Category Archives: South Milwaukee

Play Ball: Here’s How to Check Out High School Baseball This Summer

There will be high school baseball in South Milwaukee this summer, just not affiliated with the WIAA or school district.

A group of South Milwaukee students is playing in the Bigler Summer League, and opened play on Tuesday night at Galewski Field.

The result wasn’t quite what they wanted — a 15-0 perfect game by Hamilton Black pitcher Mason DeVorse — but it’s just great to have live baseball back again in the city.

More details on the Bigler Summer League, including a schedule and game results, here. South Milwaukee has home games on July 14, 21, 22, 27 and 28, and the playoffs start July 31.

And don’t forget South Milwaukee Little League, if you’re looking for another baseball fix. Games continue through July 24.

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Four Hurt After Car Driven by Alleged Shoplifter Collides With Car, House in South Milwaukee

The incident took place the afternoon of July 7.

From the South Milwaukee Police Department …

At 4:12pm SMPD responded to shoplifter at Dollar General. The shoplifter fled the store in a vehicle. The shoplifter’s vehicle subsequently collided with a car and a house at the intersection of 15th Ave and Milwaukee Ave. The 53 year old suspect is in custody. Injured parties were conveyed for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. This case will be reviewed by the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office for charges.

The South Milwaukee Fire Department responded. Here is their report …

At approximately 4:15 PM, the South Milwaukee Fire and Police Departments responded to the intersection of 15th and Milwaukee Avenues for a reported three car crash. One vehicle struck a traffic signal and then traveled on to strike the building on the north west corner causing a large hole in the foundation. One person had to be extricated from this vehicle with the Jaws of Life. In total, four patients were transported to Froedtert Hospital for their injuries and one other driver was uninjured and refused transport. The South Milwaukee Police Department is currently investigating the crash. The SMFD was assisted by the Oak Creek Fire Department and Cudahy Fire Department.

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Investing in Downtown, One Building at a Time

Two downtown South Milwaukee buildings will get facelifts with the help of the Bucyrus Downtown Revitalization Grant.

The grant review committee met last week and recommended $30,000 grants for 912 Milwaukee Ave. (James Moran/Moran’s Pub) and 1003 Milwaukee Ave., recently purchased by Kimberly Mackenzie and Troy Kinunen. The South Milwaukee Common Council approved the grant awards at its meeting on Tuesday, June 30.

The Moran’s project is a continuation of their significant interior remodel started a couple months ago. The goal of the exterior remodel is a look similar to Slainte Pub & Grub in Oakland, Calif.

Plans presented include a replacement of the first-floor facade, including windows, an entrance door and wall materials. New paint colors and signage are also included in the proposal.

One potential look for 1003 Milwaukee.

Mackenzie and Kinunen plan to restore the facade to its historic appearance, including tuckpointing, tile roof repair, new storefront windows and door, composite wall covering and trim. Interior improvements include replacement of the building’s electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems and finishes to the first-floor commercial space, for a future tenant.

I’m excited to see these continued improvements in our downtown.

For Moran, it’s the latest investment in the future for his now 25-year-old second-generation family business.

For Mackenzie and Kinunen, it’s not their first project in the city, and hopefully not their last. In addition to the amazing remodel of the former St. Mary’s Hall, they also purchased and remodeled the property at 723 Milwaukee Ave. to make way for the Military Connection collectibles store, which owner Craig Luther is now expanding even more — and are nearing completion on the renovation of a home two doors to the west, at Eighth and Milwaukee Ave. 

With these two projects, the Bucyrus grant program ends after supporting five projects with more than $100,000 in matching grants, including remodels to the 907 Milwaukee (now home to Gecko Leatherworks and Serendipitous Designs and Gifts), China Chef and Mari’s Flowers.

It was money well spent. You can see for yourself, recognizing this is just the latest example of the continued momentum in our city center.

The Business Journal wrote about progress with the former Bucyrus campus over the weekend. Here is a PDF of the article — and check out the new, full listing for the property.

  • The downtown streetscaping project is well underway, with South Milwaukee-based EK Construction continuing with phase 2 sidewalk improvements after July 4th.
  • Work on the Bucyrus Club is full speed ahead, with the building now vacant, cleaned out and ready for a complete remodel. The project team — including future tenants Skyline Catering and the South Milwaukee Industrial Museum, and Bucyrus Foundation President Tim Sullivan — and Zimmerman Architectural Studios are planning what’s next, with construction starting in coming months and an opening next summer.
  • Down the block, DB Tax & Wealth is expanding.
  • And further east on Milwaukee, an ad hoc committee is in place to begin the new-look public space on 11th and Madison with landscape architects Saiki Design and the community at large. Construction is expected to begin in 2021, backed by $500,000 from the Bucyrus Foundation.

Progress is real, and building. And we’re just getting started.

