Moth Night at Wehr Nature Center July 24 and 25

July 2, 2015

Prochoerodes_lineola  Image courtesy TeamZissou via WikiCommons

Image courtesy TeamZissou via WikiCommons

Moth Night, a citizen-science event, is July 24 and 25 at Wehr Nature Center.

Since the first Moth Night in 2013, the number of moth species sighted and confirmed in Milwaukee County has grown from 12 to 97, according to scientists of the Butterfly and Moth Information Network.

Celebrating National Moth Week, the program encourages participants to learn about and document the moths in the area. The Friday night program for adults runs from 8–10pm; the Saturday program for families runs from 7–9pm.

The event features an indoor informational segment and an outdoor sampling survey.

Participants will learn the differences between moths and butterflies, what moths do to foil their predators, and how to attract these natural pollinators. The latest news on gypsy moths, moth adaptation, and moth communications will also be presented.

Digital photography will be used as a non-lethal means to capture images to document the moths found. Participants will learn how to gather and record relevant information for citizen-science monitoring.

Data and images collected during the program will be sent to scientists of the Butterfly and Moth Information Network for positive identification. After verification, the information will be shared on the Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA) website,

The program is recommended for adults and children age 7 and up.

Participants are reminded to cover up by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats, and to apply insect repellent.

Admission: Milwaukee County residents age 13 and up is $7 per person; Non-Milwaukee County Residents age 13 and up is $10 per person; Members of Friends of Wehr and children age 12 and under is $5 per person. Parking is $3 per car.

Registration for the program is required by Wed., July 22. More info: or call Wehr Nature Center, 414-425-8550.

Wehr is located at 9701 W. College Ave. in Whitnall Park.

IN BALANCE — Chinese nutrition for cool night’s sleep

July 2, 2015

By Aleisha Anderson

Aleisha Anderson Head ShotSummer is here and this neighborhood we love intoxicates us with lush gardens, the farmers market, backyard barbeques, festivals, and outdoor adventures! With so much to do, it can be hard to slow down and make time for our health, which in turn, can significantly compromise our sleep habits.

Seasonal conditions affect the mind and body. In Chinese medicine, summer is represented by the natural element fire. When the fire element is in balance, the heart is strong and healthy, the mind is calm, and sleep is sound. Staying up later, rising early, and keeping busy will quickly dehydrate the body and exhaust the mind. Maintaining balance is important for keeping cool enough to rest well, especially in relentless high-temperature conditions. Rest and quality sleep are important in the summer because in this season we are most susceptible to over extending ourselves and experiencing burnout.

At the change of every season, our bodies require slight variations to be in tune with the environment. Chinese medicine has identified the heart and mind as the most influential organs in the summer season. Because summer is the apex of yang (hot) energy, the fire element can easily burn out of control, especially if we already have a constitutional imbalance.

Fluctuations in temperature and humidity change the conditions in our body. As in the natural environment, heat dries moisture in the body.

There are universal signs and symptoms that reflect heat in the body. The signs of excessive heat can be pretty obvious, including a red face, red eyes, and a bright red tongue with no coating, or with a yellow coating. Some physical symptoms associated with heat include, heat exhaustion, fever, irritability, restlessness, insomnia, high blood pressure, acne, skin eruption (red rash), nose bleed, constipation, thick or yellow phlegm, headache, excessive thirst, shortness of breath, and wheezing.

Chinese medicine recognizes that the properties of food can act as medicine that our body uses to self-regulate. When we live in harmony with our seasonal environment, the properties of our food must reflect our changing conditions. Chinese medicine classifies food differently than Western medicine. Chinese medicine also classifies food according to energetic effects and qualities such as warming, cooling, nourishing, eliminating, blood building, qi building, and supplementing yin or yang. In this context, Food can assist or hinder our daily efforts to maintain health or recover from illness, depending on our individual constitution.

When there is an obvious heat imbalance, we can use knowledge of nutrition therapy to cool off and relax the mind. Food with cool and cold properties can clear heat, reduce toxins, and generate body fluids. A lighter diet with food that has a high-water content is preferred, while heavy foods high in animal protein, grease, or sugar are to be avoided.

