Saturday, September 4, 2021

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Attendance lower than expected so far at Summerfest


Festival President and CEO Don Smiley says it was important to reopen after last year's Big Gig was canceled

Vendors and fans say, so far, there are fewer people than expected at Summerfest 2021, especially since there was no festival last year.

Summerfest never talks about attendance numbers at this point in the festival, but attendance declined three years in a row through 2019, and then the pandemic shut it down entirely last year.

The opening night of Summerfest is usually wall-to-wall people, but not Thursday night's opening.

"Luke Bryan, the whole row in front of us was empty, and several of the bleacher sections were totally empty," Summerfest guest Robin Venvertioh said.

"I kind of like it. No waits for the bathrooms, no waits for the food, no wait for the beer. People are still happy," Lisa Shepard said.

Saz's Hospitality Group says attendance and sales are lower than expected so far, but they're hoping that changes for the holiday weekend.

"I think we're ready for more. I think going into the weekend, the weather looks really good tomorrow. So we're ready for a big weekend. We have the food. We have the supplies. We were able to find some last-minute staff to join us," said Curt Kluth of Saz's Hospitality Group.

With the festival moved from June to September, college students and teenagers are back in class.

Bob Mittnacht said he's been coming to Summerfest since 1971, and he noticed there aren't as many young people.

"Well, I'm a little disappointed that the crowd's kind of light. But a little chance of rain and things will do that. But it's every bit as good as it was every other year. That's for sure," Mittnacht said.

"Well, it's definitely a little slow for this year. Other years it's been people waiting at the gates," James Hlavachek said.

"How much does this help to reopen?" WISN 12 News reporter Terry Sater asked Summerfest President and CEO Don Smiley.

"Yeah, it's extraordinarily important. We got crushed last year. We lost 99% of our annual revenue," he said.

Smiley said it will take a few years to make up for last year's loss.

The festival has competition in September. There are high school football and college football, and the festival is closed on Sundays.


Nearly 2,000 cars to be on display for Kenosha Classic Cruise-In show

From TMJ4:

Photo by: David Mendez
Posted at 8:26 AM, Sep 03, 2021
and last updated 8:40 AM, Sep 03, 2021

KENOSHA — Car lovers from across Wisconsin will be in Kenosha this weekend for the annual Kenosha Classic Cruise-In show.

The event, which started in 2004, will have about 1800 cars on display from old classic cars to motorcycles.

The event is free to display your car and free to get it. The show is put on by Kenosha Classic Street Machines and will be held in downtown Kenosha near 56th street and 7th avenue. Cars fans should expect increased traffic in the downtown area.

The 17th annual car show is on Saturday, September 4th and runs from 9:00 a.m.- 4 p.m.

For more information, click here.


Open Blog - Weekend

Three day weekend.

Friday, September 3, 2021

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Milwaukee County prepared to reject election subpoena

From TMJ4:

Photo by: TMJ4

Posted at 5:01 PM, Sep 02, 2021
and last updated 5:01 PM, Sep 02, 2021

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Milwaukee County’s chief elections clerk has indicated that he isn't going to comply with a subpoena issued by a Republican lawmaker requiring him to turn over ballots and voting machines to a GOP-controlled legislative committee next week.

Clerk George Christenson said Thursday that his official response was coming Friday, but that based on concerns raised by legislative attorneys about the validity of the subpoenas, “one can guess our response.”

State Rep. Janel Brandtjen, chairwoman of the Assembly Elections Committee, issued subpoenas to election clerks in Milwaukee and Brown counties on Aug. 6 ordering them to appear before her committee at noon on Tuesday with the requested material.


Packers bar in Jacksonville ready to welcome hundreds of fans after NFL moved season opener location

From TMJ4:

Travel expert offers tips on how you can change plans to get there

Posted at 12:25 PM, Sep 02, 2021
and last updated 12:25 PM, Sep 02, 2021

Staff at a Packers bar in Jacksonville, Florida are getting ready to welcome hundreds of Green Bay fans after the NFL announced the season opener will move to their city.

The Packers will now open the team's season against the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 12 in Jacksonville, Florida at TIAA Bank Field. The effects from Hurricane Ida caused the change in location.

