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Woman who died trying to rescue dog is identified

April 04, 2011 10:00 p.m. | A 51-year-old woman who drowned while apparently trying to rescue her dog from an icy pond at River's Edge Park in Menomonee Falls was identified Monday as Diane Gondek Knudson.

Gondek Knudson, of Menomonee Falls, died Sunday at Community Memorial Hospital in Menomonee Falls after being pulled from 6-8 feet of water in the retention pond, police said.

Her husband, Richard Knudson, broke through ice on the pond while searching for his wife. He also was pulled from the water.

Gondek Knudson decided to take the couple's 5-year-old Airedale, Buster, and 9-year-old English Sheep Dog, Chloe, to the park about noon Sunday after attending church and going to breakfast with her parents, her husband said in an interview.

She thought about taking the animals to Granville Dog Park in Milwaukee but decided to take them to River's Edge because it was not as muddy, he said.

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Germantown board asks for more information before moving forward with fire department referendum

Oct. 20, 2014 10:22 p.m. | Germantown — The fate of a referendum to make the Germantown Fire Department full-time is still unknown, after the Village Board voted to postpone a decision on whether to include it on the April ballot.

A general sense of hesitation directed the board's lengthy discussion on the matter on Monday, Oct. 20, when the they voted 5-3 to allow Fire Chief Gary Weiss to do additional research before returning to the board again, most likely at the next board meeting.

"The answer is not no," said Village President Dean Wolter, who voted in favor of delaying work specific to the wording of a possible referendum question. "It's give me more information."

Preparation of alternative options was one of several pieces of additional information Wolter said he thinks the board should have before authorizing the preparation of the referendum question, which could call for an estimated $1 million of additional recurring revenue to make the department full-time. The plan would bring the number of full-time staff to 16 employees who would man the department 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but Kaminski said she would prefer to see more effort put into growing the paid-on-call staff.

"This isn't a short step, this is a big jump," Wolter said. "Now is the time to dig out the facts .. . I'm not against the process, I'm in favor of the process, but I also want the right matter in which to do it. I also want the information that allows me to do it comfortably."

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Germantown village officials to consider fire department referendum tonight

Oct. 20, 2014 12:58 p.m. | Germantown — The fate of a proposed referendum to make the Germantown Fire Department full-time lies in the hands of the Germantown Village Board, who meet tonight to discuss the proposal.

The board at 7 p.m. will review the plans, which call for an estimated $1 million of additional recurring revenue to make the department full-time. The plan would bring the number of full-time staff to 16 employees who would man the department 24 hours a day, seven days a week

While the numbers are not finalized, the estimated impact on a property owner paying taxes in Germantown would be about 41 cents per $1,000 of value, or about $102.50 for the owner of a $250,000 home.

The department operates with four full-time and four part-time employees, as well as a paid-on-call staff of people who respond to calls when the station isn't manned. Its annual budget is about $1.83 million, which includes a costly fire hydrant rental charge from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District of about $521,000.

There is no one in the department after 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday. Without the referendum, Fire Chief Gary Weiss said the department's budget for 2015 will as of April no longer cover the four employees who work the weekends, which means it could be unmanned for additional time between 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday.

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Menomonee Falls board to review land-use amendment

Oct. 20, 2014 11:18 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — Revisions to the long-term vision of a gateway to the village continue to be reviewed by the Menomonee Falls Village Board at tonight's meeting.

The board tonight will review the plan commission's recommendation to amend the comprehensive land-use plan to accommodate commercial uses for land on the north side of Main Street and Pilgrim Road.

The change could allow Kwik Trip's proposed plans for that corner to progress, though those plans have yet to be reviewed in detail by village officials.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at Village Hall, W156 N8480 Pilgrim Road.

Across Wisconsin, uneven property assessments fly in the face of fairness

Oct. 19, 2014 9:55 a.m. | A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation found inappropriate reductions in property assessments creating an unfair system. In dozens of communities across Wisconsin, 20% or more of taxes are being paid by the wrong people.

Marquette ends Menomonee Falls' dream of GMC football title

Oct. 17, 2014 10:54 p.m. | With a non-existent passing attack, a highly suspect punt game, and a red-hot opponent playing at home, the odds were long against Menomonee Falls earning a share of its first Greater Metro Conference title in 10 years Friday night against powerhouse Marquette

But there the Indians were at Hart Park midway through the third quarter, with a first down at the Marquette 18-yard line, a tie score of 21-all, an opportunity to go ahead and a chance at history.

However, it was not to be. The Indians stalled on that drive when the field goal was missed and three series later, Hilltopper receiver Jake Matkovich made a spectacular catch and run of a Charlie Greif deep post pattern.

Matkovich turned his body around and snagged the ball in a clean, fluid motion. Then he turned upfield for a 77-yard TD to make it 28-21 Marquette with 7:20 to go.

