Stitchweld project transforms former industrial site

September 1, 2016

By Katherine Keller

This view illustrates the west side of the development that features the extension of S. Austin Street, which will be extended north. It will curve east and intersect with S. Robinson Avenue. Currently Austin terminates at E. Lincoln Avenue.

This view illustrates the west side of the development that features the extension of S. Austin Street, which will be extended north. It will curve east and intersect with S. Robinson Avenue. Currently Austin terminates at E. Lincoln Avenue.

The first move-ins at the Stitchweld apartment complex, 2171 S. Robinson Ave., are projected to begin April 2017.

The four-building complex, under construction since early spring, occupies most of the area bound by E. Ward Street, S. Robinson Avenue, the railroad tracks to the west, and E. Becher Street to the north. It will consist of 291 apartment units with 93 enclosed parking and 264 surface spaces on the 6.3-acre parcel.

Units will range from 587 to 1,476 square feet and lease for $1,200 to $2,500. The plan includes 85 studios, 103 one bedroom, 90 two bedroom, and 13 three bedroom units, all with 9 foot ceilings and each with a washer and dryer. There are no affordable housing/low-income units.

Indiana-based Milhaus Development is the developer. The design firm is Engberg Anderson Architects.

The name Stitchweld reflects Bay View and Milwaukee history. One of the original uses of the site included the original Harnischfeger building. “They manufactured welding rods,” said Greg McHenry, development director at Milhaus.

A stitch weld, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “resistance welding in which the weld is made linearly by a series of spot welds that are spaced rather than overlapping (as in seam welding).”

McHenry said name Stitchweld is a metaphor that defines the project that brings together a vestige of Bay View’s and Milwaukee’s industrial heritage with the new, vibrant Bay View community.

The steel frame skeleton of one of the former structures on the site was preserved. In its reincarnated state, it will frame a firepit, grills, and a beer garden. PHOTO Katherine Keller

The steel frame skeleton of one of the former structures on the site was preserved. In its reincarnated state, it will frame a firepit, grills, and a beer garden. PHOTO Katherine Keller

The steel frame skeleton of one of the former structures on the site was preserved. In its reincarnated state, it will frame a firepit, grilling area, and a beer garden.

Another area of the development will feature a stage for movie nights and performances. McHenry said that the stage area would possibly be open to pubic use.

The stage was built from materials salvaged from demolished buildings on the site. The former Sweetwater Organics building was one of those razed.

When the $40 million project was originally introduced at a public meeting hosted by Ald. Tony Zielinski in 2015, it included ground level retail space. Milhaus abandoned the mixed-use plan, settling for a solely residential scheme.

Pets will be permitted. Other amenities include a fitness center, coffee bar, dog park and pet spa, carwash area, makerspace/bike garage, and a club room/social room with a large-screen TV and catering area.

There will also be what McHenry called a “co-work area with really fast wifi,” for tenants who work at home and who may need a break from isolation or distractions.

The site will also provide a place to play Ping Pong, bocce ball, and horseshoes.

Austin Street, which presently terminates at Lincoln Avenue, will be extended north, providing access to the west side of the development. Instead of connecting to Becher Street on the north, it will turn east and connect to Robinson Avenue.

Pre-leasing is scheduled to begin this winter and the first move-ins to start in spring. Construction and landscaping are projected to be complete by the end of 2017.

South Shore Park iconic tree in dire straits?

September 1, 2016

By Katherine Keller

The State Champion European Copper Beech in South Shore Park, next to E. Estes Street, is exhibiting signs of stress and advanced age.  PHOTO Katherine Keller

The State Champion European Copper Beech in South Shore Park, next to E. Estes Street, is exhibiting signs of stress and advanced age.
PHOTO Katherine Keller

One of Bay View’s landmarks is the magnificent European Copper Beech tree on the northern edge of South Shore Park on E. Estes Street. Residents have expressed concern that the revered tree appears to be in poor health, evidenced this summer by a canopy of dead leaves.

“This beautiful tree is at a stage in its life that it is over-mature,” said Gregg Collins, forestry supervisor for the Milwaukee County Parks system.

It is believed that the European Copper Beech was introduced to North America during the colonial period and that the tree in South Shore Park was planted in the mid-1800s. That would make the tree about 160 years old.

In arborist terms, an over-mature tree is one  that has exceeded its typical lifespan. It’s the human equivalent of age 105, Collins said.

