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Skeletal remains appear to be those of suicide victim

Jan. 27, 2012 2:30 p.m. | The Milwaukee County medical examiner's office has identified the skeletal remains found in a vacant West Allis house on Monday as a man who apparently committed suicide.

According to a release from the West Allis Police Department, the man had been a resident of the house on the 1300 block S. 58th St. where his remains were found, along with a handgun. A time of death couldn't be determined, but he would have been age 45 now.

"The residence was presumed unoccupied and abandoned for the past several years," the release said.

Video: Daykin discusses recent changes at Southridge Mall

Jan. 27, 2012 9:07 a.m. | In this week's Land and Space video, Tom Daykin talks about the addition of Macy's to Southridge Mall and other new stores in the area.

A single player that is 440 pixels wide, with no padding used for blogs

Skeleton found in abandoned West Allis house

Jan. 24, 2012 11:24 a.m. | Police and medical examiners are investigating the death of a person whose skeleton was found Monday in an abandoned house in West Allis.

The West Allis Police Department received a call at 3:12 p.m. Monday about a body in a residence in the 1300 block of S. 58th St., according to a news release.

"The body was located in a state of decomposition to the degree that skeletal remains were recovered. The residence was presumed unoccupied and abandoned for the past several years. The exact date/time of death is unknown at this point," the release said.

Police and the Milwaukee County medical examiner's office are now trying to find out who the person is and how he or she died.

Police said preliminary investigation "does not indicate a danger to the community."

Redistricting errors impact Greenfield primary

Jan. 18, 2012 3:34 p.m. | The Greenfield clerk's office is under the gun as it races to fix a redistricting snafu that could turn Feb. 21 primary election day into a nightmare for voters and poll workers.

The problem is that the boundaries state legislators drew in redistricting following the 2010 U.S. Census don't match up in some places with local maps. As a result, some voters are not in the right wards or districts.

To fix the problem, the clerk's office must move 5,000 voters one by one into the proper wards, City Clerk Jennifer Goergen told the Greenfield Common Council on Tuesday night.. That's a big job - one she isn't sure can be completed by a Jan. 31 deadline tied to the printing of election-related documents.

Goergen emphasized that the problem is not a local mistake. It came about because state legislators relied on census blocks to draw their maps. Those blocks have been found to be inaccurate all over the state.

If things aren't put right, voters could come to the polls for the Feb. 21 primary election and not be listed in the right poll book, Goergen said. They could re-register at the polls, though, she suggested.

City scales back $10 million roads plan

Jan. 18, 2012 3:18 p.m. | The aggressive $10 million road repair plan that was proposed to take advantage of low interest and construction costs will not be followed, the Greenfield Common Council decided Tuesday night.

Instead, the council approved $3.7 million in road projects, which is more in line with what the city usually spends in a year.

While lumping three years of road repairs into this year offered an estimated $2 million savings and a hiatus in any road work, the council did not feel comfortable taking on that much debt. Times are too uncertain, Mayor Michael Neitzke said after the meeting.

The council did approve the crash plan in November when it approved the 2012 budget, but even then aldermen expressed reservations.

The projects that actually were approved for next year were recommended by the Public Works Committee that met last week.

City opts to revert to old overtime rules

Jan. 18, 2012 1:48 p.m. | New overtime rules limiting Department of Public Works overtime only to work over 40 hours in a week and dropping overtime premiums for work on holidays and weekends were scrapped by the Greenfield Common Council on Tuesday night, 17 days after they went into effect Jan. 1.

The council opted to revert to most of the old rules, which granted overtime after eight hours in one work day and counts vacation and personal time as hours worked. Workers will earn time-and-a-half pay for any hours beyond eight in a day and on holidays and weekends. Double-time on Sundays, as was offered under the old rules, was not restored.

The Finance and Human Resources Committee, which recommended going back to most of the old rules, agreed with Daniel Ewert, public works superintendent, who said the new more restrictive rules do more harm than good.

Ewert pleaded with the committee to restore at least some of the old overtime rules to show DPW workers who are called on to meet all kinds of emergencies that rules are not being implemented just because the city can.

Most of the overtime is paid for battling snowstorms, Ewert said, and overtime itself is less than 8 percent of the DPW payroll.

Greenfield tries to avoid a sign of things to come

Jan. 18, 2012 1:08 p.m. | With the approval of one flashing sign, Greenfield leaders hope they aren't opening the city up to TV-like advertising signs along its thoroughfares.

The sign OK'd by the Common Council on Tuesday night was for the city's own Greenfield Community Center, 7215 W. Cold Spring Road.

Advertising would be sold on the sign, placed in front of the building. The city would collect an estimated $12,000 per year from the company that would be in charge of the sign. That money would help support the community center.

The council's approval was significant because for the first time businesses will be able to advertise on a sign on someone else's property elsewhere in the city. To try to avoid a proliferation of signs and off-site advertising, the council decided to limit those types of signs to public property associated with public buildings.

But that still leaves the door open to Milwaukee County and the two school districts in the city to erect similar signs, said Karl Kastner, Common Council president, who cast the only "no" vote. Milwaukee County, which is desperate for revenue, alone could conceivably have its signs on Root River Parkway, Cold Spring Road, Highway 100, Beloit Road and 92nd Street and Forest Home Avenue, he noted.

Hale names Ehret as new football coach

Jan. 17, 2012 8:46 p.m. | Brandon Ehret has been named head football coach at Nathan Hale High School, the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District just announced.

