Pitbull shot after attacking 2 in Waukesha

June 28, 2011 10:10 p.m. | A pitbull attacked its owner Tuesday night in Waukesha as she attempted to kennel a second dog, according to a Waukesha Police Department news release.

The owner, a 52-year-old woman, was attacked about 6:30 p.m. She suffered injuries to both legs and an arm, police said. The dog also bit the woman's 39-year-old male neighbor, who tried to help the owner.

After authorities arrived to help the dog's owner and the neighbor, the attacking dog tried to jump over a low picket fence to attack police officers, according to the release. An officer shot the pitbull and both dogs were removed from the house.

The owner was transported to a hospital by Flight for Life, and is in stable condition. The neighbor was transported to an area hospital.

I-94 lanes, ramps in Waukesha County to reopen Tuesday

June 27, 2011 3:26 p.m. | All lanes and ramps on Interstate 94 in Waukesha County will reopen in time for the morning rush hour Tuesday.

And lane restrictions on the Hoan Bridge will be lifted during Summerfest as crews begin shifting traffic Tuesday morning. That project remains on schedule to finish work on the Hoan Bridge by late fall.

The huge resurfacing project on eastbound and westbound I-94 met a significant milestone with the reopening of westbound lanes and ramps in Milwaukee County from 27th St. to 70th St. last Friday night. Now the rest of the highway will reopen from the Milwaukee County line at 124th St. to State Highway 16 by Tuesday morning. Crews will start to remove lane restrictions on I-94 in Waukesha County following Monday's evening rush hour.

Some nighttime lane and ramp restrictions will be required so workers can finish landscaping, ramp surfacing, drainage improvements and bridge repairs through the end of the summer, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Construction work will also continue on Moorland Road and 27th St.

Cause of woman's death won't be changed

June 24, 2011 2:02 p.m. | Waukesha - The Waukesha County medical examiner will not change the cause of death of a woman who never regained consciousness and later died in 2003 after she was given excessive amounts of the same anesthesia drug involved in Michael Jackson's death.

The woman's father had asked Medical Examiner Lynda Biedrzycki to change the manner of death from accident to homicide, but he said Friday that Biedrzycki told him the cause of death would remain accidental.

Don Ayer made the request in August 2009 shortly after the Los Angeles County coroner ruled Jackson's June 25, 2009, death a homicide after forensic tests showed propofol combined with at least two other drugs caused him to die.

Ayer's daughter, Julie Rubenzer, 38, stopped breathing Sept. 25, 2003, while undergoing breast implant surgery at a doctor's office in Florida.

The 1984 graduate of Waukesha South High School died three months later at a Brookfield nursing home.

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U.S. accuses New Berlin of racial bias in housing decision

June 23, 2011 9:20 p.m. | Federal authorities sued New Berlin on Thursday, claiming racial discrimination drove the city's decisions to block a low-income housing development, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

A 13-page complaint spells out the lengths to which city leaders and staff purportedly went to stymie MSP Real Estate Inc.'s plans, even so far as revising the city's 2020 comprehensive plan.

"The defendant's actions as described herein were taken because of race and because of community opposition that city officials understood to be based on the race and on racial stereotypes of the prospective tenants of affordable housing," the complaint states.

The complaint details threats against the mayor and his children and racially derogatory terms used during the controversy.

The developer, MSP, filed its own federal suit in March claiming Fair Housing and Americans with Disabilities acts violations by the city. It seeks nearly $13 million in compensatory damages plus punitive damages. In response to that action, the city has denied race was a factor in rejecting the project.

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Two in custody in Brookfield man's death

June 23, 2011 8:44 p.m. | Brookfield - The 63-year-old Brookfield man who was found dead in his home Wednesday had been beaten and bound, his face wrapped in duct tape and plastic grocery bags placed over his head, according to court records filed Thursday afternoon to detain two people on suspicion of homicide.

The victim, John Aegerter, may have been strangled or had his neck broken during the attack at his home sometime after 9 p.m. Tuesday, the court records state.

And Aegerter may have been killed in a dispute over money, records state.

Tommy V. Douyette, 42, was ordered held on $750,000 bail on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide and Lynn M. Hajny, 48, was ordered held on $500,000 bail on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide, party to a crime. No formal charges were filed Thursday during their initial court appearances, but Waukesha County Circuit Court Commissioner Thomas J. Pieper determined that probable cause existed to hold them in connection with the homicide.

Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Lough said she expects to file charges sometime next week.

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Man arrested in Waukesha burglary

June 23, 2011 4:57 p.m. | Waukesha Police today announced the arrest of man in connection with a burglary that took place on June 10 in the 100 block of Broadway.

