Riveredge Nature Center is participating in A Community Thrives, a program through the USA Today Network that allows communities across the country to share their ideas for improvement and earn the chance to receive a portion of the $2,000,000 in grants to make their idea a reality. If Riveredge succeeds in fundraising $6,000 between now and April 12, the organization has the possibility of being awarded $50,000 through A Community Thrives for The River Connection Program.
The River Connection Program was established in 1998 to provide socioeconomically disadvantaged children access to environmental educational experiences that would likely be unavailable to them otherwise. The River Connection Program is a collaborative undertaking of two well-respected environmental education organizations within the Greater Milwaukee area: Riveredge Nature Center and The Urban Ecology Center. This collaboration optimizes the opportunity for students to compare and contrast the rural Milwaukee River location of Riveredge Nature Center and the urban Milwaukee River location of the Urban Ecology Center (UEC).
Exposure to both nature centers provides a broad portrait of Wisconsin’s natural landscape, illuminating the rural (Riveredge) and the urban (UEC). This diversity in exposure is critical, in both enhancing the learning experience through comparison and opening new doors to nature that students may not have considered before.
"The River Connection Program is important on so many fronts," explained Jessica Jens, the Executive Director of Riveredge. "Through this program, children have the opportunity to compare a variety urban and rural environments, observe what is different and what they have in common, and then explore how those differences affect the health of our waterways. It’s critical that students take part in learning experiences outside of textbooks, and through The River Connection Program, we welcome children from all over the region to learn and care about the ecosystems we all share."
To donate, go to the Riveredge A Community Thrives page at this link:
By Mary Boyle
For the fifth year, Port Washington's farm-to-table restaurant, Twisted Willow, hosted their Harvest Dinner, a six-course extravaganza featuring food from local producers, as well as Twisted Willow's own farm, benefiting the Ozaukee Family Sharing Food Pantry.
The restaurant was closed on Saturday, October 21st, to accommodate this special meal, which has grown so much in popularity that two seatings were offered: one at 5 p.m. and one at 7:45 p.m. The dinner is served over a leisurely pace, and guests may choose whether to include a pairing.
The First Course was a Gorgonzola Dome; a blend of gorgonzola and mascarpone cheeses served with pears, Little Mountain Apiaries honey, crushed hazelnuts, dried cherries, and a housemade rosemary cracker paired with Cynar Spritz, a bitter Italian liqueur made from artichokes that was complex, but still light and refreshing.
The Second Course was an excellent Wild Mushroom Chowder, featuring locally foraged wild mushrooms and TW Farm's rainbow chard, as well as fingerling potatoes, brandy cream, and a topping of walnut gremolata paired with a Pozi Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.
A Grilled Plum Salad with frisee, arugula, baby spinach, local dried honey crisp apples, roasted pecans with a sherry vinaigrette and topped with local Marieke young gouda, from Thorpe, WI, made for a sweet and delicious Third Course, paired with a New Glarus Staghorn Octoberfest.
A seared Alaskan halibut was served with TW Farm's roasted poblano creamed corn and delicata squash puree, carrot top, parsley oil, local bacon, and micro-cilantro, and paired with an Alain Normand Macon La Roche Vineuse for the Fourth Course.
A refreshing Palette Cleanser of Lemon Italian Ice with lavender and orange zest was made by The Amazing Ice Cream Co. in Port Washington, which is a recent venture by the owners of the Chocolate Chisel.
The Fifth Course was a roasted red deer loin, served with parsnip and yukon potato puree and a lingonberry demi-glaze. A little formed mound of locally foraged miatake mushroom bread pudding, which was reminiscent of turkey stuffing, and brown sugar baby carrots were served alongside, and this dish was paired with M. Chapoulier Petite Ruche - a sharp, peppery red.
Finally, the dessert: a warm TW Farm kabocha squash and olive oil cake, which was similar to a pumpkin bread, topped with The Amazing Ice Cream Co.'s Ginger Ice Cream and candied pumpkin seeds - the combination of which can only be described as "amazing." This was paired with a Mocha Manhattan, which had a wonderful chocolaty scent, but was quite strong.
As usual, Chef Dan Wiken and the team are masters at combining flavors, and the attention to detail - from food to drinks to decor - is outstanding. The staff are so inviting, and the restaurant has such a warm, indulgent ambiance, particularly with these large community dinners. If you missed your chance at the Harvest Dinner this year, I strongly encourage you to make your reservations for the next one. My advice: arrive hungry, or you will definitely run out of room before you hit dessert!
