Driver in fatal West Allis crash pleads no contest

Aug. 28, 2012 8:20 p.m. | The driver charged in a drunken-driving crash that killed his close friend hours after the victim's mother had been killed by a hit-and-run driver pleaded no contest Tuesday.

Xavier Hughes, 21, entered the plea to a count of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle. He was found guilty, and three other counts were dismissed.

According to court documents, Hughes was speeding down the 9000 block of W. National Ave. in West Allis on April 29 when he lost control and crashed. He was taking Thomas Olson to the hospital to see his mother, Mary Jane Moore, after learning she had been struck by another driver in West Allis earlier that night.

Olson died in the crash. His mother, it turned out, was not at the hospital but had been declared dead at the scene where she was run over while lying in the road.

Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney Mark Williams said in court Tuesday that the state would be recommending two to three years of prison time for Hughes but warned Circuit Judge Ellen Brostrom that the victim's family, who didn't even want Hughes prosecuted, would likely argue for less.

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West Allis' Channel 14 dims from view

Aug. 28, 2012 3:33 p.m. | As things stand now, the Community Media Center, known as Channel 14, that has provided public access programming to West Allis residents for 30 years will go dark at the end of the week.

By a 17-13 vote Monday, the membership of the center rejected an offer of help from West Allis because it would have restricted the kind of programming it could show. In return for studio space and a part-time station operator, the city would have banned religious programming and put restrictions on political shows.

But the type of restrictions are irrelevant, said Bob Schramm, who became president of the center last night after Sharon Rhode resigned the post in protest. The station's mission is to promote freedom of speech, the free exchange of ideas and not to discriminate on the basis of religion or anything else, he said.

The station plans a symbolic sendoff at 8 p.m. Thursday, consisting of a five- to eight-minute video of highlights from the last 30 years.

The station's equipment will be moved out of the studio on Greenfield Avenue and put into storage on Wednesday until the board decides which nonprofit groups should get it.

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Join Pigskin Picks to test your skills against local celebrities, veteran sportswriters

Aug. 28, 2012 1:13 p.m. | How well do you know high school football?

You can find out by visiting to join MyCommunityNOW's Pigskin Picks football contest. You will have the chance to win prizes as you test your pigskin prognostication skills against celebrity experts and NOW's staff of award-winning sportswriters.

Reigning Miss St. Francis Colleen Mrotek (pictured) and Time Warner Cable Sports 32's JP Cadorin join the fray this season as celebrity experts picking games each week. They will be joined by Lake Country Sports Director JR Radcliffe and NOW sports reporters John Rech, Tom "Sky" Skibosh and Steven L. Tietz. 

Weekly winners will receive movie passes to Marcus Theatres. The top three finishers at the end of the season are eligible to receive a gift certificate to Bartolotta restaurants worth $100, $50 or $25.

The contest begins this week and lasts until the end of the regular season.

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Whitnall looking to make own history

Aug. 24, 2012 11:56 p.m. | The past decade of football contests between Whitnall and New Berlin Eisenhower have primarily gone in one direction. Friday night in New Berlin, the game between the two Woodland Conference rivals took more wild turns than Christopher Columbus did before discovering America.

A history lesson would tell you that Eisenhower had defeated the Falcons seven of the last eight times dating back to 2002. This time, history was not meant to repeat itself as the Falcons completed a thrilling 36-28 comeback win over the Lions in the season opener for both schools.

Whitnall took advantage of three Eisenhower lost fumbles that proved to be the difference in a game between contrasting offensive mindsets. The Falcons and senior quarterback Zach Sutton spent the entire night peppering the air with an efficient passing attack, while the Lions opted for a running attack led by junior Nick Taylor.

Both offenses looked unstoppable at times and inept at others, but it was the passing game of Whitnall that dominated the fourth quarter. The Falcons finally took the lead with less than six minutes left in the game on a 30-yard field goal by senior Nick Stemo and sealed the win a few minutes later on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Sutton to fellow senior Patrick Wyrowski with 20 seconds left in the game.

