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Summit man charged with homicide in father's death

Jan. 24, 2014 12:30 p.m. |

Shawn T. Witt was charged Friday in Waukesha County Circuit Court with first-degree intentional homicide, accused of killing his 60-year-old father at their shared home in Summit.
Witt, 27, has also been charged with narcotic drug possession, two counts of misdemeanor theft, two counts of violating a restraining order, and two counts of misdemeanor bail jumping.
He is currently being held in Waukesha County Jail on a $1 million cash bond. 
According to the criminal complaint, Summit Police were dispatched at about 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 22 to check in on the well-being of James Witt, Jr., who resided at 34825 Elm St. 
Officers were greeted at the residence by Shawn Witt, who told police his father had “gone up north,” the complaint states. Also present were two friends of Shawn Witt, who are not currently facing charges related to the incident. 
Shawn Witt had been accused the day before of beating his father after an altercation at the residence. He was charged with battery and disorderly conduct and released on a $1,500 signature bond on the condition that he have no contact with his father. 
James Witt had also requested a temporary restraining order. 
“He yells at me all the time because I made him get a job,” James Witt wrote in the request. “I fear for my life. He said he is taking over the house and I cannot stop him.”
James Witt said his son had once put electrical wires to his head in an attempt to kill him.
The restraining order was granted and Shawn Witt was served the order in jail.
According to the complaint, officers decided to search the residence to make sure everything was all right. They found James Witt’s body in the basement, wrapped in a blanket. Next to his body was a rifle. 
Shawn Witt told police in the complaint that he had gone back to his father’s house after being released from jail. He claimed that his father had come at him with a knife and he shot him twice in self-defense. 
No knife described by Shawn Witt was found at the residence, the complaint states.
He told police in the complaint that he had lied to his friends and said his father committed suicide. The friends helped him burn a couch that had blood on it and they then went to Milwaukee to sell items belonging to James Witt. The money made from the sale was used to purchase heroin, Shawn Witt said.
Police later learned that James Witt’s debit card was used at a Kwik-Trip gas station in Oconomowoc. Shawn Witt admitted to using the card after he killed his father, the complaint states.
Witt later changed his statement and said he may have shot his father three times, according to the complaint. He said James Witt seemed to be in pain, “so he decided to put him out of his misery and shot him in the head.”
A medical examiner concluded that Witt was shot once in the left buttocks and once in the abdomen, but both wounds were survivable. The gunshot wound to the head was the fatal wound, the complaint states.
Assistant District Attorney Lesli Boese said at a news conference on Friday, Jan. 24, that James Witt did the right thing in requesting the restraining order.
“We tell people it is a piece of paper,” she said. “They still need to be diligent. We offer them resources and we do the best we can.”
Shawn Witt had previously been convicted in Jefferson County of operating while intoxicated on three separate occasions, according to court records. 
The Waukesha County Sheriffs Department worked with the Summit Police Department to investigate James Witt’s death. Dan Trawicki commended the Summit Police Department on its response to the incident at the news conference. 
Shawn Witt is expected to appear at a court hearing on Jan. 30

Miller Pharmacy's Vandehey retires

4:46 p.m. | After 32 years, Pat Vandehey is retiring from Miller Pharmacy.

The pharmacy has been in her family since the 1960s when Vandehey's grandfather, Gerald Miller, bought space in the back of a soda shop in downtown Mukwonago. In 1975 Miller and his pharmacist wife, Shirley, built the pharmacy's home on Rochester.

Vandehey was born and raised in Mukwonago, but didn't begin at the pharmacy until 1984, when she and her husband Tim Vandehey moved back to Mukwonago from the Twin Cities.

"I experienced other pharmacies, independent pharmacies, and I loved the whole experience, but the opportunity came for us to come back home," Vandehey said. "It just turned out to be the perfect decision."

Part of the team

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Pewaukee girl's lemonade stand to benefit Pewaukee July 4 fireworks

3:53 p.m. | A Pewaukee fourth-grader is doing her part to make sure Pewaukee's Fourth of July fireworks go on.

For the third consecutive year, 10-year-old Audrey Jung will be raising money for the annual fireworks show by running a lemonade stand in front of her house.

The stand will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 4 at 159 Main Street in Pewaukee. Audrey, a student at Horizon Elementary School, will be selling glasses of lemonade for 50 cents and will have cookies and possibly other baked goods for sale.

Audrey's mother, Amy Jung, said her daughter got the idea a few years ago after reading a news story about how the fireworks display was in jeopardy of being canceled because of a lack of donations.

Audrey had already been running a lemonade stand, but Amy said the article changed her daughter's thinking on how to direct the profits.

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Hartland police officer Jim Weber to retire after 27 years with department

3:44 p.m. | Village of Hartland — Village Police Officer Jim Weber was proud to serve in law enforcement every day he put on his uniform.

