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Superintendent will be paid up to $80,000 to leave Greenfield district

Jan. 08, 2013 3:04 p.m. | Greenfield - Conrad Farner, Greenfield School District's superintendent for more than five years, will leave to become human resources director with the Cedarburg School District, with Greenfield paying him up to $80,000 in a separation agreement.

Farner's contract isn't up until the end of the 2013-14 school year, but the Greenfield School Board on Monday approved the separation agreement, following a closed session.

Under the agreement, the district will pay $40,000 into a tax-sheltered annuity account this year, $25,000 to the account in January 2014 and $15,000 to it in January 2015. If Farner gets another superintendent's position for at least $140,000 before that, the payments will stop, under the terms of the agreement.

Payout debate

Casting the only vote against it was School Board President Bruce Bailey, who said, "There's no need for extra money to leave the district." Farner's salary of $143,386 is sufficient, he added.

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Updated rankings of area prep boys and girls basketball teams and players

Update: West Allis Central High School students respond calmly during bomb-threat evacuation

Feb. 04, 2016 1:38 p.m. | Paris Watts, a West Allis Central High School junior, was sitting in his French class when he heard an announcement that teachers should check their emails.

In a few moments, his French teacher told the class to pick up their things.

"I was a little nervous, I didn't know what was going on," Watts said.

The class filed into the hallway where other classes were doing the same. Despite the crowded hallway, the students were quiet and on edge. They walked out the school's rear door and a block north to Mt. Hope Lutheran Church where they were to wait for their parents to pick them up.

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West Allis schools to start trek back to neighborhood schools in fall

Feb. 03, 2016 8:04 a.m. | In a school district where one out of five students attends a school outside his or her neighborhood, the era of choice will be gone as of this fall in the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District.

In order to re-establish the neighborhood school concept and to make enrollments more equal in the schools, especially between the district's two high schools, the school board on Monday voted to curtail student transfers.

That doesn't mean a wholesale reshuffling of students this fall.

Transfer students can stay in their transfer schools until they are ready to go on either to intermediate school or to high school. At those points, they have to go back to their neighborhood or home school, unless they have an older brother or sister at a different intermediate or high school. Then they too can go to that school.

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Data skimmers found on several ATMs in West Allis, police warn

Feb. 02, 2016 3:59 p.m. | Several ATM skimming devices that enable thieves to steal information from ATM cards and make withdrawals and purchases have been found on ATMs in West Allis recently, according to police.

The skimming devices come in various shapes, colors, and sizes, so police are warning those using ATMs to look for any devices attached to the ATMs or to beware of anything that looks or seems unusual. Police advise not using the suspicious ATM and calling police.

West Allis schools to leave SAGE, open more seats for nonresidents

Feb. 02, 2016 9:31 a.m. | In an effort to both economize and attract more state money into the West Allis-West Milwaukee schools, the district moved to larger class sizes for the youngest children and opened up more seats for nonresident students to attend district schools through the state Open Enrollment program.

Class sizes for children through third grade have been held at 18 because the district has participated in the popular SAGE (Student Achievement Guarantee in Education) program. Under the new Achievement Gap Reduction initiative, class sizes are visualized at 21 but they could go up to 24.

Moving from SAGE to AGR would mean the district could cut 25 teachers by attrition, said Superintendent Marty Lexmond. Usually, 40 to 60 teachers leave due to retirement or resignation, he told the school board Monday.

He said frankly that saving money by not replacing teachers is the primary motivation for proposing to move out of SAGE.

"We can't afford it," he said. "We have to reduce the number of sections we're running."

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Positive and uplifting stories in suburban Milwaukee and Lake Country in January

Feb. 01, 2016 10:52 a.m. | Sometimes you're just looking for a little positivity.

And we hope to deliver that to you with a roundup of positive and uplifting stories from suburban Milwaukee and the Lake Country area. The following stories were published in the past month, and they feature stories that could warm your heart.


