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Petition to amend Constitution moves forward in West Allis

Nov. 01, 2011 1:48 p.m. | A petition drive in West Allis to limit corporations paying for issue ads to affect political campaigns has reached its goal and organizers should be headed to the West Allis City Hall on Monday to turn in the signed petitions.

Even so, the petition drive will go on until then just to have a cushion in case some of the signatures are disallowed, said Mary Laan, Milwaukee, co-president of the southeastern Wisconsin Move to Amend group.

If enough signatures are confirmed, the constitutional amendment they are proposing would be on the ballot in West Allis in February if there is a primary or if not, it would be on the April ballot.

They started their petition drive Sept. 10 and had 60 days to gather 3,433 signatures. They had more than 3,800 as of Tuesday, Laan said.

The group, a local arm of the national group also named Move to Amend, wants to amend the United States Constitution to reverse a January 2010 United States Supreme Court ruling. The action resulted in dropping some regulations on corporate giving, Laan said.

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Photo Gallery: WIAA state soccer tourney day one

Oct. 30, 2014 3:32 p.m. | Day one photos from Uihlein Park in Milwaukee, where St. Thomas More defeated Barron 3-0 to advance to the Division 4 final.

Check back Friday for photos and gameday coverage of the Division 2 semifinal between Brookfield East and Pulaski as well as the Division 1 semifinal between Menomonee Falls and Beloit Memorial.


Oct. 30, 2014 1:28 p.m. | West Milwaukee Intermediate School, the alma mater of internationally famous entertainer Liberace, will name its auditorium after the glitzy, glamorous pianist who was dubbed Mr. Showmanship.

Liberace graduated from West Milwaukee when it was a high school. But he had already started his career as a pianist that eventually took him around the world and onto television. His became a household name.

The school will hold a celebration of the naming in December.

Former West Allis strip club owner sentenced to prison for perjury

Oct. 29, 2014 1:04 p.m. | A former owner of a West Allis strip club was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in prison for lying under oath about drunken sexual debauchery he engaged in at the club, conduct later confirmed by a surveillance video that led to charges of sexual assault.

Dino LaLicata, 35, of Menomonee Falls was acquitted by a jury of the sexual assault charges but convicted of felony perjury. During a sworn deposition in a civil case before the discovery of the video, he had denied even being at Crazy Horse Gentleman's Club on the night in June 2010 that a young woman said he had assaulted her after plying her with drinks.

The prosecutor urged a maximum sentence of three years in prison, plus three years of extended supervision and a $10,000 fine, saying LaLicata had not only lied, but also got others to lie for him, including at a secret John Doe hearing.

"As perjury goes, I don't think the court will ever see anything bigger than this," Assistant Attorney General Miriam Falk said. She urged the judge to consider LaLicata's conduct at the club, and during the three years he tried to suppress the truth, even though he was acquitted of the assault charges.

Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Daniel Konkol began his remarks by saying LaLicata was not being sentenced for sexual assault, serving alcohol to minors or marital infidelity. But the judge stressed that perjury itself merited prison.

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Greenfield takes steps toward taxing district for infrastructure work

Oct. 28, 2014 11:50 a.m. | Greenfield — Road improvements and a much-needed driveway to Greenfield High School from Layton Avenue could be the result of a special taxing unit being established where there are plans to build a Meijer super store at 60th and Layton.

The Greenfield Common Council has authorized the city staff to take the first steps toward creating a tax incremental finance district for the area. Although such TIFs are normally established to help site development, Meijer has not asked for the help.

Despite Meijer's stand, the proposed TIF could raise money for the road work and a school driveway.

If its approved, property taxes on the Meijer super store would go the road and driveway projects near the development. Rehabbing West 60th Street is on the city's road improvement plan, said Mayor Michael Neitzke.

But Layton Avenue is a county highway that is deteriorating, he said.

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West Allis to hold hearing on 0.28 percent levy increase 2015 budget

Oct. 28, 2014 11:01 a.m. | West Allis — A 2015 proposed West Allis city budget calling for a 0.28 percent property tax levy increase will go to a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3.

Despite the nearly flat levy increase, the proposed $128 million budget offered by Mayor Dan Devine is 4.75 percent higher than this year's budget.

However, much of that is related to spending in the city's tax incremental finance districts that will only be done if there is development inside those districts, Mark Wyss, finance director and comptroller, said.

Then that additional spending won't cost taxpayers anything because the additional costs would come back to the city in the form of additional taxes generated by the new development.

The proposed levy of nearly $40.3 million for next year's budget would be an increase of $113,961 or 0.28 percent over the previous levy.

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Ball rolling on Loomis Crossing in Greenfield

Oct. 28, 2014 10:38 a.m. | Greenfield officials may decide as early as next week which developer to approve to develop about 20 acres known as Loomis Crossing.

The area is where Interstate 894 crosses Loomis Road.

The city is talking to two potential developers for the site. City officials say they hope one can be chosen who would plan a development, install infrastructure and sell parts off to those wanting to locate offices, stores or even a hotel at the site.

To promote development, the Greenfield Common Council last week set the wheels in motion to establish a special taxing district for the site.

