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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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Alissa loves Meenie best. (Shhh, don't tell the others.)
Alissa loves Meenie best. (Shhh, don't tell the others.)
The cuteness. Oh, the cuteness.
The cuteness. Oh, the cuteness.
Raccoon formula. It's a thing.
Raccoon formula. It's a thing.
Safety in numbers.
Safety in numbers.
Baby raccoon joy.
Baby raccoon joy.

Riverwest mom raising baby raccoons

Alissa Gonyea, a Milwaukee Public Schools teacher, planned to have a lesiurely summer that included travel and camping adventures with her son and nephew.

Instead, she is caring for four baby raccoons.

"If you would have told me two weeks ago I’d be doing this, I wouldn’t have believed you," says Gonyea.

A few months ago, a Madison-based friend of Gonyea's posted on her Facebook page that Wisconsin WildCare was looking for people to foster litters (sometimes called "kits") of raccoons.

Gonyea, who lives in Riverwest, responded that she was interested, but did not hear anything back until last Sunday when a group representative informed her there was a litter waiting for her.

So Gonyea picked up the critters and named them Eeenie, Meeney, Miney and Moe. (Miney and Meenie are girls; Eenie and Moe are boys.)

Through the organization, Gonyea is licensed to house the raccoons who were vaccinated for rabies.

After their mother died of an unknown cause, the baby raccoons were too young to feed themselves and quickly became malnourished. Once rescued, they've been primarily bottle fed with raccoon formula.

Yes. Raccoon formula.

Gonyea purchased it from a man in Illinois who specializes in concocting formula for myriad creatures from shrews to  humpback whales. She paid $83 for approximately a two-week supply and had the formula overnighted to her Riverwest home. The raccoons eat four times a day.

Because she exclusively breastfed her son, Gonyea had never made a formula bottle before. 

"It was all new to me," she says.

Every day, the raccoons spend time outdoors in Gonyea’s enclosed backyard. They enjoy climbing the tree and "bathing" in a dishpan filled with water.

Gonyea will keep the raccoons until they are 10 pounds – they are currently two pounds – which experts estimate will be mid-September or so. 

Once the creatures are old and strong enough, Gonyea plans to "soft release" them on a friend’s land in Wisconsin Dells. A soft release means …

Mmmmm ammmmmmber.
Mmmmm ammmmmmber. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)
From the street.
From the street. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)
Mike Brenner, beer baron.
Mike Brenner, beer baron. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)
Shiny and new.
Shiny and new. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)
Merch. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)
Background barrels.
Background barrels. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)
Hi, Milwaukee musician Heidi Spencer.
Hi, Milwaukee musician Heidi Spencer. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)
You can never have too much Fred.
You can never have too much Fred. (Photo: Royal Brevväxling)

First look: Brenner Brewing Company

Last night, Brenner Brewing Company, 706 S. 5th St., opened its doors to Facebook friends (and real friends) of owner Mike Brenner. 

The Walker's Point-based brewery will open to the public in a couple of weeks (permits pending) and will offer tours, growlers to go and a tasting room. The brewery currently has four beers on tap. 

"We’ll be adding more pretty regularly," says Brenner, who received the title of master brewer after completing an international training program at Siebel Institute in Chicago and the Doemens Akademie in Munich, Germany.

Brenner also opened an art gallery and 20 artists' studio spaces in the adjacent building called The Pitch Project.

Brenner beer is available at many local liquor stores and bars including Sugar Maple, Palm Tavern, Anodyne Coffee Roasting, Blackbird, The Garage, Thief Wine Bar. Wolf Peach and Odd Duck

I sampled an amber last night and had absolutely no complaints. Stay tuned to for more information about Brenner Brewing Company, including the exact opening date.

Global Union brings musicians from all over the world to Bay View.
Global Union brings musicians from all over the world to Bay View.

Help Global Union raise $15,000

Alverno College’s Global Union, a free world music festival that started in 2006, is scheduled to take place on Saturday, Sept. 13 in Humboldt Park. 

Today, the organizers launched a campaign to raise $15,000 in 15 days to offset costs. BMO Harris Bank and the Helen Bader Foundation will match the gifts dollar for dollar, up to $15,000.

"As you can imagine, ‘free’ world music festivals actually cost a lot of money, and it wouldn’t be possible without the hundreds of you that make a gift every year," said David Ravel,  Alverno Presents artistic director in a statement.

If you've enjoyed Global Union as much as I have over the years – I am forever indebted to the festival for introducing me to the Swedsh hip-hop group, Movits – consider an online contribution. 

Antigua Coffee House joins Antigua Restaurant and Antigua Catering.
Antigua Coffee House joins Antigua Restaurant and Antigua Catering.
The large coffee shop is available for rentals.
The large coffee shop is available for rentals.

Antigua Coffee House now open

Eight years ago, Citlali Mendieta-Ramos and Nicholas Ramos opened Antigua Latin Restaurant, 5822 W. Burnham St.

Recently, the couple opened a new coffee shop, called Antigua Coffee House, at 813 S. 60th St.

"Our two business are near one another, but they are both different," says Mendieta-Ramos. 

The restaurant serves Latin, Cuban, Purto Rican and Spanish food. I've been there; it's good – but more relevant, an food writer went and liked it, too.

Antigua coffee house serves "American food" breakfasts and lunches, Monday through Friday, including breakfast sandwiches, hamburgers, salads, wraps, pastries, smoothies and Valentine coffee.

On weekends, the large cafe space is available for private parties and special events.  

The couple also provides catering and cooking classes for corporate team building.