Grade 5 Fernwood Geography Wiz Goes To State Bee

May 2, 2018

By Sheila Julson

Steve Szymanski, Fernwood Geography Club coach, Mrs. Carla Langhus (Lower Elementary teacher and Geo Bee Moderator), Quinn Weisser, Mr. John Sanchez, Principal at Fernwood Montessori, Jen Schmidt, Fernwood Geography Bee coach. —Courtesy Fernwood Montessori School

Which country does not border the Gulf of Guinea? Ethiopia, Benin, or Cameroon?
Answer: Ethiopia.

While some adults might have difficulty answering that question without consulting a map, students like Fernwood Montessori School’s Quinn Weisser would not. He aced lots of challenging geography questions at the 2018 National Geographic Bee’s Wisconsin State Bee, held April 6 in Madison, Wis.

Most of the 100 students who competed were in middle school grades, but Weisser was one of only two fifth-graders who competed. Fernwood was one of four other schools from Milwaukee that sent a student to the competition. 

Weisser studied geography facts and prepared for the bee through Fernwood’s geography club, led by parent volunteers Jen Schmidt and Steve Szymanski, who each have two children who attend Fernwood. The club was formed this school year.

From October through April, the club met after school in Fernwood’s library, which has a smart board and access to Google Earth, where students got to view sights such as the top 10 largest waterfalls in the world. They also played geography board games and performed other geography-related activities.

Schmidt initially started the club for fourth, fifth, and sixth graders. Initially, she didn’t realize that the National Geographic-designed program materials were for seventh and eighth grade students. When she did, she did not expect to send any of the younger students in the club to the bee. But the students started to have fun and they learned a lot, so that motivated Schmidt to hold a school bee.

“Quinn has a true gift for geography,” Schmidt said. “He has such a bright future. I [was] so proud to see him take on this opportunity.” 

On January 29, Fernwood held its geography bee, moderated by lower elementary teacher Carla Langhus. Weisser won Fernwood’s geography bee.

School winners were eligible to take an online qualifying exam to determine if they could participate in the Wisconsin State Bee. Weisser passed. 

Weisser, along with his mother, Korinthia Klein, and Schmidt, attended the state bee, held at the American Family Insurance building in Madison. The state bee has been held since 1989.

Once at the state bee, competing students, parents, and coaches were given an overview about what to expect.

The bee began with preliminary rounds, where kids were grouped into five separate rooms, with 20 in each room. Each student was read eight questions in the preliminary round. Students who answered all eight correctly, advanced to a tiebreaker round, and tiebreaker winners moved on to the finals. Klein said Weisser finished in the middle of the pack of his preliminary group.

“There were strict rules about no technology because all states and territories were holding bees on the same day, and they had to make sure questions weren’t getting out,” Klein said. “No children or parents were allowed out of the rooms until the children were done. There were lots of rules to keep it consistent. No parents were allowed to mouth answers. We all had to sit on our hands and be absolutely quiet.”

Hansen Jin, an eighth grade student from EG Kromrey Middle School in Middleton, Wis., was the state winner. Winners of each state bee advanced to the national bee in Washington D.C. that will be held May 20-23.

Weisser enjoyed his experience at the bee. “I like that the question-asker guy was really nice. I was nervous because there were a lot of people sort of competing for the same thing. I liked getting asked questions I knew the answers to. The ones I got wrong were things I didn’t know, rather than things I knew and couldn’t remember. I would like to do it again,” he said.

“He made educated guesses,” Klein said. “One of the questions he got wrong was, what is the second largest city in Switzerland? It didn’t occur to us to study second largest cities.” (Do you know the largest?)

Weisser now knows that answer is Geneva. Klein said that in the car on the ride home, he wanted her to ask him more geography questions, and he realized that he needs to study cities, and features of countries, and regions that will provide clues to answers.

“Another one he got wrong was about leafcutter ants in a Central American country on the Nicoya peninsula,” Klein said. “He answered Panama, because his uncle was an entomologist in Central America, so we knew there were leafcutter ants in Panama, but what threw us off was the name of the peninsula. We weren’t familiar with that. The answer was Costa Rica, so he made an educated guess.”

