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David B Bohl to appear on the Money Sense radio show

David B. Bohl, author of Parallel Universes will appear on the Money Sense radio show with Karen Ellenbecker. The program will air Saturday, April 28th at 2:00 pm and Sunday, May 6th, at 12:00 Noon.

For over two and half decades, Karen Ellenbecker, founder of Ellenbecker Investment Group (EIG), has combined her financial planning expertise with a wide array of education from special guests. Each week, Karen and the EIG Wealth Advisors share their unique financial perspective as they interview local and global economists, attorneys, tax professionals and other interesting guests.

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Mighty Marty Hayes

Mighty Marty HayesAn African-American tween uses espionage skills and superpowers in this debut middle-grade novel.

Seventh-grader Marty Hayes is excited to work with the world-renowned CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing kit in science class. But things go awry when insect eggs turn into mosquitoes and swarm the classroom. Miraculously, Marty reins them in. When his Granny hears what happened, she starts to worry that the world will discover that Marty has inherited superpowers that run in the family. She is in the Order of the Hannibal, a society of people with superpowers. Marty is able to materialize anything, especially with the help of his smartphone’s drawing app. For example, he attempts to impress his crush, Aisha, by conjuring a jet pack at swim practice. Meanwhile, two suspicious men who are after the CRISPR launch a drone to capture its data. Marty and his best friend, Christopher, use spy tools to figure out who is sabotaging the class’s CRISPR experiments, and eventually it’s revealed that Wade, the school bully, is somehow involved. As Granny’s anxiety over Marty’s gifts escalates, she approaches him and explains his powers. While she gives him her Order of the Hannibal Medal to control and amplify his abilities, she asks him to refrain from employing them. Relieved his secret is out, Marty agrees. But on a visit to the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., a crisis arises. Will Marty save the day? Despite the superhero framework, Hyler’s fast-paced tale deftly touches on scientific elements like genome study. In addition, she skillfully deals with some significant historical episodes in her narrative. For example, Granny recounts how her superpowers impacted integral events in the civil rights movement. But some threads of the story could be expanded. For instance, Aisha has superpowers and her grandmother is also in the Order, which is primarily chronicled in one chapter from the girl’s viewpoint. Additionally, details about the Order are vague. Still, this leaves plenty of material for a possible sequel. This rousing book with engaging characters should appeal to readers who enjoy adventurous superhero sagas.

A thrilling tale with series potential that highlights science, spying, black history, and the importance of family.

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“An essential handbook for independent store owners”

“An essential handbook for independent store owners.”
Smart Retailer magazine

The 4th edition of Specialty Shop Retailing: How You Can Succeed in Today’s Market  (HenschelHAUS), an essential handbook for independent store owners, is now available through booksellers and online as both a trade paperback and eBook.

Carol Schroeder, an award-winning independent retailer in Madison, Wis.,  for more than 40 years, has schooled her fellow owners of specialty shops throughout the U.S., Europe, Canada, and Japan for the past two decades in the nuts and bolts of owning a retail specialty shop. Total sales of the first three editions of Specialty Shop Retailing numbered over 40,000,

As in each prior edition, Specialty Shop Retailing 4th Edition discusses, in great detail, every aspect of small shop ownership, from writing a business plan, designing the space, buying and displaying merchandise, managing finances, hiring great employees, and offering stellar service. This new edition includes information on using social media and websites for online marketing and sales — critical components for any business facing the challenges of today’s digital world. She also offers advice on coping with setbacks and creating strategies for success. Read more…

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Curled Up with a Good Book review – “The Geiger Counter”

Curled Up With a Good Book

Being a comedian or a humor writer is a difficult job. We all have different concepts of what is funny. Isn’t responding to a comic writer or actor based on at least a similar sense of humor, and perhaps on a similar view of the absurdities of life?

My two favorite comedy writers are/were David Sedaris and (sigh) Robin Williams. Both have a somewhat slanted point of view; while Sedaris may write about dysfunctional families and oddities of behavior, Williams could be downright raunchy, as he was in his hilarious, fast-paced, off-color performance DVDs. Suggestive, witty, incredibly fast-paced. Often ad lib, seldom about his life.

