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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

Kwik Trip gets nod of approval in Mukwonago

Dec. 19, 2014 4:08 p.m. | Village of Mukwonago — With 17 people addressing the Kwik Trip proposal on the Dec. 16 village board agenda, nine favored the plan, while eight spoke against having the La Crosse-based company building on the north end of the village. However, in the end, the board approved the conditional use for Kwik Trip, allowing the project to move forward.

The site proposed is on the north end of the village on the east side of South Highway 83, in front of the Glen of Mukwonago development along Black Bear Drive and just beyond the Shell station.

The plan had stalled in October after an appeal was filed by attorney Dale Thorpe, who was representing Shell station owners Darwin and Cheryl Greenwald, regarding A1 zoning on four to seven feet of land abutting the property for the proposed Kwik Trip structure.

However, "a dedication of land represents a restriction of its use and therefore the dedication of the right of way restricts future use to said use," thus removing any abutting A1 zoning designation, according to Village Administrator, John Weidl.

Thorpe had also pointed out that substitute site plans, where building location varied from plans presented for a public hearing, resulted in procedural flaws, since different plans should have called for another public hearing, but none was held.

» Read Full Article

Still time for a festive holiday offering

Dec. 19, 2014 3:00 p.m. |  The Christmas countdown has begun but you still have time to enjoy a fun holiday event in Lake Country.

An annual holiday tradition is the colorful, festive Nutcracker Ballet. Mainstage Academy of Dance will perform this beloved Tchaikovsky ballet, a holiday classic the whole family will enjoy at 7 p.m. Friday, 1 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Oconomowoc Arts Center, 641 E. Forest St., Oconomowoc. Tickets are $14-$16. Visit www.wedancemainstage.com for more information.

The Country Christmas Drive-through Lights Display at the Country Springs Hotel, 2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee, features more than a million twinkling lights along a mile-long trail that winds through the woods. Includes animated figures, holiday scenes and indoor displays. Hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and holidays through Dec. 31. Call (262) 970-5398 or visit www.thecountrychristmas.com for details. $15 per carload, $25 limo, mini-coach or large van.

Have wheel good time at the Art of the Bicycle display featuring Diane Lehman, Peter Kudlata and Wheel & Sprocket at the Delafield Arts Center, 719 Genesee St., Delafield.  Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the first and third Saturdays of each month and by appointment. Visit www.delafieldartscenter.org for more information.

Plan commission green lights go-kart facility

Dec. 18, 2014 10:01 p.m. |  City of Pewaukee- A plan to have a go-kart facility at the old American TV building was approved by the plan commission on Thursday, Dec. 18. 

The facility will be located in the northern two-thirds of the building at W229 N1400 Westwood Drive and CTH F and I-94.

Plans call for two tracks; one meant for adults and a smaller, slower track made for children.

Read more about the go-kart facility in Tuesday's Reporter.

Westbound I-94 near Miller Park to close for 31 hours beginning Friday night

Dec. 18, 2014 11:57 a.m. | Westbound lanes of Interstate 94 at the stadium interchange near Miller Park will be closed from 11 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Sunday for a storm sewer installation.

The state Department of Transportation expects backups during the day Saturday on westbound I-94 between the Marquette and stadium interchanges.

The DOT recommends the following detours:

  • Miller Park Way to National Avenue to Greenfield Avenue
  • US 41 to Bluemound Road to Glenview Avenue to Watertown Plank Road
  • I-894 bypass or I-43 to other regional east/west routes

More information the project, and other projects, is available on the DOT website.

Carran rejects Lisbon job offer; Brown Deer's Janecke accepts

Dec. 18, 2014 11:35 a.m. |  Town of Lisbon- Matt Carran, community development director for the Village of Menomonee Falls, has rejected the Town of Lisbon's offer to become town clerk/administrator.

The Town Board moved quickly Wednesday night to hire Matt Janecke, assistant village manager for Brown Deer, who described his new position as town administrator as "a great opportunity to move my career forward and make a mark on the Town of Lisbon."

"I think we are in good hands," said Town Board Chairman Matt Gehrke after the board voted unanimously to hire Janecke after an approximately 25 minute interview.

Supervisor Hannah Heinritz praised Janecke for the amount of research he did about the community and the town government before being interviewed on two different occassions by the town board.

Supervisor Joe Osterman praised Janecke for "short and to the point the answers" and displaying "a lot of energy and a willingness to work hard."

