Fire levels Lannon home
Village of Lannon A fire completely destroyed a mobile home in the 20000 block of West Good Hope Road.
The three people inside the home are now staying with family members, according to Lannon Fire Chief Gary Georgenson.
The heat from Monday's conflagration also damaged the vinyl siding on four other mobile homes nearby, he said, and poured smoke into the one closest to the fire. The Red Cross assisted the two people who had been living in that home, and they are also temporarily living elsewhere.
Georgenson said that Lannon firefighters arrived about 3 to 4 minutes after the call came in, but the home was already "fully involved," and the roof collapsed just as they arrived.
A fire inspector has determined that the fire was caused by an electrical problem, he said.
Amy Gall and Dan "Mouse" Martin were married Saturday, June 6, 2009, at the Lannon Fire Department garage.
Parents of the bride are Ken Gall and Pam and Mark Spranger. Parents of the groom are Dan and Sue Martin.
The bride is a firefighter and emergency medical technician for the Lannon Fire Department.
The groom is a firefighter and motor pump operator for the Lannon Fire Department.
The couple rode to their reception at the Village Bowl in Menomonee Falls in Lannon's first fire truck, a 1928 Pirsch that the department still uses.
Daily apologizes for threat
Lannon divided over Fire Dept. proposal
Village of Lannon A controversial proposal to reorganize the lines of authority between the Village Board and the Fire Department erupted into a shouting match - and a death threat - at a meeting last Tuesday in Village Hall.
Village Trustee Diane Daily later apologized for telling fellow board member Terry Gissal, "You're the first one I'm going to kill."
Gissal has said he would not press charges against Daily.
"I should never have lost my temper," Daily said in an interview Monday, "but that's not the real issue here."
Daily's proposal would change the way fire chiefs are hired. The department's on-call volunteers now elect or re-elect their part-time chief every year. Daily wants the Village Board and its Personnel and Public Safety Committees to make that decision.
One of the problems with the current process is that the majority of the department's volunteers are not Lannon residents, she said.
Fire Chief Gary Georgenson confirmed Monday that 24 of the department's 38 volunteers are nonresidents, but he didn't think that was a problem.
Only the fire chief has to live in Lannon according to current policies, but even that's too restrictive, he said.
"We have volunteers from Butler, Brookfield, Germantown, Lisbon and Menomonee Falls, many of whom would be qualified to serve as chief," he said.
Georgenson, who plans to retire from the $4,800-a-year part-time position when his current one-year term is up, said he would prefer that the village keep its current system.
"If you look at the municipalities around us that don't have a full-time chief," he said, "all of them except Sussex are elected by their volunteers."
The part-time Lannon Fire Chief is paid $4,800 a year; paid on-call volunteer firefighters are paid $9.94 an hour and EMTs $11.92 an hour.
Daily said she had "nothing against the chief. This is about how the next chief will be hired."
Georgenson said a Village Board takeover of the chief's hiring would "politicize" the process.
Village President Dan Martin - like Gissal, a former volunteer firefighter - would also prefer to keep the current system.
"It's been done this way ever since the Fire Department was formed," he said in an interview Monday, "and it seems to work."
Georgenson said politics had already prevented the hiring of a full-time firefighter/emergency medical technician (EMT), even though the Village Board had included the $44,000-a-year position in its budget four years ago.
Martin agreed, saying four board members had objected to the person the chief had selected to fill the position.
"Last year I told the volunteer I had picked that I had hired him," Georgenson said. "Then bad rumors about him started to fly around. I don't know if he'd even take the job now."
Georgenson claimed Daily's proposed new employee manual would worsen the problem, taking hiring, firing and promotions out of the hands of the chief, too.
Daily said the police and fire departments need employee manuals because current policies are "way out of date."
She said, "We looked at manuals in the municipalities all around us and picked language we thought applied to us."
The new manuals would "repeal and replace" current ordinances - a common parliamentary process - that might have led some to believe she was trying to disband the Fire Department, Daily said.
That charge, she said, led to some of the intensity at the meeting, which attracted many volunteer firefighters who challenged her proposals.
Daily also claimed that Amy Martin, a Lannon firefighter/EMT and another candidate in the Village Board election set for April 6, had "spread a rumor" that Daily was trying to disband the Fire Department.
Six candidates are running for three seats in that election.
The charge "doesn't make any sense," Daily said.
