WBEZ | Wisconsin http://www.wbez.org/tags/wisconsin Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Beer tours big business for small brewer http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2014-03/beer-tours-big-business-small-brewer-109820 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/P1150205.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Among all the benefits of Illinois&rsquo; fast growing craft beer scene is the proliferation of brewery tours.</p><p>Tours have the potential to be big business for small brewers. They draw customers and build brand identification. For inspiration, Illinois-based brewers would do well to look north, to <a href="http://www.lakefrontbrewery.com/">Lakefront Brewery</a> in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.</p><p>Lakefront is Milwaukee&rsquo;s largest craft brewer. Its beers are available in Chicago, but many people make the trek to take its brewery tour, <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/destinations/2012/10/02/10-best-beer-cities-in-the-world/1608885/">one of the most popular stops</a> on the American craft beer circuit.</p><p>On a recent Friday afternoon, I toured the facility with my colleagues and <em><a href="http://strangebrewspodcast.tumblr.com/">Strange Brews</a> </em>co-hosts Tim Akimoff, Andrew Gill and WBEZ producer Joe Deceault. We were among a group of about twenty, many of them repeat customers. One Chicago woman has taken the tour five times. When I asked why she kept coming back she had a simple answer - because you can drink.</p><p>Lakefront is proud of the fact that unlike those other tours, they start you off with a beer in hand. There&rsquo;s a stop for beer midway through the tour &ndash;and a cold one waiting at the end.</p><p>Russ and Jim Klisch started Lakefront in 1987, after experimenting with home brewing.The brothers&rsquo; beer roots are deep - their grandfather delivered beer for Schlitz. It was the big four - Schlitz, Pabst, Blatz and of course Miller - that once made Milwaukee the beer capital of the world. Now only MillerCoors is still brewing in Milwaukee. So small independents like Lakefront are starting to fill the gap.</p><p>Last year, Lakefront topped 40,000 barrels. It&#39;s the second largest craft brewery in Wisconsin. And tours have helped drive their business. Russ Klisch says the idea came early on.</p><p>&ldquo;I gave a real technical tour,&rdquo; remembered Klisch. &ldquo;I have a chemistry degree and I thought everybody who took the tour wanted to learn about how to make beer. My brother really didn&rsquo;t know anything about that. He just started telling jokes on the tour and gave away beer free. And everybody took his tour and nobody took mine.&rdquo;</p><p>Our guide was Evan Koepnick, Lakefront&rsquo;s tour supervisor, improv comedy performer and self-proclaimed class clown. He called himself our &ldquo;brewery dungeon master.&rdquo;</p><p>There is something dungeonesque to Lakefront. The brewery&rsquo;s housed in an old coal-fired power plant. A winding flight of stairs led us into a room crowded with big steel tanks, vats and barrels. There Evan gave us a speed history of beer.</p><p>He got people to yell out &lsquo;reinheitsgebot!&rsquo;, &nbsp;the term for the ancient German beer purity laws. He demonstrated the role of yeast in fermentation by aggressively cuddling one of the guys on the tour.</p><p>The big finish involved an old bottling line once featured in the television show Laverne and Shirley. There was karaoke, a reenactment of some of the show&rsquo;s opening credits and a group selfie.</p><p>There are a few other historic markers at Lakefront. The large tasting room has some stunning light fixtures from a long-gone beer garden, plus the chalet that the Milwaukee Brewers mascot Bernie used to slide out of when the team scored a home run.</p><p>That history drew Leanne and Dean Anderson from Antioch Illinois. They&rsquo;ve toured Miller and the Pabst mansions. They think Lakefront follows in that tradition.</p><p>&ldquo;I like Miller but it&rsquo;s too international now,&rdquo; said Leanne. &ldquo;I like the hometown craft breweries.&rdquo;</p><p>History and tour hijinks aside, these events are important to Lakefront&rsquo;s future. Evan Koepnick said they&rsquo;ve helped pay for new equipment and brewing experiments. Last year Lakefront &nbsp;extended the number and hours of the tours, including Sunday. And Koepnick said they&rsquo;re always busy, even during football season.</p><p>And that has Lakefront rising&mdash;<a href="http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-22766-lakefront-brewery-on-the-rise-%7C-eat-drink-%7C-shepherd-express.html">to the top of craft beers in the Midwest.</a></p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/acuddy-0" rel="author">Alison Cuddy</a>&nbsp;is the Arts and Culture reporter at WBEZ. You can follow her on&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy">Twitter</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison">Facebook</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://instagram.com/cuddyreport">Instagram</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 06 Mar 2014 14:58:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2014-03/beer-tours-big-business-small-brewer-109820 If Recipes Could Talk: Wisconsin Foods and the Stories They Tell http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/if-recipes-could-talk-wisconsin-foods-and-stories-they-tell-108232 <p><div>Wisconsin&rsquo;s culinary traditions, both past and present, reflect the richness of an ethnically and agriculturally diverse region. Author Terese Allen shares the stories behind--and recipes for--such varied foodways as cream puffs, Hmong egg rolls and the Friday night fish fry. From Ojibwe wild rice to arugula pesto pasta, she tracks the amazing cornucopia of what Wisconsinites have gathered, grown, produced, cooked, and eaten.