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Candidates for West Allis police chief down to two

Jan. 22, 2013 9:58 a.m. | Two candidates are still in the running to succeed Michael Jungbluth as West Allis police chief.

They are Interim Chief Charles Padgett who previously had been a deputy chief in charge of operations and Rick Balistrieri, who retired as a deputy chief in the West Allis department more than a year ago, said Joseph Kempen, chairman of the West Allis Police and Fire Commission.

The commission will start interviewing the candidates later this month and will probably choose one in early February, he said.

"Both are outstanding candidates," Kempen said.

The city received eight applications for police chief, he said. Jungbluth's last day was in mid-November.

Man sought in Muskego arson fire

May 05, 2016 6:20 p.m. | An arrest warrant has been issued for a Greenfield man who allegedly set a fire that destroyed the Muskego home of his estranged wife, police said Thursday.

James F. Barbian, 41, is charged with arson, burglary and two counts of mistreatment of animals causing death, all felonies, according to Muskego police and state court records.

Firefighters who responded to the woman's home at S82 W13115 Acker Drive shortly after 11:30 a.m., Monday found the single-family residence fully engulfed in flames, according to a post on the Muskego Police Department Facebook page.

The likely cause of the fire is arson, according to police, who believe Barbian is traveling in a maroon, 2005 Chevrolet Equinox with Wisconsin license plates 480-MUG.

Cinema going down, shopping strip, more Greenfield Highlands may go up

May 05, 2016 5:38 p.m. | Demolition is slated to start next week on the former Budget South Cinemas, 4475 S. 108th St., Greenfield, to make room for a retail shopping area.

Plans must still be approved by the city. The theater has been closed since November.

Meanwhile, property owner Ener-Con Companies of Greenfield, will ask the Greenfield Plan Commission for a favoarable recommendation to change the 30-unit Greenfield Highlands condominiums on the hill above the former theater to apartments. Ener-Con also will ask the plan commission to approve construction of five more 30-unit apartment buildings, all on a hill above the former theater. The plan commission will consider the requests Tuesday, May 10.

Complaint: Paranoid behavior preceded random freeway shooting

May 04, 2016 6:14 p.m. | A 20-year-old West Allis man was acting extremely paranoid before randomly opening fire on a family traveling home from Wisconsin Dells last weekend, killing a woman inside the vehicle, authorities say.

Zachary T. Hays was driving an SUV when he rolled down his window and fired three shots at a passing car — hitting Tracy Czaczkowski in the neck while her husband drove and her two children were in the back seat, according to a criminal complaint charging him with homicide.

His brother, Jeremy Hays, described Zachary as acting paranoid ever since he smoked marijuana four days earlier, the criminal complaint says.

Jeremy told police that he and another brother were in the SUV because Zachary, armed with a gun, had threatened to kill them if they left, according to the complaint.

Hours before the freeway shooting, Zachary Hays was identified as a suspect in the fatal shooting of his downstairs neighbor, 42-year-old Gabriel Sanchez, at their West Allis apartment building. Few details have been released about that homicide. West Allis police say they have been in contact with Milwaukee County prosecutors, but charges have not yet been filed.

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Mother dies in drive-by shooting, suspect in West Allis killing eyed

May 03, 2016 2:45 p.m. | UPDATE: Charges have since been filed against the man - identified as Zachary T. Hays - accused of killing a woman after firing shots from an SUV into another vehicle on an interstate in Sauk County.

The 44-year-old mother critically wounded in a drive-by shooting on I-94 connected to an earlier fatal shooting in West Allis has died, Dane County officials have reported. 

The shooter connected to both killings was identified as Zachary T. Hays, 20, of West Allis, according to the Dane County Sheriff’s Office. 

The dead woman was identified as Tracy Czaczkowski. She was was traveling south on Interstate 90/94 with her husband and children from the Wisconsin Dells to their Illinois home. The shooting happened Sunday afternoon as the car went from Columbia into Dane County.

The BMW in which Czaczkowski was riding was struck three times by bullets and another car, a Nissan driven by a Florida woman, was hit once, said Elise Schaffer, the Dane County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman. The shots were fired from an SUV driven by Hays, Dane County authorities said. 

