Free admission to state parks on June 7

May 31, 2009

Visitors can receive free admission to all Wisconsin State Parks, Forests and Trails during State Park Open House Day on Sunday, June 7, a highlight of which will be a Centennial Celebration for Peninsula State Park, one of Wisconsin’s oldest and most visited state parks.

On State Park Open House Day, no admission stickers are required on vehicles entering state parks, forests and recreation areas, and trail passes are not required for bicyclists, in-line skaters, or horseback riders using state trails that normally require a trail pass. Many state parks have special State Park Open House events.

With opportunities for bicycling, hiking, canoeing, boating, fishing, and horseback riding at various locations statewide, Wisconsin boasts unique and diverse landscapes to interest all travelers.

The event also coincides with Free Fishing Weekend, in Wisconsin, so no fishing license is required to fish at the many lakes and rivers located in state parks and forests.

Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Tippecanoe students to perform at Skylight

May 30, 2009

Sixth-grade students from Tippecanoe School for the Arts and Humanities will participate in a performance on Thurs., Jun. 4 at the Skylight Opera Theatre in Milwaukee’s Third Ward.

The “Enlighten Celebration 2009” event will feature performances by students from several area schools including Tippecanoe and will also feature a professional performance of “KidsWrites: Competition.”

KidsWrites, part of the Skylight’s education program, takes uncorrected student writing based on an annual theme, which, this year, is “competition.” The student writing is then performed by professional actors in a touring musical theatre show and also at the annual year-end event “Enlighten Celebration.”

Tickets for the event, which are $10 for adults and $5 for students, benefit the Skylight Opera’s Education program, “Enlighten.” The shows will take place June 4 and 5 at 5 pm in the Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre, 158 N. Broadway Ave.

Tippecanoe will only be performing on Thurs., Jun. 4.

Eco-Bay discussed, criticized

May 28, 2009

By Michael Timm

Approximately 100 people attended a public meeting May 26 hosted by 14th District Alderman Tony Zielinski to discuss the Housing Authority’s proposed development of the 5.6-acre former Army Reserve site at 2372 S. Logan Ave.

“Eco-Bay” would be a net-zero development, meaning the site would produce at least as much energy as it consumes. This would be accomplished through solar rooftops, superior insulation, and geothermal heating, though no specific strategies detailing costs and benefits were presented.

The Housing Authority hired Quorum Architects to prepare the design and plan for the Eco-Bay RFP. Principal Allyson Nemec said Quorum approached the Housing Authority for the design job because she suspected the Housing Authority’s financing capabilities would provide the clout to win the net-zero project.  »Read more

Bus bike racks get ready to ride

May 28, 2009

By Jill Rothenbueler Maher

~photo Mark Hines, courtesy MCTS Milwaukee County Transit System plans to hold an event Friday, June 4 at the courthouse to celebrate the new bike racks being installed on all county buses (479 racks were purchased). The installation project is expected to be completed by the end of the month but may not be ready by Bike to Work Week June 6-12 or the start of Summerfest June 25. The transit system cautions riders against relying on racks until all are installed.

The estimated $650,000 project involves rack building, installation, and program promotion. Installation is fairly significant because buses must be out of service for the rack and bumper work.

The county’s share of the program is $32,500. The Federal Transit Administration’s transit enhancement program provides a grant that covers the balance. The estimated costs break down to $678 per bus bike rack ($324,762), plus $25,110 in mounting hardware and spare racks, $60,000 in garage modifications, $20,000 in training, $80,000 in bus modifications, and $25,000 for marketing.  »Read more

Sven’s plants trees

May 28, 2009

Svens gets trees Sven’s Café owner Steve Goretzko hired landscapers to cut open his parking lot and plant trees in early
May. ~courtesy Steve Goretzko

City joins sweat-free consortium

May 28, 2009

By Tony Zielinski, 14th District Milwaukee Alderman

Recently, I successfully passed legislation that had Milwaukee join the Sweat-Free Consortium, which is charged with the task of investigating companies that get city contracts for purchases. Often, companies will sign an affidavit stating that they are paying above poverty-level wages before getting a city purchasing contract (as required by law). However, it has been the case that companies have falsified these affidavits in order to get the contract, circumventing the intent of the ordinance. Previous to joining the consortium it was very difficult to investigate the validity of these affidavits, but by joining the consortium, the different governmental entities are pooling their financial resources to cost-effectively investigate these companies.

Milwaukee has been one of the national leaders in the growing sweat-free movement and also one of the first entities to formally join the consortium. The reason I am so involved with this movement is that this is one way to help stem the loss of jobs overseas, which negatively impacts our community. That is, when companies close shops here and exploit workers for economic gain overseas, our economy is being decimated. Rather than restricting or punishing companies that exploit workers for economic gain, they are being rewarded with bigger profits.  »Read more

Illinois could benefit from federally stimulated Wisconsin construction

May 28, 2009

By Chris Sinicki, 20th District State Representative

On the one hand, there’s no money to be had (state budget). On the other, it’s hard to see where some of the money’s going, it’s flowing so fast (stimulus money from Washington).

