Mayoral candidate holds fundraiser

Jan. 30, 2012 10:52 p.m. | Mayoral candidate John Pokrandt will be holding a campaign fundraiser.

He's suggesting donations of $30 per individual and $50 per couple.

Families are welcome to attend the gathering from 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Chancery, 7613 W. State St., in the Village. Food will be provided.

Pokrandt is running against Alderman Peter Donegan and Kathy Ehley, executive director of the Village Business Improvement District. A primary election will be held Feb. 21 to narrow the number of candidates to two.

Tosa looking for voting sites outside school buildings

Jan. 30, 2012 10:46 p.m. | Voters who have cast ballots at the Fisher Building will find themselves at a new polling place starting with the Feb. 21 primary election. The change may just be the start of a larger citywide effort to move voting activities out of Wauwatosa School District buildings.

Because polling places operate during the school day, there's ongoing concern about the students' safety on Election Day. In 2012, elections will be held on four days in 2012, possibly a fifth if a separate recall election is required for Gov. Scott Walker.

"On any other days of the year, the buildings aren't open to the public to wander in and out," City Clerk Carla Ledesma said. "It's a safety issue, and the superintendent (Phil Ertl) has asked me to work on alternative locations."

The move from the Fisher Building, which serves as the district's administration building, became a more immediate necessity largely due to dwindling space. An alternative high school and a Montessori school for younger children now occupy portions of the building.

Voters in the city's 20th Ward will now report to a conference room in the city's Public Works building, 11100 W. Walnut Road, to cast their ballot.

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See's Candies opens in Mayfair

Jan. 30, 2012 10:40 p.m. | See's Candies, a San Francisco-based candy manufacturer, has opened a store at Mayfair.

The business is best known for its assorted boxed chocolates, but it offers more than 100 varieties of candy, including nuts, brittles and lollipops. The shop occupies a spot on the lower level of the mall, next to Five Guys Burger & Fries.

See's Candies will celebrate its grand opening Friday with samples to taste as well as historic delivery vehicles - the candy company got its start in 1921 - and See's drag-racing vehicles on display.

See's has operated kiosks in the Milwaukee region, but this is its first store in Wisconsin. Hoping to get a piece of the Valentine's Day market, the store will offer extended hours of 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Feb. 13 and 14.

Streamlined review boards to have first meetings

Jan. 30, 2012 10:34 p.m. | The city's Design Review Boards will meet for the first time Thursday since they were restructured from three to two groups by the Common Council.

City ordinance states that any project requiring a building permit must first receive approval from a design review board. In the past, residential projects went to one of two residential boards - each with seven seats plus two alternate positions - depending upon the aldermanic district where the project was located. There was one commercial board that had nine members and two alternates.

The city sometimes finds it difficult to get volunteers to serve on its nearly 30 boards, committees and commissions, and there have been some attendance issues with existing design review board members. Those factors led the city attorney to recommend condensing the design review boards late last year.

The new board structure calls for one residential board with eight members and one commercial board with seven members. If the meeting agendas get lengthy, either board can separate into two groups and split the workload.

The boards consider exterior architectural appeal, including site location and landscaping, and how a building's aesthetics fits with the surrounding neighborhood.

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Donegan apologizes for campaign literature error

Jan. 30, 2012 10:26 p.m. | Mayoral candidate Peter Donegan handed out campaign literature that failed to identify his campaign committee as the funding source, a disclosure required by law.

Donegan, who also serves as an alderman on the Common Council, said he changed campaign material as soon as he became aware of the error. New brochures and letters have been printed and stickers including the statement were applied to the initial batch of campaign materials, he said. No campaign signs had been printed.

"I apologize for the error and want to assure everyone that it was clerical and not an indication of ignorance or disdain for the law," Donegan said.

He said he and his committee reviewed the material and proper language had initially been included on all campaign literature. However, during "multiple edits" an omission was made.

The law requires that every communication - print, television and radio ads, billboards, handbills, sample ballots, T-shirts, bumper stickers and yard signs, for example - include a disclaimer identifying the funding source, City Clerk Carla Ledesma said.

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Petition gathers 3,400 signatures asking for lake park referendum

Jan. 30, 2012 7:16 p.m. | Opponents of a proposed park on two Little Muskego Lake today turned in a petition they said was signed by more than 3,400 people demanding a referendum on the plan.

The number of signatures is far more than the organizers' target of 2,100 to have their direct legislation petition considered by the Muskego Common Council.

The next step is for the Muskego Clerk's Office to verify the signatures, said Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti. Under state law, the clerk has 15 days to do that, she said. Given the amount of other work the clerk's office has to do at the moment, Chiaverotti said she would be surprised if the signatures could be verified much before that deadline.

Once the signatures have been verified, city officials will consult with the city's attorney about the next step, she said, withholding any additional comments.

The proposed park would be on the southern shore of Little Muskego Lake on the north side of Janesville Road north of Pioneer Drive. Both property owners have asked the city to buy their homes for a total of $3.5 million.

Masked man warned for trespassing outside Starbucks in wee hours

Jan. 30, 2012 5:04 p.m. | A 49-year-old Glendale man was warned for trespassing after a report of a man wearing a ski mask holding a computer standing outside of Starbucks, 302 E. Silver Spring Drive, at 2:30 a.m. Jan. 26.

The man said he was using the company's Wi-Fi to pay his bills online.

Brown Deer schools get $2.4 million additional bonds for campus remodel

Jan. 28, 2012 2:50 p.m. | The Brown Deer School District will have an additional $2.4 million in Qualified Zone Academy Bonds, QZAB, that will be used toward the remodeling of the middle school and the portion of the high school that will be used by the seventh and eighth grades once the move to a two-school campus is accomplished in 2013.

Director of Finance Emily Koczela said the authorization for additional bonds means taxpayers will save the interest on $2.4 million over the next 10 years.

Under the QZAB program, bondholders get federal tax credits instead of cash interest payments.

In June 2011, the district learned it got authority for $5 million under the program. The program requires a 10 percent match from the community.

Koczela said plans are under way for the match for the initial $5 million. Four projects, including the campus clean up, garden, plantings, creek clean up, the website, and the annual maintenance corps of volunteers, a Middle School PTO sponsored Science is Fun Fair and 20 internships per year for the next five years, and an educational concert or performance, are either under way or in the planning stage. Koczela estimates the value of the projects will be more than $500,000, or 10 percent, provided they all come to fruition.

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Lake park opponents gather signatures for petition

Jan. 27, 2012 3:26 p.m. | A direct legislation petition circulated by opponents of a lake park plan in Muskego may have enough signatures by next week to force a public referendum on whether the city should purchase two key properties.

The city is working to develop a park along Little Muskego Lake near Pioneer Drive and Janesville Road. Despite the fact that the Common Council this week authorized the city to purchase the properties for $3.5 million, opponents believe the plan, if brought before the public, would be defeated in a vote by Muskego residents.

"You need to let the people decide this," Lorie Oliver, petition drive organizer, said today.

Oliver said a concentrated effort will be launched this weekend involving a door-to-door campaign as well as a petition signing station, in a space that used to be a floral business in the 17000 block of West Janesville Road, both Saturday and Sunday.

"I'm very comfortable saying we'll have the signatures we need," she said.

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City panel opposes power lines over natural spaces

Jan. 27, 2012 11:52 a.m. | Wauwatosa is preparing for a fight over a plan that would place power lines in neighborhoods and green spaces.

The city made its first move Tuesday when the Community Development Committee voted 6-1 to support a resolution opposing two of the possible high-voltage power line routes: Route A (along Walnut Road from about 120th Street through the County Grounds) and Route B (along Underwood Creek Parkway from the County Grounds to 120th Street or potentially routing a portion of this line between 120th and 115th streets through a natural section of Underwood Creek).

The decision came after nearly three hours of discussion that included comments by many of the more than 100 people who turned out to protest the four route options chosen by American Transmission Co. The full Common Council will take up the resolution next week.

If approved, it will be used as a platform by a Madison attorney the city has retained to represent its interests through the regulatory process, City Attorney Alan Kesner said.

Written by Alderman Dennis McBride, the resolution also opposes any route that would place power lines "along or through parks and parkways, the Oak Leaf Trail, or high-quality wetlands and natural areas owned and managed by Milwaukee County or the city of Wauwatosa, or the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District." In addition, the document calls for burying any transmission lines along Underwood Creek Parkway.

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Kindergarten open houses set for Jan. 31

Jan. 27, 2012 10:04 a.m. | The Elmbrook School District is hosting open houses for families of fall 2012 5-year-old kindergartners at 6:15 p.m. Jan. 31 at Brookfield, Burleigh, Dixon, Swanson and Tonawanda elementary schools.

The open houses will include a tour and registration materials will be available.

Families with a child who will be 5 on before Sept. 1 were mailed a packet with their designated school. The district asks that any family with a kindergarten-eligible child that did not receive the packet contact Elmbrook's communications department at (262) 783-2960.

