Venice Club to close after 31 years in Brookfield

April 29, 2014 4:25 p.m. | The Venice Club's last day of business will be Friday, May 9, manager Casper Balistreri said today from Atlanta, after trying to negotiate with a division of PNC Bank that owns the mortgage on the restaurant.

"We've been in business since 1947," Balistreri said. "That's 67 years, and we've been in Brookfield for 31 years. We've been a part of that community for all those years and had wonderful customers, and we want to thank all of them for being our friends and customers."

The owner of the Venice Club, Balistreri's sister Antoinette Balistreri Radler, died in January, leaving the fate of the restaurant uncertain. Balistreri said Radler had a mortgage with Legacy Bank in Milwaukee, but the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation bought that loan about 2008 when the market went downhill. Casper said PNC bank then bought the loan on the Venice Club in a bundle of other loans. He said the bank now plans to auction that off.

The Venice Club didn't go down without a fight. Balistreri and his wife, Sara Balistreri, continued managing the restaurant after Radler's passing, along with a team of longtime managers and employees. They hoped to buy the the restaurant back, but were unable to meet the asking price.

Casper said he and his wife will be sad to leave the restaurant but will always remember their time there.

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Brookfield Central High School presents 'Lend Me a Tenor'

April 29, 2014 1:02 p.m. | The Brookfield Central High School Theater Department will present "Lend Me a Tenor" from April 30 to May 3.

The play centers around Max, an awkward assistant at the Cleveland Grand Opera Company, who is talked into filling in for the famous tenor Tito Morelli — believed to be dead — for an upcoming production of "Othello."

Performances will be held at 7 p.m. in the high school's Black Box Theater, located at 16900 W. Gebhardt Road.

Tickets cost $8 per student or senior and $12 per adult. Tickets can be bought at the BCHS box office or seats can be reserved by calling (262) 785-3910, ext.1111.

Communities net $1.2 million rebate from Waukesha County recycling

April 21, 2014 1:14 p.m. | Waukesha County residents recycled enough waste containers and paper in 2013 to cover an entire football field to a depth of 22 feet, about the height of a two-story building.

The recyclables were collected by 25 municipalities, and they will split more than $1.2 million from sales of the material to help offset their costs of the service, county solid waste supervisor Rebecca Mattano said Monday. Waukesha County has paid out more than $12.1 million to the municipalities since 2001.

The 25 communities spent $3 million to collect and haul plastics, glass, metal and paper in 2013, so the county payments will cover a little more than one-third of the total costs, according to Dale Shaver, director of the county Parks and Land Use Department.

"That's true tax relief," Shaver said. A dozen other municipalities do not participate in the county program.

The City of Waukesha, the county's most populous community, will get a check in the amount of $297,518 for its share of the revenue. The City of Brookfield will receive $212,634.

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Hilton planned for town of Brookfield

April 21, 2014 11:51 a.m. | An extended-stay Hilton hotel could be constructed west of the Hampton Inn on the northwest corner of Bluemound and Barker roads, pending a public hearing on a request to rezone the proposed development site.

Following a positive recommendation from the town of Brookfield Plan Commission on Tuesday, the Town Board will take action at its next meeting to schedule a public hearing on rezoning the 3.1-acre property from office and professional business, to limited general business use.

With an estimated project cost of $11 million, the proposed four-story Home2 Suites hotel would include 107 guestrooms, a combined laundry and fitness area, and a swimming pool. Studio guestroom units begin at just under 325 square feet and one-bedroom suites range in size up to about 490 square feet, according to a project overview submitted to the town. Suites would include a kitchen area with a full-sized refrigerator/freezer, dishwasher, microwave oven and coffeemaker.

Home2 Suites is a new Hilton brand that, according to the project overview, targets "travel savvy" guests with an "edgy, upscale brand offering and price point." The company expects to have 38 Home2 Suites open in North America by this summer, with another 63 in the works.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Gary Lake said the hotel proposed for the town would be the second Home2 Suites planned for the Milwaukee metro area, with another to be developed just south of the airport.

