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Carole Meekins: Positively Milwaukee

The good news!

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  • "More Local News Soon"

    Are you one of those who gets home too late for the early news and fall asleep before the late news? Well starting September 1 you will have a new option. TODAY'S TMJ4 is launching an expanded one hour 6 pm news. You will be able to get the latest news weather and sports at 6:30 pm, a little later than normal. It's all about options. And we're happy to give them to you. Stay Tuned.

  • Viewer Feedback on Difficult Story

    Anyone who works in Customer Service will tell you the same thing. People are quick to criticize, but slow to praise. It's the same in television news. The critics are loud, but often the voices of support are silent. Thanks to Anne Thornton for taking the time to give positive feedback to the TMJ4 Newsroom. Such acts of thoughtfulness are good for our souls. We should all remember to compliment when deserved. Whether it's family, friends, coworkers or strangers, everyone could use a lift. Often one random act of kindness can change a life forever. A world with too much negativity is destined to fail. We can all do our part to elevate the universe. We need to remember to share positive feelings, like Anne Thornton. She took time out of her busy life to spread good thoughts. Thank you Anne. May blessings be yours. The following is a portion of Anne's letter. _______________________ Dear TMJ4, "A most sincere appreciation for the outstanding, professional, and tasteful coverage of the Benson/Bukosky story. You were the only station that provided not only ongoing coverage, but you really got your facts right with regard to Benson. I have known Mark Benson since high school and worked with him since he finished his residency. I admire you for not adding unnecessary drama to an already horrid situation, particularly for the Bukosky family. You should be commended for your uniquely professional and sensitive handling of this tragic, sad and wasteful incident." Anne Thornton

  • Joe Zilber: Milwaukee's Guardian Angel

    Probably the best part of my job is meeting people who I admire - those I instantly know are good. People with compassion. People who care. I have had the pleasure to interview Joseph Zilber twice in the past year. What I've learned is the 90-year-old real estate mogul, and philanthropist is much more than his wealth. He is a man with a gentle soul, keen observation, and sense of humor. He deeply feels for the less fortunate. Zilber has a disarming smile that makes everyone feel at ease. He speaks freely of a humble childhood. He remembers struggling to pay his tuition when he was a law student at Marquette University. Though he lives in Hawaii most of the year, Zilber has never lost his affection for the city. He grew up near 10th and Meinecke. Joe Zilber has given more than $100 million away over the past year. He may be the CEO of Zilber Ltd, but he believes his wife was the smartest person he ever met. He speaks lovingly about a long happy marriage. They made a personal pact to use their good fortune to lift Milwaukee. It's been said more is expected of those who are given much. Well, Joe Zilber has gone far beyond expectations. After amassing a great deal of wealth in his younger years, Zilber is spending his later years giving much of it away. This week Zilber announced a $50 million gift to help central city neighborhoods. Last year he gave $30 million to the Marquette Law School, and $10 million to UWM for a School of Public Health. Millions more have gone to other charitable causes. Zilber has also pledged to redevelop the former Pabst Brewery. The beauty of Zilber's generosity is that it spans all groups and socio-economic levels. His benevolence will help families, children, the needy and the homeless. It will help leaders educate, guide, create and discover. His generosity will touch thousands. Joseph Zilber may be a business mogul. But he is more. He's a humanitarian with a huge heart. At 90-years-old Joseph Zilber is as sharp as a man much younger. But there is a gentleness to this soul that is quite endearing and captivating. He's the kind of man most would love even if he were penniless. God Bless Joseph Zilber for his selfless dedication to improving souls. Our city faces a lot of challenges. But when we are all long gone, Joe Zilber's presence in Milwaukee will be alive and well.

