LaToya Dennis

News Reporter

LaToya Dennis joined WUWM in October 2006 as a reporter / producer. LaToya began her career in public radio as a part-time reporter for WKAR AM/FM in East Lansing, Michigan. She worked as general assignment reporter for WKAR for one and a half years while working toward a master's degree in Journalism from Michigan State University. While at WKAR, she covered General Motors plant closings, city and state government, and education among other critical subjects.

Before coming to public radio, LaToya interned at the CBS affiliate in Lansing, Michigan. She also took part in NPR's 2005 Next Generation Radio Project in Kansas City, Missouri as well as NPR's summer 2006 Next Generation Radio Project in Indianapolis, Indiana.

LaToya holds both a Bachelor's degree and a Masters degree in journalism from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. Dennis is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

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Across Wisconsin, more than 700 people have died from COVID-19. Still, officials in Milwaukee County worry that people are getting too comfortable and aren’t taking precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Milwaukee Health Commissioner Jeanette Kowalik says the city is seeing an uptick in youth under the age of 15 contracting COVID-19. She says the trend is largely on Milwaukee's south side, in the 53215 and 53214 ZIP codes.

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Lauren Sigfusson

There are three types of people in this world: Those who notice nothing. Those who notice but don’t care to question. And then there are those who ask why. David Wagner is the last one.

David reached out to Bubbler Talk — our series where you ask, we investigate, and together we unveil the answers — to learn about a road he often passes.

What is Seven Mile Road 7 miles from?

Cousins Subs

How often do you order food and have it delivered versus going to a sit-down restaurant? Across the United States, food delivery is the fastest-growing segment in the restaurant industry — and it’s left some business owners struggling with how to deal with the changes. In Milwaukee, Cousins Subs has its own answer: a delivery-only facility.

LaToya Dennis

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is running for reelection. He announced that he was seeking his fifth term on Wednesday at the Sherman Phoenix in Milwaukee's Sherman Park neighborhood.

Standing in front of a chalk board mural of a phoenix with the words "Still, I Rise" written above it and flanked by supporters — mainly black and brown people — Barrett made it clear he's more optimistic about the future of Milwaukee than he's ever been.

LaToya Dennis

There are lots of programs that have inspirational messages for kids, telling them to reach for the skies. A group in Madison, Wis., is taking that literally, giving children from disadvantaged backgrounds a chance to fly a plane.

Ethan Miller / Getty Images

There's a lot of money being made across the country from the legalization of marijuana.

While weed is still illegal at the federal level, nearly 20 states allow the use of medical marijuana. The District of Columbia and 11 states have legalized the recreational use — Illinois is one. The new law goes into effect in January. It's expected to eventually bring in anywhere between $500 million and $700 million a year. 

Wisconsin Department of Corrections

Lincoln Hills is once again in the news.

The juvenile facility has been in the limelight for years, after allegations surfaced in 2014 of kids being physically and sexually abused and the ACLU filed a lawsuit over the use of solitary confinement and pepper spray.  

LaToya Dennis

What does it take to get people out of their homes and willing to sit in a restaurant these days?

That's a question a lot of businesses are grappling with in the era of Uber Eats, Grubhub and other food delivery services. Across the United States and in the Milwaukee area, some developers are betting on food halls.

VINCENT DESJARDINS / Flickr

It’s been more than a year since the city of Milwaukee agreed to a settlement with the ACLU of Wisconsin over Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) practices of stopping people of color without cause. While the department has made significant steps in meeting the terms of the agreement, there are areas where MPD is falling short.

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Lauren Sigfusson

Have you ever wondered about the stories behind the names of some buildings and streets and even cities you encounter?

A lot of you have written to Bubbler Talk asking about the origins of West Allis. Whether there was ever an east, north or south Allis. And why the city is called West Allis if there is, in fact, no Allis to be west of.

LaToya Dennis

Milwaukee County leaders want to put a binding referendum on the ballot that would raise the county sales tax by 1%. But before the county can take that step, it needs approval from the state legislature.

City and county officials say the goal is to not only reduce the property tax here, but to also create a new source of revenue.

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Should the legal age to buy cigarettes and vaping products be raised to 21?

That’s the question some Wisconsin lawmakers are now grappling with after a bipartisan bill was introduced calling for just that. Lawmakers behind the legislation say the goal is to lessen the number of teens who vape.

READ: City Of Milwaukee Urges Residents To Stop Vaping Immediately

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The city of Milwaukee Health Department is urging residents to stop using all vaping products immediately.

So far, doctors in Wisconsin have confirmed 16 cases of chemical pneumonia that they believe are related to vaping. The only commonality at this point is that everyone impacted reported vaping or dabbing vaping marijuana oils and extracts in the weeks before becoming sick.

Maayan Silver

For years, elected officials and business leaders have been saying there was a disconnect between getting people who need jobs in Milwaukee to where the available jobs are in areas such as Waukesha County.

The JobLines bus route was supposed to fix that issue. However, by the end of this August, the portion of that line that goes into Waukesha County will end. 

READ: As Milwaukee's JobLines Service Ends, What's Next?

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Sexting. With technological advances, it’s a word most of us have become familiar with in recent years.

While the act of sending and receiving nude photos via an electronic device can create challenges for adults, image the havoc it can cause for teens.

