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Shorewood administrators present proposed 2012-13 school district budget

March 27, 2012 11:28 p.m. | Shorewood administrators presented recommendations on the district's 2012-13 budget at a School Board meeting Tuesday. The proposed budget of more than $22 million calls for a number of reductions and additions that add up to a surplus of $167,416 that could be designated into the fund balance for future years.

Without touching the budget, district officials project a deficit of $429,947 - a figure reflecting a combination of factors, including increasing enrollment and declining income from the state.

Administrators have proposed a series of reductions and efficiencies totaling $933,735 that offset the deficit. The list includes savings incurred from health and dental insurance through a competitive bidding process and a few staffing reductions, some enrollment driven.

At the same time, administrators are requesting permission to add a number of new line items totaling $371,459 into the budget. New expenditures include a proposal to hire a development director at a $75,000 cost to assist with future fundraising initiatives. A number of staffing increases are also in the proposed budget.

The district also is planning to add five Open Enrollment seats, resulting in $35,087 in projected income.

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New car dealership proposed in Glendale

April 15, 2014 4:55 p.m. | Glendale — Three homes and a service station could be demolished to make room for a new Infiniti auto dealership on Green Bay Avenue, just south of the David Hobbs Honda dealership.

International Autos is asking Glendale officials to rezone the lots stretching between 6030 and 6050 Green Bay Avenue to accommodate North Shore Infiniti, which would relocate from its current location about a mile south at 1515 W. Silver Spring Drive.

Under the proposal, a David Hobbs Honda service station and three houses owned by David Hobbs Honda would be demolished to make room for an Infiniti dealership on the two-acre lot.

The old Infiniti dealership would be used as a used car lot by Jack Safro's Lexus North Shore, according to Tom Dexter of International Autos.

International Infiniti is prepared to spend $1.5 million to construct the shell building spanning 17,000 square feet on the first floor and 2,000 square feet on a partial second floor. The dealership plans to spend $400,000 on site improvements, including landscaping to shield the 127 parking stalls from the roadway.

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Bay girls win 10 events to repeat as North Shore indoor track champs

April 10, 2014 9:44 p.m. | As one of the few seniors on the immensely talented and successful Whitefish Bay girls track team, Sara Coffey realizes what a good thing she's a part of right now.

Because the Blue Dukes built off their titles in their own Lois Wolf Invitational and the WTFA State Indoor last week by claiming an impressive 10 events and repeating as North Shore Conference indoor champions at Milwaukee Lutheran Thursday night.

"It's been really fun," said Coffey, who won both the 1,600 and 3,200-meter races. "We've all been working very hard since the end of the cross country season (last fall). It's so fun to see all this hard work pay off.

"We all ran like crazy last week and we did even better this week."

The Blue Dukes scored 144 points for their title in the eight-team field as a game Homestead team won two events and took second with 115. Germantown was fourth with 59 and Nicolet sixth with 34.

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Fox Point to replace footbridge after years of debate

April 09, 2014 12:43 p.m. | After years of heated public meetings, the Fox Point Village Board has decided to build a new footbridge on Bridge Lane.

Trustees on Tuesday night accepted the lowest project bid of $876,496, with the understanding that Footbridge Friends, a non-profit group tasked with raising 50 percent of the funds, will contribute $515,000 to the effort.

The board approved the construction bid and contribution guidelines on a 6-1 vote, with Trustee William Werner casting the only vote in opposition

The contribution from Footbridge Friends would make good on a promise from two years ago, when the group offered to pay for half of the bridge construction costs. The group's contribution would also reimburse the village for the $30,000 loan it received from the village to help them launch their fundraising effort.

Footbridge Friends President Barbara Schwartz said the group has $201,313 on hand right now, but expects to have another $50,000 by late spring and another $100,000 by the end of the year. She said she has firm pledges that total $515,000.

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Modern restaurant will anchor Mequon Town Center

April 09, 2014 11:49 a.m. | A two-story restaurant building with a bold, contemporary design will be built on the northwest corner of Cedarburg and Mequon roads, serving as an iconic landmark building for the Mequon Town Center.

The restaurant building will be one of five buildings in the Town Center development, which will also feature Colectivo Coffee Roasters, a new American Legion post, 40 luxury apartments and a variety of other commercial tenants.

The Mequon Plan Commission approved the building plans for the restaurant building, as well as the other building on the south end of the lot, at its meeting Monday, April 7.

Open for Christmas

Construction will begin on the east and north buildings immediately, and construction on the other three buildings should begin within 90 days, said Blair Williams of Wired Properties. Williams said the restaurant building should begin serving around Christmastime.

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Mequon, Weickardt reach deal on River Club subdivision

April 09, 2014 10:36 a.m. | Mequon — After a nearly three-year struggle to reach a deal, city officials and River Club of Mequon owner Tom Weickardt have agreed to terms on a more modest subdivision development near the club and along the Milwaukee River.

