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Woman who stole truck from Franklin gas station shot by Milwaukee police, report states

Dec. 31, 2012 12:25 p.m. | Franklin - A 31-year-old Milwaukee woman who stole a truck from a customer at a Franklin gas station used the vehicle to ram a squad car in Milwaukee during a police pursuit on Christmas Eve, police said.

According to the Franklin police report:

A 25-year-old man reported that his 2000 Ford F250 truck was stolen at Andy's Gas, 5040 W. Rawson Ave., at 2:25 p.m. Dec. 24. He had left it parked and running while he went inside the business.

The truck owner was able to get a ride from another customer, and they followed the stolen truck to College Avenue and 27th Street before losing sight of it.

Milwaukee police officers on patrol spotted the stolen vehicle about 6:45 p.m. and followed it into an alley near 72nd Street and Mill Road. The driver rammed the truck into the police squad while making a U-turn in the alley. An officer fired a weapon at the vehicle after the driver backed up and attempted to ram the squad a second time. The driver, a 31-year-old Milwaukee woman, was grazed by the bullet.

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Special Sikh Temple anniversary program to air Monday on MPTV

July 30, 2014 2:50 p.m. | Oak Creek — A special program to commemorate the two-year anniversary of the Sikh Temple shooting will broadcast Monday, August 4 on Milwaukee Public Television (MPTV Channel 10) at 8 p.m.

The feature will begin with "Waking In Oak Creek," a PBS documentary focused on the effect of hate crimes in the city. During the last half-hour, reactions will air from Oak Creek Mayor Steve Scaffidi, Lt. Brian Murphy, the first responding officer who was shot by the gunman, and Pardeep Kaleka, whose father—the temple president—was killed in the rampage.

A live, online discussion with community leaders involved in the 2012 event will follow the special program at 9 p.m. Participants can ask questions via email, Facebook or Twitter. Visit for more details.

Video: How to navigate construction surrounding the 2014 Wisconsin State Fair

July 30, 2014 1:40 p.m. | West Allis — The Interstate 94 freeway ramps and streets around the fair are open to handle the surge of traffic starting Thursday with the opening of the 11-day Wisconsin State Fair.

That's a relief to West Allis Mayor Dan Devine who said, "They told us several times that it all would be open."

Freeway ramps at 84th Street have been closed for the massive Zoo Interchange rehabilitation project, as has the crucial Kearney Avenue that takes traffic coming from the west and exiting at 84th Street into the north end of the fair. The fair extends from 84th to 76th streets.

What will not be open is the 76th Street bridge over Interstate 94, a major route from the north to the fair's 76th Street entrance and to the fair entrance on Greenfield Avenue.

Instead, fair officials recommend taking 70th Street south to Greenfield Avenue and entering at 78th Street.

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Whitnall High School names new assistant principal

July 30, 2014 12:48 p.m. | Hales Corners — Ryan Relich, the former dean of students and teacher at Ronald Reagan IB High School in Milwaukee, has been hired as assistant principle at Whitnall High School, the district announced Monday, July 28.

Relich has spent eight years at Ronald Reagan, teaching history since 2006. In 2010, he was named Dean of Students, and in 2011, became the school's Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) coordinator.

"Ryan brings a lot of skills to the table," said Jackie Winter, principal of Whitnall High School. "He has shown the ability to judge a lot of different responsibilities and be a successful leader over the years and we're excited to add him to the Whitnall High School team."

Top 10 things to see and do at the Wisconsin State Fair

July 29, 2014 9:06 a.m. | This year's Wisconsin State Fair is the can't miss summer event of the season. With more than 30 free stages of entertainment, 100 different foods on a stick, and a cornucopia of cream puffs, what more could a Wisconsinite want?

The fair runs Tursday, July 31, through Sunday, Aug. 10, at 640 S. 84th Street, West Allis. Hours are 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 8 a.m. through midnight on Friday and Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the final Sunday of the fair.

Check out the top 10 things to see and do before you plan your trip to the fair and follow my blog Fair E-tales for the latest and greatest in fair happenings. On Wisconsin!

1. The Wisconsin State Fair History Exhibit

For all the history buffs out there, the Wisconsin State Fair History Exhibit at the south end of the Exposition Center is the place to be. The exhibit includes pieces from iconic fair favorites, such as the original cream puff, Mille's Sausages, the Giant Slide and more. Test your knowledge after checking out the retro displays and take a fair quiz for a chance to win some fairy cool prizes.

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Fast start leads Homestead baseball team into state finals with 7-5 win

July 25, 2014 3:16 p.m. | After his team's gritty 7-5 WIAA state semifinal victory over Oak Creek Friday afternoon at Kapco Park, Homestead baseball coach Ernie Millard pulled out his cell phone and pointed to a text message he received from senior pitcher Ben Garstecki at 10:22 p.m. the night before.

It read as follows:

"Hey coach, I want you to know that 100 percent, whatever you need me to do (at state) I'm ready for it."

Millard considered it a good omen and a bit of a prophecy, because after Highlander starter Jared Stieve gave up a three-run homer to the Knights' Matt Hargreaves in the third, cutting what had been a safe 6-1 lead down to a nail-biting 6-4, and then put two more runners on base, someone was needed to  right the Highlanders' ship.

