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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.

    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

Port to host butterfly party in new garden PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 23 August 2017 18:58

Saturday event featuring monarch release, demonstrations is part of mayor’s effort to encourage the creation and protection of threatened pollinators

    Butterflies will fly on gossamer wings through downtown Port Saturday, Aug. 26, as the city’s Environmental Planning Committee holds a monarch party.
    The party will run from 1 to 2 p.m. in front of City Hall, where a butterfly garden has been planted.
    Hundreds of monarch butterflies raised by Shelly Culea will be released during the event, Mayor Tom Mlada said.
    Participants will also be able to see exhibits on the various stages in a monarch’s life, from egg to larva to caterpillar, as well as the chrysalis and finally the mature butterfly.
    There will be demonstrations on how to tag a butterfly and information about raising monarchs and what plants will attract and feed them.
    A butterfly cake and ice cream will also be part of the event.
    The party is part of the “Mayor’s Monarch Pledge,” approved earlier this year by the Common Council.
    It’s a pledge that was eagerly taken up by the Environmental Planning Committee, Mlada said, particularly by Culea and fellow committee members Freda van den Broek and Jon Crain.
    Mlada proposed the council approve the pledge, noting the butterfly is a prolific pollinator as well as an iconic insect known for its black and orange markings.
    The butterfly migrates roughly 2,300 miles annually, heading from the northern United States and Canada to Mexico in fall.
    But, Mlada noted, monarchs are also a threatened insect. The resolution approved by the Common Council says that the World Wildlife Fund found the North American population has declined by 90% over the past 20 years and the winter colonies in Mexico cover only 1.65 acres of forest, compared to the almost 45 acres they occupied in 1996.
    A major reason for the reduced population — a lack of milkweed, the only plant monarchs lay their eggs on and a primary source of food for the larva.
    The council resolution urges people to build and protect monarch habitats, including milkweed, so the monarch population can return to its previous levels. Daily Press

Grothman plans local town hall meetings PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 23 August 2017 18:58

Congressman Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, will hold three town hall meetings in Ozaukee County on Monday, Aug. 28.
    Grothman will be at the Weyenberg Library in Mequon from 2 to 3 p.m., then at the Cedarburg Police Station from 4 to 5 p.m.
    Grothman will end his day at Port Washington City Hall, where he will meet constituents from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Common Council chamber. Daily Press

Dunwiddie School to host dedication, open house PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 23 August 2017 18:57

The Port Washington-Saukville School District will show off the new Dunwiddie Elementary School addition during a dedication ceremony and open house from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 30.
    The ceremony will feature comments from school officials, a musical performance by students and the presentation of a dedication plaque.
    Tours of the building will be offered after the ceremony.
    The $3.8 million Dunwiddie Elementary School project, which included an addition to the front of the school to provide additional classrooms and a secure entrance, as well as new parking lots, was essentially completed late last year. Daily Press

Sold-out sails in August to bring tall ship back to Port PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 23 August 2017 18:55

Denis Sullivan will return for Labor Day weekend

    The tall ship Denis Sullivan will return to Port Washington for the Labor Day holiday, thanks to a successful visit earlier this month.
    “All of the sails were sold out,” City Administrator Mark Grams said of the Aug. 11 to 13 visit. “You couldn’t have asked for a better weekend.”
    The deck tours and five sails had been projected to bring in $5,000, he said, but instead raised almost $8,000.
    That money is enough to pay for the Sept. 1 to 3 visit approved by the Common Council last week.
    The 137-foot schooner will offer five sails over the Labor Day weekend, including a live music-themed trip — the visit is being held in conjunction with the Paramount Music Festival on Coal Dock Park — and a sunset cruise on Sept. 2.
    Ald. John Sigwart noted the importance of the Sullivan’s visits to the city, since they have allowed the community to regain its status as a commercial port and made the city eligible for federal grant funds for such projects as the breakwater repairs.
    “I’d like to see a little better funding by the council,” Sigwart said. “It’s really important to have the Sullivan in the harbor so we can continue to recieve grants.
    “I’d like the council to consider a little more investment (in the visits) so we can continue our commercial harbor status.”
    Mayor Tom Mlada reiterated the importance of the designation and the city’s relationship with the Sullivan and Discovery World, which owns the vessel.
    “We have a couple of really big grant applications out there (for the breakwater repairs and lighthouse restoration),” he said. “If we didn’t have this relationship, these grants wouldn’t even be in the pipeline.”
    Mlada also suggested the city needs to continue its marketing position, which he said is instrumental in promoting three major events, including the Sullivan visits.
    “If we can keep Nicole (Styles, the city’s marketing and communications coordinator), in place into January, we can do more planning,” he said.Daily Press

