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All Oconomowoc Common Council incumbents have challengers

Jan. 10, 2014 12:06 p.m. | City of Oconomowoc - For the first time in many years, every Common Council member will be campaigning to keep their seat this spring.

A challenger, or two, has filed for a seat. A few offered comments to the Focus on reasons they chose to run. Read more here.

Maple Ave. Elementary to close at 10 a.m.

Jan. 10, 2014 9:13 a.m. |  School officials from the Hamilton School District said that Maple Ave. Elementary will be closing at 10 a.m. today due to a water main break in the Village of Sussex.

Hamilton Spokeswoman Denise Lindberg said the school has contacted parents. Children who have not yet arrived at the school will not be expected to show up.

"We can't have school in session without a water supply," Lindberg said. "We don't have a choice, it's state law."

The busted water main also shutoff water next door at the Peace Lutheran Academy, a K-8th grade parish school that serves about 20 students.

A spokeswoman for that school said that classes would continue as usual and she expected it would not have an impact on food services.

» Read Full Article

Sheriff looking for missing Merton teen

Jan. 10, 2014 8:48 a.m. | The Waukesha County Sheriff's Department is asking for help locating a missing teen from the Village of Merton. Sonja M. Tomasicyk, 14, was last seen around 4 p.m. Thursday at her home.

 She is described as about 5-feet, 8-inches tall, 150 pounds, has long brown hair to about the middle of her back and brown eyes.

She was last seen wearing blue jeans, an unknown color long sleeve shirt covered by a dark grey sweatshirt, a puffy style winter coat, black fuzzy boots and a velvet patchwork purse with colored patterns and flowers.

According to a news release from Lt. Brian Larson, there are indications she left her home on her own free will. "We currently are not considering this as an abduction," he said.

If you have seen Sonja or have any information to her whereabouts, contact the Waukesha County Communication Center at (262) 446-5070.

No need to hibernate; there's lot's to do in the cold!

Jan. 10, 2014 12:00 a.m. | Though the winter world seems at a standstill, it doesn’t mean we need to not stay active. There are plenty of things to do inside and outside.

For couples who want to get out but want a fun night for their kids too, check out Parents Night Out from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday at YMCA at Pabst Farms, 1750 Valley Road in Oconomowoc. Parents can drop their kids off for a night of swimming and other activities, even a pizza dinner, while they go to a movie, dinner or out with friends. Cost is $15 for members and $20 for others. Call (262) 567-7251 to register.

If you love being out on a crisp night why not plan on bringing the family to Lapham Peak by Candlelight from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Lapham Peak State Forest, W329 N846 Highway C, Delafield.  Friends of Lapham Peak State Forest will host a candlelight ski/hike night beginning at Trecker Lodge in the park. The event will also include a bonfire, refreshments and skating (weather permitting). Participants may bring their own food for grilling in the park. The event is free; park entrance fees apply. Call (262) 646-3025 for more information.

Every day we see shining examples of the sun and stars. But what makes them glow? Learn the answer as The Astronomy Club of Pewaukee Program presents “What Makes the Sun and Stars Shine?” at 7 p.m. Saturday at Pewaukee Public Library, 210 Main St., Pewaukee.

Singer, violinist and songwriter Ida Jo will be featured at the next Cabaret Cafe Dinner Show at 6:30 p.m.  Saturday at the Oconomowoc Arts Center, 641 E. Forest St., Oconomowoc. Dinner is at 6:30; show at 7 p.m., Cost is $33 for dinner and show for adults, $23 students. The show alone is $23 for adults, and $12 for students. For more information call (262) 560-3172.

Taylor to retire, more big changes coming for North Prairie FD

Jan. 09, 2014 10:48 p.m. |  At a two hour public hearing in the Village of North Prairie the more than 60 attendees were notified that Chief Brian Taylor of the North Prairie Fire Department will retire on December 31, 2014. 

This is just one piece of the puzzle in the discussion of what to do with the North Prairie Fire Department as the Town of Genesee has voted to not renew their contract in 2015 and the Town of Ottawa has "indicated it is not likely"  to renew a contract with the Village according to Village of North Prairie President Deb Hall. 

