Local Focus

Taking a stand
On a clear morning in early May, Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. sits astride his horse, his posture firm, in MacArthur Square in downtown Milwaukee. While a photographer snaps his picture, a news crew appears and begins filming. Shortly after the shoot wraps up, a reporter swoops in to ask Clarke how the photo session is benefiting taxpayers. Clarke looks the reporter squarely in the eye and says, "What kind of question is that?"

Brave in the Face of Danger
There are heroes among us. Every year, at its Brave Hearts Awards celebration, the Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter of the American Red Cross makes sure that they do not go unnoticed. The Brave Hearts Awards recognize the life-saving achievements of people who have stepped up under extraordinary circumstances to come to the aid of others. The 2013 honorees, in six categories, have all had their mettle tested in life-threatening situations and prevailed. The Hero of the Year, Cristal Wilson, is just 10 years old.

Neo expression
The crowd of kids and adults gathered around Ben Seidman as his fingers fluttered around the deck of cards. His lean digits were like a hummingbird about to land in the courtyard of Lynden Sculpture Garden. After a few waves and moves in a shuffle that would make a chemin de fer croupier envious, out pops the correct card previously selected by one of the youngsters. Applause all around.
Beautiful heart
The Steinway piano is out of proportion in the modest Mequon apartment, but right-sized for its place in Sigrid Gullickson’s existence.
Neo expression
Growing up in a large family in Fox Point, Peter Kudlata quickly learned that he could earn extra cash by cutting grass in his neighborhood. So, even as an English major at St. Norbert College, he’d hitchhike home on weekends to keep up with a growing lawn care gig that helped pay for school.
Celluloid Adventures
If anybody can spell "Oconomowoc," it has to be Andy Gillies and Joe Haas, two rising young Wisconsin filmmakers. The reason why their spelling is on target is obvious. Their most recent production is a comedy of the same name as the Waukesha County community.
Indie Impresario
Michael Raisler’s love of making movies harkens back to his childhood in Wauwatosa. Today, Raisler has realized his movie-making dreams, as executive producer of "Beasts of the Southern Wild" — this summer’s blockbuster indie film — which tells the story a young girl dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane that turns her Louisiana island world upside down.

Living the dream
One of Peter Shelley’s earliest memories is crossing the Pyrenees Mountains on foot with his mother, Ruth, and his little brother, George.
Poor little George had to be gagged so he wouldn’t make any noises that would give away their location. Little did young Peter know that years later, his courageous journey would earn him an Ellis Island Medal of Honor.


Redemption song
His friends and family know him by his birth name, Mark Phillips Jr., but Milwaukee recording artist MP Luciano — who adapted his stage name after gangster Charlie "Lucky" Luciano — is a master of transformation. Now, at 31, he’s feeling mighty lucky himself.

Strumming success
Nora Collins launched her songwriting career when she was 14, just to break the monotony. "I was bored that summer and had an old guitar laying around my room," she says. "I only knew four chords."

Scholastic achievement
Amy Mrotek is holding her breath. Her Pius XI High School creative writing teacher, Dan Martin, has handed back her short story, "Oil and Water," not with a grade, but a note: "See me." She wonders what she’s done wrong. After class, Martin explains.
On the fast track
When Laura Bray decided to pursue her master’s degree in 2002, she was working full time for Milwaukee’s Department of City Development and juggling a heavy extracurricular schedule. But the urban redevelopment advocate recognized that an MBA was necessary to advance her career, so she enrolled in Marquette University’s accelerated MBA program.
Changing lives through music
If music is the universal language, music education should know no boundaries. Thanks to a community effort, students at Hadfield Elementary School in Waukesha are learning to play classical music using "El Sistema," or "The System" — an approach to teaching music that originated in South America.
What a feeling
Two photo albums dramatically show the "before" and "after" of the heart surgeries that saved Helen Kraklow’s life. The first holds snapshots taken when Helen was a baby, even more helpless than most infants. She’s hooked up to an assortment of tubes and monitors, and bandages protect an incision across her tiny chest. "I still get choked up," says her dad, Tom Kraklow.