Greenfield officials also are working on buying the 18 acres that the Wisconsin Department of Transportation owns now that would be the heart of the project area. The DOT's acreage includes a park and ride lot that would continue to operate after development.

Suburban roundup: Week one of the WIAA football postseason

Oct. 27, 2014 9:22 a.m. | Blowouts, nailbiters, rising stars and a mud bowl mashup. Such is the story of the kickoff weekend of the WIAA football playoffs.

A roundup of our coverage:

-Initial Reaction podcast: Examining week one matchups.

-Mukwonago duked it out against Hartford in a muddy march of the old-school, smashmouth gameplan, winning 29-6.

-Turnovers spelled the end of Sussex Hamilton's playoff hopes. The Chargers lost 23-16 to Waunakee.

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Scott Walker ramps up campaign with start of 10-day tour of Wisconsin

Oct. 25, 2014 3:46 p.m. | West Allis — Gov. Scott Walker kicked off a 10-day tour of the state on Saturday, in the countdown to the Nov. 4 election, calling on supporters to "double down" their efforts to get out the vote in what is shaping up to be the closest race of his political career.

"We need people here... knocking on doors, making calls," Walker told supporters who hoisted campaign signs and chanted "four more years" outside the Republican Party headquarters on S. 84th St.

"We need you to reach out at work. We need you to reach out when you drop off the kids at school...wherever it might be. There's too much at stake."

Walker's plea and the last-minute blitz of the state appear to be an acknowledgment of the role voter turnout is expected to play in the tight race with former Trek Bicycle Corp. executive Mary Burke. Numerous polls have put the two in a virtual dead heat.

On Saturday, Walker touted his administration's record on fiscal management and job creation and characterized the gubernatorial race as a battle between power brokers in Washington and the champion of taxpayers of Wisconsin.

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Preps football photos of the week: Level 1

Oct. 24, 2014 10:50 p.m. | The fight for a championship trophy started Oct. 24 as Level 1 of the WIAA playoffs kicked off.

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 Level 1.

Speakers split evenly on West Allis proposed sewer lateral program

Oct. 22, 2014 1:44 p.m. | West Allis — The nearly 200 people who packed the West Allis Common Council chambers, a large meeting room down the hall and the lunchroom downstairs last week for a hearing on a program to help homeowners pay for broken sewer laterals seemed to be evenly divided on the program.

Sewer laterals are pipes that take waste water from homes to sanitary sewers in the streets.

The program calls for owners of residences of up to three units to chip in $40 a year. Then, if their laterals need to be replaced, they would pay only $1,500 rather than face the average $8,000 tab if they did it on their own. Just fixing a lateral would run a property owner $300. Owners would not be forced to get any work done, however.

Speakers who said they liked the program welcomed the peace of mind it offers. Owners don't know what shape their laterals are in and they could go bad anytime, supporters said.

The main argument expressed against the plan was that even though most people would consider $40 a year a small sum, many would have trouble coming up with it. Among the other arguments were that the fee would probably go up, that the fund might be raided and the money spent on other things and that people who have never had any trouble with their laterals would still have to pay.

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Poll: Which area team will win a state football title?

Oct. 22, 2014 9:00 a.m. | This week is when championship seasons title runs are started. Level 1 of the 2014 WIAA Football Playoffs start Friday.

But we want to know which, if any, of the area local teams will win a title in Divisions 1, 2 and 3. Answer on our polls.

Last year Arrowhead beat Franklin in Division 1, and Greendale lost in Division 3 championship games.



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West Allis to start process to approve new city administrator

Oct. 20, 2014 5:45 p.m. | West Allis — Rebecca Grill, city of Milwaukee deputy city clerk, has been recommended by Mayor Dan Devine to serve as the new West Allis city administrator.

The administration and finance committee on Monday, Oct. 27, will formulate questions and interview Grill sometime in November.

The city administrator is charged with the daily operations of the city, like a chief operating officer while the mayor can be likened to the chief executive officer.

The city administrator also is the key liaison between the mayor's office and the common council. The administrator is charged with finding ways to improve operations, sees to professional development, makes sure the community is informed and often helps organize community events.

"We want to get it right, it's a very important job," said Devine who called Grill impressive.

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Across Wisconsin, uneven property assessments fly in the face of fairness

Oct. 19, 2014 9:55 a.m. | A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation found inappropriate reductions in property assessments creating an unfair system. In dozens of communities across Wisconsin, 20% or more of taxes are being paid by the wrong people.

Preps football photos of the week: Week 9

Oct. 17, 2014 10:18 p.m. | The regular season of the 2014 high school football season came to a close for area teams Oct. 17.

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 9.

Police arrest 1 after neighbors attack each other about 'child behavior'

Oct. 15, 2014 10:14 a.m. | One woman was arrested after neighbors reportedly attacked each other Sept. 22.

According to the Greendale police report:

A resident in the 5300 block of Mulberry Drive called 911 to report her neighbor head-butted her in the face and then attacked her about 3:40 p.m. Sept. 22.

The caller said she was injured but refused medical treatment.

Shortly afterward, police received a second 911 call from the alleged suspect in the attack, who reported the victim "jumped" her and injured her. She also stated she was injured, but refused medical attention.

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