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Milwaukee alderman weighs in on New Berlin housing flap

June 08, 2010 2:47 p.m. | Milwaukee Common Council President Willie Hines has weighed in on New Berlin’s controversial affordable housing project proposed for the Waukesha County suburb’s City Center.

In a statement, Hines reminded New Berlin that part of Milwaukee’s agreement to provide New Berlin with Lake Michigan water required New Berlin to “take a hard look at housing demographics and public transportation alternatives.”

The Milwaukee Common Council has an adopted policy that links water sales to affordable housing and public transit.

That policy has Waukesha Mayor Jeff Scrima wary of obtaining Lake Michigan water from Milwaukee. Scrima has said he is worried that a water contract with Milwaukee would allow that city to intrude in Waukesha affairs.

Waukesha is seeking a lake supply so that it can halt use of deep wells pumping radium-tainted water out of a sandstone aquifer.

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School heating, cooling projects win most support in New Berlin survey

Nov. 17, 2014 4:49 p.m. | New Berlin — Replacing the HVAC at New Berlin West Middle/High School and providing air conditioning at two elementary schools were the only projects that seemed to attract enough support from residents that they would pay higher taxes to get them done.

The New Berlin School District has released the results of a survey that the School Board hopes will help it decide which facilities projects are most important to taxpayers. A consultant conducted a phone survey of 379 heads of households living in all parts of the district and in various age groups and including parents and nonparents.

A majority, 63 percent of respondents, said they would support a property tax increase of $62.50 per year on a $250,000 home for priority projects, according to the survey. That percentage rose to 68 percent if the yearly increase were $42.50 and shot up to 76 percent for a $17.50 annual increase.

Four other potential facilities projects in the New Berlin schools also attracted support in the survey, but not enough to translate into a willingness to pay higher taxes.

One of those four was fixing the swimming pool at Eisenhower Middle/High School, an issue that has been hotly debated. Bringing the pool back up to competition level was favored by 61 percent of respondents. But only 44 percent said they would support the project if it meant higher taxes.

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New Berlin may get hospital emergency department

Nov. 17, 2014 3:39 p.m. | New Berlin — The urgent care walk-in facility at 4805 S. Moorland Road in New Berlin would be upgraded into a full scale emergency department, if all the approvals can be obtained.

Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin operate the urgent care facility and want to construct a building addition that would enable the hospital and medical college to convert and expand the emergency care facility.

The building addition proposal will be considered by the New Berlin Plan Commission on Dec. 1.

About a year ago, the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Moorland Reserve Health Center opened in New Berlin, said Kathleen Sieja, Froedtert media relations director. It attracted so many patients that Froedtert and the Medical College realized there is a need in the area.

"Far more people than we thought were coming there for care," she said.

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Signature gathering to start soon for Muskego Common Council

Nov. 17, 2014 10:56 a.m. | The terms of four Muskego aldermen will expire next year and they and those wanting to run for their seats can start collecting signatures Dec. 1 to be on the April 7 ballot.

Terms will expire for Bob Hammel, 2nd District; Blaise Di Pronio, 4th District; Kevin Kubacki, 6th District; and Eileen Madden, 7th District.

The deadline for filing nomination papers at the Muskego City Hall is 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 6.

If a primary election is needed, it would be held Feb. 17.

New Berlin School District sells former Glen Park Elementary School

Nov. 17, 2014 9:33 a.m. | New Berlin — On Friday, the New Berlin School District sold the former Glen Park Elementary School, 3500 S. Glen Park Road., to Heritage Christian Schools for $1.75 million.

School Board President David Maxey said in a news release announcing the sale that the district is pleased to be able to honor the requests of the Glen Park neighborhood to keep the building as a school.

The board accepted the offer to purchase Glen Park from Heritage Christian Schools on April 15. On May 12, the school district electorate voted at the annual meeting 61 to 11 to sell Glen Park under terms and conditions the board approves.

Glen Park was closed as a school in June 2012 after a strenuous defense by parents, but the school board closed it for budget reasons.

The school on 9.2 acres was placed on the market with Anderson Commercial in September 2013. Funds from the sale of Glen Park will be used to complete projects in the district's Long-Range Facilities Plan.

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New Berlin boys volleyball falls in state-title match

Nov. 15, 2014 8:34 p.m. | The New Berlin United boys volleyball team, seeking its second state championship, fell in a heartbreaker to top-seeded Marquette in the WIAA state championship match Saturday at Wisconsin Lutheran College, 21-25, 16-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-13.