The Waukesha Police Department, including the tactical unit, the Waukesha Fire Department and the Waukesha County Sheriff's Canine Unit were all called in as part of the arrest of the unidentified man, who police are calling a known gang member.  Police said he had a violent history.

There were no injuries and the man was taken into custody, after fleeing from police when he was initially observed by officers in the 500 block of Lincoln Avenue, according to Waukesha Police Capt. Dennis Angle.

Angle said that a shotgun taken in the burglarly was located in the man's home, which police searched after obtaining a warrant. Angle said that based on evidence from the burglary they had probable cause to arrest the suspect.

No further information was available.

Rezoning for Waukesha County building OK'd

June 23, 2011 11:34 a.m. | Waukesha - In a third appearance before the Waukesha Plan Commission on Wednesday, Waukesha County officials finally got the approvals they sought for construction of a new health and human services office building. Commissioners unanimously recommended rezoning five acres of Moor Downs Golf Course land, directly across from the county's Juvenile Center along Riverview Ave., from parkland to institutional use. That's about the size of the footprint for the planned three-story, 137,000-square-foot office building.

It's also a compromise, a reduction from the original request to rezone 14.5 acres that would have incorporated the existing human services building and parking lots.

Preservationists have expressed concerns that the bigger change would not protect against future changes to the area, which is a local, state and national landmark.

The Common Council is expected to schedule a public hearing and action on the rezoning for its July 19 meeting.

The county has already obtained construction bids on the building and a related maintenance building dedicated to grounds upkeep at the golf course and the county courthouse, administration and human services complex. The estimated cost of both is about $37 million.

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Council cancels water team veto

June 21, 2011 10:32 p.m. | Waukesha - The Waukesha Common Council has stood its ground on an earlier decision to exclude Mayor Jeff Scrima or other elected officials from a team of city staff who will negotiate a water supply contract with Milwaukee, Oak Creek or Racine.

Last week, Scrima vetoed the team's make-up - Water Utility Manager Dan Duchniak, City Administrator Lori Curtis Luther and Community Development Director Steve Crandell. Scrima called for the addition of four others, including himself, an attorney for the city, the council president and a representative from the Town of Waukesha, so as to match Milwaukee's seven-member team.

The vote Tuesday night to override his veto was 11-3, one more than necessary. One alderman, Ald. Andy Reiland, who said in a letter that he supported the override, was absent. Voting to sustain the veto were aldermen Vance Skinner, Eric Payne and John Kalblinger. Ald. Roger Patton switched his vote to favor override.

Several aldermen noted the staff team could bring in other officials or experts as needed. Council President Paul Ybarra said that the council, including the mayor, will set negotiating boundaries and will approve the proposed agreement.

"The mayor and council will make every decision," he said.

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Man's 4th petition for release rejected

June 21, 2011 12:24 p.m. | Alan Randall, who has spent the last 34 years committed to a state mental institution for killing two Summit police officers when he was a teenager, has been denied release for the fourth time by a Wisconsin Court of Appeals panel.

In a decision released Tuesday, the panel upheld Waukesha County Circuit Judge Lee S. Dreyfus' March 2009 ruling that Randall, now 53, was still dangerous, even though all three experts testified at trial that he posed no significant risk and was not mentally ill either when he committed the crimes or currently.

Randall, who lived in the Town of Summit at the time, was charged in 1976 with killing neighbor Ronald Hoeft and two police officers, Robert Atkins and Wayne Olson. He was also charged with seven counts of burglary and with stealing the neighbor's car and the squad car. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, and in 1977 was convicted of two of the murders, four burglaries and one car theft.

During the second phase of the trial, both the defense and prosecution stipulated that, based on a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, Randall was not guilty by reason of mental disease. He was confined to Central State Hospital as a result.

Randall petitioned to be released, with conditions, in 1990, 1991, 1995 and again in 2008. In each case, either a jury or judge said he was still dangerous and refused to release him. The case has previously been appealed, including in 1995 when the Wisconsin Supreme Court declared Wisconsin's mental commitment law constitutional.

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Scrima ally forms team to back mayor

June 20, 2011 4:58 p.m. | Waukesha - Stephen Edlund, a vocal ally of Waukesha Mayor Jeff Scrima's, warned aldermen earlier this month that he'd work to eliminate half their jobs if the Common Council didn't back the mayor's authority in some key issues.

Now, as aldermen prepare to take up Scrima's veto Tuesday of the council's decision to appoint three staff - but not Scrima - to a team that will negotiate a Lake Michigan water supply contract, Edlund has formed a special interest committee to add heft to his threat.

Edlund, a member of the Waukesha School Board, registered the Waukesha Citizens Accountability Board with the city clerk on Friday. The registration form lists Edlund as treasurer but no other officers. He also claimed an exemption from filing campaign finance reports, declaring he'd not receive or spend more than $1,000 a year.