After successful Ladies Night, EEF plans Casino Royale

Jan. 27, 2012 9:58 a.m. | The Elmbrook Education Foundation wound up 2011 by raising the largest amount of money in the eight-year history of Ladies Night and is preparing for its next event, set for March.

The Nov. 29 Ladies Night held at Westmoor Country Club garnered just less than $36,000. The social event included specialty foods and beverages as well as a silent and live auction.

The Casino Royale social will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. March 3 at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, 19805 W. Capitol Drive. The event will feature casino games by Casino Party Specialists, a jewelry dig sponsored by Faye's Boutique, raffle prizes, and food from Maxie's Southern Comfort and Blue's Egg.

Foundation funds support district educational needs.

For information, visit

Joint meeting will focus on Delphi and civic center redevelopment

Jan. 26, 2012 6:12 p.m. | The Oak Creek Common Council and the Oak Creek-Franklin School Board will meet at 7 p.m. Monday to discuss the redevelopment of the current civic center and the site of former Delphi Automotive plant.

The meeting will be held in the cafeteria of Oak Creek High School, 340 E. Puetz Road.

The purpose of the meeting is to review different options for developing both Howell Avenue sites, including their costs. The civic center is at 8640 S. Howell Ave. and the Delphi site, 7929 S. Howell Ave.

This meeting, open to the public, will also be televised on the city's public access channel, either Time Warner Channel 25 or AT&T Uverse channel 99.

Gee to head Forest Exploration Center

Jan. 26, 2012 11:50 a.m. | The Forest Exploration Center, a nonprofit organization that intends to provide forest education on land in Wauwatosa, has hired a full-time executive director.

John Gee, formerly executive director of Wisconsin Charter Schools Association, has held a variety of entrepreneurial and executive positions in the education and technology sectors, according to an announcement from the center board. His prior experiences include being CEO of the Information Technology Association of Wisconsin, founding a high-tech business incubator for NASA and developing Beaver Creek, Colo., a private city and ski resort.

The Forest Exploration Center will center on the 67 acres owned by the state Department of Natural Resources east of Interstate-45, bounded by Swan Boulevard and Underwood Parkway.

The next three years will be a time for development of community programming, and exploration center and possibility a charter school.

Despite waves of protest, lake park plan gains ground

Jan. 25, 2012 10:50 a.m. | After hearing 53 speakers, most of them against a proposed park on Little Muskego Lake, the Muskego Common Council on Tuesday night narrowly approved purchasing properties for $3.6 million to push the plan forward without a referendum.

The decision was made in a pair of 4-3 votes - with aldermen Noah Fiedler, Neome Schaumberg, Keith Werner and Tracy Snead favoring the purchase and opposing a referendum, and Dan Soltysiak, Neil Borgman and Kert Harenda opposing the purchase and favoring a public vote.

The issue has been a hotly contested one, especially in the past month, including picketers who protested outside the homes of council members who support the acquisition of the two properties.

On Tuesday, Werner said he favors the plan, which calls for a park off of Janesville Road just north of Pioneer Drive, because "this project is going to be a catalyst to promote economic development" on both those roads.

On the opposing side, Soltysiak said, "I don't have enough information to make the argument to go through with it."

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Man, 76, cited for disorderly conduct after leaving car to explain 'rules of the road'

Jan. 25, 2012 8:39 a.m. | A 76-year-old Muskego man was issued a citation for disorderly conduct after he exited his vehicle to instruct the driver of a car he had just rear-ended about the "rules of the road."

According to the Hales Corners police report:

At approximately 9:40 a.m. Jan. 16, a 37-year-old Muskego woman was exiting the Sherper's parking lot on Highway 100 near West Scharles Avenue when the driver of the vehicle behind her started honking his horn and yelling at her. When she started to make her left turn onto Highway 100, she stated the other driver continued to sound his horn so she stopped her car. In doing so, her car was struck from behind by the other vehicle.

The woman told police the driver of the other vehicle then exited his car, approached her driver's side door and continued to yell at her about "the way she drives" before he got back into his vehicle, put it in reverse and fled north through the parking lot.

Police located the car on South 92nd Street and West Cold Spring Road and conducted a traffic stop. The driver stated he feared for his safety and was on his way to the police station to report the incident.

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Sewer rates dip, but will increase in future

Jan. 24, 2012 11:28 p.m. | Sanitary sewer rates took a slight dip this year, but a hefty hike is on the horizon.

"Because of significant investments coming up, it might be the last time for some time we see a decrease," City Administrator James Archambo said.

The Common Council unanimously approved the 2012 sewer rates last week. The average homeowner will pay $307 this year, down 0.9 percent or about $3 from 2011.

Sanitary sewer rates are made up of per-gallon usage and connection charges from Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and a local water consumption charge.

The MMSD portion of the bill is where the decrease can be found. The per-gallon rate will increase by 0.2 percent while the connection charge will decrease between 3.3 and 5 percent per customer

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Boy OK after being struck by car while crossing North 60th Street in Brown Deer

Jan. 24, 2012 5:40 p.m. | Brown Deer Police report a 13-year-old Milwaukee boy was struck by a car this afternoon while crossing North 60th Street in the crosswalk at West Fairlane Avenue.

The boy was taken to a hospital with non life-threatening injuries. His parents were notified and came to the scene of the accident.

Officers and the North Shore Fire Department were called to the area at 3:19 p.m. The driver of the vehicle, a 74-year-old Milwaukee woman, was at the scene. She was driving her car south on 60th Street when she struck the boy.She was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

There was no visible damage to the vehicle and the driver was not injured.

This is the second car-pedestrian accident in the general area this month. A 15-year-old Brown Deer boy was stuck by a car while in the crosswalk at North 60th Street and West Tower Avenue at 7 a.m. Jan. 6.

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Tosa police take reports of two armed robberies in three days

Jan. 24, 2012 12:29 p.m. | East Tosa saw two armed robberies within a matter of days.

According to Wauwatosa police reports:

A masked robber carrying a sawed-off shotgun held up RadioShack, 6407 W. North Ave., at 8:25 p.m. Jan. 19.

An employee was organizing merchandise when the man walked in. As she turned to greet him, she noticed he was wearing a mask and had a weapon sticking out from his sleeve.

"Come with me, you know what this is," the robber said.

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Woman says she was robbed at gunpoint at Tosa bus stop

Jan. 23, 2012 4:22 p.m. | A 19-year-old woman said she was held up at gunpoint at 6 p.m. Jan. 16 while she sat at a bus stop on the southwest corner of North Avenue and 60th Street.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

As she waited for her bus, the woman said, a man approached the bench from the north side of North Avenue, sat down next to her and pointed a gun at her from his lap.

She said he told her to "give me everything you have."

The woman gave him a wallet containing $30 and an MP3 player valued at $200.

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Future school class scheduling to be discussed Jan. 24 at Whitman

Jan. 23, 2012 1:02 p.m. | An update on the progress of the Wauwatosa School District's Class Scheduling Committee will be presented at a PTA meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesdayin the library of Whitman Middle School, 11100 W. Center St.

Jeff Keranen, Whitman principal and committee chairman, will give the update.

"This will be a progress report," Keranen said. "There are a lot of options that the committee is exploring, so this will be a report and not a recommendation."

Keranen said the committee has ruled out the block scheduling - consisting of four, 90-minute classes - that has been adopted by the Elmbrook School District. He also noted that any new district class schedule will not go into effect before the fall of 2013.

Whitman PTA President Joan Ross said parents have been asking about the committee's progress.

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Lake park meeting moved to country club

Jan. 23, 2012 12:16 p.m. | Muskego Common Council meeting on Tuesday, in which the public will have input on a controversial park proposal, has been moved from the City Hall to the Muskego Lakes Country Club, W14020 Loomis Road.

Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti was not immediately available Monday morning to explain why the location of the meeting, set for 7 p.m., was changed late last week, and it was not immediately known whether the country club has the ability to televise the meeting.

However, what is known is that residents will be given a formal opportunity for residents to speak on the proposal to establish a park on Little Muskego Lake off of Janesville Road prior to any council vote. The proposal has avid supporters and detractors.

The more than $4 million cost just to acquire property for the park is one of the reasons some people are against the park proposal. Those included picketers who on Sunday afternoon demonstrated in front of the homes of the mayor and three aldermen - Keith Werner, Tracy Snead and Noah Fiedler, who are believed to support the park.

Wauwatosa Meetings: Jan. 26-Feb. 2

Jan. 23, 2012 9:50 a.m. | Civic Celebration Commission: 7 p.m. Jan. 26, City Hall, 7725 W. North Ave.

Common Council committees: 7 p.m. Jan. 31, City Hall

Committee for Citizens with Disabilities: 7 p.m. Feb. 1, City Hall

Historic Preservation Commission: 7 p.m. Feb. 1, City Hall

Whitnall Park sledding hill, warming house open this weekend

Jan. 20, 2012 10:21 a.m. | The sledding hill and warming house at Whitnall Park will be open today from 3 to 8 p.m.

The warming house will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. The park is at 6751 S. 92nd St. in Hales Corners.

Groomed cross-county ski trails at Whitnall and Brown Deer Parks are open.

