3-year-old boy found in pool dies

July 28, 2009 6:46 p.m. | A 3-year-old Muskego boy died Tuesday afternoon after being found in a swimming pool at his grandparents' home in Franklin, police said.

According to Franklin police Capt. Clark Groen, the boy's grandmother called 911 shortly before 2 p.m. Family members were visiting the home and noticed the boy was missing after they ate lunch.

His grandfather pulled him from the 4-foot-deep, above-ground pool about 10 minutes later and began performing CPR.

A Flight for Life helicopter was dispatched to the home. Paramedics arrived and continued to try to revive the boy, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday and the boy's death is under investigation, but there is no reason to believe it is suspicious, Groen said.

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City revises open intoxicant sales ordinance

July 28, 2009 12:50 p.m. | The Common Council on Monday night expanded its ordinance relating to the sale of open intoxicants at places such as gas stations and chain stores to prohibit the sale of liquor and wine in closed containers in those businesses. The move was prompted by recent news that Walgreens wants to add beer and wine sales at its area stores.

The ordinance prohibits wine and liquor sales at convenience stories, drug stores and pharmacies and "other stores where commodities are sold such as gasoline, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics or other non-food products."

Elmbrook schools could ban some allergy, cough medications

July 28, 2009 10:36 a.m. | A proposed policy change could ban some over-the-counter cough medicines and allergy medications for Elmbrook students.

Seeking to clarify an existing district code of conduct policy, administrators are recommending School Board members approve one of two possible definitions for the "drug-like" substances banned in the code.

Both options ban any behavior-changing or mind-altering substances, certain types of glue and certain types of cough medicine. The first definition also includes caffeine pills and diet pills.

The second definition, recommended by Superintendent Matt Gibson, gets more specific in its language. It explicitly bans any substance containing ephedrine, which can be found in some iterations of the nasal decongestant Sudafed and the allergy medicine Claritin-D. The second definition also allows students to carry just a single dose of cough medicine. It does not ban caffeine pills or diet pills.

Gibson said he consulted with the Brookfield Police Department in writing the definition. Police specifically recommended including ephedrine in the definition.

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Car salesman takes car off lot and doesn't come back

July 28, 2009 10:05 a.m. | An employee of Hall Chevrolet decided to take a road trip out East, but he allegedly used one of the dealership’s vehicles without permission.

The car’s On Star system tracked the vehicle and the driver, 35-year-old John Sargent of Milwaukee, far from Wauwatosa on July 21. The car was traveling through New York, and the driver was eventually stopped the next day in Milton, Pa., where he was charged with receiving stolen property.

Sargent told the trooper he had gone to New York to visit his sister in the hospital, and that his employer did not know he had taken the vehicle, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Pennsylvania State Police.

According to a Wauwatosa police report:

Another salesman had sold the 2009 Chevrolet Malibu and had gone out onto the lot, 11011 W. North Ave., to retrieve it July 14. But he found it was missing. A second set of keys that had been kept in a locked box was missing.

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Jury begins deliberating South Milwaukee bias case

July 27, 2009 1:32 p.m. | A jury went home for the day Monday and will resume deliberations Tuesday in a federal court trial in which the City of South Milwaukee is accused of discriminating against minorities and disabled people in housing.

If the jury sides with the city, which denies the allegations and contends that the Lake Bluff apartments were built illegally, the city could enforce a court order and raze the 14-year-old, $2.7 million complex.

If the jury finds the city committed discrimination in opposing Lake Bluff when it was first proposed - or if it determines that razing the complex would be discriminatory - Lake Bluff could remain standing.

The 12-member panel is made up of seven women and five men, including one man who is African-American.

Attorney Michele Ford, who represents the city, said in her closing argument that tenants at Lake Bluff were "pawns" being used by organizations pushing an agenda. She referred to a "secret theory of discrimination," suggesting that allegations of racism were made in the lawsuit even though tenants didn't feel they had suffered discrimination.

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Price tag of new fire stations could hit $7 million

July 23, 2009 8:40 p.m. | Final costs for the construction of the city's two new fire stations - including land acquisition, relocation of utilities and improvements at Fairview North Park - should be between $6.5 million and $7 million, city officials said this week.

