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Shorewood girls swim team wins seventh WIAA State D2 title

Nov. 09, 2012 9:35 p.m. | Behind four individual first place finishes, including record-setting efforts from junior Kristin Malone and sophomore Rachel Munson, the Shorewood girls swim team won its seventh WIAA State D2 title Friday night at the Natatorium in Madison.

The Greyhounds, who last won a championship in 2003, scored 255 points as 2011 champ Milton was second with 217 and Grafton third with 193.

Malone set broke a three-year old mark in the 200 free with a clocking of 1:48.83 and then cracked a five-year record in defending her title in the 100 free (50.28).

Senior Ellen Stello won her first individual state title in the 500 free by four seconds with a 4:58.34 effort.

Munson also got into the record-books when she claimed the 100 breaststroke with a clocking  of 1:01.37, taking down the year-old mark by close to two seconds.

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New theater group raises the curtain in Franklin

Oct. 15, 2014 2:41 p.m. | Franklin — Michael Schottle is a mechanical engineer by trade, but in his personal life serves as the president and general manager of the new Root River Theatre Company.

"(Theater) is the creative part of my brain," the Franklin resident said. "The acting bug bit me a long time ago. I'm kind of a big showoff at heart."

While living in Waukegan, Illinois, Schottle, who has lived in Franklin for the past five years, took up a friend's invitation to join her theater group, the Waukegan Community Players. From there, Schottle moved to Rockford and became board president of the Main Street Players of Boone County.

"In that position, I was behind the scenes a lot," Schottle said. "I worked with promoting and organizing the group's productions. I liked it almost as much as acting on stage."

But Schottle's theater activity came to a standstill when he moved to Franklin.

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Controversial lake home/condo project back to Muskego Plan Commission

Oct. 15, 2014 11:33 a.m. | Muskego — On Nov. 4, the Muskego Plan Commission will fill in the blanks as to why it did not give a controversial lake home/condominium development proposal a favorable recommendation when it sent it on to the Common Council.

Last week, aldermen said they wanted to have that information before they voted on the proposal.

The plan calls for building five condominium lake homes in a gated community and a two-story 12-unit condominium structure. The project would be on Janesville Road north of Pioneer Drive.

Critics have said the project is too dense because all 17 housing units would be on just half the total 6.7 acres. A single-family home with a large yard occupies the other half.

The commission rejected the project because it would create two high-density lots, Alderman Kevin Kubacki said.

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Brookfield panel endorses $2.6 million in TIF funding for development near Capitol Airport

Oct. 14, 2014 11:55 a.m. | The City of Brookfield Plan Commission unanimously endorsed providing $2.6 million in grants for a 26-acre industrial development north of Gumina Road, between Barker and Springdale roads.

The funds will be awarded in the form of a tax incremental financing district, the fourth in the city's history.

The city expects costs, including financing, to reach an amount not to exceed $3.8 million. Those costs would be recouped over a 14-year term.

Developers Chris Leffler of Spectrum Development LLC and Todd Rizzo of Rizzo Development Group LLC say that the financial assistance is necessary.

"There are some pretty significant shortcomings on this site," Rizzo said.

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MLG Development purchases large chunk of new business park

Oct. 13, 2014 11:52 a.m. | Germantown — More than half of Willow Creek Business Park is one step closer to being developed after a recent purchase of about 120 acres of land near Highway 41/45 was completed by MLG Development.

The acquisitions include the $1.17 million purchase of 103 acres, which is more than half of the planned park footprint within a 192-acre triangle encompassed by Appleton Avenue and Maple and Lannon roads.

Another 16 or so acres were also purchased for about $300,000, for a total developable 48 acres, or 500,000 to 600,000 of buildable development within the park.

The difference between the acreage and the buildable space is accounted for primarily by wetlands, as well as future retaining ponds and roads, said MLG Principal Barry Chavin.

Groundbreaking could happen as soon as this week within the park, which was approved as part of the village's sixth tax-incremental financing district. The TIF was approved in July in hopes to offer manufacturing businesses a new place to locate in Germantown.

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'Good news' for water users in Menomonee Falls

Oct. 10, 2014 12:09 p.m. | Menomonee Falls — The fight to keep water rates down in Menomonee Falls seems to have paid off.

The village has for the last several months been presenting evidence to the Public Safety Commission against what started earlier this year at a surprising 28.7 percent rate hike. Though it will not be finalized until later this month, Director of Utilities Jeff Nettesheim on Monday, Oct. 6, presented an updated increase of less than 10 percent. That will translate to an increase to water users of about 3 percent, or what Nettesheim estimated at less than $10 a year.

That is a far cry from the original proposal, which could have hit local pocketbooks at closer to 10 percent.

