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Wauwatosa East boys volleyball team edges Tosa West

Oct. 30, 2012 10:57 p.m. | Sometimes, the simplest solution can be the most effective.

That certainly was the case for the Wauwatosa East boys’ volleyball team in their thrilling five-game sectional semifinal win over rival Wauwatosa West on Tuesday at Tosa East.

The top-seeded Red Raiders did everything they could to set hitter Ben Plaisted up all over the court and the junior delivered, especially when it mattered most.
Plaisted finished with 36 kills, but tallied 11 of them in East’s 18-16 game five win.
“They couldn’t stop him,” said East coach John Simon. “We were sending him everywhere. He was hitting cuts and hitting angle shots and line shots.”
Perhaps Plaisted’s biggest shot came when East was down 13-11 and in jeopardy of seeing their run of consecutive WIAA State Tournament appearances end at six.
He buried a ball cross court and East (21-5) went on to win the next three points to take a 14-13 lead. 
“Every time the ball came to me, I just tried to swing as hard as I could,” Plaisted said. “I knew I was going to have to step up and I felt good out there.” 
The fourth-seeded Trojans rallied three times to tie the score, including an open court kill by senior Matt Stolz, who finished with a team-high 23 kills, to make it 16-16.
But another put away by Plaisted, followed by a futile scramble by the Trojans to keep the ensuring rally alive, secured the win for East.
“We knew they had big hitters, but I thought we played awesome and just came up a couple of points short,” Stolz said. “Plaisted just hit around us. It is what it is.”
Initially, the Red Raiders were getting production from their entire front line as the team jumped out to a 10-2 lead in game one.
Senior outside hitter Ben Mihelich paced East in their 25-17 opening game win with six kills, but West stabilized their blocking and took game two, 25-21.
That’s when Simon employed the simple strategy of getting the ball to Plaisted whenever possible.
“I told my setter after game two that every ball we can should go to Ben because they haven’t stopped him yet,” Simon said. “When they start stopping him, we’ll try something different.”
Plaisted finished off a 25-18 game three win for the Red Raiders with a thunderous kill, but the Trojans refused to disappear.
The two teams traded leads four times in game four, with neither squad going ahead by more than three points.
West (12-8) took the lead for good at 17-16 on a Stolz block and the senior finished the 25-22 win with a put away that forced game five.
“It was a battle and both teams came ready to play,” Tosa West coach Kyle Sikora said. “But they made adjustments and ran Plaisted across the whole back row, across the whole front row and we couldn’t stop him.”
While Plaisted proved to be a dominant presence, Simon acknowledged that the match could have gone either way.
“Whenever it’s East and West, it’s a battle royal,” he said. “It doesn’t matter records and that’s how this one was. So many points could have gone either way.”
Next up
The Red Raiders will now travel to Brookfield Central for the WIAA Sectional final to face the Lancers. East is the third-rated team in state and Central is the fourth-rated team.
The Red Raiders were undefeated in the Greater Metro Conference and Brookfield Central lost one game — to the Red Raiders.
In the Oct. 30th game at Tosa East, the Red Raiders won 3-1. Central won the first game (25-16), but then the Red Raiders regrouped and battled to win the final three games (25-22, 25-23, 25-19) and take the match.
On another angle, former Tosa East assistant to Simon is Brookfield Central coach Ken Nash.
The mentor will face the student with a trip to state on the line.

Monarch habitat on the mend in Wauwatosa

10:08 a.m. | As trucks and construction workers have moved in and out of Innovation Campus in recent years, rerouting roads and erecting new buildings, a population of monarch butterflies has seen much of its local habitat uprooted.

The quiet area where monarchs used to roost, in the shadows of the vacant Eschweiler buildings, has recently been transformed as the Mandel Group builds the Echelon Apartments and the Department of Transportation has reconfigured surrounding roads.

Barb Agnew, president of the Friends of the Monarch Trail, said the original habitat for monarchs on the land is almost entirely gone, and the group is starting from scratch to rebuild it. But she also said she is the most optimistic she's ever been about the habitat, thanks to cooperation by Mandel, the DOT and the community.

"I think there's more hope than ever," Agnew said. "We are at the bottom working our way back up."