  • A Woman's Mission of Hope

    Pastor Jeanetta Perry of Calvary Hill Apostolic Church is a beacon of hope for the inner city. Her Church at 3410 W. Burleigh is a bright spot in an area with signs of neglect. Pastor Perry is reaching out to people in pain. Those like 45 year old Connie Taylor. She used to live a life addicted to drugs and alcohol. But Taylor entered the cozy church and found a place of refuge. Now she has new goals and a new home. Pastor Perry wants everyone on the neighborhood to see her church in such a way. She refuses to give up on the neighborhood or leave out of fear. She believes her presence will give the neighborhood options. Pastor Perry has big dreams. Perry plans to feed the poor, sponsor youth summer programs and even open up a shelter. Pastor Perry knows there are many lost souls who could use a lift. She wants to be there, when they need a place to go, a place to grow, and a place to change. So, she will keep praying, and keep trying to save souls. Pastor Perry's chain of love will mean that fewer will suffer. Jeanetta Perry is a true inspiration. May God Bless her. Here's more information on Calvary Hill Apostolic Church: Pastor Jeanetta Perry Calvary Hill Apostolic Church 3410 W. Burleigh Street Milwaukee, WI 53210 (414) 873-9893

  • Bus Driver Attack / A Positive Lesson

    We've all shrieked in horror after watching the horrific attack on an innocent Milwaukee County bus driver. Now, maybe the city can breathe a collective sigh of relief. The suspect has been caught. A 17 year old who was mad his fake bus pass was rejected. How sad. But there are two heartwarming sides to this story. One is Earl, the man who was attacked, the other, his lovely wife Wanda. Earl and Wanda were kind enough to allow me into their home tonight. I did not have an appointment. I just showed up. I wanted to get his reaction to the news that an arrest had been made. I was immediately struck by a few things. First, Earl looked remarkably well physically. He admits to mental scars are inside, but he's doing better. Secondly, both Earl and his wife Wanda have enough fortitude to look beyond their own pain, and lament the sadness of the suspect, obviously a lost teen. They are parents of adult kids who are leading productive lives. Earl tells me it's important that parents be role models for their children. He is sad that so many young men feel violence is the only answer. Wanda also has compassion for the lost souls. Obviously, something is lacking. From nurturing, to love, to support, to guidance to education, I can tell in their eyes they are pained to witness young people on such hostile paths. And when I left their northwest side home, I felt my own tinge of sadness. Because these two parents are the true face of most African Americans in Milwaukee. But far too often, the world remembers the ones who are lost, like the young man in the video. How unfortunate. Earl and Wanda are two smart, hardworking decent people...innocent victims. But all too often, we do not celebrate their journeys. They do not make headlines until something awful happens. I hope Earl gets an award for how he handled this terrifying situation. The bus did not crash, people were not hurt, bystanders were not hit. All the while, he was behind the wheel getting beat up. It's amazing really. Earl is a hero. Earl and Wanda were reluctant to take the media spotlight. But I'm glad they did. They are the real face of the hardworking African American families in Milwaukee. The type of people who truly deserve the spotlight, before they become victims.

  • Nicole Sell: Person of the Week

    My Positively Milwaukee Person of the Week goes to a 16 year old who stunned us in a press conference this evening. It is incredible that Nicole Sell is still alive. She was shot in the head after a drive-by shooting May 3rd in the Town of Addison. Sell was an innocent victim asleep in the back of a car, when someone fired at the vehicle. She was riding with two friends. It's the kind of story that makes you want to cry. A 16 year old shot because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. We do not know the motive. Some speculate road rage. Whatever, it's a sad story. But after today, we saw a poignant and positive side. This teenager spoke eloquently about what she's been through. It was riveting to listen to her describe the trauma of the gunshot wound and thank her friends, family, and Children's Hospital. Sell has a long road to recovery and tells us she no longer takes simple tasks for granted. Another surgery is not far away. But the fact that Nicole survived the shooting, with most of her facilities in tact is amazing. And witnessing this beautiful young girl take off the helmet and display her shattered skull and stitches was heartbreaking. But her courage to go public and share her story, her pain, her determination, gave us all a feeling of hope. And seeing the grace and poise of Nicole Sell taught me a life lesson. Miracles really do happen.

  • A Picture to Remember

    Check out this impressive video. It will give you goose bumps.

  • From Tornadoes to Floods

    If your basement is dry, you have reason to rejoice. All over southeastern Wisconsin, people are cleaning up and drying out.

