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U.S. accuses New Berlin of racial bias in housing decision

June 23, 2011 9:20 p.m. | Federal authorities sued New Berlin on Thursday, claiming racial discrimination drove the city's decisions to block a low-income housing development, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

A 13-page complaint spells out the lengths to which city leaders and staff purportedly went to stymie MSP Real Estate Inc.'s plans, even so far as revising the city's 2020 comprehensive plan.

"The defendant's actions as described herein were taken because of race and because of community opposition that city officials understood to be based on the race and on racial stereotypes of the prospective tenants of affordable housing," the complaint states.

The complaint details threats against the mayor and his children and racially derogatory terms used during the controversy.

The developer, MSP, filed its own federal suit in March claiming Fair Housing and Americans with Disabilities acts violations by the city. It seeks nearly $13 million in compensatory damages plus punitive damages. In response to that action, the city has denied race was a factor in rejecting the project.

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New Berlin to pay $275,000 settlement to former HR director

Feb. 20, 2015 3:51 p.m. | New Berlin will pay $275,000 to former Human Resources Director Tamara Potkay to settle a lawsuit alleging Mayor David Ament violated civil service rules in terminating her employment in January 2014, Potkay's attorney said Friday.

Potkay was returned to the job in February of last year under an interim agreement imposed by U.S. District Judge Charles Clevert.

Potkay had worked for the city since 1990 as a civil service human resources employee. She was appointed human resources director in August 1997 by former Mayor James Gatzke.

After Ament was elected mayor in April 2013, he reduced Potkay's duties before firing her in January 2014, according to a complaint in the federal lawsuit. Potkay was represented by Walter Kelly, a Milwaukee attorney.

Ament acted alone even though city ordinances and state law require the city council to decide on the firing of the civil-service protected head of human resources, the complaint said.

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Complaint: Former New Berlin West basketball coach busted after police find pot in his school office

Feb. 20, 2015 3:03 p.m. | Christopher R. Foley, the former New Berlin West varsity basketball coach, was charged Friday with three drug-related crimes linked to the school's athletic director smelling marijuana as he walked past the defendant's office.

Foley, 29, of 2545 N. 93rd St., Milwaukee, was fired from his job shortly after his Feb. 6 arrest. Foley was ordered to make his initial appearance before a Waukesha County court commissioner on Monday, March 2. Bail will be set at that time, said Waukesha County District Attorney Sue Opper.

Assistant Principal Julie Kader and Athletic Director Jordan Napoli met with New Berlin police prior to the school's basketball game about their concerns over Foley's drug use, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint accuses Foley of possession of a controlled substance, possession of the active ingredient in marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

All of the charges are misdemeanors. Two counts carry fines of $500 and jail terms of 30 days. The possession charge carries a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in jail.

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Muskego-Norway School District to move middle school start time back

Feb. 19, 2015 1:26 p.m. | Muskego — Muskego middle school students will be able to sleep in a tiny bit longer starting this fall, as school will start 15-minutes later.

The 7:50 a.m. start time will be pushed back to 8:05 a.m. for both Muskego-Norway middle schools.

The reason for the change is that school officials want teachers to have more productive collaboration time. The change will enable them to have 45 minutes at the start of each day, which is seen as more helpful than the 15 minutes at the start and the 15 minutes at the end that teachers have now.

During collaboration times, teachers work together on what have been the best approaches for certain classes and for certain students to get the most achievement. They also discuss other issues that will help them work better as a team.

How they'll do it

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Walmart to open March 11 on Greenfield Avenue in New Berlin

Feb. 18, 2015 5:22 p.m. | New Berlin — Some 20 semitrailers stuffed with merchandise have probably arrived so far to fill the shelves at the new Walmart super center in New Berlin, store manager Terra Biggin estimated Monday.

And they're not done yet.

"We're slowly seeing fewer trucks as we're seeing the shelves fill up," Biggin said. The super center will offer groceries and general merchandise and will open March 11 at 15025 W. Greenfield Ave.

The trucks carrying general merchandise come from the Walmart distribution center in Beaver Dam. Groceries are flying in from various locations including Tomah, Beaver Dam and Sterling, Illinois.

Stocking started Feb. 2

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Farrow, Schellinger advance in County Executive race

Feb. 17, 2015 9:32 p.m. | Sen. Paul Farrow and Waukesha County Board Supervisor Thomas Schellinger will advance to the general election following Tuesday's primary election.

