Co-sleeping death investigated in Waukesha

Jan. 28, 2011 10:54 a.m. | Waukesha - Police and the Waukesha County medical examiner's office are investigating the death of a 4-month-old baby overnight in which co-sleeping, where the mother and baby were sharing a bed, appears to be a factor, police Capt. Dennis Angle said.

A parent called emergency services to the Whiterock Ave. home shortly after 4:30 a.m. Friday. Angle said the parents attempted to resuscitate the baby boy, as did a police officer who arrived on the scene and found the baby unconscious. Fire Department rescue crews en route to the hospital also attempted life-saving measures, Angle said.

He said the initial investigation does not indicate that alcohol or drugs were involved. He could not immediately say whether the home was equipped with a crib, although the parents had other children in the house.

In 2009, the Waukesha County Child Fatality Review Team stepped up efforts to educate parents of newborns about the dangers of co-sleeping and steps that could prevent such deaths. The simple "ABC" message is that babies should sleep alone, on their backs, in a crib.

As of late 2009, the county reported seven sudden unexpected infant deaths in five years where co-sleeping may have been a factor, along with other conditions, and three other deaths where co-sleeping was listed on the death certificate.

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Executives take on new duties in ProHealth Care realignment

Jan. 28, 2011 9:34 a.m. | Top executives of Waukesha Memorial Hospital and Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital will take on new roles at ProHealth Care as part of a realignment the health system announced Friday.

Ed Olson, the president and chief executive of Waukesha Memorial, will become chief external affairs officer, overseeing ProHealth's relationships with community organizations, businesses, associations, legislators and policy-makers.

John Robertstad, president and chief executive of Oconomowoc Memorial, will become president of ProHealth's hospital division, overseeing the health system's two hospitals.

Kathy Scott will join ProHealth as chief innovation officer. In the new position, Scott will work to standardize practices, oversee the integration of information systems and improve workflow.

In addition to its two hospitals, ProHealth's operations include ProHealth Care Medical Associates, ProHealth Home Care and Hospice, West Wood Health & Fitness Center, senior living facilities and an interest in Rehabilitation Hospital of Wisconsin.

Habitat for Humanity seeking candidates for Waukesha home

Jan. 26, 2011 3:42 p.m. | Waukesha - Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County will build a duplex in the Dunbar Oaks development - site of the former YWCA building on West Ave. - and the organization is looking for eligible families who can live there and be a partner in the project.

Interested owners must attend a mandatory meeting from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at St. Luke's Lutheran Church, 300 Carroll St., Waukesha.

Before a family can be chosen, it must submit considerable information, including employment history, tax returns and financial information on income, credit and living expenses. Prospective participants should bring copies of the required information - a list and forms can be found at - to the meeting

To be considered eligible, a potential owner must be a resident of Waukesha County and have worked in Waukesha County for at least one year. The family must be in need of safe housing, be a first-time homebuyer, be willing to work 250 hours in constructing the home (or another Habitat home), attend 20 hours of homeowner education classes, have a steady income and good credit history and have no felony convictions and no more than one misdemeanor conviction.

Huber inmates to continue community gardening project

Jan. 26, 2011 2:30 p.m. | Waukesha — Thanks to private grants, Huber Jail inmates will get to participate in a community gardening project for another year.

The County Board Tuesday unanimously accepted an $8,000 grant from the Waukesha County Community Foundation to help finance the project for a whole season. A $3,000 donation from St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Pewaukee had been made earlier but only covered part of season.
Previously the program was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Community Action Coalition of South Central Wisconsin, said Jerry Braatz, interim director of the Waukesha County office of the University of Wisconsin-Extension.
Braatz said the program, now in its 10th year, involves about 15 to 20 Huber inmates — prisoners who are granted release privileges for jobs and other activities while serving their sentences. Under the guidance of a consumer horticulture educator and interns, the inmates spend an hour or two a week planting and tending the garden and raising fresh produce that is then donated to the Food Pantry of Waukesha County. They’re also educated by Extension staff on nutrition and gardening.
About 1,000 pounds of produce is expected to be harvested from the 40-by-70-foot plot on the Northview Road ground, in the area designated for community gardens.
“The Huber folks love the program,” Braatz said. “They like getting out, and they’re providing a community service.”

