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Cross-country photo gallery now online

Aug. 29, 2009 8:55 p.m. | We've just posted a photo gallery from the Menomonee Falls Challenge cross-country meet.

The gallery includes photos of runners from Wauwatosa, Menomonee Falls, Brookfield, Germantown, Nicolet, Waukesha and Homestead high schools.

Check out the gallery by NOW photographer Peter Zuzga.

Waukesha County appellate judge to retire

Aug. 21, 2009 3:04 p.m. | Harry G. Snyder, a judge on the state court of appeals in Waukesha since 1991, announced this week he will not seek re-election in 2010.

"It is gratifying to know that there are several people who have expressed an interest in seeking the District II position should I retire," Snyder said in a statement released by the state courts system.

Snyder said Friday he's had three or four people inquire whether he might be retiring, but he wouldn't name names.

Asked what he'd tell whoever replaces him about the job, Snyder said they would find it has a discipline specific to the appellate bench, a more cloistered - but comfortable - environment than being a trial judge. He served 11 years on the Waukesha County Circuit Court before joining the court of appeals 18 years ago.

He characterized the Court of Appeals as a "high volume clearinghouse," a place where court users can get a second look at what circuit courts do, and not "a junior Supreme Court." The District II court hears appeals from 12 counties in southeast Wisconsin, excluding Milwaukee County.

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Les Paul tribute to include procession to Waukesha

Aug. 20, 2009 12:26 p.m. | Though Les Paul's final funeral service at Prairie Home Cemetery in Waukesha will be limited to about 50 invited friends and family members Friday afternoon, fans can wish him one last farewell from the sidelines along the processional route.

Once the Discovery World tribute ends at 2 p.m., Paul's funeral procession of about 30 cars, with escorts from the Wisconsin State Patrol, City of Milwaukee police and City of Waukesha police, will head west to his final resting place. The public should not join in the procession, police said.

Sgt. Nate Clarke of the State Patrol said the caravan will travel from Discovery World at 500 N. Harbor Drive along Michigan Ave., 6th St., Wisconsin Ave. and Blue Mound Road until it crosses I-94 and becomes E. Moreland Blvd. in Waukesha. It will continue from E. Moreland to Highway 164 - also known as the Les Paul Parkway- and then to Sunset Drive and finally Prairie Ave. to the cemetery.

The brief service at Prairie Home Cemetery is expected to include short remarks from a few Waukesha friends of Les Paul, cemetery manager David Brenner said. Burial will occur later.

Suburban transit systems land federal stimulus funds

Aug. 20, 2009 12:22 p.m. | Public transit systems in the city of Waukesha and Ozaukee and Washington counties have received a total of $2.87 million in federal stimulus funds to improve transportation, part of the $27.4 million in funds awarded in Wisconsin for such work, the U.S. Transportation Department said Thursday.

Waukesha Metro Transit was awarded $1.5 million to be used for eight vans, fare boxes, a parking lot, a bus washer and other transit enhancements.

Washington County Transit Services was awarded $779,603 to purchase six 30-foot minibuses, three lower floor minivans and three taxi sedans.

Ozaukee County Transit received $591,323 to purchase five vans, six station wagons, bus shelters, paratransit vehicles, equipment and computer hardware and software.

Additionally, Racine received $2.5 million to purchase seven buses, fare-box system upgrades, and software, according to a federal DOT news release.

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Public tribute for Les Paul set for Friday at Discovery World

Aug. 18, 2009 11:30 a.m. | Discovery World Museum will hold a public visitation and tribute Friday for Les Paul, the "Wizard of Waukesha" who gained fame as a pioneer in the creation of the solid-body electric guitar and an innovator in recording techniques.

The museum is home to the exhibit "Les Paul's House of Sound."

Members of the public will be able to pay their respects to Paul, who died last week at age 94 of pneumonia at a hospital in White Plains, N.Y.

The closed casket containing Paul's body will lie in the Discovery World promenade from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday. Doors at the museum, 500 N. Harbor Drive, will open at 9 a.m.

Fans will be able to post tributes to Paul. Discovery World also will show video of Paul's last concert in Wisconsin, a 2008 appearance at the Pabst Theater. Admission to the "Les Paul's House of Sound" exhibit will be free.

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Les Paul will be buried Friday in Waukesha

Aug. 17, 2009 4:30 p.m. | Les Paul, "the Wizard of Waukesha" who pioneered the development of the solid-body electric guitar, will be interred at Waukesha's Prairie Home Cemetery on Friday, cemetery manager David Brenner said Monday.

Paul, a Waukesha native, died of pneumonia Aug. 13 at age 94 in a hospital in White Plains, N.Y. He lived in Mahwah, N.J.

The Gibson Guitar company, known worldwide for its Les Paul Gibson guitar, announced last week that services honoring Paul would be held in New York City, where Paul performed, and in Waukesha.

Asked whether services in Waukesha would be public or private, Brenner said: "It's anticipated there will be a service at Prairie Home Cemetery, but details are pending."

