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Daily News
New safety measure available for Port beach PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 16 September 2015 19:44

Online INFOS data gives lakefront visitors real-time information on rip currents

    Port Washington officials on Tuesday announced a new beach safety measure is in place — a real-time rip-current identification system that will let people know what conditions are in the water before they head to the lakefront.

    Although the system has been running for about a month already, Mayor Tom Mlada said officials have been tweaking it since then to make it more user friendly.

    “I think the attraction is that not only does it make our waterfront even safer with a technology that’s really unique, you can get this on your laptop or smart phone,” Mlada said.

    “This gives you an idea in real-time what you have in terms of beach conditions. It clearly is a tremendous asset.”

    The integrated nowcast/forecast operation system — aka INFOS — includes information on such things as wave height, water temperature both at and below the surface and wind speed.

    It offers a map of Port’s lakefront that models real-time currents and tells users whether the risk for rip currents is low, moderate or high.

    Implementation of the INFOS system has been a goal of the Port Washington Waterfront Safety Committee, which was formed after 15-year-old Tyler Buczek died off Port Washington in 2012 after being caught in a rip current.    

    Mlada said the system was the brainchild of University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Chin Wu, who at the time was studying bluff stability but realized a way to use the technology to identify rip currents.

    “Our goal was to create a usable technology, a functional public website, that would provide modeling results and combine those models with real-time, high integrity data,” Wu said.

    To do that, he’s used a wave sensor buoy and webcam, Wu said.

    Mlada said officials are continuing to tweak INFOS, based in part on input from users.

    They are currently working on creating an INFOS app, he said, and on creating a system that would send users messages when the risk of rip currents is high.  

    They are also creating a “frequently asked questions” area on the website to help guide users, Mlada said.

    “Visit the site, play around with it,” he said, noting it can be easily accessed at

    The INFOS system is the first of its kind, and officials hope to expand it to other areas in the future.

    Contributing to the development of the INFOS system were the UW Sea Grant Institute, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal Storms Program, Mlada said.

Image information: THE INFOS Port Washington website predicted relatively strong southerly currents (depicted in yellow) at 6 a.m. Wednesday off the city’s south beach. The tabs on the right give users the ability to see hourly current predictions. The site also includes a rip current risk indicator and access to real-time and predicted wave height and water temperature data, as well as views from a lakefront camera. The system was developed by a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor working with the city as part of its waterfront safety initiative.                      

Police search for man who tried to entice girl PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 09 September 2015 20:59

Port Washington police are searching for a man who attempted to entice a child while she was walking home from school on Wednesday, Sept. 2.

    According to police, the 12-year-old girl said she was walking on Moore Road near the skate park between 3 and 3:30 p.m. when a man in a tan, four-door vehicle offered to give her a ride home.

    The girl said that when she refused, he drove off.

    But he returned, she said, and again offered her a ride home and asked for her address, police said.

    She said she then ran home, police said, and the man left.Daily Press

    Police are looking for the man, who is described as a white man in his early 30s with brown hair, mustache, and goatee.

    Anyone with information is asked to call police at 284-2611.

4-H recruitment fairs to be held Sept. 15, 16 PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 09 September 2015 20:56

Ozaukee County 4-H will hold recruitment fairs at two local sites next week.

On Tuesday, Sept. 15, information on 4-H will be provided at Divine Savior School in Fredonia.4H

A second recruiting fair will be held at the Ozaukee Pavilion at the county fairgrounds in Cedarburg on Wednesday, Sept. 16.

Both sessions will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

For more information, call Kathy Butler at the University of Wisconsin-Extension Office at 284-8288 or by visiting

Highland Drive to be closed three weeks for reconstruction PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 09 September 2015 20:55

    Highland Drive in the Town of Port Washington was expected to close Wednesday, Sept. 9, for roadwork.

    If weather permits, the reconstruction project is expected to take three weeks, Town Chairman Jim Melichar said.

    The work will be done by Vinton Construction Co. of Manitowoc.

    The long-awaited project was supposed to get underway Tuesday, but rain caused a delay, Melichar said.

    The crew will start by removing brush along the roadway, then take down the bridge and culvert, he said. Reconstruction will follow.

