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Whitefish Bay officials discuss tentative budget

May 23, 2013 3:26 p.m. | The tentative 2013-14 Whitefish Bay School District budget, presented to the Finance Committee on Wednesday, shows a 4.14 percent increase to the tax levy; however, this number is expected to change in coming months.

Because of the ongoing state legislative process, the school district budget is a fluid document and can change over the next few months as the state decides how much it will issue in aid. The levy and state aid projected in the preliminary budget will most likely change; however, the district is mandated to have a preliminary budget for publication. Whitefish Bay is hoping to have projections from the Department of Public Instruction sometime in June, which would allow a more accurate levy figure.

"State aid and tax levy are impossible to project because the state hasn't determined the biennial budget — so no one knows how much money is being allocated to schools," Director of Business Services Shawn Yde said after the meeting.

The district has to send a budget document to Whitefish Bay residents in the beginning of July. Numbers should be updated some; however, they can still change by the annual meeting in September when Whitefish Bay electors approve the budget and levy.

For the time being, a "placeholder" was used to project the amount of state aid that will come to the district, Yde said. The preliminary budget shows about the same amount of state aid as last year, with a moderate $100,000 increase.

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Plans proceed for Donges Bay reconstruction in Germantown

Jan. 26, 2015 8:19 p.m. | Germantown — When Germantown village officials said they want to tailor the Donges Bay Road project to the needs of the community, they meant it.

The needs of several individual property owners were heard and subsequently addressed in another lengthy discussion on the project plans at a village board meeting Jan. 19. About an hour of discussion heavily revolved around the opinions of residents who neighbor the project, which will upgrade the heavily deteriorated road from Division Road to Magnolia Drive.

The board made several amendments to the project plans of both segments, between Division and Pilgrim roads and Pilgrim Road to Magnolia Drive, before ultimately approving the 90 percent plans for the project. Approving 90 percent plans allows village staff to proceed with the project, understanding the plans are completed to a point in which minor revisions can still be made without dramatically increasing the cost to incorporate them.

Among the changes incorporated were the integration of 5-foot terraces between 6-foot path and drive lanes fronting several properties, as well as the addition of a vertical curb and gutter and path along others.

"Let's take it case by case," said Village President Dean Wolter, in reference to changes that affect property owners. "I don't want to whitewash it and take a wide brush ... Let's find a best way to do that and make sure it lasts a long time but at the same time provides as much safety as there is today if not more by putting a curb and gutter and rail in there."

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Menomonee Falls district continues discussion on facilities options

Jan. 26, 2015 3:11 p.m. | Menomonee Falls — Planning the future of facilities in the School District of Menomonee Falls is not something the board is taking lightly.

Careful examination of the facility study completed in February 2014 has been occurring in monthly work sessions for almost a year now and will likely continue through at least next year as the board analyzes how to most efficiently utilize its space and buildings in coming years.

In a work session earlier this month, district staff again discussed options for proceeding with program improvement projects and capital maintenance projects earmarked for completion in the next five years. The projects include everything from asphalt replacement and galvanized piping and plumbing fixtures, to improvements to the high school and middle school auditoriums and Project Lead the Way classrooms.

The future of Hiawatha and Thomas Jefferson (TJ) are also in question, due to the cost estimated to bring TJ back online coming in close to the cost of an entirely new building.

Though all work sessions are open to the public, the board recently decided to formally seek community input on the priorities of the projects later this year.

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Crowds turn out to discuss long-term plans for downtown Germantown

Jan. 26, 2015 10:34 a.m. | Germantown — Steady snowfall and chilly temperatures did not keep dozens of Germantown residents away from Village Hall on the evening of Monday, Jan. 26, as the plan commission welcomed input on plans for the future of the village's downtown area.

Parking overflowed into the library parking lot as a steady flow of residents cycled through the board room, which was packed to the brim with those who wanted to weigh in on a topic that has been discussed at length in recent months.

Prompted by hours of discussion at the commission level, Germantown officials asked for input from village residents on long-term planning for an area they would like to see come together as an entertainment district in the village.

Scope, timing and impact to the neighborhood and village as a whole have been among the priorities the commission has identified thus far, as they are now in the process of reviewing conceptual plans put together by commissioner and trustee David Baum. In general, Baum's plans have been well received, as they incorporate additional access points to the area, including a new road and extra parking options.

However, noise and traffic impacts of a plan for the area remain a primary concern for many residents in attendance, including property owner Richard Thomas.

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Brookfield council tables quarry project citing unanswered questions

Jan. 20, 2015 10:17 p.m. | After a few weeks of smooth sailing, the Regal family and the developer MRCR's proposal for an apartment complex south of Burleigh Road was met with rough going at Tuesday night's Brookfield Common Council meeting.

The proposal, to build 113 housing units on approximately 10 acres of land btween the quarry and Burleigh, was in the midst of a request for approval of a Planned Development District (PDD) that would have allowed greater unit density and floor-area ratios than are currently allowed on the property.

Last week, the city's Plan Commission unanimously recommended approval of the process, albeit with a pair of aldermen noting that they would like to see more public access granted to the quarry as the project moves forward.

