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Whitnall warming house open; county sledding hills ready for action

Feb. 24, 2012 12:36 p.m. | The Whitnall Park warming house and sledding area are open until 8 p.m. today. Cross-country ski trails will be open, and ski rentals will be available in the concessions area of the warming house. Normal weekend hours for the warming house will be in effect this weekend with Saturday hours from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Other winter activities to take advantage of are downhill skiing at Crystal Ridge Ski Resort, starting tonight from 5 to 10 p.m. Door County Sled dogs, providing authentic rides will also be open for normal weekend hours starting Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. For information, call the Door County Sled Dog hotline at (414) 967-9677.

All Milwaukee County Parks sledding hills will be in full operation today.

Lighted sledding hills for day or night-time fun (lights will be on tonight):

Currie Park, 3535 N. Mayfair Road, lit until 9 p.m.

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Greenfield to hold public hearing June 16 on proposed Goodwill store

May 19, 2015 1:03 p.m. | Despite the Greenfield Plan Commission recommending against a request by Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin to open a store at 4940 S. 76th St., a public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 16.

The commission recommended that the Greenfield Common Council hold the hearing at the Greenfield City Hall, 7325 W. Forest Home Ave., even though the majority didn't favor the plan.

The commission's main objection was that the Goodwill store would be in the city's main commercial corridor. Goodwill advocates say that it will pay as much in property taxes through its rent than any other retailer and will draw customers to other businesses.

Let us know about your Memorial Day event

May 13, 2015 1:29 p.m. | Are you or your organization planning an event commemorating Memorial Day? Send information to us at news@jrn.com so we can include it in a roundup of events. Deadline to submit information is 5 p.m. Monday, May 18.

Initial Reaction Podcast: Massive overhaul of area conferences could be afoot

May 13, 2015 10:55 a.m. | A large-scale reorganization of area conferences could be on the way, plus a look back at new directions for the Milwaukee Brewers and Milwaukee Bucks.

West Allis veterans groups, city to honor vets with parade, ceremony

May 12, 2015 4:03 p.m. | West Allis — With police and fire trucks in the lead, West Allis will kick off its Memorial Day observance with a parade to be followed by a ceremony in Veterans Park.

The American Legion Riders with big American flags mounted on their dozen or so motorcycles flowing behind will again rumble down the West Allis parade route.

Probably the most touching moment of the parade every year is when the two trolleys carrying veterans passes by. Parade-goers invariably rise to their feet and applaud as the veterans from World War II, the Korean War and other of the nation's conflicts pass. Alderman Dan Roadt provides the trolleys and arranges for the veterans to be able to ride.

"It always gives me goosebumps to hear Alderman Roadt say how people stand and clap," said Brenda Schmid, parade coordinator, who hardly ever gets to see the parade she works so hard on.

Military vehicles

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Winter's not through with us yet

May 12, 2015 6:58 a.m. | The old rule of thumb about not planting before Memorial Day may be proven tonight, as the National Weather Service has issued a frost advisory from midnight tonight to 7 a.m. Wednesday. Temperatures could drop into the low 30s. If you have plants outside, you may want to consider covering them or moving them inside.

Economy extended stay hotel proposed for Greenfield's Layton Avenue

May 11, 2015 8:23 p.m. | Greenfield —A proposed economy extended stay hotel received mixed reactions at Tuesday's Greenfield Plan Commission meeting and came in with a split recommendation from city planners.

In a conceptual review of the project, two commissioners favored it, four were against and one appeared to be on the fence. The conceptual review was of a proposed 124-unit WoodSpring Suites hotel at 4040 W. Layton Ave.

No action was was taken and Scott Bixler, senior vice president of development for WoodSprings, said the group would try to come back with a plan that the commission would like better, perhaps by moving the building back from the street and providing more of a landscape buffer for neighboring homes, he said.

The proposed hotel would take the place of a branch of Lakeland College in the development of 6.5 acres on Layton Avenue, said Ted Larsen, co-owner of the Church and Chapel funeral home. Church and Chapel owns the site and is working on developing it. The college decided to establish a branch elsewhere.

Plan changed

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Wauwatosa woman reportedly thwarted in attempt to rob dog grooming shop

May 10, 2015 2:43 p.m. | A 49-year-old Wauwatosa woman with a revolver tried to rob a West Allis dog-grooming shop Friday afternoon but was subdued by three men, including an elderly man with a cane, according to a story by WITI-TV.

Doris Wittenburg, owner of Going to the Dogs, told the station that an elderly customer used his cane to stop the woman as the woman tried to flee with money from the cash register.

The woman struck the man in the face, but two other men nearby subdued the woman and Wittenburg grabbed the gun, Wittenburg said.

A West Allis police spokesman could not be reached Sunday.

Greenfield to review CBRF proposed for tree-lined street of homes

May 08, 2015 2:53 p.m. | Greenfield — The developer of a 60-unit community-based residential facility for the elderly that was approved five years ago for a house-lined portion of Cold Spring Road in here is asking for fresh city approvals.

