Kirby the dog hailed as hero in discovering Greendale church fire

Dec. 30, 2011 1:22 p.m. | If every dog has its day, then Kirby's was Christmas.

That's the day the 10-year-old pooch, part border collie and part Australian cattle dog, became a hero - if an unassuming one.

Kirby, a rescue dog who belongs to Fred Saunders of Greendale, was just doing what he does naturally. It was early morning and nature called.

Saunders took him to the backyard, and that's when Saunders noticed the flashing fire alarms inside St. Alphonsus Parish and School. There was no smoke and no fire, but Saunders nonetheless called the Police Department's nonemergency number. Within minutes, Saunders said, squads and fire trucks were on the scene, fighting what ended up being a blaze that caused $200,000 in damage to the building. No cause has been determined.

Saunders isn't sure Kirby is deserving of the attention he's been getting from church officials and staff, which gave him a bag of biscuits and a chew toy when Kirby visited the scene Thursday. "He didn't want to go out," Saunders said.

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St. Alphonsus students will return to school Jan. 6

Dec. 30, 2011 12:38 p.m. | St. Alphonsus School students will not return to class until Jan. 6, due to an early morning Christmas fire that caused extensive smoke damage to 17 classrooms. They were to have reported back from winter break Jan. 3, explained Principal Pat Wadzinski.

Teachers will report back to the Catholic school Jan. 5.

The fire caused $200,000 in damage to St. Alphonsus Parish and School, Greendale, and its cause is undetermined. No one was in the church, where the fire started, and no injuries were reported.

Wadzinski said two-thirds of the West Loomis Road school was damaged by smoke, and the classrooms need to be cleaned from top to bottom. Two restoration crews have been working in shifts to do so.

About 400 students attend the school.

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Gray and defense lead Nicolet past Franklin, 52-44, in Rathke

Dec. 27, 2011 9:51 p.m. | Like Nicolet girls basketball coach Corey Wolf said, every team's identity is  different than that of the previous year's team's team, no matter how few or in the case of the Knights, how many have graduated.

"That's because everybody brings a little something different to the table,' she said.

And in the case of the Knights on Tuesday afternoon, the difference was junior forward Briana Gray, a transfer who arrived from Mississippi, with a great deal of humility (lots of 'yes, sir's' and 'no ma'am's'), a steep learning curve and a tremendous amount of talent.

Gray demonstrated a great deal of all three qualities in the Knights' 52-44 quarterfinal win over host Franklin in the Christine Rathke Memorial Tournament.

That was especially true in the second half, when she and veteran guards Brittney Fair and Courtney Smith kick-started an 11-2 run to begin the third quarter that eliminated a 22-21 half-time deficit and put the Knights ahead for good.

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From Miss St. Francis to Mrs. Claus, relive the year in pictures

Dec. 27, 2011 9:43 a.m. | We have just posted our collection of News Photos of the Year and Sports Photos of the Year as selected by NOW staff photojournalists C.T. Kruger and Peter Zuzga.

Browse the galleries to see images from some of the most newsworthy events of the past 12 months. You will also find some of the quieter, but no less photogenic events captured by our award-winning staff.

We also invite you to visit the links below to take a look back at the five most popular NOW photo galleries of 2011:

2011 Track and Field State Meet

Miss St. Francis pageant

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Overnight fire damages St. Alphonsus Church in Greendale

Dec. 25, 2011 7:58 p.m. | Greendale - On a normal Christmas Day, Father Alan Jurkus would deliver a spirited homily inside St. Alphonsus Catholic Church.

But Sunday, Jurkus was in the parking lot telling parishioners that two morning Masses were canceled because of a fire overnight that caused smoke and water damage in the church. No one was injured.

"We'll be in business next week," Jurkus assured one parishioner. "We'll have a new decorating committee."

The fire broke out about 12:30 a.m. Sunday inside the church, 6060 W. Loomis Road, according to the Greendale Fire Department.

The state fire marshal's office was at the scene Sunday morning investigating the cause.

