Lake Effect

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On Wednesday, Joe Biden won Wisconsin, gaining its 10 electoral votes. But once again, the race was very close, with the unofficial results giving Biden the lead by about 20,000 votes. This is a familiar scenario to what we saw in the 2016 election when President Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by roughly the same margin. 

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In 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump’s ascension to the White House surprised many Americans. Many people were positively sure that Hillary Clinton would win the election and one of the major reasons was polling.

Polls showed Clinton up by comfortable margins in many states and showed her handily winning the election. Although she secured the popular vote, she failed to win the electoral college, leading many pollsters to re-analyze how they do their work.

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This year’s election was unprecedented in the way people voted and how long anxious voters have had to wait for election results. Wisconsin went blue for Vice President Joe Biden by a narrow margin. But, before the call was even made, President Donald Trump’s campaign requested a recount of the votes cast. 

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Wisconsin followed the nationwide trend this year with record mail-in and early voting. But will those voter trends continue into future election years or is this a fluke in the time of COVID-19?

If there is a shift in voter trends, is now the time for lawmakers and election officials to look at policies and laws in place around early and mail-in voting?


Editor's note: This piece was published before the Associated Press declared Joe Biden the winner of Wisconsin. Currently, President Donald Trump's campaign is requesting a recount for the state.    

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The coronavirus pandemic is at an all-time high in Wisconsin. So far, more than 2,100 Wisconsinites have died of COVID-19 and nearly a quarter of a million Wisconsinites have tested positive for the virus.

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Election Day is here, but many Wisconsinites have already cast their votes. Because nearly two million people in Wisconsin voted early and because this is not a state where election officials can begin the count before Election Day, it’s not clear when the results will be in. 

In this unprecedented election, some may look to the U.S. Constitution for guidance in a time of political uncertainty. But the long-serving document, like many of us, wasn’t necessarily prepared for 2020 and leaves some room for interpretation.

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A final NPR Electoral Map analysis has Vice President Joe Biden going into Election Day with an edge over President Donald Trump. But Trump still has a narrow and possible path to reelection. /

As we near what many people hope will be the end of the 2020 election, there are increasing concerns about its fairness. In Wisconsin, as with other states, there have been last minute changes to voting rules that could have a major impact on how legal votes are counted.

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Despite the ongoing threat of COVID-19 in Wisconsin and across the country, a record number of people cast their ballots for the general election. According to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, more than 1.8 million people have already returned their ballots.

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Lake Effect On-Site normally is about getting out into the community and taking a deep dive into a specific area of Milwaukee. But at a time when gathering together can be dangerous, there are still ways to celebrate the many things that our community has to offer.

So, the On-Site series moved off-site to celebrate one of our favorite holidays: Halloween.

Watch the full Lake Effect Off-Site: Halloween Edition below.

Courtesy of Black Challenger, Avenues, Direct Hit!, Dogs in Ecstasy

Halloween is often a time when local bands celebrate the season with costumed shows, blowout parties, and eerie music. While the realities of 2020 negate the first two, Milwaukee bands are still finding ways to put out music in spite of the pandemic. 

And as always, Matt Wild has been listening. Wild is one of the co-founders of Milwaukee Record and each month he shares a sample of what he's been listening to for the Milwaukee Music Roundup. 

Here's the latest Milwaukee Music Roundup:

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With the pandemic impacting what would have been a season of new thrilling releases, this year is a great time to revisit your favorite Halloween films. From the classics like Hocus Pocus, The Exorcist or the Scream franchise, there are plenty of movies available to stream at home.

Ryan Jay, Lake Effect's film contributor, shares some of his top movie picks to watch this Halloween:

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Cold and flu season is now upon us. That compounded with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic means it’s time to focus on our immune systems.  

Immune systems are pretty effective against many germs and viruses, but it takes time to fight them. And this year has added stress for many due to the many impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. "So, anything you can do to mitigate that stress by simple measures is going to be very helpful," says Josh Knox, a physician assistant by training and a clinical associate professor at Marquette University’s physician assistant program.


Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, nearly every part of our lives has been impacted, including real estate developments. Here in Milwaukee, construction has continued to go forward on many projects, but some are having difficulty getting started as funding sources become more tenuous. 

