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West Allis-West Milwaukee schools to be closed Monday due to cold

Jan. 03, 2014 6:02 p.m. | The West Allis-West Milwaukee School District has announced that its schools will be closed on Monday due to extremely cold weather.

The closure includes all after-school activities and West Allis-West Milwaukee Recreation Department activities.

Germantown considers long-term plans for Main Street

Dec. 09, 2014 1:30 p.m. | Germantown — Traffic flow, a balanced mix of businesses and upgrades to the overall look and feel of the area are among the features Germantown village officials are saying they would like to see incorporated into a long-term master plan for Main Street.

Prompted at least partially by an outcry from residents in support of developing a plan, on Dec. 8 the commission discussed at length the ramifications and goals of creating a comprehensive plan.

Ultimately, the commission suggested Village Planner Jeff Retzlaff seek proposals from consultants that would detail a plan for the area roughly surrounded by Main Street, the railroad tracks, Fond du Lac Avenue and the residents and condominiums that surround an area along the thoroughfare.

"Realistically, you want to start with this little triangle but look at the bigger picture," said commissioner and trustee David Baum, who has for years expressed interest in developing a cohesive vision for the area in question. "We don't know the future, but we want to put a plan together so we can start moving in that direction."

At a cost of about $38,000, a similar study was authorized and completed but never put into action in 1999. At that time, the plan was not fully executed because of the costs involved to do so, Retzlaff explained.

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Community Memorial Hospital seeks approval for major improvements

Dec. 08, 2014 10:01 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — An upgraded emergency room and joint replacement center are among improvements Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Community Memorial Hospital is looking to make to its Menomonee Falls facility.

On Dec. 15, the village board will review plans for two additions to CMH that would both expand the emergency department and add a two-story Joint Replacement Center to the hospital property.

"The Community Memorial emergency department has seen a significant increase in patient visits over the past few years; the additional space will increase capacity and modernize the department," said Dennis Pollard, president of Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Community Memorial Hospital and chief operating officer for Froedtert Health.

At an estimated cost of $9 million, the plans seek to add about 4,800 square feet to the emergency department on the hospital's southeast side, renovating the existing space to improve efficiency, increase comfort and better accommodate medical equipment, explained Rita Schuetz, manager of public relations for CMH. Pending approval, construction is scheduled to start in February and completion is slated for later in 2015.

It will likely take a bit longer to complete the 16,450-square-foot joint replacement center, which Schuetz said will provide space on the hospital's northeast side for cost-efficient, comprehensive services and enable the hospital to meet anticipated growth in demand for joint replacement surgeries as the population ages.

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Plans for Menomonee Falls Costco under review

Dec. 03, 2014 4:33 p.m. | Menomonee Falls — As early as next fall, bulk shoppers will have another place to stock up on diapers, household items and groceries. That is when Costco Development Manager Ted Johnson said the new Costco store will open its doors.

Anchoring a large mixed-used development planned for a 65-acre area south of Highway 41/45 and west of Pilgrim Road, the new store will boast a 149,000-square-foot store featuring a gas station and parking for more than 720 vehicles.

The plans are currently under review by the village for the store, which will be the third in the area and is expected to employ about 150 people. Proposed store hours are from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, according to the staff report.

A public hearing relating to the plans will be held at the next plan commission meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 6, at Village Hall, W156 N8480 Pilgrim Road.

In addition to Costco, village officials have said a restaurant or two are a possibility within the additional 240,000 square feet of additional planned retail buildings in the area.

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Menomonee Falls High School prepares for London visit in 2015

Nov. 24, 2014 5:24 p.m. | Menomonee Falls — It's not every day British royalty is in town.

Students and staff at Menomonee Falls High School are still thriving on the excitement over their recent visit from Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Greater London Roger Bramble, who stopped by the school to deliver a very important invitation last month.

The Menomonee Falls band and orchestra will be traveling to London to participate in the New Year's Day Parade and Festival in 2015.

"This isn't like most trips we've done in the past where the school music program decides to participate," explained band and orchestra director Michael Zens. "This is something where there is a pretty high standard for being selected to participate."

The group was nominated by Rob Engl and his wife Robin, who said the reasons for their nomination were simple.

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Menomonee Falls schools welcome more than 100 visitors to explore continuous improvement model

Nov. 24, 2014 12:08 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — It means a lot of different things to different people.

To eighth-grader Brynn Wozniak, continuous improvement in schools means embracing the district's Plan Do Study Act approach to learning. To eighth-grader Julius Davis, it means working through what he knows and finding ways to improve on his school work from there.

And to School District of Menomonee Falls Superintendent Dr. Pat Greco, it means sharing best practices with others.

