Poll: What was the best film of 2008?

December 31, 2008

The Compass wants to know what film you think was the best of 2008? Please take a moment to vote below. If your favorite film isn’t on the list, feel free to leave a comment nominating it.

Update: The poll is now closed. A whopping 92% of voters cast a vote for “Twilight” as the best film of 2008. Thanks for voting!

[poll id=”7″]

Madonna’s “Sticky & Sweet” tour No. 1 in 2008

December 31, 2008

Madonna’s “Sticky & Sweet” Tour pulled in $105.3 million in ticket sales this year — making it the top grossing tour in North America in 2008, according to concert industry trade magazine Pollstar.

Céline Dion followed closely behind Madonna at No. 2, selling $94 million in North American ticket sales. Also on the list are The Eagles with $73.4 million and Kenny Chesney with $72.2 million.

Dion brought her “Taking Chances” Tour to Milwaukee on Sept. 29 of this year, just days after The Eagles’ Sept. 21 stop. Both concerts were held at The Bradley Center.

Madonna has never performed in Milwaukee, although she has made stops in Chicago during all but one of her seven world tours. Chesney’s most recent Milwaukee performance was in 2005.

Matthew Sliker contributed to this report.

Ahoy! January 2009

December 30, 2008

By Katherine Keller

New offices of the Bay View Compass in the Hide House, looking north.  ~photo Katherine Keller Greetings from our new offices in the Hide House. We’re in loft space in the eastern building of the complex, which, unlike the main building, hasn’t been renovated yet.

To green our space, I put giant sheets of window vinyl over our beautiful old factory-style windows, each bay six-by-eight-foot. That took some time to accomplish, but it significantly reduces the drafts, especially today when the north winds are brisk.

As some of you know, I try to promote a lifestyle that is respectful of the biosphere (or maybe better described as fearful of the fate of our biosphere if we don’t do something soon). That’s why the windows are insulated, the lamps have CFL bulbs, our office paper and Compass are recycled, cleaning products are biodegradable, etc. When I prepared to move to this space, I wanted to go with LED ceiling lighting but I discovered, through my own research and with confirmation from Focus on Energy, that not much is available now. But recent technological advances in LED design (silicone replaces lead or plastic in the housing of the LEDs) will bring many new products to the market soon.

While researching LEDs, I found a superb website that I want to share with you. It’s metaefficient.com. Here is how they describe the site, “Started in 2004, MetaEfficient was the first site to review efficient or ‘green’ products. Our focus has always been on anything that stands out as particularly efficient-be it humble or high-tech. We research and test different methodologies to determine the most optimal, and post our results here. We hope it will inspire others [to] seek out efficiency.” It’s really a good site! I urge architects to peruse it because there is good content in the Architecture section.

Recently I learned of a group of people in Bay View, who have a goal to live with less negative impact on Planet Earth, from Jill Rothenbueler Maher. She proposed a feature story about what may be Bay View’s first ecovillage. It makes sense to me to share cooking and appliances and utility bills. I often wish that our society was constructed so that we shared a lot more: lawn mowers, snow blowers, tree trimmers. Wouldn’t it be great to have little neighborhood co-ops where we could borrow (and return) some of this stuff so we didn’t all have to buy some of these things?

Jill’s Baby View column is about Bay View’s baby boomlet, which apart from being interesting, reflects her resourcefulness concerning research.

Jay Bullock addresses MPS reform in his Hall Monitor column this month. I agree with his premise: MPS problems are not school problems as much as they are Milwaukee problems, and at the base of these problems is poverty. His column thoughtfully considers school reform.

The first of our biannual school sections is published this month. In my opinion, Bay View is endowed with a high concentration of exceptional schools. It disconcerts me when I talk to new residents who know nothing about our schools, and worse, have a negative opinion of them, and consequently will not send their kids to our neighborhood’s schools. To redress this, I asked each of the principals to tell readers about the strengths and unique aspects of their school or curriculum. If you are new to Bay View and haven’t taken time to visit the local schools, do so! You’re living in a part of the city with great schools. Find out for yourself. Schedule a visit.

Before I leave the school topic News & Briefs to read about and see photos of the skiff some of the students built at Inland Seas school. To the students who built that boat, the Compass gives you all mega props! And please note, we’d like a ride in it when warmer weather returns.

