Nicolet rallies past Germantown on Wagner's hit , 7-6

June 27, 2013 9:40 p.m. | The Nicolet baseball team could get used to this one-run win thing.

Because a week after losing three such games in a row, the Knights rallied from three runs down in the sixth inning to pull out a 7-6 eight-inning decision over North Shore leader Germantown on Thursday night at Stormonth Field.

It was the second such one-run decision in favor of Nicolet this week following a 2-1 win over Cedarburg on Monday and it is was definitely something that first-year coach Jason Grodsky would love to see more of.

"Yeah, it's a lot more fun being on this side of the equation," he said. The Knights improved to 5-7 in league play and 8-12 overall, while Germantown fell to 9-3 in league play falling into a virtually tie with Homestead and Cedarburg (both 10-4).

Grodsky worked hard to rally the troops after Germantown scored twice in the top of the fifth to take a 6-3 lead. The Warhawks got an RBI single from Joey Sykora and then Ben Eggert scored on the back end of a double-steal. In the fourth, shortstop Jordan Kuczynski had broken a 3-all tie with a two-out RBI single.

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Fox Point-Bayside School Board chooses Smulyan to fill vacancy

June 27, 2013 3:21 p.m. | Fox Point — David Smulyan, an active member of the Bayside community, was unanimously selected by the Fox Point-Bayside School Board today to fill the vacancy left by former board President Debbie Friberg.

Friberg moved in mid-June to Charlotte, N.C. Five-year board member Alice Lawton was selected by the board to succeed Friberg as president. Smulyan will fill Friberg's seat through April, 2014, at which point the spring election will decide who serves the remainder of Friberg's term through April, 2015. Lawton and board member Tim Melchert will be up for re-election in April, 2014, as well.

Before they made their choice, board members lauded all five community members who had applied for Friberg's seat: Kelly Greer Levin, Dann Jacobson, Kim Mangarelli, Thomas Hayssen and Smulyan. Hayssen and Smulyan both ran unsuccessfully in the spring election, taking in 21 percent of the vote each.

"I don't think we can make a bad choice," board member Michael Weidner said.

Smulyan is the founder and president of management consulting company Optimal Solutions Squared, a Bayside Planning Commissioner and member of the district's Parent Advisory Council.

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Brown Deer School Board holds off on school uniform decision

June 26, 2013 10:34 a.m. | Brown Deer — Citing the lack of comprehensive input from district parents and students, the Brown Deer School Board on Tuesday postponed their consideration of creating a district-wide school uniform policy until their July 23 meeting. The uniform idea was presented to district officials for the first time last week at a Teaching and Learning Committee meeting.

When it became clear the board wasn't going to act on the uniforms, Superintendent Deb Kerr implored board members to avoid the uniform section of the policy and approve another section which references "a culture of excellence."

"It doesn't say uniforms, but it talks about what we're trying to instill," Kerr said. "This pride of personal appearance."

The board decided to hold off on that section of the policy as well.

Uniform standards

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Mequon to hold special election to fill alderman vacancy

June 25, 2013 9:58 p.m. | Mequon will host a special election in September to fill the vacant District 1 aldermanic seat on the Common Council, city officials decided Tuesday.

The seat was left vacant after Mayor Dan Abendroth won both seats in the April election and he chose the mayoral position. The special election for District 1 residents will be held Sept. 10. If there are more than two candidates in the running, a primary election will be held Aug. 13.

A special meeting was called Tuesday after the Mequon Common Council had previously failed to select a candidate by the required five-vote majority.

The election will cost the city $2,765. That cost will double if there is a primary.

Bay native comes home to share life story, lead Fourth of July parade

June 25, 2013 3:49 p.m. | Whitefish Bay — "I am an author completely by accident. No kidding," writes Whitefish Bay native Steven Hirst in the intro of his memoir "Still Standing."

Hirst, a retired Air Force major, writes of the life which was halved by a tragic accident into the "before" and "after" eras. Before, he was a basketball star at Whitefish Bay High School and the United States Air Force Academy, a fighter jet pilot who, strapped into the cockpit of an F-15, regularly shattered the sound barrier, and a family man.

On Jan. 13, 1996, while returning from a grocery trip to the Air Force base in Anchorage, Alaska, Hirst hit a patch of black ice while taking a turn, careening off the road and wrapping his car around a pole. Outwardly Hirst was fine, almost without a scratch, yet inside his brain had been seriously damaged.

