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Win State Fair tickets on Facebook

July 29, 2012 9:08 a.m. |  Food, fun, rides, music and more await you at the Wisconsin State Fair starting Thursday. All you need is tickets.

And MyCommunityNOW is here to help.

You can win a pair of Wisconsin State Fair tickets by heading over to our Facebook page and filling out our State Fair tickets giveaway entry. Simply tell us what you're most looking forward to at the State Fair.

Entries will be taken until noon Friday. Winners will be selected in a random drawing and emailed that day. Winners can pick up the tickets at our offices or have them mailed to them.

So hurry up, head over and enter today.

New Berlin lifts burning ban

July 27, 2012 3:06 p.m. | New Berlin Fire Chief Lloyd Bertram has lifted the temporary burn ban that has been in place for the past several weeks because of the dry conditions.

The recent rains as well as more rain in the forecasts have significantly reduced the threat, he said in announcing the action.

The city's burning regulations remain in effect, he emphasized.

Swimming water quality? There's an app for that

July 27, 2012 11:28 a.m. | An app released by Milwaukee Riverkeeper makes it easy to find a safe beach for swimming.

The Swim Guide uses water quality monitoring data from government authorities. Green marks indicate acceptable water quality, while red marks show where it is unsafe. It also enables users to get directions, view photos and report pollution immediately to Milwaukee Riverkeeper.

Milwaukee Riverkeeper wants to protect beachgoers from getting sick, and raise public awareness about pollution threatening our rights to swimmable waters.

The technology was developed by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and is now managed by Milwaukee Riverkeeper and other member groups of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a network of 200 water protection groups worldwide.

The app can be downloaded at milwaukeeriverkeeper.org/content/swim-guide.

Burn ban lifted in Muskego

July 26, 2012 9:04 p.m. | Muskego Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti has lifted the burn ban in the city, upon the recommendation of the fire chief.

"The much needed rain has provided relief to drought conditions," Chiaverotti said in making the announcement. "I want to thank the residents of Muskego for complying with the ban for the safety of all."

Waukesha County to pay $256,300 to fix Nickolaus error

July 25, 2012 4:34 p.m. | The Waukesha County Board has appropriated more than a quarter-million dollars to fix an election computer programming mistake by outgoing County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus.

Supervisors voted, 22-2, on Tuesday to spend $256,300 in the wake of a breakdown in the system for reporting results in the April 3 election.

Despite Nickolaus' promise to post timely results online, the public didn't learn the results of contested local races for hours. Reporters and election reporting service representatives had to tabulate vote totals themselves from long paper tapes hanging on the walls of a meeting room.

At County Executive Dan Vrakas' direction, the county hired a consulting firm to investigate what happened, at a cost of $15,000.

SysLogic Inc. of Brookfield found that Nickolaus had ordered an upgrade in the election software and, after that upgrade, she was the only person trained to program the computers. Then, sometime after final testing of the computers, but before the election, she changed something in the programming, the consultant's report said.

» Read Full Article

DJs rezoning OK, Plan Commission to iron out disagreements

July 25, 2012 1:20 p.m. | The Muskego Common Council on Tuesday approved a controversial rezoning needed for DJs Pub & Grill to rebuild after its building at W18040 Janesville Road is demolished in the Janesville Road widening.

The property had been zoned for single-family homes and DJs, which has been in business for 90 years, was a legal but nonconforming use. While it could operate under that zoning, it couldn't rebuild.

The new zoning allows the commercial and residential development that Dan Hewitt who has owned DJs for 30 years plans.

Controversy arose because those plans call for the business to be twice as big as it is. Hewitt wants to expand from the current 1,800 square feet to 3,600 square feet.

While some neighbors want DJs to go away entirely, others are fine with it being rebuilt the same size as it is. They worry that a larger bar/restaurant with a bigger parking lot would result in them being disturbed late at night by patrons coming and going.

» Read Full Article

Power restored to 1,400 in Greenfield and New Berlin

July 23, 2012 12:40 p.m. | A power outage blacked out parts of Greenfield and New Berlin after a contractor struck an underground cable Monday morning.

