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Dan Finley will serve as Waukesha County Museum's interim leader

Oct. 10, 2013 2:23 p.m. | Following the departure of President and Chief Operating Officer Kirsten Lee Villegas, the Waukesha County Museum is turning to a familiar face to temporarily lead its organization.

Dan Finley, a former Waukesha County executive, has been named interim president and chief operating officer of the Waukesha County Museum.

Finley returns to Waukesha after leading the Autry National Center, a museum about the American West, in Los Angeles from 2010-12. He resigned in the summer of 2012 and had been retired for the last 16 months. 

Before that, Finley was the president and chief executive officer of the Milwaukee Public Museum for five years after serving as Waukesha County executive from 1991 to 2005.

Finley will lead the organization for approximately two months, as the museum board conducts a search for a long-term executive leader. His first day is Tuesday, Oct. 15.

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Waukesha celebrates Les Paul's 100th birthday

June 16, 2015 4:18 p.m. | It was a celebration Les Paul would have loved.

The Waukesha County Museum celebrated the life of Les Paul with a community-wide birthday party on Tuesday, June 9, which marked what would have been Paul's 100th birthday.

Paul, a famous musician and inventor, was born and is buried in Waukesha.

City and county officials were on hand at the museum to celebrate the man known as the Wizard of Waukesha and to help raise funds for the museum, 101 W. Main St.

All proceeds from the event went to the museum, which recently closed as renovations to the interior of the building are expected to begin in the coming months.

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Big Bend man, previously charged with public masturbation, now charged with murder

June 16, 2015 11:03 a.m. | Nicholas Godejohn, who was charged in 2013 with masturbating in a Waukesha McDonald's, is now facing a murder charge.

Godejohn, 26, of Big Bend, and his girlfriend, Gypsy Blancharde, 23, of Springfield, Missouri, are charged with the murder of her mother, Clauddinnea "Dee Dee" Blancharde. The two are in custody in Wisconsin and will be extradited to face charges in Missouri on Tuesday, June 16, according to Greene County, Missouri prosecutor Dan Patterson.

A $1 million cash bond has been set for both defendants.

According to a Missouri criminal complaint filed against Godejohn and Gypsy Blancharde, Greene County police were tipped off by a family friend who saw explicit Facebook posts which alluded to the murder of Clauddinnea. The posts, one of which read, "That B**** is dead!" (Warning:explicit language) were sent from Clauddinnea's own account on June 14.

Police found Clauddinnea dead in her bed with multiple stab wounds. Police tracked the location of the Facebook posts to Godejohn's address in Big Bend. After a short standoff the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department took the pair into custody.

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Waukesha couple pleads not guilty in chinchilla case

June 15, 2015 7:18 p.m. | The Waukesha couple who housed hundreds of living and deceased chinchillas pleaded not guilty to the charges of child neglect and animal mistreatment.

Garrett and Tricia Rees made their first court appearance on Monday, June 15.

Both posted a $1,500 signature bond. According to court records, they are not to discuss the case with their children and not have any animals except as authorized by the Humane Animal Welfare Society of Waukesha County.

Both Garrett and Tricia Rees are charged with three child neglect offenses and another two counts in the mistreatment of the tiny animals.

The couple were raising three children in the Waukesha home that fire department officials quickly labeled "uninhabitable" due to the toxic levels of ammonia.

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Waukesha couple due in court in chinchilla-hoarding case

June 15, 2015 7:53 a.m. | A Waukesha couple accused of hoarding 330 chinchillas in their home will make their first court appearance Monday morning.

Garrett Rees, 50, and Tricia Rees, 39, each face five misdemeanor charges of intentional animal mistreatment, three counts of child neglect and a charge of intentional improper animal shelter-ventilation.

When Waukesha police visited the home as part of a "well-being check" late last March, they were met by an overwhelming smell of ammonia from animal urine. Officers discovered the chinchilla breeders and sellers were running an operation that was unkempt and even uninhabitable, as eventually deemed by the fire department.

WITI-TV reported that three children were living in the home, including a 7-year-old who was in the residence at the time.

The Humane Animal Welfare Society removed the chinchillas and two cats, and nearly two dozen dead chinchillas also were removed from the garage and house.

Waukesha County Airport hosting Lighter Than Air Show event this weekend

June 12, 2015 12:13 p.m. | The Wings over Waukesha Air Show event was canceled this year due to the construction at the Waukesha County Airport.

