An oral history of Bay View’s Chill on the Hill Concert series

August 30, 2015

By Jay Bullock

Chill on the Hill, a weekly summer concert series presented by Bay View Neighborhood Association (BVNA) in Bay View’s Humboldt Park band shell, is in its eleventh year.

According to the Bay View Neighborhood Association, attendance at Chill on the Hill in 2015 averages around 2000 people every Tuesday all summer long. Milwaukee musicians and performers covet a place on the series’ 14-week schedule of bands, and the series is a model for how community organizations and the county parks can work together to make something special.

The following is an excerpt of recordings made by Jay Bullock to record the oral history of the concert series. This excerpt documents the start-up of the series by those who were there at the beginning and those who have contributed to its development and expansion over the past decade.

The interviews were conducted around Bay View, including in Humboldt Park, between July 13 and 16, with Carol Voss, BVNA’s first president and the “mother” of Chill on the Hill; Stephanie Harling, a former BVNA board member; Patty Thompson, former BVNA board member and president; Christa Marlowe, current BVNA vice president; and Nichole Williams, current BVNA president.

Stephanie Harling, Patty Pritchard Thompson, and Christa Marlowe, along with Carol Voss (not in photo), were the key founders of Bay View Neighborhood Association’s and Milwaukee County Parks’ signature summer concert series in Humboldt Park. The concert series launched in 2005 with a single concert and has grown to 14 concerts in the 2015 season. PHOTO JENNIFER KRESSE

Stephanie Harling, Patty Pritchard Thompson, and Christa Marlowe, along with Carol Voss (not in photo), were the key founders of Bay View Neighborhood Association’s and Milwaukee County Parks’ signature summer concert series in Humboldt Park. The concert series launched in 2005 with a single concert and has grown to 14 concerts in the 2015 season. PHOTO JENNIFER KRESSE

Beginnings

Carol Voss: There were five of us that started the Bay View Neighborhood Association (BVNA) in 2004. Each one had their own agenda, in terms of what they wanted to see for the neighborhood association and the activities it created for the neighborhood. Everyone put their desires on the table. Then we started having public meetings and talking about different concepts to try to see if there was community support for them.

Stephanie Harling: Carol and I were putting our heads together on some different ideas on how to develop another trademark event for the neighborhood association, in addition to Bay View Bash, which was created and for a number of years, managed by BVNA. We had always talked about the underutilization of the Humboldt Park chalet (band shell), and what the chalet used to be and how we could start utilizing it. It was such a wasted resource. That started the talks about perhaps having a monthly concert series. Basically, I was there, at the inception of the idea with Carol, but it was really Carol’s baby.

Voss: I had to do an oral history project with an older adult when I was in high school, where I talked about what it was like for them when they were high school age.

I sat down with my grandmother, and she basically said, You know, people didn’t have a lot of money in those days, but what they did have were all these beautiful parks. They had music and dancing in the parks everywhere.

It was something that, honestly, I personally had not experienced. I thought, What would that be like?

I held on to that and I thought about it periodically.

My son is now 16. When he was very little, I spent more time at Humboldt Park, at the playground, for example. I happened to notice that nothing was really happening at the band shell at that time. It was almost like a hidden thing in that park. People were really using the pavilion and the playground area and maybe the lagoon area, but people weren’t really going into the area of the band shell.

Patty Thompson: Milwaukee County had been doing concerts in the park for 50-, 60-some years. Long before we started Chill On The Hill, they were doing a Tuesday-night concert series, but only in the month of July.

Voss: I discovered that there were cutbacks in the park funding for music performances, so the band shell was almost never used. And it was very much not taken care of. And in the community, the band shell was not understood as being a community asset. I thought, Let’s put this back to use.

I didn’t know if there was anything happening in Milwaukee County Parks with respect to music.

So when BVNA organizers said, Let’s work on that and see what we can do, I thought about what would it take for me, personally, to convince park officials to let the neighborhood association take ownership of it more.

Harling: That’s really how it started. We thought a concert series was a way to better utilize the park, bring positive activities to the park, and create a community gathering that would be a trademark event for the neighborhood association.

Voss: Sue Black was in charge of Milwaukee County Parks at that time and her newly-employed marketing person was Jeff Baudry. I started making some calls to them and convinced them to give me a meeting. I came up with a case, basically, to work with them to try to bring something new to the parks and to bring new people to the parks who weren’t currently using them. That was the real pitch: underutilized resource, create new community interest in the resource, give it a trial.

I met with them with my list of persuasive topics. I thought about how I would talk about it with a lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm and pied-piping. I wanted to paint the vision of what the concert series could be.

They gave me a date. The first year, 2005, was just one concert date, which was a trial concert. I busted my butt to get as many people there as possible, and I think we had about 400 or so show up. It was a success because that was 400 who would not have been there without the event. It was enough for the county to give me a few more dates. We got three dates the following year 2006, and then we got six dates the year after 2007, and then we got the full summer beginning in 2008.

Harling: We were all pretty seasoned in planning events for communities. I had already been working on the South Shore Farmers Market for quite a few years. BVNA had experience with running Bay View Bash.

We put corporate sponsorship packages together for the concerts and shopped them around, just as we would any other event, to local businesses. The community was just happy to have something at the band shell, and they were wanting more, and wanting it to be sustainable. The response was positive.

Christa Marlowe: I was kind of around when Chill got started. I wasn’t really part of the first plan, but I was part of the, How are we going to run this thing from now on?

So I’ve been involved in the growth of Chill on the Hill. I was there with some of the planning, when we increased it to three concerts. We did one concert, then we did three concerts, and then we started gradually filling in over three or four years until we were up to all 13 concerts each season.

Local and Original: The Bands

Voss: The first couple of years we conducted a survey. We hoped people would say where they were from, what they liked, what kind of bands and music they liked. We found, and this was curious to us, that in the first five years people came from five counties to attend Chill on the Hill, even in the early days. We didn’t do much advertising because we found we really didn’t need to do that. It grew organically, and we also ended up getting mentions in the media or the articles about the bands that we booked. So we were getting earned-media that worked to grow us organically.

Harling: What’s interesting is that when you look at who started this and took the ball and ran with it, you discover a lot of us come from a music background. Some of us went to the High School of the Arts or currently play an instrument or just have a passion for music, in general. When you have a passion for music and a passion for community, of course you’re going to want a concert series and be good at making it happen. Those are just the talents that we’re lucky to have.

Carol’s connection to the music scene and my connection to the Bash were integral for our ability to connect with performers and bring them in. It just seemed kind of natural that the concert series would be our next thing to do, given the mission of the neighborhood association.

Voss: My husband is a drummer, and I was very well connected, and at the time. So essentially, I just asked a bunch of friends who were involved in the music scene if they would concede to doing me some favors. In some cases it was more of giving them a shot to perform than them giving me a favor. So I’m not saying there were perfect lineups, by any means. We had a very, very loose structurea couple of people would say that they knew somebody and then we’d follow up to see if we could book them.

From the beginning there were always preference points given to musicians who had a Bay View tie. I felt like the concerts were first and foremost for the Bay View neighborhood and that we wanted to showcase our local neighborhood talents. We have a very creative neighborhood. We have a lot of musicians who live in this neighborhood, and a lot of them hadn’t ever been showcased.

Nichole Williams: From an administrative standpoint, we have a lot of creative flexibility at Chill. Because we are the organizers, with Milwaukee County Parks having final approval, we have creative control of the themes for each night, scheduling of music, promotions, runs, and partnerships. Our sponsors of Chill are very connected to our community and are predominately local businesses in the neighborhood. I think we have over 75 different sponsors this year. That is a reflection of our diverse and eclectic neighborhood. I can’t say if Washington Park and Botanical Gardens have that same type of flexibility but for us, it has allowed our event to evolve and adapt each year from feedback we receive from neighbors. And the BVNA board of directors has an annual turnover which brings new ideas each year.

Voss: Sometimes the county would strongly suggest that we have a certain band, and there were times when I sort of acquiesced. It wasn’t that it was a bad band or anything, but it was more that it didn’t necessarily fit the model we were looking for. The model evolved. I mean, De La Buena has played there a couple times. They’re a hugely exciting group. Swing Nouveau was also a big name that I was able to get with a local connection. Paul Cebarhe’s huge no matter where he plays. But he’s a Bay Viewer. His family is from here so he’s ultimately from here. Chill was something that he was really committed to doing and that was a big thing. It was always a fun night when he performed. So, yeah, I had a lot of favors, a lot of favors.

Marlowe: Our number one is that Chill’s bands are non-cover bands, as local as possible, and that there is a diverse selection. There’s always room for more diversity, there’s always room for growth, but we really resist the temptation to have cover band after cover band, which some of the other music series do. Cover bands will bring out people who people like those bands, and people will sing along and the kids can dance, but we try to have more creativity and diversity in our music.

Voss: I really wanted to challenge the acts to be creative. We became a really preferred venue for bands to play at, not just because it was a huge stage, not just because it was a plug-and-play environment, not just because it was opportunity for a lot of people to see them, but because it was an opportunity for them to really innovate and have fun at the same time.

So you’ll see things like the samba drum unit performing with little kids and older adults joining the drumming and doing the different dances on the stage. Or bands will bring guest partners and soloists and having some really unusual things. I was really proud to have Robin Pluer playing with the Milwaukee Mandolin Orchestra; you just didn’t see that kind of thing. Or having four different bands of different types come together for a really crazy one-time, one-night experience. And there was kirtan chanting, and a longshoreman from the port who did spoken word.

Also our commitment was to mix genres and not be pigeonholed into one genre. Music in Milwaukee is so diverse, and I felt like it was important for us to show a variety of diversity. There’s a commitment that I have personally to female-driven musicians and bands, so I really always wanted to have at least one, if not as-many-as-possible female-driven acts, because I wanted to make sure that there were equitable exposure opportunities for them.

