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Spring is here and wine helps make the seasonal transition go more smoothly.
Spring is here and wine helps make the seasonal transition go more smoothly.

4 Italian red wines to welcome spring

Summer is beer season in Milwaukee, it’s true, but in spring, when the temps can fluctuate wildly, a nice glass of red wine can still warm the soul. Here are four Italian reds I’ve tasted recently that are worth scouting at fine wine purveyors in Milwaukee...

Castello di Albola Chianti Classico DOCG 2013

Retailing at about $18-20, this ruby red Chianti – 95 percent sangiovese and 5 percent canaiolo, hand-harvested, fermented on skins and aged in oak for 12 years – is playing above its price point, with an elegance you might expect from a costlier quaff. It’s got hints of violet and a smooth and satisfying mouth feel. As you start to fire up the grill for the season, pair this with a nice steak on the barbecue.

Codice Citra Carosso Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC Riserva 2010

One hundred percent Montepulciano undergoes a long maceration with the skins and spends some time in steel before aging in oak barrels and barriques. The result – which retails around $22 – is a deep red wine with garnet hues and a powerful nose with a hint of spice. Rich tannins, a blend of raspberry, cherry, spice and licorice, and a long, satisfying finish make this one a great pairing with rich meats or even with a nice tray of salumi before dinner.

Villa Gemma Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo DOC 2014

Even though it's a rose – and therefore only red-ish – this is 100 percent Montepulciano, like the Carosso, and it has a powerful bouquet. But while you might consider aging the Carosso, this one, with its rich fruitiness and floral qualities, demands your attention now. Drink it young and with darn near anything. Perfect with a cheese tray or a pizza, it’d work nicely with dessert, too. Retails around $15-20.

Kellerei Cantina S. Maddalena DOC Classico Huck am Bach 2015

Wine and Spirits rated this budget-friendly ($10-12) red wine from Italy’s German-speaking Alto Adige region a 90. It’s an easy, approachable, fruity wine with notes of cherries and almonds and medium body. A li…

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A recent iFair is just one of the many ways MPS is exposing students to careers in technology.
A recent iFair is just one of the many ways MPS is exposing students to careers in technology. (Photo: Milwaukee Public Schools)

New $25K tech lab teaches MPS students to turn ideas into reality

This morning, MPS will unveil its new "Fab Lab," a digital fabrication facility, at Washington High School of Information Technology, 2525 N. Sherman Blvd.

The lab was funded with a $25,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), and will include two vinyl cutters, a trio of three-dimensional printers, a 3-D scanner, a computer numerical control mill, a laser engraver and the computers to make them hum.

The goal of the workshop is to familiarize students to the kind of high-tech gear that facilitates innovation and creative thinking. In the lab, students can turn their ideas into three-dimensional models.

In February, Washington's principal at the time visited some Fab Labs at three rural schools in the Northwoods to get a first-hand view of what the school could expect from its new workshop.

"Incorporating Fab Labs into educational programs of study has been shown to increase student engagement by providing hands-on opportunities to solve real world problems," notes an MPS press release.

"In Fab Labs, students learn because they want to, they develop technical skill that builds pride in mastery, improves teamwork, teaches critical thinking, persistence and other 21st century employability skills. MPS plans to create more Fab Labs within the district."

Last month, Washington hosted an iFair to introduce students and their families to careers in information technology and engineering.

In the same spirit, the district has also launched an apprenticeship program that works to give high school students real-life, hands-on work experience that allows them to "test drive" potential careers and that they can, hopefully, then parlay into jobs upon graduation.

WUWM’s Rachel Morello did a story on that program this morning. Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service also wrote about it late last year.

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Auer Avenue School, circa 1927, when it enrolled nearly 1,000 students and you could see the front of the building.
Auer Avenue School, circa 1927, when it enrolled nearly 1,000 students and you could see the front of the building. (Photo: Milwaukee Public Schools)

Can you help find Auer Avenue School's oldest alumnus?

As Auer Avenue Community School prepares to celebrate its 105th anniversary next month, its community is trying to find the oldest living alumnus of the school, which opened in 1903 and is located at 2319 W. Auer Ave.

The 105th Birthday and Alumni Reunion is slated for Saturday, May 6, from noon until 3 p.m. at the school, which is currently one of seven MPS community schools that partner with United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County to provide a wide range of services to help students succeed.

According to notes shared by the school’s community school coordinator, Michelle Allison, Auer is the 22nd-oldest school in MPS. The building – it closely resembles a number of MPS schools erected around the same time, including 37th Street and Siefert, the latter of which is credited to the same architect as Auer, George Ehlers – was originally designated Twentieth District No. 4 (having been located in what was then the 20th Ward).

Like all schools, it was renamed for its location in 1912. In this case the name was an especially appropriate one, because the street was named for Louis Auer Jr.

According to Carl Baehr’s "Milwaukee Streets: The Stories Behind the Names," Auer was a real estate developer known for building apartments suitable for families. Unlike many apartments, Auer’s included playgrounds, courtyards and soundproofing.

According to Baehr, the German-born Auer "even gave gave free rent during the month a baby was born in one of his flats, earning him the title ‘The Baby Flat Landlord’."

Auer’s father, Baehr notes, was also a member of the school board, as well as an alderman and county supervisor.

The lovely building with its five tall, arched window bays flooding light into the third-floor gym has a rather unfortunately sited addition – plopped right onto the front of the building in 1967 – that houses middle school classrooms and school support staff.

Fifty-five staff members educate an enrollment of 287 students at Auer…

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All of George Harrison's solo records in one big box to celebrate his birthday.
All of George Harrison's solo records in one big box to celebrate his birthday.

Beatles goodies perfect for Record Store Day hunting

Since we’re talking Record Store Day this week, I thought I’d rave about two new, high-end Beatles-related gems that emerged recently, perfect for digging up this Saturday. They'll keep you more than a little occupied while you wait for the 50th anniversary reissue of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," due out May 26.

In honor of the late George Harrison’s birthday in February, an extended edition of his book, "I Me Mine," was published in an absolutely stunning package.

First produced by Genesis Publications in 1980, "I Me Mine" was packed full of photos, reminiscences and hand-written song lyric sheets, reminding us that for all his serious spiritual side, George never stopped being the fun-loving Liverpool kid with a razor wit.

This new hardcover "extended" version includes another 59 handwritten lyrics and more content that will thrill Harrison fans.

It makes the perfect accompaniment to the sprawling box set that arrived at the same time, collecting all of Harrison’s 13 solo outings on vinyl. "George Harrison - The Vinyl Collection" also adds 12" picture discs of "When We Was Fab" and "Got My Mind Set On You."

All the discs are exact replicas of the original releases on 180-gram vinyl and stored in a two-piece slipcase box. The discs (except the picture discs) will also be available separately.

Pro-Ject Audio Systems has a limited edition George Harrison Essential III turntable available, too, with only 2,500 worldwide.

Meanwhile, Paul McCartney’s acclaimed 1989 "Flowers in the Dirt," written in collaboration with Elvis Costello, gets the massive reissue treatment this year. The 10th release in McCartney’s Archive Collection is a whopper.

There are three CDs – the original record and two discs of demos – as well as a DVD full of videos, plus codes to download 13 b-sides, remixes and edits and a trio of demos. (Those demos will also be available on a limited edition cassette for Record Store Day this week.)

But this set weighs a …

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