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Van McNeil's Blog

Posts from October 2012

Hurricane Sandy - Red Cross Interview
It's about to get crazy on the East Coast with the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. Scheduled to make landfall this evening, officials are already esitmating that about 60 million people will be effected and damages between ONE and THREE BILLION DOLLARS!

The American Red Cross has been preparing for the worst, and we check in with Regional Communications Director Anna Kate Twitty from New York.

In this interview we talk about...

What the American Red Cross has been doing in preperation for the storm...

What to have in your emergency kit...

How can YOU help?

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Sneak Peek - Dreamworks How To Train Your Dragon LIVE SPECTACULAR!
Dreamworks How To Train Your Dragon LIVE SPECTACULAR stops by BMO Harris Bradley Center through the weekend and let me just say it is an AMAZING show!

Prepare to be mesmerized by 23 dragons, some with wingspans of up to 46 feet, Viking warriors, and world-class circus artists and acrobats, as they perform against a state-of-the-art, wall-to-floor immersive projection measuring more than 20,000 square feet!

I had a chance to meet and play with some of the dragons and chatted with the cast about the show PLUS a behind the scenes look at how the entire show is put together.

MOBILE USERS: Watch PREVIEW - Dreamworks How To Train Your Dragon LIVE SPECTACULAR...click here.

Click here for tickets and more information.
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The Insider Kevin Frazier Interview
Get ready to satisfy your need for the latest and greatest from Hollywood as I chat it up with The Insider's Kevin Frazier.
In this interview Kevin and I talk about...

Co-host Brooke Anderson. AND The Insider's newly signed deal with Yahoo!

-Denzel Washington's new movie, Flight".

-Will Smith's fundraiser for President Barack Obama.

-Game 1 of the World Series.
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Get your car ready for winter w Top Gear USA's Rutledge Wood.
Not to burst your bubble after such a nice day BUT winter will be here before you know it!

Are YOU and YOUR CAR ready?

Well, just in case you're not or you just need a refresher, I chatted it up with Top Gear USA co-host Rutledge Wood all about it.

From how to de-cloud headlights, to tire tread/pressure and what should be in your car just in case of emergency!

Take a listen to the interview, get wise and BE SAFE/READY on the roads this winter!

1/4 Rutledge on Wipers and Headlights.

2/4 Rutledge on Tires.

3/4 Rutledge on Emergency Kits

4/4 Rutledge on New Cars on Dream Cars
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Topics: Technology_Internet

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LET'S GO Milwaukee Wave AND UWM Panthers!
On top of rocking your radio weekdays from Noon-4pm on 99.1 The Mix, I'm also the Public Address Announcer for the Milwaukee Wave Professional Indoor Soccer Team AND JUST ADDED... the UWM Panthers! I'll explain...

First, the Milwaukee Wave, the longest running professional soccer franchise in the United States, kicks off another exciting season at U.S. Cellular Arena on Sunday, November 11th vs. Missouri Comets and I'm honored to enter my 15th year in the booth. If you've never been to a game, perhaps this is the year. I will say it is a great time for the entire family, at a great value!
You can get tickets and more information by visiting www.MilwaukeeWave.com

As for the UWM Panthers, I'll be in the PA booth for UWM Women's Basketball games at Klotsche Center and filling in on the Men's side when needed.

The UWM Panther Women get the regular season started on the road in Illinois vs Chicago State, Friday, November 9th and their home opener will be Wednesday, November 14th vs. Western Michigan.
For all things UWM Panthers visit www.UWMPanthers.com

I'm exited and honored to be a part of BOTH teams and can't wait to see some great competitive action this season. Hope to see you at a game or two!


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Topics: Sports
Locations: IllinoisWestern Michigan

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Hanging with Carly Rae Jepsen.
Were you one of the lucky people that got tickets to Sunday's Justin Bieber show?

From what I understood the ENTIRE TOUR sold out in just minutes. Crazy!

I had the honor of hanging with "opening act" Carly Rae Jepsen just before she hit the stage at BMO Harris Bradley Center.

We chatted about her new record, "Kiss", her favorite, "Call Me Maybe" remake video, her time on Canadian Idol and LOTS more!

MOBILE USERS: Watch Carly Rae Jepsen Interview...click here.

