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City calls on state to lower Hwy. 32 speed limit PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 09 August 2017 19:04

Port council responds to subdivision residents who say turning onto increasingly busy thoroughfare is dangerous

    Responding to concerns from residents of the Misty Ridge subdivision that the 55 mph speed limit makes it dangerous to enter and exit their neighborhood, the Port Washington Common Council on Tuesday agreed to slow down the traffic.
    Aldermen agreed to ask the state Department of Transportation to reduce the speed limit to 45 mph until just south of Misty Ridge Lane, following a recommendation from the city’s Traffic Safety Committee.
    Residents told aldermen how dangerous it can be trying to leave their subdivision, noting that if they turn south, they risk being rear-ended by a car cresting the hill behind them as they try to get up to speed.
    If they turn north, they have to cross two lanes of traffic without seeing who’s coming over the hill in order to get to the northbound lanes, they said, and then they risk northbound vehicles coming over a hill and striking them.
    “It’s been relatively safe, but it’s getting more hazardous,” Matt Panhans, 2307 Willow Pond Way, said.
    Not only has traffic on Highway 32 increased, but the entrance and exit to the subdivision is hidden in a valley between hills, he said.
    “You have about 10 seconds to make a decision — is it clear? Can you get out?” Panhans said. “Reducing the speed limit would get you a couple more seconds. This is something we should do.”
    Cathy Hanson, who earlier this year presented the council with a petition seeking the reduced speed limit, noted that the change would have a minimal impact on those driving on Highway 32 while drastically increasing safety.
    “I don’t think it’s a big sacrifice on anyone’s part,” she said.
    Steve Bennett, 1801Windrush Dr., noted that the subdivision is home to many young families, but these youngsters will soon get their driver’s licenses.
    “To start to drive and come onto this intersection is not safe,” he said. “The last thing we need is to have a tragedy.”
    Police Chief Kevin Hingiss, a member of the Traffic Safety Commission, noted that there haven’t been many accidents there. However, he said, many people speed through the area.
    “I think a lot of the points brought up here tonight are legitimate,” Hingiss said.
    Ald. Doug Biggs, who lives in the Misty Ridge subdivision, said traffic on Highway 32 has increased over time and makes it difficult for residents, particularly those turning left, to cross the intersection safely.
    That’s especially true in winter, when slush and snow make the roadway slippery, he said.
    “Particularly in winter it is very, very dangerous,” Biggs said. “And people aren’t coming down the hill (on Highway 32) at 45 mph. They’re blasting down that hill going southbound.”
    When the Traffic Safety Committee considered the residents’ request, committee member and Ald. John Sigwart said his wife will not turn to the north when leaving the subdivision, instead turning south and making a U-turn to head back into the city.
    The situation will only get worse as more houses are built in the subdivision, committee members noted, since Misty Ridge Lane is the only way in or out of the neighborhood.
    Even if a second exit is created as roads from the adjoining NewPort Vista subdivision are connected to those in Misty Ridge, the problem will likely continue because Misty Ridge Lane is the most convenient exit, City Administrator Mark Grams, who lives in the subdivision, said.
    Ald. Dave Larson asked whether the city could also extend the 35 mph speed limit farther to the north, to First Street, when the Misty Ridge speed limit change is made, saying that Highway 32, aka Spring Street, is wide enough to handle this.
    “There’s no reason it shouldn’t be 35 mph,” he said.
    Hingiss disagreed, saying police already find that many people driving in that area are exceeding the speed limit.
    “You move it to 35 mph, they’re going to go a little faster,” he said.
    Aldermen dropped that suggestion while approving the change sought by the Misty Ridge subdivision residents. Daily Press

Purchase of Port marina lot expected this week PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Thursday, 03 August 2017 16:18

Developer to pay $140,000 for future site of townhouses

   Architect Stephen Perry Smith is expected to purchase the car-trailer parking lot at the east end of Washington Street by the end of this week.
    Aldermen on Tuesday formally extended the deadline to complete the sale of the city-owned parking lot to Thursday, Aug. 3 — the second time in the last month the closing date was changed.
    That’s because the city was waiting for a letter from the Department of Natural Resources approving its soil maintenance plan for the property, something it originally expected early this month but did not receive until Monday, City Attorney Eric Eberhardt said.
    “Unfortunately, we didn’t have that letter on July 24, when this sale was to close,” Eberhardt said, adding,”Everything else is in order.”
    Smith plans to build 11 condominiums in three townhouse buildings on the lot, which he will purchase for $140,000.
    The city is expected to relocate sewer mains on the property this month — something officials agreed to do as part of the sale.
    According to an agreement with the city, Smith, who is not seeking development incentives from the city for his project, must begin substantial construction of his project within six months or the city can buy the land back. Daily Press

