Recall petition collectors in Brookfield spur complaints

Nov. 29, 2011 1:04 p.m. | Opponents of Gov. Scott Walker were collecting signatures for a recall petition amid a rush of holiday shoppers in Brookfield over the weekend.

Although police officers responded to seven complaints of signature collection efforts impeding traffic or blocking driveways Nov. 25 and 27, no citations were issued.

"We were pretty much warning them that they can't obstruct traffic," Capt. Jim Adlam said. "You can't block driveway access; you can't take over someone's parking lot or business if they don't want you to."

According to city of Brookfield police reports:

The first interaction came when a man stationed in a median in the 17000 block of Bluemound Road was collecting signatures just before 11:30 a.m. Nov. 25. He was told to relocate to a sidewalk.

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Wilson Drive home catches fire day after Thanksgiving

Nov. 29, 2011 10:20 a.m. | A Brookfield woman returning home from shopping in the wee hours of Black Friday found her kitchen ablaze, according to City of Brookfield Fire Department records.

The woman called firefighters and woke up her sleeping husband after she discovered the kitchen of the single-family home at 825 Wilson Drive was on fire, just before 3:30 a.m. Nov. 25, the report states.

Fire Chief Charlie Myers anticipates the home sustained $100,000 in damages - $70,000 in structural damages and $30,000 in damages to contents from smoke and fire.

Preliminary investigation showed that the fire started because smoking materials had been discarded in a garbage can.

"Our fire prevention message for this incident is that all homeowners ensure they have working smoke detectors on all levels of the home," Myers said. "Please dispose of smoking materials in a metal container and place the container outside, a safe distance from the house."

» Read Full Article

Greenfield police keep busy with calls about recall disturbances

Nov. 29, 2011 10:02 a.m. | Greenfield police responded to several calls about recall canvassers being disturbed or disturbing the public in the past couple of weeks.

According to Greenfield police reports:

A caller reported the driver of a blue van purposely swerved toward a woman collecting signatures for the Recall Walker campaign in the 5000 block of West Layton Avenue. The van was last seen driving westbound on Layton Avenue.

Recall Walker canvassers in the 7500 block of West Layton Avenue called police to report being verbally abused by a woman prior to 4:20 p.m. Nov. 21. The woman had left by the time police arrived, but petitioners were advised to call back if she returned.

The owner of Layton Plaza, 7515 W. Layton Ave., called police after he received complaints about participants collecting signatures for the Recall Walker effort shortly before 5 p.m. Nov. 23. An officer spoke to two canvassers who were on the sidewalk and not obstructing businesses or traffic. Police then spoke to a manager of a business who was concerned about people parking in the lot, but no signs were posted limiting parking to customers only. The property owners were advised that the canvassers had the right to be there.

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Erin Canon named Distinguished Young Woman of Tosa

Nov. 28, 2011 10:38 a.m. | Erin Canon, daughter of Del and Pam Canon, has been named the Distinguished Young Woman of Wauwatosa and will compete to become the Distinguished Young Woman of Wisconsin.

The competitions are part of a national scholarship program that promotes and rewards academics, leadership and talent. In addition to earning scholarships for college, participants learn self-confidence through public speaking and performance.

Erin attends Wauwatosa East High School, where she is a member of the National Honor Society and Key Club. A junior, she hopes to attend college and become a psychologist and art therapist.

She participates in Chamber Choir, Vocal Jazz and the Tosa East Players theater group.

She is an active member of the Mount Carmel Lutheran Church youth group, sings in the choir and has gone on several summer mission trips.

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Currie golf course open through Saturday

Nov. 25, 2011 11:48 a.m. | Take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and snow-free ground by taking in a round of golf.

Currie Park, 3535 N. Mayfair Road, remains open for play. The County Parks Department is running a Thanksgiving special so residents can play 18 holes for $20 through Saturday.

For information, call (414) 453-7030.

Hansen Golf Course, the other public facility in Wauwatosa, is closed for the season.

Former dry cleaner building site Tosa's second structure fire in 12 hours

Nov. 23, 2011 6:46 p.m. | Fire broke out this afternoon in a long-vacant building that the city has targeted for redevelopment.

The Fire Department was called to the former dry cleaner facility, 2578 Wauwatosa Ave., at 1:06 p.m. When crews arrived, fire was found burning the building exterior and flames quickly grew and spread into the structure.

The initial damage estimate was $30,000. There was fire damage to the exterior and the hallway and doors and windows had to be forced open to gain entry, Deputy Fire Chief James Case said.

The fire was quickly extinguished, which limited the damage, he said.

The city has been pursuing foreclosure on the former dry cleaner property, which has been the subject of many complaints by neighbors who say it's an eyesore, so it can proceed with environmental assessment and clean up.

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Mayor will veto budget due to fire and police personnel concerns

Nov. 23, 2011 2:14 p.m. | Mayor Tom Taylor plans to veto the city budget because it reduces the budgets of the fire and police departments by $100,000 each.

The cuts to those departments mean the loss of personnel, Taylor said, and Fire Chief James Martins said he would likely lose two firefighters and would have to periodically close Fire Station No. 2 at 9911 S. 60th St.

Taylor said council members made the cuts believing that the unions representing city firefighters and police officers would make health insurance concessions voluntarily, even though their contracts are not up until the end of 2012. Martins, meanwhile, said there would be no guarantee.

"I think certainly they are very dedicated to the community," Martins said. "I'm sure they would consider that. But whether they would or not, I couldn't say."

Taylor said on Tuesday night council members could override his veto with four votes. If they do not, the city would have to deliberate a new budget or accept the one he presented to the city's Finance Committee. That spending plan kept the fire and police departments' budget intact but called for eliminating a city planner and building inspector position.

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Bike path may be eliminated from road work plan

Nov. 23, 2011 1:48 p.m. | The pedestrian/bike path scheduled to be created at the side of the road along Tess Corners Drive might be moved off-road instead.

Muskego plans to create the recreation path when it reconstructs the roadway from Janesville to Woods roads. But results of soil borings for the road project revealed this week that the subsoil will need more stabilizing for the new road than originally planned.

To reduce the amount of substructure work, staff proposes to move the trail off-road. Normally, that would be more expensive than keeping it alongside the road, but not if keeping it at the road means a lot of costly soil work.

Borgman will run again for Muskego council

Nov. 23, 2011 1:44 p.m. | Third District Alderman Neil Borgman, one of the three Muskego aldermen whose terms will expire next April, said last night that he will seek re-election.

The other two incumbents - Tracy Snead in the 1st District and Dan Soltysiak in the 5th District - have not announced if they will run again.

Next year's election could be complicated by the fact that Alderman Kert Harenda now lives in Borgman's district. That happened when the city had to redraw aldermanic district lines following the 2010 federal census.

Although Harenda can continue to represent District 2 until his term ends in April 2013, he may choose to run next year for Borgman's seat. Harenda was out of town and unavailable for comment today.

Those interested in running for the council can take out nomination papers and start getting signatures Dec. 1. The filing deadline is 5 p.m. Jan. 3.

Council chickens out on ordinance idea

Nov. 23, 2011 1:40 p.m. | While some officials promise a chicken in every pot, Muskego officials would rather chickens aren't found anywhere else in the typical residential neighborhood.

The Muskego Common Council Committee of the Whole on Tuesday night decided against allowing chickens at homes on less than 2.57 acres.

It's already acceptable for residents with bigger lots to have chickens and every year the city gets more than a dozen calls from people wondering if they can have chickens, too. So, aldermen considered an ordinance that would allow chickens on smaller lots as long as the coops are 25 feet from neighboring houses and at least 5 feet from property lines.

But Aldermen Keith Werner said he could think of an example in his own neighborhood where that mean a coop right near the patio of another neighbor who likes to entertain.

And when Alderman Neil Borgman told a story about a chick that was given as a gift and grew into a rooster which would awaken the neighborhood at 5:30 a.m., the consensus of the council was to leave well enough alone.

Chestnut Street garage starts on fire this morning

Nov. 23, 2011 12:26 p.m. | A garage in the 8000 block of Chestnut Street caught fire this morning.

