Bob Reitman

Photo by Kat Schleicher When you went back to hosting “It’s Alright, Ma, It’s Only Music” with your son Bobby Reitman III on WUWM, did it feel like you were going back to your roots? Yeah, full circle. I started out where I am now, WUWM, and I was about to go back to UWM to get a teaching certificate. At the same time, all these albums are coming out and nobody was playing them. All the FM stations in the country were just tax write-offs playing elevator music. It was really an opportune time. And if we were successful…

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…

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,…

John Norquist

Photos by Adam Ryan Morris Get us up to speed on the Congress for the New Urbanism, what is it and what have you been working on? It’s an organization that was founded in 1993 to promote urbanism. It’s made up of a little over 2,500 members who are mostly architects and planners, but also real estate developers, social neighborhood activist types, local officials and there’s a few real estate financial-type people. We have a staff of eight people and I’ve been in the job since Jan. 4 of ’04, the day after I stepped down as mayor. The kinds…

James Causey

Are you a newspaper columnist or an African-American first? You can’t ignore the race factor even if you tried. I just want to tell good stories. No one tells me what to write, and I focus on things that I see. I never take the same way home every night. Where do you live? 39th and Capitol. My parents bought a duplex when I was 7 or 8. I live upstairs. I’m the only child. They are getting older, so it makes sense for me to be nearby. I love the area. Do any Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editors live close…

Poster Child

Photo by Sara Stathas To hear polka bar owner Andy Kochanski tell it, his neighborhood near Miller Park is just as safe as the East Side. Never mind the recent news about a deadly confrontation between himself and a small group of would-be robbers (who turned out to be toting handgun-shaped BB guns). Kochanski’s Concertina Beer Hall, 1920 S. 37th St., is otherwise as homey as your grandmother’s living room, according to the former St. Francis firefighter and onetime host of the public access TV heavy metal show “Threshold of Pain.” Also, pay no mind to Sheriff Clarke and other…

Playing the Fool

Photo by Steven Bourelle There are very few people in this life who enjoy being called a fool. Ann-Elizabeth Shapera is one of them. Originally from Geneva, Ill., and often found in the smoky jazz joints of Chicago during her childhood (her dad is veteran bassist Dan Shapera), she’s been appearing at fairs and fests as Jane the Phoole (her interpretation of Queen Elizabeth I’s court jester) for the past 20 years. But her crowning achievement may have arrived Sept. 21, 2004, when, by official decree – in much the same way the Common Council recognizes April 14 as “Milwaukee…

The Cat Lady

Photo by Adam Ryan Morris Yes, AC is a cat – and a rather grumpy one at that. He’s also the rising star of 31-year-old Kate Funk’s cat creations. AC can be seen on everything from iPhone cases to magnets and greeting cards. But he’s probably most famous for being the “World’s Most Super Amazing 100% Awesome Cat” in a series of calendars entering its sixth year (2014’s theme: Magical Creatures). Turning to Kickstarter in February, Funk hoped to raise $3,500 to cover 2014 production costs and a portion of her travel expenses for the National Stationery Show. To her…

The Auctioneer

On a dreary day in mid-April, a crowd gathered in a street-level space in an old brick building. A mix of youngish, middle-aged and even elderly visitors tuck white, numbered paddles under their arms. Some nose through a thick, glossy catalogue of items. Others wander, gazing and touching items in the room. Eventually, Leslie Hindman, 58, steps to the auctioneer’s podium, her emerald ring catching the light. After a brief introduction sprinkled with her dry wit, she begins with a pair of upholstered Danish armchairs, her voice remaining even-pitched as she rolls through bids. When one bidder remains, the sale…

Old-Timer’s Game

Photo by Adam Ryan Morris He may not have the following of Bob Uecker nor the mustache of that guy named Bernie, but in his own way, 91-year-old Lou Montgomery has become a Milwaukee Brewers fixture. At every home game, you’ll find the longtime usher and tour guide stationed beside a press box door, swapping pleasantries and baseball stories with media members and fans alike. And he professes such love for his job that it sounds more like a second marriage. His first one – to wife Marian in 1946 – has delivered two kids, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren,…