3 to stand trial in death of Waukesha woman

Aug. 15, 2009 11:47 a.m. | A Brookfield man, his mother and another man have been bound over for trial in the killing of Renee Redemer, Renee Redmer, a 29-year-old mother of two from Waukesha who was reported missing Jan. 13, according to the Fond du Lac Reporter. Evidence reported during a preliminary hearing.

Authorities say Redmer was strangled in Fond du Lac by her boyfriend, Brandon Mueller, before her body was burned and the ashes deposited in then-frozen Lake Winnebago, according to a filed in Fond du Lac County Circuit Court.

Mueller has four prior domestic violence convictions in Waukesha County involving other women, according to court records.

Waukesha museum plans Paul memorial

Aug. 14, 2009 10:30 a.m. | The Waukesha County Museum is inviting Waukesha County fans of Les Paul to stop by, see without charge a make-shift memorial of some of Les Paul's items, and sign a guest book.

Among the items, which eventually will be part of the museum's long-planned permanent exhibit to Waukesha's native son, are the musical wizard's handprints in cement.

Jim Hahn, director of development and marketing for the Waukesha County Historical Society & Museum, said museum officials are also developing plans for a low-key, wake-like musical memorial service that likely will be held the night after he is interred in Waukesha.

Paul's mother, Evelyn Polfuss, was buried at Prairie Home Cemetery in 1989.

Musician Steve Miller, who was Paul's godson, said he plans to sing at Paul's burial ceremonies in Waukesha. A private funeral service is planned in New York, with services in Waukesha announced at a later date, according to the Web site of Gibson guitar company, which sold Les Paul guitars.

Exit, Wizard of Waukesha

Aug. 14, 2009 12:07 a.m. | Les Paul, the original guitar hero and the man whom rock heavyweights Clapton, Townshend and McCartney can thank for putting an electric guitar into their hands, died on Thursday.

Known as the Wizard of Waukesha for the inventions that forever changed the sound of music, Paul died of pneumonia at a hospital in White Plains, N.Y. He was 94.

The death was announced by the Gibson Guitar company, which owes much of its success to Paul. A Gibson executive once figured that the six-string Les Paul guitar - introduced in 1952 - accounted for half the company's sales. The Les Paul guitar is a trademark of Pete Townshend of the Who, jazz great Al DiMeola and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, among many others.

Gibson President Dave Berryman called Paul "the father of the electric guitar" and "one of the world's greatest innovators."

The Waukesha native was lauded as a pioneer for his creation of the solid body electric guitar and for inventing overdubbing and multitrack recording techniques. Paul also was a star of television and radio in the early '50s with his wife, Mary Ford, with hits such as "Tennessee Waltz," "How High the Moon" and "Vaya Con Dios."

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Homicide charge filed in Waukesha overdose death

Aug. 12, 2009 1:02 p.m. | Waukesha — A 29-year-old Waukesha man suspected of providing and injecting morphine into a man who died from an overdose has been charged with first-degree reckless homicide.

Jason M. Earhart was charged Tuesday in Waukesha County Circuit Court in connection with the Aug. 2 death of Thomas R. Pike II, 29, of Waukesha.

Earhart had been taken into custody shortly after Pike's death and last week was ordered held on $10,000 bail in connection with the death until formal charges could be filed.

According to the criminal complaint, Earhart gave Pike a morphine pill late Aug. 1 and then cooked it to liquefy it. Earhart then put the substance in a syringe and injected the liquid into Pike, a witness told police.

During questioning by Waukesha police, Earhart admitted providing the drug to Pike, the complaint says. Earhart said he did not remember injecting Pike, the complaint states.

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Waukesha County Chamber names Kelley president

Aug. 12, 2009 12:40 p.m. | Waukesha — A longtime General Electric executive has been named president of the Waukesha County Chamber of Commerce, the organization has announced.

Suzanne Kelley, government affairs manager for GE's Midwest region for the past 23 years, will take over as chamber president on Sept. 21.

"She will bring to the chamber an understanding of large and small business as well as a wealth of strong relationships with government officials and business leaders throughout the Midwest," the organization said in a statement.

Kelley is a lifelong resident of Waukesha County, according to the chamber's statement.

Kelley is replacing current president Patti Wallner who is retiring.

» Read Full Article

Waukesha County man gets 18 years in heroin overdose deaths

Aug. 11, 2009 1:52 p.m. | Waukesha — A Genesee man has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for the heroin overdose deaths of two men.

Luke J. Bandkowski, 29, pleaded guilty in May as part of plea agreement. He was convicted of causing the December 2007 death of Joshua J. Carroll, 26, of the Town of Waukesha and the February 2008 death of Jeffrey S. Topczewski, 22, of Muskego.

Bandkowski is one of 27 people from Milwaukee, Chicago and Waukesha County who were arrested in July 2008 as the result of an investigation dubbed Operation Lake Effect by federal, state and local authorities that began in early 2007.

