Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Wednesday, 04 September 2013 18:04
While most people are dealing with the end of summer, the Port Washington Common Council on Tuesday looked ahead to Halloween.
Aldermen agreed to hold trick or treat from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26 — a decision that spurred a heated debate.
Although the city has traditionally held trick or treat on the weekend prior to the holiday, Ald. Kevin Rudser had a different take on the date.
“Why not hold Halloween on Halloween?” he asked. “A number of communities have gone to having Halloween on Halloween, which is the way it should be.”
This year, Oct. 31 falls on a Thursday, causing City Administrator Mark Grams to note that weekdays often result in conflicts with school events.
Safety was on the mind of Port Washington Police Capt. Mike Davel.
“The problem with weekday Halloween is that this time frame is when traffic is busiest on many of our streets,” he said. “People are coming home from work, going to school events. It’s starting to get dark.”
Davel recommended the city continue to hold trick or treat on a Saturday afternoon.
“Many of our neighborhoods participate fully,” he said, complete with parents grilling in the driveway as youngsters go from house to house. “It’s become quite the event.”
Ald. Dan Becker said he has already received a number of calls from constituents who want trick or treat on Saturday.
But none of this swayed Rudser, who said “there’s nothing worse than Saturday afternoon” when families are trying to do things together.
“I can’t imagine the residents of Port Washington can’t adapt (to a weekday trick or treat),” he said. “It’s like we should have Christmas on Saturday this year instead of Wednesday because it’s a weekday.”
Mayor Tom Mlada said, “I’m feeling the inner alderkid coming out” as Rudser cast the only vote against the Saturday trick or treat.
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 17:58
Free downtown celebration combines tributes to company anniversary with music, more
Port Washington will be hog heaven Friday afternoon and evening as Rock the Harbor, a free festival to celebrate Harley-Davidson’s 110th anniversary, takes over downtown.
The festival, which will run from 3 to 11 p.m., will combine a celebration of the iconic motorcycle company with music and patriotism.
Among the vendors at the festival is Jean Davidson, granddaughter of Walter Davidson, one of four founders of the motorcycle company.
Davidson will sell and sign copies of her book, “Harley-Davidson Family Memories.”
“Everyone I’ve talked to has said she’s a must-meet person,” festival co-chairman Amy Gannon said. “She’s a really neat person.”
Gannon said she’s confident a good crowd will turn out for the event, noting that more than 100,000 cyclists are expected to visit the area for Harley’s celebration.
Even though Harley-Davidson has booked some premiere acts for its celebration on the Summerfest grounds in Milwaukee — Aerosmith is scheduled to play on Friday — she noted that there is limited seating and tickets are costly. Port’s event is free.
“We’ve been out talking to people, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of people who knew about it (Rock the Harbor),” Gannon said. “A lot of them said they are coming here.
“That’s why we’re doing this, to help Port Washington and the local businesses.”
Rock the Harbor is a partnership between Port Washington Main Street and Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson, which will hold a ride from its Thiensville shop to Port Washington Friday.
Motorcycles are expected to line the streets throughout the festival. Organizers have designated the parking lot behind Duluth Trading Co. and the Ozaukee County Administration Center lot for motorcycles.
Exclusive motorcycle parking will also be on Grand Avenue from the festival grounds west to Milwaukee Street.
“Everyone wanted that Sturgis look in downtown,” Gannon said.
That’s not the only designated motorcycle parking area. Suburban’s riders, as well as members of an antique cycle club, will have reserved parking in the 100 block of East Main Street, Gannon said.
Washington Street east of the festival grounds will be reserved for handicapped parking, she added.
Patterned after the city’s successful Community Street Festival, Rock the Harbor will close off Franklin Street from Jackson Street to Grand Avenue and Washington Street east of Franklin Street.
Approximately 50 vendors will fill the grounds, among them area businesses, restaurants and civic organizations. The Wisconsin 9/11 Memorial Float will also be parked on the grounds.
Music will be a big part of the festival, with country music artist Darryl Worley headlining the festival at 8 p.m. on the Main Stage at the intersection of Lake and Washington streets on the lakefront.
