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July 2, 2012



Please feel free to contact me with any concerns or opinions you might have.

Office Phone: (608) 266-7505
Toll-free Phone: (800) 361-5487



Mailing Address:

State Capitol
P.O. Box 7882
Madison, WI 53707


Web Site:












Supporting our neighbors and being involved in our community is of the utmost importance. Some community events that might be of interest to you and your family are listed below. 


Packer Fans from Outer Space
Date: Now through Sun., July 22

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Come see the world's first (and only) Science Fiction Football Musical Comedy. This family-friendly musical comedy follows the exploits of Door County Packer Fan and apple farmer Harvey Keister. Keister is called upon by a group of Packer aliens to save their planet from the evil Space Bears. Marge, his Chicago Bears-loving wife, fears for his sanity. Packer Fans is even filled with songs that refer to the storied Packer-Bear rivalry. CLICK HERE or call (414) 273-7206 for more information or to purchase tickets.

Marcus Center for the Performing Arts (MAP)

Vogel Hall
929 N. Water Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202



Mazel Tov! A Celebration of Jewish Weddings

Date: Now through Tuesday, July 31
Location: Milwaukee

Description: Standing under the chuppah. Breaking the glass. Circle Dancing. These familiar traditions enliven the Jewish wedding. Many of the vibrant and joyful customs date back centuries. While some of these traditions are still upheld today, younger generations have incorporated new customs reflective of their contemporary lives. Drawing on the museum's collection and objects borrowed from the community, this exhibit will explore the mores, symbolic artifacts, and celebration unique to the Jewish wedding. CLICK HERE or call (414) 390-5730 for more information.

Jewish Museum Milwaukee (MAP)
1360 N. Prospect Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53202



Garden District Community Farmer's Market

Date: Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. beginning June 23 and ending October 20

Location: Milwaukee

Description: The Garden District Neighborhood Association is pleased to announce it will begin hosting a Farmer’s Market each Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. beginning June 23 and ending October 20. The market will be held at their new site located at 6th Street and Norwich and adjacent to the beautiful community gardens. Vendors will offer farm produce, prepared foods, and homemade goods at a total of 66 spaces. CLICK HERE for more information about this event.



Latvian Song and Dance Festival
Date: Wed., July 4 through Sun., July 8
Location: Milwaukee
Description: Latvian song festivals are a rich expression of culture and national unity that began in Latvia and have since been celebrated throughout North America, Europe, and Australia. Festival participants and spectators can enjoy a rich variety of cultural events, meet with old friends, and make ones. There will be recitals, concerts, and dance spectacles across downtown Milwaukee at a variety of venues, including the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts and the U.S. Cellular Arena. CLICK HERE for more information, including time and location information for performances.



Vintage Baseball Match

Date: Sun., July 8 at 1p.m.
Location: Cudahy
Description: Enjoy a vintage baseball match played according to 1860s rules and customs. Come and watch for free.


Cudahy Park (MAP)

3000 E. Ramsey Avenue

Cudahy, WI 53110



Bastille Days
Date: Thurs., July 12 at 10 a.m. through Sun., July 15 at 9 p.m.
Location: Milwaukee

Description: Milwaukee’s popular French festival, and one of the nation’s largest French-themed celebrations, returns to the downtown area. The free, 4-day bash attracts over 250,000 visitors who can enjoy live music, an international marketplace, chef and wine demos, French and Cajun cuisine, a 5k run, and a signature 43-foot Eiffel Tower replica offering hourly light shows. The event is known for the impromptu street performers, roaming minstrels, and a variety of interactive and musical entertainment. CLICK HERE or call (414) 271-1416 for more information.


Cathedral Square Park (MAP)

520 E. Wells Street Milwaukee, WI 53202



South Shore Frolic

Date: Fri., July 13 through Sun., July 15

Location: Bay View

Desciption: Stop by the 63rd annual South Shore Frolic. This 3-day festival will feature a Friday fish fry, music all three days, a car show, an arts and crafts show, free games for the kids on Saturday and Sunday, a Saturday rib dinner, lots of other food choices, and fireworks every night. CLICK HERE for more information.

South Shore Park (MAP)
2900 South Shore Drive

Milwaukee, WI 53207


Festa Italiana
Date: Thurs., July 19 through Sun., July 22
Location: Milwaukee

Description: Attend Milwaukee's longest-running lakefront ethnic festival. This event boasts Italian cuisine, a parade, a cinema tent, gondola rides, concerts, traditional dancers, and Sunday mass followed by a procession and fireworks. Festa is open from 5 p.m. to Midnight on Thursday, 11 a.m. to Midnight on Friday, and 11:30 a.m. to Midnight on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $10 in advance or $13 at the gate. CLICK HERE or call
(414) 223-2808 or (414) 273-2670 for more information.

