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.

Ways to Connect

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So for a lot of families, there’s this thing that happens when they find out they’re expecting a baby. Once they get past the Is this really happening? stage and all the excitement that can come with knowing you’re growing a life, in can set the worry.

Am I eating the right foods? Am I getting enough sleep? Is this safe for the baby? Is my baby moving enough? How will…. What if… and on, and on.

For me, this was personal. 2018 was a monumental year for my family.

My husband and I welcomed our daughter.

CHICCODODIFC / Fotolia

A controversial pick for the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission has cleared her first hurdle. On Thursday, the Public Safety and Health Committee voted to send the nomination of Denise Bartlett to the full council later this month. 

For critics of Denise Bartlett, it’s not just the fact that for nearly three decades she worked for the Milwaukee Police Department — the entity that as a member of the Fire and Police Commission she would be charged with helping to oversee. Some fear that could lead Bartlett to have a bias toward officers. 

katie wheeler / Flickr

The battle between Democrats and Republicans over the next two-year state budget is in full swing.

Tuesday, members of the Joint Committee on Finance voted unanimously on several measures meant to improve water quality. They included Gov. Tony Evers' plan to borrow $13.5 million for the clean water program and $3.6 million for the safe drinking water loan program.

» Tony Evers Chats About Wisconsin's 'Year Of Clean Drinking Water'

Former Milwaukee Alderman Willie Wade has been indicted for wire fraud.

According to the charges, Wade falsely claimed he was negotiating on behalf of a current Milwaukee alderman to accept a bribe in exchange for a vote in favor of approving licenses for a downtown strip club. Wade allegedly accepted $30,000 via wire transfer, but he wasn't actually working on behalf of any elected Milwaukee official.

Wade has been charged with three counts of wire fraud. Each count carries a maximum of 20 years in prison, $250,000 fine and three years' probation.  

SCREENSHOT/WISCONSIN PUBLIC TELEVISION

Across Wisconsin, tens of thousands of people don’t trust the water that comes out of their tap — due to lead, agricultural runoff or industrial pollution.

To address water quality, there’s $70 million in Gov. Tony Evers’ budget and he's declared 2019 "the year of clean drinking water." However, some in the Republican state Legislature say too much of that money would go to Milwaukee to remove lead water lines, neglecting other areas of the state.

milwaukee-water-quality-project
Susan Bence

With our proximity to Lake Michigan and world-class water research, why don't we have clean water?

WUWM is diving into the topic of clean water, or the lack there of, in southeastern Wisconsin for our Project Milwaukee Series: Great Lakes, Troubled Waters.

LaToya Dennis

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez and his team have hit the ground running in Milwaukee planning the 2020 presidential nominating convention.

Perez stopped by the Newsroom Pub in downtown Milwaukee Tuesday afternoon, and spoke to the media while there. Perez says already the DNC is working on a number of logistics. He says there’s a lot of work to do, but that’s always the case when preparing for a convention. He says he cannot underscore enough the importance of the convention.

Two Wisconsin residents have pleaded guilty to supporting the terrorist group ISIS, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Matthew Krueger.

Waheba Dais, a Cudahy resident, admitted to using hacked Facebook accounts in order to support ISIS, pledged her allegiance to the organization and disseminated information about explosives and biological weapons and attempted to recruit new members.

UbjsP/stock.adobe.com

Updated on April 9 at 4:52 p.m. CT

An appeals court on Tuesday sided with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers in declining to reinstate 15 people appointed by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker. State lawmakers had been holding off on confirming Evers’ appointments because of the dispute over whether the governor had the power to make the appointments. Republican lawmakers have said they expect the matter to end up before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Original Story March 27

Facebook/Jayme Closs

The man accused of kidnapping and holding 13-year-old Jayme Closs for nearly three months and killing her parents has pleaded guilty.

Jake Patterson, who's 21, now faces a maximum of two life sentences for the two first-degree intentional homicide charges and 40 years for kidnapping.

READ: Patterson Decided To Take Jayme Closs After Seeing Her Get On A School Bus, Complaint Says

LaToya Dennis

The Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee has removed the names of two former Milwaukee Archbishops — William Cousins and Rembert Weakland — from buildings as part of the church’s response to sexual abuse by clergy.

The Archbishop Cousins Catholic Center, which was named in honor of William Cousins, will be renamed on Friday.  And Rembert Weakland’s name has been removed from the parish center at St. John the Evangelist in downtown Milwaukee.

Cousins and Weakland led the Milwaukee Archdiocese between 1958 and 2002 and helped cover up clergy sexual abuse of children.

Carl Court/Getty Images

All across the world people are grappling with how to deal with hate crimes. Fifty people were killed last week in New Zealand after someone opened fire at two mosques. It’s in the aftermath of such heinous crimes that questions such as how and why and when will this end are the most prevalent. 

Fatih Harpci teaches religion at Carthage College in Kenosha. He was saddened by the incidents in New Zealand but says hate can also be found here in Wisconsin.

Judith E. Bell/Flickr

The state of Wisconsin is famous for a number of things — beer, cheese, the Green Bay Packers and, if you're into this sort of thing, mail order catalogs.

monticellllo/stock adobe com

Technological advances have made some aspects of policing easier. For example, surveillance cameras can help police monitor crime remotely and allow police departments to capture images of criminals and in some cases track them.

