Absentee ballots can be turned in on Election Day. They can ONLY be brought to City Hall and they must be received by 7:45pm on Tuesday. There is an outdoor drop box just outside the City Hall front door that is accessible 24/7. There is also an indoor drop box in the City Hall lobby.
If you have already voted, thank you. If you haven’t, please do so today, and have your voices be heard.
And please join me in thanking our city clerk’s staff, pollworkers and other city workers for their continued hard work on our elections. It has been inspiring to see how they have adapted to the changing nature of voting amid a pandemic, creating a safe, seamless and efficient process for the thousands of people who have already voted, while ensuring those who do vote in person on Election Day can do so safely.
Check the city website and South Milwaukee Blog for results tonight.
I am excited to see the level of economic development happening across South Milwaukee these days, especially downtown, and even amid the pandemic.
The Bucyrus Club is a foundational piece — and the progress there is real.
We’ve moved to the “construction phase” of the project after months of demolition and other work performed by a group of Bucyrus retirees affiliated with the Bucyrus Oldtimers Club and South Milwaukee Industrial Museum, led by Bob Jelinek. Their sweat equity has saved us hundreds of thousands of dollars, and gives them true skin in the game on a unique project that will celebrate their legacy.
I can’t thank them enough, and the city is proud to have their help in telling their story through the Bucyrus Club.
We’ve also unveiled renderings of the project produced by Zimmerman Architectural Studios, and you can see them in this post and in this BizTimes story. CG Schmidt is leading project construction.
From the BizTimes story …
The latest chapter in the building’s life will celebrate its and the city’s industrial history. Jelinek said display cases will be placed throughout the building. The 250- to 300-person main banquet room will have open ceilings and display the original cream city brick walls.
The restaurant and lounge area next to the banquet room will be modeled in the 1920s motif, said Ernie Wunsch, owner of Skyline Catering. This is a nod to the year 1920, when the building transitioned from its manufacturing use to the employee club.
Brooks and Wunsch said the project should lift up the entire downtown area and bring in people who might not otherwise visit South Milwaukee.
“There’ll be 500 new bodies here every single Saturday,” Wunsch said. He later added, “This will be for people from around all the surrounding communities.”
The Bucyrus Club opens next summer, and joins a number of other significant projects happening in our city center, including …
The susbtantial completion of the Milwaukee Avenue streetscaping upgrades, with new Christmas decorations coming this holiday season and planters coming next spring;
Continued progress on the plan for a new public gathering and event space near 11th and Milwaukee, another partnership with the Bucyrus Foundation;
Ongoing work at the soon-to-be-expanded DB Tax & Wealth, across the street from the Buyrus Club;
The opening of two cool new businesses — South Milwaukee Sausage & Meats and Dupree’s — in recent months, and a third (Burger Town) coming soon to the former Grebe’s building; and
Big upgrades underway at Moran’s Pub and Military Connection.
The Beautification Committee is also working on a downtown mural program — more details to come on that soon.
We have worked hard, and smart, to build momentum in our city center in recent years. We’re seeing it now, and we’re just getting started.
From the South Milwaukee and St. Francis Health Department …
With rising numbers of cases and our key indicators no longer reflecting conditions where it is safe to participate in non-essential public gatherings and outings, the South Milwaukee/St. Francis Health Department, along with other suburban Milwaukee County Health Departments are now strongly recommending all residents and businesses dial back to Phase B of the Safe Opening Capacity Guidance effective October 30, 2020.
‘Our top priority is to keep our residents, visitors, and businesses healthy and safe during this health crisis. We hope these efforts will help to keep our friends, neighbors, relatives, and co-workers in a safer environment moving forward.
The Health Department follows up on all positive, probable, and suspected cases, including contact tracing, to help limit the spread of the virus. On average, each positive confirmed case has approximately 5 contacts. If the positive case is an essential employee in a business, the number of contacts may be much higher. For more information on contact tracing, visit: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/contact-tracing.htm
The South Milwaukee and St. Francis Health Department has joined with others across the region to issue a “health alert and call to action” due to “critically high levels of COVID-19 and significant spread in our communities.”
You can read the full press release here. From it …
The health departments across southeast Wisconsin urgently state that we have reached a critical level of the pandemic.
Southeastern Wisconsin is currently experiencing critically high levels of COVID-19 and significant spread in our communities. Your help is necessary to reduce the spread and to protect our families, our friends, and our community.
