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West uses 13-run inning to beat Northstars, 17-1

June 16, 2012 5:04 p.m. | Wauwatosa West exploded for 13 runs in the fourth inning and rolled to an impressive 17-1 victory over host Waukesha North (3-12) on Saturday morning in the annual Wood Bat Tournament at Frame Park.

Leading 4-1 after scoring twice in the first two innings, the Trojans (6-7) sent 17 hitters to the plate in the fourth inning to blow away the Northstars, who commited 6 errors in the inning.

West banged out six hits in the inning, as Ben Zachman had a 2-run double, Willie Bellknap had an RBI-single, Austin Jones a 2-run double and Mickey Morgan an RBI double to highlight the inning.

JJ Belknapp, who had a double and a triple, pitched a 5-inning complete game, allowing 3 hits, a walk while fanning three.

The title game was set for 5:30 p.m.

Tax challenges boost city's legal costs

June 13, 2012 10:20 a.m. | Five major taxpayers are challenging their 2010 property assessments, busting the city attorney's litigation budget this year.

City Attorney Alan Kesner asked the Budget and Finance Committee on Tuesday for an additional $75,000 from contingency funds to pay for outside counsel to litigate the cases, including paying expert witnesses to bolster the city's position.

"We've just hit a really big year in trial and discovery work," he said, adding economic conditions have led taxpayers to try to reduce tax costs.

The city already has spent $75,000 this year fighting property tax challenges. Boston Store, Macy's, Walgreens - which has four Wauwatosa locations - Target and GE Healthcare are all challenging their assessments.

Wauwatosa is paying to prevent what could amount to $1.5 million in tax refunds if the challengers are successful, Kesner said. The city would be responsible for about a third of the refunds, with the school district, Milwaukee County, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and Milwaukee Area Technical College making up the rest. However, the city is charged with defending the property values for all the taxing entities, Kesner said.

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Madison Park attraction will make a splash as planned

June 12, 2012 6:04 p.m. | Vandalism won't keep the splash pad at Madison Park from opening Saturday as planned.

After a sprinkler unit for the water playground was bent between 5 p.m. June 5 and 9 a.m. June 6, there was concern that the $10,000 piece would need replacing, according to a Wauwatosa Police Department report.

Instead the piece will be repaired in time, said Jeff Beaudry, a spokesman for Milwaukee County Parks.

The same piece was broken just before the splash pad opened at the park, 9800 W. Glendale Ave., and needed replacing a few years ago. A parks worker said it appeared people had climbed on the sprinkler, causing the damage, according to the report.

The splash pad will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, weather permitting. Children ages 7 and younger must be accompanied by a caregiver age 12 or older at the splash pad.

Luxury apartments eyed for Bartolotta property

June 12, 2012 5:42 p.m. | With The Enclave apartments leasing quickly, developers Ryan Schultz and Brett Haney are ready to add on with a 40-unit building on the neighboring The Bartolotta Restaurants property.

The duo serve as principals of Waukesha-based HSI properties, which spent the past three years developing the high-end apartments on the city's eastern border at 62nd and State streets.

Thanks to a mild winter, construction moved along and the first building opened April 1. As of Monday, 72 of the 76 units were leased, Haney said. The second building is set to open Aug. 1 and half of those 76 units have signed leases.

"We're anticipating to be full by fall," Haney said.

That led the developers to pitch the Annex at Enclave, a four-story building filled with 40, one-bedroom luxury apartments, on the neighboring property, 6005 Martin Drive. Calls to Bartolotta's to find out where the company will move its offices weren't immediately returned.

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Hartung Park Farmers Market opens

June 12, 2012 5:42 p.m. | The Hartung Park Farmers Market debuts for the season from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday with produce from local vendors, a talk about orchids and live guitar music.

Chuck Glander will play guitar throughout the afternoon. At 4:30 p.m., orchid expert Bruce Efflandt will answer questions and offer growing advice.

The market, just south of the playground at the Menomonee River Parkway and Keefe Avenue, is organized by the Hartung Park Community Association, a group of neighbors from the Wauwatosa and Milwaukee sides of the park.

