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News & Notes: April 9

April 9, 2014

State Rep. Sandy Pasch won't seek re-election

Shorewood — State Rep. Sandy Pasch, D-Shorewood, will not seek-re-election.

Pasch said she would forego politics to focus on the medical needs of a family member.

"This decision did not come lightly, as having the honor and privilege to serve the greater Milwaukee area since 2009 has been one of the most humbling and meaningful experiences of my life," Pasch said in a statement. "However, due to personal matters and family health circumstances, I believe it is in the best interest of my district, my caucus and me personally to not run for re-election this year."

Pasch is the second-highest-ranking Democrat in the state Assembly, serving as the assistant leader of the Assembly Democratic Caucus. She represents the 10th Assembly District, which includes Shorewood, parts of Glendale and the north side of Milwaukee. The primary will be held Aug. 12, and the general election Nov. 4.

Former Shorewood schools secretary sentenced

Shorewood — A former Shorewood School District secretary who pled guilty to embezzling about $310,000 in special education funding from the district has been sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison.

Donna Sternke, 55, embezzled the money between 1998 and 2011 while serving as a secretary in the Instructional Services and Special Education Department, abusing her purchasing abilities to buy big-screen televisions, household items and gift cards to the Kalahari Resort in the Wisconsin Dells, among other things, according to court records.

In addition to the 366 days of jail time, Sternke has been ordered to pay $310,263 in restitution to the district.

Ronn Johnson's death ruled suicide

Brown Deer — The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office has ruled former educator Ronn Johnson's death a suicide.

Johnson was found Dec. 30 in the remains of his home, which had been destroyed in a fire. According to a police news release, the exact cause of the fire remains unknown, though "ignitable fluids were located in atypical areas, which could indicate the fire may have been intentional."

Johnson was a former charter school leader and former Milwaukee Public Schools teacher. He was charged last summer with nearly two dozen felonies in a child sex abuse case. Prior to his death, Johnson was out on bail after being accused of sexually assaulting five children over more than 20 years.

Communities ranked among smartest in Wisconsin

Whitefish Bay — A website has determined that Shorewood, Mequon and Whitefish Bay are among the 10 smartest communities in Wisconsin.

Movoto, a real estate research site, compared 86 Wisconsin communities with populations of more than 10,000 people. Shorewood was ranked the fifth smartest, Mequon as the seventh smartest and Whitefish Bay as the 10th smartest. The smartest community in Wisconsin is Middleton, according to the website.

Movoto based its rankings on the percentage of residents with a bachelor's degree or higher, high school graduation rate and average school class sizes. They also measured the number of colleges, universities and museums per capita in each community.

Shorewood students win Shaw Alumni Scholarship

Shorewood — Shorewood High School seniors Caitlin Baltus, Santidra Love and Signe Bendi are this year's Robert Shaw Alumni Scholarship winners.

Each winner will receive $6,000 per year for four years, paid in increments of $3,000 per semester, to use for his/her post-secondary education. To renew their awards for the next three years of college or university study, winners must maintain a B (3.0) grade-point average per semester, remain a full-time student in good standing and complete the equivalent of 24 credits per year.

"We are so lucky to live in a community that supports and values post-secondary education for its students," Principal Tim Kenney said. "The high school and entire district are extremely thankful to the Shaw family for their continued support."

The Shaw Scholarship is awarded to three Shorewood High School seniors annually. Winners are chosen by four graduates who do not have any connection to students currently attending the high school. Applicants are based on scholarship, leadership, service, character and financial need. The scholarship is funded by a donation made to the school by Robert Shaw, a 1935 graduate, and has been awarded to seniors since 1998.

Shorewood seeks BikeShare funds

Shorewood — A regional bike share system launching in Milwaukee this year is expected to expand into Shorewood and other suburban communities.

Milwaukee BikeShare, the group organizing the initiative, hopes to create 100 to 200 stations in the metro-Milwaukee area, including as many as nine stations in Shorewood. The cost to build nine stations is estimated at $498,259, but 80 percent of that could be refunded through federal grants. For $5, the BikeShare program would allow people to rent a bike for a half hour. An annual membership, which would cost $65, would allow riders to rent bikes for slightly longer than a half hour.

Shorewood trustees approved the grant proposal. If the grant proposal is approved, and Shorewood is able to secure its 20 percent local share, the program could start in Shorewood as early as mid-2015.

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