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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, July 28, 2014

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Milwaukee's on the map and its secret is out.
Milwaukee's on the map and its secret is out.

Bill (on the road) can't keep Milwaukee a secret

I've always said that a city is only as good as the stories it tells. And, I believe we all have a responsibility to tell good stories about greater Milwaukee. We're the caretakers of our community and the messages and vision we project matters. Of course, it also matters what others say about Milwaukee too. 

It's always interesting to read an outsider's opinion of Milwaukee. Live in a place long enough and some of the extraordinary can become ordinary. We all do it. 

Hats off to Visit Milwaukee, our tourism and convention entity that regularly brings in travel writers to see all that's happening in Milwaukee. One such writer, Bill Cleven, was here during Summerfest.  

The St. Louis native Clevlen writes "Bill on the Road," and in his latest post he tells everyone that Milwaukee's secret is out.  He starts his feature like this, "Nobody ever brought up Milwaukee, Wisconsin as a "must see" destination when I started traveling around the country.  Maybe that’s because Milwaukee has been keeping a secret from the rest of America – it’s a really cool place to live and visit."  

You can read it all here, and take note of this first time Summerfest-goer's impressions of the Big Gig.  "I was completely blown away and downright stunned as I walked the grounds and passed stage after stage of concerts.  And I don’t mean like four or five," writes Clevlen.  Yep, "World's Largest Musical Festival" holds true.

Travel writers seldom rail on their selected destinations. I get that. But, Cleven's impressions and observations of Milwaukee seem genuine and should make us all a bit more proud of our state's largest city. 

Learn to brew at home with UBrew.
Learn to brew at home with UBrew. (Photo:

Talking beer with UBrew

Since Milwaukee still is Brew City chances are that you or someone that you know wants to learn how to brew beer in the comfort of our your home.  There are classes around town and a start up called UBrew that offers hands-on homebrewing classes.

There are two upcoming UBrew classes: Saturday, July 19 at Braise and Thursday, Aug. 21 at a location to be announced.  But, before you go, take some some time to read my interview with UBrew co-founder Drew Stauffacher.  What is UBrew?

Drew Stauffacher:  Our vision for UBrew is to grow the homebrewing market in "Brew City" through developing a space that allows for homebrewers to overcome the limitations and obstacles they face brewing at home and focus on the best part -- the beer. Down the road, we hope to create a facility that provides the space, equipment, and expertise for homebrewers, from beginners to experts alike. People new to brewing would be able to sign up for an initial homebrewing class that would walk them through the process while making their own first batch of beer to take home. Home brewers with more experience would be able to come in for advanced homebrewing assistance. Expert home brewers would be able to rent equipment and space to overcome the limitations they may face with their current process. The best part of all is the opportunity for developing connections with the many other home brewers in Milwaukee that would also be using the facility.

OMC:  What's the cost and commitment for the program?

DS:  We are currently offering beginner’s home brewing classes and are working on creating an all-grain homebrewing class. Prices ranges from $50 to $75 and commitment consists of a 3-4 hour period on the day of the class. Classes are currently held on Saturdays, but we are trying out weekdays as well. Check out our classes scheduled on July 19 and Aug. 21. 

OMC:  What's the biggest mistake home brewers make?

DS:  Sanitation. Sanitation. Sanitation. It’s definitely po…

Northwestern Mutual continues to rise here in Milwaukee and across the country. Its annual convention opens this week.
Northwestern Mutual continues to rise here in Milwaukee and across the country. Its annual convention opens this week.

157 years of Northwestern Mutual

We trumpet Harley-Davison's anniversaries, as we should.  But, Northwestern Mutual has a track record that goes back 157 years in Milwaukee.  Today the company is a worldwide brand and this week it opens its annual "Meeting of the Association of Agents."

That's right 157 years in business, and 134 years of annual meetings.  Indeed, Northwestern Mutual will hold its 134th Annual Meeting of the Association of Network Representatives in Milwaukee on July 19-23.  The company’s annual meeting will have an estimated economic impact of approximately $12.9 million for the local economy and will occupy about 13,819 hotel room nights.  

"We are thrilled to welcome Northwestern Mutual back to Milwaukee once again," said Paul Upchurch, president and CEO of VISIT Milwaukee. "Northwestern Mutual represents the largest convention of our year and has a tremendous impact on our area's economy. We look forward to welcoming the thousands of attendees to Milwaukee and creating great experiences for them while they're here."

Agents and their families flock to Milwaukee every year, and each year I love the buzz that's created by adding nearly 11,000 temporary residents to Downtown Milwaukee.

As part of the annual meeting, some agent offices are raising funds for childhood cancer research and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and running in a 5K.  

For Northwestern Mutual, it’s an opportunity for the company’s employees and financial professionals to reflect on another strong year and to showcase what's coming here in Milwaukee.  The company expects to distribute dividends exceeding $5 billion (the largest in its 157-year history) to participating policyowners and maintains the highest financial strength ratings awarded to any life insurer by all four of the major credit rating agencies.

Northwestern Mutual will conduct events and seminars for its financial representatives at the Wisconsin Center, the BMO Harris Bradley Center and at hotels including the Hilton Milwau…

Flowers and much more at the Westown Farmers Market.
Flowers and much more at the Westown Farmers Market.
The Newaukee Night Market sets up here. (Photo: Bobby Tanzilo)
The Newaukee Night Market sets up here. (Photo: Bobby Tanzilo)

Double your Downtown market pleasure today

It's Wednesday, so that means it's Westown day Downtown.  The Westown Association hosts its market and concert series, River Rhythms, on Wednesdays.  Today, it also means the new Night Market from Newaukee on the parking lot between 4th and 5th Streets on Wisconsin Avenue.

The area's longest-running farmers market, the Westown Farmers Market continues today at Zeidler Union Square between 3rd and 4th Streets on Michigan Street.  And, today it welcomes two new vendors: Fresh Farm Bowls and Big Dipper. Fresh Farm Bowls, a new lunch vendor, focuses on farm fresh produce and real ingredients to provide an amazing variety of food from Middle Eastern to chipotle pulled pork bowls. Big Dipper will sell fresh, hand-dipped, almond-chipped ice cream bars.

Children's Hospital of Wisconsin also will be at the market today to spread the word about the need for foster homes and becoming a kid hero.

The market runs every Wednesday through October from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The setting is great, variety wonderful and it's the only Downtown spot to get the always-tasty Cowboy Kettle Korn

As for the Newaukee Night Market, it's a great opportunity to be one of the first to preview the Moiré Pavilion and Dream Catcher that are both going up along Wisconsin Avenue later this summer. The market will take place in the new Moiré Pavilion designed by artist and architect Paul Bestul and will be held under the beautiful dream catcher created by visual artist, Ayla Boyle.  

The Night Market runs from 5 until 10 p.m. 

What will you see there?  Expect a creative mix of food, art, fun, music, beer, technology installations, food trucks/carts, live art creation, performances and more.  And, most importantly by visiting the night market you not only contribute to the local economy but you are part of the solution to a revitalization of West Wisconsin Avenue.  Need a map or list of vendors before heading out?  Click here.