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$10K in power tools stolen from 12 trucks at gas station

Sept. 11, 2012 4:25 p.m. | Franklin police are investigating the theft of more than $10,000 worth of power equipment stolen from 12 tree maintenance trucks Labor Day weekend.

The trucks, owned by Asplundh Tree Export Co., were parked at Andy's, 5120 W. Ryan Road, between 10:30 p.m. Sept. 1 and 10 a.m. Sept. 3. Someone pried open the locked tool compartments on all 12 vehicles.

Sixteen chainsaws, two hydraulic stick saws and $900 worth of climbing equipment were taken.

The trucks sustained more than $10,000 in damage.

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call the Franklin Police Department at (414) 425-2522.

IKEA unveils plans for new Oak Creek store

May 05, 2016 2:06 p.m. | Break out the blue and yellow.

It's official: Wisconsin's first IKEA, a retail store known for assemble-it-yourself furniture and all things Swedish, is planned for a site along I-94 in Oak Creek.

Company representatives and Oak Creek city officials said Thursday a 295,000-square-foot IKEA store will be constructed on about 29 acres near the northwestern corner of the freeway and W. Drexel Ave. The store, expected to open in summer of 2018, will employ about 250 people.

The IKEA store is expected to draw consumers from many areas of Wisconsin as well as northern Illinois.

"It's a big thrill to have a company as large as IKEA come to Oak Creek," Mayor Steve Scaffidi said in an interview.

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Video: 'Why not Oak Creek?' IKEA plans to open furniture store in summer 2018

May 05, 2016 9:26 a.m. | Oak Creek — In a push to boost IKEA's presence in the Midwest, company officials announced Thursday, May 5, plans to open an Oak Creek store in summer 2018.

The single-level 295,000-square-foot proposed IKEA store and its approximately 1,200 parking spaces would be built on 29 acres at the northwest corner of Interstate 94 and Drexel Avenue — land owned by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. Store plans would reflect the same unique architectural design the furniture-retailer's stores are known for worldwide.

Pending final approval from the city, the new IKEA store would begin construction in the spring of 2017 and would create at least 250 new jobs, according to company and city officials. Hundreds of construction workers would also be needed to build the store, Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi said.

Joseph Roth, a spokesman for IKEA, said the company planned to submit the final application to the city on Thursday.

The location would mark the company's first in Wisconsin, complementing the Swedish company's growing presence in the Midwest.

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Former Cudahy YMCA sold to Balkan American group

May 04, 2016 9:57 a.m. | The former South Shore YMCA, which closed last year after its parent organization's bankruptcy, has been sold to a nonprofit ethnic group.

The Clifton, N.J.-based Federation of Balkan American Associations Inc. bought the property, 3244 E. College Ave., Cudahy, for $1,135,000, according to state real estate records posted Wednesday.

The two parcels that make up the former YMCA total 12.8 acres, according to city assessment records. The building is around 53,500 square feet, according to LoopNet.com, a commercial real estate internet site.

The Balkan American Association promotes activities that include lectures and seminars, language courses and cultural activities, including film festivals, according to the group.

The association will use the former YMCA for its activities, said Roland Cinari, the organization's office manager. The group's members include people whose ethnic roots are in Kosovo, Bosnia and other Balkan countries, he said.

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Oak Creek girls track team wins Lancer, ready for SEC

May 03, 2016 10:02 p.m. | Brookfield Central girls track coach Brian Calhoun, an Oak Creek graduate, gave out the championship trophy in the newly reconfigured Lancer Invitational to Knight girls coach Bob Haberli on the early evening of April 29.

Both coaches were pretty sure the Knights had won it, but no one was certain until much later as though Oak Creek and Haberli were happy to come to Central and give the Lancers and Calhoun a bit of a leg up in their first invitational since the old Lancer Invite's quiet demise some years ago, there were clearly some things that needed to be worked on.

Haberli said the races went off without a hitch, but problems with the organization including a very long boys pole vault competition that pushed the start of the girls vault until almost the end of the meet, issues with the timing system, including someone tripping over a wire and pulling the plug during one race and questions over what relay teams were DQed in what race left everyone more than a bit confused.

"It just didn't go off as well as they probably would have liked it," said Haberli.

Still, the victory was the fourth major meet title of the outdoor season for the Knights and gave them great momentum heading into the Southeast Conference relays that they hosted on May 3. They were looking to usurp longtime rival Franklin, which has dominated the Southeast track circuit since the last time the Knights won the outdoor title in 2010.