There were no injuries. The cause of the fire and dollar amount of property damage have not yet been determined, Deputy Chief James Case said in a prepared statement.

When fire crews arrived at 3:32 a.m., a detached garage was filled with a large volume of smoke and fire, he said. Firefighters spent two hours extinguishing the blaze and investigating the scene.

We Energies was called in to assist with numerous downed power lines. As the Fire Department left the property, some neighboring homes were without power, Case said.

Recall supporter threatened with vandalism

Nov. 23, 2011 11:06 a.m. | A resident who allowed organizers of the effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker to use his front yard to sign petitions, received a letter from someone threatening to vandalize his Wauwatosa home.

According to a Wauwatosa police report:

The resident of the 600 block of North 68th Street sat in his house - neighboring Walker's Tosa home - Nov. 15 while people set up a table and collected signatures in an effort to remove the governor from office.

The next day he received a letter addressed to "Walker Recall Help."

It read: "Dear resident, I have signed the petition to recall the governor. … I plan on delivering it to your home. It will be attached to a large rock, and it will be sent through your first-floor windows."

School district, others to help city with payout to Wheaton Franciscan

Nov. 23, 2011 10:56 a.m. | The city will seek to recoup $4.1 million from other taxing jurisdictions to help replenish funds it spent following a state Supreme Court ruling in a suit filed by Wheaton Franciscan.

Last summer, the state Supreme Court ruled that a large portion of the Wheaton Franciscan outpatient health care facility in Wauwatosa qualifies as tax exempt. Factoring in interest, Wauwatosa had to pay an $8.4 million to Wheaton Franciscan for erroneously collected taxes.

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue has approved the city's request recoup $6.2 million, the largest single charge-back state officials can recall.

State law does not allow the city to seek help from the other entities who taxed Wheaton Franciscan to cover the interest payment, although it can - and is - requiring the those other entities to refund their share of the $6.2 million in tax dollars returned to the health care provider.

The Wauwatosa School District will be responsible for paying back $2.1 million to the city. About $2 million in refunds will come to the city from Milwaukee County, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and Milwaukee Area Technical College for their portions of the taxes levied. Those funds will be due back to the city by mid-February.

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Hales Corners sees small rise in village taxes

Nov. 23, 2011 10:22 a.m. | Residents with a house valued at $227,000 will pay $28 more a year in property taxes, under a budget approved Tuesday night by the Village Board.

That amount reflects a 1.8 percent increase in the tax rate. This year's rate was $6.94 per $1,000 of equalized value; next year, the rate will be $7.07.

The levy supports a 2012 spending plan of $7.9 million, an increase of 2.5 percent over this year's budget of $7.7 million. Property taxes, for village purposes, will increase by 4.8 percent, from $4.7 million this year to $5 million next.

Because state aid is declining, Village Board member expressed dismay that assuming added fiscal responsibility would negatively impact taxpayers.

Case in point: The state has reduced its recycling funding to the village by 35 percent. The result is an 11 percent increase - to $193.74 a year - in refuse collection fees homeowners would pay.

Woman reports being raped in Wawautosa bar's parking lot

Nov. 23, 2011 9:36 a.m. | A 27-year-old woman reported being raped in a vehicle in the parking lot of Mo's Irish Pub, 10842 W. Bluemound Road, early Saturday morning.

According to a Wauwatosa police report:

The woman said she started the evening by having dinner with girlfriends at the Cheesecake Factory, where her husband met up with them. They continued to a friend's Wauwatosa apartment and Leff's Lucky Town, where they continued to drink.

At some point, someone brought her a drink that after one sip made her sick, she told officers.

Her husband headed home, but she stayed out to socialize. Her girlfriends had met some men and the group decided to head to Mo's, getting into the strangers' car for the trip.

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Party ends with man pulling gun on roommate

Nov. 23, 2011 9:19 a.m. | A night of partying ended with a man pulling a gun on his roommate and police seizing 36 grams of marijuana and drug paraphernalia from a Wauwatosa home, police say.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

A group of friends hit the bars, then returned to an apartment in the 1400 block of Martha Washington Drive to continue the party with alcohol and marijuana until 7 a.m. Saturday. As people were figuring out how they would get home, a 22-year-old man who lived at the apartment passed out.

His roommate tried to wake him so he could drive a guest home. A drunken argument ensued, and the man pulled a gun out of his pants pocket and started to point it at his roommate.

The roommate defended himself by punching the man in the face. The man slumped to the floor, and the gun dropped to the floor. When he came to, he didn't recall why they had argued, but he was arrested for reckless endangerment involving a gun.

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Man accidentally shoots hole in apartment wall

Nov. 22, 2011 10:42 p.m. | A man accidentally fired a shot through his apartment wall while unloading his handgun at 6:15 p.m. Friday evening.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

The 30-year-old Wauwatosa man was in the bedroom of an apartment at the Fountains of Wauwatosa, 9611 W. Hampton Ave., unloading his weapon when it fired a shot through the exterior wall.

Police were not able to find the bullet, but it left a hole in the wall.

He had a receipt for the gun purchase and a license, so the man received a warning about mishandling and discharging a firearm.

Luci'a, a clothing store, opens on North Avenue

Nov. 22, 2011 10:40 p.m. | Luci'a D'Acquisto finds beauty in the details of clothing and accessories.

From fuzzy winter hats dotted with antique buttons to a mocha-colored mini dress with a sequined neckline and fur cap sleeves, she tries to find unusual but feminine pieces to carry in her store.

"My business card says, 'Accessories that make you go hmm,' " she said.

Called Luci'a, the store opened in East Tosa last week. She's still working out the hours, but she has been open from noon to 6 p.m. in the formerly vacant storefront on the corner of 68th Street and North Avenue, next to Royal Court Academy martial arts studio.

"This corner has been empty, so people are stopping by; they're curious," D'Acquisto said.

» Read Full Article

Man caught fondling himself at library by teen

Nov. 22, 2011 8:26 p.m. | He probably wasn't reading the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue for the articles.

A 17-year-old girl spotted a man fondling himself as he read the magazine at the Wauwatosa Public Library last week.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

The girl sat down to do homework when she saw a man open his pants and expose himself. He hardly tried to conceal himself, standing partially behind a bookshelf about 6 feet from the girl.

A few minutes later he fastened his jeans and picked up a large briefcase, then walked behind the bookshelf and started reading. After a security guard made his rounds, the man again began masturbating.

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Police get description of Cardinal Fitness theft suspect

Nov. 22, 2011 8:22 p.m. | Police have a description of a man who is suspected of breaking into lockers at Cardinal Fitness locations.

According to Wauwatosa police reports:

A member of Cardinal Fitness, 2885 N. Mayfair Road, said his lock had been removed and his wallet taken from a locker between 5:40 and 6 a.m. Nov. 14. A lock that had been cut was found outside the facility. His credit cards had been used.

The front counter clerk recalled a man had come in, saying he had forgotten his wallet so he had no ID or membership card. He gave his name as John Smith and received access to the locker room. Cameras showed him pretending to workout for a few minutes, then he made a big deal to the employee about leaving to put his valuables in his car because of thefts that happen in locker rooms.

He never returned.

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Man accused of biting security guards after trying to steal clothes

Nov. 22, 2011 8:16 p.m. | A Milwaukee man faces two misdemeanor charges for battery and one for retail theft after he was arrested for trying to steal a stack of clothing and repeatedly biting security guards while resisting apprehension.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

Anthony Harris, 31, grabbed a large stack of clothing valued at nearly $1,300 and tried to make his way out of Boston Store at Mayfair at 1:23 p.m. Nov. 14. Security guards met him at the exit.

Harris violently pushed a door into one of the guards and tried to make a run for it. The guard grabbed him around the waist and they struggled, rolling around on the sidewalk outside the department store. Then Harris bit the guard on the hand several times, drawing blood.

He was able to crawl to a railing, which overlooked a 30-foot drop to the lower parking lot. He attempted to jump, but guards were able to grab him in time, and he hung upside down until they were able to pull him back.