This comedy writer, Matt Geiger, the author of Raised by Wolves, is not like Sedaris or Williams. Not in the least. (By the way, no one was raised by wild canines here, to my disappointment! But a large dog lives with the author and family, so that almost qualifies as an accepted topic for canine-lovers.) Geiger favors a kind of sweet comedy; not that what he writes isn’t funny–it’s not rude. It’s not off-center. It’s not making fun of people except possibly himself. His stories won’t make you blush or guffaw for five minutes. They’ll make you chuckle or think, “Where has this guy been? Did this truly happen?” He lives at a slower pace in Wisconsin. Think American cheese and white bread. Mind you, I love cheese, and Matt Geiger is not white bread; he just likes a quieter life than might take place in larger, more cosmopolitan places. He wants his wife, daughter and animals to lead a more rural, less stressful life.

Read more…

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The Case Of The Two-Headed Calf

The Billboard had promised gasoline, sandwiches, and the opportunity to see a two-headed calf named “Heady”.

Standing in The Pit Stop in Mineral Point, I gazed up and scanned for signs it was a hoax. Maybe the deformity was the result of a clever taxidermist’s touch rather than the handiwork of a hilarious, but also cruel and uncaring god?

I regularly scold myself for being disengaged from the majestic world around me. For slipping away, mentally, and not taking note of the beauty when a dollop of fresh rain collides with an old, soft, green-hued plank on a porch. For not being stunned by the mythic, atavistic form of a vast cloud of steam rising from the sagging jowls of a big dog on a sunny, midwinter afternoon… Hear the entire story on WPR.

Matt Geiger is a journalist and the author of Raised by Wolves and Other Stories.

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Meet the author of “The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes”

Mighty Marty Hayes

Valerie Biel Blog

In just a few short days (March 6 to be precise) a wonderful middle-grade novel hits the shelves with the release of The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes. It was a treat to read this book in advance. It’s a fast-paced adventure about kids who have a love for science, a fascination for all things spy related, and are just realizing that they have inherited some special talents. Smartly written, not only with the inclusion of science, the book also delights with a diverse cast of characters and well-placed references to civil rights’ history and more. This could be an excellent jumping off point for some nonfiction reading about Harriet Tubman, the Tuskegee Airmen, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Ruby Bridges. I highly recommend this read not only for its intended middle-grade audience. I thoroughly enjoyed it as well and think it’d be a great read for older kids or for parent/child paired reading. Read more…


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A Local Author’s Journey of Healing From Grief

Natural Awakenings -Milwaukee Edition

Wauwatosa author Mary Lou Bailey tells the tale of how she gained strength after a loss in her book, I Am My Own Rug, released this past November through Broken Wing Press. The book, penned after the sudden death of her spouse of 24 years, differs from many other grief books due to a personable tone that speaks to many kinds of loss.

“People need a friend after a loss. Many grief books are very technical, with footnotes and doctors’ notes on the grieving process,” Bailey says. “This book is more a tome, to be easily read and re-read whenever a little bit of strength is required. I suffered a big blow, yet I was able to channel my anxiety into becoming confident again, through intention.” So far this year, Bailey has presented readings of I Am My Own Rug and discussed the topic of grieving at events in Racine and New London, Wisconsin.


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Who am I?

David B. Bohl spent his childhood feeling like an outsider in his own family. “Who do I look like?” he wondered. “How do my genes explain who I am?”

Imagine living for decades not knowing who you really were, constantly feeling like part of your identity was missing.

For Bohl, author of the memoir Parallel Universes, it wasn’t until he started uncovering secrets of his past that he began to recover from trauma and addiction. Bohl will share his story March 12 at the Sun Prairie Public Library at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room.

His story offers insight for those struggling with the reality of everyday life in today’s complicated world. Haunted by decades of unresolved issues relating to alcohol, addiction and adoption, his memoir offers hope to anyone struggling with obstacles that interfere with the enjoyment of life.

“Duality and addiction and later duality and recovery are challenging dance-steps for any of us,” he said. “How much more challenging is an integrated sense of identity if you’re adopted, if much of your past is locked away from you in someone else’s filing cabinet?”

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Strawberry, local pastors helping opioid crisis

don't give up on me

By Danielle Coots – For Greene County News

don't give up on meBEAVERCREEK — Darryl Strawberry and his wife Tracy have formed an alliance with Ohio Pastors to help stop the epidemic of Ohio’s opioid/drug crisis. The couple made a special appearance, March 5 at the Beavercreek Nazarene Church to help share their struggles with drug addiction in hopes to provide families, friends and other addicts with education, enlightenment and hope.

There were more than 250 attendees, including current individuals struggling with addiction and recovery.

“To really fix the problem, you need to fix the hurt first,” Darryl Strawberry said. “Our schools are missing education on drugs. They’re not the same as they used to be. They are laced with very deadly drugs.”

