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TMJ4: West Allis bartender torches statue of Obama

May 20, 2010 11:40 a.m. | Today's TMJ4 is reporting that the Secret Service is investigating an incident at a West Allis bar in which a statue of President Obama was burned in effigy.

The TV station obtained a videotape that shows customers at Yester Years Pub and Grill, 9427 W. Greenfield Ave., shouting and laughing as a bartender torched the statue for the crowd. Flames tore through the statue with what looks like duct tape wrapped around its neck.

West Allis police told the station that the Secret Service is investigating, as it does with any possible threats against the president.

Click Here to watch raw video of the incident.

Read Today's TMJ4 report.

Vacant Menomonee Falls school property vandalized

Feb. 20, 2015 7:13 p.m. | Menomonee Falls — Crime Stoppers and the Menomonee Falls Village Board are offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the possible arrest of whoever is responsible for serious damage done to Thomas Jefferson Middle School on Feb. 18.

"Significant damage" was done to the school property at W165 N8301 Lavergne Ave. late in the night, according to a notice put out by the school district.

"The suspects entered through an unlocked tunnel door on the south side of the building and did massive damage to the property," explained Lt. Kevin Von Bank. "A few exterior windows were damaged, but a lot more damage was done inside the building to interior windows and mirrors in the restrooms."

Though an exact estimate of damage was not known as of press deadline, Von Bank said he is "certain it is well over $10,000."

The school was last used for students in the 2008-09 school year.

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Developer: city's downtown apartment denial tells others 'don't bother coming to Waukesha'

Feb. 19, 2015 9:57 p.m. | Despite revisions made by the developer over the last few months and the city staff giving it its blessing, a 202-unit apartment complex on the site of the old Fox Head Brewery will not be built.

In a tight 8-7 vote last week, the common council declined to rezone the land that would have been redeveloped at 211 and 223 Maple Avenue — a triangle-shaped parcel bordered by Maple Avenue, Williams Street and North Grand Avenue.

The council needed to rezone the site, just west of Carroll University, from a manufacturing zone to a general business planned-unit development to make way for the mixed-use commercial and residential development that would have been named Fox Head Residences.

The fact that the council on Thursday, Feb. 19, did not follow the recommendations of the city's redevelopment authority, its plan commission and planning department baffled developer Terrance Wall of T. Wall Enterprises.

"It seems very odd that the council wouldn't take all of that into consideration," a frustrated Wall said after the meeting. "Why have a planning commission if you're not going to listen to it? Why have a (redevelopment authority) if you're not going to listen to it? What's the point of having planning staff when your staff is telling developers this is what we want to do and then the council shoots it down.

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Cold enough for you? It's going to get worse

Feb. 18, 2015 11:41 a.m. |  The National Weather Service has issued a wind-chill advisory effective from 6 p.m. Wednesday to noon Thursday.

Wind chills are expected to fall to 20 degrees below zero or colder tonight, lasting through Thursday morning. 

Brookfield may look at sunset clause for chicken ordinance

Feb. 17, 2015 12:56 p.m. | More than a month after an online survey took a pulse of residents on the subject of keeping chickens in the city, Brookfield officials are still considering how to proceed.

Official results of the survey showed 508 responses, with 223 voting against any change and 285 in favor of more flexibility.

At a meeting of the city's Legislative and Licensing Committee earlier this month, Alderman Lisa Mellone asked City Attorney Karen Flaherty to look into the possibility of a sunset clause should the city elect to move forward with allowing chickens on lots smaller than three acres.

Sunset clauses are measures within an ordinance or law that state that the law shall cease to be in effect after a certain date. Lawmakers would be asked at that time to either renew or decline to renew the legislation.

Mellone noted that there are communities that approve an ordinance allowing greater flexibility for residents to raise chickens, but then no applications were taken out and the ordinance expired.

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Wauwatosa's Fair Trade for All owners say local market 'not ready' to support fair trade business

Feb. 12, 2015 12:30 p.m. | After eight years in business, six at 8730 W. North Ave., the owners of Wauwatosa's Fair Trade for All are closing their doors at the end of February due to low retail sales.

While owners Gail Bennett and Allen Christian said they were thankful for years of vital support from the community and their customers, they said they don't think the Milwaukee-area market is ready to fully support a fair trade business. Prices are often higher than at competing retailers because the owners subscribe to certain standards for fair wages, working conditions and environmental protections.

"We Wisconsinites are good people. We love to help others. That is why the community rallied around us," Bennett said. "However, when it comes to shopping, we Wisconsinites love our bargains. From our experience, most shoppers would be happier to make a $50 donation to a worthy cause than pay full price for an article of clothing."

