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Early morning fire damages Oak Creek home

Dec. 18, 2012 11:06 p.m. | Oak Creek - Firefighters and police responded to a basement fire at a home in the 8500 block of South Parknoll Drive during the early morning hours Tuesday.

The homeowners called police at 3:23 a.m. after they woke up and smelled smoke inside their home, then heard the smoke detector sound a short time later. The couple located their two daughters, ages 8 and 6, and one of their two dogs and exited the residence.

Smoke was seen coming from the basement when emergency personnel arrived. After the Oak Creek Fire Department arrived, it was determined the was fire started by a pilot light in the water heater due to items in the basement.

The fire caused major damage to the water heater and basement. No official damage estimate was available at the time of the report.

No injuries were reported; however, paramedics attended to the children, who complained of slight smoke inhalation. The second dog later was found.

Initial Reaction Podcast: Menomonee Falls baseball virtuoso Ty Weber and Big Ten Media Day

12:45 p.m. | The guys welcome in Ty Weber, who pitched Menomonee Falls to a second straight WIAA baseball championship with a superb state-tournament performance. Plus, JP and JR talk about revelations (or lack thereof) gleaned from Big Ten media day and offer some thoughts on the Milwaukee Brewers as they approach the trading deadline. Each week, Lake Country/Now sports director JR Radcliffe and Time Warner Cable Sports Channel's JP Cadorin chat about the Wisconsin sports scene, with an emphasis on Milwaukee-area preps. Find the podcast on Stitcher and iTunes.

Franklin Night Out Aug. 1 to kick off national event the following day

9:34 a.m. | Franklin —The city of Franklin will hold its 12th annual National Night Out kick-off celebration from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, Aug. 1, at the Franklin Public Library, 9151 W. Loomis Road, to draw support for the nationwide event the following day.

Police, fire, and other vehicles will be on display in the library's parking lot and officers will be available to answer questions about crime prevention and other community-oriented policing programs at the Franklin Police Department. Crime prevention and safety materials will also be available for free.

Local businesses will set up displays inside the library with promotional materials and handouts for children.

For the National Night Out on Aug. 2, the city encourages residents to plan activities in their neighborhoods outside. Residents are also encouraged to contact the police department at 414-858-2622 to schedule a Franklin police officer to visit their neighborhood that evening.

Franklin resident Darlene Habanek to present at Quilt Expo in Madison

9:23 a.m. | Franklin —Franklin resident Darlene Habanek, an independent quilting teacher, will present at the upcoming Quilt Expo in Madison, Sept. 8-10.

Habanek specializes in quilt repair and renewal, as well as project rescue. She will lead three sessions at the expo titled "Orphan Blocks and Tops: Treasures from Castoffs."

The Quilt Expo is designed to be an opportunity for quilters of all skill levels to learn new ideas from quilting educators. An estimated 20,000 people will attend to learn from quilting experts, examine quilting supplies, and get an opportunity to meet the host of "Sewing with Nancy" and other well-known presenters.

Tickets are on sale now for those who are interested at wiquiltexpo.com, and registrants are encouraged to pre-register for lectures, workshops, and evening events.

Hales Corners Library ends summer reading program with comedy, prizes

July 27, 2016 4:06 p.m. | Hales Corners —Hales Corners Library, 5885 S. 116th Street, is celebrating the end of their summer reading program 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, August 3 with a comedy show and prizes.

"We've had 700 people sign up for our reading clubs and brought in lots of performers to make summer reading fun," said Youth Services Librarian Patrick Lodge.

Comedians Miller & Mike will put on a comedy show in the Hunt Room, which according to their website runs around 45 minutes and features, juggling, hat manipulation, yo-yo tricks, and audience participation all in one clean comedy show.

The library will also announce Super Readers and raffle winners for participants of the summer reading club at the event. Raffle items will include Kindles, gift cards, Legos, puzzles, books, and tote bags.

"We hope that everyone comes out for our Reading Celebration Party next Wednesday!" Lodge said.

South side restaurant operators to plead guilty in tax fraud case

July 27, 2016 3:59 p.m. | Three members of a Franklin family agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to commit tax fraud through the operation of their restaurants in Milwaukee, Franklin and Greenfield.

Paul and Freida Bouraxis and their son Andreas operate Omega Burger, El Fuego and El Beso, where federal prosecutors say they skimmed more than $3 million in cash receipts, failed to report much of it as income, and underpaid payroll taxes by compensating workers in cash.

Paul Bouraxis also agreed to plead guilty to tax evasion for his 2010 personal income tax returns.

All the defendants, including Paul Bouraxis' son-in-law, Reiad Awadallah, are scheduled to formally enter their guilty pleas in court next month, though no plea agreement had been filed for Awadallah as of Wednesday.

