Waukesha police chief clears cop in crash involving bicyclist

Dec. 30, 2010 12:00 p.m. | Waukesha - Waukesha Police Chief Russell P. Jack has decided that no discipline is warranted against Officer Ian DeKarske, who struck a bicyclist crossing Highway 164 on Waukesha's east side in July.

Responding to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel records request, Jack issued a letter citing a number of factors for his decision. They included impaired visibility because of darkness, no street lighting, the bicyclist's dark clothes and lack of bike reflectors, and the failure of the bicyclist to yield to cars on a highway at an uncontrolled intersection.

The district attorney earlier declined to issue charges in the case.

Travis Weber, 17, of Waukesha was crossing the six-lane divided state highway about 9:30 p.m. July 13 with another bicyclist when he was struck by DeKarske's squad, who was responding without emergency lights and siren to assist another officer. Weber survived but suffered a head injury, leg injuries and a cut to the chin.

The Wisconsin State Patrol investigation concluded DeKarske was traveling 57 mph on the highway, where the speed limit is 45 mph.

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Waukesha shopping center, Shoppes at Fox River, sold

Dec. 30, 2010 9:34 a.m. | Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust said Thursday it has acquired the Shoppes at Fox River, a 135,484-square-foot shopping center in Waukesha, for $23.8 million in an all cash transaction.

The Shoppes at Fox River and is anchored by a 61,045-square-foot Pick 'n Save and a 132,382-square-foot Target. Other tenants at the shopping center, which is 93.4% leased, include Petco, Dollar Tree, Famous Footwear, Buffalo Wild Wings, Subway and GNC.

As part of the transaction, Farmington Hills, Mich.-based Ramco-Gershenson said it agreed to lend the seller $3.0 million secured by a 17.9 acre parcel of land adjacent to the shopping center.

The Shoppes at Fox River, 1200 W. Sunset Drive, was developed in 2009 by Opus North Corp. on a 49.5-acre site that formerly housed a Fleming Cos. food distribution center, which closed in 2003. It is the third grocery-anchored shopping center acquired by Ramco-Gershenson in the second half of 2010.

"The acquisition of the Shoppes at Fox River is consistent with our strategy of acquiring high-quality shopping centers in superior locations with market-dominant anchors," Dennis Gershenson, president and chief executive, said in a statement announcing the transaction.

Read stories of Resolve in our special section

Dec. 29, 2010 9:28 a.m. | For the last several weeks, we have asked readers to share with us their stories of hope and resolve from 2010.

The response was greater than we expected, as people contacted us and provided uplifting stories. We are pleased to be able to share some of them in our special section.

We hope you join us in looking ahead to 2011 with a sense of hope. The hard times experienced by so many during the past two years have shown us that change, whether we like it or not, is inevitable. Remembering the positives can help us meet those changes with optimism and resolve.

Go to Stories of Resolve.

Man gets life for strangling girlfriend, burning her body

Dec. 28, 2010 7:46 p.m. | A man who strangled his girlfriend then burned her body and dumped the ashes in Lake Winnebago nearly two years ago was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison with no opportunity for parole.

Fond du Lac County Circuit Judge Robert J. Wirtz issued the sentence for Brandon Mueller, 37, in the death of Renee Redmer.

The mother of two from Waukesha disappeared in early January 2009, and her fate remained a mystery until Mueller confessed to a friend that he had strangled Redmer at his mother's house in Fond du Lac. The friend eventually told police what had been done with her body.

Mueller's mother, Nancy J. Pinno, 53, and the friend, Donald Worth, 48, of the Town of Friendship, helped Mueller burn the body in a barrel on Worth's property and disposed of her remains. Both were convicted of mutilating a corpse and sentenced to prison.

Before the murder, Mueller had been convicted of assaulting women in four other cases. His sentences on those convictions ranged form 20 days in jail to four months, plus probation.

Take a look at the best pictures of 2010 in our end-of-year galleries

Dec. 22, 2010 9:08 a.m. | NOW photojournalists C.T. Kruger and Peter Zuzga have collected their favorite photographs from the past 12 months into two galleries that capture some of the most interesting, exciting and unusual news and sports moments from the past year.

We invite you to take a look back at 2010 and browse through the top news and sports photos.

I-94 repaving project will slow traffic between Waukesha, Milwaukee

Dec. 18, 2010 9:53 p.m. | A stockpile of books on tape and gift cards for gas may be the perfect Christmas presents for motorists who regularly drive I-94 between Waukesha and downtown Milwaukee.

