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Two injured when vehicle crashes through store window

May 29, 2009 4:10 p.m. | Germantown - A BMW sport utility vehicle crashed through the front window of a store Friday afternoon at the Corner Stone Center shopping mall on Appleton Ave. and struck a customer inside, police said.

The customer is a Menomonee Falls woman, 61. She was taken by ambulance to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa with unknown injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening, police said.

Officers are investigating why a Milwaukee woman, 53, drove the SUV through the window of a Fed Ex/Kinko's Express store at the mall, W182-N9606 Appleton Ave., around 12:55 p.m. Friday, Police Lt. Dave Huesemann said. The SUV stopped inside the store after striking the customer.

The driver of the SUV was taken by ambulance to Community Memorial Hospital in Menomonee Falls with minor injuries.

Police are investigating whether mechanical failure, driver error or a pre-existing medical condition might have contributed to the crash, Huesemann said.

President and principal of Dominican High School resign

May 29, 2009 12:44 p.m. | The two top leaders at Dominican High School in Whitefish Bay have resigned, school officials said Friday.

President Maureen Schuerman and Principal Ed Kovochich tendered their resignations to the Catholic high school this week, according to a statement from Dominican High School Board Chair Bill Curtis.

The release did not provide a reason for the resignations. Curtis, Schuerman and Kovochich did not return calls for comment.

“Maureen and Edward made significant contributions to our school community,” the release from Curtis said. “Although we are disappointed to see them go, we look forward to naming new leadership prior to the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year.”

Kovochich retired in 2007 from a high-profile position as principal of Milwaukee’s Bradley Tech High School, a public school, to become principal of Dominican.

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Man accused of punching officer at Jansen Fest released from jail

May 27, 2009 8:14 p.m. | A man accused of punching a police officer in the face during a Greenfield festival was released from jail Wednesday after prosecutors requested that police do more investigating.

Greenfield Deputy Inspector Brad Wentlandt said prosecutors told him they want more evidence and would decide in mid-June whether to charge the 18-year-old Milwaukee man.

The officer, who was breaking up one of numerous fights during the four-day Dan Jansen Family Fest, suffered a split lip, bloody nose and bruised forehead after being struck at least twice Sunday, Wentlandt said

The Milwaukee County assistant district attorney who made the request could not be reached for comment.

Forty people were arrested during the 15th annual festival, which has raised more than $500,000 for Greenfield parks.

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Suspicious fire causes $300,000 damage in Shorewood

May 26, 2009 6:28 p.m. | A suspicious two-alarm fire early Tuesday at a Shorewood building that houses The Brit Inn, a martial  arts studio and a day spa and salon caused an estimated $300,000 in damage, according to investigators.

The fire at 4473-79 N. Oakland Ave. was reported about 2:30 a.m., according to a statement from the North Shore Fire Department.

An alarm company reported that a detector was sounding inside the building before a second call came in from an area businessman who was closing up and reported fire coming from the rear of the Brit Inn

The back of the building was on fire when firefighters and police arrived, according to the statement.

About 55 firefighters from a number of departments were called to the fire, the statement says.

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Wife hit by train was trying to avoid rear-ending spouse's car

May 26, 2009 8:46 a.m. | When a police officer told Monica Ensley-Partenfelder to move out of the path of an oncoming train in the bumper-to-bumper traffic before the Memorial Day parade, she wasn't just trying to avoid being struck by the train - she was trying to avoid rear-ending her husband.

She turned the wheel to the right to move the minivan to the right side of her husband's car.

The result: Her minivan went off the road and straddled the tracks, leaving her and her 2-year-old son in an incapacitated vehicle facing the 94-car freight train, Assistant Elm Grove Police Chief Gus Moulas said Tuesday.

"You couldn't have created a worse nightmare," Moulas said.

The vehicle in front of her carried her husband and two other children, Moulas said. This is corrected information from earlier reports that placed Scott Partenfelder in the vehicle behind his wife's minivan.

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Heroic rescue; 2 hurt

May 25, 2009 8:22 p.m. | Headed to the Elm Grove Memorial Day parade in bumper-to-bumper traffic, Monica Ensley-Partenfelder found herself and her 2-year-old son directly in the path of a 94-car freight train barreling toward them, whistle blaring.

What should have been a festive start to the holiday instead turned into a frantic effort to save the woman and boy in the moments before the train struck their minivan head-on about 9:30 a.m. Monday.

