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Best of Milwaukee 2016 Winners: City Confidential

Jan. 18, 2017
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Local Activist

FIRST PLACE:
Michael F. Hupy
111 E. Kilbourn Ave., Suite 1100
414-223-4800
hupy.com

Personal injury lawyer Michael F. Hupy (of Hupy and Abraham, S.C.) has done plenty to help his clients in the courtroom achieve justice, but he’s also played a critical role in making our roadways safer for motorcyclists. Hupy is responsible for the orange-and-black “Watch for Motorcycles” stickers, which seem to be ubiquitous in Milwaukee, and its public information campaign. He’s also lobbied heavily for bikers’ rights and safety. (Lisa Kaiser)

RUNNERS-UP:
Nate Hamilton
Tory Lowe
Vel Phillips

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Local Character

FIRST PLACE:
John McGivern

Twenty-five years ago, this charismatic, hard-working performance artist returned to his hometown, rented Theatre X’s theater in what would become the Broadway Theatre Center and presented his original one-man comedy about growing up the third of six kids in an Irish Catholic family in Milwaukee. The show was a hit and McGivern stayed to build a huge audience for his many shows. At times, he seems omnipresent, appearing in every major art center in the region. His valuable PBS series Around the Corner is now in its sixth season. He is inseparable from his characters and indeed they are local folk. (John Schneider)

RUNNERS-UP:
Tyler Coss
Roosevelt “Freeway” McCarter
Milverine

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Entrepreneur

FIRST PLACE:
Lizzi Weasler
Lizzibeth
550 E. Menomonee St.
lizzibeth.com
FirstWeber Realtors
414-416-6265
lizziweasler.firstweber.com

Lizzi Weasler seems to be Milwaukee’s Renaissance woman. She turned a pop-up store into a Third Ward boutique which caters to women who are looking for unique items at all price points. The site also serves as an event space for bachelorette parties and other fun occasions, and bridal styling and personal shopping services are also offered. In the past year, Weasler branched out into real estate, proving that she’s a consummate saleswoman. (Lisa Kaiser)

RUNNERS-UP:
Eric Ellis
Joseph Skow
Joseph Taylor

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Milwaukee Alderperson

FIRST PLACE:
Bob Donovan

This brash South Side conservative had quite a year. Alderman Bob Donovan was a two-time candidate in last spring’s election, once as a mayoral candidate and yet again, on the same ballot, as a candidate for re-election. Donovan lost to the incumbent mayor, Tom Barrett, and won re-election to his aldermanic seat against promising newcomer Justin Bielinski by a mere 161 votes. Donovan then helmed a series of meetings on public safety, which resulted in an unsigned (and very controversial) Public Safety Action Plan. (Lisa Kaiser)

RUNNERS-UP:
Nik Kovac
Michael Murphy
Tony Zielinski

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Milwaukee County Supervisor

FIRST PLACE:
Marina Dimitrijevic

Bay View Supervisor Marina Dimitrijevic stepped down from her position as board chair to become a regular member of the newly part-time Board of Supervisors and also focus on building a progressive movement as state director of the Wisconsin Working Families Party. Recent victories include securing a gradual $15 minimum wage for county workers and helping to preserve the popular Go Pass for seniors and the disabled, albeit in a modified form, after the county planned to discontinue it. (Lisa Kaiser)

RUNNERS-UP:
Jason Haas
Marcelia Nicholson
Anthony Staskunas

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Milwaukeean of the Year

FIRST PLACE:
Gene Wilder (1933-2016)

Milwaukee wasn’t the only place where Gene Wilder was taken to heart, but Milwaukeeans have a special fondness for him. Our city was his birthplace. The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Wilder became interested in acting while studying at the University of Iowa. His future in movies was assured after his role as Leo Bloom in Mel Brooks’ satire of Broadway show business, The Producers (1968). He continued to work with Brooks in such raucous comedies as Blazing Saddles (1974) and Young Frankenstein (1974), but left his deepest mark on a generation of kids for his star role in the endearing Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971). (David Luhrssen)

RUNNERS-UP:
Michael Hupy
Joseph Skow
Lizzi Weasler

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Most Beloved Politician

FIRST PLACE:
Herb Kohl (retired)