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Terese Allen has written scores of articles and books about Wisconsin&#39;s food traditions and culinary culture, including the award-winning The Flavor of Wisconsin, The Flavor of Wisconsin for Kids, and Wisconsin Local Foods Journal. She is food editor for Organic Valley and a columnist for Edible Madison and Edible Door County magazines. Terese is president and a founding member of the Culinary History Enthusiasts of Wisconsin (CHEW) and past president of REAP Food Group, a cutting-edge food and sustainability organization in southern Wisconsin.</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/CHC-webstory_49.jpg" title="" /></div></div><div>Recorded live Saturday, June 15, 2013 at Kendall College School of Culinary Arts.</div></p> Sat, 15 Jun 2013 14:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/if-recipes-could-talk-wisconsin-foods-and-stories-they-tell-108232 Wisconsin ginseng: Sex, drugs, and root robbers http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-03/wisconsin-ginseng-sex-drugs-and-root-robbers-106315 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8595992962/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ginsengwisconsinroot.jpg" style="width: 620px;" title="American ginseng from Hsu's Ginseng Enterprises in Wausau, Wisconsin (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></p><p>I&#39;m flying to Shanghai on Friday packing <em>shang</em>. That is Midwestern slang for what the Chinese consider one of the most treasured gifts from our country: American ginseng from Wisconsin.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: start;">The current market value of wild Wisconsin ginseng runs around $600 per pound. The cultivated root fetches a respectable $50 per pound.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: start;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: start;">The traditional herbal aphrodisiac and stimulant is so much in demand that Ohio saw a <a href="http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/crime-law/plea-deal-to-end-ginseng-slaying-case/nWtB8/">grisly so-called &quot;</a><u><a href="http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/crime-law/plea-deal-to-end-ginseng-slaying-case/nWtB8/">ginseng killing</a></u><a href="http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/crime-law/plea-deal-to-end-ginseng-slaying-case/nWtB8/">&quot;</a> last year. A landowner killed an attempted poacher, with an AK-47 no less, then hid the body in a mulch pile.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: start;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: start;">Wisconsin conservation wardens report a <a href="http://www.wpr.org/news/display_headline_story.cfm?storyid=29680"><u>rise in meth and heroin addict <em>shangers</em></u></a> (wild ginseng hunters) out illegally&nbsp;<em>shanging</em> (hunting wild ginseng) for <em>shang</em> (ginseng). It is actually legal, but only in season with a permit, and permission if on private property.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: start;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: start;">One of the most confounding characteristics of ginseng is not only that it takes about five years to grow, but that it will never grow in the same plot of land again, wild or cultivated.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: start;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: start;">Ginseng has created an estimated $20 million annual industry for our neighbors to the north, and sparked a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wausaudailyherald.com/article/20130316/WDH03/303160256/Local-ginseng-groups-feud-over-logo">feud between rival groups</a>,&nbsp;the Wausau-based&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ginsengboard.com/index.cfm">Ginseng Board of Wisconsin</a>&nbsp;and the American Ginseng Association of Marathon.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: start;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: start;">Shang-heads? Perhaps foam ginseng hats could be the next something special from Wisconsin.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: start;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: start;"><a href="https://twitter.com/louisachu"><em>Follow Louisa Chu on Twitter.</em></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8594903071/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ginsengwisconsinsticker.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="American ginseng from Hsu's Ginseng Enterprises in Wausau, Wisconsin (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div></p> Wed, 27 Mar 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-03/wisconsin-ginseng-sex-drugs-and-root-robbers-106315 Durbin fired up over coal-fired ferry http://www.wbez.org/news/durbin-fired-over-coal-fired-ferry-106276 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/SS_Badger_and_SS_Spartan_Wikimedia Commons_by Zizmonz.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is crying foul over a proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that would allow a famous coal-fired ferry to keep running.</p><p>The 60-year-old S.S. Badger takes tourists back and forth across Lake Michigan a few hours north of Chicago. It&rsquo;s also the only remaining ferry in the country that runs on coal.</p><p>&ldquo;Every time that filthy scow goes across Lake Michigan, it dumps two tons of coal ash into our lake,&rdquo; said Durbin Monday.</p><p>The EPA order, which must be approved by a court in Grand Rapids, would require the Badger to stop putting ash in the lake by the end of 2014. The EPA issued the consent decree in lieu of responding to a 2012 permit renewal request by the S.S. Badger, and the decree would charge the Lake Michigan Carferry Service $25,000 for violation of clean water standards in 2012.