Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson and his wife Dominique today teamed up with the Milwaukee Diaper Mission (MDM) and Hayat Pharmacy to distribute thousands of free diapers during a diaper drive-through event on the city’s South Side to help mark National Diaper Need Awareness Week.
“The Milwaukee Diaper Mission is making a real impact by helping hundreds of families in an important and rarely talked about way,” said Dominique Johnson, the mayor’s wife, who also noted that she and the Mayor’s family includes three children, including twins. “Cavalier and I know first-hand how fast a family can go through diapers, so we appreciate the importance of having access to a supply of clean diapers. I am pleased to be involved in this effort.”
SNAP, or FoodShare as it is called in Wisconsin, is a federal program that supports mothers, children, seniors, or anyone who may be having trouble affording food. Currently, with FoodShare, individuals may be able to receive up to $250 in food benefits and families of 4 can qualify for up to $835.
As a FoodShare advocate with Hunger Task Force, we have heard many myths that discourage and scare people away from getting the help that they are entitled to under the law. Despite these myths, applying for or receiving FoodShare will not affect your ability to:
Remain in the United States,
Get a Green Card/Permanent Legal Resident Status,
Keep a Green Card/Permanent Legal Resident Status, or
Become a U.S. Citizen.
You will not be required to pay back the benefits you receive.
Even if you do not believe you are eligible for benefits yourself, you can apply for FoodShare on behalf of the eligible people in your family. For example, if a parent is not eligible for FoodShare because of their immigration status, they can still receive benefits to buy food for their eligible children. Children who are citizens or Permanent Residents are eligible for FoodShare. The card will come in your name and allow you to buy food on behalf of your children.
Receiving FoodShare benefits will not harm your children or affect their future. They will not lose their citizenship or residence status, they will not be forced into military service, and they will not be deported. Your FoodShare application is completely confidential, Foodshare does not communicate with ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement) or any other federal program. If you are in the process of applying for citizenship or permanent residence, your FoodShare application will not affect your application, rights, or status. Applying for or receiving FoodShare will not make you a “public charge” and is not considered in a public charge determination.
These and other myths are hurting our community. These myths force people to go hungry even though they qualify for support. Our local grocery stores and farmer’s markets suffer as well as these resources are not being used to purchase their products. By fully enrolling in FoodShare, we could bring an extra $23 million in purchasing power to our city and community. Access to quality, culturally appropriate food is a human right, it is our job to educate our community and get the resources we deserve.
Know your rights, and if you have questions, come visit me, Carmen Devalle, at Robles Self-Service Center. We have a multi-lingual team here to help you. We are located at 723 W. Historic Mitchell St., Milwaukee, WI 53204. If you cannot come in-person you can call our office at 414-238-6484.
Op-Ed Written by Carmen Delvalle, FoodShare Supervisor, Hunger Task Force
North Shore Bank’s Southside Dining Week to Kick Off with Cuisine from Over 30 International Restaurants
Experience Milwaukee’s international dining beginning Sept. 17; customers to receive $5 credit toward meal purchases*
Brookfield, Wis. – North Shore Bank today announced the final list of participating restaurants and menu items for the second annual Southside Dining Week, featuring 33 restaurants offering a range of menu items that celebrate international cuisine. The restaurants are located in Milwaukee’s south side neighborhoods with each restaurant offering a signature dish for $15 or less.
Festivities begin on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. with a Live Band Brunch Kick Off at Zócalo Food Truck Park, presented by Mastercard®. The event offers food and drinks from all food trucks at Zócalo, family activities, an interactive photo booth, games and charging stations and live performances by artists such as Trinity Grace, SAINTS, No Seatbelts, Salsabrositas and De La Buena. The first 50 guests will receive free ice cream from Scratch Ice Cream and churros from Mazorca Tacos.
From Sept. 17 – 24, participating restaurants will feature a signature dish $15 or less. These restaurants include Gyro Place, Hot Box Pizza MKE, Los Comales Taquería, AsianRican Foods and many more. Each restaurant offers one specialty item from their existing menu such as Camarones en Salsa Chipotle from Café el Sol, Hot Flamin’ Burrito from Modern Maki, Enchilada Omelette from Fiesta Café and Pad Burapa from Vientiane Noodle Shop. For a full list of restaurants and corresponding menu items, visit SouthsideDiningWeek.com.
