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Cheap I-94 route expensive for West Allis, officials say

May 17, 2013 11:36 a.m. | West Allis officials are encouraging business owners and residents to the third set of open house public meetings on Interstate 94 options that could have a crucial affect on the city.

Officials want the on- and off-ramps at 70th/68th streets and at 60th/Hawley Road preserved as they are now partly so that businesses won't be harmed and partly because of fears that West Allis residents will be stuck in backups getting onto the freeway at rush hours.

The open houses will be held next week by the state Department of Transportation.

While most of the I-94 alternatives being considered do include restoring the existing I-94 ramps at 70th/68th and 60th/Hawley, the cheapest alternative does not include all of these ramps. City officials hope to encourage the DOT not to choose the cheapest alternative.

The first open house will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Wisconsin State Fair Park's Tommy Thompson Youth Center, gate 5, at 640 S. 84th St. The second open house will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Marquette University High School, 3401 W. Wisconsin Ave.

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Illinois family returning from Dells randomly targeted in freeway shooting

3:34 p.m. | An Illinois family heading home after spending the weekend visiting Wisconsin Dells was caught up in the string of shootings on Sunday that ended when a 20-year-old suspect accused of killing a man in West Allis was shot by deputies in Dane County.

The 20-year-old West Allis man was wanted in the fatal shooting of 42-year-old Gabriel Sanchez in West Allis Sunday morning, according to the Dane County Sheriff's Office. Somehow the West Allis man ended up on Interstate 90/94 near Wisconsin Dells, shot a woman in what authorities believe was a random act, and then continued for several miles speeding on the highway until he was shot by deputies.

A 43-year-old Illinois man, his 44-year-old wife and their two minor children were traveling home when they passed the Chevy Blazer driven by the 20-year-old West Allis man. As they passed, the West Allis man rolled down his window and fired three shots into the family's vehicle, officials said.

The first round lodged in the passenger side door, the second shot struck the neck of the wife as her horrified family watched. The third round struck the family vehicle's hood.

"All of our thoughts and prayers are with this family who are traveling back to their home state after enjoying our beautiful surroundings here in Wisconsin," Dane County Sheriff David J. Mahoney said. "As this victim struggles and that family struggles, our thoughts and prayers are with them."

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West Allis woman wins $50,000 in Powerball

April 28, 2016 2:43 p.m. | Sandra Reinke-Bonsack of West Allis won $50,000 by matching four numbers plus the Powerball on Wednesday, April 20. The winning numbers from the drawing were 12, 25, 30, 52 and 62 with a Powerball of 8. The Power Play number was 3. Reinke-Bonsack purchased her ticket at Pick 'n Save at 6760 W. National Ave., West Allis.

West Allis contemplating $80 million referendum to build a new Central High School

April 26, 2016 5:05 p.m. | West Allis — An estimated $80 million referendum to build a new West Allis Central High School and possibly do other school improvements may be in the not-too-distant future for West Allis-West Milwaukee School District voters.

It's hard to keep up with repairs at Central, which is not as conducive to today's learning styles as a new school, Andrew Chromy, director of business services, said Tuesday.

But first, a lot of things have to happen. The main one is getting back to a balanced budget after missteps by the previous administration in 2013-14 and 2014-15 left the school budget $14 million in the red.

Another is to replenish the district's reserves that will be $6 million in the hole by the end of this school year, also the result of the missteps.

Officials have laid out plans to accomplish both, although school board approvals will be needed and some of the cuts will be painful.

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Jack Miller resigns as Greenfield High School boys basketball coach

April 26, 2016 3:50 p.m. | Jack Miller resigned from his position as the head boys basketball coach at Greenfield High School, which he had held for the past five seasons.

Miller will remain as the head softball coach and a social studies teacher at Greenfield.

He passed the 400-victory mark for his softball coaching career last season, and the Hustlin' Hawks were 9-2 coming into this week.

"I have greatly enjoyed being the head coach (of basketball) at Greenfield and truly loved working with such fine student-athletes," Miller said. "I sincerely appreciate the opportunity Greenfield has provided."

Prior to coaching the boys team, Miller was the head girls basketball coach from 2003-07, earning NOW Newspapers All-Suburban Coach of the Year honors in 2007.