Henry Maier Festival Park (MAP)
200 N. Harbor Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202


Milwaukee Firkin Craft Beer Festival
Date: Sat., July 21 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Location: Milwaukee

Description: Join in celebrating Milwaukee's brewing heritage this summer. This Milwaukee beer festival will exclusively showcase the craft brews and breweries that continue to make Milwaukee famous. Samples of over 50 Milwaukee craft beers, including many special brews not regularly offered by the breweries, will be available. CLICK HERE for a list of participating breweries and more information.


Cathedral Square Park (MAP)

520 E. Wells Street Milwaukee, WI 53202



Croatian Fest 2012

Date: Sat., July 21 through Sun., July 22

Location: Franklin

Description: Join neighbors at this annual cultural event located at Croatian Park. This festival features food from the grill, live entertainment, a raffle, and vendors with items for sale. Stop by between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Saturday or between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Sunday. CLICK HERE for more information.


Croatian Park (MAP)

9100 S. 76th Street

Franklin, WI 53132






































































































































Dear Friend,


Remember to take time this holiday week to honor our veterans and the troops that are actively serving. In commemoration of Independence Day, this report will include information about holiday events in the community, emphasize the importance of buying local, and provide tips on flag etiquette.


As usual, please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns or opinions you may have about our community or our state.


Chris Larson
State Senator, District 7




Happy 4th of July!

The anniversary of our nation's Independence Day is Wednesday, July 4. Join family, friends, and neighbors in celebrating the past events that secured our nation's fundamental rights and freedoms. It is also an important time to remember those in uniform who have served or are currently serving to protect our freedom and keep us safe.


If you are looking for a way to show your patriotism for our country or state, flags are available for purchase through my senate office. A 3'x5' nylon United States flag costs $13.00, while a 3'x5' nylon Wisconsin State flag is $16.00. Only checks are accepted and should be made payable to the State of Wisconsin. Orders will be fulfilled by my office once a check and request form are received.


Click here for more information, including a flag order form available on my Web site.

Cities across Wisconsin, including many of those in our community, will be hosting 4th of July events this year that will include parades, games, ceremonies, and fireworks. Continue reading to see what events will be going on in the Milwaukee area on Wednesday, July 4.

Neighbors will be starting the 4th of July celebration this year with a parade at Noon. The parade will again be on Lake Drive starting at Grange and ending on Armour Avenue. There will be a variety of family-friendly events following the parade, including an ice cream and Cracker Jack giveaway, an opening ceremony on the main stage, and performances by Cudahy High School's Poms group and Jazz Ensemble band, as well as local musicians. A fireworks display will light up the sky at 9:20 p.m. The local Lions Club will have food available throughout the event.


Click here for more information about the event.


Join in celebrating the 4th of July holiday with Milwaukee in parks across the city. Families and friends can gather throughout the day for picnics, games, performances, and parades. At night, the sky will be filled with fireworks bursting across the city.


Click here for a list of participating parks and activities at each location.

Oak Creek
Attend Oak Creek's annual celebration on Wednesday, July 4, which will include a parade, ice cream social, live music, and fireworks. The parade starts at 9 a.m. on the corner of Groveland Drive and Shepard Avenue and winds its way through the city ending at the Legion.


Click here for more information about the event, including a map of the parade route.

South Milwaukee
July 4th festivities for the City of South Milwaukee will be located at the Brown Pavilion (Areas 5 and 6) in Grant Park. Community members and visitors will be able to participate in races and games, and enjoy a spectacular fireworks display. Food and refreshments will be available in the Brown Pavilion.


Click here for more information and a listing of events for the day.


Do Your Part to Help Grow Our Economy

Recently I hosted a town hall meeting in Oak Creek and was privileged to be joined by dozens of neighbors at the local public library. These open meetings are always a great way for neighbors to express their thoughts and concerns about our community and state. At this particular meeting, one of our neighbors highlighted the importance of growing our economy through buying products made locally, within our state, or at least in the United States. He brought up a specific case of National Guard apparel being made in China. It is easy for anyone to see a clear conflict in sending our tax dollars abroad to have apparel made for or representative of our armed forces when such funds should be kept in the United States to support jobs and companies at home. The importance of producing and buying locally has become especially important during these tough economic times as our local, state, and national economies have been slowed.


Click here for more information about buying local from the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection.


