Michelle Li

Sweet Scientists win the 'Amazing Race'

Madison's own Amy and Maya pull through the finale

Published On: Dec 19 2014 07:44:00 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 22 2014 01:13:58 PM CST

We have loved rooting on the Amy and Maya, the two UW food science graduates students known as the "sweet scientists."

Though the team hasn't been a dominant force like "the wrestlers" or "the dentists", they spent much of the Los Angeles finale in the lead.


In the first few moments of the finale, the wrestlers got a little snarky with Maya about how the last episode shook out. Maya took the high ground and basically said, "You can be mad, but don't take it out on me."  Seems as if taking the high ground paid off because the "sweet scientists" had the lead for quite some time while the wrestlers seemed doomed off the bat after getting lost.

The scientists lost their #1 spot after not reading a rule properly on a Hollywood set, and that's when the "soul surfers" took the lead.

Eventually, the sweet scientists fell to third place when the dentists overpowered them after a swimming challenge with the Coast Guard.

By 7:30 p.m. - the halfway mark - it was clear that the sweet scientists were going to need a Christmas miracle to pull ahead.  Still, that didn't stop the twitterverse from cheering them on!  Just check out #SweetScientists!

A Day in the Life of a Food Science Student

By 7:38, the wrestlers got cut and all of those people who were angry at the team for being rude to the sweet scientists felt sweet revenge.

The great equalizing challenge involved shipping containers at a port and lots of memory.  The challengers couldn't use notes and it looked like the scientists had a chance...

Meet Maya and Amy

And... their brain power got them back in the first place!!!  Talk about a goosebumps moment.  After that epic moment, the team rushed off to their next location but we knew it was going to be close.  It seemed as if Maya and Amy may have had a taxi driver who didn't know how to get to the winner's mat.  Oy!

We could hardly believe it after all the ups and downs during this season, but when we saw the scientists round the corner and head towards the mat, we knew they had won!  You should've heard this newsroom roar.  What a great underdog story!

We should add - those young women can sure keep a good secret.  They gave us no indication or vibe that they were the winners, let alone in the final four.  Way to go Amy and Maya!

Blog: Holiday fun at WISC

We basically rule the holidays

Published On: Dec 16 2014 08:24:52 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 16 2014 08:26:59 PM CST

I don't think we're really that cool, but every now and then we like to have a little fun at WISC.

Personally, I don't think ugly sweater events ever get old.  I mean, sure, I don't jump at the chance to go to every ugly sweater party out there, but I truly get a kick out of some of the sweaters that people find.

Check out Wil Loper! He's our resident film critic and winner of our ugly sweater contest.

We also had a Christmas cookie exchange, thanks to Susan Siman!  She is our expert baker and so she is the one who always gets us to bring cookies.  It is a holiday tradition around here!

And one last treat - anyone remember Andy Choi?  He was our weekend anchor who now anchors weekends in Detroit. I just met him for the first time when he stopped by but I feel like he is one of the reasons I'm in Madison. I'm fairly certain a web interview I did with Andy caught the attention of my now-boss!  So, thanks, Andy.

Anyway, I would love to hear what you guys do at your workplace!  if you work outside the home, tell me what fun holiday things you do with your co-workers!


BLOG: Honoring North side superstars

11th Annual North Star Awards recognizes great work in Madison

Published On: Dec 04 2014 11:10:49 PM CST
BLOG: Michelle Li and Paul Noeldner

Who says we don't cover good news?

The North Star awards are a great way for one of Madison's communities to come together and honor all of the good things going on.

I was honored to help host the awards this year and felt close to this group since I am a Northeast sider as well.  Madison is a great city but it's nice to take the time to cover something happening a little less west-centric.  No offense, west siders!

For the awards, a handful of people are recognized for going above and beyond.  They can be nominated by individuals or groups.  Here are the winners:

North Star award recipients 2014

Steve Nelson, DuWayne's Salon - The business is firmly committed to supporting Domestic Abuse Intervention Services. Steve organized a "Welcome Home, DAIS!" Week that inspired neighbors and peers to show the group a homecoming it could never have imagined. Since then, DuWayne's has continued to support DAIS by providing hair products for the families who stay in the shelter. 

John Weier - John has helped middle school students conquer challenging assignments and spends many hours reading with elementary students. He's more than a math tutor, he's also become a friend and mentor to students.

Diane Walder - Diane raised community awareness of the need for more support and resources for those taking care of elderly parents.  She was instrumental in developing a fundraising campaign in 2011 to help NESCO absorb an unanticipated cut in funding. She also opened her home to a homeless family and for a year, took them to appointments and helped a young man find a job.