Read more…

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Glendale author’s “Mighty Marty Hayes” combines Black Panther with Harry Potter

Mighty Marty Hayes

Milwaukee Independent

“Smartly written, not only with the inclusion of science, the book also delights with a diverse cast of characters and well-placed references to civil rights history and more. This could be an excellent jumping off point for some nonfiction reading about Harriet Tubman, the Tuskegee Airmen, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Ruby Bridges. I highly recommend this read.” – Valerie Biel, author of Circle of Nine series, Lost Lake Press

Milwaukee-based HenschelHAUS Publishing released the debut middle grade novel by Lora Hyler on March 6, in time for it to be showcased at the Children’s Book Fair in Bologna, Italy later this month.

While Young Adult (YA) novels are targeted at ages 12 to 18, the core audience for Middle Grade books are 8 to 12-year-olds. Hyler stated she was thrilled at the book’s advance praise.

“I’ve had an opportunity to share it with teachers and educators around the country, students and fellow authors, as well as readers abroad,” said Hyler. “The themes of superheroes, science and spy gadgets, with a sprinkling of American History seems to have Universal appeal.”

In The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes, the multicultural superhero story revolves around the 7th grade students of Windsor Middle School, who are starting the new school year in their Advanced Science class.

The group has the opportunity to work on CRISPR-Cas9, a genome editing tool that has been creating a buzz in the science world because it enables medical researchers to alter sections of the DNA sequence.

The main character Marty, a 12-year-old African-American boy, shares a passion for science and all things spy-related with his best friend, Christopher. The two witness strange incidents involving their abilities and soon begin testing their new found super powers with classmate Aisha.

In the process, they awaken similar powers in the school bully, Wade, who is manipulated by international criminals to steal valuable CRISPR-Cas9 data.

Constantly monitored by a stealth high-tech drone, Marty, Christopher, and Aisha band together to form the multicultural superhero team of “Advanced Science 303” and stop the theft at their beloved International Spy Museum in Washington, DC.

“My son, William, was the inspiration. As he grew, I watched his interaction with his multicultural friends and the easy, joking chatter of boys,” said Hyler. “I wanted a novel to appeal to a lot of kids, and began toying with the idea of superheroes, science, spy gadgets, with a little history added for good measure. After a visit to the International Spy Museum, I was hooked.” Read more…

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“In Warm Blood” featured in Madison Magazine

Add these local books to your 2018 reading list

Books by local authors and other Wisconsin ties
Madison Magazine – Winter 2018

While we turn the page to 2018, now is as good a time as any to pick up a great book and put a dent in your yearly reading list. Below, our staff recommends 10 books—some brand new this year—written by local authors. We’ve also included a few books written by some of our very own contributors to Madison Magazine, as well as a list of 32 other books written by local authors or books that have Wisconsin ties. We’d say that part of the fun of starting a new book is the time you get to yourself—maybe wrapping up with a blanket by the fire and sipping on a cup of coffee or cocoa. (But that’s not even the best part—we hear that comes in chapter 10.)

“In Warm Blood: Prison and Privilege, Hurt and Heart” by Judith Gwinn Adrian and DarRen Morris
This is a story of two people—a respected and accomplished professor at Edgewood College and an inmate at Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage serving a life term for murder—whose lives could not be more different and whose relationship could not be more profound. It’s a book about inherent differences and discovered similarities, told with brutal honesty and heartrending beauty. HenschelHAUS Publishing Inc., 2014 –NH

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Debi Ward Kennedy reviews “Specialty Shop Retailing”

Visual merchandiser Debi Ward Kennedy wrote this about the new edition of Specialty Shop Retailing in her blog: “The wealth of information within the pages will be of help to every retailer – from those who’ve grown up to take over a venerable family business to the entrepreneurial generation striking out to make their own mark. Whether you’ve been at it for years, or are just starting out, this book WILL help you – so get your hands on it and read it cover to cover!”

Read the full review here.