Cross-country ski rental on the weekends at Whitnall Park is $25 per day and $30 for 24 hours.

Those looking for less strenuous activity can take a dog sled ride, which are being offered Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Whitnall Park clubhouse.

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Tollaksen resigns as River Hills village manager

Jan. 19, 2012 4:00 p.m. | River Hills Village Manager Tom Tollaksen is resigning his post. His last day in the office will be Jan. 27.

Tollaksen, who was appointed River Hills' village manager in September, 1996, said he believes his goals at the village have been largely accomplished, including modernization of public services, improvement of village infrastructure, and fostering of a competent, compassionate and creative village staff.

"Although I will no longer be village manager," Tollaksen said, "I look forward to doing what I can to continue the village's status as a strong and vibrant community."

Tollaksen said his decision to leave the village was not an easy one.

"There are other personal goals that I want to accomplish," he said, "and the timing seems right for me and my family."

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Macy's to open at Southridge on March 14

Jan. 19, 2012 3:50 p.m. | Macy's at Southridge Mall will officially open March 14, and it has named Jennifer Duffy its store manager.

Duffy has been store manager of the Macy's Port Huron, Mich., store since 2008.

Shoppers who purchase shopping pass tickets from participating organizations in the store's Charity Shopping Day can get a sneak preview of the store March 10. For details, send an email to or call (414) 471-3699.

Meanwhile, Macy's announced it will hire about 160 employees for the Greendale mall store. Those interested in a position should apply online at

Macy's said in May it would open a 150,000-square-foot store at Southridge; it will be the mall's fifth anchor.

Fire damages software company and causes injuries

Jan. 19, 2012 3:16 p.m. | Two people were injured in a fire this morning that caused about $80,000 worth of damage to Competitive Edge Software, 9850 S. 54th St., Franklin.

Fire Chief James Martins said the fire broke out around 10 a.m. in the software company's warehouse, after gasoline used in some machines created sparks.

Martins said he did not know the extent of the employees' injuries, but they were not life-threatening.

It took firefighters about 20 minutes to put the fire out, he said. The building suffered smoke damage but was structurally safe, and that utilities were not shut off.

Redistricting errors impact Greenfield primary

Jan. 18, 2012 3:34 p.m. | The Greenfield clerk's office is under the gun as it races to fix a redistricting snafu that could turn Feb. 21 primary election day into a nightmare for voters and poll workers.

The problem is that the boundaries state legislators drew in redistricting following the 2010 U.S. Census don't match up in some places with local maps. As a result, some voters are not in the right wards or districts.

To fix the problem, the clerk's office must move 5,000 voters one by one into the proper wards, City Clerk Jennifer Goergen told the Greenfield Common Council on Tuesday night.. That's a big job - one she isn't sure can be completed by a Jan. 31 deadline tied to the printing of election-related documents.

Goergen emphasized that the problem is not a local mistake. It came about because state legislators relied on census blocks to draw their maps. Those blocks have been found to be inaccurate all over the state.

If things aren't put right, voters could come to the polls for the Feb. 21 primary election and not be listed in the right poll book, Goergen said. They could re-register at the polls, though, she suggested.

City scales back $10 million roads plan

Jan. 18, 2012 3:18 p.m. | The aggressive $10 million road repair plan that was proposed to take advantage of low interest and construction costs will not be followed, the Greenfield Common Council decided Tuesday night.

Instead, the council approved $3.7 million in road projects, which is more in line with what the city usually spends in a year.

While lumping three years of road repairs into this year offered an estimated $2 million savings and a hiatus in any road work, the council did not feel comfortable taking on that much debt. Times are too uncertain, Mayor Michael Neitzke said after the meeting.

The council did approve the crash plan in November when it approved the 2012 budget, but even then aldermen expressed reservations.

The projects that actually were approved for next year were recommended by the Public Works Committee that met last week.

City opts to revert to old overtime rules

Jan. 18, 2012 1:48 p.m. | New overtime rules limiting Department of Public Works overtime only to work over 40 hours in a week and dropping overtime premiums for work on holidays and weekends were scrapped by the Greenfield Common Council on Tuesday night, 17 days after they went into effect Jan. 1.

The council opted to revert to most of the old rules, which granted overtime after eight hours in one work day and counts vacation and personal time as hours worked. Workers will earn time-and-a-half pay for any hours beyond eight in a day and on holidays and weekends. Double-time on Sundays, as was offered under the old rules, was not restored.

The Finance and Human Resources Committee, which recommended going back to most of the old rules, agreed with Daniel Ewert, public works superintendent, who said the new more restrictive rules do more harm than good.

Ewert pleaded with the committee to restore at least some of the old overtime rules to show DPW workers who are called on to meet all kinds of emergencies that rules are not being implemented just because the city can.

Most of the overtime is paid for battling snowstorms, Ewert said, and overtime itself is less than 8 percent of the DPW payroll.

Greenfield tries to avoid a sign of things to come

Jan. 18, 2012 1:08 p.m. | With the approval of one flashing sign, Greenfield leaders hope they aren't opening the city up to TV-like advertising signs along its thoroughfares.

The sign OK'd by the Common Council on Tuesday night was for the city's own Greenfield Community Center, 7215 W. Cold Spring Road.

Advertising would be sold on the sign, placed in front of the building. The city would collect an estimated $12,000 per year from the company that would be in charge of the sign. That money would help support the community center.

The council's approval was significant because for the first time businesses will be able to advertise on a sign on someone else's property elsewhere in the city. To try to avoid a proliferation of signs and off-site advertising, the council decided to limit those types of signs to public property associated with public buildings.

But that still leaves the door open to Milwaukee County and the two school districts in the city to erect similar signs, said Karl Kastner, Common Council president, who cast the only "no" vote. Milwaukee County, which is desperate for revenue, alone could conceivably have its signs on Root River Parkway, Cold Spring Road, Highway 100, Beloit Road and 92nd Street and Forest Home Avenue, he noted.

Wauwatosa, police agree on 3-year contract

Jan. 18, 2012 10:42 a.m. | After 16 months of bargaining, the city and Wauwatosa police union have reached a three-year agreement.

The contract, ratified by the Common Council on Tuesday, provides 3 percent wage increases this year and next for the 75 members of the Wauwatosa Peace Officers Association. However, it also increases health insurance premium contributions and adds a pension contribution for the first time.

Net take-home pay will drop in 2012 and '13, union President Luke Vetter said, adding that health care deductibles, co-insurance payments and premiums went up.

"Given the economic and political climate, it is probably as good of a deal as we could expect," he said. "My hope is that when economic times get better in Wauwatosa, the council and mayor would be kind enough to share that good fortune with its employees."

Gross starting pay for an officer was $46,067.84 per year in 2010 and would go to $47,449.88 in 2012. The top step in the salary scale of $64,743.54 in 2010 goes to $66,685.85 in 2012 for base pay.

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Voters to weigh smaller council

Jan. 18, 2012 10:30 a.m. | The April 3 election ballot just got a little longer in Wauwatosa.

Voters will be asked an advisory referendum question about their interest in reducing the size of the city's Common Council.

The results won't tie the council into taking any specific actions. However, voters will end a 20-year debate on whether the Wauwatosa's legislative body is too large and set the council on a path to changing that, said Alderman Dennis McBride, who proposed the referendum.

If the referendum passes that will just lead to tireless debate on council size, structure and representation on numerous committees, Alderman Michael Walsh said.

The council could better use the time that will be spending putting itself under a microscope to look at the proposed high-voltage power lines, development projects such at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Innovation Park and the Burleigh Triangle, fixing sewer backups and preparing for the next budget cycle, he said.

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Meaux becomes mayor until April

Jan. 18, 2012 10:22 a.m. | He's no longer just acting the part. The title is now official for Mayor Eric Meaux - at least for the next 2 1/2 months.

The Common Council on Tuesday unanimously appointed Meaux to serve as Wauwatosa's mayor for the remainder of the term vacated by Jill Didier. The office of mayor will be on the April ballot.

With the title comes a salary, City Attorney Alan Kesner said. Meaux will get compensated based on the mayor's $22,500 salary. The council approved a raise to $30,000 but that doesn't go into effect until the start of the next mayor's term.

Meaux, as the Common Council president, became acting mayor Jan. 3. His fellow council members decided to make the title retroactive to that start date.

In the meantime, Meaux's seat representing District 2 on the council will remain vacant. The district has another council representative, Alderwoman Kathleen Causier, residents can call upon. The council president position will not be filled until after the April elections.

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Archambo to get raises in 2012

Jan. 18, 2012 9:24 a.m. | City Administrator James Archambo will receive a raise this year and possibly a bonus come 2013 if he meets the goals the Wauwatosa Common Council sets for him.

After reading reviews submitted by the department directors that report to him and talking is closed session for nearly two hours, the council showed their appreciation with the city administrator's performance.

The nod of support comes in the form of a 1.5 percent wage increase this month, followed by another 1.5 percent raise in July. A one-time incentive payment of up to $3,500 will be made in 2013 if Archambo accomplishes certain goals. He currently earns $115,169.60.

