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.

milwaukee-fish-hotel-river-river
Susan Bence

If you were a fish, you probably wouldn’t choose the harbor — where Milwaukee’s three rivers converge — as a favorite hangout.

After all, its primary function has been commercial since the 1800s. Its edges are lined with steel piling and the bottom is dredged to maintain a depth of 25 feet, allowing safe passage of large vessels conveying cement, salt and such.

Ryszard/flickr

The City of Milwaukee Health Department announced Thursday it has identified the first probable human case of West Nile virus (WNV) of 2018.

WNV is spread to a person through the bite of an infected mosquito. It is not transmitted person to person.

According to the health department, most human cases occur in August and September. The health department advises residents to continue to protect themselves against mosquito bites.

Susan Bence

Update 3:15 P.M.

Bevan Baker did not appear before the Steering & Rules Committee meeting Thursday, but committee chair Ashanti Hamilton said the former health commissioner will participate in a public hearing. Hamilton didn't announce the hearing date. He said council members needed to be briefed by the city attorney.

Susan Bence

People worldwide recently protested climate change in the “Rise for Climate” march. Last Saturday, thousands took to the streets of San Francisco, the site of this week’s Global Climate Action Summit, and hundreds gathered in downtown Milwaukee. 

Azam Niroomand-Rad was among 350-plus people who walked through downtown Milwaukee.

“We are here so people are aware of their environmental problems so that in November they will be able to vote for the candidates who support environmental issues,” she said.

Susan Bence

Milwaukee has hundreds of thousands of trees, many of them in county parks.

Bay View resident Steve Ohly loves them, which is one reason he moved to Milwaukee. “I tend to be a tree hugger, really. But I do it in the morning when nobody’s around,” he says.

So, it’s no surprise that Steve lives across from a sea of trees in the heart of Bay View: Humboldt Park. That’s where I met him, to help answer his Beats Me question.

art-native-american-water-oil-milwaukee-Valaria-Tatera
Susan Bence

The art exhibit called “Water Works” opens Friday evening at RedLine Milwaukee.

The show's curator, environmental activist and artist Melanie Ariens, chose more than a dozen artists to explore how deeply water affects our lives.

“I tried to find a balance of artists whose work conveyed a spiritual or emotional connection to water and artists who take a more activist approach to addressing water issues,” she said.

Screenshot/City of Milwaukee

Jeanette Kowalik was voted in as the City of Milwaukee's public health commissioner Wednesday. There were no votes of opposition.

In January, news broke that its once–touted childhood lead contamination prevention program was grossly mismanaged. A heartbeat later, health commissioner Bevan Baker resigned.

Based on the candidate’s reception at a special meeting of the Public Safety and Health Committee Tuesday, Kowalik’s prospects appeared bright.

Kowalik told aldermen she feels she was called home to take on the role.

Bigguylittlebikes

The Village of Gays Mills in Crawford County, known for apple orchards and its stunning location on the Kickapoo River, is under water, along with vast stretches up and downstream.

At 7:30 a.m. Thursday, the National Weather Service reported major flooding in Gays Mills, and major flooding remains in the forecast.

Susan Bence

Parts of Wisconsin recently experienced torrential rains. Roads flooded — or in some cases, washed out — in Dane and Iowa counties. Some state trails have closed until further notice. So, where does Milwaukee stand in its ability to cope with massive rain storms?

Harbor District, IInc.

You might know about a small park within Milwaukee's harbor on Jones Island called KaszubeHarbor View Plaza will become the first greenspace since the inception of Harbor District, Inc. Construction is expected to begin this fall.

The public park will be located at the end of Greenfield Avenue. This area just south of the Milwaukee's Third Ward has felt forbidding for years.

Eddee Daniel

What started as conversations five years ago evolved into Milwaukee Water Commons. While science and business opportunities were important in those initial discussions, the group wanted to broaden their reach to get the entire community involved in protecting a common resource — water.

Susan Bence

Students took their turn Wednesday showing their young sheep at the Wisconsin State Fair. Vincent High School student Kiara Little, who wants to be a veterinarian, was waiting to show her freshly-shorn creamy-colored sheep named Teddy Bear.

The sheep are organized by breed, for example Hampshire and Southdown, and then by their weight. While some can weigh up to 150 pounds, Kiara's sheep is little — Teddy Bear weighs just 90 pounds.

Susan Bence

Not so many years ago, no one would dream of kayaking or canoeing the Milwaukee River. Now those activities are common. So, how would you feel about jumping into the Milwaukee River for a swim?

That’s what will be happening during the 2018 Cream City Classic. On Aug. 11, the one-and-a-half-mile swim race will take place just upstream from where the Milwaukee River meets Lake Michigan.

While this race is being dubbed “Milwaukee’s first open river swim,” the Milwaukee River was once a popular swim spot.

Susan Bence

The Urban Ecology Center started humbly with a small team working out of a trailer near a forlorn park above the Milwaukee River. Today the park is flourishing, the river is healthier, and the Urban Ecology Center has grown to three neighborhood-based, ecological-steeped educational centers on Milwaukee’s east, central and south sides.

This week more than 20 people from around the world traveled to Milwaukee for the Urban Ecology Center's first 4-day Intensive to find out what makes the UEC tick.

UW-Madison Department of Entomology

Public health officials are urging Wisconsin residents to protect themselves and their families from potentially dangerous tick and mosquito bites, as insect-borne illnesses are on the rise nationally. 

Diseases spread by insects, such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease, can have harmful effects on humans and animals. 

Last week a dead crow found in Milwaukee County tested positive for West Nile virus.

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