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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

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Lammi Sports has purchased the assets of the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame.
Lammi Sports has purchased the assets of the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame. (Photo: David Bernacchi)

Lammi Sports acquires Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame assets

Lammi Sports Management announced it has acquired all of the assets for the 63-year-old Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame, located alongside the UWM Panther Arena on 4th Street.

The assets of the Hall of Fame, which was established in 1951, will now be managed the newly created Wisconsin Hall of Fame, LLC. The company will create a board of advisors comprising notable sports executives and media members from around the state, community leaders and athletes. 

This is welcome news to many in the city, who have felt the Hall of Fame has been marginalized – and largely forgotten – by many sports fans. 

As someone who moved to Milwaukee, the wall on 4th Street was a great way to learn about Wisconsin's rich sporting history. But, you rarely see passerby on non-gamedays on that block, and even then people just sort of wander past it. 

When there are so many halls of fame out there, from the league's to the individual teams and schools, it's hard to maintain relevancy

I'd still like to see the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame rolled into a new Milwaukee Bucks arena project, but until then this new management has said it will host year-round events including holding its induction ceremony at the Wisconsin Center, host a nomination luncheon,  conduct "Speaker Series Breakfasts" and, potentially, a Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame touring exhibit.

This is all slated to begin no later than 2016 to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Hall.

"Lammi Sports is honored and humbled to preserve and restore this historic Wisconsin sports property," Brian Lammi, founder and CEO of Lammi Sports Management said in a statement released by the firm.

"We want to thank the Wisconsin Center District and the Wisconsin Sports Development Corporation for their faith in Lammi Sports Management to oversee this iconic trust that salutes athletic excellence in Wisconsin. We also want to commend the Wisconsin Sports Legacy Group for their grass roots efforts to revitalize the Hall.…

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WSSP 105.7 The Fan morning hosts Mike Wickett, left, and Chuck Freimund, right, welcomed me in during the station's annual toy drive.
WSSP 105.7 The Fan morning hosts Mike Wickett, left, and Chuck Freimund, right, welcomed me in during the station's annual toy drive.

WSSP, Blain's Farm & Fleet team up for Children's Hospital

For the last eight years, WSSP radio and Blain's Farm & Fleet at 501 W. Rawson Ave. in Oak Creek have teamed up to bring in toy and cash donations for Children's Hospital. I've been fortunate to have been a part of the week-long effort for the last three years, and it's truly a special event.

This year the WSSP morning show of Mike Wickett and Chuck Freimund had me come down to visit on Monday, and I dropped in on Bill Michaels Wednesday afternoon and witnessed all kinds of people, young, old, service men and women, little league baseball teams, from Milwaukee to Pewaukee, drop off toys and cash donations to benefit the kids at Children’s Hospital.

Now, I know Blain’s Farm & Fleet gets a lot of on-air mentions for hosting the radio station, but it’s pretty cool that the store allows the air and promotional staff to set up shop from essentially 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. and welcome traffic that, a lot of times, doesn’t even step foot in the shopping space.

But for the retailer, it’s not about that.

"About eight and a half years ago I sat down with our rep at the time for WSSP, Mike Calvin, and we talked about giving back," said Doug Kent, Blain’s Farm & Fleet director of broadcast advertising.

"He had a relationship with Children’s Hospital and we have our Toyland and it seemed like a natural fit. Mike then takes a job in St. Louis and our next rep, Kevin Stonis, helped build the Toy Drive even more. Mr. Stonis moves on to Denver and enter Mike McGivern. ‘Mac’ has also grown the Toy Drive the last couple of years, but so have all of the other sponsors and all of the folks that work at WSSP."

I know radio stations and their respective staffs all over Milwaukee do their part to give back to the community, but the folks at WSSP, to me, go above and beyond. An all day, every day remote broadcast is an incredible endeavor to undertake.

And, I have to give credit to all of the guests that come by. It’s not easy to line up Doug Melvin and Jabari Parker as it…

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The author spent a lot of time monitoring shoppers and catching shoplifters.
The author spent a lot of time monitoring shoppers and catching shoplifters. (Photo: shutterstock.com)

The life and times of a retail security agent

Happy Cyber Monday! As you do your online shopping today, we're here to help with a bunch of tips, guides, fun features and more to get your holiday season started off right.

On this Cyber Monday, I thought I’d share some memories from a previous life, one spent in retail. From 1999 through 2008, I worked at Carson Pirie Scott (or Boston Store up here) as a Loss Prevention Agent. It was probably the best part-time job a college kid-turned-part-time-journalist could ever ask for.

I got to sit in a dark room full of cameras and watch to see if people were shopflifting. And, if they did steal something, it was my job to try and stop that person from leaving the property, get the store’s stuff back and then send them to jail.

I chased crack heads, tussled with gangsters and ruined many a prom night. Seriously. It's why I kept doing it even after I started writing full-time as an "on-call" employee for special internal investigations.

It’s been a while since I’ve done this, and it was in another state, so I’m sure company policies have changed and shoplifting laws are different here, so I don’t think I’m giving up any state secrets. On paper the job itself was pretty simple: watch someone walk in, see ‘em pick up an item, see ‘em take it, see ‘em leave – go get ‘em.

Now, real life is never that simple. Professional thieves make it hard. They know the rules of the game, and the laws. Some use distraction. Some use children. Some use brute force.

Fortunately, I was never attacked. But, a co-worker was assaulted in a parking lot, and had her head bounced off the pavement a few times. One was maced. Another had a machete (yes, a machete) pulled on him. I recovered weapons off people (usually knives, and one pair of brass knuckles) and I did forcefully take people to the ground – but my line was always, always, personal safety first. I would go up to that line, but never cross it – that’s what uniformed and armed police are for, and I never hesi…

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Ryan Braun surprised morning donors to the Hunger Task Force on Wednesday, Nov. 26.
Ryan Braun surprised morning donors to the Hunger Task Force on Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Braun enters 2015 healthy, happy

The faces said it all.

Two young boys, buckled in to the backseat of a mid-sized sport utility victory, couldn't pick their jaws up, or narrow their eyes. They sat silently with frozen smiles after speaking and shaking hands with Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun following their donation to the Hunger Task Force Wednesday morning near Helfaer Field outside Miller Park.

Speaking of shaking hands, Braun said it's a simple act he can now do pain-free following a cryotherapy procedure in the offseason to fix a nerve issue in his thumb.

"It feels great. I feel really good," the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player said. "I'm excited, encouraged by how it feels but at the same time I think I have to kind of be cautiously optimistic, get into spring training, start playing every day and kind of see how it responds. But, it hasn't felt this good in a really long time."

He is able to train with zero restrictions, but he's not hitting yet. He did swing a bat immediately after the procedure to see how it went, but then he'll resume his normal routine, which begins in early December.

Braun said his thumb feels amazingly good, but understands that until his hand is put under the day-to-day duress of the game he won't really know how it will hold up -- especially because after an extended offseason last year that began with a suspension in July, he felt good for a few weeks before the injury acted up again.

"It definitely worked," he said of the surgery. "It made a huge difference."

Braun had the procedure after the thumb contributed to his worst full season as a professional. He hit a career low .266 with 19 home runs with 81 runs batted in as the Brewers tumbled from first place in the National League Central all the way out of the playoff picture.

"I said it last year a few times, I really believe if I was anywhere near healthy that the season ends up differently," Braun said. "Hopefully this thing continues to feel good like it does right now and I can ge…

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