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$68,000 concession stand prompts review in Greenfield

Nov. 20, 2012 12:14 p.m. | The Greenfield School District will investigate how the costs got so high for a new concession stand at Greenfield High School.

Doubts expressed by some Greenfield residents, piled on top of doubts of some Greenfield School Board members, about whether the school district paid too much for the concession stand triggered that decision by the board Monday.

The 12-by-12-foot structure cost $68,000. It was built as part of a massive update of the high school that was paid for with $48.5 million in funds approved in referendums in 2007 and 2008.

School Board President Bruce Bailey said people have told him the cost of the concession stand seems excessive.

The board isn't expecting a refund, but if the process of approving spending was flawed, it needs to be fixed, said board member Cathy Walsh.

2 men sentenced in attempted carjackings in Greenfield, Oak Creek

May 25, 2016 5:52 p.m. | A 19-year-old Milwaukee man was sentenced to 13 years in prison for using a stolen car to try to commit another carjacking, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Wednesday.

Judge J.P. Stadtmueller sentenced Devonte Hayes and his accomplice, Norman Howard, 18, for carjackings that occurred last August in Oak Creek and Greenfield. Howard received 7 1/2 years in prison.

The two tried to rob a female driver who had slowed for a red light at S. 76th St. and W. Layton Ave. A red car swerved in front of her and stopped. A man carrying a revolver got out of the car and came to her partially rolled down window and asked for directions before ordering her out of the car, prosecutors said.

"I am going to (expletive) shoot you," the man said, according to the criminal complaint.

The man opened her door but the woman didn't move immediately because she had her seat belt on, and the man shoved her. The woman began honking the car horn to draw attention, which caused the man to run back to the red car and get in the passenger seat.

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Light poles, electric wires down after traffic accident in Greenfield

May 25, 2016 3:02 p.m. | A dump truck with its dump box raised tore down an overhead electrical wire crossing Forest Home Avenue in the 6500 block, knocking down three utility poles about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 25, Milwaukee police said.

Forest Home Avenue is the border between Milwaukee and Greenfield and Greenfield police assisted in the incident. No one was injured and the investigation is ongoing.

Amy Jahns, spokeswoman for We Engergies, said at 3 p.m. that she had no reports of outages but that could change as people come home from work and report not having power, she said.

Electric company crews were still on the scene making the situation safe as of 3 p.m.

Body in parking lot identified as West Milwaukee man, 23

May 24, 2016 3:31 p.m. | The body that was found Tuesday morning in a parking lot in the 4600 block of West Milwaukee has been identified as that of a 23-year-old West Milwaukee man.

His name is being withheld until his family can be notified. Although an autopsy will likely not be performed until Wednesday, authorities have preliminarily ruled out foul play. There are no signs of violence, said West Milwaukee Police Chief Dennis Nasci. A toxicology report may not even be necessary, depending on the autopsy results, he said.

"It could have been some kind of health issue," Nasci said. The body was found in the parking lot of the apartment building where he lived, he said.

Initial Reaction: Talking with star Waukesha soccer players Dani Rhodes, Emily Cervantes

May 24, 2016 12:05 p.m. | JP sits down with top girls soccer players Dani Rhodes of Waukesha West and Emily Cervantes of Catholic Memorial. JP also begrudgingly talks about the decision facing Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes, and the guys talk about Cubs-hate in the Milwaukee market and look at a number of WIAA spring sports storylines. Each week, Lake Country/Now sports director JR Radcliffe and Time Warner Cable Sports Channel's JP Cadorin chat about the Wisconsin sports scene, with an emphasis on Milwaukee-area preps. Find the podcast on Stitcher and iTunes.

Death investigation after body of a man is found in West Milwaukee

May 24, 2016 10:36 a.m. | At 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, investigators were still on the scene in the 4600 block of National Avenue where the body of a man was found.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiners Office was called about 7:35 a.m. to the scene. West Milwaukee police are investigating. Authorities are releasing no more information.

State Fair raises rescinded, converted to one-time bonuses

May 23, 2016 5:22 p.m. | State Fair Park Chairman John Yingling said Monday that he notified 30 employees the state was rescinding their controversial pay raises granted earlier this year by former Chief Executive Officer Rick Frenette without proper authority.

But the employees will be allowed to keep the increased pay they received from the salary increases from Jan. 10 to May 1 — in essence converting the partial pay raises into one-time bonuses.

The move was the latest action taken after Frenette's firing May 11 and the resignation a day later of Human Resources Director Ryan Burns after they bypassed state procedures for granting raises to themselves and other State Fair employees.