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Man accused of pepper spraying another for parking in front of his home

Nov. 22, 2011 6:02 p.m. | A parking dispute led to a pepper spray attack on Glenway Street.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

A 33-year-old man arrived to visit his uncle at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 12, but he couldn't park immediately in front of his uncle's house because leaves had been raked into the street for fall collection. Instead, he parked along the curb in front of a neighbor's home.

That 65-year-old neighbor charged down the driveway, irate that the 33-year-old had parked there because he had planned to blow the leaves from his yard into the gutter.

Words were exchanged and the neighbor lunged at the younger man, grabbed his shirt and sprayed him in the face with pepper spray. The younger man stumbled to his uncle's front door and told him to call police.

» Read Full Article

Child Services looking into case of child accidentally left at Walgreens

Nov. 22, 2011 4:52 p.m. | A mother who forgot her 3-year-old daughter at Walgreens, 2205 N. Calhoun Road, told authorities that she rushed back to the store once she realized her mistake, according to city of Brookfield police reports.

Also in the reports:

A Walgreens employee notified police that store staff were unable to find the parents of a 3-year-old girl at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 20.

The girl's mother returned to the store by 7 p.m. and said she rushed back once she realized she had left her daughter behind.

Officers forwarded the case to Waukesha County Child Services for review.

Menomonee Falls police warn of daytime burglary scams

Nov. 22, 2011 1:31 p.m. | Police in cities near Menomonee Falls report a chain of burglaries with a pair of potential thieves.

The reports detail two men involved in schemes where one suspect lures residents out of their homes with false emergencies or home repair offers, only to have another man enter the home and steal valuables.

Police are warning residents to be aware of people coming to their homes with such information while double-checking to ensure back and side doors to homes are secure.

A possible vehicle used in these crimes is a gray or silver van or small SUV.

Call the Menomonee Falls Police Department to report any suspicious activity at (262) 532-8700.

Brookfield spa employee accused of stealing $60K in products

Nov. 22, 2011 10:37 a.m. | Brookfield police are investigating a report that a former employee of New Skin Wellness in Brookfield took more than $60,000 in products from the company over the course of a year, according to a Brookfield police report.

Also in the report:

A representative of Anew Skin and Wellness, 19265 W. Capitol Drive, reported that a former employee had taken a large amount of products from the business.

The estimated value of the products taken has varied, but most recently was estimated at $60,000.

The matter remains under investigation.

Muskego-Norway School District OKs pay for those who opt out of health plan

Nov. 22, 2011 10:32 a.m. | The least expensive of three options to encourage employees to opt out of the Muskego-Norway School District health insurance plan won approval from the School Board on Monday night.

The district will continue to pay employees 87.4 percent of the premium for single coverage if they take insurance from the employer of a working spouse. That will come to about $6,900 next year.

The cost is sizable, but it has been shown to save money for the district, said board member Brett Hyde.

The other two options the board considered were to keep the opt-out payment at the current $8,400 or to reduce it slightly to $8,200.

The reason next year's opt-out payment would be so much smaller than this year is because the tab for health insurance will go down. That is because the schools will move to a different insurance carrier and because of changes to the health plan itself.

» Read Full Article

Muskego-Norway considers middle school changes

Nov. 22, 2011 10:32 a.m. | Sweeping middle school changes that would trade the current 53-minute classes for 75-minute classes for core subjects, add 25-minute intervention/study hall/electives sessions, rejuvenate the electives selection and lengthen the school day 10 minutes were unveiled to the Muskego-Norway School Board on Monday night.

The district's 38-member Middle Level Program Review Team worked 11 months on reviewing the two middle schools to develop the recommendations. The team consists of parents, teachers, administrators and even one student. It held meetings, did surveys and delved into educational research to see how the best middle schools get results.

The recommendations are headed for discussion and possibly board approval Dec. 5. Except for the new electives, the plan would start next fall. It would call for no additional staff.

Clerk's fast action thwarts robbery attempt at Tosa gas station

Nov. 22, 2011 9:50 a.m. | A masked man tried to rob the Citgo gas station at 103rd Street and Bluemound Road on Monday, but a quick-thinking clerk and protective equipment thwarted the crime.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

The robber came to the check-out counter with his right hand under his jacket to imply he was armed. He told the clerk: "Give me the money. Give me big bills."

The clerk worked behind bullet-proof glass, but the window was open so he could assist customers.

He quickly took the key from the cash register and slammed the window shut.

» Read Full Article

At least two will seek re-election to Muskego School Board

Nov. 22, 2011 9:32 a.m. | Two of the three members of the Muskego-Norway School Board have decided to run for re-election and the third has not announced her decision as yet.

Saying they will seek another three-year term are Eric Schroeder and Michael Serdynski. Lisa Warwick's term also is up next April.

They and others who want to run for the School Board can take nomination papers out in December. The filing deadline is 5 p.m. Jan. 3.

East's theater director earns spot in hall of fame

Nov. 22, 2011 9:12 a.m. | Wauwatosa East High School theater director Thomas Thaney will be inducted into the Theatre Directors Hall of Fame, the Wisconsin High School Forensic Association has announced.

Thaney is part of the inaugural class of directors.

He has been the theater director at East for more than 10 years. Before that, Thaney taught in the Elmbrook School District. He has a bachelor's degrees from Concordia University River Forest and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and master's in theater arts from Schiller International University in Strasbourg, France.

Thaney was honored at the Wisconsin High School Theatre Festival's Judges Dinner at Waterford Union High School on Nov 17.

Residents can comment on district's facilities plans

Nov. 21, 2011 6:18 p.m. | The New Berlin School Board will hold a listening session to give district residents a chance to comment on facilities planning options the district is considering, including the possible closure of Glen Park Elementary School.

The session will be held during the board's regular meeting Monday from 7 to 8 p.m. in the New Berlin West High School library, 18695 W. Cleveland Ave.

Board members will welcome both information and questions. Questions may have to be answered at succeeding board meetings.

Online dating turns expensive for scammed woman

Nov. 21, 2011 5:16 p.m. | A Brookfield woman was scammed out of more than $29,000 by someone she had met on a dating website, according to city of Brookfield police reports.

Also in the reports:

The woman told officers she had wired more than $29,000 to Malaysia on Nov. 19.

The 51-year-old woman maintained a lengthy relationship with the man, whom she had met on a popular dating website, before she agreed to send him more than $29,000 to pay for taxes on a supposed inheritance.

Although the man had agreed to pay her back, she never heard from him again.

Large buck creates burglary scare

Nov. 21, 2011 5:14 p.m. | Brookfield police officers rushed to a reported burglary in progress in the early hours of Nov. 15 only to find that the perpetrator was a clumsy buck.

A woman reported that she had heard what sounded like an explosion and found broken glass outside a neighbor's condominium in the 18000 block of Emerald Circle just before 2 a.m. Nov. 15, according to a police report.

Nothing was disturbed inside the condo, and officers found deer tracks leading to and from the building, Capt. Jim Adlam said.

Officers then scanned the perimeter and found a large buck limping off.

"Apparently it ran into the door, broke the glass and ran off," Adlam said.

» Read Full Article

Man threatens driver with knife, runs off

Nov. 21, 2011 5:06 p.m. | A Brookfield man could face a felony charge after brandishing a knife and threatening to slit the throat of a motorist who suspected he was driving drunk and called the police, according to a city of Brookfield police report.

Also in the report:

The 21-year-old man pulled over on 162nd Street, near Capitol Drive, and approached another car with a knife.

The 21-year-old believed the driver of that car had cut him off and told him he was going to slit somebody's throat.

He then ran off and was arrested a short time later on a tentative charge of endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon.

Elmbrook Area Older Adult Forum offers funeral pre-planning talk

Nov. 21, 2011 3:03 p.m. | On Tuesday, join older adults from the Brookfield and Elm Grove communities for a presentation titled "Funeral Pre-planning - A Gift to Your Family" beginning at 12:45 p.m. in the Brookfield Senior Community Center, 2000 N. Calhoun Road.

These monthly educational gatherings for older adults are offered on the 4th Tuesday of the month by the Elmbrook Area Older Adult Forum. Light refreshments will be served. For more information contact Juli at (262) 853-9352.