“In the past four years we have lost several large limbs/leads. Each time this occurred, we have responded by removing any damaged lead and making clean pruning cuts,” Collins said.

During the same timeframe he observed missing bark at the base of the trunk that indicated tissue dieback, even though the tree had a very vigorous full leaf canopy in past years.

Last year two more large limbs failed and there was a noticeable thinning of the leaf canopy. So Collins contacted Wachtel Tree Science to help make a full diagnosis. “We both observed canopy thinning, gypsy moths, aphids, carpenter ants, tissue dieback, and the presence of a fungal infection,” he said.

He said the beech is a very old tree with many forces working against it, and worst of those may be the fungal infection. Fungal infections can disrupt the cambium flow. The cambium is a thin cellular layer that produces tissue that makes the roots, trunk, and branches grow thicker.

“Last year we treated the tree with an antifungal, ant killer, compost tea, mulch, and water. This year we have watched it, added mulch, and watered the root zone,” he said.

The hot dry weeks in June, July, and August exacerbated the tree’s stress.


The majority of leaves on the tree have turned brown and died, possibly the result of the tree’s fungal infection. PHOTO Katherine Keller

This year the canopy continued to thin and by midsummer, the majority of the remaining leaves died.

A small segment of foliage remains green. PHOTO Katherine Keller

A small segment of foliage remains green.
PHOTO Katherine Keller

Forestry staff will water the stately icon again this summer. Collins said he hopes its roots are viable and that it will rebound next year. “I don’t want to immediately assume that it is dead and remove it in case it makes a recovery,” he said.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources keeps a record of “champion trees,” the largest in the state. The DNR records indicate that the champion beech in South Shore Park was last measured in 2007. At the time, the tree was 183 inches (15.25 feet) in circumference and was the second-highest rated European Copper Beech in the state.

Bay View Art in the Park at Humboldt Park

September 1, 2016

By Sheila Julson

PHOTO Brian Breider

PHOTO Brian Breider

Long-time Bay View residents can attest to their neighborhood’s growth from a close-knit, somewhat sleepy blue-collar community to a haven for young professionals, artisans, musicians, and foodies.

Despite its new hip status, the community retains its respect for its roots and history and a know-your-neighbor ambiance.

It’s only natural then, that “new Bay View” has embraced Bay View Art in the Park, a premier fine arts and craft fair that strives to offer diverse and affordable paintings, prints, jewelry, ceramics, glassware, photography, sculpture, metal, and fiber arts.

PHOTO Brian Breider

PHOTO Brian Breider

The fair is held the second Saturday each month in Humboldt Park, May through September.

Local ceramics artist Brian Breider founded Bay View Art in the Park. It debuted the summer of 2014 at Zillman Park on the north end of Kinnickinnic Avenue.

By offering affordable fine art, Breider aimed to fill a market niche without competing with other local craft fairs.

Zillman Park was originally chosen because it was an underutilized space, Breider said. During the fair’s first two seasons, he staged the event every Saturday throughout the summer, rather than once a month. It was an experiment to see if the community would support a weekly art event, especially during Wisconsin’s short summer season filled with festivals, concerts, and events.

In February, Breider told the Compass he felt the construction planned for the Faust Music site on Kinnickinnic and Ward, across the street from Zillman Park, would not be advantageous for the event, the artisans, or its patrons. As such, he decided to find a new venue. He selected Humboldt Park.

The new once-per-month schedule and the move to Humboldt Park appear to have benefited everyone. “Ultimately the artisans decide, and without the artisans there is no event, so I definitely go by their feedback and their needs,” Breider said. “The artisans really like this space, and it’s easy to load and unload. The patrons like it as well, but the focus is first and foremost on the community of artisans. If they’re happy, I’m happy, so we’re hoping we can stay there.”

Breider said he rotates the vendors and that about 36 are present each month. Some sign on for the whole season, while others for one or two dates, an approach that he said allows for a good rotation schedule.

Breider has received compliments on the diversity of vendors. He doesn’t limit the number of artisans who offer the same medium or style but he strives to find a mix of student artisans, up-and-coming artisans, and established artisans. There is a waiting list, he said.

Admission is free so sponsorship dollars cover advertising costs, Breider’s largest expense. Revenue generated by vendors who rent a 10-foot by 10-foot space covers other expenses such as park fees and insurance.

