Author Archives: Erik Brooks

Early Christmas Present: Adding a Lighted Parade to South Milwaukee’s Holiday Festivities


Merry Christmas, South Milwaukee!

I love the holidays in this city, and I’m proud to announce that we’re adding to the our official celebration in 2018 with a lighted Christmas parade.

There are still details to work out, but here is the tentative schedule …

Saturday, November 24

  • 3-6 p.m. Old Fashioned Christmas celebration at City Hall, South Milwaukee Police Department and Grobschmidt Senior Center
  • 6 p.m. City Hall tree lighting
  • Parade follows tree lighting in front of City Hall and along 15th Avenue

I want to thank the Old Fashioned Christmas Committee and South Milwaukee Lions (who will continue to organize the parade) for their efforts in early planning, discussion and support of this new approach.

As it stands now, the Old Fashioned Christmas celebration doesn’t change much, other than time and day. The biggest change this year is the lighted parade, which will have a new route, day and time.

It’s a positive change to an already positive event. I think you’ll love it.

A number of communities do this, although we’d be the first in the immediate area. The pictures with this post are from the 2017 Beloit parade, and, there, it’s a really special way to ring in the holidays, as thousands line the streets to enjoy the uniquely decorated floats and parade entries.

I look forward to much of the same in South Milwaukee.

My ask of local businesses, organizations and other groups: Start your planning now for your lighted parade entry. And look for more details in coming months.

Just 283 days until Christmas!

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South Milwaukee was in the news a lot this week, including a fun profile of our police records clerk, innovative plans for St. Patrick’s Day at Moran’s Pub, and a pitch to the state around Foxconn …

And here are some South Shore headlines …

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Growing Together: Groundbreaking for Downtown Community Garden Set for Earth Day, April 22


“Growing South Milwaukee has a deep rooted mission to create and maintain community gardens that inspire people of all ages to grow together. Our gardeners strengthen the community by planting the seeds of change, sharing knowledge and bringing nutrient rich food back to South Milwaukee.”

That is the mission of the group leading the way toward South Milwaukee’s new community garden — an inspiring combination of building community, promoting healthy lifestyles and redeveloping downtown.

After years of hard work by this dedicated group of volunteers and sponsors, Growing South Milwaukee will move dirt at the garden site south of the South Milwaukee train depot on Earth Day, April 22.

I’m proud to stand behind their work. Please join in the festivities!

From Growing South Milwaukee and the Facebook event

We invite you to spectate as we break ground for Growing South Milwaukee‘s eagerly anticipated community garden! 

Festivities will begin at 1:00pm on Earth Day, Sunday, April 22nd, 2018. You’ll find us just south of the Train Depot {If you can get to the South Milwaukee Downtown Market – you’ll pretty much be there}

We will kick off with a few words from our team, partners, and supporters and end with our shovels turning Earth! 

Looking for an after party? A reception will follow at 1:30pm!

Celebrate with us after the groundbreaking by treating yourself to a decadent vegetarian appetizer menu designed and donated by Skyline Catering & Express Deli, champagne toasts, and beautiful music performed by local artists.

{$15 donation to join us for the reception – please}

Thank you to all of the #CommunityGarden founders:

A BIG thank you to all of our contributors!  More credits to follow. See you at the depot!

Check out the Facebook event page here.


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Help Wanted: Volunteers to Clean up Yards of Local Seniors

From the Interfaith Shore Regional Neighborhood Outreach Program …

Greetings Interfaith SSR Volunteers and Potential Supporters:

Next week is the first day of spring … and with that comes our clients needing assistance with spring yard cleanup. We’re looking for volunteers to help with this. You’d be raking debris from the yard, bagging debris, trimming bushes, etc. and other fun stuff (LOL)!  Most homes have small yards and most yards take about 2 hours. It could be:

  • You
  • You and your teenagers (yup. good luck with that one)😬
  • You and your younger kids (sweet!)
  • You and your grandkids (fun!)
  • You and your extended family
  • Your friend group (and then go out for dinner!)
  • A scout group (maybe for a badge)
  • A church group (service hours!)
  • A youth group (service hours!)
  • A school sports team
  • A service organization
  • Your school group
  • Your tennis partners
    Your golfing foresome (getting together before the courses open!)
  • Coworkers (maybe your boss will let you leave work early one day to do this 😳)
  • It can be … anyone!