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Get your NERD on again! WATCH Record Breaking Skydive.
It's been almost a week since "Fearless" Felix Baumartner made that record-breaking 128,100 ft. skydive from the edge of space and it was nice to see everyone's inner NERD come out. 

If you watched LIVE over YouTube or on television Sunday, you know the broadcast was looong. Coming in at about 3 hours. In the video below, I take you to Roswell, New Mexico to see how this whole thing came together in less than five minutes! Plus the footage from Felix's helmet-cam is CRAZY. Like I've said before, I have never done the skydiving thing and after seeing this? Well, I don't know...

Ok. Time to let your inner nerd come out and play. At least for a few minutes! Enjoy and CONGRATULATIONS to Felix Baumgartner and the Red Bull Stratos Team.

MOBILE USERS: Watch Felix Baumgartner World Record Breaking Skydive...click here.

World's Shortest Freefall on Conan O'Brien...click here.

Felix Baumgartner Skydive LEGO style...click here.

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Rock of Ages The Musical - Cast Interview

You've seen the movie but have you seen the stage production? Dare I say it's BETTER than the movie? I do!
I'm a theater guy, what do you want? :)

Rock of Ages is set to melt faces at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts November 13th-18th. You can get tickets and more information about the show by clicking here OR you could watch my interview some of the cast!

Learn more about the show and what you can expect by clicking on the video player below.

MOBILE USERS: Watch Rock of Ages The Musical - Cast Interview...click here.


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Get to know SNL Host/Performer Bruno Mars.
I had the honor of working w Bruno Mars last year for a nationwide radio takeover hosted by Kiss Fm's Rahny Taylor. Rahny handled the interview like a pro, while I was behind the camera directing.

We both found out all about Bruno Mars music, videos, life and what he's all about. Very cool dude!

Now he's hosting AND performing on Saturday Night Live this Saturday night, October 20th. NBC | 10:30pm CT 

Get the stories behind the music, watch music videos and find out what his plans are for the future!

MOBILE USERS: Watch the Bruno Mars Radio Takeover...click here.

Bruno Mars Radio Takeover 1/3 - Bruno talks about the sturggles of breaking into the music biz and almost quitting. Plus, writing or performing? Which does he perfer? Music Videos: B.O.B - Nutin' On You. Travie McCoy - Billionaire.
Bruno Mars Radio Takeover 2/3 - Bruno talks Cee Lo Green, Awards Shows and who was "Just The Way You Are" all about? Music Videos: Cee Lo Green - Forget You. Bruno Mars f/ Cee Lo Green - The Other Side. Bruno Mars - Just The Way You Are.

Bruno Mars Radio Takeover 3/3 - Bruno describes his "sound" and how the Lazy Song came to be. Plus he talks family, fashion, music and...is Bruno Mars SINGLE? Music Videos: Bruno Mars - Grenade. Bruno Mars f/ Damian Marley - The Other Side.

Bruno Mars w SNL's Fred Armisen promotiong the show...click here.

Bruno Mars new single, "Locked Out Of Heaven" Official Video...click here.

Bruno Mars, "Whatta Man" on Funny or Die.com ...click here.

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Record-Breaking Skydive Attempt POSTPONED...again.
Who is crazy enough to try skydiving from 120,000 feet in the air? Red Bull Stratos Pilot Felix Baumgartner is! Though they haven't been able to get off the ground because of weather and equipment problems, Fearless Felix Baumgartner and the Red Bull Stratos Team are determined to get this done! Next attempt... this Sunday.

We take you to Roswell, New Mexico to check in on "Fearless Felix" and the Red Bull Stratos Team and see how they are doing as they wait to make another attempt.
Find out more at www.RedBullStratos.com

Felix Baumgartner talks after 96,000 foot jump...click here
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Locations: New MexicoRoswell

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Wisconsin Fear Grounds 2012 Sneak Peek
October is here and you know what that means... HAUNTED HOUSE SEASON!

For the past few years I've had the honor of giving you a FIRST LOOK at Wisconsin Fear Grounds at the Waukesha Expo Center and this year is no different!

Enjoy a sneak peek of THE BEST haunted attraction in AMERICA (Haunted Attraction Magazine) and check them out at...

