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Parents, school leaders dissect Falls music program

June 13, 2013 10:45 a.m. | The music department at the Menomonee Falls School District was dissected in a workshop Wednesday that involved parents, teachers, administration and school board members.

The group of selected individuals sat at a table to discuss ways to maintain music programming as the School District was forced to cut $2.4 million from its 2013-14 budget and looks to cut another $2 million the following year as state aid fails to pace with inflation, said Superintendent Pat Greco.

Orchestra is on the list of things that may be cut for the 2014-15 school year and prompted the School Board's Curriculum and Learning Committee to call a music work session that gave an in-depth look at the department. The workshop was also a way for interested parties to generate ideas on how to maintain music programming despite fiscal constraints.

"We have a very difficult couple of years coming up financially," said Committee Chair David Noshay.

One idea the district will pursue is creative scheduling at the elementary and middle school, an idea brought forth by parent Barb Nienow. She said there are ways that cuts can be made by looking at scheduling and teaching all the music courses more efficiently.

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Menomonee Falls employees, district to see slight increase to premiums

11:55 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — A better-than-anticipated year for health insurance claims could help reduce a structural deficit as planning begins on the 2015-16 budget in the School District of Menomonee Falls.

The board approved continuing with the same health care plan design as it had in calendar year 2014, incorporating a cost-sharing increase of 2.6 percent to both the district and active participants, as well as a 10 percent increase to retirees who remain on the grandfathered district plan. The plan design itself will not be changing, so the only impact to district employees and retirees will be in the premium increases.

Also discussed in a special meeting on Monday, Sept. 29, was a $445,000 surplus that went unused in the prior plan year. While Director of Human Resources Christiane Standlee originally suggested the board carry the money over into the health care portion of the 2015-16 budget, the board will not make a final decision on how to allocate those funds until it is farther along in the budget process for next year.

"That will become a leverage item on your sheet as we work toward the next budget," School Board President Faith VanderHorst explained to the board, at the regular board meeting on Monday, Sept. 22.

Since 2011, Standlee said an actuarial study indicates there has been a 17 percent cost transfer to employees from the district, which Director of Business Services Jeff Gross said has resulted in a 30 percent savings to the district.

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Enter Halloween contest to win tickets to Legends & Lore

9:39 a.m. | Halloween is creeping up, and that means it's time to see and hear about your favorite Halloween haunts.

If you do, you have a chance to enjoy haunted walks, spooky stories and crafts plus folklore from Wisconsin's past with free tickets to Halloween Legends & Lore at Old World Wisconsin in Eagle on Oct. 11, 18, 25 and 31.

Here's what you need to do to be entered into a giveaway for one adult and one child admission:

Post a photo of you in your best Halloween costume or share your favorite place to go to for a Halloween fright. You can enter on Twitter or Instagram, but either way, you must include the hashtag #HalloweenWI in your post.

Deadline to enter is noon Thursday, Oct. 9. Four winners of one adult and one child admission each will be selected and notified Friday, Oct. 10.

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Masked men with weapons attack Germantown tavern

Sept. 29, 2014 3:03 p.m. | Germantown — The Washington County Sheriff's Office is investigating an armed robbery at the Last Stop Saloon in the town of Germantown early Monday, Sept. 29.

Shortly after 1 a.m., a 27-year-old Hartford man was confronted by multiple men that were wearing masks and carrying firearms as he exited the tavern, according to a news release. The group of men escorted the Hartford man back into the bar, according to the release, at which time the suspects also confronted the 21-year-old Hartford woman who was bartending.

Several of the suspects then proceeded into an attached apartment and woke up three additional residents, including a 32 year-old male, a 21 year-old female and a 4-year-old child, according to the release.

Located at N132W19179 Rockfield Road, the tavern was then ransacked and an undetermined amount of cash was taken. The victims were then escorted into the basement where several of them were tied up and the suspects fled, the release said.

There were not additional customers in the bar at the time of the incident, and no one was hurt.

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Masked men rob Germantown bar

Sept. 29, 2014 11:32 a.m. | A group of masked men armed with guns robbed a Germantown tavern and an attached apartment early Monday, stealing cash and tying some of the victims up in a basement.

The robbery was reported just after 1 a.m. at the Last Stop Saloon on Rockfield Road, according to a Washington County Sheriff's Office news release.

A 27-year-old Hartford man left the bar and was confronted by the masked men, who forced him back into the bar where the group then approached the bartender, a 21-year-old Hartford woman.

