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City Confidential

Best of Milwaukee 2012

Nov. 13, 2012
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Will Allen
Place to Pick Up the Shepherd Express

Pick ’n Save

Multiple locations


It makes perfect sense that our readers would pick up the Shepherd at their neighborhood Pick ’n Save—almost 200,000 Shepherd readers shop at a Roundy’s Pick ’n Save or Metro Market. We very much appreciate your loyalty to the paper and to this grocer. Despite the increase in competition for grocery shoppers in Milwaukee, Pick ’n Save has continued to comfortably dominate the local market by constantly responding to their customers’ needs in a dynamic marketplace. (Louis Fortis)




Outpost Natural Foods


Local Activist

Will Allen

Urban Farm

Growing Power

When we first put this unknown urban pioneer on the cover of the Shepherd Express in 2005, we didn’t realize that we were working with a national rising star. But Will Allen and Growing Power have gone from strength to strength. Long a local hero for his urban farm advocacy, Allen has become a national presence with his support for Michelle Obama’s fight for better food and this year’s memoir and call to action, The Good Food Revolution. Allen and Growing Power also committed to building more hoop houses and employing more workers this year, feeding a city, and empowering a new generation that needs homegrown leadership. (Lisa Kaiser)


Local Activist Runners-up:

Sachin Chheda

Nik Kovac

Urban Farm Runners-up:

Sweet Water Organics

Young Farmers of Milwaukee


Local Character


How much do you really want to know about Milverine? The often-shirtless, always-intense speed pedestrian should be shrouded in a cloak of mystery. So you won’t hear from us that, according to a myth-busting AP report, John Hamann is a construction worker who is training to be a cage fighter and doesn’t give a rip about his fame. You can check out the Facebook page devoted to Milverine sightings or you could just wait a few moments until he passes you on the street. Because he will. (L.K.)



Religious station wagon guy

Bob Uecker and Freeway (tie)


Local Entrepreneurs

Ward and Lincoln Fowler (Alterra co-founders)

Now in their second decade of business, Alterra Coffee Roasters’ Ward and Lincoln Fowler (along with Paul Miller) have built something of an empire. Alterra emphasizes high-quality ingredients, innovative re-use of materials and spaces, and environmentally sustainable practices. The homegrown coffee and café chain can be found in most parts of the metro Milwaukee area, from its storefront café in Grafton to its kiosk in the airport, to its newest location in the heart of Bay View’s commercial district. (L.K.)



Jess Stern and Bartolotta family (tie)


Milwaukee Alderman

Nik Kovac

In his fairly short time in office, Nik Kovac has impressed Shepherd readers with his community involvement and commitment to progressive goals such as sustainable neighborhoods, greenspace, urban farming and Milwaukee Public Schools. Often teaming with his former Riverside High classmate and current colleague, Alderwoman Milele Coggs, Kovac genuinely cares about making Milwaukee a better place, no matter what challenges face us. (L.K.)



Bob Donovan

Michael Murphy


Milwaukee County Supervisor

Marina Dimitrijevic

Milwaukee County Board Chair Marina Dimitrijevic is one of the most powerful people in Milwaukee County—and we still don’t believe that she has reached the pinnacle of her career. Nor will she back down from a fight. The Bay View supervisor has defended the board from unwarranted attacks from County Executive Chris Abele, a man who has managed to turn many of his early supporters into foes. But she’s a peacemaker, too. Dimitrijevic launched monthly “chats with the chair” in the county’s 19 municipalities to build bridges with suburbanites, and she continues to build a case for a green county crisscrossed by a thriving bus system. (L.K.) 



Steve Taylor

Russell Stamper II


Milwaukeean of the Year

Most Trusted Public Official

Tom Barrett

OK, so Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett didn’t become governor in the June recall election. But he’s still working to make Milwaukee a better place and he’s still one of the nicest guys you’d ever meet. His streetcar plan may attract controversy—and the ire of the Koch-brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity—but the plan has worked well to create new jobs and businesses in other major cities. In addition, Barrett’s attempt to make Waukesha ask for a reasonable amount of Lake Michigan water will prove to be the right fight in the long run. Barrett’s hand in transforming Milwaukee into a green city also deserves high praise. (L.K.)


Milwaukeean of the Year Runners-up:

Will Allen



Most Trusted Public Official Runners-up:

Scott Walker

MPD Chief Edward Flynn and Sheriff David Clarke (tie)


Most Beloved Politician

Most Despised Politician

Scott Walker

The fact that Scott Walker won both the Most Beloved and Most Despised Politician reflects the polarized political world we currently live in. It also reflects the broad spectrum of the Shepherd Express readership. For example, there are actually more independents and Republicans combined than Democrats that read the Shepherd, according to Media Audit. Scott Walker won his governorship in 2010, a wave election fueled by the tea party extremists. But he also won in a recall election more than a year later in a stand-alone election. At the same time that Walker won these two elections, he had also generated more anger and hatred toward himself than any elected official in Wisconsin in well over a generation. As usual, Shepherd readers are spot-on in showing this dichotomy. (L.F.)


Despised Politician Runners-up:

Tom Barrett

Paul Ryan


Beloved Politician Runners-up:

Tom Barrett

Russ Feingold


Neighborhood to Live In

Bay View

What’s not to love? The near south shore neighborhood boasts tree-lined streets, a long lakeshore bike and hike trail, plentiful parks and unique shops and homes. It seems that each month brings a new restaurant and more entertainment choices—all of them in keeping with Bay View’s quirky charms. There’s a reason why most Bay Viewers like to stay within the neighborhood rather than scour the rest of the city for fun. There’s no need. It’s all there. (L.K.)



East Side



Rising Star in Politics

Paul Ryan

You can totally disagree with his Ayn Rand view of the world and the savage cuts to our social safety net that he proposed in his budget—cuts so deep that even many Republicans ran the other way—but you can’t deny that Paul Ryan ended up on the national ticket for one of the two major political parties. So when you define “rising star in politics,” you won’t find many rising higher than he just did in the last election cycle. However, as the campaign went on, many people who voted for Ryan for years were a little taken aback as they learned about some of his positions, such as wanting to prevent a woman from having an abortion even if she is a victim of rape or incest. (L.F.)



Scott Walker

Chris Larson


State Legislator

Chris Larson

Chris Larson had a notable entry into state politics. From his position as a county supervisor, Larson wiped out longtime state Sen. Jeff Plale in the 2010 Democratic Party primary, then became one of the “Fab 14” when he and his fellow Democratic senators fled to Illinois in an attempt to slow down—and hopefully negotiate a way out of—Walker’s extreme collective bargaining bill. Although Republicans wouldn’t let any Democratic bills get time on the Senate floor when they had control of that chamber recently, and who knows how they’ll act going forward, expect Larson to find ways to promote Milwaukee, public transportation, public schools, the environment and clean government. (L.K.)



Sandy Pasch

Lena Taylor and Alberta Darling (tie)



Now that controversial strategist Steve Bannon has left his administration, will Donald Trump begin to pivot to the center?

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