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Van McNeil's Blog

Posts from January 2012

Adele to make much-anticapted return at 54th Grammy Awards
Current GRAMMY® nominee Adele will make her much-anticipated return to live performances on THE 54th ANNUAL GRAMMY® AWARDS. This will be her first time performing live anywhere in nearly five months since being forced to cancel a sold-out U.S. tour to undergo surgery on her vocal cords. Music's Biggest Night,® hosted by two-time GRAMMY® Award winner and NCIS:  LOS ANGELES star LL COOL J, takes place live from the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 (8:00-11:30 PM, live ET/ 7:00-10:30PM CT/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network.

"I'm immensely proud to have been asked to perform at this year's GRAMMY Awards," said Adele. "It's an absolute honor to be included in such a night and for it to be my first performance in months is very exciting and of course nerve-racking, but what a way to get back into it all."

Two-time GRAMMY winner Adele has six nominations: Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year and Best Short Form Music Video for "Rolling In The Deep"; Album Of The Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for 21; and Best Pop Solo Performance for “Someone Like You.”

Previously announced performers for THE 54th ANNUAL GRAMMY® AWARDS include Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson, Glen Campbell with The Band Perry and Blake Shelton, Coldplay and Rihanna, Foo Fighters, Bruno Mars, Paul McCartney, Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift. Aldean, The Band Perry, Minaj and Shelton will perform on the GRAMMY broadcast for the first time, while Adele, Campbell, Clarkson, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Mars, McCartney, Rihanna and Swift are returning to the GRAMMY stage. LL COOL J has hosted THE GRAMMY NOMINATIONS CONCERT LIVE! — COUNTDOWN TO MUSIC'S BIGGEST NIGHT® since its inception in December 2008.  This is his first time hosting the annual GRAMMY Awards broadcast.  Additional performers, presenters and special segments will be announced soon. 
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Glee Michael Jackson Sneak Peek.
In a special episode celebrating the music of Michael Jackson, the rivalry between New Directions and the Warblers intensifies en route to Regionals. Meanwhile, Kurt and Rachel receive news regarding their admissions process at NYADA, and things continue to heat up between Sam and Mercedes in the all-new “Michael” episode of GLEE airing Tuesday, Jan. 31 (8:00pm ET / 7pm CT) on FOX.

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Undercover Boss Interview Kendall Jackson Wine Estates President Rick Tigner.

Rick Tigner serves as the President of Jackson Family Enterprises, the parent company of Kendall-Jackson Winery and joins Van McNeil for a chat about his Undercover Boss experience.

Undercover Boss | Sundays | 8p ET / 7p CT | CBS
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Cady Groves Interview and Performance.
RCA Recording Artist Cady Groves stopped by The MIx Studios for a chat w Van McNeil about her soon to be released debut record, how life is on the road and what is Cady obsessed with? You 'll find out in this interview...

When Cady Groves was four years old, she woke up on Christmas morning to discover a blue drum set draped with candy canes sitting by the tree. “My step-dad got it for me,” she says. “He was a drummer in a band and had this really cool mullet and used to cut off all the sleeves on his shirts, which not only started my fascination with bands, mullets, and people who don’t wear sleeves, but he also t...aught me how to play. From that minute on, I wanted to be a badass musician. I remember being five years old and asking my mom for leather pants.”

She never did get the leathers, but the love of music instilled in her from a young age set Groves on a trajectory that has landed the 21-year-old singer and songwriter a deal with RCA Records, which will release her major-label debut album later this year.
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Undercover Boss Interview The Dwyer Group CEO Dina Dwyer-Owens
Dina Dwyer-Owens, Chairman and CEO of the Dwyer Group, the parent company for Mr. Rooter and other national repair brands, joins Van McNeil for a chat about her company, what they do and what did she really learn on this undercover experience?

Find out all that and more in the interview below.

Undercover Boss | Sundays | 8p ET / 7p CT | CBS

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30 Rock Sneak Peek - Idiots Are People Two.
Our friends at NBC have sent over another sneak peek of one of my favorite shows 30 Rock!

This week...
Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) tries to keep her boyfriend's identity a secret from Jack Donagy (Alec Baldwin) while scrambling to fix a publicity mess.
Drama erupts at TGS when a cell phone video leaks onto the web with Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan) on an offensive rant. Liz tries to do damage control. Meanwhile, Jack’s refusal to approve of Liz’s new boyfriend causes her to question the validity of her relationship. Kenneth (Jack McBrayer) and Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski) call on Kelsey Grammer when a problem arises that only the Best Friends Gang can handle.