Several of the suspects also went into the attached apartment and woke up the residents — a 32-year-old man, 21-year-old woman and 4-year-old child — before ransacking tavern and apartment. The suspects took the victims to the basement and tied up several of them. They fled with an undetermined amount of cash.

No one was hurt in the robbery, and the investigation is ongoing, officials said Monday. Anyone with information is asked to call the Washington County Sheriff's Office at (262) 335-4378.

Preps football photos of the week: Sept. 26

Sept. 26, 2014 10:40 p.m. | Big conference games were a big part of high school football as the season continued in Week 6 on Sept. 26.

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 6.

BMO Harris Bank robbery results in car, foot chase

Sept. 26, 2014 10:00 a.m. | Germantown — Area police are still looking for a suspect in connection to a bank robbery that occurred last week at BMO Harris Bank, W156 N11150 Pilgrim Road.

Police responded to the scene after the call came in at 4:48 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25.

A Germantown police officer located the suspect vehicle shortly after the robbery was reported and pursued the vehicle into the city of Mequon, according to a news release. The chase ended in a single vehicle crash, after which two suspects fled the vehicle on foot.

Officers were immediately able to detain one of the suspects, but the second one was arrested without contest as of about 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26.

The suspects were not armed, and there were no reported injuries.

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Proposed Waukesha County budget keeps property taxes flat

Sept. 24, 2014 4:29 p.m. | Total Waukesha County government spending in 2015 would drop $3 million from this year, to $279.1 million, under a 2015 budget proposed by County Executive Dan Vrakas.

The county's general property tax levy needed to pay more than one-third of projected expenditures would increase slightly less than 1% to $100.49 million for 2015, up $987,100 from the county levy this year, according to budget documents.

Since property values rose about 3% countywide as of Jan. 1 this year, county government can cut its tax rate to generate the higher levy for 2015.

The proposed rate drops seven cents to $2.08 per $1,000 of equalized value. Most homeowners will see no change in the county's portion of their December tax bill.

Though the median home value rose to $246,300 as of Jan. 1, up $7,400, the owner of that home would pay $512 for the county portion of the 2015 tax bill, the same amount as this year. The tax bill impact on specific properties will vary depending on local assessments and changes in property values.

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Auction for YMCAs called off after no new bidders emerge

Sept. 22, 2014 6:31 p.m. | No new bidders emerged for the four YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee centers the organization plans to sell as part of its bankruptcy proceedings, so an auction set for next week has been canceled, agency officials announced Monday.

No new qualified bidders to submitted offers by a deadline of 5 p.m. Monday, according to a statement issued by the Y.

The next step is for a court hearing Sept. 30 to consider approval of the existing offer to purchase the Southwest Y in Greenfield, Tri-County in Menomonee Falls and West Suburban in Wauwatosa by the YMCA of Central Waukesha County for $7 million in cash at closing, plus a possible $1 million more based on earnings in the next two years.

At that time the court will also consider the offer by the Kettle Moraine YMCA to purchase the Feith Family Ozaukee YMCA in Saukville for $2 million cash at closing.

"The process has reaffirmed that the offers from the Waukesha and Kettle Moraine Y's represent the fair value of these properties," said Julie Tolan, president and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee.

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Small plane crashes in Lannon

Sept. 22, 2014 12:16 p.m. | A small plane has crashed near Lannon and Good Hope Roads in the village of Lannon, according to the Waukesha County Sheriff dispatch and multiple media reports.

Authorities on the scene of where an ultralight aircraft may have had an emergency landing near the Bug Line Recreational Trail.

Some reports have said the plane crashed into some trees.

Preps football photos of the week: Sept. 19

Sept. 19, 2014 11:22 p.m. | Big conference games and intercity rivalries were a big part of high school football as the season continued in Week 5 on Sept. 19.

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 5.

Big plays help Falls fly past rival Hamilton

Sept. 19, 2014 10:54 p.m. | Bryce McMurtry said he didn't notice the helicopter. He was too busy flying down the field himself.

The Menomonee Falls quarterback found a seam and sprinted 79 yards for a touchdown, finally breaking a scoreless deadlock early in the third quarter with local rival Sussex Hamilton. With a news helicopter overhead capturing the scene, Falls procured its first points of the game and emerged with a 13-3 victory that put Hamilton's back against the wall in the race for a playoff spot.

