Here is Your 2018 South Milwaukee Downtown Market Music Lineup

Some cities trumpet their “four weeks of live music in the park.”

We’ll, isn’t that nice? 🙂

We have 19, thanks to the South Milwaukee Downtown Market!

The schedule opens next Thursday, May 31, and it’s full of talented local musicians. See for yourself, and join me in thanking the volunteer market board (especially promoter Brian Morrison) and South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center for making these weekly special events a big part of the city’s summer rhythm.

Summer Music 2018

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Local Heroes: Citizens Rescue Man From Burning House

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On Tuesday, May 15, the South Milwaukee City Council recognized local law enforcement and citizens for their work in serving our community, keeping us safe, and saving lives.

I’m recapping those stories on South Milwaukee Blog. Here is today’s story …

Jason and Sean O’Neil and Jay Christenson

Citizen Recognition Award

On November 8, 2017, at approximately 4:00 pm, three South Milwaukee citizens, Jason O’Neil, Sean O’Neil and Jay Christenson, came upon a residential fire at 2604 S. Chicago Avenue. Noticing thick smoke coming from the second floor of the building, Jason and Jay immediately entered the residence and began searching for any occupants. Jay began searching the 1st floor while Jason climbed the stairs to search the upper. The smoke was very thick but Jason was able to find the lone occupant who had collapsed due to smoke inhalation. Jason began dragging the unconscious victim to the stairway when he was overcome by smoke and had to run down to get fresh air. Jay saw that Jason found a victim but needed help in removing him from the building. Both men climbed the stairs again and despite the heavy smoke they managed to pull the man down the stairs. At that time, Sean O’Neil arrived and assisted them in dragging the victim out of the house and into the rear yard.

Fire and police personnel arrived moments later and found all three men in the rear yard, covered in soot but attending to the victim. Thankfully, the victim was revived and none of the men suffered any lasting effects from the fire. Almost certainly the outcome would have been much worse if Jason, Jay and Sean had not risked their own lives. By bravely entering a burning building, ignoring the danger and enduring the dense smoke, these men were able to find and extract the sole occupant, thereby preventing the loss of life. For their heroic actions on November 8, 2017, Jason O’Neil, Sean O’Neil and Jay Christenson are hereby presented with a Citizen Recognition Award.

Congratulations and thank you, Jason, Sean and Jay!

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Local Heroes: Jeff Steren, A True Community Partner

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On Tuesday, May 15, the South Milwaukee City Council recognized local law enforcement and citizens for their work in serving our community, keeping us safe, and saving lives.

I’m recapping those stories on South Milwaukee Blog. Here is today’s story …

Jeff Steren

Citizen Recognition Award

During the past several years, Mr. Steren, owner of the McDonald’s restaurant in South Milwaukee, has been a vital partner to this community and in particular to the South Milwaukee Police Department. His business has regularly sponsored a Safety Day at McDonald’s, inviting the Police and Fire Departments to participate. McDonalds also graciously contributes food and beverages for the elementary school students during our annual Bike Safety Rodeo and has assisted with “Coffee with a Cop” events. In addition, McDonald’s has participated in our Community Night Out each year, setting up a booth, providing games and other activities, and donating numerous prizes for attendees. Mr. Steren has consistently gone out of his way to support our department’s efforts and has demonstrated his strong and steadfast commitment to the City of South Milwaukee. We are grateful for his assistance and are lucky to have him as a reliable partner.

Congratulations, Jeff, and thanks for your partnership!

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Local Heroes: Officer Mike Hill

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On Tuesday, May 15, the South Milwaukee City Council recognized local law enforcement and citizens for their work in serving our community, keeping us safe, and saving lives.

I’m recapping those stories on South Milwaukee Blog. Here is today’s story …

Officer Mike Hill

Merit Award

On January 15, 2018, at about 8:15am, Officer Mike Hill was assigned to an escort call at Divine Mercy, 800 Marquette Avenue. As he was leaving for the escort with the Divine Mercy personnel he observed a person near the building who appeared to be trying to enter the building with some keys. Officer Hill continued to watch the area as he conducted the escort a few blocks away. As soon as he finished the escort call, Officer Hill returned to the church as he felt that something did not seem right about the situation. When he arrived at the church, he checked the building and noticed a door open between Divine Mercy Church and St. John’s Manor as well as fresh prints in the snow. The entire building was checked but it did not appear at that time that the church had been accessed.

PO Hill continued to patrol the area but returned a short while later to again check the church. This time he found the same foyer door was open. He summoned other officers and again went inside to check. This time he found the church doors were unlocked, which appeared to allow access into the church itself. Officers began a thorough search of the church and eventually found a male subject hiding inside the bell tower, on the roof of the church. This person was arrested and was found to be in possession of items belonging to the church. That suspect was later charged with Burglary.

If not for Officer Hill’s attention to detail and persistence in investigating unusual activity, valuable items likely would have been stolen from Divine Mercy. His commitment to the community, combined with his law enforcement experience, led him to take action that less seasoned officers may not have taken. Those actions made our city a safer place and for that reason Officer Mike Hill is hereby presented with a Merit Award.

