Every Friday, Off The Record looks to other Milwaukee publications (and beyond) for bits of news we missed throughout the week.
• Isn’t it incredible when we get 8,000 inches of snow and a team of dedicated men and women drag their sorry asses out in that mess and plow the city-owned streets and city-owned sidewalks? Sure, our taxes pay for that service, but still, it’s kind of amazing, isn’t it? Strangers plowing public streets and public sidewalks so we can all live, drive to work, and stock up on bottled water in case things get really crazy. What a time to be alive!
And not be satisfied, apparently. Despite hundreds of Department of Public Works plow operators putting in 12-hour shifts, some folks, including the DPW itself, aren’t happy with their work. “Our operations almost always look horrible before they look good,” DPW director of operations Laura Daniels told the city’s Public Works Committee this week. Daniels identified three problems that have “hampered DPW’s success”: aging equipment, staffing shortages, and plow operator inexperience.
How to fix the problems? One retired plow operator has an idea:
In an email to city officials, one retired plow operator, James Jones, offered a solution: hire retired plow operators part time. “Many sanitation retirees say hire them to drive and plow the street(s) part time for the city.” he wrote. These former employees know how “to do a curb to curb cut.” He noted that employees have previously suggested this, but City Hall “had a deaf ear.” He suggested the city could put the word out in letters containing the retirees’ check stubs. Otherwise, he warned, the city could face trouble “if a major storm hit back to back.”
The part-time old-timer solution may or may not be implemented, but Alderman Michael Murphy had this to say about the recent snow dump: “Hopefully this was a very valuable training experience.” [Urban Milwaukee]
• R.I.P. the incredible and incomparable Harvey Scales, “Milwaukee’s Godfather of Soul.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
• American Family Insurance will pay an estimated $4 million per year for naming rights to the soon-to-be-former Miller Park. The new naming rights will begin with the 2021 season. [Milwaukee Business Journal]
• Speaking of AmFam and the Brewers, the insurance company already has naming rights to the team’s just-expanded spring training facility in Phoenix. Say goodbye to Brewers Fields of Phoenix, and hello to American Family Fields of Phoenix. [Milwaukee Business Journal]
• Meanwhile, Fiserv Forum is going nuts with its own name. Four illuminated Fiserv Forum signs, “three of which are the length and height of a semi-trailer,” will soon be installed outside the arena. [Urban Milwaukee]
• There’s finally—finally!—a real-time tracking app for The Hop. Occasionally waiting 15 minutes for the streetcar is a thing of the past! [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
• Forever-awesome Milwaukee musicians Dashcam and Harrison Colby (the latter of NO/NO and Sex Scenes) have combined forces for a three-song covers EP, True Romance. The Stone Roses, Girls, and Milwaukee’s own Platinum Boys all get covered here. [Shepherd Express]
• Anchorwoman Adrienne Pedersen has been named the new host of public affairs show Upfront, which was previously hosted by Mike Gousha. [Milwaukee Business Journal]
• Beard MKE, a new store “where men can come to get their beards trimmed, buy clothes and accessories, and get tips on grooming” is coming to the East Side this spring. [Milwaukee Business Journal]
• Campsite 131, an offshoot of Camp Bar, is opening in the Third Ward on March 1. [OnMilwaukee]
• A new pasta joint, Tua Pasta, may be coming to the empty John Hawks Pub space in Downtown Milwaukee. [Urban Milwaukee]
• Summerfest is suing Flannery’s (!) for a cool $22,666.82 (!!) for failing to make its vendor commission payment. Summerfest says the noncompliance is the first in “many years.” [Milwaukee Business Journal]
• Have a great weekend, Milwaukee!