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Fourth of July Celebration, page 15

Testa Rosa of Bay View, page 2

Volume 4 • Issue 7

July 2007

Double S, Triple S

Renovated Cactus Club to reopen in August By Katherine Keller “We’re not growing up but maturing,” said Cactus Club owner Eric Uecke of the complete remodeling of his club at 2496 S. Wentworth Ave. “There will be a complete upgrade of every service and what we offer,” Uecke said. Closed July 5 and scheduled to reopen Aug. 10, the gussied-up club’s new persona, industrial chic, is the vision of a small group including Palm Tavern designer Mike Sherwood, Uecke said. Capacity, Uecke emphasized, will not expand. Bitter Fight In September 2005, a bitter debate festered in Bay View when Uecke wanted to renovate the club. Those renovations, including adding modern ADA-compliant restroom facilities, would have expanded the club capacity from 80 to 200.

It’s a tense moment as skipper Ken Quant, just right of the green buoy, steers the Eclipse through the pack on the final leg of the South Shore Social Sailing Series race, June 20.

Story & Photos By Michael Timm

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t’s getting tight. The Bacchus is closing off our starboard and the Strait Jacket is closing off our port. The Eclipse is feeling the pinch as all three boats speed toward the buoy marking the final leg of the race. The three boats are within feet—feels like inches—as the skippers deftly helm their craft to prevent hulls from touching. The captains are shouting for space and the commands of the other boats can be heard as loudly as ours. Suddenly, the Strait Jacket peels away, having the right-of-way to round the buoy. Then the Eclipse does the same, the crew throwing the lines and jibing about, reversing the angle of the deck in a swift motion as the boom comes round and the crew shifts to get their weight up. SEE PAGE 8

“Anytime you put a bunch of boats on the line it’s going to get competitive.” —Ken Quant of the Eclipse

Mary Morris: A life of hope and tenacity

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n late June, the news of the loss of Mary Morris traveled like wildfire throughout Bay View and the city to the many lives she touched over the last four decades.

To understand Mary and the woman she had become, it’s necessary to understand the beginning of her story. We are each shaped by our own life experiences, and for Mary’s life, the old cliché, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger,” certainly applied.

Wise beyond her years, as a young mother she began to understand the impact that one voice can have on her community. Mary became a master at changing her one voice into many voices when change was needed. Born in 1937 to an Italian family that settled in Milwaukee’s Third Ward, Mary was immersed in Italian culture. Baptized at Our Lady of Pompeii Church, this “little pink church” played a significant role in Mary’s upbringing. The church building was demolished in 1967 to make way for the I-794 freeway and is now recognized by a county marker at the end of the Jackson Street freeway exit. The dismantling of a community in the name of progress would always weigh heavily on Mary’s mind. It sparked her pas-

The freeway’s destruction of their neighborhood caused the displacement of many Italian families in the Third Ward. Mary’s family had already moved to Buffum Street in the Riverwest neighborhood, where much of her childhood was spent playing in Estabrook Park.

She attended St. Boniface Grade School and for a short time attended Notre Dame High School. Consistent with Mary’s rebellious spirit, however, her patience with parochial schools had reached its end so she transferred to Riverside High School, where she graduated in 1956. As a young teenager she met a young man (Jim Harling) who eventually would become the love of her life at a CYO (Christian Youth Organization) dance. After a long courtship, she married Harling at St. Rita’s Church at age 18, vowing to care for him in sickness and in health. This vow would be tested soon into their young marriage. At age 21, Harling suffered his first heart attack. These may have seemed dark years. However, true to Mary’s form, she made the best of a difficult situa-

“I’m 110 percent opposed to that expansion,” he told OnMilwaukee.com at the time. “I’ve had long-standing complaints about the Cactus Club—about the noise in the neighborhood, loitering, parking problems.” Uecke’s plans were defeated Oct. 18, 2005, when the Common Council unanimously upheld a committee vote that prevented the expansion. Support in 2007 According to Uecke, the current project didn’t require Common Council approval because he is not expanding the club’s capacity, which paved the way for rapprochement with Zielinski. “Tony [Zielinski] has done a 180,” Uecke said. Uecke said he met with Zielinski earlier this year to introduce his remodeling plan in detail “and when I finished explaining it, Tony let out a long sigh of relief.”

sion for neighborhood preservation.

Mary was the only girl and oldest sibling of two mischievous brothers in a traditional Italian family. This carried with it extra responsibilities. Being a young girl raised by a divorced mother in a less tolerant era went a long way in developing her character. As a girl she quickly learned how to care for others—and to fight for herself and others.

Bay View residents took sides. Many residential neighbors opposed the expansion, fearing more patrons meant more noise, disorder, and parking problems—66 signed a petition opposing any expansion. Many others, near and far, supported Uecke, the expansion, and the indie music venue, recognizing that the centenarian structure sorely needed modernization. District 14 Alderman Tony Zielinski, who represents Bay View and lives in the same block as the club, opposed expansion.

“I support Eric 110 percent,” Zielinski said. “I was in there the other day. They’re gutting it from floor to ceiling. He’s doing a first-class job and I think it will fit in very well with that part of the neighborhood. I opposed it last time because there were going to be noise and parking issues with that expansion, but I support him 110 percent this time.”

Red Hatter Mary Morris, 2007.

tion and found joy between the tough times, nurturing happiness with the creation of her young family of five daughters over the course of the next 10 years. Numerous heart attacks later and following a 13-year battle with her husband’s heart disease, Mary said goodbye to her first love and was widowed at age 33 with five little girls to care for. She remarried and later lost her second husband Harry Morris. In the late 1960s Mary came upon the Bay View community as she sold Avon to earn extra money for the family. She fell in love with the neighborhood and was able to gather just enough money to make a down payment on the home where she would build her family legacy. Mary lived in this home for the remainder of her life. The life-changing loss of her first husband was SEE PAGE 9

Zielinski confirmed that Uecke didn’t require a permit from the Common Council’s Utility & Licenses Committee because the renovations do not increase the building’s capacity. “I told him I’ll help him with façade grants and historic tax SEE PAGE 6

INSIDE Pg 2 Pg 3 Pg 4 Pg 5 Pg 5 Pg 6 Pg 6 Pg 7 Pg 10 Pg 10 Pg 11 Pg 11 Pg 13

How Now, Brew Crew? Redcats Seek Support Giant Turbine Blades Gurda on Parks Commission Remembering Little Italy MPS Special Olympics Coach Vinegar Sweet for Cleaning Science on Lake Ferry Mini Bowling at Koz’s Pyrographer Jan Teernstra Fair Trade at Sweeney Todd FIXX Coming to St. Francis Dems Propose Healthy WI

July 2007  

July 2007 Issue

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