A love of geography

Klein said that her son’s love of geography started as a toddler when Quinn received a United States puzzle map. “What appealed to him was how the shapes were significant and fit together in a meaningful way, whereas regular puzzles just fit together to form a picture,” she said. “He was only 18 months when he mastered the Asia puzzle.”

Toddler Quinn Weisser fell in love with geography when he received his first puzzle map. —Courtesy Korinthia Klein

Klein recalled that when Weisser’s older sisters, Mona and Aden, were at school, she brought Quinn to her violin store. He sat on the floor with a map puzzle of Europe. 

During a visit to the Milwaukee Public Museum, Quinn, who was about two at the time, noticed a display of an African country named Zaire. Klein said he questioned why it wasn’t labeled the Democratic Republic of Congo, the nation’s name since 1997.

When he discovered that puzzle-maker GeoPuzzle didn’t produce one of Australia, Weisser made one himself. He has celebrated birthdays with cakes decorated to resemble globes. His father, Ian Weisser, has a degree in geography.

“I like maps, and learning new facts and trivia,” Quinn said. He would also like to travel.

Although Weisser is only 11 years old, his mom said Quinn has expressed interest in a geography-related career, such as a cartographer. 

Held since 1989, the National Geographic Bee is a competition for public schools, private schools, and homeschools in the United States and its territories, as well as the Department of Defense Dependents Schools. 

The National Geographic Bee Championship will take place in Washington, D.C. May 20–23. National Geographic will stream the final round of the on its website May 24.

(The largest city in Switzerland is Zurich.)

Erin Dentice Southside SOUP Winner

March 1, 2018

By Katherine Keller

Erin Dentice was voted winner of the Feb. 11 Southside SOUP prize that she will use to support her aquaponics lab and garden projects at Milwaukee Parkside School for the Arts.

“Dentice explained how they are growing the food and [talked] about the cooking classes with a real chef, who is teaching kids and their parents about nutrition and cooking. She plans to use the $850 she won for more plastic for hoop houses, seeds, and compost,” said Mary Ellen Herman, one of the event organizers.

Herman said there were three more presenters who vied for the $850 prize. Christa Marlowe would have used the prize to host an event at Puddler’s Hall for people in Bay View to meet the women running for office in Wisconsin this fall. Ryan Laessig would have used the prize to add murals to the utility boxes that are placed along Kinnickinnic Avenue in Bay View. Tippecanoe Presbyterian Church would have used the prize to purchase food and supplies for its warming room for people who are homeless.

The next Southside SOUP will be held at Old Town Serbian Restaurant, May 6, from 4-7pm.

SOUP originated in Detroit, Mich., and has been adopted by communities across the country. In Wisconsin, there are SOUP events in Milwaukee, La Crosse, Wausau, Sheboygan, and Green Bay.

Any individual or group with an idea for a project that would directly impact the District 14 Aldermanic neighborhoods is encouraged to apply.

The events are open to the public and are family friendly. Admission is $10. Children under age 10 are encouraged to attend and receive free admission. Registration, project application, and other info:

Southside SOUP is sponsored by the Bay View Neighborhood Association.

Campaign to Dissolve KK Avenue BID Update

March 1, 2018

By Katherine Keller

As the Compass reported last month, Bay View property owners Ada Duffey and David Brazeau are leading an effort to dissolve the Kinnickinnic Avenue Business Improvement District #44.

To dissolve the BID, Duffey and Brazeau must collect the signatures of owners in the BID whose property values equal more than 50 percent of the total value of the properties in the KK Avenue BID. The current total assessment for the 194 properties equals $73,210,000. Duffey needs signatures by owners whose building assessments equal $37,337,100. By the end of January, she said she had collected “$9,049,600 worth of signatures and (had) verbal/written commitments for an additional $7,630,900,” a total of $16,680,500.”

