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Muskego moves to ensure gun club safety after incident

Jan. 14, 2013 12:33 p.m. | With a resident saying that he and his children hit the dirt in their backyard one afternoon due to gunfire believed to have come from a nearby gun club, the Muskego Common Council decided last week to try to set safety standards for gun ranges.

The incident that happened Nov. 18 was only the latest of 11 years of complaints claiming that bullets have flown off the range and toward three homes, Muskego Police Capt. John LaTour said. The club has promised to do something about it, but complaints haven't stopped, he said.

An official of the Schultz Resort Rod and Gun Club, S8025 Schultz Lane, said people routinely hunt in the area but the gun club gets blamed for any time there is a problem. The club also has instituted internal reforms since 2010 such as required safety training, testing, access control system and video surveillance.

The club has berms and a baffle to catch the flying bullets, but city officials plan to get expert help to write an ordinance embodying up-to-date safety standards. Then when the gun club asks to renew its annual permit, the city will see if the club's safety arrangements meet those new standards, Mayor Cathy Chiaverotti said. The Schultz Resort Rod and Gun Club is the only private outdoor shooting range in the city, she said.

Within a month, she will have more information on the city's options and on cost, Chiaverotti said. She and the Finance Committee hoped to tap into free assistance from the National Rifle Association that has gun range standards.

New Berlin, Muskego police chiefs applaud standardized recruit fitness

2:09 p.m. | Local police chiefs are celebrating the state taking over physical fitness testis of those applying for police patrolman positions.

Starting in January, all those who attend recruit academies, mainly at state technical colleges, will have to pass minimum physical fitness requirements to be certified as trained police officers. Currently, individual police departments conduct their own fitness tests that take about half a day and require at least half a dozen officers so that each station is manned.

"It takes the burden off of individual agencies," said New Berlin Police Chief Joe Reider.

"It's good for law enforcement to have one set of standards," said Muskego Police Chief Craig Moser.

The chiefs said that the new state standards are close to the fitness standards their departments have.

Proposed zero property tax increase New Berlin budget going to hearing

1:28 p.m. | A proposed no-property-tax increase New Berlin budget for 2016 will go to a public hearing at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, in the New Berlin City Hall, 3805 S. Casper Drive.

The proposed levy is actually 1.16 percent higher than this year's levy, but because new building has taken place in the city increasing the tax base, no tax increase is expected.

The proposed $35 million operating budget includes a mini-reorganization stemming from the retirement of Mark Schroeder, director of parks, recreation and forestry. He will not be replaced and recreation will be split off into its own department and parks and facilities will become the new buildings and grounds department. The savings resulting from not replacing the director have helped offset increased costs and made it possible to hire staff to do some work inhouse.

The proposed budget also carries forward a savings plan for bigger-ticket equipment that the city has traditionally borrowed for and then paid interest.

A 1 percent across-the-board pay increase for employees not represented by unions also is included in the proposed spending plan.

Sport Shorts: Oct. 15, 2015

Oct. 12, 2015 2:43 p.m. |


New Berlin senior Ashley Hofmeisterqualified last week to take part in the WIAA Wisconsin Girls Division 1 State Championship on Oct. 13-14 at University Ridge in Madison.

Hofmeister was one of three individual qualifiers at the Mukwonago sectional on Oct. 6 at the Edgewood Golf Course in Big Bend. She tied for fourth with an 80, along with CheyAnn Knudsen of Milton.

Kate Martin of Mukwonago was the meet medalist (77), followed by Mia Seeman of Milton (78) and Mari Suokko of Union Grove.

Martin, Hofmeister and Jessica Kuzniewski of Waukesha South/North/West, who finished tied for sixth (81), were the individual qualifiers.

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New Berlin West football team beats Cudahy for first victory of season

Oct. 12, 2015 9:48 a.m. | The New Berlin West football team shut out Cudahy in the second half and scored the winning touchdown in the third quarter on Oct. 9 to earn their first win of the season, 21-20, at Cudahy.

The win gave the Vikings a 1-7 record, but they are still 0-5 in the Woodland West Division since it is considered a nonconference crossover game. West will host Brown Deer (1-4, 2-6) at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, in their season finale in a crossover game that will count in the standings.

It might sound like a cliche, but it took a team effort for the Vikings to beat the Packers.