About 1,400 We Energies customers lost power around 11 a.m., after the incident near the intersection of S. 99th St. and W. Coldspring Road in Greenfield, utility company spokeswoman Cathy Schulze said.

We Energies crews had power restored after noon, Schulze said.

Little League homerun derby, raffle to benefit Litwicki family

July 20, 2012 10:56 a.m. | The Greenfield Little League has announced that proceeds from its annual raffle and homerun derby will go to the Margaret Litwicki Memorial Fund, set up for the three children of Litwicki, who was stabbed to death late Friday or early Saturday.

One of the children, an 8-year-old boy, plays in the Little League's rookie division. The other children are ages 11 and 6; all three live in Greenfield.

Normally, the proceeds from the raffle and fundraiser go to the Little League, said Jeff Brunner, league vice president. The league also will make a separate donation.

The public is invited to the fundraiser to be held from 5:45 to 8:30 p.m. July 25 at Kulwicki Park, 10771 W. Cold Spring Road., Greenfield. The raffle will include about $400 worth of jewelry donated by Kesslers Diamonds, $300 worth of refinishing work donated by Greg's Refinishing - which specializes in antique furniture - and travel gift certificates.

Tickets will be sold at the park, and the drawing will be at 8 p.m.

» Read Full Article

Man charged in Greenfield murder

July 17, 2012 1:32 p.m. | A Greenfield man was charged today with first-degree intentional homicide in the stabbing death of a woman in the 4400 block of West Morgan Avenue on Saturday.

According to the complaint filed by the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office, Christopher R. Gish, 38, said he was angry with the victim, Margaret Litwicki, for threatening to take their children away. The two lived together.

The victim suffered numerous stab wounds to the neck, head and extremities, according to the complaint.

Offensive outpouring lifts Hale

July 13, 2012 10:05 p.m. | West Allis Hale extended what could be called an up and down season on Friday evening with an up and down 9-7 victory over New Berlin West in the WIAA summer baseball regional final. 

 

Junior Nick Sotiros started Hale off on an upswing with a solo home run to give the visiting Huskies the 1-0 advantage early. Sotiros finished the scoring like it started, hitting a second solo home run in the sixth inning, making his two bombs the difference in the final score. 

“I just got a good pitch and put a good swing on it,” Sotiros said. “The first one I didn’t think was going but it just kept carrying. The second one I got a 3-1 count and put another good swing on it.”

Hale moves above .500 at 16-15 and will continue on to the Monday sectional at its own ballpark.

» Read Full Article

Area schools recognized for strength programs

July 13, 2012 3:54 p.m. | Two southeastern Wisconsin high schools have received Strength of America Awards from the National Strength and Condistioning Association, the group announced today.

Marquette University High School and Muskego High School were among 14 schools the group chose in conjuction with the President's Council on Fitness Sports and Nuitrition.

The award was started in 2010 to set standards for high school conditioning programs, the group said.

"It's important to raise schools' strength and condidtioning program standards and continue to create awareness to improve the education for all our youth," said Boyd Epley, director of coaching and special projects for NSCA.

This is the third time Muskego has won the award and the second for Marquette.

» Read Full Article

Pub owner's rebuilding plans meet with resistance in Muskego

July 13, 2012 9:33 a.m. | Whether there will be a new DJs Pub & Grill after the current establishment is demolished as part of a road-widening project is still in question.

The owner of the business that has stood alongside Janesville Road for 90 years wants to rebuild, but some city officials and others aren't entirely comfortable with his plans, as presented.

According to the plans of owner Dan Hewitt, DJs would more than double in size and serve as more of a restaurant than a bar. The development would also have residential units - he originally wanted eight, but the Plan Commission recommended capping them at four.

To enable the project, Hewitt has asked the Muskego Common Council to rezone the property from residential to downtown revival district.

But, on a 4-2 vote Tuesday night, the council turned him down. There were too many unanswered questions, some aldermen and residents said.

» Read Full Article

New Berlin girl who was pulled from pool dies

July 12, 2012 8:24 p.m. | An 8-year-old girl from New Berlin who was pulled by lifeguards from the pool at the Wirth Aquatic Center in Brookfield after being found floating unconscious died Thursday.

