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

FOXCONN TWITTER

Governor Walker on Monday will sign legislation at Gateway Technical College in Sturtevant that provides around $3 billion in incentives to the Taiwanese company Foxconn. 

The company is expected to build a major manufacturing plant in Racine County. In its initial stages it is supposed to employ 3,000 people and could eventually ramp up to around 13,000.

Wisconsin's State Capitol
Flickr.com/pinchof

The Wisconsin State Assembly late last night passed a $76 billion budget that is now headed to the state Senate, where it is unclear whether Republicans have the vote. 

The new fiscal year began on July 1, and since then, the state has been operating on the previous budget. The Assembly debated for 11 hours on Wednesday, and as expected, Democrats introduced a number of amendments, all of which were rejected by Republicans.

The first of two Slender Man trials is underway. Opening statements were heard in Waukesha County Tuesday. Anissa Weier, last month, pleaded guilty to second degree intentional homicide with a deadly weapon. Three years ago, she and Morgan Geyser were 12 years old, when they stabbed a friend multiple times, leaving her for dead in a park in Waukesha. The girls said they were trying to please the fictional horror character Slender Man. The victim survived. The jury is being asked to decide whether Weier is legally responsible -- or if her actions were caused by mental illness.

BRAD WILSON / FLICKR

The Racine Unified School District is in danger of being dismantled. State lawmakers put a rule into effect in 2015 that impacts districts that receive a failing report card two years in a row.

The rule allows the worst-performing schools to be pulled out of a district. It also allows the creation of a separate school district. Meanwhile, a second measure would allow municipalities in Racine County to secede from Unified. The debate over what should happen with the district is tied to the two-year state budget that lawmakers are considering this week.

POOL PHOTO

Monday marked the beginning of a trial for a case that captured national attention a few years ago. Anissa Weier and Morgan Geyser were both 12-years-old when they allegedly stabbed a fellow classmate 19 times and left her to die in a park in Waukesha. The injured girl was able to find help and survived. Weier and Geyser were said to be trying to please the internet horror character Slender Man. The girls, who are now 15-years-old, are being charged in adult court.

The Legislature's Joint Finance Committee is putting the final touches on the state budget. One of the items members took up Wednesday was an expansion of vouchers for special needs students. After more than an hour of contentious debate, the panel voted along party lines, 12 to four in favor of doubling the program.

SPENCER PLATT/GETTY IMAGES

Update, September 5:

According to New York Times reporter Glenn Thrush, David Clarke is joining a pro-Trump PAC. Thrush shared the information on Twitter Tuesday.

PHOTO BY MEGAN DOBYNS

Some Milwaukee aldermen are criticizing Police Chief Edward Flynn, after a draft report about his department became public.

The federal report, obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, accuses the department of inconsistencies in officer discipline, as well as failures in communication.

Stan Stojkovic is a police science expert at UW-Milwaukee.

LaToya Dennis

There are a lot of statistics that point to Milwaukee not being a good place for many African Americans. The high crime and poverty rates, and high achievement gap between black and white students, are just a few. Several groups are trying to improve the lives of the city's black residents, including by providing both a safety net and public safety. WUWM reports on the group - The Freedom Fighters, whose name pays homage to those who came before.

Scott Meyers, Milwaukee PBS

This weekend marks the first anniversary of the unrest that rocked Milwaukee's Sherman Park neighborhood.

People angry about a fatal police shooting -- and also a lack of jobs and opportunity -- protested. Some in the crowd set buildings on fire and shot weapons into the air, as they faced off against police officers in riot gear.

Today, the neighborhood is still struggling to get a handle on the longstanding issues. So is the rest of the city.

Foxconn Twitter

A legislative committee could vote this week on Gov. Walker's plan to offer Foxconn $3 billion in incentives. 

The Taiwanese company is planning to build a plant in southeastern Wisconsin to manufacture LCD screens. Walker has focused on what the state could gain in the deal -- up to 13,000 jobs. Skeptical lawmakers have raised a number of concerns, including about who'll get the jobs at the plant, and the fact that Walker wants to ease environmental regulations for Foxconn.

LaToya Dennis

Across the country, Black Panther Parties are once again becoming more active. The organization was founded in the 1960s and was known for its militant self-defense and community-based programs. In Milwaukee, there are currently two active groups. WUWM's LaToya Dennis went out with one, called the Original Black Panthers of Milwaukee, to learn about its mission.

LaToya Dennis

It’s been nearly one year since unrest in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood captured the nation's attention.

Police in riot gear were deployed to bring control to the area, where people were damaging police cars and setting buildings afire. What set off the unrest was the fatal police shooting of an African American man.

Yet some who flocked to the neighborhood were there to protest the poverty and joblessness impacting many of the city's residents.

LaToya Dennis

Gov. Walker continues to tout the planned Foxconn factory as "transformational." He wants the state to put forth $3 billion in incentives to help the Taiwanese company build its huge plant in southeastern Wisconsin. Yet critics' voices continue to get louder. They're bringing up a number of concerns. 

And lawmakers are likely to get an earful from both critics and supporters, later this week.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

It seems as though whenever there’s an announcement about a business moving to or expanding anywhere across the U.S., those deals aren’t made without some sort of incentives from the state and municipalities.

Last week, Governor Scott Walker announced that Foxconn would open its first U.S. plant in Wisconsin and in turn, the state would provide $3 billion in incentives.

WUWM spoke with UW-Madison economics professor Noah Williams about why states offer deals to companies.

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