Criticare to cut 42 jobs at Waukesha office

May 26, 2011 9:45 a.m. | Criticare Systems Inc., a medical products company, is reducing its Waukesha workforce by 42 employees. The office will remain open and continue to employ 140 people.

Of the 42 people losing their jobs in Waukesha, 21 will be offered employment at the company's Deerfield location, the Department of Workforce Development said Thursday.

The 42 jobs will be eliminated on or after June 1.

Criticare officials did not return a call asking for more information.

The company is a subsidiary of Opto Circuits LLC of Bangalore, India, which acquired Criticare in April 2008.

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Waukesha bypass highway plans include bridge over trail

May 25, 2011 2:32 p.m. | Waukesha - Planning for a western Waukesha bypass will include a new bridge over the Glacial Drumlin State Trail and nearby Wisconsin & Southern Railroad tracks, a study team has concluded.

Both are currently at-grade crossings at Highway TT (Merrill Hills Road) about a quarter mile north of Sunset Drive.

Engineers and officials from the state, Waukesha County and the City and Town of Waukesha are refining plans for two alternate routes between I-94 on the north and Highway 59 on the south. The two routes are approximately along existing Highway TT, with southerly segments either west of Pebble Creek, where no road currently exists, or along existing Sunset Drive and Highway X. A no-build alternative also is under consideration.

Both bypass alternatives are four-lane options, though construction could be built in two-lane stages. One option that would have called for improvements to the existing two-lane road has been dropped from further consideration.

Staff members are preparing a draft environmental impact statement that should be ready for public review in August or September.

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New Waukesha County Board map advances

May 25, 2011 12:16 p.m. | Waukesha - Despite a few dissenters, the Waukesha County Board has approved a tentative map realigning the 25 county supervisor districts that will come into play in next April's election.

The plan - which now goes to municipal governments for drawing local ward boundaries in the next 60 days - was approved Tuesday 18-3.

Voting no were Supervisors Dave Falstad of Oconomowoc Lake and Michael Inda of Summit, two of three incumbents who would have to face off in the same district if they seek re-election. The third, Ted Rolfs of Chenequa, was absent. Also voting no was Thomas Schellinger of Brookfield, whose current Brookfield-Elm Grove district would be redrawn to eliminate Elm Grove and incorporate a portion of New Berlin.

Under the plan, available at, nine incumbents would face competition from each other in four districts if all seek re-election. Five of the 25 districts would have no incumbent living inside their boundaries. Sixteen districts each have one resident incumbent.

The County Board will take final action on the new apportionment plan, redrawn as a result of shifting population since the prior Census 10 years ago, in August or September. In December, candidates for County Board declare their intention to run based on the new districts.

Collection brings in 4,596 pounds of unused meds in Waukesha County

May 23, 2011 2:30 p.m. | Waukesha - In Waukesha County's recent drug collection effort throughout the county, nearly two pounds of unused or outdated medication was dropped off for every vehicle that showed up.

In all, 4,596 pounds of medications - most of it non-prescription items - were dropped off at a half dozen collection sites. A total of 292 pounds of prescription drugs, 154 pounds of inhalants and mercury thermometers, and 4,150 pounds of non-controlled substances were dropped off by about 2,300 vehicles.

The May 14 collection was sponsored by the Waukesha County Drug Free Communities Coalition. The aim of the program is to reduce prescription abuse, accidental poisonings and prevent pollution of waterways from drugs flushed down drains.

Since 2009 when the program began, three collections have been held and nearly six tons of medication has been collected for disposal.

With Muskego votes reconciled, Prosser moves into statewide lead

May 19, 2011 5:56 p.m. | Waukesha - In the waning hours of its Supreme Court election recount, Waukesha County certified enough votes Thursday that pushed incumbent Justice David Prosser into the lead.

The Government Accountability Board's unofficial tally on its website, last updated Thursday morning, shows Kloppenburg holding a 2,029 vote lead over Prosser with 99% of the state's votes recounted.

However, the Waukesha County Board of Canvass Thursday reconciled and accepted all of Muskego's votes, which gave Prosser a net gain of 3,814 votes.

Prosser has gained a handful of votes on Kloppenburg during the recounting of Waukesha County's approximately 125,000 votes.

Additional votes in a portion of the City of Waukesha were also finalized, but work on that city's ballots was to continue Friday.

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Waukesha's filtered deep well pumps not in service

May 17, 2011 4:00 p.m. | Waukesha - Both of the city's deep wells equipped with filters to remove radium from water are out of service after the failure earlier this month of the pump for well No. 3, Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak said Tuesday.

Loss of the filtered water likely will cause the city to temporarily exceed federal radium limits imposed by a court-ordered consent decree, though customers don't face an immediate health risk, Duchniak said. The limits are established to protect consumers who drink radium-contaminated water over a lifetime.