All residents who live and work in southeastern Wisconsin must continue to take personal responsibility to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
Even though not all who test positive for COVID-19 experience a severe case of the virus, we all risk getting the virus and spreading it to others – maybe without realizing we’re sick.
Taking extra precautions now will allow our schools to stay open, our businesses to remain operational, and it helps us all to protect our most vulnerable relatives and neighbors from the effects of COVID-19.
South Milwaukee has seen a surge in cases in recent weeks — 70 new cases alone from last Friday through Wednesday. That has stressed our contract tracing system.
From the release …
Given this surge, local health department efforts to control the spread of the virus have become increasingly strained. Demand has exceeded local public health capacity to effectively identify cases and conduct case investigation and contact tracing. In response to the surge in COVID-19 positive cases, local health departments will be prioritizing disease notification and investigation over contact notification. While we will continue to do our best to notify and investigate everyone with a positive result and to inform those who may have been exposed to a positive individual, additional prioritization is needed due to the volume of new positive cases. Additionally, the lack of notification, disease investigation and contact tracing capacity may result in delayed notification and fewer attempted follow-ups by the health department.
The City of South Milwaukee is also closing the Grobschmidt Senior Center to in-person programming. Drive-through lunch service will continue.
I feel it can be done safely, if the guidelines are followed.
Taking part will be — and should be — a personal choice. If you are not comfortable with handing out candy, please leave your porch light off.
For those who do trick or treat, it comes down to personal responsibility, just as this has been since March.
We all need to step up to slow the spread of the virus. Socially distance, wear masks, avoid gatherings (especially indoors), reduce long-duration contacts with others, practice good hygiene — all things that can be accomplished if we follow the guidelines for trick-or-treating.
This will not be a normal Halloween, nor should it be. None of this is normal. But as community leaders we will continue to do our best to keep everyone safe in these unprecedented times, offering strong and clear guidance that puts public health first.
This partnership between the South Milwaukee and St. Francis, Oak Creek and Cudahy Health Departments, and the Wisconsin National Guard may literally save lives. And I can’t thank our local teams enough for leading the way in making this a reality — from the South Milwaukee Engineering and Street teams working on traffic flow to our city attorney for hammering out a lease to our health workers for ensuring this operates smoothly.
A special thanks also goes to Reich Brothers, owners of the former Bucyrus campus, for working with us on a short-term lease for their facility.
With this stood up, the challenge now comes in sustaining it. COVID-19 is not going away. The pandemic is deepening as we head into winter, and CARES Act funding being used to fund this facility — as well as contract tracers and additional health department personnel — “expires” at the end of 2020. Unless that date is extended, or new money is allocated, it is hard to see how local governments can continue providing services like this.
I advocated for that last week, and will continue to. I ask you to do the same. Without a coordinated federal or state approach to a pandemic that demands one, fighting COVID-19 has increasingly been left to local governments to manage. We need allies in that fight.
From the Milwaukee County Law Enforcement Executives Association, Milwaukee Area Investigative Team …
On October 19th, At approximately 1:20 PM, South Milwaukee Police responded to a residence, in the 700 Block of Blake Avenue regarding a report of a suicidal subject. Upon arrival, officers encountered the subject on the porch of the residence armed with a firearm. The subject fired one round and one officer returned fire striking the subject. Life saving measures were immediately taken, however the subject, a 43-year-old white male, was pronounced deceased at the scene. A handgun was recovered at the scene. The South Milwaukee officer involved has been with the department for 22 years and as is customary with these type of incidents, has been placed on administrative duty as the investigation continues.
This is preliminary information based on initial reports of the incident.
This is an ongoing investigation.
The Milwaukee Area Investigative Team will investigate this incident.
The lead investigating agency is the Greenfield Police Department.
Please keep everyone involved in this incident in your thoughts and prayers, as we let the investigative process begin.
Sobering news as the pandemic deepens in South Milwaukee, Milwaukee County and across the state.
Here are some deeply concering data points …
South Milwaukee saw 76 new cases Oct. 9-16, our worst week so far.
We have seen 593 confirmed cases in the city since the pandemic began about seven months ago — with 168 of them coming since Sept. 11.
Two South Milwaukeeans died this week of the virus, and my thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends.