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Franklin handyman enters Milwaukee County exec race

Dec. 23, 2011 2:03 p.m. | A Franklin handyman is challenging Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.

Steven Hogan, 65, is the first challenger to register his candidacy with the County Election Commission. He still needs to file nominating petitions with a sufficient number of valid signatures by Jan. 3 to win a place on the April 3 ballot.

Hogan, a retired U.S. Navy officer, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

In the early 1990s, Hogan ran unsuccessfully for Oak Creek municipal judge, Oak Creek alderman, Oak Creek-Franklin School Board member and Franklin municipal judge. His 1990 judicial candidacy led the Oak Creek Common Council to adopt an ordinance requiring law degrees for municipal judges.

Hogan holds a bachelor's degree in geography from the University of New Mexico.

Basil Ryan loses appeal over value of condemned river side land

Dec. 22, 2011 11:29 a.m. | The Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that trial judges have discretion to allow testimony about environmental contamination and remediation costs in property condemnation proceedings.

The decision affirmed rulings in the case of former Franklin alderman Basil Ryan, who got a payment of about $650,000 for property along the Menonomee River he claimed was worth almost $3.5 million, taken by the state for use during the Marquette Interchange reconstruction.

The state had offered Ryan about $1.3 million for the land, along the Menomonee River. Because he thought it was worth more, he challenged the value at trial, where a jury concluded in 2008 he deserved about $2 million, and he was awarded the difference between the verdict amount and the state's earlier offer, which amounted to about $654,000.

The case has been in appeals ever since. Ryan challenged the court's decisions to allow evidence of the property's environmental contamination, and block testimony of his own experts and use of his proposed jury instructions

The court held that evidence of contamination and the costs to remediate contaminated property are clearly admissible in state condemnation proceedings, so long as they are relevant to the property's fair market value.

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Shoplifter claims, unsuccessfully, she was accidentally locked in store

Dec. 21, 2011 10:29 a.m. | Kmart employees who arrived early to open the store at 5600 S. 108th St. in Hales Corners last week found something quite unexpected: A woman with a cart full of merchandise who claimed to have been locked in the store overnight.

According to a police report, Kmart employees found the suspect, a 37-year-old Oak Creek woman, when they opened the store at 4:45 a.m. Dec. 15.

The suspect had a shopping cart full of clothing, cosmetics, handbags and other items, valued at $516.

Price tags were removed from some of the items, and some packaged items were opened.

The woman was also wearing brand new clothes taken from the store.

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Citations in death of Oak Creek bicyclist add to push for vulnerable user law

Dec. 21, 2011 6:15 a.m. | The driver who crossed the center line and killed a bicyclist in Oak Creek has been cited for two traffic violations, after a Milwaukee County prosecutor declined to pursue criminal charges in the case.

The decision follows similar actions by district attorneys across the state, who have declined to prosecute motorists in crashes that kill bicyclists and pedestrians.

Attorneys have based their decisions on the difficulty of making a case for homicide by negligent use of  a vehicle in crashes resulting from illegal actions by motorists. In response, cycling advocates have begun lobbying for a vulnerable user law that would increase the penalties in collisions that kill cyclists, pedestrians and highway workers.

The law would apply directly to the deaths of people like Sam Ferrito.

The 56-year-old was out for an early evening ride on July 17, when Joshua Chomicki, then 18, drove his 2000 Pontiac Sunfire into Ferrito, from behind.

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Eisenhower girls use balance, defense to whip Cudahy, 64-40

Dec. 20, 2011 9:52 p.m. | The unbeaten New Berlin Eisenhower girls were hoping to get tested Tuesday night, but instead they rolled to a 64-40 victory over previously-unbeaten Cudahy at Ike.

The win improved the Lions' record to 7-0, 6-0 in the Woodland Conference Black Division, while the Packers, leaders of the Blue Division, fell to 5-1, 4-1 in conference play.

In a game that had two of the better players in the state squaring off - Nicole Bauman of Ike, the University of Wisconsin result, and Taylor Gradinjan of Cudahy, it was the supporting players who made the difference.