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Furniture retailer IKEA reportedly eyeing site in Oak Creek

May 03, 2016 8:25 p.m. | Oak Creek — Swedish meatballs and ready-to-assemble furniture could be the latest additions to Oak Creek's growing commercial presence.

Renowned furniture retailer IKEA could build a store along Interstate 94 and north of West Drexel Avenue, according to numerous reports that began circulating this week.

The 30-acre parcel of land under consideration is situated west of I-94 on land owned by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. The city's common council held a closed session meeting Tuesday night over a potential development agreement with NML, though no action on a firm development plan was expected immediately.

Mayor Stephen Scaffidi did not return phone messages from Now Newspapers seeking comment Tuesday.

However, if ultimately approved, the Oak Creek location would be IKEA's first Wisconsin store. The next nearest locations are in Schaumburg, Illinois, just north of Woodfield Mall, and in Bolingbrook, Illinois. The chain also has stores in Bloomington, Minn., adjacent to the Mall of America, and in Canton, Michigan.

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Initial Reaction Podcast: Schobert, Watt, Packers and social media foibles of NFL Draft

May 02, 2016 9:30 p.m. | JP and JR take a look at two local products headed to the NFL, Joe Schobert of Waukesha West and Derek Watt of Pewaukee, who were both taken in the 2016 NFL Draft. Brewers director of new media Caitlin Moyer also stops by to talk about the role social media plays in promoting the team brand. Yes, we talk about Hank the Dog. Each week, Lake Country/Now sports director JR Radcliffe and Time Warner Cable Sports Channel's JP Cadorin chat about the Wisconsin sports scene, with an emphasis on Milwaukee-area prep athletics.

Oak Creek softball team's road trip successful

May 02, 2016 8:29 p.m. | Sometimes you just have to see some new faces.

And that was the motivation for Southeast Conference softball co-leader Oak Creek as the Knights headed up to Pulaski in the Fox River Valley for three interesting out-state games.

They defeated Hortonville, 5-3; lost to DC Everest, 9-3; and then beat Wausau West, 11-1. Coupled with the Southeast Conference victories over Racine Case on April 26 (10-6) and Kensoha Tremper on April 27 (4-1), the Knights entered a pivotal week at 5-1 in league play, same as Kenosha Indian Trail, and 9-4 overall.

"It was a good trip," said Oak Creek coach Jeff Trask. "Sometimes you just have to go see what's out there. We play enough teams in the southeast area of Wisconsin; we just need to see how the rest look."

Trask felt it was a good experience, and it came just at the right time.

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Ikea plans large store in Oak Creek overlooking I-94

May 02, 2016 7:57 p.m. | Ikea is planning its first Wisconsin store for a large site along I-94 in Oak Creek.

The Swedish furniture and home goods chain, which has been considering the Milwaukee area for nearly a decade, has selected roughly 30 acres west of I-94 and north of W. Drexel Ave., according to a source.

That source, who characterized it as "a done deal," said the announcement is scheduled for Thursday.

A major announcement is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Thursday at City Hall, according to Gary Billington, a former Oak Creek Community Development Authority board member.

Billington was invited to the announcement, but said he has no idea what it involves. He did say there have been rumors about Ikea and other large retail chains that might be interested in the Drexel Ave. site.

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Woman charged in connection with condo fire in Franklin

April 27, 2016 1:48 p.m. | A 58-year-old woman who was rescued from a condominium fire last week is facing charges for starting the fire.

The suspect, Mary J. Plutschack, had to be rescued by the Franklin Fire Department from an eight-unit condominium building at 12155 W. Virginia Circle after a fire broke out in her unit at about 9:25 a.m. April 27. She was taken to St. Luke's Hospital for medical evaluation.

Charges were filed Monday, May 2. Plutschack is facing one misdemeanor charge of negligent use of burning materials and one felony charge of second degree recklessly endangering safety.

The fire, which was contained to her unit, was quickly extinguished by firefighters. Both the police and fire departments responded and upon arrival observed smoke and flames coming from one unit of an eight-unit complex, according to a news release from the Franklin Police Department.

All condominium residents were evacuated, but were allowed back into their homes some time later.

