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Greendale School Board to host special meeting for potential spring election candidates

12:01 p.m. | Greendale — The Greendale School Board will host a School Board Academy on December 16 for anyone interested in running as a candidate on the 2015 spring election ballot.

The School Board Academy is an opportunity for all citizens interested in becoming a candidate for the school board to learn more about the position.

Greendale School District Superintendent John Tharp and School Board President Joe Crapitto will present information on the duties and responsibilities of school board members. Topics will include school finance, law, personnel issues, ethical practices and accountability.

The academy will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 16, in the Greendale School District Office conference room, 6815 Southway.

Registration is required and requested by 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 15, by calling Mary Ann Jacobsen at (414) 423-2700, ext. 2702.

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Franklin adopts 2015 budget, keeps tax levy frozen

Nov. 19, 2014 5:27 p.m. | Franklin — The Franklin Common Council unanimously adopted the 2015 annual budget on Tuesday, staying in line with Mayor Steve Olson's recommendation to freeze the tax levy.

The 2015 budget sets the total property tax levy at $20.5 million, the same amount as last year. This marks the second year in a row that the city has maintained a frozen tax levy.

The projected tax rate for 2015 comes in at $6.28 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

A taxpayer with a home valued at $235,000 will pay close to $1,475 in property taxes for 2015.

More information regarding the budget will be published in an upcoming issue.

American flags raised in support of veterans memorial to be removed during Greendale ceremony

Nov. 18, 2014 10:15 a.m. | Greendale — The American flags planted at the corner of Broad Street and Southway will be removed during a special Retirement of Colors ceremony on Saturday.

Approximately 100 miniature American flags were raised on the site to show support for a proposed veterans memorial, which ultimately fell through for that location on Greendale School District property.

The Greendale Veterans Memorial Committee has continued to discuss a new memorial site with school district and village officials.

For now, the American flags at the intersection must be retired.

"This should not be interpreted that the veterans are giving up on the proposed site for their memorial, but rather, it is a procedure consistent with the rules of flag etiquette," said Bill Kewan, a civilian member of the memorial committee. "The American flags and signs are being removed before the heavy, winter snow buries these symbols of our freedoms."

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Oak Creek approves city budget with small tax levy increase

Nov. 17, 2014 9:31 p.m. | Oak Creek — The city has approved a budget of $23.04 million and a tax levy of $19.32 million for 2015.

Combined with the city's tax base, the levy will result in a projected tax rate of $6.76 per 1,000 of assessed value, 35 cents higher than this year's tax rate. On a median home of $196,000 assessed value, the city portion of property taxes will be $1,325. That's compared to 2014's $6.41 tax rate on a $19.2 million tax levy.

The common council finalized the budget and levy on Monday, Nov. 17. The city will not have all tax data until December, said Bridget Souffrant, finance director/comptroller of Oak Creek.

Oak Creek has kept the tax rate in check since 2005, keeping levy amounts in line with new construction and tax incremental finance (TIF) closure capacity, said Gerald Peterson, city administrator.

The projected tax rate increase for 2015 is due to a 4.18 percent decrease in overall assessed value of Oak Creek, city officials say. New construction and the recent closing of tax increment finance district No. 5 accounts for 5 ents of the new projected tax rate and $127,851 of the levy.

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Franklin police search for two armed robbery suspects

Nov. 17, 2014 4:24 p.m. | Franklin — Police responded to a report of armed robbery at 10:15 a.m. Monday morning in the 10700 block of South 92nd Street.

The 75-year-old homeowner and a 53-year-old employee were bound and held against their will by suspects displaying weapons, according to a police news release.

The suspects fled the scene with an unknown amount of money and property before police arrived.

The police are looking for two suspects.

One suspect is described as a white or Hispanic male in his early thirties, about 5-foot-9, weighing 180 pounds. The man had curly, black hair that was cut short and wore a gray zip-up sweat shirt with dark pants.

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2 men, ages 75 and 53, tied up at gunpoint in Franklin robbery

Nov. 17, 2014 3:38 p.m. | A 75-year-old Franklin homeowner and another man were tied up at gunpoint during a robbery Monday morning, police said.

The male homeowner told police that two men armed with handguns approached his house about 10:15 a.m. in the 10700 block of S. 92nd St. where he also has an auto shop, Sgt. Russell Crissey said.

The homeowner and a 53-year-old male shop employee were bound and held against their will as the two suspects took cash and property, police said. The suspects fled in a two-door red subcompact car in an unknown direction.

"This might be the first time in 22 years that I can remember something like this happening," Crissey said. "You always have burglaries and robberies, but nothing to this extent."

"We're not sure if the home was targeted," he said.

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Kayla's Krew to hold a "Design Day" for all-inclusive playground concepts

Nov. 17, 2014 10:03 a.m. | Franklin — Kayla's Krew, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building an all-inclusive playground in Franklin, will host a "Design Day" on Thursday, Dec. 4, in the Ben Franklin Elementary School gymnasium.