Carol Boeck, pre-arrangement counselor with Church and Chapel Funeral Homes, will discuss the advantages funeral pre-planning offers.

Elmbrook Area Older Adult Forum was developed by local professionals to help empower older adults and their families through education and support.

NOW newspapers to be delivered Friday this week

Nov. 21, 2011 1:51 p.m. | All NOW newspapers will be delivered Friday, Nov. 25, due to this week's Thanksgiving holiday.

Looking to subscribe? We currently offer subscriptions to Brookfield-ElmGroveNOW, North ShoreNOW, WauwatosaNOW and WaukeshaNOW.

You can also purchase single issues of our Brookfield-Elm GroveNOW, WauwatosaNOW and WaukeshaNOW publications.

Thanks for your continued readership of our print and web editions and enjoy your holiday season!

Survey asks: Should 53092 be linked to Mequon or Thiensville?

Nov. 18, 2011 10:44 a.m. | Customers in the 53092 ZIP code will be asked their mailing address preference, Mequon or Thiensville, in a survey being mailed to all households.

The United States Postal Service database currently lists Thiensville as the actual city for the ZIP code, with Mequon the default city.

In September the city of Mequon asked the USPS to consider a change, making Mequon the actual city and Thiensville the default city.

Thiensville has gone on record as being opposed to the change.

Mail will continue to be delivered to all addresses in the ZIP code regardless of whether Mequon or Thiensville is written on the envelope, and the Post Office, located at 124 W. Freistadt Road, Thiensville, will continue to be the Thiensville Post Office.

» Read Full Article

County Board restores half of NSFD's paramedic supplemental funds

Nov. 17, 2011 5:30 p.m. | Because the Milwaukee County Board overrode most of County Executive Chris Abele's vetoes of the 2012 budget, the North Shore Fire Department will receive $180,000 of supplemental money for its paramedic program. Abele's budget eliminated a $3 million supplemental payment made to fire departments in the county. Under Abele's budget the North Shore Fire Department would have received no funds for its paramedic program.

The County Board restored half of the funding and decided to follow the distribution formula developed by the Intergovernmental Cooperation Council after earlier considering a formula change.

Although not the $362,000 the department had expected when developing its 2012 budget, Fire Chief Robert Whitaker said today that staff and the union are working on ways to make up the remaining deficit.

Whitaker said he does not anticipate any job losses or layoffs.

Town holds line on spending

Nov. 17, 2011 1:18 p.m. | Town of Brookfield residents won't see a property tax increase in 2012, which marks the third consecutive year town officials have voted to hold the line on spending.

The Town Board unanimously approved a $4.62 million operating budget for 2012 on Tuesday. That represents a 0.08 percent decrease from 2011.

Property tax payers will pay $3.56 per $1,000 of assessed property value to support a $3.6 million levy.

"The town sees a very bright financial future and expects to maintain its current levels of municipal services for many years to come," Town Administrator Rick Czopp said.

The town used savings from employee pension contributions and a 60 percent decrease in debt interest payments to offset a 25 percent decrease in shared revenue and a 10 percent decrease in state transportation aid.

» Read Full Article

Brown Deer voters approve both referendum questions

Nov. 15, 2011 9:26 p.m. | Brown Deer will move to a two-school campus with an upper school for grades seven through 12 that will have a field house. Voters in the village approved both referendum questions Tuesday.

Question 1, asking approval of an $18 million plan for two schools, passed by a sound 63.22 percent of the votes cast, 1,339 yes to 766 no. That plan includes moving grades K4 through six into the current middle school which will be renovated and repurposed and moving grades seven and eight into the current high school.

An addition will be built on the high school to accommodate the additional grades. The money also provides some funding for outdoor improvements on the large campus, including walking paths.

Question 2, asking for a $4 million field house, a large gym with an indoor track, at the current high school, was also approved by a smaller margin, with 52.03 percent or 1,102 votes for it, 46.13 percent or 977 votes against it.

Dean School will be razed once the other buildings are ready for students.

Glendale's budget down, levy up for 2012

Nov. 15, 2011 3:26 p.m. | Mayor Jerry Tepper praised the department heads, city staff and all city employees for the efforts that led to a decrease of $66,714 in the city's budget for 2012. Without the hard work put in by the department heads to develop budgets that met the goal of maintaining services without increasing spending and without the cooperation of employees in paying more for their fringe benefits, the Common Council's budget challenge would have been even greater.

The council on Monday adopted an $18,899,972 budget with a tax levy of $12,135,043. The levy is up $77,891, the exact amount of increase in the city's debt service fund levy. Under state law, the city is allowed to increase the levy for debt service.

The tax rate for the city's portion of the taxes will increase to $7.64 per $1,000 of assessed value, up from $6.83 per $1,000 a year ago. However, because of a citywide revaluation of property done this year, the impact on individual property owners will vary.

City Administrator Richard Maslowski said a home valued at $200,000 last year is now valued at $177,400. The city's tax on that house for 2012 would be $1,355, a drop of $10 or 1 percent from the tax of $1,366 last year.

Residential property in the city dropped an average of 10.8 percent in the revaluation. If your house dropped 10.8 percent or more, it is likely the city portion of the tax bill will decrease. If it did not drop that much, the city portion will likely increase.

Brown Deer voters head to polls for school referendum

Nov. 15, 2011 10:16 a.m. | Voters will go to the polls today to decide on two school district referendum questions.

The first question asks for approval of $18 million that would be used to move students into two schools. The current middle school would be repurposed into a K4 through grade six building while the existing high school would be converted to a school for grades seven to 12. An addition would be built onto the high school as part of the plan.

A second question asks for approval of $4 million for a field house at the high school building instead of the new gym that would be part of the $18 million question.

Polls are open until 8 p.m.

Binge drinking identified as a problem among Tosa's adults

Nov. 15, 2011 9:40 a.m. | "Wisconsin is No. 1 for binge drinking and Wauwatosa matches that," said Lori Nielsen, nursing supervisor with the city Health Department.

As the department nears the end of its data collection for the state-mandated Community Health Assessment, there are a few issues that already stand out. Heavy drinking is one of those, but this time the problem must be addressed with adults, Nielsen said.

Wauwatosa women are more likely to be heavy drinkers - have more than one drink per day - than either the state or nation.

Binge drinking is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as five drinks in one hour for men and four or more drinks in about a two-hour period for women.

In Tosa, 22 percent of adults said they consume enough alcohol to qualify as binge drinking at least once a month. That's slightly lower than the state rate of 23.9 percent.

» Read Full Article

Clogged hose leads to dryer fire

Nov. 14, 2011 4:46 p.m. | City of Brookfield firefighters responded to a report of a building on fire in the 18200 block of Beverly Hills Drive just after 4:30 p.m. Nov. 13.

Firefighters arrived to find that the homeowner had used a dry chemical fire extinguisher to suppress a fire inside a clothes dryer prior to arrival, according to a report.

Lint had clogged the vent hose, and the homeowner was advised to have it checked by service personnel before using it again.

Damage is estimated at $1,000, according to the report.

City extends leaf collection by week

Nov. 11, 2011 3:18 p.m. | A stroll through Tosa neighborhoods or a drive along the city's streets shows Mother Nature may be trying to hold onto autumn as long as possible. Most trees still have some leaves on their branches.

That fact hasn't been lost on Wauwatosa Public Works Director Bill Porter, who today announced leaf collection will be extended to accommodate the stragglers.

City crews completed two of the three pickup cycles Wednesday. Typically 4,000 tons of leaves are collected, but city workers have only collected 45 percent of that amount, he said. He attributes that to warm weather that lasted late into fall.

"Normally the collection rate is closer to 60 percent at this time of the season," he said. "While oak trees traditionally hang onto their leaves late into the fall months, this year the maple trees have been very slow to drop their leaves as well."

Initially, he planned to end leaf collection Nov. 13, but the start of the final run though the city has been delayed until Nov. 21. The hope is to get all leaves off the streets before the first snowfall cover so crews may be working the day after Thanksgiving. Have all leaves raked into the street by the end of the day Nov. 20 to ensure they get removed, Porter said.