Work continues on the two new stations, which are located along Calhoun Road at Capitol Drive and Greenfield Avenue. The 12,000-square-foot stations are expected to open by the end of the year, replacing two older stations at Capitol and Lilly Road and Moorland Road and Interstate 94.

The city in November approved a $5 million contract with Menomonee Falls-based Creative Consultants to construct the new stations, which share the same architectural footprint. That figure included site work at Fairview North Park - the home of the new Fire Station No. 2 - but did not include costs for utility relocation, landscaping or purchasing homes to be razed at the Station No. 3 site.

City officials in 2006 estimated the cost of building two new stations at $6 million.

Final numbers on the project will be available once the buildings are completed, Director of Administration Dean Marquardt said.

Proximity to school may mean no liquor license for Target

July 23, 2009 8:38 p.m. | The Greenfield Common Council has delayed a decision on whether to give Target a license to sell alcohol, as city officials explore whether the store is too close to Greenfield Middle School.

By state statute, alcohol cannot be served within 1,000 feet of a school, City Attorney Roger Pyzyk said during Tuesday's council meeting. Greenfield Middle School is at 3200 W. Barnard Ave. and shares a boundary with Target, city officials said.

Target, 4777 S. 27th St., wants to sell beer and liquor as a way to generate revenue in tough economic times, but the council must first approved the appropriate licenses.

At least one alderman, Karl Kastner, has come out against the plan because the company does not have concrete plans to renovate the current store or build a new one.

Target has discussed redevelopment in the past, and a manager told the council Tuesday that formal plans could come in 2010.

Despite parents' pleas, board won't change stance on busing

July 23, 2009 2:28 p.m. | More than 50 people, many holding signs saying "Restore Private School Busing," turned out at Wednesday's Franklin School Board meeting in the hopes board members would do what their signs said.

Those people went home disappointed.

Despite the turnout and pleas from families who would be affected by the board's decision to cut busing to private schools, School Board President Dave Szychlinski said there will likely be more budget reductions made and that earlier cuts would not be restored.

Szychlinski cited the state budget that resulted in a 15 percent decrease in state aid. The district was not anticipating as sharp of a decrease, Szychlinski said, and will now have to figure out how to make up those dollars.

Nobody is happy about the cuts, he said, but in a tough economic climate the district has no choice but to make painful decisions like this one.

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Man killed in New Berlin crash is identified

July 22, 2009 3:54 p.m. | New Berlin — A man killed in a suspected alcohol-related crash in New Berlin has been identified as Michael G. Kafka, New Berlin Police Lt. Mike Glider said.

The Waukesha man, 44, was pronounced dead at the scene just before 2 a.m. Wednesday.

New Berlin police report that Kafka was traveling west on Greenfield Ave. just west of Barker Road about 1 a.m. when he lost control, left the road and struck a utility pole. The man was thrown from his vehicle.

Vandals hit historic cemetery

July 22, 2009 5:39 a.m. | Vandals have disturbed the final resting place of the people buried at historic Wauwatosa Cemetery, pushing over at least six large gravestones and a granite bench top.

Donald Joers, a former cemetery employee who has several family members buried there, regularly walks or drives through the property to make sure there are no problems. But last week he saw the upended headstones and knew vandals had struck.

"You can’t expect the police to sit there and watch 24/7," he said. "It's too bad some people don’t have the maturity to understand. It’s disrespectful for the people buried there and the people who come visit their loved ones."

In addition to the headstones being overturned the night of July 15, an American flag that had been donated a few weeks prior by Wauwatosa VFW Post 1465 was stolen from the cemetery flagpole and a granite ball estimated to weigh one ton was knocked off a historic monument.

People have been buried at the cemetery since the mid-1800s, and all of the graves are at least 50 years old,

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911? Wrong number? In Franklin, you may have to pay

July 21, 2009 1:58 p.m. | Franklin — So many people are mistakenly calling 911 that Police Chief Rick Oliva wants to impose fines on those who misdial repeatedly.

The proposal will be considered Tuesday by the Common Council.

According to information being presented to the council:

Many of the mistaken 911 calls are made by people calling overseas who misdial a country code; others come from businesses where employees must dial a 9 to make a call.

A city ordinance allows fines of at least $50 for intentional misuse of 911, but does not address inadvertent use.

