Shepherd Express - April 2022

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APRIL 2022 | 3


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Make Your Vote Count


Fostering Climate Resilience & Economic Equity in Milwaukee


The Enduring Relevance of Frederick Law Olmsted


This Modern World


Repulbicans Are Determined to Stop Teachers from Educating Students — Taking Liberties


Dontrell Corey Fells Shares the Value of Therapy — Hero of the Month


Joanne Johnson-Sabir on Economic Development in the Central City — MKE SPEAKS: Conversations with Milwaukeeans




Story Hill BKC Puts Eclectic, Locally Sourced Spin on Contemporary Fare


Creamy Beans are Made of These — Flash in the Pan


Which Grapes Make Quality Wine — Beverages




Home & Garden

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES: Bridgette Ard (ext. 3811) Tyler R. Klein (ext. 3815)

Personal Finance 40 There's Still Time to Refinance, But Make the Right Decision for the Right Reasons


Health & Wellness

WEBMASTER: Barry Houlehen (ext. 3807)


40th Anniversary: Neighborhoods 48 New Life in Bay View 50 Bronzeville Memories 52 Downtown is a Busier Place 53 Renewing the Historic Third Ward 54 Latin Quarter Becoming a Culture Hub 56 Lower East Side (Brady Street Now) 57 Riverwest is Restless and Alive


Brewers Poised to Continue Their Run of Success


Jewish Museum Remembers Japanese Internment with ‘Then They Came For Me’


This Month in Milwaukee

66 Police Keep Arresting Drug Users, Ignoring Shift in Law Enforcement and Legal Reform — Cannabis

DIGTAL STRATEGIST: Allen Halas (ext. 3803) STAFF WRITER & CIRCULATION COORDINATOR: Blaine Schultz (ext. 3813)

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Bombshells, Bubbles and Boys... Oh, My! — Dear Ruthie


Milwaukee's Lesbian Community: Impacting LGBTQ Progress for Half a Century — My LGBTQ POV



EVENT COORDINATOR: Casey Trotter (ext. 3816)




BUSINESS MANAGER: Peggy Debnam (ext. 3832)

36 Organic Gardening in 3 Easy Steps

46 When Sex Toys Go Viral — SexPress


MANAGING EDITOR: David Luhrssen (ext. 3804)

SALES MANAGER: Jackie Butzler (ext. 3814)

44 Why Can't I Lose Weight? — True Health 48

GENERAL MANAGER: Kevin Gardner (ext. 3825)

34 Cutting Costs on Home Improvements — Open House

42 Can't Forgive? There's Another Way — Out of My Mind


PUBLISHER & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Louis Fortis (ext. 3802)

From the City that Always Sweeps


Cover: Illustration by Ali Bachmann.


Ukrainians are Giving Their Lives for Democracy MAYBE WE CAN LEARN FROM THEM?


ou have to be in awe as you watch Ukrainian people from all walks of life sign up to defend their democracy from an autocrat. A country with a small military and very few military aircraft led by a former actor/comedian are holding back a major military power. The Ukrainians know what they have and what they are fighting for, their democratic homeland, and they know the fight is worth it. If they lose, they will fall under the autocratic rule of Putin and will lose their democracy. The Ukrainians know what that means. They had a budding autocratic leader in 2014 who was undermining their democracy, and they ran him out of the country. While we are watching the heroic Ukrainians put their lives on the line fighting for their young democracy, we are also watching one of our major political parties working to undermine America’s 235-year-old democracy. We have several egregious examples of disloyal or seditious acts by some of our elected officials in Wisconsin and throughout the country. It appears that their goal is to weaken our democratic system to see it replaced with a faux democracy as we see in countries like Hungary, Turkey, Venezuela and, of course, Russia. In these faux democracies, autocrats can be re-elected for life without real checks and balances and with puppet legislative bodies kowtowing to the autocratic leader.

TRUMP LOST IN 2020, BUT WE DIDN’T ALL LIVE HAPPIER EVER AFTER In 2020 our country had one of the most carefully monitored and clean elections America has ever seen, and we managed to democratically remove a budding autocrat by seven million votes. Our democratic institutions prevailed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there, and we all don’t live happily ever after. Instead, we see Mr. Trump continuing to build an army of Un-American subversives or quislings, some heavily armed and prone to violence and some unwittingly thinking that they are being good American patriots.

As we know, democracies are fragile and survive because citizens believe that their democracy is better than the alternatives. It is virtually impossible to mobilize an insurgent army to defeat the military of the United

States of America. So, to destroy our country, the quislings need to cause people to lose faith in our democracy and have Americans believe that our elections are rigged and illegitimate especially when they are on the losing side of the vote.

Their vote was intended to invalidate the votes of tens of millions of citizens in a half dozen states and change the outcome of the election. This bordered on sedition by totally undermining the will of the people. Even Vice President Mike Pence, who is a longtime partisan, refused to go along with the plot since he is also an attorney by training and understands the 12th amendment. He knew that his actions could fundamentally cripple our democracy and end America as we know it.


So, one must ask the basic question: what were Tiffany and Fitzgerald thinking when they tried to undermine the American election as their first official act as new Congressmen?

Republican controlled legislatures in over 20 states including Wisconsin are now passing laws that are making voting more difficult for voters in high Democratic areas. Thanks to Gov. Tony Ever’s vetoes, these bills are not becoming law in Wisconsin. A few Republican states are even trying to allow the state legislature to reject the vote and nullify the election if they don’t like the outcome. That would end our democracy as we know it.

Did they understand that Trump lost the election, but they don’t particularly believe in our democracy, and would rather see America led an autocratic strongman? Did they understand that the Wisconsin 2020 election that also put them in office was accurate, but they were afraid to offend Trump and were selfishly putting keeping their own job over protecting their country?


Or did they really believe all this conspiracy stuff and if so, they are as dumb as a post and shouldn’t be in Congress?

In Wisconsin we see this attack on our election integrity and our democracy starting with the “Big Lie” that Trump won the election. After the 2020 election, Speaker Robin Vos freely admitted that Trump lost Wisconsin. Then Trump yanked the leash, and summoned Vos down to Florida. Vos came back a changed man. He immediately hired the discredited former State Supreme Court justice, Michael Gableman, to investigate the 2020 election in Wisconsin. Before even starting his “investigation,” Gableman categorically declared the 2020 election was stolen and Trump won without any evidence to support this claim. Gableman was given a $680,000 budget for this faux investigation, which included flying around the country meeting with the “Pillow Man” and other conspiracy characters and having a rather pleasant vacation at taxpayer’s expense. After spending the $680,000, Gableman still had no evidence of corruption in our 2020 election. So, what does Vos do? He extends Gableman’s contract and continues to throw away our taxpayer dollars to keep Mr. Trump happy. At the Congressional level, Wisconsin recently sent two new members to Congress in 2020, Republicans Tom Tiffany and Scott Fitzgerald. The first official act by these two newly elected Congressmen occurred on Jan. 6 when they voted to challenge the Electoral College results essentially saying the election count in some states was corrupt.

In addition to these two Congressmen, we have U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson who admitted on video that Trump lost Wisconsin because 51,000 down-ballet Republicans didn’t vote for him, but still continues to undermine our democracy by promoting the Big Lie.


Any reasonable person has to question what kind of people are we sending to Congress? Is this really the best Wisconsin can do for a Congressional delegation? To be clear, this is not about any issues, even the very emotional wedge issues like abortion or gun rights and how Vos, Tiffany, Fitzgerald or Johnson might vote. Those issues should be debated and voted on by our elected officials. If you are unhappy with the vote of your representative, you try to change your representative on election day and possibly run for office yourself. This is very different. This is about our democracy, the underpinnings of what makes America the great country it is. If these people have their way and continue to undermine the democratic foundation of America, eventually we will not be able to change representatives on election day.

Louis Fortis Publisher/Editor-in-Chief APRIL 2022 | 7



CAVALIER (CHEVY) JOHNSON FOR MAYOR OF MILWAUKEE The Shepherd Express enthusiastically endorses Cavalier Johnson for Mayor of Milwaukee. Chevy Johnson showed real leadership on the common council. After his first re-election to the common council, he was then elected council president by his peers. When Mayor Tom Barrett resigned to become Ambassador to Luxembourg, Johnson became acting mayor. On Feb. 15, 2022, he comfortably won a seven-way primary with 42% of the vote, almost double the next highest candidate, Bob Donovan, who received 22% of the vote. The residents of Milwaukee have a clear choice with one candidate, Johnson, who is looking forward and the other, Donovan, who is looking backward. Mayor of Milwaukee is a very difficult job and was made more difficult when Scott Walker was Governor. Walker and the Republican majority in the legislature passed legislation that made it near impossible for Milwaukee to raise the revenue necessary to run a modern large American city. At the same time, the legislature cut the amount of “shared revenue” coming back to Milwaukee from the state despite the city residents contributing much more to the state in tax dollars than it receives back. Under these tough circumstances, mayors continuously need to spend the limited funds very efficiently. Acting Mayor Johnson has shown that he is continuously looking for successful programs that have worked in other American cities and adapt them to Milwaukee. These are programs that have been proven successful and are cost effective. Donovan has been running on a plan that he developed in his last run for mayor. One major issue facing all major cities is addressing the increase in crime, especially violent crime. Across the nation since the pandemic started, crime has increased in every major city. Johnson is looking for solutions that work to lower violent crime now and attack the causes of that crime for the future. Donovan, on the other hand, has dusted off Richard Nixon’s failed approach of creating more fear and repression that may sound “tough on crime” but has shown to be a stunning failure. We can’t waste our time and money on costly failed programs while people are getting killed. Milwaukee is fast becoming an up-and-coming major American city that was, for example, selected to host the National Democratic Convention in 2020, and is now a contender for the National Republican Convention in 2024. We need a mayor who is forward looking not one locked in a failed past. Please Vote for Chevy Johnson for Mayor on April 5. 8 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS


Photo by Tom Jenz.

SECOND DISTRICT COURT OF APPEALS: JUDGE LORI KORNBLUM (The Second District encompasses the counties surrounding Milwaukee County) Judge Lori Kornblum is the right choice for the Second District Court of Appeals. Appointed by Gov. Tony Evers in 2021, Judge Kornblum has dedicated her legal career to advocating on behalf of children in greatest need. She has committed to protecting our democracy, while her opponent publicly lists support from people actively trying to undo the 2020 election, including former Justice Gableman. Now more than ever, we need people, like Judge Kornblum, that will protect our democracy in our appellate courts.

Photo courtesy of Judge Kornblum Campaign.


SUPERVISOR DISTRICT 1: LIZ SUMNER The Shepherd Express endorses incumbent Liz Sumner for re-election to the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors. Since she was elected in 2020, Liz has done an excellent job representing her constituency. She has an MBA from the Photo courtesy of Friends of Liz Sumner. University of Chicago and is an entrepreneur and small business owner in Shorewood. She’s smart and an excellent fit for the voters in the 1st District. She is very focused on issues related to our parks and the environment. Please Vote for Supervisor Liz Sumner on April 5.

SUPERVISOR DISTRICT 2: WILLIE JOHNSON The Shepherd Express started endorsing candidates in 2000, the year Willie Johnson first ran for office. After his endorsement interview in 2000, the endorsement committee was very impressed; endorsing him was an easy decision. For the next 22 Photo courtesy of Willie Johnson. years, Johnson continued to impress us. He is a true public servant and works extraordinarily hard representing his central city district. Johnson won numerous awards for his expertise and dedication to social justice including the Marquis Who’s Who Distinguished Worldwide Humanitarian Award. Please Vote for Supervisor Willie Johnson on April 5.


Photo courtesy of Friends of Sheldon Wasserman.

The Shepherd Express enthusiastically endorses Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman for re-election. Besides his work serving the community as an OB/GYN physician, Wasserman always wanted to do more for his community and served as a State Assemblyman for 14 years and then six years as

a Milwaukee County Supervisor. He is currently Chair of the Parks Committee on the county board and understands that Milwaukee’s Park System is one of the finest in the country. For the past six years he has been working hard to protect and improve our parks, which he calls Milwaukee’s Crown Jewels. He also wants to continue to work on the county’s health care and transit systems. Please Vote for Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman on April 5.

SUPERVISOR DISTRICT 12: JUAN MIGUEL MARTINEZ The two candidates that were the top vote getters in the primary have both made some mistakes and dumb statements in their younger years, including some exaggerated comments. Now that they are oldPhoto courtesy of er and wiser, we need to look forward and Juan Miguel Martinez. evaluate what the candidates have done recently and what they believe in. The Shepherd is endorsing Juan Miguel Martinez because we believe he will represent the district. He is closely connected to his community and has the energy and commitment to serve the residents well. He is an organizer and is currently involved with various organizations in his community, including his work to curb reckless driving on 16th Street. He also wants to improve our parks, including restoring the Mitchell Park Domes, and to focus on transportation issues that are vital to his community. (For full disclosure: Juan Miguel has done some freelance writing for the Shepherd Express) APRIL 2022 | 9




Illustration by Ali Bachmann.


limate scientists consider this decade a make-or-break time to avert full-on climate catastrophe. The National Climate Assessment—compiled by 300 experts—outlines the following climate-related threats facing Wisconsin and the Midwest: “Extreme heat, heavy downpours, and flooding will affect infrastructure, health, agriculture, forestry, transportation, air and water quality, and more. Climate change will also exacerbate a range of risks to the Great Lakes.” Milwaukee faces major challenges from both climate change and racial disparities. It is widely documented that disinvested neighborhoods, often those with high percentages of people of color, face the worst impacts of the climate crisis, pollution and other environmental degradation. This is called environmental injustice. While people of color may experience the worst impacts, all communities have reason to be concerned about the increased risk of extreme storms, flooding, and other impacts of climate change. Climate scientists urge taking two complementary approaches: reduce the use of fossil fuels, a leading cause of climate disturbance and harm; and proactively plan to adapt to current and looming impacts. To address these realities, Milwaukee’s City-County Task Force on Climate and Economic Equity has developed a framework for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing racial and economic inequities. City and county officials created the task force in 2019. Interested individuals within nine working groups met throughout 2021 to make recommendations. After the plan is fully developed by a consultant, and further community engagement, it will go before Milwaukee’s Common Council and Milwaukee County’s Board of Supervisors, likely this year.

