Waukesha - City water officials will ask the state Public Service Commission for a 25% rate increase next year in what could be the first of a multiyear series of equally large rate hikes needed to pay for a new water supply by 2018, Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak said Tuesday.
The additional revenue is needed to assure investors in municipal bonds issued for the costly project that the debt will be repaid, Duchniak said. A request for a rate increase approved this week by the city's Water Commission is the first step in a PSC review process that likely will extend nine months through August 2012, Duchniak said.
Water bills would not be increased until September of next year, if the request is approved, Duchniak said. The 25% boost in rates would be an average for all residential and business customers.
Single-family residential customers currently pay from $2.05 per 1,000 gallons of water up to $3.40 per 1,000 gallons with the highest rate charged to families that use the most water and the lowest rate available to families that conserve.
Annual water bills paid by city residents could more than double - from an average of $261 in 2011 to $600 in 2021 - under the utility's preliminary plan for financing costs of both a lake water supply and a strategy for replacing aging city water mains.» Read Full Article
Waukesha - A $5,000 hole in the next city budget - money targeted to partially repair a canopy at the Farmers Market along the Fox River downtown and deleted by the Common Council last week - might be more easily remedied than the rest of the budget.
When the council meets at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to decide whether to override Mayor Jeff Scrima's veto of the 2012 budget, aldermen can focus on everything but the $5,000 cut they made earlier.
The larger question is whether aldermen are willing to impose 11 furlough days on city workers, excluding police and firefighters, or find other ways to achieve a no-increase tax levy, as Scrima called for. The mayor vetoed a budget, passed on a 9-6 vote - one short of the number that will be needed for a veto override - that would have increased the tax levy 1.4%, about $27 for the owner of a median-valued $188,300 home.
Scrima, scheduled to give an update on the Farmers Market shelter before the budget discussion starts, said Tuesday that his charitable New Day in Waukesha fund would cover the cost. The mayor established the fund to fulfill a campaign pledge that he would give back half his mayor's salary.
"The New Day steering committee members and I have decided the restoration of the Farmers Market structure qualified for what the fund was set up for. That would be a project worthy of our support, so we are going to take care of it," he said.» Read Full Article
Waukesha - Fire Chief Allen LaConte is retiring after 34 years with the 109-member Waukesha Fire Department, the last 10 as chief.
LaConte, in a letter to be reported at Monday evening's Police and Fire Commission meeting, said his retirement would be effective March 3. However, in a telephone interview he said his last day physically on the job would fall the week before Christmas.
He joined the department in July 1977 as a firefighter and served as a paramedic, a captain, a shift commander and assistant chief before replacing chief Robert Stedman, first as acting chief and then chief.
During his tenure, three new fire stations have been constructed - including rebuilt headquarters on St. Paul Ave. in downtown Waukesha, and relocations of west side and east side stations on Summit Ave., which opened in 2005, and Pearl St., which is expected to open next month.
"After more than 34 years of serving the citizens of this community, it is time to move on to the next chapter of my life," he says in his letter. He declined to say what that chapter would involve, although "I'm going to sit back and relax for a period of time."
A woman told officers her husband threatened to stab a man with whom she had been staying. They let him go because they were unable to prove that he actually made the threat, the station reported.
Waukesha - The Waukesha County Board unanimously voted to ban guns from more county buildings in the wake of the new state law allowing concealed carry.
On a 21-0 vote Tuesday, the board approved an ordinance that prohibits carrying concealed weapons in the Human Services Center, the Public Health Center, the Mental Health Center, the Juvenile Center and the Waukesha County Communications Center.
Weapons are already banned at the courthouse and Administration Center, where visitors must pass through a security checkpoint staffed by deputies and a metal detector before entering. No security checks are planned in the other buildings.
Waukesha County parks and golf courses would be open to those lawfully carrying concealed weapons, although anyone renting a county facility could impose their own rules.
The World's Greatest Cookie Sale at the Country Springs Hotel Grand Ballroom, 2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee, will be from noon to 4 p.m. Friday only.
The Waukesha NOW newspaper for Nov. 24 in its Weekend Planner indicates that the sale is Saturday also, which is incorrect.
Besides thousands of cookies made by 30 nonprofit organizations, who benefit from the sale, the event includes holiday music performances, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, a magic show, cookie and cupcake decorating, face painting and a holiday coloring contest.
Admission and parking are free.