That day began the long and arduous battle with a traumatic brain injury which at first confined Hirst to a wheelchair, that has hindered his speech and even at times precipitated mistreatment and ridicule from strangers.

Surrounded by family

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Thiensville beer garden not likely in 2013

June 25, 2013 3:41 p.m. | Thiensville — Plans for a beer garden in Thiensville Village Park will likely have to wait until next year.

In early-May the Village Board approved in concept a beer garden supplied and operated by Glendale-based Sprecher Brewing Company, though an official proposal hadn't come forward yet. Since then, having received some pressure and blow back from members of the Ozaukee County Tavern League, Sprecher hasn't yet submitted a proposal. Bob and Amy Ollman, co-owners of downtown Thiensville bar and grille Remington's River Inn, have since submitted their own proposal for a Village Park beer garden.

Focused on Sprecher

Trustee David Lange, who first brought the idea of a Sprecher beer garden before the Committee of the Whole in April, said he expects the village in the fall to solicit proposals for a Village Park beer garden — though an approved beer garden wouldn't open until 2014.

"We voted on (conceptual approval) in May, pending the proposal (from Sprecher,) which hasn't come in," Lange said. "I don't anticipate voting on anything for this year."

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Subscribe to NOW's weekly newsletter for chance to win Summerfest tickets

June 25, 2013 9:03 a.m. | Subscribe to the MyCommunityNOW Suburban Roundup newsletter to get news delivered to you weekly and for your chance to win a pair of Summerfest tickets.

Head to the Journal Interactive Network newsletters page and sign up to receive the Suburban News Roundup newsletter, which is distributed on Thursday mornings. In this week's edition, there will be a item telling subscribers how they can enter a sweepstakes for Summerfest tickets.

Five winners will be announced via email on Friday, June 28.

Poellinger records fifth straight shutout as Homestead beats Bay, 2-0

June 24, 2013 10:27 p.m. | Homestead senior pitcher Colten Poellinger, who has made throwing shutouts look easy this summer, labored a little bit Monday night against archrival Whitefish Bay.

But for the second game in a row, he had sophomore Trevor Cho by his side, as Cho cracked a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to beat the Blue Dukes, 2-0.

Last week, Cho had a game-winning hit in the bottom of the eighth in a 1-0 Homestead win over Slinger that was also authored by Poellinger.

The first thing Homestead coach Ernie Millard did was praise both pitchers as Blue Duke sophomore Nick Lackney also blanked the Highlanders for six innings before giving way to Johnny Markwiese in the seventh.

"Both pitchers were unbelievable tonight," said Millard. "...I joked with Nick after the game 'Now you're all going to do us a favor and graduate two years early, right?' Sometimes he's had trouble with his control, but tonight was as good as I've seen him."

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Tactical situation ongoing near Shorewood High School

June 21, 2013 4:37 p.m. | Shorewood — Police are engaged in a tactical situation in the 3500 block of North Oakland Avenue, several blocks south of Shorewood High School.

Shorewood police confirmed the situation is ongoing, but declined to offer further comment.

TMJ4 is reporting the incident may involve a domestic dispute.

Beaver Creek project consideration delayed until September

June 21, 2013 2:12 p.m. | Brown Deer — Deliberations over developer General Capital's plans at the Beaver Creek site at 60th Street and Brown Deer Road will have to wait until September at the earliest, Brown Deer Village Attorney John Fuchs wrote to Village President Carl Kreuger and the Village Board in a June 20 memo.

According to the memo, Fuchs and attorney Alan Marcuvitz, representing Brown Deer, met with representatives of General Capital on Wednesday to discuss the developer's controversial proposal for 44 apartments on the Beaver Creek site, with a mixture of market rate, low-income, and disability friendly units — similar to the Bradley Crossing Supportive Housing Community the developer opened in tandem with Jewish Family Services in late-2012.

The attorneys and General Capital agreed that the Beaver Creek project not come before village officials for further consideration until "some time after Labor Day," according to the memo.

Exploring altermatives

"This will afford General Capital the opportunity to explore possible alternatives for development of the site," Fuchs wrote. "Realistically, the current condominium plan is not compatible with present market conditions."

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Homestead closes gap in NSC with 10-7 win over Germantown

June 20, 2013 9:27 p.m. | Veteran Homestead baseball coach Ernie Millard is not going to read too much into his team's less-than-artful 10-7 win over North Shore Conference leader Germantown Thursday night other than to say:

"It gives us a sliver of hope."

