Beevangelizing the plight of pollinators

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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

The Bay View Bash creates 4,000 pounds of waste. Meet the kids diverting it from the landfill

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Milwaukee is known as the City of Festivals – from Harbor Fest to Summerfest to PrideFest to Kite Fest, there is no shortage of celebrations for people to take part in. But did you ever stop to think about how much waste is created by those festivals? One Milwaukee festival staple is addressing that problem.

For the past 15 years, the Bay View Bash has packed music, vendors, food, entertainers, drinks and activities into about four blocks. With over 35,000 annual attendees, about 4,000 pounds of waste is produced each year. That is a lot of garbage. Luckily, the Bash’s Planning Team has enlisted the help of local non-profit composters, Kompost Kids, to help divert some of that weight from the landfill and to continue to make strides toward being a near-zero waste festival.

Photo courtesy Marion Ecks and Renee Scampini

Since 2010, Kompost Kids has been working with the Bash Planning Team, various beer distributors, and food vendors to integrate compostable cups, utensils, food containers, straws and plates throughout the festival. They also reclaim materials, such as stage dressing and discarded bar towels, for use in garden beds and as rags at their Bay View demo site (1980 S. Marina Drive). Over the past several years, the Bash has decreased the amount of garbage dumpsters needed from five to only one, largely due to the increased presence of Kompost Kids.

During last year’s Bay View Bash, Kompost Kids conducted a live audit of all of the waste accumulated, which means that volunteers physically sorted through all of the landfill, recycling, and composting bins to ensure materials ended up where they were supposed it be. From there, they were able to determine that only 28% of the total waste accumulated during the festival should have actually been destined for the landfill. The other 72% was either compostable or recyclable – with about 15,000 compostable beer cups! Without physically sorting all 4,000 pounds of waste, most of that material would have ended up in the landfill. During their audit, Kompost Kids noted that 74% of all items tossed into landfill containers were actually compostable materials, which makes hand sorting a necessary step.

Photo courtesy Marion Ecks and Renee Scampini

Over 2,000 pounds of Bay View Bash waste was diverted from landfills in 2018. But where does it all go? Kompost Kids works with Blue Ribbon Organics to add the materials from the Bash to resting compost piles where heat and microorganisms break down the materials to create finished compost that can be used for gardening and farming.

Kompost Kids’ Renee Scampini says that every year they learn more about best practices and what tactics to use to increase the amount of materials diverted from landfills. This year, Kompost Kids will again have a physical presence at the Bay View Bash, hand sorting all waste materials with the help of volunteer groups known as Green Teams. Green Teams are a new addition to Kompost Kids’ composting efforts this year, with small stipends awarded for Green Teams of 10 or more volunteers. The Bash has also barred the sale of plastic water bottles, instead using local organization, Canned Water 4 Kids as their water vendor. They are also encouraging Bash-goers to bring their own reusable cups (no glass), straws, utensils and water bottles –- but no plates, because, well, health codes.

It is also worth noting that both Kompost Kids and the Bay View Bash Planning Team are 100% run by loyal volunteers –- six individuals with Kompost Kids and eight individuals on the Bay View Bash Planning Team. In addition, all proceeds generated by the Bay View Bash are invested directly back into Milwaukee non-profit organizations through grants for their projects.

If you’re planning on attending the Bay View Bash this Saturday, Sept. 21, check out the official lineup and, as always, please remember that no carry-ins are permitted on Bay View Bash festival grounds!

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Who was Theodore Trecker? And who lives in his Milwaukee mansion now?

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It’s a name you might have seen on street signs if you live near West Allis — Theodore Trecker. A roadway named in his honor runs east and west, connecting S. 108th to S. 116th St.

So how did he get his name on that sign?

Photo via OnMilwaukee /

Turns out he was a pretty big deal in the early days of West Allis. Not only did he launch one of the biggest tool and machinery companies in the area, but he also helped form the city of West Allis and served as an early village president.

Then he built himself a mansion, fit for a man of his stature.

