State DNR considering possible sale of greenspace on Conway

June 22, 2016

By Ald. Tony Zielinski

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 5.21.54 PMIt has just come to my attention that the state is looking to possibly sell the land just north of Phil & Dom Demarinis Italian Restaurant. More specifically, this land is just north of Conway Street between Superior and St Clair streets.

Years ago we (the city and neighbors) prevented developers from building condominiums on that parcel. We prize our greenspace along the lake. We then worked with State Representative Jon Richards to have that land turned over to the DNR for protection.

Unfortunately, the DNR under relatively new leadership does not prize such green space as much as we do. Whoever would purchase this property would need to get the zoning changed from the city. So that is an additional buffer if the state attempts to move forward.

State Representative Jonathon Brostoff has been very helpful in this matter and we are coordinating.

I will keep you posted.

Meanwhile, I am attaching an image of the property for you to better visualize.


Google tests virtual reality gadgets and software at Saint Lucas

June 13, 2016

The ultimate field trip — Saint Lucas Lutheran School students travel the world through the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program. Google visited the school to test its new virtual reality program and get feedback from teachers and students. PHOTO Jill DiGiorgio



Third-grader Jesus Luna reaches out to touch a nonexistent object. PHOTO Jill DiGiorgio

Third-grader Jesus Luna reaches out to touch a nonexistent object. PHOTO Jill DiGiorgio

Missing photo

The virtual reality experience allows teachers to guide students through 360 degree tours of landmarks and other interesting locations like the Badlands, the Congo, and the Roman Coliseum. PHOTO Jill DiGiorgio

Humboldt Park to Celebrate 125th Anniversary June 4

June 3, 2016

Milwaukee County Parks, Humboldt Park Friends, and Saint Francis Brewery will host the 125th anniversary celebration of Humboldt Park, with local historian John Gurda giving a historic overview and Ron Winkler leading a walking tour of the park. The free family-friendly event is Saturday, June 4, from 3-6 p.m. at Milwaukee’s Craft Beer Garden at Humboldt Park, 3000 S. Howell Ave.

After opening remarks by Zeno Franco, Humboldt Park Friends president, Parks Director John Dargle, Jr. will read the proclamation declaring June 4th as Humboldt Park Day. “Birthday” cake will be served for everyone to enjoy (while it lasts).

2016 South Shore Farmers Market Entertainment Lineup

June 2, 2016


Music and performances begin at 10am unless otherwise noted.

June 18 ULOVE Universal Love Band, Spanglish punk ska with a touch of Afrobeat
June 25 Thistledown Thunders, Fiddle-crazy bluegrass
July 2 Painted Caves, North African surf music
July 9 Geoff Marsh Fire Circus Show!
July 16 NO MARKET (South Shore Frolics)
July 23 Tamarind Tribal Belly Dance, 9:15am;
Love, Light & Harmony, 10:15am. Kirtan chants and upbeat singer/songwriter stylings
July 30
Swing Chevron, Classic and original Gypsy swing trio
August 6 Fox & Branch, Family and kid’s folk tunes
August 13 Chicken Wire Empire Original, Pickin’ and singin’ bluegrass
August 20 Philomusica String Quartet, Light classical fare with tango and pop selections
August 27 Eccentric Acoustic Eclectic, Trio mixing swing, blues, folk, country and standards
September 3 Steve Girman Juggling, Magic, music, and stories for everyone
September 10 Collective Neurosis Jazz, Ethnic and Native American improvisations
September 17 The OK Factor, Classical crossover/alternative folk duo
September 24 Tamarind Tribal Belly Dance—9:15am; Sweet Sheiks—10:15am, 1920s and 1930s vintage pop and jazz quartet
October 1 Nathan Honoré, Original Americana singer/songwriter
October 8 Jesse Walker’s Hitch Old-Time, Blues, roots and bluegrass duo
October 15 Bay View Middle & High School Marching Band, The musical stars of tomorrow, today!

IN BALANCE — Our microbiome and our health

June 2, 2016

By Sheri LM Lee

HEADSHOT SHERI LEEDid you know that the number of microbes on one human hand is greater than the number of human beings in the world?

We assume it is our DNA that makes us who we are. However, discoveries have indicated the genome of our microbiota — the population of microorganisms unique to each individual, may influence many of our likes and dislikes from the foods we prefer to the people we are attracted to.

