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Tensions remain high between Russia and the UK in the wake of a case that involves double-agents, poisoning, and collateral damage.

The case may have sounded like a relic of the Cold War, but Lake Effect essayist Art Cyr says there is a contemporary context for it:

Prime Minister Theresa May and colleagues in Britain’s government reconfirm the quality and effectiveness of her nation’s police and intelligence work.

Essay: Fake News

Sep 15, 2018
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"Fake news" has been a common phrase from the White House since President Trump first began his term. However, Lake Effect essayist Avi Lank notes that there is a big difference of claiming something as "fake news" or claiming it as "false" news.

Lank is a former journalist, and he reflects on one of his first lessons about how the world defines news:

Essay: The Better Angels Of Our Nature

Aug 20, 2018
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No matter how well we present ourselves to the world, underneath we are all made up of contradictions. Lake Effect essayist Linda Flashinski was recently reminded of that:

Some of life's most profound lessons come to us in unexpected places and at unexpected times. The homeless shelter I volunteered at some years ago was a panorama of stories, a landscape of feelings, a portrait of the human condition in its many iterations. It was a portrait of fear, love, compassion, anger, and longing. It told many tales.

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There are songs out there that we think of as "standards." They might have been recorded decades ago, but they still are part of our collective consciousness, whether they show up in the soundtrack of a movie, at a wedding dance or somewhere else.

We might have heard them so many times, in fact, that we've stopped paying attention to the words, almost allowing them to take on the role of aural wallpaper. Lake Effect essayist Meagan Schultz has reclaimed one such standard. 

Essay: A Hero Among Us

Jul 16, 2018
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If you grew up watching public television, the ding of a trolley and ascending piano chords may take you back to the land of Make Believe and into the television home of Fred Rogers. Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood first aired in 1968 and aired first-run shows for more than 30 years.

Lake Effect essayist Linda Flashinski came to admire Mr. Rogers in the years her own children watched the television show. And when he passed away in 2003, Flashinski realized how her respect for the man turned into seeing him as a hero among us:

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Are you flying anywhere this summer? Does flying make you nervous? Maybe you should keep these thoughts by Lake Effect essayist Meagan Schultz in mind...or maybe you shouldn't:

Essay: Brace Yourself

Jun 20, 2018
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Adolescence can really just suck. From the acne to the ACTs, it’s fair to say that most of us are happy to leave those days behind us.

But Lake Effect essayist Marnie Mamminga found herself returning to one such, teenage experience when she decided to get braces at the age of 65:

Like a pair of Cheshire cats, we grinned at each other.

Essay: A Father's Gift

Jun 16, 2018
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It's Father's Day weekend, and if you're fortunate to still have a dad in your life, hopefully you'll have the chance to spend some time with him, or call, or give a gift. But Lake Effect essayist Linda Flashinski is thinking about a gift she received from her father:


Flowers are in bloom around southeastern Wisconsin. That includes the flowers in all but one case in Lake Effect essayist Meagan Schultz’s yard:

The Peony Bush Incident, or how to deal with your kids when they make you really, really angry:

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We're a couple weeks removed from the royal wedding, the union of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. It was an event that commanded the attention of millions of people around the world. But Lake Effect essayist Art Cyr says looking back, the nuptials should be viewed in a broader context:

Mitch Teich

Kirsten Wisniewski is a Milwaukee native who has working in language and skills education in the US and Europe for the past 5 years. She is perpetually confused for someone much younger, often being mistaken for a student herself. Wisniewski is back to living stateside, but thinks frequently about the young people who have made an impact on her over the years, including one she met on a train:

Essay: Kitchen Clean Up

May 9, 2018
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Lake Effect essayist Marnie Mamminga chronicles the end of another era very close to home:

It was always a bit messy.

Nothing too serious. A few crumbs on the counter, a cabinet door ajar, a couple of dishes sitting in the sink, a trail of something scattered across the floor.

But I didn’t mind.  It didn’t need to be spic and span or glistening perfect.  What was best about my kitchen was that it was a happy gathering place.

Essay: Caught in Columbine’s Clutches

Apr 20, 2018
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It was on this date in 1999 that two students at Columbine High School in Colorado murdered 12 fellow students and one teacher in an attack that shocked the nation.  While subsequent school shooting have been shocking as well, they have also taken on a saddening regularity.

On this 19th anniversary of the shooting, Lake Effect essayist Marnie Mamminga thinks back on the 2nd anniversary, while she was still a teacher in Illinois:

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At 6:01pm, on April 4, 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King jr. was murdered. The timing of  his assassination meant that many people didn’t learn about his death until the morning after - but the following week brought chaos to many American cities as frustrated mourners rioted and protested King’s untimely death.

For Lake Effect essayist Marnie Mamminga, the news set off a series of unforeseeable events during a spring break trip to Washington D.C.

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Tensions continue to mount between Russia and the United States.  A nerve agent attack on a former spy in the UK, expelled diplomats on both sides, nuclear missile testing… it all brings back memories of the Cold War.

Lake Effect essayist Art Cyr says we need to put all of this in context:

Reflecting now firmly established tradition, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has delivered his own version of a state of the union address to the people. His speech on March 1st dealt to a substantial degree with the challenges of economic growth and modernization.