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

Thursday’s Milwaukee County Board meeting marked the last time members would meet as full-time supervisors. The job becomes part time, after the April 5th election. And for some not running again, Thursday’s meeting was their last.

The agenda was packed with important issues. One was the transfer of the O’Donnell Parking Garage to the Milwaukee Art Museum. The board voted to transfer ownership of several lakefront buildings, due to the cost of maintaining them.

LaToya Dennis

Study after study ranks Wisconsin poorly when it comes to the number of new startups. In fact, the Kauffman Foundation puts the state last on its list when it comes to the number of business start-ups.

When you think about a place to start a new tech business, Milwaukee might not be the city that comes to mind.

Justice Rebecca Bradley and Appeals Court Judge JoAnne Kloppenburg made clear during a debate Wednesday that the two candidates are very different from each other.

The Milwaukee debate began with opening statements from each candidate about why she is the best choice.

Justice Rebecca Bradley touted her judicial philosophy. “I am the first Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice to bring experience from both the trial court bench and the court of appeals bench,” she said.

domes
S Bence

On Tuesday, a Milwaukee County board committee approved spending another $500,000 to help move along repairs to the Mitchell Park Domes. Projected expenses are mounting county-wide for deferred maintenance projects. The cost of saving the domes could run $75 million. And recent estimates put the cost of replacing the aging county safety building at $190 million. While the county faces important choices, there is one option to help government’s lower costs.

LaToya Dennis

President Obama came to Milwaukee Thursday to congratulate the city on beating out 19 others when it came to registering uninsured residents for health insurance.

The President championed his Affordable Care Act saying it has lowered the number of uninsured Americans to below 10 percent.

Lincoln Hills
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

A federal grand jury is now involved in the investigation at Lincoln Hills, a juvenile detention facility in Irma, Wisconsin. There have been allegations of physical and sexual abuse as well as neglect.

While the investigation continues, Milwaukee County is making plans to transition its kids out of Lincoln Hills to facilities closer to home. There are a number of challenges the county faces in moving forward.

LaToya Dennis

The relationship between Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele and Milwaukee County Board is contentious. Abele scored a slight victory on Monday after a judge dismissed the case Milwaukee County Board Chair Theodore Lipscomb’s brought against Abele.   

Back in October of 2015, Lipscomb sued Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele. Lipscomb says two issues are at the heart of the lawsuit.

LaToya Dennis

National Avenue in Milwaukee is becoming a hot spot for small businesses. That area of town has struggled with crime and poverty; but now, new businesses and housing development seem to be flocking to the avenue from Second Street west to Miller Park Way.

When Gloria DeAngelo dreamed about opening a bakery and cake shop, she never imagined it would be here on 25th and National in a building that would horrify most people.

“This was an empty, ugly building when I saw it the first time. I was like oh my God,” DeAngelo says.

LaToya Dennis

The race for the Milwaukee County Executive is hot. In last week’s primary, incumbent Chris Abele and state Senator Chris Larson ended up in a virtual dead heat, and despite the fact that Abele spent 20 times more. On Monday the men sparred over issues ranging from public transit to the county’s structural deficit and behavioral health system.

The hour long debate opened with a question about what the two candidates would tackle in their first 100 days as county executive. For Chris Larson, his first priority would be undoing what he called Chris Abele’s power grabs.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett finished first in Tuesday's spring Primary, followed by Alderman Bob Donovan. So the two will face off in April's General Election for a four-year term as mayor.

During the campaign so far, Barrett has touted accomplishments of his three terms as mayor, including in terms of development and re-development projects. Donovan has countered by pointing to the city's high homicide rate in 2015 and blasting the mayor's plan to build a streetcar line downtown, saying the priorities are wrong.

JUSTIN SULLIVAN/GETTY IMAGES

The Council on American Islamic Relations plans to file an EEOC complaint against Ariens, a Wisconsin company about 90 minutes north of Milwaukee.

In January, the firm changed its policy regarding prayer times for Muslim workers. Instead of continuing to allow them to pray when their faith dictates, particularly at sundown – which changes, Ariens set specific times. The 50-plus workers and company management have been unable to come to an agreement.

On Monday, someone posted images on social media of a teen who was said to be attempting to steal a vehicle when the owner caught and beat the boy. He was left without pants lying on a snowy sidewalk. Police have said they will recommend charging the person accused of beating the boy. Many people believe something worst could be on the horizon.

LaToya Dennis

Today is Ash Wednesday. For practicing Catholics that means the start of Lent-- a 40 day period where the faithful have long followed the tradition of sacrificing something they enjoy. The ideas of sacrifice and discipline are themes found in many religions.

The Milwaukee County Board has declared a state of emergency for county youth serving time at Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls. Federal and state authorities are investigating those two corrections facilities in northern Wisconsin. 

There have been allegations of abuse, neglect and sexual assault of young people. The county’s move Thursday will allow it to bring some of the kids home.

Nicole Beilke

Monday marked the first day of early voting in advance of Wisconsin’s Primary on February 16th. A rally was held at city hall hoping to encourage more people to recognize the power of the vote. At the same time, voting advocates across the state are concerned that thousands of people will be turned away from polling sites. Valid photo identification is now required to vote in Wisconsin.

There was a sense of urgency flowing through Milwaukee City Hall on Monday where 20 or so people gathered to encourage residents not only to get out and vote, but to do it early. 

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