Worley has had three No. 1 singles — “I Miss My Friend,” “Awful, Beautiful Life” and “Have You Forgotten” — and 20 hit singles.
While most of the seating for Worley’s concert is first-come, first-serve with no admission charge, festival organizers have sold roughly 200 tickets for a reserved seating area in front of the stage, Gannon said.
Many tickets have been purchased by businesses that are donating them to soldiers, veterans and emergency responders, such as police officers and firefighters, she said.
If any of the $40 seats are still available Friday, they will be sold at the will-call tent, she said.
Crankshaft and The Gear Grinders will open for Worley, performing roots and Americana music on the Main Stage from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Between the concerts, Army Major CJ Wirsching-Neuser, co-owner of Vines to Cellar, will be promoted to lieutenant colonel in a ceremony presided by Brigadier General Pat Heritsch. Her husband Jim will take part in the ceremony, which is expected to take about 15 minutes.
Wirsching-Neuser has served in the Army, Army Reserves and Georgia National Guard for 30 years and completed two deployments to Kuwait.
Two other stages will be set up for the festival on the north and south ends of Franklin Street.
On the North Stage, Back Alley Band will perform roots and Americana music from 3:30 to 5:45 p.m., followed by contemporary country group Geoff Landon and The Wolfpack from 6:15 to 8:15 p.m. Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys will cap the night, performing Chicago blues from 8:45 to 10:25 p.m.
On the South Stage, Rocky Mountain Oyster Band will play from 3:15 to 5:15 p.m. and Boarder Line from 5:45 to 8 p.m. Both are contemporary country bands.
The band Substitute: Tales From the Who will perform classic rock from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 17:47
District-backed plan will give students chaperoned walks to Lincoln, Dunwiddie and Thomas Jefferson schools
Plans for a walking school bus — scheduled, chaperoned walks to Lincoln and Dunwiddie elementary schools and Thomas Jefferson Middle School each morning — are being developed to help students safely get to school each day.
“We don’t expect hundreds of kids to be walking to school the first day,” organizer Derek Strohl said, noting only one of the four routes planned for the year is expected to be operating when classes start Sept. 3.
“We’re counting on this to catch on.”
A walking school bus is essentially a planned and scheduled walk to school each day. At least one adult chaperone walks the route with students, beginning at the same time each day and collecting youngsters at set stops along the way.
The group will arrive at school at least five minutes before the bell rings in the morning.
“It functions just like a bus,” Strohl said. “We expect to pickup kids at every stop. We’ll probably create a stop at just about every street corner.”
Four routes have been identified for this year, he said, and more will be added as the need is identified and chaperones found.
Routes for bikers could also be added, Strohl said.
The walking school buses will run in rain and snow, but not when there are high winds, thunderstorms or extreme cold, he said.
The chaperones will undergo a background check by the Port-Saukville School District, Strohl said.
The walking school bus isn’t a new initiative, Strohl said.
“A lot of these are popping up across the state and the country,” he said, including Greenfield, Richland Center and the Appleton area.
The walking school bus will help ease the fears of parents who are wary of allowing their youngsters to walk to school alone, Strohl said.
“Parents are sometimes nervous about their kids walking to school,” he said. These fears range from the possibility of accidents and kidnapping to the fact youngsters sometimes dawdle and could get to school late.
Strohl, who last fall proposed a similar initiative for Dunwiddie Elementary School, said that the project has gained traction since that time.
The city’s Environmental Committee has endorsed the idea, as has the school district, he said, noting the initiative aims to reduce traffic congestion around schools as well as reduce people’s dependence on fossil fuels.
It will also increase the amount of exercise students get and help them get to know one another.
Chaperones are still needed for the walking school buses, Strohl said.
An informational meeting about the walking school bus program will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, at the Niederkorn Library.
Information will also be posted on the School District website, Strohl said, adding people may also call him at (262) 384-1951 or e-mail at
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 17:42
Utility will use procedure to determine where clear water is entering sanitary sewer system
Residents of Port Washington’s west side may notice smoke wafting through their neighborhood in the coming weeks as the city tests its sanitary sewer system.