A police officer, John Krahn, 41, assigned the routine duty of parade traffic control, sprinted to the scene and freed 40-year-old Ensley-Partenfelder, of West Allis. Her husband, Scott Partenfelder, 47, who was stuck in traffic in a different vehicle nearby on Juneau Blvd., tried to unhook the 2-year-old from a car seat.

He couldn't get him out.

The force of the impact created an explosive effect, hurtling the minivan across the grass - crushed and collapsed. Much of the driver's side was gone.

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Officer in train-van crash called 'hero'

May 25, 2009 12:40 p.m. | Tragedy struck before Elm Grove's Memorial Day parade as a southbound CP Rail freight train collided with a minivan about 9:30 a.m. Monday.

A police officer and another man were injured in the crash, but the female driver was removed from the vehicle just before the train struck, and a young child still inside the van at the time of the collision was uninjured.

The crash occurred when the westbound minivan, which was stuck in traffic on Juneau Boulevard just west of Elm Grove Village Hall, became caught between two railroad gates.

Witness Tim Weiner of Brookfield was heading east on Juneau and described the van driver, a 40-year-old West Allis woman, as trying to maneuver around the gates. The van's back wheels spun out on the tracks and left it stuck facing the oncoming train.

Elm Grove police say the 47-year-old husband of the woman was nearby in his sports-utility vehicle with two of their children. The family was traveling in two cars to view the Memorial Day parade.

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Brookfield panel denies imprisoned former clown's legal claim

May 22, 2009 8:02 p.m. | The Brookfield Police and Fire Commission has denied a claim that police overstepped their authority while collecting evidence that led to the conviction of a former professional clown for sexually assaulting a woman and taking nude photos of her.

"Yet another sad chapter in the saga of Ronald Schroeder, the convicted felon also known as Silly the Clown," Police Chief Daniel Tushaus said in a prepared statement released Wednesday.

Schroeder, 39, now serving a six-year prison term at the Redgranite Correctional Institution, sent a letter dated April 27 asking the city's Police and Fire Commission to file disciplinary charges against the chief and 10 other members of the Police Department.

In the letter, Schroeder contended that police stole contents from his vehicle not authorized in a search warrant, violated his federally protected rights to due process, improperly entered his home and made false statements in police reports. He also contended that Brookfield police had no authority to take his car when he was arrested May 4, 2007, because he was in Elm Grove.

Denial of the claim allows Schreoder to file a lawsuit. If a lawsuit is filed, Tushaus said, the city and the union representing officers will work together to exonerate those named in the action.

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Freeway construction closes College Avenue park-and-ride lots

May 22, 2009 9:04 a.m. | Freeway reconstruction is closing the College Avenue park-and-ride lots Friday morning, and they will remain closed throughout the summer, the state Department of Transportation and the Milwaukee County Transit System announced.

The two lots and the College Avenue on- and off-ramps will be closed as part of the reconstruction of I-94 from Milwaukee's south side to the Illinois state line. As a result, Freeway Flyer service is being moved to a temporary lot at Milwaukee Area Technical College's South Campus in Oak Creek. Both Route 40 (Holt Ave.-College Ave.) and summer festival shuttles will use the temporary lot.

Plans call for the southeast College Ave. lot to reopen in August and for the northeast lot to reopen, along with the ramps, in November.

Final layoff notices issued to teachers

May 21, 2009 5:52 p.m. | The Brown Deer Board of Education issued final layoff notices to 17 full- and part-time staff members last week.

Thirty nine staff members were issued preliminary lay off notices in April.

The six full-time teachers who received final notices are April Bischoff. Sally LaPorte, Jacole Lane, Patrick Schmitt, Ashley VanLanen, and Robert Wells. Part-time staff are Jenifer Carey, Christine Debonis, Charlene Harmon, Alexander Grindeland, Diane Gundrum, Audrey Krick, Ruth O'Donnell. Donna Okray, Margaret Paradis-Kent, Erica Probst and Allison RitSingle.

Proposed student fee increases may be scaled back

May 20, 2009 4:16 p.m. | The Elmbrook School Board's finance committee is recommending that the full board scale back earlier proposed increases to student fees, limiting hikes to user fees and high school parking fees.

User fees are applied to optional activities, such as electives. Parking fees are charged annually for high school students that drive to school.

The Finance and Operations Committee voted 3-0 last night to approve the recommendation.

