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News & Notes: Oct. 3

Oct. 3, 2012

Whitefish Bay chooses new police chief

Whitefish Bay - Whitefish Bay has hired Michael D. Young of the Milwaukee Police Department to take over as police chief, according to a village news release.

Young is currently an MPD captain and commander of Milwaukee's 6th District. He began his career with the village of Grafton in 1981.

His first day will be Nov. 12, starting with an annual salary of $96,000.

Demolition of two Main Street buildings imminent

Thiensville - The Village Board on Monday gave Village Administrator Dianne Robertson authority to proceed with plans to demolish two small office buildings at 108 N. Main St. and 118 N. Main St.

The village opened bids for prospective demolition contractors Tuesday, and a selected firm will undertake the demolition process before cold weather sets in.

The building at 118 N. Main St. is set to be razed around Nov. 1, and the building at 108 N. Main St. is targeted for demolition around Nov. 15.

Throughout October, preparation work will take place, including asbestos removal.

Medicare workshop slated for Oct. 10

Shorewood - The Shorewood Senior Resource Center presents a workshop on medical insurance options available to seniors 65 and older Oct. 10.

Sam John from the Wisconsin Medigap Helpline, will speak on Medicare, supplementary plans, Medicare Advantage plans, and other resources for seniors from 1-2:30 p.m. at the Shorewood Senior Resource Center on the ground floor of the village center at 3920 N. Murray Avenue.

Program coordinators are requesting registration, though the program itself is free. Interested residents can contact Elizabeth Price at (414) 847-2727.

Site launches for online voter registration

Residents can register for voting and absentee voting on a new website sponsored by the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.

To register or find more information, go to myvote.wi.gov.

Small interest costs mean big savings

Whitefish Bay - The Village Board approved the sale of approximately $2.9 million bonds to refinance existing village debt.

Based on present value the lower interest rates on the bonds are projected to save the village approximately $372,000.

Village Manager Patrick DeGrave said, based on the net present value of the bonds, the refinancing will mean an average yearly savings of nearly $26,000, though the total savings will be slightly higher.

Nicolet authorizes poster production

Glendale - The Nicolet Athletic Department announced that All-American Sports Posters will be producing posters for the district and will be contacting local business to garner sponsorship.

Athletic Director Kirk Krychowiak reminds the community that only All-American has been authorized to produce the posters. Questions can be directed to Krychowiak at (414) 351-1700 or All-American at (800) 556-1380.

Village considers safety risks of landscaping in right of way

Shorewood - Shorewood is taking a closer look at private landscaping that encroaches into the public right of way, particularly where it may pose a safety hazard.

The Village Board on Monday granted a special privilege permit to one property, in the 200 block of East Beverly Road, where 22 Arborvitae bushes are growing outside of a fence on the property.

Staff determined that the bushes do not pose a safety hazard as long as they are kept no higher than 6 feet tall and their growth into the right of way does not exceed its current level. The special privilege permit was approved with the condition that the bushes be maintained to meet those guidelines. Trustee Patrick Linnane voted against granting the permit.

Linnane noted that there are other areas in the village where landscaping obstructs the view of bicyclists and pedestrians. Trustee Jeff Hanewall said that staff has been directed to continue looking at and addressing other problem areas throughout the village.

Brown Deer hosts community meetings on education

Brown Deer - In light of recent changes with testing that now compares students internationally, the Brown Deer School District is hosting five community meetings to discuss in a public forum format the best way to prepare children for the future.

The first meeting is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 30 at Brown Deer Middle School, 5757 West Dean Road.

"What does this transformation mean to us? If every student has to compete internationally, what are those international benchmarks?" said Superintendent Deb Kerr during the annual meeting on Tuesday. "How can we prepare our students for that kind of global relationship."

Technology integration in the classroom and its function to prepare students for the future will also be up for discussion during the meetings.

The next four meetings will be scheduled between November through April.

Village Board might consider sign grants for businesses

Thiensville - Trustee John Treffert on Monday suggested the village consider adopting some type of loan program that could help local shopkeepers obtain signs for their businesses.

During an agenda item giving board members an opportunity to take up miscellaneous business, Treffert pointed to several instances of businesses - most new to the community - that have yet to erect visible signs.

"Signs are enormously expensive," Treffert said.

He proposed the village consider a 5-year grant program to assist with the start-up cost. The item could be placed on a future board agenda, though no specifics were discussed Monday.

State rejects population estimate claim as flawed

Thiensville - The Wisconsin Department of Administration has weighed in on the village's challenge of its 2012 population estimate of 3,228 people.

Last month, Village Administrator Dianne Robertson came before the Village Board and sought permission to write a letter to the DOA in an effort to challenge the population figure the agency gave the community. Robertson argued there has been an influx of families coming into the village.

David Egan-Robertson, demographer consultant with the DOA, acknowledged Robertson's detailed analysis of the net gains and losses of residents in owner-occupied housing units sold during 2011.

But he countered by stating, "Our estimates are meant to capture a reasonable approximation of population, not a precise enumeration. The closeness of our estimate and your calculations affirm the reliability of our estimate procedures."

Residents approve Brown Deer board members' salaries

Brown Deer - Residents, in a 9-0 vote, approved Brown Deer School Board members' salaries during the annual meeting on Tuesday.

Board members will be paid $3,100 annually, which is the same salary as last year.

Village to write off nearly $122 in delinquent property taxes

Thiensville - Plans are in motion to write off nearly $122 in delinquent taxes from four businesses in the past three years by way of a resolution.

The entities owing the village tax money include Mono-Gram It, Sea 'n Sand Scuba, Lifestyle Homes of Wisconsin and Mendini's. All four organizations have gone out of business.