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Police: Girl, 10, says she was coerced into sending naked photos of herself to stranger

April 15, 2014 9:27 a.m. | After a Brookfield woman received text messages containing photos of her naked 10-year-old daughter, police are trying to track down the sender, who could be charged with possession of child pornography.

A Waukesha County Circuit Court judge issued a search warrant Tuesday, April 8, to the company believed to have provided the free texting service used to send the two photos to the mother.

According to the affidavit for the search warrant:

The 10-year-old girl told police she took and sent the photos with her family's iPad in January, after she was pressured by a user on a social media application whose true identity she does not know.

In February, the girl said she was contacted through the same application by someone using a different screen name. The user sent her the same two naked photos, and asked her to send another, threatening that if she didn't, her family would be ruined. The girl told police she deleted her account on the application.

Local seniors find friendship, romance through music

April 15, 2014 8:59 a.m. | Across the room from the band, distanced by a sea of couples dancing, Norma Shaffer was swaying her hands in the air to the beat. Her husband and dancing partner passed away, but she likes to go to American Legion Post 449 on the second Monday of every month to catch the "One More Time" group and their big band music.

"When you hear the music, it just gets to you," said Shaffer, who has lived in Brookfield since 1950. "It makes you feel like moving to the beat. It helps you to forget things."

Bored at her table, Shaffer got up and joined a couple on the dance floor, taking their hands and falling into step.

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Brookfield East teens build Honda 350 from salvaged motorcycle parts

April 14, 2014 3:44 p.m. | Unlike some of the other members of Hal's Harley-Davidson Brookfield Team, high school student Jack Leonovicz wasn't raised in a motorcycle-friendly household.

"My family was really against motorcycles," said Leonovicz, a sophomore at Brookfield East High School. "They thought they were dangerous ... but I've really got into them since joining the team. It's been really cool to work on this bike."

Leonovicz joined the team in February, when the group began building a Honda 350 motorcycle from salvaged parts for the BUILD Moto Mentoring and Scholarship Program.

BUILD Moto, established in 2010, is an after-school program that connects high school students with faculty advisers and skilled mentors to construct a motorcycle from other salvaged, rusted bikes with a budget of about $4,400.

"The main focus of BUILD is to help students appreciate what goes into building a bike and forging teamwork to create one," said Joe Haupt, lead mentor for the Brookfield team. "The program is also meant to bring attention to the need for teaching technology education in schools."

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Driver of stolen car stopped in Brookfield

April 14, 2014 2:54 p.m. | A 19-year-old Milwaukee man was stopped while driving a stolen car on Interstate 94 near Brookfield Road about 2 a.m. Saturday, April 5.

Trenton Chipps was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and driving a motor vehicle without the owner's consent in Waukesha County Circuit Court on Monday, April 7.

Chipps, who was pulled over for failing to slow down and move over for highway service vehicles, told police it was his friend who stole the car somewhere in Milwaukee the night before, according to the criminal complaint. Chipps did not have a valid license to provide and was arrested for driving without one.

Chipps told officers that he had told his friend he needed a car to get to South Dakota, and his friend had provided him with the stolen car, the complaint states.

The Waukesha County Sheriff's Department found the car was listed to a Wauwatosa couple, who told deputies they had left their car in a friend's garage in Milwaukee.

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Waukesha County Board OKs recycling program with Milwaukee

April 09, 2014 10:35 a.m. | The Waukesha County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved an intergovernmental agreement between the county and the city of Milwaukee for a joint recycling program run by ReCommunity Recycling.

Mayor Tom Barrett has praised the effort as an example of intergovernmental cooperation.

The County Board vote was 21-1. Afterward, Waukesha County Executive Dan Vrakas released a statement saying the collaboration, which will be headquartered in the Menomonee Valley, will increase recycling, reduce processing costs and enhance revenue.

“This unique public-private partnership will ensure the continuation of tax relief for Waukesha County community partners," Vrakas said.

The agreement is expected to generate $2 million in annual revenue for the city.

