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Merger of parishes will pay tribute to John XXIII PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by MARK JAEGER   
Wednesday, 16 March 2016 17:29

Archbishop picks late pope as namesake of combined churches in Port, Saukville

The name of the combined parish of Catholic churches in Port Washington and Saukville will be St. John XXIII, a tribute to the pope who presided over the Second Vatican Council.Daily Press

The name was announced at weekend Masses at the three soon-to-be-merged churches, St. Mary’s and St. Peter of Alcantara in Port Washington and Immaculate Conception in Saukville.

During the past six years, the churches have consolidated various operations and services as a cluster, and will formally merge into a single parish on July 1.

Changes, including the sale of several properties are likely, but officials have said all three churches will remain open for weekly Masses.

The push to operate as a cluster started with the retirement of Father Karl Acker at Immaculate Conception, followed by the retirement of Father Thomas Lijewski last summer.

Father Patrick Wendt is now the only priest assigned to the three churches. He gets weekend assistance from a retired priest, Father Don Zerkel.

The name St. John XXIII was selected by Archbishop Jerome Listecki from a list of three submitted by the cluster following voting by parishioners.

The other submitted names were Sacred Trinity and Mother of Mercy.

As part of the naming process, members of the three churches submitted 130 names for consideration. 

That list was narrowed to 12, and members of the three churches voted to come up with the three names that were submitted to the Milwaukee archdiocese.

As of early this week, local officials had not received official documentation from the archdiocese about the name choice, but Jerry Topczewski, the archbishop’s chief of staff, confirmed the selection Monday.

“The name will be St. John XXIII parish,” Topczewski said in an e-mail to Ozaukee Press.  

“The rationale was that it was one of the three names submitted by the parish(es) for consideration.  That’s the main thing for the archbishop … he wants to listen to what the people of the parishes have discerned.”

Topczewski said the name is especially meaningful because St. John XXIII was canonized as a saint just two years ago, and the merged parish will be the only one in the archdiocese with the name.

Wendt said John XXIII was the name for which he was secretly praying.

“Pope John XXIII was the force behind Vatican II, which really reinvigorated the Catholic Church and we are hoping the merger reinvigorates our faith community,” he said.

Wendt said Listecki is expected to preside over a celebration of the new parish at a Mass in Port Washington on Sept. 11.

Before being elected the 261st pope of the Roman Catholic Church in 1958, John XXIII was known as Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli.

The third-oldest of 13 children, Roncalli was born into a poor family in rural Italy on Nov. 25, 1881.

While serving as a Vatican diplomat in Greece during the buildup to World War II, he is credited with having saved countless lives by providing transit visas and other documents to Jews fleeing Nazi persecution.

After being elected pope, John XXIII is said to have played a pivotal role in defusing the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

As the Soviet Union and the United States were on the brink of nuclear war, the pope issued a call for peace. That impassioned plea is credited with having convinced Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev to withdraw his country’s warheads from Cuba.

John XXIII is best known for being the architect of the Second Vatican Council, a gathering of church leaders from around the world that resulted in making the Catholic Church much more accessible to the faithful.

The pope tried to ease resistance to the changes ushered in by Vatican II by stressing the constancy of the faith.

“It is not that the Gospel has changed.  It is that we began to understand it better,” John XXIII said.

He died in 1963 and was canonized a saint on April 27, 2014.

Canonization often occurs centuries after a saint has died, but John XXIII’s rapid elevation to sainthood is thought to be an acknowledgement of his pivotal role in Vatican II.

He was also universally beloved for his refusal to wrap himself in the trappings of his papal office.

As his death approached, he is reported to have said, “I am particularly happy to die poor.” 

City pulls plug on project to ease flooding on west side PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 09 March 2016 20:31

Inability to get easements from property owners means work will be tabled this year

The City of Port Washington will not undertake a proposed project to mitigate flooding on the city’s west side.

Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven told the Board of Public Works Tuesday that at least two property owners have said they will not grant easements needed for the project.

“All it took was one to say no,” he said. “It’s a no-go this year.”

That effectively puts an end to the proposed $1 million project, Vanden Noven said, noting the city would have needed easements from 13 property owners to do the work.

The city recently began to contact the property owners to obtain the easements, a requirement in order to apply for a Department of Natural Resources flood mitigation grant for the project, Vanden Noven said.

Although the city had only heard back from six property owners, two of them said no to the easements, he said.

“You can’t do the project without the easements,” said Ald. Mike Ehrlich, a member of the board.

The city had spent $6,800 to hire Stantec to apply for a federal Save Our Great Lakes Fund grant that would have paid as much as half the project cost. It was considering hiring the firm to apply for the DNR grant, which would have provided part of the local matching funds.

