Semifinalists emerge in Battle of the Burbs bracket contest

March 29, 2012 2:20 p.m. | Four communities have advanced to the penultimate round of MyCommunityNOW's Battle of the Burbs bracket contest.

Top-seeded Wauwatosa handily defeated Franklin, 64-36, to earn a semifinal match up with No. 4 seed Waukesha. Waukesha earned its spot with a 52-48 victory over No. 2 Mequon-Thiensville.

Brookfield, a No. 1 seed, posted a 56-44 victory over Muskego and will face New Berlin in the semifinals. Second-seeded New Berlin advanced with a 63-37 rout of Shorewood.

Semifinal voting in the NCAA-style tournament continues for a week and pits suburbs against each other in a single-elimination showdown to determine the best community in the area.

Three lucky voters will win Visa gift cards and the winning community will receive a special proclamation from MyCommunityNOW and NOW Newspapers.

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West Milwaukee to help prepare site for retail development

March 28, 2012 7:00 a.m. | A vacant lot where an Aramark facility once stood, 1200 Miller Park Way, will be replaced by a 13,000-square-foot retail center, with the Village of West Milwaukee to pay just under $53,000 to relocate utilities at the site.

The Community Development Authority voted Monday night to pay those expenses. Evo Development Inc., led by John Holborrow, is expected to break ground in June on the project. There's no word yet on the identities of the building's tenants.

Districts to recover millions in settlement over risky investments

March 19, 2012 3:34 p.m. | Five Wisconsin school districts that invested in $200 million worth of risky financial instruments that tanked in the economic collapse have reached a settlement with a St. Louis-based financial firm they sued for leading them astray, according to documents released Monday.

Under the terms of the settlement, Stifel Nicolaus & Company Inc. on Monday paid $13 million to the districts – Waukesha, West Allis-West Milwaukee, Whitefish Bay, Kenosha and Kimberly – and provided a standby letter of credit for an additional $9.5 million to be paid when Stifel resolves a related case with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, says a news release from the districts' attorneys at Kravit, Hovel & Krawczyk law firm.

Stifel sent out a news release as well, saying that the school districts, their trusts and Stifel will now work together to pursue their legal case against the Royal Bank of Canada, which manufactured the risky investments.

The financial provisions for the districts under the new settlement, coupled with an earlier administrative settlement with the Royal Bank of Canada, means that a total of $217.9 million has been recovered or will be restored to the districts.

That makes the settlement the second-largest in civil litigation in Wisconsin history, according to Steve Kravit, an attorney representing the districts.

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Whitnall takes another look at planned scheduling changes

March 13, 2012 1:18 p.m. | The Whitnall School District's new plan to give teachers time to collaborate by adjusting school start and release times may get revamped.

District officials have considered letting elementary students out of school early on certain days and having school start late for middle and high school students some days. But that may depend on the results of a parent survey that the School Board approved Monday night.

Some parents have been vocal about the problems the plan, which is expected to take effect this fall, could pose for their family schedules ever since the board approved it in January.

Although school officials are developing programs for children who would have to stay in school on those early release days, some parents and even some School Board members said they wanted to know more about that before they could support the plan.

All those objections were voiced Monday, which spurred the board to suggest gathering parental input through a survey on the start and release times. The survey results should come back to the School Board in April.

Teen gets 15 years for West Allis killing

March 12, 2012 11:31 a.m. | A Milwaukee teen who had gathered with more than a dozen other people to watch an expected fight in West Allis, but instead wound up shooting someone, was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison.

Jonathon Hennings, 18, was charged with first degree intentional homicide for the 2011 slaying of Darnell Kendricks near the West Allis campus of Milwaukee Area Technical College. Hennings pleaded guilty in January to a lesser charge of first degree reckless homicide.

According to the criminal complaint, Kendrick showed up to watch a fight between two James E. Dotke Alternative High School students at McKinley Park some time after 5 p.m. on Sept. 27. When one of the supposed combatants was late, Hennings began complaining.

Kendrick then "got into the shooter's face and asked if he wanted to fight," a witness and friend of the victim told police, according to the complaint. Hennings then said, "Yeah, I have something for you," pulled out a gun and shot Kendricks four times.