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Former Tosa teacher charged with child enticement

July 21, 2009 1:50 p.m. | A former Wauwatosa teacher was charged Tuesday with child enticement after a teenage babysitter told police that the man indecently touched her while his wife and a son were out of the house.

Todd R. Paaske, a band teacher at Underwood Elementary School, told police that he touched the babysitter inappropriately, according to a criminal complaint. Paaske told investigators he might have shown a topless picture to another teenage girl he worked with at an ice rink, according to the complaint.

Paaske, 32, has been charged with child enticement, exposing a child to harmful material and exposing a child to harmful descriptions. A search warrant describing a search of Paaske's house last week said the investigation started when Paaske's wife found computer screen shots that showed sexually explicit chats with two teenage girls.

Paaske was under a one-year contract with the Wauwatosa School District that expired at the end of the school year, a spokesman said.

Plea bargain possible in death of Whitefish Bay teen

July 21, 2009 11:46 a.m. | A plea bargain is possible for the Whitefish Bay man accused of giving drugs to 15-year-old Madison Kiefer on the night before she died of an overdose.

The prosecutor and the defense attorney for Matthew Laughrin "are working on a resolution in this matter," according to court records on a hearing that was held Monday in Milwaukee County Circuit Court.

Laughrin, 22, who is in jail, did not attend the hearing.

Laughrin's next court appearance, a final pre-trial hearing, is set for Aug. 27. His trial is scheduled for Oct. 12.

Laughrin is charged with felony possession of marijuana and not homicide in the death of Kiefer, although authorities have said more charges are possible.

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'Nanny cam' brings theft case against Franklin community leader

July 20, 2009 6:25 p.m. | A friend who suspected the former Franklin School Board president of stealing from her bought a "nanny cam" and captured the former official on videotape stuffing cash from a Little League into her bra, a criminal complaint says.

The video led to three theft charges that are being filed against Roseann Lewandowski, who has previously been convicted of shoplifting from Wal-Mart.

Lewandowski, 59, served for 10 years on the School Board and has served with many civic and nonprofit organizations in Franklin, according to the friend, Pamela Bombien, and police.

The videotape "was very helpful to me," Franklin police Detective James Jankowski said Monday.

Lewandowski could not be reached for comment.

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CVS Pharmacy back on council agenda tomorrow

July 20, 2009 3:52 p.m. | Tomorrow night, Brookfield's Common Council will again discuss a proposal from CVS Pharmacy to occupy the former V. Richard's grocery store at Bluemound and Calhoun roads.

CVS first introduced plans for the site in April, but members of the city's Plan Commission and Common Council and CVS representatives went back and forth on plans that would include a drive-up window for customers who call in orders ahead of time.

The city and CVS have been working for weeks on a development agreement that would give the city options if the drive-up window causes traffic problems on the site, including altering the window's hours of operation or shutting it entirely.

CVS has said the window is a necessity for them to move into the site.

The Common Council meets at 7:45 p.m. at City Hall, 2000 N. Calhoun Road.

Nicolet's new dress code bans cleavage and more

July 15, 2009 8:17 a.m. | What started with a look at how to deal with kids who wear sagging pants in school turned into a bigger discussion on the Nicolet’s overall dress code…and by the time it was over, administrators at the North Shore school came up with a bunch of new rules that to require kids to keep most of their bodies covered up.

Under the new policy, students will be prohibited from wearing tube tops, tops with spaghetti straps or any top displaying cleavage, backs and the midriff area. In fact, students will have to be fully clothed from their shoulders to just above the knee cap.

The new rules also prohibit kids from wearing pajamas bottoms or any sleepwear at school, something that has become a disturbing trend for school officials.

"We were having some kids in pajama pants carrying blankets,” noted Principal Greg DePue. ““We want this to be an academic atmosphere."

The tougher dress code also prohibits students from wearing clothing that reveals tights and leggings or that exposes their underwear.

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Flare sparked fire at Patrick Cudahy plant

July 15, 2009 12:12 a.m. | A military flare caused the fire that ravaged the Patrick Cudahy plant for three days last week, threatening lives, causing millions of dollars in damage and putting hundreds of employees out of work.

