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Complaints drive Lands’ End to issue apology for featuring feminist Gloria Steinem in catalog

Wisconsin-based retailer Lands’ End is apologizing to customers for featuring an interview with feminist and political activist Gloria Steinem in its spring catalog and has removed references to her from its website.

The company removed a feature on Steinem from its website after customers complained about her support for abortion rights, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The retailer issued an apology on Feb. 24 after customers complained, including by flooding the company’s Facebook page with hundreds of comments and vows to stop shopping the stores.

“We understand that some of our customers were offended by the inclusion of an interview in a recent catalog with Gloria Steinem on her quest for women’s equality,” the company said in a statement. “We thought it was a good idea and we heard from our customers that, for different reasons, it wasn’t.”

Steinem was interviewed by company CEO Federica Marchionni for the Lands’ End “Legend Series,” which features people “who have made a difference in both their respective industries and the world at large,” according to the company.

“Our goal was to feature individuals with different interests and backgrounds that have made a difference for our new Legends Series, not to take any political or religious stance,” the statement said. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the interview mentioned her stance on abortion rights.

Steinem’s representative at Random House said Steinem was currently in the United Kingdom on book tour and unavailable for comment.

Clean Lakes Alliance contest: Guess when Lake Mendota will freeze, win Lands’ End prize

This year’s Mendota Freeze Contest, says local nonprofit Clean Lakes Alliance, is anyone’s game. 

For the fourth year in a row, the organization is holding a free contest to guess the date when the Wisconsin State Climatology Office will declare Lake Mendota officially frozen. 

This year, an early cold snap that had Wisconsinites breaking out their down parkas in mid-November and thinking “polar vortex” made some contest hopefuls anticipate an early freeze for the city’s biggest lake. But an ongoing warm spell and still wide-open water on Lake Mendota got residents asking: how will recent weather affect lake ice?

Clean Lakes Alliance sought the help of Dr. John Magnuson, UW-Madison professor emeritus and an expert on climate change impacts on lakes, to explain.

According to Magnuson, this uncertainty is exactly what makes the Mendota Freeze Contest a good guessing game. In the last 30 years, Lake Mendota has frozen as early as Dec. 3 and as late as Jan. 20. 

“The [lake ice] record is so noisy and precise prediction is not yet within our grasp,” Magnuson said. “For example, when we had the cold snap early in the fall, everyone expected that the ice would freeze. But the cold snap went and the lake wasn’t frozen. And the people who guessed early have already lost.” 

Magnuson presented on lake ice trends for a recent Center for Limnology seminar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. According to the center’s blog, “Things like weather patterns, climate cycles like the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, and even sunspots all play a role [in lake ice duration]. But… it’s still impossible to predict what, exactly, is running the show.” 

“Can we hazard a guess as to when Lake Mendota might freeze?” asked the center. The response: “Well, yes, but not much of one.” 

So what is Magnuson’s guess? 

“If I had to bet, I’d bet sometime in January,” says Magnuson. 

And beyond that 31-day window? Guess away. 

Visit www.mendotafreeze.com to enter the Mendota Freeze Contest. This year’s grand prize winner will receive a $1,000 gift card to Lands’ End and the runner-up will win four tickets to the Walt Disney World theme parks in Orlando, Florida.