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Brown Deer School District drafting letter to legislators detailing state budget needs

Nov. 28, 2012 10:34 a.m. | Brown Deer - The Brown Deer School Board on Tuesday decided to draft a letter to send to state legislators detailing the district's needs for the next biennial budget.

Brown Deer has faced massive cuts over the last state budget cycle. As talks of the new biennial budget begin, board member Dennis Griffin said this is an opportune time for the board to voice its opinion. Griffin recently attended lobbying meetings focused on the Department of Public Instruction's Fair Funding proposal, a plan DPI says would fix Wisconsin's funding formula and make it fair and equitable. In light of these lobbying efforts, Griffin brought the discussion of lobbying to the board to see what efforts they could make.

The issue is not whether the board supports the Fair Funding proposal, but rather what the district's main needs are in relation to state aid, Griffin said.

"I'm not saying if we should support the funding formula, I'm saying this is a good time to communicate what we need in Brown Deer," he said.

At the top of the list is more state aid. Business Director Emily Koczela said at the very least, Brown Deer needs to make it clear that it cannot withstand any further cuts in aid.

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MMSD, Milwaukee council pressed to weigh in on Estabrook Dam removal

4:18 p.m. | The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District's commission and Milwaukee Common Council will be asked this month to support removing the dam on the Milwaukee River at Estabrook Park.

Both the MMSD commission's policy committee and the council's judiciary committee on Monday unanimously approved separate advisory resolutions asking Milwaukee County officials to demolish the crumbling 1930s-era dam instead of repairing it.

Removing the dam is the least costly option for taxpayers at an estimated price of $1.7 million, compared with $4.3 million for renovation with 20 years' worth of operating and maintenance cost, MMSD Executive Director Kevin Shafer said. The cost of repair and maintenance jumps to an estimated $5.1 million if state environmental officials require installation of a fish passage.

But the district's primary concern with keeping the dam in place is the risk of flood damage, he said.

Removing the dam would reduce the risk of flood damage to upstream properties even with its gates fully open, according to Shafer. For that reason, removal is consistent with the district's goal of reducing flood risks to buildings within its regional service area, he said.

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Aldi may come to Brown Deer

May 01, 2015 12:53 p.m. | Brown Deer — A new Aldi grocery store is expected to be built on a vacant lot near the former American TV and Appliance building.

When American TV and Appliance closed last year, the Brown Deer Community Development Authority purchased the 10-acre lot at 6700 W. Brown Deer Road for $2.6 million. That lot has been divided into three parcels, including a 2.2 acre lot on the southeast corner that will be sold to Aldi for a new grocery store building. The Village Board will meet in closed session Monday to determine a final sale price.

The former American TV and Appliance building is part of a 6.6 acre lot on the north side of the property that will be purchased by Pak Technologies, a blending, packing and distribution company based in Milwaukee. The final sale price of that property will also be discussed by the Village Board on Monday.

The remaining 1.2 acres of land on the southwestern portion of the property will be used for storm water management.

For Brown Deer, the two new purchase offers from Aldi and Pak Technologies are the culmination of more than a year's worth of work. Nate Piotrowski, the village's director of community development, said he believes the village will be pleased to see not only a new grocery store, but also the purchase of a large vacant building.

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Investigation: Family behind collapsed Falls building has a history of neglecting properties

May 01, 2015 11:34 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — Executives of the companies that own and manage the partially collapsed North Hills Plaza in Menomonee Falls have a long history of legal troubles and neglecting properties, a Menomonee Falls Now investigation has found.

North Hills Plaza is owned by 1340 East 9th Street Realty Corp. in Brooklyn, New York, whose CEO is Samuel Pinter, according to Waukesha County tax records and information from the New York Department of State. His son, Charles Pinter, is the CEO of Royale Property Management, which oversees North Hills Plaza. Together the Pinters and their affiliated companies have left a wake of rundown properties, according to court records and officials in Texas.

In 2013, unlivable conditions rife with cockroaches, toilets overflowing, spoiled food and a pool so filthy the water was black were reported in inspection reports for a Texas retirement community owned by Samuel Pinter.