The Indians, who lost top offensive lineman Matt Henningsen to a leg injury a couple of series earlier, could not recover as the Hilltoppers would go on to win the outright league title with a 30-21 decision.

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Preps football photos of the week: Week 9

Oct. 17, 2014 10:18 p.m. | The regular season of the 2014 high school football season came to a close for area teams Oct. 17.

Now Newspapers and Lake Country Publications compiled the best photos shared on social media featuring teams from our coverage area, predominantly in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties.

Here's the best sights and sounds from Week 9.

Germantown High School alumni wins gold at Warrior Games

Oct. 17, 2014 10:52 a.m. | Germantown — She is not an amputee. She doesn't have irreparable damage to her face. She is not in a wheelchair.

But just because Jen Kyseth's scars aren't visible to passers-by doesn't mean they don't run deep.

A retired major from the United States Air Force, Kyseth has a disability that she says has been just as mentally and physically crippling as any wound you can see with the naked eye. A champion of others like her, that is one of a few reasons why she said her recent gold-medal finish in recumbent cycling at the 2014 Warrior Games means so much.

"There is a bit of a misconception about Wounded Warriors," said Kyseth, who is a 1995 alumni of Germantown High School. "First of all, the injury doesn't have to be combat related, but maybe the bigger deal is things like brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other injuries that aren't recognizable."

For Kyseth, the injury was not combat-related or visible, as she suffers from a degenerative disc disease that has wreaked havoc on her lower back and prompts an ongoing battle with chronic nerve pain.

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Two Germantown Police Officers injured after car chase

Oct. 17, 2014 8:05 a.m. | Germantown — A 36-year-old Germantown man is custody this morning after a stolen vehicle chase resulted in two Germantown Police Department officer injuries on Thursday, Oct. 16.

At about 6:45 p.m., Germantown officers located a stolen vehicle from Menomonee Falls being operated by the man in the vicinity of Appleton Avenue and Lannon Road, according to a news release. The man had just been involved with a disturbance at a grocery store in Richfield. Officers attempted to stop the stolen vehicle, but the man refused to stop and a four-mile vehicle pursuit began, according to the release.

The driver suddenly stopped the vehicle at the Radisson Hotel in Menomonee Falls, and would not comply with officers' attempts to take him into custody.

A brief struggle occurred between the suspect and officers before the suspect was successfully taken into custody. The man broke skin as he bit the Lieutenant Dave Huesemann's hand, and officer Dave Pierzchalski fractured his leg during the struggle. Huesemann tested negative for HIV and hepatitis, and Pierzchalski will be out an undetermined amount of time, according to Police Chief Peter Hoell.

"This is an example of how police work can be fast, fluid and unpredictably dangerous," Hoell said. "We train hard to avoid injuries and or worse, death to ourselves and others, but sometime bad things happen. Bad things are sometimes unavoidable."

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Workouts happen around the clock at the Germantown Police Department

Oct. 16, 2014 3:14 p.m. | Germantown — A fitness center is probably not the first thing to come to mind when thinking of a police officer's affiliation with a great escape. Yet that is what several members of the Germantown Police Department are calling their lower level oasis of elliptical machines, treadmills and kettlebells.

Commradary abounds around 2:30 p.m. on an almost daily basis as Schreihart and others work out together after they finish their shift at the department. With Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell" blaring in the background, Schreihart joined officers Robert Case, Steve Schowalter, and Shawn Marten in a workout game called Game of Cards the afternoon of Tuesday, Oct. 14. The energy in the room was contagious, as the group worked together and kept each other motivated.

"Come on, keep pushing guys," Case yelled, above the music. When that set ended, the group seamlessly switch positions before starting a new set a few seconds later.

"It really has been neat to see groups come together and use the area as a way to burn off steam and regain focus after what may have been a long day," said Police Chief Peter Hoell. "Not only that, but to see officers, residents and businesses alike all join together in support of something like this is pretty unique."

Thanks mostly to donations from businesses and residents in the community, as well as donations from employees and officers of the department, the fitness center is now triple the size it was when it first came to fruition more than 20 years ago. Over the course of the past couple of weeks, flat screen TVs, updated equipment, and new flooring have all been added to the space, which recently underwent its third expansion.

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Early Childhood Center plans hit roadblock, crowding remains an issue

Oct. 16, 2014 11:33 a.m. | Germantown — As space and overcrowding remain an issue in Germantown schools, officials are headed back to the drawing board yet again after plans for a new off-site early childhood education center hit a roadblock.

For several months, the school board has been considering options for the program, which serves special needs students between the ages of 3 and 5 years old. There is not room for the program elsewhere in the district, which prompted district officials to pursue three off-site locations. Though the original goal was to move the program into one of three possible locations by the start of the 2014-15 school year, an issue with state funding has brought that plan to a halt.

