I love to see small businesses open and expand in South Milwaukee!
First, welcome to Bakehouse 23 mke, which opened at 1309 Milwaukee Ave. earlier this month. Learn more here and here, check them out on Facebook. From the OnMilwaukee.com story …
If it’s been a while since you ventured to South Milwaukee, you might want to make it a point to pay a visit.
Recent years have brought numerous new businesses to Milwaukee Street, a growing Downtown strip which currently houses businesses including South Milwaukee Sausage and Meats, Immortal Toys & Collectables and Omen Subculture clothing stores along with longer term businesses like Avenue Coffeehouse.
Soon, there will also be a new spot where you can satiate your sweet tooth.
Bakehouse 23 – a retail bakery specializing in whimsical, creative sweet and savory treats – will be opening its doors at 1309 Milwaukee Ave., with a soft opening debut planned for Saturday, Feb. 11.
Behind the bakery is longtime pastry chef Sarah Mironczuk who launched the Bakehouse 23 concept in early 2022 alongside her husband, Kirk Skorlinski (also a chef). Initially, they operated out of a commercial kitchen space at the Branch at 1501 in Racine. There, she began making baked goods to sell to the public as well as wholesale accounts like Wonderland (Riverwest), Esperanza Coffee Collective (Racine) and X-Ray Arcade (Cudahy).
Mironczuk says she hopes to build on that business with her new venture, which she says will start off as a little boutique bakery where she can showcase some of the things that she loves best.
And some breaking news for one of my favorite local restaurants (and the best BBQ in the region) … Atwood Hwy BBQ Company is adding a second location on the East Side of Milwaukee. Its South Milwaukee home is at 925 Madison Ave.
“Atwood Hwy BBQ is all about family,” explains owners Donteah and April Morehouse. “We both learned to cook watching family members in the kitchen, and food has always been something that brings our families together. We put a lot of love into each dish we make, and it’s because when we serve food we’re really welcoming you into our family.”
That concept of Southern hospitality is referenced in the restaurant’s name. Atwood Hwy refers to a highway in Tennessee where Donteah spent time growing up. April worked at her father’s restaurant in Nashville, and both she and Donteah emphasize that guests will feel like they’re in the South when they take the first bite.
“Good food helps people connect and feel at home with one another,” remarks Donteah. “It’s not fussy or overcomplicated. We’re just creating a place where our customers get to know us, where they know that our staff is excited to see them, and they feel the love that goes into every bite.”
“Atwood Hwy BBQ is an exciting addition to our food hall,” comments Paige Hammond, General Manager of Crossroads Collective Food Hall. “Our customers have been asking for it, and there’s no better duo than April and Donteah to bring good Southern barbecue to Milwaukee’s East Side.”
Beginning Monday, February 27, open hours for the South Milwaukee Public Library will be reduced by 10 hours per week. The city’s Library Board approved a new schedule of open hours at a February 9 special board meeting.
The loss of hours coincides with a reduction of two part-time staff positions through attrition. Budget constraints built up over the last few years, including 2023 are necessitating the actions.
“These are moves that the Library Board undertakes very reluctantly,” said Board President Lynn Meidam. “While there will be some inconvenience, we are committed to ensuring our library continues to provide our thousands of patrons with excellent services and programs.”
The current popular children’s programs will remain unchanged, the library will have open hours six days a week and there will be access to evening hours two days per week. New hours will be:
Monday: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Tuesday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Wednesday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thursday: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
One option available for community members to assist the library as it continues to navigate through budget/funding challenges is to become involved in the Friends of the South Milwaukee Library, an integral organization that supports the library through fundraising and advocacy. More information at: smlibrary.org/friends/
The South Milwaukee Public Library is the city’s most used non-school public facility. In 2022 there were 48,049 library visits; total circulation of 102,389 items, including 34,973 children’s materials; 21,345 uses of e-materials; 306 programs attended by 9,654, including 8,490 children; and 6,969 uses of 15 public-access computers.
