Every Friday, Off The Record looks to other Milwaukee publications (and beyond) for bits of news we missed throughout the week.

• Is there anyone better than John Gurda? No, no there is not. The ubiquitous Milwaukee historian has written approximately 8,000 books about the city and seems to pop up on 8,000 local PBS programs every 10 minutes or so. He’s a man about town, a lover of Milwaukee, and it’s fun spotting him tooling around on his bike. Also, if you don’t receive his express written consent before discussing Milwaukee history, he’ll sneak into your apartment and break your goddamn kneecaps.

Okay, that last bit is a joke, but this is not: John Gurda has written a new piece for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about beavers. It’s called “After 180 years, beavers return ‘home’ to Milwaukee River in heart of downtown.” It’s incredible. Here are some incredible excerpts:

“The beavers are back.”

“I first noticed their presence on a boat trip down the Milwaukee River last summer. On the west bank, just south of St. Paul Ave., several small trees had fallen into the water, and a larger one was leaning precariously in the same direction. I went back on foot a few days later, and it was beavers, all right.”

“I had a chance to sample beaver meat at a game feed in Stoughton many years ago. I recall it as rich and dark—much better than muskrat, which tasted like a swamp and was filled with pieces of cartilage that resembled plastic ball bearings.”

“Solomon Juneau, Milwaukee’s last trader and first mayor, left a clear account of the beaver’s fall from eminence.”

“Have they become more streetwise, these urban migrants, than their country cousins? Do they swim with more swagger? Active largely at night, have they heard the bartenders holler ‘Last call!’ from the taverns across the river? I have no idea, but welcome home, old familiars, welcome home.”

Thank you, John Gurda, thank you. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

• Speaking of the Journal Sentinel, six more staffers have taken a retirement buyout. [Urban Milwaukee]

• The saga of Frank’s Power Plant—a saga that has included a false closing, a weird opening, a real closing, and plenty of backstage drama—continues. The Bay View bar has been sold to Patricia D’Acquisto, who owns Inspire Salon in Franklin. Says D’Acquisto on Facebook: “I have purchased Frank’s Power Plant. I’m looking for any old memorabilia and pics from the past bar owners, Chuck’s On KK, The Gentlemen’s Tavern. If by any chance anyone has something I’d be interested in it, I’d like to put it up in the bar. Not only will it remain an awesome corner bar, but it will be a clean one.” [OnMilwaukee]

• The teardown of the BMO Harris Bradley Center also continues. A series of “shaped charges” will be detonated on January 13 to bust up the roof. [Urban Milwaukee]

• Milwaukee music treasure Mark Waldoch released a new song, “Blonde.” It’s amazing. Expect to hear lots more from Waldoch—and a new Waldoch-fronted band—in 2019. [Soundcloud]

• If the state-of-the-art Selig Experience at Miller Park isn’t enough to cool your obsession for former Milwaukee Brewers owner and Commissioner Emeritus Allan H. (Bud) Selig, then buckle up for Selig’s autobiography. The 336-page book, entitled For The Good Of The Game: The Inside Story Of The Transformation Of Major League Baseball, promises Selig’s thoughts on “the vital games, private moments, and tense conversations he’s shared with Hall of Fame players and managers and the contentious calls he’s made.” Coming July 2019! [Milwaukee Business Journal]

• Every time we swing through Shorewood we’re reminded that it has a Chocolate Factory. Gosh, we love the Chocolate Factory! Those subs! That bread! That…oh, the Shorewood Chocolate Factory is closed. [OnMilwaukee]

• Blick Art Supplies on the East Side is also closing. [OnMilwaukee]

• But ELMNT Lounge, located in the old LadyBug Club building, is open! [Milwaukee Business Journal]

• Oh, but Mikey’s is closed. [BizTimes]

• And Sprecher’s Restaurant & Pub at Bayshore Town Center is closing, too. [Milwaukee Business Journal]

• Have a great weekend, Milwaukee!

About The Author

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Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.