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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

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Nearly 1,000 urban school superintendents are in Milwaukee this week to share knowledge.
Nearly 1,000 urban school superintendents are in Milwaukee this week to share knowledge.

MPS hosts 58th Council of Great City Schools conference in Milwaukee

This week, the Council of the Great City Schools hosts its 58th annual fall conference in Milwaukee, hosted by MPS, and some big names in the world of education and beyond will be on hand for the event, which runs Oct. 22-26.

The conference -- "Fresh Water, Fresh Thinking in Urban Education" -- takes place at the Wisconsin Center, and will bring about 1,000 school superintendents to Milwaukee.

Among the speakers are College Board President David Coleman, Girl Scouts of America CEO Anna Maria Chavez and astrophysicist/TV science commentator Neil deGrasse Tyson. NPR's Claudio Sanchez will moderate a town hall discussion on Oct. 24.

Those events may be the bread and butter, but the meat of the conference are the roughly 80 discussion sessions that crack open opinion, expertise and knowledge sharing on topics like teacher effectiveness and evaluation, implementation of the Common Core State Standards at the district and school level, deferred maintenance on school buildings and more.

On Thursday, the conference will also name its "Urban Educator of the Year."

I'm hoping to check out the resources displays and sit in on a few discussions. I'll report back afterward.

"This conference is an opportunity for urban school leaders from around the country to see some of our success stories and it's one way for us to see what's working in other communities," MPS Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver said in a statement. "Exchanging best practices is a great way to drive innovation in education."

You can find out more about the conference, its agenda and events here.

All public education eyes will be on Milwaukee this week. Follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #cgcs14.

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Milwaukee's skyline in wax.
Milwaukee's skyline in wax.

Milwaukee skyline immortalized in wax

For a mere $40, you can get a silhouette of the Milwaukee skyline immortalized in wax. In PVC that is. 

On its Etsy, RecordsRedone out of Lansing, Mich., offers a number of city skylines, including Milwaukee's, cut from vintage long-players. Each measures 12" across -- of course -- though only about 10.5 inches tall once the cutting is done.

There are also silhouettes of U.S. states, the Beatles, Johnny Cash, Hendrix, Joplin and Dylan available, too.

The Etsy store suggests a couple Milwaukee related albums in its inventory that might be suitable: "Heart's Horizon" by native son Al Jarreau and "Fly Like an Eagle" by Brew City boy Steve Miller.

I'd be more inclined to have it done to the first Violent Femmes album or maybe something by The Promise Ring or Die Kreuzen, but perhaps it's better to keep those records playable and hack up a sickly sweet, overproduced smooth jazz vocal disc.

Other cities available include New York, Denver, Toronto, Atlanta, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland and others.

Folks from many of those cities have an impressive array of quality records from which to choose. But, of course, if you're buying Nashville, with its Batman building, there's only one logical choice. 

Jack Pettey wrote his name in the attic at Maryland Avenue in 1946. He visited for the first time since then last week.
Jack Pettey wrote his name in the attic at Maryland Avenue in 1946. He visited for the first time since then last week.
Jack Pettey -- front row, far right -- in Mr. Todd's class at Maryland Avenue.
Jack Pettey -- front row, far right -- in Mr. Todd's class at Maryland Avenue.
The current Maryland Avenue buildings were erected in 1887, 1893 and 1951.
The current Maryland Avenue buildings were erected in 1887, 1893 and 1951.
Maryland Avenue students on a visit to the MPS Facilities and Maintenance building where they got a peek into the archives with MPS' John Linn.
Maryland Avenue students on a visit to the MPS Facilities and Maintenance building where they got a peek into the archives with MPS' John Linn.

Back to the old (school)house after nearly 70 years

The first time I walked into the attic at Maryland Avenue Montessori School, I was wowed by the amount of graffiti. Rendered in pencil, pen, chalk, carved into the wood, painted, there were names dating back to when this part of the school was built -- 1893.

I’ve been in many school attics since and I’ve never seen anything like it anywhere else in town.

Though Jack Pettey’s name isn’t the biggest, for some reason it -- and the date, 1946 -- jumps out at you. When I snapped some photographs, Pettey’s distinctive scrawl naturally made it into the frame and his name was etched in my memory.

Last June, while helping to clean out an office at the school to accommodate staff changes -- I'm chair of the school's governance council -- I came upon a couple class photos that appeared to date from the ‘40s. I slipped one out of the frame and there it was, staring back at me among the list of names of the students pictured on the reverse: Jack Pettey.

I flipped it over and sitting in the front row, arms crossed, was smiling Jack Pettey, right in front of the teacher, Mr. Todd. I pictured Jack sneaking up into the attic, a smooth stick of chalk clutched in his hand.

The interval between the moment I typed Pettey’s name into Google and when I received a response from his daughter on Facebook was amazingly brief.

Yes, Priscilla was Jack’s daughter. Yes, that’s clearly her dad’s handwriting. Yes, Jack’s still in the area, living in West Bend. Yes, he’d love to come see his alma mater.

Last week, I met Jack and Priscilla at the entrance to the school he attended for almost all his K-8 years (there were a couple years at Holy Rosary mixed in there). Yes, the place looked the same and yet different.

After leaving Maryland Avenue, Pettey went to Riverside High and then joined the Marines. Returning home, he studied chemistry at UW and briefly worked at St. Mary’s Hospital across the street from Maryland Avenue School, but he’d never been back inside sin…

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The "totally awesome" wings at the Brat House.
The "totally awesome" wings at the Brat House.
The dry, tangy goodness of the wings at Club Garibaldi.
The dry, tangy goodness of the wings at Club Garibaldi.

My go-to Milwaukee wings joints

For the eighth straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com, presented by Locavore, the newest restaurant at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2014."

Lately, I’ve had an insatiable yen for wings. While I’m no connoisseur, I know what I like, and as I slowly eat my way through Milwaukee’s countless wings options, I’m finding everything from the good, the great and the blah.

So, in the same spirit as my post earlier this year listing my favorite Milwaukee pizzas, here are my go-to wings places in town, so far. I’m sure as I continue my (informal) quest, I’ll find others. And, this month, we’re off in search of the best wings on the West Side, so stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, in no particular order:

Club Garibaldi -- I love Garibaldi’s dry wings, which are flavorful, full of meat and nicely spiced. Some say they’re a copy of Points East wings, but while there’s similarity, I don’t think they’re the same.

McGinn’s -- On the other end of the spectrum are the saucy wings at McGinn’s on Bluemound Road. Super meaty, these wings (they’re 50 cents some nights!) are doused in a variety of sauces, my favorites being the original Buffalo and the super-sweet maple bourbon.

The Brat House -- As I wrote last spring, at the Brat House you can choose from BBQ, hot BBQ, house buffalo, tiger sauce, garlic teriyaki or parmesan cayenne dry rub. The wings are wet, but not drenched, in a sauce that have a bit of tang, but aren’t too hot. The chicken is not only juicy but super, super meaty. At some places 10 scrawny wings won't do the trick, but here it's a pretty satisfying meal.

Leff’s Lucky Town -- I generally say I’m not into hot foods but then I order the spicy gems here at Leff’s -- except that weird time when I stopped in earlier this year and they were, gasp!,…

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