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Fire in Falls destroys barn, semitrailer

Dec. 05, 2012 10:24 a.m. | A fire that erupted Tuesday afternoon, destroying a barn, is still under investigation after crews worked into the early morning Wednesday to extinguish the blaze.

The fire at W220 N9110 Town Line Road was reported at 3:38 p.m. About 17 communities responded to the fire that destroyed the main barn on the property, as well as a semitrailer parked next to it. A home also received minor damage.

One firefighter was sent to Community Memorial Hospital with minor injuries from back strain, said Menomonee Falls Fire Department Chief Jeffrey Hevey. No other injuries were reported and the injured firefighter was released from the hospital Tuesday night.

At the time the fire broke out, there were more than 25 horses in the barn and all were removed safely.

It took hours to put out the fire as water had to be trucked to the property in a dozen water tenders because there aren't fire hydrants in the area. Water tenders hold between 2,000 and 3,500 gallons of water.

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Longtime Germantown trustee Al Vanderheiden bids farewell to board, thanks community

8:18 p.m. | Germantown — There's a lot more to serving on the Village Board than what people see at meetings. That is among the messages trustee Al Vanderheiden communicated in his farewell message at his last meeting on April 20.

"A lot of people talk about the village board and they say 'what are they doing up there?'" he said. "It takes a lot of hard work to spend the time to find out what you need to know to develop and make sure the village is moving in the right direction."

In Vanderheiden's case, it took 12 years of time, as he was first elected to the role in 2003, but the it is time he looks back on fondly.

"I'm proud to be a part of this board," said Vanderheiden, a lifelong Germantown resident. "It's just an exciting, challenging position I would encourage any member of the public to consider. It's something that you'll never forget ... something that comes from your heart."

During his time on the board, he served on a number of committees, including the Public Works and Highway Committee and the Tourism/Community Betterment Committee.

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Longtime Germantown Fire Captain resigns, leaves for new role

8:03 p.m. | Germantown — And then there were seven. The Germantown Fire Department, one that many residents of the village assume is full-time, is losing a familiar face as Captain Matt Karpinski has accepted a new position for a neighboring community.

"To say he will be missed is an understatement," said Fire Chief Gary Weiss. "Grafton is getting a good guy."

After 13 years with the department, Karpinski leaves Germantown on April 29 to start his new role as division chief of fire prevention and public education for the Grafton Fire Department on April 30. His departure will leave behind a staff of three part-time and four full-time employees in addition to a paid-on-call staff of people who respond to calls when the station isn't manned.

This comes at a challenging time for the department, as Weiss continues his campaign efforts to get a referendum he has said is more than necessary in order for a fall election.

Under Weiss' proposal, the question would call for between $900,000 and $1 million of additional recurring revenue to employ as many as 16 full-time people who would man the department 24 hours a day, seven days a week. At roughly that amount, the estimated impact on taxpayers in Germantown would be about 44 cents per $1,000 of equalized value or about $110 for a home valued at $250,000.

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Germantown Fire Department, Red Cross to provide free smoke detectors to residents following April 1

1:18 p.m. | Germantown —The cause remains unknown in an April 11 fire that killed one person and injured a firefighter. But that hasn't stopped the Germantown Fire Department from teaming up with the American Red Cross to prevent similar circumstances from occurring again.

"There were multiple smoke detectors in the home and none of them were operational," said Fire Chief Gary Weiss. "This has prompted us to, in conjunction with the Red Cross, walk through that area and offer free smoke detectors to whoever may need one."

The fire was reported around 4 a.m. April 11 near Legend Avenue and Blacksmith Court, where members of the department found an unresponsive 43-year-old man identified as David Umhoefer in the home. He was immediately transported to Community Memorial Hospital and pronounced dead, Weiss explained.

Investigation of the cause of the fire is ongoing, but Weiss said the department is excited to participate in the prevention of similar fires with the Red Cross.

"Nearly two thirds of all fire-related deaths occur in homes that have no functioning smoke alarms," Weiss said. "Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in home fires by half."

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Participants needed for Relay for Life May 29, 30

11:18 a.m. | The dates are set. The stage will be ready. But the heart and soul of this year's local American Cancer Society Relay for Life is still missing a few very important pieces.

"The more teams we have, the more money we raise to fight cancer," said Allison Klein, local American Cancer Society representative. "Teams are the heart and soul of every relay event."

