Maayan Silver

News Reporter

Maayan Silver started as a reporter for WUWM News in March 2018. Before that, she spent two years as an Assistant Producer for WUWM's Lake Effect.

Maayan was previously a criminal defense attorney.

She loves listening to people's stories, learning about different cultures, music of all sorts, and dogs.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

State health officials gave a little more insight Thursday on when people under 65 with pre-existing conditions will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Deputy Department of Health Services Secretary Julie Willems-Van Dijk said as of Thursday, nearly 60% of people age 65 and older in Wisconsin received one or more doses of the vaccine, as part of group 1A.

Districts across the state started to vaccinate teachers Monday, as part of group 1B.

The CDC has recommended people age 16-64 with preexisting medical conditions be part of phase IC.

Kathy Images / stock.adobe.com

This legislative cycle, Republicans around the country have proposed hundreds of bills that would restrict access to voting, taking aim at issues like absentee voting, voter registration and disability access. Wisconsin Republicans are part of that trend, releasing their plans as well.

James Thew / stock.adobe.com

Local health officials are optimistic Wisconsin is on the road to increased supply of the COVID-19 vaccine. They say that’s the only way to get shots in the arms of more high-priority groups.

Production is ramping up all over the country on the two vaccines already approved by the FDA and in use. But a new Johnson & Johnson vaccine is expected to receive emergency use authorization possibly as early as this weekend.

Greenfield Health Director Darren Rausch said additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are necessary to meet demand.

Maayan Silver

When it comes to Jewish holidays, people most likely have heard of Hannukah, the high holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, and Passover — the holiday in which people retell the story of Exodus.

People may not have heard of Purim, which starts on sundown Thursday, Feb. 25 and ends on sundown Friday, Feb. 26.

Cantor David Barash of Congregation Emanu-El B'ne Jeshurun says it’s a fun and festive holiday that congregations around the state are creatively celebrating in the pandemic. He describes the Purim story in a nutshell:

Courtesy of Latino Arts

Classical Latin American music comes from a wide range of influences. From classic European artists like Bach and Mozart to the Afro-Indigenous communities across Latin America, each musical influence has melted into what became known today as classical Latin music.

Dinorah Márquez is the founder and director of the Latino Arts Strings Program, a program designed to teach students string technique through various forms of Latin American folk music.

Courtesy of Rishi Tea

Joshua Kaiser is a tea expert and founder of Milwaukee-based Rishi Tea. He says while every new type of tea gets some getting used to when brewing, there are some good rules to follow to make the perfect cup of tea.

First, making sure the water is the right temperature.

“You want to bring the water to a boil and then let it cool down a little bit, so maybe, boil the water and let it cool for three, four minutes and pour it over the tea,” he says.

Courtesy of Rishi Tea

In a normal year, founder of Milwaukee-based Rishi Tea Joshua Kaiser would be traveling around the world in search of the best tea ingredients on the planet. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he hasn’t been able to travel for the past year.

Kaiser says during the pandemic, more people have been purchasing tea but the way people are getting their tea has changed.

Maayan Silver / WUWM

A few months ago, Wisconsin had one of the highest per capita rates of COVID-19 in the country. Health officials were pleading with people to wear masks, socially distance and practice good hand hygiene. On Monday, the state reported zero COVID deaths and the lowest number of new cases since June.

Milwaukee County Emergency Medical Services Director Dr. Ben Weston says the first thing this means is that the community is doing a good job.

Maayan Silver

Going to court, whether it’s as a criminal defendant, to seek a restraining order or even to fight a parking ticket is a stressful experience. But imagine doing it without understanding what the judge or attorneys are saying.

That’s the case for some who are not proficient in English or hearing impaired who end up in a Wisconsin courtroom.

Richard Hurd / Flickr

Millions of people have lost their jobs in Wisconsin during the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in a massive influx of 9.2 million unemployment insurance claims since last March.

For perspective, Wisconsin handled just more than 7 million claims in the previous four years combined.

The increase in claims has exposed the cracks in an aging system and has sometimes resulted in people waiting months to get their unemployment checks.

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The spring primary is Tuesday, and despite 72% of voting-age adults in Wisconsin casting ballot in the 2020 presidential election, election officials expect turnout to be about 10% in this election.

Maayan Silver

Updated Feb. 17 at 12:28 p.m.

Wisconsin's Department of Health Services has announced a $3.1 million grant program to promote equity in the state's COVID-19 vaccine distribution. 

In a joint statement, Milwaukee Aldermen Cavalier Johnson and Khalif J. Raine and Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic praised the state agency for committing to help make the process more equitable. 

Maayan Silver / WUWM

There could soon be help for some people struggling to pay rent because COVID has cut into their income. The Milwaukee Common Council will vote Tuesday on whether to accept $17 million in federal funding from the latest COVID relief bill.

That money would add to the nearly $16 million dollars for renters in the city, already earmarked from the CARES Act.

But, while the funding will help many, city officials say it’s not enough to assist everyone facing eviction.

Jesse Lee

The goal of the non-profit Global Brigade is to put high school and college students to work eradicating poverty around the world.

Among more than 500 university and high school groups participating, there are chapters at UW-Milwaukee, Marquette, UW-Madison and MSOE. But now, instead of flying to countries like Ghana, Nicaragua and Panama, students are “traveling” there virtually — through “TeleBrigades” and “Telesquads.”

