Bike, skateboard, and roller skates store opening on KK September 3

August 31, 2010

By Katherine Keller

Bigfoot Bike and Skate, LLC is moving into the Avalon Theatre storefront at 2481 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue and opening for business September 3.

Owner Brian Curtiss said he decided to relocate to Bay View from his Shorewood location at 3470 N. Oakland Avenue in the wake of the July 22 flood that inundated his store with six feet of water.  He will operate the store Friday through Sunday and by appointment. Curtiss, who earned a degree in sculpture from MIAD, is employed by a company that specializes in historical architectural restoration. He hopes to make the store his full-time endeavor.

Bigfoot Bike and Skate will carry bikes, skateboards, and quad roller skates (no inline skates), plus bike and skate parts, helmets, and skating safety-gear.

Bike repair services will be part of the store’s offerings, as well as custom-built  skateboard decks and bikes. Curtiss said he loves building custom bikes.

Bigfoot’s skateboard inventory will be limited to longboard and old-school skateboards. Curtiss said Bigfoot will complement Sky High Skateboard Shop, 2501 S. Howell Avenue, which features trick skateboards.

His bike selection will be tailored for teens and adults—BMX, cruisers, commuters, and single-speeds including Haro, Breezer, Nerve, and more.

A native of Kenosha, Curtiss said he began hanging out at the Ski & Sport Chalet store, located hear his home, when he was 12-years-old. Before long they offered him a job. He acquired a work permit and began learning to repair bikes and wait on customers after school and on weekends.

The store opens Friday, September 3. Curtiss warned that customers will find him in the process of setting up the store but that should not deter them from stopping in.

Curtiss noted that he’s “very proud to be a sponsor of the Brew City Bruisers,”  a local, women’s roller-derby team.

The store will be open Friday from 10am-7pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 10am-4pm, and by appointment. (414) 332-3479 or (312) 401-8491.

Lost & Found (iPod found)

August 31, 2010

Found iPod in BV, August 31, email to describe.

MPL announces fall 2010 hours—BV Library will still be closed Fridays

August 30, 2010

The Milwaukee Public Library (MPL) will return to its normal schedule of hours beginning Wednesday, September 1, which will be in effect through Thursday, December 23, 2010.

All Milwaukee Public Library locations will be closed Friday, September 3 for a scheduled furlough day for all City employees.

Libraries also will be closed Saturday, September 4 through Monday, September 6 to celebrate Labor Day.

Regular hours are as follows:

  • Atkinson Library, 1960 W. Atkinson Ave.
  • Bay View Library, 2566 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.
  • East Library, 1910 E. North Ave.
  • Mill Road Library, 6431 N. 76th St.
  • *Zablocki Library, 3501 W. Oklahoma Ave.

Mon. – Wed. 1:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Thursday  10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Friday  CLOSED

Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

* Sunday (Oct. – Dec. ONLY) – 1:00-5:00 p.m.


  • *Capitol Library, 3969 N. 74th St.
  • Forest Home Library, 1432 W. Forest Home Ave.
  • Martin Luther King Library, 310 W. Locust St.
  • Tippecanoe Library, 3912 S. Howell Ave.
  • Villard Avenue Library, 3310 W. Villard Ave.
  • Washington Park Library, 2121 N. Sherman Blvd.

Mon. – Wed.            1:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Thurs. – Fri.            10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Saturday            CLOSED

* Sunday (Oct. – Dec. ONLY) – 1:00-5:00 p.m.

Hours at Central Library downtown and Center Street Library, 2727 W. Fond du Lac Ave., remain the same.

Security cameras for Kinnickinnic Avenue

August 30, 2010

By Michael Timm

Bullet Camera

Smile. You might soon be on camera.

The Kinnickinnic Avenue Business Improvement District (BID #44) has authorized its board member Bill Doyle to secure a contract of up to $40,000 for cameras and related equipment along Kinnickinnic Avenue.

The goal of the cameras is to deter crime and help police identify criminal suspects, BID board members said, ultimately improving the public perception of Bay View as a safe and desirable place to do business.

At a meeting of the BID board Aug. 23, Doyle did not specify planned camera locations and said those details were yet to be worked out. He said cameras could be moved, depending on activity at different sites, but suggested the intersection of Howell, Kinnickinnic, and Lincoln avenues was a logical place of focus, especially given the vacant Maritime Savings Bank.

Doyle is seeking competitive bids from at least five contractors, but no timeline was set for camera installation.

Of the $40,000 the BID has budgeted to address security, Doyle tentatively plans about $30,000 for cameras, installation, and associated costs, with $10,000 for equipment replacement, insurance, and other contingencies.

Doyle said he’s seeking the most competitive camera packages, and the final costs will in part determine the number of systems ultimately installed, though he tossed out a preliminary estimate of $3,000 to $3,500 per package. He said a package consists of four cameras, DVR, monitor, and installation. He hopes to get a Bay View-based electrician to handle installation.

Rachel Marek, of Excel Printing, told the board she was familiar with a $600 system including six cameras, software, and DVR.

The BID, established earlier this year, spans KK from Morgan to Becher. It derives funding from a special assessment on property owners—essentially an additional tax whose proceeds come back to benefit the specific BID district, via the BID board’s projects, rather than go more widely to the city. (BID #44 assessments.)

This summer the BID board surveyed its member property owners to get a sense of business priorities along the KK corridor. Only 51 surveys were returned as of Aug. 23, but the top three concerns cited were marketing and promotion, cleanliness and attractiveness, and then security, said BID president Jason Wedesky.

The BID board expressed hope that more people would respond to their survey, and the extended deadline for responses is Sept. 5. The complete survey results will be announced after that, according to BID secretary Joyce Parker.

On Aug. 23,  Kinnickinnic Avenue resident Michael Perveiler asked the board if adding cameras would actually deter crime and also if the cameras would drive crime from KK into the residential neighborhood.

BID board members expressed the sentiment that there was no perfect solution to deterring crime, but that cameras could only help. “We need to show Bay View residents we’re serious about deterring crime,” said Mike Marx, BID board member.

