LETTER — Help the Bay View Area Redcats 

March 2, 2015

Bay View Areas Redcats Youth Sports is a youth sports organization open to children in K-8. We need financial assistance tremendously or James Swanagan, the president fears that he will have to close his doors.

This nonprofit organization has been around for over 60 years getting youth involved in baseball, football, and cheerleading and the last thing we need in our community in today’s society is to close the doors on our youth, our future.

Our organization’s motto is “Keep ’Em in Sports, Out of the Courts,” and at this time we have committed volunteers who take time out to keep this program going everyday but we are still in need of volunteers every season to serve as coaches, work with concessions, and become members of the parent committee.

We are looking for sponsorships and donations from local businesses and individuals that want to help keep our youth active in sports so we can keep this nonprofit organization moving forward.

Currently we are getting the board and parent committee together to launch a new and improved organization which will become more involved in the community by bringing the kids in the programs out to the local community events to help volunteer so they can give back to all those who helped them out and kept the program alive.

We have an upcoming silent auction and raffle launch party that will be in March. We look forward to becoming more than just a business in the area but a family to the community of Bay View.

Corina Buck

LETTER — Humboldt Park 4th of July Volunteers Need Your Help!

March 2, 2015

This past year has been a hard one for us. Our group president passed away. The wife of the person who runs the Talent Contest passed away. We are getting old and need some new blood in our organization.

We have a fine new president, Matt Mazur, who is doing great. We need more young and active People, plus interested older people to help us in our need. Our organization has been in existence for 105 years, since 1910. We have a strong group but need more energy and the input of others to lead  us into the future. Here is a chance to rebuild an organization into what you want it to be.

Many children have enjoyed having a full day of activities: a morning parade; children’s games; the bike, trike, coaster wagon, and doll buggy contests;  the donut eating contest; dance contest; talent contest; and the evening program. It takes many volunteers and time to set these things up.

We meet the first Wednesday of every month in March, April, and May and every Wednesday in June. The result of this work can be seen by all. We would like the local schools to send representatives to our meetings. The more input, the better the result. If any church group would like to join us in our work, you are very welcome to do so.
We also could use more sponsors to finance our program. It takes money to pay for this event, which is free for all to enjoy. We can use your support to continue this great special event for future children and adults to be able to relax and enjoy the activities.

Please consider joining and volunteering with our group so we many continue to celebrate Independence Day in the way that we all love.

Follow us on Facebook and find us at our website, humboldtpark4thofjulyassociation or call 414-304-5039.

H. John Manke
South Milwaukee

LETTER TO EDITOR — Former resident found Compass

December 1, 2014

Just wanted to write to tell you how impressed I was with the November 2014 issue that I picked up while I was visiting Milwaukee in November.

I felt you did an excellent job in giving details in the stories. For example, in “Enthusiasm curbed in St. Francis,” [Kevin] Meagher not only played on the delicious human interest aspect of the two neighbors, but when he told about Charles Buechel and the City Council members considering changing the ordinance, he set out all of the many, many factors that Buechel investigated in considering the change. It was a beautiful way to show the complexity of the issues. Rather than simply stating the change wasn’t made, you explained why it could not be made. Very careful, detailed reporting.

And that held through in several of the stories that I read, whether it was the objective analysis of Urban Counter-Pose [by Jeffrey Zimmerman], or giving a detailed account of the planned upgrades for South Shore Beach [by Sheila Julson]. Congratulations.

I picked your newspaper up with the Shepherd and the Wisconsin Gazette. Let me say, you had the best reporting and reporters.  Keep up the good work. I lived in Bay View from 1986 through 1996, and it has changed tremendously.  Your paper is one of the happier developments.
Mary Ann Lutzen

LETTER TO EDITOR — Art Stop Symbolism? 

December 1, 2014

I’ve been trying to understand the symbolism behind this sculpture but unfortunately need help. Looking up the word “scalar” used in Jeffrey Zimmerman’s analysis of Art Stop/Urban Counter-Pose, I found it means magnitude not direction. Well, yeah, this piece has magnitude and not direction. I tried to think of what the ”unique character” of Bay View is but having lived here for 60 years I guess I missed the boat on that one.

Finally I asked a few business owners on KK, one with a full view of the sculpture, what they thought this art piece meant. No one knew.

Perhaps if a less existential explanation is given some of us may learn to understand its symbolism.

J. Mazur
Bay View
(Comment on the Compass website)

LETTER TO EDITOR — Make No Mistake On Our Great Lake

December 1, 2014

We need to preserve the public’s stake in O’Donnell Park in Downtown Milwaukee.