With the victory, the Highlanders improved to 8-4 in league play (13-5 overall0 while Germantown maintained its lead at 8-2 (9-5 overall).

"But seriously, this is a huge win for us,'" said Millard. "Both teams were sloppy and loose on defense, but it does give us the slightest sliver of hope."

Warhawk coach Jeff Wolf couldn't explain his team's flat effort on defense which resulted in a season-high eight errors.

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Brown Deer School District considers uniforms, tax increase

June 19, 2013 12:29 p.m. | Brown Deer — What officials call Brown Deer School District's "transformation" — the move from three buildings to two and campus renovations funded by a 2011 referendum — could have students in uniforms and an increased tax levy in the coming school year.

At a Teaching & Learning committee meeting, followed by a School Board meeting Tuesday, school staff campaigned for district-wide school uniforms and several budget requests which would raise the tax levy by a yet-to-be-determined amount. In both cases, the underlying theme of the the pitch was the same.

"This is a turning point year for us," Superintendent Deb Kerr said. She added the referendum-funded campus overhaul has built momentum for progress around the district, and that uniforms and additional taxpayer investment would "create a culture for learning and higher expectations."

"I can't think of a more important year than the one coming up, for the school district," board member Dennis Griffin said during the budget deliberations. "(No other time) compares to the extent of changes that are happening this year."

The School Board will have its first look at the school uniforms topic at its June 25 meeting, and will have more complete budget and tax levy figures in early July, after the state Legislature decides on a biennial budget and state aid amounts are calculated for each district.

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Shorewood to field senior living facility proposal

June 19, 2013 12:19 p.m. | Shorewood — Vero Beach, Fla.-based senior living firm Harbor Retirement Associates is proposing a senior living facility on the former Pig N' Whistle and Sherburn Place Apartments sites on Capitol Drive on the village's western edge.

The facility, according to a village news release, would provide both assisted living and memory care.

In 2008, Virginia-based Sunrise Senior Living proposed an 83-unit assisted living center. Illinois-based Pathway Senior Living in 2010 also proposed an 80-100 unit development. Both proposals eventually fell though.

Though she couldn't offer details, Planning and Zoning Director Ericka Lang said HRA's proposal will likely be similar to the 2008 and 2010 proposals.

The Plan Commission will have its first look at the site plans for the project, located in the village's third tax incremental financing district, next week, Lange said. The proposal will have to go through the Plan Commission, Village Board and Community Development Authority in what Lange described as a three-month process, with a fleshed out development agreement emerging by the end of August.

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Milwaukeeans Chill on the Hill with social media

June 19, 2013 8:07 a.m. | Bluegrass music filled Humboldt Park last night in Bay View's latest Chill on the Hill concert.

But photos, videos and tweets filled the social media sphere as musicgoers shared their experiences. Read our social media story of last night's Chill on the Hill, which featured Pay the Devil / The Best Westerns.

Shorewood bolsters ability to cite those who build without permits

June 18, 2013 6:08 p.m. | Shorewood — The Shorewood Village Board on Monday amended its municipal code to clarify and reiterate the board's power to cite both property owners and contractors who build on private properties and in public right-of-way areas without getting prior approval from the village.

The ordinance was approved at the same meeting as two separate requests to alter the public right of way on two properties: one to plant a short hedge row and another to build a retaining wall.

Both proposals were approved, but trustees chided contractor Outdoors Unlimited and the owners of the property with the retaining wall for nearly completing it before getting approval from the village. The lower wall extends 13 inches into the right-of-way area.

"This contractor does a lot of business in our area and should know better," Trustee Thad Nation said.

Two separate issues

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Mequon-Thiensville leaders dismayed by proposed voucher expansion

June 18, 2013 2:49 p.m. | Mequon — Considering it "an assault on public education," Mequon-Thiensville district officials on Monday had a spirited discussion about the proposed statewide expansion of the school voucher program.

While vouchers have long been offered in Milwaukee and Racine, the proposal broached earlier this month by the Joint Finance Committee in Madison would expand the program across Wisconsin if it is enacted.

The voucher program gives low-income students the opportunity to attend private and parochial schools without paying tuition. Advocates say the vouchers give students more choice in communities with under-performing districts.

But Mequon-Thiensville administrators and School Board members did not mince words as they expressed displeasure at their regular monthly meeting this week about the possible statewide expansion. The JFC has been reviewing Gov. Scott Walker's proposed 2013-15 biennium budget.