Thompson: Sometimes we get kind of knocked around for not having this band or that band. Or we’ll hear, Why didn’t you book ‘this’ band again? You know, we’re trying to give a little bit of variety, and so every year is going to be a little bit different, along with our formula for original and local music, and to the things that we try to stay true to.

For example, we are always going to have, and I repeat, we are always going to have the American Legion Band. The American Legion Band has been playing on that hill long before most of us were born, so they get to keep playing. If anybody asks, Why do we keep having the American Legion Band?, the answer will be because they have been there longer than we have and because we say so.

But definitely people want to see different things. Not every band is for every guest. A lot of people come regardless of what the band is. They don’t care, and we still want to make sure we put on a good show.

This is going to work

Harling: The first concert, when people started dragging up and coming to the hill, I think we were all kind of standing there and thinking, This is going to work.

I remember Carol and me standing on the hill at our little table thinking, I think this is something. I think people are really going to like this. I think we can build on this.

You know it was a little different feel then because it wasn’t as big but there was a real sense of community. You’re sitting next to your neighbor or you’re sitting next to the guy you went to high school with, stuff like that, so you had that real sense of intimacy and community.

It’s a little different now because it’s bigger and it has a bigger following, but we thought from the beginning that the series created a sense of community, and we thought, We could build on this. But I don’t know that we thought, We can build on this to thousands and thousands of people. I think we just felt like we could probably get about a thousand people to attend. Then it just took off.

Voss: It grew with word-of-mouth and we really didn’t have to do a lot of advertising. It was a very nice and organic growth. The idea, ultimately, the grand vision was to bring back music and dancing in the park as it was described umpteen-million years ago.

Thompson: I look at the hill and in the very front row are the people who really want to hear the music, the bandies who really just love the group that’s up there. They want to see every lip, they want to see every move they make—those people sit up close. The middle half that surround the soundstage and back from it a little bit, they’re the ones there because they want to hear the band, and they want to see their friends, and they want to hang out. They want to have their spread. They want to get their taco and their Gouda Girls sandwich and they get their Babe’s ice cream and then they want to just come and hang out. They listen to the bands.

No one there is going to tell you to not talk, you know. And then the people at the top of the hill, it doesn’t matter to them. They don’t care who plays. They’re just there to hang out, be seen, have fun, let their kids run on he back of the hill, play soccer in the backfield—they can still see them. That’s a free-for-all up there. But that’s fine because there’s a lot of fun that goes on up there too.

I want to see those same people. I want those repeat customers. I want those people, who come and love the bands, to get exposed to different music and really enjoy the company of their neighbors. That’s what I’m trying to get to.

Williams: I moved here in 2006 and I was one of the beginners that went every Tuesday with some friends that lived on Russell. We had 18-month-old kids and they ran around. There were maybe 500 people a night. It was a still a smaller deal then. And I’m like, “This is just the best-kept secret of the whole entire town!” I would make a big spread and ‘Portlandia’ myself up with a group of people. We had as many blankets as we could get, as much square footage as possible, just so we didn’t lose our children. I thought, this is a great ambience, where I can hang with my neighbors. I didn’t really think it would be a whole culture every Tuesday. I mean, my hometown is as big as that crowd every Tuesday. I never would have imagined it would be so popular.

Community Connections

Thompson: The mission of the Bay View Neighborhood Association is about connecting neighbors for a better Bay View, and I don’t think there’s any better way that that happens than when you get to sit next to your friends and your pals and your kids get to see each other. They get to connect all summer and they get to make new friends. It’s fun to watch these groups that start out as a couple of neighbors and then all of a sudden there’s just these huge groups of like 30 people that all congregate in the same space almost every single week. That just speaks to the amount of connection there is and how much enjoyment comes out of that event.

Harling: Even when it was smaller, I felt like it was less about the music and more about the gathering, kind of like the farmers market is less about the vegetables and more about the gathering. That was always the feel. I’m not concerned about how big it’s gotten, I don’t think it’s a detriment. But I did like the smaller feel. I did like that sense of community where you just knew everybody that was there, so I guess I’m a little more parochial that way than the average person. I don’t think the size of it is a detriment; I just liked the feel of the smaller gathering.

Marlowe: I think Carol has always had it her mind, from the very beginning, that we can do this in our neighborhood. This is where it should happen. This is where it will happen. We have the creativity. We have the diversity of bands, first of all, that have members that live here and are connected here. And then we have an audience that likes to get together and see their neighbors, that appreciates music, that loves their parks.

Thompson: Honestly, man, if we didn’t have Milwaukee County Parks, I don’t think we could pull this off. Not just from the fact that we have that beautiful facility to use, but they provide us the support that we need. Cliff Hale, who runs the park unit, he’s incredible to work with. He’s a person I can send a one-line text to and everything gets done the way that I expect it. He’s been generous with his time, generous with his efforts, has gone to the wall a number of times to get us what we need. He’s got nine parks that he has to take care of. On Chill on the Hill nights, he helps get everything kicked off. His workers help get everything kicked off, and then they disappear and go close up all the other parks in the neighborhood that they’ve got to take care of to get back in time to work with us about 9:00 to make sure that everything gets wrapped up. They’re just incredible.

Some of the revenue that we generate and the money that we are able to make with this process, we roll right back into the county through projects. This year BVNA helped to fund a seasonal parks-worker because we needed help. County Parks had been so good to us it only made great sense to try to be as good to them as we possibly could be.

Marlowe: It’s really increased how many people are aware of all the positive things our parks do for us and what it would be like to live somewhere without such vast parks and a vast diversity of parks. The first year that we had concerts for the full 13 weeks was the year I think Starbucks opened at Red Arrow Park. There was all this slippery slope discussion asking if we were going to privatize the parks. And I thought, if we’re bringing out a thousand or more people every week for 13 weeks to the hill, our park is so safe. We’re never going to be able to sell part of this park. We have a lot of people who are really more engaged in that way, they come to the park to enjoy it.

And now, you know, I went and did something at the top of the hill the other day in the middle of the concert, and I looked and there are hundreds of people walking everywhere in the park on a Tuesday night and every corner of the park has people in it. That’s what the parks are for.

Williams: It’s really just great space in general. It’s a mini amphitheater. It’s a mini Alpine Valley in the middle of our neighborhood that went underutilized for so long. When you’re in this park, you don’t really feel like you’re in a city, you feel like you’re a little further away. You can’t really see that many houses when you’re in here, but we’re just blocks away from where all of us live. It’s just a five-minute walk to anywhere. It’s a special place.

Voss: It’s been a magical experience and I just hope that it continues to remain enchanting and for everyone to have a place in common and to keep it going. Even though I’m the “mother” of Chill on the Hill, there’s no way it could have gotten to the point where it is without people stepping up and taking on different pieces. The neighborhood association has strong leadership that’s supportive of this.

Harling: When you have an organization that’s growing and new people come on with great talent and so much to offer, you step aside and you let them do their thing. After my board term ended, I just served as a committee member and volunteer at the event, hauling tents and things like that. There were so many great people that loved it and wanted to volunteer to keep it going. You know, if you’re an old volunteer horse, step aside and let other talent in to make it great—that was kind of the vibe. “I’m not needed here; there’s much better, smarter people here.”

Williams: By the time I joined the BVNA board in 2011, and that’s when I volunteered for the first time at Chill, I was just amazed how much work goes into it, and how there’s so many moving parts.

Thompson: Hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours of volunteer work goes into it. Every single person has a day job, and we all do this from our cellphones at night. We don’t have an office, we don’t have an executive director that runs this. We have no paid staff. This is really driven out of the fact that we all adore this community and want to make sure that we continue to be connected.

Williams: I don’t know if people realize it’s really just a handful of us—there’s a dozen of us that try to do this every Tuesday. We don’t always catch everything, and we don’t always see everything that’s doing on, but we’re doing our best. When fielding complaints, sometimes you just want to melt down like, “Don’t they understand? We have other jobs! Children!” But I’ve learned, it’s a huge life challenge for me to be like, don’t take it personally, you’re doing something for the community, and you’re benefitting more than you’re hurting.

Harling: For all of those who come to Chill and enjoy it, understand what it takes to put that on, how much time people are putting into it and have committed to it…the bigger picture is how much they’re committed to the community. Fundraising stuff happens throughout the year. Fundraising alone takes ten hours a week. And then the logistics of the planning, easily another two to three hours a week, just in meeting time. Plus the time you’re spending at the event is easily another five hours a week. So the average volunteer is working 10 or 20 hours a month, on average, to get this stuff done.

Marlowe: We’re all-volunteer run, whereas Botanical Gardens would have paid staff. This year is the first year we’ve had the exception of Brady, the park worker that BVNA basically sponsors for the summer. But up until this year, we have a couple thousand people for 13 weeks out on the hill, and it’s all-volunteer. That’s one of the things that we’re really proud of—that we can continue to that, which is different, and makes us stand out. It takes more than just the 15 people on the board plus the four or five who are at Chill repeatedly. It takes a lot of us to do it.

Paying for it all

Voss: Patty is a force in and of herself and really helped to grow Chill. She makes it possible to be able to pay more for bands and have a sound system that works for every setup. And also to have food and beverages available on the hill and creating the climate that I always had hoped to have. About five years into the start of it, I finally started crying uncle. I needed somebody to really take on more of a role. Patty stepped up in 2007 and said, “I will do the sponsorship of it.”

Thompson: Carol was doing it all. She was getting all the money, she was doing all the marketing, she was booking all the bands. I mean it was really the Carol Show, and the neighborhood association board was there to back her up, but the distribution of responsibilities wasn’t there. I said, “You know, I wouldn’t mind getting involved. I’d love to start working on the marketing side.” I think at the point she’d had a couple of sponsors. So then the next year we started laying out a plan: this is what we should be charging for some sponsorships and let’s see what we can do.