A 2004 federal court lawsuit over an alleged $44 million Ponzi scheme names Samuel Pinter as a defendant, and Charles Pinter was ultimately brought into the suit, as well.

In addition, news sources have reported other incidents in which properties owned by Charles or Samuel, or both, were found to be dilapidated and unlivable.

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Whitefish Bay schools superintendent resigns to take Arrowhead job

April 30, 2015 3:48 p.m. | Whitefish Bay —Whitefish Bay School District Superintendent Laura Myrah will leave the district at the end of the school year to serve as superintendent of the Arrowhead Union High School District.

Myrah, whose resignation request was approved by the school board Thursday afternoon, has served as superintendent of Whitefish Bay schools for the past two years. She was appointed to that post after serving four years as the district's director of curriculum and instruction.

Myrah said she was not seeking another job outside of Whitefish Bay, but as she said in her resignation letter, "when the Arrowhead Union High School District came calling, it was the only alternate job opportunity I felt I needed to explore." Myrah's new position at Arrowhead begins July 1.

"It has been a very difficult decision to leave Whitefish Bay, where we have wonderful, dedicated employees, engaged families and community members, and impressive students," she said. "I look forward to moving to Arrowhead where there is a focus solely on the high school level, and doing it really well, while also serving in a school district with amazing employees, supportive families and community members, and 2,300 equally terrific students."

Grafton lumberyard may be converted to apartments, commercial space

April 29, 2015 12:08 p.m. | A proposal to develop apartments and commercial space at a former downtown Grafton lumberyard is winning community support, with a likely construction start this fall.

The project, known as Lumberyard 1505, is proposed for 4.7 acres on the west side of Wisconsin Ave., south of Beech St.

Mequon-based Shaffer Development LLC in February disclosed plans for the project, which could eventually have around 130 apartments and 15,000 square feet of commercial space.

Lumberyard 1505 received positive comments from Plan Commission members at a Tuesday night conceptual review, said Darrell Hofland, village administrator.

The commission is to vote on the proposal at its June 23 meeting, with the Village Board to consider the plan in July, he said Wednesday.

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Homestead girls soccer team holds on, 2-1, over Nicolet

April 28, 2015 11:28 p.m. | In a game where at times it took on the look of a MASH unit because so many players were going down and being helped off the field, the Homestead girls soccer team had just enough people and made just enough stops to beat host Nicolet, 2-1 Tuesday night.

"This was a very physical gamne," said Homestead coach Rich Dorn. "...The attrition rate was something. We had to put different bodies out there because we losing some key ones to injury."

Dorn had special praise for freshman keeper Hannah Malicky who got hurt with about seven minutes to go in a collision with a Nicolet player who was going for the ball in the box. A long delay ensued, but Malicky stayed in the game, getting treatment for a leg injury afterward.

"She really gutted it out," said Dorn.

The gritty win improved the Highlanders to 2-0 in North Shore play and 5-1-1 overall while Nicolet fell to 2-1 in league contests and also 5-1-1 overall.

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Estabrook Beer Garden gets an early start

April 28, 2015 7:43 p.m. | Shorewood — The weather was so nice Tuesday afternoon that the operators of the Estabrook Beer Garden decided to get a head start on their unseasonably early grand opening.

The Estabrook Beer Garden was originally planned to open Thursday during a grand opening event called Maifest. Maifest, which runs Thursday, April 30 through Sunday, May 3, marks a grand opening that is two months earlier than previous beer garden seasons. The festival will be open rain or shine with a heated tent.

Maifest will include traditional German dancing, food, live music, and Hofbräu Maibock beer. There's even a stein holding contest with a chance to win a trip for two to NYC if the winning time stands throughout the season. The live music lineup includes the Ferd Buchel Band, The Love Monkeys, Thomas Dietrich, Talisman, Sigmund Snopek, The Polka Kings, Austrian Express, The Squeezettes, and The Milwaukee Blaskapelle.