On Tuesday night, the project was met with stiffer resistance as its PDD request and the corresponding ordinance were tabled by the council.

Signs of discontent

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Germantown Fire Department seeks to enlist additional paid-on-call staff

Jan. 20, 2015 11:22 a.m. | Germantown — "We need you."

That is the message Germantown Fire Chief Gary Weiss is sending out to members of the community as he seeks to grow the paid-on-call staff at the fire department.

"Paid-on-call staff is the backbone of a department," said Weiss, who has been actively working to improve the department since taking it over last May. "It's so important to have a healthy paid-on-call staff because that initial response is so important, especially in a medical emergency."

Both firefighters and emergency medical technicians are needed to supplement an existing POC staff of about 30. Of those, Weiss said about 20 are active and respond regularly to calls. Training will be provided to interested parties, and shifts for POC members rotate on a bi-weekly basis to assist the full-time and part-time members of the department when responding to calls.

A larger POC staff is needed regardless of the outcome of a possible fire department referendum later this year, Weiss added.

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Man accused of killing Waukesha gas station clerk, female getaway driver arrested

Jan. 16, 2015 3:09 p.m. | Waukesha police, as of Friday afternoon, have arrested two people who are alleged to have been involved in the fatal shooting of a gas station clerk on Tuesday night in Waukesha.

Kenneth Thomas, 19, the man accused of killing Saeed Sharwani, was arrested in the city of West Allis less than 10 hours after the armed robbery/homicide at the Citgo gas station, 1445 Whiterock Ave., Waukesha.

According to a news release sent out Friday afternoon by Capt. Ron Oremus of the Waukesha Police Department, Thomas, a convicted felon, was arrested by the West Allis Police Department Tactical Unit as it was executing a search warrant for a robbery investigation from the Milwaukee Police Department.

Oremus said the Waukesha Police Department believes Thomas and his accomplices were involved in at least six recent robberies in four jurisdictions: West Allis, Milwaukee, the town of Brookfield and Waukesha.

Shortly after police announced that Thomas was arrested, another news release was sent out saying a 23-year-old woman, tied to the case, has also been arrested and is in custody. Waukesha Police Chief Russell Jack said Jerica Cotton was the getaway driver for Thomas and the other male suspect at the scene of the crime.

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Menomonee Falls School Board approves 2015-16 legislative priorities

Jan. 16, 2015 10:01 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — The state's public education funding formula and the amount of local control given to each district are among the main focal points on the district's final priority list for lawmakers.

After more than two months of discussion, the Menomonee Falls School Board on Jan. 12 approved the document that will announce the district's united support for several legislative issues, including the establishment of a sustainable funding system and consistency in mandates and accountability standards from district to district and school to school.

It is the second time the board is presenting a document of this kind, which features topics the board members agree are important to the district of Menomonee Falls.

The state education funding formula as it stands has a negative impact on districts with declining enrollment, such as Menomonee Falls — a factor Director of Business Services Jeff Gross has said is especially important to the district.

Full reimbursement for open enrollment students, the difficulty in staying competitive for staffing purposes and the funding discrepancy that exists between what is spent and what is needed to run special education programs were among the main considerations board members discussed throughout the process.

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109-lot subdivision approved in Mequon

Jan. 13, 2015 12:30 p.m. | Mequon — A 109-lot subdivision received conceptual approval from the Mequon Plan Commission on Monday, Jan. 12.

The subdivision would be located on 110 acres of land immediately south of the Brighton Ridge and Knightsbridge subdivisions between Swan and Wauwatosa roads. The land, which is under negotiations to be purchased from the Mequon-Thiensville School District, is part of the new central growth zoning district, which allows lots as small as one-third of an acre in certain "cluster" developments containing at least five houses.

The smaller lot sizes in the central growth area are designed to allow developers more flexibility in providing open common areas. In these cluster developments, at least 30 percent of the total site area must be designated as open space. Thirty-three percent of this subdivision is designated as open space.

The plan proposed by developer Neumann Companies results in a density of one home per acre. The "cluster" lots range in size from 0.48 to 0.87 acres in size, with the average lot spanning 0.53 acres. The homes will have an estimated market value of $400,000 to $600,000 per site, resulting in a total property value of $44 million to $66 million.

The subdivision will include a neighborhood recreational area in the center of the subdivision connected to the sidewalks via a pathway system.

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OCFSD school board approves Knight Construction for '15-'16 school year

Jan. 13, 2015 11:53 a.m. | Oak Creek — A new course, Knight Construction, will allow Oak Creek High School students in the 2015-16 school year to build a home on district-owned land in the community as part of the class curriculum.

Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District school board members approved details of Knight Construction Monday, Jan. 12. It was proposed to the board in October but denied as a course in December because board members still had more questions.

Matt Lonergan, technology and engineering teacher at Oak Creek High School, proposed Knight Construction with the support of other district teachers and District 2 Alderman Daniel Bukiewicz.

"I know this will be a success in our district," said Lonergan.

Students will construct a home on district-owned land with the help of subcontractors. The home would then be sold at the end of the year so the district could earn back when it initially spent on start-up costs, which are not to exceed $250,000.