</p><p>&ldquo;This consent decree offers the fastest and most certain path available to EPA to stop the discharge of coal ash from the Badger into Lake Michigan,&rdquo; said EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman. &ldquo;The enforcement agreement reduces the discharge of coal ash more quickly and with greater oversight than would occur during the appeal of a decision to issue or deny a permit &ndash; a process that often takes several years.&quot;</p><p>But Senator Durbin says the ship&rsquo;s owners should have already fixed the problem.</p><p>&ldquo;For ten years they&rsquo;ve promised to clean it up, put in a diesel engine at least,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I am fed up with it.&quot;</p><p>The owners of the Badger declined to comment.</p><p>A press release says the ship will continue burning coal, but dispose of the ash on land through a &ldquo;sophisticated ash retention system,&rdquo; the details of which remain unknown.</p><p><em>&mdash;Lewis Wallace is a WBEZ Pritzker Fellow. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/lewispants">@lewispants</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 25 Mar 2013 17:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/durbin-fired-over-coal-fired-ferry-106276 86th Annual Tom McNulty Coon Feed http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-01/86th-annual-tom-mcnulty-coon-feed-105189 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8426009213/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/coonfeedtablecard.jpg" style="width: 620px;" title="Coon Feed table card at the Delafield American Legion Post 196 in Wisconsin (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></p><p>Table cards and a heated waiting tent &mdash; with retro lounge seating and bar waiter service no less &mdash; at Coon Feed? With the trend-setting communal tables and perfectly roasted raccoon, one might think one was dining at a fancy restaurant in Chicago.</p><p>While <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-09/huntress-gatherer-cuisine-102176">Elizabeth has served a raccoon bolognese</a>, and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Next-Restaurant/114693845229862">Next&#39;s current theme is The Hunt</a>, they have a long way to go with wild game compared to the veterans at the <a href="http://www.delafieldlegion.com/">Delafield American Legion Post 196</a>, who served the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/events/130151323814610/">86th Annual Tom McNulty Coon Feed</a> in Wisconsin this past Saturday.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8425984155/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/coonfeedplate.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Coon Feed dinner with roasted raccoon, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, turkey, bread, relish tray, and local Delafield craft beer (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image ">I wrote about <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/louisa-chu/2012-01-26/85th-annual-coon-feed-95828">Coon Feed extensively last year</a>, though I missed it because of my visit to Japan&#39;s earthquake and tsunami recovery region.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Especially after that visit, I&#39;m relieved to report that the annual raccoon dinner remains mostly unchanged.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8425996267/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/coonfeeddumbwaiter.jpg" style="width: 620px;" title="Coon Feed roasted raccoon delivery system (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">As usual, about 300 diners feasted on this increasingly rare delicacy. Though this year, a near record number of raccoons was served, 80 or so, up from 60 in recent years.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8427079134/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/coonfeedtakeout.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Coon Feed takeout and apron (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">So much so that they generously gave me a half-gallon container of raccoon meat to take home. Of course I will share with my friends at WBEZ.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8426018373/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/coonfeedlillian.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Coon Feed hostess Lillian McNulty (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">Coon Feed hostess Lillian McNulty held court, her tiny frame sporting the 86th annual commemorative t-shirt. She donated t-shirt proceeds to&nbsp;the local Waukesha County chapter of the <a href="http://www.iwla.org/">Izaak Walton League of America</a>. The dinner proceeds benefit American Legion youth programs. Though I&#39;d say the dinner benefits those of us who return year after year.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">While the <a href="http://www.delafieldlegion.com/auxiliary.php">Delafield Legion Ladies Auxiliary Unit 196</a> does a mean dessert table, a visit to Wisconsin would not be complete without frozen custard. Fancy places like <a href="http://www.shakeshack.com/">Shake Shack</a> might copy custard, but there&#39;s only one Coon Feed.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/louisachu/8425979221/"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/koppsmrfudgie.