That is what the district did when it opened its doors to more than 100 visitors from all over the country who came Nov. 20 to learn tactics and strategies used to build continuous improvement processes throughout their respective school districts.

"The focus of improvement, in a nutshell, is to learn and continue to grow at being the best at getting better," Greco said. "The focus is to include all the students and staff in the organization in the improvement process and building a positive culture."

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Menomonee Falls approves flat tax rate for 2015

Nov. 18, 2014 11:28 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — In spite of a major change to the operation of the Menomonee Falls Fire Department, taxes for the village portion of the 2014 tax bill will remain the same.

The Menomonee Falls Village Board approved a budget on Nov. 17 that calls for a flat rate of $5.20 per $1,000 of assessed value, which is the same as 2013. The static rate will support a levy of about $22.41 million, which is up about a percent from last year's $22.20 million.

The budget itself retains the status quo in the majority of areas, Village Manager Mark Fitzgerald said, except for what will be a major change to fire department operations.

The main focus of the budget will be increasing the staff at the fire department by 7.1 full-time equivalent positions, to be filled with part-time employees.

"The changes to the fire department is the single most significant change in the village budget," Fitzgerald said. "We've been planning for this over a five- to six-year period, and this is sort of the culmination of that as the new stations come online in 2015. We are ramping up in terms of manpower so we can literally accommodate full-capacity fire and emergency medical service out of those new stations."

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City Market closes North Avenue location

Nov. 17, 2014 5:50 p.m. | City Market owners Jeff Swanson and Julie Hollingsworth have closed and sold their café at 8725 W. North Ave. in Wauwatosa, where they had been operating for about eight years.

According to city records, the building was sold in October to Dong Sin, who runs Westwood Dry Cleaners at 8731 W. North Ave., next door to the City Market building. His son, Jason Sin, said they hadn't yet decided whether to move their business there or lease out the space.

Hollingsworth said the North Avenue location shared some of the same customers as its other restaurant in Wauwatosa, 8700 W. Watertown Plank Road, and there wasn't enough business to thrive in both places.

"From the beginning, we thought the North Avenue store would have its own market, but truly they're so close together that it didn't do a lot of good for either store," Hollingsworth said. "Having two stores within five minutes of each other, each didn't develop their own identity."

City Market has been on Watertown Plank Road for about 16 years. Although it's had to withstand lengthy construction projects, Hollingsworth said the location is better situated to benefit from development at the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center and UWM's Innovation Campus.

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Brookfield, Elm Grove, New Berlin businesses team up to fill local food pantry

Nov. 16, 2014 11:41 p.m. | Thanks to the efforts of 11 local businesses, dozens of families in the area will find nourishment and comfort for the holiday season.

After a few weeks, the businesses — in Brookfield, Elm Grove, and New Berlin — have finished up collection efforts for the inaugural drive as they hope to feed, clothe, and provide for the needy this holiday season.

Donor seeks out donors

The efforts were spearheaded by Todd Ruedt, owner of Grounds Maintenance Services in New Berlin and a native of Brookfield.

"I decided to reach out to some of my other business-owner friends and other community partners and we ended up getting 10 other businesses to join in the fight to fill the food pantry with us," Ruedt said.

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Waukesha Common Council approves a 2.73 percent tax levy increase for 2015

Nov. 12, 2014 5:03 p.m. | Waukesha taxpayers will pay more on the city portion of their tax bill in 2015.

The tax levy will be $54.55 million, a 2.73 percent increase from 2014, according to figures provided by city of Waukesha Finance Director Richard Abbott. The common council approved the tax levy increase on Nov. 11.

Abbott said the tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value is $10.43 for 2015, up from $10.19 in 2014. This means a homeowner with an assessed value of $200,000 will pay $2,086 on the city portion of their tax bill, up $48 from 2014.

Pay factor in hike

The total operating budget was about $60.6 million, about a 2.29 percent increase from 2014, which met the Expenditure Restraint Program requirements for limiting spending, Abbott said.

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West Bend man accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old Waukesha girl

Nov. 05, 2014 10:04 a.m. | Police arrested a 33-year-old West Bend man after an investigation into a recent sexual assault case revealed he allegedly had sex with a 13-year-old girl.

Jason Matter was charged Tuesday, Nov. 4, with first-degree sexual assault of a child, sexual exploitation of a child and two counts of causing a child to view sexual activity.

He could face up to 82 years in prison and more than $100,000 in fines if convicted.

According to the criminal complaint, Matter was identified by Waukesha police as a suspect after they opened an investigation into a similar case involving Ethan Holt. Holt was charged with sexually assaulting the same 13-year-old victim, who will not be named to protect her identity.

