Shop Local: Options for Your Friday Fish Fry

Updated: April 1, 2020

Please continue to shop local during “Safer at Home” order, supporting local essential businesses wherever possible.

Click here to see the Shop Local South Milwaukee Facebook page.

There are two resources to lean on during the emergency (and beyond): the Shop Local South Milwaukee Facebook page, which I am regularly updating throughout the day, and this page from MJ Media and Jim Shelenske. 

And here are some South Milwaukee options for your Friday fish fry!

All of these restaurants are offering takeout or delivery service … 

And if you’re not in the mood for fish, try Cousins, Island Jam, San Fong, Spirits Bar and Grill, and Taco Stop MKE. China Chef opens for takeout on April 6. Or eat at chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Toppers, and Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts and more — many of these owned by local franchisees.

If I missed one or two, I apologize. Please comment below!

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COVID-19: March 27 Update


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Teamwork: Delivering City Services Amid a “Safer at Home” Order

We remain committed to delivering city services amid the newly issued “Safer at Home” order by Governor Evers. We have to.

According to the order, “each government body shall determine its essential government function, if any, and identify employees and contractors necessary to the performance of those functions.” And while that statement gives us a lot of latitude and discretion, we are leaning on our department heads to drive our execution of the directive. 

Those leaders have been working on plans for two weeks, and are ready to put them in place. In consultation with the administration, we have asked them to determine what services we should continue during the order, and how. 

They are bringing those plans to life now. 

Those services will obviously include our police, fire and health departments, as well as those supporting our elections, utilities, and garbage pickup, among others. There are also more internal-facing functions that must continue to ensure bills are paid, administrative support is available, engineering projects continue, etc. 

Some will work from home, where possible, and some may not be asked to work at all — with a need to remain flexible based on staffing needs. Other employees will be asked to redeploy to other functions where needed, based on their skills and the city’s needs, and we have been doing this very well on a small scale for a week. We will be stepping up those efforts in the days, weeks and likely months ahead. 

Our employees have been stepping up throughout the pandemic, and I can’t thank them enough. I detailed a lot of their work in a previous Mayor’s Message

Our department heads lead the way, and they have hundreds of years of experience behind them as they take the steps necessary today to confront this “new normal.” I have leaned on them throughout this effort, and will continue to, as we adapt to delivering services in a “Safer at Home” environment and make collaborative decisions necessary along the way. 

The health and safety of our people — and all of you — will be our first priority at all times. Please heed the order.

Stay safer at home, knowing that there are lots of people who may not be able to do that because of the jobs they do.

For More Information

If you have any questions about a certain service, please contact us at 414-762-2222. You can also get regular updates on COVID-19 on the city’s website and on our Facebook page. We will also be using the SM Works platform to share information on our response to COVID-19 via email to interested individuals. To join the email list, please sign up for the service and/or app, and submit your email address.

Also, we are using our AlertSense platform to share updates during the pandemic via phones. Sign up here, and ask others to do so, too. You can also sign up for text alerts. All landlines are already included in the service, but mobile phone lines must be added individually.

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Governor Evers Issues "Safer at Home" Order — Please Read and Abide by it

You can read the order here.

It goes into effect on Wednesday at 8 a.m. and expires on April 24.

And here is a statement from me and South Milwaukee Police Chief William Jessup on the order.

Remember, you can get regular updates on COVID-19 on the city’s website and on our Facebook page. We will also be using the SM Works platform to share information on our response to COVID-19 via email to interested individuals. To join the email list, please sign up for the service and/or app, and submit your email address.

Also, we are using our AlertSense platform to share updates during the pandemic via phones. Sign up here, and ask others to do so, too. You can also sign up for text alerts. All landlines are already included in the service, but mobile phone lines must be added individually.

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March 23 Updates: First COVID-19 Positive Case, Statement on Coming "Safer at Home" Order

A few updates on this continually changing emergency …

First, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is issuing a “Safer at Home” order on Tuesday related to the COVID-19 Pandemic. We will share the order and additional information on our city communication platforms as soon as it is made available.

Statement from South Milwaukee Mayor Erik Brooks

I stand behind the decision of the governor, with the support of our health administrator. Decisions we make will be, and need to be, guided by our health officers. This order — as with other rules, guidance and recommendations issued during the pandemic – are being put in place to slow the spread of the virus and improve public health. We need compliance from the community for this to make a difference. Please read the order when it is issued, and act accordingly. Stay home.

