Lake Effect

Gianofer Fields

If you thought Christmas advertising started even earlier than usual this year, you weren’t wrong. The first Christmas shopping commercial aired before Halloween. And the pressure to find the perfect gift sends many shoppers screaming into the stores the day after Thanksgiving. However, if you decide to make gifts for your loved ones instead, you had better get started before the first thaw.

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For some, December may mark the start of the holiday season, but for many Star Wars fans out there - Christmas came early with the release of Rogue One.

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Why are we so driven by smells and tastes of delicious, delectable foodstuffs, like mom's homemade lasagna? And, for that matter, why do we have an emotional connection to it?

Not too long ago, Lake Effect contributor Kyle Cherek, host of the Emmy-winning public television show Wisconsin Foodie, gave a TEDx talk discussing these queries, focusing on the intersection between flavor, history and memory.

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When the 21st Century Cures Act was signed by President Obama earlier this week, many praised the bill as a tribute to bipartisanship. The act passed with overwhelming support in the Senate, and was dedicated to Joe Biden’s son, Beau, who died last year from brain cancer.

Although the act earmarks funds for the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot and BRAIN initiatives, the act is more than 1,000 pages long and includes provisions for a myriad of healthcare issues.

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The intersection of history, memory, and flavor are on the mind of Lake Effect essayist Cari Taylor-Carlson. 

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If you haven’t noticed yet, it’s cold outside. Like, really, really cold. So cold, in fact, that the National Weather Service issued a wind chill advisory for the Milwaukee area, which has been experiencing windchills - unsurprising, considering windchills dipped well below zero last night.

Meteorologists have blamed the extreme cold on an interesting weather phenomenon: an arctic cold front, or arctic winds. 

Risk! is a live show and podcast “where people tell true stories they never thought they’d dare to share in public.” The show’s creator and host is Kevin Allison, a former member of the famous MTV sketch comedy troupe The State.

Since 2008, the podcast has steadily commanded a loyal audience, and now boasts over 2 million downloads per month.

Courtesy of Arts@Large

From April to July of 1994, members of the Hutu ethnic majority in the east-central African nation of Rwanda murdered as many as 800,000 people, mostly of the Tutsi minority. Started by extreme Hutu nationalists in the capital of Kigali, the genocide spread throughout the country – resulting in death, displacement and distrust that would last long after the summer of 1994.

"After killing a million people in only 100 days, the country was in ashes, everyone was in pain," says Dydine Umunyana.

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For some, the fall has been a trying time for their mental health. Some are overwhelmed by political news, others may be along on the roller coaster season the Green Bay Packers have had. Add to that with the upcoming holidays, and it is a season that keeps staffers at the statewide Center for Suicide Awareness busy.

The Kaukauna, Wisconsin nonprofit center strives to provide accessible, barrier free support for any individual in need.

Courtesy of Deb Brehmer

Della Wells was one of two people Milwaukee named as 'Artists of the Year' in 2016, and all you have to do is look at the scope and range of her body of work to understand why.

From large-scale paintings and collages to pillow dolls that would fit in your pocket, the Milwaukee native explores her blackness and her gender through her art.

Pewaukee Insight Official Website

Business casual. Handshakes. PowerPoint presentations, pitches and customer surveys.

You would think you’d just walked into the boardroom in a downtown Milwaukee business. But, in fact, you’re among a group of upperclassmen from Pewaukee High School.

Pewaukee juniors and seniors have the opportunity to sign up for a capstone class called “Insight.” The program is basically a real-world equivalent of the television show “Shark Tank” – students create, design and pitch business startups over the course of semester.

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Are you going home for Christmas this year?  Or are you at home, looking forward to the day that someone else will be coming home for Christmas?  Lake Effect essayist Jim Spangler believes there’s more to coming home for Christmas than simply bridging some distance:

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Chicago’s Second City comedy troupe first opened its doors in 1959, and in the more than half century since, the franchise has made a fine art of improvised sketch comedy. The list of folks who have worked there at some point in their careers reads like a who’s who of American comedy. 

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President-elect Donald Trump has upended many typical Washington conventions during the campaign and more recently, in his transition period. From international relations to science and environmental policy, predicting exactly what the Trump Presidency will look like is a challenging task.

Courtesy of Meg Rosoff

The British newspaper The Times once described Meg Rosoff's literary output thusly: "Searingly well written, her books read like Samuel Beckett on ecstasy." Perhaps best known for her first novel, How I Live Now, Rosoff's books often feature a teenaged protagonist exploring what it means to live in a world not of one's own making.

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