David Brazeau, of Salon Thor, said that he already operates three cameras and that police have reviewed his footage, resulting in multiple arrests. Greg Mertens, of Wild Flour Bakery, added his positive experience with Operation Impact security cameras near his W. Lincoln Avenue Wild Flour location.

For 2010, the KK BID has over $45,000, with $5,000 dedicated to graffiti removal and $40,000 to security. Wedesky said the BID must submit its 2011 budget to the city by Sept. 9. Marketing and promotion is likely to be a focus.

“Obviously, if you’re going to market the street, you’re going to need a website,” said 14th District Alderman Tony Zielinski, who, while not on the BID board, played a significant role in forming the BID and recruiting the board. He added his hope that Bay View web designers will express interest in that project.

The board consists of Bill Doyle, Michael Krolick, Debbie Leszczynski (pending final approval by the mayor’s office), Michael Marx, Greg Mertens, Joyce Parker, Ron Romero, Steve Ste. Marie, and Jason Wedesky.

The BID board’s next meeting is 6pm Monday, Oct. 11 at Joyce Parker Productions, 2685 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. The public is welcome.

The redwing blackbird’s fun is over!

August 30, 2010

Dear Editor,

Since May, “the bird” had been on guard duty on the S. Shore Drive walkway overlooking Lake Michigan.

That cocky male informed hundreds of folks walking along the lake that this territory belongs to him and his mate and their nest of babies. So he perched on the highest lookout branch to protect his family. Many unsuspecting folk felt pain when he nose-dived into the back of their head. And it hurt!

One fellow across the street called, “What hit me?” Now he is a bird-watcher!

My wife, who had observed this natural cocky behavior many times from our porch, forgot about the “watchdog” bird and had to admit, “It got me too! And it hurt.”

But it was time again to trim the growth along the pathway and open up the grand view of Lake Michigan. Bye-bye, blackbird.

Dick Truitt
Bay View

Leading family’s estate still stands on Shore Drive

August 30, 2010

By John Ebersol



The Starkey place on S. Shore Drive during the winter of 1944-45. ~photo David Eva

The lakeside Starkey home, with hood moldings over the windows, was built on lots of the P.M. Pryor subdivision, acquired by the Milwaukee Iron Company in 1874. In 1890, George Starkey bought the home from the company, then known as the Illinois Steel Company.

George had four children. That the Starkey home became a grand estate is due to the effort of one of them, Daniel B. Starkey (1862-1949).

Starkey 3

Starkey in front of his house, before 1898. ~photo courtesy John Ebersol

Dan Starkey was fond of politics, parks, and publications—somewhat in that order (see sidebar). When he was just 19, Dan became an editor of the Bay View Herald newspaper. In 1882, he acquired the paper and in 1886 sold it to Beulah Brinton, who then ran it with her son Warren.


In 1893, Dan bought the lot to the south of his father’s home, which contained the old Pryor farm’s barn. Now with three lots, plus his income from both the steel mill where he was a foreman and from his newly published book (George Rogers Clark and His Illinois Campaign), Dan started developing the estate.

The Starkey Estate

First, major additions were made to the house. In 1897, the architectural firm of Ferry and Clas (who also designed Central Library) designed Dan’s library to the north and a solarium to the south.

Starkey House Pavilion

The pavilion, formal garden, and bridge to the pavilion (ca. 1956). Note the formal garden in front and bridge and drive down to garage below. ~phtoto courtesy John Ebersol

Often neighborhood perch dinners, receptions, and parties were held in the pavilion during the summer. The board of directors of the South Shore Yacht Club met in the pavilion in the 1920s.

Starkey 4

Storm of November 1913 with waves breaking against the shore directly below the bluff. Note the pavilion precipitously on the edge of the bluff in the background. ~photo courtesy John Ebersol

But the fate of the pavilion grew precarious, as it perched atop the bluff increasingly eroded and at the mercy of storms. The fall of 1913 saw a particularly severe storm that damaged equipment being used to build a seawall intended to protect the bluff. Hathoway Company’s equipment was damaged, but Edward E. Gillen Company finished the job, also extending the “bluff” eastward with iron slag fill from the nearby Thomas Furnace Company. The eventual completion of the seawall preserved Starkey’s pavilion, and other properties, and created the modern shore including the present-day yacht club parking lot and park and bike trail to the north.

Starkey map

What Remains

Though the Starkey pavilion and formal garden were removed in 1964 to allow for construction of a modern ranch-style home, much of Dan Starkey’s estate still exists behind the extant 2582 S. Shore Dr. home. Most of a spatter-dash-faced concrete wall survives, with concrete balusters and light poles extending for some 150 feet along the top of the bluff. The northern 50 feet of that wall extended off Starkey’s property onto land then occupied by descendents of the Pryors.

However, there was much more to the estate. A gravel drive completed a circuit around the house, connecting to the street (originally Erie Street, renamed Beulah Avenue, and today S. Shore Drive) to the north and south.

This gravel drive also descended below a concrete bridge heading east to a parking garage underneath the pavilion. Directly behind the house there is still a sunken garden with a fountain centered between two reflecting ponds. Just west of the pavilion, and surrounded by another baluster wall, was a formal garden.

Dan Starkey eventually moved to Illinois to continue publishing with members of his Sportsman Corporation. His sisters, Carrie and Mary, continued to live in the house on S. Shore Drive with relative Delbert Wentworth. Dan, 87, died in 1949, leaving no children. In 1951, the south lot with the pavilion was sold to Bill Lawrie, neighbor to the south. Today only the stately Italianate home of Dan Starkey remains to remind many Bay Viewers of the once grand estate.

John Ebersol is an amateur historian and the archivist of the South Shore Yacht Club.

Dan Starkey — Man of Politics, Parks & Publishing

In 1904, Starkey incorporated the Sportsman Publishing Company, which produced Northwestern Sportsman magazine. Over the next 10 years experiments in Country Life, Outdoor Life,and other magazines finally led to success with a magazine called Outers Book (1916-25).

