Staff Blogs Lake Country Watch Wed, 30 Jul 2014 04:08:00 GMT en-us Bell Tower meeting postponed An informational meeting for the Bell Tower Memorial project in Pewaukee originally planned for this week, has been postponed to August 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Pewaukee Public Library. Elected officials, community organizers, sponsors and community members are invited to hear the latest updates for this City of Pewaukee project. The meeting will bring those in attendance up to date with the plans to build the tower. Land has been purchased and marketing materials are now available. Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:30:30 PDT Wienermobile visits Hartland this week Hartland residents might be surprised to see a giant hotdog rolling down Cottonwood Avenue tomorrow afternoon. The Ocsar Mayer Wienermobile will be driving through the village from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, July 30, according to a news release. The Wienermobile drivers will be setting up family-friendly activities for, and handing out whistles to, residents and shoppers at Piggly Wiggly, 505 S. Cottonwood Avenue. Residents will also be able to drive the Wienermobile digitally -- with their smartphones or tablets -- courtesy of a brand new app, or computer program, designed to run on mobile devices. For more information call Jennie Shen at (281) 795-2238. Tue, 29 Jul 2014 12:33:43 PDT New Mukwonago elementary principal announced As former Rolling Hills Elementary School principal Nick Reichhoff takes on the new role of district director of employee and instructional services starting Tuesday, the Mukwonago School Board approved hiring Casey Blochowiak as the next Rolling Hills principal at the July 28 meeting. Blochowiak, who taught social studies at Mukwonago High School and worked as a reading specialist there before taking a position as associate principal at Menonomee Falls High School last year, is happy to be back in the Mukwonago district. “It feels like home,” Blochowiak said, pointing to the dedication of MASD staff, students and families as the magnet that pulled her back to Mukwonago. In a letter to students, Blochowiak recognized the hard work of students and teachers that gave put Rolling Hills among schools the exceed expectations on the state’s school report cards. She also noted the importance of having a positive school environment. “Teamwork will help us achieve these goals because together everyone achieves more with organization, respect and kindness,” Blochowiak said in the letter. Blochowiak starts as the Rolling Hills principal on Aug. 1. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 20:57:46 PDT Hartland village board talks quiet zones Hartland residents filled every chair in the village board room to hear discussion on ideas for the proposed quiet zones at Cottonwood and Maple avenues. The project would require a number of adjusments to be made at the proposed railroad crossing sites, including pedestrian walkway changes and lane separation, said Director of Public Works Michael Einweck. The ideas proposed by public works department consisted of an elevated concrete median and slightly rerouted sidewalks, but additional suggestions were also mentioned. Einweck estimated the cost of the improvements to be between $215,000 and 300,000. The extra safety and warning measures would be necessary to secure a quiet zone, which would prevent a train engineer from sounding his horn when approaching certain crossings, according to the Federal Railroad Administration website. Every village citizen who attened the discussion was in favor of establishing quiet zones because they said the zones would improve the quality of life and, by extension, the property value of the homes nearest the proposed sites. The board members decided the plans for quiet zones would be discussed in more detail along with a number of other "big picture" items at a later date. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:46:15 PDT Waste contract debate in Merton town Town of Merton - Despite a roomful of opponents to the idea, the Town Board voted tonight to begin negotiations on what could become the town's first municipal waste collection contract. The town is one of three municipalities remaining in Waukesha County that does not contract for municipal waste collection and most of the nearly three dozen residents who showed up at Town Hall in North Lake indicated they wanted to keep it that way. However, town officials say there is the potential to reduce homeowners' waste collection costs and increase town revenues if they can negotiate a contract through a county government cooridinated bidding program. Town Chairman Richard Morris said the board may be able to select from two or three waste haulers who can best meet town resident's needs at lower prices. The new services could increase the amount of waste collected, reduce collection costs, and increase town revenues, according to Clerk Susan Oman. However, the town officials have refused to divulge the cost or details of the proposals they have received. Waukesha County officials who solicited the proposals on behalf of 20 municipalities have urged the local governments not to reveal details of the proposal until they have reached agreements with the waste companies. Supervisor Mark Lichte assured residents that there would be public information meetings before a decision on whether to accept a contract was made. "If