Breider said that some have suggested he invite food trucks but he rejected the idea because he prefers to keep the event focused on art. He also values his partnership with St. Francis Brewing, the vendor who operates the Humboldt Park Beer Garden, and does not want to bring in food or beverage vendors that might compete with the brewery.

Making fine art affordable has been the Breider’s mission since inception. “We don’t have a price cap and some artisans have sold some higher ticket items valued at several hundred dollars, but we just ask that our artisans have a nice range so the art is accessible for everybody,” he said.

PHOTO Brian Breider

PHOTO Brian Breider

“We don’t compete too much with other craft fairs like Makers Market. We want to work together. There’s no shortage of creative people in Milwaukee, but we have to choose artisans that we think will bring diversity to our festival,” Breider added.

Community nonprofits offer art-related, hands-on activities for children and adults to participate in during each of the monthly events. The final date of the 2016 season is Saturday, Sept. 10 from 11am to 5pm. Sponsors Sparrow Collective and Walker’s Point Center for the Arts will offer a free children’s art workshop.

Will the event remain in Humboldt Park in 2017? Breider said it comes down to whether fees charged by Milwaukee County Parks for the use of garbage cans and other facilities will remain affordable. He noted that he plans to retain the once-per-month schedule.

The final event of the 2016 season is Saturday, Sept. 10.

More info:

Sheila Julson, who grew up in Bay View, is a regular contributor to the Bay View Compass.

Frolics Festival and Parade Meeting October 26

September 1, 2016

County Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic and Alderman Tony Zielinski are cohosting a community meeting regarding the Frolics Festival and Parade. Members of the Bay View Lions who stage the event will participate.

Milwaukee County Parks Director John Dargle will also be present. Other interested groups and organizations may also attend and participate.

The meeting is scheduled for Wed., October 26 at 6pm in the South Shore Park Pavilion.

“Everything and anything regarding the festival and parade will be on the table. So it is extremely important that if you have strong feelings on the matter [that you] show up,” Zielinski said. “If you are unable to attend please feel free to email me at

Bay View Car-jacking Suspects Arrested

September 1, 2016

Police arrested three suspects in connection with an armed car-jacking on S. Greeley Street and E. Dover Avenue August 15 at 5:55am. Two more suspects were arrested for two car-jackings on August 23, one near E. Rosedale Avenue and Burrell Street and another, about 20 minutes later, at 9:30pm. In each instance the car-jacking was at gunpoint, although the gun recovered by police in the August 23 incident was a BB gun. None of the victims were harmed.

District 14 Ald. Tony Zielinski said, “There are car-jackings all over the city. The number of car-jackings in Bay View is minuscule. Once word gets out that the police have made arrests for those in our area, the numbers will drop even more. The cops are successful in Bay View because residents are so active working with them,” he said.

HALL MONITOR — We have failed our children, and the consequences are spreading

September 1, 2016

By Jay Bullock

Jay1headshotAfter a summer with fire and an uprising in Milwaukee, I’m going to open this first column of the school year with a paradox. There has never been a better time in American history to be a child, but we have utterly failed in our responsibilities to our children.

Let me explain. Today, the median American child is doing great. In general, test scores are up, as are expectations for students, graduation rates, and college attendance rates. Childhood mortality is down, as are juvenile crime, teen pregnancies, and rates of adolescent smoking, drinking, and drug abuse. We’re raising, by any metric, the smartest and healthiest generation of American children ever.

But not every child is the median child. As in almost every other aspect of American life, there exists a clear dichotomy. On the one hand, children in America’s wealthier families and communities experience tremendous advantage and success. On the other, America’s poorer families and communities fall further and further behind.

According to a study last year by the Urban Institute, nearly 40 percent of all American children will live in poverty for at least one year before the age of 18. That number is 75 percent for African American children.

Each year data show more than two million American children experience a period of homelessness and more than 15 million face food insecurity. Again, these hit minority children at a much higher rate.

Children who spend any time at all in poverty are significantly less likely to finish high school. Unlike the median American child, they will not be graduating or going to college in record numbers.

That alone should explain why I believe we failed our children, but it is much worse than that. This failure is not just real and consequential, it is baked into the very fabric of American civic and political life.

Decades ago this country entered into a kind of tacit agreement with itself. We looked around and saw poverty, racial and economic segregation, a crime epidemic, blighted cities and backward small towns, and a host of other social ills that needed curing. And we decided, through some kind of subliminal consensus, that we would solve those social ills through education.

