News & Notes: March 20

March 20, 2013

Community forum

addresses spring musical

Shorewood - Shorewood Drama is hosting a community forum at 7 p.m. Thursday in the studio theater in the performing arts building at Shorewood High School, 1701 East Capitol Drive, to give parents and community members an opportunity to discuss "Spring Awakening," the spring musical set to hit the stage in May.

The forum, which will feature a panel discussion as well as small group discussions, is designed to give student cast and crew members, parents and area residents the chance to talk openly about many of the difficult issues young people face.

The show is a rock adaptation of Frank Wedekind's 1981 expressionist play "Spring Awakening" that tells the story of challenges faced by 19th-century German teenagers as the grow into adulthood, many of those issues teens still face today. High School Principal Matt Joynt and Shorewood Superintendent Martin Lexmond, as well as all the students participating in the production, will be on hand to answer questions and participate in discussions.

Police Department pursues online fee payment option

River Hills - The River Hills Police Department continues to work on launching an online payment program for the collection of fines.

In an update to the Village Board on March 13, Village Manager Chris Lear said the company the department is considering for providing the service would provide cost-free online and credit card payments for the village. Currently the village pays 2 to 3 percent of purchase fees on credit card payments.

Police Chief Tom Rischmann has said he believes the availability of an online payment option would help to increase collections of fines.

According to a memo, the department's ongoing review of fees and collections also includes consideration of instituting drive check fees, which Lear hopes to have decided in time for 2014 budget discussions, possible fee increases for false alarms and burning permits, for example, and the use of a collections agency, which is not currently being pursued.

The update was informational only, with no action taken by the board.

Village to consider issue of truck traffic on Green Bay Road

River Hills - The village of River Hills plans to more closely examine the issue of heavy truck traffic on Green Bay Road.

Trustee Wendy Walcott raised the issue during the Village Board's March 13 meeting as a matter to be further discussed at a future meeting.

"I see more and more heavy trucks coming up Green Bay, coming down Green Bay," Walcott said. "Many of them seem to be headed toward the trash disposal facility west on Brown Deer Road."

Walcott said the route appears to be used by truck drivers as a shortcut between Good Hope Road and the freeway. She said she would prefer to see them using Teutonia Avenue.

A comprehensive road plan established by the village about three years ago, as required by the state, included the prohibition of tractor trailers on Green Bay Road from Teutonia down to Good Hope, Village President Robert Brunner said.

Brunner suggested the village manager review that plan to see if the measure is still applicable, and bring the issue back to the Village Board as an agenda discussion item.

School Board OK's girls hockey co-op proposal

Mequon - The Mequon-Thiensville School Board on Monday spent nearly an hour discussing and acting on a proposal to have high school female hockey players join an Ozaukee County cooperative.

Staff at Cedarburg High School have been instrumental in establishing the co-op. Ryan Mangan, Mequon-Thiensville athletic director, said there has also been interest from other neighboring districts in being part of the new effort.

Since 2005, Homestead has been in a cooperative arrangement with University School of Milwaukee in River Hills for a varsity girls team.

The agreement likely will be renewed for the 2013-14 school year with the understanding a new, nonvarsity team sanctioned by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, or WIAA, will be established in Cedarburg at the same time. The varsity team could eventually join the co-op as well.

Zero salary increases in MQ-TH collective bargaining agreements

Mequon - Teachers in the Mequon-Thiensville School District will not receive salary increases for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years as part of a collective bargaining agreement approved Monday by the School Board.

Documents included in the board packet were signed by School Board President Suzette Urbashich and member Mary Cyrier, as well as Robert Wells and Eric Bauer, president and chief negotiator, respectively, with the Mequon-Thiensville Education Association.

While the two parties reached an impasse during salary discussions, members of the teachers association agreed to waive mediation.

Although Gov. Scott Walker's Act 10 legislation did remove many elements from bargaining discussions, teachers do have the ability to work with administrators and board members on salary adjustments as long as the figure falls within the consumer price index.

Village approves three-year contract with Police Department

River Hills - Police officers will receive a 2 percent pay increase in 2013, under a new three-year contract with the village.

The Village Board approved the contract with the River Hills Police Association at its meeting on March 13, following a closed session discussion.

This year's salary increase will be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2013, with separate salary discussions to be held in 2014 and 2015, Village Manager Chris Lear said.

The contract also provides for an additional $100 in uniform compensation to a maximum of $550 per year, Lear said. The monthly cost of the "opt out" benefit for health insurance will increase slightly, from $400 for a family plan to 50 percent of the monthly premium, or about $700.

Village adopts Tree Commission ordinance

River Hills - River Hills now has an ordinance in place to address the duties of its Tree Commission and other tree-related guidelines.

The Village Board on March 13 approved the ordinance, which Village Manager Chris Lear said is needed, in part, for the village to be able to qualify as a Tree City USA community.

Approval of the ordinance follows the Board's Jan. 16 decision to create and appoint members to the Tree Commission, which has the responsibility of reviewing village efforts to preserve, prune, plant or replant, remove or dispose of trees and shrubs along streets and in parks and other public areas.