In addition to the 15 years, Hennings will serve five more on extended supervision after his release, and pay $7,000 restitution. He was credited for the 165 days he's been in jail since his arrest.

Kraker's Central career comes to end at Vincent

March 09, 2012 11:05 p.m. | Playing at Milwaukee Vincent has proven to be one of the toughest tasks in the state for visiting girls basketball teams over the last five years or so. Friday night, it was West Allis Central that found that bit of knowledge out first hand as the Vikings prevailed over the Bulldogs in a WIAA regional semifinal, 53-35

Vincent will now face Milwaukee King in the regional final Saturday. The Vikings fell twice in the regular season to King but head coach Derick Jenkins hopes the home court advantage will boost his squad like it did Friday night.

“It’s going to be a battle but thankfully we did enough in the regular season to get home court advantage in these first two games,” Jenkins said. “We’ll see what happens as we move along, but it’s all about preperation.”

The wire-to-wire win over Central moves Vincent to 16-6 overall on the year, with just a single home loss to King in late January. Four different Vikings players finished in double digits against the Bulldogs, and it was apparent from the start it would be a balanced attack.

Seniors Sydney Howard and Nafeshia Holifield each had 12 points to lead the Vincent attack and were part of an 11-2 first quarter run from which West Allis Central never did recover. By aggressively forcing the ball inside against the smaller opponent, Vincent got to the line six times in the first frame, converting five of them.

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Whitnall's dream season comes to end

March 09, 2012 8:01 a.m. | Most of this season, the Whitnall boys basketball team has prided itself on fast starts, forcing the opponent to play catch-up all night.

That formula paid off in 22 victories, the Woodland Conference Black Division championship and a WIAA Division 2 regional crown.

Pius XI, however, turned the tables on the Falcons on Thursday night by jumping to an early lead of its own, then surrendering it just one time. The Popes built a double-digit advantage in the second half and held off a late Whitnall rally for a 66-62 victory in a sectional semifinal contest at Greenfield High School.

The Falcons ended their splendid season at 22-3, while Pius improved to 22-3 and will take on Milwaukee Washington on Saturday in a sectional championship contest.

The Popes went inside early and often in the opening half, either scoring on drives to the basket or on back-door layups after players slipped behind the Falcons defense.

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Minus two standouts, WAC almost pulls upset

March 08, 2012 11:07 p.m. | It’s tough enough to beat a team like Milwaukee Rufus King with your best players on the floor. West Allis Central almost did it without them.

Thursday night’s WIAA boys basketball sectional matchup between perennial power King, the top seed, and third-seeded West Allis Central certainly lived up to its billing, with the Generals edging the Bulldogs 75-71 in a contest that featured 12 lead changes.

With King clinging to a 40-38 lead two minutes into the third quarter, Central standouts Jarvis Garrett, a junior, and Najeal McMillian, a senior, picked up their fourth fouls.

But the Bulldogs bit back. Senior forward Darvell Brown drained three-pointers on three consecutive possessions to give Central a 51-44 lead. Minutes later, Brown also picked up his fourth foul. With more than a quarter left to play, Central head coach David Mlachnik had no choice but to put three of his best players – and on this night, his three top scorers – on the bench.

“All I can say is that I’m incredibly proud of our kids and the way they played,” Mlachnik said. “It’s been like this all season. I take someone out, and someone else comes in and they do what they need to do. You can say the star players came out of the game, but after two of them went out, we had a seven-point lead.”

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Two men wanted for armed robbery arrested in Wauwatosa

March 07, 2012 12:30 p.m. | Two men wanted for an armed robbery in Greenfield were nabbed driving through Wauwatosa last week.

According to police reports:

A Greenfield officer pulled over a vehicle that was riding on two flat tires at 9:49 p.m. Feb. 29. The driver, a 21-year-old Milwaukee man, had a red, swollen eye and said he had been robbed at gunpoint earlier that evening in an alley in the 3800 block of West Howard Avenue.

He had gone to his friend's home in that neighborhood to deliver drugs - Percocet pills and marijuana - to friends, a 22-year-old Greenfield man and a 23-year-old Milwaukee man. They all got into the victim's vehicle at which point the older man put a gun to his head and ordering him into the back of the vehicle. During the drive, the vehicle owner was struck with a pistol. Eventually, they ended up at the older man's Hawley Road home in Milwaukee and the victim was released.

