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Man gets 32 years for shooting two officers

Feb. 28, 2012 9:00 p.m. | A West Milwaukee man who shot and wounded two West Allis police officers in August 2010 was sentenced Tuesday to 32 years in prison, followed by 15 years of supervision.

Before imposing the sentence, Circuit Judge Charles F. Kahn Jr. warned the packed courtroom that both sides - the 50 West Allis police officers and a couple dozen of the defendant's friends and relatives - would probably be disappointed.

Prosecutors were seeking a 50-year prison term for what police considered a failed execution, while Demario Lamonte Bell's attorney recommended just 15 years, because Bell's real intent was to end his own life.

Bell, 25, pleaded guilty in November to attempted first-degree intentional homicide, and prosecutors agreed to dismiss other counts of the original complaint issued in August 2010.

According to a criminal complaint:

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Greenfield police seek suspects in kidnapping, armed robbery at Target

Feb. 28, 2012 3:19 p.m. | Greenfield police are searching for two suspects who allegedly used a gun to force a woman to withdraw money from her bank account on Feb. 21.

According to the police report:

An 18-year-old woman stated she was in the baby section at Target, 4777 S. 27th St., when she was approached by an unknown male and female shortly before 5:50 p.m. Feb. 21.

The two suspects forced her out of the store and into her vehicle. Once inside the vehicle they went to Great Midwest Bank, where she was forced to withdraw money from the ATM. The suspects then took her back to the store where they released her.

Video surveillance from Target showed two suspects: A black male wearing white or tan cargo pants, a black leather jacket and a black baseball cap; and a black, heavy-set female wearing a black jacket, blue jeans or black pants and carrying a purse. The suspects were seen getting into a white Chevy Malibu or Impala before leaving the parking lot. The suspect vehicle also had two other unknown occupants.

Man investigated for growing mushrooms in West Allis trailer park

Feb. 26, 2012 6:04 p.m. | The West Allis Police Department is investigating a 25-year-old man for growing psilocybin mushrooms in his trailer.

According to an affidavit accompanying a search warrant released late last week:

Police received a call from someone who said a man in a full-body sterile suit was removing six storage containers of mushrooms that he planned on selling. The caller said the man was growing the mushrooms in his trailer.

When police arrived Tuesday morning at the Hillside trailer park in the 10200 block of W. Greenfield Ave. they saw several windows covered with cardboard and sheets.

The man wasn't home, but police talked to his 23-year-old boyfriend, who "became visibly nervous" and red in the face when police explained why they were there. They said the man's voice crackled and his hands began shaking as police interviewed him.

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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 takes closer look at condo assessments

Feb. 23, 2012 1:20 p.m. | Condominium owners in Greenfield, many of whom have seen their property values drop, may soon see their property taxes drop as well.

Because condo prices have fallen more than the prices of homes and other kinds of property during the housing slump, Greenfield will take a comprehensive look at condo values and make any needed adjustments.

The city does smaller readjustments every year so that taxpayers pay their fair shares. But city assessor Eric Miller said the condo area needs a more extensive study.

The Greenfield Common Council approved the study, estimated to cost $30,000, last night.

Suspect arrested in Greenfield fires set 30 minutes apart

Feb. 22, 2012 9:08 a.m. | A 60-year-old Milwaukee man is being charged with two counts of arson for allegedly setting fires at two Greenfield businesses on South 27th Street within a 30-minute period on Feb. 16.

According to the police report, firefighters responded to a fire in a restroom at Arby's, 4841 S. 27th St., at 4:50 p.m.

The firefighters were still on the scene at Arby's when a second call came in at 5:10 p.m. from a witness who stated he observed a man starting a fire in a dumpster at Guaranty Bank, 4661 S. 27th St.

The witness told police the man set the fire and started walking toward a nearby Burger King restaurant.

Police quickly located the suspect at Burger King, where he was arrested and taken into custody.

Bomb squad called to West Allis trailer park

Feb. 21, 2012 10:29 p.m. |  

 Staff photo by C.T. Kruger

 Staff photo by C.T. Kruger

West Allis Police called in the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department bomb squad Tuesday evening after being confronted by what appeared to be an explosive device during the execution of a search warrant.

Shorlty after 7 p.m., West Allis police evacuated the trailer park area at the Hillside mobile home park at 10211 W. Greenfield Ave. 

