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Laska won't seek re-election as a Town of Waukesha supervisor

Dec. 27, 2013 4:31 p.m. | After years of serving the Town of Waukesha in various capacities, Supervisor Mike Laska will step down after his term is up in the spring. 

He was going to file noncandidacy papers today at Town Hall.

"I will not seek re-election," he wrote in an email Friday afternoon. "I thank my supporters for all their support over the years. It was very gratifying to be able to serve our community."   

In an email, he cited many reasons for not running again. Among them was the constant discord and "personal attacks" from Town Board members toward him. 

Laska was a volunteer firefighter for 11 years in the town and was also the town chairman at one point before serving as supervisor. 

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Scrima will seek a second term as Waukesha's mayor

Dec. 27, 2013 12:32 p.m. | Mayor Jeff Scrima has entered the race.

After months of staying quiet as to whether he would seek a second term as the mayor of Waukesha, Scrima filed a campaign registration statement and a declaration of candidacy with the clerk-treasurer's office, Clerk-Treasurer Gina Kozlik said Friday.

She said Scrima turned in his papers this morning. Today was also the deadline for elected officials to file for non-candidacy.

Scrima now has to collect between 200 and 400 signatures and turn in his nomination papers before Jan. 7, 2014.

He joins three other candidates already in the race.

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Mayor Scrima has donated half of his salary into the New Day in Waukesha Fund

Dec. 26, 2013 3:46 p.m. | During the lead-up to the 2010 mayoral election, Jeff Scrima repeatedly pledged that he would serve as the mayor of Waukesha on half pay.

Now, with the lead-up to the 2014 election approaching, Scrima released that he has put in $92,194.33 into the New Day in Waukesha Fund, which is more than half of his net salary of $184,035.74 over the last three years.

Instead of directly working for half of his salary, Scrima created the New Day in Waukesha Fund two months after winning the 2010 election over incumbent Larry Nelson.

The New Day in Waukesha Fund is managed through the Waukesha County Community Foundation and Scrima said it was created to serve as a "catalyst community fund dedicated with providing vitality to the city." 

“I believe in keeping promises,” Scrima said in his only comment on the matter.

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Waukesha County briefly loses dispatch radio system

Dec. 24, 2013 1:04 p.m. | Radio communications at Waukesha County's communications center went down briefly Tuesday, forcing dispatchers to switch to a backup system.

A dispatch supervisor said she had few details but reported the system was quickly restored after she contacted engineers who keep the radio system running.

In July, the communications center in Waukesha took 911 calls for Milwaukee County when Milwaukee County's communications system went down due to an electrical fire.

City of Waukesha will wait on potentially hiring a consultant to rebrand its downtown until next month

Dec. 18, 2013 2:31 p.m. | Hiring a marketing firm to rebrand downtown Waukesha will have to wait a little longer. 

For the second time in the last two weeks, the item has been postponed.

The City of Waukesha's Common Council was first scheduled to discuss and approve a contract with the Milwaukee-based Savage Solutions for $15,000 at its meeting on Dec. 3.

It was moved to Tuesday night's agenda, but just hours before the meeting City Administrator Ed Henschel removed it from the agenda.

In an email to Common Council members, Mayor Jeff Scrima, Community Development Director Steve Crandell and downtown business owner Jeff Barta, Henschel said that "due to a variety of other issues I have been focused on, I have not had a chance to review the Savage contract and discuss the rebranding of the city with the Community Development Department.

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Michigan legislator seeks veto of Waukesha's Great Lakes water bid

Dec. 17, 2013 3:32 p.m. | Michigan state Rep. Rudy Hobbs, a Democrat, is asking Republican Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan to veto Waukesha's request to switch to a Lake Michigan water supply.

Waukesha's proposal is being examined by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and it will be several months before the plan could be forwarded to the other seven Great Lakes states for their review. It is not yet on Snyder's desk for consideration.

But Waukesha needs the unanimous approval of each of the eight Great Lakes states to purchase lake water, and Hobbs' partisan shot is warning city officials of the reception in store for them on the east side of Lake Michigan.

"I wanted to get ahead of things," Hobbs said Tuesday in explaining why he submitted a Michigan House resolution opposing the city's plan. His resolution, with the support of 11 other Democratic legislators, is intended to raise awareness of Waukesha's request within the Michigan legislature, he said.

The Wisconsin DNR is expected to make a preliminary judgment in early 2014 on whether Waukesha's request to divert up to an average of 10.1 million gallons a day of lake water by midcentury complies with a 2008 Great Lakes protection compact.