He said he was driving erratically because he was so shaken and blew out the tires on a curb.

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Greenfield man accused of possessing child porn

March 04, 2012 1:14 p.m. | A 44-year-old Greenfield man has been charged with five counts of possession of child pornography after he confessed to police he stored a couple of hundred videos.

Michael L. Munkacsy told police he is attracted to girls between 10 and 15 years old, according to a criminal complaint.

Police found out by tracking several videos from a file sharing network to Munkacsy's computer, court records show.

Munkacsy was charged with five counts although a police officer conducting a quick initial search found at least 12 videos on a hard drive, seized from Munkacsy's residence on W. Beloit Road on Feb. 7, of children engaging in sex, according to the complaint.

Munkacsy is facing up to 25 years in prison and $100,000 in fines for each of the five counts. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Thursday.

Whitnall explodes on offense, downs Vikings

March 04, 2012 8:11 a.m. | The full extent of the offensive firepower of Whitnall’s boys basketball team was on display Saturday night during a 69-49 WIAA Division 2 regional final victory over New Berlin West.

Bryan Nagy tallied 10 points in the first quarter and finished with 16, Stephen Pelkofer totaled 11 points in the second period and wound up with a game-high 19 and Ian Ray netted a trio of 3-point field goals in the third quarter and tallied 12 points.

Luke Mentkowski chipped in with 15 points as well for the Falcons (22-2), who shot 58 percent from the field and nailed nine 3-pointers on the night.

“That’s our thing; it’s pick your poison, basically,” Pelkofer said. “You lock down on me, lock down on Ian, lock down on Luke, everyone else will step up.”

Nagy added, “It’s been balanced all year, but today, we just shined. Ian was hitting, Stephen was unconscious and they were finding me inside. If I couldn’t find it, I was kicking it (back outside) and they were hitting it.”

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Central overcomes 12-point deficit, takes down Vincent

March 03, 2012 11:07 p.m. | Down 12 points with just under three minutes left in the third quarter, the West Allis Central boys basketball team could have cashed it in Saturday night in its WIAA Division 1 regional final showdown with Milwaukee Vincent.

An 8-0 run to close the third and start the fourth quarter got the game close again, then a 13-3 run to close the game and give just enough cushion for the No. 3 seeded Bulldogs to earn a 70-69 win over the No. 2 seeded Vikings.

“We’ve told the guys all season to play all 32 minutes,” Central coach David Mlachnik said. “(Vincent was) hitting shots in that third quarter and I said ‘Guys, some of those shots are tough shots. Keep playing the ‘D’ and they will start missing those in the fourth quarter, but we just have to box out and rebound.’

“The guys believed and they continued to play defense.”

The Bulldogs (19-4), usually close to an 80 percent shooting team from the free-throw line, made it interesting down the stretch, connecting on seven of 14 from the stripe in the fourth quarter and just 17 of 32 for the game (53 percent).

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West Allis Central waits out Spartans

March 02, 2012 11:53 p.m. | Being fully aware of what West Allis Central is capable of when it gets on a run, Brookfield East boys basketball coach Andy Farley tried to limit the Bulldogs’ opportunities in a WIAA Division 1 regional game on Friday night.

Farley took a page from the coaching book of University of North Carolina legend Dean Smith and used the four-corners frequently to hold the ball and look for only the best of shots.

“They’re obviously a quality basketball team,” Farley said. “We were just attempting to keep them on defense more than on offense; nothing complicated.”

The tactic worked – for a while.

Eventually, though, Central was able to increase the pace more to its liking and pulled steadily away to a 57-43 victory.

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Greenfield will at least add some green with new trees

March 01, 2012 4:26 p.m. | Although the Greenfield Common Council is expected to approve a $56,735 tree planting contract Tuesday , not everyone who lost a street tree last year will get a new one.

"We stretch the money as far as we can," said Richard Sokol, director of neighborhood services, but $56,000 won't do the whole job. Trees are lost in some street work and sometimes just die.