Starkey Wahl Wedding

Milwaukee started buying land for parks in the 1890s. The “father” of the city parks and president of the Park Commission from 1889 to 1899 was Dan Starkey’s friend Christian Wahl. Wahl’s nephew Donald Wahl married Dan’s niece, Virginia Starkey, in a ceremony in Dan’s backyard in 1936.

Starkey always longed for a lake park in Bay View. In 1909, he and neighbor Theobald Otjen advanced their own money to purchase the land that became South Shore Park. The community celebrated the park’s opening June 16, 1909 at Starkey’s pavilion. By 1913, Dan began a four-year term on the City Park Board, serving with his architect friend, Alfred Clas.

In 1915, Starkey acquired the schooner Lilly E., which served as the South Shore Yacht Club’s clubhouse until 1922. For their efforts securing the shoreline and towing the Lilly E. from Sturgeon Bay to Milwaukee, Starkey and his friend Eddy Gillen were named the club’s first life members. Starkey was also married to Harriet Wentworth.

Wisconsin 7th State Senate District Q & A

August 30, 2010

We asked the three candidates who are on the Sept. 14 primary ballot competing to represent the people of Wisconsin’s Seventh State Senate District (incumbent: Jeff Plale) to respond in 100 words or less to our seven questions. We also asked them to provide their background and platform in 100 words or less. Their responses are provided on this page in alphabetical order within each party, the two Democrats’ responses followed by the sole Republican.

Chris Larson

Chris Larson (Democrat)

I was born and raised in Milwaukee County. I graduated from Thomas More High School, then UW-Milwaukee with a degree in finance. Currently, I live with my wife in Bay View. Before I was elected as a Milwaukee County supervisor in 2008, I managed a business specializing in running and physical therapy. My platform emphasizes the need for neighbors to be represented at the state level, instead of out-of-district interests and corporate lobbyists. This is a big change from the incumbent. I will bring strong support for investment in clean energy jobs, public transportation, parks, and education.

Jeff Plale NEW 2
Jeff Plale (Democrat)

I grew up and live in South Milwaukee and my priorities are creating and keeping family-supporting jobs and ensuring community safety. Investments in higher education are investments in our workforce. We should encourage new businesses in emerging fields like green energy production and the manufacturing of green technology. Badly needed development of transportation infrastructure is critical to facilitating business in southeastern Wisconsin. It is my responsibility to protect our way of life and ensure that our communities and families are safe through legislation that increases drunk driving penalties, provides GPS tracking for sex offenders, and adequately funds our public schools.

Jess Ripp NEW
Jess Ripp (Republican)

I attended both Marquette University High School and Marquette University. While in college I established and ran my own painting company. I attended Creighton Law and currently work as an attorney. I am an Eagle Scout. These experiences have reinforced my strong fiscally conservative principles. I will create a positive future for our beautiful state of Wisconsin. I will foster a business environment that allows small business to grow, companies to create, and inspirations to inspire. I am an ardent proponent of individual rights and personal liberty.

1. What policies should the state enact to address the continued structural state budget deficit?

Larson (D): Over the next budget, there will be a lot of tough decisions to be made in closing the looming budget deficit. It is essential that we continue combined reporting so that corporations cannot use tax loopholes to pass the buck to homeowners. This initiative was key in closing the last budget. I believe that we should also switch some functions off of the property tax and onto a sales tax, such as parks and transit. This is something I’ve long advocated to prevent homeowners from bearing the brunt of taxes here.

Plale (D, inc.): Wisconsin is in a tough financial situation. Clearly, we have to make additional cuts in government spending, but we need to do so while still preserving vital government services. We need healthy public schools, police and fire protection, and health care for the poorest Wisconsin citizens. We need to make big corporations pay their fair share in taxes, which is why I voted to close the largest corporate tax loophole in the history of our state. Families shouldn’t shoulder a heavier tax burden because big businesses aren’t paying their fair share.

Ripp (R): The budget is the number one issue facing Wisconsin. We must spend less money and control our deficit. Coupled with these principles is a need for our legislators to stop raiding dedicated funds or continually relying on one-time monetary influxes. We should never deficit-spend to fund an ongoing commitment. These policies exacerbate our downward fiscal spiral and unfairly pass the problem along to future generations. We should also mandate that every program automatically sunsets after a certain period of time. We should also adopt the rainy day fund amendment to assist with future fiscal crisis.

2. Please explain your position on the Clean Energy Jobs Act.

Larson (D): I strongly support the Clean Energy Jobs Act. It represents a sound, economical way to invest in high-paying, clean energy jobs that will dominate the 21st-century economy. Senator Plale’s decision to kill this bill by not allowing it to come up for a vote was a lost opportunity for Wisconsin to become a leader in this growing field. Independent analysis shows it would have created 15,000 jobs, lowered energy costs for consumers, and would have helped improve Wisconsin’s environment. As the next state senator, I’ll make sure this crucial bill finally passes.

Plale (D, inc.): I support much of CEJA’s policy. It did not have enough votes to pass in either the Assembly or the Senate because of its negative impact on ratepayers and manufacturing jobs. Wisconsin is a leader in green technology and alternative energy and we are creating jobs due to several of my environmental initiatives. These initiatives include the wind siting bill (2009 Act 40), the alternative energies bill (2009 Act 406), and the renewable portfolio standard (2005 Act 141). We must balance taking these steps forward with protecting manufacturing jobs and ratepayers.

Ripp (R): This bill is a job killer and an economic black hole. It would be ruthlessly absurd to subject Wisconsin to the island effect by enforcing stricter standards than are required nationally. This legislation is exponentially more damaging in the Seventh because we are home to companies like Bucyrus and we have a brand new We Energies coal plant with an available power surplus. Any new energy producing projects would force the utility to directly pass along costs to consumers by increased rate hikes in the short term and decreased appeal to new corporations and corporate expansions in the long term.

3. Do you support the “A Penny for Kids” proposal that would add 1 percent to the sales tax, dedicated primarily to relief for Wisconsin’s underfunded public schools?

