Tag Archives: lakefront

DNR board approves land swap with Walker donor

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource’s board on Aug. 3 approved a land swap with one of Gov. Scott Walker’s key donors.

The DNR proposes giving Elizabeth Uihlein 1.75 acres along Rest Lake in Manitowish Waters in exchange for 42.7 acres Uihlein and her husband bought within the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest.

Uihlein wants the Rest Lake frontage so a condominium complex she owns will have lake access.

DNR officials came up with the swap approach after drawing criticism for a proposal to sell the parcel to her for about $110,000 less than what one appraiser valued the land.

Uihlein and her husband donated nearly $3 million to Walker’s presidential super PAC and a nonprofit group that helped promote his presidential bid.

The board — a seven-member panel appointed by the governor — made the decision during a meeting in Ashland.

Property purchase

The DNR board during the meeting also approved buying nearly 1,000 acres along the Chippewa River for $2 million.

The property is located just northeast of Durand in Dunn County in the Lower Chippewa River State Natural Area. It includes 18,000 feet of shoreline on the river’s south bank. Northern States Power Company, now known as Xcel Energy, has owned the land since the early 1970s.

The sale is still subject to approval from the Legislature’s finance committee and the governor.

Regional briefs: Protection grows for lake’s ‘stepping stones’ | And more

The Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge will expand to include most of St. Martin Island and all of Rocky Island in Lake Michigan, adding another 1,290 acres to the 330-acre refuge.

The islands are part of the Grand Traverse chain, which extends from Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula to Michigan’s Garden Peninsula.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy announced the expansion in late September.

“It’s gratifying to see our shared conservation missions coming together to protect these unique Great Lakes islands,” said Tom Melius, Midwest regional director of the FWS. “We couldn’t do this without a common vision among all the partners.”

Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1912 as habitat for migratory birds and consists of the 325-acre Plum Island and the smaller Pilot and Hog islands. With the addition of St. Martin and Rocky Islands, the refuge will increase by five times its original size.

Along with the other islands in the Grand Traverse chain, St. Martin Island is part of the Niagara Escarpment and has significant bluffs, which have rare native snails and plants associated with them. In addition to the bluffs, the island also supports forests, wetlands and an extensive cobblestone beach.

Both St. Martin and Rocky islands, along with others in the Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge, provide important stopover habitat for birds that migrate through the Great Lakes each spring and fall.

In other regional news …

• GE GOING: General Electric Co. announced in late September plans to move 350 Wisconsin jobs to Canada due to Congress’ inaction to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. In response, U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, said, “We have seen significant job losses across the country directly related to the failure of House Republicans to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. Now, the state of Wisconsin is feeling the brunt of their extreme economic agenda.”

• RYAN’S DISINTEREST: U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Janesville said he’s not interested in replacing Rep. John Boehner as speaker of the House of Representatives. Boehner announced in late September that he will be resigning at the end of October.

• LAKEFRONT LAND DEAL: The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ board has put off deciding whether to sell a parcel of state-owned lakefront property to one of Scott Walker’s major donors. The agency wants to sell 1.75 acres along the Rest Lake shoreline to Elizabeth Uihlein for $275,000. Uihlein and husband Richard donated nearly $3 million to Walker’s presidential super PAC. She owns a condominium complex adjacent to the property but it lacks lake access.

• DON’T MESS WITH HIS VIEW: Richard Uihlein is also in the news for seeking state approval to keep a 12-acre floating bog away from property in northern Wisconsin. He’s proposing moving the bog north and fastening it to the lake bed, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. “This is the most preposterous idea that I have ever heard,” said Brett McConnell, an environmental specialist in the conservation department of the Lac Courte Oreilles band of Lake Superior Chippewa. “I would hope that every single person affiliated with the flowage would be opposed to this.”

• DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DATA: Forty-three people in Wisconsin lost their lives to domestic violence in 2014, according to the Wisconsin Domestic Violence Homicide Report released in conjunction with anti-violence walks hosted by the Zonta Clubs of Madison and Milwaukee and by End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin. The report says 36 people were victims of domestic violence homicides. Six people were perpetrators of homicides who then committed suicide and one individual was a perpetrator of domestic violence who was killed by responding law enforcement. 