"I've always voted for what the people of Lannon want, not what I want.
"The only way to decide this is by referendum: Would they prefer nonresidents choose the chief or do we want the Village Board and its committees to do the hiring?"
Lannon police, fire go above and beyond
Randy and Kari Cerny know who to call if there's ever an emergency at their home in Lannon. Thanks to overwhelming support from the Lannon Police and Fire departments, Kari said she's confident that if she ever needs to call 911 again, she'll receive swift assistance.
Back in March, the Cernys were home with their two children, 8-year-old Ethan and their newborn daughter, Addison, when Addison started to cry.
Kari said Randy thought Addison was hungry, so she went to make her a bottle. When she came back to the room, Addison was no longer crying.
"She was cold and clammy, and I told my husband something just wasn't right," said Kari.
Kari called her mother, a nurse, who came to their home from nearby Sussex. Meanwhile, Randy called 911.
Addison was not breathing and was turning blue.
Kari said she was concerned emergency officials would not be able to find their house, which is behind Halquist Stone.
"It's not the easiest house to find," she said. "We share a driveway with Halquist stone, and no one would know our house was there unless you know the area."
Luckily, the Police and Fire departments were familiar with the house.
Police Lt. Kevin Porter was the first on scene.
In a letter she wrote to the Village of Lannon Board expressing her thanks, Kari said "he swept my little baby out of my arms and brought her back to life."
The ride to Children's Hospital was the longest of her life - Kari is familiar with the drive, since she works at Froedtert Hospital - and Addison was in the hospital for the weekend. When she was sent home, it was with an apnea monitor, which the Cernys were told Addison should wear at all times.
The next day, Kari was out getting some things for the baby when Porter stopped by the house to check on the family. He spoke with Kari's mother.
"Now, let's be realistic here," wrote Kari in her letter. "Where else could you live where the lieutenant of the Police Department would stop to see how your baby is doing? This would only happen in Lannon."
Kari said she thinks that if the incident had occurred in a larger community, they would have been simply one more 911 call. But that wasn't the case in Lannon, she said. Later that night, Fire Chief Gary Georgenson was at their door to introduce himself.
Kari said that Georgenson asked her about the monitor and told her he would like to bring the department back to her residence so that they'd be prepared should anything happen again with Addison.
"Gary's words of comfort during this time of need were reassuring," wrote Kari. "He is truly a caring and compassionate man, and it made us feel more comfortable knowing he and his crew were there if we ever needed them."
Georgenson said what he did was standard procedure.
"We do that if we find out about any special needs," he said. "I would hope that's a standard in any type of community."
Georgenson said he invited Kari and Addison to the Fire Department for an EMT drill.
"I thought that was kind of neat," he said.
Porter reiterated Georgenson's sentiment that they were just doing their jobs.
"This is a small community here," he said. "The people on our Fire and Police departments like to look out for our neighbors. It's important that we do that. "Porter said he was just glad they got to the Cernys home in time to get Addison the care she needed.
"I'm glad they have the peace of mind knowing everyone on our fire department and police department know exactly where their house is," he said.
Porter added that Menomonee Falls and Waukesha County dispatch were made aware of the situation as well, in case of an emergency.
Kari said she is confident in the plan in place, should she ever need to call for help again.
Although Addison requires the monitor less often, doctors are still working to figure out why she stops breathing at times.
"I talk about this to everyone I come across," Kari said. "I cannot give enough credit to them."
Five applications for Lannon fire chief
Village of Lannon Five applicants will be considered for Lannon fire chief. They include: David Batchke of Sussex, Brent Biedenbender of Butler - who has been recommended for the spot by Fire Department members -, Patrick Curtis of Sussex, Jeffrey Johnson of Brookfield and Bob Simon of Menomonee Falls. An advisory committee selected by the Finance & Personnel Committee reviewed the five applications last week and will hold interviews for all five on Saturday.
Using an advisory committee to interview the applicants and make a final suggestion to the committee is part of the process established by an ordinance created last year regarding the hiring of the Lannon fire chief. Committee Chairman Ron Nellis said the group made its selections based on each person not belonging to a immediate mutual aid area and that each person has experience in fire service.
The advisory committee consists of: William Selzer, Elm Grove fire chief; Charlie Meyers, City of Brookfield fire chief, and Kurt Zellman, West Allis fire chief. The committee members will be paid $50 each, per meeting. The funds for this will be allocated from the Fire Department capital expenditures account.