The girl, whose identity has not been released, had been in critical condition at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin since the July 3 mishap when she and about 60 or 70 other children in the New Berlin Parks and Recreation Playground Program came for their weekly visit to the pool.

The death was reported by WTMJ-TV (Channel 4). A call to the Brookfield Police Department seeking more information was not returned Thursday evening.

GAB required Nickolaus' program change to voting machines

July 11, 2012 5:10 p.m. | Waukesha - Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus' last-minute programming change to voting machines before the April 3 election - a change that may have triggered the computer error that stymied election night results reporting - was required by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, newly released emails show.

However, a legally required public test of the equipment once that change was made to ensure it worked properly was not performed, according to the records.

A consultant hired at County Executive Dan Vrakas' insistence to identify problems and fixes in the clerk's office after a string of election-reporting problems said Nickolaus acknowledged she made a programming change after the machines were initially tested. However, the report says she didn't specify what the change was.

She has not responded to repeated requests for comment or explanation.

As a result of the consultant's findings, the County Board will be asked to spend $256,300 to fix problems and eliminate risks of future mistakes. The vast majority of it will cover fees for Command Central LLC, the software vendor, to program equipment for the May and June recall elections and next month's primary. Only $4,000 is being sought to train other staff on election system programming - a job Nickolaus kept to herself. The consultant, SysLogic Inc., initially was hired to perform the study for $15,000.

» Read Full Article

Muskego senior taxi service again gets funding

July 11, 2012 4:56 p.m. | Once again, Muskego's senior taxi service will be able to finish the year in the black with the help of $5,000 from the city on top of thousands of dollars from local businesses and community groups and a subsidy by Waukesha County.

On Tuesday, Muskego approved the $5,000 contribution from funds left over from tax incremental finance districts that have met their goals and are now closed.

While the city has provided funding from closed TIFs almost every year since 2008, Alderman Dan Soltysiak called for the city to set up a separate fund that could be budgeted to meet such expenses if groups that provide community services get into a bind. By the time they come to the city they would likely find that every city dollar is already spoken for, he said.

That suggestion will be discussed soon during budget development for next year.

Muskego plan now makes no mention of lake park

July 11, 2012 4:54 p.m. | With the extremely controversial proposal to establish a park on Little Muskego Lake now dead, the Muskego Common Council on Tuesday wiped mention of establishing a park from the city's Comprehensive Plan for the year 2020.

One of the justifications for a park on the lake was that the 2020 plan suggested that it be explored, if properties became available. The 4-2 council vote did not accept the Plan Commission recommendation to leave the park idea in the plan.

Despite that decision, the potential for a park on the lake isn't completely lost in city documents. It's mentioned in the city's new marketing plan and possibly in other city planning documents.

Muskego makes a 911 call of its own in dispatch fight

July 11, 2012 3:26 p.m. | Tired of 18 months of doors being slammed in its face, the Muskego Common Council on Tuesday approved an ordinance requiring all 911 emergency cellphone calls originating in Muskego to go to the Muskego dispatch center.

Currently, landline 911 calls go to local dispatchers, but cellphone 911 calls are answered by dispatchers at the Waukesha County Communications Center, which transfers them to Muskego. The city wants to answer all locally originated 911 to speed up response time that can be critical in medical situations.

However, the WCC officials maintain that they do a better job and refuse to agree to the switchover.

The city appealed to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission that said the two dispatch centers should work it out. But WCC has been unwilling to meet with Muskego, said Muskego Police Chief Paul Geiszler.

So, Muskego simply passed an ordinance ordering the switchover. Companies that have cellphone towers in Muskego will be notified. Geiszler said the company officials he has already contacted say they are perfectly happy to switch, if they are ordered to do so.

Cudahy walks off a winner

July 10, 2012 11:01 p.m. | Tuesday evening’s baseball playoff between Cudahy and New Berlin Eisenhower ended just as competitively and thrillingly as it had been played, with the final score standing at 8-7 after a walk-off single RBI from Cudahy’s Jacob Littmann.

The Packers entered the bottom of the seventh inning down 7-5 and had not scored since the third inning. Collin Eichner started with a single to the outfield just past Eisenhower’s Aaron Wilson. He subsequently stole second and moved to third on a single from JT Athy.