“It was just the energy, everyone just brought the energy,” Sutton said. “We knew we had the momentum going into the half and we knew we could beat them.

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Milwaukee man charged with driving into two people outside Danny's Lounge

Aug. 24, 2012 8:27 a.m. | Damon James Edward Howard, 36, of Milwaukee has been charged with two counts of felony reckless endangerment for allegedly driving an SUV into two pedestrians outside a West Allis bar Saturday.

Howard was charged with two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety and three counts of striking an occupied or attended vehicle after he allegedly struck two people with a Ford Explorer outside Danny's Lounge, near 60th and Burnham streets, about 2 a.m. Saturday, West Allis Deputy Chief Charles Padgett said in a news release Thursday. Howard also is accused of striking a vehicle turning north onto 60th Street.

Two people were taken to Aurora West Allis and Froedtert hospitals for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, Padgett said.

Police arrested a second man in connection with the hit and run; however, no charges have been filed.

Shots were reportedly fired at the fleeing SUV, and one man was arrested and a firearm was confiscated. Padgett said the investigation regarding the shooting is still under way. Shots were fired from the area of the 6100 block of West Burnham Street.

Man's surrender to police ends West Allis standoff

Aug. 21, 2012 4:52 p.m. | A 32-year-old man was taken into custody Tuesday after a 4-hour standoff with police at a residence in West Allis.

Several firearms were recovered from the home near S. 72nd and W. Madison streets when the man was arrested shortly before 6 p.m., West Allis police said.

According to police, the man was carrying a rifle inside the home and acting irrationally, causing an acquaintance to flee and call police shortly before 2 p.m.

After officers negotiated with the man for several hours he stepped out into the home's backyard, where he was arrested without incident, police said.

DOT explores closing local I-94 ramps

Aug. 20, 2012 11:32 a.m. | West Allis government officials and business people are upset about two exits from Interstate 94 that directly serve the downtown and the Renaissance Faire redevelopment, 801-833 S. 60th St., being considered for shut down.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is investigating which of the access ramps to I-94, including the 68th/70th Street and the 60th Street ramps, can be permanently closed.

The 68th/70th street exit gives direct access to downtown West Allis while the 60th Street exit gives direct access to the Renaissance Faire.

"This could be devastating to the community," said Diane Brandt, executive director of the West Allis-West Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce.

An open house public hearing will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Aug. 21 at the Wisconsin State Fair Park, Tommy Thompson Youth Center, 640 S. 84th St., Gate 5.

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A pictorial look at Paul Ryan in the suburbs

Aug. 11, 2012 8:17 a.m. | U.S. Rep Paul Ryan, who was named this morning as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's running mate, has made a number of recent stops in suburban Milwaukee for listening sessions.

NOW photographer Peter Zuzga was there to cover Ryan's appearances, including a stop in Franklin in 2011 and Greendale in May.

Bunkers sets sights on new heights

Aug. 09, 2012 3:18 p.m. | Worry arose this week about the fate of Bunkers in downtown West Allis that had emailed regulars telling them that Bunkers would close Wednesday.

But Thursday owner Scott Bunker said the restaurant at 7420 W. Greenfield Ave. closed to transform itself into an entirely new establishment with a new concept and a new name. He said he was trying for an opening in the first week of October, but that depends on how soon a custom-made piece of kitchen equipment arrives.

Regular customers should be very pleased with the new restaurant, he said, that will keep all the favorites such as the Friday fish fries and the shrimp peel and eat on Wednesdays.

"We decided to get more casual and family-friendly," Bunker said.

The changeover, in the works for nearly three months, will include getting booths, adding televisions, changing the menu and adding different drink specials, he said.

George Webb restaurant in Greenfield robbed twice in four days

Aug. 07, 2012 3:19 p.m. | Police are seeking suspects responsible for two armed robberies at a George Webb restaurant Wednesday and Sunday.