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American Idol Season 11 Sneak Peek.
 Television’s No. 1 series returns for its highly anticipated 11th season with brand new contestants, a superstar judging panel and the best and worst of auditions. Host Ryan Seacrest and judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler traveled across the country to Savannah, Aspen, Galveston, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Diego and St. Louis where the good, the bad and the outrageous auditioned for their shot at stardom. This season promises to deliver the most talented group of singers yet and as always, it’s up to the viewers to root and vote for their favorite contestants, ultimately crowning the next AMERICAN IDOL.

Enjoy a sneak peek below.

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Highlights from 28th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration.
The 28th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, coordinated by the MLK Steering Committee, was held on Sunday, January 15th, 2012 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. The program began at 1pm in Uihlein Hall and highlighted our youth who interpreted Dr. Kings's works through art, speech and writing.

The theme for this year's program was "Maintain Faith in the Future" which was selected from many of Dr. King's speeches and writings, but most notably from a collection of his works in A testament of Hope, The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Young Adult Interview w Patton Oswalt.
Actor/Comedian Patton Oswalt joins Van McNeil to chat about, 'Young Adult', in theaters now.

In this interview Patton talks about the movie, working with Charlize Theron and all the Academy Awards buzz!

Take a listen...


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Racine County Crowned 2012 Fairest of the Fairs.
 The 2012 Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs was selected during the 89th Annual Wisconsin Association of Fairs Convention taking place this week in the Wisconsin Dells. A field of 35 County Fairest of the Fair contestants competed for the coveted Fairest of the Fairs crown. The Fairest of the Fairs was announced on Wednesday evening and provided an exciting conclusion to the annual convention.

The Fairest of the Fairs will represent the 76 Wisconsin county, district, and state fairs in 2012. The duties of her one-year term begin immediately with the conclusion of her duties at the end of the Wisconsin Association of Fairs Convention in January 2013. Fairest’ s responsibilities include traveling to the county, district and state fairs throughout the state as the spokesperson for the Wisconsin Association of Fairs, and she will as serve as the official hostess of the 2012 Wisconsin State Fair, presented by U.S. Cellular, August 2 through August 12. Throughout her term, the Fairest of the Fairs will make appearances, conduct promotions, work with media and travel to fairs to promote the educational, social and economic importance of Wisconsin’s Fair Industry.

Richelle Kastenson, 21, representing the Racine County Fair, was crowned 2012 Fairest of the Fairs. The excitement and pride were clear on her face. Daughter of Rick and Julie Kastenson of Union Grove, Richelle attends the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where she is a senior. She is studying elementary education with a minor in special education. Following graduation, she hopes to complete half of her student teaching in Sweden with the goal of it making her a more diverse and well-rounded teacher. She also plans to earn her master’s degree in the future. She has been a member of the Racine County 4-H for 14 years, and during her time as a 4-H intern created a 4-H Roadshow, which was a program teaching different urban youth organizations about 4-H. Her leadership has also been exhibited as the Racine County 4-H Ambassador Advisor through which she mentors a group of 15 youth through monthly meetings, participation in community activities, assisting with a multitude of 4-H programs and hosting a leadership conference for four different counties. Richelle is also familiar with the Wisconsin State Fair where she was an intern for the agriculture department in the summer of 2011.

Kastenson was selected as Fairest of the Fairs from a field of impressive young women, and replaces the 2011 Fairest of the Fairs, Alexis Nickelotti of Vernon County. The Fairest of the Fairs was chosen by a panel of three judges representing the fair, media/communications, and agriculture industries.

The panel included Ron Oleheiser of Minnesota, a newspaper veteran of 35 years, 25 of which he served as the publisher of the Grand Rapids Herald Review. Oleheiser is also active in the fair industry having served as the Commercial Exhibit Superintendent of the Itasca County Fair, as a board member of the Minnesota Federation of County Fairs, as a Zone 4 Director of the International Association of Fairs for three years and currently serves on the Board of Managers for the Minnesota State Fair.

Laura Mihm, the Corporate Communications Manager of Foremost Farms USA, of Baraboo also judged the competition. Mihm got her start in the fair industry at the age of 8 when she joined 4-H. She has a degree in
Political Science and Broadcast Journalism and worked in broadcasting and publishing for 12 years as a news anchor, reporter and editor.