Franklin police holding self-defense seminar for women May 7

April 27, 2016 12:00 p.m. | Franklin —A seminar on basic awareness and self-defense for women will be held at the Franklin Police Department, 9455 W. Loomis Road, May 7 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The class is free but has a capacity of 18 students with 12 needed at a minimum for the class to run. Those who wish to participate must be a city of Franklin resident, a Franklin high school student, or work in the city. Workout clothes and athletic shoes are recommended.

According to the application those in attendance will be asked to participate in a "physical self-defense component." Participation is not mandatory with attendees allowed to work "at their own comfort level."

An application is available on the city website to fill out and send to dmorris@franklinwi.gov or mhernon@franklinwi.gov.

For more information, call 414-425-2522.

Sport Shorts: April 28, 2016

April 26, 2016 7:30 p.m. |


The Sabers finished a strong second to area rival Greendale, 336-338, in its own 18-hole invite played on April 22 at Oakwood Golf Course.

"Mitchell Ottled the team with a great score of 80 on a day in which the cold weather, high winds and bumpy greens did not yield low scores," said coach Brandon Johnsen. "We hung in there. We all wanted to shoot lower than what we did, but with the weather the way it was, you really just needed to grind it out. That's what we did. Very proud of the way my guys handled the tough conditions."

The sabers also won a Southeast Conference mini-meet at Maplecrest on April 20 and took second at another league mini-meet on April 18.

At the invite, Greendale won with an 18-hole score of 336, while Franklin came in with 338 in the 14-team field.

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Franklin water rates could increase by 7 percent

April 26, 2016 5:49 p.m. | Franklin — Water rates for the city of Franklin are set to rise by 7 percent, on average, according to the Franklin Board of Water Commissioners at a meeting April 19.

Paul Rotzenberg, Franklin's director of finance and treasurer, said the average single-family residential user would see such an increase on their bill likely effective mid-June.

The fee is tied to the actual cost of providing the service, panel members concurred.

"Our (current) rates don't support our infrastructure," said Commissioner Jack Takerian.

The magic number

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Whitnall gets new school district superintendent

April 26, 2016 1:27 p.m. | Greenfield — The Whitnall School Board on Monday appointed Lisa Olson as the next superintendent of the Whitnall School District.

District officials called Olson a skilled leader, noting her work as superintendent for the Hartford Union High School District for six years.

Although Olson is an innovator, school board President LuAnn Bird said, "We aren't looking to bring in a change agent."

Olson doesn't represent a change in course but will develop innovations to help the district along the course it has already set, Bird said.

"Her innovations align with what the schools are already doing," Bird said. Large among those is personalized learning, she said. Olson has already implemented personalized learning at the high school level.

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New Franklin track christened with Saber invite wins

April 26, 2016 9:09 a.m. | Everyone involved in the long and successful history of the Franklin track program deserved what happened on Saturday, April 23.

And it wasn't just the fact that the Sabers won both the boys and girls competitions of their own first-in-a-long time Franklin Invitational on a cool but sunny day and got the meet done in a sprightly three-plus hours.

No, it was the fact that the Sabers and everyone else involved got to run on a spectacularly nice and new championship-level eight-lane track that was recently completed as part of Franklin's two-year, $3 million-plus public/private facilities upgrade project.

It passed all the tests and earned a lot of smiles and compliments, according to boys coach John Troy and girls coach Jack Hervert, including one all-important one from former girls coach and Franklin AD Don Kurth, who when texted a picture of the track before the meet, was in awe of what he saw:

"That looks amazing," he said, before laughingly noting, "You know how much time I spent on that old six-lane hunk of junk?"

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Oak Creek girls track wins third straight outdoor invite

April 26, 2016 9:09 a.m. | There seems to be no stopping the Oak Creek girls track team in the outdoor season as the Knights won their third consecutive major meet title in as many tries at the 13-team East Troy Invite on April 22.

The Knights' boys worked hard to keep up with their distaff partners taking second in their 12-team effort at East Troy.

"The depth is what is so impressive right now," said Oak Creek girls' coach coach Robert Haberli. "The girls are so willing to work together. A lot of girls who were in so many events last year don't have to be this year because there are others coming up."

But all these meets are just the opening acts to the main events that are coming up including the Southeast Conference Relays at Oak Creek on Tuesday, May 3.

"We've told the girls, everything is leading up to this meet, this meet and this meet," said Haberli. "We really want to hit our stride in May."

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