Under the recommendation:

At the middle school level, the maximum for user fees would increase from $80 to $90, with individual fees increasing by $5. For high school students, the maximum for user fees would increase from $200 to $225, with individual fees increasing by $5. User fees were last increased in 2002.

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Brookfield denies claims made be imprisoned former clown

May 20, 2009 3:18 p.m. | The Brookfield Police and Fire Commission has denied a claim that police overstepped their authority while collecting evidence that led to the conviction of a former professional clown for sexually assaulting a woman and taking nude photos of her. Read more in Proof and Hearsay.

Brookfield aldermen approve Hooters restaurant

May 19, 2009 10:57 p.m. | Brookfield - Aldermen Tuesday voted narrowly to pave the way for a Hooters restaurant to open, despite some residents' objections that Hooters was a sexually exploitative chain that didn't fit in Brookfield.

Aldermen voted 7-6 to approve the chain's exterior changes to open in the former Pedro's Mexican Restaurant on Blue Mound Road east of Calhoun Road.

Voting against were the two alderwomen, Lisa Mellone and Renee Lowerr, as well as Aldermen Bill Carnell, Ron Balzer, Chris Blackburn and Gerald Mellone.

Several said the company would degrade the city's commercial corridor and could drive away prospective new residents.

Carnell said, "Are we really going to make Brookfield a more cosmopolitan city by allowing a Hooters? I don't think so."

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13 children injured in crash between school bus, truck in Franklin

May 19, 2009 7:02 p.m. | Thirteen children were injured Tuesday when the school bus they were in collided with a truck at an intersection in Franklin, police said.

Five of the children, all fourth-grade students at Lakeview School in Wind Lake, were taken to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin complaining of head injuries and a leg injury.

Eight children who complained of various head injuries were released after being examined at the scene of the crash, according to a news release from the Franklin Police Department.

The conditions of the students taken to Children's Hospital were not available Tuesday evening.

According to the news release, the crash was reported at 11:56 a.m. at the intersection of W. Forest Home Ave. and W. St. Martins Road.

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Man could face fourth drunken-driving charge

May 18, 2009 3:48 p.m. | A 28-year-old West Allis man was arrested for his fourth drunken-driving offense in the 1300 block of South 86th Street about 12:40 a.m. Sunday.

According to a police report:

An officer stopped him for a lane deviation at about 12:40 a.m. The driver gave the officer a name, but police later discovered it was fake.

After learning his true identity, police found he had three prior drunken-driving convictions. Officers also found a "green leafy substance" believed to be marijuana, as well as a marijuana pipe.

The man was cited for marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession and obstructing officers and was taken to Milwaukee County Jail on the drunken-driving charge.

Shorewood to consider home loan program

May 18, 2009 3:34 p.m. | Shorewood - The Village Board on Monday night will consider creating a loan program aimed at improving housing stock.

The board also will consider hiring a consultant to develop a program aimed at retaining and recruiting retail businesses.

The Neighborhood Improvement Loan Program would be aimed at "enhancing Shorewood's aging housing stock, maintaining the rate of owner-occupied housing units and increasing the number of family-supporting housing" units, according to a memo from Ericka Lang, the village's planning and zoning administrator.

According to the memo:

Loans would be for down payment assistance for homeowners, for improvements to the attics and exteriors of homes, and for the conversion of two-family dwellings into single-family homes.

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Man pushed by Oak Creek alderman dies

May 14, 2009 11:28 p.m. | A 64-year-old man, in a coma since being pushed to the ground by Oak Creek Ald. Michael E. Toman in December, died early Thursday, the Milwaukee County medical examiner's office says.

Martin Pietruszynski of Oak Creek was pronounced dead at 4 a.m. Thursday at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center in Milwaukee, according to a medical examiner's report.

Pietruszynski was pushed to the pavement Dec. 19 by Toman outside the Oelschlaeger-Dallmann American Legion Post 434, 9327 S. Shepard Ave. in Oak Creek.

Toman had been charged with felony aggravated battery in connection with the incident, but the charge was dismissed last month, in large part so Pietruszynski's family would have a chance to recover civil damages from Toman's homeowner's insurance policy.

According to the criminal complaint that had been filed against Toman, witnesses said Pietruszynski had been arguing with his wife in the bar, became unruly and was asked to leave.

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House heavily damaged in midnight fire

May 13, 2009 1:22 p.m. | A fire caused extensive damage to a home in the 4900 block of South 40th Street early this morning.