We’re introducing a new little element to Trade Winds, our business section, that we’re calling Ebb & Flow. (Last month it was named Movings & Shakings.) Ebb & Flow may not appear in each issue, but when it does appear, you’ll find it to be news blips about local business and other goings-on. I am thinking of it as stream-of-consciousness briefettes.

Hard to resist a segue from ebb and flow to Mr. and Mrs. Jack Sprat-one who could eat no fat, and the other, no lean. That’s how Jennifer Yauck introduces siscowet trout, the subject of H20 this month. WATER Institute research biologist Rick Goetz is studying them to discover why members of this species seem to develop in two forms: fat or lean. That is a siscowet trout in his arms. It’s huge.

Huge is the task a lot of local volunteers have taken on to preserve Seminary Woods. I’d like to draw your attention to Jacky Smucker’s editorial, which takes up the issue of a strip of land owned by We Energies that was to remain undeveloped but that now appears to be in danger of development.

Anna Passante covers the early days of St. Augustine of Hippo Church. The article includes some fascinating photographs. To get a good look at the photos, see our website where you can view them enlarged.

If you haven’t visited our completely redesigned website, take a moment to do so. Matthew Sliker, a journalism student at UWM who grew up in Bay View, writes, takes photos, and designs ads for us. He also designed the new website and updates and maintains it. If you have ideas about the site content or design, write to him: matt@bayviewcompass.com.

We’re introducing a monthly contest on our website. Each month somone will win a different prize. This month the lucky winner will score two free tickets to the Bay View Community Center wine tasting event, their main fundraiser for 2009. Learn more about the contest at bayviewcompass.com/contest.

The new year promises to be challenging but I think we’re at the threshold of a positive new era that the new president and his administration will help our society navigate. It appears that we’ll have a White House that is respectful of the very real crises that must be addressed: massive species extinction, global warming, a teetering economy, poverty, access to health care, the role of the United States in the global community, banking, investing, and election reform, and I hope, leadership that exemplifies civility and justice.

Happy New Year,
Katherine Keller
Publisher & Editor

St. Augustine’s celebrates 100th anniversary of church building

December 30, 2008

By Anna Passante

Newly constructed St. Augustine Church, 1908 ~courtesy of Zimmerman Architectural Studios In the late 1880s, the German-speaking Catholics in Bay View were tired of traveling to St. Anthony’s at Ninth and Mitchell streets or Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in St. Francis to attend Mass in the German language. In June 1887, 47 families decided to petition the Milwaukee Archdiocese for their own national parish, and in July of that year, Archbishop Michael Heiss granted their request.

The new parish was named St. Augustine of Hippo. Twenty-three building lots between S. Graham Street and S. Howell Avenue were purchased. Owing to the thriftiness of the German congregation, the first church building was a combination church/school, with the school on the first floor and the church on the second.

With a growing parish membership, the parish decided in late 1906 to construct a new larger church building. The architectural firm of Brust & Philipp designed a 77-by-140-foot Romanesque style church fronting Howell Avenue at a cost of about $36,000. Cream City brick was selected for the exterior, trimmed with extensive ornamental brickwork and cut limestone. The Bay View Neighborhood Historic Resources Survey describes the steeple as “Victorian Romanesque in style, with a tall pointed spire as the central feature of the symmetrical façade, which is fenestrated with round-arched openings and accented with heavy corbelling.”

The cornerstone laying ceremony took place on Palm Sunday, April 12, 1908. Items were placed in the cornerstone, including a list of parishioners and a copy of the Sunday Herald.

St. Augustine Church interior 1908 ~courtesy St. Augustine of Hippo Congregation The new church was dedicated Nov. 26, 1908, with Archbishop Messmer officiating. The archbishop preached in German, urging the parishioners to make frequent use of the new house of God.

After the new church opened, the circa 1888 church/school combination building was used exclusively for the school. This building still stands at the corner of E. Homer and S. Graham streets.

At the time of the dedication, the parish could not afford to fully complete every aspect of the architectural and decorating plans, so to save money, a number of furnishings from the old church building were recycled. According to Father Jan Kieliszewski, the present pastor, the main altar and the statues of Mary and Joseph were moved from the old church building to the new church’s sanctuary area.

In 1910, a new pipe organ was installed. In 1914, stained glass windows were installed, as well as three new bells in the church steeple. In the Catholic tradition, the bells were named: the large one “Mary and Augustine,” and the two smaller ones “Joseph” and “Peter.” The Christ Noll family donated two side altars in 1922 and the main altar in 1935.

