Paying Your Respects: Officer Rittner’s Procession Comes Through South Milwaukee This Afternoon

The funeral procession for fallen Milwaukee Police Department Officer Matthew Rittner will pass through South Milwaukee later this afternoon (Wednesday, Feb. 13). The exact route can be found in this post.  

Note that it calls for the procession to head east on Rawson Avenue from Oak Creek, then north on Nicholson Avenue past College and into Cudahy, on its way to 794 and eventually Brookfield. Our police and street departments are supporting the processional, and we will have squads taking part in it. The South Milwaukee Fire Department will have an engine parked at Rawson and Nicholson with a large flag. 

The Milwaukee Police Department has indicated the procession will leave Oak Creek Assembly of God around 4:30 p.m., but please monitor it on TV, as that time may change.

I have encouraged our city workers to view the procession — which may mean some non-essential city functions will close early today — and I encourage you to do the same.

Let’s join together as a city in honoring Officer Rittner, and in supporting and thanking our police officers — and all public safety officers everywhere — on this day, and every day.

We also offer thoughts and prayers for the family of Bryan Rodriguez, the City of Milwaukee Department of Public Works employee who was killed in a hit-and-run crash on the job this week. We thank all of our employees for their dedication during these difficult times. 


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Storm Update: Schools Closed, Garbage and Recycling Being Picked up; Street Department Steps up

Updated at 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 12.

News and notes from our latest winter storm …

  • Local schools are closed today. The South Milwaukee School District made the call around 5:45 a.m.
  • The district posted on their Feacbeook page that all after school events are cancelled today. This includes games, practices, events, recreation department activities and the superintendent feedback meeting. The feedback meeting has been rescheduled for Feb. 20.
  • The high school girls’ basketball game — a key intradivision crossover game in the Woodland — between South Milwaukee and New Berlin Eisenhower has been moved to Thursday at Eisenhower.
  • The Grobschmidt Senior Center is also closed due to the weather. So is our Self-Deposit Station. Otherwise, City Hall is open.
  • The South Milwaukee Library is open regular hours, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Garbage and recycling are being picked today, as usual. Commercial garbage pickup has been rescheduled for Thursday.
  • Plows have been out since around 2 a.m., including alley plows.
  • The Friends of the Mill Pond have cancelled their meeting scheduled for this evening.

I also want to share a couple of messages I received from local residents today … well done, guys!

First, there was this one about the actions of one of our plow crews this morning around 6th and Sherman …

“Mayor Brooks: Just wanted to give a shout out to a couple of snowplow drivers who just pushed a woman’s car out of a snowdrift. The car was on the side of the road that had already been plowed, so it wasn’t stopping them from doing their job. South Milwaukee spirit at its best!”

And then this one came in … a call from a resident thanking our guys for helping him get up from the snow, after he had fallen, early this morning. They also helped get his daughter’s car unstuck. Well done!

And another one! Just got this for the 4:30 update, our plow drivers stepping up again, this time near 7th and Lakeview this afternoon …

From an observant citizen: “Two plow drivers took time out of their busy day to help a neighbor stuck at bottom of the driveway! Got them out in no time!”

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March 14: Suicide Prevention and Awareness Event Includes Local Premier of Award-Winning Film

The South Milwaukee Health Department is partnering with Prevent Suicide Greater Milwaukee and Oak Creek filmmaker Aaron Johnson to host a suicide prevention and awareness event on March 14 at City Hall.

The event begins at 6 p.m. From the Facebook event page

Learn to recognize the risk factors and warning signs associated with suicidal thoughts and how to offer hope and help with QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Training. Also view the award winning documentary, “Hoan Alone,” which was created by Milwaukee’s own Aaron Johnson. QPR is for anyone who wants to know more about keeping loved ones from dying by suicide.

The event includes the South Milwaukee debut of Johnson’s short film, which has already been recognized at dozens of film festivals. It tells the stories of families and first responders impacted by those who took their own lives jumping from the iconic Milwaukee bridge.

Check out a trailer here.

Thank you to our health department for leading the dialog and planning this event. South Milwaukee is blessed to have such a dedicated group of professionals focused on public health issues like this.

And congratulations to Aaron, who attends Trinity Lutheran Church in South Milwaukee. His film is deserving of all the accolades it is receiving. See for yourself on March 14.

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Police Chief: Significant Crime Decrease in 2018

Crime in South Milwaukee was down significantly for the second straight year in 2018, but we’re not resting on that positive trend.

That is the message South Milwaukee Police Chief William Jessup shared in a video message posted to the department Facebook page today.

Said Jessup in the video

“I give you these numbers knowing full well that for anyone who has been a victim of crime, these stats do not alleviate your anger or your fear. Crime can have an immense impact on your sense of security, so we continue to work at reducing these numbers even further. Our officers are active day and night. They have stepped up their enforcement of traffic laws to make our streets safer, and have increased their attention to neighborhoods and businesses in an effort to reduce crime and disorder.

“We encourage you to work with us in our crime-fighting efforts by becoming involved in a block watch, or simply calling us when you see something amiss. Together, we can make a difference in our community.”

This is obviously good news, but Chief Jessup is right in saying that all crime is personal, and even one is too many.

I want to thank our entire department for their work in helping to reduce crime and keep us safe. But, as Chief Jessup said, this is a partnership — we can not do this without our residents, property owners and others stepping up to do their part. Together, we will keep South Milwaukee a safe community in which to live, work and play.

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South Milwaukee Leos Present: Incredibles 2

Mark your calendars for this free community family event!

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Man Charged in South Milwaukee Robberies

From the South Milwaukee Police Department …

The Sunrise Restaurant in South Milwaukee was robbed on January 20th, 2018 and the Little Cesar’s Pizza in South Milwaukee was robbed on February 11th, 2018. In both incidents, a single male suspect entered the business and committed the robberies. A lengthy investigation into these armed robberies has resulted in the arrest of a 32-year-old man, Matthew Mercil, of Oak Creek. Mercil is facing a total of 7 felony charges, which include the robberies, as well as Felony Shoplifting at the South Milwaukee Walmart. He is also charged with Fleeing an Officer and Recklessly Endangering Safety as a result of a vehicle pursuit on January 6th, 2019. A female accomplice has also been charged with felony shoplifting.

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South Milwaukee School Board Wants Your Input as They Seek a Superintendent

Update: This meeting is now Feb. 20.

South Milwaukee School District Superintendent Rita Olson is retiring at the end of the school year. With more than 40 years at the district — in roles ranging from German and French teacher to principal to various district leadership positions — she leaves quite a legacy, and will be missed.

More details on her lifetime in education here.

I really appreciate her leadership in recent years, during my time as mayor, and I thank her for supporting our strengthening partnership with the district in ways big and small.

Now, the search is on for her successor, which brings me to the reason for this post. From the South Milwaukee School District …

The School Board invites all parents and community members to a feedback session on Tuesday, February 12, to hear your priorities regarding the hiring of a new school superintendent.

The meeting will be facilitated by a Wisconsin Association of School Boards (WASB) search consultant and you do not need to complete any advance preparation. Your feedback will be used to in the preparation of essay questions for the applicants, the development of questions for use during the interviews, and the creation of a profile outlining the skills and characteristics sought in candidates for the position.

The parent/community feedback group meeting will begin at 5:30 pm on Tuesday, February 12, in the District Board room at 901 15th Avenue. The meeting will conclude by 6:45 pm. Please park in the district or high school parking lots and enter through Door #8.

Thank you for considering to participate in this important discussion! 

Here is the official meeting notice …


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