Michael Horne
Plenty of Horne

More Improvements on Milwaukee River

Environmental group upgrades river banks and creates orientation center near Humboldt Avenue.

By - Nov 15th, 2013 11:16 am
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Greenway Gateway

Greenway Gateway. Photo by Michael Horne.

The River Revitalization Foundation has commenced work on restoring the riparian habitat along 800 feet of Milwaukee River frontage on a 3 acre site located on the west bank of the river just upstream from Humboldt and downstream from the breached dam. This property, the Greenway Gateway, was formerly known as the Wheelhouse site, named after the restaurant / nightclub that once occupied this formerly-desolate stretch of land.

It now has connections and reconnections, including a staircase leading up to N. Commerce St., and a pedestrian bridge across the dam. New enhancements will include pedestrian walkways and a connection to the riverwalk, a segment of which was built beneath the north end of the Humboldt Bridge when that span was reconstructed a couple of years ago. The Wheelhouse building itself was demolished in 2011.

An out-of-context 1960s home on the site is being rehabilitated for use as a trailhead / orientation center. Work is underway to make it accessible for wheelchair users. It will also house restroom facilities. A curious feature of the home, which was a standard ranch house of the era flipped around to face the water, is a fireplace that appears to be in one of the home’s bedrooms. In fact, a worker tells me, its the chimney that rises through the bedroom while the fireplace is located in the basement of the home. … With the cooler temperatures it seems likely the river will freeze over sooner rather than later. The river is usually frozen by Thanksgiving, but this date can vary widely from year to year. Last year it didn’t freeze until late December.

Greenway Gateway Images

News From Our Local Still

Custom bike staples at Great Lakes Distillery. Photo by Michael Horne.

Custom bike staples at Great Lakes Distillery. Photo by Michael Horne.

Great Lakes Distillery has installed some custom bicycle racks outside its facility at 616 W. Virginia St. The racks feature cutouts resembling the distillery’s bottles, and will have labels attached to them sometime later, says owner Guy Rehorst.

Rehorst says tours and the company’s tasting room have greatly aided his cash flow as he continues to expand the business. He is at about 1,000 liters distilled and 2,000 liters rectified per month, it appears from state revenue records. Distillers derive most of their revenue from their distributors, and payment is not immediate — more on the order of 45 days or more. However, taxes must be paid within 15 days, whether or not the liquor has been sold (or paid for). The tasting room and the tours have greatly relieved this cash crunch, he says.

The next task for Rehorst is to create an integrated look for the many products he turns out at the distillery. (An apple spirit is next, he says.) Working with staff and a designer, the new labels will all incorporate a new logo. This is easier said than done, since the labels must meet the approval of the Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.

This organization, which can be capricious at times in its interpretation of what is and is not allowed on a liquor label, has been greatly impacted by the government shutdown. Rehorst hopes to have his new labels approved by the beginning of the new year.

He also adds that his bottles will be labeled with a special water-based adhesive designed to dissolve after a few seconds in a 120 degree bath.

This will greatly expedite bottle reuse program by making it much easier to remove the old labels. The Gypsy Jazz band 4th Street Elevator will be performing a free show at the distillery Thursday, November 14th from 6-8 p.m.

Urban Milwaukee Editor Pens Play

The news that the Boulevard Theatre would stage a new play called “The Old Garde” came as a surprise to this department, and the surprise was only augmented when it turns out the comedy was written by Bruce Murphy, Urban Milwaukee editor. It turns out there is more to the boss than his constant struggles with his writers.

Somewhere he found the time to work up this piece which the Boulevard calls a “Tidal Wave of Comedy.”

The premise is a good one — a scrappy theater company runs out of money, and things turn worse when an “egomaniacal critic (is there any other kind?) threatens to sink its current show.”

Boulevard founder Mark Bucher is typecast as the Cranky Critic in the performance, which will have its Milwaukee premiere November 21st to December 1st. Tickets are available at www.boulevardtheatre.com.

One thought on “Plenty of Horne: More Improvements on Milwaukee River”

  1. tomw says:

    Michael, the Boulevard Theater really choked when they failed to cast a certain well-known and somewhat beloved denizen of theaters, bars, and homes far and wide as the cranky critic. Such casting could have assured that the play horned its way into local theater lore!

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