WUWM News

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The Common Council voted nearly unanimously Tuesday to name Dr. Patricia McManus interim health commissioner.

Just one day earlier, Mayor Tom Barrett withdrew his choice for interim health department head, Paul Nannis.

The writing was on the wall. Recently the Public Safety and Health Committee grilled and rejected Nannis.

Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton decided to act – drawing from a seldom used measure called emergency power – to nominate Dr. Patricia MaManus for the job.

Marti Mikkelson

Gov. Walker and Foxconn officials spoke to a cheering crowd Tuesday as they released more details of Foxconn’s plans to bring hundreds of jobs to downtown Milwaukee. 

Foxconn has agreed to purchase a 132,000 square foot building on E. Wisconsin Avenue from Northwestern Mutual. The Taiwanese electronics giant says it will locate a regional headquarters there.

Foxconn plans to locate a headquarters in downtown Milwaukee that could result in hundreds of jobs.  The operation would supplement the huge LCD screen manufacturing plant that the Taiwanese electronics giant plans to build in Racine County. 

Foxconn says it will formally announce details on Tuesday -- however, Northwestern Mutual Life has confirmed that Foxconn has agreed to purchase a 132,000 square foot building from the company.  WUWM's Marti Mikkelson asked Journal Sentinel Reporter Tom Daykin how this all came about.

Teran Powell

Milwaukee’s search for an interim police chief is on.

With just a few weeks before Chief Edward Flynn retires, the Fire and Police Commission has started interviews. Meanwhile city officials are expressing what they want in a chief.

Throughout Edward Flynn's 10 years in office, his supporters defended his approach to tracking and fighting crime.

LATOYA DENNIS

Public Benefits are under fire in Wisconsin. Earlier this week, a joint committee of Democrats and Republicans in Madison held a public hearing on 10 bills that could change the way welfare works.

Susan Bence / Milwaukee Public Radio

Update, 5:54 pm Thursday:

According to a press release issued by Ald. Bob Baumann, Mayor Barrett today lifted the policy that required health department staff get permission before communicating directly with elected officials.  The policy was discussed at Wednesday's Steering & Rules Committee where members learned for the first time of the policy's existence.

Original Story:

Susan Bence / Milwaukee Public Radio

As the Milwaukee Common Council continues to sort through what's amiss with the health department, WUWM talks with parents concerned about lead contamination in their children.

Wahkunna Smith was confused when she received a letter from the City of Milwaukee Health Department that read: “Dear Parent or Guardian, One or more of your children had a blood lead test result within the last few years…"

yuthana Choradet, fotolia

Nearly 8,000 people die in Wisconsin from tobacco related illnesses every year compared to the near 500 deaths that occur from car crashes. A report by the American Lung Association reveals Wisconsin hasn’t done enough to adequately prevent or reduce tobacco usage in the state.

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The police shooting death of a 26-year-old man in Racine has sparked protests in the city. According to reports from police, Donte Shannon fled on foot during a traffic stop and allegedly exposed a weapon, before he was shot by officers. He died on the way to the hospital.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice is leading an independent investigation of the incident. Racine residents say they're eager for answers.

During a news conference, Mayor Cory Mason and Racine Police Chief Art Howell updated the public on the status of the investigation into the death of Donte Shannon.

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Update:

Thursday morning, the Public Safety and Health Committee rejected naming Paul Nannis as Milwaukee's interim Commissioner of Health. The vote was 3 against, 1 abstention and 1 in favor.

Mayor Tom Barrett proposed Nannis for a 120-day interim position as Milwaukee carries out a national search for former health commissioner Bevan Baker's replacement.

The health department is due to provide a status report on its lead program to the Mayor and Common Council next Monday, January 29.

Original story: 

Screen capture from Gov. Walker's YouTube channel.

Gov. Scott Walker gave his eighth State of the State Address Wednesday afternoon. Speaking to the full Legislature, the Republican governor told lawmakers that 2017 was a "historic" year for Wisconsin, and that the state is in an amazing period of prosperity and promise.

"And you know what? We're just getting started. Foxconn, for example, will begin construction this year on a $10 billion campus," Walker said.

January is human trafficking month -- a time when groups trying to eradicate the crime, raise awareness about it. Across the world, it’s estimated that around 27 million people are being trafficked for sex. Most of them are women. The numbers here are hard to pin down. But some experts say Milwaukee is a hotbed for the activity. 

WUWM caught up with a couple people working to fight sex trafficking in Wisconsin.

Marti Mikkelson

The city of Milwaukee is holding free clinics this week for children who may need additional testing for lead levels in their blood. The city sent out more than 5,000 letters Monday to people whose children tested positive for lead exposure in the past few years.

The correspondence went out as a precautionary measure, after it was discovered that the Health Department may have failed to send the follow-up letters years ago. That led to the resignation of Milwaukee Health Commissioner Bevan Baker earlier this month.

Althouse

Gov. Walker made headlines last week when he called for a special session to pass a number of welfare reform measures.  That includes one that would require parents of children on food stamps to work, or get job training, in order to receive at least three months of benefits.  

The proposal immediately touched off a barrage of criticism.  In this week's Capitol Notes conversation, WUWM"s Marti Mikkelson asked JR Ross of wispolitics.com -- why this is such a hot button issue.

Susan Bence / Milwaukee Public Radio

As Steering & Rules Committee chair Ashanti Hamilton opened Wednesday's special meeting, he described the moment as pivotal to Milwaukee.  He called for thoughtfulness and urgency.

“The more we learn about the consequences of lead exposure, the clearer it is that the highest degree of care and caution must be given, especially to our most vulnerable communities,” Hamilton said.

Members of the public and media in the room expected to be ushered out. The word around town was the committee would move to a closed session.

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