"The Department of Public Instruction rules say you can't just move special needs children out of a location based on overcrowding and I think that's part of the rub," explained Director of Business and Auxiliary Services Ric Ericksen. "The new DPI director, who has some fresh ideas and fresh initiatives, decided that we would be violating that federal rule and therefore risking federal flow through funding for the early childhood program."

The impact of funding on the program is something Ericksen said he questioned early in the process, and had received mixed responses about throughout his research on the matter.

"I wasn't about to say let's go ahead and implement this program change only to have them go into conflict with me that it was a cost that is a violation of flow-through funding," he said. "On the one hand, they can cite the statement about this; on the other hand, they're implying that if DPI signs off on it, then it might be OK, but that's a process and a process I don't think our director and administrative team was willing to risk."

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St. Boniface Apple Pie Production raises money for local charities

Oct. 16, 2014 10:40 a.m. | Germantown — St. Boniface School will be making more than $4,000 in pies for their sixth annual Homemade Dutch Apple Pie fundraiser Friday, Oct. 17 and Saturday, Oct. 18.

This production of pies is not only fun to watch but brings everyone together to strengthen our community. Located at St. Boniface School, W204N11968 Goldendale Road, the event will take place from 6 a.m. to 9:15 p.m. Friday and 5:30 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. Saturday.

The money raised by the apple pie sale will go toward the school. Pies that were donated will be sent to Ellen's home, the VFW and the St. Boniface Food Pantry.

Parks planning to begin for Village Park, new park

Oct. 15, 2014 8:34 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — Improvements to the old and planning for the new will begin tonight, Oct. 16 for parks in Menomonee Falls.

A public information meeting will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. at Village Hall, W156 N8480 Pilgrim Road, to discuss upgrades to several components of Village Park, as well as the development of a new park on the southwest area of the village. The meeting will be the first step in the process of developing a master plan for both parks, to be funded through capital dollars in the village budget in future years.

"A master plan for a park is exactly what it sounds like," explained Director of Engineering Services Tom Hoffman. "It's a plan of what you want to do with the park long-term: what type of facilities do you want to put in it, what type of infrastructure you want to have, so we want to have a plan."

Located downtown at Appleton Avenue and Garfield Drive, Village Park needs maintenance on its tennis and basketball courts, play structure, and bridges, Hoffman explained.

"Before making that big investment in upgrading the infrastructure it makes sense to come back and take a look at how is the park operating," he said. "It's been a long time since we've had those discussions."

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Two suspects in custody after armed robbery at Associated Bank

Oct. 15, 2014 8:29 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — Two suspects in an armed bank robbery at Associated Bank on Tuesday, Oct. 15 have been captured by police.

The robbery occurred at Associated Bank, N88W16554 Main Street, at 4:18 p.m. Shortly thereafter, the suspects fled in a vehicle eastbound on Main Street, where Menomonee Falls police began chasing them, according to a news release.

The pursuit continued eastbound into Milwaukee, where the suspects vehicle was found crashed near Fond du Lac Avenue and 107th Street, according to the release. One suspect was taken into custody at the crash site and the other was "apprehended after a short foot chase," according to the release.

Both suspects were conveyed to Community Memorial Hospital for precautionary reasons, the release said.

No further information is available as investigation of the incident is ongoing.

Pollworkers needed for Nov. 4 election

Oct. 14, 2014 9:49 a.m. | Germantown — The village of Germantown is looking for additional poll workers who are available to assist with the election on Tuesday, Nov. 4.

Otherwise known as election inspectors, poll workers are responsible for election procedures in the polling location to which they are assigned. These procedures include, but are not limited to, helping open the polls, registering voters, issuing ballots, providing assistance to voters, explaining the use of voting equipment, closing the polling location, and delivery of election returns.

Training is required and provided by the clerk's office. Work the day of the election begins at 6 a.m. and ends upon completion of duties after the polls close.

Anyone who is a citizen of the United States and resides in Germantown wishing to sign up is encouraged to contact the clerk's office at (262) 250-4740.

Enrollment lower than expected in Menomonee Falls

Oct. 13, 2014 8:24 p.m. | Menomonee Falls — Declining enrollment in Menomonee Falls is here to stay, at least for now. Enrollment in the School District of Menomonee Falls is down again this year, in part due to a large graduating class.

As of the third Friday in September, the district had 43 less students than projected for the 2014-15 school year. The projected number had already accounted for an anticipated drop of 54 students, putting the total decrease at 97 students less than the 2013-14 school year.

Incoming ninth graders make up about a quarter of the decreased number, which Director of Pupil Services Kathy Zarling said was mostly due to the district's increased effort to ensure students attending Menomonee Falls schools are indeed residents of the district.

"It was a lot of concern we would hear from the community or from within our own system," said Zarling, adding that the process of proving residency has been tightened up in recent months. "It's cost us a lot of attending to, but it is one of the big concerns that was dealt with within our home office."

As a result of those efforts, Zarling said 28 families with 34 students were found to no longer be able to prove residency and were subsequently transitioned back to their home districts.

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