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Veteran New Berlin School District employees will receive one-time payments

Nov. 28, 2012 8:44 a.m. | Many New Berlin School District employees will receive a one-time payment outside of the collective bargaining process, the New Berlin School Board decided Monday.

The board approved a 1.64 percent increase for the 2011-12 school year and a 1.86 percent increase for the current 2012-13 school year. Those who will receive the payment are current teachers, specialists, librarians, psychologists, counselors, therapists and special education paraprofessionals who worked for the district before this year. Payments are expected to be made early in 2013.

Board member Art Marquardt called the one-time payment an important way-station as the district works on a full compensation redesign. The compensation plan will be designed to recruit, retain and reward employees, and will form the basis of future compensation decisions.

While that redesign is in progress, the board wants to show the staff how it values and appreciates employees, board President David Maxey said.

The staff works hard and the board wants to recognize that, said board member Tom David, who also noted that it will help them keep up with the cost of living.

Bankruptcy judge approves sale of YMCA properties

5:51 p.m. | U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley on Tuesday approved the sale of four suburban YMCA properties for a total of $9 million, marking an important step in the efforts to downsize and restructure the organization that has been mired in debt.

"This was a huge hurdle today for the mission of the Y, which will be stronger in the region," Julie Tolan, the president and CEO of the Milwaukee Y, said after the hearing. It will also allow the Milwaukee Y to begin to move forward to focus on its future as a smaller, urban YMCA, she said.

The YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee filed for bankruptcy protection in June, faced with $29 million in debt that threatened to sink the organization.

Under the court-approved sale, the YMCA of Central Waukesha County will purchase the Southwest Y in Greenfield, the Tri-County Y in Menomonee Falls and the West Suburban Y in Wauwatosa for $7 million in cash, with a possible $1 million more based on earnings in the next two years.

The Kettle Moraine YMCA will buy the Feith Family Ozaukee YMCA for $2 million in cash at closing. The closings are tentatively scheduled for Oct. 15.

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Poll: Will Catholic Memorial or Muskego win in Week 7 matchup?

10:00 a.m. | Week 7 of the preps football season showcases a big Classic 8 matchup: Catholic Memorial at Muskego.

Last year in Waukesha, the Crusaders routed the Warriors, 41-7.

And both teams have had success this year. Catholic Memorial is 3-1 in the conference (5-1 overall). Meanwhile, Muskego leads the Classic 8 at 4-0 (6-0) and has already clinched a playoff spot.


Enter Halloween contest to win tickets to Legends & Lore

9:39 a.m. | Halloween is creeping up, and that means it's time to see and hear about your favorite Halloween haunts.

If you do, you have a chance to enjoy haunted walks, spooky stories and crafts plus folklore from Wisconsin's past with free tickets to Halloween Legends & Lore at Old World Wisconsin in Eagle on Oct. 11, 18, 25 and 31.

Here's what you need to do to be entered into a giveaway for one adult and one child admission:

Post a photo of you in your best Halloween costume or share your favorite place to go to for a Halloween fright. You can enter on Twitter or Instagram, but either way, you must include the hashtag #HalloweenWI in your post.

Deadline to enter is noon Thursday, Oct. 9. Four winners of one adult and one child admission each will be selected and notified Friday, Oct. 10.

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Preps football photos of the week: Sept. 26

Sept. 26, 2014 10:40 p.m. | Big conference games were a big part of high school football as the season continued in Week 6 on Sept. 26.

Now Newspapers and Lake Country Publications compiled the best photos shared on social media featuring teams from our coverage area, predominantly in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties.

Here's the best sights and sounds from Week 6.

Owners of former Parkland Mall lose appeal of lawsuit against Muskego

Sept. 25, 2014 5:23 p.m. | The District 2 Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court decision to dismiss a Parkland Ventures' $46 million lawsuit against the city of Muskego in connection with the development of the former Parkland Mall site.

The lawsuit mainly alleges that the city conspired to illegally take the former Parkland Mall from its owner Parkland Venture by making it too difficult to develop. The defunct mall property is 10.8 acres at Janesville Road and Lannon Drive in Muskego.

The Court of Appeals has affirmed the Feb. 20, 2013, decision by Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Lee Dreyfuss Jr. to deny all the claims in the 2009 lawsuit, which contained allegations stemming from 1997.

Parkland Venture appealed in May 2013.

