Buying In

In 2012, The Atlantic called millennials “The Cheapest Generation.” Among the reasons for this less-than-sparkling designation was the historically low level of homeownership for the younger generation of Americans who’ve been coming of age during the Great Recession. But perhaps now, change is coming. A recent study from BMO Harris Bank says nearly three-quarters of millennials – which for this study refers to 18- to 34-year-olds – in the U.S. plan to buy a home within the next five years. That three-quarters figure is mirrored in Wisconsin, one of seven states surveyed individually by BMO Harris Bank.  “We were delighted…

Outside Looking In

Southeast Wisconsin’s epic political chasm is the focus of two recent high-profile news stories – one local, one national – and the headlines signal radically different approaches.   The first, from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is no-nonsense: “Dividing Lines: Democratic, Republican voters worlds apart in divided Wisconsin.” Then, this clickbait from the New Republic: “The Unelectable Whiteness of Scott Walker: A journey through the poisonous, racially divided world that produced a Republican star.” The first headline tops Craig Gilbert’s analysis of Milwaukee’s political polarization. The second lures readers to Alec MacGillis’ cover story, which dives into the history of race…

The Littlest Libraries

Photo by Erin Gosch.  When I came across a Little Free Library a couple of years ago on a Madison bike trail, I found the idea very appealing. Like birdhouses for books, these weatherproof bookshelves are popping up all over the metro area, and all around the country, too, inviting you to take a book, leave a book, or maybe just browse. My son, Ben, and I like to build things, and as we debated projects last summer, I thought back to that little trailside library. Dreaming up our own, we settled on a straightforward design that used redwood boards…

Not the Real Glenn Grothman

In April, we covered the @CityofMilwaukee Twitter handle that’s run not by city government officials, but by the Newaukee young professional group. This month, we look to a Republican state senator who attracted online imitators during the Act 10 fight – and still deals with the machinations today as he runs for Congress. Glenn Grothman, the quotable social and fiscal conservative from West Bend, prodded 35-year incumbent Tom Petri into retirement earlier this year in an impressive show of clout. But good luck finding his official Twitter account. Some three fake ones, all begun in early 2011, pollute more pertinent…

More Than a Curfew

Milwaukee isn’t the only city to consider tightening its curfew hours after a wave of summer violence. In August, Baltimore lowered its curfew for teens ages 14-16 from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weeknights. Year-round, kids under 14 will have to be indoors by 9 p.m., one of the strictest curfews in the country. Such restrictions sound like an easy fix, but their effectiveness in reducing crime remains debatable. A meta-review of 10 studies on the topic, conducted by the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, found that stricter curfews have, at most, only moderate effects on local crime rates and…

Till Debt Do Us Part

Illustration by Pablo Iglesias The scene is repeating itself all over Wisconsin: A faithfully wedded couple of 50 or 60 years walks into a lawyer’s office and says, “We need a divorce.” They’re happy together, perhaps happier than they’ve ever been. That’s not the problem. Their reasons, it turns out, are financial. A seemingly minor provision, passed as part of the 2013-15 state budget in June 2013, greatly expanded the powers of the friendly sounding “Estate Recovery Program.” Under its auspices, Wisconsin may recoup a portion of what it has spent, through Medicaid, to house someone over the age of 55…

Candy Crush

  1. M.A.B. mini tote bag in yellow by Rebecca Minkoff, $209 at Faye’s. 2. Handbag in lilac by Dior, $1,254.50 at E-Collectique Runway Boutique. 3. Clutch purse in green, teal and yellow by Sondra Roberts, $120 at Picardy Shoe Parlour. 4. Sandy clutch purse in pink by Ashlyn’D, $385 at Picardy Shoe Parlour. 5. Small bag with ovals in white by Franchi, $175 at Picardy Shoe Parlour. 6. Pouchette in fuchsia by Prada, $94.50 at E-Collectique Runway Boutique. 7. Handbag in hot pink by SR2, $78 at Salamander. 8. Clutch purse in fuchsia by Mellow World, $42 at Five…

Please Let Us Help You

Illustration by Daniel Downey. Mary Gilpin pulls a sheaf of papers out of a manila file folder, just one of many containing client records from the Women’s Support Center on West Wisconsin Avenue. At the top-left corner of each page, either Gilpin or one of the center’s volunteers has written with a ballpoint pen “SAVED” or “NOT SAVED.” This refers to whether the woman, to the knowledge of the center’s staff, is planning to seek an abortion or not. Other records track whether these women, stopping by for free pregnancy testing, baby supplies or an ultrasound, are “considering” the procedure,…

Events Best Bets: August

Essential Viewing  Nobody doubts the attraction of Arab World Fest’s camel rides and plates of baba ghanoug. But Milwaukee’s celebration of Arabic culture delves into deeper waters, too, particularly within its film festival. Atop this year’s marquee might be Omar, a 2014 Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Film. The title character is a young Palestinian baker forced to become an Israeli informant, a plot that weaves him through a star-crossed love story. Of a more uplifting nature, there’s Flying Papers, a documentary following kids who try to break a Guinness World Record by flying kites on a Gaza beach.…

One-Horned Wonder

imothy Westbrook moved to Milwaukee in March 2012, when he became the first out-of-state artist selected for the Pfister Hotel’s yearlong residency program. He was 23 and had recently completed a degree at Syracuse University.Shortly after he arrived in Milwaukee, and unpacked his foot treadle sewing machine and weaving loom, a friend sent his profile to scouts at the fashion competition TV show “Project Runway.” They contacted Westbrook and invited him to audition, and he became one of season 12’s 16 contestants. By the second episode, though, it was obvious Westbrook was cut from a different cloth. The design theme…