Cudahy police Tuesday released surveillance video taken from a camera at the plant July 5 that shows what authorities said was the flare exploding above a building before landing on the roof with a much larger flash.

The flash then dies down, leaving behind what appears to be a small fire. Authorities declined to elaborate on the nature of the flare.

"I'm furious that someone could be so careless and start a fire like that," Cudahy Mayor Ryan McCue said Tuesday afternoon.

"I hope they do the right thing and turn themselves in. We will do everything we can to find this person."

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Magic markers: Potter vandals target Tosa stop signs

July 14, 2009 12:50 p.m. | Harry Potter fans may call it a unique movie advertising campaign, but the Wauwatosa Police Department calls it vandalism.

The word "Voldemort" has been written in permanent marker on 50 to 75 stop signs throughout the city, Patrol Specialist Paul Leist said. Take a step back and look at the entire sign, and the message becomes "Stop Voldemort," a nod to the villain in the novels and movies that have millions of fans worldwide.

The latest film, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," premieres in cinemas at midnight.

While the marked signs might put a smile on a Muggle's face, police officers and public works staff are getting tired of cleaning off the ink. In fact, cleaning chemicals have damaged some stop signs' finish, which will mean they will need to be replaced at a cost of $80 each, Leist said.

"Is it the crime of the century? No," Leist said. "But the problem is it's starting to add up."

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Report of shooting at gas station called a 'hoax'

July 14, 2009 11:00 a.m. | Brookfield police said a reported shooting at an out-of-business gas station on the city’s east side this morning appears to be a hoax.

Police responded to the gas station at 3075 N. 124th St. at 9:35 a.m. after a caller reported that a suspect had shot a worker and was holding a gun to the caller’s head. Officers entered the building but did not find anyone inside.

A press release from Brookfield Police Capt. Phil Horter said the incident remains under investigation but "appears to be a hoax."

The Butler Police Department, the Wauwatosa Police Department, and the Milwaukee and Waukesha County sheriff’s departments assisted the city on the call.

Traffic near 124th Street and Burleigh Road was shut down for approximately 45 minutes.

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Drunken baseball fan loses $8,700 after debit card is stolen

July 14, 2009 8:42 a.m. | An Illinois man who was in Milwaukee for the weekend series between the Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers found the trip cost him a lot more money than he thought - about $8,700 more.

After the Friday game, the man and his brother patronized several downtown Milwaukee bars and met three women whom they invited back to the Days Inn, 11811 W. Blue Mound Road.

Along the way, they stopped at an automated-teller machine. Because he was intoxicated, one of the ladies helped him punch in his account information.

Once they got to the hotel, one of the women started kissing the man. But she stopped abruptly and told her friends it was time to leave.

The next morning, when he sobered up, the man realized his debit card was missing from his pants pocket. A call to his bank revealed that $8,700 had been taken from his checking and savings accounts and spent at Milwaukee area Wal-Mart and Walgreens stores between 2:30 and 6:45 a.m.

300 Patrick Cudahy workers are back on job

July 13, 2009 1:02 p.m. | Cudahy — A total of 300 Patrick Cudahy workers returned to work Monday morning, just days after a fire devastated portions of the meatpacking plant.

Workers could be seen entering plant gates Monday morning, while others were heading for their cars after working an overnight shift Sunday.

A company spokesman said 300 administrative workers were on duty last week, in addition to 100 workers in the plant's distribution center.

Grant Withers, secretary-treasurer of United Food & Commercial Workers Union Local 1473, said Monday that union officials hoped that several hundred more workers could be back on the job by the end of the week.

Bill Otis, president and chief operating officer of Patrick Cudahy, said through a spokesman that he was not ready to say when additional workers would be called back.

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South Milwaukee stands by efforts to raze complex

July 13, 2009 11:22 a.m. | Accused of discriminating against minorities and disabled people, the City of South Milwaukee on Monday defended its efforts to raze a low-income apartment complex by saying the complex was built illegally by developers who were motivated by profit.

The defense was made by Milwaukee attorney Michele Ford on the opening day of what is expected to be a weeklong jury trial in federal court.

The trial could determine whether the Lake Bluff apartments, home to several dozen minority tenants in a city that is 1% African-American as of the 2000 census, are allowed to stand.