Over the decades, the interior of the church underwent redecoration and remodeling. Kieliszewski recalls a photograph showing an elevated pulpit situated at the northeast corner of the church, but it was removed during one of the renovations. Parishioner Paul Multhauf remembers his uncle helping to excavate the dirt floor of the church basement in 1949, in an attempt to increase the headroom for a new parish hall. In the early 1950s, said Kieliszewski, marble was installed on the interior walls, and the Mary and Joseph statues were replaced with modern marble sculptures (each consisting of three types of marble) of the two saints. The old statues now reside in the church vestibule.

St. Augustine's interior before renovation ~courtesy St. Augutine's of Hippo In 1986, the church interior experienced major remodeling at a cost of $100,000. The pews were reconfigured into a U-shape around a new altar. The church was returned to the original 1908 color scheme: predominately blue and white, with accent colors of turquoise and gold. “With gold and accent colors it will give us a restrained elegance that brings out the golden oak pews and the rose color of the marble,” according to a 1986 church newsletter. In 1989, the Bay View Historical Society designated the church as a Bay View Landmark.

Most recently, work was done to the steeple. When the church was first built in 1908, there were no funds to install clocks in the steeple, so the four circular openings were “temporarily” covered with tin. In 2006, after nearly 100 years, a donation of $11,500 from an anonymous donor paid for the installation of the clocks. Lights installed on the steeple in 2007 illuminate the new clocks for miles around.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the church building, Kieliszewski and parish members blessed the original 1908 cornerstone after the morning Thanksgiving Mass, Nov. 27, 2008.

Cornerstone placement ceremony, Palm Sunday, April 12, 1908 ~courtesy St. Augustine of Hippo ABOUT THE SAINT

St. Augustine was born in present-day Souk Ahras, Algeria, in the year 354 during the twilight of the Roman Empire. His mother was Christian and his father pagan. Educated in Carthage, he became interested in philosophy. In 386, Augustine converted to Christianity and in 396 became a Roman Catholic bishop in Hippo Regius, an ancient city in modern Algeria. A philosopher and theologian, Augustine wrote the influential Confessions and City of God and is considered an important figure in the development of Western Christianity and the concepts of free will, original sin, grace, good and evil, and the self. Augustine died in 430. In the Roman Catholic Church, as well as the Anglican Church, he is a saint and pre-eminent Doctor of the Church. He is also the patron saint of the Augustinian religious order. His feast day is celebrated Aug. 28.

Cornerstone placement ceremony, Palm Sunday, April 12, 1908 ~courtesy St. Augustine of Hippo

Click photos to enlarge.

Ebb & Flow

December 30, 2008

By Bay View Compass staff

Philip Martin has launched a new boutique press, Crickhollow Books, in Bay View. Martin is director of Great Lakes Literary, LLC, also at 3147 S. Pennsylvania Ave., a book development service. Crickhollow will publish both nonfiction and fiction. Recent titles include The I Love to Write Book by Mary-Lane Kamberg and Fill-in-the-Blank Plotting by Linda George, with Martin’s own A Guide to Fantasy Literature expected in January, according to crickhollowbooks.com…The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that M&I bank is foreclosing on the Cudahy Library Square LLC, headed by developer Jeffrey Rodman. Apparently, just one the 30 condo units built east of the Cudahy Family Library is sold. The foreclosure is $3.6 million…Owners of Bay View’s Café Lulu, Cameryne Roberts and Sarah Jonas, recently opened another restaurant, this one in Wauwatosa at 6030 W. North Ave. Distinct from Lulu’s, they call it Juniper 61…The Compass learned that Barry and Lisa Yip, owners of Electique, the lighting retailer that recently held a going-out-of-business sale, originally purchased the property at 2510 S. KK speculating that they could sell the lot to the Avalon, located kitty-corner from their building on KK, for development as parking. With the Avalon renovation project nowhere near completion-or a visible beginning, Yip said they decided to sell the building…A for-rent sign from MK Realty popped up in recent weeks on the Avalon property–MK for Avalon owner Lee Barczak’s Morgan Kenwood investment firm? Neither Barczak nor MK returned a call for an Avalon update…After years of planning, the KK River dredging project, intended to remove 170,000 cubic yards of sediment contaminated by PCBs and PAHs, is underway. CH2M Hill, a contractor for U.S. EPA Great Lakes National Program (which also was responsible for the Deep Tunnel project), has hired a subcontractor for construction of a special cell on the Jones Island CDF for future disposal of dredged sediment from the KK River project area, according to Wisconsin DNR’s Xiaochun Zhang. The work on the cell is anticipated to be completed by the end of December 2008. At the same time, Edward Gillen Company, contracted by each individual property owner along the project area, has started the shoreline protection work, Zhang said. “If everything works out as planned, the actual dredging will start by next spring between April and May,” Zhang said…Broad Vocabulary, formerly Bay View’s feminist bookstore, is closed, but a cooperative has emerged that seeks to purchase and reopen the store. The Milwaukee Post, however, reported that a bank loan is hanging over the store owners’ heads, which could complicate any transition process…The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration recently generated a prioritized list of nationwide land acquisition projects considered for funding by the federal Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation (CELCP) grant. Seminary Woods was ranked 32nd out of 54 projects that applied. Given that the projects were vying for a share of just $15 million available by the president’s budget to this year’s CELCP grant, and the price tags for the higher ranked projects, this ranking means the woods will not receive CELCP grant money in 2009. The Conservation Fund had applied for CELCP funding to provide an estimated 25 percent, or $1,424,500, of the cost to acquire the woods to preserve it from development.

