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Falls sends letter to parents in response to threat rumors

Dec. 19, 2012 1:05 p.m. | Like many schools across the area including in Oak Creek and Waukesha, rumors of a threat to Menomonee Falls High School have been circulating at school and in the community, which officials at the School District said are being thoroughly investigated.

A letter was sent to Menomonee Falls parents, saying nothing has indicated that there is a threat to the school on Friday, which is the day the rumor has targeted.

In cooperation with the Menomonee Falls Police Department, any concerns about specific students have been investigated through interviews with students and families, locker searches and media monitoring, according to the School District.

"While we intend to be visible and vigilant on Friday we do intend to continue with classes," reads a letter sent to parents from Menomonee Falls High School Principal Corey Golla. "As a parent you have every right to keep your children home on Friday."

The letter also asks parents to tell their children that providing false information will result in serious consequences at school and with police.

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New DPW Director settles into new role in Germantown

8:13 a.m. | Germantown — The Germantown Department of Public Works has a new leader.

Larry Ratayczak started in the position Aug. 31, replacing Dan Ludwig, who retired from the post mid-June. He brings a varied background in construction, engineering and utilities to the role, for which Village Administrator Dave Schornack said he thinks will be a good fit.

"He really has a great background for this job that gives him a unique perspective," said Schornack, of Ratayczak, who will oversee engineering, the water and sewer utility and buildings and grounds. Much of his first week in the role was spent touring various village facilities and grounds.

"I like to have roles that have a lot of different things going on," Ratayczak said. "I think this really will be a good fit for everyone involved."

A licensed professional engineer, Ratayczak has experience as a consulting engineer as well as a background in construction services and management. In addition, he has worked in project management and most recently vacated his post as the DPW director for the city of West Bend.

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Popular Menomonee Falls day care celebrates 40 years

Sept. 03, 2015 1:18 p.m. | Menomonee Falls —All of the must-have gadgets and gizmos may not have been available then. There weren't as many baby specialty stores that lured new parents into buying the most expensive swing or pack n play.

A lot has changed in the baby, toddler and preschool realm in the last 40 years, but according to Menomonee Falls resident and lifelong educator Phyllis Waters, what is really important has remained the same.

"As a teacher of young children for the last 70 years, I will say the needs of children have never changed," said Waters. "Children need nurturing, love and safety. So if you're meeting those basic needs, there is no reason to change how you're doing it."

These were among the foundational beliefs that played an active role as Waters worked with to other local educators in 1975 to establish Children's Community Center, which has since evolved into a full-service day care that serves more than 400 families.

"I was just thinking about how many things are exactly the same as when we started 40 years ago," Waters said. "There is the same school format, the same educational component, and we are unique in that as a center we have a special summer program."

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Phase one of Donges Bay Road project complete in Germantown

Sept. 03, 2015 12:28 p.m. | Germantown — As road construction season winds to a close, it is not certain yet whether one of the projects the village slated for this year will be completed.

Construction work was completed earlier this summer on Riversbend Lane or Rivercrest Drive, and the highly anticipated first phase of Donges Bay Road was completed in recent weeks.

A combination of pulverization and overlay and full construction was completed on about a mile of Donges Bay Road between Division and Pilgrim Road in 2015, to be followed by a second phase of work in 2016.

Phase two will include reconstruction between Pilgrim Road and Fond du Lac Avenue, in line with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's construction of a roundabout at the intersection of Donges Bay Road and Fond du Lac Avenue.

The project was split over two years to ease the impact on the village budget, Village Engineer Brionne Bischke explained.

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Initial Reaction Podcast: Just how much of a chance do the Wisconsin Badgers have?

Sept. 03, 2015 12:00 p.m. | JP and JR discuss the upcoming Wisconsin-Alabama game and ponder if the Badgers have a chance to shock the college football universe, plus a boatload of reaction to the second week of the football season, including big wins for Catholic Memorial and Franklin.

