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10 great golf courses that won’t break your budget

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Editor’s note: The PGA Championship is Aug. 10-16 at Whistling Straits, a course near Kohler that is a pricey ticket for the average golfer. Guest columnist and longtime journalist Joe Hart of Madison shares challenging and affordable alternatives.

Trust me, golf can be an addictive and maddening endeavor. And an expensive one if you want to play the most famous courses in Wisconsin, such as Whistling Straits, Erin Hills and Blackwolf Run, major championship sites all.


Performers bring the music home

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Summerfest in Milwaukee gets a ton of credit for knowing how to put on a really big show for music lovers, but other Wisconsin cities are learning to work these audiences with the help of hometown boys who have done good.

Newest is Eaux Claires 2015, an outdoor music and camping festival at Foster Farms, 3443 Crescent Ave., Eau Claire. In the marquee, 40-act lineup this month was gospel music from the Blind Boys of Alabama, the Indigo Girls with their new “Swamp Ophelia” studio album, musical storyteller Grandma Sparrow in the family zone and Grammy winner Bon Iver as a headliner.

Family farm keeps on growing

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Agri-tourism in Wisconsin takes a giant step this month because of a large-scale, family-owned farm in Kewaunee County with ambitious projects that are unmatched by others in the state.

Pagel’s Ponderosa — home to 5,000 cows and 8,300 acres — plans to open a farm-to-table restaurant and market in downtown Green Bay that also will make cheese curds in a 200-gallon vat onsite.

Southern barbecue in the Northwoods

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When Dave Anderson opened a little barbecue shack in 1994 on Sawyer County’s Round Lake, the waterfront business gained a quick and strong following. In two decades, those efforts grew into a web of almost 200 down-home restaurants in 34 states, Puerto Rico and Canada.

Now Famous Dave’s and the founding father are going through major changes in Wisconsin’s Northwoods, but they are on two paths, not one.

Take Ten: On the Water

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With the arrival of summer comes our urge to take to the water, if not on the beach or with a fishing pole, then on a boat that traverses urban or remote shorelines. Instead of maneuvering your own watercraft, let someone else do the navigating and narrating.

Public tours are plentiful and include these excellent options. Reservations are advised and sometimes required. Group charters are possible, in addition to the public cruises.

Times change at county fairs

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If you think county fairs are stuck in time and all pretty much the same, think again. Many go way beyond corn dogs, cotton candy, thrill rides and midway games of chance.

All but one of Wisconsin’s 72 counties hosts at least one fair (Menominee County is the exception), and about 85 percent of these events get up to $10,000 in state aid per year. The best fairs have at least one distinguishing feature and celebrate our rural roots.

Sustainable sanctuary: Wisconsin’s oldest nature preserve gets new visitor center

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A longtime but quiet force on the quiet side of Door County gains wider visibility this month.

The opening of a unique visitor center at The Ridges Sanctuary moves the work of researchers and naturalists from obscure quarters to busy Highway 57 in Baileys Harbor. The Ridges is the oldest nature preserve in Wisconsin and deemed of international importance.

Take Ten: Algoma

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In the shadow of beautiful Door County, the 70-mile-long peninsula that attracts two million visitors per year, is Algoma on the Lake Michigan shoreline. The beguiling little city of 3,200 is less than 20 miles south of Sturgeon Bay, and Highway 42 cuts through the core of downtown.

Often-overlooked Algoma is worth a quick detour or overnight all on its own. This is why:

Taking in dinner on a farm

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Farmers used to pitch in as a neighborhood to rebuild a barn or harvest grain, one humid acre after another. Their end-of-day reward was a hearty spread of homemade pickles to pies, enough to feed a threshing crew, as my father used to say.

That obsolete reference to the communal meals of threshing crews, whose work separated grain from straw from one farm to the next, was on my mind while heading to Dave and Leslie Meuer’s 150-acre farm in Calumet County, N2564 U.S. 151, near Brothertown. On their hilltop mix of forest and pasture is a glorious view of Lake Winnebago’s eastern shoreline. Dozens see this after heading up the gravel driveway for a from-scratch farm dinner.

For your amusement: Wisconsin family enjoys a long ride on the carnival circuit

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During the Great Depression, Scott Lake made a living one penny at a time, and his business has grown to modestly sustain a fourth generation of the family today.

Penny arcade games — pinball, hands-on table hockey and other challenges of quickness or deftness — were affordable entertainment for beleaguered families in the 1930s. Soon the Wisconsin entrepreneur had a multi-state work circuit, hauling six semi-trailers of these games from Georgia to North Dakota.

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    Watson appointed to Salem School Board

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    SALEM — Parisa Watson was appointed to the Salem Board of Education for a second time Wednesday.

    Motorcyclist severely injured in crash

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    A motorcyclist suffered severe foot and leg injuries in a collision with a vehicle at the intersection of 75th Street and 60th Avenue Wednesday afternoon.

    Dog days are here

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    After a relatively cool start to July, typically the hottest month of the year, the weather is heating up toward the end of the week, with temperatures forecast to be in the high 80s today and reaching 90 by Friday.

    Circles of life

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    Shortly after two young men were rescued after diving off North Pier on Simmons Island, a fire department official reacted with frustration.

    Somers industrial park moving forward

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    SOMERS — The village of Somers is putting plans for its first industrial park on the fast track.

    Somers Village Board sets its pay

    SOMERS — The Village Board set its annual stipend Tuesday, though one board member said the salaries are too high.

    Kenosha Unified budget cuts not as deep as anticipated

    Although it won’t be finalized until October, the Kenosha Unified School Board has approved a preliminary budget for the 2015-16 school year that maintains programs while cutting administrative costs.

    News briefs: KPD, KSD team up in arrest

    Multiple agencies were involved in apprehending a Kenosha man who fled during an arrest about 2:45 p.m. Tuesday at Citgo, 5922 Sheridan Road.

    Fur-trading days to come alive at Pike River Rendezvous

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    With a few steps on Simmons Island beach, people can find themselves whisked away to 200 years in the past — where mountain men slept in tepees and pirates attacked traders for their goods — this weekend at the Pike River Rendezvous.

    Looking ahead to Taste of Wisconsin

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    Here’s a capsule look at the Taste of Wisconsin, which begins Friday:

    Police seek steak stealers

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    Kenosha Police Department obtained video surveillance of a man stealing six porterhouse steaks at Pick ‘n Save, 1901 63rd St., on July 22.

    Police seek woman for fraudulent bank withdrawal

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    Authorities are seeking help in an investigation surrounding a fraudulent withdrawal from a local bank.

    Event briefs: Educational series set for caregivers

    PLEASANT PRAIRIE — A six-week educational series for caregivers is upcoming at Hospice Alliance, 10220 Prairie Ridge Blvd.



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