Ahoy! January 2009

December 30, 2008

By Katherine Keller

New offices of the Bay View Compass in the Hide House, looking north.  ~photo Katherine Keller Greetings from our new offices in the Hide House. We’re in loft space in the eastern building of the complex, which, unlike the main building, hasn’t been renovated yet.

To green our space, I put giant sheets of window vinyl over our beautiful old factory-style windows, each bay six-by-eight-foot. That took some time to accomplish, but it significantly reduces the drafts, especially today when the north winds are brisk.

As some of you know, I try to promote a lifestyle that is respectful of the biosphere (or maybe better described as fearful of the fate of our biosphere if we don’t do something soon). That’s why the windows are insulated, the lamps have CFL bulbs, our office paper and Compass are recycled, cleaning products are biodegradable, etc. When I prepared to move to this space, I wanted to go with LED ceiling lighting but I discovered, through my own research and with confirmation from Focus on Energy, that not much is available now. But recent technological advances in LED design (silicone replaces lead or plastic in the housing of the LEDs) will bring many new products to the market soon.

While researching LEDs, I found a superb website that I want to share with you. It’s metaefficient.com. Here is how they describe the site, “Started in 2004, MetaEfficient was the first site to review efficient or ‘green’ products. Our focus has always been on anything that stands out as particularly efficient-be it humble or high-tech. We research and test different methodologies to determine the most optimal, and post our results here. We hope it will inspire others [to] seek out efficiency.” It’s really a good site! I urge architects to peruse it because there is good content in the Architecture section.

Recently I learned of a group of people in Bay View, who have a goal to live with less negative impact on Planet Earth, from Jill Rothenbueler Maher. She proposed a feature story about what may be Bay View’s first ecovillage. It makes sense to me to share cooking and appliances and utility bills. I often wish that our society was constructed so that we shared a lot more: lawn mowers, snow blowers, tree trimmers. Wouldn’t it be great to have little neighborhood co-ops where we could borrow (and return) some of this stuff so we didn’t all have to buy some of these things?

Jill’s Baby View column is about Bay View’s baby boomlet, which apart from being interesting, reflects her resourcefulness concerning research.

Jay Bullock addresses MPS reform in his Hall Monitor column this month. I agree with his premise: MPS problems are not school problems as much as they are Milwaukee problems, and at the base of these problems is poverty. His column thoughtfully considers school reform.

The first of our biannual school sections is published this month. In my opinion, Bay View is endowed with a high concentration of exceptional schools. It disconcerts me when I talk to new residents who know nothing about our schools, and worse, have a negative opinion of them, and consequently will not send their kids to our neighborhood’s schools. To redress this, I asked each of the principals to tell readers about the strengths and unique aspects of their school or curriculum. If you are new to Bay View and haven’t taken time to visit the local schools, do so! You’re living in a part of the city with great schools. Find out for yourself. Schedule a visit.

Before I leave the school topic News & Briefs to read about and see photos of the skiff some of the students built at Inland Seas school. To the students who built that boat, the Compass gives you all mega props! And please note, we’d like a ride in it when warmer weather returns.

We’re introducing a new little element to Trade Winds, our business section, that we’re calling Ebb & Flow. (Last month it was named Movings & Shakings.) Ebb & Flow may not appear in each issue, but when it does appear, you’ll find it to be news blips about local business and other goings-on. I am thinking of it as stream-of-consciousness briefettes.

Hard to resist a segue from ebb and flow to Mr. and Mrs. Jack Sprat-one who could eat no fat, and the other, no lean. That’s how Jennifer Yauck introduces siscowet trout, the subject of H20 this month. WATER Institute research biologist Rick Goetz is studying them to discover why members of this species seem to develop in two forms: fat or lean. That is a siscowet trout in his arms. It’s huge.

Huge is the task a lot of local volunteers have taken on to preserve Seminary Woods. I’d like to draw your attention to Jacky Smucker’s editorial, which takes up the issue of a strip of land owned by We Energies that was to remain undeveloped but that now appears to be in danger of development.

Anna Passante covers the early days of St. Augustine of Hippo Church. The article includes some fascinating photographs. To get a good look at the photos, see our website where you can view them enlarged.

If you haven’t visited our completely redesigned website, take a moment to do so. Matthew Sliker, a journalism student at UWM who grew up in Bay View, writes, takes photos, and designs ads for us. He also designed the new website and updates and maintains it. If you have ideas about the site content or design, write to him: matt@bayviewcompass.com.

We’re introducing a monthly contest on our website. Each month somone will win a different prize. This month the lucky winner will score two free tickets to the Bay View Community Center wine tasting event, their main fundraiser for 2009. Learn more about the contest at bayviewcompass.com/contest.

The new year promises to be challenging but I think we’re at the threshold of a positive new era that the new president and his administration will help our society navigate. It appears that we’ll have a White House that is respectful of the very real crises that must be addressed: massive species extinction, global warming, a teetering economy, poverty, access to health care, the role of the United States in the global community, banking, investing, and election reform, and I hope, leadership that exemplifies civility and justice.

Happy New Year,
Katherine Keller
Publisher & Editor

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