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Carole Meekins: Positively Milwaukee

The good news!

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  • Mike Jacobs Revealed (Ladies Don't Get Jealous!)

    On this cold winter day, story that will make you feel good. It happens to involve one of the nicest guys I've ever worked with. My co-worker Mike Jacobs. You see, the past couple of nights when I went out to the parking lot, most cars wore blankets of white. Some just look like puffy clouds sitting on mounds of snow. Of course that means it's time for the ice scraper. But the past couple of nights, I have walked out, and noticed my car not quite as snow laden as the rest. Of course, Mrs. Sherlock Holmes here briefly wondered if someone had cleaned off my car. No way I thought in my muddled mind. I just figured my car was at a good angle. Well, last night it happened again. My car looked to be much cleaner than all the other cars. Once again, Miss Clueless just opened the door, and scraped what little snow was on my car and wondered out loud..why were there so many footprints around my car. (Duhhh!!!!) To be honest it just didn't occur to me that someone other than my husband could be so nice. Well. Wrong!!! Today Mike Jacobs confessed. He had scraped off my car before I left last night .A few nights ago, he was aided by floor director Rodney Paulson. Well how sweet!! But I guess I should not be surprised. Mike Jacobs has been known to shovel bus stops, fire hydrants, and sidewalks on the East Side where he lives. That's what I call a commitment to civic pride. Mike Jacobs did something more than just clear the snow off my car. He gave me a poignant reminder. Don't forget to take time to notice the goodness in life. Because even when arctic chill is blowing, your heart will be warm!!

  • My Husband Does his Civic Duty

    As we get ready for another round of snow, I have to give a shout out to my own husband. These past few weeks, we have done numerous reports about a request from city officials. They want us to make sure to shovel around fire hydrants so that firefighters are not impeded in the line of safety. Well the other night I went home, and my husband had just shoveled the fire hydrant leading into our subdivision. He told me he did so after listening to me report it on the news. I said, since when do you you listen to me. He admitted not much..ha..ha...!!! But at least he did this once. And we all should. Firefighters simply should not have to shovel snow before they can tend to fires. It simply puts too many people in jeopardy. Clearing the path around a fire hydrant is really a small task if you remember, you could help save a life. e told me, it was the right thing to do since he is strong and healthy. I was so proud of himcity officials have been asking us all to think of others. They remind us to not only check on the elderly and pets when there's heavy snow, but to shovel around fire hydrants. Well, the other night I got home, and my husband was so proud to show me that he took

  • Helping Veterans Recover

    I was out at the Clement J. Zablocki V.A. Medical Center this week. I was thrilled to hear some of the talent that will be featured at the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival. The local stage show will take place this Monday. March 3rd. It was a treat to hear a sample of the talent. There will be music drama poetry, dance and even creative writing. So many of our Veterans have hidden talents. They need creative outlets to express themselves. The arts give them a much needed aesthetic experience. They tell me performing improves their self esteem, and gives their souls a lift. Many of the men and women are still dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Some have battled everything from substance abuse to depression. But with a strong support system, they can shine. Self expression is a great boost to recovery. It is a music and art therapy can touch hearts, souls and lives. This Monday the Local Stage Show of the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival will showcase some of our local talent. First place winners will go on to a National Competition in June. You will see a few of the performers an upcoming "Positively Milwaukee". But my trip to the VA Medical Center was enough to remind me that we all owe our Veterans a lot. And we should chose to serve them, just like they served us!

  • Do I Need Therapy After Crying Over Favre?

    Ok, don't laugh. But watching Brett Favre say goodbye today reduced me to tears. I watched todays press conference while working out. I had to take a break to compose myself. I kept thinking what is your problem Carole. You see, I have never been good with goodbyes. I remember choking back tears at almost every farewell celebration I have attended. Don't ask me why. I have no idea. Perhaps it's because my childhood was filled with goodbyes. My dad was in the military and we moved a lot. Saying goodbye to friends, and neighbors was a common. Often there were tears as I hugged my friends. But then it was time to start over and move on. I think I kept a lot of that emotion bottled up as a child. So maybe that's why now as an adult, I become a tearful idiot at such life transitions. So my question to anyone reading this blog. Was I the only one blubbering like a baby watching Number 4 hang it up? Is it that we are saying goodbye to an icon? Is it because we know that going to a Packers game will never be the same? Or that we will never revel in the boyish excitement and enthusiasm after Brett has thrown an amazing touchdown pass. I know, a lot of your are saying get over it. Still, it is not easy. Fame and celebrity do not necessarily turn me on. But there's something about the down home charm of the Favre family that has me feeling blue that an era is over. I hope I''m not alone. Otherwise I need therapy.