Ford told the jury, which includes one African-American, that the 9-year-old lawsuit filed by a bank that provided the mortgage for the apartments was brought for reasons "that have nothing to do with discrimination and have everything to do with money."

Ford pointed out that Lake Bluff tenants did not join the lawsuit, brought by what is now Associated Bank, until three years after it had been filed. She also said that tax credits sought by the developers of Lake Bluff would have totaled $2.8 million and that the mortgage was $2.7 million - "figures that are disturbingly similar."

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Cudahy factory flare-up put out

July 11, 2009 2:43 p.m. | Crews from at least seven area fire departments responded to the Patrick Cudahy plant in Cudahy to help put out what Fire Chief Dan Mayer said was a flare-up from the major fire that began last Sunday and had been declared out Wednesday.

Mayer said Cudahy police officers on patrol spotted smoke coming from the plant Saturday. Crews were dispatched shortly before noon, where they found flames in a 10-foot-square area that were between 4 and 5 feet high.

It was the largest flare-up at the plant and occurred in an area that already had been destroyed by the previous fire, Mayer said. By 5 p.m., two Cudahy firetrucks were still on the scene, and one was to remain overnight as a precautionary measure.

"It's not going anywhere," Mayer said of the Saturday fire. "It's not a threat to the rest of the building."

Gene Bridges, the company's vice president of engineering and maintenance, told the Journal Sentinel that a "hot spot" in a portion of the building damaged in the fire fell down "and found some paper to burn."

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Stonewood Village wins variance to save farmhouse

July 10, 2009 10:48 a.m. | The city's Board of Appeals on Thursday unanimously approved a variance that would allow a north-side shopping center to retain a 145-year-old farmhouse on the site.

On a 4-0 vote, the board approved a variance that would allow the developers of Stonewood Village to put a drive aisle within 25 feet of the city right of way along Capitol Drive. Original plans for redevelopment at the center called for the drive aisle to be farther north, forcing the demolition of the circa-1865 farmhouse.

As part of the approval, the board included a provision that the variance would expire upon demolition of the home, meaning the developer would at that time have to redo the drive aisle to comply with city codes.

Developer 4S will bring its revised plan to the Plan Commission for a vote Monday. The commission meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 2000 N. Calhoun Road.

Whitefish Bay man sentenced to 7 years in overdose death

July 08, 2009 2:40 p.m. | A 28-year-old Whitefish Bay man who supplied a lethal dose of heroin to a woman who overdosed in 2006 has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

Timothy J. Manikowski was also sentenced Tuesday to an additional five years in prison on two unrelated counts of being party to the crime of manufacturing and delivering heroin, according to court records.

Brenda M. Schneeberg, 24, was found dead in her Wauwatosa apartment Nov. 4, 2006. She had overdosed on a mixture of heroin and Fentanyl, an opiate derivative 80 times more powerful than morphine.

Kesslers Diamond Center plans Germantown store

July 07, 2009 5:06 p.m. | Kesslers Diamond Center operations in Menomonee Falls will consolidate and move to Germantown.

The retail, goldsmith production and offices in Menomonee Falls are located at three separate sites, owner Richard Kessler said. The store is at W15340 Appleton Ave.

The operation will replace the La-Z-Boy Furniture Gallery at W16920 County Line Road in Germantown.

The Germantown Village Board on Monday amended the planned development district agreement for the 2.86-acre site.

Property owner Frank Granier Real Estate II accepted an offer from Robert Kessler to acquire the 21,250-square-foot store, according to village documents.

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Patrick Cudahy fire affects local businesses

July 07, 2009 4:34 p.m. | Cudahy — The lack of people stopping by restaurants for lunch or corner taverns for a cold beer after a shift started to pinch local businesses worried about the larger economic impact of hundreds of employees temporarily put out of work by a fire that ripped through the Patrick Cudahy plant.

As materials continued to smolder and burn inside the plant for the second day on Tuesday, small shops along Packard Ave. and nearby streets started to open after the fire and forced evacuation in the area closed many a day earlier. Salaried employees at the plant returned to work. Others were uncertain of when they might come back and started to file for unemployment.

"They are employees of Patrick Cudahy, but they visit our community stores. They go to shops and restaurants. The sooner we can get them back up and running, the better," said Cudahy Mayor Ryan McCue.

