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Author: Virginia Small

Bill Sell: Former civil rights activist and community advocate remembered for his love of Bay View

William H. “Bill” Sell, 83, a prominent lifelong activist for Civil Rights, peace, and progressive environmental and transportation policies, died peacefully on September 1 in his Bay View home. He had been under the care of his son, David Sartori, and home hospice. Sell was born on November 4, 1938, the second of eight children of Alice Olga (Roecker) Sell and George Peter Sell – including the two youngest two, a son and daughter, who died shortly after birth. He is survived by his son, David; by his brother David of Hyogo-ken, Japan; and his sister Susie (Sell) Shannon...

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Remembering when Harry Weese helped Milwaukee envision its urbanist future

The Marcus Center’s architect left one of America’s most varied and far-reaching legacies, including blueprints for thriving urbanism. If visionary architect Harry Weese had never worked in Milwaukee, Downtown would not boast three imaginative buildings. Each was distinctly different from the others: the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts on Water Street, the 30-story tower and atrium called 411 East Wisconsin Center, and the former IBM building at 611 East Wisconsin, recently sold to Foxconn for $15 million. And yet, despite having built striking and well-used buildings, Harry Weese’s name seems little known in the Cream City. If Harry...

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Exhibition of Dan Kiley landscapes sheds light on his local legacy

One way to get a dose of “green therapy” during these Arctic-cold days is to view “The Landscape Architecture Legacy of Dan Kiley” at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning. Besides showcasing places that celebrate nature, the exhibition in the first-floor gallery offers insights into what makes these places timelessly beautiful. It is worth the effort to catch this nationally touring show before it closes on January 12. Landscape architect Dan Kiley (1912-2004) earned acclaim as a leading Modernist and the sole “classicist” of that movement. While studying landscape architecture at Harvard, Kiley co-authored with fellow...

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Milwaukee’s Frank Lloyd Wright affordable homes turn 100

As a South Side enclave gets restored, it serves as a model for quality living. Six modest homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, widely regarded as the 20th century’s greatest architect, have put a Milwaukee South Side block on the map. Their international significance was evident to this writer when two young women visiting from Japan showed up, outside of visiting hours, with the hope of viewing a restored Wright bungalow. Barbara Elsner, who was being interviewed at the time, graciously welcomed them and gave a brief tour of 2714 West Burnham Street. She noted of the visitors, “This...

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Public invited to planning workshops for County Parks

Milwaukee County residents are invited to attend workshops to offer input about master planning for the parks system between September 13 and October 5. Sessions will be held in nine parks throughout Milwaukee. Each event will start at 6:30 pm with a presentation followed by interactive workshops from 7 to 8 pm. They will be hosted by Milwaukee County Department of Parks, Recreation and Culture and the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (SEWRPC). The Park People of Milwaukee County, the nonprofit umbrella for parks friends, “urges everyone who cares about the future of our parks to attend these meetings...

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Op Ed: Health of public spaces reflects Milwaukee’s economic vitality

Every great city has great public spaces. And those places create value. They range from legendary places such as Manhattan’s Central Park to well-loved plazas, neighborhood parks, promenades, trails, and preserves. High-quality public spaces drive economic development and set the stage for people to experience nature, respite and community. Public places also facilitate democracy. They are where everyone can freely assemble, speak, and interact. Although sometimes neglected or taken for granted, our commons are priceless. Does Milwaukee have great public spaces? There’s no simple blanket answer. Charles Whitnall and other civic pioneers envisioned a welcoming “necklace of green” by...

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