Marti Mikkelson

News Reporter

Marti, a Waukesha native, joined the WUWM news team in February of 1999. Previously, she was an anchor and reporter at WTMJ in Milwaukee, WIBA in Madison, and WLIP in Kenosha.

Marti’s work has been recognized by RTNDA, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, Associated Press, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated, and the Milwaukee Press Club.

Marti earned a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse. Marti currently lives on her favorite side of town – Milwaukee’s east side.

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Marti Mikkelson

Several hundred tanker cars are parked in a north side Milwaukee neighborhood. They’ve been there for months, and neighbors are afraid the cars could explode.

Rail officials insist the tankers contain only crude oil residue and pose no danger. Yet, community activists demanded action on Wednesday.

A couple dozen people crammed onto a narrow sidewalk near 35th and W. Capitol Drive. Behind them, a row of rail cars stretched over a bridge, as heavy traffic passed underneath. The cars are stamped with stickers reading Haz Mat crude oil.

Republican incumbent Ron Johnson will face former Democratic U.S. Senator Russ Feingold in November – if Feingold wins a Democratic primary next month. The race would be a rematch from 2010, but some things will be different.

The two hopefuls for U.S. Senate have been crafting their images for Wisconsin voters, according to Charles Franklin. He is director of the Marquette Law School Poll. For instance, incumbent Ron Johnson has frequently been weighing in on terrorism and gun control.

Marti Mikkelson

    

There’s a new feature at Summerfest on Milwaukee’s lakefront: metal detectors. People attending opening day of the music fest on Wednesday had to pass through them.

Planners say they decided to install the extra security in November, after terror attacks in Paris. Then they announced the move after the recent mass shooting in Orlando, and a few hours before Summerfest opened, terrorists struck Turkey.

Thomas Hawk, Flickr

 The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Milwaukee can no longer enforce its residency requirement. The court decided 5-2 that the city's long-standing requirement that city workers also live in Milwaukee violates state law. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is furious, and says the state legislature, the governor's office, and the Supreme Court have all thumbed their nose at the concept of local control. 

    

Waukesha leaders continued to celebrate on Wednesday. Earlier this week, all eight Great Lakes states voted to allow the city to draw water from Lake Michigan.

The city sits outside the Great Lakes basin but says it needs the water because Waukesha’s underground supply is running low and is tainted with radium. Waukesha plans to pump-in Lake Michigan water from Oak Creek’s utility because talks with Milwaukee did not advance.

Marti Mikkelson

WUWM has joined NPR this week in a special reporting project, called A Nation Engaged. It's exploring whether Americans believe their vote counts. WUWM asked homeless people in Milwaukee. Some say they’ve encountered problems, but all plan to keep voting.

Joanna Beamon is one of several dozen people who’ve come to Hephethea Lutheran Church in Milwaukee’s central city for dinner. Beamon says she votes in every election.

Michelle Maternowski

Emotions ran high outside Milwaukee City Hall Monday night as hundreds of people mourned the deaths of nearly 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

A gunman shot dozens of patrons early Sunday, apparently to show support for ISIS.

Monday evening’s rally in Milwaukee included a candlelight vigil and calls for solutions to hate and violence.

Many people in the audience sported rainbow flags in their lapels. Others carried signs that read “No Hate” and “I Stand Against Intolerance.” The City of Festivals Men’s Chorus performed.

Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

Authorities say 49 people were killed early Sunday morning when a gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. At Milwaukee's Pridefest Sunday, the conversations taking place on the Summerfest grounds were sobering and reflective.

Cas Thiele of Oconomowoc calls the Orlando shootings devastating. “It really hurts that there’s so much hate, that that would happen,” Thiele says.

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn took the hot seat on Monday as homicides and carjackings grip the city. Members of the Common Council’s Public Safety committee wanted to know what the MPD is doing to fight criminal activity. Emotions ran high at times.

The chair of the Public Safety committee, Ald. Bob Donovan, opened the discussion.

“We indeed are not satisfied with the level of safety in Milwaukee and that the status quo is simply unacceptable,” Donovan says.

Police Chief Edward Flynn began his testimony by offering encouraging numbers.

The Milwaukee Streetcar

Like it or not, the Milwaukee Streetcar is becoming a reality. Groundbreaking is essentially underway, as We Energies is moving utility lines along the two mile route through downtown. Service is slated to begin in 2018. But, arguments continue surfacing.

Perhaps the person who feels most passionately about the Milwaukee Streetcar is Mayor Tom Barrett. The project has been on his radar since he first took office in 2004.

Atlanta Streetcar

Modern day streetcar systems are popping up in places such as Dallas, Portland and Kansas City with hopes of sparking economic revival. Milwaukee leaders desire similar results here as they prepare to debut a system in 2018. But, not every project has lived up to its hype.

It took years longer than projected for the streetcar system in Washington D.C. to finally begin operating.

Martin Austermuhle says problems started back in 2007, when the district first began construction. 

Marti Mikkelson

If you’ve been driving downtown lately, you may have noticed streets ripped up around the Milwaukee Public Market. We Energies is moving utility lines to make way for the Milwaukee Streetcar.

The first leg will connect the Third Ward, the Intermodal Station and the east side. Service is slated to begin in 2018.

A few blocks away, inside the Zeidler Municipal Building, City Engineer Jeff Polenske is pouring over designs. He says the city intends to build a modern, state-of-the-art streetcar system.

    

Several hundred Democrats throughout Wisconsin are expected to gather at the state convention in Green Bay later this week. Members will vote on a number of issues, including whether to eliminate super delegates from the process. Those are delegates at the national convention who are not bound to a particular candidate.

Milwaukee County Historical Society

As Milwaukee inches closer to building a modern day streetcar system, WUWM kicks off a series, called Streetcar: High Risk, High Reward?

First, WUWM's Marti Mikkelson revisits Milwaukee's old system.

Wisconsin state Legislature

A federal trial begins Tuesday in Madison over the way state Republicans redrew Wisconsin’s political boundaries in 2011. 

A dozen Wisconsin residents who vote for Democrats are suing the state. They argue the boundaries are unconstitutional because they heavily favor Republicans.

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