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Waukesha teenager charged with stealing home safe

April 03, 2013 11:44 a.m. | A 19-year-old man has been charged with allegedly breaking and entering into a Waukesha woman’s home on March 23 to steal a safe belonging to her son.

The man claimed that he stole the safe because it contained $80, drug paraphernalia and approximately a half ounce of marijuana and he split the ill-gained profits with two other men.

Waukesha resident Dustin J. Biersack was charged on March 29 with burglary of a building or dwelling, a felony that carries a maximum penalty of over 12 years in prison, $25,000 in fines, or both.

According to the criminal complaint:

City of Waukesha Police were dispatched to the home of Diane Howard at 822 Beechwood Ave. shortly after 1 a.m. on March 23 after receiving reports of vandalism.

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Catholic Memorial hires Steve Showalter to coach boys basketball

May 02, 2016 11:47 p.m. | The stars seemed aligned just right.

Last month Steve Showalter resigned as an assistant coach at Division II Lindenwood University near St. Louis and announced that he planned to return to the area after one-year absence. Meanwhile, Germantown, the program he had built into a state power, was looking for a head coach.

Those who thought Showalter would return to his old stomping grounds were off the mark, though. Instead the 50-year-old was announced Monday as the new head boys basketball coach at Catholic Memorial in Waukesha, a school that also has a recent history of winning state titles in the sport.

"The thing that was special for me is they really came after me hard," he said. "They showed a lot of interest in me and talked about how much they valued me as a person and as a coach.

"I was looking for a full-time job that I could combine with coaching, and I was lucky enough to be able to find a full-time job within the school where I get to work with kids every day."

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Waukesha panel delays decision on proposed development at Gasthaus site

May 02, 2016 9:10 p.m. | The fate of the Gasthaus restaurant does not rest in the hands of city officials.

However, a proposed development at the site of the Gasthaus, 2720 N. Grandview Blvd., which will include a multi-tenant strip mall and a standalone restaurant, received a favorable review from the city's plan commission April 27 and could become a reality, pending future approval.

The commission voted unanimously to send preliminary plans for the project back to the developer, California-based Panda Restaurant Group, for revision and future presentation. Those plans will be reconsidered at a later plan commission meeting and could win preliminary approval, provided they are reworked in accordance with certain conditions.

The current proposal calls for the construction of a 9,800-square-foot strip mall featuring three unnamed retail spaces, a coffee shop with a drive-thru on the west end of the site and two restaurants on the east end, where Gasthaus sits at the corner of Silvernail Road and Grandview Boulevard.

A standalone 2,600-square-foot Panda Express restaurant, which would be built south of the mall and separated from it by a parking lot, would also have a drive-thru.

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WWII veteran Alvin Kind receives honorary high school diploma

May 02, 2016 6:24 p.m. | World War II veteran Alvin Kind has finally received his high school diploma.

On April 13, the Waukesha School District presented Private Kind, 88, with an honorary high school diploma from Waukesha South High School.

Kind was enlisted and drafted in the U.S. Army in 1946 just one English credit away from graduating in his hometown of La Crosse. Although the high school that Kind attended isn't around anymore and no transcripts for those students exist, the family had an old year book showing Kind as a senior in 1945, and his son, Allen Kind, said he had walked in the school's graduation ceremony.

Family secret

"As a family we always just kind of assumed he had it (his degree)," said Allen, a teacher at Horning Elementary School.

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Just kids from Waukesha County: Joe Schobert, Derek Watt make history in 2016 NFL Draft

May 02, 2016 6:15 p.m. | Joe Schobert and Derek Watt made history Saturday.

When both were selected by NFL teams during the draft, it marked the first time two football players who attended high school in Waukesha County were drafted in the same year.

Schobert, a 2012 Waukesha West graduate, was selected as the 99th overall pick at the start of the fourth round by the Cleveland Browns. Watt, a 2011 graduate of Pewaukee High School, was taken in the sixth round by the San Diego Chargers. He was the 198th overall selection.

