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Press story sparks interest in abstracts PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 13 September 2017 18:44

Article on history of property’s real estate transactions prompts donation of records that Historical Society says are invaluable to tracing the evolution of city

    After reading a recent Ozaukee Press story about the abstract for a downtown Port Washington building and the history it brought to life, a woman called the Port Washington Historical Society.
    She, too, had an abstract of title for a property on Pier Street and wondered if the society would like it.
    The answer is yes, said Jackie Oleson, co-director of the society’s Resource Center.
    “That is probably one of the most valuable things we can get to trace the evolution of the city,” she said.
    An abstract is essentially a record of all the financial transactions attached to a property, from sales and mortgages to bankruptcies and liens.
    The Aug. 10 Press story told the tale of the building at the corner of Main and Franklin streets that houses Biever Travel and the Shoppes of Port Washington.
    Its abstract, shared by former building owner Jim Biever, recorded the story of the property from the time it was sold by the federal government to Wooster Harrison in 1935 — more than a decade before Wisconsin became a state and Port became a city — until it was sold to the Biever family in 1962.
    The record showed the initial tract of land sold, more than 75 acres, was split and divided numerous times to names that resound through the city’s history, including Leland Stanford, Solon Johnson and Solomon Juneau.
    While abstracts were once a common feature presented at the sale of a property, they are no longer. Instead, title companies search records going back 60 years and then present a title commitment at the closing of a sale.
    Oleson said these documents offer a plethora of information about the formation of the community.  
    “If anyone out there has an abstract, if they would just let us copy it, it would help us fill out the history of the city,” she said.
    “We’re always looking for that kind of information.”
    To reach the Historical Society, call 268-9150. Daily Press

 
United Way campaign to kick off with a toast PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 06 September 2017 18:40

Organization to host beer garden fundraiser

United Way of Northern Ozaukee is kicking off its new campaign season this weekend as it operates the Port Washington beer garden in Upper Lake Park from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9.
    The organization will not only be selling beer and food, it will also collect nonperishable items for area food pantries as well as its second annual Stone Soup event.
    Nonperishable food items needed for the soup event include pasta — particularly rotini and bowtie — canned tomatoes, tomato paste, rice, Parmesan cheese, crackers, corn and vegetable and chicken stock.
    Volunteers are being asked to sign up for the Stone Soup event, which will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 7, at St. Peter United Church of Christ in Saukville.
    Volunteers can sign up to provide food items for the soup, including chopped garden tomatoes, leeks, onions, squash, zucchini and fresh basil.
    Last year, 125 volunteers helped make 100 quarts of soup for people in need.
    This year, the hope is to make 150 quarts, Executive Director Barbara Bates-Nelson said.
    For more information or to donate food items, call Bates-Nelson at (248) 613-7855 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Daily Press

 
Council OKs subdivision rezoning despite outcry PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 06 September 2017 18:39

Port aldermen vote 6-1 to clear way for apartment complex opposed by residents of Hidden Hills

Port Washington aldermen agreed Tuesday to rezone a portion of the Hidden Hills subdivision on Port Washington’s west side for a 35-unit senior apartment building despite an outcry from residents opposed to the development.
    The rezoning was approved 6-1, with only Ald. Jonathan Pleitner, who lives in the subdivision, voting against it.
    Aldermen said the apartments, which are intended for active adults ages 55 and older, will fill a housing need in the community.
    Housing for active adults is preferable to many of the commercial uses that could go there, aldermen added, noting that these buildings could be located closer to the neighboring residences than the apartments will be.
    “If someone wants to put a nightclub there that would increase nighttime traffic, potentially increase crime, the city could not stop it,” Ald. Doug Biggs said, because the commercial zoning would allow this use by right.
    Studies have shown that commercial development within 700 feet of residential properties decreases their value, Biggs added, while senior housing within 1,500 feet has a positive impact on housing values.
    Bielinski’s “not going to hang onto it,” Ald. Mike Ehrlich noted, and there are many other uses that could impact the subdivision more seriously.
    “I really sympathize with everybody, but I don’t see a downside to what’s been brought up,” Ehrlich said. “Fifty-five-plus housing just seems to make the most sense.”
    Ald. John Sigwart said, “The Plan Commission has done a good job of making sure this development is appropriate for this neighborhood.”
    Randy Tetzlaff, the city’s director of planning and development, noted that Bielinski has responded to all the city’s concerns about its proposal, modifying the design for the building and relocating it on the site to mitigate the impact on the subdivision.
    “I’m struggling to understand the argument that it’s going to be so detrimental,” Mayor Tom Mlada said.
    Residents told aldermen that 60 of the 80 households in the subdivision opposed the rezoning, which Bielinski Homes needed to construct the apartment building.
    They said they feared the apartments would decrease their property values, increase traffic in the subdivision and decrease safety there.
    “Building this complex would dramatically change the character of Hidden Hills,” Rick Lovell, 220 Indigo Dr., said. “There’s no compelling reason to change the zoning here.”
    The best thing would be to leave the land undeveloped as a gateway to the city, he added.
    Patty Schulz, 1818 Aster St., told aldermen what attracted her family to the subdivision were the green spaces that surrounded it and any changes to that would “irrevocably change” life there.
    Several residents told officials that Bielinski never told them about the proposed change in zoning or use for the property, which was initially to be used for commercial development fronting on Highway 33.
    Ron Corlyn, 1800 Aster St., told aldermen that Bielinski should hire an aggressive firm to market its commercial land rather than trying to flip the zoning and create apartments there.
    But John Donovan, acquisitions and development manager for Bielinski, said the company is committed to ensuring 80% of the apartments are occupied by people 55 and older and the design of the structure.
    “Bielinski believes this is the best use of the property,” he said.
    Officials said that concerns about increased traffic were moot, noting that the apartment driveway would lead only to Highway 33, and the chance of increased crime in the area would be greater with commercial development than with housing for older adults.
    Concerns that the rezoning amounts to spot zoning were rebuffed by City Attorney Eric Eberhardt, who said that the use is compatible with the neighboring properties and provides a public benefit.Daily Press

