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Waukesha GuitarTown returns for third straight year with just students

May 30, 2014 12:14 p.m. | For the first time last year, students were involved in the Waukesha GuitarTown project.

Now, in the third installment of the community art project that is done in collaboration with Gibson Guitar Corp., students across the city have taken on an even bigger role.

They are painting all of the guitars this year. 

And the project is wrapping up quickly as the 10-foot fiberglass and playable guitars will be turned in this weekend and will be unveiled to the public Friday, June 6, in downtown Waukesha.

The GuitarTown event will once again coincide with the kickoff of Friday Night Live, a weekly summer music concert series in downtown.

» Read Full Article

Man killed in one-car crash was dragged 240 feet under his vehicle

May 30, 2014 11:06 a.m. | The 75-year-old man who was killed in a one-car crash Thursday in Waukesha was dragged for about 240 feet before his vehicle stopped on Madison Street at Comanche Lane. 

Kirk Bechtel was still in his seat belt as he was dragged under his car on Madison Street, Waukesha police said. 

Lt. Joe Hendricks of the Waukesha Police Department's Criminal Investigations Division said Bechtel was crushed by his own vehicle. 

The man was pronounced dead at the scene after life-saving efforts were unsuccessful. 

The investigation remains ongoing, Hendricks said.

» Read Full Article

Man, 75, killed in Waukesha crash was dragged under car

May 30, 2014 10:56 a.m. | The 75-year-old man killed in a one-car crash in Waukesha on Thursday night was still in his seatbelt as he was dragged under his car, according to Waukesha police.

The man, identified Friday as Kirk Bechtel, was dragged about 240 feet before his car came to rest, an accident reconstruction specialist determined.

Police discovered Bechtel trapped underneath his car at the bottom of a hill near Comanche Lane and Madison St. about 7:45 p.m. Life saving efforts were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The fatal crash is still under investigation.

Crash causes backups on I-94 at Moorland Road in Brookfield

May 29, 2014 5:06 p.m. | A crash on eastbound I-94 at Moorland Road in Brookfield has resulted in delays in excess of three miles in both directions, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

The two left lanes of eastbound I-94 are closed and motorists are encouraged to take alternate routes to avoid delays, according to a notification from the DOT.

No information was immediately available on the crash.

ELCA members to vote on opposition to 'religious freedom' laws

May 28, 2014 3:21 p.m. | A Brookfield Lutheran church is calling on its Milwaukee-based synod to take a stand against so-called "religious freedom" laws proposed around the country, including in Wisconsin, that critics fear would allow discrimination against certain groups under the guise of religion.

The resolution, proposed by the council at Cross of Life Lutheran Church, is one of four that will be taken up at this weekend's annual assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Greater Milwaukee Synod, which kicks off Thursday in Waukesha.

It's aimed at laws, such as the one enacted in Mississippi in April, that critics say open the door to discrimination against gay and lesbian people on religious grounds. They've emerged in the wake of lawsuits against businesses that refused to serve same sex couples, saying that to do so would violate their religious principles.

Similar proposals have failed or languished elsewhere, including in Wisconsin, where lawmakers proposed an amendment to the state constitution that would have ensured a "right of conscience" to engage in or refrain from activity based on one's sincerely held religious belief. That resolution gained no traction in the 2013 legislative session.

"Sometimes ELCA Christians need to make clear exactly where we stand on certain issues, particularly issues with religious overtones," the Cross of Life council asserts in its resolution. "We want the world to know that the ELCA and its congregations are inclusive organizations who do not discriminate or support the right to discriminate."

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State upholds Waukesha's firing of school locksmith for tampering with security camera

May 28, 2014 10:29 a.m. | The Waukesha School District's decision to terminate a long-time maintenance worker for tampering with a security camera in a warehouse full of technology equipment, then lying about it, has been upheld by an arbitrator for the state.

District surveillance video footage shows Keith Jamieson, the district locksmith, taking technology equipment out of a warehouse on Dec. 18, 2012, and then returning to use a broom to move the security camera so that it was no longer facing the equipment.

The district had installed a new security camera in the warehouse after noticing that security cameras in the room were repeatedly being moved somehow to face the wall.

The district terminated Jamieson on Dec. 27, 2012, and then Jamieson, a union leader with the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, fought the decision by filing a grievance.

Christine Hedstrom, assistant superintendent for human resources, said last week that the district has spent more than $64,000 in attorney fees defending the decision to terminate Jamieson.

