Written by Ozaukee Press
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 20:38
With heroin use still on the rise in Ozaukee County, officials have planned an educational discussion titled “Why Today’s Teens are Most at Risk for Drug Use,” which will be held from 7 to 8:45 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, at Ozaukee High School.
The discussion will include county representatives from the district attorney’s office, Sheriff’s Drug Unit and technology experts.
Recovering individuals and families affected by drug abuse will also be part of the discussion.
The program is open to parents and students in grades 6 to 12.
Ozaukee High School is at 401 Highland Dr., Fredonia. For more information, contact Starting Point of Ozaukee at 375-1110 or 284-3144 or e-mail
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 20:36
Judge rejects defense attorney’s request that Port man serve time in county jail
A repeat drunken driver who crashed his pickup truck into a Port Washington house on his way home from a bar in April 2014 was sentenced last week to three years in prison.
Kevin J. Crandall, 45, of Port Washington, who pleaded no contest to a felony charge of first-degree recklessly endangering safety and misdemeanor third offense drunken driving in February, was also ordered by Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Joseph Voiland to serve five years of extended supervision after being released from prison.
The question during the Thursday, April 9, sentencing hearing wasn’t whether Crandall should be incarcerated for a substantial period of time but where he should serve his time.
Prison, District Attorney Adam Gerol said, is where Crandall belongs because of the profound recklessness of his crime.
Gerol noted that a husband and wife and their two children were home and getting ready for bed when Crandall’s truck hit their house. A man and his daughter who were taking an evening walk ran from the street when they saw Crandall’s truck hit a parked car, then continue toward them, he said.
Gerol also noted that Crandall’s blood alcohol level was 0.39%, nearly five times higher than the legal threshold of 0.08%.
“There’s an argument that any operating while intoxicated case involves recklessly endangering safety. I think that’s true,” he said. “But charging this matter in this fashion contemplates something more than that.
“At a .39%, he was a foreseeable and present danger to everyone around him.”
But Richard Schmidt, a former longtime Wisconsin Department of Corrections employee who now works as a sentencing consultant for Cedar Creek Counseling, testified that the court system could meet all its obligations by sentencing Crandall to the county jail for between 12 and 15 months.
Such a sentence would adequately punish Crandall, serve as a deterrent to other would-be drunken drivers, allow him to continue out-patient counseling and, with Huber work-release privileges, allow him to support his family and meet his other obligations, said Schmidt, who was hired by Crandall’s lawyers to conduct a presentence investigation.
“That will definitely protect the community and not depreciate the seriousness of the offense,” Schmidt said. “He’s accepting responsibility and is motivated in treatment to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Crandall’s wife and his lawyer, Michael Penkwitz, both described Crandall as a caring husband and father who worked hard to provide for his family. He has a job and would be able to continue to provide for his family if he was sent to jail, they said. But if he was sent to prison, he and his family would lose the home they have owned for decades, his wife said.
Voiland, however, adopted Gerol’s recommendation.
“You might lose your house, but you won’t lose your family,” Voiland told Crandall, adding that it is noteworthy his family has remained intact despite the stress of the drunken driving incident and criminal case.
Voiland also did as Gerol recommended by making Crandall eligible for the Earned Release Program, which gives qualifying inmates the opportunity for early release if they participate in an alcohol and drug treatment program designed to reduce recidivism.
Crandall was arrested on April 22, 2014, after he left Grand Avenue Saloon in Port Washington in his pickup truck just before 9 p.m.
He drove west on Grand Avenue before heading north on North Spring Street, where he crossed the center line and hit a parked car. He then continued north and hit the home of Derek and Pam Strohl, knocking it off its foundation.
Port Washington resident Bill Henkle and his daughter had been walking in the area and took cover behind the Strohl house when they saw Crandall’s truck coming toward them.
“My house just kind of blew up around me,” Mr. Strohl said during Crandall’s sentencing hearing. “It was like a bomb went off.”
