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.

Ways to Connect

Петр Смагин

Many medical centers use a radiation-releasing element called a radioisotope to help diagnose and treat health problems. Friday, a high-ranking member of the U.S. Department of Energy will visit two southern Wisconsin companies involved in making the radioactive isotopes.  The Trump administration official is expected to highlight support of a program to reduce dependence on foreign imports. 

Chuck Quirmbach

The telecommunications industry continues to promise faster wireless service with a technology known as 5G. Cables and antenna towers related to 5G are now being installed in neighborhoods in part of the Milwaukee area. But a Milwaukee alderperson says she's getting  many complaints about how the work is being done — complaints that an analyst says should worry a lot of communities.

One place the cable is going in, is along S. Delaware Avenue in Milwaukee's Bay View neighborhood. 

Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

As Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris campaigned in the Milwaukee area Monday, Republican incumbent Mike Pence was in La Crosse.

It being Labor Day, Pence offered an optimistic view on what's happened since 22 million U.S. jobs were lost during the spring, as part of economic cutbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chuck Quirmbach

The U.S. Senate will go back into session Sept. 8.  Among the people hoping the GOP-controlled chamber will help the U.S. Postal Service are a New Berlin couple, Beth and Manny Medina.

Chuck Quirmbach

It happened during the first week of September in 1945: Japan signed formal surrender papers aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, bringing an end to World War II.

This week, Milwaukee's War Memorial Center marked the 75th anniversary of the signing with a ceremony that included World War II veterans and advice about what it takes to keep nations out of wars.

Chuck Quirmbach

An effort to recall Gov. Tony Evers fanned out across Wisconsin over the weekend, as critics of the Democrat began collecting the roughly 670,000 signatures needed to force a recall election.

Sunday morning at Echo Park in Burlington, recall organizer Misty Polewczynski wouldn't answer a reporter's questions about the recall effort announced Friday. But she did allow her voice to be recorded as she greeted people at a small table.

Two People Shot To Death, Another Injured During Kenosha Unrest

Aug 26, 2020
Chuck Quirmbach

Updated at 2:41 p.m. CT

A white, 17-year-old police admirer was arrested Wednesday in the killing of two people gunned down during a third night of protests in Kenosha over the police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake.

Kyle Rittenhouse, of Antioch, Illinois, was taken into custody in Illinois on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide. Antioch is about 15 miles from Kenosha.

Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers says one priority this fall is to help fellow Democrat Joe Biden become president.  Evers says another key goal is to hold on to his veto power over Republicans in the state Legislature.

Evers is getting some high-profile assistance with that state politics effort.

Chuck Quirmbach

Vice President Mike Pence says, "It's on!” — the 2020 election campaign pitting President Donald Trump and Pence against the Democratic ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Pence spoke at a factory in Walworth County on Wednesday and said Republican policies are helping the Wisconsin economy. Democrats are quick to disagree.

Chuck Quirmbach

Republican Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to speak at noon Wednesday at a metal fabricating firm in Walworth County, Wis. The Tankcraft Corporation in the village of Darien makes fuel tanks and other products.

One of the company owners is board chair of a Wisconsin conservative think tank, and says he promotes liberty and individual rights.

The Trump campaign says Pence is scheduled to discuss “the failure of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden to put American workers first.”   

Chuck Quirmbach

In a controversial move, the Police and Fire Commission in Wauwatosa voted Monday night to set a firm schedule for hearing a complaint against suspended police Officer Joseph Mensah.

Chip Somodevilla /

President Trump's son Eric Trump will campaign Tuesday at the office of the Milwaukee Police Association, the union that represents hundreds of Milwaukee officers. Eric Trump is expected to tout an endorsement of his father by the International Union of Police Associations.

Chuck Quirmbach

Some supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and expected Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden are trying to find common ground on the issue of cutting the U.S. military budget.

The two sides held a news conference in downtown Milwaukee on Sunday, near a billboard that says 3% of military spending in this country could end starvation on Earth. 

Laura Valderrama founded Wisconsin for Bernie and is a Sanders delegate at this week's Democratic National Convention.  She says there's a history of bipartisan overspending on the armed forces.

Chuck Quirmbach

Updated at 10:30 a.m. CT

A Black Lives Matter protest in Wauwatosa Friday night featured a tense standoff between dozens of protesters and law enforcement from several communities after one of the protesters was taken into custody, apparently on an unrelated charge.

The incident took place at 70th St. and Aetna Ct., just north of Wisconsin Avenue and near the home of Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride.

Chuck Quirmbach

The state of Wisconsin has published an online database for how it's spending $1.7 billion in federal funds, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Much of the money comes from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Gov. Tony Evers says the money has provided more than 10 million pieces of personal protective equipment, and more than 1 million testing and lab supplies for local communities and tribal partners. 