Larson (D): I support this proposal but my hope is that any increase in the sales tax is offset by a decrease in property taxes to help beleaguered homeowners. My priority as senator will be to first fix the funding flaw that has allowed $57 million of what Milwaukeeans pay to be pulled out of MPS where it is most needed, thereby forcing neighbors to pay double for their children’s education. Milwaukee’s legislators should not allow this inequity to continue and I will ensure we close that gap.

Plale (D, inc.): Wisconsin’s public schools are hurting financially and making dramatic cuts, and MPS needs major, fundamental changes. We already have a mechanism for funding public schools but it will not work or be adequate if it is not funded fully. The state of Wisconsin should provide two-thirds of our schools’ funding. Schools must remain a high funding priority so that we do not have to resort to supplementary tax increases to make sure our kids are receiving a quality education.

Ripp (R): Even though fiscal problems and concerns are systemic throughout the entire state, Milwaukee Public Schools garner a majority of the attention regarding school funding issues. A regressive style sales tax has an appeal in that it will reduce our dependency upon property owners. The problem is that this type of policy does not attack the root of the problem. We need to reform a damaged system before we blindly throw money at the current process and delay an inevitable shortfall of an even greater magnitude. We must also focus on promoting school choice by lifting the enrollment caps.

4. Do you support raising Wisconsin’s minimum wage for tipped employees up from its current $2.33 per hour?

Larson (D): As someone who worked in the restaurant business during my college years, I can understand how low the minimum wage is for tipped employees and how hard it is to plan a budget that way. I look forward to working with unions and employees to find a more appropriate minimum wage.

Plale (D, inc.): I voted to support raising minimum wage and indexing the amount to increases in inflation to cover cost of living expenses. As inflation goes up, so would minimum wage. This included minimum wage increases for tipped employees. A worker’s minimum wage should appropriately reflect the economy that they are budgeting for.

Ripp (R): Raising any minimum wage is a detriment to increasing overall employment. This is because any increase in the costs of operating a business negatively impacts the profitability of the establishment. These increased costs will in turn be passed along to the customers by an increase in prices or a reduction in the services provided. In these extremely harsh economic times we should be going out of our way to foster small business growth and promote expansion. However, I do support eliminating taxes upon tips.

5. Do you support merging Milwaukee city and county governments?

Larson (D): I support the general principle, which has worked in other jurisdictions like Marion County (Indianapolis) and Pittsburgh, but there are significant logistical challenges that need to be addressed. Any proposal under consideration would need to protect the quality of services, the rights of employees, and create efficiencies. We need to work together regionally if we are to succeed—reducing duplicated services will be tough at first but it’s the right thing to do.

Plale (D, inc.): No.

Ripp (R): One of the most effective and permanent methods for reducing government spending is through a decrease in redundancy and fixed operational and overhead expenses. An excellent and successful example of this can be seen in eliminating or merging different levels of government with common geographic and oversight roles. This proposal has substantial potential on its face but further study would need to be conducted regarding the many potential lingering county liabilities and commitments.

6. Do you support extending 794 south to Racine County?

Larson (D): Yes, I supported moving this study forward for Milwaukee County earlier this year. It would ease congestion on I-94 during peak commuting hours and allow for better regional planning. I’ll also work to get the Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee regional rail line built nearby to further connect our lakefront communities all the way to Illinois with clean, modern mass transit.

Plale (D, inc.): First and foremost, the Hoan Bridge portion must be redecked in its current footprint. I am an enthusiastic supporter of extending 794 along the Union Pacific line to Ryan Road in Oak Creek, knowing that this corridor will relieve congestion and open up economic development. At this point, all plans that I have seen show the expansion to Ryan Road. I have not seen any proposals to extend it beyond that point.

Ripp (R): Having well maintained and efficient transportation routes are the lifeblood for commercial success, economic development, and regional appeal. It would be very beneficial for the Seventh District if 794 were extended south to Racine. Several considerations must be explored in conjunction with and prior to this proposal. We must first fix the Hoan Bridge. It would also be beneficial to coordinate with Racine County in an attempt to continue the route even farther south. Financials would need to be run estimating construction, maintenance, and eminent domain expenses.

7. How would you limit the influence of big money in the Wisconsin Supreme Court elections?

Larson (D): I support publicly financed campaigns for the Wisconsin Supreme Court and for other elected state offices. One promising system is the one used in Maine, where candidates collect $5 from a certain number of voters to demonstrate that there is an adequate amount of support for their candidacy before receiving public financing. This cuts out the big, outside interest groups that have their own agendas that might not be what the residents would like. The current system is unsustainable, especially for Supreme Court elections. The perception that justice can be bought undermines the fundamental tenets of our democracy.

Plale (D, inc.): I am proud to have voted for 2009 Senate Bill 40 (SB 40), the Impartial Justice Bill, which removed special interest money from Wisconsin’s Supreme Court elections. It is only a start to comprehensive campaign finance reform, but big business and special interests have no place in determining the makeup of the highest court in the state. Very simply, Supreme Court justices should not be chosen based on who has raised the most money.

Ripp (R): Big money does not win elections; the ultimate decision rests with the voting populace. Big money has little effect on the voting patterns of the informed. Wisconsin should allow unlimited funding to any candidate and from anyone as long as the contribution is fully disclosed upon receipt. The people of Wisconsin are smart, hardworking, and assertive. As long as they have all the information they need to cast an informed vote, the government should step back and let the best candidate win. I also think we should implement term limits.

Global Union—six world-class bands, one uncertain future

August 30, 2010

By Cara Slingerland

Global Union lead image 1

The musical equivalent of chocolate-covered bacon, Delhi 2 Dublin opens up for Global Union on Sunday, Sept. 26 at the Humboldt Park Bandshell. The free world-music concert series faces a financial shortfall and this may be its final year.

Without traveling, different cultures are almost always experienced in the past tense. Food is already cooked, textiles woven, art painted. It’s rare that a cultural event travels to your neighborhood, let alone one with the exuberant, of-the-moment vibrancy of Alverno Presents’ Global Union.

