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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014

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Running Rebels' new creative is edgy and evocative.
Running Rebels' new creative is edgy and evocative.
Running Rebels presented the county a check, symbolizing the almost $64 million it's saved.
Running Rebels presented the county a check, symbolizing the almost $64 million it's saved.

Running Rebels serves at-risk youths from within

Yesterday, I had the chance to sit down and have a cup of coffee with three members of a group I’d never heard of before, but I’m glad I do now.

They make up the leadership of Running Rebels, a 32-year-old vision of its founder, Victor Barnett. Along with his co-executive director and wife, Dawn, this publicly and privately funded group has helped thousands of Milwaukee kids at risk of gun violence.

Of course, the timing for meeting this group wasn’t coincidental. Today, Running Rebels’ Development and Marketing Coordinator Heather Aldrich kicked off an edgy marketing campaign centered around the slogan, "I can stop a speeding bullet."

It really is a success story that more Milwaukeeans should know about.

"My vision is to take the front line and try to connect it to the right resources," says Victor Barnett. "Milwaukee has always been a city where people care and want to fix problems. We have a really good opportunity to do that."

Alrdich says the Serve Marketing built the creative, and now it’s time to get the word out. "My job is to bring awareness, to tell the dozens of stories. You can’t fund programs that you don’t know about."

Indeed, the group has flown a little under the radar, but each year, Running Rebels helps about 2,500 intensively monitored students, many of whom have been court-ordered to join in lieu of juvenile detention. The others are voluntary sign ups, and Running Rebels helps through job training, basketball and other programs created to straighten kids out.

Dawn Barnett told me the one-year program has an incredible 80 percent success rate for youths 10-21, and many of the Running Rebels graduates remain in the program, in some way, for life.

"We have prevention and intervention programs," says Aldrich. "Gun violence is something that does get peoples’ attention, and if that’s the best way for us to bring attention to the organization, then we’ll do that."

"I can stop a speeding bullet doesn’t just mean to physical…

Meet your Olympians!
Meet your Olympians!

Let the (drinking) games begin!

"Bar Month" at is back for another round – brought to you by Aperol, Pinnacle, Jameson, Fireball, Red Stag and Avion. The whole month of February, we're serving up intoxicatingly fun articles on bars and clubs – including guides, the latest trends, bar reviews and more. Grab a designated driver and dive in!

Milwaukee’s a city worthy of the Olympics, right?


Well, then we can at least host the fifth annual Bartender Olympics – which takes place Thursday, Feb. 28 at Wherehouse, 818 S. Water St.

You can come watch Milwaukee bartenders compete for the gold.
The free event starts at 7:30 p.m. and will feature 10 local bartenders showing off their Pabst can stacking skills, karaoke talents (or lack thereof), and a new cocktail competition. Olympians will create their drinks in advance, and the audience and judges will vote for their favorite.
Special guests include FM 102.1's Kramp and Adler, A&N Smoke Solutions and DJ WhyB.

This year’s Bartender Olympians include Aileen Richardson (Lucky Joe's Tiki Lounge), Adam Griffin (Monkey Bar), Brian Zbichorski (The Hotel Foster), Gen Longoria (The Library Club), Collins Costin (Silk), Mark Fisher (Redbar), Drew Baryenbruch (The Bottle), Maddie Petersen (Cafe Centraal), Tara Jade (Ashley's Que) and Jim Olker (Milwaukee Brat House).

At the end of the night, judges Josh Malone (Nomad),'s Molly Snyder, Jason Neu (Great Lakes Distillery) and Jim Carney (former Bartender Olympics champion) will award one of these bartenders with the top medal.

Drink specials include $3 Jameson, Red Stag, Pinnacle, Aperol and Avion cocktails, and $3 Pabst Tall Boys.

Let the games begin!

Andy and his grandfather in June 1976.
Andy and his grandfather in June 1976.