The final judge on the panel, Michelle Radcliffe, has had a lifelong involvement with 4-H and also operates her own farm. She is a former Miss Wisconsin Co-ed Pageant, and has participated in several other pageants. She has also chaired local rodeo queen contests and aided in queen training seminars.

“The dedication and passion for the fair industry was evident among the talented young women who competed, which is important as they are the future of the fair and agriculture industries,” stated Fairest of the Fairs Judge Laura Mihm. “All of the young women were well-spoken, represented diverse talents and interests. Each of their respective counties should be quite proud of their Fairest.”

Bethany Rieth, 21, representing Oconto County Fair was named first runner-up. Bethany is the daughter of Jim and Sandy Reith of Oconto Falls. Bethany attends the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she is a sophomore.

Jerianne Blau, 20, representing Columbia County Fair was announced as the second runner-up. She is a sophomore at University of Winona State. Blau’s parents, Mary and Randy Blau, reside in Merrimac.

Kayla Oberstadt, 21, representing Waupaca County Fair was named as third runner-up and received an additional honor being selected as Miss Congeniality by her fellow contestants. Kayla is the daughter of Russ and Marcia Oberstadt of New London and is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Erica Spiegelberg, 19, representing the Waukesha County Fair was named fourth runner-up. The daughter of James and Karen Spiegelberg of New Berlin, Erica attends the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she is a sophomore.

“Each year, the Wisconsin State Fair staff is impressed by the quality of the young women participating in the Fairest of the Fairs competition,” stated Patrice Harris, communications manager of the Wisconsin State Fair. “Fairgoers, exhibitors and the staff are always excited about the opportunity to meet and work with Fairest. The newly crowned Fairest, Richelle Kastenson, interned with the Fair’s agriculture department this past summer, so many of the staff know her and will be very excited to continue contributing to her personal and professional development in her role as Fairest of the Fairs.”

Individuals interested in competing in the Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs contest may contact their county or district fair board for more information or visit www.wifairs.com.

The 161st Wisconsin State Fair, presented by U.S. Cellular, will take place Thursday, August 2 through Sunday, August 12, 2012. The Wisconsin State Fair offers an original experience to all that attend and is a phenomenal value with 30 FREE entertainment stages, thousands of animals, endless family activities, events, contests, vendors and culinary delights. For the most up-to-date information, please visit WiStateFair.com
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Grammy Awards Performers Announced.
 Current GRAMMY® nominees Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson, Foo Fighters, Bruno Mars, Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift are the first performers announced for the THE 54th ANNUAL GRAMMY® AWARDS. Jason Aldean and Nicki Minaj will perform on the GRAMMY broadcast for the first time, while Kelly Clarkson, Foo Fighters, Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift are returning to the GRAMMY stage. The music industry's premier event will take place live from the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012 (8:00-11:30 PM, ET/ 7:00-10:30PM, CT/delayed PT) on the CBS Television Network. Additional performers, presenters and special segments will be announced soon.

Foo Fighters and Bruno Mars each have six nominations. Six-time GRAMMY-winning Foo Fighters are nominated for Album of the Year and Best Rock Album for Wasting Light, Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song for “Walk,” Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance for “White Limo” and Best Long Form Music Video for Foo Fighters: Back And Forth. GRAMMY winner Bruno Mars is up for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance for “Grenade,” Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for Doo-Wops & Hooligans and Producer of the Year (as a member of The Smeezingtons, along with Philip Lawrence and Ari Levine).

Nicki Minaj has four nods: Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance for “Moment 4 Life” (with Drake), Best Rap Album for Pink Friday and Album of the Year (as a featured artist on Rihanna's Loud).

Jason Aldean and Taylor Swift each are up for three awards. Jason Aldean has nominations in Best Country Solo Performance for “Dirt Road Anthem,” Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “Don't You Wanna Stay” (with Kelly Clarkson) and Best Country Album for My Kinda Party. Four-time GRAMMY winner Taylor Swift has nods in Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song for “Mean” and Best Country Album for Speak Now.

Two-time GRAMMY winner Kelly Clarkson is nominated for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “Don't You Wanna Stay” (with Jason Aldean).

THE 54th ANNUAL GRAMMY AWARDS air Sunday, February 12th, 2012 on CBS...click here for more.
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Nickelback to rock Milwaukee.
Nickelback, one of the biggest rock bands of the past decade known for their extraordinary live performances, have announced their first North American arena tour in two years. The Live Nation-produced tour begins on April 10th in Moline, Illinois at the i wireless Center, making a 39-date trek throughout North America, with dates confirmed through June 26th at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada. Special guests Bush, Seether and My Darkest Days, join Nickelback on all tour dates. Tickets go on sale beginning January 20th at Ticketmaster.com and LiveNation.com.