Edlund could not be reached for comment Monday about the committee's intended purpose.

However, he has frequently appeared at Common Council meetings, speaking during public comment periods, in support of the mayor's positions. Most recently, at a council meeting earlier this month, he threatened to start an effort that would trim the 15-member council to one with seven aldermen, apparently through direct legislation.

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Lisbon's effort to incorporate is denied again

June 20, 2011 2:54 p.m. | Lisbon - A citizen group's effort to incorporate the Town of Lisbon as a village has been denied by the state, but the group said Monday it likely would appeal the decision.

Lisbon-Inc.org filed a petition in December seeking to incorporate Lisbon to protect its borders from neighboring municipalities that could annex town land. It also wanted to preserve Lisbon's rural character.

But the state Incorporation Review Board, in a decision released publicly Monday, dismissed the petition because the proposed village did not meet all of the standards necessary for incorporation.

Chief among the problems is that the proposed village is not reasonably homogeneous and compact, the board says in its findings.

The proposed village is "fragmented into four distinct areas by existing natural, physical and political boundaries," the board stated.

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Honor roll page updated

June 20, 2011 10:49 a.m. | We've just updated our honor roll page with the latest lists of academic achievers from area schools.

The schools updated are: Forest Park Middle School (Franklin), Greenfield Middle School, Homestead High School, Marquette University High School, Martin Luther High School, Menomonee Falls High School, Muskego High School, Oak Creek-Franklin West Middle School, Oak Creek High School, St. Francis High School and St. Matthew School (Oak Creek).

Go to honor roll page.

Hospital staff blushes over patio mishap

June 17, 2011 9:50 p.m. | It was innocent enough, an effort to give employees at the Aurora Medical Center in Summit a patio for their break times.

Instead, it ballooned into an unintended Weiner-esque-capade that, for a few weeks anyway, had heads turning, tongues wagging and an anonymous tipster emailing this newspaper.

What can go wrong with a patio plan, right?

(OK. I admit it. I've never tried to build a patio.)

The poured concrete form of the project produced a long, slightly curved walkway connected to the center of what Aurora spokesman Adam Beeson said was intended to be the infinity sign.

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Drug dispute cited in double homicide

June 16, 2011 7:54 p.m. | Waukesha - Chad Lurvey killed two men with blasts from his shotgun nearly nine years ago because he owed them money related to drugs and he was worried they would harm him over some missing "product," Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel told a jury Thursday.

Schimel, in his opening statements at the start of Lurvey's trial, said the evidence will prove Lurvey killed Brian Lazzaro of Mukwonago and Andrew Long of West Milwaukee.

But Lurvey's attorney, Stephen P. Hurley, said the evidence will show Lurvey did not kill the men and that police didn't investigate associates of Lazzaro and Long, who may have had reasons to want them dead. Hurley called Lazzaro a "big-time drug dealer in the community" and said that Long owed more than $100,000 to his supplier.

Schimel, though, said Lurvey talked to others about killing the men.

"This is a murder case about drug trafficking," Schimel said, noting that Long had paid Lurvey to store kilos of cocaine and pounds of marijuana on Lurvey family property in Ottawa. Some of the cocaine was buried in buckets on the property, Schimel said.

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Vrakas aide appointed to PSC

June 16, 2011 4:04 p.m. | Gov. Scott Walker named Ellen Nowak, chief of staff to Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas, to the Public Service Commission Thursday.

She will join Chairman Phil Montgomery and Commissioner Eric Callisto as a full-time commissioner. While terms are normally for six years, Nowak’s appointment is to an unexpired term of Lauren Azar ending March 1, 2013, governor’s spokesman Cullen Werwie said. Her appointment needs Senate confirmation. Azar is leaving the commission to join the U.S. Department of Energy.

The PSC is responsible for regulating Wisconsin public utilities, including those that are municipally owned. Utilities must seek commission approval for new rates, for major construction projects like water wells or power plants, or to issue stocks or bonds.

Nowak has been Vrakas’ chief of staff since November 2009. Previously she was legal counsel to the Assembly Speaker for the last six months of Scott Jensen’s tenure in 2002, followed by John Gard, until 2006, when she was promoted to chief of staff.

She received her law degree from Marquette University Law School and her bachelor’s degree in political science form the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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Waukesha man ordered held as sexual predator

June 16, 2011 11:06 a.m. | Waukesha - A 44-year-old Waukesha man who already spent seven years in prison for sexually assaulting a teenage boy was ordered committed to a state-secure mental health institution after a jury determined he remains a threat.

Hector Munoz was scheduled to be released from prison in February 2010, but the state Department of Justice filed a petition under the state's sexual predator law to block his release.

