Chuck Quirmbach

Innovation Reporter

Chuck Quirmbach joined WUWM in August 2018 as Innovation Reporter, covering developments in science, health and business.

Prior to that, he worked for Wisconsin Public Radio in Milwaukee and Madison, covering the environment, energy, and Milwaukee news of statewide interest.

He is a graduate of the UW-Madison.

Ways to Connect

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Chuck Quirmbach

Weather forecasters say 7 to 14 inches of snow may fall on southeastern Wisconsin on Sunday and Monday. In anticipation of the major winter storm, classes at UW-Milwaukee, Milwaukee Public Schools, many suburban school districts and some private schools have been canceled for Monday. 

Some local government offices will also be closed. Milwaukee County and Waukesha County have shut down their courthouses for Monday, meaning all court activity will be rescheduled. What county officials deem as "non-essential personnel" are not to report to work. 

Chuck Quirmbach

Madison-based American Family Insurance says it will create a multi-purpose office in downtown Milwaukee in the next two-three years.

The project was announced Tuesday — the same day the Milwaukee Brewers announced that American Family is buying the naming rights to what is now called Miller Park.

The team says after the end of the 2020 baseball season, the Brewers naming rights deal with MillerCoors will end, and the name Miller Park will disappear. American Family hasn't revealed the new name for the stadium, which has been called Miller Park since it opened in 2001.

Chuck Quirmbach

Updated Jan. 18, 2019

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is promoting renewable energy in the state. But a Republican legislator says any expansion of electricity generation from sources like solar and wind should be market-driven.

Evers spoke Thursday to an annual conference held by the group RENEW Wisconsin. He's the first Wisconsin governor to do so.

Chuck Quirmbach

Researchers are trying to make guns safer, partly through devices that limit who can fire a weapon. The science and financing still have a ways to go before many gun owners have a so called "smart gun." But a southeastern Wisconsin activist group is optimistic enough about gun innovation that it sponsored a Firearm Safety Expo on Wednesday.

The local activist group Common Ground sponsored a Firearm Safety Expo Wednesday at MATC-South Campus in Oak Creek.

Chuck Quirmbach

Updated 3:10 p.m.

The City of Milwaukee says daily ridership on The Hop increased last month, compared to November 2018, the streetcar's initial month of service. But monthly ridership declined slightly in December.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says the daily December average was 2,453 rides, compared to 2,297 in November.

READ: How The Hop Works

Chuck Quirmbach

Wisconsin investors are starting to use a relatively new federal program called Designated Economic Opportunity Zones that aims to help what the government says are economically-distressed areas. Several cautions remain, but start-up technology firms are among the businesses that could benefit if the program succeeds.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Gov.-elect Tony Evers has named five more Cabinet appointees, most of whom would face sizable policy challenges in Southeastern Wisconsin. 

Evers has promised to try to expand federal Medicaid funding in Wisconsin, a move that could help cover thousands of more low-income people in the Milwaukee area. He says he also wants to help those with pre-existing medical conditions maintain their insurance coverage.

Chuck Quirmbach

One science and technology area expected to keep rolling toward reality this year is driverless cars (also known as autonomous vehicles). But industry experts say much work is needed before we see many such vehicles in Southeastern Wisconsin. Still, a lot of time and money are being spent on the concept, including elsewhere in the Midwest.

Chuck Quirmbach

Wisconsin Gov.-elect Tony Evers will be sworn into office Jan. 7, and dealing with a slew of the state's problems will soon be on his list. The Democrat says innovation will be part of his approach.

First though, a look back. When asked during the fall 2018 campaign about his innovative accomplishments, current Gov. Scott Walker mentioned the Foxconn LCD panel factory being built in Racine County, and the many millions of dollars Foxconn and other corporations have jointly promised to invest in the state. 

Chuck Quirmbach

Typically, meteorologists can accurately predict what the weather will be like within a week. Beyond that time frame, the weather is too variable for forecasters to be all that confident.

But a recent federal law may bring some help to farmers, other business owners and anybody else who counts on reliable mid-or longer-range predictions —and a large Wisconsin computer may be part of the improvements. 

Weather forecasters make their predictions sound simple. But, of course, it’s not that simple.

Chuck Quirmbach

In a stop Wednesday at Milwaukee's MacDowell Montessori school, Wisconsin Gov.-elect Tony Evers announced the names of his first four Cabinet members. All are from the Milwaukee area.

The Democrat chose Discovery World CEO Joel Brennan as secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Administration. At the announcement, Brennan said he believes some members of the Discovery World executive committee did not vote for Evers. But Brennan says he and the new governor will try to bring people together.

Courtesy of BenShot

A Wisconsin manufacturer that gave guns to its employees as a Christmas present is reporting a good holiday sales season. But a local group that worries about gun violence says the gift was a potentially bad idea.

The conflict shows the debate over guns is far from finished, and views may partly be based on where people live.

BenShot is the company that gave guns to its employees. It operates a small factory southwest of Green Bay, Wis., in the village of Hortonville. The firm makes drinking glasses — with a unique twist.

Chuck Quirmbach

Chronic wounds like foot or leg ulcers can take months or years to heal. They can be uncomfortable and sometimes lead to amputations. But a recent graduate is helping lead research that aims to do a better job of healing these chronic wounds.

Christina Megal just earned a doctorate of nursing practice from Alverno College, one of the first graduates of Alverno's new doctorate program. Megal's already been working at the Medical College of Wisconsin as a nurse practitioner, specializing in chronic wound care.

Courtesy of Gilbane Building Company and AECOM

Milwaukee City Hall was completed in 1895. But if you've seen the building over the years, it may seem like it's been under constant construction. So, let's look at the work that's been done on City Hall and what's still in store.