A quick personal note on this, having lived through some of these discussions as mayor …
While it makes me sad, I respect and fully understand the decision to reduce hours. At the same time I am happy the library remains a 24-7 resource for the community. I say “24-7” because I continue to be impressed with its online offerings.
Look no further than the “Resources” tab on its website.
The library has literally made the world a few mouse clicks away from its users.
Balancing these opportunities with in-person services is the future. It is how libraries will continue to add value for generations, as I suspect budgeting won’t get any easier for the library — or any government institution — going forward.
In the end, libraries will rise or fall because of their people. Ours is rising.
From its innovative director to its passionate and caring Board members to its committed and growing Friends group, these are people dedicated to doing more with less, to ensuring the South Milwaukee Library is sustained for generations, whether that’s in-person, online or in the community. Thank you to all of those people who are making a difference.
In late 2022, the South Milwaukee Police Department announced our intent to fundraise for and implement a K9 unit. An internal committee has been created with representatives from the SMPD and the City’s Administration Department. In January, paperwork was filed with the IRS to establish a 501(c)(3) organization.
Through donations already received, sales for our K9 t-shirts and plush dogs, and a penny war being organized by the School District of South Milwaukee, our fundraising is off to a great start. With the public’s help, we expect to have a K9 join the force by the end of 2023.
Sales of our t-shirts and plush dogs will continue at the SMPD counter at South Milwaukee City Hall. Donations can also be dropped off or mailed to the SMPD at 2424 15th Avenue in South Milwaukee. Checks can be made out to the SMPD K9 Program.
A fundraising campaign with our business community will be starting soon as well. Commitments to support the K9 have already been made by Oak Creek Veterinary Care Clinic, Walmart, Farm & Fleet, and the South Milwaukee Lions Club.
Letters of interest and applications are now being accepted for grants of up to $25,000 for local nonprofits.
Learn more about the city’s various Bucyrus Foundation grant programs, and get an application, here. Letters of interest are due by March 1, with completed applications due April 31. From the Program Guide …
The Bucyrus Steam Shovel & Dredge Co called South Milwaukee home for 118 years until 2011 when the company was acquired by Caterpillar Global mining. In September 2021 the Bucyrus Foundation (established in the 1970s) announced a $10 million contribution to institutions and infrastructure for the City of South Milwaukee (City), stretched over a 10-year period. These funds are allocated between the City and South Milwaukee School District and a portion of these funds are designated for local nonprofits.
CIVIC GRANT PROGRAM PURPOSE
The purpose of the Bucyrus Civic Grant Program is to benefit the community, allocating funds to South Milwaukee’s nonprofit organizations. Projects must demonstrate how they benefit the community. Grants may address a community need, improving community support, solving a problem, or enriching the people of South Milwaukee educational, health, or cultural experience. Grants may be for programs that address the workforce skills gap, support economic empowerment initiatives, foster effective public private partnerships, or boost neighborhood revitalization programs.
Arts and Culture
Health and Human Services
Public benefit/community improvement
The Bucyrus Foundation will fund eligible projects that are not less than $1,000 and up to $25,000. All grant awards are subject to annual funding. Each grant awarded will be evaluated and a post-grant report is required for each grant received.
South Milwaukee Alderman Tim Backes has graciously volunteered to write regular updates for the blog coming out of the South Milwaukee Common Council.
You can see his latest installment here. It has information and discussion on the recent council meeting and a Q&A — including a tribute to Tim’s dad, David, who passed away in December.
Thanks, Tim, for bringing this idea to the blog! I am always looking for content to further our mission of keeping South Milwaukeeans informed on key issues, while also providing important context and depth where possible. It is why I started this blog as an alderman in 2009, and why I continue it today.
Please note: All content is written by Alderman Backes, and shared verbatim through the blog. Any opinion offered is Tim’s and Tim’s alone.
Schools in the South Milwaukee School District are in a “secure” after a threat was made toward South Milwaukee High School.