Daily Press

Officials were unsure about whether to proceed with the grant applications and the project, noting that the flooding primarily affects 11 households.

The proposed project would have included improving stormwater ponds in the Spinnaker West Subdivision and using a portion of City Park as a temporary pond during heavy rainfalls to slow the flow of water heading east, then aid the flow of water by improving several culverts and grading east of that area.

Rich Klein of Stantec told officials that one of the ways in which the work is done — recreating a stream rather than directing the water into a sewer — is something that gets granting agencies excited. 

Ladies Night Out offers Monopoly fun PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 09 March 2016 20:14

Popular downtown event set for April 14 will feature twist on classic board game

Ladies Night Out in Port Washington will have a game-night twist this year.

The popular event will be styled after a Monopoly-type game when it is held in downtown Port from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 14.

“We changed the date from Fat Tuesday to April 14 for two reasons — it will be light longer and it won’t be as cold out,” organizer Cathy Wilger said. 

It will also help keep the event fresh for those who are participating in the eighth annual event, she said.

“The businesses are very excited,” Wilger said.PMS

This year, women who participate in the event will pick up a tote bag and scarf at “Go,” aka the Port Exploreum.

Women who dine at a participating downtown restaurant before the event may have their tote bags and scarves delivered to their table by notifying the eatery in advance that they will be participating.

The game board for Main Street-Opoly, as it is being called, will be in the tote bag. Participants will receive a title deed at every business they stop at during the evening.

For each card, the participant will earn one chance for a prize that will be awarded at the end of the night. And for every $1 spent during the evening, they receive an additional chance at the prizes.

The prizes include a $500 grand prize shopping spree at downtown businesses and a $250 second place shopping spree.

Instead of the hurried pace of past years, when women had a map stamped at each business they visited, the new format is intended to give participants a chance to slow down, browse the offerings at shops and relax, Wilger said.

Each business that participates will have something different for participants, be it food, informational sessions, promotions, games or drawings, she said.

“They’re each doing what works for them,” Wilger said.  “For everything you do, you will be rewarded. We want people to experience new things, learn new things, have fun and enjoy the evening instead of rushing from place to place.”

Among the special events being held during Ladies Night Out are scuba diving lessons in the Holiday Inn Harborview pool, offered by new business Port Decor Divers; 10-minute informational sessions on what to know when traveling the world, offered by Biever Travel; dieticians discussing 10 tips for eating better and heart healthy lifestyles, offered by Columbia St. Mary’s; and women’s fitness programs by B3, a fitness group for women.

The Columbia St. Mary’s 3D mammography coach will be at the event. To schedule a session, call (414) 236-1800. To ensure all women have access to mammograms, there are funding resources available. Information about this can be obtained by calling Jane Kelley at 243-8267.

The cost of Ladies Night Out is $10 per person. Registrations are being accepted at the Holiday Inn Harborview and at the Port Washington Main Street office, 114 E. Grand Ave., from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.

Online registration is also available at by clicking on the Events tab and selecting Ladies Night Out.

Registration closes on Friday, March 25.

City signs off on subdivision nature preserve deal PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 02 March 2016 19:59

Port council OKs memorandum of understanding with county, land trust to obtain Cedar Vineyard parcel

The Port Washington Common Council formalized the process by which it will help acquire the nature preserve in the proposed Cedar Vineyard subdivision on the city’s far southeast side.Daily Press

The council on Tuesday approved a memorandum of understanding with Ozaukee County and the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust that outlines the obligations of each of the parties in obtaining the 102-acre parcel, as well as an intergovernmental agreement that establishes the city, not the county, as the primary agent in handling finances for the purchase.

“I think we finally have got it,” City Administrator Mark Grams said.

The agreements outline the process by which the city, county and Land Trust will   buy the land from the Highview Group, which is developing the Cedar Vineyard subdivision.

Tom Swarthout, president of the Highview Group, said he hopes to close on the 227-acre parcel within the next 45 days. 

At that point, the nature preserve will be purchased by the city, county and Land Trust.

In addition to the nature preserve, Highview Group plans to develop 82 home sites as well as a winery and vineyard as part of its subdivision.

The nature preserve will include the Cedar Heights Gorge, Port Washington Clay Banks, 1.25 miles of Lake Michigan bluffs, overlooks and shoreline, high-quality woodlands, wildlife and fish habitat as well as other environmentally sensitive areas.

The $2 million in municipal contributions for the purchase is being funneled through the city so Ozaukee County can apply for other grants to help pay the cost of the acquisition, Grams said.

“If Ozaukee County were the lead agency, it would hurt their chances of getting additional grant money,” he said.

Although both Ozaukee County and the city had agreed to contribute as much as $1 million to the purchase, that amount is being offset by a $1 million stewardship grant.