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West Allis school officials contemplate opening a medical clinic for its employees to save money

May 03, 2016 8:40 a.m. | West Allis — Offering free prescriptions and routine medical lab tests doesn't sound as if its much of a money-saver, but West Allis-West Milwaukee School District officials say they could save $250,000 annually if the district sets up its own health clinic with a pharmacy.

The school board could vote as early as Monday, May 9, on a contract for HeathStat Inc. to operate the clinic envisioned to offer free routine prescription medicine, doctor visits and lab tests. It also would offer such services as diabetes and high blood pressure management, said Andrew Chromy, director of business services.

By bringing routine medical services in-house, the district would not have to pay regular fees for doctor visits and drugs, he said.

"Right now, we pay cost for the items," he said. Drugs are much less expensive wholesale, he said, adding that saving $250,000 is a very low estimate.

Waukesha doing it

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Initial Reaction Podcast: Schobert, Watt, Packers and social media foibles of NFL Draft

May 02, 2016 9:30 p.m. | JP and JR take a look at two local products headed to the NFL, Joe Schobert of Waukesha West and Derek Watt of Pewaukee, who were both taken in the 2016 NFL Draft. Brewers director of new media Caitlin Moyer also stops by to talk about the role social media plays in promoting the team brand. Yes, we talk about Hank the Dog. 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 prep athletics.

Illinois family returning from Dells randomly targeted in freeway shooting

May 02, 2016 9:13 p.m. | An Illinois family heading home after spending the weekend visiting Wisconsin Dells was caught up in the string of shootings Sunday that ended when a 20-year-old West Allis man accused of killing his neighbor was shot by deputies in Dane County.

The West Allis man was wanted in the fatal shooting of his downstairs neighbor, 42-year-old Gabriel Sanchez, Sunday morning, according to the Dane County Sheriff's Office. Somehow the West Allis man ended up on Interstate90/94 near Wisconsin Dells, shot a woman in what authorities believe was a random act, and then continued for several miles speeding on the highway until he was shot by deputies.

A 43-year-old Illinois man, his 44-year-old wife and their two minor children were traveling home when they passed the 1998 Chevy S10 Blazer driven by the 20-year-old West Allis man. As they passed, the West Allis man rolled down his window and fired three shots into the family's vehicle, officials said.

The first round lodged in the passenger side door, the second shot struck the neck of the wife as her horrified family watched. The third round struck the vehicle's hood.

"All of our thoughts and prayers are with this family who are traveling back to their home state after enjoying our beautiful surroundings here in Wisconsin," Dane County Sheriff David J. Mahoney said. "As this victim struggles and that family struggles, our thoughts and prayers are with them."

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West Allis woman wins $50,000 in Powerball

April 28, 2016 2:43 p.m. | Sandra Reinke-Bonsack of West Allis won $50,000 by matching four numbers plus the Powerball on Wednesday, April 20. The winning numbers from the drawing were 12, 25, 30, 52 and 62 with a Powerball of 8. The Power Play number was 3. Reinke-Bonsack purchased her ticket at Pick 'n Save at 6760 W. National Ave., West Allis.

West Allis contemplating $80 million referendum to build a new Central High School

April 26, 2016 5:05 p.m. | West Allis — An estimated $80 million referendum to build a new West Allis Central High School and possibly do other school improvements may be in the not-too-distant future for West Allis-West Milwaukee School District voters.

It's hard to keep up with repairs at Central, which is not as conducive to today's learning styles as a new school, Andrew Chromy, director of business services, said Tuesday.

But first, a lot of things have to happen. The main one is getting back to a balanced budget after missteps by the previous administration in 2013-14 and 2014-15 left the school budget $14 million in the red.

Another is to replenish the district's reserves that will be $6 million in the hole by the end of this school year, also the result of the missteps.

Officials have laid out plans to accomplish both, although school board approvals will be needed and some of the cuts will be painful.

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Jack Miller resigns as Greenfield High School boys basketball coach

April 26, 2016 3:50 p.m. | Jack Miller resigned from his position as the head boys basketball coach at Greenfield High School, which he had held for the past five seasons.

