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Polar Bears’ plunge, free taxi rides await New Year’s revelers PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 26 December 2012 19:47

The start of a new calendar year will be greeted with the thrill of the annual Polar Bear Club’s plunge into Lake Michigan and free taxi rides on New Year’s Eve.

    Hundreds of participants will run into the icy waters on the Port Washington beach front at the end of Jackson Street at 2 p.m. on Jan. 1.

    “I think the No. 1 thing about it is the looks on people’s faces. Whether you’re a rookie or a veteran that’s been doing it 20 years, you still get shocked the same and you still get that crazy look on your face,” said Jon Crain, president of the Port Washington polar bear club.

    Decked out in swimsuits or festive costumes, swimmers run, jump and splash in the frigid water, which is around 33 degrees.

    Swimmers do not need to register to participate in the event.

    “We just ask that you sign the books that we have out there and we ask that you go completely under,” Crain said.

    Nearly 250 people took part in the dip  on Jan. 1, 2012, and Crain hopes even more people join in next week.

    “I think the big thing is that it brings people together for a unique experience,” he said.

    Club members will be on the beach before hand to prep the area.

    “We like to cut back the brush on the beach, so there’s a nice area for people to go in. Hopefully we don’t have to break through any ice,” Crain said.

    Newcomers are always welcome, but Crain recommends they do one thing.

    “The biggest thing, I would say is make sure you have your warm clothes and towels ready when you come out. Going in isn’t bad, but coming out is when you start to feel it,” he said.

    Once again, the Ozaukee County taxi will provide free rides on New Year’s Eve from 9 p.m. Dec. 31 until 4 a.m. Jan. 1.

    Rides will be given to anyone in Ozaukee County, free of charge.

    Donations from MillerCoors, Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital and Specialized Transport Services have helped the county recover all operating costs.

    To arrange a ride, call (262) 238-TAXI or 284-TAXI (8294).

 
Dean chooses not to seek another term as alderman PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 26 December 2012 19:45

Former mayor’s decision leaves two Port council seats open in election next spring

There will be two open seats on the Port Washington Common Council next spring.

    Ald. Joe Dean filed his non-candidacy forms last week, joining Ald. Jim Vollmar in deciding not to seek re-election.

    Dean, who did not return a call seeking comment, is concluding his first term as alderman. In the 1990s, he served a term as the city’s mayor.

    Dean is also an Ozaukee County supervisor and president of the board of directors for the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.

    Dean represents the city’s 5th District,  which encompasses much of the northwest side, while Vollmar represents the 3rd District, which includes much of the lakefront and downtown.

    Vollmar, who is completing his third term, said he and his wife, who is retiring, plan to travel and pursue other interests.

    Ald. Dan Becker, who represents the city’s 7th District, has taken out nomination papers but not yet returned them.

    Ald. Mike Ehrlich, who represents the 1st District, said he plans to run for re-election, although he had not taken out his papers yet.

    In the Port Washington-Saukville School District, all three incumbents have filed to run for re-election.

    They are Jim Eden, who represents those portions of the towns of Grafton and Saukville in the school district, and Kelly O’Connell-Perket and Jim Olson, who represent the City of Port Washington.

    The deadline for returning nomination papers or, in the case of the school board, filing a campaign registration statement and declaration of candidacy, is 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2.Daily-Press

     If more than two candidates seek any one seat, a primary election will be held Feb. 19 to narrow the field for the April 2 election.



 

 
Parking lot deal may hinge on soil tests PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 19 December 2012 18:59

Port council hires firm to check for contaminants at former drive-through that city would acquire in proposed land swap

    Port Washington aldermen on Tuesday hired Konicek Environmental to conduct soil and groundwater testing at the former M&I Bank drive-through, saying the results could determine whether the city goes through with a proposed parking lot swap.

    “I don’t think there’s any alternative but to do this,” Ald. Jim Vollmar said. “I don’t think the city is getting what it bargained for if it’s contaminated.

    “The bottom line is we have to know what’s there.”

    An initial environmental report revealed that there were gas tanks on the property, which at one time was home to a car dealership and auto repair garage.

