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Franklin fire chief reminds residents burning ban in place

June 28, 2012 2:36 p.m. | Franklin Fire Chief James Martins issued a reminder today that a ban on burning remains in effect within the city, to stay in place until a significant amount of rain has fallen.

Martins will determine when it is safe to allow open burning again and make an announcement at that time.

Until then, the ban applies to all individuals, including those holding a value Franklin burning permit.

The ban has been in place since June 15.

Call the Fire Department at (414) 425-1420 with questions or to check if the ban has been lifted.

Supervisor Taylor to serve on county commission on aging

June 28, 2012 1:42 p.m. | Milwaukee County Supervisor Steve F. Taylor, also a Franklin alderman, has been appointed to the Milwaukee County Commission on Aging, to serve through Jan. 31, 2014.

"As an advocate for our community's older adults, I'm honored by this appointment," Taylor said in a news release issued today. "Throughout my public service, I've worked passionately on behalf of our aging population, and I'm eager to help to ensure that Milwaukee County addresses the needs and concerns of this population that deserves our very best."

The Commission on Aging is a governing and policy-making body within Milwaukee County's Department on Aging.

Appointed commissioners are responsible for developing and implementing a coordinated human service system of community-based services for Milwaukee County residents ages 60 and older.

Supervisor Taylor represents the 9th District, which includes Hales Corners and parts of Franklin and Oak Creek.

No charges for Franklin homeowner who shot at man outside his window

June 27, 2012 5:26 p.m. | A Franklin homeowner who fired a gun at a stranger pounding on his living room window acted reasonably and won't face any charges, according to the Milwaukee County district attorneys office.

Franklin police had referred the matter to the district attorney as a possible case of second degree reckless endangering safety. But after meeting with the homeowner Tuesday, prosecutors decided not to issue any charges.

"The evidence showed that the homeowner repeatedly warned the intruder to leave his property, and informed the intruder that he had a gun," Chief Deputy District Attorney Kent Lovern said.

"Although he fired his gun, he did so expressly not to harm the intruder, and in fact did not harm him. Under the circumstances, the homeowner's actions were not unreasonable and therefore, not criminal in nature."

According to police records, Charles Bucci told police he heard a man talking in his front yard in the 8200 block of S. 100th St. about 9:15 p.m. June 21. Bucci got out of bed and grabbed his handgun, went to his living room and opened the bay window shade to see a man standing right at the glass.

» Read Full Article

Franklin's Gentz handcuffs Oak Creek, 6-0

June 26, 2012 10:06 p.m. | Franklin baseball coach Jim Hughes knows his much younger team this summer is quite a bit different from the state championship units of the last two years, whose feats are emblazoned across the front of the Sabers' scoreboard.

Take for instance what happened the last two nights to Franklin. The Sabers were blanked 3-0 by Greater Metro Conference cellar-dweller West Allis Central on Monday, but then they turned around Tuesday night to beat visiting archrival and GMC runner-up Oak Creek, 6-0.

"We are a team that could go out and beat anybody we choose on any given night," Hughes said, "but we're also a team that can go out and lose to almost anybody out there too."

"Today was obviously much better than yesterday. Our plate discipline was much better than yesterday and we've had solid pitching. Only one team has scored more than five runs on us (a 7-3 loss to GMC leader Menomonee Falls), but we also have five one-run losses on the season."

But behind some timely hitting and the strong pitching of junior pitcher Tyler Gentz, it never got that far Tuesday night, as Franklin moved into a tie for third in the GMC at 10-8 in league play and 13-9 overall.

» Read Full Article

Man arrested for shooting at prowler who tried to enter his home

June 26, 2012 4:24 p.m. | A 58-year-old Franklin man was arrested for firing a gun through a bay window at a suspected prowler June 21.

According to the Franklin police report:

The prowler, a 34-year-old Milwaukee man, was apparently intoxicated when he mistakenly attempted to enter a home in the 8200 block of South 100th Street at 9:15 p.m. June 21.

When the resident heard the prowler, he fired a shot at the man through the bay window of his home. His wife called police while the homeowner held the man at gunpoint.

