Author Archives: Erik Brooks

A New Hometown Jeweler: Welcome to South Milwaukee, C3 Designs!

Our newest downtown business has its official grand opening on Friday, although C3 Designs is no stranger to the South Shore.

Chris Jensen has moved his custom jewelry business, C3 Designs, from the Marketplace in Oak Creek to the former Donn Powers Jeweler location at 2110 10th Ave.

More details on Chris’ grand opening below. I’ll be there at 4 p.m. for the ribbon cutting.

I have met Chris several times, and I’m impressed with his commitment to his craft, his family and to the place his business calls home. We’re lucky that’s now South Milwaukee, as the new business momentum continues in our city center.

Chris replaces a legend, of course. I wish Donn well in his retirement and thank him for his lasting contributions to our city and downtown — they were significant.

Chris and C3 Designs will blaze their own trail — and build their own business. They’ve already started. Please join me in welcoming them to South Milwaukee!

grand opening-bh-ad

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Improving Communication: Making City Information More Accessible

If you haven’t noticed, we continue to make improvements to our city website, in an effort to improve communications with residents and others.

For starters, we’ve redesigned the front page and menu structure to make it more user friendly and easier to read and navigate. It’s also more visually appealing.

I’m most excited about one recent upgrade: a partnership with General Code that has made our municipal code much easier to navigate, and improved the presentation of our archived meeting minutes and city budgets.

The code improvements are the most significant.

Gone are the days of navigating PDF documents hoping to find information on city ordinances. Now, it’s all easily searchable, printable and shareable on email and social media, among other enhancements.

Here is a release from the city clerk’s office …

South Milwaukee, WI – As part of the City’s overall efforts to improve services to its citizens, South Milwaukee has put its complete municipal code online. To use the new electronic version of the Code, visit the City’s website at

The new online Code provides convenient access to the City’s ordinances in a feature-rich format that has been specifically designed for optimal viewing on desktops and laptops as well as smartphones and tablet devices. Partnering with General Code, the innovative leader in municipal codification, the City’s online Code offers the most flexible access for its citizens from any location – at home, at work or on-the-go.

Designed to be easy-to-use and search-friendly, the user experience is intuitive, elegant and highly functional. By simply entering a keyword or two, search results will provide the information needed within seconds.

“Our new online Code is one more valuable tool for our citizens to gain access to the information they need, when they need it,” says Jim Shelenske, City Clerk. “We upload minutes and budgets going back to 2011, and will be adding agendas, resolutions, ordinances and other public documents for easy searching and public access. Convenient, free access to our Code of Laws benefits our citizens, our officials, business leaders and others who want to do business in our city.”

General Code is a Rochester, NY-based company whose technological innovations are designed to support municipal efforts to deliver service excellence in an increasingly digital and mobile world. The City of South Milwaukee joins with more than 1,900 other municipal governments providing technologically advanced online Code access via General Code’s exclusive eCode360® service in order to offer more effective and efficient constituent service.

Access to the City’s eCode is available at

There is also an eCode app you can download on Apple and Android devices.

Thanks to City Clerk Shelenske for his work on this. As mayor, I will always get behind efforts that improve how we communicate with our residents. This is the latest example.


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April 29: Make Your Plans Now for Earth Day

Lots of opportunities to make a difference … get your groups together now, and plan to make a difference in your community!

EarthDay2017 _2


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In-Person Absentee Voting Now Open


In-person absentee voting is now open, and runs through Friday, March 31.

Anyone planning on being out of town or unable to make it to the polling place on election day — or for any reason, really — can cast an absentee ballot at the clerk’s office at City Hall, 2424 15th Ave. Hours are 7:30 to 4 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, and 7:30 to 5 p.m. on Fridays. Remember to bring your photo ID.

Here is a sample ballot for the spring primary.

Of course, I am running for re-election this spring, and I ask for and appreciate your support. You can learn more about my campaign here.

Other contested races are for South Milwaukee School Board, Milwaukee County Circuit judge Branch 47 and state school superintendent. There is also a countywide referendum question on the ballot around a wheel tax.