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px;" title="Kopp's Frozen custard Mr. Fudgie with hot fudge (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></div></div></div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 29 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-01/86th-annual-tom-mcnulty-coon-feed-105189 What happens if the water in Lake Michigan keeps disappearing? http://www.wbez.org/news/what-happens-if-water-lake-michigan-keeps-disappearing-104748 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F74159429" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/57022109?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=b30000" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Just how bad are low water levels in Lake Michigan? Well, consider this holiday tale.</p><p>Each December in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, a guy in a Santa suit sets out to deliver a boat load of Christmas trees to nearby Manitowoc. But this year, Santa Claus almost didn&rsquo;t make it <em>out</em> of town.<br /><br />&quot;Santa Claus had to get on top of the boat because he couldn&rsquo;t get inside the boat,&nbsp;cause it was too low so they had to put him on the roof,&quot; says&nbsp;Michael LeClair, the white-haired owner of Susie Q&#39;s, the town&#39;s main commercial fishery.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;He could walk right off the top of the dock right onto the top of the boat, that&rsquo;s how low the water is...25 trees in the boat and he was sitting on top of the pilot house,&quot; LeClair added. &quot;That&rsquo;s how he got on and off. It&rsquo;s just a problem for everything and everyone.&quot;&nbsp;<br /><br />And it seems to be a problem nearly everywhere along Lake Michigan.</p><p>The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reported water levels in Lakes Michigan and Huron hit record lows in December, at nearly two and a half feet below average. Army Corps projections for lake levels have been dire since September, when it became clear that a relatively warm, dry fall and winter would not provide relief from a long drought and one of the the hottest summers ever.</p><p>Now the water is an inch below its record low for this time of year in 1964, and continues to drop.&nbsp;Shippers, fishermen, and small-town tourist harbors say federal help with digging out channels and repairing infrastructure could keep the low water problem from becoming a crisis.</p><p>At Michael LeClair&rsquo;s sizeable fishing operation, he says the low water has started to hurt his business. Behind the Susie Q&rsquo;s smokehouse, LeClair keeps stacks of large gray plastic bins his fishermen have to lower down from the dock with ropes, fill with smelt, and lift back up.&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6912_392-scr.JPG" style="height: 225px; width: 400px; float: left;" title="Michael LeClair in the back of Susie Q's fishery in Two Rivers (WBEZ/Lewis Wallace)" />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s about three times the work of what it usually is,&rdquo; said LeClair. He also worries that the shallow channel will freeze over entirely this winter, making it impossible to send his boats out for smelt at all. But he&rsquo;s resigned to do what&rsquo;s needed; this is his grandfather&rsquo;s company, and it&#39;s one of the town&rsquo;s biggest employers.</p><p>&ldquo;All we can do is wait. Hope things change.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>Great Lakes, shrinking harbors</strong></p><p>&ldquo;All you have to do is go up and down the coast lines and see it,&rdquo; said Chuck May of the Great Lakes Small Harbors Coalition. &ldquo;You see boats that haven&rsquo;t been able to get out yet this year, we&rsquo;ve got on this lake we&rsquo;ve got a pontoon boat sitting at the end of its 200 foot or so dock setting on bare dry land, there isn&rsquo;t any water within at least 30 feet of the boat.&rdquo;</p><p>May retired to Portage Lake in the small Michigan town of Onekama. When the water dropped nearly a foot from the previous year&rsquo;s levels, May saw parts of the lake turn into mud flats. In Onekama, as in countless other harbors, the water is so low that wooden pilings are exposed and deteriorating and boats can no longer get in and out of the harbor.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6911_370-scr.JPG" style="height: 214px; width: 380px; float: left;" title="A wooden dock juts out of the water in Two Rivers, Wisconsin (WBEZ/Lewis Wallace)" />But according to May, it doesn&rsquo;t have to be that way. The federal government taxes all the cargo that comes in and out of its harbors, purportedly in order to fund harbor maintenance and dredging, which is what keeps channels passable, particularly in low water years. Infrastructure repair is also essential during a time like this, when the wooden bases of 100-year-old seawalls are exposed and crumbling.</p><p>But for years now, the federal government has held back much of the money in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, which brings in about $1.5 billion a year. May accuses politicians of trying to make a dent in the deficit at the expense of smaller federal harbors like Portage Lake; a tiny fraction of the $750 million in unused funds could solve the city&rsquo;s problems.</p><p>In order to get around the funding dry-up, Great Lakes harbors have routinely sought out earmarks and special appropriations to stay operational. The frugal fiscal cliff environment in Washington is unfavorable to that approach these days. The Army Corps&rsquo;<a href="http://www.lre.usace.army.mil/ETSPubs/HFS/all%20fact%20sheets.pdf" target="_blank">&nbsp;detailed list of necessary repairs</a>&nbsp;seems to have an urgent project budgeted for nearly every single Great Lakes harbor, and the vast majority of the projects are unfunded for FY2013.&nbsp;This year only 15 out of 140 federal harbors in the Great Lakes will get dredged.