Congratulations, Officer Hill!

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New Beautification Awards to Recognize the Best of the Best All Year Long

The mission of the South Milwaukee Beautification Committee is “to promote, encourage, and work to enhance the beauty of the City of South Milwaukee.”

Our new Beautification Awards program will bring that mission to life, one local property at a time, all year long.

We are proud to unveil the Beautification Awards, a series of honors for the “best of the best” homes, businesses and organizations when it comes to making our city beautiful. Details below, with much more to come.

Start planting and decorating now, and get ready to submit your entries!

June: Garden Tour Awards

These awards are only open to those already chosen to take part in the South Milwaukee Historical Society Garden Tour and Art Fair on June 23.

The “Mayor’s Choice Awards” will now be named the “Best of the Tour.” The Beautification Committee will select the winners, ahead of the event. Grand prize is $75, and that winner also receives a proclamation, decorative signage, recognition on city/mayor digital platforms, and additional Historical Society awards. There will also be honorable mentions.

July: Patriotic Display Awards

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

 August: Curb Appeal Awards

The South Milwaukee Curb Appeal Awards 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. Judging criteria include utilization of color, appropriateness for the architecture of the structure, originality, lawn upkeep, and decorative exterior structures. Properties also will be judged on the overall exterior appearance of their buildings. Landscaping done by professionals is not eligible for the awards. Current-year Garden Tour entrants are also not eligible.

The recipients of the Beautification Awards are selected by the Beautification Committee in early August. The Beautification Awards are nomination-based, with nominations being solicited using Facebook and this online form. Up to five winners each receive $50, a sign, and recognition at a city council meeting or on city/mayor digital platforms.

October: Rocketober Awards

The Rocketober Awards will recognize those with the best fall, Halloween or Thanksgiving-themed decorations on their homes or businesses. All decorations must be up by October 21, recipients are selected by the Beautification Committee the following week. The Rocketober Awards are nomination-based, with nominations being solicited using Facebook and an online form. Up to three winners will each receive $50, a sign, and recognition at a city council meeting or on city/mayor digital platforms. Additional details to be determined.

December: Light Up South Milwaukee Holiday Lights Awards

We are bringing back the successful 2017 program. The awards honor the South Milwaukee homes and businesses with the best outdoor holiday lights displays. Winners will receive small cash prizes from a total prize pool of $250, a sign, and recognition at a city council meeting or on city/mayor digital platforms. Beautification Committee members will judge entries. More details to come.

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Local Heroes: Officer Jon Rivamonte

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On Tuesday, May 15, the South Milwaukee City Council recognized local law enforcement and citizens for their work in serving our community, keeping us safe, and saving lives.

I’m recapping those stories on South Milwaukee Blog. Here is today’s story …

Officer Jon Rivamonte

Merit Award

On June 15, 2017, the South Milwaukee Police Department was dispatched to the Aldi grocery store at 3105 S. Chicago Avenue for a report of an armed robbery. The business had been robbed by a single male suspect, armed with a handgun. He fled before officers arrived. Over the next several months, the same suspect committed robberies of other Aldi grocery stores in Greenfield, Oconomowoc, Brookfield, Madison and Merrillville, Indiana. He even returned to South Milwaukee in November 2017 and attempted to rob the Aldi store for the second time.

During the course of several months, Investigator Jon Rivamonte worked diligently to coordinate efforts with the other affected jurisdictions. He and other detectives developed a suspect and utilized GPS tracking technology to surveille the suspect and gather additional evidence. Working with several agencies, including the FBI, search warrants were executed in South Milwaukee, Cudahy and Milwaukee. On December 8th, 2017, the thirty-year-old suspect was taken into custody and conveyed to the South Milwaukee Police Department. During the ensuing interrogation, Investigator Rivamonte was able to obtain a confession to all seven of the robberies, including both incidents in South Milwaukee.

Hiram Graham was charged in Federal Court and is facing a possible life sentence for violations of the Hobbs Act. This crime spree may have continued if not for the tireless work of Investigator Rivamonte. His persistence in following every lead, his diligence in the collection of evidence and his skillful interview of a dangerous criminal led to the successful resolution of a crime spree affecting numerous communities. The citizens of South Milwaukee are truly safer today because of the work of Investigator Rivamonte and he is therefore presented with a Merit Award for actions leading to the arrest of this dangerous felon.

Congratulations, Officer Rivamonte!

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A Special Night at the 128th

It’s one of my favorite events of the year, and the 38th Annual 128th Air Refueling Wing Civic Dinner Dance didn’t disappoint on Thursday.

A special congratulations to Honored Citizen of the Year Bill Moore, who has strong local ties. He is a former South Milwaukee resident and is a member of American Legion Post 27 Van Eimeren-Kolonka, and the South Milwaukee Veterans’ Council.

Thanks, Bill, for all you do, and thanks to the volunteer committee who puts on this terrific event each year. It’s an honor to attend.

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