Photo: Bobby Tanzilo / OnMilwaukee
Photo: Bobby Tanzilo / OnMilwaukee

On this episode of Urban Spelunking, we visit Trecker’s mansion in Washington Heights, 1735 N. Hi-Mount Blvd. The 1915 home is filled with intricate woodwork, artisan tile and beautiful leaded glass.

Find out who currently inhabits the home, and be sure to visit OnMilwaukee for more.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Meet 88Nine’s new on-air host, Ayisha Jaffer

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Radio Milwaukee is excited to welcome a new voice to the airwaves this week. Ayisha Jaffer has joined us as the station’s afternoon drive host and promotions coordinator. You can hear her weekday afternoons on the station from 2-6 p.m.

Ayisha has held a variety of roles in the music industry. She most recently owned and ran Greater Than Propaganda, which focused on artist management, tour management, venue promotion and production. She also previously worked for Saiko Management and Punkdafunk, and as a DJ at two non-commercial alternative-music stations in New Zealand, 95bFM and Aotea FM.

Below she explains what brought her back to her hometown.

Ayisha Jaffer joins Radio Milwaukee as Afternoon Host and Promotions Coordinator.

I am excited to join the Radio Milwaukee team and represent the hometown that made me who I am today. I was raised here in a passionate music- and culture-heavy hub that inspired me to continue a journey around the world helping artists, creators, dreamers and even conversationalists manifest and achieve their ambitions.

Since seeing all of these various talents and places, I’ve always wanted to come back and contribute to the Milwaukee community that I find to be the secret jewel of the Nile of the Midwest that continued to grow and prosper as a major arts and culture place.

I think it’s important to be a part of something bigger than yourself and Radio Milwaukee is an excellent example of a major contributor to a growing community that I’m thrilled I get to be a part of.

I look forward to diving into this community, adding my experiences and stories as well as hearing yours and I hope to be proactive in our city and with our station to help better an already great place, raising the ceiling on a platform for artists and leaders to be heard.

A media advocate himself, Mr. Rogers is one of my heroes who said, “Let’s make goodness attractive together,” which is my ultimate collective goal in coming back to Milwaukee. 

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

LUNA Collective’s ‘Hoops’ exhibit celebrates Latinx pride

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Pride is a sentiment that many identify with when wearing a pair of hoop earrings. For some time, big hoops were associated with cheapness. A person who wore them could be considered immodest and loose. However, there are acts that are reversing that connotation and reclaiming back the power.

One of those acts is by the LUNA, a collective of Latinx artists in Milwaukee. LUNA is currently showcasing an exhibit titled “Hoops,” representing the diversity through art within the Latinx community. 

LUNA Collective Hoops | Courtesy of LUNA Collective

One of the pieces showcased at the art show was by artist Yesenia Corona. She created a mythology of a powerful jaguar. Corona says the jaguar represents her ancestors, breathing out a fire that creates a pair of hoop earrings.

“When you are born, most of the time you get your ears pierced,” said Corona. “You start graduating from a stud to a smaller hoop and then once you hit your quinceanera age you graduate to the big hoop. For this piece, I thought, what if that hoop is a gift from the ancestors that they give you.”

Yesenia Corona standing in front of her piece

Another artist, Nicole Acosta, created a flipbook of three different sections. The first section is a written poem by Sandra Cisneros, the second is a picture of her grandmother in black and white. The third section is a picture of herself both in black and white and color. Acosta says she dedicated it to her grandmother. 

“I remember growing up going into her jewelry and I would just play with all of it all of the time,” said Acosta. “For me, it was more about tradition and more about how my grandmother passed down certain characteristics to me that I didn’t quite realize until I got older and then just having to navigate the world as a Latina now and being proud to wear your hoops.”

Nicole Acosta flipping through her piece

“Hoop” featured many more artists, each portraying their own unique perspectives and creating a visual on what hoop earrings represent. The LUNA Collective says they hope to create more community events with their upcoming pop-up shop.

“We need like a place where we cannot only tell our stories to each other but also invite other people within our community to come in and share their stories,” said Corona. “And be able to make their practice in a space where we are kind of all are on the same wavelength.” 