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Waukesha water request lacks rationale for higher volume, DNR official says

Dec. 13, 2013 7:34 a.m. | Waukesha has failed to justify the volume of Lake Michigan water it says city customers will need over the next four decades as part of a precedent-setting Great Lakes diversion request, Wisconsin environmental officials said.

Waukesha is asking the eight Great Lakes states to approve a request to divert up to an average of 10.1 million gallons of water a day from the lake by midcentury.

But the application lacks sufficient information to support Waukesha's projected increases in water use from now through final buildout of the city's water supply service area in 2050 or beyond, said Eric Ebersberger, water use section chief for the state Department of Natural Resources.

Waukesha must fully justify projected water use or revise volumes in the application, Ebersberger says in correspondence with Waukesha Water Utility General Manager Dan Duchniak.

"For the department to conclude that the city's demand estimates are reasonable, the department must have a detailed explanation" and evidence justifying the proposed increase in demand, according to Ebersberger. He is supervising the department's review of the city's request.

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Authorities report robbery at Associated Bank in Sussex

Dec. 10, 2013 8:16 p.m. | A armed robbery was reported Tuesday at the Associated Bank, N64 W23710 Main St. in Sussex, according to the Waukesha County Sheriff's Office.

The bank was robbed shortly after 4:30 p.m., according to a sheriff's office news release.

The robber is described as a white male, 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing 160 pounds with blue eyes and wearing a two-tone dark and light gray winter jacket with a blue thigh-length zipper.

He was also wearing a hooded sweat shirt, white undershirt, a blue ski mask, blue mechanics gloves, blue jeans and white shoes.

Most of the winter jacket is darker gray, with lighter gray accents, including a light gray stripe across the back, according to the release.

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Waukesha sheriff's lieutenant under investigation, placed on leave

Dec. 06, 2013 8:10 p.m. | A Waukesha County sheriff's lieutenant is under investigation by Waukesha police and has been placed on administrative leave, the sheriff's office said Friday.

The investigation involves a complaint filed against the lieutenant, and Waukesha police have asked for assistance from the Wisconsin Department of Justice, Division of Criminal Investigation, according to a sheriff's office news release.

The sheriff's office is conducting an internal review of the complaint, according to the release, which provides no information on the complaint.

Female driver crashes vehicle into Waukesha Memorial Hospital

Dec. 06, 2013 5:59 p.m. | A woman crashed her vehicle through the valet entrance of Waukesha Memorial Hospital Friday afternoon, Lt. Tom Wallschlaeger said.

Wallschlaeger said a call came into the Police Department at 4:07 p.m. indicating a vehicle went through the front entrance of the hospital (on the east side near the parking structure). 

He added that the vehicle went partially through the gift shop. 

"The vehicle did not stop and went through all the glass," Wallschlaeger said.

The fire department's initial report notes "personal injury" for the female driver but it doesn't indicate any other injuries, he said. 

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Longtime Waukesha city attorney Curt Meitz won't run for re-election

Dec. 05, 2013 3:28 p.m. | After 28 years of having the same attorney, the City of Waukesha will have a change next spring. 

Longtime city attorney Curt Meitz will not seek re-election as he filed for non-candidacy with Clerk-Treasurer Gina Kozlik today. 

Meitz has held the position since 1985 when he took over for former city attorney George Lawler. He finished out the remainder of the term and then defeated Jess Martinez Jr. in 1986, Kozlik said.

That was the only time Meitz had a challenger in an election, Kozlik said. 

He would have had one this year. 

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Waukesha man pleads guilty, gets life sentence for triple homicide

Dec. 05, 2013 2:48 p.m. | A Waukesha man pleaded guilty Wednesday in the beating deaths of three retired farmers in southern Wisconsin.

Jaren Kuester, 31, entered his plea after a judge found him competent to stand trial.

Jaren Kuester

Kuester told Dane County Circuit Court Judge William Foust that he understood he was waiving his right to trial with the pleas to three counts of first-degree intentional homicide.

Foust accepted the pleas and ordered a hearing on Jan. 31 to determine whether Kuester was insane at the time of the killings in April, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

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Waukesha man charged in motorcyclist's death

Dec. 05, 2013 2:29 p.m. | A 23-year-old Waukesha man has been charged with vehicular homicide, allegedly causing a motorcyclist’s death in New Berlin on Oct. 11.

