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Author: Lee Matz

Lake Michigan’s freezing waves wallop participants at 2019 Polar Bear Plunge

Hundreds of people braved the frigid shores of the Great Lake at Bradford Beach to take the annual January 1 Polar Bear Plunge and usher in the New Year. With an air temperature that averaged 24°, participants were greeted with a series of 2-foot waves. In spite of the weather, the conditions were far better than 2018. Last year saw sunny skies, but the beach area was encrusted with hazardous ice and a near record -14° windchill. This year found more fire pits and camps spread along the length of the beach. Crowds entering the freezing water were displaced...

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Humor, change, and more holiday tales with John McGivern

As host of the Emmy award winning “Around the Corner with John McGivern,” the PBS series dedicated to his visits and profiles of various communities throughout Wisconsin, John McGivern is known for his down-to-earth charm and sense of humor that is easily relatable. In recent years he has become Milwaukee’s unofficial Christmas ambassador, and he remains a perennial favorite entertainer. This year, he returned to the Northern Lights Theater with his new stage show, “More Holiday Tales with John McGivern.” The exclusive show ran from November 29 to December 8, and served up new heartwarming stories along with some...

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20th annual Holiday Train rolls into town with Santa, smiles, and help for the hungry

The 20th annual Canadian Pacific Holiday Train made a stop at Milwaukee’s Intermodal Station on December 6, as it passed through Wisconsin to bring holiday cheer, Saint Nicholas, and live music to families across North America. For 2018, Milwaukee native and legendary musician Willy Porter headlined a portion of the rail tour. The 14-car train was decorated with thousands of lights and visited stations in 13 Wisconsin communities. Each stop was treated to a concert by Porter, the band The Trews, and singer Kelly Prescott. The train made a grand entrance at the Milwaukee station by transforming an ordinary...

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Inconvenient Images: How pictures teach us to see the world for what it is

As the visuals of TV news broadcasts assault our minds with horrific images, turning away from them is both a reflex and a defense. As heart breaking as is to see photos of our country throwing tear gas at women and children or carnage from the latest mass shooting, it is a distant situation for most Americans. Which is to say, privilege provides a safe harbor from the terrible actions that social complicity allows and shared blindness foments. The passion for a career in photojournalism developed later in my life, but had its beginnings in my earliest memories. As...

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Governor-elect Tony Evers at City Hall: A strong Wisconsin means having a strong Milwaukee

Governor-elect Tony Evers made his first trip to Milwaukee City Hall since winning his election to meet with Mayor Tom Barrett and address the Common Council on December 4, while the Wisconsin Legislature’s extraordinary session in Madison took aim at altering the state’s democratic process. Sitting with Governor-elect Evers in his office, Mayor Barrett said that the meeting was the first time in years that a governor or governor-elect had taken the time to make a visit. He was also thankful that the Governor-elect saw Milwaukee was a part of Wisconsin, not a rival entity. “I think it is...

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Fiserv Forum pays homage to Milwaukee’s German heritage with inaugural Christkindlmarket

Milwaukee’s first Christkindlmarket kicked off on November 17, bringing an authentic German holiday festival to downtown that will run until December 31. Popular in cities like Chicago, Baltimore, and Denver, Milwaukee finally has its turn to showcase its German roots for Christmas festivities. The seasonal market was located on the edge of Old World Third Street, the city’s epicenter of living German heritage. Announced several months ago by Peter Feigin, President of the Milwaukee Bucks, Christkindlmarket Milwaukee transformed the Fiserv Forum’s plaza into a picturesque holiday village. Featured are around 30 vendors from Germany, Europe, and around the world...

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