There are many reasons to reject the sale of O’Donnell Park to Northwestern Mutual Life.

Parks are held in trust for the public’s benefit. If this deal closes, Milwaukee County citizens will lose all rights to this land legacy, not just the structures on it.  The public or Milwaukee County will have no further say in the park’s continued operations or its future designed use.

Regardless of promises a proposed buyer makes regarding “public access,” private owners can do what they want with their property. The only way that the public can retain its stake in the future of O’Donnell Park is if the public holds ownership of the land, as required in long-standing deed restrictions.

O’Donnell Park has been repeatedly maligned as just a bleak garage with no intrinsic value. In fact, it is a 9.3-acre, multi-use park with a panoramic view of our Great Lake. It’s a popular setting for weddings, strolling, lunching, relaxing, and museum visits. It is the gateway from downtown to our treasured lakefront and “emerald necklace.”

The land now called O’Donnell Park was set aside for the common good beginning in 1868. Current and future residents deserve to enjoy it in the public domain for another 146 years and longer.

A short-sighted sale of O’Donnell Park will rob the public of future possibilities that visionary citizens and leaders may have for re-imagining this priceless public land. Think Millennium Park  (Chicago). Whatever a private owner builds must only suit its needs and purposes.

Public parks drive economic development and eco-tourism, and increase property values, so preserving and supporting them makes sense economically.

Most parks generate little, if any, revenue. But O’Donnell Park nets more than $1 million a year. Selling it is both unnecessary and a bad deal for taxpayers. Creating a “$5 million parks fund” from the sale’s net proceeds will not replenish the lost annual income that now supports urgent upkeep of all county parks.

Most alarming, the paltry $12.7 million sale price is based only on revenue from the park’s leased facilities. It does not factor in the value of the highly desirable land (estimated at $40 million) or the value of the public’s $36 million investment in building the park and its facilities. Do the math.

If this unprecedented sale is executed, how will citizens and civic leaders ever stave off other schemes to privatize county or city parks?

Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors: Reject this ill-advised sale. Negotiate a lease instead. Or create a conservancy agreement that ensures that the park remains a public space in perpetuity.

Don’t abdicate stewardship of this public asset. Don’t make a big mistake on our Great Lake!  Your constituents deserve better.

Milwaukee County citizens: Contact your supervisor and demand that the public’s interest in this park be protected, in perpetuity.

Pat Small

Letters to editor — pedestrian safety in Bay View

September 2, 2014

Kudos to Ald. Zielinski for his program educating drivers on our crosswalk laws. (“Will pedestrians in Bay View be safer?” Aug. 2014)

Now, could someone please tell the patrons of Café Centraal and the Maple Leaf not to walk directly into Lincoln when leaving these establishments? There is a crosswalk right at the corner of KK, and even when it is used, no one seems to care what color the light is. Motorists who must stop in a busy intersection to accommodate jaywalkers are putting their own lives in danger.

James Ciganek
Bay View

As a member of the group South Shore Connecting Caring Communities (SS CCC: Bay View, St. Francis, and Cudahy), I want to thank the Bay View Compass for drawing attention to the safety of pedestrians here. I also want to use this opportunity to thank Ald. Zielinski for his awareness and projects related to pedestrian safety, especially as specified in our state laws and local ordinances.

An organization of volunteers, SS CCC has researched and collaborated with others to provide the means for senior citizens to stay in their homes and remain active in their communities. Neighborhood safety is a must for seniors and that is why SS CCC has focused its efforts in recent years to help seniors and drivers navigate local streets alertly and safely.

As your article points out, all of us need to follow Wisconsin’s statutes for pedestrian safety. My wife and I appreciated a motorcyclist stopping for us on S. Kinnickinnic Avenue recently. We had hesitated because the two preceding municipal vehicles had not stopped as we entered the crosswalk marked with sign and stripes. Another education project — for public employees — that Ald. Zielinski and leaders of other municipalities could endorse? I am sure SS CCC would be pleased to help out.

Bob Pietrykowski
Bay View

I appreciate your paper covering the issue of crosswalks. I am both a driver and I frequently use the bus system so I see close calls almost every day.

I totally agree that police officers need to prioritize their resources and time but I also think serious penalties for such a simple safety issue would also make a difference.

Christopher (Last Name Withheld)
Bay View

I agree with Ald. Zielinski’s attempt to solve the problem of speeders on Kinnickinnic. I used to be a crossing guard at Trowbridge and every morning had to “gear” up to protect the students and myself.