    The road project was spurred by the fact that concrete on the Highland Road overpass is spalling and small pieces have fallen onto the trail below, prompting Ozaukee County and the town to take action to replace the structure — a large box culvert that serves as a

    The project will eliminate the bridge on Highland Drive north of Town Hall, lowering the grade of the road and making it safer for both motorists and bicyclists.

    The town’s plan calls for the bridge to be replaced with a smaller, 36-inch culvert.

    The new culvert would be buried, creating an at-grade road that would be about five feet lower than the current roadway, officials said.

    The road crests in the area, making it difficult for drivers heading south to see bikers stopped along Highland Road, officials said.

    The work is expected to cost the town $214,817.

Ozaukee, Washington to share health department PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by MICHAEL LoCICERO   
Wednesday, 09 September 2015 20:53

Plan approved by County Board calls for partnership designed to provide more efficient, cost-effective service

The public health departments in Ozaukee and Washington counties will soon become one under a proposal approved by the County Board on Sept. 2.

Starting Jan. 1, the counties will partner to “provide the same or better level of service at a reduced cost for all parties,” said Ozaukee County Administrator Tom Meaux.

The three-year agreement will likely eliminate overlapping positions, but no layoffs are expected in either county, Meaux said.

“Our goal is to have the ability to draw from either office or county as needed,” he said.

Ozaukee County Public Health Director Kirsten Johnson will lead the new department, Meaux said.

Both he and Washington County Administrator Joshua Schoenemann have met frequently over the past year to discuss the merger.

“We’re now working on drafting policies and procedures to provide better support and reduce expenses,” Meaux said.

The joint departments are expected to save about $250,000, including about 25% by Ozaukee County, which has fewer employees and a smaller population, he said.

A board consisting of nine county supervisors and citizens from both counties will oversee the department.

Ozaukee County will not eliminate its Health and Human Services Committee, but some responsibilities may be delegated to the new board, Meaux said.

Ozaukee County will also be designated as the fiscal agent, he said, in part because the county is more equipped to handle things like tracking budgets and grants.

“The state pays for a great deal of the cost of public health departments,” Meaux said. “We felt our systems were more suitable for the absorption of these additional revenues and expense.”

There are no plans to move Ozaukee County’s public health clinic in Port Washington, which offers primary care, chronic disease management, vaccinations, prescriptions and exams for employees and their families.

The county previously partnered with Waukesha County on a shared emergency management director during the Doyle administration, Meaux said, and lasted for about 1-1/2 years.

That position was eliminated by the state due to concerns expressed after the fact, he said.Daily Press

“In the event of a large-scale emergency, the state felt we wouldn’t have had the capacity to respond,” Meaux said. “That’s why we’re taking our time on this and making sure services won’t suffer.”

He hinted that other departments could be combined with Washington County at some point, including the public works, highway and transit departments.

“I think in particular the transit department would make sense because we both provide taxi services and literally have to stop at each other’s border,” he said.

The county is also in flux with its agricultural agent following the retirement of Dan O’Neil, Meaux said.

“We’re going to budget next year for the status quo with a slight pay reduction because he (O’Neil) was at the top of the pay range,” he said. “We have to wait to hear from the state on that.”

Video tour of shipwrecks to be part of Sept. 3 event PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 02 September 2015 20:03

A tour of shipwrecks proposed to be included in a national marine sanctuary that would stretch from Port Washington north to Two Rivers will be the centerpiece of a program at the Port Exploreum on Thursday, Sept. 3.

    The program, which will run from 7 to 8 p.m., will complement a visit by the tall ship Denis Sullivan this weekend.

    During Thursday’s program, underwater archaeologist Tamara Thomsen of the Wisconsin Historical Society will lead the video tour and explain how the society documents these vessels and their artifacts.

    The program will also include information on Coastal Awareness Month, the Sullivan and efforts to preserve area shipwrecks and form a marine sanctuary.        The Sullivan will be in Port Washington from Friday through Wednesday, Sept. 4 to 9. The public can take deck tours and sails  Friday through Monday, the final tour days are reserved for educational trips.

    The Exploreum is at 118 N. Franklin St., Port Washington.Daily Press

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