America’s public schools, we agreed, could handle this work.

The evidence is everywhere. “Education is the only way out of poverty!” — how often have you heard someone declare that? Those who make this claim are surely earnest. As poverty falls, they believe, other problems will also begin to vanish — an educated populace is an employed, law-abiding, healthy, socially responsible populace.

But at this point in our grand experiment to let schooling fix everything, it should be clear that it doesn’t actually work that way, that, instead, we need policy solutions that work outside the classroom rather than within it.

Or, if we insist on keeping to the plan, schools must be given adequate resources to overcome barriers like poverty that make educating America’s poorer children much more difficult.


 Source: U. S. Dept. of Education 


There was a time when the plan to use schools to fix our problems was still moderately new, when the country did invest heavily in school funding. Starting around 1980 and continuing through the go-go economy of the 1990s, average per-pupil funding more than doubled when adjusted for inflation. Much of that came from increased federal Title I spending that was targeted for schools with high-poverty populations.

This made a difference. According to a new report by the Shanker Institute, spending levels affect student achievement. “In direct tests of the relationship between financial resources and student outcomes,” they report, “money matters.” School funding is key in everything from student-teacher ratios to upkeep of buildings. A Cornell University study this year found that building conditions strongly influence student achievement.

On the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test, known as “the nation’s report card,” math and reading scores increased significantly through the 1980s and 1990s, especially among younger students. Achievement gaps between wealthy, white students and other groups closed.

Since 2000, though, per-pupil funding has fallen across the nation. On NAEP tests, the gaps have stopped narrowing.

According to an August report by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, here in Wisconsin, three-quarters of school districts are receiving less state aid now than prior to the recent financial crisis, forcing record numbers of districts to place funding referenda on the ballot. High-poverty areas like Milwaukee don’t have that option and are falling further behind wealthier neighbors.

Milwaukee is not alone. This summer we saw racial tensions here boil over into sometimes-violent unrest, as has happened in cities nationwide over the last few years. While sparked specifically by police actions in minority communities, underlying all of the protests, including Milwaukee’s, is the incontrovertible fact that these communities have not just been mistreated, but actively starved of resources.

And because we still have our expectation that schools and schools alone must do the work of fixing society’s problems, blame for the persistence of these issues is placed squarely upon underfunded districts like the Milwaukee Public Schools. You can’t swing a badger by the tail in the state capitol building without hitting one of the legislators who has attacked MPS and threatened to strip the district of even more resources.

Therein lies our great failure: At a time when the average American child is better off than ever, we have abandoned our obligations to those children who most need our help.

If we are going to keep expecting America’s schools to solve America’s problems, we have to give schools the resources to do it, and quickly. We have only just begun to see how the consequences of our failure to do so are spreading beyond test scores and classrooms and into the streets.

Jay Bullock teaches English at Bay View High School and thinks his Twitter jokes are funny:

Cream City Swirl Closed

September 1, 2016

PHOTO Katherine Keller

PHOTO Katherine Keller

A sign on a window of Cream City Swirl, 2663 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., announced that the business is closed and for sale.

Susan Nolan opened her business April 20, 2014, selling frozen yogurt, crepes, and gelato. She did not immediately respond to a Compass request for comment.

Gifts fund gazebo, ramp, and perennial gardens

September 1, 2016

By Katherine Keller

A donation to the Bay View Historical Society in memory of Bill Doyle funded the new gazebo at the Beulah Brinton House, 2590 S. Superior Street.  PHOTO Katherine Keller

A donation to the Bay View Historical Society in memory of Bill Doyle funded the new gazebo at the Beulah Brinton House, 2590 S. Superior Street. PHOTO Katherine Keller

Have you noticed the graceful new gazebo at the east end of the Beulah Brinton House lot? If you have and walked across the lawn to take a look at it, you would also likely have stopped to admire the flowering perennials and noted the handsome new accessibility ramp at the back of the house.

Each of these amenities was funded by memorial gifts to the Bay View Historical Society. The society owns the historic Brinton home that serves as its headquarters. “The board decided it would be nice to have a gazebo a couple of years ago,” said the society’s vice president Anne Maedke. But they would have to wait until they had the means to pay for it.

“The contributions from the Doyle family made it possible,” said Susan Ballje, BVHS’s past president.