Ottawa man accused of stealing guns

Jan. 26, 2011 9:52 a.m. | Waukesha — A Town of Ottawa man and a Waukesha teen were charged with stealing weapons from a City of Oconomowoc residence for the purpose of selling the weapons for money and drugs, according to a criminal complaint filed Jan. 14 in Waukesha County Circuit Court.

Andrew R. Pfaff, 22, of W350 S119 Waterville Road, was charged with one felony count of burglary - arming self with a dangerous weapon.

Thomas L. Sack, 17, of Waukesha, was charged with the same count Dec. 23.

According to the criminal complaint, Pfaff and Sack went to the Michael LaCombe residence, 1074 Lowell Drive, on Dec. 9, and stole three shotguns and a rifle. LaCombe's daughter told police that Sack had been to the residence about one week earlier and removed the guns from a gun cabinet and was admiring them.

Sack was arrested Dec. 11 in Waukesha, and he admitted to police two days earlier he had stolen the weapons from the residence while Pfaff stayed in the car and acted as a lookout, the complaint said.

» Read Full Article

Waukesha panel upholds landmark status of former gas station

Jan. 25, 2011 10:36 a.m. | Waukesha - A city review board has denied the Waukesha Family YMCA's appeal of landmark designation for a small former gas station the Y acquired and intended to level for construction of an apartment project.

In a decision issued Monday, the Administrative Review Board upheld the Landmarks Commission's decision in July that the small, Tudor-style building at E. Broadway and Hartwell Ave. should be preserved for its historic value.

The building, built in 1929 as the Bartles-Maguire Oil Co.(later Wadhams Oil Co.) service station, is considered historic because it was one of the few remaining service stations built in the 1920s and '30s in the style of a home to blend in with residential neighborhoods. In more recent years the building has served as a fruit stand and used car dealership but was vacant when the Y acquired it for about $150,000.

During hearings on the matter, the Y's representatives argued the building was in disrepair, did not have historic value and would be as expensive to upgrade as it was to buy.

Chris Becker, executive director of the Y, said Tuesday that the board is investigating a number of options, from moving the building - action that would also require Landmarks Commission approval - to appealing the decision to circuit court.

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Les Paul monument in the works at Waukesha cemetery

Jan. 21, 2011 5:32 p.m. | Waukesha - A monument to Les Paul at his gravesite in Prairie Home Cemetery is advancing and could be installed by next August, two years after the "Wizard of Waukesha" was buried there.

A sketch of plans for the site, where both his mother and he are now buried side by side, has been submitted to the Cemetery Commission for discussion and possible action at its Monday meeting.

Cemetery manager David Brenner described the plans as preliminary and subject to change by the family.

The plans show a large granite stone with hand-carved guitar and etched signature as the foremost feature. Low wall sections set off with plantings along a paved walkway around the two graves and behind three benches would tell the story of Les Paul and his many awards.

Paul, who was raised in Waukesha by his mother, Evelyn Polfuss, was a musical genius and recording artist credited with inventing the solid-body electric guitar and pioneering many other recording innovations.

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Waukesha moves to toughen sex offender residency notifications

Jan. 19, 2011 5:12 p.m. | Waukesha - Waukesha aldermen want to toughen requirements for notifying city officials and residents when someone on parole, extended supervision and probation, including registered sex offenders, is placed in transitional housing in the city.

Under terms of an ordinance scheduled for final action Feb. 1, a special Community Notification Committee would meet to obtain information on the placement at least 30 days before it occurs.

The Department of Corrections and the landlord for the transitional housing must give the city notice 60 days in advance of the placements and give all property owners within 2,000 feet of the residence a 30-day notice, including information about time and place of the committee meeting. The ordinance also requires the corrections officials and landlord to attend the notification committee meeting to provide information.