Beer garden opens in new digs Saturday PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Thursday, 03 August 2017 16:15

Lions pavilion offers protection from weather for popular summer fundraiser

Port Washington’s popular beer garden opens Saturday, Aug. 5 at its new home in Upper Lake Park this year.
    The beer garden, which draws a crowd each week, will be held in the new Lions pavilion from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 21.
    Saturday’s beer garden will be hosted by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars.
    Port Parks and Recreation Director Charlie Imig said the new pavilion will allow the beer garden to be successful even when the weather isn’t cooperating.
    “It’s always a gamble with weather. There were years when some of the beer gardens got rained out,” Imig said, as well as times when the sun has been scorching.
    “Now the beer garden has somewhere protected. Groups don’t have to bring in tents.”
    Dave Mueller, a member of the local Lions Club as well as the beer garden committee, said the pavilion will allow the event to reach its goal of being a place for the community to gather.
    “You go up there and it’s not always the same people there. You get to meet new people,” Mueller said. “You feel like you’re part of the community. You don’t see that many 21 to 24-year-olds. This is your families with kids in strollers and dogs.”
    Each week, the beer garden is hosted by a different nonprofit organization that brings in a unique selection of beers, soft drinks, food and entertainment.
    Those attending are invited to bring their own stein, if they desire, and a picnic basket if they don’t want to purchase food.
    Some of the nonprofit organizations hold the beer garden in conjunction with other events.
    Be3, for example, will host the beer garden on Aug. 19 along with its Land Regatta, which begins and ends at the park, and the Friends of Port Washington Parks and Recreation host the garden on Sept. 23 along with the City of Seven Hills Duathlon and City of Seven Hills Run/Walk.
    Other groups hosting the beer garden include Port Washington Waterfront Safety Committee on Aug. 12; Port Washington Lion’s Club on Aug. 26; Greater Port Washington Kiwanis Club on Sept. 2; United Way of Northern Ozaukee on Sept. 9; Port Washington Rotary Club on Sept. 16; Port Washington Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 30; Tyler Buczek Memorial Fund on Oct. 7; Leathernecks on Oct. 14; and Port Washington Environmental Planning Committee on Oct. 21. Daily Press

Man charged with homicide in drug overdose PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Thursday, 03 August 2017 16:01

Milwaukee resident accused of selling heroin to 32-year-old Grafton woman who died last month

 A Milwaukee man has been charged in Ozaukee County Circuit Court with first-degree reckless homicide for allegedly selling heroin to a 32-year-old Town of Grafton woman who overdosed and died just hours after her father drove her to Milwaukee last month to buy the drug.
    Davion J. Poe, 26, is being held in the county jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.
    Poe is accused of selling heroin to Taralyn Hibbard, who was found dead in the bedroom of a trailer park home off Port Washington Road on Monday, July 10. A friend who called 911 told authorities that Hibbard struggled with heroin addiction and had been living with her for the last three months, according to the criminal complaint.
    Found near Hibbard were syringes, makeshift tourniquets and other drug paraphernalia, as well as Narcan, a medication that blocks the effects of opioid drugs and is used to revive overdose victims. According to a text message authorities later found on Hibbard’s phone, she overdosed just days before her death and was revived with Narcan administered by her father, the complaint states.
    The forensic pathologist who performed an autopsy said that while a final cause of death is pending toxicology tests, it appeared to be a drug overdose, according to the complaint.
    Authorities examined Hibbard’s cell phone and found a text exchange about how to buy drugs with a subject listed as Daddy, who investigators learned is Hibbard’s father Terry Hibbard. Also found on the phone was a text message exchange with a person named Cheese about buying $60 of heroin, the complaint states.
    Authorities interviewed Mr. Hibbard, who said his daughter had bought heroin from a dealer named Cheese. When asked how he knew that, Mr. Hibbard said he drove her to Milwaukee to buy the drug as he usually did once or twice a week, according to the complaint.
    Mr. Hibbard said that on Sunday, July 9, he drove his daughter to 60th Street north of Good Hope Road, where they met Cheese. He said his daughter got into Cheese’s car and purchased $60 of heroin, which he described as “really potent,” the complaint states.
    Mr. Hibbard said he and his daughter went home, where she gave him a “line to snort.” He said she kept the rest of the heroin, adding that “she always did a lot,” according to the complaint.
    Mr. Hibbard said the last time he saw his daughter was midnight the day she died.
    Working with agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and Mr. Hibbard, the Ozaukee County Drug Unit set up two undercover drug buys in which Mr. Hibbard purchased heroin from Cheese, who authorities identified as Poe, the complaint states.
      Poe is charged under the Len Bias law, which is named for the University of Maryland basketball star who died of a cocaine overdose two days after being drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1986. It allows prosecutors to charge suspected drug dealers with reckless homicide in connection with the deaths of people they supplied drugs to.        The first-degree reckless homicide charge Poe faces carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and 15 years of extended supervision.
    Poe is scheduled to appear Friday before Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Sandy Williams for a preliminary hearing. Daily Press

