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From Miss St. Francis to Mrs. Claus, relive the year in pictures

Dec. 27, 2011 9:43 a.m. | We have just posted our collection of News Photos of the Year and Sports Photos of the Year as selected by NOW staff photojournalists C.T. Kruger and Peter Zuzga.

Browse the galleries to see images from some of the most newsworthy events of the past 12 months. You will also find some of the quieter, but no less photogenic events captured by our award-winning staff.

We also invite you to visit the links below to take a look back at the five most popular NOW photo galleries of 2011:

2011 Track and Field State Meet

Miss St. Francis pageant

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Jury trial set for Rep. Bill Kramer on sexual assault charges

July 26, 2014 11:02 a.m. | A jury trial has been ordered to begin Oct. 28 for state Rep. Bill Kramer (R-Town of Waukesha) on sexual assault charges, online court records show.

Kramer, the former No. 2 lawmaker in the Assembly, was charged in March with two felony charges of second-degree sexual assault stemming from an incident three years ago.

According to the Waukesha Freeman, Kramer's attorney Eduardo M. Borda said Friday that Kramer will fight the allegations that he shoved a woman into a car, tried to kiss her, touched her indecently and made inappropriate comments to her outside a Republican Party event at a Muskego tavern in 2011.

The assault charges were filed this spring after Kramer drew widespread criticism for allegedly harassing two other women, one a legislative aide and the other a lobbyist, in a more recent case.

Kramer is accused of groping the staffer and harassing the lobbyist while at a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 26.

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A new Fairest of the Fair will be crowned Wednesday night at the Waukesha County Fair

July 15, 2014 8:31 p.m. | The featured event for opening night of the Waukesha County Fair is the Fairest of the Fair competition.

A winner will be chosen from the five finalists at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Leinie Lodge Stage.

Winners of the countywide competition are selected on the basis of personality, communication skills, school and community activities, professional appearance, knowledge of and experience with the Waukesha County Fair.

Last year's Fairest of the Fair, Cecilia Heberling of Big Bend, will crown a new Fairest of the Fair. Heberling will also share her experiences as the county's Fairest of the Fair while the judges deliberate on Wednesday.

The 2014 Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs, Kaitlyn Riley, from the Crawford County Fair, will also attend the competition and share her experiences as the state's Fairest of the Fair.

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Man hospitalized in police custody after New Berlin police standoff

July 11, 2014 12:42 p.m. | A 43-year-old Milwaukee man is under police custody at a local hospital after holding up a New Berlin pharmacy with a shotgun Wednesday, authorities said Friday.

The man entered New Berlin Pharmacy, located in a strip mall on Greenfield Ave., with a shotgun about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday after he was denied a prescription refill. Customers and employees fled when they saw the weapon, someone called 911, and the pharmacist filled the man's prescription.

Then the pharmacist coaxed the shotgun away from the man and escaped through the back door, leaving only the suspect in the store, police said.

The suspect surrendered to police about 6 p.m. and was later taken to a local hospital, where he remained under observation as of Friday morning, according to a news release. Police said he will eventually be taken to the Waukesha County Jail on several criminal charges, which have not yet been referred to the district attorney's office.

There were no injuries during the incident, authorities said.

New Berlin strip mall standoff appears to be over

July 09, 2014 6:38 p.m. | A standoff at a strip mall between New Berlin police and a man with a gun appears to be over, and the gunman has been taken into custody, according to WTMJ-TV (Channel 4) in Milwaukee.

The mall had been placed under lockdown after a man with a gun was reported at a pharmacy, the station reported.

Police, including heavily armed officers and an armored personal carrier, were called to the area of W. Greenfield Ave. and S. Sunny Slope Road about 5 p.m., according to the station.

"It was pretty scary to see all those guns," said David Hill, 57, of Pewaukee, who was among hundreds of motorists detoured around the area by police.

People at businesses in the mall were ordered to remain inside, Channel 4 reported.

