The following is a look at a list of the top news stories for 2015 for the Kettle Moraine Index.
1Sustained excellence in Kettle Moraine Schools
It was a banner year in the Kettle Moraine School District.
The district, students, administrators and teachers were all honored at the state and national level.
In April, the district was chosen to be in US Department of Education videos and they were available on YouTube in December.
The school district was also recognized as one of the Best Communities for Music Education nationwide by the National Association of Music Merchants.
KM Global was included in the Newsweek list of America's top high schools.
Four Kettle Moraine students were named as National Merit semifinalists.
Kettle Moraine senior Jacob Cavaiani spoke at the State of Education address.
The district was honored for its financial reporting in October.
The district was also honored for its videos for the 2014 referendum.
Senior Hannah Healy scored a perfect 36 on her ACT.
Pat Deklotz was named the Superintendent of the Year by the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators.
Add it all up and it was an incredible year for the school district and its people, and very worthy of being the top Kettle Moraine Index news story of 2015.
2Town Bank robbery
Before Judge Lee S. Dreyfus issued a 25-year sentence to Thomas M. Clark for robbing two Waukesha County banks over a three-day span earlier this year, Clark's wife called her husband "a good man" who just lost control after becoming addicted to crack cocaine.�
In a letter to Dreyfus, Kim Clark asked Dreyfus to "maybe go a little easier on his sentencing" and "to give him a second chance in life to still someday come out and be a productive member of society."
At 55 years old, Thomas Clark, who pleaded guilty in October to robbing a Waukesha bank and a bank in Wales, won't get that chance until he is 70 years old.
Dreyfus sentenced Clark to 15 years in prison and another 10 years of extended supervision on Tuesday, Dec. 22.
The court has also ordered Clark, who remains confined to the Waukesha County Jail, to pay back the money he stole from Town Bank in Wales.
Clark told police in the criminal complaint he was using cocaine at the time of the robbery in Waukesha. He also said in the complaint he used some of the money he stole from Town Bank to buy drugs and also gave a large chunk of the stolen cash to his parents.
While robbing Tri City National Bank on Sunset Drive, inside Pick 'n Save, in Waukesha, on May 29, Clark wore a blue surgical mask covering his face when he approached the bank teller. He then threw a crumpled up piece of paper on the counter. Clark later told police he didn't remember what he wrote because he was under the influence of crack cocaine, the complaint said.
Clark left with $4,724, but the money was later found in the parking lot of the bank, 220 E. Sunset Drive, after a red dye pack exploded in a plastic bag in the supermarket's parking lot, according to the complaint.
Three days later, on June 1, Clark, wearing a white hard hat and construction vest, entered Town Bank, 511 N. Wales Road, wearing a bandana around his neck and face. He told a teller he had a bomb and placed a suspicious package on the counter.
According to the complaint, Clark indicated a bomb would be set off if he didn't receive $15,000 in cash. (The only item found in the package was an electronic candle.)
3Keith named new LCFR chief
Kevin Keith may have earned his position as the newly appointed chief of Lake Country Fire and Rescue partly as a result of his performance during a May meeting of elected officials from Chenequa, Nashotah and the city of Delafield and members of the LCFR commission and governing board.
"I am looking forward to the challenge. It is a great department with great members and we are working together to fix the financial problems of the past," Keith said after he was promoted last week by the LCFR governing board.
The garage door service milwaukee board voted to appoint Keith after he was recommended by the LCFR commission that is responsible for the recruiting, hiring, promotion and discipline of firefighters, including the chief.
Keith is a resident of Nashotah who joined the village's volunteer fire department about 20 years ago.
He was hired in 1998 as a division chief with the city of Delafield Fire Department, where he continued to serve until 2010 when the department was consolidated with Lake Country Fire to create Lake Country Fire and Rescue. He served as deputy chief for the department for the past five years.
Keith has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and was one of the first Delafield firefighters to complete paramedic training.
4Town of Delafield hall
The town of Delafield and fire department moved into its new town hall late in the spring and held an open house. Discussion of what do with the old building was an ongoing topic of conversation throughout the year.
An official ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house at the new facility was scheduled for May 31. As part of the celebration, the fire department ceremoniously transferred apparatus and equipment from the Maple Avenue fire station to its new quarters on the 13,000-square-foot upper level of the new facility, according to Town Clerk Mary Elsner.
Town government began operations at the 6,000-square-foot lower level of building June 15.
State law requires that before a town government can dispose of, or sell, town buildings or land they must have the approval of town residents at a town meeting.