All NOW newspapers will be delivered Friday, Nov. 25, due to this week's Thanksgiving holiday.
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Mason Pagenkopf, who was born 15 weeks early and weighed less than two pounds, now serves as an ambassador for the BloodCenter of Wisconsin, title sponsor for Sunday's Christmas parade in Waukesha.
With the help of Mason and his parents, routine blood donors Cindy and Kevin Pagenkopf, the BloodCenter of Wisconsin hopes to remind people that blood donations, which often decrease during the holiday season, are a special gift that can help save lives.
The 49th annual Waukesha Christmas parade of more than 100 units will begin at 4 p.m. at the intersection of White Rock Ave. and E. Main St., travel primarily along E. and W. Main St. and end at Wisconsin and Maple avenues.
Gifts of another sort - toys for needy children - also will be the focus on parade day.
A major toy drive for the Christmas Clearing Council of Waukesha County will begin during the pre-day festivities downtown. Toys will be collected Sunday (and until Dec. 14) at these downtown sites: Cuddles Hallmark & Martha Merrell's Books & Café, 231 Main St.; Sprizzo Gallery Caffé, 363 W. Main St.; and the Waukesha County Historical Museum, 101 W. Main St.» Read Full Article
The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod fired its communications director on Friday, a day after he was charged with possessing child pornography at his Waukesha home and Wauwatosa office.
Synod President the Rev. Mark Schroeder issued a brief statement Friday saying Joel W. Hochmuth’s employment had been terminated.
“WELS holds it employees to high ethical and moral standards; we will not and cannot tolerate behavior that goes against these principles,” Schroeder said. He said the synod is cooperating with authorities in the investigation and praying for all who have been affected by the events.
Hochmuth, 52, was charged Thursday in Waukesha County Circuit Court with three counts of possession of child pornography. He was released on $20,000 bail.
Hochmuth is accused of using the Internet to download hundreds of images of boys engaged in sexual acts with other youths and adult men, according to the criminal complaint. Images were found on his computer at his Waukesha home and on a thumb drive at his office, it said.» Read Full Article
Concealed carry has been in effect since Nov. 1 allowing people to carry concealed weapons throughout Wisconsin.
But it has been up to local governments whether they are allowing them in city-owned buildings.
And while many cities have banned them in these buildings since Gov. Scott Walker signed the law in July, the Waukesha Common Council decided Tuesday night after a 10-5 vote that it will allow registered individuals the right to carry inside municipal buildings.
Aldermen John Kalblinger, Terry Thieme, Duane Paulson, Vance Skinner and Roger Patton did not vote in favor of the ruling.
Business owners can prohibit concealed carry on their property by posting a sign.» Read Full Article
Waukesha - The Waukesha County Board adopted County Executive Dan Vrakas' proposed 2012 budget intact Tuesday, overwhelmingly rejecting a supervisor's last-ditch effort to prevent closing the Juvenile Center girls' secure detention unit.
Supervisor Patricia Haukohl, chairman of the board's Finance Committee, said the budget represents a continuation of quality infrastructure and services that Waukesha County residents have come to expect. With Haukohl and committee chairs participating in development of the budget early on, she said, the process reflected cooperation and "a synergy so rare among other governments."
The budget calls for a general tax levy of $98 million, up 0.6%, the lowest increase in nearly 30 years.
The resulting tax rate is $2.01 per $1,000 fair market value, up 4 cents. A Waukesha County home of median value this year - $255,600 - would pay $514 in county taxes under the budget, about the same as last year when property values were higher, county officials estimate.
The county share of the tax bill is among the smaller portions, with municipal and school taxes making up a bigger share.» Read Full Article
Wells Fargo Bank has filed a $7.7 million foreclosure lawsuit against the Michigan owner of a former Jewel-Osco and Sentry supermarket property in Waukesha.
The federal court lawsuit filed Monday in Milwaukee alleges that Waukesha LLC, based in Southfield, Mich., has defaulted on the property at 925 Highway 164. Wells Fargo filed the lawsuit as trustee for registered holders of related Banc of America Commercial Mortgage Inc. certificates.
The site was among eight put up for sale by Jewel-Osco in 2007 when it opted to exit the Milwaukee area market. It later became a Sentry Food Store, but now is vacant.
Waukesha - Waukesha County Board leaders Monday unanimously endorsed a policy that would restrict those entering certain county buildings from carrying concealed weapons.