» Read Full Article

Craft beers and stuffed burgers at the new Crafty Cow in Oconomowoc

Dec. 18, 2014 8:29 a.m. | Devin Eichler learned some important things when he went away to school in Minneapolis: that magazine editing wasn’t the career for him after all, the native cheese-stuffed hamburger patty called the Jucy Lucy was a darned good burger and, after working at a bar with 30 taps and 90 bottles, he was in love with craft beer.

And that’s how he ultimately came to open his craft-beer-and-burger bar, the Crafty Cow, last week at 153 E. Wisconsin Ave. in Oconomowoc.

The Mukwonago native stayed in Minneapolis a couple of years after school but decided to move back to the area about 1 1/2 years ago. A home brewer who had worked in restaurants since he was 14, Eichler worked at Water Street Brewery for a year and dreamed about opening his own place.

The dream became a business plan, and he scouted locations including Wauwatosa before deciding on the long-vacant former real estate office on E. Wisconsin Ave., enchanted by downtown Oconomowoc’s proximity to lakes and noting craft beer’s potential for growth there.

Remodeling began in August, and the Crafty Cow opened Dec. 12 with 91 seats and 16 taps that Eichler wants to rotate frequently. On opening weekend, the swamped bar went through nine barrels, each one noted with a hash mark on a blackboard and the ringing of a cowbell.

» Read Full Article

Pewaukee man accused of physically abusing his teenage son for months

Dec. 17, 2014 4:54 p.m. | Village of Pewaukee — A 15-year-old boy told police on Monday, Dec. 15, that his father beats him so much he's gown accustomed to it.

The boy's father, who will not be named to protect the identity of the victim, was charged Wednesday, Dec. 17, in Waukesha County Circuit Court with physical abuse of a child, intentionally causing bodily harm.

The man faces up to six years behind bars and $10,000 in fines if convicted.

According to the criminal complaint, the boy on Dec. 16 reported the abuse to his Pewaukee High School counselor who referred the case to police.

The victim said in the complaint that his father punched him in the face on Dec. 15 after the man returned home from work. He was upset because he thought his son, who had walked home after an after-school activity, had arrived much later than he anticipated.

» Read Full Article

Rep. Craig blasts CESA waste

Dec. 17, 2014 4:40 p.m. | In a letter emailed to Dr. Tony Evers on Dec. 17, Rep. David Craig (R-Town of Vernon) released findings from a recent open records request, revealing a culture of waste perpetuating Wisconsin’s 12 Cooperative Educational Service Agencies, according to news release from Craig.

"As a taxpayer, I find the results of this records request deeply concerning. The blatant disregard for taxpayer dollars and overall lack of transparency exhibited by the state’s 12 CESAs is troubling, particularly in light of ever increasing state budgets," said Craig. 

"The reality that in 2013 alone, eight CESAs spent nearly half of a million dollars on five-star dining, luxury travel accommodations and employee lunches (among other expenditures) is beyond unacceptable," Craid continued. "As stewards of taxpayer dollars, DPI and Wisconsin’s CESAs should be held accountable for these choices. As such, I call on our state superintendent to closely examine and give account of this fiscal mismanagement to the source of these funds, Wisconsin’s taxpayers.”

Wisconsin’s state superintendent is required to both supervise and audit the receipts and expenditures of all CESAs, according the news release.

Rep. Craig represents the 83rd Waukesha, Walworth, Racine and Milwaukee Counties.  Assembly District which is comprised of portions of Waukesha, Walworth, Racine and Milwaukee Counties.

Former town/city of Pewaukee clerk dead at age 73

Dec. 17, 2014 1:10 p.m. |  Sandra Salbashian was revered by her friends and former co-workers at the city of Pewaukee.

The former clerk and treasurer of the town — later the city — died Saturday, Dec. 13, at age 73 from uterine cancer.

"She was like a mother hen," recalled City Attorney Stan Riffle. "She was so passionate about everything that was here in the city."

Mayor Scott Klein said Salbashian essentially "ran the city." "She was the staff," Klein said.

Salbashian served Pewaukee for nearly 25 years before retiring in 2002. According to City Clerk and Treasurer Kelly Tarczewski, Salbashian's position was elected but eventually the common council opted to change it to an appointed position. Salbashian was first elected clerk in 1981.