Nashotah teen spent 18 months in Los Angeles pursuing her dreams as an actress and singer

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Milwaukee Co. launches coyote tracking program in Tosa, West Allis

Jan. 28, 2016 1:09 p.m. | Milwaukee County Parks announced Thursday that beginning in early February and lasting through March, it will trap and ear-tag coyotes that use county parkland in Wauwatosa and West Allis.

Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Forest and Wildlife Ecology's Urban Canid Project will set live traps, place ear tags on trapped coyotes and release them for monitoring, according to a news release.

Over the last year, Wauwatosa has seen its fair share of coyote-related problems; two pet dogs were killed by the wild animals last fall, causing neighbors to resort to walking in large groups and keeping a watchful eye on small children.

Wauwatosa officials and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources later held a public meeting at Underwood Elementary School on how to scare away coyotes and their behavioral tendencies. The public meeting packed the school's gymnasium, but many attendees expressed their dissatisfaction with the lack of a "plan of action."

"During this phase of coyote management, we want to remind the public to follow ordinances by keeping their pets leashed and on the designated trails," said Julia Robson, Assistant Natural Areas Coordinator for Milwaukee County Parks in a statement. "We also want to be clear that tampering or interfering with the trapping is illegal, as is trapping by individuals who are not authorized by the Parks Department."

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Greenfield park on list of parks not protected from unilateral sale

Jan. 27, 2016 12:20 p.m. | Greenfield Mayor Michael Neitzke said that a small park that is on a list of 43 Milwaukee County parks that Milwaukee County Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb, Sr. is seeking to protect is no longer in Greenfield.

It is Armour Park, 6105 W. Norwich Ave. It and others on the list could be sold or leased unilaterally by the Milwaukee County executive.

Neitzke said that while Armour Park was in Greenfield many years ago, the city ceded nearly all of it to the city of Milwaukee to help facilitate settlement of a discrimination lawsuit filed by the federal Department of Justice against Milwaukee. The lawsuit involved a proposed Native American senior citizen housing project. That senior housing has been standing on a large portion of the former Armour Park for about 15 years, he said.

While the only part of Armour Park remaining in the city of Greenfield is about the size of a living room, the Milwaukee County Parks website shows 14.6 acres of Armour Park still remaining after the senior housing was built. It also shows a tot lot.

Neitzke observed, "It strikes me as a bit odd that there is worry about developing things in parks, when the example of Armour Park already has something developed in it and has for about 15 years."

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More city spending pitched for West Allis development area

Jan. 27, 2016 7:00 a.m. |

A West Allis development area near State Fair Park would receive $2.3 million in additional city spending under a new proposal.
Ogden & Co. in November disclosed plans to develop the Element 84 apartment community, with four buildings totaling around 200 units, on about 5 acres east of S. 84th St. and south of W. Greenfield Ave. The city Department of Development proposed $5 million in city financing help for the $34 million project.
That financing plan, which needs Common Council approval, would allow Ogden to receive those funds through annual property tax rebates over an estimated 15 years. Once Ogden receives $5 million, the new property taxes would go to the city, its school district and other local governments.
Now, around $7.3 million in city funds is being proposed for the development area.
The additional proposed spending is $600,000 in stormwater improvements connected to the new Hampton Inn & Suites, 8201 W. Greenfield Ave.; $541,475 in capitalized interest charges; $500,000 for housing renovations near the development site; a $350,457 loan to the Hampton Inn's developers; $150,000 for soil cleanup work at the city's Six Points development site, near the West Allis Farmers Market, and $150,000 for city administrative charges.
The Plan Commission is to review the financing proposal at its Wednesday night meeting.
Ogden would develop four apartment buildings with four to five stories, including one near the 1500 block of S. 84th St. that would include street-level retail in place of strip retail center that would be razed.
The others would be on or near the 1500 block of S. 83rd St. and the 8200 block of W. Orchard St. Ogden would build at least 216 apartments, and possibly up to 230 units, in two separate phases.
Element 84 would have a parking structure, as well as a courtyard, patio, outdoor swimming pool and community room. The apartments would include balconies, stainless steel appliances and other high-end features.
Monthly rents would range from around $750 to $1,300. 