A recent example of the latter was the letting of state Department of Transportation (DOT) contracts end of April. The biggest contract up for bid was for the reconstruction of Interstate 94 from the state line five miles north.

On the face of it, this looked like one of the first great opportunities for the state to use federal stimulus money to do what we all understand to be the point of that money: create jobs for Wisconsin residents. As it turned out, to the great disappointment of a great many of us, jobs will be created, but not all will go to Wisconsinites.  »Read more

Sharing the rooftop garden secret

May 28, 2009

Story & Photos by Michael Timm

Volunteer Tom Brandstetter stands by Future Green's new rooftop garden barrels, with Kinnickinnic Avenue beyond to the south. ~photo Michael TimmThe sweet musk of potatoes. The earthy tang of carrots. Red strawberries plump on the vine. The senses delight when a gardener’s labor transforms sun, water, soil, and seed into homegrown produce. What’s growing in Swee and Lisa Sim’s garden could be found in any backyard, but what makes their garden special is that it’s not in their backyard. It’s on their roof.

With the help of volunteers and a bit of inspired experimentation, the Sims, owners of the organic and fair trade retailer Future Green, installed a rooftop garden above their 2352 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. business May 4. The sense was, “Let’s try this and see what happens,” said Lisa Sim, who hopes their project will inspire other business and property owners to consider using their flat roofs for growing space.

The Sims are starting small, planting strawberries, leaks, peas, carrots, and other vegetables in six rooftop growing stations, with a total of 12 planned. Each growing station is a blue 55-gallon barrel sawed in half lengthwise, split apart, and set on a wooden pallet with the two round sides down. They look a little like makeshift rafts or tankers, floating above roughly 1,700 square feet of Future Green’s black rubberized roof.  »Read more

Smoke-free victory

May 28, 2009

By Jon Richards, 19th District State Representative

Over the past three years I have been fighting to make workplaces smoke-free for all employees in Milwaukee and across Wisconsin. The residents of Bay View and the readers of the Compass have been very supportive of this proposal and our fight to pass it. I am happy to report that the legislature acted May 13 in a refreshingly bipartisan manner to pass the statewide workplace smoking ban. The Smoke Free Wisconsin Act passed the Assembly 61-38 and the Senate 25-8. The ban takes effect July 5, 2010.

This was a fight about the health of all workers, both smokers and nonsmokers, as well as a fight to save the taxpayers of Wisconsin money on medical costs caused by secondhand smoke. We now know that secondhand smoke can lead to lung cancer and heart disease.  »Read more

Summer fun in Wisconsin

May 28, 2009

By Jeff Plale, 7th District State Senator

As the days get warmer and the school year comes to a close, we are all looking for ways to enjoy the summer season. As vice chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation, Tourism, Forestry, and Natural Resources, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of all the recreational activities Wisconsin has to offer.

Traveling in Wisconsin this summer can ease family budgets. It also provides a great opportunity to explore different parts of the state and learn the unique stories of our state’s residents past and present.

From Big Bay State Park on Madeline Island to Big Foot Beach State Park on Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is home to 99 state parks, forests, trails, and recreation areas. I encourage you to visit the Department of Natural Resources website at to learn more.  »Read more

Prescription savings available

May 28, 2009

By Chris Larson, District 14 County Supervisor

In times of economic hardship like we’re in now, it’s important to save money wherever you can. If you or someone you know doesn’t have prescription drug coverage, the costs can be crippling. Since 2006, Milwaukee County has offered free prescription drug discount cards that provide 20- to 50-percent savings to all Milwaukee County residents with no prescription drug coverage.

Since the program was started, residents have saved more than $426,000 in prescription drug costs, for an average savings of more than 22 percent. There are currently more than 1,000 Milwaukee County residents taking advantage of this program, with that number growing every day. Even people with prescription drug insurance coverage can get the discount if they have a particular drug that is not covered under their policy. There are also some individuals who have been able to use the discount card on prescriptions for their pets.  »Read more

Milwaukee failed swine flu test, needs to face existing epidemics

May 28, 2009

By Terry Falk, 8th District School Board Director

In April, when students at a New York Catholic school came down with flu-like symptoms, school nurse Mary Pappas contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), confirming a major outbreak of swine flu. Pappas became the first true hero in fighting this epidemic.

New York City government provides school nurses for all its public and private schools. Milwaukee city government provides none. The city turned the responsibility of school nurses over to the school system several years ago, and Milwaukee now has far fewer school nurses than it once had.

Wisconsin is 47th in the nation in public health spending. The swine flu epidemic didn’t produce the massive deaths once feared, but it did expose our community’s lack of preparedness.  »Read more

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