Teams, cancer survivors and caregivers are still needed to participate in the Relay for Life Quarry Community event, which brings together the communities of Germantown, Lannon, Lisbon, Menomonee Falls, Pewaukee and Sussex at Germantown High School, W180 N11501 River Lane, from 6 p.m. Friday, May 29 to 9 a.m. Saturday, May 30.

The 15-hour, family-friendly fundraiser combines team participation in a walking relay with music, entertainment, games, food, a silent auction, and even camping. Each team must have at least one walker on the track at all times.

Teams of friend and families, as well as teams from area businesses, churches, organizations and schools solicit sponsors and donations. Funds also are raised from activities that occur throughout the event, Klein said.

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Update: 911 call reveals details of attempted carjacking in Menomonee Falls

April 20, 2015 11:50 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — A woman and her 4-year-old daughter came face to face with a long-barreled gun in an attempted carjacking in Menomonee Falls on April 13.

The 34-year-old woman made a very emotional 911 call to police from outside JoAnn Fabrics shortly before 11 a.m., reporting an attempted armed robbery carjacking in the parking lot of North Pointe Shopping Centre in the W14500 block of Appleton Ave.

"They came up along my window and pounded on my car," she said through tears in the 911 call. "I figured out what was happening and I hit the gas and drove away."


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Child, man are crticially injured in crash

April 17, 2015 9:43 p.m. | A child and a 30-year-old man, both from Milwaukee, were critically injured Friday when the vehicle they were in crashed into the rear of a dump truck on Wasaukee Road between Ozaukee and Washington counties, authorities said.

According to Mequon police and Germantown Fire Department officials, the crash was reported shortly before 4 p.m. at the intersection of Wasaukee and Highland roads.

A 56-year-old Mequon man traveling west in a small dump truck pulling a utility trailer was stopped at a stop sign at Wasaukee Road when the rear of the trailer was struck by a van driven by the Milwaukee man.

When first responders arrived at the scene, bystanders were removing the two victims from the van, which had rolled over into a ditch.

The man and child in the van were critically injured and flown to hospitals by Flight for Life helicopters.

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Germantown School Board members call modular classrooms a "Band-Aid"

April 17, 2015 10:38 a.m. | Germantown — It's looking a bit more likely that the Germantown School District may pursue a more permanent solution for adding space at Rockfield Elementary School.

The board is waiting on final cost estimates for the short-term modular classroom solution before they make a final decision on whether to pursue the permanent addition of classrooms to the overcrowded school.

As they wait, though, board members are speaking out against what some are calling a Band-Aid to a larger problem.

"I don't have an appetite for something modular," said board member Brian Medved. "I think we need to take a look at a the big picture; we need to consider everything before we throw money away, and I think (using modular classrooms) would be throwing money away."

The board has for several months been considering both modular and permanent solutions, keeping in mind both the immediate and long-term needs of children at the school, where staff has already gotten creative with solutions such as having music classes in the library and other student work time in hallways and vestibules.

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Germantown school district survey yields support for pool, solutions to overcrowding

April 17, 2015 9:13 a.m. | Germantown — The results are in, and the need for a pool, a vested interest in addressing overcrowding in elementary schools and support for improvements to aging buildings and technology were among the most popular items on a recent survey done by the Germantown School District.

The district received about 1,130 responses that Superintendent Jeff Holmes said demonstrate an overwhelming amount of support for a referendum to address a number of issues.

"I think (the results show) that (residents) want to invest in our schools," Board Member Brian Medved said. "They see the value in that."

The survey included almost 40 questions targeted at gauging support from district taxpayers on providing additional funding for things such as renovations to or the addition of elementary schools; upgrades to aging buildings and technology; and an investment in a new auditorium.

In addition to what Holmes called "very positive" responses regarding doing something long-term to address overcrowding in elementary schools, almost 90 percent of those who responded said they would support funding for a pool in the village.

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Waukesha, Washington counties at "very high" fire danger risk

April 16, 2015 2:23 p.m. | Germantown — Dry conditions are putting the entire state of Wisconsin on high alert for wildfires.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources indicates conditions in Waukesha and Washington counties are creating a "very high" risk of fire.

All other Wisconsin counties are also at "very high" risk, except Racine, Kenosha, Milwaukee and Ozaukee, which are classified one level lower at "high" risk.

One grass fire spanning about 5 acres was reported and subsequently contained recently in Germantown near Bonniwell Road and Country Aire Drive — an incident that has prompted Germantown Fire Chief Gary Weiss to urge residents to use common sense when it comes to burning in the area.