  • Our Gift from Nancy Chandler

    I recently reconnected with an old friend you all know. Nancy Chandler recently went public about her bout with breast cancer. Many of you remember Nancy a former anchor here at Todays TMJ4. Nancy and I spent a lot of time hanging out before we got married. I was even a bridesmaid in her wedding. I always remembered feeling lucky that I could have a friend that I could talk openly and honestly about a job that most people do not understand. We had a good time venting about minor issues, like hair and makeup, and being air ready. Ha..ha!!! We had plenty of fun talking about dud dates..ha.ha..!! But as life goes, we both got married, Nancy left the business to settle down as a mother and we sort of lost touch.(Working nights is not good for nurturing friendships.) We were both busy going in different directions. But when I called Nancy a few weeks ago, it was really like old times. We probably talked more than an hour. I was so impressed with her courage in fighting breast cancer. Nancy's willingness to go public is all about her spirit. She simply wants to help others. Nancy has always been beautiful physically and spiritually. She's very generous and giving. She makes everyone around her feel good. Nancy Chandler thinks more about others than herself. So, it was no surprise to me that she was determined to use her diagnosis as a springboard to remind women to get mammograms. We are all thrilled that the prognosis for Nancy is good. We have been flooded with prayers and viewer calls. Reconnecting with Nancy has taught me a valuable lesson. No matter how busy you are take time to contact friends. It was not until we had a chance to reconnect that I realized just how much I had missed my former colleague. We have both promised ourselves to stay in touch. I am glad. Milwaukee is blessed to have had Nancy on the air for many years. I am a richer for being her friend.

  • A Cheer for Daylight Saving Time

    Lets here it for Daylight Saving Time! The good news, we have more hours of daylight. The bad news, it usually takes a little time to adjust. I got plenty of sleep last night and woke up a little groggy. But after my usual morning workout, I felt pretty good. I am just happy it will not be dark at 5:30 pm. There's something about more daylight that does something to your psyche. I always feel like there's more time to run errands and get things done. Let's face it, when it starts to get dark outside, our natural instinct is to want to stay inside. Do you feel like you get more done when the days are longer? I do. I just kind of shut down the darker it gets. I'm just thrilled my husband was proactive enough to change the clocks in every room of the house. He did not miss one. That happened to me once. I was certain I had gotten all the clocks. But then there was once clock I forgot, and was getting ready for work thinking I had plenty of time left only to discover that clock was on the old time. Panic ensued, and I almost was late for a speech. Very unsettling! I'm sure you know by now that Daylight Saving time is aimed at saving energy. But I am sure that many will tell you that it also saves mental health, because I would guess now people are less likely to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. Now all we have to do is warm up enough to get the snow melted, and we are good to go.

  • I Choked On "Live at 5"

    Ok, some days are better than others when it comes to live TV. Yesterday on the 5:00 news I was reading a story about the Bowling Congress possibly moving, and took a breath of air..and nothing came out except several coughs. Yes, I am not proud to admit it, but I choked during "Live at 5." The good news is that Mike Jacobs is quick on the trigger. He jumped right in and finished reading the story for me just before we went to sportscaster Rod Burks. Luckily, I did not break out in laughing convulsions. But no matter what happens it's not as bad as what happened to our wonderful 10 pm producer around Thanksgiving. Nutritionist Laurie Meyer had brought in a Thanksgiving turkey for her healthy eating food segment on Live at 4:30. Usually after those segments, she will leave any food samples for the newsroom. Of course, like vultures that have not eaten in years, the news staff devours the food. As people helped themselves to white or dark meat, our 10 pm producer, Jay Saunders was apparently so excited about turkey time that when he chomped on his piece, it went down the wrong way. He was gagging, and coughing. Our local CPR trained expert Mike Jacob's was quick to try and help. But since Jay was still able to talk, Mike knew he would survive. Still, the turkey would not come out and an ambulance was called. How humiliating but how wonderfully funny!! So off went our 10 pm producer surrounded by paramedics to help ensure it would not be his last piece of turkey. As you might imagine, many (me) laughed unabashedly after we discovered Jay would be fine. I was in hysterics. I could hardly stand. And when I found out that our news director went to visit him in the hospital my guffaws were simply uncontrollable. All I could think of is HOW EMBARRASSING!!! I started to think of headlines. "Butterball gone Bad." "Injury by Turkey". "Cooking Lesson Ends in Choking." Imagine your boss comes to visit you in the hospital because of a food injury. That's rich!!! Ha..ha..!!! But I am happy to share the good news. Jay is back to producing. He seems to have developed a strange affinity for soft food like macaroni and mashed potatoes. Ok I made that up..ha..ha..!!! But who am I to laugh. As you can see from this video clip, you do not have to chomp on food to choke or to feel like a Turkey!!

