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Merton School to explore new early-start option

Jan. 15, 2014 10:21 a.m. | The Merton School District announced in an email to parents Friday, Jan. 10, that it will be exploring the option of an earlier school start time for children who do not rely exclusively on bus transportation.

Superintendent Ron Russ said the school hopes to create a 7:30 a.m. early-start section for each grade level beginning in the 2014-15 school year, but that is contingent on sufficient enrollment in the program. 
If more students apply for the early-start program than seats available, the district will use a lottery system to select students. Students who have siblings already enrolled in the program will be automatically selected if an early-start section exists in the student’s grade level.
Parent Jacqui Budde has one child in sixth grade at Merton, and two children at Arrowhead. She said via email that she likes the new program and applauds the school’s efforts to offer the option. However, she said the current schedule works for her family.
“I don’t think my son will take advantage of the option, however,” she said. “To be honest, he really enjoys the fact that he gets to sleep in much later than his older siblings.”
School Board President Dean Dobbertin said he supports the program.
“I think we are in a situation where we need to let parents have an option and I think this is an option that will help them,” he said.
Russ said that the current start time of 8:50 a.m. is the number one reason parents choose to open enroll their child out of the district, most often going next door to the North Lake School District. 
“Those families tell me it’s early start,” Russ said. “North Lake families are home by 2:30, a huge difference from getting home at 4:30.”
A 7:30 a.m. start time would align Merton’s schedule with Arrowhead High School, Russ said, and a earlier end to the school day would give students more time for extracurricular activities, homework and family. 
The early-start option would only be available to students that have an alternative means of transportation. The district currently leases its busing services from Dousman Transport Company through a joint agreement with Arrowhead and the K-8 feeder districts. That agreement limits when each district can expect busing services, with districts that start later paying less for services than early-starting districts. 
Russ said that about 60 percent of families already transport their kids to school and only 55 percent of students are eligible for bus services. He said that if demand for the program means less students riding the bus, that could mean cost savings for the district.
Russ said an early-start option would not impact curriculum or extracurricular activities. Students would receive the same instruction, regardless of when they first arrive at the school.
“We want to make sure that nothing changes unless parents choose to make a change,” Russ said.
The district has scheduled two forums to discuss the change with community members. The first forum will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 27. The second forum is at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5.

Celebrate everything Celtic this weekend

Sept. 02, 2016 3:00 p.m. |  Everything Celtic will be celebrated this weekend at the Wisconsin Highland Games at the Waukesha County Expo Center, 1000 Northview Road, Waukesha.

The Celtic fun includes food, live music, dancing, games of strength and skill, and kids activities.

Admission is $7 adults in advance, $10 at the gate, $15 weekend pass, free for kids 12 and younger.

For more information visit

Billy Sullivan, a former band member of Gary Lewis and the Playboys and the Raspberries, will present a free concert for Operation Christmas Child from 7 to 9 p.m.  Sunday at the Rhodee Memorial Band Shell, City Beach, 324 W. Wisconsin Ave., Oconomowoc.

» Read Full Article

Harvest Fall Festival comes to Nature's Classroom

Sept. 01, 2016 8:00 a.m. |  Nature's Classroom Institute, W1802 Highway J, Mukwonago, will hold its Harvest Fall Festival from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 3. 

The event will include hayrides, a bouncy house, face painting, farm tours, and pumpkin decorating, along with baked goods, soups and other lunch items for sale. 

Cost is $20 per family or $5 per person. 

Nature's Classroom is located three miles west of the Elegant Farmer. 

Woman, 56, killed in motorcycle crash with minivan

July 30, 2016 6:45 p.m. | A 56-year-old woman died Saturday when a minivan hit the motorcycle that she and a 55-year-old man were riding on National Ave. in Vernon, the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department reported.

The two, both from Walworth County, were headed eastbound at about 1 p.m. when a 41-year-old woman driving westbound in a minivan made a left turn and crashed into the motorcycle.

The man, who was driving the motorcycle, was seriously injured and taken to Froedtert Hospital. The woman riding with him was pronounced dead at the scene after lifesaving measures failed. The minivan driver, a Mukwonago resident, had minor injuries.

Police are investigating the incident. They say alcohol and drugs were not involved, according to WISN.

Initial Reaction Podcast: Menomonee Falls baseball virtuoso Ty Weber and Big Ten Media Day

July 29, 2016 12:45 p.m. | The guys welcome in Ty Weber, who pitched Menomonee Falls to a second straight WIAA baseball championship with a superb state-tournament performance. Plus, JP and JR talk about revelations (or lack thereof) gleaned from Big Ten media day and offer some thoughts on the Milwaukee Brewers as they approach the trading deadline. Each week, Lake Country/Now sports director JR Radcliffe and Time Warner Cable Sports Channel's JP Cadorin chat about the Wisconsin sports scene, with an emphasis on Milwaukee-area preps. Find the podcast on Stitcher and iTunes.

