Reading Time: 2 minutes

Wisconsin Weekly is a roundup of the week’s top stories from around the state by Wisconsin Watch and trusted news outlets. Access to some stories may be limited to subscribers of the news organizations that produced them. We urge our readers to consider supporting these important news outlets by subscribing, and sign up to get our free newsletters here

In this issue:

  • Foster parents hampered in getting mental health care for children 
  • Shrinking population in Michigan prompts look to Wisconsin for answers
  • Canadian wildfire smoke causes health risk across the state

Of note: This week we feature a story by Wisconsin Watch’s Bennet Goldstein, who examined the drought gripping much of the Midwest. Bennet interviewed Nick Stanek, part of a three-generation farm family in La Farge, Wisconsin. Stanek and his brother grow corn and soybeans across 400 acres, where the soil is now “bone dry” and grass crunches underfoot. “Of course, if we don’t get any rain,” Stanek said, “our crop will be a complete loss.”

Also – we are adding a new newsletter to our line up! The Wednesday Report will provide stories by Wisconsin Watch and our partners and offer exclusive access to behind-the-scenes insights on our investigations. Learn more and sign up here.

Access to some stories listed in the Wisconsin Weekly roundup may be limited to subscribers of the news organizations that produced them. We urge our readers to consider supporting these important news outlets by subscribing. 

Thanks for reading!

Matthew DeFour

Statehouse Bureau Chief


Third-generation Wisconsin corn and soybean farmer, Nick Stanek, shows how dry the dirt is in his fields. (Tristan Woods for the Mississippi River Basin Ag & Water Desk)

Midwest drought: Corn and soybeans suffer as forecasters expect no quick relief for farmers

Wisconsin Watch — June 23, 2023

Mental health

From left to right: Charlotte Passamoni, 13, Alec Passamoni, 12, and Coltyn Feld, 13. Shane and Jessica Passamoni adopted Alec and Charlotte in September 2022; Coltyn is Shane’s son. (Courtesy of Jessica Passamoni)

Wisconsin foster children often need mental health care to thrive. Why is it hard to help them?

Green Bay Press-Gazette — June 26, 2023

Removed from home, deeply traumatized, foster children often need counseling. But even with activist foster parents, it can be hard to get.

Population growth

You can “roll a bowling ball down Main Street” on a Saturday night in Ontonagon, one of Michigan’s communities that is Ground Zero for the state’s population struggles. (Ron French / Bridge Michigan)

As UP’s population shrinks, Wisconsin rural counties grow. Here’s why.

Bridge Michigan — June 29, 2023

Donald Domitrovich grew up in the small town where he still lives and works. Every day, it seems smaller. In Ontonagon, a Lake Superior shore village of about 1,500 and the surrounding county of the same name, there are now five funerals for every birth. Between 2010 and 2020, the county lost 14% of its population, as jobs dried up and people moved away. 

Related coverage: Report: Wisconsin near top in Midwest rural population growth


Canadian wildfire smoke threatens Wisconsin air quality. Here’s how to check health numbers.

Associated Press/Wisconsin Watch — June 27, 2023

This week, Wisconsin faced a statewide Air Quality Advisory for fine particulate matter from wildfire smoke. State health and environmental officials recommended that people in all populations limit outdoor activities.

Related coverage:  Medical professionals weigh in on effects of poor air quality

Are only 2% of students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Black? (Yes.)

Did Sen. Tammy Baldwin propose $25 million to train abortion providers? (Yes.)

Does Wisconsin rank among the states with the highest property taxes? (Yes.)

Can 18-year-olds in Wisconsin legally buy a handgun through a private sale? (Yes.)

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Popular stories from Wisconsin Watch

The byline "Wisconsin Watch" represents members of the Wisconsin Watch editorial and business staff.