Category Archives: South Milwaukee

Silent Sky: South Milwaukee Alumni Return for Shows Jan. 15-17

From the South Milwaukee Theatre Company …

On January 15 through 17 at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, a group of SMHS theatre alumni will be performing a production of Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson. 

The play is about Henrietta Leavitt, a Wisconsin native who went to Cambridge to work in an astronomy office at Harvard and, in her spare time, performed groundbreaking research that made her the first person to measure the distance between stars.

This was originally supposed to be part of our high school theater season with performances last June, but COVID prevented that from happening. We gathered a group of alumni together who still wanted to find a way to put on the show, and passed out scripts in August before most of them went off to college for the fall semester. We’ve been rehearsing while they’ve been home for winter break.

While this is not a high school event, we are doing it to support the high school arts. All money from ticket sales for the show will be donated to the SMHS theatre program.

We’re hopeful that this will be the first of more alumni-based productions to come in the future, so we can bring more theater to South Milwaukee and build up a community of people who care about the arts and the PAC!

Show times are January 15th and 16th at 7:30 PM and January 17th at 2 PM. Tickets are available at The PAC is doing a fantastic job of making its facilities safe for small productions like these; all patrons must wear masks and will be kept appropriately distanced in the theater.

Here is the team involved in the production:

  • Actors: Anna Basha (SMHS ’20) as Henrietta Leavitt, Grant Latus (SMHS ’16) as Peter Shaw, Lia Krystowiak (SMHS ’20) as Margaret Leavitt, Jessica Calteux (SMHS ’19) as Annie Cannon, Elizabeth Karnowski (SMHS ’19) as Williamina Fleming
  • Production: Tim Backes (SMHS ’06), Director; Natasha Bernovich (SMHS ’20), Stage Manager; Jack Millane (SMHS ’17), Lighting Design; Caitlyn Birmingham (SMHS ’16), Costume Design; Cara Jenquin (SMHS ’21), Sound Design; and Marina Bernovich (SMHS ’18), Deck Chief

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The Next Day

This can’t be America. We can’t let this be America.

Division and discord can’t define us, even though we know they too often do, exacerbated most recently by our president and the pandemic. They defined us again on Wednesday, one of our darkest days.

We have to reckon with that as a nation.

As we do, the work of local government gives me hope today.

It comforts me knowing that work will continue, driven by leaders who seek to unite us, and delivered by people who won’t be deterred by the riotous acts of a mob a thousand miles away.

Our Health Department will continue to lead our fight against COVID-19, as it prepares to administer our first doses of the coronavirus vaccine, while continuing to test the community, track the illness and offer guidance on a safe and responsible reopening.

Our first reponders will go about their work as they always do, keeping us safe from harm and saving lives.

Our Street Department will pick up your trash. Our Senior Center will distribute meals to seniors over the lunch hour. Our clerk and treasurer’s office will keep working behind the scenes as they always do, as will our engineering, economic development, inspection, assessment, administration and other teams. The library will open as usual. Water will flow from your tap, your toilet will flush, and our water and wastewater utilities will continue to live out their promse of clean water.

Knowing that reassures me, especially on days like this.

It doesn’t diminish what happened in Washington D.C., and the need to hold those behind it accountable. It doesn’t diminish the need for those who support the insurrection we saw to take stock and speak out against it. It doesn’t diminish the hard work ahead in healing this country as a whole, starting today.

It does make me proud to lead the team I do. Let’s get to work, together.

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2021 Spring Election: Competition for School Board, District 2 Aldermanic Seats

There will be competition for two South Milwaukee School Board seats and the South Milwaukee Common Council’s Second District this spring.

Candidate paperwork to get on the ballot was due on Tuesday.

Here are the local candidates who will be on the ballot on April 6 (no primary in these races) …

South Milwaukee School Board (two seats; three-year terms)

  • Incumbents David Maass and Jon Shelenske and challengers Steven Champagne and Angie DeFord

South Milwaukee Common Council (two seats per district; three-year terms)

  • First District: Incumbents Brett Breisemeister and Craig Maass
  • Second District: Incumbents R. Patrick Stoner and Ramon Navarro, and challenger Tim Backes
  • Third District: Incumbents Joseph Bukowski and Lisa Pieper
  • Fourth District: Incumbents David Bartoshevich and Peggy Clark

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South Shore COVID Testing Site To Continue Through Early 2021

From the South Milwaukee and St. Francis Health Department …

After conducting over 10,000 tests since it opened in late October, the South Shore Testing Site has proven to be a vital resource to bridge testing gaps in the southeastern part of Milwaukee County. We are pleased to announce the South Shore COVID-19 Testing Site will continue operations through early 2021.

