Semifinalists emerge in Battle of the Burbs bracket contest

March 29, 2012 2:20 p.m. | Four communities have advanced to the penultimate round of MyCommunityNOW's Battle of the Burbs bracket contest.

Top-seeded Wauwatosa handily defeated Franklin, 64-36, to earn a semifinal match up with No. 4 seed Waukesha. Waukesha earned its spot with a 52-48 victory over No. 2 Mequon-Thiensville.

Brookfield, a No. 1 seed, posted a 56-44 victory over Muskego and will face New Berlin in the semifinals. Second-seeded New Berlin advanced with a 63-37 rout of Shorewood.

Semifinal voting in the NCAA-style tournament continues for a week and pits suburbs against each other in a single-elimination showdown to determine the best community in the area.

Three lucky voters will win Visa gift cards and the winning community will receive a special proclamation from MyCommunityNOW and NOW Newspapers.

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City faces $1.25M budget gap

March 28, 2012 10:58 a.m. | The city is looking at a $1.25 million budget gap for 2013.

While the number is high, it's half the size of the budget gap the city faced as it received its early budget forecasts for this year.

"While the budget gap is significant, it is not insurmountable," John Ruggini, city finance director, told the Budget and Finance Committee on Tuesday.

However, closing budget gaps becomes more difficult each year one exists because the easier and most obvious options for closing a gap likely already have been implemented, he added.

Ruggini presented the first look at what it would cost to continue existing city services in 2013. He used 10 years of city financial data to forecast next year's budget picture and made the assumption that the national economy continues slow but consistent recovery through 2013 with interest rates remaining flat.

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Joe and Jennifer Bartolotta win library foundation's Leadership Award

March 27, 2012 6:20 p.m. | Joe Bartolotta, president and owner of The Bartolotta Restaurants, and his wife, Jennifer, have been named the 2012 Leadership Award recipients by the Wauwatosa Public Library Foundation.

Although most people are more familiar with Joe, the award also pays tribute to Jennifer, who works in the family business as director of strategic partnerships. Together, the couple founded the company's philanthropic arm, Care-a-lottas.

Jennifer is an executive board member for the Wisconsin Humane Society, TEMPO Milwaukee and Schools that Can Milwaukee. Joe sits on the boards of many local organizations and actively supports Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and St. Marcus School.

The duo will be honored with the Arthur B. Kohasky Leadership Award on April 19 during the Wauwatosa Public Library Leadership Luncheon at the Crowne Plaza. For tickets, call (414) 471-8487.

Author and Wisconsin native James Bradley will provide the keynote address during this 10th annual event, which celebrates the important role the library plays in the community. Bradley has written best-selling books "Flags of Our Fathers," "Flyboys" and "The Imperial Cruise." "Flags of Our Fathers" was released as a movie in 2007 and is a companion film to the Academy Award-nominated "Letters from Iwo Jima."

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Mayoral forum live blog

March 26, 2012 3:52 p.m. | WauwatosaNOW will be live-blogging tonight as mayoral candidates Peter Donegan and Kathy Ehley face off in a forum from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Civic Center Auditorium at City Hall, 7725 W. North Ave.

You can also participate on Twitter by including #TosaMayor in your tweets.

Alderman Peter Donegan and Kathy Ehley, executive director of the Village Business Improvement District, will provide comments and answer questions about issues facing Wauwatosa. The audience will have a chance to pose questions to the candidates.

Wauwatosa NOW, the League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County and the Wauwatosa Chamber of Commerce will sponsor the forum. The league, a non-partisan civic organization, will provide the moderator and each sponsoring organization will provide questions for the candidates.

Editor's Note: A few questions were asked by participants in the live blog that weren't able to be asked at the forum, due to time constraints. The candidates have been gracious enough to answer them for us here.

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MMSD approves $500,000 for Wauwatosa private sewer work

March 26, 2012 12:18 p.m. | The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District's commission on Monday approved paying $500,000 of the cost of lining private sanitary sewer laterals at 135 homes in two Wauwatosa neighborhoods.

The work is being done to reduce leaks of storm water into residential laterals that drain to municipal sanitary sewer mains. Excess storm water during heavy rains can fill sewer mains quickly and cause sewage to backup into basements.

Wauwatosa has offered to pay the full cost of lining the laterals as part of a pilot project. Work will be done this summer along three blocks of N. 65th St., from W. North Ave. to W. Clarke St., and two blocks of Eagle St., between N. 80th St. and Wauwatosa Ave.

More than 85% of property owners in the two east side neighborhoods have agreed to participate in the project, Public Works Director Bill Porter said. If the fix keeps a significant volume of storm water out of the sewer mains, the city might recommend this method to homeowners in other neighborhoods.

Cost of the lateral work is estimated at $1.22 million, or $9,000 for each residence.

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Tosa mayor candidates will answer your questions at Monday's forum

March 23, 2012 8:56 a.m. | Wauwatosa mayoral candidates Peter Donegan and Kathy Ehley will face off in a forum from 7 to 8:30 p.m. March 26 in the Civic Center Auditorium at City Hall, 7725 W. North Ave.