Williams: Early on, and even just four or five years ago, there were definitely some funding scares, like are we going to be able to afford the whole season? Are we going to have to go every other week? It was always down to the wire of how we were going to do it. Now it’s a different story.

Voss: Part of Patty’s talent and comfort was to be on the microphone and acknowledge sponsors, which is important. It’s not that I’m opposed to being in front of people or talking about things, but it was just one more thing for me to worry about doing in those first few years. Having that be done by someone else was really helpful.

Thompson: When I first started being the sponsorship chair, my caveat was I wanted to be able to get on stage and do some of that emcee work because that was one of my goals, too, just personally. I wanted to get a little bit more experience just doing that and Carol was like, “Take it all.” She’s not a fan of being on stage. That’s not her gig. I earned my keep by raising the money and was able to earn my place on stage because of that. People have said a few things to me. “Do you have to talk so much?” My answer is “If you want the event and if you want sponsors, then yes, because part of the sponsor agreement is they get acknowledgement on stage, and if I can’t deliver that, then I’m not living up to my promises.”

Williams: When we were starting, we would take whatever you would give. And the list got so long, there were so many contributors to make it happen. To try and keep track of that and that long list that Patty read every week and everyone was like this (puts hands over ears)…“Oh, did you really have to read every sponsor?” Yeah, because it doesn’t happen without every one of them. And the only thing we could do was raise the sponsorship contribution levels so that we could minimize that list because it’s hard for one person to keep track of sponsors and who we’re supposed to promote this week or next week, or who’s in charge of the tent or who’s sponsoring the walk or the garbage can.

Thompson: We’ve tried to adjust the sponsorship a little bit so you don’t have to hear all 72 sponsors’ names every week, but we have a lot of people that we need to acknowledge and thank and without them we don’t have Chill. The one thing is, this is a free event for the community but it’s really not free. It costs money to produce; it costs money for the sound. We pay the bands; nobody plays for free. We even get a chance to pay the opening acts because we have a sponsor for that. It’s free to the community but it’s not free to the neighborhood association, and that’s why we need to make sure I have sponsorship.

Just to give a timeline perspective, I start working on this in October. Right after Pumpkin Pavilion finishes, I start thinking about and start writing. We look at the revenue numbers. We look at who did what, how did we. Are all of our bills paid? Were we able to provide the service that we wanted to the community through the fundraising efforts through Chill. I start asking, now how do we improve that? How do we change that? How do I make it affordable for small businesses to be in it without just drowning out in all of the stuff that we have to provide?

We’ve changed some of the marketing, we changed some of the modeling as far as what’s offered as a sponsor. You used to be able to get into the whole thing for $100, but now our opening price point is $500. That’s what we have to charge to be able to give the focus that people need to the 3,000 people that are there on a pretty regular basis.

Williams: Smaller businesses want to be a part of it, but they can’t do a $500 sponsorship. So what did help, and made the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra performance successful, is we could fit all of those smaller donors into that really big fund for the MSO. We needed to raise a bunch of money, so if you could only do $50 or $100, you’re an MSO sponsor. We do that for that one night.

We did get a little creative with that, because I didn’t know how we were going to do it. I didn’t know if we would be able to afford the MSO. But we managed to do it.

It was actually Terry Crane’s idea to do crowdsourcing, to ask the neighborhood if they could contribute to bring the MSO here. So it was 50-50 between neighbors and businesses that brought the MSO here. Which is huge! I mean, where in Milwaukee do neighbors pay for the MSO to play before 3000 people? I’ve never heard of any such thing. It’s pretty amazing.

Thompson: We do a sponsor and volunteer party right after Chill is done. We treat them as great as we can, and I ask them right there on the spot to sign up for next year, and that’s where we get a lot of the returns. That’s great, but I’m thinking about Chill year-round. This isn’t just, oh, June comes along, we put it together. This is something that’s going on all the time.

Marlowe: We give that money right back to the community, too, that we raise. We pay all the bands, and we pay the sound guys every week, and we’re sponsoring the park worker this year. But if all goes well, we should still have money left at the end. The same thing with Pumpkin Pavilion. We get sponsorships, so even if it’s a rain-out event, we’re still going to make some money off that.

That goes right back into the parks and the schools and projects in Bay View. That really couldn’t happen except for Chill, because that’s how we’ve been able to increase our membership and really stay engaged with our community on a long-term basis.

Also, Quirky: Openers and Honorees

Harling: Quirky and local civic groups will come and do the opening act at Chill. When parents and relatives can come out and cheer their neighbors and their family who happen to be performing in that opening act, that is a real sense of community. That was the original intent of Chill on the Hill. The opening act is important because it celebrates who’s here.

Voss: We had an opportunity to showcase singer-songwriter types or small groups of musicians who ordinarily wouldn’t be able to carry an entire show—or even half a show—on a large stage like that. It was a nice opportunity to give local opening acts the opportunity to showcase.

We also had things that were a little quirky that I thought were important, like our local Irish dance troupe that comes every year. Or the baton twirlers, which is also kind of a weird thing that you wouldn’t see at another concert series. To have the Bay View [High School] drumline come and play at Chill on the Hill, it’s a great opportunity for our local high school to be showcased for something that they’re doing. (Parkside School for the Arts) has gotten involved recently too, so that’s a neat opportunity for them.

Maybe some other concert series wouldn’t entertain having these types of groups. There’s an unusual mix of cultures that live in Bay View, a brilliant, quirky mix of stuff that was a good secret sauce and it built in some support and tradition.

The other thing was having a kids and family night, which really wasn’t about the money, with respect to vendor tents and things like that. It was more about community-building and fellowship and information sharing. Organizations in the community maybe didn’t have a lot of money, but they were really valuable organizations.

And it gave the kids or the teenagers who were interested in music the opportunity to play for at least one night. That started when we had our first full year, if I’m not mistaken. That’s been an ongoing thing that I hope continues.

Thompson: It was a great idea to have a Neighbor of the Night, somebody that we honor. That’s really the only place at Chill that you’re going to find special treatment and designated seating. Carol came up with it in 2009, I ran with it. It was a great sponsorship opportunity. That’s important to our local sponsors; they like to see where their name goes on something specific. So the naming rights to the neighbor of the night tent is always a good one.

We’ve been able to honor people that have done just wonderful things. Myron Thompson is a great example, because he is one of our volunteers. Even long before he ever joined the neighborhood association, he was always working harder than anyone to make it a better place, and very untrumpeted—he never calls attention to himself. We can’t help calling attention to him because he’s so special to us.

Marlowe: Last summer, on a Wednesday morning, I was doing some gardening in the little bed in front of the stage. I saw Myron walk over the hill, and I was like, Oh! You are the garbage fairy! I didn’t know how this hill was getting cleaned. We knew we left it pretty clean, but also I thought, somebody’s coming to pick up this garbage. When I saw him, that’s the first time I learned his name and introduced myself. He continues to come almost every Wednesday.

Thompson: We had one guy who wrote just a simple Facebook post one day and said, if my neighbors need my help, let me know. We’d been having a rash of thefts in the neighborhood, and he said, “You go buy the security lamps, I’m an electrician, I’ll come and install them for you for free.” The next thing you know, he’s got 10 or 12 people calling him, and he’s going up to their houses and doing this for free. That’s the Neighbor of the Night for me.

All sorts of other people that have just been really fantastic in the work that they do. One woman, Melissa Limas, is the one who does all this crazy fundraising for local schools, for Fernwood. She works her face off to try to make that a better place. To me, that’s another Neighbor of the Night. It’s this great little community connection, because Carol has a child at Fernwood, Fernwood serves the neighbors around here, and the reach that Fernwood has right back over to Chill on the Hill. A lot of people hang out together there, and the kids hang out together there, and it’s all about this community connection.

Voss: One of the high points was the recognition that we got for the people’s choice award for WAMI (Wisconsin Area Music Industry). That was really neat to see that it was truly a preferred location to come to for musician and audiences.

Even though I’m now not having to come every single Tuesday, it’s very gratifying when I walk up. People don’t necessarily know who I am or what I’ve done. Certainly I haven’t done it all myself either; I kind of came up with the idea and started it off and got the traction going in the first five years. But it was when we were able to start getting more people involved that it exponentially increased in terms of size and capabilities and quality. I think the formula now is there, and I hope that it continues to be primarily local and original music.

The future of Chill on the Hill

Thompson: This year, in specific, we have two people that are working on booking bands. Russ Grabczyk really took the lead on it, supported very tightly by Ted Jorin, who is the husband of our volunteer coordinator. They’re just great to work with. Russ opened up a new email account and had 600 emails within a day and a half after we started getting the word out that we wanted to book bands.

Williams: It’s hard to turn American Idols down, and people from Nashville, and people sending us their legitimate records and things, and booking agents. We’re like, wow, you’re popular and you’re nationwide, and we’re just a small-town small volunteer organization and you really want to play here?

Thompson: We’ve been doing this now for a lot of years, and it continues to get bigger and bigger, and it continues to get more and more bands wanting to play. Managing that process becomes more and more difficult. It’s a champagne problem to have, though, that we’ve got so many great bands in Milwaukee who want to work with us, but it’s also unfortunate that we can’t let everybody play.

Marlowe: For a lot of local bands, as far as the number of people they’re going to reach, this going to be the best gig they’ve ever had.

Williams: It’s a double-edged sword to ask people to give their feedback, but what would really be helpful is, how do people see it in the future? What do they like or don’t like about it? I might regret that later when I get a thousand emails, but really that’s the only way we can guide it in the future. As a volunteer group, all of this has been somebody’s idea here and there and we all contribute, but what does our community really want from Chill in the future? Where do we want it to go? And the only way we can know is if they let us know, if they email us, or they post stuff on social media.

Thompson: This is not a festival; it’s a concert series. Besides food, nobody really gets to sell anything. We try to keep all that other noise down. I’ll get calls all the time about people wanting to come, “Hey, I want to do this at the top if the hill,” and “I’m going to set up a booth,” and I say no. That’s just not who we are. We’re trying to keep the focus on the music. People want to spend their time listening to music, and spend their time with their friends.

