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

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.

Micaela Martin

More members of the Milwaukee community are hoping to send a message to President Donald Trump. It is that America and Milwaukee will not stand for discrimination. Late last week, Trump signed an executive order, temporarily banning immigrants and refugees from seven countries where Islam is the main religion. A mix of local lawmakers, immigrants and advocacy groups joined together Monday to voice their position.

State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa stood at a podium in a room filled with concerned people on Milwaukee’s south side, with this to say…

Jade Hrdi

Pro-life advocates from the Milwaukee area are taking their message to Washington D.C. for Friday’s annual march. It’s been 44 years since the Roe versus Wade Supreme Court decision that affirmed women’s right to have abortions. WUWM’s caught up with a few people headed to D.C. to ask them about their hopes.

LaToya Dennis

There are more allegations of the mistreatment of juvenile inmates at two Wisconsin facilities, the Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls.

The ACLU of Wisconsin has filed a lawsuit alleging cruel and unusual punishment, over the use solitary confinement and pepper spray.

The lawsuit is the latest sign that problems remain. Two years ago, authorities began investigating reports of physical abuse and neglect of youth at the facilities.

LaToya Dennis

Big changes to Wisconsin’s welfare system could be afoot. On Tuesday, Gov. Walker announced that his budget will put work requirements in place for able-bodied recipients with school-aged kids. 

Walker says his proposals get back to the very nature of what former Gov. Tommy Thompson had in mind, when he overhauled the state’s welfare program in the 1990s.

Before President Bill Clinton signed welfare reform into law in the mid 1990s, Gov. Tommy Thompson had already implemented similar legislation here. His new welfare system was called Wisconsin Works, also known as W-2.

LaToya Dennis

Want to purchase a home for a dollar?

The City of Milwaukee has you covered, as long as you meet certain conditions. The city wants to spend several million state dollars, to help people rehabilitate homes in the Sherman Park neighborhood. The program stems from the unrest that occurred there this summer, after a police officer fatally shot a man, and residents raised a host of challenges the area faces. The rehab plan is angering some interested individuals, because, of its conditions.

Gov. Scott Walker
John Moore/Getty Images

During his seventh State of the State address on Tuesday, Gov. Walker said the state of Wisconsin is as strong as it has ever been.

Walker vowed to prioritize K12 and college education, transportation and broadband expansion in his upcoming budget. 

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