Root River planning meeting Oct. 30 to focus on lessons learned from local river watershed plans

October 21, 2013

October 30 Root River Planning Meeting to Focus on Lessons Learned in Implementing the Kinnickinnic and Menomonee Watershed Plans

Lessons learned in Milwaukee from implementing the Kinnickinnic and Menomonee watershed restoration plans will be the featured presentation at the October 30, 2013 (5:30-8pm) meeting held at Boerner Botanical Gardens in Whitnall Park at 9400 Boerner Drive, Hales Corners, WI 53130.

The presenters include Cheryl Nenn of Milwaukee Riverkeeper and Ben Gramling of the Sixteenth Street Community Health Center, Environmental Health Department.

In addition, staff from the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, Mike Hahn, Joe Boxhorn and Tom Slawski, will report on Chapters IV and V updates of the draft plan: biological conditions, streambank and channel conditions and habitat conditions, with a focus on Hoods Creek, a Root River tributary in Racine County.  An additional alternative for Horlick dam will also be presented by SEWRPC staff.

The public is encouraged to attend the meeting and provide comments.  A light supper will be served and people who plan to attend are asked to RSVP to 262-898-2055 or Allison@rootpikewin.org.

Planning for the Root River watershed began in May 2010.  At that time, representatives from the Root-Pike-Watershed Initiative Network, Sweet Water (Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust, Inc.), the municipalities of the watershed, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, SEWRPC, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Clean Wisconsin, the River Alliance of Wisconsin, UW-Cooperative Extension and others came together to discuss the feasibility of initiating a plan.

Subsequent meetings have been held in Franklin, Hales Corners, Racine, Oak Creek, Mount Pleasant, and Greenfield where interested citizens, government officials, drainage commissioners, environmental groups and others met to learn about the Root River watershed, set priorities for the plan, got updates on the plan’s development and reviewed chapters of the written plan.

Root-Pike WIN and Sweet Water are leading the planning effort.  The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission was selected to prepare the plan and is focusing on four areas selected by a planning group of citizens and public officials: 1) water quality; 2) recreational access and use; 3) habitat conditions; and 4) flooding within Racine County.  The plan will build from SEWRPC’s2007 Regional Water Quality Management Plan Update and will include recommendations to be implemented over a five-year period following the completion of the plan.  The Plan will be completed in July 2014.

The Root River watershed encompasses about 198 square miles in parts of Waukesha, Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties, with its headwaters in City of New Berlin and its discharge to Lake Michigan in the City of Racine.  Funding for the Root River planning effort is being provided by Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, the Fund for Lake Michigan, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration through the Wisconsin Coastal Management Grant Program, and Racine County.

For more information about the meeting, please contact Susan Greenfield, Root-Pike WIN, 262-898-2055; susan@rootpikewin.org or Jeff Martinka, Sweet Water, 414-382-1766, martinka@swwtwater.org.

 

 


Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing joins housing discrimination Complaint against U.S. Bank.

October 15, 2013

Source: Press Release from Fair Housing Wisconson

View the PowerPoint Presentation from Today’s Press Conference

New Cities: Milwaukee, Baton Rouge, Indianapolis, and Memphis

New Cities and New Evidence: Metropolitan Chicago

New Evidence: Baltimore

 Today, the National Fair Housing Alliance and six of its member organizations announced that they have amended their federal housing discrimination complaint against U.S. Bank National Association.  The civil rights groups allege that U.S. Bank continues to maintain and market foreclosed homes in white neighborhoods in a much better manner than in African-American and Latino neighborhoods.  Failing to maintain and market homes because of the racial or ethnic composition of the neighborhood violates the federal Fair Housing Act.

The new metropolitan areas added to the complaint are Milwaukee, Baton Rouge, Indianapolis, and Memphis.  Evidence already in the complaint from the Chicago metropolitan area is being supplemented with new properties near Chicago in the cities of Aurora,Dolton, Evanston, Hazel Crest, Matteson, Waukegan and Country Club Hills.  NFHA has also provided HUD with new evidence in Baltimore supporting their allegations of a continuing violation by U.S. Bank.  The six member organizations that filed the complaint with NFHA are the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council (MMFHC), Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, HOPE Fair Housing Center (Illinois), South Suburban Housing Center (Illinois), Open Communities (Illinois), and Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center.