Screenshot / Wisconsin Department of Health Services / YouTube

President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, a bus promoting Women for Trump, and possibly other supporters of the president are all scheduled to campaign in Wisconsin next week. However, the presumptive Democratic ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will make their remarks to the Democratic National Convention from elsewhere due to concerns about the coronavirus.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has a message for the visiting Republicans about limiting the spread of COVID-19:

Chuck Quirmbach

Updated Sunday at 6:43 p.m. CT

A bicycle ride in Milwaukee this Saturday called Riding Over Stigma will attempt to de-stigmatize mental illness, especially in the Black community. One of the sponsors of the ride is the local chapter of Red Bike and Green — riders who bring more diversity to biking.

Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

Wisconsin's official death toll for COVID-19 now tops 1,000.

The state reported eight more deaths Tuesday, to push the number of deceased  to 1,006.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 72% of those who have died of COVID-19 were age 70 and older. And, 89% were 60 and older. But on a webcast Tuesday, Milwaukee County Emergency Management official Dr. Ben Weston said much younger people are at risk too.

Courtesy of Healthy Minds Innovations

Local medical experts say they're worried about the mental health of people in the Milwaukee area after dealing with months of COVID-19 and economic challenges related to the pandemic.  

Counselors are recommending various ways to positively cope with additional stress. Some Wisconsin researchers have even developed a free app, designed to help through meditation.

National Archives

Seventy-five years ago this month, the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, effectively ending World War II. Nuclear weapons haven't disappeared — nine nations still have a total of about 14,000 missile warheads — and that worries some in the Wisconsin medical community.

Rendering supplied by Independence First

Thousands of people with disabilities are hoping to vote in Wisconsin on Aug. 11, in November, and in many other elections in the years ahead. But advocates say people in wheelchairs, the visually impaired, and people with other concerns have a more difficult time exercising their right to vote. Technology is helping ease some problems, but not all.

Lauri Jones

Singer Kanye West and four other independent candidates for president have filed to be on the November ballot in Wisconsin. But it's unclear if all will actually go before voters.

West is listed as representing the Birthday Party. The others are Jo Jorgensen - Libertarian Party, Howie Hawkins - Green Party, Brian Carroll - American Solidarity Party, and Kyle Kopitke - The People's Revolution. 

Chuck Quirmbach

Thirty years ago this summer, the landscape slowly started to change for people with disabilities in the U.S. The change in 1990 came through the passage of major legislation known as The Americans With Disabilities Act, or ADA.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says one in four adults in this country has some type of disability. Those include people with vision or hearing impairment, loss of movement, mental health concerns, speech and memory loss. 

Chuck Quirmbach

Monday is day three of Wisconsin's mask mandate. The order that Gov. Tony Evers signed Thursday requiring the wearing of masks in most indoor public places statewide took effect Saturday morning. It's been a hot topic before and since.

We took a walk in downtown Pewaukee Sunday and sampled public opinion.

Waukesha County resident John Parsons says he's willing to accept the mask requirement.

Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

A Black family whose son was killed while in Milwaukee police custody 39 years ago is taking a bigger role in the Black Lives Matter protests.  The relatives of Ernest Lacy are speaking up.

Ernest died in a police van in 1981, after being taking into custody for a rape that was later determined the 22 year old did not commit.  At a later hearing, then-community activist Howard Fuller called for charges against the officers who had forced Ernest to the ground.

Courtesy of Katarina Braun and Gage Moreno / University of Wisconsin-Madison

Many in the university research community say science will eventually help find a vaccine for the coronavirus. But across Wisconsin, it's an uncertain time for the thousands of scientists — young and older — studying and working at universities. The COVID-19 pandemic has already brought some changes, and it's expected to bring more.

Chuck Quirmbach

It's been 30 years since the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) became law. Some community activists say there are similarities between the battle for disabled rights and the current effort for racial equality.

The ADA helped lead to things like more curb cuts, those little ramps built into concrete curbs at places like intersections. The 1990 law also did much more, of course, including banning discrimination against the disabled in public places.

But Harvey Ross not being nice to the disabled community remembers at the time:

Chuck Quirmbach

The Milwaukee Brewers start their coronavirus-shortened 60-game baseball season Friday evening in Chicago against the Cubs. For now, there won't be any fans in the stands, either at away games or July 31, when home games start at Miller Park. 

But baseball will try to make it sound like fans are at the stadiums.

The Brewers just wrapped up a few weeks of what would normally be called spring training, except this year it was summer camp. The team webcast some of its intrasquad games at Miller Park, complete with announcers describing the action.

Chuck Quirmbach

Milwaukee County leaders are promising greater racial equity in county operations. That includes the Parks Department, which has more than 150 properties. At least one county supervisor says she plans to hold the department to its pledge.

At Dineen Park, 6901 W. Vienna Ave., on the northwest side of Milwaukee, a major renovation has been going on in recent years. Already with the financial help of the Milwaukee Bucks, the basketball courts have been upgraded. 

Chuck Quirmbach

Nearly half the Wisconsin small businesses that applied for a federally-funded grant triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic were initially rejected. But state officials hope more firms will still get into the program known as We're All In.