The six bands playing the fifth anniversary of Global Union in Humboldt Park Sept. 25 and 26 from noon until 5pm represent a smattering of what’s happening right now in world music.

The Music

The free event is meant to be accessible, and as such, every artist renders pocket translators unnecessary. Lyrics take a backseat to musical emotions and converging styles. Big horn sections blare Romanian folk sounds and joyously bleat jammier sounds from Ethiopia. Singer-songwriters show how melding different countries’ influences result in a stronger whole. And the sense of playfulness in reggae-electronica from Canada and an American band that favors salsa music is apparent.

“We try to go for upbeat, energetic music,” said Rory Trainor, operations manager for Alverno Presents, the festival’s organizers. So bring an open mind, comfortable blanket, and dancing shoes.

The Saturday line-up begins with Mahala Rai Banda, who hail from the suburbs of Bucharest, Romania. The songs burst at the seams with an accordion, horns, and singer all performing in double-time. For a second, Mahala Rai Banda might be reminiscent of a quick-tempo polka, but then this will quickly evolve into a measure written in a folk or even punk style.

Next, Dominican Republic singer-songwriter Joan Soriano takes the stage to support his latest album, El Duque de la Bachata, released on Sept. 28. Bachata is both a musical genre and four-step dancing style, and Soriano serves as the “Duke” of the genre quite well. The notes on Soriano’s steel string guitar sing with more warmth than a metallic twang, and match the typical Bachata themes of romance and its flip-side, longing.

Saturday concludes with the Debo Band and its special guests Fendika. The Debo Band is primarily a live band from Boston, but has recently started to record music that draws from the last 40 years of Ethiopian culture. For this performance, the Debo band adds Fendika—an Ethiopian collective of a singer, drummer, and two dancers—to its already 10-piece band. This seems to hold the promise that, midway through their swinging set, all will break out into the loudest, most exuberant of parades.

On Sunday, Delhi 2 Dublin opens the day with its genre-spanning music from Vancouver. Like the musical equivalent of chocolate-covered bacon, a Celtic fiddle, a sitar, and a rapper in the same band sound discordant at first, but that’s because you’ve never heard them.

Meklit Hadero takes the stage midday, and her voice is completely radiant and refreshing. Her guitar accentuates the range and true uniqueness of her voice, from soft and mellow to throaty and jazzy. From San Francisco by way of Ethiopia, the rhythms Hadero creates are like nothing you’ve ever heard before, but still strangely familiar and comforting.

Finally, the festival closes with La Excelencia, a salsa “orchestra” from New York. Because of the low demand for salsa on the radio these days, La Excelencia focuses its efforts on its live show and reaching new, younger fans who may see salsa music as outdated. La Excelencia sing about what they know: immigration, poverty, and daily struggles—a stark contrast to the salsa music of old.

The Mission

Global Union started in 2005 because Alverno Presents saw a need to bring a more diverse, world-wide sound to the city. This mission seems to have worked. Global Union alums Rodrigo y Gabriela returned to play the Pabst last fall, and Mucca Pazza returned this summer to play two shows in Bay View on the same day.

Organizers are still expecting 10,000 people or more, as attendance has improved each year, save two years ago. In 2008, heavy rains threatened the festival, but many show goers stayed despite the weather. “The Bay View community will support local festivals through anything—including monsoon rainstorms. That’s an impressive dedication,” Trainor said.

While attendance isn’t a problem for Global Union, organizing this convergence of global sounds is one of the bigger challenges in the season for Alverno Presents, which this year presents eight other ticketed performances, including a Joan Baez concert Oct. 9 at the college’s Pitman Theatre.

Part of the financial and logistical undertaking of booking international musicians is shared with other Midwestern music festivals. Global Union works in conjunction with the Lotus World Music and Arts Festival in Bloomington, Ind., Chicago’s World Music Festival, and the Madison World Music Festival.

All these fests occur in the fall, benefiting the artists’ travel schedules. The fests then work together to help musicians secure visas and arrange their travel plans. But Milwaukee’s festival differs from Chicago and Bloomington’s in that it is free of charge, which encourages participation but leaves financial uncertainty.

The National Endowment for the Arts, Helen Bader Foundation, 800ceoread, and M&I Bank all remain as sponsors in 2010. But because of the economy’s downturn, some financial backers had to withdraw their future sponsorships.

To remedy the loss, Alverno Presents started an all-or-nothing fundraiser on Unless $15,000 is pledged before Friday, Sept. 10, the show might not be able to go on after this year (in late August, 141 individuals had already pledged $8,580). If the goal is reached in full, it will be matched dollar for dollar by other community partners and businesses, including Bay View-based Rishi Tea and Diablos Rojos, which operates Café Centraal, allowing the fest to continue until at least 2011.

Alverno is counting on this fundraiser, and doesn’t have a contingency plan yet. “We want Kickstarter to work. We’ll never charge an admission fee, that’s not the mission of the festival,” Trainor said. “Our mission is to be free to the public and we hope that the Kickstarter shows that support from the community.”

Pledges can be made until Sept. 10 here.

4th U.S. Congressional District Q & A

August 30, 2010

We asked the four candidates who are on the Sept. 14 primary ballot competing to represent the people of Wisconsin’s Fourth U.S. Congressional District (incumbent: Gwen Moore) to respond in 100 words or less to six questions. We also asked them to provide their background and platform in 100 words or less.

Gwen Moore
Gwen Moore

I have had the privilege of serving the people of southeastern Wisconsin since 1989. My top priorities are bringing more jobs to Wisconsin’s Fourth Congressional District and supporting working families. I am also actively working on reforming the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, improving affordable housing, ensuring that the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs address the needs of our troops regarding Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and expanding food and nutrition programs like school breakfast; the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children; and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Paul Morel
Paul Morel

My focus is on small and mid-size business job creation, making our programs fiscally sustainable, and reestablishing personal freedoms. I am a small business owner and work with clients in a wide range of industries. I have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University and a Master of Business from Carnegie Mellon University. Beyond my education I always bring a pragmatic approach to solving problems across a variety of industries. I served as both an enlisted paratrooper and as an armor and armored cavalry officer in the U.S. Army.

