Waukesha - The Waukesha County Board on Tuesday unanimously voted to discontinue the county's failed van pooling program for commuters, a pilot program that never took hold.
In late 2010, the county spent about $186,000 on eight vans that were intended to provide a more efficient door-to-door transit service than large fixed route buses, but only one of the vans was ever put in service. Another $35,000 was spent on marketing and operating costs.
Initially, the county intended to use federal stimulus funds from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the purchase, but those funds were never drawn on.
Now the county hopes to sell the Dodge Caravans for a minimum of $15,500 to nonprofit agencies to recoup some of the costs. If not sold, the vans would then be put up for auction as other county surplus equipment is.
This weekend’s soccer tournament at Waukesha South High School is in memory of Sam Beres, who died at age 6 of leukemia. It is being hosted by the Catholic Memorial High School varsity boys soccer team.
Waukesha - Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas will seek $70,000 in next year's capital budget to prepare the way for new election equipment countywide.
Shawn Lundie, Vrakas' chief of staff, said Vrakas included the new proposal after talking to Republican nominee for county clerk, Kathleen Novack, who concurred with its need. Democrat Jessie Read, her opponent in the November general election, was not similarly contacted, however.
The funds, if approved by the County Board, would pay a consultant to establish system requirements, business processes and a needs analysis for new election hardware and software.
The proposal will be part of the 2013-'17 capital plan Vrakas intends to submit to the County Board on Friday.
"Waukesha County is a rapidly growing county and in recent years the number of reporting units in the county has increased," Vrakas said. "This, coupled with the collecting, tallying and reporting vote totals, has made the process cumbersome. The goal is to automate and streamline the system as much as possible to prevent human error."» Read Full Article
Gwen Jorgensen, a Waukesha native and triathlete who just competed in the London Olympics, will be the keynote speaker at Carroll University's opening convocation on Sept. 5.
Jorgensen will speak at 3 p.m. in the auditorium of the Shattuck Music Center, 218 N. East Ave. The event is free and open to the public, according to a news release from the university.
Her talk will kick off the university's yearlong focus on exploring energy in its various forms, "from cellular to solar, and from individual to societal and global perspectives," according to the university.
Jorgensen, 26, a former track and swimming star at Waukesha South High School, will talk about the energy it took to get to the Olympics.
Carroll's opening convocation ceremony is its first official welcome to undergraduate students, of which there are about 740 freshmen and 165 transfer students this year, according to the university.
How well do you know high school football?
You can find out by visiting mycommunitynow.com/pigskin to join MyCommunityNOW's Pigskin Picks football contest. You will have the chance to win prizes as you test your pigskin prognostication skills against celebrity experts and NOW's staff of award-winning sportswriters.
Reigning Miss St. Francis Colleen Mrotek (pictured) and Time Warner Cable Sports 32's JP Cadorin join the fray this season as celebrity experts picking games each week. They will be joined by Lake Country Sports Director JR Radcliffe and NOW sports reporters John Rech, Tom "Sky" Skibosh and Steven L. Tietz.
Weekly winners will receive movie passes to Marcus Theatres. The top three finishers at the end of the season are eligible to receive a gift certificate to Bartolotta restaurants worth $100, $50 or $25.
The contest begins this week and lasts until the end of the regular season.» Read Full Article
Waukesha - Meghan Sprager, the executive director of Waukesha's Business Improvement District, who is resigning because of what she calls a hostile work environment and bullying by board leaders, wants to explain her charges at an open meeting of the full board, she said Friday.
Board members Jeff Barta, owner of the Nice Ash cigar bar, and downtown property owner Christine VanderBloemen requested a special board meeting in writing Wednesday as outlined in the board's bylaws. The meeting has been set for 7:30 a.m. Thursday at The Rotunda, 235 W. Broadway, though an agenda had not been issued by Friday afternoon.
Norm Bruce, president of the BID board and owner of Martha Merrell's Books, earlier this week said he expected the board to meet behind closed doors. He could not be reached for comment Friday.
"I think he's worried about what's going to be said about him," Sprager said.
Barta said he wants the meeting open to the public, as well.» Read Full Article
Brookfield Central's Carl Hirsch won the boys junior/senior race in 15 minutes, 22.84 seconds on the 5,000-meter course. Lauren Cunningham of Nicolet won the girls competition on the 4,000-meter course in 15:14.79.
I-94 was shut down at Maple Ave. in Waukesha County Thursday afternoon after a downed utility wire damaged power equipment belonging to We Energies, officials said.
A truck is believed to have clipped either a cable or a telecom wire about 3:30 p.m., We Energies spokesman Barry McNulty said.
The wire then wrapped itself around a neutral ground wire belonging to the power company and the tension on the ground wire broke a cross arm on a utility pole, McNulty said.
