 virus particles (in red)

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s Covid Condition: The Delta Variant Looms for Unvaccinated People

A more contagious coronavirus strain is rapidly spreading in the U.S., primarily among people who haven't gotten a COVID-19 vaccine, which still includes nearly half of Wisconsinites.

Friday July 9, 2021


A digital traffic sign over a highway reads Slow Your Roll.

WisContext

Where Traffic Deaths Surged In Wisconsin During the Pandemic

State transportation data from 2020 shows that even while traffic volume fell, crash fatalities spiked as more drivers engaged in speeding and reckless driving, particularly in Milwaukee.

Thursday June 17, 2021


An illustration with two figures from the Wisconsin coat of arms leaning on a shield with a button reading COVID-19 vaccinated.

WisContext

The Peculiar Divergence In COVID Vaccinations Around Milwaukee’s Republican Hinterland

A link between partisan politics and coronavirus vaccinations at the national level has become increasingly recognized, but a slew of additional factors are playing a role in Wisconsin's largest metro area.

Thursday June 10, 2021


Cracks in dry soil on footpath surrounded by green grass and weeds

Coronavirus

Wisconsin Health Officials Launch New COVID Vaccination Push As Backlash Churns

Here & Now Extra: Breaking through pandemic-era divisions and extreme rhetoric by Republican lawmakers poses an ongoing challenge for efforts to vaccinate as many Wisconsinites as possible.

Tuesday June 8, 2021


Arrow-shaped sign reading Free COVID-19 Vaccine points toward doors

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s COVID Condition: Pandemic Metrics Plunge, The Last Local Rules Expire

The number of new cases and hospitalizations around the state are dropping to their lowest levels since COVID-19 first emerged, as people once again start gathering in large numbers with an end to public health restrictions.

Friday June 4, 2021


Noon Wednesday: Are We There Yet?

Coronavirus

Noon Wednesday: Are We There Yet?

Mask requirements, capacity limits and other COVID-19 constraints are officially lifted as positive cases are reaching their lowest levels in a year. Here & Now reporter Will Cushman discusses the status of COVID-19 in Wisconsin and reaching a new normal.

Wednesday June 2, 2021


A billboard reading Get Vaccinated showing a boxing glove punching a coronavirus viroid illustration is surrounded by farm fields and warehouses.

Coronavirus

How Much Higher Are COVID-19 Rates Among Unvaccinated Wisconsinites?

Examining new cases and vaccination levels in all 72 counties around the state reveals how the coronavirus continues to circulate and infect residents who haven't gotten a shot.

Friday May 28, 2021


A plastic box filled with orange buttons that read I Got My COVID-19 Vaccine!

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s COVID Condition: Youth Vaccinations, New Mask Recommendations

Approval of the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds comes as school boards around the state debate whether to maintain pandemic protocols, while the CDC says fully vaccinated people can stop masking in most settings.

Friday May 14, 2021


Components of computer server motherboard

Economy

Foxconn Plans to Make ‘Digital Infrastructure Hardware’ in Wisconsin — What’s That?

Here & Now Extra: Under its revised tax incentives contract with the state, the global electronics giant proposes to manufacture products essential to conducting business and living life in "the cloud."

Monday May 10, 2021


Nurse wearing mask holds a syringe with a COVID-19 vaccine

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s COVID Condition: A New Vaccination Strategy, Border County Cases

The state health department is shifting its vaccine distribution system to an on-demand basis as enthusiasm for shots ebbs and new infections remain stubbornly high in some areas.

Friday May 7, 2021


Coronavirus Vaccinations, Four Months In

Coronavirus

Coronavirus Vaccinations, Four Months In

“Here & Now” reporter Will Cushman explains the status of coronavirus vaccinations as COVID-19 cases have spiked in neighboring states and demand for shots start to level off.

Friday April 30, 2021


A vaccinator wearing gloves and mask gives a shot to another person wearing a mask.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s COVID Condition: Diverging Geographies of Vaccinations and Variants

In St. Croix County, a jump in cases among teenagers and a plateauing of demand for the coronavirus vaccine illustrates how the second year of the pandemic is shifting in different places around the state.

