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PWHS robotics team to hold annual recycling collection on Saturday PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 20 April 2016 19:28

The Port Washington High School PiraTech robotics team will hold an electronics, appliance, textile and scrap metal recycling collection from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 23, in the school parking lot at 427 W. Jackson St.

Laptop and desktop computers, as well as flat panel monitors, will be refurbished for free and donated to IndependenceFirst, a Milwaukee organization that helps people with disabilities obtain computers.

Electronics including stereo equipment, printers, battery backups, CD players, cameras, tablet computers and video game systems, as well as toner and ink cartridges, will be accepted for a fee of $5 per item.

Televisions no larger than 32 inches will be recycled for $20 per item.

Appliances such as microwaves, ovens, ranges, washers, dryers, refrigerators, freezers, stoves, dishwashers, air conditioners, water coolers, water heaters and car batteries will be accepted for $10 per item.

Clothing, shoes, purses and belts, as well as cell phones and scrap metal will be accepted for free.recycle

All of the items collected will be repurposed or recycled.

Proceeds from the collection will benefit Port PiraTech, a school club that works with community mentors to design robots and compete in the FIRST Robotics competition.

Proceeds will also support the Thomas Jefferson Middle School FIRST LEGO League Team.

Schlenvogt keeps seat as County Board chair PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 20 April 2016 19:27

Lee Schlenvogt of the Town of Port Washington retained his role as chairman of the Ozaukee County Board when nobody else was nominated at Tuesday’s organizational meeting.

Supr. Paul Melotik of Grafton was chosen as vice chair in a 15-7 vote over incumbent Jennifer Rothstein of Mequon.

Rothstein won the second vice chair over Donald Dohrwardt of Fredonia after three votes. The first two tied at 11-11, after which Schlenvogt requested each candidate address the board.Daily Press

Rothstein won the third vote, 12-10, succeeding Dan Becker.

Schlenvogt told the board that Supr. Irene Macek of Mequon died Sunday, April 17. The board did not discuss how to fill her seat.

Simplicity property to get facelift PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 20 April 2016 19:26

Owner’s decision to upgrade facility welcomed by city officials who say move will make site more marketable

The Simplicity Manufacturing plant on North Spring Street in Port Washington is getting a much needed facelift.

Less than a year after city officials considered conducting a study of ways to redevelop the four-acre industrial property, the owner has begun to make necessary repairs to many of the buildings on the land, Randy Tetzlaff, the city’s director of planning and development, told the Common Council Tuesday.

The action came after Building Inspector Gary Peterson and Fire Chief Mark Mitchell inspected the buildings recently, Tetzlaff said, noting that prompted Peterson to send the owner, Roadster Port Washington LLC, a 10-page long report on work that needed to be done.

The building in the worst shape was the old warehouse along the railroad tracks, Tetzlaff said. The roof of the building, which was built about 1890, had collapsed and the east wall was bowed out.

The other buildings all had problems that ranged from leaky roofs to siding blown off to electrical problems, Tetzlaff said.

City officials had expected the report to prompt a discussion with the property owners about rehabbing the entire site, he said.

“Lo and behold, they’re making the improvements,” Tetzlaff said.

The city learned that last week when a contractor pulled permits to make repairs to most of the buildings on the site, he said.

The work is starting with the 1890 building, where the contractor has removed the fallen roof and shored up the structure, Tetzlaff said, noting a structural engineer refused to enter the building until it was reinforced.

“They feel it can be renovated,” Tetzlaff said of the building.

This is good news for a city that has little open industrial space and a demand for that type of space, he said.

“We are getting a lot of calls about space,” Tetzlaff said.

Roadster Port Washington LLC purchased the vacant Simplicity property for about $1.9 million in 2008. Since then, a number of small businesses — the largest is a boat storage firm occupying the north end of the site — have called the 24 acres home.

But over time the buildings, which total about 400,000 square feet, have deteriorated, Tetzlaff said, noting the city’s Community Development Authority found the value of the site has decreased by more than $500,000.

Tetzlaff said one of the two office buildings along Spring Street may need to be torn down, something that may need to be discussed with the owner.

In addition, he said, the city wants to discuss with the property owner ways to ensure the businesses already at the site remain there and potential uses for the site.

“I still think there could be better use of the site,” he said. “We still would like to have that conversation.”

Aldermen were pleased with the news, especially since it could open the door for more industrial development in the city.

“I commend the owner for taking the bull by the horns,” Ald. Mike Ehrlich said.

Ald. Dan Becker added, “This is fantastic. This is probably our last large, viable industrial site. Daily Press

“It would be great to get another Simplicity, but there’s so much you can do with the site.”

That includes the potential for incubator space, he said, which could drive future development and employment. 

Becker said it’s important that the city be proactive to ensure the owner follows through with the repairs and that the maximum use is made of the industrial property.

Mayor Tom Mlada noted that a number of potential tenants had looked at the Simplicity site during the past year and found the space simply was not functional. 

“I’m hopeful we will continue to see movement there,” he said.

Another important aspect of the work is that it will improve the aesthetics of the site, which is in the middle of a residential neighborhood, Mlada noted.

Town agrees to have sidewalk installed on east side of Hwy. C PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 13 April 2016 18:14

Plan calls for city to build, maintain path that provides connection to subdivision

The Port Washington Town Board on Monday agreed to the installation of sidewalks from South Wisconsin Street to the proposed Cedar Vineyard subdivision.Daily Press

The town was asked to approve the sidewalk, which will connect the subdivision to the rest of the city, as the city applies for a grant from the Department of Transportation for the project.

“They’re just asking for a letter saying we don’t object to the project,” Supr. Mike Didier said.