The complaint now brings the total to 24 cities in 11 metropolitan areas where U.S. Bank is alleged to have discriminated in the maintenance and marketing of its bank-owned homes and homes for which it is the owner of record as the trustee.  The number of new properties added to the complaint is 96, bringing the total number of properties to 273.  The original complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on April 17, 2012 and includes Atlanta, GA; Dayton, OH; Miami/Fort Lauderdale, FL; Oakland/Richmond/Concord, CA; and Washington, DC.

The organizations evaluated the maintenance and marketing of bank-owned foreclosed homes for 39 different types of deficiencies, including broken windows and doors, broken and obstructed gutters and downspouts, accumulation of trash, overgrown lawns, no “for sale” signs, and other issues that affect curb appeal, the security of the home, and the value of the home.

“U.S. Bank has failed to take care of homes that it owns and for which it is the owner of record in the communities of color we have investigated,” said Shanna L. Smith, President and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance.  “U.S. Bank’s actions have significant financial and health impacts on local governments, schools, neighborhoods and homeowners who live near these neglected properties.  Homes with broken and boarded windows and overgrown lawns become targets for vandalism, dumping and criminal activity.  We found homes where the neighbors complained about rat and flea infestations.  U.S. Bank has a duty to maintain and market homes in communities of color in the same professional manner as it does in white neighborhoods.”

NFHA and its member agencies are represented by Stephen Dane of Relman, Dane & Colfax PLLC located in Washington, DC.

“Milwaukee is a city of well maintained neighborhoods. Residents take pride in their communities. U.S. Bank is not a good neighbor,” said William Tisdale, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council. “U.S. Bank is hurting Milwaukee’s African American neighborhoods by allowing homes to have broken windows, overgrown shrubbery, and accumulation of trash.”

Trash on a property is not only an eyesore for neighbors, but it makes a home unappealing to buyers and is a health and safety hazard.  Trash attracts rats, mice, stray animals and indicates to vandals that the home is vacant and neglected.  Regular maintenance would correct this problem, but in Indianapolis, 75 percent of U.S. Bank REO properties in the communities of color inspected had substantial amounts of trash; 67 percent in Memphis had substantial amounts of trash.  Similarly, 81 percent of properties in the communities of color inspected in Baton Rouge had substantial amounts of trash, along with 44 percent of U.S. Bank REOs inspected in Milwaukee.

“Our investigation shows that U.S. Bank is failing to treat foreclosed homes in African American neighborhoods in the same manner as it does in white neighborhoods,” said Amy Nelson, Executive Director of the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI). “How can a neighboring homeowner refinance their well maintained home for a lower interest rate when they live next to a U.S. Bank home that is dragging down the property values?”

Similarly, algae, discoloration and water damage can be unattractive to a property and pose a serious health hazard.  In Indianapolis, 50 percent of properties in the communities of color inspected had at least a small amount of algae/discoloration, and 60 percent of properties in Memphis’ communities of color inspected had that deficiency as well.

Having secure locks and windows on an uninhabited home is essential for community safety and protecting the asset.  In Baton Rouge, 56 percent of properties in the communities of color inspected had broken or boarded windows; in Milwaukee, 40 percent of properties in the communities of color inspected had the same

“Everyone deserves to live in a safe neighborhood. U.S. Bank is putting the health and safety of neighbors, including children, at risk by failing to secure these homes,” said James Perry, Executive Director of the Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center. “U.S. Bank must address these problems immediately and stop treating foreclosed properties differently because of the racial make up of the neighborhoods where they are located.”

One property added to the complaint in Waukegan, a city north of Chicago, had trash piled up, dead grass, boarded windows, damaged siding, peeling paint, wood rot, a ripped “for sale” sign in the window, a damaged fence, and a “not approved for occupancy” sign from the City of Waukegan.