Fan Club members will be able to purchase tickets beginning on January 13th. Fan Club details can be found at Nickelback.com. Citi® cardmembers will also have access to presale tickets beginning Monday, January 16th at 10:00 am local time through Citi's Private Pass® Program. For complete presale details visit www.citiprivatepass.com.

Nickelback last toured in 2009 with the extremely successful, “Dark Horse World Tour” where the band performed for nearly 2 million fans with more than 120 shows around the world including stops in Japan, New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom and North America.

With the new tour, Nickelback will perform songs from the recently released seventh studio album, Here And Now, which debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 200 following its November 21, 2011 release on Roadrunner Records. Propelling Here and Now into the #2 spot were the two hit singles “When We Stand Together” and "Bottoms Up.” Here and Now is also the biggest international release in Nickelback’s history, including a #1 debut in Canada on Universal Music Canada.,

Nickelback has achieved a prestigious place in music history having sold nearly 45 million worldwide. Since their 2001 breakthrough hit song “How You Remind Me,” Nickelback has sent 20 singles rocketing onto various Billboard charts. In 2009, Billboard Magazine also named Nickelback “Top Group of the Decade.” Their now classic album All the Right Reasons insured Nickelback an indelible place in rock history, having spent a staggering 112 consecutive weeks in the Top 30 of the Billboard Top 200, certified eight-times platinum in the U.S. and having sold more than 11 million copies worldwide, topping charts in four countries. All the Right Reasons spun off seven multi-format singles and made Nickelback the first band in Nielsen BDS history to send five singles onto the CHR charts.

VIP Packages will also be available through VIP Nation, including premium seats, exclusive merchandise and more. For more information please visit: www.VIPNation.com.

Date City Venue On Sale Date
April 10, 2012 Moline, IL i wireless Center January 21
April 12, 2012 Grand Rapids, MI Van Andel Arena January 21
April 14, 2012 Detroit, MI Joe Louis Arena January 21
April 15, 2012 Columbus, OH Schottenstein Center January 28
April 19, 2012 New York, NY Madison Square Garden January 21
April 21, 2012 Montreal, PQ Bell Centre January 21
April 22, 2012 Toronto, ON Air Canada Centre January 21
April 24, 2012 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center January 21
April 25, 2012 Pittsburgh, PA Consol Energy Center January 21
April 27, 2012 Hartford, Ct XL Center January 20
April 28, 2012 Worcester, MA DCU Center January 21
April 30, 2012 Washington, DC Verizon Center January 20
May 2, 2012 Atlanta, GA Philips Arena January 21
May 4, 2012 Orlando, FL Amway Center January 28
May 5, 2012 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Bank Atlantic Center January 21
May 15, 2012 Edmonton, AB Rexall Place January 21
May 16, 2012 Calgary, AB Scotiabank Saddledome January 21
May 18, 2012 Saskatoon, SK Credit Union Centre January 21
May 20, 2012 Fargo, ND Fargodome January 28
May 22, 2012 Omaha, NE CenturyLink Center Omaha January 21
May 23, 2012 Minneapolis, MN Target Center January 21
May 25, 2012 Milwaukee, WI Bradley Center January 21
May 26, 2012 Louisville, KY KFC Yum! Center January 21
May 29, 2012 St. Louis, MO Scottrade Center January 21
May 30, 2012 Chicago, IL Allstate Arena January 21
June 1, 2012 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center January 21
June 2, 2012 Houston, TX Toyota Center January 21
June 5, 2012 Kansas City, MO Sprint Center January 21
June 7, 2012 Tulsa, OK BOK Center January 21
June 8, 2012 Wichita, KS Intrust Bank Arena January 21
June 10, 2012 Denver, CO Pepsi Center January 21
June 12, 2012 Salt Lake City UT Energy Solutions Arena January 21
June 15, 2012 Los Angeles, CA Staples Center January 21
June 18, 2012 San Jose, CA HP Pavilion January 20
June 20, 2012 Nampa, ID Idaho Center January 21
June 21, 2012 Portland, OR Rose Garden January 21
June 23, 2012 Tacoma, WA Tacoma Dome January 21
June 24, 2012 Spokane, WA Spokane Arena January 21
June 26, 2012 Vancouver, BC Rogers Arena January 21

For more complete ticket and tour information, please visit: Nickelback.com, Ticketmaster.com and LiveNation.com.
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New Discount Double Check Commercial features Aaron Rodgers and BJ Raji.
The good people at State Farm continue to make me laugh with their, "State Of Imitation" campaign featuring Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Odds are that you've seen the first commercial during a game. If you haven't...click here to check it out.