After a two-day trial, a jury on Wednesday determined Munoz is a sexually violent person and Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Mark D. Gundrum ordered Munoz committed indefinitely to a state-secure mental health institution.

The sexual predator law allows for the worst sex offenders to be held for treatment after prison if it is determined during a civil trial that they are more likely to re-offend than not.

In its petition, the state contended Munoz suffers from a mental condition that predisposes him to engage in acts of sexual violence and it is likely that he will engage in future acts of sexual violence.

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Attorney wins back license

June 15, 2011 10:55 p.m. | A Waukesha lawyer with a checkered professional discipline history, including for sexual relations with a client and a juvenile client's mother, won back his license to practice Wednesday from the state Supreme Court.

Carlos Gamino, a 1997 Marquette Law School graduate, was suspended for six months in 2006 for the sexual relationships, then publicly reprimanded that year for not being diligent, not returning unearned fees in a timely fashion, contacting a client after a change in counsel and a trust account violation. In 2008, he was suspended 18 months for representing both parties in a divorce that left the wife with a "patently unfair" settlement. Gamino, 38, sought reinstatement in April 2010, but the Office of Lawyer Regulation opposed the request and the case went to hearings last fall. A referee found that Gamino met the conditions to be allowed to practice law again, and the Supreme Court agreed.

But the court did require that Gamino work under a supervising attorney - not his wife or any other relative - for two years. The supervisory attorney must file quarterly reports with the Office of Lawyer Regulation.

During his suspension, Gamino worked as a finance director for a Racine auto dealer and managed his own real estate rental business.

In the divorce case, the woman wound up filing for bankruptcy and obtaining a judgment against Gamino for $13,000. The Office of Lawyer Regulation was concerned he had not shown remorse for what happened to the woman and may have misstated his finances to avoid the judgment.

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Trial set to begin in 2002 double homicide

June 15, 2011 4:40 p.m. | Waukesha - Nearly nine years after the bodies of two men were found wrapped in blankets and chains in a Waukesha County lake, the man accused of killing them is scheduled to go on trial Thursday in the double-murder case.

It took authorities until 2009 to gather enough evidence to charge Chad Lurvey, 37, formerly of Ottawa, long a suspect in the deaths of Brian Lazzaro of Mukwonago and Andrew Long of West Milwaukee.

The bodies of Long and Lazzaro, both 25, were found in September 2002 in a 6-acre private lake on property in Ottawa owned by Lurvey's family. They had been missing since Aug. 24, 2002.

They had been shot multiple times with a shotgun and their necks were cut, according to the criminal complaint filed in the case that charges Lurvey with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide.

Investigators had been called to the lake by Lazzaro's parents and other people who had gone there on Sept. 5, 2002, to search for Lazzaro and saw what they believed to be a body floating along the shoreline, the complaint says.

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Town of Waukesha won't commit on west bypass plans

June 15, 2011 4:06 p.m. | Town of Waukesha - In what it called a clarification of its role and responsibility in any future west-Waukesha bypass, the Town Board unanimously voted Wednesday to keep all options open - including possibly rejecting the project eventually.

Former Town Chairman Robert Tallinger, who was defeated in a recall election last year, had signed a "memorandum of understanding" in April 2009 between local, county and state officials that kick-started planning for a long-stalled bypass between I-94 and Highway 59 on Waukesha's west side.

The agreement outlined who would pay what share of the costs and how they would contribute. Waukesha County is currently studying alternate routes and preparing an environmental impact statement for public review this fall.

The Town of Waukesha's only responsibility under the agreement was to cooperate with the county and city of Waukesha to resolve who would take jurisdiction of local road segments once the bypass is built.

But now the Town Board says it has no record that Tallinger ever took up the issue with the previous Town Board.

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Waukesha land subject to dueling condemnations

June 15, 2011 2:30 p.m. | Town of Waukesha - In an effort to trump the City of Waukesha's plans for drilling high-capacity water wells near the Vernon Marsh as a backup water supply, the Waukesha Town Board Wednesday unanimously voted to condemn the same 13-acre site for its own purposes.

Dueling resolutions by competing governments to condemn the same parcel is new legal territory, Town Attorney Hector de la Mora told the board.

"Much to my amazement, there is no case law clearly on point," he said.

But he recommended the action because he believes the city's delay in completing the condemnation process - or even submitting an offer to purchase the parcel - constitutes nullification of its rights, particularly when measured against the town's rights.

In 2008, the city's Common Council voted to condemn the property, owned by Fiduciary Real Estate Development Inc. and located on Highway I about two miles south of the city, after the council twice rejected the developer's annexation petition.