For more details, see the press release here:

The site is being offered as a collaborative effort between the South Milwaukee/St. Francis Health Department, Cudahy WI Health Department, Oak Creek Health Department, the Wisconsin National Guard, the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management, and the City of Milwaukee Health Department.

Tests are free for everyone ages 5 and older. No appointment necessary. Please pre-register for testing through COVID Connect at:

I am thankful we can continue to offer this service during the pandemic, and so appreciative of the partnerships necessary to make it happen, as local governments continue to step up to fill this critical need. We are stronger, together, especially during a pandemic.

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Friends Wanted: Step Up To Support the South Milwaukee Public Library

A message from the Friends of South Milwaukee Public Library …

Are you interested in helping your local community? The Friends of the South Milwaukee Public Library, a 501(c)(3) is looking for new volunteers and a Vice President and Treasurer for its board. Our volunteers and Officers help the Friends raise awareness and funds for the public library. Give us a shout at to learn about these volunteer opportunities. We can’t wait to meet you!

More details on the Friends web page.

And be sure to check out their Book Nook clearance sale!

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2020 Light Up South Milwaukee Awards: And The Winners Are …

Congratulations to our 2020 Light Up South Milwaukee Holiday Lights Award winners! Thank you to everyone who submitted photos and took the time to vote for your favorites.

Check them out in the images in the post, and take your own holiday lights tour in the next few days.

A special congratulations to these business/business property owners for sharing their displays:

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Downtown Public Gathering Space: A Plan to Bring the Community Together

It’s a summer Thursday evening in South Milwaukee, and you’re looking forward to a stop at the Downtown Market on the way home from work. You park along Milwaukee Avenue.

As you walk toward the vendors along 11th Avenue, you see a group of people sipping local craft beer around a firepit. “Why not?” you think, as a couple of friends motion you over to their table. You stop at the outdoor bar, share a joke with the bartender, and join your friends for a cold one.

You soon continue on your mission, walking past Da Crusher Statue and into the farmers’ market. By now, you can hear music in the distance. But first things first: It’s time to grab dinner. Should it be Mexican, Chinese, or maybe a freshly made burger? As you decide, you pick up some fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce for tomorrow night’s meal, and can’t resist the kettle corn, roasted nuts and honey either. You make your purchases, walk across a new 11th crosswalk, and look for a place to sit down.

You walk into the covered pavilion, the perfect place to enjoy dinner. You see a couple more friends and sit next to them, out of the sunlight and near the fireplace. Now enveloped by the music, you look east and see what’s in front of you: a well-manicutred grassy knoll, with picnic tables leading to a large stage, where a local jazz group has kids of all ages out of their seats dancing. You look to your left and note the restrooms; you’ll visit those before you head out. Beyond them, you take note of the alley — and artwork. Colorful murals stretch down the block, providing a beautiful boundary to one of the coolest new places in the South Shore.

This is vision for the new downtown South Milwaukee gathering place.

Last week, the South Milwaukee Common Council got a chance to weigh in on the concept plan for the space planned for the area near 11th and Milwaukee Avenues — which, if fully built out, could look and feel very similar to what I described above. Phase one is the focus for now.

I’m excited about what they saw, and I hope you are too. This will be the latest transformational deveopment for our city center, and I’m hoping to see shovels in the ground for phase one next year.

From the South Milwaukee website

In early 2020, the City of South Milwaukee, in partnership with the Bucyrus Foundation, announced plans to acquire the property at 1919 12th Avenue and to invest in a public plaza at 11th and Madison Avenue.  

The property at 1919 12th Avenue is being transformed into the Bucyrus Club, an event space and museum with Skyline Catering and the South Milwaukee Industrial Museum. Construction is underway, and it will open in the summer of 2021.  

The second portion of the project is the site at 11th and Madison Avenue, space is currently used for the Downtown Market, a beer garden, and as the home for events like Crusherfest and the Festival of Trees. In early 2020, the City, looking to make the site into a more permanent space, hired a design firm to help determine the future of the site, in partnership with the community at large and a number of stakeholders. After several stakeholder committee meetings and two public surveys, the developed design can be seen above.  

The redevelopment is likely to be phased, with the initial focus on the “event lawn” area as phase one. Plans for the first phase include construction of a stage and covered pavilion, with restrooms, and creation of an improved lawn seating area. Improvements to the adjacent areas — which could include a beer garden, heated seating area, improvements to 11th Avenue and the addition of an activated alley space with murals — are in the City’s long-term plans.  

To view the full master plan presentation from Saiki Design, click here. The Plan Commission, Common Council, and Joint Review Board will be exploring this potential project further in 2021. Check back for updates! 