 
Council hires firm to design fix for Blues Factory site PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 06 September 2017 18:37

Officials earmark $5,600 to determine how much seawall repairs will cost city

   Port Washington aldermen on Tuesday hired Miller Engineers & Scientists of Sheboygan to design two fixes for the north slip parking lot for a maximum cost of $5,600.
    Aldermen last month delayed hiring the firm, saying they want more information about the cost of the potentially expensive work to repair the seawall to accommodate the Blues Factory.
    But, City Administrator Mark Grams said, the preliminary designs that will be done by Miller are needed to get that cost estimate.
    “I think he’s pretty much determined the options,” Grams said.
    In an outline to the council, Roger Miller of Miller Engineers outlined two potential ways to restore the tiebacks and deadmen that anchor the seawall at the north end of the north slip.
    One would be to install a cast in place concrete deadman wall about 18 feet north of the sheetwall as an anchor for new and existing deadmen.  
    The other would be to install Manta Ray Earth Anchors at 10 foot intervals along the north wall that would be driven into the ground.
    Miller will do a preliminary design for the options, City Administrator Mark Grams said, and the city will then talk to contractors to get cost estimates for each option.
    Grams said he expects to have the cost estimates for aldermen to consider by the council’s Oct. 3 meeting.
    To ensure that happens, Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said he would alert contractors that he would have the designs and be looking for estimates in the upcoming weeks.
    After they have the cost estimates in hand, Grams said, the city will sit down with Gertjan van den Broek to talk about the costs and options.
    Van den Broek told the council Tuesday that he is prepared to move forward with the Blues Factory.
    “We’re ready to move forward with the project, with the financing of the project,” van den Broek said. “We have people interested in running the Blues Factory. We have multiple partners.
    “We look forward to resolving the dock walls.”
    That, he said, will allow him to complete the design of his building and move ahead with the project.
    The work on the seawall is needed as the city prepares to sell the north marina slip parking lot to van den Broek for the controversial Blues Factory entertainment complex.
    While doing a review of the seawall in preparation for the sale, the city discovered that the structural supports for the sheetwall — the tiebacks that hold the wall in place and the deadmen that anchor the tiebacks —are largely nonexistent and the wall is bowing in places.
    The work approved Tuesday includes $2,800 for a preliminary analysis and meetings with the city, $1,600 for the concept sketches and $1,200 for an initial precision survey of the site.
    Miller Engineering also said it expects additional work will be required in the future, including detailed design plans for $6,500, construction visits for $2,400 and annual monitoring of the seawall estimate d to cost $2,700. Daily Press

 
Grant could help safeguard lakefront PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 18:30

  Coastal communities from Ozaukee County south to Kenosha County could benefit from a three-year, $840,000 federal grant received by Wisconsin Sea Grant to study and protect the Lake Michigan shoreline.
    The grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal Resilience Grants Program builds on Sea Grant’s prior work studying rising lake levels and their effect on bluffs in Ozaukee, Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties.
    Adam Bechle, who was the primary grant writer, said the funds are needed to help safeguard people and property along the Lake Michigan coast.
    “This infusion of nearly $1 million in federal money recognizes the importance of the Great Lakes to our nation’s economy and the unique coastal challenges the region faces,” Bechle said, noting the current high lake levels, along with high-energy storm waves, have increased erosion along the lake.
    The grant will allow Sea Grant and the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, along with other agencies, to complete four main tasks:
    n To organize a network that will collaborately learn about options to protect assets and share ideas for addressing hazards.
    n To map historic shoreline recession and potential future recession scenarios based on lake level extremes, large-wave-energy storms and changes in shoreline protection.
    n To develop materials that will increase awareness of coastal hazard risks and provide training and guidance on risk-reduction practices such as nature-based shore protection, harbor and marina maintenance and adaptation planning and erosion-resilient beach restoration practices.
    n To help communities identify vulnerabilities to coastal hazards, identify key resilience needs and prioritize actions to reduce the potential impact on the shore.  Funds will be available for communities to develop action plans and the lessons learned through these will be shared throughout the state and Great Lakes region. Daily Press