The intoxicated man was arrested for disorderly conduct, and the resident was arrested for recklessly endangering safety.

Unmarked police squad damaged by BB gun

June 26, 2012 4:12 p.m. | The passenger-side front door of an unmarked Franklin squad car was struck by a pellet gun while the officer was driving southbound in the 9000 block of South 27th Street shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday.

The shot came from the woods just south of the Knotty Pine Motel at 9063 S. 27th St., according to the Franklin police report. The area was checked with a K9 Unit, but no suspects or evidence was found.

Damage to the squad is estimated at $250.

Franklin police have logged four other complaints of BB shots in this area. Anyone with information about these crimes is urged to call the Franklin Police Department at (414) 425-2522.

Open Pantry locations to be converted to 7-Elevens

June 25, 2012 12:14 p.m. | 7-Eleven, Inc., announced Monday it has finalized a deal to acquire 18 Open Pantry convenience stores in Wisconsin, primarily in the greater Milwaukee and Madison areas, including the locations at 1225 W. Rawson Ave. in Oak Creek and 7610 W. Rawson Ave. in Franklin. Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

Two other stores in the Milwaukee area are affected, those in Brookfield and New Berlin, as well as three stores in the Lake Country area of Waukesha County.

A few Open Pantry locations are not included in the deal.

"We have several strong markets in the Great Lakes areas and are committed to showing Wisconsin residents why their neighbors are such big fans of 7-Eleven," said Robbie Radant, 7-Eleven vice president of mergers and acquisitions.

The acquired sites are all company-owned stores. Fourteen of the 18 stores are retail fuel locations operating primarily under the BP brand. Each branded-fuel site will continue to accept that oil company's fleet card.

» Read Full Article

Franklin police seek help identifying Walmart robbery suspect

June 25, 2012 11:44 a.m. | The Franklin Police Department is seeking help to identify a suspect believed to have been involved in a robbery at Walmart, 6701 S. 27th St., on Wednesday.

The man passed a note demanding money to a customer service clerk shortly after 9 p.m. on June 20. The clerk surrendered an undetermined amount of currency and no one was injured.

Contact the Franklin Police Department at (414) 425-2522 with any information about the robbery or the identity of the suspect.

Hales Corners library closed on July 4

June 22, 2012 3:12 p.m. | The Hales Corners Public Library, 5885 S. 116th St., will be closed on July 4 in observance of Independence Day, library officials have announced.

Regular summer hours will resume July 5. These are 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

New tennis courts to open

June 22, 2012 1:38 p.m. |  The Greendale Village Club will open two tennis courts designed for children under the age of 10 at noon on Saturday.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be attended by Village Club President Michael Connor, Village Club pro Mike Patneaude, Lance Allan of WTMJ-TV 4, a Village Club member; and Nancy Massart, the executive director of the Wisconsin Tennis Association.

The Village Club, 6263 Sherwood Road in Greendale, is just the second facility in the Milwaukee area to offer the unique teaching tool. The two new courts were built adjacent to the club's 10 traditional courts.

Information meeting on Highway 38 study being held June 28

June 22, 2012 12:40 p.m. | A public information meeting will be held regarding the study re-evaluation for Highway 38 from Highway K in Racine County to Oakwood Road in Milwaukee County.

The meeting will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. June 28 in the Gifford Elementary School gym, 8332 Northwestern Ave., Racine.

The project team will be available to speak with guests at the open house style meeting.

The study will re-evaluate roadway deficiencies along the nine-mile stretch, as well as long-term improvements to traffic flow and safety in the corridor and assessment of potential impacts.

Through the study, the project team will:

» Read Full Article

Two arrested for pot possession after forgetting where they parked

June 22, 2012 10:26 a.m. | Greendale police arrested a pair of males in the wee hours of June 9 and charged one with drug possession after the two could not remember where they had parked their car.

According to the police report:

The 19-year-old man was arrested for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and a 17-year-old boy was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia in the 5400 block of South 76th Street in Greendale at 3:25 a.m. June 9.

An officer arrested the two suspects after they went into a wooded area and forgot where they parked their vehicle when they came out.

An officer found the car.

