News Around the World

Mardi Gras Fun Facts


  • More than 500,000 king cakes are sold each year in New Orleans between January 6 and Fat Tuesday, and another 50,000 are shipped out-of-state via overnight courier.
  • The king cakes include a tiny plastic baby doll inside; the person who finds the doll is declared “king” and must buy the next cake or give the next party.
  • The metro area’s 37,000-plus hotel rooms are traditionally 95% filled during Mardi Gras weekend.
  • An economic impact study released by the University of New Orleans estimates that Mardi Gras generates over $840 million annually.
  • The largest of about one dozen Mardi Gras supply houses in New Orleans sells an estimated one billion pairs of beads for a Mardi Gras season.
  • The super parades of Endymion and Bacchus, scheduled for the Saturday and Sunday before Fat Tuesday, feature a combined total of 67 floats, 60 marching bands and more than 250 units. Their 4,200 members toss more than 1.5 million cups, 2.5 million doubloons and millions of beads.
  • One of the most photographed objects in all of Mardi Gras is the Boeuf Gras float in the Rex parade. Since the Middle Ages, the bouef gras (fatted bull) has been the symbol of the last meat eaten before Lent. While once a live bull was included in the procession, now a huge papier-mache’ figure appears.
  • The five truck parades that follow the krewes of Rex, Argus and Grela on Fat Tuesday feature more than 350 decorated flatbeds with nearly 15,000 costumed maskers aboard.
  • (courtesy of
Country News

Jason Aldean Celebrates His 40th Birthday

Jason Aldean is celebrating his 40th birthday today (Feb. 28) with trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado!  The surprise trip was planned by his wife, Brittany, who posted some pics on Instagram of her husband playing hockey with his pals. Jason also posted a celebratory pic with his buddy, Kurt Allison, who is his touring guitarist.


A post shared by Brittany Layne (@_brittanylayne_) on Feb 27, 2017 at 2:07pm PST


Surprise Birthday trip for my man!!! @jasonaldean 💙❄️🎉🎂🍾

A post shared by Brittany Layne (@_brittanylayne_) on Feb 26, 2017 at 1:38pm PST


The most entertaining thing we’ve seen in a while😂🙈

A post shared by Brittany Layne (@_brittanylayne_) on Feb 27, 2017 at 3:09pm PST

Lakeshore News

Clean Up After Your Pet

The City of Manitowoc has recently received several complaints about citizens not cleaning up after their pet. As the snow melts, it reveals the areas people like to walk their dogs by exposing numerous piles of pet waste. Many times neighbors know who walks their dog in these areas and they have asked the City to take action.
The City of Manitowoc would like to remind all residents that it is unlawful to leave pet waste on any public property. Pet waste carries diseases that can be transmitted to people and it has a degrading affect on our water quality. Proper disposal of pet waste is a simple yet significant way to help reduce storm water pollution.
Please take a plastic bag with you on walks and clean up after your pet.


Kurt Busch Wins Daytona 500

Kurt Busch led just one lap of Sunday’s season-opening Daytona 500, but it was the one that counted the most.  After race leader Chase Elliott slowed with a fuel pick-up problem and then Kyle Larson ran out of gas on the final lap, Busch’s Number-41 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford was well-positioned – sweeping around Larson’s sputtering Chevrolet to win “The Great American Race.”  His margin of victory was twenty-two one-hundredths of a second over Ryan Blaney as Ford swept the top two spots.  A-J Allmendinger, Aric Almirola and Paul Menard completed the top five.  Elliott, bidding to become the first pole winner to also win the “five hundred” since Dale Jarrett in 2000, led thirty-nine laps Sunday before yielding the lead less than three laps from the finish … Kevin Harvick started fifth and led a race-high fifty laps, finishing twenty-second in the forty-car field … Sunday’s race was the first Cup Series event run under NASCAR’s new three-stage format.  Kyle Busch won the first segment but was later sidelined by an accident and finished thirty-eighth.  Harvick won Stage-2