A TWO-PRONGED APPROACH Proposals focus on reducing community-wide net greenhousegas emissions by at least 45 percent by 2030 and achieving net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050 or sooner. Efforts to decrease racial and income inequality will strive to ensure that greenhouse-gas-reduction investments and policies “will create the maximum number of permanent living-wage green jobs for people living in Milwaukee’s most impoverished neighborhoods with limited economic opportunity.“ Erick Shambarger, sustainability director for Milwaukee’s Environmental Collaboration Office (ECO), is coordinating the planning process on behalf of the task force. Shambarger said that the City of Milwaukee already has implemented numerous energy-efficiency and clean-energy programs. Milwaukee also leads nationally in “green infrastructure” to help manage risks relating to extreme storms. Fortuitously, federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) could help launch new climateresilience projects. One overarching goal is to “make sustainability mainstream, to make the environmental choice the easy choice,” Shambarger said. “Climate action can help create a healthy and vibrant community. It does not need to be about scarcity, but rather about using our resources more efficiently.”

10 WAYS TO PROMOTE CLIMATE RESILIENCE The task force has identified 10 essential “big ideas.”

1. INCREASE RESIDENTIAL ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND SOLAR RETROFITS Residential energy-efficiency upgrades can lower electric bills and other energy costs while reducing individual carbon footprints. The plan would expand existing programs across a range of incomes and owner/rental situations. It would give more families access to affordable upgrades: high-quality insulation or high-efficiency heating-and-cooling systems, as well as lead-abatement options.

2. BUILD NEW GREEN BUILDINGS Housing is a critical aspect of Milwaukee’s infrastructure. The task force proposes a model for efficiently and affordably building new net-zero-energy homes. Efficient housing components would be fabricated in a new factory in Milwaukee’s 30th Street Corridor.

3. REDUCE ENERGY USAGE IN COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS It’s crucial to help owners of commercial buildings reduce their environmental impacts. Requiring them to report annually on energy and water usage will collect benchmark data and support the phase-in of building-performance standards to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

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PITCH IN TO PROTECT THE PLANET Individuals make a difference by contributing to collective positive impacts on the Earth's ecosystems. Here are some options. • Take advantage of available climate-friendly programs, such as subsidized weatherization, renewable energy, and native plantings • Initiate changes you can sustain. For example, set achievable goals to reduce fuel use, food waste or single-use plastic by a doable amount. Increase targets after achieving those goals. • Collaborate with others and advocate within your circles. Enthusiastically promote green choices and their benefits within family, school and work settings. • Urge effective climate action at all levels of government. • Remember that caring for the planet yields many benefits. Importantly, it can help counter widespread “eco-anxiety.” A new study from the Brennan Center reported that “civic engagement [on climate issues] is good for young people’s well-being and our democracy.” Illustration by Ali Bachmann.

4. SHIFT TO ELECTRIC VEHICLES Cars and other vehicles remain greater Milwaukee’s dominant form of transportation. Local governments can lead by purchasing electric vehicles (or hybrids, when applicable) for their fleets, installing infrastructure, and changing codes and ordinances to make EVs easier to buy and operate.

5. REDUCE VEHICULAR MILES Transportation is a major source of greenhouse-gas emissions. In addition to individuals driving less, emissions also can be decreased through transit-oriented development, new zoning standards, “Complete Streets” practices, and “last mile” solutions that address gaps in safe and accessible public transit.

6. MOVE TO A NET-ZERO ELECTRIC GRID A transition to clean, renewable energy is essential to combatting climate-related harm. The task force is advocating for state-level changes, such as net-zero power grids and a proposed Community Energies Program to purchase renewables through the utility. This would give local governments and large nonprofits opportunities to source 25 percent or more of their electric power needs from new large-scale renewable-energy projects built in partnership with the electric utility.

7. PRESERVE AND RESTORE NATURE IN THE CITY Parks, shade trees, environmental corridors, soil restoration and other greening efforts help mitigate climate-change impacts, including “urban heat islands” and extreme flooding. They are also essential to healthy and equitable communities. The “Nature in the City” work group has identified four parcels to acquire for conservation within Milwaukee, and 25 parcels throughout Milwaukee County. The plan also stresses that it is “important to manage and maintain all 110 Natural Areas and Critical Species Habitat Areas that have been identified in the County.” Other proposals include expanding Milwaukee’s Green and Healthy Schoolyards program and increasing tree canopy.

Food Recovery Hierarchy. An educational campaign would offer guidance about reducing food waste at the source level. Other efforts would work to ensure that all people can affordably access safe, healthy food.

9. ACCELERATE GREEN JOBS As the city and county work to combat current and oncoming climate change, ever-more skilled environmental professionals will be needed. A proposed “Green Jobs Accelerator” would recruit, train, and connect people, especially those in disinvested neighborhoods, to new green jobs and contracting opportunities.

10. RELY ON RESILIENCE AMBASSADORS “Resilience Ambassadors” are neighborhood leaders engaged to help connect existing and new climate-oriented initiatives, such as programs serving residents such as anti-displacement services, weatherization, flood insurance, green infrastructure, and cooling centers during heat emergencies.

OFFER FEEDBACK ON THE PLAN Residents may engage with the Climate and Equity Plan in several ways: 1. Complete the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Public Survey and urge the City of Milwaukee to prioritize climate resilience efforts for the $394 million in federal stimulus funding Milwaukee is receiving. 2. Sign up for the City of Milwaukee’s ECO Newsletter or follow ECO on Facebook for updates, event information and feedback opportunities. 3. Engage on Social Pinpoint, an online platform open to everyone for sharing ideas and feedback with the task force.

8. REDUCE FOOD WASTE AND HARMFUL PLASTICS Food waste is a major contributor to greenhouse-gas emissions and energy drains. Proposals to reduce food waste prioritize the two top strategies of the Environmental Protection Agency's


Virginia Small, an award-winning veteran journalist, writes about environmental, equity and community issues for the Shepherd Express.

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The Enduring Relevance of

Photo by Virginia Small.



rederick Law Olmsted, who faced many losses and health challenges throughout his life, always found respite in nature. And he believed that everyone should have equal access to restorative green places. According to biographer Hugh Howard, “Olmsted demonstrated an extraordinarily rare capacity to set aside the self-interest of the present in favor of the well-being of future generations.”

April 26 is the 200th anniversary of Olmsted’s birth and the National Association for Olmsted Parks (NAOP) is spearheading a nationwide celebration in his honor. Olmsted 200’s theme is “Celebrating Parks for All People,” a once-radical concept that the visionary landscape architect, conservationist, journalist, and social reformer championed as a way to foster democracy. The COVID pandemic reconfirmed how essential parks are to people’s well-being. Milwaukeeans are planning numerous events to celebrate Olmsted. His local contributions extended far beyond the three parks he designed: Lake, Riverside and Washington, and Newberry Boulevard connecting the first two. In keeping with his holistic and inclusive approaches to landscapes and urban planning, he envisioned the two East Side parks as an “orchestrated journey” linking Lake Michigan to the Milwaukee River and vice versa. In Washington Park, he designed winding paths throughout the rolling, pastoral topography, and a lagoon for ice skating and boating. 14 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

PLEASURE DRIVE Olmsted also conceived a Shore Drive from what is now Kenwood Boulevard southward along Lake Michigan. That “pleasure drive” was the first leg of what eventually became the miles-long Lincoln Memorial Drive. Olmsted also planned for a Ravine Road, now nicknamed “Snake Road,” that meandered from Shore Drive through one of the park’s deep ravines, emerging on Lake Drive. Throughout the decades, these and other Olmsted parks invariably have invited discovery and delight. Many of them, including Lake Park and Newberry Boulevard, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Olmsted promoted in many ways what is now termed “connectivity.” He and architect Calvert Vaux, his partner in designing New York City’s Central Park and other projects, designed the world’s first “parkway.” The Eastern Parkway leads into Brooklyn’s Prospect Park and was meant to extend the park experience and increase urban green space. Olmsted described a parkway as “a shaded green ribbon” which might “be absolutely formal or strikingly picturesque, according to circumstances.” In 1868 Olmsted and Vaux began implementing another ground-breaking concept—a “system of parks and parkways” in Buffalo, New York. The interconnected parks highlighted distinctive natural features and varied recreational options.

PEOPLE TO THE PARKS To provide equitable access to Milwaukee’s parks, Olmsted urged civic leaders to bring streetcars to parks, which happened during the mid-1890s, soon after the parks opened. Olmsted visited Milwaukee four times with his design team, between March 1892 and March 1894, following correspondence between him and the City of Milwaukee’s nascent Board of Park Commissioners evaluating potential sites for parks. Prior to the park board’s formation in 1890, Milwaukee had a mere 60 acres of public parkland serving its 250,000 residents. Park commissioners, especially Christian Wahl, already were familiar with Olmsted and his renowned landscapes nationwide. They sought out Olmsted while he was designing the grounds of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Sites for Milwaukee parks were chosen and acquired on all sides of the city, also including what became Humboldt, Kosciuszko, Mitchell and Sherman parks. Olmsted called it a “Grand Necklace of Parks,” reminiscent of the Emerald Necklace he designed in Boston. Olmsted’s team, especially landscape architect Warren H. Manning, continued supervising park construction and planning until 1905. These parks immediately became popular destinations, and demand grew for more of them. In 1923, Milwaukee County park commissioner Charles B. Whitnall developed a plan for a countywide system of

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Photos by Virginia Small.

parks and parkways, which was largely implemented. Today, Milwaukee County Parks manages over 15,000 acres in Milwaukee County.

A MAJOR EXHIBITION ABOUT OLMSTED IN MILWAUKEE “In the Park with Olmsted: A Vision for Milwaukee” will be on view at Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum (2220 N. Terrace Ave.) from April 14 through September 25. The multimedia exhibition, presented by The Friends of Villa Terrace, explores Olmsted’s local contributions within the context of his national legacies. Curated by Martha Chaiklin and Annemarie Sawkins, the exhibition features archival and contemporary images, including maps, plans, posters, paintings, photographs and videos. Works by local and nationally renowned artists, photographers and multimedia artists will highlight how creative individuals have been inspired by Milwaukee’s Olmsted parks. The opening on Thursday, April 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. will include a presentation by Annemarie Sawkins and remarks by Anne “Dede” Neal Petri, president and CEO of the National Association for Olmsted Parks. The event is free to CAVT members. General admission for adults


is $10 and $7 for seniors, students and active military. Admission to Villa Terrace is free to all the first Wednesday of each month. For info about the exhibition, visit

2014 PBS documentary Frederick Law Olmsted; Designing America. He will speak about Olmsted’s legacies and his contemporary relevance.

The Milwaukee Area Cultural Landscape Alliance (MACLA) will present two free programs relating to the exhibition.

Other events are in the works, including:

OTHER OLMSTED 200 EVENTS Lake Park Friends will celebrate Olmsted on Saturday, July 16 with family-friendly activities, history tours and a concert at Lake Park’s Summer Stage. Other events, including in Riverside Park and Washington Park, will be announced later.

“Olmsted and 'Parks for All': Democracy, Equity, and Environmental Justice," a panel discussion at Villa Terrace, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 26. Panelists include August Ball, founder of Cream City Conservation; Steven Hunter, program director of Nearby Nature Milwaukee; Patrick Mullins, associate professor of history at Marquette University; and Arijit Sen, associate professor of architecture and urban studies at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

A traveling exhibit about Olmsted is available through Lake Park Friends. Designed for Olmsted 200, it includes double-sided boards for free-standing easels. Contact for more information and to reserve.

"Frederick Law Olmsted: Bringing Nature into the City and Creating Breathing Space for Democracy," an illustrated talk by writer, public historian and filmmaker Laurence Cotton at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 7 at MSOE's Diercks Hall (1025 N. Milwaukee St.). Cotton was the originator and consulting producer of the acclaimed

Virginia Small has researched and written about Olmsted and other landscape luminaries for 25 years. She will present a talk on April 20 about “Olmsted’s Enduring Green Legacies” for The Friends of Villa Terrace Spring Lecture Series (

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Illustration by Michael Burmesch.

Republicans Are Determined to Stop Teachers from Educating Students BY JOEL MCNALLY


any school teachers are frightened for their futures these days and they have a right to be. Republican politicians in Wisconsin and more than half our states are threatening teachers with serious consequences if they don’t stop educating students about everything going on in the world.

The latest rightwing attack on public schools has been raging for more than a year with angry, screaming parent groups disrupting school board meetings threatening the jobs and lives of educators. Those weren’t actually spontaneous grassroots protests, but in Wisconsin they were locally funded. That’s because Milwaukee’s rightwing Bradley Foundation financed hundreds of such groups nationally with names like Moms for Liberty and Fight for Schools. They threatened public schools for requiring masks to protect students and staff and for teaching about racism in America. In an election year, Republicans are eager to continue pushing their rightwing agenda. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a professional educator, vetoed their bill to ban teachers from discussing racism and the civil rights movement. The problem with all the Republican laws and executive orders outlawing teaching about racism is they’re so vaguely written nobody has any idea what’s against the law. 18 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

FEAR AND CONFUSION In New Hampshire, where Republicans have total control, state law explicitly bars teaching that any age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, creed, color, marital status, family status, mental or physical disability, religion or national origin are inherently superior or inferior to any other, but teachers need to know the legal definitions of words like “inherently,” “superior” and “inferior.” “We asked for clarification from the state, from the union, from school lawyers,” said a high school teacher. “The universal response is no one’s really sure. It’s led us to be exceptionally cautious because we don’t want to risk our livelihoods when we’re not really sure what the rules are.” Which is exactly the intention— to scare teachers into never uttering a word about America’s continuing history of racism. That’s frightening enough, but Republicans now have a radical new way to destroy the lives of teachers who teach things they don’t want children to know about including racism, U.S. history, science and sexuality. Republicans are introducing copycat laws around the country modeled after the successful gimmick Texas Republicans used to shut down legal abortions. Their unconstitutional law allowed citizen vigilantes to sue anyone aiding an abortion and collect a bounty of $10,000.

A Republican legislator in neighboring Oklahoma has now introduced a bill allowing parents to personally sue teachers for $10,000 each time they say something in class contradicting a student’s religious beliefs. That could include any reference to sexual orientation, evolution or the world being created by a big bang in our universe instead of a nice old man living somewhere in the sky.