Santa's sleigh to reach Mayfair this weekend

Nov. 11, 2011 3:14 p.m. | Parents, dress up your kids. Boys and girls, make out your wish lists. It's that time of year when Santa makes his way to his throne at Mayfair to listen to each child's must-haves this holiday season.

Mr. Claus will make the trek from the North Pole and arrive in the mall Center Court at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Don't worry, there's no need for a mad rush - the Jolly Old Elf will be hanging out at Mayfair for visits and photo opportunities through Dec. 24. Children on the nice list will receive a free holiday coloring book after their visit.

Free meals for veterans at Applebee's today

Nov. 11, 2011 3:12 p.m. | Veterans and active members of the military will be treated to a free meal at Applebee's restaurants Friday.

In a salute to Veteran's Day, entrees and their side dishes will be on the house from lunch through dinner for local heroes who dine in the restaurant and bring proof of military service.

Wisconsin Hospitality Group, the owner of Applebee's restaurants throughout the state, is based in Wauwatosa. Locally, Applebee's can be found at Mayfair, 2500 N. Mayfair Road, and in the Village Business Improvement District at 6750 W. State St.

No injuries reported in train derailment near Germantown

Nov. 11, 2011 2:40 p.m. | A westbound freight train operated by Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. derailed just west of Germantown at about 3:30 a.m. Friday. A total of seven cars derailed, six of them were loaded full of salt and one was empty.

There were no hazardous materials transported at the time of the derailment and no injuries to the train crews or the general public has been reported. Village of Germantown and Washington County emergency response teams were notified.

The cause of the derailment has been determined to be an internal break in the rail due to age and deterioration. The rail line will be out of service indefinitely until the incident is cleaned up and the track is repaired and inspected.

The rail corridor in Germantown is owned jointly by the state of Wisconsin and the East Wisconsin Counties Railroad Consortium, and operated under a long-term contract by the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co.

Handyman charged with stealing $10K in jewelry

Nov. 10, 2011 2:00 p.m. | A Cudahy man who was hired by a Brookfield couple to do yard work and odd jobs around their Buena Vista Drive home has been charged with stealing nearly $10,000 in jewelry.

John C. Talaska, 31, faces more than 18 years in prison if convicted on felony counts of burglary and theft. He pleaded not guilty to the charges on Thursday and remains in Waukesha County Jail on $3,500 cash bond.

According to the criminal complaint:

A couple hired Talaska to do yard work and odd jobs around their home in the 2400 block of Buena Vista Drive on two days in October.

Soon after, the homeowners discovered that 14 pieces of jewelry, a $9,600 value, were missing from a bedroom and identified Talaska as a suspect.

» Read Full Article

Tosan Heidi Lorenzen is Miss Wisconsin, ready for nationals

Nov. 10, 2011 1:26 p.m. | A Wauwatosa teen has been crowned this year's National American Miss Wisconsin.

Heidi Lorenzen, daughter of Elmer and Kay Lorenzen, will compete for more than $500,000 in cash and prizes at the national pageant in California the week of Thanksgiving.

Lorenzen volunteers for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission, and has collected books and new stuffed animals for Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, the Wauwatosa Police Department and the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. She has participated in and volunteered at many walk/runs for charitable organizations.

She is majoring in kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and hopes to become a physical therapist.

The National American Miss program is open to girls 4 to 18, with five age divisions. Participants compete on inner beauty, as well as poise, presentation and all-American spirit. Emphasis is placed on gaining self-confidence, learning new skills, building good attitudes about competition and setting and achieving personal goals.

Calling all ice carvers! West Allis competition afoot

Nov. 10, 2011 11:40 a.m. | The Downtown West Allis Business Improvement District is looking for ice carvers for its Dec. 3 Ice Block Sculpting Competition, which will be part of its annual Christmas on the Avenue.

Anyone at least 18 years old is eligible to participate on their own, in a team or with their families. Ice blocks will be located and carved at various locations along Greenfield Avenue. Judging and the awards ceremony will be at 4 p.m. in the City Hall courtyard.

The prize is $100 for each of the top three winners. To sign up or for more information, visit

Knights of Columbus takes steps to sell more of its land

Nov. 09, 2011 5:28 p.m. | The Knights of Columbus received a favorable recommendation from the Greenfield Plan Commission Tuesday night to split an acre off its five-acre property so that it can be sold.

The plan will likely go to the Greenfield Common Council Nov. 15.

The new proposed one-acre lot would be on the north side of the Knights of Columbus property, 3200 S. 103 St., and it exceeds the city's minimum size requirements for a new lot. Zoning there is commercial.

This is the second piece of land the Knights want to split off. In July, it received permission to split 1.9 acres off the southern part of the property. Nothing has been built there yet.

The Knights building and parking lot are in the middle of a long piece of property. Officials want to sell off the unused open areas on either end.

Animal center seeks approval for move

Nov. 09, 2011 5:24 p.m. | An organization that tries to find homes for cats and dogs in danger of being euthanized may move to Greenfield.

On Tuesday night, the Greenfield Plan Commission favorably recommended to the Common Council that the Milwaukee Animal Rescue Center be allowed to relocate to 5101 W. Loomis Road. A public hearing will likely be set for sometime in December.

Currently located on the upper level of Southridge Mall in Greendale, which it has called home for five years, the Milwaukee Animal Rescue Center has outgrown its space.

The center proposes to convert a garage into a community clubhouse for group meetings, educational seminars and weekend dog adoptions.

The center helps humane societies and animal control agencies facing euthanizing decisions by accepting animals for care and adoption. It doesn't accept owner-surrendered animals, strays, farm animals, wildlife or exotic animals.

» Read Full Article

Brown Deer police warn of increase in catalytic converter thefts

Nov. 09, 2011 4:32 p.m. | Over the past three weeks the Brown Deer Police Department and several other area police departments have been investigating numerous theft incidents involving catalytic converters stolen from vehicles. The crimes have all occurred during daylight hours and may have been witnessed by unsuspecting residents.

The suspects are either using cordless power saws or a hack saw to cut the catalytic converter from the exhaust system. It is believed the suspects are able to remove the catalytic converters very quickly. The suspects are selling the converters to scrap yards as the units on older model vehicles contain small amounts of platinum.

In Brown Deer, the thefts have been reported in recent weeks in the 8900 to 9100 block of Park Plaza Court and the 9200 to 9600 blocks of North Green Bay Road

The Brown Deer Police Department is requesting that residents contact police if they observe suspicious behavior, such as individuals crawling under or working under vehicles in area parking lots or driveways.

Wauwatosa Cemetery foresees financial turnaround

Nov. 09, 2011 10:32 a.m. | A year ago, Wauwatosa Cemetery officials were worried they were on the brink of financial insolvency and were looking at selling the burial grounds.

With many new trustees on the board, plans to sell have been scrapped, and a new management company has been hired to operate and maintain the 11-acre property at Wauwatosa Avenue and Wright Street.

"We have a very positive outlook that we're going to maintain that cemetery," said Jim Benz, board president and former Wauwatosa mayor. "We want to preserve it for its historical significance for the city of Wauwatosa."

Tribute Cos. had been managing the site and Benz said they did a fine job - but the cemetery could no longer afford Tribute's services. Instead, Hirschfeld Services will manage the cemetery and the board has entered into a one-year agreement that has the city providing property maintenance services there. Those changes should bring $25,000 in annual savings, Benz said.

In the past, the city has plowed snow from cemetery roads, provided salt and removed dead and diseased trees at no charge. Under the new agreement, the city will also maintain the lawns, Public Works Director Bill Porter said. Money paid to the city will cover the costs of hiring the contractor who already cuts grass and sprays for weeds on street medians throughout Tosa.

» Read Full Article

Thieves cut through Alioto's roof to get to booze

Nov. 09, 2011 9:44 a.m. | Burglars looking for alcohol made their way into Alioto's Restaurant by cutting a hole in the roof Monday.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

An employee found ceiling tiles over the bar in the restaurant, 3041 N. Mayfair Road, had been pushed down Nov. 6.