Friday April 30, 2021


A hug between a father and young daughter

Policy

Refugee Agencies in Wisconsin Anxious for Action to Expand Resettlement

With their clients and families stuck in limbo, advocates for refugees are calling on Biden to follow through on promises to raise the federal cap on new arrivals.

Tuesday April 27, 2021


Front entrance doors and facade of Foxconn factory building in Mount Pleasant

Economy

How Much Smaller is the New Contract Between Wisconsin and Foxconn?

The state's economic development agency has announced a new tax incentive package with the Taiwan-based tech giant that is an order of magnitude smaller than the original signed in 2017.

Wednesday April 21, 2021


A nurse with Advocate Aurora Health administers COVID-19 vaccine to a Winnebago County resident at the community vaccination center at the Culver Family Welcome Center on the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh campus on Feb. 19, 2021.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s COVID Condition: Pause on Johnson & Johnson Doses Complicates Vaccination Campaign at Critical Juncture

The pause is forcing some vaccinators to adjust planned clinics this week, though health officials say it won't greatly impact the state's vaccine progress as variants drive ongoing surges in neighboring states.

Friday April 16, 2021


Hands holding bags filled with coronavirus vaccination information

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s COVID Condition: Variants Cause Cases to Spike Again As Universal Adult Vaccine Eligibility Begins

The state's weekly average of new confirmed coronavirus infections is at its highest level in two months, with new cases rising most among kids — health officials urge continued precautions but are encouraged by the growing pace of vaccinations.

Friday April 9, 2021


A Wisconsin National Guard member sits at a table at as vaccinators give coronavirus vaccines to patients at other tables.

Coronavirus

Wisconsin’s COVID Condition: Cases Plateau, Vaccinations Pass 1 Million and No More Mask Mandate

As the one-year anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic passes, Wisconsin is seeing stubbornly high case numbers, advancing vaccinations and variants and an end to the statewide mask mandate.

Friday April 2, 2021


Two jumping worms sit atop granular soil.

Environment

Jumping Worms Are Eating — And Altering — Wisconsin’s Forest and Garden Soils

Scientists are studying how a subsurface invasive species is changing local ecosystems and are reaching out to gardeners to share methods for stopping their spread.

Thursday April 1, 2021


Collage of the title page of the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling in Fabick v. Evers and portait of Justice Brian Hagedorn

Policy

Wisconsin Supreme Court Confirms Time Limit on Governor’s Emergency Powers

The 4-3 conservative majority on the state's high court ruled the initial emergency order issued by Gov. Tony Evers in response to COVID-19 applied to the pandemic as a whole, and subsequent declarations were unlawful, overturning the statewide mask mandate.

Wednesday March 31, 2021


Bumper stickers reading I got me COVID-19 vaccine #SavingLives shared by the Clark County Health Department

WisContext

Where Is Wisconsin’s COVID-19 Vaccine Delivery Lagging — And Why?

With universal eligibility starting April 5, the pace of coronavirus shots is speeding up everywhere in the state, but rates have been stubbornly lower in Clark, Rusk and Taylor counties.

Tuesday March 30, 2021


A captive wolf stands in a forest clearing.

Environment

‘Extreme Disappointment’: Ojibwe Treaty Rights Group Decries Wolf Hunt Process

Planning for the February 2021 wolf hunt was rushed following a court order, and the Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission charges the Wisconsin DNR with neglecting tribal obligations.

Thursday March 18, 2021


A shot with a COVID-19 vaccine is about to be delivered in the arm of a patient.

Coronavirus

New COVID Vaccination Eligibility Covers At Least Two-Thirds of Wisconsin Adults

Starting March 29, Wisconsinites 16 and older matching any 20 criteria, including being overweight or obese, or having a variety of chronic diseases, will qualify for getting a coronavirus vaccine.