Kiln glass artist in StudioQ

December 30, 2008

By Kevin Mundt

StudioQ, 2469 S. Howell Ave., specializes in stained glass and kiln-formed glass pieces. Everything from interior design elements such as sinks, tiles, and light fixtures to jewelry, bowls, and platters can be custom made by Bay View resident Michelle Andre, owner and glass artist. The “Q” in StudioQ comes from a family nickname Andre received when she was young.

While Andre has no “formal training,” she has 20 years of experience working with glass, both in studios, at glass workshops, and for years out of her basement. Eventually, Andre wanted to open her own studio. Through an online ad she found the current location, what used to be a grocery store (her sandblaster resides in the old meat locker). Andre chose the location for her studio in early 2008 because it was close to home, it “had lots of space” and it was “a good deal.” »Read more

Alternative energy fuel station delayed

December 30, 2008

By Michael Timm

Peter Grimes is actually hoping gas prices get back up into the $3-$4 range.

That’s because the conventional gasoline tanks at his alternative energy fuel station at 5080 S. Pennsylvania Ave. in Cudahy were filled up with gas that cost between $3 and $4 a gallon in fall 2008. Grimes said if the station sold its gas at today’s market prices, in the high $1s per gallon, it would incur an approximate $50,000 loss. He said he’s willing to incur some loss, but wants to be smart.

The tanks had to be filled to be certified, one part of an approval process that took longer than Grimes and AUR Energy Partners, his four-member LLC, expected. He had earlier anticipated opening the station in September, and later November 2008.

Now, given the uncertain economy and presidential transition, he does not have a prediction about when the ready-and-approved fuel station will open to the public.

Before the station can sell to the public, Grimes said it is required to have signage. To add the larger-than-conventional signage Grimes wants for the location just off the Lake Parkway, he said he would need to apply for an exception from the city of Cudahy. He said he hasn’t yet applied because he wants to wait and see what happens to unpredictable gas prices and the economy.

Thus far, the economy hasn’t helped. Grimes noted that plummeting gas prices depressed sales for Cudahy’s K-Man Auto & Scooter (Milwaukee EV). K-Man was to have a presence selling electric vehicles at the new station, which was to be the first in the Milwaukee area to offer fueling ports for plug-in electric vehicles.

Grimes said the station is approved by We Energies for its 2-kilowatt solar array that will provide electricity back to the grid. He said it’s also approved for the Milwaukee Biodiesel Cooperative’s fuel.

He hopes the drop in gas prices won’t become a “missed opportunity” for energy innovation.

“All the pieces are there,” Grimes said. “We just have to put them together.”

The Compass first reported about the alternative energy fuel station in September 2008.

Daughter buys Cool Water from father

December 30, 2008

By Kevin Mundt

Cool Water Bar & Grill, 2247 S. St. Francis Ave., is under new ownership. Tessa Santoro-Schulte and her husband Joseph Schulte, owners of Broadway Bakery & Café in the Third Ward, bought the St. Francis restaurant from Tessa’s father Joe Santoro.