In the four weeks since, Brazeau and Duffey have continued to gather petition signatures. “We’re right around 32% of the total bid assessment, so 64% of what we need,” Duffey said, “We’re getting one to two signatures every day. Many people are very supportive of signing the petition. I do think we will get sufficient signatures. It is just a matter of contacting people, informing them, and getting their signatures.”

“Yes, we will get enough signatures. We are getting signed petition forms back almost every day,” David Brazeau said. “Once they hear about the BID’s proposal of raising the assessment rate by 500 percent, it is a no brainer. Everyone that I have met is thanking us for doing this, as they see absolutely no value in the BID. As of today, we have 70 commercial property owners that have signed the petition to eliminate the BID, with a total value of $25.6 million.”

A Business Improvement District (BID) is an economic development tool used to help maximize business growth along a major business strip. BIDs are areas where property owners in designated geographic areas agree to percentage-based additional annual property assessment. Those assessments form a BID’s annual budget and funds are spent on projects that enhance the local business environment. Those may include improvements to the streetscape, marketing efforts, business recruitment activity, and security programs.

A change in the assessment scheme for Milwaukee-based BIDs reduces the amount of taxes that BIDs can collect. As reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the new Wisconsin budget stipulates that only the commercial, not residential portions of mixed-use buildings can be taxed.

KK BID president Lee Barczak said that KK BID’s budget is already one of the smallest in Milwaukee and is one of the reasons he wants to consider raising the assessment in Bay View. He said the BID’s annual budget would be reduced by 20 percent as a result of the reduced assessments, and noted that there has never been a cost-of-living increase in the assessments since the BID started in 2009.

St. Francis Students Create Gift Of Independence

March 1, 2018

By Sheila Julson

St. Francis High School students Georgia Hancock, Alex Reid, and Jake Bednarski pose with the robot they built to give toddler Vivian Johnson more independence. —Photo Jennifer Kresse

Toddler tethered to medical equipment assisted by their robot

Students in the St. Francis Robotics  (SFROBOTICS) program are using their skills and ingenuity to make life a little easier for a Menomonee Falls toddler Vivian Johnson, who was born with Chiari malformation. The condition, according to the Kids Health website, “causes the cerebellum — the part of the brain that controls coordination and muscle movement — to push into the space normally occupied by the spinal cord.”

SFRBOTICS is part one of the St. Francis School District STEM program. It was formed as a robotics club in 2008 under the guidance of science teacher Peter Graven. He quickly realized that student robotics could encompass more than robot competitions, although they do that, too. He formed ONEIGHTY, a program where students use technology to assist people and improve an aspect or aspects of their lives.

Graven said the students’ ONEIGHTY work is what likely got the attention of TMJ4 reporter Courtny Gerrish, who in November 2015 covered the plight of then 14-month old Baby Vivian Johnson and the struggle of her parents, Sarah and Clay Johnson, to persuade BadgerCare to cover a special bed designed for children with special needs.

Vivian Johnson lives in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin with her parents Sarah and Clay Johnson, and her siblings Samuel and Lilly. —Courtesy Sarah Johnson

As Vivian grew, she defied her doctor’s glum prognosis that she would never walk or be very active.

Vivian’s life is dependent on her being continually tethered to her ventilator, oxygen tank, and other large, cumbersome medical devices. When she began to walk, Vivian’s parents needed to follow her with those life-sustaining devices. Graven said Vivian and her parents needed something that would enable her to be more independent so she could play where she wanted and when she wanted without her parents following her with the equipment. Enter robotics.

“We started communicating with Vivian’s family and began work on the project the beginning of last school year,” Graven said. Their goal was to create a robot that would carry the equipment, moving from place to place with Vivian.

Graven, and SFROBOTICS members, Alex Reid, a senior at St. Francis High School, and Georgia Hancock, a junior, explained the design and challenges behind “Vivian’s Bot” or “Fulplae” because it allows full access to play. Their solution would be a tiered shelf-robot that held her medical devices and followed her as she moved around. Graven said that the robot must be able to avoid obstacles in the house. At the same time, it must recognize that Vivian is not an obstacle nor are the tethers between her and the robot.

