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a.MKE: Quadrantid, Polar Bear Plunge, Fiscal Cliffs and free help for smokers 1.2.13

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Skywatchers will be setting their alarm clocks for early morning hours Thursday for the annual Quadrantid meteor showers. Meteor watchers can expect to see 60 to 200 meteors and hour streak across the sky starting after 11pm with the best viewing time from 3 a.m. until dawn.

As reported by the Milwaukee Business Journal, the University of Wisconsin-Madison's stop-smoking initiative will extend its offer for free testing, coaching and medications at Aurora Sinai Medical Center's Milwaukee Heart Institute today. The program provides free artery scans that can signal impending risk of stroke or heart attack.

Hours after a self-imposed deadline passed, the Senate approved legislation early New Year's Day to neutralize a fiscal cliff combination of across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts that kicked in at midnight. The House still needs to approve the legislation that will also raise tax rates on wealthy Americans.

Hundreds of people braved the 10 degree temperatures and jumped into Lake Michigan yesterday morning for the annual Polar Bear Plunge. Some participants showed up in costume walking in and out of the water quickly while others dove in head first. A link to photos found here