Bill Doyle, a life-long Bay View resident and one of its most ardent champions, died in 2014. “When the board decided to designate the gift given in his memory for the gazebo, said Ballje, “we met with (Bill’s wife) Jan to tell her what we wished to do with their gift. She was delighted with the proposal and when she learned their bequest didn’t cover the full cost of the project, she personally met that difference with another donation.”

“The gazebo was a kit,” Maedke said. “The ramp and the gazebo are made of the same material, engineered wood. The wood is low maintenance and has a long lifespan.”

Bay View resident and small business owner Thor Yaquish, a carpenter, handyman, and independent contractor, constructed the gazebo.

It will be used for weddings, live music, and other society “showpiece events” that would include speakers.

Ballje said the gazebo was completed just in time for a wedding party to use it to serve a buffet.

A grant from the William Stark Jones Foundation paid for the first phase of “Grandma’s Garden” on the north side of the house.

A gift in memory of Paul Kohlbeck funded the purchase and installation of perennials in “Grandma’s Garden,” the floral landscaping that surrounds the Beulah Brinton House.   PHOTO Katherine Keller

A gift in memory of Paul Kohlbeck funded the purchase and installation of perennials in “Grandma’s Garden,” the floral landscaping that surrounds the Beulah Brinton House.
PHOTO Katherine Keller

Grandma’s Garden refers to the perennial gardens planted around the perimeter of the house. The name references one of the social programs Beulah Brinton hosted in her home that she named Grandma’s Club.

Its members served women in Bay View who were providing care for their grandchildren. They also collected and exchanged seeds. Some of the seed came from their personal gardens or neighbors’, but seed was also collected when they or family members traveled to other parts of the country, Ballje said.

Heritage Landscaping gifted the society with a landscape plan for the garden. Plants were selected that would have been common in a Milwaukee garden in the Civil War Era and that Beulah Brinton may have planted around her home.

Beulah and Warren Brinton built the house in 1872 and 1873. It is not known when the couple moved to Bay View from Michigan, but historians speculate that it was around 1870. Warren worked at the Milwaukee Iron Company. Beulah dedicated herself to the social welfare of her community, serving many of the immigrant families who moved to Bay View to work at the iron mill. Much of her service was provided within the Brinton’s home.


An Eastern Tiger Swallowtail sipped nectar from a zinnia in the Bay View Historical Society garden. PHOTO Katherine Keller

Jennifer Goetzinger revised Heritage’s landscaping plan and gathered plants and cuttings which were given to BVHS.

A gift in memory of Paul Kohlbeck funded the purchase and installation of more plants. Kohlbeck and Audrey Quinsey cofounded the historical society. Quinsey and her husband were former owners of the Brinton home. Kohlbeck once served as the society’s president.

A ramp was added to the back of the house to enhance accessibility. “The ramp was a suggestion from community members and strongly supported by Alderman Tony Zielinski, Ballje said. “Several groups had been meeting at the house and [some individuals] encountered challenges without a ramp access. Tony brought many significant people together to help with design and fundraising to cover the cost. Since the ramp was installed, there has been more demand to rent the Beulah Brinton house.” The house serves as a venue for classes, private parties, weddings, bridal showers, and for neighborhood and community meetings. It was completed in May.

Wendy Cooper donated a small antique wagon in memory of her mother Brigitte Cooper, who volunteered for the historical society for 25 years. The wagon came from Germany where Wendy purchased it in 2001. It retains a name plate that indicates it was made by a Baden-Wüttermburg firm called Heinrich Hammer. Cooper found a 1910 ad for the firm that includes an illustration of a child with the same style wagon that’s referred to as a He-Ha Wagen. Cooper said that when she learned the society was going to name its herb garden in honor of her mother, who was born in Germany, she decided to donate the wagon. It resides in the garden named after her mother.

The newly installed accessibility ramp was funded by a donation made by Avalon owner Lee Barczak who gave the proceeds of the first three nights’ admission, when the restored theater re-opened in 2014.  PHOTO Katherine Keller

The newly installed accessibility ramp was funded by a donation made by Avalon owner Lee Barczak who gave the proceeds of the first three nights’ admission, when the restored theater re-opened in 2014.
PHOTO Katherine Keller

Ballje also noted that a new bench was recently placed under the big pines at the back of the lot. It was given in memory of Florence Bethke, a society member who loved the yard at Beulah Brinton House.

“We’re looking a lot better and there’s more to come,” Ballje said.

A dedication and celebration will take place at the gazebo Monday, Oct. 3 at 5:30pm. The event is open to the public.

