Living Nightmare on Orchard Street

This was originally printed in the December 9, 2010 issue of On the Edge.  This tiny last-minute addition to the school newspaper ended up being the article I got the most compliments about in my writing career, even after college.  So much for hard-hitting news.  (Just kidding.)

Life with an old lady.  What’s it like?  Is it full of cookies and the smell of freshly-baked banana bread?  Does she sit in an armchair knitting booties for her grandkids?  Is she soft-spoken and kind and in bed by eight?

Hardly.  I live with an old lady (or at least an older lady), and let me say my reality is far from that picturesque image of an old woman in a rocking chair.

I live with a 63-year old – or thereabouts – woman in a co-housing community in Madison.  I signed on to rent a room with a private entrance from a polite lady, and what I got was an 11 by 11-foot square in the middle of a hippie commune with a wacky housemate.

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Steeped in Tradition, Baltica Tea Opens Its Port Doors

This article was originally published here on the Port Washington-Saukville Patch website on June 5, 2011.  A related article can be found here.  All photos also by Lisa Kaminski.

Simply put, “it’s incredible,” Executive Director of Port Washington Main Street Sara Grover said of the newly opened Baltica Tea Room and Gift Shop.

The tea room, 223 N. Franklin St., opened its doors Monday after months of renovation, and “you wouldn’t even know the place,” according to Grover.

Owners Urszula Cholowinska and Dan Micha spent the last five months renovating the building, formerly G.L. Graf Jewelers, and opened the doors to the public this week.   Continue reading

Ozaukee Humane Society to Unleash New Saukville Shelter in February

This was originally published here on the Port Washington-Saukville Patch site on January 1, 2011.

In the final stages of construction, the new Ozaukee Humane Society is nearly ready to open its doors in Saukville to pets and the community.

Director of Program Services for the Wisconsin Humane Society Beth Maresh said choosing the Saukville location for the shelter’s new facility was a simple decision.

“It’s a fantastic location right on Highway 33, near I-43.  It’s easily accessible,” she said.  The facility is set to open sometime in February.

An upgrade from its current digs — a former outdoor movie concession stand on Highway W in Grafton — the new 22,000-square-foot shelter in Saukville will be able to house 50 dogs, 80 cats and a handful of small animals, Maresh said. The Grafton facility can house less than 50 pets in its 4,000-square-foot space.  Continue reading

B-17 Bomber’s Visit Brings WWII History to Life

This article was published in Brookfield NOW and on June 29, 2010. It appears online here.

Seeing a 1945 B-17 bomber restored to its original splendor at Wings Over Waukesha was a proud moment for World War II veterans Robert Abresch and John Rosenberg, both of Brookfield.

The annual event, which took place at the Waukesha County Airport this past weekend, honored the war and its veterans with war re-enactors, restored aircraft and flyovers.

The star of the show was the B-17, Aluminum Overcast, which attracted about 5,000 visitors. Continue reading

Student’s Bus Ride Takes a Violent Turn

This was originally published in the print edition of On the Edge, Edgewood College’s student newspaper April 21, 2010.

This March, Edgewood student Pablo Melendez was threatened with a gun on his bus ride home, yet the college failed to notify the campus about this dangerous encounter.

At 1:30 in the afternoon, 23-year-old Melendez left Edgewood and took a seat in the back of the nearly empty 3 bus heading downtown. Two stops later, a tall, middle-aged man with light brown hair and blue eyes wearing brown boots and blue cargo pants boarded the bus looking to make conversation. The man asked Melendez if they could talk. Melendez declined his offer, but the man spoke anyway. The exchange began innocently enough with the passenger discussing what he was making for dinner, but quickly turned the topic of conversation to Melendez. He noticed Melendez’s dress shoes and camera and said, “I can see you haven’t been through a lot of shit.” Melendez replied that the camera was from school and he was only a student.

At this point Melendez said he could tell “he had some sor t of problems,” and soon the man showed Melendez the gun he had in his pocket. “He said he could shoot anyone on this bus and he could shoot me,” Melendez stated. “He kept looking at me and he didn’t blink. He had a very intense look, but he was smiling. It was really horrible.”

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