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Average college tuition aid for Catholic Memorial grads: $70,000

May 20, 2014 4:01 p.m. | Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha announced that its 175 graduating seniors received a total of $12.2 million in college tuition aid, amounting to an average of $70,000 awarded to each student.

“It’s historically the highest dollar amounts we’ve ever had,” Catholic Memorial President Paul Hartmann said.

This year's per student average is a $10,000 increase from 2013. The figure reverses a four-year trend of decreasing per student aid at the school.

Most of the money awarded to the students came from the schools the students plan to attend, which includes Notre Dame, Marquette and UW-Madison. One student in particular plans to attend MIT (with Harvard as her back-up). In total, the graduates will leave Catholic Memorial to attend 62 different colleges and universities.

It is important to note that the high average does not necessary mean that most Catholic Memorial graduates will be attending more than a year at college at no cost. The total number includes scholarships awarded to students for each school they applied to, and some students receiving full-rides raise the average considerably.

» Read Full Article

County Clare owner buying Waukesha's Clarke Hotel

May 20, 2014 12:22 p.m. | The company that operates County Clare, an Irish-themed boutique hotel and restaurant on Milwaukee's east side, has agreed to buy downtown Waukesha's Clarke Hotel.

Sheboygan-based Harp & Eagle Ltd. plans to operate the hotel as a property similar to County Clare, with the goal of reopening the hotel's restaurant and tavern by August, said Dennis Radtke, director of operations.

"Our company has been looking to open another location in the metropolitan Milwaukee area for some time," Radtke said Tuesday. "We're excited to be in Waukesha."

The purchase of the property should occur soon, said Radtke, who declined to provide the purchase price.

Changes planned

» Read Full Article

Waukesha leaders heading to Washington seeking funds for lake water

May 20, 2014 11:12 a.m. | Waukesha officials will be in Washington, D.C., this week to remind the state's congressional delegation of the city's desire for $50 million in federal grants to help pay for a proposed switch to a Lake Michigan water supply.

Mayor Shawn Reilly will accompany Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak to meetings Thursday with U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), as well as Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.).

Waukesha is asking Wisconsin and the other seven Great Lakes states to approve a diversion of up to an average of 10.1 million gallons a day of lake water by mid-century. Oak Creek has agreed to supply lake water to Waukesha if the diversion request is approved by each of the eight states.

Duchniak's fundraising goal is to obtain sufficient federal grants — primarily from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers — to pay 25% of construction costs.

Cost of building pipes and pumping stations needed to carry the water to Waukesha and return most of it to the lake in the form of treated wastewater is estimated at $206 million, Duchniak said.

» Read Full Article

Good Harvest buys land for new Waukesha store

May 19, 2014 10:00 a.m. | Good Harvest Market's plans for a new Waukesha store are proceeding, with the recent purchase of a development site.

Good Harvest Market II LLC bought 5 acres on Meadow Lane from Hepatica Hill Holdings Ltd., led by developer Stewart Wangard, for $957,500, according to state real estate records made available Monday.

Good Harvest, owned by Joseph and Jody Nolan, in January disclosed plans to develop a two-story building, with about 25,000 square feet, about one-quarter mile west of its current location, 1850 Meadow Lane.

Good Harvest, which opened in 2005, is in the final year of its lease and needs more space. The new supermarket would use around 18,000 square feet in the new building, compared with 12,000 square feet it's now leasing.

The building's 7,000-square-foot second floor would be leased to such tenants as an environmentally friendly dry cleaner and other service providers.

Bill Kramer pleads not guilty to sexual assault, waives hearing

May 15, 2014 9:36 p.m. | Waukesha — Rep. Bill Kramer pleaded not guilty to two felony charges of second-degree sexual assault Thursday in Waukesha County Circuit Court in connection with allegations that he groped a female congressional staffer in Muskego three years ago.

Kramer (R-Waukesha) waived his right to a preliminary hearing, and Court Commissioner Thomas J. Pieper found probable cause for the case to proceed to trial. Each count of sexual assault carries a maximum possible penalty of 40 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.

Kramer's next court appearance is scheduled for June 18. A trial date has not yet been set.

The charges allege that Kramer grabbed the breasts and groin of the congressional staffer after a Republican event at a Muskego bar.

Kramer's attorney, Eduardo Borda, said Thursday's hearing was the beginning of the process of separating fact from fiction.

» Read Full Article

Waukesha School Board holds off on renaming Central Middle School

May 14, 2014 9:27 p.m. | It’s not fully back to the drawing board in the process to rename Central Middle School.