BOOK BANNING IS BACK The same legislator introduced a companion bill allowing parents to sue a school district if it declines to ban a book they want removed from the school library to prevent students from reading it. If a court sides with the parents, they could collect $10,000 a day for each day the book remains on the shelf. Book burning is back. The driving force lighting the bonfires for books this time among Republicans was the election of Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin in Virginia, a Democratic state in recent years, attributed to his advocacy for parents controlling schools. One of his constant TV commercials called for banning Nobel-prize-winning African American writer Toni Morrison’s Beloved from schools after a Republican mother claimed it gave her high school son nightmares with its description of the horrors of slavery. Rightwing parent groups have now compiled lists of hundreds of books they want removed from school libraries. They include books about racial and social issues as well as sexuality. There is not a single school district in America that includes

any pornography in its school libraries. But many parents have opposed sex education in schools for decades in hopes of preventing their children from ever learning about sex. No one ever succeeded, even before the internet. But the job of responsible teachers has always been to provide students with accurate information. There’s also nothing unusual about young people having more politically progressive ideas than their parents. It’s a natural, healthy process for teenagers to pull away from their parents and begin forming their own opinions. That’s happening in spades these days when they’re living through some of the most hostile political divisions in America since the 1960s. Many young people today are appalled by the political inaction to protect their planet from global warming, keep deadly weapons out of their schools and end hatred based on race, gender and sexual orientation. That’s not because teachers are doing anything wrong. It’s because they’re educating our children about their world. The rest of us have to do everything we can to prevent partisan politicians from destroying their education.

Joel McNally was a critic and columnist for the Milwaukee Journal for 27 years. He has written the weekly Taking Liberties column for the Shepherd Express since 1996.

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Dontrell Corey Fells Shares the Value of Therapy BY ERIN BLOODGOOD

Photo by Erin Bloodgood.


or Dontrell Corey Fells, co-founder of Black Space, therapy wasn’t always a pleasant experience. When he was a teenager in late high school, his mother passed away. “After that, there was just a young boy that wanted to be able to find somewhere to live and to figure out life for myself,” says Fells. His family suggested he see a therapist to cope, but the man they found made Fells uncomfortable. As a young Black man, Fells couldn’t relate to his therapist who was an older white man. He


felt the need to use coded language and give additional context to explain where he grew up and the challenges he faced. It wasn’t working. Soon after, at 18 years old, he enlisted in the military “to find some type of solace, some type of consistency,” Fells explains. But the military left him with a lot of questions and after eight years of service, he found his way back to Milwaukee to begin his life as a civilian—unsure of what to do next.

BLACK AND BROWN Filled with anxiety and living through a global pandemic in 2020, Fells was looking for answers. His friend suggested he see a therapist, so he decided to give it another try. This time, he found Dr. Lia A. Knox, a therapist from his neighborhood who looked like him—someone who could relate to his experiences and struggles. He felt like he could be himself and didn’t have to put up any walls. Therapy took on a whole new meaning and he began telling friends about it, including his friend Darius Smith, who was on the front lines of the Black Lives Matter marches, leading thousands of people. It wasn’t long before Smith, Fells and Knox identified a need in Black and Brown communities and began discussing ways to offer therapy for free. Thus, Black Space was started. “The name Black Space is a symbolic name—there’s a gap between providing Black and Brown people with the necessary tools for something like therapy because there’s this classism surrounding therapy,” says Fells. He explains that many people he knows see therapy as expensive and unattainable. Additionally, the traditional format of therapy—a short one-on-one session—doesn’t lend itself to the culture of Black and Brown people. “We’re storytellers, so that one hour isn’t enough for us.”

Fells, Smith and Knox chose to offer group sessions, led by Knox who is trained in cultural competency, where people can share their experiences with others who can relate to them. Their goal is to foster connections in each group, which are separated into Black and Brown men, Black and Brown women, and Black and Brown LGBTQIA+ identifying individuals. The group therapy experiences continue to fill up, showing the need for an inclusive, safe space addressing mental health. Fells seems to have found his calling shepherding the organization to help more and more people of color, but he continues to work through his angst and find meaning in his own life. Now with a baby on the way, he has a new motivation to create a future his child can thrive and feel safe in. “That is my ultimate goal,” he says, “to make sure this world, or at least this place, is better off than I left it when I was a young kid.”

Learn more about Black Space at Erin Bloodgood is a Milwaukee photographer and storyteller. See more of her work on her website at

APRIL 2022 | 21


Joanne Johnson-Sabir on Economic Development in the Central City BY TOM JENZ


Photos by Tom Jenz.


he world seems frayed these days, torn by violence, inflation, war, woke-ness, COVID, smartphone addiction and just plain anger. Milwaukee’s central city is not immune. But for these Black residents, probably the foremost issue is how to boost business development. Working outside the fray is one of the city’s innovators, JoAnne Johnson-Sabir. Several years ago, she partnered with Milwaukee developer Juli Kaufmann to transform the BMO Harris Sherman Park bank that was burned during the 2016 unrest into a shopping and wellness hub. They called it the Sherman Phoenix. The space opened in December of 2018 and is presently home to many Black-owned businesses, That includes JoAnne’s second venture, the Shindig Café, in partnership with her husband Manaan Sabir I met Johnson-Sabir inside the Sherman Phoenix surrounded by customers socializing at communal tables bordered by store fronts. Through her gentle demeanor, she articulated sound business ideas.

Tell me about your background, your family, where you grew up, schools you attended. How you got to be you? I grew up in New York. My parents were both social workers and community change agents. At a young age, I was indoctrinated into serving the greater good. For undergrad, I went to Clark Atlanta University [a Historically Black College] in Atlanta. For me, college was beautiful, a Black mecca for Black excellence. I liked having professors of color. The experience taught me that if you see the possibility, you can achieve it. I majored in psychology and pre-med, but I realized my work should be in community engagement. I went back to New York and worked as a Director for Resident Life at Hunter College. I also worked with children and young people. I think I helped them by living my story as a physical representation of Black success. On 9/11/2001, the World Trade Center disaster happened, and I was close by. I walked 127 blocks to my home in Harlem and decided I needed a change. I ended up moving to Milwaukee where my mom was a director of community development. Her mother Sharon and husband Larry Adams developed Walnut Way, one of the most successful real estate projects in the central city. In 20 years, they have restored dilapidated homes, built a community center, transformed vacant lots into gardens and orchards and developed venues for economic development.

You were in your early 20s and starting over in a different city. What did you do in Milwaukee? I began working in social welfare as a case manager for the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare Services. I was working for the Medical College of Wisconsin and doing research in community development. During that time, I earned my masters degree in social work at UWM. Eventually, I went to work with my mom at Walnut Way. We did our first development, Innovations in Walnut Commons, on 17th and North. I hired Juli Kaufmann as the developer.

Johnson-Sabir married, and with husband opened The Juice Kitchen, a successful venue in the Walnut Way Commons. The juices they sold were Sabir’s health and wellness drinks. Growing up in New York, I had not experienced segregation until I came here. When the 2016 uprising happened in Sherman Park, my alderman said the Black community needed a Juice Kitchen to lift the minds and spirits of our residents. The developer Juli Kaufmann and I put together a business development in Sherman Park in the BMO bank building burned from the uprising. That was the birth of the Sherman Phoenix. Now in 2022, we have a thriving development model and a great consulting team to focus on building businesses even including patenting.

I read that you are involved in something called Freedom Endeavors, Inc. Freedom Endeavors is another consulting firm that I own. We consult on new businesses and developments and also do physical developments. It’s a strategic leadership resource business based on my skill set.

Let me quote you: “I knew one of the pathways in community work had to be centered on the economy. I asked myself, ‘How do we create a pathway so that people can sustain themselves? Creating businesses is a good pathway for wealth to expand in the community.’” How can the central city expand Black owned businesses? I think the expansion happens through support of the residents. I just came from Atlanta where people show up and are enthused. You can try to create anything, but the proof in the pudding is APRIL 2022 | 23


Photo by Tom Jenz.

the community rising-up to support the endeavors of the Black business owners. The call-to-action rests with the people. In the Sherman Phoenix, we have all these beautiful Black businesses, these wonderful entrepreneurs. The residents need to show up and support them.

In December of 2017, you started out with about 20 Black-owned businesses. Are most of businesses in the Sherman Phoenix still Black owned? Yes, they are. We now have 29 businesses here. We also have a new American Family Insurance Agency coming online. We have two other areas of the complex that need remodeling, but otherwise, we are near capacity.

Quoting you from your Sherman Phoenix website: “Community conversations identified a need for safe, welcoming neighborhood spaces, 24 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

and certain leaders in the community decided to take matters into their own hands in order to foster change.” What are you doing currently? What are your business plans for the future? My plans are in consulting and leadership development and developing apps. Through the Sherman Phoenix Foundation, we are looking to develop a consulting group and take some of our ideas across the nation. I’m taking my strategic business skills on the road. I’m looking at Atlanta, Dallas, and Miami.

How do you go about that? By building relationships. A national public relations agency. Working with American Family Insurance. We can’t wait for the federal or city government. We have to prepare ourselves to act and create opportunities.

Tom Jenz writes the Central City Stories column for

APRIL 2022 | 25


Photos courtesy of Kames Photography/Story Hill BKC.

Story Hill BKC Puts Eclectic, Locally Sourced Spin on Contemporary Fare



tory Hill BKC has a story to tell. It involves house made and locally sourced ingredients with backup from their sister restaurant Blue’s Egg bakery a few blocks away. The Story Hill part of the name tells what Milwaukee neighborhood it’s in, and the BKC stands for bottle kitchen cocktail, in case you were wondering. With three different sections of the restaurant, you can essentially choose your vibe for the day. There’s the bar area with views of the kitchen, the dining area for longer stays, and a bountiful retail shop equipped with all the fixings for a take-home boozy brunch. Whether you’re popping in for a quick bite, gathering with friends, or picking up curbside, Story Hill BCK has you covered. 26 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

For a Wednesday at noon, this place was hopping with a midweek brunch crowd. Known for their crêpes and “innovative sandwiches” there’s really something for everyone on this menu, including those with food allergies and dietary restrictions. Next to the Burger on the Hill is the vegan BBQ shiitake wrap. Sweet and savory are well-represented and sides are pretty healthy to accommodate your possible over-indulgence on mains. My choices were approved by the very friendly staff, opting for the crêpe monsieur and the trending Buffalo cauliflower wrap. I figured I’d go full savory and come back someday for sweeter choices with someone who appreciates them more than me.

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I started with the crêpe monsieur and wow is this a dish that gives you a reason to brunch on a Wednesday. It’s basically a Cubano sandwich as a crepe dressed with pickle bites, Dijonnaise and two poached eggs. It is dressed to impress! Although I only ate half in preparation for my second course, this dish won’t leave you hungry. A beer in between was necessary after adding a lot of their homemade South by North hot sauce (available in the retail store). Going vegan next was also necessary after all that ham.

*You must be 16 years old or better to enter. No purchase necessary to enter or win. Enter to win from Wednesday, April 13 – Tuesday, April 26, 2022. One winner will be chosen for each prize by random drawing after Friday, April 29, 2022 and notified by phone. Winners must arrange pick up of their prize from an Outpost store location. Prizes are non-refundable, returnable or transferable. Outpost employees, the board of directors and their families are not eligible to enter or win. Age restrictions and other restrictions may apply.

After venturing for brunch and peeping the dinner menu, a return to Story Hill BKC was imminent. Prepare ahead of time: reservations on a Friday night can be hard to get. Collectively, my guests and I all had stressful weeks and were ready to indulge. On tap and handcrafted cocktails alongside a bountiful beer list started off our night. The dinner menu is divided into taste, share, pass, and bindings—which basically means you can divide and conquer every way you turn. There wasn’t much strategy to our order but we were very pleased with it—crayfish Rangoon, mushroom lasagna, chicken paprikash and the beef short rib gnocchi. While these items might not sound like they go together, they oddly do and very much so. Each person at the table had a different favorite from the other. Much like its brunch menu, Story Hill BKC’s dinner is an eclectic spin on American fare worth seeking out.

Photo courtesy of Kames Photography/Story Hill BKC.

The Buffalo cauliflower wrap proves why this dish has been a big trend recently with the vegan movement. With just enough heat and a bounty of veggies, it hits the spot as a replacement to an otherwise unhealthy classic. I chose the Brutus salad as my side.

STORY HILL BKC 5100 W. Bluemound Road (414) 539-4424 | $$$

Sandy Reitman is a Milwaukee writer and a regular contributor to’s Let’s Eat! column.

APRIL 2022 | 27



Creamy Beans are Made of These BY ARI LEVAUX


oods that grow together go together, so goes the old saying. It’s become the locavore’s anthem, your cue to coax whatever plant life you can from your home ground and figure out how best to cook it all. And live happily ever after. The seed catalogs that will soon arrive in the mail will tempt you to dream big, and you should. But in which direction? We can’t plant everything. Planning, and alas choosing, is an important part of gardening. You can’t order your seeds if you don’t know what you want to plant, which means you must ponder what you want to eat, and what you can’t get anywhere else. I can always buy carrots at the 28 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

farmers market, summer and winter, so I don’t need to grow carrots. But it’s harder to get red cranberry beans, to choose one of many heirloom vegetable varieties that one might choose to grow. If I want to eat beans like that, I might just have to grow them myself. Luckily, they grow well in my area. And I know where to get seed. My friend David Lau is a seed farmer, which sounds pretty lonely, even by farmer standards. I kept him company one afternoon at his operation, called Red Tail Seeds, in a field behind a self-serve farmstand on the outskirts of Missoula. His rows have an overgrown, gone-toseed look to them from a distance. That’s

the point, of course. But up close the plants are less messy looking and appear to be more actualized. Full grown tomato bushes, never harvested and laden with fruit, staked against the weight, look like what Norman Rockwell would paint if he painted gardens. The seed heads of flowered lettuce towered over the garden, larger than life like Popeye after a can of spinach. And pods of cranberry beans, cascading from the plants in their unharvested bounty, dried slowly in the August heat. Lau sells the cranberry bean seed to Fedco Seeds, which calls them “one of the very best baking beans.” After they had dried and cured, Lau dropped off a sack for me Photo by Ari LeVaux.

to play with. The beans were small and dark, reminiscent of black beans but with an unmistakable ruby glow. They cooked up creamy, without disintegrating, and have a mild, slightly nutty flavor. Then I added a bunch of meat and winter pantry staples like onion, carrots, potatoes, and finally squash, and called it creamy bean stew. Beans and squash are two of the socalled Three Sisters, a Native American version of “what grows together, goes together.” In the field, the squash covers the ground between the corn, which blasts into the third dimension, with the beans climbing the corn into the sky while their roots add nitrogen to the soil. On the plate, the Three Sisters fit together deliciously in countless ways. Sister corn is absent from this dish, although you could easily add it in the form of corn tortillas to make tacos or enchiladas. Otherwise, it’s fine without corn. We can’t do everything all the time. And with potato, carrot and onion in the mix, this stew has plenty of local representation.

