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West Allis approves signing lease for connecting bike trail

Nov. 02, 2011 12:06 p.m. | The proposed cross town connector bike trail that would make it possible to bike all the way from Milwaukee's lakefront to Waukesha rolled a long way toward approval last night at the West Allis Common Council meeting.On a split vote, the council approved signing a lease agreement with We Energies for use of its right-of-way for the east-west bike trail.

Casting one of two "no" votes was Alderman Vincent Vitale, who said the city has not nailed down where it would get the $437,000 needed for the city's share of building the trail.

He said it is irresponsible to go ahead before funding is decided on, even though aldermen have a general idea of where the money might come from. Times are tough and those funds might be better spent elsewhere, he said.

Goodwill drops bid to open on 76th Street in Greenfield

July 30, 2015 1:05 p.m. | Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin has dropped its controversial request to open a store in the former Office Depot on 76th Street south of Interstate 894.

The Greenfield Common Council last week turned down Goodwill's request for a special use permit, but a reconsideration was expected at the next meeting in August. Approval by a narrow margin was a possibility.

The Goodwill request had supporters on the council, but others including the mayor didn't want a resale operation on 76th Street from I-894 to Southridge, which they deemed Greenfield's premier commercial corridor.

Supporters said Goodwill is a well-run operation, has attractive stores that serve its customers well and Goodwill wanted to spend more than $1 million to upgrade the building at 4940 S. 76th St.

Alderwoman Linda Lubotsky who voted against the special use so that she could bring the matter up for reconsideration Aug. 18, was extremely disappointed that Goodwill is not pursing the store. Goodwill would have been good for Greenfield, she said.

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84th Street ramps at I-94 to be open for the Wisconsin State Fair

July 30, 2015 11:48 a.m. | All the 84th Street ramps onto and off of Interstate 94 will be open to ease access to the Wisconsin State Fair, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation just announced.

The ramps should be open this weekend, weather permitting, said Michael Pyritz, communications specialist with the DOT southeastern Wisconsin region.

"That's a very key location for people going to and from the fair," Pyritz said.

Those approaching the fair from the east on I-94 also will be able to get off and on the freeway at 68th Street.

West Allis superintendent named to school advocacy group leadership

July 28, 2015 4:43 p.m. | Marty Lexmond, who is in his first month as superintendent of the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District, has been named to the executive committee of the Southeastern Wisconsin Schools Alliance, an association of superintendents and school board members.

The alliance is a legislative advocacy group for those school districts.

"It's an honor," said school board member Sue Sujecki about the appointment.

Lexmond said, "It's an opportunity to serve."

Educator from Anchorage likely to take reins of West Allis school

July 28, 2015 3:49 p.m. | Ryan Johnson who is now a lead teacher in Anchorage, Alaska, will likely be the new principal of Mitchell Elementary School in West Allis.

Although he has not served as a principal, he has taken on leadership roles, said Marty Lexmond, West Allis-West Milwaukee superintendent.

The school board will vote on his nomination Aug. 10. If approved he would start Aug. 11 and succeed Joe Hill who will be principal of West Ridge Elementary School in the Racine Unified School District starting this fall.

Both parents and teachers on the Mitchell School principal search committee were enthusiastic about recommending Johnson.

Lexmond said, "What the parents really like is his dynamic personality. He came across as very relatable and genuine."

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'Milwaukee lion' spotted in Glendale

July 28, 2015 11:45 a.m. | Glendale — After a week on the northwest side of Milwaukee, the much-talked-about 'Milwaukee lion' may have made an appearance in Glendale Sunday night.

The 'lion-like' creature described by more than a dozen eyewitnesses over the last week was most recently spotted on 30th Street and Fairmount Avenue on Saturday night. Milwaukee police officers have been searching the area around Lincoln Creek in search of the big cat.

The lion may be traveling northeast, if a call from Glendale police is accurate.

Glendale police received a report of a lion sighting at 11:26 p.m. Sunday in the 5700 block of Crestwood Boulevard, about a mile north of Lincoln Creek. The caller said he saw a tan muscular animal with a long tail walking in the area, and then it took off running north toward Marne Avenue.

Glendale police responded to the call, but officers were unable to locate the animal.

The Suburban 16 Power Rankings: Watt, Niebrugge, and others on the next level

July 22, 2015 11:30 a.m. | (Editor's note: After a late addition putting Anthony Pettis in the top 15, the "Suburban 15" was expanded to the "Suburban 16")

The meteoric rise just continues.