Zach Polser, a courtesy runner for Athy, stole second on a wild pitch before Ike’s Mitch Arman, who had pitched the entire game, walked Joe Rogers to load the bases. Chase Pendzich stepped up to the plate with two hits and three RBIs already on his ledger. His double into the outfield brought in Eichner and Polser to tie the game at 7 with just one out.

“I go through the same routine every time,” said Pendzich. “It feels great, I haven’t felt that before and I want to keep it going.”
 

Eisenhower coach Aaron Adsit decided to walk Teontae Morgan, the Packers’ next batter, once again loading the bases, and bringing Littmann up to bat.

“I was really nervous,” said Littmann, “especially when I saw the intentional walk but then both the coaches came and talked to me and said to go and get my pitch and that first pitch, I liked it.”

Littmann sent the first delivery into the outfield and scored Rogers.

“I feel amazing,” Littmann said. “I don’t think there’s a better feeling in the world.”

“We got the top of the order up,” said Cudahy coach Mike Lessard. “Collin Eichner’s been pretty good for us all year and I feel like when he gets on, it’s a spark plug for us. When he gets on, good things happen. I like our lineup. Each pitch is a separate at bat and you’ve got to remember to breath. I think that’s overlooked. They just ride it out, have a good quality at bat, and stack those on top of each other.”


The Lions got the game rolling in the first inning, jumping out to a 3-0 lead. The Lions led the game until the third inning when Pendzich drove in two runs on a double to make it a 5-4, Packers. But from there, Cudahy stood still until the final batter. Leading the defense for the Lions was Andrew Contrucci, who made two rather remarkable catches in the outfield.

“Andrew’s gotten better as the season went along like most of our team,” said Adsit. “We’re a very young program from top to bottom. We’re only graduating three seniors. Andrew’s a junior who really didn’t have varsity experience until this year, and he’s really made some strides defensively for us, and that’s going to be important for us moving forward.”

Cudahy had a defensive weapon of its own, however. On four occasions, Eisenhower runners were gunned down on the basepaths, either stealing or leaning too far off the bag.  Relief pitcher Randy Meyer picked off two runners on first to end the top of the seventh without giving up any runs.
 
“He’s been doing that all year,” said Lessard. “He’s picked guys off that have been a foot off the base. He’s just got a good move and those were some big outs. Our guys are confident when we get a clean inning.”

The Lions also had runners caught between bases twice.

“We were making the proper adjustments during the game,” said Adsit, “But just like anything during the course of the game, it doesn’t always go to plan, and I think that’s all it really was. We took care of our business and a couple of breaks didn’t go our way. Personally, I have been on as many walk-offs as I have been on guys walking off on us, so it all evens out in the end and I feel very confident about the way we handled things.”
 
Lessard added, “You’ve got to give Eisenhower a lot of credit. I don’t think it was one player or one pitch. I’m proud of all of our guys for hanging in there and playing it one pitch at a time.

Next up for Cudahy will be top seeded Oak Creek, but the Packers feel that they are up to the challenge.

“Oak Creek is a good team, but anything can happen,” said Littmann.

Nickolaus changed software before April election breakdown

July 10, 2012 6:44 p.m. | Sometime after final testing of Waukesha County's election software - but before the April election - County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus mysteriously changed something in her office's computer programming, according to a consulting firm's report released Tuesday.

Only Nickolaus knows what she did. The consultants can't figure it out, and she's not talking.

But whatever she did, it caused a breakdown in reporting election results that will cost county taxpayers $256,300 to fix, the report says.

And that's not the only money that Waukesha County will have to spend to get its election systems operating properly, County Executive Dan Vrakas said Tuesday.

Aging hardware is out of compliance with federal standards and nearing the end of its useful life, the report says. That equipment was supposed to be replaced in 2009, but Nickolaus killed the project because county purchasing officials wouldn't let her award a no-bid contract, said Norm Cummings, county director of administration.

» Read Full Article

Investigating, fixing Nickolaus election errors to cost $256,300

July 09, 2012 4:46 p.m. | A consultant's report traces problems in reporting Waukesha County election results directly to mistakes by outgoing County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus - mistakes that will cost county taxpayers more than a quarter of a million dollars to fix.