The power of scent

Allow me a minute to use this space for a blog entry that’s a little more serious and sentimental than my usual ramblings.

I had one of those moments while on bedtime duty with my 4-year-old daughter tonight. One of those moments in which a simple question led to an answer that surprised even me.

My daughter has been transfixed with heaven lately. It’s a confusing topic to understand for anyone, but especially for a little kid who is starting Sunday school and is suddenly hearing a lot about God and prayer.

I’m not sure what the official parental approach is on this one, especially because my own beliefs on the topic are still sort of murky. So, I’ve been trying to reinforce that everyone has their own belief in God (or not one at all) and that we all interpret the afterlife differently.

That seemed sufficient until tonight, when, with the lights turned low, my daughter asked me if dinosaurs go to heaven, and if they do, do they have their own separate place? I said I didn’t know, but I imagined that all people and animals go to heaven and happily coexist.

Crisis averted? Not quite.

Next, she asked me if our family members who have died before she was born know her. And if so, how?

This was getting harder. I was afraid of accidentally overloading her with information that sounded as magical as the previous topic of the night, when she asked me if Count Dracula and skeletons are real. (I said no, Dracula isn’t real, and yes, skeletons are, but they can’t get up and walk around.)

I stammered something about how I believe that our relatives are looking down over us, and even people like my grandfather, who never met her, would be proud of her. I told her that when people have a dream about their deceased loved ones, some of them think that’s their way of communicating from the other side. I told her I once smelled my grandpa’s cologne in the room with me, and I thought that might be him sending me a message. My daughter looked confused, and rightf…

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't make this car lose control in the snow.
No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't make this car lose control in the snow.
The Evoque is styled like a concept car; the Sport is fitting of the British Secret Service.
The Evoque is styled like a concept car; the Sport is fitting of the British Secret Service.
Nineteen-inch wheels take charge in any weather.
Nineteen-inch wheels take charge in any weather.
The interior leans toward conservative styling.
The interior leans toward conservative styling.
But the "command seating" position maintains an excellent view of the road.
But the "command seating" position maintains an excellent view of the road.

Range Rover Sport laughs at Wisconsin winter

I just spent a few weeks with the amazingly capable Range Rover Sport.

Wow. Just wow.

For this latest vehicle Fields Group in Waukesha offered me for review, it took me about one day to go from ambivalent to adoring of this beast. Just like the Range Rover Evoque before it, it may not be love at first sight, but it doesn’t take long to appreciate what the Sport brings to the table.

At first it felt huge and hulking, but I quickly became acclimated to this incredibly powerful, luxury vehicle. In fact, I hated to give it back.

While I really liked the Evoque, the Sport is, in many ways, its opposite. Yes, you’ll see similar acceleration, but at twice the weight. The Evoque is styled like a concept car; the Sport is fitting of the British Secret Service.

The biggest similarity, really, is how both cars chew up snow and spit it out. I claimed the Evoque was the best car I’ve ever driven in the snow, but that was before I drove the Sport.

This is a serious SUV for serious drivers, and it comes with a serious price tag. While the base can be had for $60,045, the car I spent three weeks with checked in at $67,595 – the premium wood, audio and luxury interior pack increase the MSRP. That’s a lot of money. But check out these numbers:

The Range Rover Sport boasts a 5.0 liter 375 horsepower naturally-aspirated V8 engine that growls. It produces a balanced 375 foot pounds of torque. It can tow 7,716 pounds and offers 71 cubic feet of space when the back seats are folded flat. With its "command" seating, you ride very high. And, for a truck of this size, it doesn’t perform horribly in terms of mileage, either. With an estimated 13 MPG city and 18 highway, I averaged 15.1 MPG in mixed driving over the span of about 500 miles. All this for a truck that can drive through 27.5 inches of water – up to the top of its tires.

Depending on what demographic you fit in, you’ll either like or love the interior. I fall into the "like" category, since the 2013 Range Rov…