APRIL 2022 | 29


Squash Bean Stew


hen I cook this stew, I aim for each component to be perfectly soft, but I don’t want it to dissolve together into mush. That means adding the ingredients one by one, starting with the beans, in order of how much time they need. This way every component of the equation is perfect and full of its own unique flavor, and the whole thing adds up to a dish that is simple but full of diversity and texture. Some might call it boring, but when your ingredients are top notch, you want to fully experience the flavor of each one. This dish is flexible at every step of the way. In the spices you add, in the various wintry vegetables you choose, and with what you serve it. I scooped it on some tamales the other day to make the circle of sisters complete. • 1 cup dried cranberry beans, or a similar small dark bean • Optional: a piece or two of bacon or a ham hock • Optional: stew meat like beef or venison, however much you feel


• Sprig or two of thyme or oregano, or a few bay leaves • Cube of bouillon or tablespoon Better than Bouillon paste • 2 medium sized carrots, cut into rounds about an inch long • 1 large potato cut into cubes or several smaller or medium • 1 onion, cut in half around the equator • 2 tablespoons olive oil • 1 small kabocha squash Cook the beans in two quarts of water. I can’t tell you exactly how long it will take to cook your beans in the equipment you have at home. I can tell you it will go quicker if you soak the beans overnight, and if you use a pressure cooker. You are ultimately responsible for cooking your beans to the point where the cell wall and oligosaccharide carbohydrates break down from the heat. Otherwise, the bacteria in your gut will have to break down those carbon chains. For a price. My pressure cooker can cook un-soaked beans in an hour, so I skip the pre-soak and after 60 minutes they are perfect. I cook the bacon and meat with the beans. While that is going on I cut a squash in half and bake it on a cookie sheet for an hour at 350, seeds and all, with the cut sides facing down. After the meat and beans have taken their high-pressure journey to a softer place, add the herbs, bouillon (or stock), carrots, potato, onion and oil. Bring to a simmer. After 20 minutes, add salt and pepper to taste. After about 45 minutes, season one final time and ladle the stew into bowls. Scoop out balls of squash and add them to each bowl. As with any savory food, I tweak and perfect with mayo and hot sauce.

Ari LeVaux has written about food for The Atlantic Online, Outside Online and Alternet. Photo by Gonzalo Calle Asprilla/Getty Images.


APRIL 2022 | 31


Which Grapes Make



ld World society says Harry Charles Albert David Duke of Sussex is nobility and Rachel Meghan Markle wasn’t. Old World society says Meghan Markle was a commoner. But Harry and Meghan got married, and they had a son, Archie, and a daughter, Lillibet. More than 98% of the wine we drink is made from Vitis Vinifera grapes—a single species of the Vitis genus of the Ampelidaceae family of vines. There are more than 10,000 strains of the Vitis vinifera species of grapes. Just six of them comprise more than 80% of the wine Americans drink. They are so-called noble grapes—pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and riesling. The roots of today’s viticulture lie in the Neolithic soils of the southern Caucasus Mountains, a region which includes parts of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, and northern Iran and Iraq. In the Neolithic era, viticulturalists around the Black and Caspian Seas cultivated Vitis vinifera vines. Viticulture and Vitis vinifera made their way to Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Mediterranean. Roman society advanced how viticulturists grew grapes and viniculturists made wine. Monks of the medieval Roman Catholic Church developed enduring ideas and techniques of grape farming and wine making. The Old World society of Europe codified wines made from Vitis vinifera strains as quality.


Do the genus of Vitis vinifera and its strains of noble grapes owe their supremacy and nobility to the history of viticulture and viniculture of the Old World? Do they owe it to Old World migrants who imported their vines to the New Worlds of the Americas, South Africa and Oceania? Do they owe it to New World climates and soils, which don’t necessarily favor Old World vines? What about the two percent of wine which isn’t made from Vitis vinifera strains? That two percent is made from species like Vitis riparia, Vitis berlandieri, Vitis rupestris, Vitis labrusca, and Vitis aestivalis. That two percent is also made from hybrid vines and their grapes. Hybrids are the kinds of vines and grapes the state of Wisconsin cultivates and vinifies best. Hybrids refer to crossings of two species of Vitis vines. They include crossings of vine species native to North America with Vitis vinifera species. Viticulturists create hybrids primarily to resist biotic stresses, like fungal diseases, and abiotic stresses, like frost. In a climate like ours and with soils like ours, cultivating hybrids is the best way to make wine. The University of Minnesota Horticultural Research Center has made a specialty of developing high-quality, cold-hardy, disease-resistance hybrid grapes like Frontenac Noir, Marquette, Bluebell, Swenson Red, Itasca, La Crescent, and Edelweiss. (The University of Minnesota developed Swenson Red and La Crescent with Wisconsin native Elmer Swenson.) Photo by RomoloTavani/Getty Images.

The Wine and Spirits Education Trust, a leading global wine educator, teaches that hybrid grapes, by nature, make lesser quality wines. It’s fair to say that hybrids, relative to wines made from Vitis vinifera grapes, can display a lack of complex aromas and flavors, along with off-aromas and off-flavors. It’s fair to say that hybrids lack the benefit of the thousands of years of viticulture and viniculture of Vitis vinifera wines. It’s also fair to say that wine is a product of agriculture, which is subject to its society, culture, and history, as well as its climate and soils. The more Wisconsin makes the culture of growing hybrid grapes and making hybrid wine its own, the more delicious hybrid wines we make. What people call quality wine is a custom of their society and culture. Like doublets and hose for gentlemen. Like chaperones for unmarried women. Like a class of people called noble and a class of people called common. Like high-alcohol cabernet sauvignon and oaky chardonnay. An Old World society may call six strains of the Vitis vinifera species its nobility. A New World society like ours— with our climate, our soils, and our history—isn’t obliged to.

Gaetano Marangelli is a sommelier and playwright. He was the managing director of a wine import and distribution company in New York and beverage director for restaurants and retailers in New York and Chicago before moving to Wauwatosa.

APRIL 2022 | 33




hese days, prices are rising on just about everything, and home-improvement initiatives are no exception. Inflation and the effects of the pandemic continue to increase material costs and hamper the availability of items such as lumber. Last summer’s Consumer Price Index noted that appliance prices have risen nearly 5% compared to the previous year; washing machines and dryers were up about 18%. Recent studies indicate that prices will continue to rise on the home-improvement front, causing homeowners to find ways to reduce remodeling budgets; however, cutting costs doesn’t mean cutting corners. Take a look at these ideas to help you renovate without breaking the bank.

Do your own demo work. You’ll stash some cash if you do the demolition work versus leaving it to a contractor—but proceed with caution. Demolishing a carport or deck may be easy but be careful when taking down walls. You need to be sure you’re not damaging a loadbearing wall or putting yourself at risk for sawing into wiring or damaging plumbing. Ditch delivery fees. It pays to schlep around town and pick up materials yourself. Many home improvement stores offer rental trucks just for this purpose. Have a buddy with a truck or a trailer? Ask if you can borrow it and avoid delivery fees.

Set a budget. Like any remodeling project, creating a smart budget is key. Be sure to add another 10% to cover any surprises that might pop up along the way. Next, make a spreadsheet of costs you can update regularly to keep yourself on track.

Watch the windows. See if you can improve the insulation around existing windows before replacing them. Are there other repairs that could be made without replacing a window? If so, you could be in for huge savings. If you ultimately need to purchase new windows, keep them the same size as the existing windows and you’ll pocket a bit of cash.

Do it yourself. It sounds obvious but rolling up your sleeves and putting in a little sweat equity will pay off financially. There are plenty of publications and online tutorials to walk you through whatever project you’re considering, and even the most inexperienced renovator can paint a room or insulate an attic.

Visit recycling centers. Picking up slightly used fixtures, secondhand building materials, scratch-and-dent appliances, and other salvaged items can help cut costs. Milwaukee is home to several Habitat for Humanity Restores, and you can even find some materials at local auctions.


Reconsider expensive renovations. Kitchen and bathroom remodels are the most popular and expensive home improvements. You’ll save a lot of money by keeping the layouts the same, leaving the plumbing intact. Instead of gutting these rooms, consider simply painting or re-staining existing cabinets and vanities and adding new hardware. Retiling a kitchen backsplash or bathroom shower is actually easier and more economical than you might think. Hire a contractor. While hiring a contractor will significantly increase costs, sometimes it’s simply the smartest thing to do. Get at least three quotes and avoid hiring during busy periods—the middle of summer and September through December. Stash some cash by keeping manhours low when you prep areas yourself (removing old carpeting, for instance). Most important, pace yourself and focus on one project at a time. Review your wish list and assess which renovation project makes the most sense to tackle first. Can you afford one project more than the others? Will one project add value to a home you’re about to put on the market? Choose your project wisely, and you (and your bank account) will surely be happy with the results.


Mark Hagen is an award-winning gardener whose home has been featured in numerous national publications. His work has appeared in Birds & Blooms, Fresh Home and Your Family magazines. APRIL 2022 | 35


Organic Gardening in 3 Easy Steps BY MARK HAGEN

Photo by Tatomm/Getty Images.


n a (biodegradable, all-natural) nutshell, organic gardening relies on tools and techniques that do not involve synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Instead, organic gardeners turn to natural and plant-derived options to improve the quality of the planting soil, fight insects and disease, and strengthen the quality of the plant. An organic garden is a tiny part of nature’s overall system. And today’s gardeners are flocking to the concept. Because they lack the use of pesticides and synthetic additives, organic gardens


are kind to the water table and the planet overall. In many cases foods grown organically taste better, and while some scientists disagree, there is mounting evidence that organically grown foods are more nutritious. Regardless of personal taste or scientific fact, many people simply feel better about consuming produce from organic gardens. Interested in giving organic gardening a shot? You’d be surprised how easy it is, and it all starts with getting your hands dirty.

PREPARE THE SOIL Because you won’t be gardening with synthetic fertilizers, you’ll want to give your veggies a great start, and that begins with the soil. Work plenty of compost into the soil to add nutrients and keep it moist. In general, treat the soil well, and it will reward you all season long. Some choose to avoid planting in the ground altogether, using raised beds instead. Not only do these beds allow you to best control the nutrients in the soil, but the soil warms up faster in spring, extends the growing season, and it saves some

wear and tear on your knees. Just be sure the wood hasn’t been chemically treated if you’re going for a pure organic garden.

GET PLANTING Select plants suited to your garden’s conditions. In other words, don’t plant sun-lovers in the shade or water-cravers in sandy soil. When buying seeds and starter plants, you may need to do a bit of research. For instance, many plants are nurtured with chemicals and pesticides before being shipped to garden centers. Consider purchasing plants from a farmers market, where you can ask the seller directly about organic farming practices. Try to plant a few flowers nearby that attract bees. Pollination is key to healthy plants, so encouraging bees to stop by your garden is a popular hack for today’s organic gardeners. Another trick? Leave enough space between the plants to allow air to circulate. Plants that are too close together can lead to fungus issues, which can be difficult to control without chemicals. Once your plants are set, toss on a layer of mulch. Adding an inch or two over the topsoil helps retain moisture, suppresses

Photo by Paul Bradbury/Getty Images.

weeds and keeps the soil healthy. Make your own organic mulch with grass clippings, dried leaves, pine needles or portions of your very own compost heap. Depending on the mulch you use, you may have to replenish it throughout the season.

REAP WHAT YOU SOW Now’s the fun part! Simply maintain your organic garden and enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you do need to buy a fertilizer, plant booster or mulch, be sure to buy organic.

Be wary of labels boasting claims such as “natural” or “nature’s favorite.” While these descriptors sound lovely, they could be marketing ploys. When in doubt, ask a garden center employee or do a bit of online research to find the organic products that are right for you.

Mark Hagen is an award-winning gardener whose home has been featured in numerous national publications. His work has appeared in Birds & Blooms, Fresh Home and Your Family magazines. APRIL 2022 | 37



APRIL 2022 | 39


Illustration by SIphotography/Getty Images.

There’s Still Time to Refinance, But Make the Right Decision for the Right Reasons BY MICHAEL MUCKIAN


ne advantage to staying home during the pandemic is the amount of money you saved that otherwise would have been spent enjoying life. The fortunate among you have also spent some time appreciating the fact that you have a home and the safety and financial security it provides. For most Americans, home ownership constitutes their most significant financial investment.

A significant number of you are also saving money on your home by refinancing your mortgages at lower interest rates. This can be an excellent way to increase your personal income by reducing the cost of monthly payments which, in turn, can add up to significant savings over the life of the mortgage. (I can feel you logging on to your favorite lender websites even as we speak.)

HOW DOES THIS WORK? All lending starts with the prime rate, defined as the rate commercial banks charge their best corporate customers and based on the Federal Reserve Bank’s overnight rate. The banks also factor in the 10-year Treasury yield, and a few other variables. All mortgages and other loan rates are determined by the prime rate, as well as by the size, purpose and terms of the loan, and 40 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

the borrower’s creditworthiness. The higher your credit score, the more favorable your loan rates and terms because you’re considered a lower credit risk to the lender. Since the start of the pandemic, the Fed has worked diligently to keep the prime rate low in hopes of stimulating the financial markets and promoting borrowing, which helps keep money in circulation and the economy flowing. The lower the prime rate, the lower other corresponding loan interest rates. Think of prime as the cost of money if that concept doesn’t seem too obtuse to you. In late January the Federal Reserve, pleased with the economy’s general strength but concerned with rising inflation, promised there would be hikes in the prime rate, the first of which occurred in March with an increase of .25%. The Fed said there could be as many as 6 rate hikes during 2022 as an effort to stem inflation, which also translates into higher mortgage rates for borrowers. Current rates are historically low, but the cost of money is going to start increasing, albeit slowly. That means 2022 will be a good time to refinance your mortgage, although some economists suggest acting sooner rather than later.

THE WHENS AND WHYS OF REFI Remember when you first bought your home? In and among all the excitement there were credit checks, home inspections, loan origination costs, closing costs, and a wide array of other expenses and activities that added to the task of taking legal possession of a property. When you choose to refinance that home’s mortgage, the process is similar, minus the new-home excitement. In essence, you are paying off your original debt on the property and turning right around and rebuying it under new financial terms. Like the Boy Scouts, be prepared.


Processes may differ slightly from lender to lender, but the experts note that closing costs on a mortgage refi can run 3 percent to 6 percent of the loan cost, so you will have to add that to your economic equation to determine if it’s time to refinance. If you’re not planning on living in the house much longer, it’s probably not worth the cost and effort since you may not recoup the money you invested during the refi process. Crunch the numbers—generally done by dividing the closing costs by the amount of money saved each month at the new rate—to determine your breakeven point and how many months you’ll have to live in the house under the new mortgage to make it worthwhile. Speaking of numbers, while there is some comfort and security refinancing with the same lender who holds your current mortgage, studies have shown that borrowers who get pre-qualified by at least three different lenders—or maybe five if you’re a glutton for punishment—tend to find better rates and have realized greater savings on their monthly mortgage payments. In fact, some research shows the multiple pre-qualifications have saved borrowers between $1,500 -$3,000 over the life of the loan. And isn’t that what this process is all about?