Alderman Peter Donegan and Kathy Ehley, executive director of the Village Business Improvement District, will provide comments and answer questions about issues facing Wauwatosa. The audience will have a chance to pose questions to the candidates.

Wauwatosa NOW, the League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County and the Wauwatosa Chamber of Commerce will sponsor the forum. The league, a non-partisan civic organization, will provide the moderator and each sponsoring organization will provide questions for the candidates.

Tosa considers two new local historic designations

March 20, 2012 10:52 p.m. | The city's Historic Preservation Commission has its sights on the Muellner Building and the Rockway/Brookside neighborhood for local historic designation.

The Muellner Building was built as a federal Works Progress Administration project in the 1930s with the intent of providing a community center for Wauwatosa. Significant financial contributions came from the Wauwatosa Curling Club and the American Legion.

Today, the Hart Park Senior Center and the curling club operate from the building. The city also rents out space there for parties, meetings and community events.

"It's a great piece of history," said Brian Faltinson, commission chairman.

The proposed designation as a historic place - expected to be before the Common Council for approval in May - means that the commission would review any design changes proposed for the building in the future.

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DSW shopper arrested for previous store thefts

March 20, 2012 3:38 p.m. | A 54-year-old Milwaukee woman found out the hard way not to shop where she had been known to steal as police arrested her in the parking lot of DSW, 2265 N. Mayfair Rd. at 2:51 p.m. March 18.

According to the police report:

Store employees called police when the woman came to the store and bought a purse after she was recognized for stealing items on three other occasions last November and December. The value of the items stolen on Nov. 3, Dec. 2 and Dec. 23, totaled $742.75.

As police pulled up to question the woman in the parking lot, she exclaimed, "I did not steal (expletive)!"

The woman remained loudly confrontational, giving false ID information and then saying, "I'm going to return the (expletive) purse!"

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Milwaukee driver arrested for sixth OWI

March 20, 2012 2:52 p.m. | A 29-year-old Milwaukee woman was arrested for her sixth OWI offense for abusing prescription drugs after she was found slumped over her steering wheel in the 7200 block of W. Center St. at 5:17 p.m. March 17.

According to the police report:

A 911 caller alerted police and paramedics to the scene, where the woman was passed out in the car stopped at a 45-degree angle with the engine running.

The woman told police she had prescriptions for Alprazolam and Oxycodene for an existing pain condition. Though she told police she had taken one of each earlier in the day, they determined from the amount of pills in recently filled prescription bottles that the amount was higher.

She failed a field sobriety test. A blood draw was performed with results pending.

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63rd Street home suffers basement fire

March 17, 2012 10:36 p.m. | The home at 2409 N. 63rd St. suffered severe smoke damage after a basement fire Saturday evening.

According to a statement released by Fire Chief Rob Ugaste:

The home's owner was home alone at the time of the fire and was able to get out of the house before fire crews arrived.

Firefighters encountered heavy smoke when the entered the home, and smoke could be seen coming from the second-story windows. However, they were able to contain the fire to the basement.

The home owner was taken to Froedert Hospital for evaluation.

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Police stop man for speeding, make pot bust

March 14, 2012 2:42 p.m. | A 21-year-old Franklin man was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to sell after police allegedly found 94.48 grams of the drug and $2,200 in his vehicle March 5.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

The man was driving west on Burleigh and was stopped for speeding in the 12300 block about 1 a.m. March 5. A total of 64.99 grams of marijuana was found in a jar while the rest was stashed in four plastic bags. The cash was found in a sealed envelope.

Police said the value of the marijuana, could only be determined depending on the drug's quality which was not known at the time of the arrest.

Police also found a receipt in the car indicating that the man had been released Jan. 18 from Milwaukee County Jail, where he had been held after a drug possession arrest.

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Event planners may have to pay for police in Wauwatosa

March 14, 2012 1:18 p.m. | The Wauwatosa Police Department has spent more than $9,000 on overtime to oversee politically motivated gatherings in a year's time.

Police presence and crowd control were provided for events that supported Gov. Scott Walker, as well as those that pushed for his recall. In each case, no reimbursement was provided.

The Community Development Committee on Tuesday recommended changing an ordinance so the city can recoup similar costs in the future. The issue will go to the entire Common Council for a vote at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall.

The city requires organizers of parades, charity runs and other activities that take place on roadways to apply for a permit from the Police Department. Police Chief Barry Weber then determines staffing levels and overtime costs based on the area that will need patrolling and projected attendance.

The proposed changes would expand the rules to special events on public and private property.

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Grandma busted for drunken driving with toddler in car

March 14, 2012 8:19 a.m. | Grandmothers tend to conjure up thoughts of love and protection. Driving drunk with a 1-year-old grandson in the backseat is not part of that heart-warming image.

