Ann-Elise Henzl

News Reporter / Executive Director of Project Milwaukee

Ann-Elise Henzl has been a reporter at WUWM since 1993. She got her foot in the door three years earlier, as a newsroom student intern. Ann-Elise divides her time between daily general assignment reporting and working on longer, researched stories. Ann-Elise is also Executive Producer of WUWM's Project Milwaukee series.

Ann-Elise has won numerous awards, including the national Edward R. Murrow award from the Radio-Television News Directors Association (for best use of sound in a story). In addition, she has frequently been recognized for her reporting on the welfare system, the environment, and health care.

Ann-Elise earned English and Mass Communication degrees from UW-Milwaukee.

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PHOTOS.COM

Milwaukee County was struck by a rash of fatal drug overdoses this past weekend. Six people died in a 24-hour period.

The medical examiner's office hasn't confirmed whether heroin was to blame. But the drug frequently is, and it has killed hundreds of Wisconsinites in the past few years.

We revisit what we learned in our 2013 series, "In the Grip of Heroin," to examine what makes heroin so dangerous. There are at least three factors.

MILWAUKEE POLICE/RIEMANN

Aldermen tried to use the city budget Tuesday to get their arms around this year's spike in violent crime.

Several put forth measures to add police officers. Ald. Bob Donovan submitted one proposal. He made the case for a bigger police force, pointing out that crime surged from 2011 to 2014.

"Milwaukee has seen a 49 percent increase in violent crime, a 19 percent increase in robberies, a 78 percent increase in aggravated assaults," Donovan said.

And 2015 has been a tough year, with a high homicide rate and other crimes.

Michelle Maternowski

A low-income neighborhood on Milwaukee's near north side turns a corner Friday. Residents and planners are celebrating the grand opening of the Innovation and Wellness Commons in Lindsay Heights.

Activists have implemented numerous improvements in the area in recent years. But the Commons is their first commercial venture.

The non-profit health system Ascension announced Thursday that it has signed a letter of intent with the Wheaton Franciscan Sisters. It proposes the transfer of all southeastern Wisconsin operations of Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare to Ascension Wisconsin.

Ascension Wisconsin includes Columbia St. Mary's and Ministry Health Care in Milwaukee.

Wheaton Franciscan's operations in southeastern Wisconsin include the following hospitals:

Graef

The Milwaukee Department of City Development has announced a team led by Graef will provide the blueprint for a public plaza just west of Discovery World.

The plan includes a footbridge winding from the new Couture building to the 1.5-acre plaza. It also includes fountains, greenspace and an outdoor skating rink.

Bryan Wolf, flickr

Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill late last week, which prevents John Doe probes of lawmakers.

The probes are secret investigations conducted by prosecutors who suspect wrongdoing.

The technique was used twice to investigate dealings regarding Walker. The first looked into activities in his office when he was Milwaukee County executive. The probe turned up a variety of violations, including staff campaigning while on county time. About a half dozen of Walker's aides or associates faced criminal charges. Walker was never charged.

David Guo, flickr

So far this year, more than 5,600 people in Milwaukee have had their vehicle stolen. The number is more than 67 percent higher than it was at this time in 2013.

You might picture the thieves stealing cars to sell them or to sell their parts. But typically, that's not what's happening. "Often it's been determined that those vehicles have been used in the commission of crimes," says Jim Tolkan, president of the Automobile Dealers Association of Mega Milwaukee, or ADAMM.

Ann-Elise Henzl

Many teenagers in Milwaukee are sexually active. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 52 percent of high schoolers in Milwaukee have had intercourse at least once. The national average is 47 percent. 

A program in Milwaukee is urging teens to adopt safe sex practices in case adults have not raised the subject. A big component of the program is hiring young people to pass out condoms to friends and strangers.

Michael Ireland, fotolia

On Tuesday, the Milwaukee Police Department announced the arrest of three men in the fatal shooting last year of five-year-old Laylah Petersen. She was killed while sitting on her grandfather's lap. Bullets ripped through the window of his home.

The shooting took place in Milwaukee's seventh police district on the northwest side. Violent crime is part of life for some residents in the area.

"We hear gunshots on a daily basis."

LaToya Dennis

Nearly one year ago, five-year-old Laylah Peterson was shot dead while sitting on her grandfather’s lap in his home on Milwaukee’s north side. On Tuesday, police announced three arrests. 

Investigators say the three men were seeking revenge because one of their brothers was killed. But they fired bullets into the wrong home. Emotions ran high during the press conference announcing the arrests.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

This week a Milwaukee jury ruled against a former gun shop to the tune of almost $6 million. The jury said the owners of Badger Guns allowed a "straw purchase" of a weapon in 2009. 

The man who took possession of the gun shot two police officers in the head, seriously wounding them.

The case could be tied up in the court system for years. Yet the ruling could have a more immediate impact. It was the first in the nation to find a gun store liable since a 2005 federal law took effect, which protects gun stores in many cases.

Ann-Elise Henzl

A mismatch between the supply of psychiatrists and patient demand is causing long wait times for appointments.

One of the main reasons there aren't enough psychiatrists to go around is the sheer volume of patients, according to Pete Carlson. He's head of Behavioral Health for Aurora Health Care.

Carlson says mental health parity laws and the Affordable Care Act have opened the door.

"We have so many more people that have coverage. There's been some improvement in really destigmatizing mental health care, so more people are accessing services," Carlson says.

Rebecca Bradley via Facebook

On Friday, Gov. Scott Walker announced appellate Judge Rebecca Bradley will take the place of the late Justice N. Patrick Crooks on the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Crooks passed away last month.

Gov. Walker said, "(she has) truly lived up to her promise to be a judge that demonstrates unwavering commitment to the Constitution and the rule of law in every case that comes before her."

Ann-Elise Henzl

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele gave his budget address Wednesday. He picked both a location and an audience for the speech that have not been the norm.

Every Milwaukee County executive must propose next year's budget by October 1. So for years, execs delivered the budget at the county board's September meeting, in the courthouse.

But Wednesday, Chris Abele outlined his plan for 2016 at the Pritzlaff Building downtown.

Flickr/alumroot

This fall in Madison, a continued partisan divide seems likely as state lawmakers get busy. Republicans and Democrats are pushing widely different agendas. A couple factors -- including the end of Gov. Walker's presidential campaign -- could influence what bills pass.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says Republicans, who hold the majority in his house and the Senate, have a full slate of business. He outlined the party's plans at the Capitol late last week.

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