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Kneisler's White House has been a fixture where KK bends to the right, at Ellen Street, since 1891.
Kneisler's White House has been a fixture where KK bends to the right, at Ellen Street, since 1891.

White House celebrates 125 years as a Bay View landmark

A lot has changed in Milwaukee over the years, and especially lately a lot has changed in Bay View. But one thing that’s remained constant for 125 years is the white clapboard tavern on the corner of Ellen Street, where Kinnickinnic Avenue bends off to the right.

One of the oldest watering holes in the city, the White House, 2900 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., is celebrating its 125th birthday on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 1 and 2 with a weekend of drink specials, games, raffles, food and more, as well as a food drive to benefit Hunger Task Force (an annual birthday tradition at the bar).

William Kneisler built the tavern with a loan from the Schlitz Brewing Company, making the tavern a Schlitz tied house, meaning it sold only that brewery’s products when it opened in 1891.

Like many taverns, the White House quickly became a neighborhood gathering place, one where election results were waited out, one where mail was stored for neighbors, one that rented rooms out to residents and one that, of course, sold beer by the bucket to hard-working Milwaukeeans.

"Kneisler paid this loan off pretty quick, and was no longer beholden to selling only Schlitz beer, after only a few years," says bar manager Matthew Langoehr. "In some of the old photos however, you can see the classic Schlitz palm tree and Schlitz logo."

The White House remains a neighborhood magnet, even now with so much competition in the neighborhood. It’s a place for volleyball, a place to plug the jukebox, a place to play some board games with friends, a place to buy your mug and store it up on the shelf for your next visit. It’s a beloved, neighborhood place, and has been for many generations.

"One of the things that sets the Historic White House apart from some of these other classic taverns is, it has always been a tavern," says Langoehr. "Some have started as boarding houses, union halls, etc., but William Kneisler built the tavern in 1890, as what it still stands as today.

"Even during prohibition,…

The competition and the judges.
The competition and the judges.

Cute overload: Rogers St. Academy kids judge mascots' ballet auditions

Yesterday morning, a group of kindergarteners from Milwaukee Public Schools' Rogers Street Academy visited BMO Harris Bank, 770 N. Water St., to judge auditions by local sports mascots for roles in the upcoming production of Milwaukee Ballet's "The Nutcracker."

The judging, photos of which you can see below in an example of cuteness overload, coincided with the Milwaukee Ballet's three-day ticket sale for "The Nutcracker." During this promotion, tickets are buy one, get one at half price.

Rogers Street Academy, 2430 W. Rogers St., offers mono- and bilingual curricula to about 700 students from K4 through eighth grade on Milwaukee's South Side.

The auditions were led by Milwaukee Ballet Artistic Director Michael Pink, with a little help from Jud Snyder (pictured with the kids below), who is president of BMO Harris Equipment Finance Company and also president of the Milwaukee Ballet board.

The competitors in this surely tight race were the Brewers' costumed Hank, the Bucks' Bango and Roscoe, representing the Milwaukee Admirals, and BMO Harris' own Hubert.

For their audition, the mascots had to perform a brief bit of Tchaikovsky’s "Russian Dance (Trepak)" from "The Nutcracker."

After picking their favorite – Bango was the winner and will have a walk-in role in "The Nutcracker" this year with the Ballet – the kids received a gift as a token of appreciation for their work.

But judging by the photos, the real stars were the adorable tots from Rogers Street Academy:

Public Enemy on stage at Red Dot Tosa on Friday night.
Public Enemy on stage at Red Dot Tosa on Friday night.

Public Enemy and Run-DMC in Tosa ... wait, what?

This past weekend, Tosa resident Anthony Lampasona staged a huge party at Red Dot on North Avenue in East Tosa with Public Enemy, Run-DMC, Sir-Mix-A-Lot, Rakim, EPMD and others.

Some nights you're hanging out watching your kids do gymnastics and packing for a weekend camping trip, and 20 minutes later, you're rocking to Run-DMC at a tiny venue a few blocks from home.

That's what happened to me Friday night when I saw fellow drummer Mikal Phillips post a Facebook Live of Run-DMC on stage at Red Dot. A few minutes later, I was on the sidewalk enjoying the music and occasionally catching a glimpse of the performers through the big open windows.

Phillips spotted me on the sidewalk and we chatted. And then I ran into more friends. And then more friends saw my posts on social media about it and they showed up. And then another longtime friend – a co-owner of Red Dot – brought me a pass to get inside. Suddenly it felt as much like my party as Lampasona's.

The event was a follow-up to a similar one Lampasona – who is the president and COO of Landmark Healthcare Facilities – staged at Red Dot with Public Enemy last year.

Held on the same weekend as Tosa Fest was taking place down in the Village, Lampasona's party felt like the real Tosa fest. And though it was packed, there seemed to be nothing but good vibes. Folks on the sidewalk took turns standing on chairs to see the action inside, with nary a thrown elbow.

Inside, the party was packed, but folks ran to open the door for people carrying drinks and there was nearly as much high-fiving as there was selfie-snapping. And by the time Public Enemy was into its surprisingly long set, doormen weren't even checking for passes anymore.

It was a really good time. I didn't make it over on Saturday to see Rakim, who is perhaps my favorite hip-hop MC ever – there was that camping trip, remember?

Thanks to Lampasona for sharing the love with his neighborhood.

Read Piet Levy's story about it here.

Here are some im…

Herb Kohl has funded multiple projects, including health and wellness, sports and special needs programs at Trowbridge Elementary in Bay View.
Herb Kohl has funded multiple projects, including health and wellness, sports and special needs programs at Trowbridge Elementary in Bay View.

Kohl Philanthropies funds every single Wisconsin DonorsChoose class project

In the past, I've talked about how small gifts made by regular folks like us to classrooms via can make a difference for Milwaukee kids.

Today, Herb Kohl Philanthropies really upped the ante by funding the Donors Choose campaigns of nearly 700 Wisconsin teachers whose classrooms serve about 43,000 students in 140 districts.

The mass donation – totaling $500,000 – included full funding for 223 projects at dozens of Milwaukee Public Schools.

That means if you go to right now and search projects in Wisconsin, you will find absolutely none. Herb Kohl has funded all of them.

"As the new school year kicks off, we are thrilled to support all of the classroom projects currently posted by teachers right here in Wisconsin. We owe a lot to our teachers and hold enormous hope for our students. They are both a constant source of inspiration," said Herb Kohl.

Teachers post projects on, teachers post projects requesting materials required for specific classroom projects or needs. Folks like you and me – and in this case Herb Kohl – make donations and when the goal is met, DonorsChoose sends the supplies.

As of 12:01 this morning, every single project in Wisconsin was fully funded by Kohl Philanthropies. About 600 classrooms will get pencils, books, laptops, musical instruments, health and hygiene supplies, microscopes and more.

"Wisconsin’s educators are constantly seeking innovative ways to reach students and improve learning outcomes. I would like to personally thank Herb Kohl for his recognition of the importance of that work and for his willingness to help turn the dreams of those educators and students into realities," said Dr. Tony Evers, State Superintendent of Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction in a statement.

"MPS is grateful for this generous gift from Herb Kohl. The funding of these requests allows our teachers to be effective in their approach to instruction and to provide expanded learn…