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Smith: A lake takes shape at 77th annual Sports Show

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See a time lapse of the construction of Lake Milwaukee, the 4,000 square-foot pool filled with 100,000 gallons of water. It is the newest edition to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sports Show. Video by Mike De Sisti
Mike De Sisti

Wisconsin’s newest lake formed Tuesday in West Allis.

Before you get concerned, please know it wasn’t the result of a sinkhole or any other natural disaster.

This one was completely intentional, painstakingly planned and, as of late afternoon, well executed.

It’s called Lake Milwaukee, a new feature at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sports Show.

The 4,000-square-foot water body occupies the western portion of the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park.

As lakes go, this one has several familiar attributes.

It has water, 100,000 gallons of Wisconsin’s finest.

It has a dock, 20 feet long and 4 feet wide.

And it has a fleet of boats, including a fishing craft, a pontoon and some kayaks.

Right about there things take a turn for the different.

RELATED: Sports Show: Time for a taste of the outdoors

RELATED: 2017 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sports Show 

It has no boat ramp. The two big boats were hefted by forklifts Tuesday and set upon the lake’s calm waters.

Its average depth is 4 feet. Maximum depth? Ditto.

The lake bed is a synthetic, blue liner, the largest ever made by its manufacturer, according to show engineer Jerry Cleary of Outdoor Sports Group.

The water body’s sides are supported by a network of aluminum braces.


Sunday alcohol sales getting another look by Polk County Commission

BARTOW — A group of bar and convenience-store owners are pushing Polk County commissioners to move up the hours of Sunday alcohol sales.

The drive comes less than a year after their previous effort failed in a 3-2 vote.

But this time, supporters may have the votes needed to change the current regulations.

Citing an issue of equity, the newest commissioner, Bill Braswell, said at Tuesday’s meeting that he supports a move to allow 7 a.m. alcohol sales on Sunday.

“I don’t have a problem with that,” Braswell said. “People drinking responsibly are going to drink whether it’s Saturday or Sunday.”

Braswell was elected in 2016. He replaced former County Commissioner Ed Smith, who voted against the change.

In 2016 before the vote, a number of people spoke out against the change, citing the evils of alcohol.

County Commissioners Todd Dantzler and Melony Bell said they still support earlier sales on Sunday. Commissioners John Hall and George Lindsey joined Smith in opposition in 2016.

Dantzler said he’d like to see a compromise between the two sides, mentioning that he’d support a 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. Sunday sale.

“There needs to be some respect for Sunday morning,” Dantzler said.

But he said he understands residents who want to stock up on beer on Sunday mornings before a trip on the boat.

Under the current regulations, Sunday alcohol sales are allowed only between noon and midnight unless New Year’s Eve falls on a Sunday, when sales are allowed until 2 a.m. Monday.

The only package sales allowed on Sunday are beer and wine. But although package sale of liquor is prohibited, bars can serve any kind of alcoholic beverages they are licensed to sell. It’s not known yet whether any new proposal would seek to change that.

The previous proposal would have allowed sales to occur between 7 a.m. Sunday and 2 a.m. Monday.

Tim Lauzon, who owns Isle of Capri, a bar on South Combee Road near the Lakeland city limits, said he’s losing business to people who simply cross the city line for an alcoholic beverage.

City commissioners in Lakeland voted in 2015 to allow for earlier alcohol sales on Sunday.

“I’m losing five hours in the morning and two hours at night,” Lauzon said. “I just want a level playing field.”

Bell agreed.

“It’s a fairness issue,” Bell said.

Hall and Lindsey remain opposed to Sunday morning sales.

“How much business are you really losing on a Sunday morning,” Hall said. “People can plan ahead on Saturday if they want alcohol.”

Lindsey said the unfairness argument wasn’t compelling.

“Nothing I’ve seen or heard has changed my opinion,” Lindsey said.

It’s likely  it will be a couple of months before commissioners vote.

County commissioners would first direct county officials to draft a proposal, then the Planning Commission would vote on the issue. County commissioners would then vote on the proposal.


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