Proposed Waukesha County budget keeps property taxes flat

Sept. 24, 2014 4:29 p.m. | Total Waukesha County government spending in 2015 would drop $3 million from this year, to $279.1 million, under a 2015 budget proposed by County Executive Dan Vrakas.

The county's general property tax levy needed to pay more than one-third of projected expenditures would increase slightly less than 1% to $100.49 million for 2015, up $987,100 from the county levy this year, according to budget documents.

Since property values rose about 3% countywide as of Jan. 1 this year, county government can cut its tax rate to generate the higher levy for 2015.

The proposed rate drops seven cents to $2.08 per $1,000 of equalized value. Most homeowners will see no change in the county's portion of their December tax bill.

Though the median home value rose to $246,300 as of Jan. 1, up $7,400, the owner of that home would pay $512 for the county portion of the 2015 tax bill, the same amount as this year. The tax bill impact on specific properties will vary depending on local assessments and changes in property values.

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Waukesha County authorities apprehend wanted man

Sept. 24, 2014 1:14 p.m. | A man wanted on several warrants and last seen in Waukesha County — and who prompted authorities to appeal to the public for help in locating him — has been apprehended, authorities said Wednesday.

Deputies arrested Donald Berry, 43, shortly before 8 a.m. Wednesday in the area of Townline Road and Garrett Drive in Vernon after a citizen reported seeing a man matching his description, according to a news release.

The man ran north on Guthrie Road, ignoring deputies' orders to stop, and eventually a department dog was used to apprehend him. Deputy Brad Schuenemann is the handler for the dog, named Soldier.

On Tuesday, Waukesha County sheriff's deputies released information about Berry, who was stopped by a deputy after he was called to a report of a man walking on Interstate 43 near Big Bend at 5:46 p.m. Monday, according to a news release.

Berry gave a false name to the deputy and fled on foot north on I-43, officials said.

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Opinion divided on Muskego letting people have chickens, other fowl

Sept. 24, 2014 12:09 p.m. | Muskego — With Muskego officials thinking about allowing residents to have chickens and other fowl, supporters seemed to slightly outnumber critics at last week's public hearing.

In the end, the Muskego Common Council approved the first reading of an ordinance allowing all fowl, although that may be narrowed to just chickens, on average residential lots of 120,000 square feet or more. Under the current proposal, all sorts of birds including turkeys, pheasants, geese and even peacocks would be allowed.

The proposed ordinance also requires neighbors to sign off on living next door to fowls, a provision that proved controversial at the hearing.

Detractors of the proposal to allow fowl on suburban lots said it would open up issues of cleanliness, noise and smell and would not be in keeping with a suburban community. Supporters' arguments included that the proposed ordinance requires cleanliness, limits the fowl to hens which don't make noise, that Muskego has a rural rather than a suburban feel, that chickens would provide health benefits by providing fresh eggs, and finally that communities such as Milwaukee and Madison allow chickens on much smaller lots than those in Muskego.

City staff surveyed several communities and found that some allow chickens on smaller lots and some don't. Those that do are New Berlin, Milwaukee with neighbors' approval, Madison, River Hills and Wauwatosa. Those that don't are Franklin except on lots of 3 or more acres, Greenfield, Oak Creek except on 5 acres and Greendale.

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Speakers say high-density slipping through on Little Muskego Lake

Sept. 24, 2014 11:52 a.m. | Muskego — A shell game is what most speakers called a proposed five-home gated development with a separate 12-unit condominium building on Little Muskego Lake at a public hearing last week.

The proposal is on Janesville Road north of Pioneer Road.

Several speakers told the Muskego Common Council that all the proposed building would be piled on half the 6.7-acre site, making for a high population density. But the developer maintains that the project qualifies for the required medium density because there is only one home on the rest of the land, so the housing units per acre meet the city's requirement.

The speakers called that a shell game. But Jeff Muenkel, community development director, said the city has given approvals of other developments on that basis.

But David Taube, Kingston Drive, a former alderman, said approving this could lead to overpopulation around the lake.

» Read Full Article


Sept. 22, 2014 9:28 a.m. | Muskego — The Muskego Police Department last week opened enrollment in a new voluntary program designed to increase the safety and security of residents with special needs.