According to a report in Scientific American in 2007, “there are 10 times more bacterial cells in your body than human cells.”

This really changes the perspective on how much potential we have to impact our health by influencing the microbes in our bodies. Because many microorganisms are beneficial, it sheds light on the damage we may be causing with medication use, excessive hygiene, and agricultural practices.

Relationships have been established between our gut microbiome, also referred to as gut health or gut flora, and our mental health, immune function, and risk for chronic diseases such as obesity, eczema, diabetes, and asthma.

Microbiomes are communities of microbes that live in and on everything we can see, taste, or touch, soil, water, air, food, surfaces. They occur on every surface of our bodies, inside and out. We cannot escape them. Nor should we simply classify bacteria as either bad or good; it’s not that simple.

When the essential population of good bacteria diminishes, pathogenic (bad) bacteria begin to flourish resulting in an unhealthy microbial balance known as dysbiosis. We would be wise to foster harmony by promoting a diversity of microbes rather than focusing our energy on their elimination.

Taking probiotics is a useful and popular adjunct to digestive care. I recommend increasing your microbial diversity and improving overall health to help your microbiome flourish and comprise more than the few strains you will ingest from a bottle of probiotics.

What you eat has a direct influence on gut microbiota. Eat an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fiber is important! While the average American consumes just 15g/day, 40g/day is ideal. Avoid foods that are processed and agriculture or animal products contaminated with herbicides, pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones.

Eat foods to feed your microbes. Inulin, a prebiotic, occurs naturally in bananas, garlic, onions, chicory root, leeks, wheat, asparagus, and artichokes. Introduce these foods gradually to prevent bloating or discomfort. Prebiotics promote the growth of healthy microbes in the intestines.

Increase consumption of fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, curtido, pickles, sourdough, tamari, miso, kefir, and plain yogurt with active cultures. These offer the greatest amount of microbial diversity and they aid digestion.

Get dirty. Work in your garden soil where you will expose yourself to good microbes. Over-cleaning our homes and our bodies eliminates surface microbes and limits exposure to various beneficial microorganisms. Avoid overuse of antibacterial cleaners and hand sanitizers.

Although individual human DNA profiles are rather similar, our individual internal microbial communities are vastly different from one another. Researchers are optimistic that they will soon be able to integrate individual microbial profiles as a tool to further prognosis and determine potential cause and care of certain diseases or illness.

As we look forward to technology bringing such advances, perhaps understanding what helps our microbes flourish and what is detrimental to these communities is a good place to start.

It’s time we begin to appreciate the crucial role of the microbiome and its impact on human health.

Sheri LM Lee, MSOM, C.Ac, LMT  is the owner and lead practitioner at 8 Branches Chinese Medicine, a teaching clinic providing acupuncture and holistic health care for the whole family. More information:

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

PAREN(T)HESIS — Looming thoughts of college

June 2, 2016

By Jill Rothenbueler Maher

NEW Jill Maher Headshot Dec 2013Occasionally a daydream of mine will involve our daughter going to college, even though she is only in grade school. Sometimes it’s a sentimental thought, like how, when she moves, she will probably want to pack a small fleece blanket that was sewn and given to her as a gift by a babysitter. More often it’s a darker thought about how we’re going to fund it.

The cost is, well, crazy for a four-year state college. When I was born in the mid-1970s, the cost of college in 2015 dollars for tuition, fees and room and board was $7,833 for one year. Today that same data point is $19,548. And that’s only one of four, perhaps five, years! My husband and I both work full-time and only have one child, but the dollar figures published by The College Board are still daunting.

The climb in the cost of college seems to have a trajectory unrelated to other economic trends and not correlated with sanity. The consumer price index is barely budging but still college costs creep higher. I’m suspicious that college costs are a bubble that’s going to burst because parents aren’t going to put up with it. Maybe a huge shift in public consciousness will require a signaling event, like if Malia Obama had chosen not to attend college rather than to attend Harvard after a gap year.

Thinking back to my own college years, I remember my parents being advised to budget about $10,000 for the whole package: tuition and fees plus room and board (in on-campus dorms). We put together my parents’ savings plus academic scholarships. Now it seems like a whole different ballgame.