Marlowe: When Nichole told us the symphony wants to play, we thought, holy crap, how is this going to happen? So that’s another moment when I knew we had made it. This is pretty cool.

Thompson: The challenge continues to be managing the growth of the event. We need to make sure that we’re continuing to reach really great people. We want new people to be enjoying it, but I also don’t want it to grow so big that it becomes uncomfortable, overcrowded, and not enjoyed. We have some nights that are crazy. I mean this year with the symphony? That was crazy. And fun and amazing and fantastic, but it was crazy.

We have some limitations of the space. We have the physical limitations of the hill—there are some sightlines that you just can’t see the band. Limitations with our sound, because we only sound from the stage. Physical limitations with the availability of restrooms. We’ve talked about all sorts of things to solve that problem, and our only other solution right now is to offer up more portapotties, but it’s not pretty. If we want it to keep pretty, then we need to start talking about capital improvements, about expansion of the venue. That’s a much bigger conversation.

Voss: I will say that having the Milwaukee Symphony this year—I believe that that probably opened so many more doors for people to become aware of the series. I would guess that maybe up to 75% of that group that came to see the symphony had never been to Chill before at all, so it’s a whole different audience. I think that was a testament then that the audience numbers ever since that opening night this season have been very, very high. I think it was just them coming back and coming back and coming back.

Marlowe: And we’re at that point this year with membership more than we have been in other years, too. We have more people approaching us at the table at Chill saying, “This is really awesome. I just moved to the neighborhood, how can I support it?” This is the first year that that’s happened almost every night.

Thompson: My favorite part is, somebody comes to Chill on the Hill, they fall madly in love with the neighborhood, and the next thing you know they’re moving to Bay View. I’ve heard it countless times, “I came here one night, and I have to be part of this. I have to live here.” I say, “Cool, are you a member of the neighborhood association yet?” “I just moved here!” “Well, let me walk you to the tent!”

That’s the kind of thing that I think we’re doing for the community. The growth of Bay View in general has been really great, but I think having this cornerstone event, this event that brings people together on a regular basis, it’s the best marketing tool we could have for this neighborhood.

Williams: I don’t think you could predict the concert series being as successful as it was, and also promoting the neighborhood at the same time. People come here just to see music, from the East Side or from Tosa or wherever, and then they realize, this is a really awesome place, and maybe we should consider moving here.

I’m not going to say that that actually happened, but at the same time, over the last five years, since the recession and all that, we all know how popular Bay View has become, and how quickly houses sell. Is it because of Chill? No, but yes, it’s things like Chill that make it so popular to live here.

Voss: There’s a little tiny window on the stage that was my special place, because I could kind of be on the stage and watch the bands from the side, and that always was gratifying. I would do that every night I was there, I would just kind of be part of the behind the scenes. Then I would just sneak out the back.

Some people would say that because I wasn’t out on the stage that maybe I’m not as well known for doing what I’ve done, but that’s not really the motivation behind it. It’s gratifying no matter what that I just walk out and see people there. Without volunteer coordination, without additional sponsors small and large being able to step up, and different other elements of this thing continuing to evolve, it would never have gotten to this point. It’s a proud mother moment, I guess, to be able to step out and enjoy it for what I wanted to enjoy it for.

Williams: And you don’t realize it. I mean, I didn’t grow up with any outdoor music like this on a weekly basis. It would be just like a one-time festival thing. But the reaction that my kids have to Chill! My son thinks Chill is just the greatest thing on earth, and every Tuesday he has to have a Chill or Bay View shirt on. It’s a big deal, he’s ready to go, and he’s like, “Okay, I’m gonna go on stage and I’m gonna wave to everyone.”

I can’t imagine what he’s going to feel like as an adult, like, “I can’t believe I did that as a child and I was involved in that process.” He volunteered and he did tattoos for thousands of children every Tuesday. It’s a special thing for sure.

Jay Bullock tweets as @folkbum. Email him at mpshallmonitor@gmail.com.

 


Crusade to save Frolics parade

August 29, 2015

By Katherine Keller

New group hopes to resurrect a Bay View tradition

A collective groan of disappointment arose in Bay View this spring when the Lions Club announced that there would again be no parade during its annual three-day South Shore Frolics festival in July. In the wake of the announcement, a group of people decided it was time to assist the Lions, or alternatively, takeover the responsibilities of staging the parade. 

LEAD PHOTO SMALL Frolics Parade BVHS Band 2013 KELLER

Members of the Bay View High School Redcats performed in the 2013 South Shore Frolics Parade. KATHERINE KELLER

The Frolics parade has rolled down Kinnickinnic for decades, originally part of the South Shore Water Frolic that had been managed and operated by the Interorganizational Council of Bay View since 1949. Forty-five years later, in 1994, the parade and festival in South Shore Park were taken over by Bay View Lions Club. The Lions changed the event’s name to South Shore Frolics.

The parade has traversed uneven ground in recent years. It was canceled in 2008. On June 19 of that year, Les Johns, who then served as the Lions Club chair, said he canceled the parade because the community had not stepped up to foot the $20,000 bill for parade fees, permits, and barricades. However, a week later, on June 25, Johns reversed himself and announced that Todd Reardon of the Braeger Automotive Group had presented the Lions with a $20,000 check “to preserve the south side tradition.”

Funding the Parade

Twice more the Lions were not able to raise sufficient funds. There was no parade in 2012 or 2015.

The parade was restored in 2013 and 2014 when Bay View resident Patty Pritchard Thompson, who is not a member of the Bay View Lions Club but who said she loves the parade, volunteered to help the Lions find parade funding.

In 2013 she and Lions member Dave Reszel met with Mayor Barrett to solicit his assistance. The meeting resulted in a $15,000 grant from the We Energies Foundation in 2013 and again in 2014, due to Barrett’s work requesting the foundation’s financial support for the parade. Additionally, the Lions received contributions from the Bay View Neighborhood Association, the Kinnickinnic Avenue BID, area businesses, and individuals.

“The Lions club set a well-publicized goal of $30,000 in order to put the parade on in 2013. We were able to raise the full amount that year. In 2014, we did not raise that much, but with controlling some expenses, we were still able to produce the parade,” Thompson said.”

Estimates vary about the cost of a Frolics parade in 2016, ranging from $15,000 to $30,000. The major expenses are city permits/special events fees, parade participants’ fees, and insurance. Last year the city charged the Bay View Lions $7,157 for its permits and services that included police service, barricades, meter hoods, signs, and miscellaneous costs, according to the special event permit issued to the Bay View Lions by the Dept. of Public Works in June 2014.

The city stipulates that proof of insurance must be provided before permits are issued. Sonia Hass said she received a quote fro O’Reilly Insurance. The premium quote was $1,028 for the city’s required coverage. Penny Manke, who has been the fundraiser for the Humboldt Park 4th of July parade and events, said she pays about $5,000 to the participants in the Independence Day parade, which is similar to the Frolics parade. The bands, baton twirler brigade, and people who drive the convertible cars are all paid.

In a statement the Lions’ statement indicates that costs for parade participants “can be $10,000 or more” and that it generates “zero revenue to and for the overall Frolics event.”

Not long after the Lions announced that they’d canceled the parade this year, a number of parade-enthusiasts began to discuss ways to bring it back in 2016. This group has come to be known as the Bay View Frolics Parade Committee.

New Parade

Former Bay View resident Sonia Hass emerged as the leader of a group of 11 people who are pledged to bring the parade back in 2016. Their goals are to reinstate the parade and find the means to sustain it year after year. The committee members are Lee Barczak, Nick Dillon, Sonia Hass, Betsy Holmes, Kathy Krause, Lori LaGrow, Amanda Malka, Vern Snyder, Ken Spellman, Pietro Tarantino, and Gretchen Theisen.

Motivating Hass and others in the group is their conviction that the Frolics parade is a significant component of the heart and soul of Bay View, a tradition that has been enjoyed by generations.

An exploratory meeting was held June 18 at Puddlers Hall. Six people showed up. The second meeting was July 26 at St. Francis Brewery at which the attendees decided that they would move forward and formally begin efforts to restore the parade. The third meeting was August 16 at the Avalon Theater.

At the August 16 meeting, Hass told the attendees that she originally hoped to work with the Lions.

She said she invited four of the Frolics organizers to the group’s meetings to see how they could work together or assist one another to get the parade back on course in 2016.

Because she received no reply and when none of the Lions attended the first or second meeting, Hass interpreted it as rejection. While some of the committee members remain optimistic that they might find a way to work with the Lions for the 2016 parade, consensus at the August meeting was that they would move forward independent of the Lions.

“They are bucking our efforts. Tony Zielinski is supporting the parade because the Lions have let it go. We can’t wait for the Lions. We need to proceed. Tony is willing to sign permits but said we have to start planning now,” Hass told the committee members at the Avalon meeting.

Standing from left: Dan Spidell, Jon Boldt, Joe Klinkiewicz, Dale Marki, Dave Reszel, Terry Brower. Seated from left: Lyn Graziano, LuRae Brower. JENNIFER KRESSE/COMPASS FILE PHOTO

Standing from left: Dan Spidell, Jon Boldt, Joe Klinkiewicz, Dale Marki, Dave Reszel, Terry Brower. Seated from left: Lyn Graziano, LuRae Brower. JENNIFER KRESSE/COMPASS FILE PHOTO

Dave Reszel is a member of the Bay View Lions Club and a principal volunteer-organizers of the South Shore Frolics. When the Compass asked him to comment about the Hass’ stated goal to take over the funding and staging of the Frolics parade, he said the Lions didn’t want to respond to questions but instead issued the statement.

