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

This month marks a significant anniversary in Barbara Brown Lee’s life. Forty-six years ago, fresh out of college, she took a job at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Today, Brown Lee’s name is almost synonymous with the museum. She’s worked with thousands of Milwaukee area high school students and continues to carve out time to work. WUWM’s Susan Bence popped into one of Brown Lee’s classes to see the master in action.

Throughout the year, we meet people who are making the community a better place and inspiring others. This time of year, we invite them to share their stories and what they've learned about life. We visit with 74-year-old Gloria Wright, one of those "behind the scenes" people who's had her hand in a lot of causes in Milwaukee.

For some of us, the holiday season means a blending of traditions from various cultures, some borrowed, some our own.   We visited a bakery on the city’s south side where the owners’ Italian heritage fills the air.

Buon giorno!

A Father's Story

Nov 27, 2008

In 2008 David Issay, creator of StoryCorps, proposed a National Day of Listening. He challenged people to StoryCorps into the home and capture family stories.

WUWM's Susan Bence sat down with her dad, Stan Bence, just before he celebrated his 90th birthday.

As we age, thoughts of staying physically healthy and financially independent become more important. But for some older adults, mental illness can rob them of a healthy future. As part of our Project Milwaukee series on aging and wellness, WUWM’s Susan Bence meets with older individuals dealing with depression.

She Aint Heavy

Oct 7, 2008

Not content with just carrying their wives across the threshold upon getting married, some couples in northern Wisconsin revisit this momentous occasion by carrying their wives in the second annual Wife Carrying Competition in Minocqua.

WUWM's Susan Bence documents the fun in this feature story.

The summer season comes to an end today as we celebrate Labor Day. It also means Coach Clifford’s job at the beach in Lake Geneva is over until next Memorial Day. WUWM’s Susan Bence popped down to the sand to talk with the man who doesn’t have any qualms about being called a beach bum.

I walk past the old snack canteen above this picturesque lake. The water couldn’t be bluer and the sky couldn’t possibly be clearer. It’s one of those perfect late summer mornings. You walk down a set of concrete steps, freshly blown free of the sand from yesterday’s mass of wet little feet. That’s where Joe Clifford reigns. He manages Lake Geneva’s public beach.

We continue our series, Project Milwaukee Youth Violence.
We’re exploring the causes and possible solutions to youth violence in our community.
Today we examine the societal reasons that prompt some young people to gravitate to violence.

Many generations ago, Norwegians settled in Stoughton, Wisconsin. Today, its residents continue to celebrate the early immigrants’ rich heritage, especially its dance. WUWM News traveled to the vibrant little city to drink in its biggest celebration of the year. We discovered it’s both an exciting and bittersweet event.

We continue to discuss the causes and possible solutions to youth violence in our community. Today we explore the possible generational connection between violent parents and their children.

Competing Cooks

Apr 25, 2008

Four students from Badger High School in Lake Geneva Wisconsin are slicing and dicing their way through a cooking competition going on in San Diego today. The quartet won at the state level and now are up against 36 other teams from around the country.

The winning team must concoct a three-course gourmet meal in one hour, and not a second longer.

WUWM's Susan Bence meet Badgers culinary program director Russ Tronsen and his Badger High School team as they practiced for the national ProStart Invitational.

A Magnificent Obsession

Apr 22, 2008

Aldo Leopold was a legendary environmentalist and forester. He spent almost two decades working with the U.S. Forest Service in the Southwest. Throughout his life Leopold loved observing, journaling and sketching his surrounding. That didn’t change when he transferred to work in Madison, Wisconsin.

Nina Leopold Bradley was a young girl in 1935, when her father Aldo invited his family on the adventure of a lifetime. A ramshackle farm caught his eye near the Wisconsin River, not far from Baraboo.

Ralph and Terry Kovel are famous names in the world of antiques and collectibles.

Ralph was born in Milwaukee; when his family moved to Ohio, he met Terry Horvitz on a blind date. The couple's career took off in 1953 with the publication of their first "catalog" called Kovels' Dictionary of Marks. Their success lead to a newspaper column, television show and more.

WUWM's Susan Bence met Terry Kovel when she was in town for a home and garden show at State Fair Park.

Connie and Gordon Lee adopted four bi-racial children in the 1960s.

WUWM’s Susan Bence visited with the family on Christmas Eve and produced a sound portrait. We first heard the Lees' story in a Milwaukee StoryCorps interview that aired on Lake Effect last October, and much earlier, in a 1966 article in the Milwaukee Journal.

We meet Sylvia Bernstein. She was born here 83 years ago. Her parents had fled a small Ukranian village and started their American life in central Wisconsin, before settling in Milwaukee.

WUWM’s Susan Bence talked with Bernstein in her home, where she talked about her newspaper career. Bernstein says it took a lot of guts; that’s because she didn’t have a journalism degree.

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