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Boy in custody for Germantown house fire

Sept. 24, 2009 5:17 p.m. | Germantown - A 12-year-old boy was arrested Thursday on suspicion of setting the fire that destroyed his family's home at N11546 Shadow Wood Drive, Police Chief Peter Hoell said.

Hoell described the boy as being responsible for the fire but did not release other information.

Douglas and Sadie Bugni and their eight other children safely fled the burning two-story residence after a neighbor, Richard Hanson, woke them about 1:10 a.m., Hoell said. Damage to the home, garage and vehicles is estimated at $500,000.

The suspect was found outside the home after a search, Hoell said. The nine children include six girls, ages 12, 6, 6, 5, 3 and 1. The two other boys are ages 15 and 8.

Hanson lives next door and ran to help the Bugni family after he saw smoke and flames coming from their home, Hoell said. Hanson's daughter, Katie, called 911.

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Orphaned Griebel children adopted by aunt, uncle

2:36 p.m. | Germantown — Words could not explain the sense of relief and joy that washed over Rebecca Sickler as her family grew from a family of four to a family of nine on Friday, Oct. 17.

That is when a judge granted the adoption of the five Griebel children, who were orphaned in April after their parents, Josh and Monica Griebel, died when their car left the road on Highway 164 north of County Road Q. The couple was pronounced dead at the scene, leaving their children, who are between 16 months and 13 years old, behind with no will.

The ruling brings more of the same for the children, as their aunt and uncle, Rebecca and her husband Dave, have been caring for them since the morning of the accident.

"From the moment we heard the news, it was a no-brainer to me that we would care for them," Sickler said, adding that the children were incredibly close with her daughter DaVecca, 8, and son Rave, 6. "That's why it was natural when we came that morning and they said 'I just knew you would come in and take care of us.'"

Unfortunately, it wasn't quite that easy, as a complicated custody battle ensued as family members disagreed on what was best for the children. Though other options involved splitting them up, Sickler said that was simply never an option to them.

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Award-winning filmmaker to air film locally on Oct. 29

10:50 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — Author and Filmmaker Genevieve Davis will make personal appearances with her work at 30 public libraries in Wisconsin during October and November.

Her tour hits Menomonee Falls at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29 at Menomonee Falls Public Library, W156 N8436 Pilgrim Road.

She will be screening her critically acclaimed, award winning film, "Secret Life, Secret Death," and leading a Q & A session afterward. The film has played in theaters and festivals from Chicago to LA, and London to Rome and has garnered much critical acclaim along the way.

The screenings is free and open to the public, and Davis will be signing books and DVDs as well.

To see the movie trailer, clips and reviews, or to purchase the books and DVD, or to read excerpts please visit

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Poll: Which area team will win a state football title?

9:00 a.m. | This week is when championship seasons title runs are started. Level 1 of the 2014 WIAA Football Playoffs start Friday.

But we want to know which, if any, of the area local teams will win a title in Divisions 1, 2 and 3. Answer on our polls.

Last year Arrowhead beat Franklin in Division 1, and Greendale lost in Division 3 championship games.



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Commercial development will be allowed at Falls gateway intersection

Oct. 21, 2014 8:26 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — Revisions to the long-term vision of a gateway to the village continue, after the Menomonee Falls Village Board approved a another update to the plans for the Main Street Cooridor.

The board unanimously approved the plan commission's recommendation to amend the comprehensive land-use plan to accommodate commercial uses for land on the north side of Main Street and Pilgrim Road.

The change could allow Kwik Trip's proposed plans for that corner to progress, though those plans have yet to be reviewed in detail by village officials.

Milwaukee man charged in armed robbery at Falls Associated Bank

Oct. 21, 2014 8:18 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — A 47-year-old Milwaukee man has been charged with armed robbery and evading an officer in connection to an armed robbery at Associated Bank on Tuesday, Oct. 15.

Charges were filed Wednesday, Oct. 16 against Michael Haynes, who allegedly robbed Associated Bank, N88 W16554 Main Street, at 4:18 p.m. Shortly thereafter, Haynes and 32-year-old Milwaukee woman Patricia Amann fled in a vehicle eastbound on Main Street, where Menomonee Falls police began chasing them, according to a news release.

The pursuit continued eastbound into Milwaukee, where the suspects vehicle was found crashed near Fond du Lac Avenue and 107th Street, according to the release. Both suspects were taken into custody by police, but Amann was subsequently released with no charges.

No further information is available as investigation of the incident is ongoing.