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Whitnall gets new school district superintendent

April 26, 2016 1:27 p.m. | Greenfield — The Whitnall School Board on Monday appointed Lisa Olson as the next superintendent of the Whitnall School District.

District officials called Olson a skilled leader, noting her work as superintendent for the Hartford Union High School District for six years.

Although Olson is an innovator, school board President LuAnn Bird said, "We aren't looking to bring in a change agent."

Olson doesn't represent a change in course but will develop innovations to help the district along the course it has already set, Bird said.

"Her innovations align with what the schools are already doing," Bird said. Large among those is personalized learning, she said. Olson has already implemented personalized learning at the high school level.

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Parties in the sky coming to House of Harley in Greenfield

April 26, 2016 9:42 a.m. | Greenfield — Parties in the air are envisioned for House of Harley events in Greenfield, with city approval of an elevated deck for the dealership at 6221 W. Layton Ave.

New dealership owner Jeff Binkert said he would like to have small musical combos on the 13-foot-tall deck and serve beer, wine and soda to music- and Harley-lovers who could mill around on the deck. The deck would be open during dealership events several more of which are planned this year than in years past.

The dealership hopes to have the deck built sometime this summer. The deck will replace the current roof overhang.

Blinkert also is interested in serving mixed drinks on the deck at dealership events, but the Greenfield Plan Commission said that falls into a state regulatory area. Issues would have to be sorted out by attorneys, said Mayor Michael Neitzke.

But he said the city appreciates having the House of Harley that is known worldwide.

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West Allis police ask help in 1995 disappearance of woman

April 25, 2016 6:21 p.m. | West Allis police are asking for the public's help to solve the mystery surrounding the death of West Allis resident Susan Glaser, 37, whose remains were identified in Portage County in July 2014.

She had been missing since July of 1995. The remains had actually been discovered in 1998, but were unidentified until advances in technology made identification possible in 2014.

West Allis police detectives have worked with the Portage County Sheriff's Office on the case ever since. This is still an active investigation, police said Monday. Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding Glaser's disappearance and the recovery of her remains. No suspects are in custody.

Anyone with information is asked to call West Allis Police Detective Vanderwerff at (414) 302-8079 or West Allis Crime Stoppers (414) 476-CASH (2274).

Initial Reaction Podcast: Previewing NFL Draft with Rob Reischel and Nathan Tanguay

April 25, 2016 7:51 a.m. | JR and JP dive into a crazy situation at Marquette surrounding the departure of Wally Ellenson from the basketball team and discuss the twice-rejected "success-based factor" plan in the WIAA (12:45). Packers Plus beat writer Rob Reischel chats with JR about the pros and cons of Packers general manager Ted Thompson and what to expect in Thursday's draft (26:15), and Mukwonago alumnus Nate Tanguay talks about playing for an FCS powerhouse in North Dakota State and teammate Carson Wentz, who could go first overall in the draft (55:00).  Each week, Lake Country/Now sports director JR Radcliffe and Time Warner Cable Sports Channel's JP Cadorin chat about the Wisconsin sports scene, with an emphasis on Milwaukee-area prep athletics.

Whitnall names Lisa Olson superintendent of schools

April 22, 2016 5:00 p.m. | The Whitnall School Board has announced the selection of Lisa Olson as the next superintendent of schools for the Whitnall School District.

District officials called Olson a skilled leader, noting her work as superintendent for the Hartford Union High School District for six years.

"We were impressed with Lisa's background, instructional innovation, and deep commitment to student success," said Board President LuAnn Bird. "Her experience as a leader along with her business background and skills in continuous improvement will benefit our district."

Olson has implemented personalized learning at the high school level and she has built business partnerships in the community so students could experience a wider range of careers, Whitnall officials say.

For her part, Olson said she's looking forward to fulfilling the Whitnall's board's expectations of her.

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West Allis to use 'free money' to fix Reservoir Park play equipment

April 22, 2016 1:15 p.m. | West Allis — After years of languishing because the city had no money, Reservoir Park in West Allis will finally get a rejuvenated playground, and it won't cost taxpayers an additional cent.

A novel financing plan opened a stream of revenue estimated at $90,000 annually for the next several years that the city will use for park rehabilitation and enhancement.

Because it doesn't qualify for Community Development Block Grant funding as many other parks do, the Reservoir Park playground has gone steadily downhill. Pieces of equipment have had to be removed because parts for repairs became unavailable and equipment that was removed due to higher safety standards has not been replaced with safer equipment.