But changing the middle school’s name to possibly Les Paul Middle School will have to wait another day after the Waukesha School Board Wednesday night tabled renaming the school.

The renaming process will return to committee level to be further discussed.

The Finance and Facilities Committee, at its Monday meeting, had recommended changing Central’s name to Les Paul Middle School.

But on Wednesday concerns were raised and the discussion turned to keeping “Central” in the school’s name.

» Read Full Article

Teen charged in connection to burglary at Waukesha’s Trailside Cycle shop

May 14, 2014 11:32 a.m. | A 17-year-old boy was accused of burglarizing Waukesha’s Trailside Cycle shop in April, allegedly stealing more than $7,000 worth of merchandise.

Anthony J. Williams, 529 Elizabeth St., was charged Monday, May 12, in Waukesha County Circuit Court with being party to the crime of burglary, a Class F felony which carries a maximum sentence of 12-and-a-half years in prison and $25,000 in fines.

According to the criminal complaint, Waukesha police were dispatched to investigate a burglary at Trailside Cycle, 732 Clinton St., at 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, April 23.

Surveillance footage showed two suspects kicking in a rear door the night before and looting the shop of bike chains, skate tools, skateboards and bicycles. Also taken was a smart phone and a laptop, the complaint states.

Later that afternoon, an employee told police in the complaint he had spotted a suspect, later identified as Williams, riding one of the stolen bicycles on the 300 block of W. Main Street.

» Read Full Article

Fight at Waukesha house party leads to felony charges

May 14, 2014 9:32 a.m. | A 40-year-old man was arrested after he “went hard,” allegedly attacking two men over the weekend at a house party on Fairview Avenue in Waukesha.

James J. McCray, 430 Kimberly Drive, was charged Monday, May 12, in Waukesha County Circuit Court with substantial battery, criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct.

According to the criminal complaint, Waukesha police were dispatched to break up a fight at 9 p.m. Sunday, May 11, at a residence at 410 Fairview Ave.

Officers made contact with Daniel Vasquez, who said in the complaint that McCray had confronted him while drunk and said, “I got my pistol now [expletive], what’s up?”

Vasquez and homeowner Daniel Jimenez tried to calm McCray down, but he allegedly punched Vasquez in the jaw, breaking a tooth, the complaint states. He then struck Vasquez in the chest and arm.

» Read Full Article

Blain's Farm and Fleet executive retiring

May 13, 2014 5:39 p.m. | The top executive of Blain's Farm and Fleet stores is retiring and will be succeeded by his sister, the company said Tuesday.

Robert Blain, president, chief executive and co-owner of Janesville-based Blain Supply Inc. and Blain's Farm and Fleet, will step down June 25.

Company executive Jane Blain Gilbertson already has assumed the roles of president, CEO and sole owner, the company said. A formal leadership transition will take place over the next few weeks, the retailer said.

Robert Blain, 61, has been with the companies for 38 years and has been president since Robert's and Jane's father, Bert Blain, died in 1993. During Robert's 20 years as president, the companies opened stores in seven new markets. taking locations to 35 from 28 in Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa.

When Robert became president in 1993, the companies had 2,787 employees. Today the work force is 4,000.

» Read Full Article

New plan for 5 Diamonds baseball complex in Town of Waukesha includes option to sell alcohol

May 08, 2014 10:34 p.m. | Tom Kelenic said when his teams are traveling to baseball and softball complexes around the state and country alcohol is typically being sold at these facilities.

Now, two years after opening the 5 Diamonds facility, now Infinity Fields, on West Les Paul Parkway on Highway 59 in the Town of Waukesha, Kelenic, who owns the complex, soon could also be selling beer there.

After discussing the issue, among others relating to the complex for about three hours, the Town of Waukesha Board approved a new plan of operation for the facility in a 3-2 vote.

Supervisors Larry Wolf and Michael Doerr voted against the amended plan of operation with Wolf voicing his adamant opposition to the sale of alcohol.

When the facility opened in 2012, Kelenic said the intention wasn’t to sell alcohol at the 31-acre site.

» Read Full Article

Waukesha considers TIF district for new Oberlin Filter facility

May 08, 2014 8:19 p.m. | A Waukesha company that makes industrial filters would receive $975,000 in city financing help for a planned manufacturing facility, under a new proposal.

Oberlin Filter Co. is planning a 90,000-square-foot building for about 9 acres at 809-831 Silvernail Road, just west of Blue Mound Road. That would replace a 50,000-square-foot building at 404 Pilot Court.

