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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

Nonrenewal process for public schools

6:13 p.m. |  For students, springtime often means looking forward to a welcome break from school. But for teachers it can mean another, less welcome, reality. It's the time of year when school districts make preliminary staffing decisions about next year, and that can mean layoffs — known as "nonrenewal" of contracts to teachers.

At Arrowhead, just one teacher received a nonrenewal notice this spring. That reduction, combined with the natural attrition of teachers planning to leave for retirement or other reasons, means there will be about three fewer teaching positions at Arrowhead next year.

So how do schools go about deciding who will be back in the classroom — and just as importantly, who will not?

Act 10, also known as the Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill, changed a lot of things in education in 2011, which included how districts, including Arrowhead, handle the nonrenewal process. But other factors have also played a part in how districts handle this difficult process.

Read the complete story here.

Incumbent judge faces challenge from young lawyer in Waukesha County

3:13 p.m. | In Waukesha County, a young lawyer hopes to upset a 12-year incumbent Tuesday for a seat on the circuit court.

Paul Bugenhagen Jr., 34, expects character issues will shorten his long odds to unseat Linda Van De Water.

"It's the number one thing people approached me about, her public conduct" Bugenhagen said in an interview.

"Most voters are looking for people to simply follow the law, be good role models, promote personal responsibility and show good character," he said.

In 2011, Van De Water, 52, was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct in Racine County after authorities said she confronted an ex-boyfriend outside the home of another woman and kicked and jumped on his car. The next day, according to the complaint, Van De Water confronted the couple at a Brookfield restaurant.

» Read Full Article

Support Big Bend Fire Department at pancake breakfast

2:53 p.m. | Village of Big Bend — The Big Bend Fire Department will host a pancake breakfast and open house April 19.

The event runs from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the village hall, W230 S9185 Nevins St. The cost is $6 per person for all you can eat pancakes. Children under 5 eat for free.

A flight for life helicopter will be at the event at about 9:30 a.m. and there will be exhibits outside including a sprinkler trailer.

The open house will feature displays from Waukesha County Land Resources, American Heart, St. Mary's Burn Center, Big Bend police and fire department and handouts from the Waukesha County Public Health Department, among other things.

Door prizes will also be available.

For 2nd time, woman who left gun in church restroom beats charge

2:53 p.m. | For the second time, an Oconomowoc woman has beaten criminal charges filed after she left  her loaded handgun in a Brookfield church last year.

Susan Hitchler, 67, had been attending an adult Bible study group at Elmbrook Church in March when she forgot the weapon in the women's restroom. No one else saw the gun until a janitor discovered it and turned it over to security at Elmbrook Church.

She was charged with negligently handing a weapon, but a judge dismissed the charge in June. In  November, Waukesha County prosecutors re-filed a new complaint charging disorderly conduct.

But in that case, Circuit Judge Lee Dreyfuss Jr. on Tuesday found that the complaint did not meet the legal criteria for disorderly conduct and granted  a defense motion to dismiss.  He noted Hitchler had a license to carry a concealed weapon when she forgot the weapon.

He did find she was negligent, but said her negligence was not criminal, according to court record  notes of the hearing.

» Read Full Article

Mukwonago student receives national award for nonviolence work

11:38 a.m. | A Mukwonago High School student has received national recognition for her involvement in a nonviolence cause.

Sydney Gilbert was named Student of the Year by the National Association of Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE). The nonprofit organization is dedicated to decreasing the potential for violence in schools and communities.

Gilbert has been president of the Mukwonago High School's SAVE chapter for two years and has initiated numerous activities and campaigns to promote respect, nonviolence and to mitigate bullying in her community, according to a news release from the organization.

Gilbert also started the school's first "True Beauty" day to promote self-confidence and positivity throughout the school. She was nominated by school adviser Sarah Dianich.

Gilbert was one of two students nationwide to receive the award. Two Chapter of the Year awards were presented and one Adviser of the Year was presented. The winners were revealed at the SAVE Summit March 21 at the McKimmon Center at NC State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. Gilbert was the only Wisconsin winner.

» Read Full Article

Free workshops teach eco-friendly methods

9:13 a.m. |  Waukesha County Department of Parks and Land Use - Land Resources staff are offering free public workshops in April.  

Green Cleaning Workshop:  At this workshop, find out what common household ingredients can be used to keep your home healthy, clean, and safe.  Find out what really works and which products on the market pass as “green.”  Attendees will “Make & Take” a Creamy Soft Scrub to try at home.

Offered at Oconomowoc Public Library at 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 9, and at Pewaukee Public Library at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14.

The Value of Rain Gardens and Rain Barrels:  Rain barrels have been used for many generations.  Discover how they can actually help restore a more natural water flow while saving you money.  Not only will we explore how to install rain barrels, we will learn about rain gardens, too!  What is a rain garden?  What do they help accomplish and how?  Rain gardens and rain barrels can be a beautiful solution to water pollution.