    In all likelihood, the tanks weren’t drained of fuel but instead filled with sand and left in the ground when they were abandoned, City Administrator Mark Grams said, noting this was standard practice at the time.

    Over time, as the tanks rust, the soil and groundwater would then become contaminated, Vollmar said.

    “I think we know it’s contaminated,” he said. “The question is to what extent. If it’s minor, it’s different than if it’s major. Once we know, then we can make a decision on whether we want to continue with the exchange.”

    The discovery of the tank could impact any future use of the property, Vollmar said, noting a parking structure couldn’t be built without dealing with the contamination.

    The cost of the testing, which could reach $4,100, will be borne by the city and not property owner Daniel Ewig, Grams said.

    An exchange of the M&I Bank drive-through land for the city-owned parking lot behind the Boerner Mercantile Building that Ewig owns was approved by the Common Council earlier this month.

    The city will ask Ewig to extend the time frame for closing the deal to accommodate the additional testing, aldermen said.    

    Ald. Mike Ehrlich, an architect working on the rehabilitation of the Boerner building, abstained from the vote.

    The city’s decision on the fate of the land will depend in part on how officials envision using the property in the future.

    “If our intention is to keep it as it is, as a parking lot, you probably wouldn’t need to do it,” Grams said of the testing.

    But, if the city intends to sell or develop any portion of the property, the testing is essential, he said.

    The potential liability, as well as the cost of cleanup, give the city little recourse, City Attorney Eric Eberhardt said.

    “I strongly urge the council, if you want to proceed with the exchange (of property), to get the testing,” he said.
    The city needs to verify any contamination and determine its extent in order to find out if it would qualify for funding to remediate the situation, said Randy Tetzlaff, the city’s director of planning and development.

    The land swap, which officials said would result in a more attractive and user-friendly parking downtown, was expected to be completed early next year, Grams said.

    The deal was conceived as a way to provide convenient parking for the Boerner building while increasing the amount of public parking downtown.
Daily-Press
    The city-owned lot between the Boerner Mercantile Building and Associated Bank has 44 parking stalls and is now primarily used by downtown employees. The former drive-through currently has 44 parking places, but after the building is razed could be reconfigured to have 69 parking stalls.



 
Vollmar won’t seek another term as Port alderman PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 19 December 2012 18:57

Third District representative files non-candidacy papers; other officials will run again

    Port Washington Ald. Jim Vollmar, who has represented the city’s 3rd District for the past six years, said Tuesday he will not seek another term in office.

    Vollmar is the only elected official in the town and city of Port Washington who has submitted non-candidacy papers. These papers are due in municipal offices by 5 p.m. Friday.

    “I enjoyed my time on the council, but six years are six years,” Vollmar said. “I just wanted to offer alternative solutions to problems, and I think I did that.”

    Vollmar, who ran for mayor in April, said he filed his non-candidacy forms just two weeks before his wife retired from her longtime job as a librarian in Waukesha.

    “We’re going to do some more traveling,” he said. “We’re looking forward to having more time off. We’ll have more time for volunteering and to pursue other interests.

    “I don’t plan on fading away.”

    Ald. Dan Becker, who represents the city’s 7th District, has taken out nomination papers but not yet returned them.

    Ald. Mike Ehrlich, who represents the 1st District, said he plans to run for re-election, although he had not taken out his papers yet.

    Fifth District Ald. Joe Dean would not comment on whether he would seek another term.

    In the Town of Port Washington, where all the elected officials are up for election, Town Chairman Jim Melichar, supervisors Jim Rychtik and Mike Didier, Treasurer Mary Sampont and Clerk Jennifer Schlenvogt have taken out nomination papers.

    Resident Terry Anewenter has also taken out nomination papers.

    John Fieber, a member of the Plan Commission, has returned his papers to run for town supervisor, Schlenvogt said.Daily-Press

    The deadline for returning nomination papers is 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2.

    If more than two candidates seek any one seat, a primary election will be held Feb. 19 to narrow the field for the April 2 election.

