Here’s What You Missed in Wisconsin This Week: March 25

SistaStrings, China Lights, bald eagles, kerfuffles of various sorts and more.

SistaStrings Plays Live on “Jimmy Kimmel”

On Wednesday night, Milwaukee born-and-raised musical duo SistaStrings made their “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” debut, accompanying Allison Russell’s performance. The violin- and cello-playing duo, Monique and Chauntee Ross, released an EP in 2019 and a new single in 2021, before leaving Milwaukee for Nashville last year. 

Their success is great to see. If only my band OnlyChildClarinet could have gone so far.

The China Lights Festival is Back

Like my next dental appointment, the China Lights Festival was postponed for over two years. Unlike my next dental appointment, it is now actually happening. After missing 2020 and 2021, the festival is returning to the Boerner Botanical Gardens from Sept. 16 to Oct. 30 this year. China Lights always puts on a spectacular show, with over 40 elaborate handmade lanterns lit up on display. Visit at night, and the gardens will be colored in vibrant reds, yellows, and greens – kind of like my teeth.  

Milwaukee’s Got a Bald Eagle Nest Now

For years now, the bald eagle has been mounting a dramatic comeback in Wisconsin. This week, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison Audubon and Milwaukee County Parks Department officially announced a new milestone in that struggle – Milwaukee County has its first documented bald eagle nest in years. With that, every county in Wisconsin officially has one. You heard it here first: Bald eagle nests are the new Kwik Trip.

Actually, let’s fact-check that. Whoops. There isn’t a Kwik Trip in Florence County, Wisconsin. I wonder why. Maybe in 1782, company founder, Johnny Kwik and his long-time rival Billy ExxonMobil squared off in a duel in Florence County, and Johnny drew too slow and was struck in the leg by that coward Billy and spent the rest of his days walking with a limp, cursing Florence County as the site of his humiliation, and so he vowed that never would a Kwik Trip be built on its bloodstained grounds. Or maybe it’s because Florence County has less than 5,000 people. Either/or.

A Gas Kerfuffle in Waukesha

This week, Waukesha finds itself at the center of a gas showdown. A BP and a Shell station both filed lawsuits against Woodman’s, alleging that the grocery store is pricing them out of the market by selling gasoline below cost. Each station wants $80,000 in damages. According to GasBuddy on Wednesday, the BP was selling gas at $3.89, the Shell at $3.79, and Woodman’s at $3.69. Woodman’s is arguing that it can sell at that rate because of a legal exemption that allows it to match a competitor’s (in this case, Costco’s), prices. We’ll have to wait to see how the case plays out. My main takeaway – gas is under 4 bucks in Waukesha? $3.69?! That’s bargain-bin right now, man. I know where I’m filling my tank after work.

A Thick Coat of Atmospheric Dense Fog

On Wednesday, the National Weather Service hit southeastern Wisconsin with an advisory for dense fog. Some news outlets referred to the weather as “gloomy.” Not this one. Dense fog is the best kind of fog. To celebrate the moody occasion, I purchased a carton of cigarettes and a beret and sat out on my fire escape smoking and jotting poetry in my moleskin notebook. “Mon coeur brûle, et ton amour est le Tums,” I, a genius, wrote. 


 

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The Foxconn Site Is Still Largely Unused

Have you ever screwed up your courage and asked out a really beautiful, impressive, amazing person – someone completely out of the little backyard tee-ball set you call a league? And then, against all odds, this person said yes, and you were filled with joy at the sudden turn of good fortune.  You bought a new outfit, got a haircut, plucked your unibrow. And then when you showed up to the date, it turned out that she thought you were inviting her to, like, a party? With your friend Erik, who’s really hot? And then you said, “Uh, no. Actually … I had been thinking this was a date.” And she said, “Oh my God. No. No no no. Noooooooo. No. Definitely no.”

Nothing like that has ever happened to me. Let’s be clear. Never. But if it had, that is kind of how I’d imagine some people would feel about how the whole Foxconn business has turned out. After $1.4 billion was invested into infrastructure in preparation for the Foxconn plant, Mount Pleasant was left high and dry with a huge, mostly vacant plant site and those 13,000 promised jobs nowhere to be found. Plans to work with Intel fell through, so the village is now attempting to attract a new company to the location. What that company may be, or when a deal may eventually be struck remains unclear.  

Digging for Gold in the Northwoods

Full disclosure: I don’t think we know enough about this story for it to go in either Ups or Downs, so I just dropped it down here for now on a probationary basis. A Canadian company received a license to conduct exploratory drilling for gold and copper in the forests of Taylor and Marathon counties. The deposit sites contain over 4 million tons of copper and gold between them. This doesn’t mean that the company is going to be able to keep drilling – they’ll have to continue filing more permits if they want to do that. The company’s exploratory license expires in June (but can be renewed.)

You know, I’ve always wanted to dig for gold. That’s why I spend a lot of time at bars talking to older women with expensive handbags and poor eyesight.

I’ll be here all week.  

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Archer is the managing editor at Milwaukee Magazine. Some say he is a great warrior and prophet, a man of boundless sight in a world gone blind, a denizen of truth and goodness, a beacon of hope shining bright in this dark world. Others say he smells like cheese.