• LIFTING THE CAP: University of Wisconsin-Madison officials plan to ask UW System regents for permission to lift the school’s cap on out-of-state students, a move they say would attract more young people to Wisconsin. It also would bolster the school’s coffers considerably as it struggles with deep budget cuts. Currently out-of-state undergraduate enrollment at any UW campus can’t exceed 27.5 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment based on a three-year average.

• BAN THE BOX: In response to a bipartisan bill recently introduced in Congress that removes the box on federal employment applications that ask whether job seekers have a past felony conviction, state Sen. Lena C. Taylor, D-Milwaukee, announced she planned to re-introduce her state “Ban the Box” bill “to give residents who have made a mistake in life a fighting chance.”

• COSBY LOSES DEGREE: Marquette University rescinded an honorary degree it awarded Bill Cosby in 2013, when he gave the annual commencement address. Other universities, including the Jesuit school Fordham University, have taken back degrees bestowed on Cosby. Cosby has been accused by at least 20 women of drugging and raping them. “By his own admission, Mr. Cosby engaged in behaviors that go entirely against our university’s mission and the guiding values we have worked so hard to instill on our campus,” Marquette president Michael Lovell and provost Daniel Myers wrote in a letter to the Marquette community.

WRIGHT RESULTS: Frank Lloyd Wright experts announced on Oct. 6 that the Madison house Linda McQuillen bought for $100,000 has been verified as an American System-Built House, part of Wright’s effort to develop and market well-designed homes at a more affordable level — his first effort to reach a broader audience. It is the second such house identified in the past four months, one out of only 16 ever built and 14 still standing.

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Lakefront goes organic with Growing Power

Business partnerships are nothing new, but some grow more “organically” than others.

Milwaukee’s Lakefront Brewery has ratcheted up its relationship with Growing Power, the Milwaukee nonprofit devoted to sustainable urban farming, in order to raise awareness of sustainability issues and opportunities. As a result, Lakefront’s legions of fans have a new beer to savor.

Lakefront’s Growing Power, a farmhouse-style organic pale ale that’s 6.7 percent alcohol by volume, blends organic Cascade, Centennial and Calypso hops with Belgian yeast strains for unique and slightly lighter Belgian-style saison. Released in May in limited quantities, Growing Power had such strong initial sales that the brewery has had to increase its yield just to keep pace with demand, says Lakefront founder and president Russ Klisch.

“Growing Power has been selling very well, and we haven’t gotten it out like we should,” Klisch says. “Distributors didn’t know (Growing Power Inc. founder and CEO) Will Allen and initially under-ordered the beer. It’s now available again, but it takes time to get it brewed.”

Allen, a former basketball player with the University of Miami Hurricanes and recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant, founded Growing Power in 1993 to teach urban populations how to sustainably farm otherwise abandoned inner city locations. Through his work, Allen has spread his sustainability gospel throughout the United States, as well as to countries such as Kenya, Macedonia and Ukraine.

Allen has partnered with Lakefront since 2001, Klisch says, using the spent grain left over from the company’s brewing production as compost material.

“I have no idea how much we send him, but it’s a lot,” Klisch says. “We bought 850,000 pounds of barley last year and even though the sugars are taken out (during the brewing process), it’s probably over a million pounds when it’s wet.” 

As part of the partnership, Lakefront purchases locally grown yellow perch from Allen’s aquaponics operation at 5500 W. Silver Spring Road to serve at its popular Friday night fish fries. Klisch also contributes beer to local Growing Power workshops and has poured beer at the conferences Allen puts on to teach sustainability to a growing population of urban farmers.

The introduction of Growing Power ale, from which the nonprofit will receive 10 percent of the profits, takes the relationship to a new level. The beer’s Belgian style is a callback to Allen’s athletic career, Klisch says.

“When Will Allen was still playing professional basketball, he played for a time in Belgium and developed a taste for their beers,” Klisch says. 