Mr. Strohl said his wife and children, who were getting ready for bed at the time, were terrified but not injured.
“Mr. Crandall’s recklessness could have easily resulted in multiple deaths,” he said.
Crandall apologized to the Strohls in court.
“I’m truly sorry for what has occurred,” he said. “Your welfare has been in my thoughts and prayers.”
Penkwitz noted that Crandall’s insurance has covered the cost of repairs to the Strohls’ house.
Crandall asked that he be sentenced to jail so he can continue to support his family and fulfill his other obligations. He told Voiland he has a “life-long commitment to sobriety.”
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 20:36
A former Sheboygan alderman who is charged in Sheboygan County with sexually assaulting a teenage boy is now accused of doing the same thing in Port Washington.
Kevin S. MatiChek, 33, of Sheboygan, was charged last week in Ozaukee County Circuit Court with felony counts of sexual assault of a child and repeated sexual assault of a child.
According to the criminal complaint, MatiChek assaulted a 15-year-old boy from Saukville in August 2002 and between September 2002 and March 2003.
The boy told authorities he met MatiChek while he was working at Dairy Queen in Port Washington, and that after work he and MatiChek were walking on the breakwater when MatiChek kissed him, the complaint states.
Two weeks later, the boy said, MatiChek had sex with him. He said the assaults continued for years and occurred at Dairy Queen after business hours, his home, various movie theaters and Cedarburg High School, according to the complaint.
The boy said that when he turned 16, MatiChek remarked he was happy because if he was caught having sex with the boy now, the criminal penalties would not be as severe because the teen was a year older, the complaint states.
MatiChek is charged in Sheboygan County with repeated sexual assault of a child, five counts of possession of child pornography and accepting a bribe as a public official.
The bribery charge stems from an allegation that MatiChek coerced a victim into having sex with him in exchange for a favorable ruling by a City of Sheboygan committee on the teen’s bartending license.
MatiChek is currently being held in the Sheboygan County jail on $75,000 bail, according to online court records.
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 21:23
Judge won’t allow testimony about comment before Port bar fight that led to felony charge
Whether Dustin Diamond alluded to stabbing someone just hours before allegedly doing exactly that on Christmas at the Grand Avenue Saloon in Port Washington won’t be an issue in the trial of the man best known for playing Screech on the 1990s television show “Saved by the Bell.”
Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Paul Malloy last week denied a motion filed by District Attorney Adam Gerol seeking to call witnesses who would testify Diamond said something to the effect of “Don’t make me stab someone on Christmas night” after a failed attempt to engage patrons of another Port Washington bar in a drinking game about two hours before the stabbing.
In his motion, Gerol argued that what Diamond said at the Patio Bar and Grill would help prove he planned to stab someone that night and what happened at the Grand Avenue Saloon wasn’t an accident.
“The defendant at an early point and time articulated some plan to pull out his knife and use it if there was a confrontation,” Gerol said during the Thursday, April 2, motion hearing.
Then, Gerol said, Diamond followed through on his plan, “electing to use deadly force in a non-deadly confrontation.”
But Diamond’s attorney, Thomas Alberti, said the testimony Gerol sought to introduce at trial would be prejudicial and unreliable — the product of brothers who came forward only after the stabbing story went viral, then changed their stories.
“If this evidence is allowed, it’s so prejudicial to this case. I think it would taint the whole trial,” Alberti said. “We’d have to have six to eight more witnesses. It would be a trial in a trial. It would confuse the jury.”
Alberti then clarified his strategy, saying there will be no debate about whether the stabbing was accidental.
“It wasn’t an accident. We’re not saying it was a mistake,” he said. “We will be claiming self defense — absolutely.”
Malloy reasoned that what was said at the Patio does not shed light on the stabbing at Grand Avenue, at least not to the extent it would outweigh its prejudicial effect on the case.
“This (Patio incident) is really not very probative of anything that happened in Grand Avenue,” Malloy said. “It’s kind of like comparing apples to oranges.”