Longtime Health Board member commended for service

River Hills - After nearly 18 years of service, Dr. Paula Jones will step down as the River Hills representative to the North Shore Health Department Board.

In a resolution of appreciation for Jones, the Village Board on March 13 acknowledged her service, stating that she faithfully represented River Hills on the board since the village joined with the other member communities in 1995.

Jamie Berg, health officer for the North Shore Health Department, spoke very highly of Jones and her key role on the board, Village Manager Chris Lear said.

Other member communities of the North Shore Health Department include Bayside, Brown Deer, Fox Point, Glendale, Shorewood and Whitefish Bay.

Police provides presence at University School

River Hills - Police officers have recently begun offering their regular presence at University School of Milwaukee.

In his report to the Village Board on March 13, Police Chief Tom Rischmann filled trustees in on the department's role at the school.

Police staff met with University School's safety committee in early January, Rischmann said, to discuss security changes the school is planning to make.

"We can't, as a police department, offer them much more than our presence," Rischmann said. "But to them it's extremely important."

An officer has spent about 15 minutes per day at the school since the effort began, Rischmann said, each time in a different location. He said the department has not committed anything written or oral, describing the act as a "goodwill gesture" that has been well-received at the school.

Board tables review of several policies due to length of meeting

Mequon - Members of the Mequon-Thiensville School Board on Monday decided to hold off on reviewing several board policies because of the length of their regular monthly meeting.

The board had been scheduled to review policies pertaining to how reports of board members' misconduct and censure are handled, the overall authorities of the School Board as a whole and what steps board members should take when requesting information from administrators.

The review of the policies will be placed back on the board agenda in April.

Monday's board meeting went more than five hours, convening just after midnight.

Common Council approves

zone changes for Outpost

Mequon - Following a public hearing, the Mequon Common Council approved zone changes to allow for a grocery store to be built on the corner of Wauwatosa and Mequon Roads.

A 1.75-acre portion of land at 11234 Wauwatosa Road, 7512 W. Mequon Road, and two adjacent properties located east and west of 7512 W. Mequon Road were rezoned from suburban residential to neighborhood commercial to allow for a 16,700-square-foot Outpost Natural Foods Store. The store will operate from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week and will ultimately employ 60 people - 24 full time and 36 part-time employees.

Fire requirements

in subdivision amended

Mequon - Officials in Mequon have amended a development agreement for homes constructed within the Uplands Subdivision that is situated along Bonniwell Road.

The city had required that homes within the seven-lot subdivision have fire suppression systems installed at the homeowner's expense. The agreement has been changed to allow for an escrow fund that all property owners would pay into to fund fire protection.

Fire Chief David Bialk was on board with the proposal, citing similar scenarios in other new subdivisions within Mequon.

The Plan Commission voted in favor of the amendment Monday, and the Common Council followed suit Tuesday.

Officials reviewing ordinances

on historic buildings

Mequon - The Mequon Committee of the Whole amended the city code to give groups an opportunity to convert historic buildings into other uses.

The discussion comes after organizers with the Friends of the Jonathan Clark House have discussed converting the dwelling, 13615 N. Cedarburg Road, from a historic building to a museum.

Members of the Plan Commission and Common Council had a first reading of the text amendments at this week's meeting, before the COW approved it. A second and final reading will take place next month.

City code could be amended

to allow for microbreweries

Mequon - The Mequon Committee of the Whole approved language within city code that would allow for microbreweries in narrowly defined circumstances. The discussion comes after a review of wineries.

As proposed, a microbrewery, according to city standards, would require an establishment produce less than 3,500 barrels of beer per year. At least 75 percent of the beer would be sold off site.

A first reading of the language was reviewed this week by members of the Plan Commission and Common Council, before the COW passed the ordinance change Tuesday. Council Member Pam Adams said they should add distilleries to the list, which will be looked at in the future.

A public hearing and final action will be taken next month.

Commissioners OK

Joey Gerard's sign

Mequon - Owners of the Joey Gerard's eatery have been given the authority to retain a second sign that has been mounted outside the business, which anchors the Riversite Center development at 11120 and 11140 N. Cedarburg Road.

The Bartolotta-owned supper club had been given authority to place one large sign outside the development, but mounted a second sign without the proper permit and amendment from city code in place.

Staff in the Mequon Zoning and Planning Department had recommended denying Bartolotta's request for the additional signage, citing a lack of hardship, but commissioners ruled against the recommendation on a 5-1 vote.

General Manager Peter Donahue said the additional signage will be beneficial since it will direct customers where specifically Joey Gerard's is within the development.

Proposed research, development

facility on hold in Mequon

Mequon - Talks of a start-up research and development facility that could potentially employ as many as 50 people are on hold for the immediate future.

Representatives from Major Pharmaceuticals were to have come before the Mequon Plan Commission, but requested to have a review of their building and site plan tabled until a later date.

Major's tentative plans include a two-story, 79,000-square-foot facility within the Mequon Business Park at a space near Executive Drive and Commerce Street.

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