Filtered deep well No. 10 shut down in February after its pump failed. That closing came several days after a pump failure in unfiltered deep well No. 8. Those two pump failures forced the city to reopen three other radium-tainted deep wells to meet customer demand.

Saturated sandstone

All of the deep wells draw water from saturated sandstone.

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Repaving work to shift lanes in Waukesha County

May 13, 2011 5:08 p.m. | Westbound traffic on I-94 in eastern Waukesha County will shift this weekend to the newly paved inner lanes, as work continues on the two-year, $44 million project to resurface portions of the freeway.

To accommodate the work through late June, the ramps from I-94 westbound to Moorland Road southbound and Highway F into Waukesha will be closed.

Starting Saturday night, motorists also should anticipate short-term ramp closures at Blue Mound Road, Highway 164, Highway J, and Highway 16. Those closures will take place 8 p.m. to 10 a.m.

The repaving work in Waukesha County, west of 124th St., will be completed in September. The work in Milwaukee County, from 30th St. to 70th, will be done at the end of June.

Eastbound I-94 in Milwaukee will be repaved in 2012.

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Prescription drugs to be collected in Waukesha County

May 13, 2011 5:00 p.m. | Waukesha - Unused or outdated prescription drugs can be dropped off at six Waukesha County collections sites Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.

The collection is sponsored by the Waukesha County Drug Free Communities Coalition and is aimed at preventing drug abuse, accidental poisonings and drug-polluted waterways.

The sites are at Ruby Isle in Brookfield, Community Memorial Hospital in Menomonee Falls, the D.N. Greenwald Center in Mukwonago, Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital in Oconomowoc, Waukesha County Technical College in Pewaukee and the downtown Waukesha branch of Waukesha State Bank. The WCTC collection runs until 1 p.m.

Prescription medications, over the counter medications, ointments, sprays, inhalers, creams, vials, herbals and pet medications will all be accepted by pharmacists on the day of the event. Residents should not bring biohazardous material and household hazardous waste.

The program is free-of-charge thanks to a partnership with ProHealth Care and donations from community organizations, businesses and individuals.

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Waukesha man repays hosts by allegedly stealing their car

May 11, 2011 11:40 a.m. | Waukesha — A Waukesha man who was allowed to stay at a Town of Merton couple's house after being released from jail repaid their hospitality by allegedly breaking into their house and stealing their car, according to a criminal complaint filed in Waukesha County Circuit Court.

Michael D. Vadnais, 27, formerly of Eagle, was charged May 2 with burglary and operating a motor vehicle without owner's consent, both felonies.

According to the criminal complaint, a Waukesha County Sheriff's Department detective on May 1 checked the license plate of a Toyota Corolla on Highway 164 near I-43 in the Village of Big Bend, and learned the car had been listed stolen from the Kathy and Tom Payne residence, W289 N6672 Richter Road.

The officer stopped the car and questioned Vadnais, who admitted to entering the Payne residence and stealing the car, the complaint said.

The couple told police that they allowed Vadnais to stay at their residence, as he was on probation, but because they were going on vacation in mid-April, he needed to find another place to stay, which he did, the complaint said.

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State Patrol arrests fugitive in Waukesha

May 10, 2011 8:46 p.m. | A Pewaukee man who was one of the Milwaukee Police Department's 10 most wanted fugitives was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in Waukesha, according to the Wisconsin State Patrol.

Arthur T. Schmoller, 29, was wanted by Milwaukee police and the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department on two drug-related felony warrants, according to a State Patrol news release.

According to online state court records, Schmoller was charged April 27 in Waukesha County with two counts of manufacture/delivery of heroin and maintaining a drug trafficking place.

He was charged March 15 in Milwaukee County with possession with intent to deliver heroin, according to the records.

Foreclosed Pewaukee retail center sold to Madison firm

May 10, 2011 7:00 a.m. | Madison-based Sara Investment Real Estate, which owns and operates over 50 retail, office and industrial properties throughout Wisconsin, has purchased its first Milwaukee-area property: a 20,000-square-foot retail center in the Village of Pewaukee.

Sara paid $2.9 million for Pewaukee Commons, 1275 Capitol Drive, which includes Buffalo Wild Wings and Five Guys Burgers and Fries restaurants.

The vacancy rate is 52%, but Sara has a signed letter of intent for a 5,450-square-foot tenant, said Lynn Marcello, director, strategic partnerships. That tenant, which Marcello declined to name, would reduce the vacancy rate to 23%.

Sara bought the property from Madison-based Anchor Bank, which acquired it through foreclosure, and is seeking to buy other distressed properties, Marcello said. 