Glendale tennis courts to be transformed into futsal courts

April 28, 2015 2:15 p.m. | Glendale — Keith Tozer can't help but notice the empty tennis courts in Lincoln Park as he drives down Green Bay Avenue every day.

Tozer, a Glendale resident who coached the Milwaukee Wave for 21 seasons, tends to pay special attention to these types of things, as he is always looking for new ways to grow soccer in Milwaukee. He is most passionate about growing futsal — a soccer variant with five-player teams, hard-surfaced courts and a weightier, low-bounce ball.

So where some people might see deteriorating tennis courts, Tozer saw future futsal courts. He had created a daily log of the inactivity at Lincoln Park, which he presented to the Milwaukee County Parks Department along with his proposal to turn the four tennis courts into two, 70-by-85-foot futsal courts.

Milwaukee County Parks had also noticed the vacancy on the tennis courts, and bought Tozer's vision for new futsal courts. Other cities — such as New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Orlando — have all recently renovated tennis courts for futsal use.

"We're very excited about this partnership we've had with Keith Tozer and his Wisconsin Sports Group to bring futsal to Milwaukee County," Milwaukee County Parks Director John Dargle said. "We're joining just a small number of cities and counties across the country introducing this sport of futsal — taking a space that was unused and reusing it for all to enjoy."

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Aurora gets naming rights to Homestead's strength and conditioning center

April 28, 2015 10:03 a.m. | Mequon — The Homestead High School Strength and Conditioning Center will be named after Aurora Health Care, in recognition of the organization's $50,000 donation to an athletic facilities fundraising campaign.

Aurora has offered to commit $50,000 to the Highlander Strong campaign in exchange for a five-year naming rights agreement for the school's strength and conditioning center. The Mequon-Thiensville School District is working with Aurora to design signage for the existing athletic facility.

Since October, the Highlander Strong fundraising campaign has raised $970,000 for the first phase of its project, which is estimated to cost $1.3 million. The first phase would construct a community pavilion, install artificial turf on the football field and regrade and irrigate the soccer field.

This is the school district's second naming rights agreement for the Highlander Strong campaign. The school board in February decided to name a future athletic pavilion after Sommer's Subaru in recognition of the car dealership's $250,000 contribution to the $500,000 building, which would include restrooms, concessions and two team rooms.

Crave Cafe plans to offer takeout food in former Runaway Meatball building

April 27, 2015 1:28 p.m. | Shorewood — A new takeout restaurant has plans to take over a building previously occupied by Runaway Meatball, which closed last year.

The new restaurant, called Crave Cafe, plans to open on May 1 in the building at 3592 N. Oakland Ave. The restaurant is owned by Unique Foods, which is listed as being located at 3600 N. Oakland Ave., which is where East Garden Chinese restaurant is located.

Crave Cafe plans to offer a variety of burgers and fries, including unique offerings such as a tonkatsu burger, Korean BBQ burger and a soft shell crab BLT sandwich. The 1,450-square-foot space has seating for 12 people, in addition to a minimal amount of patio seating.

Crave Cafe plans to operate from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., according to an application for a conditional use permit. The restaurant owners anticipate most of the business will be takeout orders.

River Hills wants sex offender removed from village facility

April 27, 2015 11:23 a.m. | River Hills officials want a say in the fate of a sex offender they say has been living in the village illegally.

A court hearing on that request Monday marked the latest dust-up between municipal authorities, state agencies and judges over the increasingly difficult task of finding places where sex offenders can serve supervised release.

Earlier this month, another Milwaukee County judge said the county's patchwork collection of local residency restrictions amounts to a virtual ban on sex offenders, which frustrates the intent of a state law that allows indefinite civil commitment for the worst sex offenders but requires they have a chance to return to their communities after treatment.

River Hills has such an ordinance, adopted last fall, that prohibits sex offenders from residing within 2,000 feet of schools, day cares, parks, nature preserves, libraries or places where golf, tennis or swimming facilities are used by children.

