62! Germantown boys tie state win streak record with rout of Dominican

Dec. 14, 2013 10:42 p.m. | In the end, Germantown boys basketball coach Steve Showalter couldn't hide his exuberance.

After weeks of trying to cover his ears and eyes and shutting out all mention of Dominican's 33-year old state record winning streak of 62 games, and after saying all the right coach things about focusing on the next game at hand, he just let go Saturday night after his Warhawks tied that Holy Grail of a hoops mark with a 75-29 demolition of that same Dominican program before an overflow crowd at Homestead.

"It's hard to do, even to talk about our two state titles is hard," he said, "because we're so busy focusing on the next game, the next one up, that it is hard to take the time to appreciate what's happened here, how far this program has come.

And what followed next was said without a trace of irony by this 14-year coaching veteran.

"But where does that come from?" he said, his face lighting up. "That my program ties the greatest record in the history of the state? Are you kidding me?!? It's huge!!!"

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Mequon passes wild animal ban

Dec. 12, 2013 12:39 p.m. | Mequon — Thinking of raising a baboon? Or maybe an ostrich? Well, think again.

Those animals, alongside a list of other wild critters, were banned Tuesday by the Common Council, which delivered a unanimous vote to institute a stepped-up exotic pet ordinance in light of a recent incident with a domesticated African wild cat.

In June and July, Mequon police responded to calls of a "cheetah" prowling in the area near Wauwatosa and Donges Bay roads. The animal was actually an escaped domesticated serval, a spotted African wild cat which can weigh between 25-40 pounds. The serval both puzzled and frightened neighbors for days before it was struck dead on a nearby road by a passing driver.

Servals are included in a lengthy list of wild animals banned by the new ordinance, which will go into effect this week when signed by Mayor Dan Abendroth.

However, if city residents already have a pet on the list, which includes snapping turtles, pot-bellied pigs and crocodiles, they have 90 days to register the animal. According to the ordinance, owners have to provide paperwork to prove they have complied with any state and federal regulations on ownership or importation, and must provide clean and secure housing for their pets.

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'Chronicles of Whitefish Bay' takes readers back to village's beginnings

Dec. 11, 2013 2:06 p.m. | Whitefish Bay — Did you know that Whitefish Bay was incorporated so that children of the Bay wouldn't have to schlep — uphill both ways, presumably — miles north to the two area schoolhouses run by the town of Milwaukee?

Or that, in order to have the 300 residents needed for incorporation, the census-taker had to fudge the village's boundary and create the L-shaped bend along the southern border?

Those fun little tidbits, alongside a wealth of facts, commentaries and personal stories fill 'Chronicles of Whitefish Bay Wisconsin,' a 206-page compendium told mostly through the eyes of historical Bay residents and edited together by Bay historian Tom Fehring.

"To me, it provides some of the fabric of what it is to be from Whitefish Bay," says Fehring, a 40-year Bay resident. "It all becomes part of our heritage."

All of the proceeds from sales of the book, which is available in print and digital formats, will go toward the Whitefish Bay Historical Preservation Commission and its efforts to catalog and commemorate historical properties throughout the village.

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Less bang for the bucks: Mequon council aims for doe-only deer culling

Dec. 11, 2013 12:36 p.m. | Mequon — Officials are targeting only antlerless deer with the city's annual culling contract with area sharpshooters. While the distinction could include bucks, the intent is to take down does.

The reasoning is twofold. First, the company which kills the deer annually says it will take 50 deer in 2014 instead of the 60 it took last year, but is charging the same $10,000 fee in its contract. Officials hope that targeting does will stretch the dollars in the contract, since every doe killed could mean fewer fawns come spring. Second, keeping the contract doe-only means more trophy bucks for local bowhunters, several of whom implored the Common Council on Tuesday to keep bucks out of the sharpshooters' sights.

"We do have some very nice bucks here in Mequon," resident Rick Schnell said. "It would be a shame for the sharpshooters to deprive the bowhunters of the chance to shoot those bucks."

Alderwoman Pam Adams made a motion, later approved by the council, to add the doe-only provision to the contract, though she stressed that if the sharpshooters don't agree the contract should be approved anyway.

"It makes sense," Adams said. "We should consider negotiating that, if we only have 50 (deer in the contract)."

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Withdrawal still an option as Glendale awaits formula votes

Dec. 11, 2013 12:26 p.m. | Glendale — Mayor Jerome Tepper and the Common Council are holding off their talks of leaving the North Shore Fire Department until after the other NSFD communities vote on a proposed funding arrangement.

The council on Monday unanimously approved the new funding formula, which to date has also been approved in Whitefish Bay, Brown Deer and Fox Point. Bayside is scheduled to vote on the proposal in December while River Hills is set to vote on it in January. Shorewood may take up the proposal in December or January.

The proposed funding formula is the product of 10 months of work among the NSFD board of directors, city and village administrators and Public Policy Forum. Negotiations were tense in October and November after River Hills Village President Bob Brunner threatened to veto the proposal, prompting Tepper to threaten Glendale's withdrawal from the department at the city's first opportunity, in 2016.