Offered at Mukwonago Community Library at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14, and Poplar Creek Gardens in New Berlin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 18.

» Read Full Article

Big Bend clerk to retire in July

March 30, 2015 4:08 p.m. | Village of Big Bend Clerk Bobbi Woppert will retire later this year.

Woppert said she will retire on July 31.

A 6 p.m. finance meeting is scheduled for Thursday, April 2 at Village Hall, W230 S9185 Nevins St. A discussion of the clerk's position and advertising for a new clerk is on the meeting's agenda. The position is likely to be posted by mid-April, Woppert said.

Woppert has served as the village clerk since November 1993.

Dangerous situation avoided in Hartland

March 30, 2015 3:18 p.m. | A potential dangerous situation involving a gun was avoided in downtown Hartland Monday morning when police stopped a man that allegedly had a gun on his possession. Two women, possibly a mother and daughter, went into the US Bank on Capitol Drive and locked themselves in the restroom. Minutes later police arrived on the scene and had bank officials lock the doors. The women were apparently trying to get away from the man, who might have been the daughter's husband. That man was then stopped a short distance behind the bank in his car and taken into custody. No shots were fired. Several police departments, including Hartland and Chenequa, were at the scene. Order was restored in the bank and the area shortly after the man was apprehended.

Take a Walk in the Park today

March 30, 2015 1:06 p.m. |  When is the last time you took a walk in one of your community's beautiful parks? In honor of National Take a Walk in a Park Day, the City of Oconomowoc  is encouraging all to  take a moment to experience nature and enjoy your local parks.

Mukwonago practice burn fills sky with smoke

March 28, 2015 3:15 p.m. |  

Atop a hill on River Road, east of Highway I in the town of Mukwonago smoke billowed into the air on March 28 as Mukwonago and Eagle fire departments used an old shed, horse barn and barn style house for training purposes. 

Training was delayed due to numerous emergency calls, but by mid afternoon, the last building was fully engulfed in flames.

Missing Genesee toddler found, "okay but cold"

March 27, 2015 9:10 p.m. |  

Emergency crews packed up around 7:30 p.m. on March 27 after finding a 2-year-old boy missing from his home on Morris Road in the town of Genesee for several hours.

The Waukesha County Sheriff's Department received the call for the missing boy at about 4:39 p.m. A firefighter found the boy .3 miles east of his home near a quarry area near his home at about 7:21 p.m., according to the Sheriff's Department.

According to the scanner, crews were getting ready to set up lights to assist in the search when the call came through that one of the emergency workers had found the boy. The boy was cold, but not injured and was transported to Waukesha Memorial Hospital for medical assessment.

Sheriff's deputies along with emergency personnel from Wales/Genesee Fire Department, Town of Delafield Dive Team, Town of Waukesha Fire department, and Flight for Life assisted in the search.

» Read Full Article

Toddler found in quarry area

March 27, 2015 7:30 p.m. |  Wales Genesee emergency crews have found the missing 2-year-old boy at about 7:30 p.m. 

More information will be posted when available.

Emergency crews searching for toddler in Wales-Genesee area

March 27, 2015 6:15 p.m. | Flight for Life assisting Wale-Genesee emergency crews in search for  2-year-old,  according to scanner traffic. Search is taking place in area of Morris Road.

More information will be posted as it becomes available.

A play is just the ticket for weekend fun

March 27, 2015 3:00 p.m. | It’s the last weekend for several plays in the area, all worthwhile viewing.

At Waukesha Civic Theatre, “The Diary of Anne Frank” will be presented several times this weekend. Shows are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday with matinees at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The show is based on the diary of a teenager forced to hide from the Nazis in an attic with seven others for two years during World War II. A top-notch cast, including Madison Penzkover as Anne, gives this important story the attention it deserves.

Tickets are $20-23 and can be purchased by calling (262) 547-0708 or online at www.waukeshacivictheatre.org.

Waukesha Civic Theatre is located at 264 W. Main St., Waukesha

» Read Full Article

Student writing contest entries due today

March 27, 2015 7:05 a.m. | Entries to Lake Country and Mukwonago Publications annual writing contest is 5 p.m. today, Friday, March 27. Students, imagine you're the last person on earth. Write a story about what it would be like and what you would do and feel. Drop off entries for the Lake Country area contest at our Waukesha office, 1741 Dolphin Drive, Suite A. Entries for our Mukwonago area contest should be dropped off at our Mukwonago office, 111 Rochester St., Suite 3. Be sure to include your name, age, home address, phone number, grade and school. (Address and phone number will be used to notify winners and distribute prizes; they will not be published.) Email entries will not be accepted. Entries will be divided into two categories: grades three through five, and six through eight. Cash prizes will be awarded; winners will be published in Lake Country Sunday and Chief Sunday this spring. Good luck!

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