Superintendent Demond Means said he was particularly dismayed by the JFC's voting on the recommendation to expand the program about 2:30 a.m. June 5 at a time when public comment was neither taken nor practical because of the time of deliberations.

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Bay board chooses Serebin as interim trustee

June 18, 2013 10:02 a.m. | Whitefish Bay — Tara Serebin, a 17-year Whitefish Bay resident, was chosen by the Village Board Monday to serve the remainder of recently-resigned trustee Lauri Rollings' term.

Rollings in May announced she would be stepping down to focus on her work life and the imminent birth of her first child, creating a vacancy on the board until April 2014.

At the meeting Monday, trustees heard from the four applicants for Rollings' seat: Serebin, Executive Director of the Peace Learning Center of Milwaukee; Jay Saunders, Public Information Assistant at the Milwaukee County Board of Directors; Mario Gonzales, Assistant United States Attorney at the Department of Justice; and Ken Wysocky, a freelance journalist and editor who ran unsuccessfully in the spring election.

In a paper ballot vote, Serebin received three votes, while Gonzalez and Wysocky each received one.

Before taking the executive post at PLCM, Serebin was a longtime elementary and substitute teacher. She has a bachelor's in elementary education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master's in education from UW-Milwaukee.

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Dialogue on Mequon-Thiensville properties continues in July

June 17, 2013 5:02 p.m. | Mequon — Administrators and board members of the Mequon-Thiensville School District want public input as they continue to consider the potential reconfiguration and sale of district properties.

The next discussion is scheduled for a School Board meeting at 7 p.m. July 15 in the Range Line building at 11036 N. Range Line Road.

Last year the School Board commissioned a study of the district's properties, resulting in a number of alternatives like consolidating the district's middle schools, closing or selling Lake Shore Middle School and Range Line Elementary, building additions to various schools, moving middle school students to the high school, or closing all but one of the elementary and middle schools before building a new K-6 building — among other reconfigurations meant to save the district money in the long term.

When reviewing the alternatives last summer, Superintendent Demond Means and the School Board concluded that the up-front cost of the reconfigurations, which ranged from $6.3 million to nearly $40 million, far outweighed the savings. The board later opted to fund ongoing maintenance rather than any big ticket infrastructure overhauls.

"(The study) clearly showed that there were no savings," Means said.

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Brown Deer community says goodbye to Dean Elementary

June 17, 2013 2:50 p.m. | Brown Deer — Marching and laughing and crying and hugging and singing, a crowd of students, teachers and parents said their goodbyes to Dean Elementary Thursday.

Their sendoff, which wound its way through the school as a parade and concluded outside with the release of golden balloons — many of which sported the names of students and teachers, alongside messages — marked the last day in the building before the gutting and demolition occur in October.

"It's the last time these kids will be walking down these hallways," Superintendent Deb Kerr said as the parade marched by.

Dean Elementary opened in the fall of 1959, home of the kindergarten through eighth-grade Dean School District, which was one of several such area districts that fed into the Granville Union Free High School District. As time wore on, several of the then-seperate districts consolidated into one composed of Dean Elementary, Brown Deer Middle School and what was originally called Granville High School and later Brown Deer High School.

In light of the 2011 referendum to consolidate Brown Deer schools into two buildings, the fate of the aging and maintenance-prone Dean Elementary was sealed.

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Thiensville farmers market touches the senses

June 12, 2013 1:48 p.m. | Thiensville — Through the warm summer air of Thiensville Village Park on Tuesday morning, the sounds and smells of dozens of different vendors mingled with the strum of guitar and the laughter of children.

It all heralded the opening of Thiensville's Village Market, a farmers market which for years has been hosted at the Walgreens at Main Street and Freistadt Road.

More than 250 patrons had made their way through the market by 11 a.m., market volunteers reported.

"They're coming in droves," said Thiensville Business Association President Jesse Daily, grinning behind the bright green uniform and cashier's smock of the volunteers.

So far 41 total vendors have signed up. The market is open every Tuesday through Oct. 29, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Gridlock continues as Mequon officials fail to fill alderman vacancy

June 12, 2013 1:02 p.m. | Mequon — The 1st District aldermanic seat remains vacant after the Common Council on Tuesday, repeating the results of its Committee of the Whole meeting May 29, failed to select a candidate by the required five-vote majority.

