Beats Me: What Questions Do You Have For WUWM's Beat Reporters?

Innovation. Race and ethnicity. Environment. Education. These are the huge topics WUWM's beat reporters tackle every day. These issues are so big, it can be hard to decide what to dig into and where to begin.

So, we want to hear from you — our community.

Beats Me answers your questions about how education, the environment, race and innovation impacts life in southeastern Wisconsin.

Put your thinking cap on and submit your questions.

Innovation

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.

Submit your questions to Chuck below.

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» Explore Chuck's Innovation Reporting

Race & Ethnicity

Race and ethnicity impacts so much. In a place as diverse as metro-Milwaukee, news fails to capture thousands of stories, including the unexpected or positive ones.

You can help WUWM’s Race & Ethnicity Reporter Teran Powell discover and tell those stories by sharing your question below.

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» Read Teran's Race & Ethnicity Reporting

Education

Education news is often mired in discussions about big issues — policies, budgets, political fights. WUWM’s Education Reporter Emily Files also wants to tell student’s stories and hear from parents, teachers and others helping kids succeed.

What are you curious about when it comes to education in the Milwaukee area? What do you think is missing from the education conversation in this region?

Help Emily by submitting your question below.

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» Read Emily's Education Reporting

The Environment

Many of us are environmentally aware — many recycle, some conserve water, you might ride a bike to work. But we do face profound environmental challenges.

Help WUWM’s Environmental Reporter Susan Bence dig deeper into the issues you are most concerned about.

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» Explore Susan's Environmental Stories

Emily Files / WUWM

Chances are good your local school district has gone directly to voters asking for more money to stay afloat. Tight state funding and restrictions on local taxing power have pushed more than 70% of Wisconsin school districts to seek operating referendums.

These referendums aren’t about borrowing money for new buildings. They’re requests for more property taxes to sustain basic costs.

Susan Bence

Updated on June 11 at 2:12 p.m. CT

Milwaukee County is home to more than 15,000 acres of parkland. Keeping those spaces green and healthy is daunting, especially as funding diminishes and park crews are cut. While many people cherish public green spaces, some worry about the pesticides that Milwaukee County Parks uses to manage the land.

Chuck Quirmbach

A federal program scheduled to spend $60 million dollars in Wisconsin continues to try to get people to share their health and lifestyle information, plus their DNA. The effort known as All of Us has the ambitious goal of enrolling one million people nationally, and 33,000 in the Greater Milwaukee area. 

The promised reward is a $25 enrollment payment and eventually, specialized disease prevention and treatment. 

RON REIRING / Flickr

We're looking at the impact of using "loaded" words, such as labels that describe certain areas of Milwaukee, in our latest Beats Me. For example, "inner city" is a term that may ignite many thoughts.

Emily R Files

In many places across the United States, families looking for Montessori education turn to private schools. But Milwaukee is different. There are eight free, public Montessori schools in the district.

One of them is James Whitcomb Riley School on the south side. It’s Milwaukee’s newest public Montessori school, and the only dual language one.

Susan Bence

It's bird migration season in Wisconsin, and scientists are noticing unsettling changes.

Ornithologist Bill Mueller is among them. As the director of the Western Great Lake Bird and Bat Observatory north of Port Washington, he has been observing a drop in numbers over recent years. 

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. 

Milwaukee County Historical Society

As freeway routes were constructed in the 1960s, lots of Milwaukeeans were impacted — houses were demolished, businesses had to relocate. In part due to the upheaval, some communities still haven’t recovered decades later.

One of our community members heard stories about a freeway spur running through Milwaukee’s central city in the 1960s and wanted to know more. So, she submitted the question to Beats Me — our series that allows you to ask questions about race, education, innovation and the environment. 

Emily Files

Sincere Tatum, 18, is one of a handful of black students at Brookfield Central High School. The school is 70 percent white, 4 percent black. 

“It took a while for me to adjust,” Tatum said. “Most of the time I’m the only African-American kid in my class.”

But Tatum tends to look for the upside in challenging situations.

“Like OK, there’s a cultural difference, but now I have the opportunity to educate my classmates if needed,” he says.

Susan Bence

Farming has been a cornerstone of Wisconsin’s heritage and economy, but its landscape is changing. Small family farms have given way to large ones called CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations). The trend has heightened concerns among some that raising large numbers of farm animals is harmful to the environment.

Twenty years ago, the CAFO count was close to 90. Today, there are more than 300. While some raise hogs and others poultry, the majority are dairy operations.

Emily Files

Research show that students of color are more likely to succeed if they have at least one teacher who looks like them. But in many urban districts like Milwaukee, there is a mismatch between students and teachers. Teachers are mostly white, and students are mostly black or Hispanic.

Emily Files

How important is it for a student to be taught by a teacher of the same race? That's something that's been on the mind of community member Ann Stanton, so she submitted a question to Beats Me — our series that allows you to ask questions about race, education, innovation and the environment.

“What is the ratio of black students to white teachers, and the black teacher makeup in MPS? What impact does that have on student achievement?”

Susan Bence

Milwaukee has hundreds of thousands of trees, many of them in county parks.

Bay View resident Steve Ohly loves them, which is one reason he moved to Milwaukee. “I tend to be a tree hugger, really. But I do it in the morning when nobody’s around,” he says.

So, it’s no surprise that Steve lives across from a sea of trees in the heart of Bay View: Humboldt Park. That’s where I met him, to help answer his Beats Me question.

Susan Bence

Not so many years ago, no one would dream of kayaking or canoeing the Milwaukee River. Now those activities are common. So, how would you feel about jumping into the Milwaukee River for a swim?

That’s what will be happening during the 2018 Cream City Classic. On Aug. 11, the one-and-a-half-mile swim race will take place just upstream from where the Milwaukee River meets Lake Michigan.

While this race is being dubbed “Milwaukee’s first open river swim,” the Milwaukee River was once a popular swim spot.

Susan Bence

Just like Milwaukee, thousands of lead service lines deliver water from the main into Wauwatosa households. Wauwatosa's public works director David Simpson estimates nearly 10,000 of its 15,000 customers have lead pipes feeding water into their homes.

Simpson says Wauwatosa recently changed its policy surrounding pipes that break. “If we have a break on the city-owned lateral, we’ll go in and replace the entire city-owned side.” Before that, he says, city crews simply repaired the break.

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