Paul Noeldner - Paul proposed and organized a popular, monthly bird and nature walk at Warner Park and Cherokee Marsh.  He put together campaigns to earn Madison and Maple Bluff "Bird City USA" designations and continues to work with the Sherman Middle School Nature Explorers program.

100 Black Men of Madison - The group acts as a beacon of leadership to create environments where our children are motivated to achieve and where our people are empowered to become self-sufficient in communities. Many northside families know about 100 Black Men of Madison's Backpacks for Success program and wait in long lines to get a backpack.

Independence Day Committee - This group of volunteers agreed to restore a community, family-friendly event for the 4th of July after Rhythm and Booms moved downtown. They had a big "can do" attitude.

Ellen Barnard - Ellen took an idea that had been floating around Madison for decades without result to create a shared commercial kitchen space for food entrepreneurs, caterers, food processors and non profits. Ellen saw the potential for this project, the FEED Kitchens, to be an economic boon, a community hub and a place where dreams can come true.

If you have pictures from the event, we'd love to see them!  Email them to mli@wisctv.com or tweet @michellelitv or send on Facebook.


3 for 3: Three viewer questions answered by News 3

You asked, we answered!

Published On: Nov 27 2014 09:44:00 PM CST   Updated On: Nov 29 2014 01:34:44 PM CST
Dollar Sign

Recently we asked our viewers on social media to ask us some good questions or tell us what they’d like to see covered in the news. Some of you asked some really thoughtful and tough questions.

This week we attempted to answer three of your inquiries.

Here goes nothing.

QUESTION 1: Linda asked, “What’s the average water bill for two people or for a family of four in our viewing area?”

ANSWER: We called Madison Water Utility and they said the average bill for two people can range from $41.75 to $53 a month.  For a four-person home, you’re looking at $66 to $80.  That bill also includes storm water, so if you’re renting, your bill could be less than the figures mentioned.

QUESTION 2: Michael asked, “Why are the Madison Scouts and Bugle Corps now based out of Indianapolis instead of Madison?”

ANSWER: We spoke with the executive director of the scouts, and he told us the group is still based in Madison.  However, in 2010, the group needed to find a more centralized location since its members come from all over the country.  The group meets once a month for rehearsal in Indianapolis because it needed an airport that would be more accommodating and less prone to weather cancellations.

QUESTION 3: Jennifer said she wanted “gift ideas for the ‘penny pinching’ parent.”

ANSWER: This one was a little tough because we weren’t sure if the family likes to craft, try things on Pinterest or what their interests may be.  However, we asked two of the nation’s popular and professional smart shopper bloggers.

Jenny Martin from SouthernSavers.com gave us a few tips on how to get the best out of Black Friday shopping -- she says most stores will now offer the same deals online. And she urges people to use price matching at stores like Target, Walmart and Toys R Us to save the most money.

Tracie Fobes from PennyPinchinMom.com encourages shoppers to take a buddy if they decide to brave the crowds and split the shopping list in half.  For her, it’s all about strategy.

5 Black Friday tips to beat the crowds

It's all about going online and price matching

Published On: Nov 26 2014 02:20:37 PM CST   Updated On: Nov 26 2014 04:14:28 PM CST
Michelle interviews Jenny from Southern Savers

Some of the smartest shoppers out there don’t want to actually get out anywhere on Black Friday. Many shoppers, like Southern Savers founder Jenny Martin, will be clicking the day away.

“Black Friday is no longer a definite in-store event,” says Martin. “It’s really an online event and so many retailers have already started.”

TIP #1: Check to see if your store has already released its deals.  Martin says Target has put up all its Black Friday deals online. Kohl’s has also started. 

TIP #2: Amazon will price match every deal and you don’t have to do a thing. “They’re really doing the hunting,” says Martin. “They do this every holiday season—it’s like they refuse to be beaten.”

TIP #3: Doorbuster deals are typically a bust. If you’re looking for the 50-inch TV at Best Buy for $199, chances are, there are only a handful in the actual store. Those deals also won’t be online. However, Martin says she’s seeing TV deals for $250 online. It might be worth it to pay a little more and avoid the hassle, unless you’re someone who enjoys that hassle. “Consider what the value of your time is,” advises Martin.

TIP #4: Don’t forget the drugstores. For example, this holiday, Walgreens has more than 20 items that are free through its rewards program. Martin found that you could actually get paid for buying deodorant.  Just think of December as personal care month!