Statement from South Milwaukee Police Chief William Jessup

We are going to work in concert with our Health Department to ensure orders are followed. We believe the vast majority of the community is concerned for themselves, their families and their neighbors, and fully intend to voluntarily comply with this order. If violations arise, law enforcement will take note and educate and inform those individuals. Enforcement will be a last step.

Positive Case Reported

Also, the South Milwaukee/St. Francis Health Department has become aware that an individual residing in South Milwaukee has tested positive for the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19).

It is the city’s first positive case.

Following private testing, the individual returned directly home and has remained under isolation. To prevent the spread of illness, the South Milwaukee/St. Francis Health Department is conducting a contact investigation to identify and follow up with any individual who had
close contact with this person.

Close contacts will be monitored by local public health department staff, do daily symptom and temperature checks, and self-quarantine.

Read the full release here.


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A Note to Governor Evers and Legislative Leaders: Step up Now, and Give us Options on Elections

I proudly signed on to a letter being circulated by the League of Wisconsin Municipalities circulated Friday and Saturday asking Governor Evers and legislative leaders to offer options and solutions to local communities, like us, poised to begin early in-person absentee voting on Monday.

In fact, I helped write the letter the League then shared with all of its members seeking support on Friday. That’s how strongly I feel about this.

And I’m proud to say almost 300 local leaders from across the state signed on. More details here. Here is the letter.

Now, let me be clear: We have taken sensible measures to protect everyone who will be coming to City Hall to vote in the next two weeks, and at polling locations on Election Day. You can see them in the pictures with this post: dots on the sidewalk leading into the building, allowing only a limited number of people in at once, confining voters to only the lobby of City Hall, separating our clerk’s staff by plastic glass, even handing out pens to be thrown away once people use them.

And we will be staffing up to enforce these measures.

But I hope it doesn’t come to that. Request a ballot online, via email or by mail. Details here.

Or, better still, act, Governor Evers, Sen. Fitzgerald and Rep. Vos.

Here is the full text of the letter …

Dear Governor Evers,

We want to thank you for your leadership during the past couple weeks related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been thoughtful, responsible, and smartly aggressive, as you take the actions necessary to reduce spread of the illness and keep Wisconsinites safe.

We urgently ask you to apply that same approach to voting. Please take action now to reduce the risk of our residents, members of our staff and our election workers, and to avoid unnecessary disenfranchisement of voters.

In almost all communities across Wisconsin, in-person absentee voting will start on Monday, and continue for the next two weeks. Based on our experience in the last few days, it is almost certain that large numbers of people will show up at government buildings to vote this way. The health risks involved will become a bigger issue with even more coming to vote on the actual Election Day, April 7.

Please offer us solutions to prevent this from happening.

Your office has been presented with a number of options for protecting citizens’ health and rights to vote by various local government organizations. But as yet we have not seen a sufficient response from the state.

Advice and orders from federal, state and local public health professionals is clear: Limit personal contact, especially in large groups (more than 10 currently). Please give us the tools to live by this when it comes to voting.

We recognize concerns about disenfranchisement, and we fully support our rules around elections in normal situations. But these are not normal circumstances — and the potential for disenfranchisement is actually higher if we proceed like we are. Many people will stay away from the polls for fear of contacting COVID-19, or spreading it, unless something changes.

Please do not force citizens to choose between getting sick, or voting. Act now.


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Reflecting On My, On Our, Team

A photo from happier times last summer.

We are only as strong as our people, especially in times of crisis. And, South Milwaukee, you can rest assured we are as strong as ever during this pandemic. 

And that’s because of a team that is demonstrating the focus, resiliency, flexibility and “all hands on deck,” team-first mentality needed now, more than ever. I knew this was the case for years. I have seen it in action every day the past two weeks. 

Be confident in that as we continue to navigate these uncharted waters and continue to make collaborative and informed decisions in the best interest of the city. 

Public Health

I start with our Health Department because this is where we have to start in an emergency like this. We rely on their experience in making sometimes terribly difficult decisions like closing city buildings, and we full-throatedly stand behind their orders like closing bars and restaurants. This is a public health crisis, and our actions are and will always be guided by these too-often overlooked professionals. 

It has been especially inspiring and reassuring to see the leadership of Health Administrator Jackie Ove and the dedicated work of her team the South Milwaukee and St. Francis Health Departments. They are showing why our investments in public health are so critical, and it’s been easy to see in the past week that Jackie has earned her positions as  a trusted and respected voice in the county, region and state. There is a lot more work to do with this group, and we have the right team and leader in place. 