We currently get advice from a financial planner and have a savings plan in place, but loans will be a factor. Those loans can really affect a borrower’s later choices, for example, some younger co-workers talk about how their loans will be a factor in when they will have their own children. They don’t want to try to raise a child burdened with significant student debt.

When I had my own loans to fund graduate school, that debt was the last thing I thought about before I fell asleep at night. Worries about college loans may now be an American norm, but I wonder how long parents will put up with it.

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

Ice Cream Social June 25

June 2, 2016

The St. Francis Historical Society ice cream social and the dedication of the historic John Koenig house, 3849 S. Packard Ave., will take place Saturday, June 25. The social will be held at Jacob’s Well 1:30pm, 3558 E. Sivyer Ave. The house dedication will follow.

Humboldt Park to Celebrate 125th Anniversary June 4

June 2, 2016

Milwaukee County Parks, Humboldt Park Friends, and Saint Francis Brewery will host the 125th anniversary celebration of Humboldt Park, with local historian John Gurda giving a historic overview and Ron Winkler leading a walking tour of the park. The free family-friendly event is Saturday, June 4, from 3-6 p.m. at Milwaukee’s Craft Beer Garden at Humboldt Park, 3000 S. Howell Ave.

After opening remarks by Zeno Franco, Humboldt Park Friends president, Parks Director John Dargle, Jr. will read the proclamation declaring June 4th as Humboldt Park Day. “Birthday” cake will be served for everyone to enjoy (while it lasts).

Puddler’s cottage historic designation ceremony June 18

June 2, 2016


The Bay View Historical Society will bestow landmark status on the George Edmunds house, 2550 S. Shore Dr., Saturday, June 18 at 1pm. The 1873 puddler’s cottage is considered to be the best-preserved example of this type of housing in Bay View. Ron Winkler will talk about the history and significance of the house.

Half of the garage thefts in Bay View occurred in unlocked garages

June 2, 2016

By Katherine Keller

Prompted by three carjackings in Bay View in the first quarter of 2016, Ald. Tony Zielinski hosted a crime meeting May 18 at the South Shore Park Pavilion.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, one of the speakers at the meeting, said the two individuals, Shomeek Johnson and a male juvenile, are in police custody, and are alleged to have shot the woman in the Quincy Avenue carjacking in April. Shomeek Johnson was charged with a homicide that occurred prior to the Quincy incident. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Shomeek L. Johnson, 18, was charged with first-degree reckless homicide and first-degree reckless injury on Good Hope Road April 24. The two young men are believed to have also committed the carjacking on Superior Street.

A different unnamed individual was arrested for the incident on Wentworth Avenue in February, Chisholm said.

Despite the recent uptick of crime, Chisholm said the Bay View area is one of the safest in the city and nation.

He said a major concern in Milwaukee is the increase in vehicle-related crimes that he attributed to the opiate problem. He warned residents to be aware of their surroundings and said that carjackers usually approach from behind.

District 6 Captain Diana Rowe of the Milwaukee Police Department also spoke at the meeting. She presented a chart comparing violent crime and property crime statistics in Bay View from Jan. 1, 2007 to May 11, 2016. She reported that there has been a dramatic increase in car theft this year. There have been 73 vehicle thefts to date. The highest number in the previous nine years was 30 in 2015.

Rowe said that one half of the garage thefts in Bay View this year occurred where garages were not locked. She warned residents not to leave their garage door remote in any visible place in a car, including the visor. Thieves will break into a car to access the remote.

She indicated that Hondas and Toyota Corollas made in late 90s through early 2000s are currently the prime target for thieves because they’re easy to break into. If you have two cars and one of them is one of these models, park it in a locked garage, if possible, she advised. She also suggested that these models should be protected with a kill switch, club, or steering-wheel-column block.

She noted that the perpetrators of the Bay View carjackings are not Bay View residents.

After the meeting, Zielinski contacted the Compass and to say he will introduce a measure to the Common Council to toughen punishment standards for crimes committed with guns in Milwaukee.

