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

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Concerns about water quality and quantity have become global themes, but Seth Siegel says until a few years ago, he knew nothing of water scarcity issues.

Siegel, a native of New York,  co-founded several companies, including Beanstalk, the world’s leading trademark brand extension company.

He says water enlightenment struck when he attended a seminar in Manhattan.

moonrise / Fotolia.com

Mention “lead” these days and Flint, Michigan and its contaminated water supply is probably the first thing that comes to mind. 

But the crisis spotlights issues facing much of the nation.

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Not so very long ago, no one would have gone out of their way to stroll along the Milwaukee River. It was murky and polluted.

Today the city showcases its downtown Riverwalk; while upstream, the Milwaukee River Greenway is creating trails and restoring habitat.

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The Obama Administration decided to spotlight the importance of water challenges facing communities and regions across the United States by hosting the first-ever White House Summit on Tuesday. 

The Water Council and the City of Milwaukee also announced Tuesday that the International Water Association, or IWA, hand-picked Milwaukee for its North American Regional Office.

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Milwaukee-based startup Solar Water Works and Veolia Water Milwaukee/OptiRTC, Inc. have been selected to participate in The Water Council's Pilot Deployment Program.

The Fund for Lake Michigan and MMSD have pledged $600,000 over the next two years to fuel the program that will give the startups the opportunity to test and validate their products in the real world.

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The Mid-West Energy Research Consortium, or M-WERC, is working to add Milwaukee to the energy tech landscape.

The group sprouted out of the interest of three universities and four industrial companies in 2009.

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Historically, water was key to Milwaukee’s booming innovative and industrial successes. Now there’s a concerted push to position Milwaukee as a water technology hub.

Hensley Foster is part of the action. His career as an industrial engineer stretched across four decades, but he says when it ended, his creative juices were far from tapped out.

Michelle Maternowski

Greg Meier's broad experience includes co-founding Global Entrepreneurship Collective as well as Wisconsin's first mentor-driven seed accelerator, 94 Labs. Today, Meier is the Director of the Milwaukee Institute’s Center for Software Engineering. He is also an adjunct faculty member at UW-Milwaukee and Cardinal Stritch University.

Meier has a lot to say about Milwaukee's innovation scene, starting with its history steeped in the economies of scale model.

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Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, is a model that has gained popularity in Wisconsin and around the country.  

An event Saturday demonstrates the momentum of the movement. The Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee is holding its fourteenth annual meet your local farmer event.

Farmers Tim Huth and his partner April Yuds will be in attendance.

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The director of the Center for Water Policy at UW-Milwaukee’s School of Freshwater Sciences, Jenny Kehl, says the pending decision on Waukesha's request to divert Great Lakes water will have national significance.

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Milwaukee's harbor district appears to be a jumbled mix of old industrial buildings, ship docks, railroad tracks and a sewage treatment plant. But the City is brewing up a plan to transform the 1,000 water-edged acres.

Today, you see glimmers of transformation. An apartment building rising at 1st and Washington. Freshwater Plaza popping up, complete with grocery store and office space.

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A Marquette assistant professor has been making waves with his research into antibacterial chemicals commonly found in soap.

Over the last few months, two studies led by researcher Patrick McNamara were published.  

Study: TCC Influences Antibiotic Resistance, Regardless of Concentration 

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Charlie Tennessen’s trade is software development but his passion is farming. Ten years ago, he moved onto a 4-acre parcel in Racine County to pursue that passion.

His "team" is comprised of Sebastian, Rosey and Cassie - they’re miniature donkeys. Their job is to pull a homemade sled loaded with compost the resident chickens, goats and sheep contributed.

Tennessen says this is the perfect time to spread the nutrient-rich load. “Winter time is going to be moving compost and summertime, primary tillage on the field,” he says.

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The Milwaukee County Board invited residents to share their thoughts about the future of the Mitchell Park Domes on Wednesday. Over 250 people gathered in the park's greenhouse annex and voiced their support for reopening Domes.

The three bee-hive shaped glass structures, each featuring special plants, have been shuttered since February 6 as concerns mounted about crumbling concrete.

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Wisconsin's Lake Winnebago is home to what’s considered to be one of the largest, self-sustaining lake sturgeon populations in the world.

The state's largest inland lake stretches from Fond du Lac up to Menasha and its abundance of sturgeon is a wildlife management success story.

Last century, over-harvesting and poaching nearly did the species in, including in Lake Winnebago. In fact, Wisconsin banned sturgeon spearing from 1915 until 1931. Gradually the numbers stabilized and flourished.

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