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.

WisconsinEye

It had been two weeks since Gov. Tony Evers and state public health officials summoned the press to discuss the status of the coronavirus in Wisconsin. But Tuesday was not a case of 'no news is good news,' cases of the coronavirus are on the rise. And for the first time, Evers and his colleagues wore face masks as they addressed their virtual audience.

Even had Evers and top state health officials not had their faces shielded by masks because of a new Dane County mandate, it’s unlikely they would have had upbeat expressions.

Susan Bence

The coronavirus pandemic has many of us feeling unsure. How far is far enough when social distancing? How clean is clean enough?

Milwaukee-area entrepreneur Todd Muderlak thinks the coronavirus is changing the way people approach sanitation — and he’s developed products he hopes will fill a void.

Standing in the middle of his Glendale headquarters off Port Washington Road, Muderlak says as a kid he surrounded by his dad’s creations, including washroom innovations.

Susan Bence

Each month, UWM distinguished professor of atmospheric science Paul Roebber talks with Lake Effect as part of our climate conversations series. In this final installment, two policy experts join the conversation.

Amber Meyer Smith is from the organization Clean Wisconsin. She’s a member of Gov. Tony Evers’ climate change task force.

Susan Bence

Updated Monday at 4:24 p.m. CT

The disconnect between the call for change and staunch support of police was evident Saturday in downtown Kenosha.

In Civic Park, a group of at least 400 people — many wearing variations of red, white and blue — rallied for Back the Blue.

Another group held signs proclaiming “We Back The People” and “I Can’t Breathe." Most were standing across the park on the steps of the county courthouse, some positioned themselves combatively in the face of police officers.

Susan Bence

President Trump spent time in Wisconsin Thursday. His first stop was Green Bay’s Austin Straubel International Airport where he taped a town hall meeting. Then, Trump helicoptered 60 miles north to Marinette, where he visited a shipbuilder that won a big contract with the Navy.

Susan Bence

A statewide research initiative is underway, which involves all of the UW System’s four-year campuses. It’s called The Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin.

The hope is that this initiative will make Wisconsin and UW schools global leaders in freshwater science, technology and entrepreneurship. The group hopes to enroll hundreds of students, raise research dollars and create jobs.

Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

Updated at 4:03 p.m. 

After nearly four weeks of marching to protest violence by police, some Milwaukee activists zeroed in on an immediate problem Tuesday: a search, they say, for missing children. The hunt that stretched through the afternoon unfolded in an emotional and sometimes chaotic scene at N. 40th St. and W. Lloyd St. in Milwaukee.

Susan Bence

Friday was Juneteenth Day, which marks when the last slaves in Galveston, Texas learned in 1865 that slavery had been abolished.

There were a number of gatherings and celebrations in Milwaukee. And they took on special meaning in a period of civil rights demonstrations that have sprouted up across the country.

>>Juneteenth: The Day African Americans Truly Gained Freedom

Courtesy of David Thomas

One day a year for the last 24 years, several thousand volunteers have spread out throughout the Milwaukee River Basin to pick up trash. But this year is different, the coronavirus forced the Milwaukee Riverkeeper organization to cancel its 25th cleanup.

The science-based, water advocacy group says the annual cleaning up of tons of trash that accumulates over the winter helps the Menomonee, Kinnickinnic and Milwaukee River watersheds, but it also helps connect people to the natural resource.

Susan Bence

Milwaukee, along with other communities around the country, has witnessed a remarkable reaction to violent killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. Among the marches that have crisscrossed the region, one unfolded over the weekend in Shorewood.

The event was pulled together by some of the village’s high school students, including 17-year-old Eric Patrick Lucas III, who is black.

The march’s jubilant atmosphere shifted suddenly when a white female attorney who lives in Shorewood blocked protesters with her car, and then spat in Lucas’ face.

Susan Bence

A rainbow of humanity gathered throughout southeastern Wisconsin Saturday — from Greendale to Grafton — as marches continue in reaction to the tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police almost two weeks ago. Hundreds of people converged at the North Point Water Tower in Milwaukee Saturday before making their way north to Whitefish Bay and back again.

Energy was building in this patch of brilliant green at the easternmost point of North Ave. People scooped up signs that volunteers created on the spot.

Timecook / Reddit

In one short week, George Floyd has become an internationally recognized name. His death at the hands of Minneapolis police has people marching in many cities, demanding racial equity and an end to violence by police.

>>Read WUWM & NPR Full Protest Coverage

Mars Cheese Castle, a multigenerational fixture along I-94 in Kenosha, posted "I can't breathe" on the store’s huge outdoor sign.

COURTESY OF SAMER GHANI

Late Monday afternoon, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett put a curfew into place for a third night due to the ongoing protests. People are protesting across the country over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody.

In a news conference, Barrett acknowledged racial disparities that have unfairly impacted communities of color in Milwaukee for generations.

Susan Bence

On Milwaukee’s west side Sunday, the scene was almost pastoral in Washington Park. A diverse crowd of several hundred people spread out on benches and greenspace overlooking the Washington Park bandshell for what organizers called a peaceful prayer protest.

Protests have been roiling throughout the country, including in Milwaukee, after the death of George Floyd, a black man who died when a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck.

Emily Files / WUWM

For the most up-to-date information, read WUWM's latest protest post.

Updated Monday at 12:51 a.m. CT

For the second night in a row, Milwaukee's citywide curfew went into effect at 9 p.m. Sunday, but protests continued. Milwaukee police were arresting those violating the curfew, which remains in effect until 7 a.m. Monday. 

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