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Holiday decoration prompts call to police from concerned Germantown resident

Dec. 17, 2012 12:55 p.m. | It could have been a case of "Up on the rooftop, slip, slip, slip" that caused a concerned Germantown resident to call police when what looked to be a person was hanging from a second-story gutter.

Not to worry. The person was actually a humorous holiday decoration.

According to the Germantown police:

A resident called police to report a subject hanging from a second-story gutter and was not moving in the W164 N11000 block of Kings Way at 3:50 p.m. Dec. 13.

Officers responded to the address and determined the subject in question was a holiday decoration.

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Germantown affirms heavyweight status

11:24 p.m. | Perhaps first-year Greenfield coach Joe Koch had the best perspective on the disparity between Germantown and the Hustlin' Hawks on Friday, Aug. 22, in the season opener for both teams.

"We're like an amateur boxer who stepped up to try and fight Mike Tyson in his prime," said Koch, who is embarking in his fourth reclamation project, having previously turned around programs at Whitefish Bay Dominican, Oak Creek and Pius XI.

The way Germantown rolled to the 56-7 victory in Datka Stadium was very familiar to Koch; he's seen it from his teams in the past.

The Warhawks turned a 7-0 first-quarter lead into a 42-0 halftime cushion that invoked the WIAA's running clock mercy rule throughout the second half. Germantown needed just eight plays in the second quarter to put up those 35 points.

"You want to see guys not let down and play down a level," Germantown coach Jake Davis said. "Great teams will continue to play great no matter who they face. That's what I was looking for out of these guys."

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Oak Creek rallies for victory over Falls

10:45 p.m. | For 2 1/2 quarters on Friday, the Menomonee Falls football team, despite giving up hundreds of pounds of line weight and years of experience to visiting Oak Creek, had the Knights on the ropes to the tune of a 10-0 deficit in opening-night action.

But then the Knights forgot all their lofty, preseason rankings and just started playing football.

They scored two quick touchdowns in the third quarter and then held on to overwhelm the game Indians by a 20-10 to count.

"This should serve as a lesson to us," said Oak Creek coach Mike Bartholomew to the team afterwards on the muggy, foggy evening. "We are not the hunter this year; we are the hunted. We've got to practice like we're in second place all week long and then play like we're in first place all game long."

One key player who did do that this evening was senior defensive back/receiver Doran Turchin. Turchin, the NOW Newspapers Baseball Player of the Year for the Knights, did not play football last season in order to concentrate on baseball, but he made his presence felt in his return to the gridiron.

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Preps football photos of the week: Aug. 22

10:05 p.m. | As August ends, the Wisconsin preps football season begins.

Games started Thursday and continued through Saturday as programs faced off against Week 1 opponents.

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 1.

Peeping Tom caught in the act at Germantown bar

Aug. 21, 2014 8:02 a.m. | Germantown — A man accused of peeping through a bathroom door vent at a Germantown bar has been taken into custody.

Two undercover police officers who were monitoring the situation after an initial report on August 15 caught the 40-year-old West Bend man in the act at 12:22 a.m. August 21 at Gamroth's Khurburg Junction, W140 N10385 Fond du Lac Avenue.

When a woman went into the bathroom, the officers caught the man looking through the bathroom door vent for a second time, according to Germantown Police Chief Peter Hoell.

The man was arrested on two counts of invasion of privacy and disorderly conduct, and is currently being held at the Washington County Jail.

Reports will be completed and forwarded to the Washington County District Attorney's Office for charging purposes.

Menomonee Falls considers its twelfth TIF

Aug. 20, 2014 8:50 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — Advanced Waste is out, and a new tax-incremental financing district could be in. The village's recent settlement with the Milwaukee-based industrial waste treatment business was part of a much larger long-term plan for the area as village officials consider a new industrial TIF district along the east and west sides of Lilly Road, north of Silver Spring Drive in the Manhardt Drive area.

About three weeks after the village board approved a $2.8 million settlement agreement with AWS authorizing the purchase of 21.6 acres of land, an initial meeting of the Joint Review Board was held this morning to review proposed plan for TIF No. 12.

Including what would have been the new home of a ChemWorks industrial waste processing business, the proposed TIF 107.5 acres of land that Village Manager Mark Fitzgerald said could become the home to up to seven new light industrial businesses.

The majority of the land within the proposed district is currently zoned for heavy industrial development, so Fitzgerald said something of a smaller scale will be a better fit in the area. The plan includes vacant land in addition to the AWS site, which will be completely redeveloped as part of the estimated $3 million in improvements to the area.

