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Court disbars lawyer who gambled client's millions

Aug. 25, 2010 11:10 a.m. | Thomas H. Koch, who gambled away millions of dollars he had recovered for a Texas client, had his law license revoked Wednesday by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Koch, 46, of Greenfield, was charged with theft of $2.4 million in February, He consented to the law license revocation rather than defend against related professional misconduct claims being investigated by the Office of Lawyer Regulation.

According to the criminal complaint, Koch (Marquette, '90) worked for Affiliated Computer Services, a Dallas-based company, that checks to see whether medical insurers are recovering costs for injuries when possible. ACS hired Koch in 2001 to pursue such cases in the Milwaukee area for ACS’s insurance company clients.

In 2007, a new litigation manager at ACS noticed Koch had about 360 open claims. When he failed to reply to her request for status updates, she found that about 270 had been settled, but that no proceeds had been forwarded to ACS.

The Supreme Court noted in its ruling that Koch admitted his embezzlement once confronted by ACS, and has entered treatment for compulsive gambling.

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Accident causes two lanes of I-894/US 45 to close

July 01, 2015 10:48 a.m. | Two left lanes of northbound Interstate 894/US 45 were closed after an accident at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 1, that occurred at Cleveland Avenue in West Allis.

Backups are estimated at more than three miles by the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office. The lanes will be closed for about two hours, officials said.

Blindness couldn't keep Hojnicki off the links or the slopes

June 24, 2015 5:53 p.m. | About 15 years ago, the way Bill Sonneman remembers it, he was sitting in his wheelchair at the Southwest YMCA when he felt a tap on his shoulder.

It was one of the personal trainers, Joe Hojnicki. He wanted to know why Sonneman was just sitting there.

Sonneman, who has multiple sclerosis, thought Hojnicki must be blind.

He was right.

Hojnicki, was in the latter stages of retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic degenerative eye disease. No big deal. Physical challenges were no more than that: challenges.

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2015 4th of July events in suburban Milwaukee

June 22, 2015 12:45 p.m. | Welcome to summer! Area communities have numerous events planned to celebrate Independence Day 2015. If you know of an event you don't see listed here, drop us a line at Enjoy!

A list of 4th of July celebrations in Lake Country is a available here.

City of Brookfield 

Join the city of Brookfield as it celebrates Independence Day on Saturday, July Fourth. The day’s activities begin with a parade that starts at 10 a.m. The parade begins on Gebhardt Road at the driveway of Brookfield Central High School, turns right on Calhoun Road, left on North Avenue, and left on Norhardt Drive, where it ends at the corner of Civic Drive.

The annual citywide ice cream social takes place on the Civic Plaza immediately after the parade. Ice cream and lemonade are available. There will be a flag-raising ceremony and other entertainment.

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Concordia Legion post to assemble care packages

June 18, 2015 12:26 p.m. | Volunteers from American Legion Post 1881 on Concordia University-Wisconsin's campus in Mequon will package hundreds of donated items into care packages in support of Operation Falcon Support at 10 a.m Friday, June 19, at the Legion Post, 12800 N. Lake Shore Drive, Mequon.

Items were collected June 2-16 at each of the nine CUW Wisconsin Centers. The items will be packaged and shipped overseas to help Green Bay Center student Wilmer Valladares and his unit, who are serving overseas in Afghanistan. Valladares is in the Wisconsin National Guard and part of the 950th Combat Engineer Division assigned to route clearance.

Proposed West Allis sewer lateral help program may be dead

June 17, 2015 11:53 a.m. | An innovative city of West Allis proposed program that would have householders chip in $40 a year but then get a cost huge break when their sewer laterals collapse or need relining could be dead.

It failed on a vote of 5 to 4 at a committee of the whole meeting of the West Allis Common Council on Tuesday. Sewer laterals carry waste water from homes to city sanitary sewers running underneath the streets. Most of the length of laterals are the responsibility of homeowners to fix or replace when they fail, often running into thousands of dollars.

Objections raised included worries that the program might not stand up to a court challenge, that once the city starts collecting the fee it would be hard to get out of the program if problems arise and that the program may not go far enough to satisfy the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage Commission in terms of getting storm water out of the sanitary sewer system which might result in charging more than $40 annually.