Crime Table.FINAL


Chill on the Hill 2016 promises fresh faces and perennial favorites

June 2, 2016

By Sheila Julson

Chill on the Hill concertgoers assembled to listen to the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last year when the 2015 series launched June 2. PHOTO Patty Pritchard Thompson

Chill on the Hill concertgoers assembled to listen to the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra last year when the 2015 series launched June 2. PHOTO Patty Pritchard Thompson

The approaching short but so-sweet summer season has many Milwaukeeans planning some outdoor bliss. That is to say, reclining on lawn chairs or lounging barefoot on blankets with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc or icy lemonade, savoring the sounds of hometown musicians.

That bliss becomes real June 7 when Chill on the Hill 2016 kicks off with Americana rock and roll band The Mosleys, along with the Bay View High School Drum Line. For many, the free weekly concert series that runs Tuesday nights at the Humboldt Park band shell has become a summertime tradition.

The spectrum of this year’s lineup includes hard rock, jazz, hip-hop, blues, power pop, indie rock, singer/songwriter, and more. Most bands are new to Chill this year but returning favorites include the Bay View High School drumline, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and the American Legion Band.

“In choosing bands, we still use the vision from Chill on the Hill’s original days,” said Patty Pritchard Thompson, “which is that we look at bands performing original music,  have a Bay View connection, or at least a Milwaukee tie, and people who haven’t been at Chill in the past.” Thompson is a Bay View Neighborhood Association (BVNA) member and Chill organizer.

The American Legion Band, a Chill on the Hill stalwart, ties in with a Humboldt Park tradition. “They’ve been playing at the band shell in some way, shape, or form, for the past 90 years,” Thompson said. “We work them in around the 4th of July and see them as our patriotic group.”

Russ Grabczyk and Ted Jorin, both local musicians who previously played at Chill on the Hill, serve as BVNA’s talent committee.

Since Chill on the Hill has developed into a locally-renowned weekly outdoor series, BVNA receives hundreds of requests to perform from bands, so Grabczyk and Jorin have a generous pool to choose from. In addition to the qualifying criteria — all original, local, no covers, no repeats. Other factors in band selection include availability and affordability. “We try to catch the rising stars, performers making a name for themselves, but that are not too big to where we can’t afford them,” Thompson said.

BVNA pays bands to perform at Chill on the Hill.

Other overhead includes sound technicians, marketing, renting portable restrooms, and permits. Costs are covered by sponsorship dollars and BVNA funds. “We are fortunate that we have some generous businesses and individuals in the area who have stepped up and have become sponsors,” Thompson said.

Organizers try to keep the lineup fresh and diverse while at the same time taking a few risks. “Not every band will trip the trigger of every audience member, but we ask that people listen with open ears,” Thompson said.

Highlights this year include Ladies Rock Night, July 19, that features Tigernite and Faux Fiction, both female-fronted bands. “They’re heavier and louder rock than many of the other groups,” Thompson remarked. “We’ll also have AUTOmatic, which is a bit more hip-hop than we’ve seen, and they’re paired with a flamenco jazz guitarist Evan Christian.” They will perform June 28.

Joining the local food vendors’ trucks this year is the Milwaukee County Beer trailer where patrons will find suds for sale, mostly Lakeside brews.

Need a beer stein? BVNA will be selling them this year.

Carry-ins are permitted. “If we’re not providing something that you want, bring it yourself. It’s totally fine with us,” Thompson said.

She said BVNA always strives to improve Humboldt Park and the space it uses every week. And to improve the experience for Chill on the Hill guests to make it a fabulous place to spend family-friendly Tuesday evenings.

Chill on the Hill Lineup here.

Neenah-based urban farm expands to Bay View

June 1, 2016

By Sheila Julson 

Urban Farmer Calvin Andersen has begun growing mushrooms at the new Grow Local farm on Bay Street. PHOTO Jennifer Kresse

Urban Farmer Calvin Andersen has begun growing mushrooms at the new Grow Local farm on Bay Street. PHOTO Jennifer Kresse

Calvin Andersen sees the writing on the wall when it comes to the development of future farming. “Statistics show that we’re losing more farmers right now than we’re gaining,” he said. “The average age keeps going up and we need new farmers. Those farmers are going to want to grow and sell in places where they want to live — in cities.”

Grow Local owned by 27-year-old Andersen, along with business partners Steve Catlin and Alex Fehrenbach, incorporated their urban farm as a limited liability company in Neenah, Wis. in 2011, when they built their aquaponic test system. Aquaponics is an agricultural system where fish waste provides nutrients for plants grown in water.

