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Waukesha school committee denies parent's request to ban 'The Kite Runner,' 'Chinese Handcuffs'

Aug. 20, 2014 1:12 p.m. | Another Waukesha parent tried to have books banned from the school district.

But again, a school panel, composed of school officials and teachers, unanimously denied the request at a meeting Wednesday morning. 

Karen Tessman, a parent of a Waukesha West High School student, filed a complaint in July to have the books "The Kite Runner" and "Chinese Handcuffs" removed due to the "extreme violence" she said is depicted in each book. 

Khaled Hosseini's "The Kite Runner," which was No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list, is part of the district's curriculum, having been previously approved by the district in 2006.

But the district's Consideration Committee, a subcommittee of the School Board, still took up the complaint on Wednesday. 

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Long-term construction project on Moreland Boulevard in Waukesha begins

May 05, 2016 4:15 p.m. | A long-term construction project has just begun along one of the Waukesha's major thoroughfares.

Reconstruction of the roadway on and rehabilitation of utilities in East Moreland Boulevard from East North Street and East St. Paul Avenue to Manhattan Drive began May 4. The project there is expected to last several months and has a scheduled completion date of Oct. 28.

"It is a large project," said City Project Manager Margaret Liedtke.

The project will include road reconstruction, some spot water main replacement, the installation of a new storm sewer, sanitary sewer lateral replacement and traffic signal replacement at East Moreland Boulevard and White Rock and Eales avenues.

According to information provided by the city, East Moreland Boulevard will be closed to through traffic for the duration of the project from East North Street and East St. Paul Avenue to Manhattan Drive. East Moreland Boulevard, White Rock Avenue and Eales Avenue will be open to traffic to drive to local businesses.

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Officials approve Carroll University's plan to buy, use historic Waukesha home

May 05, 2016 3:13 p.m. | The Carroll University campus is about to get a little bit bigger.

The Waukesha Plan Commission unanimously approved design plans and a conditional use permit for the college at a special, and brief, meeting May 3. The plans and the permit are for a historic house at 239 W. College Ave. — just east of College and Grand avenues and southwest of the school's main campus — that Carroll will buy and use as an office for the university's chaplain.

The commission took less than five minutes to discuss and vote on the proposal, which was the only item listed on the panel's agenda.

According to planning documents, the house is one of the oldest in the city and sits within the College Avenue Historic District. It was constructed from limestone taken from a quarry where Carroll's football field — Schneider Stadium — now stands.

"Our understanding is that the house was built in 1850," said Ron Lostetter, Carroll's vice president of finance and administrative services, at a Waukesha Landmarks Commission meeting last month. "Carroll started in 1846, so we feel there's a huge connection between our institution and this particular building."

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Waukesha panel delays decision on proposed development at Gasthaus site

May 05, 2016 12:10 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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Local St. Vincent de Paul stores celebrate milestone anniversaries

May 04, 2016 10:05 a.m. | Despite a presence on a highly visible corner on the city's south side and a sprawling 50,000-square-foot store, St. Vincent de Paul of Waukesha County remains one of Waukesha's best kept secrets, the organization's administrators say.

Perhaps area residents are unaware that the group is celebrating its fifth anniversary of the store at 818 W. Sunset Drive, and its 10th anniversary at its Oconomowoc location, on May 6. Or maybe they haven't heard about St. Vincent de Paul's plethora of self-funded ministries aimed at helping the needy.

The Waukesha County stores are overseen by the Waukesha Council of St. Vincent de Paul, made up of 24 groups with parishes in each community in the county. The council and parishes serve the poor not only through the thrift stores, but with home visits, meal programs, food pantry support, a jail ministry, rent and utility assistance and other services.

Regardless of whether they receive public recognition for their work or not, Julie McIntyre, Rod Colburn and Zoltan Eszes all said they believe in St. Vincent de Paul's mission and find meaning in their service.

"It's a great place to do community service and give back," McIntyre said. And she would know; she's worked with the organization, in some capacity, since 1986.

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Waukesha West girls soccer gets by Arrowhead with late goal

May 04, 2016 9:47 a.m. | A close contest between the Arrowhead and Waukesha West girls soccer teams wouldn't shock many people. But what Nat Yass and Dani Rhodes did together in the 83rd minute still stunned the crowd on hand. On May 3, West's high-powered offense met Arrowhead's shutdown defense, and something had to give. The Wolverines edged the Warhawks, 1-0, and stayed undefeated in the Classic 8 Conference.