According to Greenfield police:

A masked man entered the restaurant at 4845 W. Forest Home Ave. shortly after 8 p.m. Aug. 1, held a gun to an employee's head and demanded money from the cash register. After receiving an unknown amount of cash, the suspect left the restaurant in an unknown direction. A vehicle was not seen.

The suspect is described as white, 5 feet 10 inches tall with a medium build, and wearing black running pants with stripes down the side and a short-sleeve shirt with blue and gray graphics worn over a black long-sleeve shirt. The suspect was also wearing a ski mask and dark-colored gloves. He displayed a semi-automatic handgun with chipped metal on the barrel.

Shortly after 11:30 a.m. Aug. 5, police responded to a second report of an armed robbery at the same restaurant. The masked suspect again displayed a handgun and demanded money from the cash register. The suspect then left with an unknown amount of cash. Police were unable to locate him.

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Kroupa steps down at Whitnall

Aug. 07, 2012 2:10 p.m. | Whitnall boys basketball coach Kent Kroupa, whose coaching career began at the school in 1984, has decided to retire from his position.

The Falcons reached the sectional semifinal in last year's Division 2 tournament, falling to eventual state qualifier Milwaukee Pius. He coached at Whitnall over two stretches, leading teams to state in 1986, 1988 and 2004, winning the state championship in 1988.

Kroupa, who worked with learning-disabled students at Whitnall for 32 years, coached at the school from 1984 to 1994, then left to coach at Muskego from 1995 to 2002. After taking a year off, he returned to Whitnall and immediately led the 2003-04 team to the state tournament in Madison. In his 27 years of coaching, Kroupa piled up a record of 335-279.

Kroupa said the retirement gives him a chance to spend more time with his family. He and wife Linda intend to move to the Phoenix, Ariz. area to be closer to son Craig, who teaches in the area.

Pumas schedule baseball tryouts

Aug. 05, 2012 4:54 p.m. |  Tryouts for the U-14 New Berlin Pumas baseball team are from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday at Malone Field, 16400 W. Al Stigler Parkway.

To make an appointment, contact Craig Anderson at 

It's not the same old song and dance for wireless carrier this week

Aug. 01, 2012 4:08 p.m. | Kaylee MacDougall has a regular job with U.S. Cellular that usually doesn't involve her pulling out her guitar and breaking into song.

For this week, at least, her job description changed in that regard.

MacDougall, who works at U.S. Cellular's Greenfield store at 5096 S 76th St., was one of 10 musical talents culled from more than 9,000 U.S. Cellular associates to perform live in a company promotion on Twitter from July 31-Aug. 2.

The marketing event, "Call Someone Who Cares," promotes the wireless carrier by comparing its services against customer complaints, often voiced on Twitter, about the industry in general. The promotion uses actual employees who just happen to exhibit musical talent.

Though the event is happening live on Twitter, the finished videos are on YouTube. To see MacDougall in action (she is the blond woman playing the black guitar), follow on Twitter via #HelloBetter and #CSWC or visit U.S. Cellular's YouTube posting at

Mother caught on video slapping infant charged with 4 felonies

Aug. 01, 2012 2:18 p.m. | A 19-year-old Wauwatosa woman caught on video repeatedly slapping her infant daughter faces four felony counts of child abuse.

Chancline Babcock, who turns 20 on Thursday, hit the girl at home last Thursday, according to a criminal complaint, apparently unaware that the child's father had left a video camera running.

According to the complaint, which was released Wednesday:

Adonnis Cathey told police his 3-month-old daughter was cooing and laughing as he ran the camera at the family's apartment in the 1000 block of N. 68th St. He left the camera running as he went downstairs to make a phone call. When he returned, the child was screaming and crying like he had never seen before.

Cathey picked her up to calm her and wondered what had caused the crying. He checked the video camera and saw Babcock walk up and slap the girl hard on the face, then after about 30 seconds, slap her three more times.

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