WUWM: Innovation Reporting

It seems like every day there are breakthroughs in science, medicine and technology. But what do those advancements mean for you? WUWM’s Innovation Reporter Chuck Quirmbach will answer your questions, and make the difficult easier to grasp.

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Chuck Quirmbach

The city of Milwaukee is saying goodbye to the Grand Avenue Mall. And it appears city taxpayers will help with the switch.

To help redevelop the former mall, $9 million in city of Milwaukee financing is a step closer to being approved. Thursday, the Redevelopment Authority OK'd a tax incremental financing district for a project called "The Avenue." 

Chuck Quirmbach

The fate of proposed state building projects at UW-Milwaukee, the Medical College of Wisconsin, and other sites remains unclear. Republican lawmakers Wednesday blocked the Wisconsin Building Commission from recommending more than 80 projects wanted by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. 

Usually, the building commission goes along with most or all of the projects recommended in what's known as the governor's capital budget. With that momentum, the Legislature's budget committee then later typically approves the commission's list. 

Chuck Quirmbach

What if you had just three minutes to tell someone about your academic career? That's the idea behind a graduate school contest that's been held at several universities around the U.S. — including Marquette, here in Milwaukee.

It's called the Three Minute Thesis Competition.

The winner of Marquette's recent contest is heading to a regional competition in St. Louis Wednesday.

Chuck Quirmbach

A failure with counting riders on the downtown Milwaukee streetcar, known as The Hop, is being fixed. That's according to Mayor Tom Barrett. Others are concerned that such a new service as the streetcar has already experienced a significant problem.

Operators of The Hop say infrared sensors that count people coming onto or leaving the streetcar started failing on three of the five cars in early February.

That's important because ridership on The Hop is currently free, so there's no way to tally riders based on fares collected.

Chuck Quirmbach

The state of Wisconsin has spent a lot of money redoing the Zoo Interchange — and it wants to spend more. But has traffic congestion been reduced for commuters? And why does more work need to be done?

More work on the Zoo Interchange in Milwaukee County would take place if Gov. Tony Evers' state budget proposal goes through. The governor wants action on the far north end of the interchange, from roughly Swan Boulevard to Burleigh Street. 

Chuck Quirmbach

The farmers whose cows supply much of the milk consumed in Wisconsin, or used in products like cheese and yogurt, are having a tough time.

Eight percent, or nearly 700, of the state's dairy farmers left the business last year for economic reasons. A few thousand more farmers got out over the previous five years. Those still at it say being creative is one of the things they have to do to keep going.

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Gov. Tony Evers' nominee as chair of the Public Service Commission of WisconsinRebecca Valcq, faced several questions about carbon-free utilities Tuesday during a confirmation hearing.

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In an era where innovation and entrepreneurship are prized concepts, the term “inventor” might — at first blush — seem a bit quaint. But invention is still very much a viable skill. In fact, it’s seen by many as the cornerstone of innovation. And it’s something that’s especially valued in academic research settings.

Chuck Quirmbach

Wisconsin Gov., and cancer survivor, Tony Evers defended his $2.5 billion capital budget proposal during a visit Friday to the Medical College of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa. 

Evers drew criticism from Republican leaders in the state Legislature after unveiling this week his two-year borrowing plan for state building projects. One lawmaker calls Evers' plan to roughly triple the last capital budget proposed by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker, "alarming."

But Evers maintains that the projects he wants built would help Wisconsin residents.

Chuck Quirmbach

A top state official says Gov. Tony Evers' administration still plans to meet financial commitments to Foxconn, as needed. The official adds that a key agency is about to have someone work with the Taiwan-based technology firm every day, as the company presumably moves ahead with projects in Racine County, Milwaukee and elsewhere.

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An annual report on Alzheimer's disease predicts an 18 percent increase in cases in Wisconsin within six years. Medical experts are urging more senior citizens to go through an assessment.

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A Microsoft executive who recently spoke in Milwaukee says his company favors an effort to inform consumers about data collection, and hopes the approach is adopted worldwide.

Here’s the background: when you use a search engine to read an article, consider a purchase, or for other reasons, there's a good chance data is being gathered on you.  

Raghu Ramakrishnan, chief technology officer for Microsoft's Data and Artificial Intelligence division, says that a few years ago, his company's advertising team was tasked with building user profiles.

Chuck Quirmbach

A 47-year-old Wisconsin woman will get a better idea next week of how well a new cancer treatment device is doing at attacking her liver tumor. 

The cancer center run by Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa recently became the second facility in the U.S. to offer the latest version of a high-tech unit. It simultaneously takes images of a tumor, and delivers high-dose radiation. 

Chuck Quirmbach

The federal government estimates the computer science field will need another 500,000 workers within seven years. But how many will be women or racial minorities? Those groups continue to be underrepresented in technology jobs, compared to the groups' population numbers overall.

The Milwaukee chapter of a national association of African-Americans who work in tech is trying to create more diversity. It's an effort based partly on the members’ experiences. 

Chuck Quirmbach

Wisconsin researchers are working on spotting potential dementia symptoms earlier, as well as coming up with possible ways for heading off memory loss.

A 68 year-old Milwaukee man, who we'll identify just by his first name of Santiago, is losing his ability to understand information. This month, he went through a screening with the United Community Center's Al Castro. He asked Santiago to repeat the words in Spanish for ball, flag and tree.

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