But that's what a 50-year-old Racine woman is accused of doing after she left Red Lobster on Mayfair Road last week.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

Carmen Taylor has been charged with misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct, driving with a revoked license and drunken driving with a child in the vehicle.

Restaurant management called police after Taylor allegedly got intoxicated and used obscenities with the waitstaff during her meal. They were worried as she put the little boy into the vehicle and got into the driver's seat at 3:42 p.m. March 5.

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Man accused of ignoring police warning and driving drunk anyway

March 14, 2012 6:32 a.m. | A 58-year-old Brookfield man apparently was so sure he was fine to drive that he got behind the wheel despite a warning from cops and the fact that a designated driver was on her way to pick him up.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

Staff at Mo's Irish Pub refused to continue serving the man and his friend after they became highly intoxicated and disruptive. As they got into a vehicle at 2:37 a.m. Saturday, bar employees called police.

Officers arrived before he had pulled out of the parking lot. To convince him he was too drunk to drive, he was given a breath test. His blood-alcohol content was 0.21.

The man called his wife, who said she'd be at the restaurant to pick him up in 10 minutes. Then he thanked police for the help and officers left.

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Women use knife, bat in fight over a man

March 13, 2012 8:40 p.m. | Two women - one armed with a knife, the other with a bat - fought in the front yard of a Wauwatosa home Sunday.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

Two Milwaukee women, ages 21 and 26, showed up at a home in the 2300 block of 95th Street at 4 p.m. Sunday looking for a 22-year-old woman who lives in the home. While the mother tried to get them to leave, the Wauwatosa woman armed herself with a kitchen knife and headed into the yard.

She confronted the visitors - who had come to fight after an exchange of heated texts about a man - and told them to leave. The older woman grabbed an aluminum baseball bat from her vehicle and handed it to her friend. The friend struck the Wauwatosa woman in the head.

In response, the Wauwatosa woman lunged with the knife, cutting the 21-year-old woman's shirt and leaving marks on her chest.

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Drunken woman arrested for trespassing, spitting on officers

March 13, 2012 8:28 p.m. | A 30-year-old Milwaukee woman got drunk, broke into a Wauwatosa home and spit on officers who arrested her early Saturday morning.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

A resident of the 2300 block of North 72nd Street was watching over the home of his honeymooning neighbors when he noticed clothing, dog food and mail strewn across the lawn. When he went to check it out, he found a highly intoxicated woman screaming about someone being killed.

She left before police arrived, but officers found her stumbling along 69th Street at 2:30 a.m. March 10. She couldn't recall what had transpired that night and became belligerent. As an officer arrested her for trespassing, she tried to kick him in the groin. She spit on one officer's shirt and in the other's face. Then she proceeded to spit about 25 times around the prisoner compartment of the squad car.

In addition to trespassing, she was arrested for discharging bodily fluids on police officers.

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Men pepper-sprayed after jewelry deal in food court goes bad

March 13, 2012 5:48 p.m. | Two men got pepper-sprayed near the restrooms in the Mayfair food court after a jewelry sale went bad Saturday.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

Two Milwaukee men, ages 26 and 34, were waiting in line to buy food when they were approached by a 68-year-old Milwaukee man, who asked if they were interested in buying jewelry. They moved to the area outside the restrooms, where one of the potential buyers slipped on a ring.

When he didn't pay, an argument ensued and the seller started feeling threatened. He sprayed the men and took off.

When the seller was found, he was intoxicated. His criminal record showed 46 past arrests.

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Scout project lets you dedicate a North Avenue flag to a loved one

March 13, 2012 2:58 p.m. | The opportunity to honor military personnel and other members of the community made a new program involving the flags along North Avenue an attractive Eagle Scout project to Matt Barrett.

The sophomore at Wauwatosa West High School and member of Boy Scout Troop 111 has taken on a project that was the brainchild of the Kiwanis Club and former alderman Richard Bachman.

Community members are invited to buy a flag to dedicate to a veteran or other person, and the flag will be displayed on a light pole between 76th and 124th streets along North Avenue before being given to the purchaser as a keepsake.

To buy a flag, send a check for $100 to the Treasurer at City Hall, 7725 W. North Ave., along with your name and contact number. The money will be used to buy a gold flag post - instead of the traditional silver ones - and an American flag with the name of the person being honored on border, the Scout said. Ten dollars of each purchase will be donated to a veterans hospital or veterans charity.

"People can get them in memorial, honor of or in dedication to someone," Matt said. "They will fly for a time, (from) before Memorial Day to after Labor Day."

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Plan Commission gives green light to auto parts store

March 13, 2012 8:56 a.m. | An O'Reilly Auto Parts may not rank as the preferred business to fill the building that formerly housed Blockbuster in East Tosa from the neighborhood residents' standpoint. However, it's a better option than a vacant building, the Plan Commission decided Monday,

After nearly four hours of discussion, the commission unanimously recommended the city grant conditional use to operate the auto parts store at 61st Street and North Avenue.

