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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.

Waukesha, Washington counties at "very high" fire danger risk

April 16, 2015 2:23 p.m. | Germantown — Dry conditions are putting the entire state of Wisconsin on high alert for wildfires.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources indicates conditions in Waukesha and Washington counties are creating a "very high" risk of fire.

All other Wisconsin counties are also at "very high" risk, except Racine, Kenosha, Milwaukee and Ozaukee, which are classified one level lower at "high" risk.

One grass fire spanning about 5 acres was reported and subsequently contained recently in Germantown near Bonniwell Road and Country Aire Drive — an incident that has prompted Germantown Fire Chief Gary Weiss to urge residents to use common sense when it comes to burning in the area.

"If anybody is burning, they need to be extremely careful," Weiss said. "They should stay by the fire, keep a hose nearby and make sure the area around it is safe."

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Local sports complex receives 'Riders' Choice Award'

April 10, 2015 12:33 p.m. | Franklin — A local sports complex has received regional honors.

The Rock Sports Complex, located at 7900 Crystal Ridge Road, was named the Best Bike Park in the Midwest by MTBparks.com, a website that posts information relating to mountain bikes in the United States.

The Rock Sports Complex offers more than seven miles of cross country mountain bike trails, a BMX track and coached lessons.

More than 3,000 bike riders participated in an online survey at MTBparks.com to choose the winner of the "Riders' Choice Award."

The bike park at The Rock Sports Complex will open mid-May for the 2015 season, weather permitting, and will be open weekends only, 10 a.m. — 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. For more information visit RockComplex.com.

New Elm Grove business to offer outlet for creativity

April 07, 2015 5:33 p.m. | Residents of Elm Grove and the surrounding communities will have a new place to go to both express their creativity and socialize in the coming weeks.

Katherine Oberst of Brookfield and Danielle Heckenkamp of Wauwatosa have teamed up to bring Elm Grove Art, a wine and paint bar, to the village, offering plenty for both adults and children alike.

"Elm Grove Art is going to be a wine and paint bar in the evenings but it's also going to offer a lot of kids programs and day camps for moms and kids," Oberst said. "We're in the stage of decorating our place right now and our grand opening will be May 1."

The co-owners got the idea of a wine and paint bar from their own experiences visiting similar establishments in the past.

"(Danielle) and I have always been creative. We each have three children and we do a lot of crafts and stuff with our kids at home. We have so many mom friends and they always say 'We need a place to go where we can take our kids and be creative and not have the mess at home,'" Oberst said.

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Franklin author publishes kid-friendly organ donation book

April 07, 2015 1:38 p.m. | Franklin — A Franklin author has published a book that explains surgery and organ donation to kids.

Brenda E. Cortez recently released "My Mom is Having Surgery (A Kidney Story)," a book about a young girl named Kailey and her concern for her mother. Kailey is worried and scared because as her mother undergoes surgery, but throughout the course of the book she learns surgery is safe and her mom was able to save another person's life in the process.

The book is published by Tate Publishing and Enterprises and is available through bookstores nationwide, from the publisher at tatepublishing.com/bookstore or by visiting barnesandnoble.com or amazon.com.

The story is based off Cortez's 2005 kidney donation. She is now a strong advocate for living organ donation awareness. The author will donate one dollar from every book sold to the Donate Life America, an organization committed to increasing awareness for organ donation.

Cortez lives in Franklin with her husband Shawn, daughter Kailey, son Kyle and two Dachshund dogs.

Suspicious driver reported in Franklin

April 07, 2015 11:13 a.m. | Franklin — Law enforcement encourages residents to report any suspicious people or vehicles to the Franklin Police Department following a report received earlier this week.

On April 6, the department received a call regarding a red Dodge van, 2013 or newer without rust, driven by a white male in his 60s. The man was wearing a baseball hat, had no facial hair and was stopped on the corner of South 42nd Street and West Maplecrest Drive where he motioned to three youths, an 11-year-old and two 6-year-olds, to come to his vehicle. The driver did not say anything.

The children did not respond and went home.

The van was northbound on South 42nd Street when the incident occurred. The caller stated the vehicle had been seen in the area for the last two weeks.

To report suspicious activity call the Franklin Police Department at (414) 425-2522.