TIF is a mechanism that allows municipalities to borrow money to fund infrastructure improvements for an area that otherwise would be difficult to develop or redevelop. The increased property tax revenue from the improved land is then diverted from the tax roll to pay off the loan.

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Menomonee Avenue facelift almost complete

Aug. 20, 2014 8:36 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — The much-needed facelift to Menomonee Avenue has been revealed, and while village officials know its not as good as new, it is certainly an improvement.

At an estimated cost of about $200,000, the repaving project removed rough spots and resurfaced the stretch of road between Appleton Avenue and Town Hall Road. Originally slated for late-May, the project was delayed until August due to the high demand of contractors during the summer months.

It was the first time the village attempted this kind of repaving project, which essentially recycles existing roadway and reuses the asphalt. Taking just about a week to complete, Village Manager Mark Fitzgerald said the village will likely use the method again elsewhere in the village.

In the meantime, village officials plan to continue seeking state assistance to fund a complete $3 million overhaul of the road, hopefully by 2018.

Menomonee Falls revises policy on placement of campaign signs

Aug. 19, 2014 8:48 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — If you plan on running for office in Menomonee Falls any time soon, take head. Village officials are cracking down on the location and placement of campaign signs throughout the community.

The Village Board on August 18 approved a new campaign sign policy that trustee Steve Raymonds said provides more clear definitions of where signs can and cannot be located, as well as how police enforce the policy. Under the new policy, campaign signs must be located on private property and only with permission from the property owner can be placed 12 feet from the back of the curb in urban areas with curb and gutter or 18 feet from the edge of the street in rural areas with roadside drainage ditches.

Signs may not be placed between the curb and gutter and sidewalk, between the edge of the street pavement and walking paths or roadside drainage ditches, in the grass area adjacent to the street pavement, on boulevard medians or on power and telephone poles.

"The new policy is more expedient, that when (police) see signs placed incorrectly, they will not need to call the people, they'll just take the signs down to let them know they have them," Raymonds explained. "(This is) a much more simplified and also expedient proposal."

The more proactive approach to enforcement was sanctioned by the police department, according to Village Manager Mark Fitzgerald who said this will become a part of regular patrol activity.

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Water rates in Menomonee Falls could spike as much as 9 percent

Aug. 18, 2014 7:39 p.m. | Menomonee Falls — The fight to keep water rates down continues in Menomonee Falls.

The proposed 28.7 percent increase to the village of Menomonee Falls Milwaukee Water Works has dropped slightly to 26.6 percent, but that is not enough of a decrease to save the average homeowner in the village from a water bill spike of as much as 9 percent.

Director of Utilities Jeff Nettesheim on August 18 updated the board on the status of the proposed increase, which is currently in the final stages of review by the Public Service Commission.

As it stands, the increase would affect the 87 percent of homeowners whose water is sourced from Lake Michigan. The other 13 percent of the village west of the subcontinental divide is serviced by wells. The exact figures will not be known until the Public Service Commission approves it, which it hopes to do by August. The PSC does not have oversight of sewer rates.

It is the second time in recent years the village was faced with the potential for an increase of this size. In 2010, a proposed 36 percent hike was reduced to 8.2 percent through negotiations with the PSC. A consultant team has been testifying on the village's behalf to the PSC, which is expected to make a decision by mid-September.

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Work on Menomonee River Bridge begins tonight

Aug. 18, 2014 6:34 p.m. | Germantown — On the evening of Monday, Aug. 18, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) will begin a $4 million reconstruction project of less than a mile of Highway 41/45 at the Menomonee River Bridge, immediately west of Maple Road.

The project includes removing the existing northbound and southbound roadway and bridges; reconstructing the roadway and bridges, retaining walls, concrete barrier and high tension cable guard; replacing beam guards, storm sewer and permanent signing and restoring landscaping.

The project will be completed in four stages to allow for three lanes of traffic in each direction of the freeway during daily peak hours of travel. Although there may be temporary lane closures in the area during off-peak hours, the freeway will remain open to traffic at all times and no detour route will be necessary.

The contractor, Edward Kraemer and Sons, plans on completing the project by June 2015.

For updates on construction, visit

Nicolet cancels varsity football season

Aug. 14, 2014 8:39 p.m. | In a stunning development, Nicolet High School has elected to cancel the varsity football season in 2014, citing a lack of numbers within the program. The season was slated to begin with a game against Waukesha South on Aug. 22.

