NEW BERLIN, WI— If there's one thing to say about 2020, it's that it was a unique year.
While the coronavirus pandemic undoubtedly dominated the headlines this year, other stories caught our readers' attention, including from the updates on the closings and openings of businesses, to local Black Lives Matters rallies and odd crime stories.
What has been clear is the residents in New Berlin have a strong emphasis on community and helping others.
New Berlin Patch is brand-new after debuting in August. The stories offered have been about generosity and getting each other through tough times.
Before we step into 2021, Patch looked back over 2020 and, using reader input and online data, identified the top stories of 2020:
Jalen Green, 14, has been a fan of cars since he was little. Thanks to a New Berlin auto service, he is making his own business venture. Movin' & Lubin', a New Berlin fleet and automotive service and repair shop, is a founding sponsor of City Champs. Its owner, Jared Bell, is an avid martial arts enthusiast. Bell and Green met at City Champs and got to know each other.
When Green told Bell of his idea to create a car calendar featuring his artwork — and of his long-held dream of being an entrepreneur — Bell saw an opportunity to help Green get his first venture off the ground.
Eleven-year-old Maddy Stannis organized a second annual lemonade stand in New Berlin on with all proceeds going to the Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin. Maddy's mom, Marita Stannis, who is on the Board of Directors for the Greater Milwaukee chapter, said they did a public event because nonprofits have been hit so hard due to the pandemic. Maddy Stannis, 11, and Julia Aguilar, both who has Down syndrome, enjoyed helping out with fundraising for the organization. The girls raised over $2,000 towards DSAW.
Barbara Jacob, the assistant director of the New Berlin Food Pantry, is the recipient of the 2020 New Berlin Citizen of the Year Award. Jacob has served as the pantry's assistant director for over a decade. She spoke to Patch this year to discuss how the food pantry was impacted by the pandemic. Jacob said the pantry was able to give temporary help to people who lost their jobs during the pandemic get back on their feet.
Andrea Erdahl of South Milwaukee and Melissa Schick of New Berlin have been friends for over a decade. Andrea was in need of a kidney and without hesitation her friend and colleague Melissa offered to be a donor. Schick said their friends joke that it was Erdahl covering for her at work that killed her kidneys. Their friendship is based on humor, and that's why it works so well.
"Our joke is I kind of owed her my kidney," Schick laughed.
The city announced in November the appointment of Mark Polzin to the position of New Berlin Fire Chief. Polzin comes to New Berlin with over 26 years of fire experience with the Racine Fire Department.
The City of New Berlin Police and Fire Departments showed care and concern for the community by donating 80 turkeys to the New Berlin Food Pantry. They also donated ham over the Christmas holiday to families in need.
New Berlin Police said they continue to be humbled by community support this holiday season. Due to the pandemic, the annual "Shop with a Cop" event had to be canceled. Earlier this week a New Berlin officer went to Walmart to purchase over $800 in gift cards for these families. A random citizen paid the bill for the gift cards.
The New Berlin Lions have managed the corn booth since 1960. Who could forget "Cornelius," the walking and smiling ear of corn that would stop for pictures. The fair was set to open this week but was canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic. To offset the loss, the Lions sold corn on select days for those yearning for the Wisconsin State Fair staple.
The Lions also had to pivot during Christmas by driving Santa around New Berlin for people to see him. The Christmas parade was also canceled in New Berlin.
The Waukesha County Public Health confirmed to Patch that a handful of concerned people called it regarding Greenfield Pub, 16461 W. Greenfield Ave. The video shows people listening to live music while not wearing masks or practicing social distancing. The bartender in the video is also seen not wearing a mask.
Over 50 car break-ins occurred in West Allis. Police took five into custody including four juveniles, one adult who was on probation for armed robbery. All residents of Milwaukee, according to police. Around the same time as the five subjects were taken into custody, West Allis and New Berlin Police took an additional two subjects into custody following a vehicle pursuit (both adults from Milwaukee). New Berlin Police were investigating several car break-ins, police said.
Prospect Hill School, 5330 S. Racine Ave., has been an idle site for 13 years and now it is demolished. A 153,000-square-foot complex is going in its place. Joe Mallinger and his business partner Aaron Kahle of Kahle Builders offered bricks for those who wanted a reminder of the old school.
Bee You Boutique, 16060 W. National Ave., held its grand opening in November. Owners Christine Kowske and Debbie Johansen met 11 years ago while picking up their daughters from school. Both shared a desire to open a clothing, home décor and accessory store.