"I don't think it fits the vision of the community," Commissioner John Albert said. "But it's clearly better than an empty building."

The commission's support came with a few conditions aimed at helping the business better fit the neighborhood. For instance, there was a desire to see more green space by possibly taking out a few of the 40-plus parking spots. Auto repair in the parking lot would be prohibited.

Other conditions suggested by city staff were dropped, namely requirements to put security cameras on site and share its parking lot with neighboring businesses.

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Get the skinny on Highway 100 road work at March 20 meeting

March 12, 2012 5:22 p.m. | People interested in learning about the plans to improve Mayfair Road between Walnut Road and Burleigh Street can attend a public information meeting March 20.

Representatives of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and consultants from Payne & Dolan will be available from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. March 20 in the Community Room on the lower level of the Mayfair North Tower, 2600 N. Mayfair Road, to talk about the project schedule and access to businesses during construction.

Project goals include creating a smoother riding surface, increasing the road's capacity, increasing the vertical clearance under the Highway 45 bridge and installation of new lighting, signs and pavement markings.

The project is scheduled to be finished by fall so all lanes of traffic will be open prior to the holiday shopping season, DOT officials said.

Child's death spurs leaders to evaluate safety of city's railroad crossings

March 12, 2012 4:23 p.m. | Changes meant to improve pedestrian and driver safety at State Street railroad crossings likely will begin with simple, inexpensive measures, but city officials foresee more substantial efforts in the coming years.

"The city must turn the recent tragedy into an opportunity to improve the safety of this city by making this area as safe as possible," City Administrator James Archambo said. "We can never make any place 100 percent safe, but we intend to do all that we can to move as close as possible to that goal."

He was referring to the death of Joey Kramer, the Longfellow Middle School student who was crossing 68th and State streets when he was hit by a train Feb. 27.

Wauwatosa, state and railroad officials got talks about State Street crossing safety rolling March 7. The meeting was attended by Wisconsin Railroad Commissioner Jeff Plale and his lead investigator, representatives from the Federal Railroad Administration and Canadian Pacific Railroad, staff from State Sen. Leah Vukmir's office and Wauwatosa department heads.

The state Office of the Railroad Commissioner called the meeting to consider safety upgrades for pedestrians and vehicles along the State Street corridor, from Harwood Avenue to 63rd Street.

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Ehley, Donegan square off in March 26 candidate forum

March 12, 2012 4:14 p.m. | Wauwatosa mayoral candidates Peter Donegan and Kathy Ehley will face off in a forum from 7 to 8:30 p.m. March 26 in the Civic Center Auditorium at City Hall.

Alderman Peter Donegan and Kathy Ehley, executive director of the Village Business Improvement District, will provide comments and answer questions about issues facing Wauwatosa. The audience will have a chance to pose questions to the candidates.

Wauwatosa NOW, the League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County and the Wauwatosa Chamber of Commerce will sponsor the forum. The league, a non-partisan civic organization, will provide the moderator and each sponsoring organization will provide questions for the candidates.

Medical College wins $10M to study bleeding disorder

March 12, 2012 4:12 p.m. | A $10 million grant will allow The Medical College of Wisconsin to study Von Willebrand disease, the most common hereditary bleeding disorder.

The money from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Program will be used to research genetic causes of low or abnormal von Willebrand factor, which is necessary for normal blood clotting, according to an MCW news release.

The disease, which affects men and women, is typically mild. But aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs can make the condition worse. The study will determine the clinical and genetic characteristics of a large number of patients as well as carriers of genes for various forms of the disease.

In addition, there are seven primary clinical centers - Milwaukee, Atlanta, Detroit, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Indianapolis and Iowa City - and more than 25 secondary clinical centers throughout the United States that recruit research subjects and send the samples to Wauwatosa for the specialized testing. More than 600 families have been recruited for this project.

Robert R. Montgomery, a professor of pediatrics at the Medical College, senior investigator at the Blood Research Institute and pediatric hematologist at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, is principal investigator for the grant.