Parking lot con game broken up in Oak Creek

June 22, 2012 10:18 a.m. | A group of men used a classic confidence game to trick people out of their money last week in Oak Creek.

According to the police report:

An employee reported eight people scamming people for money with card games in the parking lot at Love's Travel Center, 9650 S. 20th St., at 12:30 p.m. June 13.

The people, described as "scruffy" males, were parked by the semi-truck parking lot and used three-card games to scam people into losing cash.

The men fled in two vehicles, and police were unable to find them.

» Read Full Article

Hales Corners man arrested for 6th drunken driving offense

June 20, 2012 8:36 a.m. | A 50-year-old Hales Corners man is facing a felony charge after he was arrested for his sixth offense of drunken driving June 12.

According to the criminal complaint:

A Hales Corners police officer saw a car stopped at a green light at Forest Home and Grange avenues at 1:15 a.m. June 12.

The officer approached the car and attempted to make contact with the driver, who was slumped over the steering wheel. After the officer turned off the car and woke the man up, he noticed the man's speech was slurred, his eyes were bloodshot and there was a strong odor of intoxicants on his breath.

The man was arrested for drunken driving. It is his sixth arrest for drunken driving since 1990.

» Read Full Article

Man accused of burglary, hit and run and drug possession all in one day

June 19, 2012 6:05 p.m. | A 31-year-old Oak Creek man was arrested for hit and run, drug possession and burglary Saturday, all related to crimes he is accused of committing in a 12-hour window.

According to the Oak Creek police report:

Officers responded to a call of a car hitting a bicyclist in the 8900 block of South Chicago Road at 4:25 p.m. Saturday. A witness told police the bicyclist, an 18-year-old man, was riding on the gravel shoulder when a car veered off the road, struck him, then fled. The bicyclist had injuries to his right shin but declined to be taken to a hospital.

The witness gave a vehicle description and plate number to officers, and police pulled the car over on Chicago Road just south of Puetz Road. The driver, a 31-year-old Oak Creek man, was cited for a hit and run involving injury, driving with a suspended license and unsafe lane deviation. The man was taken into custody on two Oak Creek Police Department warrants for retail theft.

While in custody the man was identified as the suspect in a residential burglary that occurred shortly before 1:15 p.m. that day, in which he allegedly stole $600 worth of items from an open garage in the 8300 block of South Chicago Road. Police arrested him for burglary and took him to the Milwaukee County Jail.

» Read Full Article

Man drops bike twice before it starts on fire

June 19, 2012 5:34 p.m. | A 40-year-old Franklin man who dropped his motorcycle twice before it started on fire was arrested for drunken driving during the early hours of June 8.

According to the Greendale police report:

A witness reported a man "dumped" his bike near 43rd Street and College Avenue shortly after 3 a.m. June 8.

While trying to pick the bike up, the driver dropped it again and the motorcycle started on fire, the witness said. The driver put out the fire, started the motorcycle and headed west on College Avenue.

Officers pulled the man over on 51st Street and Xavier Drive, where he was arrested for drunken driving. His blood-alcohol content was 0.18.

» Read Full Article

Mailboxes damaged in vandalism spree

June 19, 2012 12:03 p.m. | Franklin police received calls from 20 residents who reported their mailboxes were vandalized during the early hours of June 17.

According to the police log, most of the vandalism occurred in the 8900 and 9000 blocks of South 84th Street, the 8400 block of West Elm Court, the 8800 block of South Golden Court and the 7900 to 8100 blocks of West High Court.

Residents reported flags ripped off their mailboxes, broken posts, newspaper boxes and mailboxes torn off their posts and mailbox posts knocked over and tossed into culverts.

Damage ranged from $2 to $100 per incident.

Police are investigating.

Hales Corners McDonald's unveils new look

June 19, 2012 11:40 a.m. | The Hales Corners McDonald's, 6000 S. 108th St., will open its doors again at midnight June 29 with a grand re-opening to celebrate its new, contemporary look. The first 50 people through the doors will receive a punch card for 52 free medium Extra Value Meals.

The redesign is part of a nationwide effort to modernize the fast food chain, a company news release states.