Cooling foods are generally fresh and green, such as lettuce, cucumbers, watercress, mint, cilantro, and mung beans. Foods that are ripe in the summer are generally beneficial to the seasonal needs of the body. Fish and seafood are also cooling, while most meat is warming. Sipping filtered or fruit-infused water all day and limiting coffee, alcohol, and sugary drinks will help the body remain cool and hydrated.

Cucumber Lemon Mint Cooler

Infuse a pitcher or bottle of filtered water with the cooling properties of plants. Sliced cucumber, halved lemons, and mint sprigs add a refreshing, naturally sweet flavor to chilled water. Keep water interesting and use the medicinal properties of food for creative refreshments that nourish the whole body.

Bay View resident Aleisha Anderson, L.Ac., is the clinic director and acupuncturist at Mke Mindbody Wellness, an integrative wellness center with holistic therapies focused on mental health. More information:

Disclaimer: The information provided in this column is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or care. 

PARENTHESIS — When to roam

July 2, 2015

By Jill Rothenbueler Maher

NEW Jill Maher Headshot Dec 2013The other day I was holding our dog’s leash and watching our daughter play around a rock in the park. It was enjoyable to see her get in the zone a little bit where she seemed to be inside her own head, while I stood about 50 yards away. Only a few people passed by, including an older couple who behaved a bit strangely. They circled around my our daughter a few times and their body language indicated they were neither enjoying the park nor just passing through. They got out their phones, and I thought, “Oh, brother, are they calling child protective services?”

False alarm, they wandered off, and I realized they might have been participants in the hobby called geocaching or looking for a lost object. But other parents across the country who let a child play alone or walk home alone have certainly been called out by strangers and, more dramatically, reprimanded by authorities.

Last year, for example, there was a high-profile case in Maryland, where parents were charged with child neglect because they permitted their children ages 6 and 10 to walk home from a park unaccompanied by an adult. The parents were eventually exonerated in this case, and their case prompted the state’s division of Child Protective Services to publish subsequently published guidelines it hoped would help clarify Maryland law concerning unattended children: “Unattended children are children who are left on their own without appropriate supervision. In some cases, leaving children unattended is considered child neglect. A child may be considered neglected under Maryland law if the child has been left unattended under circumstances that indicate that the child’s health or welfare is harmed or placed at a substantial risk of harm. A child playing or walking outside unsupervised may be unattended but will not be considered neglected absent evidence that, while unsupervised, the child has been harmed or placed at substantial risk of being harmed.”

What about staying home alone? According to the site, Wisconsin does not specify an age when kids can legally be left home alone. The University of Wisconsin-Extension has published fact sheets for families thinking about letting children stay home on their own,  (calling it self-care,) and recommends a series of considerations, stating that a child is often ready between ages 9 and 12.

Maryland law also includes provisions about the minimum age of a babysitter, and it distinguishes between indoors and outdoors, a distinction I hadn’t considered.

Maryland law makes it a crime to leave children under the age of 8 confined in a dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle without a responsible person of at least 13 to supervise. This provision, set out in Family Law Article § 5-801(a), was originally part of a fire code and related to the dangers of fire and suffocation in enclosed spaces. There is no comparable law providing express age requirements for the supervision of children outdoors.

Instances like the Maryland case, and our own child getting older, have caused my husband and me to talk about when we might be able to leave our daughter alone for short periods of time.

Bay View strikes me as a fairly trusting neighborhood and it is a place where we look out for each other, but we do have a significant number of unfamiliar people passing through our streets and parks. While it’s unusual, child abduction by a stranger does happen, and a memorable attempted abduction was documented near the intersection of Dover and Graham last year.

I don’t think it’s valid to hearken back to my suburban childhood to find a rule of thumb. It was such a different world then that people actually kept their dogs in doghouses! And they barely thought about organic clothing and apples! Joking aside, it’s interesting to talk with other parents my age to learn about their guidelines for their children on staying home alone and being out in public without supervision.

When my friends and I think about the appropriate age for a child to stay at home alone, we work backward from that age. Friends often say that babysitting begins around age 11 or 12 because the American Red Cross babysitting guide states that it is designed for children ages 11 and older. (While the Red Cross guide is for children 11 or 12, Maryland considers 13 to be the age appropriate for young people to begin babysitting.)