“How can U.S. Bank sell a home in this condition?  Why would a family want to live in a neighborhood where a home nearby looks like a dump?” said Gail Schechter, Executive Director of Open Communities. “U. S. Bank must rectify these problems immediately and keep the home habitable so owner-occupant buyers will purchase and not absentee landlords.  U.S. Bank is acting like a neglectful absentee landlord.”

Another home in Dolton, a suburban area just south of Chicago, had accumulated mail, overgrown grass and shrubbery, dead grass, invasive plants, boarded windows, missing gutters, obstructed gutters, missing shutters, and peeling paint.  Even though this property is still listed for sale on U.S. Bank’s website, it also had no “for sale” sign when visited by investigators.

“This REO listed on U.S. Bank’s website sticks out like a sore thumb in the otherwise nice, African-American community of Dolton,” said John Petruszak, Executive Director of the South Suburban Housing Center.  “Does U.S. Bank think this home looks acceptable?  Race discrimination is illegal under the Fair Housing Act, yet U.S. Bank continues to properly maintain homes in white communities, while it lets its homes in African American communities fall apart.”

 

Another home located in an African-American neighborhood in the city of Chicago was found with trash all over the property, including wet, deteriorating phone books, overgrown grass, overgrown/dead shrubbery, a broken door, crumbling steps, and crawlspace door kicked in and left open.

“Even though U.S. Bank was put on notice in April 2012, it continues to allow homes it owns in Black neighborhoods to deteriorate by failing to provide even routine maintenance,” said Anne Houghtaling, Executive Director of HOPE Fair Housing Center.  “U.S. Bank is not only driving down property values, it is creating public nuisances, threatening the health and safety of nearby residents, and inviting vandalism.”

Another property in the Baltimore area had a broken mailbox with accumulated mail, damaged steps, a roof that leaks into neighbor’s row house, and building debris left in the yard.

“This house is a sad example of how a neglected U.S. Bank foreclosure is affecting the health and safety of the neighbor as well as hurting property values,” continued Shanna L. Smith.  The neighbor reports that even after putting on a new roof on her row house, water is leaking from the U.S. Bank home into her attic.

Additional statistics and photos are available at www.nationalfairhousing.org.

The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability or familial status, as well as the race or national origin of residents of a neighborhood. This law applies to housing and housing-related activities, which include the maintenance, appraisal, listing, marketing and selling of homes. _______________________________________________________________________

MILWAUKEE, WI – 52 percent of U.S. Bank-owned homes in Milwaukee communities of color had five or more maintenance or marketing deficiencies. 

BATON ROUGE, LA –  63 percent of U.S. Bank-owned homes in Baton Rouge communities of color had 10 or more maintenance or marketing deficiencies.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – 100 percent of U.S. Bank-owned homes in Indianapolis’ communities of color had five or more maintenance or marketing deficiencies, and 50 percent had 10 or more maintenance or marketing deficiencies.

MEMPHIS, TN – 87 percent of U.S. Bank-owned homes in Memphis’ communities of color had five or more maintenance or marketing deficiencies, and 67 percent had 10 or more maintenance or marketing problems.

_____________________________________________________________________

The National Fair Housing Alliance

Founded in 1988, the National Fair Housing Alliance is a consortium of more than 220 private, non-profit fair housing organizations, state and local civil rights agencies, and individuals from throughout the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the National Fair Housing Alliance, through comprehensive education, advocacy and enforcement programs, provides equal access to apartments, houses, mortgage loans and insurance policies for all residents in the nation.

Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council

Established in 1977, the purpose of MMFHC is to promote fair housing throughout the State of Wisconsin by combating illegal housing discrimination and by creating and maintaining racially and economically integrated housing patterns.

Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana

The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) is a private, non-profit fair housing organization incorporated in August, 2011. The FHCCI’s mission is to ensure equal housing opportunities by eliminating housing discrimination through advocacy, enforcement, education and outreach.

Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center

The Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center is a private, non-profit civil rights organization dedicated to eradicating housing discrimination throughout the greater New Orleans area through education, investigation and enforcement activities. GNOFHAC promotes fair competition throughout the housing marketplace- rental, sales, lending and insurance.

HOPE Fair Housing Center

HOPE, established in 1968, is the oldest fair housing center in Illinois. HOPE Fair Housing Center seeks to end the hurt and devastation of housing discrimination and segregation because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, familial status, or any other characteristics protected under state or local laws.

Open Communities

Open Communities is proud of its grassroots history as an integral part of Chicago’s Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Open Communities works with current and prospective residents and local groups to promote economically and culturally diverse communities in north suburban Chicago

South Suburban Housing Center

Initially organized in April of 1975 by local chapters of the League of Women Voters, the mission of the South Suburban Housing Center (SSHC) is the promotion and fostering of long-term diversity throughout all communities in its service area by working to eliminate all forms of discrimination and exploitation in the housing market including predatory mortgage lending.

 


Ald. Donovan “categorical denies” he will run for Chisholm’s DA seat

October 10, 2013

Source: Press release from Alderman Bob Donovan’s office

Mayor urges Alderman Donovan to run for DA 

According to media reports, this is what the mayor said yesterday:

“I believe that the district attorney in this county and the district attorneys around this state are well equipped to make those decisions and quite honestly if the alderman wants to run for district attorney I wholeheartedly encourage him to do so,” Mayor Barrett said. 

I want to publicly thank the mayor for his vote of confidence in my abilities to lead in this regard. Public safety has been a huge priority for me during my years of public service, and I appreciate the nod he’s given me. His confidence in me is truly overwhelming, and I am deeply touched.

That said, unlike the mayor, I am not so quick to turn my back on John Chisholm, our outstanding District Attorney. Since DA Chisholm’s first day in office, I have had an excellent working relationship with him, and I strongly encourage the mayor to reach out to him on the co-sleeping issue, and on many of the other issues that are challenging our city.

Allow me to use this opportunity to categorically deny any interest in running for District Attorney.

Quite frankly, the constant urging, cajoling and prodding of the mayor to finally do what people have been waiting for him to do for more than 10 years has almost become a full-time job for me. However, despite the huge workload associated with this “job,” I stand firmly committed to helping in any way I can.

Needless to say, thanks for the plug, mayor!

 


PUBLIC INVITATION: Kinnickinnic River Trail opening ceremony Sat., October 12, 1pm

October 10, 2013

KK trail opening

 

Join Mayor Tom Barrett,  Alderman Jose Perez, Alderman Tony Zielinski, and community members Saturday, October 12, 2013 to cut the ribbon on the first phase of the Kinnickinnic River Trail. Following the ribbon cutting at 1:00 p.m., continue the celebration by enjoying refreshments, taking walking and biking tours of the trail, children’s activities and using the on-site mobile bike repair. A limited number of prizes will be given to attendees.

WHAT: Kinnickinnic River Trail Ribbon Cutting and Celebration

WHEN: Saturday, October 12, 2013

Ribbon cutting: 1:00 p.m.

Celebration: 1:30-4:00 p.m.

WHERE: Southwest end of the bridge – S. Chase Ave. & W. Rosedale

Parking available in the UMOS parking lot

Celebration continues at the trailhead – S. 6th St. & W. Rosedale

Inclement weather site: Under the I-94 overpass at S. 3rd & Rosedale 

WHO: Mayor Tom Barrett

Ald. Tony Zielinski & Ald. Jose Perez

Dave Schlabowske, Communications Director, Wisconsin Bike Federation

Mary Beth Driscoll, Executive Director, Groundwork Milwaukee

 


Ald. Ashanti Hamilton statement regarding Milwaukee residents’ right to public hearing — in Milwaukee— before state sells MPS buildings

October 9, 2013

 

Milwaukee residents deserve a Milwaukee hearing on MPS buildings bill 

Statement of Alderman Ashanti Hamilton 

October 9, 2013 

On Monday, Oct. 7,  the Common Council’s Judiciary and Legislation Committee, which I chair, voted unanimously to oppose proposed state legislation (Senate Bill 318, authored by state Sen. Alberta Darling and state Rep. Joseph Sanfelippo, and also sponsored by a number of other Milwaukee area legislators) authorizing the City of Milwaukee to sell eligible school facilities to eligible purchasers.