New this year, on Tuesday, Sept. 20 from 6 – 8 p.m., North Shore Bank will host a panel discussion, “More Than a Meal: A Discussion of Food and Culture in Milwaukee” at 88Nine Radio Milwaukee. Guests will hear from Tarik Moody, 88Nine Milwaukee host, Emerald Mills, author and founder of Turning Tables Tavern and Eatery, Arthur Ircink, owner and director of Wisconsin Foodie and publisher and editor of Edible Milwaukee, and Julie Valcarcel, owner and founder of AsianRican Foods. The panelists will explore how food connects us to each other and the world. Complimentary food and beverage samples will be available from select participating Southside Dining Week restaurants.
“We’re excited to welcome the greater Milwaukee area to our second annual Southside Dining Week, offering an exploration of the international cuisine proudly served on the south side by dozens of local restaurants,” said Alfredo Martin, area branch manager for North Shore Bank. “Our community bank focuses much of our efforts within these neighborhoods, and it’s our hope that this week will once again spotlight those businesses and introduce community members to the wonderful restaurants they haven’t tried before.”
To help produce the event, North Shore Bank is working with multiple local organizations, including the VIA Community Development Corporation, Historic Mitchell Street BID #4, Jackson Park Community Association, OnMilwaukee, 88Nine Radio Milwaukee and VISIT Milwaukee.
North Shore Bank will provide a $5 statement credit to its customers when they spend $15 or more with their North Shore Bank Debit Mastercard® at participating restaurants. Restrictions may apply. To learn more visit https://www.southsidediningweek.com/, where you can register and enter to win $100 in participating restaurant gift cards, thanks to Mastercard®.
Founded in 1923 and headquartered in Brookfield, Wisconsin, North Shore Bank is a mutual savings bank with assets of over $2.5 billion and 43 offices throughout eastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Wisconsin locations are in metro Milwaukee, Germantown, Ozaukee County, Racine, Kenosha, Appleton, Menasha, Green Bay and surrounding areas, Burlington, Union Grove, Muskego, and Door County. Locate a North Shore Bank office. You can also connect with the bank on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.
-- 30 –
Editor’s Note – for ease of sharing, below is a full list of participating restaurants and their featured menu item:
Anytime Arepa – Chicken Arepa
– 2 Piece Fried Chicken with Arroz Chino Boricua Black Sheep
– Pumpkin Risotto
Brew’d Burger Shop
– Brew’d Burger
Café el Sol
– Camarones en Salsa Chipotle
El Atoron Mexican Restaurant
– Zeviche Zarandeado
El Tlaxcalteca Restaurant
– Combo de Birria el Especial del Jefe
El Tuacanazo Taquería y Mariscos
– Acapulco Combo
– Pozole Verde or Rojo
– Palace Dinner
Hot Box Pizza MKE
– 4 Cheese Pizza
La Casa de Alberto
– Mole Poblano de Pollo
Los 3 Amigos Mexican Restaurant
Los Comales Taquería
– Steak Dinner
– Chicken Torta
McKiernan’s Irish Tavern
– Gene’s Grilled Reuben
Meat & Co
– Late Summer Corn Pudding
– The Milwaukee Pickl – O Pizza
– Hot Flamin’ Burrito
– Serrano Pork Belly Bowl
– Full Lox
Scratch Ice Cream
– Salted Caramel Waffle Cone Screaming Tuna
– Crab Chipotle Wontons
Steny’s Tavern and Grill
– Smokehouse Burger
Tacos Los Gemelos
– Tlayudas Oaxaqueña
Transfer Pizzeria Cafe
– The Dill
Vientiane Noodle Shop
– Pad Burapa
– Chicken Lunch Plate
- 2001 West Lincoln Ave.
– Ceviche Tostadas El Tsunami
- 2222 South 13th St. – Chicken Fajitas
- 1407 South 1st St.
– Enchilada Omelet Fiesta Café
- 3812 West Greenfield Ave.
– Chilaquiles Tres Hermanos
– Steak Fajitas
The recent Milwaukee County election brings two new members to the County Board of Supervisors. Dyango Zerpa and Juan Miguel Martinez were sworn-in to the Board of Supervisors on Monday, April 18, 2022.
Zerpa, the former legislative assistant to State Representative Sylvia Ortiz-Velez, will represent the 14th County Supervisor District.