The Red Cross guide is for children ages 11 or 12, therefore most of my friends deduce that kids should be able to stay home alone a few years before age 11. So what is the age when a child should be allowed to stay home alone?

Some have put a stake in the ground by declaring that children under the age of eight must be supervised at a playground. South Shore Park, for example, displays a sign to this effect at Harnischfeger Playground. Yet, on a quiet weekday when it’s easy to identify which children are with an adult, I think some parents at the playground would be concerned if they saw an 8-year-old child playing alone.

It’s up to families to decide for themselves what works and judge their child’s maturity. But if the family strays too far from societal norms, they can expect their “free range” children to be stopped or reported by well-meaning adults.

The author is a freelance writer and mother of one. Reach her with comments or suggestions at

End of an Era — Gallery Books

July 2, 2015

By Katherine Keller

Gallery Books was tucked away at 2124 E. Rusk Ave. Although it was a retail bookstore, some might say it was more like a clubhouse for its owner Frank Mente, who had a prodigious yen for collecting books.  —Photo Jennifer Kresse

Gallery Books was tucked away at 2124 E. Rusk Ave. Although it was a retail bookstore, some might say it was more like a clubhouse for its owner Frank Mente, who had a prodigious yen for collecting books.
—Photo Jennifer Kresse

The inimitable Frank Mente who operated Gallery Books in Bay View died June 6. He was 84 years old.

Mente, a passionate bibliophile, sold books and vinyl records at his store for 32 years, opening for business in January 1983, with his business partner Malcolm Nelson. Nelson later left the partnership when he moved out of the state.

Mark Gubin, who owns the building that housed Gallery Books, 2124 E. Rusk Ave, said, “Frank was always entertaining as hell. He talked three times faster than anybody else. I didn’t charge him much at all for rent, sometimes almost nothing, depending on his finances that month.”

—Photo Jennifer Kresse

—Photo Jennifer Kresse

As anyone who patronized Gallery Books will tell you, the store was stuffed to the brim with books, and it was decorated with posters, photographs, and a bricolage of kitsch. The stairway leading to the basement was piled with books. Gubin said that Mente filled the basement under the store with even more books. He estimates that there are about 100,000 volumes in Mente’s inventory “and that most are not worth much.”

Mente acquired books at library sales and rummage sales. “That was his whole life,” Gubin said. “He bought bags of books for a dollar. And he gave away lots of books.”

Born Nov. 25, 1930, Mente worked as a journalist for the West Allis Star until it folded, and then for an insurance company. He lived in Franksville, Wis.

His parents and siblings preceded him in death.

“I think he was terribly lonely,” Gubin said. “I certainly will miss him.”

Gallery Bookstore Interior SMALL KRESSEThe fate of Mente’s vast collection is up in the air, Gubin said, indicating that Mente apparently died without leaving a will.

BID’s baskets damaged by wind 

July 2, 2015

By Katherine Keller

The day the baskets were hung, they looked like they did in the above photo. But the chartreuse vines of the sweet potato plants in the BID’s floral baskets looked like dead spiders after being exposed to 36-hours of incessant cold wind on May 30 and 31. —Photo Katherine Keller

The day the baskets were hung, they looked like they did in the above photo. But the chartreuse vines of the sweet potato plants in the BID’s floral baskets looked like dead spiders after being exposed to 36-hours of incessant cold wind on May 30 and 31. —Photo Katherine Keller

Sixty floral baskets, a project of the Kinnickinnic Avenue Business Improvement District (BID #44) were hung along Kinnickinnic Avenue on May 29, where they glowed with bright chartreuse and magenta and pink hues. However, within 24 hours, a cold, incessant wind blew for a day and half, desiccating the flowing sweet potato vines. The petunias survived the onslaught, but the vines withered and turned brown.

Commenting a few days after the wind damage, Mary Ellen O’Donnell, a member of the BID board and its streetscaping committee said, “The KK BID flower basket program took a hit this past weekend with unexpected, unseasonable, seriously cold, and windy weather. There has been obvious damage to  the baskets. The plan, after an assessment by the Plant Land team, is to rejuvenate the baskets by trimming them back over the next few days. That work will be done by our maintenance partner, Black Eagle Construction. If all goes well, we should see an improvement in the appearance of the baskets in the next 10-14 days.”