The testing will allow the city to determine where clear water enters the sanitary sewer system, Wastewater Supt. Dan Buehler said.
Many of the city’s older sewer pipes are clay, some of which are crumbling, allowing water to flow into the system, Buehler said.
This water is then pumped through the system and treated before being released, costing the city money and taking up capacity at the wastewater treatment plant, he said.
If the city can take measures to correct this inflow and infiltration of the sewer system, it can increase the life of its treatment plant, Buehler added.
Among the corrective measures the city can take is lining the existing sewer pipes, which essentially creates a new pipe inside the lines, he said.
During the testing by Strand Associates, smoke will be blown through manholes into the sewer system. In places where clearwater enters the sanitary sewers, the smoke will be able to escape.
Crew members walking along the route will see where the smoke appears, Buehler said.
Among the places where smoke may appear are roof drains, catch basins, foundation drains that are hooked into the sanitary system, cracks in the pavement above the sewers and even lawns, he said.
To prevent smoke from getting into houses, homeowners are asked to pour a bucket of water into floor drains, sinks and other plumbing fixtures that are not used regularly, Buehler said. This will fill the plumbing traps and prevent smoke from getting into homes.
If smoke does appear inside a house, residents are asked to contact the survey team in the area. The smoke will dissipate quickly if a window is opened.
The smoke used is not toxic, Buehler said. It is colorless, odorless and non-staining.
“It’s pretty much harmless,” he said.
The testing was expected to start Wednesday, continue through this week and conclude next Wednesday and Thursday on the city’s northwest side.
The area is bordered by Aster Street on the west side, Pine Cone and Woodland avenues on the north, Grand Avenue on the south and North Park Street on the south.
The following week, from Sept. 11 to 13, testing will be done on the southwest side of the city.
This area is bordered by Wildflower Circle on the west, Indigo Drive and Grand Avenue on the north, Fourth Avenue and Spring Street on the south and South Park Street on the east.
Anyone with questions is asked to call Buehler at 284-5051 or Phil Bzdusek of Strand Associates at (414) 305-9740.
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Wednesday, 21 August 2013 18:40
Working ships will help tell story of city’s lakefront heritage at annual celebration
Working ships on Lake Michigan will be highlighted during the 13th annual Maritime Heritage Festival in Port Washington this weekend.
While past festivals have featured tall ships, this year’s event will revolve around working-class vessels such as tugboats, trawlers, Coast Guard ships and harbor-cruising boats, said Sara Grover, executive director of Port Washington Main Street, which sponsors the event.
“These were the workhorses of the Great Lakes,” Grover said. “These are very interesting vessels with stories behind them. We’re giving them time to tell their stories.
“When people come, they won’t be looking up for the tall sails but straight ahead to the horizon that provided Port Washington with its maritime history.”
The festival will run from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Saturday’s activities will conclude with fireworks shot off from Coal Dock Park at 9:15 p.m.
The ships that will be open for deck tours during the festival include the Susie Q fishing trawler, a new Coast Guard ship and M/V Halten, a 75-foot-long restored Norwegian rescue service trawler.
The Susie Q, which is making a return to the festival, was part of last year’s event, Grover said.
The M/V Halten was built in 1966 and is one of only 13 such vessels in the world.
The Coast Guard’s 45-foot-long response boat features design and safety features to aid crews in various missions.
Handcrafted wooden boats will be moored at the festival, and guided harbor tours will be offered aboard the Lakeside Spirit.
“This will provide a historic maritime perspective,” Grover said. “They’ll have interactive, guided tours, citing the shipwrecks, historic occasions and the old landscape of Port Washington.”
The festival will also include the third annual cardboard boat regatta, a competition that has become one of the event’s most popular attractions.
Last year, roughly 20 vessels made of corrugated cardboard competed for prizes as well as bragging rights by navigating a 175-yard course in the marina.
The regatta will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with boats built in advance competing Saturday. On Sunday, boats built of materials provided by event organizers on the grounds that morning will race.