“We are aware that there is a group that wants to organize a parade for the 2016 South Shore Frolics that is unauthorized and unendorsed by the Bay View Lions Club. We appreciate their enthusiasm and desire to make this happen and understand that they have had two initial meetings. They have invited the Bay View Lions Club members to the meetings, which we have chosen not to attend. We want to be very clear regarding the Frolics parade for 2016 and beyond: The South Shore Frolics/Bay View Lions Club also want to have a parade,” reads a section of the statement.

The statement indicates that the Lions have had two meetings since the Frolics event in July and that the organizers are in the initial stages of “corporate fundraising efforts for the 2016 Frolics and potential parade.”

So what happens if both groups raise enough money to pay for the parade? Who will be granted the parade permits?

There will be no parade without required city permits, which need the support of District 14 Alderman Tony Zielinski, who represents Bay View.

“If both groups raise the money, I’m going with the group I think can sustain it because I want to make sure it happens each year. That parade is part of our history and tradition and it’s my job to make sure it happens each year,” Zielinski said.

When Hass approached Zielinski seeking his support of her group’s efforts to bring back the parade, he said he immediately told her that he would. “This year when the Lions dropped the bomb that there would be no parade, it was when there was no time to save it. People were incredibly disappointed that there would be no parade. The Lions didn’t give advance warning this year. There was no opportunity to save it. The Lions are a wonderful group with wonderful people but if there is another group that I think might be more reliable, then I will choose that group.”

The Lions’ statement reaches out to Hass and her group inviting them to work with the Lions: “So to the group that wants to organize a parade outside the authorization and endorsement of the Bay View Lions Club/ South Shore Frolics, we encourage all of you to take the next step, join us, help us, and look at the much, much bigger Frolics picture by using your heart as well as your head on the Frolics parade issue. This way, all can ‘win.’”

Hass said she’s given up on the Lions. Their last-minute announcements and repeated near misses and no parade in 2012 and 2015 have energized her group’s members, she said.

Hi-Jinks to Frolics

The South Shore Water Frolic evolved from an older festival, the South Shore Yacht Club’s old Hi-Jinks, a product of the 1930s. Hi-Jinks featured boat races, water stunts, swimming exhibitions, a beauty pageant, talent show, and doll parade. Sunday evening brought Venetian night, with decorated boats displaying strings of lanterns on their riggings. Fireworks marked the festival’s close.

Hi-Jinks was discontinued during World War II, but was resurrected by the Interorganizational Council, comprised of a dozen civic, service, and fraternal organizations. The new event, named the South Shore Water Frolics, retained the same activities as the former Hi-Jinks, and was held for the first time in August 1949.

In its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, the Frolic attracted around 200,000 people. The spectacular fireworks that closed each day are still the most popular event.
—Ron Winkler

Read more about the history of the South Shore Water Frolic/South Shore Frolics published in the Compass: http://bit.ly/1NKkGFF

From left: Ken Spellman, Sonia Hass, Kathy Krause, Amanda Malka, and Vern Snyder are members of the new Bay View Frolics Committee. Ald. Tony Zielinski, center, is supporting their effort to restore the parade. JENNIFER KRESSE

From left: Ken Spellman, Sonia Hass, Kathy Krause, Amanda Malka, and Vern Snyder are members of the new Bay View Frolics Committee. Ald. Tony Zielinski, center, is supporting their effort to restore the parade.
JENNIFER KRESSE

The Volunteers

Gretchen Theisen and Lori LaGrow are members also members of the Bay View Frolics Committee. JENNIFER KRESSE

Gretchen Theisen and Lori LaGrow are members also members of the Bay View Frolics Committee. JENNIFER KRESSE

Julie Holmes volunteered to help with fundraising. She was drawn to the effort to resurrect the parade when she read Hass’ Facebook proclamation that she was going to take the bull by the horns and said, “I’m going to be the change I want to see.”

“So I wrote to [Sonia] and said, ‘Good for you,’” Holmes said. “She replied, ‘Thank you. Wouldn’t you like to help too?’” Holmes said she was the grants manager for COA Youth and Family Centers in Riverwest from 1999 to 2007. Currently she and her husband operate a specialized recruiting business.

Likewise, Vern Snyder, owner of Hungry Man Moving, and his partner Amanda Malka, are helping with fundraising. They also have pledged to give $250. Snyder grew up in a house on Kinnickinnic and Clement.” I can’t watch the parade go away. My family has been in Bay View for three generations. My dad drove Chris Sinicki in the parade in the Mustang for 12 years. We have to keep this parade going, keep a good old tradition,” Snyder said.

Pietro Tarantino, Lori LaGrow, a CPA, and Gretchen Theisen will help with fundraising or marketing and publicity. “The South Shore Frolics Parade is one of Bay View’s top events, bringing people from all over the residential and business community to celebrate something that has represented Bay View’s identity for decades,” Theisen said. “I remember the years when there wasn’t a parade, and we all felt ‘lost.’ To me, the parade has become such a special and critical component of our neighborhood’s identity, that I want to see this enjoyable tradition continue.”

Hass also recruited Lee Barczak, Avalon Theater owner and president of the Kinnickinnic Avenue BID. “I think [the parade] is good for businesses in the BID. It’s good for the BID to consider. If the parade does well, it can put the BID on the map and continue to make Bay View a fun place to be in summertime,” he said.

At the August 16 meeting, Barczak said that he intends to reach out to Newaukee because he thinks they might have fresh, innovative ideas to inject into the parade, while keeping the traditional components people expect each year. Newaukee is a local business whose services include helping businesses attract and retain young talent, which includes helping firms create the communities that Millennials seek and connecting them to the broader Milwaukee community.

Barczak said he hopes every business in Bay View and the broader area will consider helping the new parade organizers fund the parade. “If they think it through,” he said, “these kinds of events are an advantage with all the new people they bring.”

Another avid volunteer is Kathy Krause who has lived in Bay View her whole life. Like most of the others in the group, she joined to help raise the funds to pay for a parade in 2015.

“Raising $30,000 is a challenge. I don’t want to kid myself. We have at the most 10 months to raise that money. The good news is that we’ve gotten the ball rolling but it will take everyone and his brother to make this happen.

“The Frolics parade is tradition and it’s a big part of the Frolics. Thousands line the street with their little kids. People have a good time. It’s important to keep traditions alive. I have great memories of the Frolics and I want that for the children so they have memories of living in Bay View and having fun,” Krause said.

Since the August 16 meeting, Sonia Hass ratcheted the parade fundraising goal down by $10,000 to $20,000. She did so after she discovered permits would cost less than she had originally budgeted. She hopes the lower amount will cover the parade and also allow for seed money for 2017.

Barczak said that they would need to raise parade funding within 90 to 120 days. He advised the committee to make personal contacts with local businesses rather than plan a lot of fundraisers that are personnel and time intensive and that do not produce much revenue.

To date they’ve raised $2,750—$1,000 from the Avalon, $1,000 St. Francis Brewery, $250 from Hungry Man Moving, and $500 from Moshe Katz.

Barczak and others on the parade committee will also urge residents to step up and help fund the parade. They’re looking for donations of any amount. A suggestion that was considered at the August meeting was selling reserved spaces along the parade route.

At press time, Kathy Krause alerted Hass that she’s scheduled a parade fundraiser, an English Tea and lecture about the History of Women’s Hats. Still in the early planning stages, Krause said the event would be Nov. 14 at the Wisconsin Club from 9:30am to 1:30pm. Gail Christensen, a Lake Mills-based milliner will give the historical millinery presentation. Originally from Lake Forest, Ill., Christensen became an apprentice to internationally known designer John Daly of Daly Designs in 1979, a firm specializing in floral design and party coordination for the movie studios, stars and other corporations, according to biographical information on her website. Christensen now lives and maintains her millinery studio in Lake Mills, Wis. For more information about the event, contact Kathy Krause: kaflowerbv@att.net or 414-315-1277.

Hass has created a Facebook page to publish information about the committee’s work. The Facebook page is Bay View Frolics Parade. To contact Sonia Hass: 414-379-3541 or basketbabe53207@yahoo.com.

Find information about the Bay View Lions here.


Statement by the Bay View Lions
“We are aware that there is a group that wants to organize a parade for the 2016 South Shore Frolics that is unauthorized and unendorsed by the Bay View Lions Club. We appreciate their enthusiasm and desire to make this happen and understand that they have had two initial meetings. They have invited the Bay View Lions Club members to the meetings, which we have chosen not to attend. We want to be very clear regarding the Frolics parade for 2016 and beyond: The South Shore Frolics/Bay View Lions Club also want to have a parade!

We, too, have had two meetings since the 2015 Frolics ended to address the overall Frolics 2015 results and the parade for 2016 and are moving ahead with initial stages of corporate fundraising efforts for the 2016 Frolics and potential parade.

To understand why there was not a parade in 2015, we need to step back to the 2014 Frolics, which unfortunately suffered a net loss because of the severe storms on Saturday night that cancelled the Frolics festivities at approximately 7:30pm—the absolute worst possible day and time. We made a decision that having the Frolics in 2015 was more important than having a parade. We used some of our reserve funds to host the 2015 Frolics, which enabled the Frolics to happen.

While it may or may not be possible from the new Frolics parade group’s perspective, we maintain that we can do more good and have a more positive impact by working together and being collaborative for the overall 2016 Frolics rather than just one part of it such as the parade. Further, we invite members of this newly formed group to go through the vetting process to become dues-paying Bay View Lions Club members (yes, we ‘pay’ to serve) and become part of the bigger picture decisions that the Bay View Lions Club makes regarding the Frolics and Frolics parade.

Also, it is important for all to know that having a parade in the city of Milwaukee in 2015 is not “cheap” to do. Permits, fees, rerouting of buses, signage, police presence at every intersection—all before the first note is played by a marching band in the parade—are over $10,000. Then there are the parade participants. If a quality parade is desired, they must be paid, and, yes, we do negotiate with all of them, but still those costs can be $10,000 or more, too. Plus, of course, there is the liability insurance aspect of a parade that is two miles long, another large expense. So, the parade is a major expense that does generate goodwill and strong community togetherness but generates zero revenue to and for the overall Frolics event.

