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From Miss St. Francis to Mrs. Claus, relive the year in pictures

Dec. 27, 2011 9:43 a.m. | We have just posted our collection of News Photos of the Year and Sports Photos of the Year as selected by NOW staff photojournalists C.T. Kruger and Peter Zuzga.

Browse the galleries to see images from some of the most newsworthy events of the past 12 months. You will also find some of the quieter, but no less photogenic events captured by our award-winning staff.

We also invite you to visit the links below to take a look back at the five most popular NOW photo galleries of 2011:

2011 Track and Field State Meet

Miss St. Francis pageant

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Video: Oak Creek-Franklin flips coin to determine task force chair; parents invited to apply

1:13 p.m. | Editor's note: Story has been updated to include link to task force application.

Oak Creek — All parents within the Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District will soon be invited to apply for a seat on a new Community Ad Hoc Task Force for Elementary Attendance Boundaries, after the school board approved the new committee June 29.

The task force, anticipated to include between 15 to 20 members, will help the district determine new attendance areas, which are required in order to accommodate the addition of a new elementary school for the 2016-17 academic year.

School board member Sheryl Cerniglia will serve as lead chair for the task force; Board Vice President Jon Jossart will serve as co-chair. The decision was made by flipping a coin.

The district will accept applications until July 24 and select the task force members on July 27.

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Oak Creek's Meijer supercenter to open Aug. 4

11:59 a.m. | Oak Creek — The new Meijer supercenter in Oak Creek will officially open Tuesday, Aug. 4, the company announced July 7.

Meijer leadership and local officials will dedicate the store's first day of business at 171 W. Town Square Way with a ribbon- cutting ceremony.

The retailer will also feature special promotions and events to commemorate the store's grand opening on Thursday, Aug. 6.

An additional Meijer in Wauwatosa will open the same day — making it the fourth location in Wisconsin this year.

Meijer is currently completing hiring for hourly positions. Interested candidates can apply online at http://jobs.meijer.com/newstore.

Meijer sets Oak Creek, Wauwatosa store opening dates

11:08 a.m. | Meijer said Tuesday that its new stores in Oak Creek and Wauwatosa will open on Aug. 4.

The Oak Creek and Wauwatosa locations are the latest of four new stores Meijer is opening in Wisconsin this year. The retailer's first two stores opened in Grafton and Kenosha on June 23.

Meijer is aggressively expanding into Wisconsin and plans to open two to three new Wisconsin stores each year for the next four years.

In addition to Wisconsin, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer operates 219 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.

A typical Meijer supercenter totals about 180,000 square feet and sells grocery and general merchandise items.

Edgerton Avenue reconstruction project in the works

9:58 a.m. | Village of Hales Corners — The village board was presented a draft agreement prepared by Graef-USA Inc to provide engineering service for the resurfacing/reconstruction of West Edgerton Avenue to West Forest Home Avenue.

The agreement covers the design, and bidding for the reconstruction of West Edgerton Avenue. The agreement is under review and a decision will be made on whether to approve the draft or not at the next meeting on July 13.

"It should be approved at next weeks meeting," Mike Martin, DPW director, said. "If approved, we can proceed with the topographical survey, and with the new GPS equipment I anticipate that it can be done in about two weeks."

Martin said the road is deteriorating very quickly, and he thinks that is hasn't been renovated since the 60s.

Greendale Marching Band launches fundraiser for trip to Macy's Parade

July 06, 2015 11:18 a.m. | Greendale — The Greendale High School Marching Band has officially launched its online fundraising campaign to attend the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2016.

The group is raising money to assist its full student band — approximately 240 students — to march in the nationally-televised parade, after receiving a surprise invitation by Macy's in April. The band has a fundraising goal of $250,000.

The Greendale Marching Band was one of 10 marching bands — out of hundreds of applicants — to be selected for the parade.

Donations can be made online by visiting www.youcaring.com/greendaleband. Checks can be made out to: GHS Marching Band, 6801 Southway, Greendale, Wisconsin 53129.

Tentative groundbreaking date for Kayla's Playground scheduled for July 23

July 06, 2015 11:13 a.m. | Franklin — Major Steve Olson said that Franklin is planning to break the ground for Kayla's Playground in late July, and are shooting for a date of July 23.