Schobert, the first player ever drafted into the NFL from Waukesha West, is joining fellow Waukesha County product Joe Thomas on the Cleveland Browns. Thomas is a graduate of Brookfield Central and, like Schobert, played at Wisconsin.

Watt became the third Pewaukee graduate to be selected in the NFL Draft. Watt's older brother, J.J., the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, in 2011, and Chris McIntosh, in 2000, are the others. Both were first-round selections.

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Catholic Memorial lands former Germantown boys basketball coach Steve Showalter

May 02, 2016 6:04 p.m. | Former three-time WIAA state champion Germantown boys basketball coach Steve Showalter said "he had options" after he left Lindenwood University (Missouri) this spring after one season as an assistant coach for the men's basketball team.

And Showalter exercised one of those options this week, when he accepted the position of boys basketball coach and learning commons supervisor at Waukesha Catholic Memorial. It will be a salaried full-time position with benefits, something that Showalter said he was looking for when he headed back north for Wisconsin after leaving Lindenwood.

"They had a need for both," he said of the twin aspects of the job. "They thought I fit the bill for both. I'm excited to be part of the CMH community and positively influence the kids on a daily basis. I think this is really good for me and very positive for the kids as well."

Showalter will be taking over for Dean Bellanti, who left after eight seasons, including a 10-14 season this past year and a WIAA D2 state title in 2010.

Showalter spent 15 years at Germantown, transforming a former basketball backwater into an empire, turning in a record of 286-81 including WIAA D1 state titles in 2012, 2013, and 2014. In his last year of 2014-15, Germantown went 27-1, losing only to Stevens Point in the state finals.

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Service area reduced for Waukesha's water diversion application

May 02, 2016 3:29 p.m. | A redrawn map of the service area as part of a proposal to divert Lake Michigan water to Waukesha could make city's request more palatable to officials from the Great Lakes states that must rule on the issue.

The new map — which excludes the towns of Delafield and Genesee and most of the town of Waukesha from the service area — was created April 27, a few days after Great Lakes Regional Body officials met in Chicago to the discuss the service area and Waukesha's original request to divert up to 10.1 million gallons of lake water per day by 2050.

The water diversion application was filed by the city, which is outside the Great Lakes Basin, in an attempt to meet its long-term needs and comply with radium restrictions. Studies have indicated continued use of Waukesha's current deep well water supply is unsustainable.

The city's request, the first of its kind, for lake water is allowed under a provision of the Great Lakes Compact. A state DNR study determined last summer, after years of review, that Waukesha's application complies with the compact.

Reducing the draw

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Summit View celebrates Penny Kroening's Teacher of the Year honors

May 02, 2016 2:04 p.m. | Swim noodles danced in the air, music played and kids cheered her name as Penny Kroening waved from her seat in a red convertible during the parade held in her honor at Summit View Elementary School.

The excitement was tied to a top grade earned by Kroening, who was named the Society of Health and Physical Educators Teacher of the Year during their 131st National Convention held in Minneapolis on April 8.

Kroening is in her 30th year of teaching, most of them at Summit View, having worked at the school since it opened in 1992.

"I know most people think that they have the best job in the world, but I really have it," Kroening said.

"You work with great kids, great parents, great staff, and you have this opportunity to try to change kids' lives and to change their passion for wanting to move and finding that one thing in life they love to move to. And I get to do that every day."

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Prison for Waukesha man who groped teenage girl, then threatened her

May 02, 2016 1:40 p.m. | London Neal will spend the next 12 years of his life behind bars for attacking and groping and later threatening a teenage girl last spring, a Waukesha County Circuit judge ruled recently.

Neal, 19, of Waukesha was sentenced earlier this month by Judge Michael Aprahamian, according to online court records. In addition to prison time, Aprahamian sentenced Neal to eight years of extended supervision.