The two departments going to the use of the primary department to cover their entire municipality leaves North Prairie with a loss of more than $170,000 in revenue, almost 70 percent of the current operating budget. 

There were several options for the department discussed at the hearing. Read more about those in next week's paper. 

Mukwonago Schools committee meeting cancelled

Jan. 09, 2014 1:02 p.m. |  The Mukwonago Area School District Board of Education building, grounds and transportation committee meeting for Monday, Jan. 13 has been cancelled. 

Try tai chi for free Saturday

Jan. 09, 2014 12:58 p.m. | The Mukwonago Athletic Club will offer a free one-hour introductory tai chi class at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 11. Marlynne Hodges, a certified instructor of the Tai Chi for Health Institute will provide the class. A six-week class will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 18.

The health benefits of tai chi include increased flexibiltiy and muscle strength, greater fitness, correct body posture, integration of body, mind and spirit, improved flow of internal energy (chi). Tai chi may increase focus and decrease feelings of stress and depression integrating the mind. This program is also supported and recommended by the Arthritis Foundation.

Members and nonmembers are invited. Attendees should arrive by 10:45 a.m. RSVP to the Mukwonago Athletic Club at (262) 363-2212. 

Lake Country School raises $72,000 for engineering and science

Jan. 09, 2014 12:55 p.m. | Lake Country School will be offering two new nine-week engineering units beginning next fall thanks to the financial support of local businesses, families and booster clubs.

The school raised almost $72,000 through fundraising, according to Superintendent Mark Lichte. The funds will be used to purchase 23 new high-end computers, design software, and a dozen robotics kits. The school will also be merging two classrooms to create a new math and engineering lab.

Local families donated $16,850 of the overall amount, with the rest coming from businesses and booster clubs, according to school records. Midwest Composite Technologies Inc. donated $3,500, Midwest Engineering Systems donated $5,000 and Fisher Barton Inc. donated $10,000. The school’s Parent Teacher Organization donated $20,000 to the project and the school’s Education Foundation provided another $10,000.

“It was overwhelming, truly,” said Assistant Principal Stacy Yearling. “Every time I would get an email from Mark, I was so amazed by the response, and grateful that we have this kind of community.”

Thanks to the fundraising, the Gateway to Technology unit “Design & Modeling” will be offered to seventh graders beginning next fall. Students will use modeling software to learn sketching techniques, descriptive geometry, measurements and computer modeling, and to explore how design influences their everyday lives.

» Read Full Article

Waukesha County Board considers limiting funds to museum

Jan. 09, 2014 11:36 a.m. | Before it approved giving the Waukesha County Museum $150,000 in its 2014 budget, many supervisors had their concerns about continuing to help fund it.

Now, on the heels of the museum announcing serious financial woes, the Waukesha County Board will consider an ordinance that limits the disbursement of funds to no more than 8.3 percent of the $150,000 appropriation each month of the fiscal year until the executive committee approves full funding. 

It would only give an approval after it receives reports of support from the Waukesha County Department of Administration.

The ordinance request was made by Supervisor Peter Wolff, who represents the Town of Delafield.   

"The county board did not have the correct financial data when we approved the museum's funding during the 2014 budget review," Wolff said. "As stewards of the taxpayer money, the county board needs more information about the museum's financial viability before we can release all the funds."

» Read Full Article

Third candidate emerges in Pewaukee School Board race

Jan. 09, 2014 10:03 a.m. |  Newcomer Ari Mahdavi, 572 Pond View Court, has filed paperwork to challenge incumbents Brian Kammers and Larry Dux for a seat on the Pewaukee School Board this spring. 

Brian Kammers is the board's current vice president; Larry Dux is the board clerk. 

Oconomowoc boutique carries world-renowned designs

Jan. 09, 2014 10:02 a.m. | Beth Frost's new Merle Norman boutique off Brown Street in Oconomowoc is home to the popular cosmetics, but also the designs of Xiaolin, a young designer who's work is catching fire.

Xiaolin creates dresses unlike anything you've seen before made entirely of feathers. Read more about the boutique and why the Asian designer out of Florida, who's launching her own line this year, decided to have the Oconomowoc boutique become the only place in Wisconsin to carry her items.