Karen Matt of Plant Land garden center, who created the baskets, said that after an initial assessment, she thought that while the vines were withered, she felt confident that the sweet potato plants had survived the wind damage. On June 17, she said that when the baskets were trimmed and the dead foliage removed, that the sweet potato plants were improving. “They are recovering nicely,” she said. “The roots weren’t affected, just the foliage.”

Senior Meals at Beulah Brinton Center

July 2, 2015

By Jill Rothenbueler Maher

How does beef stroganoff for lunch sound? Or how about baked fish with potato casserole, vegetable blend, roll, and dessert? Hearty lunches like these are available to residents over age 60 and to their spouse, of any age, at Beulah Brinton Community Center, 2555 S. Bay St.

These catered hot meals, provided through the Senior Meal Program, are served weekdays in Bay View (except holidays) at 11:30am for a suggested fee of $2.50. Payment is encouraged but not required. Between 18 and 30 seniors attend and some gather early to socialize or arrive early via a transportation service.

Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin is contracted to run the Beulah Brinton site and nine other sites under the auspices of the Milwaukee County Department on Aging. The program is funded from a variety of sources including participants’ contributions, the federal government through Title III-C of the Federal Older Americans Act, and some from the State of Wisconsin, and donations to the Milwaukee County Department on Aging. Volunteers—120 spread over 10 meal sites—help serve the meals.

Marie Polaski likes to get out and socialize at the Senior Meals luncheons at the Beulah Brinton Community Center. She was born in 1914 and says her favorite music era was the 1930s and 1940s, especially bands like Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and other Swing orchestras.  —Photo Katherine Keller

Marie Polaski likes to get out and socialize at the Senior Meals luncheons at the Beulah Brinton Community Center. She was born in 1914 and says her favorite music era was the 1930s and 1940s, especially bands like Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and other Swing orchestras. —Photo Katherine Keller

The oldest regular attendee is 101-year-old Marie Polaski, who lives near Immaculate Conception church and enjoys the social aspect. “I have to get out, I can’t stay in the apartment building. I’ve been around people my whole life, you know what I mean? I enjoy the people down here,” she said.

Polaski said she is able to use a transit van to get groceries and does some of her own cooking, though it’s getting harder due to eyesight difficulties. She has no children and no nearby relatives.

Nancy Torres is the site supervisor for the Senior Meal Program. Seated next to her are diners Robert Meizin (middle) and Bill Kroening. —Photo Katherine Keller

Nancy Torres is the site supervisor for the Senior Meal Program. Seated next to her are diners Robert Meizin (middle) and Bill Kroening. —Photo Katherine Keller

Bob Miezin has attended the meal program for about a year and a half, since his retirement from Wells Fargo as a mortgage banker. “I used to eat my main meal at night, but now that I’m not working, I don’t need all that food in the evening. It’s nice to have a hot meal in the middle of the day. And if you live alone, you’re not always eating alone,” he said.

Miezin describes himself as very active and is able to walk to stores and prepare food but said, “Who really wants to cook all the time and then eat only the food you cooked?”

From left: Volunteers Wally Pfaff, William Tank, Daniel Stasiewicz, and Mary Tatera. Site Supervisor Nancy Torres praised these volunteers and said the program would not be possible without their fine work.  —Photo Katherine Keller

From left: Volunteers Wally Pfaff, William Tank, Daniel Stasiewicz, and Mary Tatera. Site Supervisor Nancy Torres praised these volunteers and said the program would not be possible without their fine work.
—Photo Katherine Keller

Some attendees preview the menu and choose which days they will attend accordingly.

Some sites in the county offer specialty meals like kosher, Hispanic-style, or southeast Asian-style. Diabetic or sugar free desserts are available at all locations, and all locations are handicap accessible. Diners can bring their own containers for leftovers.