As a daily driver on KK, I would like to suggest that jaywalkers get citations also. It seems that people frequently feel they can cross anywhere in the middle of the street.

J Mazur
Bay View
(comment posted on bayviewcompass.com)


Healthcare reform takes another great step forward

October 1, 2013

By State Rep. Jon Richards

We are in the midst of a great step forward to provide higher quality, lower cost healthcare options for low-income and middle-class families.

Some have compared President Obama’s health insurance reform package to a three-legged stool that is supported by protecting consumers from insurance company abuses, free preventive care and an expansion of covered benefits, and premium and cost-sharing subsidies to help individuals with low incomes afford to purchase insurance in the marketplaces. All three of these legs are important and need to be strong for the ACA to fully succeed.

On October 1, open enrollment starts for the new health insurance marketplace, or exchange, a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Similar to airline ticketing websites like Expedia, the marketplace will allow individuals, the self-employed, and small businesses to compare plans, to apply for coverage, and enroll. Coverage begins January 1, 2014, for people who enroll and pay their premium by December 15, 2013.

People may also qualify to save money when they apply for coverage through the marketplace if their income is low enough. Discounts are available to individuals who earn between $11,490 and $45,960 and are uninsured or don’t have access to affordable coverage from their employer. These incomes are based on federal poverty limits and increase as family size increases.

While marketplaces are one of the linchpins of the ACA, millions of Wisconsinites are benefiting from other provisions of the law that have already gone into effect.

For example, since 2010, insurers can no longer deny coverage to the roughly 300,000 Wisconsin children who have a pre-existing condition like asthma or diabetes. Starting next year, that protection will be extended to the almost 2.5 million Wisconsin adults under age 65 who are in the same situation. Insurance companies will no longer be allowed to rescind coverage, nor will they be allowed to limit coverage annually or over one’s lifetime.

Likewise, in 2011 and 2012, almost 1.5 million Wisconsinites with private insurance gained coverage of preventive services like cancer screenings, mammograms, and flu shots with no co-pays or deductibles because of the ACA. Many health plans must now fully cover birth control at no cost as well.

States that have embraced the ACA have launched well-funded awareness campaigns to make sure people who need insurance know about the marketplace and where to get enrollment help.

Minnesota, for instance, spent over $9 million for ads on billboards, buses, newspapers, radio, and television. The funding was part of a $110 million federal grant the state received to build its own state-based exchange.

Governor Walker, on the other hand, has been one of the country’s fiercest opponents of the Affordable Care Act.

Walker has done everything he can to scuttle the law, from joining the ill-fated lawsuit the U.S. Supreme Court shot down to rejecting an expansion of BadgerCare that would have insured 85,000 more Wisconsinites and saved state taxpayers $119 million, compared to his plan.

In Milwaukee County alone, almost 121,000 people are uninsured. Another 17,000 will be kicked off of BadgerCare on January 1 because of Walker’s choices. It’s important that all of us become smart consumers and seek out the most affordable health option that provides good benefits.

To its credit, the state’s health department appears to be working diligently, under very challenging circumstances, to notify people who are getting dropped from BadgerCare and will need to find insurance in the marketplace.

Ultimately, however, the responsibility rests with each of us to look out for our family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.  The Affordable Care Act is here to stay. Its success will depend on people working together, helping those in need and sticking with the facts.

As I write this, the single best resource for accurate information on the Affordable Care Act is healthcare.gov or the tollfree helpline (800) 318-2596. Very soon, in-person assistance will also be available from specialists trained and certified to help people understand their health options and enroll in a plan.

People with questions about the changes to BadgerCare should call Milwaukee Enrollment Services tollfree at (888)794-5747.

Please feel free to contact my State Capitol office if you need any assistance.  You can reach my office at Rep.Richards@legis.wi.gov or tollfree at (888) 534-0019.

Jon Richards represents Milwaukee’s Bay View, East Side, Downtown, and Riverwest neighborhoods in the Wisconsin State Assembly.

Letter to Editor: Don’t tell me why pedestrians can’t be safer in BV parks

August 30, 2013

Open Letter to Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, County Supervisor Jason Haas, and Alderman Tony Zielinski

Re: Stop Signs in Humboldt Park and South Shore Park

I am concerned about these signs in our neighborhood parks because they are not as visible as they should be and are not tall enough to be seen as early as they should be.