Here’s how it works. You tell me you want to help … and how many homes you’d like to tackle (1, 2 or (gasp!) even 3!). Let me know the number of people you expect to help. Then I will provide you with the names and addresses of clients and their tele numbers.

You decide when you can do the work – weekdays, weekends, weekday evenings. Whatever works best for you and the client is good for us. We ask that the work be completed by April 22.

Let me know by Sunday if you are interested in this!


Victoria Jensen
Interfaith Older Adult Programs, Inc.
Volunteer Outreach Coordinator, South Shore Regional Neighborhood Outreach Program
Serving the Communities of Southeast Milwaukee, Cudahy, St. Francis, Bay View, South Milwaukee and Oak Creek
414.762.1998, ext. 103<>
Office Hours: Tuesday, 8-4 pm

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History Made: City’s First Female Career Firefighter Sworn in

History in the making . . .

South Milwaukee has officially sworn in our first female career firefighter. Congratulations, Firefighter Shardae LaVigne!


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Police Want Your Help Finding Suspected Armed Robber

Know this person? Call 414-768-8060.29103976_1716172915087446_7423691358375409570_n

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Embracing Our Proud Past: Supporting the Work to Preserve Bucyrus’ Legacy Through a New Museum

In many ways, the story of South Milwaukee is the story of Bucyrus, and vice versa.

Fortunately, there is a dedicated group of retirees and others focused on making sure that story can be told for generations.

The group — South Milwaukee Industrial Museum (SMIM) — has already stepped up to preserve many of the artifacts previously displayed at the former Bucyrus Heritage Museum, keeping them in South Milwaukee as they raise money for a new museum to celebrate the mining company’s heritage locally and across the world.

I stand behind this work 100%, and look forward to partnering with this organization to make this a reality. Learn more on the group’s GoFundMe page — and please join me in donating to this worthwhile effort.

You can also check out their work at City Hall in the next few weeks, through a display showcasing many familiar South Milwaukee faces and families, along with some historic Bucyrus artifacts and models of the machines they were famous for.

From the group …

If you’ve not heard of SMIM before, here’s some background. In December of 2016, without notice, the Bucyrus Heritage Museum was suddenly closed by Caterpillar. Caterpillar moved a few of the museum items into storage and shipped a couple of other items to their Mining HQ in Tucson, AZ. They planned to leave 90-95% of what was on display in the museum behind.

With the uncertain future of the collection covering 130+ years of Bucyrus history in South Milwaukee, a group of current and former CAT and Bucyrus employees, some who served as Museum Docents, started discussions with Caterpillar in January 2017. The objective was to keep as much of the archive collection intact as possible. In late March of 2017, an agreement was reached with Caterpillar, and the South Milwaukee Industrial Museum (SMIM) was formed and took control of the remaining assets of the former Bucyrus Heritage Museum.

SMIM received sufficient funding through a grant from the Bucyrus Foundation to cover the cost of hiring the professional movers Caterpillar required. The assets are currently held in private storage. The plan is to continue as a non-profit educational museum and eventually reassemble the original collection of the former Bucyrus Heritage Museum, hopefully in South Milwaukee, which will be open to the public.

They estimate the current funds will support costs through September, and fundraising efforts are underway toward raising enough funds to be able to locate a home and open later this year or early 2019. They efforts currently consist of a GoFundMe campaign, and a mail campaign (PO Box 84, So. Milwaukee, WI 53172) to receive private donations from individuals who wish to support the museums effort. 

Future public archive displays and fundraising efforts are already planned for this year. We hope they are successful in restoring the museum that will once again showcase the history of Bucyrus as the cornerstone of South Milwaukee’s early days.

Proud past, promising future, indeed.


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