Tosa West rallies late, stuns Wisco

March 10, 2012 11:32 p.m. | Wauwatosa West got hot at the right time, scoring the game’s final eight points to upset Wisconsin Lutheran at home, 48-45.
For most of the final quarter, Wisconsin Lutheran was sailing smoothly.
Senior Karynda DuPree rattled off nine consecutive points for the Vikings on a series of post moves, soft-arcing free throws, and even a long-distance three.  Junior floor general Kelsey Frey plucked a pair of steals from the Trojans and was coolly leading the attack. The Vikings led 45-40 with just more than 2 minutes remaining.
At that juncture, West sophomore wing Elise Ditscheit found senior Jenna Lahmann slashing through traffic to make it 45-42. The Trojans then forced the Vikings into three consecutive turnovers.
“We knew defense would be the key,” said junior Jessica Pike. “We knew about their inside scorers and outside shooters. We tried not to foul, and just left everything on the court in case it was our last game.”
With just 0:38 remaining, Ditscheit did it again. The sophomore drove to the hole, got fouled, and buried a pair of free throws to draw West within one point, 45-44.
With 0:25 remaining, Trojans junior forward Latasha Harmon snatched a steal off the wing and slung a pass up the sideline to Pike, who calmly buried a rainbow three.
“That was the play of the game right there,” said West coach Ron Gavinski. “Latasha, if she doesn’t make that play for us, who knows what’s going to happen? And Jessica Pike? For the lead, with under 30 seconds? That’s a big shot anywhere.”
“All I was thinking about was my team getting ahead,” Pike said. “I work on my shot a lot. This seemed like a good time to use it. I took the shot and prayed it went in.”
Suddenly West had the lead for the first time since the third quarter began. A third Vikings turnover, with just 12 seconds remaining, all but sealed the deal. Sophomore Ashley Lindstrom hit one of two free throws for West.
Wisconsin Lutheran’s final three-point attempt to force overtime bounced off the side of the rim, and Tosa West – team and fans alike – erupted.

The teams mirrored one another in talent, makeup and style. For Wisconsin Lutheran, the steady hand of Frey (6 steals, 4 assists), interior finesse of DuPree (20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 blocks), and scoring bursts of sophomore lockdown defender Elise DeNoyer (11 points) were all but negated by the spinning lefty showmanship of West senior guard Jenna Engel (10 points, 5 assists), the toughness and grit of Harmon (6 points, 10 rebounds) and the all-purpose gamesmanship of Ditscheit (14 points, 3 assists).
There were seven lead changes in the first half, never more than five points either way, but the third quarter went to Wisconsin Lutheran. The Vikings outscored the Trojans 13-7, largely on the open court skills of junior Mandy Frey (9 points) and interior work of DuPree.
But  the fourth quarter, at least the chunk of it that mattered most, went to Tosa West.
Next up for West is Whitefish Bay in next Thursday's sectional semifinal.
“We played them once this year and lost by seven,” Gavinski said. “We’re going to need more great team defense, and we’re going to need to hit more big shots. Their coach (Greg) Capper is a good one. It’s going to be a great game. If we work hard, who knows what will happen?"

West girls win big, on to regional final Saturday

March 09, 2012 8:46 p.m. | Wauwatosa West used a big fourth-quarter run to blow out Milwaukee Juneau/Morse-Marshall, 47-25, Friday night at West in a regional semifinal game and now advances to the regional finals at 7 p.m. Saturday at Wisconsin Lutheran.

Leading 30-20 going into the final period, the Trojans went on a 12-2 to put the game away.

First LaTasha Harmon hit two free throws, then Daisha Thompson scored for the Eagles. Then Harmon hit Elise Ditscheit with a perfect pass for a layup and then Ditscheit returned the favor with a breakout pass to Harmon for a fastbreak basket.

Harmon then passed to Jenna Lahmann who nailed a jumper and then Ditscheit hit Lahmann with another pass and the latter hit another long shot. Ditscheit closed it out with a steal and a pass to Jenna Engel for the score and a 42-22 lead with 3:47 left to play.

"Coach told us if we came out and worked hard we would win this game and advance in regionals," Lahmann said.

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Plans for Wauwatosa retail development moving forward

March 09, 2012 7:00 a.m. | A proposal to provide city financing help for The Mayfair Collection, a retail development planned for Wauwatosa's Burleigh Triangle area, is progressing.

The Common Council's Budget & Finance Committee recently met in closed session to discuss negotiations over the financing proposal with Chicago-based HSA Commercial Real Estate Inc., which would develop The Mayfair Collection.

Another closed session is to occur next week, said Paulette Enders, city economic development director. 

The state Open Meetings Law allows local governments to meet in closed session to discuss such negotiations. Any votes must be made in open session. And, so far, city officials haven't yet created a final financing proposal for the Plan Commission and council to consider, Enders said.

"We continue to work with city staff on negotiating our TIF proposal," said Tim Blum, HSA.retail division managing director.

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Washington whips Tosa East boys, 50-36

March 08, 2012 8:20 p.m. | Wauwatosa East dug a deep hole Thursday night, trailing 28-9 at halftime, and dropped a 50-36 decision to Milwaukee Washington in a sectional semifinal game at Waukesha North.

The loss snapped a 3-game winning streak in the post-season for the Red Raiders, who finished with a 16-10 overall record. Washington improved to 20-5 as the Purgolders won their 10th straight game.

The game was over early as Washington raced to a 17-7 first period lead and then held Tosa East scoreless the last 6:45 of the half following a jumper by Diamonte Mckinley.

Even though the Red Raiders held Washington to 11 second-quarter points, they still trailed by 19 at intermission.

To Tosa East's credit, they came out and scored nine straight points to open the second half, as senior Zach Sylvester scored the first five and Nate Moore scored on a layup on a pass from Sylvester and then scored from the right side on a beautiful drive to the past, cutting the lead to 10 points at 28-18 with 5:59 left in the third period.