The policy, with a 7-0 recommendation from the Executive Committee, goes to the County Board for action at its 7 p.m. meeting Nov. 22.
The policy would impose the weapons ban at the Human Services and Public Health Centers, at the mental Health Center, the Juvenile Center and the Waukesha County Communications Center. In addition, those renting or leasing county facilities, such as a golf course or the Expo Center, can determine whether they want to impose a ban or not. Weapons are already banned at the Courthouse and Administration Center.
The Waukesha Common Council, at its 7:30 p.m. meeting Tuesday, is scheduled to debate a Public Works Board recommendation that would allow concealed carrying of weapons, as permitted by a new state law that took effect Nov. 1, in any municipal building except municipal court.
It’s Goliath vs. Goliath. It’s No. 1 vs. No. 2. It’s last year’s state champion vs. last year’s state runner-up.
Marquette (43-4) vs. Catholic Memorial (29-3) is a volleyball match made for the state championship.
Instead, the two powerhouses will battle in the state quarterfinals in a much anticipated rematch of last year’s title game. The match takes place at 5 p.m. today at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee.
The winner takes on either Germantown (14-5) or Wauwatosa East (27-10) in the state semifinals at noon Saturday. The championship match will be played at 5:30 p.m. later that day. But the winner of the Memorial/Marquette match will no doubt be the heavy favorite the rest of the tournament.
Memorial, champions of the Classic 8, and Marquette, champions of the Greater Metro, have a mere combined seven losses. The other quarterfinal matches all have a combined double digit losses (15, 18, 27).» Read Full Article
Waukesha - The Waukesha County Finance Committee wrapped up its review of the 2012 county budget Wednesday, unanimously recommending a $98.5 million tax levy that is exactly as County Executive Dan Vrakas proposed six weeks ago.
Just two amendments to accept grants totaling $170,000 were made to Vrakas' budget - one to provide cancer education and screening for low-income and uninsured individuals, the other to establish a drug court. Both grants were confirmed after Vrakas' budget was introduced. Neither change added to the tax levy.
The sole controversy that flared during the budget review was Vrakas' plan to close the girls secure detention unit of the Juvenile Center and contract with Washington County for the service. Supervisor Janel Brandtjen's attempt to restore the program failed both in the Health and Human Services and Finance Committees.
The final budget calls for spending $244.7 million on operations, down 1.4% from this year; a capital projects list costing $39.9 million, double last year's total but with cash on hand of $10.4 million applied to keep tax support even with last year's; nontax revenues of $163.2 million, up 6%; and a general tax levy of $98.0 million, up 0.6%.
Taxpayers in communities without libraries will pay $2.9 million, or 1% more, toward the federated library system.» Read Full Article
A suspect in a shooting in Waukesha early this morning is still at large.
According to Waukesha Police, officers were dispatched to a report of a possible domestic disturbance at an apartment above the strip mall on the northeast corner of South West Avenue and West Sunset Drive at 12:57 a.m.
The caller stated that she had heard four or five gun shots. At the scene, police learned that a suspect had fired multiple rounds with a .380 caliber handgun at a female victim’s vehicle after an altercation. The male fled with a different female on foot.
While at the scene, officers heard what sounded like a single gunshot. After determining the name of the female that left on foot with the male suspect, officers responded to her residence in the area of West Roberta Avenue and Scott Avenue. The female who had fled with the male and the .380 caliber handgun were taken into police custody when she returned to this residence.
The suspect is still at large. If anyone has any information as to his whereabouts, please contact Waukesha Police Department immediately (emergency – 911, non-emergency (262) 524-3831). Do not make contact with the individual as it is unknown if he is still in possession of any firearms.
Mayor Jeff Scrima has offered his recommendations on the city budget. Now, it’s up to the Common Council to decide what they want to do.
The Council could make these decisions tonight when it meets at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall and will discuss many avenues they can go regarding the budget.
For city officials, the budget has centered on one thing since it was released last month: Maintaining a tax levy freeze.
Since few wanted a garbage fee, Scrima came up with five options that he presented to the Finance Committee last week. These recommendations will be the main topic at tonight’s meeting.
Initially, the city needed to reduce the city budget by $2.7 million if there would be a zero-percent tax levy and no tax increase. Interim City Administrator Steve Crandell provided $1.2 million in reductions taken from infrastructure and equipment. But with $1.5 million to go in order to maintain these goals, Scrima came up with his ways.» Read Full Article
Waukesha - Waukesha County could move to ban guns from more county buildings in the wake of the new state law allowing concealed carry, while Waukesha city buildings would remain ban-free under a Public Works Board recommendation.