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Former Salentine property in Muskego to be self-storage business, coffee shop

July 03, 2014 3:02 p.m. | A self-storage operation and a coffee shop will be built on the former Salentine Buick property, S66 W14444 Janesville Road.

The project received the approval of the Muskego Plan Commission last week and allowed Alex Simic, owner of Storage Master, to obtain a building permit from the city.

He said he has an accepted offer on the property that has been vacant since the iconic dealership closed in February 2013.

The dealership building will get a face-lift and white fencing and arbor vitae will be added to screen the operation from neighbors and motorists. Simic said he wants the self-storage units open by Thanksgiving. The outdoor boat storage should be open in October.

Simic plans to create a coffee shop that he said will have the look and feel of an upscale Starbucks. He wants it to become a community gathering place. Besides coffee, hot chocolate, bakery and what he calls light-bites, he will offer board games such as chess and Risk, he said.

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Costco proposes store in New Berlin; considers Pleasant Prairie

July 03, 2014 11:31 a.m. | Costco Wholesale Corp. is proposing to develop a store in New Berlin, and possibly a Pleasant Prairie location, as the retailer continues to build its Milwaukee-area presence.

The 156,000-square-foot store, along with a separate gas station, would be developed at 15300 W. Grange Ave., said Greg Kessler, New Berlin community development director. That vacant site is at the northeast corner of Grange Ave. and Moorland Road, south of I-43.

Costco wants to begin construction later this year, and have the store open by August 2015, Kessler said Thursday. 

A typical Costco store has around 175 to 200 full- and part-time employees, according to the proposal.

The city Architectural Review Committee is to review the plans at its Monday meeting. Along with site plan approval, the development's proposed gas station requires a conditional use permit from the city.

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Self-storage — and coffee house — proposed for former Buick dealership

June 27, 2014 7:00 a.m. |

Muskego's former Salentine Buick dealership would be converted into a self-storage facility--and coffee house--under a new proposal pending in that community.
Alex Simic, who owns Storage Master LLC, would create 325 indoor storage units within 55,000 square feet and 186 outdoor spaces for outdoor storage, according to a proposal filed with the city. Part of the former dealership building would become a 3,000-square-foot coffee house.
"The coffeehouse would be called “MUG” Place standing for Muskego Urban Gathering Place," the proposal said.
"The intent of MUG Place is an environment where families can gather to enjoy refreshments, play board games, listen to local musicians and/or speakers," it said. The coffee house would include three meeting rooms available for rent.
The Salentine property is at S66 W14444 Janesville Road,  near Tess Corners Business Park. The dealership closed in 2013
A Plan Commission public hearing for a conditional use grant to allow the development is scheduled for Tuesday.

Milwaukee suburbs Fourth of July 2014 celebrations

June 20, 2014 9:30 a.m. |  


  • Parade: 9 a.m. July 4, the annual parade begins at Standish Place entrance to Bayside Middle School.

City of Brookfield

  • Parade: 10 a.m. July 4. Starting at Gebhardt Rd. to Calhoun Rd. onto North Ave. The parade will be followed by an ice cream social at the Civic Plaza, 2000 North Calhoun Rd.
  • Family Fest: 6 to 9 p.m. July 4, family fun with live entertainment, inflatables and food for all to enjoy at Mitchell Park, 19900 River Rd.
  • Fireworks: 9:15 p.m. July 4 at Mitchell Park.

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Social media photos of the June 18 storms around Southeast Wisconsin

June 18, 2014 3:53 p.m. | Severe weather, from rain to hail to flooding, arrived in southeastern Wisconsin on Tuesday morning.

Residents shared their views of the storms on social media, and we compiled some of the best photos for you.

View them in the June 18 storms around Southeast Wisconsin Storify story.

Fire destroys trailer home in Franklin

June 14, 2014 9:56 a.m. | Six fire departments responded to a fire that destroyed a trailer home Friday night in the City of Franklin, the Franklin Police Department said.

The fire occurred at 6361 S. 27th St. The occupant of the trailer home escaped the fire and was not injured. The fire was reported at 10:55 p.m.

