It’s Rocketober, 2019!

There are lots of reasons to love fall, and Halloween, in South Milwaukee — a month and a half or so we’ve labeled Rocketober.

The idea several years ago was simple: Lean into this special time of year by branding it, jointly promoting the already terrific series of events already scheduled across the city — and maybe add a few new ones.

Here is the result: your 2019 Rocketober schedule!

Many of your fall favorites are back, starting with Homecoming activities this week, ending with Halloween night time trick-or-treating, making South Milwaukee the only community in the county to keep this tradition. In between are some great South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center shows and other special special events. And check out the information on the Halloween Lights on Edgewood, back bigger and better in 2019.

There is plenty new this year, starting with the Community Glow Walk and Fall Cleanup this week, as well as a new downtown event: South Milwaukee Art Walk: Monsters on Milwaukee Avenue, on Saturday Oct. 19.

You’ll notice something missing too — Zombie House and Downtown Trick or Treating. But good news! We’re replacing those events on the Saturday before Halloween with South Milwaukee Spooktackular: A Citywide Halloween Party.

With this event, kids of all ages can take part in a variety of fall and Halloween activities at participating businesses and organizations throughout the community. Look for more details soon … and if you want to take part, just shoot me a note (

Enjoy Rocketober 2019! Be sure to like the Rocketober Facebook page for schedule updates. And here is what’s coming up this week …


  • 7 p.m. Mayors’ Community Glow Walk. Join South Milwaukee Mayor Erik Brooks and St. Francis Mayor Ken Tutaj on a walk of the Nojoshing Trail in St. Francis. Meet at the St. Francis Civic Center. Presented by the South Milwaukee/St. Francis Health Department.


  • 6 p.m. Homecoming Parade. 15th and Maple, north on 15th to Oak Creek Parkway
  • 6:45 p.m. Community pep rally and bonfire. High school baseball stadium.


  • 7 p.m. Homecoming football game. Milwaukee Pius XI vs. South Milwaukee.


  • 9 a.m.-noon. Fall Cleanup, presented by the South Milwaukee Beautification Committee. Meet at 11th and Milwaukee Ave. Free lunch to follow, served by the South Milwaukee Lions. Also: Grant Park Cleanup, 9 a.m.-noon; meet at the beach.
  • 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Fire & Police Safety Days at South Milwaukee McDonald’s. Vehicle displays, Flame House, K-9 team, free kids’ activities, bicycle/scooter giveaway, appearances by Smokey Bear, Sparky the Fire Dog and McGruff the Crime Dog.
  • 7:30 p.m. Artrageous. The South Milwaukee PAC season series opens with an interactive art and music experience. Social at 6:30.

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What’s Your Gift:? Share Your Talent at the South Milwaukee PAC Variety Show

I know South Milwaukee is full of talented people. I see it every day.

Why not share your talent and help celebrate the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center’s 15th anniversary at the same time?

From Brian Morrison, who is leading this effort …

Calling all singers, dancers, comedians, magicians, masters-of-ceremonies and any other local talents that exceed expectations! We are now accepting audition applications. Don’t miss this world premiere of community-driven theatre, vaudeville, music and “who-knows-what” curated by YOU. We’re looking for about 15 performers (individuals or groups) to take the stage and share their special gifts. Indulge your creativity. Do you have a hidden talent? Do you have a unique story to tell or know of someone whose time for the stage has come? This is your chance to create a show with us.

The 15th Anniversary Variety Show will take place at South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center on Friday, May 15. Details and tickets here.

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Riding Route 52 on Friday with County Supervisor Steven Shea, South Milwaukee Schools Superintendent Jeff Weiss, School Board member Dave Maass and Alderman Craig Maass, and meeting some of the kids who rely on the Milwaukee County Transit System to get to and from school every day. This is a vital mode of transportation for these students. One I spoke to gets up for school at 4:30 a.m. each day — because he needs to take three buses to South Milwaukee High School from Wauwatosa. And he’s been doing this since the fourth grade. #SaveThe52 

Check out these South Milwaukee headlines …

Also, this from the South Milwaukee Police Department … “The SMPD has identified a person of interest from this case as Jorge Luis Marquez, a 18yr old Milwaukee resident who is depicted below. Please contact the SMPD at 414-768-8060 or call 911 if you know the whereabouts of Marquez. You can remain anonymous.”

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An Innovative Partnership to Address Mental Health Challenges — at School

I wanted to share a letter sent to all South Milwaukee School District families last week, detailing an innovative partnership to tackle mental health challenges … where kids are.

Mental illness is real, and it does not discriminate based on age. I’m so glad to see the school district understands that, and it taking real steps to help those in need. Well done!