Our “burden rate” — an equalized measure of how active the virus is — stood at 410.3 as of Oct. 13, with a positivity rate of 11.3%. Both are higher than the couty as a whole. On Oct. 6, our burden rate was 164.05.
You can find more information here on the South Milwaukee School District decision, which I fully support. District leaders are letting science, data and a focus on public health guide their actions, and they all lead to the same conclusion: Returning to virtual learning for all students is the right call.
Flexibility will be key throughout the pandemic, and the district website sums it up well …
The School District of South Milwaukee is firmly committed to providing a high quality learning environment and experience for all students, regardless of instructional model. We anticipate that we will need to move between virtual, hybrid and fully in person instruction throughout the year based on the status of the pandemic.
We all have a responsibilty and duty to take the pandemic seriously and act responsibly. Too many aren’t. Wear a mask. Socially distance. Avoid group gatherings, especially indoors. Practice good personal hygiene.
We need to slow the spread of the virus, if we want to reopen safely — or we will have too many more weeks like this awful one in South Milwaukee.
DB Tax & Wealth is growing, along with downtown South Milwaukee.
Employees officially broke ground on the project last week, kicking off work on an approximately 12,000 square-foot expansion of their second-generation, 31-year-old business, which began as a tax preparation service and has evolved into a full-service tax, accounting, and wealth management firm.
Work is expected to be completed next spring.
In the meantime, the firm at 1125 Milwaukee Ave. is looking for professionals in similar or related industries to lease office space in their expansion, including attorneys (elder law, real estate, probate, etc.), mortgage brokers and insurance agents (life, auto, health).
More details can be found here on the project, which will be a cornerstone for our ongoing downtown redevelopment efforts. There is real momentum on Milwaukee Avenue, and it’s being fueled by owners of small, local businesses who are choosing to invest in South Milwaukee’s promising future. Businesses like DB Tax & Wealth.
We all must play a role in limiting the spread of the virus, and it’s about personal responsibility.
Wear a mask when needed. Socially distance. Avoid crowds and other situations where the virus could spread easily. Practice good hygiene. Stay home when you’re sick — and get tested when appropriate, maybe at our new local testing site coming online. We also need those who test positive to quarantine, and those who have been exposed to those people who isolate, for the good of the community.
In the early days of the pandemic, we often said, “We are all in this together.” That belief has waned for some. We need to return to that mindset as the virus spreads quicker than ever. Me included.
We are stronger, together — and are at our best when we partner to solve problems. That is why I was happy to see the South Shore health departments announce a collaboration that will bring a COVID-19 testing facility to the former Bucyrus campus in South Milwaukee.
The Cudahy, Oak Creek, South Milwaukee/St Francis Health Departments in the south shore announced they will build on their strong partnership to establish the Zone E Community Coronavirus Specimen Collection Site. This testing site will be the first of its kind in the South Shore area, offering free, low barrier tests to any Wisconsinite who believes they need to be tested.
“As the cases of COVID-19 in our State climb, testing all individuals with high risk exposures to COVID-19 remains a key strategy for containing further spread of infection,” said Heather Puente, Cudahy Interim Health Officer. “All persons who were in close contact with a person infected with COVID-19 (defined as being within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes) should be tested, regardless of symptoms.”
With the limited number of area medical clinics, local leaders in the south shore are dedicated to ensuring their communities have local, accessible testing options. “Having access to local testing is instrumental for our communities,” said Puente. “This testing site removes barriers to testing for many people, whether they are unable to get to a testing location, uncomfortable going to a medical clinic, are uninsured or under-insured, or are looking for more convenient access.”
“Our battle against COVID-19 is far from over,” said Jackie Ove, South Milwaukee/St. Francis Health Officer. “Uniting together through innovative partnerships in one of the ways we are able to maximize resources to combat COVID-19. The municipalities in Zone E have previously coordinated public health programming and emergency response efforts, so this was a natural collaboration. Zone E is defined by the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management as the communities of Cudahy, Oak Creek, South Milwaukee, and St. Francis.”
“The former Bucyrus Campus offers a prime drive through site location that allows for testing to all Wisconsinites. It allows for easy entry and exit, as well as contained space within the facility.”
“Access to local testing, combined with masking, social distancing, and staying home to isolate or quarantine when appropriate, is critical to combat COVID-19,” said Darcy DuBois, Oak Creek Health Officer. “No one wants to pass this illness to their friends or family. Getting tested provides vital information and peace of mind on an individual level and on a community level; it helps us protect those we care about and slows the spread of the disease.”