Recap of Last Year’s Xfinity Daytona Race

Chase Elliott outdueled Joey Logano in a stirring last-lap battle to claim victory as Cup Series drivers took four of the top five finishing positions.  Elliott’s margin of victory was four one-hundredths of a second with Kasey Kahne third and Austin Dillon fifth.  Elliott Sadler grabbed fourth place as the highest-finishing X-FINITY Series regular … Logano led a race-high forty laps on the way to his runner-up finish.  There were nineteen lead changes among nine drivers.  Elliott led three times for nineteen laps, including the final fourteen trips around the two-point-five-mile oval.  Pole sitter Ty Dillon led only two laps and finished thirteenth … The race included four cautions for seventeen laps … Brandon Jones was the highest-finishing rookie, in seventh place … Elliott’s win was Chevrolet’s thirteenth victory in the X-FINITY Series season opener over the last fifteen years … There have now been eleven different race winners in the last eleven races contested at Daytona dating back to July 2011: Elliott, Aric Almirola, Austin Dillon, Ryan Reed, Kasey Kahne, Regan Smith, Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, James Buescher and Joey Logano …  Dale Earnhardt Junior leads all active drivers with six X-FINITY Series wins at Daytona but is not entered this weekend.


Recap of Last Year’s Daytona 500#

Denny Hamlin charged from fourth to first on the final lap, passing teammate Matt Kenseth for the lead and then surviving a dramatic side-by-side duel down the stretch with Martin Truex Junior that ended with Hamlin scratching out the victory by a mere one one-hundredths of a second.  It’s the closest finish in the fifty-eight-year history of the Daytona 500.  After taking the white flag, race leader Kenseth went to the high side to block a fast-closing Hamlin and when he did, the Number-11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota darted into the middle lane and into the lead.  Truex briefly got a nose in front before Hamlin reclaimed the lead to win by an estimated four inches … Kyle Busch finished third and Carl Edwards was fifth, giving Joe Gibbs Racing three of the top five finishing positions.  Kevin Harvick rode home in fourth place.  After losing the lead to Hamlin on the final lap, Kenseth slipped back in the field and finished fourteenth … Pole sitter Chase Elliott suffered damage to his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in an early-race spin and lost a number of laps while repairs were made.  He finished thirty-seventh.


Can-Am Duel Results

Chase Elliott & Denny Hamlin win Thursday’s Qualifying races as the starting field was set for Sunday’s Daytona 500.  Elliott started from the pole and finished at the front of the field in the first half of the Can-Am Duel at Daytona, leading the final twenty-four laps and beating runner-up Jamie McMurray to the checkered flag by fifteen one-hundredths of a second as Chevrolet swept the top two finishing positions.  Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Matt Kenseth completed the top five.  Hamlin gave Toyota its turn in Victory Lane by winning the nightcap, storming past race leader Dale Earnhardt Junior with an outside move on the next-to-last lap then driving off to secure the Number-4 starting spot in Sunday’s “Great American Race.”  Hamlin beat Clint Bowyer to the finish by two-tenths of a second with Kurt Busch, A-J Allmendinger and Austin Dillon completing the top five.  Earnhardt finished sixth … With his second-place finish in Thursday’s first race, McMurray will line up on the inside of Row-2 alongside Hamlin for Sunday’s official season opener.  Front-row qualifiers Elliott and Earnhardt were locked in after topping last weekend’s time trials and will lead the field to the green flag Sunday in the fifty-ninth running of the Daytona 500 … Thirty-six of the forty starting spots were guaranteed to teams who are part of NASCAR’s one-year-old “Charter” system, leaving just four transfer spots available for non-Charter drivers in Thursday’s doubleheader.  Those went to Corey LaJoie, Brendan Gaughan, D-J Kennington and Elliott Sadler.  With forty-two drivers entered this year, two failed to qualify: Timmy Hill and Reed Sorenson.



Grassworks Grazing Conference Celebrates 25 Years

GrassWorks hosted its 25th Annual Grazing Conference at the Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells from February 2-4. The first grazing conference was in 1993 at the exact same location.  Over the years the event has been held in Wausau, Rothschild, Stevens Point and Wisconsin Rapids, but conference attendees always enjoy coming back to where it all began. GrassWorks is a grassroots membership organization that provides leadership and education to farmers and consumers for the advancement of managed grass-based agriculture to benefit present and future generations. GrassWorks links farmers with the resources they need to be successful graziers.

Managed grazing is an economically and environmentally-sound method of livestock agriculture. For over twenty years, managed grazing has been a foundation of the sustainable agriculture movement in the upper Midwest and we are proud of the role that GrassWorks has played in its development. We provide leadership, education and resources for grass-based farmers and regional organizations that support graziers. This is done through many projects and programs, but the largest and most effective of these is the grazing conference.