City officials are considering the creation of a tax incremental financing district that would include the planned development site, said Steve Crandell, director of community development.

That 25-acre financing district would be used to provide $975,000 to help cover Oberlin's site preparation costs, including demolition, grading and environmental cleanup, Crandell said Thursday.

The funds would be repaid through new property taxes from Oberlin's $6.5 million facility, Crandell said.

» Read Full Article

Alcohol at Infinity Fields will be discussed at Town of Waukesha Board meeting

May 08, 2014 11:11 a.m. | Could Infinity Fields, formerly known as 5 Diamonds, soon have the ability to sell alcohol on its facility in the Town of Waukesha?

That's an option the Town of Waukesha Board will consider as an amended plan of operation is being brought before the board at its meeting Thursday night.

The Plan Commission, which meets first at 6:30 p.m., will discuss and possibly make a recommendation to the board.

If approved, selling fermented malt beverages, as it's listed in the amended plan of operation, would be subject to the petitioner applying for and obtaining a Class “B” Liquor License from the Town of Waukesha.

The site's plan of operation currently says "a liquor license is not available for the property and shall follow Waukesha School District policy for drugs, alcohol and tobacco use."

» Read Full Article

Waukesha proposes financing help for Oberlin Filter

May 08, 2014 10:33 a.m. | A Waukesha company that makes industrial filters would receive $975,000 in city financing help for a planned manufacturing facility, under a new proposal.

Oberlin Filter Co. is planning a 90,000-square-foot building for around 9 acres at 809-831 Silvernail Road, just west of Blue Mound Road. That would replace a 50,000-square-foot building at 404 Pilot Court.

City officials are considering the creation of a tax incremental financing district that would include the planned development site, said Steve Crandell, director of community development.

That 25-acre financing district would be used to provide $975,000 to help cover Oberlin's site preparation costs, including demolition, grading and environmental cleanup, Crandell said Thursday.

The funds would be repaid through new property taxes from Oberlin's $6.5 million facility, Crandell said.

» Read Full Article

Wrong-way driver leads to head-on crash on Moreland Boulevard

May 08, 2014 8:00 a.m. | A head-on crash on Highway 18 (East Moreland Blvd.) on Thursday, May 8, injured two people, sending one man to the hospital with serious injuries.

According to police, a BMW was driving east in the westbound lanes of traffic on Moreland near Avalon Drive, Waukesha, at about 12:32 a.m. A semi tractor-trailer was westbound, and was attempting to stop when the BMW hit it head on. 

Flight for Life took the 52-year-old driver of the BMW to Froedtert Hospital with a broken hip, numerous contusions and facial cuts. He is in stable condition. He admitted to drinking alcohol before the crash, and was cited for drunken driving, causing injury, according to police.

Rescue personnel treated the 68-year-old driver of the semi at the scene for minor injuries. Police noted that he was cooperative in the investigation and voluntarily submitted to a blood test; he is not thought to have been drinking. 

Both vehicles were towed. The BMW was totaled. The semi tractor sustained moderate damage. The semi trailer was not carrying a load. Neither vehicle had any other passengers.

» Read Full Article

Batten down the hatches; severe thunderstorm warning in effect

May 07, 2014 10:17 a.m. | The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for northeastern Waukesha County, north-central Milwaukee County and south-central Ozaukee County until 11 a.m.

A severe thunderstorm was over Brookfield at 10:09 a.m., heading northeast at 25 mph. Half-dollar-size hail was reported with the storm. The Weather Service indicated that vehicles could be damaged by the hail.

Waukesha Common Council approves shared health clinic with county, school district

May 06, 2014 10:15 p.m. | While there was still reluctance by some members of Waukesha’s Common Council, the final piece to the puzzle on a shared health clinic between three governmental entities is complete.

In a 10-4 vote, the Waukesha Common Council Tuesday night voted to join the Waukesha School Board and Waukesha County Board in approving the intergovernmental agreement for a joint employee health clinic.

The city’s finance and human resources committees had previously recommended unanimous approval of the agreement at a joint meeting two weeks ago.

The county and school board approved the agreement in March.

Employees and retirees of the city, school district and county, along with their families, will be able to use the facility, which will be located in the offices of the county division of public health at 615 W. Moreland Blvd. on the grounds of the Waukesha County Courthouse.

» Read Full Article

Victim ID'd in fatal Waukesha car crash

May 05, 2014 8:16 a.m. | Waukesha police on Monday identified the victim of a fatal weekend car crash.