Allen’s interest in sustainable agriculture dates back to Belgium as well. While there, he witnessed the yield-intensive ways Belgian farmers were able to maximize small plots of land, according to the Growing Power website. 

The new beer, as well as the growing partnership between the two companies, brings together the best of both worlds, Allen says.

“The partnership serves as a strong example of how two companies that worked together over many years are able to demonstrate stewardship of a sustainable food system,” he says. “This sustainable food system will not only provide good food and drink to Milwaukee and beyond, but will also be a catalyst to create more jobs and economic development in our city and around the nation.”

That may someday include the city’s brewing industry. Lakefront’s new beer, certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, adds one more entry to the brewery’s growing line of organic and gluten-free brews.

Producing organic beer is more time-consuming and expensive than non-organic beer, Klisch says, largely because certified organic ingredients, especially hops, are hard to come by. In addition, formulating organic beer requires more time and care during the brewing process.

Klisch would know. He and Lakefront introduced Organic E.S.B., the country’s first certified organic beer, in 1996. The beer has run its course and been retired, but Lakefront has since followed with several other brands, including Growing Power.

Fuel Café (6.4 percent ABV), named for the Riverwest coffee house of the same name at 818 E. Center St., uses the cafe’s coffee in a blend with its own dark roasted malts for a coffee stout of unparalleled flavor. Pouring a deep, almost black color with a creamy tan head, Fuel Café is long on coffee aromas and flavors, with a balance of organic hops and a full mouthfeel for a strong finish.

Lakefront’s Organic Belgian White (4.6 percent ABV) is the brewery’s other homage to creative Belgian beers. Brewed with all-organic malt and wheat and spiced with organic coriander and orange peel, the beer pours a hazy golden blonde with a thick pearly head. It’s a light, spritzy concoction perfect for warm summer days, according to Klisch, and he says its sales have doubled in the last year.

Beerline Organic Barley Wine Style Ale (12.5 percent ABV) is a rich, malty, multi-level seasonal favorite. Expect a smooth, malt-forward style with undertones of caramel, coffee and dried fruits on the palate. Organic Bravo hops give the beer spiciness and its alcoholic strength provides a pleasurable afterglow.

Lakefront also now produces two gluten-free beers. New Grist Pilsner (5.1 percent ABV), long a standard and one of the brewery’s best sellers, has been joined by New Grist Ginger Style Ale (4.7 percent ABV). The spicy-sweet character of the ginger strides forward in this malted sorghum-based brew, with a little green apple on the back palate. The beer is similar to its predecessor, but with a little ginger kick.

Currently, Lakefront has no immediate plans to further extend its organic lines, much as Klisch might like to do so.

“It would be nice if we could go fully organic, but there are cost factors involved,” Klisch says. “The cost of ingredients is almost double what they otherwise are, and I don’t think there’s enough organic hops out there to brew all the beer right now.”

But Klisch is still optimistic. Five years ago there were no organic hops available, but now there are enough to brew the five organic brands that Lakefront sells. Klisch knows it’s anyone’s guess what conditions will be like five years from now.

Out and overnight: Visitor’s Pride guide to Milwaukee

Time is short, but you still have a day to convince your best bud from Atlanta or your gal pal from Dallas to catch a plane and come to Milwaukee, where LGBT Pride is celebrated in a big way.

You still have a day or two to encourage your lesbian moms to drive over from Madison or your transgender niece from Chicago to celebrate at Milwaukee’s PrideFest on the lakefront.

For when your guests arrive, or to help nudge their travel, WiG looked to the experts at Visit Milwaukee for answers to questions you might get:

What are the three things Pride celebrants need to know about the Summerfest grounds, where the weekend festivities take place?

1. This is the only Pride festival in North America with permanent festival grounds, including 623 full-service restrooms (PrideFest has an inclusive restroom policy and this year will feature several clearly marked gender-neutral restrooms).

2. The grounds span 75 acres — wear shoes that are comfortable to walk in.

3. It’s cooler by the lake! Breezes off the lake can be chilly, so plan your outfit accordingly.

The city is famous for beer. So, why do the wine coolers at PrideFest stand out?