Martinez, a union organizer and writer for El Conquistador Latino Newspaper, will represent the 12th District. Ortiz-Velez's former seat.
Marcelia Nicholson, the third Hispanic serving on the county board, is the current Chairwoman of the County Board of Supervisors. Nicholson was first elected to the board in 2016. She represents the 10th County Supervisor District.
Supervisor Sylvia Ortiz-Velez released the following statement ahead of her departure from the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors: “On April 18, I complete my second and final term as Milwaukee County Supervisor for District 12. While I am bittersweet about leaving the board, I am immensely proud of the work my colleagues and I have done to create a better community for all our residents.
“Despite the challenge of legislating during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have accomplished some tremendous things over the past two years. I led the effort to decriminalize marijuana use and possession, reducing the fine in Milwaukee County to $1.
Removing obscene financial penalties for the use and possession of marijuana is a matter of equity, especially for Milwaukee’s Black and Brown residents who are disproportionately fined and incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses. “In 2021, I passed a resolution demonstrating the county’s strong support for legalizing fentanyl testing strips, a life-saving resource that was classified as drug paraphernalia for many years. Working with first-responders, community leaders, and state officials, we succeeded, and Governor Evers signed a bill legalizing testing strips. Milwaukee County has already begun to distribute strips throughout the community, delivering on a years-long effort to protect our Milwaukee community from fentanyl overdose.
“From community safety to community representation, I have always had the best interest of Milwaukee’s Latino residents in mind. During Milwaukee County’s redistricting process last year, I fought hard to ensure that the county’s new legislative map included two majority-Latino districts. In this, we succeeded.
For the next decade, the South Side Latino community can rest assured that their voices will not be diluted, ignored, or overpowered on the County Board.
“This past February, the Board of Supervisors approved my resolution requesting the federal Department of Justice review Wisconsin’s inequitable shared revenue system. Under this system and the funding formulas the state uses, our county pays out far more than it receives in return.
Milwaukee is the economic engine of this state and it’s time for the state legislature to treat us as such. This is a matter of equity to ensure that we can adequately fund all vital Milwaukee County services, programs, and departments. “My efforts to uplift a sustainable solution to restore our beloved Mitchell Park Domes have laid the groundwork for future action by the board. I implore my colleagues to prioritize the restoration of the Domes, not just for the Clarke Square and Silver City neighborhoods, but for all who visit this inimitable Milwaukee County landmark. “My friends, as I leave this office next week, I look back fondly and proudly on the good work that I have accomplished. I also look ahead to Milwaukee County’s many challenges and opportunities in the coming years. As I continue my service as State Representative for District 8, I am committed to being a proactive, collaborative partner with my colleagues at the county. “I extend my congratulations and best wishes to District 12’s incoming supervisor, Juan Miguel Martinez, as well as to another new, Latino member of the Board, Dyango Zerpa. Thank you to staff, colleagues, my community, and my family who have all contributed mightily to my success and efforts on Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors. Most of all, thank you District 12!” Supervisor Ortiz-Velez was first elected in 2018. She represents several neighborhoods on the south side of the City of Milwaukee, including Clarke Square, Mitchell Park and Walker's Point.
By Edgar Mendez
Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service
As the first Latino Common Council president in Milwaukee’s history, José Pérez knows this distinction comes with added pressure.
“I feel it and welcome it. It’s an awesome honor to be the first,” Pérez said. “But it won’t mean much if I don’t do a good job.
Pérez, 53, was voted in unanimously by peers on the Common Council on April 19, succeeding Cavalier Johnson, who was elected mayor earlier that month.
Among the many challenges the Pérez faces in his new role, he said, are to re-energize and refocus the council to tackle major issues, including reckless driving, public safety and the aging infrastructure in the city.
“These are topics that cross all boundaries that we need to unify on,” Pérez said. He is also tasked with guiding the council to address the city’s growing fiscal crisis.
Pérez said costs have gone up while revenue has decreased. Balancing the budget with federal dollars, such as pandemic aid, is not sustainable, he added. One solution, he said, is for an increase in shared state tax revenue or to create a new sales tax in the city.
We need to “work with the state and figure out how they can be more helpful,” he said. “I don’t want to cut any core services.” Local and state leaders have pushed officials for years to increase the amount of state tax revenue that comes back to Milwaukee, where most of those taxes are collected.