In our vote, we sent a clear message to the sponsor and to supporters of the bill, encouraging them to schedule a public hearing on the bill in the City of Milwaukee. A public hearing on the bill was scheduled to take place this morning at the State Capitol building in Madison.

We believe strongly that it is essential to give city residents – the population who would be most directly affected by this proposal – the opportunity to address their questions, opinions and concerns to the sponsors in a public hearing in Milwaukee.

In my opinion, not holding a public hearing on SB 318 in Milwaukee is akin to entirely dismissing the voices of city residents regarding this potentially far-reaching piece of legislation.

 


Community meeting set to discuss possible future use of former Dover School site

October 4, 2013

Will the venerable abandoned Dover Street School be given new life?  —photo Ken Mobile

Will the venerable abandoned Dover Street School be given new life? —photo Ken Mobile

October 9, 6:30 – 8 p.m., at Bay View Middle and High School 

Community members are invited to a meeting to discuss the possible use for Milwaukee Public Schools’ former Dover School site in the city’s Bay View neighborhood.

The meeting is set for Wednesday, October 9, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Bay View Middle and High School.

Organizers with Teachtown MKE, a collaborative initiative that supports local educators, will present information about Teachtown MKE, including a concept for redeveloping Dover into a housing site for teachers and other young professionals.

If you cannot attend, please feel free to seek additional information or share your thoughts by sending an email to doverschool@milwaukee.k12.wi.us. There will be additional opportunities for public comment.

A copy of the meeting flyer can be found at: http://ow.ly/d/1za8

This news is available online athttp://www5.milwaukee.k12.wi.us/dept/superintendent/2013/10/community-meeting-dover/.


Beer and cheese history lecture

October 1, 2013

Author Lucy Saunders, whose work includes articles and books about craft beer, cooking with beer, and pairing food with beer, will give a talk about the history of beer and cheese in Wisconsin, Monday, Oct. 7 at 7pm at the Beulah Brinton Community Center, 2555 S. Bay St. The event is presented by the Bay View Historical Society.

Saunders studied baking and pastry at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. She teaches classes on pairing beer and cheese.

Saunders’ website, beercook.com, won a silver medal for Best Food Writing on the Internet from the Association of Food Journalists in October  2002.

Refreshments will also be served following the presentation.

The public is invited.


Tamarack Waldorf open house

October 1, 2013

Families with children ages 3-5 are invited to enjoy time with teachers in the Waldorf kindergarten October 12, 9 to 11am. The event is designed specially for families exploring schooling options for the 2014-15 school year. The program includes circle time, playtime, craft, and optional tour. Space is limited so pre-registration is recommended. $5 per family. Tamarack Waldorf School (Pre K through Grade 8), 1150 East Brady Street. Info: (414) 277-0009 or tamarackwaldorf.org.


Update at Gerry’s Diamond Tap

October 1, 2013

Gerry’s Diamond Tap, 939 E. Lincoln Ave., has an updated look, said Johnny Torres, who spoke on behalf of his wife, the bar’s owner, Rhonda Torres. Changes include new 36” televisions — now six total, and NFL Sunday Ticket, a DirecTV option that broadcasts all NFL football games.

“You can watch whatever game you want,” Torres said. “We did it for the patrons.”

Other changes included cleaning, painting, and removal of some old signage and tables. The bar now offers 30 varieties of snacks, $2 domestic beers, and $1.50 Happy Hour specials Tuesday through Thursday from 4pm to 7pm. Daily specials include $1 cans of Old Style and $1.50 cans of Pabst, which Torres said is popular with younger patrons. The bar opens at 7am on weekends.

