Wisconsin News Briefs



MILWAUKEE, WI – The China Lights Wisconsin Festival presented by TriCity National Bank, is returning to Boerner Botanical Gardens this fall after two years’ pandemic cancellation.

From September 16th to October 30th, 2022, Boerner Botanical Gardens will once again be transformed into a spectacular destination, illuminated with more than 40 sets of handmade lantern sculptures. This year visitors can expect brand new displays and the return of the cultural performance stage, which is again sponsored by WE Energies.

More information on this year’s tickets and festival programs will become available in July 2022.  For more information, please visit http://www.chinalights.org/.


MADISON, Wis., – AAA Travel says cruising is making a strong comeback after the pandemic temporarily put a hold on sailings. The Auto Club Group’s travel agency reports that cruise bookings during the past four weeks are twice as strong as this time last year and expects that positive momentum to continue through the travel season.

“We are seeing a resurgence in travelers who are eager to vacation again and that includes cruising,” said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Cruising is more available now than it ever was during the pandemic. Destinations are loosening travel restrictions and cruise lines hope to reach full capacity in the second half of the year. As a result, our travel agency is seeing a wide mix of bookings that include everything from short weekend excursions to worldwide voyages.”

CDC Lowers Cruise Travel Warning

AAA has noted an increase in traveler confidence as COVID-19 cases trend lower. Another positive indicator came last week, when the Centers for Disease Control lowered its cruise travel warning to a level 2. That’s the lowest level since the CDC began tracking coronavirus statistics. In the downgraded travel warning, the CDC encourages travelers to be up-to-date on their COVID vaccinations when cruising.

According to new AAA research:

58.3 million (23%) Americans are considering a cruise in the next two years.

Millennials are even more eager, as over half (52%) say they are ready to return to the open seas.

Of those Americans who say they are likely to cruise again, 41% cite a better understanding of the risks presented by COVID-19 as influencing their decision.

Popular Destinations

Alaska, the Caribbean, and Europe are among the most popular cruise destinations.  While some of these cruises require an international flight to reach the first port of call, Americans may be surprised to learn there are growing options to sail out of the U.S. to exotic destinations like Africa, Australia, Iceland and Tahiti.

“In one sailing, you can visit new corners of the world,” Haas continued. “One of the best things about cruising is that it offers so many options, from the range of experiences, to size of ships and ambiance.  Travel Advisors help match vacationers with the cruise that best fits their interests, since each cruise line has unique character and programs.  Also, ship-type creates another range of choices from large ocean-going ships with great entertainment options for multi-generational vacations, to river cruises that offer intimate experiences taking travelers deep inside destinations.”

Paid parental leave gaining traction throughout Southeastern Wisconsin

Milwaukee County’s Finance Committee unanimously approved of a resolution to establish a paid parental leave program of eight weeks for County employees. As the lead sponsor of the City’s paid parental leave ordinance, I was honored to submit testimony in favor of this policy at today’s committee meeting, and am equally delighted to see the City of Racine has moved to increase their paid parental leave program from 80 hours to eight weeks.