Winners & Losers

TCD’s week in review

Cyclists, Dylan Hoffman, Powerball players, the Milwaukee music scene, Tosa tree lovers disco divas and Wisconsin job seekers - what a week!

By - May 18th, 2012 04:00 am
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Winners

Wisconsin job seekers
Governor Scott Walker is busy celebrating new numbers from the state of Wisconsin that seem to refute earlier data. Previously, it had been a well-known fact that Wisconsin was the only state in the country that had significant job losses in 2011 (a total of 23,000 jobs). However this week, in an unprecedented move from the Department of Workforce Development, new and unverified numbers were released showing a net gain of 23,321 jobs. If the gain is verified by the federal government, it means that Wisconsin is still in the bottom five states for job creation (just after North Dakota but ahead of Kansas, Washington D.C., West Virginia and Idaho). The data from all 50 states is typically verified by the federal government and then released to the states for dissemination. That won’t happen until the end of June, well after the recall election has taken place.

Not surprisingly, many are crying foul on this play. Some believe this data can’t be trusted until after it’s been reviewed. Others say that DWD conspired with Gov. Walker to release the unverified statistics in an effort to help his recall effort.

Dylan Hoffman, champion doodler
Seven-year-old Dylan Hoffman from Caledonia has won the annual Doodle 4 Google contest, netting him a $30,000 scholarship, a Chromebook laptop and a trip to New York. Additionally his entry will be featured on a special edition box of Crayola crayons. His picture answers the Google prompt: “If I could travel in time, I’d…” with an drawing that beautifully illustrates his text, “sail a pirate ship looking for treasure, have a colorful pet parrot and enjoy beautiful sunsets from deserted islands.” Congratulations, Dylan!

Milwaukee’s bicycle community
We are at the end of another very successful Bike to Work Week here in Milwaukee, and that’s reason to celebrate all by itself. But if you take a look at all of the recent growth in the bicycling community, you’ll see that it’s just the beginning.

Earlier this year, Flavor Cycle began a bicycle delivery business for Milwaukee restaurants.So far, they’re delivering for Balzac, BelAir Cantina, Cafe Corazon, Centro Cafe, Frankie’s Sammiches, Fuel Cafe, The Green Kitchen, Hi-Hat Garage, The Loaded Slate, Riverwest Co-op Cafe, Stonefly Brewing, Transfer Pizzeria and Cafe and Via Downer. Not only does this bring tasty food right to our doors, it provides work for bike messengers who are currently experiencing a downturn in business.

Vulture Space Bicycle Collective opened this week in downtown Milwaukee. Occupying a street-facing space in the Shops of Grand Avenue, this new non-profit will offer secure bicycle parking to commuters, as well as repair space for regular people to work on their bikes. Almost everything in the shop has been reclaimed or repurposed. Keeping with the earth-friendly theme, the collective will be accepting donated bikes to repair and get into the hands of people who need them.

South side Powerball players
Though the odds of winning $1 million in a Powerball drawing are greater than 1 in 5 million, winning tickets for the same drawing were sold this week at a Mobil station on Milwaukee’s south side. According to WTMJ-Radio, station owner Dennis Thompson plans to “promote this as much as possible.”

Losers

Wisconsin job seekers
It all depends on your perspective, we guess. According to data released by state labor officials Thursday, May 17, Wisconsin lost 6,200 jobs in April. Though the Governor is trying to turn his critics into allies with revised jobs numbers for 2011, the news could be a blow to his recall campaign. A recent Rasmussen poll shows the Governor ahead of Democratic opponent Tom Barrett by four points, with a +/- margin of 4.5%.

The Milwaukee music scene
Milwaukee music lost an inspirational force this week. Former Blackholes leader and Buddy Holly tribute organizer, Mark Shurilla, died at 63 from complications following heart surgery. A sometimes goofy, wonderful and creative guy, Shurilla was a stalwart supporter of local music for over 30 years.

A co-founder of Express Music Magazine, which later merged with the Crazy Shepard to become the Shepherd Express, Mark also loved amber and was the editor of MAPS, an annual magazine devoted to the fossil. He will be sorely missed.

Tosa tree lovers
With an enormous sewer project (about $16 million) finally approved by the Wauwatosa Common Council, homeowners got more bad news this week – they will lose between 60 and 240 trees in the process. Especially hard-hit will be East Tosa between 80th and 90th streets, whose shady streets have been the pride of a neighborhood racked in the 1950s with a devastating epidemic of Dutch Elm disease. Those trees were mostly replaced by fast-growing green ash trees, now also under threat by the dreaded ash borer. City officials have decided, rightly if sadly so, that homes safe from flooding are ultimately more valuable than vulnerable properties with a big shade tree on the front lawn.

But as Jim Price points out in Wauwatosa Patch, the long term stability of our urban forest might be improved by more diverse replanting going forward. That’ll be great in 40 years or so, but for now the neighborhood will likely resemble the subdivisions to its west. We’re sorry to see it.

Disco divas and dancing queens
Rest in peace, Donna Summer. We were quite sad to hear of the passing of Disco’s First Lady this week. Ms. Summer succumbed to cancer at the young age of 63. She was a five-time Grammy-winning singer/songwriter who climbed the ladder of musical success from backup singer to become the first artist to see three double albums reach number one on the Billboard chart. All over the world, women working hard for the money, bad girls dancing the last dance and anyone who loves to love you baby are tearfully waving Na Na Bye Bye to you.

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