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Osterndorf elected Whitnall School Board president

April 28, 2009 1:46 p.m. | Whitnall School Board members elected Bill Osterndorf board president April 27. Osterndorf replaces Rick Kollauf as board president.

Nancy Zaborowski was elected vice president. She replaces Osterndorf in that office.

New board member Robert Lawton was elected treasurer. He takes over for T.J. Anderson.

Kollauf was selected board clerk. He replaces Zaborowski in that office.

The board elects new officers each April.

Preps football photos of the week: Aug. 29

Aug. 29, 2014 10:27 p.m. | Teams were looking to continue winning ways or bounce back after opening-week losses Aug. 28 and 29.

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 2.

14 farmers fooled by fake $50 bills at West Allis market

Aug. 26, 2014 4:24 p.m. | West Allis police are investigating 14 reports of counterfeit bills at the West Allis farmers market from last Thursday.

The vendors all reported receiving phony $50 bills, according to West Allis police chief Charles Padgett.

Padgett said that the police have a description of one suspect, and are still investigating if the suspect acted alone and if the suspect has been spreading the bogus bills elsewhere.

"We have several reports of counterfeit money throughout the year but not similar to the farmers market incidents at this time," Padgett said.

Dan Koralewski, community health environmentalist for the West Allis health department, said this is the first report of counterfeit cash at the farmers market in about a decade.

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Teachers as well as athletes to get coaching in Greenfield schools

Aug. 26, 2014 12:28 p.m. | Officials say the Greenfield schools will take a major step toward better teaching when school reconvenes next week after summer vacation.

It's teachers coaching teachers, a voluntary program that was piloted last year and is now ready to go districtwide.

Research suggests that coaching is far more likely to result in actual change in the classroom than other forms of inservices, according to information presented by directors of curriculum and instruction Patrice Ball and Charity Eich.

Only five to 10 percent of teachers listening to presentations of teaching theory actually put those theories into practice, even if they saw them modeled, they said.

But coaching has resulted in 80 to 90 percent of teachers putting theory into practice, they said.

Medical group statement supports later Greenfield school start times

Aug. 26, 2014 9:54 a.m. | The recurring issue of later secondary school start times may soon recur in Greenfield after the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement Monday urging high and middle schools to start at 8:30 a.m. or later.

Both the Greenfield middle and high schools start at 7:30 a.m.

The academy's statement based on the latest research was presented to the Greenfield School Board on Monday by Dolores Skowronek, who spearheaded the Greenfield schools examination of all start times and who was chairwoman of the former Greenfield Ad Hoc School Start Time Advisory Committee.

The academy's policy statement says that evidence strongly suggests that start times earlier than 8:30 a.m. lead to insufficient sleep for students and disrupts their sleep rhythms. The academy strongly urges high schools and middle schools to aim for start times that allow students the opportunity to have optimal levels of sleep of 8.5 to 9.5 hours per night.

It warns that adolescent sleep deprivation can lead to greater risk of obesity, of type 2 diabetes because of metabolic dysfunctions, increased risk of car crashes, less physical activity, increased risk of anxiety, depression and suicide, poor impulse control and self-regulation, decreased motivation, lower ability to pay attention, cognitive deficits affecting memory and abstract thinking resulting in lower academic achievement and higher dropout rates and mood disorders.

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West Allis proposes financing plan for ex-foundry site

Aug. 25, 2014 2:31 p.m. | West Allis would spend $5.1 million to help redevelop a former foundry into light industrial space and other uses under a new proposal pending before city officials.

The money would be spent within a 14.7-acre tax incremental financing district that encompasses the 11.8-acre former Milwaukee Ductile Iron foundry, and two additional parcels.

The former foundry, south of W. National Ave. and east of S. 68th St., was sold in November to demolition contractor The MRD Group Inc., for $1.05 million. The property was sold by an affiliate of Auburn, Ind.-based Metal Technologies Inc., which closed Milwaukee Ductile Iron in 2009.

MRD is demolishing the former foundry for scrap. Once that work is completed, the city would buy the cleared site and conduct an environmental cleanup, according to the proposal.

City officials expect the tax financing district to include 120,000 square feet of light industrial space, and 60,000 square feet of additional commercial space, with the new property values totaling nearly $12 million. Property taxes from those new buildings would pay back the city's funds within 27 years, a city Department of Development report said.

