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.

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Update 3:26 p.m.

After little floor discussion, the full Wisconsin Senate has approved the bill and Governor Evers has announced he will sign the bill.

READ: Wisconsin Senate Approves COVID-19 Relief Package, Gov. Evers Says He Will Sign It


After Thursday night’s Fire and Police Commission meeting, the city of Milwaukee still doesn’t have a new police chief. The panel deadlocked in two previous votes on who’ll replace former Chief Alfonso Morales.

Susan Bence

For months, public health officials have been repeating coronavirus messaging: wear masks, social distance and get tested for possible exposure when possible. With Christmas and New Year's just days away, officials are more concerned than ever.

On Tuesday, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and city health department officials held a news conference in the Miller Park parking lot. It's one of the places where COVID-19 testing is being offered. They hoped the visual reinforcement would drive their message home.

Susan Bence

For months we’ve been hearing bleak stories of businesses struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. But one exception is a unique café in Milwaukee’s Sherman Park neighborhood.

Tricklebee Café's mission is not about profit, but to create community. Customers pay what they can for made-from-scratch meals.

goodluz / Adobe Stock

It’s been just more than nine months since the city of Milwaukee’s first coronavirus case was announced. Tuesday afternoon city and county officials reported a staggering total of 77,988 cases with 787 deaths.

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Wisconsin along with each other state took a giant step in the presidential election process Monday. The state’s electors were among those nationwide casting ballots for President-Elect Joe Biden.

Wisconsin’s ten electors — one for each of the eight House seats and two U.S. Senate districts — convened or rather scattered throughout Gov. Tony Evers’ office, distanced and masked.

Matt Hudson, Northland College Mary Griggs Burke Center for Freshwater Innovation

A binational commission, representing Canada and the United States, is making three recommendations it says will improve the two governments’ ability to protect the Great Lakes.

The group, called the International Joint Commission (IJC), has some experience in advising the two countries.

It was created more than a century ago — through the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty — specifically to prevent conflicts between the two countries over shared water resources.

Rinka +

Over the last decade, Oak Creek has been evolving and city leaders believe a new housing development will continue that trend.

Oak Creek’s evolution began when a former major manufacturing plant site was reimagined as a 21st century town square, with an adjacent restored wetland.


Imagine a skyscraper constructed not from steel and concrete, but instead made mostly of wood. Milwaukee, Wisconsin is on track to achieve just that —  the world’s tallest timber skyscraper.

It was hard to imagine any kind of tower on this nondescript construction site, formerly home to a corner pizzeria in downtown Milwaukee.

Adrian Wydeven

Wisconsin is due to resume management of the gray wolf, including a hunting season, as the animal loses federal protection. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced the gray wolf's successful recovery, setting the stage to delist in all lower 48 states.

In Wisconsin, the gray wolf has swung between state management and federal protection for more than a decade.

Screenshot / Milwaukee Common Council

One of the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic has been getting resources to those who need them most. And, that includes people who’ve been quarantined, laid off, or unable to keep up with their bills.

tomreichner / Adobe Stock

One of Wisconsin's great outdoor traditions is in full swing — the annual gun deer hunt runs Nov. 21 to Nov. 29. For tens of thousands of enthusiasts, it’s an annual ritual of sharing cabins, meals, and plenty of camaraderie.

Michelle Maternowski / WUWM

Updated Monday 6:18 p.m. CST

The Wauwatosa Police Department is releasing additional details about the investigation into the shooting at Mayfair Mall on Friday. Eight people were injured, and a 15-year-old Hispanic teen was taken into custody Saturday night.

Courtesy of Wisconsin DNR

Half of Wisconsin is covered in forests, so managing all that land is no easy task. It’s up to the Wisconsin Division of Forestry, which falls under the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), to keep the land healthy.

The forestry division works with federal, county, tribal and private landowners. It’s a team of about 420 people scattered across the state. And, the person leading this division is Heather Berklund.  

Melissa Ellis

The call to fight the rapid spread of the coronavirus escalated this week. Wednesday the Department of Health Services added a "critically high" category to its online COVID activity dashboard. All but seven Wisconsin counties are on that list.

Pool / Getty Images

Updated Wednesday at 10:49 a.m. CT

Gov. Tony Evers issued an advisory Tuesday recommending people stay home and businesses allow employees to work remotely as the coronavirus surges unchecked across Wisconsin, saying projections show the death toll could double in a matter of months.

