Bubbler Talk

What’s got you scratching your head about Milwaukee and the region? Bubbler Talk is a series that puts your curiosity front and center.

How it works: You ask, we investigate and together we unveil the answers.

Ask away: What have you always wanted to know about the Milwaukee area's people, places or culture that you want WUWM to explore?

Participate in the process and submit your question below.

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Courtesy of Gilbane Building Company and AECOM

Milwaukee City Hall was completed in 1895. But if you've seen the building over the years, it may seem like it's been under constant construction. So, let's look at the work that's been done on City Hall and what's still in store.

That's what Kim Marggraf wants to know, so she reached out to Bubbler Talk — our series where you ask, we investigate and together we unveil the answers:

"Why has City Hall been under some form of construction or reconstruction, for what seems like decades?"

Teran Powell

When Milwaukeeans hear the name Solomon Juneau it likely rings a few bells. He was a founding father of Milwaukee and the city's first mayor. However, Juneau’s name also belongs to a tugboat docked year-round near the Michigan Street bridge downtown.

This week’s Bubbler Talk — our series that answers your questions about Milwaukee and the region — takes a peek into the history of The Solomon Juneau. Peter from Wauwatosa wants to know:

funny-sign-milwaukee-poblocki-paving-pun
Audrey Nowakowski

For this week’s Bubbler Talk — our series where you ask, we investigate and together we unveil the answers — we’re waiting for a sign, or rather reading signs.

Question asker Emily Johnson wants to know:

Who writes the incredibly hilarious and cheesy asphalt and tar-related puns on the Poblocki Paving signs on I-94?

chalabala / Fotolia

Why isn’t there a high-speed rail line connecting Milwaukee with other cities in Wisconsin and the region? This question has been on the minds of many in the area for decades, including one person who wrote to Bubbler Talk — our series that allows you to ask questions about Milwaukee.

The answer is complicated, but simply put: there was a plan for a higher-speed rail line, but Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was against it.

Courtesy of Milwaukee Public Library

Wisconsin boasts one of the largest German populations in the country, and in the early 1900s, Milwaukee was considered one of the most German cities in America. "Milwaukee was known as the Midwest Munich," Steve Schaffer says. "It was, ya know, a German town."

This week’s Bubbler Talk question comes from listener Bruce Campbell, who wanted to know: How were Germans treated in Milwaukee during World War II?

Maayan Silver

If you’ve driven northbound on Interstate 43 toward Milwaukee’s downtown, chances are, you’ve noticed a gigantic mural. That colorful mural has caught the eye of Tim Brever, of Greendale, since he was a kid. He wanted to learn more about it, so he reached out to Bubbler Talk — our series where you ask, we investigate and together we unveil the answers:

What is the story behind the mural located on the side of a building, coming north into Milwaukee featuring an eagle with a rainbow behind it?

green-bay-packers-tailgating-fans-wisconsin
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Tens of thousands of people in the United States enjoy tailgate parties before football and baseball games. In fact, the parties themselves have become an event, helping to draw people to stadiums, even when teams aren't having the greatest season.

church-festival-Milwaukee
Lauren Sigfusson

For this week’s Bubbler Talk — our series where you ask, we investigate and together we unveil the answers — we look at church festivals in Milwaukee and why we love them. This all started with a question from curious community member Miguel Rivera.

“Are church festivals (mostly Catholic) only popular in Milwaukee? People from out of state always seem surprised by them.”

seven-mile-road-wisconsin-racine-bubbler-talk-milwaukee
Lauren Sigfusson

There are three types of people in this world: Those who notice nothing. Those who notice but don’t care to question. And then there are those who ask why. David Wagner is the last one.

David reached out to Bubbler Talk — our series where you ask, we investigate, and together we unveil the answers — to learn about a road he often passes.

What is Seven Mile Road 7 miles from?

bookstore-milwaukee-airport-renaissance-books
Maayan Silver

Walk into the public area of Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport, and you’ll see traditional airport sights: monitors for departures, places to grab coffee and food. But you’ll also see a 2,600-square-foot used bookstore, Renaissance Books.

The latest Bubbler Talk — our series that allows you to ask WUWM questions about Milwaukee —  takes us to the bookshop. Question asker Susie Hoglund, of Shorewood:

Jimmy Emerson, DVM/Flickr

When you look at a map of Wisconsin, it’s covered in names that remind us of this country’s original inhabitants. Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, Waukesha, Kinnickinnic — all words derived from Native American languages.

Another is Oconomowoc, about 30 miles west of Milwaukee. This week’s Bubbler Talk questioner, Jeff Dittel, moved there about two and a half years ago.

northridge-mall-miwlaukee-what-happening
Chuck Quirmbach

Northridge Mall was one of several large suburban malls built in the 1960s and '70s. It was at the far northwestern edge of Milwaukee — at 76th Street and Brown Deer Road. But the glory days didn’t last. The mall closed 15 years ago and has gone into extended limbo. 

Most of the buildings remain, but they're empty. It's a big-box ghost town with a chain link fence around it.

Beach Trash: Where Lake Michigan’s Litter Originates

Aug 17, 2018
Gabrielle Powell

*Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that 21.8 million pounds of trash end up in Lake Michigan every year. That number is actually the total for all of the Great Lakes. 

Almost every day since last June, Marla Schmidt has walked along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Bay View. But she’s not lounging around enjoying the beach — she’s picking up trash. 

Lauren Sigfusson

A fire truck making its way to a scene, sirens blazing, is a common sight in cities and towns across America. But within the Milwaukee Fire Department (MFD), there's a support staff responsible for maintaining all the equipment firefighters depend on.

For this week's Bubbler Talk — our series that allows you to ask WUWM questions about Milwaukee —questioner Jay Blanchett wanted to know about a special kind of fire truck:

miller-park-milwaukee-open-roof-brewers
Tom Lynn/Stringer, Getty Images

The Milwaukee Brewers' Miller Park has a roof hotline – 414-902-4636 – that tells callers the weather and if the roof is open or closed. That way fans know what to expect when they head to a ball game. But how do the Brewers decide whether the Miller Park roof is open or closed at game time?

That’s a question Bubbler Talk received from listener Lila Johnson.

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