From the outside, customers will notice a new entryway and a double-lane drive-thru. Inside, the renovation includes an improved ambience due to comfortable lighting levels and new fixtures, and modern booths, chairs, high-seated community tables and lounge-style seating.

Continuing the celebration, the first 200 customers after 11 a.m. will receive a free liter bottle of Coke with the purchase of any regular Extra Value Meal.

Visit www.mcwisconsin.com/852 for details.

NOW honor rolls updated

June 19, 2012 11:40 a.m. | We've just updated our honor rolls page with the latest lists of high-achieving students from area schools.

The honor rolls posted include: Forest Park Middle School, Greendale Middle School, Homestead High School, Kennedy Middle School, Muskego High School, Oak Creek-Franklin West Middle School, Saint Thomas More High School, St. Francis High School, South Milwaukee Middle School, South Milwaukee High School and Whitefish Bay High School.

You can always see the latest honor rolls by visiting www.mycommunitynow.com/honors.

Congratulations to all the students and their parents on their academic success.

Go to honor rolls page.

Falls' Wolf blanks OC, 4-0, as Indians seize lead in GMC race

June 18, 2012 10:16 p.m. | He may be listed as the fourth starter on the Menomonee Falls' baseball team's pitching rotation, but sophomore Tommy Wolf was the ace the Indians needed Monday night, as he stymied hot-hitting host Oak Creek on just one hit in a critical, 4-0, Greater Metro Conference decision.

"I thought in my opinion that I was put in a tough position," said Wolf, "so I tried to play it like a normal game. I just threw strikes and let my defense help me."

Indian coach Pat Hansen was ecstatic over the exceptionally clean effort the Indians turned in as they took sole possession of first in GMC play (11-2 in league play and 17-2 overall) while Oak Creek fell to 10-3 and 13-4, respectively.

"That is what I call playoff baseball," he told the team in the dimming light at Oak Creek's Abendschein Field. "You play good defense and pitch well, commit zero errors, good things usually happen."

"And this should be a lesson to our entire staff. Get ahead in the count and let your defense make plays. Just a flawless game from that respect."

» Read Full Article

Soda created by Oak Creek students hits store shelves

June 18, 2012 11:42 a.m. | The results of high school chemistry projects rarely leave the lab, much less result in a product that local community members may ingest, but that's not the case with a new cherry vanilla soda available at a handful of grocery stores in southern Milwaukee County.

The soda, Knightro Fusion, was developed by students at Oak Creek High School with help and oversight from local Black Bear Soda Company this past year, and it's now available at three retail stores in Oak Creek: Pick 'n Save, 8770 S. Howell Ave., Woodman's, 8131 S. Howell Ave., and Gary's Beer & Liquor, 9555 S. Howell Ave. It's also at the Sendik's in Franklin at 5200 Rawson Ave., according to a recent email from students in Oak Creek's marketing class.

AP Chemistry Teacher Jim Buss reached out to Black Bear and initiated a project whereby his students would spend six weeks creating a new soda flavor. Those students teamed up with their peers in a marketing class to brand and launch the product.

The partnership between the school and the local beverage company led Black Bear to donate two $500 scholarships to two 2012 graduating seniors, students reported.

And an addition to the Knightro Fusion line is already in development - an orange cream flavor for which students were pitching formulas to Black Bear executives earlier this month.

Greenfield Walmart being sold to church

June 15, 2012 7:00 a.m. | A Walmart in Greenfield, which will be replaced by a newly built store, is being sold to a church that plans to use most of the building for its services and other church-related functions.

The Ridge Community Church now holds its services at Whitnall High School, 5000 S. 116th St., Greenfield.

The church has an accepted purchase offer for the 110,000-square-foot Walmart, 4500 S. 108th St., according to a hearing notice published Thursday by the city. A public hearing on the church's rezoning request is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. July 17, at City Hall.

The church's proposal has received conceptual approval from the Greenfield Plan Commission.

The Ridge plans to use 60,000 square feet, while leasing out the rest of the building for commercial use, according to the hearing notice.

» Read Full Article

Hales Corners sexual assault prompts shutdown of mobile flirting app

June 13, 2012 1:56 p.m. | The makers of a popular location-based cellphone app for flirting and dating have shut it down after reports that at least three child sexual assaults were set up through the service, including one in Milwaukee County.