Woman moves into 'miracle home' in Mukwonago

July 28, 2016 6:00 p.m. | Barbara Saladin had to brace herself on the door as she walked into her newly remodeled home.

"I'm just overwhelmed. This is gorgeous, just beautiful," Saladin said. "He would have been so happy."

"He" is her husband Joe, who died of cancer last fall. It was Joe's dream for Barb to live in a beautiful home with no repairs to worry about. That wish has come true.

In an effort spurred by the Mukwonago Home Depot, volunteers are giving Barb, 79, the house that her husband always wanted her to have.

The relationship between the Saladins and the local Home Depot store began in 2015 when Joe needed to repair a tractor. The store sent tool technician Rich Springsteen to the Saladin house on Lake Street. He and Joe, both veterans, became fast friends.

» Read Full Article

Longtime Hartland volunteer recognized nationally for service with local community theater group

July 28, 2016 1:45 p.m. | If you've attended a Lake Country Players production within the last four decades, you've probably witnessed, in some way, the work of Barb Christensen.

Christensen, 76, of Hartland has been volunteering with the organization since 1970. She was recently recognized with the Robert E. Gard Superior Volunteer Award from the American Association of Community Theatre, a national nonprofit corporation, for her service.

She spent several days in New York City as part of the award ceremony and, like a kid in a candy store, was in the heart of the city and Broadway, seeing the musicals "Fun Home" and "Kinky Boots" while she was there.

She spoke recently with Lake Country Publications about the friendships she's made through community theater, her favorite playwrights and her little known knack for the accordion.

1 Tell us a little about yourself, where you're from, how old you are, what your family looks like.

» Read Full Article

$90,000 winning lottery ticket sold in Oconomowoc

July 28, 2016 9:00 a.m. |  One lucky player matched all five numbers in the Badger 5 drawing on Monday, July 25 to win the night's $90,000 jackpot, according to information from the Wisconsin Lottery office.

The lucky winner, who has yet to come forward,  purchased the ticket at Herrs Service at 402 East Wisconsin Ave., in Oconomowoc.

Badger 5 is a daily lotto game available only in Wisconsin. Winners at all prize levels have 180 days from the drawing to claim their prizes by mail or in person at the Lottery’s Madison or Milwaukee offices. 

Menomonee Falls man accused of hit-and-run while intoxicated, his 4th OWI in 5 Years

July 27, 2016 4:29 p.m. | Village of Lannon — Charles Mossman was charged with hitting Donna Reuter's car and causing injury to her while driving intoxicated, then proceeding to drive away from the scene on Friday, July 22 in Lannon, according to the criminal complaint.

This is Mossman's fourth offense of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated in five years.

The incident occurred at the intersection of Lannon Road and W. Good Hope Road at a four-way stop sign. The complaint stated Mossman did not stop at the sign, and so he struck Reuter's vehicle as she crossed the intersection.

A Lannon Police Officer found Reuter lying in grass adjacent to the road, complaining of head pain.

After leaving the scene, Mossman was later located by a Waukesha County Sheriff in the 20400 block of W. Main Street. He was brought back to the scene of the crime, where he failed a field sobriety test.

» Read Full Article

Lake Country businesses team up to host Christmas in July

July 27, 2016 2:28 p.m. | It may seem too hot outside to think about cocoa and caroling, but two Lake Country businesses are working to spread the Christmas cheer during the next few weeks.

The Purple Giraffe, 183 E. Wisconsin Ave., Oconomowoc, and Silly Willyz, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., Pewaukee, are teaming up for their first annual Christmas in July Toy Drive for children in Waukesha County's foster care program, according to a news release from the stores. It will run through Aug. 25.

Participants can drop off new toys in original packaging at either store, according to a news release.

"There is a need all year round," said Jackie Schoenhotz, owner of the Silly Willyz toy store. "We thought it was something we could really make an impact with."

The businesses will accept toys from any store, but the two locations are offering a 25 percent discount for donated items purchased at their locations. They anticipate the drive will provide toys for more than 120 children.

» Read Full Article

Allen Road in Oconomowoc to close

July 27, 2016 12:35 p.m. | City of Oconomowoc — Beginning Aug. 1, Allen Road between Jonathan Drive and South Concord Road will close to through traffic for about eight weeks while crews work on road repairs.

Drivers will be required to follow detour signs through the Orchards of Oconomowoc subdivision to continue in either direction, according to a news release from director of Public Works Mark Frye.

