Marge Pitrof

News Director

Marge has been with WUWM since it changed formats from music to news and information in the late 1980’s. Searching for a place where she could produce in-depth journalism, Marge was hired by WUWM as a reporter. For several years, Marge also hosted Morning Edition.

While a reporter, Marge was a frequent contributor to NPR and won numerous awards for her work.

Since fall of 2000, Marge has been managing the news department but still has the occasional opportunity to produce stories.

Prior to joining WUWM, Marge worked in commercial radio both as an afternoon news anchor and a field reporter. She also worked for short periods at a few TV stations.

» Contact WUWM News

For the ninth year in a row, Wisconsin has counted an increase in the number of public school students eligible for free and reduced-price lunches.

According to the Dept of Public Instruction, 43.2% of students qualify, up from 42.5% a year ago. In raw numbers the total is now 359,000 Wisconsin public school students.

Approximately one-third come from households earning less than $30,000 a year.

Gov. Walker signed into law on Friday, a measure allowing employers to reduce workers' hours, rather than laying them off, when business is slow.

Under the new law, workers could receive state unemployment benefits, for the hours lost. Employers would have to continue providing health insurance coverage and retirement plans.

According to the governor, the work-share program could save the state's unemployment reserve fund nearly five million dollars. He says 24 other states operate similar programs.

In February, when Walker administration outlined its plan to change the Medicaid program in Wisconsin, it estimated the additional cost at $664 million during the next two-year state budget.

Now, the Legislative Fiscal Bureau puts the likely total at $734 million.

The administration rejected federal money to expand the state's Medicaid offerings, so that it covered all people living at up to 130% of the poverty level. The governor's plan, is to cover all households with incomes up to 100% of the poverty line, and then move the others into the federal marketplace.

The DNR must have raised questions about five locations where Gogebic Taconite wanted to dig test holes in northern Wisconsin. State inspectors visited the sites this week, after the company submitted an application to do the work.  Now G-Tac has submitted a new application with the State of Wisconsin, asking for DNR approval to dig eight holes instead of 13.

DNR

Fire crews have contained the huge wildfire in northwest Wisconsin, and are now extinguishing hot spots that erupt. According to the DNR, 8,131 acres burned.

Investigators have concluded that a logging machine started the blaze.  Workers were harvesting timber, when the operator of a piece of equipment noticed smoke coming from the cutting head of his machine. He used an extinguisher to try to douse the fire, while co-workers called 911.

The Douglas County District Attorney is recommending that no criminal charges be filed.

Susan Bence

The name Three Bridges Park has been selected for the new park that will open on July 30, in Milwaukee's Menomonee Valley.  Nearly 800 names were suggested.

Gov. Walker appears to be a quarter-way to his goal of creating 250,000 private sector jobs from 2011-2015.

DNR

The big wildfire in northwest Wisconsin is contained. However, it has scorched 9,000 acres and destroyed dozens of homes and buildings.

Among items the Legislature's budget committee approved Wednesday:

-- Adding 61 positions to Dept. of Revenue to collect delinquent taxes (estimated at $1 billion)

-- Spending $2 million federal to set up private deer hunts

-- Reducing wolf hunting license fees from $100 to $47 (residents) and $500 to $249 (non-residents)

-- Relaxing Wisconsin's chronic wasting disease testing protocols and allowing elk importation

-- Assigning the Dept. of Revenue to manage unclaimed funds, removing that duty from state Treasurer

Dept. of Natural Resources

Update: The big wildfire in northwest Wisconsin is contained. However, it has scorched 9,000 acres and destroyed dozens of homes and buildings.

According to a new Marquette Law School Poll, Wisconsin would favor a Clinton-Ryan presidential race, with Clinton winning.

Wisconsin’s newest Congressman wants the U.S. to amend its Constitution, so it guarantees adult Americans the right to vote in their home district.

Laid-off workers in Wisconsin may have to search for four jobs a week – rather than two, if they want to continue receiving unemployment compensation. The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee approved the higher standard on Monday. Now it’s part of the proposed state budget, and would give Wisconsin one of the highest standards in the country.

Wisconsin is not the first state to question its universities’ books according to Kevin Kiley, a reporter with the online publication Inside Higher Education. Kiley says other states have also assumed they’ve stumbled upon a surplus, then learned otherwise.

Milwaukee County Secure Detention Facility
Mike Steele, Flickr

The 2010 Census informed Wisconsin that it had the highest rate of black male incarceration in the country – well over 12 percent. Now a new examination of the numbers puts Wisconsin not only at the top - but far ahead of all other states when it comes to sending black men to prison.

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