Because they are delicious!

Outside of PrideFest, where are Pride celebrants most likely to see rainbow flags flying?

In Walker’s Point. Second Street in Walker’s Point is the route for the Milwaukee Pride Parade.

Milwaukee’s most historic LGBT destination is:

This is It! opened in 1968 and is the oldest continually operating gay bar in the state.

For those leaving the festival who still have some daylight, three must-visit neighborhoods for Pride celebrants are:

1. Walker’s Point

2. Historic Third Ward

3. East Side

For those leaving the festival when the twilight has passed, three must-visit spots for Pride celebrants are:

1. La Cage, 801 S. Second St.

2. Fluid, 819 S. Second St.

3. Hybrid, 707 E. Brady St.

No car? What’s a good way to get to the Summerfest grounds from the airport:

Uber, or take Amtrak to the Intermodal Station. From there, you can either walk to the grounds or take a downtown festival shuttle.

No stay in Milwaukee, no matter how brief, is complete without:

A brewery tour.

Strengthen the link between MAM and O’Donnell

Ever since The Milwaukee Art Museum’s winged architectural masterwork transformed the lakefront in 2001, residents have adopted it as an icon. We take pride in “The Calatrava,” the first U.S. building by renowned Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Something besides beer has made Milwaukee famous. 

In contrast, O’Donnell Park has been treated like an ugly stepchild. Calatrava designed his breathtaking building to dovetail with the park plaza. He placed the museum and pedestrian bridge to line up with Mark DiSuvero’s “sunburst” sculpture “The Calling.” The park’s contrasting focal points and panoramic city views draw shutterbugs and tourists. O’Donnell Park is an ideal place to visually take in Milwaukee.

This park-museum linkage is now threatened by county schemes to sell off O’Donnell Park for private redevelopment. Some elected and appointed officials claim that O’Donnell Park is much too valuable as “buildable real estate” (read “high-rise”) to be used merely for the public’s benefit. They sidestep private-development restrictions stemming from the Public Trust Doctrine and the sacrosanct principle that parks are always set aside forever. Park-sale mania also ignores compelling data that parks are powerful economic catalysts. Great cities all have great public spaces where everyone is welcome, especially downtown. Parks contribute to a diversified tax base by attracting and serving businesses, residents and tourists. It’s synergy writ large.

While some don’t view O’Donnell Park as the indispensable nexus between MAM and downtown, museum leaders clearly do. MAM depends heavily on O’Donnell Park for access and parking. Milwaukee County’s Board will vote April 23 on a resolution to allow MAM officials to explore formal agreements with county officials.

This effort could yield a win-win solution for both MAM and Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, located in O’Donnell Park. The collaborative Lakefront Gateway Project recently commissioned four teams of professionals to submit design concepts for unifying downtown with lakefront parks and cultural destinations. The city is coordinating the project with the county, which owns park space within the focus area. 

An alternate board resolution seeks bids from for-profit businesses to redevelop any or all of O’Donnell Park (which includes a 1,332-space parking lot under the plaza). The county keeps trying to sell this revenue-producing park, without providing criteria for why it should be sold rather than responsibly stewarded. Selling the park would unnecessarily wreak all kinds of havoc, most alarmingly by declaring it “surplus property” and removing its income from the parks budget.

Please urge county supervisors to allow MAM to pursue a formal arrangement that mutually benefits the public, Milwaukee County Parks and MAM. It’s in everyone’s interest to preserve the park, much-needed parking for lakefront venues and unfettered public access to our world-famous museum. A far-sighted MAM-O’Donnell partnership could engender many positive outcomes, including more respect and care for Milwaukee’s irreplaceable overlook park.

Virginia Small is a conservation advocate who volunteers for a parks friends group in Milwaukee.

The other side of Summerfest: Interesting acts that might get lost beneath the headliners

As a Summerfest-goer since 1968, I have seen my share of legendary acts and a sizable slice of contemporary music history on Milwaukee’s lakefront. 

