Former Gard aide named Vrakas chief of staff

Nov. 25, 2009 4:12 p.m. | Waukesha - Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas has named as his new chief of staff Ellen Nowak, a former staffer to then Republican state representative and Assembly Speaker John Gard.

Nowak spent nearly 10 years working in the state Legislature as chief of staff and legal counsel to Gard. She also served as Gard's campaign manager in the second of his two campaigns against U.S. Rep. Steve Kagan, an unsuccessful challenge to the Democrat's 2008 re-election bid.

Before her work in Madison, Nowak practiced law specializing in business litigation with the law firm of Mallery & Zimmerman in Milwaukee. Her most recent position was as director of government affairs for School Choice Wisconsin, a nonprofit group advocating in favor of vouchers for low-income students in Milwaukee to attend the school of their choice. She was licensed as a lobbyist for the group from April 14 to Nov. 18 of this year.

Nowak began her duties as Vrakas' chief of staff, with a salary of $88,500, on Monday. She succeeds Allison Bussler, who left the job to become Waukesha County's public works director.

Nowak, of Mequon, expects to relocate to Waukesha County.

Inmate shot at hospital regains consciousness

Nov. 24, 2009 3:34 p.m. | Waukesha - The Waukesha County Jail inmate who was shot Nov. 6 after he attacked a sheriff's deputy at Waukesha Memorial Hospital now is apparently awake and alert after having been unconscious since he was shot, his attorney said in court Tuesday.

Steven P. Lettenberger, 44, of Waukesha had been in a medically induced coma after he was rushed into surgery after being shot in the upper torso.

Lettenberger apparently was alert enough Tuesday morning to invoke his right to an attorney when a detective attempted to speak with him, attorney Alex Flynn told Waukesha County Circuit Court Commissioner Martin Binn during a hearing on two unrelated criminal cases pending against Lettenberger.

Flynn also said he attempted to meet with Lettenberger at the hospital on Tuesday, but Waukesha city police would not let him.

Deputy District Attorney Stephen J. Centinario Jr. told Binn that Flynn's request to meet with Lettenberger likely was denied for security reasons. He said extra police officers need to be present before a meeting can occur.

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Smart grid grants include $10.7 million for Waukesha Electric

Nov. 24, 2009 1:52 p.m. | Waukesha Electric Systems on Tuesday was awarded $10.7 million from the federal stimulus package for a smart grid demonstration grant. Read more in Plugged In.

Inmate shot by Waukesha County deputy in induced coma

Nov. 20, 2009 6:00 p.m. | Waukesha — The Waukesha County Jail inmate who was shot and wounded Nov. 6 after he attacked a sheriff's deputy at Waukesha Memorial Hospital has been in a medically induced coma at the hospital, according to court documents filed by his attorney.

Steven P. Lettenberger, 44, of Waukesha was rushed to the hospital's emergency room and into surgery after he was shot while attacking the deputy with a sharp instrument.

Lettenberger's attorney, Alex Flynn, states in documents filed in Waukesha County Circuit Court that he has tried to meet with his client but was told by a law enforcement officer that any meeting would be fruitless because Lettenberger is in a medically induced coma.

During a second attempt to meet with Lettenberger, Flynn was told by a hospital social worker that he would need approval from Waukesha police to see Lettenberger, a letter filed by Flynn in court says.

Lettenberger was shot in the upper torso about 3 p.m. by a 51-year-old deputy during an altercation, the Sheriff's Department has said.

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Waukesha County opens swine flu clinics to the full public

Nov. 18, 2009 4:24 p.m. | Waukesha - Any Waukesha County resident who wants a swine flu vaccination can now get one for free at county clinics scheduled for Thursday and next Tuesday at the Waukesha County Expo Center Forum Building.

Until now, the clinics have targeted high-risk groups, such as pregnant women, children, and caregivers of small children. But Peter Schuler, public health officer and director of health and human services, said the county has both enough supply and a ready staff to serve a larger group.