Travel times on the busy section of freeway will more than double during a repaving project scheduled to last about three months, from early April to the end of June.

Motorists commuting between the Marquette Interchange and Wisconsin Highway 16 can expect to add an hour per day to their drive time.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is working to lessen the blow by diverting 50% of the daily traffic from the freeway, either on local roads or through greater use of buses and car pools.

To reach that goal, roughly 70,000 to 80,000 motorists a day would have to be coaxed onto alternate routes or means of transportation. Daily traffic totals on I-94 range from 103,000 in Waukesha County to 168,000 in Milwaukee County, according to the DOT.

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Thrift store to occupy former Kohl's grocery in Waukesha

Dec. 16, 2010 11:26 a.m. | Waukesha - A former Kohl's grocery store on Sunset Drive that has been closed for seven years will reopen as a thrift store next spring after the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Waukesha County closes on the deal in the next couple of weeks.

The Waukesha Town Board gave final approval to the operation last week, and a tentative sale date has been set for Dec. 28.

The property is owned by General Capital Group of Milwaukee, which has a 20-year lease with The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. Inc.

That firm, A&P, owned Kohl's - as well as other food store chains - before closing the Kohl's stores in late 2003. A&P has just filed for bankruptcy.

General Capital Group intends to keep a one-acre lot at Sunset and Prairie avenues. The remainder of the site includes 5.7 acres and a 47,000-square-foot building.

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United Way in Waukesha County makes push to reach goal

Dec. 13, 2010 4:56 p.m. | Waukesha - United Way in Waukesha County is appealing for one last push - and $176,000 - to reach its campaign goal of $4.3 million by the end of December.

So far, the organization is projecting to raise 96% of its goal.

Campaign chairman Dave Vetta, president and CEO of First Business Bank, said, "Never have donations been more important than in the midst of this great recession, when so many are losing employment and finding themselves struggling for the basics that the rest of us take for granted."

United Way-funded programs last year helped about 70,000 people through 33 agencies. The organization noted that while Waukesha County is one of the state's wealthiest, it still has almost 16,000 residents living at or below the poverty level, including nearly 4,000 children. Programs like Energy Services has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people seeking assistance.

Vetta encouraged residents to give at the "leadership" level of $1,000 or more because those contributions will be matched 50% by the ProHealth Care and Wisconsin Energy Foundation Leadership challenge grant.

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Waukesha planners question YMCA housing proposal

Dec. 09, 2010 11:16 a.m. | Waukesha - The Waukesha Plan Commission has tabled a 62-unit apartment building for mobility-impaired residents proposed on the Waukesha Family YMCA property in partnership with CommonBond Communities.

City planner Michael Hoeft said commissioners Wednesday raised a number of questions about the project - including how a locally designated landmark at E. Broadway and Hartwell Ave., a former gas station built in 1929 to resemble a home, would be incorporated into the project. Questions were also raised about architecture and storage.

Y officials are opposed to keeping the landmark on its site. It is appealing to the Administrative Review Board to overturn the landmark designation, with a board meeting scheduled for mid-January. At the same time, the Y is working with a subcommittee of the Landmarks Commission on the possibility of relocating the small, Tudor-style building that more recently served as a fruit stand and used car lot.

CommonBond Communities is seeking local approval in advance of its February application to the state for federal tax credits on the project.

Lancers beat Waukesha South for first win

Dec. 04, 2010 10:58 p.m. | The Brookfield Central girls basketball team shut out Waukesha South in the second quarter and then held on for a 39-32 win to even their record at 1-1 Saturday afternoon at Central.

Central outscored the Blackshirts (1-1), 11-0, behind seven points by sophomore forward Sarah Fotsch to take a 15-6 lead into half-time.

After South rallied to cut the lead to 21-17 with 1:22 left in the third period, Central when on an 8-0 run to end the quarter. Victoria Fasi hit a 3-pointer, Anna Liewin hit a free throw and a jumper and Valerierose Agnello scored on a baseline drive for BC.

After a South basket, Agnello scored on a steal and Liewen hit another jumper for a 33-21 advantage with 4:53 left to play.

The Blackshirts rallied, but a 3-pointer by Central freshman Lydia Rohde and 3-of-4 free throws by Liewen held off the rally.

