MADISON - A new report says life expectancy in Wisconsin has dropped for two years in a row fueled by increased deaths from alcohol abuse and opioids.
The Wisconsin Policy Forum report released Monday finds that while Wisconsin is mirroring a national trend in shorter life expectancies overall, the state loses ground due to alcohol and opioid deaths and increased mortality among black people.
Drug and alcohol deaths in Wisconsin have more than tripled since 1999. The state's drug death rate has more than quadrupled since 1999.
In Milwaukee County, the opioid death rate for all races was more than twice the statewide rate between 2013 and 2017.
The life expectancy for a baby born in Wisconsin between 2015 and 2017 is 80 years, down from 80.2 years for babies born two years earlier.
PHELPS - Today, the Robbins family broke ground on their new home, courtesy of Habitat for Humanity.
"This is really exciting," said Dave Havel of the Northwoods Habitat for Humanity chapter. "With all of the issues we've had as a nation as a community. It's really great that we're moving forward and able to help this local family here in Phelps."
Excavation will start in the next few weeks - the next step in what both Rebecca and Cory call their dream home.
"They'll never know what this means to this family," said Rebecca Robbins. "They'll never know what this means to us. I have shed a few tears already and I'm sure a lot more to come. They'll just never know what this means to our family."
It will mean some freedom for Rebecca's daughter Jade.
"I will finally have my own room, after sharing a room with my older brother, then sharing one with my little brother," said Jade Robbins.
Cory works with Select Builders, the local contractor out of Eagle River hired by Habitat for Humanity.
"I can't believe I can do this," said Cory Robbins. "I mean, I've always dreamed of owning my own home and now I'm actually going to help build it."
This will be the 23rd home that Habitat for Humanity has helped build in the Northwoods, and the first one in Phelps.
MILWAUKEE - For the first time in 53 years, summer in Milwaukee won't have a Summerfest.
The crown jewel for the City of Festivals, and the largest music festival in the United States, was canceled for the first time, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Thursday morning in a unanimous vote by the board of Summerfest's parent company, Milwaukee World Festival Inc.
"Given the information available today, and the uncertainty surrounding very large gatherings, we cannot in good conscience proceed with the festival this year," Don Smiley, Milwaukee World Festival CEO, said in a statement. "The immediate future presents multiple levels of risk for our fans, and we choose the side of safety."
Refunds for Summerfest general-admission tickets are available at summerfest.com through July 17. 2020 general admission tickets and passes will also be honored for Summerfest 2021. Summerfest officials said dates for next year will be announced in the coming weeks.
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