Greenfield resident robbed on his doorstep

Jan. 26, 2016 2:34 p.m. | Police are seeking a man who robbed a Greenfield resident while the victim was entering his home on Jan. 20.

The victim was at a gun shop/shooting range and had just returned to his residence in the 6500 block of West Holmes Avenue at about 1:55 p.m. when the incident occurred, according to police.

He was carrying a bag containing ammunition and two handguns—one handgun that he had just purchased at the gun shop—and had placed the bag on his stoop to unlock his door when the suspect came up behind him, pushed him down and stole the bag.

The suspect, described only as a black male, fled in a maroon colored Chevy TrailBlazer with a loud muffler/exhaust. The suspect's vehicle was last seen headed south on 65th Street toward Edgerton Avenue.

Police are investigating the possibility that the suspect was seen at the gun shop before the robbery occurred.

Some school transfer relief suggested for West Allis School District

Jan. 26, 2016 8:38 a.m. | Two potential alternatives that might help parents adjust their families to having their children attend two different schools came out of Monday's West Allis-West Milwaukee School Board meeting.

By virtually eliminating school transfers in a district where until now one out of every five students in kindergarten through eighth grade doesn't attend his or her neighborhood school, the school board hopes to re-establish the neighborhood school concept.

The down side of the transfer ban is that while elementary students can stay at their transfer schools, younger siblings would have to go to the neighborhood schools. Parents have strongly objected that younger children should be able to follow their older siblings through school.

To potentially ease the transition, Superintendent Marty Lexmond suggested a limited policy of allowing younger children to go to the same non-neighborhood school as their older brothers or sisters. However, the younger child would have to be no more than two years behind the older sibling.

"After two years, the window would be shut," Lexmond said.

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Ex-cop pleads guilty to choking woman in sex encounter, hiding body in suitcase

Jan. 25, 2016 1:51 p.m. | Kenosha — Former West Allis police officer Steven Zelich pleaded guilty Monday to killing an Oregon woman during a dangerous sexual encounter in 2012 and ditching her body in a suitcase along a highway in Walworth County more than a year later.

Zelich, 54, also is charged with killing a Minnesota woman in that state, in similar fashion, in 2013.

Her body was found in a second suitcase along with the Oregon victim. Jury selection in the Kenosha case had been scheduled to begin Monday.

As part of an offer that had been extended early in the case, Zelich agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of first-degree reckless homicide with use of a dangerous weapon (a rope used to choke the victim for erotic purposes), and prosecutors agreed to dismiss the original charge of first-degree intentional homicide, which carries a mandatory life sentence upon conviction.

At his sentencing March 30, Zelich will now face a maximum prison sentence of 45 years, plus up to five more years for hiding a corpse, to which he also pleaded guilty Monday before Kenosha County Circuit Judge Bruce Schroeder.

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St. John the Evangelist School to host two open house events

Jan. 22, 2016 10:00 a.m. | Greenfield — St. John the Evangelist, Greenfield's only Catholic school, will host two open house events later this month.

The open houses will be held 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30, and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 31, at the school, 8500 W. Coldspring Road.

Students, alumni and staff members will be on-site to answer questions and provide more information about the K4 to eighth-grade school.

Refreshments will be served.

Call (414) 321-8540 or visit www.sje.k12.wi.us for more information

Crawdaddy's plans to open on Fat Tuesday in West Allis

Jan. 21, 2016 2:13 p.m. | Fittingly, it looks like the popular Cajun restaurant Crawdaddy's could reappear in time for Mardi Gras. The owners plan to reopen it on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 9, at its new location, 9427 W. Greenfield Ave. in West Allis.

The date for the grand opening was announced on Facebook. The restaurant is expected to open at 11 a.m. that day; it won't take reservations.

As of Jan. 21, however, the restaurant still had to complete final city inspections before it can open.

Co-owner Jonathan Klug said in the fall that he would reopen his restaurant, initially projecting it would debut in late 2015. Klug said in December that extensive remodeling of the former Big Dogs Sports Grill was taking longer than expected.

Crawdaddy's closed in 2013 at 6414 W. Greenfield Ave., where it had been for 18 years. 

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