  • Viewer Critique of Weather Coverage

    As I've said many times, usually people are quick to complain and slow to praise. But every once in awhile, there are those are willing to send kinds words. After a weekend of double duty, our weekend crew was happy to see this e-mail I got from Anne Bartell. It was very sweet of her to take the time to send a positive message. Here's Anne's e mail. ________________________________ Dear Carole, Well once again TMJ4 was miles ahead of the competition. This time it was the weather crew this past weekend. And I should be writing to them, but I know for sure that you read your e-mails. Would you please be so kind as to pass this along to the crew? I would so appreciate that. I was in Salem, MA on Saturday 6/7 and had no idea how frightening the weather was back in Milwaukee until I made an ordinary call to my family. My family member quickly informed me that at that very moment I was calling, it was pouring rain like mad and tornadoes were a possibility..... right in the vicinity of my new house in Franklin! We kept the conversation short and as soon as I got off the phone, I typed in 'tmj4' on my laptop and ......voila! I was able to see live and comprehensive coverage of the storm. I was able to easily follow every single minute by minute detail. Scott Steele was superb! Michael Fish, Jay Olstad and ......omg I can't remember the other reporter's name who reported from Randolph, WI..... and I do apologize.....were excellent, supportive, informative and extremely helpful. I knew exactly what was going on and where, to the point when I knew it was safe to call my family once the storm blew over. I typed in channels 6 and 12 to see if I could gain even more information........ and Carole.......they weren't even CLOSE to the caliber of reporting tmj4 provided. I was able to hear an audio from Bart Adrian, but honestly your guys were miles and miles ahead of what I could see from my laptop. So once again, I would like to thank 'tmj4' for reporting that goes WAY above and beyond. I have depended upon 'tmj4' now that I am working outside of the Milwaukee area and can count on your reliability and accuracy. tmj4 is truly in a class by itself. Your hard work and dedication are appreciated more than you can ever know. Please keep up your outstanding quality. It shows. Sincerely, Anne Bartell.....formerly Thornton

  • Fond Memories of Tim Russert

    What a shock to learn that Tim Russert is dead.

  • Welcome Back Bo

    It's a day Bo Black thought may never happen. But it did. The former executive director of Summerfest is back in Milwaukee, throwing out the first pitch for the Brewers game. Just a few days before Summerfest, Bo was joined by her grandson Brewer Anderson. It's been an incredible journey for Black who suffered a stroke last February and has been diagnosed with five aortic aneurysms. Black, who is married to former Brewers manager Tom Trebelhorn, tells me people from Milwaukee have been wonderful and supportive. Black now lives in the Phoenix, but she will always be a Milwaukee favorite. She was surprised that people are still asking for her autograph after all these years. But I'm not. Viewers still call and ask me about how she is doing. Many are people who had short encounters with the former beauty queen..a waitress who served her, a mom who once worked at Summerfest, a handyman who did work for her. All say the same thing. Bo is a good woman with a good heart. Despite her health problems, Black forces herself to get the strength to set a good example for her daughters, son, and grandkids. She's a true meaning of a survivor. She inspires us all to keep fighting, no matter what curve balls life may throw at us. Welcome back to Milwaukee Bo!! It's great to see you again.

  • Welcome Back Summerfest

    There's really nothing better than people-watching at Summerfest. I enjoy the sea of humanity. Mike Jacobs and I were live there for the 4,5,6 p.m. shows. The weather was perfect for the first night of the world's largest music festival. People seemed so happy. They were having a great time dancing, singing, hanging out, and really showing the true Milwaukee spirit. I have to confess, as Mike and I headed back to get ready for the 10 p.m. news, I really wanted to turn around and go see Stevie Wonder. But such is life, when you work nights. Still, something about being outside with thousands of joyful people is good for the spirit. Maybe it's our long winter, the high gas prices, the economy, but I can't help but believe everyone needs some respite. Summerfest brings us together, and makes thousands of people feel good. It's great that the Big Gig is here to remind us all that despite life's daily challenges, we cannot forget to have a little fun.