Neal previously pleaded no contest to two felony charges — second-degree sexual assault of a child and intimidation of a witness — in March. Both were tied to an incident in which Neal chased down and forcibly groped then punched a then-14-year-old girl while she was walking home last March in Waukesha.

As conditions of his probation, Neal must register as a sex offender and undergo sex offender treatment; cannot have any contact with the victim, her family or their home; is not allowed to have contact with anyone under the age of 18; and must obtain his General Education Development diploma.

Neal was originally charged last March with first-degree sexual assault (contact with a child under age 16 by use or threat of force); and physical abuse of a child while intentionally causing bodily harm.

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Waukesha West's Joe Schobert selected in NFL Draft

May 01, 2016 4:23 p.m. | Joe Schobert had to wait until the third and final day of the NFL Draft to know his destination, but he didn't wait long once he woke up that morning.

With the first pick of Saturday's all-day draft session and 99th overall, the Cleveland Browns made Schobert the first Waukesha West product to get drafted into the NFL. The former University of Wisconsin walk-on — whose rags-to-riches story doesn't stop there — will be a linebacker at football's highest level.

By the time the draft rolled around, it seemed essentially certain Schobert would hear his name called at some point. Some draft experts speculated that it could come as early as Friday in the third round, and the hometown Green Bay Packers even selected an outside linebacker in Kyler Fackrell of Utah State with the 88th pick. For a moment, perhaps some could see where the Packers and Schobert's destinies could intersect.

"Just my family is here today, my close family, my girlfriend, a couple of close friends," Schobert said on a conference call with reporters after his Saturday selection (with audio available at ClevelandBrowns.com). "I watched the draft the first day not really expecting anything, obviously, and then yesterday not really expecting too much but maybe at the end. I wouldn't say disappointing, because I was more hopeful yesterday and I was more expecting to get picked today, but once I got the call right away today, it was like, 'I finally I know where I'm going and I can do what I do best, play football.'"

Fans of Wisconsin prep athletics are plenty familiar with Schobert's story. After a record-setting performance in the state-championship game as a junior, when he racked up 296 yards and led the Wolverines to the title, he followed up with close to 1,500 yards of rushing as a senior and earned All-State accolades. But no big college programs came calling, and he was expecting to walk on at North Dakota even into the summer after his senior year.

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Friday night standoff with Waukesha police ends without injuries

April 30, 2016 11:41 a.m. | A standoff with Waukesha police ended without any injuries late Friday night, authorities say.

The incident began at about 8:30 p.m. Friday when the Waukesha Police Communications Center received a 911 call from a residence on Pewaukee Road near W. Moreland Blvd. The caller reported a man inside the residence was armed with a handgun and pointing it at someone else inside.

The Waukesha Police Department responded to the scene along with the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department and its armored vehicle. When authorities arrived, one witness left and the suspect ran back inside the home, Lt. Kevin Rice said in an email.

The incident lasted about two hours, and those inside the home were taken into custody without incident, Rice said.

Rice said the incident was still under investigation, but it's believed two men who live inside the home were drinking heavily and arguing.

Waukesha West students learn global lessons up close on service trip

April 29, 2016 5:34 p.m. | On a quest to learn something more in the educational realm of "global competency," nine students found their way to the Dominican Republic in the first service trip sponsored by Waukesha West High School.

Nominated by school staff based on their leadership abilities, respectfulness and interest in a service trip, the students, along with school counselor Leslie Abruzzo and fine arts teacher Katie Acker, spent the majority of their time at the Villa Pajon, an ecolodge in the Central Mountain region of the Dominican Republic, which demonstrated the importance of global citizenship.

Abruzzo started the program this school year as a way for students to gain a better understanding of the global concepts they learn in class, as well as give them an advantage when looking at post-high school opportunities.

From an educational standpoint, the focus is lesson in global competency, defined by national educators as "the acquisition of in-depth knowledge and understanding of international issues, an appreciation of and ability to learn and work with people from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds, proficiency in a foreign language, and skills to function."