Know that when it comes to making a decision regarding a parade and choosing between a parade or the people we try to serve (our focus is on those with vision, hearing, cognitive and physical disabilities especially children and hunger), choosing to help people and using our limited resources for people from the Frolics proceeds always wins out over an expensive one-and-a half-hour parade. As a registered 501(c) 3 organization, we are a service organization first and foremost.

We strongly recognize that the Frolics parade is a wonderful thing. As mentioned earlier, we recognize all the positives—it builds community, involvement in the community, it brings people into Bay View, and it brings people back to Bay View, aka “reunions.” Some Bay View businesses have one of their best weekends of the year during the Frolics parade and weekend. We get all of that. Remember, we too want a parade! In short, it is a very good thing.

But, despite not having a parade in 2015 and losing money in 2014, we helped people. That’s our mission and always will be. To sponsor a hearing aid or a pair of eyeglasses for those who really need them but can’t afford them and then see them smile is a very good thing. To sponsor children with disabilities for a week of summer fun at the Lions Camp in Rosholt, Wis., is a very good thing. To sponsor and distribute food baskets to the needy in the Bay View and South Shore areas so that they can have food on the table for their holiday is also a very good thing. We could go on and on but I think and hope that you get the point. These sorts of things don’t make headlines, become a lead story, create controversy, animosity, or divide people but they are real stories that affect and are important to the recipients.

It is also a very good thing that the Bay View Lions Club/South Shore Frolics support other groups that do good in our communities like the Humboldt Park 4th of July Association, the Interorganizational Council of Bay View, the Bay View Historical Society, and the South Side Scholarship Foundation, among others.

So to the group that wants to organize a parade outside the authorization and endorsement of the Bay View Lions Club/ South Shore Frolics, we encourage all of you to take the next step, join us, help us, and look at the much, much bigger Frolics picture by using your heart as well as your head on the Frolics parade issue. This way, all can “win.” We can have a parade that the community wants, needs, and deserves, and we can have a bigger, better, and more successful Frolics that will enable the Bay View Lions to help more people and continue to be true to our motto “We Serve”.

A Frolics parade was/is a very important part of the South Shore Frolics but never as important as having and securing resources from the overall Frolics event to help people. And, that is and will always remain foremost in all of our decisions.”


Out of the Darkness Community Walk Oct. 4

August 29, 2015

By Sheila Julson

Humboldt Park event promotes suicide awareness

A child drops flowers into the Humboldt Park Lagoon in a ceremony that was part of the 2014 Milwaukee Out of the Darkness event. PHOTO COURTESY GENA ORLANDO

A child drops flowers into the Humboldt Park Lagoon in a ceremony that was part of the 2014 Milwaukee Out of the Darkness event. PHOTO COURTESY GENA ORLANDO

Twenty years ago, when former Bay View resident Gena Orlando was 19 years old, one of her close friends, also 19, died by suicide. Two years later that friend’s brother died by suicide. The loss of the brothers left Orlando with countless questions and a gamut of emotions.

The experience led her to become a leader in the Wisconsin chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Orlando, who now lives in Theresa, Wis., is secretary of AFSP’s Wisconsin chapter and chair of the annual Milwaukee Out of the Darkness Community Walk.

This year the walk, which takes place in Humboldt Park, is October 4.

Founded in 1987, AFSP is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing suicide and does so through research, education programs, and advocacy. It also provides support for survivors of suicide. AFSP acts as resource, Orlando said, directing people to resources where they can find help.

AFSP is not a crisis center and doesn’t treat people, but they do fund some of those programs, Orlando said.

The Out of the Darkness Community Walk event began in 2005 and took place in 24 cities. Participants walked overnight from dusk to dawn, symbolizing walking “out of the darkness.” According to AFSP, the first year attracted 4,000 participants. This year, 350 nationwide walks are planned with the participation of an estimated 200,000 walkers. Orlando said the walks generate funding for AFSP.

Jessica Borkowski, AFSP Wisconsin board chair, organized the first Milwaukee walk in 2008 before Wisconsin had its own chapter. At that time, all money raised was given to the programs of the national office. Since the Wisconsin chapter was established in December 2013, half of all money raised from the Wisconsin walks stays in the state for its programs. The other half goes to AFSP’s national programs.

This year Wisconsin’s Out of the Darkness Community Walks will take place in Milwaukee (Humboldt Park), Madison, Eau Claire/Chippewa Valley, Wausau, Walworth County, and Antigo. Each walk has its own volunteer chairperson who organizes the walks on their own time.

Orlando said she’s looking for additional sponsors and in-kind donations for raffle prizes. She’d like to get more Bay View businesses involved. 88NINE Radio Milwaukee will sponsor this year, Orlando said, as will the Hupy and Abraham law firm, and the Bradley Corporation, a manufacturer of plumbing fixtures in Menomonee Falls.

This year’s walk, approximately three miles, will be three laps around Humboldt Park. There is no charge to participate, but individuals and teams are encouraged to raise sponsorship donations. Dogs are welcome but there is a charge. People can register their canine companions for $10 each.

Honor beads are a big part of the walk. Each walker wears a string of beads of a color that signifies their loss—white for loss of a child; red for a spouse or partner; gold for a parent; orange for a sibling; and purple for a relative or friend. Green beads represent a personal struggle; blue beads show support of the cause, and teal indicates support of a family or friend who is struggling with depression.

There are also other gestures and ceremonies that take place during the event. Flowers are floated on the lagoon before the walk. There are children’s projects that are built around themes such as “picking up the pieces together,” where they draw on large puzzle pieces. Families often bring photos of loved ones who died by suicide. After the walk, raffle prizewinners are announced.

Orlando said suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and that 20 percent of suicides are military veterans. Yet research about suicide is one of the least funded. “There’s a stigma attached to suicide and mental illness,” Orlando said. “Like any physical illness, [mental illness] can be fatal if it goes untreated. We are trying to get rid of the stigma and get people talking. We want people who are facing suicidal thoughts and depression to know that they’re not alone.”

She recalls that it was uncommon to talk about mental illness in the 1990s when she lost her two friends to suicide. “It was really shocking. It was a blow to everyone they were close to. You go through different types of emotions, like ‘is it my fault?’ Dealing with any type of death is hard but with suicide we’re often angry with the person we’re mourning,” Orlando said. “There are different stages of feelings that we normally don’t go through when somebody dies of a heart attack. You can be angry at the heart attack, but if somebody hurts themself, dealing with that and the emotions that go with it is so complex.”

Orlando said AFSP strives to start the conversation, to be a voice for those suffering, and to support people who lost loved ones to suicide. The organization also holds International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day annually on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

In attempt to bring more resources to rural areas, this year’s event is Nov. 21 at the Washington County Public Agency Center in West Bend.

Humboldt Park Oct. 4. Registration begins at 8:30am. Opening ceremony at 11am. Walk begins at 11:30am.

To donate $10 by phone, text AFSP MILWAUKEE to 85944.

Donations can also be taken by texting AFSP MILWAUKEE to 85944 (there must be a space between AFSP and Milwaukee).

More info: http://afsp.donordrive.com/event/Milwaukee.


PAREN(T)HESIS — Talking with strangers

August 29, 2015

By Jill Rothenbueler Maher

NEW Jill Maher Headshot Dec 2013School is back in session, and with it new clubs, sports, and other gatherings. As we guide children through these new social scenes, we sometimes navigate untested waters when meeting new kids with different abilities or obvious medical conditions. It can cause questions for both youngsters and parents. A child will often have questions. Why does she have those tubes? Why does he have those casts? Why is she in that wheelchair?

Adults may also have questions. Is it genetic? Do other kids in the family have it, too?

Some of the questions directed at the parents of special needs kids can be cringe-worthy, way too nosy, or downright insulting. I’m sure I’ve unthinkingly dealt out some whoppers but have recently become more sensitive after reading account after account on the website themighty.com. It features stories from real-world parents, mostly mothers, about their children who face disease, disorder, and disability.

Hopefully most children will be coached about social graces from parents. But even we adults may need some tips to guide us.

Since I don’t have super-close friends of parents whose children are dealing with these things, I’m relying on the advice of real but distant parents. From what I’ve gathered, when talking to a parent of a special needs child, it’s important to understand that:

Parents of special needs kids deal with a lot of strangers’ comments and questions and many of them can be really hurtful.

We should avoid comparing children to “normal” kids as in, “she looks so normal,” implying the child is abnormal or weird.

Parents of children with disease, disorder, and disability like to hear compliments, too.

Questions can be asked in different ways and spring from different impulses. The level of relationship plus the context makes a big difference. A question based on curiosity and insensitivity in the grocery store checkout is totally different from one asked during a heart-to-heart between two friends.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the children are often listening to the parents’ conversation. I know our child is typically all ears even when she seems to be busy playing!

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


South Shore food pantries coping with FoodShare changes, for now

August 29, 2015

By Sheila Julson

On April 1, changes went into effect for Wisconsin residents receiving food assistance benefits from FoodShare, the name of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program in Wisconsin.

The FoodShare program is administered by the Department of Wisconsin Health Services. According to its website, adults ages 18 through 49 who have no minor children in their home may need to meet a work requirement or meet an exemption to continue receiving FoodShare benefits. These work requirement rules will affect FoodShare members who must renew, or who apply for FoodShare benefits on, or after April 1, 2015.

Under the new changes, if participants who fall into the above category do not either work 80 hours per month, participate in an allowable work program for 80 hours each month, or both work and take part in an allowable work program for a combined total of 80 hours per month, they may only receive three months of FoodShare benefits in a 36-month period. Those requirements come on the heels of federal and state changes to FoodShare benefits in 2013 and 2014.

