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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

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The new Debra Usinger Memorial.
The new Debra Usinger Memorial. (Photo: R. Wezek)
Nearly 100 friends, family and civic leaders helped dedicate the memorial on Wednesday.
Nearly 100 friends, family and civic leaders helped dedicate the memorial on Wednesday. (Photo: R. Wezek)
It's located directly across from Usinger's Famous Sausage.
It's located directly across from Usinger's Famous Sausage. (Photo: R. Wezek)
Deb's brother, Fritz, had some touching words to say about his sister.
Deb's brother, Fritz, had some touching words to say about his sister. (Photo: R. Wezek)
The Milwaukee RiverWalk District helped make the memorial happen.
The Milwaukee RiverWalk District helped make the memorial happen. (Photo: R. Wezek)
Several members of the Usinger family.
Several members of the Usinger family. (Photo: R. Wezek)
Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown; Cecilia Gilbert, business liaison with the Milwaukee Department of Public Works; and Dan McCarthy, director of urban de
Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown; Cecilia Gilbert, business liaison with the Milwaukee Department of Public Works; and Dan McCarthy, director of urban de (Photo: R. Wezek)
See it at Edison Park along the RiverWalk.
See it at Edison Park along the RiverWalk. (Photo: R. Wezek)

Simple, fun Debra Usinger Memorial dedicated on Milwaukee Riverwalk

Debra Usinger, vice president of Usinger's Famous Sausage, passed away in July 2012 at the age of 58.  She was a friend and as I wrote when I heard the news two summer's ago one of the Milwaukee "area's biggest champions and most visible female entrepreneurs."  She had a story for everything and everyone and true heart of gold.

On Wednesday evening, friends, family and civic leaders gathered to commemorate a new memorial for Usinger.  Supporters raised more than $20,000 to commission a new sculpture on Milwaukee's Riverwalk and establish a maintenance fund that will help upkeep the newly renovated Edison Park that's just across the Milwaukee River from Usinger's and next to Rojahn & Malaney Co., 1005 N. Edison St.

Local artist Beth Sahagian-Allsopp created the bronze sculpture that has tree branches intertwining on a trellis to signify life and connectivity.  She also made the accompanying bench.  Sahagian-Allsopphas has several pieces on the RiverWalk and is an owner of Vanguard Sculpture Services.

Debra loved art and her wedding gift to me and my wife was a wonderful painting of small home with a tree in front.  It's simple, fun and to this day hangs in our kitchen.  I couldn't help but smile when this new tree branch sculpture was dedicated.

The memorial also is intentionally simple.  It was planned by Marsha Sehler and implemented by Keith Stachowiak of Uihlein/ Wilson Architects. 

Three dear friends of Debra's, Beth Weirick, CEO of Milwaukee Downtown; Cecilia Gilbert, business liaison with the Milwaukee Department of Public Works; and Dan McCarthy, director of urban development at Zilber Property Group, led the fundraising efforts.  Marsha Sehler, Gary Grunau and others also helped spearhead the memorial.  Mayor Barrett and Deb's brother, Fritz, both spoke at Wednesday's dedication.  Nearly 100 people attended the dedication and post reception at Mader's. 

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The 414 fleece. Get yours now.
The 414 fleece. Get yours now.

#Shop Local: The 414 crew fleece

This post is brought to you by The Commerce Team. We operate independently of Editorial, and if you take advantage of an item or deal we recommend, we get a share of the sale. We read the comments, and we want your feedback.

How do you shop local?  We all do it, and every day we’re asked for cool Milwaukee area gift ideas and interesting places and sites to go to to help be represent Milwaukee to a friend, business client, family member or whomever.   

At OnMilwaukee.com, our new ShopLocal marketplace is still growing.  And to continue its growth, I’m showcasing different products. Yes, we make money on this and yes we’re helping the local economy grow.

Have items that you want showcased?  Contact us.  Want to open a ShopLocal store or complement an existing eBay or etsy store?  Click here.  

I don’t need to remind you that fall is coming.  Hopefully, it’s several weeks away but the nights surely are getting cooler so thoughts turn to longer sleeves. Thankfully, I have this 414 crew fleece from Too Much Metal in my closet.

Proudly boasting Milwaukee’s "414" area code, it’s made very well, dyed and washed.  Looks and fits great, too. 

Comes in men’s and women’s styles. $40.

Still in summer mode?  Then, wear the 414 in a tank.  Only $25 and available here.

Milwaukee is the new Portland.
Milwaukee is the new Portland. (Photo: shutterstock.com)

Salon: Milwaukee is the new Portland

For me, Milwaukee is Milwaukee and we should be darn proud of it. 

But a comparison to Portland isn't a bad one, and it's exactly what Richard Manning of OnEarth.org writes today on the magazine site Salon.com. 

Originally posted on OnEarth.org in July under the title "Milwaukee Sees the Light," the repurposed post for Salon.com runs today with the headline "Milwaukee is the new Portland."

Read the entire piece here.




The duck confit spring rolls, one of Odd Duck's small plate offerings.
The duck confit spring rolls, one of Odd Duck's small plate offerings.

Esquire tells us what a decent restaurant meal should cost

I love talking food and restaurants. I think we all do. Analyzing what works, what doesn't, the costs, the locations and -- of course -- the food is fun and captivating.  

So, I enjoyed this question from Rick Ortlip, of Milwaukee, who asked Esquire's Josh Ozersky, "How much should a decent restaurant meal cost?" He followed it up with this, "I’m not talking about a three-star dinner. Just a basic dinner for two with a glass of wine, in an average American city (like Milwaukee). I don’t think it should be more than $50 a person, for three courses including dessert (split for two), and a glass of wine or beer each. Just a get-out-of-the-house meal for my girlfriend and me. I’m not cheap -- I just want to know what you think is fair."

Who is Josh Ozersky? For what it's worth, Kyle Cherek calls him "one of the best food writers of our time, in my opinion." Ozersky's answer to Rick's question, even on the national site, used Milwaukee examples citing Maxie's, Odd Duck and AP Bar and Kitchen

Click here for the full post. In a nutshell, Esquire answered by basically saying that Milwaukee is pretty inexpensive. 

Ozersky writes, "Eating out costs money, even if you order cheaply, even if you live in the suburbs. That’s the way it is now. And don’t forget: That money doesn’t cover parking, gas, condoms, breath mints and all the other associated costs. You have it good. Odd Duck should be half again as expensive as it is; its prices are artificially depressed by its being in Milwaukee, one of the country’s cheaper places to do business."

He goes on to say that he doesn't want to be "entirely discouraging" so he offers five great tips "for getting the best meal for the least coinage."

Have at it. I'd love to know your thoughts. 

Is Milwaukee expensive place to dine out? I say no. Can it be? Of course. All in all, we're a pretty affordable city and often it takes people like Ozersky to remind us. In his words, "But the cost of running a restaurant has…

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