Later she found a large cooler had been moved, a hole in the drywall next to the wine cellar and prymarks on the door to a room where liquor is stored.

More ceiling tiles were found on the ground in the coat room, as were two bags containing tools and a folding ladder.

» Read Full Article

Trio busted for stealing from home under construction

Nov. 09, 2011 7:58 a.m. | Three men have been arrested for breaking into a home under construction, stealing building materials and causing interior damage.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

The owner of a home under construction at 106th Street and Wisconsin Avenue said a painting crew arrived Oct. 31 to find a window open. Four boxes of drywall compound were missing and wiring had been cut and removed throughout the entire structure. Damage is estimated at more than $3,000, because the entire home will have to be rewired, a job made more difficult because the drywall is already in place.

The night before, an officer had pulled over a Jeep containing two Wauwatosa men, ages 22 and 23, and a 29-year-old Milwaukee man - familiar faces to local law enforcement. They had been arrested or interviewed in connection with past robberies, burglaries, thefts and drug crimes. They had large tangles of copper wire, tools such as hatchets and wire cutters, and other building materials in their vehicle.

At the time of the traffic stop, police hadn't yet been alerted to the burglary, and the men said the items belonged to a boss for whom they were during construction work.

» Read Full Article

Two more seniors report telephone scams

Nov. 09, 2011 7:52 a.m. | Two 80-year-old Wauwatosa women received phone calls from people looking to scam them out of money. One fell for the con, the other smelled a rat.

The scams are not new, but every few months they resurface, targeting seniors in the community, Tosa police officers said.

According to police reports:

The first woman received a call about 11 a.m. Nov. 3 from a man who greeted her as "grandma" and said he needed help. He went on to say that he had been stopped for speeding and that some friends in the car had drugs on them - so he needs $2,400 to be released from jail.

A second person then identified himself as an officer from Deerbrook, Wis., and told the woman she could no longer talk to her grandson. He specified how to send the money, along with a $126 service charge, to an account in Spain.

» Read Full Article

European-style bakery likely to open on North Avenue

Nov. 09, 2011 7:40 a.m. | With restaurants Cranky Al's and Il Mito, upscale resale boutique U-Turn and Rosebud Cinema proving popular stops along North Avenue, the 68th and 69th street blocks have become the heart of East Tosa's commercial district.

Wauwatosa resident Geoff Trenholme hopes to launch another successful business, Rocket Baby Bakery, across the street.

He received unanimous support from the city's Plan Commission and Community Development Committee this week. If the Common Council follows suit next week, he hopes to have his European-style retail bakery and coffee shop open in February.

Trenholme plans to fill his shop with artisan breads, breakfast pastries, cookies, scones and muffins, as well as heartier fare such as soups, sandwiches, salads and quiches.

All food products would be made from scratch and baked in-house, which would lead him to hire the equivalent of seven full-time employees for the kitchen and service counter. He received a Community Development Block Grant from the Wauwatosa Economic Development Corp. to help get his business off the ground because he pledged to create jobs.

» Read Full Article

Police on look-out for man passing fake $100s

Nov. 09, 2011 7:26 a.m. | Counterfeit money has been passed at Tosa businesses several times in the past few weeks, and the Wauwatosa Police Department has a description of the suspect.

According to police reports:

In the last week, a black man in his 20s or 30s with dreadlocks pulled into a ponytail passed counterfeit $100 bills at two Walgreen's stores in Wauwatosa. Store employees said he was wearing a dark-colored jacket, perhaps leather, a white sweater with thin blue horizontal stripes along the bottom, light color pants and white tennis shoes.

On Sunday, he purchased first aid tape for a little less than $5 with a $100 bill at the store on Mayfair Road and North Avenue. Suspicious, the clerk began to examine the money but the man said his grandmother gave him it so of course it was real. Feeling bad about doubting the man, the clerk let him go only to find out his instincts had been correct.

The fake $100 was really a washed out $5 bill.

» Read Full Article

Hillside students likely to move to Brookfield El

Nov. 08, 2011 10:02 p.m. | Some Brookfield Elementary and Dixon students likely will be the ones to split from their classmates next year, even though Hillside is school being closed.

The Elmbrook School Board reviewed redistricting scenarios tonight, voicing preference for the option, labeled 4B, that calls for transfering all Hillside students to Brookfield Elementary. Some Brookfield Elementary students would move to Swanson and Burleigh schools, and some Dixon students would move to Swanson.

The board will vote on the matter Nov. 22.

The preferred scenario eliminates the need for a swing school that would eventually split students into different high schools.

Details of the original 4B plan may be somewhat altered, depending on the results of a district survey planned of a portion of the affected population to determine school and geographic preferences.

» Read Full Article

School referendum fails by larger margin

Nov. 08, 2011 9:56 p.m. | The $29.9 million facilities referendum failed by a 65 to 35 percent margin in the Muskego-Norway School District in balloting today.

With 3,424 "no" votes against 1,849 "yes" votes, the referendum failed by an even larger margin in today's special election than the original $34 million referendum that was voted down last November.

Turnout was about 29 percent of registered voters.

School Board President Jim Schaefer said, "We respect the community's vote."

The elementary schools still have needs, though, and the School Board will meet to discuss where to go from here, Schaefer said. That discussion will likely start Nov. 21.

Help Elmbrook create profile of ideal superintendent

Nov. 08, 2011 2:14 p.m. | Elmbrook School District residents are invited to provide their input as the School Board develops criteria to use when searching for and selecting the next superintendent.

The board has hired search firm Ray & Associates of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to conduct a national search. Ray & Associates will facilitate Superintendent Search Focus Groups on Nov. 15 to build a profile of the ideal Elmbrook superintendent.

Community members are invited to attend forums at the following times/locations:

10:30 to 11:45 a.m., Central Administrative Offices, 13780 Hope St., Brookfield

6:30 to 8 p.m., Brookfield East High School cafeteria, 3305 North Lilly Road, Brookfield

» Read Full Article

Does Tosa have too many salon- and spa-style businesses?

Nov. 08, 2011 12:36 p.m. | A massage therapist wants to open a studio in East Tosa, and that leads at least one resident to question whether too many spa and salon establishments line North Avenue.

Ramona Beyer asked the Plan Commission yesterday for permission to operate Healthy Living Massage in a space at 7018 W. North Ave.

Commissioners didn't have a problem with a massage business in the commercial district and unanimously recommended approval. The request goes to the Community Development Committee tonight.

However, another entrepreneur who is in the process of opening a massage therapy establishment only a few doors down said she wouldn't have chosen her location if she knew a similar business would move in so nearby.

East Tosa resident Martin Castro said he doesn't understand why so many hair and nail salons and massage businesses set up shop on North Avenue.

» Read Full Article

Turkeypants indoor playground eyes Potter Road location

Nov. 08, 2011 12:14 p.m. | An indoor playground planned for Tosa's Village is now looking at a location on Potter Road instead.

Wauwatosa mom Mary Pruitt Martinez got the city's approval this spring to operate Turkeypants Playground in the same State Street building that houses George Webb. The property owner has since fielded offers for uses that would take up more of the vacant space in the building, she said.

"We decided to let it go and move on," Pruitt Martinez told the Plan Commission yesterday.

Now she's working with the owners of the building at 10930 W. Potter Road, next to Bryant & Stratton College.

The 4,000-square-foot space is a bit larger than the prior location. She plans to offer indoor play equipment for children ages infant to 10 years old.

» Read Full Article

Pandora, Dry Goods open in Mayfair

Nov. 07, 2011 2:50 p.m. | Two new shops hope Mayfair patrons will come check out what they have to offer.

Pandora, a jewelry store best known for its charms, sits between Hot Topic and American Eagle on the mall's upper level. A global brand, the company is headquartered in Denmark and the pieces - bracelets, necklaces, watches, etc., - are manufactured in Thailand.

While it sounds more like a food store than an apparel retailer, Dry Goods stocks clothing and accessories for young women. Hot brands like Free People, Joe's Jeans and Silver will line the shelves and racks. Dry Goods can be found on the lower level, near Macy's.