With all 181 precincts reporting, unofficial results show Farrow leading the four-person field with 7,829 votes, Schellinger coming in second with 2,919 votes.

Four candidates campaigned to replace Dan Vrakas as Waukesha County executive in the nonpartisan race after he announced last fall he would not seek re-election. Vrakas — who's term expires April 21 — endorsed Farrow in the race.

Larry Barthen of Waukesha ran a distant third in the primary with 1,245 votes. Now retired, Barthen worked as a long-term care coordinator for the county Health and Human Services Department.

Kim Wentz of Pewaukee, an emergency services dispatcher with the Waukesha County Communications Center came in fourth with 1,038 votes.

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Aquatic experts gather to devise battle plan for new pest found in Little Muskego Lake

Feb. 12, 2015 2:19 p.m. | Muskego — Top lakes officials in the state gathered Friday at Little Muskego Lake to begin planning their battle against a new pest that was found there.

Little Muskego Lake is the only lake in Wisconsin where the starry stonewort algae has been found and lakes experts hope take action before it becomes established.

The algae can cover portions of lakes and essentially kill those areas by blocking out sunlight.

Last week, state Department of Natural Resources lakes experts went onto the ice to drill holes and lower cameras. As soon as the ice is off the lake, they will be back to do a detailed survey, mapping the problem areas.

The size of the problem will be a major factor in determining what should be done to combat it, said Tim Plude, aquatics invasive species monitoring and rapid response coordinator for the south Lake Michigan basin of the DNR. Plude is leading efforts to battle the menace in Little Muskego Lake.

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New Berlin schools did 'due diligence' in hiring coach: spokeswoman

Feb. 11, 2015 2:48 p.m. | New Berlin — New Berlin schools did both a background check and a drug test before hiring a New Berlin West boys basketball coach who was arrested Friday, Feb. 6, on a possession of marijuana charge, a spokeswoman has said.

Melinda Mueller, director of communications for the New Berlin schools, also said that Christopher Foley is no longer a district employee.

"It is a personnel matter – that is all we will be sharing," she wrote in an email.

Foley was in his first year as coach at New Berlin West Middle/High School. Before being hired, the schools followed its normal procedure with new hires.

"Just so people understand, we did do a background check and nothing was revealed."

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Updated: Interim appointed after New Berlin West boys basketball coach arrested for pot

Feb. 09, 2015 5:19 p.m. | New Berlin — Brandon Mattox has been appointed interim boys basketball coach at New Berlin West High School to replace coach Christopher Foley who was arrested Friday night for possession of marijuana.

Police arrested Foley, a special-education teacher, after the Vikings returned from their basketball game at Wauwatosa West.

Police said the case was referred to the Waukesha County District Attorney’s Office for possible criminal prosecution because the alleged offense happened on school property, and Foley has a previous violation.

Foley was hired as the boys basketball coach in July 2014.

Police will not release information on how much marijuana was allegedly found or where it was located until after the district attorney makes a decision on prosecution. Similarly, police aren’t releasing information on the first offense.

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My Community Now and Lake Country Now websites switch to Viafoura commenting

Feb. 09, 2015 3:15 p.m. | Commenting just got easier and better on your favorite local news sites.

As of Monday, the My Community Now websites and Lake Country Now are using the Viafoura commenting tool, the same one in use on JSOnline since early December.

Stories published on our sites before the switch (approximately 11:45 a.m. on Monday) will retain the comments made via the Facebook commenting plugin. Stories published after the launch will use Viafoura for commenting.

The move unifies the commenting base between the various community news websites and JSOnline. If you already have a commenting account on the Journal Sentinel website, you can use that same username and password combination to log in and comment on any Now site.

You will no longer have to use their Facebook accounts in order to comment. However, if you don't already have a commenting account with JSOnline you will have to create one the first time you comment.

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Court: Retired New Berlin officer must pay own health care deductibles

Feb. 06, 2015 6:44 p.m. | The state Court of Appeals has ruled that New Berlin does not have to pay all deductibles for a retired police officer's health insurance.

After 20 years of service, Gary Monreal retired in 2010 with duty disability, due to a shoulder injury sustained while performing CPR. The collective bargaining agreement in place at the time called for the city to cover all his deductibles incurred for health care.

But after 2011, the city adopted a high-deductible health insurance plan for the city's police, both active and retired. Monreal argued even that high deductible — some $6,000 for a family coverage plan in 2013 — should be paid by the city. When the city refused, Monreal sued.