The Community Notification Committee would consist of the mayor, the Common Council president, a Police Department representative and the alderman from the district affected. A state Department of Corrections official must be invited to attend as well.

In December the Common Council had given initial approval of the ordinance, but Tuesday night, at its second of three readings, the distance for notifying property owners was unanimously extended from 300 feet to 2,000 at the request of Ald. John Kalblinger.

» Read Full Article

Van rolls over man's leg in Waukesha

Jan. 19, 2011 12:08 p.m. | A 66-year-old man was taken Wednesday morning to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa after a van rolled over his leg and had to be lifted off by a combination of firefighters using the Jaws of Life and airbags, City of Waukesha Battalion Chief Nick Neustaedter said.

The accident occurred at 8:46 a.m. in the parking lot of a small business mall at 2244 W. Blue Mound Road, he said.

Once the man was lifted from under the vehicle he was taken by paramedics to Froedtert, Neustaedter said. The man remained conscious, he said.

The extent of the man's injuries was not immediately known. His identity was also not immediately available.

It's unclear who owned the van or how the accident happened, Neustaedter said.

Blaze extensively damages Waukesha apartment complex

Jan. 16, 2011 11:28 a.m. | Fire investigators were on the scene Sunday morning at a Waukesha apartment complex that suffered extensive damage in a blaze Saturday.

The cause of the blaze and extent of the damage at the 30-unit complex have yet to be determined, City of Waukesha Fire Department Battalion Chief Joe Vitale said Sunday.

Firefighters from six departments spent about two hours fighting the blaze in the three-story complex in the 200 block of W. North St. near downtown, officials said. Nobody was injured, and most residents were not home at the time the fire was reported, they said. The Red Cross and Salvation Army were called to assist those displaced by the fire.

Ex-Waukesha teacher gets 8 years for sexually assaulting student

Jan. 14, 2011 1:14 p.m. | Waukesha — A former teacher who had sex with a 15-year-old girl he met while he was a student-teacher was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison.

Bryan F. Wendt committed an egregious offense, destroyed the trust and confidence parents have in teachers, and harmed the girl when he did this "great wrong," Waukesha County Circuit Judge Mark D. Gundrum said.

Gundrum said Wendt, 27, of North Prairie, needed to be incarcerated to help make sure he never engages in this behavior again and to send a message to people in a high position of trust - educators, Scout leaders, clergy and coaches - that they will go to prison if they have sex with children they have a duty to protect.

"You were the adult in this situation. Not just the adult, a teacher who . . . should have controlled himself," Gundrum told Wendt.

Wendt was convicted of second-degree sexual assault of a child in October after he entered a no contest plea to the charge.

» Read Full Article

Land use change OK'd for land near Vernon Marsh

Jan. 14, 2011 10:54 a.m. | Town of Waukesha - The Waukesha Town Board has unanimously approved a land use change requested by Fiduciary Real Estate Development Inc. of Milwaukee that could eventually lead to a 94-acre subdivision north of the Vernon Marsh Wildlife Area.

Town Chairman Angie Van Scyoc said Friday the decision gives "no inherent or implied approval" of any zoning change or subdivision layout, which also must precede development.

The Waukesha County Board must also take up the change in land use, from agricultural to suburban residential of one- to three-acre lots, as an amendment to the county's comprehensive land use plan.

The property along Highway I is commonly referred to as the Lathers site for its former owner. Originally 334 acres, more than half was sold to the state for expansion of the Vernon Marsh and about 12 acres is in condemnation proceedings by the City of Waukesha, which wants to drill wells there as a backup water supply. The Town Board is fighting that effort in court.

Approval sought for housing near marsh

Jan. 12, 2011 1:24 p.m. | Town of Waukesha - Fiduciary Real Estate Development Inc., which purchased 334 acres near the Vernon Marsh Wildlife Area for development five years ago, goes before the Town Board on Thursday to seek land-use approval for a planned 94-acre subdivision of 48 one- to three-acre lots.