Dale A. Kolter, 61, of Muskego was killed Sunday morning when his car crashed into a tree near Coral Drive and Highway 164, police said.

He was the only person in the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. Police have said speed was a factor in the crash.

Driver killed in Waukesha crash

May 04, 2014 3:17 p.m. | The driver of a vehicle was killed at about 9:44 a.m. Sunday, May 4, near Coral Drive and Highway 164.

The vehicle collided with a tree, according to the Waukesha Police Department. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. There were no other passengers.

Early indications show that speed was a factor, according to police, who are investigating the incident.

The name of the driver has not been released, pending notification of relatives.

Fundraising goal met for Waukesha School District's field turf project

May 02, 2014 4:17 p.m. | The Fields of Many Dreams project is no longer a dream. 

The three Waukesha high schools have combined to raise the final amount of money needed to begin construction on the artificial multipurpose ProGrass turf fields. 

After the Waukesha School Board approved a contract with SC Waukesha and the district, which will contribute half a million dollars through a property sales fund, at its March 12 meeting, the schools only needed to raise $232,700.

In addition to the district's contribution, SC Waukesha will pay an annual fee of $50,000 over 10 years with a $100,000 upfront payment. It will skip the second year but then pay $50,000 from the third year to the 10th year.

SC Waukesha is a local soccer club.

» Read Full Article

Vince Trovato is latest Republican to join District 97 state assembly race

May 01, 2014 4:57 p.m. | Another day, another Republican candidate in the District 97 state assembly race. 

A day after former city of Waukesha alderman and realtor Scott Allen announced his candidacy for the seat, Vince Trovato, a longtime Waukesha resident, announced his intentions for the position. 

Trovato joins a crowded GOP field that includes city of Waukesha alderman Aaron Perry, former town of Waukesha supervisor Joe Banske, Humana consultant Brandon Rosner and Allen.

A Republican primary will be held Aug. 12. 

No Democrats have filed yet for the position. Chuck Schilling, a self-employed contractor, has filed for the Libertarian Party.

» Read Full Article

Waukesha man calls police after finding Sweet Tarts on front porch

May 01, 2014 12:09 p.m. | A sugary candy on a man's front porch in Waukesha prompted a call to police. 

According to the police log, a man at 445 Kimberly Drive found two packs of Sweet Tarts on the front porch of his house prior to 3:06 p.m. April 22.

He said he thought the candy was put there from someone who was trying to entice his children.

The caller thought finding the Sweet Tarts on his front porch was odd and didn't know if the candy had been tampered with or if it was even meant for his kids.

Police told the man to discard the candy. 

» Read Full Article

Community Watch

» Waukesha GuitarTown returns for third straight year with just students 5/30

» Man killed in one-car crash was dragged 240 feet under his vehicle 5/30

» Man, 75, killed in Waukesha crash was dragged under car Updated:  5/30

» Crash causes backups on I-94 at Moorland Road in Brookfield Updated:  5/29

» ELCA members to vote on opposition to 'religious freedom' laws 5/28

» State upholds Waukesha's firing of school locksmith for tampering with security camera 5/28

» Average college tuition aid for Catholic Memorial grads: $70,000 Updated:  5/20

» County Clare owner buying Waukesha's Clarke Hotel 5/20

» Waukesha leaders heading to Washington seeking funds for lake water 5/20

» Good Harvest buys land for new Waukesha store 5/19

» Bill Kramer pleads not guilty to sexual assault, waives hearing Updated:  5/15

» Waukesha School Board holds off on renaming Central Middle School 5/14

» Teen charged in connection to burglary at Waukesha’s Trailside Cycle shop 5/14

» Fight at Waukesha house party leads to felony charges 5/14

» Blain's Farm and Fleet executive retiring 5/13

» New plan for 5 Diamonds baseball complex in Town of Waukesha includes option to sell alcohol 5/8

» Waukesha considers TIF district for new Oberlin Filter facility 5/8

» Alcohol at Infinity Fields will be discussed at Town of Waukesha Board meeting 5/8

» Waukesha proposes financing help for Oberlin Filter 5/8

» Wrong-way driver leads to head-on crash on Moreland Boulevard 5/8

» Batten down the hatches; severe thunderstorm warning in effect 5/7

» Waukesha Common Council approves shared health clinic with county, school district 5/6

» Victim ID'd in fatal Waukesha car crash 5/5

» Driver killed in Waukesha crash 5/4

» Fundraising goal met for Waukesha School District's field turf project 5/2

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