City crews will realign the Concord Road/Allen Road intersection, replace worn asphalt surfaces and widen the street to 14-foot lanes with curbs and gutters on each side, the release said. Storm sewers will be added in two areas for improved drainage, and a multi-use path will be installed on the south side of the street between Jonathan Drive and Majestic View Lane.

Frye said he anticipates the cost of the half-mile construction to be about $841,000.

Other work in the area includes the installation of a multiuse path along Concord Road from Hickory Creek Drive to Aeppler Way, the release said. The path is being installed to make travel for pedestrians easier between subdivisions and to downtown.

» Read Full Article

Memorial fund honors Oconomowoc grad Craig Ireland

July 27, 2016 12:25 p.m. | Craig Ireland had a passion for football, and not just playing it. He loved being around the game.

The 2013 Oconomowoc High School graduate played on the varsity level, but he also had a strong connection to the Oconomowoc Youth Football program. His father, Chris, a Waukesha County sheriff who's the vice president of the OYF, has long been involved in the Oconomowoc football community.

When Craig died in his sleep of an acute asthma attack on July 24, 2014 at the age of 19, those who knew him — and there were many — grieved after the shocking news. Four days later, OYF president Gary Wipperman announced the creation of the Craig Ireland Memorial Fund.

Two years after Craig's death, the fund has given back to youth football players in the community and also at the high school. Recently, Wipperman announced the fund would donate money to provide an Aurora athletic trainer, Tyler Syltie, at every home OYF game and practice.

Getting more help

» Read Full Article

Lake Country businesses team up for Christmas in July

July 27, 2016 11:22 a.m. | It may seem too hot outside to think about cocoa and caroling, but two Lake Country businesses are working to spread the Christmas cheer during the next few weeks.

The Purple Giraffe in Oconomowoc and Silly Willyz in Pewaukee are teaming up for their first annual Christmas in July Toy Drive for children in Waukesha County's foster care program, according to a news release from the stores. It will run through August 25.

Participants can drop off new toys in original packaging at either store, according to a news release.

"There is a need all year round," said Jackie Schoenhotz, owner of the Silly Willyz toy store. "We thought it was something we could really make an impact with."

The businesses will accept toys from any store, but the two locations are offering a 25 percent discount for donated items purchased at their locations. They anticipate that the drive will provide toys for more than 120 children.

» Read Full Article

Lake Country golf courses bucking national trend, staying busy

July 27, 2016 9:35 a.m. | It happened in the bowling business beginning in the late 1990s. Over-saturation with too many bowling centers, increasing costs to participate and several other outside factors all but destroyed the sport in Wisconsin and throughout the country.

At one time, Pewaukee, Hartland, Okauchee and Oconomowoc had as many as eight bowling centers. Now just one center remains, Mapleway Bowl in Oconomowoc, with just eight lanes.

Many people thought the same thing would happen to the sport of golf, not only in the Lake Country but around the state and in many parts of the country. Over-saturation was considered to be the biggest problem, while rising costs also threatened to keep many regular players off the courses.

Two significant U.S. economic recessions definitely hurt the sport in 2001 and again in 2007 through 2009. Popular courses suffered a decrease of business, estimated between 10 to 20 percent, and even more depending upon location.

Some golf websites have reported business down nationally about 10 to 15 percent since 2005. Hundreds of courses have closed, and there's no doubt business will never be anywhere like it was in the heyday of the 1980s and 1990s.

» Read Full Article

Michna to perform at Center for Life Enrichment

July 27, 2016 8:25 a.m. | Jessica Michna will perform as Cordelia Harvey in “Angel in a Gray Bonnet” Wednesday, Sept. 14 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Center for Life Enrichment at 1306 W. Wisconsin Ave., Oconomowoc. 

Cordelia Perrine Harvey came to Wisconsin as a young school mistress. She soon met and married Louis Harvey, who became Governor of Wisconsin.   Cordelia’s life unraveled when she was widowed after less than three months in the Governor’s Mansion. She would set aside her grief to become the healing angel of a nation racked by the civil war. Some consider her to be the mother of the modern Veteran's Administration.

Lunch and performance cost $25. To register, send payment to Center for Life Enrichment, 1306 W. Wisconsin Ave., Oconomowoc, WI 53066.  Please include names of attendees and contact phone number.  Go to to learn more.


12-year-old Pewaukee girl in car-bike accident dies

July 27, 2016 6:27 a.m. | The 12-year-old girl struck by a vehicle on Prospect Avenue in the City of Pewaukee on July 19, died last night, according to a release from the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department.

The girl has been identified as Ashlyn Flegel from Pewaukee.  

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