Rare Visitor: Welcome to South Milwaukee, Snowy Egret

South Milwaukee officially became a Bird City last fall, but our place as a haven for rare birds and avid birders has long been well known.

It’s another thing we are becoming famous for.

So that is why I was happy to get a message from Todd Leech, one of our terrific local nature photographers, about “a very unexpected visitor” he came across on Thursday at Grant Park: A snowy egret.

He tells me there have only been four reported in the entire state this year, and the last one reported in Milwaukee County was back in 2003. Before that, there have been just four other reported sightings of this bird in the county dating to 1943.

“He was there the entire day,” Todd wrote. “I’m very proud to be the one who found this little guy, and at every chance I get love promoting our park, and city.”

Consider it done, Todd. Well done.



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June 23 Garden Tour & Art Fair: Celebrating Local Beauty and Creativity … Including This Home



There is still time to get tickets for the 2018 South Milwaukee Historical Society Garden Tour & Art Fair! Advanced tickets are on sale now at Parkway Floral, 1001 Milwaukee Ave. Or day-of-the-event tickets can be purchased at the Historical Society, 717 Milwaukee Avenue, South Milwaukee.

It’s a terrific annual event, celebrating the often hidden beauty of South Milwaukee. Homes like that of Brad McKendry.

Check out the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel feature on his home here.

Facebook event here.

See you June 23!

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South Milwaukee Police Department Issues Annual Report: Crime Down


The South Milwaukee Police Department presented its 2017 annual report to the common council last week, and it contained some really good news.

Crime was down significantly in 2017. And it continues to be into this year.

Check out the report here. From page 19 …

In 2017, South Milwaukee experienced a decrease in property crimes. Violent crime reports also decreased. Property crime decreases are due to the decreases in all categories. Violent crime decreases are due to decreases in aggravated battery and robbery.

Some numbers …


And here is better news: Overall crime is also down significantly in the first quarter of  this year — 28%, from 250 incidents to 180 — from the same period in 2017. That includes a 30.1% decrease in property crime (166 reported incidents to 116) and 23.8% decrease in “crimes against persons” (42 to 32), including a reduction in reported burglaries (18 to seven). Robberies (four incidents) were up slightly.

Of course, no one is declaring victory. Far from it.

There are still plenty of challenges facing our city and our officers every day, starting with the opioid crisis. And one crime is too many.

But the news is encouraging, and I’m convinced we are doing the right things to continue to keep these numbers heading the right direction, even in times of change.

From Chief Jessup’s letter in the report …

2017 proved to be a year of significant change within the agency, with retirements and new additions to the team. Lieutenant Cary Fischer retired in April, after 27 years of service to our community. I want to thank him for his service and wish him the best in his retirement. The agency also saw a new member, Officer Matthew Kramer, begin his career with us. In addition, Public Safety Officers Aaron Hemman and Kelly Champeau, along with Clerk Madeline Stratton joined our agency. I want to welcome them and thank them in advance for what I hope will be years of dedication and commitment to this community.

I am gratified by the efforts of all members of our department as they work each day to make our city safer, but it is vitally important to recognize that we cannot accomplish our mission alone. Sir Robert Peel, a British police reformer considered by many to be the father of modern policing, framed the essential relationship by stating “The police are the public and the public are the police.” This concept is as true today as it was when he first made that declaration. To truly be successful we must partner with you, the public, and we must rely on all of you to assist us in identifying problems and developing solutions that make our community as safe as possible. I want to thank you for your continued support and I welcome your participation and feedback as we work side-by-side to address the challenges that lie ahead.

Thanks to the entire department for all they do, and to all of our residents who play an active role in fighting crime. We need you as community partners to make South Milwaukee as safe as it can be … and to continue this positive trend.


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South Milwaukee continues to be in the news a lot …

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Starting June 18: Free Lunch This Summer for Kids and Teens

I love this program offered through the federal government and the South Milwaukee School District, and my family regularly uses it. Kids are free; the cost for adults is just $3.50. And all kids are welcome, even those from outside the district. And South Milwaukee is not alone in offering this. Cudahy and St. Francis are, too. Spread the word!


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Local Heroes: Well-Deserved Honors for South Milwaukee Firefighters

A couple excerpts from the South Milwaukee Fire Department Facebook page

First, an honor last week for Chief Joe Knitter …

Humbled to be one of the recipients of the Unsung Heroes Award presented by the FBI Milwaukee Citizens Academy Alumni Association at tonight’s awards program. And a HUGE THANK YOU goes out to Theresa Kent and the Association for an incredibly generous $3,500 donation to the SMFD for the purchase of protective equipment for our cancer awareness and prevention program. A great organization and a great event.

And this from May, recognizing more of the team …

Congratulations to the members of the SMFD who were recognized by Aurora Health Care as part of their Annual EMS Week Recognition event. Two crews were recognized for their work on two successful resuscitation calls. In addition, the citizen bystanders that assisted on one call and the patient they saved were recognized, as well as Jackie Ove, the South Milwaukee Public Health Administrator for her work in getting Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) placed in all the public schools and public-access municipal buildings.

Thanks to all of our firefighters for all you do!

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Patriotic Display Awards: Submit Your Entries Now!


The Beautification Awards are in full swing with the Patriotic Display Awards, recognizing the best of the best of “those who show patriotism through the look and feel of their properties.”

From the awards website

The Patriotic Display Awards recognize those who show their patriotism through the look and feel of their properties. Residents are encouraged to create patriotic-themed displays, which could include flags, bunting, flowers, handcrafted or purchased items, with relevance to Memorial Day, Flag Day and/or Independence Day.

  • These awards are nomination-based, with nominations being solicited using Facebook and this online form.
  • All decorations must be up by June 28, and recipients are selected by the Beautification Committee on or around June 30.
  • Up to three winners will each receive $50, a sign, and recognition at a city council meeting or on city/mayor digital platforms.

Submit your entries now! And while you’re at it, start submitting for the Curb Appeal Awards, too. They “are presented annually to South Milwaukee businesses, homeowners and civic organizations who devote extra effort to their property’s beautification, through landscaping and other street-facing efforts.”

More details on the awards page.

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