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Waukesha alderman wants to end special deliveries for council

Dec. 03, 2010 4:52 p.m. | Waukesha - Newly elected Ald. John Kalblinger wants to stop the city's practice of having police or parking enforcement officers deliver weekly agenda packets to Common Council members.

"I think the police department has other more pressing things they could be doing that would serve the public rather than deliver our mail," he said Friday.

Tuesday's Common Council meeting includes a discussion of the practice.

"I'm sure some will think it's a good idea and some will be opposed," he said.

Packets of agendas, minutes and other records related to city meetings and business are prepared each Friday for the 15 aldermen and members of the news media. Reporters and a couple of aldermen pick up their own packets, but a parking enforcement officer picks up those for most of the aldermen. On Saturday morning, police spend about two hours delivering the envelopes to aldermen's homes, Kalblinger said.

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Stars to raise money for Food Pantry

Dec. 03, 2010 2:26 p.m. | The Brookfield Stars hope to raise money for the Waukesha Food Pantry at Saturday's hockey game.

Brookfield will host Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago at 6:40 p.m. at The Ponds of Brookfield.

The Stars will be selling T-shirts for students ($2) and adults ($5) to benefit the Waukesha Food Pantry for the holidays.

Commission report backs Waukesha lake water bid

Dec. 02, 2010 4:52 p.m. | Waukesha should switch from using multiple wells to buying Lake Michigan water, and return its treated wastewater either directly to the lake or a tributary stream, the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission recommends in its final regional water supply plan.

The advisory report affirms one reason pushed by Waukesha in its pending request for a lake supply: converting to lake water comes with several environmental benefits.

And the plan adds another reason for the switch: it would not result in a new round of sprawling development or prompt a flow of businesses and jobs from potential seller Milwaukee to Waukesha, according to the analysis by the Center for Economic Development at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

The regional plan, adopted this week by the commission, comes as the state Department of Natural Resources is reviewing Waukesha's May 2010 application for a Lake Michigan water supply. Wisconsin and each of the other seven Great Lakes states must approve the request, under terms of a Great Lakes protection compact, before the city can make the switch.

Waukesha Water Utility officials Thursday embraced the regional plan's recommendation as conclusive support for their request.

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Man accused of knifing another man in Waukesha

Dec. 02, 2010 11:51 a.m. | Waukesha police are recommending attempted homicide charges against a man who they think cut another man with a box knife.

Police said Thursday that they learned about the incident after a caller said two men had come to the door of a home in the 1900 block of Madera St. "covered in blood" about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Another person called, saying there had been some type of disturbance happening for the prior two hours.

Police found the men and found that one had a cut on the area of his throat. That man was taken to the hospital and is in stable condition Thursday, police said.

The other man was arrested. Police said they found a box knife and later recommended the attempted homicide charge to the Waukesha County district attorney's office.

Not-guilty plea entered in fatal Waukesha shooting

Dec. 01, 2010 4:28 p.m. | Waukesha - A plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect was entered Wednesday on behalf of Steven P. Osburn, accused in the Aug. 6 shooting death of his best friend.

Osburn's attorney, Gerald P. Boyle, entered the plea for Osburn and told Waukesha County Circuit Judge Mark Gundrum he had retained a doctor who specializes in post-traumatic stress disorder due to combat to evaluate Osburn, a military veteran.

Gundrum ordered a separate mental health evaluation of Osburn, according to online court records, and set a hearing for Jan. 28 to review the evaluations.

Osburn, 24, of Waukesha is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the death of Zachary S. Gallenberg, 23, of Waukesha.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the case and Waukesha police, Osburn had called police at 3:34 a.m. Aug. 6 and said that he had been assaulted by his best friend and that if police did not come, he would shoot or kill his roommate.

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Altercation days earlier preceded Waukesha woman's death, police say

Dec. 01, 2010 12:12 p.m. | Waukesha - The husband of a Waukesha woman found dead at her home Tuesday morning had been arrested three days earlier for a verbal and physical altercation with his wife, police said Wednesday.

Police arrested him for violating a no-contact order issued when he was released on $150 bail in that incident.

The woman, found dead at the bottom of stairs in her home on W. College Ave., was identified Wednesday as Ginger Brannon. She was 47.

Her husband, John F. Brannon, 46, called police about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday to report he'd found his wife apparently dead.

Police Capt. Dennis Angle said the husband told police she had been drinking and using prescription drugs, but Angle added, "We're not treating this as an overdose."

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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.