Culhane's Irish Pub is listed as a Packers bar and the local headquarters in Jacksonville for Packers fans. Mary Jane Culhane, co-owner of the Irish pub, said they'll have hundreds of people watch the green and gold at their establishment on game days decked out in Packers gear.

The pub even offers cheese curds and other specials in honor of the Packers.

"I've seen huge crowds, sometimes even close to 200 in a regular game. And we've never even gotten that for a Jaguar game. So the Packers fans are a big deal here in Jacksonville," Culhane said. "I can't imagine how much bigger it can be with people flying in for the game."

Culhane anticipates triple the crowd for the upcoming season opener.

She said the team added a tent and bar trailer for an outdoor tailgate party that will be used on game days, including Sept. 12. Culhane said they plan to add more tents outside for the season opener.

"We are prepared and we'll treat it like a St. Patrick's party, because we know everybody likes to dress up and wear their cheese curd hats and all the festive stuff," Culhane said.

If people are looking to change travel plans to watch the game, and maybe check out Culhane's Irish Pub, a travel agency owner in De Pere has some suggestions.

Pete Monfre, owner of Midwest Travel Club, said people should read terms and conditions for hotel reservations, rental cars, and airline tickets to understand if there are any cancellation penalties or associated fees.

"Every policy is going to be a little bit different, so know what you're entitled to, know what you're not entitled to, and then you'll be able to make a more informed decision when you change your plans," Monfre said.

For those hoping to book plane tickets and hotel rooms in Jacksonville, Monfre said it's best to make the move sooner rather than later.

"The Packers are very popular and everyone's going to have the same idea right now, which is try to get themselves on a flight, in a hotel as fast as possible," Monfre said. "So don't wait. Don't sit there and say, 'I hope I get a last-minute deal.' It's going to fill up, especially because it's so last minute."

Monfre said travel agents can assist people in evaluating terms and conditions on purchases and looking into other flexible options while making new bookings, such as finding different routes to travel in and out of.


Summerfest returns, fans excited; COVID rules in place

From Fox6Now:

The COVID-19 pandemic robbed festivalgoers of the Big Gig that so many have been waiting for. The 2021 twist on tradition came with added appreciation.

Open Blog - Friday

 It sure is.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

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What to know about Summerfest 2021 tickets, COVID-19 rules, shuttle changes, bag policy, new areas and more

From JSOnline:
Rachel Ryan
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The late night music and roaring crowds will soon be back — but this time, in the fall.

Summerfest, previously a two week-long festival in the summer, will span three weekends in September this year. And that’s not the only change. 

From COVID-19 to worker shortages, Summerfest has had to make some adjustments. It’s hard to keep them all straight.

Here’s what you need to know if you’re heading out to Summerfest in September:

The basics: When and where is Summerfest 

When: Noon to midnight, September 2-4, 9-11 and 16-18.  

Where: Maier Festival Park, 200 N. Harbor Drive, Milwaukee.

What: More than 800 bands on 11 stages over nine days. 

Summerfest tickets

Crowds fill the concourse between stages at Summerfest in Milwaukee on Wednesday, June 26, 2019.

If you purchased a Summerfest 2020 weekday admission ticket, it’s valid for the 2021 festival with entry before 4 p.m. on either Thursdays or Fridays. It permits access to all ground stages with the exception of the American Family Insurance Amphitheater.

Here’s the tickets breakdown:

General admission: $23, single day. Many deals are available for discounted or free entry.  

Seniors 62 and older and children ages 3 to 10 can get in for free, but due to the age restrictions, these tickets can only be obtained at Summerfest ticket windows during operating hours. 

UScellular 3-day pass: $57.

6-day pass: $75.

UScellular Power Pass (9-day pass for the whole festival): $100.

BMO Harris Pavilion reserved seating (includes general admission): $30 and up. 

Level Up Viewing Deck at the Miller Lite Oasis (includes general admission and two drinks): Prices vary based on the artist.

American Family Insurance Amphitheater: Artists playing at the amphitheater require an additional ticket with prices varying by demand.

