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Ladies Night Out offers Monopoly fun PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 09 March 2016 20:14

Popular downtown event set for April 14 will feature twist on classic board game

Ladies Night Out in Port Washington will have a game-night twist this year.

The popular event will be styled after a Monopoly-type game when it is held in downtown Port from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 14.

“We changed the date from Fat Tuesday to April 14 for two reasons — it will be light longer and it won’t be as cold out,” organizer Cathy Wilger said. 

It will also help keep the event fresh for those who are participating in the eighth annual event, she said.

“The businesses are very excited,” Wilger said.PMS

This year, women who participate in the event will pick up a tote bag and scarf at “Go,” aka the Port Exploreum.

Women who dine at a participating downtown restaurant before the event may have their tote bags and scarves delivered to their table by notifying the eatery in advance that they will be participating.

The game board for Main Street-Opoly, as it is being called, will be in the tote bag. Participants will receive a title deed at every business they stop at during the evening.

For each card, the participant will earn one chance for a prize that will be awarded at the end of the night. And for every $1 spent during the evening, they receive an additional chance at the prizes.

The prizes include a $500 grand prize shopping spree at downtown businesses and a $250 second place shopping spree.

Instead of the hurried pace of past years, when women had a map stamped at each business they visited, the new format is intended to give participants a chance to slow down, browse the offerings at shops and relax, Wilger said.

Each business that participates will have something different for participants, be it food, informational sessions, promotions, games or drawings, she said.

“They’re each doing what works for them,” Wilger said.  “For everything you do, you will be rewarded. We want people to experience new things, learn new things, have fun and enjoy the evening instead of rushing from place to place.”

Among the special events being held during Ladies Night Out are scuba diving lessons in the Holiday Inn Harborview pool, offered by new business Port Decor Divers; 10-minute informational sessions on what to know when traveling the world, offered by Biever Travel; dieticians discussing 10 tips for eating better and heart healthy lifestyles, offered by Columbia St. Mary’s; and women’s fitness programs by B3, a fitness group for women.

The Columbia St. Mary’s 3D mammography coach will be at the event. To schedule a session, call (414) 236-1800. To ensure all women have access to mammograms, there are funding resources available. Information about this can be obtained by calling Jane Kelley at 243-8267.

The cost of Ladies Night Out is $10 per person. Registrations are being accepted at the Holiday Inn Harborview and at the Port Washington Main Street office, 114 E. Grand Ave., from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.

Online registration is also available at by clicking on the Events tab and selecting Ladies Night Out.

Registration closes on Friday, March 25.

City signs off on subdivision nature preserve deal PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 02 March 2016 19:59

Port council OKs memorandum of understanding with county, land trust to obtain Cedar Vineyard parcel

The Port Washington Common Council formalized the process by which it will help acquire the nature preserve in the proposed Cedar Vineyard subdivision on the city’s far southeast side.Daily Press

The council on Tuesday approved a memorandum of understanding with Ozaukee County and the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust that outlines the obligations of each of the parties in obtaining the 102-acre parcel, as well as an intergovernmental agreement that establishes the city, not the county, as the primary agent in handling finances for the purchase.

“I think we finally have got it,” City Administrator Mark Grams said.

The agreements outline the process by which the city, county and Land Trust will   buy the land from the Highview Group, which is developing the Cedar Vineyard subdivision.

Tom Swarthout, president of the Highview Group, said he hopes to close on the 227-acre parcel within the next 45 days. 

At that point, the nature preserve will be purchased by the city, county and Land Trust.

In addition to the nature preserve, Highview Group plans to develop 82 home sites as well as a winery and vineyard as part of its subdivision.

The nature preserve will include the Cedar Heights Gorge, Port Washington Clay Banks, 1.25 miles of Lake Michigan bluffs, overlooks and shoreline, high-quality woodlands, wildlife and fish habitat as well as other environmentally sensitive areas.

The $2 million in municipal contributions for the purchase is being funneled through the city so Ozaukee County can apply for other grants to help pay the cost of the acquisition, Grams said.

“If Ozaukee County were the lead agency, it would hurt their chances of getting additional grant money,” he said.

Although both Ozaukee County and the city had agreed to contribute as much as $1 million to the purchase, that amount is being offset by a $1 million stewardship grant.

Highview Group will also pay the county at least $325,000 in fees — $4,000 per residential lot and $33,000 for the winery — within five years, the agreement states.

In addition, the county will receive a $300 assessment per lot each year to maintain the nature preserve.

While the Land Trust will receive title to the property initially, it will eventually transfer ownership of the nature preserve to the county, which will maintain it.

Highview Group will provide public amenities for the nature area in its subdivision, most notably at least 20 parking spaces at the winery, public restrooms near that lot, access from the parking area to the nature preserve and a multi-use trail along Highway C.