The United, after topping second-seeded Appleton North in four sets earlier in the day, held a 2-0 lead on the perennial championship-contending Hilltoppers and even led in the fifth set, 13-12, before Marquette recorded the final three points of the 2014 season.

The United finished 29-7.

New Berlin United catch fire in fourth, reach state semis

Nov. 14, 2014 8:11 p.m. | The New Berlin United had just been whistled for a net violation negating a block that would have spotted the squad a 24-22 lead in the crucial third set of the WIAA boys volleyball state quarterfinal.

New Berlin deployed Matt Zeske to get it back.

None of Zeske's 16 kills at Wisconsin Lutheran College on Nov. 14 was bigger than a termination to spot his team a 24-23 lead at that moment, and when Quinn Farrell locked down the set for a 25-23 lead, New Berlin had a 2-1 advantage en route to a 25-2, 22-25, 25-23, 25-13 victory over Catholic Memorial.

"We're diverse," United coach Jay Szatkowski said. "We've got multiple options, and that's a great thing for us. How do you game-plan when the ball could be all over the place?"

Still, Zeske had a chance to shine in the program's first state visit since 2009. He recorded four straight New Berlin points in the waning moments of the first set, including the kill to tie the score at 23 and another to give his team the lead.

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Paul Farrow announces for Waukesha County executive

Nov. 14, 2014 11:54 a.m. | Madison — State Sen. Paul Farrow is running for Waukesha County executive, while Rep. Dale Kooyenga has decided he will not seek the position.

Farrow, a Pewaukee Republican and the son of former Lt. Gov. Margaret Farrow, announced his plans late Thursday, after news emerged that County Executive Dan Vrakas would not seek re-election.

"We have proved time and time again, that our pursuit of lower taxes, community involvement, and electing good stewards of the public trust helps build strong communities and a county that we are all proud of," Farrow said in a written statement announcing his plans. "I look forward to continuing that tradition if I have the honor to serve as county executive."

Kooyenga, a Brookfield Republican, said Friday he had been encouraged to run but decided against it.

"After prayer and discussing with my amazing wife, Jennifer, we decided I can best fight for our values and principles by continued service in the Legislature," Kooyenga said in a written statement.

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Vrakas to retire as Waukesha County exec, sparking likely GOP tussle

Nov. 13, 2014 9:50 a.m. | Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas announced Thursday that he won't be running for re-election in the spring.

The announcement comes some eight months after Vrakas made public the fact that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He completed treatment in 10 weeks and returned to work full time in June.

Word of Vrakas' impending retirement announcement had several leading Waukesha Republicans scrambling to gauge and, in some cases, lock up support for what will be an open seat. The general election for the nonpartisan office is to be held in April.

Heading the list of potential candidates are Sen. Paul Farrow, a Pewaukee Republican, and Rep. Dale Kooyenga, a Republican from Brookfield. Both are considered rising stars in the party.

"I would say that Farrow is probably the favorite, but this is incredibly early," said one Waukesha Republican. "Dan hasn't even announced that he's not running." 

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Waukesha County keeps taxes flat in 2015 budget

Nov. 12, 2014 6:10 p.m. | The Waukesha County Board on Wednesday adopted a final 2015 budget with an increase of slightly less than 1% to the general property tax levy.

The total levy stands at $100.49 million for 2015, up $987,100 from this year.

The property tax rate needed to generate the 2015 levy is $2.08 per $1,000 of equalized valuation, down seven cents from this year. The decrease in the rate coupled with a rise in property values will result in no change in the county portion of the December tax bills for most homeowners.

The tax rate and levy were unchanged from the budget recommended by County Executive Dan Vrakas.

Vrakas praised the board for approving a budget that does not increase the property tax burden on homeowners. The final budget "maintains our role as a low tax leader in the state," Vrakas said.

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Muskego parks, recreation director resigns after reshuffle

Nov. 12, 2014 3:16 p.m. | Muskego Parks and Recreation Director Craig Anderson resigned last week after the Common Council decided to move parks maintenance to the Department of Public Works starting with the 2015 city budget.

With that action, Anderson was to become the recreation supervisor, with a cut in pay. Anderson had been with the city for 17 years.