Advocates for food justice such as Sherrie Tussler, executive director of the Hunger Task Force of Milwaukee, have publicly spoken out against Wisconsin’s work requirements, noting that they will put a strain on nonprofit food pantries.

The Compass contacted four South Shore food pantries to discover if they’ve been affected by the new requirements.

Linda Nieft, president and CEO of the Bay View Community Center, 1320 E. Oklahoma Ave., said its food pantry saw a slight increase in users in June, which is typical during the summer months because children are on school vacation and not receiving school lunches. In June, Bay View Community Center’s food pantry served 58 households and 160 individuals—103 adults and 53 children.

Nieft pointed out that many people who receive food assistance have their eligibility status reviewed yearly and won’t necessarily receive a reduction or be cut from FoodShare benefits until their review, so there may be adverse effects yet to come.

“I think people are confused, as [the changes to the program] happened so quickly. There was a lot of talk about it, and then, boom—it happened,” Nieft said.

She added that some people don’t keep abreast of state legislative changes to the FoodShare program. Her staff tries to keep people informed, but since recipients can only come in once per month, staff members sometimes don’t see them until after changes are announced.

Bay View Community Center also refers people to other organizations if they need more help.

To supplement the Bay View Community Center pantry’s food supply, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 3200 S. Herman St., and Tippecanoe Presbyterian Church, 125 W. Saveland Ave., donate fresh vegetables grown in their raised bed gardens. “People are excited to get fresh produce,” Nieft said. “Because prices of fresh vegetables have gone up, it’s quite a treat for people to go from canned to fresh food.”

Nieft said that she welcomes donations and encourages people to give cream and broth soups (no ramen noodle soup); cereal; canned fruit; canned tomato sauce; and canned proteins.

Debby Pizur, program director of Project Concern Cudahy/St. Francis, 3658 E. Plankinton Ave., in Cudahy, reported that the organization usually serves 30 to 35 households per month. In June, the number of new households that applied for assistance increased to 45. She said it’s too early to tell if the increase is tied to the tighter FoodShare eligibility requirements.

“Because [the work requirement] has just started, we’re not feeling stressed yet. And food donations are always down in the summer, so it would be normal for us to be running a little lean at this time,” Pizur said.

The Cudahy Community Garden, located on the grounds of the Cudahy United Methodist Church, 5865 S. Lake Dr., is in its second year of growing vegetables on its property that its members donate to Project Concern. There the greatest needs are canned proteins, canned fruits, and dried beans.

Hope House, 209 W. Orchard St., partners with Friedens Community Ministries to operate its food pantry. Friedens is a network of food pantries in Milwaukee with additional locations at their main office in the Marcia P. Coggs Human Services building, 1220 W. Vliet St., and at Despensa De la Paz, 1615 S. 22nd St.

Executive director Catherine Draeger-Pederson said Friedens has seen a lot of fear from its community members concerning the FoodShare changes, as well as members’ uncertainty about paperwork and other requirements for participation in the program. “They fear what is happening and what is going to come,” she said.

Like other pantries, summers are busy at Hope House since kids are home from school. Draeger-Pederson said that Friedens is currently meeting the needs of its users, but as the year goes on, they will probably will see more of an impact because July 1 marked the first cycle of the three-month-limit since the new restrictions went into effect. “We currently have the resources to meet a higher need, but my hope is that we don’t have to, and people will somehow be able to keep their benefits,” she said.

In June, Draeger-Pederson said Friedens served approximately 1,200 families at the three locations. Friedens’ needs include canned protein, as well as condiments people enjoy but cannot afford to purchase such as mayonnaise, ketchup, salt, and pepper.

United Migrant Opportunity Services (UMOS), 2701 S. Chase Ave., a nonprofit advocacy organization, also has a food pantry. Rod Ritcherson, special assistant to president Lupe Martinez, reported no change in the number of people who visit its food pantry. “It’s a little too soon to see any impact,” he said.

According to Ritcherson, UMOS’ Chase Avenue location provided 550,000 pounds of food to users during its fiscal year July 2014 through June 2015. Ritcherson said UMOS receives 80 percent of its pantry’s food from the Hunger Task Force. The rest comes from donations from Roundy’s Supermarkets, Inc., Molina Health Care, and area high school food drives.

Sheila Julson, sjulson@wi.rr.com, is a freelance writer and blogs at cappersfarmer.com/blogs/return-to-our-roots


IN BALANCE — Nurturing children with ADHD

August 29, 2015

By Aleisha Anderson

 

Aleisha Anderson Head ShotBittersweet are emotions for many children and parents as the new school year begins.

For parents with children who struggle to tune in and adjust to new routines and expectations at school, the stress that accompanies a new school year can be overwhelming.

Children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are not all the same. There is a diverse spectrum of behavior exhibited by children with an ADHD diagnosis.

Traditional Chinese medicine’s five-elements typologies can help sort out ADHD imbalances and offer valuable insight to parents about the “true nature” of their child’s attention challenges.

Chinese medicine’s five elements theory is based on the notion that all natural processes and phenomena can be classified. The five natural elements possess unique characteristics. These elements are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Each individual has their own “true nature” and belongs to one of these five elements or types. One’s type influences how one asserts oneself in the world, how one copes with stressors, and how one seeks comfort.

With ADHD, behaviors and coping mechanisms can be exaggerated.

When imbalanced, a child’s (or adult’s) natural strengths are overshadowed by negative behavior.

Wood types are easily frustrated, hyperactive, angry, and have explosive outbursts.

Fire types are impulsive, silly, lazy, and get bored easily.

Earth types are worried, obsessive, disorganized, and tend to be indecisive.

Metal types are rigid, hyper-focused, stuck, and show compulsive behavior.

Water types are withdrawn, daydreaming, slow, and apathetic.

Each type benefits from different therapeutic approaches in Chinese medicine. For example, the indecisive earth child who complains of stomach aches, often cannot fall asleep at night due to over thinking and may struggle with worry about how they will fit in to a new classroom or please their teacher. Helping this child feel more secure is the first step. Adding humor will lighten this child’s mood and ease the burden of over-thinking.

Allowing the earth child to do homework in the dining room rather than alone in their bedroom can improve concentration because the child is no longer worrying about being separated from the rest of the family. Before bed, a parent can sit with the child and talk about the day or massage their child’s belly. Adding light music can soothe and prevent a child from becoming too caught up in their own thoughts.

Stagnation and food accumulations in the stomach mirror the obsessive thinking that trap an insecure earth child in their thoughts. These children should avoid foods that cause slow digestion, such as excessively cold food like ice cream and raw food. Comforting foods such as soups and stews will heal poor digestion. When the symptoms are more severe or have been occurring for a long time, incorporating gentle acupuncture and Chinese herbs that “warm the middle” can promote digestion and aid attention.

The importance of recognizing different ADHD types and how they relate to the five-element typologies helps inform how best to nurture, support, and restore balance to children with attention challenges.

Further reading: Fire Child, Water Child, Stephen Scott Cowan, MD.

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 visit mkewellness.com.

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. 

 


HALL MONITOR — How to get and keep teachers in MPS: Mentor us, trust us

August 29, 2015

By Jay Bullock

Jay1headshotA couple of months ago, someone moderately high up in the pecking order of the leadership at Milwaukee Public Schools asked me about teacher retention.

If you’ve been keeping even half an eye on the local and national news lately, you’ve heard about this very thing. From declining enrollment in teacher licensing programs to whole states needing more teachers—I’m looking at you, Indiana—school districts are losing teachers faster than they can be replaced.

In Wisconsin, there’s the added complication of Act 10, the law that gave district administrators more authority to unilaterally control wages, working conditions, and more. Absent union loyalty, paradoxically, it also gave teachers the incentive to shop around, seeking the best deal for themselves, putting administrators, who were already dealing with vacancies, in a bigger pickle.

So the teacher retention question is not hypothetical. The person I talked to had a legitimate concern about how to keep teachers in MPS from seeking greener pastures or leaving the profession entirely.

Her focus was salary, which makes intuitive sense. If MPS can pay more, you figure, it might get and keep more good teachers. MPS already has a solid starting salary, at just over $41,000—a bit above average for the area. Teachers who had at least a few years in MPS pre-Act 10 are also generally doing okay, and with MPS’s commitment not to cut salaries back, they have little incentive to try their luck in other districts. Still, MPS has dozens of open teaching spots as I write this mid-August.

So my interlocutor wondered if more money, especially for the first few years when teachers are looking for a home or to start a family, would make teachers more likely to stay, primarily past the crucial five-year mark. Teachers usually decide either to stay for the long haul or bail out entirely during those first five years.

A report from the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Longitudinal Study released in April of this year, which followed a sample of teachers who started in the 2007-2008 school year, noted that 17 percent of teachers it followed were not teaching five years later.

The report did say that a higher starting salary somewhat affected retention. However, the data make a stronger case that non-monetary factors have a much greater effect.

The study reported that first-year teachers without a mentor were twice as likely to quit as those with a mentor. By the fifth year, almost 30 percent of teachers without first-year mentors had left the profession entirely—half of them after that first year. No other factor under a district’s control, including salary, had as great an effect on retention in those early years.

So that’s one thing MPS should make a major commitment to—provide mentors for all novice teachers, definitely in their first year and possibly continuing into their second and third years.

For teachers past those first years, even past that five-year threshold, where it seems likely they will stay much longer, there is still little evidence that wages and benefits necessarily have much to do with teachers leaving. A different report from the Teacher Longitudinal Study, released last September and covering all three million teachers in the country in 2012, indicated fewer than four percent of teachers, who switched schools or left the profession by choice that year, did so for money.

Almost a quarter of teachers who quit that year said they did so because of “school factors.” Those school factors are not defined in the report, but when researchers asked former teachers to compare teaching to their current job, 60 percent of them said their new jobs gave them “influence over workplace policies and practices” and “autonomy or control over (their) own work.”