Eastbound traffic was backed up three miles, the Department of Transportation said.
Westbound motorists were being diverted at Exit SS north to Golf Road, west to State Highway 83, and then south back to I-94.» Read Full Article
Waukesha - The Waukesha Plan Commission has given final approval to plans for an expansion of Gaco Western's Waukesha plant that will double its size and could add 18 employees.
The firm, which employs about 60 people in Waukesha County and produces waterproofing and insulating coatings, plans to add about 85,025 square feet to its Waukesha facility at 1245 Chapman Drive.
The expansion will provide additional laboratory space needed for the company's focus on technology and new formulations. It will also allow for the consolidation of manufacturing, warehousing and distribution in Wisconsin into one facility and provide for a more efficient and higher-volume manufacturing area.
Eric Zimmerman, vice president of operations and general manager in Waukesha, said Gaco owns its Waukesha plant and leases warehouse space nearby.
The new jobs will range from warehouse positions to senior research chemist, the company said.» Read Full Article
Waukesha - The Waukesha Community Health Center, which aims to provide health care to those who otherwise couldn't afford it, will begin seeing patients on Monday. The center is a partnership of the Sixteenth Street Community Health Center in Milwaukee and ProHealth Care and is located in 15,000 square feet of newly refurbished and expanded space in the North Street Market on the corner of North and Barstow Streets, adjacent to the Metro Transit Center.
It was established to provide quality care regardless of language, cultural or economic barriers. There will be special accommodations to serve patients, including bilingual physicians, nurses and printed materials.
The Waukesha Memorial Hospital Foundation raised $2.3 million to acquire the site, and a $2.6 million grant under the Affordable Care Act from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services paid for construction and furnishings. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was planned for 11 a.m. Thursday.
Three medical providers and nursing staff will offer primary medical care in pediatrics and family practice, with other staff assisting with referrals to other resources and determining insurance eligibility. For those without insurance or who are underinsured, a sliding fee program will be established.
Within three years, the center expects to have 10 to 12 medical providers on hand and a full staff of about 40. The center will have 30 exam rooms.» Read Full Article
Citing a hostile working environment, Meghan Sprager announced her resignation as the Waukesha Business Improvement District executive director.
She said in her resignation letter sent to BID board members Tuesday that her last day will be Sept. 8 after the conclusion of the Art Fest in downtown Waukesha.
“It is my observations that the BID is very unhealthy,” wrote Sprager, who will end her relationship with the BID after just a little more than a year. “It cannot continue operating in its current state. As presently configured, the lack of civil discourse among the BID’s leadership provides a playground for manipulation and excessive bullying.
“This, in my opinion, is why it has been historically difficult for the BID to retain executive directors, and it has poisoned the organization to such a degree that I no longer feel that there is any possibility for anyone to effectively administer the organization in this capacity.”
She said that several months ago the City Attorney’s Office initiated a conversation with her and was encouraged to explore options in regard to a hostile working environment. After thinking about it, Sprager said she decided not to pursue any action "out of care and concern for the committed businesses and property owners that work to make downtown thrive."» Read Full Article
The University of Wisconsin-Waukesha is one of seven institutions around the country to receive money for supporting students, the U.S. Department of Education announced today.
UW-Waukesha received $553,207 to provide students with academic tutoring, assistance in course selection, information about financial aid and economic literacy, and help with transferring from two-year to four-year colleges.
"In this era of the global economy, getting to college is not enough, it's vital that students also succeed and reach the finishing line," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement announcing the awards.
The award is funded through the federal Student Support Services program. The seven grants are for a total of just over $2.5 million and will hep about 1,700 students, according to the Department of Education.
The award received by Waukesha was the largest of the seven announced today. Schools in Arkansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico and South Dakota also received awards.
Waukesha - Former Elm Grove and Whitefish Bay village manager Edmund Henschel is the only contender under consideration as the next Waukesha city administrator and a job offer could be in the works, Mayor Jeff Scrima said Tuesday.
The city selection committee interviewed him last week before he headed out of state for the rest of the month. Then, after the committee reviewed additional semifinalists' applications with a consultant, the committee decided to pursue Henschel without interviewing anyone else, Scrima said.
He said a job offer "may be in process" by the city's human relations department and the search firm. An announcement could be made in early September after Henschel returns, Scrima said.
Henschel, a Waukesha resident, has 27 years of municipal management experience in Elm Grove, Whitefish Bay and Clio, Mich., and 12 years of municipal consulting experience, according to his application. He is executive director of the Wisconsin City/County Management Association.