Reid said that they visited Vivian’s family’s home to examine the layout and to determine the robot’s dimensions and potential designs. Reid and Hancock, along with SFROBOTICS members Colton Feirer (Grade 11), Jacob Bednarski (Grade 12) and Angelina Fowler (Grade 10), actively worked on Fulplae. Eleventh graders Josh Wendlick and Ryan Putnam also contributed to the project.

The students designed and built the robot and wrote its software.

“You can search on MIT’s web page and find designs very similar, so we’ve basically asked high school kids to do graduate work,” Graven said. “It definitely upped their game.”

Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) mentors donated their time and expertise to help customize the robot’s axle and frame.

Several local and nationwide companies and organizations stepped up and donated time or supplies to help SFROBOTICS students create Fulplae. Price Engineering, in Hartland, Wis., donated the purple metal used for the frame.

“The 80/20 metal is a material we never worked with before the Vivian project, but we wanted to use it because it’s durable,” Hancock said. “We just sent [Price] the file and let them know what we needed for the frame, and they sent us all the parts. We had to assemble it.”

Wauwatosa-based Interstate Batteries donated batteries to help power Fulplae, and Cross the Road Electronics, of Michigan, provided motorized controllers. Some plastic parts were donated by UW-Milwaukee, while other plastic parts were designed and printed by the SFROBOTICS team.

Once Fulplae was up and running, SFROBOTICS did test runs at the lab, which has tiled floors. But when they took the robot to Vivian’s home to test, the students were stymied by an unanticipated obstacle — carpeting.

“The machine doesn’t drive well on the carpet,” Reid explained. “It drove around here just fine on tiled floors but turning on carpet was a problem.” They also had to do some further tweaking to incorporate the tubing and cables that tether Vivian to her medical equipment.

‘We were doing test runs without the cabling, but when Vivian’s mother attached her to the device, we saw (these) further challenges,” Reid said. “It’s a learning process. If you’re not willing to make a mistake, you better not start any project.”

Hancock said those challenges motivated the students to improve the design. They initially used motors designed for 18 by 18 inch robots but realized that the robot required a more powerful motor. Fulplae is controlled by a radio, similar to a radio-controlled car, that her parents will operate.

Fulplae includes light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensors. Many of its components were new to SFROBOTICS members. “It’s a path we’ve never been down before and a challenge,” Hancock said. “But if you’ve ever met this little girl, you cannot tell her not to walk. Her personality is amazing.”

Reid agrees that the project, while challenging, has been inspirational. “It’s impressive that she’s gotten this far. She’s defying doctors’ expectations,” he said. “I want her to be able to walk. It’s personal investment now and I’m rooting for her.”

Reid and Hancock are both St. Francis residents. Hancock developed an interest in robotics and mechanics as a sixth grader when she first saw robotics in action. She joined SFROBOTICS in eighth grade and never looked back. She plans to pursue a career in engineering.

Reid has already been accepted at MSOE, but even after receiving his high school diploma, he intends to continue working with SFROBOTICS as a mentor. Since he was a child, he enjoyed taking things apart and putting them back together. He and his dad, Dan Reid, once disassembled and reassembled a robot. His mother, Lisa Stika, also encouraged his robotics pursuits.

“Our robotics club has made it to state FTC (FIRST Tech Challenge, a statewide robotics tournament) every year since I’ve been involved, so it’s been awesome to be able to compete in that,” Hancock said. “I enjoy being a part of the team, and Mr. Graven has been great.”

Reid enjoys the problem solving behind robotics, as well as the networking with other competitors and representatives from companies that support robotics. “We meet cool people at competitions, like the people at Interstate Batteries who were invited to judge our junior FLL (FIRST LEGO League) competition,” he said. “We didn’t expect them to have an interest in robotics after they donated batteries, but they came to other competitions and helped us out.”

St. Francis High School students Jake Bednarski, Georgia Hancock, and Alex Reid absorb the information their robotics coach Peter Graven dispenses. —Photo Jennifer Kresse

Graven works with LimbForge and E-Nable, nonprofit organizations dedicated to providing 3-D printed, wearable prosthetic devices for people with malformed hands or missing digits.

