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Our view of our parents evolves as we get older - from believing they’re omnipotent to understanding they aren’t, and that they are fallible. Lake Effect essayist, Cari Taylor-Carlson, was an adolescent when a pack of cigarettes taught her a vital lesson about her mother.

Courtesy of Pam Parker

Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate the many gifts our parents give us, and sometimes the gifts we’ve given them. Lake Effect essayist, Pam Parker, fondly remembers the gifts she and her mom shared one bygone Mother’s Day.

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Mother’s Day is just a few days off. Many of us will take the day to consider the lessons our moms imparted on us, or are still imparting. Lake Effect essayist Cari Carlson is certainly in that group.

Like most people over 60, I grew up with daily, sometimes hourly, nuggets of wisdom from my mom. I pretended to listen then dismissed her words as I carried on in my kid-centered orbit. Really, how many 10-year-olds listen to their mothers when they say, "Don't cross that bridge until you come to it." Later, I realized mom knew what she was talking about. 

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Many of our social media feeds are lighting up with news of where this year’s high school seniors have decided to go to college next year.  It’s an exciting time for them, but - as Lake Effect essayist Jessie Garcia can attest - a stressful time for their parents:

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There are many interesting biographies you can find in the neighborhood library or bookstore. They often share a side of famous people we didn’t know or appreciate. Lake Effect essayist Mark Siegrist says there are two that should be on your radar screen.

I love reading biographies.

Sometimes they can be dry. But often they contain golden nuggets about favorite personalities that make you stop and think… Really?

It happened to me recently while paging through separate stories about a couple of big names.

Essay: The Idea

Apr 18, 2017
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Milwaukee native Lauren Groh is in the process of through-hiking the Appalachian Trail. In this essay, she explains what prompted her to attempt the journey:

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This week, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson traveled to Russia. His mission was to convince the Putin administration to back off from its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is accused of using poison gas on his own citizens as that country’s civil war continues.

Lake Effect essayist Art Cyr says those accusations greatly escalate the stakes in Syria:

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In his recent young adult book, "Just Fly Away," (and in our interview about it) Andrew McCarthy wrote about that pivotal age, when you just want to know how your life will turn out.  Lake Effect essayist Jim Spangler thinks it’s important to consider history through the eyes of someone who can appreciate the passage of time:

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Lake Effect essayist Jim Spangler has been thinking about how we understand each other - or fail to. We’ll let him explain...

It is a natural tendency in this complicated world to simplify, and one way is to divide everything into two separate camps, winners and losers, players and spectators, southerners and northerners and on and on. But I’m not touching Republicans and Democrats. If what passes for political discourse continues, I’m investing my money in the dueling pistol business.

Essay: Rooting Down

Mar 24, 2017
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Spring officially began earlier this week, and the weather - for a few days this week - reflected the change of season.  Regardless of what the last few days of March look and feel like, Lake Effect essayist Meagan Schultz says this time of year is important:

Image courtesy of Lauren Groh

The Appalachian Trail runs 2,190 miles from Georgia all the way to the summit of Mount Katahdin in Maine. It takes months to complete and a good amount of preparation for novice and experienced hikers alike.

Milwaukee native Lauren Groh is embarking on that journey soon, and she is busy preparing all supplies she will need on the trail:

A Milwaukee Judge's Perspective on Segregation

Mar 10, 2017
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Merriam-Webster defines the word “segregate” in two ways: “to separate or set apart from others or from the general mass,” and “to cause or force the separation of (as from the rest of society).” It defines “segregation” as the act of segregating; it gives a secondary definition of “segregation” as “the separation or isolation of a race, class or ethnic group by enforced of voluntary residence in a restricted area . . . .”

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Lake Effect essayist Jim Spangler has lived in Wisconsin for a while now. But while he calls the state home, he does not think of Brookfield as his hometown.

Nearly 80 years ago, John Steinbeck wrote “The Grapes of Wrath” about the uprooting of farmers from the dustbowl to the promised land of California. Time moves on, things change. The Model A Ford has been replaced by the airplane and the moving van, and migration is now corporate relocation. But the basics are still the same, to follow the economic crops across the country in search of a better life.

Essay: Truth

Feb 22, 2017
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One person’s climate change data is another person’s fake news.  Lake Effect essayist and former journalist Avi Lank recently considered his relationship with truth:

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Retired Marine Corps General James Mattis was recently confirmed as Secretary of Defense. Lake Effect essayist Art Cyr says Mattis’ military background is a plus in his new job.

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