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Biomass debate is a matter of trust

Wausau Daily Herald
The battle over a proposed wood-burning energy plant in Rothschild pitts neighbors against neighbors and leaves others in a plume of confusion over who’s right and who’s wrong. I worked on this joint report for more than a month with another Daily Herald reporter, seeking to explain the project and the arguments made by opponents and proponents. The Wisconsin Newspaper Association recognized it with a first place enterprise reporting award in 2010.

Kronenwetter must use chunk of property taxes to pay off debt

Wausau Daily Herald
Kronenwetter incorporated as a village in 2003, the most recent of the six communities I cover in Wausau to do so. But the move has left public officials with high debt obligations totaling millions of dollars in the next several years. My curiosity about the debt obligation came from attending the village’s 2011 budget hearings, resulting in this story explaining where that high burden came from.

Rothschild pool loses $300,000 in three years
Wausau Daily Herald
The Rothschild-Schofield Aquatic Center has lost more than $318,000 over the last three years, and taxpayers in the two municipalities are being forced to pick up that tab.

Blastomycosis outbreak hits Weston
Wausau Daily Herald
The Marathon County Health Department refused to release information about outbreaks of blastomycosis, claiming the information could affect property values and didn’t serve the public interest. I filed an open records request for more specific information about the location of the cases.

Blastomycosis blankets Wausau metro area
Wausau Daily Herald
This story followed up on the open records request. The Health Department released a map identifying clusters of blastomycosis cases, many located in communities outside of those previously identified. The Wisconsin Newspaper Association recognized it with a second place investigative reporting award in 2011.

Watching the water

The Janesville Gazette
Part 1 of 2 explaining the city of Janesville’s water system. I coordinated with print and online editors for this project as an intern and worked on it routinely for about two months. The first part of the series focused on how the city’s water system runs. Both parts ran on A1 and also featured sidebars and online content.

What’s in the water?
The Janesville Gazette
Part 2 of the series focused on the city and county’s systems to monitor water quality.

Diet discontinued
The Janesville Gazette
Megan Galster’s autism prevents her from eating most solid foods and she survives on a limited diet. When one of her main food supplies – a line of snack crackers – was discontinued, a local grocery store came to the rescue after a long search for the treats. This story was intended to be a 10 or 12 inch “thank you” to the grocery store but I convinced editors that it was worth the extra space after interviewing the family.