Jewelry is an expression of individuality and for many putting on hoops is an act of cultural pride. Some might not understand the significance of putting on an accessory could possibly represent something other than style but it’s human nature to associate meaning to items. Historically hoop earrings are symbols of resistance, strength and identity. For many, they signify power and can connect one back to heritage.

You can check out the exhibit at the Urban Ecology Center, Menomonee Valley, 3700 W. Pierce St., through November.

For more about LUNA, check out our video community story.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Friendship Circle finds a new home

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Picture this, you walk into the front doors and immediately you’re greeted with the caramelized smell of coffee. The inside space is massive yet comfortable enough to entice you to spend time there. In the back, there’s an art studio for any creative and there is even a bakery that specializes in a number of desserts such as challah and crinkle cookies. 

Luckily for you, you no longer need to imagine such a place because of Friendship Circle, a local non-profit organization that works with adults and kids with special needs.

Executive Director Levi Stein says the organization provides programming support, inclusion and currently employs 25 adults with special needs.

“There are programs going on nearly every day of the week now and we’re just here for the families,” said Stein.

Friendship Circle’s new space | Courtesy of Friendship Circle

The center is in the process of developing its new home. The building will have three main components; a kosher coffee shop open to the public, an art studio, and a bakery. Beyond those amenities, Program Director Marissa Wichman says they designed the space to be inclusive for everyone.

“At the new center, we will have a sensory room,” said Wichman. “A couch, lighting, sensory toys so the environment is very inclusive for anyone who has special needs.”

One of the employees there, Jonathan Frank, who is also a gold medalist for the Special Olympics of Wisconsin, says he’s excited for the center to turn into a frequent hangout spot.  

“We can come here and we can learn and we can strive as a group and be almost like a big family,” said Frank.

Jonathan Frank pictured with another baker | Courtesy of Friendship Bakery

Essentially, the organization at its core is about friendship. One of the focuses is on developing personal, lifelong bonds with care, respect and love. 

“Isolation is the worst thing that can happen to any child, any teen,” said Stein. “We want to fight that war on isolation and make sure everyone grows up happy productive and included members of society.”

The Friendship Circle is beyond just a place that accommodates individuals with special needs. It’s an essential transition for social spaces to have everyone in mind while dismantling stigmas. It’s also a reminder that even simple acts such as a smile or a hello can go a long way.

The new center is currently in the process of being developed in its new space at 8649 N. Port Washington Road. Learn more information and updates on their website.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Southside SOUP combines micro-fundraising and community engagement

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As crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe have launched the concept of “micro-fundraising” into the nation’s collective knowledge and funded countless movies, games, TV shows, etc., it’s safe to say that the concept appeals to a wide array of individuals and is here to stay. The phenomenon has even been seen in our own city with projects like Light the Hoan and RampUpMKE being funded online through small contributions adding up to create a big impact.

However, the online method of micro-fundraising lacks an aspect which can’t truly be replicated: face-to-face interaction and engagement. This is where Southside SOUP comes in.

Beginning in 2017 (and adapting a similar Detroit event known as “Detroit SOUP“), the event happens two to three times a year and brings together 50-80 neighbors from Milwaukee’s southern half for a Sunday night soup supper. Attendees pay from $1 to $50 for a seat and this all goes into a pool (the dinner is donated). During the dinner, four preselected individuals present their proposals for a project which will benefit the community.

At the conclusion of the presentations, the presenters have a chance to chat more directly with the audience to answer questions and clarify details. The attendees then vote on which idea they find the most beneficial and the winner receives the entirety of the revenue (typically $500-$800) to complete their project. At the subsequent SOUP event, the winner returns and kicks off the evening by offering a progress report on their initiative.

Photo courtesy of @southsidesoup on Facebook

Over five events, $3100 has been awarded to six projects. This includes: tools for community cooking classes at the Bay View Community Center, food for a model UN club field trip to Chicago for Fernwood Montessori School, materials for the gardening program’s hoop houses at Parkside Middle School of the Arts, a public forum event which introduced and elevated the voice of women running for public office known as “The Missing Voice,” and two veteran related projects which split the pool: art supplies for an art club for homeless veterans to create art which was sold at a gallery within a Bay View church, and seeds and compost for a community garden meant to help veterans suffering from PTSD and moral injury.