  • Sunshine for Your Health

    Sometimes people look at me crazy when I tell them I lay out in the sun whenever I can. Yes, I know your thinking, why does an African American need sun. Well, the answer might astonish you. And you too may have the problem. You see a few years ago, I was diagnosed with extremely low levels of vitamin D. So low in fact, my doctor said if I was a child, I would have been at risk of rickets. I had no idea. But the more I thought about it, it made sense. I do not drink milk. It has always made me sick. I do eat cheese and yogurt, but apparently, it was not enough. I now take vitamin D supplements every day. My doctor advised me to try and get 20 minutes in the sun whenever I can. Obviously in Wisconsin, during some months that's no easy feat..(LOL)!!! More and more people are being diagnosed with low levels of vitamin D. The problem is especially acute in sun starved states like Wisconsin. Also, people are being so vigilant about using sunscreen, their skin is not absorbing vitamin D when they are outside. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to everything from Multiple Sclerosis to cancer to fibromyalgia. So, it's a good idea to get a deficiency corrected as soon as possible. Had my doctor not suggested the test I never would have known. The good news is vitamin D levels can be fixed. After a few years of supplements and sunshine, my levels are normal.

  • What's in a Name?

    Let's face it old habits die hard. It seems every time I remember my computer password the computer tells me I need to change it again. Very annoying. But I guess that's modern life these days. Nothing stays the same. The other day when Mayor Tom Barrett announced a $10,000 reward to find the July 4th killers he said the donation was being made by Miller Brewing. Ooops!!!. The company now has a new name. MillerCoors...But it was just made official the first of this month. But we at the station were just a guilty. Mike and I repeated Miller Brewing as the corporate entity for the reward. That name was even put up on the screen. However, half way through our live coverage, we realized the err of our ways. So, MillerCoors magically appeared on the screen. Better late than never. It will probably take awhile for us to adjust to saying MillerCoors after all these years. As far as moving the headquarters to another city? I won't even go there. The other night someone asked me about the July 4th fireworks. I accidentally said Firststar Fireworks. Oops!!!! That's a blast from the past, no pun intended. The Firststar building downtown became the U.S. Bank Building in 2002. So today, they are the U.S. Bank Fireworks. But I know many people who still call it the old Firstar building. While I'm on the subject, do you know people still saying Midwest Express? I still hear it a lot. Of course, the airline changed its name to Midwest Airlines in 2004. It's just we were all so conditioned to say Midwest Express it was hard. And wouldn't you know it, now that most of us are on board with the "Midwest Airlines" name, there's a chance the airline may not be around at all. Change can certainly be annoying.

  • Brett Favre Come Back!!!!

    How can you say no to an MVP quarterback who has won one Super Bowl, and led the team to another?

  • A Couple's Courage

    A courageous couple is an important reminder that we all can help save lives.

  • Why I Am Never Bored

    Can I tell you a secret? This may shock you, but I can honestly say I have never been bored in my life. And I never remember being bored as a child. It's all because of my parents. We were too busy with after school activities. My parents were the most supportive parents in the world when it came to enrichment. As a youngster, my parents gave us exposure to just about everything. From music, to dance, to swimming, if we wanted it, we got it. But Mom always reminded us these gifts were not cheap, or easy for them to give. But they believed as parents it was their duty to sacrifice. Rarely did I have an entire summer off. Whether it was summer school, or enrichment programs, my sisters and I were always busy. Mom considered it her duty to drive us to various classes and programs. I loved taking classes and studying subjects for the fun of it. Mom always signed us up for summer school. She thought it was good for us. It never occurred to me to protest. After all, I knew it was better than hanging out doing nothing. (A huge no no in our family!!!) I started to read books early on as a child. What a blessing! The love of reading will ensure you will never get bored. In fact, as a youngster I preferred a good book to playing outdoors. I even remember my mother telling me to go out and play. It's not that I did not enjoy the playground, I just always felt there was an much more exciting world at my fingertips. Books taught me about the world, about life, about living. It was a passport to adventure. Now that I am older, I am blessed that my parents instilled those values. I can hear them now.."Work before play, never stop learning, accept new challenges, and books are your friends"... Maybe that's why even today, I am never bored. And if I have a little time all to myself, you may find me happy, alone, armed with a stack of reading material that I am too busy to finish. (Smiles)

