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From Windy City to Bed Bug CIty?
From Windy City to Bed Bug CIty? (Photo:

Bed bugs: Chicago's No. 1, Milwaukee 19

Orkin has ranked the top 50 cities with the highest bed bug populations.  The list was compiled in 2012, and our neighbors to the south, Chicago, are sitting at the top of this itch-inducing list (up one spot from its No. 2 position in 2011).  

Milwaukee, on the other hand, landed at No. 19.

Last year, Orkin's parent company, Rollins, which operates eight pest control brands nationwide, saw a nearly 33 percent increase in bed bug business compared to 2011.

"This list shows that bed bugs continue to be a problem throughout the U.S.," said Orkin entomologist and Technical Services Director Ron Harrison , Ph.D. "Based on the diversity of cities on the list, we all need to be very cautious when we travel—whether it is business or pleasure, or to visit family, friends or vacation. We need to be vigilant wherever we are and take the proper precautions."

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Grave Digger's coming to town this weekend.
Grave Digger's coming to town this weekend. (Photo:

A 5-year-old has six questions for a monster truck driver

This weekend, the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam rolls into town for three races at the BMO Bradley Center.

As the father of a 5-year-old, I've come to learn a few things about monster trucks. My son, Jake, seemingly has every one of the Hot Wheels versions and knows most of the drivers and trucks by name.

So, when I had the chance to talk to one of the drivers I had Jake come up with the questions.

To start, he was pretty excited that I'd get to talk to the driver of Grave Digger, Randy Brown. And, impressively, he even knew that the original owner and driver of Grave Digger was Dennis Anderson. "But, Daddy, Dennis Anderson is the real driver of Grave Digger." Sorry, Randy.

Anyway, Jake's questions were pretty good and thanks to Randy Brown for being a good sport over the phone.

Jake Sherman: How do you not crash?

Randy Brown: We actually crash more than many other motors sports do because we tend to push it over the edge. But, you get used to driving it and we do a lot of test sessions so you get better at handling something that big. You learn your boundaries pretty quickly – how far it can go and how much it takes to turn it. It helps a lot to have four wheel steering. It's another thing to get used to, but once you do it's really not that bad.

JS: What kind of car do you drive when your not driving Grave Digger?

RB: My every day car is a 2009 (Ford) F-150.

JS: What got you into monster trucks?  Did you have Hot Wheels when you were 5?

RB: Oh yeah, I had every car toy that you could imaging when I was a kid. My Dad was into drag racing and into the sport of truck and tractor pulling. So, I just kinda grew up around it. Right down the road from me growing up was Dennis Anderson with the Grave Digger team. So, I've pretty much known him my whole life. So it just felt like a good fit for me to do racing.

JS: Have you ever been to Milwaukee?

RB: It's been a long time, but I think it was about nine years ago. Had a good experience th…

The Milwaukee County Zoo's newest residents.
The Milwaukee County Zoo's newest residents. (Photo:

Awww, cute and rare jaguar cubs stream online from Milwaukee County Zoo

I missed this news, but have seen several national reports on it this week so I thought I'd share it now.  

Our very own Milwaukee County Zoo has its first jaguar cubs since 1975. The cubs were born Nov. 13 and introduced, via webcam, on Dec. 13. These cute little cubs are living in the Zoo's Florence Mila Borchert Family Big Cat Country.

The cubs currently (as of Dec. 16, 2012 according to the Zoo) weigh about 5.4 and 5.9 pounds; both are steadily gaining weight.

According to the Zoo's site, "the birth is significant in that the cubs' father, Pat, is a rescued, wild-born animal and considered a founder to the population. Pat not only brings new genes to the captive jaguar population, but serves as an ambassador to the wild population and to the conservation of the species."

You can see the cubs on the video screen during normal Zoo hours, and also here on the Zoo's website.

It will be several weeks until the cubs are on public display.

Way to go, Milwaukee!
Way to go, Milwaukee! (Photo: Dan Bishop, via

Milwaukee's in great company on new top 12 ArtPlaces list

Milwaukee made yet another national list today as it was named one of America's top 12 "ArtPlaces" today by ArtPlace. Hat tip to Mary-Louise Schumacher for first pointing this report out today.  It’s great news for Milwaukee and truly puts our city in fine company.

Today, ArtPlace announced America’s top 12 ArtPlaces, communities that have most successfully combine art, artists and venues for creativity and expression with independent businesses, retail shops and restaurants, and a walkable lifestyle to make vibrant neighborhoods.

Milwaukee’s East Town and a section of the Lower East Side were identified as one of America’s top 12 ArtPlaces, having successfully combined the arts, artists and venues for creativity and expression with independent businesses, restaurants, and a walkable lifestyle to make vibrant neighborhoods.

Next Monday, Jan. 14 at 9 a.m. Mayor Tom Barrett will accept a certificate with the designation at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. 

ArtPlace director Carol Coletta will also speak, as well as Julia Taylor, president of the Greater Milwaukee Committee and Neil Hoffman, president of MIAD. From there, the Mayor will join ArtPlace and neighborhood leaders for a tour around the Historic Third Ward to visit some of the local arts organizations and independent businesses that have helped support the revitalization of the community.

 America’s top 12 ArtPlaces for 2013 are:

  • Brooklyn / The intersection of Downtown, Fort Greene, Gowanus, Park Slope and Prospect Heights
  • Dallas / The Dallas Arts District, with parts of Deep Ellum and Exposition Park
  • Los Angeles / Central Hollywood
  • Miami Beach / South Beach
  • Milwaukee / East Town and a portion of the Lower East Side
  • New York / Manhattan Valley
  • Oakland, Calif. / Downtown, including Chinatown, Old Oakland and Jack London Square
  • Philadelphia / Old City
  • Portland, Ore. / The Pearl District and a portion of Downtown
  • San Francisco / The Mission District
  • Seattle / The Pike-Pi…