But another smaller event, nonetheless, is being hosted at the airport.

The Waukesha County Airport's Lighter-Than-Air Show is scheduled for Saturday, June 13, and Sunday, June 14.

The free event celebrates the lighter aspects of aviation through demonstrations, hot air balloon and helicopter rides, food and music.

Radio controlled aircraft demonstrations and displays, as well as helicopter rides (for an additional fee) are scheduled for Saturday.

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Fiesta Waukesha returns to Frame Park this weekend

June 12, 2015 10:00 a.m. | Fiesta Waukesha, a three-day music festival and fundraiser celebrating the Hispanic culture, returns to Frame Park this weekend.

The festival kicks off at 4 p.m. Friday. The opening ceremony is scheduled for 5 p.m. and festivities run to 11 p.m. Friday. Hours on Saturday are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

This year's Fiesta Waukesha fundraising event, underwritten by Waukesha State Bank, will include Guatemalan artists and La Casa's youth artists.

A highlight of the festival will be city of Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly and his famous barbeque. All proceeds from the mayor's barbequed ribs and chicken sale will benefit La Casa de Esperanza's Charter School.

Fiesta Waukesha is free to the public and offers a variety of Hispanic musical entertainment, a historic Mexican artifacts display, amusement rides with wristband specials Saturday and Sunday, a free children's area, 50/50 raffle, community information booths, and Latin American and other cuisines.

Waukesha Police Report: June 11, 2015 issue

June 11, 2015 12:00 p.m. | 1 A man was taken into custody after a caller reported a male kicked her car and yelled racial comments at her in the Pick 'n Save parking lot, 220 E. Sunset Drive, at 8:21 a.m. May 29.

2 An air conditioner unit was damaged after someone shot at it with a BB gun at 2006 Macarthur Road prior to 11:12 a.m. May 29.

3 A caller in an apartment at 120 Cambridge Ave. reported people in the upstairs apartment were talking about how they sell drugs and said a strong odor of marijuana was coming from the stairwell at 8:07 p.m. May 29. Police detected "an incredibly potent smell of marijuana" coming from the unit but said a suspect was deceptive throughout the contact.

4 A caller found the door handle to his apartment broken and the apartment ransacked at 2417 Springdale Road prior to 8:13 p.m. May 29.

5 A caller at the corner of David Court and David Lane thought he or she heard approximately five gun shots in the area at 9:39 p.m. May 29. However, the father of the caller then got on the phone and said the noise might be coming from a band that was playing near the Fox River Parkway. Police determined the noise was coming from a church festival at the intersection of Highway 59 and West St. Paul Avenue.

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Slender Man stabbing suspect Anissa Weier allowed limited Internet access

June 10, 2015 5:03 p.m. | A Waukesha County judge has granted 13-year-old Slender Man stabbing suspect Anissa Weier limited Internet access for educational purposes while her case continues.

Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Michael Bohren made the bail modification during a hearing at the Waukesha County Courthouse on Wednesday, June 10.

The state did not object to the defense's request.

The Washington Street School, where Weier receives schooling, recently reached out to Weier's parents and attorneys about allowing Weier Internet access for educational sites that will be approved by her teachers. Weier's attorneys were told by her teachers in West Bend that she has completed written curriculum.

Washington Street School is part of the Washington County Courthouse/Jail campus in West Bend.

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Internet access OK'd for girl charged in Slender Man stabbing

June 10, 2015 4:38 p.m. | Waukesha — A judge on Wednesday allowed one of the girls charged in the Slender Man stabbing case to once again have access to the Internet.

But Anissa Weier, 13, won't be browsing the web. Her access will be limited to sites for educational programming recommended and approved by her teachers at the West Bend juvenile facility where she has been held for more than a year.

Weier's attorneys filed the motion for bail modification Tuesday, and Circuit Judge Michael Bohren granted them a hearing Wednesday afternoon.

Joseph Smith Jr. explained to Bohren that teachers from the West Bend School District who provide instruction for children at the Washington County Secure Detention Center asked if Weier could be granted Internet access because she has gone through the juvenile school's limited curriculum a couple times.

Assured that Weier's computer and Internet access would be limited and supervised, Bohren granted the request. Previously, Weier had been ordered not to have any access to the Internet

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One aspect of Waukesha County Museum's redevelopment project moves forward

June 10, 2015 9:00 a.m. | The timeline might have to be adjusted slightly.