Those arrested are accused of being part of a heroin conspiracy that authorities say led to 11 overdoses, five of them fatal.

According to the criminal complaints filed against Bandkowski in Waukesha County Circuit Court, Bandkowski was supplying heroin to Carroll and was selling heroin to a woman who supplied it to Topczewski.

» Read Full Article

Benson sentence believed to be one of the toughest in state

Aug. 10, 2009 5:18 p.m. | Waukesha — Former surgeon Mark M. Benson was handed a sentence Monday that will keep him in prison until he is just shy of his 87th birthday.

It appears to be one of the stiffest sentences handed down in the state for a conviction of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle.

Waukesha Circuit Court Judge J. Mac Davis sentenced Benson to 30 years in prison for the 2008 crash that killed popular teacher and associate principal Jennifer Bukosky of Oconomowoc High School, her unborn child and her 10-year-old daughter, Courtney Bella, and injured two children.

Benson, 56, could have faced as many as 53 years in prison for the deaths and injuries, and relatives of the victims had urged Davis to impose the maximum. During a nearly four-hour sentencing hearing, many of the relatives who spoke told Davis that Benson should die in prison.

"Our family is forever locked in a prison that we cannot escape from. Ours is a sentence of a lifetime without them and constant grief as our companion," Michael Bukosky, Jennifer's husband, told the judge about losing his wife, unborn child Sophia and stepdaughter Courtney in the crash. "Since we will die with this sentence that Mark Benson has forced on us, he should forever be locked up till his last days on earth. He should not be able to kiss his wife or embrace his daughters until I am able to do so."

» Read Full Article

Condo project faces foreclosure

Aug. 07, 2009 11:42 a.m. | The 125-unit The Landing Condominiums, in Waukesha, is facing a foreclosure suit filed this week in Waukesha County Circuit Court. Read more in Land and Space.

Drunken driver who struck Carroll student gets 5 years

Aug. 05, 2009 4:52 p.m. | Waukesha — A Waukesha man who drove drunk and struck a Carroll University pedestrian was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison.

Stuart J. Gasper, 48, also was ordered by Waukesha County Circuit Judge Lee S. Dreyfus Jr. to serve five years of extended supervision when he is released from prison.

In July, Gasper was found guilty by a jury of his eighth drunken driving offense and hit-and-run in connection with the Dec. 9 incident. The jury deliberated about 90 minutes after two days of trial testimony.

According to a criminal complaint, Waukesha police received several calls about a red sport utility vehicle being driven recklessly just before 9 p.m. Dec. 9. Then they received a 911 call about a pedestrian struck by such a vehicle near Carroll University.

A male student was crossing at College and Grand Aves. when a Chevrolet Blazer went into a spin and struck him and a light pole before speeding away, according to the complaint and Waukesha police.

» Read Full Article

2 men arrested in Waukesha drug deaths

Aug. 04, 2009 5:55 p.m. | Waukesha — A 29-year-old Waukesha man is being held in jail on suspicion of first-degree reckless homicide in connection with providing illegal drugs to a Waukesha man who died on Sunday.

Jason M. Earhart is accused of crushing a pill, heating it up to liquefy it, putting the liquid into a syringe and then injecting the substance into Thomas R. Pike II, 29, of Waukesha about 11 p.m. Sunday, according to a probable cause statement filed in Waukesha County Circuit Court.

Pike was one of two Waukesha men who died on Sunday after being given illegal drugs, Waukesha police said.

The pill Pike is believed to have used is either methadone or morphine, prosecutors said in court Tuesday.

Pike was found dead about noon on Sunday in an apartment in the 100 block of N. Moreland Blvd., according to Waukesha police and court records.

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Cause of Waukesha house fire undetermined

Aug. 03, 2009 12:34 p.m. | Waukesha — Investigators have concluded that a fire of undetermined origin caused about $100,000 damage Friday and forced a family from their home.

No injuries were reported as a result of the fire, which broke out about 1 a.m. in the 1200 block of Aldoro Drive.

Waukesha Fire Department officials said the family of two adults and two children escaped unharmed, along with the family dog.

Assistant Fire Chief Steve Howard said the fire began on a wooden front porch, but spread inside the home and engulfed the one-story building.

The home sustained significant damage and was left uninhabitable.

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Waukesha police investigate 2 deaths

Aug. 03, 2009 12:22 p.m. | Waukesha — Police are investigating the deaths of two men reported separately Sunday at different residential locations in the city.

In the first case, a man identified as Thomas J. Rompre, 50, of Waupun was pronounced dead at Waukesha Memorial Hospital after being found outside a residence in the 200 block of S. Grandview Blvd.

Police said in a written statement that officers had responded to the scene about 5 a.m. on a report of a disorderly subject.

In the other case, paramedics found 29-year-old Thomas R. Pike II of Waukesha dead in an apartment shortly after noon in the 100 block of N. Moreland Blvd.

Medics had been called to the scene on a report of an individual who was not breathing.

» Read Full Article

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