Mike Moen

Mike Moen is the Morning Edition producer and serves as a staff reporter for WNIJ.  Every morning, he works with Dan Klefstad to bring listeners the latest Illinois news.  He also works with the rest of the news staff on developing and producing in-depth stories.  Mike is a Minnesota native who likes movies, history, and baseball. When most people hear his last name, they assume he is 100-percent Scandinavian.  But, believe it or not, he is mostly German. 

WI Caregiver Shortage: A Safety Risk for Patients?

Feb 26, 2020
Pixabay.com sarcifilippo

MADISON, Wis. -- Advocates for Wisconsin seniors and people with disabilities say those who live in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities may be at higher safety risk after a new report confirms caregiver shortages across the state.

A handful of provider associations have issued survey results that say one in four direct caregiver positions is vacant, an increase from one in five vacancies noted in the same report two years ago.

WI Leaders at Odds Whether to Spend Surplus on Public Schools

Feb 13, 2020
Wikimedia Commons Michael Anderson

MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers wants state lawmakers to meet in special session to discuss spending surplus money on education. But it appears GOP leaders won't go along with the idea.

Last week, the Democratic governor announced a plan to spend $250 million of the state's projected budget surplus on public schools. Some of the money would go toward school-based mental health services.

Heart Illnesses Can Sneak Up, Even for Healthy People

Feb 11, 2020
Pixabay.com ArtsyBee

MILWAUKEE -- Living a healthy lifestyle doesn't guarantee you won't end up with a heart illness. A Wisconsin doctor, along with a heart attack survivor, is raising awareness about warning signs.

Community Grants Aim for Speedy Improvements

Feb 10, 2020
National Park Service

MADISON, Wis. -- Making communities more livable for people of all ages is the goal of a grant program that's looking for ideas from Wisconsin. Nonprofit groups and government agencies now can submit their applications for community-improvement grants administered by AARP. The funding is for projects that can provide immediate results.

Feds Lay Out Recovery Plan for Endangered Bumble Bee

Jan 31, 2020
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

MADISON, Wis. -- A certain kind of bumble bee that once thrived in the Midwest and along the East Coast is now endangered, and federal officials are moving forward with plans to reverse the population decline of the insect. The rusty patched bumble bee was added to the federal Endangered Species List in 2017.

Experts say the bee's population has been wiped out by nearly 90% and it's only present in about a dozen states, including Wisconsin. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a plan to help this pollinator stage a comeback.

Fibonacci Blue/Flickr

MADISON, Wis. -- In a decision that angered activists, the Wisconsin Association of School Boards recently declined to endorse a proposal that called on high schools to stop using Native American mascots. One expert said continued use could be harmful to students.

Nearly 30 Wisconsin high schools still have a mascot that includes American Indian names and imagery. And recently, nearly 20 schools got behind a resolution to retire such mascots altogether. But the school board association rejected that proposal at its annual convention.

New WI Program Aims to Boost Solar Power in Schools

Jan 24, 2020
Pixabay.com skeeze

MADISON, Wis. -- Solar installations aren't just for homes and businesses. Thousands of K-through-12 schools across the country have them, and the goal of a new program is to add more Wisconsin schools to the list.

The Midwest Renewable Energy Association has announced a plan to provide grants of $20,000 each to up to 100 schools to install a solar module on their campus. Amanda Schienebeck, the association's solar-program coordinator, said they hope to join the small but growing wave of states embracing this type of energy for academic structures.

Midwest States Lag in Hiring Census Takers

Jan 22, 2020
AARP Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. -- You might get a knock on your door from a census worker sometime this spring, but the bureau says it still has a lot of recruiting to do to staff those positions in states such as Wisconsin. They're hoping seniors can help fill the gap for the 2020 count.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, most Wisconsin counties haven't even reached the halfway point for their hiring goals for these part-time, temporary jobs.

Pixabay.com Tumisu

MADISON, Wis. -- As Wisconsin's population becomes more diverse, changes are expected in the coming years to better assist residents from other parts of the world. But it could even have more personal impacts, including how residents speak.

Census figures show that Wisconsin is still predominantly white, at nearly 87%, but the latest numbers also show minority populations are growing at an increasing rate.

Supporters of Tax Credit for WI Caregivers Renew Their Push

Dec 20, 2019
AARP Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. - Nearly 580,000 Wisconsin residents are unpaid family caregivers, according to AARP Wisconsin, and the group is renewing its call for state lawmakers to ease the financial burden they face.

WI Among States with SNAP Waiver Targeted by Trump Administration

Dec 6, 2019
USDA

MADISON, Wis. - Wisconsin and more than 30 other states could have a harder time seeking additional waivers for tougher work requirements under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, following rule changes announced Wednesday by the Trump administration.

The rule in question deals with able-bodied adults without children. They're required to work at least 20 hours a week or lose their benefits. But states have been allowed to seek exemptions for areas with high unemployment.

Minnesota Parks and Recreation

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Supreme Court heard arguments this week about a controversial name change involving a Minneapolis lake. The change was made to better reflect American Indian history, and one local historian says more of these actions can be expected.

The name change - from Lake Calhoun to its original Dakota name, Bde Maka Ska - is one of several recent examples of an iconic place or building considered for re-naming in honor of Native Americans.

Some typical crowdfunding proposals posted online may look like this: Help my band record our next album or please contribute to my child's medical expenses.

But here's one thing the average investor can't do through crowdfunding: buy stake in a private company. That policy, however, is under closer scrutiny. With more competition for venture capital funding, equity crowdfunding is getting more attention.

One recent evening, some shoppers at the Countryside Market in Belvidere, Ill., were loading up on staples, like milk and eggs. Others, like Meghan Collins, were trying to plan Thanksgiving on a newly tightened budget.

"My work has been cut," says Collins. "I'm working half the hours I used to work. So yeah, I'm making half of what I made last year."