Ken Lipinski
Ken Lipinski (Republican)

I married my wonderful and beautiful wife Angie on Aug. 29, 2004 and now have three wonderful children: Abraham, 4; Hannah, 2; and Jachin, born May 28, 2010. My dream was to live off the land in the wilderness and live a simplified lifestyle close to nature. However, the Lord Jesus Christ had much better plans for me and opened my eyes to the destructive path that our nation’s leaders have brought us down. Now, after serving most of my adult life in the Army and as a Milwaukee police officer, I want to serve you as your congressman.

Dan Sebring
Dan Sebring (Republican)

The middle child of five, I’m the son of a church organist and the Pulaski High Class of ’51 valedictorian. A 1975 graduate of New Berlin West High School, I got my first taste of public service as a volunteer firefighter. I’m a Navy veteran where I served on the Chief of Naval Operations Intelligence staff at the Pentagon. As your representative, I will work to restore liberty, not restrict it. Shrink government, not expand it. Protect the sanctity of innocent life, whether elderly, disabled, or unborn. And observe the limits of power as written in the Constitution.

1. Do you support the proposal to add a robust public option to the federal health insurance overhaul passed earlier this year?

Moore (D, inc.): I have long supported the addition of a robust public option, and I am fully of supportive of HR 5808, which would establish a public option in the health exchanges created through the act. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently estimated that this legislation would save $68 billion from 2014 to 2020 and have premiums 5 to 7 percent lower than private plans. In addition, if a public option were available, the private plans in the exchanges would face real competition. This option would not only keep rates down, but would improve health care coverage and quality for all.

Morel (D): I would support a full-cost buy-in option for Medicare. I believe the current health care legislation is simply not fundable and will either collapse or will require a drastic increase in funding which is unsustainable. Countries with single-payer systems are facing serious funding issues and it would be imprudent to follow such a path knowing the current problems. Gaming financial projections is not the same as prudent planning. Serious funding shortfalls will leave the very people we are trying to help with either no access or limited access to health care.

Lipinski (R): Quite honestly, I am going to do everything in my power to eliminate that whole mess. It never should have passed in the first place. Congress should have seen that it was unconstitutional from the start and never even considered passing it. If many of them would have just read it or even a portion of the bill, many red flags should have popped up for them.

Sebring (R): No. It’s not within the power of Congress because it’s not within the enumerated powers of the Constitution to create a national takeover of health insurance, which is what a public option ultimately would do. Moreover, it is absurd to think that adding 100 new bureaucracies that will interfere with the doctor/patient relationship, adding taxes on services that are already priced too high, and expanding the number of services and people covered will do anything to reduce the price. Up to 80 percent of the cost of health care is related to government interference.

2. What changes would you make in U.S. educational policy?

Moore (D, inc.): Access to a good education should be a fundamental civil and human right for all children. We now have an historic opportunity to shape our educational system by making extensive improvements to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. These reforms could include a litany of variables, including: providing adequate support and funding targeted at high-need children and their schools, ensuring reliable testing, providing strong professional development for educators and school leaders, fostering a strong and diverse curriculum, providing support for students beyond the classroom, guaranteeing small class size, involving parents and communities, expanding access to technology, and more.

Morel (D): I would immediately end the federal Department of Education and return all the money directly to states based on population. Even in Milwaukee we can’t find a one-size-fits-all approach to run successful schools. It is implausible that Washington could add any credible help with our local education issues short of returning our tax dollars. We need to end the chasing of federal education money rather than focusing on making our education system the best we can make it. Let’s make education a state and local issue again where we can actually make a meaningful difference.

Lipinski (R): I would start by trying to eliminate the Department of Education. Think about it. Each state is covered under the 10th Amendment to literally govern itself without interference from the federal government. We do not need Washington dictating how we run our “public schools.” We are not a communist state where the government dictates what is being taught. Each state can mandate that themselves just fine. Besides that, eliminating the Department of Education will free up millions of dollars toward our budget.

Sebring (R): There is no constitutional authority for federal involvement in education in any way. As it has given more money, it has demanded more control, even as costs and quality have declined. Education is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, and it is unlikely that federal bureaucrats are the best arbiter of what good education consists of. Education is best left to parents, students, local and state governments in that order. Even the NCLB law has elements in it that are likely to decrease quality further, and increase costs of education more.

3. Do you support creating a foreign workers policy for Mexican citizens?

Moore (D, inc.): I believe in a comprehensive immigration reform process in which we enforce our border, but also realistically deal with those who are already here. Enforcement-only practices have done nothing but drive undocumented immigrants further into the shadows and harm our communities by tearing families apart. Immigration reform should create a fair path for the over 11 million undocumented people already here to assume the responsibilities of citizenship. It is also important that we crack down on dishonest employers that take advantage of these vulnerable people and that we unclog the legal channels that allow immigrants to come over properly.

Morel (D): I support granting work visas to people from around the world, including Mexican citizens, if they want to come here and work hard. I believe that allowing people here to work must be a net benefit to our country and those visa holders must remain self-sufficient without the need for any safety-net programs (e.g. food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, public housing, etc.). I do not support amnesty for people in the United States illegally. I favor a streamlined work visa application process for current undocumented workers who meet the self-sufficiency standard in the United States.

Lipinski (R): No. We need Americans, who are here legally, to get to work.

Sebring (R): Provided the Mexican citizens in question are not illegal immigrants currently living and working in the United States or have not been known to be previously living and working in the United States illegally, yes. A comprehensive foreign workers policy with the requirement that limited numbers of foreign workers, Mexican or other foreign nationals, be sponsored by employers who can demonstrate an inability to hire from local workforces is a policy I could support.

4. What’s your perspective on the federal debt?

Moore (D, inc.): The long-term federal debt is very troubling. We must work to reduce unnecessary spending, such as unneeded Cold War-era weapons systems, for example. However, it is important to acknowledge the difference between long-term debt, which can be harmful, and short-term deficits, which are necessary right now to help our economy recover. Spending some now to keep teachers, firefighters, police officers, and others working is a much better alternative to a double-dip recession, which would have a substantially worse impact on the long-term debt.

