Milwaukee media's picks for best (and worst) of 2011
Trenni Kusnierek, 620 WMTJ
Overall Highlight: This shouldn't come as a surprise, but the Brewers season and their run in the post season were the highlight of my year. Summer in Milwaukee is tremendous, but add peanuts, crackerjacks and 96 wins and it is darn near perfect. Nothing compares to champagne celebrations in baseball. There are not many sports where the players interact with fans, spray them with bubbly and share the accomplishment with the entire franchise – fans included. For a few nights this fall, our city smelled of cheap champagne instead of yeast from processing beer, and it was a welcome scent. Beyond the celebrations, Milwaukee got a chance to showcase the fact we are no longer just Laverne and Shirley or brats and beer. The impressions of out of town media and guests were overwhelmingly positive. They loved our passionate fans and were pleasantly surprised as to what Milwaukee has to offer socially and culturally. Our city's visitors left with the feeling we hope for-they want to return the city by the lake-and not the one to our south.
Melissa McCrady, WTMJ-4
Best Event: It goes to the Geneva National Foundation's 2011 Push, Walk, Ride. The event raises money for organizations within Walworth County that support people with special needs. However, this is one of the rare charity events that include all the recipients. 400 people, including 95 with disabilities, walked the mile-long course, rode in a wheelchair or pushed someone in a wheelchair. Medals were awarded to everyone who crossed the finish line. The smiles on their faces ... receiving those medals ... made my year.
Marilynn Mee, 96.5 WKLH
Saddest Loss: Unbeknownst to most Milwaukeeans, our city lost a true hero this year. If you Googled his name, you might find a few mentions of his accomplishments since he went to work for our city in '07, but the truth is, he risked his life almost every single day, all for the sake of making Milwaukee a better, safer place to live, work and play. No one really kept track of just how many criminals he helped take into custody or how many weapons he helped get off our streets or how often he was responsible for putting another drug dealer out of business...and frankly, he didn't care about the tally. It was just another day on the job he loved with his partner, Officer Dereck Vernon. On Sunday evening, February 20th, with Vernon at his side, Milwaukee Police K-9 Officer Cyrus passed away peacefully and with dignity. The five-year-old German Shepherd had developed pneumonia along with an infection from which he wasn't going to be able to recover. The Milwaukee Police Department lost one of its most trusted and loyal investigators; Officer Vernon lost his partner, best buddy and a beloved member of his family. The grief I know Vernon must have felt...it can't even be put into words. Cyrus is also survived by his fellow MPD K-9s: Dasty, Kenny and Emo. Police K-9 Units are not funded by your tax dollars. Police Departments or, in some cases, individual officers are solely responsible for raising the money needed to purchase the specially bred pup, complete the many months of intensive training for the dog and the officer and outfit and equip the squad car for the K-9. The officer who makes the decision to take on a K-9 partner shares his home and pays for the dog's food and medical needs out of his own paycheck. It costs about $30,000 to start a K-9 unit; adding another dog costs about $15,000. I've made it my personal goal for 2012 to raise $30,000 to add two more dogs to our MPD K-9 Unit. I hope you'll think about helping.
Personal Lowlight: I've a had a rather tumultuous year; some gratifying personal achievements, loads of love from friends who lift me up, some lovely surprises, lots of fun times and good laughs and a bit of luck. I also experienced some of my lowest lows in 2011; harsh familial and financial realities slapping me upside the head...I've soaked my pillowcases and my dogs' coats with plenty of tears.
Whether you're celebrating life's little victories or sulking over setbacks, there's nothing like sharing the ups and downs with your best friend. You know...the one who loves you at when you're at your best and knows how to love you a little extra when you're at your worst; the one who needs only a second to see your face or hear one whisper to know just what you're thinking.
My best friend, Anjl Rodee, moved to Seattle in August of 2011 to begin an exciting new chapter in her life as a freelance artist and graphic designer. I know, I know...we live in a world of unlimited cell phone minutes, text messaging, i-chatting and Skype. Staying connected with anyone anywhere in the world is at an all-time easiest. However, technology still hasn't been able to recreate the glorious feeling you get from your best friend's hug and, come to think of it, I hope it never does. I love you, Anj, and I miss you every single day.
Ted Perry, FOX6
Best TV Show of the Year: "The League" on FX. It's the funniest show you're not watching.
Book of the Year: "Film School" A forty-something former newspaper reporter (and full disclosure, a friend of mine), Steve Boman, decides up and go to the most prestigious film school in the country (USC) right in the middle of his life. Not easy to do, period. Almost impossible to do with three young kids and a wife already stretched to the limit with a medical practice. It's a great read and a good road map for changing your life whenever you choose to.
Worst People of the Year: Political wingnuts on both sides. You think the governor is Hitler? Really? Shame on you. You don't deserve my support. And you, you think people putting their lives on hold to fight peacefully and passionately for something they believe in are "dirty hippies?" Well, then you suck, too. The political ends of the spectrum make me ashamed. There are smart, sensible people who believe they are right and that's fine. But it's up to those people to call out the whack-jobs who may share their views but not their tactics. There has got to be a better way to reach consensus. I hope 2012 is the year the adults in politics ( and they exist) really do take over. The Packers can't keep being the only thing uniting this state.
Vince Vitrano, WTMJ-4
Wisconsin's Best National Media Moment: No one appreciates a little national love more than we do here in Milwaukee. This year provided so many opportunities for Wisconsin to shine, but none were greater than Green Bay hosting the opening game, and all the accompanying hoopla, for the NFL. Baseball playoffs at Miller Park were awesome. Erin Hills hosting the U.S. Amateur was great exposure too, but that amazing Thursday in early September was a Wisconsin masterpiece. From the TODAY show live at Lambeau Field getting lessons in craft beers, great tailgating and the best fans in America... to the sea of people taking in the concert on Oneida Street stretching back to the Stadium View... to our World Champions capping it off with an exciting win, the day was perfect from sun-up to sun-down. On Wisconsin!
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"...a "Walker" is the name given to zombies that have to be hacked to pieces, blown up or shot in the head to stop from attacking." Very subtle, Adler. Check Ted Perry's section, and then for 2012 try to shoot for at least a fraction of that amount in class.
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