Courtesy of Amaud Jamaul Johnson

George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police set off a firestorm of protest around the country and world. But it certainly wasn’t the first instance of police brutality met with outcry.

Amaud Jamaul Johnson is a poet and professor at UW-Madison and director of the MFA program in creative writing. He has been reflecting on the racial justice uprising of his youth, sparked by the acquittal of police in the brutal beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles.

COURTESY OF CHERENE SHERRARD

In 2021, Black women are still fighting a historic battle — challenging racism and misogyny, and demanding equality and justice.

Poet Cherene Sherrard digs into these themes through creative writing. Sherrard is a professor of 19th and 20th century American and African American literature at UW-Madison. Her latest collection of poems is titled "Grimoire."

Courtesy of Stephen Hull

  

21-year-old Stephen Hull of Racine picked up the guitar seven years ago and taught himself how to play the blues.

He started the Stephen Hull Experience in 2018 and has been playing gigs in southeastern Wisconsin and the Chicago-area.

His band was a finalist in the 2021 Interstate Music Competition — one of seven out of a couple hundred. The band submitted three songs in a video audition and walked away with silver just this past month.

Samer Ghani

After the police killing of George Floyd in May of 2020, the idea of defunding the police swept across the country. But well before that in the summer of 2019, the African American Roundtable, a Milwaukee social justice organization, launched LiberateMKE — a campaign to convince city leaders to do that very thing.

SARA STATHAS

2020 brought with it a pandemic, an subsequent economic crisis, a major United States presidential election, and mass protests for racial justice across the nation and world.

Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (BLOC) spent much of 2020 mobilizing voters for the general election. The organization is dedicated to using coordinated political action to achieve economic opportunity and high quality of life for Black people across Wisconsin.

Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images

People in Wisconsin and elsewhere have watched an insurrection, an impeachment and an inauguration unfold over the past three weeks in the Nation’s Capitol.

Van Mobley, Dennis Walton and Othman Atta all live in the Milwaukee-area and each processed the events and what they would like to see from the new administration differently.

Van Mobley is the village president of Thiensville and says despite voting for former President Donald Trump, he wants President Joe Biden to do the best job he can and that includes wanting him to follow in the footsteps of Trump.

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A new study from the Wisconsin Policy Forum looked at 18 colleges and universities in southeast Wisconsin between 2016 to 2019 to study trends in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) degrees.

The study found that the number of people who graduated from these institutions overall decreased but the percentage of college graduates getting STEM degrees went from 10.2% to 11.6%. 

While that number is increasing, it isn’t necessarily doing so equally.

Maayan Silver

Updated Jan. 21 at 11:06 a.m.

Racial justice issues remain front and center in 2021.

A few days after the start of the new year, the Kenosha County district attorney announced that the officer who shot Jacob Blake in the back won’t face charges.

Scott Olson / GETTY IMAGES

At the beginning of January, the Kenosha County district attorney announced that he would not criminally charge Officer Rusten Sheskey, who shot Jacob Blake in the back multiple times while responding to a domestic violence complaint. Blake was paralyzed from the waist down.

The DA said Sheskey’s use of force was acceptable under the circumstances, and that Skeskey had a valid self-defense claim that would prevent the DA from prevailing at trial.

Maayan Silver

Tuesday night, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers delivered his state of the state speech virtually — a first in state history. He called on the Legislature to address problems exposed by the coronavirus pandemic, like updating Wisconsin's unemployment system and expanding broadband access.

Evers’ speech was pre-recorded and broadcast online without the typical audience, fanfare and applause. He described the last year as an unrelenting one, with challenges no one would have believed and obstacles that have continued into the new year.

Justin Tallis / Getty Images

Wisconsin is still in phase 1a of COVID-19 vaccine distribution. That means vaccinating health care workers and residents and staff at skilled nursing facilities.

Health officials say the process is complex, and they’re working to ensure that everyone who wants a vaccine will, indeed, get one.

Providers that can administer vaccines to the public are called “registered vaccinators.” Those are entities like health care systems, health departments and pharmacies.

MARTI MIKKELSON

Voting is the foundation of democracy, and we must make voting easier for communities that have been historically disenfranchised. That's a firmly held belief of former executive director of the Milwaukee Election Commission Neil Albrecht.

Albrecht became deputy director of the commission in 2005, later becoming executive director in 2012. He says he was inspired to serve in the roles after working at the Social Development Foundation, the largest anti-poverty organization in the state.

WisEye

Updated Tuesday 7:31 a.m. CST

Republicans who control the Wisconsin Legislature introduced a sweeping COVID-19 bill on Monday, the first day of the session, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said lawmakers will fast track it and pass it later in the week.

Maayan Silver

 Editor's note: As of Friday, Dec. 11, all of the MKE Black gift boxes have sold out. 

ANN ALTHOUSE / FLICKR

Updated Dec. 8 at 11:04 a.m. CST

State spending in Wisconsin is projected to exceed revenue by about $373 million in the coming two years, without taking into account Medicaid costs and new spending requests from state agencies, according to a policy research organization's report released Monday.

Maayan Silver

A Kenosha County court commissioner has ruled that there is sufficient evidence to warrant a trial for Kyle Rittenhouse. He’s the 17-year-old white Illinois teenager accused of killing two men during a night of unrest in Kenosha, which followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake, who is Black.

Rittenhouse is charged with six counts, including homicide and attempted homicide, for fatally shooting Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz on Aug. 25. 

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