Susan Bence

Environmental Reporter

Susan Bence entered broadcasting in an untraditional way. After years of avid public radio listening, Susan returned to school and earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. She interned for WUWM News and worked with the Lake Effect team, before being hired full-time as a WUWM News reporter / producer.

Susan is now WUWM's environmental reporter, the station's first. Her work has been recognized by the Milwaukee Press Club, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, and the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.

Susan worked with Prevent Blindness Wisconsin for 20 years, studied foreign languages at UWM, and loves to travel.

Ways to Connect

Jessica Grow, School of Freshwater Sciences

The dangerous blue-green algae in Milwaukee's Veterans Park lagoon continues to pose a risk to human and animal health. Last weekend, organizers of a dragon boat festival moved the event elsewhere because of toxins created by the algae. And this coming weekend, water skiers had planned to compete in a two-day competition.

The water ski event was canceled Wednesday, due to the water's condition.

alumroot

Foxconn’s plans to build a huge LCD screen manufacturing facility in southeastern Wisconsin are another step closer to reality. On Monday, an Assembly committee voted in favor of a $3 billion tax incentives package to lure the company here.

Gov. Walker and fellow Republicans are pushing for the deal. Democrats on the committee pushed for nearly two dozen amendments in an effort to soften the burden on taxpayers. But, all of them failed.

Root-Pike WIN

The State Assembly Committee on Jobs and the Economy will vote Monday afternoon whether to give Foxconn $3 billion in incentives.

Supporters say the huge factory would result in thousands of jobs and a significant boost to the state’s economy. Critics say the bill comes at too high a price - in terms of dollars and its environmental impacts.

Susan Bence / Milwaukee Public Radio

After a decade leading Milwaukee's All Peoples Church, Pastor Steve Jerbi left for a post in California. In his parting sermon, he told his congregation: “When I think about the ministry we have done together, it has been a ministry of providence.”

Susan Bence

As Gov. Walker pushes for swift approval of the $3 billion Foxconn incentives package, Wednesday Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said his chamber is taking its time to go through it. Meanwhile, DNR secretary Kathy Stepp was in Milwaukee to promote the bill.

At the monthly meeting of the state's Natural Resources Board, Stepp wanted the board to know her agency is ready to work with Taiwanese company and that she’s excited about it.

Brittnie Peck

Towering Pines Camp For Boys came to life in 1945. As environmental awareness was on the rise in the 1970s, the northern Wisconsin camp pioneered an environmental immersion program that garnered national attention.

They call it acclimatization.

The campers merge with the natural world – in some unconventional ways. For instance, camp leaders teach the kids what it feels like to navigate the world like a raccoon.

Althouse

Dozens of people packed into a room at the State Capitol on Thursday for a public hearing on Foxconn’s plans to build a huge plant in southeastern Wisconsin. An Assembly committee heard testimony on a bill that would provide $3 billion in tax incentives for the Taiwanese company.

Susan Bence

As the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative Wednesday announced it would not pursue a lawsuit to stop the City of Waukesha from drawing drinking water from Lake Michigan, other Great Lakes challenges are on the horizon.

The consortium of Great Lakes mayors – representing the U.S. and Canada - believes a balance must to struck to create thriving communities while protecting the Great Lakes.

Karlos Lomsky / fotolia

The Tuesday U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. ruling protects wolves in Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota.

The ruling comes after years of debate, as well as decades of disagreements over the size and management of the wolf population.

In the early 1900s, Wisconsin instituted a bounty to keep the number of wolves down, in hopes of bolstering a dwindling deer population. By 1960, wolves were declared extirpated from Wisconsin.

Rachel Morello

Governor Scott Walker is floating a bill crafted to speed up the construction of Foxconn's facility in Wisconsin. Critics say the proposal puts environmental protections in a tailspin.

Susan Bence

Dogs are extremely good at sniffing things out. Mequon Nature Preserve decided to take advantage of  the canine skill and brought on Tilia, the first on-staff conservation dog in Wisconsin.

One of her trainers is Kathy Hatch. The day I visited, she had been busy hiding several plants amidst tall grasses outside the preserve.

Susan Bence / Milwaukee Public Radio

Police Chief Edward Flynn said during the first four years of the current pursuit policy both accidents and stolen car incidents steadily declined. He told commissioners at their Thursday evening meeting, he’d like more time to study what turned that decline upside down.

Last Saturday, two dozen people gathered under the sizzling summer sun to play Water Story MKE.

It is the brainchild of Michael Timm, who teamed up with Reflo, a nonprofit dedicated to water sustainability to create the app.

Susan Bence / Milwaukee Public Radio

Bees first began to creep into Charlie Koenen’s life in 2002. Today his previous careers in computer programming and consulting might as well belong to someone else altogether.

Koenen is a beevangelist through and through. “I never would have predicted the path, but the importance is really astonishing - a beehive when it’s operating. That’s the amazement I want to give everybody,” he says.

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