The boutique is at W359 N5002 Brown St. Suite 101.

Brian Dorow interested in Waukesha County Sheriff position

Jan. 08, 2014 4:12 p.m. | Shortly after longtime Waukesha County Sheriff Dan Trawicki announced plans not to seek re-election next year, two names have surfaced as candidates interested in the position.

Brian Dorow, associate dean at Waukesha County Technical College's Department for Criminal Justice, is interested in the position according to sources. Dorow was a supervisor in the City of Waukesha Police Department.

Sources have also indicated Waukesha County Sheriff Inspector Eric Severson is interested in serving as the county's next sheriff.

Trawicki has served as sheriff for 34 years and said it was just a good time to step down.

Waukesha County Sheriff Dan Trawicki won't seek re-election

Jan. 08, 2014 2:45 p.m. | Waukesha County Sheriff Dan Trawicki announced today that he does not plan toSherriff Dan Trawicki seek re-election in 2015.

Trawicki told TMJ4 reporter Charles Benson that there's no reason why he's stepping down, but it was just a good time.

Trawicki will complete his third four-year term this year. He swiftly defeated Republican challengers in the last election and a Democratic challenger never emerged.

Trawicki started as a cadet with the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department in 1979 and worked his way through the ranks where he spent the last 12 years as sheriff.

He will retire after serving 34 years. His term ends on Dec. 31, 2014.

Parent Resource Network program helps overloaded youth, adults

Jan. 08, 2014 12:27 p.m. | The Kettle Moraine Parent Resource Network a program to help people learn to recognize anxiety, depression, and achievement stress in children, teens, and adults. "Overload" will be held on Monday, Jan. 20 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Cushing Elementary School activity center, 227 Genesee Street, Delafield. 

This free event is for parents and family members, friends, high school students, educators, emergency responders and medical professionals, coaches, workplace supervisors – anyone in any school district who is interested in helping others receive the proper help they need and possibly even save a life.

The first part of the presentation will focus on a simple 50-minute educational program that teaches ordinary citizens how to recognize when someone is experiencing a mental health emergency and get that person at risk the help they need. “QPR” stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer. This three-step action plan will teach attendees how to recognize the warning signs of suicide, offer hope, and refer someone to resources for intervention and assessment. The presenter for QPR is Christine Kleiman, the program director for the Safe and Healthy Schools Department at CESA 7.

The second half of the evening will be a discussion about what anxiety and stresses look like at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels. Each phase of children’s lives have different areas that can cause youth concern. Kettle Moraine High School Guidance Counselor, Nancie Schneider, will walk the group hrough the school continuum and give warning signs to look for possible “overload” at each age so people have the ability to intervene and get children help to cope with life’s stressors.

Register on Eventbrite to attend.

Kettle Moraine poised for referendum

Jan. 08, 2014 11:20 a.m. | Long months of work starting with an $80 million master plan and guided by a community survey led the Kettle Moraine School Board to the initial drafts of resolutions for a $49.6 million referendum Jan. 7.

Carefully choosing wording to stress the direction and scope of the projects and wishes of the residents, School Board members will convene Jan. 14 to take action on the referendum question for the spring ballot.

Once the board approves the initial resolution authorizing the general obligation bonds, a second resolution would provide for a referendum election.

Stepping closer to referendum, the initial resolution would authorize up to $49.6 million on the April 1 ballot for the purpose of paying for capital maintenance needs, technology infrastructure improvements, safety and security upgrades, renovations and improvements, fixtures, furnishings and equipment for district buildings.

With language on the resolution in place, the district's attorney Jeff Peelen of Quarles and Brady, turned the board's attention to campaign practices as the district moves closer to the spring vote. Peelen pointed out three areas: general prohibition on using district funds for advocating for referendum, the role of School Board members and administrators, and the district separating itself from groups for or against the referendum.