Scrima said Henschel's experience in negotiating a settlement to the 1980s "sewer wars" between the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and nine outlying suburbs called FLOW, for Fair Liquidation of Waste, would be particularly relevant to Waukesha "if he ends up joining our team."» Read Full Article
The Waukesha Common Council will not act on terms of a water deal with Oak Creek or Racine at its regular meeting Tuesday.
Oak Creek and Racine have been given two additional weeks to draft their best offers to sell Lake Michigan water to Waukesha, Waukesha Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak said.
"It's a competitive situation," Duchniak said.
Though Oak Creek's terms likely are set after recent negotiations, Waukesha's Water Utility Commission last week agreed to give Racine extra time to complete its offer, he said.
The commission could schedule a special meeting Sept. 4 to recommend approval of a preliminary deal prior to that evening's common council meeting, Duchniak said.» Read Full Article
Similar to Waukesha County results, the City of Waukesha was essentially split on former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson and businessman Eric Hovde in Tuesday's Republican U.S. Senate Primary.
But unlike the County results where Thompson beat Hovde by 752 votes or 1 percent of the votes, Hovde just edged out Thompson, the eventual winner in the primary, in the City of Waukesha - 2,900 (32.9 percent) to 2,849 (32.4).
Former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann, who resides in Nashotah, finished third in the final results but was fourth in the County and City behind Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald.
The Town of Waukesha had similar results, as Hovde beat Thompson, 693 (34.7 percent) to 614 (30.7). Fitzgerald had 392 votes and Neumann brought in 298 votes.
With the win, Thompson, 70, now faces U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, 50, (D-Madison) in the Nov. 6 general election.» Read Full Article
Waukesha - The selection committee looking for a new Waukesha city administrator is back at work, narrowing the list of semifinalists Monday with plans to interview finalists on a rolling basis, a change from its mid-September target for interviews.
One candidate will get an early interview.
Ed Henschel, executive secretary of the Wisconsin City/County Management Association and the former Whitefish Bay village manager, will be interviewed Monday because he will be out of the state for the rest of the month.
"The recruitment firm feels that Mr. Henschel would be a finalist in any event and that it is advantageous to both the city and Mr. Henschel to conduct his interview before he leaves," Human Resources Manager Donna Hylarides Whalen wrote in an email Friday.
Waukesha's former city administrator, Lori Curtis Luther, left in August 2011 for another job. After a search for her replacement, the preferred candidate - the only one the committee could agree on - withdrew from consideration so the city started from scratch, changing its recruiting firm as well.» Read Full Article
Waukesha - The Waukesha County Museum is giving the public a peek at one of the rare Les Paul items acquired at auction recently - a 1927 Gibson L-5 Sunburst Cremona that the late music legend bought in 1933 at Gibson's Kalamazoo, Mich., factory.
The guitar, one of 16 personal and professional items acquired in June in an online auction, will be on display through Dec. 30 at the museum, located at East Ave. and Main St., museum President and CEO Kirsten Lee Villegas said.
Eventually, the items will be part of the Les Paul exhibit which is on track toward a June phase-one rollout, she said. Paul, a musical legend credited with many recording innovations and an award-studded recording career, was born and raised in Waukesha and is buried at the city's Prairie Home Cemetery.
Only the guitar will be on display for now.
Meanwhile, Villegas said that the "incredibly generous gift" of $45,000 from the Waukesha GuitarTown steering committee announced this week - funds raised through a public art project featuring artistic guitar sculptures on display downtown - will provide the sponsorship of one of the Les Paul artifacts acquired at the auction.» Read Full Article
According to the City of Waukesha's Engineering Department, drivers will have to find alternate routes if using some City of Waukesha streets in the next few weeks.
The Engineering Department said that due to the on-going reconstruction of E. North St. and E. St. Paul Ave, N.W. Barstow St. is currently closed between Buena Vista Avenue and E. North St.
The closure is expected to last about three weeks.
And due to this Sunday's Waukesha Old Car Club, Baxter Street between White Rock Avenue and Buckley Street will be closed from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for the car show.
Rain is beginning to make more frequent appearances around southeastern Wisconsin these days.
As a result, the burn bans and sprinkling bans for the Town of Waukesha have now been lifted.
The residential sprinkling ban was lifted Thursday and the burning ban was lifted Aug. 3.
The sprinkling ban for all residential properties began July 17 after a resolution was adopted by the Town Board.
It applied to watering lawns and washing cars, but did not apply to hand watering of flowers, gardens, trees or shrubs.
Waukesha GuitarTown project raised a net of $105,000 for three local charities, steering committee chairman Rick Congdon said Thursday.Waukesha - The
The committee decided to give $45,000 to the Waukesha Public Schools for purchase of new musical instruments and art supplies. Another $45,000 will benefit the planned Les Paul exhibit at the Waukesha County Museum. The other $15,000 will be donated to Waukesha Memorial Hospital to help fund the new Community Health Clinic, which will serve uninsured or underinsured individuals.
