Chuck Quirmbach

Innovation Reporter

Chuck Quirmbach joined WUWM in August 2018 as Innovation Reporter, covering developments in science, health and business.

Prior to that, he worked for Wisconsin Public Radio in Milwaukee and Madison, covering the environment, energy, and Milwaukee news of statewide interest.

He is a graduate of the UW-Madison.

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Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

The list of possible future state highway projects continues to change, as transportation officials discuss shifting costs and needs. Things to consider down the road may be less commuting due to COVID-19, and what might happen with driverless and internet-connected vehicles. 


With COVID-19 patients filling many hospital beds, some health care systems are expanding care of milder coronavirus cases at the person's home. When Green Bay resident Dan DeGrave tested positive for COVID-19 in late September, he wasn't admitted to the hospital. He was sent home, and soon after, an iPad was delivered to his house.

Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

Four states — Wisconsin, Oregon, Michigan and Utah — are reporting outbreaks of the coronavirus among mink at about 15 mink farms. That's less than 10% of the roughly 275 farms nationwide. But, the impact on the mink industry could still be significant, especially if the coronavirus situation in the U.S. goes the way of Denmark, where the government ordered millions of mink to be put to death.

Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

Construction has started on the two pipelines that will carry Lake Michigan drinking water from Milwaukee to Waukesha and treated wastewater back towards the lake. It's expected to take almost three years to finish the diversion project aimed at providing Waukesha with a reliable source of clean water. But along the way, there could be challenges with communication, cost and political cooperation.

Long black pipes and gravel to be used as fill are already on top of the ground outside the wastewater treatment plant in Waukesha.

DoubletreeStudio / Adobe Stock

A Milwaukee collaboration aimed at reducing housing evictions is being launched Monday. The Rental Housing Resource Center is billed as a one-stop shop for renters and landlords who need help in providing or maintaining stable rental housing.

Image from East Side and Downer Ave. Business Improvement Districts

It's unclear how many people will go shopping during Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and the rest of the post-Thanksgiving weekend — what with COVID-19 still surging in Wisconsin. But merchants are doing what they can to attract shoppers into stores or online.   

The pandemic has meant tough going for several types of businesses, including restaurants, entertainment venues, the hospitality industry and some retail establishments. Bill Smith is state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, which has nearly 10,000 members in Wisconsin.

Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

Amtrak says ridership is substantially off this year, due to COVID-19. But the passenger rail system says many of its trains are operating, with health precautions, during what is normally a busy Thanksgiving period.

Amtrak says nationally, its ridership is down to about 20% of normal. Ridership on the Hiawatha Line, between Milwaukee and Chicago, is down about 50% compared to last year at this time.

Alexandr Milodan / Adobe Stock

A Milwaukee County doctor closely following the COVID-19 pandemic said Tuesday if you feel fine that doesn't necessarily mean you are fine.

Dr. Ben Weston is with the Medical College of Wisconsin, and is director of medical services for the county's Office of Emergency Management. 

Screen capture from Put Em' Down music video

New efforts to reduce gun violence are underway in the Milwaukee area. One new plan involves having city of Milwaukee firefighters responding to an emergency call hand out free gun safety locks to any city resident who wants one.

The gunlocks, which use a small cable and padlock through the firing mechanism, or barrel, to prevent a gun from firing, will also be available at Milwaukee fire stations.

Chuck Quirmbach

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and Republican legislative leaders met Friday, to try again for agreement on COVID-19 legislation. The meeting comes as state health officials announced another 83 deaths Thursday in Wisconsin, due to the coronavirus.

Kati Kokal

Northwestern Mutual is pledging to invest $20 million in Black-founded startup companies in Milwaukee and across the nation.

The life insurance company says it will aim to provide money and access to young firms that focus on financial technology, improving customer experiences, digital health — including wearable devices, and data analytics. 

Craig Schedler, of Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures, says venture capital (VC) efforts usually talk about the importance of proprietary deal flow.

Jack Hurbanis / WUWM

The leader of the state's largest business group is giving thumbs down to parts of Gov. Tony Evers's latest proposal for legislative action to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in Wisconsin.

Ann-Elise Henzl / WUWM

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) says financial woes related to lost business because of the COVID-19 pandemic are deepening for some business sectors. The organization says tens of thousands of firms are seeking assistance.

WEDC secretary and CEO Missy Hughes told the agency’s board Tuesday that after a bad economic hit during the spring, restaurants saw some improvements during the summer.

Jack Hurbanis / WUWM

Updated Wednesday at 9:20 a.m. CST

Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

Some Milwaukee-area hospitals say they're making changes to reduce the risk of the local health care system being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. But there's concern about health care workers being able to stay at their jobs.

The state of Wisconsin reported 4,389 more confirmed COVID-19 cases Monday, bringing the number of active cases in the state to 70,205.

SciePro, Adobe Stock

A new report on lung cancer says some gains are being made against the disease, but that not all races and ethnic groups are making the same amount of progress.

Lung cancer is the nation’s leading cause of cancer deaths, and the American Lung Association estimates that about 4,300 Wisconsin residents are being diagnosed with the disease this year.

