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.

Susan Bence

South Shore Beach in Bay View is nestled just south of a yacht club and its parking lot. That's part of the problem. For years stormwater has flowed off its surface directly into the lake.

Then there are the birds. They love to hang out at the beach. Their poop contributes to the beach's challenge with E coli bacteria.

Jen Schwabe and Border Collie Ray were hired to help tackle that problem. The dog is specially trained to “shoo” them away.

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.

SUSAN BENCE

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp has accepted an appointment with the Environmental Protection Agency. 

She's been named deputy administrator for Region 7, which includes Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.

Gov. Walker selected Stepp to head the Wisconsin DNR back in 2011 - the first woman to do so. Before that, Stepp and her husband owned a home building business and from 2003 to 2007, she served as a Republican State Senator representing the Racine area.

Susan Bence / Milwaukee Public Radio

Hannah Uitenbroek knew very little about food justice when she arrived in Milwaukee a year ago.

After graduating from college with a degree in sociology degree, the Appleton native spent a year of service in Connecticut and then, "literally googled food justice in Milwaukee and Lutheran Volunteer Corps popped up." She applied and became All Peoples Church's food justice organizer.

Susan Bence / Milwaukee Public Radio

Thursday, the GOP-dominated Joint Finance Committee voted on the DNR's budget. Emotions flared and sparks flew, but in the end, the measure to restructure the DNR passed 12 to 4.

While Democrats urged folding in more funding to protect the environment, they really dug in their heels when it came to plans to reorganize the agency.

In recent years, the department has gone through a number of significant changes.  For example - in 2015, some 60 scientists worked in the DNR’s central science services bureau. Today 15 remain.

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 Cathy 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.

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.

Pages