Over 435 people attended the conference this year to learn from grazing experts, Jim Gerrish, Tom Franzen and Joyce Turk, plus many other speakers. Highlights also included the Closing Time Barbershop Quartet who provided grand entertainment throughout the night and even closed down the hotel bar at 2:00 am with a song. A Grazing Handy Hints competition sponsored by Hoard’s Dairyman declared four innovating winners: Joe Borgerding of Belgrade, MN, Rob Moore of Nichols, NY, Carl Werner of Beaver Dam, WI and Altfrid Krusenbaum of Elkhorn, WI. Nine individuals or teams answered our call for grazing parodies and put together compositions performed for the crowd. It was all great fun and we recognized a lot of un-tapped talent in the community.

There were 48 tradeshow vendors and sponsors who provided information and resources for attendees. Time for networking, conversation, and entertainment was a major component of this successful annual educational conference.  Three of the major sponsors for this conference include Byron Seeds, the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship Program and Simple Soil Solutions.

Quotes from evaluations included:  “I was impressed with the content and the ability of all the speakers that I listened to at the conference.  They were all engaging and passionate about what they were speaking on and could speak well without losing our interest.”  And “I like the mix of real world experience with the scientific data.  Can’t say enough!  All very great, better every year!”

Lastly, the GrassWorks Board of Directors awarded Greg and Wendy Galbraith of Aniwa, WI with the Jerold Berg Grazing Advocate Award. This honor is awarded to individuals each year to recognize their enthusiastic efforts to educate farmers and consumers about the many benefits of managed grazing.

To learn more about Grassworks, visit


Can-Am Duel Tonight

There’ll be forty-two drivers starting tonight’s twin 150-mile qualifying races with forty advancing to Sunday’s fifty-ninth running of the Daytona 500.  Hendrick Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott, who qualified on the pole, and Dale Earnhardt Junior, the Number-2 qualifier last weekend, have front-row starting spots locked in for “The Great American Race” regardless of where they finish in tonight’s doubleheader.  With NASCAR’s “Charter” system that was introduced last year, thirty-six teams are guaranteed starting spots in the “five hundred.”  Among non-Charter teams, two drivers – Elliott Sadler and Brendan Gaughan – are assured of a spot by virtue of their qualifying speeds.  That leaves two drivers competing for one available Daytona 500 berth in each of tonight’s races.  Race-1 will feature Reed Sorenson and Corey LaJoie scrapping for the one available transfer spot.  Race-2 has D-J Kennington and Timmy Hill in the hunt … Notable drivers in the first half of tonight’s twin bill include two of the last three Cup Series champions: Kevin Harvick from 2014 and Kyle Busch (2015).  Race-2 includes reigning seven-time Cup champ Jimmie Johnson and defending Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin.

Lakeshore News, News Around the World

Wisconsin Hit Hard by Flu Bug

The flu bug is hitting Wisconsinites hard, spiking to nearly 1000 confirmed cases, and hundreds of hospitalizations. According to figures from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) there are 936 confirmed cases of influenza in Wisconsin, compared to 176 during the same period last year. The week-to-week comparison shows that there were 591 confirmed cases reported just a week ago, an increase of 345 from the previous week. (See graph)

There are also more hospitalizations for influenza this year than during the same time last year. To date, there have been over 1200 hospitalizations of people with influenza, compared to just 235 during the same period last year. (Graph below)

Confirmed influenza cases 2015 - 2017

Influenza related hospitalizations

“At this point, the number of flu cases in Wisconsin has already exceeded the number of cases at the peak of flu season last year,” said State Health Officer Karen McKeown. “The flu can be especially harmful for children and people over 65, as well as those with other health problems. We recommend those who have yet to get a flu shot to get one now, and to follow common sense practices to avoid spreading viruses.”

Those steps include:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your upper sleeve, and try to avoid touching your face with your hand. If you use a tissue, throw it away after one use.
  • Use your own drinking cups and straws.
  • Avoid being exposed to people who are sick.
  • Eat nutritious meals, get plenty of rest and do not smoke.
  • Frequently clean commonly touched surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, refrigerator handle, telephone, faucets).
  • If you’re sick, stay home, rest, drink plenty of liquids, and avoid using alcohol and tobacco.
  • See a health care provider if your symptoms persist or get worse.

Influenza numbers are updated every Friday and can be found in the Weekly Respiratory Report, or you can sign up to receive the report via email (link is external).