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Germantown parents speak out against large kindergarten class sizes, district acknowledges problem

Feb. 24, 2015 9:07 p.m. | Germantown — An overall lack of space is not a new problem at Rockfield Elementary School. But a group of parents says the time is now for the district to take action toward resolving what district officials have for several years acknowledged is an ongoing problem.

Large class sizes and the resulting possibility for teacher burnout were among several concerns raised by Jackson resident Lenny Hanson, who on Feb. 23 addressed the school board on behalf of a growing number of parents in the district.

"My child is in her first year in kindergarten, and my child's teacher will always be the one that says 'oh boy, here comes that big class,'" said Hanson, whose daughter is enrolled at Rockfield.

The school houses the district's early childhood program, which the district had hoped to find a new home for this school year. Though nothing has come together yet, a move would free up the space utilized by about 50 students between the ages of 3 and 5 years old who have special education needs.

Creative solutions like having the music classes in the library and other student work time in hallways and vestibules are among those being utilized to accomodate the needs of the school. The problem is there is no room for the program elsewhere in the district either, leading the district to look elsewhere in the village for location options.

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Menomonee Falls School Board takes steps to include two referendum questions on April 2016 ballot

Feb. 24, 2015 8:31 p.m. | Menomonee Falls — It is looking more and more likely that the School District of Menomonee Falls will be turning to voters for help to address operational and facilities needs in the district.

As soon as this time next year, two referendum questions could appear on the ballot in a culmination of what will at that point be two years of consideration and planning for the future of school facilities throughout the village.

Following a facilities study completed in February 2014, the board has for a year been meeting monthly to discuss options for proceeding with program improvement projects and capital maintenance projects earmarked for completion in the next five years.

The projects include everything from asphalt replacement and galvanized piping and plumbing fixtures, to improvements to the high school and middle school auditoriums and Project Lead the Way classrooms.

The future of Hiawatha and Thomas Jefferson (TJ) are also in question, due to the cost estimated to bring TJ back online coming in close to the cost of an entirely new building.

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Best friends, Barry Manilow 'Fanilows' to reunite at Milwaukee concert

Feb. 23, 2015 3:20 p.m. | Menomonee Falls — Barry Manilow is credited with saying "nobody is going to give you anything; you've got to go out and fight for it."

And fight they did.

For almost two years, lifelong best friends Michelle Held and Diane Kubatzki were barely on speaking terms after what happened at a 1982 Barry Manilow concert they attended together.

"I was heartbroken," said Kubatzki, the much bigger Manilow fan of the two. "I honestly couldn't even believe it what was happening right before my eyes."

Moments earlier, Manilow had asked the crowd of more than 30,000 for a volunteer to come sing with him on stage.

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Damage to vacant Menomonee Falls school property estimated well over $10,000

Feb. 23, 2015 11:30 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — Crime Stoppers and the Menomonee Falls Village Board are offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the possible arrest of whoever is responsible for serious damage done to Thomas Jefferson Middle School on Feb. 18.

"Significant damage" was done to the school property at W165 N8301 Lavergne Ave. late in the night, according to a notice put out by the school district.

"The suspects entered through an unlocked tunnel door on the south side of the building and did massive damage to the property," explained Lt. Kevin Von Bank. "A few exterior windows were damaged, but a lot more damage was done inside the building to interior windows and mirrors in the restrooms."

Though an exact estimate of damage was not known as of press deadline, Von Bank said he is "certain it is well over $10,000."

The school has been closed since 2005.

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Knodl supports, speaks in favor of Right-to-work legislation

Feb. 23, 2015 9:11 a.m. | Days before right-to-work legislation will be introduced, state representative Dan Knodl (R) spoke in favor of the change.

"I have long been a strong supporter of right to work and I am excited to see that Assembly Republicans are committed to moving Wisconsin forward. Right to work is an important piece of the puzzle for improving Wisconsin's economy and business climate," said Knodl, in a statement.

Knodl said he will be joining his colleagues, representatives Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) and Dave Craig (R-Big Bend), as assembly leads on this bill.

"Right to work is about increasing worker freedom and opportunity, growing our economy, job creation, and overall economic prosperity," Knodl said, in the statement. "There are 24 states that already have right-to-work laws and Wisconsin should be excited about the prospect of becoming number 25."

On Tuesday, the Wisconsin state senate is expected to take up a right-to-work bill in what's known as an extraordinary legislative session. If it passes, the bill could move on to the state assembly for consideration as soon as next week.

Germantown school board approves resignation of teacher arrested for vandalism

Feb. 23, 2015 8:48 a.m. | Germantown — An issue that last summer started at a vandalized Scott Walker booth at the Jefferson County Fair has been brought to its final resolution for the Germantown School District.

The school board reviewed a resignation letter it received from kindergarten teacher April K. Smith, who pleaded guilty no contest in court on Aug. 19 after causing about $40 in damage to an unknown number of Scott Walker signs at the Republican party tent at the fair on July 9.