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Two men wanted for armed robbery arrested in Wauwatosa

March 07, 2012 12:30 p.m. | Two men wanted for an armed robbery in Greenfield were nabbed driving through Wauwatosa last week.

According to police reports:

A Greenfield officer pulled over a vehicle that was riding on two flat tires at 9:49 p.m. Feb. 29. The driver, a 21-year-old Milwaukee man, had a red, swollen eye and said he had been robbed at gunpoint earlier that evening in an alley in the 3800 block of West Howard Avenue.

He had gone to his friend's home in that neighborhood to deliver drugs - Percocet pills and marijuana - to friends, a 22-year-old Greenfield man and a 23-year-old Milwaukee man. They all got into the victim's vehicle at which point the older man put a gun to his head and ordering him into the back of the vehicle. During the drive, the vehicle owner was struck with a pistol. Eventually, they ended up at the older man's Hawley Road home in Milwaukee and the victim was released.

He said he was driving erratically because he was so shaken and blew out the tires on a curb.

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City will collect its own recycling

March 07, 2012 11:24 a.m. | The Public Works Department anticipates saving the city about $120,000 by having its own crews handle curbside recycling collection during the second half of 2012.

The effort comes as Wauwatosa looks at changes to its entire solid waste stream within the next year, Public Works Director Bill Porter said.

On Tuesday, the Common Council approved using city labor and equipment to collect recycling from Wauwatosa homes. The city attorney also was authorized to negotiate a contract with Franklin-based St. John's Disposal to process the city's recyclables at its soon-to-open recycling plant in Norway, Wis.

For the past decade, Wauwatosa has contracted with Waste Management for its curbside recycling collection, hauling and processing. In a good economy, the city received significant rebates on the sale of the recycled materials.

The proposal from St. John's actually increases the revenue on materials per ton by $5 - a significant amount given that 2,623 tons were recycled last year.

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City seeks election poll workers

March 07, 2012 10:50 a.m. | Wauwatosa residents can perform civic service and get paid for their efforts. City Clerk Carla Ledesma is seeking people to work at the polls during elections.

The next election is set for April 3, and there are additional dates set for August and November.

Daylong shifts begin as early as 6:15 a.m. and may last until 9 p.m. For the service, residents are paid $100 per election day and $10 for attending a mandatory training session before an election, she said.

To be eligible, a pollworker must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old and be able to work in a team atmosphere.

"Good handwriting, vision, hearing and attention to detail are a plus," Ledesma said. "This is an important civic activity. Poll workers are an important part of the conduct of open, accurate and fair elections."

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Homeowners to receive new carts as garbage service changes

March 07, 2012 12:30 a.m. | Wauwatosa is preparing for the switch to automated garbage collection by ordering more than 15,000 new garbage carts.

The Common Council on Tuesday authorized spending about $787,000 for new carts made in part from recycled materials, as well as the collection and disposal of the old carts.

"All the residents who don't want to keep their carts can rest assured they will be recycled," said Elizabeth Hilt, management analyst for the city's Public Works Department.

The new carts will fit the automated arm on the new garbage trucks, which should be delivered to the city in June. After a month of training, a driver will cover a route staying in the vehicle while the arm picks up carts, dumps their contents into the back of the truck and returns the empty carts curbside.

The new carts will hold the 96 gallons of waste as the existing garbage carts, Hilt said.

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Medical College receives $1.9 million grant to study concussions

March 06, 2012 5:10 p.m. | The Medical College of Wisconsin will use a $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to study the most effective methods for screening for concussions.

Each year, 1.7 million people experience a concussion - also called a traumatic brain injury - resulting in 2,000 deaths and 275,000 hospitalizations. Concussions are especially prevalent among military forces, leading the U.S. Army to seek neurocognitive assessment tools.

A number of computerized tools have been developed to determine the severity and cognitive effects of concussions, but little data exists on the tools' reliability and validity.

Michael McCrea, director of brain injury research at the Medical College, is the primary investigator of the grant. He will compare four leading assessment tools to measure their reliability in detecting cognitive impairments in both athletes and civilians who have suffered concussions. Additionally, the tests will be evaluated for their value in detecting recovery time so standards for returning to duty post-concussion can be set.

Four females face charges for stealing thousands of dollars in jeans

March 06, 2012 11:46 a.m. | Four females from Milwaukee responsible for stealing thousands of dollars of merchandise from a Mayfair Road clothing shop are expected to be charged with retail theft this week.

According to Wauwatosa Police Department reports:

A 17-year-old girl and three women, ages 18, 19 and 27, were arrested after they used wire snips to remove security tags from new and used designer jeans valued at $848 at Hollywood Threadz, 801 N. Mayfair Road, at 5:37 p.m. Feb. 24.

The women were familiar to police for shoplifting and trespassing at the mall. The 19-year-old and 27-year-old women were arrested for bail-jumping because they both had open retail theft cases.