The council's Employee Relations Committee will begin outlining those goals in coming weeks, said Alderman Peter Donegan, committee chairman.

Alderman Michael Walsh was the only council member to vote in opposition to the wage changes.

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Take your job and shovel it

Jan. 17, 2012 10:20 p.m. | With two snowfalls covering Wauwatosa in the past week, city staff want to remind property owners about their winter weather duties.

Shoveling sidewalks: The full width of public sidewalks, crosswalks and curb ramps must be cleared of snow and ice by noon following the accumulation, said Mary Clare Schuller, Parks and Forestry Department secretary. If the work isn't done on time, city crews will remove the snow and charge the property owner. De-icing agents or sand can be sprinkled on slippery spots.

Preparing for refuse collection: Clear a spot at the curb or the bottom of the driveway for garbage and recycling carts, Mike Kreiter, public works superintendent, said. Don't place them on the sidewalk or the top of a snow drift. Pulling carts from snow drifts can cause worker injury, so repeat offenders won't have their bins emptied.

Clearing fire hydrants: When firefighters respond to a structure fire, they immediately look for the closest hydrant. If the hydrant is covered in snow so it can't be seen or easily accessed it means more time for the fire to grow. Property owners who live near a hydrant can help by taking a few minutes to dig out the fixtures.

Driving etiquette: Snowplow drivers are handling large equipment often in treacherous conditions. Give them some space and slow down, Kreiter said. Stay 500 feet behind plows and let them clear a safe driving route, he said.

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Pet Supplies Plus moving into former Ethan Allen building

Jan. 17, 2012 9:32 p.m. | Pet Supplies Plus plans to open a store in the former Ethan Allen building at 14750 W. Capitol Drive, which has sat vacant for a number of years.

The Brookfield Common Council gave the final approval for the endeavor tonight.

The pet supply retailer will occupy the entire 14,000-square-foot building, using 8,000 square feet for sales space and the remainder for warehouse space, said Larry Goudy, zoning and planning administrator.

Pet Supplies Plus, which carries an array of toys, food and equipment for dogs, cats, fish, birds and reptiles, already has several locations in the metro area, including a store on Bluemound Road.

Some interior renovations will be made to make the building suitable for the store's use, but no exterior alterations are planned, Goudy said.

Hale names Ehret as new football coach

Jan. 17, 2012 8:46 p.m. | Brandon Ehret has been named head football coach at Nathan Hale High School, the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District just announced.

Ehret has served on the Nathan Hale football staff for the past two seasons as head junior varsity coach and linebackers coach. District officials said he also will bring a strong background of playing experience to the job of varsity head coach.

Ehret was a four-year letter winner at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and was an all-conference selection at linebacker in both his junior and senior years. He was team captain as a senior and named his team's defensive Most Valuable Player as both a junior and a senior.

"It's a dream come true to coach at the same school in which I teach," Ehret said in a press release.

He takes over from Sean Hegarty, who has been head football coach for two seasons.

City seeks public input on lake park plan

Jan. 17, 2012 8:44 p.m. | A public input session on whether Muskego should buy two mansions on Little Muskego Lake and make a park out of the property will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 24 at the Muskego City Hall, S8200 Racine Ave.

Later that evening, the Common Council will discuss an offer to purchase the properties.

Information is on the city's website, under "What's New" regarding the possible acquisition.

Resale shop helps police make arrest in high-end shoplifting case

Jan. 17, 2012 1:42 p.m. | Staff at a Brookfield resale shop alerted police to an unusual amount of new, high-priced clothing coming into the store, suspecting the items had been stolen. The tip resulted in the arrest of a 24-year-old Mequon man.

The district attorney's office will decide whether to charge the man with theft Tuesday.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

Plato's Closet employees were seeing a number of Free People brand women's clothing in new condition coming into the store.

Knowing that Macy's is one of few retailers who carry the line, security guards at the Mayfair store started keeping an even closer eye on that department within the Wauwatosa store.

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Manager injured in KFC drive-thru robbery

Jan. 17, 2012 11:28 a.m. | Two masked men attempted to rob KFC in East Tosa and injured a manager in the process last week.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

The restaurant, 6706 W. North Ave., was closed but employees were preparing for customers at 9:12 a.m. Jan. 10, when a manager pulled up to drive-thru window to pick up a bank deposit.

As she approached, two young men or older teens with T-shirts wrapped around their faces walked up. One was armed with a shotgun and said "Don't move."

They hid against the building until an employee opened the drive-thru window. The armed robber made a grab for the bank bag while the manager drove off and called police.

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Greater Menomonee Falls Foundation accepting applications for grants

Jan. 16, 2012 11:48 a.m. | The Greater Menomonee Falls Foundation is proud to announce that it is now accepting applications for its 2012 grant application cycle.

The Foundation awarded four $1,000 grants in 2011. The recipients included: The Falls Area Community Services Food Pantry, Camp Pow Wow, The Children's Community Center, and Accompany of Kids.

"Our goal for 2012 was to double the amount of grants that we could award to $8,000," Chairwoman Darci Middaugh said. "Due to the overwhelming generosity of our donors, we are able to realize that goal."

For the 2012 grant cycle the foundation will be awarding two $2,000 grants and four $1,000 grants. The GMFF supports nonprofit organizations that improve the quality of life in the Menomonee Falls Area. Interested nonprofit organizations can visit the "Grants" page at <a href="">click here</a>. Organizations interested in being considered for both a $2,000 and the $1,000 grants should submit a separate application for each grant.

Please share this information with your local nonprofit organizations. The foundation is proud to have the ability to award these grants, and wants to ensure that every qualifying organization that it interested in applying has the opportunity to do so.

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Muskego house fire likely caused by cooking device

Jan. 15, 2012 9:38 p.m. | A house fire in the S6800 block of Fennimore Lane in Muskego today appears to have been caused accidentally by a cooking device, Muskego Fire Department officials said.

All residents of the home had gotten outside before members of the Tess Corners Fire Department and Muskego Police Department responded shortly after 5:45 p.m. today.

No injuries were reported.

Nicolet School Board candidate Halstrom withdraws

Jan. 13, 2012 2:18 p.m. | Nicolet School Board candidate Melody Halstrom has withdrawn from the three-person race this spring. While her name will likely appear on the ballot April 3, Halstrom's announcement essentially means the Nicolet race will be uncontested.

Incumbent Marilyn Franklin and newcomer Libby Gutterman also are seeking the two seats up for election. Incumbent Jennifer Peltz is not seeking re-election.

Halstrom, of River Hills, said she likely will run for Nicolet School Board in the future. After speaking with Gutterman, Halstrom said her opinions mirrored her would-be rival and felt there would be a duplication. Halstrom said she also respected Franklin, who has been on the Nicolet board for 24 years.

County parks offering winter rec this weekend

Jan. 12, 2012 9:08 p.m. | The sledding hill and warming clubhouse at Whitnall Park, 6751 S. 92nd St., will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Cross-county ski trails at Whitnall and Brown Deer parks will open with trail grooming beginning Friday. Cross-country ski rental at Whitnall Park is $25 per day and $30 for 24 hours.

Door County Sled Dogs will provide authentic dog sled rides at the Whitnall Park Clubhouse from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, snowfall permitting. Rides are made up of a team of four to six adult Siberian huskies and cost $10 per child and $15 per adult. Sled dog rides must have 5 inches of snow or more to operate.

For information call the Door County Sled Dog hotline for up-to-date information and snow conditions at (414) 967-9677.

Ice skating with skate rentals ($8 for adults, $7 for ages 17 and younger) will be open on the downtown outdoor rink at Red Arrow Park, 920 N. Water St., from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday.

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County parks offering winter rec this weekend

Jan. 12, 2012 8:52 p.m. | The sledding hill and warming clubhouse at Whitnall Park, 6751 S. 92nd St., will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Cross-county ski trails at Whitnall and Brown Deer parks will open with trail grooming beginning Friday. Cross-country ski rental at Whitnall Park is $25 per day and $30 for 24 hours.

Door County Sled Dogs will provide authentic dog sled rides at the Whitnall Park Clubhouse from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, snowfall permitting. Rides are made up of a team of four to six adult Siberian huskies and cost $10 per child and $15 per adult. Sled dog rides must have 5 inches of snow or more to operate.

For information call the Door County Sled Dog hotline for up-to-date information and snow conditions at (414) 967-9677.

Ice skating with skate rentals ($8 for adults, $7 for ages 17 and younger) will be open on the downtown outdoor rink at Red Arrow Park, 920 N. Water St., from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday.

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Parks system readying for winter rec opportunities

Jan. 12, 2012 8:38 p.m. | The Waukesha County Park System has more than 25 miles of groomed and tracked cross-country ski trails, sledding hills, and snowshoeing and winter hiking trails.

Cross-country ski trails are located within Menomonee Park, W220-N7884 Townline Road in Menomonee Falls; Minooka Park, 1927 E. Sunset Drive in Waukesha; and Nashotah Park, W330-N5113 County Highway C in Nashotah. Waukesha County will be monitoring the snow conditions regularly in order to make sure the grooming process is started as soon as possible after or during this snow event, parks officials said today. Once trails are packed, the website,, will be updated.

