Category Archives: South Milwaukee

2018 Light Up South Milwaukee Awards: And Your Winners Are …

South Milwaukee has some terrific holiday lights displays — that much became clear as our Beautification Committee and guest judges took their tour of the top displays on Saturday. 

It was a really tough call, but we have our seven winners! 

First, a final shoutout to the 2017 honorees. We are not formally awarding last year’s winners this time around (they will be eligible again in 2019), but each of these property owners stepped up once again with some terrific displays. Be sure to check out their homes this week … 

  • 806 Lake Drive
  • 2501 8th Avenue
  • 3701 6th Avenue
  • 1333 Columbia Avenue
  • 1720 Manitoba Avenue 
  • 1306 Marquette Avenue
  • 1817 Edgewood Avenue

Now, on to our 2018 honorees. Each of these property owners receives $50 from the city, a yard sign and digital recognition. Congratulations!

1322 Edgewood Avenue
(Be sure to check out their light show set to music. Details here
737 Park Avenue
906 Fairview Avenue
1405 Columbia Avenue
1223 Noel Court
1304 18th Avenue
1113 Oak Creek Parkway 
(Those are lighted sheep, by the way. Details here.)

Here is the full list of addresses, to make your own holiday lights tour.

The judges also particularly liked these properties. Let’s call them honorable mentions, with a number very close to winning awards … 

  • 3105 Fifth Avenue
  • 3310 15th Avenue
  • 107 16th Avenue
  • 810 Carrington Avenue
  • Taco Stop at 513 N. Chicago Avenue
  • 713 Clark Avenue
  • 1216 Edgewood Avenue
  • 1305 Edgewood Avenue
  • 1233 Lakeview Avenue
  • 1237 Lakeview Avenue
  • 208 Laurel Lane
  • 1724 Manitoba Avenue 
  • 623 Menomonee Avenue
  • 1824 Milwaukee Avenue
  • 1349 Noel Court
  • 1219 Rawson Avenue
  • 3713 Russet Lane
  • 1709 Sherman Avenue
  • 1722 Sherman Avenue
  • 604 Walnut Street
  • 613 Walnut Street

And a special shoutout to the 3400, 3500 and 3600 blocks of Willow Lane. While we didn’t get any nominations from these blocks,  they are looking great. And they are not alone — it’s great to see so many entire blocks look so beautiful this time of year.

Which reminds me … we rely on nominations to make this happen, so if you have a house worthy of recognition — and I’ve seen plenty that weren’t nominated — please make sure to get them on the list in 2019!


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What’s the media covering in South Milwaukee these days?

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Helping Local: Here’s How to Give Back This Holiday

South Milwaukeeans always step up to help those in need — and that’s especially the case around Christmas.

Don’t know where to start? Here are some opportunities to give back.

First, you can help by donating cash or toys for homeless kids on Christmas Eve, as I’ve written about. Thanks to everyone who has donated toys and money for toys so far!

  • Of course, I always turn to Human Concerns, and they are serving more people than ever. I’m told they can especially use hygiene and cleaning supplies now, but please consider giving money, too. I know they can use it not only during the holiday season, but all year long. And why not give your time?
  • Get behind the effort to start the South Milwaukee Industrial Museum. Details — and links to give — here
  • Interfaith is a great organization aimed at serving our seniors that just happens to be based locally at Trinity Lutheran Church (my church). Their mission: “help older adults in the neighborhood remain living in their own homes in a safe and dignified manner.”
  • “We serve.” That’s our motto as South Milwaukee Lions. They can use your support throughout the year, financial and in man and woman power, to in turn give back to local organizations in need. The impact they have is real.
  • The Rotary Club of Mitchell Field — serving five cities, including South Milwaukee, and Bay View — is also doing some great things, from serving Thanksgiving dinners to needy families to providing college scholarships to high school seniors, and much, much more.
  • Buy a brick for Da Crusher statue! It’s coming in June. 
  • South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center. Support the terrific performing arts in South Milwaukee!
  • Want to support classroom and other projects in our terrific local schools? Start with South Milwaukee Legacy.
  • Get behind local athletes by donating to the local sports booster clubs, or give the gift of music by donating to help the South Milwaukee Music Parents.
  • Or maybe help one of the groups supporting our terrific green spaces: Friends of the Mill Pond and Oak Creek WatercourseFriends of Grant Park or Restore the Lagoon.
  • And how about the Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network? They are the nonprofit leading the public information efforts for the ongoing Oak Creek watershed restoration study.
  • Help the South Milwaukee Historical Society preserve our proud past, for our promising future.

Did I miss any? I’m sure I did. Send your favorite local charities along!


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One More Fun Holiday Event: A Christmas Bird Count

Love this! And the weather looks great.

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Empowering Local Youth: Adding a Student Advisory Trustee to the Library Board

The voice of our youth matters, and needs to be heard. 

That is why I’m proud to announce that we are adding a student advisory trustee to the South Milwaukee Library Board. 

From the position description, approved by the city council last week …

The City of South Milwaukee seeks to add a student advisory trustee to the South Milwaukee Library Board. The intention of this position to gain direct input from a student in South Milwaukee on how the public library can better serve the student population. In addition, the student advisory trustee will gain valuable experience as a volunteer on a governing board and education in library services. After completion of the application, qualified candidates will be interviewed, chosen and appointed by the Mayor of the City of South Milwaukee.

Learn more about the Library Board and apply here

And click here for more information on all of the volunteer board and commission opportunities we have, and to apply. Please consider stepping up, and spread the word on this new position!

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Reminder: Deadline for Holiday Lights Awards Submissions is Wednesday

I am seeing lots of beautiful displays out this year … make sure they are nominated for our second-annual Light Up South Milwaukee Holiday Lights Awards! More details here.

Judging is this weekend, and look for a list of winners early next week, so you can see for yourself.  Entries can be submitted via:

  • Pinned post on the City’s Facebook page.
  • Via our Google Form
  • Using our SM Works app. Look for the Light Up South Milwaukee category. 
Here is one of the 2017 winners: 806 Lake Drive.

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Lame-Duck Lawmaking is Government at its Worst

Today, the state legislature will begin taking up a series of lame-duck session bills that represent everything wrong with government, an affront to democracy and a repudiation of the will of voters in November.

I am disgusted by it, and you should be too, no matter your party affiliation and no matter who you voted for last month.

Elections have consequences, and voters spoke that they wanted divided government and what that means – compromise and true checks and balances. But rather than listen, here we stand, with lawmakers willing to cast those results aside in favor of changing the rules at the 11th hour of an executive leadership change, simply because they can.

This power grab should offend everyone.

From a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel summary of the bills …

Among the proposals are ones to limit the governor’s powers, weaken the attorney general and restrict early voting to two weeks before an election. Currently, some communities provide as many as six weeks of early voting …

The measures would strip many powers from Kaul and eliminate a powerful office within the Department of Justice that was created in 2015 under Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel and handles high-profile cases on appeal. 

Lawmakers are also considering separating the 2020 presidential primary election from an April spring election to reduce voter turnout in an effort to boost the election chances of a conservative Supreme Court justice. In another proposal, lawmakers will consider using new revenue from online sales taxes to slightly reduce the individual income tax rate. 

The election date change is particularly galling, a brazen attempt to use the legislative process to influence the outcome of an election.

Don’t take my word for it; ask the leader of the Senate.

Raw party politics aside, this change would have real, costly consequences in communities across the state, including South Milwaukee, and we have rightfully joined hundreds of others in speaking out against it.

Clerks across the state are sending letters similar to this to lawmakers, working through the League of Wisconsin Municipalities …  

Even if the state were to cover the substantial costs municipalities would incur by moving the election, there are significant logistical difficulties with conducting a stand-alone presidential primary in March, which will prove hard to overcome. Each election involves many weeks of intense preparation followed by weeks of post-election wrap up work. I and my staff are charged with hiring and training election inspectors, administering absentee balloting, including the increasingly popular in-person absentee voting, registering voters, securing polling locations, holding a public test, publishing notices, entering election reporting along with participation data for each elector voting and performing all of the other tasks necessary to conduct a well-run election. We barely have sufficient time to accomplish the myriad election tasks necessary between the February primary and the spring election in April. Adding another election in March risks stretching the ability of local governments to administer a smooth, secure, and error free election process.

But this is just the start. Other items in this lame duck session are worse, because they seek to roll back or limit powers previously granted to the governor and attorney general simply because they are being replaced by Democrats. This one may be illegal. 

Still, that hasn’t stopped Republicans, who are trying to desperately rewrite the playbook before the clock strikes zero, before they lose their grip on full power and before — gasp! – they actually have to start working in a bipartisan way to get things done.

Incoming Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes put it best in a tweet when word of this abomination first leaked. “Just making up the rules as they go,” he wrote. “I remember a time when it was just the goal posts, but now they want to move the whole field.”

We should not let them, both parties. Yes, both parties. Democrats pull these stunts, too, including pushing lame duck legislation of their own in 2009. And it’s happened (and is happening) in other states.

That doesn’t make it right. 

We need to end lame-duck sessions and move up the start date of newly elected officials to make sure nothing like this happens again. Until we do, do not accept the “Democrats would do the same thing, so that makes it OK!” argument, an all-too-popular one these days. I don’t buy it when my kids use it — “Well, she did it too!” — and we should not buy it now as lawmakers prepare to take the kind of action they are proposing.

Instead, let’s stand together for good government, and against the opposite.

We are better than this.

To our legislators, and outgoing governor: We are watching. Do the right thing.

Make sure your voice is heard! Email Rep. Rodriguez at and Sen. Larson at Get contact information for all lawmakers here. 


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