Perhaps it’s a sign of the times that Shepherd Express readers chose a retired public servant for this award, but businessman, philanthropist and public servant Herb Kohl deserves it. After a long stint in the U.S. Senate, Kohl sold the Milwaukee Bucks and kicked in $100 million of his own money to build a new arena. Kohl is perhaps the last Wisconsin politician to bridge the partisan divide and get high praise from both Democrats and Republicans, and it seems like Shepherd readers would like to see more elected officials follow his example. (Lisa Kaiser)

RUNNERS-UP:
Tom Barrett
Russ Feingold
Justin Moralez

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Best Organization Supporting Veterans

FIRST PLACE:
Dryhootch
1030 E. Brady St.
4801 W. National Ave.
414-269-8510
dryhootch.org

Dryhootch was founded to reach out to veterans who don’t feel comfortable meeting up at watering holes serving alcohol. This nonprofit runs two coffeehouses in Milwaukee for veterans and their families and sells its own delicious coffee to brew at home. More importantly, Dryhootch provides peer support and outreach services for veterans who have made sacrifices for our nation. (Lisa Kaiser)

RUNNERS-UP:
Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative
Milwaukee VA
Wounded Warriors

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Most Despised Politician

FIRST PLACE:
Scott Walker

Gov. Scott Walker thoroughly embarrassed himself on the presidential campaign trail and withdrew with less than 1% support in the polls to allow his fellow Republicans to coalesce around any candidate other than Donald Trump. We all know how well that worked out. Still, Walker led the opposition to Trump during Wisconsin’s spring primary, delivering a win for odious Ted Cruz. After Trump won the nomination, all was forgiven and the craven Walker campaigned with the short-fingered billionaire who will become our next president. Remember to keep an eye on the very sneaky, very ambitious Walker this year as he mulls re-election—despite his low approval rating. (Lisa Kaiser)

RUNNERS-UP:
Chris Abele
Tom Barrett
David Clarke

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Most Trusted Public Official

FIRST PLACE:
Russ Feingold

Hopes were high for the return of Russ Feingold when he announced he would take on incumbent Ron Johnson for his old seat in the U.S. Senate. During his three terms in the Senate, he supported universal health care, fought for campaign finance reform and voted against the Patriot Act and the invasion of Iraq. Trusted as he was by our readers—and despite leading in nearly every poll—a shocking swing right in the state’s electorate denied him re-election and kept him in the private sector. (Matthew J. Prigge)

RUNNERS-UP:
Tom Barrett
John Chisholm
Justin Moralez

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Favorite Place to Pick up the Shepherd Express

FIRST PLACE:
Colectivo
multiple locations
colectivocoffee.com

Colectivo is to Milwaukeeans what Central Perk was on “Friends”—a place to gather and gab, to congregate and caffeinate. With locations in nearly every neighborhood, Colectivo has long been the default choice for business meetings, blind dates, dissertation writing and many other activities of day-to-day life. The coffee is beyond reproach, the pastries tasty, the meals healthy and hearty…but why am I telling you? Odds are you’re already reading this in a Colectivo. (Tyler Friedman)

RUNNERS-UP:
Anodyne Coffee Roasting Company
Beans & Barley
Koppa’s Fulbeli Deli

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Rising Star in Politics

FIRST PLACE:
Paul Ryan

Janesville Republican Paul Ryan’s rise to U.S. House speaker is a perfect example of needing to be careful what you wish for. Ryan “reluctantly” accepted the position to bridge the divide between establishment and tea party Republicans. That turned him into a national leader who had to make nice with toxic Donald Trump. Ryan danced around endorsing him, then gave in. He denounced Trump’s sexism and racism, then voted for him. Were those compromises worth it? With Trump in office, Ryan has the chance to implement his 1%-friendly agenda. (Lisa Kaiser)

RUNNERS-UP:
Tom Barrett
Jonathan Brostoff
Justin Moralez

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State Legislator

FIRST PLACE:
Chris Larson

State Sen. Chris Larson raised his profile last year by taking on Chris Abele for Milwaukee County executive. Larson’s grassroots operation beat Abele in the primary, but lost to the well-funded incumbent in April. Abele’s $4 million in attack ads, which included some very dubious claims about Larson’s record, surely had an impact on the results. Nevertheless, Larson is still in the state Senate and fighting for the causes near to Shepherd Express readers’ hearts, such as preserving the environment, protecting public education and providing affordable health care to state residents. (Lisa Kaiser)

RUNNERS-UP:
Jonathan Brostoff
Alberta Darling
Lena Taylor

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