Nickolaus had promised to post timely results online and update them periodically for the April 3 election. But the public didn't learn the results of contested local races for hours, while reporters and election reporting service representatives were forced to tabulate the vote totals themselves from long paper tapes hanging on the walls of a meeting room.

The embattled county clerk already was under scrutiny because of her role in the 2011 state Supreme Court race, when she left the entire city of Brookfield out of countywide vote totals. When those 14,000 votes were added in, two days after the election, Justice David Prosser had won by 7,000 votes, instead of narrowly losing to Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg, as the original count showed. But the uncertainty over the Waukesha County vote led to a statewide recount that confirmed Prosser's victory.

Nickolaus, a Republican, agreed to withdraw from directly overseeing this year's gubernatorial recall election after County Executive Dan Vrakas, a former GOP legislator, threatened to call for her resignation if she didn't hand off her election duties. She also announced she would not seek re-election in No vember.

After the April election, Vrakas told the county Department of Administration to hire a consultant "to get to the bottom of what the problems were," said Norm Cummings, director of administration. The full report from SysLogic Inc., a Brookfield consulting firm, was not immediately available Monday, but some of its findings are briefly summarized in a funding measure being considered by the County Board.

» Read Full Article

Bicyclist killed in weekend Muskego crash

July 09, 2012 10:48 a.m. | Muskego - A bicyclist was struck by a car and killed over the weekend, Muskego police said.

Robert Gunderson, 62, was riding his bicycle about 3:40 p.m. Saturday on Woods Road near Maclen Drive when he was struck by a vehicle that also struck a utility pole, police said.

Seventh inning rally gives Muskego GMC tourney title over OC, 5-2

July 06, 2012 10:37 p.m. | In the minds of the Muskego baseball team it was no time to panic.

Even though Oak Creek ace Brad Schulte had set down 13 Warriors in a row Friday night and went into the seventh inning of the Greater Metro Conference tourney championship game with a 2-1 lead, Muskego coach Jacob Paige and eventual winning pitcher Josh Breider knew all the team needed was a little spark.

And they got it with seventh inning lead-off hitter Nate Hammel, who coaxed a sharp grounder just inside the third base line for a double. That kickstart led to a four-hit, four-run rally that allowed the visiting Warriors to claim the GMC tourney title with a 5-2 victory over the Knights.

"We had no doubts," said Breider, who threw six innings for the win and also had a two-run single to knock in a pair of insurance runs in the seventh. "We knew we could get one run. We just needed a baserunner."

"After that it was just a matter of holding our composure, trusting our defense and making plays."

» Read Full Article

Independence Day photo gallery updated

July 04, 2012 11:36 a.m. | We've just updated our suburban Independence Day photo gallery with colorful shots from today's events in Oak Creek and yesterday's parade in Menomonee Falls.

We'll continue to update the gallery throughout the day with more images from the metropolitan area.

Go to photo gallery.

West Allis Hale slugger named NOW Softball Player of the Year

July 03, 2012 11:04 a.m. | West Allis Hale junior Rachel Seefeldt has been named the NOW All-Suburban Softball Player of the Year after slugging her way to 12 home runs and 40 RBIs for the Huskies this season.

She is joined on the squad by teammate Sarah Mueller and players from 10 other suburban teams.

Germantown co-coaches Kurt Raguse and Amy Barbiaux were named the coaches of the year.

NOW 2012 All-Suburban Softball Team

Muskego bans individual fireworks displays until further notice

July 02, 2012 12:08 p.m. | Because the dry weather makes the danger of fire high, the Muskego mayor and Common Council have banned individual fireworks, even if people have a city permit to have a fireworks display.

They took the action Saturday on the recommendation of the fire chief and a notice from the state Department of Natural Resources. The city already has a burn ban in effect.

If the ban continues through July 7, or the date the permit-holder chose for their display, they can get their money back or ask for the permit to be good for next year if they provide proof of insurance by June 14, 2013.

"The council made the right decision," Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti said. "We think people will understand because everyone wants people to be safe."

The Common Council may review its permitting process and the use of fireworks in the future. Muskego is the only metropolitan-area community that allows individual fireworks displays with permits.

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