 
Money scam attempt stopped at Walmart PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 19 December 2012 18:54

badgeStaff at the Saukville Walmart stopped an 82-year-old Port Washington man from wiring money in an apparent phone scam.

Port Washington police said the man received a phone call on Dec. 13 from another man claiming to be his grandson. The caller asked him to wire $2,800 to Haiti to help his grandson, who he claimed was in trouble in Mexico.

The man went to his bank and withdrew the money. When he attempted to wire the money at Walmart, an employee warned the man about the phone scam and advised him to go deposit the money back at his bank. No money was lost.

Police said this is the second reported phone scam attempt in the area in the past week.

    Other incidents include:

• The street department was called on Dec. 11 after police were alerted that a 20-pound box of drywall screws was scattered in the road at East Norport and North Wisconsin streets.

•Police were called to the Beach Tanning Salon, 925 S. Spring St., after two people were seen entering the business after its hours on Dec. 12. Two 19-year-old women from Port told police they had permission to stay in the building and this was confirmed by the owner of the business. Police advised the business owner that no one should be allowed to stay there anymore.

• Several students were cited for habitual truancy on Dec. 14 at Port Washington High School including a 14-year-old Port Washington boy, a 15-year-old Port Washington girl and a 16-year-old Saukville girl.

 
Tavern’s fate to be decided by city Dec. 18 PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 19:59

Liquor license request for former Foxy’s goes to open hearing before Port council

    A hearing on Troy Koput’s application for a liquor license for the former Foxy’s tavern in downtown Port Washington is expected to be held during the Tuesday, Dec. 18, Common Council meeting.

    Koput, of West Bend, said Tuesday he is requesting the hearing be held in public, rather than in a closed session.

    “I don’t have anything to hide,” he told Ozaukee Press. “This way, if people want to say something, they can. I feel like we have enough support that it could change some minds.”


    Last month, Koput applied for liquor and cabaret licenses for the tavern at 219 N. Franklin St., which would be renamed Deville’s Lounge.

    On this license application, he listed Christian Zaja, a former bartender at Foxy’s, as the person who would manage the bar.

    But Tuesday, Koput said he no longer intends to hire Zaja.

    “I let Christian Zaja go,” he said. “I had to.”

    Some officials had expressed fear that even though Koput has said he wants to turn the bar’s reputation around, creating a lounge that can be enjoyed by adults of all ages, it would continue to be a hangout for young people whose rowdy behavior would cause problems.

    “I don’t think the Common Council wants another Foxy’s type of bar in the downtown, especially next to a building that will be the cornerstone for future downtown development,” City Administrator Mark Grams said, referring to the former Lueptow’s Furniture building. “They’re spending a couple million dollars in improvements there, and the city is going to be improving the (adjoining) alleyway.

    “The last thing I want are people walking through a new pedestrian way dodging around broken bottles and urine.”

    Aldermen tabled action on the applications after City Attorney Eric Eberhardt told them that, according to city ordinances, they could not act until after the police chief, fire chief and building inspector conducted required inspections and issued written reports.

    Eberhardt explained that if any of the officials recommend denying the license, a hearing on the matter would be held before the Common Council. The hearing would be closed to the public unless the applicant requested it be held in open session.

    Grams said he and Police Chief Kevin Hingiss recommended the council not approve the application.

    A background check done by the police department showed that during the eight years Foxy’s was in business, officers had 134 contacts with the tavern. Of those, 36 were for disorderly conduct complaints, 17 for theft, 11 for fights, 11 for battery and 10 for loud and unnecessary noise. A three-page outline listed many of the incidents, which included several times when underage people were served or found on the premises.Daily-Press

    Building Inspector Gary Peterson submitted a list of 25 code violations that need to be fixed before an application can be approved. After the work is done, the premises must be reinspected before an occupancy permit can be issued, Eberhardt said.
    “I understand the building’s got to be up to code,” Koput said. “I want to do this right. I’m trying to take the best steps forward I can.

    “I’ve got a lot of time invested in this. It’s my business. It’s my money. I want this to be a success.”




 
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