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A few weeks ago, US Speedskating's director, Ted Morris, spoke with Lake Effect while he was in town for the US National Longtrack Championships held at the Pettit National Ice Center.

Morris mentioned one particular athlete to look out for that weekend, and in the years to come. "One of the people that's made a lot of progress this year is Sugar Todd on the women's side," he said.

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The Zika virus continues causing worldwide concern. Even in Wisconsin, health officials are on alert. The virus is linked to brain deformities in newborns whose mothers were infected.

A certain type of tropical mosquito is blamed for spreading the virus, although there may be other means of transmission. Wisconsin is stepping up its efforts, in anticipation of the virus’s arrival.

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Last year ended on a positive note for Milwaukee’s real estate sector. The Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors reported the area had its strongest December for home sales since 2004.  It was the eleventh straight month home sales increased here.

At the same time, the latest numbers show some cautionary signs – especially for people trying to afford their first home.  Lawrence Yun is the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, and he adds some context to the discussion.

In January, the company established two set 10-minute breaks per shift, for Muslim employees to say their daily prayers. Beforehand, the 53 workers could say their prayers when their faith requires such as as sunset, which moves with the seasons.

When the company began enforcing the policy, dozens of its Muslim employees of Somali descent walked off the job in protest. Since then, according to the company, 32 of the workers have begun abiding by the policy, 14 resigned and this week, Ariens terminated seven who violated the company edict.

Sara d’Ippolito and Kenny Reichert perform around Milwaukee as the duo Sara and Kenny.  They’re regulars in some irregular places for live music – places like Sendiks’ in Shorewood, Groppi’s on Brady Street and the small east side bar and restaurant called Allium.

Troye Fox

The dance department at UW-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts opens a four-performance run of its Winterdances 2016 series, titled Evolve as We EnterThursday night. The performance showcases work by a number of choreographers, including Deb Loewen, Dani Kuepper and Amaniyea Payne.

Dark Dwarf / Flickr

Even people who didn’t major in the classics or theater history have some passing knowledge of the Trojan War.  Like any good epic story, it’s full of larger-than-life characters, revenge, lust and sacrifice.

Ever since Homer included it as part of his Odyssey, many of the stories have become fodder for other works of art.  Aeschylus is considered the first of the three great tragic dramatists of ancient Greece and his Orestia trilogy includes the story of the Trojan War. 

Photo by Adam Ryan Morris / Milwaukee Magazine

This month's Milwaukee Magazine examines mental health issues in Wisconsin. Personal essays, one by sports journalist Trenni Kusnierek and the other by college student Molly McKenzie, are only two facets of the wide-ranging series.

Essay: Groundhog Day

Feb 2, 2016
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By this point today, the famous groundhogs among us should have made their weather predictions for the winter.  But when you’re done reading the accounts of Punxatawney Phil and his colleagues, Lake Effect essayist Joanne Weintraub essayist Joanne Weintraub urges you to revisit a seasonally appropriate movie:

Michael Sears, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

There were 145 homicides in Milwaukee in 2015. The year revealed some persistent trends ­that the vast majority of victims were young African American males who died by a firearm.

It’s tempting to seek one reason behind rising homicide totals, but in some ways you’re better off learning the details behind every story.

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