Thursday March 11, 2021


An illustration of a bar chart with a declining slope superimposed over the facade of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services building in Madison

WisContext

Why Wisconsin’s COVID Data Is Getting Cleaned Up and What That Means

With confirmed infections dropping, the state Department of Health Services is finding more time to resolve data inconsistencies, making it trickier to track new coronavirus cases and deaths.

Wednesday March 10, 2021


Wolf in profile from still of trail cam

WisContext

Why the Impact of Wisconsin’s February Wolf Hunt Is So Uncertain

Holding the hunt after alpha wolves have paired up is a recipe for unpredictability.

Tuesday February 23, 2021


Relatives wait at an Appleton airport for the arrival of a refugee

WisContext

Protected: Federal Policy, Pandemic Intensify a Slowdown of Refugee Resettlement in Wisconsin

Resettlement agencies in the state are preparing for an expected bump in arrivals under a new administration.

Thursday February 18, 2021


Julie Willems Van Dijk sits at table

Coronavirus

Second Case of More Transmissible Coronavirus Variant Identified in Wisconsin

A Patient in Waukesha County Was Found To Be Infected with The B.1.1.7 Strain as Officials Work To Expand Surveillance of Genetic Variants

Tuesday February 9, 2021


SARS-CoV-2 virus

Health

WisContext: A Year into the Pandemic, What’s Driving Varied Coronavirus Rates Across Wisconsin?

A Patient in Waukesha County Was Found To Be Infected with The B.1.1.7 Strain as Officials Work To Expand Surveillance of Genetic Variants

Monday February 8, 2021


Finding Enough Vaccine

Coronavirus

Finding Enough Vaccine

Wisconsin will expand vaccinations to those over 65 next week, but the larger pool begs the question of whether Wisconsin will receive enough vaccine to inoculate that population. Reporter Will Cushman breaks down what the hurdles will be for the state.

Friday January 22, 2021


Illustration depicting a cellphone and coronavirus misinformation. (Courtesy: Philip Ashby / PBS Wisconsin)

Health

WisContext: COVID-19 Misinformation and the Paranoid Style in Wisconsin’s Pandemic Politics

How False Claims About Public Health Data Are Frustrating Efforts To Fight The Coronavirus

Friday October 23, 2020


Noon Wednesday: Tracking Safer at Home

Health

Noon Wednesday: Tracking Safer at Home

As Wisconsin's stay-at-home order drags on, are people continuing to shelter in place? Location data tracking people's movement shows trends in how the pandemic has impacted where people go over time and if the state's public health order is working.

Wednesday May 6, 2020


novel coronavirus

Science

UW-Madison Virologists See Hope in a Potential Two-for-One Vaccine for Influenza, the Novel Coronavirus

Research currently underway at the University of Wisconsin-Madison could lead to a unique vaccine that provides protection against both the novel coronavirus and influenza, with human trials potentially on the horizon as early as fall 2020. The possibility of a vaccine that offers dual protection against two very different viruses ...

Thursday April 2, 2020


still graphic of curve chart

Health

WisContext: The Urgent Battle to Flatten Wisconsin’s COVID-19 Curve

Research currently underway at the University of Wisconsin-Madison could lead to a unique vaccine that provides protection against both the novel coronavirus and influenza, with human trials potentially on the horizon as early as fall 2020. The possibility of a vaccine that offers dual protection against two very different viruses ...

Friday March 20, 2020


SARS-CoV-2.

Health

Learn More About the Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19 and Wisconsin

10 Things to Know About the Outbreak and Public Health in the State

Wednesday March 18, 2020


Noon Wednesday: Wisconsin’s Right-To-Farm

Agriculture

Noon Wednesday: Wisconsin’s Right-To-Farm

Wisconsin has a law on its books making it difficult to bring nuisance lawsuits against farmers. But as farms expand in size, the conflicts amongst neighbors grow as well. We’re talking to Will Cushman from WisContext about Wisconsin’s “right-to-farm” laws and debates over how to regulate these growing farms.

Wednesday October 23, 2019


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Statement to the Communities We Serve

There is no place for racism in our society. We must work together as a community to ensure we no longer teach, or tolerate it.  Read full statement here.