By Mary Boyle
The mention of a Spelling Bee may bring back middle school memories, but the Adult Literacy Center of Ozaukee's Spelling Bee on Saturday, September 9th, from 6-10 p.m. promises to be a grown-up evening of fun.
A fundraiser for ALC, the Bee is both a team competition between corporate and community teams and a spectator sport, with dinner catered by Out & Out of Cedarburg, dessert by Sugar Buns, a cash bar hosted by the Mequon Sunrise Rotary, and other activities in the mix. The last team standing wins.
Mitch Teich, Executive Producer and co-host of Milwaukee Public Radio's "Lake Effect" will serve as the master of ceremonies, as well as the Bee word pronouncer for the event, which takes place at the Reuter Pavilion in Mequon's Rotary Park, located at 4100 Highland Road.
Event organizers are still looking for teams of three, as well as two judges, and even has two pre-paid teams reserved for teachers, librarians, or area non-profits who are in need of support, thanks to a generous community member. Spectators are also needed and welcome. Early Bird registration has been extended to July 31st, and registration forms are available from the website: https://www.adultliteracyoz.org
The ALC Spelling Bee's Gold Presenting sponsor is the Nicholas Family Foundation; Bronze sponsors: Aurora Health Care, Inc; LaBudde Group; Coerper-Maurer Foundation; and Sommer's Automotive. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available, and donations can be made at the ALC website. For more information, contact Celeste Giunta, Interim Executive Director, at 262.546.0020, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Mary Boyle
Ozaukee County is constantly rated as one of the wealthiest and healthiest places to live, and this designation is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it gives residents pride in their community; on the other, it may make one believe that nobody struggles here, and that is far from the truth. That is why the Family Enrichment Center is so important to our community.
Located in Grafton, the FEC is an amazing collaboration between multiple non-profits housed under one roof. This unique arrangement helps organizations such as COPE, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ozaukee, Energy Services, Ozaukee Family Services, Interfaith Caregivers of Ozaukee, and the Alzheimer's Association share resources, which enables them to afford more services for families all over the community.
Since 2014, the FEC has hosted the Gourmet Gala: a wonderful fundraiser that not only allows the community to learn more about the services the FEC provides, but also gives them the opportunity to try food and beverages from several local restaurants and win fabulous raffle and auction prizes, all while supporting the FEC non-profits.
For the first three years, the Gala was held at the FEC, but had grown so popular, that more space was needed for the event. This year was the Gala's first time at the Ozaukee Pavilion, where there was plenty of room for everyone to spread out.
Upon arrival, guests were encouraged to grab a beverage and view the many raffle baskets, participate in the Wine & Whiskey Pull, or get their photos taken on the "red carpet."
One of the benefits of the Ozaukee Pavilion was the ability for sit-down dining. Guests simply dropped their drinks off at one of the many beautifully set tables, and then proceeded to the corners of the room, where four different restaurants were busy making small plates of appetizers, entrees, and desserts.
Appetizers were covered by The Cheel, who served a delightful Burmese dish called Tohu Thoke (a cold chickpea salad, tossed with garlic, onion, ginger, cilantro, and peanuts) and Twisted Willow, who contributed a delicious Roasted Beet Salad with goat cheese and candied walnuts.
All four restaurants served an entree on small plates. From Scratch Catering made an amazing Pork Tenderloin with a Cherry Cashew Wild Rice, while Yellowbellies offered up a dainty version of one of their most popular sandwiches, the O.G. (flatbread topped with bacon aioli, organic mixed greens, Bernie's bacon, Cedar Valley 2 year cheddar, pulled rotisserie chicken, and roasted tomato). Twisted Willow served Marinated Flank Steak with Cauliflower Puree, Chimichurri, and Micro Greens, and The Cheel did Sandheko Sukuti, which was crispy Nepalese spiced pork served with crispy flattened rice. Vegetarian options were also offered at the stations, upon request.
For dessert, Yellowbellies served two different mini-cheesecakes, and From Scratch offered a spice cake with caramel sauce and whipped cream.
Tom Wachs of Fox 6 News was the Emcee for the event, introducing two videos about the FEC, and moving the evening along. The live auction was a particularly fun part of the evening, featuring two items: the Baird Suite at Miller Park for 20 Guests, and "The Cheel in your Ville," in which Executive Chef and Owner of The Cheel, Chef Barkha Limbu Daily and her husband, Jesse, offer a hands-on, in-home culinary experience for 10. Bidding for both items was fast and competitive, but when Chef Barkha, who returned for her third year at the Gala, manned the mic, she managed to drive up the bidding for her item even further than the Miller Park package.
