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

There’s dispute brewing in Madison over the state’s Unfair Sales Act. It’s also known as the minimum mark-up law. It requires retailers to mark-up what they charge for goods. The rule has been in place since the end of the Great Depression, and some lawmakers say it’s time to rethink the legislation.

In Wisconsin, for every dollar consumers spend on alcohol, tobacco and gas, about one penny is due to the state’s Unfair Sales Act.  In addition to bumping-up the cost of those items, the law also bans retailers from selling general merchandise at below cost.


Wisconsin is one of the states that requires school districts to ask voters about paying extra property taxes. The state set the requirement as a way to control those taxes. School districts must organize a referenda - if they want to take on construction projects over $1 million or exceed the revenue limits the state has imposed. Sometimes that means special elections. Now, there is talk among Republican lawmakers of limiting such questions to certain times of a year.

Department of Corrections

Several days ago, state and federal agents swooped into the Lincoln Hills School for Boys in Irma, Wisconsin. For months, there were whispers about problems at the facility. Then last week, stories broke through of broken bones, fights and sexual assaults.

WUWM's LaToya Dennis met with the mother of an inmate. The Department of Corrections will not verify any of the accounts she shares, but says serious accusations are under investigation at Lincoln Hills.

The mother’s name has been changed to protect her minor son. He is serving a seven-year sentence.

Stephen Chernin/Getty Images

Tuesday marked World AIDS day, and people were encouraged to get tested. In Wisconsin, despite all the education efforts, the number of HIV cases diagnosed annually is not dropping, but it is holding steady. 

Miller Park
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Residents of Brown County have a little extra money coming their way. Gov. Walker on Monday signed a bill that will return $17 million in excess taxes that the county collected to upgrade Lambeau Field. In the greater Milwaukee area, it’s been a different story when it comes to paying off Miller Park. Taxpayers here have been repaying the debt for nearly 20 years. The end date for the tax came and went.

LaToya Dennis

Its Black Friday - the official start of the holiday shopping season. In recent years, there’s been talk that the growing number of online sales would signal the death of traditional suburban American malls. The prediction hasn’t really panned out. Experts say that while shopping malls have had to adapt, they’re now seeing some of their best numbers since the late 1980s.

LaToya Dennis

Having your car stolen might be an inconvenience for most people, but for those barely making it, suddenly losing a car throws things into a tailspin. 

Across the city, car thefts are up 67 percent compared to two years ago. WUWM looks at the impact of a stolen car on one Milwaukee family.

It’s around 7 am and Cesar Torres is patiently urging his four-year-old son Arturo to put on his tennis shoes, but there’s a meltdown. He doesn’t want to wear the shoes his dad has handed him, and he doesn’t know where his others are.

Flickr - Althouse

UPDATE: The Assembly has voted to change Wisconsin's campaign finance laws and to scrap the Government Accountability Board.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele has chosen Dr. Demond Means, superintendent of the Mequon-Thiensville School District and an MPS graduate to lead the Milwaukee Turnaround District. The newly formed district will consist of several of the worst-performing Milwaukee Public Schools. State leaders gave Abele the authority to appoint the head of the new district in the 2015-2017 state budget. WUWM recently spoke with Means about his theories for raising academic achievement among students of color.

The Milwaukee grocery scene has been competitive and evolving in recent years. A number of new players have enter the market and, on Wednesday, came some of the biggest news. The locally-owned Roundy’s chain is being bought by Kroger.

Roundy’s used to be the dominant player in the Milwaukee area with its Pick N Save stores, but Douglas Munsen, of MTN Retail Advisors, says the company has been in trouble for years.

LaToya Dennis

The federal government will not seek charges against former Milwaukee police officer Christopher Manney. He shot Dontre Hamilton to death in Red Arrow Park, in 2014. Manney lost his job, not for the killing, but for patting down Hamilton, which led to the altercation. Hamilton was an unarmed, mentally ill black man who had been resting in the downtown park. Members of his family says they are disgusted with the U.S. Justice Department and city leadership.

Early Saturday, the state Senate voted to raise the amount of money individuals can contribute to state candidates, to allow third party groups and campaigns to coordinate activities - as long as those outside groups don't explicitly tell people to vote for or against a candidate, and to scrap the Wisconsin law that has required donors to identify their employer. The vote was 17 to 15, with Green Bay Sen. Rob Cowles being the lone Republican to join Democrats in opposing the changes.

channel3000_communities, flickr

Oscar Mayer on Wednesday announced that it will close its plant in Madison in 2017 leaving around 1,000 people unemployed. 

The news followed an announcement by Joy Global that it plans to lay off more than 100 people in the Milwaukee area starting this month, and reports of Wisconsin based Quad Graphics closing plants elsewhere in the country.

WUWM's LaToya Dennis caught up with Marquette University economics professor Abdur Chowdhury to find out what’s going on.

Lendingmemo, flickr

A Waukesha man has filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court  in hopes of having his student loans written off in bankruptcy court. The case calls into question the different standards used across the country.

Republican legislators in Wisconsin have proposed changes in the state's campaign finance laws. Plans include raising the amount of money individuals could give candidates, doing away with the requirement that donors disclose where they work and allowing campaigns to work directly with third party funders.