Waukesha — Mayor Jeff Scrima and his four-member advisory committee this week reviewed two proposals for the first grants from Scrima's "New Day in Waukesha Fund" - the charitable account he set up in June to fulfill his campaign pledge that he would give back half his mayor's salary.
As of Monday, when the committee met, the fund totaled $38,937, Scrima said. Grant applications are being reviewed for a Waukesha Bicycle Alliance project to install artistic bicycle racks in downtown Waukesha and for new welcome signs at Waukesha's main gateways.
Scrima's contribution to the tax-deductible fund has been $22,113, according to David Schultz, president of the Waukesha County Community Foundation, which manages the New Day fund. Schultz said one other person has made a donation to the fund, but he would not identify the person until the annual report is filed this spring.
While Scrima said during his campaign a year ago that he would give half his mayor's pay back to the community, the donations are not directly reducing the city tax levy and he is giving half his net pay, rather than gross pay, to the fund he controls. Scrima's first-year salary was $70,100 and, based on prior Common Council action, it will increase to $73,100 in April.
Scrima said he will continue to give half his net pay to the New Day in Waukesha Fund, but his net pay might drop because he - like other public employees - except those in public safety - will contribute about 6% to the state retirement fund under new state legislation, pending a successful court challenge.» Read Full Article
Town of Waukesha - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is considering converting its vacant store site on Highway 164 along Waukesha's eastern border to its smaller Neighborhood Market grocery format.
No similar Walmart store exists in Wisconsin, although one is planned but not yet approved in Kenosha, company spokeswoman Lisa Nelson said. A Walmart Neighborhood Market also has been proposed for Milwaukee's west side, and the company is considering one in Menomonee Falls as well.
Nationwide, Wal-Mart Stores has 183 of the neighborhood stores, which are typically less than a quarter of the size of the supercenter stores and feature groceries, pharmaceuticals and some general merchandise.
The Highway 164 store was vacated last year when a Walmart Supercenter opened on West Ave. north of Highway 59 on Waukesha's southwest side.
Preliminary plans call for a new, roughly 40,000-square-foot store to replace the 120,000-square-foot Walmart that stands vacant now. Retail stores could be built on out lots, with no new access from Highway 164.
Waukesha - A Waukesha police lieutenant and a police officer who were put on administrative leave last year have resigned in the wake of charges ranging from illegal behavior to insubordination, according to internal investigation reports released Monday by the department.
Before they resigned Police Chief Russell Jack had moved to fire both.
Lt. Craig Rivers, who was first hired in 1988 and was later promoted to lieutenant, was first investigated after a heated argument last August between him an another officer. According to the reports, the fight stemmed from him having an extramarital affair with the wife of another officer while married to the sister of another officer, but his conduct had begun to interfere with duties in 2006 when he did not get promoted to captain. Investigation reports found that he was also smoking marijuana during the period.
Among other things, he was accused of failing to follow orders to properly staff the dispatch center and failing to properly monitor traffic grants that ended up costing the department thousands of dollars in overtime that wasn't covered by the grant. He was also accused of failing to properly administer a crossing guard contract, resulting in higher pay for guards than was negotiated in the contract.
Officer Scott Heitman was placed on leave last December after the investigation of Rivers revealed that Heitman had smoked marijuana with Rivers about six times between 2006 and 2008 on vacations and other personal time.
Waukesha - The United Way in Waukesha County has announced a 5% across-the-board cut of allocations to non-profit agencies it supports, in response to a shortfall in the 2010 fund-raising campaign.
Courtney Capes, Marketing and Communications Manager for United Way in Waukesha, said the United Way will work with the programs it funds to make sure they can sustain their present charitable contributions.
"Obviously, they will have to tighten up," Capes said.
The United Way raised just over $4 million, short of a goal of $4.3 million. Capes said Monday that the United Way would be distributing of $4,074,719 to 69 programs.
Paul Melnick, the United Way in Waukesha County Board President, said in a statement that reduced private donations and government funding cuts are the reason for the fund-raising shortage.» Read Full Article
Waukesha - The Waukesha County Board heard from about 70 people Tuesday night - all but three of them opposing recently enacted state legislation curtailing most public employee collective bargaining provisions - and then voted 19-3 to pass a resolution supporting the state action.
The resolution introduced by Supervisor Robert Hutton of Sussex initially endorsed Gov. Scott Walker's entire budget-repair bill, but Sutton successfully requested an amendment Tuesday night that narrowed the focus to support for the collective bargaining changes. The County Board's Executive Committee last week recommended against supporting the state budget-repair bill on a 4-3 vote.
Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus tallied the citizen comments before the County Board acted Tuesday night. She said 11 people spoke on the resolution of support and of those 10 opposed it. Nickolaus said another 59 people submitted written opinions and only two of those urged the County Board to support the state legislation.
Supervisor Duane Paulson of Waukesha pressed to table the resolution, but that effort failed 16-6. Paulson, along with Jean Tortomasi of Waukesha and Pamela Meyer of Eagle, voted against the measure
The state legislation signed by Walker on March 11 is being challenged on several fronts and, temporarily at least, a Dane County judge has prevented its enactment.
Waukesha - The Waukesha Family YMCA appears to have a way out of its dilemma over a landmark building it owns and had planned to demolish to make way for a proposed apartment project and parking ramp.
If the Y can't sell the landmark - something Executive Director Chris Becker said it's trying to do now - it can ask the city's Landmarks Commission to rescind the landmark status under a provision of city ordinance that seems to leave little leeway for denial.
The building in question is a small, Tudor-style structure that was built in 1929 as a gas station to resemble a home so as to blend in with the residential neighborhood. Later it was a fruit stand and used car lot, but it has been vacant many years.
The YMCA bought the building at Broadway and Hartwell Ave. in May 2010 for $152,500, along with two other adjacent homes, to clear the way for future development. In July, the city designated it a landmark, preventing its demolition. The Y lost an administrative appeal of that ruling. An appeal has been filed in circuit court but is "on hold," Becker said.
Instead, the Y listed the property with a real estate broker about March 1, Becker said, adding that there have been five showings in the past month. Although some consideration was given to having the building moved, both the lot and building are being offered for sale, he said.» Read Full Article
Waukesha - City Administrator Lori Curtis Luther, one of four finalists for city manager in Columbia, Mo., did not get the job.
Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid announced late Monday that the City Council chose Mike Matthes, an assistant city manager in Des Moines, Iowa, for the city's top manager.
Luther was recruited for the job by a national executive search firm. She grew up near Kansas City, still has family in the area and said the position offered a great career opportunity. All four candidates spent the weekend in Columbia, getting a tour of the city, meeting the public and staff and being interviewed by the 15-member city council.
Columbia is a city of about 108,500 people, compared with Waukesha's 70,000, and it's home to the University of Missouri. Luther came to Waukesha in 2007. She was appointed by then-mayor Larry Nelson, with input from a selection committee, and confirmed by the 15-member Common Council. Nelson was defeated for re-election last April by Jeff Scrima who objected to the city's application for a water supply from Lake Michigan under the Great Lakes Compact.
His early tenure was marred by public disputes over the water application and it led to conflicts with Luther, who said she was given direction from Scrima that contradicted the Common Council's adopted policy. In June, the council unanimously stripped Scrima of authority to oversee and evaluate Luther.
Waukesha West High School won its 10th straight title Friday at the Wisconsin Academic Decathlon in Wisconsin Dells, according to decathlon director Molly Ritchie.
The school's team now goes on to the national competition April 27-30 in Charlotte, N.C., Ritchie said.
Waukesha - Terry Sutter, senior vice president of First Federal Bank, was named Community Leader of the Year, The United Way in Waukesha County's top Inspire by Example volunteer recognition award.
Sutter serves as the president of the board of The Waukesha Civic Theater, treasurer of the Board of Interfaith Senior Programs, Inc. and as a committee member of both the Workforce Development Center and United Way in Waukesha County.
The Community Leader of the Year award and six others will be presented at the United Way Volunteer Center recognition lunch on April 12 at the Country Springs Hotel and Convention Center in Waukesha.
Other winners include:
• Volunteer of the Year: Martha Zaidel volunteered at Catholic Charities Adult Day Center for six years before she passed away on Jan. 21, 2011.» Read Full Article
video, featuring Lake Country Publications' JR Radcliffe breaking down the brackets with NOW's Steven L. Tietz, John Rech and Tom "Sky" Skibosh.MyCommunityNOW has just added its latest
The discussion kicks off with a look back at the controversial end to the Super Tuesday matchup between powerhouses Appleton East and Germantown. The guys also take a look at some of the top girls teams remaining this season.
For more tournament coverage, visit the special Championship Chase page, which features photo galleries, a Twitter feed, game stories and more.
The Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council has filed a federal discrimination complaint against Waukesha County, contending it has been engaged in illegal housing discrimination in violation of rules it needed to follow in receiving some federal money.
The complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In the complaint, the fair housing council contends that since 2006 Waukesha County has received more than $12.5 million in federal community development block grants, HOME funds and stimulus dollars that it has distributed to 35 communities in the county "without adequate consideration for its impact on fair housing choice by people of color."
The complaint also says the county's "deliberate actions to limit housing development contribute to racial segregation, in that the county and several of its municipalities have blocked the development of affordable housing in order to avoid the effect such housing would have on majority white communities, where it would be perceived to promote integration on the basis of race, color and national origin."
The office of Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas said county officials had no comment on the complaint.» Read Full Article
Waukesha - New state aid projections under the proposed state budget released this week show cuts as deep as some local officials were anticipating.
The City of Waukesha expects to see its shared revenue cut in half and would lose another 15% of its general transportation aid in 2012 - both the maximum percentage loss allowed in the budget bill - according to estimates released by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau Tuesday.
The total loss for the city would be $850,259 in shared revenue and $414,292 in transportation aid, or nearly $1.3 million. Recycling grants, unless replaced by the county, would mean another $200,000 loss, said Lori Curtis Luther, city administrator.
In shared revenue cuts alone, Waukesha's loss equates to $12 per person.
"Now that we have more solid numbers, we'll begin the process of exploring our options," she said. Typically the budget process starts in July, but "we're starting now" to develop options for offsetting the revenue loss. The proposed state budget bill also requires local governments to maintain a no-increase property tax levy.» Read Full Article
Waukesha - Without discussion or dissent, the Waukesha Common Council on Tuesday backed an alderman's effort to further tighten residency requirements for convicted sex offenders.
Ald. Steve Johnson recently proposed an ordinance change that would prohibit the state from placing registered sex offenders supervised by the Department of Corrections in a Waukesha residence if they were not residents of the city for at least 14 consecutive days at the time of their offense.
The proposal was endorsed earlier this month by the License and Ordinance Committee and was listed on Tuesday's council agenda for discussion and a recommendation. Instead, Johnson asked to have it moved to the "consent" agenda where no discussion occurs. The consent agenda was unanimously approved.
Ordinance language will be drafted and submitted to the council for three readings, Clerk-Treasurer Tom Neill said.
According to Department of Corrections spokesman Linda Eggert, sex offenders are usually placed in the county of conviction. As municipalities tighten sex offender residency rules through local ordinances, the department works with communities to follow the rules, she said.» Read Full Article
Waukesha - United Way in Waukesha County raised just over $4 million in its 2010 fundraising campaign, about 3.4% less than the prior year, the agency announced Tuesday.
"Our decline is due to losses within our major employer campaigns, which is not surprising considering that the economic climate is still slow to recover," said Jayne Thoma, executive director.
The campaign goal was $4.3 million. And while some final national account totals not yet reported might adjust the number, United Way projects its final total will be $4,090,947.
Despite the drop, Thoma said that 160 organizations increased contributions in 2010 and another 30 contributed for the first time or returned to donating in 2010 after a pause in prior campaigns.
Waukesha — A Waukesha man, who is a registered sex offender, has been charged with exposing himself while driving past a drive-through window at a Town of Vernon fast food restaurant last year.
Kevin J. Biersteker, 21, formerly of the Town of Mukwonago, was charged March 14 in Waukesha County Circuit Court with a misdemeanor count of lewd and lascivious behavior.
According to the criminal complaint, Biersteker was at the McDonald's restaurant at National Avenue and Highway 164 on May 12, 2010, and ordered a glass of water. Biersteker drove around and then asked for napkins, and when the female clerk handed him the napkins, she saw he was masturbating. The clerk asked Biersteker "what's wrong with you?" the complaint said.
Biersteker was later reported offering to buy alcohol for some 16-year-old girls in Vernon, and he drove by them slowly, the report said.
Biersteker was convicted in June 2008 of a felony count of causing a child to view sexual activity. A charge of second-degree sexual assault was dismissed as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison and three years of extended supervision.» Read Full Article
Waukesha - A divided Waukesha County Board leadership committee on Monday refused to endorse the controversial budget-repair bill already passed by Republicans and signed by Gov. Scott Walker last week.
