The Fort Atkinson Club will kick off its 2019 Fall “FACTalks” lecture series Tuesday, Sept. 17.

Brian S. Dennis, director of the nation’s first Cyber Security Center for Small Business, located at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, will present “The Cyber Security Experience: Examples of Real Threats.”

It will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the community center, located at 211 S. Water St. East in downtown Fort Atkinson.

People hear about cyber-attacks happening, but would they know what one actually looked like? The average cyber-attack can live in a system for six months before being found. This presentation will give the audience a firsthand look into the workings of a cyber security attack. Attendees will witness cyber-attacks happen in real time and will leave with the knowledge of what they can do at home to improve their own security.

Dennis often has been called a disaster magnet. On the ground during Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike in southern Louisiana, he has been around his share of disasters. Add to that earthquakes, blizzards, forest fires and only one airplane that caught on fire, Dennis is well aware of what an interruption can do to a business.

These days, he has set his sights on the looming disaster of cyber-crime in America’s small business and nonprofit communities. He says 28 million small businesses across the United States are woefully unprepared for the threats that cyber-criminals bring. Businesses are insured for the possibility of a physical interruption, but what happens when planning does not include a business’ digital footprint? As a natural storyteller, Dennis has entertained and educated associations and conferences about the need for a better understanding of the cyber threat. As director of the Cyber Security Center for Small Business, he is working to raise awareness on both the physical and cyber sides of business interruption.

Upcoming programs, which also begin at 7:30 p.m., are:

• Tuesday, Oct. 1: Monica Hairston O’Connell presents “South by Midwest: How Claiming Aspirational Lineages Has Helped Me Navigate a Life of Music, Cake, and Wonder.”

In this talk, an ethnomusicologist turned small-town baker explores ways the bonds and lessons of historical and cultural kinship — what she calls her aspirational lineages — have helped her navigate a life of risk-taking and curiosity from Atlanta to New York to Chicago and finally, Fort Atkinson. O’Connell will share stories about some of the women who have served as guides through her professional life as a graduate student, research director, diversity consultant and self-taught pastry chef. These include performing legends Hazel Scott and Lena Horne and chef and Southern food icon Edna Lewis.

O’Connell is the owner and founder of Curtis & Cake in Madison, an independent, small-batch cake and sweets studio inspired by the tastes of the American South and the women who created them. She specializes in design- and flavor-forward celebration cakes and one-of-a-kind wedding cakes, but also makes a range of baked goods and confections using the best ingredients possible. Curtis & Cake uses the seasonal sweets table as a way of thinking about and practicing celebration, connection and creativity.

In a previous life, she studied these elements through the lens of music. She played French horn in college, holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from NYU and served as executive director of the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College Chicago for eight years.

• Tuesday, Oct. 15: Bethann Moran-Handzlik will present “Painting Adventures.”

Moran-Handzlik has been painting all her life. In the past eight years, she has turned her attention toward painting from direct observation with a special focus on painting outdoors. She sits in the woods for long stretches of time carefully observing her subject. In her presentation at the Fort Atkinson Club she will share secrets of the trade, stories of her adventures and comment on her recent body of work as it relates to climate change and an intimate portrait of place.

Some of Moran-Handzlik’s work will be on display at the Fort Atkinson Club as part of the Frances Jones-Highsmith Art Show, which will run for one week starting Oct. 17.

Moran-Handzlik is a painter who works primarily from direct observation and memory with a focus on the quiet beauty all around. Her work explores portraiture, landscape and still life. She spends a great deal of time painting outdoors and is sensitive to the beauty of varied ecosystems. Her paintings have been included in national juried and invitational exhibitions and also exhibited regionally at the Wisconsin Academy, Madison; James Watrous Gallery, Madison; James May Gallery, Algoma; and the Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend; among others. She currently teaches drawing, painting and design at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater, and is honored to have been awarded the College’s Teaching Excellence Award.

• Tuesday, Oct. 29: Joe Nehmer and Steve Grabow will present “The Evolution of the Glacial Heritage Area Centered in Jefferson County.”

Joe Nehmer is the Jefferson County Parks Department director and Grabow is professor emeritus, UW-Madison, Division of Extension.

They will be sharing the evolution of the Glacial Heritage Area (GHA) over the past 25 years. The Glacial Heritage Area, centered in Jefferson County, emerged as a priority, targeted geographic area for natural-resource oriented recreation and land preservation. It is one of several priority areas established by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources during a statewide Land Legacy Initiative.

The Land Legacy Initiative was aimed at identifying, planning for and acquiring the most valuable natural resource lands in Wisconsin for future generations. The outcomes from the Glacial Heritage Area Plan would be a coordinated series of parks, preserves, wildlife and natural areas and other conservation lands linked together to nearby cities and villages with different types of trails. This network of “strings and pearls” would provide readily accessible opportunities for residents and visitors to get outdoors to hike, bike, watch wildlife, fish, paddle, hunt, camp, cross country ski, ride horses, and participate in other nature-based activities.

Ideas in the GHA are rooted in many years of high-level park, trail and natural resource preservation planning and implementation led by the Jefferson County Parks Department and Committee (with Nehmer directing), and the University of Wisconsin-Extension (with Grabow guiding). They have many stories to tell, insights to provide and perspectives to keep alive on the impacts of the GHA and the many interrelationships with the extensive and successful Jefferson County parks system.

• Tuesday, Nov. 12: Naomi Aguiar will present “Children & Screen Time: Parenting in the Digital Age.”

This talk will focus on what we currently know about children and screen time, and how parents can help kids get the most out of the time they spend in front of screens. Dr. Aguiar will share fact-based (and not fear-based) approaches to helping children thrive in their lives online. Although this talk will be geared toward parents of younger children, all are welcome. A Q&A session will follow.

Dr. Aguiar is an assistant professor of psychology at UW-Whitewater. She earned a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Oregon and served as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Children’s Digital Media Center at Georgetown University. In her research, she investigates children’s concepts of real and imaginary others, including peers, imaginary companions, media characters, and artificially intelligent agents (e.g., virtual characters in digital games).

• Tuesday, Nov. 26: Carl Korfmacher will present “Wisconsin’s Glacial Heritage: Perceptions and Natural History.”

The first Europeans to set foot in Wisconsin found a land brimming with game. Prairies, savannas, wetlands and open woodlands were extraordinarily productive and beautiful. Because the land held few native people, Europeans concluded that it always had been so, that the land they encountered had existed in a state of primeval abundance from the beginning of time.

But they were wrong. Recent theories on the peopling of the continent and pre-settlement land management practices have shed new light on what we call “pre-settlement” conditions. In this presentation, we will explore some of these theories and discuss challenges facing the landscapes of the southern Wisconsin.

Korfmacher has been involved in natural resources for over 20 years beginning with graduate studies in landscape architecture at Kansas State University and continuing through nearly 18 years at Applied Ecological Services, where he eventually became president and CEO. In 2014, he purchased Midwest Prairies from Ron and Marti Martin and since he has expanded the business to all of southern Wisconsin. Midwest Prairies LLC restores and improves prairie, savanna, woodland, and wetland habitats using the best techniques and practices available. Its customers include private landowners, state, county, and local governments, land trusts and utilities.

Korfmacher currently serves as chairman of the Board of Visitors for the University of Wisconsin’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and is a past board member of the Rock River Coalition and Prescribed Fire Council. He has served on several corporate boards of directors and has worked internationally on projects related to the environment and sustainability.

Apart from his family, his core passion is bringing life and health back to the land through direct action. He takes great pride in helping all those interested in natural resources formulate goals to improve the land and see them through to fruition.

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