The project was a partnership with the foundation of Gibson Guitar Co., which manufactures guitars designed by the late Waukesha native and music legend Les Paul. Ten 10-foot-tall guitar sculptures and a series of playable Gibson guitars decorated by regional artists have been installed throughout the downtown as a community art project after a June 1 kickoff.
"The Waukesha family is proud that the GuitarTown project has united our business, music and arts communities to amplify our downtown and raise money for these worthy causes," said Waukesha Mayor Jeff Scrima, who first approached Gibson to bring the event to the city.
Other host cities have included Los Angeles; Nashville, Tenn.; Miami; and London.
The final Civic Band concert of the summer at the Les Paul Performance Center in Cutler Park was supposed to take place tonight.
But according to the Waukesha Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, the Jazz Express Concert has been canceled and has been rescheduled for 7:30 p.m. next Thursday, Aug. 16.
The forecast for Waukesha has temperatures in the mid 60s with rain showers likely all day.
The Parks and Rec. also announced that Buchner and Horeb Springs Aquatic Center is closed today due to the weather.
With temperatures in the 90s and even some 100s for most of this summer and with so little rain, canceling events at the pools due to weather has been few and far between.
Over the last couple of weeks, National Night Outs have taken place across the area.
Last night, Greenfield, Wauwatosa and most notably, Oak Creek, held their National Night Outs.
At Oak Creek's NNO, it brought out a sea of people as it coincided with a vigil to honor the victims of Sunday's Sikh temple shooting.
Waukesha will now hold its National Night Out from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Rotary Building Grounds in Frame Park, 1150 Baxter St.
As a result, Baxter Street between Buckley Street and White Rock Avenue will be closed from 2 to 9 p.m. Wednesday.» Read Full Article
The Waukesha Plan Commission meets Wednesday at the Council Chambers inside City Hall and among the noteworthy items on the agenda include:
A request from the Humane Animal Welfare Society of Waukesha County and Gerald Nell Inc., a commercial building contractor, for a 1,519 square-foot addition to the east side of the building at 701 Northview Road.
The Waukesha School District is also requesting to approve plans for a solar panel installation on the roof of the Waukesha STEM Academy's Saratoga Campus, 130 Walton Ave.
The meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m., will be televised on TV 25.
According to a news release sent out Friday, an individual posing as a fire department inspector "inspected" multiple businesses within the past two to three weeks.
Sgt. Jerry Habanek said it is unknown whether this individual was using this ruse to better learn about the businesses for committing future crimes such as burglary or robbery or if he had some other motive.
The Waukesha Fire Department officials learned about this while recently conducting routine fire inspections on businesses.
Habanek said the businesses the suspect inspected were all industrial in nature. Waukesha police say the suspect wore a light blue button-up shirt with a badge, wore sunglasses during the inspections and may have drove a white Chevy Impala.
Habanek explained the concern of both the Police and Fire departments is not only the potential that this would be a pre-cursor to another crime but that this also erodes public trust.» Read Full Article
The state Department of Natural Resources will require any municipality, including Milwaukee, selling Lake Michigan water to the City of Waukesha to supply its entire future water service area and not just the city, Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp said Thursday in a letter to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Common Council President Willie Hines.
Stepp's declaration appears to be a setback for Barrett's strategy to contain Waukesha's development by limiting lake water distribution to its existing service area encompassing the city and 112 or so residences and businesses in the Town of Waukesha.
The refusal of Milwaukee officials to discuss distribution of water to the larger future service area has created an impasse: Milwaukee has not opened talks with Waukesha over a possible sale of Lake Michigan water.
Waukesha has been negotiating a possible water purchase with Oak Creek and Racine for a full year. It is estimated Milwaukee would reap at least $3 million a year in revenue from Waukesha under a water purchase agreement.
Draft agreements with both of those potential suppliers likely will be discussed at a Waukesha Common Council meeting in late August, Waukesha Water Utility general manager Dan Duchniak said Thursday.» Read Full Article
The Lormans and Messplays will have some new neighbors.
A few months after the two families moved into their new Habitat for Humanity duplex in the City of Waukesha, construction will begin shortly on another two-family home in the Dunbar Oaks neighborhood.
A groundbreaking ceremony will take place at noon Aug. 11 at 321 and 323 Bethesda Court to kick off construction on the new home and announce the two families who will live there.
The home will be located next to the most recently-completed Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County home at 317 and 319 Bethesda Court.
The home, located just outside of the central downtown area, will be at the location of the old YWCA site, near Bethesda Spring Park and close to the Waukesha Public Library and Central Middle School.» Read Full Article