Supervisor Robert Hutton of Sussex had proposed a resolution stating the Waukesha County Board's support for Walker's bill, which strips most collective bargaining rights from public employee unions. The pending law also requires public employees to contribute 5.8% of their pay to the state pension fund and, if they're in the state insurance plan, 12% of the premiums. His measure failed on a 3-4 vote in the Executive Committee.
County Board Chairman Jim Dwyer said the County Board is scheduled to take up the resolution at its 7 p.m. meeting March 22.
Dwyer offered an amendment so that any savings resulting from employee benefit contributions imposed in the state legislation would be used to reduce property taxes "and not to subsidize state funding cuts or shortfalls." That language failed 2-5.
Explaining his own vote against Hutton's resolution, Dwyer said, "Why would I have a resolution after the fact and when I don't understand the ramifications to the county regarding the delivery of services?"» Read Full Article
Town of Waukesha — Developers of Five Diamonds, a proposed youth ball field complex along Les Paul Parkway near Milky Way Road, will have to wait another month for final approval.
After hours of discussion before a full house of about 80 people, the Plan Commission and Town Board Thursday approved an ordinance change that will allow 70-foot-tall lights at the recreation complex. But a conditional use permit was held up for fine tuning over how long the lights will shine on up to six ball diamonds.
Town Chairman Angie Van Scyoc said Friday that while the Plan Commission gave conceptual approval, it will vote on final language in April, when the Town Board is also expected to act.
One of the partners developing the project, Tom Kelenic, said, “The meat and potatoes of it was put to bed.” But he expressed frustration that officials want finite answers to common-sense operating judgments — like how many fields will be in use on any given day, and for how late. Draft conditions dictate a 10:30 p.m. closing time.
» Read Full Article
“All games are done by 9:30 (p.m.),” he said. But he needs time for cleanup under the lights, which also depends on how many teams have played. “I’m not in the business to provide We Energies higher payments each month,” he said.
photo gallery from last night's sectional final game between Waukesha West and Germantown at the Al McGuire Center in Milwaukee.We've just added Peter Zuzga's
Germantown won, 59-38, and will face Appleton East in a Super Tuesday contest. Waukesha West earned its spot in the sectional-title game with a last-second victory over Arrowhead.
“So Appleton East it is”
photo gallery from the game.Waukesha West's Joe Schobert hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the Wolverines past Arrowhead last night and we've just posted Peter Zuzga's
Schobert's shot gave West a 58-57 victory and a spot in the Division 1 sectional final against Germantown tonight at 7:30 at the Al McGuire Center.
providing live commentary and updates from the Al McGuire Center on Friday, when two Waukesha area schools compete in the WIAA Division 1 boys basketball sectional semifinal.Lake Country Publications and NOW Newspapers sports director JR Radcliffe will be on hand
The blog begins at 5:45 p.m., when Waukesha South meets Germantown. At 8:30 p.m., Arrowhead and Waukesha West will wage battle in a rematch of last year's semifinal. The two winners will meet Saturday evening.
Waukesha - Waukesha County transportation planners said that a four-lane bypass between I-94 and Highway 59 on Waukesha's west side is needed and should be planned.
But bending to public pressure, the planners also said that for nearly two-thirds of the 5-mile project, two lanes could be built initially and two more phased in later, with no timetable given.
That recommendation, along with two remaining alternative routes that will get detailed environmental study, were laid out Thursday to the County Board's Public Works Committee.
In an interview, Public Works Director Allison Bussler said the project team's first choice was not to phase in four lanes because of the challenges it presents, including a lack of continuity and additional costs.
"I believe the data will show that doing it all at once makes the most sense," she said. However, "we are trying to be responsive to the public," and a significant number have opposed a four-lane bypass, she said.» Read Full Article
Waukesha - A Waukesha alderman wants to toughen the city's sex offender residency restrictions even further, and he got support Monday from the Ordinance and License Committee.
Ald. Steve Johnson, chairman of the committee, has proposed a requirement that no sex offender on the state registry can be placed by the Department of Corrections in the city unless that person was a resident of the city for at least 14 consecutive days at the time of the offense.
"I don't' believe we should be taking people who lived in Oconomowoc, Sussex, North Prairie, Mukwonago after they served their time to be placed in Waukesha," Johnson said Tuesday.
Johnson's proposal was unanimously backed, though just three members of the five-person committee were present. An amendment to the city's residency restrictions for sex offenders will be drafted, returned to the committee and then eventually be brought before the Common Council.