After a number of meetings at the NSFD and River Hills Village Board, Brunner eventually backed down and voted for the proposal at the NSFD board's Nov. 25 meeting. The proposal is now making the rounds through the NSFD member communities, which all have to approve it for the new funding formula to take effect in 2016 as planned.

The Glendale council was scheduled Monday to consider submitting their official withdrawal from the department, effective 2016, as a precaution in case any of the other communities vote down the proposal.

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Back to the drawing board on Mequon's gateway

Dec. 11, 2013 11:37 a.m. | Mequon — It was design by committee Tuesday evening when the Mequon Common Council, convening as a Committee of the Whole, weighed in on the design of a landscaping and gateway project of the riverside park at Mequon and Cedarburg roads.

The preliminary design, completed pro bono by Mequon landscape architect Kerry Mattingly, includes a limestone plaza, wrought-iron fencing, amphitheater, and "Mequon Thiensville" overhead arch leading into the park space alongside the river.

Though the design won widespread acclaim among the council, Alderman Dale Mayr wasn't impressed.

"I'm not really enamored with this, with a great big archway that says 'Mequon Thiensville' across it," Mayr said, adding that he preferred Mattingly's work at nearby Cardinal Stritch University and that the park design doesn't give "enough statement."

Although Alderwoman Pam Adams said she did like the overall design, she thought the concept was "a little Victorian, a little 1800s," and should be either more contemporary or designed in the same art deco style as Mequon City Hall.

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Roman Candle Pizzeria sets Thursday as opening day in Whitefish Bay

Dec. 11, 2013 8:26 a.m. | The Roman Candle Pizzeria will debut its first restaurant outside Dane County on Thursday, when it opens at 133 E. Silver Spring Drive in Whitefish Bay.

The Roman Candle, in the works since spring, will open at 11 a.m. daily. Closing times hadn't been finalized, but it's expected to stay open at least until 9 p.m., later on the weekends.

This restaurant's menu of pizzas and salads will differ somewhat from those in Madison, Fitchburg and Middleton but is most similar to the Williamson St. restaurant's, said general manager Cameron Loftus. It will differ on the beverage side as well -- Whitefish Bay will serve milkshakes and will have a rotating kegged cocktail on one of its eight taps.

The opening cocktail will be the Paloma, Loftus said, made with reposada tequila, grapefruit soda and cardamom, for a holiday note ($8). Other tap lines will be dedicated to mostly craft beers and to Sprecher's root beer soda.

Loftus said the restaurant will have a brief cocktail list and a more extensive wine list.

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Oops! Shorewood says lower property tax bills were in error

Dec. 10, 2013 10:19 p.m. | Thousands of Shorewood residents got what looked like a holiday bonus in Saturday's mail: property tax bills with a big drop from the year before.

Don't spend it yet. The village is scrambling to alert residents that the calculations were messed up. The correct bills, due to arrive in Thursday's mail, will be, on average, $400 higher than the ones mailed last week.

"The tax bill you may have received on Saturday, December 7, 2013 is incorrect due to a data entry error. DO NOT PAY THIS BILL," the Village wrote in an "oops" email to residents.

Chris Swartz, the village manager, said a county sales tax credit distributed among residents totaling $1.34 million was accidentally entered twice, reducing most bills by about 5%. The blunder has spawned a lot of extra administrative work, and of course, inconvenience to residents. Swartz estimated the extra costs of printing and postage to total $4,000 to $5,000.

"It's a huge deal," Swartz said of the recalled bills. "We've never had this happen before. Most of us have been in this business a long time, and I've never seen this."

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Homestead boys basketball team outlasts Bay in OT, 37-35

Dec. 10, 2013 10:05 p.m. | Chuckling as he said it, Homestead boys basketball coach Kevin McKenna gave a friendly shout to Whitefish Bay coach Kevin Lazovik during a time-out at the 4:06 mark of the first quarter of the game at Bay Tuesday night.

"First one scores wins," he said.

He might have had a point, the game was still scoreless at that juncture and the two teams would struggle mightily all night under the other's withering defensive pressure.

As it stood, the Highlanders withstood last-second attempts by the Blue Dukes at the end of both regulation and overtime to come up with a less-than-pretty, but oh-so-important 37-35 victory.

"You know what," said McKenna. "Those were two even teams. We knew we would have a battle figuring out their zone and we did. They missed shots, we missed shots. It came down to the last possession."

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Thiensville man cited after hurrying to get hamburgers home to wife

Dec. 10, 2013 11:03 a.m. | An 88-year-old Thiensville man may have taken the happy wife, happy life adage too far when police say he failed to report a recent accident.

According to the police report:

The 88-year-old man was cited for failing to report a hit-and-run accident after his car struck a parked vehicle in the 200 block of Green Bay Road around 4 p.m. Dec. 2.

Police traced the vehicle debris left at the scene to a body shop in Milwaukee. The Thiensville man told police he was returning from the Wendy’s in Brown Deer and knew he hit something, but said, “it was important to get the burgers home for his wife.”

The police report noted he was also not too concerned that he struck another vehicle.

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