Those favoring the program said it would be a huge boon to homeowners who eventually will have to fix or replace their laterals and the program would be self-supporting.

Reflecting the split on the council, speakers at last October's public hearing on the proposal also appeared evenly split.

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Greenfield reschedules hearing on proposed Goodwill on 76th Street

June 16, 2015 4:43 p.m. | A public hearing on a controversial request by Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin to move into a building on 76th Street that was to have been held Tuesday has been rescheduled due to a scheduling error.

The new date will be Tuesday, July 21.

Through no fault of the city, public notice of the hearing was not published early enough to satisfy state requirements.

The proposal became controversial because the mayor and some officials have said they don't want a resale establishment on 76th Street in that area because it is the city's major commercial corridor. Supporters have said Goodwill does at least as much business as regular retail stores and is attractive to passers-by.

Whitnall School District facilities advisory committee taking shape

June 15, 2015 9:13 a.m. | Greenfield —Whitnall School District residents can look for an invitation in coming weeks to apply to be on the facilities committee that will advise the school board on what to do now after two facilities referendums failed in April.

The referendums called for building a new Hales Corners Elementary School to correct several deficiencies at the current school and for renovating the swimming pool and lockers at Whitnall High School, improving energy efficiency there and air conditioning the gym.

In addition to reviewing the projects themselves, the advisory committee will look into creative financing for them. The referendums called for borrowing $29.4 million for all the proposed projects.

"It will look at how we can go about getting this done," said school board member Quin Brunette.

In hashing out last week how to form the committee, the school board meeting as a committee of the whole came to the consensus that expertise in the community could be tapped on a part-time basis. Engineers, for example, who might not have time to attend all the advisory committee meetings might volunteer to be brought in on certain questions, the board decided.

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Behavioral network recognizes 16 West Allis-West Milwaukee schools

June 11, 2015 9:48 p.m. | West Allis — Sixteen West Allis-West Milwaukee schools earned statewide school of recognition awards for how well they implemented the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports program (PBIS).

The program is meant to help all students be successful both academically and behaviorally.

The Wisconsin PBIS Network awards recognition for implementing Tier 1 PBIS systems with fidelity. That has many requirements including developing and teaching school-wide expectations, recognizing students who meet or exceed expectations, and using data to make decisions, implement culturally responsive practices, and to promote family engagement.

The school district was able to do all this partly because it was awarded a School Climate Transformation Grant with a focus on implementing PBIS programs.

A school of recognition may earn either a school of merit award or the higher level school of distinction award depending on how many of the requirements it meets.

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Greenfield principal resigning to go to Kettle Moraine schools

June 11, 2015 12:28 p.m. | Sue Sterner, principal at Edgewood Elementary School in Greenfield, intends to resign per post, effective at the end of the 2014-15 school year to become principal of Magee Elementary School in Genessee Depot.

Magee is part of the Kettle Moraine School District.

The school board will take action on Sterner's resignation Monday, June 22. A process to replace Sterner has already begun.

Sterner joined the district in 1997 and taught at Elm Dale, Maple Grove and Edgewood elementary schools before becoming Edgewood principal in 2010.

"Sue Sterner has been very influential during her tenure in Greenfield, Superintendent Lisa Elliott said in the news release announcing the resignation. "As a teacher and principal, Mrs. Sterner has always had a strong student-centered approach with an emphasis on student achievement."

Heavy rain expected tonight

June 11, 2015 8:16 a.m. | Periods of heavy rain are expected today and tonight, including in Waukesha, Milwaukee and Jefferson counties.

Thunderstorms will produce heavy downpours, according to the National Weather Service, carrying the risk of urban flooding and ponding of water on roadways.
Rainfall totals are expected to reach 1 to 2-1/2 inches. 

All of Greenfield reading same book on being a civil society

June 09, 2015 3:03 p.m. | Greenfield — This summer, Greenfield school and library officials will initate conversations about what it means to be civil and considerate.