This new "Discount Double Check" not only features Aaron Rodgers but also Green Bay Packers Nose Tackle B.J. Raji shaking his booty! :) Check out the commercial and get ready to laugh! GO PACK GO!

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Tags :  
Topics: Human Interest
People: Aaron RodgersB.J. Raji

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January 15th Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration Interview.
The MLK Steering Committee will host the 28th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts on January 15, 2012.

Bridgett Gonzalez from the Marcus Center For The Performing Arts joins Leigh McNabb for an interview about the event.
Click on the player to listen.

Local performing arts groups will also appear in Uihlein Hall as part of the 1:00 p.m. program. Programming in Uihlein Hall will honor those students who will interpret this year's theme "Maintaining Faith in the Future." This year's theme came from many of Dr. King's speeches and writings, but most notably from a collection of his works in A Testament of Hope, The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Check out the Dec. 14th press conference announcing the 28th annual celebration with Mayor Barrett, Marcus Center President/CEO Paul Matthews and 11th Grade writing Contest Winner Cheyenne Hankins!

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration
Maintain Faith in the Future
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Presented in Cooperation with the
Marcus Center for the Performing Arts
Click here for more information.
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Kids From Wisconsin Auditions.
Applications are now being accepted for positions in the 2012 KIDS FROM WISCONSIN. Completed forms must be received by January 20th to be eligible for live auditions scheduled for February 24th, 25th and 26th, 2012.

KIDS FROM WISCONSIN is a summer musical performing troupe that travels throughout Wisconsin and the Midwest. The KIDS program is an excellent learning experience for anyone interested in professional performance in the fields of dance, instrumental and vocal music. Approximately 33 positions are open for dancers, vocalists and band members. Qualified males and females between the ages of 15 and 20, regardless of race, color, handicap or national origin are eligible to apply.
Each June, a new and exciting stage performance created by a professional artistic staff is taught during an intense 17-day camp. During the following ten weeks, KIDS FROM WISCONSIN tours the State and Midwest performing nearly 70 fully staged performances to enthusiastic audiences at 45-50 events, including daily appearances at Wisconsin State Fair.

The KIDS FROM WISCONSIN was founded in 1969 with the mission to provide a unique performing arts experience for musically talented young people and promote a positive image of Wisconsin’s youth. The KIDS FROM WISCONSIN is the state’s Official Musical Ambassadors of Goodwill. Applications are available from all public and private high school music directors, on the KIDS web site at www.kidsfromwisconsin.org or may be requested by contacting the KIDS office at 414-266-7067.
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The Devil Inside Interview.
If you like scary movies, 'The Devil Inside' may be right up your alley! Brent Bell (Writer/Director) and Matthew Peterman (Writer) join Van McNeil for a chat about the film, what went into making of it and what people can expect!

In Italy, a woman becomes involved in a series of unauthorized exorcisms during her mission to discover what happened to her mother, who allegedly murdered three people during her own exorcism.

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30 Rock Season 6 Sneak Peek.
One of my favorite shows returns to television NEXT WEEK!

The multiple Emmy Award winning, '30 Rock' is back, Thursday, January 12th for a 6th season on NBC!

I'm honored to get you ready for season 6 with little sneak peek of things to come.


30 Rock
Season 6 Premiere
Thursday, January 12th
8pm ET / 7pm CT

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Blue Man Group Interview.