Germantown board requests more information on fire department referendum

Oct. 20, 2014 10:22 p.m. | Germantown — The fate of a referendum to make the Germantown Fire Department full time is still unknown, after the village board voted to postpone a decision on whether to include it on the April ballot.

A general sense of hesitation directed the board's lengthy discussion on the matter Monday, Oct. 20, when they voted 5-3 to allow Fire Chief Gary Weiss to do additional research before returning to the board again, most likely at the next board meeting.

"The answer is not no," said Village President Dean Wolter, who voted in favor of delaying work specific to the wording of a possible referendum question. "It's give me more information."

Preparation of alternative options was one of several pieces of additional information Wolter said he thinks the board should have before authorizing the preparation of a referendum question, which could call for an estimated $1 million of additional recurring revenue to make the department full time.

The plan would bring the number of full-time staff to 16 employees who would man the department 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Germantown village officials to consider fire department referendum tonight

Oct. 20, 2014 12:58 p.m. | Germantown — The fate of a proposed referendum to make the Germantown Fire Department full-time lies in the hands of the Germantown Village Board, who meet tonight to discuss the proposal.

The board at 7 p.m. will review the plans, which call for an estimated $1 million of additional recurring revenue to make the department full-time. The plan would bring the number of full-time staff to 16 employees who would man the department 24 hours a day, seven days a week

While the numbers are not finalized, the estimated impact on a property owner paying taxes in Germantown would be about 41 cents per $1,000 of value, or about $102.50 for the owner of a $250,000 home.

The department operates with four full-time and four part-time employees, as well as a paid-on-call staff of people who respond to calls when the station isn't manned. Its annual budget is about $1.83 million, which includes a costly fire hydrant rental charge from the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District of about $521,000.

There is no one in the department after 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday. Without the referendum, Fire Chief Gary Weiss said the department's budget for 2015 will as of April no longer cover the four employees who work the weekends, which means it could be unmanned for additional time between 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday.

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Menomonee Falls board to review land-use amendment

Oct. 20, 2014 11:18 a.m. | Menomonee Falls — Revisions to the long-term vision of a gateway to the village continue to be reviewed by the Menomonee Falls Village Board at tonight's meeting.

The board tonight will review the plan commission's recommendation to amend the comprehensive land-use plan to accommodate commercial uses for land on the north side of Main Street and Pilgrim Road.

The change could allow Kwik Trip's proposed plans for that corner to progress, though those plans have yet to be reviewed in detail by village officials.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at Village Hall, W156 N8480 Pilgrim Road.

Across Wisconsin, uneven property assessments fly in the face of fairness

Oct. 19, 2014 9:55 a.m. | A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation found inappropriate reductions in property assessments creating an unfair system. In dozens of communities across Wisconsin, 20% or more of taxes are being paid by the wrong people.

Marquette ends Menomonee Falls' dream of GMC football title

Oct. 17, 2014 10:54 p.m. | With a non-existent passing attack, a highly suspect punt game, and a red-hot opponent playing at home, the odds were long against Menomonee Falls earning a share of its first Greater Metro Conference title in 10 years Friday night against powerhouse Marquette

But there the Indians were at Hart Park midway through the third quarter, with a first down at the Marquette 18-yard line, a tie score of 21-all, an opportunity to go ahead and a chance at history.

However, it was not to be. The Indians stalled on that drive when the field goal was missed and three series later, Hilltopper receiver Jake Matkovich made a spectacular catch and run of a Charlie Greif deep post pattern.

Matkovich turned his body around and snagged the ball in a clean, fluid motion. Then he turned upfield for a 77-yard TD to make it 28-21 Marquette with 7:20 to go.

The Indians, who lost top offensive lineman Matt Henningsen to a leg injury a couple of series earlier, could not recover as the Hilltoppers would go on to win the outright league title with a 30-21 decision.

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Preps football photos of the week: Week 9

Oct. 17, 2014 10:18 p.m. | The regular season of the 2014 high school football season came to a close for area teams Oct. 17.

Now Newspapers and Lake Country Publications compiled the best photos shared on social media featuring teams from our coverage area, predominantly in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties.

Here's the best sights and sounds from Week 9.

Germantown High School alumni wins gold at Warrior Games

Oct. 17, 2014 10:52 a.m. | Germantown — She is not an amputee. She doesn't have irreparable damage to her face. She is not in a wheelchair.

But just because Jen Kyseth's scars aren't visible to passers-by doesn't mean they don't run deep.

A retired major from the United States Air Force, Kyseth has a disability that she says has been just as mentally and physically crippling as any wound you can see with the naked eye. A champion of others like her, that is one of a few reasons why she said her recent gold-medal finish in recumbent cycling at the 2014 Warrior Games means so much.

