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Longtime harbormaster won’t retire this year after all PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 01 November 2017 18:20

Change in plan comes after study reveals Port marina is not overstaffed

    Port Washington Harbormaster Dennis Cherny won’t be retiring at the end of this year after all.
    City Administrator Mark Grams told the Personnel Committee of that change in plans Tuesday, noting the decision was made after the Harbor Commission completed a study of the marina and pondered the matter for months.
    “It’s our recommendation that things stay the way they are for at least the next year,” Grams said.
    The study showed Port’s marina has the proper staffing level for a facility its size, with two full-time employees and a cadre of part-time summer help, Grams said.
    He said most marinas have a full-time person to handle maintenance and facilities and one to handle general operations, duties held in Port by Cherny and Assistant Harbormaster Lisa Rathke.
    If Cherny were to retire, Grams said, the city would need to hire a facilities manager and train him.
    Cherny has also done a significant amount of work on the breakwater repairs, Grams noted.
    “I really don’t want to make any changes,” he said, noting the proposed 2018 budget recommended by the Harbor Commission and Finance and License Committee reflects that.
    Cherny had announced his retirement effective at the end of this year after a prolonged debate by the Common Council over the financial viability of the marina, which had just ended the second consecutive year in the red.
    That trend appears to have changed, Grams said, noting the marina is expected to end 2017 in the black.
    Next year is also looking to be profitable, Cherny said, noting there is a waiting list for slips and slip fees are increasing. The key factor, however, is one the city has no control over — weather.
    “I’m happy with the situation we’re in,” Cherny said.
    Grams said he also contacted a private company to see if it would be interested in operating the city’s marina, something that has been suggested several times.
    The firm hasn’t gotten back to him, “which probably means they realize they can’t make it work financially,” Grams said.
    That’s likely due to the fact that the Port marina pays its own debt service, something other communities don’t require of their marinas, he said.
    Unless things change radically, Grams said, there is no need to change the way the marina is operated.
    “That makes sense to me,” Personnel Committee member Dave Larson said. Daily Press

Number of Halloween events in Port Saturday is almost scary PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 25 October 2017 18:52

Halloween celebrations in Port Washington will take center stage on Saturday, Oct. 28.
    They begin with the final farmers market of the season from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on East Main Street between Wisconsin and Franklin streets. Live music will be provided by Caribbean Eclipse.
    Children attending the market are encouraged to wear costumes, and to participate in Harvest at the Market on the far east end of Main Street, near Dockside Deli, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    Youngsters can bob for apples, paint pumpkins and enjoy a game of pumpkin bowling.
    In addition, families can stop at the Port Exploreum, 118 N. Franklin St., to see master pumpkin carver Lee Saberson demonstrating the fine points of how to make pumpkins come to life from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.
    Youngsters can also trick or treat at downtown merchants from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Participating businesses will display a pumpkin poster in their windows.
    Trick or treat will be held in Port Washington from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday. Residents offering treats to youngsters are encouraged to turn on their front porch lights.
    Port Washington High School students will participate in trick or treat, but instead of candy they will be collecting nonperishable food items for the Food Pantry.
    And students at Lincoln Elementary School will also be trick or treating for UNICEF, collecting donations to go toward this charity.
    Two years ago, students at the school raised more than $1,200 through this effort. dailypress

Vacant seat on Port council attracts just one applicant PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 25 October 2017 18:51

    Only one person applied to fill Port Washington’s 4th District aldermanic seat by the Oct. 20 deadline.
    That person is Dan Benning, 1012 Jade St., who in his letter of application noted he has been a resident of the city and the district for 9-1/2 years.
    Benning said he has been employed by Johnson Controls for the past 28 years, most recently as an information technology director, and is involved in a variety of community activities.
    He has worked with teams staging the annual Port Christmas parade through Port Main Street Inc., Benning said, and served in various roles with Grand Avenue United Methodist Church.
    The aldermanic seat was vacated by Ald. Doug Biggs on Sept. 15.
    The Common Council is expected to interview Benning at its Tuesday, Nov.  7, meeting and could appoint him that night.
    The new alderman would serve until April, when Biggs’ term would have expired.
    Candidates for the spring election for the seat can begin to circulate nomination papers beginning Dec. 1. Daily Press

Police ID man suspected of failed Grafton carjacking PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by JOE POIRIER   
Wednesday, 25 October 2017 18:49

But cops have yet to find 19-year-old from Milwaukee

    The Grafton Police Department, with the assistance of the Milwaukee Police Department, have identified a 19-year-old Milwaukee man responsible for an attempted carjacking, through the use of security surveillance cameras.
    Police, however, continue to search for the man who attempted to carjack a sport utility vehicle at gunpoint from a female driver in the parking lot in front of Ulta Beauty and Pier 1 Imports on Port Washington Road in Grafton on the evening of Oct. 6.
    According to Grafton Police Department Capt. Joe Gabrish, the suspect is described as a black male with a slender build and is about 6-foot-2. He was wearing a dark-colored hoodie and light-colored pants. 
    The police report said a warrant has been issued for the man, and police are actively seeking him. The suspect’s name is being withheld pending formal charges through the Ozaukee County District Attorney’s Office.
    “They issued the warrant and that typically speeds up the process,” Gabrish said. “If a police officer stops him, then he’ll get picked up right away and brought to our jail.”
    Gabrish said the victim was sitting in her car when a SUV pulled up next to her. The suspect exited the vehicle and walked to the driver side of the victim’s vehicle with a gun. According to Gabrish, the victim said it was a semi-automatic weapon.
    During the incident, a female bystander screamed, which distracted the suspect and allowed for the victim to drive away. Gabrish said the suspect left immediately and did not commit any other crimes in the area. 
    According to the police report, officers located the SUV on a closed circuit video camera in the Grafton Commons parking lot because of an ordinance that requires mandatory surveillance cameras for all new businesses in Grafton.
    The SUV was driving in the area before the attempted carjacking and the police report notes it was a unique type of vehicle. Through networking with other police departments, it was discovered that the vehicle the suspect used was stolen in Milwaukee earlier that day. The vehicle has been recovered.
    Gabrish said the Grafton Police Department is working with other communities to see if there have been any similar incidents with the suspect. 
     Anyone who has any information about the incident is asked to call the Grafton Police Department at (262) 375-5320. Daily Press

