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Christmas Clearing Council's toy drop-off begins Thursday at Waukesha County sites

Nov. 01, 2012 12:37 p.m. | Christmas might be more than seven weeks away, but the Christmas Clearing Council of Waukesha County’s effort to help those in need during the holidays is in full gear.

A few weeks ago, individuals could begin sponsoring a family for the holidays.

With a commitment of $60, families, organizations or companies are matched with a family and receive the child’s wish/need list. They then shop and deliver the gifts to the family by Dec. 12.

In 2011, the CCC coordinated giving to more than 1,900 families and close to 4,500 children in Waukesha County.

Persons wishing to sponsor a family can call (262) 549-NOEL.

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West Allis man charged with video taping women's restroom at UW-Waukesha

8:39 a.m. | According to a criminal complaint, a West Allis man said he liked to watch and listen to females using the bathroom, and would spend weeks inside the opposite sex's restroom at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha doing just that.

But late last spring, Jacob E. Laurishke, 22, was busted after he began recording a woman inside a stall in a campus bathroom, the complaint said.

Now, four months after being caught, Laurishke was charged on Sept. 21 with invasion of privacy in a public place with a person present. If convicted, Laurishke faces up to nine months in prison and $10,000 in fines.

He posted a $500 cash bond on May 6 and will make his first court appearance on Oct. 19 at the Waukesha County Courthouse.

According to the complaint, a woman, then 22, was in a public bathroom May 5 on campus and saw a black backpack on the floor in a stall. She said once she was in her stall she heard someone exit a stall and enter the stall next to her, the complaint read.

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Xperience Fitness and Dollar Tree open in old Waukesha Kmart

Oct. 05, 2015 8:18 p.m. | Vacant for four years, the building that previously occupied a Kmart in Waukesha is back in business with new tenants.

A new Xperience Fitness and Dollar Tree recently opened within the 115,857-square-foot building at 120 E. Sunset Drive.

Xperience Fitness opened Sept. 29, relocating from its previous home further west at S230 W24896 Sunset Drive.

Officials with the company said adding more features was the primary reason for the move. Its previous facility was only 7,000 square feet, but its new space within the old Kmart building will be more than 35,000 square feet.

Some features at the new location include more parking, an indoor swimming pool, a cardio movie theater, a large group exercise studio, a spinning studio and a new turf functional fitness area.

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Waukesha woman charged with fourth OWI offense after striking bus

Oct. 04, 2015 12:30 p.m. | A Waukesha woman who has a checkered past of operating vehicles while under the influence is facing more trouble following a high-profile collision.

Tricia M. Barnett, 46, has been charged with her fourth offense of operating a vehicle while intoxicated after she crashed her car into a bus with her 9-year-old niece as a passenger.

If convicted of the felony, Barnett could spend up to two years in prison and be fined up to $4,000. Barnett's driver's license could also be revoked for up to six years because she allegedly committed the offense with a child younger than 16 years old in the vehicle.

According to the criminal complaint, Barnett's vehicle struck a bus that had two children aboard after she picked up her niece from school shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, near the intersection of Oakdale and West Sunset drives.

Police noted one-third of the hood of Barnett's sedan was stuck under the rear bumper of the bus and needed to be towed.

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Two lanes on U.S. Highway 45 in Waukesha County reopen after crash

Oct. 03, 2015 11:03 a.m. | Two right lanes on northbound U.S. Highway 45 at U.S. Highway 18 (Bluemound Road) have reopened after closing because of a traffic incident. An intial report estimated the lanes could be closed for two hours.

The crash happened at 10:09 a.m. Saturday, according to a Wisconsin Department of Transportation incident notification. Also of note, the ramps from Interstate 94 westbound and Interstate 94 eastbound to U.S. Highway 45 northbound are closed in the Zoo Interchange.

Workers in Waukesha losing jobs as GE takes strong stance in Ex-Im Bank dispute

Oct. 02, 2015 11:03 p.m. | Alex Hoekstra, a union representative for several hundred General Electric Co. employees in Waukesha, didn't ask to get pulled into the fight over the U.S. Export-Import Bank — the agency that has financed billions of dollars in international business deals on behalf of U.S. companies.