Real estate developer Ronald Siepmann killed at Merton home

May 09, 2011 9:56 p.m. | Town of Merton - Real estate developer Ronald Siepmann was killed Sunday during a family gathering at his home, and a teenage relative is being held in the Waukesha County Jail in connection with the slaying, authorities said Monday.

Siepmann's son, Jim Siepmann, said Monday that his father was killed during a Mother's Day celebration at the elder Siepmann's home.

The 17-year-old Fox Point teen who is being held in the killing is expected to make his initial court appearance Tuesday, said Detective Steve Pederson, a spokesman for the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department.

Authorities were called to the home on Beaumont Lane about 11:30 a.m. Sunday. Siepmann was found dead near a shed on his property, the Sheriff's Department said.

Jim Siepmann said his father was semiretired. Ronald Siepmann, 78, lived in Arizona during winters but returned here for summers and continued his work with Siepmann Realty Corp. He had just returned from Arizona on Saturday, Jim Siepmann said.

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Waukesha County needs extension to complete recount

May 09, 2011 7:09 a.m. | Officials at the Government Accountability Board will be in court Monday morning to request an extension of a 5 p.m. deadline for Waukesha County in order to complete the recount in the race for a Supreme Court seat.

Kevin Kennedy, the board's director and general counsel, said in a statement that he expects 71 of the 72 counties in the state to meet Monday's 5 p.m. deadline. The exception is Waukesha County.

“Waukesha County’s recount is taking longer than expected, and we will seek a court extension of the deadline on Monday morning,” Kennedy said. “At this time, it is too early to say how much additional time Waukesha County will need.”

Nathanial Robinson, administrator of the elections division, said the recount process has uncovered some issues and corrected some vote totals. But he added that that should be expected in any recount.

“Wisconsin has the most decentralized election system in the United States,” Kennedy said. “The system has strong local control coupled with state oversight, resting on the partnership between the Government Accountability Board, the 72 county clerks, and the 1,850 municipal clerks. State law clearly gives each county’s Board of Canvassers the primary authority to conduct the recount, and to decide which ballots should and should not be counted. Recounting votes is an open, transparent process in which each of the candidates may have representatives present to raise objections, and where the public may be present to observe. The G.A.B.’s legal role is to order the recount, to provide legal guidance to the counties during the recount, and to certify the results. If either of the candidates disagrees with the results of the recount, the law gives them the right to appeal in circuit court within five business days after the recount is completed. The circuit court is where issues discovered during the recount, but not resolved to the satisfaction of the candidates, are resolved.”

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All counties but Waukesha expected to meet recount deadline

May 06, 2011 5:10 p.m. | All counties with the exception of Waukesha County are expected to complete the recount of the state Supreme Court election by the 5 p.m. Monday deadline, the Government Accountability Board said late Friday afternoon.

Waukesha County officials earlier in the week informed the board that the hand recount would not be completed by the deadline and the board will seek a court extension of the deadline on Monday.

Kevin Kennedy, accountability board director, said the court hearing on the extension for Waukesha County is scheduled for 8 a.m. Monday in Dane County Circuit Court.

Ellen Nowak, chief of staff to Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas, said Friday officials don't know yet how much more time will be needed to complete the recount.

As of late Friday, the recount was only about 30% complete in Waukesha County, Nowak said.

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Kloppenburg campaign raises security concern in Waukesha recount

May 05, 2011 4:52 p.m. | Waukesha - An observer for Assistant Attorney General JoAnne Kloppenburg objected Thursday to the security of bags holding Supreme Court ballots from the City of Brookfield because of a gap opening on the ballot bags.

They've raised similar objections four or five times in Waukesha County since the start of the recount, said retired Circuit Court Judge Robert Mawdsley, who's overseeing the county recount. In an interview, he agreed with objector Bill Hotz's observation that the bag opening from Brookfield was the largest seen so far.

Hotz said poorly sealed bags or torn bags appear to be a common problem, but they were evident on five of six Brookfield bags that were counted first thing Thursday. He objected to the counting of those ballots where bags appeared to be open.

Brandon O'Bryon, representing Justice David Prosser, objected to the objection, saying Brookfield voters would be disenfranchised if their votes weren't counted.

As has been the practice from the start, Mawdsley makes a record of the concerns and each objection should a challenge end up in court.

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Waukesha County seeks more time for recount

May 04, 2011 6:42 p.m. | Waukesha - The panel charged with recounting, by hand, more than 124,000 ballots cast in Waukesha County for the state Supreme Court race between challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg and Justice David Prosser has asked for more time to complete its task.

The recount began April 27 and only 20,386 were expected to be recounted by the end of the day Wednesday, according to a letter to the state Governmental Accountability Board from retired Circuit Court Judge Robert Mawdsley.