Dash to Bash debuts September 17

September 1, 2016


Amber Budahn recently opened her second Bay View location on the northeast corner of E. Rusk and S. Delaware avenues. PHOTO Katherine Keller

Amber Budahn recently opened her second Bay View location on the northeast corner of E. Rusk and S. Delaware avenues. PHOTO Katherine Keller

The 2016 Bay View Bash will kick off with the first Dash to the Bash 5K run and 1.5-mile walk. The Dash was organized and is presented by Wild Workouts and Wellness. The 12th Annual Bay View Bash will be held Sept. 17.

The run/walk begins at 10:30am. Dash registration is open from 9am to 10am. Wild Workout team coaches will lead a warm up at 10:15am. The run starts at 10:30am and the walk at 10:35am.

The course starts outside of Sven’s Café on the corner of Russell Avenue and Lenox Street, passes through the neighborhood on the west side of Kinnickinnic Avenue, and through Humboldt Park.

Proceeds will benefit the Bay View Bash Fund through the Bay View Community Fund.

More info:

The Shop Relocates to South Milwaukee

September 1, 2016

By Katherine Keller

After a 12-year stint at the Hide House in Bay View, Tim Schneider has moved his motorcycle repair business to South Milwaukee. He opened for business at the new location in the last week of August.

His business, The Shop, specializes in repairing and rebuilding Japanese and European motorcycles, including vintage models. When he began, he only accepted non-American bikes because he saw there was a niche in the local market. Since then, he’s expanded and now accepts American-made bikes but only those made in 1930s and years prior.

Schneider is independent, not tied to any bike manufacturer.

He opened his business in 1999 on Land Place near Brady Street and moved to the Hide House in January 2003.

Schneider purchased the 5,000-square-foot building located at 1905 13th Avenue. He said he’d been looking for a new location “pretty aggressively for the past two years, or so.”

He was motivated by a desire to invest in a building because of the long-term financial security it offered him, now and in retirement.

He purchased the property from Charles Wink, who operated CJ’s Auto Works in the building since 1973 or 1974, according to Wink’s son Charlie. He said that Charles himself purchased the building from his grandfather who had operated a small foundry in the building that dates from the 1920s.

“The Hide House property is great and it was well-suited at first, but it’s divided into so many sections and laid out awkwardly. The owner (Sig Strautmanis/General Capital Group) and the rest are great and they always helped me out but I had to start thinking about long-term security. They knew I was looking for a building.” Owning the building provided him with that and secured what he said is a business that keeps growing and thriving.

Schneider will occupy the majority of the building, 4,000 square feet. The existing tenant operates an auto body business and will remain in the building. “The financing went through very quickly,” said Schneider. His offer was buoyed by the income generated by the section of the building that is leased. “The tenant basically paid the mortgage,” he said.

Schneider said his bank required a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment audit to identify potential liability such as an underground fuel storage tank or contaminated soil. The audit cleared the way for financing. “It came up clean,” Schneider said. “It was on the market for quite a long time. I got a good deal.”

He spent three months cleaning and prepping the nearly 100-year-old brick building.  “It was cheap and it was a dump. The building was really solid. It just needed a little TLC. Sweat equity, that’s the keyword here,” he said.

The new location permitted Schneider to expand his retail operation that he is set up on the second floor above his shop. At the Hide House, his retail inventory was limited. He sold oil filters and batteries and similar items, but he’s adding apparel to the retail line to include jackets, helmets, and gloves.

IN BALANCE — Back to school, healthy routines

September 1, 2016

By Sheri Lee

HEADSHOT SHERI LEEGoing back to school can be a difficult transition for everyone. Teachers, students, and parents may each struggle to find their groove in these first few weeks. After months of enjoying late nights, spontaneity, and summer fun, it can be a struggle to settle into a new schedule. Therefore, it is important to develop healthy routines to bring a sense of peace, predictability, and to reduce emotional and physical vulnerabilities.

Vulnerability makes us more susceptible to illness rather than the exposure itself. There seems to be an assumption that schools offer greater risk for illness. Schools and daycare centers are often referred to as germ factories. We have come to believe our children will be exposed to germs and bring them home and everyone will fall victim to illness. It is unhealthy habits that compromise vitality and weaken the body’s ability to fight exposure to pathogens. We are often physically burdened by prolonged and recurrent illnesses because we are missing the mark when it comes to preventative healthcare and wellness.