Tammy Dunn, program recreation manager, is serving as the interim director, Muskego Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti told the Common Council on Tuesday.

Muskego may cut days, hours for fireworks displays at homes

Nov. 12, 2014 2:28 p.m. | Muskego — Muskego may cut the number of days and the number of hours that residents can shoot off fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July.

Muskego is the only community in the metropolitan area that allows individuals with city permits to have private fireworks shows during the holiday.

Currently, the displays are limited to July 1 to 7. That could be cut back to July 3, 4 and 5 and one weekend day at the Common Council's choosing. And the current 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. allowable hours would become 4 to 11 p.m.

The Muskego Common Council last week called for staff to come back with a resolution containing the changes and that also clears up some ambiguity in the current ordinance.

The council stopped short of banning fireworks, as was advocated by Alderman Blaise Di Pronio.

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Muskego Common Council approves rezoning for lake home/condo plan

Nov. 12, 2014 2:07 p.m. | Muskego — Opponents failed to block a rezoning that is key to the building of five homes and 12 condominiums on two lots on Little Muskego Lake.

The Common Council last week approved the rezoning 4-2 for the controversial development proposed for Janesville Road just north of Pioneer Drive. Now the project's site and building plans must go through the city approval process.

Developer Michael Dilworth, president of Ener-Con Companies, has said that although the housing would all be on two lots, the project conforms to the medium density called for in the city's 2020 Comprehensive Plan. That is because the development includes an existing home with a large yard that brings the number of units per acre down, he said.

Not so, critics say.

It isn't fair to build all the units on just two lots and use the big yard of the home next door to make the numbers come out right for medium density, they say.

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New Berlin to get citywide residential trash pickups

Nov. 10, 2014 9:32 p.m. | New Berlin — New Berlin will have citywide residential trash pickups, probably starting next May, the Common Council decided Monday.

Officials estimated that the city taking over residential refuse pickups would save the average homeowner $175 annually because the city can get better rates due to the large amount of business it can offer waste haulers, said Alderman Dennis Stribl. Currently, residents contract with haulers on their own, paying an average of $360 per home, officials said. That compares with the $150 per household the city is looking at that would be billed to residential owners, Stribl said.

Not everyone agrees that the citywide plan is a good deal, however. The proposal brought out bigger crowds than anyone had ever seen to a public information and input meeting Oct. 27, and people packed a second meeting last week.

Many of them liked the more economical tag and bag option they get from Advanced Disposal where they pay $5 a bag. That service will be discontinued in New Berlin as of March 31, said Jason Johnson, Advanced Disposal's municipal market manager for southeastern Wisconsin.

At first it was thought that the trend toward one-person garbage trucks using a mechanical arm to pick up trash was responsible for tag and bag being dropped. But Johnson said the mechanical arms can pick up bags as well as carts.

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Suburban roundup: Week three of the WIAA football postseason

Nov. 10, 2014 10:45 a.m. | Big plays, big mistakes, dominant defenses, and last second heroics. Such were the key factors of week three football in the WIAA postseason.

A roundup of our coverage:

-Homestead pulled off a miraculous last-minute drive and converted a two point attempt to defeat rival Cedarburg 15-14.

-Arrowhead scored on multiple big plays to defeat Mukwonago, 28-10. PHOTO GALLERY: Arrowhead vs. Mukwonago.

-Darlington managed to contain Lake Country Lutheran's explosive halfback Adam Tovar en route to a 41-12 win.

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Fitzgerald: Senate, Assembly Republicans differ on some issues

Nov. 06, 2014 5:34 p.m. | Madison — The leader of the state Senate said Thursday he agreed in broad terms with an Assembly agenda that includes cutting property taxes and overhauling the state elections agency, but signaled the two houses could initially disagree on some details.

The comments from Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) came soon after Senate Republicans chose Sen. Mary Lazich of New Berlin to serve as the body's president. She will be the first woman in state history to hold that position.

"It's very important that in the role of being Senate president you are fair and calm," Lazich said.

Republicans are set to control the Senate 19-14 after Tuesday's elections. The Republicans will have at least 61 seats in the 99-member Assembly, and possibly as many as 63 once the final vote tally is completed.

Fitzgerald and Lazich said in the next two-year legislative session they want to make changes to the Government Accountability Board, which oversees state elections and investigates suspected violations of campaign finance laws. They said they were expecting an audit soon that would give them ideas for how to change the agency.

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