The one vote the council took Tuesday reflected the three votes taken by the committee, a 4-3 gridlock. Aldermen Ken Zganjar of District 2, John Leszczynski of District 4, John Hawkins of District 6 and Andrew Nerbun of District 7 voted for Robert Strzelcyzk, who garnered 47 percent of the vote in the April election but lost out to Dan Abendroth — who turned down the spot when he unseated Mayor Curt Gielow.

Aldermen Dale Mayr of District 3, Mark Seider of District 5 and Pam Adams of District 8 voted for attorney Robert Holtz, who is representing his and eight other families in the suit between the city and River Club of Mequon owner Tom Weickardt.

Nerbun, Zganjar, Hawkins, and Leszczynski all endorsed Strzelcyzk vocally before the vote. Nerbun said, unlike popular opinion suggests, Strzelcyzk isn't a "Curt Gielow devotee.... I think we're getting an independent thinker." Zganjar, Hawkins and Leszczynski all called on Strzelcyzk's near successful campaign against Abendroth as reason to appoint him.

Strzelcyzk 'more unbiased'

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NSFD's unfunded retirement liability looms

June 12, 2013 12:33 p.m. | A recent study by the actuarial firm Milliman Incorporated calculates the North Shore Fire Department's 30-year retirement liability at approximately $44 million, about $30 million of which is unfunded.

Retirement liability, commonly referred to as Other Post Employment Benefits, comprises health insurance which bridges retirement age and Medicare eligibility, as well as sick leave payouts, among other things, depending on the benefits an organization provides. While OPEB liabilities have existed as long as employers have offered the benefits, the precise long-term ramifications of those liabilities haven't been clear until legislation has required governmental bodies to commission actuarial studies every three years, beginning in 2009.

"It's only the second time we've seen this," NSFD Finance Director Lynn Burton said.

As the cost of health care has increased over the years, so, too, has the department's OPEB liability. NSFD's unfunded liability was approximately $21 million when the first actuarial study was done in 2009, and has since increased to the present value of approximately $30.4 million.

The amount NSFD would need to sock away each year to fully fund OPEB, referred to by actuaries as the Annual Required Contribution is approximately $2.7 million. Fire Chief Robert Whitaker said that the department typically spends about $900,000 annually on retirement, between the current out of pocket costs of retirees claiming their OPEB benefits, and the $400,000 the department began putting away annually last year to help cover the benefits over the long term.

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Mequon office building approved by Plan Commission

June 12, 2013 7:00 a.m. | A 12,000-square-foot office building proposed for Mequon has been approved by the city Plan Commission.

Concord Development Co. plans to develop the one-story office building at 10606 N Port Washington Road, near where two other commercial buildings have been developed by the firm, according to a commission report. Prospective tenants haven't yet been disclosed.

Construction is to begin this fall, and Concord is expected to seek city financing assistance through a tax incremental financing district on Port Washington Road, the report said. The project would be part of a series of new developments along a 2-mile stretch of the road that was rebuilt in 2011.

The commission approved the development at its Monday night meeting on a 7-1 vote.

First to reach mandated racial integration threshold, Brown Deer 'graduates' from Chapter 220 program

June 11, 2013 5:22 p.m. | Brown Deer — The stage at graduation represents change, bridging what was and what will be, showcasing young men and women as they walk from one life to the next.

When Michael Snowden walked the stage Friday at Brown Deer High School's graduation ceremony, with him crossed the legacy of almost 40 years of progress, racial integration and justice, signaling the end of one era and the beginning of another.

Unknown even to Snowden until recently, he is Brown Deer's very last student funded by the Milwaukee Voluntary Integration Program, commonly referred to as Chapter 220. Passed by the state Legislature in 1975, Chapter 220 provided an ostensibly simple mechanism to grease the wheels of racial integration in one of America's most segregated cities. Students in the Milwaukee Public Schools system could enroll in the outlying suburban districts, and likewise suburban students could enroll in Milwaukee schools. Wherever the students went, so did their their funding, and once each suburban district reaches 30 percent minority enrollment — a benchmark established to reflect Milwaukee's minority population in 1975 — funding ceases for additional Chapter 220 transfers.

While MPS, the participating 23 suburban school districts, and Chapter 220 itself have all weathered significant changes, challenges and criticisms since the program's inception in the 1976-77 school year, overall minority enrollment has crept upward year after year in the suburbs, with Brown Deer leading the pack.