Once the first round of interviews is complete, the committee will do followup interviews with the top three candidates on March 31. Village Clerk James Lamb said the advisory committee will submit its top choice to the Finance and Personnel Committee after second interviews.
Committee selects top pick for Lannon Fire Chief
It appears a committee created by Village of Lannon Finance and Personnel Committee to aid in the selection of a new fire chief has finalized its top choice. The Village Board is slated to hold a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday to discuss candidate Patrick Curtis according on the meeting's agenda.
The agenda has the board going into closed session at the meeting's start followed by open session and a possible open interview of Curtis by board members, "to enable the public to learn about the qualifications and experience of this candidate," the agenda said.
The search for a new fire chief began early this year when former chief Gary Georgenson retired after 30 years leading the department.
Curtis was among five applicants for the position. He is a firefighter at North Shore Fire Department. More on this story in Wednesday's Sussex Sun.
Patrick Curtis appointed Lannon fire chief
Village of Lannon With no opposition from those in the audience of a special Village Board meeting Monday night, Patrick Curtis was unanimously appointed the new fire chief. The appointment is historic for the village because until Monday, the chief has been appointed by Fire Department members.
The board said it was necessary to put the decision in the hands of the body that governs the position. But Fire Department members took issue with the decision, saying that taking the power to appoint the chief out of their hands could mean someone less qualified could be appointed.
Amy Martin, a Lannon firefighter, said the change was unnecessary.
"I believe that change can be a good thing when change is needed. The membership, which include highly skilled and dedicated volunteers, has always been afforded the opportunity to choose their leader. Now it is left in the hands of people who have no clue what it means to dedicate their lives to saving others," she said.
Village President Jerry Newman said that Village Trustee and Finance and Personnel Committee Chairman Ron Nellis, who was in charge of selecting a committee to interview chief applicants - which was made up of area fire department leaders - is a former Lannon fire chief.
Newman said all three of the committee's top choices were extremely qualified, but what it came down to for the board was that Curtis was willing to dedicate the most time to Lannon.
Curtis said Monday he plans to spend his free time -when not serving as a full-time firefighter at North Shore Fire Department - at the village, which is about four days a week. Newman said the other two candidates only offered to spend one day a week at the village.
Curtis said Monday that he started in fire service with Sussex in 1999 before joining the North Shore department in 2003. He said North Shore is a shared-services department that serves seven communities, responding to an average of 6,500 calls a year.
"I've basically taken every class I can take and been involved in fire service since I was a young boy," said Curtis, the son of Sussex Fire Chief Colin "Corky" Curtis.
Curtis said he is taking an open-door approach to getting to know the members of the Lannon Fire Department and earning their trust. He said he plans to meet with each member of the approximately 50-member department personally.
"I've always looked at this opportunity as a challenge to further myself. It's always been a goal to hold leadership roles, and this is a great department that provides great fire and medical service," he said.
Newman said the board has asked Curtis to do a staff and equipment review and look at the department's by-laws in his first 60 to 90 days. Curtis said Monday that he is ready to begin right away.
Lannon-Falls fire merger pending
Village of Lannon - The villages of Lannon and Menomonee Falls are expected to adopt similar resolutions this month that will formalize 18 months of negotiations between officials of the two communities that could lead to either shared fire services between the communities or a consolidation of the fire departments.
The resolution is expected to be presented to the Lannon Village Board at its March 11 meeting and to the Menomonee Falls Village Board the following week, according to village officials.
The adoption of the resolutions will affirm that the elected trustees in both villages endorse the idea of a fire service agreement between two communities and the continuation of negotiations, according to Lannon Village President Jerry Newman
A tentative agreement has been reached regarding an operational structure for a consolidated department and how some, or all, of Lannon's equipment and apparatus would be incorporated into the Menomonee Falls department, according to Newman.
Newman said the issues of how the communities would share funding of a consolidated department or agreement, how the department would be governed, and how the Village of Lannon will be reimbursed for assets it contributes to the Menomonee Falls department, including fire equipment and apparatus, have yet to be resolved.
Newman said future negotiations may determine whether the Lannon department is consolidated or merged with the Menomonee Falls Department or whether Menomonee Falls might provide contractual fire and medical emergency services to Lannon which might later dissolve its fire department.