The event is sponsored by the Bay View Neighborhood Association and founded by current vice president of the BVNA board, Mary Ellen Hermann and former president of the board, Christopher Miller. Besides funding projects which the community feel matter, the greatest goal of the event is to foster a sense of community among the diverse population through face-to-face discussion. As Miller explains, “The idea is that this kind of event can both help build, and also become, a community — winners return and share their stories; we all can learn collectively … community is required for us to flourish.”

The idea is that this kind of event can both help build, and also become, a community.

Southside SOUP co-founder Christopher Miller

Further, Hermann sees the event as an opportunity to help individuals realize that they can make a difference. “Through SOUP, (people) can make an impact on what goes on around them (and) who knows better than they do what needs to be done? … It empowers them for continued good and … inspires others who attend to see and try the same.”

Moreover, the event offers a platform for individuals to hear what their neighbors find important and want to see improved. Even if a project doesn’t win the award pool at the end of the night, there is a chance it may be funded outside of the event by those who were inspired by the concept and at the very least, awareness of a problem which may have previously been overlooked will be raised.

Photo courtesy of @southsidesoup on Facebook

Additional “SOUP cells” have begun to appear across Milwaukee County as a result with one sponsored by the South Shore Chamber of Commerce appearing in the St. Frances-Cudahy area and having held three similar events to date.

The next Southside SOUP event will be held on Sunday, Sept. 29 at Emerald City Catering located at 3555 S. 13th St. More details can be found on Facebook or the Bay View Neighborhood Association’s site.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

On-site at Milwaukee Ballet’s new headquarters

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As Milwaukee Ballet enters its 50th season, it will also be entering a new headquarters in the Third Ward.

Milwaukee Ballet hosted a ribbon cutting on Sept. 4.

The Baumgartner Center for Dance officially opened its doors last week with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The 52,000 square-feet, new construction development was designed by Jim Shields of HGA Architects. It boasts seven dance studios, a 200-seat performance space an expanded on-site costume shop.

A black box theater will host intimate, public performances.

Natural light abounds throughout the space, with clean white and black surfaces and ample windows. A grand staircase draws the up eyes to the mezzanine when you enter the space, perched above a dedicated box office.

Lead donors Donna & Donald Baumgartner. Photo: Eric Olsen/Saturn Lounge.

While the company will continue to perform at the Marcus Center, the Baumgartner Center for Dance offer will offer additional intimate performances and will expand its education and special needs programming.

Along with the opening, the Ballet also announced it has reached its original $26 million goal and is entering the next phase of its capital campaign.

A look inside the new costume shop.
Longtime costume manager Mary Piering laughs with Deb Farris, CEO of Danceworks, inside the costume shop.

OnMilwaukee’s Bobby Tanzilo and I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for this special on-site episode of Urban Spelunking. During our tour we speak with Managing Director Anne Metcalfe in one of the seven new studios; then we visit the costume shop to speak with Costume Manager Mary Piering.

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Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Anne Metcalfe’s job title; her correct title is Managing Director.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

‘Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee’ honors Milwaukee engineers and their inventions

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In the nook of Milwaukee School of Engineering, the Grohmann Museum highlights Milwaukee engineers and their inventions with the exhibit Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee. The exhibit follows the book “Magnificent Machines of Milwaukee and the engineers who created them” written by Thomas Fehring.  

The project started two years ago when Ferhing approached James Kieselburg, director of the Grohmann Museum, to look at the book. Roughly five months after the book release they decided to create an exhibit featuring some of the machines. 

This is where the fun began. They both embarked a mission compiling machines to fit the gallery and even went as far as New Jersey to find the right invention.

“Six months then, it’s really been compiling all these,” said Kieselburg. “Getting them all in space, interpreting them, writing label copy, writing text panels for interpretation in the gallery and really just bringing it to life.” 

The exhibit displays a variety of inventions and included the original machine for individuals to see the magic firsthand.