No one was in the two-story, single-family house at the time of the fire, Assistant Fire Chief Steve Bauer said. Greenfield firefighters arrived about midnight, with neighboring fire departments also responding.

A candle is believed to have caused the fire, which damaged the kitchen, staircases and part of the second floor. The preliminary damage estimate is $100,000.

Development may see second Asian restaurant

May 13, 2009 1:10 p.m. | Developers are planning to open a Vietnamese-themed restaurant next to the future Asian food market and restaurant at 27th Street and Grange Avenue.

The Greenfield Plan Commission smiled upon the plan as a good compliment to Viet Hoa Supermarket and Imperial Buffet planned for the old Kohl's Food Store building.

Imperial Buffet will offer primarily Chinese food, while the as-yet-unnamed restaurant would serve traditional Vietnamese dishes. The owners of the latter also operate Tu Trinh, a Vietnamese restaurant at 2344 S. 27th St.

A public hearing on the plan will be held prior to final Common Council decision.

Drunken driving stop leads to second arrest

May 12, 2009 12:20 p.m. | Brookfield police Saturday got two arrests for the price of one when a 32-year-old Milwaukee man showed up drunk to pick up passengers from the scene of another drunken-driving arrest.

A police lieutenant was assisting with a drunken driving arrest near the Sears store, 115 S. Moorland Road, about 2:45 a.m. when he saw a vehicle pull into the store's parking lot using the wrong lane. That vehicle left the lot, but the lieutenant followed it onto eastbound Interstate 94.

While the lieutenant was following that car, another vehicle pulled up behind him at a rapid rate of speed and then slowed down when the driver saw the police car. The second vehicle passed the squad car and slowed again, appearing to lose control.

The lieutenant pulled over the second vehicle and administered field sobriety tests to the driver, a 21-year-old Milwaukee man. He was arrested for drunken driving - his first offense - but refused to take a blood-alcohol test.

Passengers in the vehicle called another person, the 32-year-old Milwaukee man, to come pick them up from the scene. When he arrived, he appeared intoxicated and was belligerent to officers.

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Suspected drunken driver causes four-car crash

May 12, 2009 11:42 a.m. | A 48-year-old Elm Grove woman was arrested for two counts of causing injury by drunken driving after police responded to a multiple-car accident last week.

Police received a call about a four-car accident on North Avenue near Barker Road at 5:10 p.m. May 6. Reports said one of the cars had rolled over during the crash.

Police said the Elm Grove woman was eating while driving and rear-ended one of the other cars, causing the chain-reaction crash.

Two passengers in the other vehicle were taken to Elmbrook Memorial Hospital for back, neck and stomach pains.

Officers administered field sobriety tests, which the woman failed. Blood was drawn to determine her blood-alcohol content.

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Mother spoils burglar's day

May 11, 2009 6:26 p.m. | Even though Mother's Day had officially ended an hour earlier, a mom living in the 12000 block of West Dearbourn Avenue will remember the day for years to come as the time when she fought off a burglar.

According to a Wauwatosa Police Department report:

The woman was half asleep on the couch with her sick 2-year-old son in her arms at about 1 a.m. Monday.

When she heard the screen door slam, she figured her husband had gone outside for a cigarette. But then she heard chairs being moved and drawers being opened. She put her son down on the couch and went into the kitchen, where she saw a man wearing a ski mask only a few feet away.

She quickly pushed him in the chest, and he fell onto the kitchen table, which collapsed under his weight. Frightened, he got up and ran out of the house.

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Man arrested for drunken driving on his way to liquor store

May 11, 2009 6:00 p.m. | A 49-year-old Milwaukee man was arrested for his fourth drunken-driving offense and driving after his license had been revoked in the 6000 block of West Blue Mound Road after he was seen driving without any headlights on Saturday night.

According to a Wauwatosa Police Department report:

The man said he had been drinking at home and was on his way to the liquor store just before 9 p.m.

He fell and struck his head on the ground during field sobriety tests. He also complained of chest pain, so he was taken to Froedtert Hospital for tests.

He refused to submit to a blood-alcohol test.

Student arrested for threats

May 11, 2009 1:18 p.m. | A 14-year-old South Milwaukee boy was arrested May 6 for threatening to bomb South Milwaukee Middle School, 1001 15th Ave., and to come to school "fully loaded" to kill an administrator.