Thank you to everyone who took part in the feedback process. More than 720 people offered their thoughts and opinions throughout the process, and we’ve incorporated that feedback into a design we think the entire community can be proud of.

Check out Milwaukee Journal Sentinel coverage here.

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Festival of Trees: Creativity On Display Downtown

The Festival of Trees is open, and the trees are ready for viewing!

Thanks to Caterpillar employees for organizing this new South Milwaukee holiday tradition, to Ace Hardware for donating the trees, and to all of the organizations and businesses who stepped up to deocrate trees.

Beautiful! See for yourself as we head into Christmas.

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100 Years Later, Rebirth Coming of a Downtown South Milwaukee Destination

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the opening of the original Bucyrus Club. About seven months from today, it will be be reborn.

Work is well underway on the project at 12th and Milwaukee Avenues, a combination banquet center and museum that will bring together our proud past and promising future to create a unique regional destination and catalyst for growth in our city center.’s Bobby Tanzilo authored a terrific “Urban Spelunking” story about the project today.

Thank to you to the Bucyrus Foundation, Skyline Catering and the South Milwaukee Industrial Museum for their partnership on this project, and to Zimmerman Architectural Studios and CG Schmidt for bringing this vision to life. You can actually book the space right now here:

From the story: “You’d be hard pressed to find a South Milwaukee family that didn’t celebrate a wedding or a birthday, or attend a high school reunion or an awards ceremony, or even just eat a fish fry and play pinochle there. ‘The Club’ was a major focus of South Milwaukee social life for decades.”

It will be again. Much more to come in 2021!

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Voting Now Open! Let Us Know Your Favorite Holiday Lights Displays

Thank you to everyone who submitted their entries for the 2020 Light Up South Milwaukee Holiday Lights Awards. We received over 60 entries and are now looking for your help.

We need your help in choosing the “Best of the Best”! To vote, please comment on this post on the South Milwaukee Facebook page or react to the photos you think are the best.

Voting will end on Monday, December 21. Spread the word!

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South Shore Representative Rodriguez Named to Joint Finance Committee

Congratulations to South Shore Rep. Jessie Rodriguez on her appointment today as an Assembly representative on the Wisconsin legislature’s powerful Joint Finance Committee.

Here is the press release. From it …

I am incredibly honored that Speaker Robin Vos has placed his trust in me to serve on the Joint Committee on Finance. The primary responsibility of this committee is to review our state’s revenues and appropriations. Its role in the budget-writing process will be of the utmost importance going into the next biennium.

The pandemic has caused a lot of uncertainty for Wisconsinites and their budgets. Similarly, the pandemic is causing economic uncertainty and presenting new challenges as we head into another legislative budget process. Next year, as we work on a new biennial budget, it will be crucial to look at our revenues and expenditures with a critical eye and make sure we’re putting forth a careful and fiscally responsible budget for Wisconsin. I’m ready to get to work on this important task.

I wish Rep. Rodriguez nothing but the best on this critical commitee, and I look forward to working her, State Sen. Chris Larson and all lawmakers to move move South Milwaukee and the South Shore forward.

This is a critical time, as we look to state government for strong and unified leadership — and action — to address the pandemic, while confronting what figures to be one of the most difficult budgets in decades. I’ll proudly advocate for South Milwaukee every step of the way, reminding all lawmakers about the importance of local goverment in delivering the services that touch people every day.

I’m hopeful Rep. Rodriguez’s appointment will serve to amplify our voice — now, more than ever. It’s been more than eight months since Madison lawmakers passed any legislation. Let’s get to work.

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Confronting Gun Violence Through Theater: South Milwaukee Students Bring Alum’s Unique Project to Life Tonight

South Milwaukee High School theater students continue to show their creativity with unique performances during the pandemic — tonight, in partnershp with a Rocket alumnus.

From 2004 alum Michael Cotey …

For the better part of a year, I’ve been working on a project called #ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence, a theatre social activism initiative engaging young people to confront gun violence through playwriting. Our culminating event begins today and I’d love for you to check it out!

All you have to do is create an account with BOD with an email.

Here’s a trailer for our work:

Selected by award-winning playwrights Lauren Gunderson, David Henry Hwang, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Robert Schenkkan, and Karen Zacarías, these seven powerful short plays written and performed by teens nationwide confront gun violence through the lenses of race, police brutality, community violence, school shootings, and American mythology. Co-produced by Alliance Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company, Berkeley Rep, Goodman Theatre, Orlando Repertory Theatre, and South Coast Repertory. 

There are also 50+ unique readings happening across the country.

