Byrne Brothers Mania at 2021 Milwaukee Irish Fest – Part 3

This may have been the highlight of Kyla’s summer…getting up close and personal with the Bryne Brothers.

On the final night of Milwaukee Irish Fest last month Kyla and several of her fellow members of the Glencastle Irish Dancers (based in Franklin) stood and partied and danced in front of the Lakefront Brewery stage for the band’s last Fest performance. The girls had finished up their show on the Miller Stage about an hour earlier.

There was definitely some mania going on!

In this third and final segment of the series, more photos!

Mosh pit

Dance away

Some Glencastle girls got to dance onstage

Afterwards with the band

Got to get some autographs

Signing wristbands

Kyla so wanted to get a picture of just her and the group. Success!


Byrne Brothers Mania at 2021 Milwaukee Irish Fest – Part 1

Byrne Brothers Mania at 2021 Milwaukee Irish Fest – Part 2

Hollywood should do a movie about this 9/11 hero


The towers of the World Trade Center pour smoke shortly after being struck by hijacked commercial aircraft, September 11, 2001. REUTERS/Brad Rickerby

It’s a shame John Wayne isn’t alive today to portray Rick Rescorla, one of the remarkable heroes of 9/11.

On September 11, 2007, I filled in for Vicki McKenna on Newstalk 1130 WISN and read portions of an outstanding column about Rescorla.

This site has the column in its entirety. It is a lengthy, but incredible piece, and highly recommended reading. Please, please take the time to take this all in.

In November 2019, President Trump presented the Presidential Citizens Medal posthumously to veteran Rick Rescorla. Rescorla, who was head of security at Morgan Stanley, is credited with saving thousands of lives when he implemented emergency evacuation procedures during the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Rescorla finally got his due.

Byrne Brothers Mania at 2021 Milwaukee Irish Fest – Part 1

May be an image of 4 people, people playing musical instruments, people standing and outdoors

Fantastic memories were made at this year’s Milwaukee Irish Fest, the largest Irish festival in the world.

But let’s begin at the La Crosse Irish Fest on Sunday August 15. Kyla danced with her friends of the Glencastle Irish Dancers, based in Franklin.

Ah, the happy family.

Here’s Kyla with fellow Glencastle dancer, neighborhood and school friend Joey in front of the La Crosse stage.

After the Glencastle show The Bryne Brothers followed. They are a very impressive family band from Donegal.

Backstage we managed to snag autographs on a new CD and this photo.

Then came Milwaukee Irish Fest this past weekend. Just happened to run into the entire family walking along the lakeshore to their stage on Friday afternoon. The boys said they remembered us. I teased saying they were just being nice, but no, they said they did recall us from La Crosse.

Kyla brought her friend Amirah to watch. At the end of each show the boys’ mother takes a photo of the group with their backs to the large crowd (you can see Kyla and Amirah in the front row, in between the two boys on the left).

Kyla got to chat with Tommy Byrne for a bit.

Saturday, another great show before a standing room only audience that stretched back to the entrance/exit.

On Sunday the Glencastle Irish Dancers made their final appearance…well…not for all of them. Then a bunch including Kyla and Joey (remember her) headed down to the Lakefront Brewery Stage to see Tommy, Dempsey, Finn and Luca. It was high energy, humor, shouts and screams, and sheer pandemonium.

My wife Jennifer shot this video.

Memory Lane: Rehabbing vacant buildings to help neighborhoods recover

Gorman & Co.'s Northside Housing Initiative in Milwaukee features an extensive job training program to teach local residents in construction and demolition work.

For about 8 years I was proud to serve in Gov. Walker’s administration (and about 8 months in Gov. Evers’) as Public Information Officer for WHEDA, the WI Housing and Economic Development Authority.

It should be noted that WHEDA is a self-supporting public corporation that receives no tax dollars for its operations. 

WHEDA enjoyed many wondrous accomplishments when I was there, including one I’d like to share, but first this news from the Milwaukee Independent:

Milwaukee is home to one of the oldest known Juneteenth celebrations in the country, and this year marks the 50th annual Juneteenth Day festivities in the city.