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It’s a common misconception that most LGBTQ history and activism occurred on the east and west coasts. But Wisconsin has actually been a national leader with its pioneering set of legislative victories.

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Every year more than 3 million women in the U.S. are abused by their intimate partners and more than 1,200 are killed by their abusers.

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As of Tuesday, about 235,000 people had returned absentee ballots in Milwaukee County, either by voting early at the polls, mailing them in or dropping them off. That’s about four times the number returned at this time in the 2016 presidential race.

Some municipalities will count the absentee ballots at the polls. Others, like the city of Milwaukee, will count them at a central location called “central count.” The ballots then get run through vote tabulators — either at central count or at polling places.

When can we expect the unofficial results?

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As the number of fall leaves begin to dwindle on trees, they’ve found a new home on our lawns. But before you go and rake them into the street, there might be a better way to put those leaves to use.

Jody Spiegelhoff

In 2017, Maricella Chairez died by suicide in her cell at the Racine County Juvenile Detention Center. Although she was only 16-years-old, her suicide was the culmination of many years of struggling with abuse and mismanaged mental health care.

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The holiday season is fast approaching, beginning with Halloween this weekend. The city of Milwaukee is not officially recognizing trick-or-treat hours in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19. But there are still ways to safely reimagine the costumed event.

“Some of the things we can do are ... to have a candy hunt in your own yard,” Amanda Simanek says. “So if you have some old Easter eggs lying around, we can merge these two celebrations. Put candy inside and hide them in the yard.”

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Nowadays, there are multiple LGBTQ media outlets for people around the world to tap into and see themselves and their stories represented. But this hasn’t always been the case.

When Franco Stevens realized she was a lesbian, there was hardly any representation of queer women. So in 1990, she decided to change that and founded Curve — the best-selling lesbian lifestyle magazine that still exists today.

Milwaukee Group Celebrates 40 Years Of Helping Kids

Oct 26, 2020
Wes Tank

There are a lot of things vying for the attention of Milwaukee youth and most will experience at least one adverse childhood experience that can make their adult lives more difficult. 

And having at least one adult provide a positive environment can help steer kids in the right direction. For the last four decades, Running Rebels has been doing just that for hundreds of Milwaukee youth. The organization works to prevent involvement in gangs, drugs, violence and the juvenile justice system. 

Courtesy of Lori Cross

Lori Cross dropped out of her all-girls’ high school in Michigan because there wasn’t enough physics and math to keep her challenged. Technical college was a little better, but Cross found her place at Northwestern University, where she got a degree in chemical engineering and became the first woman to play ice hockey on a men’s NCAA team.

Chuck Quirmbach


When Foxconn first announced its plan to open a huge, LCD factory near Racine, the project promised to be one of the biggest deals in Wisconsin history. Foxconn and Wisconsin’s Republican leadership claimed it would create 13,000 jobs and generate billions in revenue. And that was key since the deal also meant that Foxconn would be getting $3 billion in subsidies, making it the largest government handout to a foreign company in U.S. history.

Mark Savage

Now that we’re driving less, doing something like purchasing a muscle or luxury car you’ve always wanted probably isn’t a high priority. In addition to consumer trends, many auto plants are closed, or their chain supply has been greatly impacted. 

But that doesn’t mean that our automotive contributor Mark Savage doesn’t get to test drive and enjoy some high-powered muscle cars. He says as powerful vehicles increase in price, they are losing their muscle but keeping the speed.

Breaking Fast film

When it comes to LGBTQ films, there are a number of good romantic comedies. And a new film, Breaking Fast by writer and director Mike Mosallam, is adding the underrepresented queer, Arab Muslim-American voices to cinema.

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Milwaukeeans are already lining up outside early voting locations to cast their ballot in this year’s election. Many have already voted by mail or absentee. No matter how Wisconsinites choose to make their voice heard this year, they’ll all have to show proof of who they are. 

READ: Wisconsin 2020 Election: Key Deadlines For Voter Registration, Voting Absentee And In Person

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Every year in October, Nobel Prizes are awarded to people throughout the world. This year, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to three astrophysicists for their work in advancing black hole discoveries.

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Wisconsin is currently facing a massive spike in coronavirus cases. The state continues to break daily records of confirmed cases. The death toll reached more than 1,600 people this week and hospitalizations have more than tripled in the last month.