Meanwhile, town officials and consultants have been studying the possibility of converting the existing town hall into a garage and storage facility, which, ironically, is what the building was used for before it was converted into a town hall.
According to local historians, the original town hall was at what is now 715 Genesee St., a small commercial brick building in what is now downtown city of Delafield.
The town hall was moved shortly after the incorporation of the city in 1958, apparently into the existing building on Golf Road, which was a garage where trucks and equipment for a landfill were stored.
There garage door installation were two heroic rescues that stood out in 2015 in the Index region, and there was one from 2013 that was recognized in the past year.
In January, UPS driver Rick Nacker saved the life of one of the customers on his route.
LCFR received a commendation for a September 2013 rescue from the Flight for Life - Waukesha in March.
In October, Lake Country Fire and Rescue commissioner Brad Stocks was rescued by LCFR crews.
6Wales sewer project
The village board approved the proposed intergovernmental cooperation contract with the city of Waukesha for wastewater treatment at a special meeting in September.
"There was a time I wasn't sure we'd get this all wrapped up," said Trustee Eugene Mayernick.
Flaws said the system will principally serve commercial buildings along Highway 18 in addition to a couple residences and apartments.
The project is divided into six phases with the first two completed. The first phase was laying the infrastructure by the Highway 83/18 roundabout before the Wisconsin Department of Transportation began work on Highway 83 in case the sewer system was ever built.
The third phase involves "collection pipes" within the village and is in progress.
The sixth phase is the final connection to Waukesha.
7Vandalism in Kettle Moraine School District
Three Lake Country individuals are facing criminal charges for reportedly breaking into and vandalizing Wales Elementary School, 219 North Oak Crest Drive, over the summer, and causing nearly $70,000 in damage.
Ian Anderson, 18, of Wales, Alec Brazeau, 18, of Delafield and 17-year-old Jacob Lange, of Pewaukee, were charged in September in Waukesha County Circuit Court as parties to the crimes of burglary of a building or dwelling and felony criminal damage to property.
Police began investigating the vandalism incident after receiving a report of the break-in from a construction foreman who was overseeing recent renovations to Wales Elementary, the criminal complaint said.
Windows and doors inside the school were broken, fire extinguishers were emptied in hallways and classrooms and walls and other school property, including a SMART board and a newly installed gym floor, were damaged, according to the complaint.
The damage to building was estimated at $69,118.
According to the complaint, Anderson, Brazeau, Lange and a fourth unidentified (and uncharged) accomplice broke into the school early in the morning July 9. They reportedly climbed up some scaffolding outside the building and smashed through a sheet of plywood covering a second-story window to get into the school.
Police interviews with the defendants in the complaint provide varying accounts of who was responsible for the various damages, but Anderson was consistently identified as the person who damaged the gym floor.
The complaint alleges that Anderson drove a scissors lift around the gym that rippled the floor.
Anderson claimed in the complaint that his memory of the incident "is somewhat hazy" because he had been drinking earlier in the night and had ingested two morphine pills.
The defendants reportedly hatched the idea to vandalize the school while driving home around 2 a.m. from Milwaukee, where they had been drinking, the complaint said.
All of them denied having anything to do with a similar vandalism incident that occurred a few nights later at Kettle Moraine Middle School.
8Construction blitz in Kettle Moraine School District
Moving ahead with referendum-related construction work, groundbreaking ceremonies for each Kettle Moraine School District school getting a new entrance were held on April 1. New entrances for Dousman and Wales Elementary Schools and Kettle Moraine Middle School will start being built as students and staff enjoy spring break.
Construction was expected to completed in August 2016, according to the district's website.
Temporary traffic patterns will be used to reduce congestion and enhance safety while traveling through construction areas. Visit the KMSD website under news stories for links to maps of new traffic patterns at Dousman and Wales.
9Joint Fire Study
Several area communities participated in a survey to see what the costs and benefits would be to having a county-wide fire and rescue department.
The town of Delafield was one of the first communities to join in on the survey in September.
10Major road construction
It is said there are two seasons in Wisconsin: winter and road construction.
This year, it seemed like one road or another was torn up in the area all year long.
There was highway construction and discussions of projects for highways such as 67, 83 and C.
Other stories under consideration included: Dousman and Ottawa entered into fire consolidation talks, Genesee Street reconstruction project, Cushing medals on display in the area, Eagle and North Prairie had fire merger talks, City of Delafield looks to crack down on sign violators, gun club case goes to court, Summit considers new village hall, demolition of the Masonic Lodge, Waukesha leaves the municipal court system, and calls to re-open Ethan Allen to house sex offenders.