  • "The Real Heroes"

    I have two new heroes. No, they are not sports figures. They are not movie stars. They are not celebrities. But they are both an incredible. This week in "Positively Milwaukee," I introduced you to Winlom Woods and Lisa Alberte. He is an Iraq veteran living with a bullet embedded in his brain. She was named the 2008 "Nurse of the Year" award. Winlom is determined to fight his brain injury. Lisa is determined to help him. Winlom has made great strides since he was shot July of 2006. So much so that today he dreams of getting a job. Unfortunately, the media often spotlights the wrong people. Those with the biggest box office draws, the ones with the most CD sales, or the athletes with the most records. But the real heroes are people who fight for our freedom. The men and women who sacrifice their lives, their health, and their safety for us. They deserve the stage. They deserve the applause. I have gotten a number of calls from people moved by Winlom Woods and Lisa Alberte. One lady tells me she needs to see positive stories. They restore her faith, renew her spirit, and remind her of what is right in the world. I agree. After a steady diet of death, destruction and pain, we deserve some healthy news. We need information that nourishes the soul, and reminds us that there are people working for the greater good. Real life angels like Lisa Alberte. Heroes like Winlom Woods. Real people on the homefront inspiring us all to be better.

  • Positively Stupid

    There are stupid crooks and then there are really stupid crooks. We tell you about them all the time. But my favorite of the week has to be the man in Miami Florida who really must have been hard up. He knocked over a light pole with his minivan..and then he tried to steal it. Yes, he tried to steal a light pole. It's sad, but I cannot help to laugh. Apparently, the thief with a dim brain wanted to sell the metal pole to a scrap yard for money. Obviously, finding this knucklehead was not too tough. A light pole perched atop a minivan, just is not something you see everyday. Amazing!!!!

  • Lesson's from the Favre Fiasco

    I think we can all learn lessons from the Brett Favre fiasco. It's a sobering reminder that no one is indispensable. I truly wanted Favre to come back. I am saddened but not shocked. It's important for all of us to understand that no matter what we bring to the table, we can all be replaced. Often in the newsroom, I have heard producers, or editors remark, "I am putting this together for your show." But I am always quick to correct them. I anchor the shows, but they are not "my" shows. They are put on for the viewers. The effort is collective. Therefore, the shows belong to all of us. Often people forget that the workplace is just that. The workplace. It is not your family; it is not the place where you get emotional support. Work, is a place you can learn, where you can grow, and you can improve, and make friends. But it is a professional place, a business, not your family. Hearing Rod Burks report that Brett Favre was not permitted to go into the Packers locker room by a security guard made me sad. For the future Hall of Famer to be treated like an intruder seems odd, strange and even wrong. But as the Packers have been saying all month, we have moved on. Just another reminder that the work world is not your family. As I look at the Favre Fiasco, there are plenty of take away points that can help us all. 1. Communicate. Managers talk to your employees, employees talk to your managers. Do not let issues fester. The bitterness only builds. 2. Whatever your profession, always have a backup. It's great to find your bliss, but sometimes that bliss does not work out. So find another bliss. I had to do that years ago. I wanted to be a classical pianist. When that didn't seem to go as planned, I found another dream. Television News. 3. The door will not always be open. Life changes, plans go in different directions. Know when it's time to move on, and do it. It's painful, difficult, but a healthy adult knows it can accept it. That's life, and we all know it's not easy. 4. Passion is great. But it's a good idea to have more than one passion as my mother says..just in case. She always wanted me to study music. Good idea. Years ago, I fell back on teaching piano lessons many times between jobs. As a result, I've always managed to have an income source. Thanks mom for that advice. A fall back career is a good security blanket. 5. Enjoy the victories, because they may not come again. I remember Brett Favre saying, when he first won a Super Bowl he thought it was easy. He was sure he would do it again. So far, he has not. So celebrate the milestones and don't take them for granted. After all, nothing is forever. But a healthy adult knows how to adjust to life's new phases and discover the tiny victories in everyday life.

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