“We have Ole Evinrude’s first outboard motor from 1909,” said Kieselburg.  “We have the original Sholes and Glidden written typewriter, the one first made by Remington in 1874, we have the Milwaukee Merkel, a motorcycle from 1905.” 

Kieselburg’s favorite item is the Milwaukee Merkel, which can be sited to be one of the rarest motorcycles known due to being one of the only two fully intact Merkels left. 

Kieselburg in front of the Milwaukee Merkel

One of the greatest inventions that’s featured is the indoor temperature control innovation from Johnson Controls.

“Warren Johnson, the founder, and engineer behind Johnson Controls, in the late 1890s, was developing temperature controls,” said Kieselburg. “So he invented the first temperature rheostat and the first indoor climate control. Our Pfister hotel, downtown here, was the first building in the world equipt with individual temperature controls in each room.”

Kieselburg says he hopes the gallery inspires a sense of awe and wonder when looking at the exhibit.

“A surprise like, ‘This really happened in Milwaukee? These things were invented here?'” said Kieselburg. “Like the typewriter, for instance, I don’t know that everybody knows that, the typewriter as we know it today they were invented in Milwaukee on, four blocks from the museum here. It was revolutionary, that had a global impact. For one machine made in Milwaukee, it had a ripple effect was just amazing.” 

The original Sholes and Glidden typewriter

Milwaukee has always had a rich industrial history, however, with our day to day activities and how everything is essentially digital, it’s easy to become distant from that moment of history. The exhibit is a reminder of all that we did and also creating a sense of pride in our city and the engineers who impacted our lives.

You can visit the exhibit at the Grohmann Museum, 1000 N. Broadway, through Dec. 22.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Walnut Way prepares for Harvest Day

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When asked to describe Harvest Day, an open-air market and street festival hosted by Walnut Way, Antonio Butts, executive director of Walnut Way said it was similar to a homecoming for the city. That’s what Harvest Day is for most people, a time to celebrate the neighborhood of Lindsay Heights and to connect with its residents.

According to the Zilber Family Foundation, The Lindsay Heights neighborhood is a historic neighborhood that was first settled by German immigrants in the 1800s. By the time it was near the 1920s, an influx of African Americans migrated to the area from the south. However, it wasn’t always called Lindsay Heights. In 1997, the area had a name change after community activist Bernice Lindsay, who was sometimes called “the mother of the black community.” 

Walnut Way Center before restoration in 2001 | Courtesy of Walnut Way
Walnut Way Center today, after restoration | Courtesy of Walnut Way

Walnut Way strives to keep the vibrancy alive by uplifting residents, transforming vacant lots into gardens and restoring residential homes. Each year they celebrate the neighborhood through Harvest Day, highlighting Lindsay Heights in the lens of a theme. Butts says this year’s theme is ‘the art of community.”

“We have a focus on art this year,” said Butts. “We’re working with a number of local artists, including Reginald Baylor, but then also the art of community from the perspective of how we’re are strengthening our network here.”

The heart of Walnut Way is the people who live there. Everything in Lindsay Heights starts with the community and the voice of the residents.

“One of the overarching goals is to create a more cohesive community and in doing that it’s very important for residents to know each other,” said Butts. “Knowing your neighbor is very important. ‘How can to ask for a favor if you don’t know your neighbor?’”

Youth standing in front of a farmers market stand | Courtesy of Walnut Way

A fundamental aspect to consider is the concept of working together. The great work being done in Lindsey Heights, such as the neighborhood becoming an ecotourism destination, is done by the collaboration of residents, youth and even business partners. Butts says the success is integrated with everyone involved.

“It’s just very important that we all know and recognize that we are all interconnected and there are solutions to our deepest challenges,” said Butts. “Taking the time to get to know each other is a very important part of that process of basically solving some of those issues and challenges that we have.”

It’s quite fitting that the Harvest Day is happening on Sept. 14, at Fondy Park. The fall season can carry symbolism for change and embracing the present. Harvest Day is a day to give thanks to the growing season and the work that’s being done. All while preparing for what’s to come.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee