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Mr. PHS pageant returns to Port High stage April 6 PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 30 March 2016 19:44

The Port Washington High School DECA marketing club will host its fourth annual Mr. PHS male beauty pageant at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, in the school auditorium.

The pageant will feature 11 Port High students from all grade levels competing in several events, including a group dance, runway walk, talent competition and question and answer session.

Judges will crown the winner Mr. PHS.

The public is invited to attend. Admission is $3.

Proceeds from the event will be used to offset expenses for students traveling to Nashville, Tenn., for the DECA International Career Development Conference next month.Daily Press

The audience will also have a chance to vote for the winner of the People’s Choice Award. Proceeds will benefit the Feed My Starving Children campaign.

 
Presidential, court race expected to drive high turnout PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 30 March 2016 19:43

Grafton School District’s $49.5 million referendum also likely to spur heavy voting in next week’s election

The rhetoric is almost over as Ozaukee County and Wisconsin prepare for next Tuesday’s presidential primary election.

With not just the April 5 presidential primary but numerous local elections — including a $49.5 million school referendum in Grafton — and a contentious race for Wisconsin Supreme Court, turnout is expected to be high.

In the City of Port Washington, Clerk Susan Westerbeke noted that statewide, turnout is estimated to be 40% — something she said is likely to occur in the city.

That compares to the last presidential primary in 2012, when turnout in the city was 25%.

“With the city, we always have vigorous turnout,” Westerbeke said, adding it’s often 5% higher than the state predictions.

Early voting, which runs through Friday, April 1, has been brisk, she said Tuesday.

She warned that voters expecting only the current candidates for president to be on the ballot will be surprised. There are a dozen Republicans on the ballot as well as three Democrats, even though most have dropped out of the race already. 

That’s because the ballots were approved in January, she said.

Depending on where you live, the turnout could be even higher.

For example, the Grafton School District’s $49.5 million referendum is likely to draw a crowd to the polls. Officials have split the referendum into two questions, one seeking $47.7 million for renovations to schools and $1.8 million to upgrade physical education, athletic and recreational areas.

The referendum comes just a year after Port Washington-Saukville School District voters approved a $49.4 million referendum — the most expensive in the district’s history — by a 208 vote margin. Work on that project is beginning at Port Washington High School and Dunwiddie Elementary School.

There are some significant similarities in the votes. Grafton, like Port-Saukville, is seeking a record amount of money to pay for repairs to buildings that can’t be covered by the annual budget. 

But unlike Port-Saukville, there is significant organized opposition to the referendum.

The Grafton school referendum is likely to draw the largest local interest this election, but there are other races on the ballot.

In the Grafton School District, there are four candidates seeking two spots on the School Board, while in the Port Washington-Saukville School District, three candidates are seeking two City of Port seats on the board. No one is running for the open seat representing the towns of Grafton and Saukville, however, so a write-in candidate could take that spot.

In the Northern Ozaukee School District, there are races for the town and village of  Fredonia seats on the board.

Municipal elections may not attract many voters to the polls, since there are no races in northern Ozaukee County.

For example, in the City of Port Washington, where the past year has brought a significant public debate over the sale of city-owned property for development, there are no races on the ballot. The three incumbents seeking re-election to the Common Council are running unopposed.

 There are a handful of contested races for Ozaukee County supervisor, though.

In District 15, incumbent Kathy Geracie is being challenged by Jason Myatt for a Cedarburg seat.

In District 21, former Supr. Bob Walerstein is challenging incumbent Justin Strom for a Mequon seat.

Incumbent Karl Hertz is being challenged by Cynthia Raatz for the District 22 seat in Thiensville, and longtime Mequon Supr. Jennifer Rothstein is being challenged by Kimberly Steinbrenner for the 26th District seat.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 5.

 
All-you-can-eat smelt, take 65 PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 30 March 2016 19:42

Port Legion’s weekend fish fry celebrates tradition that keeps crowds coming back for more

Lent may be over, but the Friday fish fry continues with a Port Washington tradition this week.

The Van Ells-Schanen American Legion Post 82 is hosting its 65th annual smelt fry Friday and Saturday at its hall on Lake Street in Port.

The all-you-can-eat event runs from 4 to 9 p.m. both days, although Legion members have been known to extend the hours as needed.

“We have a group of farmers from Washington County who come every year. They have to get their chores done first, so they usually get here near the end, so we go a little longer,” said longtime Legion member Paul “Butch” Tutas, who has been working at the smelt fry since 1954. “We keep it open for them.”

And on Friday, there’s a group of businessmen who come in after closing shop, he said. 

“We accommodate them,” Tutas said, even if that means staying open a little longer.

This local tradition dates back to 1951, when a couple of Legion members decided to hold a fish fry to benefit their drum and bugle corps, the Marauders of Post 82.

Smelt was plentiful back then, and members walked across the street to the lakefront to dip their nets, filling them almost effortlessly, Tutas said.

