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New Kid's View

Family lured Jerrianne and her husband to South Milwaukee in 2002 from Southern California where she worked as, first, a journalist, then, as a court information officer. She now stays busy with media-relations consulting, playing with her three grandchildren (part of the lure), writing, discovering her new environs, and hoping her garden will produce before the first fall frost.

The Deal is Done

Common Council, Walmart, Erik Brooks, Craig Maass, Frank Van Dusen III, Lisa Pieper

The South Milwaukee Common Council put the final touches on its approval tonight for a Walmart store to be built at 222. North Chicago Ave., although some of the 200 or so residents who attended tonight's Council meeting thought it was a done deal long before this. Way before Alderman Brooks voted no in September on an aspect of the process because he opposed the less-than-transparent way the Council was proceeding.

Brooks, however, voted tonight with the 6-2 majority (First District Aldermen Craig Maass and Frank Van Dusen III opposing) that gives Walmart the green light without being bothered by the vagaries or uncertainties that accompany a conditional-use permit, which is the only way Walmart could have proceeded without the Council's approval of the three Walmart-related items on tonight's agenda. Those measures changed the zoning of the Walmart site to commercial use, joined what were two parcels of property into one, and vacated 11th Avenue which bisects the now-single parcel and goes through the middle of the Walmart site.

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Alderman Brooks Explains

Erik Brooks, Common Council, Walmart

Perhaps everyone who reads this blog also reads Fourth District Alderman Erik Brooks's blog. In case some don't, here's a link to his post regarding last night's Common Council meeting and his votes on the Walmart-related agenda items.

Alderwoman Pieper Provides Clarification

Lisa Pieper, Common Council, Walmart

In response to my blog post about last night's Common Council meeting, Third District Alderwoman Lisa Pieper provided the following information from the city's Community Development Authority Executive Director Danielle Devlin regarding Tax Increment District (TID) 2, which includes the Walmart site:

The property is in a TID which froze the assessed value of the entire district at the time of its creation, 2000. This frozen value is called the Base Value. Tax revenues from the base value continue into the general fund of the city and taxing entities no matter what.  BUT any improvements or raises in value generate tax revenue over and above the Base Value.  That revenue is called the increment and is kept in a separate fund for the purpose of assisting with projects that raise the tax value that wouldn't otherwise happen.  When those projects do happen, they raise the value which then generates additional increment, which is then used to pay back any debt or reimburse any project costs that were approved as part of the assistance.  The owner/developer isn't given a "tax break" but pays the new and improved full assessed value.  The benefit to tax payers is that they wouldn't have the increase in value at all without the assistance and when the assistance is paid back and the TID closes, the added value then goes to the general fund.  So it's a return on investment of dollars that the tax payers never would have had BUT FOR the project.

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A Good Cudahy Neighbor

Cudahy Family Library, South Milwaukee Police Department, good neighbor

South Shore is full of honest people and one came to my rescue today.
I lost my wallet somewhere between Cudajy Family Library and my house. We I returned home late this afternoon after retracing my steps and calling the library and another place I stopped to see if anyone had found it and turned it in, I got a call from the South Milwaukee Police Department with good news. Someone had found it and taken it to the police department.
"A woman brought it in," the police woman who called said. "It's got a driver's license, credit cards, other ID and cash in it."
When I went to pick it up, I asked if they could tell me who found it as I would like to thank them.
Turns out the finder is a Cudahy neighbor with a lovely Hispanic name. I called, but got her voice mail. So I'll get a more proper thank you in the mail tomorrow.
This good citizen went the extra mile -- literally. I lost the wallet in Cudahy. She lives in Cudahy. Yet she drove to the police department in South Milwaukee to turn it in. A nice reaffirmation of honesty and neighbor looking after neighbor.


Garlic Mustards Pickers at the Fair

Garlic Mustard Pickers, Holiday Folk Fair, State Fair Park

South Milwaukee's own Gaelic folk music band, the Garlic Mustard Pickers, will be performing at the Holiday Folk Fair at State Fair Park on Saturday, Nov. 19, from noon to 2 p.m.

If you are planning to visit the Holiday Folk Fair, the GMP would love it if you would stop by and say hello. You can find them at the Coffee House Stage near the Food Court.

You can also check out their website at

Holiday Market Dec. 3 & 10

Christmas Market, Erik Brooks, Caterpillar, ChopArt

Neighbors who are missing South Milwaukee's wonderful Farmers/Public Market that ran on Thursdays from June through mid-October can take heart.

The Farmers Market organizers are putting on a Christmas Market from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. the first two Saturdays in December, in Caterpillar’s Heritage Building and museum, 1970 10th Ave. This will be a great time to find unique holiday gifts -- especially for those hard-to-buy-for folks in your lives.

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A non-Made in China Holiday

Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods --
Merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine
concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands.
 The following is from one of my dear neighbors. It's a way to 'gift' friends and relatives this holiday season -- and all year, for that matter -- without shifting even more of this country's treasure and American jobs overseas.

It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?

Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American hair salon or barber?

Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.

Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a
book of gift certificates.

Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down the Benjamines on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift
receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.

There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about
a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town
Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.

My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.

OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery
and beautiful wooden boxes.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at
your hometown theatre.

Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about
fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.


Walmart files purchase-agreement extension

Walmart, Common Council, Alderman Erik Brooks

Below is a link to South Milwaukee 4th District Alderman Erik Brooks about an item on tonight's Common Council meeting. I didn't make it there, but I'm sure Alderman Brooks will report in a following blog post.

Common Council Extends Walmart Purchase Agreement

Walmart, city council, Alderman Erik Brooks

Walmart will have until Feb. 16, 2012, to close on the purchase of the South Milwaukee city-owned land at 222 N. Chicago Ave., on which it plans to build a 115,000-square-foot store, thanks to a 6-2 city council vote last night. This, according to 4th District Alderman Erik Brooks. Read his South Milwaukee Blog post at:

New Gallery at 915

Art, gallery, studio, art classes, Dawn Mader, Joe Mader

South Milwaukee once again is home to an art gallery. Studio 915 opened last week on Milwaukee Avenue at, you guessed, 915. That's not the time, but the street address.

Studio 915's new website at bills the location as a gallery and an atelier. That sent me immediately to the dictionary, where I discovered that atelier is the French word meaning workshop.

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My shopping on Black Friday

Black Friday, Christ, Studio 915, Nona's Cafe, Wild Flour Bakery, patriotic

Went shopping on this Black Friday. Bought a Christmas gift for my sister at Studio 915, the new art gallery in town, and several gift certificates to Nona's Cafe, also located in my little city of South Milwaukee. Hope to pick up a couple dozen cookies on Monday at the Wild Flour Bakery, which just reopened on South Milwaukee. (Welcome back, Wild Four!) Shop local! Buy American. That's my version of being a responsible and patriotic citizen.

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