Gerry’s Diamond Tap was operated by Rhonda Torres’ mother, Geraldine “Gerry” Phillips for 25 years. Daughter Rhonda inherited the tavern about three years ago.


Bay View Area Redcats has new location

October 1, 2013

By Sheila Julson

Bay View Area Redcats, a youth sports organization open to children in Kindergarten through Grade 8, moved to 2829 S. Delaware Ave. The space was formerly occupied by Threadworks and before that, Hintz grocery store.

Jill Erdmann, vice president of operations, said the organization was formerly located at 2201 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. in a property owned by Bill Doyle. Doyle is selling the building, Erdmann said, noting their new location is larger and centrally located.

A board of directors that includes Erdmann, James Swanagan, president; Dawn Swanagan, secretary; and Erdmann’s husband Doug, treasurer, oversees the association.

The group offers football, baseball, basketball, and cheerleading. “There are no geographical limitations,” Erdmann said, adding that activities are open to any child and that participation fees vary depending on the sport. She stressed there are no hidden fees or extra expenses for uniforms or gear.

The club originally began in 1953 in cooperation with the Bay View YMCA with a single football team. In 1974, the Redcats incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. They are funded by participation fees, fundraisers (cookie dough sales), and local business sponsors.

Erdmann said the group hopes to eventually add wrestling and after-school tutoring. They served over 200 children in 2012.

Bay View Area Redcats
2829 S. Delaware Ave.
(414) 482-7264
bvaredcats.org


Frozen yogurt and gelato coming to Bay View

October 1, 2013

By Sheila Julson

Contractors are transforming a former hair salon, 2663 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., to a frozen confectionery business, Cream City Swirl. The new treat shop will feature frozen yogurt, gelato, crepes, and take-and-go beverages such as iced tea, hot cocoa, and coffee, said owner Susan Nolan. Fruit smoothies will be available during summer months.

Nolan anticipates opening the café by early November. She will offer 12 yogurt flavors, made from mixes. The gelato will be sourced from La Coppa Gelato, headquartered in Brookfield, Wis. Nolan said she would start with six flavors of gelato.

“They use premium ingredients,” Nolan said of La Coppa, which ties in with her goal that all products offered at Cream City Swirl be made with seasonal ingredients that are locally sourced whenever possible.

She plans to partner with a local coffee roaster and chocolatiers in the area to offer coffee and hot cocoa. “I want to complement, but not be in competition with coffee shops in the area,” Nolan said.

Nolan has always liked to cook, and she has had the idea for a frozen yogurt and gelato shop for a couple of years. She kicked the idea into high gear when she was laid off from her job as an MPS art teacher. She currently teaches part-time at Woodlands School. Her flexible schedule allows her to pursue her business goal. “I have time to follow another dream.”

Her art background enhances her ability to be creative with the shop and its products. A cinder block wall that currently surrounds a small area behind the building will be replaced by a decorative fence and the space it encloses will be outdoor seating.

Inside, there will be a toppings bar. Seasonal fruit will be used for a build-your-own-crepe option. Nolan said she wants her offerings to complement each other, and she does not want Cream City Swirl to be known specifically as a frozen yogurt shop, or a gelato shop.

Nolan said the open, well-lit space with its hardwood floor is approximately 2,100 square feet that allows for creative seating options. There will be a children’s area with low tables. An alcove already built into the north wall may be used by patrons who desire a bit more seclusion.

She has already received positive feedback from neighbors and Bay View residents. “Some are excited about the frozen yogurt, while some are excited about the gelato,” Nolan said, who has lived in Bay View for 26 years and observed that the area lacked a business like the one she envisions.

Her grandfather owned Stanecki Pharmacy on Ohio Street during the 1950s. That business, like so many mid-century pharmacies, had an ice cream counter at the back of the store.

 


Frolics improved; more changes, please, residents say

October 1, 2013

By Katherine Keller

A public meeting co-hosted by District 14 Alderman Tony Zielinski to discuss the 2013 South Shore Frolic was held Sept. 25 at the South Shore Pavilion. Absent, but represented by a staffer, was co-host Milwaukee County Board Chair Marina Dimitrijevic.

