Nikiya Harris

Photo by Narayan Mahon For more than a year now, you’ve been a Democratic state senator from Milwaukee in a Republican-controlled Legislature. What Republican legislator do you get along with best? I can’t name one that I like any better than the other. But I have been able to, in the weirdest way, work with some of the Republican legislators. Sen. Glenn Grothman [R-West Bend], for instance. I show myself to be friendly, and so there’s some friendliness on the other side. In your 2013 holiday newsletter, you said reality has set in. What did you mean? I came in…

For Love & Money

Photos by Adam Ryan Morris On a day in late December 2013, Roger and Indy Arteaga-Derenne sat, marriage license in hand, waiting for a 12:15 p.m. appointment with Judge David Piper of the Hennepin County court system. They had driven 350 miles from their home in Bayside to Minneapolis, and they were nervous. They had plenty of questions for this judge, whom they had never met. Would he marry them? Would he waive the required five-day waiting period for all would-be newlyweds? Piper entered – a blue and white plaid shirt under his black judge’s robe – and agreed to…

The Piano Lesson

Photo by Adam Ryan Morris My wife and I were living in Boulder, Colo., when one day, our neighbor told us she and her boyfriend were splitting up. “Charlie’s moving out,” she said. “We’re selling the piano, if you’re interested.” I’d been strumming a guitar for a few years, and I thought I’d give the piano a try. So, with money I had gotten from a student grant, we gave the neighbors $300 and dragged the upright into our living room. The wood grain shined like amber; the octaves rang clear and precise. The Piano Album We moved that piano…

Double Byline

Illustration by Leslie Herman Chaotic newsrooms have little in common with the staid halls of academia, where deadlines arrive semester by semester, not minute by minute. But a growing cadre of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporters is trading the crazy pace of daily news for a contemplative setting – across the highway at Marquette University. Both the Marquette Law School and the Diederich College of Communication are courting journalists in bids to raise their profiles and make wonky scholarship more relevant. In 2013, the Diederich College announced the $8.3 million O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism. Pro journalists spend nine months…

Lyle Balistreri

By Avrum D. Lank Photo by Adam Ryan Morris You have been president of the Building and Constructions Trades Council, one of the most influential unions in the city, for 18 years. You’re retiring? I’m 66 years old and I am still raising a 12-year-old. The majority of my time is going to be spent with him. I will maintain my position on the Bradley Tech Commission. I am also taking over the Bradley Tech Foundation as its chair. Hopefully, the mayor will keep me on the Metropolitan Sewerage District. I am going to have a very nice pension and,…

While You Were Sleeping

Photo by GKDRC/iStock In today’s always-connected and endlessly monitored world, there is still nothing quite like getting wired up for a sleep study. Four sensors are glued to your head to record brainwaves. Two are attached near your temples to log telltale rapid eye movement (REM). A cannula measures breath from the nose, and a microphone on the neck records snoring. A blood oxygen monitor is taped to the index finger, and leads on the chest measure heart rate. Wires on each leg monitor any twitches. The lines were uncomfortable, and the ambiance at the sleep lab nothing special –…

Making Waves

Photos by Sara Stathas Rich Meeusen strolled down the driveway at his Delafield home one Saturday to retrieve the morning newspaper. Suddenly, he found himself standing on the front lawn, unsure of how he got there. He paused, meandered back to the driveway, but after a few steps, drifted off course again. He couldn’t walk straight without veering off at an angle. Convinced he had an inner-ear problem, Meeusen took some over-the-counter medication and rested. But later that morning, he began to stumble as he walked, falling to his left whenever he took a step. At the urging of his…