» Read Full Article

Newcomers file for Oconomowoc Common Council; mayor unopposed

Jan. 08, 2014 9:13 a.m. | The City of Oconomowoc will not have a primary in February, but come April 1, here's who will be on the ballot for a seat on the Common Council

District 1: Jim Preston (inc.), Derek Zwart and Scott Antonneau

District 2: Tom Strey (inc.) and Louis Kowieski

District 3: Denny Daggett (inc.), Joe Warren and Matt Rosek

District 4: Bob Morgan (inc.) and Charlie Shaw

» Read Full Article

Kettle Moraine School District ready for referendum

Jan. 07, 2014 11:00 p.m. | Taking another step toward referendum, the Kettle Moraine School District Board of Education drafted resolutions authorizing a referendum in an amount not to exceed $49,600,000 on the April 1 ballot for the purpose of paying the cost of capitol maintenance needs; technology infrastructure improvements; safety and security upgrades; renovations and improvements; fixtures, furnishings, and equipment for district buildings. 

Attorney Jeff Peelen of Quarles and Brady, the district's bond counsel, presented the drafts for review by the School Board Tuesday night. The Board will take action on the referendum resolutions at a special meeting on Jan. 14. 


Oconomowoc pulls out of health science high school charter agreement

Jan. 07, 2014 10:46 p.m. |  As Kettle Moraine School Board members went over revisions to the contract between the governance council for the High School of Health Sciences (HS2) and Kettle Moraine School District (KMSD), the biggest change was the absence of Oconomowoc Area School District (OASD) in the agreement. Oconomowoc backed out of the contract since the charter could not secure a facility within a health care provider, Kettle Moraine School District Superintendent Pat Deklotz told board members on Jan. 7.

Last month at an informational meeting on the new charter, Director Steve Plum announced the school would be housed within the footprint of Kettle Moraine High School. Designed as a partnership charter school between OASD, KMSD, Wisconsin Medical College, Aurora Summit and ProHealth Care to create an immersive environment for students to explore opportunities in the health care field, when the plan for a health care partner to host classroom space for the school was no longer an option, OASD made its decision to disengage from the dual instrumentality of the school.

OSAD remains supportive of the idea of a high school for health sciences and may join at a later date if the school gains a position within a health care provider, Deklotz pointed out. 

More election contests in Delafield

Jan. 07, 2014 3:46 p.m. |  City of Delafield - Citizen activist Laura Schult has announced she will challenge incumbent Alderwoman Michele De Yoe in the Fourth District.

"This has been coming for some time. Neighbors have been encouraging me to run for the past several years," Schult said.

Schult has been involved in zoning battles to prevent commercial development of her rural woodland neighborhood south of the Highway C and Interstate 94 for several decades.

The Hartland Sportsman's Club is likely to become an issue in the campaign. DeYoe has twice voted against issuing permits to the gun club that was shut down three years ago because of violations of city safety standards.

Schult has been more sympathetic to the gun club by suggesting the city government created some of the issues involving the club by allowing residential and commercial development to take place near the club located on Maple Avenue near Interstate 94.

» Read Full Article

Ellen O'Brien to retire

Jan. 07, 2014 2:00 p.m. |  City of Delafield - Veteran Deputy Clerk/Treasurer Ellen O'Brien is ending a 28 year career in local government by announcing her retirement from the city at the end of February.

O'Brien served 19 years in the City of Delafield, 6 years with Waukesha County and almost 3 years with the Town of Delafield.

"I have really enjoyed working in local government. I have enjoyed working with my fellow employees and I have enjoyed working with people in the customer service aspect of the job," she said.

Does "Anchorman 2" have staying power?

Jan. 07, 2014 1:38 p.m. |  Does "Anchorman 2" have what it takes to stick around? Our review has his doubts. Check out our review in this week's papers. 

Black ice causing problems for second day

Jan. 07, 2014 8:59 a.m. | For the second day in a row, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) is warning motorists about the dangers of black ice, which is causing problems on the freeway system.

The DOT has said conditions are expected to remain for the next 24 hours that lead to the formation of black ice. Bridges, overpasses and ramps are especially susceptible. Salting is less effective with subzero air temperatures, and it is possible that treated areas could still see the reformation of black ice, according to the DOT.

Motorists are asked to remain viligant.

Kohl's works toward expanded corporate campus

Jan. 07, 2014 7:47 a.m. | Kohl's Corp. is seeking zoning approval for a corporate campus on nearly 100 acres in the Silver Spring Corporate Park in Menomonee Falls so it can begin expanding its current headquarters.