I have seen too many drivers fail to stop at the signs in South Shore and Humboldt Park and am particularly worried because the signs are placed where they are to make crossing safe for the children who are using the playgrounds. Children are notoriously unpredictable and at risk every time they use the playgrounds. They have a better chance at South Shore Park because there is more visibility when traveling north and downhill, where there is no parking on the east side of Shore Drive, but it’s a risk if you are trying to cross from the west side of that street.

At Humboldt Park, there is parking on both sides of Park Road, but the signs are equally ignored by too many drivers. If you are on the lagoon side of the road and there is a van parked right next to the stop sign, it is almost impossible to see it in time. Not only that, but I have seen drivers zip through the park much faster than safety warrants.

We need safer and more visible stop signs and we need them now! Please take care of this situation before someone gets hurt.

And please don’t tell me why it can’t be done.

Ruth Simos
Humboldt Park Watch

Letter to Editor: South Shore Café’s closing smells fishy

August 30, 2013

Dear Editor,

Just a quick comment about the abrupt closing of the South Shore Café in the parking lot below South Shore Park.

I’ve been patronizing the place for almost all of its existence. It was a welcome oasis after a hot and dusty bike ride. It’s always served wonderful food in a clean environment.

Am I the only one who thinks something smells fishy? (And I don’t mean the Lake Michigan alewives.) I’m wondering if perhaps someone came along who wants to use this spot for their own restaurant, and thus, the sudden health violations after 29 years of service by the owner. Couldn’t the city at least have allowed him to finish the season? Has anyone who’s eaten there in the past 29 years ever gotten sick?

I sure hope the Bartolottas aren’t eyeing it for one of their cafés, with their outrageously priced food, as we see in Lake Park and on the site of the former Pieces of Eight across from Discovery World.

South Shore Café was family friendly and affordably priced. Summer in Bay View won’t be the same without it. The city of Milwaukee should be ashamed.

BG Puerzer

Letter to Editor: VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

August 1, 2013

Since 1910, the Humboldt Park 4th of July Association (Safe & Sane 4th) has celebrated Independence Day with a full day of activities for the entire family.

Thank you again for a wonderful day of activities.

Thank you to all the people, volunteers, and donors who made all of this possible. We put a lot of time and effort in planning this event. I hope that all went for everyone.

Without our volunteers and donors, this celebration would not be possible. We hope to have the Humboldt Park 4th of July Association continue for at least another generation. Your help and input is needed to plan for the future.

Please consider becoming a member of our association in the future. We meet in the Humboldt Park Pavilion at 7pm the first Wednesday of March, April, and May. We meet one Wednesday in June to finalize out plans. All interested people are invited and welcome to attend our meetings.

We need more young members, as well as older members. Any help will be good for us. Be a part of a great tradition and feel good about it. Volunteers and members are gladly received into our membership. Please help the Humboldt Park 4th of July Association.

Let us build a strong association for the future with your assistance.

John Manke

Humboldt Park 4th of July Association

March 1, 2013

Dear Editor,

The city of Milwaukee has taken a lot of money from the taxpayers—$3200 in my case—which is allocated to the Bay View Business Improvement District (BID) #44 since the BID’s establishment in 2009. The BID board members are appointed, usually by the other board members, and then approved by the mayor. At no time do the property owners—we taxpayers—vote for the BID board members.

And now, the BID board stands ready to sign us all into 20 years of debt by taking out a loan of $300,000, for which all of the businesses in BID #44 will be liable.

A quick review of the shameful history—what is there here to induce trust?

1) Security Cameras: KK Avenue is the district described by its Alderman, Tony Zielinski as “the safest neighborhood in Milwaukee.” And so, the Bay View Business Improvement District bought security cameras. The BID board has never been able to give a straight answer on what we bought, and where those units are. Every time this question is asked, the discussion trails off and sinks in the quagmire.

2) BID Website: For a shamefully large expenditure, the BID has produced a website that the local businesses do not use, for lack of interest. At a recent meeting, it was announced by a BID board member that businesses owners are not interested, for the most part, in listing their businesses on the site. For less than the amount of one year’s individual annual BID member’s tax contribution, any business could set up a website exclusively devoted to their own business.

3) Planters: Make all the excuses you want, but the truth is, God did not wait for word from the BID board before starting the growing season last year. October 2, 2012 is the date the planters were finally installed. It was a glorious 30 days of riotous and expensive bloom.

4) Hanging Baskets: Public record reads “red bow” for the Christmas wreaths that were hung along KK in the BID. Red bows were ordered. At the last minute, a board member capriciously changed the color to an ugly silver. Why?