The Common Council on Tuesday unanimously approved an ordinance that opens the door for a five-home subdivision on 10 acres of the 42-acre lot, and also approved other measures to satisfy neighbors' concerns and keep the riverfront accessible.

Under one resolution approved by the council, the city, Weickardt and neighbors will try to draft easements that cement the neighbors' ability to easily access all parts of the Ville Du Parc area. Another resolution authorizes the city to come to terms on a purchase price for the remaining 148 acres of riverfront land.

Weickardt has fought with the city and neighbors over the subdivision proposal since he bought the River Club in 2011, most recently at a March meeting of the Planning Commission that ended up with a 4-4 gridlock and no recommendation for the council's meeting Tuesday.

Coming forward late last week, the new five-home subdivision plan is a significant reduction to the 19-home plan Weickardt has insisted on since 2011, and was billed by his supporters and city officials alike as a difficult, yet worthy, compromise.

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Bay and Homestead tie for North Shore boys track title

April 08, 2014 10:09 p.m. | It was a match-up of Whitefish Bay's firepower versus Homestead's depth as the two teams wound up in a dead heat tie in the North Shore Conference Indoor track meet at Cedarburg Tuesday night.

The two teams finished with 111 points apiece as Grafton was third (64-1/2), Germantown fourth (63-1/2) and Nicolet eighth with 28.

Bay was led by Rhashad Gray who won both the high jump (6-2) and the 200-meter dash (23.93 seconds).

Other firsts for the Blue Dukes included George Papajohn in the 800 (2:05.31), the four-lap relay (1:16.79), Ben Wallace in the pole vault (12-6) and Adam Strehlow in the 55 hurdles (8.05). Strehlow's teammate Colin Downing made it one-two in the hurdles when he took second in the 55-meter race in 8.34.

For Homestead, it was a matter of getting second places, as the Highlanders amassed seven runner-up slots en route to tieing for the title.

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Shorewood Metro Market work could start by September

April 08, 2014 7:00 a.m. | Demolition work tied to a new Metro Market proposed for Shorewood could begin by September, with the two-story, 80,000-square-foot store opening one year later.

That's according to a project time line provided by developer Michael Weiss at Monday's Shorewood Community Development Authority board meeting.

His firm, General Capital Group, wants to build the Metro Market; a four-story, 350-space parking structure, and a six-story apartment building, with around 90 units, its own parking structure and 15,000 square feet of street-level commercial space.

The buildings would be on Oakland Ave., between E. Kenmore Place and E. Olive St., and replace the 30,000-square-foot Pick 'n Save supermarket; the former Walgreens and Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop, and parking lots totaling around 200 spaces.

The Pick 'n Save--which, like Metro Market, is operated by Roundy's Inc.--would close in April 2015 so demolition work could clear it for the apartments and part of the parking structure, Weiss said.

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Nines in Mequon switches from small plates to steaks under a new format

April 07, 2014 5:12 p.m. |

Small plates are out and steaks are in at Nines, the restaurant at the River Club in Mequon, which recently tweaked its name and changed its menu.

It’s now called Nines American Bistro, and more traditional full-size entrées have replaced the small-plates format. The new dishes include an 8-ounce filet mignon ($39), 14-ounce dry-aged Angus New York strip steak ($52), miso-glazed tuna with black rice ($32) and a half roast chicken ($19).

The dining room's decor has changed — darker walls and sconces added, tablecloths replacing the placemats — and there’s a new chef: Scott Klenke. The emphasis on wine (photo above) remains the same.

Nines is at 12400 N. Ville du Parc Drive. You can see the full menu online

Ronn Johnson's death ruled suicide

April 07, 2014 1:50 p.m. | Brown Deer — The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office has ruled former educator Ronn Johnson's death a suicide.

Johnson was found Dec. 30 in the remains of his home, which had been destroyed in a fire. According to a police news release the exact cause of the fire remains unknown, though "ignitable fluids were located in atypical areas, which could indicate the fire may have been intentional."

Johnson was an ex-charter school leader and former Milwaukee Public Schools teacher. He was charged last summer with nearly two dozen felonies in a child sex abuse case. Prior to his death, Johnson was out on bail after being accused of sexually assaulting five children over more than 20 years.

Milwaukee County Supervisor David Bowen to run for Pasch Assembly seat

April 07, 2014 10:14 a.m. | First-term Milwaukee County Supervisor David Bowen announced on Monday his Democratic candidacy for the state Assembly seat Rep. Sandy Pasch (D-Shorewood) is leaving at the end of the year.

Bowen, 27, said he wanted to work to help create family supporting jobs, promote quality education and services for children.

"The state needs new leadership," Bowen said. "We are continuing to see attacks from Madison, from Republicans, on Milwaukee."