Yingling said the board was "disheartened" by the entire episode, especially Frenette's decision to give himself a $5,000 raise on top of his $127,000 annual salary. Unlike in the three previous years, the raise was not submitted to Yingling for his approval.

"A number of them were sickened by it," Yingling said of the board members. "They were completely blindsided by it."

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Ex-Derzon Coins operator ordered to pay estate $1.2 million

May 22, 2016 2:18 p.m. | A judge, saying Lori Laatsch's actions were "nothing short of despicable," has ordered her to pay $1.2 million to the estate for the family that owns Derzon Coins for trying to use the Derzon assets as her "own piggy bank."

The order issued by Milwaukee County Judge David Borowski late Friday is the second financial blow against Laatsch, who in 2012 was stripped of any interest she had in the $3 million estate of Rebecca Derzon, the widow of David Derzon.

David Derzon died in 2007 at age 83 after building West Allis-based Derzon Coins into a business worth at least $1 million. Rebecca Derzon died eight months later after an accidental overdose of alcohol and prescription drugs. She was 59.

In the years since her death, control of the estate has been the subject of a bitter court battle launched by Rebecca's half brother and the two adult sons of David Derzon.

The Derzon estate is now 60% controlled by brothers Mark and Alan Derzon — both attorneys — with the remainder belonging to Paul Johnson, Rebecca Derzon's half brother.

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Video shows Greenfield police technique to end chase

May 21, 2016 11:40 a.m. | Greenfield police have released dramatic footage of officers using a technique to stop a fleeing stolen SUV and causing it to crash.

The chase reached speeds of up to 90 mph and took place shortly before 3 a.m. May 6 when an officer tried to pull over a vehicle stolen from a car dealership, according a Saturday post on the department's Facebook page.

Greenfield police explained the use of the "pursuit intervention technique," which involved an officer's squad car hitting the fleeing vehicle and causing it to crash into a pole near S. 27th St. and W. Lincoln Ave.

The four occupants inside were apparently unhurt and fled on foot, police said. One occupant was on GPS monitoring for a carjacking involving an elderly woman and another was later reported to have been firing a gun out the window of this vehicle while driving in his neighborhood, according to the post.

"In many of these cases, the suspects are stealing cars and using them to engage in violent, felony crimes like robbery, carjacking and setting up rolling drug houses," Greenfield police said in the Facebook post.

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Review: Cream City actors connect in 'Same Time, Next Year'

May 21, 2016 10:15 a.m. | If you've seen the movie "Same Time, Next Year," it's hard to get the wonderful performances of Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn out of your head.

That is, until you see the wonderful performances of Nicholas Haubner and Jennifer Lofy in Cream City Theater's presentation of the Bernard Slade-written show at Inspiration Studios in West Allis. Katherine Beeson directs.

Haubner and Lofy respond faithfully to the demands of this two-person show about infidelity. Yet, this couple that meets every year at the same place for a tryst gives a romantic and charming spin on adultery.

The story features a pair of three-scene acts at some five-year intervals, starting in 1951. That's when George meets Doris at a hotel restaurant. George, an accountant, is staying at the same place at the same time each year to do the books as a favor to a friend. Doris attends a church retreat in the area at that time. The two have instantly bonded at dinner and end up in George's room for the night.

"We had instant rapport," says George. "Didn't you notice?" Says Doris with her deadpan ditziness, "No, but I know we really hit it off."

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$26 million upgrade for Greenfield schools ready to go forward

May 19, 2016 11:15 a.m. | A $26 million plan to upgrade the Greenfield schools, including a major renovation of the middle school and millions in energy-saving projects is poised to go ahead after no opposition was voiced at a recent public hearing.

The bulk of the funding will come from an $18.5 million borrowing, which was the focus of the public hearing. The borrowing will come before the board again when the board goes out for the bonds.

Debt from building Maple Grove and Elm Dale elementary schools will fall off, making the plan more affordable. School officials estimate the plan might add $36 to the property taxes on a $100,000 home for the life of the borrowing. That increase might be less if the school property tax levy goes down next year, as officials think it will.

Nearly half the $26 million in projects would be for energy-saving measures that will give money back. More than $8 million is slated to be spent upgrading the middle school, but improvements will be made at all six schools in the district over the next four years.

Another $5 million will come from money the district holds in reserve for emergencies. That fund is larger than district officials have deemed necessary.