Bennett said they were going out on a "positive note," reflecting on their accomplishments over the years, such as selling more than $1 million in fair trade products and donating thousands of dollars through fundraisers at the store to local and international humanitarian projects.

Until the store closes, all merchandise will be 50 percent off. The store will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb 11-14, Feb. 21 and Feb. 28. 

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Some fees will increase at New Berlin Hills golf course this year

Feb. 09, 2015 11:05 a.m. | New Berlin — Some greens fees at the New Berlin Hills golf course will go up slightly this year for residents for the first time since 2007, and fees will rise somewhat for nonresidents, also.

New Berlin owns the golf course at 13175 W. Graham St. that is run by a private contractor.

Resident fees have remained the same since about 2007, said Mark Schroeder, parks director. Nonresident fees go up a bit almost annually, he said.

Resident fees for weekday golf will rise $2 for 18 holes, bringing the total to $27 per person. The 9-hole fee will go up $1 to become $16, general, $11 for seniors and juniors.

Resident weekend fees will stay at $30 for 18 holes but go up $1 to $17 for 9 holes.

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Hales Corners adopts new radio system that offers 'peace of mind'

Feb. 06, 2015 4:35 p.m. | Hales Corners — In an emergency, a lay person is not likely to notice a first responders' radio. But, it's in such an emergency that radios can help or hinder public safety officers' response.

Hales Corners police, fire, public works and health departments are upgrading radio systems to a new federal standard that makes communications in Milwaukee or Waukesha counties "seamless."

"When time is of the essence, the user has to start flipping dials and punching buttons. Now, that usage is seamless to them," said Hales Corners Police Chief Eric Cera. "They can flow back and forth across the border so they're not futzing around trying to find channels."

The transition to the new system, called P25, is in progress and expected to be complete by summer.

Every municipality in the state is working to upgrade to P25. Milwaukee and Waukesha counties' upgrade could happen "any day now," said Cera.

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Due to backlog, Waukesha's Drop-Off Center will no longer accept electronics

Feb. 05, 2015 7:00 p.m. | The pile continued to get bigger and bigger at the city of Waukesha's Drop-Off Center over the last few months.

With the company that had been cleaning up that pile having "a hard time keeping up financially" to meet the needs of the municipalities it serves in Waukesha County, the local Drop-Off Center, 900 Sentry Drive, has stopped accepting TVs and other electronics until further notice.

Dustin Nolan, the city's recycling and solid waste coordinator, made the announcement last week and informed the city's Board of Public Works that 5R Processors, the contracted company, was not keeping up with the number of recycled electronics generated within the city. In fact, the last time the company cleared out the city pile was around Thanksgiving.

Multi-municipality problem

Besides the city of Waukesha, Nolan said all of the participating public recycling sites in Waukesha County — the cities of Pewaukee, Brookfield and New Berlin, and the village of Hartland — have also stopped accepting electronics, at least temporarily.

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Greendale Middle School's Bob Kosky to retire after 40 years of teaching math

Feb. 02, 2015 3:53 p.m. | Editor's note: This story has been updated to include additional comments by Bob Kosky.

Greendale — When Bob Kosky first started looking for work as a teacher, he was given two pieces of advice.

One: teach math, because there's always a shortage of math teachers.

And two: teach at a middle school, where there were vacancies from teachers who just burned out.

"And I just never burned out," said Kosky, who will be retiring this year from the Greendale Middle School after 40 years of teaching math.

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Purpose-driven Germantown dog to compete in Westminster Dog Show

Feb. 02, 2015 9:45 a.m. | Germantown — He may be small, but he has some big dreams and even bigger motivation.

Named after New York Yankee pitcher CC Sebathia, CC will soon make the journey from Germantown to New York City to compete in the 139th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Until then, it's all paws on deck as the 7-pound papillon (a small spaniel) prepares for the show with his owner and handler Andrea Jordan Lane, who said it's more than just an opportunity to compete in a world-class dog show for her and CC.

"It was a dream of his breeder for him to compete at this show," Lane said, with a shaky voice and tears in her eyes.

Though Lane has owned CC since he was 5 months old, she remained close with his breeder, Carlotta Dennie, until she lost a hard fight with ALS late last year.

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Brookfield competition will benefit fight against paralysis

Jan. 30, 2015 11:39 a.m. | Brookfield-area residents are being asked to join the fight against paralysis as the Byron Riesch Paralysis Foundation prepares to host its fourth annual Team Challenge.

