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Petition gathers 3,400 signatures asking for lake park referendum

Jan. 30, 2012 7:16 p.m. | Opponents of a proposed park on two Little Muskego Lake today turned in a petition they said was signed by more than 3,400 people demanding a referendum on the plan.

The number of signatures is far more than the organizers' target of 2,100 to have their direct legislation petition considered by the Muskego Common Council.

The next step is for the Muskego Clerk's Office to verify the signatures, said Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti. Under state law, the clerk has 15 days to do that, she said. Given the amount of other work the clerk's office has to do at the moment, Chiaverotti said she would be surprised if the signatures could be verified much before that deadline.

Once the signatures have been verified, city officials will consult with the city's attorney about the next step, she said, withholding any additional comments.

The proposed park would be on the southern shore of Little Muskego Lake on the north side of Janesville Road north of Pioneer Drive. Both property owners have asked the city to buy their homes for a total of $3.5 million.

New Berlin planners to hold month of input sessions for sections 35/34

March 26, 2015 10:57 a.m. | A month of public input and questions will be taken on what New Berlin planners say will be the final determination of how the largest tract of farmland left in the city east of Moorland Road should be developed.

Known as section 35, it is bounded roughly by Grange and College avenues, Moorland and Sunny Slope roads. The planning area input also will include what is known as section 34.

After months of speaking with residents and neighbors, planners have changed the section 35 plan in three ways. One is that a sports complex of athletic fields, playgrounds and park area is proposed along part of Sunny Slope Road. Another is increasing the proposed density to two homes per acre from the original one home for every two acres. Neighbors have said they would not mind the increase, said Greg Kessler, community development director. He noted that the proposed higher density is still less than the housing density across Sunny Slope Road.

The third proposed change is reducing somewhat the area for homes, due to the difficulty of getting to the area over a floodplain. The only other way to get to it would be through the industrial park, which is not desirable, Kessler said.

Drawings of the proposed land use plan and staff to answer questions and take input will be at the New Berlin City Hall, 3805 S. Casper Drive, from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, March 28.

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The Sprint Episode Three: WIAA state basketball tournament retrospective

March 23, 2015 6:00 p.m. | The WIAA state basketball tournament featured a number of local entrants, with two bringing home gold balls and another grabbing silver:

Muskego-Norway assistant superintendent chooses return to classroom

March 19, 2015 1:18 p.m. | Muskego — Muskego Elementary School Principal Jeff Petersen was appointed Muskego-Norway assistant superintendent of continuous improvement, succeeding Gary Goelz who asked to return to teaching.

"Although it is typically not easy filling the shoes of an effective colleague, we are lucky to have another highly effective leader ready to step into the role," said Superintendent Kelly Thompson. Petersen comes to the position with 25 years as an educator and will be an outstanding assistant superintendent, Thompson said.

"Jeff is extremely well prepared to lead educator effectiveness, human resources, and continuous improvement for our system," she said.

Petersen will officially begin his new assignment July 1.

Prior to joining Muskego-Norway in 2007 as Bay Lane's associate principal, he was a middle school teacher in the Elmbrook School District.

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Principal named for Muskego High School

March 18, 2015 6:14 p.m. | Muskego — Oconomowoc High School Associate Principal Todd Irvine was appointed Muskego High School principal, succeeding Dennis Bussen who has been serving as interim principal this year.

Irvine will start July 1.

Muskego-Norway School Board President Rick Petfalski was pleased: "His personality and his energy seem to be a good fit for the district."

"He has a balance of a sense of humor, drive and dedication to education," he said.

Top choice

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Neufeldt achieved dreams with grit, grace and a big heart

March 18, 2015 5:20 p.m. | For most of his life, Mike Neufeldt was too weak to dress himself or take a step. But that never stopped the 37-year-old New Berlin man from charging ahead.

What his body couldn't do, his personality conquered.

