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Win State Fair tickets on Facebook

July 29, 2012 9:08 a.m. |  Food, fun, rides, music and more await you at the Wisconsin State Fair starting Thursday. All you need is tickets.

And MyCommunityNOW is here to help.

You can win a pair of Wisconsin State Fair tickets by heading over to our Facebook page and filling out our State Fair tickets giveaway entry. Simply tell us what you're most looking forward to at the State Fair.

Entries will be taken until noon Friday. Winners will be selected in a random drawing and emailed that day. Winners can pick up the tickets at our offices or have them mailed to them.

So hurry up, head over and enter today.

Heidi Hernandez named Wauwatosa Catholic School principal

July 27, 2012 2:44 p.m. | Wauwatosa Catholic School has hired a new principal to guide its accreditation goals and growing enrollment.

Heidi Hernandez has taken over the helm of the 3-year-old kindergarten through eighth-grade school, which was created in September 2011 when St. Bernard and St. Pius X parishes combined their education programs.

Hernandez was an instructional supervisor in the Catholic schools through Nonpublic Educational Services, a Massachusetts-based company that provides tutoring services for more than 15,000 students around the world. She also brings experience as a literacy coach and teacher in the Milwaukee Public School System.

Hernandez has earned two master's degrees: one in curriculum and instruction from Marian University, Fond du Lac, and a second in administrative and instructional leadership from Alverno College.

A search committee chose Hernandez because she proved an "open-minded person of faith who is a good listener and whose love of children is evident," according to a news release announcing her hiring issued by the parishes today.

» Read Full Article

Cross-dressing thief faces 40 years for Tosa bank robbery

July 27, 2012 11:33 a.m. | A man dressed as a woman allegedly robbed Tri City Bank, 10859 W. Bluemound Road, on July 13, and he is now facing a felony charge that could bring a maximum penalty of $100,000 or 40 years imprisonment.

According to a criminal complaint:

Michael Ricardo Leviston, 57, from Hilbert, is accused of walking into the bank and handing a teller a note, then stating "I have a gun" and "Give me money."

As she started to remove money from a drawer, he allegedly told the teller that he was going to shoot her.

He walked out of the bank with a bag filled with $6,615.

» Read Full Article

Swimming water quality? There's an app for that

July 27, 2012 11:28 a.m. | An app released by Milwaukee Riverkeeper makes it easy to find a safe beach for swimming.

The Swim Guide uses water quality monitoring data from government authorities. Green marks indicate acceptable water quality, while red marks show where it is unsafe. It also enables users to get directions, view photos and report pollution immediately to Milwaukee Riverkeeper.

Milwaukee Riverkeeper wants to protect beachgoers from getting sick, and raise public awareness about pollution threatening our rights to swimmable waters.

The technology was developed by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and is now managed by Milwaukee Riverkeeper and other member groups of the Waterkeeper Alliance, a network of 200 water protection groups worldwide.

The app can be downloaded at milwaukeeriverkeeper.org/content/swim-guide.

Ronald McDonald House plans to double its size

July 27, 2012 11:26 a.m. | The Ronald McDonald House on Thursday received approval from the Milwaukee County Board to purchase 3.5 acres of land that will allow for doubling the size of the facility that houses families of seriously ill or injured children.

The house, 8948 Watertown Plank Road, has been operating at full capacity for more than four years. A larger property will provide space to add 75 guest rooms and remodel and expand common facilities.

The land being purchased adjoins the four acres the house sits on, which is leased from the county.

Fallen tree knocks out power to home

July 26, 2012 5:20 p.m. | A tree fell in a yard knocking out power to a home and causing damage to the water line at Portland Avenue and Kavanaugh Place following the storms that came through Wauwatosa last night.

The tree didn't fall on the property itself, but the water line damage caused basement water damage, said Assistant Fire Chief James Case.

The Fire Department was dispatched to the property at 2:14 a.m.

Bel Air Cantina slated to open on North Avenue in Wauwatosa

July 25, 2012 9:18 a.m. | Bel Air Cantina may soon be celebrating Taco Tuesdays and serving up "Cali-Mexican" cuisine and flights of tequila in the building that last served as the Aqua Terra fish store, 6817 W. North Ave.

The Wauwatosa Economic Development Corp. unanimously voted Tuesday to give owners of Bel Air Cantina $150,000, which will be used toward acquiring the 5,700-square-foot building in East Tosa.

The WEDC has nearly $347,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds to allocate through spring in an effort to spur development and job creation. Bel Air Cantina - which was one of three applicants requesting funding - was named the panel's top priority because it would create at least 25 full-time equivalent jobs, fill a vacant building and only asked for 11 percent of the estimated $1.3 million project cost.

"We've wanted to do something in Wauwatosa for some time," owner Scott Johnson said. "This is a great building on a great strip."

Building up North Ave.

» Read Full Article

Group hosts discussion on Eschweiler demolition prospect

July 24, 2012 5:40 p.m. | A group interested in preserving the land and history of the County Grounds will hold a community discussion about the future of the historic Eschweiler Buildings on Wednesday at the Wauwatosa Public Library.

The County Grounds Coalition - environmental groups including Milwaukee Riverkeeper and The Park People of Milwaukee County and historical organizations such as the Wisconsin Trust for Historical Preservation that banded together in 2010 - have been unhappy with the residential portion of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Innovation Park development.

Mandel Group's latest proposal to the city's Historic Preservation Commission called for eliminating all but the administration building and constructing new housing units around it. UWM is relying on the sale of the property to Mandel Group to make a payment to Milwaukee County for the entire Innovation Park property.