Menus are available in the Journal Sentinel food section on Wednesday or online at

First-time diners are advised to call ahead to find out more and to learn about registering. The Beulah Brinton phone number is 414-750-7273. The phone number for the county-wide Senior Meals program is 414-289-6995.

Ed Rucinski, Sr. lives in St. Francis now but he lived in Bay View until he sold his house several years ago. He is a regular at the Beulah Brinton luncheons, sharing his lively spirit with other diners. —Photo Katherine Keller

Ed Rucinski, Sr. lives in St. Francis now but he lived in Bay View until he sold his house several years ago. He is a regular at the Beulah Brinton luncheons, sharing his lively spirit with other diners. —Photo Katherine Keller

Kara Grennier, director of community services for Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin, said that attendance at the Beulah Brinton center has dwindled and hopes that more people will participate. She encourages people to try out the program, even if they are capable of cooking and can afford groceries. “Anyone is welcome to dine. There are no waiting lists or eligibility factors, such as income, to participate in the program. It is open to anyone over the age of 60,” she said.

Eligible homebound seniors can get home-delivered meals through a similar program. To learn about eligibility for this service, call 414-289-6874.

The Senior Meal Program is also available at the Warnimont-Kelly Center in Cudahy, 6100 S. Lake Drive 414-483-3532 and the Wilson Park Senior Center, 2601 W. Howard Ave. 414-282-3284.

An Entertainment Mall Is Not What Downtown Needs

July 2, 2015

An Open Letter to Department of City Development Commissioner Rocky Marcoux

You are promoting the Milwaukee Bucks’ plan for a bigger-is-better “entertainment mall.” Mayor Tom Barrett insists we can’t have too many downtown bars and restaurants, as long as the distance from each venue is walkable. While conventional wisdom  holds  that clusters of restaurants succeed better than standalones, that applies to gradual expansion, not overnight flooding of a market.

The Bucks have proposed almost seven acres of entertainment floor space in their mall. That’s in addition to the many bars and restaurants to be built inside their arena. A multi-story, block-long “bar mall” would likely double the amount of existing food-and-drink venues in the area, and almost certainly displace more than a few fine establishments.

You’ve expressed confidence that an increasing downtown-population will expand demand for all the additional watering holes. Have you given thought to the danger of the area getting over-served? Economists assert that it’s indeed a problem to crowd too many hospitality options into one place. Milwaukee is not Las Vegas—speculatively building more pubs will not suddenly lure more patrons, unless tourist buses from the suburbs are part of the marketing plan.

If the city approves this deal, it will subsidize a for-profit enterprise with tens of millions of dollars at the expense of businesses that have succeeded on their own. It will green-light a pro-sports cartel’s ambitions while leaving hometown hot spots in the lurch. It’s the NBA’s mandate to create entertainment monopolies adjacent to their arenas—to pocket every discretionary dollar possible. However, Milwaukeeans are not obliged to subsidize both an arena—and an NBA bar mall.

Chain establishments in the NBA/Bucks’ mall would compete toe-to-toe with about 40 property-tax-paying businesses on Old World Third Street and Water Street. There will be winners and losers.

In any case, taxpayers will lose in this survival-of-the-fittest, government-funded private scheme. If this mall, with 75-percent national franchises (according to the Bucks), eventually flounders or fails, it might first drive out authentic locally-owned venues. Downtown doesn’t need another white-elephant mall, just blocks from the half-empty Grand Avenue Mall, and newly shuttered doors on Water and Third streets.

Cities with defunct entertainment malls include Minneapolis and Memphis. Such “McDevelopments” have also struggled or cycled through bankruptcy in other cities, including Kansas City, Mo. and Glendale, Ariz.

