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Brookfield police say Westbrook Beverage, Subway robberies could be linked

Oct. 17, 2011 4:02 p.m. | City of Brookfield police believe two armed robberies reported a week apart may be connected.

Two men wearing dark clothes and black bandannas over their faces used a semi-automatic handgun to rob the Westbrook Beverage Center, 13400 W. Greenfield Ave., at 8:58 p.m. Oct. 16, according to police reports.

Police Capt. Jim Adlam said they then ran off with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Officers from numerous agencies assisted city of Brookfield officers secure a perimeter, but the robbers were not found.

Adlam said investigators believe the Oct. 16 armed robbery may be related to the robbery of Subway, 3960 N. Brookfield Road, before 6:30 a.m. Oct. 10.

» Read Full Article

Fairview South's Silent Auction and Craft Fair to raise funds for wheelchair-accessible van

Nov. 19, 2014 11:19 a.m. | Fairview South School will be raising money for a new wheelchair-accessible van at its annual Silent Auction and Craft Fair on Friday, December 5.

The school hopes to raise $45,000 to purchase the van, which will be used to transport children with special needs to community outings.

Fairview South, 3525 Bermuda Blvd., is a school that serves the needs of students with mild to severe cognitive disabilities.

"Our school supports roughly 50 students and all students go out on community outings," said Cory Baritt, student supervisor for Fairview South. "The outings are crucial to the growth of our students. Many of our students are in wheelchairs, but these vans are also equipped with bench seats for our ambulatory students."

Fairview South has hosted craft fairs for many years, but began holding silent auctions three years ago to fundraise for much-needed items, including an outdoor recreation area and equipment to help its students.

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Brookfield delays financial assistance decision as Aldermen request more information

Nov. 19, 2014 12:36 a.m. | Two weeks ago, developers asked the city of Brookfield Common Council to delay a decision on providing financial assistance to an industrial project so that they could work out contractual details.

On Tuesday night, the council took it upon itself to table the topic of the city's fourth tax incremental financing (TIF) district for another two weeks. The proposed TIF would see the city provide $2.6 million in grants to aid in approximately 320,000 square feet of industrial space to be developed north of Gumina Road between Barker Road and Springdale Road. The city's total projected costs, including financing, would total an amount not to exceed $3.8 million.

The project has been proposed, and the TIF requested by, developers Chris Leffler of Spectrum Development LLC and Todd Rizzo of Rizzo Development Group LLC. The city grants would be for the purposes of assisting with developing infrastructure, such as municipal water and sewer, and with other site renovations, including grading.

The desire for more time arose from Aldermen requesting that they be able to see certain numbers that are normally only viewed by city staff.

Alderman Christopher Blackburn originally brought up the issue of numbers that illustrate a comparison between the projected return on investment for developers with the financial assistance versus the projected return without.

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Brookfield's 2015 budget unanimously approved

Nov. 18, 2014 11:43 p.m. | The Brookfield common council unanimously approved a 1.84 percent levy increase at its Tuesday night meeting.

The meeting began with a public hearing on the 2015 proposed budget and a presentation by Brookfield Director of Finance Robert Scott outlining key points of it. The night concluded with the unanimous approval.

The 1.84 percent levy increase will represent a $17 increase in the city portion of the property tax bill of a resident owning an average home with an assessed value of $335,000.

Scott noted that while the city portion will be increasing, residents will see the bottom line on their property tax bills decrease because of a projected decrease in the technical college portion of the bill due to increased government funding.

The amount that the city's levy can be increased is tied to the property value in the community.

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Stores to open doors earlier on Thanksgiving at Brookfield Square

Nov. 17, 2014 10:58 a.m. | Shoppers not suffering from the effects of too much turkey will be able to book it from their Thanksgiving meals to Brookfield Square even earlier this year.

The mall has announced that stores will begin opening their doors at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving day, with JC Penney leading the way. Most of the mall's other stores, including but not limited to Sears, Finish Line, The North Face, Kay Jewelers, and American Eagle Outfitters will open at 6 p.m.

More stores will open throughout the evening and night, with all being available to shoppers by 6 a.m. on Black Friday.

Brookfield Square General Manager Scott Oleson says that the mall made the decision to open its doors at 6 p.m., but each individual store is allowed to make its own call about opening on Thanksgiving or waiting until Black Friday.

"It's optional for stores to open that night. We're going to have well over three-fourths of the mall open on Thanksgiving," Oleson said. "There will be some stores not open, but that's their prerogative."

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Brookfield, Elm Grove, New Berlin businesses team up to fill local food pantry

Nov. 16, 2014 11:41 p.m. | Thanks to the efforts of 11 local businesses, dozens of families in the area will find nourishment and comfort for the holiday season.