Susan Bence

Updated at 5:16 p.m. CT

Wisconsin health officials said Friday they've finished drafting new groundwater standards for more than 20 substances, including a dozen types of PFAS chemicals.

Susan Bence

As talk of a Joe Biden presidential win in Wisconsin clashed with Donald Trump’s demand for recounts Wednesday, some community leaders gathered in downtown Milwaukee in celebration and to make it clear the voice of every voter is essential to our democracy.

Andi Rich

Jobs, the economy, social justice, the coronavirus: those are a few of the major issues motivating people to go to the polls on Tuesday. But for some voters, including in northeastern Wisconsin, water quality is among the top concerns.

Marinette County residents are dealing with surface, ground and well water contaminated by PFAS, a manmade chemical that has many uses, including as an ingredient of firefighting foam. 

Susan Bence

In a press briefing Thursday, Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Meagan Wolfe said thousands of people joined the tide of voters opting for mail-in absentee ballots but haven’t returned them yet. Wolfe says such voters have several options, but this late in the game, they shouldn’t return the ballots by mail.

POOL / ALEX WONG / Getty Images

Updated at 4:55 p.m. CT

The Marquette Law School Poll released Wednesday shows Joe Biden with a 5-point lead over President Donald Trump among likely voters, 48% to 43%. Since May, Biden has held a 5-point lead over Trump, plus or minus 1 point, in the poll.

The survey was conducted Oct. 21 through Sunday of 749 likely voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

Erin Cadigan /

Milwaukee aldermen are in the process of sorting out the city’s budget for next year, divvying up dollars leaders say are increasingly scarce. Among public concerns, an increasing number of people want more funding to go to the city’s health department, specifically to serve children impacted by lead poisoning.

READ: Mayor Tom Barrett's Budget Proposal Cuts 120 Milwaukee Police Officers

Chuck Quirmbach

COVID-19 cases are increasing in Wisconsin and health officials say there’s no end in sight. During a briefing Tuesday, Wisconsin Department of Health Services Secretary-designee Andrea Palm shared the latest number of confirmed cases in Wisconsin – 178,482. She says more than 60% of those cases were diagnosed within the last two months.

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Steven Olikara says growing up in Brookfield, Wis., he learned about listening and collaborating. He says talking things through rather than tearing people down whose opinions you might not share just made sense.

But as a UW-Madison student, Olikara, who graduated with degrees in environmental studies and political science, saw the polar opposite when he spent time talking with legislators at the state capitol.

Susan Bence

Despite the weather, wind and pandemic, thousands of people stood shoulder to shoulder on a flag festooned airport tarmac in Janesville Saturday to rally in support of President Donald Trump.

The Republican described the crowd as stretching as far as the eye could see. Trump came out swinging saying he’s the right choice for the "most important election in the history of our country," not his Democratic opponent Joe Biden.

Susan Bence

As rain and wind swept through Milwaukee Monday, members of a new commission stood outside City Hall, eager to share their commitment to bring change to Milwaukee’s much-criticized police department.

Nate Hamilton chairs the Community Collaborative Commission, a group that evolved from a committee to a body recognized by Milwaukee's Common Council. The commission is made up of 16 members, representing Milwaukee’s diversity.

Susan Bence

In the spring of 2016, residents of Flint, Mich., were experiencing one of the country’s most devastating water crises. Flint-native Mari Copeny decided to do something about it. She wrote a letter to then-President Barack Obama which led to the president traveling to Flint and sitting down to talk with Mari. 

What might be most remarkable is that Mari was just 8 at the time. Now 13, she’s launched into a life of activism.

Chuck Quirmbach

Updated at 4:48 p.m. CT

A Wisconsin judge on Monday allowed the state’s mask mandate to stand, rejecting an attempt by the Republican-controlled Legislature and a conservative law firm to overturn it, even as coronavirus cases spiked and the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 hit a new high.

Susan Bence

It’s been just over five weeks since a Kenosha police officer shot Jacob Blake in the back seven times.

The group “Justice For Jacob” is calling for the immediate firing and indictment of the officer, in addition to other measures the group says would end police violence and systemic racism.

To drive home the message, organizers are holding a 24-hour rally scheduled to end Monday at noon in downtown Kenosha. The gathering attracted both people from the Kenosha community and out of state.

Susan Bence

Calls to end systemic racial injustice are reverberating throughout the country. That includes around issues of environmental injustice.

One of the people in the Milwaukee area guiding organizations and corporations along the path is August Ball. She calls herself an inclusive culture coach. She works to help groups fold inclusivity in and push racism out of their operations.