As the friends group looks to replant the area with roosting trees, milkweed and nectar plants for butterflies, Eagle Scout Spencer Zuberbuehler helped kick off efforts in a major way by putting in 1,400 plants of milkweed and perennials and building footbridges along the Monarch Trail.

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Wauwatosa Police Report: June 21-27

9:58 a.m. |


1A woman was the victim of a strong arm robbery in which her purse was forcefully taken from her while she was in the parking lot of Mayfair Collection, 11500 W. Burleigh St. 12:45 pm June 22. The suspects left in a 2009 Ford Focus reported stolen through the Milwaukee Police Department.


2Police believe two burglaries from detached garages in the 7200 and 7300 blocks of W. Bluemound Road around 8:30 p.m. June 22 were related. In both instances, the side service doors were forced open. A weed trimmer was stolen from one garage and a lawnmower from the other. The suspect vehicle was a Chevrolet Malibu.


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Wauwatosa detective home from hospital after shooting

8:55 a.m. | Wauwatosa Detective Jeffrey Griffin, who was shot in Milwaukee June 19 while investigating a burglary, was released from Froedtert Hospital June 30, according to Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber.

Weber said Griffin, 51, may still need more surgery but he is hopeful for a full recovery.

"We're just thrilled he went home today," Weber said.

Griffin, who has worked for the department for 25 years, was shot in the 7100 block of 60th Street shortly after 9 a.m. June 19 while investigating a burglary that had occurred in Wauwatosa, according to police. Najee Harmon has since been charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide for the shooting.

According to a criminal complaint, Griffin and two other officers had blocked Harmon from moving when they saw him enter a stolen vehicle. Griffin and one other officer were in plain clothes in an unmarked car, while another officer was in uniform and a marked car. The officers reportedly drew their weapons and ordered Harmon to stop and surrender.

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Thai-namite plans new location in Wauwatosa's former City Market building

June 30, 2015 4:46 p.m. | Asian fusion restaurant Thai-namite is looking to open a location this October in Wauwatosa at 8725 W. North Ave., the building that previously housed City Market.

Thai-namite already has locations on Brady Street and in the Third Ward of Milwaukee. The restaurant specializes in Thai dishes and Japanese sushi.

The Wauwatosa location is planned to seat 70 with an outdoor patio and garden area. The restaurant would offer carryout, delivery and catering.

Thai-namite had previously announced plans to open a location at 7212 W. North Ave. in Wauwatosa, but dropped them in September. That space is now home to Tosa Bowl and Bun.

Nini Buranabunyut, co-owner of Thai-namite, said she has been looking for another location in Wauwatosa ever since the first one didn't work out. 

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Sports Notes: July 2, 2015

June 30, 2015 3:23 p.m. |

Don Bosco Alumni

slates reunion for July 12

The Don Bosco Alumni Athletic Association is hosting its first event, an all-year reunion, at Matty's Bar & Grille, 14460 West College Avenue in New Berlin, from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, July 12.

The DBAAA was created to renew ties and reconnect with all the athletes that played during their days at Bosco. Anyone who took the field, court, mat or were just in the stands cheering for the Dons is welcome to attend this first of many events by this newly minted organization.

The core mission of the DBAAA is to find a way to honor the championship teams and standout individual players that donned the green and gold uniform back in the day.

Their accomplishments have fallen through the cracks after the hallowed halls on Windlake and Becher closed their doors for good in 1972 and became St. Thomas More.

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Wauwatosa police say woman was dragged across parking lot in purse robbery

June 30, 2015 11:49 a.m. | Wauwatosa police are investigating two recent strong-armed robberies in which suspects took women's purses.

In the first instance, a 78-year-old woman was approached in the parking lot after leaving Walgreen's, 10800 W. Capitol Drive, shortly before 3 p.m. June 20. According to police, a suspect grabbed the woman's purse and dragged her across the parking lot to force her to let go of the purse. The woman sustained several non-life-threatening injuries.

In an another incident, police said two suspects took a purse from a 64-year-old woman in the parking lot at the Mayfair Collection, 11500 W. Burleigh St., about 12:40 p.m. June 22. When the woman did not immediately let go of her purse, one of suspects reportedly said, "Just give me your purse and you won't get hurt."

Police released a photo of the suspects in the Mayfair Collection robbery from store surveillance they said was captured shortly before the robbery. They believe the suspects may have also been involved in a similar robbery in Menomonee Falls, in which a woman suffered a severe head injury.