A survey of more than 30,000 teachers, by the American Federation of Teachers this past spring, found that the single largest source of stress for teachers in school was “adoption of new initiatives without proper training or professional development,” followed by “mandated curriculum” and “large class sizes.” These are all “school factors” that teachers do not influence or control.

So if MPS wants to hang onto teachers, it should also be engaging them in major decisions about what happens to their students and their schools and giving them greater autonomy over their own classrooms.

The good thing is, neither providing greater support to new teachers nor giving teachers greater voice and autonomy requires raises or benefit increases. But they will require the district to make good on its slogan that the most important place in MPS is the classroom, and to give the adults in those classes greater voice.

That goes against the current reformist grain, and it certainly goes against all the corrective measures the state is imposing on MPS. But at this point, what has MPS got to lose if these solutions lead to teacher retention?

Jay Bullock teaches English at Bay View Middle and High School and tweets as @folkbum. Email him at mpshallmonitor@gmail.com.

 


Report from the Kinnickinnic Avenue Business Improvement District 

August 3, 2015

By Carisse E. Ramos

FaustDevelopment2RAMOS

West façade of the development planned for the Faust Drum Store site on the corner of Kinnickinnic Avenue and Ward Street. This model shows the scale of the development in relation to the adjacent buildings on Kinnickinnic. PHOTO CARISSE RAMOS

July 20th marked the most recent neighborhood meeting about the Faust Building site development, 2202-2206 S. Kinnickinnic, and it seems a productive compromise has finally been reached.

Background

Property owner Mikko Erkamaa had originally purchased the long-vacant Faust Drum building with the hope of obtaining historic preservation credits. The building did not qualify, however, and upon deeper examination of the site, it was determined that its structure and façade were beyond restoration. Exploring options for redevelopment of the space with a mixed-use residential and retail complex led to six neighborhood meetings and several redesigns by architect Joel Agaki and Dermond Properties. With guidance from the Department of City Development, and after taking into account several suggestions and concerns raised by Bay View community members, the final design displayed at the meeting blends more subtly with the neighboring commercial spaces.

The need for quality material was stressed by all in past meetings, and in response, the architect assured everyone that this new development will feature materials such as Calstar masonry, not Hardiplank siding.

The number of units was reduced from 74 to 69, to include 52 one-bedroom and 5 two-bedroom units, and 11 studios. The will be 73 indoor parking spaces, and modern amenities, such as an exercise facility. Security will be available to tenants.

The first floor ceilings were increased from 14 feet to 16 feet and are expected to be occupied mostly by retail business that will face Ward Street. Dermond Properties is looking into placing a Bublr Bikes on the southwest corner of Zillman Park.

The public parking lot will be shifted slightly farther east and will feature a tactful landscape design of trees and greenery, as well as a decorative fence. No additional buildings will be torn down to accommodate the new public lot.

The north facade of the mixed-used residential and retail development on Ward Street overlooks Zillman Park. PHOTO CARISSE RAMOS

Timeline

Dermond expects the existing building to be demolished by early next year. The public parking lot on Ward will be relocated and the plan is to break ground for the development early in the year.

There will be notices mailed to the 500 residents/businesses closest to the site. More safety measures will be implemented at the new public parking lot to hopefully reduce the number of car break-ins that take place along Ward Street.

A City Plan Commission hearing is scheduled for Aug. 17. There will be a hearing before the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee Sept. 15. A vote about the development by the full Common Council will be September 25. The hearings are open to the public.

While it’s always sad to see an iconic neighborhood building taken down, the KK BID wishes Erkamaa and Dermond the best as they move forward to the next phases of the development, and we appreciate the lengths at which they listened to the neighborhood’s concerns and suggestions to better the space.

Carisse Ramos attended the meeting on behalf of BID #44 president Lee Barczak.


St. Francis Historical Society ice cream social Aug. 20

August 3, 2015

The St. Francis Historical Society is sponsoring an ice cream social on Thursday, Aug. 20, from 6:30-8:00pm at the St. Francis Civic Center, 3400 E. Howard Ave. Lois Schreiter of the South Milwaukee Historical Society will present a new publication, Letters to Mettie, A Collection of Letters from Four Civil War Soldiers to Marietta Rawson. Free and open to the public.


ParenThesis — Racing, splashing, and kicking

August 3, 2015

NEW Jill Maher Headshot Dec 2013The Fourth of July and South Shore Frolics are long gone. Sigh. We have only one more precious month of summer and people are squeezing in their fun activities and outings.

Summer is when I’m reminded how much our daughter loves to play tag and run footraces. She’ll even say, “Race you to the garbage can,” at Chill on the Hill. I’m so often just a little tired or just a little embarrassed to really play with her. Do I have the energy at the end of a workday? Will friends think I’ve gone cuckoo if they see me suddenly sprint? Am I wearing shoes that can withstand sprinting?

I hope to take part in more horsing around these last few weeks of summer. I’m trying to wear shoes that won’t fall off if I go ahead and race. At the beach, I’ll aim to really go in the water and get wet, probably partaking in a splashing contest.

It’s in the same spirit as an article my cousin referenced on Facebook at the start of summer. It encouraged moms in swimsuits to think less about their appearance and more about having fun with their kids. This fun attitude doesn’t cost anything (except energy) but can contribute to a great outlook on life.

My dad used to come home from his first-shift job around 3:15 pm and play basketball, run my sister and me through football pass-patterns, or pitch us softballs. In winter we often went ice skating or sledding at Calhoun Park. He wasn’t compelled to check email or Facebook; instead, he just changed clothes and began playing.

The last blast of summer might be more fun if there’s some racing, some splashing, and a little soccer ball kicking.

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


IN BALANCE — Pediatric acupuncture

August 3, 2015

By Sheri LM Lee

HEADSHOT SHERI LEEKids receiving acupuncture? What! Who could ever imagine children blissfully lying still to be stuck with needles? Most parents dread those days when they have to hold their kids during shots, pokes, or blood draws.

Generally, children develop an early fear of needles after experiencing the thick, hypodermic needles used at the doctor’s office. Parents also experience hesitation and fear on behalf of their child. As a mother of 3 kiddos, I can understand these very valid concerns.

Pediatric acupuncturists receive post-graduate training, and are therefore trained at an advanced skill level that includes gentle techniques that are both quick and effective, even for the most active toddler. Unlike adult acupuncture needles, pediatric needles are so tiny they are referred to as “taps.” Hair thin, they are inserted so quickly that they are barely felt. For the youngest children, taps are not left in place for more than a few seconds. And in my experience, nothing sounds quite as cute as hearing small voices talk about “at-choo-puncher.”

Beyond taps, practitioners also offer a variety of non-needle techniques when working with children. The techniques I prefer, include Tui na (Chinese massage), Shonishin (small metal tools), and micro-current device (low-intensity electrical stimulation). Each method stimulates acupuncture points by pressing, pulling, rubbing, or scraping the skin surface. None of them irritates or abrades the skin, but instead they gently activate a healing response. These safe, noninvasive techniques provide effective results — without any needles.

Children can benefit from treatments for general health care and more specific concerns; like colds, allergies, tummy troubles(constipation/diarrhea), headaches, sleep trouble, teething, eczema, body pain, emotional difficulties and more. Kids become more in tune with their own well being and build confidence as they express what their body needs to feel at peace. Parents are thrilled to tell me when their children begin to sleep more restfully, their digestion improves, and their relationship becomes less of a challenge.

In a culture where we have learned to go to the doctor when we are sick, we, instead, need to teach ourselves and our children how to stay healthy through preventative care.

Wellness requires the support of a person’s mental, emotional and physical health. The good news is that children respond quickly to acupuncture and holistic care. Simple changes in diet and lifestyle, as well as easy-to-do at home acupressure and breath work therapies, can help families foster positive habits together.

Holistic pediatric care is growing in popularity as families discover the depth of treatment options and ease at which it works. This model of healthcare empowers parents and caregivers to participate in healthy habits, creating an environment that leads by example. Chinese medicine can provide a map to wellness that is unique to each child and their family.

Bay View resident, Sheri Lee, MSOM, L.Ac, LMT operates 8 Branches Chinese Medicine, where she and her colleagues provide holistic health care for the whole family. More info: 8branches.com.

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.


Bay View Historical Society to celebrate 35 years

August 3, 2015

By David Drake

Brinton House DAVID DRAKE

The Beulah Brinton House, 2590 S. Superior St., is the home of the Bay View Historical Society.

The Bay View Historical Society will celebrate its 35th anniversary Friday, Aug. 28 and Saturday, Aug. 29.

The Bay View Historical Society was formed as an outgrowth of Bay View’s centennial celebration in 1979. The idea was the brainchild of neighbors Paul Kohlbeck, who was a teacher at Fernwood Elementary School, and Audrey Quinsey, who with her husband Bob, lived in the historic Beulah Brinton house, 2590 S. Superior St.

The society was established in 1980, and the Brinton house was purchased by the Bay View Historical Society for its headquarters in 2003.

The festivities will kick off on Friday evening at 5pm with a Historic Bay View Pub Crawl that will conclude at 10pm.

Saturday’s celebration takes place at the Beulah Brinton house, which will be open for tours. The first event is a walking tour of the area surrounding the Beulah Brinton house beginning at 9am. At 11:30am there will be a rededication of the Pryor Avenue Well, which is about half a block south of the Brinton house.

A lawn party from noon until 4pm features croquet, music by Dangerous Folk, a display of vintage hats, vintage costumes to wear in the photo booth, and an opportunity for children to make hats. There will also be an ice cream social with food for purchase provided by St. Francis Brewery. Everyone is invited to share memories of Bay View with friends and neighbors.

There will be a two-hour break in activities from 4pm to 6pm. The celebration resumes at 6pm when the anniversary celebration begins. The evening’s highlight will be a performance by Milwaukee chanteuse Robin Pluer.

All events during the two-day celebration are free and open to the public.

Download an event brochure: bayviewhistoricalsociety.org More info: https://goo.gl/8MljDY


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