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Loro Hyler featured on KidLit 411

Mighty Marty Hayes

KidLit 411

About your book & what inspired it: My son, William was my inspiration for the novel. I’ve always loved adventure stories. I combined multicultural superheroes, with a love of science and spy gadgets, added a dash of American Civil Rights and spy history, and voila! THE STUPENDOUS ADVENTURES OF MIGHTY MARTY HAYES was born.
Favorite classic MG: My two favorite childhood books were PIPPI LONGSTOCKING by Astrid Lindgren, and CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY by Roald Dahl.
Favorite recent MG: I walked into an indie bookstore in Madison, Wis. to buy T.H.U.G., and a young store clerk steered me to THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON by Kelly Barnhill. It turned out to be a great selection. I loved it and Barnhill just won the 2017 Newbery Medal.
One thing most people don’t know about you: I’m planning to visit the world through artist and writer residencies. To date, I’ve been selected for the Noepe Center for the Literary Arts, Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. (twice); CAMAC Centre d’Art, Marnay-sur-Seine, France; Write on Door County, Sturgeon Bay, Wis.; and Cassis Artist Residency in Cassis, France.
Where to find you online: Website:, Facebook: lora.hyler.5 Twitter: @HylerPR
Lora Hyler began her career as a journalist, and corporate communications manager, and in 2001, founded her own public relations and marketing company. She’s thrilled to debut her first middle grade novel, the first in a three-part series, and plans to get the books in the hands of children of all colors.
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One man’s journey to learn his roots

By Sharyn Alden
Special to The Freeman

Author to discuss book in Oconomowoc

OCONOMOWOC — Imagine living for decades not knowing who you really were, constantly feeling like part of your identity was missing.

For David B. Bohl, author of the memoir “Parallel Universes,” it wasn’t until he
started uncovering secrets of his past that he began to recover from trauma and addiction.

His story offers hope to those struggling with the reality of everyday life in
today’s complicated world. Haunted by decades of unresolved issues relating to alcohol, addiction and adoption, his memoir offers hope to anyone struggling with obstacles that interfere with the enjoyment of life.

“Duality and addiction and later duality and recovery are challenging dancesteps for any of us,” he said.

“How much more challenging is an integrated sense of identity if you’re adopted, if much of your past is locked away from you in someone else’s filing cabinet?”

Bohl is the former director of Addiction Services at Rogers Memorial Hospital in Summit. Today, he is an independent consultant with Beacon Confidential, LLC in Milwaukee. He works with clients and families in Wisconsin and nationally who experience substance use disorders and trauma.

He writes that alcohol once controlled his life; it was his sole coping skill. When he began digging deep inside himself, not knowing what he’d find, he discovered that the process helped him heal.

Oconomowoc roots

Bohl was born in an unwed mothers home in Oconomowoc. He was adopted by a prosperous Milwaukee family after being “relinquished” at birth by a mother he never knew.

“I was adopted at 7 days old, and raised in a loving home. But one day, when I was 6 years old, I could hardly wait to tell my friends that I was adopted,” Bohl said. “I was stunned when they didn’t see it that way — that adoption wasn’t something to be proud of. That negative reaction and mistrust catapulted me into a confusing, complex, gut-wrenching journey that involved addiction and self-loathing.”

As a young boy he felt he never quite fit in. But he put a game face on and became an overachiever in everything he did — sailing, academics and as a trader on the Chicago Exchange floor. Bohl said, “Early on, I realized that alcohol was a great medicine; it was a coping mechanism that kept me alive. It also kept me unwell.”

Finding his roots
Not until David married and had children of his own did he feel compelled to find his birth parents to discover if genetics played a role in the well-being of his offspring. Bohl, who is 57, learned the identify of his biological parents three years ago, but never met them.

“Baby Boy Bender,” as he was labeled in the adoption papers, was born to a redhaired co-ed who struggled with alcoholism. His mother died in a homeless shelter years ago, and his father, an athlete, died years before that of a brain tumor. He began writing his memoir after he learned the identities of his birth parents.

Not long ago, he learned he has a half-sister in south suburban Chicago and another living in Las Vegas. As soon as he learned the news he raced to go meet them. “It was an extraordinary experience seeing contemporaries who resembled me and experiencing those first ever connections to my biological beginnings,” he noted.

Today, he says his life is phenomenal in ways he never imagined. “My hope is that my story and my experiences can give others the courage to find their own way, and to go beyond the struggles that they may be carrying with them,” he said.

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Electric Eighteen Interview #36: Lora Hyler

Mighty Marty Hayes

Happy Wednesday, my Electric friends! This week’s interview features two authors with books for younger readers coming out in less than a month, ahhh! Let’s dive right into their spacey, super-powered adventures.

Author-Illustrator Jonathan Roth is a public elementary school art teacher who lives in Rockville, Maryland, with his wife, two kitties and three (or more) bicycles. Though Jonathan has never left Earth himself, he has met four of the astronauts who have gone to the moon. Beep and Bob is his first series.

