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Oak Creek police investigating suspicious phone call by fake detective

Dec. 11, 2012 4:16 p.m. | Police are investigating a phone call to an Oak Creek woman by someone who stated he was a detective with the Oak Creek Police Department.

According to the police:

A 25-year-old Oak Creek woman reported she was driving home from a movie when she received a call on her cellphone from an unknown number. The unidentified caller stated he was a detective from the Oak Creek Police Department and asked her what kind of car she drove. When the woman questioned the suspect about his identity, he stated he would send an officer to her house if she gave him her address.

The woman did not give the caller any information before hanging up, and told officers she did not recognize the voice or the number. She also stated she called the number back but no one answered. Officers are following up on the cell number.

In more schools, going to class means heading to the woods

Nov. 26, 2014 7:46 p.m. | A dozen students in Julie Hahm's advanced placement environmental science class are out in the woods, measuring the circumference of trees and identifying their species.

It's a brisk November morning, and the Greendale High School sophomores and juniors are learning how to calculate the age of a tree without chopping it down and counting rings. By knowing the age of a sample of trees, they can calculate how much carbon dioxide the plants take in and how much oxygen is released. Hahm will help students map and extrapolate their findings to represent the entire forest.

"That's the way real foresters do it, so that's how they'll do it, too," Hahm said.

The lesson is part of a yearlong effort to calculate the carbon footprint of the school district. Next year's goal is even more ambitious: finding ways to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

And the key: The school owns the outdoor classroom. All 2.5 acres of it.

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Franklin Historical Society to host holiday youth activities before 'An Old-Fashioned Christmas'

Nov. 26, 2014 2:51 p.m. | Franklin — Youth activities will precede the Franklin Historical Society's "Old-Fashioned Christmas" event this holiday season.

Elementary school students are invited to celebrate the Christmas season by making holiday decorations and trimming the Whelan School Christmas tree on Saturday, Dec. 6.

Whelan School, one of the city's historical buildings, is located at 8030 Legend Drive.

Children will also have the opportunity to learn about holiday poetry and music from the 1900s, in preparation for the One-Room School Christmas Program during the society's Old-Fashioned Christmas.

Activities will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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Public workshop welcomes input for Lake Vista redevelopment

Nov. 26, 2014 10:59 a.m. | Oak Creek — With Lake Vista finally approved for redevelopment in 2015, the public is invited to share its input for recreation and lake access ideas at an open workshop at 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4 at City Hall Council Chambers, 8640 S. Howell Ave.

Community Development staff and consultants from SmithGroupJJR, an architecture and planning firm, will present the initial concept plans for the area and then welcome an open discussion. The workshop will last two or three hours.

Comments from this workshop will be incorporated into the basis of design for each project area. If one is needed, there will be a second follow-up meeting. The final concept plan will be presented to the common council at its Tuesday, Dec. 16 meeting.

If you have any questions about this Lake Vista workshop, please contact Kari Papelbon, Planner, at 414-768-6528 or Pete Wagner, Zoning Administrator/Planner, at 414-768-6529.

Mom gets 7 years for child porn between herself and toddler son

Nov. 25, 2014 5:22 p.m. | A 25-year-old woman was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in prison for possession of child pornography — videos she made of herself engaging in sexual conduct with her own toddler son.

Even the judge — a former prosecutor and veteran of the felony division bench — seemed shocked.

"This behavior is contrary to the laws of nature," Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Stephanie Rothstein said.

The sentencing hearing offered a sad synopsis of the story of Jessica Bell.

Adopted by a couple in Washington state, she grew up with love and support, a large extended family, good schools and a comfortable life.

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Have a 'Dickens of a Christmas' in Greendale on December 5

Nov. 24, 2014 2:06 p.m. | Greendale — The "Dickens of a Christmas" event will return to downtown Greendale on December 5.

The annual Christmas celebration includes free horse-drawn wagon rides, carolers, chamber choirs, outdoor fires and pictures with Santa.

Merchants will be dressed in Dickens-era costumes and a Christmas Carol skit will be held hourly from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Ferch's Malt Shoppe & Grille, 5636 Broad Street.

Holiday crafts and games will be offered throughout the evening.

The event will be held in downtown Greendale from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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Wrong-way driver turns himself in after I-794 crash

Nov. 22, 2014 8:30 p.m. | A man who caused a crash while driving the wrong way on I-794 early Saturday was legally drunk when he turned himself into police just before 10 a.m., according to the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office.

Ronald D. Ward, 50, of Oak Creek, was arrested and placed in the Milwaukee County Jail.

Officials say Ward fled on foot after the pickup truck he was driving crashed into a minivan on I-794 about 2:45 a.m. Saturday.

Ward was driving south in the northbound lane when he sideswiped another vehicle. Milwaukee County sheriff's deputies arrived at the scene, but Ward was gone.

He later turned himself in, with a preliminary blood alcohol level of 0.08. Driving with a level at 0.08 or above is illegal in Wisconsin.

Off-duty Milwaukee police officer pepper-sprayed by fleeing suspect

Nov. 22, 2014 4:31 p.m. | An off-duty Milwaukee police officer detained a suspected thief, who then shot pepper-spray into the officer's eyes, Franklin police said.

The off-duty officer apprehended a fleeing theft suspect in the 2700 block of W. Sycamore St. in Franklin about 10:45 a.m. Saturday, according to a news release.

The 24-year-old suspect was arrested by Franklin police and taken to Milwaukee County Jail.

No further information was provided Saturday.

State champion Oak Creek girls hoops team opens with rout of Horlick

Nov. 21, 2014 9:38 p.m. | Word had spread up from Racine this week that the Horlick girls basketball team was thinking that it had a real, viable chance at beating defending WIAA State D1 girls champion Oak Creek in the season opener Friday night.

But the rebuilt and reorganized Knights thought otherwise, as the leaner, meaner Oak Creek squad hit 10 3-pointers and went on a 16-0 run between the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second to roll to an impressive 69-32 victory in this Southeast Conference tilt.

It made Knight coach Steve Hluchnik, who was celebrating his birthday this day, a happy man as even without graduated All-State forwards Tamya Sims and Stephanie Kostowicz, the Knights showed that they will be a force to be reckoned with this winter.

"Horlick thought they might make it a game, but we made sure it wasn't," he said. "We're still Oak Creek."

That point was quite evident from the middle of the first quarter on. Horlick had closed the gap to 7-5 with 1:55 left in the period, but then the Knights exploded to score nine unanswered points to close out the period including 3-pointers from juniors Hailey Erdman and Katie Settingsgaard.

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Video: Franklin faces conflicting views on new developments

Nov. 21, 2014 11:04 a.m. | In this week's Land & Space video: Some Franklin city officials are questioning the community’s priorities in pursuing development plans that could eventually total around $330 million in new property values.

Player to embed in JSonline stories

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

Nov. 20, 2014 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 common council unanimously adopted the 2015 annual budget Nov. 18, 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 — about 1 cent less than the 2014 rate.

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

One of the budget's primary initiatives was to avoid unnecessary or excessive annual fund balance surpluses, said Paul Rotzenberg, Franklin's director of finance and treasurer.

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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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