But he's smack in the middle of it now that GE has said it will close its Waukesha plant, where the Fairfield, Conn.-based company makes engines used in the oil and gas industry. The closure will eliminate 350 jobs over the next couple of years.

Earlier this week, GE said Congress was to blame for the closure because it has failed to reauthorize the charter of the Ex-Im Bank. The company said it is moving the Waukesha engine work, and the 350 jobs, to a $265 million factory it will build in Canada, because that country has an export credit agency.

The news was a "shock to the system," said Hoekstra, a business representative for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

"These are real people with families and bills to pay. What have we done to deserve this? It's insane," he said.

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Updated week seven rankings of area prep football teams and players

Oct. 02, 2015 1:00 p.m. | Push for the playoffs is a detailed weekly breakdown of the teams and players in the Lake Country and suburban Milwaukee prep football scene.

Town of Waukesha Fire Department hosting open house, pancake breakfast

Oct. 02, 2015 12:16 p.m. | The Town of Waukesha's Fire Department is holding its annual fire prevention open house on Saturday, Oct. 3.  

The event features an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast from 7 to 11:30 a.m. at the Town of Waukesha Fire Department, W250 S3567 Center Road, Waukesha.

There will also be fire prevention and awareness activities at the event, including a smokehouse, which simulates some of the effects of a fire situation and teaches children how to react if a fire arises.

A Flight for Life helicopter might also appear. Firetrucks and sheriff's department armored vehicles will also be available on site. 

A donation of $5 is requested for the breakfast, while children 2 years old and younger eat free. 

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Waukesha Reads program is under way

Oct. 02, 2015 11:30 a.m. | The monthlong community read program is officially under way in the city of Waukesha.

Waukesha Reads — The Big Read 2015 will center around the book "A Wizard of Earthsea," by Ursula K. Le Guin, is a classic coming-of-age novel and popular 1968 American fantasy novel.

The program, which includes around 35 events and more than 13 separate book discussions at various locations in Waukesha, began at last week's Friday Night Live, when free copies of the book were distributed at the downtown event.

Waukesha Reads is based on the idea that residents have the opportunity to come together to read, discuss and celebrate a single book and author.

The program is coordinated by the Waukesha Public Library and many community partners. Waukesha Reads is part of the Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, which offers grants to support innovative community reading programs designed around a single book.

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Former Waukesha pastor charged with sexual assault pleads not guilty

Oct. 01, 2015 3:58 p.m. | Two months ago, a criminal complaint said Peter Knebel admitted to touching a 10-year-old girl's breast inside his church office because he said it would excite him.

But the former pastor at Fox River Christian Church in Waukesha, who is charged with first-degree sexual assault of a child/sexual contact with a person younger than 13 years old, has pleaded not guilty to the felony.

Knebel, who remains out of jail on a $5,000 cash bond, made his plea during a court appearance on Wednesday, Sept. 30, at the Waukesha County Courthouse.

His next hearing is scheduled for Nov. 2. If convicted, Knebel, 72, faces up to 60 years in prison.

Since posting bail in late July, Knebel has relocated twice. He first moved from Waukesha to Milwaukee, and now lives in Oshkosh.

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Two suspects broke into Tobacco Outlet Plus this week in Waukesha

Oct. 01, 2015 3:06 p.m. | A burglary took place at Tobacco Outlet Plus during the early morning hours on Monday, Sept. 28, in Waukesha.

According to the police report, a burglary was reported at the tobacco store, 1411 Summit Ave., at 2:55 a.m. Sept. 28 after the alarms went off.

Two suspects, wearing face masks and hooded sweatshirts, were seen on camera exiting the front door with two large black garbage bags, possibly filled with cigarettes.

Area businesses along Sunset Drive were notified by police about the incident and a 0.6 mile-pursuit began.

No arrests have been made.