The Waukesha School District deems that as an important lesson in today's classrooms, Abruzzo said

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Getaway driver gets eight years in prison for role in Waukesha gas station homicide

April 29, 2016 11:35 a.m. | The second of the three individuals involved in the death of a local gas station clerk during a botched robbery last year was sentenced to prison recently in Waukesha County Circuit Court.

Judge Lloyd Carter sentenced Jerica Cotton, 24, of Milwaukee to eight years in prison and 10 years of extended supervision for her role in the homicide during an April 28 sentencing hearing, online court records show. Cotton pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of armed robbery — even though she was not inside the gas station when the clerk was robbed and killed — in February in exchange for her testimony against Darrin Malone, one of her co-defendants in the case.

Cotton received 469 days credit for time already served, according to court records. Carter also ordered her to jointly pay almost $19,000 in restitution to an insurance company. She began serving her time after the hearing concluded.

As conditions of her probation, Cotton was ordered to maintain absolute sobriety and is prohibited from contacting any members of Sharwani's family.

Homicide details

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City of Waukesha revises Great Lakes water plan

April 28, 2016 7:48 p.m. | The City of Waukesha would receive up to an average of 8.7 million gallons a day of Lake Michigan water by midcentury — down 13.86% from its earlier request — to serve a smaller area proposed by Great Lakes officials reviewing the city's plan for lake water.

Waukesha had asked to pump up to an average of 10.1 million gallons a day by 2050, but city officials revised the volume this week after regional officials moved to redraw the service area without portions of three neighboring communities included in the city's request.

Revised service area maps and findings in support of the request were posted on a website — www.waukeshadiversion.org — by the Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers.

"It appears that we're approaching a workable solution for residents of the city," Waukesha Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak said Thursday.

The biggest change in the water service area comes with the removal of most of the Town of Waukesha, generally south of Lawnsdale Road.

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Waukesha Farmers Market set to kickoff 2016 season on May 7

April 26, 2016 4:55 p.m. | The best word to describe the Waukesha Farmers Market this year might be "new" — as in a new name, a new location and new hours.

Waukesha Downtown Business Association President Norm Bruce said the changes this year are no cause for alarm. They are instead just an extension of what the WDBA has been doing since it took over the market at the end of the 2012 season.

The market, which is set to kick off Saturday, May 7, and run through the last week of October, is now being called the Waukesha Farmers Market village, based on a new configuration of the vendor booths at the market's new location on the north side of the Fox River, 313 Bank St., across from Riverfront Plaza. According to Bruce, the new configuration resembles a small village.

Additionally, the market — a public, open-air, producer-only event held on Saturday — will be open this year for an extra hour, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Bruce said.

"We had vendors and customers (last year) saying, 'Why is it done at noon? I just got here,'" he added.

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Longtime local criminal Julio Alvarez gets prison for robbing Waukesha gas station

April 26, 2016 10:25 a.m. | Julio Alvarez had a criminal history dating back more than a decade and was free on probation for a little less than two weeks when he put on dark clothes, covered half his face with a bandana and robbed a local gas station last May.

Alvarez, 29, of Waukesha was sentenced recently in Waukesha County Circuit Court to seven years in prison for that crime, according to online court records. He pleaded guilty in January to robbery with the threat of force, a class E felony.

He was originally charged last June with robbery and bail jumping for his involvement in the incident.

In addition to prison time, Judge Ralph Ramirez sentenced Alvarez to five years of extended supervision. Both penalties are to run consecutive to Alvarez's current sentence — 20 months behind bars — which was imposed after Alvarez violated the terms of his probation on a previous conviction.

Terms of Alvarez's new probation include a ban on contact with his girlfriend, Deidre Pitsch, who aided him in the robbery, a mandate to maintain absolute sobriety and undergo a mental health evaluation and follow through on any recommended treatment.

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