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Oak Creek stuns Whitnall, 12-2, in battle of softball powers

May 19, 2016 12:21 a.m. | Known as a pitcher's game for many years, the batters are starting to catch up in Wisconsin girls' fastpitch softball.

And the 18-6 Southeast Conference leading Oak Creek Knights are embracing that concept with gusto.

They have scored in double digits 12 times this season and did so again on Wednesday in stunning fashion, pounding 16 hits to run-rule fourth-ranked in state D2 polls Whitnall, 12-2, in what was supposed to be an intriguing nonconference southside showdown at Oak Creek East Middle School.

"Everyone is just crushing the ball," said Oak Creek coach Jeff Trask. "We start getting a few hits and it saps the energy  out of the opposing team. Hitting is just contagious on our team. We just need a couple of kids to put it together and off we go."

The player the Knights fed off of today was pitcher Becca Oleniczak. She gave up a two-run homer to her opposing number, Falcons' hurler Alex Cimler, in the top of the first, but then got Oak Creek back into the game with a solo home run of her own in the bottom of the frame.

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Input to be sought on Highway 100 project in West Allis, Greenfield

May 17, 2016 3:15 p.m. | Public input will be sought on state plans to rebuild Highway 100 in West Allis and Greenfield at a public involvement meeting from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 24, at Lane Intermediate School, 1300 S. 109th St., West Allis.

The state Department of Transportation will display preliminary alternatives for discussion. Some of the plans take considerable property alongside the road in West Allis.

The meeting will be an open house format with the DOT project team there to answer questions and hear concerns.

Information on the entire corridor from Greenfield to Silver Spring Drive will be available. Lane Intermediate is wheelchair accessible.

Anyone unable to attend the meeting, or would like more information, may contact Vida Shaffer at (262) 548-6766 or at vida.shaffer@dot.wi.gov. Written comments regarding the project can be mailed to Vida Shaffer, WisDOT, 141 NW Barstow Street, P.O. Box 798, Waukesha, WI 53187.

A 'Green' exhibit to lift environs of Inspiration Studios in West Allis

May 17, 2016 3:05 p.m. | West Allis — Inspiration Studios, 1500 S. 73rd St., is hosting a collaborative "green" exhibit by various West Allis and Milwaukee artists.

"Recycled/Upcycled" adorns the gallery walls now through June 12. An artist reception with six participating artists will take place 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday, May 22. Admission is free and refreshments will be served.

Milwaukee urban assemblage artist, Thom J. Ertl, returns to Inspiration Studios with a series of "Tommy Squares." Each of the assembled pieces draws on everyday materials, turning the mundane into modern folk art. His eye for making fantastic treasures from trash will be evident to the viewer.

West Allis resident Karen Boehme describes herself as a mixed-media artist who assembles materials and scraps, such as metal, paper, wood and glass that she has collected over the years. Boehm explains, "Each one-of-a-kind piece is built with a lot of thought, a bit of humor, and hope that it carries a very personal message of inspiration about the lives we each live."

Milwaukee east side photographer Philo Kassner created a one-of-a-kind sculpture made of spoons, wires, and other discarded metal objects. It is called "Swatty the Fly." Its whimsical nature will bring a smile to any observer.

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Initial Reaction Podcast: A chat with award-winning sportscaster Dennis Krause

May 17, 2016 11:45 a.m. | JR and JP chat with one of JP's colleagues - the highly decorated Dennis Krause of Time Warner Cable Sports Channel - to talk about the Milwaukee sports market, the evolving sports business, the appetite for Packers content and more. Would Dennis give Giannis the max deal, and is the window closing on the Green Bay Packers? In other news, can Wily Peralta be saved and will Nigel Hayes return to Wisconsin? Each week, Lake Country/Now sports director JR Radcliffe and Time Warner Cable Sports Channel's JP Cadorin chat about the Wisconsin sports scene, with an emphasis on Milwaukee-area preps. Find the podcast on Stitcher and iTunes.

Greenfield residents react to scaled-down Edgerton Avenue project

May 17, 2016 7:49 a.m. | There was relief that the Edgerton Avenue road project in Greenfield will not expand the road as much as was feared, but there was still some unhappiness with the plan, especially with getting sidewalks.

Particularly unhappy are those who keep their snowblowers in garages opening onto an alley behind their homes and who don't have paths to the front of their homes where the sidewalk would be.

The Edgerton project, to be from 27th Street to Loomis Road, is slated for construction in 2017. A public information meeting where residents' questions were answered and concerns gathered was held Thursday, May 12, at Elm Dale Elementary School.

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