His SFROBOTICS students use open-source designs with their 3-D printers to make plastic hands with hinged fingers that can grasp and pick up items. The plastic hands are custom-sized, cast from plaster molds made of a client’s hand. The prosthetics can be designed and printed in different colors or with a superhero character or sports logos.

SFROBOTICS also built underwater ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) to compete in the Wisconsin Regional MATEROV competition as well as in SEAPERCH competitions. The students are working with the members of the board of directors of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum on a number of projects and plan to make ROV dives to explore local Wisconsin shipwrecks.

The Johnson family will not need to pay for Fulplae because the SFROBOTICS students created it for her as their gift.

Reid and Hancock invite people to visit the club and see what SFROBOTICS is doing. He said they’re willing to help other schools launch their own robotics programs. They meet in lab space at Deer Creek Intermediate School in St. Francis. The robotics program encompasses Grades 4 through 12.

More info:
To follow Vivian’s progress:

February 26 Crime Meeting Summary

March 1, 2018

By Katherine Keller

Newly appointed Milwaukee Police Department Interim Chief Alfonso Morales introduced himself, outlined his plans for the department, and then took questions at the Feb. 26, meeting at Bay View High School.

He emphasized his goal to redefine MPD’s role in the community by reestablishing closer ties between residents and the police. Referencing the days when beat cops knew the people in the area they patrolled, he said he wants to bring back trust with the public. He said he has already moved 60 non-operational duty officers back to the districts where they will patrol the streets in squad cars. He intends to up that to 100 officers by the end of summer.

“I want to bring community prosecutors to the district (District 6), community groups, and you too,” Morales said, in an effort to improve policing and community trust.

“We’re going to own up to our mistakes and communicate with you,” Morales pledged. He also noted that he would “be honest with (crime) data.”

He’s given MPD District 6 Captain Jeffrey Point six motorcycle officers. Point said he would use these officers for traffic control and making accident reports, freeing up squad car-based officers for other duties. The motorcycle police are on duty seven days per week from 7am to 11pm.

Bay View resident Janine Sijan said her houseguest’s car was broken into on S. Shore Drive, but that nothing was taken from the car. Sijan said two of her employees’ cars were broken into at the Hide House (Dover and Greeley streets), where Sijan’s business is located.

Captain Point noted that Bay View is still one of the safest Milwaukee neighborhoods. He said there has been an increase in stolen cars and vehicle break-ins in 2018, but robberies and burglaries are down.

Ana Veloz said she lives near the Hide House and has noticed an increase in crime in that neighborhood. She said she’s recently experienced five different crimes including from five stolen bikes, home burglary, and her car being vandalized in the past year. Five bikes were stolen from her yard on different occasions, she said, and thieves walked out of her home with a 50-inch flat screen TV.

Questioned about the double stabbing that took place Feb. 22 in the 3400 block of S. Kinnickinnic Avenue, Captain Point said that because the crime was still under investigation and charges had not been filed, he was not able to disclose details. He did say that the perpetrators knew one another and that they do not live in the Bay View community.

Two men, ages 20 and 22 were stabbed in the Feb. 22 incident. A 17- and an 18-year-old man were arrested shortly after the incident occurred. Point said he expected charges would be filed soon.

Point emphasized that the car vandalism and thefts in Bay View are also being committed by nonresidents.

Another audience member asked how prepared MPD is for an active school shooting. Morales said the department prepares for these events and expressed relief that Milwaukee has so far been spared. MPD responds to tips about potential danger reported by citizens who find threatening posts on social media. “We take social media [investigation-requests] very seriously and investigate,” he said.

Interim Chief Morales and Captain Point both served in the homicide division of MPD prior to their current positions.

2016-2017 Bay View Schools Report Cards

March 1, 2018

2016-17 Department of Public Instruction Bay View Schools Report Cards
Click to enlarge.