Summerfest 2021 headliners include (from top left) Miley Cyrus, Dave Chappelle, Weezer and Dave Matthews Band.

Read more:

Wisconsin election probe includes $325,000 for data analysis

From TMJ4:

Photo by: Scott Bauer/AP
Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, the highest ranking Republican in the state, said he didn't know what a forensic audit of the state's 2020 presidential election results would prove on Tuesday, July 27, 2021, during a news conference in the state Capitol in Madison, Wis. Vos said that two other ongoing investigations were sufficient while disagreeing publicly with a GOP colleague who called for yet another, broader probe. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)
Posted at 6:26 PM, Sep 01, 2021
and last updated 6:26 PM, Sep 01, 2021

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Nearly half of the money being spent on a Republican-ordered investigation into Wisconsin’s 2020 presidential election is earmarked for data analysis related to voting machines.

That's according to a contract released Wednesday to The Associated Press under Wisconsin's open records law. It spells out how the $676,000 in taxpayer money will be spent.

The contract was entered into by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Michael Gableman, who is leading the probe.

Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz says taxpayers should be outraged at the investigation, which he says is a continuation of the “big lie” that Donald Trump won.


Open Blog - Thursday

When is the new weekend?

Wednesday, September 1, 2021


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No one knows what's going on.  I've seen published breakthrough case rates from 2% to 30% of total cases.  Sloppy Joe's CDC is a joke, and we will suffer for it.  This reminds me of his Afghanistan debacle.

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Party on, Sloppy Joe!

Grandfather charged in death of 12-year-old grandson after beating that allegedly lasted more than an hour

From JSOnline:
Elliot Hughes
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

A little more than three months ago, Andrez D. Martina moved back to Milwaukee from Indiana to build a relationship with his grandchildren. On Saturday, he asked to host two grandsons, ages 12 and 8, overnight.

In the middle of the night, he woke up, thought money was missing from his wallet, and began assaulting both boys, ultimately focusing on the older one.

Martina, 53, beat Andre R. Smith II with a mallet, a sledgehammer, two belts, a coat rack and a cane over the course of 60 to 90 minutes in his home on the 4600 block of North 46th Street on Milwaukee’s north side.

Those gruesome details and more are alleged in a criminal complaint charging Martina with five felonies, including first-degree intentional homicide, in connection with Andre’s death Sunday. The grandfather faces life in prison.

The attack was witnessed by Martina’s mother, who is disabled and could not intervene, the complaint said, and by Andre’s 8-year-old brother, who suffered a broken finger and bruising.

Andre made two attempts to escape, at one point running out of the home and at another, locking himself in a bathroom. But Martina was able to grab him the first time and drag him back into the home, and, later, pick the lock of the bathroom, the complaint said.

In an interview with police, Martina said he had told the boys in the past, “If you lie, if you mess up in school, if you steal, I’m going to kill you,” the complaint said.

He told police he lost control in beating Andre, and “will have to deal with this (expletive) for the rest of my life.”

Martina was previously convicted of first-degree reckless homicide in Milwaukee County in 1990, online court records show.

Andre’s death comes during a wave of violence involving young people in Milwaukee. Between Aug. 23 and Aug. 30, the city experienced nine homicides, with seven of the victims between 12 and 19 years of age, including Andre.

“It is inconceivable to me that anyone could use such force to cause harm and fatal injuries to a child, or anyone,” Ald. Khalif Rainey, who represents the area where Andre was attacked, said in a statement. “This heinous and unspeakable violence simply cannot happen and must be strongly denounced in the community.”

'That smile was so infectious'

Illysha McCroy, Andre’s grandmother and legal guardian, said in a Journal Sentinel interview that Andre experienced a rough upbringing and had been seeing trauma and crisis therapists for the last year. He had been showing progress, she said.

“I was gradually getting him back to trying to be a kid,” she said. “He was that light in a dark place, even though he had a rough childhood. He was just bright. I don’t see how people can harm kids period, but especially not Andre. That smile he had was so infectious.”

The grandmother described Andre as a “real people person” who enjoyed watching his older brothers play basketball and talked about one day becoming an architect.

