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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Sharon Adams sips a Purple Haze, a beet infused drink, and marvels. She’s glancing out the window of The Juice Kitchen on North Avenue off 17th Street.

“We used to walk the streets that were trouble, it would be noisy. Now it’s peaceful out there and the noise is good in here,” Adams says.

Frank Zufall, Sawyer County Record

The biggest environmental headlines of 2015 poured out of Paris late in the year as the world monitored 13 days of U.N. climate change negotiations. We also had plenty to follow in Wisconsin.

T Nelson

Tia Nelson was one of thousands of people who closely observed the recent United Nation’s climate change conference in Paris. The 13-day, nonstop negotiations culminated in an international climate agreement.

Nelson’s interest runs deep, starting with the fact that she is daughter of Earth Day founder and former U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson.

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Forty-five former Department of Natural Resources' staff and administrative heads have publicly expressed concern that the agency is not carrying out its mission of protecting Wisconsin’s environment. They took their message to the EPA in the form of letters.

In the letters, the authors list what they perceive to be the "most serious problems with the new DNR," which include:

Jamie K Johnson, flickr

The Wisconsin DNR announced Tuesday that it is pushing Waukesha’s water application forward.

The City’s deep wells are increasingly tainted by cancer-causing radium, so the utility wants to start drawing water from Lake Michigan.

The DNR has now signed off on the diversion plan and will forward it to the other Great Lakes states. Final approval requires yes votes from all eight governors.

Peter Annin attended all three DNR public hearings last August as the agency carried out its charge to scrutinize every facet of Waukesha’s application.

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Emily Belknap was selected for the 2014 Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowship for Individual Artists, Emerging Artist category.

All of the fellows’ works are on display at INOVA (Institute of Visual Arts), UWM’s Peck School for the Arts’ contemporary art gallery and research center.

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Official delegates aren’t the only people milling about at the United Nations Climate Change Conference. NGOs and businesses are also well represented.

Clay Nester is representing Johnson Controls at the UN conference. It’s not his first; Nester attended the 2009 gathering in Copenhagen.

“We can be observers within the plenaries, but very rarely have any sort of formal role. I’ve been fortunate enough to make a couple of interventions for exactly two minutes on the role of the private sector, marketplace mechanisms, innovations, things such as that,” Nester says.

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EPA regional administrator Susan Hedman has made multiple trips to Wisconsin during the evolution of the Clean Power Plan. Wednesday in Milwaukee, more than 80 people wanted to hear what she had to say.

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Milwaukee-based singer/songwriter Billy Bob Rayson recently released his first album, Stop The Show.

Environmental themes run throughout. Rayson says he's been deeply influenced by environmental issues.

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Today marks the beginning of the UN gathering. World leaders face a daunting task to draft an agreement to combat climate change.

Clay Nesler was about to pack his bag and head to Paris, when I met him at Johnson Controls. He’s the company’s VP of Global Energy and Sustainability.

This won’t be Nesler’s first climate change summit. He attended the U.N.’s 2009 gathering in Copenhagen.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to make a couple of interventions for exactly two minutes on the role of the private sector, market place mechanisms, innovation,” Nesler says.

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It’s the time of year when people pull out favorite family recipes as the holiday season swirls onto the scene. One Milwaukee area resident is among a seemingly growing number of people passing on a passion for locally sourced, simply-prepared dishes.

But Kathy Papineau is going a step further.

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The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors voted by a 15-1-1 vote to override vetoes County Executive Chris Abele made to spending items in the county budget for the coming fiscal year.

Abele wants to eliminate $750,000 allocated for a fish passage at Estabrook Dam, a structure some would like to see torn down, while others, including the Board’s chair, want to see restored.

Theodore Lipscomb said funding for dam repair has been in place since 2009. He added a last-minute amendment to the 2016 county budget to fund a fish passage.

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The Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage voted this afternoon 14-1 in favor of a bill designed to prohibit people from harassing hunters in the woods. The proposal would make it illegal for people to interfere with all forms of hunting, fishing or trapping.

The bill will now move to the Assembly floor.

 Some hunters claim they’ve been harassed while pursuing their sport. They’re urged the natural resources committee to pass the bill.

Andy Schmeckel supports the bill.

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Milwaukee restaurateur Jacques Chaumet knows one of the Paris neighborhoods well, where terrorists struck on Friday night. 

Chaumet moved from France to the U.S. in 1993 and owns Chez Jacques in the Walker's Point neighborhood. He says he hadn't really had time to digest the tragedy that befell Paris, when he suddenly found himself surrounded by people who wanted to reach out.

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Two tanker derailments over the weekend in Wisconsin have put some people on edge. On Saturday, more than 18,000 gallons of ethanol cascaded out of train cars not far from the Mississippi River.