Atlas Preparatory Academy 2016-17 DPI Report Card

Bay View High School 2016-17 DPI Report Card

Burdick Elementary 2016-17 DPI Report Card

Clement Avenue School 2016-17 DPI Report Card

Downtown Montessori Academy 2016-17 DPI Report Card

Fernwood Montessori School 2016-17 DPI Report Card

Howard Avenue Montessori 2016-17 DPI Report Card

Humboldt Park School 2016-17 DPI Report Card

Milwaukee Parkside School of the Arts

Saint Lucas Lutheran School 2016-17 DPI Report Card

Trowbridge Elementary School 2016-17 DPI Report Card

St. Ann Center’s Chili & Jewelry Sale Nov. 18

November 2, 2017

The St. Ann Center’s Chili & Jewelry Sale will be held Saturday, Nov. 18 from 9am to 1pm. Local restaurants will donate their signature chili for the event at the Stein Campus, 2801 E. Morgan Ave.

On offer will be chili ranging from chicken to veggie, extra-spicy to mild, and classic to super creative. There’ll also be a table of offerings by home cooks with favorites made by friends of St. Ann Center.

The event’s centerpiece will be a collection of hundreds of pieces of vintage, retro, and heirloom jewelry, including rings, necklaces, bracelets, brooches, earrings, and watches. Costume jewelry is regularly donated to St. Ann’s by local churches, schools, and individuals.

Jewelry fans will also find one-of-a-kind creations designed and handcrafted by Sister Edna Lonergan, the founder and president of the St. Ann Center. Sr. Edna began designing jewelry years ago as a pastime and a way to supplement funding for the children, elderly, and adults with disabilities served by the nonprofit center. A market featuring 20 vendors will offer local produce, natural soaps and lotions, handcrafted pieces, home décor offerings, and unique gifts.

All proceeds from the jewelry and chili sale support the care of children and adults of all ages and abilities at St. Ann Center. For a full list of the chili that will be offered, donating restaurants, and participating vendors, consult the event listing or Facebook. Chili and jewelry donations, as well as vendors are still being accepted. More info: 414-977-5009.

Who Owns What On Kinnickinnic?, Part Two

November 1, 2017

By Katherine Keller

Looking south, the intersection of South Kinnickinnic Avenue and East Potter Street. PHOTO Katherine Keller

Last month Part One of this series looked at property ownership on Bay View’s main commercial district focusing on the stretch of South Kinnickinnic Avenue between East Bay and East Conway streets. Analyzing the construction dates, it is apparent that development moved from north to south on the street that has long-served as Bay View’s most prominent commercial strip and a main thoroughfare.

This month we look at the section of Kinnickinnic between Homer and California streets. Private homes are scattered between the commercial buildings along the entire swath of Kinnickinnic from East Bay Street to East St. Francis and many of those commercial buildings include dwelling units. The mercantile buildings, for the most part, are two-storied with storefronts at street level and apartments above, although in some instances, there are also apartments behind the storefronts. Examples of those are the Alchemist Theatre building, 2569 S. Kinnickinnic and the South Shore Gallery & Framing building, 2627 S. Kinnickinnic.

The earliest existing example of a mid-century modern apartment building is the “two-story ranch-style” that now houses the Tessmer law practice, 2616 S. Kinnickinnic, that was built in 1958. PHOTO Katherine Keller

Constructed in 1968, this was the only solely-apartments-building in the Bay/Becher to Homer stretch of KK, the section featured in Part One of this series, until Dwell was built in 2012. PHOTO Katherine Keller

Another trend that becomes apparent, as one travels south on KK is the introduction multi-unit apartment buildings. The first example, though not first-built, is two-story Lannon Stone, 2390 S. Kinnickinnic, on the north side of Café Corazon. The stark contrast of its mid-century modern architectural style to that of the existing buildings most likely raised a few eyebrows when it made its debut in 1968.

The earliest existing example of the mid-century modern apartment building is the two-story “ranch-style” that now houses the Tessmer law practice, built in 1958, 2616 S. Kinnickinnic. Two more examples are found at 2501 S. Kinnickinnic, built in 1961, and 2549 S. Kinnickinnic, in 1967. The 2501 building was used as a location site in the 2011 Bridesmaids movie.