TIP #5: Learn which stores will price match online retailers. Martin says Target, Toys R Us and Walmart will all price match online stores.  She suggests using her free SouthernSavers app because it can scan an item’s barcode and find the cheapest online price.  Walmart will give you the price match offer right at the register.  Target and Toys R Us will give you the deal at the customer service desk.  Another bonus tip:  If you have a coupon on the item, you can still use it after the price match. 

5 Black Friday tips for braving the crowds

If you think Black Friday is an adventure, this is for you

Published On: Nov 26 2014 04:10:41 PM CST
Michelle interviews Tracie from popular site Penny Pinchin' Mom

Though Tracie Fobes of Penny Pinchin' Mom likes getting out in the Black Friday crowds, she wants to remind folks it’s not for everyone.  “If you don’t like the crowds, don’t go out,” says Fobes. “Most of the deals that we’re going to find at the store are going to be live at midnight tonight.”

That’s midnight on Thanksgiving.

“Stay up late, sit at your computer and pounce on them!” says Fobes.  She says retailers usually post their deals live Pacific time. If you live in Wisconsin, that means 2 a.m.

Fobes says she likes to go shopping on Black Friday as a family. They save up all their change throughout the year and adopt a family in need with the money. For her, the shopping is more about spending time with family.

Here are some of her tips:

TIP #1: Look through your sales ad and determine what you want to get.  Then go back and make a backup plan.  “Because things sell out so quickly, you need to have a plan B in place,” says Fobes.

TIP #2: Plan your shopping trip.  Make sure you hit the right stores in the right order.

TIP #3: Take a friend with you and split your shopping list.  You can cover more ground that way.

TIP #4: Remember that some things you might have to get full price, but try to save on everything else to compensate.

TIP #5: Don’t forget about Cyber Monday. At least if you can’t find all the deals you want on Black Friday, you should know that retailers will be offering great deals online all day long the following Monday.

Fobes has a short list of stores she hits up on Black Friday.  The two main stores on her list are Kohl’s and Toys R Us.  This year she’s looking for LEGOs, Doc Mcstuffins and electronics.  Still, she says it’s important for her to keep the focus on where it should be.

“We all get sucked into this deal thing but I always try to remind myself and my readers that at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what’s under that tree,” says Fobes.  “What matters is the people who are around you.”

Blog: 5 ways to shop smarter

Tips from ShopSmart.org

Published On: Nov 10 2014 05:11:21 PM CST   Updated On: Nov 11 2014 04:46:37 PM CST
Holiday shopping returns

My sister just moved to Madison from Korea and we're getting ready to celebrate her first Thanksgiving.  When we were planning out our dinner, I also asked her if she knew about Black Friday.  Her eyes lit up when I told her what fun it would be to go people watching and maybe snag a few deals.  But, truth be told, there are ways to shop smarter.

Thanks to Shopsmart.org, here are a few tips:

1. Beat Black Friday deals - You might be able to get better deals on Cyber Monday, according to RetailMeNot. Last year the biggest markdowns were on that day!  Door busters are still good deals, and they extend beyond electronics.  Clothing, home goods, health and beauty items are some nontraditional door busters.  Also, if you can't get your item in-store, you might try to get it online for free shipping.

2.  Go grocery shopping on Wednesday nights - Wednesdays are typically when grocery stores start their new sales.  Also, a lot of stores get their deliveries on Mondays and Tuesdays.  Shopping later in the day might get you extra markdowns on perishables like meat, produce and bakery items.

3.  Plan your holiday shopping - A first good step is to go to websites like blackfriday.com, gottadeal.com, cybermonday.com.  Also follow @blackfriday and @cybermonday on Twitter.

4.  WAIT!  Consider buying seasonal items at the last minute, like ski jackets and sleds.  That is, unless you're looking at something specific -- then don't wait!  You can also choose a retailer that will offer a price adjustment.  That means if the price drops within a certain amount of time, sometimes you can ask for a 'price adjustment' -- I've done this several times on clothing.  If you've ever bought something on Tuesday and watched the price drop by Wednesday, it can be frustrating unless you get a price adjustment.  I have had a lot of retail jobs in my 20s and this is a common practice.

5.  Get gift cards for less - Gift cards are great for last minute presents or for those folks who have everything.  Don't forget, you can save a few bucks if you get them at warehouse clubs like Sam's Club and Costco.  ShopSmart says Costco has the biggest selection of gift cards and Sam's adds jewelry into the mix.  If you like bidding sites, I've  used quibids.com before to get some really cheap gift cards but that can be risky.