To help with the playground design, students of the Franklin and Greendale school districts will be interviewed and their ideas will be consulted for the playground design.

"Design Day serves as the launchpad for the ten-month journey to build a one-of-a-kind playground for all abilities, imagined by the children of Franklin and Greendale and built by the community," said Shelly Runte, founder and executive director of Kayla's Krew, in a news release. "We can't wait to watch and hear the students share their ideas for a play-destination, where children of all abilities can interact, play and build lifelong friendships."

A professional designer from Play by Design — a New York-based playground developer — will spend the afternoon producing a playground design based on the student recommendations. The design will be presented to the community during an evening meeting that same day.

The public event will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the elementary school, 7620 S 83rd Street. Snacks and refreshments will be offered.

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Donations pour in for family stranded in Franklin motel

Nov. 14, 2014 6:04 p.m. | The family stranded in the Franklin motel is on its way to Michigan, thanks to the generosity of Milwaukee Journal Sentinel readers, but the rest of the story is sadder and much more complicated.

For starters, the man's name is Ryan Krchma, not Brian Tenns. He was born in Milwaukee in 1986 and adopted at birth. He attended Slinger High School.

Krchma left the Milwaukee area 11 years ago to sell magazines door-to-door after getting into trouble for a series of petty drug crimes. He had not been back until he arrived in Milwaukee with the magazine crew a few weeks ago.

Krchma traveled to 30 states selling subscriptions door-to-door. He met Vanessa Romero on the job. (Her last name is not Calderon, as they were telling people.)

The couple continued their vagabond lifestyle even after the births of their sons, Ryan Jr. or RJ, who is 6, and Jacob, 4.

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Greendale's annual Tree Lighting Ceremony set for November 28

Nov. 14, 2014 1:58 p.m. | Greendale — The Greendale Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the village, will host the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, Nov. 28.

The Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held in front of Village Hall, 6500 Northway.

The ceremony will include a community singalong of carols, led by the Greendale High School Choir, at 6:30 p.m. Village President John Hermes will then countdown to turning on the holiday lights throughout the village center at 6:50 p.m. Following the lighting ceremony, Santa Claus will arrive to bestow treats for the children.

The Greendale Chamber of Commerce encourages the public to visit downtown shops, many of which have extended holiday hours for the lighting ceremony.

For more information, contact Village Manager Todd Michaels at (414) 423-2100.

Franklin house fire results in $90,000 worth of property loss

Nov. 14, 2014 1:33 p.m. | Franklin — The Franklin Police and Fire departments responded to a single-story house fire on Friday, at 12:24 a.m.

The resident of the house was able to exit the building and was treated on the scene by fire personnel for smoke inhalation.

An investigation of the fire revealed that the fire originated in the kitchen, according to a news release from the police department.

The total property loss is estimated at $90,000.

Ditched by traveling subscription sales crew, family huddles in motel

Nov. 13, 2014 6:12 p.m. | Brian Tenns and his family are starting to get antsy being stuck in Franklin motel rooms for the past six days with no end in sight.

Ryan, 6, and Jacob, 4, bide their time jumping on the beds, watching cartoons and munching on peanut butter sandwiches they buy with money that strangers give them. Their mother, Vanessa Calderon, says she never wants to travel another mile again.

"I just want to go home," she said.

Tenns, 28, and Calderon, 27, were living in Flint, Mich., last June when they joined a traveling crew selling magazine subscriptions door-to-door across the country.

"It sounded like a big adventure," Tenns said. But things quickly turned sour. Long hours, lousy pay, fights, threats, intimidation. They drove in vans of 10 or 12 passengers from the East Coast to Nevada, down to Texas and on to Wisconsin.

» Read Full Article

Santa is ready to come to Oak Creek with a holiday workshop, bake contest and games

Nov. 13, 2014 12:23 p.m. | Oak Creek — Turkeys are not yet carved but Santa is ready to come to town.

The Academy of Performing Arts is hosting a free Santa's Workshop on Sunday, Dec. 7 from 2 to 5 p.m. at its Oak Creek location, 9160 S. Pennsylvania Ave.

Traditional to holiday events, there will be a hot chocolate bar, crafts, a coloring contest, a bounce house, pictures with Santa and more. Outdoors there will be a trackless train, similar to the one found at Southridge Mall.

Rides on the train are the only paid portion of the event, with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Foundation. Attendees are encouraged to bring an unwrapped, new toy to donate to the Toys for Tots toy drive. Participants will be entered into a raffle prize giveaway for each toy they donate.

The event also hosts a holiday cookie bake-off contest. Interested bakers contact Cara at outreach@academywi.com for more details. First prize is $100. There will also be a kids division with the first prize being $50.