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Survey gives officials a glimpse at problematic behaviors in schools

Feb. 21, 2012 12:46 p.m. | The results of the sixth West Allis-West Milwaukee Youth Risk Behavior Survey gave the School Board information Monday night on everything from how safe kids feel in school to their obesity rate.

Among the findings were that 28 percent of high school boys reported that someone tried to hit, punch or kick them on school property in the past 12 months. Correspondingly, 15 percent said they were threatened or actually injured by someone with a weapon such as a gun, knife or club at school in the past year.

Overall, 45 percent of both boys and girls in high and intermediate schools strongly agreed that harassment and bullying are a problem at school.

But the survey of students in grades 8 through 12 had some positive news, too. One bright ray of hope was that the percentage of students who have tried cigarettes plummeted from 44 percent in 2004, the first year of the survey, to 26 percent in 2011.

The survey had a response rate that varied between 15 and 21 percent of students in each grade.

Developer asks school district to release land

Feb. 21, 2012 12:38 p.m. | A developer is asking the West Allis-West Milwaukee School Board if it will release about 4.5 acres of vacant land to the New Berlin School District so that all of the apartment buildings it wants to construct can be in the same school district.

The Thomson Corp. plans to build four apartment buildings on the land located on the south side of National Avenue approximately between 132nd and 136th streets in the city of New Berlin.

One building would be in the New Berlin School District and the other three in the WA-WM district. Thomson officials want all four to be in the New Berlin district, as are the other 14 apartment buildings in the Stonegate Apartments complex.

Dean Frederick, Thomson vice president, told the West Allis School Board Business Services Committee on Monday night, said children living in those apartments there could study together and go to the library together if they are all in one school district. Families also could move within the complex without worrying about their children having to change schools, he said.

Taxes are the same for both school districts, Frederick said, and the only taxes West Allis would lose would be on vacant land.

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Hale science team will compete at state

Feb. 20, 2012 6:34 p.m. | The Nathan Hale science team won the Regional Science Olympiad recently and is now headed for the state competition, which will be held March 31 at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Team members who won the regional competition are Nick Yan and Jeremy Maciolek for chemistry lab; Katerina Javtic, Nick Yan and Katy Kostich for protein modeling; Rachel Martin, Katerina Jevitc and Dan Nelson for experimental design; and Rachel Martin and Becca Schmidt for tower.

West Allis's top cop will retire this year

Feb. 20, 2012 6:30 p.m. | West Allis Police Chief Michael Jungbluth will retire at the end of the year, capping nearly 30 years with the West Allis Police Department.

By that time, he will have served almost five years as police chief, having risen up the ranks from patrolman over his career.

Jungbluth, 53, said he notified the Police and Fire Commission of his retirement so early so that it will have plenty of time to find a successor.

But he said otherwise it's too early to be talking about retirement.

"There are a lot of challenges we have to go through," in the coming year, Jungbluth said.

DOT plans open house to discuss Greenfield Avenue work

Feb. 20, 2012 1:28 p.m. | The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will hold a Feb. 29 open house concerning road work on Greenfield Avenue from 97th to 124th streets that will take place over the next two years in West Allis.

Members of the project team will be available to answer questions and concerns during the open house, which will be from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Madison Elementary School, 1117 S. 104th St. The project limits and construction schedule were recently adjusted to help aid in traffic flow during the Zoo interchange project.

The plan is for construction of the western section between 124th and 106th streets to start after the State Fair in August and finish at the end of November. The project will involve resurfacing the road, adding or extending left turn lanes, improving traffic signals, converting parking lanes to bicycle lanes and improving transit facilities. Greenfield Avenue will remain open in each direction, with lane restrictions during some stages of the project.

Construction for the eastern section between 106th to 97th streets will take place in 2013 and will involve reconstructing the Interstate 894 interchange and bridge. Additional work includes replacing the existing roadway, adding or extending turn lanes at 101st Street, improving traffic signals, converting parking lanes to bicycle lanes and improving transit facilities. During construction, the Greenfield Avenue bridge over I-894 and most ramps to and from I-894 will be closed.

Those unable to attend the open house may contact Jason Lynch, project manager, by phone at (414) 750-0538 or by email at jason.lynch@dot.wi.gov.