Kirk Massey and Jerry Kops from Blue Man Group visit Van McNeil in The Mix Studio for a chat about the show. The group will be performing at the Marcus Performing Arts Center on January 3-8, 2012. http://wwwMarcusCenter.org
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So far, SO GREAT!
3 & 1/2 months and counting since my family and I packed up our stuff in NJ and made the trek to Milwaukee! Anytime you leave what you've "known" for years and years, you always worry that: It won't work It's not a great fit It'll take a LONG time to FIT IN Well, I'm here to say that all of those answers couldn't be farther from the truth! From DAY 1, my radio family here at The Mix has welcomed my family and I with OPEN ARMS (My favorite JOURNEY song btw) and it's like we've known each other forever! At the same time, my new family of radio listeners (ALL OF YOU reading this right now) have also made me so incredibly comfortable and happy and as stated above, it's like I've known you well, longer than the 3.5 months I've been here! You've helped my family and I find a place to live, great restaurants (my family and I love to eat), great places to visit to entertain my kids, a travel baseball team for my oldest son Anthony and of course, great karaoke so I can get my sing on! I will continue to ask for your advice on different things along the way and I know WITHOUT A DOUBT, you'll be there to answer whatever questions my family and I have! For that, I'm very grateful! Just wanted to take a few minutes to say THANK YOU for welcoming Me, my wife Sarah, and children Anthony and Benjamin with such warmth and kindness! We look forward to being a part of the community for a long time to come! Thank you for listening to 99.1 The Mix! I'm havin' a BLAST! Hope YOU are too! Sincerely, Mark Summers
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Grow Potatoes in the Garden or Container
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A Multi-Season Beauty – The Fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus)
Add seasonal interest and bird appeal to your landscape with the white fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus). This slow growing small-scale tree can grow up to 20 feet tall and wide. The slightly fragrant white flowers cover the plant in spring. The male plants produce slightly larger and showier flowers, but the female plants produce an abundance of blue fruit in late summer. Though the fruit is somewhat hidden by the leaves, the birds seem to have no problem finding and devouring it. But don't worry however as they won't leave behind a mess. The fall color can vary from a good yellow to a yellowish green. And the smooth gray bark become ridged and furrowed with age. Fringetree is hardy in zones 4 to 9, grows well in full sun to part shade and though it prefers moist fertile soil, it is adaptable to a much wider range of conditions. It can be found in nature growing along stream banks and the woodland edge. A bit more information: Use fringetree as a small tree or large shrub, as a specimen plant, near buildings, or in mixed borders as an understory. And be patient in spring as it is late to leaf out. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Daisy – the April Birth Flower
Celebrate April birthdays with a bouquet of daisies. This April birth flower symbolizes childhood innocence or according to the Farmer's Almanac they were given between friends to keep a secret. Many flowers share the common name daisy. It comes from the English name "days eye" referring to the fact many daisy flowers open during the day and close as the sun sets. Bellis perennis, known as English daisy, is most often designated as the April birth flower. It is hardy in zones 4 to 8, grows about 6 inches tall and flowers from spring through mid summer. You will find this plant listed as an attractive perennial or nasty weed. In the south the plants often burn out after flowering during the heat of summer. In cooler climates they are often dug after flowering to maximize enjoyment and minimize spread. The young leaves can be eaten in salads or cooked. A bit more information: Sweet peas are also considered the April birth flower. This is especially true in April. This flower represents modesty and simplicity. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Garden Longer with Less Aches and Pains – It’s National Garden Week
Avoid sore and strained muscles that often arise after a long day in the garden. A few simple changes in your gardening habits can keep you gardening longer and with fewer aches, pains and strains. Use long-handled tools to extend your reach and minimize bending and stooping. And if you need to get a bit closer to the ground, try placing only one knee on the ground or using a stool and keep your back straight. Keep your tools handy by wearing a carpenter's apron with lots of pockets or using a tool caddy. An old wagon, wheeled golf bag or trash can make moving long-handled tools a breeze. Use foam or wrap your tool handles with tape to enlarge the grip and reduce hand fatigue. Or better yet, invest in ergonomically designed tools with larger cushioned grips. They are designed to position your body in a less stressful position, allowing you to work longer. A bit more information: Further extend your energy by taking frequent breaks. Use sunscreen, wear a hat and drink lots of water. For more ideas, check out my 10 Pain-free Gardening tips. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Celebrate National Dandelion Day – It’s not just a weed
Stop, don't pull those pesky yellow flowered dandelions popping up in the lawn and garden. These beautiful flowers have not only been used as bouquets for mom and crowns for children, but have a long medicinal and edible history. On April 5th, Dandelion Day, celebrate the benefits and beauty of this perennial plant many consider a weed. You'll find this adaptable plant growing in a wide variety of locations. The name dandelion comes from the French "dent de lion" meaning lion's tooth. This refers to the leaves with their jagged tooth-like edges. Dandelions are high in Vitamins A, B, C and D and were used by Native Americans for kidney disease, swelling and skin problems. Harvest the young leaves in spring and add them to a salad or sauté with onions. Brighten up a salad with just the yellow portion of the flowers or ferment them into wine. A bit more information: Dandelions are also known as 'wet-the-bed'. This refers to the old belief that just touching a dandelion can cause bed-wetting. This may be tied to the fact that dandelions have been used as a diuretic. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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