"[The FEC] core values are very near and dear to my heart," Chef Barkha said in a recent FEC video. "They believe in fostering and enriching connections, community growth, and the well-being of the community -- that was one of the big reason I started my own restaurant. This is why I'm coming back."
Aside from being a wonderful evening, the Gourmet Gala truly highlighted the love, support, and appreciation for the Family Enrichment Center and all that they do for Ozaukee County. This is absolutely an event you'll want to mark on your calendar for 2018!
Around Port Washington and beyond, John Reichert is known for the beautiful and decadent chocolate art that he creates for The Chocolate Chisel, which he owns with his wife, Elizabeth MacCrimmon. Long before he worked with chocolate, though, John worked with pewter.
"I'm a sculpture artist, but sculptures take a long time," John laughed. In 1988, he paid for all of the machinery he needed with his first pewter order from Usingers, and a business was born. John has made dozens of pewter ornaments for the holidays over the years, many of which can be purchased in the store, as well as other custum pewter orders.
In addition to art, John is also passionate about his hometown, so when the city took responsibility for its iconic, art deco lighthouse earlier this year, John jumped at the chance to use his skills to help raise money for the repairs and maintenance needed for Port's most photographed and recognized structure.
The pewter ornament that John created, which is for sale at The Chocolate Chisel, as well as various other Port Washington businesses, sells for $20, and all of the proceeds will go to Port's Lighthouse. Unlike John's other ornaments, the lighthouse can stand on its own.
"Not everybody wants an ornament, and this is something I think will sell year round," John explained. "Tourists will buy it as a momento."
John is no stranger to donating his art for fundraising; in fact, he's done it dozens of times with pewter ornaments, and also with custum designed chocolate bars. In fact, he has already designed a lighthouse chocolate bar, which may also be used for fundraising ongoing fundraising efforts.
If you're looking for a gift that says "Port Washington" this holiday season, and a gift that gives back to the community, look no further. Of course, if you're still not sure if it's enough, you could always include a little chocolate.
Although it has taken many months to gain traction on regular news media outlets, the general public is finally becoming aware of the construction of a massive oil pipeline being built to bring crude oil from North Dakota all the way to Illinois. The controversial project has stalled where it is supposed to cross the Missouri River, on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, where over 100 Native American tribes, along with many supporters, have come together to protect the water, both for their own people, and the millions of people downstream who depend on this water source. Among the supporters is Cedarburg native and CHS graduate, Alex Kubala, who has been "Standing with Standing Rock" since July at the Oceti Sakowin Camp.
Alex's relationship with the Native tribes began years ago with his interest in herbal medicine, which led him to study with Native healers throughout the US, as well as in Mexico. "He was even adopted as a nephew into an Anishinaabe tribe in Wausau," said Alex's father, Tom Kubala, of Kubala Washatko Architects in Cedarburg. "He's a remarkable kid." Tom and his wife, Patty, still reside in the house Alex and his father built on Columbia Road in Cedarburg.
The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL, as it is called) is being built by a company called Energy Transfer Partners, and was originally proposed to go through Bismarck, North Dakota; however, residents of the community did not want the possibility of their water being contaminated; a valid concern, considering there have been 5 massive pipeline leaks or explosions in our country in the past 6 years, and thousands of minor leaks, costing billions in cleanup and untold environmental damage. Instead, the pipeline was rerouted through the Sioux's treaty land, without the consent of the tribe. In response, Native tribes and supporters from across the country gathered at the construction site, forming a camp they've named the Sacred Stone Camp, in an attempt to block the construction, and causing friction between pipeline workers and water protectors. Then, on Thursday, October 27th, a group of around 200 militarized police forced their way into the camp and began to arrest water protectors; Alex was among them.
"I was standing in a prayer circle," explained Alex, "and the police came through the front lines. They struck me with a baton and pulled me behind their line; hog-tied me, stole my shoes and necklaces, and brought us in." Alex's hand was broken during the arrest, but he was put in jail without treatment, along with about 140 others who are now facing felony charges of conspiracy to endanger by fire, engaging in a riot, and being a public nuisance. Thankfully, an anonymous donor paid the bail for all 140 water protectors, and Alex was able to return to the camp.
"We feared something like that might happen," said Tom. "We didn't hear about it until three days after he was released. You can imagine how that felt, as his parents, to hear what had happened."
Alex insists that he will remain at the camp until the end. "They need to be held accountable," Alex said of the police, government, and the company behind the project. "They're basically acting like a police state. This is treaty land, and they need to acknowledge that."