Greendale High School's FBLA chapter hosts 'Walk for Wellness' fundraiser for March of Dimes

Nov. 12, 2014 5:37 p.m. | Greendale — Greendale High School's Future Business Leaders of America chapter is holding a "Walk for Wellness" contest to align with the March of Dimes campaign.

March of Dimes, a nonprofit organization that raises money to promote healthy pregnancies, works closely with FBLA. Since Greendale High will host the FBLA Region 7 competition this spring, the March for Dimes reached out to the school to kickoff a statewide campaign.

In addition to helping March of Dimes with its mission, Greendale FBLA members also wanted to promote healthy living through a "Wellness Walk."

The FBLA chapter is now selling pedometers for $10 each. Participants in the program are asked to log their steps at the end of each week until December 12. FBLA hopes to raise $2,000 through the program. Incentives are offered to participants, including Starbucks gift cards and an opportunity to throw a pie in the face of the principal should the school meet its goal.

"The whole community is invited to get involved," said Kitty Goyette, communications director for the Greendale School District. "We would like to get as many people as possible involved with this fundraiser and the March of Dimes."

» Read Full Article

Street to be named for Medal of Honor recipient Gary Wetzel

Nov. 12, 2014 4:52 p.m. | The street in front of the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center will be renamed in honor of Medal of Honor recipient Gary Wetzel.

Wetzel, 67, of Oak Creek, was named Milwaukee County Veteran of the Year at a banquet Tuesday night at the War Memorial. The street will be dedicated on March 25, Medal of Honor Day, and will be called "Gary Wetzel — Medal of Honor Way."

Wetzel was a door gunner in the Army's 173rd Assault Helicopter Co. when his helicopter was shot down in January 1968. Under heavy enemy fire, Wetzel fired his gun and helped his wounded comrades despite severe injuries to his left arm from an explosion. His arm was later amputated and Wetzel was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Lyndon Johnson.

Church loses appeal over late Franklin farmer's estate

Nov. 12, 2014 1:43 p.m. | A suburban Milwaukee church has lost its bid to overturn an earlier court decision in a high profile probate case that dramatically reduced what it was to receive in a bequest.

St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 6881 S. 51st St. in Franklin, had appealed the 2013 decision by Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Karen Christenson entering into probate a 2009 will signed by Franklin farmer Gerald Mahr giving the bulk of his estate to his friend, Ignacio "Spider" Vasquez. The church was among a handful of beneficiaries, including family members, who protested the will.

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld Christenson's decision.

The 2009 will bequeathed St. Paul's $10,000, significantly less than an earlier version that left it $100,000 and half of the residue of Mahr’s estate.

Mahr was found dead in January 2011 in the charred ruins of the farmhouse on W. Loomis Road where he was born and raised. Fire officials blamed the blaze on an electric space heater attached to his chimney. But the Milwaukee County medical examiner's office said Mahr died of cardiovascular disease before the fire started. He was 76.

» Read Full Article

Community Watch

» Greendale School Board to host special meeting for potential spring election candidates 12:01 PM

» Franklin adopts 2015 budget, keeps tax levy frozen 11/19

» American flags raised in support of veterans memorial to be removed during Greendale ceremony 11/18

» Oak Creek approves city budget with small tax levy increase 11/17

» Franklin police search for two armed robbery suspects 11/17

» 2 men, ages 75 and 53, tied up at gunpoint in Franklin robbery 11/17

» Kayla's Krew to hold a "Design Day" for all-inclusive playground concepts 11/17

» Donations pour in for family stranded in Franklin motel 11/14

» Greendale's annual Tree Lighting Ceremony set for November 28 11/14

» Franklin house fire results in $90,000 worth of property loss 11/14

» Ditched by traveling subscription sales crew, family huddles in motel 11/13

» Santa is ready to come to Oak Creek with a holiday workshop, bake contest and games 11/13

» Greendale High School's FBLA chapter hosts 'Walk for Wellness' fundraiser for March of Dimes 11/12

» Street to be named for Medal of Honor recipient Gary Wetzel 11/12

» Church loses appeal over late Franklin farmer's estate 11/12

» Amendments pass that would keep wading pool open, continue UW-Extension contract and repair Hales Co 11/11

» Sports bar and grill to replace China Inn in Hales Corners 11/10

» Suburban roundup: Week three of the WIAA football postseason 11/10

» Preps football photos of the week: Level 3 11/7

» Franklin High theater students reach out to community for 'Any Given Day' 11/5

» Election roundup: How the Milwaukee suburbs and Lake Country voted Updated:  11/5

» Unofficial Hales Corners general election results 11/5

» Franklin approves contracts for $328 million in new development prospects 11/5

» Oak Creek, Franklin residents vote "yes" to only one OCFSD referendum question 11/5

» Walker receives 64 percent of votes in Franklin 11/5

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