The cause of the fire - called in just before 10 p.m. on Sunday - is not yet known, nor is the exact amount of damage.

Fire Chief Dan Mayer said that "a reasonable person would look at it and see there's a lot of loss there. Our prayers go out to Patrick Cudahy that they'll come out standing on their feet. We were able to save a large portion of the building."

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Kessler's Diamond Center to open Germantown store

July 07, 2009 11:20 a.m. | A Kessler's Diamond Center will replace the La-Z-Boy Furniture Gallery at W16920 County Line Road.

The Germantown Village Board on Monday amended the planned development district agreement for the 2.86-acre site.

Property owner Frank Granier Real Estate II LLC accepted an offer from Robert Kessler, agent for the diamond center, to acquire the 21,250-square-foot store.

Kessler's will use about 6,000 square feet each for retail sales, office space and a warehouse. A goldsmith production and assembly area will be located in the remaining 3,000 square feet.

Kessler's is planning to increase the number of parking spaces from 41 to 63. Village Planner Jeffrey Retzlaff said Kessler's is consolidating some of its office employees, who will move to the Germantown location. The Kessler's operation will have about 30 to 35 employees, about 25 more than La-Z-Boy.

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Cudahy officials declare state of emergency

July 06, 2009 12:49 p.m. | Cudahy - Mayor Ryan McCue said a state of emergency has been declared as fire officials continue to battle a blaze at the Patrick Cudahy meatpacking plant.

Fire Chief Dan Mayer said ammonia in the plant that has caused concern throughout the day appears to be contained.

"We believe that's safe now inside," Mayer said. "From the ammonia standpoint, I'm cautiously optimistic that we have crossed the dangerous period."

Despite the chief's comments, McCue stressed that the area could still be in danger, and that a mandatory evacuation of area residents was still necessary as the fire raged on for its 14th hour. McCue said he and other officials would re-evaluate the evacuation at 3 p.m.

Ammonia can be extremely toxic and may be fatal if inhaled. The federal Emergency Respond Guidebook says ammonia vapors are irritating and corrosive and exposure can cause respiratory difficulties.

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Home invasion, robbery suspects still at large

July 06, 2009 11:56 a.m. | Police are still looking for the two men believed to have committed a home invasion and a robbery on two successive nights.


The home invasion, which included tying up and blindfolding an 88-year-old man, happened about 3 a.m. June 30, and the robbery at a bar on Janesville Road occurred at about 2:30 a.m. June 29.

The 88-year-old man was not hurt in the invasion of his home in the 14400 block of Cornell Circle. The men woke him up, threatened him, used painter’s tape to tie his hands and feet and blindfolded him. An undetermined amount of personal items and cash were taken, along with the man’s light blue-gray 2005 Ford Freestar van, police said. The license plate is 574 APM. The man freed himself and called police.

The incident happened the night after the same two men may have robbed a bartender from Bushy’s Pub and Grill, S67 W14831 Janesville Road, Muskego Police Capt. John LaTour said.

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Brookfield, Elm Grove Independence Day photos now online

July 06, 2009 10:33 a.m. | We've just posted photo galleries featuring the July 4 celebrations in the City of Brookfield and Elm Grove.

Wauwatosa July 4 parade photos now online

July 06, 2009 9:57 a.m. | We've just posted a photo gallery from Wauwatosa's July 4 parade.

New city law bans scalping of fair tickets

July 01, 2009 4:40 p.m. | An anti-scalping ordinance designed to thwart scams outside Wisconsin State Fair Park is on the books.

The ordinance prohibits anyone to sell tickets above the face value of the ticket within 500 feet of the fairgrounds. Violations could result in a fine between $500 and $1,000.

The price of State Fair tickets is stated on each one. Regular admission to the fair is $9, but the fair sold $5 tickets up until June 30 and gives others away for free to sponsors and other organizations.

If someone sold a $5 ticket for $7, then, that person could be cited for scalping.

State Fair officials have seen people buy $5 tickets in bulk only to resell them around the fairgrounds for more than they paid. They asked the city of West Allis to pass an ordinance in effort to avoid those problems and also in light of scams last year that fooled more than 4,000 fair-goers into buying already-used tickets.

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