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

Foxconn Twitter

A legislative committee could vote this week on Gov. Walker's plan to offer Foxconn $3 billion in incentives. 

The Taiwanese company is planning to build a plant in southeastern Wisconsin to manufacture LCD screens. Walker has focused on what the state could gain in the deal -- up to 13,000 jobs. Skeptical lawmakers have raised a number of concerns, including about who'll get the jobs at the plant, and the fact that Walker wants to ease environmental regulations for Foxconn.

LaToya Dennis

Across the country, Black Panther Parties are once again becoming more active. The organization was founded in the 1960s and was known for its militant self-defense and community-based programs. In Milwaukee, there are currently two active groups. WUWM's LaToya Dennis went out with one, called the Original Black Panthers of Milwaukee, to learn about its mission.

LaToya Dennis

It’s been nearly one year since unrest in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood captured the nation's attention.

Police in riot gear were deployed to bring control to the area, where people were damaging police cars and setting buildings afire. What set off the unrest was the fatal police shooting of an African American man.

Yet some who flocked to the neighborhood were there to protest the poverty and joblessness impacting many of the city's residents.

LaToya Dennis

Gov. Walker continues to tout the planned Foxconn factory as "transformational." He wants the state to put forth $3 billion in incentives to help the Taiwanese company build its huge plant in southeastern Wisconsin. Yet critics' voices continue to get louder. They're bringing up a number of concerns. 

And lawmakers are likely to get an earful from both critics and supporters, later this week.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

It seems as though whenever there’s an announcement about a business moving to or expanding anywhere across the U.S., those deals aren’t made without some sort of incentives from the state and municipalities.

Last week, Governor Scott Walker announced that Foxconn would open its first U.S. plant in Wisconsin and in turn, the state would provide $3 billion in incentives.

WUWM spoke with UW-Madison economics professor Noah Williams about why states offer deals to companies.

Jessi Paetzke

President Trump on Friday fired his chief of staff, Wisconsin native Reince Priebus and replaced him with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. Trump made the announcement via Twitter where he also thanked Priebus for his service and dedication to his country. It had been a rough week for Priebus, who had been accused by Trump’s Director of Communications Anthony Scaramucci, of leaking information about him. Rumors had been floating for months that Priebus was on his way out. Before Priebus took the job as chief of staff he ran the Republican National Committee.

Wisconsin Black Historical Society

The summer of 1967 was violent all across the country. Just as in other cities, black residents in Milwaukee tired of unequal treatment and the lack of opportunity hit their breaking point and a riot ensued.

“The creation of deindustrialization was in full bloom. People don’t have jobs. Things got bad. Depression, unemployment and poverty began to blanket the city so it just exploded,” Clayborn Benson says.

He is the executive director of the Wisconsin Black Historical Society.

Foxconn Twitter

Wisconsin lawmakers and business leaders were gifted a reason to smile on Wednesday. Foxconn Technology Group announced plans to bring 13,000 jobs and invest $10 billion over the next two to three years in southeastern Wisconsin.

The company will build a facility that manufactures LCD screens for everything from self-driving cars to aircraft systems. After the announcement in Washington D.C. with President Trump, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and Governor Walker on hand, Walker called the decision a quote “once in a century opportunity for the state and the country.”

Photo by Megan Dobyns

Tension remains high between Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn and the Fire and Police Commission after it directed the chief to change the department’s pursuit policy. For years, the department has only allowed vehicle pursuits if there’s evidence of a violent felony. As concern over speed, reckless driving and vehicle thefts grow, so have calls to change the pursuit policy.

A six-year-old boy was shot and killed in a hail of gunfire on the north side over the weekend.  Earlier in the week, four people, including two children, were shot at 39th and Burleigh, near the Sherman Park neighborhood. For some community members, that shooting was the last straw—so they called an emergency meeting to look for solutions.

Photo by Megan Dobyns

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn has been facing a lot of criticism lately. The police chief recently came under fire after it was revealed that he had made changes to the way in which the department deals with immigrants -- without public input or the approval of the Fire and Police Commission. The department and commission reversed many of the changes after public outrage. Flynn has also caught heat over how he wants to spend asset forfeiture dollars.  To some it may seem like Flynn is losing support of leadership, while others say the criticism is unwarranted.

Bob Bach

Budget talks in Madison remain stalled, largely because of disagreements over how to fix a $1 billion deficit in the transportation budget. So Senate leaders put forth a plan Tuesday that they say will move them beyond the impasse. They say it's now up to the Assembly to act. Yet the Senate plan calls for continued borrowing to pay for roads, which has been one of the main holdups in negotiations.

Senate Republicans say the version of the budget they introduced Tuesday makes their priorities clear.

There’s still a huge investment in K12.”

LaToya Dennis

The Milwaukee Police Department and advocates for immigrants have come to an agreement over how the MPD treats immigrants. Earlier this month, the advocates cried foul after news broke about changes made to the MPD Standard Operating Procedure. They argued the changes would make it easier for federal officials to initiate deportation. While an agreement has been reached, not everyone is happy. 

There are about 16 months left before Wisconsin's next gubernatorial election. Republican Scott Walker is expected to run for a third term, but who will be his opponent? Observers have been wondering. And it now appears the race is beginning to heat up on the Democratic side. WUWM spoke with UW Madison political scientist Barry Burden about the jockeying happening right now.

LaToya Dennis

Immigrant rights advocates say the city of Milwaukee has caved to pressure from the Trump administration concerning immigration. The advocates say the Milwaukee Police Department has opened a door that could lead to more deportations. Several groups across the state are now calling for the city to reverse course.

Milwaukee's city hall rotunda was packed on Wednesday morning with people demanding Mayor Tom Barrett stand with the undocumented immigrants in the community. Christine Neumann-Ortiz is executive director of the immigration advocacy group Voces de la Frontera.

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