Diamond, 37, of Port Washington, is charged with one felony count of second-degree recklessly endangering safety and misdemeanor counts of carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct-use of a dangerous weapon in connection with the Grand Avenue incident.
Last week’s hearing, however, focused on what happened before Diamond and Amanda Schutz, 27, who Alberti referred to as Diamond’s wife, arrived at Grand Avenue Saloon.
At about 9:15 p.m., the couple were at the Patio when Diamond gave a man who was at the bar with his brothers a bottle of Smirnoff Ice, a citrus-flavored malt beverage that is the subject of a drinking game called “icing,” according to Gerol’s motion. When a person is given a bottle of Smirnoff Ice, they are supposed to get down on one knee and drink it.
The problem was the recipient of Diamond’s icing overture didn’t want to play, and eventually the man’s brother told Diamond he wasn’t going to drink the Smirnoff. That’s when Diamond walked to the middle of the bar and said, “Don’t make me stab someone on Christmas,” Gerol’s motion states.
Diamond and Schutz eventually left the Patio and went to Grand Avenue Saloon.
At 11:15 p.m. on Christmas, police were called to the bar for a reported stabbing. During a preliminary hearing in January, officer Ryan Hurda testified that by the time he arrived, Diamond, Schutz and the victim, Casey Smet, who suffered a knife wound to the right side of his chest near his armpit, were gone.
He said bartender Mark Mueller told him he saw Diamond holding a knife and told him to put it down. Diamond refused and left the bar with Schutz.
Security video from the tavern shows Schutz get up from the bar where she and Diamond were seated, walk over to a group of people and confront a woman, Hurda said.
Schutz, who was apparently upset that the woman was taking photos of her and Diamond, told police she shoved the woman, who retaliated by punching her, and a scuffle ensued, according to the criminal complaint.
When Diamond attempted to intervene, he was pushed “forcefully” by Smet, Hurda said.
Smet’s brother Craig said he pulled his brother away from Diamond when he heard the “snap of a knife,” Hurda said.
“The fight is pretty much over by that point,” the officer testified. “That’s when Mark Mueller observes the knife in Dustin Diamond’s hand.”
Smet said he was attempting to apologize to Diamond for an earlier confrontation between his girlfriend and Schutz when Diamond came toward him. Smet said he pushed Diamond, then his brother pulled him away, Hurda said.
Smet said Diamond swung at him but he didn’t realize Diamond had a knife or that he had been stabbed until later. Smet, who was not seriously injured, was eventually treated by members of an ambulance crew at his house.
“There was a fair amount of blood on his (Smet’s) sweater and white T-shirt,” Hurda said.
Diamond told police that he brandished his knife “to deter the individuals who he believed were endangering his fiance, Amanda Schutz,” and when he was pushed by Smet, he made a “swooping movement with his arm,” Hurda said.
According to the criminal complaint, Diamond said he did not intentionally stab Smet but chaos broke out, people were grabbing him and he swung his arms to break free.
Schutz is charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct in connection with the bar fight. Both she and Diamond have pleaded not guilty.
During last week’s hearing, Malloy noted it will undoubtedly be challenging to find jurors who are not aware of the charges against the former TV actor.
“I think everybody in this county is aware of this case,” he said.
What’s important, Malloy said, is to find jurors who can be impartial despite having read and watched news of the case.
Malloy, Gerol and Alberti agreed that a questionnaire should be sent to prospective jurors to aid the jury selection process.
Malloy scheduled a hearing for May 11, 10 days after the questionnaires are to be returned, to determine if the trial will start on May 27 as planned.
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 20:11
Fritsch, Stevens, Schinners prevail in School Board race; Didier, Rychtik win in town
Port Washington-Saukville School District residents went with the familiar Tuesday, re-electing the incumbents on the School Board.
Aaron Paulin lost his bid to join the board, garnering only 1,613 votes while incumbent Brenda Fritsch received 2,085 votes, Brian Stevens, 1,967, and Michelle Schinners, 1,790. They represent the City of Port Washington on the board.