**These tips are mostly from ShopSmart but if you've got some great tips, please share them at mli@wisctv.com!  Or tweet me! 

Blog: The M List

Check out who's who in Madison Magazine this month

Published On: Oct 27 2014 09:57:17 AM CDT
The M List

Have you guys had a chance to check out The M List this year?  (The M stands for Madison Magazine)

The M List

We had a chance to interview Madison Magazine's editor Brennan Nardi on Live at 5 to talk about the list.  This year, it's the who's who of food entrepreneurs and innovators.

PHOTO Gallery of The M List

If you're familiar to Madison, it's really a great city that overall, wants to know where their food comes from.  We have so many great local farmers and producers, and The M List features those awesome folks making our community a better place to live.

The M List

Read the full list of winners 

One thing that's really cool?  The M List has really become a buzz because of the cool awards.  This year it was a handmade cast-iron skillet.  And as you can see, some folks have already put them to good use!

The M List

Source: michellelitv.com

Blog: Koats for Kids distribution

There's still time to get a coat for your family

Published On: Oct 27 2014 09:47:14 AM CDT
Koats for Kids 2014

This is what Koats For Kids is all about.

Koats for Kids 2014

We are so fortunate to live in a community that's ready and willing to serve and help each other.  WISC helped collect several thousands coats, had them cleaned at Klinke Cleaners and then recently started distributing them.

Koats for Kids 2014
Thanks to the Community Action Coalition for all their help passing out the winter gear.  I love this effort because it really does make a difference.  And we had a blast meeting people!

If you still need a coat, head to the CAC at 1717 N. Stoughton Road.  You can register on site.  Distribution dates are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. until October 30th.  

Koats for Kids 2014

Koats for Kids 2014

From: michellelitv.com

Blog: Home cooks wanted for Food Network show

Producers are calling for Madison home cooks

Published On: Oct 17 2014 09:34:06 PM CDT
Casting Call:  Food Network show

Some of you may want to see this casting call!  -- Michelle

Open Call Information
When: Sunday October 19th (10am- 2pm)
Where: Flav'our Cooking School

7401 W. Madison

Forest Park, IL 60130

What to Bring: A savory dish that highlights your cooking abilities, a photo of your dish, a photo of yourself, and a completed application.

For more info on the show please visit us at: www.homecookscasting.com



You’ve watched them on TV, bought their cookbooks, and tested out their recipes at home. This is your chance to work with a culinary icon! Outlast your competitors in this high stakes cooking competition and you could go home with bragging rights and a HUGE CASH PRIZE!

FOOD NETWORK and the producers of GUY’S GROCERY GAMES and THE GREAT FOOD TRUCK RACE are on a quest to find home cooks for a new competition show!

Are you an amazing home cook? Do your friends BEG to be invited to your dinner parties? And then BEG you for all of your recipes? Do you love to talk about flavor profiles and favorite cooking utensils to anyone who will listen? Does the thought of cooking with boxed ingredients make you cringe?

If you are a Food Network fanatic and a truly skilled home cook who prepares elevated dishes completely from scratch, this is your chance! Maybe you abandoned your dreams of culinary school to take care of your family. Maybe you have racked up a collection of state fair blue ribbons, taken home the trophy at a cooking competition, or earned local celebrity for your food. Whatever your story, we'd love to hear it!

**Amateur home cooks ONLY, please! You must have NEVER graduated from culinary school or worked extensively in a professional kitchen to be considered**

Blog: Korean adoptee searches for long lost twin

Maggie Gifford's adoption records were wrong

Published On: Oct 09 2014 02:44:24 AM CDT   Updated On: Oct 09 2014 03:27:36 AM CDT
Korean adoptee searches for twin separated at birth

Maggie Gifford just made an incredible discovery.  Now she needs your help.

PHOTO: Maggie Gifford

Maggie grew up in the United States but was adopted from Korea at age 3.  And though she grew up as an only child, she recently discovered she has a twin sister.

There were no records of a twin in her original adoption papers.

READ Michelle's personal adoption blog

So now she's looking for a woman with the Korean birth name Koh Yoen Ok.  Maggie says Yoen Ok was also adopted, but she doesn't know more than that.  The likelihood her twin grew up in the United States is fairly high.

PHOTO: Maggie Gifford's twin sister

She left a message in case her sister watches an interview she did over YouTube:

"I would love to get to know you, and I'm very sorry that we didn't get to know each other earlier in life," said Gifford. "But I'm really curious to see what kind of relationship we can have now." 

