Lake Effect

Maayan Silver

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.

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The first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Wisconsin on Dec. 14, 2020 with the first vaccinations that afternoon.

Wisconsin is currently in phase 1a of the vaccination effort, which includes health care workers, first responders and those in long-term care facilities.

Kate is a speech therapist in an acute care medical setting. She is one of the many Wisconsin health care workers who has gotten the first dose of the vaccine.

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Micro weddings or weddings with under 75 guests were growing in popularity even before gathering limits were put in place due to the pandemic. While traditional, big weddings are on hold as COVID-19 continues to devastate Wisconsin, celebrations will happen again one day.

With high costs and extra planning associated with long guest lists, micro weddings can be a way to create a more intimate feeling during your wedding celebration.

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Every year the Wisconsin Policy Forum releases a top five list of their most important findings from the year.

Rob Henken is the president of the Wisconsin Policy Forum and he discusses each finding.

1. Shift to online shopping helps taxpayers but not state budget.

Screenshot / Warner Bros. Pictures / YouTube

Updated 12:11 p.m

From 1942 to 1945, Hollywood created over 200 movies centered around World War II. Thus creating the genre of World War II films, which continued in its popularity even into the 21st Century.

In a new book, “World War II On Film”, author Dave Luhrssen examines the genre through 12 movies and explains how they painted a picture of the war that often blurred the lines of reality.

Courtesy of Samba Baldeh

Newly elected Rep. Samba Baldeh is the first Muslim member of the Wisconsin Legislature. Before becoming a representative, Baldeh, an immigrant from Gambia, served on the Madison Common Council. He now represents Wisconsin’s 48th Assembly District.

As for what Baldeh hopes to accomplish, he says he wants to expand health care programs, like Medicaid, so that struggling communities have proper access to medical care.

Criminal justice reform is also on the top of Baldeh's mind, he says, not only in terms of police reform but also in keeping people out of prison.

Win McNamee / Getty Images

As a violent mob tore through the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, questions about what could be done to those who were seen as inciting the crowd arose. While the constitution prohibits the government from taking action against those exercising their freedom of speech or freedom to peaceably assemble, there are laws against inciting violence.

Paul Nolette is a professor and chair of the department of political science at Marquette University and he says the question of where free speech ends and inciting violence begins is a question courts have dealt with for years.

Andy Stenz

After the insurrection of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, some conservatives tried to make connections between the Act 10 protests in Wisconsin’s Capitol in 2011 and the insurrection. In the days after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, many continued to try and draw comparisons, including former Gov. Scott Walker.

Courtesy of Francesca Hong

Wisconsin voters made history in November by electing the first Asian American to the state Legislature. Francesca Hong is a chef and restaurant owner, and now a state representative. She was elected to represent the state’s 76th Assembly District, which covers a portion of Madison.

Rep. Hong, a Democrat, talks with WUWM's LaToya Dennis about the work that lies ahead. She begins by explaining her feelings about being elected: “I am both incredibly motivated, grateful and terrified at the same time."

Screenshot / WUWM / Facebook

WUWM has been partnering with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee PBS and the Milwaukee Public Library on an initiative called Listen MKE. Its goal: help north side residents get the information they want and need.

This Listen MKE conversation focuses on COVID-19 and the devastating effect it's had on Milwaukee’s Black community. Many of the survivors face unique physical and mental health challenges.

AJ Dixon / Lazy Susan

The coronavirus pandemic has absolutely decimated local restaurants in Milwaukee. Almost a year into the pandemic and with winter in full swing, carry-out ordering has become one of the only lifelines for restaurants.

RACHEL WIESNER

The coronavirus pandemic has crippled many parts of Milwaukee’s economy. Businesses have had to rely on government funding and are adapting their services to safely to stay open.

But one industry that has been relatively unaffected from the pandemic has been commercial development.

Tom Daykin has been reporting on commercial development for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel since 1995 and he says many of the projects that opened in 2020 were able to survive because they were already so far along.

F11PHOTO/FOTOLIA

Cities like Milwaukee have been forced to change much of how space is used over the past year. Office cubicles sit empty, restaurants have had to close their doors and more people are working from home than ever.

These changes have forced people and companies to make the best of the situation, and some of these changes might be here to stay when the pandemic ends.

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All eyes were on Washington, D.C. yesterday as a violent pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol building. Lawmakers were forced into hiding and four people died, including a woman shot by Capitol police.