Fritsch and Shinners were elected to their first terms on the board in 2012. Stevens was appointed in February 2014 to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of Jim Olsen.
Carey Gremminger, who received 2,479 votes, will again represent the Village of Saukville and Paul Krechel received 2,396 votes to again represent the towns of Grafton and Port Washington.
Both were unopposed.
The trend of returning incumbents to office continued in the Town of Port Washington, where voters re-elected town supervisors Mike Didier and Jim Rychtik.
Didier and Rychtik, who received 282 and 244 votes, respectively, easily outdrew challengers Greg Welton and T. Andrew Anewenter, who received 135 and 85 votes.
Rounding out the Town Board will be Chairman Jim Melichar, who received 371 votes, and Treasurer Mary Sampont, who got 366.
This was the first election cycle in which the town clerk’s position was not on the ballot. Town voters decided last year to make the position an appointed one.
In the City of Port Washington, a full slate of incumbents was re-elected Tuesday. They include Mayor Tom Mlada, 2,128 votes; 1st District Ald. Mike Ehrlich, 357; 3rd District Ald. Bill Driscoll, 256; 5th District Ald. Kevin Rudser, 345; and 7th District Ald. Dan Becker, 333.
Mid Moraine Municipal Judge Steve Cain was re-elected to his post with Ozaukee County voters casting 10,275 votes for him. Circuit Court Judges Paul Malloy and Sandy Williams were also re-elected with 14,016 votes and 13,960 votes, respectively.
Ozaukee County voters, unlike their counterparts throughout the state, chose James Daley over incumbent Supreme Court Justice Ann Bradley, 11,103 to 7,820, but they voted with the majority on a statewide referendum calling for the Justice in Chief to be selected by the State Supreme Court, approving the measure 13,031 to 6,447.
New faces earn village, school board positions
There will be two new trustees in the Village of Belgium and three School Board members in the Cedar Grove-Belgium School District.
Incumbent Village of Belgium Trustee Vickie Boehnlein was the only declared candidate for three seats.
Boehnlein received 223 votes and 68 write-in votes were cast.
It was unclear what candidates received the most write-in votes.
Trustees Jason Acevedo and John Hise did not seek re-election.
Rich Howells ran unopposed for Village President and received 239 votes.
In the Cedar Grove-Belgium School District, Laura Schieffer received 688 votes and 255 write-in votes were cast.
As of Wednesday morning, it was unknown who received the write-in votes,
Administrative Assistant Sue Voskuil said.
School Board members Jim
Lautenschlaeger, Todd Bucher and Jeff Thiel did not seek re-election.
In the Town of Belgium, incumbent Chairman Tom Winker, Suprs. Jim Blick and Bill Janeshek and Clerk Ginger
Murphy ran unopposed for their seats.
Winker received 173 votes, Blick earned 148 and Janeshek had 145. Murphy earned 195 votes.
The town elected a new treasurer, Dayle Parks, who ran unopposed for Karen Wolfe’s seat.
Dickmann, Hamm earn new terms
The story lines were different but the results were the same in Tuesday’s spring elections in the village and town of Saukville.
Former municipal engineer Roy Wilhelm failed in his two-prong bid to gain election in the Village of Saukville.
Incumbent Village President Barb Dickmann withstood a challenge from Wilhelm, winning a seventh term in office by a vote of 249 to 117.
Wilhelm also ran for village trustee, but the three seats on the ballot were retained by incumbents.
Gaining re-election were trustees Mike Krocka with 243 votes, Dave Maglio with 216 and Joe Caban with 195.
Wilhelm garnered 159 votes for trustee.
Although he did not leave his position with the village voluntarily, Wilhelm said he had no hidden agenda that was driving his bids for village office.
In the Town of Saukville, Town Chairman Don Hamm won a full term in office after being appointed to the position last year following the resignation of Barb Jobs.
