Jack Hurbanis

Assistant Digital Producer

Jack Hurbanis started as the WUWM Digital Intern in January 2020, transitioning to Assistant Digital Producer in July.

He is currently a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he is studying film production and communication. 

Outside of work, he can be found cooking with friends, going to see a movie at the Oriental theater, or enjoying the many seasons Milwaukee has to offer. 

Win McNamee / Getty Images

On Jan. 6, Americans watched as a mob of pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol building and tore through the halls of Congress.

While this event was unprecedented in many ways, this is not the first time the U.S. Capitol has been the site of violent acts.

John Savagian is a professor of history and program director for the history department at Alverno College. He says the first attack on the U.S. Capitol was by the British in 1812 after the American army had burned down the British Capitol in Canada.

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."

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.

Win McNamee / GETTY IMAGES

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.

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.

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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.

MILWAUKEE POLICE / RIEMANN

The Milwaukee Common Council on Tuesday rejected the federal COPS grant that would have provided the city with 30 additional police officers. 

The vote was 9-6 to pass up the $10 million grant.

Groups, such as the Party for Socialism and Liberation – Milwaukee, North Side Rising and others, protested the funding before the vote, calling it “a step back from the steady movements to defund the police ... and a slap in the face to a community that has decided we do not need more officers.”

tadamichi / stock.adobe.com

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.

Lauren Sigfusson

When museums, galleries and theaters close that means painters, dancers and musicians don’t have a place to perform or a source of income.

Dozens of them talked about the challenges they face in a video conference Tuesday arranged by the Wisconsin Arts Board. The meeting included 15 arts organizations to help brainstorm ways for artists to survive the pandemic. Dozens of artists took turns speaking.

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The holiday season is in full swing and many of us are already trying to figure out what to buy our loved ones. Although extended family gatherings may not be safe this year, there are still ways to stay connected and gaming is one of them.

Every year gaming expert James Lowder gives us his picks for the games to gift.

Tom Parker / Wikimedia Commons

The internment of Americans with Japanese ancestry during World War II is part of this nation’s dark history of racial discrimination. These stories have often been hidden, both by the country that committed the injustices and the people who were forced to endure them.

Sondem / stock.adobe.com

Despite the distance this holiday season, books can be a great way to connect with loved ones.  If there are readers on your holiday shopping list — or you’re looking to add some titles to your own reading list — Boswell Book Company’s Daniel Goldin has suggestions for readers of all ages.

Here are some of Goldin's favorite books of 2020:

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

BOOK COVER DESIGNED BY WENDY VARDAMAN

In U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s book “Crazy Brave” she wrote, “When beloved Sun rises, it is an entrance, a door to fresh knowledge.”

This quote served as an inspiration and call to action for Wisconsin Poet Laureate Margaret Rozga. She, along with Madison Poet Laureate Angie Trudell Vasquez, co-edited the new poetry anthology “Through This Door: Wisconsin in Poems.”

Adoptahighway, Hot Science, Bobby Tylenol, Victor DeLorenzo

Although there haven’t been many live shows since the pandemic hit the United States in March, Milwaukee bands have somehow found a way to release new music. That’s been great for Matt Wild, who every month releases a nearly exhaustive list of new music from local musicians.

Wild is one of the co-founders of Milwaukee Record, which describes itself as an online source for music, culture, and gentle sarcasm. He joins Lake Effect each month to share a sample of what he’s been listening to.

BJPHOTOGRAPHS / STOCK.ADOBE.COM

  

Wisconsin continues to break nearly daily records of COVID-19 cases and deaths. The state has few restrictions to slow the spread of the virus in place. Gov. Tony Evers recently extended a statewide mask mandate but has faced backlash from the Republican-controlled Legislature about his executive orders.

Megan Betteridge / Adobe Stock

At this point in the year most of us have put away our gardening tools and packed up our lawn mowers for the winter. But that doesn’t mean that gardening has ended, it’s just moved locations.

With the impending winter, many gardeners have brought their plants inside where growing conditions can be much more difficult.

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