West, ranked No. 1 in Division 2 by the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association, attempted to pressure Arrowhead early and often with its dynamic forward duo of Yass and Rhodes, but the AHS defense held strong. The closest West got to scoring in the first half came in the 12th minute when Rhodes dribbled on the left side of the box and gunned a shot to the right post, which went just wide.

Arrowhead, which is ranked fourth in Division 1, stopped every West attempt with strong play from its defenders and midfielders, but the offense struggled to get consistent shots on goal.

"I think we generated a lot of possession," Arrowhead coach Scott Asher said. "I don't think we've done anything with it. We've played hopeful balls forward, rather than waited, calculated passes into areas where we can really be dangerous. I think our game plan was on. For 83 minutes, we kept them quiet; they really didn't have any dangerous chances. You always know that if you give one chance to either one of (Yass or Rhodes), that will be the result. We did that. We were off pace for two seconds and (Rhodes) got in."

West (10-0-1) finally broke through in the second half when Yass sent a ball into the box from the right side of the field. Rhodes, who started her run at the 18, headed the ball over Arrowhead keeper Marisa Bova for the game winner 82 minutes, 18 seconds into the game.

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Don LaValle hired as boys basketball coach at Waukesha West

May 03, 2016 5:00 p.m. | Waukesha West High School has hired Don LaValle as new boys basketball coach. LaValle, a teacher at Summit View Elementary, has served as a varsity assistant within the program and is actively involved in the Junior Wolverines Program.

"Don's ability to lead young people, communicate a vision, and inspire positive growth will all be great asset as he joins our head coaching ranks," West athletics director Kyle LeMieux said. "I know he is thrilled to start a new chapter in the West community, and we are proud to have him."

LeMieux offered special thanks to Dave Schultz, the former head coach who stepped aside prior to last season, who helped build the program to its current echelon.

"His dedication and passion for the program cannot be measured; we wish Dave nothing but the best," LeMieux said. "I would also like to recognize Todd Pyszora, who served as interim head coach this past season, and did so with heart, professionalism and a student-first mindset."

Police searching for man mistakenly released from Waukesha County Jail

May 03, 2016 2:45 p.m. | Police are seeking information on the whereabouts of a 20-year-old Milwaukee man who was mistakenly released from the Waukesha County Jail April 29.

Waukesha County Sheriff Eric Severson and Waukesha County District Attorney Sue Opper announced Sunday, May 1 that they are offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information resulting in the re-arrest of James Kadeem Ford.

Ford's last known address is in the 6400 block of 91st Street in Milwaukee, and he has family there living near N. 91st Street and N. 21st Street, according to a news release.

Online court records indicate Ford — also known simply as "Kadeem" — has an alleged criminal history in Waukesha, Milwaukee and Rock counties dating back at least until May 2013. His most recent conviction was on a felony bail jumping charge in Waukesha County in late March.

He's also been convicted of illegally carrying a concealed weapon, theft and fleeing or eluding a traffic officer.

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Slender Man defendant appeals denial of bail reduction

May 03, 2016 7:00 a.m. | One of the two Waukesha girls charged in the Slender Man stabbing has asked the Court of Appeals to overturn a judge's decision not to let her await trial with her grandparents under human and electronic monitoring.

In an emergency petition filed late last week, Morgan Geyser's attorney argues that denying her request violates prohibitions against excessive bail because she is no longer dangerous, would be subjected to multiple layers of supervision, and her current bail of $500,000 is way more than necessary to secure her appearance in court.

Geyser, 13, and Anissa Weier, 14, are charged as adults with attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the May 31, 2014, stabbing of their sixth-grade classmate, who survived 19 stab wounds.

Arrested within hours as they tried to walk to northern Wisconsin, the girls told police they committed the crime to impress or appease Slender Man, a fictional internet character.

The case has dragged on as both girls were evaluated for competency, and then sought to have their cases transferred to juvenile court. Their appeals of the decision to keep them in adult court have been pending before the same Court of Appeals since last year.

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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 the 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 water 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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