That's what Kim Marggraf wants to know, so she reached out to Bubbler Talk — our series where you ask, we investigate and together we unveil the answers:

"Why has City Hall been under some form of construction or reconstruction, for what seems like decades?"

Victor Moussa/Fotolia

The number of Wisconsin deaths caused by drug overdoses is expected to be well into the hundreds again this year, after totaling more than 900 last year. Health officials say most of those deaths were due to opioid abuse. Some businesses and medical experts say they have innovative ideas for reducing the opioid crisis.

More than 40 percent of the people who die of opioid-related deaths in Wisconsin are from Milwaukee County. The Medical Examiner estimates the number of local deaths will be down this year, but only about 5 percent from 2017.

Victor Moussa/fotolia

Recommendations from a Milwaukee city-county committee that's trying to reduce the opioid crisis were announced Friday during a meeting at Milwaukee City Hall.

The ideas come as the number of local opioid-related deaths is down a little this year but is still a sizable problem.

Chuck Quirmbach

During ice storms or heavy snowfalls, many people often worry about their power going out. But for a nature preserve near Appleton, that's less of a concern because its headquarters is part of what's called a microgrid.

The 700-acre compound generates its own power and stores it for use, greatly reducing the preserve's reliance on electricity provided by the local utility WE Energies.

Chuck Quirmbach

A national study of concussions suffered by football players and military cadets will move into a second phase, with the Medical College of Wisconsin continuing to play a major role. Findings from part one of the massive study appear to have brought some safety improvements to football. But the new round of research could bring more changes.  

Monkey Business/fotolia

The Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, predicts Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport will see a sizable increase in travelers over the next few days. The agency also expects the current holiday travel period to be the busiest on record, with more than 25 million passengers passing through security checkpoints nationwide during the second half of November — an increase of 5 percent over 2017.

Chuck Quirmbach

Thousands of people will leave from, or arrive at, Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Getting through a crowded terminal is tough enough at peak times, but imagine if you were blind or with low vision. 

At Mitchell, there's now free technology to help those individuals move through the airport. And, more Milwaukee County buildings may soon have the same service. 

The service is called Aira.

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Chuck Quirmbach

Banks and post offices are closed Monday for the federal Veterans Day holiday. 

About 100 people gathered Sunday night at Milwaukee City Hall to remember that Veterans Day was previously known as Armistice Day and dedicated to peace. Another message was that world peace remains elusive.

It's been 100 years since the end of World War I, a conflict in which millions died. Paul Moriarty of the Milwaukee chapter of Veterans for Peace says the war was bloody through its last morning.

Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

With Veterans Day on Nov. 11, the Medical College of Wisconsin is highlighting its recent research into concussions suffered by military cadets at the nation's service academies. The college and partner universities also looked into concussions among college football players.

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Chuck Quirmbach

It's StartUp Wisconsin Week, with dozens of events around the state highlighting entrepreneurs in technology and other businesses. A newly released analysis finds the state of the startup is mixed here. 

Chuck Quirmbach

Republican Gov. Scott Walker is expected to spend all day campaigning Monday, as he tries to defeat Democratic challenger Tony Evers in Tuesday's gubernatorial election. Sunday, Walker made stops in Sheboygan, Appleton and Glendale.

In Glendale, about 50 people waited for Walker in the Republican Party's North Shore campaign office. State Sen. Alberta Darling warmed up the crowd with a reminder about boosting turnout on Tuesday. 

"How many of you are going to get at least 10 people — friends, relatives, people you don't even know — out to vote?” Darling asked.

Chuck Quirmbach

Milwaukee's multi-million dollar streetcar — called The Hop — begins operation around 12:45 Friday afternoon. Each streetcar can hold up to 150 passengers and will provide service to about a two-mile loop through the west and east sides of downtown Milwaukee. Rides are free for the first year.   

The new streetcar service, which consists of five different streetcars, is trying to merge old and new technology.

Credit: oatawa/fotolia

A technology journalist is urging high-tech entrepreneurs, including those in social media, to be more responsible with their creations.

New York Times columnist Kara Swisher was the featured speaker Tuesday at an economic forum in Milwaukee. It was organized by the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.

Jimmy Emerson/Flickr

Some Milwaukee Common Council members are worried about how City Hall would respond to an actual security threat. The concerns come as authorities continue to investigate the suspicious packages mailed to top Democratic leaders in a number of cities around the United States this week.

The race between Republican Senate candidate Leah Vukmir and Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin has been contentious, including on the topic of creating a climate for business and innovation. 

Baldwin has made a point of reaching out to Wisconsin's business community during her time in the Senate. She's advocated for defense contractors, farmers, beer makers and others. The senator has also introduced a bill that she says would reform tax credits, for which smaller companies are eligible when they innovate.

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Chuck Quirmbach

Milwaukee Brewers Manager Craig Counsell is praising his team, even though the Brewers fell short of making it to the World Series. Milwaukee lost Game 7 of the National League Championship Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 5-1, Saturday night at Miller Park. The Dodgers go on to the World Series against the Boston Red Sox, beginning Tuesday.

Following the Brewers loss, Counsell spoke to news reporters.  He said, "We won our division [National League Central]. We finished one game from the World Series. "

Chuck Quirmbach

The Milwaukee Brewers will take on the Los Angeles Dodgers at Miller Park Saturday night, with a trip to the World Series at stake.

The Brewers defeated the Dodgers Friday night, 7-2, to tie the best-of-seven National League Championship Series at three games apiece.

Milwaukee hadn't scored many runs in the previous few contests. But Friday night, the Brewers broke through for four runs in the first inning to wipe out the Dodgers' 1-0 lead. Milwaukee added single runs in the second, seventh and eighth innings.  

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