Pewaukee graduate J.J. Watt, once a scholarship tight end at Central Michigan and then a walk-on at the University of Wisconsin, was voted the No. 1 player in the National Football League by the league's players in a poll conducted by the NFL Network.

Higher than Aaron Rodgers (No. 2) and Tom Brady (No. 3). Higher than anyone could have imagined even when he became the 11th overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft. Even with his second career NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award last year, it's still staggering to think that when the players in the NFL consider who the league's best player is, they turn to Watt.

Sure, all rankings have to be taken with a grain of salt, but especially with the accomplishments of Watt and Jordan Niebrugge, a Homestead graduate who shot an amateur-record round of 67 at the British Open and then tied for sixth in the tourney, there have been some exciting accomplishments racked up by local products. Considering athletes who competed in high school in the Now Newspapers or Lake Country Publications coverage area (and remain active), here's my Suburban 16, where I attempt to rank players based on exposure, impact and post-prep accomplishments.

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Greenfield denies Goodwill store but maybe not for long

July 22, 2015 11:18 a.m. | Greenfield — A combination of worry about traffic impacts and wanting to keep resale stores from what has been called Greenfield's premier commercial corridor, 76th Street, combined last week to cause a request to open a Goodwill store there to be denied.

Although the Greenfield Common Council voted 3 to 1 to deny, a reconsideration is expected that might turn the tide the other way. One of the aldermen who voted to deny may actually favor Goodwill's request and could ask for a reconsideration at the Tuesday, Aug. 18, common council meeting. Also, Alderwoman Pam Akers was not present last week and she may also favor Goodwill's request. If speculations turn out correct, the vote could be 3 to 2 to approve next time around.

Goodwill has asked to open a store at 4940 S. 76th St. in the former location of Office Depot south of Interstate 894. At last week's public hearing, six residents spoke for the proposal and two against, although one brought a petition signed by 30 families who were also against. Another 14 people either sent emails or registered in favor of Goodwill.

City officials view 76th Street from Interstate 894 south to Southridge as Greenfield's premier commercial corridor.

The city is trying to improve the shopping experience and amenities along 76th Street, Mayor Michael Neitzke said, and Goodwill doesn't fit well with the city's vision. He acknowledged after the meeting that Goodwill recently opened a store on Bluemound Road in Brookfield, but pointed out that the store isn't in Brookfield Square.

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Initial Reaction Podcast: A dumb-sports-fan's guide to the Bucks arena financing situation

July 21, 2015 2:05 p.m. | JP tries his best to explain the machinations behind the state senate voting in favor of a Bucks arena financing plan, plus a lot more from a big week of Wisconsin sports (Favre! Niebrugge!). Also, JP shares his impressions from the WFCA All-Star football game.

West Allis school officials worry parents can't monitor iPads

July 20, 2015 2:50 p.m. | West Allis —Soon, West Allis-West Milwaukee School District parents will likely receive an agreement to sign promising to take good care of their children's school iPads and make sure their children don't download pornography, non-educational video games or other inappropriate materials.

The problem that some West Allis-West Milwaukee School Board members pointed out is that a lot of parents don't know how to check for inappropriate material. They also say that parents are worried that the schools' dive into the waters of computer learning could drag pornography into their homes.

"We're demanding they monitor and they don't know how," said board member Sue Sujecki, chairwoman of the curriculum and instruction committee that oversees the iPad program. Every child from kindergarten through high school has a school-loaned iPad in the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District on which to do their school work.

While the schools have firewalls preventing inappropriate materials from landing on those iPads, students can go home and pull down anything they want on their home WiFi Internet connection.

Superintendent Marty Lexmond said he will look into producing a video to help parents police their children's downloads. The video would be on the school district website.

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Whitnall baseball team uses big fifth inning to stun Muskego in regional title contest

July 17, 2015 10:58 p.m. | Nearly 20 minutes after the final out was recorded, members of the Muskego baseball team were spread out throughout the diamond.

Some were down the line, a few more were in the dugout and a couple of others were pacing near the warning track. All of them were in disbelief.

Meanwhile, Whitnall had already doused coach Ben Krey with a Gatorade bath and was on the bus celebrating its upset victory. The Falcons used a seven-run fifth inning to knock out a Warriors team thought of as a state championship contender with a 9-6 victory in a WIAA regional final on July 17 at Muskego High School.

"It has been the theme all season," Whitnall first baseman James Menden said. "We keep battling to try and find a way to get wins. That's what we did today."

Muskego jumps ahead

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Fortman pitches Franklin past Greenfield in WIAA regional championship baseball game

July 17, 2015 10:43 p.m. | Joe Fortman became the ace pitcher for the Franklin baseball team this season, and he did what aces are supposed to do on July 17 against Greenfield.