Officials voice concerns, table Bielinski rezoning PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 16 August 2017 18:48

Aldermen delay action on controversial plan to build three-story apartment building in Port subdivision

   Port Washington aldermen who appeared ready to reject a request to rezone a portion of the Hidden Hills subdivision to allow a 35-unit apartment building to be constructed among single-family homes instead tabled the issue Tuesday.
    “I feel this will be defeated,” Ald. John Sigwart said before making the motion to table a decision because aldermen Doug Biggs and Mike Ehrlich were not at the meeting. “I feel bad because we have two aldermanic districts that aren’t represented tonight.”
    Unable to sell land zoned for commercial development in its Hidden Hills subdivision north of Highway 33 on Port’s westside, Bielinski Homes has proposed a multi-family development instead, which would require the city to rezone a portion of the subdivision.
    Bielinski’s plans sparked opposition from residents of the subdivision when they were proposed in November and have been modified in attempt to address some of those concerns.
    The current proposal calls for a three-story “active adult community” apartment building to be constructed along Highway 33. Of the 35 units in the building, 80% would have to be occupied by at least one person age 55 or older.
    Hidden Hills resident Rickie Lovell told aldermen during a public hearing Tuesday that he did not plan on living next to an apartment building when he built his house, and is now concerned the building would “drastically change the nature” of the subdivision and diminish property values.
    “The request to rezone and build the ‘community’ by Bielinski Homes is a breach of good faith with the homeowners of Hidden Hills,” Lovell said. “Bielinski represented to me and others that this is a development of single-family homes and that there would only be commercial development” on land along Highway 33.
    Referring to residents of the subdivision, Lovell said, “Our interests need to come before the interests of Bielinski Homes. They made representations of what this area would be like and they want to change that.”
    Bielinski Homes lawyer Tim Voeller said the company’s plan to build multi-family housing on land once slated for commercial development reflects the fact that there is little demand for commercial property in the area. In fact, he said, there are vacancies in the current commercial building in the subdivision.
    Voeller said plans for land use change all the time, noting that the city wants to sell lakefront land that has long been a parking lot for the development of the Blues Factory entertainment complex.
    The Plan Commission has endorsed a preliminary site plan for the apartment building and recommended the zoning change in recognition of the fact the market for commercial land isn’t what it used to be, Randy Tetzlaff, the city’s director of planning and development, said.
    “We have an overabundance of commercial properties,” he said.
    City Administrator Mark Grams noted that the reconstruction of Highway 33 compromised access to the Bielinski property, making the commercial land in the subdivision even less desirable.
    But other city officials were less sympathetic to the developer.
    Referring to Lovell, Ald. Dave Larson said, “He bought his property with certain expectations. And other than downtown, we have more than enough multi-family units in the city.”
    Sigwart said, “I’m not yet convinced we have an obligation to make the Bielinski property more useful.”
    But Mayor Tom Mlada, chairman of the Plan Commission, said commission members didn’t have the interests of Bielinski Homes in mind when they endorsed a zoning change they believe will make undeveloped land more desirable.
    “It wasn’t about the developer but what’s in the best interest of the city,” he said.  Daily Press
    Ald. Michael Gasper, however, said the change would amount to spot zoning.
    “We shouldn’t be doing spot zoning,” he said. “It’s a bad practice.”
    The Plan Commission had been scheduled to consider a final site plan for the apartment building on Thursday, Aug. 17.

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