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Kurtz Road closes to through traffic

Aug. 13, 2013 2:48 p.m. | Hales Corners — Kurtz Road will be closed to through-traffic at a point just north of Janesville Road through Saturday.

Crews are installing a culvert under the road as part of the Kurtz Road Reconstruction project that began July 25 and is slated to end Oct. 15. The project will cost $800,000.

Sunnyslope Road in New Berlin and 116th Street in Hales Corners are being suggested as alternative routes.

Kurtz Road will be reconstructed from Grange Avenue to Janesville Road, and the sewer system updated

Michael Martin, Director of Public Works for Hales Corners said, "We're very thankful to the residents that are affected by this. No road construction is neat and tidy. They're noisy, they're dusty and they're messy, but come October, we'll have a beautiful, completed road."

Oak Creek-Franklin School District agrees to 'start fresh' with teachers union

2:43 p.m. | Oak Creek — The Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District and its union have decided to bury the hatchet.

The Oak Creek-Franklin School Board approved an agreement with the Oak Creek Education Association on Oct. 12, ending issues related to contract negotiations dating back to the 2013-14 school year.

The issues stemmed from the school district's decision to transition from a base wage pay model for its employees to performance-based compensation, said Director of Human Resources Troy Hamblin. The performance-based model considers instructional effectiveness, professionalism, leadership and other factors for establishing salary ranges.

When the new compensation model was adopted, members of OCEA "felt that we were not negotiating with them," Hamblin said, but the issue has been resolved and "we're happy to be moving forward and will hopefully be able to work together heading into the next budget cycle."

Both the school district and the union have agreed to move past their prior positions in bargaining to "start fresh," Hamblin said. Neither party is responsible for any outstanding obligations or requirements under the agreement.

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'Our time': Franklin golfers earn first state tournament berth

12:13 p.m. | The iconic post-victory photo of the team happily jumping in the air all at once, the one that got many favorites and re-tweets on twitter, took several takes to get right, according to Franklin senior golfer Megan Hessil.

She also noted that in the awards ceremony for the WIAA sectional at Wanaki in Menomonee Falls on Oct. 6, the team tried to stay cool, calm and collected as they went up to collect the championship plaque.

"But we couldn't because we were all crying," she said with a laugh.

Because, as Hessil would later note, the sectional championship and the first-in-school-history WIAA state tournament berth that went with it was a validation of something that she and fellow seniors Taylor Scot and Kristin Bowe had been working toward for a long time — ever since they were freshmen, and their 18-hole team score was about 100 strokes higher than it is right now.

"All our scores were about 120s (for 18 holes) back then," said Bowe, "but we all got about 10 strokes better per year. Our consistency helped get us to this point."

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Oak Creek, Franklin girls tennis players advance to state

11:53 a.m. | The moment was not too big for the Oak Creek first doubles team of Kayla Stolz and Jackie Holten in the WIAA tennis sectional at Nicolet on Oct. 8.

Stolz, the state meet veteran, and Holten fought off some early jitters and beat a team from Milwaukee Riverside, 6-3, 6-0, in the quarterfinals to secure a state tournament berth en route to an eventual third-place finish in their bracket and an individual state tournament berth.

"It is a big stage," said Knight coach Don Tellefsen, "and there were a lot of nerves out there. That Riverside team was good off the ground and were returning shots with pace, and we were down 2-0 in that first set before we knew it.

"But then we started hitting it a little off pace. We tied it up, got to a 3-2 lead and took it from there."

Afterwards, Tellefsen admitted to using a little trickery to keeping Holten calm.

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Oak Creek football team heads off Racine Case at the pass

11:38 a.m. | Among the things that have been most impressive for the rebuilt but still highly successful Oak Creek football team has been its resourcefulness.

So with Racine Case packing the line against the run on Oct. 9, the Knights turned to junior quarterback Jakup Sinani, and he responded with a career night, hitting 15-of-21 passes for 246 yards and four touchdowns as the Knights improved to 7-1 overall with an impressive 55-17 victory.

"All year, we've been about what the defense has been giving us," said coach Mike Bartholomew. "Case made the decision to play the run hard, therefore we tried to take advantage of that in the passing game."

The Knights also improved to 5-1 in Southeast Conference play securely in second in league play. They will try to lock down that spot when they host Kenosha Indian Trail (4-4) in the regular-season closer.