About 30 residents attended, compared to a similar meeting to discuss the 2012 Frolic held last year, where a standing-room-only crowd gathered.

The purpose of the meeting was to take comments from Bay View residents who live near South Shore Park, where the annual summer festival sponsored by the Bay View Lions Club is held. Lyn Graziano, club president, responded to residents’ critiques and questions.

Most of those who spoke complimented the Lions for improvements they made to this year’s festival, including better security, crowd control, prohibiting carry-in alcoholic beverages, staging of the classic car show, litter cleanup, incorporating two local food vendors, adding specialty beer, and the return of the festival parade.

Negative criticism was expressed about the too loud/too high amplitude percussive fireworks included in the “Blow-up the Beach” segment.

Tom Treul, 2100 E. Estes St. asked that the Lions try eliminating the percussive fireworks for a year. “One in particular was so loud my entire house moved,” he said. His Labrador was terrified by the shock of the same explosion and that neighbors said their bird “plucked all its feathers.” He argued that the percussives are too stressful for animals and children.

Other audience members shared similar sentiments about the percussive fireworks stating they were not appropriate in a residential area. Another resident suggested the Lions consider lowering the charge of the explosives to minimize their percussive impact.

Graziano replied that the Lions “would really have to look at fireworks next year.”

A number of residents said that the Lions need to do more to “localize” the festival to make it more of a neighborhood event as it was in the earlier decades to make it better reflect “new Bay View,” to attract more Bay View residents.

Carol Lowey, 1902 E. Iron St., who stated she’s lived in Bay View for 50 years, described the festivals of the past as an occasion for those who moved out of the neighborhood to attend the Frolic as a reunion. “It’s no longer a family event. People don’t come anymore because of the Frolics’ style now,” Lowey said.

“Have it feel and reflect Bay View,” advised Amy Mihelich, 2136 S. Estes St. “We need to think about what the demographics are now and what they will be in five years,” she said. She advocated that the Lions add a Taste of Bay View, where local restaurateurs would populate the event rather than outside food vendors.

“I have a few suggestions to make it more family-friendly,” said Carol Kraco, 2534 S. Lenox St. “Start with the parade and have nothing Friday. Have the bands and fireworks Saturday and the car show and art show Sunday. End it at 5:00.”

Eileen Wernsman, 2730 S. Superior St., read a passionate appeal written by her college-freshman-daughter (not in attendance) who eschewed “unruly crowds” and petitioned the Lions to “return the festival to its former glory, the way it was when I was a kid.”

Others lamented the omission of the arts and crafts show. Patty Pritchard Thompson took pains to defend the Lions, telling the group that the show was not canceled by Frolic organizers, but because the Bay View Arts Guild, who sponsors the event, opted out this year. “Anne Nehring and the arts guild members told me they are passionate about bringing it back,” Thompson said.

Others recommended that the music stage be moved to the parking lot adjacent to South Shore Beach to isolate the sound.

Many commended the Lions for significantly improving security, including the restriction of carry-ins.

“I truly noticed a big difference. I didn’t see so many drunk and disorderly people.  No one peed or threw up on our lawn,” said Kate Fowdy, 1824 E. Nock St.

“Security was awesome. We saw no one so drunk I worried about them or us,” said Cathy Drexler, 2100 E. Nock St.

Lyn Graziano concluded the meeting by summarizing the changes the Lions made to the 2013 festival: barricades to keep people off residents’ yards; specialty beer; more security; changing the Blow-up the Beach event; including three Bay View bands; two Bay View food vendors (Pietro’s Pizza and Groppi’s) noting there would be more in 2014, and better placement of the car show.

Looking ahead to 2014, Graziano said she hoped there would be participation by the South Shore Farmers Market and a tent with information and displays by Bay View Historical Society about past Frolic festivals. “Evolution takes time,” she said.

Les Johns, whose security company was hired by the Lions for the 2013 festival, estimated that 15,000 people attended the three-day event.


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