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Looking for the best sledding hills? Check out our video reviews

Jan. 04, 2011 1:07 p.m. | Alan Hamari and Isral DeBruin, who we like to call the Siskel and Ebert of sledding hills, or maybe the Abbott and Costello, are back with a look at some of the best runs in the area.

This year the downhill duo checks in with a video review of hills in New Berlin, West Allis and Hales Corners. You can also check out past reviews of North Shore and Elm Grove Hill.

Go to sledding reviews.

Hales Corners Library seeking donations for new Lego Club

3:51 p.m. | Hales Corners — The Hales Corners Library has kicked off fundraising for its new Library Lego Club, set to meet in February of 2016.

Donations of either new or used Legos can be brought to library, located at 5885 South 116th St. Additionally, a donation of a cash gift that will be used to purchase Lego sets can be given at squareup.com/market/hales-corners-library.

Library Lego Club will meet the fourth Monday of every month from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the board room, beginning on Feb. 22, 2016. Registration begins Feb. 1, 2016.

Oak Creek boys basketball team will look to own their success this season

1:40 p.m. | Experienced, with nicely-balanced firepower and with a certifiable all-star in Now All-Suburban guard Harrison Cleary, the Oak Creek boys basketball team got its season off to a solid start with a 69-55 victory over area nonconference rival Greenfield on Nov. 28.

But coach Mike Jossie wants the Knights to maintain perspective.

"We have a total of 10 returnees from last year," he said, "so aspirations are a little higher than they have been recently. We'll find out how far we can go because as we all know, success is not owned but rented, and the rent is due everyday."

It looks like success for the Knights could be rented for a year or two as led by NCAA D2 Minnesota-Crookston recruit Cleary, Oak Creek is in great position to improve on its 10-13 record of a year ago. The 6-2 Cleary averaged 20 ppg., hitting 38 3-pointers and 81 percent of his free throws.

"He looks good and is as unselfish as he ever was," said Jossie of the three-year captain.

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Podoll looks to change boys basketball culture at Franklin

1:32 p.m. | Could new Franklin boys basketball coach Tyler Podoll be the new Steve Showalter in suburban Milwaukee boys high school hoops?

Podoll, who took over for former longtime Sabers coach Tim Hogan in late June, invokes the same kind of passion Showalter did at Germantown.

It's an eerily similar scenario: Showalter stepped into a football-dominated school 15 years ago and transformed the culture, turning the former doormat Warhawk program into three-time WIAA state champs (2012, 2013, 2014).

"Showalter played for Bo Ryan (at UW-Platteville), and we're running the same kind of swing offense and diamond press that they run," Podoll said.

Podoll is facing similar challenges to those Showalter saw, but the Bay View High School coaching veteran has hit the ground running in trying to improve things after a 4-19 record a year ago. A telling point is that in recent open gyms before practice started, upwards of 50 kids came out to take part.

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Initial Reaction Podcast: Would it be OK to see state-football games played other than in Madison?

12:13 p.m. | The guys take a last look back at state-championship football and agree that the title games could stand to move elsewhere, out of Camp Randall in Madison. Plus, a look at where the bright spots might be in the overall Wisconsin sports malaise and JP gets a little bit of time to talk Iowa football.

Positive and uplifting stories in suburban Milwaukee and Lake Country in November

11:00 a.m. | Sometimes you're just looking for a little positivity.

And we hope to deliver that to you with a roundup of positive and uplifting stories from suburban Milwaukee and the Lake Country area. The following stories were published in the past month, and they feature stories that could warm your heart as the holiday season hits its stride.

Menomonee Falls students honored for helping elderly neighbor who was pinned under her vehicle


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Oak Creek announces open house for new Civic Center

Nov. 30, 2015 4:15 p.m. | Oak Creek — City residents will have an opportunity to tour the new Civic Center in Drexel Town Square Saturday, Dec. 12.

The center, located at 8040 S. 6th Street, includes the new city hall and public library. The old municipal buildings along South Howell Avenue will soon be demolished to make way for the Oak Creek-Franklin School District's new ninth-grade center.

Tours will be given from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a dedication ceremony at noon. Light refreshments will be offered. Winners of the city's poetry contest will also be announced at the event.

Updated rankings of area prep boys and girls basketball teams and players

Greendale to host annual 'A Dickens of a Christmas' downtown event Dec. 4

Nov. 30, 2015 11:56 a.m. | Greendale — The village's celebration committee will host the annual "A Dickens Of A Christmas" downtown event from 4 to 9 p.m. Dec. 4.

The event includes performances from Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" as well as musical entertainment throughout the village. Other festivities include horse-drawn wagon rides, cookie decorating, games for children and an ugly sweater contest.

A free shuttle bus will be offered from the Macy's parking lot and the Birkshire Apartments to Joey Gerard's restaurant, 5601 Broad Street, in the downtown area.

For more information, visit http://greendalecelebrations.org/greendale/a-dickens-of-a-christmas-2/.

Wehr Nature Center Director receives Patriot Award from Department of Defense agency

Nov. 30, 2015 11:10 a.m. | FranklinWehr Nature Center Director Debra McRae received the Patriot Award from the Wisconsin Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), as announced by the Department of Defense agency on Nov. 20.

McRae received the Patriot Award in recognition of extraordinary support of Maj. Howard Aprill, a staff naturalist who serves in the U.S. Army Reserve. Aprill nominated McRae for the award, according to a news release.

The Patriot Award was created to publicly recognize individuals who provide outstanding support and cooperation to their employees who have served in the military. The award puts the Milwaukee County Park System in the running for the State Pro Patria Award, the highest level award that may be bestowed by a state ESGR committee.