More details on voting here. See you at the polls!


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April 1: Coffee with a Cop

I love this idea from the South Milwaukee Police Department.

I’m told Chief Wellens wants to make this a regular event, and I’d support that 100%, as they continue to enhance lines of communication with residents.

Hosting community meetings like this one, supporting local block watches, leading the education effort in the fight against drugs, actively engaging on Nextdoor, driving the crime alert email service, and now this — our police department is committed to making sure residents have the information they need to keep their neighborhoods safe.

I stand with them in that effort.

Coffee with a Cop

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9.2 Inches: Following up on the Storm

9.2 inches: That’s how much snow received during this week’s winter storm, according to measurements at our Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The storm was a tragic one for South Milwaukee, as a 64-year-old man who lives in the 500 block of Park Avenue apparently passed away while shoveling — one of four deaths in the area that may be linked to the storm, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Please keep this man’s family in your thoughts and prayers.

I also want to thank our Street Department for working long hours to clear the streets. They started salting Sunday night, shifted to plowing Monday morning and worked went well into Tuesday, dealing with this snow. They did their best to keep up with this historic storm, and I very appreciate their efforts. It’s hard, hard work.

I also appreciate your patience, as residents. I know it can get frustrating as we try to keep up with heavy snowfalls. But rest assured we are doing all we can to deliver this critical service well.

Lastly, here is a reminder of the responsibilities of property owners around clearing snow from public walkways.

From Chapter 12 of the municipal code …

12.20 REMOVAL OF SNOW AND ICE ON SIDEWALKS. It shall be the duty of every property owner of each and every parcel of real estate abutting on or bordering upon any street, avenue or highway or other public place to remove or cause to be removed all snow and ice from the sidewalk in front of or adjacent to such premises to the full-paved width of such sidewalks within 24 hours after such snow or ice shall have fallen or accumulated thereon. Determination of the ending of such twenty-four hour period shall be made by the Police Department. Rep. & Recr. 01/02/85, 1284, Rep. & Recr. 2/2/16, 2121 12.21

USE OF SAND OR SALT ON SIDEWALKS. In case the snow and ice on the sidewalk shall be frozen so hard that it cannot be removed without damage to the sidewalk, the owner of every parcel of real estate shall, within the time specified in the preceding section, ensure the safe traversing of the sidewalk abutting or adjacent to such premises by applying an abrasive material such as sand or salt and as soon thereafter as the weather shall permit, thoroughly clean such sidewalk. Rep. & Recr. 2/2/16, 2121

And if you don’t do this?

12.26 CITY MAY REMOVE SNOW. Whenever any property owner shall fail or neglect to remove snow and/or ice from any public sidewalk or roof as provided in this chapter, the Street Superintendent may without notice to the property owner, have the ice and/or snow removed. The fee for the City removing the snow and ice shall be set by the Common Council and included in the City’s Administrative Fee Schedule. The Street Superintendent shall keep an accurate account of the occurrences of the City clearing the snow and ice in all cases where property owners of abutting lots fail to do so and report the same to the City Clerk who shall prepare at least annually invoices for the affected property owners. If the property owner fails to pay the invoice, the amount therein charged to each lot or parcel of land shall be entered in the tax roll as a special charge against said lot or parcel of land and the same shall be collected in all respects like other taxes upon real estate. The imposition and collection of any fine or penalty prescribed for violation of Section 12.20 and 12.26 inclusive of the South Milwaukee code shall not bar the right of the City to collect the cost of the removal and cleaning of snow and ice from the sidewalk as herein provided. Repl. & Recr. 2/2/16, 2121

You can see the entire code here in our much-improved user interface.

There are also rules around use of sand and salt; throwing snow on railroad tracks or into city streets; and removal of snow from roofs, canopies and awnings. Report violators to the South Milwaukee Police Department, non-emergency line, at 414-768-8060.


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Check out these South Shore headlines …

NOW has published a new police blotter.

Also, the Cudahy girls’ basketball team is in the WIAA Division 2 state finals after a 46-36 win over Hortonville on Friday. Good luck, Packers!

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