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Jon Ferraro

Meet Jon Ferraro, the Man Who’s Trying to Open a Downtown Strip Club

Raised an only child in a wholesome family and educated at Catholic school, Jon Ferraro has grown up to be a lavishly successful businessman in his hometown, earning a fortune — and lots of headlines — in the unholy world of strip clubs. He owns three. He wants to own more. Standing in the way is a city tired of his act and a lingering legal matter with the code name "Russian Laundry."...

Wisconsin is Trying to Turn Lake Michigan Shipwrecks Into an ‘Underwater National Park’

The waters off Wisconsin’s east coast hold treasures known and yet-undiscovered, with hundreds of sunken ships resting for decades – some for well over a century – on Lake Michigan’s floor. A federal push to create essentially an underwater national park would protect an especially interesting stretch of water, sending divers and researchers down under and creating coastal cachet for lakeside harbor towns....

Shelter From the Storm

Carmen Pitre runs the world's most comprehensive facility dedicated to victims of domestic abuse. She gives hope to the hopeless, seeing in them many of the same struggles that defined her early life....

Identity Crisis

Milwaukee has struggled to reach beyond its beer-and-brats identity in a way that stirs both visitors and residents. Are we finally close to getting it right?...

Seven Hundred Mondays

In 1954, a group of local women started a book club. They still meet once a month, but their six decades of friendship has proven richer and more illuminating than the tens of thousands of pages they've read....

Come Together

After Sylville Smith and summer unrest in the city, five Milwaukeeans talk openly about race and what we can all do to form a more perfect union....

Family Guy

Beneath the tattoos and chiseled physique, Adam Von Rothfelder carries deep scars, physical and emotional, and an abiding desire to improve the fitness and the lives of everyone in his native Milwaukee, be they a CEO or his two young kids. Here he shares pro tips about keeping the entire family fit....

Lady Leah

Leah Vukmir, a soft-spoken former nurse, has emerged as one of the heaviest hitters in the Wisconsin Legislature, all by doing it her way. ...

The Selma of the North

Thirty years ago, Richard Bernard and Bill Lueders wrote of Father James Groppi and what led to the 200-day march for better open-housing laws. We're revisiting this story now to better understand what has and hasn't changed for racial equality in the decades since....

Let It Grow

When it comes to saving for retirement, do you have the knowledge necessary to chart your own course, or would you benefit from some professional expertise? Use our guide to help you decide and, if appropriate, to find an adviser who is worth the investment....

Breaking Away

They grew up in a religious colony defined by old-world norms and rigid controls. Now they’ve left their upbringings behind, settled in Wisconsin and embraced rock ‘n roll, YouTube and waterskiing. But they remain very religious. Meet The Nine....

The Changing Face of Agriculture in Wisconsin

Big farms keep getting bigger. Midsized farms keep disappearing. In the shadow of these seismic changes in the rural Wisconsin landscape, tiny farms have proliferated, fed by consumer demand for local eats and healthy choices. A look at what's driving the supersizing, and microsizing, and what it means for the rest of us....

Summerfest by the Numbers

From zero (seemingly available picnic tables at peak hours) to 52,621 (burgers consumed) to 89,263 (patrons who entered the grounds for free thanks to promotions) and everything in between. ...

Everybody Loves Dean

Dean Strang was a Wisconsin criminal defense attorney admired by his peers but little known to the general public. Then came "Making a Murderer."...

Creature Feature

In the spring, natural pools form and, as if by magic, fill with life. Then, just as suddenly, they disappear. Despite their evanescent status, they are crucial to the life cycle of frogs and other tiny critters....

Setting a High Bar

In an educational world that’s shifted to choose-your-own-adventure from one-size-fits-all, some high schools have found student success using very different approaches. Here’s a look at three of them....

Giving Bonobos A Hand

The world’s largest group of captive bonobos lives in Milwaukee. Sometimes, they break each other’s fingers. Dr. James Sanger is there to fix them....

Behind the Walls

It’s called restorative justice, and it asks crime victims to come face to face with convicts. Why would they? And how did an avowed skeptic of the concept become its biggest advocate?...

On the Move

Millennials are buying homes. Short-term rental services like Airbnb have found a market here. These and many other red-hot real estate revelations fill out this property package. ...

Well Suited

Nearly 400 African-American boys and men, ages 5 to 73, got dressed up for a day on the town in December 2015. In a year defined by tragedies, they ended it with hope and high style. ...

In the Woods

Lawyers, police, forensic psychologists and Internet folklorists have all tried explaining why two girls from Waukesha nearly stabbed a third girl to death. All have fallen short, and the horrific saga sparked by Slender Man remains an enigma....

Finding Peace

War changed her life, chasing Chris Her-Xiong from a childhood home in Laos all the way to America. Now, her Hmong American Peace Academy is changing the lives of Milwaukee’s children and its Hmong community....

Hard Lessons

The University of Wisconsin's two-year colleges lost two-thirds of their deans to budget cuts. None of the 13 feeder schools will close. But will their mission change?...

A Quiet Elegance

Milwaukee’s East Side neighborhood of North Point has always been a place of distinction and style. In an excerpt from his new book, 'Milwaukee: City of Neighborhoods,' local historian John Gurda leads readers through North Point’s storied past....

Into the Woods

Fate took their sight, or limbs, or left them with other health issues, but their love of hunting remained strong. Now, one volunteer group makes sure that love doesn’t go unrequited....

Family Feud

Rebecca Kleefisch and her gay uncle were once as close as sister and brother. Her bizarre condemnation of same-sex marriage during her campaign for lieutenant governor drove a wedge between the two. They haven’t spoken since....

In a State of Transition

Banished and bullied, at least four transgender people have killed themselves in Wisconsin since 2013, two of them from the same high school. Yet emerging in unlikely places are pockets of support for transgender youth. ...

Agents of Change

Sharon & Larry Adams are into their second decade of rehabbing houses, planting gardens, raising bees and helping families. As they inch toward retirement, they’ve doubled down on plans to transform one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city....

Talking Shop

The Internet is changing the way retailers of all sizes think about how they're selling clothing and accessories. Some are worried, others are shuttering, and many more are finding new ways to exploit our love of shopping. Who will be declared the winner?...

The New Immigrants

Curtiss, Wisconsin, was settled more than 150 years ago by Norwegians and Germans. Today, most of its residents are from Mexico. Yet the divergent paths of immigration to this outstate farm town are more similar than you would think....