Edi Gomez, 444. S. Washington Ave. #4, was charged on Dec. 3 in Waukesha County Circuit Court with homicide by negligent operation of a vehicle and operating on a suspended license, causing death.

Gomez could face up to 16 years in prison and $35,000 in fines if convicted.

According to the criminal complaint, officers from the New Berlin Police Department were dispatched at about 7 p.m. on Oct. 11 to a crash at the intersection of S. Racine Ave. and W. Mill Creek Trail in New Berlin.

Officers noted in the complaint that an SUV was overturned at the intersection and a motorcycle was laying nearby. James Solveson, the motorcyclist, was pronounced dead at the scene by a deputy medical examiner.

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Waukesha County United Way running short of campaign goal

Dec. 05, 2013 2:06 p.m. | Despite bigger donations from some local businesses this year, fund raising for United Way in Waukesha County is flagging at 60% of its 2013 goal.

The organization, which supports nonprofit agencies that provide health and social services, said in a news release that it may not achieve its campaign goal of $4.75 million, having raised $2,812,431 so far.

"We have seen tremendous corporate and individual donor support this year, but unfortunately we are also seeing some losses that cause concern for our final outcome," Executive Director Jayne Thoma said in the release.

"Despite the fact that we are halfway through the campaign season, we still have a long way to go. There are families and individuals in our county relying on vital community services," Rob Reilly, a chair of the United Way campaign.

The annual campaign runs through Jan. 31, 2014. To make a contribution or to coordinate a workplace giving campaign, call (262) 547-8459 or visit www.UnitedWayWaukesha.org/give.

Apartments proposed in downtown Waukesha

Dec. 05, 2013 7:00 a.m. | A development firm is proposing a 56-unit apartment building in downtown Waukesha.

Oregon, Wis.-based Gorman & Co. wants to develop the four-story building on a vacant parcel near the corner of E. Main St. and N. Hartwell Ave., said Ted Matkom, the firm's Wisconsin market president. That site is adjacent to the Canadian National railroad tracks.

The apartments would be financed in part with federal affordable housing tax credits. Developers compete for those credits in annual competitions, the results of which are usually announced in April.

Developers typically sell the credits to raise equity financing. In return, they must provide apartments at below-market rents to people earning no more than 60% of the area's median income.

If Gorman receives tax credits, the firm would develop 47 apartments with below-market rents, and nine apartments with market rents, Matkom said.

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Waukesha man charged in New Berlin crash that killed motorcyclist

Dec. 04, 2013 1:14 p.m. | A 23-year-old Waukesha man has been charged in a crash that killed a motorcyclist in October.

Edi R. Gomez was late for his job at McDonald's in Muskego on Oct. 11 when he tried to pass James Solveson on the shoulder of Racine Ave. then lost control of his SUV and hit the motorcyclist, according to a criminal complaint released Wednesday.

Solveson, 58, of Waukesha, was thrown from his bike, lost his helmet, struck his head on a metal pole and died at the scene. The crash happened near Mill Creek Trail in New Berlin about 7 a.m.

Gomez's SUV flipped three times. He was taken by helicopter to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa for treatment. Gomez initially told investigators the motorcycle tried to pass him on the right, forcing him to brake, and roll.

When told his account differed from those of other drivers, Gomez admitted he had been tailgating the motorcycle and tried to pass on the right, and that he knew his driver's license was suspended at the time.

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Clean Wisconsin asks DNR to reject Waukesha bid for Great Lakes water

Dec. 03, 2013 3:38 p.m. | Clean Wisconsin, the state's largest and oldest environmental advocacy group, asked state environmental regulators Tuesday to deny the City of Waukesha's request to switch to a Lake Michigan water supply.

Waukesha's plan to divert up to an average of 10.1 million gallons a day from the lake by mid-century is a sharp increase over its current demonstrated needs of an average of nearly 7 million gallons a day, said Ezra Meyer, water resources specialist with Clean Wisconsin in Madison.

The group is asking the state Department of Natural Resources to reject the city's request in part because such a large volume conflicts with a Great Lakes protection compact's emphasis on water conservation to help manage demand, Meyer said in a statement.

The state Department of Natural Resources is reviewing Waukesha's proposal and expects to make a preliminary judgment early next year on whether the request complies with the Great Lakes compact.

The compact requires Wisconsin and each of the other seven Great Lakes states to approve the diversion before the city could build a supply pipeline from Oak Creek. Treated wastewater would be discharged to the Root River to comply with a compact requirement for returning most of the water to the lake.

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