Read more in this week's Sussex Sun.

Village Cafe closes in Hartland

Jan. 06, 2014 5:20 p.m. | The Village Café restaurant on Merton Avenue is closed. The operation closed almost two weeks ago.

The restaurant was in business for almost 30 years, having several different owners in that span. It was open for breakfast and lunch.

Areas of black ice causing problems on freeway system

Jan. 06, 2014 5:03 p.m. | Blowing and drifting snow combined with the sub-zero air temperatures are creating areas of black ice on portions of the freeway system. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is advising motorists to reduce speeds. There have been multiple accidents reported last night, according to a DOT press release.

Bridges, overpasses and ramps are all susceptible to the formation of black ice in addition to areas of the system that experience blowing and drifting of snow onto the roadway. Salting operations are less effective with the sub-zero air temperatures. It is possible that treated areas could still see the reformation of black ice.

The DOT reminds motorist to stay in their vehicle if they are in an accident and alert law enforcement of the incident.

Man pleads guilty to burglarizing Fiesta Cancun Restaurant

Jan. 06, 2014 3:16 p.m. |  A 37-year-old man accused of robbing Oconomowoc’s Fiesta Cancun Restaurant in September pleaded guilty Monday to burglary, according to court records.

Steven Psenicka, currently being held in Waukesha County Jail, is expected to be sentenced on March 3 for his role in the robbery of Fiesta Cancun on Sept. 17, the records state. Two misdemeanors for resisting arrest and causing damage to property were dismissed as part of the plea bargain, but were read into the court record.

According to the criminal complaint, officers from the Oconomowoc City Police Department were dispatched on Sept. 17 to the Fiesta Cancun Restaurant, 157 E. Wisconsin Ave., to investigate the burglary.

Police noted in the complaint that the robber seemed to have broken into the restaurant by cutting open a window screen. About $280 in cash and several bottles of liquor were found to be missing.

Police learned that Psenicka had apparently been drinking heavily at Lakerz Sports Bar during the night in question, according to the complaint. An officer found the man near the scene of the crime and placed him under arrest.

» Read Full Article

Oconomowoc School district closed tomorrow

Jan. 06, 2014 3:04 p.m. | Adding to the list of Waukesha County schools that are closed tomorrow, schools in  the Oconomowoc Area School District will be closed on Tuesday, Jan. 7 due to the extreme cold.   

Pewaukee School District closed Tuesday

Jan. 06, 2014 2:14 p.m. | All Pewaukee School District schools will be closed Tuesday, Jan. 7 due to the extreme weather conditions. 

"First and foremost, we make decisions regarding school cancellation based on safety. We do not want children waiting for buses in the extreme cold. We rely extensively on information from the National Weather Service to make school closure decisions," Pewaukee Superintendent JoAnn Sternke said in a letter to parents.

"Let’s hope for warmer Wisconsin weather!" the message from the district reads, as most Lake Country families would heartily agree.

Garbage pickup delayed a day

Jan. 06, 2014 2:07 p.m. |  The City of Oconomowoc reports that Advanced Disposal has notified them that garbage pick up will be a day later this week, due to the cold weather.

Oconomowoc trash pickup delayed; library closing early

Jan. 06, 2014 1:39 p.m. | City of Oconomowoc -  Due to the cold weather, trash pickup from Advanced Disposal will be one day later this week.

The city also announced Monday that the library will close at 5 p.m. today and reopen at 10 a.m. Tuesday. All storytimes for Tuesday, Jan. 7 have been canceled. Wednesday programs are still anticipated.

No school on Tuesday for Mukwonago

Jan. 06, 2014 1:29 p.m. |  Mukwonago Area School District has cancelled classes for Tuesday, Jan. 7 "due to the forecast of dangerously cold weather," according to the district website. All scheduled activities for Tuesday are also cancelled. 

KM cancels school for Tuesday

Jan. 06, 2014 1:17 p.m. | Continuing cold weather has prompted the Kettle Moraine School District to call off classes for Tuesday, according to a voicemail from Superintendent Pat Deklotz to parents.