After a few weeks, the businesses — in Brookfield, Elm Grove, and New Berlin — have finished up collection efforts for the inaugural drive as they hope to feed, clothe, and provide for the needy this holiday season.

Donor seeks out donors

The efforts were spearheaded by Todd Ruedt, owner of Grounds Maintenance Services in New Berlin and a native of Brookfield.

"I decided to reach out to some of my other business-owner friends and other community partners and we ended up getting 10 other businesses to join in the fight to fill the food pantry with us," Ruedt said.

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Paul Farrow announces for Waukesha County executive

Nov. 14, 2014 11:54 a.m. | Madison — State Sen. Paul Farrow is running for Waukesha County executive, while Rep. Dale Kooyenga has decided he will not seek the position.

Farrow, a Pewaukee Republican and the son of former Lt. Gov. Margaret Farrow, announced his plans late Thursday, after news emerged that County Executive Dan Vrakas would not seek re-election.

"We have proved time and time again, that our pursuit of lower taxes, community involvement, and electing good stewards of the public trust helps build strong communities and a county that we are all proud of," Farrow said in a written statement announcing his plans. "I look forward to continuing that tradition if I have the honor to serve as county executive."

Kooyenga, a Brookfield Republican, said Friday he had been encouraged to run but decided against it.

"After prayer and discussing with my amazing wife, Jennifer, we decided I can best fight for our values and principles by continued service in the Legislature," Kooyenga said in a written statement.

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Swanson Cub Scouts to collect toys, games, gift cards for Children's Hospital

Nov. 14, 2014 9:54 a.m. | Swanson Elementary's Cub Scout Pack 23 will soon be collecting toys for the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin this winter.

The sixth annual "Ben Levie Toy Drive" will be held from Thursday, Nov. 20, to Thursday, Dec. 18, when the Cub Scouts will begin to organize the donations.

The Ben Levie Toy Drive began with Maurice and Teresa Levie, who created the toy drive in memory of their son, Ben. Ben was a Swanson student and a Pack 23 scout who died in 2009 after battling a long illness.

Last year, the scouts collected more than 500 items to the Children's Hospital. The scouts hope to raise more than 600 items this year.

The Cub Scout Pack is asking community members to donate new, unwrapped, and latex-free supplies at the following drop-off locations:

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Irgens seeks city cash for Ruby Farm project; hopes to start work in April

Nov. 14, 2014 9:45 a.m. | Irgens Development Partners LLC's request for city funds for the proposed mixed-use project at Brookfield's Ruby Farm site will begin a lengthy public review next week, with the firm hoping to begin site work in April.

The city funds would be used for roads, traffic signals, sewers, water mains, walking paths and other public improvements, as well as site grading, on 66 acres north of I-94 and west of Calhoun Road, according to documents unveiled Friday by the Brookfield Department of Community Development.

The financing proposal also calls for using city funds to help preserve the property's farm house and barn, with the house set aside for public use. Irgens also would give 7 acres of wetlands near Deer Creek to the city.

Irgens plans to create a $142.7 million development, known as The Corridor.

It would include approximately 552,000 square feet of corporate office and technology space; 198,000 square feet of mixed uses with a potential for medical, fitness/wellness and hotel, and 136,000 square feet of retail, developed over seven years.

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Vrakas to retire as Waukesha County exec, sparking likely GOP tussle

Nov. 13, 2014 9:50 a.m. | Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas announced Thursday that he won't be running for re-election in the spring.

The announcement comes some eight months after Vrakas made public the fact that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He completed treatment in 10 weeks and returned to work full time in June.

Word of Vrakas' impending retirement announcement had several leading Waukesha Republicans scrambling to gauge and, in some cases, lock up support for what will be an open seat. The general election for the nonpartisan office is to be held in April.

Heading the list of potential candidates are Sen. Paul Farrow, a Pewaukee Republican, and Rep. Dale Kooyenga, a Republican from Brookfield. Both are considered rising stars in the party.

"I would say that Farrow is probably the favorite, but this is incredibly early," said one Waukesha Republican. "Dan hasn't even announced that he's not running." 

» Read Full Article

Waukesha County keeps taxes flat in 2015 budget

Nov. 12, 2014 6:10 p.m. | The Waukesha County Board on Wednesday adopted a final 2015 budget with an increase of slightly less than 1% to the general property tax levy.

The total levy stands at $100.49 million for 2015, up $987,100 from this year.

The property tax rate needed to generate the 2015 levy is $2.08 per $1,000 of equalized valuation, down seven cents from this year. The decrease in the rate coupled with a rise in property values will result in no change in the county portion of the December tax bills for most homeowners.

