News

Ex Fabula: Volunteerism

Jul 22, 2017
Art Montes

Many of us have - at some point in our lives - had dreams of traveling abroad and volunteering to help those in need. Today we'll meet two men who actually did that. Not only did they venture to Samoa and Tanzania, but they brought some fun stories back with them.

While these voices may sound unfamiliar, they have been the "silent voices" behind Ex Fabula: board members who are now moving on to their next adventures. It's with gratitude, as well as sadness, that we say a fond farewell to retiring board members Bob Pothier and Adam Weise.

The White House / Wikimedia

While much of the U.S. coverage of the recent G-20 summit focused on America's place at the table, Lake Effect contributor, Art Cyr, is still thinking about the role played by the summit's host country: Germany.

Germany has just hosted the latest summit of the G20, the global group of leading industrialized nations, held in Hamburg over July 7 and 8. Chancellor Merkel can count this is another notable success in her now lengthy tenure leading not only a unified Germany, but much of Europe as well – within and beyond the European Union.

Susan Bence / Milwaukee Public Radio

Milwaukee County’s green space - some 15,000 acres of parks – is in varied states of decay. A 2009 audit found Milwaukee County Parks facing $200 million in deferred maintenance and the backlog of capital and maintenance needs now total $246 million.

Virginia Small and Tom Tolan teamed up to write about what might be done to bring the luster back to the park system in this month's issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

"Manlife" Documentary

If you’ve ever taken a drive south along I-94, you might remember seeing a roadside sign in Sturtevant - near Racine - that advertised the "University of Lawsonomy." Or you might have seen the painted sign on a barn that says “Study Natural Law.”

The "law" in question is Lawsonomy: a utopian movement that began in 1929 by Alfred Lawson, a British immigrant who, before he started the eponymous Lawsonomy, founded two Wisconsin airplane manufacturers, and is credited as the inventor of the first passenger airliner.

Dave Parker / Flickr

Entering a grocery store, buyers are often bombarded with seemingly all-important yet ill-defined terms; words like “organic”, “sustainable”, or – perhaps the most pernicious culprit – “natural.”

But what do these terms actually mean? And how can consumers know if the foods they’re buying - usually at a premium - were grown or raised in an organic environment?

The US Department of Agriculture, or USDA, is tasked with setting minimum organic standards that farms of all sizes must meet, and then ensuring compliance with those standards.

Writer Bianca Marais was born in South Africa in 1976, a time when the country was still very much ruled under Apartheid laws that separated people of different skin colors.  It was the year of the Soweto Uprising, when Black high school students living in the ghetto designated by the White government outside Johannesburg marched in protest of the Apartheid laws.

Marti Mikkelson

Community leaders are banding together in an effort to reduce prostitution on Milwaukee’s south side. Last week, the Benedict Center announced a partnership with the Milwaukee Police Department. Patrol officers will start referring prostitutes to a place they could go for shelter and drug treatment. A couple of south side aldermen rolled out another approach on Wednesday.

Foxconn Twitter

When Taiwanese planes belonging to Foxconn representatives landed at Milwaukee's General Mitchell Airport last week, Journal Sentinel reporter John Schmid took notice. Since President Trump's allusions to Foxconn negotiations in June, he has been following the trail left by Wisconsin politicians, economic officials and the Asian technology manufacturer. 

astronomy.com

On August 21st, parts of the United States will experience a total solar eclipse. It’s the first time in a century that the path of totality will be visible from the west coast to the east. Milwaukee isn’t in the totality path but it will still be darker than normal as the sun will be 86% eclipsed.

Photo by Megan Dobyns

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn has been facing a lot of criticism lately. The police chief recently came under fire after it was revealed that he had made changes to the way in which the department deals with immigrants -- without public input or the approval of the Fire and Police Commission. The department and commission reversed many of the changes after public outrage. Flynn has also caught heat over how he wants to spend asset forfeiture dollars.  To some it may seem like Flynn is losing support of leadership, while others say the criticism is unwarranted.

Tafkas / Wikimedia

Growing up, writers Rachel Kadish and Jessica Shattuck learned about World War II from their grandparents, but they heard somewhat different stories.

Mitch Teich

While it may be common to see images of friend’s trips abroad these days, if an American traveled to Europe in the 1930s it was probably considered “the trip of a lifetime.” That was certainly the case for Frank Daily Sr., a 30-year old school teacher from Chicago. Daily spent two months in Europe in 1936 - a time when the specter of war was beginning to loom.

Andrea Waxman

Sex trafficking remains a prominent issue in Milwaukee, but the city is not alone in its struggle to curb the problem. James Nelson has a firsthand knowledge about the dangers of sex trafficking. He was once a pimp. Now, he’s working to help trafficked people as part of the Men4Men End the Demand initiative.

Bob Bach

Budget talks in Madison remain stalled, largely because of disagreements over how to fix a $1 billion deficit in the transportation budget. So Senate leaders put forth a plan Tuesday that they say will move them beyond the impasse. They say it's now up to the Assembly to act. Yet the Senate plan calls for continued borrowing to pay for roads, which has been one of the main holdups in negotiations.

Senate Republicans say the version of the budget they introduced Tuesday makes their priorities clear.

There’s still a huge investment in K12.”

Image courtesy of Lauren Groh

Harpers Ferry in West Virginia is a crucial milestone for anyone who hikes the Appalachian Trail. Known as "the mental halfway point," it houses the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the land around it is a National Park steeped with Civil War history.

For contributor Lauren Groh and her wife, Rhesia Baron, arriving in Harper's Ferry was a special day on their journey through hiking the AT.

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