Headquarters for health care provider proposed in West Allis

Feb. 17, 2012 7:00 a.m. | Developer Tarantino Co. is proposing a $38 million corporate headquarters and health care complex for the former Pressed Steel Tank factory site in West Allis, the firm and city officials have announced.

I first wrote about this possible project in December, when it was discussed during a closed session of the city Community Development Authority board. I then reported there would be four buildings, totaling 200,000 square feet, on 7.5 acres of vacant land between W. Greenfield and W. National avenues, west of S. 65th St.

The development would include a 26,000-square-foot headquarters, with construction expected to begin this spring, according to a news release issued by city officials. It would bring more than 300 jobs to the site, the statement said.

Tarantino Co. President Jim Tarantino declined to identify the tenant that would use the offices and health care facilities.

But a rendering of the proposed project indicates the tenant would be Community Care Inc., a nonprofit health care provider now based at 1555 S. Layton Blvd., Milwaukee. I got this information late Thursday night and haven't yet had a chance to speak with Community Care executives.

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Dollar Tree, Speedway planned for West Milwaukee

Feb. 14, 2012 7:00 a.m. | A 9,000-square-foot Dollar Tree store is planned for a vacant lot in West Milwaukee, just north of the Target store.

The Dollar Tree would be at 4421 W. Greenfield Ave., said Modesta Goodman, village zoning administrator.

Also, a Speedway gas station and convenience store is being proposed for 4225 W. Burnham St., on part of the former ADM Milling Co. grain elevator site, Goodman said.

Both projects are to undergo Plan Commission review Tuesday.

Schools on offensive against offensive behavior

Feb. 13, 2012 10:52 p.m. | The number of fights at secondary schools is down 50 percent compared to this time last year and bullying is down more than 50 percent, but the West Allis-West Milwaukee School Board tonight reviewed plans to bring down misbehavior even more.

Superintendent of Schools Kurt Wachholz outlined a plan to systematically employ methods to deal with behavior problems. Through a standardized tracking system, teachers, counselors and principals will be able to determine whether an intervention method is working to eliminate a student's misbehavior or whether another approach should be tried.

The tracking system that is within days of being fully implemented also should give what Wachholz called real time data" that will be more meaningful than the data now available. It also will be more detailed so that severity of offenses is indicated.

Victim of stolen purse cited for marijuana possession

Feb. 13, 2012 6:42 p.m. | A stolen purse resulted in not only trouble for the alleged thieves, but for the bag's owner, as well.

A woman reported her purse was taken the afternoon of Feb. 11 while she was at a laundromat at 5627 W. National Ave.

Acting quickly on the information, West Allis police located the purse and arrested two suspects, a man and a women, later that afternoon in the 1500 block of South 57th Street.

But when police looked inside the purse, they found four small bags of marijuana reportedly belonging to the woman who owns the purse. As a result, she was arrested for the possession of a controlled substance.

Police reported having a little more trouble with the alleged thieves following their arrest. According to police, on the way to the station, the man kicked in the door of the officers squad car. He was cited for obstructing police and resisting arrest in addition to the theft allegation.

Chocolate House candy plant closes in Greenfield

Feb. 10, 2012 4:24 p.m. | The Chocolate House, a candy-making plant that has operated in Greenfield since 1963, has been shut down by its Chicago-area owners.

Executives with Skokie, Ill.-based Georgia Nut Co., which bought The Chocolate House in 2005, did not return calls Friday. But John Nehm, a Greenfield fire marshal, said he was told the operation was closing when he conducted a routine fire inspection last month. At the time, Nehm said, candy-making equipment had been dismantled and stored for transfer to a Georgia Nut plant in Skokie.

Nehm said he was told that 18 people worked full-time at the Greenfield plant, which also hired larger numbers of seasonal employees. An outlet store at the plant, 4121 S. 35th St., will remain open until April, Nehm said.

West Allis pays $30,000 to man arrested for wearing gun

Feb. 07, 2012 7:45 a.m. | The city of West Allis has agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit prompted by one of the first tests of Wisconsin residents' right to openly carry guns.

Brad Krause was planting a tree in his backyard in August 2008 -- while wearing a holstered handgun -- when police arrived, drew their weapons and arrested him.

