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Winter Tornadoes Stun Wisconsin

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Winter Tornadoes Stun Wisconsin


The first tornadoes ever recorded in Wisconsin in the usually frigid month of February tore through mostly rural areas on a day that broke records for warmth, setting up the perfect scenario for the type of severe weather normally seen in the late spring and summer. The storms left a swath of destruction that included dead and missing cows, roofs blown off homes, destroyed storage sheds and barns, trashed vehicles, and shattered windows. At least two tornadoes were confirmed south of Madison, and the National Weather Service was investigating reports of several more spawned from storms that swept across the southeastern part of the state around 5:30pm Thursday.

One confirmed tornado near Evansville was a “high end” F2, the weather service said. Those tornadoes are described as significant, with winds in this particular twister topping out at 135mph. It was on the ground for 36 minutes, traveling 24.5 miles with a maximum width of 500 yards. Another tornado that touched down near Juda was an F1 with peak winds of 110mph and on the ground for 14 minutes, covering 8.35 miles with a maximum width of 50 yards, the weather service said. There were no reports of significant injuries. Officials reported dozens of buildings, power lines, and other structures damaged in the path of the storm that formed in eastern Iowa and died out near Milwaukee.

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Winter tornadoes are almost unheard of, especially in northern states. The temperature was a record high for the date: 59 degrees. Connie Arndt, 72, stood in disbelief Friday among the debris of a rental house she owns outside Evansville. “All of us are in denial that this is February,” she said. “It’s an absolute shock.” Matt Artis, 34, said he heard a “big bang.” He got his mother and their dog into the bathroom just as the tornado hit. He said he emerged from the bathroom, looked up, and saw nothing but the night sky. The tornado had torn the roof from their home.

(More tornadoes stories.)





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Wisconsin's governor pushes for action on 'forever chemical' pollution

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Wisconsin's governor pushes for action on 'forever chemical' pollution


In a recent move, Wisconsin’s Governor Tony Evers has made another plea to Republican lawmakers, urging them to unlock $125 million dedicated to tackling the pervasive issue of pollution from so-called forever chemicals.

Todd Richmond reports for Associated Press.


In short:

  • Governor Evers is ready to veto a Republican bill that proposes grants to combat pollution from forever chemicals, instead asking for the direct release of $125 million set aside for environmental regulators.
  • Despite the creation of a trust fund to address PFAS pollution, Republican legislators have yet to release any funds, leaving communities across Wisconsin grappling with contaminated groundwater.
  • The governor’s request aims to bypass legislative gridlock and ensure the funds are used effectively to mitigate the environmental and health impacts of PFAS contamination.

Key quote:

“Wisconsinites should not have to wait any longer than they already have. Partisan politics should not stand in the way of addressing PFAS contamination in communities across our state.”

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— Governor Tony Evers

Why this matters:

PFAS do not break down in the environment or the human body, leading to widespread contamination of water supplies, soil, and ecosystems. Studies have linked PFAS exposure to a host of health problems, including cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility, and increased risk of asthma and thyroid disease.

Last year, Minnesota passed a bill that will ban all nonessential uses of PFAS, a class of harmful chemicals that accumulate in people and the environment.





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Wisconsin advances bill mandating Asian American history studies in schools 

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Wisconsin advances bill mandating Asian American history studies in schools 


A bill mandating that Asian American history be taught in Wyoming state schools inched closer this week after a state Senate committee voted to advance the bill.

The state’s Senate committee on Tuesday voted 6-1 to advance the legislation, SB240, which would mandate teachings on Asian and Hmong Americans for grades K-12 in the Equality State. 

Current state law requires schools to instruct on “an understanding of human relations” with regards to American Indians, Black Americans, and Hispanics, with the bill proposal tacking Hmong and Asian Americans onto this mandate.

“It allows … for there to be an understanding amongst students, teachers and administrators about the importance of Asian American stories in our history,” state Rep. Francesca Hong (D) told NBC News. Hong was one of several lawmakers to cosponsor the bill. 

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Similar mandates have been in Connecticut, Illinois and New Jersey, The Hill previously reported. 

Asian Americans make up about 3 percent of Wisconsin’s population, with the state’s Asian American and Pacific Islander increasing by 82 percent since 2000, per a AAPI Vote fact-sheet.

Hong told NBC News similar proposals have been in the works for years and in 2005, lawmakers tried to pass a bill mandating the teaching of the role Hmong soldiers had in fighting for the U.S. during the Vietnam War. The bill did not make it to early public hearings and similar legislation introduced in subsequent sessions also failed, NBC News reported. 

“With me being the first and only Asian American legislator in the Legislature, I was able to leverage both the uptick of anti-Asian hate since the COVID pandemic, in addition to having my colleagues recognize how important, especially the Hmong and Lao community, have been to their districts and how powerful they are as a voting bloc,” she told NBC News. 

The bill comes amid a larger push in the AAPI community for more Asian American history in the school curriculum. Efforts include hoping to ensure students learn about points in history, such as Japanese internment camps during World War II and how Chinese Americans defended American soil during the Civil War. 

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The full state Senate could take up the bill by March, NBC added.

Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.



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BadgerBlitz – Wisconsin gets green light for new indoor practice facility

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BadgerBlitz  –  Wisconsin gets green light for new indoor practice facility


MADISON – The Wisconsin State Building Commission officially approved the construction of a new indoor facility for Badger football, the university announced Wednesday.

The $285 Million project is still in the design stage and construction isn’t slated to begin until 2025. It will replace the gym attached to Camp Randall Stadium known as The Shell, as well as the McClain Center turf where the football team currently holds its indoor practices.

“This is another exciting step in the process,” Athletic Director Chris McIntosh said. “We are grateful for the support of the State Building Commission, but also from so many different stakeholders. Launched by a generous leadership gift of $20 million from Ted and Mary Kellner, we are thrilled with the enthusiasm and investment in our athletic department and specifically our football program.”

A new indoor facility has been high on Wisconsin’s to-do list. The McClain center, which opened in 1988, is only 80 yards in length and the roof is too low to practice kicks and punts.

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The Building Commission also approved a reduction of the size of the Kohl Center ice sheet, going from Olympic size to NHL size.

Wisconsin is also in the midst of a project to renovate the turf in Camp Randall Stadium, adding a new, $5.5 million heated field so that the Badgers could potentially host a playoff game in the CFP’s new expanded format.

The new facility isn’t just for football — it’s expected to impact the majority of Wisconsin’s 800 student athletes across 23 sports.



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