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Waukesha Finance Committee says no to new lights

June 15, 2011 11:02 a.m. | Waukesha -  There will be no new lights at Frame Park at this time.

That was the decision of Waukesha's Finance Committee after it voted 3-2 against the request to have a new lighting system installed at the park, located at 701 E. Moreland Blvd.

It was unanimously approved at the Parks, Recreation & Forestry Board at its June 6 meeting but it needed to get approved by the Finance Committee and then by the Common Council.  

The estimated cost was $205,000 but four groups were going to donate a combined $27,000 to the project. The Waukesha School District and Carroll University had already pledged $10,000 each, while Catholic Memorial High School was going to give $5,000 and the Waukesha & Pewaukee Convention and Visitors Bureau was set to donate $2,000. 

General Obligation Bond funding was going to be $105,000 after $73,000 impact fees.

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Waukesha woman who stole from meal sites gets prison term

June 13, 2011 4:26 p.m. | Waukesha - A former Waukesha County account clerk who stole more than $300,000 donated by senior citizens for their meals at 12 nutrition sites was sentenced Monday to five years in prison.

Kham Sisaleumsak, who told authorities she gambled away the money, was charged in February 2010 with 13 counts of felony theft in a business setting.

The criminal charges against Sisaleumsak, 45, of Waukesha, covered six years and the theft of $277,000. But she was stealing money longer than that, Assistant District Attorney Mary C. Brejcha said, and the amount totaled about $380,000.

The statute of limitations prevented the state from charging for earlier offenses, but the county's insurance company, which covered the losses, is seeking full restitution from Sisaleumsak.

"At times when county and state resources are short, it seems pretty unconscionable to be taking that kind of money," Brejcha said.

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Waukesha Mayor Scrima vetoes water negotiating team

June 10, 2011 2:40 p.m. | Waukesha - Mayor Jeff Scrima on Friday vetoed the Common Council's selection this week of a three-member water negotiating team that did not include the mayor or other elected officials.

The team was expected to start bargaining this month for the possible purchase of Lake Michigan water from Milwaukee, Oak Creek or Racine.

On Tuesday, the council approved a team made up of Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak, City Administrator Lori Luther and Community Development director Steven Crandell. The final vote was 11-4 in favor of the trio.

A two-thirds majority of council members is needed to override the mayor's veto.

The council rejected Scrima's bid to be on the team at Tuesday's meeting.

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Delavan child with disabilities in educational limbo

June 09, 2011 9:20 p.m. | A Delavan couple is appealing a decision by the state Department of Public Instruction to support the Waukesha School District's placement of their son in a bricks-and-mortar school instead of the virtual school they requested because the boy has cerebral palsy and speech impairments.

"We consider this straight-out discrimination, because he once had an IEP (Individualized Education Plan)," said Jeffrey Spitzer-Resnick, the attorney for Disability Rights Wisconsin who filed a petition for review in Walworth County Circuit Court.

The 12-year-old boy no longer has an IEP for special education services and could attend the online school easier than a bricks-and-mortar school because of his physical disabilities, Spitzer-Resnick said. His mother was interested in the virtual school because it would offer a curriculum and structure; she currently home-schools the boy.

"He does have severe physical disabilities, but he's quite smart," Spitzer-Resnick said.

If the court does not reverse the DPI's decision and order the Waukesha School District to place him in the iQ Academy - the Waukesha district's virtual school - Spitzer-Resnick said he would take it to federal court as a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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Stan's plans for next step forward

June 09, 2011 8:46 p.m. | Brookfield - Jim Sajdak's kids call him "Dad" around the dinner table, but at Stan's Fit for Your Feet, he's Jim.

That may be the easiest part of adjusting to new roles as the next generation of the Sajdak family prepares for when they will take over the family's local chain of shoe stores.

"I don't intend to work forever," said Sajdak, 60.

The Sajdak family is committed to keeping their five-store chain viable and family-owned into the foreseeable future.

If they succeed, Stan's will be one of the few family-owned companies that make it into the third generation of ownership.

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Talks continue on Von Maur

June 09, 2011 8:36 p.m. | More than two months after a new state law gave the Town of Brookfield the power to use a special tax district in connection with The Corners retail development, the tax-financing proposal is still being negotiated.

The Town Board held a closed-session meeting Tuesday night to discuss those negotiations with developer Marcus Corp., which has landed a 140,000-square-foot Von Maur department store as an anchor for The Corners. The state public meetings law allows closed sessions to discuss real estate negotiations as long as no action is taken.

Town Administrator Rick Czopp said afterward he's optimistic that a financing plan will be ready for the board to review by July. He declined to discuss the specific issues that are being negotiated. Town officials had originally hoped to have a financing proposal negotiated by now.

