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

Lincoln Hills

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.


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. 

LaToya Dennis

Should Wisconsin restrict what fans can shout at high school sporting events? The WIAA, Wisconsin’s governing board for high school sports, reminded schools a few weeks ago to enforce the rules. They ban chants some people might perceive as taunting, while others may consider them harmless. One legislator wants to demand more transparency from WIAA so people understand the reasons for its rules. In the meantime, the reminder seems to have quieted crowds.


The investigation into the abuse of children at Lincoln Hills could go on for another year. So far, at least 16 staff members have been removed from their positions at the juvenile detention facility in northern Wisconsin. Milwaukee County is now exploring options other than sending local youth to Lincoln Hills.

Wisconsin's State Capitol
Ann Althouse, Flickr

Several local governments in Wisconsin are interested in issuing local identification cards to residents. One is Milwaukee County. But some state lawmakers believe the locals are overstepping their authority – so legislators are considering a bill that would prohibit municipalities from issuing local ID cards. 

More than 50 people showed up to testify at a public hearing in Madison on Tuesday; most oppose the ban.

LaToya Dennis

The city of Flint is suffering a water crisis-- high levels of lead are leaching from old pipes into the water supply. The water has been deemed unsafe to drink, and some leaders are warning parents not to even bathe their children in it. 

President Obama’s administration has pledged more than $80 million dollars to help meet the city’s needs. Aid is arriving from across the country, and a concerned group will soon depart from Milwaukee.

LaToya Dennis

On Wednesday, immigrant advocates carpooled to the state Capitol to voice opposition to several bills, including one that would penalize so-called sanctuary cities.

WUWM's LaToya Dennis met up with a group of about 20 immigrant advocates before they boarded a bus in Milwaukee to protest what they’re calling anti-immigrant legislation.

“We are all immigrants. We are not criminals like some people say," Guadalupe Gallardo says. She is originally from Mexico but has lived in the U.S. for more than 40 years. Gallardo says she got her citizenship in the late 1990s.