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Fingerprints on Pringles can lead police to robbery suspect

April 08, 2014 3:53 p.m. | Brandon D. Freeman, a 25-year-old man without a listed address, faces up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines if convicted of being a party to the crime of taking property from the Brookfield Place gas station, 3075 N. 124th St., about 8:30 p.m. April 20, 2013.

Freeman was charged in Waukesha County Circuit Court on Tuesday, April 1.

Police identified Freeman from fingerprints left on a discarded Pringles can with pennies inside the gas station.

According to the criminal complaint:

The clerk at Brookfield Place said a man had come in that evening with the can and dumped a heap of pennies on the counter to count them. At that time, another person entered the store and headed straight for the storage area. When the clerk asked the second person if he could help him, that person demanded all of the store's Newport cigarettes and all of the cash in the register.

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Run for the Hills takes another lap

April 08, 2014 1:08 p.m. | With a changing of the guard on the horizon and in its third straight year as a school fundraiser, Run for the Hills has found a new way to reach potential participants.

"We're really excited about offering online registration," said Jenny Schweinert, the race organizer. "We have always offered early registration, but we wanted to make this as simple as possible. We always want to get as many people as possible to participate."

The race, which supports Wisconsin Hills Middle School, annually attracts about 500, she said.

"The weather has been an issue from time to time," she said, referring to the event's actual six-year history; the race originated at Hillside Elementary and parents continued the event after that school closed.

Event details

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Elmbrook schools see rise in test scores for math, reading

April 08, 2014 11:15 a.m. | Results from this school year's Wisconsin Student Assessment System show the Elmbrook School District continues to see improvement in math and reading for students.

The WSAS is a state-mandated, five-subject test taken by students in grades three to eight and 10. The assessment combines the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination and the Wisconsin Alternate Assessment for Students with Disabilities.

The test is administered every November and provides a basic measure of overall student success, with results falling into categories of minimal, basic, proficient and advanced. The district's scores dramatically exceeded the state average, with high percentages of Elmbrook students scoring proficient or advanced in math, reading, language arts, science and social studies.

For the 2013-14 school year, Elmbrook students in third- to eighth-grade and tenth-grade had an average of 78.4 percent of students scoring in the proficient and advanced range in Math and 56 percent in reading. The state's average was 47.7 percent in math and 35.7 percent in reading.

Elmbrook also saw an increase in student performance from the past two school years within the district.

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Elmbrook schools, Brookfield police warn against 'Junior/Senior wars' and 'paranoia' games

April 08, 2014 10:37 a.m. | The Elmbrook School District and the Brookfield Police Department are warning teenagers not to participate in delinquent activities called Junior/Senior "Wars" and "Paranoia," reminding participants that those "games" can result in criminal charges.

Parents of high school juniors and seniors received letters from the district and the police department last month, informing them of risks associated with the teenage activities.

"Wars" between high school juniors and seniors have occurred in recent years in which students from one class will throw eggs and toilet paper at homes of students in the other class, said Brookfield Chief of Police Daniel Tushaus in his letter to parents.

"These late-night or early morning activities have resulted in the past in police calls by concerned neighbors, missed school and struggles to stay awake in class," the district's letter stated. "In addition to risky behavior sometimes associated with the activity, (e.g. property damage, trespassing, alcohol use), we are equally concerned with the negative impact on the school culture and the ability to meet our core teaching and learning expectations."

Running concurrently with the Junior/Senior Wars is another disruptive game called, "Paranoia." Teams of students are armed with Nerf guns (loaded with foam darts) and are pitted against each other to "kill" or "assassinate" opposing team members.

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Wandrey to lead Central's boys hoops program

April 07, 2014 3:30 p.m. | Brookfield Central's girls basketball coach Dan Wandrey looked at it as a unique opportunity.

As a result, it was announced Monday that he will replace the retiring Mark Adams as the basketball coach for the boys program.

"What makes it a unique opportunity is that it's a new challenge, but it's in my building, in my school," Wandrey said. "Usually when you get a new challenge you're in different surroundings. But I still have my same athletic director, my same facilities manager."