</p><p>May founded the Great Lakes Small Harbors Coalition in 2007 to try to pass federal legislation that would require the government to spend all the money in the fund on its harbors.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr104" target="_blank">That legislation</a>, known as the RAMP Act,&nbsp;is creeping its way through congressional committees and could come to a vote this year.</p><p><strong>The heart of Two Rivers</strong></p><p>Back across the lake in Two Rivers, Wis., City Manager Greg Buckley agrees that the need for federal help in small harbors is dire. A wide federal channel is the center of Two Rivers, and it hasn&rsquo;t been dredged for decades.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Army%20corps%20map%20of%202%20rivers.jpg" style="height: 410px; width: 280px; float: right;" title="Army Corps map of Two Rivers" /></p><p>&ldquo;There are areas where there&rsquo;s only two feet of water,&rdquo; said Buckley, standing at the meeting point of the city&rsquo;s two rivers looking out onto the channel. Right now in a kind of DIY-dredging larger fishing boats use their propellers to pick up sand and silt as they go. If the water gets much lower, they could hit rock.</p><p>The town of Two Rivers needs its waterways. From the channel&rsquo;s meeting point with Lake Michigan, a massive brick factory stretches all the way back through town on the riverfront - and it&rsquo;s almost completely empty. The Hamilton factory opened in the 1800s to make wood type, and later made kitchen appliances and office furniture.</p><p>&ldquo;Our community band was the Hamilton band, our city hall is the reuse of the Hamilton community school,&rdquo; said Buckley. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s eerily quiet now.&rdquo; The operations of the former Hamilton company, which were bought and sold by various larger companies over the years, have been leaving incrementally for nearly two decades. The last manufacturing jobs associated with Hamilton moved to Mexico in 2011.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ll pick ourselves up from that, something good will ultimately come from it,&rdquo; said Buckley &ldquo;and a lot of that relates to the water resources we sit right on top of, assuming we still have water in the lake and water in the rivers.&rdquo;</p><p>Buckley envisions Two Rivers as a tourist destination, with beautiful beaches and quaint harbors to complement the blue collar fishing town. He wants to redevelop the Hamilton building and turn Two Rivers&rsquo; beaches and boating opportunities into a draw for potential homeowners. He checks out Illinois license plates when they come through town, hopeful that wealthy Chicagoans will look to Two Rivers for summer homes.</p><p><strong>The trouble with dredging</strong></p><p>Dredging, or digging up sand and silt from the bottoms of rivers to keep them at set depths, is how the federal government has maintained its waterways since the 1800s. But it&rsquo;s also part of the reason why Lake Michigan is particularly low these days. Scientists agree that routine dredging of the St. Clair River, which connects Lake Huron to Lake Erie via Lake St. Clair, has permanently lowered average levels in Michigan-Huron by a full foot. Dredging solves immediate problems for shipping, but it does not return water to the lake.</p><p>And dredging can have immediate environmental consequences, too. In an industrial place like Indiana Harbor at the southern tip of Lake Michigan, the actual material dredged up is toxic and has to be carefully stored.</p><p><strong>Indiana&rsquo;s not immune</strong></p><p>Back down in Indiana Harbor, managers for huge shipping operations agree with the small harbor leaders that the federal government should release all the harbor maintenance funds to the Army Corps to fix up the harbors.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6914_543-scr.JPG" style="height: 169px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Dan Cornellie of ArcelorMittal points to the channel to be dredged in Indiana Harbor (WBEZ/Lewis Wallace)" />Indiana Harbor will get dredged this year for the first time in 40 years. But freight operators who bring iron ore down from the Upper Peninsula to Indiana&rsquo;s steel plants say there are already other harbors where their ships are unable to navigate, redirecting freight which is then trucked to where it needs to go. That sort of inefficiency is bad for everyone in the industry.</p><p>&ldquo;If we had another summer like we had this summer, you know, lord help us,&rdquo; said Dan Cornellie of ArcelorMittal steel.</p><p>For every inch of water the lake loses, the ships supplying two large steel plants here have to lighten their loads by hundreds of tons. Right now freighters are coming into the harbor with two and a half feet less draft than just a few years ago, so for every six trips a ship makes, ArcelorMittal pays for a seventh to make up the difference. The result is a pricier bottom line for the thin, high-quality steel used to make everything from refrigerators to coffee machines.</p><p>Cornellie has been in the industry for a long time, and he remembers the low lake levels of 1964, but he said this time it doesn&rsquo;t feel the same.</p><p>&ldquo;Well, in &#39;64 nobody talked about climate change,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s no mystery what&rsquo;s going on. It&rsquo;s a question of whether any of those temperature or precipitation trends reverse.&rdquo;</p><p><b>A future in drought?</b></p><p>2012 was just tallied as the hottest year on record, and U.S. climatologists predict a continued rise in average temperatures in coming years. Precipitation in the Michigan-Huron basin in 2012 was at 87 percent of its long-term average. Although the drought is expected to let up near Lake Michigan, parts of the Midwest will likely stay in severe drought conditions into the coming summer. The Mississippi River is currently&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-shippers-breathe-sigh-relief-rock-removal-begins-mississippi-river-104488" target="_blank">barely holding off a shipping shut-down</a>&nbsp;as it nears its own record low south of St. Louis.