Hamm was challenged by lifelong resident Marvin Hoffmann, who served as town chairman from 1975 to 1995.
Hamm won the tightly contested showdown with 223 votes, compared to Hoffmann’s 219 votes.
Incumbent town supervisors Curt Rutkowski and Michael Denzien were unopposed in the election, garnering 297 and 253 votes, respectively.
Town Treasurer Gloria Arredondo was unchallenged and received 331 votes.
Krueger tops field in village trustees race
There will be a new face on the Grafton Village Board this spring.
Challenger Tom Krueger and incumbents Dave Antoine and Dean Proefrock emerged as the top vote getters in a five-person race for three trustee seats in Tuesday’s general election.
Krueger led the field with 1,005 votes, followed by Antoine with 986 and Proefrock with 838.
Losing their bids for election were longtime incumbent Jim Grant (752) and challenger Eric Lusty (478).
Krueger, 745 Over- land Tr., is a former utility employee who oversaw the village’s water and wastewater plant operations for 27 years. He was making his first try for elected office.
Village President Jim Brunnquell was unopposed in a re-election bid. He received 1,332 votes.
All board members serve two-year terms.
In the Town of Grafton, incumbent supervisors Karron Stockwell and Steve Schaefer were re-elected in a four-person race.
Stockwell received 578 votes, and Schaefer got 421. Trailing the field were challengers Doug Johnson and Aaron Schmanski with 342 and 317 votes, respectively.
Town Chairman Lester Bartel was unopposed in a re-election bid. He received 741 votes.
Town Board members serve two-year terms.
Two candidates for Grafton School Board were unopposed in their bids for three-year terms.
Incumbent Terry Ziegler received 1,794 votes, and Julia McNally got 1,532.
McNally, 568 Starboard Ct., was making her first try for a board seat.
Write-in positions remain unresolved
The voting is complete, but Fredonia area officials were still uncertain Wednesday morning about the outcome of two local races with no declared candidates.
Village of Fredonia officials had not yet heard from Fritz Buchholtz, who was the top write-in candidate for one of three village trustee posts on Tuesday’s ballot.
Buchholtz, who chose not to seek re-election, received three votes.
If he declines the position, the vacancy will be filled by the Village Board.
Don Dohrwardt was elected village president, with 215 votes. He succeeds Chuck Lapicola, who did not seek re-election.
Incumbent trustee John Long won re-election with 200 votes, and newcomer Neil Wagner was elected with 209 votes.
As of Wednesday morning, write-in candidates Peter Lenz and Tom Miller appeared to be tied for the Village of Fredonia seat on the Northern Ozaukee School Board.
Incumbents Tim Burmesch and Steve Burmesch were unopposed in their bids for new terms on the board.
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 20:52
PW-S district’s $49.4 million improvement plan on minds of incumbents, challenger in Tuesday election
Three Port Washington-Saukville School Board incumbents face a challenger who is no stranger to education in the Tuesday, April 7, election — and it should come as no surprise that the district’s $49.4 million referendum, also on next week’s ballot, is on their minds.
Aaron Paulin, a social studies teacher at West Bend West High School, is challenging incumbents Brenda Fritsch and Michelle Shinners, who were elected to their first term in 2012, and Brian Stevens, who was appointed to the board in February 2014 to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of Jim Olson.
The top three vote-getters will represent the City of Port Washington on the nine-member board.
If there’s one thing all the candidates agree on, it’s that the district needs to invest $45.6 million in its high school, which dates to 1931, and $3.8 million in Dunwiddie Elementary School, where an addition would be built to alleviate overcrowding.
Noting that the current school improvement plan is a pared version of an initial proposal to spend between $86 million and $97 million on facilities, Stevens said, “That initial amount probably struck people pretty hard. Now we’ve come up with something that meets the needs of today’s students and our future students.”
The improvements, he said, will benefit generations of students.
“This is a reasonable amount of money to invest in the long-term future of our schools,” said Stevens, whose children attend Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Port Washington High School.
