WUWM News

The summer season comes to an end today as we celebrate Labor Day. It also means Coach Clifford’s job at the beach in Lake Geneva is over until next Memorial Day. WUWM’s Susan Bence popped down to the sand to talk with the man who doesn’t have any qualms about being called a beach bum.

I walk past the old snack canteen above this picturesque lake. The water couldn’t be bluer and the sky couldn’t possibly be clearer. It’s one of those perfect late summer mornings. You walk down a set of concrete steps, freshly blown free of the sand from yesterday’s mass of wet little feet. That’s where Joe Clifford reigns. He manages Lake Geneva’s public beach.

We continue our series, Project Milwaukee Youth Violence.
We’re exploring the causes and possible solutions to youth violence in our community.
Today we examine the societal reasons that prompt some young people to gravitate to violence.

Ann-Elise Henzl

The Wisconsin Humane Society recently agreed to buy a mass breeding operation -- described by critics as a "puppy mill" -- in order to shut it down. It will take a couple of months to find homes for the more than 1,000 dogs of 40 different breeds, which were kept at the facility.

Many generations ago, Norwegians settled in Stoughton, Wisconsin. Today, its residents continue to celebrate the early immigrants’ rich heritage, especially its dance. WUWM News traveled to the vibrant little city to drink in its biggest celebration of the year. We discovered it’s both an exciting and bittersweet event.

What Can be Done to Stop Youth Violence?

Jun 6, 2008

Over the past several months, WUWM reporters have talked to dozens of people about the issue of youth violence. We interviewed teenagers, doctors, police officers, teachers, advocates, church leaders and many more. During the interviews, we asked our sources to answer this question: What can be done to reduce youth violence in Milwaukee? WUWM's Erin Toner compiled their responses.

A Few Possible Solutions to Youth Violence

Jun 6, 2008

Today we conclude our series on youth violence, although our coverage of the problem and its solutions will continue indefinitely. Earlier this week, we held a public forum, asking major players in the field to share their thoughts on the causes of youth violence and what might prevent it. Here is a snapshot of solutions mentioned.

Efforts to Improve Kids' Mental Health

Jun 6, 2008

We conclude our Project Milwaukee coverage of youth violence by focusing on possible solutions to the problem. On Thursday, we aired a report about the connection between violence and kids’ mental health. Advocates say there needs to be a more coordinated approach in Milwaukee for making sure all the children who need mental health services receive them. Dan Magnuson is working to build a better network. He’s executive director of The Counseling Center of Milwaukee, and chairman of a group called “Youth Mental Health Connections.” Magnuson spoke with WUWM's Erin Toner.

For the last week and a half, WUWM has been reporting on youth violence: the causes and the solutions. Many of the people we've talked to told us how important it is for kids to have mentors who show them the right way to live.

Are Kids' Mental Health Needs Being Met?

Jun 5, 2008

We continue our Project Milwaukee series on youth violence now with a look at kids’ mental health needs. A report by the Alliance for Children and Families says at least 26,000 children in Milwaukee suffer from some type of mental disorder, such as anxiety, behavior problems or depression. Members of the alliance say there’s often a relationship between violent behavior and mental well-being.

Youth Violence Endemic to Milwaukee

Jun 5, 2008

Gun violence reached epidemic proportions in Milwaukee in the 1990s. Today, it is endemic --woven into the fabric of everyday life. That's according to researcher and physician Dr. Steven Hargerten of the Medical College of Wisconsin. Hargarten views youth homicide, especially among minority males, as a disease.

We've been exploring the issue of youth violence from a variety of angles for the past week on WUWM. We've met children who've been either victims or perpetrators of violent crimes. Some of the offenders wind up in the court system at an early age.

Milwaukee has problems with youth violence, just as does nearly every other urban community. While that violence impacts vital components of everyday life such as family relationships, the schools and the criminal justice system, it can also impact economic development. Howard Snyder is Executive Director of the Northwest Side Community Development Corporation and spoke to us as part of our series, Project Milwaukee: Youth Violence.

Children in some Milwaukee neighborhoods are likely to become involved in gangs. Teens and even younger kids may sell cocaine, move guns from one location to another, or act as "lookouts" while illegal activities are underway. Officers Louis Kopesky and Daniel Knitter are with the Milwaukee Police Department's 5th District Community Prosecution Unit.

They told Ann-Elise Henzl about the problem during a patrol on the city's near north side.

It's Easy to Get a Gun

Jun 3, 2008

It’s illegal for children to purchase a handgun or even possess one, unless they’re involved in a supervised activity. Yet in Milwaukee, as in other cities, some young people have easy access to guns and actually carry and use them. In this installment of Project Milwaukee: Youth Violence, WUWM's Marge Pitrof explores how young people get their hands on firearms and why some children want them.

