Mayor Tom Barrett announced Monday that the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded the city a $14.2 million grant to enable construction of the Milwaukee Streetcar's Lakefront Line.  

The Common Council approved the extension in February, along with phase 1 of the streetcar project.

The Lakefront Line will connect Cathedral Square to the lakefront, and will include a stop along the planned Couture development.  Groundbreaking on phase 1 of the project is scheduled for spring of 2016.

Dennis Skley / Flickr

Five years ago, a Milwaukee area man - barely older than a teenager - was nabbed by the FBI. Daniel Placek turned out to be one of the people behind the underground hacker website Dark Ode.  You're not alone if you're not familiar with the site, it existed in one of the internet's most shadowy corners.  

(vincent desjardins) / Flickr

The headlines have suggested that the third quarter of the fiscal year was not a bright one for Milwaukee's Harley-Davidson.

Should concealed weapons be permitted in buildings on college campuses? It’s a question being debated in Wisconsin after a couple GOP lawmakers put forth legislation that would allow students and staff to carry concealed guns and knives.

For the last few years Wisconsin has allowed people to carry concealed weapons, including on college grounds. But colleges have had the option to put up signs banning people from entering buildings with concealed guns or knives. UWM has posted such signs.

pixonomy, flickr

Earlier this month a potential seismic shift occurred in the restaurant world. American restauranteur Danny Meyer announced he was eliminating tipping in all thirteen of his restaurants.

Lake Effect contributor Kyle Cherek wonders if this heralds the end of the world as we know it:

Renaissance Theatreworks

Sixty years ago this past summer, 14-year-old Emmett Till traveled from Chicago to Mississippi to visit family. Two weeks later, his corpse was discovered in the Tallahatchee River after he was murdered by two white men who accused him of flirting with a white woman.

His death, in part, sparked the modern civil rights movement, although his story is not as well-known as other landmark moments in the movement.

Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images

Pro football fans in Wisconsin might be going through withdrawal this weekend.  The Green Bay Packers have this week off and don’t return to action until next Sunday night against Denver.

That means they’re assured of spending another week as one of the NFL’s undefeated teams. Sports contributor Howie Magner says one key reason the Packers remain undefeated is because the defense is better than most expected.

"The offense has been playing well enough to win games and the defense has really been securing those games," he says.

The Grammy award-winning pianist Cory Smythe returns to Milwaukee to headline Present Music’s Carnival program.

The program features actors from Milwaukee’s Quasimondo Physical Theatre, assuming roles from the comedia dell’Arte tradition.

Smythe was practicing at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music earlier this week and took the time to speak with Lake Effect's Bonnie North about classical training, improvisation and constant learning:

C.Nabe / Flickr

Milwaukee will be in the winter sports spotlight this weekend as it hosts a major international figure skating competition.

Skate America is one part of the International Skating Union’s Grand Prix of Figure Skating.  It opens this afternoon at the UWM Panther Arena and features 60 top skaters including American Olympians such as Gracie Gold and Jason Brown, along with Russian Julia Liptnitskaia and more. 

Marti Mikkelson

Dozens of homeless people in Milwaukee flocked to Marquette University on Thursday. The campus hosted a fair for people needing basic services - from haircuts to vision screenings.

Demetrius Harper hasn’t had a place to call home in four years. The 45-year-old admits his homelessness has been the result of poor choices.

“Bad decision here, bad decision there, I decided to live with a lot of people and not saving any money. It’s hard to save money when you have a lot of habits, alcohol and drug, smoking, everything pretty much,” Harper says.