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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.

Norman would have liked it

I asked a friend in Milwaukee today how his July 4th celebration was.

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Where's Bucyrus?

Once again South Milwaukee approximated a Norman Rockwell rendering in the form of the city’s annual Heritage Days parade last Saturday.  As the parade kicked off, enthusiastic spectators lining the route rose for the color guard and applauded the service members who followed. Parade organizers outdid themselves this year.  Downtown rang with the music of several school and community marching bands, as toddlers who haven’t discovered self consciousness danced on the sidelines. Shriners wowed the crowd with their motorcycle and mini motorcar demonstrations. Watchers waved at and cheered for friends and neighbors representing their community groups, service organizations and businesses as they paraded past in cars, on floats and afoot.  Although some of the literature that was handed out gave the festivities a bit of a commercial air, the participation and support of these groups helped the parade reflect the fabric of the community. Not lost on the crowd, though was the entertainment value of Parkway Floral's rollerblading bee, Bryan Lorentzen, and chiropractor Dr. Potisk's giant vertebrae. Younger kids racing out to scoop up candy many of the participants threw to the spectators grabbed enough to keep them in sweets for weeks.  But something was missing from the picture.  Dominating the downtown landscape is the omni-present Bucyrus International Inc. and, thanks to a decision a couple of years ago to keep its headquarters in South Milwaukee, the company’s now expanding its physical plant. Interestingly, while Bucyrus had scheduled its big open house to coincide with Heritage Days and its canopied enclosure filled with white folding chairs awaiting its open house guests, just steps away from the passing parade, the company no visible presence in the parade.  Perhaps they made contributions behind the scenes that weren’t readily evident. But aside from its plant and the resulting employment, ever since the very welcome news that the behemoth mining- and earth-moving equipment company announced its decision to remain in South Milwaukee, its corporate giving hasn’t made much of an appearances here yet. I understand that the Bucyrus-Erie Foundation is one of the most generous in Wisconsin, but the vast majority of the publicly known largesse of that foundation goes elsewhere.  The company and/or its foundation might be more generous to South Milwaukee than I'm aware of and wants to keep it on the QT. If so, great. But taking a public part or visible role in the Heritage Days Parade would go a long way to spread good will among its South Milwaukee neighbors like some of their business brethren do.   

Although Bucyrus International appears to be in a position to expand and prosper, the empty store fronts along Milwaukee Avenue are a testament to the hard economic times plaguing our city and its business climate. It would be nice to see Bucyrus join with its neighbors and other businesses in doing its part to help make South Milwaukee an even more fantastic Norman Rockwell canvas for next year’s Heritage Days parade and to show more of a presence locally in other beneficial ways.  

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