it doesn't make sense, we won't do it," Supervisor Don Herrick said after the meeting. But the eight town residents who spoke against the idea expressed fears they would lose the individual services they receive through private contracts and they would have to pay more for garbage and recycle waste services. Some of those residents own a lake home and an inland home in the town and rely on one collection service for both homes. They said with a municipal contract they would probably have to pay for collection at both residents. Some senior citizens and a representative of a condo association were concerned they would lose their senior and group rate discounts. Others argued that a municipal waste contract was another form of government interfering with their daily lives and they would rather be responsible for their own trash. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 18:32:50 PDT Police investigate emergency at corner of Wisconsin Ave. and Brown Street gas station Town of Oconomowoc Police are investigating an emergency assignment at the BP and 7-Eleven gas station, located at N49W35964 Wisconsin Ave. The gas station is off of Highway 16 and on the corner of Brown Street in Oconomowoc. No further information is available at this time. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:39:59 PDT Mukwonago Food Pantry celebrates 25 years Mukwonago Food Pantry will commemorate 25 years of service on Aug. 1 and 2 with a reception and exhibit at the Pantry Resource Center at 225 Eagle Lake Avenue, Mukwonago from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The exhibit was created and designed by Richard C. Lartz II, a recent graduate of UW-Milwaukee public history and museum studies program. Lartz has done exhibits for museums, historical societies and nonprofit organizations, as well as businesses. The Mukwonago Food Pantry meets community and regional needs wtih the goal of bringing Waukesha County services to local residents, according to a news release from the food pantry. This alliance promotes getting more services to more people in one place. The Mukwonago Food Pantry Board thanks its donors, businesses, volunteers and everyone who has devoted time and efforts since 1989 to make its vision of providing families with adequate food and services to meet their current needs, and continue to increase the awareness of need in communities, a reality. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:48:34 PDT Hartland village board to discuss 2015-2020 capitol improvements plan tonight The Hartland village board will discuss plans for the capital improvements project list for 2015 to 2020 in a special meeting session at 5 o'clock tonight, July 28, in the village board room. The meeting is open to the public and is scheduled to end at 7 p.m. Village President Dave Lamerand said the discussion is a regular part of the budget process, but is not a time for the board to make any official decisions. The board's usual meeting will commence immediately following the discussion, and the board may take action on a recently proposed subdivision that would be constructed south of Capitol Drive and east of Maple Avenue in downtown Hartland. Mon, 28 Jul 2014 08:56:09 PDT OHS grad passes away Pewaukee resident and 2013 Oconomowoc High School graduate Craig Ireland, 19, passed away in his sleep this past week from an acute asthma attack, according to the Waukesha County Medical Examiner. Ireland attended UW-Whitewater and is the son of Waukesha County Deputy Sheriff Chris Ireland and grandson of retired Sheriff's Lieutenant Robert Ireland. Fri, 25 Jul 2014 14:15:35 PDT Taste of Lake Country this weekend Taste of Lake Country returns this weekend with a four-band lineup and participation from 15 local restaurants. Bands 4 on the Floor and The Toys perform tonight. Tomorrow features country bands Roadcrew and Crossfire. A full menu of this weekend's event is at You also have the chance to win a trip to Mexico. Raffle tickets are $20 each and $100 for six. Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:24:15 PDT Gateway apartment development begins construction in Oconomowoc Construction began recently on a 42-unit, upscale apartment development near the roundabout at E. Wisconsin Avenue and Silver Lake Street in downtown Oconomowoc. The project is being built by Premier Real Estate Management and is scheduled to be completed by spring 2016, according to news release. The city's plan commission and common council approved the development earlier this year and would provide the developer with $600,000 in reimbursments and infrastructure assistance. The three-story complex will mix one- and two-bedroom apartments that range in size. Some other amenities include a fitness room, business lab and event room. The complex will have an underground parking garage, as well as some aboveground parking. "We are excited to bring a superior development to Oconomowoc," said Chris Slater, president of development for Premier Real Estate, in the news release. "The dynamic atmosphere of downtown Oconomowoc along with access to so many venues around the Lake Country area creates a great backyard for Gateway residents." Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:30:00 PDT Oconomowoc man accused of fifth OWI A 61-year-old Oconomowoc man was allegedly so drunk while driving he couldn't properly recite the alphabet after police pulled him over. Robert Bertz, 915 Hickory Creek Drive, was charged on Tuesday, July 22, in Waukesha County Circuit Court with his fifth operating a vehicle while intoxicated offense. Bertz has four prior OWI convictions on his record, most recently from November 2005. According to the criminal complaint, Bertz drove through a roundabout then for a time on Sawyer Road in the oncoming lane of traffic just after midnight on Saturday, July 19, in the Village of Summit. Bertz reportedly failed several field sobriety tests, was unable to recite the alphabet in order after the letter "G" and had a breath test reading of more than twice the legal limit. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 1. Fri, 25 Jul 2014 07:24:37 PDT Local talent in full bloom this summer Summer continues to blossom with great entertainment, food and fun. If you’re looking for a high energy show featuring talented young people don’t miss the Kids from Wisconsin at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Oconomowoc Arts Center, 641 E. Forest St., Oconomowoc. The popular youth music group features 20 singer/dancers and a 13-piece band chosen from among the state’s finest musician ages 15 to 20. The show is a fundraiser for the Oconomowoc Breakfast Club. Tickets are $20 adults, $17 seniors, $10 children 17 and younger . There are a couple of great shows in Lake Country also this weekend. This is the last weekend for Lake Country Players sizzling musical “Bonnie & Clyde,” starring Bryan Noll and Shannon Straka. Shows are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday with 2 p.m. shows Saturday and Sunday. The playhouse is located at 221 E. Capitol Drive, Hartland. Call (262) 367-4697 for tickets. Theatre on Main is presenting its last weekend of the musical “Evita,” starring Lindsay Woppart, Sean Duncan and Joe Gallo, at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday. Theatre on Main is located at 25 S. Main St., Oconomowoc. For tickets call (262) 853-7628. This is the last show for the Theatre on Main players at the Main Street location. They plan on moving later in the summer to Brown Street Market Place. Downtown Lannon will be jumping on Sunday with a pancake breakfast, flea market and car show from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The market includes antiques, collectibles, tools and crafts. There will also be a Funny Car demo and more. Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:00:00 PDT Business park proposed in Lisbon Town of Lisbon - The Plan Commission has recommended the Town Board approve a preliminary plat map that outlines the development of a 73 acre commercial and industrial park located at the intersection of Highway 74 and Town Line Road on the former Lied's Nursery property. Developer Jim Forrester said he purchased the property from the Lieds family in October of 2013. He is proposing to divide it into about 22 parcels ranging in size from two to six acres. The east side of the development will be set aside for commercial and retail buildings while the west side of the development will be devoted to industrial buildings. He anticipates breaking ground later this year with the construction of a road system and other infrastructure for the project. that he predicted would take four to five years to fully develop. Town Line Square will depend upon private wells for water and the Village of Sussex for sanitary sewer, he said. A special joint planning committee made up of representatives of the Town of Lisbon and the Village of Sussex will review the plat map, according to Town Chairman Matt Gehrke. The joint committee was created by a border agreement between the two municipalities. According to Gehkre, the agreement stipulates that the property will remain in the town even though its developers will rely on Village of Sussex sanitary sewer service that was partly paid for by the town. Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:52:56 PDT Lisbon approves one convenience center, delays another Town of Lisbon - Plan Commission members had sharply different reactions to two separate proposals for a gas station/convenience store/ carwash in the town. A proposal for a Kwik Trip located near the intersection of Highway 74 and Town Line Road was warmly received and won recommendation for approval by the Town Board. "I am happy to see you are making this proposal. I look foward to it being approved. It is a great location," said Matt Gehrke, who is chairman of the both the Town Board and the Plan Commission. Commissioner Ed Nelson predicted there would be little controversary about the Kwik Trip because there were no nearby residential neighbors, it was located in a business district next to a railroad track, and it would be the first business to be located in a new town commercial and industrial park. Earlier Nelson made a much different prediction about a proposed gas station/convience store/ car wash and restuarant located at the intersection of Hwy. 164 and Q. He noted neighbors living across the road were objecting to it. He added it was located near a round about which would restricted truck access in and out of the gas station that also would serve diesel fuel and questions were being raised about the car washes impact on water quanity and quality in the neighborhood. "This operation is a big industrial size gas station like you would find at a interstate interchange. I would have a hard time swallowing this," Nelson said. Gehrke rattled off a litany of issues and additional information that he said the developers will