Plans announced for South 27th Street reconstruction between Franklin and Oak Creek

April 02, 2015 2:23 p.m. | Franklin and Oak Creek — Reconstruction of South 27th Street will begin this spring.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced its plans for reconstruction of South 27th Street (Highway 241) in the Franklin and Oak Creek area during a public involvement meeting on March 26.

The portion of the highway, which spans from Drexel Avenue to College Avenue, is highly deteriorated and traffic accidents are above the statewide average on the corridor, according to the DOT. Increased traffic and congestion are expected.

The project will include full reconstruction of the pavement, modification of the median openings and addition of bicycle and pedestrian accommodations. Intersections will be improved by adding and extending right- and left-turn lanes and updating the traffic lights.

During construction, two lanes of traffic will be open in each direction along 27th Street with turn lanes. At night, one lane of traffic will be open in each direction for the entire length of the project and turn lanes may be closed.

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Franklin hosts free pond maintenance seminar

April 01, 2015 3:38 p.m. | Franklin — The city of Franklin will host an evening for the public to learn and ask questions about pond maintenance April 15.

In conjunction with the City of Franklin Engineering department, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources — Water Division, will hold a public discussion at the Franklin Public Library in the Fadrow Room, 9151 W Loomis Road from 6 to 8 p.m.

Discussion topics will include alternative pond chemical treatments, vegetation growth, animal damage, storm water ponds and algae blooms, among other things. The public will also have the opportunity to ask questions.

Guest speakers will include Storm water Engineer Pete Wood and Water Resources Biologist Craig Helker, both of the Wisconsin DNR.

To RSVP for this free seminar or to ask questions before time call Marcia LaPointe at (414) 425-7510 or by email at MLaPointe@FranklinWI.gov.

City of Waukesha committee recommends sober server ordinance for bars

March 30, 2015 2:30 p.m. | Will Waukesha be a safer all-around city if a sober server ordinance is adopted? The police department believes so. Downtown bar owners don't feel the ordinance is a bad idea, either.

In addition, there would be other benefits from an ordinance that would force any business with an alcohol license to require its bartenders, bouncers and staff to have a blood alcohol content level less than 0.08, police say.

The common council is expected to vote on the ordinance on Thursday, April 9.

Waukesha Police Chief Russell Jack said the ordinance, which passed in a 4-1 vote by the Ordinance and License Committee on March 23, would assist police in multiple ways.

Jack and other police personnel said if bartenders aren't drinking it would help them better determine who is already intoxicated, help eliminate underage drinking and vandalism around the city, keep bars orderly, and give establishments more credibility when police need to ask questions during an investigation.

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Recall committee calls Franklin alderwoman a 'wicked witch' in flier

March 26, 2015 3:53 p.m. | Franklin — Some residents in the city's District 4 have received fliers that depict Alderwoman Janet Evans as "The Wicked Witch of Franklin" this week.

The flier, produced by the Franklin Exploratory Recall Committee, seeks to recall the Evans, who was elected last year.

On the flier, a photo of Evans was laid over an image of a witch from the "Wizard of Oz." The group also listed grievances against Evans, declaring she "championed" for an apartment complex in the district that would bring forth more crime to the area.

The flier reads, "Let's get an elected representative who will listen to and speak for constituents in Franklin's 4th District."

For her part, Evans took exception to what she felt was a misrepresentation of facts.

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Waukesha bicycle shop Cyclesmith closes its doors

March 24, 2015 1:27 p.m. | Cyclesmith, a full-service bicycle repair shop at 1314 S West Ave. has closed.

A message on Cyclesmith's voicemail for incoming callers states: "We regret to inform you that Cyclesmith has closed" and that the store is "no longer accepting new business."

The message adds the store is "working diligently to complete all remaining work orders."

People with outstanding orders are asked to call the store and leave a voicemail to get a status update on their order or to make arrangements to retrieve the order.

The store's website says the family-owned and operated business had been in Waukesha for more than 10 years.

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'Columbine' graffiti reference results in extra police presence at Waukesha South High School

March 20, 2015 2:40 p.m. | Following a reference to Columbine High School — the site of a 1999 school shooting — in one of its school bathrooms, an extra police presence was on hand last week at Waukesha South High School.

"This is the New Columbine," read the message.

Parents of Waukesha South students received an email early Friday morning, March 20, from Principal Timothy Joynt informing them that graffiti was found the night before that made reference to Columbine.

