LaToya Dennis

News Reporter

LaToya Dennis joined WUWM in October 2006 as a reporter / producer. LaToya began her career in public radio as a part-time reporter for WKAR AM/FM in East Lansing, Michigan. She worked as general assignment reporter for WKAR for one and a half years while working toward a master's degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. While at WKAR, she covered General Motors plant closings, city and state government, and education among other critical subjects.

Before coming to public radio, LaToya interned at the CBS affiliate in Lansing, Michigan. She also took part in NPR's 2005 Next Generation Radio Project in Kansas City, Missouri as well as NPR's summer 2006 Next Generation Radio Project in Indianapolis, Indiana.

LaToya holds both a Bachelor's degree and a Masters degree in journalism from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. Dennis is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Ways to Connect

Courtesy of Mandela Barnes

Update, June 16: 

The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department has released dash-cam video from a deputy squad car, showing a longer version of what led up to Sunday's fatal shooting near Bradford Beach. A deputy fired shots into a vehicle that appeared to have been ignoring officers' warnings and attempting to flee along the crowded lakefront. The Waukesha sheriff's office continues investigating the incident.

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The subject of hair was a hot topic among Wisconsin state senators on Wednesday. They approved two pieces of legislation that would eliminate certain requirements for people who style hair. For example, the requirement for continuing education and for instructors to be licensed. Some people see the changes as a way to remove barriers to work, while others worry about potential health concerns.

Monday, jury selection will begin in Milwaukee for former police officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown. He fatally shot 23-year-old Sylville Smith last summer. The killing sparked two-days of violence in the Sherman Park neighborhood.

For 48 hours last August, Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood captured people’s attention across the country. What they saw on TV were images of police in riot gear, buildings burning and crowds of angry people. It followed the police killing of a young black man. A few days later, we spoke with community activist Camille Mays.

Google Streetview, Image from October 2015

The State of Wisconsin wants a rent-to-own company to stop operating here. Based in South Carolina, Vision Property Management draws people into deals to rent or lease houses with the promise of eventually owning them.

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The state of Wisconsin may bump-up the reimbursement rate for personal care workers—the people who take care of some of the most fragile in society. Across the country, industry reports a shortage of personal care workers, in part, because people don’t believe the job pays well enough. In Wisconsin, some leaders hope a 2 percent bump in the reimbursement rate will lead to higher wages that attract more people.

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Sixteen child sexual predators and traffickers were recently arrested across the state through a sting led by the Wisconsin Department of Justice. Brad Schimel is the attorney general.

“In the short period of time involved, this is significant that we have got this many that ended up traveling to try and meet a child for sexual purposes.”

Metro Milwaukee continues to rank last in the country when it comes to the unemployment gap between black and white residents. According to the annual report the Urban League issues, unemployment among blacks here is nearly 14 percent, while the rate for whites is under 3 percent. It’s the second year in a row the area has the widest gap in the nation.

Vincent Desjardins, Flickr

The Milwaukee Police Department should reconsider is pursuit policy, according to the majority of Common Council members. On Friday, the Public Safety Committee will discuss the issue – when should officers chase a car, and when should they let it go. Some lawmakers are concerned about a growing level of lawlessness on Milwaukee’s streets.

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Some GOP lawmakers in Wisconsin are looking to get tougher on juvenile offenders. Right now, the state can sentence them to no longer than three year behind bars, but a bill circulating in Madison right now would allow juvenile offenders to be locked up until age 25. While some Republican leaders say the move is necessary to curtail crime, some Democrats prefer a different approach.

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Computers worldwide have been hit by Ransomware. It’s also known as WannaCry and WannaCrypt. It’s a cyberattack that freezes electronic files until the owner pays ransom. The U.S. has not been hit as hard as some other countries, but businesses and government agencies and individuals – including in Wisconsin - should take precautions. WUWM spoke with David Schroeder, an IT expert at UW-Madison.

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U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants longer prison sentences for people who commit federal drug crimes. Late last week, he directed U.S. attorneys to seek the most serious charges possible. Sessions says tough action is needed to address the spike in violence in some cities and the opioid epidemic. Jerome Dillard spent time in both federal and state prison, and is now the Wisconsin director of Expo – Ex-prisoners Organizing. It works to end mass incarceration and help former offenders lead productive lives.

 Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

Have you ever participated in a color run?  You know the one where throughout the race organizers throw brightly pigmented paint, chalk or powder on participants and by the time they’re finished, they’re covered from head to toe in a cacophony of colors.

One will take place in Milwaukee Saturday at Veterans Park. While the event is a way for people have fun, and maybe raise money for a charity, the act of playing in color has religious and culture ties to India.  

So here’s a holiday you may never have heard about: Holi.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Wisconsin is once again looking to lead in welfare reform. Assembly lawmakers on Wednesday took up a number of bills that would require people who receive public benefits to meet certain requirements.

LaToya Dennis

Summer is swiftly approaching, and in Milwaukee, warm weather typically means increased fear about violent crime. That being said, Milwaukee has deemed the month of May as violence prevention month. Community leaders are looking for ways to head off problems.

The corner of 27th and Atkinson is a busy intersection. Even at 8 a.m., there is a ton of vehicles passing through, and there’s also handful of men hanging in out in front of a corner store.

Bob Bach

How to pay for roads? It’s a question states across the country are struggling with, including in Wisconsin. While some Republicans are pushing for all revenue options to be on the table, Governor Walker has said he will not raise taxes, including the gas tax, unless there’s a corresponding decline somewhere else in the budget. 

Thursday, some members of the GOP may unveil a new transportation funding scheme. It involves placing a sales tax on gasoline, flattening the income tax and moving away from the state’s Great Depression-era minimum mark-up law.

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