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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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.

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Hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin residents might be drinking tainted water. That report comes from the Center for Investigative Journalism. It conducted a yearlong investigation.

The findings indicate that private wells are more vulnerable than municipal water systems.

One-point-seven million Wisconsin residents rely on wells and private owners are responsible for their testing and maintenance.

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Any day now, workers will begin dismantling two historic Eschweiler buildings on the former Milwaukee County Grounds in Wauwatosa. 

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The nine-month after school and summer program aims to arm students from across the Milwaukee area with hands on experience and skills that start with gardening, but grow into something larger.

This week, year two of Teens Grow Greens wrapped up.

Charlie Uihlein came up with the idea. He teaches honors history at Messmer High School, but when he’s not doing that, Uihlein is thinking about ways to improve Teens Grow Greens.

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Loreen Niewenhuis’  first professional path led her to science, working in settings from hospital laboratories to a bone marrow transplant team. But while she raised her two sons, Loreen began writing fiction.

In 2009, her short story collection, Scar Tissue, earned Niewenhuis finalist status for the Flannery O’Connor Award.

Benjamin Haas / Wolf Patrol

Wisconsin hunters need more protection. That’s the adamant opinion of some Republicans who control the state Assembly. They’re pushing a bill designed to prohibit individuals from impeding or obstructing a hunter from his or her sport.

The Assembly Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage Committee held a public hearing Wednesday at the state capitol to discuss the legislation.

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Roy Norton is Consul General of Canada in Chicago. Wisconsin is one of three states, along with Illinois and Missouri, in his purview.

This week the Consul General is visiting communities around Wisconsin. Much of his visit involves strengthening business ties between the state and Canada.

But Monday, Norton was in Milwaukee at the UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences, discussing another key issue – invasive species plaguing the Great Lakes.

Milwaukee Riverkeeper

The Wisconsin DNR is being accused of failing to comply with the Clean Water Act. Sixteen citizens are claiming that Wisconsin has had “long-standing water problems from poor implementation and enforcement” of the Act.

Tuesday, Midwest Environmental Advocates filed a request with the EPA demanding an investigation.

The DNR released a statement to WUWM saying:

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Before the Clean Water Act, what came out of wastewater pipes was essentially unregulated.

When Dave Fowler moved here decades ago to work for Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, the Milwaukee River was not a destination.

“Back in 1980, when I was on that river on a barge, I wouldn’t have wanted to eat my lunch out there. Now I’m seeing hundreds and hundreds of kayakers and boaters enjoying the downtown of Milwaukee because the river and the harbor is now considered a recreational opportunity, not an open cesspool,” Fowler says.

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