But what happens with that data? How else is it used, who has access, and are people in minority communities unfairly targeted?

Maayan Silver

Updated 4:05 p.m.

Democrats chose Milwaukee to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention (DNC). It was announced Monday that the Cream City beat out Houston and Miami to host the convention.

ANDY MANIS/GETTY IMAGES

Questions remain over whether Foxconn will actually open a factory in Racine County — and if so, what the Taiwanese manufacturing giant would produce there. That's according to a Wednesday story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Maayan Silver

Typically, when police officers serve a search warrant before entering a home or business, they announce themselves. But in certain situations, officers believe the element of surprise works best, which means they enter without knocking or identifying themselves.

So called "no-knock" warrants have received a lot of attention lately after Houston police shot and killed two people while serving a no-knock. Five officers were also injured.

LaToya Dennis

Cold, snow and ice — Milwaukee has had a lot of all three lately. The winter weather is hard on most people, but when that snow and ice are not removed from public walkways in a timely manner, it can make getting around for people with disabilities even more difficult, sometimes verging on impossible.

“A lot of times when plows plow the streets the snow gets kind of piled up, unfortunately, right at a lot of curb cuts," says 32-year-old Milwaukee resident William Crowley.

Andy Manis/Getty Images

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin has filed a federal lawsuit against legislation limiting the powers of Wisconsin’s governor and attorney general. Wisconsin Democrats say the only reason Republicans, who control both the state Senate and the Assembly, passed legislation taking away powers traditionally reserved for the governor and attorney general is because the GOP lost.

Martha Laning chairs the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. She says Wisconsin’s new laws make it hard to believe in the Democratic process.

Victor Moussa/Fotolia

Across the country, the number of opioid deaths continue to rise. In 2017, the state of Wisconsin saw more than 900.

Changes are being implemented in an effort to lessen the number of people addicted. United Healthcare made changes to its opioid policy when it comes to prescriptions being written by dentists for people under the age of 19. The scripts are now limited to a three day supply and no more than 50 morphine milligrams a day.

Andy Manis/Getty Images

Wisconsin labor unions have filed the third lawsuit against legislation signed by former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker before leaving office that limits the power of the new Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul.

No one stumped harder for Evers in the race against Republican Walker than Wisconsin labor unions, according to Neal Bisno. He’s executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union.

WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

New Gov. Tony Evers recently toured the troubled juvenile correctional facilities in northern Wisconsin — Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls. While the facilities are slated for closure in 2021, problems remain.

Darren Hauck/Getty Images

Across the greater Milwaukee area, businesses remain closed, some flights are canceled and thousands of people are without power as We Energies works to fix issues.

Amy Jahns, a spokesperson for We Energies, says people in Sullivan, Racine and the town of Erin are impacted by wires snapping Thursday morning.  

“The weather with the frigid temperatures are causing our wires to constrict and causing them to snap off. And so we are arriving and finding wires down on the scene,” she says.

Lauren Sigfusson

Updated 1:20 p.m.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers declared a state of emergency on Monday due to severe winter weather.

Emily Hamer/Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said he will not withdraw from the federal, multi-state lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act. This comes after new Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers made headlines Tuesday night during his State of the State address, saying he was directing Kaul to withdraw from the ACA lawsuit. 

But on Wednesday, the state’s non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau said Evers could not make such a demand. Then, Evers changed his tune saying he didn’t order the attorney general to withdraw from the suit, after all. 

LaToya Dennis

Bubbler Talk — our series that answers your questions about Milwaukee and the region — gets a lot of questions about street numbering and street names. Not too long ago, Mike Zabel submitted a question about Lovers Lane Road on Milwaukee’s far northwest side.

I was wondering why the north part of Highway 100 is called Lovers Lane?

Chuck Quirmbach

A federal judge on Thursday struck down early-voting restrictions Wisconsin Republicans adopted in a December lame-duck legislative session, saying the limits are clearly similar to restrictions he blocked two years ago.

Facebook/Jayme Closs

Updated Jan. 14, 2019 at 4:18 p.m.

Jake Thomas Patterson targeted Jayme Closs after seeing her get on a school bus, according to a criminal complaint released on Monday.

The 21-year-old is facing two charges of first degree intentional homicide for the murder of Closs’s parents, one count of kidnapping and one count of burglary. His bail is set at $5 million.

According to the report, Closs escaped while Patterson was out last week.

Screenshot/Wisconsin Public Television

Democrat Tony Evers was sworn in as Wisconsin’s 46th governor on Monday. Evers ousted now former Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Evers says he’s ready to get to work but acknowledges there will be challenges.

He says the November election proved one thing: Wisconsinites are ready for change. And that change is now on its way, he adds.

Darren Hauck/Getty Images

Updated 1:10 p.m.

Milwaukee-native Mandela Barnes was sworn in as lieutenant governor on Monday. It’s the first time in 40 years that an African-American has been elected to statewide office in Wisconsin. 

He says his upbringing in Milwaukee has a lot to do with his current politics.

“Knowing what the city of Milwaukee can be. Knowing what we have the ability to produce but also realizing the barriers that do exist. We have high levels of poverty, we have other issues that are impacted as a result of high rates of poverty,” Barnes says.

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