In a letter to parents, the South Milwaukee School District said an unverified threat against South Milwaukee High School was called into a police department outside Milwaukee County. The letter did not specify what the threat said. The South Milwaukee Police Department informed the school district of the threat, which did not specify a time or day.
In an email to a reporter, South Milwaukee Police Chief William Jessup wrote that the threat was “essentially a bomb threat.”
And this from the school district …
There was an unverified threat called to a police department outside of Milwaukee County. The South Milwaukee Police Department informed the district that this threat was directed at the SM High School but it did not give any time or day of the threat. Out of an abundance of caution, we placed all buildings into a SECURE until more information was available.
All students are safe and proceeding with their school day. They are able to move between classes, go to lunch, and have all other inside activities. The only limitation is that they are not able to go outside and we are not accepting any visitors to the schools.
At this time we plan to keep all buildings in a SECURE until dismissal. SMPD will make increased patrols throughout the day.
From a letter sent to South Milwaukee parents on January 25 …
On Monday, January 23, 2023, an incident occurred between a teacher and a student as students were leaving South Milwaukee High School for the day. The District immediately began an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the event. The employee was placed on administrative leave.
Investigations involving student and teacher interactions are extremely serious and administration officials are following all internal protocols and applicable state laws. The District is also cooperating with our partners in the South Milwaukee Police Department.
The safety of our students and staff is the top priority for the School District of South Milwaukee. Our counselors and other staff members are available to any students who want to talk to an adult or who are upset by the news of the incident.
We respect the privacy and confidentiality of our students. There is also a need to maintain the integrity of the investigation to obtain a final determination of the circumstances and any resulting decisions. Therefore no further information will be made available regarding this matter at this time.
South Milwaukee resident Brandon Randall, 22, has reportedly been charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of felon in possession of a firearm after the December shooting.
Randall was arrested by South Milwaukee officers on Tuesday, Jan. 10 in the City of Milwaukee. Several firearms were recovered. The case was referred to the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office. The charges were then issued Wednesday.
Police say Randall was an acquaintance of at least one of the victims. The motive remains unknown.
South Milwaukee police responded to 5th and Bay Heights on Dec. 29 after an 18-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl were found dead in a car. The victims were identified as Jaelen Yracheta and Ava Allen. They were first cousins. Allen was a senior at Franklin High School and Yracheta was a 2022 South Milwaukee High School graduate and a student at MATC. The family previously told TMJ4 News that Yracheta’s mother found them at the scene.
According to a criminal complaint released Wednesday, investigators recovered five 9mm casings from the scene. Police obtained doorbell video which allegedly showed the suspect, Randall, walking towards the car with a limp. Randall is shown reaching out to grab the passenger door handle before pausing and entering the back passenger door. The complaint says Randall was wearing a COVID-19-style mask and white/clear latex gloves. Ten seconds later, multiple gunshots are heard and flashes are seen in the car. After remaining in the car for a minute, the complaint says Randall reached over the motionless bodies of the victims before getting out of the car.
A day after the shooting, Yracheta’s iPhone was found in a sewer close to where the homicides occurred. The last messages showed Yracheta texting a number and arranging to meet the person. The complaint says the number Yracheta was texting connected to an IP address that Randall lived at.
After Randall’s arrest, the complaint says investigators conducted an interview with him over the course of eight hours. While discussing the incident, Randall allegedly said, “Well (explicit), can’t make it right, it already done.” He then told investigators he didn’t remember committing the crime, but when he closed his eyes he saw flashes and “regular Jaelen with a smile, that’s it.”
The complaint said when asked which gun was used, Randall answered “Glock 17, the police edition.” When shown the doorbell video, Randall allegedly stated, “I’m gone for the rest of my life bro.” He then called his girlfriend and said, “It’s over, they showed me everything – told me everything. And they showed me the video, I don’t remember doing it bro.” The complaint says he was having difficulty talking because he was crying.