</p><p>The water will likely go back up in spring and summer, as it does every year; late winter is generally the lowest time in the lakes&rsquo; yearly cycle. But another summer of extreme heat or drought, and this winter&rsquo;s woes will seem like kid stuff.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6910_366-scr.JPG" style="height: 450px; width: 800px; float: left;" title="The Hamilton factory dominates the waterfront in Two Rivers" /></p><p>&ldquo;Maybe we can&rsquo;t just glibly talk about hey the lakes go up and down and hey what are you gonna do, give it a few years it&rsquo;ll be back,&rdquo; said Buckley, back up in Two Rivers. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re not keeping up with the infrastructure needs now, if you exacerbate that situation with dropping lake levels, the economic impact long term could be pretty profound. Now whether that&rsquo;s climate change, whether that&rsquo;s the fact that we humans have just sat here and observed these things for 150 years and think that&rsquo;s the norm when maybe it isn&rsquo;t, well, I don&rsquo;t know.&rdquo;</p></p> Mon, 07 Jan 2013 13:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/what-happens-if-water-lake-michigan-keeps-disappearing-104748 S.S. Badger’s days could be numbered http://www.wbez.org/news/ss-badger%E2%80%99s-days-could-be-numbered-104245 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS6798_Badger_underway (1)-scr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A car ferry that has traversed Lake Michigan for nearly 60 years could soon be put out of commission.</p><p>The S.S. Badger carries cars and trucks between Manitowoc, Wisconsin and Ludington, Michigan, saving drivers a long commute through Chicago. By the company&#39;s numbers, 45,000 people took trips on the ship in 2011.</p><p>It&rsquo;s also a registered historic site and the nation&rsquo;s only remaining coal-powered ferry.</p><p>But its permit from the Environmental Protection Agency is about to expire.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a dirty ferry that dumps tons of coal ash in Lake Michigan every year,&rdquo; said Illinois Senator Dick Durbin.</p><p>The Democrat went on the attack when congressmen from Michigan and Wisconsin tried to slip an earmark into the House Coast Guard Reauthorization Act that would have exempted the Badger from regulation because of its historic status.</p><p>The amendment to the Coast Guard bill, introduced by Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), made no mention of the S.S. Badger, but asked for special regulatory status for ships that are historic sites or have applied to be historic sites. In practice, there&rsquo;s only one ship that would have been exempted from environmental regulation by that clause, and it&rsquo;s the S.S. Badger.</p><p>&ldquo;The S.S. Badger had better decide to change or find another business,&rdquo; said Durbin, who accused Huizenga and Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) of trying to sneak through an earmark.</p><p>A new version of the Coast Guard Reauthorization Act passed in the House on Wednesday without the exemption.</p><p>Now the S.S. Badger&rsquo;s future is in the hands of the EPA, which received <a href="http://www.epa.gov/r5water/npdestek/badger//" target="_blank">an application for a new permit</a> from the Badger earlier this year.</p><p>The EPA website says the Badger&rsquo;s last permit application in 2008 included an agreement that the ship would seek to eliminate coal ash emission by Dec. 19, 2012, when the permit expires. Because the Badger has failed to make the required upgrades, it is now asking for a new permit that would give it more time.</p><p>Jennifer Feyerherm of Sierra Club&#39;s Beyond Coal Campaign said the S.S. Badger has been exempted from regulations in the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts for years.</p><p>&quot;Lake Michigan itself is the source of drinking water for 10 million people. So dumping a toxic hazardous substance into the lake is just generally a bad idea,&quot; Feyerherm said. &quot;We don&#39;t let this kind of dumping happen anywhere else. That toxic coal ash is full of heavy metals like mercury and lead and arsenic.&quot;</p><p>In order to eliminate coal, the ship could convert to running on natural gas. It hasn&rsquo;t done that yet.</p><p>Representatives of the S.S. Badger declined to comment pending a decision by the EPA.</p></p> Thu, 06 Dec 2012 18:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/ss-badger%E2%80%99s-days-could-be-numbered-104245 Wiconsin teachers join CTU rally after union rights victory http://www.wbez.org/news/wiconsin-teachers-join-ctu-rally-after-union-rights-victory-102447 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/7989282389_94d71df997_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="PictoBrowser120915142156">Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer</div><script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser/swfobject.js"></script><script type="text/javascript"> var so = new SWFObject("http://www.db798.com/pictobrowser.swf", "PictoBrowser", "620", "640", "8", "#EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("source", "sets"); so.addVariable("names", "Wisconsin comes to CTU rally at Union park"); so.addVariable("userName", "chicagopublicmedia"); so.addVariable("userId", "33876038@N00"); so.addVariable("ids", "72157631543216583"); so.addVariable("titles", "on"); so.addVariable("displayNotes", "on"); so.addVariable("thumbAutoHide", "off"); so.addVariable("imageSize", "medium"); so.addVariable("vAlign", "mid"); so.addVariable("vertOffset", "0"); so.addVariable("colorHexVar", "EEEEEE"); so.addVariable("initialScale", "off"); so.addVariable("bgAlpha", "90"); so.write("PictoBrowser120915142156"); </script><p>Several buses from Milwaukee, Madison and Racine made their way from Wisconsin early Saturday to join the Chicago Teachers Union rally in Union Park on Chicago&#39;s West Side.