Awards will be presented at 4 p.m. each day.
The festival also features land-based activities, including educational speakers, interactive displays, music and children’s activities.
Activities aimed at youngsters will include the chance to build mini-sailboats and race them in gutters. Coastie, a Coast Guard robot, will be on hand to talk to children about water safety.
The Department of Natural Resources will have a 22-by-8-foot aquarium with freshwater fish.
There will be maritime crafts and physical activities for children as well.
A variety of food and beverages will be sold in the parking lot behind Duluth Trading Co. Re-enactors will stroll the festival grounds, and there will be an arts and crafts fair in Rotary Park.
Two music stages will also be set up on the festival grounds.
On Friday, Celtic and Irish music will be presented, with The Finn MacCools headlining the Main Stage behind Duluth Trading Co. at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday’s lineup is more eclectic, Grover said, with events capped off by a Main Stage performance by Naima Adedepo, who was a season-10 finalist on “American Idol.”
Adedepo, who will perform at 7:45 p.m., is currently touring with her band, singing soulful pop and rhythm-and-blues music.
Sunday’s concerts will feature a country theme, including a 4:30 p.m. headline concert by the modern country group Saddlebrook.
But the festival won’t be limited to the lakefront grounds.
Wooden model ships from the Weinrich family will be displayed at businesses throughout downtown Port Washington, as well as pictures of anchors. People can pick up a treasure hunt form at the festival’s information or ticket booth, find the 17 ships and anchors, then turn in the forms for their chance at a gift certificate to downtown businesses.
Several other drawings will also be held during the festival.
The Port Washington Historical Society will host maritime heritage displays at its Research Center on Franklin Street throughout the festival, and the Light Station on Johnson Street overlooking downtown will be open as well.
For more information on the festival, to register for the cardboard boat regatta or for cruise tickets, call Port Washington Main Street at (262) 268-1132 or visit www.portmaritimefestival.com.
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Wednesday, 21 August 2013 18:38
More than 1,500 notebooks, 2,000 folders, 1,000 glue sticks and 5,000-plus pencils, as well as backpacks, scissors, gym shoes and other items needed by students as they enter school this fall will be distributed to needy families next week.
The donated supplies will be handed out from 1 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27, at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Saukville.
“This is going to be our best year yet,” organizer Bethel Metz said.
The school supply drive was bolstered this year by sizeable donations from Port Washington State Bank and Schmit Bros., she said.
“Last year, we weren’t able to afford gym shoes for the students. This year James Schowalter (of Port State Bank) made it his mission to make sure we would be able to offer them,” Metz said.
Volunteers, supply list in hand, accompany each child as they select the things they need for the school year, Metz said.
“The children get so excited,” she said. “These are things each child needs.
“This is a real loaves and fishes story. We encourage people to take what they need, but to leave what they don’t.”
That’s why last year some of the more than 200 backpacks on hand during the distribution were still there at the end of the day, she said.
Last year, 700 children whose families are experiencing financial difficulties received school supplies through the drive, which this year is being run under the direction of the Saukville Community Food Pantry, Metz said.
“Supplies are expensive,” she said. “If you’re already struggling to put food on the table and make the rent, where do you cut to buy school supplies?
“We’re trying to make sure every child has what they need to go to school.”
Every family attending the distribution Tuesday is invited to enjoy a hamburger and hot dog dinner.
Donations continue to come in, even on the day supplies are distributed, Metz said.
“We will be handing things out and people will walk in the other door of the church with donations,” she said.
People told the volunteers at the distribution that they drove by, saw the line of families and headed to the store or their home, where they collected supplies to drop off, Metz said.
Last year, the line of people stretched from the front door of the church at Highway 33 to Highway O, she said.
Metz, who has organized the drive since it began five years ago, said this is the last time she will be at the helm. Next year, Saukville Food Pantry volunteers will take over the job.
“After five years, it’s time for a fresh look at things and fresh blood,” she said. “Our goal was to turn over the drive to the food pantry, and that’s what we’re able to do.