Tessa claims “the [old] menu did not match the new building” so it was “completely redone.” She called the previous menu “generic,” pointing out that it contained eight cuts of steak. “This is not Mo’s [Steakhouse],” she said.

Now the menu has a wider variety, including a new selection of vegetarian dishes, Tessa said.

“Food will be fresh and local-as much as possible,” Tessa said. All desserts and breads are from Broadway Bakery & Café.

While there have been changes to the menu, Tessa said prices will stay affordable.

One thing that will remain the same is the recipe for the Friday fish fry. It’s the same recipe used by the former owner and originates from Majdecki’s restaurant, which used to occupy the building.

This month the owners plan to start having an “eclectic mix” of live music on Friday evenings.

Cool Water will now be open from Monday thru Saturday. The bar opens at 4pm and the kitchen at 5pm. Catering is now available.

Driver of stolen car destroys couple’s tree

December 30, 2008

By Will Mueller

Two years after donating one of their two front-yard pine trees, Larry and Veronica Nelson lost their other tree to a reckless driver in a stolen car.

The Nelsons donated a 20-year-old blue spruce to be Milwaukee County’s Official Christmas Tree in 2006, the tree which is displayed annually within the county courthouse. Now, two years later, the Nelsons have lost their other front-yard tree, a white pine which the couple planted 15 years ago and eventually grew taller than their house.

“The second tree provided shade in the living room for us,” said Veronica Nelson, who was sitting in the living room watching television and crocheting Nov. 25 when a car sped uphill, through the neighbors’ railing, through the Nelsons’ railing, eventually coming to a crashing halt, destroying the tree.  »Read more

Work cut out for state legislators

December 30, 2008

By Jeff Plale, 7th District State Senator

Though the 2008 election brought about a leadership change in the state Assembly, I am eager to begin working with members of both parties, including newly elected state legislators, to move Wisconsin forward. I am hopeful that we can help make our state a better place to live, work, and do business in. As the state Legislature prepares to convene for its 2009-10 legislative session, there are a number of items I hope are addressed.

Next session, I will work to pass legislation that expands Wisconsin’s renewable energy industry. Growth in this burgeoning industry can lessen Wisconsin’s contribution to global warming and can create family-supporting jobs here. To this end, I will introduce legislation that brings uniformity to laws relating to the siting of wind farms in the state. Currently, the lack of uniformity is an obstacle to investment in this important industry. I also will work with my colleagues to move Wisconsin closer to energy independence and to expand our “green” economy through recommendations from the Governor’s Task Force on Global Warming.  »Read more

Milwaukee could become Global Freshwater Capital

December 30, 2008

By Jon Richards, 19th District State Representative

One of my favorite posters evoking Milwaukee’s past is from 120 years ago showing a young woman in flowing robes leaning against the world with the slogan, “Milwaukee Feeds and Supplies the World.” While such confidence has been missing recently in Milwaukee, a promising new initiative is bringing that pride and promise of global leadership back to our region.

As we open the new year, Milwaukee is embracing the idea that our region can become the Global Freshwater Capital.

Of course we have our magnificent lake at our doorstep that provides us with a virtually unlimited supply of freshwater. But we are now on the verge of becoming the center for developing and building the technology that will allow people to filter, conserve, and recycle freshwater.

If we build this sector of the economy it can be an incredible way to grow jobs and create wealth in our region. Good models are what semiconductors did for San Jose, Calif. and what stem cell research is doing for our neighbors in Madison, Wis. »Read more

Legislature must prioritize working families

December 30, 2008

By Chris Sinicki, 20th District State Representative

I have the honor of recently being appointed chair of the state Assembly Labor Committee by Speaker-elect Mike Sheridan (D-Janesville). On Jan. 5, a new state Legislature will begin to address the legal and fiscal challenges Wisconsin faces in the coming biennium.

From housing costs and the job market to education, infrastructure, health care, and our service people in Iraq, Wisconsin families have weathered some of the toughest times in memory. So many people are working harder to stretch their paychecks further while looking at an ever steeper climb to prosperity.

Our working families shouldn’t have to bear the brunt of malfeasance by Wall Street financiers, nor the ill-gotten gains of corporate boards seeking quick profits instead of long-term stability. We are experiencing the full consequences of the disaster that is “Trickle-down Economics.” Too many pension funds have been dissolved, too many workers displaced. The traditional relationship between workers and their companies is in tatters.  »Read more

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