The impetus is a citywide book discussion to be held by the Greenfield School District and the Greenfield Public Library. Both are promoting reading and discussions of the book "Choosing Civility: 25 Rules of Considerate Conduct" by P.M. Forni.

Discussions will go on at various places through September.

Anyone can attend a book discussion or host one of their own. Free book discussion kits with books included are available at the Greenfield Library, 5310 W. Layton Ave., and will be at the library's booth at the Greenfield Farmer's Market on Sundays, June 21 and Sept. 13, and at National Night Out, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 4, at a tent in Konkel Park.

Free paperback copies of the book will also be available there and at the offices at Greenfield High School, 4800 S. 60th St. Hardcover, e-Book, and audio-book copies are available for check-out at the library, 5310 W. Layton Ave.

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New West Allis hotel to be Forks & Corks venue

June 09, 2015 11:33 a.m. | West Allis — The Hampton Inn & Suites, scheduled to open in July on Greenfield Avenue across from the Wisconsin State Fair, will kick off its four-day grand opening by being the 2015 venue for the West Allis/West Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce Forks and Corks event Sept. 17.

The annual Forks and Corks, a major chamber fundraiser, features cuisine from local dining establishments and includes wine and beer selections from around the world. Proceeds benefit the chamber's economic and community development programs.

"We are honored to be the host location for the upcoming Forks and Corks event," Jon Jossart, general manager of Hampton Inn & Suites West Milwaukee, said in a news release announcing the event. "The timing of our hotel and conference center grand opening and this annual event couldn't be more perfect. Our team is thrilled that Forks and Corks will be our first major event at the new property."

A sponsor

Hampton Inn & Suites, 8201 W. Greenfield Ave., will be a sponsor of Forks & Corks, enabling the chamber to increase the number of tickets available this year, said Diane Brandt, chamber executive director.

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Greenfield schools get state award for innovative program

June 03, 2015 5:38 p.m. | For its innovative program where seniors can earn tax credits for hours volunteered in the schools, the Greenfield the School District received the 2015 Business Services Award from the Wisconsin Association of School Board Officials.

The district implemented the program earlier this year, resulting in seniors offering a variety of assistance to teachers. Seniors read with children, play math games, and even interpret for kids who are learning English. The program also provides students the opportunity to establish multigenerational relationships with positive role models in the community.

The award included $1,000 and was given out "in recognition of development and implementation of an innovative practice which directly benefits the students, staff and the community."

Greenfield school wins two national character awards

June 03, 2015 4:43 p.m. | Greenfield —Edgewood Elementary School here is one of two schools in Wisconsin to receive 2015 National and International Promising Practices in Character Education awards from, formerly the Washington, D.C.,-based Character Education Partnership.

Founded in 1993, the group encourages character education. The award competition was open to schools and other organizations serving children in the United States and six other countries. The goal is to highlight innovative and effective ways to present character education.

Donges Bay School in Mequon is the other Wisconsin winner.

"These great ideas really highlight the creative efforts of outstanding teachers across the world," said Dave Keller, program director, in a news release announcing the awards. "It's great to recognize what's going well in the classroom. These practices represent practical, effective ways to develop empathy, conflict resolution skills, and good citizenship."

Edgewood School won two awards: Shrinking the Social Gap for Students with Autism and School Bus Communities.

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Swimming pools in West Allis ready for summer fun

June 03, 2015 4:08 p.m. | West Allis — Cool Waters family water park that has been open weekends since Memorial Day weekend and was to be open daily starting Monday, June 8, in Greenfield Park here.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holidays, weather permitting. However, the pool also has night swimming after 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.

Admission is $7.25 for ages 12 to 59 and $5.50 for ages 3 to 11 and for those at least 60 years old. Night swim admission, Monday to Thursday after 6 p.m., is $4.50 for all ages 3 and up. Children age 7 and under must be with a paid adult. Season passes are available for $50. Family passes for up to four family members are $135. Each additional child is an additional $25.

The McCarty Park pool, 2567 S. 79th St., West Allis, will open Saturday, June 20. Hours will be from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., weather permitting. Evening swim will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Admission will be $3 for age 12 and older; $2 for ages 3 to 11; $2 for evening swim. Children age 7 and younger must be with a paid adult.

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