All Blog Entries by Laura Kocum

Laura Kocum is a marketing and public relations consultant based in Madison, Wisconsin.

Found 109 blog entries published by Laura Kocum.

In the current economy, much is being said about rising interest rates. This has home buyers wondering what a mortgage will look like 3 or 6 months down the road. While you may hear conversation about climbing rates, this isn't time to be discouraged. Karen Wedvick, VP and Senior Loan Officer at Johnson Bank, says, "Mortgage rates are at such great levels. It's an excellent time to buy." 

Wedvick understands the fears buyers have about rising rates. She has watched the rates closely, and insists that they are still near historic lows. If you look at rates beginning in the 1970s, and compare them to current years, the evidence is clear. Even so, Wedvick's office has tools available to help bring more certainty to the buying process. Johnson Bank offers

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The Mad City Dream Homes team believes local lenders are the most ideal partners to help you with your home purchase. Why? It’s because they often have more flexibility and a quick turnaround time, which can be the keys to a successful real estate purchase in the current, fast-paced market.

The team has worked with all kinds of lenders, and has learned a few things along the way. “I’m always amazed when we have to chase down a loan commitment,” says Chris Venden. This has happened when working with lenders that aren’t local.  They don’t always understand the quick turnaround needed in the Madison area, and they sometimes have multiple layers of red tape that need to be worked through before they can make a commitment. "There is nothing more

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As the holiday season begins and the snow starts falling, South Central Wisconsin is full of places to go to enjoy a night out.

Holiday Light Show in Janesville

Holiday Light Show in JanesvilleRotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville is just a short drive from Madison, but offers one of the largest light displays around.  The gardens include 20 acres of beautiful scenery and, beginning this weekend, they will light it all up for evening enjoyment. This year's display will include more than 500,000 lights, a record for the gardens. Walk through the paths, enjoy more than 100 lit archways, search for the decorated evergreens (there are more than 100!), see decorated garden obelisks, and all kinds of individual displays. Santa occasionally makes a stop at the Rotary Gardens, and is

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Here's a new spin on trick-or-treating- Cave of the Mounds is encouraging guests to bring their costumes underground. This weekend, through Wednesday, October 31, all ages are invited to explore the hidden treasures that sit beneath Blue Mounds.Cave of the Mounds is located roughly 30 minutes southwest of Madison. The cave was first discovered by accident in 1939, when miners blasted through the limestone hiding it. Since then, the cave was designated a National Natural Landmark, and areas of the cave were opened for visitors to tour and explore the magnificent paths underground.  Today, visitors can tour the cave, study the fossils found inside, and enjoy biking and hiking trails surrounding the cave's entrance. 

Candle Cave

This weekend, visitors will enjoy

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Skiing at Blackhawk Ski ClubThe Blackhawk Ski Club is thriving and, as fall begins, the club is preparing to welcome new members. With six alpine skiing and snowboarding trails and miles of cross country skiing trails, more than 5 miles of mountain bike trails, 60 acres of land, even targets for biathlon participants, the club aims to make winter weather fun, and to make summer trails worth a visit, too. Blackhawk Ski Club is located in the Town of Middleton, on Blackhawk Road. It was founded 71 years ago by a group of ski jumpers who were seeking more space to practice. Today, the club sits next to Pleasant View Golf Course. It has expanded its offerings and aims to teach new generations to love the outdoors.

"I wanted my kids to learn how to ski, and this was the perfect

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Sometimes it takes a turn of events for you to find your passion. For Grant Priehs, a move to Madison was the impetus to explore new opportunities and do what he loves.

Grant Priehs Madison WIPriehs left work as an Art Director at a fast-paced marketing agency and began a successful career as a handyman in Madison. His company, Honey Do Handyman Services, has provided a rewarding way to help others. “Every homeowner has a list of things they notice every day - small tasks or updates that they just never get to; their ‘Honey-do’ list. But when you’re selling your home, you don’t want to have potential buyers leaving a showing with a dozen things they’ve noticed,” he says.

Priehs enjoys helping people complete projects they may not have the time or ability to complete on

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Agora Art Fair Fitchburg WISaturday opens the 10th Annual Agora Art Fair at the Fitchburg Agora. Greek for "gathering," the Agora is a retail space surrounded by natural prairie and beautiful scenery at 5500 E. Cheryl Parkway. Beginning at 10 a.m., more than 100 vendors will be set up, and ready to display their creations for all to see. 

The vendors are all local or regional. Come enjoy their creations, ask questions, and learn more about their artistic process. "We want visitors to take in art for the senses: a beautiful mix of art, architecture, nature, music, food and community!" says Steve Leverentz, coordinator for the festival.

The Agora Art Fair is a friendly place, and visitors enjoy meandering through the tents, shopping for the perfect piece, and experimenting

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When you think about home improvements, it's common to think of the aesthetic work. Many times, the first upgrades are adding solid surface counter tops, wood flooring, or updated paint colors. These changes are all significant, and add value to your home. But while they make a beautiful impact, they will not save you money. Your monthly bills will see the greatest reduction by making changes to the energy efficiency of your home. 

Focus on Energy Madison WIFocus on Energy partners with 108 participating statewide utilities to make these cost savings possible. Their programs include simple things like swapping out old light bulbs for energy efficient models, providing incentives for the purchase of a Smart Thermostat, and they also include more significant projects, like adding

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As the summer season begins to wrap up, local community theaters are ready to open the curtains and showcase the productions they've been practicing all summer. Dane County has no shortage of arts entertainment. The Overture Center for the Arts hosts big name traveling productions, and a long list of local theater groups, including Children's Theater of Madison and Forward Theater. And while these productions are always excellent, there is another crowd of theater groups worth checking out.

Theatre in Oregon WIThe Oregon Straw Hat Players offers amateur theater that is well worth a visit. The group produces a variety of shows throughout the year, and offers a full musical performance each summer. This summer they've been working on Hello Dolly, and will provide the final

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Fit 2 Go Madison WIIn Wisconsin, the rate of obesity has doubled in the last 15 years.  The Wisconsin State Journal discusses the epidemic in a recent article, and notes that Madison is one of the healthier areas of the state. One of the reasons for Madison's healthier situation? The city has beautiful parks scattered all over town, and park use includes more exercise opportunities.

Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR) saw a need in the youth community for more physical activity, and decided to use the parks to encourage more movement. With this in mind, they launched the Fit2Go program in 2013. The program connects area parks with a mobile fitness kit. A large van is packed with toys and equipment to make fitness fun. The decorated van travels all over the city,

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