He hobnobbed with movie stars, shot a commercial with basketball legend Michael Jordan, pressed the flesh with President Ronald Reagan, got a full ride to Marquette University, co-wrote a book on his beloved Golden Eagles, had a New Berlin baseball field named in his honor and landed his dream job at Harley-Davidson.

"I try to focus on the good things I have and focus on ways to overcome obstacles," Neufeldt said in a 2007 interview with CBS 58 that marked his 30th birthday.

Neufeldt's heart, big as it was, could not withstand the ravages of muscular dystrophy. The two-time national MDA Goodwill Ambassador was sitting in the back of his van as he was driven to work Tuesday when his heart stopped beating.

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The Sprint Episode Two: local teams look to defend state basketball titles this week

March 16, 2015 3:15 p.m. | The Sprint takes a look back and ahead and the week of varsity athletics in the Lake Country and Now Newspapers coverage zone.

Muskego officials updated on potential closing of popular boat launch

March 04, 2015 3:02 p.m. | Muskego officials are bracing themselves for the potential closure of the popular Hillview Drive boat launch onto Little Muskego Lake.

Meeting jointly on Tuesday, the Muskego Park and Recreation Board and the Conservation Commission received an update how closure might be needed to limit the spread of a virulent lake algae that was found directly off the boat launch.

State and local lake experts hope to be able to get rid of the starry stonewort algae because they believe the infestation may have been caught early. Little Muskego Lake is the only lake in Wisconsin where the invasive algae has been found. It is spread on the hulls and anchors of boats.

Limiting the number of boats that go through the algae and pick up fragments of it thereby spreading it is seen as potentially necessary.

Once the ice is off the lake, biologists say they will be able to get a better idea of where the algae is and how much there is.

Muskego may close popular Little Muskego Lake boat launch

March 02, 2015 10:14 a.m. | The Hillview public boat launch on Little Muskego Lake may be temporarily closed due to the discovery of an invasive lake algae known as starry stonewort.

The aggressive algae was found in September near the Hillview Drive boat launch on the west side of the lake. State naturalists and local officials want to contain the algae that is believed to be in its beginning stage of infestation. It is spread on the hulls of boats.

Little Muskego Lake is the only lake in Wisconsin where starry stonewort has been found.

The Muskego Parks and Recreation Board and the Conservation Commission will hold a joint meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, to discuss whether the the boat launch should be closed.

New Berlin to pay $275,000 settlement to former HR director

Feb. 20, 2015 3:51 p.m. | New Berlin will pay $275,000 to former Human Resources Director Tamara Potkay to settle a lawsuit alleging Mayor David Ament violated civil service rules in terminating her employment in January 2014, Potkay's attorney said Friday.

Potkay was returned to the job in February of last year under an interim agreement imposed by U.S. District Judge Charles Clevert.

Potkay had worked for the city since 1990 as a civil service human resources employee. She was appointed human resources director in August 1997 by former Mayor James Gatzke.

After Ament was elected mayor in April 2013, he reduced Potkay's duties before firing her in January 2014, according to a complaint in the federal lawsuit. Potkay was represented by Walter Kelly, a Milwaukee attorney.

Ament acted alone even though city ordinances and state law require the city council to decide on the firing of the civil-service protected head of human resources, the complaint said.

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Complaint: Former New Berlin West basketball coach busted after police find pot in his school office

Feb. 20, 2015 3:03 p.m. | Christopher R. Foley, the former New Berlin West varsity basketball coach, was charged Friday with three drug-related crimes linked to the school's athletic director smelling marijuana as he walked past the defendant's office.

Foley, 29, of 2545 N. 93rd St., Milwaukee, was fired from his job shortly after his Feb. 6 arrest. Foley was ordered to make his initial appearance before a Waukesha County court commissioner on Monday, March 2. Bail will be set at that time, said Waukesha County District Attorney Sue Opper.

Assistant Principal Julie Kader and Athletic Director Jordan Napoli met with New Berlin police prior to the school's basketball game about their concerns over Foley's drug use, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint accuses Foley of possession of a controlled substance, possession of the active ingredient in marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

All of the charges are misdemeanors. Two counts carry fines of $500 and jail terms of 30 days. The possession charge carries a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in jail.

