August 2003

Bikes For Tykes: They pulled it off. Alex Costantini is puctured with Tyrese, the inspiration and recipeint of the first of more than 60 bikes donated to lacal kids as part of an effor spearheaded by Alex, a sophomore at Marquette University High School. Working with his father, Mario, the YMCA Holton Youth Center, and Wheel and sprocket bike shops, Alex coordinated a donation drive for the bikes which were repaired and givent tto the kids along with helmets. The day was topped off with a ride down the Oak Leaf Trail for a day at Summerfest. Stay tuned for more as this collaboration may turn into a continuing effort to provide kids with bikes and the skills to repair them.

Residents of Riverwest joined members of other community groups and activists at a first annual Milwaukee neighboroods picnic get-together. The Riverwest neighborhood Association, Riverwest Currents, Riverwest Invesment Co-op, and GreenSalad Organic Gardens were among the neighborhood organizations represented. Many people from these groups are also forming a new Milwaukee Preservation Alliance. The Preservation Allicance is a city wide coalition of people and groups dedicated to “promoting the value of grand and everyday historic homes, sacred places, and neighborhoods,” among other broad goals. The MPA will hodl its charter meegin Wednesday, Aug. 6, 6-7:30 p.m. at the milwaukee Public Library on 8th and Wisconsin. Inerested? For more information, call (262) 780-9813 or email .

Attention Entrepreneurs: Food and merchandise vendors are wanted for the Rockerbox Motor Fest to be held Saturday, Aug. 23, on Center Street. Merchandise vendors are also wanted for Porker Fest on Thurdsay, Aug. 28 on Locust Street. For more infor, email Tess Reiss at .

In response to recent incidents involving muggings, car break-ins, etc., two meetings were held with neighbors at Onopa and at River Horse, respectively, to brainstorm ideas for what to do. Out of the meetings evolved COMMUNITY STEPS. Two or three volunteers will walk around the area from Holton to Humboldt and Chambers to Meinecke, in 2 hour shifts from 9 p.m.-3 a.m. Those who have dogs may bring them along, with the idea that the dogs are there to protect the owners, not attack anyone. Volunteers will keep a log of activity and graffiti, pick up trash, and call the police if there is a crime in progress. Volunteers, for their own safety, will not interfere. Volunteers are also available to escort people to their cars or home. More volunteers are welcome. For more info, stop in or call River Horse at 264-4788, 701 E. Center (and Pierce).

If you want to display a “No Hate” or “Diversity is Our Strength” sign, contact or stop by Peace Action at Weil and Keefe streets, 964-5158. Donations are welcome, and a mural celebrating neighborhood diversity is in the planning stages.

Dog owners — If you’re interested in helping establish a nearby off-leash dog park, ROMP is no longer meeting on the third Thursday of the month. Meetings will be scheduled as needed, and you can find out the dates by visiting

On Sept. 7, Milwaukee Organization of Reaching and Empowering Youth, Inc. (MORE Youth, Inc.) will be holding the 2nd Annual Jamaa Kwanza, a swahili term which means “community gathering.” MORE will provide school-aged children with new undergarments, socks, t-shirts, and hygienic items as well as free haircuts. The organization hopes to develop the youths’ self-esteem through improving their physical appearance, which impacts their confidence. This year’s event is being held at the Police Athletic League (PAL), 2320 W. Burleigh St. MORE Youth, Inc. provides counseling, training, and personal growth and development techniques to children who come from disadvantaged families. To find out how to register for the free items or how you can help sponsor or volunteer at this event, please call Barseana Abdullah at (414) 931-4174. MORE Youth, Inc. has many opportunities for youth and adults. For a list of upcoming workshops or other info, call or e-mail .

Citizens Allied for Sane Highways (CASH), an organization the Riverwest Neighborhood Association belongs to, continues to keep an eye on the South East Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC) freeway expansion plan. CASH is the best roadbuilder watchdog in the city, coming out with timely reports on roadbuilder contributions to various politicians, including a recent one-day haul for Governor Jim Doyle of $25,000 from members of HTNB, a construction group that stands to benefit from expansive freeway construction. In a recent report, CASH pointed out that a study the statewide Transportation Development Association (TDA) cited in support of the SEWRPC plan relied on false information. According to CASH, the TDA falsely attributed the findings of a single study about the causes of highway crashes — a study done almost 30 years ago — to a recent General Accounting Office report. So what does the current GAP report actually say? That there is very little information on roadway conditions that would be affected by the expensive “safety enhancements” endorsed by the road building industry. The U.S Department of Transportation says in a separate report that information needed to understand why crashes occur “is woefully inadequate.” Contact CASH at .

The Riverwest Rainbow Association is having its annual picnic at Kern Park on Saturday, Aug. 17, from 2-5 p.m. All are welcome; some foods and beverages will be provided, but picnickers should bring their own food items to grill. The outing usually includes volleyball, croquet, and officer elections.

The owners of Bremen Cafe and publishers of Vital Source have launched a new publication, The Guardian. The community-focused newsletter promotes making the city a cleaner and safer place to live. Its goal is to bring city leadership and citizens together to improve access to services and overall quality of life in the city. Editor Jon Anne Willow says, “We’re counting on participation and feedback to make The Guardian a true vehicle for the community.” Contact her with ideas at . Visit their website at

Neighborhood welcoming signs on Humboldt Blvd. between Bureligh & Auer were officially unveiled Tuesday, July 29, by the city. The sign, an illustration of a Polish Flat, is one of two official Riverwest posters designed by the city. Riverwest Currents – Volume 2 – Issue 8 – August 2003