THE COST OF BORROWING Innovative rates and terms from nontraditional lenders have emerged in recent years, but the benchmark for most borrowers and lenders is still the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, terms that favor most families who plan to live in their homes for a longer duration. According to experts, if you’re a well-qualified owner currently holding a mortgage in the 3% to 3.55% range you’re right about where you should be given the tumultuous financial climate. If you do plan to refi, make sure you can reduce your interest rate by .5% to 1% so you’re sure that all we have discussed thus far is worth the cost and effort.

But there’s another reason to refinance. If you’re doing better financially these days, you may want to consider switching to a 15year fixed-rate mortgage. The monthly payments will be higher, of course, but you can reduce your interest rate as well as pay off your mortgage sooner, saving considerable funds while securing a lower interest rate in the process. Reducing the overall financial burden is critical and retiring loans of any type—and ending the corresponding interest paid—should be among your primary financial goals.

ACT WISELY We already discussed the need for a good credit rating. But most lenders also require you to have at least a 20% equity ownership in the house and a debt-to-income ratio of between 40% and 50% to make sure you can afford to make the monthly payments while at the same time meeting other existing financial needs in your life. Like, say, food. Above all, remember that this is purely a financial initiative, and if a refi doesn’t represent a lower monthly mortgage payment and/ or a long-term savings in interest payments, then it’s best to walk away from the concept. After all, it’s only money.

Michael Muckian was the banking and finance writer for the Milwaukee Business Journal and is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Financing and Accounting and The One-Day MBA in Finance and Accounting.

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Can’t Forgive? There’s Another Way BY PHILIP CHARD


orgiveness. For many of us, that proves a tough nut to crack. Often, when we harbor chronic resentment toward someone we feel has done us wrong, the emotional toxicity gradually intensifies. This mental toxin feeds on its host, not its target, which is why proponents of positive psychology encourage us to forgive ... or suffer the emotional, physical and spiritual consequences. How do we know whether we are suffering the ill effects of being unforgiving? Along with the usual suspects—anxiety, depression and agitation—a key symptom is obsessive ruminating over the offending party and their hurtful actions. It feels like one is haunted by the painful memories. Liz was one such soul. “I just feel sour inside, like being emotionally sick to my stomach,” she struggled to explain.

LETTING GO She felt incapable of letting go of resentment toward those who wronged her, which included some family and co-workers.


Her reflexive approach was to write these persons off, or, if impossible, to minimize her interactions with them and, when those occurred, exhibit a cold-as-ice demeanor. “I often ruminate about what these people said or did to me that was unfair or unkind,” she confessed. Most of us have at least one person we can’t seem to forgive, which is understandable. There are offenses, particularly those driven by intentional malice, that don’t seem to deserve absolution, at least in the absence of a sincere apology from the perpetrator. Research suggests the most difficult offenses to forgive involve breaches of trust, such as embezzlement or infidelity, as well as being victimized, socially ostracized or harshly bullied. So, while Liz finally recognized her bitterness was corrosive to her well-being, she felt incapable of granting pardons to all. She embraced the common belief that we possess only two choices in such matters—forgive the person and make peace or remain bitter. Not so.

Illustration and background by Michael Burmesch.

BURY THE HATCHET The most clear-cut form of forgiveness is when we bury the hatchet with the other party, a reconciliation made far easier when that person apologizes for their misdeed. However, even when the offender is contrite, it can be challenging. It’s one thing to let go of rancor toward someone, but another altogether to interact with the offending person in a positive manner going forward. What’s more, when that individual remains unapologetic, the challenge is more about coming to terms with one’s self than them. “When we can’t bring ourselves to forgive someone, and the bitterness is taking a toll on us, there is another way through,” I suggested to Liz. If the offending party has no remorse, fails to apologize or is inaccessible (won’t respond, incapacitated, deceased, etc.), that doesn’t prevent us from letting go of our resentment. How? Acceptance. This does not require forgiving the other person. What it does require is letting go of the desire for fairness, a just outcome or a self-affirming resolution. It involves adopting the attitude of “It is what it is ... and will remain so.” Realizing there won’t be a satisfactory resolution and accepting that as an unchangeable reality helps the mind and heart let it go.

RELEASING RITUAL If we struggle to embrace acceptance, as many do, it sometimes helps to employ a “releasing ritual” that engages the feeling brain not just the thinking one. Liz’s approach focused on an estranged relative who sent her scathing letters crammed with self-righteous criticism. They hadn’t spoken in years. In a ritual fashion, she burned the letters, collected the ashes and scattered them in a river at sunset. The outcome? “I don’t think about it much anymore,” she reported. “And when I do, it feels more like disappointment than anger. I’m not churning inside.” This kind of acceptance, as opposed to outright forgiveness, involves lightening up, unburdening oneself both emotionally and spiritually. Some years back, I was trudging through the Milwaukee airport in route to a wilderness trek, loaded down with baggage and gear, straining under the load. An elderly gentleman striding by, nothing in hand, stopped me in mid-stride. “Do you know the Roman word for baggage?” he asked me, but despite my years of Latin, I had to admit I didn’t. “Impedimenta,” he proclaimed before walking away. Without acceptance, the emotional baggage of resentment weighs us down emotionally and spiritually, impeding our capacity to live our best life.

Philip Chard is a psychotherapist and author with a focus on lasting behavior change, emotional healing and adaptation to health challenges. For more, visit

APRIL 2022 | 43


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ary came to me with several health problems, the most pressing of which was her 100-plus extra pounds. She had tried various programs over the years, sometimes dropping significant weight but then putting it back on. She wanted a new approach. Many patients come to me frustrated with their inability to lose weight. For many, weight was never an issue until they reached middle age. Others have carried substantial excess weight much of their life, posing a serious health risk. Still they can’t take it off—or if they do, even worse, they “yo-yo”. Weight loss resistance is complicated. There is confusion brought on by the onslaught of “experts” touting “the best diet” (often with conflicting approaches): low fat, low carb, keto, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, carnivore and more. Yikes! More importantly, 44 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

neglected underlying health issues can significantly impede one’s efforts. Also, and not to be minimized, our psyche, our relationship with food, our family and friends can all play a role. It is critical to adopt a way of eating that can be part of a way of life—for life. So not a fad diet. If you regularly consume a lot of unhealthy food, it can take time to shift your palate, but with some initial consistency, it happens. It is possible to crave a salad! Slow and steady weight loss is ideal. Briefly, the guidelines I suggest are a clean (think low pesticides) plant forward whole foods diet. This means fairly strict avoidance of processed foods and added sugars. As Michael Pollan quips in his book Food Rules “Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.” For a stretch goal, aim for 6-8 cups of vegetables a day—a colorful variety of non-starchy choices.

Illustration by Michael Burmesch.

OVERCOMING RESISTANCE But diet is rarely enough. It is key to address underlying health issues that may be getting in your way. While this may seem daunting, these common factors that contribute to weight loss resistance can be overcome: • insulin resistance (optimal blood sugar control) • stress leading to excess cortisol • disturbed gastrointestinal health (intestinal bacteria or microbiome imbalance, “leaky gut”, poor digestion, gut inflammation) • hormone imbalances (thyroid, sex hormones) • toxins (a common contributor to metabolic dysfunction) • chronic inflammation • nutritional deficiencies • lack of sleep or circadian rhythm disruption. I often see one or more of these problems show up in people who already follow an ideal diet and exercise regularly but can’t shed pounds. Finally, if you have a dysfunctional relationship with food, work on cultivating an attitude that honors food as nutrition for your body

and applying a mindful approach to eating with a sense of gratitude. Creating a shift from an orientation of denial to reframing food as nourishment can be a game changer. It can also help to surround yourself with others who equally engage healthful lifestyle and food choices Mary and I worked together to form a plan prioritizing her health—-gut health, hormone balance, stress management and toxic load. She incorporated fundamental lifestyle changes—good sleep habits, increased movement and healthy food choices. Nine months after she started these interventions, she informed me that she had lost 45 pounds. She said “It’s funny that I am not focused on weight at all (for the first time ever) and because it's secondary, I am not obsessed with it at all. I only weigh myself occasionally out of curiosity.” No longer using a “dieting” approach to weight loss, Mary was engaging a whole person approach to being healthy. I know this isn’t easy! But—like Mary it can be transformative to your health, your energy and your zest for life.

Katherine Bayliss, MD, a Milwaukee native, practiced in conventional medicine as a pathologist for 25 years. She now lives her passion, helping others through the more holistic Functional Medicine model, seeking root cause of symptoms and proactively promoting health

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t was early 2021 when the phone calls started. At first it was a trickle of a few per week, then growing to a steady stream of several calls per day. By autumn, our staff knew that the most frequently asked questions in our little sex toy shop would be about “The Rose,” a product that had gone viral on TikTok. The Rose is a small, unassuming device, designed to look like a rose blossom. Using pulses of air, it creates a feeling of gentle suction when placed over the clitoris, nipples, or other sensitive body parts. While air pulse technology toys have been available since 2014, The Rose’s internet buzz made it seem cutting-edge. Glowing reviews reported fast and furious orgasms. Interest snowballed, and the industry scrambled to meet demand. A phenomenon like this happens occasionally in the world of sexuality products. The 2012 release of best-selling erotic romance novel Fifty Shades of Grey brought a huge uptick in interest about sex toys in general, and BDSM-related products in particular (as well as unprecedented sales of Kegel balls, mostly because the book paints an unrealistic picture of typical user experience). Back in 1998, a landmark episode of the HBO series “Sex and the City” (SATC) opened floodgates of demand for “The Rabbit,” a dual-stimulation vibrator that has since spawned hundreds of imitators.


WOMEN’S PLEASURE These moments arguably helped normalize the pursuit of sexual pleasure—particularly women’s pleasure—within mainstream cultural discourse. When Charlotte, the most buttoned-down SATC character, walked into a sex toy shop over two decades ago to purchase her Rabbit, some of the taboo around that activity was lifted. Women who had been hesitant to visit adult shops felt emboldened by the show to explore. Similarly, Fifty Shades gave license to many readers (a major portion of them straight-identified women) to talk more openly about their sexual fantasies and desires, and to seek out information on sensual experiences beyond penisin-vagina intercourse. But there can be downsides to virality. Hype about a specific product often tends to reduce our complex relationship with sexuality to over-simplified stories. Most of us receive scant education around sexual pleasure while simultaneously absorbing unrealistic and narrow cultural messages about how sex is supposed to look and feel. That makes us susceptible to the allure of any hot new thing that promises to bring us ecstasy and make real our fantasies.

WE’RE ALL DIFFERENT SATC portrayed The Rabbit like an addictive substance. The toy created so much pleasure that Charlotte’s friends forced an intervention. That’s quite a story! Meanwhile, in real life, some users do indeed adore their Rabbits; it remains a favorite in many toy boxes.

Illustrations by Michael Burmesch.

But others find that the toy doesn’t quite work with their anatomy, is too intense/not intense enough, or just plain doesn’t feel good to them. In other words, we’re all different, and we like different things. No single toy can be mind-blowingly awesome for everyone. The impact of Fifty Shades’ popularity was more complicated. While some readers opened their minds to new erotic possibilities via power-play and kink, the way that Fifty Shades portrayed BDSM and consent was problematic and unrealistic. As a result, curious fans who added bondage, impact, and dominance/submission elements to their play often found themselves at a loss with how best to communicate their desires, boundaries and limits with partners. The framing of kink in the book didn’t offer an empowering template for negotiating fun, satisfying play. As for The Rose, I’ve got a little advice. This item isn’t made by one company, but rather by an opaque, poorly controlled supply chain under different, sometimes sketchy, brands. If you decide to try it, look for a reputable seller (and/or consider similar products that offer a better warranty). But far more importantly, when considering the larger picture of sexual pleasure, think of The Rose as just one possibility in a mosaic of sexual possibilities, rather than as a miracle device. Pleasure usually doesn’t boil down to one simple thing, it is situated within a dynamic context unique to each of us. The Rose may or may not blow your socks off. Regardless, you (and your socks) are wonderful as you are.

Hudson Nummerdor is a sexuality educator at The Tool Shed, Milwaukee’s mission driven, education based sexuality boutique.

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New Life in



ay View was once a far-away country if you lived north of Wisconsin Avenue. Before the Hoan Bridge opened in 1977, Bay View, one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, slumbered in splendid isolation wedged next to Jones Island and an industrial district dominated by the Allen-Bradley Clock Tower (known locally in those days as “the Polish Moon”). Not unlike the Third Ward, a few urban pioneers, mostly hipsters seeking low rents and retro atmosphere, began moving to Bay View in the ‘80s. The main business strip along South Kinnickinnic Avenue housed many empty storefronts in those years. I recall peering into the windows of an abandoned TV store (where Hi-Fi Café stands today) and being chased away by a cranky old man, vowing to “call the cops.”


Photo by Michael Burmesch.

Some Bay View businesses operating in 1981 remain, including Bay View Bowl, Club Garibaldi and Groppi’s Food Market (although owned no longer by the Groppi family). Starting in the late ‘90s, Bay View took on new life with an influx of homeowners throughout the neighborhood and businesses along the South Kinnickinnic strip. Bustling KK is now home to restaurants, bookstores, a haberdashery, a barbershop, boutiques, vintage shops and more.

David Luhrssen is Managing Editor of the Shepherd Express and a Bay View resident since 1996. 48 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS


To advertise on this page, contact BRIDGETTE at 414.292.3811 or APRIL 2022 | 49





Photo by Michael Burmesch.


DOCTOR M.L.K. JR DR Photos by Michael Burmesch.


obody called it Bronzeville when I was born in a big house on West Vine Street. The mostly Black Milwaukee neighborhood received its informal name years later when high-profile attorney, Clarence R. Parrish—head of the local NAACP—was dubbed “Mayor of Bronzeville.” In 1967, Parrish and my late mother, Juanita Carter, narrowly escaped when the NAACP office on West Center Street was firebombed. In its late 1940s through mid-‘60s heyday, Bronzeville was home to a number of fine restaurants, barbershops and popular taverns including the 700, 711, Rose Room, Savoy Lounge, Bates Old Rail, Altruistic Lounge, Louisiana Tap, Ranchos and 502 Club, among many others. To help keep the peace amidst the frivolity—and righteously strike fear in the hearts of adults and aggressive kids alike—the area was patrolled by uniformed Black cops including Calvin C. Moody, the city’s first Black detective and, after retiring, the first Black Milwaukee County Supervisor. Among my happiest memories was the storied Regal Theater at Seventh and Walnut; famous Black vocal groups such as the Moonglows and Spaniels sang a cappella on the sidewalk; and Friday “Canteen Nights” for R&B-crazy Black teenagers in the Northside YMCA at Sixth and North Avenue.