"Thank you for the opportunity to serve the Germantown community and work with many wonderful colleagues and administrators," said a resignation letter submitted by Smith. According to the letter, the resignation is effective Friday, Feb. 13. "If there is any way I can be of help during the transition, please let me know."

Smith, 39, who formerly taught kindergarten at Amy Belle Elementary, returned to the classroom in what the district referred to as an "alternate teaching assignment" on Jan. 5. Prior to that, she had been suspended, following her arrest for disorderly conduct at the fair. An email requesting comments from her was not returned.

Her new assignment co-teaching 51 kindergarten students in two classrooms at Rockfield Elementary School has helped with what parents have said are much-too-large class sizes at the school.

» Read Full Article

Germantown boys basketball team clinches outright NSC title

Feb. 20, 2015 11:07 p.m. | Over the course of the last nine extremely successful years, the three-time WIAA state champion Germantown boys basketball team has had to stare down moments like it faced Friday night on senior night at home against archrival Homestead.

The Highlanders had erased a 10-point third quarter deficit, and behind the mighty efforts of 6-7 forward Jaylen Key (26 points), had surged into a 51-47 lead with 7:32 left before a packed Germantown gym full of hoops' junkies.

In the past, Warhawk superstars like Ben Averkamp, Zak Showalter, Luke Fischer or Lamonte Bearden would have stepped to the fore to put an end to such nonsense.

But those guys are long gone to college or beyond.

Enter junior point guard Juwan McCloud, who now put up his name for consideration among those Warhawk greats. In that fourth quarter, he would hit in short succession, four 3-pointers, including one four-point play.

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Vacant Menomonee Falls school property vandalized

Feb. 20, 2015 7:13 p.m. | Menomonee Falls — Crime Stoppers and the Menomonee Falls Village Board are offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the possible arrest of whoever is responsible for serious damage done to Thomas Jefferson Middle School on Feb. 18.

"Significant damage" was done to the school property at W165 N8301 Lavergne Ave. late in the night, according to a notice put out by the school district.

"The suspects entered through an unlocked tunnel door on the south side of the building and did massive damage to the property," explained Lt. Kevin Von Bank. "A few exterior windows were damaged, but a lot more damage was done inside the building to interior windows and mirrors in the restrooms."

Though an exact estimate of damage was not known as of press deadline, Von Bank said he is "certain it is well over $10,000."

The school was last used for students in the 2008-09 school year.

» Read Full Article

Falls School Board to discuss public involvement in development of facilities plans

Feb. 20, 2015 3:32 p.m. | Menomonee Falls — Discussion on the future of facilities in Menomonee Falls, and the role the public will play in it, will continue at the school board meeting on Monday, Feb. 23.

On the agenda is a discussion of community involvement in the facilities planning process, which has been ongoing for about a year now following the facility study completed in February 2014.

In a work session last month, district staff again discussed options for proceeding with program improvement projects and capital maintenance projects earmarked for completion in the next five years. The projects include everything from asphalt replacement and galvanized piping and plumbing fixtures, to improvements to the high school and middle school auditoriums and Project Lead the Way classrooms.

The future of Hiawatha and Thomas Jefferson (TJ) are also in question, due to the cost estimated to bring TJ back online coming in close to the cost of an entirely new building.

Though all work sessions are open to the public, the board recently decided to formally seek community input on the priorities of the projects later this year. For more of the full back story, click here.

» Read Full Article

Germantown girls basketball team wins 2nd outright North Shore crown

Feb. 20, 2015 12:07 a.m. |

In it's home fieldhouse, the Homestead girls basketball team had Germantown star guards Taylor Higginbotham and Val Meissner in serious foul trouble at the half Thursday night.

They also held the Warhawks without a point for well over five minutes in the second quarter.

And they cut the deficit to two points on three occasions in the fourth quarter.

» Read Full Article

Germantown teen to play Carnegie Hall

Feb. 19, 2015 11:19 a.m. | When she was little, Eve Harris would play violin in front of her dolls. Sunday, the 18-year old from Germantown will play at Carnegie Hall.

Harris is one of 100 students from around the world selected to perform in the orchestra portion of the High School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall. She will tour New York with fellow participants, begin  rehearsing Thursday and  play the country's most famous concert hall Sunday night in a performance directed by prominent New York and New Jersey youth conductor Jeffery Grogan.

"It's an honor to be performing with other kids my age and to have a world class conductor," Harris said.

Harris' teacher, Lewis Rosove, nominated her for the program, feeling that auditioning would be good experience for her. When Harris' parents, Laureen and Michael, got the email that their daughter had been one of 100 chosen out of 10,000, they had to read the email multiple times before reality sank in.

Harris is homeschooled but takes music classes at Maranatha Baptist University and has played in its orchestra for five years. At 13, she was the youngest person ever to play in the university's orchestra.

