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News & Notes: Dec. 19

Dec. 19, 2011

Harenda won't run against Borgman in April

Muskego - District 2 Alderman Kert Harenda said he would not run against 3rd District Alderman Neil Borgman in the spring election.

After redistricting was completed this year, Harenda ended up in Borgman's district. Harenda can continue to serve as District 2 alderman until his term expires in 2013 or he could have run for Borgman's seat next year. Borgman is up for re-election in 2012.

"I support Neil," Harenda said. "He's financially and fiscally responsible and he's not afraid to ask questions."

Widow gives $1,000 in husband's memory

New Berlin - The city has received a $1,000 donation in memory of William Dunn, the former assistant fire chief of the New Berlin Volunteer Fire Department who died earlier this year.

His wife, Georgia Dunn, donated the money, to the city's emergency services.

Of the $1,000, $500 will go to the Fire Department for repairs to the fire training tower near the City Hall. The rest will go to the Police Department for the anti-drug and alcohol abuse D.A.R.E. program.

Alderman Dave Ament praised the donation as a wonderful act of generosity.

"You just don't see that too often," he said.

William Dunn served as a fire inspector when the city took over the volunteer fire department.

Muskego gets new Department of Public Works

Muskego - In an organizational reshuffle, Muskego now has a Department of Public Works with an official director, but services will be unaffected.

The Common Council last week, on a 4-3 vote, approved establishing a separate department and putting city engineer David Simpson at its head.

While some aldermen see the move as formalizing what has been going on for the last two years, others said there is nothing to be gained. Alderman Daniel Soltysiak said he sees it as adding another layer of management.

Aldermen Keith Werner, Neome Schaumberg, Noah Fiedler and Tracy Snead voted in favor and Soltysiak, Kert Harenda and Neil Borgman against the arrangement.

But everyone had high praise for Simpson and unanimously approved him as the first head of the new DPW department.

Proposal would limit off-road vehicle noise

Muskego - An ordinance to protect Muskego residents from loud noise from vehicles tearing around on neighbors' propert, had its first reading last week and will head for its second and final reading before the Muskego Common Council on Jan. 10.

The proposed ordinance affecting such vehicles as motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, minibikes and go-carts came about in response to some young people riding ATVs for extended periods in a subdivision.

Riders would be in violation of the proposed ordinance if they cause substantial interference to neighbors' use and enjoyment of their homes and yards.

That interference would have to be more than a slight inconvenience or petty annoyance, the proposed ordinance states. The measure would be whether ordinary Muskego residents would find it annoying or offensive.

Other factors that would be considered are the frequency of the activity and failure to reasonably accommodate the objections of neighbors once they have been communicated to the driver.

Proposal would add open-burning restrictions

Muskego - Under a proposed ordinance Muskego is considering, people in multi-family dwellings would not be able to grill or have small fires within 10 feet of the buildings or grill on balconies.

The ordinance had its first reading last week and drew no opposition. It will go for a final vote at the Jan. 10 Common Council meeting. The prohibition would affect anything larger than a two-family dwelling.

The proposal would make other changes to the city's open-burning ordinance, including allowing fires in portable fire pits as long as they are certified by a nationally recognized testing organization.

And while allowing small outdoor fires for cooking, ceremonies or recreation, the proposed ordinance would require fires to be at least 25 feet away from structures or combustible material and the material burned be no bigger than 4 feet by 4 feet by 3 feet high. There are no size or distance requirements now.

Similarly, the proposal would further restrict grass and brush fires to being at least 50 feet away from buildings, utility poles, overhead wires or any combustible material. Currently, they must be at least 30 feet away.

New Berlin district employees recertify 3 unions

New Berlin - Three of the employee unions in the New Berlin School District have recertified so far as bargaining units for the upcoming year, the School District announced.

Under new state law, public employee unions must recertify annually to remain viable.

The teachers union, the clerical union and special education aides union recertified. There has been no word on the custodians' union.

Work begins on pizza place at Marcus Ridge Cinema

New Berlin - In the next few weeks, foundation and footing work will start at the Marcus Ridge Cinema, 5200 S. Moorland Road, as the first step toward converting one of the 20 theaters into a restaurant.

Zaffiro's Pizzeria & Bar is scheduled to open this spring at the Ridge. A similar transformation was previously performed at another Marcus Theaters movie complex, the North Shore Cinema.

No timetable for the rest of the work at the Ridge is available, said Carlo Petrick, communications manager for Marcus Theaters.

Muskego residents put city ahead in balloting

Muskego - Muskego residents are making the city one of the leading contenders for cash prizes in the Readers Digest We Hear You America campaign, in which towns across the country compete to win funds and promotional support, including a grant of up to $50,000 for community projects.

Muskego residents have already logged on in droves to vote for their town, according to the contest sponsor, and with just a little more local support it could have a shot at winning the grand prize.

Any town is eligible to win, regardless of population. Last year's grand prize winner, Grand Marais, Michigan, attained 1,281,724 votes despite having a population of only 300. People can vote as often as they like. The $40,000 prize money is being used to repair the town's damaged sea wall.

Residents can vote by logging on to www.readersdigest.com/America.

Small business owner welcomes lawmaker

New Berlin - Representative Mike Kuglitsch visited Alexis Malloy at her small business in New Berlin recently as part of the Take Your Legislator to Work Campaign, co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities and the Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin.

Malloy is 21 and has Down syndrome. Her small business, A.J. Special Services (www.ajspecialservices.com), offers business-to-business clerical services.

She started the business with support from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Malloy is the first person in Waukesha County to start her own business using DVR's Customized Self-Employment Toolkit. She is also supported by the Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin through its Employment Connect program that matches job seekers with companies that are hiring.

Union dissolves, gives dues to charities

New Berlin - New Berlin library aides, clerical staff, police and fire dispatchers and inspectors have chosen not to recertify their union, and embers instead are giving their share of collected dues back to the community in the form of donations to the New Berlin food pantry, HAWS and other charities.

Under new state law, public employee unions must recertify every year. But the same law strips most of the unions' bargaining powers away. The New Berlin employees had been represented by Local 2676 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The local represented 29 full-time and 21 part-time employees.

On Saturday, the union presented $5,935 to the New Berlin food pantry and $1,505 to HAWS to protect homeless and mistreated animals. Members also requested that additional money be distributed to other charities such as the CAP Fund, St Jude Children's Research Hospital, Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity, Waukesha Special Olympics, the American Diabetes Association and the Susan G. Koman for the cure organization that fights cancer.

Local 2676 formed in the 1970s.

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