The market will be held weekly on Wednesdays from 4 to 7 p.m. through September, expect for July 4.

Church and Chapel hopes to open funeral home in church building

June 12, 2012 5:38 p.m. | Church and Chapel wants to open a funeral home in the building that now serves as Unity West Church.

The congregation has downsized, so after 30 years in the building at 4750 N. Mayfair Road, "We are going to be moving someplace smaller," said Russell Grant, Unity West's board president.

Church and Chapel is in negotiations to buy the property and, if successful, plans to make improvements to the parking lot and landscaping, said Dave Larsen, company representative.

The business plans to conduct funeral and interment services at the site and any preparatory functions such as embalming and cremating would be done at Church and Chapel's headquarters in Brookfield, he said.

Customers would come to make funeral arrangements, attend services in the chapel and hold funeral luncheons in the basement.

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Bullies use padlock-filled sock

June 12, 2012 5:12 p.m. | Bullying took a violent turn when a teen girl whipped around a sock full of metal padlocks at 66th and Center streets Thursday afternoon.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

Two girls were riding the county bus when a man randomly started verbally bullying them and three girls laughingly egged him on. When the two victims got off the bus, the three other girls followed them and continued to make rude comments.

One of the victims dialed 911, but one of the bullies swatted the phone out of her hands. When the victim eventually started yelling back at the instigators, one of the bullies pulled out a sock containing three padlocks that were linked together. She started swinging.

The victims were able to dodge the weapon, and an officer saw the fight unfolding in the middle of Center Street at 12:08 p.m.

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Tosa Walmart Neighborhood Market opens June 20

June 12, 2012 5:04 p.m. | Wisconsin's first Walmart Neighborhood Market will open June 20 in Wauwatosa, company officials say.

The grocery store and pharmacy - a new, smaller retail concept than the traditional Walmart - occupies space at 124th Street and Capitol Drive formerly used by Jewel-Osco.

The 38,000-square-foot Wauwatosa store will feature a self-serve deli, traditional grocery items and popular local products such as bratwurst and Italian sausage products from Klement's. Beer and wine also will be sold.

Customers can buy gift cards, gift wrap and party supplies at the Celebration Station. Shoppers will also find stations to print their own digital photos.

The pharmacy will offer a drive-thru.

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Federal grant dollars fall short of projections; local groups to feel effect

June 12, 2012 3:20 p.m. | The city will receive 21 percent less money than anticipated through the Community Development Block Grant program, and that means local food pantries, the senior center and facilities that serve low- to median-income residents will have to get by with less.

The federal government released its final 2012 numbers and the $864,509 allocated for Wauwatosa was dramatically different then the 2011 allocation, which the city's block grant committee based its recommendations off of last fall.

Members of the block grant committee recommended any cuts be spread equally across all applicants, city planner Jennifer Ferguson said in a memo. The Budget and Finance Committee will discuss new funding levels tonight.

For instance, the Hart Park Senior Center was expected to receive $105,362, but that funding is now reduced to $83,600. In another case, the Lutheran Home would receive $190,000, down from $240,000, to make facility improvements.

Ronald McDonald House expansion up for discussion tonight

June 12, 2012 3:18 p.m. | Ronald McDonald House has been running at capacity for at least three years and there have been numerous times when families have had to be turned away, house board member and architect Robert Kramer told the city Plan Commission on Monday.

He was representing the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Wisconsin in its request to expand the house by adding 37 rooms and a parking structure.

The commission unanimously supported the proposal, saying the house provides an important service to the medical campus across the street. Most of the people who stay at the Ronald McDonald House have seriously sick or injured children receiving treatment at the hospital.

The request will go to the Community Development Committee tonight.

The two-level parking structure would provide space for 110 vehicles, plus there would be a 21-stall surface lot near the house entrance.

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Warrant issued for frequently arrested theft suspect

June 12, 2012 2:02 p.m. | A felony arrest warrant was issued Monday for a 41-year-old Milwaukee man who allegedly was involved in a retail theft that eventually resulted in a police chase last week.