They were also familiar to the store manager who had suspected them of several prior thefts. Because so many jeans had gone missing from the store's inventory, the manager reviewed security video and saw the girl and the 27-year-old woman taking jeans valued at $752 on Feb. 22.

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Fair trade and travel business moves to smaller Village space

March 06, 2012 11:30 a.m. | An art gallery has closed and the fair trade shop/travel business that shared its space on Underwood Avenue has moved into another Village business' space.

After a year in the building, Allen Gallery and Authentic Journeys have moved out of the old fire station building, 1430 Underwood Ave. The space formerly housed Underwood Gallery.

The fair trade and environmentally friendly items carried at Authentic Journeys will be sold at Arté, the paint-while-sipping-wine business that opened in December at Harwood Avenue. Lisa Allen, owner of Authentic Journeys, partnered with Karen Wilman Salituro to bring Arté to the Village.

"My efforts have been focused on Arté for the past couple of months as it is very time consuming to start up a new business and concept, but my intention is to continue to offer my travel planning services and fair trade products to the community in some capacity," Allen said.

She will operate the travel planning services as Authentic Journeys Travel.

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Resident threatened with vandalism if he doesn't display sign supporting Walker

March 06, 2012 8:58 a.m. | A Wauwatosa man received a letter in the mail last week threatening to break the windows on his home if he didn't put up a yard sign showing support for Gov. Scott Walker.

According to a Wauwatosa Police Department report:

The resident of Elm Spring Avenue had been featured a few weeks ago in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article about damage to his Recall Walker yard sign. He believes the letter came in direct response, with it addressed to "crybaby."

He took the letter to police at 11:50 a.m. Wednesday.

"You look pompous now. You need a Stand for Walker sign in your front yard by next week," the letter read. "Then no more problems. Otherwise your windows go."

Man, 50, charged with trying to strangle 18-year-old woman

March 05, 2012 10:14 p.m. | A 50-year-old Milwaukee man is facing a felony charge for strangulation after he allegedly tried to choke a Wauwatosa teen in her home Wednesday morning.

According to a Wauwatosa Police Department report:

The 18-year-old woman was sitting in her home at 9:22 a.m., when her mother's ex-boyfriend, Jose Fonseca, walked in. She could see he was intoxicated and she told him to leave. He allegedly threatened her so she locked herself in the bathroom and called police.

For the next 15 minutes, she heard Fonseca come and go from the house. She smelled cigarette smoke, so she exited the bathroom to tell him smoking wasn't allowed in the house and to ask him to leave again.

He is accused of pushing her up against a wall and trying to choke her. Officers, who had been knocking on the front door, saw the altercation through the front window. They arrested Fonseca as he ran out of the house. He had a blood alcohol content of 0.16.

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Tuition goes 'on sale' at Catholic Wauwatosa school

March 05, 2012 11:47 a.m. | Mercy Academy, a Catholic K-8 school in Wauwatosa, is trying to attract new families this year by offering 50% off elementary school tuition.

The offer is good for only three families and has been made possible through an agreement with Relevant Radio, which has a tuition assistance program, according to a news release.

Maureen Klein, a Mercy Academy board member, sent the information to the Journal Sentinel and noted that the tuition voucher could help out families who are questioning the cost of private-school tuition in tight economic times.

That got me wondering how many other small parochial schools have run similar tuition discounts recently to try to keep families or attract new ones.

Tosa East upsets Morse-Marshall

March 03, 2012 9:10 p.m. | Wauwatosa East upset Milwaukee Morse-Marshall/Juneau on Sautrday, 59-58, and won its first regional championship since 2008-09.

The Red Raiders (16-9) will now move to play at 5:45 p.m. next Thursday in the WIAA sectional against Milwaukee Washington (19-5). The Purgolders clobbered Nicolet, 70-44, to advance.

The MMM/J Eagles finished 17-8.

The Red Raiders, trailing 39-28 with 1:51 left in the third period, suddenly came to life, going on a 19-4 run to take a 47-43 lead with 4:39 left in the game. But the Eagles battled back with their own 8-1 run to take a 51-48 lead, as Nick Allen scored six of his game-high 24 points in this stretch.

But then junior Kyle Vnuk, who led Tosa East with 17 points, hit two free throws and junior Nate Moore nailed a long 3-pointer from in front of the Red Raiders bench to give his team a 53-51 lead with 2:11 left to play.

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Mayfair Road repaving begins next week

March 03, 2012 12:44 p.m. | Repaving work will begin on Mayfair Road in Wauwatosa from Walnut Road to Burleigh Street early next week.

The $6.9 million road improvement project will be performed by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

In addition to repaving, left-turn lane bays will be extended, dangerous median openings will be eliminated and the southbound lanes will be lowered under the Highway 45 overpass to provide larger clearance for high vehicles.

Mayfair Road will remain open to traffic during construction with temporary lane shifts and changes to how businesses, driveways and cross-streets are accessed. Crews will work overnight to avoid major traffic disruptions.

Work is expected to be finished by fall.

