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Group’s goal: Fix the breakwater PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 20:03

Residents concerned about deterioration of lakefront structure will hold first meeting Jan. 25

    The deteriorating condition of the Port Washington breakwater has alarmed not only city officials but residents and former residents alike.

    Concern for the crumbling landmark has prompted the formation of a friends group that will hold its organizational meeting at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at NewPort Shores restaurant.

    “We’re reaching out to people, letting them know what’s happening with the breakwater and that we’re serious about what we’re doing,” said James Meyer, one of the group’s organizers.

    “We want people to know there are a dozen or so ways, big and small, they can do something to help. Everyone should have the chance.”

    Meyer said the citizen group will take a multi-pronged approach as it works to help the city obtain federal funding to fix the breakwater, which is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers.

    “We all kept hearing the same thing, that the Army Corps isn’t going to do anything,” he said.

    By helping to raise funds and bring pressure to bear, the group can have an impact and help the city in its quest, he said.

     The breakwater serves several purposes, all of them essential to the city.

    It protects the shoreline, marina and downtown from the lake’s sometimes furious wave action. City officials have estimated that if the breakwater fails, it could put $70 million in property and infrastructure at risk.

    The breakwater is also a tourist attraction, drawing people out onto the water to enjoy breathtaking views of the city and prime fishing opportunities.

    The Army Corps of Engineers conducted an analysis of the breakwater last summer and concluded that it is in poor condition, with parts of the structure already failing.

    But federal funds to repair it haven’t been forthcoming, and officials were told last year that some local funding will be needed.

    “This is one of those no-brainer causes,” Meyer said. “The lighthouse and the breakwater — they are Port Washington. They’re the symbols we all identify with.

    “I’ve talked with a bunch of people, and when I ask if I can count on their support, everybody has said yes without thinking about it.”

    Meyer said a Facebook page devoted to the citizens’ group has more than 500 members — residents and former residents alike — and organizers are hoping to leverage that into support for the project.

    “We need to raise awareness and raise a few dollars, too,” he said. “If we can show we’re the little David, they (the Army Corps) may feel compelled to help us.”

    Saturday’s meeting will include a silent auction of photos of the lighthouse that’s intended to raise seed money for the group. The photo that goes for the most money will likely be used in the group’s logo, Meyer added.


 

Image Information: AN ALMOST ARTISTIC coating of ice obliterates the warning on a sign atop the Port Washington breakwater, where only a few brave souls navigate the walkway on their way to the lighthouse during winter.               Photo by Sam Arendt

 
Robotics team to hold electronics recycling event Jan. 25 at PWHS PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 20:02

The Port Washington High School robotics team will hold a free electronics recycling collection from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, in the student parking lot of the school at 427 W. Jackson St.

    Although there is no charge to drop off  items, a donation of $5 per item is suggested to support Port PiraTech, which was formed and competed for the first time last school year.

    Items that will be accepted include computers, cell phones, stereo equipment, printers, battery backups, toner and ink cartridges, car batteries, CD players, cameras, tablet computers, video game systems, small appliances and flat-panel and glass monitors and TVs no larger than 27 inches.

    Large appliances, tube TVs larger than 27 inches and any device containing Freon will not be accepted.

    Computers that are dropped off will be donated to Independence First, an organization that helps people with disabilities. Daily-Press

    With the help of mentors and the support of area businesses, Port PiraTech members design and build robots to compete in the FIRST Robotics competition. In last year’s contest, the Port High team won a Rookie Inspiration Award.

    “The FIRST Robotics program puts a high priority on gracious professionalism and community involvement,” co-captain Dan Gardner said. “While we work to build a robot that will excel in a challenging competition, we are also competing for FIRST’s highest awards, which are reserved for teams that demonstrate community outreach, leadership and teamwork.”

    People interested in becoming a mentor or supporting Port PiraTech in other ways can contact the team at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
County seeks resident to serve on library board PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 18:44

Ozaukee County is seeking a citizen to serve on the Federated Library System Board.

    The six-member board consists of one county supervisor, two members of local library boards and three citizen members representing areas with and without libraries.
Daily-Press

    The county is currently accepting applications from candidates to fill a vacancy on the board. The term expires on Jan. 1, 2015.


    Candidates can apply online at www.co.ozaukee.wi.us/Citizeninvolvement.htm or request an application by calling 284-8198.

 
Parking lots to be discussed at Jan. 21 hearing PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 18:08

    Plans to reconfigure two downtown Port Washington parking lots will come before the public during a 5 p.m. hearing Tuesday, Jan. 21.

    City officials and representatives of Gremmer & Association, the project design consultant, will be at City Hall to discuss plans for the parking lot east of Duluth Trading Co. and the lot behind Associated Bank.

    Concept plans for the lot behind Duluth Trading Co. in the 100 block of North Franklin Street have been approved by the city, but public input is being sought as officials refine those plans, Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said.

    “It never hurts to invite people to take one last look at it before it gets built,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for someone who wasn’t part of the planning process to help improve the ideas we have so far.

    “The more ideas we have, the better.”

    In the Duluth lot, plans call for incorporating two-way traffic throughout the area, creating a sidewalk on the west side of the lot and adding a raised crosswalk leading from the alley next to Schooner Pub to the harborwalk.