The crimes illustrate how sexual predators can quickly exploit advances in social media, prompting calls for ever greater caution among users, inventors and monitors.

The founder of Skout.com announced Tuesday that the company had temporarily suspended its under-18 community because even its stringent security measures could not stop at least a few bad actors.

"We are extremely sorry about this, but we don't believe we have any other choice," CEO Christian Wiklund wrote in a blog post. "We will not compromise the safety of our community, and right now, our concerns are too significant to simply stand by and do nothing."

A local incident may have been the final straw for Wiklund's San Francisco-based operation.

» Read Full Article

Franklin earns first-ever state softball berth, 1-0, over Tremper

June 07, 2012 10:03 p.m. | After the congratulatory hugs, after all the photos, and after getting the WIAA sectional championship plaque that symbolized what the Franklin softball team had accomplished with its 1-0 win over Kenosha Tremper Thursday afternoon, Sabers' pitcher Annie Versnik nudged outfielder Kayla Plath in the ribs, laughed and said what this first-ever trip to the state tournament really means:

"Real dugouts," she chuckled.

Then her and Plath both broke up laughing as they thought about Franklin's upcoming trip to the Goodman Stadium Diamond in Madison (with its real dugouts) on Thursday, June 14, when it will take on Sun Prairie in a 1:30 p.m. WIAA state quarterfinal game.

But it was no  joke about the Sabers had accomplished, as one assistant coach said after they broke their post-game huddle. "You get your name on a banner, you're the first."

"This is amazing, an unreal and completely great feeling," said Versnik. "No one here had ever done it before."

» Read Full Article

Franklin School District taking facility plan to referendum

June 07, 2012 1:26 p.m. | The Franklin School Board voted, 5-2, last night to move forward with a plan to improve facilities at Franklin High School and Forest Park Middle School.

This plan will direct attention to the top three priorities indicated from the Franklin community survey results:

These are to:

Increase academic capacity at the high school by expanding general classrooms and science areas, and also creating a secure main entry and addressing the parking situation. This project is estimated to cost $21.4 million.

Expand the art and music classroom areas and add an auditorium for school and community use, which would cost about $11.6 million.

» Read Full Article

Looking for your local polling place?

June 05, 2012 9:10 a.m. | If you would like to cast a vote today in Wisconsin's election and are not sure where your local polling place is, check out the Wisconsin Voter Public Access Page.

There you will find your local polling place, a sample ballot, list of elected officials and more.

Polls are open today until 8 p.m.

Wisconsin Voter Public Access Page

Oak Creek poised to withdraw Sheraton hotel financing

June 05, 2012 7:00 a.m. | The Oak Creek Common Council is poised to withdraw a preliminary plan to provide financing help for a Sheraton Four Points hotel after the developer was named in a foreclosure suit.

The council, at its Tuesday night meeting, is to consider a resolution that would rescind the plan to provide $4.5 million to help develop the 107-room hotel, and a covered 1,830-space parking lot aimed at travelers flying in and out of nearby Mitchell International Airport.

The hotel was proposed for the southeast corner of S. Howell and E. College avenues by developer Greg Trapani, whose family operates Trapani Construction Co., of Arlington Heights, Ill.

I reported last week that a foreclosure suit, filed in Milwaukee County Circuit Court by Morton Community Bank, of Morton, Ill., claims two investment groups, Trapani Family Properties LLC and Syner G Oak Creek LLC, owe $3.96 million from three defaulted loans.

Trapani said then that the suit is being dismissed, although neither a response to the foreclosure claim nor a dismissal notice has been filed yet, according to online court records.

» Read Full Article

Ladder ball trash talking leads to arrest for disorderly conduct

June 04, 2012 12:57 p.m. | A 34-year-old South Milwaukee man was arrested for disorderly conduct after a game of ladder ball got out of hand last week.

According to the police report:

The man was arrested after striking another person with a ladder ball (two golf balls connected by a rope) in the 1300 block of Marquette Avenue in South Milwaukee at 5:12 p.m. May 27.