Buying local is good for all of us, as it not only helps inject our economy with a much-needed financial boost, but it also helps ensure we do not become overly dependent on foreign imports. Additionally, buying local can increase job opportunities for our neighbors. Adopting a buy local way of living can be as easy as favoring buying clothes that are produced in the United States, purchasing some of Wisconsin’s world famous cheese rather than that of out-of-state competitors, or even selecting a local craft beer rather than the widely sold domestics (besides those made here in Milwaukee, of course). These small steps towards supporting our community will make you feel better about your purchases and have a profound impact on our economy, as well.

In recent years, organizations that promote the idea of buying local have begun to emerge throughout the country, benefiting local communities tremendously. One such example can be found in our very own Milwaukee. Local First Milwaukee is an independently- owned organization comprised of Milwaukee-based businesses that works to make Milwaukee a more sustainable community, enable it to compete with other cities, and build a market share for local businesses.


Click here for more information about Local First Milwaukee.

In the end buying local has benefits that greatly outweigh the costs. Studies done in neighboring states have illustrated just how important buying locally can be for the health of our economies and workers. A recent survey done in Kent County, Michigan, showed that shifting just 10% of consumer spending towards locally-owned businesses would create $140 million in new economic activity, 1,600 new jobs, and $50 million in new wages. Further, when West Michigan consumers choose a locally-owned business over a non-local alternative, $73 of every $100 spent stayed in the community, while only $43 of every $100 spent at a non-locally owned business remained in the community.


Similar success was seen right here in Wisconsin after launching a Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin competitive grant program to strengthen our agricultural and food industries. The grants worked to reduce the marketing, distribution, and processing hurdles that impede the expansion of sales of Wisconsin’s food products to local purchasers. According to the program's annual impact report, just two years after the program went into effect, the benefits were noticeable. An initial state investment of only $447,700 ensured a $2.7 million increase in new local food sales, produced over $600,000 in new investments, created 38 new jobs, and retained 35 jobs. Additionally, with the help of this investment, over 1,200 producers and over 500 Wisconsin markets benefited.


This commitment to buying local products and frequenting locally-owned businesses is exactly what Wisconsin needs during this time of economic uncertainty. So the next time you are about to buy something be sure to buy locally so that we can work together to help our communities thrive.



Stop by Summerfest

Our community is currently hosting the beloved Summerfest music festival, which runs through July 8. This annual event is being held at Henry Maier Festival Park, a location boasting 75 acres along Lake Michigan in beautiful downtown Milwaukee. The famous Marcus Amphitheater is one of 11 stages being used to present live music day and night to music lovers of all genres with over 700 bands performing. In addition to live music, festival-goers can enjoy over 40 diverse food and beverage vendors, four unique marketplaces, interactive exhibits, and family-focused entertainment and activities.

With close to 900,000 people in attendance last year, Summerfest has once again earned the title of the "World’s Largest Music Festival." This event gives people in our community an opportunity to partake in a unique music and entertainment experience that hosts the music industry’s biggest stars such as Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, Lupe Fiasco, and the Steve Miller band, as well as providing venues for emerging artists to display their talents.

Summerfest has proven to be extremely beneficial as a way to support our local economy, as well as providing us with entertainment from both local and nationally-known talent. Ticket sales, food and beverage commissions, and total revenue all increased from 2010 to 2011 and it is expected to continue to increase this year. This exciting event helps to boost sales for neighborhood restaurants and businesses while simultaneously supporting local musicians and artists. It has been estimated that Summerfest has generated between $150 to $200 million in direct and indirect economic impact for our community each year.


Click here for more information about Summerfest, including the musical line-up for this years' festival.




Ask Chris

I often have neighbors contact me looking for my perspective on various local and state issues. I very much appreciate our neighbors' questions and want to dedicate a portion of my newsletter to common questions that I hear to maintain an open dialogue. Please continue reading for this week's question.


Q: I enjoy displaying a flag during the 4th of July holiday season to show my respect. What are some tips on flag etiquette?


A: No other object more greatly symbolizes our nation's freedoms and those who fought to protect them then the U.S. flag. It is important that when we choose to display this important symbol that we do so properly and with respect. Many of these rules and standards can be found in the Flag Code, which formalizes and unifies the traditional ways in which we give respect to the flag, and also contains specific instructions on how the flag is to be used. Some of these can be found below:

  • When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a window, balcony, or a building, the union should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff.

  • When it is displayed from the same flagpole with another flag--of a state, community, society, or Scout unit--the flag of the United States must always be at the top.

  • When the flag is displayed over a street, it should be hung vertically, with the union to the north or east. If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag's union should be farthest from the building.