"While the intent now clearly is consistent with what had been approved in 2010, still five years have gone by," Charles Erickson, director of economic development and planning, wrote to the plan commission, that was to consider the revised plan on Tuesday.

At this time, the plan doesn't have the additional 90 units for senior living that were originally approved in 2010. With the independent living and the assisted living, the total number of units approved in 2010 was 150 (the meeting was after the NOW deadline, so see Greenfieldnow.com for meeting results).

Developer Richard Coury is asking the review for the first of two 30-unit residential facilities for the elderly that would be built in phases.

The proposal meets city codes and the zoning for a planned unit development such as this was approved in 2010. The original zoning was for single-family homes.

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West Allis Goodwill to move across Oklahoma Avenue to bigger quarters

May 06, 2015 4:58 p.m. | Goodwill received final approval on Tuesday for its West Allis store to move across the street to bigger quarters with much more parking and a more convenient drop-off arrangement.

The West Allis Common Council approved Goodwill plans to move into the former Big Lots store at 10909 W. Oklahoma Ave.

Even though the new location will be just across the street from the current store, the move will be worth it.

"It's a wonderful location. Customers and donors in that area are truly remarkable," said Cheryl Lightholder, communications manager.

And those customers and donors will find the new store much more convenient, she said.

West Allis to lump new thrift stores together; did it go far enough?

May 06, 2015 3:03 p.m. | West Allis — On an unusual six to four vote, the West Allis Common Council has approved restricting where new second-hand shops can do business in the city.

Even so, some aldermen said the new ordinance doesn't go far enough, and they wanted more work done on it. The city has more than enough second-hand shops, especially in some areas, they said.

Currently, second-hand stores, except for pawn and second-hand jewelry shops, can locate in any commercial and some manufacturing areas in the city except for downtown.

The new ordinance restricts thrift stores to the southern portions of Highway 100 and areas near it. Those areas are zoned C-4 regional commercial.

Thrift vs resale

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West Allis officer buys car seat for girl after traffic stop

May 05, 2015 8:03 a.m. | A West Allis police officer bought a car seat for a young girl Saturday after pulling over her father, who was driving with a suspended license.

The officer reportedly wants to remain anonymous, but his kind act is winning him praise on social media.

Police said the officer discovered the vehicle's owner had several arrest warrants, and "took him into custody without incident," a post on the West Allis Police Department Facebook page reads.

"The officer then used his own money to purchase a child booster seat at a nearby business so the child could be transported home safely and be safe in future travels," police said on Facebook. "Top notch job!"

WISN-TV reported that the officer pulled over the man near 68th St. and Greenfield Ave. on Saturday and noticed his 6-year-old daughter was in the back seat without a car seat.

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To be or not to be on a leash, that is the question concerning dogs in West Allis parks

May 04, 2015 8:18 p.m. | West Allis —The theft of a "no dogs allowed" sign at one park might result in dogs having to be on leashes at all West Allis city parks.

When the city went to make another "no dogs allowed" sign for the missing sign at Klentz Park, 2600 S. Van Dyke Place, it found no ordinance on the books banning dogs there. Upon further checking, it found that dogs are not allowed in Rogers Park, but that park doesn't have a "no dogs allowed" sign.

City policy should be the same for all the parks, said Alderman Tom Lajsic, chairman of the safety and development committee. Instead of banning dogs from parks, he is suggesting following the lead of Milwaukee County that doesn't allow dogs off leash in its parks. They are welcome at all parks, but they can't run free.

Lasjic also said that dogs should be kept away from picnic areas, children's play areas and athletic fields.

"You don't want dog droppings in those areas," he said.

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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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Greenfield Plan Commission cool to apartments amid homes, two-families

April 28, 2015 10:43 a.m. | Greenfield — A plan to build a five-unit apartment building on land along Beloit Road zoned for single-family got a cool reception from the Greenfield Plan Commission.

Developer Michael Heitzer said he proposed the apartments because Beloit Road is too busy at 114th Street for a single-family home.

But the plan commission was not supportive, pointing out that the site is surrounded by single-family homes and by ranch-style two-family condominiums.

Taylor Marquardt who lives in one of those condos spoke against the apartment plan.

"Multi-family changes the whole landscape," he said. "The plan was to have a higher end nicely planned community."

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Greenfield Common Council hears concerns at Chapman proposal hearing

April 27, 2015 6:13 p.m. | Greenfield — Motorcycle noise and increased traffic were the main concerns expressed at a public hearing for a huge development proposal in Greenfield.

The development envisions stores, offices, apartments or condos, restaurants and a hotel on the site of the former Chapman School and the neighborhood next to it. The site is bounded by Layton Avenue and Interstate-894 and South 84th and 92nd streets.

The 42-acre area has several aspects that attract developers.

A high traffic count from the Interstate-894 interchange at south 84th Street and traffic counts on Layton Avenue are development magnets. Others are two large tracts of available space now occupied by the former Chapman School, which the Greenfield School District has up for sale and a farm field. About 35 homes enclose those two large tracts on three sides. Interstate-894 is on the north side.

Fourth plan

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