Audrey Nowakowski

Lake Effect Producer

Audrey is a producer, host and reporter for Lake Effect. She is involved with every aspect of the show — from conducting interviews, editing audio, posting web stories and mixing the show together.

Her regular segments include Fit For You and film discussions. Before becoming a full-time producer, Audrey interned for Lake Effect starting in 2014 and joined the team full-time in the spring of 2015.

Audrey is a graduate of Cardinal Stritch University where she majored in Communication Arts and minored in History and English. 

Ways to Connect

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The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s office expects to break 2019’s fatal overdose rate by nearly 100 deaths if current trends continue.

According to a Sept. 15 tweet, in the span of one week the office investigated: 43 natural deaths, eight homicides, eight probable overdoses, six accidental deaths, five COVID-19 deaths, and two suicides. 

Vine Leaves Press

You may have heard or read Lake Effect contributor Joanne Nelson’s essays before. For her, writing has always been a way to not just escape but process.

Her new memoir, This Is How We Leave, is a collection of essays that span Nelson’s life — from her Milwaukee working-class Catholic school upbringing to building her own family while juggling her difficult past.

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Masks are a proven and effective tool in fighting the spread of COVID-19, but some people still resist wearing them. Just last week, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers extended the statewide mask mandate until Nov. 21 as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the state.

Screenshot / Historic Milwaukee, Inc / YouTube

Historic Milwaukee’s Doors Open event is usually one of the most popular fall activities in the city. It allows people to explore sites and buildings normally off limits to the public. But with the coronavirus pandemic, the organization had to go virtual.

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As the weather shifts to fall, there’s also a shift in the sky. While it’s now technically autumn, the fall sky offers us the best of both summer and winter stargazing.

Lake Effect astronomy contributor Jean Creighton shares how to find the best constellations and planets the fall sky has to offer:

1. Summer Triangle

Mark Savage

Crossover vehicles have been steadily growing and taking over the auto market. Starting at just 4% of car sales in 2000, they reached about 40% of sales in 2018.

Photo courtesy of "Sisters Rising"

Four out of 5 Native women have experienced violence in their lives. Native women are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault than all other American women. One out of 3 Native women report having been raped — over 80% of the time, it's by non-Native men.

The terrible fact that attributes to this: people exploit gaps in tribal authority. Native women have no legal protection for domestic violence committed on tribal lands, particularly if it’s done by a non-Native man.

Sara Tomilin

As we continue to look for things to do outdoors during the pandemic, one of Milwaukee’s first parks, Forest Home Cemetery, hopes to become a place for safe and socially distant leisure. The idea of going to a cemetery for recreation may seem odd, but in its peak popularity, Forest Home attracted thousands of visitors a day to picnic or walk around the gardens, fountains, and monuments.

LUCI Creative

This month, the Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) and Betty Brinn Children’s Museum (BBCM) agreed to co-locate. The new building will be on the northeast corner of Sixth and McKinley streets near the Deer District in downtown Milwaukee. 

Image courtesy of SapSap

The word "sap-sap" literally translated from Laotian means "delicious delicious." SapSap owner Alex Hanesakda strives not only for good taste, but for community outreach as well.

Hanesakda learned the traditions of Lao cooking from his parents, who used food as a way to connect with neighbors when they settled in Burlington, Wis. after fleeing Laos as war refugees.

Courtesy of Disney Enterprises

Last Friday Disney premiered their latest live action remake, Mulan, on their streaming platform Disney+. The 1998 animated film told the story of a heroine who disguises herself as a man to take her ailing father’s place in battle. 

While the animated version came with an array of characters, both human and animal, it’s actually based on a 6th Century poem called “The Ballad of Mulan.” The newest live action remake takes the more serious tone of the ballad and strays away from a shot-by-shot musical replication as Disney’s previous remakes have followed.

Alison Becker & Kimmy Gatewood, Tibo Pinsard, Rosella Joseph, Paulina Bugembe

While some larger cinema chains are just starting to open and show films to audiences again, yet another Milwaukee festival moved to a virtual platform this year.

The Milwaukee Short Film Festival usually takes place over two days at the Fox Bay Cinema. But as the coronavirus hit during the festival’s submission period, organizers realized they had to change course.  

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Ever since COVID-19 was discovered and started spreading, scientists around the world have not only been trying to learn all about it and treatments for it but also how to quickly develop a vaccine for it.

In this worldwide effort, the company AstraZeneca has now started a large-scale human trial of its coronavirus vaccine in the United States, with hopes to enroll up to thirty thousand adults.