"It's been a long career, and I'd have to say pretty exciting," said Weber, who is retiring after 27 years of service.

May 31 was Weber's last day in uniform at the department — the only police station he's ever worked. A retirement party is planned for Friday, June 3, when, at 2:20 p.m., a dispatcher will announce the end of Weber's tour of duty.

He will be one of only five officers to retire from the department.

The soft-spoken Weber said retirement hasn't really hit home yet because he's been so busy and hasn't had much time to think about it. But, he added, it would probably settle in when he wakes up Saturday and doesn't have to go to work.

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Suburban Milwaukee and Lake Country's 2016 WIAA State Track and Field Meet Special Section

3:00 p.m. | The WIAA state meet runs Friday and Saturday at the Unviersity of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and several area athletes will be taking part looking to make history.

Check out our special section for the event, including athletes to watch, past photo galleries and past champions with the meet just around the corner.

New sign placed at World War II Memorial Garden at Pewaukee's Peffer Park

1:05 p.m. | Village of Pewaukee — The World War II Memorial Garden at Peffer Park has been around a while — its roots stretch to 1951 — but many residents might not know it's there. Or if they do, they might not know what the plantings symbolize.

Now they will.

A new sign explaining the meaning of the plants and flowers was installed at the park Thursday, May 26.

The hostas and hydrangeas encircling the mechanicals, for example, represent the whole world involved in World War II. The seven globe arborvitae trees signify the seven continents. And the spiky-leaved yucca plants? They symbolize the bombs that fell during the war.

The sign was the idea of Pewaukee's Helen Ackley, who's been the sole caretaker of the garden for more than a dozen years.

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Buckling pavement forced closure of Highway 16 in Pewaukee

11:53 a.m. | Memorial Day traffic on eastbound Highway 16 in Pewaukee had to be diverted off the highway for nearly four hours Monday, May 30, so crews could repair a stretch of buckling pavement.

A Waukesha County Sheriff's Department deputy came upon a 15-foot section of buckling roadway on eastbound Highway 16 between Main Street and Interstate 94 at 3:59 p.m. Monday and determined it needed immediate attention because of the hazard it posed to motorcyclists, said Waukesha County Sheriff's Department Administrative Deputy Jennifer Wallschlaeger.

Sheriff's department officials diverted traffic off Highway 16 at Main Street while repairs were made by Waukesha County highway crews.

A Pewaukee police squad car was used to block access to the eastbound on-ramp at Main Street, Pewaukee Police Sgt. John Maloney said.

The highway was reopened to traffic at 7:48 p.m.

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Village of Mukwonago resident steering committee makes progress on land use

9:36 a.m. | Village of Mukwonago — Development in the village of Mukwonago is on hold while the resident-formed steering committee studying the comprehensive plan update is making slow progress.

The steering committee has increased the frequency of its meetings to twice a month, and will now meet every other Thursday.

Two proposed planning districts could affect single-family homeowners, as the committee is working to define and outline land use in the village.

The committee has approved some definitions and the language describing designated land-use categories, such as multifamily, agricultural, downtown and industrial, although all approvals are preliminary. While Plan Commissioner Joe Abruzzo raised some questions about the language chosen, the committee and village board will go through all approvals and make changes as the meetings wrap up in August.

The committee spent most of its May 19 meeting debating the boundaries and definitions for the two proposed planning districts, the Main Street/River South Planning District and the Interstate Planning District. Both would include higher-density and mixed-use developments, although Jason Wamser, vice president of the committee, said that how the districts will be used is still up for debate.

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Right lane of eastbound I-94 reopens at Delafield after crash

May 28, 2016 12:32 p.m. | Crews have cleared a crash that closed the right lane of eastbound Interstate 94 at Highway C in Delafield for about 50 minutes. The Waukesha County Sheriff's Department responded.

Mukwonago School District students could see a new name on their buses in fall

May 27, 2016 6:05 p.m. | If a deal between Hanks Transportation and Dousman Transport Company (DTC) is finalized in June, all Mukwonago Area School District students will be riding DTC buses next school year.

Rob Nelson, president of DTC, said in an email they have an agreement to purchase Hanks Transportation with the goal being to close on the sale at the end of June.

"We will operate as Dousman Transport and all the buses will have our name and logos on them for the start of the school year," Nelson said.

DTC has grown over the last 10 years by acquiring quality companies, according to Nelson. After recently purchasing the school bus company in Jefferson, Hanks was a "great opportunity to grow within a district we work with already."

"We have operations in districts on both sides of Mukwonago, so it will provide synergies for all of our operations," said Nelson in an email.