A county ordinance that prohibits carrying concealed weapons in the Human Services Center, the Public Health Center, the Mental Health Center, the Juvenile Center and the Waukesha County Communications Center has been drafted for Executive Committee review next Monday and County Board approval later this month.
Weapons and dangerous items are already prohibited at the courthouse and Administration Center, where visitors must pass through a security checkpoint staffed by deputies and a metal detector before entering. The county will only add the statutorily required notification signs in the other buildings where weapons are prohibited, according to Shawn Lundie, chief of staff to the county executive.
Not every county facility will ban weapons, however. Waukesha County parks and golf courses would be open to those lawfully carrying concealed weapons under the proposed ordinance, said Dale Shaver, parks and land use director. However, at special events where a tenant rents a facility - be it a golf course clubhouse or space at the Expo Center - the individuals or groups who are leasing or renting county facilities would have the right to set their own policy.
The Waukesha Public Works Board has unanimously recommended that the city allow concealed weapons to be brought into City Hall and other municipal buildings. Fred Abadi, public works director, said members were persuaded by Police Chief Russell Jack's comments against the ban. Among other things, he said the only real way to ban weapons is to have a secure screening process at the building entrance, much like the county uses at the courthouse.» Read Full Article
Strong sales growth, helped in part by Hurricane Irene and other natural disasters, is leading generator manufacturer Generac Holdings Inc. to add over 400 new jobs at its factories in Waukesha and other Wisconsin communities.
Generac announced Monday it will add 300 to 400 jobs in Waukesha, Whitewater and Eagle, along with 50 to 60 jobs at its recently acquired Magnum Products LLC subsidiary in Berlin. Magnum makes portable light towers, portable generators and pumps used at construction sites.
Waukesha-based Generac, which now has 1,500 to 1,600 employees, plans to hire most of the new workers within 90 days, said company spokeswoman Heather Shannon Gaedtke. All of the new employees will be hired within the next year, she said.
Generac won't release pay data, but all of the jobs pay family-supporting wages and salaries, Gaedtke said.
The new positions range from entry-level to management, and include engineers, designers and technicians, a company statement said.» Read Full Article
After coming in as a finalist - but not a winner - last year, the Waukesha Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department has been named a winner of the 2011 national Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management.
The winners were announced this week by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association.
Waukesha received the citation for communities with populations of 50,000 to 100,000. Other winners were Portland, Ore., for cities of 250,000 or more; the City of Lakewood, Colo., for communities of 100,000 to 250,000; the Town of Parker, Colo., for communities of 25,000 to 100,000; and the City of Fairfax, Va., for places under 25,000 population.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources won the every-other-year award for state agencies.
The Gold Medal Awards program was founded in 1965 and honors communities with excellent long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition.» Read Full Article
The quest to repeat as state champions continues for the Catholic Memorial boys volleyball team.
The Crusaders swept the Kettle Moraine Lasers 25-22, 25-20, 25-19 Thursday night in a sectional final match to advance to the WIAA state tournament.
It’s the sixth time in the last eight years the Crusaders (27-3) are at state.
And when their state run continues next Friday at Wisconsin Lutheran College their quarterfinal matchup is against perennial power, Marquette.
In addition to being a rematch of last year’s title game in which Memorial won in three sets, the match pits the state’s top ranked teams against each other. Marquette has been No. 1 all year, while Memorial has been No. 2.» Read Full Article
Less than two years after he was elected circuit judge, former legislator Mark Gundrum has been elevated to the state Court of Appeals.
Gov. Scott Walker appointed Gundrum, the longtime Republican state assemblyman from New Berlin, on Friday.
“Judge Gundrum will treat the citizens of Wisconsin with respect, act fairly and be a blind arbiter of justice,” said Governor Walker. “The tremendous amount of support from the community coupled with his outstanding legal education and experience make Judge Gundrum a perfect match for the Court of Appeals.”
Gundrum was elected to the Waukesha County Circuit Court in April 2010, easily beating Ricard Congdon, who had been appointed to the bench the year before by then Gov. Jim Doyle.
Gundrum will serve on the appellate courts District 2, based in Waukesha, and face election in April 2013. He replaces Daniel P Anderson, who retired in June.
