Ahoy! March 2009

February 26, 2009

By Katherine Keller

Shovel-ready. There are some phrases in the language that lack music, poetry, romance. That is a good example. If you think of a better one, contact the White House staff. They seem like a group of people who are sensitive to grace and nuance with regard to language. I want a prettier euphemism to blunt the sharp edges of this dismal passage we are navigating.

As I listened to President Obama’s speech Tuesday night, I thought about Bay View and where we should start with our shovel-ready dollars, when they begin to flow our way. My vote is the parking lot shared by the post office and Bucky’s. Call me a shovel-ready literalist, but that hole is getting scary. I saw a small dog disappear in there last week. And a couple of days ago, a VW bug.

Hole and fissure in parking lot shared by Bay View Post Office and Bucky's Super Video. ~photo Katherine Keller

I called the post office and Bucky’s this morning to find out who owns that lot. The property owner is in New York, Bucky’s said, and although they said they informed the property owner about the need for a repair, there has been no response. Apparently Bay View is going to have to wait for New York’s shovel-ready dollars to be redirected to the disintegrating lot on Oklahoma and Brust.

The fate of Milwaukee’s murals is considered by Michael Timm, who reports about an ordinance that could regulate this public-space based art form. Introduced by Alderman Tony Zielinski, the draconian language of the first draft set off alarms in the public art/artists community. Zielinski, known for his desire to keep our neighborhoods free from gang tagging and vandalism-style graffiti, has backed down and put the ordinance on hold while he gathers more input from community stakeholders.

The much-monitored proposed-Cardinal Stritch development is also covered by Michael Timm. The public is clearly demonstrating their attachment to and desire to protect Seminary Woods, which abuts and overlaps the properties in question. Stay tuned.

Jill Maher considers the challenges for parents who want to protect their children from toxin-laden food and toys, and also writes about shopping options in Milwaukee for those with celiac disease.

Mary Vuk Sussman interviewed Pak-Rite owner Rick Blaha, this month for the Compass update. We introduced this Bay View business in our January 2006 issue. They’re doing well!

I hope you’ll read Q10, because it features an innovative business, The Elumenati, located in The Hide House.

As for The Hide House itself, Anna Passante researched the history of the massive brick buildings on Greeley and Dover.

We reference a 1940 decision of the National Labor Relations Board at the end of Anna’s article. If you are interested in labor history, I urge you to read it because it gives some insight into the first attempts by employees of the Greenebaum Tanning Company to institute a union. In my opinion, the tannery owners and management rather deftly compromised these early labor organizers.

We would like to do more about The Hide House in the future and are looking for photographs or illustrations of the structure, and for stories of those who worked there.

We profile Elaine Johnsen, who has volunteered at Unity Lutheran’s senior coffee hour for 40 years! That is what I call dedication. But there is no shortage of that kind of community spirit and work in Bay View.

Which leads me to my appeal to readers. We are in the early stages of a campaign to enlist readers’ support of the Compass via subscriptions to the paper. People want more of the Compass more often. While I don’t think that a weekly is on the horizon, I think it is possible that we could become bi-weekly. But we can’t do it without capital and I hope that we can raise that capital through subscriptions. There is always, always more content that I’d like to include in the paper each month but there are not the resources for us produce or print it. My goal is to talk 10,000 of you into subscribing to the paper this year. The price is $25. We mail it by First Class Mail. Subscribe via our website or by calling us. It’s getting more and more challenging to provide the paper to you for free.

I got a call yesterday from someone who lives south of Madison in Green County. He called to tell me a flock of robins arrived, and that he heard a sandhill crane calling the same day. That can only mean one thing. My garden, like yours, will soon be shovel-ready.

May March make you mad as a hatter,
Katherine Keller

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