In some dangerous neighborhoods of Milwaukee, it seems as if there's a roadside memorial every other block. The stuffed animals, votive candles, photos, and bottles of liquor are left at a tree, in honor of someone who died of gang violence. Often the victims and perpetrators of gang crimes are teenagers. Experts say that's a sharp contrast to 30 years ago, when gangs were almost non-existent here.

This week on WUWM, we’re looking at the issue of youth violence as part of our special Project Milwaukee series. Many young people from Milwaukee who are convicted of violent crimes do their time at Ethan Allen School near Wales, just west of Waukesha. It’s Wisconsin’s most secure prison for boys. Three inmates from Milwaukee say growing up around violence led them to where they are today.

We continue to discuss the causes and possible solutions to youth violence in our community. Today we explore the possible generational connection between violent parents and their children.

Youth violence often refers to assaults. All too often, those fights include the use of a gun.UWM criminologist and psychologist Will Pelfrey says parts of Milwaukee have been plagued by gun violence in recent years.

Girls No Strangers to Violence

May 30, 2008

As we continue our series on youth violence in Milwaukee, we meet with five local teenage girls who’ve had first-hand experience with violence, in their case, fighting. Their names are Maria, Jasmine, Kwan, Denise and Destiny, and they’re either 16 or 17 years old. Four of the five admit being violent toward people they don’t like.

Poem Decries Violence Striking Young Children

May 29, 2008

As part of our series on youth violence, 14 year old Sheldon Fountain, Jr. reads the poem he was inspired to write about a wayward bullet killing a young girl, an innocent bystander. The poem is titled, Generally Speaking, A Reason for Poetry.

Milwaukee officials note that a proliferation of guns and other weapons has accompanied an increase in youth violence here. However, an army of dedicated professionals staff programs designed to reach out to young people whose lives can be turned upside down by the effects of violence.

Starting today, WUWM News and the Lake Effect program are examining the causes of youth violence and possible solutions to what some have called an epidemic afflicting Milwaukee.

WUWM began a new series about youth violence in Milwaukee. We'll be airing stories and interviews on Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Lake Effect that will take an in-depth look at the problem and most importantly, explore possible solutions.

Friday morning, we’ll have a story by WUWM's LaToya Dennis. She spoke with WUWM's Erin Toner.

WUWM has begun a series of reports on youth violence in Milwaukee. That’s in light of the upcoming summer months, which are often a rough time for the city. Friday, we visit what is arguably the most dangerous zip code area for both kids and others. 53206. In 2005 and 2006, 51 homicides were recorded there. That’s more than twice as many as in neighboring areas. A few decades ago, residents say 53206 was thriving. WUWM’s LaToya Dennis explores the changes that have taken place.

A Magnificent Obsession

Apr 22, 2008

Aldo Leopold was a legendary environmentalist and forester. He spent almost two decades working with the U.S. Forest Service in the Southwest. Throughout his life Leopold loved observing, journaling and sketching his surrounding. That didn’t change when he transferred to work in Madison, Wisconsin.

Nina Leopold Bradley was a young girl in 1935, when her father Aldo invited his family on the adventure of a lifetime. A ramshackle farm caught his eye near the Wisconsin River, not far from Baraboo.

We meet Sylvia Bernstein. She was born here 83 years ago. Her parents had fled a small Ukranian village and started their American life in central Wisconsin, before settling in Milwaukee.

WUWM’s Susan Bence talked with Bernstein in her home, where she talked about her newspaper career. Bernstein says it took a lot of guts; that’s because she didn’t have a journalism degree.

We asked Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett for his perspective on local economic development. He told WUWM's Bob Bach that as mayor, one of his top priorities when it comes to helping the region prosper, is job creation.

As our series on economic development continues, we ask Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker to share his views regarding the challenges the community faces and its successes. Walker tells WUWM's Bob Bach that economic development here is a two-sided tale.

Customized Tech Training

Nov 14, 2007

One of the key things manufacturers look for when deciding whether to locate or expand in a city is the quality of the workforce. In the Milwaukee region, employers and tech schools are increasingly working together to match people to specific jobs. Ann-Elise Henzl reports.

Crisis of Joblessness

Nov 14, 2007

The latest Census figures show that in 2006, nearly one of every two working-age black men in metro Milwaukee was unemployed or out of the labor force. We have more from WUWM’s Erin Toner.

Some Milwaukee employers who are concerned about the quality of the workforce are taking matters into their own hands. Super Steel on the city's northwest side chose to work with technical schools, to fashion customized training for welders. Ann-Elise Henzl visited Super Steel as part of our Project Milwaukee coverage on economic development. President and CEO Keith Trafton told her why he got into the training business.

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