Neighbors report that police were at the Timothy Brophy property that was featured in the April Riverwest Currents in an article called “Brophy’s Boondoggles.” In early May, police reportedly closed down a crack house operation at 603 E. Burleigh, based on comments a police officer made to a neighbor at the crime scene. A near neighbor watched the scene unfold and saw cops arrest four people. Neighbors had been pleased that the code violations on the property were being addressed; after the Currents article ran, Brophy’s lawyer asserted that the article was unfairly biased. He offered a tour of some of the properties owned by Brophy in the neighborhood in an effort to show that he’s trying to do good work. Some properties, all of which were viewed from the outside, did look greatly improved, at least from the street, while one featured junk furniture in the yard and a car with a condemnation notice. It does appear that Brophy is trying to turn over a new leaf and be more responsive to neighbors, based on his own assertions and a letter from his lawyer. (See Letters.) Brophy was fined $15,500 in early April by the city for code violations on his properties and has established a $75,000 escrow account with the city, according to 3rd District Ald. Mike D’Amato. The account is under city control and will be used to repair code deficiencies. The Burleigh house is still listed as a nuisance property under the city’s Department of Neighborhood Services in conjunction with the Milwaukee Police Department. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Parents, looking for something to help keep your kids busy this summer? The Milwaukee Boys and Girls Clubs have immediate openings for children in their summer programs at all three public schools in Riverwest: Gaenslen, Fratney and Pierce. There is no fee for the full day recreation and academic programs which run from 9 a.m. til 4 p.m. The only charge will be for field trip expenses. Enrollment is open in each school to the first 100 children who are signed up. Call Jean Marullo (267-5740) at Gaenslen, Rosario Iraci (267-1145) at Fratney, or Lisa Mandilla (267-4444) at Pierce for complete information and to take advantage of this vacation opportunity for kids. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The quaint charm of the Brady Street/Downtown trolley is back, but it will cost riders a little more this year. The bus system, which was eliminated by County Executive Scott Walker when federal funding ran out, was resurrected thanks to businesses and non-profits who raised $120,000 to get the service off the ground this year. Rides will cost a buck for an all day pass, with half price for those who are under 12, over 64, or disabled. The route extends from E. Brady Street to the lakefront to the Historic Third Ward to the Midwest Airlines Center. Trolley drivers will not accept county bus passes as payment. Trolley service began May 26 and will run through September 5. The Shepherd Express has discontinued “adult services” advertising — specifically, escort services. (Don’t expect to see any of the equally crude ads disappearing any time soon — a MILF contest ad ran in the same issue.) Riverwest Currents readers may remember that in an April commentary and in earlier articles in his Current Media blog (riverwestcurrents.org/cmedia), Dan Knauss took the Shepherd to task for accepting and promoting escort ads as well as generally anti-feminist, exploitative advertising. In a May 6 “Note from the Publisher,” Louis Fortis outlined the “major change in [the Shepherd’s] policies” that consists of moving escort ads from the newsweekly to a website that includes soft porn and “dirty jokes” making fun of gays, blonde women, and others. The website was previously owned by the Shepherd Express parent company, but according to the publisher’s note, the company will no longer own of the site. A quick search revealed that indeed the ownership had changed, and instead of Alternative Publications owning the site, the owner is listed as none other than publisher Louis G. Fortis. It’s the season for fundraisers (okay, maybe they’re always in season…). Coming in June is an Art Bar (722 E. Burleigh) fundraiser for congressional candidate Tim Carpenter. Art Bar owner Don Krause scheduled the event with a suggested contribution of $50 to coincide with the bar’s Thursday, June 3, “Full Moon Party” and Boys will be Boys night. A hat and wig contest will also be part of the evening’s festivities. A community rummage/bake sale is set for June 4-5 at Newhall and Capital in Shorewood to raise money for baby Havalah Kolb’s liver transplant, and the Riverwest Co-op is raising funds June 26-27 in their annual rummage sale; proceeds will help finish the Co-op Cafe expansion. A special invitation, $150-a-plate Urban Ecology Center shindig is being hosted by developer Tim Dixon and wife Linda on June 5 to help complete the new center, and a pre-convention Green Party fundraiser is being held June 11 at Mac’s Red Eye, 3865 N. Richards. The Greens ask the least of you, encouraging all to “come out and support grassroots politics for only $5.” A bargain! The convention runs June 24–27 at the Hyatt Regency and the Midwest Center. According to the Greens, they have the only party that continues to grow in membership, with 20 Greens currently in office in Wisconsin. All conference events are open to the public, except for a $10 charge for the Saturday night rally. Call 414/964-VOTE (8683) for more info. Citizens Allied for Sane Highways (CASH)has a new member. Enderis East Neighborhood Association joins 20 other groups, including the Riverwest Neighborhood Association, in opposing the freeway expansion project as proposed by the South East Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC). In a recent report, CASH notes “it has been remarkably quiet on the freeway front. The Marquette Interchange project is underway just as steel and concrete prices are rising very, very rapidly. The big steel bids for the Marquette are more than a year away, but it looks like just maybe that $810 million maximum price the governor promised might not hold without significant design changes.” So perhaps that $6.5 billion price tag is a little on the low side… On the good news front, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin has opened a Milwaukee office. The Friends organization says it “will take a leadership role in supporting balanced transportation policies that benefit urban, suburban and rural areas and contribute the greatest economic benefits to the area and the state.” Get in touch with the group by contacting Mike Dawson at 414/332-1064. PrideFest takes place the first weekend in June on the Summerfest Grounds, and there’s a new feature: the “Do-It-Yourself Oral History” area. Participants can share memories by recording their personal histories, and a CD copy of the oral histories compiled will be added to the archives at UW-Milwaukee. Each person gets 30-45 minutes, and facilitators will be available to help as needed. For more information contact the PrideFest office at 414/272-3378 or visit www.pridefest.com. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mourners and onlookers gather at a memorial to two sisters, Temisha Warren, 12, and Tia Woodley. Tia fell into the River along the Riverwalk south of the Commerce Street condominiums on May23 and her sister jumped in to try to save her. The girls lived in Riverwest at Bremen and Meinecke. Rescuers were hampered in their search because of the high waters from recent rains, and search efforts have so far been unsuccessful. The Riverwest documentary that aired late last month on MPTV created a bit of a stir among neighborhood residents, many of whom commented on what a good job it did of selling what’s good about the neighborhood. Producer Dan Jones spent several months interviewing various residents, business owners, and others. Anyone bold enough to tackle Riverwest as a documentary subject is bound to get some flack, as Jones may well be finding out. A recurring gripe among viewers has been the lack of diversity in his interviewees, despite the fact that nearly all participants trumpeted the “diversity is our strength” line. One person commented that perhaps “diversity is our alibi would have been more accurate,” and others have mentioned that those who were on camera the most don’t even live in the neighborhood. But those who want to know about the complexities of the real people and events that make up our neighborhood should not look to a one hour, one-time documentary to provide all that… just keep reading the Riverwest Currents. And stay tuned for some documentary footage of our own — coming soon to riverwestcurrents.org in a new video blog feature. Check the website during June to see the first feature.