</p><p>Despite the long trip, the teachers were in high spirits; many on the buses shared their excitement using the hashtag <a href="https://twitter.com/i/#!/search/?q=%23Wisc2CTU&amp;src=hash">#wisc2ctu</a>. &quot;got a bus to Chicago to support @CTULocal1.&nbsp;So many ppl signed up we had to get another bus on the fly; found us a school bus!&nbsp;<a data-query-source="hashtag_click" href="https://twitter.com/search/?src=hash&amp;q=%23wisc2ctu" title="#wisc2ctu"><s>#</s>wisc2ctu</a>&quot; tweeted<a href="https://twitter.com/itsghastlycrew/status/246972016421392384"> @itsghastlycrew</a>.</p><p>Adding to their enthusiasm was the news that <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/judge-strikes-down-wisconsin-law-limiting-union-rights-102443">broke Friday</a>, when a Wisconsin judge declared that the state law to prohibit collective bargaining for public employees pushed forward by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was unconstitional on both state and federal grounds.&nbsp;</p><p>The ruling animated some of the teachers on their trip to Chicago, but others weren&#39;t quite sure what to feel.</p><p>&quot;I think we&#39;re still trying to process what it all means for us,&quot; said Jenny Sagrillo, a teacher in the Milwaukee pubic school system for 14 years. &quot;I&#39;m not quite sure what it&#39;s going to do for us yet. We&#39;re hopeful, but hesitant.&quot;</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s energizing but we know that it&#39;s only going to be through ongoing organizing that it actually is secure,&quot; said Bob Peterson, the president of the Milwaukee Teachers&#39; Education Association and a teacher with the Milwaukee public schools for 30 years.</p><p>Peterson said&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/wisconsin-teachers-coming-chicago-support-teachers-here-102417">they&#39;d been planning this trip since the strike began</a>.</p><p>&quot;The courts can easily be turned around. And so we&#39;re here to help in solidarity with the Chicago teachers; they are carrying on the legacy of what we started 18 months ago in Wisconsin.&quot;</p><p>Others found the day &quot;absolutely powerful&quot; regardless of the ruling, like Bonnie Brusky, a staff member with MTEA and whose children attend Milwaukee public schools.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;...when we got off the buses, the crowds parted and it was a sea of Wisconsin that came through and a great welcoming,&quot; said Brusky. &quot;[It was] absolutely amazing. But the reason we&#39;re here is that we realize that this is a nation-wide movement to destroy public schools and if people begin to see that our voices are more important than the dollars going into these politics, I think we&#39;ve got a fight in this.&quot;</p><p>Brusky said she sees what&#39;s happening in Chicago as just one part of a larger issue with public education going forward.</p><p>&quot;I think we make sure everybody&#39;s got red shirts in their closet for when we need them to pull it out at any opportunity. I think we&#39;ve seen our numbers growing and actually, a lot of people don&#39;t even realize that the teachers in Victoria, Australia also went on strike. So this is more than what&#39;s happening in our country; people are fighting for public ed across the world where it exists.&quot;</p></p> Sat, 15 Sep 2012 13:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/wiconsin-teachers-join-ctu-rally-after-union-rights-victory-102447 Bears and cheeseheads at the Florida convention http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus/bears-and-cheeseheads-florida-convention-102081 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/cheese head.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Republicans have mostly high praise for Wisconsin Congressman and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, who spoke Wedenesday night at the Republican National Convention in Florida.</p><p>But Ryan also brought out some regional rivalries.<br /><br />Illinois delegate Dan Peterson, from the northern suburbs of Chicago, was wearing one of the only signs of party disunity. Peterson wore a jersey that had the Chicago Bulls on the front proudly displaying his opposition to Ryan&#39;s favorite team.</p><p>&quot;Unfortunately, he&rsquo;s a Packer fan. And I felt that we needed a little bit of balance today.&quot;<br /><br />Peterson is a delegate for Mitt Romney, and said he liked Paul Ryan&rsquo;s reputation as a federal budget expert.<br /><br />Also showing off his sports regalia while a line of reporters waited to interview him, was Sol Grosskopf. He is a Wisconsin delegate, who sat in the front row wearing a foam cheesehead.</p><p>&quot;You know, it&rsquo;s great to be among the Cheesehead Revolution right now, with Scott Walker, Reince Priebus and Paul Ryan,&quot; Grosskpof said.<br /><br />Delegates will hear from GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney Thursday night.</p></p> Thu, 30 Aug 2012 09:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/boys-bus/bears-and-cheeseheads-florida-convention-102081 Driver licenses for undocumented youths? http://www.wbez.org/news/driver-licenses-undocumented-youths-101986 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/immigrant%20map.