She said he spent much of his free time building things on video games such as Minecraft and Roblox, or with Legos or anything else available.

“He was just real crafty,” she said.

McCroy said Martina's early efforts to build a relationship with the boys had been pleasant. He worked up the street from the family home at an ice cream parlor. He would bring them treats and take them shopping.

The morning after the beating, Martina sent McCroy a text accusing Andre of stealing. When she asked where Andre was, Martina indicated the child was hurt.

The grandmother went to the house with her daughter and her boyfriend. The boyfriend took Andre to Children's Wisconsin, where he was pronounced dead.

McCroy said she “never thought in a million, million years something like this would happen.”

Contact Elliot Hughes at or 414-704-8958. Follow him on Twitter @elliothughes12.


Travel Wisconsin: Racine


NWS issues high swim risk for beaches between Milwaukee, Kenosha

From TMJ4:

"Avoid swimming in these areas"

Photo by: TMJ4

Posted at 8:59 PM, Aug 31, 2021
and last updated 8:59 PM, Aug 31, 2021

MILWAUKEE — The National Weather Service has issued a high swim risk for beaches in Milwaukee and south through Kenosha through Wednesday morning.

The warning is due to persistent breezy northeast winds and waves as high as 3-5 feet, the service said in a social media post Tuesday afternoon.

The NWS also warns of a moderate swim risk from Port Washington up to north of Sheboygan.

The service urges people to avoid being on the north side of area piers and break walls.

View the NWS' warning below:


Wind Point child pornography case; charges referred against suspect

From Fox6Now:

David Peters

A Village of Wind Point man is expected to face nearly a dozen possession of child pornography charges in Racine County.

Officials say on Monday, Aug. 30, members of the Racine County Criminal Investigations Bureau and the Racine County Internet Crimes Against Children Unit served a search warrant in Wind Point. While on the scene with the suspect, identified by officials in a news release as David Peters, Peters admitted to looking for and downloading child pornography. 

A forensic examination of Peters’ electronic devices was conducted on Tuesday, Aug. 31 – and numerous images of child pornography were located. Investigators subsequently took Peters into custody without incident.

Peters is now at the Racine County Jail. Officials forwarded ten counts of possession of child pornography to the Racine County District Attorney’s Office for consideration.


Racine mask mandate reinstated, effective immediately

From Fox6Now:

The Racine Common Council voted to reinstate an indoor mask mandate during a virtual meeting Tuesday night, Aug. 31. The mask ordinance takes effect immediately.

Public Health Administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox requested the ordinances and said just over 40% of Racine residents are fully vaccinated. Others say the policies would just set the city back.

Inside his store on Main Street in Racine, EYEopenerZ owner Ken Brown reflected on the pandemic's impact on his business.

"When all of your customers are locked up in their homes, it doesn't help to be essential if they're not coming out," Brown said. "It potentially just reduces the number of people who are going to want to come into Racine to do their shopping."

That is why Brown and a handful of others stood outside City Hall on Tuesday to show opposition to the COVID-19 policies just as the Common Council met virtually to consider them.

"This is onerous regulations, and it's completely unnecessary. Let us have our liberty. Let us have our freedom. Let people make their own intelligent choices," said Brown.

Group expresses opposition to COVID-19 ordinances outside Racine City Hall.

The health department's request for the new ordinances cited a low vaccination rate and high rate of transmission.

"It is necessary for additional prevention measures to be implemented to protect the health of the public," Bowersox said.

The reinstatement of the city's indoor mask mandate would apply to everyone ages 5 and older in public spaces – excluding private homes and offices not open to visitors. Not following mask policy could result in incremental fines starting at $25 for individuals and $50 for businesses.

"We're looking at mandating masks in public and private places with the result of revoking licenses and closing businesses. It's just too extreme," Alderman Henry Perez said.

"We have an obligation in our community to protect the vulnerable folks in our community," said Alderwoman Natalia Taft.

During Tuesday's meeting, the Common Council deferred a vote on weekly COVID-19 testing requirements for unvaccinated city employees, wanting to first meet and discuss the proposed ordinance's impact with staff and bargaining representatives first.