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Muskego-Norway School District to move middle school start time back

Feb. 19, 2015 1:26 p.m. | Muskego — Muskego middle school students will be able to sleep in a tiny bit longer starting this fall, as school will start 15-minutes later.

The 7:50 a.m. start time will be pushed back to 8:05 a.m. for both Muskego-Norway middle schools.

The reason for the change is that school officials want teachers to have more productive collaboration time. The change will enable them to have 45 minutes at the start of each day, which is seen as more helpful than the 15 minutes at the start and the 15 minutes at the end that teachers have now.

During collaboration times, teachers work together on what have been the best approaches for certain classes and for certain students to get the most achievement. They also discuss other issues that will help them work better as a team.

How they'll do it

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Walmart to open March 11 on Greenfield Avenue in New Berlin

Feb. 18, 2015 5:22 p.m. | New Berlin — Some 20 semitrailers stuffed with merchandise have probably arrived so far to fill the shelves at the new Walmart super center in New Berlin, store manager Terra Biggin estimated Monday.

And they're not done yet.

"We're slowly seeing fewer trucks as we're seeing the shelves fill up," Biggin said. The super center will offer groceries and general merchandise and will open March 11 at 15025 W. Greenfield Ave.

The trucks carrying general merchandise come from the Walmart distribution center in Beaver Dam. Groceries are flying in from various locations including Tomah, Beaver Dam and Sterling, Illinois.

Stocking started Feb. 2

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Farrow, Schellinger advance in County Executive race

Feb. 17, 2015 9:32 p.m. | Sen. Paul Farrow and Waukesha County Board Supervisor Thomas Schellinger will advance to the general election following Tuesday's primary election.

With all 181 precincts reporting, unofficial results show Farrow leading the four-person field with 7,829 votes, Schellinger coming in second with 2,919 votes.

Four candidates campaigned to replace Dan Vrakas as Waukesha County executive in the nonpartisan race after he announced last fall he would not seek re-election. Vrakas — who's term expires April 21 — endorsed Farrow in the race.

Larry Barthen of Waukesha ran a distant third in the primary with 1,245 votes. Now retired, Barthen worked as a long-term care coordinator for the county Health and Human Services Department.

Kim Wentz of Pewaukee, an emergency services dispatcher with the Waukesha County Communications Center came in fourth with 1,038 votes.

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Aquatic experts gather to devise battle plan for new pest found in Little Muskego Lake

Feb. 12, 2015 2:19 p.m. | Muskego — Top lakes officials in the state gathered Friday at Little Muskego Lake to begin planning their battle against a new pest that was found there.

Little Muskego Lake is the only lake in Wisconsin where the starry stonewort algae has been found and lakes experts hope take action before it becomes established.

The algae can cover portions of lakes and essentially kill those areas by blocking out sunlight.

Last week, state Department of Natural Resources lakes experts went onto the ice to drill holes and lower cameras. As soon as the ice is off the lake, they will be back to do a detailed survey, mapping the problem areas.

The size of the problem will be a major factor in determining what should be done to combat it, said Tim Plude, aquatics invasive species monitoring and rapid response coordinator for the south Lake Michigan basin of the DNR. Plude is leading efforts to battle the menace in Little Muskego Lake.

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New Berlin schools did 'due diligence' in hiring coach: spokeswoman

Feb. 11, 2015 2:48 p.m. | New Berlin — New Berlin schools did both a background check and a drug test before hiring a New Berlin West boys basketball coach who was arrested Friday, Feb. 6, on a possession of marijuana charge, a spokeswoman has said.

Melinda Mueller, director of communications for the New Berlin schools, also said that Christopher Foley is no longer a district employee.

"It is a personnel matter – that is all we will be sharing," she wrote in an email.

Foley was in his first year as coach at New Berlin West Middle/High School. Before being hired, the schools followed its normal procedure with new hires.

"Just so people understand, we did do a background check and nothing was revealed."

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