"We had a great pool of internal candidates," Athletic and Activities Director Todd Sobrilsky said. "When coach Wandrey said he would like to be considered, we did not have to do an external search. It really was an easy choice for us. For 16 years, he's had great success. Now he has an opportunity to continue that tradition with boys."

Since the girls went deep into the postseason, losing to eventual state champion Oak Creek in the sectional finals — one step from another state tournament — everything was put on hold.

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Woman uses sister's identity to avoid arrest in Elm Grove

April 02, 2014 8:40 a.m. | A woman who used her sister's identity to avoid arrest for driving with a suspended license in December was arrested for obstructing an officer about 8:45 p.m. March 27.

According to the Elm Grove police report:

The woman had been driving in the village and was pulled over Dec. 18 for an illegal U-turn. She said she used her sister's name because she didn't want to be arrested with her son in the car.

She was arrested at the Elm Grove Police Department, 13600 Juneau Blvd., on March 27. Police realized her lie when her sister called to dispute the ticket.

Town of Brookfield supervisors keep seats

April 01, 2014 10:04 p.m. | Town Supervisors John Schatzman and Pat Stroebel held onto their seats, fending off challenger Larry Hipp by a wide margin.

The vote totals, according to unofficial results Tuesday:

John Schatzman (i) 453

Pat Stroebel (i) 415

Larry Hipp 155

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Ponto keeps mayoral post; incumbent aldermen win, too

April 01, 2014 10:01 p.m. | Mayor Steve Ponto will have another four years in office, defeating former mayor Jeff Speaker by almost 2,000 votes.

Aldermen Bill Carnell and Lisa Mellone defended their aldermanic seats against challengers Adris Jaunberzins and Kris Seals.

The vote totals, according to unofficial results Tuesday:

Mayoral race

Steve Ponto (i) 4,512

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A new trustee joins Elm Grove in uncontested race

April 01, 2014 9:25 p.m. | Patrick Kressin, a landscape architect with Graef Engineering and member of the village's Public Works Board, will be the only new face on the Elm Grove Village Board following tonight's election. He will replace Trustee John Mazur, who did not seek re-election.

Incumbent trustees George Haas and John Domaszek will keep their seats.

The vote totals, according to unofficial results Tuesday:

George Haas (i) 423

John Domaszek (i) 381

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Body found in Tosa identified as James Kieckbusch, 57

April 01, 2014 5:01 p.m. | The decomposed body found Sunday afternoon in a wooded area at 124th Street and Bluemound Road was identified as James Kieckbusch, 57, no known address, according to a medical examiner's report provided by Milwaukee County.

Kieckbusch's remains were discovered by Daniel and Donald Kempka, a father and son, who had been hiking through the wooded area while looking for deer antlers. Kieckbusch was pronounced dead upon arrival at 4:48 p.m.

The medical examiner identified pill bottles in the jacket pocket with medications still inside as well as a wallet and identification card on Kieckbusch's right leg between his blue jeans and pair of long pajama-type pants.

The area did not appear to be a place where the subject lived or a homeless shelter. No obvious trauma was observed at the scene. 

Kieckbusch had been on parole and had a history of bipolar disorder, the report said. His brother, William, said Kieckbusch was a "binge" drinker and had previous illicit drug use, according to the report.

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Body found at border of Elm Grove and Wauwatosa

April 01, 2014 11:45 a.m. | A partially decomposed body was found under bushes on the east side of the UPS building, 12400 W. Bluemound Road, about 3:20 p.m. Sunday, according to an Elm Grove police report.

Elm Grove police responded to the scene, but determined the dead body, about 150 yards east of the UPS access road, was just over the border, in Wauwatosa, the report states. Officers from both departments taped off the area.

Elm Grove Assistant Police Chief Jason Hennen said Elm Grove officers were not further involved in the case, which was taken over by Wauwatosa police.

The Wauwatosa Police Department had no formal police report on the incident as of 10:30 a.m. except a "dead on arrival" call from officers who were dispatched Sunday, said Karla Ordal, records clerk.

Neither Police Chief Barry Weber nor Lt. Christopher Fox could be reached for comment.

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