I was there for The Doors, the Mahavisnu Orchestra, B.B. King and a new band called Chicago. I remember when Milwaukee Police arrested George Carlin onstage for uttering his “seven dirty words,” when the Miller Lite Oasis was still the Miller Jazz Oasis and when main stage seating was a blanket in the dirt and a cooler full of wine that you brought in yourself. 

I’ve been told, repeatedly, that this year is Summerfest’s best musical lineup in years, now that the festival has finally gotten beyond its baby boomer obligations. OK, if you say so. I think that minimizing the oldsters’ influence makes good box office sense, but time will tell if Bruno Mars, Arctic Monkeys and The Fatty Acids are legend-worthy. I hope so, for their sakes. This is not a screed about whose music is, or was, better.

One thing Summerfest has always done, besides providing the opportunity to get hammered in public with 35,000 of your closest friends, is to introduce a variety of music to the masses. That wasn’t necessarily the festival’s stated purpose, but it’s a happy byproduct for those seeking to expand their musical horizons.

You have to look a little harder this year to uncover acts that aren’t appearing at Summerfest as part of their Bonnaroo/Coachella/Lollapalooza summer tour. But there are some interesting choices and, at the risk of betraying my age, I’d like to recommend some of the more obscure acts that are worthy of note.

The Buddy Rich Big Band featuring Cathy Rich and Gregg Potter, June 26, Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard

Before big band drummer Buddy Rich died in 1987 at age 70, he cut a wide swath as one of the premiere drummers of multiple jazz eras. Bringing back his big-band sound fronted by daughter Cathy Rich is a bit of inspired lunacy on the part of Summerfest organizers. It’s lunacy because who would go to see a dead jazz drummer’s cover band in lieu of Lady Gaga or Kenny Wayne Shepherd, who are performing at the same time. But it’s inspired because those who wander into Briggs & Stratton’s Big Backyard will be blown away by the sound, energy and finesse of the 17-piece ensemble. This group succeeds at making old things new again.

Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, June 25, Harley Davidson Roadhouse

Award-winning blues artist Ben Harper will have no trouble drawing a crowd, but the big surprise for the next generation of emerging blues fans will be Charlie Musselwhite, the Mississippi-born master of the blues harp and one of the few white blues artists who came to prominence in the 1960s. Dan Ackroyd claims to have based his Elwood Blues character on Musselwhite, but the 70-year-old artist is long past any quickstepping onstage. His 2012 album Get Up!, which won the Grammy Award for best blues album, was recorded with Harper. Need we say more?

Taj Mahal Trio, June 27, Johnson Controls World Sound Stage

Few musicians have the pedigree of Taj Mahal, an early proponent of black folk and roots music at a time when the Carolina Chocolate Drops were, as the saying goes, mere twinkles in their fathers’ eyes. Mahal has combined his folk and blues roots with an insatiable appetite for world music, creating a blend that is as much a history and geography lesson as an evening of musical pleasure. With Kester Smith on drums and Bill Rich on bass, the Taj Mahal trio will take its audience to places they’ve never been and leave them wondering why it took them so long to get there.

The Yardbirds, June 28, BMO Harris Pavilion

There are a few boomer acts on Summerfest’s calendar, but the most puzzling is The Yardbirds — not just because some of them are still alive, but because they’re still performing under the band’s brand.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the band has been a who’s who of musical talent. Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page all strummed some of their first licks with the band, alongside English blues stalwarts Keith Relf and Paul Samwell-Smith. Don’t expect any of the more famous members to make an appearance, but drummer Jim McCarty and rhythm guitarist Anthony “Top” Topham — both founding Yardbird members — will perform. The chance to hear “For Your Love” and “Heart Full of Soul” live may be worth the price of Summerfest admission.

And, out of deference for its key demographic, The Yardbirds are scheduled to perform at 5 p.m., followed by REO Speedwagon at 8 p.m. Now that’s an evening of rock ‘n’ roll.

