Changes At Lincoln Hills, Growing White Rice In Wisconsin, Trump Officials Met With Russian Lawyer

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The deadline has passed for court ordered changes to take effect at the Lincoln Hills juvenile prison. We hear how the facility is changing its policies. We also learn about a Marquette University project harnessing the knowledge of Hmong farmers to grow white rice for the first time in Wisconsin. Plus, details on a meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer during last year’s election.

Featured in this Show

  • Judge Issues Injunction To Reduce Solitary Confinement At Youth Prisons

    After a federal judge ordered changes at Wisconsin’s troubled youth prisons, Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Hill School for Girls, we look at promises to curtail solitary confinement, the use of pepper spray, and more.

  • Using Traditional Knowledge To Grow Rice In Wisconsin

    A new project to test growing rice in Wisconsin is using the agricultural knowledge of Hmong residents.

  • Biologist Taps Into Opportunity For Wisconsin-Grown Rice

    The state producing the most medium- and short-grain rice in the United States is California, under the state’s sunny skies and in the state’s warm weather. In the Sacramento Valley, where temperatures often top 100 degrees, acres of land are flooded under about 5 inches of water where medium-grain rice will be grown.

    Enter droughts that have plagued the west coast for several years, and questions about how one of the planet’s thirstiest crops will be sustained start to surface.

    For Michael Schläppi, an associate professor of biology at Marquette University, the droughts created room to imagine growing rice in other parts of country where water is plentiful, like the Midwest.

    “Why not (grow rice) here in Wisconsin? Why not in a place where we have ample resources of water. And we also have a lot of boggy land that farmers cannot use for wheat, soybean or corn,” he said.

    Rice isn’t completely new to Wisconsin, though.

    For generations, wild rice has been planted and harvested by Native Americans in Wisconsin, including the Ojibwe and Menominee tribes. Despite the history of growing rice in Wisconsin, producing it at a commercial level still isn’t without challenge, especially when it’s cold in the state most of the year.

    Schläppi said part of his research focuses on figuring out how to grow rice in Wisconsin despite low temperatures, something he has seen done elsewhere.

    “I had this vision many years ago when I came here that Asian rice could be grown here because I’ve seen it being done in northern Japan,” he said.

    The effort to find ways to produce rice in Wisconsin has also unexpectedly led to connections between different groups and communities.

    The initial stages of growing rice started on the roof of Marquette University, where Schläppi built 12 4-feet-by-4-feet, raised-bed rice paddies. Then the project moved to a pond in the Mequon Nature Preserve, where he was connected with community groups, including many Hmong refugees, who had experience growing rice in Asia.

    “They have the knowledge of what it (takes) to build a paddy, what it (takes) to plant rice. They’ve done it by hand,” he said, adding he was also learning to farm and re-employ the skills of experienced Hmong farmers who gave up growing rice after encountering Wisconsin’s cold temperatures.

    The rice farming effort in Wisconsin doesn’t just end with producing a variety that can tolerate harsh weather. Schläppi said he’s also working with Marquette University’s business and communication departments to tap into a market for Wisconsin rice, a market that he believes is already there.

    “I can tell you anecdotally that I’ve been approached by local chefs who are really interested in using locally sourced foods, and rice is one of those foods that you can’t get locally in Wisconsin,” he said.

    Editor’s Note: An earlier version of the article said 95 percent of rice is grown in California. California produces the most medium- and short-grain rice in the United States. Arkansas produces the most long-grain rice in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

  • Donald Trump Jr Met With Russian Lawyer Who Promised Damaging Info About Hillary Clinton

    Donald Trump Jr met with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign after she promised him damaging information about Hillary Clinton. The meeting included Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. We talk to a government expert about how this news will affect the investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and how this news will reflect on the president.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Kate Archer Kent Host
  • Haleema Shah Producer
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • Amanda Magnus Producer
  • Marsha Levick Guest
  • Michael Schläppi Guest
  • Kristin Gies Guest
  • Chris Edelson Guest

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