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Locations: Wisconsin

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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
What is white, red or yellow, can be eaten fresh, fried or even raw and is one of the most important staples of the human diet? If you guessed potato, you are right. Grow your own in the garden, planting bag or containers. You can plant small potatoes or pieces of larger potatoes to start new plants. These contain "eyes" that grow into potato plants. You may have seen this happen on potatoes stored in the pantry. Buy certified seed potatoes at garden centers or from garden catalogues. Cut whole or large seed potatoes into smaller pieces containing at least one good "eye". Plant them in a 2-3 inch deep furrow, 10 to 12 inches apart, leaving 24 to 36 inches between the plants. As the plants begin to grow, mound the nearby soil over the tubers until the rows are 4 to 6 inches high. Keep the planting weeded and wait for the harvest. A bit more information: Save space and have some fun by growing your potatoes in a planting bag. Fill the bottom few inches of the bag with potting mix. Set the potato pieces on the mix. Cover with several inches of soil. As the potatoes grow, continue adding a couple of inches of soil at a time until the bag is full. Harvest by dumping the bag and lifting out your potatoes. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Brown Needles and Leaves on Evergreens
A walk through your garden this spring may reveal browning on both needled and broadleaf evergreen trees and shrubs. Winter winds and sun, exposure to deicing salt and record low temperatures are likely the cause. Evergreens continue to lose moisture through their leaves and needles throughout the winter. The winter sun and wind increase moisture loss. Those gardening in areas with frozen soil are likely to see the most damage. But even those in warmer regions may see winter scorch on newly planted or exposed evergreen plants. We can't turn the needles and leaves green, but we can provide proper care to speed recovery. If the branches are pliable and buds plump you should see new growth this spring. Broadleaf evergreens will replace the brown leaves with fresh new growth. Brown needles will eventually drop and the new growth this spring may mask the damage. Wait for warmer weather to see what if any new growth appears. A bit more information: Once plants have started to show signs of new growth, you have a decision to make. Is the plant healthy and attractive enough to nurture and keep? Or, would you be better off starting with a new plant and one better suited to the growing conditions. A difficult decision, but one that can save you time, money and frustration in the long run. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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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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Celebrate National Celery Month - Grow Your Own Celery Indoors or Out
Celery, an unassuming vegetable has long been used as a flavorful ingredient in soups, stews and casseroles. You'll also find it fresh on a relish tray or as a crunchy low calorie snack. Its value is being recognized and celebrated during April, National Celery Month. This long season vegetable is difficult to grow in many areas. The plants are slow to germinate and the young transplants will bolt if subject to cool periods. Grow celery in full sun with moist organic soil. Provide ample moisture and mulch to keep the soil moist throughout the season. Wrap or cover the stalks two weeks before harvest to blanch the stems for a milder flavor. Or have a bit of fun and grow some celery from kitchen discards. Next time you chop up a bunch of celery for soup or stew, save the base and grow a new plant. A bit more information: It's easy to grow your own celery from kitchen discards. Save the base of the celery in a shallow dish of water or bury the bottom half in a well-drained potting mix to root. Set in a bright location. Keep water in the saucer or the soil mix moist until new growth appears. Pot up and move to a sunny location. For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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It's that time...
It's that time of year...ALLERGIES! This morning I walked my dog only to experience ichy watery eyes... So off to Walgreens I went to pick up Visine A eye drops...We are teaming up with Visine A eye drops to help me get some relief! Just a drop in each eye and aaaahhhh relief. So, if YOU experience allergies and want to get back to feeling normal...I recommend Visine A eye drops and get back outside and enjoy the things you like to do without looking like you're sick! NICE!
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Definitely Gonna Miss This Guy!
It's definitley time for David Letterman to retire, especially with Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel doing so well! But after I heard his announcement, I have to admit, I was a little sad, I'm a HUGE fan! Below is a picture of me in New York visiting my friend Shelby who was one of his writing interns this past year!
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Definitely Gonna Miss This Guy!
It's definitley time for David Letterman to retire, especially with Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel doing so well! But after I heard his announcement, I have to admit, I was a little sad, I'm a HUGE fan! Below is a picture of me in New York visiting my friend Shelby who was one of his writing interns this past year!
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