"I have a photo of my dad standing at the base of the slide while my son, who was 3, slid down," said Alderman Gary Barczak, in whose district the park is located. "Now my son is 35."

New dollars

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Initial Reaction Podcast: Realignment in area conferences and the status of girls/women's basketball in Wisconsin

April 21, 2016 10:17 a.m. | JP and JR chat about the impact of realignment in southeastern Wisconsin high-school conferences following the controversial vote April 19. Plus, the guys talk about their least favorite rules in sports (we're looking at you, baseball rainouts) and Norbert Durst of Wissports.net stops by to talk about the state of girls basketball in Wisconsin and women's basketball at UW-Madison. Each week, Lake Country/Now sports director JR Radcliffe and Time Warner Cable Sports Channel's JP Cadorin chat about the Wisconsin sports scene, with an emphasis on Milwaukee-area prep athletics.

84 South retail, multifamily development along Layton Avenue in Greenfield could add $115 million to tax base

April 19, 2016 4:25 p.m. | Greenfield — The largest private construction project in Greenfield, the 84 South development on Layton Avenue, is expected to win Common Council approval Tuesday, after getting a favorable nod from the city's plan commission last week.

The massive conglomeration of stores, restaurants and multifamily residential is proposed for between 84th and 92nd streets. The project could eventually add more than $115 million to Greenfield's tax base, by the latest estimates. Cobalt Partners hopes to get a shovel in the ground in July.

On Tuesday, the council will be asked to approve the project's master plan plus the site, building and landscaping plans for the first two buildings that will hold large and small stores.

The plan

The project's first phase will be a 143,000-square-foot building and another 123,000-square-foot building, both in the northern portion of the site along Interstate 894. The larger building to the west will hold three large stores. The eastern building will house as many as nine smaller stores.

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Awaiting their wheels, Stuffed food truck owners sell pierogi at a West Allis bar

April 19, 2016 7:27 a.m. |

While they wait for their go-ahead from the state to hit the road, the owners of the new Stuffed food truck are selling their pierogi by way of Dopp's Bar & Grill in West Allis.

Dopp's, 1753 S. 68th St., is Stuffed's home base; each food truck is required to operate out of a licensed commercial kitchen for its food preparation.

Gosia Glazer, a native of Lublin, Poland, makes the pierogi. She and her husband, Stephen, will operate the food truck.

Once the truck is on the streets, the couple would sell about a half-dozen varieties of pierogi a day, both savory and sweet; the fillings would change frequently. 

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Whitnall School Board narrows superintendent search to two candidates

April 12, 2016 2:12 p.m. | Greenfield — The Whitnall School Board has selected two candidates to fill its superintendent position, the district announced April 12.

Former superintendent Lowell Holtz announced his retirement earlier this year.

Lisa Olson, current district administrator for Hartford Union High School, and Erik Olson, the assistant superintendent for Operations and Continuous Improvement for the Sun Prairie School District, will participate in final interviews this week. The two candidates share the same last name, but are not related.

The finalist interviews will include a full-day schedule with the candidates to meet with district leaders, visit each school, participate in a staff and a community forum and conclude with a final interview with the school board.

"The high quality of the Whitnall School District administrators, staff, students and parents along with our supportive community attracted a large pool of qualified applicants, said LuAnn Bird, school board president. "The board invites you to give us your feedback on our two finalists by attending the open public forums on April 13 and 14."

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Two teenage boys arrested in connection with one of last month's bomb scares at West Allis Central

April 12, 2016 1:58 p.m. | West Allis — Police arrested two teenage Milwaukee boys in connection with the Wednesday, March 9, bomb scare at West Allis Central High School, a spokesman for the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District said.

One is 15 years old and the other 17. The 15 year old is being referred to the Children's Court Center and the 17 year old is being referred as an adult, to the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office for potential charges, Deputy Police Chief Robert Fletcher said.

"My understanding is one of them is a student at Central and one is not," said Brian Vissers, district spokesman.

The March 9 scare was the third called in that week resulting in the evacuation of the school. While school resumed after authorities found no explosives in the school on March 7 and 8, classes and activities were canceled after the March 9 scare. No explosives were found after an exhaustive search that day, either.

Previous arrest

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