More details on the project here, and more on Michael’s other work here.

And here is more information from the South Milwaukee High School Theater Company …

If you want to tune in to a live stream of SMHS Thespians Present ENOUGH: Plays to End Gun Violence this evening, we will be streaming live in addition to hosting in person. The event begins at 7:30. Doors open at 7 for in-person attendees.For those coming in person tonight, reminder that admission is free, but we will be accepting cash and check donations, all of which will be going toward the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort. You can make checks out to “SMHS Dramatics,” and we will be sending the organization one check encompassing all cash/check donations. Here’s the Zoom link!

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Lights, Trees, Santa and More: Ways to Celebrate a (Safe) Christmas This Month

Taking a holiday tour around South Milwaukee …

  • New in 2020: Thank a veteran at the War Memorial. The Christmas tree is up and decorated at the South Milwaukee Veterans Memorial, thanks to the Street Department and the work of several volunteers from the Beautification Committee. Now let’s use it to celebrate our military this Christmas! To recognize a veteran or someone in active service, please stop by the tree between through December 25 and write the name of a local military member and his or her service branch on one of the red, white and blue ornaments. (Bring your own Sharpie, or similar marker. ) Or hang your own ornament from the tree. Please consider joining us in this special tribute, as we thank everyone who has stepped up to serve.
  • Be part of the Festival of Trees. There are still a few trees available as part of the Festival of Trees at the farmers’ market site. Do you want to decorate one, individually or as a team, group, organization, etc.? Email Karin Wierman at Caterpillar at Trees, donated by Ace, are open for decoration by Dec. 15, and will be on display December 16 to January 1, weather permitting.
  • Nominate a light display. Get your nominations in for the Beautification Committee’s Light up South Milwaukee holiday lights awards. Submit your favorites here, via the pinned post on the city’s Facebook page, or by emailing Katie Crosby at, including photos. Deadline: Noon on December 14. I see lots of candidates around town. Make sure to nominate them!
  • Enjoy Lights on Edgewood. The Gray family has brought this terrific local light show back in 2020, at 13th and Edgewood. Shows start at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings through December 31. Details here.
  • Have Breakfast with Santa. Starting at 8:30 a.m. this Sunday, Dec. 6. From Pat’s Oak Manor: “Breakfast buffet and a free ‘SAFE’ picture with SANTA. Children receive stocking. Adults $10. Kids $7 (4-10); 3 & younger $4. Call ahead , reservations only 762-4660.”

Did I miss something? Please send me information!

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South Shore COVID-19 Testing Site to Remain Open Through December

From the health departments of South Milwaukee/St. Francis, Cudahy and Oak Creek …

SOUTH MILWAUKEE – On Monday, December 7th, 2020, the heath departments of Cudahy, Oak Creek and South Milwaukee/St. Francis have committed to support community testing through the end of December along with support from the State of Wisconsin and Wisconsin National Guard (WING).

At this time, we can confirm that the South Shore Community Testing Site will be active through the end of December with the potential expansion into 2021.

To accommodate the transition, there will be a gap in testing dates. The South Shore Testing site will be open the following dates in December with the extension and given the holidays:

  • Tuesday, December 8th, 2020
  • Wednesday, December 9th, 2020
  • Tuesday, December 15th, 2020
  • Wednesday, December 16th, 2020
  • Friday, December 18th, 2020
  • Saturday, December 19th, 2020
  • Tuesday December 22nd, 2020
  • Wednesday, December 23rd, 2020
  • Tuesday, December 29th, 2020
  • Wednesday, December 30th, 2020

More details, including hours of operation, here.

I’m proud of the work of our local health departments in launching, maintaining and now extending this testing site. What should be a coordinated federal or state effort — testing for COVID-19 — has fallen to local health departments, and ours are stepping up, delivering hundreds of tests a day.

The goal: To get a better handle on where the virus is, so we can slow spread. And save lives.

In the last month, 626 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in South Milwaukee, with six people dying. Please stay safe and act responsibly, South Milwaukee.

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South Milwaukee Police Seek Suspects in BB Gun Shootings of Vehicles

From the South Milwaukee Police Department …

During the afternoon on 12/7, between 2pm and 2:30pm, SMPD took numerous calls of vehicles with windows shot out with a BB gun in the areas of the 1700 and 900 block of Madison, 1400 block of Rawson and 500 block of Manistique. The suspect vehicle is a dark colored Jeep Renegade (see photos), We request residents in these areas who own exterior security cameras check their footage for the black Jeep Renegade. SMPD is looking for info on this vehicle and the driver/any other occupants.

Call us with any info or video, 414-768-8060. Thanks for your help

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