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The Milwaukee Film Festival opens today. The eighth annual edition of the festival runs through October 6th and features some classic movies, along with remarkable recent films from national, international, and local filmmakers.

Milwaukee VA Medical Center / Flickr

This month, Milwaukee County received a $2.4 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, to help end chronic homelessness. The money will be doled out over the next three years and is intended to benefit the county’s Housing First Initiative, which was launched last summer. The initiative focuses on "chronically homeless" people, defined as someone who has been homeless for at least a year, or has had four episodes of homelessness in the last three years. They also have some kind of disability, which makes it more difficult to access services.  

Zablocki Veteran's Administration Medical Center

The United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs provides government-run benefits for veterans and their families.

While the VA in its current form has only been around since 1930, the country’s history of providing for disabled veterans goes back to before the U.S. was even a country.

In 1636, the European settlers in the Massachusetts Bay Colony were at war with the Pequot tribe. The colony passed a law then that stated it would support any disabled soldiers from that war. And we have provided for our veterans in some form ever since.

Photo by Sara Stathas / Milwaukee Magazine

Almost two-and-a-half years ago, we first learned about a novel program that uses the characters and lines of Shakespeare to work with veterans suffering from PTSD and a range of other mental health and reintegration issues. 

Ken Hanson

There is a growing cultural conversation about gender identity in the United States. Shows like TransparentOrange is the New Black, and I Am Cait have all put transgender issues in the spotlight, and explored what it really means to be trans or gender nonconforming. But these concepts of gender diversity and identity weren't really talked about until recently.  

Algonquin Publishing

Do you ever wonder what would happen if you drove past your exit on the highway, instead of going home to make dinner after work? Or what your destination would be, if you could just drop everything and head out on the road?

That’s the fantasy-turned-reality for the main character in Leave Me, the latest novel from bestselling author Gayle Forman.

Harper Collins Publishers

Wisconsin native Danielle Trussoni wrote a memoir ten years ago that focused on her childhood in La Crosse. It explored how she came to terms with her dad, who had suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder from his service as a so-called “tunnel rat” during the Vietnam War. 

That book helped launch Trussoni’s literary career. She turned to fiction and wrote two novels that straddle the line between thriller and supernatural. Those were written while Trussoni was married to a Bulgarian man who was brilliant, but also enigmatic and disturbing.

Victoria М / Fotolia

Over the past few days, WUWM has examined the issues surrounding the addiction crisis in Wisconsin and the many people it affects – beyond those addicted.

Susan Bence

Last week, Governor Walker floated his proposal for the future of the state’s transportation budget. The plan includes a two-year delay on the Zoo Interchange work and no additional taxes. It’s just the beginning to the biennial budget cycle.

The story begins with a St. Paul, Minnesota-based family named the Griggs. In the 19th century, the family made a fortune in the lumber industry, allowing the Griggs to acquire a 872-acre estate in Northern Wisconsin, called Forest Lodge.

The Griggs’s enjoyment of their oasis on the shores of Lake Namekagon stretched across three generations. In 1999, the Lodge’s final direct heir, Mary Griggs Burke, donated the estate to The Trust for Public Land.

hankimage9 / Fotolia

Issues such as homicide, motor vehicle deaths and infant mortality often fill the news, but addiction has taken more lives overall. In fact, both prescription opioids and heroin use end more lives in Wisconsin than car accidents.

lovegtr35 / Fotolia

The number of people dying of drug overdoses in Milwaukee County continues to be staggering. In the past seven weeks, 71 people have died of probable overdoses. One was the son of Milwaukee’s Medical Examiner, Dr. Brian Peterson.

Addiction crosses all boundaries - social, economic, race, gender, age - according to Dr. John Schneider, executive medical director of the Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division and an expert on addiction.

This weekend, for the 6th straight year, more than 150 buildings, businesses, and other facilities, will open their doors to anyone interested in looking inside. Doors Open Milwaukee attracts tens of thousands of people to area sites they might not otherwise get to see.

Blyth Renate Meier

After years of blood, sweat and money in service to a degree, the sad truth is that many college grads will not work in their major. At least not at first. That was certainly the case for local photographer Blyth Meier. After earning master’s degrees in photography and film, she found herself working as the head of marketing for Milwaukee Film.

U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

If you've been paying attention to current events, it's pretty hard not to notice all the conversations surrounding immigrants and what it means to be an American. In a country founded by immigrants and outsiders, differing opinions on immigration have become a dividing force in an increasingly divided nation. Lake Effect contributor Kyle Cherek has also found himself thinking about immigrants – especially when it comes to food production.

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