"If anybody is burning, they need to be extremely careful," Weiss said. "They should stay by the fire, keep a hose nearby and make sure the area around it is safe."

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Former Menomonee Falls village president welcomes grandson following tragic loss

April 16, 2015 1:38 p.m. | Menomonee Falls — "Our baby boy couldn't wait to celebrate his amazing daddy's life," said Anastasia Davis, following the recent birth of her second child, Andrew.

Davis is the widow of former Village President Jefferson Davis' son, Aaron, who died after a driver fleeing police ran two red lights and plowed into him and a co-worker as they left work around 2 a.m. April 11.

Almost three days later on April 14, his second child Andrew was born at a healthy 7 pounds, 9 ounces and 20.5 inches long.

"He is a healthy and beautiful boy," said Anastasia in a statement. "We are both doing great ... thank you everyone for your continuing love and support."

Aaron Davis, 31, was headed home from his job as head chef at a popular St. Petersburg, Florida, restaurant, Kitchen St. Pete. Sadly, he never made it home.

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Pilgrim Road off-ramps in Menomonee Falls to close in both directions April 20

April 16, 2015 1:33 p.m. | Menomonee Falls — Get ready for some long-term changes to your commute.

Starting on Monday, April 20th the off-ramp from Highway 41/45 to Pilgrim Road will close in both directions. Detours will be posted.

The ramp closure will also impact the flow of traffic on Pilgrim Road reducing it to one lane of traffic in both directions.

An official with the Department of Transportation says it will not impact access to local businesses, and it is all part of the reconstruction project of Pilgrim Road.

The ramps are expected to reopen late this fall.

Gehl Foods' owners give employees generous gifts as company is sold

April 15, 2015 8:03 p.m. | The day Gehl Foods in Germantown was sold, Chief Executive Katherine Gehl handed data-entry employee Samantha Larson an envelope. Larson figured it was some kind of thank-you note.

"I actually didn't open up the card until later," Larson said.

When she did, she nearly fell over. "I almost was in tears," she said.

Inside the envelope was a card worth $10,000 — $5,000 for Larson's 401(k) plan and $5,000 extra for her next paycheck.

Larson and every other full-time employee at Gehl Foods received the $10,000 gifts from the Gehl family.

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Aurora plans $38 million conversion of Germantown offices to clinic

April 14, 2015 7:00 a.m. | Aurora Healthcare Inc. is proposing the conversion of its Germantown office building to a medical specialty and diagnostic clinic.

The $38 million project will convert a 76,595-square-foot building, at W180 N11070 River Lane, according to an Aurora statement.

The clinic's services would include orthopedics, cardiology, women’s health, oncology, outpatient surgery, medical imaging and a laboratory. It would serve approximately 350 patients daily, with 140 staffers.

The three-story building now houses around 300 Aurora administrative employees. They will relocate to other facilities in the region.

Renovations at the building are to begin in August, and are expected to take a year to complete. 

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Two Germantown manufacturers plan expansions

April 13, 2015 2:49 p.m. | Two manufacturers located near each other in Germantown Industrial Park are planning to expand their buildings.

Sunlite Plastics Inc. has submitted plans to village officials for a 51,640-square-foot expansion of its 109,860-square-foot building at W194 N11340 McCormick Drive, according to a village Department of Community Development report.

Sunlite makes plastic tubing products for the medical industry. It has 80 employees.

The company’s president, Brant Stanford, owns two adjacent parcels totaling 9.8 acres, south of the current building, according to the report. The proposal calls for combining the parcels to construct a separate building that will be connected to the existing manufacturing and warehouse facility by an enclosed corridor.

Executives at Sunlite Plastics couldn’t be reached for comment. 

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Menomonee Falls Tazino's remains open

April 13, 2015 2:18 p.m. | Menomonee Falls — Tazino's lovers in Menomonee Falls need not fear the restaurant closing, at least for now.

The all-you-can eat pizza, salad and pasta bistro was rumored to have closed on April 10, in addition to the St. Francis-based business locations in Pleasant Prairie, Oak Creek and downtown Milwaukee.

A manager at the Menomonee Falls location confirmed that they were "rolling out dough balls and have pizzas in the oven" within an hour of lunchtime on April 16.

He directed questions to a customer care line and email address. Several calls and emails to the referenced number and email address were not returned.

Visitors to the Menomonee Falls restaurant the week following said there were no signs of any changes.

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