The Cutting Edge

Ann Marie Helm had been overweight all her life. At age 4, she was classified as morbidly obese. In her early 20s, joint pain made it hard to walk. By the time she was 30, with her diabetes and weight spiraling out of control, her doctor said she’d likely be dead before reaching 40. But after laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery, the once 330-pound Waukesha resident has lost 160 pounds (and counting). She’s also resolved many of the lifelong health issues that plagued her. Within days of the surgery, her glucose levels returned to normal, and today she no longer suffers…

The Spam King

The story, according to Mark Inglin, is a kind of Grisham-esque thriller set in Milwaukee, with Inglin battling villainous lawyers and judges across three continents in the name of truth, justice and his long-lost son. It’s hard to shake the image of Tom Cruise running from Wilford Brimley in The Firm. But mention Inglin to any area lawyer and you’re sure to be met with groans and eye rolls. The ex-Milwaukeean has adroitly used databases like the Wisconsin Bar Association’s Web site to bury hundreds of lawyers with e-mailed and faxed versions of his attacks – all sent from Inglin’s…

The Big Chill

It’s a Friday in late May, just before noon, and Ken Alvord has things to do. A 49-year-old sales manager, he’s leaving for a trade show in Europe on Monday. He needs to get a haircut, pick up dry cleaning, buy a new pair of shoes. But sitting in his barber’s chair in Elm Grove, he realizes something isn’t right. He’s feeling nauseous. He’s tired and sweating, too. Maybe he pushed too hard in this morning’s workout. He’s fit, in good health, so he shrugs it off. But back in the car, heading down Watertown Plank Road, he starts feeling…

Home Economics

Alan Fankhauser moved here to take a job with Harley-Davidson a year ago, and then waited to buy a home. When he started looking last fall, sellers weren’t budging on prices, he says. Not any longer. Fankhauser recently began looking in earnest with the help of Heddy Humcke, a relocation specialist and buyer agent for First Weber. Fankhauser soon found a new condo in Brookfield he’d dismissed a year earlier as too expensive. The price had fallen $30,000, about 10 percent. The builder was also willing to relocate a fireplace, give Fankhauser his preferred appliances, hardware and doors, and waive…

Green and Gold Waves

Sure, the Packers games are there for you now, but after the football season ends, what’s a fan to do? How about dusting off the snorkeling gear and trading in your Title Towel for a beach towel? Each winter, Green Bay-based Packer Fan Tours hosts a Packers Cruise to help fans – along with current and former players – warm their Frozen Tundra hearts. This year, the seven-day tropical excursion departs Galveston, Texas, on March 1, and heads to ports in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Mexico. Packers fans, up to 125 of them, are part of a larger Carnival…

Urban Cowboy

So you want to go hunting. But you’d rather not spend the time or gas to drive very far. No problem. Turns out there are lots of places to kill things in your own backyard. “Washington, Racine and Waukesha counties all have state lands the Department of Natural Resources manages that provide some opportunity to hunt,” says Tami Ryan-Nadolny, regional program manager for wildlife with the DNR. “The primary difference is that in this part of the state, firearm restrictions are more restrictive.” The major difference is you can use a rifle in places like northern Wisconsin, but not in…

The War Over Peace

On the morning of Nov. 22, 1912, the “Rouse Simmons” set off in light snow flurries from Thompson Harbor, Mich., fully loaded with around 4,000 Christmas trees. The ship was headed for Chicago, but never got there. By the following afternoon, the snowy winds had intensified, and the ship was spotted off Kewaunee, Wis., flying a distress flag with sails tattered. It soon vanished. Scattered evergreens later washed up on shore, as did a bottle with a note from Capt. Herman Schuenemann: “I guess we are thru. Leaking bad. Endwald and Steve fell overboard. God help us.” Over the years,…

Ghosts of the Deep

On the morning of Nov. 22, 1912, the “Rouse Simmons” set off in light snow flurries from Thompson Harbor, Mich., fully loaded with around 4,000 Christmas trees. The ship was headed for Chicago, but never got there. By the following afternoon, the snowy winds had intensified, and the ship was spotted off Kewaunee, Wis., flying a distress flag with sails tattered. It soon vanished. Scattered evergreens later washed up on shore, as did a bottle with a note from Capt. Herman Schuenemann: “I guess we are thru. Leaking bad. Endwald and Steve fell overboard. God help us.” Over the years,…

Caught in the Act

The thieves were respected citizens, CPAs and model workers. But they had access to money, and they took it. In recent years there’s been a rash of treasurers arrested, all claiming they needed cash – for a sick mother, lawyer fees, an Amway business, you name it. Lee Ann Augustine, former Franklin treasurer, said she stole $70,000 to save her life. At the time of the theft, she was separated from her husband, trucker Marvin Augustine. Lee Ann told investigators he was abusive, demanded money and threatened to kill her. Marvin denies this, saying “That was an act to make her…

Blast from the Past

All that’s left are nine picture frames hanging forlornly on a wall at the Milwaukee police administration building. Today, few know anything about the faces on that wall. But until the infamous Sept. 11 attacks, the record for most American police killed on duty in a single incident belonged to Milwaukee. On Nov. 24, 1917, at 7:33 p.m., a bomb exploded in the Central Police Station at Broadway and Wells. It killed nine officers and two civilians. The horrific event came more by chance than criminal ingenuity. The story begins with August Giuliani, a defrocked priest who became a Methodist…