"Our overall goal is to make the community immune to H1N1, and this is best achieved by vaccination," he said.

Those who turned out for Tuesday's clinic amounted to a trickle compared with earlier clinics, spokesperson Julianne Klimetz. Even at peak hours, there was no wait, she said.

About 8,000 people have been vaccinated at the public health clinics held so far.

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United Way campaign extended in Waukesha County; campaign lags in Milwaukee County

Nov. 16, 2009 5:42 p.m. | Waukesha - With more people needing help, a higher fund-raising goal and fewer donations being collected, United Way in Waukesha County is extending its campaign another month, to Dec. 31.

At the same time, donations to the United Way of Greater Milwaukee campaign are lagging, about $800,000 short of projections with roughly three weeks remaining, according to figures released Monday.

Ken Riesch, Waukesha County's United Way 2009 campaign chairman and president and CEO of R&R Insurance Services, said Monday, "With more people seeking help and fewer donations being collected, the need to extend the campaign is obvious."

The $2.1 million raised so far is on pace with last year's effort at this time, Riesch said, but United Way in Waukesha County set a $5.1 million goal - compared with $4.8 million last year - because demand for services in these hard economic times is higher. Last year's campaign helped pay for 71 programs at 34 agencies that reached nearly 67,000 people.

The United Way in Waukesha County campaign started Sept. 1 and was set to end Nov. 30, but it needs more time to reach donors, including new ones, Riesch said.

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Waukesha county adds 2 swine flu clinics this week

Nov. 16, 2009 12:46 p.m. | Waukesha - Waukesha County's Public Health Division will hold more flu clinics this week and is targeting a wider group of people - adding adults with medical conditions - to receive the H1N1 vaccine.

Both the nasal mist and injectable forms of vaccine will be provided to Waukesha County residents who meet the following classifications:

All children ages 6 months to 18 years; people who live with or provide care for infants 6 months or younger, including parents, siblings and care providers; pregnant women; adults ages 18 through 64 who have chronic medical conditions; and health care workers and emergency medical responders.

The clinics will be held at the Waukesha County Expo Center Forum Building on Tuesday and Thursday from 1 to 6:30 p.m. both days, unless the vaccine supply runs out sooner.

Waukesha budget goes to hearing

Nov. 16, 2009 12:08 p.m. | Waukesha — Waukesha residents will get their last chance to speak up on the 2010 city budget Tuesday during a public hearing at the Common Council's 7 p.m. meeting, when final adoption is scheduled.

The budget includes hiring and pay freezes in city government, and higher fees for residents. During weeks of review, the Finance Committee made one small change in the budget first presented by Administrator Lori Curtis Luther - eliminating a proposed $2,160 increase from the mayor's mileage allowance, reducing it to the current $1,440.

The fund for general government operations totals $57.4 million, up 2.6% from this year's $55.9 million and part of an overall budget - including sewer and transit utilities, trust funds and other dedicated funds - of $108.2 million.

The proposed tax levy stands at $51.4 million, up 6.4% from this year's $48.3 million. The levy would produce a tax rate of $8.95 per $1,000 assessed value, up 12 cents. Because the city reassessed all property this year, year-to-year tax rate comparisons do not accurately reflect the impact on individual properties because some property assessments increased while others decreased.

The proposed budget includes a hiring freeze, a salary freeze that has yet to be negotiated with the city's estimated 360 union employees but would save $1 million, and leaves 16 jobs unfilled and unfunded from prior years, including five new ones next year at an added saving of $300,000.

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Woman given 10 years in prison in methadone deaths

Nov. 10, 2009 3:40 p.m. | Waukesha - A 35-year-old Waukesha woman was sentenced to 10 years in prison Tuesday for providing methadone on separate occasions to two people who overdosed and died.

Nina E. Pudil also was ordered by Waukesha County Circuit Judge J. Mac Davis to serve 10 years of extended supervision when she is released from prison.

Pudil was found guilty last month of two counts of first-degree reckless homicide in connection with the methadone overdose deaths after she entered Alford no contest pleas to the charges.