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Thirsty Duck brings duckpin bowling to Wauwatosa

June 30, 2015 8:06 a.m. | Minutes before opening their new duckpin bowling alleys in Wauwatosa Monday, brothers Dan and Mark Zierath took a minute to bowl side by side before getting back to work with their staff, putting final touches on the new Thirsty Duck bar and restaurant.

The Zieraths already own and operate Jackson's Blue Ribbon Pub, 11302 W. Bluemound Road, and recently began leasing the former location of Pitch's Baby Grand for their new bar, right next door. The Thirsty Duck is at 11320 W. Bluemound Road.

Duckpin bowling follows the same rules as traditional bowling but everything is about a third of the size, including the balls, lanes, and pins. Human pin-setters (who accept tips) reset the lanes and send the balls back on a half-pipe of PVC after each bowl.

The lanes are equipped with a sound system and disco lights for "midnight" bowling after 11:30 p.m. each night.

"It's going to be a lot of fun in here," Dan Zierath said. "When you hit a strike, everyone is high-fiving and the camaraderie is great."

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Kate Spade New York store to open at Mayfair Mall

June 29, 2015 9:23 a.m. | Wauwatosa — A new lifestyle brand for women announced Monday it will open its first-in-Wisconsin full price store.

Kate Spade New York is projected to open on the lower level center court of Mayfair Mall in the spring of 2016.

Kate Spade New York is a global, multichannel, lifestyle brand that offers handbags, clothing, jewelry, shoes and fashion accessories, along with complementary tabletop accessories, stationery and décor.

"(Kate Spade New York) is a wonderful addition to our mix of fashionable retailers," said Stephen Smith, senior general manager of Mayfair in a statement. "We continue our commitment to providing our guests with the most exclusive stores to enhance their shopping experience, and Kate Spade New York perfectly aligns with that goal."

Suspect charged in shooting of Wauwatosa police officer

June 25, 2015 11:13 a.m. | Najee Harmon of Milwaukee was charged Thursday with attempted homicide in the shooting of Wauwatosa police detective Jeffrey Griffin and firing at two other officers in the incident last week.

Harmon, who turns 21 on Friday, faces four felony counts, which carry a combined maximum sentence of more than 200 years. Three of the charges are for attempted first-degree intentional homicide. The fourth charge is for possession of a firearm by a felon.

Harmon was convicted of substantial battery, a felony, in 2012. As a part of his sentence, he was not allowed to be in possession of a firearm.

The charging documents allege the incident occurred when three Wauwatosa police officers were investigating a recent burglary when they spotted a parked red Honda that had been reported stolen. Harmon and an unidentified female allegedly walked out of a nearby apartment and into the stolen vehicle near N. 60th St. and W. Good Hope Road.

Two plainclothes police officers in an unmarked car, and one uniformed police officer in a marked Wauwatosa squad car, blocked the car in. Police drew their weapons and ordered Harmon to surrender. The charging documents say Harmon fled on foot, drew a handgun and fired it at officers. One bullet struck the Wauwatosa detective in the pelvic area.

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Police identify Wauwatosa detective shot, injured in Milwaukee

June 23, 2015 5:57 p.m. | Wauwatosa police have identified the Wauwatosa detective shot June 19 in Milwaukee as 51-year-old Jeffrey Griffin, who has worked for the department for 25 years.

Griffin was shot in the 7100 block of 60th Street shortly after 9 a.m. while investigating a burglary that had occurred in Wauwatosa, police said. A suspect in the shooting was taken into custody the next day. 

Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber said Griffin is in stable condition and improving after surgery, but faces a long recovery.

"I appreciate that everyone has been respectful of the family's personal time and am thankful for the expressions of hope for Jeff's recovery," Weber said in a statement. "Our police department members will support him and his family in every way we can."

During his career with the department, Griffin has been a patrol officer, bicycle officer, community support specialist, school resource officer and member of the special response team. He was promoted to a detective ranking in 2011.

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Tosa West student attended journalism conference in D.C.

June 23, 2015 1:23 p.m. | Wauwatosa — A Wauwatosa West student was selected to represent the state of Wisconsin in an academic and scholarship program for journalism in the nation's capitol.