Earlier this week, President Obama put a halt to construction in order to give time to review the project, though water protectors fear that Energy Transfer Partners may continue the construction without permission, as they are contractually obligated to complete the pipeline by the end of the year. The construction delays have cost the company millions, already; should it continue to be delayed into the new year, it is expected that the project will be abandoned. In the meantime, the Sacred Stone Camp continues to grow, and protests are erupting across the country on a scale that can no longer be ignored. Standing Rock has become a symbol of Native, environmental, and minority justice.
Winter is descending on Standing Rock, and the water protectors could use items such as sleeping bags for extreme cold and wool hats, gloves, and blankets; see the Sacred Stone Camp Amazon Wish List for a full listing. If you would like to make a monetary donation to Alex's camp, click here.
"Alex was a troublemaker when he was young," Tom said. "He doesn't back down; he never has, but he's a become a very respectful, prayerful, and resourceful person. I love my son."
Since 1999, Tom "Mel" Stanton and his friends have been creating "great times for great causes;" raising money for numerous non-profits throughout Ozaukee County. One of their great times, Melapalooza, is returning for the 4th year this weekend, July 15th through the 17th, at Centennial Park in Grafton.
One part softball tournament, one part music festival, Melapalooza will host 14 softball teams and 8 bands over the course of the weekend, with proceeds benefiting All My Friends Playground, a volunteer based charity that is looking to build an all-inclusive playground for children of all abilities to come and play together at Centennial Park. The park was spearheaded by Ozaukee resident, Diane Dyer, who is the President of Living Life with Autism. Her daughter, Cassie, was the inspiration for the park.
Event hours are 5-10 p.m. on Friday, 9:30 a.m.-10 p.m. on Saturday, and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday. Mel's famous pulled pork sandwich, along with brats, burgers, hot dogs and drinks will be available for purchase, but the music is free:
Friday, July 15th
5:30-7:30 p.m. Some Assembly Required
8:00-10:00 p.m. Dr. Woo
Saturday, July 16th
1:00-2:30 p.m. Serious Jones
3:00-5:00 p.m. Ozaukee County Jam Band
5:30-7:30 p.m. Piano Brew
8:00-10:00 p.m. Rhythm Method
Sunday, July 17th
noon-1:30 p.m. South End Blues Band
2:00-4:00 The Mission River Band
For more information, visit the Mel's Charities Facebook Page or go to www.melscharities.org.
Water makes civilization. People need water to survive, of course, but in the Midwest, Native Americans and, later, European settlers used the rivers and lakes as roads - roads that were far easier to travel through than thick forests. The communities of Ozaukee exist, mainly, because of two bodies of water: Lake Michigan, and the Milwaukee River.
The Milwaukee River begins in Fond du Lac County (there are three branches, but they all begin there). It becomes a significant river just north of Kewaskum, flows through West Bend, and eventually makes its way into Ozaukee county via Newburg, where it crosses County Y right near Riveredge Nature Center. It makes its way north, though the quaint little village of Waubeka, runs along the west side of Fredonia, and proceeds south through downtown Saukville. Most Ozaukeeans meet the Milwaukee River as they pass over it on Highway 60 in downtown Grafton. Just a little ways south of Lakefield Road, Cedar Creek, which runs through downtown Cedarburg, becomes one with the Milwaukee River, and it continues south through Thiensville and Mequon. It winds its way, 104 miles in total, eventually reaching the city that its name inspired, merging with the Menomonee and Kinnickinnic Rivers, and entering Lake Michigan just south of the Summerfest grounds.
Nearly every community in Ozaukee County, besides the communities of Port Washington and Belgium, are a part of the Milwaukee River Basin, which means we are partially responsible for the health of the Milwaukee River. Luckily, there is a great organization working hard to make it easy to do our part: Milwaukee Riverkeeper. There organization has a number of events coming up that you may want to take part in.
From Friday, May 20th to Sunday, May 22nd, Milwaukee Riverkeeper is one of Lowland Grand Cafes’ featured charities for their Cafe Hollander Mequon Grand Opening Benefit! When you dine at Cafe Hollander Mequon for brunch, lunch or dinner Friday, May 20 - Sunday, May 22, 2016, all food and Van Steenberge bier sales will go directly to Milwaukee Riverkeeper and two other charities. Help train Cafe Hollander Mequon's staff and sample their menu, while helping the Milwaukee River - who knew it could be so easy?
In keeping with the beer theme, on Sunday, June 5, from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm, join Milwaukee Riverkeeper and Lakefront Brewery for Barrels and Beer, an afternoon of decorating your own rain barrels, while sampling some of Lakefront's finest, all while enjoying a relaxing riverfront view. For just $30, you get a 60 gallon, blue barrel and all of the supplies you need. Register early, as supplies are limited.