Waukesha - After his proposed $136 garbage fee next year in order to achieve a tax levy freeze fell flat, Mayor Jeff Scrima has proposed that nearly 400 city union employees with contracts in place until 2013 voluntarily forfeit pay or benefits or face possible layoffs or furloughs.
The proposal came Wednesday night less than two hours before a meeting of the Finance Committee, which is trying to find $1.5 million more in budget saving to achieve the zero-increase tax levy.
Scrima outlined a series of options in a memorandum to aldermen:
Freeze pay for all employees, including union members, saving $571,000. Employees were scheduled to get a 1.5% increase next year.
Ask employees to contribute 12% for health insurance, instead of the scheduled 7% to 10%, saving $425,000.» Read Full Article
Waukesha - Two foundations announced grants benefiting Waukesha County organizations this week.
The Greater Milwaukee Foundation awarded $448,000 while the Waukesha County Community Foundation announced $106,711 in grants.
La Casa de Esperanza's Volunteer Income Tax Preparation program was awarded $100,000 by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, part of its seven-year investment of $700,000 for the La Casa program. The service offers free income tax preparation and access to other resources for low-income working families and individuals in a one-stop site. In the last tax season, La Casa provided more than 1,500 tax returns and generated more than $3.2 million in tax refunds.
Among other recipients of the Milwaukee foundation grants were a two-year, $37,200 donation to the Hope Center, $25,000 to the Pregnancy Support Connection and $28,900 to improve management effectiveness and efficiency for eight nonprofit agencies.
The Waukesha County Community Foundation provided grants to 16 charitable organizations. The largest was $10,000 to Goodwill Industries of Southeast Wisconsin for its Workforce Connection Center in Waukesha, which provides supportive employment services to those with barriers, and $10,000 to NuGenesis Farm, a nonprofit farm focusing on disease prevention through education, research and organic food. It also provided $8,000 to the Mukwonago Community Library for display cases and $7,000 to the Food Pantry of Waukesha County for handicapped accessible automatic doors.
The girls did its part. Now, it’s up to the boys.
The Catholic Memorial girls volleyball team (44-6) has already punched its ticket back to the WIAA Division 2 state tournament when it defeated Kettle Moraine Lutheran in a sectional final match for the fourth straight year last week.
It put them two wins away from its third straight state title and it marked the fifth time in six years the girls team is at the state tournament in Ashwaubenon.
The girls, ranked No. 1 all year in Division 2 and the outright Classic 8 Conference champions, don’t open its state tournament until Friday when it faces Walworth Big Foot (40-4) in the semifinals. That match is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Resch Center.
The Crusaders boys team (26-3) can do its part and make it two-for-two for the Catholic Memorial volleyball program once again by making it to its respective state tournament.» Read Full Article
Two weeks ago, President Barack Obama announced all the troops will be removed from Iraq by the end of the year.
All U.S. troops “will definitely be home for the holidays,” Obama said.
In light of the president’s declaration and Veteran’s Day on Nov. 11, Waukesha NOW wants to know how Waukesha residents were impacted by this war.
If you served overseas, what is your reaction to the president's announcement? Or if one of your family members served in Iraq, we want to know your thoughts and do a feature for our Nov. 10 edition.
This war has stretched more than eight years and more than 4,400 members of the military have been killed, and more than 32,000 have been wounded.» Read Full Article
It wasn’t always easy for participants to change their habits, but the challenge was mastered once again.
After a month of families trying to eliminate the amount of garbage it produces and increase its recycling levels, the Reduce Your Waste Stream Challenge came to a close last week for 25 families who attend STEM Academy in Waukesha.
And in its second year, participating households reduced the amount of trash they produced by 29 percent, from an average of 31 pounds per household per week to 22 pounds per week.
On the flip side, recycling levels increased by 21 percent, from 12 pounds per household per week to 15 pounds per week.
"The challenge results are very encouraging and confirm what many households could accomplish with just a little effort simply by practicing reduce, reuse, recycle and compost,” said Karen Fiedler, Solid Waste Supervisor for Waukesha County.» Read Full Article
Maple Avenue between West College Avenue and Central Avenue will be closed to through traffic today and tomorrow for storm sewer and utility construction. A detour will be posted using the following eastbound route: north on North West Avenue, east on Wisconsin Avenue and south on North Grand Avenue. The westbound route will be the reverse of that.