The coalition invites community members to talk at 6:30 p.m. about the value of the Eschweiler Buildings and explore ways to achieve a better outcome.

"Throughout the 18 months Mandel has been planning the residential portion of the development, there was never any indication they needed to demolish any of the buildings," said Barb Agnew, coalition member and chairwoman of the Friends of the Monarch Trail. "So when they came with the latest plan, I felt we should discuss any realistic and possible alternatives and solutions to save them."

Tosa to borrow $12.4 million for 2012 capital projects

July 24, 2012 1:13 p.m. | The city will borrow $12.4 million to pay for capital improvement projects that will be undertaken in 2012.

The money will pay for sewer projects, street paving, bridge repairs, building improvements and business district infrastructure. The debt will be paid back over 10 years, city Finance Director John Ruggini said.

The Common Council has authorized city staff to put the bond sales out to bid with the hopes of getting an interest rate of about 2.25 percent. Bids are expected to be opened Aug. 7, at which time the council will need to vote to finalize the process.

The city is taking on more infrastructure projects, necessitating an increase in borrowing in coming years. In the past there was a spending cap of $3.5 million, but that has been lifted.

Even after some of the major projects are completed, it's unlikely the need to borrow will return to earlier lows. A certain amount of money - reaching a plateau at about $8 million per year come 2022 - will be necessary to maintain the infrastructure.

» Read Full Article

West Allis man pepper-sprayed by security during birthday party at Hart Park

July 24, 2012 1:12 p.m. | A 35-year-old West Allis man was pepper-sprayed by security guards and arrested for disorderly conduct by police because he got unruly at a birthday party at Hart Park.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

A private security firm had been hired to watch over a quinceanara, a 15th birthday celebration in the Hispanic community, to which 200 guests had been invited. It took place in the Muellner Building in Hart Park. The birthday girl's family members had given guards a few rules to enforce, such as not allowing kids to leave the building without a chaperon after 10 p.m.

A few minutes before 10 p.m., a couple of kids wanted to go outside. One guard said OK if they were back inside by the deadline, while another told them they couldn't leave and got physically aggressive with the kids, they said.

The kids were pulled into a room for questioning by guards when the West Allis man - the boyfriend of the birthday girl's mother - came to see what was going on. He said he felt responsible for the children at the party; however, he got loud and refused to leave after numerous requests by the guards. He was pepper-sprayed by a guard.

» Read Full Article

Tosa teen robbed, assaulted while walking to friend's house

July 24, 2012 12:41 p.m. | A 17-year-old Wauwatosa boy was robbed and assaulted while walking at 61st Street and Wisconsin Avenue early Saturday morning, police said.

According to the Wauwatosa police report:

The boy was walking to a friend's house at 12:41 a.m. Saturday when two men approached him. One man asked how much money he had. The boy pulled out a $1 bill and handed it over.

The second man punched the boy in the jaw, knocking him to the ground. The boy got up and ran up a steep hill, losing a shoe along the way. The robbers chased him, tripping him on the sidewalk. The boy said he made numerous attempts to get up but they kept pushing him down. At some point, he lost his shirt and second shoe.

Eventually the boy got free and ran to his friend's house.

» Read Full Article

Officer shoots charging pitbull during search of alleged drug house

July 24, 2012 12:04 p.m. | Two men are facing charges in circuit court and a dog was put down after being shot in the face during the search of an alleged drug house in the 10700 block of West Keefe Avenue on Thursday morning.

According to Wauwatosa police reports:

The Wauwatosa Police Department's Special Response Team, made up of more than a dozen officers, executed a search warrant at 5:11 a.m. July 19. A woman with three dogs at her feet answered the door.

One of the dogs, a pitbull, was barking and growling. It charged at an officer, which caused him to fear for his safety and shoot the dog when it got within four feet of him. The dog yelped and ran to a bedroom, where it stayed until a representative from the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission arrived.

The dog had a significant gunshot wound to the head and face, said David Flagler, executive director of MADACC, in an interview.

» Read Full Article

Wauwatosa Cemetery Chapel could become local historic site

July 23, 2012 2:36 p.m. | The Wauwatosa Cemetery Board would like to see the chapel on the property designated as a local historic site.

The board submitted a nomination application and a hearing was held earlier this month to consider the chapel's significance.

"(The commission) considered the history and current appearance of the building and voted unanimously to recommend local designation because of its role in Wauwatosa history and as a fine example of architecture," said Brian Faltinson, city Historic Preservation Commission chairman.

The chapel was built in 1852 as the First Baptist Church. In 1888 the congregation moved to a new building and Frederick Underwood - son of minister Enoch Underwood - purchased the church, according to nomination papers filed by the cemetery board. It became an armory until the Wisconsin Light Guard disbanded in 1914.

At that time, the church was moved to the cemetery and received renovations to make it a chapel with a Greek Revival-style portico. The chapel is an example of the changing funeral practices of the early 20th century, when people moved wake services from homes to a cemetery chapel.

» Read Full Article

Village Playhouse needs actors for 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof'

July 23, 2012 10:34 a.m. | Talented actors are needed to bring Tennessee Williams' play "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" to life with The Village Playhouse of Wauwatosa.

Auditions will be held at 7 p.m. today, July 23, and tomorrow, July 24, at Divine World Lutheran Church, 5505 W. Lloyd St., Milwaukee. Actors will read from a script.

The play tells the story of a southern family arguing over the patriarch's land and money on his birthday.

Performances will be held beginning Sept. 28 at Christ King Church, kicking of the playhouse's season. Upcoming shows are "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" in December and "39 Steps" in April.

The playhouse is a nonprofit group run by volunteers. For information call (414) 447-0431.

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