So now, the BID board stands ready to sign a contract for a $300,000 loan. If an individual with an annual income of $45,000—the BID’s annual budget, walked into a lending institution, what do you think their chances of obtaining a loan for $300,000 would be? The BID board wants to take out a $300,000 loan to enhance KK from Bay Street to Morgan Avenue, which is the stretch of the business district that is included in BID #44. The city of Milwaukee will match the loan with an additional $300,000. And on what are we spending this $600,000? Paved intersections. Don’t we already have paved intersections? Greenery. Yoo-hoo! We’re living in the city! If people want to see a tree, they go to the park. Don’t block the view of my place of business with your clumsy corporate eyesores.

Businesses do not owe their success to the government—the government prospers because business is successful.

Please, come to the March BID #44 meeting, and, if they allow you, voice your opinion about this loan, before your future is irrevocably sold. The date of the next meeting has not been officially announced yet—the March 5 date has been taken off the calendar. The next meeting will probably be on Tuesday, March 19at 6:30pm, but watch your emails carefully for the meeting announcement. If you are not on the BID’s mailing list, contact me: joyceparker@prodigy.net.

Gary Guetzlaff
Property Owner & Taxpayer in BID #44
Bay View


The bullies aren’t just in school

February 1, 2013

By Representative Christine Sinicki
Wisconsin 20th Assembly District

I can’t help believing there’s more than meets the eye to the Republicans’ new restrictions on what citizens can and can’t do or have in the Assembly galleries. Some of the new rules make sense because respectful behavior in the galleries is necessary for floor debate. But there’s something else going on behind all these new rules, rules, rules. Last night it hit me what that is, while watching a program about bullying in schools. I realized, they’re scared. Just like kids who bluster and terrorize, Assembly Republicans actually are scared behind the blustery face of their obligatory 1000% pro-gun agenda.

It’s a paradox, given all the Republican boasting about how great it is that they allow guns anywhere in state Capitol (except in offices with “No Gun” signs). In the Assembly, Republicans could have, but refused, to prohibit guns in our galleries, located above the floor, from where members of the public view the proceedings.

Even though they’re the ones refusing to prohibit guns up there, it makes sense they’re nervous anyway. Who can feel totally comfortable down there on the floor waiting like sitting ducks for some angry citizen in the gallery who decides to use their gun? We all should be worried! Honestly, I have to block thinking about it while I’m on the floor, otherwise it’s much too anxiety producing.

This is especially true since Republican leadership changed the gallery where the public is permitted to sit. Before the concealed carry law passed, the public sat in the gallery extending over the Republicans’ seats on the floor. Now, the gallery that’s open is on the opposite side of the chambers. From this vantage point, visitors see more Democrats than Republicans.

Our state Senators, on the other hand, acted like normal people when faced with the potential for gun threats from the galleries. They prohibited guns in the Senate galleries, end of discussion. It’s the Assembly Republicans who have painted themselves into a corner. Now they have to contort themselves to get around what they well know could be a dangerous situation someday.

But instead of backtracking like sane people would and prohibiting guns in the Assembly’s galleries, Assembly leadership is going forward with many extra rules to reduce the chances that guns could be carried into the galleries and have restricted everybody else’s rights In the process. Now they prohibit just about everything an individual could take into the gallery with them including backpacks, messenger bags, and large purses. I suppose this way it’s unlikely anyone could smuggle a large weapon into the gallery—a sawed-off shotgun, an extra-large handgun, ammunition clips. (They have prohibited not only all electronic devices but also paper: books, writing paper, magazines, newspapers, and yes, even coloring books. Last session a family was actually removed from an Assembly gallery because their child was coloring while her parents watched the proceedings.)

So, in the name of guaranteeing some people their rights (to carry a gun), yet trying to protect themselves from those same people, Assembly Republicans have restricted other citizens’ rights to carry their everyday possessions. In this convoluted situation, Republicans have ended up discriminating against non-gun owners, who simply want to assemble peacefully to exercise their right to watch their state government in action.

Of course, Republicans have been afraid of something else, too, since their misbehavior on the floor last session. They’re still afraid of basic public scrutiny. Visitors can see much more floor activity in person from the gallery, than they could watching Wisconsin Eye. (WiscEye is wonderful but must abide by restrictions on when they film legislators during floor session.)

I believe Assembly Republicans should rescind permission to carry guns in the galleries. However, their new gallery rules indicate they are moving in the opposite direction. From now on citizens could wait hours in the gallery without even a newspaper to read, much less an iPhone to read it on. And heaven forbid they bring their kids. Kids might want to bring crayons and paper, and those dangerous ‘weapons’ are not allowed.

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