Matter reportedly used Kik and Whisper to communicate with and send nude pictures to the girl, using the profile names "net_sequence" and "readyforfun69."

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Riemer holds on to state Assembly seat, which includes Greenfield and West Allis

Nov. 05, 2014 12:47 a.m. | Voters returned Democrat Daniel Riemer to the state Assembly in District 7 in voting Tuesday, Nov. 4.

Riemer scored a solid victory over Republican opponent Scott Espeseth, capturing an unofficial 56 percent of the vote.

District 7 includes West Milwaukee and parts of West Allis and Greenfield.

"It's a great honor," Reimer said Tuesday.

It's hard to tell what issues resonated most with voters, he said, "but I talked a lot about transitional jobs."

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Joe Sanfelippo returns to Assembly 15 seat, which includes West Allis

Nov. 04, 2014 11:27 p.m. | Republican Joe Sanfelippo won a second term in the Wisconsin Assembly District 15 by a landslide over Democratic opponent John Weishan Jr. in balloting Tuesday, Nov. 4.

Assembly District 15 encompasses parts of West Allis and New Berlin.

On election night, Sanfelippo noted that as a freshman state representative he was able to get a lot of legislation passed and said, "I'm extremely pleased that voters had faith in me to return me to Madison."

In his campaign, Sanfelippo stressed the importance of fighting crime and dealing with the dual problem of heroin addiction and mental health reform.

He also stressed his background as a business owner that he said gives him a common sense approach to decision-making. He ran a landscaping business before entering politics.

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Germantown family holds fundraiser, looks to adopt service dog for autistic son

Nov. 03, 2014 1:09 p.m. | Germantown — As she watched her 6-year-old son Sutton wander into the garage from the backyard, she thought nothing of it, assuming he was going to come back with more of his toys. But with each passing second, Heather Lindgren knew something was wrong.

"All of a sudden I had this sick feeling in my stomach," she said. "I panicked and ran after him."

In the same second she saw the front door of her home flung open, she heard the car horns blazing.

"I didn't even think about it, I ran right into the road, and there was Sutton, standing there happy as a clam in his shorts and a T-shirt like nothing was wrong," she said. "My heart drops even thinking I could have lost my son that day."

Fortunately, Sutton lived to tell the tale, but several years later at the age of 9, Heather said he doesn't understand the concept of danger.

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Beer garden proposal would restore Germantown historic parklike area

Nov. 03, 2014 11:49 a.m. | Germantown — A park that pays historical homage to the past could become the spark plug for the development of a long-term plan for what several Germantown village officials have said they would like to see become an entertainment destination in the village.

Preliminary plans have been presented to the village for an elaborate beer garden behind Old Town Inn and Von Rothenburg Bier Stube on Main Street that would restore the 5 acres in question to something resembling what it might have looked like more than a hundred years ago.

For Chaz Hastings, who owns Old Town Inn and the Bier Stube, the million-dollar project is one he said he envisions will not only offer a gathering place for local events but will also restore a piece of Germantown's history.

"As we've said from the start, being able to do our part to revitalize Main Street has been a goal of ours as a team," said Hastings, who also owns the Milwaukee Harley-Davidson dealership and other pubs including Tally Ho in Erin. "We think this is just something the whole community is going to get behind and really enjoy."

Known around the turn of the century as Beuscher's Park, and later as Siegl Park, it is thought the project will repurpose the land back to its true identity more than 100 years ago. The result, Hastings hopes, will be a communal meeting place for festivals like Maifest and Oktoberfest, as well weekly events like something similar to downtown Milwaukee's Jazz in the Park and car shows. It could also provide a new home to the Germantown farmer's market, which has struggled to gain popularity in recent years due in part to needing a long-term home.

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Menomonee Falls' new luxury apartments becoming a reality

Nov. 03, 2014 11:14 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — A sense of excitement has taken over social media, as residents of Menomonee Falls celebrate the next step in the construction of the luxury apartments that will replace a blighted area of the village along the highway.

Thanks primarily to Facebook sharing, word spread quickly that the apartments that will become part of Cobalt Partners' Whitestone Station are one step closer to becoming a reality, after Fiduciary Real Estate Development Inc. purchased 10.3 acres for the 318 planned apartments.

Construction is now slated to start next spring on the $45 million project, which will be developed over two years. Four of the seven proposed buildings would each contain 48 units, and the other three buildings would each have 42 units, according to a staff report.

Cobalt sold the apartment land to Fiduciary for $3.24 million, according to state records.

The apartments would be a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units, with monthly rents ranging from around $900 to $1,600.

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