"In the circuit court, Monreal contended, and the circuit court agreed, that one of the promises on retirement was a vested right to have his deductibles reimbursed for the rest of his life — as if the CBA referred to above was frozen in time for Monreal," Chief Judge Richard S. Brown wrote for the District II Court of Appeals.

"We disagree," Brown wrote, and the court reversed the circuit court ruling that favored Monreal.

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Subdivision with lakes, trails gets favorable hearing in New Berlin

Feb. 04, 2015 7:19 p.m. | A revised proposal for a 48-home conservation subdivision in New Berlin envisions hiking trails to private lakes, fishing docks and a picnic retreat.

The concept has received a favorable response from the New Berlin Plan Commission. Plans for the subdivision, known as Kohler Ridge proposed for the 21000 block of Lawnsdale Road, will have to be formally submitted and go through the city's approval process.

The proposed layout is much different than the original one the city saw last year in that more trees are preserved.

The new plan also drops development of a tree farm next door in favor of expanding a wooded tract across Lawnsdale Road that includes a former quarry called the Kohler Pit. All the trails and lakes are on the northern section.

To enhance safety of those crossing Lawnsdale Road to reach the trails, the developer proposes the same safety features used at Bugline recreation trail road crossings.

Waukesha County squads to carry heroin overdose drug Narcan

Feb. 03, 2015 10:22 a.m. | The Waukesha County Sheriff's Department has equipped each of its marked vehicles with a kit to administer nasal naloxone, better known by its brand name Narcan, a prescription drug that can reverse a heroin or other opiod overdose.

Deputies were trained on how to administer the medication at the end of last year, and the vehicles equipped with the kits last month, according to a news release issued Tuesday.

Waukesha County joins a growing number of first responders who carry naloxone. The Racine County Sheriff's Department was among the earliest adopters of such a policy, and deputies there have carried the medication since April, when Gov. Scott Walker signed off on allowing first responders to administer it as part of a package of bills called Heroin Opiate Prevention and Education, or HOPE.

Those who adopt such a policy, including Waukesha Sheriff Eric Severson, say they have done so to save lives. Waukesha County recorded 52 overdose deaths related to heroin and other prescription medication in 2012.

A report released last year by the Wisconsin State Council on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse recommended that family members and caregivers of opiate users also should have access and training on it.

Susan Opper named Waukesha County district attorney

Feb. 02, 2015 6:13 p.m. | Susan Opper can drop the "acting" from her title now that Gov. Scott Walker formally appointed her Waukesha County district attorney on Monday.

Opper replaces Brad Schimel, who was elected attorney general in November. Last month, just before he was sworn into his new position, Schimel named his longtime deputy as acting district attorney.

According to the announcement from Walker's office, he received more than 50 letters recommending Opper for the appointment, from members of law enforcement, the bench and bar, and business leaders.

Opper is a 23-year veteran of the Waukesha County prosecutor's office, and has drawn particular praise for her leadership of the office's drug unit. Schimel credit's Opper's work for Waukesha County leading the state in the number of so-called Len Bias prosecutions, which involve people who supply drugs that wind up killing the users.

Opper and Paul Kanter, a federal prosecutor and chairman of the Delafield Town Board, had applied for the appointment as district attorney last year, when Schimel won the attorney general post.

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Muskego reduces times, days for private fireworks

Jan. 29, 2015 5:11 p.m. | Muskego — With one dissenting vote, the Muskego Common Council reduced the days and hours that those with city permits can launch fireworks on the Fourth of July.

The old limit of seven days has been reduced to three and the 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. permitted times have been cut to 4 to 11 p.m. Muskego is the only community in the metropolitan area to allow residents who get permits to have fireworks displays.

The three-day limit can be expanded to four if the Fourth of July is on Mondays through Thursdays. Then, fireworks will be allowed on either the Saturday before July 4 or the Saturday after.

The only nay vote was cast by Alderman Blaise Di Pronio who wanted fireworks banned because of the potential for harming neighboring properties.

"Everybody likes fireworks until their house burns down," he said after the meeting. "Being a lawyer, I fear exposure and there's plenty."

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New Greenfield Avenue Wal-mart could open in early March in New Berlin

Jan. 29, 2015 3:56 p.m. | It appears that the opening for the new Wal-mart on Greenfield Avenue will be in early March, the New Berlin development department said Thursday.

The store is under construction two blocks east of Moorland Road.

The smaller Wal-mart at 15333 W. National Ave. in the New Berlin City Center will close and move to the new location. The possible day for that to happen is March 11. Sales will precede the closing.


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