have to address before there is any hope of the project being approved. The commission tabled consideration of the proposal until next month. Thu, 24 Jul 2014 21:17:12 PDT Meeting to discuss possible extension to Springdale Road The City of Pewaukee Public Works Committee will have a discussion and possible recommendation on the proposed Springdale Road extension at its meeting on Thursday, July 24 at 6 p.m. An extension decision would be made by the county, but public works committee member David Swan, also a Waukesha County Supervisor Board member, would like to encourage a formal discussion among other cities and towns the extension would reach. "It's more of an effort to try and get the discussions going among communities," City of Pewaukee Director of Public Works Jeff Weigel said. "To see if there's support from those communities to try and get the county to put the extension to Springdale Road to the north on their planning schedule at some point." Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:37:54 PDT Traffic backup on I-94 eastbound near Sawyer Road A damaged Honda Civic caused traffic to backup on eastbound I-94 near the Sawyer Road exit in the Town of Summit at 5:50 this evening. Police and EMT's were on site. No further information is available at this time. Wed, 23 Jul 2014 17:20:55 PDT Eagle firefighter dies in fatal Town of Mukwonago accident A crash Tuesday night in the town of Mukwonago led the fatality of a Eagle Fire Department member. Jed T. Ellenson, 31, of Mukwonago was prounounced dead at the scene around 8:26 p.m. July 22. According to a release from the Town of Mukwonago Police Department, the town and village departments along with the Mukwonago Fire Department were dispatched to County Highway EE west of Beulah Road for the report of a single vehicle vs. tree accident. Upon arrival, officers found a 2001 Chevrolet pickup truck pinned against a large oak tree. Initial investigation showed the truck was traveling westbound on County Highway EE when it failed to negotiate a slight curve in the roadway and slid out of control. According to the release the crash remains under investigation but speed and alcohol appear to be contributing factors. Eagle Fire Department Chief Justin Heim took to Facebook to notify residents of the loss. "A veteran of the United States Marine Corps where he actively served in Iraq, Lt. Ellenson found his calling when he got out of the Corps and joined the Eagle Fire Department in 2009. Lt. Ellenson quickly established himself as a leader within the organization and was one of the first people to help out in providing coverage for another member, assist in a fundraiser, or lend a hand on a weekend project. One of his proudest moments was graduating from WCTC with his associates degree in fire science. Jed’s legacy at the Eagle Fire Department will be hard to match -- and for once in my life, I am at a loss for words." Photos courtesy of the Eagle Fire Department Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:46:41 PDT East Troy Community Band hosts Swing Nouveau The East Troy Community Band's "Thursday Nights on the Square" is hosting a free public concert of “Swing Nouveau” at 7:30 p.m. on the Historic East Troy Village Square Thursday, July 24. The 15-piece swing band has been drawing "standing room only" crowds of all ages at top clubs and festivals throughout Wisconsin. Concert-goers should bring their own chair. The East Troy Community Band will perform its grand finale concert at the Alpine Valley Music Thursday, July 31 at 7:30 p.m. Sponsored by the Alpine Valley Music Theatre, individuals, and other local businesses, such as First Citizens State Bank-East Troy and Paul Nyfeller, CPA, all seats are under cover. Concert-goers should enter through the A-Frame golf resort entrance and shuttles will transport you to the theatre. Tue, 22 Jul 2014 22:00:00 PDT Hartland plan commission approves preliminary plans for new subdivision Hartland residents packed into the village board room to hear discussion and village action on a proposed subdivision last night. The plan commission approved the preliminary designs for a new subdivision on the Caestecker Woods property on a 6-1 vote. Commissioner David de Courcy-Bower was the lone dissenting vote. The subdivision would be located in downtown Hartland, south of Capitol Drive and east of Maple Avenue just west of the Woodlands of Hartland subdivision. It would include 34 lots with an average lot size of 13,299 square feet and a density of 1.29 units per acre. “The idea of the property is really to offer a product to the community that’s near a downtown area, offers people access the local community — whether that be parks, recreation or shopping — and create walkability,” said Chris Miller, the project's developer. Many concerned citizens asked questions about how storm-water runoff would flow around the new project, whether or not traffic on Maple Avenue would increase substantially once the project was complete and how the public could be assured of promises made by developer in the plat. The development proposal was bound over for a second and potentially final plan commission review, and the commission’s recommendation will proceed to the village board in August. The board will be conducting a parallel review during that same time period, culminating in a public hearing, and decision, on the issue scheduled for Monday, Aug. 25 in front of the village board. Tue, 22 Jul 2014 13:22:10 PDT