"This is certainly good news," said Village President Randy Newman, in response to Nettesheim's presentation.

Menomonee Falls is one of nine suburbs that have joined together to fight the proposed increases. These communities pipe in water from Milwaukee Water Works, a utility owned by the city of Milwaukee.

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West Allis-West Milwaukee schools get $3.1 million grant

Sept. 25, 2014 12:56 p.m. | West Allis — The West Allis-West Milwaukee School District has received a $3.1 million federal grant to help create a safer and better learning environment.

The district is one of only 71 school districts across the nation to receive School Climate Transformation grants through the U.S. Department of Education's "Now Is The Time" program.

Over a five-year period, the West Allis-West Milwaukee District will use the grant to enhance and expand its Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program, an evidence-based program that emphasizes and rewards good behavior and teaches the right way to handle conflicts.

The grant will also support enhancements to the district's anti-bullying and violence prevention efforts.

School officials said they hope the grant will result in improved academic achievement, better student behavior and a better learning climate.

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Greendale seeks public input on TIF proposal to revitalize downtown

Sept. 23, 2014 10:35 p.m. | Greendale — A proposed tax-incremental finance district in the village's downtown area could lead way to a number of changes: attractive public spaces, new attractions for visitors, safer access to the Greendale Middle School.

But as of right now, village officials stress that the TIF is just an idea on paper.

Residents got their first look at the Canterbury Heights Revitalization Project at an open house at the Greendale Safety Center on Tuesday, Sept. 23. The project, which proposes establishing a TIF district in the downtown area, is based on recommendations made by the Community Development Authority on Aug. 6.

A TIF uses new property taxes from future development in an assigned area to help finance other projects, such as enhancements to Greendale's downtown. Taxpayers and business owners would not pay additional taxes to support the TIF, but, rather, an investment from the village would be repaid through new tax revenue generated by new development.

Boundaries and purpose

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Sears will close Bayshore store

Sept. 18, 2014 6:12 p.m. | Glendale — The Sears store and Sears Auto Center in the Bayshore Town Center will close to the public in early December.

Howard Riefs, the company's spokesman, said the store's closing is part of a larger pivot in business operations.

"Store closures are part of a series of actions we're taking to reduce ongoing expenses, adjust our asset base and accelerate the transformation of our business model," he said. "These actions will better enable us to focus our investments on serving our customers and members through integrated retail — at the store, online and in the home."

The store will begin its liquidation sale Friday, Sept. 26.

The store and auto center have a combined 86 employees. Those associates that are eligible will receive severance and have the opportunity to apply for open positions at area Sears or Kmart stores.

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Habitat for Humanity Opens ReStore in Germantown

Sept. 17, 2014 11:23 a.m. | Germantown — A new store in Germantown is bringing a sense of community full circle.

Habitat for Humanity of Washington and Dodge counties recently opened a furniture resale shop called ReStore in the former home of Barewood Furniture along Highway 41/45.

Joining sister stores in Beaver Dam and West Bend, the store features everything from furniture to construction materials, which Habitat for Humanity Marketing Facilitator Eric Oliver said brings life to their international mission, "a world where everyone has a decent place to live."

"It is our goal to help provide affordable housing for people who need it," Oliver said. "Just because Menomonee Falls and Germantown might be thought of as more affluent communities doesn't mean there is not a need for low cost, affordable places to live."

The store, which Oliver said will become a central hub, takes donations of items from the community, which its staff of mostly volunteers sell back to the community at competitive prices that all benefit Habitat for Humanity.

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Second stabbing suspect to be mentally evaluated in Waukesha Slender Man case

Sept. 15, 2014 8:51 a.m. | A court-appointed forensic psychologist will evaluate Anissa E. Weier, one of the 12-year-old Slender Man stabbing suspects, to determine if she is competent to proceed and assist in her defense.

Judge Michael Bohren ordered the exam at a hearing Monday, Sept. 15, at the Waukesha County Courthouse.

A probable cause hearing had been scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 17, and Thursday, Sept 18, but with Weier now set to undergo a competency exam, Bohren canceled those hearings.

The competency evaluation must take place within a 30-day period, Bohren said. An update on the doctor's findings will be given at a hearing at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 22 at the Waukesha County Courthouse.

Raising the issue

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The Clarke Hotel in downtown Waukesha again looks to fill vacancy with general manager stepping down

Sept. 12, 2014 8:00 p.m. | Though the Clarke Hotel has regained stability with the recent reopening of its bar and restaurant, it now has a key vacancy.

Harp & Eagle Ltd., the company that owns the hotel, will now have to find a new general manager for its downtown Waukesha business, following the decision by David Smart to step down from the top post on Friday, Sept. 12.

