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Semifinalists emerge in Battle of the Burbs bracket contest

March 29, 2012 2:20 p.m. | Four communities have advanced to the penultimate round of MyCommunityNOW's Battle of the Burbs bracket contest.

Top-seeded Wauwatosa handily defeated Franklin, 64-36, to earn a semifinal match up with No. 4 seed Waukesha. Waukesha earned its spot with a 52-48 victory over No. 2 Mequon-Thiensville.

Brookfield, a No. 1 seed, posted a 56-44 victory over Muskego and will face New Berlin in the semifinals. Second-seeded New Berlin advanced with a 63-37 rout of Shorewood.

Semifinal voting in the NCAA-style tournament continues for a week and pits suburbs against each other in a single-elimination showdown to determine the best community in the area.

Three lucky voters will win Visa gift cards and the winning community will receive a special proclamation from MyCommunityNOW and NOW Newspapers.

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City faces $1.25M budget gap

March 28, 2012 10:58 a.m. | The city is looking at a $1.25 million budget gap for 2013.

While the number is high, it's half the size of the budget gap the city faced as it received its early budget forecasts for this year.

"While the budget gap is significant, it is not insurmountable," John Ruggini, city finance director, told the Budget and Finance Committee on Tuesday.

However, closing budget gaps becomes more difficult each year one exists because the easier and most obvious options for closing a gap likely already have been implemented, he added.

Ruggini presented the first look at what it would cost to continue existing city services in 2013. He used 10 years of city financial data to forecast next year's budget picture and made the assumption that the national economy continues slow but consistent recovery through 2013 with interest rates remaining flat.

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Joe and Jennifer Bartolotta win library foundation's Leadership Award

March 27, 2012 6:20 p.m. | Joe Bartolotta, president and owner of The Bartolotta Restaurants, and his wife, Jennifer, have been named the 2012 Leadership Award recipients by the Wauwatosa Public Library Foundation.

Although most people are more familiar with Joe, the award also pays tribute to Jennifer, who works in the family business as director of strategic partnerships. Together, the couple founded the company's philanthropic arm, Care-a-lottas.

Jennifer is an executive board member for the Wisconsin Humane Society, TEMPO Milwaukee and Schools that Can Milwaukee. Joe sits on the boards of many local organizations and actively supports Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and St. Marcus School.

The duo will be honored with the Arthur B. Kohasky Leadership Award on April 19 during the Wauwatosa Public Library Leadership Luncheon at the Crowne Plaza. For tickets, call (414) 471-8487.

Author and Wisconsin native James Bradley will provide the keynote address during this 10th annual event, which celebrates the important role the library plays in the community. Bradley has written best-selling books "Flags of Our Fathers," "Flyboys" and "The Imperial Cruise." "Flags of Our Fathers" was released as a movie in 2007 and is a companion film to the Academy Award-nominated "Letters from Iwo Jima."

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Mayoral forum live blog

March 26, 2012 3:52 p.m. | WauwatosaNOW will be live-blogging tonight as mayoral candidates Peter Donegan and Kathy Ehley face off in a forum from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Civic Center Auditorium at City Hall, 7725 W. North Ave.

You can also participate on Twitter by including #TosaMayor in your tweets.

Alderman Peter Donegan and Kathy Ehley, executive director of the Village Business Improvement District, will provide comments and answer questions about issues facing Wauwatosa. The audience will have a chance to pose questions to the candidates.

Wauwatosa NOW, the League of Women Voters of Milwaukee County and the Wauwatosa Chamber of Commerce will sponsor the forum. The league, a non-partisan civic organization, will provide the moderator and each sponsoring organization will provide questions for the candidates.

Editor's Note: A few questions were asked by participants in the live blog that weren't able to be asked at the forum, due to time constraints. The candidates have been gracious enough to answer them for us here.

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MMSD approves $500,000 for Wauwatosa private sewer work

March 26, 2012 12:18 p.m. | The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District's commission on Monday approved paying $500,000 of the cost of lining private sanitary sewer laterals at 135 homes in two Wauwatosa neighborhoods.

The work is being done to reduce leaks of storm water into residential laterals that drain to municipal sanitary sewer mains. Excess storm water during heavy rains can fill sewer mains quickly and cause sewage to backup into basements.

Wauwatosa has offered to pay the full cost of lining the laterals as part of a pilot project. Work will be done this summer along three blocks of N. 65th St., from W. North Ave. to W. Clarke St., and two blocks of Eagle St., between N. 80th St. and Wauwatosa Ave.

More than 85% of property owners in the two east side neighborhoods have agreed to participate in the project, Public Works Director Bill Porter said. If the fix keeps a significant volume of storm water out of the sewer mains, the city might recommend this method to homeowners in other neighborhoods.

Cost of the lateral work is estimated at $1.22 million, or $9,000 for each residence.

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