desk at home

The home-schooling bump

Documents from local school districts and state departments of education show that historic numbers of K-12 students across the D.C. region switched from attending their local public schools to home-school for the 2020-2021 academic year as the pandemic raged.

Man standing in front of closed doors

Unequal paths for engineers

Black engineers face an unequal playing field. IRW spent months asking lawmakers, engineers and government agencies to explain why there’s no national standard for the licensure of engineers with four-year engineering technology degrees. The collective answers ranged from institutional racism to protecting the status quo to concerns over educational qualifications.

The Ohio statehouse in Columbus viewed from a park across the street

A piecemeal repeal

Utilities, fossil fuel interests and nuclear plants are still reaping advantages over clean energy in Ohio, despite a repeal of the law at the heart of an alleged $60 million corruption scandal.

water pouring out of pipe

Looming crisis

Energy companies and big industry are drawing vast amounts of water from northwest Louisiana. And the withdrawals are allowing salt water to move in, threatening the main source of drinking water for a growing population of more than half a million.

remains of destroyed water tower

Solving problems now

While climate change has brought an abundance of water to Louisiana from above, it also threatens valuable water below — the groundwater in the state’s aquifers that the majority of the population relies on for drinking water.

industrial plants with smoke

An aquifer at ‘special risk’

The Southern Hills aquifer’s water is clean and pure. Baton Rouge residents brag about its taste. And industries prefer it because it’s cheaper to access than river water, which needs expensive treatment. But the aquifer is being depleted faster than it is being replenished.

man in field next to pipe spewing water

The price? Free, while it lasts

A centuries-old law gives Louisiana landowners “ultimate dominion” over the groundwater beneath their property. That means farmers, manufacturers and homeowners can take as much as they want, when they want it — no fees required.

The water problems

Groundwater levels in and around Louisiana are falling faster than almost anywhere else in the country, according to USGS data and an investigation by IRW and WWNO/WRKF.

empty hallway with walker

Industry lobbying left nursing home patients at risk

The long-term care industry has long used its political influence to push against reforms that would have increased staffing requirements, training, transparency and oversight. Now the industry is pushing for legislation to shield nursing home owners from lawsuits during the pandemic.

Table with burned papers

From fire to prison

East Texas bank president stole $11 million with fake loans — one of the biggest frauds in Texas history. Now she and the bank’s former vice-president are going to prison.