Bauman scored 19 points and Gradinjan had 16 to lead their respective teams, while Jenna Jagler and Emily Wiltzius added 10 each for the Pack.

But Bauman had more support, as Jenny Weiland had 15 points and Erin Ganzke added 14, while Katie Lang had 12. Jessa Hahn came off the bench to score a bucket and grabbed some big rebounds and Kristin Hesselbach and Taylor McArthur also played a good floor game and helped key the defense.

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Foeckler named to fill Bolender's mayoral term

Dec. 20, 2011 9:38 p.m. | Al Foeckler, a former Common Council president and alderman, is the new mayor of Oak Creek.

He will take office on Thursday and serve the duration of the late Mayor Dick Bolender's term, which ends April 16.

Foeckler, a personal injury attorney with Cannon & Dunphy SC, was appointed mayor Tuesday night on a 3-2 vote, receiving the minimum number of votes to succeed Bolender, who died unexpectedly Dec. 10. Acting Mayor Stephen Scaffidi received two votes, and former Mayor Dale Richards didn't garner any votes, though he was nominated.

Foeckler, a 13-year resident of the city, served on the council from 1999 to 2008, leaving after his fourth son was born. He received his bachelor's and law degrees from Marquette University.

He said he asked to be appointed out of respect to Bolender, who he served under, and because he was familiar with issues facing Oak Creek.

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Authorities identify victim in Washington County crash

Dec. 18, 2011 10:52 a.m. | The Washington County Sheriff's Department has released the name of the Cudahy man killed in a crash early Saturday.

Henry Burazin, 78, died at a hospital after being involved in the crash, authorities said. He was driving north on U.S. Highway 41 in the Town of Wayne about 8 a.m. Saturday when his car slipped on an ice patch. It crossed into the southbound lanes near County Highway D, and struck a tractor-trailer truck, authorities said.

Three passengers in Burazin's vehicle also were injured. They were identified as Burazin's wife, Colleen, 75; Jeanne Burazin, 56, of Milwaukee; and Katy Jager, 29, of Milwaukee. No information on their conditions was available.

The truck driver, George Pinter, 60, of Hickory Hills, Ill., was not injured.

Report: Associated branches in Waukesha, Brookfield, Greendale to close

Dec. 17, 2011 8:06 p.m. | Associated Bank branches in Waukesha, Brookfield and Greendale are among the locations that will close as part of a consolidation announced Friday, the according to a report Saturday in the Wisconsin State Journal.

Associated, the largest bank based in Wisconsin, said Friday it was closing 21 branches in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois, but officials did not disclose with branches were closing.

An employee with the Green Bay-based bank provided the State Journal with a list of the branches that are slated to close, including two in Madison. A company spokeswoman on Saturday would not confirm the list.

Cudahy man dies after car hits truck in Washington County

Dec. 17, 2011 3:26 p.m. | A Cudahy man died Saturday morning when a car he was driving slipped on an ice patch and collided with a semitrailer truck in Washington County.

The crash happened just after 8 a.m. on southbound U.S. 41 in the Town of Wayne, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

The 78-year-old driver from Cudahy and three passengers were heading north when the car slipped and crossed into the southbound lanes near County Highway D and crashed into the semitrailer, the sheriff's department said.

The driver died after he was flown to a hospital. The driver's wife, 75, and two other passengers also were hospitalized.

The truck driver, 60, from Illinois was not hurt.

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Verhalen, Michalski join race to be mayor

Dec. 15, 2011 2:16 p.m. | Two more candidates for Oak Creek mayor have emerged: Alderman Thomas Michalski and Oak Creek-Franklin School Board Member Mark Verhalen.

They join acting Mayor Stephen Scaffidi in the race for the city's top leadership position. Scaffidi replaces Mayor Dick Bolender, who died Saturday but had indicated he would not seek a fourth term.

People interested in running for the mayoral post have until 5 p.m. Jan. 3 to file their candidacy paperwork, which can be obtained at City Hall.