They grow greens, herbs, microgreens (the first edible leaves from plants and herbs), and mushrooms at their Neenah farm. Currently Fox Valley cities are where most of their customers are located.

When seeking a second site to expand their business, the partners eyed Milwaukee. After considering many locations, the trio found an ideal space in “Bottle building,” 822 E. Bay St., between Wrought Washer and the former Louis Allis manufacturing plant. They moved in this past February.

“We knew that Bay View is a center for people who enjoy good food,” Andersen said. “There are lots of bars and restaurants and the community at large seems to be supportive of these types of businesses.”

The Bay Street location fit their overall criteria, including close proximity to downtown and to the expressway, providing convenient travel between Milwaukee and Neenah.

They occupy 6,000 square feet of partitioned space in the building that once housed W.B. Bottle Company. Andersen said they invested  approximately $50,000 in the start-up, received mostly by private financing. The investment established the company’s mushroom growing room—a sterilized, humidity and light-controlled indoor greenhouse.

They’re seeking additional capital to build out the remainder of their space.

Plans for the Bay View farm include a hydroponic system where plants are grown in a water and nutrient solution. Unlike aquaponics, fish are not part of a hydroponics. Andersen said it’s simpler to set up a hydroponic system but that they hope to eventually add aquaponics.

Food and Farming Trends

Microgreens have gained popularity among chefs and consumers, sought for their flavor and high nutritional value. Andersen said they offer approximately 10 varieties. To date, the Neenah farm’s products are sold primarily to restaurants located between Oshkosh and Door County, however, they are shifting their production and sales to individual consumers. They offer year-round subscriptions, similar to a CSA (community supported agriculture). But unlike a CSA, Grow Local’s customers will be able to select the products for their order. Milwaukee subscription customers will pick up their order at the Bay Street location.

Unlike some businesses that sell microgreens that are cut and bagged, Grow Local offers living microgreens, sold in a 10-inch by 10-inch tray, for fresh cuttings. The remaining greens can be watered and kept alive for future cuttings.

Grow Local’s focus is to get food that is as healthy as possible to their customers. “When they’re precut, they go bad quickly. As soon as you harvest something, you lose nutrients, Andersen explained. “So this way you can harvest that food right before it’s served.”

Grow Local isn’t certified organic, but Andersen said they use natural growing methods and no pesticides. The mushrooms are grown on blocks composed of sterilized hardwood sawdust and chips, plus coffee grounds from Stone Creek Coffee Roasters and Kickapoo Coffee in the Third Ward. Andersen said the growth period is approximately six weeks.

In Milwaukee, Grow Local’s first test batches of oyster and king trumpet mushrooms (also known as king oyster or French horn) were ready in early May. They will also grow shiitake and lion’s mane, a versatile mushroom touted by some as beneficial for brain health. “We find that chefs want unique products these days, and people are conscious of the health benefits of different types of mushrooms,” Andersen said.

Grow Local is signed up for the NEWaukee Night Market, an open-air market featuring art, craft, and food vendors. Andersen said they might try other farmers markets in the area.

Neenah Roots

Andersen said when he was growing up, he was always interested in sustainability and entrepreneurship and wanted to pursue a career that would marry those. His desire was to make a large impact on as many people as possible and do something to help decrease the large deficit in sustainable agriculture.

While earning his bachelor’s degree in biological systems engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Andersen met Fehrenbach, a Germantown native. The two began exchanging ideas for sustainable business models. Catlin, whom Andersen knew from high school, expressed an interest in their work and wanted in. The young entrepreneurs built their aquaponics pilot project on a hobby farm owned by Catlin’s parents.

Grow Local has steadily developed since that time. Their aquaponic system in Neenah produces perch and bluegills and assorted herbs and greens.

The Neenah operation generates approximately $40,000 in annual sales on average, Andersen said, but he stressed that they’re still in the early stages.

Andersen, Fehrenbach, and Catlin work fulltime at Grow Local. They have two part-time employees in Neenah and hope to eventually hire people in Milwaukee.

Andersen said they plan to develop farms in Madison and Chicago.

Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and regular contributor to the Bay View Compass.

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