The two had been playing ladder ball, and the man became upset that his opponent kept yelling "miss" each time he threw the ball.

He is accused of striking his opponent in the left hip, the face and forehead.

» Read Full Article

Oak Creek coal plant repairs completed

June 04, 2012 10:09 a.m. | A We Energies coal plant in Oak Creek that had been out of service since last fall returned to full power late last week, a utility spokesman said.

The first of two new coal-fired power plants the utility opened in Oak Creek in recent years needed repairs because of problems that could have led to corrosion of a critical component, the steam turbine.

The plant, which opened in early 2010, was shut down in late September for an inspection and then repairs. It returned to service last week, said utility spokesman Brian Manthey. The inspection took place before a two-year warranty from contractor Bechtel Power Corp. was set to expire.

The inspection revealed chloride deposits on the blades of the steam turbine, which required blades and other parts to be replaced.

Construction of the two power plants in Oak Creek was the most expensive building project in state history, costing about $2.35 billion. The two plants generate 1,230 megawatts of electricity, or enough to supply about 1 million homes.

» Read Full Article

NOW, Lake Country state track photo gallery now online

June 03, 2012 10:14 a.m. | We've just added the final images to the NOW/Lake Country Publications photo gallery from this weekend's WIAA State Track and Field Meet in La Crosse.

Photojournalists Peter Zuzga and Todd Ponath collected more than 100 images from two days of competition at the sun-splashed Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Brookfield East repeated as the boys champions in Division 1 while Riverside captured the girls title.

Go to photo gallery.

Greendale/Franklin SWAT responds to gun threat

June 01, 2012 3:24 p.m. | At 7:15 p.m. yesterday, the Crisis Crime Center reported to Greendale police that a male was making suicidal statements and that he had a gun with him in his Greendale apartment, according to a Greendale Police Department news release.

The release goes on to state:

The Crisis Center also reported the person stated he had three other people with him.

The Greendale/Franklin combined SWAT Team responded to the apartment on Crocus Court. Mutual aid patrol units responded from Greenfield and Franklin for traffic control.

Just before 10 p.m., the male was taken into custody without incident, with no weapons or other people found in the residence.

» Read Full Article

Man killed by train identified

June 01, 2012 9:08 a.m. | A man struck and killed by an Amtrak Hiawatha train in Oak Creek was identified Friday as James A. Batovsky.

Batovsky, 39, of Oak Creek, was struck shortly before 9:30 p.m., Thursday, according to Oak Creek police.

Foul play was not suspected in his death and there were no safety issues involving the train, police said ina news release.

Community Watch

» Franklin fire chief reminds residents burning ban in place Updated:  6/28

» Supervisor Taylor to serve on county commission on aging 6/28

» No charges for Franklin homeowner who shot at man outside his window 6/27

» Franklin's Gentz handcuffs Oak Creek, 6-0 6/26

» Man arrested for shooting at prowler who tried to enter his home 6/26

» Unmarked police squad damaged by BB gun 6/26

» Open Pantry locations to be converted to 7-Elevens 6/25

» Franklin police seek help identifying Walmart robbery suspect 6/25

» Hales Corners library closed on July 4 6/22

» New tennis courts to open 6/22

» Information meeting on Highway 38 study being held June 28 6/22

» Two arrested for pot possession after forgetting where they parked 6/22

» Parking lot con game broken up in Oak Creek 6/22

» Hales Corners man arrested for 6th drunken driving offense 6/20

» Man accused of burglary, hit and run and drug possession all in one day 6/19

» Man drops bike twice before it starts on fire 6/19

» Mailboxes damaged in vandalism spree 6/19

» Hales Corners McDonald's unveils new look 6/19

» NOW honor rolls updated 6/19

» Falls' Wolf blanks OC, 4-0, as Indians seize lead in GMC race 6/18

» Soda created by Oak Creek students hits store shelves 6/18

» Greenfield Walmart being sold to church 6/15

» Hales Corners sexual assault prompts shutdown of mobile flirting app 6/13

» Franklin earns first-ever state softball berth, 1-0, over Tremper 6/7

» Franklin School District taking facility plan to referendum 6/7

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