Ripeness is All

by Jim Hazard, photo by John Cizmas Comes a day when you realize the mouse and the remote are most of what makes your life go. Your day is so damn convenient, you have no direct contact with anything around you, except maybe your couch. That is the day to set aside your collection of remotes, leave that microwaveable “gourmet” meal in the freezer and set out to pick some field-fresh produce. The pick-your-own experience is a hands-on day trip into the world of enjoyable inconvenience. But if you’re going to venture into the fields and orchards, call ahead. Make…

Best Schools

additional research by Bruce Murphy and Caroline Goyette Back in the 1930s, federal New Deal workers built Greendale as a model village for the working class. Planners surrounded the settlement with thousands of acres of farmland and parks to shield the village from Milwaukee. Seven decades later, the greenbelt is gone and Greendale feels similar to the average Milwaukee suburb. Yet something of the old planners’ ideals might remain, for Greendale scored as the top K-12 school system in our rating of metro area schools. About 92 percent of students in this middle-class suburb achieved proficiency or better in math…

Linked In

Additional dog consumption by Ann Christenson and Howie Magner While that metropolis to the south has lent its name to a style of hot dog, Milwaukee, frankly, just isn’t a big furter town. It’s not like we’ve never met a sausage in a bun before. Or have some familiarity with that weenie manufacturer par excellence, Oscar Mayer, headquartered just west of here in Madison. But our city’s German heritage has been far kinder to the brawny brat than the humble hot dog. Still, it’s not as though you can’t find a good dog. Matter of fact, we scored a hot-diggety…

The Summer Team

The Fire Crackers I’m pretty sure I’m in the right place, Lakeshore State Park east of the Summerfest grounds, but the Bartolotta Fireworks Co. folks were a little vague on time – come “somewhere around 4-ish,” they suggested. In a line of work where the least imprecision could mean disasters ranging from death to a few months of penciling on eyebrows, I thought for sure they’d operate on a strict schedule. But it’s a little past “ish” and still no sign of the pyros. Then, around 5 p.m., a black pickup pulling a silver box trailer appears from the park’s…

Top High Schools 2002

At Whitefish Bay High School on Milwaukee’s North Shore, students aren’t modest about their academic fortune. “A 3.0 here is worth a 4.0 at other schools,” asserts Whitefish Bay senior David Brown. A few miles away at Nicolet High School, students offer a similar appraisal of their institution. “Parents want a high-powered environment,” a Nicolet senior concludes. The adjective is no accident. High school may be where power starts in modern life today. The quality of our schools drives politics. Education helped George W. Bush reach the White House. It’s also a linchpin in many a family’s decision on where…

On the Block

Joyce and Jeffrey Westphal had been renters for 15 years when they decided in 1999 the time had come to buy their own home. The West Bend couple began looking around for something modest – he’s a mechanic, she’s in marketing – that would suit the couple and their daughter, then just on the cusp of her teenage years. The search discouraged them. “Everything in our price range needed $50,000 worth of work,” recalls Joyce, 36. That’s when they decided on new construction. “We found it was actually cheaper to build.” The Westphals began visiting model homes and soon found…

Honor thy Father and Mother

Things can’t get much worse,” I thought as I took my father’s limp penis in my hand and tried to guide it into the small plastic urinal. “This is just not right.” The year was 1985 and it was my weekend “on duty” with my dad, Roland Kott. My mother, Shirley, was visiting her sister and brother-in-law in Florida, taking a much needed break. In 1977, Dad had suffered a stroke that paralyzed his left side. At first, after months of inpatient and outpatient rehab, he was able to hobble around their condo with a cane, get food from the…

50 PEOPLE YOU SHOULD KNOW

Here in hometown Milwaukee, we searched out the names that are not The Names. We sought out the little guys, the not-at-all-famous, the just-below-the-radars and the oh-yeah-I’ve-heard-ofs. Are our appetites any less for people we don’t know? We think not. These are the real deals. These 50 people are the stuff that conversations are made of – and the conversationalists. They are the masters of singular unusual talents or the jugglers of a menagerie of seemingly opposite arts. They have memorable quirky personalities or oddly normal ones for the breadth of their pursuits. In short, they are people you should…

Essential Milwaukee

How can we distinguish true born, bred and fed Milwaukeeans and astutely assimilated transplants from those, well, foreigners from across the southern border and others just dropping in? There are essentials every Milwaukeean who really knows the city experiences and that even visitors seeking a true taste of Milwaukee life must sample. We came up with 25 that define our culture and remind us of who we are. Read on to educate yourself about what our city has to offer, then add up your score on this quiz to test your Milwaukee mettle. Edited by Natalie Dorman With Mindy Benham,…

Going Organic

Each week I find something different in the box: fat, juicy strawberries in June; crunchy snap peas in July; mouth-watering sweet corn in August; and a bountiful fall harvest of cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, watermelon and onions. Even as winter approaches, the produce keeps coming: beets, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, cauliflower. So many veggies, so little time. These treats are freshly picked, grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides and delivered every Tuesday to a pickup site just a few blocks from my home. It’s almost as if I have my own personal greengrocer selecting the most tantalizing produce just for me.…