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

Former Muslim employees at the Ariens Company in Wisconsin have filed a complaint alleging religious discrimination.

The group acting on behalf of the former workers is the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR. CAIR says the company has refused to make accommodations for prayer breaks.

The problems between Muslim employees and Ariens management started earlier this year, according to Maha Sayed, a civil rights attorney for CAIR.

LaToya Dennis

News broke this week that the employees at Leon's Frozen Custard were only allowed to speak English to customers, even if they could be best helped in Spanish. Since then, the owner of the iconic custard stand on Milwaukee's south side has reversed his English only policy. 

While a few groups were calling for a federal investigation into labor law violations, not everyone was swayed by allegations of discrimination.

LaToya Dennis

The home improvement store Menards could soon lose business. The immigrant advocacy group Voces De La Frontera is calling or a boycott of the chain. Members hope to spur the company to stop supporting Governor Walker.

People using bullhorns and carrying signs urging shoppers to take their business elsewhere slowed traffic on Miller Parkway in West Milwaukee on Monday in front of Menards. Menards has been in the news lately for violating worker rights, but this call for a boycott is political. Omar Barberana is one of the picketers.

Milwaukee Housing Authority

This week’s Bubbler Talk is all about buildings--round ones.

Wendy Necklet asked WUWM: What's the deal with all the round buildings? 

Well, for this story what better place to start than one of the city’s most iconic hotels, the Pfister.

Peter Mortensen is the concierge and the unofficial hotel historian. He’s worked here for about 30 years and believe me when I say he’s a really, really smart guy. “I’ve never run across an obscure fact I didn’t like,” he says.

Allison Shelley/Getty Images

Update: On Friday, The U.S. Treasury Department notched a victory for more than 200,000 retired Teamsters across the country, who had been promised a comfortable pension. The Department rejected a plan from Central States Pension Fund that would have cut pensions by more than 50 percent in many cases.

Central States argued it had been hit hard by the Great Recession. The ruling impacts about 15,000 retired truck drivers and dock workers in Wisconsin, who belong to the Teamsters union.

Coalition for Justice

On Saturday, the family of Dontre Hamilton will celebrate his life. It will mark two years since Hamilton was shot and killed by Milwaukee police officer, Christopher Manney. He was later fired for not following department protocol when he attempted to pat down Hamilton and an altercation occurred leading Manney to shoot Hamilton 14 times. Hamilton was schizophrenic.

Hamilton’s death came before that of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, but protests here didn’t heat up until after the Mike Brown case.

Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

Vehicles sold across the world are becoming more eco-friendly. Technology that turns off your engine at stop lights was first introduced in Europe about a decade ago. Not only does it cut down on emissions, it saves gas and money. Now, start-stop technology is gaining popularity in the states.

So back when I was learning to drive, and no, I’m not going to tell you just how long ago that was, my grandmother always told me that a car uses more gas being turned off and back on, then by just allowing it to run…

The family of Dontre Hamilton on Wednesday filed a federal civil rights lawsuit over his death. A Milwaukee police officer shot Hamilton 14 times, killing him in Red Arrow Park downtown in 2014. The Hamilton family says that while the suit will not bring back their beloved brother and son, it could cast light on harmful police practices.

It’s been one year since Governor Walker enacted new rules for thousands of FoodShare recipients. Since last April, all able-bodied adults without dependents are required to put in at least 80 hours of work or training a month in order to receive food benefits. The Walker administration is calling the first year a success, while others say thousands of people are going hungry.

Racine County

Wisconsin’s John Doe probe into allegations of abuse and sexual misconduct at the state prison for boys and girls has ended. The reason – Governor Walker signed a bill into law last year that limits John Does. They must end within six months, unless state prosecutors successfully request an extension; they did not. So only the federal investigation will continue at Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for girls.

Michelle Maternowski

Living with a family member addicted to drugs can devastate loved ones. They can struggle to set boundaries and be overwhelmed by anger, resentment and fear. All the while, more and more families are dealing with the problem. The number of people in Milwaukee County alone dying of drug overdoses is in the hundreds and continues to increase.

LaToya Dennis

An economic downturn is underway, and most people probably have no idea. It’s not like the Great Recession when the entire country could notice the impact, yet today’s decline is turning some people’s lives upside down. Players in the recycling industry are struggling including in Milwaukee.

Bruce Adams hits the road every morning between 3 and 3:30 to scavenge for what most people would consider junk, but for Adams, it’s money.

LESLIE PETERSON, FLICKR

On Friday, Dane County Circuit Court Judge William Foust agreed with the Wisconsin AFL-CIO, Machinists Local 1061 and United Steelworkers District 2. These unions sued the state after Gov. Walker signed right-to-work into law about a year ago.

Wisconsin's right-to-work law lets workers decide whether or not to pay union dues. The unions insist it unconstitutionally seizes union property by requiring unions to extend benefits to workers who don't pay dues. 

LaToya Dennis

State Sen. Chris Larson is urging his supporters to give incumbent Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele another chance after he defeated Larson on Tuesday.

The crowd had thinned out by the time Larson arrived at around 9:45 pm, but there still enough supporters in the room to give him a warm welcome. While upbeat, Larson acknowledged that this was not the result he wanted. Still he vowed to keep fighting.

“So big money may have won the battle, but they haven’t won the war,” Larson says.

LaToya Dennis

GOP frontrunner Donald Trump is continuing to make his case in Wisconsin. On Sunday night, he spoke with hundreds of supporters at Nathan Hale High School in West Allis.

For more than an hour, he spoke about golf, foreign relations, making people proud and making America great again. He says if he’s elected president, the U.S. will win again.

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