Lawyers for the village want to be heard in the case of Edward Fink. Fink was found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect in the 2003 sexual assault of a 67-year-old woman in Oak Creek. He was ordered to treatment at a state mental hospital.

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Dance group to perform at Whitefish Bay library

April 24, 2015 12:38 p.m. | On Wednesday, April 29, in the Whitefish Bay Public Library Room, the Whitefish Bay Public

Library story time and the Ceci Broussard Dancers will unite for a dance book story time and a dance performance.

Dance story books will be read by the library's children's librarian at 6:30 p.m.

From 6:45 to 7:15 p.m., the Ceci Broussard Dancers will perform ballet, tap and jazz numbers in honor of National Dance Week.

Broussard is the Wisconsin State Representative for the National Dance Week Foundation.

Mequon police searching for bank robbery suspect

April 23, 2015 3:43 p.m. | Mequon — Mequon police are searching for a man who allegedly robbed a US Bank location at 11111 N. Port Washington Road late in the morning Thursday, April 23.

The Mequon Police Department responded to a report at 11:23 a.m. of a robbery in progress at the bank, which is near the intersection of Port Washington Road and Mequon Road. The suspect, who was wearing sunglasses, a dark colored hooded sweatshirt and jacket, approached a teller and demanded money. He then fled the bank on foot and got into a black pickup truck parked waiting in a nearby parking lot.

No bank employees or customers were injured during the incident.

The robbery is being investigated by the Mequon Police Department. Mequon police, along with US Bank, are offering a cash reward for information that leads to the identification of the actors involved in this robbery.

Please contact the Mequon Police Department at (262) 242-3500 and ask to speak with a detective or shift supervisor to provide information.

Shorewood School Board asks legislators to increase school funding

April 21, 2015 10:30 p.m. | Shorewood — The Shorewood School Board is asking state legislators to commit to a $250 increase in per-pupil funding in the state budget in each of the next two years.

Gov. Scott Walker's proposed budget would cut $150 in per-pupil categorical aid next year, but would restore that funding in the second year of the biennium budget. In its letter to legislators, the school board said a $250 increase in per-pupil funding would support the needs of its students, including local efforts to advance STEAM initiatives and Expeditionary Learning practices. Additionally, the board said the district needs more funding to address higher poverty levels and an increase in the number of students needing special education services.

"This will support Wisconsin's public schools: the open-armed, broad-shouldered institutions throughout this state with the unique privilege of serving all of the children that come through their doors," the board wrote in its letter. "Please listen to us and the legions of professionals across the state who are making similar claims. Attacking public education does not serve the long-term interests of the state."

The school board went on to say it has reduced costs where possible by making school buildings more energy-efficient, reducing health insurance benefits for active employees and retirees and reducing the benefits employees receive upon retirement.

"We have excellent people across our district committing heart and soul to the success of all of our students," the board said. "We cannot continue to ask them to settle for less pay, longer hours, or fewer or further-reduced benefits.

Shorewood hires Burlington police chief to lead department

April 21, 2015 3:53 p.m. | Shorewood — Burlington Police Chief Peter Nimmer has been hired as Shorewood's new police chief.

Nimmer will become the ninth police chief in the history of the Shorewood Police Department, replacing David Banaszynski, who has served as chief for 10 years and has been with the department for 33 years. Nimmer will start work in Shorewood on May 18, and will be sworn in at the village board meeting that night.

Nimmer has nearly two decades of law enforcement experience, including five years as Burlington's police chief and 12 years of supervisory experience at the Brown Deer Police Department. He earned his bachelor's degree and master's degree in criminal justice from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He has also served in the Marine Corps and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

Nimmer has served on the executive board of the Wisconsin Police Accreditation Coalition for seven years and worked for three years as a lead assessor for the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Accreditation Group. Nimmer has also been on the board of directors for the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association for the past two years and is the 3rd Vice President.

Nimmer was hired by the Shorewood Police Commission on Monday, April 20, after a thorough interview process, as well as 'meet and greets' with the village board, village manager and staff, as well as a representative from the police union.

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