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.

Ways to Connect

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A water-related bill floating through the Legislature is causing waves. The measure would give lakefront property owners and developers more latitude to manage wetlands on their land and dredge their waterfront. Critics insist ecosystems and wetlands stand to suffer.  

Mary Knipper sits in her cozy no-frills cottage on Lake Delavan in western Walworth County. The registered nurse had a full career before she and her husband moved here year-round.

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On Thursday, GOP members of a state Senate committee advanced an amended bill to the full Senate that could ease the process of private companies buying municipal water utilities. The Republican-controlled Assembly has already said yes.

Under current law, if city officials want to sell, the Public Service Commission, or PSC, conducts a review. And then, local residents vote -  in the form of a referendum.

Green Bay Press Gazette 2005

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism issued a report on dangerous levels of arsenic in Wisconsin's water. Bradley Burmeister grew up in one of the most affected areas - Outagamie County.

His family lives two miles outside Seymour, Wisconsin – population 3,000, give or take.

Neumann Companies

Pewaukee-based builder and developer Matt Neumann added solar installation to his business in 2009. He calls the timing perfect.

“Because in 2008 the federal investment tax credit was extended until the cap was lifted so you could receive a 30 percent tax credit for any system you install, whether is was $1,000 or $ 1 million,” he says.

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The International Joint Commission, or IJC, released that advice on Tuesday.

The U.S. and Canadian governments created the commission in 1909 to resolve disputes around “shared” waters.

The last time the International Joint Commission released a major report protecting the Great Lakes from diversions was in 2000.

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Oak Creek’s new civic center abounds with sustainable features – natural light pouring into the buildings, LED lights and geothermal heating and cooling. But what has most excited city’s environmental engineer, Susan Winnen, about the new Drexel Town Square development is the wetland.

Located next to the former industrial site, this parcel of land survived decades of intense activity. The 18 acres have now been christened Emerald Preserve.

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Waukesha has been working toward this moment for over a decade. On Thursday morning, Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources forwarded Waukesha's application to draw drinking water from Lake Michigan to the remaining Great Lakes states and Canadian provinces.

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Teams of middle school students around the country have taken on the challenge of “waste not, want not.” It’s the theme of this year’s Future City Competition.

The annual challenge is designed to inspire students to latch onto engineering and math. 115 teams representing 20 Wisconsin schools hope to have a chance to compete at the national finals in February.

Longfellow Middle School in Wauwatosa gets into Future City in a big way. It boasts 21 teams.

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Each year, Americans toss out nearly 34 million tons of food – and the vast majority of it ends up in landfills. On Monday, WUWM looked at local efforts to transform food waste to compost. Today, we talk with people converting food into energy.

The sun is about to rise as the first customers straggle into Sendik’s grocery store in Mequon. Inside, Jeff Schutte just finished prepping the produce.

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