Mario Tama / Getty Images

Two mass shootings in Texas and Ohio over the weekend took the lives of more than 30 people, renewing calls to change the way we think about gun violence.

Louna LePoivre

Jewish residents from across the Milwaukee area gathered outside the local Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office Thursday. They were protesting conditions at detention centers along the southern border of the U.S. Similar protests have been taking place across the country.

The mood was sometimes somber as protesters gathered outside the Department of Homeland Security building in downtown Milwaukee, chanting and singing. Their goal: to show support for people being detained by ICE because they don't have the correct documentation. 

CHICCODODIFC / FOTOLIA

Updated at 11:17 a.m. CT  

On Tuesday, the Milwaukee Common Council confirmed Griselda Aldrete as the new executive director of the Fire and Police Commission (FPC). The final vote of the council was: 10 in favor, three abstentions, one no.

Mayor Tom Barrett nominated Aldrete to serve as the head of the Milwaukee FPC. The nomination passed the Public Safety and Health Committee on a three-to-one vote with Alderwoman Nakiya Dodd voting against and Alderwoman Chantia Lewis abstaining.

LaToya Dennis

Driving in Milwaukee can be a harrowing experience. From people whipping by passing in bike and bus lanes to people blowing through red lights.

On Monday, city leaders announced a new program aimed at ending reckless driving. The public-private pilot program is being made possible by donations from private companies.

READ: City Of Milwaukee & Milwaukee County Join Forces To Tackle Reckless Driving

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Should attorneys in Wisconsin be required to pay dues and join the State Bar?

That’s the question in a federal lawsuit filed by a Milwaukee based conservative think tank — the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL). Thirty-two states, including Wisconsin, have such systems. For years, Rick Esenberg says some attorneys here have been pushing to get rid of the mandate.

Maayan Silver

Up until last year, any person in Wisconsin who had sexual contact with a child between the ages of 13 and 16 could be charged with a felony. But that law has changed.

If you’ve ever driven down South 27 Street in Franklin, Wis., you know there are a lot of motels there. El Rancho, the Knotty Pine, Sunrise, Modern 41, Embassy, the Oakwood and the list goes on and on. My count: 10 within a 2-mile drive, which takes about three minutes.

Over the years, lots of people have written to Bubbler Talk asking about those motels. The most recent question came from a guy named Don Gloo:

Angelina Mosher Salazar

Milwaukee is expected to be a hotbed of political activity this presidential election cycle.

This week, the city will host the national convention for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). The organization was founded in 1929 and is the oldest and the largest Latino civil rights organization in the country. It’s expected to bring an influx of 15,000-20,000 people to the city. 

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Updated on July 3 at 10:48 a.m. CT

A three-judge panel has dismissed a federal lawsuit challenging Republican-drawn legislative boundaries in the wake of a key U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 27 that federal courts have no place in policing political district boundaries.

READ: Supreme Court Rules Partisan Gerrymandering Is Beyond The Reach Of Federal Courts

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Reckless driving is a problem in a lot of places, especially the city of Milwaukee.

The city and the county have teamed up to tackle the issue. On Monday, the task force looking at the issue held another meeting. 

The number of fatalities due to car accidents is down, according to the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD). But driving around the city can sometimes feel like a harrowing experience: people speeding by in the bike lane on the right, running red lights, and sometimes even people driving in the lane of oncoming traffic attempting to speed by you.

Library of Congress

It’s been 100 years since women in the U.S. gained the right to vote with the passage of the 19th Amendment. And Wisconsin led the way: it was the first state to ratify the amendment.

On Monday, elected officials, prominent Wisconsinites and members of the public gathered at the State Capitol building to celebrate. While many took the opportunity to praise the state and the historical significance of what happened on June 10, 1919, others pointed out that the suffrage movement and women winning the right to vote did not apply to all women.

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Two people are in custody in Waukesha County after an officer involved shooting on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, three Waukesha County Sheriff's Department deputies have been placed on administrative duty. The department is not yet releasing names of those involved. But the shooting occurred after a standoff, when a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) employee pursued stolen vehicle.

CHICCODODIFC / FOTOLIA

The Milwaukee Common Council Wednesday overwhelmingly voted against approving Denise Bartlett for a seat on the Fire and Police Commission.

Mayor Tom Barrett nominated her to the panel, which oversees the fire and police departments. Bartlett worked for the police department for 28 years before retiring. She took questions from aldermen for nearly two hours. But in the end, many council members didn't think she was fit for the position.

Courtesy of Sabrina Foulks-Thomas

In recent years, a number of black and brown women in Milwaukee have become doulas, and now there’s also a push to train more midwives of color. These trained, licensed medical professionals deliver babies in hospitals, birthing centers, and at homes.

Sabrina Foulks-Thomas, who is black, is one of those midwives. She has done this work for the past three years.

While there are midwives in Milwaukee who have worked in the field for decades, Foulks-Thomas says she recognizes the impact she can have as a black woman.

LaToya Dennis

The city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County are investing in doulas in hopes reducing the number of black babies who die before the age of one.

READ: Wisconsin has the highest infant mortality rate for black babies in the country. Why?

While doulas don’t have medical training, they do provide emotional, physical and mental support to families before, during and after the arrival of a baby.

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