"We needed to shore up our offensive line, which was not playing as well as in the past," coach Al Moroder said. "We told them our defense got us three turnovers, now we (offense) have to do our part. The defense shut them out in the second half, and the offense scored the winning touchdown and had a couple five- to six-minute drives — on one we went and converted — on fourth down twice to seal the win."

Junior quarterback Rusty Murphy scored on a 4-yard run with 5:57 left in the first half, but West stopped the two-point conversion, so the Packers led, 6-0.

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New Berlin tennis seasons come to a close

Oct. 12, 2015 9:38 a.m. | New Berlin West and Eisenhower tied for seventh with Wilmot with 8 points at the Racine Case Sectional on Oct. 7 and saw their seasons come to an end.

New Berlin West senior Naomi Bhagat (18-2) lost her first match in Flight 1, and seniors Jade Piper/Avery Jenks lost their first doubles match in Flight 1.

On New Berlin Eisenhower's side, freshman Lauren Kosch (13-3) finished fourth in Flight 4 singles.

The final team results at the New Berlin West Subsectional on Oct. 5 had Brookfield East (22), Brookfield Central (20) and Divine Savior Holy Angels (18) of the Greater Metro Conference leading the way.

Both New Berlin West (8) and Eisenhower (8) tied for fourth, while West Allis, Whitnall and Milwaukee Hamilton didn't score a point.

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New Berlin Eisenhower's Joey Scaffidi keys win over Greenfield

Oct. 12, 2015 9:23 a.m. | New Berlin Eisenhower defeated Greenfield, 30-20, on Oct. 9 at Greenfield in a Woodland crossover game as the Lions' 253-yard rushing attack was led by junior Joey Scaffidi.

The Lions are 7-1 overall and working on a five-game winning streak. They are in second place with a 4-1 record in the Woodland West Division, one game behind Greendale (5-0).

They close out the regular season with a game against Whitnall of the East Division. The Falcons (5-3 overall) are tied for first with Greenfield, each at 4-1. Whitnall is coming off a 48-17 loss to Greendale at home last Friday.

Scaffidi rushed for 196 yards on 24 carries (8.0 average) and scored touchdowns on runs of 7, 74 and 4 yards.

"Joey as an inside runner is a great complement to our other guys," Eisenhower coach Matt Kern said. "He doesn't have the big frame of an inside runner, but he is so shifty and tough and has the vision to do it. We leaned on him to get tough yards.

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New Berlin property values up 6 to 6.5 percent on average for taxes

Oct. 12, 2015 9:03 a.m. | New Berlin —With New Berlin going into its first property tax season with its new assessed values, properties with values that rose more than 61/2 percent could see a tax increase while those with new values less than that could see a decrease.

All that depends on taxes being about the same as last year. The proposed municipal levy will be the same. However, the proposed New Berlin School District levy is up 1.2 percent.

The city reassessed all properties in the city last year. The average increase was 6 to 6 1/2 percent, said assessor Paul Koller. Properties with new assessments higher than average will shoulder more of the tax burden then they did before. Those with new assessments less than average will shoulder less of the burden. However, if levies go up enough, everyone will see a property tax increase.

Residential properties and commercial make up nearly all the city's tax base, Koller said. Both saw increases that reflect a recovering economy, he said. Residential went up more than commercial, that normally sees more subdued swings, he said.

Homes lead way

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New Berlin Common Council asked to clear way for big changes at store

Oct. 12, 2015 7:23 a.m. | The New Berlin Common Council is expected to approve changes that would enable a popular hardware store to expand its outdoor display area and to eventually build a larger store at its current site.

A rezoning to planned unit development and plans for the additional outdoor display area are expected to win council approval Tuesday for Blair True Value, 15300 W. National Ave.

While the outdoor display would be enlarged immediately, a new building is probably a few years off, said owner Jim Blair. The vacant home that the store owns next door also would eventually be raised and a smaller building built to possibly house a bank or another type of business. Blair said he has had several inquiries.

Any new building plans would need separate city approvals.

No-tax-increase proposed Muskego city budget heads for public hearing

Oct. 12, 2015 7:13 a.m. | A no-tax-increase city budget that still includes money for preparing plans for a new city hall, remodeling the current city hall to be a new police department and changes to the department of public works facility will go to a public hearing Monday, Oct. 19.

A separate hearing will be held on the facilities projects early next year, although calls have already come for a referendum to be held on the $19 million in proposed projects. State law requires a referendum on projects of $10 million or more, but city officials maintain that the projects are separate because they would be done over three years and so do not need to be taken to referendum.