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Keeping Our City Clean

Thanks to everyone who took part in the South Milwaukee Beautification Committee Community Cleanup on Saturday!

While it was great to see people step up to remove trash, I hope this becomes a community commitment throughout the year.

My ask: Next time you’re on a walk, or visit Grant Park, especially the beach or Seven Bridges, please take a garbage bag with you, and fill it up. In that way, we can lead dozens of neighborhood cleanups, one bag at a time.

That includes me.

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Suburban Soles Nature Walks Return on Sunday: Explore the Oak Creek

From event organizer Brian Morrison …

“Wonder & Wander along the Water” – Explore the Oak Creek

Join in on all the fun of Suburban Soles, next Sunday, June 28th as we explore the Oak Creek with EPA watershed specialists Jan Marsh. Wander along the Oak Creek water course west of the lagoon as we discuss new concepts and details about the inventory findings in the draft restoration plan for the oak creek watershed being done by the Southeastern Wisconsin Planning Commission. Hot off the press info from credible sources. Discover the future of South Milwaukee’s hidden gem and the ecology of the beautiful Oak Creek ecosystem,

Please be reminded that although this event is outdoors, we ask that all participants wear a mask and keep a minimum of 6 feet distancing for the safety and piece of mind of all those attending. Masks will be available upon request at the event, for a $1 suggested donation. Participation will be limited. 

Here is the Facebook event listing.

Here is the full list of events.

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Reminder: Join us for a City Cleanup This Saturday!

Bring your family, friends, groups and organizations for a socially distanced cleanup events. See you Saturday!

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Feeding Our Kids: School District Announces Summer Lunch, Breakfast Program

Service started yesterday, at two sites, and are free and open to all students.

From the South Milwaukee School District website

We want to be sure to offer free meals to our students who depend on the schools for meals. Our School Nutrition Services Department will be providing “grab and go” lunches along with an additional breakfast offering that is shelf stable for the following morning for all of our students. 

The meals will be free of charge and be provided at the following sites at the following times on  Meals can be picked up at any location regardless of the school you attend. Our preferred method of delivery is drive up. All visitors should leave the school property once the lunch is received.

Locations & Hours

  • High School: 12 – 12:45pm (Door #29)
  • Lakeview: 11:30am – 12pm (Door #1) *changed from door 11

Monday, 6/22 – Thursday, 8/13

  • Monday (Monday’s meal only)
  • Tuesday (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday meals only)
  • Thursday (Friday, Saturday, Sunday meals only)

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Celebrating a Champion Player, Teacher and Coach

Just before the pandemic, we lost Harold Swanson, a South Milwaukee resident who captained the 1952 Rocket state championship basketball team before leaving a lasting mark on local tennis and in the classroom.

Learn more is his obituary, and in this terrific piece on his legacy from the Racine Journal Times. Rest in peace, Coach Swanson.

Here is the proclamation I shared at a small graveside service today.

WHEREAS, Harold Otto Swanson was born in South Milwaukee on April 20, 1935, to Carl and Marion Swanson. Harold went to school in South Milwaukee, graduating from South Milwaukee High School in 1953. During his time at the high school, Harold captained the basketball team which won the Wisconsin state championship in 1952; and

WHEREAS, after graduating, Harold attended the University of Minnesota, earning letters in basketball and tennis for four years. After graduation from college, Harold began his teaching career in Minnesota for two years before returning to Milwaukee. He and Kathryn Lindall married on June 9, 1962, and would raise three children, Kristen, Thor and Erik; and

WHEREAS, after his return to Milwaukee, Harold served as the first tennis pro at the Western Tennis Club in Elm Grove for 10 years. He then taught at South Milwaukee Middle School before joining the faculty at The Prairie School in Racine, where he coached boys’ and girls’ tennis for decades, leaving a strong legacy on and off the court; and

WHEREAS, Harold led Prairie tennis teams to six state championships and individual athletes to over 50 state recognitions. In 2013, Harold was recognized as the Division II Coach of the Year by the Wisconsin Tennis Coaches’ Association, a distinction conferred by his peers. In 2014, he was inducted into the Wisconsin Tennis Coaches’ Hall of Fame. Harold’s career as a coach was based on his drive to work with students and young adults, mentoring them to be the best they could be of themselves and seeking to achieve personal growth and advancement through hard work and commitment. To Harold, trophies and “wins” were secondary to the experience of doing your best; and

WHEREAS, Swanny’s love of tennis is equal to his passion for working with students. For 46 years, Harold was a social studies teacher at Prairie, demonstrating tremendous patience and commitment, individualizing his approach to learning by organizing after-school study sessions and developing games to help students prepare for exams; and

WHEREAS, Harold passed away on March 2, 2020, leaving a legacy worthy of praise.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that I, Mayor Erik Brooks and the Common Council of the City of South Milwaukee, do hereby declare June 22, 2020, as “Harold Otto Swanson Day” in the City of South Milwaukee in recognition of a life well lived and in his honor.  

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Roll out the Barrel: Grant Park Beer Garden Opens Wednesday

Details here, and here are steps Milwaukee County is taking to ensure safety during the pandemic. They include the use of single-use cups, table sanitation, and no live music.

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Celebrating Market Day

It was a beautiful Thursday at the South Milwaukee Downtown Market, which has reopened safely and with a really nice mix of vendors.

Thank you to the organizers for working with the Health Department on a reopening strategy, and thank you to the vendors who have given the market, and South Milwaukee, a chance in these difficult times.

Check it out for yourself every Thursday, 3 to 7 p.m.

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Meet the Mayor: Announcing Three Upcoming Events

I’m happy to announce I’m restarting my Meet the Mayor events — socially distanced and outside, so they’re as safe as possible.

Here are dates, times and locations for my next three …

  • Thursday, June 25: Noon at Ferch’s Beachside (Grant Park Beach).
  • Saturday, July 25: Noon at Taco Stop MKE, 513 N. Chicago.
  • Saturday, August 29: Noon at The Tap Room, 1301 Milwaukee Ave.

Mark your calendars, and please bring your questions, comments or concerns — or just stop by, say hi and support a local business. And please bring a friend or three!

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Boys and Girls of Summer: South Milwaukee Little League Safely Reopens

It was great to see South Milwaukee Little League begins its new season tonight, with safety measures in place.

Games continue weeknights through July. Here is the schedule.

Thank you to all of the volunteers who make this happen every year, especially this year, as they’ve worked extra hard to provide some sense of normalcy in this difficult summer.

Play ball!

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It’s Time to Take Some Time Off From Facebook

I’m taking a much-needed and long-overdue break from Facebook. 

This includes my mayoral and personal pages and several others I’ve started over the years to keep people informed on more specific things like promoting Rocketober and Christmas events in South Milwaukee.

James Moran has graciously agreed to administer the Shop Local South MIlwaukee page, which I began to promote local businesses. Thanks, James!

My campaign team will continue to manage my Brooks for Assembly page. 

There remain plenty of ways to get in touch with me, stay informed, raise questions and share your thoughts on issues.

  • Follow South Milwaukee Blog. I’ll keep it going, minus comments, and will probably ramp up my posting. You can get emails every time I post by signing up from the link on the front page of my site. 
  • Email me at brooks@smwi.org
  • Call me at 414-768-8049 and leave a voicemail.
  • Write me a letter. 
  • Speak at a council meeting. 
  • Set up an in-person meeting, which I welcome and do frequently. 
  • Or find me around town at an event. 

I’ll be back to Facebook eventually, and it may be a while.

Until then, l ask you to remember the words we choose matter, especially during the generational challenges we’re facing. Let’s use words to unite, not divide; to build up, not tear down; to help, not harm. That includes me.

And let’s be stronger, together.

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South Milwaukee Firefighters Rescue Three Children From Raft in Lake Michigan

From the South Milwaukee Fire Department

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF MOTHER NATURE OR LAKE MICHIGAN!!

Shortly after 2pm this afternoon, the SMFD responded to Grant Park Beach for a report of several young children floating away from shore on an inflatable raft. While the on-duty officer responded to the beach area to identify any witnesses and attempt to identify a last known location of the raft, additional crews responded to the South Milwaukee Yacht Club to prepare our rescue boat for launch.

Upon their arrival at the beach, crews were able to make visual contact with the raft and confirmed that it was approximately 200 yards or more off shore and being pushed further out. They were also able to identify that there were several occupants still on the raft.

At the time, the winds at the lakefront were from the west at approx. 16mph. And, while the air temperature was 80 degrees, the Lake Michigan water temperature was 56 degrees. According to the National Center for Cold Water Safety, water temperature between 50-60F is considered very dangerous/immediately life-threatening and can lead to total loss of breathing control, maximum intensity cold shock, and leave a person unable to control gasping and hyperventilation.

Within 5 minutes of the launch of the rescue boat, all three patients were brought on board, provided with life jackets and blankets to keep warm and the boat was en route back to the SMYC where they were evaluated by EMS and reunited with their parents. Besides being terrified and cold, the young girls were not injured.

To say the least, these girls were lucky the SMFD is trained and equipped to respond to this type of water emergency as any more time in the water could have led to serious injury or death.

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Celebrating Independence: Decorate Your Homes and Businesses for July 4th

While we’re not coming together this July 4th, we can still proudly celebrate Independence Day.

Residents, businesses, and other organizations are encouraged to create patriotic-themed displays that we’ll share on the city website and Facebook page — so you can check them all out on your own during a virtual July 4th parade.

Submit your photo entries below or submit them using our Google form. https://forms.gle/T2ExrvW479Vbmarx5

We will upload the entries to our Facebook page, with followers being able to vote for the best of the best.

All entries must be submitted by June 29.

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