Highview Group will also pay the county at least $325,000 in fees — $4,000 per residential lot and $33,000 for the winery — within five years, the agreement states.

In addition, the county will receive a $300 assessment per lot each year to maintain the nature preserve.

While the Land Trust will receive title to the property initially, it will eventually transfer ownership of the nature preserve to the county, which will maintain it.

Highview Group will provide public amenities for the nature area in its subdivision, most notably at least 20 parking spaces at the winery, public restrooms near that lot, access from the parking area to the nature preserve and a multi-use trail along Highway C.

Aldermen offered no comments on the agreements before approving them.

Their approval is conditioned on the county, Land Trust and Highview Group also accepting the agreements, aldermen said.

Port poised to take control of lighthouse PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 02 March 2016 19:56

City’s application to obtain landmark gets tenative approval

Port Washington Mayor Tom Mlada announced Tuesday that the city’s application to obtain the iconic lighthouse that has become a symbol of the community has tentatively been approved by the National Park Service.Daily Press

“My hope would be that by mid-April, late April at the worst, we will be extended conveyance,” Mlada told the Common Council.

There are some minor language issues to be cleared up and a little more information required by the Park Service before it will make a final recommendation on the transfer of the lighthouse, he said. 

That additional information must be submitted by April 1, he said.

Michele Curran, a historian with the Park Service, said in a Sunday e-mail to Mlada that the agency was impressed with the city’s application.

“You put a lot of thought and work into the application and it was impressive,” she wrote. 

The additional information is needed in order to recommend approval of the city’s application to the director of the National Park Service, Curran wrote. 

The director, in turn, makes a recommendation to the Secretary of the Interior, who in turn makes a recommendation to the General Services Administration, which makes the final decision, she said.

“It’s good news, but we have more work ahead to seal the deal,” Mlada said.

Many considered it to be a foregone conclusion that the city would be given ownership of the lighthouse when the Michigan-based Geek Group did not submit an application for the structure — something it had said it would do.

But Mlada noted that the competition provided an impetus for the city to submit a thorough, impactful application.

Mlada thanked the lighthouse committee, which spent months compiling the city’s inches-thick application.

“This is going to be a tremendous asset to the community for a long time,” he said.

Since the Art Deco-style lighthouse was built in 1935, it has been a symbol of Port Washington, used on everything from the city’s logo to postcards.

Crane company no longer plans to close plant in Port Washington PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by MARK JAEGER   
Wednesday, 24 February 2016 19:54

Manitowoc firm changes mind about decision that would have cost 80 local jobs

In a fortuitous change of direction, City of Port Washington officials received word last week that Manitowoc Cranes no longer plans to close its manufacturing plant on Mineral Springs Drive.

In December, the company notified the city via a certified letter that it would be closing the local plant this year, eliminating 80 jobs.

According to the company, those positions were to be eliminated in three phases from June through August.

The layoffs would be permanent, according to the company, and efforts would be made to help the displaced workers find employment elsewhere.

The job reduction notice was a requirement of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

Just two months later, on Friday, Feb. 19, the city received a follow-up letter with a decidedly different message.

“Please be advised that we have made the decision to keep open this facility and, therefore, are cancelling these reductions,” Manitowoc Cranes Vice President of Operations Dan Kaltenbaugh said in the letter to Mayor Tom Mlada.

Kaltenbaugh said notice of the reversal was sent to all employees who had been told they would be losing their jobs.

When it was thought the plant was closing, city officials pledged to work with the company to find a new tenant for the sprawling building in the industrial park.

Manitowoc Cranes opened its Port plant more than seven years ago.

When the notice of the closing arrived at City Hall, Mlada said it was “deeply disappointing … a real blow for the community.”

Mlada said the change of heart was out of the blue.

“It was unexpected but very much appreciated,” he said.

“When the initial decision came down, we realized it was probably a corporate move that was out of the hands of the local people, but we reached out to them and offered to help in whatever way we could.”

It didn’t take long before officials realized there was interest in the Manitowoc Cranes building.Daily Press

“It is a really nice facility and the interest level from other companies is an indication there are people in the business world who would like to call Port Washington home,” Mlada said.

The mayor said he was unsure whether the strong market appeal of the Port facility gave Manitowoc Cranes officials reason to reconsider the closing.

“You always feel more comfortable with the known than the unknown, and Manitowoc Cranes is a known entity,” he said.

“What I do know is keeping 75 to 80 jobs here is a really good thing. Manitowoc has been a good corporate partner for the community.”

Although he has not had formal talks with the leadership at the company, Mlada said he has had indications that the decision to keep the plant open is a long-term commitment to the Port.

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