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Town of Grafton crashes leave three injured PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Tuesday, 30 December 2014 19:36

Dec. 23 accidents at and near hazardous intersection occurred within 40 minutes

Separate accidents that occurred within 40 minutes of each other left three passengers injured in the Town of Grafton on Tuesday, Dec. 23.

The first accident occurred at approximately 2:25 p.m. when a 2012 Chevrolet driven by 49-year-old Rhonda Dickson of Saukville collided with a 2001 Toyota driven by 23-year-old Olivia King of Fredonia.

According to the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Department, Dickson was traveling south on Highway W and failed to yield to King, who was traveling north on Highway V.

No injuries were reported and Dickson was cited for failure to yield the right of way.

The incident is the latest in a string of accidents at the well-traveled intersection of highways V and W.

In April, the county’s Public Works Committee received a federal grant to add turn lanes and signals at the intersection.

The project, which will cost the county $84,000, is expected to begin some time in early 2015, Ozaukee Sheriff’s Lt. Christy Knowles said.

“It’s frustrating to see these accidents, but there are plans in place to restructure the intersection,” she said.

Approximately 40 minutes after the first accident, a Dodge Magnum driven by 43-year-old Bridgette Campbell of Milwaukee collided with a Chevrolet pickup truck driven by 18-year-old Barret Bian of Cedarburg at the intersection of Highway 32 and I-43,
according to the sheriff’s department.

According to the sheriff’s department, Campbell failed to yield while turning onto the on-ramp of southbound I-43 from westbound Highway 32.Daily-Press

Bian was traveling north on Highway 32.

The drivers and Bian’s 18-year-old passenger were transported to local hospitals with non-life threatening injuries, according to the sheriff’s department.

Campbell was cited for failure to yield the right of way.

 
Free taxi rides, Polar Bears to return for New Year’s PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Tuesday, 23 December 2014 20:19

    Two New Year’s traditions will continue this year.

    New Year’s Eve revelers will once again be able to get a free ride home from the Ozaukee County shared-ride taxi service, and the Polar Bears will take their annual dip into Lake Michigan at 2 p.m. New Year’s Day.

    Free rides will be offered throughout the county from 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, until 4 a.m. New Year’s Day, Jan. 1.

    “We always look at it as a service the county can offer residents,” Transit Supt. Jason Wittek said. “It’s about getting people home safely.”

    People can reserve their ride ahead of time or call for a taxi while out, Wittek said.

    Last year, 161 people took advantage of the free rides, he said, while in 2012 the service gave rides to 243 people.

    The free rides are sponsored by Columbia St. Mary’s, MillerCoors and Beer Capital Distributing.

    The Ozaukee Express bus service will operate during its normal hours on New Year’s Eve, but will not run on New Year’s Day, Wittek said.

    On New Year’s Day, spectators will gather at the lakeshore adjacent to NewPort Shores restaurant in Port Washington, where the Polar Bears will start the year with a romp in Lake Michigan.

    “This is going to be a breeze,” Port Polar Bears President Jon Crain said. “I don’t want to jinx it, but if the temperatures are anything like they’ve been lately, it’ll be a breeze.

    “But with our luck, we’ll get a cold spell right before.”

    Given the relatively warm weather, Crain said he expects “well over 200” participants at the lakeshore.

    Last year’s frigid temperatures limited the group of Polar Bears to 97.

    Crain noted that participants are usually outnumbered 3-1 at the event.

    Some people have questioned why the group doesn’t hold the annual event at the city’s north or south beaches. Not only does the current location offer more parking, it is more accessible for the city’s ambulance service and dive team to monitor the event, Crain said.

    “We want everyone to have a good time, but to also be safe,” he said.

    To qualify as a Polar Bear, a person has to completely submerge himself in the lake. Crain did that 18 years ago.

    “I was in college. It was a dare. I was drinking,” he said by way of explanation.

    Crain, who has taken part in the event since that time, offered a few words of advice for those considering an inaugural dip.

    “The trick is to have your dry stuff ready and to get dry right away,” Crain said. “If you let the cold kick in, you’re going to be shivering hours later.

    “Don’t let fear kick in. Just do it.”


 
Senate race now has three GOP hopefuls PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Tuesday, 23 December 2014 20:17

Koehler joins primary field with Schlenvogt, Stroebel in bid to fill Grothman’s seat

Three Republican candidates are likely to be on the Feb. 17 primary ballot in hopes of replacing Glenn Grothman as the 20th District state senator.

    Tiffany Koehler of Slinger recently announced she will seek the party’s nomination, joining Ozaukee County Board Chairman Lee Schlenvogt and state Rep. Duey Stroebel, who announced their candidacies last month.

    Koehler, an Army veteran and consultant for nonprofit agencies, characterizes herself as a conservative whose priorities are protecting taxpayers, supporting heroin and opiate prevention and education initiatives, fighting for veterans and repairing the foster care system.

    She recently ran unsuccessfully for the 58th District Assembly seat.

    Schlenvogt, a former Town of Port Washington supervisor and chairman, has been an Ozaukee County Board member since 2007. The Town of Port dairy farmer was elected board chairman in 2013, succeeding Rob Brooks of Saukville, who was elected in August to take Stroebel’s seat in the state Legislature.

    Stroebel, a Town of Cedarburg resident who owns a real estate investment firm, was elected to the Assembly in 2011 but declined to run for re-election. Instead, he ran unsuccessfully for the Congressional seat that Grothman ultimately won.

    Grothman will take over the Congressional seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Thomas Petri on Jan. 3 — the same day his resignation from the State Senate takes effect.   

    Last week, Gov. Scott Walker announced that Grothman’s seat would be filled during the April 7 election.

    A primary election, if needed, will be held Feb. 17.

    While candidates have announced they will seek the seat, no one has turned in their nomination papers.

    Nomination papers must be filed with the Government Accountability Board by 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 6.

    One candidate has already backed out of the race.

    Calumet County Supr. Ralph Prescott of Chilton, who said last month that he would also seek Grothman’s seat, reversed that decision last week.

    It was a decision made “after a lot of thought and discussion with my family,” Prescott said. “I love Wisconsin and if the timing is right in the future, I would certainly consider an opportunity to serve.”

    The 20th District encompasses parts of Ozaukee, Washington, Sheboygan, Calumet and Fond du Lac counties.




 
Coal Dock Park pavilion expected to be completed by spring PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 17 December 2014 20:02

The memorial pavilion in Coal Dock Park will likely be dedicated next Memorial Day.

    Jim Buczek, who is organizing the project, told Port Washington aldermen recently that he had hoped to have the pavilion completed by the end of the year but Mother Nature intervened.coal

    “She won and I did not,” he said. “But I’m kind of excited because it’s a lot further along than it was two months ago (when he last reported progress to aldermen).”

    Buczek said he hopes to have the roof completed by the end of the year, with the remainder of the work scheduled for next spring.
    Even the walkway, which he had hoped to get to this fall, isn’t completed yet, he said. The sidewalk will be poured and the engraved pavers laid in spring.

    The upper level of the pavilion is lit from dusk to dawn with LED lights that change colors, creating a show for observers, Buczek said.

    The views from the upper level are also spectacular, he said, but noted that the stairs will be closed off for winter because the wood on the steps hasn’t been treated or sealed yet.

    The $90,000 pavilion, which is being funded through donations, is being built in honor of 15-year-old Tyler Buczek — Buczek’s nephew — and Peter Dougherty, who both drowned off Port Washington in 2012.

    Much of the work on the structure is being done by volunteer tradesmen.

    Officials were excited about the progress that’s been made.

    “You’ve done a great job,” Ald. Mike Ehrlich said. “It’s been a bumpy road.”

    Ehrlich, who designed the pavilion, added, “It’s more than I ever dreamed.”

    Ald. Doug Biggs called it “a beautiful structure.”

    “It’s one thing to see this pavilion in the renderings. It’s another to see it standing in reality,” he said.


