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

Milwaukee’s northwest side could soon have new life. For more than a decade, businesses have been abandoning the area near 76th and Brown Deer. Northridge Mall closed in 2003, and other large retail sites have experienced stores opening and later leaving. Alderwoman Chantia Lewis has been working on a plan to revitalize the area for about six months, and she’s almost ready to unveil it.

In recent years, Wisconsin has sent several thousand people back to prison, even though they did not commit new crimes. What they did was violated the rules of their release by committing what otherwise might be considered minor offenses. On Wednesday, a panel of legislators debated a bill that could increase the number of so-called “crimeless revocations.”

Susan Bence

WUWM has been taking a comprehensive look at some of the many issues caused by segregation in Milwaukee through our series, ​Project Milwaukee: Segregation MattersBetween reports on WUWM news and interviews on Lake Effect, we have looked at how segregation can be quantified, how it's perpetuated, and its costs and effects on the community.

Michelle Maternowski

Segregation comes with borders, whether they are manmade - 124th Street, the dividing line between Milwaukee and Waukesha counties, or natural - the Milwaukee River. Today, WUWM reports on one particular border, and how some people feel about crossing it.

JFXie, flickr

Several reasons emerge as to why people in metro Milwaukee live in either segregated or integrated neighborhoods in what is the most racially segregated metro area in the country. Sometimes people have a choice, other times they do not. And one statistic sets this area apart from all others, according to UWM researcher Marc Levine - the rate of affluent African-Americans opting to live in neighborhoods saturated with poverty.

Joshua Lott/ACLU

Update: In response to the ACLU lawsuit, the Milwaukee Police Department says it does not use a stop-and-frisk policy. MPD spokesman Timothy Gauerke emailed a statement to WUWM reading, "Traffic stops in high crime areas have been proven to reduce the number of non-fatal shootings, robberies and motor vehicle thefts."

Michelle Maternowski

Clifton Pharm describes a slightly different feel to his Sherman Park neighborhood, six months after it was shaken by unrest and a heavy police presence. We met him not long after protesters ransacked and set buildings on fire – upset that a Milwaukee police officer had shot a young black man to death. Pharm was taking his five-year-old granddaughter on a walk to show her what violent actions can produce.

LaToya Dennis

Restaurants that allow you to pay what you think a meal is worth are popping up around the country.

The pay-what-you-want concept isn’t new. Now, some owners are using it as a way to help feed low-income people in their cities. 

For people living in poverty, going out to dinner is a luxury. Christie Melby-Gibbons thinks dining out should be available for low income people as well as those who can afford to pay. She recently opened the Tricklebee Café.

“I have just always felt like everybody deserves to eat healthy, delicious, freshly made food,” Gibbons says.

In the days following last summer's unrest in the Sherman Park neighborhood, WUWM met Jay Holmes, a man hoping to help heal his community by creating a mobile fresh food market. Six months later, Holmes talks about the changes he’s noticed. He describes both frustrations and bright spots.

Micaela Martin

What seemed like thousands upon thousands of people showed up at the Milwaukee County Courthouse on Monday. They rallied against immigration policies that President Donald Trump has tried to enact, and that Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke could opt to enforce. It was one of 11 such rallies held across the state.

Walker
WHITNEY CURTIS/GETTY IMAGES

During his budget address Wednesday, Governor Walker said his budget prioritizes student success and accountable government, and rewards work. The governor also tucked nearly $600 million in tax cuts over the next two years into his plan. 

READ: Gov. Walker's 2017-19 Proposed Budget

LaToya Dennis

Across Milwaukee County, heroin is killing people. Last year, more than 140 people succumbed to the drug. For years now, lawmakers have been passing legislation and convening groups - hoping to come up with new ways to tackle the growing problem.

Tuesday, WUWM spoke with a man who described his struggle to break the addiction. Today, we sat down for dinner with a group of 12 men enrolled in treatment at Serenity Inns on Milwaukee’s north side.

LaToya Dennis

Last year in Milwaukee County, heroin killed at least 143 people. That was a nearly 30 percent increase over the previous year. Most health officials agree, addictions to opioids and heroin are continuing to worsen. WUWM caught up with a recovering heroin addict who’s now helping others struggling with addiction.  

Jason Dobson calls himself one of the lucky ones. He had been addicted to heroin and knocking at death’s door.

Kenishirotie, flickr

Studies show that the metropolitan Milwaukee area is the most segregated in the country. While the city of Milwaukee is majority minority, the surrounding suburban areas are largely white, and some groups contend that it’s this way by design. Back in 2011, The Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council filed a complaint against Waukesha County, alleging housing discrimination on the basis of race.

LaToya Dennis

During a stop in Wauwatosa Wednesday, Governor Walker revealed more about his upcoming two-year budget proposal. He said he's ready to put forth money to help keep families intact, while revamping the welfare system.

Walker said he wants to adjust the Earned Income Tax Credit - a program he trimmed in 2011. The governor told the audience at the Wauwatosa Rotary Club that he plans to eliminate the EITC's marriage penalty.

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