The senior shut down the Hustlin' Hawks on just two hits in six innings, striking out six and walking none, in pitching the Sabers to a 7-0 triumph in a WIAA regional championship game at Jim Hughes Field.

"That's what he's been doing for us, shutting them down," Hughes said of Fortman, who improved to 8-1 on the season. "The curveball was working pretty well. He could throw that off the fastball. That was his out pitch. He's done a much better job with that. He used to throw it too fast, so it wouldn't break. We worked with him on that, and the curveball's been much better in the last few games."

Fortman agreed with that assessment, saying, "The curveball was working pretty well today, but mostly, it was the defense behind me. Our fielding has been solid, so that helps a lot."

Fortman did not allow a hit in the first three innings, with the lone baserunner reaching on an error, the Sabers' only miscue of the game.

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Major development in Greenfield hits snag

July 16, 2015 1:38 p.m. | Greenfield — Closings on homes to be bought to make room for a $150 million shopping, hotel, residential and office development in Greenfield have been temporarily called off because a ditch running through the development might be protected.

State Department of Natural Resources officials state environmental officials are concerned that the ditch might be navigable and so be protected. City officials and the developer, Cobalt Partners disagree.

Cobalt Partners plans to buy about 37 homes to clear the way for the development on Layton Avenue between 84th and 92nd streets and extending north to Interstate 894/US 45. Closings for several of the homes were to be in the next two weeks. Sellers were notified early last week that their closings had to be put off. Some of the closings were to have been Friday, July 17. No new date was set for the closings.

However, Greenfield Mayor Michael Neitzke said late last week that DNR officials have been helpful and said they hoped to have an answer soon.

A determination that it is just a ditch is critical because the ditch goes right through the middle of the proposed development, Neitzke said. Cobalt Partners has analyzed alternatives, but he said, "There isn't another way to get the value out of this development under the current scenario if it is a navigable water."

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Greenfield's Bella Matthias headlines the 2015 All-Suburban Softball Team

July 16, 2015 1:31 p.m. |

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Bella Matthias, junior, Greenfield

Standout pitcher was driving force for 26-2 Hustlin' Hawks, which did not lose a game until final week of regular season. … Went 19-2 with 0.72 ERA, allowing 59 hits and 15 runs in 145 innings while striking out 284 (26 walks). … Defeated five area conference champions and two Division 1 state qualifiers. … No-hit Germantown with 17 strikeouts and two-hit Kenosha Bradford with 13 punchouts. … Second-highest vote count in All-State voting behind Kayla Konwent of Westosha Central. … Batted .461 with .546 OBP.

COACH OF THE YEAR

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New St. Vincent de Paul store in Greenfield receives blessing

July 15, 2015 3:28 p.m. | Greenfield —The St. Vincent de Paul Society dedicated its new store at 4476 S. 108th St. in Greenfield with a Wisconsin style tailgate party Saturday.

The store is the second St. Vincent de Paul Society retail location in Milwaukee County, joining a smaller store located at 2320 W. Lincoln Ave.

The Greenfield store actually opened in January and Saturday's event began with a dedication and blessing of the store by Archbishop Jerome Listecki.

The public was welcome to join in the celebration with a Wisconsin-style tailgate party with live music, food and beverages from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and the World Famous Klement's Racing Sausages racing at noon.

Gently used donated clothing, furniture, household items and appliances are sold at affordable prices, or provided to families in need via a gift certificate program through St. Vincent de Paul.

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Hale nips New Berlin West, 2-1, in regional opener

July 14, 2015 10:35 p.m. | It was the type of ballgame that neither pitcher deserved to lose, but someone had to. But Mials McMurray outdueled Adam Fritz and ninth-seeded West Allis Hale beat eighth-seeded New Berlin West, 2-1, in the first round of the WIAA Regional playoffs on July 14 at West.

The Huskies (14-16) defeated the Vikings (11-13) despite being outhit 7-3, but they bunched their hits better as West left 8 men on base while Hale only left 4 runners on.

With the score tied at 1-1 in the fifth, JoeJo Breznik dribbled a single up the middle and after Derrick Oleson flew out to left, then stole second base. Mason Ross grounded to shortstop Allen Peil for the second out, moving Breznik to third.

Up stepped Jason Palesse, who had singled to left in his first appearance and drove a deep fly ball for an out in his second plate appearance. The talented shortstop, then ripped a sinking line drive single to center and Breznik cruised in with the eventual winning run.

Both teams scored a run in the first as both McMurray and Fritz got off to a slow start.

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