Updated week three rankings of area prep football teams and players

Sept. 03, 2015 10:20 a.m. | Push for the playoffs is a detailed weekly breakdown of the teams and players in the Lake Country and suburban Milwaukee prep football scene.

4 Things You Need to know about the changes to your trash pickup in Germantown

Sept. 03, 2015 9:54 a.m. | Germantown — Trash pickup is getting overhauled for Germantown residents.

This month, all residents will receive notice from Waste Management that 96-gallon garbage containers will be delivered. After months of discussion, the Village Board last month approved changing from manual to automated garbage collection, in line with automated recycling.

Here is what you need to know about the changes:

1) The size.

The 96-gallon containers will be delivered to all residents unless a special request is made by anyone who would prefer to have a 64-gallon container. A postcard will be provided with the mailing, and must be returned to Waste Management before the deadline to request the smaller container.

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Old Town Inn to reopen Friday as Old Town Beer Hall in Germantown

Sept. 01, 2015 12:21 p.m. | Old Town Beer Hall, formerly known as Old Town Inn, in Germantown recently underwent a $75,000 month-long renovation and will reopen on Friday, owners Chaz Hastings and Josh Neureuther said.

The beer hall concept is a tweak to the business model the owners have implemented at the location that for years was known as Jerry's Old Town Inn, which first opened in the 1970s at N116 W15841 Main St. in Germantown.

The renovations included new bench style seating, hand-painted murals, signage, liter glassware, an authentic German menu and much more. "The work was done to bring back a more social and authentically German atmosphere all year round," the owners said.

Old Town Beer Hall will offer Hofbrau and Weihenstephan biers, German cuisine and live music, the owners said.

Germantown ACT scores second highest in 12 years

Sept. 01, 2015 9:58 a.m. | Germantown — It's that time of year again. ACT scores have been released, and the Germantown School District has again outpaced the state average.

Wisconsin had the second-highest ACT scores in the country, and Germantown scored more than a whole point higher than average.

A total of 267, or about 85 percent, of graduating Germantown seniors students took the ACT in 2014-15, earning a composite score of 23.8. The score is up 0.6 points over last year, and is the second highest in the last 12 years.

"We have dedicated teachers at all grade levels who work relentlessly to meet the needs of all students," said Director of Teaching and Learning Brenda O'Brien. "We have families who are very supportive of and actively involved in the education of their children."

In the future, O'Brien said the district plans to continue to building upon its success.

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More changes in store for Pilgrim Road near Highway 41/45

Sept. 01, 2015 9:48 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — The good news is the Pilgrim Road on ramp to northbound Highway 41/45 is set to reopen for the first time since May. The bad news is the offramp to northbound Pilgrim Road will now be closed.

The on ramp will open at 8 p.m. Sept. 2, and the offramp will close at 5 a.m. Sept. 3.

Construction on the main thoroughfare has taken the majority of the summer, including a variety of traffic pattern changes and ramp closures.

The offramp is scheduled to reopen in late fall of 2015. Until then, the signed detour takes drivers to the Main Street exit, then west to Pilgrim Road.

The existing long term closures of the northbound US 41/45 off-ramp to southbound Pilgrim Road and the southbound US 41/45 off-ramp to Pilgrim Road will remain in effect.

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Menomonee Falls swimmers second in Northstar Invitational

Sept. 01, 2015 9:13 a.m. | Using its depth to great advantage, the Menomonee Falls/Sussex Hamilton girls swimming team finished a strong second in the seven-school Waukesha North Northstar Invite on Aug. 26.

"It was a big meet for us," said coach Kelsey Ogle. "... The meet was very very close and came down to the last few events, and we were able to get second. This was huge for our team, and we definitely have this program going in the right direction."

The Indians will now be off until their Greater Metro Conference opening dual on Thursday, Sept. 10, against DSHA.

Falls/Hamilton scored 617 points for its spot in the North meet as the host school (a co-op with Kettle Moraine) won with 709, and Oconomowoc was third with 610.