McRae has been director of Wehr since 1999. She is no stranger to the concerns of military families — her husband is a Vietnam veteran, and her son is a naval reservist. McRae's son and Aprill served in Afghanistan at the same time.

Aprill has been a combat engineer since he joined the U.S. Army Reserve as a commissioned officer in 1992. One week after joining the reserve, he began work with the parks department. He has served on military tours to Iraq (2003 to 2004) and Afghanistan (2014 to 2015), and has had shorter deployments to Germany and Belize.

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The Prairie School to host event on gifted children

Nov. 27, 2015 5:54 p.m. | RacineThe Prairie School will host former Gifted & Talented Coordinator and Differentiation Specialist for South Milwaukee Schools Jackie Drummer for a speaking event on Thursday, Dec. 2 from 9 to 10 a.m. — the event will be free and open to the public.

Dummer's talk will focus on nurturing giftedness and creativity in young children during the critical developmental years of birth through adolescence. The event is for parents, educators and those in fields related to childhood development. Drummer will also facilitate a question-and-answer session.

Drummer has taught at different levels, from early childhood to graduate school, and was the past president of the Wisconsin Association for Talented and Gifted. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Carthage College and a Master of Science Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Preregistration is required for the event, and can be completed online at www.prairieschool.info/speaker. For more information, email admissions@prairieschool.com or contact Callie Atanasoff, Director of Admission, at 262.752.2531.

Founded in 1965 and celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015, The Prairie School is a private, independent day school for students age three through 12th grade.

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Plans for Alyson Dudek ice skating center move forward with donation

Nov. 25, 2015 3:42 p.m. | Hales Corners— The proposed Alyson Dudek outdoor shelter and ice skating facility in Hales Corners received a donation of $25,000 from Hales Corners Lutheran Church.

Friends of Hales Corners Park & Pool President Donald Schwartz announced on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving, that the church had made the donation .

"Hales Corners Lutheran Church joined the Hales Corners Chamber of Commerce this past summer and now comes forward with this generous contribution. HCL wants to be intimately involved in our community and make a positive difference by assisting the Friends with the above projects. This kindness puts us a lot closer to the end game," said Friends of Hales Corners Park & Pool President Donald Schwartz.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on August 12 at the Hales Corners Park, 5765 S. New Berlin Rd.

Missing Franklin man found dead on Nov. 24 near Oak Leaf Bike Trail

Nov. 25, 2015 3:15 p.m. | Franklin — Police confirmed in a news release that missing Franklin man James Blume was found dead on Tuesday, Nov. 24 — Blume had been missing since October.

The Franklin Police Department recovered a body of a man around 11:15 a.m. on Nov 24 near the Oak Leaf Bike Trail in the 6300 block of West Drexel Ave, according to a news release.

Police identified the body as 54-year-old Franklin resident, James Blume, who was reported missing on Oct. 8. The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office conducted an autopsy and found no evidence of foul play in Blume's death.

Police identify body found near bike trail as missing Franklin man

Nov. 25, 2015 2:22 p.m. | Police have identified a man found dead near a bike trail in Franklin as a man reported missing in October.

Police recovered the body about 11:18 a.m. Tuesday near the Oak Leaf Bike Trail in the 6300 block of W. Drexel Ave., according to the Franklin Police Department. The man was identified as 54-year-old Franklin resident James W. Blume, who was reported missing Oct. 8. An autopsy by the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner showed no foul play was involved.

Blume was last seen in the area of S. 68th St. and W. Drexel Ave, according to police. He was riding a black Nishiki mountain bike.

Oak Creek girls basketball team looks to dominate with depth

Nov. 24, 2015 8:36 p.m. | There will be no easing into the schedule for the high-expectation Oak Creek girls basketball team.

Challenging games with Janesville Craig, Rolling Meadows (Illinois), Milwaukee King and Franklin all await in the first three weeks of the season

But with three starters back and seven seniors all told off the 23-2 WIAA sectional finalist squad of a year ago, the Knights are looking to earn a trip back to Green Bay and the WIAA state tournament.

The last of the heavy lifters off the Knights' 2014 state championship squad, guards Hannah Settingsgaard and Jenna Santi, graduated last season after leading Oak Creek to its third straight unbeaten Southeast Conference title, but depth and experience in the backcourt will not be issues, said veteran coach Steve Hluchnik.

"I think in the end we can go 10, 11, 12 deep," he said. "It will definitely play itself out in the next few weeks. We'll find a rotation because they're all willing to work hard, and we're pretty far along for this time of year. We've gotten in just about everything we want."

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Wisconsin DOT: South 27th Street is open for business during holiday season

Nov. 24, 2015 4:14 p.m. | Oak Creek and Franklin — Shoppers will have an easier time navigating the South 27th Street corridor this holiday season, the Department of Transportation announced Nov. 24.

The department recently completed a major milestone of the Highway 241 (or South 27th Street) reconstruction project, which stretches from south of Drexel Avenue to north of College Avenue in Milwaukee County.

"For those who haven't been to Oak Creek or Franklin in a while, it's a great time to rediscover South 27th Street," said Brian DeNeve of the DOT's Southeast Region Communications. "Motorists shouldn't be afraid of the road work on South 27th Street as recent improvements have made it easier to travel there."

Construction crews were able to switch traffic to have northbound motorists driving on the newly-constructed concrete pavement on Nov. 16.

During the holiday season, most median openings will remain open. Two lanes of traffic will also be open in each direction, north of Minnesota Avenue. One lane of traffic will be open each way south of Minnesota Avenue, with plans to open two lanes in mid-December.

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