"It is a very large and important project for not only the town but the region, and we are making sure that everything is in place to make this a successful project," Czopp said via email.

On March 25, Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation that allows the town to create a tax incremental financing district to help finance the $100 million development. Towns are otherwise not allowed to use TIF districts with retail projects.

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Golf course action on hold

June 08, 2011 11:44 p.m. | Waukesha - After more than 3½ hours of discussion, the Plan Commission Wednesday raised so many objections to Waukesha County's plans for a new health and human services building and grounds maintenance garage on the historic Moor Downs Golf Course that it decided to postpone action rather than deny it, as appeared imminent.

With Mayor Jeff Scrima making the motion to deny based on eight objections, the commission appeared split 3-3 on the project. Instead, members agreed to allow the county to come back with revisions based on their wide-ranging opinions.

The county is seeking to rezone 14.5 acres - primarily the site of the existing and proposed buildings and adjoining parking lots - for a new building. It was also seeking site and architectural approval of the new office building and a maintenance building.

Several residents said they see the county as continuously chipping away at the golf course, a local, state and national historic landmark, to the point that some day it would not be viable.

Fear of demolition

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'Heat burst' reported in Jefferson, Waukesha counties

June 08, 2011 12:08 p.m. | Milwaukee set records for heat yesterday, but the atmosphere saved its "heat burst" for today.

The rare phenomenon - strong down drafts blowing hot air ahead of a thunderstorm - will drive temperatures over 90 degrees in Jefferson, Walworth and Waukesha counties during the noon hour. The National Weather Service says the bursts are part of a storm system that delivered light showers and strong wind gusts near Whitewater and Palmyra.

The storm is forecast to move into Milwaukee County and has wind gusts up to 55 mph.

Waukesha mayor would send water project to referendum

June 07, 2011 9:40 p.m. | Waukesha - Mayor Jeff Scrima wants voters in a referendum to make the final decision on any city project costing more than $50 million, and the only one of those on the horizon is the city's request for Lake Michigan water.

Scrima said Tuesday that he will refer his referendum proposal to the Common Council's Finance Committee for a recommendation.

"In these economic times, the citizens of Waukesha deserve financial stability," Scrima said in an interview prior to Tuesday's council meeting. "I believe the citizens know best how to spend their own money."

Waukesha is asking Wisconsin and the other seven Great Lakes states to approve its request to purchase an average of 10.9 million gallons of water each day from the lake. Maximum daily demand might reach 18.5 million gallons a day in summer.

Cost of buying lake water and returning treated wastewater to a lake tributary starts at around $164 million. Scrima says he does not believe the lake plan is the best option for a future water supply and he is opposed to buying water from Milwaukee. Other possible suppliers are Oak Creek and Racine.

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Crash closes Blue Mound Road in Waukesha

June 07, 2011 6:18 p.m. | Blue Mound Road in Waukesha at Parklawn Drive has been closed in both directions until further notice because of a crash involving a motorcycle and car, Waukesha police said late Tuesday afternoon.

The car was turning west onto Blue Mound from Parklawn when it struck the eastbound motorcycle, according to a news release from the Waukesha Police Department.

The operator of the cycle was flown by Flight for Life helicopter to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa, according to the release, which provided no additional details on the crash.

More information on this incident will be posted as it becomes available.

Moor Downs plan may clear preservation concerns

June 07, 2011 4:48 p.m. | Waukesha - Historic preservation obstacles to construction of a new Waukesha County Health and Human Services building on the Moor Downs Golf Course may have been all but eliminated.

A Wisconsin Historical Society official has notified the city and county that while the new office will have some adverse effect on the historic golf course, the county could mitigate the problem by photographically documenting the area before construction begins.

The Waukesha Plan Commission is scheduled to act on three items related to the project during its 6:30 p.m. meeting Wednesday at City Hall.

One item involves a requested rezoning - from parkland to institutional use - of 14.5 acres now mostly encompassing the existing and proposed buildings and parking lots off Riverview Ave. The other two call for reviewing site plans and architecture for a new maintenance building and the new office building.

Common Council approval of the rezoning request would still be necessary.

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Waukesha YMCA moves to rescind landmark status of former gas station

June 07, 2011 1:48 p.m. | Waukesha - The Waukesha Family YMCA has petitioned the city's Landmarks Commission to rescind its landmark designation of a small former gas station at 422 E. Broadway the Y bought a year ago with the intent to tear it down for redevelopment.

Under city law, the commission has 60 days from the petition's filing on June 1 to act.

City Planner Doug Koehler said the reversal would hinge on the commission's finding that the Y has worked in good faith to sell the building but, because of its historic designation, no buyer has stepped forward.