  • "A Baby Who Can Read!!!"

    All I can say is I am very impressed. Click on the link and you will see something amazing. a 17 month old child who can read words. Even cursive writing. The funniest part of this video is when the child starts to act like a typical toddler and get a little antsy, all it takes is to settle her down during the interview is a paper with a word. If she's reading before she's two years old what next? College at 5, PHD by 12? Is this a baby Einstein?Who knows. But for now, she's pretty remarkable!!


    "Don't look back." That can be advice good for life and even for live TV. I remember when I first began television news I would anguish over every little mistake no matter how small. It did not take me long to realize that unless I wanted to meet my maker early, I would have to learn to "get over it." And now after close to 25 years in the business, I know it's dumb to agonize over what you cannot control. There are just going to be days when you get caught a bit off guard on live TV. Case in point, today, while anchoring "Live at 4" Charles Benson was not aware that we were on camera as he was busy paging through his scripts. We came on camera a little sooner than we expected. I jokingly told Charles to wake up. Even though we were on live TV, we chuckled, and made fun of it. For all aspiring journalists out there beware. There will be times when what is broadcast on television is less than stellar. But, don't despair. With any luck, you'll get to do it all over again soon. In this case, I had four more shows to anchor, so the odds were in my favor. I know as your watch this clip, you're not laughing at us, you're laughing with us...Yeah right..ha..ha..!!!!

  • Atlanta Tornado Hits Close to home

    I have been saying prayers of thanks this week after seeing the pictures of devastation and destruction in Atlanta. You see my sister Janice is Physician who lives in suburban Atlanta. I happened to be home visiting my parents in southern Illinois when the Tornado hit downtown Atlanta. As soon as we saw the awful pictures I could tell by my mothers face she had one goal. To talk to her child. Luckily, we got in touch with Janice. She was fine. She happened to be working when the storms hit. Not being near windows she tells us she had no idea how serious the storms were till she got home at saw the damage on TV. Every time there is a life threatening weather event many of us in the news cannot help but pause and pray. We've seen much of the damage close up. We have witnessed the tears and sadness. We've comforted people whose lives have been ripped apart. By seeing their pain, you feel it. When mother nature turns destructive, the consequences can be deadly. But knowing your loved ones have been spared is an important reminder to keep gratitude close at hand. And after talking to my sister Janice this weekend, it was a stark reminder. Do not take good fortune for granted.

  • Winter Storm Watch in Spring?!!!!

    Happy Spring!!! Not so fast. The national weather service has just issued a winter storm watch for late Thursday night. Which by now you probably are aware is the first day of spring. I guess it's a fitting way to end this winter of near record snowfalls. "Snow kidding, people are sick of snow." (I know, that's bad but it gives me great joy..ha..ha.!!) Even President Bush feels our snow pain. He has decided to give Wisconsin money to help pay for all the cleanup this winter. This is the third time Wisconsin has received money for snowfall. Counties can start seeing those funds next month. Milwaukee, Walworth, Washington, Dane, Dodge, Green, Jefferson, and Rock counties will all get federal dollars. As we all know, winter in Wisconsin can often overstay it's welcome. Spring snow is not uncommon. So as we rejoice in the glories of Spring, we cannot forget here in Wisconsin, winter often wants the last word. I guess I'll keep my ice scraper in my car till July 4th. Ha..ha..!!

  • "Let It Snow, Let It Snow"...