 
Another drug death, another prison sentence PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 18:28

Ozaukee County judge orders dealer to serve six years in connection with overdose death of  Fredonia man last year

    Another in a growing list of people convicted of homicide in Ozaukee County Circuit Court for supplying drugs to users who overdosed and died was sent to prison last week.
    Michael Roby, 56, of Milwaukee, who pleaded guilty to second-degree reckless  homicide in June, was sentenced by Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Joseph Voiland last week to six years in prison followed by six years of extended supervision for selling Percocet to a woman who purchased it on behalf of Fredonia resident Jacob Tietz on Dec. 29.
    The next morning, Tietz, a 27-year-old Port  Washington High School graduate, was found dead at his home of “mixed drug toxicity of which Percocet was a substantial factor,” according to the criminal complaint.
    During Roby’s plea hearing in June, Tietz’s mother, Ann Brown, told Voiland how her son battled drug addiction but, after serving time in jail, put his life back together.
    Brown said her son had been sober for 19 months, but on Christmas Day 2015 fell off a hoverboard and broke his foot. He underwent surgery and was left in excruciating pain. Because of his history with drug addiction, doctors were cautious about how they treated his pain, and ultimately her son looked elsewhere for relief, Brown said.
       “Jacob was my baby, and at 27, he was too young to die,” she said. “The loss of my son Jacob was the most devastating feeling in the world.”
      Roby was arrested on Jan. 5, 2016, six days after deputies responding to a rescue call were told by Tietz’s father that he discovered his son’s body in his bedroom at 11 a.m. Dec. 30.
    Near the body was a tissue with dried blood, a rubber tourniquet, syringe and other materials used to “cook” and inject drugs, Detective Sgt. Chad Eibs, an Ozaukee County Anti-Drug Task Force supervisor, testified during a preliminary hearing last year.
    Deputies also found Tietz’s cell phone, which they used to track down a woman he was communicating with about buying drugs.
    The woman was arrested later that day and told authorities that Tietz contacted her about buying drugs. She said she knew Tietz had a drug problem because they had attended alcohol and drug abuse counseling sessions together in the past, according to the criminal complaint.
    The woman said she made arrangements with “my guy Mike,” whom she later identified as Roby, to buy 16 Percocet tablets, Eibs testified. At 3:15 p.m. on Dec. 29, she said, she picked up Tietz at his home and, after stopping at an ATM where he withdrew money, they drove to meet Roby, she said.
    At a grocery store parking lot at 60th Street and Capitol Drive in Milwaukee, the woman got into Roby’s vehicle and paid him $200 provided by Tietz for the Percocet tablets, Eibs testified.
    The woman said Tietz snorted some of the Percocet in her car, Eibs said.
    “She said she was 100% sure she had been buying drugs from Michael Roby for years,” Eibs testified.
    About a week after Tietz’s death, the woman agreed to help authorities set up a sting that resulted in Roby’s arrest.
    On Jan. 5, the woman called Roby and told him there was “a kid up in Fredonia that has like $400,” according to the complaint.
    She said she negotiated a deal with Roby, who agreed to sell her $400 worth of 20-milligram Percocet tablets at $14 each, and arranged to meet him, the complaint states.
    Members of the Milwaukee drug unit, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and Ozaukee County Anti-Drug Task Force descended on the meeting location and, as they were attempting to make the arrest, Roby swallowed the contents of a pill bottle.
    When told by officers he could die of an overdose, Roby said, “I don’t care,” according to the complaint.
    Authorities discovered a loaded gun near Roby, the complaint states.
    Earlier this month, Saukville resident John Warrix, 43, was sentenced by Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Sandy Williams to 10 years in prison followed by five years of extended supervision for supplying heroin to a Town of Port Washington woman who overdosed and died in August 2016. Samantha Ritenour was 38.

Correction
    In a story last week about the sentencing of John Warrix, the details of a drug exchange were incorrectly reported.  Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol noted that Warrix, not Samantha Ritenour, supplied heroin to a Saukville man who overdosed on it in last year.Daily Press

 
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