Wanted: Mural Artists For A Blank Downtown South Milwaukee Canvas (West Wall Of Human Concerns)

I’m excited to see this effort be resurrected, especially as we near the opening of Bucyrus Commons.

From the city …

The City of South Milwaukee invites artists to submit for a mural project on the west wall of the South Milwaukee Human Concerns building at 1029 Milwaukee Avenue.

The building is located in the heart of the downtown, adjacent to our successful South Milwaukee Downtown MarketDa Crusher Statue and the new Bucyrus Commons gathering space.

The project’s goal is to bring the community together and attract visitors to the downtown. The design should represent new beginnings for the City of South Milwaukee. Beautification and “surprise and delight” is encouraged.

Applicants may be an individual, artist, or group of artists, submitting a concept by March 13, 2023. Upon selection, an artist will develop a final design and begin work June 2023.

For a complete list of requirements, please find information at https://bit.ly/SMmuralproject.

Downtown South Milwaukee is full of walls screaming for a mural. This is a great start — and I hope it’s just a start. Public art like this is an important component of any revitalization effort

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South Milwaukee School News: January 18, 2023

From the South Milwaukee School District …

South Milwaukee School Board Update

On Wednesday, January 11, the School Board: 

Recognized E. W. Luther 3rd Grade Teacher Aaron Jones and his award from the VFW for teaching citizenship and respect for veterans;

  • Approved a 2024 High School Spanish Trip to Costa Rica during spring break;
  • Reviewed Student Assessments;
  • Voted to record Board meetings and make them available online; discussed updating Resident Participation Guidelines;
  • Agreed to host the Wisconsin Public Education Network Summer Summit;
  • Accepted bids for the renovation of the athletic fields; and
  •  Began discussions about the 23-24 budget.
  • You can see the documents reviewed on the board agenda at 


Middle School Students Dedicate January to Public Service

The entire middle school student body is engaged in our January “Cold Weather, Warm Hearts” month of service.  Given that January is the coldest and darkest time of the year, a dedicated group of educators at the middle school (the SM Way team) came up with this idea as a way to spread positivity, fun, and service to our community.  

Some of the projects include reading to buddies at Rawson Elementary School, answering questions about the middle school via video message for 5th graders at E. W. Luther, putting together care bags for the homeless, picking up trash around the school and neighborhood, and more.

On February 2nd we’ll hold an all-school assembly to celebrate and highlight all of the great service work that’s happened (and will continue to happen) around the school and the community.

SMWay Podcast

Episode 4:

R-E-A-D-I-N-G, READING, Reading 

Learning to read is one of the most important skills students learn at school. It’s the base upon which everything is built. How we learn to read and write is a subject of constant study and how we teach it changes, too. In this episode, we peek inside a classroom and see how collaboration amongst teachers from different disciplines, combined with data, is tailoring literacy education to third graders.


Ethnic Folk Fair Returns to the Middle School

South Milwaukee sixth graders revived a long-standing tradition of holding an Ethnic Folk Fair in the Middle School Multipurpose Room.

Starting in November, students researched where their families or ancestors originated from.

Then they learned about Google Earth and how to create a Google Voyager report about those places. 

UW A Cappella Group Visits SMHS

UW Eau Claire a cappella student group Impromptu performed for South Milwaukee High School students and staff and spent an afternoon with South Milwaukee choir students in workshops. Here’s the Livestream: 


Picking Up STEAM

This year’s SDSM Family Night event is Picking up STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math).  The event will be held at the HS campus on Feb. 10th from 5-7 pm. This special night will feature a Wacky Science Show and include the following: hands-on activities, science investigations, MS STEAM expo, the MATC Mobile STEM lab, a light meal, and a variety of student work samples from math, science, and STEM classrooms! This year, the District Art Show will also be part of this event, as well as food options from nutrition services. RSVP at Daniel Bader, Communication Coordinator, School District of South Milwaukee, dbader@sdsm.k12.wi.us. O: 414-766-5162

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Sex Offender Notification: Dialo R. Fuller

From the South Milwaukee Police Department …

Please read Chief Jessup’s message for more information.

See the entire Wisconsin Act 440 here. You can see the city’s local sex offender ordinance here (Section 23.16.1).

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Community Dinner Set For This And Every Third Thursday

Hosted by the Bucyrus Museum.

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Duck! Local Photographer Snaps Beautiful Photos Of Rare Visitor To The Area

For those who don’t know, South Milwaukee is blessed to have some terrific local nature photographers, capturing images, almost daily, of the beauty in our city (and beyond).

Keith Orcholski leads the way, and he is finding some acclaim this week for his photos of a rare Mandarin duck, which has birders excited as it pays a visit to the area around the South Shore Yacht Club. Check out media coverage here.

And the photos are gorgeous … thanks, Keith, for giving me permission to share them.


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Update From Alderman Tim: January 13, 2023

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 Bucyrus campus redevelopment under consideration by the council.

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.


