By Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist Published Jun 19, 2015 at 3:06 PM

Because we are kept inside for many a bitter winter, it tends to be that we make the most of the time when we can get out and enjoy everything our community offers. When school-aged children are not in the classrooms in the summer, this is a time for them to have fun and enjoy the season as well.

But to keep the mind sharp, Milwaukee Public Television is encouraging kids to continue learning by participating in the PBS KIDS "Summer Safari."

The program includes specials and new episodes from "Dinosaur Train," "Wild Kratts," "Curious George" and "WordGirl." There are also free digital tools for parents and kids, and partnerships with AARP Foundation Experience Corps, I Can Read books published by Harper Collins Children’s Books, Reading Is Fundamental and National PTA that bring learning activities to our community.

Children can join MPTV’s Summer Safari Reading Party at 3 p.m. on July 19 at Boswell Book Company at 2559 N. Downer Avenue.

At the event, children ages 4 to 8 will have the chance to participate in safari-themed activities and learn about the importance of summer reading. Each child that participates will receive a kit that includes an I Can Read! activity booklet, reading logs, activity pages, stickers, certificates, and a PBS KIDS Summer Safari activity chart.

"Research shows that it is critical to support children’s learning during the summer months to help prevent learning loss while they are out of school," Julie Hill Lehr, MPTV’s Manager of Community Engagement and Marketing, said in a release. "MPTV is committed to making summer a fun and enriching time for all kids.

"Through this year’s Summer Safari programming and community activities, we will provide free PBS KIDS resources to Milwaukee-area families, helping them learn and explore during the summer months."

SOMETHING LOCAL: David Herro with Great Lakes Championship Wrestling is hosting Kalapalooza at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Circle B, 6261 State Hwy 60. Herro’s son Kal, the GLCW VP of Talent Relations, will be celebrating his 11th birthday.

Former WWE stars Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty are on the bill in matches "scheduled for one fall." I did that last part in my Gene Okerlund imitation.

Tickets cost $5 for children and $10 in advance, $15 at the door for adults. It is a chance to take the kids to see someone they’ve seen on television and interact with them in person. For information, go to

AT THE OPERA: Polish film director Mariusz Treliński makes his Met debut with the Metropolitan Opera’s new production, inspired by classic noir films of the 1940s, bringing together two rarely performed one-acts: Tchaikovsky’s lyrical fairy tale "Iolanta," about the psychological awakening of a blind princess, and Bartók’s harrowing "Bluebeard’s Castle," in which newlywed Judith must open seven locked doors to discover the full depths of her husband's dark secrets.

Valery Gergiev conducts the double bill, which is a co-production with Teatr Wielki-Polish National Opera. Anna Netrebko stars as the title character in "Iolanta," with Piotr Beczala and Aleksei Markov as Vaudémont and Robert, two rivals for her love. Nadja Michael sings the central role of Judith in "Bluebeard’s Castle," with Mikhail Petrenko as her mysterious and menacing new husband.

The performance will be broadcast on "THIRTEEN’S Great Performances at the Met" on July 12 on PBS. 

Steve Kabelowsky Contributing Columnist

Media is bombarding us everywhere.

Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.

The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.