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 369px; width: 600px; " title="WBEZ asked eight states whether they are planning to provide driver’s licenses to immigrants who receive Social Security and employment-authorization cards as a result of President Barack Obama’s “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” policy. (WBEZ map by Elliott Ramos)" /></p><p>Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio are planning to provide driver&rsquo;s licenses to undocumented immigrants who get work papers under a new federal policy.</p><p>The Obama administration policy, called &ldquo;Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,&rdquo; will allow as many as 1.7 million illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children to get Social Security and employment-authorization cards, along with a deportation reprieve. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting applications Aug. 15.</p><p>&ldquo;As long as the Social Security Administration issues an individual with a Social Security number, and they have the other documents that are required under Illinois law, then they can apply for a driver&rsquo;s license,&rdquo; said Henry Haupt, spokesman for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, who oversees that state&rsquo;s driver licensing.</p><p>WBEZ surveyed eight Midwestern states about their response to the policy change. Along with the four states planning to provide licenses, Wisconsin and Iowa officials said they had not decided yet, while Minnesota and Missouri officials did not respond to numerous WBEZ inquiries.</p><p>The states planning to issue the driver&rsquo;s licenses differ from Arizona, Nebraska and Texas, where governors have vowed to block illegal immigrants from getting licenses.</p><p>The immigrants must meet several requirements to get the Social Security and work-authorization cards, including having been younger than 31 on June 15; having arrived in the U.S. before turning 16; having lived in the country continuously since June 2007; being a student or graduate, or having served in the military; and having no serious criminal record nor posing any public safety threat. The work authorization will last up to two years and, if the federal policy stays in place, be renewable. The policy does not provide a path to citizenship.</p><p>Assuming some of the immigrants have been driving illegally, states that enable them to get a license could make roads safer. &ldquo;They have to pass the road exam, they have to pass the written exam, and they pass the vision test,&rdquo; Haupt said about Illinois. &ldquo;We require so many different things of our young drivers and &mdash; by doing so &mdash; they, of course, become better drivers.&rdquo;</p><p>Illinois also requires proof of liability insurance on the car the driver uses for the road test. So it&rsquo;s possible that allowing undocumented immigrants to drive legally could reduce the number of uninsured vehicles.</p><p>The immigrants themselves have more at stake. Karen Siciliano Lucas, an advocacy attorney of the Washington-based Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc., points out that driver&rsquo;s licenses are vital for working and attending school in most regions of the country. &ldquo;Not only that, it is a state-issued identification that shows who you are,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>The issue is complicated because most states require driver&rsquo;s&nbsp;license applicants to prove &ldquo;lawful status&rdquo; or &ldquo;legal presence&rdquo; in the United States. Officials in some states say the work authorization under the Obama policy will be sufficient proof. But a USCIS statement says the policy &ldquo;does not confer lawful status upon an individual.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s unclear whether courts will enable states to define lawful status differently than the federal government does.</p><p>States expecting Obama administration guidance about the driver&rsquo;s licenses could be waiting awhile. In response to WBEZ questions, the Department of Homeland Security sent a statement saying the department does not comment on state-specific matters.</p><p>Until federal courts weigh in, states are likely to face lawsuits no matter their course. &ldquo;We will see battles on this,&rdquo; Lucas predicted.</p><p>Making matters more complicated is the federal Real ID Act, a 2005 law aimed at fighting identity theft and keeping terrorists out of federal buildings and airplanes. Among other things, the act requires states to verify that driver&rsquo;s license applicants have lawful status in the United States.</p><p>The law is set to take effect in January, but it&rsquo;s not clear how the Obama administration will enforce it. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has fought for the measure&rsquo;s repeal, calling it unworkable.</p><p>That irks advocates for tougher immigration enforcement: &ldquo;If you want to protect against identify theft, you&rsquo;ve got to eliminate the fraud,&rdquo; said Janice Kephart, who focuses on national security policies for the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies. &ldquo;That means you have to eliminate the illegal-alien community out of that scheme. It doesn&rsquo;t mean that states cannot give driver&rsquo;s licenses to illegal aliens. It just means that they have to do it outside the Real ID Act.&rdquo;</p><p>Kephart praised Utah, which has created a &ldquo;driving privilege card&rdquo; specifically for undocumented immigrants.</p><p>At the moment the only other states that let undocumented immigrants drive legally are New Mexico and Washington, which provide them the same licenses that U.S. citizens can get.</p></p> Mon, 27 Aug 2012 13:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/driver-licenses-undocumented-youths-101986