Aldermen offered no comments on the agreements before approving them.

Their approval is conditioned on the county, Land Trust and Highview Group also accepting the agreements, aldermen said.

Port poised to take control of lighthouse PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 02 March 2016 19:56

City’s application to obtain landmark gets tenative approval

Port Washington Mayor Tom Mlada announced Tuesday that the city’s application to obtain the iconic lighthouse that has become a symbol of the community has tentatively been approved by the National Park Service.Daily Press

“My hope would be that by mid-April, late April at the worst, we will be extended conveyance,” Mlada told the Common Council.

There are some minor language issues to be cleared up and a little more information required by the Park Service before it will make a final recommendation on the transfer of the lighthouse, he said. 

That additional information must be submitted by April 1, he said.

Michele Curran, a historian with the Park Service, said in a Sunday e-mail to Mlada that the agency was impressed with the city’s application.

“You put a lot of thought and work into the application and it was impressive,” she wrote. 

The additional information is needed in order to recommend approval of the city’s application to the director of the National Park Service, Curran wrote. 

The director, in turn, makes a recommendation to the Secretary of the Interior, who in turn makes a recommendation to the General Services Administration, which makes the final decision, she said.

“It’s good news, but we have more work ahead to seal the deal,” Mlada said.

Many considered it to be a foregone conclusion that the city would be given ownership of the lighthouse when the Michigan-based Geek Group did not submit an application for the structure — something it had said it would do.

But Mlada noted that the competition provided an impetus for the city to submit a thorough, impactful application.

Mlada thanked the lighthouse committee, which spent months compiling the city’s inches-thick application.

“This is going to be a tremendous asset to the community for a long time,” he said.

Since the Art Deco-style lighthouse was built in 1935, it has been a symbol of Port Washington, used on everything from the city’s logo to postcards.

Crane company no longer plans to close plant in Port Washington PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by MARK JAEGER   
Wednesday, 24 February 2016 19:54

Manitowoc firm changes mind about decision that would have cost 80 local jobs

In a fortuitous change of direction, City of Port Washington officials received word last week that Manitowoc Cranes no longer plans to close its manufacturing plant on Mineral Springs Drive.

In December, the company notified the city via a certified letter that it would be closing the local plant this year, eliminating 80 jobs.

According to the company, those positions were to be eliminated in three phases from June through August.

The layoffs would be permanent, according to the company, and efforts would be made to help the displaced workers find employment elsewhere.

The job reduction notice was a requirement of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

Just two months later, on Friday, Feb. 19, the city received a follow-up letter with a decidedly different message.

“Please be advised that we have made the decision to keep open this facility and, therefore, are cancelling these reductions,” Manitowoc Cranes Vice President of Operations Dan Kaltenbaugh said in the letter to Mayor Tom Mlada.

Kaltenbaugh said notice of the reversal was sent to all employees who had been told they would be losing their jobs.

When it was thought the plant was closing, city officials pledged to work with the company to find a new tenant for the sprawling building in the industrial park.

Manitowoc Cranes opened its Port plant more than seven years ago.

When the notice of the closing arrived at City Hall, Mlada said it was “deeply disappointing … a real blow for the community.”

Mlada said the change of heart was out of the blue.

“It was unexpected but very much appreciated,” he said.

“When the initial decision came down, we realized it was probably a corporate move that was out of the hands of the local people, but we reached out to them and offered to help in whatever way we could.”

It didn’t take long before officials realized there was interest in the Manitowoc Cranes building.Daily Press

“It is a really nice facility and the interest level from other companies is an indication there are people in the business world who would like to call Port Washington home,” Mlada said.

The mayor said he was unsure whether the strong market appeal of the Port facility gave Manitowoc Cranes officials reason to reconsider the closing.

“You always feel more comfortable with the known than the unknown, and Manitowoc Cranes is a known entity,” he said.

“What I do know is keeping 75 to 80 jobs here is a really good thing. Manitowoc has been a good corporate partner for the community.”

Although he has not had formal talks with the leadership at the company, Mlada said he has had indications that the decision to keep the plant open is a long-term commitment to the Port.

Man pleads guilty to shooting at cop during standoff PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 24 February 2016 19:53

Grafton resident convicted of attempted murder, wounding fiancee faces long prison term

A 32-year-old man pleaded guilty last week to seriously wounding his fiancee when he shot her in the leg trying to kill a police officer during a standoff at his Grafton home last February.

Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Sandy Williams accepted the pleas of Joseph W. Damrow and found him guilty of attempted first-degree intentional homicide and second-degree reckless injury.

