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Memorial Day includes West Allis parade

May 19, 2009 7:54 p.m. | The city of West Allis will hold its annual Memorial Day event at 10 a.m. Monday, May 25.

The Memorial Day parade will begin at 70th Street, go west on Greenfield Avenue to 75th Street, south on 75th Street to National Avenue, and then end at Veterans Park, 70th and National.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Park. The service will feature tributes from Mayor Dan Devine, former Veterans of Foreign Wars State Commander Phil Jasinski and the Rev. Les Takkinen, pastor of Grace Bible School.

Boy Scout Troop 16 will lay wreaths at the service.

For information, call (414) 302-8872.

State Fair raises rescinded, converted to one-time bonuses

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. | Greenfield — 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.

West Allis might switch to carts and mixing all recyclables together

May 17, 2016 7:00 a.m. | The blue recycling bags may be a thing of the past here as city officials investigate switching from plastic bags to carts for recycling to save money.

The savings would come from people recyclcing more because they could toss paper products into a cart with other recyclables. Currently, certain recyclables must be separated. Recycling is less expensive than dumping waste into landfills.

The city's recycling contract is up this year, prompting officials to study a switch to carts and single-stream recycling, as many communities already have. At this point, West Allis officials are looking at offering residents a choice of a recycling cart about the size of garbage receptibles the city now offers for sale or a smaller cart of 64 to 67 gallons. Both the large and small carts would be free and stay at properties. The cost to the city would be roughly $1.2 million.

January start?

The study findings will likely go to the common council's public works committee in June. If approved, the cart system could be in place as early as January.

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Man who chased girl in alley sought by West Allis police

May 12, 2016 4:29 p.m. | Police in West Allis are seeking a man suspected of chasing a girl who attempted to flee from him Thursday morning after he offered her candy in an alley.

The incident is believed to have occurred between 8:15 and 8:30 a.m. in the 2100 block alley between S. 62nd and S. 63rd St., according to a news release from the West Allis Police Department.

According to the release, the man tried unsuccessfully to grab the girl's jacket before turning around and running north.

The release describes the man as white with a thin build and a thin brown mustache, and wearing a dark denim jacket, dark denim jeans, a white baseball cap and white tennis shoes.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the West Allis Police Department at (414) 302-8000.

Greenfield Highlands clears plan commission, headed for council

May 11, 2016 1:46 p.m. | Greenfield — After many years of delay, the Greenfield Highlands project of six multifamily buildings and a shopping area is on the march in the 4400 block of 108th Street.

Lat week, it won a favorable recommendation from the Greenfield Plan Commission and the common council is expected to allow developer Ener-Con Companies to build the remaining five multifamily buildings without coming to the city for separate approvals, as long as the buildings conform in every way to the project plan the city approved in 2007.

The council also was expected to direct that a public hearing be held on Ener-Con's request to convert the project's multifamily buildings from condominiums to apartments. One 30-unit building that was built a year and a half ago as condominiums would be converted to apartments, under the plan. Six condos sold since the building was constructed. The other five buildings would be constructed as apartments instead of condos.

A public hearing could be held in July before the common council on the condo to apartment conversion request.

Ener-Con would like to start construction Aug. 1 on a 30-unit apartment building south of the current one, she said. When that is reasonably leased, construction would start on another building, she said.

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Two appeals so far in Greenfield concerning beekeeping permits

May 10, 2016 11:58 a.m. | Greenfield — As the city embarks on allowing beekeeping, the Greenfield Board of Health has already heard one appeal from a neighbor who was worried about being stung and will hear another on Thursday, May 12.

But by the end of the year, Darren Rausch, Greenfield Health Department director, expects the city to have six beekeeping permit holders.

In first appeal, the health board voted to allow beekeeping mainly based on a track record of safety that honey bees have established, Rausch said. The health department pledged to closely monitor the situation.

That means staying in touch with the neighbor and the beekeeper to see if problems develop, even though none are expected, Rausch said.

"The biggest challenge is lack of general knowledge about bees," he said. The bright yellow and black yellow jackets and hornets are the ones that usually sting people, not mild-manner honey bees, as described by Milwaukee/Waukesha Beekeepers Association representatives.

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Initial Reaction Podcast: A look at talented Arrowhead baseball team

May 10, 2016 9:30 a.m. | JP and JR talk about the Milwaukee Brewers thus far, take a look at the improbable Big East title for the Marquette men's lacrosse team and visit with Arrowhead High School baseball players Nate Brown and Dominic Clementi as well as coach Vince Mancuso about the state's No. 1 team. Also, has the movement against sports specialization gone too far? 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.

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