BEEP AND BOB, out March 18 from S&S/Aladdin, is a funny and action packed chapter book series about the new kid at space school and the devoted little alien who won’t leave his side. In book one, Too Much Space!, Bob, with his new buddy Beep, finds himself having to navigate such galactic hazards as icy dwarf planets, massive black holes and a crush on a smart, cool girl. In book two, Party Crashers, Beep and Bob get a much needed break while attending their friend Lani’s birthday party…aboard the Starship Titanic!Lora Hyler lives in Wisconsin, and has visited many distant lands both in person, and in her imagination. She has an uncanny love of artist and writer residencies. To date, she’s spent time writing on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. (twice) and in Marnay-sur-Seine, France, a village of 240. Her next scheduled residency is in February 2019 in Cassis, located in the south of France. She’s the owner of a 16-year-old public relations and marketing company.


THE STUPENDOUS ADVENTURES OF MIGHTY MARTY HAYES debuts March 6 from HenschelHAUS Publishing. The novel, the first in a three-part series, features multicultural superheroes who work on the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology in their 7th grade classroom. They also love spy gadgets. When international goons threaten the technology, the battle is on at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. Who will win? International goons or the nerds of Advanced Science 303?
Follow Lora:
Twitter: @HylerPR


Jonathan: How did you come up with the idea for your novel?

Lora: My son, William, was the inspiration. As he grew, I watched his interaction with his multicultural friends and the easy, joking chatter of boys. I wanted a novel to appeal to a lot of kids, and began toying with the idea of superheroes, science, spy gadgets, with a little history added for good measure. After a visit to the International Spy Museum, I was hooked.

Lora: How did you come up with the premise of your book and the character’s?

Jonathan: The idea for an average and easily terrified kid being mistakenly chosen to go to school in space, and only getting by with the help of an even more lost little alien, came to me surprisingly formed. But that was after a dozen or more years of writing picture books, middle grades novels, having a first agent, having almost sales in big places, etc. By putting in the thousands of hours, remaining open, and letting go of expectations (part of me really wanted to give up by this point), I was in the space to be able to reel this one in as it floated by.

Jonathan: Was there ever a point you felt like giving up? How did you push through?

Lora: I’m a resilient person and hate to fail. At some point, when you start telling people you are writing a book, they keep asking when it’s going to come out. I kept those voices in my head when I thought of giving up. I was also excited about reaching the finish line.

Lora: How do you juggle writing with your duties as an elementary art teacher?

Jonathan: Teaching 600+ enthusiastic young kids a week, and all that goes along with it, is rewarding but also very exhausting. Though I have worked on my books in the evening, my most productive writing and illustrating times are on weekends, holidays and breaks, notably summer, glorious summer. I write for the kids I teach, though, so I appreciate the overlap and at least know I know how to entertain the elementary crowd.

Jonathan: You have a cool, dynamic cover. Did you have any say in it, and what were your thoughts upon seeing it completed?

Lora: Thank you. I love my cover! I actually found the illustrator in Barbados via the Internet. He is supremely talented. We hired him and I worked with him throughout. This is a great benefit of landing a small publisher (HenschelHAUS Publishing, Inc.) I had strong feelings about how I wanted to depict my team of superheroes.

Lora: What’s been the best part of this journey so far? What about the hardest?

Jonathan: The best part of my journey has been finally feeling like I’m a contributing member of a community I’ve been part of for many years, first as an SCBWI conference attendee, and now as someone who can somehow be called “author”. The hardest is knowing just about everything about how my books are received, promoted, sold, etc. are far beyond my control. How about for you?

Lora: I’m a marketer, so as you might imagine, I’m thrilled to bring my skills to bear in getting my own books out into the world. The initial response to advance copies from teachers, educators, fellow authors, and reviewers has been awesome. The hardest part has been the little birdie who sits on my shoulder whispering, “Enjoy this. But, you know it’s time to work on book two.”

Jonathan: With your publication date near, what are your thoughts about finally getting your characters out into the world?

Lora: I can’t wait, March 6 is days away! I have many school visits, conferences and book festivals on the calendar already. And as a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers, I’m happy to share a Book Birthday with Baptiste Paul and Tomi Adeyemi, to name a couple of fellow authors. It’s thrilling. What about you?

