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West Allis tries to find way to allow café to serve cocktails

March 19, 2014 6:23 p.m. | Urban Joe's Café, which opened six months ago in downtown West Allis, could end up serving cocktails after all — that is, if the city can narrow the parameters enough so that it won't be deluged by similar requests for liquor licenses, which have already surpassed a self-imposed limit.

The Common Council originally denied the request by Urban Joe's owner Pullum Tairi for a liquor license, but pleas at the council meeting two weeks ago led to the request being sent back to the License and Health Committee, which met Tuesday night.

The committee was sympathetic, but told Tairi that if it goes further over the limit for him it will have to do so for anyone asking for a liquor license, thereby crippling the city's effort to reduce the number of taverns. (The city current has allowed 124 such licenses, four more than it wants.)

But noting that Urban Joe's is the kind of business the city wants to attract, especially to the downtown, the committee did some creative thinking, resulting in it finding a way to narrow the parameters for granting a license so much so that others would be unlikely to qualify. The Community Development Department is now working on the details and will come back to the committee and the Common Council.

Urban Joe's has become a popular breakfast and lunch spot. Tairi wants to serve cocktails to make the shop an attractive night time destination for business people and couples.

Mother dies in drive-by shooting, suspect in West Allis killing eyed

2:45 p.m. | The woman wounded in a drive-by shooting by the man suspected in the killing in West Allis has died.

She was Tracey Czaczkowski, 44, who was traveling south on Interstate 90/94 with her husband and children from the Wisconsin Dells to their Illinois home. The shooting happened Sunday afternoon on eastbound I-90/94 as the car crossed from Columbia to Dane County.

The 20-year-old man suspected in the killing had been wanted by West Allis police in connection with the murder of a West Allis man early that morning.

The suspect himself was shot by sheriff's deputies after refusing to put his gun down as police tried to take him into custody. He was still hospitalized Tuesday in serious condition.

West Allis school officials contemplate opening a medical clinic for its employees to save money

8:40 a.m. | West Allis — Offering free prescriptions and routine medical lab tests doesn't sound as if its much of a money-saver, but West Allis-West Milwaukee School District officials say they could save $250,000 annually if the district sets up its own health clinic with a pharmacy.

The school board could vote as early as Monday, May 9, on a contract for HeathStat Inc. to operate the clinic envisioned to offer free routine prescription medicine, doctor visits and lab tests. It also would offer such services as diabetes and high blood pressure management, said Andrew Chromy, director of business services.

By bringing routine medical services in-house, the district would not have to pay regular fees for doctor visits and drugs, he said.

"Right now, we pay cost for the items," he said. Drugs are much less expensive wholesale, he said, adding that saving $250,000 is a very low estimate.

Waukesha doing it

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Initial Reaction Podcast: Schobert, Watt, Packers and social media foibles of NFL Draft

May 02, 2016 9:30 p.m. | JP and JR take a look at two local products headed to the NFL, Joe Schobert of Waukesha West and Derek Watt of Pewaukee, who were both taken in the 2016 NFL Draft. They also chat about the insane first day of the draft, featuring some eye-raising social media situations surrounding top lineman Laremy Tunsil (17:45). Speaking of social media, Brewers director of new media Caitlin Moyer stops by to talk about the role social media plays in promoting the team brand (29:10). Yes, we talk about Hank the Dog. 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.

Illinois family returning from Dells randomly targeted in freeway shooting

May 02, 2016 9:13 p.m. | An Illinois family heading home after spending the weekend visiting Wisconsin Dells was caught up in the string of shootings Sunday that ended when a 20-year-old West Allis man accused of killing his neighbor was shot by deputies in Dane County.

The West Allis man was wanted in the fatal shooting of his downstairs neighbor, 42-year-old Gabriel Sanchez, Sunday morning, according to the Dane County Sheriff's Office. Somehow the West Allis man ended up on Interstate90/94 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 1998 Chevy S10 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 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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