In walked Garstecki, who promptly gave up an RBI single to Knight outfielder Matt Hamilton, but who then proceeded to toss four-and-two-thirds scoreless innings to make sure the Homestead lead would stand up.

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DJ's Court Tourney held Saturday

July 24, 2014 3:31 p.m. | DJ's Court Tourney, the annual 3-on-3 basketball tournament that benefits the Christine Rathke Memorial Fund, will be held Saturday, July 26 at Franklin High School, 8222 S. 51st Street.

Christina Rathke, a star Franklin High School basketball player, died at the age of 20 in a car crash in 2003. DJ's Court Tourney is held in her honor.

All proceeds from the tournament go toward the scholarship fund. DJ Slater, founder of the tournament, and his family finance the tournament expenses, such as T-shirts, food and trophies.

The tournament has raised more than $13,000 since 2003.

The event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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BMX, skateboarding competition canceled Saturday in Oak Creek

July 23, 2014 2:18 p.m. | Oak Creek — According to the recreation department, this Saturday's BMX and skateboarding competition has been canceled at the Oak Creek Skate Park, 1311 E. Drexel Ave., due to a lack of registrants.

This was Oak Creek's first official BMX/skateboarding competition. The event was intended for 10- to 16-year-olds and a group older than 17 years old. Competitors were not required to be Oak Creek residents.

The Skate Board Division consisted of a 90-second run on the skate park obstacles. The BMX Division would consist of a "best trick" competition, with three attempts. Steve Kaplan, one of the primary catalysts for the creation of the Oak Creek Skate Park, was scheduled to be a judge.

Oak Creek baseball team rallies big

July 19, 2014 12:12 a.m. | It's like Oak Creek baseball coach Scott Holler has been saying for a long time:

The four-time state champion Knights do not play just to win a single WIAA playoff game. They play to go to state.

So the second-seeded Knights went with a trio of sophomore pitchers Friday night in a WIAA regional final against visiting Hale, and in one of the messiest, longest games anyone has ever seen, the Knights rallied from a 6-0 deficit in the second inning to beat the Huskies, 14-8, in an exhausting affair that lasted 2 hours and 44 minutes.

Umpires were uncertain if another inning could have been played, as the sun was already behind the horizon at Abendschein Park.

Holler is relieved that they didn't have to try.

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Search of phone leads police to suspects in South Milwaukee gun thefts

July 17, 2014 1:01 p.m. | South Milwaukee police are investigating the theft of 13 guns during a home burglary in which police say one of the teen suspects took a cellphone photo of himself with one of the stolen rifles.

The victim reported his residence on Chicago Ave. in South Milwaukee was broken into on July 6 or 7. Among the items reported stolen were six rifles, six shotguns and a .32 caliber Derringer pistol, as well as two laptops, a DVD player, a TV and a camera, according to court documents.

Police were able to identify suspects in the burglary with the help of Franklin police, who were investigating an armed robbery. The victim in the robbery provided a license plate number, which Franklin detective Kevin Liermann used to identify the suspect's vehicle, a Buick Century.

Liermann then interviewed the suspect, an 18-year-old Cudahy man, who denied having any ties to the robbery, and no weapons were found in the vehicle. But court documents show a search of the suspect's iPhone revealed evidence of a connection to the South Milwaukee burglary:

■Texts showed the teen sending a message around 11 p.m. on July 6 to someone, later identified as the second burglary suspect, saying, "Want to lick the huz?" Police say the term "lick" typically means "rob." The other suspect responded by text with the burglary victim's home address, and stated, "Wear gloves."

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South Milwaukee registers sewage overflow into Lake Michigan tributary

July 15, 2014 10:27 a.m. | A South Milwaukee sanitary sewer overflowed into Oak Creek, a tributary of Lake Michigan, for about five hours last weekend after water from heavy rain leaked into residential and municipal sewers and caused excessive flows of wastewater, a city official said Tuesday.

The excess water filled a sanitary sewer on the city's southwest side, triggering a relief pump that started pouring wastewater into the creek about 10 p.m. Saturday, South Milwaukee Wastewater Superintendent Andrew Bakalarski said. The pump near 15th Ave. and Marquette Ave. stopped about 3 a.m. Sunday after flows in the sewer dropped.

Overflows to waterways help prevent sewage backups into basements. An estimate of the overflow volume was not available Tuesday.

A rain gauge at the lakeshore sewage treatment plant on 5th Ave. recorded 3.02 inches of water in the storms, Bakalarski said. That was the most rainfall recorded in the Milwaukee area.

The downpour hit South Milwaukee around 8 p.m. Saturday, and the gauge registered 2.8 inches of rain by 10:40 p.m., he said.

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City delays decision on $1.2 million claim involving detective

July 14, 2014 5:25 p.m. | A Milwaukee Common Council committee on Monday unanimously voted to delay a decision until September on a $1.2 million claim filed by a Franklin man injured by a Milwaukee police detective in 2006.