Snowshoeing opportunities are available throughout the Waukesha County Park System. Fox River Park, W264-S4500 River Road in Waukesha; Muskego Park, S83-W20370 Janesville Road in Muskego; and Retzer Nature Center, S14-W28167 Madison Street in Waukesha, all have trails that are packed for winter hiking or snowshoeing. Snowshoe rentals are available at Retzer Nature Center for $5.50 a half day and $9 for a full day. The smallest size snowshoe is for 45 pounds. Contact Retzer at (262) 896-8007 for information.

Sledding hills are located at Menomonee Park, Minooka Park, Nashotah Park and Mukwonago Park W325-S9945 Beulah Road in Mukwonago.

For snowmobile trail conditions, call the Waukesha County Snowmobile Association's Hotline at (414) 299-0330. For information about snowmobile clubs in the Waukesha area, see the Waukesha County Snowmobile Association's website at

» Read Full Article

Parks system readying for winter rec opportunities

Jan. 12, 2012 8:38 p.m. | The Waukesha County Park System has more than 25 miles of groomed and tracked cross-country ski trails, sledding hills, and snowshoeing and winter hiking trails.

Cross-country ski trails are located within Menomonee Park, W220-N7884 Townline Road in Menomonee Falls; Minooka Park, 1927 E. Sunset Drive in Waukesha; and Nashotah Park, W330-N5113 County Highway C in Nashotah. Waukesha County will be monitoring the snow conditions regularly in order to make sure the grooming process is started as soon as possible after or during this snow event, parks officials said today. Once trails are packed, the website,, will be updated.

Snowshoeing opportunities are available throughout the Waukesha County Park System. Fox River Park, W264-S4500 River Road in Waukesha; Muskego Park, S83-W20370 Janesville Road in Muskego; and Retzer Nature Center, S14-W28167 Madison Street in Waukesha, all have trails that are packed for winter hiking or snowshoeing. Snowshoe rentals are available at Retzer Nature Center for $5.50 a half day and $9 for a full day. The smallest size snowshoe is for 45 pounds. Contact Retzer at (262) 896-8007 for information.

Sledding hills are located at Menomonee Park, Minooka Park, Nashotah Park and Mukwonago Park W325-S9945 Beulah Road in Mukwonago.

For snowmobile trail conditions, call the Waukesha County Snowmobile Association's Hotline at (414) 299-0330. For information about snowmobile clubs in the Waukesha area, see the Waukesha County Snowmobile Association's website at

» Read Full Article

Parks system readying for winter rec opportunities

Jan. 12, 2012 8:36 p.m. | The Waukesha County Park System has more than 25 miles of groomed and tracked cross-country ski trails, sledding hills, and snowshoeing and winter hiking trails.

Cross-country ski trails are located within Menomonee Park, W220-N7884 Townline Road in Menomonee Falls; Minooka Park, 1927 E. Sunset Drive in Waukesha; and Nashotah Park, W330 N5113 County Highway C in Nashotah. Waukesha County will be monitoring the snow conditions regularly in order to make sure the grooming process is started as soon as possible after or during this snow event, parks officials said today. Once trails are packed, the website,, will be updated.

Snowshoeing opportunities are available throughout the Waukesha County Park System. Fox River Park, W264-S4500 River Road in Waukesha; Muskego Park, S83-W20370 Janesville Road in Muskego; and Retzer Nature Center, S14-W28167 Madison Street in Waukesha, all have trails that are packed for winter hiking or snowshoeing. Snowshoe rentals are available at Retzer Nature Center for $5.50 a half day and $9 for a full day. The smallest size snowshoe is for 45 pounds. Contact Retzer at (262) 896-8007 for information.

Sledding hills are located at Menomonee Park, Minooka Park, Nashotah Park and Mukwonago Park W325-S9945 Beulah Road in Mukwonago.

For snowmobile trail conditions, call the Waukesha County Snowmobile Association's Hotline at (414) 299-0330. For information about snowmobile clubs in the Waukesha area, see the Waukesha County Snowmobile Association's website at

» Read Full Article

Mequon council approves senior apartments despite neighbors’ objections

Jan. 11, 2012 8:35 p.m. | Property owners who live near a proposed senior apartment facility on North Cedarburg Road continued to oppose the project but an equal number of city residents from other areas as well as support from outside the city and from business owners made a strong case for allowing the project to continue at Monday's Common Council meeting.

In the end, after almost three hours of discussion, the council, by a 5-3 vote, decided to allow the construction of the 96-unit apartment building at 10908 N. Cedarburg Road to move ahead.

Fees rise under new Muskego ambulance contract

Jan. 11, 2012 12:34 p.m. | Ambulance fees will go up 12 percent under a contract with the Tess Corners Volunteer Fire Department approved Tuesday night by the Muskego Common Council.

The new fees range from $435 to $519, depending on how much medical help is needed, will be paid by patients or their insurance companies.

Muskego does not provide its own ambulance service, and instead contracts with the Tess Corners Volunteers.

Off-road riders must try harder to avoid annoying neighbors

Jan. 11, 2012 12:26 p.m. | A new off-road vehicle noise ordinance approved by the Muskego Common Council on Tuesday night basically asks for a little respect from riders for people in the neighborhood.

Reacting to complaints about young people tearing around a subdivision for hours, the council strengthened the existing noise ordinance, now enabling police to write tickets to any off-road riders causing "substantial annoyance" to neighbors.

Tickets can be written, even if the riders are on their own land, as was the case in a situation hat triggered a petition signed by 30 residents and brought the problem to the council's attention late last year.

The standard for judging "substantial annoyance" is whatever would be more than a petty annoyance or inconvenience to the average person, not someone who is especially sensitive. Police also will consider the frequency of the activity and the failure of the rider to reasonably accommodate the objections of neighbors.

The noise ordinance does not apply to snowmobiles, which are covered in other ordinances, but it does cover such things as all-terrain vehicles, motorized bicycles, minibikes and motorcycles.

Custom-design cake shop to open in East Tosa

Jan. 11, 2012 11:04 a.m. | Life in East Tosa is about to get a little sweeter.

Signature Sweets bakery is expected to open in late February in the storefront formerly occupied by Col. Pops Popcorn Co., 7227 W. North Ave.

Customers will find cakes ranging from the traditional vanilla and chocolate to fancier vanilla bean with vanilla buttercreme frosting or banana with chocolate mousse filling. The designs - they've made cakes shaped like a parrot, a purse and a pile of polo shirts, for example - are something like what would be found on television shows like "Ace of Cakes" or "Cake Boss."

The business is owned by Kimberly Hall of Milwaukee and Nicole Bitter of Muskego, former schoolmates who reconnected through Facebook.

"We both have this obsession with cakes and desserts," Hall said. "Over the last three years, we have been throwing around ideas and the possibility of actually getting out there and starting our own business."

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Trimming council likely not up to voters

Jan. 11, 2012 10:44 a.m. | City voters might have an opportunity to give their opinion about the size of the Wauwatosa Common Council, but the April 3 vote mostly likely wouldn't be binding.

Alderman Dennis McBride last week put forth a proposal for a referendum that would seek to cut the size of the council in half - from 16 to 8 representatives. However, reluctance by some members of the Legislation, Licensing and Communications Committee to make any results binding led McBride to take a different approach Tuesday.

"The real purpose of this referendum would be to take the temperature of the voters and find out what they think," he said, adding that an advisory referendum could accomplish that.

If an advisory referendum shows there is a significant interest in the community in cutting the number of council members, then discussions could begin on how to restructure the city's legislative body, he said.

The committee was much more supportive of this idea, forwarding a unanimous recommendation to the full Common Council.

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Arrest made after man, woman fight over Walmart parking space

Jan. 11, 2012 10:17 a.m. | A Greenfield man was arrested and cited for disorderly conduct after he pulled a woman’s hair during a fight over a parking space at Walmart, 6701 S. 27th St., at 10:45 a.m. Sunday.

According to the Franklin police report:

A 51-year-old Franklin man stated he was waiting for a parking spot at Walmart when a different vehicle snuck in front of him and took the space.

After a few words were exchanged, the driver of the vehicle that took the spot approached the caller’s vehicle, stuck his hand through the open window and pulled the hair of the passenger, a 57-year-old Franklin woman.

He then left the parking lot and entered the store.

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Tosa to stay silent about County Board size

Jan. 11, 2012 10:16 a.m. | Whether to reduce the size of the Milwaukee County Board may be a worthy question, but it's not one municipalities should be asking, Wauwatosa officials decided Tuesday, opting not to hold an advisory referendum on the matter.

Wauwatosa has a unique relationship with the county, as it is home to numerous county parks, the research park and the mental health complex. In addition, the city is contracted to provide fire service to the County Grounds. Reducing local representation - or at a minimum possibly alienating the people they must work with at the county level - may not be in the city's best interest, several aldermen said Tuesday.

"I support reduction in size of the County Board but not in this mechanism," Alderman Dennis McBride said. "We are a municipality, we should deal with municipal issues."