A statement from Nicolet athletics director Kirk Krychowiak was released Thursday and reads as follows:


"Nicolet High School has always considered excellence in athletics to be a key component of the quality education we provide to our students. The success we have achieved in our athletic programs is a direct result of the enthusiasm of our coaches, students and the community.


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Brandtjen tops GOP field in Assembly primary

Aug. 13, 2014 9:19 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — Republican Janel Brandtjen will face off against Democrat Jessie Read for Wisconsin State Assembly District 22 in the Nov. 4 general election. With 60 percent of the votes, Brandtjen defeated Blair Rogacki (27 percent) for the GOP nomination in the primary election Tuesday, Aug. 12, while Nick Oliver was third with 13 percent.

"I'm humbled by the support of thousands of my friends and neighbors, and am grateful that they chose me to represent them in Madison," said Brandtjen, of Menomonee Falls. "This is a solemn responsibility and I will defend our values, fight for fiscal responsibility, and always be listening to the voters who chose me to speak for them."

Brandtjen, Oliver and Rogacki competed to represent the Republican party, as Republican incumbent Don Pridemore is stepping down after 10 years in the position. Jessie Read of Lisbon ran unopposed for the Democratic spot for the seat, which was created in 2010 and includes all of the towns of Erin and Lisbon, the villages of Lannon, Butler and portions of the villages of Richfield and Menomonee Falls.

Brandtjen has a bachelor of science degree in finance and marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She owns and operates Group One Marketing, Inc. in Menomonee Falls and is married with two children.

Severson earns easy victory over challenger

Aug. 13, 2014 9:15 a.m. | Waukesha County GOP leaders were able to breathe a big sigh of relief when county sheriff's inspector Eric Severson eaily defeated challenger Tom Alioto, a former Lisbon police sergeant, in the Republican primary election Tuesday, Aug. 12.

These results will likely determine who will be sheriff for the next four years since there is no Democrat running in the heavily Republican county.

Severson earned 32,940 votes compared to Alioto's 5,485.

After the votes were counted, Severson said he was "happy" and "humbled" by the outcome.

"We stuck to our message that qualifications count and the voters sent us a strong message that they want someone who is qualified to serve them and that is what I will be honored to do," Severson added.

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Eric Severson wins landslide vote for Waukesha County sheriff

Aug. 12, 2014 10:44 p.m. | Eric Severson, the chief inspector for the Waukesha County Sheriff's Office, is bound to bear the sheriff's badge after a landslide victory in the Republican primary election.

With more than 70% of the vote counted Tuesday night, Severson earned about 86% of the vote — more than 26,000 supporters — in the race against Tom Alioto, a former Town of Lisbon police sergeant.

Alioto earned about 4,300 votes.

There is no Democratic candidate for Waukesha County sheriff.

The candidates were seeking to replace Dan Trawicki, who served as sheriff for 12 years but declined to run for a fourth term.

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Menomonee Falls woman gets 30 months on tax, mail, food stamp fraud

Aug. 11, 2014 4:17 p.m. | A Menomonee Falls woman has been sentenced to 30 months in prison after she pleaded guilty to tax, mail and food stamp fraud.

Tiffiny Harden, 30, filed fake tax returns that netted her more than $120,000 in refunds, according to federal court documents.

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Randa also ordered Harden to pay $120,000 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

She claimed false incomes, false education credits and false dependents for taxpayers, including some who did not know her or how she obtained their tax information, according to the Department of Justice.

Three dozen false 2011 tax returns were filed between January and August 2012.

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Whitefish Bay latest to enact sex offender residency rules

Aug. 07, 2014 4:45 p.m. | Whitefish Bay has become the latest municipality in Milwaukee County to enact an ordinance imposing residency restrictions on registered sex offenders.

River Hills, Shorewood and Hales Corners are contemplating enacting ordinances as well.

If those villages pass ordinances, each community would have some form of residency restrictions for sex offenders.

The recent rush to restrict sex offenders appears to be a reaction to Milwaukee's new ordinance, which severely restricts the placement of registered sex offenders in the city. Mayor Tom Barrett, who with other city officials has said the city has had to house a disproportionate number of sex offenders compared with other municipalities, has called on the state Department of Corrections to come up with a statewide solution.

In River Hills, Village President Robert Brunner said the board would meet in September to discuss a residency restriction ordinance.

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