Earlier on Wednesday, the president urged supporters to march to Capitol Hill to protest his election defeat, which he continues to claim without evidence was fraudulent. And as the insurrection took hold, he did little to calm the riots.

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The new year has arrived. Though the pandemic is still here, there are great Milwaukee events (in-person and virtual) to enjoy.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Adam Carr from the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service has joined Lake Effect to talk about community events in Milwaukee. The list includes a wide array of things to enjoy, both virtually and in-person, this January.

1. Yoga with Malkia at Milwaukee Turner Ballroom

SCREENSHOT / WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES

In 2020, Wisconsin was thrust into the political spotlight. Serving as a key swing state for the presidential election, playing virtual host to the Democratic National Convention and taking on the national conversation around police reform all put eyes on Wisconsin.

But UW-Milwaukee political science professor Paru Shah says much of Wisconsin politics was characterized by inaction.

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.

Courtesy of Rock Mackie

Rock Mackie is a medical physicist who invented a safer type of therapeutic radiation, called tomotherapy, that delivers less radiation with just as much effectiveness. It has saved many lives.  

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The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office estimates that there will have been 473 deaths due to drug overdoses in the county in 2020 once they have completed every investigation. That would be a 13% increase from 2019, which had already set a record for most deaths in a year at 418.

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Local economies across America struggled through 2020. The coronavirus pandemic brought many businesses to a grinding halt and has kept many people out of a job.

UW-Milwaukee professor and chair of the economics department Scott Adams says Milwaukee is struggling along with everyone else and is not doing much better or worse than comparable cities. 

Paul Haubrich / Forest Home Cemetery

Cemeteries are not just for dead bodies; they contain a wide range of art meant to symbolize both the feeling of mourning and grief but also to create a space for those who have died to be remembered for what they did in their lives.

This genre of art exploded in popularity in the United States during the Victorian Era from the 1870s to the 1910s. During this time many of the popular symbols in cemetery art were created. For example, the use of leaves like oak leaves to describe upstanding citizens or lilies for those who were pure of heart.

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Wisconsin has already begun distributing vaccines for COVID-19. The vaccines currently being administered, made by Pfizer and Moderna, require two doses spread a few weeks apart from each other.

The process to choose who becomes eligible for available doses of the vaccine has in many parts been left up to state and local health officials with guidance from the CDC and federal government. That means in each state it can look slightly different.  

In Wisconsin, frontline health care workers and long-term care facilities have been first in line.

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While many businesses have adapted to a new normal during the pandemic, arts and music venues have continued to struggle.

Many performing artists count on a packed audience to make ends meet. The pandemic halted all of that and artists have had to pivot to more virtual, and often less lucrative experiences. 

Patrick Rath is the President and CEO of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF). He says despite the decrease in revenue, artists all over Wisconsin are still working and many are bringing art virtually to people that would have never had access before the pandemic.

Meg Jones / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Meg Jones, long time Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter and Milwaukee writer, died on Sunday, Dec. 14, 2020 at the age of 58.

ED BIERMAN / FLICKR

Marches and protests for the Black Lives Matter movement have sparked conversations about race in America from our personal lives to the workplace.

Here in Milwaukee, the Marcus Performing Arts Center is working to further advance racial equity in the performing arts on and off the stage. President and CEO Kendra Whitlock Ingram is the first female and person of color to lead the organization. She says that work needs to center around a theme of accountability.

Lifetime

The holiday season doesn’t just mean snow, decorations, and cookies. For many people, it’s also the highly anticipated time of year to watch a slate of new TV Christmas movies.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has been a community-wide traumatic event. On top of a health crisis, we’re also facing a mental health crisis as nearly every aspect of our lives is touched by the pandemic. Many of us are ready for the end of 2020, but the new year won’t necessarily bring clarity to help us move forward. And with the holidays coming up, there are additional stressors to face.

Henryk Sadura / Adobe Stock

The holiday season is here. And although this year looks different, there are still a lot of ways to celebrate the season in Milwaukee.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Adam Carr from the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service has joined Lake Effect to talk about community events in Milwaukee. The list includes a wide array of things to enjoy, both virtually and in-person.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened economic stability for many Milwaukeeans, but for renters there has been some protection due to a moratorium on evictions. That thin safety net halting some evictions is due to dissolve at the end of the year without congressional action. This means there's a looming eviction crisis hanging over the heads of a lot of Wisconsin households.

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