Waukesha Police Report: Oct. 1, 2015 issue

Oct. 01, 2015 1:00 p.m. | 1 A caller complained of loud noise over the loud speakers at Blair Elementary School, 301 Hyde Park Ave., at 8:36 a.m. Sept. 17. The caller has tried to ask the school to turn the speakers down, which they did, but it was still too loud for the caller, who also said the elderly people in the neighborhood are upset.

2 A caller reported her partner became physical with her and broke items in the apartment at 2106 MacArthur Road at 2:50 p.m. Sept. 18.

3 A caller reported a male was doing drugs in the bathroom at Denny's, 2801 N. Grandview Blvd., at 8:58 p.m. Sept. 18 and was having an allergic reaction. The man was taken to a hospital.

4 Change from an outside vacuum at the Shell gas station, 1635 E. Main St., was stolen prior to 8:02 a.m. Sept. 19.

5 A brick was thrown through a car window overnight Sept. 18-19 at 503 N. West Ave.

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Initial Reaction Podcast: Is Aaron Rodgers really the best QB in football?

Oct. 01, 2015 11:00 a.m. | With a big battle looming for the Badgers, Iowa graduate J.P. Cadorin talks about the dangers the Hawkeyes present. Also, while Aaron Rodgers has been excellent, there is another quarterback who's been just as impressive. And could a prep football powerhouse be left out of the playoffs this year entirely?

Wisconsin Feargrounds scares up another attraction in Waukesha

Oct. 01, 2015 8:50 a.m. | For years the Wisconsin Feargrounds has been rated as one of the best haunted house attractions in the country by many national haunt experts.

Now, the award-winning Waukesha haunted house, which opens for its 12th season on Friday, Oct. 2, has added something new this fall and will get a prominent place in the blacklighted spotlight this season.

Added Fear

Like past years, the Wisconsin Feargrounds is presenting Tim and Ann Marie Gavinski's three haunted houses: their staple Morgan Manor, CarnEvil of Torment (back for a third year) and Unstable (a house that has come alive every two years).

The 55,000-square-foot Wisconsin Feargrounds is also adding Morgana's Escape, a new interactive attraction. Ann Marie Gavinski said Morgana's Escape will be an escape room, a phenomenon that has entered the Milwaukee market this year.

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Waukesha police: School iPad part of investigation into indecent photo

Sept. 30, 2015 3:48 p.m. | Waukesha police are continuing to investigate an incident that involved a nude photo being sent between students from a Waukesha middle school.

While the district has stressed the picture was not taken at a local middle school or with a district-issued iPad, Waukesha police say the device is still part of an investigation.

Mary Jo King, public relations assistant for the district, said police were called on Friday, Sept. 25, to Horning Middle School after administration became aware students were in possession of an inappropriate image.

Innocent iPad

King added the information reported by multiple media outlets on Tuesday, Sept. 29, about the situation was not accurate, and hadn't been confirmed by the Waukesha School District or the Waukesha Police Department. Some media outlets had reported the indecent photo was taken with a school iPad and at the school.

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Judge formally suspends Slender Man case pending appeal

Sept. 30, 2015 2:33 p.m. | While the state Court of Appeals decides whether to move the case to juvenile court, the adult prosecution of two 13-year-old Waukesha girls in the Slender Man stabbing was formally put on hold Wednesday.

Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren set a new status hearing for Jan. 15. He had already dropped the Oct. 15 jury trial date in September when it appeared the appellate court was going to accept the defense petitions for review of Bohren's August denial of their motions to move the case to juvenile court.

The District 2 Court of Appeals panel in Waukesha will hear the appeal. Judge Mark Gundrum recused himself from even considering whether the panel should accept the appeal. He has not said why. An appeals judge from Wausau, Lisa Stark, will replace him on a panel with Judges Paul Reilly and Lisa Neubauer to consider the case.

Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier are charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide. If convicted, they would face up to 45 years in prison. As juveniles, they could be incarcerated a maximum of three years and subjected to intense community supervision until age 18.

They told police they stabbed their friend and classmate Payton Leutner to appease Slender Man, a fictional Internet character. Leutner was stabbed 19 times and left to die in a wooded area on May 31, 2014, but was discovered by a passing bicyclist. She survived several surgeries and was able to return to school the next fall.

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