When I visit my Milwaukee hometown from New York, it is distressing to see the decline in the Bronzeville neighborhoods of my youth. Empty lots have replaced churches, schools are boarded-up, dilapidated houses line many streets, grocery stores and even taverns have disappeared, while shootings, car-jackings and street crime have become endemic. Yet, I can see positive signs beginning to emerge, with Black elected officials in many key posts. These dedicated men and women are leading the way in reviving Bronzeville. New small businesses, pharmacies and retail outlets are beginning to show up in key locations, while many stately homes remain standing. The Black Holocaust Museum will draw visitors from across the U.S. And the corner of North King Drive and West North Avenue has happily been named for my decades-long friend, activist Reuben K. Harpole. So, ever the eternal optimist, I hold out great hope for Bronzeville. Without it, I would be nowhere.

Richard G. Carter was a local radio commentator, a Milwaukee Sentinel reporter and columnist for the Milwaukee Journal and New York Daily News. He grew up in Bronzeville.

Happily, I was raised in stable homes with both a mother and father, unlike some of my friends. Fatherless homes persist; statistics show that these days, this is the case with many Black children in the area, as urban blight continues. APRIL 2022 | 51



MADER'S Photo by Michael Burmesch.


eturning to Milwaukee from abroad in 1981, I was struck by Downtown’s lack of shopping malls. One year later, Grand Avenue Mall (now The Avenue) opened, and although it eventually floundered, in its early years Grand Avenue brought new business into the district. However, in 1981, Downtown Milwaukee had gotten shabby, even if many vestiges of a prosperous past remained. The old hotels, the Pfister and the Schroeder (now the Hilton), were open; the old Boston Store and Gimbels department stores

were in business; the Pabst and Riverside theaters still stood (if less busy than today). When the Bucks played the MECCA Milwaukee Arena (now UWM Panther Arena) or touring bands played the Auditorium (now the Miller High Life Theatre), traffic streamed into Downtown from the suburbs. More often, the streets emptied when the sun went down. Downtown nightlife in 1981 was an adventure and many suburbanites were wary. The punk rock scene gathered at The Starship (now demolished) and The Stone

Toad (long gone) hosted less aggressive bands. Beyond East Town, few people lived in Downtown outside the Norman apartments (burned down in 1991). Artists and musicians took studios (and sometimes slept) at the Iron Block (given a facelift since then) and the colorful Sidney Hih (now demolished). Milwaukee’s big three German restaurants were still cooking—Karl Ratzch and John Ernst are gone with only Mader’s remaining. The well heeled dined at Grenadier’s, often in conjunction with a visit to the Performing Arts Center (now the Marcus PAC) for classical music and theater. Elsa’s brought cosmopolitan flair to Milwaukee and the original John Hawk’s Pub (defunct) satiated Anglophiles. During the past 40 years, new hotels and many new businesses have sprung up, making Downtown a busier place than in 1981.

David Luhrssen is Managing Editor of the Shepherd Express and a former resident of East Town.


Renewing the




fter “urban renewal” drove the Italian community out of the Third Ward in the ’60s, the neighborhood felt abandoned. In the 1970s a proposed red-light district became the impetus for founding the Historic Third Ward Association, according to Jim Plaisted, the association’s executive director. “They were the forebearers of the vision that’s been realized today,” he said. The red-light district was successfully opposed, and in the 1980s the Third Ward was recognized by the National Registry of Historic Places with 70 buildings over 10 square blocks. The Buffalo Street Bridge was removed. Warehouses and factories were eventually converted to shops, offices and condos. Artists had made the area home since the ‘80s, making it the natural center for Gallery Night. The Broadway Theatre Center became an anchor point for Milwaukee performing arts.

Photo by Michael Burmesch.

Completed in 1992, the $3.4 million Street Scape Project included the construction of Catalano Square, two parks on located on Broadway, 285 pedestrian light poles and the two identifying arches. In 2005 the Milwaukee Public Market opened. Upscale restaurants and boutiques are part of the new Third Ward, along with cheese and fish vendors, coffeeshops 1800 housing units with around 3000 residents. “Economic development energy continues and is as strong as ever despite the pandemic,” and he points out the strong appeal because of “the great neighborhood it has become and its proximity to Downtown,” Plaisted said,

Anthony Mark Happel is an actor, screenwriter, stage and film director with deep roots in Milwaukee. APRIL 2022 | 53




Becoming a Culture Hub BY JUAN MIGUEL MARTINEZ


n 2005 Mayor Tom Barrett announced his backing for the city’s “Latin Quarter” at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Convention in Milwaukee. The boundaries run from the southern end of the Sixth Street bridge on the north, to Mitchell Street on the south and South First Street on the east to South Sixth street on the west. Community leaders planned to brand the area, fix storefronts and improve streetscapes. A lot has happened since 2005, and while the name “Latin Quarter” hasn’t entirely taken hold, the area certainly has enjoyed economic growth and development. The district attracts tourists


Photos by Michael Burmesch.

and has become a hub for Latino/a/x culture, with places like Zocalo food park enjoying a lot of success. Last Rites Milwaukee recently opened, the second new music bar in the area, following Sabbatic. Hotel Madrid have gone up in the space of the old Pedrano’s Mexican restaurant and attracts Sangria lovers from all over the state. The Iron Horse Hotel still teems with activity. The area that has not been revitalized as well as its northern counterpart is Mitchell Street, where a supposed reinvigoration started in 2016 never really came. Mitchell Street was once “Milwaukee’s second downtown” and landmark stores such as Goldman’s continued to operate through the ‘80s and ‘90s.

Chicago artist-entrepreneur Rew Gordon plans to turn Mitchell Street Men’s Wear into an arts incubator. “There are a few things the city can do to revitalize this part of the city, and truly, re-opening the Modjeska would be something that would really give life to not only the street, but the entire South Side as well,” says resident Tony Najera. The basic infrastructure is here. It just needs more funding.

Juan Miguel Martinez is a community activist and a South Side resident.


APRIL 2022 | 55





Photo by Michael Burmesch.

hange is in the DNA of Brady Street but the pandemic quickened the pace. I’ve lived in the neighborhood for most of the last 50 years. Here are things I notice as I walk the street today.

New food and drinking spots, all busy now: the roomy Pete’s Pub; the artful St. Bibiana’s with its naked angels; and the dazzling German-flavored Wurstbar with both indoor and outdoor video screens, mostly tuned to sports channels.

The east part’s the heart, so let’s start at the five-point intersection of Brady, Farwell and Cambridge. CVS with its new Minute Clinic is a veritable medical center with indoor and drive-through services. Kitty corner, the huge windows of the long triangular building, formerly Fed Ex and Kinko’s, hold “For Lease” signs.

Walking Brady Street at night, in fact, I feel I’m in a (mostly sports-themed) movie. I’ve counted 77 sizable video screens in the three-block stretch from Warren to Franklin.

What might the future hold? The boarded-up corner building across Farwell, once a Starbucks, announces on an upper story window: Psychic Visions—Walk-ins Welcome.

Also new: Mac Shack offers a variety of “wood oven mac and cheese” dishes. Black Ink is an intriguing tattoo parlor. Golden Grizzly Tattoo is a snazzy one. I’ll buy and sell used clothes at Bandit Vintage and Modern. I’ll outfit my feet at the Ground Up Sneaker Shop.

The small mall beside our stalwart Walgreens has the new Taco Stop for Mexican take-out. A prominent wall-size poster in Supercuts hair salon next door reads “Thank you for not cutting your own hair today.” Sorry, Supercuts; that’s one of my pandemic money-savers. To boot, my longtime hair salon, Live Gallery, has relocated to the west end of Brady, so coming or going I feel a bit guilty.

Nomadland: The Nomad World Pub is foundational to Brady Street, a must-see for visitors, and now in four parts. 1) the original bar; 2) the colorful, train-like compartments on the street along the curb; 3) the wide-open alleyway behind the original building with a bar, barstools and tables, tree stump seating, video screens, an outdoor sound system, a burger stand, restrooms; and 4) a brand-new indoor Coffee Bar in the next building down.

Shocking losses: Brewed, the warm coffee shop that helped the street recover when its happy hippie days were past has closed. Likewise, Fazio’s Dry Cleaning, part of the street’s strong Italian heritage. The Up And Under nightclub is gone. A new club named Nashville North will take its place soon, says big letters across the façade.

Last summer, and hopefully next, Nomad teamed with its neighbor Club Brady to create “Brady Beach.” They persuaded the city to close the intersection at Warren and Brady, filled it with tables and hosted a summer long street party. You could hear the music for blocks sometimes. I didn’t mind.

Actor, playwright and director John Schneider was a member of Theatre X and has lived on the Lower East Side for many years. 56 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

RIVERWEST is Restless and Alive BY KEVIN LYNCH


ince the 1980s, Riverwest has moved like the river it borders—a place of restless culture and commingling social currents. Literary, artsy Woodland Pattern, opened in 1980, remains Riverwest’s signature cultural center, along with Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, open since 1993. Center Street now has about six music and arts venues, including Company Brewing and The Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts, which re-imagines the celebrated 1980s Milwaukee Jazz Gallery. Neighbors recently bought the historic multi-purpose crossroads Polish Falcon Bowl. I’ve lived here most of my adult life, with an interval in Madison. In a sense I never left—much of Madison is culturally and politically comparable to Riverwest. In 1973, the Eastside Housing Action Committee joined Madison activists to rent a Locust Street storefront for a Milwaukee chapter of the Wisconsin Alliance, a statewide socialist organization. This alternative publication’s predecessor, The Bugle American, resided in Riverwest until 1979 and the Crazy Shepherd found its way to the neighborhood 40 years ago. Another primary socio-political entity, Outpost Natural Foods, remains “the real heart of the counterculture west of the river,” Riverwest historian Tom Tolan writes. Now a successful regional chain, Outpost’s membership-and-volunteerism system sparked its growth—once oriented to “revolution,” now towards community and personal health.

LINNEMAN'S RIVERWEST INN Photo by Michael Burmesch.

while remaining strongly left-leaning and bohemian. Witness the Peace Action Center, The Riverwest Artists Association, The Riverwest Neighborhood Association, community-oriented radio station WXRW, Riverwest Food Pantry and a vital arm of Milwaukee Riverkeepers environmental activists. The new Daily Bird may not replace the former Fuel Café’s punk-rock vitality. However, two indie recording studios recently opened.

Riverwest remains arguably the city’s most diverse and alternative-culture neighborhood, defying the city’s notorious segregation. Gentrification never infiltrated, despite condo development on bordering Commerce Street. Mortgages and rents remain moderate and median household income is $44,820, compared to the nation’s average of $62,843. A notably working-class population remains, with 39% holding a high-school degree or less, compared to the nation’s 30 to 35 percent working class. Historical ethnicities are Polish and Puerto Rican—a neighbor’s flagpole flies Puerto Rican and American colors year-round, and up the street is bi-lingual elementary La Escuela Fratney. Riverwest’s racial make-up is 64% white, 20% black, 8% Hispanic, 5% mixed races, and 3% Asian.

Kevin Lynch has written for The Capital Times. Down Beat and The Village Voice and is a longtime resident of Riverwest.


Milwaukee-style commercial success stories include Lakefront Brewery and Black Husky Brewing. In time, the neighborhood shifted politically, from the radically driven ESHAC to community-growth values,

APRIL 2022 | 57










omewhere beyond all of this winter’s distractions, the Milwaukee Brewers are experiencing something of a golden era. They’ve made as many postseason appearances (four) and won as many division championships (two) in the past four seasons as they did in the nearly five decades that came before. Their recent successes include two of the five winningest seasons in franchise history. Their roster boasts both a former National League Most Valuable Player and the reigning Cy Young Award winner.


Instead of celebrating this team, however, fans have largely been left to wonder when they might see them again. After a brief flurry of transaction activity in November, MLB owners locked out the players when their collective bargaining agreement expired in December and the work stoppage wiped out all of the game’s normal winter and spring milestones: The Winter Meetings, Brewers on Deck, pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training, the first Cactus League games and, eventually, Opening Day. The work stoppage cast a cold shadow over the sport’s proverbial “hot stove” season. Photo by razihusin/Getty Images. Background photo by justin kendra/Getty Images.

There are two small elements of good news: The first is that history suggests that early season work stoppages, while frustrating, aren’t particularly damaging to the health of the sport in the long run. Many fans may not recall, for example, that a brief player strike delayed Opening Day in 1972 and abbreviated the Brewers’ season from 162 to 156 games. It’s even harder to find any lasting legacy of the 1990 lockout, which also delayed Opening Day and led to the season being extended by a week to make up the missed contests.

Similarly, it’s hard not to wonder what some of the Brewers’ recent acquisitions might be able to do given a full (or only slightly abbreviated) season in Milwaukee. Rowdy Tellez was a frequent spark in the Brewers’ lineup in 56 games after coming over from Toronto, and the designated hitter rule might directly or indirectly allow him to get into games more often. Hunter Renfroe, who the Brewers acquired via trade in November, has hit more than 30 home runs in each of the last two full MLB seasons. He’s one of just 17 hitters who can make that claim.

The other bit of good news is that when this Brewers team returns, assuming they do eventually return, they have another opportunity to continue their recent run of success. The 2021 Brewers had 10 position players and pitchers that Baseball Reference estimated were worth two or more wins above replacement, and nine of them remained under team control for 2022 (with Avisail Garcia as the only exception).

With all of that potential combined with the rest of the division’s relative inactivity before the transaction freeze, it’s not hard to be optimistic about this team’s potential. In mid-February Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA system projected the Brewers to win 97 games, which would be both a franchise record and the most wins of any National League team.

There’s also reason to hope that some of the players who aren’t in that group can regain past form in 2022. It’s possible that turnover in the Brewers’ coaching ranks will help Christian Yelich, for example, rebound toward the level of production that nearly allowed him to win back-to-back MVP awards in 2018 and 2019. Adding the designated hitter rule to the National League might allow the Brewers to temporarily or permanently stop worrying about Keston Hiura’s defensive position and focus on getting him back to posting numbers like the .303 batting average, .368 onbase and .570 slugging he had in his 2019 debut.

Instead of having all winter to get excited about the upcoming season, though, fans have been subjected to an offseason focused on economic issues, increasing hostility and the unanswerable question of how much is enough for billionaires. Baseball has come back from similar challenges before and it probably can again, but it’s going to take some work from all involved to remind the fans why they watch and get them past the anger over what they’ve lost this spring.