If the town agrees to reclassify the land from agricultural to suburban residential on its land use map, the Waukesha County Board also would have to approve the change. A zoning change also would be separately needed.

A joint Town Board and Plan Commission public hearing on the request begins at 6:30 p.m.

Fiduciary's project manager William Ohm said the actual construction of homes is not likely in the near future.

"Development is purely market-driven," he said. "As you know, the market is not good right now."

» Read Full Article

Updated: Developer approaches Waukesha about downtown senior apartments

Jan. 11, 2011 12:50 p.m. | Waukesha - An Oshkosh real estate development firm is looking to the city Plan Commission for support on its proposed 55-apartment senior housing project on Main St. in the heart of downtown.

Callan Schultz of Keystone Development said Tuesday that while the site is already zoned for apartments, he wants city support when he requests federal low income tax credits through the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.

Without the tax credits, which are sold to raise equity financing, the project won't be built, Schultz said. WHEDA's application deadline is Feb. 4, with a decision expected by mid-April. In exchange for the credits, developers must set aside a share of the apartments with rent restrictions for tenants of lower income - 60% or less of the county median.

The Plan Commission, which must ultimately approve a site plan, has scheduled a discussion but no action on the project at its 6:30 p.m. meeting Wednesday at City Hall.

Keystone, which specializes in senior apartment projects in Wisconsin, is planning a four-story structure at 220 W. Main St., with retail space and parking on the first floor and one- or two-bedroom apartments on the second, third and fourth floors.

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Waukesha's Aladdin Label sold to Repacorp

Jan. 10, 2011 1:50 p.m. | Ohio-based Repacorp Inc. said Monday it has acquired Aladdin Label Inc. of Waukesha.

Aladdin Label was founded in 1972 and has two plants with multiple presses and a full packaging line, totaling more than 50,000 square feet.

Repacorp, based in Tipp City, Ohio, about 20 miles north of Dayton, also has a manufacturing plant in Franklin and Phoenix.

"Aladdin has a great customer base, with no overlapping of Repacorp's customers," Rick Heinl, Repacorp president, said in a statement announcing the acquisition. "Aladdin has many new product lines in which Repacorp is not currently involved."

Founded in 1974, Repacorp is a manufacturer of RFID labels, label products, screen, digital and flexo printing.

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Waukesha YMCA pushes back housing plans

Jan. 10, 2011 1:12 p.m. | Waukesha - Timing of a proposed 62-apartment project for mobility-impaired residents on the Waukesha Family YMCA E. Broadway property has been pushed back another year, the Y's executive director, Chris Becker, said.

Developer CommonBond will not seek federal low income housing tax credits to help with financing this year after all because it is unlikely to get city approval of the project in advance of the early February deadline, he said.

The city's Plan Commission last month tabled the proposal, raising questions about architecture, storage and the conflict over a local landmark on the property. The apartments are intended to serve people suffering from multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease and arthritis, for example, who could benefit from proximity to and programs of the Y.

City and Y officials are still wrestling over how the landmark, a former gas station built in 1929 to resemble a home will be handled. The city's Landmarks Commission gave it landmark status in July but the YMCA has appealed that ruling.

Efforts to relocate the small, Tudor-style building that in more recent years had been used as a fruit stand and used car lot are at a standstill. The Landmarks Commission has said federal historic landmark standards must still apply wherever the building is moved. Y officials dispute its historic value and say restoring the building for use as part of the housing project would cost $150,000 - nearly as much as its purchase price.

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Waukesha Salvation Army rings up goal-topping sum

Jan. 07, 2011 2:30 p.m. | Waukesha - Donations to the Salvation Army in Waukesha - both to the Red Kettle campaign and through other donations - have reached $577,000, exceeding the agency's highest-ever $535,000 goal by nearly 8%.