"Please know that we have been participating with our school superintendent and the Waukesha Police Department through the night," Joynt said.

The principal said Friday that the increase in police presence was a precaution.

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Top of truck 'peeled back like a can' after collision with bridge in Wauwatosa

March 20, 2015 12:25 p.m. | Debris has been cleared and traffic is flowing again on Swan Boulevard after a tractor trailer collided with a railroad bridge about 6:45 a.m. this morning near Hoyt Park. The driver was not injured.

"There was a lot of debris from the top of the truck basically being shredded," Wauwatosa Police Lt. Brian Zalewski said. "The whole top got peeled back like a can."

The truck was lodged under the bridge until about 8 a.m. when it was towed away, according to police. Zalewski said there were no hazardous materials on board and there was no damage to the bridge.

Several signs in the area warn that no trucking is allowed. A large yellow sign on the bridge marks its clearance as 12 feet. Zalewski said the driver was issued a citation for inattentive driving for failing to notice the signs.

TMJ4 has footage of the truck while it was lodged under the bridge:

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Building collapse leaves North Hills Plaza tenants scrambling to pick up the pieces

March 16, 2015 3:04 p.m. | Menomonee Falls — Tenants of the North Hills Plaza were left scrambling last week, after the building their businesses are in collapsed around 10:30 p.m. March 9.

Located northwest of the intersection of Pilgrim Road and Appleton Avenue, the building has been in disrepair for some time, according to Dr. Frank Jaskowiak of Jaskowiak Chiropractic, and has been neglected as the property has changed hands several times through the years.

"The part that collapsed started two weeks ago and just really wasn't properly addressed or taken care of," said Jaskowiak, who has operated out of North Hills for 30 years. "It was cracking really badly in front of H&R Block — it was starting to break through to the point you had to walk down a little valley to get into their place."

Meanwhile, Charles Pinter of Royale Property Management said he shows no record of any complaints about the state of the building from tenants.

'A Godly act'

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Four injured in Germantown crashes that shut down Highway 41/45 for more than three hours

March 05, 2015 10:16 a.m. | Germantown — A series of crashes involving five vehicles brought traffic to a screeching halt in a number of directions shortly after 2 p.m. March 4.

Three serious injuries were reported at the crash scene just south of Holy Hill Road that Highway 41/45 briefly closed in both directions. Northbound remained closed until about 5:30 p.m., and the impact to traffic on surrounding side roads and thoroughfares was a dramatic one.

"I've driven in some slow traffic in my life, but I've never seen anything like this," said Janice Finke, who took Appleton Avenue as an alternate northbound route home to West Bend. "I think I've been either at a complete standstill or going about 6 miles per hour for about a half-hour now."

The trip, which usually takes about 25 minutes, took two hours that night.

"I'd rather sit at Starbucks for three hours than sit in that," said Leah Hovland, who lives just outside Menomonee Falls in Milwaukee. "I was supposed to be in Slinger at 5 p.m. and was going to take 175. I left at 4:35 and sat in the middle of the intersection of 175 and County Line Road for five minutes. Finally I got to the median by Menard's and decided that wasn't happening, so I turned around and went home."

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Student radio station gets fuzzy reception in Whitefish Bay

March 04, 2015 10:26 a.m. | Whitefish Bay — A proposal to start a Whitefish Bay student radio station was met with fuzzy reception from school administration, who feared the radio station could take away funds from other needs in the district.

The idea of a student-run radio station was first proposed by Whitefish Bay resident John Davis in November 2013, when he asked the school board to complete a FCC application for the 103.3 FM frequency that had recently become available. The school board agreed at that time to complete the application, with the understanding that the district was not obligated to construct a radio station or facilitate a radio program in the future.

The FCC approved Whitefish Bay's application in October, giving Whitefish Bay permission to broadcast on a transmission that would carry 3.5 miles and feature music, student talk shows and live broadcasts of Blue Dukes sports games. Since that time, the school district's administration has conducted a feasibility study that concluded a radio station would open the district up to potential expenses and liability.

Costs

To determine how much the radio station would cost, district administrators contacted Wisconsin's only two student-run radio stations, which are in Sheboygan and Burlington. Wisconsin does not have any purely extra-curricular student radio stations, so administrators did not have any examples of what an extra-curricular radio station format could look like in Whitefish Bay.

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