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. 

As Rising Temps Hurt Lakes, Pilot Project Seen as a Solution

Jul 31, 2020
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WALKER, Minn. -- Minnesota is coming off a streak of extremely hot weather. But year-round, the state is warmer than it used to be, and concerns about rising temperatures and their effect on lakes isn't going away.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota said the state is one of the three fastest-warming in the nation. Studies have looked at how forests and agriculture are affected, but Jeff Forester, executive director for Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates, said he'd like to see more research about the effects on waterways.

Ballot Rejections Prompt Outreach from Wisconsin Election Officials

Jul 29, 2020
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MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin election officials expect a lot of people to vote absentee this November.

But after many mail-in ballots were rejected during the primary, the state isn't taking any chances with the outcome of the presidential race possibly hanging in the balance.

Drive Aims to Boost Non-Mainstream Domestic-Violence Groups

Jul 24, 2020
Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton Sgt. Valerie Eppler

MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- An initiative is under way to extend the reach of smaller nonprofits in Wisconsin that assist victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence.

The awareness effort in Milwaukee focuses on groups deemed culturally specific. Organizers have said in communities of color, victims might be reluctant to seek help from mainstream organizations, especially those with ties to law enforcement.

COVID-19: Fears Grow Over Animal Shelters Becoming Overwhelmed

Jul 17, 2020
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MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- Animal welfare groups say the pandemic is exacerbating the overpopulation crisis for cats and dogs in Wisconsin and across the country.

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MADISON, Wis. - The State of Wisconsin is now accepting applications for people to serve on a nonpartisan redistricting panel, aimed at eliminating political influence in redrawing legislative maps. But some are questioning whether the state is ready for this approach.

Report: Wisconsin Lacking Teachers of Color

Jul 10, 2020
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ARCADIA, Wis. -- Wisconsin's public school student population has become more racially diverse, but its teacher workforce still is mostly White. That's according to a new report from an independent research group.

The Wisconsin Policy Forum said between 2009 and 2019, the number K-12 students of color increased by more than 28%, but teachers of color only make up 5% of those leading classrooms across the state.

Advocacy Group Says Voters Will Overcome Latest Obstacle in WI

Jul 7, 2020
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MILWAUKEE -- Republican leaders in Wisconsin secured a victory ahead of the November election after an appeals court reinstated various voting restrictions. Despite the decision, an advocacy group says it remains undeterred in helping disenfranchised voters.

The federal 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that GOP lawmakers did not attempt to discriminate against minority voters when they pushed for the restrictions in previous election cycles.

Madison District Joins Movement To Remove Police From Schools

Jul 3, 2020

MADISON, Wis. -- One of Wisconsin's largest school districts has decided to stop having police officers stationed inside its school buildings. The action taken by the Madison district comes as the nation reckons with how law enforcement should be structured and utilized.

On Monday, the Madison School Board approved an immediate termination of its contract with the city's police department. Bianca Gomez is youth justice director with the group Freedom Inc., which had been advocating for such a move even before the police killing of George Floyd.

WI Families Aren't Seeking Public Insurance Aid During Crisis

Jun 29, 2020
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MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin's jobless rate sits at 12% in the economic fallout caused by COVID-19. Health insurance gaps are expected, including for families with young children, and some worry they're not seeking enough help.

Analysts say Wisconsin has a higher than average reliance on employer-sponsored health coverage, but an estimated 260,000 people have lost theirs.

Can Wisconsin Schools Afford to Reopen Safely?

Jun 26, 2020

MADISON, Wis. -- Parents and educators face uncertainty over the potential reopening of school buildings closed because of the pandemic. Wisconsin officials provided some clarity Monday, but one group wonders if districts are equipped to welcome students back.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released guidelines that include several scenarios. One is a four-day week so buildings can undergo deep cleaning on the fifth day. There are also two-day rotations, with more distance learning mixed in.

Early-Childhood Funding Vital in Counting All WI Kids

Jun 19, 2020
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MADISON, Wis. -- Outreach groups for the 2020 census count say Wisconsin relies heavily on federal funding for early-childhood education. They say it's one of many reasons why the state can't let young children go uncounted.

An estimated 1 million kids under the age of 5 were not counted nationwide in the 2010 census. Studies show it's a larger problem in communities of color.

Turbulent Times Offer Outreach Opportunities for WI Churches

Jun 12, 2020

JANESVILLE, Wis. -- Progressive Christian clergy are finding new people to connect with as the nation confronts a host of turbulent issues - including in southern Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Group: Time To Peel Off Band-Aid, Discuss Race Openly

Jun 5, 2020
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MADISON, Wis. -- Demands for systemic change in the U.S. grow louder by the day following the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American man in Minneapolis.

Activists say white populations need to listen, but also take action in their own lives. Those demanding change say in states such as Wisconsin, which is 83% white, it might be uncomfortable for some to openly discuss racial issues.

As WI Economy Reopens, Isolation Concerns Persist for Seniors

May 29, 2020
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MILWAUKEE - Whether by court decisions or expiring stay-at-home orders, Wisconsin residents are seeing more business restrictions ease as the pandemic continues.

A leading nonprofit group hopes that, as people leave their homes more frequently, they don't forget about older loved ones and neighbors.

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MADISON, Wis. -- Religious activism often is associated with divisive topics such as abortion, but some church leaders in Wisconsin are calling on Congress to take more action for those affected by the pandemic.

Some of the stimulus money set aside by federal lawmakers has gone to churches impacted by the economic downturn. Yet in Wisconsin, there's been a push by some faith leaders for Congress to ensure that any more stimulus funding not necessarily go to churches, but for people still struggling to get by.