Starting the year off on the right foot will help keep everyone healthier. I’d like to share some healthy routines to remember when adjusting to a new schedule.

Make sleep a priority. Lingering longer daylight hours in fall keep us up later so it can be hard to get back to an early bedtime routine. Adequate sleep allows our bodies time to heal and missing out on it puts us at higher risk for physical and emotional stress. The National Sleep Foundation suggests kids between the ages of three and five get 10 to 13 hours of sleep a night; ages six to 13 need 9 to 11 hours of sleep; and teens 14 and older should get eight to 10 hours of sleep a night.

If your child is waking up at 7am, they need to be asleep before 8pm, unless they are over the age of eight. Ten to 12 hours of sleep per night seem like a lot, but for growing minds and bodies it is a must. Going to bed with a full stomach can disrupt quality of sleep. Remember to eat at least two hours before bed.

Eat healthy meals. Kids tend to get plenty of grains and fruits, so try to encourage more vegetables. Recognize the impact food plays upon health because a lack of good nutrition can be detrimental. Sugar, along with greasy foods and excessive amounts of dairy, can create congestion and inflammation. Avoid sugar. Kids are especially sensitive and react negatively to overly processed foods, so skip the junk food. Pack a lunch, have healthy snacks handy, and most importantly, always make time for breakfast.

Whole food supplements can be a great way to provide nutrients that may be missing from the diet. They are absorbed like food and help meet the gaps missing in the average diet. I recommend only a high quality multivitamin and omega-3 fish oil to create a good foundation for people of most ages. Talk to your care provider to see what is best for your child.

Spend time outside. Go for an evening walk or bike ride to help limit after-school screen time and increase opportunities for conversation. Remember school is a new stressor. The changes in routines, environment, people, relationships, sleep, and meal times — these can all add up.

Children, like adults, are sensitive to change so make sure to take time to relax and ease into these new routines. Be aware of the effects that stress has on our health. Talk about feelings, concerns, and try to reserve time to offer additional support during this transition. Make time as a family every day to reflect and converse at dinner or as a ritual before bed.

Sheri Lee, MSOM, C.Ac, LMT operates 8 Branches Chinese Medicine, where she and her colleagues provide holistic health care for the whole family. More information at: 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 — Rolling with eye rolls

September 1, 2016

By Jill Rotherbueler Maher

NEW Jill Maher Headshot Dec 2013Smiles were the topic of conversation at a recent dinner. My husband and I enjoyed our meal with friends whose newborn just began smiling for the first time. We shared their excitement over that important facial expression.

Another friend joked that little humans are preprogrammed to smile just when their parents are getting to wits’ end with caring for a newborn. She thinks it’s a “survival of the species” hereditary pattern.

Whatever the reason, little smiles are an adorable signal between adults and children. As they transition from infant to toddler, some children will be taught sign language so they can clearly make requests like “more food” or its opposite, “all done.” It’s worth the time spent training kids because wee ones can typically signal with hands before their speech makes their desires clear.

As children transition to preteens, their nonverbal expressions can be more difficult to interpret. Our daughter recently started rolling her eyes. Of course, we didn’t teach her that one! Then again, we probably did unintentionally teach it by doing it ourselves.

We likely ignored the first time she did it and now we typically take it in stride. Sometimes we tease her that she’s giving us “teenager eyes.” We certainly haven’t used the retort that I’ve seen advocated on parenting blog Motherlode, which is, “That’s rude. I’m trusting you’ll soon find a more mature way to let me know what you’re thinking.”

I might keep that line in the back of my mind and paraphrase it when she gets more aggressive. So far, she has used it in more of a “you’re so goofy” manner than a “you’re sooooo annoying” manner. As she becomes a true preteen, eye-rolling might become a way to camouflage deeper feelings. She may find it an easier way to avoid a topic she doesn’t want to discuss or fears she’ll cry about. Then eye-rolling could be a way to stop a conversation without walking out of a room.

It’s difficult to remember my own preteen years, but I would guess I invoked this communication technique behind my parents’ backs much more than to their face. It’s odd to use a nonverbal expression that nobody else sees, but I’m guessing it can help a young person establish a sense of self. Kind of like slamming a bedroom door but lower on the annoyance scale.

Slamming a bedroom door is another milestone, one we haven’t experienced yet. When it happens, we probably won’t brag about it at dinner!

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

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