The budget hearing will be at 6 p.m. at the city hall, W182 S8200 Racine Ave., on the $17.7 million proposed operating and debt budgets that together are 0.08 percent higher than this year's budgets. The proposed property tax levy is $12.3 million, or 0.98 percent higher than this year's levy. The reason property taxes would not go up is a 1.26 percent net growth in the property tax base.

Updated week eight rankings of area prep football teams and players

New Berlin seeks policy for taxing units promoting development

Oct. 05, 2015 3:28 p.m. | New Berlin — With a large tract of farmland almost ready for development, New Berlin officials want to establish a policy about when the city might form the special taxing units that many communities use to speed development.

A draft policy to use as a guide when developers ask the city of New Berlin to form a special taxing unit to promote their developments is now in the hands of aldermen who will hash out details in weeks to come.

New Berlin has already used the tax incremental finance district to advantage to develop the Westridge/Towne Corporate Business Park. The TIF promoted growth of the tax base from the original $5 million to more than $182 million today, according to city staff.

Under the draft policy, the city would retain its power to be picky about which developments it would back, requiring extensive financial information and guarantees to protect taxpayers.

Safeguards essential

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Fees shoot up for New Berlin recreation swim lessons, pool classes

Oct. 05, 2015 3:03 p.m. | New Berlin — Parents who registered their children for fall New Berlin Recreation Department swimming lessons know that the fees shot up $18 or about 39 percent.

The same goes for two adult swimming pool offerings, also of the recreation department.

The reason is that the department wants to make the swim programs pay for themselves as the other recreation programs do, said Caitlin Vosberg, recreation program supervisor.

Fees for fall swimming lessons that had been $46 and $49 are now $64 and $67. Adult swim was $51 and is now $69 with adult Aquacise that was $35 now being $53.

Despite the hikes, enrollment seems stable compared to last fall, Vosberg said. And she hasn't had any feedback from disappointed parents.

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Sport Shorts: Oct. 8, 2015

Oct. 05, 2015 2:48 p.m. |


The Lions went winless, but played well, at the Menomonee Falls Invitational on Oct. 3.

Eisenhower lost to Germantown (25-19, 25-15), Menomonee Falls (25-20, 25-18), West Allis Hale (25-19, 25-21, 15-13), Kettle Moraine Lutheran (25-22, 19-25, 15-7) and Bay Port (25-23, 25-23),

The results from the South Milwaukee dual meet were not reported.


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New Berlin sets hearing on proposed zero-increase property tax budget

Oct. 05, 2015 11:33 a.m. | New Berlin —New building in the city such as the Walmart on Greenfield Avenue likely will keep the 2016 tax rate flat, officials said.

Although the proposed 2016 property tax levy is projected to be 1.16 percent higher than the previous year, value added this year to the city's tax base should cover the tax levy increase, officials said. Next year's proposed operating budget is $35.2 million, up 0.71 percent. The proposed levy is $24.7 million. A proposed tax rate has yet to be formulated because the budget is not yet completed.

A public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, on the proposed New Berlin budget that is projected to be a zero-increase property tax budget for city purposes.

How individual properties will be affected by the proposed levy is complicated by last year's revaluation of all the property in the city for property tax purposes. The average citywide increase in property values was 2.5 percent. That means the owner of property that rose 2.5 percent in value would pay the same amount of property taxes, if the levy remained the same and if no property were added to the tax base. If the property value increased more than 2.5 percent, the tax bill would be higher. But if the property value increased less than 2.5 percent, taxes would be lower.

Budget highlights

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Muskego-Norway official sees benefits from evidence-based leadership

Oct. 05, 2015 10:08 a.m. | As the Muskego-Norway schools start the second of a three-year evidence-based leadership program, Superintendent Kelly Thompson reported the schools are seeing positive results already.

"We have seen an increase in employee satisfaction in all areas of our engagement survey," she said.

That is a sign that the evidence-based leadership initiative aimed at helping administrators better support employees to maximize their potential is not just on paper but is in everyday use.

Muskego-Norway has partnered with the Pewaukee and Kettle Moraine school districts to have leadership consultant the Studer Group teach district-level administrators and principals evidence-based leadership techniques.

"Studer has worked with us to embed 'evidence-based leadership' into our daily work," Thompson said.

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