The five-member Judiciary and Legislation Committee discussed the case of Franklin resident Richard Betker against the City of Milwaukee as part of a closed session lasting nearly 90 minutes.

Betker and his wife sued the Milwaukee Police Department in 2008, after Gomez got a tip about illegal weapons in Betker's possession and led a SWAT team search the home. When Betker heard people in his house, he brandished a legally owned gun, thinking it would ward off intruders, and was shot in the hand and shoulder by police.

All officers were dismissed except Gomez, and a federal jury concluded in 2012 that Gomez lied on his search warrant affidavit to obtain a "no knock" warrant for Betker's home. Since Gomez is a city employee, the city could still be held responsible for the damages.

Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, the committee chair, said that committee members had "a number of different concerns" about the case, but declined to give specifics. He said that committee members would meet with Assistant City Attorney Susan Lappen, who represents Gomez, in the coming months to continue discussing the case.

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Tesla settles lemon lawsuit, agrees to pay Franklin man $127,000

July 14, 2014 2:45 p.m. | Carmaker Tesla Motors has agreed to pay a Franklin physician nearly $127,000 to settle his lemon law claim over the luxury electric sedan.

When Robert Montgomery filed his claim in April, it was believed to be the first ever lemon law claim against Tesla, a Wall Street darling despite some early bad publicity involving celebrity customers such as George Clooney, a few battery fires and some states' challenges to the company's no-dealerships sales model.

Montgomery's attorney, self-proclaimed lemon law king Vince Megna, said the payment from Tesla covers all his client's costs, including the $94,770 price of the car and various taxes, fees, maintenance programs and options. Just under $265 was set off for the mileage Montgomery put on the car.

"My client got everything he asked for. Everything he paid in," Megna said Monday. "This is all he ever wanted since he sent out his own demand notice last November."

Megna's fee of $18,500 was included in the settlement amount.

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Suzy's Cheesecakes facility wins final Oak Creek approval

July 09, 2014 1:21 p.m. |

An Oak Creek industrial building proposed as the new home for Suzy's Cream Cheesecakes Inc. has received city approval for some renovations to accommodate the company.
The Plan Commission on Tuesday night approved changes to the 44,200-square-foot former commercial printing facility, at 9911 S. Howell Ave., said Kari Papelbon, a city planner. Suzy's plans to begin that work as soon as possible, she said.
Suzy’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Kirchner couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.
Suzy's, which now has around 50 employees at 1775 E. Bolivar Ave., St. Francis, plans to have 90 employees at the Oak Creek building, according to a city report. 
The Oak Creek Common Council in January approved a $2.2 million industrial revenue bond sale to help finance Suzy's move from its longtime St. Francis production facility to the Howell Ave. building.
The city would not be a lender nor a guarantor of the tax-exempt bonds.
Oak Creek would allow an affiliate of Port Washington-based Ansay Development Corp. to borrow money from a private lender by selling bonds issued in the city's name.
The lender would accept a lower interest rate from the Ansay affiliate because the lender doesn't pay federal taxes on municipal bonds.
The Oak Creek building was later sold to that affiliate, Howell Avenue Oak Creek LLC, by an affiliate of Milwaukee-based Van Buren Management Inc. for $2.05 million, according to state real estate records posted in March.
The company in 2011 proposed a new facility in Milwaukee, at the Menomonee Valley Industrial Center. But those plans didn't proceed.
Also, Suzy’s last year considered building a new facility in Belgium, in Ozaukee County.

We Energies seeks to modify Oak Creek power plant

July 08, 2014 7:05 p.m. | The price of coal burned at We Energies' Oak Creek power plant has surged in recent years, so the Milwaukee utility wants to make modifications to the plant that would allow less expensive coal to be burned, too.

We Energies is asking state energy regulators to allow it to spend $25 million to make modifications to the power plant, which was built at a cost of $2.3 billion.

The plant, which opened in 2009 and 2010, wants to burn more coal mined in the western United States. That coal is about 35% cheaper than the Appalachian coal it burns now.

In a regulatory filing, the state's largest utility said customers would see savings of about $16 million a year if its plan is adopted.

Coal from the Powder River Basin costs less than Appalachian coal because the price of eastern coal has risen after a surge in exports of coal to China and other countries.

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5 Wisconsin men caught with 100 walleye over limit in North Dakota

July 05, 2014 3:04 p.m. | Devils Lake, N.D. — Five anglers from Wisconsin have been caught with 100 walleye over the state limit at Devils Lake and are each facing fines of more than $1,700, according to North Dakota Game and Fish wardens.

Wardens say they got a tip about a group of men who were overfishing and staying in a rental home in Devils Lake.

WDAY-TV reports a warden found 25 whole walleye in one of the fishermen's vehicles. Another 135 cleaned and frozen walleye were found in their rental house.

The daily limit in North Dakota is 10 walleyes per person.

According to the Pioneer Press in St. Paul, Minn., the men were identified as Michael Wirkus of Racine, Donald Klatkiewicz of Mukwonago, Daniel Klatkiewicz of Hales Corners, Robert Richer Jr. of Hales Corners and Allen Lafave of Racine. A sixth angler, a juvenile, also was part of the crew.

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