The two stores should be the only newcomers to Mayfair this holiday season.

"We don't have anything else on the radar to open before the end of the year," mall Marketing Manager Brenda Vento said.

Keep law in mind when burning leaves

Nov. 07, 2011 2:14 p.m. | As leaves pile, city of Brookfield officials remind residents to follow city code related to burning.

Fire Chief Charlie Myers asks people to keep the following in mind:

The burning of garbage, flammable liquids and other materials that may produce a noxious odor or health hazard is prohibited.

Open areas of standing grass, woods, brush, ditches and roadways cannot be burned.

No burning is allowed between 7 p.m. and 8 a.m., and fires must be completely extinguished by 7 p.m.

» Read Full Article

Two small fires in Brookfield over weekend

Nov. 07, 2011 2:10 p.m. | Two fires caused minor damage in Brookfield this weekend.

A pot of water boiled over on a stove, causing a pan of cooking oil to overflow and ignite a grill at Brookfield Commons, 15455 W. Bluemound Road, just before 6 p.m. Nov. 4, according to the Fire Department.

The business was evacuated while the owner activated an overhead sprinkler system that extinguished the blaze.

Damage was limited to about four ceiling tiles above the stove.

Brookfield firefighters also were called to a second-floor condominium in the 18000 block of Taywood Circle for a report that a deck was on fire just before 4:30 p.m. Nov. 6.

» Read Full Article

Community development director laid off; city plans to restructure position

Nov. 07, 2011 1:38 p.m. | As the Plan Commission meets tonight to consider plans for a new East Tosa bakery, a new Alterra Café and an indoor children's playground, Community Development Director Nancy Welch will not be in attendance to provide background and guidance on the proposed projects.

Welch no longer works for the city, City Administrator James Archambo said in a letter to city staff and officials.

"By mutual agreement, she has been permanently laid off in anticipation of restructuring the position," he said. "I sincerely wish her well and have signed a positive letter of reference for her."

Archambo has divvied up her duties on an interim basis: building maintenance functions have been assigned to Public Works Director Bill Porter, while planning and building inspection work will be under the leadership of Economic Development Director Paulette Enders.

The city administrator plans to present to the Employee Relations Committee his longer-term plans for restructuring the city's development functions, possibly as soon as Tuesday.

» Read Full Article

Grassroots Northshore Program discusses how to protect your vote and other election issues

Nov. 04, 2011 4:50 p.m. | Grassroots Northshore is hosting a town hall meeting with a presentation by Wisconsin Counts, Ltd. from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6, at North Shore Presbyterian Church, 4048 N. Bartlett Avenue, Shorewood. (Enter through Northeast Door.) The event is open to the public.

The town hall meeting discusses what happens after you cast your vote and what you can do to make sure your vote is protected. Wisconsin Counts, Ltd. is a nonpartisan, nonpolitical Wisconsin not-for-profit corporation dedicated to protecting the integrity of elections in Wisconsin. The presentation will be followed by questions from the audience.

Refreshments will be served.

Grassroots Northshore informs, educates and advocates for progressive change and solutions. For additional information on the town hall or Grassroots Northshore, contact coordinator Keith Schmitz at (414) 963-0847.

Pre-dawn opening, free coffee on tap for Black Friday at Mayfair

Nov. 04, 2011 10:05 a.m. | Mayfair will open its doors at 5 a.m. on Black Friday.

The day after Thanksgiving, this year it falls Nov. 25, is traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year, and often marks the kickoff to the holiday shopping season.

To put shoppers in a festive mood, snow will fall in the mall's Center Court every hour beginning at noon and a men's a cappella group will serenade shoppers. The winter showers will continue daily through Christmas Eve.

Mayfair will provide an energy boost in the form of free coffee, breakfast treats and entertainment in the food court from 5 to 10 a.m.

Early risers will be rewarded with $20 gift cards that can be used with purchases of $150 or more. The first 1,000 shoppers can claim a tote bag.

» Read Full Article

Contract awarded for design of bike/walking path

Nov. 03, 2011 3:22 p.m. | A safer route to Muskego High School in the form of an off-road pedestrian and bicycle path along Woods Road should be in place by the time school opens next year after summer vacation.

Survey work should start anytime for the 8-foot-wide asphalt path to go along the north side of Woods Road from Racine Avenue to Quietwood Drive, a distance of about two miles.

Students heading to Muskego High School at Woods and Racine likely will use the path. And bikers will be able to pick up another bike trail at Quietwood that goes to Moorland Road and then another that goes into New Berlin.

The Muskego Public Safety Committee approved a design contract last night.

Search is on for new home for ski jump

Nov. 03, 2011 3:04 p.m. | A plan to periodically change the location of the Waterbugs ski team ski jump on Little Muskego Lake took a little spill at last night's Muskego Public Safety Committee meeting.

The Waterbugs put on weekly ski shows in the summer and also use the jump for practice.

The city is exploring having different locations for the jump so that the same homeowners don't have to look at it year after year.

The Parks and Recreation Board suggested moving it near Holtz Island.

But in response, Tom Zagar, city conservation coordinator, said Holtz Island is in an environmentally sensitive area.

» Read Full Article

Proposal seeks to limit annoying behavior by off-road recreationalists

Nov. 03, 2011 3:02 p.m. | Those who buzz around on all-terrain vehicles, motorized bicycles or other off-road vehicles will need to be more careful about staying far away enough from Muskego homes so as not to be annoying if a proposed ordinance is adopted.

The Muskego Public Safety Committee lent its recommendation to the proposal last night.

The proposed ordinance would prohibit riders from doing things that would cause substantial annoyance to any reasonable person. The proposal will go to the Common Council on Nov. 22.

Ruling on cellular 911 calls could be long time in coming

Nov. 03, 2011 2:58 p.m. | It could be a long time before Muskego gets a ruling from the Federal Communications Commission on its complaint that the city is not being allowed to answer 911 emergency calls from cell phones directly, John Wisniewski, director of information services, reported to the Public Safety Committee last night.

The cell calls are being picked up by the Waukesha County Communications center, but there are problems with that, police said. There is an average 72-second delay in getting the call over to Muskego, and then the caller has to repeat the same information again. The calls could be dropped, and the person with an emergency would have to call again.

Muskego police have upgraded their equipment and training so that they have the capability to field cellular 911 calls, but WCC officials won't permit wireless providers to switch the calls directly to Muskego.

Negotiations between the city and WCC have been fruitless, Muskego Police Chief Paul Geiszler said. That's why the city filed a complaint with the FCC about a month ago.

Although city officials have evidence that the FCC is working on the case, Wisniewski reported last night that he was told a ruling would be a long time in coming.

County Line Road closed for railroad repair

Nov. 03, 2011 10:44 a.m. | Motorists take note. The Canadian National Railway crossing on West County Line Road, between the Ozaukee Interurban and Spanky's Hideaway, is being repaired starting today through Nov. 10.

The road is closed at the crossing. Detours are posted.

West Allis budget progresses without feedback

Nov. 02, 2011 12:20 p.m. | No one spoke Tuesday at the hearing on the proposed West Allis budget for 2012.

The proposed budget calls for a 1.53 percent property tax levy increase and a rate of $9.76 per $1,000 of assessed value, which is up 15 cents per $1,000 from this year. So the owner of a home assessed at $100,000 in both years would pay $15 more for city services.

Day-to-day spending would actually be slightly down with the proposed operating budget of $55.6 million, 0.74 percent or $414,895 less than this year.

But increases elsewhere push total spending up 1.15 percent to a proposed $118.2 million.

There would be no layoffs but the staff would be reduced by four people through attrition.

New Berlin West alums invited to school's 50th

Nov. 02, 2011 12:12 p.m. | New Berlin West High School is marking its 50th year, and organizers are looking for alumni to come back to the school and be part of its celebration.

The celebration ceremony will be Jan. 13, starting with a chili dinner/reception at 5 p.m. to be followed by the boy's basketball game against Cudahy at 7:30 p.m.