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Cast on at the Kettle Moraine High School first knitting club

May 27, 2016 6:02 p.m. | Kettle Moraine High School (KMHS) freshman Amanda Andrews knits to help her focus better. When KMHS teacher and club adviser Lacy Melco saw her knitting in class, she asked Andrews if she wanted to start a knitting club at the high school.

Melco remembered a girl in one of her classes at UW-Madison who knitted in class. Initially she thought the girl wasn't paying attention. Melco later discovered the girl, who was one of the best in the class, knitted to help her focus in class. Melco remembered a boy who did crossword puzzles for the same reason.

"When I see kids doing something like that, I'm not going to discourage it," said Melco.

About six students showed up at the first meeting on May 24, more people than Andrews had anticipated, and more were interested who couldn't make the first meeting.

Andrews' piano teacher taught her how to knit about six months ago after Andrews expressed interest. Along with helping her focus, Andrews enjoys knitting because she likes to multitask, doing things that don't require much thought.

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Former Pewaukee administrator Tammy LaBorde a finalist for Grafton job

May 27, 2016 2:15 p.m. | The former Pewaukee city administrator is one of four finalists for the village administrator's job in Grafton.

Tammy LaBorde, who resigned as Pewaukee city administrator in February after concerns were raised about her leadership abilities, is one of two local candidates selected as finalists, according to information provided by the village of Grafton. Waukesha's Jesse Thyes, human resources director and assistant city administrator in Mequon, is the other.

The other two finalists are from Ohio and West Virginia.

LaBorde's resignation came two months after a consultant hired by the city of Pewaukee reported a survey of department heads and key managers revealed a consistent theme of concern about LaBorde's leadership, and the consultant recommended that she "no longer be in a position as a leader of people."

The December 2015 document, prepared by consultant Living As A Leader (LAAL), was obtained by Lake Country Publications through an open-records request.

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Big Bend moves on with permit despite concerns

May 27, 2016 2:10 p.m. | Village of Big Bend —The village of Big Bend unanimously approved the phase II conditional use permit for John Kaishian and his property located on National Avenue May 27.

The property has been a point of contention for neighbors like the West Allis Training Kennel Club and the residents of Heather Ridge subdivision. These neighbors voiced their many concerns at the village's public hearing on May 17. The concerns were mostly regarding issues with Kaishian's phase I permit.

Kaishian had multiple violations from the Department of Natural Resources for erosion control, drainage and questionable fill materials, all concerns that residents mentioned during the public hearing. While the property owners have the site up to code, it took them years to get there and Kaishian was referred to the Department of Justice for his repeated noncompliance.

The plan commission, village planner and municipal lawyer Mike Schober addressed the public's concern while breaking down, section by section, the conditional use permit.

"The comments were reviewed and taken into consideration," Mary Censky, village planner, said. "Based on those comments, there are only a handful of updates, just a final red line to go through and consider."

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Roundup of Memorial Day events in suburban Milwaukee and Lake Country

May 27, 2016 12:15 p.m. | There are many programs, parades and events on Memorial Day in suburban Milwaukee and Lake Country to honor those who lost their lives serving our country.

Here's a roundup of events on the Monday, May 30, federal holiday:


Sussex Meijer gears up for June 7 opening

May 27, 2016 10:30 a.m. | Sussex — Passersby along Lisbon Road and Highway 164 could be forgiven last week for wondering if the Meijer store at that corner had already opened, judging from the number of vehicles in the parking lot.

But it's just employees undergoing training and setting up the store, which is scheduled to open June 7.

"We're not open yet," two employees told one driver.

But retailer, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is confident area residents will decide the wait is worth it.

"We're glad to be here," said store director Steve Talbert. "The communication with local officials has been great. We've had hundreds of customer inquiries on when we'll open."

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Pewaukee man gets jail, fine for fifth drunken driving offense

May 27, 2016 10:15 a.m. | Todd Musil, who has a history of intoxicated driving, shouldn't have been behind the wheel when police pulled him over in January and will spend the next 15 months of his life behind bars for that mistake, a Waukesha County Circuit judge ruled recently.

Musil, 56, of Pewaukee pleaded guilty May 23 to fifth offense driving with a prohibited blood alcohol content, according to online court records. Ramirez sentenced him to 15 months in jail.

Musil was apparently in the wrong place at the wrong time Jan. 3 when officers followed and stopped his truck because they thought one of Musil's friends, who was a suspect in an alleged domestic violence incident earlier that day, was driving.

That man wasn't behind the wheel, but Musil — who appeared to turn his car around after seeing a squad car — was, and, despite his four previous OWI convictions, was drunk, a criminal complaint said.

Officers could smell alcohol wafting from Musil's truck, where they also found an empty beer can, the complaint said. Musil later reportedly told officers he drank two 16-ounce beers about an hour before getting behind the wheel and had been driving around looking for his girlfriend.

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