"It was the right time to move," said Smart, who will be going to work for a hotel in the Milwaukee metro area.

Now 'in better shape'

As the general manager, Smart oversaw the downtown property, including the hotel, bar and restaurant.

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Library lot costs nearly double

Sept. 02, 2014 9:05 p.m. | The bill has come in a bit bigger than expected for the City of Brookfield for its renovations to parking areas adjacent to the Brookfield Public Library.

Having originally budgeted approximately half a million dollars to the project, Tuesday the city's Common Council approved nearly doubling the expense, with an increase of $485,000 to the project's expenditure account.

"The bids originally came in higher than expected and then we ran into a few things," City of Brookfield Director of Public Works Tom Grisa said.

Among the unanticipated expenditures was bid prices coming in well over the $500,000 budget. The contract was awarded to D.F. Tomasini Contractors, Inc. for $650,000.

Other additions to the project's cost have included the addition of an originally unplanned parking lot to the east of the library. After the city's initial plans, a small area adjacent to other parking lots remained unused. Poor soil conditions in the construction zone also contributed to the increases to the bottom line.

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Germantown district pursues personalized learning options

Aug. 27, 2014 9:40 a.m. | Germantown — A personalized learning approach will be integrated into the Germantown School District's development of its own standards if Personalized Learning Coordinator Scott Oftedahl has anything to say about it.

In a passionate presentation to the school board on Aug. 25, Oftedahl shared his experiences teaching a summer school class in which he encouraged students to creatively problem solve using what he calls a learn, create, share method of teaching.

Included in his presentation was a video highlighting his beliefs regarding personalized learning, which he sees as an integral component of learning as it continues to evolve alongside technology.

"Personalized learning is being honored for your differences instead of focusing on how you fit in, feeling encouraged to take an active role but also share your resources with others," Oftedahl said in his video. "(Personalized learning) is feeling encouraged to use both modern and traditional tools for solving problems or accomplishing a goal, encourages students to teach, teachers to learn and encourages everyone (to)…recognize and develop more opportunities for student focused learning and online safety."

Oftedahl said his experiences teaching a variety of courses, from music to design and engineering, has taught him to encourage students to try things, accept they will fail on occasion and learn from their mistakes.

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Brookfield police warn against phone scam

Aug. 19, 2014 4:00 p.m. | Brookfield residents are cautioned against a phone scam resurfacing this month.

Last week, at least four city of Brookfield residents were the victims of fraudulent calls that featured the caller impersonating a police officer. The caller then told the recipient that they had run a red light or missed their jury duty date and that the "officer" was going to put a warrant out for their arrest unless funds were transferred by the recipient of the calls using Vanilla Reload cards.

"We went through this about three to six months ago and we believe all the calls are coming from outside the country," Brookfield Police Department Captain Phil Horter said. "We don't have any leads."

Horter suggests suspicious calls from someone claiming to be a police officer work the same way as calls from people impersonating a bank asking for account information.

"Don't reply to these calls or make any payments until you call the appropriate agency. If somebody calls and says this is the city of Brookfield police, hang up, and call us," Horter said.

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Brandtjen tops GOP field in Assembly primary

Aug. 13, 2014 8:20 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — Republican Janel Brandtjen will face off against Democrat Jessie Read for Wisconsin State Assembly District 22 in the Nov. 4 general election. With 60 percent of the votes, Brandtjen defeated Blair Rogacki (27 percent) for the GOP nomination in the primary election Tuesday, Aug. 12, while Nick Oliver was third with 13 percent. Those vote totals were with 75 percent of precincts reporting as of press time.

"I'm humbled by the support of thousands of my friends and neighbors, and am grateful that they chose me to represent them in Madison," said Brandtjen, of Menomonee Falls. "This is a solemn responsibility and I will defend our values, fight for fiscal responsibility, and always be listening to the voters who chose me to speak for them."

Brandtjen, Oliver and Rogacki competed to represent the Republican party, as Republican incumbent Don Pridemore is stepping down after 10 years in the position. Jessie Read of Lisbon ran unopposed for the Democratic spot for the seat, which was created in 2010 and includes all of the towns of Erin and Lisbon, the villages of Lannon, Butler and portions of the villages of Richfield and Menomonee Falls.

While their approaches differed slightly, fiscal responsibility and control of taxation were among the key issues for all three candidates, which Oliver said made the loss a little easier as far as he is concerned.

"I (would like to) congratulate the winner and hope that they recognize the failings of a large government and would ask them to read the constitution every week and base their decisions on whether the law they are considering is constitutionally sound and needed," said Oliver, of Colgate.

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