Becky Mortensen

Milwaukee’s history as a manufacturing hub goes hand in hand with a long history of unions. But unions have impacted workspaces that go far beyond manufacturing — and the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted unsustainable practices in the workplace.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, is facing charges for fatally shooting two people and injuring another during protests in Kenosha. Rittenhouse, who's from Illinois, was one of several people openly carrying a weapon as protests in Kenosha over the police shooting of Jacob Blake turned to unrest late Tuesday night.

NASA

The primary pieces of the International Space Station (ISS) were delivered over 42 assembly flights more than 20 years ago. Independent elements were constructed around the globe and assembled for the first time in space, starting the groundwork of nearly continuous human presence in space. 

The ISS has grown into an impressive research complex that continues to model not just international cooperation, but research that can help solve problems in space and on Earth.

Courtesy of Hayward Williams

Among the group of artists we’ve had in the Lake Effect Performance Studio, singer-songwriter Hayward Williams has been a consistent local performer. However, this time around we feature Williams in our Pandemic Performers series, where we highlight some of the work coming from Milwaukee artists and performers at a time when many of us are still isolated.

Samer Ghani

As most things in our lives have turned virtual, it turns out tourism can as well. VISIT Milwaukee collaborated with two photographers and videographers to create a series of videos narrated by Milwaukee community members to help people explore the city virtually.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Tuesday marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which grants women the right to vote in the United States. Images of older, white women in victorian dress marching in the streets may come to mind, but there were many more women involved in securing the right to vote.

George Grantham Bain Collection / Library of Congress

Monday is the first day of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Milwaukee. And while most of the convention is now virtual, it’s a historic start to the 2020 political conventions: It’s the first to be held during a pandemic, and the first time a presumptive party nominee will be an impeached president.

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As COVID-19 persists, we continue to rely heavily on doctors and health care professionals to keep our communities safe. Many of these physicians will also be working under the stress of their immigration status, which limits the extent they can provide care.

International medical graduates, or IMGs, make up 25% of the total active physician population in the U.S., and just over 19% make up the workforce in Wisconsin.

Apple TV+

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, more films have accepted their fate of digital-only releases.

Tim Frakes

The coronavirus pandemic has restricted travel in the U.S. and around the world. The cancellation or postponement of trips has had a massive impact on the travel industry and leaves the future of travel itself uncertain.

So, what do you do if you make your living cruising around the world? Rick Steves is a PBS travel host, guidebook author and owner of a tour company that employs a hundred people and typically sends thousands of people across Europe each year. 

Disclosure / Netflix

TV and film can be powerful mediums — especially for connecting people to lives or worlds different from their own. Historically, these representations have been mostly damaging for transgender people and experiences.

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As gyms reopen, members are weighing the risk of working out in common areas again. While coronavirus safety policies can vary gym to gym, the Wisconsin statewide mask mandate requires that everyone 5 and up wears a mask indoors — even while working out.

Liz Brodek / East Side Business Improvement District

As restaurants and businesses in Milwaukee enforce capacity limits, many are using their outdoor spaces. But what if a business is on a busy street with few options for sending patrons outside?

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Restaurants have had the go-ahead from the city of Milwaukee to open dine-in services and operate with safety and capacity limits for over a month, but many are still struggling. Some decide to close temporarily if any coronavirus cases arise amongst workers, but there’s actually no strict protocols to follow.

As restaurants research and adapt best new operation practices largely on their own, culinary historian and contributor Kyle Cherek says this lack of top-down instruction has caused a significant drop in public trust. 

Courtesy of the H.H. Bennett Studio and Museum

What comes to mind when you think of the Wisconsin Dells? Among the water parks and the pancakes at the Paul Bunyan restaurant, you may think of the Dells’ unique landscape with narrow gorges defined by steep, sandstone bluffs.

Before the Dells became a tourist destination, it was known as Kilbourn City. But H.H. Bennett opened a photography studio there in 1865, and soon his landscape photography of the area helped make it into a top tourist destination.

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From virtual workouts to outdoor activities, many of us found different ways to stay active when gyms were initially closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now that some gyms are open again, should you go?

"Regardless of what the activity is, the gym in of itself, no matter the gym, is going to be a high-risk area to go to," says Dr. Joyce Sanchez, an infectious disease specialist at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Sarah Silbiger / Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the hospitality industry hard. As COVID-19 rates continue to rise, restaurants have had to reevaluate operating plans or close their doors.

From the tipping system to sustainability to health care, this pandemic has exposed the major flaws of the hospitality system. The Milwaukee Independent Restaurant Coalition (MIRC) was recently formed to address these issues and create change so restaurants can better succeed on the other side of this pandemic. 

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