The city's Legislation, Licensing and Communications Committee shared McBride's sentiment and unanimously decided against a local referendum asking about cutting the size of the County Board in half.

McBride likened the proposed referendum to other questions that have been floated and subsequently rejected in past years. Wauwatosa has no place saying whether it supported the war in Iraq, a federal issue; or requiring voters to show an ID at the poll, a state issue, McBride said.

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Jo Jo's Pizza & Pub to close; new pub to replace it

Jan. 11, 2012 10:02 a.m. | Jo Jo's Pizza & Pub will close and a new restaurant, tentatively named Blue Ribbon Pub, will open in its place.

Mark Zierath, owner of Molly Cool's Seafood Tavern in downtown Milwaukee, requested a transfer of Jo Jo's tavern license so he can serve drinks, as well as pizza, sandwiches, salads and a Friday fish fry, at the new business.

The city's Legislation, Licensing and Communications Committee on Tuesday unanimously supported the license transfer. It must go to the full Common Council for final approval next week.

The owner of Jo Jo's is getting out of the restaurant business due to health issues, and Zierath has entered into a lease agreement for the building, 11302 W. Blue Mound Road. He plans to open in mid-March and handle the day-to-day management of the establishment.

The menu will offer more variety and lunch will be served - right now Jo Jo's opens at 3 p.m. - in hope of driving more traffic to the location.

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Father arrested for whipping daughter with electrical cord

Jan. 11, 2012 9:43 a.m. | A 32-year-old Wauwatosa father was arrested for child abuse last week after his daughter showed a teacher the welts that formed after a beating with an electrical cord.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

The Longfellow Middle School student was visibly upset Jan. 3, so her teacher asked her what was wrong. The girl showed the teacher bruises on her arms, legs, back and neck that came from a whipping.

School staff called the Bureau of Child Welfare and police officers talked to the family.

The girl's mother had discovered the girl had exchanged more than 100 sexually explicit text messages with several boys she had met on Facebook.

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Teen says he was beaten during robbery attempt

Jan. 11, 2012 8:52 a.m. | A Tosa teen was beat up during an attempting robbery last week, but the attackers left empty-handed.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

A 17-year-old boy was walking across the football field at Longfellow Middle School, 7600 W. North Ave., at 9:30 p.m. Jan. 4, when two males approached him from behind.

One said, "Hey man, we want your stuff." But the boy said he had nothing of value on him. To that, the second person said, "Man, you don't want this to get serious."

The boy said he felt threatened so he punched the first guy in the face, but the second one tackled him to the ground and started punching him. The other attacker joined in, punching and kicking the boy.

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Stanley Cup coming to Ozaukee County

Jan. 09, 2012 3:35 p.m. | Tony Hrkac, Concordia University Wisconsin men's hockey coach, will help welcome the Stanley Cup when it makes a stop at the Ozaukee Ice Center from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday.

As a player, Hrkac hoisted the Cup in 1999 after his Dallas Stars team won the National Hockey League crown.

Now, area hockey fans will have an up-close viewing opportunity. The Cup has been awarded annually to the NHL champion after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup finals since 1926.

Admission and photo opportunities for the Cup on Jan. 14 will be $10 for adults, seniors, and children 10 and older. Kids younger than 10 will be admitted for $5.

Admission includes cup viewing, photo taking, and CUW's men's hockey game vs. Finlandia at 2 p.m.

Shorewood administrator McCann retiring

Jan. 09, 2012 1:44 p.m. | Shorewood School District Administrator Blane McCann plans to retire July 10. The School Board will consider McCann's request for retirement at its meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

In a letter to the board, McCann, who has been administrator for 10 years, said that he plans to "remain active in the field of education and to continue to make a difference in the lives of children."

Falls police warn of vehicle break-ins at movie theater

Jan. 09, 2012 12:44 p.m. | On Jan. 5, between 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. three locked vehicles were broken into in the parking lot at the Marcus Cinema Menomonee Falls, N9393 Premier Lane.

It is unclear how many people were involved in the break-ins, but according to police, the thief used some type of pry tool to shatter the door window glass of the vehicles. Purses containing personal information, cash and credit cards were removed from all three vehicles. The purses were either left in plain view or under another object on the vehicle seats where they could be seen easily from outside.

Purchases were made with several of the stolen credit cards later that same evening.

Menomonee Falls Police have not provided details on any suspects.

The Police Department urges residents to lock vehicles and take any valuables with you. If that is not possible, lock items in the trunk or hide them from view. If you notice anyone suspicious in parking lots - a person standing next to vehicles with no apparent purpose, looking into vehicles or breaking into a vehicle, call the police immediately from a safe distance away. Do not confront them, but make observations about their age, height, weight, clothing and any other descriptors, including any vehicle they may be using.

Fire-damaged school's reopening delayed

Jan. 06, 2012 7:06 p.m. | St. Alphonsus School students will return to classes on Monday, instead of today as anticipated.

The Rev. Alan Jurkus said the principal decided to delay opening the school until Monday after viewing the extent of the work involved in getting 17 classes ready for students following the Christmas morning fire at the Greendale parish.

The classrooms, about two-thirds of the school, received extensive smoke damage from the fire that caused more than $200,000 in damage to the parish, and its cause is undetermined.

No one was in the church, where the fire started, and no injuries were reported.

Fox Point-Bayside plans to test alert system Sunday

Jan. 06, 2012 4:14 p.m. | The Fox Point-Bayside School District will be testing its Blackboard Connect mass notification system on Sunday evening, Jan. 8.

The program allows school district leaders to contact parents and others with time-sensitive information.

"Today we must be prepared for emergency situations that we never could have anticipated happening, such as the bank robber apprehension on school grounds at Stormonth and the extended power outage at Bayside this past fall. The Blackboard Connect platform provides our district with the technology needed to quickly communicate with parents and staff," said Rachel Boechler, district administrator, in announcing the new system "We recognize the important role that immediate communication plays in safety, as well as student success, and we will use the system to engage parents and keep them informed of important issues as they come up."

In urgent situations, the district can quickly send accurate notifications and updates to parents and staff, helping to prevent the spread of misinformation, streamline efforts and keep students safe. The system also has the capability to disseminate information such as mandatory school closures, testing schedules, parent teacher conferences and related school events.

The messages can be sent via voice, text or email.

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Suspects quickly arrested in armed robbery

Jan. 06, 2012 3:18 p.m. | Within an hour, police went from opening an investigating into a fresh report of an armed robbery at a New Berlin gas station to essentially closing the book on the case.

Rindt's Citgo station, 19400 W. College Ave., was robbed shortly after 8 a.m. today by two masked men, who fled with cash, then ran two blocks to a waiting vehicle in which a third man was waiting, according to police. It wasn't a clean getaway.

When a station employee told a customer what had just occurred moments earlier, the customer immediately drove in the direction where the masked men were seen running. The customer saw a vehicle, recorded its license plate number and reported it to police, who quickly discovered that the plate was registered to a resident in Waukesha.

At about 8:40 a.m., Waukesha police located a van matching the description at Baird Street and West Avenue in Waukesha and saw three suspects flee from the vehicle. After surrounding the area, police apprehended all three and also reportedly recovered the weapons used in the robbery as well as the stolen cash.

Christmas tree pickup continues through Jan. 20

Jan. 06, 2012 3:10 p.m. | Haven't had time to take down the holiday decorations yet? Don't worry, the city will continue to collect Christmas trees through Jan. 20, Public Works Director Bill Porter said.

Two complete passes will be made throughout the city, with pickups made on garbage collection days.

Trees must be clear of wrappings, decorations, wire, metal, nails and tree stands. They will be chipped into mulch.

Residents looking to get rid of artificial trees or wreaths can dispose of them in the garbage.

McKinley's Walking School Bus wins grant dollars

Jan. 06, 2012 3:08 p.m. | McKinley Elementary School received a $1,000 grant to expand its Walking School Bus program by reaching out to local community members, businesses and three nearby universities.

The National Center for Safe Routes to School awards money to projects that encourage students and their families to walk and/or bicycle safely to school. A walking school bus is made up of students who gather at a specific stop each morning to walk together to school, chaperoned by adults, with the philosophy that there is more safety and better visibility in numbers.

McKinley will use posters, newspaper advertisements and digital marketing strategies to connect with college students who are interested in leading the walking school bus. Training sessions and background checks will be required of all volunteers. As more volunteer chaperons become trained, additional walking routes will be added.

In addition, McKinley staff will develop a "Wauwatosa Walking School Bus Handbook," which will be available to other elementary schools in the district.

A group of parents, school staff members and Alderman Jeff Roznowski formed a safe routes group at McKinley who have been coming up with low-cost ways to improve the safety of children on the way to and from school and on the streets around the property.

Kids from Wisconsin taking applications

Jan. 06, 2012 3:04 p.m. | Think of it as "American Idol" or "America's Got Talent" for Wisconsin youth. The Kids from Wisconsin - a troupe of singers, dancers and musicians that travel the state each summer - is holding auditions for this year's 33 Kids.

