Author

Erik Gunn

Erik Gunn

Senior Reporter Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, health policy and related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary. An East Coast native, he previously covered labor for The Milwaukee Journal after reporting for newspapers in upstate New York and northern Illinois. He's a graduate of Beloit College (English Comp.) and the Columbia School of Journalism. Off hours he is the Examiner's resident Springsteen and Jackson Browne fanboy and model railroad nerd.

Park Falls paper mill

‘I don’t believe it was a dead end’

By: - December 2, 2021

Second of two parts On the same day that the Wisconsin Assembly overwhelmingly approved a $15 million loan guarantee that officials in Park Falls hoped would save the city’s historic paper mill, a Wisconsin state senator pronounced the legislation all but dead. Language completely unrelated to the bill but tacked on in the second part […]

Image captured and colorized at Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana. Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

ICU beds fill up as officials watch for coronavirus omicron variant

By: - December 1, 2021

With the continued resurgence of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, still driven by the delta variant of the virus, hospital intensive care units are full in the state’s western and northwestern regions, the Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA) reported Tuesday. “We are in the middle of a delta wave with record cases and record hospitalizations in Wisconsin for […]

Struggling to save the Park Falls paper mill

By: - November 30, 2021

First of two parts Over three days in the middle of November, online auctioneers sold off bits and pieces of the paper mill that for a century has anchored the city of Park Falls in northern Wisconsin. The auction began just days after the Wisconsin Assembly passed a bill to steer a $15 million loan […]

Closed sign

Retailers continue to cancel Thanksgiving Day shopping hours

By: - November 25, 2021

Remember Christmas shopping on Thanksgiving? A decade or so ago it seemed like retail’s next big thing. This year — thanks to more than the COVID-19 pandemic — the practice appears to be firmly on the way out. “I don’t expect it to ever go back to where it was three or four years ago,” […]

Dried cranberries

Wisconsin takes cranberry snacks away from the tax man

By: - November 25, 2021

Are you celebrating Thanksgiving by tossing Craisins in your salad?  If so, the state Department of Revenue (DOR) and the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association want you to know that, for the first time ever, they’re tax-free. Until this year, Craisins — or any other brand of sweetened, dried cranberries in addition to those bearing […]

Mask and Thanksgiving Table

Pandemic remains active as the holidays begin

By: - November 24, 2021

On the eve of Thanksgiving 2021, COVID-19 remains rampant in Wisconsin and most of the country. It was supposed to be different, with not just one but three vaccines introduced early this year. But the slow movement of vaccine uptake, despite the expansion of groups eligible for the shot, made room for the much more […]

Park Falls paper mill gets sold in parts

By: - November 23, 2021

Since early summer the community of Park Falls has been hoping for a boost from the state of Wisconsin that would enable the city’s shuttered paper mill to hang on, find new owners and reopen. Last week the door closed on that option as machinery and equipment from the Park Falls Pulp & Paper plant […]

Bell's notebooks

Governor’s office rejects plea for investigation of attorney general

By: - November 23, 2021

The chief lawyer for Gov. Tony Evers has told Michael Bell of Kenosha that the governor lacks the power to act on Bell’s complaint targeting Attorney General Josh Kaul in connection with the 2004 police killing of Bell’s son. Bell urged Evers in late October to investigate Kaul because, Bell said, the attorney general had […]

Newspapers

‘Slash and burn’ hedge fund bids for owner of multiple Wisconsin newspapers

By: - November 22, 2021

A hedge fund that has cut staff and resources drastically while becoming the second largest owner of newspapers in the country is now bidding to buy Lee Enterprises, which owns several daily newspapers in Wisconsin. Alden Global Capital is offering $24 a share for Lee, the investment firm stated in a letter to Lee’s board of […]

Close-up of American Dollar banknotes with stethoscope

State health care navigator gets $2M to connect more people to coverage

By: - November 19, 2021

A nonprofit group that helps Wisconsin residents seeking health insurance coverage is getting a $2 million boost, the state health department announced Friday. The funds will go to Covering Wisconsin. The organization, affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, provides consumers with information year-round on health insurance and helps people sign up for insurance through the […]

Bartender pouring a beer

October unemployment drops, jobs increase, although numbers are modest

By: - November 19, 2021

Wisconsin’s jobless rate fell and employment rose in October, the state labor department reported Thursday, but a continuing gap between employers’ need for workers and the number of people available to work for them is likely to persist in the years to come. It’s a demographic cliff that labor market experts have been warning about […]

Environmentalists urge keeping climate-oriented job and training program in budget bill

By: - November 19, 2021

A $30 billion proposal to create a new “Civilian Climate Corps” in the U.S. offers a chance to address climate change while also building skills and creating living wage jobs for people in need of them, advocates say. The idea, inspired by the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) that boosted employment and resulted in […]