The Board of Public Works this week recommended that the council award the tree-planting contract to the low bidder, Arthur Weiler Inc., Zion, Ill.

Greenfield will put concrete trash cans along certain roads

March 01, 2012 4:22 p.m. | Greenfield officials aren't saying that 76th Street between Holmes and Edgerton avenues is the messiest street in the city, but they have seen a lot of trash blowing around there.

Because that isn't the only place where litter blows in the breeze, Greenfield's Public Works Committee pinpointed 40 locations for concrete trash receptacles to be placed along all the city's major thoroughfares, including 27th and 76th streets, Layton and Forest Home avenues. Ten more will be plugged into places where there is additional need.

A Wausau firm is currently making the receptacles, which should be ready to hit the Greenfield streets in about a month.

So far, road projects are cheaper than expected in Greenfield

March 01, 2012 4:18 p.m. | Bids on the first of four batches of Greenfield road projects slated for 2012 came in 8 percent under expected, said Richard Sokol, the city's director of neighborhood services.

City officials are hoping that the other road projects bundled in the other three batches for bidding will show the same trend in the coming weeks. The total cost for all four batches is $4 million. Most of the work is in residential neighborhoods.

But, in a separate package, 124th Street, which is more heavily traveled, also is slated to be rebuilt this year from Grange Avenue to Cold Spring Road. That will be an inconvenience not only for through traffic, but for motorists using the ramp to Interstate 43.

The 124th Street project is not part of the other bidding packages because it's being done in cooperation with New Berlin and Hales Corners and with the help of a federal grant covering 80 percent of the cost.

West Allis school district won't give up New Berlin land

March 01, 2012 4:02 p.m. | Spurning a request by a New Berlin developer, the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District will not cede 4.5 acres to the New Berlin School District.

The developer had made the request so that the entire development under construction could be in one school district. But the WA-WM School Board decided the area in question is closer to an elementary school in West Allis than in New Berlin.

The fact that the West Allis district is landlocked so it needs to protect all its taxable property was another consideration in the board vote on Monday.

The 4.5 acres had been vacant until recently, when construction started on four apartment buildings. One is in the New Berlin School District and the other three are in West Allis-West Milwaukee. Those four buildings are in addition to 14 buildings, all in New Berlin's district, that are already built in the same Stonegate Apartment complex.

City plugs MMSD dollars into foundation drains

March 01, 2012 3:52 p.m. | To reduce the need to dump diluted raw sewage into Lake Michigan and into area rivers, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District is offering cash for homeowners to disconnect their foundation drains from sanitary sewers.

This week, Greenfield's Board of Public Works decided Greenfield residents should get a shot at some of that money.

To do that, the board recommended the city's first residential inflow and infiltration sanitary sewer reduction program. If approved by the Common Council on March 20 and by the MMSD, 75 percent of the $6,000 to $10,000 cost of disconnecting drains and switching over to sump pumps would be covered by the MMSD.

About 25 percent of Greenfield's homes have foundation drains connected to sanitary sewers because they were built before 1954, when the connections were legal, said Richard Sokol, director of neighborhood services.

But those connections make it more likely the MMSD will have to dump sewage into the lake and rivers. When it rains, rainwater floods into its sewage treatment plants, overwhelming them so dumping is the only option to prevent sewage backup into peoples' basements.

Some get help for frequent flooding

March 01, 2012 3:44 p.m. | While Greenfield residents who watch water pour into their backyards from the parking lot of the Greendale water tower will get help from the city, others living near 35th Street and Cold Spring Road and whose were flooded in 2008 will not.

The difference is that the 2008 flooding happened all over the city as a 100-year storm dumped huge amounts of rain onto the city. But the people around the Greendale water tower at about 57th and Upham Avenue have sopping yards all the time after a hard rain.

One house has suffered basement flooding for 20 years, with the father and his daughters even bailing the basement's four feet of water in one instance.

Greenfield's Board of Public Works reviewed how well the city's stormwater system worked or didn't work at 35th and Cold Spring in that 2008 storm and determined on Tuesday that the system did what it was designed to do.

In short, it wasn't designed to handle a severe storm that comes along only once in 100 years. Like the rest of the city, the stormwater system in that area is designed for a 10-year storm.

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