"There is a bit of a misconception about Wounded Warriors," said Kyseth, who is a 1995 alumni of Germantown High School. "First of all, the injury doesn't have to be combat related, but maybe the bigger deal is things like brain injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other injuries that aren't recognizable."

For Kyseth, the injury was not combat-related or visible, as she suffers from a degenerative disc disease that has wreaked havoc on her lower back and prompts an ongoing battle with chronic nerve pain.

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Two Germantown Police Officers injured after car chase

Oct. 17, 2014 8:05 a.m. | Germantown — A 36-year-old Germantown man is custody this morning after a stolen vehicle chase resulted in two Germantown Police Department officer injuries on Thursday, Oct. 16.

At about 6:45 p.m., Germantown officers located a stolen vehicle from Menomonee Falls being operated by the man in the vicinity of Appleton Avenue and Lannon Road, according to a news release. The man had just been involved with a disturbance at a grocery store in Richfield. Officers attempted to stop the stolen vehicle, but the man refused to stop and a four-mile vehicle pursuit began, according to the release.

The driver suddenly stopped the vehicle at the Radisson Hotel in Menomonee Falls, and would not comply with officers' attempts to take him into custody.

A brief struggle occurred between the suspect and officers before the suspect was successfully taken into custody. The man broke skin as he bit the Lieutenant Dave Huesemann's hand, and officer Dave Pierzchalski fractured his leg during the struggle. Huesemann tested negative for HIV and hepatitis, and Pierzchalski will be out an undetermined amount of time, according to Police Chief Peter Hoell.

"This is an example of how police work can be fast, fluid and unpredictably dangerous," Hoell said. "We train hard to avoid injuries and or worse, death to ourselves and others, but sometime bad things happen. Bad things are sometimes unavoidable."

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Workouts happen around the clock at the Germantown Police Department

Oct. 16, 2014 3:14 p.m. | Germantown — A fitness center is probably not the first thing to come to mind when thinking of a police officer's affiliation with a great escape. Yet that is what several members of the Germantown Police Department are calling their lower level oasis of elliptical machines, treadmills and kettlebells.

Commradary abounds around 2:30 p.m. on an almost daily basis as Schreihart and others work out together after they finish their shift at the department. With Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell" blaring in the background, Schreihart joined officers Robert Case, Steve Schowalter, and Shawn Marten in a workout game called Game of Cards the afternoon of Tuesday, Oct. 14. The energy in the room was contagious, as the group worked together and kept each other motivated.

"Come on, keep pushing guys," Case yelled, above the music. When that set ended, the group seamlessly switch positions before starting a new set a few seconds later.

"It really has been neat to see groups come together and use the area as a way to burn off steam and regain focus after what may have been a long day," said Police Chief Peter Hoell. "Not only that, but to see officers, residents and businesses alike all join together in support of something like this is pretty unique."

Thanks mostly to donations from businesses and residents in the community, as well as donations from employees and officers of the department, the fitness center is now triple the size it was when it first came to fruition more than 20 years ago. Over the course of the past couple of weeks, flat screen TVs, updated equipment, and new flooring have all been added to the space, which recently underwent its third expansion.

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Early Childhood Center plans hit roadblock, crowding remains an issue

Oct. 16, 2014 11:33 a.m. | Germantown — As space and overcrowding remain an issue in Germantown schools, officials are headed back to the drawing board yet again after plans for a new off-site early childhood education center hit a roadblock.

For several months, the school board has been considering options for the program, which serves special needs students between the ages of 3 and 5 years old. There is not room for the program elsewhere in the district, which prompted district officials to pursue three off-site locations. Though the original goal was to move the program into one of three possible locations by the start of the 2014-15 school year, an issue with state funding has brought that plan to a halt.

"The Department of Public Instruction rules say you can't just move special needs children out of a location based on overcrowding and I think that's part of the rub," explained Director of Business and Auxiliary Services Ric Ericksen. "The new DPI director, who has some fresh ideas and fresh initiatives, decided that we would be violating that federal rule and therefore risking federal flow through funding for the early childhood program."

The impact of funding on the program is something Ericksen said he questioned early in the process, and had received mixed responses about throughout his research on the matter.

"I wasn't about to say let's go ahead and implement this program change only to have them go into conflict with me that it was a cost that is a violation of flow-through funding," he said. "On the one hand, they can cite the statement about this; on the other hand, they're implying that if DPI signs off on it, then it might be OK, but that's a process and a process I don't think our director and administrative team was willing to risk."

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