Meeting as a Committee of the Whole Monday, board members recommended approving the resolution for the next regular board meeting Oct. 15.

Several board members questioned the merits of going through the legal process of writing off such a small amount, but Village Administrator Dianne Robertson said the maneuver was necessary to comply with state statutes.

Officials weigh in on strategic planning with district, Mequon

Thiensville - While elected officials say they welcome intergovernmental cooperation, the prevalence of meetings was cited as a concern during a brief discussion on the topic at a Thiensville Village Board meeting Monday.

Several members of the Thiensville Village Board are participating in a strategic planning initiative with the Mequon-Thiensville School District and city of Mequon.

Trustee Kim Beck, who is among the representatives of the intergovernmental cooperative, questioned the frequency of the meetings, which are generally held monthly.

But several other board members had differing opinions.

"Schools are 50 percent of my tax bill, and schools are oftentimes what people look at when they choose a home," Trustee John Treffert said.

Trustee Ken Kucharski added, "I think sharing information is important."

School Board approves teacher contract

Shorewood - Shorewood teachers will receive a 1.63 percent increase to their base salaries for the 2011-12 school year, under an updated contract with the School District.

The School Board on Monday voted to approve the contract with the Shorewood Education Association. The SEA had already approved the contract as well.

According to the agreement, which addresses base wages only and applies to the period of July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012, other subjects of collective bargaining with the SEA may be addressed in separate agreements.

Business Services Director Mark Boehlke said a portion of the 2011-12 general fund balance will be used for a retroactive salary payment to teachers.

SEA representatives praised the collaborative approach taken with regard to the negotiations.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Wisconsin Act 10, "What was really impressive was the way that we were able, as an association, with the board, to have the conversations we needed to have and come to an agreement that we felt worked for both sides," said Sachin Pandya, chief negotiator for the SEA.

The board also approved additional supplemental wage changes for teachers, as covered by Wisconsin Act 10, including advancing all employees eligible for step movement by one step on the salary system and granting lane movement to all employees who completed approved coursework by Oct. 1, 2011. According to the agreement, educational stipends afforded by lane movement may be modified for the 2011-12 school year at the discretion of the board.

Shorewood promotes new DPW assistant director

Shorewood - Paul Wasemiller will now serve as the assistant director of Shorewood's Department of Public Works.

DPW Director Leeann Butschlick on Monday introduced Wasemiller as the new DPW assistant director to the Village Board.

Wasemiller originally was hired by the village as a mechanic in 1985, was promoted to chief mechanic in 1996 and assumed the additional title of fleet and facilities foreman in 2008, Butschlick said.

As a result of Wasemiller's promotion and an additional promotion within the department, the board also authorized the process of filling the now vacant junior mechanic position in the DPW.

St. Robert Church turns 100

Shorewood - St. Robert Catholic Parish recently reached the 100-year milestone since first being incorporated in the village.

The Village Board on Monday presented a proclamation to the church for its 100th anniversary.

The church was established in July 1912, with the school later added in 1915. In its proclamation, the village acknowledged the church as an active and dedicated Shorewood citizen, noting its architecturally pleasing buildings and beautifully landscaped grounds.

More information on the church's history and centennial year celebration can be found at its website, strobert.org.

Pizza shop to remain at retail space along East Capitol Drive

Shorewood - While Salvatore's Pizzeria is in the process of winding down operations at 2213 E. Capitol Drive, a similar establishment is poised to take its place.

Officials with True Light Promotion came before the Village Board on Sept. 18 with a request to obtain a retail intoxicating liquor and malt beverage license. The operators plan to reopen the shop in October under the name Falbo Bros. Pizzeria.

The board approved True Light's application with the understanding officials at Salvatore's surrender the existing license. Once the transaction is complete, Falbo Bros. personnel will be able to take it over. Background checks have already been conducted.

Board makes appointments to committee, board

Shorewood - The Village Board on Sept. 18 appointed former School Board President Paul Zovic to its Conservation Committee. Zovic's term on the committee runs through May 2014.

The board also named Lance Mueller to its Board of Appeals and Board of Review. Mueller will serve as an alternate on both boards with terms extending through May 2017.

Senior Center to use space in Village Center for storage

Shorewood - The Shorewood Senior Resource Center has been given permission to use underutilized space at the Village Center for storage, following action Tuesday by the Village Board.

SRC, which has used space within the Village Center since its construction in 2002, has long struggled with storage space issues. To remedy the scenario, SRC staff can store equipment underneath a stair well, which is only possible after taking a number of fireproofing steps.

The village will not contribute any funds to make the enhancements necessary to comply with fire codes. Instead, the estimated $15,000 to $20,000 project will be funded through a local donor's trust.

Village Board OKs rezoning request

Shorewood - The Village Board on Sept. 18 approved a request to rezone property at 4214 and 4216 N. Oakland Ave. from a mixed-use designation to 100 percent commercial.

Suzanne Powers, owner of the property, said she intends to use both stories of the building for her real estate office. Under village code, the previous designation of the property prohibited commercial activity on both stories of the dwelling.

Ericka Lang, planning and zoning administrator, said Powers' request does not conflict with long-range planning for the village's central business district.

Village officials to discuss procedures for zoning changes

Shorewood - In an effort to keep residents abreast of potential property zoning changes, Village Manager Chris Swartz announced his intention to discuss possible policies and procedures as requests crop up.

The village currently mails notices to property owners in the immediate vicinity of the land in question. But Swartz said greater strides could be taken.

"I don't want this to be neighbor against neighbor, but I think I think it would be beneficial to look at this," Swartz said.

The issue is to be placed on a future Village Board meeting agenda.

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