Olson said that the goal is to break ground before they start moving dirt to begin the construction process.

"I'm really excited, the reception that Kayla's Krew got at the 4th of July parade was unbelievable," Olson said. "This is a tremendous thing for the community, we are looking forward to moving forward with this project.

The site for the all-inclusive playground is Franklin Woods Nature Center, located off W Puetz Road near S 27th Street.

More details regarding the playground are to be discussed at the common council meeting Tuesday, July 7. The city is scheduled to discuss the bids for the materials and tools needed for the playground at the meeting.

The Rock announces July Fourth celebration plans

July 02, 2015 12:18 p.m. | Franklin — The Rock Sports Complex and MKE Sports & Entertainment will host its third Independence Day celebration at The Umbrella Bar at The Rock July 4.

Guests can enjoy a view of fireworks from over 20 cities, the Umbrella Bar's brick patio, dance space and views of Milwaukee County and The Rock's Major League Replica baseball fields. Patrons may also purchase DiMaggio's Stone Fire Pizza, cocktails and beer at the Umbrella Bar. Food purchases can also be made from The Rock's guest caterer, Muskego Lakes Country Club from 4 to 11 p.m. Saturday only.

Late afternoon visitors can enjoy listening to the Phillip Williams Band from 4 to 7 p.m.

Live music from The Eddie Butts Band, which is part of the Summer Concert Series at The Rock, will begin at 8 p.m.

For a full lineup of the Summer Concert Series at The Rock, click here.

Oak Creek-Franklin parent group pushes for larger school board membership

July 01, 2015 3:48 p.m. | Oak Creek — A parent-led group in the Oak Creek-Franklin Joint School District has started a new campaign to increase the number of members on the school board.

YES for Oak Creek Schools, a volunteer group that advocates for the school district, launched the campaign June 31.

The Oak Creek-Franklin School Board is currently composed of five members — making it one of the smallest school boards among the state's 50 largest districts.

YES is advocating for a seven-member board to better represent the needs of the district.

In order for the proposal to be considered during the annual board meeting on Aug. 24, YES must raise 500 signatures from adults in the district. Copies of the petition can be found on the group's website.

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Oak Creek baseball team raises $2,300 for autism aid, research

June 30, 2015 1:33 p.m. | It's hard to dislike really good players when they turn out to be fine humans in the process.

Oak Creek baseball coach and athletic director Scott Holler discovered that when he was sitting with returning Now Player of the Year Doran Turchin and fellow senior leader Mitch Makarewicz at an open gym a couple of years ago.

"And they said 'Coach, everybody does those Coaches vs. Cancer things (at games). Wouldn't it be cool if we did something for your son (Chase)? We'd really like to do something for your son,'" Holler said.

The person Turchin and Makarewicz were referring to was Holler's young, rambunctious, good-natured son Chase, who has autism.

Holler and his wife Julie are very active in the area programs to help develop treatments and work toward a cure. They are especially active in the Autism Speaks organization. Holler, with Chase's help, even threw a first pitch on an Autism Awareness Night the Milwaukee Brewers held earlier this season.

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Opportunistic Franklin baseball team surges past Oak Creek

June 30, 2015 1:18 p.m. | In the mind of Oak Creek baseball coach Scott Holler, the Knights played about two-thirds of a great game against archrival Franklin on June 26 at Abendschein Park.

It was just the remaining third, the thing the 18-2 Knights have hung their hats on all summer, that let them down so catastrophically and led to the surprising 12-8 loss to the surging Sabers.

"You could talk about the (size of the) strike zone," Holler said, "but that had nothing to do with the outcome of the game. We just pitched as bad as we probably could have.

"We didn't execute in hitting spots, and we fell behind in the count. We didn't consistently throw strikes, and when we did, they were belt high right over the middle of the plate."

The result was disastrous 12-walk, one-hit batter team pitching performance by five Knight hurlers that also included two runs forced in by walks.

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Menomonee Falls' ace Weber returns and stymies Oak Creek, 6-2

June 29, 2015 10:07 p.m. | The tedium, boredom and frustration that nearly engulfed Menomonee Falls all-state pitcher Ty Weber during his month off because of an abdominal strain injury was replaced tonight by anxiety, fatigue and ultimately success as he made his comeback with an impressive 6-2 win over Greater Metro Conference leader Oak Creek.