According to South Milwaukee Police Department reports:

At 3:20 p.m. May 4, a school custodian found the words "I am going to bomb the school 5-8-09" written in a bathroom stall.

At 3:40 p.m. May 5, a student found "I am going to kill Mr. Whiteman on Friday I'm coming in fully loaded!!! No lie" written in another bathroom stall. Eric Wightman is the school's associate principal.

After calling police, school administrators gathered handwriting samples from several students. After 30 minutes of questioning, one student admitted to making the threats and was arrested by police.

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Stimulus funds to pay for 51st Street project

May 08, 2009 4:23 p.m. | Greendale and Greenfield will benefit from several road improvements to be completed with federal stimulus funding.

Members of a regional transportation advisory committee decided this week how to allocate the $38.7 million coming to the greater Milwaukee area.

Greendale and Greenfield will receive about $326,000 for a joint project repairing 51st Street between Grange Avenue and Loomis Road, Village Manager Todd Michaels said today.

The two communities are the only Milwaukee County suburbs besides West Allis and Wauwatosa to receive stimulus funding, Michaels said.

In addition, Greendale residents will also benefit from two county-led projects, he said. About $1 million has been allocated for reconstruction of a county bridge running between Loomis Road and 76th Street, in Root River Parkway, and about $1.6 million for the repair of College Avenue between 51st Street and Loomis Road.

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Mayor implements freeze on nonessential spending, hiring

May 08, 2009 4:20 p.m. | Mayor Jack Chiovatero today imposed an immediate spending and hiring freeze on all nonessential items and personnel in New Berlin.

He made the announcement the day after aldermen met with the city's financial adviser, Ehlers & Associates. At that meeting, Ehlers said the city is facing a $1.4 million gap next year between what it will be able to levy in taxes next year and what it would need to levy to operate in 2010.

"Due to the possibility of anticipated shortfalls, we are considering furloughs as well as other personnel-related solutions," he said in the announcement. "Current projects and planned expenditures will be scrutinized and re-evaluated on a value-added basis to determine if they should be continued."

He explained essential positions will be filled if vacant, but he is expecting a couple retirements in the Police Department and a couple in the Maintenance Department that likely will not be filled.

He will be telling department heads to hold back on purchasing any nonessential items this year and next.

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Post-prom chaperon has swine flu virus

May 08, 2009 3:48 p.m. | Students who attended a post-prom event at South Milwaukee High School last week were exposed to an adult chaperon who has a confirmed case of the swine flu, school officials say.

Principal Gary Kiltz said that an adult chaperon at the May 2 post-prom came down with flu-like symptoms after the event. It is unknown if the adult is a resident of South Milwaukee.

"At this time, there are no probable or confirmed cases in South Milwaukee, but there was exposure to a probable case," said Marianna Liebsch, a public nurse with the South Milwaukee Health Department.

The news about the South Milwaukee incident comes at the same time as Oak Creek health officials announced that the city has its first confirmed case of swine flu. Neither South Milwaukee or Oak Creek officials will say whether the two cases are connected.

The school's post-prom party was a "lockdown" that started at 11:30 p.m. and ended at 2:30 a.m May 3. No students were allowed to leave the building during that time.

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Oak Creek has its first confirmed case of swine flu

May 08, 2009 2:47 p.m. | The Oak Creek Health Department is now investigating its first confirmed case of swine flu.

Judith Price, community public health officer, said today that the state has confirmed the results of what was identified as a probable case on Wednesday.

The Health Department is conducting a full investigation, Price said, which includes reviewing the person’s symptoms, contacting household members and obtaining detailed information on where the person has been and who they have been in contact with.

Price declined to release any further information on the individual.

Meanwhile, South Milwaukee health officials say an adult who chaperoned a post-prom event at that high school on May 2 has a probable case of the swine flu. It appears that person is not from South Milwaukee, but Price would not comment on whether there was a connection between that incident and Oak Creek's confirmed case.

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Wauwatosa, church settle tax lawsuit

May 06, 2009 1:28 p.m. | Wauwatosa - The city has agreed to settle a lawsuit over property taxes by refunding $144,000 to a church foundation and agreeing to exempt the parcel involved from any future property taxes.

The action was approved Tuesday night by the Common Council.

The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Foundation, which is affiliated with Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 9400 W. Congress St., sued the city in June.

The suit is over a parcel at N. 92nd and W. Congress streets that is owned by the foundation, Assistant City Attorney Beth Aldana said Wednesday. The suit was filed after the city assessed a total of $175,000 in property taxes on the land for 2007 and 2008.