Chris Becker, executive director of the Y, said since the property was listed for sale March 1, there have been 10 showings but no written offer to purchase.

The building is a small, Tudor-style structure built in 1929 as a service station to resemble a home so it would blend in with the residential neighborhood. It later was used as a fruit stand and for used car sales but stood vacant for many years.

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Waukesha County's cost for Supreme Court recount: $130,000

June 07, 2011 12:30 p.m. | Waukesha - Waukesha County's 21-day recount of the Supreme Court election results cost county taxpayers about $130,000, county officials reported Tuesday.

Waukesha County's recount took longer than any other county in the state, in part because of the approach taken by the judge hired to run the recount and because more campaign observers were on hand and raised more concerns about ballots.

The largest share of the cost - $47,000 - was for retired Circuit Judge Robert Mawdsley, who was hired as temporary chairman of the Board of Canvassers after County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus recused herself.

Mawdsley was hired for $250 an hour - the amount he gets for mediation work. However, the recount stretched beyond the anticipated two weeks, and his final payment averaged about $193 an hour, said Ellen Nowak, chief of staff to County Executive Dan Vrakas.

The second-largest cost - $28,500 - covered the 189 tabulators. The amount would have been much higher, but the majority did not claim the daily $50 pay rate established by ordinance, Nowak said. They also were paid 51 cents per mile for travel and got a $6 meal voucher.

» Read Full Article

Transport company owner charged with Medicaid fraud

June 06, 2011 4:26 p.m. | The owner of a Milwaukee medical transport company has been charged with falsifying records of dozens of trips to defraud Medicaid out of more than $10,000, according to a criminal complaint.

As part of the scheme, Frederick Rutledge, 43, of Menomonee Falls submitted documentation that listed him as the driver on multiple trips in different vans at the same time, according to the complaint charging him with 18 counts of medical assistance fraud.

According to the complaint, filed in Milwaukee County Circuit Court:

Rutledge's company, Precious Transit, started in 2008 with three vans and about 50 clients, but grew quickly to 11 vans and about 500 clients, operating in Milwaukee and Madison. Some of the drivers were not certified for Medicaid reimbursement and so were instructed to leave the driver section of trip tickets blank. Rutledge and other employees would fill in the blanks with Rutledge's name or those of other certified drivers. In addition, they routinely overstated the mileage.

The charges followed state audits and interviews with former employees.

» Read Full Article

Waukesha alderman wants to make mayor's position part time

June 06, 2011 3:52 p.m. | Waukesha - First-term Waukesha Ald. Duane Paulson said he wants the Common Council to do what it has refused to do since it established a full-time city administrator in 1999 - reduce the full-time mayor's job to part time.

Paulson said he'll ask the council to schedule a referendum on the question through a committee referral at the council's Tuesday night meeting.

Paulson said the change wouldn't affect Mayor Jeff Scrima's current four-year term.

"I don't think we can do that, and I wouldn't anyhow," he said.

"Because we've been perceived as not being on the best of terms with the mayor, it's going to seem like a vindictive thing," Paulson said. "But it's something I've thought about for a number of years."

» Read Full Article

State track and field photo gallery now online

June 06, 2011 2:16 p.m. | We've just updated the photo gallery from Peter Zuzga and Todd Ponath with more action from all divisions in this year's state track and field meet in La Crosse.

Brookfield East won the boys Division 1 competition with 57 points to 39.33 for Arrowhead. Bradley Tech was tops in the girls Division 1 meet, outpacing Arrowhead, 64-40.

Go to photo gallery

With children in car, Waukesha woman arrested for OWI

June 05, 2011 12:24 p.m. | A 29-year-old Waukesha woman was arrested early Sunday on allegations of drunken driving with two children in the car.

The woman sped past a Wisconsin State Patrol car in a construction zone near Grandview Blvd. south of I-94 just before 2 a.m. when the trooper noticed her car weaving, authorities said.

The trooper pulled the driver over, tested her and arrested her for first-time drunken driving and drunken driving with passengers under the age of 16. Two children were in the car, ages 2 and 4.

Waukesha man guilty in friend's killing

June 03, 2011 3:14 p.m. | Waukesha - A 25-year-old Waukesha man entered a guilty plea and was convicted Friday of the Aug. 6 shooting death of his best friend.

Steven P. Osburn had been scheduled to go to trial on Monday in Waukesha County Circuit Court in the slaying of Zachary S. Gallenberg, 23, of Waukesha.

Osburn had been charged with first-degree intentional homicide as well as three other counts and was facing life in prison if convicted.

But as part of a plea agreement, the homicide charge was reduced to second-degree intentional homicide.

The state will recommend 20 to 25 years of imprisonment and 20 years of extended supervision for Osburn when he is sentenced Aug. 24.