The goal was ambitious, higher than the $502,000 raised last year, because of higher demand for services for the needy and a loss of other grants this year.

Carol Lemirand, corps officer of the Waukesha operation, said about $392,000 was dropped into the kettles during the holiday season. With the count of other donations mailed in or dropped off nearly final, she said those funds are expected to total $185,000.

"One of the big bumps ($8,050) came from the West High School players," she said.

The high school theater group aimed to raise $8,000 for the Salvation Army, a figure pegged because, in their seasonal production of "It's a Wonderful Life," that was the amount of a missing bank deposit that threatened the health of the Building and Loan run by George Bailey.

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Waukesha announces dates for JanBoree

Jan. 05, 2011 8:22 a.m. | Waukesha's 26th annual JanBoree will take place Jan. 21 through Jan. 23, the Waukesha Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department announced Wednesday.

The festival offers more than 30 free winter activities from musical performances to cross-country skiing throughout Waukesha County. This year's JanBoree theme is: "Arctic Blast."

The JanBoree website lists the full schedule of events.

No election challenger for Waukesha County executive

Jan. 04, 2011 5:06 p.m. | Waukesha - Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas, first elected in a 2005 special election, faces no opposition on the spring ballot for his second four-year term.

The county executive and three judgeships are the only countywide offices up for election April 5. The deadline for filing nomination papers for those and local city, village, town and school elections was 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Among the Waukesha County judicial elections, only one has a contest.

Kathleen Stilling of Brookfield, a former private practice attorney and public defender who was appointed last July by Gov. Jim Doyle to a Branch 4 vacancy, faces a challenge in her first election bid from Lloyd Carter, an assistant district attorney.

Running without opposition are Ralph Ramirez and William Domina.

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Waukesha will hold primary election for aldermanic seat

Jan. 04, 2011 5:06 p.m. | Waukesha - A primary election Feb. 13 will narrow the choice of candidates for Waukesha's 13th aldermanic district, where incumbent Rick Tortomasi is not seeking re-election.

Three candidates filed nomination papers by Tuesday's 5 p.m. deadline to succeed him, and one will be eliminated in the primary.

The candidates are Phil Esche, a former advertising and marketing sales manager currently in retail sales at Stein's Garden Center and a part-time marketing teacher for Waukesha County Technical College; Richard Badke, retiring building inspector for the City of Waukesha; and Andy Reiland, who could not be reached Tuesday.

Six aldermanic seats are up for election in the spring, four of them without opposition. The only other contest is between incumbent 10th District Ald. Steve Johnson and challenger Annette Kuglitsch.

Looking for the best sledding hills? Check out our video reviews

Jan. 04, 2011 1:07 p.m. | Alan Hamari and Isral DeBruin, who we like to call the Siskel and Ebert of sledding hills, or maybe the Abbott and Costello, are back with a look at some of the best runs in the area.

This year the downhill duo checks in with a video review of hills in New Berlin, West Allis and Hales Corners. You can also check out past reviews of North Shore and Elm Grove Hill.

Go to sledding reviews.

Dozens of wrecks clog I-94 in Waukesha County

Jan. 04, 2011 8:04 a.m. | More than 50 vehicles crashed overnight on I-94 in Waukesha County as light snow was falling in the area.

Dispatchers reported 21 vehicles in ditches and another 27 vehicles with property damage between about 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. The wrecks happened on both directions of the interstate near Highway F.

Another nine wrecks involved injuries, though there were no fatalities, according to the dispatchers.

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Waukesha County Fair


The 2016 Waukesha County Fair saw rain, scorching temps and tropical humidity throughout its five-day run. Check out our stories, photos and video from the fair, including coverage of the new pig, duck and goat races, the 50th annual Fairest of the Fair contest, as well as a ranking of the top food items.

Best Summer Ever


We've made it easy for you to get out and go this summer. From hitting the trails for a bike ride or walk, to where to find beer gardens in the area, to the best places to swim in Waukesha County to the best summer drinks and summer reads, check out our 2016 summer guide.