The district office will remain open. The School Board will meet, as scheduled, Tuesday night at Kettle Moraine High School. Other after-school activities have been canceled.

Lake Country schools closed on Tuesday

Jan. 06, 2014 12:40 p.m. |  Arrowhead High School has announced that Lake Country schools will remain shut down for the second straight day because of cold weather and blustery winds.

Arrowhead Superintendent Craig Jefson said that the weather forecast for Tuesday, Jan. 7 is looking much the same as Monday and Milwaukee Public Schools has already announced that classes are cancelled for its students. 

The K-8 feeder schools will also be closed on Tuesday, Jefson said.

"The decision was pretty easy from my standpoint," Jefson said. "What we got from the National Weather Service and the company that we contract with is that it would be -35 to -40 until about noon tomorrow, and we can't have kids waiting at bus stops in that weather."

The last time Waukesha County schools were shutdown because of cold weather was January 1999. The weather forced a two-day shutdown in that instance, according to Jefson.

» Read Full Article

OPL presents Kohl's Wild Theater

Jan. 06, 2014 12:09 p.m. | Come to the upcoming Oconomowoc Public Library Saturday Special: Kohl’s Wild Theater!

The event is planned from 10-10:45 a.m. on  Saturday,  Jan.18.   It is  a  free, fun, conservation-themed theatrical performance with audience participation, puppetry, and songs.

Please register at

Kohl’s Wild Theater is presented by the Zoological Society of Milwaukee and Kohl’s Cares. 

Cold weather closings, delays in Pewaukee

Jan. 06, 2014 11:46 a.m. | The Village of Pewaukee's village hall will remain open today during regular business hours. Trash pickup in the village will be delayed later this week, scheduled for Saturday pickup instead of Friday.

City of Pewuakee Administrator Tammy LaBorde said that the Monday night Common Council meeting has been canceled. City Hall will stay open, though, during regular business hours. Trash pickup will also be delayed by a day, later this week.

The Pewaukee Joint Library will also be open only until 3:00 p.m. today.

Of course, all Pewaukee School District schools are closed today, Monday Jan. 6 due to the extreme weather conditions. A Tuesday decision has not yet been announced.

"First and foremost, we make decisions regarding school cancellation based on safety. We do not want children waiting for buses in the extreme cold. We rely extensively on information from the National Weather Service to make school closure decisions," Pewaukee Superintendent JoAnn Sternke said in a letter to parents. 

» Read Full Article

MASD committee meeting cancelled tonight

Jan. 06, 2014 10:39 a.m. |  The  Jan. 6, Mukwonago Area School District (MASD) Board of Education Learning Committee meeting is cancelled due to the extremely cold weather predicted for Monday.

The next Learning Committee meeting will be held on Feb. 3.

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Community Watch


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Best Summer Ever


We've made it easy for you to get out and go this summer. From hitting the trails for a bike ride or walk, to where to find beer gardens in the area, to the best places to swim in Waukesha County to the best summer drinks and summer reads, check out our 2016 summer guide.

Waukesha County Fair


The 2016 Waukesha County Fair saw rain, scorching temps and tropical humidity throughout its five-day run. Check out our stories, photos and video from the fair, including coverage of the new pig, duck and goat races, the 50th annual Fairest of the Fair contest, as well as a ranking of the top food items.






Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

North Shore Bank-Taste of Lake Country: 5 p.m. July 29, 4 p.m. July 30, Pewaukee Beach Front, 120 W. Wisconsin Ave., Pewaukee. Headline Friday night is The Toys and Saturday night The Love Monkeys. Free.

Kids from Wisconsin: 7:30 p.m. July 29, Oconomowoc Arts Center, 641 E. Forest St., Oconomowoc. Celebrating its 48th show season with a talented group of 33 young performers representing 29 different hometowns across Wisconsin, this year’s tour theme is Sing! Free.

Wisconsin State Frog Jump Championship: 1 p.m. July 30-31, Cory Park, Downtown Dousman, Dousman. Visit  

Catelyn Picco: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 31, Mama D’s Coffee, 104 W Main St., Wales. Free.

All weekend happenings