Man arrested for burglarizing multiple Fountain Apartments

Jan. 13, 2015 9:52 a.m. | An unidentified man was arrested at 11:37 a.m. January 7 for burglarizing multiple residences in the Fountain Apartments, 9611 W. Hampton Ave., between January 4 and 7, according to a Wauwatosa Police Report.

The man burglarized three apartment units, stealing a television in one and "ransacking" others, but nothing else was reported as stolen, the report said.

The man also caused $500 in damages to the Fountain Apartment's lobby front door, which was forced open with a pry tool at 10:05 a.m. Jan. 4. A pry tool was also used to unlock resident's doors.

Brookfield printing company Wisconsin Web Offset to close

Jan. 09, 2015 9:43 a.m. | A Brookfield-based commercial printing company, Wisconsin Web Offset, will be closing its doors and ceasing all operations by May.

Wisconsin Web Offset, 21045 Enterprise Ave., will be consolidating its services into a pair of J.B. Kenehan facilities in Beaver Dam and Waukesha.

Wisconsin Web Offset and J.B. Kenehan are both owned by the Iowa-based Mittera Group.

Last week, it was reported that 56 workers at Wisconsin Web Offset would be laid off; however, Mittera spokeswoman Elyssa Shapiro said that all employees will be offered jobs at the Beaver Dam or Waukesha locations.

"We will be working with our leadership here and our HR to make sure that employees have the opportunity to get transitioned to another location," Shapiro said. "All employees will be offered a chance to transfer to another facility."

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Menomonee Falls Plan Commission reconsiders zoning request

Jan. 08, 2015 2:25 p.m. | Menomonee Falls — New information has surfaced relating to plans for what was thought to be a historically significant property in Village Centre.

The future of a proposed orthodontic office for Menomonee Falls resident Dr. Stephen Thomas lies in the balance, as the village is again considering requests to amend the comprehensive plan and rezone a 1-acre residential lot to commercial.

About a month after the commission deemed the proposal not a good fit for the area, they voted Jan. 6 to reconsider its prior unanimous vote on the topic.

"I think there was some confusion about some of the things we talked about," said property owner and petitioner Tate Boho, as he addressed the commissioners. "I would like to provide information that may eliminate some of that confusion."

Concerns about the effect the change could have on traffic flow, neighboring property values and for the historical integrity of the property were among those Boho specifically addressed in his presentation. His research showed minimal, if any, impact to the traffic in the area and residential property values in specific similar situations in the village.

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Victim in nearly fatal two-car accident in Waukesha now recovering in ICU

Jan. 07, 2015 3:13 p.m. | A 51-year-old woman who at first was presumed dead immediately after a two-car crash on Pewaukee Road on Wednesday, Jan. 7, was quickly revived, according to a news release from the Waukesha Police Department.

The victim, who remains anonymous, was found without a pulse and not breathing at the scene.

According to Waukesha police, "through extraordinary efforts of medical personnel a pulse was established" and she was taken to the Intensive Care Unit at Waukesha Memorial Hospital.

There is no prognosis for her recovery available at this time, according to the release.

The crash might have been caused by an unspecified "medical emergency" suffered by the woman.

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Three candidates vie to represent Wauwatosa on Milwaukee County Board

Jan. 07, 2015 10:55 a.m. | Three candidates have entered the race for the 15th District Milwaukee County supervisory seat, which represents parts of Wauwatosa, Milwaukee and West Milwaukee. The seat was left open when former supervisor David Cullen was elected Milwaukee County treasurer in November.

Wauwatosa Alderman Jason Wilke

Wauwatosa Alderman Jason Wilke was the first to announce his candidacy. He has been the 8th District alderman since 2009, and also helped establish the Park Ridge and Hartung community neighborhood associations.

"Living in a neighborhood that shares borders with the city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County's Menomonee River Parkway, I have worked through several layers of government to make sure my community can utilize all available resources," Wilke said in a statement. "These experiences have prepared me to serve not only my constituents in Milwaukee County's 15th District but the residents of Milwaukee County alike."

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Wauwatosans organize rally in support of local police

Jan. 02, 2015 4:19 p.m. | A week after Dontre Hamilton supporters staged a "die-in" demonstration at Mayfair mall, Wauwatosa resident Brian Connolly organized more than 100 people to spread a different message Jan. 1 outside the mall on Mayfair Road.

Carrying signs with messages such as "We support police," people at the rally Jan. 1 said they were trying to show their appreciation for law enforcement officers, who have been under scrutiny recently as police shootings have gained attention nationwide.

"I had seen a lot of negative against police officers on TV and Facebook, and I didn't see much positive," Connolly said. "I thought that someone needed to step up and say something. I know I'm only one person, but I thought if I could invite as many people as I could to show they're thankful, I thought that would be a nice thing to do."

County Supervisor Deanna Alexander, who represents the 18th District just northeast of Wauwatosa, helped spread the word about the demonstration on social media.

"Most cops have good intentions — to simply protect law and order," Alexander said in a video message. "We all breathe easier because of you, and I want you to know that you can breathe easier knowing that there are many, many people standing behind you."

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