Scaffidi's aldermanic seat is not up for re-election in April, but Michalski's is. He told NOW that he would run for both positions.

"If I were to win both elections, I wouldn't take alderman," Michalski said. So far, he is the only candidate for the aldermanic position.

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Greendale schools pull Hindu song from winter concerts

Dec. 14, 2011 5:52 p.m. | The Greendale School District removed a Hindu devotional song from a series of elementary school seasonal concerts this week after parents objected to the song.

The song, Raghupati Ragava Raja Ram, was a favorite of Mahatma Gandhi, sung on his famous Salt March to the sea. An online translation of its lyrics referred to Hindu deities Sita and Rama and said: "God or Allah is your name."

Anna Madden, spokeswoman for the district, said the song was going to be performed at three elementary schools this week along with other holiday songs.

Here's a statement she put out about the controversy:

“The decision to change the program for this year’s winter concerts was made after a final review of the songs that would be included. Replacing this song was based on concerns from some parents and was among other changes made to the program. The elementary school principals in the District made the recommendation to omit this song and District Superintendent William Hughes, who made the final decision, supported the change.

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Man, 74, calls police after being shortchanged by 'escort’

Dec. 14, 2011 12:24 p.m. | A 74-year-old Milwaukee man called police to report a theft of $50 after two women failed to give him $50 back in change for "escort services" he received at an Oak Creek hotel Monday.

According to the police report:

The man told police he had contracted for one of the women, known as "LaDonna," to give him a $50 back massage from 1:13 a.m. to 1:43 a.m. in his room at Days Inn, 1201 W. College Ave.

The man told the women he only had a $100 bill, and the women agreed to provide him with change in the morning, but he never received it.

Police questioned LaDonna, a 22-year-old Illinois man dressed as a woman, who told police he was an escort who had his own website advertising LaDonna's services.

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Man wearing Santa hat spits on people in church parking lot

Dec. 14, 2011 10:06 a.m. | Churchgoers were welcomed to an unusual sight Sunday when an intoxicated man who was wearing a Santa Claus hat was spitting on people in the church parking lot.

According to the Oak Creek police report:

Police responded to a report of an intoxicated man wearing a Santa Claus hat and spitting on people in the parking lot at Oak Creek Assembly of God, 7311 S. 13th St., at 7:45 p.m. Dec. 11.

The suspect, a 74-year-old Milwaukee man, had been banned from the property due to past disorderly incidents at the church.

The church declined to file charges and the man was taken to the Days Inn, where he was a registered guest.

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Good Samaritan ends up victim of car theft

Dec. 14, 2011 9:42 a.m. | A man who stopped to offer aid to a person thrown from a car became the victim in an apparent strong-armed car theft on North Root River Parkway on Dec. 9.

According to a Greendale police report:

The man was driving on South 76th Street near the Timber Wolf Preserve shortly before 8:30 p.m. when he observed a vehicle in front of him pull to the side of the road and throw a person out the passenger side door.

The man stated he pulled over and got out of his vehicle to see if the passenger needed help when someone suddenly came up behind him and began choking him.

While the victim was wrestling with his attacker, the passenger who was "thrown" from the car got up from the side of the road and got into the victim's vehicle, and his assailant got into his vehicle.

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Lamb on the lam causes headaches on Rawson Avenue

Dec. 14, 2011 8:58 a.m. | An Oak Creek police officer who responded to a report of a goat running loose in traffic discovered two things: the goat was actually a lamb, and a lamb on the lam is hard to corral.

According to Oak Creek police, a caller reported that a goat was running northbound in traffic on South Ash Street and East Rawson Avenue around 12:40 p.m. Dec. 9.

The officer responding to the call reported the animal was actually a lamb, and believed it belonged to the petting zoo at Mega Discount Nursery, 1901 Rawson Ave.

The officer tried to assist nursery employees who were trying to corral the lamb, but he was unable to secure it before leaving the area.

Employees at the nursery continued to follow the lamb, who led them on a two-hour chase through yards, over fences and across streets.