» Read Full Article

Germantown Park and Recreation Department hires new recreation supervisor

Feb. 18, 2015 11:16 a.m. | Germantown — After several years in the Wisconsin Dells area, Adam Breest has returned to his hometown of Germantown to begin his new role as recreation supervisor.

Effective Feb. 16, Breest will oversee the community's before and after school care program, summer camps, field trips, special events and several recreation programs. He has previously worked for City of Wisconsin Dells, Village of Lake Delton, and the Village Bible Camp in Lansing, Iowa.

He will replace Joe Masiarchin, who recently resigned after seven years working in the department.

Farrow, Schellinger advance in County Executive race

Feb. 17, 2015 9:32 p.m. | Sen. Paul Farrow and Waukesha County Board Supervisor Thomas Schellinger will advance to the general election following Tuesday's primary election.

With all 181 precincts reporting, unofficial results show Farrow leading the four-person field with 7,829 votes, Schellinger coming in second with 2,919 votes.

Four candidates campaigned to replace Dan Vrakas as Waukesha County executive in the nonpartisan race after he announced last fall he would not seek re-election. Vrakas — who's term expires April 21 — endorsed Farrow in the race.

Larry Barthen of Waukesha ran a distant third in the primary with 1,245 votes. Now retired, Barthen worked as a long-term care coordinator for the county Health and Human Services Department.

Kim Wentz of Pewaukee, an emergency services dispatcher with the Waukesha County Communications Center came in fourth with 1,038 votes.

» Read Full Article

Germantown kindergarten teacher to resign after reassignment, disorderly conduct arrest

Feb. 17, 2015 11:30 a.m. | Germantown — A 39-year-old Oconomowoc woman who last summer vandalized a Scott Walker booth at the Jefferson County Fair has submitted a letter of resignation to the Germantown School District.

"Thank you for the opportunity to serve the Germantown community and work with many wonderful colleagues and administrators," the resignation letter said. According to the letter, the resignation is effective Friday, Feb. 13. "If there is any way I can be of help during the transition, please let me know."

The school board will consider the letter at its meeting Monday, Feb. 23, according to an email from Superintendent Jeff Holmes. Other than confirming the board's plans to discuss the letter at its next meeting, Holmes refused to comment further.

Smith, 39, who formerly taught kindergarten at Amy Belle Elementary, returned to the classroom in what the district referred to as an "alternate teaching assignment" on Jan. 5. Prior to that, she had been suspended, following her arrest for disorderly conduct at the Jefferson County Fair in July.

Smith pleaded guilty no contest in court on Aug. 19 after causing about $40 in damage to an unknown number of Scott Walker signs at the Republican party tent at the fair on July 9.

» Read Full Article

Germantown dog doesn't win at Westminster, but holds head high

Feb. 17, 2015 9:51 a.m. | Germantown — The local dog who went off to the big city to compete in the 139th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show will not return home with a win.

Named after New York Yankee pitcher CC Sebathia, CC will soon make the journey home to Germantown with his owner and handler Andrea Jordan Lane, who said the experience has been rewarding in other ways.

"We made lots of friends," she said, of both herself and the 7-pound papillon.

For the whole story, click here.

Community Watch

» Germantown parents speak out against large kindergarten class sizes, district acknowledges problem 2/24

» Menomonee Falls School Board takes steps to include two referendum questions on April 2016 ballot 2/24

» Best friends, Barry Manilow 'Fanilows' to reunite at Milwaukee concert 2/23

» Damage to vacant Menomonee Falls school property estimated well over $10,000 2/23

» Knodl supports, speaks in favor of Right-to-work legislation 2/23

» Germantown school board approves resignation of teacher arrested for vandalism 2/23

» Germantown boys basketball team clinches outright NSC title 2/20

» Vacant Menomonee Falls school property vandalized 2/20

» Falls School Board to discuss public involvement in development of facilities plans 2/20

» Germantown girls basketball team wins 2nd outright North Shore crown 2/20

» Germantown teen to play Carnegie Hall 2/19

» Germantown Park and Recreation Department hires new recreation supervisor 2/18

» Farrow, Schellinger advance in County Executive race 2/17

» Germantown kindergarten teacher to resign after reassignment, disorderly conduct arrest 2/17

» Germantown dog doesn't win at Westminster, but holds head high 2/17

» High School students from Menomonee Falls earn honorable mention in JA Business Challenge 2/17

» Village board opts to retain historic home as-is in downtown Menomonee Falls 2/17

» Man charged for fleeing an officer, bail jumping after Feb. 11 car chase that ended in Germantown 2/16

» Menomonee Falls Village Board to consider future of beloved historic property 2/16

» Germantown Village Board lowers speed limit on Donges Bay Road 2/16

» In 'Lassie moment,' Germantown dog leads officer to unconcious woman 2/14

» Germantown district braces for what state budget could mean for schools 2/13

» Germantown girls basketball team clinches share of second NSC crown 2/12

» Radio Shack in Falls Plaza to close its door 2/12

» New Menomonee Falls fire stations expected to open in May, June 2/12

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