Bowen was the author of Milwaukee County's "living wage" ordinance, which was approved in February and survived a veto by County Executive Chris Abele. The measure requires a $11.32 minimum wage for county workers and employees who work for some county contractors.

Bowen, a lifelong Milwaukee resident, was elected to the County Board in 2012.

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Whitefish Bay pays $138,000 in exchange for village manager resignation

April 04, 2014 1:24 p.m. | Whitefish Bay — Village officials agreed to pay roughly $138,000 in various forms of compensation in return for Village Manager Patrick DeGrave's resignation, according to a resignation agreement acquired through records requests.

The Village Board deliberated DeGrave's resignation in a March 2 closed-session meeting for nearly three hours, according to meeting minutes, after which they went into open session and, after another hour, approved the resignation agreement unanimously.

Present at that meeting was special legal counsel Thomas Scrivner, a labor attorney at Michael Best & Friedrich. While the village usually produces audio recordings of open-session board meetings, the March 2 meeting was not recorded because it took place on a Sunday and staff were not available, assistant clerk Caren Brustmann said.

The deal and dollars

According to the agreement, dated March 4, DeGrave was required to provide a resignation letter "indicating that you have resigned to seek other opportunities effective March 3, 2014." In return, DeGrave receives a lump sum payment of $11,197 for unused vacation days, and two lump sums of $55,983, equivalent to six months of salary. The village also agreed to pay its share of DeGrave's health insurance, $1,249 per month through February 2015 or roughly $15,000.

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Rep. Sandy Pasch won't seek re-election

April 04, 2014 10:31 a.m. | Madison -- The No. 2 Democrat in the state Assembly won't seek re-election, she said Friday.

Rep. Sandy Pasch (D-Shorewood), the assistant Assembly minority leader, said she was leaving in part to take care of a nonagenerian father who increasingly needs her care. That brings to 16 the number of Assembly members who won't be returning next session. 

Pasch, a pyschiatric nurse by training, served on a bipartisan task force that helped pass a series of bills in recent months to improve mental health care around Wisconsin. That included a bill to overhaul the governance of the troubled Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex.

But Pasch also acknowledged that she wasn't looking forward to more partisan fights with majority Republicans who are likely to hold their control of the Legislature in November's elections. 

Pasch said she wasn't sure if she would have been able to win Republican support for mental health legislation, which has been her passion.

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Ex-Shorewood school secretary sentenced for stealing $310,000

April 03, 2014 5:25 p.m. | A former longtime secretary for the Shorewood School District has been sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison for stealing more than $300,000 from the district's special education funds over a 12-year span, a crime the superintendent says has badly damaged trust in the district.

The extra day means Donna Sternke, 55, can earn good time and will likely be released after about 10 months. She is to report to prison in 30 days.

Sternke, of Slinger, was discovered in 2011 when district officials found expenditures for unexplained Kalahari Resort gift cards. By the time she was formally charged in April 2013, she had already agreed to plead guilty and pay $310,263 restitution.

The first installment, a check for $112,264, was delivered to federal prosecutors Thursday. Her attorney, Kathleen Stilling, said that amount came from liquidating several assets, and that Sternke plans to have her state retirement paid out to the school district, even if she dies before the 10 years of guaranteed payments are made.

As a secretary in the district's Instructional Services and Special Education department, Sternke handled some purchasing duties from a fund that included grants for the federal Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act.

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Dickman wins write-in bid for Fox Point-Bayside School Board

April 03, 2014 5:09 p.m. | Bayside — The Fox Point-Bayside School Board will have two new faces in Max Dickman and Dann Jacobson.

Dickman and Jacobson will fill the seats of former School Board President Alice Lawton and former board member Tim Melchert. Incumbent David Smulyan, who was appointed to an interim term in June, was elected to his first three-year term Tuesday night.

Jacobson, a social studies teacher at Nicolet High School, announced his candidacy in January. Dickman later waged a write-in campaign to fill the vacant third seat.

Dickman, a real estate development manager at Roundy's Supermarkets, has a daughter in second grade at Stormonth School and a son in seventh grade at Bayside Middle School. A Bayside resident of seven years, Dickman has previously served on the Bayside Board of Zoning Appeals.

Dickman said he ran for School Board because he wanted to work with board members and Superintendent Vance Dalzin in improving communication and transparency in the district.

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Spring 2014 North Shore election roundup

April 02, 2014 3:41 p.m. | North Shore NOW's roundup of Spring 2014 election results.

On the municipal side:

Whitefish Bay Village President Julie Siegel narrowly defended her seat on the Whitefish Bay Village Board. Story includes returns of other contested North Shore municipal races.

On the schools side:

Newcomers Paul Buzzell and Wendy Francour won seats on the Mequon-Thiensville School Board. Story includes returns of other contested North Shore school races.

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