Recycling and repurposing materials can not only be a cost- savings in what is – for many people – tight financial times; it’s also becoming hip. Even Martha Stewart talks up repurposed furniture and décor.

ReStore is one of the local operations riding on the trend. What might appear to be a discount hardware store, actually sells new and “gently-used” building materials, furniture and the like. The proceeds help fund local Habitat for Humanity affiliates build and renovate homes.

Controversy continues churning in Wisconsin over a potential mining operation in the far north.Advocates say the venture promises much-needed jobs; opponents fear irreparable damage to pristine waterways and wetlands.Last month, Republican lawmakers pushed a strongly debated bill through the Assembly. A Senate Select Committee could unveil its version as early as today.

Susan Bence

For the second time in a matter of weeks, the head of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa traveled hundreds of miles to Milwaukee. Mike Wiggins hopes to sway public opinion against the wisdom of an iron ore mine upstream from his tribe’s reservation near Lake Superior.

Wiggins appealed to the Rotary Club of Milwaukee as a GOP-driven bill barrels through the Legislature. It would streamline the permitting process in order to provide certainty to the interested company.

Wiggins says the bill would wield a devastating blow to the region’s air and water.

On Wednesday, the state Senate approved the mining bill pushing it forward for an assembly vote next week.

WUWM complied a number of differences that exist between the bill passed by the Senate and current law.

Note: Bill amendments appear in red. WUWM conferred with the Wisconsin Legislative Council and Legislative Fiscal Bureau in the creation of this comparison.

Susan Bence

As another batch of seesawing weather conditions arrives in Wisconsin – from flooding to snow, leaders have been planning for the worst while hoping for the best.

WUWM Environmental Reporter Susan Bence checked with people in metro Milwaukee preparing for what might – or might not – come.

Sandy Rusch Walton with Milwaukee’s Department of Public Works says residents started calling first thing Tuesday, following the first big round of rain.

Susan Bence

We normally think of debate and discussion over topics such as water quality and climate change in either scientific or economic terms. For example, what are the implications for business and employment in the face of increased environmental regulation?

Susan Bence

No one expected Wednesday’s hearing on a mining bill at the state Capitol to be a short or calm affair, and it was not.

Dozens of people squeezed into the chamber for what is slated to be the only public hearing on a GOP propelled piece of legislation.

It’s designed to push a proposed iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin into a living, breathing job creator.

Iron County Development

Mining is in the air at the state capitol. Yesterday, Democratic Senator Tim Cullen unveiled his version of a iron ore mining bill he believes balances environmental protection and the potential of jobs in the Penokee Hills that straddle Iron and Ashland counties.

The bill relates to a proposed mining operation just below Lake Superior, in the wetland- and stream-rich Bad River watershed. Meanwhile, at this hour in Madison, a recently released GOP bill is being scrutinized and commented on at a public hearing - it is the only one scheduled for the bill.

K Klein

There will be a flurry of activity at the state Capitol this week – and mining legislation is the topic of discussion.

GOP leaders will hold a public hearing, but not before a Democratic senator reveals a mining bill of his own.

A piece of land just south of Lake Superior – rich not only in streams and wetlands, but also in iron ore, is propelling the debate.

WUWM Environmental Reporter Susan Bence looks at the debate which seems to be accelerating at a furious pace.

P Rasmussen

Just hours after Gov. Walker said his agenda includes rewriting Wisconsin's mining laws, Republican legislators introduced a slightly-reworked mining bill. Most of it is similar to the plan the Senate rejected by one vote last year.

New GOP Senator Tom Tiffany touted the new plan as one that would enable the state to create thousands of new jobs without weakening environmental standards.

Susan Bence

Later Tuesday, the Natural Resources Defense Council will release a map ranking the states for extreme weather conditions over the last year.

We’ve already learned that Wisconsin is in the top ten because of the summer drought.

That is no surprise to many residents – from farmers to scientists.

We begin a series of stories on how people here intend to cope with increasingly erratic weather.

WUWM Environmental Reporter Susan Bence takes us first to an apple orchard in southwestern Wisconsin.

T Fitz

Multiple forces are colliding as the Legislature again grapples with Wisconsin’s mining standards.

A resolution cannot come soon enough for people hungry for the jobs a new iron-ore mine in northern Wisconsin could create.

The complexity of generating work and protecting the environment is not lost on Tom Fitz.

He teaches geosciences at Northland College – a short drive from the potential mine in the Penokee Hills.

Milwaukee Office of Environmental Sustainability

The Port of Milwaukee announced this week that the wind turbine that supplies energy to the port’s administration building has been paying dividends to the city. In less than a year of operation, the turbine shifted electrical costs at the port by almost $15,000 dollars. In fact, the electrical utility actually paid the port for the surplus energy it produced.

Susan Bence

A church on Milwaukee’s near south side nearly burst at its seams Tuesday evening as people gathered to talk about mining.

Leaders from the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe lead the event in hopes of rallying support to block a proposed mine near their reservation.

WUWM Environmental Reporter Susan Bence attended the meeting and joined Bob Bach in the studio to share some of what she saw.

Susan Bence

A report in yesterday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel indicates Republican legislative leaders in Wisconsin plan to introduce new legislation to streamline the permit process for mining in Wisconsin. New assembly speaker Robin Vos said such legislation could come as early as next week.

A similar bill – AB426 - was defeated in the state senate this year, but Vos and other Republican leaders are optimistic that with revisions, such a bill would see passage - which could pave the way for a new iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin.