Category Archives: South Milwaukee

Welcome Back, Rocketober!

I love fall in South Milwaukee. That means it’s Rocketober!

And while the list of events is a little shorter this year, there is still plenty to celebrate in coming weeks, all leading up to Halloween trick-or-treating.

Check out the PDF schedule here, and on the Rocketober Facebook page.

Please patronize these local events! (And if I missed something, email me at

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Businesses of All Sizes Are Investing in South Milwaukee Growth

One is a manufacturer who found the space it needed to accomodate rapid growth in support of the world’s largest shipping companies.

Another is an espresso and milkshake business owned by two local entrepreneurs looking to build on their successful food truck operation with a brick-and-mortar location.

Another is a young couple going all in on their love of baking for farmers’ markets to now include a storefront and wholesale operation.

All of them chose South Milwaukee in which to grow.

And they are not alone. Here are a few stops I made just this week.

Steele Solutions

I was excited to meet Steele Solutions, Inc. owner, President and CEO Kevin O’Neill and his team on Monday. He took us on a tour of their manufacturing facility in the former Bucyrus campus, where we got to hear about the millions of dollars of investment and up 200 jobs they are bringing to our city, as they look to serve customers like FedEx, UPS and Amazon in the fast-growing mezzanine and steel structure business. They are committed to growing here and will be an anchor for the reborn campus, and our downtown. Welcome to South Milwaukee!

Better Together Cafe

This is another small business success story for South Milwaukee — and an amazing transformation of this space. The espresso milkshakes aren’t bad either. Learn more about Zach, Becky and the Better Together Cafe (now open in the former Dairy Queen at 1301 N. Chicago Ave.) on their website and Facebook. And try the s’mores shake, shown here.

Wild Flour/Stephen’s Breads

I was also happy to welcome Stephen and Christine Blanchard to South Milwaukee, as the new owners of Wild Flour Bakery downtown. They are committed to investing in the business, from wholesaling to farmers’ markets to the retail bakery at 1205 Milwaukee Avenue — and the upgrades are already underway. Welcome to South Milwaukee!

More here …

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Homecoming 2021 in Pictures: Thanks, J&J Double Take

The Hammer is back in South Milwaukee!

From the Thursday evening parade, pep rally and bonfire to the 51-8 victory over Cudahy to the halftime ceremony with the announcement of the $1 million contribution from the Bucyrus Foundation for a new football field … Homecoming 2021 was a really fun couple of days for the entire community.

Relive it with some amazing images from J&J Double Take. Thanks, Julie and Jodi!

Thursday: Parade

Thursday: Pep Rally and Bonfire

Friday’s Game: South Milwaukee 51, Cudahy 8

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It’s Homecoming Week 2021! Here’s Your Schedule

It’s Homecoming Week! Show your support this Thursday and Friday, as the Rockets prepare to take on Cudahy and try to win back the Hammer.

Thursday Homecoming Events

  • 6 p.m. Parade begins. Staging is near 15th and Maple Avenues, and the parade heads north on 15th to Oak Creek Parkway, ending near the pep rally and bonfire.
  • After the parade (about 6:45 p.m.): Homecoming pep rally, behind Galewski Field
  • After the pep rally (about 7 p.m.): Homecoming bonfire

Then at 7 p.m. on Friday it’s kickoff against the Packers! The Rockets are looking to rebound from last week’s loss to Whitnall after opening the season 3-0. Cudahy is 0-3 and has been outscored, 127-0, so far this season.

If you haven’t yet experienced this tradition, you should. Go Rockets!

Thanks to J&J DoubleTake for the beautiful photos from last week’s game against Whitnall.

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South Milwaukee High School, Middle School Resume Classes After Lockdown Following Threats; One Arrested, Two Others Being Referred for Charges

Thank you to the South Milwaukee School District and South Milwaukee Police Department for their professional handling of these dual threats today. Thankfully, three suspects were quickly identified, with one arrest.

Here is the SMPD press release …

On the morning of September 14, 2021, the South Milwaukee Police Department was notified of a threat toward the South Milwaukee High School. The threat came to a student, via text message, indicating the school would be ‘shot up.’

The South Milwaukee Police Department investigated the incident and arrested a 16 year old juvenile, from Milwaukee, as a result of the investigation. The arrestee is not a current student at South Milwaukee High School.

On the morning of September 14, 2021, the South Milwaukee Police Department was also notified of a photo which included a bomb threat toward the South Milwaukee Schools.

The South Milwaukee Police Department investigated the incident, identified two suspects and have interviewed both juveniles, who admitted to the threat. There is no actual threat of harm, based on the investigation. The juveniles will be referred for charges.

The South Milwaukee High School and Middle have resumed classes.

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Half of South Milwaukee Has Not Been Vaccinated

Just half of all South Milwaukeeans have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19. That’s not enough, by a lot. We are lagging the state and other suburbs as new cases continue to mount.

There were 33 new confirmed cases in South Milwaukee this week alone, after 44 last week. In the last four weeks, we have had 124. And since the start of the pandemic, more than 2,500 residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

This is taking a toll on young people as well.

Across the county last week, 463 COVID cases were reported among those 18 and under, and 490 the week prior. Thirty-seven kids were hospitalized last week in the county, 24 the week before.

Locally, the South Milwaukee School District reported today seven students have tested positive for COVID-19 since school began less than two weeks ago, with another 108 absent due to close contact or with symptoms. Another five staff members are isolating or quarantining due to positive tests, symptoms, or contact.

You can get plenty more data — including updated vaccination figures — in the city’s weekly Situational Briefing, in the charts below, and from the school district, Milwaukee County and State of Wisconsin dashboards.

But this is about more than data. While it must inform our decisions (and is), This is about personal responsibility — doing what it takes to slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent unneccessary illness and death.

We are 18 months into this, and too many people are still getting sick.

That has to change, and that starts with getting vaccinated. Thousands have chosen not to in South Milwaukee, and those choices are bringing with them consequences, sometimes tragic.

We must do better. Get vaccinated, South Milwaukee. Learn more here.

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Honoring a Legacy: Bucyrus Foundation Announces Historic $10 Million Investment in South Milwaukee

I am so excited to join in making this announcement this morning. Here is the press release, with much, much more to come as we bring this investment to life in the next decade.

Honoring a Legacy: Bucyrus Foundation Announces Historic $10 Million Investment in South Milwaukee

SOUTH MILWAUKEE — The Bucyrus Foundation is making a generational, legacy-ensuring investment in the city it called home for almost 120 years. 

The foundation on Thursday, Sept. 9, announced a $10 million contribution to many of the institutions that make South Milwaukee uniquely South Milwaukee. The gift will come as a series of $1 annual million donations over the next decade, and be administered through the City of South Milwaukee and South Milwaukee School District, which will receive $2 million of the overall contribution.

Funds will build on the foundation’s $2 million grant in 2020 toward the launch of the Bucyrus Club and Event Center/Bucyrus Museum and development of Bucyrus Commons, a downtown public gathering space. 

The new $10 million contributions will fund the following … 

Downtown South Milwaukee redevelopment, potentially laying a foundation for the creation of an entity focused on investments in property acquisition and rehabilitation, business attraction and retention, public improvements, marketing, events and other initiatives aimed at revitalizing South Milwaukee’s city center;  

The South Milwaukee School District, with a focus on investments in athletics and STEM and manufacturing career education; 

Public spaces and greenspaces, including initiatives to help fund city- and Milwaukee County-owned parks and other natural areas like Bucyrus Commons, the South Milwaukee War Memorial, Grant Park, the Oak Creek Watershed and other areas in the city; and 

A grant program for South Milwaukee nonprofit organizations, including South Milwaukee Human Concerns, a significant recipient of Bucyrus support prior to the sale of the company in 2011. 

“Since we announced our gift for the Bucyrus Club and downtown public space in 2020, we have been looking for ‘what’s next.’ And we wanted ‘what’s next’ to be a lasting investment in the city we embraced for a century, and that embraced us. This is it,” Bucyrus Foundation Chairman and former Bucyrus President Tim Sullivan said. “We couldn’t be more excited to step up in this way to help the residents, business owners, and students of South Milwaukee. South Milwaukee’s success was always our success, and we are proud to honor that legacy with this donation.”

The Bucyrus Foundation has approved the contribution. 

Said South Milwaukee Mayor Erik Brooks: “This is a historic day in our city. These funds will have lasting impact across South Milwaukee and will further strengthen the legacy of this storied company in our city. We could not deliver South Milwaukee’s promising future without partners like Tim and the Bucyrus Foundation, and we can not thank them enough for their generosity. We are excited to start strategically investing these funds.”

Said South Milwaukee School Superintendent Jeff Weiss: “We are honored the foundation chose our local schools as one of the key recipients of this contribution. Tim and the foundation understand the importance of education to the future of South Milwaukee, the state and the country, and we share that commitment. We look forward to working with them to invest these funds and lift up our students, staff and community.”

About Bucyrus

Established in 1880, The Bucyrus Foundry and Manufacturing Company of Bucyrus, Ohio found themselves landlocked by 1890 and could not expand beyond their existing 1.5-acre location. A delegation of South Milwaukee founders visited Bucyrus, and after protracted negotiations, a contract was signed on October 3, 1891: Bucyrus would move from Ohio to Wisconsin. The South Milwaukee Company would pay Bucyrus $50,000 in cash and provide deeds to land valued at $45,000.

The company officially began operations in South Milwaukee in April of 1893, and would incorporate in Wisconsin as the Bucyrus Steam Shovel and Dredge Company on August 16, 1893. It continued to serve as the dominant employer in South Milwaukee for more than 118 years. Early South Milwaukee machine production focused on railroad and dredge equipment. Its railroad cranes, pile drivers, and steam shovels helped to build the world’s infrastructure. Most notably, 77 steam shovels were provided for the construction of the Panama Canal between 1902 and 1911. During that period, 60% of the company’s shipments were steam shovels, with 30% in dredges. Railroad wrecking cranes and pile drivers made up the balance.

The company changed names a few years later to become just The Bucyrus Company. In 1927 Bucyrus purchased the Erie Steam Shovel Company and changed the name to Bucyrus-Erie. By the early 1950’s, “BE” machines would be performing work on every continent as the company became the world’s largest construction and mining machine manufacturer.

Bucyrus-Erie again changed its name in 1997 to Bucyrus International, Inc. to reflect the worldwide business reputation that the company enjoyed. Bucyrus eventually purchased three of its largest competitors, Marion Power Shovel, DBT America, and Terex to make South Milwaukee the headquarters of the largest mining machinery supplier in the world. At one point, Bucyrus employed more than 2,400 people in South Milwaukee alone, and had more than 11,000 employees operating in 17 plants and subsidiary service operations worldwide.

In July of 2011, the company was purchased by Caterpillar. The products were rebranded and the Bucyrus name would no longer be used.

About the Bucyrus Foundation

The Bucyrus Foundation was formed in the 1970s. In 2002, the company transferred its foundation to the Greater Milwaukee Foundation. In recent years, the foundation has supported a number of South Milwaukee initiatives, including a $1.5 million contribution in 2020 toward construction of the Bucyrus Club & Event Center and Bucyrus Museum, which opened in downtown South Milwaukee in July. The foundation is also contributing $500,000 toward the Bucyrus Commons project, a public event space in downtown South Milwaukee. Additionally, the foundation has recently supported a downtown South Milwaukee revitalization grant program, funding of the city’s economic development director position and a community grant program.

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Rocket Takeoff: High-Powered Offense Lifts South Milwaukee Football Team to Best Start in 7 Years

The South Milwaukee football team is 3-0 for the first time since 2014 — and wearing out the Spaltholz Field touchdown cannon.

The Rockets beat Greenfield, 47-21, on Friday behind three touchdown passes by Raef Pawlak, and a ground attack led by Devan Fitzpatrick (142 yards, one touchdown) and Aalijaah Jones (137 yards, two scores).

Pawlak completed 16-of-20 passes for 136 yards, with nine completions to Sam Ortiz. Colin Bertrand had six catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Jones also had a 62-yard fumble return for a touchdown.

South Milwaukee is averaging 45.3 points per game this season and has scored at least 40 in every game this season. The Rockets are now ranked No. 20 in the area.

And it’s been a true team effort …

  • Pawlak is 27-of-43 for 284 yards on the season, with four touchdowns.
  • Fitzpatrick has rushed 36 times for 492 yards (22nd best in the state, for a 13.7-yard average) and three touchdowns.
  • Jones has six touchdowns — three rushing, two kickoff returns and a fumble return.
  • Bertrand has 10 caches for 206 yards and three scores. Ortiz has 13 receptions for 103 yards.

More information on Wisconsin Sports Network.

Next up for the varsity team: It’s at Whitnall at 7 p.m. on Friday. Then it’s Homecoming against Cudahy on Sept. 17. Go Rockets!

A continued thanks to Julie and Jodie from J&J Double Take for the amazing photos!

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Here Is Your 2021 Crusherfest Schedule

This will be a memorable couple of days in South Milwaukee — and one of the most unique celebrations in the country.

Get the most up-to-date information on Da Crusher Facebook page.

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Historic Downtown Investment: $46 Million Mixed-Use Development Proposed for Portion of Former Bucyrus Campus

Developer Scott Crawford Inc. is proposing an estimated $46 million mixed-use development for the former Bucyrus campus in downtown South Milwaukee, potentially bringing hundreds of new residents to our city center.

The South Milwaukee Plan Commission heard details about the project on Tuesday, voting 5-1 to direct city staff to work with GRAEF and the developer to begin developing a zoning overlay district necessary for the development to proceed. Future meetings of the Plan Commission and South Milwaukee Common Council will include consideration of a potential city contribution (through tax incremental financing) and the additional project details.

You can learn more about the proposal in the Business Journal and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. From the JS …

The new full application from Scott Crawford, Inc. includes 167 apartment and loft-style units at 1100 Milwaukee Ave. across from Da Crusher statue in South Milwaukee’s downtown. The proposal, presented to the city’s plan commission on Aug. 31, would also include the construction of a new building on the campus, in addition to renovating the Heritage and Technical buildings to primarily residential housing.

The Heritage building would see the most changes, according to the submitted plans, with aluminum windows replacing much of the brick facade, allowing for residential loft-style units, both one- and two-bedroom. The Heritage building would also include 8,000 square feet of commercial space for a “food provider”;  previous plans had hinted at a restaurant or possibly a brewery/distillery in the space.

Most of the development’s amenities would be housed in the Technical building, including community and media rooms, a fitness suite and more. Outside areas throughout the development would be made “transit-friendly” and include two “art alleys,” a dog park, permeable pavement and more green space.

The new building, to be constructed in the parking lot east of the railroad tracks, would feature three-bedroom townhomes on the first floor “specifically targeted to working families and empty nesters,” according to plans submitted to the city. One- and two-bedroom units would be on the two floors.

The Corporate building would retain 30,000 square feet of office space to lease. Que El-Amin, principal at Scott Crawford, Inc., said he would look for a tenant for the Corporate building such as a business or possibly link with an educational institution like Milwaukee Area Technical College.

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Rocket Power: South Milwaukee Football Team Moves to 2-0 After Comeback Win

The South Milwaukee football team is 2-0 after a big comeback win over Wauwatosa East on Friday.

Aalijah Jones returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown for the second week in a row, and Cooper Vail came off the bench to throw two second-half touchdowns — including a 69-yarder to Colin Bertrand — as South Milwaukee scored the final 13 points in the fourth quarter.

Jones also had a three-yard TD run to tie the game. The extra point from Eddie Arias provided the final margin.

Devan Fitzpatrick had 175 yards rushing and a 44-yard TD in the second quarter to put the Rockets up 19-0. Tosa East then scored 24 unanswered points before Vail connected with Max Johnson on a five-yard score. A two-point run by Myles Molina put the Rockets up 27-24 before Tosa East scored the first 15 points of the four quarter.

Vail was 5-for-7 passing for 104 yards and the two scores. Bertrand and Sam Ortiz had four catches each.

Next up for South Milwaukee is 1-1 Greenfield on Friday, Sept. 3, at Spaltholz Field. Kickoff is 7 p.m.

Here is South Milwaukee’s schedule. Check out the full box score from Tosa East here.

Thanks for the beautiful photos, Julie and Jodie from J and J Double Take!

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August 21, 2021: It’s Coach Druckrey Day in South Milwaukee!

Today, I had the honor of recognizing South Milwaukee coaching legend Stan Druckrey with a proclamation — and declaring August 21, 2021, Coach Druckrey Day in South Milwaukee.

Congratulations, Stan! I have had the pleasure of getting to know Coach Druckrey well in recent years, and he is an amazing example of the impact teachers and coaches can have on peoples’ lives. Case in point: The alumni in the photo of the above, who came back to race (and honor their former coach) on Saturday.

Here’s to another 50 years, coach!

From the proclamation, shared ahead of the start of the annual Alumni Meet at Grant Park …

August 21, 2021: Coach Druckrey Day in South Milwaukee

WHEREAS, Stan Druckrey has been guiding young athletes in the City of South Milwaukee for five decades; including as head boys’ and girls’ cross-country coach for 50 years and head girls’ track-and-field coach for 45 seasons; and

WHEREAS, during Stan’s tenure as cross-country coach, he has had at least one individual or team participate in the WIAA state championships for 22 of the past 23 years, guiding Lauren Kleppin to an individual state title in 2006 and Jordan Janusiak to a fifth-place finish in 2017. Coach Druckrey’s top team results at the state meet were a third-place finish for the boys in 2017 and sixth for the girls in 1992; and

WHEREAS, Stan has also had a distinguished career in guiding track athletes, with at least one Rocket girl qualifying for the WIAA meet in 42 of his 45 seasons. This includes state champion Sue Spaltholz in the 440-yard dash in 1979; and

WHEREAS, Stan is an accomplished track athlete himself. He is on the UW-La Crosse Wall of Fame, where he ran hurdles and sprints and still holds nine school records, reaching the semifinals in qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Team as a hurdler in 1972. Stan is also a member of USA Track & Field’s Masters Hall of Fame; and 

WHEREAS, Coach Druckrey is also a dedicated member of his community, holding the position of physical education teacher at South Milwaukee High School for 32 years before his retirement in 2003. He has been married to his wife Nancy for 52 years and they have two children, Amy and Tom; and

WHEREAS, Stan’s passion for coaching and dedication to his students and athletes have positively impacted countless lives throughout the years.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that I, Mayor Erik Brooks, and the Common Council of the City of South Milwaukee do hereby congratulate Coach Stan Druckrey on his many years of service to South Milwaukee students, athletes, and the community, and are proud to declare August 21, 2021, Coach Druckrey Day in the City of South Milwaukee. 

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Ready for Some Football? Rockets Open 2021 Season Friday at Spaltholz Field

It’s back to fall football.

After a shortened spring season due to the pandemic, South Milwaukee opens its 2021 season by hosting Whitefish Bay Dominican in its opener on Friday, August 20, at Spaltholz Field. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

Check out the full schedule here, and here is a Woodland Conference season preview. From it …

Greendale is the most established program in the new-look Woodland, which features a collection of teams from the old Woodland East and West and has Grafton joining after years in the North Shore. The Black Hawks are the biggest challengers to Greendale thanks to their size and strength in the trenches. Whitnall has a chance to be the sleeper in the conference after a strong start to its spring season nearly saw it beat undefeated Greendale before attrition hit the program. After those three teams, the conference features a heavy load of programs looking to find their footing and earn a playoff spot.

The rockets finished 3-3 in the alternate spring season — check out results and stats here.

Go Rockets!

Update: You can also watch the game on YouTube!

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Police in the Community: Bike With a Cop Set for Saturday, August 21

I love how engaged the South Milwaukee Police Department is in the community, especially with its events.

Recent examples include the DARE Golf Outing and Community Night Out, and another opportunity is Saturday, August 21, as the SMPD hosts Bike with a Cop, starting at 10 a.m. at the department.

More details on Facebook, and in the image with this post.

And here are some shots from Community Night Out earlier this month. Thank you to all of the volunteers, community and law enforcement organizations who helped make this happen!

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October 9-10: Crusherfest 2021!

Beer. Food. Polka. Beer. Wrestling.

Learn more on the Facebook event page, and on Da Crusher web page, where you can find the music lineup. And see coverage from the Milwaukee Record and NOW.

Mark your calendars, turnkey necks!

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