The North pool is measured out in meters as opposed to the traditional yards, so times were much slower in comparison, but Ogle liked the competitive nature of the team at the event.

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Sept. 01, 2015 9:08 a.m. |


The Indian boys and girls got their seasons off to a positive start with strong finishes at their own Falls Grade Level Challenge at Rotary Park on Aug. 27.

Coach Tom Shannon said both the girls and the boys will be very young this season but show great opportunity for improvement.

For the boys, the top individual finish came in the freshmen/sophomore race as sophomore Tom Goihlwas fourth out of well over 100 runners on the 5,000-meter course in 18 minutes, four seconds. Freshman Logan Hipps was seventh in that race at 18:34 and freshman Braden Herveywas 16th (19:21.9).

In the junior/senior race, senior Tyler Smalley, the only returning starter from last year's first seven, was 18th in 17:44 while senior Jayce Kolinskiwas 24th (17:52). Other good efforts included junior Josh Ebnerturning in a 19:03 time.

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Germantown native works hard, gains experience at Arlington research station

Aug. 31, 2015 10:58 a.m. | Germantown — Before this summer, University of Wisconsin-Madison junior Troy Valle's closest experience to being on a farm was operating the family lawn mower.

A few short months later, Valle said he has operated just about every tractor in Arlington, where he has spent the last several months working on an insect monitoring project that sends him into the fields to gather data from varying types of insect traps.

"I hadn't so much as stepped foot on a farm before," said Valle, who grew up in Germantown. "Now I'm experienced at walking fields and identifying potential insect and weed problems."

The internship is one of several practical internship experiences offered to undergraduate students in the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences program. Valle's internship was split between the Arlington Agricultural Research Station and a research lab at UW-Madison, where he observed pesticide resistance, specifically in Colorado potato beetles.

"It has been a great pleasure having Troy as part of our program, which is aimed at taking the classroom lessons and bringing them into the real world," said Jeff Breuer, assistant superintendent for the Arlington Agricultural Research Station. "These experiences are irreplaceable and offer valuable additional learning that is so important to a student's education."

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Turnovers do in Menomonee Falls football team in loss to Superior

Aug. 31, 2015 10:23 a.m. | It was a fun day for the Menomonee Falls football team on its road trip to D.C. Everest on Aug. 28 to play Superior in a nonconference game.


The road trip began well with a nice lunch at Subway and a side trip up to UW-Stevens Point to visit the Pointer football team, which has a few Falls alumni on it. Then on a rainy day, the officials at Everest let the Indians warm-up in the Evergreens' spacious field house.

And even after a shaky start against Superior, which included a fumble return for a TD, the Indians found their footing fairly quickly, scoring three unanswered TDs in the first half for a 20-7 lead.

It was still 20-10 heading into the fourth.

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Get interesting prep football tidbits and insights with 'First and Short' blog

Aug. 28, 2015 1:03 p.m. | Keep an eye on JR Radcliffe's new blog, "First and Short," for fresh takes on prep football in Lake Country and the Milwaukee suburbs.

School District of Menomonee Falls happy with ACT results

Aug. 28, 2015 10:28 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — Wisconsin has the second-highest ACT scores in the country, and the School District of Menomonee Falls scored well above that.

A total of 316, or 77 percent, of graduating Falls seniors students took the ACT in 2014-15, earning a composite score of 23.5.

"We are pleased that the hard work of our students and staff is paying off. Along with our record Advanced Placement test participation and performance, we continue to raise the bar on education in Menomonee Falls," said Corey Colla, principal at Menomonee Falls High School.

The state composite score is 22.1, with a participation rate of 63 percent of public graduates, according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Nationally, 59 percent of graduates took the ACT with a composite score of 21.

"Our teachers have done tremendous work the last four years to align assessments and units with the ACT college and career readiness standards," said Director of Curriculum and Learning Gary Kiltz. "We are deeply committed to preparing our students for college and their careers."

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