The taxes were assessed because the church already owns 10 acres that are exempt from property taxes, which is allowed under state law, Aldana said.

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State rules lead to shutdown of fish-nibbling salon at Mayfair

May 06, 2009 10:02 a.m. | State officials have forced the shutdown of the fish-nibbling skin care salon at Mayfair Mall after a month of operation, the owner of the business said Wednesday.

Gerald Williamson, owner of Doctor Fish Magnifique, said he closed his business after the Department of Regulation & Licensing told him he could be fined thousands of dollars if he remained open.

Williamson said he was told employees needed cosmetologist licenses because they do such things as put sanitizer and lotion on customers' feet.

People practicing cosmetology without a license in Wisconsin can be fined $100 to $5,000 and jailed for 10 to 90 days.

A Regulation & Licensing spokesman said the department has been investigating Doctor Fish Magnifique and "communicated to the business the findings that we would be prepared to present to the secretary . . . for possible formal action."

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Raises could be withheld from some problem city workers

May 06, 2009 9:35 a.m. | The Wauwatosa Common Council Tuesday approved a measure to allow the city to withhold annual cost-of-living pay raises from nonunion employees whose performance is rated as unsatisfactory.

The ordinance amendment delegates discretion to the city administrator to make the final decision where performance problems exist.

Employees who opposed the change said they were not against holding people responsible for their performance, but they believed city departments already have in place policies and methods of discipline such as verbal and written reprimands, demotions and unpaid days off.

Withholding a cost-of-living increase after issuing a reprimand counts as double discipline, some employees contended.

Not so, said Assistant City Attorney Beth Aldana. State statute defines discipline as suspension, reducing rank and firing.

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Family sues ex-teacher, school district over boy's sexual assault

May 05, 2009 12:04 p.m. | The St. Francis School District and a former middle school teacher convicted of sexually assaulting one of her students has now been sued by the boy and his family.

Superintendent Carol Topinka said Tuesday that she had no comment and that the district has not yet been served with the lawsuit, filed in Milwaukee County Circuit Court.

Kelly Sweet, 27, was sentenced to two years probation in August after pleading guilty to one count of 4th degree sexual assault of the boy, who was 14 and a student at Deer Creek Intermediate School at the time of the assault.

According to the complaint, Sweet taught the boy during 7th and 8th grades. Because of an injury, he was not able to attend normal gym class in the fall of 2007 and was assigned to her classroom for that period. Sweet text messaged, called and made other inappropriate contact with the youth over a four-month period that culminated in sexual contact at her apartment in March 2008.

The suit alleges that the harassment continued after the sexual abuse incident.

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Two Tosa East athletes arrested in armed robbery home invasion

May 05, 2009 11:32 a.m. | Two well-known Wauwatosa East High School athletes were among the three teens arrested for armed robbery Friday afternoon.

The boys were scheduled to go to a basketball tournament in Indiana, but they allegedly decided to hit up a local marijuana dealer for cash first.

Three 16-year-old boys - two from Wauwatosa and an athlete at Milwaukee's Vincent High School - were apprehended after they allegedly invaded a home of a woman and her 18-year-old son in the 6100 block of Martin Drive.

According to Wauwatosa Police Department reports:

One of the Wauwatosa boys was packing for the trip to Indiana when the other Wauwatosa boy called several times and asked to borrow a BB gun. He said he was looking to get some money that was owed to him and told his teammate if he brought his ski mask he would get paid to serve as a lookout.

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'Epidemic' of vandalism at Grant Park prompts more patrols

May 03, 2009 12:21 p.m. | Following a rash of vandalism in Grant Park, officials are beefing up patrols and have started locking park gates each night.

County Supervisor Patricia Jursik said she is hopeful the extra patrols by South Milwaukee police, the Sheriff's Department and county parks workers will help control the problem.

"I know your police department is spending extra time and money to police the park, doing foot patrols," Jursik said. "They've been a great presence."

Reports of vandalism in the park have increased in frequency since January, when a citizen reported finding small trees snapped and tire tracks through grass areas. Since then, criminal damage in the park has reached what Mayor Tom Zepecki called "an epidemic of sorts."

In February, more damage to grass sand trees was reported. Later that month, an all-terrain vehicle was driven over the putting green on the eighth hole of the park golf course, snapping the flag and damaging the turf.

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