    I'm sure by now your really getting psyched up for our spring snowstorm. Today our winter storm watch was upgraded to a winter storm warning..yipeeee!!!! Some spots could see a foot of snow. Wow!!! It's actually a bit amusing when I think of the fact that today my husband had my snow tires taken off. Ha..ha..!!! You know what they say in life. Timing is everything. But I still have my winter boots and gloves and hats out. I was certain we would get another blast of arctic chill. But how could we get too upset? Our spring snow will only make it easier for us to appreciate the real spring when it finally gets here in August. Ha..ha..!! I know some of you are groaning. But don't forget. If we did not have rain, we would never see rainbows!!! So, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!!!!!!

  • Snowstorm Memory Fun and Poignant

    This is one of my favorite pictures of last week's spring snowstorm. It comes from Brandon and Connor Novack in Belgium, Wisconsin. Now of course part of me loves this picture for its promotion of Channel 4. (I'm not proud...ha..ha..!!) But I love it more for the family behind the picture. You see Brandon is a former MACC Star designer. He is a cancer survivor and is doing great. But as a child, Brandon and his family made countless trips to Children's Hospital for treatments. Still, they find time to count their blessings. How many people with healthy kids do you know who forget to do that? I know it's strange, but I have always felt that families dealing with childhood cancer are a more special breed than others. Through their challenges I see a type of humanity that transcends the rest of us. I see a spirit and love you don't often see. It's almost as if a higher power has sent them a struggle to teach us all life lessons. Yes, delight in the big 4 carved out in the snow by the Novacks. But I rejoice more in the knowledge Brandon healthy and happy. He reminds me that we are winning the battle of childhood cancer. And every dollar we give to the MACC Fund is money well spent. So let's remember to keep supporting the MACC Fund. So families like the Novacks can enjoy the snow, even though it's spring!!!

  • UWM Students to Fight Crime

    If you are like thousands of Americans, you are angry at the crime problems facing the nation. And the latest target appears to be campuses. We've reported on a rash of robberies UWM and Marquette lately. Criminals are preying on students. Recently two students were killed from two different colleges. Often young people assume it cannot happen to them. Someone once told me the difference between being young and old, is that young people believe they are immortal. As we get older, we know the truth. But we need to remind our young adults of their vulnerability. They need to be aware of their surroundings. They cannot assume they are safe just because they are on or near campus. Often people naively assume it cannot or will not happen to them. Those of us in the news know perhaps too well that no one is immune. Sad but true. However, defensive thinking can save you from becoming a victim. I cannot tell you how often I see young people walking or jogging alone in questionable areas. Many seem totally oblivious to their surroundings. Both UWM and Marquette have announced increased safety patrols. As we see in Tom Murray's report at the top of this blog, UWM is even hiring students to keep an eye out on crime. Still, everyone must use common sense. We must not let our guard down no matter where we live. I have probably heard the quote.."I can't believe it happened " here" hundreds of times in my career. The best way to stay safe is to stay aware. Take precautions at all times. Lock your homes, doors, cars, and avoid walking alone in deserted areas. Never assume you are safe, no matter where you are. Practicing good defense will make it less likely you become a victim.

  • Church Destroyed but Prayers Answered

    One of the best things about the news business is that your workday can change in a moment. Today when we all came in to work, we were about to go into the afternoon meeting when we got word of an explosion in Oconomowoc. Within seconds the entire newsroom was moved to action, people on the phones, reporters running out the door, photographers being called. And within minutes, Mike Jacobs was at what we call our Robo Camera doing updates. A short time later Mike and I were in the studio doing non stop coverage. We stayed on all afternoon updating the news. First there was the shock that the First Baptist Church had been wiped out. There was fear as we listened to the shaken witnesses describe what they say sounded like a bomb, or an earthquake. But the good news as information unfolded we found out all of the injuries were minor. Amazing considering that First Baptist Church on West Wisconsin was reduced to a pile of rubble. Only the church bell tower was standing. What a blessing. As horrible as it is to see such a beautiful historic church demolished, it's important that we not forget the one gift we all received on this huge news day. No one died. All of injured will be able to see their families again. A true blessing after a difficult day.