According to a Wauwatosa Police Department report:

Employees at The Home Depot, 4100 N. 124th St., who recognized William Derrell Coney Jr. from his involvement in numerous thefts from Milwaukee area stores, saw him take three saws valued at $600 and walk out the store Thursday evening.

Coney ran to his vehicle at 6:58 p.m. and fled, but police caught up with him a few minutes later at 78th Street and Capitol Drive after he pulled into a nearby BP station. While an officer did briefly talk with him, Coney allegedly got back into his vehicle and took off, leading officers on a pursuit that lasted about 90 seconds and covered less than a mile before police terminated the chase at Melvin and 64th streets.

Later, police checked the area and located his vehicle, parked and unoccupied, with the three saws in the back. The car was seized and a crack pipe was found inside.

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Popcorn wagon would add to Village treats

June 12, 2012 1:22 p.m. | With Baskin Robbins scooping ice cream on one side and Yo Mama serving up frozen yogurt on the other, the Root Common grassy triangle in the Village is becoming a sweet snack spot.

Nicole Breest believes it's time to add the salty. The New Berlin woman on Monday asked for permission to operate a popcorn wagon near the pine tree in the area.

She plans sell freshly popped popcorn, as well as prepackaged cheese and carmel corn, plus rootbeer and old-fashioned candy such as licorice ropes.

The commission unanimously supported the request, which will go to the Community Development Committee tonight.

"The Village is a part of my district and I think that's a lovely use that fits right in," said Alderwoman Kathleen Causier, who sits on the commission.

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Topper's gains support for Village shop, with one concern

June 12, 2012 1:14 p.m. | Topper's Pizza wants to move into the shopping center at 68th and State streets, but a few members of the Plan Commission on Monday questioned its late operating hours.

Restaurant management has asked to operate from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 a.m. daily. While orders are placed primarily for delivery or carry out, there will be some seating inside and outside the restaurant. Like for other businesses in the Village Business Improvement District, outdoor seating would be stopped at 11 p.m.

Alderwoman and commission member Kathy Causier voiced concerns about allowing a business to stay open until 3:30 a.m., when most others must close by 2:30 a.m.

"Are we treading into a precedent of allowing really late closing times for our businesses in the Village?" she asked.

Commissioner Jody Lowe, who lives in the neighborhood, wondered if Toppers wouldn't draw the after bartime crowd. However, she was encouraged to see Topper's opening in Wauwatosa.

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New Wauwatosa apartment development adding units

June 12, 2012 7:00 a.m. | The Enclave, a 152-unit apartment development in Wauwatosa, plans to add another 40 units.

HSI Properties LLC started construction last year on The Enclave, at W. State and N. 62nd streets. One building is completed, and another is to be finished by Aug. 1.

Of the 152 units in the first two buildings, 100 are leased, said Ryan Schultz, HSI co-owner. Another 10 to 12 units are being held under reservations that are being converted into leases.

"Needless to say, it's exceeded our expectations," Schultz said. "There's a niche market there."

The third building, with four stories, will have one-bedroom units, Schultz said. It will include 32 enclosed parking spaces on the first floor, and 16 spaces on a surface parking lot.

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HartFest serving up music, drinks this weekend

June 11, 2012 2:41 p.m. | HartFest, the festival that celebrates Hart Park and raises money for various charities, will be held this weekend.

The party starts at 5 p.m. with music by Andrew Gelles, followed by King Solomon at 8 p.m. on the Rotary Performance Pavilion stage at 68th and State streets.

On Saturday, The LoveMonkeys are the headliners at 8 p.m. The earlier acts are The Lonely Hearts at 1 p.m. and Spoiled Rotten at 4:30 p.m.

The Wauwatosa Fire Department will roast corn and local organizations and restaurants will serve up food and drinks.

Money raised goes to The Wisconsin Humane Society, The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Heart of Gold Charity, the Wauwatosa East Booster Club and the National Spinal Cord Injury Association.

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