The purpose of the program is to identify children and adults with special needs. Having prior knowledge of a person's special needs, such as autism, hearing impairment, emotional or behavioral impairment, limited cognitive and communicative abilities or dementia will help police and emergency personnel resolve calls more effectively and safely, police said.

The program is called M-S.N.A.P., which stands for the Muskego Special Needs Awareness Program. There also is a senior component for those at least 65 years old. It's called M- S.N.A.P. Silver.

The program was inspired by a difference in the way children and adults are cared for now.

"We noticed in the last several years more and more families choosing to care for loved ones in the home," said Lt. David Constantineau.

» Read Full Article

Preps football photos of the week: Sept. 19

Sept. 19, 2014 11:22 p.m. | Big conference games and intercity rivalries were a big part of high school football as the season continued in Week 5 on Sept. 19.

Now Newspapers and Lake Country Publications compiled the best photos shared on social media featuring teams from our coverage area, predominantly in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties.

Here's the best sights and sounds from Week 5.

Tosa West rushes to 31-10 win over Eisenhower

Sept. 19, 2014 10:09 p.m. | Wauwatosa West rushed for 379 yards and four touchdowns, and the defense didn’t allow a touchdown as the Trojans rolled to a 31-10 victory over New Berlin Eisenhower on Sept. 19 at home.

The Trojans improved to 1-2 in the Woodland West Division and 3-2 overall, while the Lions fell to 1-2 and 2-3 overall.

West’s star running back senior Demaris Purifoy rushed for 216 yards on 20 carries (10.8 average) and two touchdowns, while junior Truman Tyson ran for 61 yards in 7 carries (8.7) and a score. Sophomore Paris Howell added 60 yards on 11 carries (5.5) and a TD.

“I’m super happy,” Howell said. “Our team came out, executed, did what we needed to do. I love playing with Demaris. He is one of the elite backs. Whenever I get the ball, he blocks for me. Whenever he gets the ball, I block for him. He’s just a real dynamic player.”

West coach Matt Good knows that both Howell and Tyson will have to play a role the rest of the way as teams try to stop Purifoy.

» Read Full Article

All escape from devastating duplex fire in Muskego

Sept. 18, 2014 2:15 p.m. | All those living in a two-family Muskego duplex escaped a fire that engulfed the side-by-side structure about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17.

One resident was treated for smoke inhalation and released at the scene.

The blaze was in the 14900 block of West Cornell Circle in Muskego. The Tess Corners Volunteer Fire Department was assisted by firefighters from New Berlin, Franklin, Vernon and Hales Corners.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

New Berlin schools "exceed expectations" on state report card

Sept. 18, 2014 11:31 a.m. | All six schools in the New Berlin School District increased their scores from 2013 to 2014 on the state-issued District and School Report Cards while six Muskego-Norway schools improved and two lost some ground.

All the New Berlin schools exceeded expectations and once again Elmwood Elementary School was in the "significantly exceeded expectations" category, as it was last year.

Two Muskego schools significantly exceeded expectations, five exceeded expectations and one met expectations.

The District and School Report Cards issued last week by the state Department of Public Instruction are intended to offer a better picture of how well individual schools prepare students to graduate ready for college and career.

Overall scores are based on four priority areas, each with its own rating of 0 to 100.

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City would pay $1.2 million to man shot by cops in home

Sept. 17, 2014 3:45 p.m. | The City of Milwaukee would pay $1.2 million to a Franklin man shot by city police in his home in 2006 during a SWAT team's forced entry and search of the residence, under a proposed settlement to be considered Tuesday by the Common Council.

Settlement negotiations were set in motion last November when a federal jury hearing the man's lawsuit against the city found that a police detective lied on a search warrant affidavit requesting the "no knock" warrant. A court commissioner approved the warrant allowing a SWAT team to break into the home of Richard Betker.

Betker was injured by police gunfire and suffered permanent disability, including the loss of a finger, in the August 2006 incident. Betker and his wife, Sharon, sued the city in federal court in 2008, claiming police violated their constitutional rights, specifically the fourth amendment's prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures. The couple's attorney called it a home invasion.

City Attorney Grant Langley has advised the Common Council to approve the settlement. This week, the council's Judiciary & Legislation Committee unanimously endorsed the proposal. The Finance & Personnel Committee on Wednesday unanimously approved a resolution to borrow the funds.

The officer in the incident, Detective Rodolfo Gomez Jr., got a tip in August 2006 about illegal weapons in the Betker home.

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