Ehret has served on the Nathan Hale football staff for the past two seasons as head junior varsity coach and linebackers coach. District officials said he also will bring a strong background of playing experience to the job of varsity head coach.

Ehret was a four-year letter winner at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and was an all-conference selection at linebacker in both his junior and senior years. He was team captain as a senior and named his team's defensive Most Valuable Player as both a junior and a senior.

"It's a dream come true to coach at the same school in which I teach," Ehret said in a press release.

He takes over from Sean Hegarty, who has been head football coach for two seasons.

West Allis woman was victim in fatal car crash

Jan. 16, 2012 10:58 a.m. | A 34-year-old West Allis woman died and another woman was injured when the car they were in spun out and slammed into a tree on Milwaukee's northwest side early Sunday, investigators said Monday.

Patricia A. Wnuk was riding west in the 9000 block of W. Capitol Drive in a Chevy Impala driven by a friend at 1:17 a.m. when the driver lost control of the car, jumped the curb, spun out in the snow-covered median and slammed the passenger side of the vehicle into a tree, according to an investigation report by the Milwaukee County medical examiner's office released Monday.

An investigator from the office said an empty bottle of citrus-flavored vodka was found stashed in the magazine compartment behind the front passenger seat. No air bags deployed.

The driver of the car was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. Wnuk, who was not wearing a seat belt, died at the scene.

The report said the speed limit in the area is 35 mph.

» Read Full Article

Southridge owner may ban county buses because of noise, other concerns

Jan. 12, 2012 6:18 p.m. | Milwaukee County buses may be banned from Southridge Mall in Greendale starting next month, because of noise and other concerns raised by the Indianapolis-based owner of the mall.

Simon Property Group has told the county and Milwaukee County Transit System that the four bus routes that now serve the mall won't be able to use mall parking lots for picking up and dropping off mall-bound passengers.

That will mean a long hike to the mall entrances from buses that drop off passengers at stops along S. 76th St. and other surrounding thoroughfares. The four regular bus routes that serve the mall provide about 1,200 rides a day.

The only specific problem raised by the mall owner was bus noise complaints from mall neighbors, according to a county memo. County officials said they had no documents spelling out other concerns, but expressed skepticism that noise was the only issue.

Supervisor Michael Mayo Sr., the chairman of the County Board's Transportation, Public Works and Transit Committee, said he found the complaint about bus noise odd.

» Read Full Article

Restaurants might replace ex-Leath building at Southridge

Jan. 06, 2012 7:00 a.m. | The former Leath Furniture building, in the northwestern portion of Southridge Mall's parking lot, will soon likely have a new owner, with that property redeveloped into one or two restaurants.

That's according to a note from Village President John  Hermes in the latest Greendale community newsletter.

Village officials are working with the new owner "to bring exciting name/s to this location," Hermes wrote. He didn't identify the prospective buyer, or the restaurants. Village Manager Todd Michaels declined to provide any additional information.

However, one source said Longhorn Steakhouse and Panda Express might be replacing the building, which would be demolished.

I reported in May that a sale was in the works for the 39,000-square-foot building, 5220 S. 76th St.

» Read Full Article

New Berlin police warn of burglary ring

Jan. 05, 2012 9:52 a.m. | New Berlin - Police issued a warning Thursday about a burglary ring that has committed at least 14 break-ins since mid-December in at least seven municipalities in the region.

Most of the burglaries have occurred in the morning and the suspects are believed to be men in their 20s to 30s, New Berlin police said Thursday.

Five of the burglaries have occurred in New Berlin. Residences in Brookfield, Greenfield, Hales Corners, Menomonee Falls, Milwaukee and West Allis also have been hit.

In New Berlin, the burglars have driven through neighborhoods on weekday mornings after people have left for work and look for houses that do not appear to be occupied, Lt. Mike Glider stated in a news release.

Suspects follow routine

» Read Full Article

Arrest made and charges filed in 2009 West Allis robbery homicide

Jan. 03, 2012 8:00 p.m. | A 17-year-old Milwaukee boy has been charged in connection with the murder of a West Allis business owner who police believe was fatally shot during a robbery more than two years ago.

Charged by the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office with felony murder-party to a crime was William E. Beene. The 17-year-old was charged as an adult, West Allis Police Chief Michael Jungbluth said.

Ever since the Aug. 15, 2009, shooting, West Allis police have been investigating the case in which Damon Adams, who was 36 at the time, is believed to have been shot at his business, Dame's Spot, 1031 S. 60th St., a sports memorabilia and urban clothing/shoe store. Police said it appears that Adams was shot during a robbery at the business and then fled on foot. He collapsed at 1109 S. 60th St. and later died, police said.

Police arrested Beene on Dec. 30. More arrests in this homicide are expected, police said, as they continue their investigation.

The most-read stories of 2011

Jan. 03, 2012 12:54 p.m. | Some of the most interesting news often happens in the suburbs and the just-completed year was no exception.

The most-read NOW online story of 2011 was an item on a 70-year-old St. Francis man who found a missile buried in the wall of his bathroom. How did it get there? We don't know for sure, but a former owner of the house was a World War II veteran known to collect war souvenirs.

We invite you to take a look back at some of the other most popular stories from 2011:

Woman uses 5-year-old son as shield against Taser

Family of lost child at Mayfair fights with police officers

» Read Full Article

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