In an Alford plea, a defendant does not acknowledge guilt but concedes there is sufficient evidence for conviction.

In April, Pudil was charged in the death of Donald G. Arnold, 40, who was found dead March 31, 2007, at the Airport Lodge in the City of Pewaukee, where he lived, according to a criminal complaint. Pudil was accused of giving Arnold liquid methadone and was with him the night before he died.

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WWII vets sought for video interviews

Nov. 09, 2009 12:58 p.m. | Waukesha - The Waukesha County Historical Society is looking for World War II veterans willing to give videotaped interviews for use with a World War II exhibit planned for the Waukesha County Museum next November.

A list of veterans willing to share their war stories is being compiled, and several will be selected for interviews.

Interested vets should contact Eric Vanden Heuvel at the museum by March 2010. He can be reached at (262) 521-2859, extension 223, or by e-mail at

Crusade pays off for Catholic Memorial

Nov. 07, 2009 9:49 p.m. | Ashwaubenon — This journey began 12 months ago.

Angered, frustrated and dejected after falling one match shy of the 2008 state title, Catholic Memorial's girls volleyball team promised improvement. That meant longer hours and a greater commitment than many of the Crusaders had ever given before.

Saturday afternoon, Catholic Memorial made sure it was worthwhile.

The Crusaders rolled to a 25-18, 25-14, 25-17 victory over Appleton Xavier in the WIAA Division 2 state championship and claimed their second title in four years. As Catholic Memorial's faithful filled the Resch Center with applause and the Crusaders gathered around their championship trophy, this lengthy voyage had the perfect ending.

"This is almost surreal," said junior outside hitter Kate Acker, who had a match-high 15 kills. "We were determined to win and make sure all that hard work paid off."

» Read Full Article

Waukesha County schedules 2 more swine flu clinics

Nov. 05, 2009 11:48 a.m. | Waukesha - Two more swine flu clinics for targeted groups will be held at the Waukesha County Expo Center Forum Building next Tuesday and Thursday.

The county's Public Health Division said clinics will be held from 1 to 6 p.m. both Nov. 10 and Nov. 12, or until their supply runs out. However, spokeswoman Julianne Klimetz said the county has more than double the 3,000 doses it administered at last week's clinics - including at least 3,000 doses of the injectable H1N1 vaccine which can only be administered to certain at-risk individuals. So there may be enough vaccine to add clinics the following week.

The clinics are for health care and emergency medical personnel, pregnant women, children ages 6 months to 4 years, persons who live with or care for infants 6 months or younger, and children ages 5 to 18 years with medical conditions, such as asthma.

Waukesha County United Way campaign falling far short

Nov. 04, 2009 1:40 p.m. | Waukesha - With less than four weeks left in its campaign, United Way in Waukesha County has reached just 17.5% of its $5.14 million goal, the agency says.

Campaign chairman Ken Riesch, president and CEO of R&R Insurance Services, said United Way set a higher goal this year - it raised $4.8 million for 34 local agencies serving 66,755 individuals last year - because there is an even greater need for services in the current economy.

For example, Community Outreach Health Clinic for uninsured and underinsured clients broke a nine-year record for patients and has seen a 45% increase in patient visits. Energy Services Inc. has seen 5,100 applicants, a 27% increase, for emergency help with utility bills. The Hebron House of Hospitality homeless shelter lacked room for 597 families turned away from January through August. It's seen a 39% increase this year in homeless families seeking help.

The United Way board is seeking new contributors through challenge grants. Also, new donors or those who increase giving by $52 will be entered in a drawing for a 2010 Ford Focus.

Those who can help by donating or fund-raising can contact the agency online at, by calling (262) 547-8459 or by mail at P.O. Box 1041, Waukesha, WI 53187-1041.

Goodwill to open 2nd Waukesha store

Nov. 02, 2009 2:39 p.m. | Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin is building a second store in Waukesha, just off Silvernail Road on the northwest side of the city. Read more in Shop Talk.

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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.