WUWM News

Marti Mikkelson

The 2018 elections are more than a year away but already, several candidates are talking about challenging Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. He’s held his seat in his hometown of Janesville for nearly 20 years. Many voters are upset with Ryan’s shepherding of a replacement to the Affordable Care Act through the House, and that he hasn’t held any open town hall meetings in his district since the presidential election. With poll numbers sinking, Ryan’s critics believe the time has never been better to topple the well-financed incumbent.

Photo by Megan Dobyns

Tension remains high between Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn and the Fire and Police Commission after it directed the chief to change the department’s pursuit policy. For years, the department has only allowed vehicle pursuits if there’s evidence of a violent felony. As concern over speed, reckless driving and vehicle thefts grow, so have calls to change the pursuit policy.

A six-year-old boy was shot and killed in a hail of gunfire on the north side over the weekend.  Earlier in the week, four people, including two children, were shot at 39th and Burleigh, near the Sherman Park neighborhood. For some community members, that shooting was the last straw—so they called an emergency meeting to look for solutions.

Susan Bence / Milwaukee Public Radio

Alderman Tony Zielinski is concerned residents don’t fully understand both the risks and how they can protect themselves from lead exposure. His says his proposal would direct the Milwaukee Health Department to communicate more effectively – starting with the importance of water filters. Zielinski introduced the resolution at the Public Health and Safety Committee meeting Thursday.

Marti Mikkelson

Community leaders are banding together in an effort to reduce prostitution on Milwaukee’s south side. Last week, the Benedict Center announced a partnership with the Milwaukee Police Department. Patrol officers will start referring prostitutes to a place they could go for shelter and drug treatment. A couple of south side aldermen rolled out another approach on Wednesday.

Photo by Megan Dobyns

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn has been facing a lot of criticism lately. The police chief recently came under fire after it was revealed that he had made changes to the way in which the department deals with immigrants -- without public input or the approval of the Fire and Police Commission. The department and commission reversed many of the changes after public outrage. Flynn has also caught heat over how he wants to spend asset forfeiture dollars.  To some it may seem like Flynn is losing support of leadership, while others say the criticism is unwarranted.

Bob Bach

Budget talks in Madison remain stalled, largely because of disagreements over how to fix a $1 billion deficit in the transportation budget. So Senate leaders put forth a plan Tuesday that they say will move them beyond the impasse. They say it's now up to the Assembly to act. Yet the Senate plan calls for continued borrowing to pay for roads, which has been one of the main holdups in negotiations.

Senate Republicans say the version of the budget they introduced Tuesday makes their priorities clear.

There’s still a huge investment in K12.”

Rachel Morello

It’s no secret that Milwaukee, like many cities across the U.S., is facing a teacher shortage – due in part to massive retirements after Act 10.

Susan Bence / Milwaukee Public Radio

Update, July 19: Tuesday's common council meeting did not result in a step toward resolution of the Sturgeon Bay waterfront debate.  The proposed compromise  was being discussed, when the mayor announced he had to leave.  The council voted to adjourn.

The DNR is expected to hold a public hearing next month. City leaders may wait for that process to play out before considering its next step.   Original post, July 18:

State budget discussions remain at a standstill. That’s despite plenty of ideas being thrown around. The issue the GOP lawmakers are hung up on, is transportation. They’re trying to figure out how to plug a $1 billion hole in the transportation budget, without delaying major projects such as the Zoo Interchange. It’s not the first time lawmakers have argued over how to pay for roads. Transportation has been a difficult issue in the past few budget cycles.

LaToya Dennis

The Milwaukee Police Department and advocates for immigrants have come to an agreement over how the MPD treats immigrants. Earlier this month, the advocates cried foul after news broke about changes made to the MPD Standard Operating Procedure. They argued the changes would make it easier for federal officials to initiate deportation. While an agreement has been reached, not everyone is happy. 

Susan Bence / Milwaukee Public Radio

Molecular biologist Michael Schläppi experimented with rice varieties from around the globe for five years - testing how they stood up to Wisconsin weather in miniature paddies he built on his rooftop lab on campus.

He settled on a short-grain variety from Russia.

Two years ago, he took the experiment to a farm field outside Port Washington.

Amber Regan

Charter schools of all shapes and sizes populate a sizeable chunk of Milwaukee’s education scene.

But this year, only one new charter is joining the field: Pathways High School. Chartered by UW-Milwaukee, Pathways’ mission is to emphasize project-based learning during students’ teenage years.

But what's also unique about Pathways is the school's leaders.

LaToya Dennis

Some Milwaukee residents want to oust Mayor Tom Barrett, just more than a year after he cruised to re-election to a fourth term. A group known as “Save Our City, Milwaukeeans Can’t Wait” has launched a recall effort.

Organizers say they’re upset about the Milwaukee Streetcar project, along with what they call a soaring homicide rate. They’re also angry about lead exposure from water pipes in older homes. The organizers have 60 days to gather more than 50,000 signatures.

There are about 16 months left before Wisconsin's next gubernatorial election. Republican Scott Walker is expected to run for a third term, but who will be his opponent? Observers have been wondering. And it now appears the race is beginning to heat up on the Democratic side. WUWM spoke with UW Madison political scientist Barry Burden about the jockeying happening right now.

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