Newman said which one of several options adopted by the Lannon Village Board is likely to depend upon which option provides the best level of service to the village at the most economical cost.
"It will all depend upon the mathematics, how the dollar figures work out," he said.
Newman acknowledged he is not yet sure what voice, if any, the village will have in the operations of the department.
"They are about 30 times bigger than us," he quipped.
The Lannon department has a budget of about $190,000 with approximately 35 volunteers who are paid a stipend each time they respond to a call.
The Menomonee Falls department has a budget of $2.9 million with 14 fulltime firefighters, 24 firefighters who are paid part time, and 85 volunteers who are paid each time they respond to call or are on duty during overnight hours.
Newman anticipates the consolidation could save the Village of Lannon about $1.5 million which is the estimated cost for either remodeling the existing Village Hall fire station or constructing a new station, possibly at a different location.
Instead of the Lannon station, Newman anticipates that village residents will be served by two new stations being built by the Menomonee Falls department, one at Main Street and Menomonee Avenue and the other on Silver Spring Drive near One Mile Road.
Newman is also optimistic that future operating and other capital costs for the village will be reduced as a result of the consolidation.
However, Newman acknowledged that so far there has been no agreement on how much the village will be expected to contribute to the new department.
Menomonee Falls officials said the consolidation will enable them to provide faster response times to residents living in the western quadrant of the village, some who are presently served by the Lannon department.
So far most of the negotiations have been conducted privately between Newman, Falls Village Administrator Mark Fitzgerald and department directors with limited contributions from the elected officials in either community. Any final agreement will have to be approved by both village boards. The resolution will authorize Newman to continue the negotiations on behalf of the Village Board.
Consolidation negotiations in most other Lake Country communities have been open to the public and included active participation of elected officials. Those communities included the villages of Chenequa, Dousman, Nashotah, Oconomowoc Lake, Summit and the towns of Ottawa and Delafield along with the cities of Oconomowoc and Delafield.
Lannon adopts resolution for Falls fire talks
Village of Lannon - With some dissent, the Village Board Monday adopted a resolution authorizing continued negotiations between Lannon and the Village of Menomonee Falls over a possible consolidation or shared service agreement between the two community fire departments.
The resolution directs the village president "to negotiate and bring back for the Village Board's consideration of a proposed agreement, for possible approval, between the Village of Lannon and the Village of Menomonee Falls regarding the provision for fire protection, fire inspection and ambulance services."
Village Trustees Ronald Nellis and Daryl Fiene questioned why only the village president is directed by the resolution to participate in the negotiations.
Fiene noted after the meeting that both he and Nellis are members of the Public Safety Committee and were members of the village volunteer fire department.
"I have more than 17 years experience on the department, this man next to me (referring to Nellis) has even more experience. I don't understand why someone from the Public Safety Committee isn't also involved. Two heads are better that one," Fiene concluded.
However, Nellis voted for the resolution after Newman reminded him any agreements resulting from the negotiations would have to be ratified by the Village Board. Fiene, however, voted against the resolution on the voice vote.
The Village of Menomonee Falls is expected to adopt a similar resolution later this month.
Private negotiations between Menomonee Falls and Lannon officials have been going on for about 18 months, and Newman told the Sussex Sun two weeks ago that the negotiations had reached a point where it was necessary to gain both communities' approvals before continuing the talks.
A tentative agreement has been reached regarding the operating structure of the department and how some of Lannon's equipment and personnel would be incorporated with the Menomonee Falls department, according to Newman.
However, Newman said it has not been decided whether the two departments will consolidate or whether Menomonee Falls would provide fire and ambulance services to the Lannon on a contractual basis and the Lannon department would be dissolved.
The Lannon department has a budget of about $190,000 and relies on approximately 35 volunteers who are paid a stipend for each time they respond to an emergency call.
The Menomonee Falls department has budget of nearly $3 million with 14 full-time firefighters, 24 part-time firefighters, and about 85 volunteers who are paid a stipend each time they respond to a call or on duty during overnight hours.
Newman has said the consolidation or service contract could save the Village of Lannon about $1.5 million because it would enable the village to avoid either remodeling or replacing its existing Village Hall Fire Station.
Menomonee Falls officials have said the consolidation or service contract could help them improve emergency services to residents on the village's far west side. There are plans to build two stations in the vicinity of Lannon; one at Main Street and Menomonee Avenue and the other on Silver Spring Drive near One Mile Road.