Urban planner Nathaniel Hood catalogs these malls’ pitfalls. He says that by focusing solely on entertainment, these monocultures limit diverse commerce and discourage residential development. Also, one sinking ship can bring down a whole fleet. Most of all, formulaic blandness gets old fast, especially to suburbanites heading downtown for a good time. (

In contrast, smaller, older buildings, like those on Third and Water streets, reliably lend themselves to venues with character. Renowned urban planners Daniel Campo and Brent Ryan consider the Water Street District one of the most successful naturally-occurring entertainment zones in the country. Those local businesses have revitalized downtown—without taxpayer subsidies. (

Moving forward, Milwaukee’s Convention and Arena District needs development that serves more than just entertainment. After a new arena is built, and the Bradley Center is demolished, pursue the redevelopment of the Bradley Center site with food and drink and varied retail options for visitors, convention-goers, and downtown residents, workers and students. Do not demolish, for no good reason, the fully functional Fourth Street parking garage and give away the site to the Bucks for their “Coals to Newcastle” bar mall. That eliminates the need to build a new parking lot for the Bucks a couple blocks north, an unbelievable $35-million-dollar waste of tax dollars, and topping that profligacy by then sharing half the parking revenue with the Bucks! This is all fiscal folly.

Empty storefronts on Fourth Street could be enlivened with new restaurants. Let’s spread the cheer all through downtown by day and night. Columbus, Ohio’s much-touted Arena District has many clubs and restaurants interspersed throughout a mixed-use neighborhood—not a glitzy entertainment mall trying hard to be a destination.

Commissioner Marcoux, Milwaukee is at a pivotal moment. We need big-picture planning that finally knits together Westown, not piecemeal development that appeases NBA owners. Please rethink the Bucks’ bar mall notion. It would needlessly hand over, and raze, a tiptop city parking facility, forgo millions in public revenue, and jeopardize two thriving business districts, all to satisfy demands by the Bucks and NBA to increase their “revenue streams.” The unintended consequences of this ill-advised, subsidized mall could wreak havoc for decades.

We can build a new arena without making the Bucks’ owners the master developers of downtown. Thoughtful planning and entrepreneurial diversity has already produced dynamic redevelopment. That’s why downtown is on the move. Milwaukee needs to build on those successes by engaging and serving the whole community.

Commissioner Marcoux, the very idea of this disruptive arena annex is ridiculous. It’s an unsophisticated attempt to siphon off nearby beverage business. Don’t mess with Milwaukee’s success!

Virginia Small

Service learning brings community, BVHS students together for greater good

July 2, 2015

By Sheila Julson

LEAD PHOTO SMALL Avalon Back Walkway Mural KELLER

Bay View High School students created this 30-foot-long mural in the passageway behind the Avalon that features school colors on a brilliant white background. Besides adding a splash of color, it is hoped that the mural will deter tagging. —Photo Katherine Keller

Bus rider Virginia Flores waits for her transfer. She’s seated on the north side of the bus stop, near the new artwork created by Bay View High School students. —Photo Jennifer Kresse

Bus rider Virginia Flores waits for her transfer. She’s seated on the north side of the bus stop, near the new artwork created by Bay View High School students. —Photo Jennifer Kresse

Those passing Art Stop at the intersection of Kinnickinnic, Howell and Lincoln avenues will notice a colorful addition to the two large brown electrical utility boxes that face Kinnickinnic. Thanks to the creativity of Bay High School students, the façades of the boxes have been transformed to resemble high school lockers. These “lockers” are bedecked with stickers that document renowned Bay View High School (BVHS) alumni and their stories, while other stickers reference past and current Bay View businesses.

The sticker project is one of several service learning endeavors at BVHS, a component of a graduation requirement introduced to Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) this year. It’s a way to teach and learn that connects classroom studies with the care and concern students naturally have for their world.

New MPS graduation requirements stipulate that every student, starting with the 2015 graduating class, must earn credit through a service learning project, 20 hours of community service, or an online class, according to BVHS principal Aaron Shapiro. “At Bay View specifically, the vast majority of students completed that credit through service learning,” Shapiro said.

Service learning is different than community service in that service learning is tied to the curriculum and it takes place during the school day. Steve Vande Zande, an artist and school support teacher at BVHS, is in charge of transforming the STEM program (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) to STEAM by incorporating the Arts into course content.

He worked with BVHS English department chair Michael Schinner and BVHS innovation artist-in-residence Luther Hall. Schinner began his teaching career at BVHS in 1987.

“One of the ways we’re doing service learning is through design thinking,” Vande Zande said. “The notion of ‘how do we make things better?’ is synonymous with service learning.” The electrical box project challenged students to consider what the problem was, what the potential resolutions might be, and to put a project plan together to create their solution.