The tax rate and levy were unchanged from the budget recommended by County Executive Dan Vrakas.

Vrakas praised the board for approving a budget that does not increase the property tax burden on homeowners. The final budget "maintains our role as a low tax leader in the state," Vrakas said.

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Plan Commission approves Corridor plans

Nov. 11, 2014 1:15 a.m. | The city of Brookfield's Plan Commission unanimously approved a land use amendment and the rezoning of the former Ruby Farm property at its meeting Monday night.

It was a familiar site at City Hall as officials from Irgens came before city of Brookfield officials to discuss the ever-developing plans for The Corridor, an 877,000 square-foot mixed-use development for property formerly occupied by the Ruby Farm and Journal Communications.

City staff recommended that commissioners approve a land use amendment for the former Ruby Farm and Journal Communications property that would remove residential space from the plan. The city originally planned for multi-family housing to be a part of a mixed-use development that would eventually sit on the last green space along the Bluemound Road corridor; however, Irgens' team disagreed with the city's finding that residences would make an appropriate mixed use for the development. As such, the city must approve amending the land use plans to accommodate Irgens' plans.

In addition to the land use amendment, commissioners were also posed with the rezoning of the property to a Planned Development District (PDD) which would allow Irgens to erect structures reaching as high as 85 feet and to reach floor-area ratios of approximately 50 percent. The city currently allows buildings to reach a maximum of 70 feet and allows only 30 percent of a development to be occupied by the footprints of structures.

Commissioners approved both the land use amendment and the PDD unanimously. The matter will next be discussed by the Common Council.

Suburban roundup: Week three of the WIAA football postseason

Nov. 10, 2014 10:45 a.m. | Big plays, big mistakes, dominant defenses, and last second heroics. Such were the key factors of week three football in the WIAA postseason.

A roundup of our coverage:

-Homestead pulled off a miraculous last-minute drive and converted a two point attempt to defeat rival Cedarburg 15-14.

-Arrowhead scored on multiple big plays to defeat Mukwonago, 28-10. PHOTO GALLERY: Arrowhead vs. Mukwonago.

-Darlington managed to contain Lake Country Lutheran's explosive halfback Adam Tovar en route to a 41-12 win.

» Read Full Article

Wilson Center a top-rated nonprofit

Nov. 07, 2014 11:45 a.m. | The Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts has received another accolade.

This week, the Wilson Center was honored with a Top-Rated Award, by GreatNonprofits, one of the leading provider of user reviews on nonprofit organizations.

A release by the Wilson Center says that the award helps give donors and volunteers more assurance of the credibility of the center.

"We are excited to be named a Top-Rated 2014 Nonprofit," Wilson Center Executive Director Jonathan Winkle said in the release. "Reading these reviews has been a tremendous experience for our staff, as each one illustrates the impact that our organizaiton is having on the community."

Tosa East stuns Brookfield East in volleyball sectional

Nov. 06, 2014 11:00 p.m. | Streaking Wauwatosa East stormed from behind to win the first set and then rode the momentum to an upset of No. 2-ranked Brookfield East in four sets Thursday night in the sectional final of the WIAA boys volleyball tournament.

Brookfield East, which had swept the Red Raiders during the regular season en route to its first Greater Metro Conference title, was playing without one of its key players, 6-7 outside hitter Matt Klassen, who injured his wrist in the sectional semifinal victory over West Allis Hale.

"Before the match started, I said we needed to win game one, we need to make a statement" said Wauwatosa East coach John Simon. "Win game one, put them on their heels a little bit and then see how they react. It steamrolled into game two. I thought we were going to close it out in game three, but they played very well, they made big plays at the end."

"I give them a lot of credit," Simon said. "Their best player was not playing tonight."

In the first game, the Red Raiders trailed, 23-20, but rallied to win 29-27. Tosa East pulled away to win the second game, 25-19, and then almost rallied in the third, losing 26-24 after being down 19-11.

» Read Full Article

Election roundup: How the Milwaukee suburbs and Lake Country voted

Nov. 05, 2014 1:09 p.m. | The Republican strongholds of Waukesha and Lake Country, as well as the majority of the Milwaukee suburbs, voted decisively in favor of incumbent Governor Scott Walker. Referendums for increased funding in various municipalities and school districts were mostly successful.

A roundup of our coverage:

INTERACTIVE: See how your community voted and how it stacked up against its neighbors.

-The search is on for Brad Schimel's successor for Waukesha DA post.

-Unexpected turnout slows voting in Lisbon.

» Read Full Article

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