Alumni interested in attending can get information by contacting Julie Kader, director of athletics and activities, at (262) 789-6409 or

56th Street road work assessments OK'd

Nov. 02, 2011 12:10 p.m. | Despite eight residents saying that the stretch of 56th Street in front of their homes doesn't need reconstructing, the West Allis Common Council last night approved special assessments for the road.

The road itself, along the four blocks from National Avenue to Walker Street, was constructed in 1920 and is one of the oldest remaining in the city. The sewers and water main underneath are 100 years old. They will be dug up and replaced.

The residents might not think they are lucky, facing average assessments of $2,500, but they will be the first in the city to be offered free sump pumps along with the new road, courtesy of a grant to the city from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage Commission. The MMSD gave the money because it wants people to disconnect their foundation drains from sanitary sewers. When it rains, storm water from the drains fills the sanitary sewers, often causing sewage backups into basements. Or the pressure is sometimes let off by pouring the rain-diluted raw sewage directly into Lake Michigan and other waterways.

The only problem is that the MMSD money will run out.

West Allis approves signing lease for connecting bike trail

Nov. 02, 2011 12:06 p.m. | The proposed cross town connector bike trail that would make it possible to bike all the way from Milwaukee's lakefront to Waukesha rolled a long way toward approval last night at the West Allis Common Council meeting.On a split vote, the council approved signing a lease agreement with We Energies for use of its right-of-way for the east-west bike trail.

Casting one of two "no" votes was Alderman Vincent Vitale, who said the city has not nailed down where it would get the $437,000 needed for the city's share of building the trail.

He said it is irresponsible to go ahead before funding is decided on, even though aldermen have a general idea of where the money might come from. Times are tough and those funds might be better spent elsewhere, he said.

Wauwatosa fire contract moves department closer to parity with others

Nov. 02, 2011 10:49 a.m. | The city and fire union have reached a new contract that should keep compensation costs flat through 2013.

Wauwatosa Professional Firefighters Association Local 1923 ratified the contract Monday and the Common Council unanimously followed suit Tuesday.

Union President Capt. Gary Webb did not divulge how the vote went among the membership, only that, "It passed."

In the last several months, the parties looked to be headed for binding arbitration after mediation had reached an impasse. At the 11th hour, union representatives told the city they wanted to give bargaining another try, City Administrator James Archambo said, giving the firefighters credit for starting the compromise that resulted in this contract.

The contract retroactively starts Jan. 1, 2011, and will be in effect through 2013. There is no pay increase for union members this year; 3 percent increases are set for each of the next two years.

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Sculptures could detract from Hart Park performance pavilion, groups worry

Nov. 02, 2011 10:48 a.m. | The group that donated the performance stage in Hart Park has a problem with plans to move six sculptures near it.

Rich Mannisto, president of the Wauwatosa Rotary Club, sent a letter to members of the Common Council and Park and Forestry Board, voicing the club's opposition to placing the artwork in the triangle just west of the Rotary Performance Pavilion.

"The members are excited about the artwork being considered for placement in Hart Park, but not in the triangle west of the stage," he wrote. "After consulting with several local artists, the placement of the six sculptures would be best suited for other areas of the park, namely a much larger tract of land, for their display."

He said the abstract sculptures - they range in size from 3 to 10 feet tall - would interfere with aesthetics and crowd the area.

The board of Tosa Tonight, which holds its concert series at the stage, has similar reservations.

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City budget fails to make waves with public

Nov. 02, 2011 9:48 a.m. | Wauwatosa residents were a no-show for the public hearing on the proposed 2012 city budget Tuesday.

The Budget Committee has finished its review of the document that calls for no levy increase. For the second year, the tax levy comes to $36.5 million.

The total operating budget is $53.4 million, up 0.8, or a little more than $423,000 higher than in 2011.

The Common Council decided to hold off discussion and action on the proposed budget until Nov. 15.

However, City Administrator James Archambo provided some background on how the budget had reached this point and the impact it will have on the average homeowner.

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Petition to amend Constitution moves forward in West Allis

Nov. 01, 2011 1:48 p.m. | A petition drive in West Allis to limit corporations paying for issue ads to affect political campaigns has reached its goal and organizers should be headed to the West Allis City Hall on Monday to turn in the signed petitions.

Even so, the petition drive will go on until then just to have a cushion in case some of the signatures are disallowed, said Mary Laan, Milwaukee, co-president of the southeastern Wisconsin Move to Amend group.

If enough signatures are confirmed, the constitutional amendment they are proposing would be on the ballot in West Allis in February if there is a primary or if not, it would be on the April ballot.

They started their petition drive Sept. 10 and had 60 days to gather 3,433 signatures. They had more than 3,800 as of Tuesday, Laan said.

The group, a local arm of the national group also named Move to Amend, wants to amend the United States Constitution to reverse a January 2010 United States Supreme Court ruling. The action resulted in dropping some regulations on corporate giving, Laan said.

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Medical College funds 13 public health initiatives

Nov. 01, 2011 12:52 p.m. | The Medical College of Wisconsin is awarding $4.8 million to public health initiatives throughout the state.

The Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program today announced 13 new awards that align with the aims of the Healthiest Wisconsin 2020 state health plan.

Money will be provided to help accomplish the following goals:

Change the culture of risky drinking behavior in LaCrosse.

Increase the diversity of Wisconsin's public health workforce.

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Donate your candy to U.S. troops overseas

Nov. 01, 2011 12:48 p.m. | Kids may be on a sugar high right now, reveling in their bags full of trick-or-treat candy. But for the dental community, the thought of all those sweets affecting young teeth is a nightmare.

Bohl & Race Orthodontics, 12720 W. North Ave., is giving local families the opportunity to exchange the Halloween candy they collected for healthy alternatives and chances to win prizes from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursday.

The orthodontics practice has joined with national charity Smiles Change Lives. Everyone who stops by will receive a healthy treat and goodie bag.

Bohl & Race Orthodontics plans to donate the candy collected to U.S. troops overseas. For every pound raised, a dollar will be donated to Smiles Change Lives. This year, the goal is to collect 500 pounds, which will help provide braces for low-income children in the Milwaukee area.

Deer carcass in trash bin mistaken for human heads

Nov. 01, 2011 9:53 a.m. | In what sounds like the opening scene of a horror movie, city of Brookfield police received a report that four human heads had been found in a garbage bin on the city's west side Oct. 25.

However, responding officers quickly discovered that the report - albeit well-intentioned - was a work of fiction.

According to police reports:

A startled resident reported that a garbage bag containing four human heads had been found in a garbage receptacle behind some businesses in the 12000 bock of Burleigh Road just after 9 a.m. Oct. 25.

After checking a number of garbage bins in the area, an officer was directed to the one in question.

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Milwaukee Tool receives $1.5M in state tax credits

Nov. 01, 2011 8:58 a.m. | Gov. Scott Walker announced Monday that Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp. is eligible for up to $1.5 million in economic development tax credits and a $250,000 loan to improve its facility at 13135 W. Lisbon Road in Brookfield.

The tax credits will help Milwaukee Electric Tool expand its research and development center, which the company expects will create 103 new jobs.

"Within the power tool industry, Milwaukee is regarded as the brand of choice for the professional trades. Our vision to lead by delivering disruptive innovation to the market place directly reflects the culture of our state and the core values of the people who choose to live here," said Ty Staviski, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Milwaukee Tool.

Mayor Steve Ponto praised Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. for working closely with the city and Waukesha County Economic Development Corp. to encourage business expansion and create highly skilled, family-supporting jobs.

Two Brookfield businesses broken into

Nov. 01, 2011 8:52 a.m. | Cash, computers and a security system were taken from two Brookfield businesses that were burglarized after business hours Oct. 27, according to city of Brookfield police reports.

Also in the reports:

A passerby called police to Brookfield Vacuum, 17000 W. Capitol Drive, when glass in a front door was discovered broken just before 9 a.m. Oct. 28.

Responding officers found that about $400 had been taken, along with a desktop computer and a recording device for a security system. The equipment is valued at $500.

Officers also were called to Gogolakk Group, 1025 S. Moorland Road, when it was discovered that a suite door had been pried open just after 1:30 p.m. Oct. 28.

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