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Mason's scoring spree leads Slinger past Whitnall

Aug. 22, 2014 11:41 p.m. | Senior running back Jacob Mason rushed for five touchdowns and scored a total of 38 points as visiting Slinger spoiled the debut of new Whitnall head coach Jared McGranahan with a 44-16 victory over the host Falcons.

Mason, who also serves as the Owls placekicker, scored on runs of 30, 10, 8, 5, and 4 yards as Slinger controlled the line of scrimmage from the opening kickoff. His 30-yard scamper on Slinger's first offensive possession got the Owls on the board, and his 33-yard field goal on their second drive staked them to an early 10-0 lead.

"If you aren't where you need to be, and you don't use proper technique, you won't get a second shot against that young man (Mason)," said McGranahan. "He took a few long on us, and he is a heck of a player.

Whitnall answered with an offensive drive deep into Slinger territory, but Falcons quarterback Tyler Merritt was intercepted looking for receiver Michael Grim on an out route, as Slinger defensive back Jesse Bellefeuil undercut Grim to make the play at the Owls 10-yard-line. Bellefeuil, who muffed a punt that Slinger recovered on the previous series, returned the interception all the way to Whitnall's 36-yard line, and Mason would hammer home his second touchdown of the game three plays later. Bellefeuil's show of mental toughness was not lost on his head coach.

"I always tell our kids that when they make a mistake, they are going to get another opportunity to make a play," said Slinger head coach Bill Jacklin. "These games are really momentum driven, and that play helped us greatly."

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Preps football photos of the week: Aug. 22

Aug. 22, 2014 10:05 p.m. | As August ends, the Wisconsin preps football season begins.

Games started Thursday and continued through Saturday as programs faced off against Week 1 opponents.

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 1.

Greendale School Board OKs schools as polling places for general election

Aug. 18, 2014 8:50 p.m. | Greendale — The Greendale School District will permit the village to keep its traditional polling places in schools for the upcoming general election.

The district formally asked the village's board of trustees in May to move the polling places from the schools by the general election on November 4 after concerns arose about the safety of students during election days.

After months of discussion between the school district and village administration, the board of trustees approved a referendum question for the general election on July 15. The referendum question will ask residents: "Should the polling places for the Village of Greendale be located in buildings other than in schools owned by the Greendale School District?"

Currently, all three of the district's elementary schools and the high school are used as polling places.

With the village's efforts to find alternative locations in mind, school board members unanimously approved Monday use of its facilities for the general election.

» Read Full Article

West Allis-West Milwaukee district at center of rapid changes in education

Aug. 16, 2014 5:58 p.m. | This summer, an English teacher sat down to type a four-page letter, single-spaced, explaining to the West Allis-West Milwaukee administration and School Board why he was resigning from a job he loved after 18 years.

In any other year, the concerns of former Nathan Hale High School teacher Eric Zentner might have carried less weight.

But the letter that reached School Board members in June was the first public indication of what might have spurred an uptick in staff departures from West Allis-West Milwaukee's schools this past year.

His concerns — the micromanaging of teachers, pressure to adapt too quickly to new technology, increasing workloads, pressure to make discipline and academic data look favorable, and low staff morale — were soon echoed by dozens of other teacher letters that reached board members.

The next month, Superintendent Kurt Wachholz suddenly retired.

» Read Full Article

West Allis industrial construction project starts this fall

Aug. 14, 2014 10:20 a.m. |

The $14 million proposal to redevelop the former Yellow Freight truck terminal site is proceeding, with construction to begin soon after winning approvals from West Allis officials.
Wangard Partners Inc. is to begin construction work this fall on two new buildings that will replace the former terminal, at 11406-11528 W. Rogers St., said Steve Schaer, city planning and zoning manager.  
Wangard expects to complete a 50,000-square-foot light industrial building by March, and a 73,000-square-foot light industrial building by June, Schaer said Thursday.
The Plan Commission approved the development plans at its Wednesday night meeting. Wangard hasn't yet disclosed the name of an anchor tenant it has secured for one of the buildings.
The firm is buying the 9.3-acre site from the city for $845,000, with that transaction to close on Aug. 28, Schaer said.
That price includes funds to cover the city's costs of demolishing the former Yellow Freight buildings earlier this year, and doing an environmental cleanup.
Wangard's financing includes $14 million in federal New Market Tax Credits, which will be sold to generate $3 million in equity cash, and a $500,000 city loan funded by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The city in 2009 purchased the property for $1.4 million through a tax incremental financing district, with that debt to be repaid over 23 years through new property taxes from Wangard's buildings. The project also received a $127,000 Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. grant.
Wangard first proposed a light industrial development at the former truck terminal in 2013. It is among several industrial redevelopment sites in West Allis.