As part of the celebration, Northcott Neighborhood House and the Juneteenth Planning Committee hosted the 50th Juneteenth Anniversary “History and Heritage Meets Legacy and Promise” reception on June 11.

“As we look at our golden 50th anniversary and working through a pandemic, we have so much to celebrate. We are thankful for those who have paved the way to make sure Juneteenth is still here in 2021,” said Tony Kearney, Executive Director of Northcott Neighborhood House. “We honor 23 individuals who have been pioneers, trailblazers, and those who started Juneteenth with vision and courage. These members of our community have kept the historical significance of Juneteenth alive and made it a holiday. We remain thankful to those who have added and led new components of Juneteenth down through the years, and those who have made a difference with their commitment and dedication.”

Back in 2013 while at WHEDA I worked with the above-mentioned Tony Kearney (far right in above photo) on a collaborative effort, a project to transform troubled inner city neighborhoods and build employment. The experience was very rewarding.

I wrote an article for a WHEDA publication that was also picked up by the Milwaukee Courier.

The project also received national attention.

60 years ago today, Milwaukee Braves slug their way to a record

On this date, June 8, 60 years ago, the Milwaukee Braves made baseball history. I blogged about it in 2010. Here it is:

One of my fondest recollections that I’ve had the privilege to share on my blog and on WTMJ and Newstalk 1130 WISN is how, as a kid, my dad would sneak me into Braves and Brewers games when he worked as an usher at the old Milwaukee County Stadium.

When discussing the Braves, one has to remember that the team had an almost Packer-like grip on the city that savored a love affair with a ball club never seen before. That’s why their departure to Atlanta was so devastating.

I recall my Uncle Harry, my mother’s brother buying an album for my brother, Greg:


The album was ahead of its time, a documentary chronicling the team’s success and popularity from the minute it left Boston. Braves announcers, the beloved Earl Gillespie and Blaine Walsh were the narrators on the recording that featured a ton of play-by-play clips.

One of the memorable portions was a day the Braves made baseball history.

JUNE 8, 1961.

The Braves were on the road facing the Reds in Cincinnati at Crosley Field. Hard to believe, but Hall of Fame pitcher Warren Spahn was getting battered 10-2 when the Braves stepped to the plate in the top of the 7th inning.

Four batters. Four consecutive homers. It had never been done before in major league history.

If you listen to GO GET ‘EM BRAVES, with the Braves playing away, the silence is deafening as each blast is hit out of Crosley Field (The Braves still lost 10-8).

Several more times the record was tied after the Braves sterling performance, and then last night (August 11, 2010) at Miller Park, the lowly Arizona Diamondbacks were in town to face a Brewer squad that desperately needs pitching. However, its management decided to make zero moves prior to the trading deadline, ensuring the team will not make the playoffs.

The Diamondbacks teed off on Brewer pitcher Dave Bush, and how.

The D-Backs made franchise history Wednesday night with four straight home runs against the Brewers. Clockwise from top left: Miguel Montero, Mark Reynolds, Stephen Drew, and Adam LaRoche.

Adam LaRoche, Miguel Montero, Mark Reynolds and Stephen Drew all hit solo homers with one out off Brewers right-hander Dave Bush.

It just doesn’t seem right. Adam LaRocheMiguel MonteroMark Reynolds, and Stephen Drew being mentioned in the same breath as Eddie MathewsHank AaronJoe Adcock, and Frank Thomas. But they made us reminisce once again about those great Braves teams and the huge emotional attachment they had with our city.

A young Henry Aaron. Earl Gillespie on the radio. The tepee in the bleachers. Our last World Series title. Sneaking under the turnstiles and roaming through the stadium. Getting autographs.
—-Kevin Fischer, This Just In, August 12, 2010.

Only 5,100 fans were in the stands that day in Cincinnati. It was a Thursday afternoon game. Joe Torre eventually grounded out to end the string of homers.  Eddie Mathews hit another round tripper in the eighth inning, but the Reds held on to win the game, 10-8.