Jonathan: The best part of knowing that my characters will soon be out there is also the most terrifying: kids will soon be reading it. Best because that’s who I wrote them for! But terrifying because kids are also honest and fickle and they don’t care what School Library Journal or my editor or my principal said, the books have to touch them directly. And, hey, I’m confident they will! (Unless, of course, they don’t). But they will! (But…)

*********Lighting round*********

What’s your favorite non-writing/reading hobby or interest?

Jonathan: Cycling and walking.

Lora: I love to travel. My artist and writer residencies have scratched this itch, in a big way. I plan to continue to discover distant lands. It should be no surprise that one of my favorite childhood books was Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren.

What’s something about you that people might be surprised to find out?

Jonathan: Most of what I read is aimed at kids, but I very rarely watch kids’ movies or TV.

Lora: I love music, dating back to the 1930s and prior. I am exploring song lyrics and liner notes, along with poetry by African-American artists, and have been selected for an April national conference presentation on the subject. I plan to bring a record player!

Where is your favorite spot to write?

Jonathan: Home, at my desk.

Lora: A quiet spot in my home with music playing. A coffee shop. A library. A writing studio at a residency location.

What’s the oddest thing you’ve learned in life that helps you in writing?

Jonathan: My creative brain needs lots of body movement (walks, bike rides, house cleaning) to stay primed.

Lora: We have the brain cells to learn anything. We have to put in the work. Trust our imaginations and trust the process of creating fiction. For children of all colors, I love being able to create a better world for them to experience, to know that anything is possible.


Thanks so much, Lora and Jonathan!

If you, too, would like to nerd out with your very own Electric buddy, you can! Just fill out this form on Google docs and a facilitator will be in touch when it’s your turn. The sweet spot for these interviews seems to be around 800-1,500 words for both people combined, so it’s relatively painless. If you have any questions, feel free to ask us at < >.

Go forth and be Electric!

Warmly yours,

The Electric Eighteen Interview Facilitators

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Orange’s retail Bible gets its fourth edition

Barry Adams | Wisconsin State Journal
Feb 22, 2018

Carol “Orange” Schroeder became enamored with retailing during her junior year of college when she spent a year in Copenhagen.

The Denmark city was filled with specialty shops selling colorful handcrafted items, furniture, candles, flowers and other wares and staffed by owners and employees who offered friendly service.

Schroeder studied Danish and English literature and obtained a master’s degree in Scandinavian studies, while her work experience consisted of working in journalism and being a dental assistant. But her career and life changed in 1974, when she landed a job at Bord & Stol, a Scandinavian retailer that sold furniture, housewares and gifts.

A year later, Schroeder and her husband, Dean Schroeder, bought the Monroe Street store and renamed it Orange Tree Imports, and they have been one of the city’s best retailing success stories of the past 40 years.

Read the rest…

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A World Series champion will talk about his struggles with addiction at this Middletown event

don't give up on me

Rick McCrabb
Journal-News Middleton

don't give up on me Darryl Strawberry, once a feared slugger for the New York Mets and Yankees before addictions derailed his 17-year Major League Baseball career, now is an evangelical born-again Christian who travels giving his testimony.

Strawberry, 55, and his wife, Tracy, will be keynote speakers next month at Epidemic of Hope, an event planned in response to Ohio’s opioid crisis. They will meet with about 20 local pastors and city officials during a private event from 6-7 p.m. on March 6, then address the public from 7-9 p.m. at Breiel Boulevard Church of God, 2000 N. Breiel Blvd.

The church event is free and open to the public, but online registration is required, said Jeri Lewis, marketing and community development director at Kingswell, organizers of the event. She hopes to fill the 500-seat sanctuary.

Lewis predicted the meetings will allow the city to “launch into the streets” a strategy to combat the heroin epidemic in the region.

“We have to have a community aspect,” Lewis said.

Those who attend will hear inspiring stories of hope and opportunity while learning practical and proven methods for their communities, Lewis said.

The Strawberrys will spend the day in Middletown and Lewis will give them a tour of the city, including Hope House, the city’s homeless shelter, the revitalized downtown business district and city parks.

Having a former MLB player like Strawberry, someone who won one World Series championship with the Mets and three with the Yankees, talk about his addictions grabs attention, Lewis said. Strawberry was also suspended three times by MLB for substance abuse.

Lewis said God “laid on the heart” of the Strawberrys to use their celebrity status to share their story and give their “beautiful testimony.”

On their website, the Strawberrys said they lived “defeated lives” and were separated from God for many years. Addictions, abuse, divorces, cancer, jail-time, and other issues plagued their lives. They met while attending a drug recovery convention.