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Beach Litter Transformed Page 15

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Volume 4 • Issue 4

April 2007

From Bay View to Baghdad Bucky’s reaches out from the home front

By Michael Timm enee Cook didn’t know what to do or where to go. She felt disconnected from an increasingly faceless and confusing war as tens of thousands more American troops make their way to Iraq. She wanted to help but wasn’t sure how. She remembered her own brothers, who served in Vietnam. Most of all, she didn’t want to forget the sacrifice of the troops—and, if possible, she wanted to remind them other Americans hadn’t either.


Jerry Serdynski recently retired from his business of 30 years. ~photo Samantha Lukens

Farewell to Jerry’s Hobby By Stephanie Harling


ven though the Bay View renaissance draws in new neighborhood businesses, it’s still hard to say goodbye to longstanding businesses when they close. Jerry’s Bay View Hobby Shop, 2633 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., is one such unique neighborhood treasure that has just said goodbye. At age 70, Jerry Serdynski and his wife Ellen have decided that it’s time to slow down and spend more time enjoying their grandchildren. After 30 years of tireless devotion to the store and his customers, Serdynski retired at the end of March, closing the doors to his hobby shop. Exploring the shop and eavesdropping on Serdynski’s conversations with his friends and customers, it was clear that his passion for

trains and various hobbies was contagious. Looking at the rows of model trains, road racing accessories, and hobby kits, it was also clear Serdynski was a business owner serving a unique niche of customers who share his passion for model trains. “It was a great leisurely hobby, but now life is too fast-paced, people want to buy trains ready to run. People don’t take the time to really enjoy the craft. That’s not good for manufacturers.” —Jerry Serdynski A Milwaukee native, Serdynski grew up in the heart of Milwaukee’s south side near Muskego Avenue. His passion for hobbies and trains was born out of his first job at SEE PAGE 6

Late last year, she did something about it. Cook, a two-year employee of Bucky’s Super Video, 1601 E. Oklahoma Ave., started an in-store donation drive for the troops in Iraq. She knows it won’t stop the killing or bring the soldiers home, but it created a small token of goodwill, and a connection between the home front and the battlefield. With the support of her boss, Tom Ebert, Bucky’s sent its first care package into the Green Zone in December. In February, they received thank-you emails back. “And this puts me into connection, it hits more closer to home, with the letters and stuff and the pictures, it makes it more personal, like wow, you know,” Cook said. With the help of Army National Guard Captain (Ret.) Dan Buttery, Bucky’s customer and Iraq War veteran, Cook is organizing a second drive for the troops. They will send the next shipment by May 31. A camouflaged barrel near the store’s entrance is the repository for donations. Suggested items include beef sticks, pumpkin seeds, DVDs, toiletries, toothbrushes, coffee, small flashlights, soap, sunflower seeds, tea bags, Kool Aid, video games, dried fruit, and granola. “You know,” Buttery said, “the important thing to always remember is, yes you’re in a combat zone, and the stress is very high, but when there’s downtime, you have time

Renee Cook by the donation barrel for troops in Iraq. ~photo Michael Timm

to think. And that can kind of be your own worst enemy. And so some of the things that you try to do for the wellbeing of the soldier, sailor, airman, or marine, is to try to give them something, to try to keep them connected to home.” Buttery ensured the first care package was sent directly to a person, in this case, his friend “Captain Jon,” who’s set up a library to share items among the troops. “Jon even pushed back a little bit [initially],” Buttery said. “He’s like, look, we’re not looking for handouts. I came back and said, Jon, you don’t understand. If there are things that you could use, and we’ve got people back here who just want to send our appreciation to you, that’s what we’re saying.” Buttery said Jon’s selflessness is characteristic of the service members he knows, even in a conflict with a high proportion of reservists, an unknown timeline, and where extensions are common. SEE PAGE 8

Departure of Army Reserve base presages KRM development By Michael Timm


ince 1953, the U.S. Army has maintained an Army Reserve base at 2372 S. Logan Ave. But by the end of 2007, that base will probably be demolished and the Army gone from the site bounded by Lincoln Avenue to the north, Logan Avenue to the west, Conway Street to the south, and Bay Street to the east. “The Army has elected to exercise their option to cancel their lease as of May 9,” Eric Reinelt, Port of Milwaukee director, said. The Army leases the property from the city through the Port of Milwaukee. Reinelt said the Army provided its threemonth notice in February. On May 9 their lease is up, which would allow the city to take over the buildings. But port officials toured the site with the Harbor Commission and the city’s Department of City Development. Their consensus was that reusing the Army structures was not desired, Reinelt said.

So the port is exercising its option to have Army take down the buildings within six months of May 9. Negotiations about that process are ongoing. Under the terms of the lease, the Army has to return the land to its initial condi-

tion, Reinelt said. That likely means it will be flattened, the asphalt parking lots and structural foundations removed. The Army would also be responsible for any environmental clean-up required. A 2006 consultant’s report on port land use estimated the base’s value at $90,000 per acre. Developers may scramble to acquire this property because of its proximity to the proposed Kenosha-Racine-Milwaukee (KRM) commuter system, with a rail station proposed near the present intersection of Lincoln and Bay. The site is one of two parcels considered key for transit-oriented development (TOD) near the station. The other is the Lincoln Avenue viaduct, whose removal is considered a “cornerstone” to TOD near the station. That’s according to a January 2007 “Transit-Oriented Development Portfolio” land use concept plan document, composed by Earth Tech Inc. for KRM’s project manager, the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC). The document urged the city to obtain control of the Army Reserve site, proposing “higher density multi-family residential uses” for it. The document also recommends extending Linus Avenue one block to the east, bisecting the Army Reserve property into two

smaller city blocks to improve pedestrian and neighborhood connectivity to the proposed station. Support for KRM In early April, District 14 Alderman Tony Zielinski authored a resolution to support KRM. He hopes it will be considered at the city’s Public Works Committee in late April, with a vote by the Common Council in late April or May. Zielinski added the timing is important because SEWRPC wants to meet the require-

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Public Education Group Arrests, Charges in Robberies Temporary Art on KK High-tech Fitness Franchise What is a CSA? Ongoing KK River Cleanup Kinnickinnic Crash Data Changes in Lake Food Web Responsible PC Disposal Trowbridge on Chopping Block Cable TV Legislation Parks District Legislation Passante’s Book Reviewed

ments of the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) New Starts program so the project can be eligible for discretionary capital funding, considered essential for KRM to happen at all. The FTA looks to TOD and land-use plans to determine ridership for proposed projects. Zielinski’s resolution would endorse the KRM TOD land use plans as consistent with city goals and objectives, and resolve that the city “will take appropriate steps toward implementation as [they] recommended,” according to a draft of his resolution. Bay View Compass PO Box 070645 Milwaukee WI 53207-0645

April 2007  

April 2007 Issue

April 2007  

April 2007 Issue