Tag Archives: Milwaukee County Parks

Chris Abele: Oppose Trump’s plan to defund Great Lakes restoration

Like many of you, I was concerned when I first heard that President Trump planned to cut funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. That concern turned to shock when I heard that the funding was nearly eliminated altogether — a 97 percent reduction.

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) sprang from the Great Lakes Compact, a regional commitment to protecting our natural resources that was approved by a bipartisan coalition that included all eight Great Lakes states, the U.S. Congress, and President George W. Bush. Long before I was elected county executive I was lucky enough to be involved with the organizations that advanced the research that led to the Great Lakes Compact. Today, both in office and as a citizen, I remain an ardent supporter of and advocate for the protection of our fresh water.

The GLRI has funded millions of dollars in Milwaukee County Parks alone, to include a four-year, $43 million cleanup effort along the Milwaukee River and a $1.4 million investment in waterway improvements at South Shore and other parks.

Since the GLRI began the need for fresh water hasn’t gone down; it’s gone up. One only needs to look to the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan or the freshwater emergency that impacted hundreds of thousands of Ohioans in the Toledo area back in 2014 to know that we must protect the Great Lakes, which hold 20 percent of the entire world’s freshwater.

I strongly oppose the president’s proposed decimation of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Environmentalists, business owners, and politicians from across the divide have historically been advocates for our freshwater and they are speaking out now as well. Yesterday, Milwaukee Riverkeeper, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, and Gov. Scott Walker all spoke out in favor of restoring Great Lakes funding. And for good reason — the Great Lakes are a spectacular and rare treasure for all of us and we must protect them. Preserving these natural treasures isn’t idealistic or naïve; it’s part of who we are as a country.

I will be writing Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation to ask that they oppose this cut and I urge you to do the same. To find your elected officials visit: https://myvote.wi.gov/en-US/MyElectedOfficials

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele


Six Milwaukee County Parks feature community-bonding events in August

Local bands, a fun run for kids, K-9 units, and fireworks are among the attractions at six National Night Out events occurring in Milwaukee County Parks in early August, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele announced. 

“These National Night Out events bring neighbors together with local law enforcement in a positive environment to build a true sense of community,” Abele said. “These events are another way that Milwaukee County can help strengthen communities by preventing crime and making our neighborhoods stronger.”

National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, better places to live. In partnership with law enforcement agencies and community groups, Milwaukee County is hosting numerous events at County parks from Aug. 1 to and Aug. 17.

Events are scheduled at Wedgewood, Hales Corners, Kosciuszko, Lincoln, and Kops parks. In addition, fireworks on the Oak Creek Parkway will follow a South Milwaukee event being held at the South Milwaukee Police Department building.

Schedule of National Night Out Events at Milwaukee County Parks

Mon., Aug. 1

Wedgewood Park, 7201 Wedgewood Drive, will feature the music of Our House, performing in four-part harmony from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The event also includes a 50/50 raffle, prizes, food trucks, a clown, and face-painting for the kids. The Night Out event will run from 6–8:45 p.m.

Tues., Aug. 2

Kosciuszko Park, 2201 S. 7 St., will feature the music of Maracujaz Brazilian & American Jazz from 6 to 8 p.m. Also from 6 to 8 p.m., AWE Truck Studio will lead make-and-take art projects for kids. Also included in the event are a bounce house and police car on display. The Night Out event will run from 4 to 8 p.m.
Hales Corners Park, 5765 S. New Berlin Road, will feature food, music, and activities. Attractions include a fun run for kids, a bounce house, and a maze. Vehicles (including police cars) and boats will be on display. Resources at the event include local businesses and non-profit organizations. Food and beverages will be available for purchase from the Hales Corners VFW and the Hales Corners Lions Club. The event will run from 5 to 9 p.m.

Lincoln Park, 1301 W. Hampton Ave. (in the area adjacent to the Blatz Pavilion), will feature the music of KIC Keep’n It Clean (K.I.C.), with dynamic vocals and inspired rhythms from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The Night Out event is from 4 to 8 p.m.
Thurs., Aug. 4

Kops Park, 3321 N. 86 St., will feature local K-9 units and the Milwaukee Flyers Tumbling Team. Family activities and a raffle will also take place. Free hot dogs, chips, and water will be available while supplies last. The Night Out event is from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. and includes a variety of family-friendly activities.

Wed., Aug. 17

South Milwaukee Police Department, 2424 15th Ave, will feature food, games, music, and a raffle from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Fireworks will be set off at the Oak Creek Parkway and Michigan Avenue beginning at 9 p.m.

Sue Black deserved better

However the saga of Sue Black ends, the former Milwaukee County Parks director can certainly be gratified by the outpouring of public support after her sudden firing by Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.

Known for her strong work ethic, her cooperation with community groups and her skillful management of reduced budgets to maintain our extensive parks, Black was widely respected. Her firing was a surprise to everyone, including county supervisors who approved her reappointment this spring.

The clumsy handling of her firing – locking her out of her office and announcing it at a press conference – struck a universal chord among Milwaukeeans, many of whom have been pink-slipped, “voluntarily” retired and otherwise terminated in recent years.

Regarding her lock-out, a standard protocol of big, paranoid bureaucracies: Did they think the long-term, well-paid and much honored Black was going to steal paper clips or sabotage the databases of county golf courses or toilets?

Abele called a press conference to announce Black’s firing, only to express frustration with reporters who asked him the obvious question: “Why?” Wearing a smarmy grin, Abele said sarcastically, “I don’t owe you gossip,” which of course only fueled more gossip.

Personally, I hope that Black was insubordinate. When working in any hierarchy run by tyrants or nincompoops, it’s the most honorable reason to be fired. And, hey, Black’s a lesbian. We tend not to suffer fools gladly. How could you not tell Abele he’s on the wrong path regarding the future of the parks if parks have been your whole life and what you strongly believe in? How could you not tell him that he’s a condescending creep when he orders you to “get with the program” with that Cheshire cat grin of his?

Sue Black rejected a lucrative offer to head the Chicago parks system a while back to stay in Milwaukee. I’m confident she’ll land on her feet and end her career in a better position than she’s had so far.

Here’s a few words about another fine public servant, also a lesbian, Sally Ride. I got two questions about Ride from many people: Did you know she was gay?

My simple reply to most was that I didn’t know, but was happy to learn it. I had always assumed so. I’m kind of a lesbian chauvinist and assume that most women who are extremely talented and brave and accomplished probably are lesbians!

The second question was: Should the media have outed Ride after she died?

Ride was in a 27-year relationship with Tam O’Shaughnessy that she did not publicize but also did not hide from family, friends or colleagues. She may have felt that coming out publicly would harm her work. She may not have wanted to become a symbol for any cause beyond her passion, which was science. Or she may have felt it was just nobody’s business. Obituaries made clear she led a life of diligent study, hard work and sterling integrity.

Ride could have used her considerable celebrity after her journeys to space in many financially profitable ways. Instead, she stayed close to NASA, serving on panels investigating the Challenger and Columbia disasters. She taught physics at University of California-San Diego and traveled widely promoting science education to girls. It’s good to know that Ride was a lesbian, but her heroism and her legacy is so much bigger than that.