Here is the letter …

Dear SDSM Families –

We are pleased to reach out to our school community about a new partnership between SaintA and the School District of South Milwaukee. SaintA’s mission is to facilitate equity, learning, healing and wellness by restoring the connections that help children and families thrive. SaintA has extensive experience providing school-based mental health services and is one of Wisconsin’s largest and most successful non-profit, non-sectarian human service agencies.

As part of our partnership with SaintA, two therapists will now be available on site at all six schools within the district. The therapists will have two main roles: to work with our staff members to implement preventative strategies related to mental health practices in schools, and to work directly with students after receiving written permission from parents/guardians.

While many students currently receive clinical mental health support, accessing these services outside of school hours can be challenging. This partnership will allow students to receive mental health services during the day at their school. Billing for clinical mental health services will be arranged through the family’s insurance, Medicaid, or Badgercare, just as with services from other health care providers. 

All members of the school community – families, teachers, and administrators – are encouraged to work with the office staff at their student’s school to determine next steps. If a student would benefit from receiving clinical mental health services at school around social, emotional and behavioral challenges, a member of the pupil services team will work with the family. Services may include a mental health assessment, individual therapy or other collaborative services. 

We are very excited about the potential benefits for students and families as a result of this new partnership. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions that you may have.

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For the Fallen

On 9/12, I offer this from South Milwaukee Fire Chief Joseph Knitter …

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to visit the South Milwaukee firehouse, you will see this bell prominently displayed in our front lobby. While there are many American LaFrance bells in existence, this bell is one of a kind . . . In fact, the only one of its kind in the world.

In August of 2000, it was donated by the SMFD to the International Association of Firefighters for use at their Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Its duty would be to toll in honor of each of the firefighters that died in the line of duty each year at the annual Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service. The bell served this solemn, but prestigious, purpose until the memorial park was redesigned in 2015 and the bell was, once again, retired and returned home to the SMFD. During its time, it would toll for 2,162 fallen firefighters, including the 343 that died in the attack on the World Trade Centers in New York City and many more that died as a result of health issues related to the brave work they did in the hours, days, weeks, and months following.

Retired SMFD FF/Paramedic Tom Reid not only arranged for the donation, but archived all the correspondence and donated a digital picture frame that scrolls the name, department, and date of death for all 2,162 fallen firefighters it tolled for. A solemn reminder of the supreme sacrifice they made.

Thanks, chief, for sharing, and thanks to Tom for his efforts to bring this to South Milwaukee. And thanks to all of our firefighters and police officers for their service. #NeverForget

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September 21: A Truly “Artrageous” South Milwaukee PAC Opener

The South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center open its 15th anniversary year with an “interactive art and music experience … a unique visual journey packed with wild inspiration, creativity and fun,” as “Artrageous” comes to town on Saturday, Sept. 21.

Check out the full season schedule here. It’s impressive, again.

From the South Milwaukee PAC website, on Artrageous …

Imagine an artist creating a masterpiece before your eyes in mere moments. With a palette that also mixes captivating vocals, intricate choreography and exciting audience interaction, Artrageous takes you on a unique visual journey packed with wild inspiration, creativity and fun! The Artrageous troupe of artists, musicians, singers and dancers pay tribute to a variety of art forms, pop icons and musical genres culminating in a gallery of fabulous finished paintings. The result? A one-of-a-kind crossover experience! The signature of Artrageous is interaction and engagement. Part art studio. Part rock concert. Part creation lab. Come be a part of the show!

Attend the pre-show social prior to this performance at 6 pm to celebrate our 15 years of enriching lives. Bring a few bucks for a bite to eat before the show.

Bring a T-shirt, cap, pair of shoes, anything smaller than a toaster… (or purchase something at the event) to get custom Splattered by an Artrageous Artist in their one-of-a-kind Splatter Station! The Splatter Station happens at the end of the performance. The stage is set up as a Live Art Gallery with all of the ArtWork that is created during the show. The audience is invited to come up and view the paintings, meet the troupe, take selfies and visit the Splatter Station. It is a completely enclosed area where one of our Artists hand splatters items that folks have brought (or get something from our merch station). Walk away with an original piece of art!

Tickets go on sale July 9, Adult $45-$35, Senior $42-$32, Student $20-$15

For all ages. 90 minutes with intermission.

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Hammer Time! Rockets Score Impressive Comeback Victory over Cudahy

The Hammer is back in South Milwaukee.

Tarek Slusar threw for two touchdowns — one to his cousin, Anthony — and Jeremiah Anderson, filling in for his injured older brother, ran for two scores as the Rockets scored 28 unanswered points to beat Cudahy, 28-14, Friday at Spaltholz Field.

More game details here.

South Milwaukee moved to 2-1 with the win. Next up, at Whitnall on Friday, followed by Homecoming week against Pius XI. Go Rockets!

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