Chuck Quirmbach

COVID-19 has cut back or eliminated attendance at many arts and cultural venues. This includes properties designed by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright that are usually open to the public. But people who run those homes, museums and other sites say they're ready for reinvention, as Wright often reinvented himself.

Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

Financial investment in Wisconsin startup businesses remains relatively low. So, some company founders, investors and others have formed a coalition to advocate for policies that improve the state's innovation ecosystem.  

It's not just that Wisconsin trails financial centers like California, Massachusetts and New York in venture capital, or VC, funding. Matt Cordio, of Skills Pipeline and Startup Milwaukee, says the Badger State badly trails the Gopher State.

Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

Updated Thursday at 8:24 a.m. CST 

Wisconsin health leaders sounded more alarms Wednesday about the rapidly spreading coronavirus, urging the public to take the threat seriously and for policy makers to come together and form a united front against the virus that shows no signs of abating.

Screenshot / YouTube / Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs

Wednesday is Veterans Day. This year, part of the story is the COVID-19 toll at Wisconsin state veterans homes and federal VA facilities.

The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs says there have been 30 COVID-19-related deaths at the largest veterans home — King in central Wisconsin. Ten residents have died of COVID-19 at the mid-sized Union Grove facility. One died at a smaller state home in Chippewa Falls.

Chuck Quirmbach

Beginning Tuesday, UW-Milwaukee and other University of Wisconsin System campuses are offering to the public and university employees a free rapid COVID-19 test. But medical experts warn the exam may need a follow-up.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

A Wisconsin election official is addressing the red pen controversy raised by President Donald Trump's reelection campaign.

Trump may ask for a recount of Tuesday's result in Wisconsin that shows him trailing Democrat Joe Biden by about 20,000 votes.

>>Trump Wants A Recount In Wisconsin. How Would It Work?

Waukesha County Sheriff

Updated Saturday at 11:06 a.m. CT

A man sought in a shooting that wounded two Wisconsin police officers at a traffic stop in the Delafield area has been arrested. The suspect, identified by the Fargo Police Department as 23-year-old Nathanael Benton, is also wanted in North Dakota for attempted murder.

Two others were also arrested, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

President Donald Trump has wrapped up his efforts to win Wisconsin again, as he did in the 2016 election. Trump campaigned in Kenosha Monday night.

The president repeated his disputed claim that his push to send the National Guard to Kenosha in August ended civil unrest that broke out following the police severely wounding a Black man, Jacob Blake. Trump said a vote for him is a vote for safety and values.

"If you want to be treated with dignity and respect, then I am asking you tomorrow to go out and vote for your all-time favorite president," Trump said.

Chuck Quirmbach

Incumbent Donald Trump will make his final Wisconsin visit of the 2020 presidential campaign Monday night at the airport in Kenosha.

The president talks about Kenosha at many events, referring to the civil unrest that occurred in late August after a Kenosha police officer, Rustin Sheskey, severely wounded a Black man, Jacob Blake, as police were responding to what they say was a domestic incident.   

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Donald Trump continues to try to make a late bid to win Wisconsin again, as he did in the presidential election four years ago.

Publicly-released polls conducted in the state show the president trailing Democratic rival Joe Biden by at least 5 percentage points. One poll this week from ABC News and the Washington Post has Trump behind by 17. But during a rally at the Green Bay airport Friday, the president blamed the news media for portraying him doing badly.


On the presidential campaign trail this summer and fall, it hasn’t all been about COVID-19 or the leadership skills of the two major party candidates, Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic rival Joe Biden.

For example, both candidates have occasionally talked about scientific and technical changes for the nation. One technology advocate says the winner of Tuesday's contest will have a long list of issues to address.

Chuck Quirmbach

President Donald Trump contends a "great red wave" of Republican voters will help him carry Wisconsin in the Nov. 3 election. Trump spoke Tuesday evening at a rally in West Salem, near La Crosse.

Public opinion polls show Trump trailing Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in Wisconsin by between 5 and 9 percentage points. But Trump says he has help on the way — if his supporters get out and vote.

"Gotta get out, this is the thing. Just remember, the great red wave,” he told the crowd.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

After two stops in southern Wisconsin over the last two weekends, President Donald Trump takes his reelection campaign to western Wisconsin Tuesday afternoon. He's scheduled to speak in West Salem, near La Crosse.

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse political scientist Anthony Chergosky says the western part of the state remains politically independent and potentially up for grabs. 

Chuck Quirmbach

More than 1.6 million voters in Wisconsin have already submitted absentee ballots — either by mailing in their ballot or voting in person during the early vote period that began Oct. 20.

Some of the folks doing early voting or who are waiting until Nov. 3 to vote face extra challenges because they have disabilities. However, they say it didn't have to be this difficult.

On Oct. 22, longtime friends Alice Rodrian and Danita Jackson traveled in Rodrian’s car to the Midtown polling place on Milwaukee’s north side. Rodrian can see, but Jackson has been blind since age 16.