» Read Full Article

Gas prices keep tumbling

Dec. 17, 2014 9:26 a.m. | Gas prices in the Lake Country area continue to spiral downwards as Mike Badani's Hartland Citgo dropped its price to $2.35 per gallon Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. That's the lowest price in the Lake Country area. Last year at this same time gas prices were $3.89 per gallon. Two states, Oklahoma and Louisiana, have prices below $2.00 per gallon. In Louisiana prices were as low as $1.86 per gallon and in Oklahoma prices were as low as 1.88 per gallon.

Cookie drop at OPL benefits food pantry

Dec. 17, 2014 8:25 a.m. |  Celebrate the holiday season at the Oconomowoc Public Library Cookie Drop, from 5-8 p.m. on  Friday, Dec. 19.

 Plan to drop off at least one to two dozen cookies. Stay awhile to sample, discuss recipes and package cookies. The packaged cookies will be delivered to the Oconomowoc Food Pantry at 9 am on Saturday, Dec. 20.

Romanowski appointed to Kettle Moraine School Board

Dec. 16, 2014 9:43 p.m. | After a tied vote, it took a statement from one of the candidates to sway the vote of board members and break the tie to appoint a new member to the Kettle Moraine School Board of Education on Dec. 16.

Both candidates applying to complete Colin Butler's term on the school board brought similar viewpoints in regards to the value of personalized, innovative learning; supporting teaching staff; importance of communication and community engagement, but it was Jim Arts' candor that turned the tide and placed Jim Romanowski in the school board seat.

With his wife working as a teacher at Kettle Moraine Middle School, Arts directed the favor of the board to Romanowski, who could serve with no conflict of interest, which would result in abstaining in voting on staffing issues. The board voted 5-1 in favor of Romanowski.

Romanowski, of Delafield, a district resident since 1984, brings about 29 years of previous public service experience in the Delafield area to the board as well as the expertise of a civil engineer, and experience in teaching at the secondary level. .

Romanowski will be sworn in at the Jan. 5 school board meeting to complete Butler's term, which expires in April. Romanowski would them have to run for school board on the April ballot to be elected to a seat on the board.

Oconomowoc common council grants conditional use permit to new used car dealership

Dec. 16, 2014 9:23 p.m. | City of Oconomowoc - A new used-car dealership will soon be moving into downtown Oconomowoc.

The common council on Tuesday, Dec. 16, granted a conditional use permit to Milwaukee natives Tony and Donisha Nesbitt for a property at 200 S. Silver Lake Street which the couple would use as a car lot called Right Way Auto.

The permit was approved on a 7-1 vote after some discussion; alderman Mike Miller cast the lone dissenting vote.

City Planner Jason Gallo said the plan commisson on Dec. 10 recommended approval of the permit with some amendments -- such as specifiying the dealership's hours of operation and outlining how to use the allotted number of parking stalls reserved for the business -- which were included in the permit reviewed by council members.

Additionally, alderman Derek Zwart proposed an amendment to the permit that would allow the Nesbitt's to wash and detail the cars on their lot, which was prohibited in the agreement.

» Read Full Article

Celebration for fire chief postponed

Dec. 16, 2014 9:09 p.m. |  The open house to honor Hartland Fire Chief Allen “Augie” Wilde has been postponed.

 
Wilde is unable to attend the celebration due to a personal emergency.
 
Originally, the celebration was scheduled for Friday, Dec. 19 at the American Legion Hall. According to interim fire chief Dave Dean, the celebration will be rescheduled at a later date, though that information is unknown as of this publication.
 
Dean said in a release that “the public will be invited to join the Department and others to celebrate Chief Wilde’s long service on the Fire Department and as Chief when a new date is identified. On behalf of Chief Wilde, the Hartland Fire Department and the Village of Hartland, we appreciate the public’s understanding and look forward to a great event in the near future.”
 
Wilde, who has been with the department for 52 years and 36 of those years as chief, will step down from the head position on Dec. 31.
 

FYI: What happens to letters to Santa

Dec. 16, 2014 4:37 p.m. | There's no exact number for how many letters to Santa the United States Postal Service receives every year, said Customer Relations Coordinator in Milwaukee Leon Van Vooren.

But he knows it's a lot.

"We believe the number is easily in the millions," he said.

The U.S. Postal Service began receiving letters to Santa more than 100 years ago, Van Vooren said. But what happens to those millions of letters sent in year after year varies by postal station, he said.

Often, many of those letters get answered. Some post offices allow customers to "adopt" a letter and buy the gifts children ask for in their letters. While Milwaukee doesn't participate in the letter adoption program, nearby communities — such as Madison — do, he said.

» Read Full Article

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