Damrow is scheduled to be sentenced on March 31 and faces a maximum 40 years in prison and 20 years of extended supervision for attempted homicide and 7-1/2 years in prison and five years of extended supervision for reckless injury.

Damrow has been held in the county jail on $150,000 bail since being arrested in connection with the shooting at the home at 1104 Spring St. he shared with his fiancee. 

Police were called to the house around 11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, 2015, in response to reports of gunfire. 

Grafton police officers and members of the Ozaukee County Special Response Team assumed tactical positions outside the house and ordered Damrow to come out. 

He refused, but when gunshots were heard, several officers approached the door. After hearing a woman crying and screaming, then more gunfire, Sgt. Eric Sutherland of the Grafton Police Department kicked down the door and officers entered the home, according to the criminal complaint.

Sutherland and Grafton officer Justin Gehm, who heard Damrow’s fiancee Krista Dillon yelling, “He shot me,” said they were approaching the kitchen when three gunshots rang out, the complaint states.

A later investigation showed that Damrow fired the shots into a wall separating him from the officers.

The officers found Damrow lying on the floor of the kitchen. Next to him was a .40 caliber Ruger semi-automatic handgun with the slide locked back because it was out of ammunition. 

Also on the floor was Dillon, lying in a pool of her blood caused by a bullet that  shattered her femur and ruptured her femoral artery, according to Sheriff Jim Johnson.

She was taken to Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa where she underwent surgery. Daily Press

While Dillon fought for her life, Damrow fought with officers, thrashing and spitting on them as they tried to subdue him, according to the criminal complaint.

As he was being taken to a squad car, Damrow kicked one of the officers in the face. Once inside the car, Damrow broke his restraints and again spit on officers who were trying to subdue him, the complaint states. 

Damrow was eventually taken to an area hospital for medical evaluation.

Officers who searched Damrow and his home found more than two grams of cocaine, marijuana and $610, according to the complaint.

An investigation revealed that one of the shots fired by Damrow exited his house and struck a neighboring home. Officers also determined that the shots that went through a kitchen wall were fired in the direction of the officers, the complaint states.

Group makes pitch to acquire shopping center PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 17 February 2016 21:16

Potential buyer of North Port strip mall wants to keep grocery there, city offficials say

A Milwaukee area group is negotiating to buy the North Port Shopping Center on Port Washington’s far north side with an eye to keep a grocery store in the strip mall, city officials said Monday.

City Planner Randy Tetzlaff told the Community Development Authority that the potential buyer is working not only with the owner of the property but also with Joe Sanfilippo, owner of the Sentry food store, to ensure a market remains part of the shopping center.

The owner and buyer have apparently reached an agreement on the sale price, Tetzlaff said, and are now working to get cost estimates for potential upgrades to the center.

The heating system, parking lot, signage and other aspects of the center all need upgrading, he noted.

“It needs some love,” he said.

Tetzlaff told the CDA that the negotiations “sound very encouraging,” but he warned that there are still potential roadblocks that could stymie the sale.

“Something is in the works, and if it comes to fruition it could be great for the city,” he said.

Tetzlaff said he does not have a potential timeline for the sale, noting the city is not involved in the negotiations. 

The city did work to introduce the potential buyer and current owner, he said.

“My objective was to get it in more local hands,” Tetzlaff said, adding finding a buyer who wants to retain a grocery there was also a key for the city.

Sentry, he noted, is about 47,000 square feet — a size that falls between most small, independent grocery stores and the large retail  chain stores.

The potential owner has indicated that when Sanfilippo retires, the owner is likely to look at a smaller, more intimate grocery, Tetzlaff said.

The owner of the North Port Shopping Center is a Miami-based limited liability corporation that two years ago put the center up for auction. The bidding reached $2.45 million but did not meet the seller’s asking price.

The shopping center was built in 1987 on 6.5 acres at the intersection of Seven Hills Road — also known as Highway LL — and Wisconsin Street.

It has 67,215 square feet of rental space, 89.5% of which is currently leased to seven tenants. There is 7,328 square feet of vacant space in three storefronts.

There is also vacant land adjacent to the shopping center, but Tetzlaff said he did not know if the potential buyer would also purchase this property.

Tetzlaff also updated the CDA on other potential redevelopment sites in the city.Daily Press

Port Washington State Bank has acquired the former Portobello’s property on Washington Street, he said, another positive move since the former owner was from out of town and allowed the former restaurant to fall into disrepair.

“They don’t really have plans for it at this time,” he said of the bank. “I’m just glad they’re the new owners.”

Although the city began marketing the former trailer park site on South Spring Street, Tetzlaff said, there have been no offers on the site.

“Some people have called,” he said, adding they are concerned over the limits imposed by overhead power lines and the adjoining railroad tracks.

“There’s just not a lot of developable land there,” he said.

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