Contact: shortymk@yahoo.com

Editor's note:  I told Maggie the largest population of adult Korean adoptees in the world is in the upper Midwest -- the Twin Cities area.  So, maybe her sister will see it from us! -- Michelle

Who else loves Badger Saturday?

BLOG: Badgers vs. South Florida

Published On: Sep 29 2014 02:52:35 PM CDT   Updated On: Sep 30 2014 07:57:00 AM CDT
UW Badgers vs. South Florida

When the Badgers play, does your Facebook page light up with red?

Instagram: Badgers play at Camp Randall

I love Badger Saturday.  I love it more when I'm actually headed to the game and not Trader Joe's or something.  The only time "Badger Saturday" has a bad connotation is when it's used to describe traffic.  But even that can be good people watching.

Badger Saturday traffic

I also love how many great seats you can snag if you wait until the last minute.  It seems like someone in the office always has tickets to give away because they can't go at last minute.

UW Badgers vs. South Florida

And it's a wonderful way to spend time with thousands of your closest friends... or a few special people!  I like going with my husband, Jim, who also works at the UW.Badger Saturday: Michelle Li and husband Jim

BLOG: Do you know these people?

An SD card was found in Mauston

Published On: Sep 24 2014 07:31:16 PM CDT   Updated On: Sep 24 2014 07:32:20 PM CDT
Woman finds SD card - who are these people?

This picture has been shared thousands of times after a woman claimed she found an SD card in Mauston with lots of family pics.

Woman finds SD card - who are these people?

I tried to reach out to her to see if she had reconnected the SD card to the people, but I'm unable to contact her because of privacy settings.

So... I thought I'd ask... do you know who these people are?  I hate to see people lose their pictures! 

I would really just like to see the ending to the story!  Let me know if you know any answers, please!  @MichelleLi

BLOG: Who else is enjoying the weather?

Gary says it's going to be nice for a few more days

Published On: Sep 24 2014 03:07:12 PM CDT

I thought I'd share a couple of pics from my flower garden.  If you're new to gardening, like I am, then it's really exciting to see your garden grow.  The best advice I've ever been given is to bloom where you're planted!  So, I'm trying to bloom!


I think it's so awesome that we're nearing October with 70 degree temperatures.  The bumblebees are still out!

See more pics from my yard

Also, I wanted to say thank you to those on Facebook who have helped me with my gardening questions.  Right now I'm only into ornamental grasses and perennials, but I just love them.  There is something magical about getting your hands in the dirt and helping something grow.

Flower gardens

If you have any great pictures, don't forget to send them backyard@channel3000.com -- and we might put them on the news!

Oh, and please keep sending me tips!  I used to say I had a brown thumb.

BLOG: Hilldale's Little Black Dress Affair

Madison's most fashionable help fight cancer

Published On: Sep 19 2014 08:29:04 PM CDT   Updated On: Sep 19 2014 08:31:27 PM CDT
Little Black Dress Affair 2014

I love getting out in the community, especially when good people are doing good things.

Little Black Dress Affai

Little Black Dress Affair 2014

For example, this week I emceed Hilldale's Little Black Dress Affair fashion show.  It's a great event because we all get to see fun fashions that come from the Hilldale Shopping Center, munch, drink and chat.

See more pics

Little Black Dress Affair

I have met some really great people, too!  I am in love with Ann Marie Martin of Reve, who always seems to put these things together.  Leslie Watkins at Hilldale is such a great representative of the shopping center (and is a hoot!)  Plus, I love hanging out with DJ Nick Nice.  We have so many wonderful models, too.  The Junior League of Madison really helped out this year and so many others took the time out to make it happen.

Hilldale Little Black Dress Affair 2014

Anyway, the best part of it all is that we help raise money for Gilda's Club!  The organization offers a ton of support for those with cancer.

If you have an event, let me know!  I'd love to share pics online and help spread the word!  mli@wisctv.com

News 3's 2014 class picture

Published On: Sep 15 2014 08:44:03 AM CDT
WISC, News 3 2014 class picture

I love being a part of the WISC news team.  We have so many wonderful journalists and fantastic people.

If you're watching us on air, you may have noticed a set of new promos... and this is one of the pictures we took for that promo (but w/ a filter.) (Click to enlarge)

These pictures remind me of taking a class picture in school! You don't understand how hard it is to get everyone together in one place!

In between the news, we bring you the other stuff that matters - potato chips.

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