Photo information: Original rendering of the memorial pavilion. Press file photo.

 

 
Former day care owner gets jail time PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 21:22

Grafton woman given 30-day sentence for failing to report abuse allegation

    The prosecutor and defense attorney agreed on one thing Monday — a 39-year-old Grafton woman who failed to report a 2013 allegation of abuse at the day-care center she owned should not be sent to jail.

    But Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Joseph Voiland disagreed, sentencing Trista J. Ziehr, who was convicted by a jury in October of one misdemeanor count of failure to report child abuse, to 30 days in the county jail.

    When Ziehr’s attorney, John Schiro, asked Voiland to stay the sentence pending an appeal of the case, the judge refused to immediately do so. Instead, he ordered Ziehr to report to jail by 6 p.m. Friday, adding that if Schiro filed a motion to stay the sentence before then he would consider it.

    Ziehr was arrested in April 2013 after a woman told police her 4-year-old son was sexually assaulted by a 12-year-old boy at Family Tree Learning Center in Cedarburg, which was owned by Ziehr.

    When she reported the assault to Ziehr, the mother said, Ziehr told her “they were taking care of it” and that the 12-year-old boy was in therapy, according to the criminal complaint.

    The mother of the 4-year-old boy then reported the incident to police.

    When told by a detective investigating the case that because she was a licensed day-care provider Ziehr was obligated by law to report suspected abuse to authorities, Ziehr said she didn’t know she was required to do that, the complaint states.

    Ziehr argued during the course of her case that she didn’t initially believe the allegations and that before she could complete her investigation, the 4-year-old boy’s mother reported it to police. She maintained that she thought this satisfied her obligation.

    “We’re talking about hours,” Schiro said, referring to the time between when the abuse was reported to Ziehr and when police were informed. “It’s not like it was days.”

    Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol, who recommended Ziehr be placed on probation for one year and fined $1,000 instead of being sent to jail, said Ziehr’s failure to report the abuse did not result in harm to other children at the day-care center.

    Gerol also noted that Ziehr was honest and forthright while testifying during her trial.

    “Her belief was that it (the abuse) couldn’t have happened,” Gerol said. “She put her head in the sand. Despite being aware of her obligation to report, she just simply sat there and waited until people took the case to her.”

    Schiro noted that the abuse at the day-care center, which was shut down by the state in April 2013, was another terrible event in Ziehr’s life.

    In October 2009, Ziehr’s 14-year-old son Cody Reetz was strangled by his stepfather, Charles Avey, in Germantown. Prosecutors said Avey, who was Ziehr’s estranged husband, killed the boy in retaliation for Ziehr reporting him to police in connection with an earlier incident.

    “My client has had a tough decade,” Schiro said. “She started the child-care business thinking it would be something for her and her family and it really became somewhat of a nightmare.”

    Schiro argued that probation was not needed to monitor Ziehr, who can no longer be a child-care worker and is currently employed by a commercial cleaning service.Daily-Press

    But Voiland said probation would depreciate the seriousness of her crime.

    Noting that parents don’t entrust their children to day-care providers because they want to but because they have to in order to work, the judge said they are entitled to know their children are in the hands of caregivers who will follow the law.

    Voiland also ordered Ziehr to pay a $1,000 fine.   


 
Sentence for teen who fired shots, sold pot vexes court PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 21:15

Weighing Grafton boy’s age against his crimes, judge gives 17-year-old last chance to avoid prison

    A Town of Grafton teenager who, at age 16 fired a gun at a man driving away from his house, led police on a six-day manhunt and sold marijuana, pleaded guilty in Ozaukee County Circuit Court Tuesday to a litany of criminal charges.

    That left the prosecutor, defense attorney and judge with a difficult question — how to punish Joseph I. Torres, who was waived into adult court in May shortly after the shooting incident and turned 17 just three months ago?

    “He looks extremely young, but at the same time he’s done some extremely bad things,” District Attorney Adam Gerol said. “What do we do with this defendant?”

    Gerol conceded that an argument could be made that Torres should be sent to prison, but said, “What has always moved me about this case is that he was only 16.”