Town officials agreed to the letter, but with a couple of provisions — a clause stating that since the town doesn’t have a sidewalk or snow-removal ordinance, the city will be responsible for clearing the walkway, and one requiring the sidewalk be constructed in the county right of way.

That last clause was added by Supr. Jim Rychtik, who said he fears residents along the road will be “throwing hammers” when they learn that sidewalks will be installed.

Town resident Terry Anewenter told the board it should take care in approving the letter, saying “I think it could come back to bite you when it comes time to clear it (the sidewalk).”

The City of Port Washington sought the letter as it works to install five-foot sidewalk along the east side of Highway C, Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said.

The sidewalk is estimated to cost $400,000, and the grant the city has applied for  could cover $279,000, he said.

The work would be done next year, at the earliest, Vanden Noven said, noting engineering has not been done for the project yet.

The city also plans to reconstruct Highway C from the city-owned bluff property adjacent to South Wisconsin Street to Cedar Vineyard, something that could occur as early as next year, Vanden Noven said.

The Cedar Vineyard subdivision will be constructed on land along Highway C formerly owned by VK Homes and Development. 

It will include a 101-acre nature preserve that will ultimately be owned by Ozaukee County that encompasses the Cedar Gorge Natural Area and property along the bluff, as well as 82 home lots, a vineyard and winery.

Developer Tom Swarthout, president of the Highview Group, hopes to begin work on the subdivision this year, officials said.

Former TV actor convicted in bar fight gets early release from jail PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 13 April 2016 18:10

Diamond earns enough ‘good time’ to leave Justice Center after being found guilty in trial that drew national attention

Dustin Diamond, the former TV actor sentenced to the Ozaukee County jail after pulling a knife in a 2014 Christmas night bar fight in Port Washington, has been released from custody early because of “good time” he earned cleaning the jail.Daily Press

Diamond walked out of the Justice Center Monday after earning 30 days of “good time” — one day for every 24 hours worked — in the Jail Porter Program, which provides general custodial work, according to the sheriff’s department.

Diamond, who is best known for playing Screech in the 1990s TV show “Saved by the Bell,” was sentenced in June to four months in jail and 15 months of probation. He began serving his sentence in January.

The case against Diamond, 39, of Port Washington, went to trial in May. After hearing three days of testimony and deliberating for just less than six hours, an Ozaukee County jury acquitted Diamond of one felony count of second-degree recklessly endangering safety in the stabbing of Casey Smet at Grand Avenue Saloon.

The jury, however, found him guilty of two misdemeanor charges — carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct with a dangerous weapon.

The jury also found his fiancee, 28-year-old Amanda Schutz of Port Washington, guilty of disorderly conduct. She was fined.

During the trial, which was covered by media from throughout the country, witnesses gave two different accounts of a tussle at the tavern that resulted in Smet suffering a minor knife wound. 

District Attorney Adam Gerol built his case on the testimony of nine witnesses, five of whom are relatives and friends, who said Schutz and Diamond were the aggressors.

But in a polished performance on the stand, Diamond, who was the lone defense witness, told jurors that he and his fiancee were minding their own business when the group of revelers sitting near them — atwitter by the fact they were in the same bar as a television actor — began harassing them.

Diamond testified that members of the group attacked Schutz as she tried to leave the bar, and in an attempt to deter her attackers, he opened a folding pocketknife he was holding. That’s when Smet charged him, Diamond said.

Missing man’s kayak found in South Milwaukee PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 06 April 2016 18:29

The kayak used by 27-year-old Marcus Beilman, who was lost off Port Washington’s south beach on March 16, was found last week in South Milwaukee, Port Washington Police Chief Kevin Hingiss said Monday.Daily Press

The West Bend man’s body has not been found, Hingiss said, nor has the kayak his 24-year-old brother Kevin used that day.

“I had hoped by now we would have found him and could give his family closure,” Hingiss said.

Hingiss said a Brookfield man found the grey Emotion brand kayak in the sand at Grant Park in South Milwaukee.

“Only a little bit of the kayak was showing,” he said. “It was pretty much buried. It was in good condition, other than being full of sand.”

The man brought the kayak to his home. Family members suggested it could be related to the Beilman incident, Hingiss said, and after the man saw pictures of Beilman and his kayak on the Internet, he contacted the Port Police Department. 

Beilman’s father picked up the kayak on Monday, identifying it as Marcus’, Hingiss said.

Local officials asked the South Milwaukee police department to do an extra check of the beach where the kayak was found in the hope of recovering other items, Hingiss said. Officers there did that but found nothing.

Marcus and Kevin Beilman, both of West Bend, went kayaking on a wind-whipped Lake Michigan off south beach about 3:30 p.m. March 16, and shortly after Kevin’s kayak overturned. He told authorities later that while in the water, he saw his brother’s vessel overturn, then lost sight of both his brother and his brother’s kayak.

The water temperature was about 40 degrees at the time and authorities said there were sustained winds of 35 to 40 mph, gusting to 50 mph.

A bicyclist saw Kevin Beilman getting out of the lake near the bird sanctuary at Coal Dock Park and called police.

Kevin Beilman, who was suffering from exposure and hypothermia, was taken to Aurora Medical Center in Grafton.

Authorities, including the Port fire department and dive team, Coast Guard vessels and  helicopter, as well as a Department of Natural Resources plane equipped with an infrared detection system, searched for Marcus Beilman for 16 hours before they suspended the search. 

It was the second time in four years a man has died while kayaking off south beach in March.

Peter Dougherty, 24, died of hypothermia after he went kayaking off South Beach on March 10, 2012. On that day, the water was about 37 degrees and the wind whipped by 25 mph winds.

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