Leader of the pack
To say Bernice Larson is an excellent bridge player is an understatement. Larson plays a style of bridge known as duplicate bridge, in which you don’t win by playing the hand dealt to you. Instead, you play the same cards as your opponents — but play them better.

Words with friends
Both novice and seasoned writers, at one point or another, have what Nobel-prize-winning author J.M. Coetzee calls the "bout with the page." It’s that drought when the words can’t find their natural rhythm, or don’t show up at all.


Here comes Kitty
It’s often said that great art runs in the family. And Kitty Sturrock is proving that to be true. The Mequon resident, whose mother was an artist and grandfather an architect, has been chosen as one of the featured artists for this year’s Channel 10 Auction, which airs April 27-May 5.

An idea that stuck
Like many of his fellow sixth-graders at Swallow Elementary in the town of Merton, Greyson MacLean has always liked messing around with Legos. He just wasn’t a fan of the stickers that came with them. They were semi-permanent, he says, and left a sticky residue on the plastic blocks.

London calling
Gwen Jorgensen never dreamed of becoming an Olympic athlete. Even during college, when she reached All-American status in track, she didn’t have her sites set on representing the United States at the games.

Live, learn and pass it on
The area's top educators share from-the-heart insight 
for making the most of your family's educational experience.

The talk
When older adults and their children talk about the senior possibly moving, things can get heated. "We tend to play the conversation over and over in our head, ahead of time, and prepare our arguments," says Adele Lund, director of community relations for the Laureate Group of senior residences.

To hell and back
William Rossman was a fresh-faced boy of 19 when he enlisted in the Army Air Force in January 1943, eager to see action in World War II. Soon he would be in the thick of some of the most ferocious air battles in the European Theater.

Living proof
On a Wednesday morning five summers ago, Mary Schneider’s bed at Froedtert Hospital was rolled into a surgical holding area. Nearby was another bed where Schneider’s sister, Amy Sanner, lay waiting for the biggest day of their lives.
A win-win-win
For an hour each Saturday, Kevin Tock proudly watches his 5-year-old son, Bryce, smile and laugh as he plays soccer, though Tock has a different perspective on the game than most parents.

Flying solo
M reveals Milwaukee's 20 hottest singles - and what makes them tick.

Frozen in time
In August 2010, Milwaukee conservator Cricket Harbeck boarded a C17 cargo plane in Christchurch, New Zealand, and headed for Antarctica as a contractor for the Antarctic Heritage Trust, sponsored by the Natural History Museum in London.

Urban renewal
The Rev. David Shields believes he has experienced a bit of divine intervention. Without a debilitating disease that struck him about two decades ago, the Jesuit priest might never have come to Milwaukee and created Casa Romero Renewal Center, a bilingual retreat on Bruce Street that offers spiritual programs to the Latino community.

All things mommy
For an hour each Saturday, Kevin Tock proudly watches his 5-year-old son, Bryce, smile and laugh as he plays soccer, though Tock has a different perspective on the game than most parents.

Band of brothers
As a co-founder of Guitars for Vets Inc., vice president and executive director Patrick Nettesheim sees something amazing happen when a veteran picks up a guitar.
Science guy
Science, says Elm Grove teenager Liam McCarty, "isn’t static." McCarty may be poised to make his own contributions to the changing world of science after winning a recent nationwide competition.

Glee, Milwaukee style
"Hey, kids, let’s sing and dance!" That’s just what First Stage Children’s Theater has a hard-working group of kids doing for fun ... and learning. Founded in 1987, the company has blossomed from a small theater for young audiences to a nationally renowned organization.

Making a 180
Read about three Milwaukee area residents and how they changed their lives to become an Ironman triathlete, a heart attack survivor who now lives for the gym, and a once morbidly obese mom who lost 110 pounds by walking, eating better and a yoga habit that still won’t quit.


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