Senior Zoe Stack was selected from hundreds of applicants to attend the 2015 Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference June 20-25, with all expenses paid. The conference took place at the Newseum in Washington D.C. Stack also will receive a $1,000 scholarship, according to a news release from the Wauwatosa School District.

The Free Spirit program, an initiative of the Newseum Institute, is an annual academic and scholarship program designed to inspire and equip students to pursue journalism and media careers. The program began in 1999 to honor Al Neuharth, the founder of USA Today, the Newseum and the Freedom Forum.

Attending students learned about the First Amendment, studied the three branches of government and how journalists cover them, visited the U.S. Capitol and the USA Today headquarters, and attended a taping of NBC's "Meet the Press," among other activities.

Wauwatosa school board approves 8 percent levy hike under preliminary budget

June 23, 2015 12:53 p.m. | Without discussion, the Wauwatosa school board unanimously approved a preliminary budget June 22 that increases the district's levy by about 7.9 percent for the 2015-16 school year.

The district's budget and tax levy will not be finalized until fall, after the state budget is set.

John Mack, director of business services for the district, said the levy increase is compensating for a decrease in equalization aid from the state. Due to increased property value in the city, Mack projects the district will lose about $6.25 million in equalization aid over the next two years.

Equalization aid is meant to help equalize revenue between poorer and wealthier districts.

Despite the aid loss, Mack said the rising value of the city should ultimately pay off for the average taxpayer, as a larger tax base will spread the tax burden more thinly. In 2016, the 8 percent increase in total levy can be accomplished with just a 4 percent increase to the tax rate due to the growing tax base. 

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Suspect in Tosa detective shooting charged in earlier armed robbery

June 22, 2015 4:48 p.m. | The man suspected of opening fire and wounding a Wauwatosa detective last week was charged Monday with an armed robbery in Milwaukee that occurred days before the shooting.

Prosecutors and police say Najee Harmon, 20, held a woman at gunpoint as she sat inside a car about noon last Tuesday in the parking lot of a check cashing business on W. Fond du Lac Ave.

The woman's brother had been driving the car and was inside the check cashing business when Harmon jumped in the car, put a gun to her neck and demanded the car keys, according to a criminal complaint.

The woman said she didn't have the car keys, prompting Harmon to say, "I want all the money or I'm going to shoot you," the complaint states.

She handed over her wallet and Harmon fled in a waiting car, which police say was driven by Simione S. Parks, 20, who also is charged in connection with the robbery, court records show. Harmon and Parks were identified on surveillance video and by witnesses as the two men involved, the complaint says.

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2015 4th of July events in suburban Milwaukee

June 22, 2015 12:45 p.m. | Welcome to summer! Area communities have numerous events planned to celebrate Independence Day 2015. If you know of an event you don't see listed here, drop us a line at Enjoy!

A list of 4th of July celebrations in Lake Country is a available here.

City of Brookfield 

Join the city of Brookfield as it celebrates Independence Day on Saturday, July Fourth. The day’s activities begin with a parade that starts at 10 a.m. The parade begins on Gebhardt Road at the driveway of Brookfield Central High School, turns right on Calhoun Road, left on North Avenue, and left on Norhardt Drive, where it ends at the corner of Civic Drive.

The annual citywide ice cream social takes place on the Civic Plaza immediately after the parade. Ice cream and lemonade are available. There will be a flag-raising ceremony and other entertainment.

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Tip leads police to suspect in shooting of Wauwatosa detective

June 20, 2015 5:48 p.m. | A massive manhunt for the suspect in the shooting of a Wauwatosa detective ended late Saturday morning after a tip led police to a north side home, where officers found the man hiding in the basement.

Police had been searching for more than 24 hours for 20-year-old Najee Harmon on suspicion that he shot and wounded the detective on Milwaukee's northwest side shortly after 9 a.m. Friday. The incident happened near N. 60th St. and W. Good Hope Road.

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said someone called Wauwatosa police with a tip that led officers to a north side Milwaukee home in the 2500 block of N. 21st St., near W. Wright St., where Harmon was hiding.

Officers with the department's Fugitive Apprehension Unit searched the home, and Milwaukee K-9 Emo found Harmon "hiding in the basement," Flynn said.

The chief said Harmon was arrested without incident, and neither he nor any officers were injured when he was taken into custody.

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