  • Pledge of Peace/Atonement Lutheran Church and School

    It's a church with humanity and spirit. And its members are working to make Milwaukee better. Hopefully you got a chance to see this week's Positively Milwaukee. We highlighted the beginning of a major effort by Atonement Lutheran Church and School at 4224 W. Ruby in Milwaukee. Steve Schafer is the brainchild of the Neighborhood Peace Initiative. He is an inspirational leader, who's taking the proactive approach in fighting crime. His initiative has three phases. The first is a Neighborhood Peace Summit which takes place Saturday morning April 12, from 10:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m. The second phase will be Neighborhood Arbor Day on April 26, where volunteers will collect waste around the neighborhood. The last phase will be a Neighborhood Peace Block Party. That takes place Saturday June 14. Schafer wants neighbors to get to know each other. He wants to create a culture of peace where people look out for each other and work to make the neighborhood safe. He also plans to connect residents with police and public officials. Those attending this week's peace summit will also learn about a host of community services available, from Badger Care to the Parklawn YMCA to the Social Development Commission. Schafer believes that if residents see the church and school as a resource, neighbors will join together to keep out bad elements. This was sparked in part by the murder of a young man last year not far from Atonement Lutheran Church. But rather than pick up and run, or shut their doors, this congregation is tackling the problems by reaching out. Its members are impressive. They are setting examples through respect, courage, honesty and compassion. Seeing members of Atonement Lutheran Church in action is an inspiration. Their commitment and passion to the greater good is just what Milwaukee needs. God Bless Atonement Lutheran Church and School for having the courage to care.

  • Top Ten Ways to Cope with $4 a Gallon Gas

    10. Take leisurely walks along Lake Michigan. 9. Spend hours in your local library. 8. Double the time you spend in Milwaukee County Parks. 7. Plan to attend all free days at Zoos, Museums, and Festivals. 6. Choose Amtrak when going to Chicago 5. Give Gasoline coupons as gifts. 4. Ask for gasoline coupons as gifts. 3. Discover Milwaukee County Transit System 2. Vacation in Wisconsin only 1. Stay home, and watch Today's TMJ4.

  • Reduce Your Chance Of Cancer

    More reasons to keep eating your veggies. You may keep cancer at bay. This story comes from Web site, "US studies show how fruits and vegetables reduce cancer A growing body of research that shows fruits and vegetables, especially richly colored varieties, can reduce the risk of cancer. Just three servings a month of raw broccoli or cabbage can reduce the risk of bladder cancer by as much as 40 percent, researchers reported this week. Researchers at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, surveyed 275 people who had bladder cancer and 825 people without cancer. They asked especially about cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage. These foods are rich in compounds called isothiocyanates, which are known to lower cancer risk. The effects were most striking in nonsmokers, the researchers told a meeting being held this week of the American Association of Cancer Research in Philadelphia."

  • Real Men Wear Pink

    One of my favorite positive stories this week involves a 12 year old boy. He has been working in memory of his mom who recently lost her fight with breast cancer. Matthew Katzke is a 6th grader at Prairie Elementary School in Waukesha. This week he got a special award for trying to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. He has been working overtime for Waukesha's Riverwalk For Breast Cancer. This courageous young man turned his grief into action. And what an impressive role model! Matthew received a standing ovation from his peers at Prairie Elementary. This week the entire school wore pink on his behalf. A touching gesture for a young man who's having to deal with death at such an early age. Matthew hopes to help other kids who've had to grieve a loss. He dreams of becoming a doctor to find a cure for cancer. Watching Matthew's commitment and passion on television was very touching. I was so proud for him. I could not help but feel that Matthew's Mom was smiling down from heaven. And watching this amazing young man it's clear, his mother is still with him.

  • "I've Fallen and I Can Get Up"

    My day began pretty rough. I got up worked out, took a shower, stepped out of the shower only to take a tumble on the tile. My first reaction was to laugh. But then I thought, wow maybe I broke a my hip, or my wrist. I did feel pain. But the good news I was able to get up. And I was able to walk. So I figured I was ok. And slowly but surely I became mobile again. This happened on a day when a story hit that wires that shows Wisconsin leads the nation in deadly falls in people over 65. It made me think we should remember to check the homes of elderly relatives and friends. You never know when they may be at risk of falling, and may not be as lucky as me. Imagine if they live alone. They may be unable to get up. How sad. The report comes from the National Safety Council. It says 87 out of every 100,000 Wisconsin Seniors die from falls each year. That's second only to New Mexico. The Safety Council urges older adults to take precautions securing rugs with nonskid bottoms and handrails. Good advice. Something we should think about for older friends and relatives. In fact, maybe for all of us. After all, when I get home, I need to check for bruises. (Smile!)

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