In return for the guilty pleas on Wednesday, prosecutors will recommend two years in prison for Bouraxis, a year and a day for his son, and six months of home detention for his wife.

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Oak Creek prepares for National Night Out

July 27, 2016 2:42 p.m. | Oak Creek —National Night Out is fast approaching on Aug. 2 with the location changed due to construction.

This year, the event will take place at the American Legion Post 434, 9327 S. Shepard Avenue, instead of the High School Freshman Campus due to construction on the building. The event will last from 6 to 9 p.m.

According to a Facebook post on the city's official page July 27, participants can get their Passport to Safety stamped at all booths for a chance to win various prizes including an emergency generator, security doorbell, Apple Watch, backpacks, hotel stay, and other prizes. Giveaways will also be offered including bike helmets for kids, steering column locks, and other items.

Several demonstrations from the Oak Creek Police Department will be offered as well. These include a demonstration of the jaws of life, CPR demos, an obstacle course for kids, and a K-9 demo. The Oak Creek High School Poms and cheerleader teams will put on shows as well as Nova Gym and Ascension Martial Arts.

Brats, hot dogs, corn on the cob, and ice cream will be offered with options for either bottled water or Black Bear Soda. A bounce house and big slide will be offered for kids until 8:15 p.m. At that time, Mayor Steve Scaffidi will address the crowd with the Police Department, the Passport to Safety drawing will commence as will a Target bike raffle.

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Jack Redmond & Frank Disco Gratke vie for chance at state assembly

July 26, 2016 8:45 p.m. | Oak Creek/Franklin —Two Democratic candidates will vie for the chance to unseat Jessie Rodriguez (R-Franklin), who is the current State Assembly representative from the 21st District, during the primary election Tuesday, August 9.

John (Jack) Redmond, 63, of Oak Creek and Frank Disco Gratke, 62, of South Milwaukee will both be on the ballot in August.

Gratke has lived in the 21st District for 34 years, and is a retired researcher, but says he is a "full-time citizen advocate." In 2015, he ran for the South Milwaukee School Board and in 2014 ran for an alderman seat in South Milwaukee. He says he has also been involved with "numerous committees," such as a Y-2K committee and citizen advisory environmental committee, both in South Milwaukee.

Redmond works as a business agent for UPS and has lived in the district for 25 years. He said this is his first time running for office, but noted that he has volunteered for PBS, Food for Families, and Teamsters.

Here are the top three things to know about both of the candidates. (Some responses have been edited for length.)

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Franklin school specialist is 'Making IT Happen' with technology

July 26, 2016 8:43 p.m. | Franklin — District Technology Integration Specialist Chad Kafka was recognized by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) at its national convention as an outstanding leader and educator for "Making IT Happen."

Kafka was one of two Wisconsin educators who received the "Making IT Happen" award, which "honors outstanding educators and leaders who demonstrate extraordinary commitment, leadership, courage and persistence in improving digital learning opportunities for students," according to the ISTE's website.

"The thing I'm happy about is that the award not only recognizes my work, but also Franklin as a leader to bring technology into schools," Kafka said.

Aiding career readiness

LuAnn Zielinski, Franklin's district technology supervisor, said that Kafka works in a variety of ways to integrate technology into Franklin schools.

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Bridge connects offerings at Abendschein Park

July 26, 2016 5:09 p.m. | Connecting two popular features at Abendschein Park on Drexel Avenue, a footbridge was installed July 26.

The new 80-foot bridge can be found at the southeast corner of the park, 1321 E. Drexel Avenue. It connects the disc golf course to the skate park portion of the park, according to the city's Facebook page.

In addition to those offerings, a baseball diamond and playground are also offered on-site. The park is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

New pickleball courts to be painted at Ken Windl, Pleasant View Parks

July 26, 2016 3:13 p.m. | Franklin —Two new pickleball courts will be painted in the next few weeks at Ken Windl and Pleasant View Parks as popularity for the sport continues to grow in Franklin.

An extra bench will also be installed at each location, and the parks commission is looking into putting a storage cabinet at the parks to store equipment that has been donated, according to Superintendent of Public Works Jerry Schaefer.

The pickleball courts will be painted on existing tennis courts at each park. Each park already has two courts painted on one of its tennis courts, one on each side of the net, and the new courts will also be painted the same way, though in a less bright color as the other courts.

Paul Jahnke, Program Coordinator for the Franklin Community Education and Recreation Department, describes pickleball as "life-size table tennis."

"Pickleball is a racket sport played on a badminton-sized court with a tennis-height net. Game play is most similar to tennis. The racket is slightly larger than a table tennis racket and the ball is a very hard whiffle ball," Jahnke described.