Tosa East finds Northwest passage

March 02, 2012 11:36 p.m. | The Wauwatosa East boys basketball team mustered just 45.5 points per game in the first two games of the WIAA Division 2 State basketball tournament. Good thing the Red Raiders defense has held the two opponents to only 42 points per game.

By defeating Milwaukee Northwest on Friday, 47-42, the Red Raiders advanced to the regional final against Milwaukee Morse Marshall/Juneau on Saturday It was the second time in a week that Wauwatosa East held the opposition to 42 points after sneaking out a victory Tuesday over cross town rival Wauwatosa West.

“We’ve been struggling offensively to even hit 50, but our defense has been keeping us in the game,” Red Raiders head coach Tim Arndorfer said. “I thought we rebounded extremely well tonight, and what an effort from our guys coming in as the underdog tonight.

“I’m just really proud of them.”

Milwaukee Madison high school played host to a game that entered the fourth quarter tied at 32. Moments later, with his team trailing by two, junior Ben Carpenter drilled a three-pointer to give the Red Raiders the lead for good. Carpenter then made all four of his free-throw attempts in the last 20 seconds of play to finish with seven points and seal the victory for Wauwatosa West.

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Innovative ideas could mean bonus pay for Tosa employees

March 02, 2012 8:11 a.m. | City employees will have the opportunity to make a few extra bucks in the form of a one-time performance bonus this year.

The Employee Relations Committee this week supported a pilot program that encourages departments to come up with projects that make city operations more efficient, reduces the use of resources or enhances overall performance, said Anthony Brown, assistant to the city administrator.

An internal panel of city supervisors would approve projects and determine if the results warrant a pay reward. Tying the pay-off to an actual project provides a connection and impact to the city's performance, administrators said.

City Administrator James Archambo wants to get the process up and running within the next six weeks.

Some past projects that could've met the criteria include self-checkout stations at the library that reduced personnel; the wellness program that has led to lower healthcare costs; and automated timekeeping software that eliminated processing paper timecards.

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Fund set up to help family of boy killed by train

March 01, 2012 4:14 p.m. | A memorial fund has been set up to benefit the family of 11-year-old Joey Kramer, a sixth-grader at Wauwatosa Longfellow Middle School who died Monday after being hit by a freight train on his way to school.

Friends announced the fund Thursday, just hours before Joey's funeral was held at Church and Chapel, 380 W. Blue Mound Road (Highway J and JJ), in Waukesha. Visitation was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. with services beginning at 7.

The fund was set up to benefit the family and offset expenses associated with the funeral.

To contribute to the fund, mail checks to The Joey Fund, in care of M&I Bank, 7635 W. Blue Mound Road, Milwaukee, 53213.

Police said Joey was walking north on the east side of N. 68th St. while wearing ear buds and a hood over his head on his way to school at 7:24 a.m. Monday. When he crossed the train tracks, an eastbound freight train from Canadian Pacific Railway struck him at the intersection of N. 68th and W. State streets. He was taken to a hospital, where he died within half an hour.

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Community Watch

» Semifinalists emerge in Battle of the Burbs bracket contest 3/29

» City faces $1.25M budget gap 3/28

» Joe and Jennifer Bartolotta win library foundation's Leadership Award 3/27

» Mayoral forum live blog 3/26

» MMSD approves $500,000 for Wauwatosa private sewer work 3/26

» Tosa mayor candidates will answer your questions at Monday's forum 3/23

» Tosa considers two new local historic designations 3/20

» DSW shopper arrested for previous store thefts 3/20

» Milwaukee driver arrested for sixth OWI 3/20

» 63rd Street home suffers basement fire 3/17

» Police stop man for speeding, make pot bust 3/14

» Event planners may have to pay for police in Wauwatosa 3/14

» Grandma busted for drunken driving with toddler in car 3/14

» Man accused of ignoring police warning and driving drunk anyway 3/14

» Women use knife, bat in fight over a man 3/13

» Drunken woman arrested for trespassing, spitting on officers 3/13

» Men pepper-sprayed after jewelry deal in food court goes bad 3/13

» Scout project lets you dedicate a North Avenue flag to a loved one 3/13

» Plan Commission gives green light to auto parts store 3/13

» Get the skinny on Highway 100 road work at March 20 meeting 3/12

» Child's death spurs leaders to evaluate safety of city's railroad crossings 3/12

» Ehley, Donegan square off in March 26 candidate forum 3/12

» Medical College wins $10M to study bleeding disorder 3/12

» Tosa West rallies late, stuns Wisco 3/10

» West girls win big, on to regional final Saturday 3/9

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Best Summer Ever


We've made it easy for you to get out and go this summer. From hitting the trails for a bike ride or walk, to where to find beer gardens in the area, to the best places to swim in Waukesha County to the best summer drinks and summer reads, check out our 2016 summer guide.



Hidden Tosa


"Hidden Tosa" is a semi-regular feature where our Wauwatosa reporter explores the closed down and closed off parts of Wauwatosa.