Shinners said the board’s initial plan to spend at least $86 million on schools, which was modified after a majority of residents who responded to a district survey indicated that was too much money, was not unreasonable. The projects called for in the current plan are the least that should be done to improve schools, she said.
“When I look at our original proposal, none of it was over the top or frivolous. There was nothing crazy about it,” Shinners, whose children attend the middle and high school, said. “It was what we needed.
“I’m doing this for future generations, and I’m finding it disheartening that people don’t have the same vision to pay it forward.”
The candidates agreed that the space crunch at elementary schools and the age and antiquated design of the high school make a convincing case in support of the referendum.
“When I took a tour of the high school, I was devastated,” Shinners said. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s where I send my son.’
“There are a lot of things that should have been dealt with a long time ago but weren’t.”
Paulin said one of the primary reasons he and his family moved from Belgium to Port Washington in August was because of the Port-Saukville school system, but it has become apparent to him that the district facilities are in need of improvements.
“This plan is absolutely affordable,” said Paulin, whose only school-age child attends Dunwiddie Elementary School. “It comes down to what we value. I sense there’s a lot of pride in Port, and I want to see that pride reflected in our schools.
“The schools are the centerpiece of our community. They shouldn’t be armpits.”
Fritsch, who has children at Lincoln Elementary School, the middle school and high school, said not only are improvements needed, but now is a critical time to make them.
“I know you sometimes have to swallow hard when you look at the dollar amount, but now is the time to be doing something about our facilities,” she said. “I know some people ask why now if we’re getting by, but the question is why not now.”
Low interest rates and the fact the district does not have referendum debt make the timing right, Fritsch said, but so too does what’s happening around the schools.
“We’re at a turning point in Port Washington,” she said. “We have people who are making investments in our city, and the school district couples with economic development.
“If we (the city) continue to grow — and I certainly hope we do to provide new opportunities and new jobs — we can’t be so far behind in our schools that we end up rushing to catch up.”
In addition to either overseeing a four-year construction project if the referendum passes or revising the school improvement plan if it fails, the school board will soon be faced with what could be the most challenging budget in a decade because of Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed state budget.
Fritsch said the district has made great strides in curriculum development and elective course offerings, and it must protect student programs from budget cuts.
“We have to maintain our options for students and continue to support our staff,” she said. “I hate to see anything for our students lost.”
Stevens agreed that maintaining student programs is a priority and noted that the district has done a good job phasing out unpopular or antiquated high school elective classes and replacing them with ones that are not only more popular but better prepare students for life after high school.
He said the district should continue its emphasis on technology education and its partnerships with area industries to ensure Port High graduates have the qualifications employers expect.
Paulin said the district’s priority should be its teachers.
“If you want to do what’s best for students, you have to do what’s best for teachers,” he said. “What parent, administrator or school board member wouldn’t think that’s appropriate?”
Shinners said the priority should be preserving programs, even if it means making tough choices when it come to class sizes.
“The key is not making any radical moves,” she said.
Paulin said he would bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to the board. One of those ideas, he said, is to eliminate or at least reduce the number of early-release days during the school year. He noted that in March, a month in which students have three full days of vacation, there were three early-release days.
“As a teacher, I believe that many half-days aren’t good for students, parents or teachers,” he said. “They’re just not useful for anybody.”
But the other candidates said while early release days may complicate the schedules of parents, they provide valuable time for teachers to plan, collaborate and fulfill educator effectiveness requirements.
“As a parent, it does seem like there are a lot of half days, but as a board member, I’ve learned how important they are in terms of a direct benefit for teachers,” Stevens said.
School board members running unopposed are Carey Gremminger, who represents the Village of Saukville, and Paul Krechel, who was appointed to the board in July to represent the towns of Grafton and Saukville after longtime board member Jim Eden resigned.
Although board members represent specific communities within the district, they are elected at large, which means all voters can vote for all candidates.