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Walks catch up to Oak Creek baseball team in state loss to Marquette

July 26, 2016 1:48 p.m. | For most of the WIAA state semifinal contest with Greater Metro rival Marquette on July 22 at Kapco Park, Oak Creek baseball coach Scott Holler would look at the basepaths and see Hilltopper runners poised to do dangerous things over and over again.

But then he would see that the Knights were ahead in the hits column for most of the game as well as on the scoreboard.

However, he knew his pitchers were giving Marquette too many opportunities with walks, and eventually, as Holler feared, it caught up with the Knights in the sixth.

At that point, the Hilltoppers took advantage of four walks and punctuated them with three hits to score six times. That outburst erased a 3-2 deficit en route to a stunning 8-3 win over the Knights.

"It was a good game for 51/2 innings," Holler said ruefully afterward as the Knights' bid for a fifth WIAA state title came up short and their 19-game winning streak came to an end.

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Hales Corners Night Out to "promote and preserve prosperous community"

July 26, 2016 1:12 p.m. | Hales Corners —Hales Corners police, fire department, businesses, and other community members will celebrate National Night Out in Hales Corners Park, 5765 S New Berlin Rd., 5-9 p.m. Tuesday, August 2 with food, music, and other activities.

The night will feature a Fun Run presented by Instep, inflatable bounce houses and slide, a Speleo Cave maze, and various vehicles and boats on display, including police squad cars.

Local businesses at the event will have prize drawings, children's activities, and games. Two local martial arts academies will also be presenting demonstrations.

The Hales Corners VFW will provide food for purchase including hot dogs, burgers, snacks, and soda. Hales Corners Lions will provide root beer floats for purchase.

"The purpose of Hales Corners Night Out is to bring our local residents, businesses, civic organizations and civil servants together for an evening of fun and fellowship," said Jessica Klima. "We encourage everyone to come out on August 2nd to help promote and preserve our fun, safe and prosperous community."

Franklin Library to host Pokemon Go Night on August 11

July 26, 2016 11:28 a.m. | Franklin —The Franklin Public Library invites Pokemon Go players from the community to catch some Pokemon and join in other game-related activities at their Pokemon Go Meetup 5-8 p.m. Thursday August 11.

Players at the event can actively seek out Pokemon in the area, or hang out in the PokeBreakroom, which will be located 20 feet from a lured PokeStop inside the library's Create Space. In the breakroom, there will be snacks, crafts, video and board games, and the 3D printer will be running all night printing Bulbasaur planters and Onyx sculptures as prizes for activities.

Those who want to honor their Pokemon Go Team can also receive free emblem badges inside the PokéBreakroom, which they can wear around the event to easily identify other members of their Team.

In addition, a Pokémon scavenger hunt for children and teens ages 8 to 15 will start at 5:30 p.m., followed by a scavenger hunt for adults ages 16 and up at 7 p.m. Completed and correct forms will be entered into a prize drawing.

The library, 9151 W Loomis Rd, will also be setting up lures from 5:30 — 7:30 p.m. at nearby Pokestops to attract more Pokemon to the area.

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Amber Frymark wins Hottest Kitchen Entreprenuer Challenge

July 26, 2016 8:47 a.m. | Hales Corners —Amber Frymark took home the top prize at the Hottest Kitchen Entreprenuer Challenge July 20 for her start-up business Chowventions and her product Zwitchel syrup.

The entrepreneur challenge selects three start-up and three early-stage business finalists to compete at an event where their products are sampled by judges, business "VIPs," and eventgoers. The finalists also give a presentation on their product and business concept to the audience and answer questions from the judges.

Though nervous, Frymark said the day went better than she expected, and she feels "very very humbled" by winning the grand prize.

"It felt like being crowned Ms. America for the food world," she described, adding that she was not expecting to win. "I had great competitors. Everyone belonged in that competition."

Throughout the competition, Frymark received a lot of positive feedback on her product, as well, receiving compliments that it was "tasty" and that people "loved the flavor."

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Lawmaker Grobschmidt knew how to reach across the aisle

July 25, 2016 6:57 p.m. | Richard Grobschmidt, a former Wisconsin state Assembly member and senator who was known for his understated and collaborative style, died Sunday after a battle with cancer. He was 68.

In his 18 years in the Assembly and Senate, Grobschmidt spearheaded legislation requiring all school buses in the state to have mechanical safety arms and establishing a school-to-work apprenticeship program.

The apprenticeship legislation came from his lifelong passion for education, which led him to his first job as a high school social studies teacher and his final job as assistant superintendent of public instruction.

Grobschmidt, a Democrat, also worked on legislation for family medical leave, insurance coverage for infertility treatment and parental consent for minors seeking abortions.

He believed in the power of compromise, said his daughter, Tamara Grobschmidt.

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