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2011 in Review: December

Mayor steps down, would-be mayors step up, and Common Council feels some discomfort discussing mayor's salary during the nomination process.

As 2011 comes to a close, Wauwatosa Patch looks back at the top stories of the year, month by month. Here’s a recap of the news that made headlines in December.

Mayor Didier steps away

Mayor Jill Didier surprised Wauwatosa and tossed the upcoming mayor's race into a tumbler when she just three months from the end of her first term to take a newly created job as economic development coordinator with Milwaukee County.

Didier had served just half a term as a District 4 alderwoman before running for mayor in 2008 and winning. She said she felt she had , including advancing the schedule for new and improved facilities at Hart Park and revamping and streamlining the economic development process at City Hall.

New candidates emerge

Just days after Didier announced she would not be running again for mayor, two new candidates cropped up. On Dec. 5, and announced their candidacies. Later in the month, would also declare her intention to run, prompting of the mayor's race and enter his district aldermanic contest. John Pokrandt had announced his candidacy in October.

Salary debate overlaps filing period

The mayor's race took on overtones when the question of the salary of the next person to take office , which runs from Dec. 1 through this Tuesday. A number of aldermen said they would move to hold over any discussion of the issue until after the deadline to avoid the appearance that anyone might file for the office based on salary – but that was nixed by City Attorney Alan Kesner's finding that no elected office's salary can be raised after candidates have filed.

On Dec. 6, Donegan, a candidate himself, said he would face the inevitable criticism and to bump the next mayor's pay from $22,500 to $30,000. The motion passed easily.

Bond sale finalizes lawsuit repayment plan

The eight-year saga of Wauwatosa's contested property tax battle and with Wheaton Franciscan Health Care when the city approved a plan to repay $8.5 million through a combination of borrowing through a bond sale, paying out of an existing fund and recovering tax revenues collected for other entities. The Wauwatosa School District was spared a $2 million hit for the time being when the city elected to cover those losses and part of its own by repaying the $4.5 million bond borrowing from the proceeds of the retirement of the Research Park TIF in 2015.

8 arrested in Mayfair group-grab

Mayfair Mall security, Wauwatosa police and a Milwaukee County Transit bus driver all when eight to 10 youths arranged a mass "grab and run" theft at Macy's at Mayfair Mall. The group, all but one of them juveniles, were already under store surveillance when they entered the Polo brand section of the store. When they all picked up armloads of clothing and ran for the exit, police were already on alert. The group ran to an idling bus, where the driver let them board and then locked them inside until police arrived in force. Eight youths were arrested, and more than $2,000 worth of clothing (retail value) was found on the bus.

Woman turns tables on would-be robbers

A Wauwatosa woman when she was approached by two hooded strangers just after she pulled into her driveway and was walking toward her door. She jumped back in the car, put it in reverse and stepped on the gas, nearly hitting them and frightening them away. She then tried to chase their car to get its license number but couldn't catch up.

Passers-by stop to help, save man's life

Four citizens stepped in to who had a heart attack while trying to navigate his wheelchair across busy Mayfair Road at West Center Street. He was unresponsive and without a pulse, so they got him to the pavement and took turns administering CPR for several minutes until paramedics arrived.

Also of note...

  • Wauwatosa rang in the season with the lighting of the tree to open , a two-day civic celebration Dec. 2 and 3.
  • in submitting a final plan for its redevelopment of the Burleigh Triangle.
  • The city and the schools approved so that each high school and middle school will have one full-time.
  • Meg McKenna announced and that former Mayor .

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