Applications are available at, and are due Jan. 20 to be eligible for auditions Feb. 24 through Feb. 26. Participants must be between 15 and 20.

Each June, a stage performance created by a professional artistic staff is taught during an intense 17-day camp. During the following 10 weeks, the troupe performs 70 shows throughout Wisconsin and the Midwest, including daily appearances at the Wisconsin State Fair.

For information, call (414) 266-7067.

Hansen, Currie golf courses open

Jan. 06, 2012 2:58 p.m. | Milwaukee County Parks Department has opened seven golf courses, including the facilities at Currie Park, 3535 N. Mayfair Road, and Hansen Park, 9800 Underwood Creek Parkway, in Wauwatosa, for play today.

Temperatures and conditions remain on par to play golf, parks staff said. Courses will remain open into next week, as weather permits.

Other courses around the county open today are Grant Park in South Milwaukee, Greenfield Park in West Allis, Lincoln Park in Milwaukee and Oakwood Park and Whitnall Park (the front nine holes) in Franklin.

For reservations at the Tosa greens, call Currie at (414) 453-7030 or Hansen at (414) 453-4454.

Brown Deer teen OK after being hit by car going to school

Jan. 06, 2012 11:58 a.m. | A 15-year-old Brown Deer boy was taken to a local hospital for non life threatening injuries after he was struck by a car around 7 a.m. today.

According to police, the boy was crossing North 60th Street in the crosswalk at West Tower Avenue when a car driven by a 49-year-old Milwaukee woman struck the boy. The woman, who was driving north on 60th Street told police she did not see the boy. The boy was walking to Brown Deer High School where he is a student.

The pedestrian sustained non-life threatening injuries, including a possible broken leg, and was transported by North Shore Fire Department ambulance to a local area hospital. The parents of the pedestrian were notified.

The vehicle, a 2007 Honda, sustained minor damage and the driver was not injured. The driver was cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and released from the scene.

Tosa implements fee for burglary alarms

Jan. 05, 2012 8:35 p.m. | The owner of property, business or residential, equipped with a security alarm must register that alarm with the Police Department and pay a $20 fee within the next 30 days.

(Editor's note: The deadline has been extended to Feb. 13. Read more here.)

The Common Council narrowly approved the alarm registration ordinance on a 9-7 vote Tuesday. The council was split on whether alarms cause enough extra work for police to warrant a fee or if it was unfair to charge property owners who already are paying more to enhance security.

Police Chief Barry Weber estimated his department responds to about 1,000 burglar alarms per year, and while each is taken seriously with at least two squads responding, all but two or three of those turn out to be false alarms.

The likelihood that police will be called to respond to an alarmed property is much higher than for other properties, and unlike a 911 response - in which information is gleaned from a live person - officers responding to an alarm generally don't know what's awaiting them on scene.

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Property owners have until Feb. 13 to register security alarms

Jan. 05, 2012 8:32 p.m. | Owners of Wauwatosa properties equipped with security alarms will have until Feb. 13 to register with the Police Department and pay a $20 annual fee.

Since it is a new process, the deadline has been extended a bit, Sgt. Salvatore Alioto said today. Property owners who have failed to comply by Feb. 13 will be subject to a $50 late fee.

The Police Department has received numerous calls from alarm owners but it is not quite ready to start accepting registrations.

A registration form will be posted on the city's web site,, and be available for pick up at the Police Department, 1700 N. 116th St., within the next few days, Alioto said.

The Common Council on Tuesday voted to require that all alarms within the city be registered. Property owners would pay a service fee because those properties are more likely to require police response than those without security systems.

Hales Corners trustee will seek County Board seat

Jan. 05, 2012 5:50 p.m. | A prominent Hales Corners civic leader has decided to step into Milwaukee County's political realm by running for the 9th District supervisors seat.

Donald G. Schwartz today announced his intention to seek the seat currently held by Paul M. Cesarz, who has come under fire in recent months for his lack of contact with his constituents.

In announcing his candidacy in a press release, Schwartz made no mention of Cesarz directly. Instead, he addressed issues he said the County Board needs to address as a whole - particularly in terms of partnerships to more effectively deliver county services.

"In order to address the county's structural deficit, we need new and creative ways to operate county government," Schwartz said in the press release. "I will start by identifying priorities in each community and looking at ways to implement with fiscal responsibility and by building public and private partnerships."

Schwartz is a familiar name in Hales Corners. Among his other civic roles, he has served for the past nine years as an elected trustree on the Village Board. He is also president of the Hales Corners Chamber of Commerce, which he helped reorganize in 2003. Since 2007, he has also spearheaded efforts to keep the Hales Corners Pool open - a task which involved a coordinated deal with Milwaukee County.

Ambulance fee hike is still an issue for Muskego

Jan. 05, 2012 4:42 p.m. | On a split vote, with one notable opponent, the Muskego Public Safety Committee on Wednesday night recommended a 12 percent increase in ambulance fees the Tess Corners Volunteer Fire Department can charge.

Alderman Kert Harenda said today that he cast the lone vote against the proposed hike because data showing why the additional money is needed still was not provided.

Harenda said he wanted hard data supporting the need for a jump of that size.

Acknowledging that the ambulance fees have not gone up since 2007, Harenda said the increase might well be justified but that he wants due diligence in the process leading to final approval. One aspect he would like discussed is why New Berlin's ambulance rate is less than Muskego's, while New Berlin supplies its own paramedics and Muskego does not.

The proposed hike will go to the Common Council on Jan. 10. Harenda said he hopes the specific questions that he emailed to the fire department will be answered at the meeting.

Woman charged in Brookfield jewelry theft case

Jan. 05, 2012 1:18 p.m. | Janina S. Werner, 18, of Milwaukee, was charged with being party to the theft of jewelry from a Brookfield home in Waukesha County Circuit Court yesterday.

If convicted, she faces a fine of up to $10,000, up to six years in prison, or both.

The criminal complaint alleges:

The woman who lives in the home, in the 16100 block of Cumberland Court, noticed that a number of pieces of gold jewelry were missing and reported the matter Sept. 12. The rings, pendants and other items taken had a total estimated value of about $5,000.

She believed the items had been taken during the month of August, and recalled that two of her son's friends - one being Werner - had spent time in the home.

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Residents asked to share their opinions for developing farmland

Jan. 05, 2012 11:48 a.m. | Listening sessions that will allow New Berlin residents to tell officials how they would like the last major tract of farmland east of Moorland Road to be developed have now been scheduled.

Sewer and water lines are likely to be in the ground by the end of next year, and before development starts New Berlin officials want to get a read on what the public wants for the area bounded approximately by Sunny Slope Road to the east, College Avenue to the south, Grange Avenue to the north and Moorland Road to the west.

The city's comprehensive plan calls for the western part to be industrial and the eastern part to be residential. The plan calls for a residential density of one house for every two acres.

There also is some discussion about expanding the industrial portion eastward.

But within the framework of industrial and residential, a lot of details can be filled in, said Alderman Ken Harenda, who represents the area. As a result, he has scheduled listening sessions to hear what people want to see and what they don't want to see developed there.

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Four candidates square off in Falls School Board race

Jan. 04, 2012 2:31 p.m. | Menomonee Falls - The Menomonee Falls School Board will have a new president and the Village Board will have the same one after April's elections. Incumbent Village President Randy Newman is running unopposed after no candidates filed by Tuesday's deadline.

On the other hand, a slew of candidates are vying for two seats on the school board after current president Kathy Shurilla filled non-candidacy papers. Shurilla had announced she planned not to run at the last school board meeting.

Incumbent Dave Noshay will be running and faces three challengers. The seats are open seats, so Noshay only needs to be beat two of the three. Michele Divelbiss, a PTA president is running, as is Paul Tada and Richard Houdek.

School board terms are three years and each board member is paid $5,000 annually. The board votes on the president once the new members are elected. The election is April 3.

Schilz seeking re-election to Brown Deer Village Board

Jan. 04, 2012 12:54 p.m. | Tim Schilz is running for re-election to the Brown Deer Village Board.

Schilz, 55, lives with his wife, Kathleen, at 6543 W. Floral Lane. The couple have two sons.

He is completing his fourth consecutive term on the board and was first elected to the position in 2000.

Schilz earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and serves as director of analytical business development for the Van London-pHoenix Co.

Kautzer earns nominations to two U.S. service academies

Jan. 04, 2012 12:42 p.m. | Wauwatosa resident Austin Kautzer has been nominated for an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y.

He was one of three Milwaukee County residents U.S. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Menomonee Falls, nominated for service academies, it was announced today. Kautzer was chosen as a finalist after a rigorous application process and personal interview.

Kautzer, a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the son of Gary and Jane Kautzer.

Alexander Lane, a Shorewood resident who attends Marquette University High School; and Katherine Mesrobian, a Whitefish Bay resident who is attending school at Phillips Academy in Anodover, Mass., also have been nominated.

Applications are now being accepted for summer 2013 service academy appointments. For information, call Sensenbrenner's Brookfield office at (262) 784-1111.