They’ve also requested a change in state law that would allow municipal taxes as a means to generate revenue. JoCasta Zamarripa, alderwoman for the 8th District, said Perez has the ability to help bridge the fractured relationship between the city and state. She’s seen him do it before at the city level.
“He’s that member who will reach out and talk to all of us,” she said. “Even when there might be bad blood, José’s good about setting that aside for the good of the council and the good of his constituents.” Pérez, who is married and has two teenagers, said the ability to build relationships, even when people have philosophical or personal differences, goes back to the fundamentals of organizing.
He first honed that skill as a volunteer community organizer working on landlord and other issues for Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope, or MICAH, an interfaith organization that addresses justice issues in Milwaukee.
“You make no assumptions about people; you sit down and learn what’s important to them,” Pérez said. “You go down the road with someone and build that relationship, then you ask them to either trust you or you’re figuring out how you can work together.”
Pérez, who dropped out of Pulaski High School in 1986 and quickly earned his GED, built relationships as an organizer for years before being drawn into politics. That trajectory began when he enrolled in Cardinal Stritch University in the mid- 1990s.
At the time there was no political science major at the school, but Pérez took those classes anyways. In between classes he spent one summer interning for U.S. Rep. Jerry Kleczka, D-Milwaukee, in Washington D.C., through the Hispanic Congressional Caucus Institute, and another as an intern for former Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist.
Pérez then returned to his roots as executive director of MICAH, helping to establish the Good Jobs and Livable Neighborhoods Coalition, among other accomplishments.
He also worked as a national field representative for the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrialized Organizations, or AFL-CIO, and had positions with the Department of City Development in Milwaukee.
Around 2012, his taste for politics returned and he ran for alderman of District 12 on the city’s South Side. It was around that time that Jesús Salas, one of the most respected activists in the Milwaukee Latinx community’s history, first met Pérez. Salas said at the time he was going door-to-door on the South Side to drum up support to recall former Gov. Scott Walker when he noticed someone else hitting the pavement. “He was knocking on doors, too,” Salas recalled. “I saw him on the streets daily talking to residents.” Salas said he remains impressed by Pérez and said it’s obvious that his colleagues feel the same.
“Well, I think that was demonstrated by the fact that he was given the unanimous vote to become Common Council president,” Salas said. “They saw his performance during his time in the city and believed in him.”
His path to the top Born in Milwaukee and raised on the city’s South Side by his Puerto Rico-born parents and grandparents, Pérez had a childhood much like many others in the neighborhood in the 1980s.
He spent his time outside, played Little League baseball and shot hoops at different neighborhood playgrounds. Joining Pérez in those pickup games was Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Pedro Colón.
“I want it on the record that I beat him at basketball in the seventh grade,” Colón joked. Colón and Pérez both attended St. Matthews School, now Prince of Peace School, on South 25th and West Scott streets.
Even then, he said, Pérez was intense and serious about the rules and fair play. He said he knew Pérez would be successful. “He always had that poise, and he was smart and always had something to tell you,” he said.
Colón said while he was the type of kid who never crossed Greenfield Avenue, Pérez ventured into other neighborhoods to play pickup games. As he traveled into different neighborhoods on the South Side, Pérez became more exposed to street gangs, which peaked in the city in the ’80s and ’90s. “When we grew up, it was tough, all the gangs over there at Kagel,” said Perez about the neighborhood around South 12th and West Mineral streets. “We witnessed some stuff that was kind of wild, and when it got hairy, you made your way home.” Pérez would eventually parlay those experiences into work developing gang prevention and youth development programs.
His grandparents were his greatest influence, however. “I have to go back to the beginning and give credit for that to my grandparents, how hard they worked and how humble they were,” said Pérez, who split his time between his parents’ house on South 10th and Washington streets and his grandparents’ home on South Fifth and West Pierce streets. His grandmother, Celine Arce, worked at a number of local factories, including a tannery, while his grandfather, José E. Pérez, made a career at Grede Foundries in the Walker’s Point neighborhood.
Pérez said his grandfather worked on molds at Grede until his body would no longer allow it. He moved to doing janitorial work for the company until he retired. “He kept his head down and took care of his family,” Pérez said. Pressures of being the first With his values driving him, Pérez has his plate full when it comes to challenges. Zamarripa said she sat down with Pérez and Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic recently to discuss issues related to neighborhoods without working streetlights. “We can’t have them living in the dark,” Zamarripa said.
