Comings and Goings
A veteran union leader steps down, a new post for Nikiya Harris and Glorioso's tries, of all things, beer.
Peter Hanrahan, director of the Wisconsin office of the Service Employees International Union Local #1, based in his hometown of Chicago, is leaving the union after two decades service here. He says he has no immediate plans. The union, America’s fastest-growing, is noted for its old-style street-level activism, including the memorable “Justice for Janitors” campaign.
Most recently, the union’s ire was directed at Wangard Partners which hired a non-union cleaning firm in December 2011 for 875 E. Wisconsin Avenue, a building with such high-profile corporate headquarters as Roundy’s Supermarkets and Artisan Partners.
According to the SEIU Local #1, the union janitors made $11 an hour, while the non-union workers made $8.
“Wangard is picking the janitors’ pockets to line his own,” Hanrahan said at the time, while workers and supporters maintained a picket line in front of the building.
The union later opposed a loan to Wangard for a Park East development, [See “They Ruined Our Lives” by Dave Reid in Urban Milwaukee] stalling that project. Finally, in September 2012, Mayor Tom Barrett intervened, and now everything is lovely between the union and Wangard.
Threat Seen to Historic Mequon School
A historic 1892 building in Mequon is in danger of becoming a “strip mall,” according to signs opposing the redevelopment of the Howard Schroeder American Legion Post, 6006 W. Mequon Road. The historic-designated building originally housed the Thoreau School, Mequon’s first, and has had other uses over the years. Most recently, in addition to the dwindling number of Legionaires, the basement housed Bangers, a bar – restaurant operated by Joe and Michelle Deutsch. But Bangers shut its doors Friday, October 26th 2012 after its lease ran out, leaving the state’s largest fourth class city without a decent tavern for the working man, and certainly the only one with a tank parked in front of it — sure defense against Thiensville hooligans.
A memorial in the hall attested to the service of Mequon residents in World War I. They are all exclusively German names (like Gierach) leaving one to wonder which side they were fighting on.
According to Mequon administrator Lee Szymborski, “Any changes to the Legion’s building, up to and including removing its local historical designation, redevelopment or demolition, are subject to review by the city’s Landmarks Commission. After that, the matter would be reviewed and approved by the Mequon Common Council. The building was constructed in 1892.
“The property is owned by the Howard J. Schroeder American Legion Post #457. This summer the Legion’s membership voted and accepted an offer to purchase; the property is under option and being considered for redevelopment.”
No development plan is on file at this time. Although the tank’s guns are stilled, there will be fireworks when a redevelopment proposal surfaces, particularly if the building is not part of it.
New Board Member Nikiya
Milwaukee County Supervisor and State Senate candidate Nikiya Q. Harris has joined the board of the Nia Imani Family, Inc. according to executive director Belinda Pittman McGee. Nia Imani is Milwaukee’s only long-term transitional living facility for women and their children, serving some 35 adults and 85 children per year. The group’s annual fundraiser, which usually sells out at $40 per ticket, will be held this year on Sunday, November 18th 2012 at 7 p.m. at the Charles Allis Museum, 1801 N Prospect Avenue. The featured artist, as usual, is Milwaukee native and world-travelling vocalist Claudia Schmidt.
Scene on the Street
The River Revitalization Foundation hopes to purchase the properties at 2114-2134 N. Riverboat Road to expand its Greenway Gateway, south of the dam on the Milwaukee River. The purchase would give the group control of the north bank of the river nearly to the Humboldt Bridge. … Keith Hayes says he has launched his Kickstarter campaign for the Artery with a $10,000 goal; he’s about 8 per cent there. You can contribute here. … A Minnesota operator wants to lease Crisp, 1323 E. Brady Street and turn the troubled pizza joint / night club into a Milwaukee-style tavern. The Brady Street Area Association gave its assent to the application after its review, and the license is pending in the Common Council. … Just across Brady Street there is a new electric-vehicle charging station at the city-owned public parking lot at the Passeggio. The station, paid for with stimulus funding, is located at the Warren Avenue entrance to the lot. … While we’re in the neighborhood, plans are underway for a new facade to replace the dreadful one at Mai Thai restaurant, 1230 E. Brady Street. It should brighten up the place a bit, and solve some internal traffic flow problems. … Michael Glorioso of Glorioso’s Italian Market, 1011 E. Brady St. says his recent wine and cheese tastings have been sellouts, including one on October 25th. Now he hopes to duplicate the success with a beer and cheese tasting event on Thursday, November 8th 2012 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. The cost is $35 with a $10 rebate on any purchases made at the event. To register e-mail email@example.com. Tell her Urban Milwaukee sent you. … The Milwaukee Brewing Company likes to use local images in its marketing. Owner Jim McCabe had his designers add the late Sydney Hih building to the landscape decorating a batch of pint glasses (these are available at Urban Milwaukee: The Store). … An Obama for president sign on Fiesta Lane in Mequon has sprouted another sign reading “Keep your ‘MITTS’ off My Sign!”
Leslie Hindman Auctioneers will hold sale #229 in Milwaukee on Friday, November 9th 2012 at 11 a.m. at its offices at 414 E. Mason St., with previews beginning a week before. Some interesting items include silver from the collection of Ray Vahey, downsizing from his Astor Hotel digs to smaller quarters at St. John’s on the Lake.
Vahey, with his late partner Richard Taylor, was the public face of opposition to Wisconsin’s anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment. He should find some good artistic company at his new home, which includes such folks as Nicole Teweles, whose brother Andre Emmerich was a noted New York art dealer, and who was a childhood acquaintance of Anne Frank. Another St. John’s resident is Renee Tolcott, whose brother was the famed painter Roy Lichtenstein.
Another consignor to the auction is the David Barnett Gallery, which itself is an art dealer. Barnett will use the proceeds of the auction to fund an endowment for young artists, so take that Mary Nohl. … A heist in Rotterdam October 16th netted the thieves a Picasso, a Matisse, a pair of Monets and a Gaugin among other works. They were on loan from the collection of the Triton Foundation, a very discreet organization founded by the late William Cordia. The website-less foundation also loaned works to the “Impressionism: Masterworks on Paper” exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum in October 2011.
People: Nikiya Harris, Peter Hanrahan, Tom Barrett
Building(s): 875 E. Wisconsin Ave.
Neighborhood(s): Lower East Side, Park East