They dragged their nets to the hall, where they cleaned the silver fish. After breading and frying them, they were ready for serving.

“They had a secret breading,” Tutas said, and it kept the crowds coming back for more year after year.

In its heyday, the smelt fry drew a couple thousand people over the two days. Shaw’s Crab House in Chicago would fill buses with patrons and bring them to the smelt fry, and the eatery even asked Legion members for their recipe, Tutas said.

“We had five buses coming from Shaw’s at one point,” he said.

For the past five years, the restaurant hasn’t sent a bus up, Tutas noted. But some of the people who used to hop on the bus now drive up on their own.

“I guess they’re hooked,” Tutas said.

In recent years, the number of patrons has declined a bit — whether that’s due to the recession or the fact that restaurants now serve smelt regularly is something Tutas isn’t sure.

Last year, the Legion members served almost 1,000 hungry diners, and they’re preparing to serve the same number this year.

That means preparing roughly 1,000 pounds of smelt, although the Legion members no longer catch the fish on their own. They’ve been ordering it from Susie Q Fish Market in Two Rivers for the past 10 years, Tutas said.

In addition to the fish, those attending the event get French fries, coleslaw, bread and beverages for the $10 admission fee.

While the food is the main event, the smelt fry wouldn’t be what it is without the crowd. After all, the smelt fry is a collegial event, where people mingle as they enjoy the lake’s bounty.

“There are some people who have birthdays and bring in a cake,” Tutas said. “You have the eat-the-tails people. If someone in their group didn’t eat the tails, they’d chant ‘Eat those tails.’”

And just as the smelt fry is a tradition for many diners, it’s also a tradition for Legion members. A core group has been working the annual event for decades, and they don’t need to be assigned a duty.

“They just come in and go to their station,” Tutas said. 

The Legion crew is helped at the smelt fry by members of the Legion Auxiliary, as well as the Sons of the American Legion, Tutas said.

Family members, too, pitch in.

“We have a good time,” Tutas said. “You work, but you have fun.”

Money from the smelt fry no longer goes to the drum and bugle corps — it disbanded years ago. Instead, it helps fund community projects and scholarships offered by the Legion.

And to remind people every year of the smelt fry, patrons are offered a postcard to address as they leave. The cards, which announce the annual event, are mailed each spring.

“People like it,” Tutas said. “They leave with a smile and as they go out, they raise their thumbs up and say, ‘Nice job. We’ll be back next year.’”


Image information: 

MEMBERS OF THE Van Ells-Schanen American Legion Post 82 in Port Washington will take familiar places in the food prep line during the group’s 65th annual smelt fry Friday and Saturday, April 1 and 2.  Preparing the smelt during the 2014 fry were (from left) Al Tankovich, Dennis McGuire and Scott Bowman.                      Press file photo

 
Robber tells of a life unraveled by heroin addiction PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 23 March 2016 18:38

Man sentenced to additional prison time impresses judge with candid account of insidious effects of drugs

While high on heroin, 30-year-old Brandon L. Baumhardt admitted, he did terrible things.Brandon

He lied and cheated, even robbed a bank and held up a gas station attendant at gunpoint, all to scrape together enough cash to score another heroin high. 

“It wasn’t a bag of drugs that committed all these crimes. I was the person who committed all these crimes because I was addicted to drugs,” he told Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Sandy Williams Monday during a video conference from Racine Correctional Institution, where he is serving a nine-year sentence for robbing a Landmark Credit Union branch in West Bend in January 2015.

“That heroin drug — it’s horrible. It’s mind-wracking what I allowed that drug to do to me.

“When I’m not high on drugs, I’m a good person. I like who I am right now.”

Williams sentenced Baumhardt, who pleaded guilty to felony counts of robbery with threat of force and possession of a firearm by a felon, to 2-1/2 years in prison and 7-1/2 years of extended supervision for robbing Big Joe’s Gas Station in the Town of Fredonia while threatening the attendant with a handgun in December 2014. 

The sentence is in addition to the nine years in prison he’s currently serving followed by 12 years of extended supervision for the West Bend bank robbery.

Baumhardt’s candid description of a life overcome by addiction and his determination now to steer clear of drugs, which he said are readily available in prison, caught the attention of Williams, who after the sentencing said, “He could be the subject of a documentary. It’s incredible.”

When asked by the judge how he became addicted to drugs, Baumhardt, whose last address was in Random Lake, described a lonely childhoodwithout many friends. He was picked on in school, he said, and eventually fell in with people involved in drugs.

Later in life, he was injured twice in car accidents and his doctor over-prescribed pain medication for him, he said. A second doctor quickly weaned him from the narcotics, but it was too late. He was hooked and soon turned to the deadly opioid relative of the pain pill.

“It doesn’t take long and you can’t afford the pills, so you go to heroin,” he said. “Heroin was a lot cheaper.”

At 8:45 p.m. on Dec. 12, 2014, Baumhardt walked into Big Joe’s Gas Station with bandanas covering his face, pointed a handgun at the clerk and demanded money from the cash register. He took about $350, then sped away, according to the criminal complaint.

Witnesses gave authorities a description of his blue Saturn sedan, which they traced to his house, but Baumhardt eluded arrest for weeks.

Some time later, a woman who was living at Baumhardt’s house at the time told authorities that on the night of the robbery, Baumhardt came home and told her he had robbed a gas station. Then the two of them drove to Milwaukee, where Baumhardt bought $400 of heroin, she said.

Nearly a month later, on Jan. 10, 2015, Baumhardt walked into the Landmark Credit Union branch in the Pick N’ Save grocery store on West Washington Street in West Band and handed a teller a note instructing her to empty her cash drawers.

Noting Baumhardt made no attempt to disguise himself, his lawyer, David Nelson, called the robbery a “desperate act of a depraved person as a result of drug addiction.”

Baumhardt said during his sentencing, “I wanted them to know it was me. I wanted to be saved. I wanted it to be over.”

Baumhardt got away with $7,394, and although authorities were able to identify him quickly using bank surveillance video, he again eluded capture for days.

An acquaintance of Baumhardt’s later told authorities that Baumhardt told him he had robbed a bank because he didn’t steal enough money during the gas station heist. The man said that hours after the robbery he drove Baumhardt and a woman to Milwaukee so Baumhardt could buy heroin.

The day after the robbery, authorities found Baumhardt’s car abandoned in West Bend. In it was a handwritten note that read, “No alarms. My partner is listening to all police frequencies and will let me know in my earpiece. I have a bomb strapped on my chest and a gun. No die (sic) packs. All money now. You have 30 seconds.”

Court records indicate Baumhardt was arrested on Jan. 20, 2015.

Baumhardt said on Monday his 15 months behind bars wrenched him from his spiral of addiction.

“I don’t ever want drugs again,” he said. 

While in prison, he said, he received a letter from an acquaintance he had previously met on the street who was being released from jail soon.

“He said he would probably go back to using again,” Baumhardt said. “I wasn’t going to write him back, but finally I did. I said I’m more free here in prison than I would be on the streets having to get high.”

He said he wishes it would be easier for drug addicts to find the help they need and regrets the pain he caused his victims and his family.

“I wish I could take all the pain I caused, hold it in my arms and just carry it away,” he said.

 
Arsenic in well water to be discussed March 30 PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 23 March 2016 18:35

An informational meeting intended to alert homeowners to the dangers of arsenic and other  contaminants in well water will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 30, at the Ozaukee County fairgrounds in Cedarburg.Daily Press

The session, which will be in the Ozaukee Pavilion, will include information on proper well testing, interpreting the results of tests and mitigation processes as well as the potential health risks of arsenic. Those risks include cancer, hair loss, tremors, numbness and skin abnormalities, according to the Ozaukee County Public Health Department.

Most of the roughly one million private wells in Wisconsin are not tested for arsenic.

“Testing well water is one of the easiest things private well owners can do to take care of the health and well-being of themselves and their loved ones,” Dan Ziegler, an environmental health specialist with the Public Health Department, said.

Representatives of the Wisconsin Depart-ment of Natural Resources, Department of Health Services, Water Diagnostics and the Ozaukee County Land and Water Management Department, as well as local water treatment contractors, will be at the session.

After the session, Water Diagnostics will sell test kits for arsenic and completed analytical services for $28 each.

Test kits will also be available for $28 between March 31 and June 1 at the Public Health Department, 121 W. Main St., Room 246, Port Washington, and from Water Diagnostics, 8605 W. Freistadt Rd., Mequon.

For more information, call 284-8170 or visit www.co.ozaukee.wi.us.

 
Hippity Hoppity fun comes to Port March 19 PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 16 March 2016 17:40

Easter-related events abound in the City of Port Washington this weekend.Daily Press

The annual Hippity Hoppity Easter egg hunt and Easter bonnet contest will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 19, at Possibility Playground in Port Washington​.

The Easter egg hunt is open to children ages 2 to 9 while the bonnet contest is intended for people of all ages as well as pets.  

Prizes will be awarded for the best bonnets in four age groups. 

The Easter bunny will be available for photos at the playground.  

Live children’s music will be provided by Shana Harvey.  

Following the event, children are invited to visit downtown businesses for treats from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

The event is sponsored by the Greater Port Washington Kiwanis Club, Port Washington Main Street Inc. and the Port Washington High School Key Club. 

The Port Washington Historical Society is also sponsoring two holiday events Saturday.

The Port Exploreum, 118 N. Franklin St., is inviting children to drop by for treats and fun from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. as part of the Hippity Hoppity event.

The society is also sponsoring an egg hunt at the Light Station, 311 Johnson St., from 1 to 2 p.m.

Designated age groups will hunt at specified times, and those attending are asked to bring their baskets to fill.

 
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