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Franklin girls turn back Oak Creek rally, 41-32

Dec. 13, 2011 10:30 p.m. | Can a team that has made the state tournament field four times in the last 11 years really fly under the radar?

If you're the Franklin girls basketball squad that is the perception as despite three easy wins in a row the Sabers were getting no love from area pundits.

But Franklin put on a good lobbying effort Tuesday night, as it blew a 15-2 first quarter lead, but rallied and held off visiting Oak Creek, 41-32.

"I think we just told everyone that we're for real," said Franklin coach Tony Kathrens. "Oak Creek is the measuring stick that verifies where we are in a given season, where we need to be. We've been to state four times, we've been an established program in the area, but sometimes I think that gets forgotten."

Junior guard Jenny Eickhorst, whose two breakaway lay-ups, including a three-point play in the last 45 seconds clinched the game, also thinks so.

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Funeral services set for Dick Bolender

Dec. 12, 2011 6:22 p.m. | Funeral services for Oak Creek Mayor Dick Bolender, who died Saturday at age 68, will be Wednesday.

Visitation will be from noon to 5:45 p.m. at St. Stephen Catholic Church, 1441 W. Oakwood Road, Oak Creek, with a funeral Mass to follow at 6 p.m.

Bolender died unexpectedly at home Saturday, and the cause of death is not known. No autopsy will be performed, said his daughter, Lisa Reid.

The Oak Creek Police Department will honor the mayor with a 21-gun salute; Bolender's son, Michael, is a captain on the force.

Bolender served the city for 10 years, first as an alderman and then as a three-term mayor. He had just last Tuesday announced he would not seek a fourth term.

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Oak Creek coal plant to remain shut for months

Dec. 12, 2011 2:27 p.m. | The first of two new coal-fired power plants that We Energies opened in Oak Creek in recent years will be out of service for several months after an inspection revealed a problem that could lead to turbine corrosion over the long term.

The problem was detected after the plant was taken offline for inspections and maintenance. The plant remains under warranty to the contractor that built it, Bechtel Power Corp.

Utility spokesman Brian Manthey said deposits were found on blades of the coal plant's steam turbine. Most of the blades that have deposits are being cleaned but some need to be replaced, a process that will take months.

"It's likely that we will have it back in the spring," he said.

The second plant, which opened this year, remains in operation, as does the original Oak Creek coal plant, built in the 1950s and 1960s.

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Roundball Rankings is back with a list of the area's best basketball squads

Dec. 12, 2011 12:50 p.m. | Which squads are the best basketball teams in the area?

You'll find the answers at our Roundball Rankings page, home to a rundown of the top 20 boys and girls teams, the player of the week, photo of the week, area scoring leaders, a fan forum and more.

Germantown (4-0) is the top team in the boys rankings this week while Dominican (3-0) is rated the best girls squad.

Marcus Theatres buying Showtime Cinema in Franklin

Dec. 12, 2011 10:42 a.m. | Marcus Theatres is buying the 12-screen Showtime Cinema, in Franklin, for an undisclosed price--giving Marcus its first theater in that community, the company announced Monday.

Marcus is buying the theater out of receivership after submitting the highest bid in a Dec. 8 auction, the company said. Showtime, which opened in 2003, is at 8910 S. 102nd St., just west of Highway 100 on W. Loomis Road.

The purchase is expected to close on Wednesday. Plans are for the cinema to be closed on Thursday, and then reopen on Friday as a Marcus Theatres location.

There are no immediate plans for remodeling, but the theater will receive some cosmetic changes, including new digital projection and sound systems, in the coming months, said Bruce Olson, president of Marcus Theatres.

Oak Creek mayor Bolender dies at 68

Dec. 11, 2011 9:16 p.m. | Dick Bolender, who announced just last week that he would not seek a fourth term as Oak Creek mayor, died unexpectedly Saturday night.

He was 68.

"He wasn't just a mayor to me or a co-worker. He was a personal friend, and I'm really going to miss the guy," said Ald. Michael Toman, who took over Bolender's seat in the 4th Aldermanic District after Bolender was elected mayor.

"His legacy in the city is, he's probably one of the most honest politicians I've known in my life. A good honest city servant and a good family man. Those are the things I'll remember," Toman said Sunday. "He said what he believed and he believed what he said. You never had to question where he stood on issues. Whether you agreed with him or not, he took a stand. He was that kind of man. He wasn't wishy-washy."

A proud Republican, Bolender wasn't afraid to speak his mind but still listened to other people speak theirs at regular "Meet the Mayor" sessions at City Hall. He started the tradition in 2003 as a way to get residents more involved in the community and to find out what's on their minds. He had taken a similar approach when he was first elected as an alderman in 2000, meeting residents in their living rooms to talk over coffee.

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Let There Be Light! captures sounds of the season

Dec. 11, 2011 6:00 p.m. | Let there be light. And also music.

Let There Be Light! is the name of the musical presentation by David HB Drake on Saturday evening at the Beulah Brinton House, 2590 S. Superior St., in the Bay View neighborhood.

Drake will play seasonal music that runs from the first carol sung in North America to English wassails, French carols and the spice of singalongs on mountain banjo, mountain dulcimer, concertina, American Indian flute and guitar. He performs from 4 to 5 p.m. as part of the Beulah Brinton open house celebration.

Admission is free.

- Kathy Flanigan

Oak Creek mayor's sudden death shocks family and city

Dec. 11, 2011 1:00 p.m. | Oak Creek Mayor Dick Bolender died Saturday night. He was 68. 

The cause of death was not immediately known, although a heart attack is suspected, according to Alderman Steve Scaffidi. He had been taken to St. Luke's in Milwaukee late Saturday, Scaffidi said, where he was pronounced dead.

The mayor just last Tuesday announced that he would not seek a fourth term as mayor, saying that after 10 years, it was time to "really retire." Before becoming mayor, Bolender served one year as alderman.

Bolender's daughter, Lisa Reid, said her father was not ill prior to his death and looking forward to the holidays and retirement. "He was so excited for Christmas," she said. "He was excited for the future of not having all those (city) meetings."

Bolender's daughter-in-law said Sunday that prior to joining politics, he worked for American Family Insurance Co., where he was a fire and theft investigator for 36 years. Reid said her father served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve during college; he was a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

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County will allow golfers to play on chilly (but snow-free) courses

Dec. 09, 2011 2:02 p.m. | Snow and freezing temperatures are supposed to be par for the course this time of year in southeastern Wisconsin, but with nary a snowflake to be found, Milwaukee County Parks has decided to reopen several golf courses.

That includes Whitnall Park, Franklin. Tee times will be taken that day by calling (414) 425-7931.

The other courses that will be open for play this weekend are Currie Park, Wauwatosa; Grant Park, South Milwaukee; and Lincoln Park, Milwaukee.

Six years in the making OC grapplers finally beat Franklin, 40-34

Dec. 08, 2011 9:37 p.m. | There was no grand celebration or mobbing of the mat after the Oak Creek wrestlers beat their archrivals from Franklin Thursday night for the first time in six years, 40-34.

But there was a big broad smile that no one could wipe off the face of Oak Creek coach Matt Sommerville.

"It's big, there's no doubt about it," he said. "We'd been hoping to get a win over these guys for a long time now. It'd always be that we'd get them on their backs but we could never keep them there. This time, for the first time in awhile, we got them on their backs and we kept them there."

The Southeast Conference win improved the Knights to 2-0 in league match-ups while the defending dual meet champion Sabers fell to 1-1.

Franklin coach Chad Phillippi was realistic in his assessment of the match. He was working with a line-up that had graduated 14 seniors last spring and he was also handicapped by the fact that he didn't have heavyweight Kyle Orlinski available for this meet due to an injury.

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Police sergeant charged after gun goes off at mall

Dec. 08, 2011 5:06 p.m. | A Milwaukee police sergeant whose gun went off inside Southridge Mall in Greendale on Nov. 2 was charged Thursday with endangering safety by use of a dangerous weapon, a misdemeanor.

Michael A. Edwards, 45, has been on the force since 1986. He also is the president of the Milwaukee Police Supervisors' Organization, the union that represents sergeants, lieutenants and captains, according to the organization's website.

If convicted, Edwards faces a maximum possible penalty of nine months in jail and a fine of $10,000.

According to a criminal complaint released Thursday, Edwards was in line at Auntie Anne's pretzel shop when he reached into his back pocket for his wallet. As he did, his gun slid out of his waistband and down his pants. As he reached for the weapon, it went off, blowing a hole through his pants. The gun was not in a holster and did not have a safety, the complaint says.

A woman standing nearby heard a loud bang and felt a stinging sensation on her leg, where she suffered a welt, the complaint says.

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City hall and library will be discussed in joint Oak Creek meeting

Dec. 07, 2011 11:00 a.m. | The Common Council and the Oak Creek-Franklin School Board will hold a joint meeting to discuss a site for a new city hall and library at 7 p.m. Dec. 19 at the Community Center, 8580 S. Howell Ave.

At the insistence of Mayor Dick Bolender, the meeting will be televised.

The date was set after a lengthy discussion on whether the council should meet with all the interested parties separately, as Alderman Stephen Scaffidi recommended, or as one large group, favored by Bolender, who remarked: "Divide and conquer - that's what that's about."

The mayor also said meeting individually with groups would slow the decision process down. "You're going to drag it out for another six, eight meetings."

In the end, the council voted in favor of a larger meeting, and city staff assured the aldermen that results of a resident survey seeking input on the location of a new civic center would be available before that meeting for their review.

Oak Creek approves change in postal building that may never be built

Dec. 07, 2011 10:56 a.m. | The Oak Creek Common Council on Tuesday approved a change in plans that called for a 900,000-square-foot processing and distribution site for the U.S. Postal Service - at the same time acknowledging the facility may never materialize.

The site, 2201 E. College Ave., is adjacent to the Chapel Hills subdivision, and residents there objected to the revised conceptual plans that would decrease the size of the post office building dramatically, to about 200,000 square feet, but add retail and two- and multi-family housing.

Specifically, residents said the proposed rental properties would increase traffic in the area.

With that in mind, aldermen agreed to add a 50-foot buffer between the rental units and the subdivision, and they gave assurances that a USPS building would likely never be built, given recent reports of the program closing offices and reducing its workforce. They said the plans needed to be modified so that the developer working with the USPS could market the property.

"Part of this driven by the nature of this economy," said City Attorney Lawrence Haskins. "Things are quite stagnant and they need to market the plan."

» Read Full Article

Bolender won't seek re-election to Oak Creek mayoral seat

Dec. 07, 2011 10:43 a.m. | Oak Creek Mayor Dick Bolender will not seek a fourth term this spring.

"I love this community," Bolender said Tuesday night. "But there comes a time when you need to really retire."

He was first elected mayor in 2003, having served as an alderman for one year prior.

He said the decision not to run was hard, made only after "I had a long discussion with my wife."

Meanwhile, Alderman Stephen Scaffidi, who serves as council president, indicated he would run for mayor.

» Read Full Article

West Allis, Franklin car dealerships expanding

Dec. 06, 2011 7:00 a.m. | Two separate car dealerships along state Highway 100, in West Allis and Franklin, have expansion plans.

In West Allis, International Autos has proposed to expand its Audi dealership to 10606 W. Arthur Ave., where Boucher Nissan previously operated, according to a report filed with the city Plan Commission. The Audi dealership is at a neighboring property, at 2400 S. 108th St.

International Autos plans to remodel the former Boucher building, and add around 5,600 square feet of showroom and service space. The entire building would have 22,682 square feet when completed.

Meanwhile, the Boucher Volkswagen dealership, at 6420 S. 108th St., would add 13,884 square feet under a proposal filed with the Franklin Plan Commission.

That building, which would be renovated, now has 16,060 square feet.

Group needs funds to ship cookies to soldiers

Dec. 02, 2011 4:36 p.m. | The Friends of the Franklin Library's Books for Soldiers group is in immediate need of funds to help ship half of more than 300 boxes of homemade cookies and cards from children to soldiers in Afghanistan.

More than 25 volunteers are packing boxes of cookie "six-packs," candy, hot beverage mix and Christmas cards (made by the children), then filling the voids with popped popcorn as packing material at the Franklin Library.

The Christmas boxes are one of the Books for Soldier's group ongoing support activities, Coordinator Karen Grochowski explained. The boxes are destined for individual soldiers and small units, plus one request of a six-pack per soldier for a 5,000-man group.

It costs about $13 to ship one box, and the group has funds to ship about half. By late Friday afternoon, one load of boxes were in the mail, Grochowski said, adding that volunteers should finish packing by about noon Saturday.

Any contribution towards shipping can be made at the library's Circulation Desk.

NOW honor rolls updated

Dec. 02, 2011 10:29 a.m. | We've just updated our honor roll page with the most recent lists of outstanding students, including first-quarter results from Forest Park Middle School, Greendale High School, Kennedy Middle School, Muskego High School, Whitnall High School and more.

Congratulations to all the hard-working students and their parents.

You'll always find archived and the most recent honor rolls at

What is your favorite holiday song? Tell us in our online forum

Dec. 01, 2011 9:09 a.m. | Do you have a favorite holiday song? We'd love to hear which ones you most enjoy and why.

Just visit our forum and let us know which songs you find yourself listening to again and again. It might be a a tune that reminds you of your childhood, or maybe a certain song that brings to mind a lost loved one or family tradition.

We'll be keeping an eye on the comments and will use some as part of a special feature that will appear this holiday season online and in your local NOW newspaper.

If you are looking to get into the holiday spirit, you might want to check out our photo gallery of recent holiday-themed activities.

Go to forum

Community Watch

» Kirby the dog hailed as hero in discovering Greendale church fire 12/30

» St. Alphonsus students will return to school Jan. 6 12/30

» Gray and defense lead Nicolet past Franklin, 52-44, in Rathke 12/27

» From Miss St. Francis to Mrs. Claus, relive the year in pictures 12/27

» Overnight fire damages St. Alphonsus Church in Greendale Updated:  12/25

» Franklin handyman enters Milwaukee County exec race 12/23

» Basil Ryan loses appeal over value of condemned river side land 12/22

» Shoplifter claims, unsuccessfully, she was accidentally locked in store 12/21

» Citations in death of Oak Creek bicyclist add to push for vulnerable user law 12/21

» Eisenhower girls use balance, defense to whip Cudahy, 64-40 12/20

» Foeckler named to fill Bolender's mayoral term 12/20

» Authorities identify victim in Washington County crash 12/18

» Report: Associated branches in Waukesha, Brookfield, Greendale to close 12/17

» Cudahy man dies after car hits truck in Washington County 12/17

» Verhalen, Michalski join race to be mayor 12/15

» Greendale schools pull Hindu song from winter concerts 12/14

» Man, 74, calls police after being shortchanged by 'escort’ Updated:  12/14

» Man wearing Santa hat spits on people in church parking lot 12/14

» Good Samaritan ends up victim of car theft 12/14

» Lamb on the lam causes headaches on Rawson Avenue 12/14

» Franklin girls turn back Oak Creek rally, 41-32 12/13

» Funeral services set for Dick Bolender 12/12

» Oak Creek coal plant to remain shut for months 12/12

» Roundball Rankings is back with a list of the area's best basketball squads 12/12

» Marcus Theatres buying Showtime Cinema in Franklin 12/12

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Best Summer Ever


We've made it easy for you to get out and go this summer. From hitting the trails for a bike ride or walk, to where to find beer gardens in the area, to the best places to swim in Waukesha County to the best summer drinks and summer reads, check out our 2016 summer guide.