Not only would a win clinch second place in the league standings, but it would also probably earn the Knights no worse than a second or third seed in its WIAA playoff grouping. The playoffs start on Friday, Oct. 23.

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Franklin football team clinches share of third straight SEC title

11:33 a.m. | The Franklin football team celebrated the earning of a share of its historic third straight Southeast Conference title-clinching 41-7 win over Racine Park on Oct. 9 the only way it knew how — by playing everybody on the team and making sure everyone had a lot of fun.

The victory improved the Sabers to 6-0 in league play and 8-0 overall and clinched no worse than a share of the championship that they can claim outright at home at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, in the regular-season closer against Kenosha Tremper.

It is the first time in school history the Sabers have won three straight league championships in football.

"That'll be the goal this week," said coach Louis Brown. "The school has been around since 1962, so it's not too old, but there always seemed to be some good teams in our way (preventing a long run of titles). This is good to get out of the way."

A victory against Tremper would also let Franklin finish the regular season at 9-0. It would mark the third time the Sabers have recorded a perfect regular season in recent years. It happened in the state title year of 2006 and again in the state semifinal year of 2010.

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Franklin Police offer reward for information on recent explosion near Kayla's Playground

Oct. 12, 2015 1:48 p.m. | Franklin — Franklin Police are offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or people responsible for placing explosive soda bottles in the Franklin Woods Nature Center near Kayla's Playground on Oct. 9.

Anyone with information is asked to call 414-858-2660 or 414-425-2522.

Oak Creek mayor: Market won't crawl past Caterpillar's vacated space

Oct. 09, 2015 2:38 p.m. | Oak Creek — Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi said Caterpillar Inc.'s announcement that it will move its corporate headquarters out of the city "was not totally unexpected," but was "a bit surprising," considering the facility's recent renovations and technology upgrades.

But Scaffidi expressed confidence that what Caterpillar leaves behind will be a highly marketable property.

"Given those improvements, I think it's a very attractive location for another company, one that recognizes the value of being close to the Milwaukee airport and the Interstate system, with close-by access to hotels and restaurants for visiting employees or customers," the mayor said.

"I don't think it will stay vacant for very long, given how dynamic our business development has been in the last few years," he added.

Caterpillar Inc. announced Oct. 6 that it will move more than 200 employees at the mining equipment headquarters in Oak Creek to South Milwaukee.

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Updated week eight rankings of area prep football teams and players

Kayla's Playground opens for play in Franklin, despite explosion

Oct. 09, 2015 10:33 a.m. | Franklin— Kayla's Playground has officially opened for play, but the happy event was marred by a criminal act that police are still investigating.

A ribbon cutting ceremony took place as planned on Friday, Oct. 9, despite a suspicious explosion in the Franklin Woods Nature Center earlier that morning.

A Franklin police officer heard an explosion in the woods off Puetz Road about midnight. The source of the blast was determined to be a plastic soda bottle with unknown contents, found in the woods west of Kayla's Playground. More plastic soda bottles of varying sizes with unknown contents were found in the woods and along the path in the woods.

Kayla's Playground

In the midst of that investigation, playground officials unveiled a all-inclusive playground named after Kayla's Krew founder Shelly Runte's daughter, Kayla, who passed away in 2012.

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Oscar's Frozen Custard Franklin location stalled by lack of equipment

Oct. 08, 2015 2:13 p.m. | Franklin— Delays in opening an Oscar's Frozen Custard location in Franklin were caused by difficulty in acquiring equipment, according to Franklin Alderwoman Kristen Wilhelm's Facebook page.

Wilhelm posted a Facebook update from Oscar's Owner Jim Taylor on Oct. 7, explaining that "there is only one type of machine that makes the best custard and parts are difficult to get." Taylor was hesitant to name a specific opening date, according to the post. The plan to build an Oscar's location in Franklin's third district was first announced in February, 2015.

The frozen custard and sandwich restaurant has two other locations — Milwaukee and Waukesha.

'Evening of Blessings' provides the less fortunate with Thanksgiving dinner

Oct. 08, 2015 12:08 p.m. | Oak Creek — For the past nine years, the "Evening of Blessings" dinner has ensured that everyone has a welcoming place to on Thanksgiving.