Miller will remain as the head softball coach and a social studies teacher at Greenfield.

He passed the 400-victory mark for his softball coaching career last season, and the Hustlin' Hawks were 9-2 coming into this week.

"I have greatly enjoyed being the head coach (of basketball) at Greenfield and truly loved working with such fine student-athletes," Miller said. "I sincerely appreciate the opportunity Greenfield has provided."

Prior to coaching the boys team, Miller was the head girls basketball coach from 2003-07, earning NOW Newspapers All-Suburban Coach of the Year honors in 2007.

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Whitnall gets new school district superintendent

April 26, 2016 1:27 p.m. | Greenfield — The Whitnall School Board on Monday appointed Lisa Olson as the next superintendent of the Whitnall School District.

District officials called Olson a skilled leader, noting her work as superintendent for the Hartford Union High School District for six years.

Although Olson is an innovator, school board President LuAnn Bird said, "We aren't looking to bring in a change agent."

Olson doesn't represent a change in course but will develop innovations to help the district along the course it has already set, Bird said.

"Her innovations align with what the schools are already doing," Bird said. Large among those is personalized learning, she said. Olson has already implemented personalized learning at the high school level.

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Parties in the sky coming to House of Harley in Greenfield

April 26, 2016 9:42 a.m. | Greenfield — Parties in the air are envisioned for House of Harley events in Greenfield, with city approval of an elevated deck for the dealership at 6221 W. Layton Ave.

New dealership owner Jeff Binkert said he would like to have small musical combos on the 13-foot-tall deck and serve beer, wine and soda to music- and Harley-lovers who could mill around on the deck. The deck would be open during dealership events several more of which are planned this year than in years past.

The dealership hopes to have the deck built sometime this summer. The deck will replace the current roof overhang.

Blinkert also is interested in serving mixed drinks on the deck at dealership events, but the Greenfield Plan Commission said that falls into a state regulatory area. Issues would have to be sorted out by attorneys, said Mayor Michael Neitzke.

But he said the city appreciates having the House of Harley that is known worldwide.

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West Allis police ask help in 1995 disappearance of woman

April 25, 2016 6:21 p.m. | West Allis police are asking for the public's help to solve the mystery surrounding the death of West Allis resident Susan Glaser, 37, whose remains were identified in Portage County in July 2014.

She had been missing since July of 1995. The remains had actually been discovered in 1998, but were unidentified until advances in technology made identification possible in 2014.

West Allis police detectives have worked with the Portage County Sheriff's Office on the case ever since. This is still an active investigation, police said Monday. Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding Glaser's disappearance and the recovery of her remains. No suspects are in custody.

Anyone with information is asked to call West Allis Police Detective Vanderwerff at (414) 302-8079 or West Allis Crime Stoppers (414) 476-CASH (2274).

Initial Reaction Podcast: Previewing NFL Draft with Rob Reischel and Nathan Tanguay

April 25, 2016 7:51 a.m. | JR and JP dive into a crazy situation at Marquette surrounding the departure of Wally Ellenson from the basketball team and discuss the twice-rejected "success-based factor" plan in the WIAA (12:45). Packers Plus beat writer Rob Reischel chats with JR about the pros and cons of Packers general manager Ted Thompson and what to expect in Thursday's draft (26:15), and Mukwonago alumnus Nate Tanguay talks about playing for an FCS powerhouse in North Dakota State and teammate Carson Wentz, who could go first overall in the draft (55:00).  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 prep athletics.

Whitnall names Lisa Olson superintendent of schools

April 22, 2016 5:00 p.m. | The Whitnall School Board has announced the selection of Lisa Olson as the next superintendent of schools for the Whitnall School District.

District officials called Olson a skilled leader, noting her work as superintendent for the Hartford Union High School District for six years.

"We were impressed with Lisa's background, instructional innovation, and deep commitment to student success," said Board President LuAnn Bird. "Her experience as a leader along with her business background and skills in continuous improvement will benefit our district."

Olson has implemented personalized learning at the high school level and she has built business partnerships in the community so students could experience a wider range of careers, Whitnall officials say.

For her part, Olson said she's looking forward to fulfilling the Whitnall's board's expectations of her.

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