"I was exhausted after facing the meat of their order," he laughed after striking out the Knights' freshman phenom Alex Binelas with the bases-loaded in the seventh, "but I wasn't on a pitch count, because I definitely feel a lot better. This is so much nicer than just sitting around and watching."

And his was a welcome return as with the win, the Indians are now 11-4 in league play and 16-5 overall, while the Knights lost their second straight GMC tilt to fall to 12-3 and 20-3, respectively.

The Illinois-recruit Weber had played but a few games and won only one contest pitching  before being hit by the strain. He was then very limited after that, missing several weeks completely before finally coming back last week, where he displayed his usual big bat and also threw a comfortable two innings of relief in a win over Franklin.

The nine-strikeout, four-walk effort was hardly perfect, but was a big jolt in the arm, said Indian coach Pat Hansen.

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Greendale School District appoints new director of business services

June 29, 2015 2:43 p.m. | Greendale — Todd Hajewski will replace Erin Green as the Greendale School District's director of Business Services, as appointed by the school board on June 15.

In this position, Hajewski will be responsible for ​ supervising the management of the financial affairs, managing strategic budget development and long-range financial and facilities planning, and increasing the district's initiatives for sustainability and green energy.

Hajewski joins Greendale from Milwaukee Academy of Science, an independent charter school authorized through the City of Milwaukee, where he worked as its director of Business Services since 2012.

Hajewski resides in Greendale with his wife and children.

Franklin baseball team takes advantage of walks to upset Creek, 12-8

June 27, 2015 12:12 a.m. | In the mind of Oak Creek baseball coach Scott Holler, the Knights played about two-thirds of a great game against archrival Franklin Friday night at Abendschein Park.

It was just that the remaining third, the thing that the 18-2 Knights have hung their hats on all summer, that let them down so catastrophically, and led to the surprising 12-8 loss to the surging Sabers.

'You could talk about the (size of the) strike zone," said Holler, "but that had nothing to do with the outcome of the game. We just pitched as bad as we probably could have.

"We didn't execute in hitting spots and we fell behind in the count. We didn't consistently throw strikes and when we did they were belt high right over the middle of the plate."

The result was disasterous 12 walk, one hit batter team pitching performance by five Knight hurlers that also included two runs forced in by walks.

» Read Full Article

#RisingForCharleston Service to support victims of church shooting, request stricter gun laws

June 26, 2015 1:28 p.m. | Oak Creek — A special service will be held on Sunday to support victims of the Charleston shootings and to emphasize a need for stricter gun legislation.

Everytown For Gun Safety, a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence, will host a #RisingFor Charleston Service at 6 p.m. in Oak Creek's Salvation Army Chapel, 8853 S. Howell Ave.

"This weekend, communities across the nation will gather in houses of worship to honor the nine Charleston victims and their community — along with the 88 Americans who die every day and countless others injured because of gun violence," a statement by Everytown reads. "And we'll call on our elected officials to rise with us and be champions for stronger laws that will prevent tragedies like this."

The service will be hosted by the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, which lost six of its own members in a 2012 mass shooting.

"The shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston was a heartbreaking reminder that gun violence can happen anywhere and at anytime, even within the sacred walls of a house of worship," Everytown stated. "Our country deserves better than this. Every family should be able to go to school, to the grocery store, to the playground, and to church — without the fear that they might be gunned down."

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New, accessible features at Boerner Botanical Gardens open July 28

June 26, 2015 9:48 a.m. | Village of Hales Corners — A new, accessible pathway and terrace in the Boerner Botanical Gardens will open July 28.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon will open the Whitnall Park Rotary Circle at the Botanical Gardens, "Milwaukee County's Living Museum," located at 9400 Boerner Drive in Whitnall Park.

The new pathway connects the Herb Garden and the Bog Walk and follows the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to a news release. The pathway offers equal and independent access for people with temporary or long-term disabilities.

Before the project, accessing the Bog Walk meant visitors had to navigate a stone staircase from the Herb Garden or follow the Daylily Walk. Anyone in a wheelchair had to use the Daylily Walk and retrace their path when coming to the end of the Bog Walk bridge.

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