Replacing Blues Factory sign is city’s call, developer says PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 26 July 2017 19:31

Officials asked him to put it up, so they can decide what to do about damaged promotional board

  The controversial Blues Factory sign on Port Washington’s north slip marina parking lot has been damaged, and developer Gertjan van den Broek said Tuesday it is up to the city to decide whether to replace it.
    That’s because the city asked him and other developers to place the signs on the properties they plan to develop, van den Broek said.
    “I’m going to let them decide what to do,” he said.
    Van den Broek and city officials said they believe the sign was vandalized. If the city does want the sign replaced, van den Broek said, they will have to discuss who will pay for it.
    The sign, which was erected in early July, has reignited the controversy over the proposed Blues Factory entertainment complex on the lakefront, infuriating those who oppose the city’s decision to sell the publicly owned parking lot for the development.
    It prompted one opponent to post her own message questioning why the city allowed the sign on city-owned property, and another to ask aldermen to remove it.
    Van den Broek said the city asked the developers who are in the process of buying city land — himself, architect Stephen Perry Smith, who is expected to build townhouses on the boat-trailer parking lot at the east end of Washington Street, and Black Cap Halcyon, which has proposed the Prairie’s Edge subdivision on the south bluff — to erect informational signs at the sites to educate the public, at the developer’s expense.
    Mayor Tom Mlada said the Blues Factory sign “showcased, as part of our city’s ongoing and very active public communication and downtown redevelopment efforts, a vision of the development concept” that the public likely won’t see elsewhere.
    “We want to make sure the community has a clear sense of what we’re trying to accomplish,” he said.
    That includes not only increased development that will draw people to the downtown year-round, benefitting all businesses there, but also increasing the city’s tax base.
    Officials said van den Broek obtained a $62 permit from the city allowing him to place a development sign — a temporary sign designating or promoting the future use of a new commercial building, development or subdivision — on the parking lot.
    Van den Broek said Tuesday it appears the vandals tried to rip the metal Blues Factory sign off its supporting posts, tearing one corner off the support and significantly denting it.
    Mlada said the sign is damaged beyond repair, but otherwise declined comment other than to say he hopes the vandal or vandals will be caught and prosecuted.
    He will address the issue at the Common Council’s Aug. 1 meeting, he added.
    Van den Broek     said he continues to work on the Blues Factory, although progress on the building itself is stalled as the city decides how to stabilize the sheetwall in the area.
    He said he is in talks with a restaurateur who has other successful eateries along the Mississippi Blues Trail, and has lined up his financing partners for the project.
    He is also continuing to talk to people about the Blues Factory, saying it is the only way to get over the acrimony that’s occurred between proponents and opponents of the proposed development.

Downtown weekend events will have Port hopping PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 26 July 2017 19:29

Maxwell Street Day, Lions Fest, farmers market to offer shopping, entertainment

Downtown Port will be hopping Saturday with both Maxwell Street Day and the 43rd annual Port Lions Fest and Fishing Derby.
    Those activities will complement the city’s farmers market, which will run from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on East Main Street.
    While Maxwell Street Day, sponsored by Port Main Street Inc., will be held only on Saturday, the Lions Club activities will run throughout the weekend.
    Maxwell Street Day will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday throughout downtown.
    More than 20 outside vendors will have booths along Franklin Street, and many downtown merchants will have special sales as well.
    Lions Fest offers a variety of family friendly activities on the lakefront, with entertainment kicking off at 4 p.m. Friday when acoustic guitarist Mark Sallmann will perform classic sing-along favorites.
    From 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, FM Rodeo will play country music.
    On Saturday, Kojo will perform Caribbean reggae from 1 to 5 p.m.  and Oil Can Harry will play classic and contemporary rock from 7 to 11 p.m.
    On Sunday, Dave Ehlert will perform a one-man Elvis legends show from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and The Happy Schnapps Combo will play from 2 to 5 p.m.
    A video arcade game tent and free cornhole boards will be available and food and beverages will be sold.
    Raffle prize drawings for prizes that include $1,000, $500 and $300 cash, an Apple I-Pad, Milwaukee Brewers box seats, baskets of booze and gift certificates will be held.
    The fishing derby will run on Saturday and Sunday, with cash prizes awarded to the largest weight fish caught in five categories  — chinook, coho, lake trout, rainbow trout and brown trout. A grand prize of as much as $1,000 or more will be offered based on number of entries.Daily Press

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