In addition to the Franklin Fire Department, the Greendale, Greenfield, Oak Creek, Hales Corners and Tess Corners fire departments responded to the blaze.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

New option surfaces for Muskego High School weight room

June 04, 2014 4:22 p.m. | Replacing the Muskego High School weight room with a consolidated art and tech ed classroom seems to now have the inside track with the Muskego-Norway School Board.

The board seemed to favor the new idea over the previous plan which was to split weight room activities up between a study hall and a reconstructed weight room.

In August, the weight room floor was discovered to be deteriorated and to be too weak to safely hold up the weight room equipment. So, the weight machines were moved to the study hall which is on grade and the aerobic equipment such as bicycles were put into storage while a more permanent solution was sought.

Leaving the weight machines in the study hall permanently became a possibility when the School Board learned how much it would cost to make the weight room floor strong enough for them. But the floor could be made strong enough for the exercise bikes and until Monday, that split option seemed out in front of the others.

But the board liked the new classroom consolidation plan because it would be easier to supervise one weight room than having two locations and because the study hall was not ideally located being beside classrooms and farther from locker rooms. The art and tech ed rooms are both on grade.

Muskego softball team tips North to claim Classic 8 championship

May 30, 2014 9:56 p.m. | Due to the cold weather and rain that plagued the area this spring, it took the Muskego and Waukesha North softball teams nearly two months to play their season series.

The squads finally finished up on Friday afternoon, and the wait was well worth it for the Warriors.

North and Muskego had to complete a game from April 10 at North which had been suspended by darkness with the teams tied 8-8 in the 11th inning.

They were going to finish that game and play their second game May 13 at Muskego, but that date was postponed by rain.

So they headed into Friday afternoon with Muskego at 11-1 in the Classic 8 Conference and North at 10-2, looking to finally decide matters.

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New Berlin West High School students evacuated due to smoke from lab

May 28, 2014 4:10 p.m. | New Berlin West Middle/High School was evacuated Wednesday afternoon after an incident in a chemistry lab caused smoke.

Students were allowed back into the building after an all-clear from the New Berlin Fire Department, except for the science wing that was still being ventilated, school officials said.

There were no injuries and the incident did not interfere with the New Berlin West dismissal process at the end of the day.

Bill Kramer pleads not guilty to sexual assault, waives hearing

May 15, 2014 9:36 p.m. | Waukesha — Rep. Bill Kramer pleaded not guilty to two felony charges of second-degree sexual assault Thursday in Waukesha County Circuit Court in connection with allegations that he groped a female congressional staffer in Muskego three years ago.

Kramer (R-Waukesha) waived his right to a preliminary hearing, and Court Commissioner Thomas J. Pieper found probable cause for the case to proceed to trial. Each count of sexual assault carries a maximum possible penalty of 40 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.

Kramer's next court appearance is scheduled for June 18. A trial date has not yet been set.

The charges allege that Kramer grabbed the breasts and groin of the congressional staffer after a Republican event at a Muskego bar.

Kramer's attorney, Eduardo Borda, said Thursday's hearing was the beginning of the process of separating fact from fiction.

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New Berlin schools listed among top in Wisconsin for college placements

May 05, 2014 3:02 p.m. | New Berlin — Because so many of its students take exams for college level credit and do well on them, New Berlin Eisenhower and New Berlin West middle/high schools came in for a state and a national honor.

Both were recognized as Advanced Placement Pacesetter Schools by the Wisconsin Advanced Placement Advisory Council, and Eisenhower was recognized by U.S. News and World Report as third best in Wisconsin for college readiness. West was ranked fourth.

Pacesetter awards were presented by the council in partnership with Wisconsin Cooperative Educational Services Agencies.

Local schools were recognized for having had more than 30 percent of students take advanced placement college level exams with more than 70 percent scoring at least a three or high enough to win college credit at most universities.

In announcing the awards, the council praised the local high schools for "impressive student AP access and excellence in AP exam scores in the state of Wisconsin."

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