The Team Challenge gathers up to 32 five-person teams at Elite Sports Club, 13825 W. Burleigh Road, to compete in a variety of fun and athletic challenges. While the event is a social environment with athleticism on display and pizza and beer available, the primary purpose of the Team Challenge is to raise awareness and funds for those who suffer from paralysis or neurological disorders.

Byron Riesch was a freshman at Marquette University when he took his turn on a slip and slide, landed awkwardly, and found his life changed forever.

"I dove on it, it hit my chin, I threw my neck back, and I became a quadriplegic," Riesch said.

High expenses

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Emerald Row apartments lauded for 'urban and pedestrian feel' in Oak Creek

Jan. 28, 2015 2:52 p.m. | Oak Creek — Plan commissioners approved design plans for new apartments at Drexel Town Square, applauding the "urban and pedestrian feel" it will bring to the developing downtown.

Emerald Row, 601 S. 6th St., is an "H-shaped" development with 167 total units — 110 one-bedroom, 31 two-bedroom and 26 three-bedroom units. It has potential to house two retail businesses and offers underground parking stalls and a pool for residents.

Alderman Daniel Bukiewicz said the four-story building, developed by Rick Barrett of Barrett Visionary, would blend in well with the rest of Drexel Town Square development and will generate foot traffic.

Rinka Chung architects said more than 50 percent of the apartments will be "Cream City brick."

"I think it's a nice looking building for the first phase," Bukiewicz said.

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Plans proceed for Donges Bay reconstruction in Germantown

Jan. 26, 2015 8:19 p.m. | Germantown — When Germantown village officials said they want to tailor the Donges Bay Road project to the needs of the community, they meant it.

The needs of several individual property owners were heard and subsequently addressed in another lengthy discussion on the project plans at a village board meeting Jan. 19. About an hour of discussion heavily revolved around the opinions of residents who neighbor the project, which will upgrade the heavily deteriorated road from Division Road to Magnolia Drive.

The board made several amendments to the project plans of both segments, between Division and Pilgrim roads and Pilgrim Road to Magnolia Drive, before ultimately approving the 90 percent plans for the project. Approving 90 percent plans allows village staff to proceed with the project, understanding the plans are completed to a point in which minor revisions can still be made without dramatically increasing the cost to incorporate them.

Among the changes incorporated were the integration of 5-foot terraces between 6-foot path and drive lanes fronting several properties, as well as the addition of a vertical curb and gutter and path along others.

"Let's take it case by case," said Village President Dean Wolter, in reference to changes that affect property owners. "I don't want to whitewash it and take a wide brush ... Let's find a best way to do that and make sure it lasts a long time but at the same time provides as much safety as there is today if not more by putting a curb and gutter and rail in there."

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Menomonee Falls district continues discussion on facilities options

Jan. 26, 2015 3:11 p.m. | Menomonee Falls — Planning the future of facilities in the School District of Menomonee Falls is not something the board is taking lightly.

Careful examination of the facility study completed in February 2014 has been occurring in monthly work sessions for almost a year now and will likely continue through at least next year as the board analyzes how to most efficiently utilize its space and buildings in coming years.

In a work session earlier this month, district staff again discussed options for proceeding with program improvement projects and capital maintenance projects earmarked for completion in the next five years. The projects include everything from asphalt replacement and galvanized piping and plumbing fixtures, to improvements to the high school and middle school auditoriums and Project Lead the Way classrooms.

The future of Hiawatha and Thomas Jefferson (TJ) are also in question, due to the cost estimated to bring TJ back online coming in close to the cost of an entirely new building.

Though all work sessions are open to the public, the board recently decided to formally seek community input on the priorities of the projects later this year.

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Crowds turn out to discuss long-term plans for downtown Germantown

Jan. 26, 2015 10:34 a.m. | Germantown — Steady snowfall and chilly temperatures did not keep dozens of Germantown residents away from Village Hall on the evening of Monday, Jan. 26, as the plan commission welcomed input on plans for the future of the village's downtown area.

Parking overflowed into the library parking lot as a steady flow of residents cycled through the board room, which was packed to the brim with those who wanted to weigh in on a topic that has been discussed at length in recent months.

Prompted by hours of discussion at the commission level, Germantown officials asked for input from village residents on long-term planning for an area they would like to see come together as an entertainment district in the village.

Scope, timing and impact to the neighborhood and village as a whole have been among the priorities the commission has identified thus far, as they are now in the process of reviewing conceptual plans put together by commissioner and trustee David Baum. In general, Baum's plans have been well received, as they incorporate additional access points to the area, including a new road and extra parking options.

However, noise and traffic impacts of a plan for the area remain a primary concern for many residents in attendance, including property owner Richard Thomas.

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