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Mill Road Bridge Update: Road To Remain Closed Into Early Summer

Here is the Wisconsin Department of Transportation update, shared by the City of South Milwaukee …

Major structural work including new retaining walls, parapet, and railing on the Mill Road bridge over Oak Creek will be completed by late January. Due to weather and scheduling constraints, work will be temporarily suspended throughout February and March. During this winter shutdown, Mill Road will remain closed to traffic between Milwaukee Avenue and Oak Creek Parkway. Vehicle, bicycle, and pedestrian detours remain in place.

The remaining work including new limestone fascia, concrete surface and crack repair, HMA pavement, storm sewer, concrete sidewalk, concrete curb and gutter, and restoration is scheduled for spring 2023.

Mill Road is anticipated to be reopened by early summer.

A reopening had been set for the end of 2022.

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Update: 22-Year-Old South Milwaukee Man Arrested In Killing Of Two Teenagers

Good news from the South Milwaukee Police Department …

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“So Much More Life To Live”: GoFundMe Fundraiser Established For Victims Of South Milwaukee Homicide

Please consider helping the families of these two teenagers, and keep them in your prayers.

From the GoFundMe page

Just before the new year, on December 29, 2022, first cousins and best friends Ava J. Allen (17) and Jaelen Yracheta (18) were tragically taken from this world, found fatally shot in their vehicle. Their families and close friends are now bearing the weight of heavy grief, trying to understand the sudden loss of two vibrant, young lives. While we cannot begin to comprehend these senseless acts, we can find comfort in holding the memories of Ava and Jaelen in our hearts.

The two had so much more life to live.

In its first day, the fundraiser had already attracted more than 200 donations, and raised more than $14,000, as of 11 a.m. on Jan. 7.

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South Milwaukee Police Selling Plushies, T-Shirts To Raise Money For K-9 Unit

From the SMPD …

SMPD K9 T-Shirts and Plush Toys are now available at the South Milwaukee Police Department Records window Monday-Friday 7AM to 6PM (excluding Holidays). The T-Shirts and Plush Toys are $10 each. T-Shirts are available in Adult sizes Small-3XL and Youth sizes 6-8, 10-12, and 14-16. SMPD K9 T-Shirts and Plush Toys make great gifts and all proceeds go towards the SMPD K9 Unit. Your support is appreciated!

The department also reports that new inventory is in as of Dec. 28.

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Milwaukee County Awards $2.5 Million Grant For Bucyrus Complex Redevelopment

Check out the story in the Milwaukee Business Journal. From it …

A $36.7 million development to bring affordable apartments to the former Bucyrus-Erie campus in South Milwaukee won a $2.5 million grant award from Milwaukee County.

It becomes the fourth affordable housing project in suburban Milwaukee County to receive an allocation of American Rescue Plan Act money this year. The project at the Bucyrus campus would renovate two office buildings to create 92 new apartments, 82 of which would be for families with annual incomes of $50,000 or less. Nineteen of those affordable apartments will rent for $650 a month, for example.

Milwaukee developers Scott Crawford Inc. and J. Jeffers & Co. are leading the project, which is under city plan review now.

“Our teams bring a well-defined reimagination to the former Bucyrus campus, and we’re proud to be building upon existing neighborhood assets in South Milwaukee,” said Scott Crawford Inc. president Que El-Amin.

The developers’ overall plan involves three unused office buildings at the Bucyrus campus. A third office building that includes the former company employee cafeteria is to become commercial space.

Learn more about the overall project plan here.

This is a big step forward for this redevelopment — the latest chapter in the redevelopment story being written for South Milwaukee. See some other milestones here …

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Who’s Running? Spring 2023 Ballot Takes Shape

The spring election is set for Tuesday, April 4, and, with the deadline for submissions of nomination signatures now passed, here is what to expect on the ballot …

  • South Milwaukee Mayor: Incumbent Jim Shelenske is running unopposed for a three-year term.
  • South Milwaukee School Board: Incumbents Patrick Hintz and Augie Vega will join Nathan Jurowski and Blaise Paul on the ballot for three seats, all seeking three-year terms. My wife, Sarah, has chosen not to run for another term.

A primary election will be held on Tuesday, February 21, as voters narrow the race for Wisconsin State Supreme Court from four candidates to two. Justice Patience Roggensack is retiring.

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Police: Suspect Arrested In Armed Robbery At South Milwaukee Citgo Gas Station

From the South Milwaukee Police Department …

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Update On South Milwaukee Homicide Investigation: Police Make Progress, Still Seek Information

From the South Milwaukee Police Department …

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South Milwaukee Homicide Investigation: Police Looking For Help After Two Teens Found Shot In A Vehicle

Update on 2:50 p.m. on December 30: The victims have been identified, and the South Milwaukee School District informed families that 18-year-old Jaelen Yracheta is a 2022 graduate of South Milwaukee High School. Please keep their families and friends in your prayers.

From the South Milwaukee Police Department …

At approximately 10:48 PM on Thursday, December 29th, 2022, the South Milwaukee Police Department was called to the area of 5th Avenue and Bay Heights Road after citizens discovered two unconscious people inside a vehicle. When officers arrived, they determined that both persons, an 18-year-old male, and a 17-year-old female, had been shot and were deceased.

The Police Department is working with the WI State Crime Lab to gather evidence and is asking that anyone with information contact the South Milwaukee Police Department at 414-768-8060.

Here is the actual press release.

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