But Dennis Cerreta, the director of operations at the Waukesha County Museum, isn't discouraged the Landmarks Commission held off on voting on a 41-unit apartment addition at the site of the museum on Wednesday, June 3.

However, the commission in a 4-1 vote moved forward in approving the demolition of a 1938 connector building at the site of the old Waukesha County Courthouse at 101 W. Main St. in downtown Waukesha. The space is needed to make way for the proposed apartments.

The Waukesha County Museum, which owns the former Waukesha County Courthouse, is looking to sell the buildings on site to Historic Prairieville, LP. The developer would allow the museum to remain as a tenant of the courthouse and would restore and renovate the aging building.

The 1885 jail building on site would remain intact as it would be incorporated into the new apartment complex design. The plans also include new underground parking.

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Waukesha will honor Les Paul's 100th birthday with many events this summer

June 09, 2015 5:15 p.m. | Over the last few years, the city of Waukesha has honored Les Paul, the man known as the Wizard of Waukesha, with various tributes.

The tributes will get bigger this year.

To commemorate what would have been Paul's 100th birthday — Paul died in 2009 at the age of 94 — the city and other groups are holding multiple events to honor the famous musician and inventor who was born and is buried in Waukesha.

The first announced event will take place on Tuesday, June 9, Paul's birthday.

Multiple tributes

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Long lines at city's recycling center 'not unusual'

June 09, 2015 5:11 p.m. | Have you experienced a long line as you've waited outside the city’s recycling center?

That was the situation last Saturday as a line could be seen stretching one-third of a mile from the Drop-Off Center, 750 Sentry Drive, around noon.

People were waiting for about a half-hour.

But Dustin Nolan, the recycling and solid waste coordinator in the city's engineering department, said the scene on Saturday was not unusual.

"Every summer we'll have at least one really busy Saturday," Nolan said. "It’s not too unusual. The reality of the situation is that it was just really busy."

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Waukesha, Wales bank robbery suspect gave stolen money to his parents

June 09, 2015 3:00 p.m. | The suspect who robbed two banks in Waukesha County in a span of three days last week told police he was using cocaine at the time of the robbery in Waukesha, used some of the money he stole from a bank in Wales to buy drugs and also gave a large chunk of the stolen cash to his parents.

Thomas M. Clark, 55, who is charged with two felony counts of robbery of a financial institution, made his initial appearance in court on Friday, June 5, after being arrested by the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department and Waukesha Police Department on June 2.

He is being held on a $50,000 cash bond.

His most recent court appearance was scheduled for June 10. He faces a $100,000 fine and up to 40 years in prison for each felony charge.

According to police, Clark robbed Tri City National Bank in Waukesha on Friday, May 29, and robbed Town Bank in Wales on Monday, June 1.

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Friday Night Live returns to downtown Waukesha

June 05, 2015 11:05 a.m. | It isn't offically summer for a couple more weeks, but around here the season's unofficial kickoff starts with Friday Night Live.

The annual weekly summer concert series returns to downtown Waukesha on Friday, June 5, when music will once again fill the streets. The series continues every Friday night through Sept. 25.

Music is played at nine stages from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. A list of the performers (currently through July) is listed on the Friday Night Live website at waukeshafridaynightlive.com.

Stage locations, which include a variety of genres, are outside these businesses:

· Allô! Chocolat and A Stroke of Genius (Christian Music Stage), 234 W. Main St.

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Judge sentences wife of former Waukesha County detective to jail, probation

June 04, 2015 5:20 p.m. | City of Waukesha - About a month and a half after pleading guilty to several misdemeanor offenses, Natasha Korns was sentenced on Thursday, June 4, to jail and probation.

Waukesha County Circuit Court Judge Lloyd Carter handed down the sentence after hearing recommendations from both prosecuting and defense attorneys.

Korns, who is the wife of former Waukesha County Sheriff's detective Peter Korns, was sentenced to three consecutive nine-month jail terms, which Carter stayed in favor of three years probation.

Carter additionally sentenced Korns to 30 days in jail, with work-release privileges, which she will begin serving on Friday, June 5.

In April, Korns pleaded guilty to five misdemeanors — two counts of criminal damage to property, criminal trespass to dwelling, resisting or obstructing an officer and bail jumping — stemming from two 2012 incidents in which Korns allegedly broke into two different houses.

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