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July 2003

A garbage truck moving through Riverwest on Juneteenth Day last month decided to dump its entire load of garbage in the middle of Humboldt Boulevard when it caught on fire. That act caused nightmares for traffic, which was already being diverted on Locust and MLK because of festival activities. Apparently the garbage truck operator didn’t see the sign on the nearby garbage can.


About 30 people showed up for a hike along the river on National Trails Day for a hike sponsored by the River Revitalization Foundation. The hike followed the railroad right-of-way that RRF is purchasing to make a bike trail and footpath that would link up with the Riverwalk south of North Avenue. The foundation has received grants, but it needs to come up with matching funds. A board member noted that naming rights for the trail were still up for grabs if someone wanted to give a sizeable donation for the project. Call RRF at 271-8000 for more information.


Speaking of trails, the Hank Aaron trail project, a trail which would hook up trails from the lake all the way west to Miller Park, will kick off its annual fun run and fundraiser next month. Riverwest Currents is a sponsor of the event.


Kudos to Pierce Street block clubs around the 3300 block… about 40 neighbors have banded together to initiate an alley cleanup project. They have also started a campaign to slow down speeding school buses and cars on their blocks. They have put up signs, available through UWM and the Police Department, reminding drivers to SLOW DOWN. If your block wants to put up some signs, call community liason Officer Bruce Scott at 935-7258 for more information.


The Green Party is having its national convention in our fair city next year. The 2004 convention will take place either the last weekend in June or the Fourth of July weekend. “We are so excited to host the 2004 Green Party of the United States Presidential Nominating Convention,” said Ruth Trujillo, Riverwest resident and co-chair of the Greater Milwaukee Green Party Coordinating Council. She is also the Wisconsin representative to the Green Party of the United States. “Milwaukee and Wisconsin have a strong progressive tradition and we are proud to continue that tradition.” Visit www.wisconsingreenparty.org for more information about the Green Party’s national campaign.


Want to set up a block party this summer and get to know your neighbors? The city can help, and it’s free! Get info from the city at: 286-3329.


Some residents at the RNA meeting last month reported an increase in travelers going door to door to try to sell various products. These potential scam artists may try to offer you a “free” security system because of your model lawn, which, by the way, only comes with a hefty $50/month price tag.


The First Annual Preserve Milwaukee Picnic on the themes of public art, historic preservation, and old city neighborhood economic development will be happen at the new Vliet Street Commons, 50th and Vliet Streets, on July 15, from 5 to 8 p.m. Potluck!


The Eighth Grade class at Tamarack Community School, 1150 E. Brady St., took a graduation trip following in the footsteps of the civil rights movement in the South. After extensive reading and studying, including visiting the Black Holocaust Museum in Milwaukee and having local speakers from the movement visit them in class, the Eighth Graders planned their trip through Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma, Alabama, and Atlanta, Georgia. They visited key landmarks of the Civil Rights Movement. For a student essay on the trip, see page 17.


Mayoral candidate Sandy Folaron was at the recent townhall meeting put on by River Neighbors about crime in the neighborhood. Folaron, who was formerly on the crime commission, says she has been visiting all the neighborhood meetings. The meeting had scant attendance, and several people in the audience complained about the short notice (many in Riverwest received flyers just two days before the meeting, and residents on 6th Street, who came to protest lack of police action on the drug houses and open prostitution on their street between North and Center, hadn’t seen news of the meeting until two hours before it was to begin).

Nationally-known cartoonist Denis Kitchen was in town last month. He stopped by Onopa briefly to have a beer with Tea Krulos (see feature, page 13) during the reception and celebration for Tom Tolan on the publication of Riverwest: A Community History (congrats again, Tom!). Tolan and ZeidlerFormer mayor Frank Zeidler (pictured here with Tolan), Ald. Michael D’Amato, Mayor Norquist’s aide Steve Filmanowicz, historian John Gurda, COA executive director Tom Schneider, poets Antler and Jeff Poniewaz, Jim Godsil of e-mail activism fame, and various Riverwest residents, activists, and friends were among the crowd that turned out to celebrate the book’s publication. For information about ordering Riverwest: A Community History, click here. You can also purchase the book at the Riverwest Co-op or Woodland Pattern Book Center.


Some neighbors on the 2800 block of Fratney have been reporting missing or opened and retaped mail. They are trying to work with the post office to determine the source of the problem. If you see any mail that has been tampered with, report it to the post office immediately. Mail fraud is a federal offense.


The Milwaukee Bicycle Collective, 2910 W. Clybourn, is open for the summer! Hours are Sundays 2-6 p.m. and Thursdays 5-8 p.m. Call ahead to 431-0825 if you plan to go.


Check out the annual Garfield Avenue Blues, Jazz, Gospel & Arts Festival on Saturday, July 19, from noon to sunset on Garfield Avenue between 4th and 7th Streets. The sixth annual festival will feature blues, jazz, gospel, dance performances, children’s activities, arts and crafts, and great food. Festival coordinator Andre Lee Ellis describes it as the most lively, grassroots community music festival anywhere.


Wondering what happened to the promised trees for Center Street? YMCA CDC community organizer Jim Wilson reports that Bob McFadden, City Forestry Manager, told him trees would most likely be planted this fall. A spring planting was not possible due to a lack of available white ash stock. It appears the department will plant trees based on the remaining tree stock this fall but will not guarantee white ash throughout the entire planting area. Budget constraints have also hindered tree planting projects and stock purchases city-wide but the city says the project will take place as early as fiscally possible.


The Gordon Park Splash pad at Humboldt and Locust is open again for the summer, and the kids are loving it. There’s nothing like water to cool a hot summer day. The Splash Pad is on and open (water and all) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. A county employee said they were looking into the possibility of keeping the water on until 6 p.m. on hot days. Riverwest Currents – Volume 2 – Issue 7 – July 2003
Garbage incident – National Trails Day – Annual Hank Aaron Trail Project Run – Block Clubs Cleanup – 2004 National Green Convention in Milwaukee – Funds for Block Parties – Scam Artists – First Annual Preserve Milwaukee Picnic – Tamarack Trips – Candidate Folaron in Riverwest – Denis Kitchen – Frank Zeidler and others at Riverwest Community History Book Reception – Missing Mail – Milwaukee Bicycle Collective – Annual Garfield Avenue Blues – Trees for Center St. – Gordon Park Splash Pad