Vande Zande said that last year, Kerry Yandell, co-owner of the now-defunct Studio Lounge, approached the school about making the electrical boxes more aesthetically appealing. “She and Alderman Tony Zielinski had a conversation,” Vande Zande said, “and he suggested to her to approach BVHS to see if the students could do something.” Vande Zande and Yandell discussed a potential project, which involved the Kinnickinnic Avenue Business Improvement District #44. They exchanged ideas and considered how the school’s 100th anniversary could be incorporated.

“This is a school that has such a neat history, and it’s a neighborhood that has a unique history,” Vande Zande said. “The students were really fascinated and had great dialogue around it, and all from the service learning perspective of making things better.”

“The kids really learned a lot about Bay View,” Schinner said. “When Steve first approached the project with a theme for the stickers, I thought of tolerance and focused on the integration of the school. A staff member here, Princess Sills (special education teacher), was the first African-American to graduate from Bay View. She talked to the kids and had some powerful stories about what it was like to go to school here in the 1970s. We focused on notable alumni from BVHS and researched all different eras.”

Bus rider Virginia Flores waits for her transfer. She’s seated on the north side of the bus stop, near the new artwork created by Bay View High School students. —Photo Katherine Keller

Bus rider Virginia Flores waits for her transfer. She’s seated on the north side of the bus stop, near the new artwork created by Bay View High School students. —Photo Katherine Keller

Students analyzed how events and ideas developed over the last 100 years in the neighborhood. Using Oracle yearbooks as a resource, each student did a research paper about BVHS alumni. Subjects included civil rights leader Father James Groppi, NBA player Dwight Buycks, Wisconsin State Assembly District 20 Representative Christine Sinicki, former District 6 Milwaukee Alderman Michael McGee, Jr., and Lawrencia Bembenek, who, though convicted of murder, maintained her innocence and fought for her conviction to be overturned until her death in 2010.

Close-Up Olden Ad SMALL KELLER

An ad by Badger DeLuxe Top Company, that once operated on KK, cryptically indicates it offers “winter enclosures” and “California tops.” The ad ran in an old BVHS Oracle. —Photo Katherine Keller

Vande Zande said that the sticker designs also incorporated old business ads from the Oracle to show former Bay View businesses.


Signarama printed the stickers on durable, rain-resistant vinyl. The cost of printing and the cost of the artist-in-residence were paid for by Arts@Large, a nonprofit arts organization that supports arts education at MPS.

The project was installed on June 5. For two hours, Vande Zande and his five students worked to carefully place stickers. Carisse Ramos, executive assistant to KK BID president Lee Barczak, helped measure and cut rectangles of orange, red, pink, azure, and yellow vinyl that serve as a colorful grid, providing a geometrical foundation for the imagery that is affixed to it.

Ramos noted that in the past, BVHS was stigmatized regarding school safety and its reputation in Bay View, but she praised BVHS staff for turning things around in recent years. “Vande Zande and many other dedicated teachers at Bay View High have made an amazing effort in finding creative ways to engage their students, Ramos said. “Part of this has been to immerse students in service learning projects that serve to root them as valuable parts of the community, but also to show them that they can make tangible and positive imprints on a neighborhood.”

During the installation, people took notice. A woman waiting for a bus offered suggestions about which colors would look good. Others asked what the kids were doing. Once the project was completed, students snapped photos of their work so they could show it off. “The students were proud of it,” said Shapiro. “They came back and showed me.”

Vande Zande said in the future, BVHS students would continue the project until all four sides of each box are completed. They’ll use community feedback to continually improve the process.

Food, Composting, Local History

BVHS world history teacher Cassie Mentzer partnered with Pardeep Kaleka and Arno Michaelis of Serve 2 Unite, an organization dedicated to empowering student leaders to build inclusive and compassionate environments in their schools and surrounding communities. Serve 2 Unite also partners with Arts@Large to promote programs that teach compassionate service.

Kaleka’s father, Satwant Singh Kaleka, was killed in the Aug. 5, 2012 shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in Oak Creek. Serve 2 Unite was founded in the spirit of defying hate and practicing Sikh principles of service to others.