Naima Adedapo, July 5,
Harley Davidson Roadhouse

With rare exceptions, it’s tough to care about American Idol finalists unless they have local roots. Danny Gokey was one such finalist and so is Naima Adedapo. The Chicago native graduated from UWM’s Peck School of the Arts with a degree in dance and has since added singing to her repertoire. She has appeared onstage and taught African and hip-hop dance in Milwaukee. She has even served as celebrity ambassador for Camp Hometown Heroes, a summer camp for kids of fallen service personnel. With a solid sound rooted in the blues and rock, this lady has it going on!

Eminem, Outkast, Lorde to perform at Lollapalooza

Eminem and Outkast will headline a diverse lineup of more than 130 acts at this year’s three-day Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago, Jane’s Addiction lead singer and Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell announced this week.

The lineup also includes recent Grammy darling Lorde, rockers Kings of Leon and Arctic Monkeys and electronic dance music stars Calvin Harris and Skrillex.

“Every year you’re shooting to have just an incredible bill that people will look at and say, `I’m there,'” Farrell said in an interview. “The music is going to entertain them and do wonders for their heart and so is the city.”

This year marks the festival’s 10-year anniversary in Chicago’s lakefront Grant Park. This year acts will perform on eight stages from Aug. 1-3. The full lineup is available on Lollapalooza’s website.

Last year’s lineup included The Cure, Mumford & Sons, The Killers and Nine Inch Nails. Eminem last played Lollapalooza in 2011.

“He’s on top of his game and he’s doing a great show,” Farrell said. “His live show is incorporating really well-made video and guest appearances.”

Outkast announced earlier this year that they were coming off hiatus and performing more than 40 festival dates in 2014.

Pop fans will be excited for Lorde, whose hit “Royals” won song of the year and best pop solo performance at this year’s Grammy Awards.

“She’s got a love affair going with her audience,” Farrell said. “They scream and howl for her.”

Farrell works each year to curate a lineup. This year he said it wasn’t that difficult because so many acts want to play Lollapalooza.

“It has become the gig to get,” he said. “Getting all that excitement built around your band. People are throwing themselves at us.”

This year’s lineup continues the festival’s efforts at attracting international acts. Artists from Australia, Chile, Ireland and South Africa will perform.

Last year’s festival sold out at 100,000 visitors a day, or 300,000 over the three-day event. Three-day passes sold out on Tuesday. One-day passes go on sale Wednesday morning.

Elton John, Kanye West and Jack White will headline this summer’s Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. OutKast will also headline the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April along with Arcade Fire and Muse at the festival that plays over two weekends in Indio, Calif.



PrideFest Milwaukee grows its lineup

PrideFest Milwaukee has announced that Amanda Palmer and Dangerous Muse as the stars of the Miller Lite Mainstage headline show on June 9.

PrideFest described Palmer as an outspoken support of equality who “has never blinked in the face of controversy.”

She started her career as half of the The Dresden Dolls in 200 and engineered her own musical repertoire, ranging from performance art to punk cabaret.

Dangerous Muse opens the Sunday night show with “electro-pop dance sounds and sexy stage theatrics never before seen on the Miller Lite Mainstage,” according to the PrideFest team. With a musical style described as “electronic past meets electronic future,” Dangerous Muse has been an indie music favorite for half a decade.

The New York-based band, which describes itself as “heteroflexible,” debuted in 2006 with front-page national recognition from Logo TV, The Advocate, Perez Hilton and the New York Daily News.

Dangerous Muse are partners in H&M’s worldwide Fashion Against AIDS campaign. 

“For over a decade, PrideFest has been known as the nation’s largest showcase of LGBT talent,” stated president Scott Gunkel. “This year, we are proud to present a line-up reflecting both long-time, well-known community favorites and exciting next-generation musical discoveries as well.”

PrideFest previously announced June 7 headliner Andy Bell of Erasure and June 8 headliner The Indigo Girls, as well as God-Des & She, Sophie B. Hawkins, ABBA Salute, Big Bad Gina, Bad Romance, the Wisconsin Royalty Drag Show, the Windy City Beauties, Furrlesque, Chicago legends DJ Teri Bristol and Psycho Bitch and more.

On the Web …