Kyle Lobner writes the weekly On Deck Circle column for APRIL 2022 | 59


Public school children salute the American flag and say the Pledge of Allegiance. April 20, 1942, San Francisco, California. Photo by Dorothea Lange. National Archives. Photo courtesy of Jewish Museum Milwaukee.

Japanese American Owned Store. March 13, 1942, Oakland, California. Photo by Dorothea Lange. National Archives. Photo courtesy of Jewish Museum Milwaukee.

Jewish Museum Remembers Japanese Internment with ‘Then They Came For Me’



hey stared with curious eyes through the slats of a truck built for hauling livestock. They were a group of children among the 120,000 civilians of Japanese heritage confined to camps in 1942. Two months after Pearl Harbor, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, interning all Japanese living in California, Oregon and Washington state. Many were U.S. citizens and none were accused of a crime. They were simply members of what was deemed as the wrong race. The photograph of those children in the truck is part of the current exhibition at Jewish Museum Milwaukee, “Then They Came for Me.” The title comes from remarks by German theologian Martin Niemöller, speaking of Hitler’s rise to power: “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” The relevance of the wartime internment to the museum’s mission is easily understood. “It’s a shared experience of prejudice solely based on race, an internment sole based on race,” says curator Molly Dubin. The relevance to contemporary immigration and social justice issues is also apparent.


The bulk of the exhibit consists of enlarged photographs on display panels accompanied by text. Many were taken by Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange and Clem Albers, acclaimed photographers employed by the federal government to document the internment. Eventually one of the captives, Toyo Miyatke, was able to take some of the pictures included in the exhibit. “Then They Came for Me” contextualizes the racism that made Executive Order 9066 possible with a panel that reviews the antiAsian legislation that culminated with the Immigration Act of 1924, which banned Japanese immigration altogether. The internment photos tell heartbreaking stories of ordinary civilians removed from their homes and businesses to camps in remote places. Telling signage is seen in one photo: EVACUATION SALE: FURNITURE MUST BE SOLD. The Japanese received pennies on the dollar for real estate as well as personal possessions. Each internee was allowed to carry only a single suitcase into captivity. In 1988 each survivor was paid $20,000 in reparations. The photos document long lines of Japanese, dressed in their Sunday best, walking under heavy guard to waiting trains. An elderly blind man is helped down from a train by soldiers. The faces of the captives are impassive, yet sadness and concern

seep through. An ugly set of faces is visible in a photo of a crowd watching as a convoy of internees pass by. Jaws are hardened while others smirk. A few bystanders seem to jeer at the Japanese. Camp life is well documented, including wooden guard towers topped with machine guns and surrounded by barbed wire. The barracks stand on dusty ground and a woman teaches children on a wooden porch in lieu of school. At one of the largest camps, Manzanar, internees are seen harvesting tomatoes. Some detainees were given leave to find work outside the camps. Others demonstrated their unbroken patriotism by volunteering for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, one of the U.S. Army’s most decorated units in the European theater. The 12,000 internees who refused to sign a loyalty oath were transferred to harsher confinement at Tule Lake.

Members of the Mochida Family Awaiting Evacuation. May 9, 1942, Hayward, California. Photo by Dorothea Lange. National Archives. Photo courtesy of Jewish Museum Milwaukee.

Although one panel reproduces an air raid poster hung in San Francisco, “Then They Came for Me” underplays the panic that ensued after Pearl Harbor as it played out against the endemic anti-Asian racism of American popular culture, nor does it investigate the political pressure behind Roosevelt’s fateful decision to issue Executive Order 9066. The exhibit does valuable service by underlining the Orwellian language used by the U.S. The forced removal of the Japanese was called an “evacuation” and the camps innocuously designated as “relocation centers.” “Then They Came for Me” runs through May 29 at Jewish Museum Milwaukee, 1360 N. Prospect Ave. For more information, visit

David Luhrssen is the author of World War II on Film and other books on American cultural history. He is managing editor of the Shepherd Express.

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This Month in Milwaukee

SEVEN THINGS TO DO IN APRIL BY ALLEN HALAS AND DAVID LUHRSSEN THROUGH MAY 18 “Tyrannosaurs: Meet the Family” q Milwaukee Public Museum Around 66 million years ago, a meteor struck the Earth, triggering earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and mass extinction from dramatic climate change. Among the victims were the dinosaurs. “Tyrannosaurs: Meet the Family” examines the science and cutting-edge technology used by today’s paleontologists and includes 10 life-size dinosaur specimens and immersive multimedia.

Christy Matson (American, b. 1979), Full Moon Forest, 2016. Cotton, wool, and linen. Collection of Monica Schaffer. Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Art Museum.


MILWAUKEE PUBLIC MUSEUM Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Public Museum.


“Currents 38: Christy Matson” p Milwaukee Art Museum While weaving is as old as civilization, new technology is enabling artists to make woven pictures in novel ways. On display at the Milwaukee Art Museum is recent work employing digital technology allowing the artist, Christy Matson, to control each thread on her loom. This enables her to paint threads in acrylics and watercolors with pinpoint determination and manipulate the materials with previously impossible exactness. “Currents 38: Christy Matson” is the latest installment in MAM’s contemporary art series and the first “Current” to feature a fiber artist.

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t Stein & Dine

Wisconsin State Fair Exposition Hall C The Shepherd Express’ Stein & Dine is a celebration of the things that make Wisconsin special—especially beer, cheese and sausage. Roam the aisles and sample the fare of breweries, cideries and wineries—along with local restaurants. The focus is on craft beer, cider, hard lemonade— beverages made to order in our home state. For tickets, visit APRIL 10 Mom Rock, Honey Creek X-Ray Arcade Milwaukee’s pop-punk powerhouse Honey Creek has cut their collective teeth on the road for several years, booking DIY tours around the country in whatever venue they can and filling them along the way. They’ve also played the role of the welcoming committee for similar bands from around the country, and the band will do just that when Los Angeles by-way-of Boston indie band Mom Rock come to Cudahy’s X-Ray Arcade. The all-ages show will likely feature the catchiest of hooks that will ring in your head for the week that follows. APRIL 14 Guerrilla Ghost and Spoy Best Place at Pabst Brewery Originally scheduled for January, noise-rap hybrid Guerrilla Ghost and experimental post-hardcore band Spoy will test the limits of the historic fixtures at Best Place on the Pabst Brewery campus. The reschedule allowed for Guerrilla Ghost to treat the new date as a release show for their fifth studio album, Hell Is Empty and All The Devils Are Here, which releases digitally the following day. Spoy has also been making noise, literally and figuratively, as a newer addition to the Milwaukee music scene. APRIL 14 Billy Prine and The Prine Time Band Presents: The Songs of John Prine Shank Hall Storytelling must run in the family. Billy Prine, younger brother of recording artist John Prine, is touring the U.S. telling stories about the songs his brother wrote and sang. Steeped in old country and Bob Dylan, John wrote songs that touched the experience of everyday life with humor as well as pathos including “Illegal Smile,” “Sam Stone,” “Angel from Montgomery,” “Hello in There” and “Dear Abby.” APRIL 16

t 35th Annual Performance of Earth Poets and Musicians

The Coffee House at Plymouth Church Music, poetry and education converge in this year’s staging of the long-running Earth Day event. Familiar names from past celebrations include Jahmes Finlayson, Holly Haebig, Suzanne Rosenblatt and Harvey Taylor. Joining them are singer-songwriter John Higgins and Margaret Noodin, poet and professor of English and American Indian Studies at UW-Milwaukee. The celebration will be streamed at 7:30 and might also be live depending on COVID.


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Delicious and Consistant Cannabis Tabs Choose Your High

Police Keep Arresting Drug Users, Ignoring Shift in Law Enforcement and Legal Reform BY JEAN-GABRIEL FERNANDEZ Photo by Nastco/Getty Images.


olice have a bone to pick with drug users, and only drug users, according to a new study by the Pew Charitable Trust, which found that while arrests are down across the board and prosecution for drug use has plummeted, arrests for minor drug possession remained constant since 2009. “Over the 10 years ending in 2019, the trends in drug arrests, prison admissions and prison population diverged,” the study found. “The U.S. continue[s] to rely heavily on the criminal legal system to address substance misuse,” while the police act as if the past decade of drug reforms and shifting mentalities did not happen.

counter to all other policing metrics, as all arrests are down across the board, including arrests for drug trafficking, with the exception of arrests for drug possession.

manufacturing. Because while the police continue to crack down on minor, non-violent drug possession, they seem to have lightened suppression of drug trafficking.

Unlike the police, the justice system in those states mirrored the changes in the law through a sharp decline in incarcerations for marijuana offenses. Prison admissions for drug offenses fell 34% between 2009 and 2019, Pew found. Researchers allege that a lot of this change is driven by a 32% drop in arrests for drug sales and

Another large part of the decline can be attributed to the legalization of hemp through the 2018 Farm Bill. Spearheaded by Sen. Mitch McConnell, that bill made it legal to grow, sell and purchase cannabis with less than 0.3% THC (which stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component of cannabis). Industrial hemp

Since the cannabis reform movement started in 2012 with the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington, 18 states and three U.S. territories legalized cannabis entirely, 31 states have decriminalized it and 36 legalized medical marijuana. Even in states that did not pass significant cannabis reform, progress has been happening at the local level, such as the cities of Milwaukee, Madison, Eau Claire and Green Bay choosing to decriminalize marijuana possession despite lack of state-level leadership on the matter in Wisconsin.

DRUG POSSESSION ARRESTS RUN COUNTER TO OTHER METRICS Unfortunately, it seems the police did not get the memo. In 2009, the police arrested more than 1.3 million people for minor drug possession offenses. In 2019, they again arrested more than 1.3 million people for minor drug possession offenses. There are more places in the U.S. where possession of personal-use amounts of marijuana is tolerated than places where it is criminalized, today. Yet, arrests for petty drug possession offenses only decreased by 0.4% since 2009, and marijuana remains the top drug leading to arrests. This runs 66 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

Chart courtesy of The Pew Charitable Trusts.

is merely another nickname for the marijuana plant—once it became federally legal, even conservative states reevaluated how they approach legal punishment for simple possession of the now-legal cannabis plant. Before, merely owning a bit of green was evidence enough to obtain a conviction; now, even the most minor cases of petty possession of marijuana require extensive laboratory analysis to determine whether it might be a piece of perfectly legal industrial hemp. Even Texas, with the nation’s toughest marijuana penalties, saw prosecutions for marijuana possession fall by more than half between 2018 and 2020. “Since the law change, prosecutors and state crime labs have dropped hundreds of pending marijuana charges and declined to pursue new ones because they don’t have the resources to detect a substance’s precise THC content, arguably keeping them from the evidence they need to prove in court if a cannabis substance is illegal,” The Texas Tribune reports. Yet, the police continue to arrest people for offenses that will never be pursued further because they are just too small and inconsequential to be worth a prosecutor’s time and resources.

“Racial disparities in drug arrests dipped between 2009 and 2019. However, despite being only 13% of the U.S. population, Black people made up 37% of marijuana arrests in 2019. That's up from 32% in 2009,” the study reads. While there are fewer marijuana arrests in absolute numbers, white offenders benefited from this development more than their Black peers did, leading to Black marijuana users representing a relatively larger portion of marijuana arrests now than 10 years ago.

However, racial imbalances in all drug arrests, and not just marijuana, have been reduced. That is largely due to the rise in arrests for possession of methamphetamines, which rose by 260,000 in the time frame when arrests for possession of marijuana were reduced by 260,000. “Declines in marijuana arrests were backfilled with those for meth,” says Tracy Velazquez. Arrests for possession of meth doubled between 2009 and 2019.

METH AND RACIAL IMBALANCES Race is a central factor of the War on Drugs. Despite consuming marijuana at the same rate as white people, Black Americans are arrested almost four times as often for simple possession. In fact, John Ehrlichman, one of the architects of the War on Drugs and domestic policy chief of the Nixon Administration, famously admitted that the purpose of policing drugs was racist at its very core: “We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities,” Ehrlichman said. “We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.” The racist nature of policing drugs has not changed. “The percentage of 2019 drug-related prison admissions of Black folks (28%) was double their share of the general population,” says Tracy Velazquez, manager of criminal justice research for Pew and co-author of the study.

Chart courtesy of The Pew Charitable Trusts.

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Delicious and Consistant Cannabis Tabs Choose Your High


Photo by Nastco/Getty Images.

As it happens, white people use meth at a far higher rate than black people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that nearly 1.2 million white people and only 72,000 black people use meth per year on average. On average, there are 16 white meth users for every single black meth user. Yet, even as police arrest hundreds of thousands of mostly white additional meth users, there are only five white arrestees for each black person arrested by the police.

DOES ARRESTING DRUG USERS HELP ANYONE? In spite of the ultimate pointlessness of arrests made for an offense so minor that the justice system will dismiss it out of hand, police arrested more than 500,000 individuals for simple marijuana possession in 2019. For what purpose? It started roughly 50 years ago, when then-President Richard Nixon declared war on the concept of drugs. Originally, the purpose was to end the illicit manufacture of drugs, repress trafficking and help the end users, whose quality of life suffered from drug abuse. The purpose of the War on Drugs was allegedly to help the victims of drugs: the addicts. Instead, addicts were targeted, harassed, arrested and imprisoned. Instead of receiving support, counsel and appropriate follow-up by medical professionals, millions of drug users were put behind bars and promptly forgotten. “Richard Nixon declared drug abuse public enemy number one, and Congress passed legislation that sought to expand treatment and research. However, at 68 | SHEPHERD EXPRESS

the same time, intensified enforcement launched what became known as the ‘War on Drugs,’” the study reads. “The harsher penalties led to a 1,216% increase in the state prison population for drug offenses, from 19,000 to 250,000 between 1980 and 2008.” Today, law enforcement agencies dedicate more than three times as many police hours and resources to minor drug offenses than to violent crimes. Nearly 90% of drug-related arrests for drugs are for simple possession, and a massive portion of all drug cases are for the most harmless substance of all, marijuana. Yet, in 2019, U.S. police made 1.56 million arrests for all drug offenses, more than 1.3 million of which were for simple possession; but they made only 500,000 arrests for all violent crimes combined. Arresting non-violent offenders for minor drug possession is by far the biggest piece of an average police department’s time and effort; more than policing traffic, assaults, property crimes and all violent crimes. Why such intense focus on the most harmless category of offenses? Drug possession harms no one except the addicts themselves. One could argue that an arrest and a prison sentence could turn someone’s life around by forcing them to be sober for the length of their prison stay. However, study after study proved that having been arrested, and to a greater degree having been incarcerated, drastically reduces employment opportunities for the rest of one’s life. Individuals who were imprisoned

have an unemployment rate five times higher than average despite actively looking for work at a greater rate than the rest of the population. A blemish on one’s record, even for minor non-violent drug offenses, can sabotage a person’s ability to find employment, housing or any opportunities for the rest of their lives. Pew found that addicts very rarely receive any help at all behind bars. “About 1.1 million people with past-year illicit drug dependence or misuse reported being arrested and booked in the past year, but of those, just 1 in 13 (85,199) reported receiving drug treatment while in jail or prison,” Pew reveals. “Drug-related mortality rates increased fivefold in prisons and threefold in jails despite the decreases in the number of people in prison for drug offenses.” Most damning of all is the drug-related mortality rate in jails, which tripled between 2009 and 2019. Drug-related deaths while in law enforcement custody rose from 9 per 100,000 to 26 per 100,000 in just one decade. Even when arresting a drug user in need of immediate help, police tend to shove them into a cell and deny them access to medical care until death follows. Not only are those arrests pointless—as they are non-violent, non-harmful, minor offenses which will be dismissed by prosecutors—but the arrests themselves can prove deadly for the victims.