West Allis gunman didn't target anyone before suicide, police say

Aug. 14, 2014 9:47 a.m. | A West Allis man fired four gunshots into the ceiling of his apartment, prompting a neighbor to call police, before the man turned the gun on himself, officials said Thursday.

West Allis police officers were called about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday to an apartment complex in the 10400 block of W. Lincoln Ave. Officers secured the building and ordered the 31-year-old shooter to leave his apartment. When officers entered the apartment, they found the man was dead.

The man was not targeting anyone, and he lived in an upper unit with no other apartments above him, West Allis Deputy Chief Robert J. Fletcher said Thursday.

No one else was injured in the incident, and the investigation was ongoing Thursday morning.

Police have not publicly identified the man.

Meijer goes forward with Mount Carmel site in Greenfield

Aug. 06, 2014 10:47 a.m. | Plans for a Meijer super store offering both groceries and department store merchandise will go to the Greenfield Plan Commission for a conceptual project review Tuesday, Aug. 12.

The store plus an attached garden center and a separate gas/concenience building would be on the site of the former Mount Carmel nursing home, 5700 W. Layton Ave.

The store would be about 190,000 square feet with a 20,000-square-foot garden center plus the gas station/convience building.

Earlier this year, the Meijer CEO Hank Meijer said the retailer was considering other sites in Greenfield. But the 25-acre site, right off Interstate 894/US 45 is particularly prime and big enough for the store, he said.

Mayor Michael Neitzke said if the store is approved, it would fit into Greenfield's efforts to make Layton Avenue its main street.

Complaint: 2 women in suitcases died during 'breath play'

Aug. 05, 2014 10:44 p.m. | Kenosha — The two women whose bodies were found in suitcases in June died during "breath play,'' the suspect in their slayings told police.

That's how former police officer Steven Zelich described the sexual bondage activity he inflicted on Jenny Gamez and Laura Simonson, who apparently met him voluntarily at hotels in Kenosha and Rochester, Minn., according to a first-degree intentional homicide charge filed Tuesday in the death of one of the two women.

While "breath play" may sound benign, its technical name is erotic asphyxiation, or asphyxiophilia, and it is extremely dangerous.

On the last of three days with Gamez, Zelich told investigators, he handcuffed her behind her back, blindfolded her, and put a ball gag in her mouth and a rope around her neck to restrict her breathing — until he lost control and she choked to death.

"He may call that accidental. I call that murder," said Kenosha County District Attorney Robert Zapf, speaking to reporters after Zelich's initial court appearance Tuesday. A judge set bail at $2 million.

» Read Full Article

New charges expected Tuesday against ex-officer in suitcase bodies case

Aug. 04, 2014 12:58 p.m. | Steven Zelich, the former West Allis police officer charged with hiding the bodies of two women found in suitcases by a road crew in Walworth County, expects to face new charges in Kenosha County on Tuesday, his new attorney said.

Jonathan Smith said Monday he had not been told what the charges will be, but that Zelich is scheduled for an initial appearance Tuesday afternoon in Kenosha County Circuit Court.

According to the complaint in the current case, Zelich, 52, told investigators that one of the women, Jenny Gamez, died during a sexual encounter in a Kenosha hotel in 2012.

In the Walworth County case, Zelich had been represented by the public defender's office, despite the fact he had been steadily employed as a security guard with the national firm Securitas since 2007.

Records show Smith and his partner, Steven Kohn, visited Zelich at the Walworth County Jail on July 17. By July 31, Zelich had moved to substitute his attorney, and a judge granted the order on Friday.

» Read Full Article

West Allis-West Milwaukee superintendent suddenly retires

Aug. 01, 2014 8:15 a.m. | Kurt Wachholz, superintendent of the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District for the past 10 years, served his last day as district leader Thursday, according to a district spokesperson.

The West Allis-West Milwaukee School Board met in closed session Wednesday night to consider the superintendent's retirement request and related issues. It's unclear if Wachholz had been planning the retirement, or if was hastened for other reasons.

He had earned recognition in recent years as a district leader embracing the trend toward "next generation learning" and digital initiatives in education.

Wachholz was named superintendent in January 2004, after serving as interim district leader and holding a variety of other administrator roles.

Brian Vissers, district spokesman, said an interim superintendent would be named in the near future.

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