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.

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Clifton Pharm wanted to explain to his five-year-old granddaughter Chanel what happened over the weekend in their Sherman Park neighborhood. So he took her hand and walked her past businesses that demonstrators set on fire and ransacked, following the fatal police shooting of a young black man. The grandfather remembers when his brother did the same for him, in the 1960s.

Pharm and Chanel started their walk on 36th and Fond du Lac, right across the street from the damaged BMO Harris bank building.

Michelle Maternowski

There are many theories as to how a neighborhood that used to be held up as a beacon of success has become ground zero for unrest.

Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood has seen a lot of changes over the years. It was once the heart of Milwaukee’s Jewish population and it was known for its manicured lawns and for being a close-knit community. While you can still find some of those attributes in Sherman Park, Clifton Pharm says he’s watched things spiral downwards over the last couple of decades.

Steve Pope/Getty Images

The Trump campaign is looking to gain ground in Wisconsin. Earlier this week, the Marquette Poll showed the Republican presidential candidate trailing Secretary Clinton by 15 points among likely voters.

At a rally in Milwaukee on Thursday, Trump's running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, told supporters that the U.S. cannot afford four more years of the same failed policies.

LaToya Dennis

State Representative Mandela Barnes lost his bid to represent Milwaukee’s sixth senate district in the Legislature. The loss means Barnes is now looking for a new job.

Assemblyman Mandela Barnes was up for reelection, but he decided to forego running and instead challenge fellow Democrat Lena Taylor for her senate seat. Tuesday’s primary wasn’t close – he lost. Still, Barnes told the crowd at his party that the fight for public safety, education and a stronger economy are not over. 

LaToya Dennis

Democratic Vice Presidential hopeful Tim Kaine hit the campaign trail in Milwaukee Friday. He told the crowd of hundreds that they had a choice to make. He echoed president Obama at the Democratic National Convention by saying Secretary Clinton is the most qualified person ever to lead the country. Kaine then went on to blast Donald Trump.

“He gives you the punch line, everybody’s going to be rich, but when you ask him how he just says believe me. We’re going to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it, believe me. We’re going to beat ISIS so fast, believe me,” Kaine says.

LaToya Dennis

For the first time since being announced as Donald Trump’s running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence hit the campaign trail alone at Waukesha Expo Center on Wednesday night. The Waukesha along with the rest of Wisconsin are expected to play a major role in the upcoming presidential election.

It wasn’t a packed house at the Waukesha Expo Center, but hundreds of people showed up to hear Vice Presidential hopeful Mike Pence make the case for a Donald Trump Pence ticket.

Vincent Desjardins, Flickr

Milwaukee is seeing a surge in some crimes – such as car thefts. Several Common Council members are now suggesting the city up its police force by 150 officers. In order to do so, Milwaukee voters would have to approve a referendum. But getting the question on the ballot by November could be a challenge in itself.

Milwaukee alderman Terry Witkowski is behind the push to increase Milwaukee’s police force by 150 officers, but he says voters must make the final decision.

Michelle Maternowski

Strong internet connections can play a huge role these days in the economic viability of an area.  As growing numbers of devices and systems are being connected to the internet, cities across the country are looking to keep up with what’s called the Internet of Things, or IOT. Milwaukee is no different.

The city is in the early stages of examining what it means to be a "Smart City," or a city that uses technology and the internet to enhance performance.

The City of Milwaukee is ready using smart technology connected to the internet to improve lives and services.

Courtesy of ONKÖL

What would you do without the internet? These days, it’s probably hard to imagine being unconnected, right? Well, it might only be the beginning. Depending on the study, it’s estimated that by the year 2020, up to 100 billion devices could be connected to the internet. The movement is called the “Internet of Things” and  some local companies are part of the wave.

The general concept behind the Internet of Things, or IoT, is pretty basic.

Five Dallas police officers were shot dead and several others were injured by a sniper near the end of what had been a peaceful protest in Dallas, Texas. The protest was in response to recent police shootings of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota.

Wisconsin could receive $13 million to help fight opioid addiction, if Congress approves President Obama's request for $1.1 billion to tackle the issue. Local leaders are urging passage of the plan, with Milwaukee Alderman Michael Murphy reporting that, in the county, nearly 900 people have died of opioid abuse. “That's twice as much as homicides, twice as much as any auto accidents,” Murphy says.

Murphy says people here need help.

Getty Images News

There’s been a lot of talk lately about guns and gun laws in the U.S.

Last week, a man opened fire, killing 49 people at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

This week, Congress decided not to pass several bills that would have reformed the country’s gun laws.

On the same day, a Connecticut judge upheld that state’s ban on assault weapons. Connecticut acted after gunman there killed 20 young children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

LaToya Dennis

Summer has arrived. And for people in Milwaukee who every winter ask themselves why they stay, summer is often reason enough. Beautiful weather, lots of hiking and swimming and camping. Basically, the opportunity to reconnect with nature. There’s a new group in town hoping to forge stronger relationships between black people and the great outdoors.

So there’s this long held stereotype that black people, especially in the north, don’t “do” the outdoors. There’s no interest in hiking, water sports are out and camping, forget about it.

Photos.com

Car thefts have been all over the Milwaukee news lately, and with good reason. Data point to an 11 percent increase last year, and numbers continuing to grow in 2016. The jump is one reason why the city’s Public Safety Committee has scheduled a half-dozen special meetings.

 Members are also concerned about homicides. They are tracking below 2015, but it was a violent year. The Wisconsin Department of Justice was the latest on Monday to testify on why the state’s largest city is seeing a surge in certain crimes.

The topic of crime in Milwaukee has taken center stage this week, as a legislator from Menomonee Falls warned that she would take action. GOP Representative Janel Brandtjen said she would push to cut state funding for Milwaukee, if the city is not able to curtail crime. 

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