In February 2009, a municipal judge found Krause not guilty of disorderly conduct, and in April of that year state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen issued a memo advising law enforcement agencies that the mere fact of wearing a gun, by itself, would not support a charge of disorderly conduct.

Krause sued the city in federal court in 2010.

"This is a clear victory for Mr. Krause and Wisconsin residents who wish to assert their rights under the state and federal Constitution to bear arms lawfully," said his attorney, John Schiro.

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West Allis Central boys take over first in GMC with win over Lancers

Feb. 03, 2012 10:00 p.m. | West Allis Central came back twice and finally passed Brookfield Central for good with 6 minutes left to play, beating the Lancers, 63-59, Friday night at BCHS.

The win put the Bulldogs (9-2, 13-4) in first place, while the Lancers fell to second (8-3, 13-5). WAC has won 9 of 10 games, including seven straight in GMC play. The Lancers have lost three consecutive league games.

The Bulldogs led 22-19 with 4:11 left in the half, when the Lancers went on a 12-0 run to take a 31-22 lead with 1:09 to play. But baskets by Najeal McMillian and Tonnie Collier cut the lead to 31-26 at intermission.

The Lancers began the second half with a 12-6 run to increase their lead to 43-32 with 3:36 left in the quarter.Seth Mortag had six points and Riley LaChance four in that stretch.

But the Bulldogs came back and cut the lead to 46-44 after three periods behind McMillian (four points), Jaquan Carlson (three), Jarvis Garrett (three) and Darvell Brown (two) while all the Lancers could muster was a 3-pointer by LaChance.

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Greenfield athletes sign with colleges

Feb. 03, 2012 1:29 p.m. | A total of five Greenfield High School football players, plus standouts in boys soccer and girls track and field, signed national letters of intent with colleges this week.

The football list is led by offensive lineman Josh Ruka, who was given a full scholarship with Division 1 Northern Illinois. Ruka was regarded as one of the state's top linemen last fall.

The others are kicker Alex Bosl, the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh; defensive lineman Kyle Sobocinski, Carroll University; offensive lineman Jared Lang, UW-Platteville; and running back Bathong Pham, Concordia University of Wisconsin.

In addition, offensive lineman Wahid Othman and linebacker/defensive back Yazan Rizeq are both undecided about their colleges at this point.

Also signing were Michelle Garner, the WIAA Division 1 state champion in the 300-meter hurdles, with Winona State University; and soccer goaltender Eric Frank with the University of Dubuque.

Spartans lose to Hale, lose chance to end losing streak

Feb. 02, 2012 9:24 p.m. | West Allis Hale nipped Brookfield East, 42-40, Thursday night at East and kept the Spartans winless in the Greater Metro Conference.

The Huskies are now 2-8 in the GMC, while East dropped to 0-10. With Brookfield Central (5-4), Divine Savior Holy Angels (8-1), West Allis Central (5-4) and Menomonee Falls (7-2) on the Spartans' schedule the rest of the way, the chance getting into the win column in league play is not good.

East led 16-13 after the first period, as Christy Johnson nailed three 3-pointers.  East extended that lead to 25-18 when Hale's Rachel Seefeldt threw in a half-court shot to make it 25-21 at halftime.

But the Huskies came out and went on an 11-0 run to take a 32-25 lead with 3:12 left in the quarter. Jazzmin King banked in a 3-point shot from the top of the key to open the scoring in the second half.

Then when Erin Barbeau, standing behind the backboard on the right side, threw a shot over the top of the backboard and into the net, the Huskies were off and running.

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Appliance World stores won't reopen

Feb. 02, 2012 6:26 p.m. | Appliance World confirmed today that it is permanently closing its three area locations in Brookfield, Greenfield and Germantown.

One of the area's most recognizable retail stores, the appliance retailer locked its doors Sunday and told its employees the company's future and ownership was in doubt, though it had left open the possibility the stores could reopen under new management and ownership.

But in a statement issued through My In-House Agency today to media outlets, owner Ed Aumann set aside any hope.

"The economic conditions of the past several years have been too much to overcome," Aumann said in the news release. "I would like to thank all of our customers and employees for their support and patronage over the past half century."

Aumann said Appliance World, in business in Southeastern Wisconsin for more than 56 years, closed at behest of its secured lender, GE Capital Solutions. Assets have been surrendered to the bank.

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