» Read Full Article

Paved Lake Country Trail debuts Saturday

June 03, 2011 1:08 p.m. | Waukesha - The newly paved Lake Country Trail between Waukesha and Oconomowoc will be re-opened Saturday with a 10 a.m. ceremony and a giveaway of bicycle helmets to the first 70 children who show up.

Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas will lead a "ride-through-the-ribbon" ceremony at the trailhead Landsberg Center, 2800 Golf Road, Waukesha, just east of the Country Springs Hotel.

The 15-mile trail winds east-to-west along rolling terrain and through the mid-kettle moraine area north of I-94, past Pewaukee Lake, Naga-Waukee Park and Golf Course, Lake Nagawicka, the City of Delafield, Upper and Lower Nemahbin Lakes and Roosevelt Park in Oconomowoc.

Previously a crushed limestone, 8-foot-wide trail, it has been paved to a wider 10 feet, making it accessible to persons with disabilities, parents pushing strollers, in-line skaters as well as pedestrians and bicyclists.

The project was financed in part with federal stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the state Stewardship Fund. The free bicycle helmets are being provided by the Habush Habush & Rottier Charitable Foundation which, after this summer, will have donated 91,500 helmets to Wisconsin Children since 1999.

State tennis photo gallery now online

June 03, 2011 8:29 a.m. | We've just published a photo gallery from NOW's Peter Zuzga and Lake Country Publications' Todd Ponath featuring action from the opening round of the state individual tennis tournament.

The matches continue today with semifinals and finals on Saturday from the Nielsen Tennis Center in Madison.

The gallery features competitors from Arrowhead, Brookfield Central and East, Homestead, Muskego, Nicolet, Waukesha South, Wauwatosa East and Whitefish Bay.

Go to photo gallery.

Waukesha sex offender Marth freed from tight supervision

June 01, 2011 5:26 p.m. | Waukesha - A Waukesha County judge has ordered Dennis C. Marth, a convicted child molester living in Waukesha released from further state supervision.

Marth had been denied discharge from supervision a year ago by the same judge, William Domina, who at the time ruled Marth was more likely to re-offend than not, despite testimony to the contrary by a state psychologist.

Under the state law, he was entitled to petition for release from court-ordered Department of Corrections supervision every year. Marth, 50, did so last December and a one-day trial was held Tuesday.

Marth was convicted of molesting two boys, ages 4 and 5, about 25 years ago. Before his mandatory prison release date about a decade ago, Waukesha County prosecutors sought to have him committed to intensive treatment at the secure Sand Ridge Treatment Center, and a jury agreed.

A judge granted him supervised release under a civil commitment order in 2007 - the first such case under the law in Waukesha County and one of 18 in the state at the time.

» Read Full Article

Sex offender released from supervision

June 01, 2011 4:02 p.m. | Dennis Marth, a convicted sex offender who lives at 1216 Buena Vista Ave., City of Waukesha, has been discharged from any type of supervision.

Although he is a lifetime sex offender registrant, he will not be on electronic monitoring or have any Department of Corrections supervision, according to a news release from the Waukesha Police Department.

Marth was released into the community in September 2007.

For more information, call Sgt. John Konkol of the Waukesha Police Department at (262) 524-3769.

Suspects sought in Waukesha armed robbery

June 01, 2011 2:42 p.m. | Waukesha police need help finding two armed robbers who stole an undisclosed amount of money from a pedestrian shortly after noon Wednesday.

Police responded to the 300 block of E. Broadway in the parking lot of the post office for a report of an armed robbery at 12:22 p.m. One robber had a handgun and fled in a vehicle. No one was injured in the incident.

Officers canvassed the surrounding area but did not find the robbers.

The first suspect is a Hispanic male with dark hair and a goatee. He is 30 to 40 years old and wore a gray T-shirt and khaki knee-length shorts. He also wore a red baseball hat.

There is no description of the second suspect.

» Read Full Article

Kohl's to unveil remodel in Waukesha

June 01, 2011 11:33 a.m. | Kohl's will officially unveil renovations at its southwest  Waukesha store on Wednesday, June 8.

The store, in the Fox Run shopping center, was built in 2002. It is one of 100 that the company will remodel this year.

Upgrades include moving the customer service desk to the front of the store and upgrades to departments throughout the store.

Kohl's Racine store also has been remodeled, and the company plans to renovate its store on E. Moreland Blvd. in Waukesha in September.

Whitnall vs. Waukesha West softball photo gallery now online

June 01, 2011 8:35 a.m. | We've just published Peter Zuzga's photo gallery from yesterday afternoon's regional softball game between Waukesha West and Whitnall.

Whitnall won, 7-6, and advances to play at Watertown on Thursday.

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.