"We sent a guy in motion and they're thinking that's the way it's going each time," McMurtry said. "Our linemen made a great hole for me to run through, and I just accelerated through."

It was one of two big plays Falls needed to eke past an otherwise stingy Hamilton defense. On the first play of the fourth quarter, McMurtry lofted a 53-yard touchdown pass to Brady Schneider, accounting for the night's final points.

"Our defense was doing a good job," McMurtry said. "It was 0-0 (at halftime), we had them right where we wanted to. We just had to put some points on the board at that point."

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Kohl's announces holiday hiring plans

Sept. 18, 2014 10:42 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — Kohl's Department stores is seeking to hire more than 67,000 associates nationwide this holiday season to support seasonal business in stores as well as growth in online shopping at Kohls.com.

Kohl's anticipates hiring an average of 50 associates per store, according to a news release, in addition to 9,300 seasonal positions at distribution centers across the country and approximately 670 seasonal credit operations positions.

Hiring began this month, and most jobs will be filled by mid-November. Holiday positions are also being filled at the company's distribution centers, where hiring began in August.

Associates working at distribution centers help ensure Kohl's products get to the retail stores and into the hands of Kohls.com customers, according to the release.

"Kohl's is building a winning team by hiring more than 67,000 seasonal associates across the country to ensure we sustain the great service our customers know and have come to expect," said Richard Schepp, Kohl's senior executive vice president, human resources and general counsel."By adding these associates, Kohl's will continue to deliver an enjoyable and convenient shopping experience to all our valued customers, whether they choose to shop in store or online at Kohls.com this holiday season."

Hassless Mattress opens 4 worker-less retail outlets

Sept. 17, 2014 4:06 p.m. | Hassless Mattress, a retail business spun out of the Penny Mustard furniture chain, has opened four Milwaukee-area stores with an unusual twist — no employees are on hand to staff the locations.

The outlets open and close remotely, and are fitted with security cameras that can be monitored over the Internet. The shops are stocked with mattress that customers can order from a computer or by phone. The firm delivers from a warehouse in Greendale.

The business model is somewhat similar to that of laundromats, but is being used to sell a product rather than a service. One decades-long observer of the mattress industry said he'd never heard of anything like it.

Running the business is Weston Huth, a nephew of Penny Mustard owners Arvid and Ben Huth. The three men are co-owners of Hassless Mattress.

The stores are at 7740 W. Layton Ave., Greenfield; 18110 W Blue Mound Road, Town of Brookfield; 11018 N Port Washington Road, Mequon; and W188-N10707 Maple Road, Germantown.

Habitat for Humanity Opens ReStore in Germantown

Sept. 17, 2014 11:23 a.m. | Germantown — A new store in Germantown is bringing a sense of community full circle.

Habitat for Humanity of Washington and Dodge counties recently opened a furniture resale shop called ReStore in the former home of Barewood Furniture along Highway 41/45.

Joining sister stores in Beaver Dam and West Bend, the store features everything from furniture to construction materials, which Habitat for Humanity Marketing Facilitator Eric Oliver said brings life to their international mission, "a world where everyone has a decent place to live."

"It is our goal to help provide affordable housing for people who need it," Oliver said. "Just because Menomonee Falls and Germantown might be thought of as more affluent communities doesn't mean there is not a need for low cost, affordable places to live."

The store, which Oliver said will become a central hub, takes donations of items from the community, which its staff of mostly volunteers sell back to the community at competitive prices that all benefit Habitat for Humanity.

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Plans confirmed for modern industrial development in Menomonee Falls

Sept. 15, 2014 8:39 p.m. | Menomonee Falls — It will not be ChemWorks, but something new could soon be developed at the former concrete block manufacturing plant at N5998 Lilly Road.

As part of the now-approved improvements in what has become the village's 12th tax-incremental financing district, the controversial 21.6-acre parcel will most likely become home to a light manufacturing business sometime in the next couple of years.

Though hundreds of neighboring residents turned out at several village meetings to protest the development of the waste water treatment plant proposal, the TIF plan made it through the approval process with almost no objections.

The village board, on Sept. 15, approved the project plan for TIF No. 12 along the east and west sides of Lilly Road, north of Silver Spring Drive in the Manhardt Drive area.

Trustee Jeremy Walz was the lone vote against the plan, questioning the need to include the land to the west of Lilly Road in the plans, which calls for rezoning the majority of the 107.5 acres from heavy industrial to light industrial to facilitate the development of up to seven businesses.

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