Mawdsley was selected to oversee the Waukesha County Board of Canvassers in the recount of votes cast in the county April 5.

Kloppenburg's campaign requested a recount after the official tally showed she lost to Prosser by 7, 316 votes - less than 0.5% of the 1.5 million votes cast in the race.

The election initially appeared much closer - with Kloppenburg, a state justice department attorney - up by 204 votes, before Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus announced her initial, unofficial tally failed to include 14,315 votes from the City of Brookfield.

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New Waukesha ordinance blocks 3 sex offenders

May 04, 2011 3:28 p.m. | Waukesha - Deputy Police Chief Mark Stigler is congratulating city officials for the city's newly tightened residency restrictions for sex offenders, saying the law put an immediate stop to state plans for locating three sex offenders anywhere in the city.

However, a Department of Corrections spokeswoman said Wednesday that the first of the three to be released from prison this week is likely to be spending his nights in Waukesha, anyway - in the Waukesha County Jail - until other housing can be found.

"If we don't have anything for him when he gets out on Friday, he's going to have to spend his nights at the county jail," said Linda Eggert, public information manager with the Department of Corrections. The state is under court order to release the offender, Anthony Suslick, from prison, and a residence had been arranged in Waukesha.

"We have an obligation to track them, and if we don't know where they're living, we can't monitor them," Eggert said.

Corrections agents will accompany the offenders to the county jail at night and escort them to the probation and parole office in Waukesha each morning, where they'll conduct a search for housing outside the city during the day, she said. However, there are no landlords outside the city but in Waukesha County who currently will rent to high-risk sex offenders, Eggert said.

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Waukesha County recount not likely to make deadline, overseer says

May 03, 2011 8:54 p.m. | The recount vote in Waukesha County for the state Supreme Court race probably won't be completed by the May 9 deadline if it continues at its current pace, the official overseeing the process said Tuesday.

The hand recount began April 27 and only 12% of the total vote had been recounted as of early Tuesday, retired Circuit Court Judge Robert Mawdsley said.

The campaign of candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg requested a recount after the official tally showed Kloppenburg lost to Justice David Prosser by 7, 316 votes - less than 0.5% of the 1.5 million votes cast in the race.

The election initially appeared much closer, with Kloppenburg up by 204 votes, before Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus announced her initial, unofficial tally failed to include 14, 315 votes from the City of Brookfield.

Waukesha County forums set on drug abuse trends

May 03, 2011 4:08 p.m. | Two forums on drug trends in Waukesha County - one for parents, one for treatment professionals - will be presented Thursday and Friday through the Waukesha County Drug Free Communities prevention effort.

Chuck Wood, a sheriff's captain and commander of the Waukesha County Metro Drug Unit, will present the session for parents beginning at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Steinhafel's Furniture and Mattress Superstore, W231-N1013 County Highway F, City of Pewaukee.

On Friday a presentation for professionals will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Waukesha County Courthouse, Room 350. Reservations are suggested by emailing Nancy Bannister at However, reservations are not required.

Waukesha County Drug Free Communities coalition will also hold a countywide prescription drug collection on May 14 between 9 a.m. and noon.

Collections of old or no-longer used pharmaceuticals will be at Community Memorial Hospital in Menomonee Falls, the D.N. Greenwald Center in Mukwonago, Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital in Oconomowoc, the Ruby Isle shops in Brookfield, the downtown branch of Waukesha State Bank and at Waukesha County Technical College in Pewaukee, where the collection will run until 1 p.m. rather than noon.

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New St. Vincent de Paul store to open in Waukesha

May 03, 2011 4:06 p.m. | Town of Waukesha - The new St. Vincent de Paul thrift store on Sunset Drive at Prairie Ave. will open Saturday.

The property, at S30-W324836 Sunset Drive, is the site of a former Kohl's grocery story. A second store opened at W359-N45848 Brown St. in the Town of Oconomowoc in 2006. Both stores feature clothing and household items. Proceeds from the store sales are used to fund St. Vincent de Paul ministries and programs for the needy.

The former St. Vincent store on Main St. in downtown Waukesha closed at the end of March.

Thrift store hours at both locations are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The stores are closed on Sundays. Truck pickup service is available for large appliance and furniture items donated to the stores by calling (262) 569-0763.

Benson Invite photo gallery now online

May 02, 2011 8:23 a.m. | We've just posted Peter Zuzga's photo gallery from the Dan Benson Track and Field Invitational, featuring 21 images from the boys and girls meet at Wauwatosa West High School.

Homestead won the boys meet with 203 points and Whitefish Bay took home the girls crown with 135.

The gallery also includes athletes from Brookfield Central, Waukesha West, Wauwatosa West and Whitnall.

Go to photo gallery.

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Community Watch

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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.