Former trailer park is a tough sell for Port PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 18 October 2017 18:08

CDA tackles issue of how to market vacant land on Port’s south side

    Port Washington’s Community Development Authority is looking for a few good ideas on what to do with the city-owned former trailer park property on South Spring Street.
    “It’s a challenging piece of property,” Mayor Tom Mlada said, noting overhead power lines cross the 1-3/4-acre site and a larger trailer park is immediately to the south.
    “I don’t want to be content sitting on my hands hoping someone discovers it.”
    The CDA purchased the property, which was once home to seven trailers, in 2007 with the intent of facilitating its redevelopment.
    There was little interest in the land after the recession hit the following year, but last year the city erected a “for sale” sign on the property.
    There haven’t been any offers, but a number of people have looked at it, said Randy Tetzlaff, the city’s director of planning and development.
    One person wanted to place mini-warehouses on the property, he said.
    “We said thanks but no thanks,” Tetzlaff said.
    Another sought to purchase both the city land and the adjoining trailer park, consolidating them and creating an upscale mobile home park, but couldn’t come to an agreement with the neighboring property owner, he said.
    Several others looked at it for a pocket neighborhood, but the overhead lines, railroad tracks on the east side of the property and the trailer park detracted too much, Tetzlaff said.
    Also detracting from the property is the nearby vacant Mama Mia’s restaurant building. An online auction of items from the building is set for next week, Tetzlaff said.
    Now, Mlada said, the city is paying to maintain the property, but with the right development it could help define the city’s south gateway and spur redevelopment of other nearby properties.
    Funds from the sale of the land could aid in those efforts, he added.
    “If a number of dominos fell into place, it would make the area more attractive,” Mlada said, and it could open the door to other improvements in the area.
    “My fear is we’re going to hand in a perpetual holding pattern unless we do something different,” Mlada said. “We need to do something here.”
    He suggested the city seek proposals from developers for the land or hire a group like Community Design Solutions, which created a redevelopment plan for five downtown properties in 2014, to create a plan for the area.
    Noting that CDS is comprised of students from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, CDA member Jason Wittek said the city needs to “bite the bullet” and hire a professional to plan for the area.
    “I don’t think you can talk about that area in a vacuum,” he said. “I think there are so many options. If we’re serious, we’ve got a lot of neighborhood planning to do.”
    Member Bill Prince agreed, and proposed the city seek ideas from residents via social media.
    “Let’s see if we get 200 crazy ideas and three good ones,” he said. “I would value the input of locals more than that of six students who haven’t been to Port Washington before.”
    That would also help quell the frustration of the public, Wittek said, noting that many of those upset about the proposed downtown redevelopment feel officials haven’t listened to them.
    “I think the process is what the public has really beaten us up for,” he said. “We’re at a point where we have to do more public engagement.”
    But CDA member Rory Palubiski suggested that an outside opinion can be equally important, noting they don’t hold preconceived ideas about the area and aren’t jaded by the political process.
    The committee agreed to seek input via social media and also to set a public informational meeting to seek ideas from residents.
    That meeting is tentatively set for Monday, Jan. 15.
    “We can take the conversation from there,” CDA Chairman Mike Ehrlich said. Daily Press

Mom accused of driving with 9-year-old on top of minivan PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 18 October 2017 18:03

Woman charged with a felony said boy was holding onto kiddy pool

    A mother who told police she had her 9-year-old son climb on top of her minivan and hold down a plastic kiddy pool as she drove down a Saukville street last month because she had no other way to secure the  pool now faces a felony.
    Amber L. Schmunk, 28, of Fredonia was charged last week with second-degree recklessly endangering safety.
    At about 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, police received a report of a minivan driving in the area of Hillcrest and Claremont roads with a child on top of the vehicle holding down a plastic pool, according to the complaint.
    The witness said the driver, later identified as Schmunk, eventually pulled over on South Colonial Parkway, took the child off the vehicle and wedged the pool in the minivan.
    When officers caught up with Schmunk, who dropped the pool off at her sister’s house on South Colonial Parkway, she told them that she had picked up the pool at someone’s house but had no way to strap it to her minivan. So, she said, she had her son climb on top of the vehicle and hold the pool while she drove, the complaint states.
    She said she only drove for a short time, maybe 20 to 30 seconds, before stopping and taking her son and the pool off the roof of the minivan, according to the complaint.
    Schmunk told another officer that she used a strap to tie her son and the pool to the top of her minivan, the complaint states.
    Schmunk said she thought it was acceptable for her son to ride on top of the minivan because her father allowed her to do similar things when she was her son’s age, according to the complaint.
    Schmunk is scheduled to make her initial court appearance before Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Sandy Williams on Nov. 11.
    Second-degree recklessly endangering safety is punishable by a maximum five years in prison and five years of extended supervision. Daily Press

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