First Responders

They continue to step up in really difficult situations, and I am so, so grateful. They will need to continue to do that, and I have complete confidence they will. These people are heroes, and there will be more lives to save. They are more than up for the challenge. And that starts at the top, with two incredible leaders. We are blessed to have Police Chief William Jessup and South Milwaukee Fire Chief Joe Knitter, and their combined nearly 70 years of experience, guiding those departments. Chief Jessup is the head of MCLEA, the organization of chiefs and other law enforcement leaders across the county, and is speaking on behalf of that organization at all major county emergency operations meetings. Chief Knitter has just as strong a voice with the fire department chiefs organization, and is also playing a leadership role in the countywide emergency response. 

Clerk and Treasurer’s Offices

We are trying our best to run an election in the middle of this, and are adapting to a huge shift in how people vote, on the fly. Absentee ballot requests have been pouring in by the thousands, and it’s been “all hands on deck” to process those and get them in the mail. We are also preparing for in-person absentee voting starting on Monday, reworking our process to ensure we are keeping social distancing, and making similar plans for Election Day on April 7. (Again, we are strongly advising people to order a ballot online. Details here.) This work is led by City Clerk Karen Kastenson, and I can’t thank her enough for her leadership, dedication and willingness to adapt age-old voting processes to our current reality. Her team is making it happen and will in the next two weeks.

Our payroll clerk, Katie Crosby, also doubles as our communications coordinator, and she, along with Assistant City Administrator Patrick Brever, have done some amazing work in this area the past couple of weeks. From the day it became clear this might be where we were headed, we decided to focus on communications, knowing the sharing of timely, clear, relevant and, most importantly, accurate information would be vital. I’m proud of what we — they — have delivered, and we will continue to. 

Bills still must be paid, and payments collected, and that is the work of our treasurer’s team, led by Treasurer Karen Skowronski. Her steady hand and the hard work of her team never wavers, and their teamwork in supporting the Clerk’s Office work is appreciated. 

Street Department

Garbage is still being picked up, and our Self-Deposit Station remains open. Signs are being made (especially critical these days), and vehicles are being maintained. While they are taking measures to protect themselves and you, the fact that we continue to deliver these services — and the many others performed by our Street Department — so seamlessly is a testimony to the leadership of Superintendent Dan Ratajski and the hard work of his team. Now hopefully we can hold off on any more salt or plow operations this season … 

Water and Sewer Utilities

Our investments in fresh water pay off now, as what happens when you turn on your faucet and flush your toilet is no different now than it was two weeks ago. That won’t change. Thanks, Doug Fischer and Ben Huffman, and your teams, for your continued focus on these critical services, especially in difficult times.  

Grobschmidt Senior Center

We acted quickly to shut down the senior center, out of an abundance of caution. But that doesn’t mean the work of Director Sandy Quinlan has stopped. She now leads our senior meal program dropoff site at the center and pitches in in other ways. If you are a senior who could use a free lunch each weekday — or know of one who does — check out information on the front page of our website. Thanks to Sandy and her group of volunteers for leading this important part of our safety net. 

South Milwaukee Public Library

The library shut down on Tuesday, and after trying curbside pickup briefly, have instead turned to some really cool virtual efforts like a book club and storytime. (Details on their Facebook page.) And they are using this downtime to catalog materials to support the new RFID checkout system being installed. We are also redeploying resources to help in the clerk’s office on elections.

Sorry for the long post, but every city service is impacted by COVID-19 — and every city department is stepping up. There are plenty more to thank here — work is still happening in engineering, inspections, assessment, etc. — and I thank them every chance I get. 

But I want to close with a word about our city administrator, Tami Mayzik. Mayors come and go, and I’ll do the same at some point. I suppose Tami will retire at some point, hopefully many years from now. Until she does, she will continue providing the same strong, steady, thoughtful, compassionate, and unbreakable leadership she has for well over a decade. She often works behind the scenes, and wants it that way. But we (I) would never be able to navigate through something like this without her. She is my right and left hand, and I am so blessed to have her by my side every day, especially in these times of crisis. Tami loves this city and wants what is best for it at all times, and that shows through every day.

That last sentence applies to me too. But I could not, would not, do this without my team, in crisis and not.


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