Official dates and times of the Zone E Community Coronavirus Specimen Collection Site will be released soon and will be available on the health department’s websites.
I want to thank our local health departments for their tireless efforts in responding to the pandemic, as they work to keep us safe and limit the spread of the virus. They continue to step up and do their best in incredibly difficult circumstances, with little leadership from Washington D.C. or Madison, where lawmakers are more focused on litigating than legislating.
The work of local health departments is not over, as the pandemic deepens across the state. South Milwaukee reported 31 new coronavirus cases in the past week. We have had 77 new cases since Sept. 18.
We all play must play a role in limiting the spread of the virus. Wear a mask when needed. Socially distance. Avoid crowds. Practice good hygiene. Stay home when you’re sick — and get tested when appropriate.
Ascension Wisconsin is opening three urgent care centers in Wisconsin — including a Physicians Urgent Care clinic that began seeing patients last week at 3111 S. Chicago Ave.
From the press release …
As part of its commitment to make healthcare more accessible and affordable, Ascension Wisconsin is opening three new urgent care centers in Southeast Wisconsin in partnership with Physicians Immediate Care (PIC). PIC is a Midwest leader in urgent care and occupational health services with more than 40 locations in Illinois, Indiana and now Wisconsin.
“These new urgent care centers complement our existing urgent care and occupational health sites and provide additional care options to the communities we serve,” said Bernie Sherry, Senior Vice President, Ascension and Ministry Market Executive, Ascension Wisconsin. “The partnership with PIC helps Ascension Wisconsin deliver on the promise to provide care in ways that are affordable, accessible and convenient for all those we serve.”
The urgent care centers will be located in South Milwaukee, Brookfield and Mount Pleasant:
Physicians Urgent Care – South Milwaukee: opening October 5, 2020, at 3111 S. Chicago Avenue, South Milwaukee, WI 53172 Hours of operation: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m.- 8 p.m., Saturday – Sunday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Physicians Urgent Care – Brookfield: opening November 9, 2020, at 19165 Bluemound Road, Brookfield, WI 53045 Hours of operation: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m.- 8 p.m., Saturday – Sunday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Physicians Urgent Care – Mount Pleasant: opening early 2021, at 1019 S. Green Bay Road, Mount Pleasant, WI 53406
At Physicians Immediate Care, we are excited to expand into Wisconsin with one of the leading health systems in Wisconsin as part of Ascension’s regional and national effort to bring more accessible and more affordable care to its patients. Ascension Wisconsin’s leadership and strong commitment to that goal aligns perfectly with our purpose of providing “remarkable care you can count on, when and where you need it,” said Stan Blaylock, CEO of Physicians Immediate Care.
Urgent care centers are for patients who need to be seen right away but when it’s not an emergency. They’re a good option for minor illnesses or injuries such as: sinus or upper respiratory infections, high fever, sore throat, cough, flu, ear infections, urinary tract infections, sprains and strains, broken bones, cuts that may need stiches, pink eye, allergic reactions and rashes and COVID-19 testing.
About Ascension Wisconsin
In Wisconsin, Ascension operates 24 hospital campuses, more than 100 related healthcare facilities and employs more than 1,300 primary and specialty care clinicians from Racine to Eagle River. Serving Wisconsin since 1848, Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. Ascension is one of the leading non-profit and Catholic health systems in the U.S., operating 2,600 sites of care – including 150 hospitals and more than 50 senior living facilities – in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Visit www.ascension.org.
About Physicians Immediate Care
Physicians Immediate Care, also known as Physicians Urgent Care, is the Midwest leader in urgent care and occupational health services with over 40 locations in Illinois, Indiana and now Wisconsin. For more than 30 years, the company has provided affordable, convenient medical care to millions of patients. Physicians Immediate Care is dedicated to building healthy communities by providing remarkable care you can count on, when and where you need it. Through its network of urgent care clinics (over half of which are partnered with health systems), the company is fully equipped to provide x-rays, lab testing, medical exams, minor procedures and treatments for non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries. Its clinics offer convenient hours and accept patients who either walk-in or self-schedule same-day appointments through its Urgent Care Pass application. For locations and services, go to visitphysicians.com.
Details on their website. Look for a formal ribbon cutting soon.