If you love getting outdoors - and especially on the water - Milwaukee Riverkeeper and Clear Water Outdoor has a series of summer Paddle Tours led by a Milwaukee Riverkeeper staff member:
Monday, June 27, 2016 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm (Fish & Fish Habitat)
Monday, July 25, 2016 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm (River Health Advocacy)
Monday, August 29, 2016 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm (Water Quality)
You might also be interested in the 11th Annual Milky Moonlight Paddle on Monday, July 18th, from 6:15-9:30. This is an urban river adventure that is not to be missed! Bring your canoe/kayak, paddles, pdf's, and a light - drinks and sandwiches will be provided - and float down the Milwaukee River to where it meets Lake Michigan!
Find out more about these great events, and others, at www.MilwaukeeRiverkeeper.org, and learn more about how you can help the Milwaukee River!
By Al Luening
Representatives from all walks of life populated the halls of the Ozaukee County Family Enrichment Center facility this past Saturday. A gathering of donors and providers paced about, introducing themselves to one another, shaking hands and thanking each other for the work they do, two very important jobs to the families of Ozaukee County that utilize the center for the much needed services they provide: Birth to 3 services, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ozaukee, and Interfaith Ozaukee, to name a few. Walking through the door, I was greeted with warmth, kindness and a simple request of “enjoy yourself.” Probably not hard to do with an evening of food and wine sampling planned.
Rather than dive right into the evening’s fare, I felt it best to see what else was going on. Sauntering the halls, careful not to step on the upwardly turned floor lights that gave an elegant “gala” appearance to the whole building, I had no problem navigating the layout, as all areas were clearly labeled and politely frenzied with activity and a hum of commotion. After glancing through some of the raffle prizes and handsome silent auction items, the aromas had beckoned my palate enough.
The Cheel boasted flavors from the Himalayas to the Rockies; a great mix of uncommon flavors in familiar concoctions. The Eggplant Bharta was a deliciously spicy awakening of the senses, that could best be described as a chili, but far more complex than that. A rich combination of smashed and simmered eggplant, garlic and ginger, combined with tomato and cilantro. The dish paired very well with the smoky Chardonnay offered by The Glass Palette, which generously provided all the wine pairings for the event.
Casa Tequila was the next stop on the journey, where an unexpected side of Mexican food greeted the visitors. Surprising Banderillas (pork medallions, red pepper, potato and chipotle sauce) went very well with an Italian Toscana, as did the Chicken Bites with pecan sauce; both dishes were unexpected and very flavorful.
Shully’s Cuisine was the third room of food and wine sampling. I decided to skip the wine pairing here, since I was “saving room” for an IPA that I noticed as I walked past the Beer Pub room. Shully’s provided a vegetarian pasta dish that was light and rustic, with homemade flavor. I spoke to a couple donors here who managed a donor fund. They spoke about the increased necessity for support for these services and how Gala events like this help to support these very important facilities that are needed by more and more families every year. It was a conversation that exhibited the passion that many of these donors have toward this cause.
As I walked back to the Beer Pub room to sample that IPA, I engaged in conversation with one of the charming people from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ozaukee. Sipping the flowery IPA, we talked about the need for a program like BBBS. I shared a story of how much this organization has affected a friend of mine who recently took on a little sister; she seems to be just as fulfilled as her little sister does. What a wonderful notion that giving can actually be receiving in perhaps its most sincere form.
After another pass through the silent auction items, I was headed out the door into the waiting night. The combination of good food and good conversation, paired with a sense of purpose, made the evening certainly one worth looking forward to again.
"Strengthening Nonprofits for a better community, " the Family Enrichment Center, a 501 (c)(3), is a unique place where human service nonprofits share space, costs and passion for serving the community. Learn more at http://www.ozaukeefec.org.
"Big" Al Luening is no stranger in Oz. A husband to a great lady, a father to two great girls, a musician, and a graphic designer; Al may be a Milwaukee boy at heart, but now he calls Grafton home.
There's still time to register for the Junior Woman's Club of Mequon-Thiensville's 11th Annual Turkey Trot! This is the group's major fundraiser for the year, and will help raise money for the Thiensville Village Park and Portal Inc., Advocates of Ozaukee, and the Interfaith Caregivers & COPE Hotline.
The 5K Run-Walk will begin at 9 am on Thanksgiving morning. New to the event this year is a costume contest. Awards will be given for the Best Group/Collaborative, Best Holiday Costume, "Best of Run" Costume, and Best Kid's Costume. Kids 10 & younger may participate in the FREE 50 Meter Gobble Gallop at 10 am. Food donations for Family Sharing and toy donations for Toys for Tots will be collected, as well.