An Interview with Santa! Page 15
Season’s Greetings from everyone at the Compass! Volume 3 • Issue 12
Hit-and-run fatality raises traﬃc safety concerns By Michael Timm
dolfo Perez of Cudahy, 26, was charged with duty upon striking a person resulting in death Dec. 6, after allegedly striking Charles Perry of Bay View, 86, who was crossing Kinnickinnic Avenue by the Bay View Library around 4:30pm, Nov. 20, and leaving the scene. Perry’s injuries resulted in his death. Police arrested Perez Dec. 3 after a foot patrol oﬃcer on Kinnickinnic Avenue saw his damaged vehicle, identiﬁed as a teal green Ford Ranger by paint left at the scene, and called out a squad. Perez subsequently confessed, police said. His preliminary hearing was set for Dec. 13.
“I kind of feel like our hands are tied because it’s a state highway.” – Beth Dufek, transportation committee chair of the Bay View Neighborhood Association The charge is a Class D felony, punishable by up to 25 years in prison. According to the criminal complaint, Perez stated he reached down for something that had fallen inside his car when he hit the man, said Police Oﬃcer Scott Beaver, with MPD’s Accident Reconstruction Unit. There was no estimate of how fast the northbound vehicle was traveling when the man was hit, Beaver said. The fatal incident followed two other hitand-run incidents in the Bay View area within the past month, and highlighted concern for traﬃc safety. District 14 Alderman Tony Zielinski has ordered a report by city traﬃc engineers of the area where Perry was struck, near Otjen Street, expected by the end of the year. The report will evaluate alternatives to increase pedestrian safety such as crosswalks, intersection controls, and speed limits. There are bus stops on both sides of the street but no crosswalk. “Speeding is a major problem in this city. As a result one of the things I’ve been pushing is stop signs,” Zielinski said. Zielinski has installed roughly 25 stop signs in his district over the past three years. “Our traﬃc engineers don’t like stop signs. It’s been a battle.” Zielinski also cosponsored a common council resolution to double the ﬁnes for 10 mph or more speeding in the city, but it would require authority from the state Legislature. He is also an advocate for using cameras to photograph the license plates of speed-
ers and mailing them citations. Zielinski said he’s looking into Traﬃpax Traﬃc Safety Systems, who would provide equipment for free to the city. However, current state law prohibits using this photo radar technology due to privacy concerns. “The other thing is I’m hoping to have those big yellow plastic markers that go in the street. Six or seven, I’m hopeful, by next spring,” would be installed at various locations on Kinnickinnic Avenue like those on Brady Street, Zielinski said. There are curb bumpouts in the district, including one on Potter Avenue by Dover Street School, the result of work with a block watch. Zielinski said he’s cosponsoring legislation to help neighborhoods pay for speed bumps. District 4 Alderman Bob Bauman introduced a “traﬃc calming” proposal Dec. 8. His ordinance supports “speed humps” and other devices to slow traﬃc and was to be considered Dec. 13. Long-term alterations to Kinnickinnic may be diﬃcult. “I kind of feel like our hands are tied because it’s a state highway,” said Beth Dufek, transportation committee chair of the Bay View Neighborhood Association. Kinnickinnic Avenue is State Highway 32, with speciﬁc state lane width speciﬁcations. Dufek hopes increased pedestrian density will naturally slow down drivers. Tim Richter, president of Forward Bay View, said he’d like to see better enforcement of speed limits and crosswalks as practical steps toward greater safety. He also said he wishes someone would enforce the law that the pedestrian always has the right-of-way. “[But] I wouldn’t want to be the one who just walks into the street because they might not stop.” But better enforcement might help train drivers and pedestrians, he said. Curb bumpouts and streetscaping along Kinnickinnic Avenue are desirable over the long term, Richter and Dufek said, but the money and will must be there. “Long term, I think the bumpouts are something that need to happen. It makes it a shorter distance to cross, makes it [crosswalk] very obvious to motorists, and aﬀects the visual perception of how wide a street is,” Richter said, which slows down drivers. There are several thousand hit-and-run incidents a year in Milwaukee, and probably more than half of them remain unsolved, Beaver said. Look to future issues of the Compass for a historical breakdown of traﬃc crashes and injuries in Bay View.
Michael Temple, Erica Case, and Aaron Kopec of Alchemist Theatre.
~photo Michael Timm
envisions local scene’s metamorphosis By Michael Timm
dynamic trio is busy brewing an arresting project inside an old Bay View building at 2569 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., which most recently housed a print and copy shop.
Their goal is not solely the transformation of the quaint space, across the street from the Bay View Library, into an eclectic and intimate theater and accompanying café. Erica Case, Aaron Kopec, and Michael Temple also hope that their venture, the Alchemist Theatre, will transmute the Milwaukee arts scene by providing an affordable opportunity for up-in-coming creative types to produce their work in a theater-for-rent setting. The enterprise will make its debut in late January. The business partners, who share 10 years in multimedia experience supporting area artists, imagine a future where the Alchemist Theatre is the site of considerable creative ferment—where artists, directors, actors, ﬁlmmakers, musicians, producers, and writers intersect like particles drawn into and spun out of a gravity well. If their vision comes to pass, it could mean a shift not only in Milwaukee’s arts scene but also in how the average joe ﬁnds entertainment on any given night in Bay View. “We hope to bring a great deal of new and raw talent to the surface of the Milwaukee art scene. I truly believe that there is a great deal of untapped potential lurking around in the shadows of ‘if only I could aﬀord to take the risk,’” said Kopec, who estimated 100 people have already said they have a project they would love to do if they had the oppor-
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tunity. “This place takes the risk out of it.” Theater for Rent Alchemist will put on one or two of its own theater productions each season. In 2007 they are Return to the Forbidden Planet, a rock ‘n roll musical based on Shakespeare’s Tempest and the 1956 sci-ﬁ ﬁlm Forbidden Planet, in late spring and Evil Dead: The Musical, “family fun with wild special effects and blood spray,” around Halloween, Kopec said.
“We hope to bring a great deal of new and raw talent to the surface of the Milwaukee art scene. I truly believe that there is a great deal of untapped potential lurking around in the shadows…” But its primary mission is to be a “theater for rent,” said Kopec, who quit his job at the phone company to focus on Alchemist. Rent to artists would be about the equivalent of $500 for 30 days, including everything needed to do a show, not only the 40-seat theater and downstairs dressing room/backstage, but also marketing and show promotion, set construction, and the use of sound, video, editing, and mastering equipment. The director or artist will set their own ticket price for each particular event, with Alchemist recommending tickets at $10 or SEE PAGE 9 Bay View Compass PO Box 100 Milwaukee WI 53201-0100