  • When flown with flags of states, communities, or societies on separate flag poles which are of the same height and in a straight line, the flag of the United States is always placed in the position of honor--to its own right. Additionally, the other flags may be smaller but none may be larger, no other flag ever should be placed above it, and the flag of the United States is always the first flag raised and the last to be lowered.

  • When flown with the national banner of other countries, each flag must be displayed from a separate pole of the same height. Each flag should be the same size. They should be raised and lowered simultaneously. The flag of one nation may not be displayed above that of another nation.

  • The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously. Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. It should be illuminated if displayed at night.

  • The flag of the United States of America is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. The salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last note of music, whichever is the longest.

  • When the flag is lowered, no part of it should touch the ground or any other object, but rather it should be received by waiting hands and arms.

  • To store the flag, it should be folded neatly and ceremoniously.

  • The flag should be cleaned and mended when necessary.

  • When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner. Most American Legion Posts regularly conduct a dignified flag burning ceremony. Many Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops, and Girl Scout Troops retire flags regularly as well.

Click here for more information about how to properly care for your U.S. flag and the history associated with this patriotic symbol.




Did You Know...?

As Americans, we know that July 4 is the birthday of our country's independence. But did you also know that July 4 also has special meaning for the state of Wisconsin since we were officially recognized as a territory on July 4, 1836? Wisconsin then went on to earn official statehood on May 29, 1848.



Town Hall Thank You

A special thank you to everyone that attended the East Side Town Hall last week at the Urban Ecology Center. It was encouraging to see so many of our neighbors stop by to share their thoughts on a wide variety of community and state issues. The thoughtful comments and questions are greatly appreciated. Hearing your perspective on issues that will have a significant impact on our community is crucial as we work together to get Wisconsin moving forward.



Sharing Our Concerns with Washington

I recently joined other legislators from across the country in our nation's capital city of Washington D.C. to discuss the issues of greatest importance to our community. This was a great opportunity for me to not only present concerns neighbors have expressed in our community on such issues as jobs, education, and accountability and transparency in government, but also hear the problems and proposed solutions of officials in other states. I will continue doing what I can to make the needs and concerns of our community known to other states and officials in Washington. I also appreciate being given this chance to hear a fresh perspective and learn best practices on how to better get our community and state moving forward.




Summer Activities in Our Community

Our community offers a wide variety of summer activities for families, children, and adults alike. Below are just a few activities that you can take part in this summer.

Family Free Days at Bradford Beach

Sunday, July 15, August 12, and September 9 from Noon to 3 p.m.
Enjoy the sun and sand this summer as Friends of Bradford Beach returns with the Bradford Beach Family Days series. Every month this summer, kids 12 and under can take part in coloring, a sand castle building contest, and a treasure hunt, and have fun on kid-sized volleyball courts, a rock climbing wall and other activities from Discovery World, First Stage Children's Theater, and other local organizations.

Bradford Beach (MAP)
2400 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53211
(414) 962-8809


Click here for date, time, and activity information information.

Play in the Park
The YMCA, Northwestern Mutual Foundation, Let's Move, and the Milwaukee County Parks sponsor this program offered at our local parks. Bring the whole family to participating community parks for a fun, active experience everyone can enjoy this summer.


Click here to view the calendar of dates, times, and locations of this event.



Update on IDs for Voters

In March 2012, 2011 Wisconsin Act 23 was ruled unconstitutional and two separate Circuit Court judges ordered government officials to halt requiring voters to present a valid photo ID when casting their vote. It was stated in the ruling that 2011 Wisconsin Act 23 carried a severe risk of disenfranchising voters and was suspended based on the vital public interest at stake in allowing full participation in elections.

This controversial legislation also contains several provisions not related to presenting valid photo identification while voting, including changes to Wisconsin’s laws regarding residency and absentee voting. These provisions are still in effect. While the merits of this law are being examined, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation will continue to provide free state ID cards to Wisconsinites.

This court ruling remains in the appeals process, meaning that current procedures may change based upon whether the courts irrefutably determine 2011 Wisconsin Act 23 to be constitutional or unconstitutional. I will keep you updated on any changes regarding implementation of 2011 Wisconsin Act 23.


Click here for more information from the Government Accountability Board's Web site.


Neighborhood Survey Available

I created a survey asking about various issues that are important to our community and our state. The input of neighbors is greatly appreciated.

Click here to download and print a copy of this survey, which you can return to my office via mail, email, or fax upon completion.


Click here to save a stamp and take the survey online.


I look forward to hearing your views on these important issues!




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