Jean-Gabriel Fernandez is a Milwaukee journalist with a Ph.D from the Sorbonne, France’s top university.

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BOMBSHELLS, BUBBLES AND BOYS... OH, MY! One of the wonderful things about Cream City is its lively theater scene. Earlier this year, Bombshell Theatre Company joined that exciting landscape with its debut production of Funny Girl. I decided to reach out to the troupe’s founders to learn more about the company, its mission and its upcoming shows. Partners in both life and business, Eric Welch (Artistic Director) and Tim Albrechtson (Producing Director) created Bombshell Theatre Company to introduce Milwaukee to shows that aren’t performed particularly often. “When we created this company one of our goals was to revive rarely told stories,” says Albrechtson. “For instance, our production of Funny Girl was the first time it had been professionally done in the area for almost 40 years.” The team’s upcoming show is no exception. Bubble Boy: The Musical is the duo’s latest offering, and it promises all the fun audiences are already expecting from Bombshell. “Bubble Boy attracted us for a number of reasons,” Albrechtson explains. “We have not seen any versions of it produced in Wisconsin before, the music is catchy and fun, and it’s hilarious. It’s absolutely ridiculous in the best way possible.” A distant parody of a 1976 John Travolta melodrama, Bubble Boy serves up a kooky adventure about love, life and friendship. “It’s exactly as crazy, silly and funny as it sounds,” says Albrechtson. The production runs through April 10. (See my social calendar for details.) Can’t make it to the show? Don’t miss Bombshell’s production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, opening June 24. “Eric and I are big fans of the film, and we think thestage production is just as magical,” Albrechtson adds. Keep up with this exciting new company at www., or join them on Facebook and Instagram (@bombshelltheatre), and I’ll see you at the show!



Have a question for Ruthie? Want to share an event with her? Contact Ruthie at Follow her on social media, too! Facebook: Dear Ruthie | Instagram: RuthieKeester | Twitter: @DearRuthie



Ruthie's Social Calendar APRIL 2-10 BUBBLE BOY: THE MUSICAL AT INSPIRATION STUDIOS (1500 S. 73RD ST.): Follow Jimmy Livingston on his hilarious cross-country journey to reunite with the love of his life … all while wearing his trusted bubble suit. Produced by Bombshell Theatre, the delightfully whacky musical is sure to make your April a bit brighter. Get your $22 tickets at APRIL 8 PRIDE NIGHT FOR TITANIC: THE MUSICAL AT THE MILWAUKEE REP (108 E. WELLS ST.): Feeling lost on your spiritual journey? This support group is here to help individuals on their religious path. Relying on strength-based theory, the 7-9 p.m. online gathering meets every Friday. Email tdelagarza@ for details and logon information. APRIL 13 “UNEXPECTED: AM RADIO, VOLUME #1” AT STORY HILL FIREHOUSE (407 N. HAWLEY ROAD): Vocalists Marcya Daneille and Donna Woodall celebrate the soft-rock and soul music of the ‘70s with this change-of-pace show. Support live music in the city and check out this new venue during the 6 p.m. concert. Seating is limited so order your $5 ticket soon via www. APRIL 16 FABULOSITY DRAG SHOW AT LAZY OAF LOUNGE (1617 N. STOUGHTON ROAD, MADISON): Head to Mad City for a wild night of queens and cocktails. The show starts at 10 p.m. but arrive early to enjoy a bite to eat and take advantage of the bar’s drink specials. Expect a $5 cover charge at the door. APRIL 21 LESBIAN AND QUEER WOMXN (VIRTUAL) SUPPORT GROUP VIA MILWAUKEE LGBT COMMUNITY CENTER: Meet new people, make friends and share experiences when you take part in this peer group for lesbian, bisexual and queer women and GNC folks. See the calendar area of www. for login information regarding the 6-7:30 p.m. virtual meeting. APRIL 29 DINING WITH THE DIVAS AT HAMBURGER MARY’S (730 S. FIFTH ST.): Eat, drink and be “Mary” when I host two fantastic drag shows at the city’s pink-and-purple burger palace. Take in my 7 p.m. performance or attend the 9 p.m. show. See why Mary’s shows are considered tops in Milwaukee when you make a reservation at

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Milwaukee’s Lesbian Community: Impacting LGBTQ Progress for Half a Century BY PAUL MASTERSON


pril is a celebratory month for the lesbian community with International Lesbian Visibility Week, April 25 through May 2. In Milwaukee, the community has been a leading force in achieving LGBTQ equality with many early lesbian activists recognized by the Shepherd Express LGBTQ + Progress Awards. Propelled in part by the pre-Stonewall women’s and feminist movements, local lesbian political activism exploded in the early 1970s. Several helped co-found the city’s first queer organization, the Gay People’s Union (GPU). In 1972, The Amazon: A Feminist Journal first appeared as a mimeographed flyer and evolved into a full-fledged news, health and political publication for the women’s movement addressing the salient issues of the times. It remained in print until 1984. Activist and writer Jamakaya served as Amazon’s editor from 1979-1983. Presaging the struggle for marriage equality and garnering national attention at the time, perhaps the most daring political act of the era was undertaken by Donna Burkett and her partner Menonia Evans. On Oct. 1, 1971, the couple applied for a marriage license at the Milwaukee County Clerk’s office. Their application was refused and they sued. Meanwhile, they married in a ceremony on Christmas Day that year. However, two weeks later, their lawsuit was dismissed on a technicality. Later that decade, in 1974, a local lesbian would enlist in the US Army and begin a military career like no other. Miriam Ben Shalom first made history as one of the first female drill sergeants. That would pale compared to the history she was about to make. Admitting she was a lesbian, the Army discharged her in 1976. She sued in 1980 and, based on questions of the constitutionality of her discharge, a judge ruled in her favor, ordering the Army to reinstate her. A legal contest ensued. Eight years later, Ben Shalom became the first gay or lesbian to be re-instated in the U.S. military. Her service was short lived, however, as she was again discharged in 1989. An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court failed, with the court refusing to hear her


case. She would go on to help found the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Veterans of America, now known as Veterans for Equal Rights. wBen Shalom continued her activism but not without controversy, this time within the LGBTQ community. In 2016, the Milwaukee Pride Parade board of directors selected Ben Shalom as its Grand Marshall. It then rescinded the honor when it learned of Ben Shalom’s publicly expressed views on transgenderism that it considered transphobic and incompatible with the Pride Parade’s mission. Deeming transwomen as “fetishistic” and “delusional,” her more recent activism has seen her aligning with anti-trans conservative religious factions in the name of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Founded in 1989 by Donna Utke, Karen Gotzler and other local activists, the Lesbian Alliance of Metro Milwaukee (LAMM) soon became the city’s go-to organization for its lesbian community. Serving the social, political, artistic, and spiritual needs of Milwaukee-area lesbians, LAMM had a broad appeal that attracted hundreds of members. One described its various activities including concerts, Valentine’s Day dances and its famous house parties where “women were packed in breast-tobreast.” It also had specialized sub-organizations including the LAMM Education Fund and Silver Space, a support group for older lesbians as well as other support groups addressing the various needs of its members. As with many LGBTQ groups, the LAMM’s heyday has waned in recent years. Brenda Hanus, a lesbian transwoman involved since 2002, and its current chairperson, pointed out the realities of contemporary lesbian life. “When I got involved there were lots of activities. Today it’s a different world since the early days. The older people aren’t participating anymore and younger lesbians aren’t interested. Attendance has been dropping off but we still had game and movie nights. Since the pandemic hit, we’ve been in a stand-by mode. When the LGBT Community Center opens up again, we hope to get people involved again,” Hanus said.

Background image by nndanko/Getty Images. Gender symbol by Iuliia Kanivets/Getty images. Illustration by nadia_bormotova/Getty Images.

Milwaukee’s lesbian bar scene saw its peak in the later quarter of the 20th century and early 2000s. Popular spots like Fannies, Mona’s Out and About, Kathy’s Nut Hut and Station 2, among others, are long gone but remain a constant source of lesbian lore and nostalgia. Only Walker’s Pint, having just celebrated its 20th anniversary, retains the appellation “lesbian bar.” However, the “Pint” makes its reputation on its inclusiveness and all are welcome. It has also recently established its own philanthropic organization, formalizing its traditional role of supporting the Milwaukee’s greater LGBTQ community. Lesbian artists and athletes have also made their mark on the greater community’s cultural life and recreational sports. Visual and performance artists regularly exhibited at the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center (MGAC) where solo and group shows addressed a range of issues from hetero-normative gender expectations and male patriarchy to motherhood. LAMM once sponsored an art show at MGAC exhibiting works created as art therapy by women.

In politics, Karen Gotzler became Milwaukee’s first out candidate for the city’s Common Council in 1996. Sura Faraj ran for the same office a dozen years later. Both campaigns were unsuccessful but they raised awareness of the community’s political engagement. Although the age of activism has waned with the achievement of a degree of rights not enjoyed in the past, lesbian empowerment created over the decades since Stonewall has translated to high profile personalities across the business, professional educational and political realms continuing the struggle for equality.

Paul Masterson is an LGBTQ activist and writer and has served on the boards of the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center, Milwaukee Pride, GAMMA and other organizations.

Founded in 2006, Women’s Voices Milwaukee performed at venues throughout the city including MGAC and PrideFest. Other recognized artists include poetess Carmen Murguia and filmmaker-musician Ashley Altadonna. Of course, a large contingent of lesbian athletes play on any number of teams across the local LGBTQ sports spectrum.

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From The City That Always Sweeps BY ART KUMBALEK entitlements the Feds provide, the high roller receives, not some crappy-ass tote bag, but the CD boxed set of all the John Philip Sousa marches as recorded by the United States Air Force Band.


’m Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz what a world, ain’a? So listen, as the too-long Lenten season culminates finally with a late Easter Sunday this month, let us pray, what the fock:

“Dear Lord, ol’ buddy, ol’ pal: “Remember me? It’s been a while, ain’a? Yeah, me, your spittin’ image under this orange doom-skinned earflap cap, a regular Davy Fockett, razin’, blazin’ new trails through this valley of travail. Ring a bell? That’s what I figured. Hey, you’re not the only one, so no need for you to feel like a jackass, I kid you not. “I’ve heard that a good prayer is supposed to be like a conversation with You, the Lord; so you mind if I beseech thee that for once you hold up your end of the gabfest? Thanks. “I can’t remember the last time I made an official prayer. I almost did that time years ago when I was riding with my buddy Little Jimmy Iodine and we just barely missed nailing that stalled Pinto in the middle of I-focking-94. But it all happened so fast, and then we had to turn around and go home for clean underwear. In all the commotion, seems I forgot about making out a prayer. I do know that I call out your name several times daily, requesting that you send this or that straight to hell—‘Jesus H. Christ, these focking Republicans…’—I suppose legalistically that might not add up to regular praying but it sure feels good, so what the fock, ain’a?


“Talk about listening pleasure, you betcha. JPS, all told, wrote 136 marches; or was it he wrote one march one hundred and thirty-focking-six times? I forget. But I do know that a CD collection of the Sousa marches would last me a musical lifetime. I could listen to one of his marches and, what with all those blaring blugelhorns blasting their butts off to kingdom come and back, I’d say it’d be at least a year ’til I was ready to listen to another. One down, only 135 to go, yes sir. “Anyways, I can’t stay on this prayer line too much longer ’cause I got to get back to finishing off my goddamn April income tax form, yeah, April, the same month you got crucified; although, some years here in the modern times, on the calendar they say you were crucified in later March, go figure. “But I got to tell you, my tax return every year consists of a short note I mail in, and it goes something like this: “Dear IRS Sir or Madam, “Hey, I already paid. The federal tax on cigarettes alone I cough up yearly to you’s ought to be enough to buck-up a bridge or fill a focking pothole somewheres, ain’a? So let’s call it even. And may I remind you that in the Book of Kumbalek, ‘income’ is a synonym for ‘imaginary.’ “But thanks for your interest. “Sincerely, Art Kumbalek. “And good lord, I do believe this Internal Revenue Service tax compact really ought to be made voluntary, like they did with the military service years ago. How ’bout they turn tax-time into a pledge drive, à la National Public Radio. If the citizen chooses to flip the government some dough, he and/or she at least should receive a focking tote bag or coffee mug for making the donation, don’t you think? “And if any high-roller millionaire chips in big time to the government, say, in appreciation for all the corporate welfare

“But before I go, a little story for you’s. My buddy Little Jimmy Iodine told me he was over by his brother-in-law’s place in West Allis on Easter Sunday last year when they had the Easter egg hunt in their dinky backyard for Jimmy’s two little nephews. So these katzenjammer kids are traipsing around and they come across some rabbit turds, except the younger kid doesn’t know that, so he asks his older brother, ‘Hey, what are those?’ “The older kid says, ‘They’re smart pills. Eat them and they'll make you smarter.’ So the younger nephew chews on a couple, three and says, ‘Hey! These taste like poop smells.’ And the older boy says, ‘See? You're getting smarter already.’ Ba-ding! “So I’m guessing that the moral of the story is that the older you get, the more you know what shit tastes like. But the trick is that you never want to develop a taste for it. “Okey-dokey, Lord, that’s about it. And come to think of it, don’t worry about getting back to me ’cause like I’ve always said, one day you start hearing voices out of thin air, next day you’re out carving up Cub Scouts. I don’t need that kind of aggravation, what the fock. “And please grant me the continuance to be the hot flaming palaver poker lodged up his-or-hers butt sideways but good; so that an unfettered bantering of ideas may be bandied around the town today, tomorrow and yesterday. Amen, ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.”

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