Morel (D): The debt is at a nearly insurmountable level and must be addressed immediately. The country is on a fiscally unsustainable path and we must prioritize spending and strategic policies. I feel moving most military bases back to the continental United States will save nearly $500 billion per year and hardly affect our level of military readiness. By ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan we can save billions of dollars more. Moving military personnel back to the United States will allow their pay and base maintenance costs to support U.S. jobs, not foreign ones. I support a balanced budget amendment.

Lipinski (R): This is a pretty broad question. Our federal debt is sickening. It must be reduced ASAP without spending more with stimulus lies. We need to open our oil field and coal mine within the continental United States. Get away from being dependent upon foreign fuels and start creating jobs here. Eliminate NAFTA and cut ties with China’s crooked economic system and their ever growing dangerous way of making products they sell to the United States. It was not long ago that America was exporting more than we imported. Not the case anymore.

Sebring (R): As of July 28, 2010, the “Total Public Debt Outstanding” was approximately $13 trillion. The Office of Management and Budget forecasts that by the end of fiscal year 2012, gross federal debt will total $16.3 trillion. This is an unconscionable legacy to leave our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. The deficit spending must stop and the American people must prepare themselves for an era of austerity and self-reliance for some time to come in order to bring the federal debt under control.

5. Should the United States limit or ban offshore drilling?

Moore (D, inc.): Yes. In most situations it should be banned outright—such as in the Great Lakes—or when it is too deep to drill completely safely, or too close to the shore. In the other limited cases, strict oversight and regulation is needed to prevent another catastrophic oil spill.

Morel: The economic consequences of banning offshore drilling would be devastating and not actually stop drilling operations. Countries such as Mexico would immediately step in and operate rigs with far fewer safety standards. That said, I think the latest BP disaster clearly demonstrates a failure of both our government oversight and the oil industry’s safety practices. We must address both in meaningful ways to ensure not only new rigs are safe but also the hundreds of existing ones are made safe. I would much prefer expansion of alternate energy sources, such as nuclear, that can meet our energy needs realistically.

Lipinski: Not yet. And I say that cautiously. We have enough oil within the continental United States to sustain us. Our oil deposits here in America are as large as any in the Mideast. So, why are we not drilling it? Why are we not mining some of the largest coal deposits in the world here in America? Why is Congress sitting on their hands about all this? Let’s start drilling the oil and mining the coal here with legal residents. This will create jobs, eliminate overseas spending by trillions and trillions, boost the economy greatly, and reduce the deficit greatly.

Sebring: No. We need to responsibly access our petroleum resources to their fullest potential in order to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil while simultaneously encouraging private enterprise to pursue alternative and renewable energy resources. Regarding the recent Gulf oil spill, federal regulations forced oil producers to deeper water by prohibiting much safer shallow water drilling. In an attempt to maximize political advantage, our president and the bureaucracy did much to make the spill worse by not allowing and/or delaying those who wanted to join in the cleanup efforts. Virtually saying, “I destroyed the environment in order to save it.”

6. What is your exit strategy for the war in Afghanistan?

Moore: 1.) Stop escalating. 2.) Develop a public timetable for responsibly and safely withdrawing our troops. 3.) Continue to increase nonmilitary aid to address poverty, hunger, health, education, and the other challenges that make the Taliban and Al-Qaida’s message resonate so well among the people. 4.) Continue to support international and diplomatic efforts in Afghanistan. This would include a comprehensive diplomatic plan to engage regional and international stakeholders including Pakistan, India, Iran, China, and Russia in developing a common roadmap for security, stability, and nuclear nonproliferation in the region.

Morel: I believe we can win every battle and maintain absolute superiority over our enemy in Afghanistan and never win the war. Afghanistan is not a war won by fighting on the ground. I don’t believe any timeline will achieve “victory” unless we continue to redefine what we mean by victory, which is disingenuous to our military personnel. The only prudent course of action is immediate withdrawal.

Lipinski: In war, you eliminate the enemy and establish a working government for the people there and then you pull out. We did that in Japan and it worked. We tried that in Germany until the UN messed everything up. We did that in South America under President Reagan and it all worked. Let the generals win the war. They don’t come to your house and tell you how to raise your children. Don’t tell them how to win our wars. Either we fight and win that war quickly or pull out just as quick.

Sebring: Exit strategies in a time of war—whether it is Afghanistan, Iraq, or wherever U.S. troops are deployed—are military strategies to be developed and implemented by the Department of Defense Joint Chiefs of Staff in cooperation with the commander in chief.

Researchers link rain and illness

August 30, 2010

By Jennifer Yauck

Campylobacter Giardia Norovirus Bacteria like Campylobacter (left), viruses like Norovirus (middle), and protozoa like Giardia (right) are among the tiny disease-causing organisms that can be spread through water. ~photos courtesy CDC / Patricia Fields & Collette Fitzgerald / Charles D. Humphrey / Stan Erlandsen

Outbreaks of waterborne diseases in the United States and other parts of the world are often linked to water contamination following heavy rainfall. But evidence from a recent study conducted in Milwaukee suggests that unrecognized waterborne diseases may be occurring in association with less severe rainfall, too—even in areas served by high-quality drinking water systems.

Nationwide, more than 100 outbreaks of waterborne diseases—like diarrhea-causing cryptosporidosis or giardiasis—were reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 2005 and 2006, the most recent years for which data have been tallied. But outbreaks that are notable enough to be reported to health authorities are “just the tip of the iceberg,” said physician Marc Gorelick, chief of pediatric emergency medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) and the study’s lead researcher. “It takes a huge increase [in the number of people getting ill] for someone to notice something.”

To test if additional waterborne diseases might be slipping under the radar, Gorelick and other researchers from MCW and UW-Milwaukee (UWM) compared data on the number of daily visits made by children to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin emergency department for diarrhea or gastroenteritis between 2002 and 2007 with daily rainfall data for the same period.