    Gerol recommended Torres be placed on probation and sentenced to the county jail for a period of time that would result in him spending a year behind bars. Torres has been held in jail on $10,000 bail since being arrested in April.

    Torres’ attorney, public defender Rachel Alme-Boaz, argued that prison is no place for a boy who was trying to defend his sister when he fired shots at her abusive boyfriend in April.

    “He’s 17. He’s a little kid,” she said. “How do you expect him to survive in prison?”

    But even before Gerol and Alme-Boaz made their arguments, Judge Paul Malloy warned he would be hard-pressed to give Torres another chance.

    “He’s clearly been a frequent flier in this court,” Malloy said, referring to what he described as Torres’ lengthy juvenile court record. “I’m open to listening, but my reaction is he’s done nothing to help himself while on juvenile supervision.”

    Ultimately, Malloy gave Torres one more opportunity to avoid prison, but he made it clear this is his last chance.

    Malloy sentenced Torres to nine months in jail and probation in connection with the gun incident. Then he sentenced him to prison for dealing marijuana, but stayed the sentence, meaning that if Torres violates the conditions of his probation, he will go to prison.

    “You screw up and it’s on you,” Malloy told Torres. “If you get caught, there’s no tomorrow. You’ve used up your chances.”

    Torres’ crimes date to April 21, when sheriff’s deputies were called to a home on Lakefield Road where Torres lived with his grandmother and older sister to investigate reports of gunshots.

    Torres’ sister told authorities that her boyfriend, 24-year-old Carlos Garcia of Milwaukee, came to her house, broke down the door and entered the home.

    The woman said she pushed Garcia out of the house, and in the process, Garcia took her cell phone and tried to drive away with it, the complaint states.

    The woman said she was holding onto Garcia as he began to drive slowly away from the house with his driver’s-side door open but lost her grip on him after they bit each other and he sped up.

    That’s when the woman said she heard gunshots and saw her brother standing behind Garcia’s vehicle. The woman and her younger sister, who also lived in the house, both said Torres fired the shots, according to the complaint.

    Garcia said Torres fired four or five shots at him, with bullets breaking a window and a mirror of his car and leaving a hole in the trunk.

    Torres ran away after the shooting and was on the lam until Sunday morning, April 27, when he was spotted by retired Mequon police officer Mario Valdes on Covered Bridge Road in the Town of Cedarburg.

    Valdes detained the boy until deputies arrived and arrested him.

    Torres was initially charged with felony endangering safety, but Gerol amended that charge Tuesday to three misdemeanor weapon charges.

    At the time of the shooting, Torres was the target of an undercover marijuana investigation. He was charged just before sentencing Tuesday with selling $860 of marijuana to an undercover deputy at his home on three occasions between Jan. 9 and Jan. 24.

    He pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor gun and felony drug charges.

    During Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, Gerol said he believed he could have won a conviction had the case gone to trial, but conceded Torres’ lawyer could have argued he was defending his sister from a “tough guy, a convicted felon.”

    Alme-Boaz said that’s exactly what Torres was doing when he fired the shots at Garcia.

    “Joey did what he thought was right, which was to protect his sister,” Alme-Boaz said. “Joey knows that he (Garcia) is a bad guy. He’s seen Mr. Garcia hit his sister before.”

    As for dealing marijuana, Alme-Boaz said, “I would propose he was a 16-year-old who thought he was tough stuff and never thought he would get caught.”

    Having spent his birthday in jail and faced with having to spend Christmas there as well, Torres now understands the consequences of criminal behavior, she said.

    Malloy, however, was not as certain that Torres is a changed teenager, noting his series of increasingly serious juvenile offenses.Daily-Press

    “In a lot of ways, I feel the system failed despite its best efforts,” he said.

    Malloy was not swayed by the theory Torres was defending his sister.

    “I don’t think you were protecting your sister,” he said. “You could have killed your sister just as easily.”

    Malloy denied a request from Alme-Boaz to expunge the drug felonies from Torres’ record when he completes probation.

  

 
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