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.

» Contact WUWM News

Marti Mikkelson

Thursday is the last day residents of Milwaukee’s central city will be able to shop at Walmart at Midtown Center. 

The store is one of several in the Milwaukee area that the company is shuttering in a major restructuring move. City leaders are scrambling to minimize the impact on the neighborhood.

Walmart at Midtown Center was packed last Friday night. Thousands of shoppers were taking advantage of the store’s 50 percent off sale. Bobby Peterson says he comes here several times a week to buy food and clothing for his family.

Marti Mikkelson

Several hundred people packed the auditorium of Milwaukee’s Central Library Thursday night to talk about the police department’s policies and practices.

Representatives from the federal government came to listen. They’re conducting a two-year review of the force, sparked by the police shooting of Dontre Hamilton.

One of the first speakers was Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontre. An officer shot and killed him during a scuffle in 2014 in a downtown park where Hamilton was resting.

Steve Pope/Getty Images

On Tuesday night, Gov. Scott Walker discussed his efforts to pull Wisconsin out of the Great Recession while also promising that anybody who wants a job, can get one.

It was the governor’s first state of the state address since he ended his presidential bid in September. Walker’s speech focused largely on commitments to education.

Gov. Walker began his 40-minute speech by ticking off a list of accomplishments since he first took office in 2011. He says Wisconsin has come back strong from the Great Recession that gripped the nation for several years.

Marti Mikkelson

Monday is Martin Luther King Day. In honor of the slain civil rights leader, Americans – including in Milwaukee will celebrate his life and teachings.

One event here will feature a rally at a central city church, followed by a march to the King statue on Martin Luther King Drive. Local performance artists will take part. We caught up with one of them as he prepared.

Andre Lee Ellis sits in a leather chair in his loft apartment in Milwaukee’s central city. His t-shirt reads “Black Lives Matter” and a laptop computer rests on his knees.

Marti Mikkelson

There seems to be renewed interest in downtown Milwaukee. This week, another hotelier announced plans to build on a lot near the Shops of Grand Avenue. 

    

Wisconsin lawmakers will return to session on Tuesday. Their floor period ends in March, so they could start burning the midnight oil trying to pass dozens of bills.

    

It appears voters in Milwaukee will have plenty of choices for mayor this spring. City officials are verifying nomination signatures and setting the ballot for a four-way primary in February.

The candidates likely will be: Incumbent Mayor Tom Barrett, along with Milwaukee Ald. Bob Donovan and Joe Davis, as well as political newcomer James Methu. We asked a few people about what issues voters may consider.

Ann Althouse

Two new groups will begin administering Wisconsin’s elections and ethics laws this new year. 

Gov. Walker recently signed a bill that will dismantle the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board and replace it with two panels of partisan appointees, an elections commission and an ethics panel, by June 30, 2016. Republican leaders insist the Board was not responsive to their concerns.

Outgoing GAB Director Kevin Kennedy says he will assist in the transition.

Marti Mikkelson

Each year, WUWM profiles the unsung heroes in Milwaukee. Today, we feature Carmen Pitre, executive director of the Sojourner Family Peace Center. It shelters and aids victims of domestic violence.

Carmen Pitre sits at a conference table in the new shelter for battered women that she’s envisioned for years. It’s a huge brick building covering a square block of Milwaukee’s central city and actually won’t open until February.

Getty Images

Politics in Wisconsin took a wild ride in 2015. Perhaps the highlight was Gov. Walker’s short-lived presidential campaign.  He virtually began stumping for the White House at the beginning of the year, making stops in early primary states. He billed himself as a fresh face and his policies seemed to appeal to conservatives. 

Marti Mikkelson

Federal investigators assured concerned Milwaukeeans on Thursday that significant reforms will be forthcoming in the police department. 

The feds are going to review practices within the MPD and recommend how it can improve.

The move happens in light of Dontre Hamilton’s death. An officer shot and killed him during a scuffle in 2014 in a downtown park where Hamilton was resting.

flickr.com

    

Wisconsin could soon assign a watchdog to each state agency. The person’s job would be to guard against government waste and fraud.

Some Republican lawmakers are pushing a bill that would set up an Office of Inspector General. It would employ more than a dozen new hires who would fan out among departments. The proposal is divisive.

Marti Mikkelson

Milwaukee’s Latino voters may find themselves being courted next year. A national conservative-leaning group, The Libre Initiative, plans to open a field office in town.

Backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, the initiative is designed to sway Latino voters in battleground states.

The group won’t be the only one reaching out to Latinos here in 2016, but it will be the newcomer and a competitor.

flickr.com

    

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan on Thursday delivered his first big political speech as House Speaker. He called on Republicans to offer voters a comprehensive alternative to Democrats’ agenda.

Among the changes Ryan is recommending, is altering the country’s safety net programs. Wisconsin has been heading in that direction since Republicans took control of state government in 2011.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to revisit its ruling, to shut down the John Doe investigation into Gov. Walker's recall campaigns.  Justices ruled 4-1.  

The court also concluded that the appointment of Francis Schmitz as special prosecutor was improper.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm launched the investigation  in 2012, to look into whether the governor's campaign illegally coordinated with outside conservative groups on issue ads.  

The Supreme Court halted the investigation this past July, ruling such coordination was legal.

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