The multi-use Dwell development was constructed in 2012. It features retail units at street level and apartments above. PHOTO Katherine Keller

Now, half a century later, there is another apartment-development boom on Kinnickinnic. The new buildings are characterized by three- or more stories with retail at street level. Century-old architecture of a bygone Bay View is being razed for the new construction.Since we published Part One, the Compass learned that the Bay View Bowl property is listed for sale.

The .29-acre parcel on the northeast corner of Kinnickinnic Avenue and East Conway Street includes the two-story bowling alley/apartment building and 17 parking spaces. To the south, the parking lot faces Dwell, the apartment and retail development constructed in 2012.

The two vacant lots above, 2557-2557 and 2563-2565 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue, were purchased by Scott Genke in 2016 for $250,000 each. The 2016 assessment was $16,900 for each parce

This Who Owns What on KK Property List includes the ownership and assessed value of the properties located on the 2000 to 2400 blocks of South Kinnickinnic Avenue and a small section of South Howell Avenue. Addresses, built-dates, ownership, and assessment values were found in the City of Milwaukee Assessor’s records. Read Part 1 of this report.

A likely development site is the northwest and southwest corners of South Kinnickinnic Avenue and South Herman Street, where 10 parcels are owned by entities associated with Milwaukee developer Tim Olson.

The most obvious potential development site in this strip is the northwest and southwest corners of South Kinnickinnic Avenue and South Herman Street, where 10 parcels are owned by entities associated with Milwaukee developer Tim Olson. The parcels include the former Bella’s Fat Cat restaurant, a large empty lot, and eight homes. 

These homes on the west side of South Herman Street between Kinnickinnic and Montana Street are three of the eight homes in the parcel featured in the satellite photo below. PHOTO Katherine Keller

Developer Scott Genke added apartments to the roof of the King Building, 2534 S.Kinnickinnic Ave. The building originally served as the King Chevrolet dealership when it was built in 1928. PHOTO Katherine Keller

Bay View Lions Suspend 2018 South Shore Frolics Festival

October 24, 2017


Bay View Lions Cancel 2018 South Shore Frolics Festival

After 68 years, the South Shore Frolics, a Bay View, South Shore area, and city of Milwaukee tradition, is suspended for 2018 by the Bay View Lions Club, the organizer of the event.

The event, which began in 1948 as the South Shore Water Frolic in Bay View’s South Shore Park by the Inter-Organizational Council of Bay View, has happened every year since then, except 1993. Since 1995, the Bay View Lions Club has hosted the three-day free event featuring music, an art show, a classic car show, food, many family activities, a parade (until 2014), and their famous Frolics “atomic” fireworks to close each evening. The Frolics annually attracted 50,000-60,000 people, although it regularly attracted over 200,000 during its early decades.

Held the second full weekend of July, the one-year suspension, and possibly longer, leaves a summer entertainment void for thousands of attendees, including generations of families, who have witnessed it and grown-up with it.

“A number of our fixed costs continue to increase leaving us with no options except to suspend the Frolics for 2018,” said Bay View Lions Club president, Lyn Graziano. “Our basic costs from the city of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, and Milwaukee County Parks, as well as outside vendors, have risen to the point where it is extremely difficult to produce a profit — any profit.

“The Frolics, the Bay View Lions Club’s largest annual fundraiser, has for three out of the last four years failed to be profitable. The lack of profitability from the Frolics has meant that the Bay View Lions Club doesn’t have the revenue it needs for its community support efforts and community projects. Further, the losses have hurt the Bay View Lions Club ability to sponsor disabled children to attend the Lions Camp, to support the Lions Leader Dog Program for the blind, as well as contribute to the Lions Disaster Relief programs. The Bay View Lions Club’s motto is “We Serve” and our mission is to help those in need locally in our community and also contribute to important causes throughout our state and nation.

“Further, the [public’s] uncertainty regarding the grand finale and its signature ‘blow-up-the-beach fireworks’ in the last two years has also adversely impacted the Frolics attendance and consequently its revenue. At times, it has been very difficult and frustrating to deal with the fireworks mandates initiated by the Milwaukee County Parks director,” noted Graziano.