Greendale schools purposefully chosen as venue for state literacy program announcement

Jan. 04, 2012 11:52 a.m. | Gov. Scott Walker this morning unveiled a new statewide literacy program, Read to Lead, at Greendale's Highland View Elementary School because it is "a great school district that excels."

At a news conference in the school's library, Walker noted that, according to the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress, Wisconsin's progress in reading achievement is stagnant at best. The Greendale School District, meanwhile, boasts that 89.2 percent of its 10th-graders ranked as proficient or advanced in reading, as measured by the Wisconsin Knowledge Concepts Examination.

Walker said students who are not proficient early are four times more likely not to graduate from high school. When poverty is factored in, the odds are greater, with students 13 times more likely not to complete school.

For that reason, he convened a bipartisan task force in spring whose recommendations include early literacy screenings, aggressive professional development for teachers, and accountability standards to measure Read to Lead's outcome.

No specific funding source for the program has been identified, although there are grant dollars - about $600,000 - for the universal literacy screenings. As far as oversight of the program, Walker said the Department of Public Instruction and the Department of Children and Families will likely coordinate its various elements.

Couple kicked out of hotel when break-up gets noisy

Jan. 04, 2012 11:31 a.m. | A couple in the midst of a break-up shouted and threw luggage into the hall at Extended Stay America, 11121 W. North Ave., last week, causing staff there to call police to eject the couple.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

The 18-year-old Wauwatosa man was arrested for drug possession, and his 20-year-old girlfriend, a Milwaukee woman, was arrested for vandalism at 8:41 p.m. Dec. 27.

The man answered the door crying and stated that he and his girlfriend were breaking up over an argument about stolen money.

Upon entering the room, officers found broken lamps, trash covering the floor, a mattress flipped off the bed, a broken kitchen cabinet and the screen removed from a window.

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Wauwatosa to consider reducing size of city council

Jan. 04, 2012 11:20 a.m. | How many people does it take to represent Wauwatosa? That's a question that could be posed to the city's voters in a referendum come April.

Alderman Dennis McBride has proposed a binding referendum that would ask Tosans whether the number of Common Council seats should be cut in half.

Right now, 16 people - two aldermen per district - represent the city. A referendum question would give voters the ability to drop that number to eight.

The issue of council size has come before the council itself at least four or five times in the last 20 years, and it never really gets resolved, McBride said.

"We keep coming to this spot that it gets defeated narrowly," he said. "No one is exactly happy, so it comes back."

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Chamber announces award winners

Jan. 04, 2012 10:10 a.m. | Three local organizations have won Wauwatosa Chamber of Commerce awards for their contributions to the community in 2011.

The Salvation Army of Milwaukee County has been named the Regional Impact winner.

The Small Business award goes to Radisson Hotel Milwaukee-West.

The chamber thanks the Friends of Hoyt Park and Pool for the aquatic facility that opened last summer with the Civic Appreciation Award.

Both businesses will be honored at the chamber's annual meeting from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Radisson, 2303 N. Mayfair Road. An after-party is set for the new Jimmy's Island Grill & Iguana Bar adjacent to the hotel.

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Tosa attorney challenges Walsh for seat on Common Council

Jan. 04, 2012 10:08 a.m. | Incumbent Michael Walsh has a challenger for the 5th District aldermanic position in attorney Joel Tilleson.

Tilleson, 30, has lived in Wauwatosa since 2007. He was a first-time homebuyer who plans to make Tosa his home for the long run.

"I look forward to bringing a fresh perspective to the council as it tackles the redevelopment of North Avenue and the Village area," he said. "I want to make sure we do what we can to attract unique businesses that will invest in the community and encourage other first-time homebuyers to move to the East Tosa area and join in the revitalization."

He sees safety and crime, traffic problems on Wauwatosa Avenue and flooding problems in East Tosa as priority issues. He also said his neighborhood - west of Wauwatosa Avenue and south of Center Street - is "overlooked by the current representation."

He works as an attorney for the Falk Metz firm and has a law degree from the University of Minnesota. This is his first run for public office. Tilleson considers himself "a fiscal conservative who advocates responsible money management."

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Car gets hit, careens into home; one person injured

Jan. 04, 2012 10:02 a.m. | A car slammed into a home at Mayfair Road and Auer Avenue after it was hit by another car on Christmas Eve. The chain-reaction collision sent an 86-year-old woman to Froedtert Hospital with neck and back pain.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

The incident occurred at 1:51 p.m. Dec. 24, after a 19-year-old woman pulled out of the Kmart driveway, 3201 N. Mayfair Road, and quickly accelerated across Mayfair Road and through the median break at Auer Avenue, where her car collided with another. She had been talking on her cell phone.

The driver of the second car, an 83-year-old man, lost control of his vehicle and crossed the lanes of traffic, stopping when he struck the house. His passenger was taken to Froedtert.

The teen was cited for driving without a valid license, failing to yield when entering a highway and driving without insurance.

Voters will have choices in Elmbrook election

Jan. 03, 2012 8:40 p.m. | Both Elmbrook School Board incumbents up for re-election April 3 will be challenged.

Paul Byrne, a four-year resident of Elm Grove will face incumbent Jean Lambert for the seat representing Area IV, roughly the southeast quadrant of the district.

Lynne Thomas, who is in her fourth year as a Brookfield resident, will challenge incumbent Meg Wartman for the at-large seat.

"The district is facing a lot of challenges, and I feel that my strategic planning background will be useful in the new financial environment," Byrne said.

When she announced her intention to run again in November, Lambert noted there was a lot of work to be done including "a greater focus on student achievement" and "acclimating a new superintendent."

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Arrest made and charges filed in 2009 West Allis robbery homicide

Jan. 03, 2012 8:00 p.m. | A 17-year-old Milwaukee boy has been charged in connection with the murder of a West Allis business owner who police believe was fatally shot during a robbery more than two years ago.

Charged by the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office with felony murder-party to a crime was William E. Beene. The 17-year-old was charged as an adult, West Allis Police Chief Michael Jungbluth said.

Ever since the Aug. 15, 2009, shooting, West Allis police have been investigating the case in which Damon Adams, who was 36 at the time, is believed to have been shot at his business, Dame's Spot, 1031 S. 60th St., a sports memorabilia and urban clothing/shoe store. Police said it appears that Adams was shot during a robbery at the business and then fled on foot. He collapsed at 1109 S. 60th St. and later died, police said.

Police arrested Beene on Dec. 30. More arrests in this homicide are expected, police said, as they continue their investigation.

Candidates match available seats for New Berlin School Board

Jan. 03, 2012 7:56 p.m. | Susan Manley, 12555 MacAlister Way, will run unopposed for re-election April 3 to the New Berlin School Board as will newcomer to the board Jeffrey Kurth, 4085 S. Adell Ave.

Incumbent Peggy LaSalle decided not to run for another term, so there will be two candidates for two three-year terms in April. The filing deadline was 5 p.m. today.

Muskego spring elections include February primary

Jan. 03, 2012 7:54 p.m. | A primary election will be needed in the three-way race in Muskego's aldermanic district 1 in which incumbent Tracy Snead will face challengers Randall Hojnacki and Robert Wolfe.

The primary will be Feb. 21.

The other two incumbents on the Muskego Common Council whose terms will expire also face challengers, but primaries will not be needed. In District 3, incumbent Neil Borgman will go another round with Larry Lefebvre in the April 3 spring election. The two ran against each other in 2010. In District 5, incumbent Daniel Soltysiak will be up against John Engelhardt.

Three vie for District 1 aldermanic seat

Jan. 03, 2012 7:38 p.m. | There will be a primary in the race for 1st District alderman. Three candidates have come forward, meeting today's filing deadline, City Clerk Carla Ledesma said.

Incumbent Linda Nikcevich is not seeking re-election, and all three candidates are new to municipal government.

James Moldenhauer withdrew from the mayoral election and decided to seek the aldermanic seat instead. He will be challenged by technical college professor Jeffrey Kroll and resident Robert Smith, who couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Man, 57, arrested for drunking driving after stopping to ask policer officer for directions

Jan. 03, 2012 1:39 p.m. | A 57-year-old Fox Point man who stopped to ask a police officer for directions was arrested for drunken driving in the 8800 block of North Port Washington Road at 2:10 a.m. Dec. 24.

According to the Village of Bayside police report:

The man pulled up behind a squad car saying he was lost and needed directions to get home.

The officer asked to see the man’s license and he pulled out at least 15 cards and went through them twice before finding it.

When asked if he’d been drinking he said, “Not much.”

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The most-read stories of 2011

Jan. 03, 2012 12:54 p.m. | Some of the most interesting news often happens in the suburbs and the just-completed year was no exception.

The most-read NOW online story of 2011 was an item on a 70-year-old St. Francis man who found a missile buried in the wall of his bathroom. How did it get there? We don't know for sure, but a former owner of the house was a World War II veteran known to collect war souvenirs.

We invite you to take a look back at some of the other most popular stories from 2011:

Woman uses 5-year-old son as shield against Taser

Family of lost child at Mayfair fights with police officers

» Read Full Article
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