Extensive Damage, But Thankfully No One Hurt in South Milwaukee Fire

From the South Milwaukee Fire Department …

At approx.. 4:57pm, SMFD Dispatch received a 9-1-1 call of a fire in a house in the 1700 blk. of Rawson Avenue. Due to the description of the fire provided by the caller, mutual aid was immediately called and Oak Creek, St. Francis, and Cudahy responded. Greendale also responded with a paramedic unit to standby at our station and Milwaukee provided both an engine (special called due to another ongoing EMS call in SM) and a paramedic unit to the scene.

The caller for the house fire stated he did not know for sure what was on fire, but that there were flames in the bedroom in the rear of the house. SMFD and SMPD units arrived to find a small, single-family residence with smoke issuing from the building. The sole occupant was out of the building and reported no other occupants. Fire crews advanced a hoseline into the house, conducted a primary search to confirm that there were no other occupants and extinguished the fire while another crew cut a hole in the roof to ventilate the heat, gases, and smoke out.

Damage to the interior of the structure was extensive. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation by SMPD and SMFD personnel.

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Partnering with the Community to Solve a Crime

Crime fighting is a partnership. We all play a role — and we all can help.

That is why I love this post on the South Milwaukee Police Department Facebook page so much.

Great work from the SMPD, and thank you to the citizens who stepped up to help with video doorbell footage. Well done!

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Getting Ahead of the Storm: South Milwaukee Adding Brine to Our Snow, Ice Fighting Efforts

For more information on use of salt brine, visit our Street Department’s web page: https://smwi.org/street-department/.

You may have already seen the “lines” on our main streets.

Ahead of this weekend’s winter storm, the city is adding a new weapon in our fight against snow and ice — brine.

From the city Facebook page:

The truck in the picture has been outfitted with a new piece of equipment used in delivering a salt brine solution to our roads before inclement weather. 

The salt brine is a solution of salt and water, used to deliver a pre-treatment anti-icing approach. The anti-icing approach is taken to decrease the likelihood of snow and ice bonding to the pavement surface. Anti-icing involves placing a layer of brine on the surface of the pavement before the winter storm has begun.

A benefit of this process is that anti-icing will achieve the same level of service on the roads using 1/4 to 1/5 the amount of salt!

Indeed, cost savings are a big part of this. Not only should this reduce our use of road salt, it could also reduce overtime costs, as we can potentially wait longer to call in Street Department personnel to deal with a storm.

There are also big environmental benefits to reducing road salt usage, critical as we sharpen our focus on cleaning up the Oak Creek watershed.

It’s also a great example of a regional partnership, as we look to purchase most of our brine from the City of Cudahy.

(The purchase of the large tank was also a win. We will use it year-round to water flowers, grass and other plantings on city-owned property, and to keep dust down on South Milwaukee road projects.)

I want to thank our Street Department for exploring this and putting it into action. It was months in the making, and took a lot of research and discussions with other communities about their approaches before we settled on moving ahead with brining.

In that way, I am glad we are not at the “bleeding edge” of this. Others have done this for years, and we get to learn from their trials and errors, and put those refined best practices to work here.

I urge patience as we roll this out locally. It will take time to get this right for South Milwaukee, but we’ve started on the path to another example of our city teams finding new and innovative ways to deliver services more cost effectively, and better. We won’t stop here.

Stay safe, South Milwaukee!

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Who's on the Ballot? An Early Look at the Spring 2020 Elections Locally

The campaign filing deadline for spring 2020 candidates came and went on Tuesday, and here is who is running for what locally.

These races will appear on the April 7, 2020, ballot …

  • South Milwaukee Mayor: I will not have ballot opposition, as I seek a third three-year term leading the city. I am grateful for that, but also pledge to not stop working to deliver South Milwaukee’s promising future, together. Forward!
  • South Milwaukee School Board: Five candidates are vying for three spots: three incumbents (my wife, Sarah Brooks; John Haslam and Augie Vega) and challengers Crystal Champagne and Patrick Hintz.
  • Milwaukee County Board: Supervisor Steven Shea is also running unopposed, as he seeks his second two-year term.

There will be a contested primary on Tuesday, Feb. 18, for Milwaukee County executive. More details on that and other races here.

I’ll be posting more on the upcoming elections as they get closer. Thanks to everyone who has stepped up to run for public office!


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Eat and Help Local: Three Days, Three Great Meals

Don’t forget about the Community Meals at First Congregational Church the third Thursday of each month … with the next one set for January 16. Skyline Catering will provide the meal, after more than 100 people attended the December meal (Knights of Columbus).

Thanks to First Congregational for hosting this community event, and to all of the partners for their work in preparing and serving. If you haven’t attended one of these yet, please do.

And save your appetite! If you’re in town Jan. 24-26, check these two meals out … I’ll save some lefse for you at the Meatball Supper!

Details here.
Details here.

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I especially love this first story … thanks for stepping up, Ms. Bobber!

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Self-Deposit Station Moving to Per-Visit Fee vs. Per-Day

Effective today, Jan. 3, the Self-Deposit Station, at 1106 Blake Ave, will be changing its user fees from a daily user fee to a per visit user fee.

The new user fee will be $3 per visit.

Making this change will help sustain the facility, a valuable service we are proud to provide, and will continue to.

The self-deposit station will likely never be self-sufficient, and that’s OK.

It costs us more than $175,000 to operate the facility each year, and we recover less than half of that cost through fees. We need to find ways to reasonably cover that expense in an era of rising costs and limited sources of city revenue, and I think this fee change is reasonable.

Remember, each home owner also receives a free special pickup each year.

Self Deposit Station winter hours (December 1-March 31) are …

  • Tuesday and Friday 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
  • Saturday 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • CLOSED Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday

Get more details on the Street Department and self-deposit station here.


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