“Despite having a current group of loyal and generous sponsors, the need for more permanent sponsorship remains a challenge to counterbalance rising costs. The South Shore Frolics has had an incredible 68-year run and put smiles on the faces of so many through the years. While we won’t close the door entirely for 2019 and beyond, we would need the public, local government officials, and business leaders to work together with us to help bring the event back. Questions that should be asked and answered: Does the Frolics, a free summer event in a Milwaukee County park, make Bay View, the south shore area, and city of Milwaukee a better place in the summer? Are the tens of thousands of people that attend this event every year from this area and city, as part of their summer, better off with the Frolics than without it?” asks Graziano.

“Only the public, local government representatives, county parks leaders, and business leaders will answer those questions through their support and actions, or lack of thereof. The Frolics are suspended for 2018. Unless they all answer in the affirmative and work with us, the Frolics will join the West Allis Western Days, the Circus Parade, RiverFest and other community festivals as former free summer events that are gone forever, and our community will be worse off for it,” concluded Graziano.


Reward Offered for Return of Stolen Firefighter Sculpture

October 1, 2017

Allan Zehm served as a Milwaukee firefighter from 1967 to 1996, and in 2009, his daughter gave her dad a treasured Father’s Day gift to commemorate his long career. He was delighted to receive the sculpture that depicted a vintage firefighter.

Zehm placed the sculpture in his backyard where it resided until it was stolen in September.

The figure is about three feet tall and weighs 100 or more pounds. The firefighter
is sporting a large black mustache, and wearing a bright blue, knee-length coat with eight brass buttons and a gold belt. He is also wearing black boots and a red firefighter hat. His left arm is folded behind his back and the right arm holds a large brass fire hose nozzle.

Zehm is offering an award for information about its whereabouts or its return. If you have information about the sculpture, call the Milwaukee Police Department, 414-933-4444.

Bay View Art in the Park Completes Final Year

October 1, 2017

Bay View Art in the Park founder and organizer Brian Breider announced that he does not intend to continue presenting his annual Art in the Park art and craft show.

Founded in 2014, the event showcased the work of local painters, photographers, ceramic artists, jewelry-makers, and others. The show was held in Zillman Park in 2014 and 2015 and in Humboldt Park 2016 and 2017.

“This endeavor has always been a way for me support local artists and give to the community, however, I believe for it to flourish and evolve it needs more resources than I can provide. I have truly enjoyed meeting the many talented people throughout the years,” Breider said in his announcement about his decision to discontinue the event.

Earl Gutbrod Memorial and Life Celebration Oct. 22 

October 1, 2017

Earl Gutbrod, a long time resident of Bay View, died September 4, 2017.

Earl was born October 4, 1946. With endless curiosity and enthusiasm, Earl explored the world through a camera’s lens. An avid reader and collector, he had a focused eye for beauty and light, but it was his light-hearted sense of humor that often revealed itself in his best photos.

In 1966, Earl enlisted in the army and opted to join the Special Forces. He served as 1st Lieutenant in the Green Berets Airborne Division. During his tour in Vietnam, Earl led the indigenous Montagnard on offensives in the Central Highlands. He distinguished himself through his heroism and was awarded two Bronze Stars by both the United States and the Republic of South Vietnam. He returned home in 1969.

Earl was a big brother, uncle, and a special friend. As one great-nephew put it, “He was cool!”  Everyone’s favorite — Uncle Earl! He will be missed.

He retired from the United States Postal Service May 31, 2017.

Please join his longtime companion Joanne Charlton and the Gutbrod family in honoring and celebrating Earl’s life Sunday, Oct. 22, from 1-4pm at the South Shore Park Pavilion. His artistry and photography will be on display and we will all raise a glass to a generous and honorable man.

Everyone is welcome.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Bay View Historical Society in Earl’s name or for a memorial bench to be installed along the lakeshore.

—Carrie Gutbrod Herrera

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