Michaelis, a former white supremacist, is now an author, speaker, and activist for peace and tolerance. His 2010 book, My Life After Hate, examines his past and how he changed his mind and heart.

“Pardeep and Arno participated in service learning on Mondays, and they really worked with the kids and established relationships to motivate them about what they can do for their community,” Mentzer said.

One thing that brings communities together is food. Mentzer said one the students in one of her classes focused on healthy food in the city and food democracy. An abundance of fast food restaurants in the area got students thinking about where food comes from. “We watched portions of the documentary Food, Inc. and realized why change needs to occur in the different foods we’re consuming,” she said.

Mentzer said that she and her students also worked with Odd Duck restaurant. Odd Duck, 2352 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., partnered with BVHS. They served kale salad, braised pork, and flourless chocolate cake to 10 students. Co-owner Melissa Buchholz and executive chef Daniel Jacobs were the main participants. They visited the classroom and discussed nutrition, food, and food preparation. They answered students’ questions about jobs in the service industry.

“The students visited Odd Duck to see what our little business looks like,” said Buchholz. “We explained our principles and mission and fed them a three-course meal so they could get an idea of what we do here in their community. We then revisited the classroom at the end of the year to do a cooking class using fresh vegetables that they could grow or easily get at a farmers market or at a grocery store.”

The students made watermelon and tomato-based gazpacho with almonds that was a hit. “I guarantee that none of these kids had ever heard of gazpacho before,” Mentzer said. “As they were making it, toasting the nuts and smelling the different herbs, they were excited to see these six ingredients that they can combine to make something they’ve never seen or tried or tasted before.” She said the kids talked about it for weeks afterward.

Buchholz said the Odd Duck staff had fun and they would be happy to participate again. “It’s not a small commitment as far as time goes, but it was definitely great to get involved with kids in our community, to feel connected to the community outside the bounds of simply feeding those who choose to dine with us at Odd Duck. Plus, a lot of kids will end up working in food service at some time or another in their lives, so it’s great for them to see alternatives to just working in fast food or corporate restaurants,” she said.

Another of Mentzer’s classes worked together to create a brochure about the benefits of composting. The kids were interested in seeing what can and cannot be composted, how much trash goes into a landfill every year, why composting is good for the community, and common myths associated with composting.

“Eventually, Beulah Brinton Community Center would like to start a compost pile, but they’re worried about how the neighborhood [would] react, so we created this pamphlet to put the neighborhood at ease,” Mentzer said. “The kids loved convincing people to come over to their side.” Kompost Kids provided some guidance for the project, and Mentzer hopes to do more work with the organization.

Mentzer’s students also painted a mural in the passageway behind the Avalon Theater, 2473 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. The artwork, painted in BVHS red and black, against a white background, incorporated students’ handprints in the design.

The mural artists proudly signed their names. —Photo Katherine Keller

The mural artists proudly signed their names.
—Photo Katherine Keller

About 12 students worked on the mural for an hour a week, for approximately three months. “They loved it and took pride in it. The kids were all not necessarily from Bay View, but after we did the mural, they were talking about it, and how they took their mom to see the mural, or how they took their friends to see it. It’s something they’re proud of and gets everyone on board for the sake of creating good stuff,” Mentzer said.

In all, nine community projects were incorporated into service learning at BVHS this year. Katrina Halsey’s human geography students researched the neighborhood and put together a historical walking tour that was conducted during Bay View Gallery Night.

Another ongoing project includes redeveloping the back area of the school into a common area, including a Walk of Fame that features BVHS grads, and for comfort, it will include outdoor furniture.

“From a curriculum standpoint, it’s a micro-close look at how in the present, we have the opportunity to create the history of the future and understand why we do what we do now is because of what happened in the past,” explained Vande Zande. “History is continual; we’re not doing it just to do it, but we’re doing it to make change. A fundamental of service learning is How do we make things better? but also How do we make things better in the present? and How do we push that to the future and create history?”

Principal Shapiro praised the neighborhood and how it has become more receptive to the school in recent years. “The community has really stepped up and gotten involved with what’s been going on here the last few years, and in return, the kids have been going out more and getting involved with community projects,” he said.

Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and blogs at