"Evening of Blessings" is a free, Thanksgiving dinner for the less fortunate, elderly and for those unable to be with their families for the holidays. The entire event is run by volunteers and funded solely through local businesses.

The 10th annual dinner will also pay tribute to the thousands of volunteers who helped with the event since the very beginning.

The dinner will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 25 in the Oak Creek Community Center, 8580 S Howell Ave.

For more information, More on this story will be published at a later date.

Greendale's Reading Buddies program connects first-graders with dedicated adult volunteers

Oct. 07, 2015 11:43 a.m. | Greendale — Ella Camp, 92, fondly recalls the moment when she was approached by a young employee in a grocery store about a year ago.

"I was shopping when a young man asked me if I needed any help," Camp said. "And then he said, 'Don't you remember me? Do you know who I am?'"

"And sure enough, I used to be his Reading Buddy," Camp laughed during her weekly visit to Canterbury Elementary on Oct. 6. "Things like that happen to me all the time."

Camp has been a volunteer in the Greendale Reading Buddies program since its inception in 1998. The program pairs volunteers, many of whom are retired, with first-graders in all three Greendale elementary schools for 20 minutes of one-on-one reading time each week.

Students select their own books to read and their assigned Reading Buddies help them read the text aloud. The volunteers take notes in journals that are then sent to the students' parents for reading recommendations.

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Franklin football team batters Indian Trail in stunning fashion

Oct. 06, 2015 11:23 p.m. | Normally, 99 percent of football coaches worth their salt despise homecoming week more than root canal surgery, bunions and bad blocking all put together.

But after his unbeaten Franklin team put together a shockingly good performance in routing a good Kenosha Indian Trail squad Friday night at the end of the Sabers' busy homecoming week, 42-0, coach Louis Brown was one happy man.

"All week, there was not one guy yawning (at a meeting); all week long there was energy and focus," he said. "... I've been here something like 24 years and I never had a homecoming week with anywhere near the focus we had this week.

"Because this was a statement. To beat that team, 42-0, is a statement, not just for the area, but for the state."

The Hawks (4-1 in Southeast play and 4-3 overall) had come into this game having routed their first four league opponents by a 155-37 count, but they were no match for the Sabers (5-0 and 7-0, respectively), who admitted they had a little bit of fun during homecoming week, but not too much.

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Franklin shows patience, rallies to win SEC girls tennis title

Oct. 06, 2015 11:03 p.m. | It's hard work maintaining tradition.

Just ask the Franklin girls tennis team, who came in as underdogs at 8:30 a.m. to Racine for the Southeast Conference Tournament on Oct. 1 and emerged at 7:15 p.m., past the setting sun, as champions.

It took a bit of time after first singles player Abby Lehman finished off the tournament as bracket titlist for Saber coach John Brandes and the others to emerge from the scoring tent with the final results with Franklin in first, Kenosha Tremper in second and Oak Creek third.

The victory gave the Sabers their fourth straight SEC championship, but to be perfectly frank, they were too tired to celebrate.

"We were 12 hours in Racine," said third singles champion and co-captain Kaley Larson. "It was so close that it didn't really hit us at first. It took a while to sink in. We were just so busy. We'd finish a match, and then we'd go cheer on our teammates."

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Oak Creek football team enjoys homecoming with win over Horlick

Oct. 06, 2015 10:53 p.m. | The defense made adjustments, the offense had its best game of the season and the kids enjoyed homecoming to the fullest the coaches would allow.

In short, it was a solid effort for the Oak Creek football team as they overpowered a sound Racine Horlick team, 41-16, on Oct. 2 to clinch their fourth straight WIAA state playoff berth and keep themselves one game behind unbeaten Franklin in the Southeast Conference race.

"We let them out early one day so they could go to the homecoming parade," said coach Mike Bartholomew. "I'm not one to complain a lot about homecoming. We let them enjoy the experience because it is still high school. Just that when we have to work, we want them to work."

The win improved the surging Knights to 4-1 in Southeast Conference play and 6-1 overall. They will visit Racine Case (1-4, 1-6) at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9. Every win right now is important for WIAA seeding purposes.

"That's what we're playing for right now," said Bartholomew, "and we're happy for this group of seniors. They've just been so impressive (in terms of leadership). They really set the tone, and we're very happy that they've made the playoffs all four years."

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