“These streetlights are archaic and need to be replaced.” On Tuesday, the Common Council adopted a resolution to allocate $10 million from the second wave of funding from the American Rescue Plan Act in addition to the $10 million from the first allocation to replace street lighting circuits in the city.
It’s just another example of the many areas where residents have struggled and city officials can come together to find solutions.
“The challenges are huge but José is the type of person who can build consensus to solve them,” said Colón, who called Pérez the most influential Latino in the state.
He also believes that, in his new role, Pérez will influence the next generation of Latinos to aspire to reach new heights. “There are a lot of kids that are coming behind us and the influence is going to be huge,” he said.
“It’s really the biggest thing that’s happened in a while in the Latino community.” Pérez said he hopes to be an example for others. “There’s nothing that you can’t do if you really want to do it,” he said. “I hope that I can be inspirational for people.”
By Juan Miguel Martinez
Milwaukee, WI – The Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, or simply “The Domes,” is one of Milwaukee’s most beloved landmarks.
Constructed throughout an eight year period between 1959 and 1967, the three conoidal beehive shaped glass domes are the first of their kind, having been designed by a Milwaukee architect firm.
This was back in a time where Milwaukee was enjoying an industrial boom and there were jobs all over the city, with unions having a strong presence, making this a force to be reckoned with. It was at a time when the city was deemed one of the top five places in America where people of color could flourish and beer was putting us on the map.
Now in 2022, the domes have acted as sort of a metaphor for the city, falling into a state of disrepair and hurting for an economic boost to restore it to its former glory. “SAVE OUR DOMES” says the pin that Jeremy Ebersole is wearing, executive director of the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance.
“It is my hope that Milwaukee County can pull through for us and really boost support and funding for the Domes. It is the only conservatory Milwaukee has and is integral to maintaining the history of Mitchell Park,”
Ebersole said. Mitchell Park was the first park created by Milwaukee’s park commission. It occupies a spot on the south side of Milwaukee, with a core of 5 acres. It sits adjacent to the Menomonee Valley, and has had trails that run parallel built into it, thanks to the efforts of county and grassroots collaboration.
The conservatory consists of three separate domes - The Arid Dome, which opened in November 1967, the Tropical Dome, which opened in February 1966, and the Show Dome opened in December 1964.
All three stand proudly overlooking the city, although a total of 800 glass blocks have fallen loose over the years. According to the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance report released in 2019, the Domes Task Force, a group commissioned by the County Supervisors and residents came up with the final plan that called for public engagement and suggested a preservation solution based on a vision to redevelop the park for financial sustainability through public and private partnerships. It also suggested using Historic Tax Credits.
This plan was put forth and made available to the public in 2019. It could create 300 jobs and $16 million a year in economic impact, which would be something that would reinvigorate the surrounding Clarke Square and Silver City neighborhoods.
An estimated $66 million investment would be required, including $13 million of County investment. “In this model, Mitchell Park becomes a new type of park – and a model for Milwaukee County Parks,” Ebersole said. “Programmed through partnerships with experienced Milwaukee organizations that know how to provide expertise in areas ranging from children’s summer camps to green teens programs year-round, to master gardener classes, culinary arts degree programs and horticultural degree programs.”
These relationships are designed to be a win-win, eliminate replication of what exists, taking every organization’s work to the next level. Architecturally, this work will be done in a sustainable, 50-year plan for the rehabilitation of the Domes, and in a collection of other spaces Park-wide that invite and involve community, from gardens to learning spaces, urban health clinic and training center for new horticulturalists.
The plan is intended to be implemented in phases over a ten-year period that would have started in 2020.” says Jeremy. When completed, Mitchell Park and its Domes will once again be the national breakthrough leader as was the case when they were built more than 50 years ago. This time they will provide a best practice example of a sustainable, urban botanical park - a place that demonstrates excellence and stewardship while showcasing history through its Domes.
The idea is to implement a state of the art farm-to-table restaurant, indoor and outdoor picnic spaces, parkwide lighting, an improved amphitheater, and a clean and fresh pond for Mitchell Park, which residents will agree is sorely needed. More than anything, creating an economic engine for the surrounding neighborhood as well as updating one of our most beloved and historic sites is absolutely paramount to a renewed collective self-esteem.