    It would incorporate landscaping around the edges and interior to camouflage dumpsters and transformers, and burying electrical lines.

    The cul-de-sac at the east end of Main Street would be shortened, creating a sitting area with a feature such as a fountain in the center.

    The lot east of Associated Bank calls for the layout to largely remain the same, but with the addition of landscaping and a pedestrian walkway.Daily-Press

    Ideally, Vanden Noven said, plans for the parking lots will be completed in the coming months with work beginning in April. That way, he said, the lots will be completed for the busy tourist season starting June 1.

    The city is also expected to hold a public informational meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4, on its road projects for 2014.

    The city is planning to reconstruct Holden and Jackson streets near Port Washington High School, Van Buren Street, Milwaukee Street from Jackson to Walters streets and Prospect Street from Wisconsin Street east to the cul-de-sac.



 
Olson steps down from School Board PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 18:04

    The Port Washington-Saukville School Board on Monday accepted the resignation of board member Jim Olson, who after more than seven years on the board is stepping down because of illness.

    Diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia in July, Olson had planned to be at Monday’s meeting but couldn’t attend. In a letter to board members, Olson wrote, “Thank you for a wonderful seven years. This opportunity of service to the youth of the district has been one of the most important things that I have done in my life. I will miss it a lot.”

    The School Board is accepting applications for Olson’s City of Port Washington seat through Feb. 13. Applications are available at the superintendent’s office, 100 W. Monroe St., Port Washington, or by calling 268-6005.

    The board is expected to interview candidates and select a board member on Feb. 17.

    The appointee will serve until voters can choose a board member in the April 2015 election. The winner of that election will serve through the April 2016 election, which is when Olson’s term expires. “It’s tough,” Supt. Michael Weber said of Olson’s resignation. “Most of the time when people leave the board it’s because they are ready to leave. Jim was nowhere near ready to leave.”

    Former board member Myron Praeger said Olson’s desire to serve on the board was motivated by his family’s experiences in the school system.

    “He wanted to pay back the great things his family experienced here,” Praeger said. “Anyone willing to do that is a great person. Jim is a great person. Our prayers are with him.”

 

 
Port High lands vocal jazz showcase PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 17:59

School with champion ensemble will play host to Great Lakes event Feb. 8

    The Port Washington High School vocal jazz ensemble Limited Edition is accustomed to performing on the road, and with great success.

    For three of the last four years, the group has won the Varsity Vocals International High School A Cappella Midwest semifinal competition typically held in DeKalb, Ill., and qualified for the prestigious championship in New York City. In 2010, Limited Edition won the championship.


    This year, however, the road to New York goes through Port Washington. Port High will host the Varsity Vocals International High School A Cappella Great Lakes semifinal competition at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, in the school auditorium.


    A coup for the school and the community, the event will give a local audience a chance to see not only its home group on stage but seven other talented ensembles performing what has become one of the hottest genres of music.


    Other groups competing in the event are from Arcadia, Madison, Appleton, Burlington, South Milwaukee and Skokie, Ill.


    “People are always asking, ‘Where are you guys performing?’” Port High Choral Director Dennis Gephart said. “A lot of times we travel, but with us being on our home stage now, it’s a great opportunity for the kids to perform in front of their home audience and for their fans to see them.


    “It’s also a great opportunity for the community to be exposed to other groups and what they have to offer.”


    Gephart said he laid the groundwork for the Port event last year at the finals competition when he heard Varsity Vocals was considering adding semifinal venues because of the competition’s popularity. 


    He had a strong case to argue, starting with the fact Port High has participated in the Varsity Vocals competition since 2003 and has a reputation as a school committed to music with strong support from parents, alumni and fans.


    “With as much support as our community gives to our program, this was really an easy sell,” Gephart said.


    There’s only one wrinkle.


    “The kids are excited about singing on their own stage, but there’s kind of a stigma to being the home group,” Gephart said. “In all the years we competed in Illinois, the home group never won, so the kids are a little nervous, but they’re working extra hard.”


    Tickets for the competition go on sale Monday, Jan. 20, and can be purchased in the high school office, 427 W. Jackson St., or online at www.varsityvocals.com. They are $15 for adults and $12 for students.


    A portion of the proceeds will go to Port High and be used to upgrade the sound system in the auditorium, Gephart said.


    In related news, Limited Edition is one of three high school groups from Wisconsin invited to participate in the North Central Choral Directors Association Regional Honor Choir in Des Moines, Iowa, on March 21.


    Selected by audition, the group will work with other top high school and college vocal ensembles in classes taught by college music directors and professional musicians.


    The Port Washington-Saukville School Board on Monday gave the group permission to travel to Iowa for the event.


 

Image Information: MEMBERS OF THE 2012 Port Washington High School vocal jazz ensemble Limited Edition celebrated after winning the Varsity Vocals International High School A Capella Midwest semifinal competition in DeKalb, Ill. The group, whose membership changes from year to year, won the semifinal title three of the last four years and the championship in 2010. Port High will host a semifinal competition for the first time next month.           Photo by Barbara Howard Zyvoloski

 
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