They found that four days after rainfall of any amount, the average number of visits per day (8.1 visits) was 11 percent higher than it was four days after no rain (7.3 visits). The study cannot prove that rainfall-induced water contamination necessarily caused the observed illnesses, Gorelick said, but the spike in visits after rain certainly hints at that possibility.

Searching for Pathways

So next, Gorelick and his fellow researchers plan to investigate specific ways in which run-of-the-mill rain might be leading to water contamination, and how people might be getting exposed to that contamination.

They already have some theories. Bacteria, viruses, and protozoa are the usual culprits of waterborne disease, and their numbers in rivers and other surface waters often increase after rain—even when there aren’t sewer overflows. That suggests the disease-causing bugs are entering our waterways from land, most likely from runoff or old, leaky sewer pipes, Gorelick said.

People may be getting exposed to those bugs when they swim or play in the contaminated water, or eat or drink after touching the water, said study collaborator Sandra McLellan, a senior scientist at UWM’s Great Lakes WATER Institute. Often, exposed people won’t experience symptoms until days later—as was seen in the researchers’ study—because many types of disease-causing organisms incubate in a person’s body for several days first.

People can reduce the risk of becoming sick from contaminated environmental waters by practicing good hygiene, such as hand washing, after being in contact with it, McLellan said.

And what about drinking water? Although there have been instances locally and around the country where disease-causing organisms have been transmitted to people through drinking water, McLellan said the water leaving Milwaukee’s treatment plant is of very high quality. Gorelick agreed. “They do outstanding water treatment,” he said.

But, Gorelick said, “what we don’t know is what happens to water between the time it leaves the treatment plant and gets to your tap.” In some areas where pipes are old and leaky, wastewater from sewage pipes could make its way through saturated soil into drinking water pipes. This probably doesn’t happen regularly because drinking water pipes are normally under pressure, he added, but it could be an issue in situations where pressure is lost—for instance, due to a water main break.

“The take-home message is we have potential problems related to our infrastructure that we need to be aware of, but in general our drinking water is really quite safe,” Gorelick said.

Aging Pipes, Climate Change

Along with aging infrastructure—Gorelick pointed out that some area water pipes have been around for 100 years—climate change could potentially exacerbate the problem of waterborne disease in the future. Warmer air can hold more moisture, and climate experts predict that will lead to more frequent and more intense precipitation.

“Urban areas really can’t handle Mother Nature when we have extreme rainfall,” McLellan said. “So we have to have foresight in how we build our cities to handle stormwater and wastewater in the future.”

“As our infrastructure gets even older and we see changes in precipitation, [waterborne disease] will become a bigger problem,” Gorelick said. “We shouldn’t get complacent.”

Jennifer Yauck is a science writer at UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences ( and Great Lakes WATER Institute (, the largest academic freshwater research facility on the Great Lakes.

The Princess and the Pea

August 30, 2010

By Casey Schmeling

Princess Pea

The Princess and the Pea was put on by a group of fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth graders June 4 at Clement Avenue School. The cast and crew took months to make this amazing musical come to life.

If you have not heard this wondrous story before, to put it simply, it’s about a prince looking for a wife. It’s a prince looking for a bride who suits his mother the queen’s criteria. But that’s the problem. His mother has an outlandish test to put the bride through, and no one has passed it. So the king and queen devise a new, simpler test for the brides to take. From then on, the story seems to fall into place with a surprise or two at the end, but I’m not spoiling that for you. The production was about 45 minutes long, just the right length for this type of story. In all there were a total of 25 cast members.

I interviewed Clement Principal April Swick about the play. She said she helped raise funds for the production and helped create the Clement Café to display a variety of desserts to sell to the audience and cast members. She was thrilled to get some of the props from Roosevelt Middle School and thanked them with a donation to their theater department for lending us costumes and some props.

Schmeling graduated from Clement’s eighth grade and is attending Ronald Reagan High School this fall.

Vintageous Vintage Boutique

August 30, 2010

1. When did you fall in love with the objects of yesteryear?

From a young age I’ve always had a love for old things. I attribute this to my late grandmother, a Bay View resident who loved to rummage and thrift shop and who was a typical Wisconsin pack rat! People who know me always say I was born in the wrong era.

2. When and how did you begin selling collectibles and antiques?

I’ve always been a collector, but years ago I started selling to some friends in Chicago who had an antique shop. Then I started selling on eBay when it was just starting out. It just gradually progressed from there.

3. What items do you specialize in?

I specialize in vintage clothing and apparel from the 1920s to 1960s as well as costume jewelry, shoes, and accessories from the same eras.

4. What is your favorite fashion era? Who are your favorite designers?

I love the 1940s World War II era. The clothing is so timeless and classic. Designers are always going back to the 1940s for inspiration. I tend to go for beauty and style of design more than designer labels. My love for the 1920s flapper era is just as great, although that clothing can be very hard to find.

5. How do you acquire your merchandise?

I can’t give away all of my secrets! My customers always ask me that question because I have such an immense and amazing collection of vintage. Let’s just say it is a lot of hard work and searching it out can be difficult. There is no place I would rather be than in a dusty old attic full of vintage clothing.

6. Do you think there is a movement back to brick-and-mortar shopping after the initial explosion of online retailing?

I think people like to touch and see what they are buying. It can be tricky buying online, especially clothing, because you cannot try it on.

7. Why is Bay View a good place to do business?

Bay View has a diverse mix of people of all ages and interests, and it is an artsy community. The items I sell are unique, and my customers appreciate that and enjoy going green with recycled items and fashion.

8. What would make Bay View a better environment for your business?

I always say we need more interesting and unique retail shops in the area to draw in more traffic from outside of Bay View. The community needs to support these small businesses because they seem to come and go. Losing Chartreuse and Sweet Kicks to the East Side was disappointing.

9. Is parking a problem for your customers or suppliers?

Parking is really not a problem until after 5pm and on weekends. There are several free parking lots as well as street parking.

10. What do you like most about the antique and collectible business?

The thrill of the hunt!

Vintageous Vintage Boutique
Owner: Christine W.

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