The city already has a 750-foot limit on how close sex offenders can live to places where children congregate, such as parks, schools and day care centers. Last month the council added strict notification requirements that apply when someone on parole, extended supervision and probation, including registered sex offenders, is placed in a city residence.» Read Full Article
Waukesha - A candidate forum focusing on races for the state Supreme Court and the Waukesha County Circuit Court will be held Thursday at the county's Administration Center.
The Waukesha County Bar Association is hosting the event, which begins at 4:45 p.m. in the cafeteria.
Circuit Court candidates Kathleen Stilling, the incumbent appointed to the seat last year, and Lloyd Carter, an assistant district attorney, will be first up. Supreme Court candidates David Prosser, the incumbent, and Joanne Kloppenburg, an assistant attorney general, will follow.
Audience members will be allowed to submit written questions, which will be posed by a moderator.
The Administration Center adjoins the Waukesha County Courthouse at 515 W. Moreland Blvd. Those wishing to attend should enter through the main door of the courthouse. Parking is free.
In the five years of the WIAA boys basketball sectionals held at the Al McGuire Center in Milwaukee, co-host Germantown has always made the trip, qualifying for state twice and making the final another time in its adventures there.
And though the Al sectional is not the final arbriter of qualifying for state this season (the following "Super Tuesday" will be), the top number-two ranked in state Warhawks will again be in action down in a place that has become their second home in recent years.
They earned that sectional berth with an easy 87-52 regional final win Saturday night over an overmatched Waukesha North squad.
With the win, the Warhawks (22-1) advanced to a sectional semifinal on Friday, March 11 at 5:45 p.m. against Waukesha South (15-8), which edged Menomonee Falls in a 57-55 thriller earlier on Saturday.
The 7:30 p.m. Friday semifinal will feature Classic 8 Conference rivals Waukesha West (18-5) and defending state champion Hartland Arrowhead (20-3). Germantown edged Arrowhead in a holiday tournament thriller back in December.» Read Full Article
Reacting poorly to a ramped-up Waukesha West defense in the fourth quarter, the Homestead boys basketball team saw itself outscored 14-0 in the final 3:27 as the host Wolverines rallied for a 52-44 WIAA regional final win Saturday afternoon.
"Their defense was fine," said Highlander coach Marquis Hines, "but we just didn't take care of the ball. They'd put that trap on in the middle of the court and we just didn't react. We'd stand around like robots."
"You just can't have stretches like that in tournament ball."
The loss ended the season for the Highlanders at 13-10 while the Wolverines (18-5) advanced to sectional play at the Al McGuire Center in Milwaukee next week.
Homestead played well throughout most of the middle two quarters and into the fourth. The Highlanders held a 28-26 halftime lead and got the advantage up to 35-28 on a three-pointer by Jake Laihinen late in the third period.» Read Full Article
There's been plenty of action in the local high school basketball scene the past week and the girls will take center stage when they begin post-season play Tuesday.
MyCommunityNOW has just added its latest video, featuring Lake Country Publications' JR Radcliffe breaking down the brackets with fellow insiders Steven L. Tietz, Tom "Sky" Skibosh, Mark Stewart and John Rech.
The guys start off with a look at the hype surrounding this week's J.P. Tokoto event and then preview some of the top teams and matchups in the girls' field.
For more tournament coverage, visit the special Championship Chase page, which features photo galleries, a Twitter feed, game stories and more.
Waukesha - The Waukesha County Board is likely to weigh in on Gov. Scott Walker's battle with Democratic state legislators over his budget-repair bill that would significantly curtail collective bargaining with public-employee unions.
A resolution supporting Walker's plan was referred Thursday by Supervisor Robert Hutton of Sussex, according to County Board Chairman Jim Dwyer. The board's Executive Committee will take it up March 14 with a recommendation to the full board March 22.
Walker's legislation, which aims to close a gap in the current state budget, is stalled in Madison because 14 state senators, all Democrats, fled the state two weeks ago rather than provide the necessary quorum needed for final adoption.
Walker's budget-repair bill would require most public employees - except fire and police - to pay 5.8% toward their pensions and 12% of their health care benefits. It would also dismantle most other elements of collective bargaining, which has prompted daily protests in Madison and beyond.
According to the proposed Waukesha County resolution, Waukesha County's employee benefits are rising at a five-year average of 4.1% per year and represent 30.2% of personnel costs in the 2011 budget.» Read Full Article
In Waukesha, where the Common Council passed a no tax levy increase budget for this year, Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget would mean another year of a tax freeze and difficult choices, officials said.