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City will seek grant to help fund flooding fix PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 19:34

Officials decide to apply for as much as half of $1 million project cost even though problem affects only 11 houses 

Port Washington officials agreed Tuesday to seek a grant that could pay as much as half of the $1 million cost to mitigate persistent flooding on the city’s west side during big storms.

But the decision didn’t come easily. The $6,800 cost of hiring the project consultant Stantec to prepare the grant application was questioned by some aldermen after they learned the flooding primarily affects only 11 houses.

“How big a deal is this?” asked Ald. Bill Driscoll. “If my basement floods every 100 years, I don’t think that’s a big deal.

Noting that the city would still have to come up with roughly $500,000 for the project if it received the grant, Driscoll asked, “Is it cheaper to say, ‘Here, let us help you move’?”

So-called hundred-year storms, which cause the most severe problems, don’t occur every 100 years, Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said.

Whitefish Bay experienced 100-year storms in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2010, he said.

City officials have looked at the flooding issues for decades, City Administrator Mark Grams said.

“We’ve been looking at this for the last 25 years,” he said, noting that there are three or four houses most severely affected. 

Ald. Dan Becker supported applying for the grant, saying, “I don’t want to say we buried our head in the sand, but ...

“We’ve got an area that hasn’t been addressed. This is infrastructure, too. If I lived there, I’d be looking for some help.”

Ald. Paul Neumyer agreed.

“This is a lot of money, but we have to at least make an attempt,” he said. “I wouldn’t want my house to flood, either.”

The proposed solution includes improving stormwater ponds in the Spinnaker West Subdivision and using a portion of City Park as a temporary pond during heavy rainfalls to slow the flow of water heading east, then aid the flow of water by improving several culverts and grading east of that area.

Rich Klein of Stantec told officials that one of the ways in which the work is done — recreating a stream rather than directing the water into a sewer — is something that gets granting agencies excited. 

Although only about 22% of people applying for the grant actually receive it, Klein said, the fact that the stream is being restored leads him to believe the city will receive funding — and could receive other grants for the work as well.

That persuaded aldermen, who voted to apply for the funding.

“I feel pretty good that spending this money will net us something,” Ald. Dave Larson said.Daily Press

Businesses to discuss Ladies Night Out on Feb. 9 PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 19:32

A forum for business owners to provide input on downtown Port Washington’s Ladies Night Out will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 9.

There will be sessions at 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., both at the Holiday Inn Harborside.

“Changes are being planned to keep participants interested in attending,” Port Washington Main Street Co-Director Cathy Wilger said. “We would like to hear from you, your ideas and feedback of what works and doesn’t work.”

Ladies Night Out, which is sponsored by Port Washington Main Street, will be held on Thursday, April 14.

Any business owner who cannot attend one of the Feb. 9 sessions may set up a time to discuss the event by calling Wilger at 268-1132.Daily Press

Southside subdivision plan clears final hurdle PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 19:26

Commission approval of map paves way for developer to buy land for Cedar Vineyard project

The Port Washington Plan Commission last week approved a certified survey map for the Cedar Vineyard subdivision planned for the city’s south side.

While such approval is a routine matter, its importance lies in the fact it is the last approval needed from the city, developer Tom Swarthout said.

“This is the last hurdle, to get final approval from the city,” he said. “We’re thrilled to get this moving forward.”

Swarthout said he hopes to complete the purchase of the 227-acre site in the next couple months so work on the subdivision can begin this spring.

The subdivision, which will include 82 home sites, a vineyard, winery and nature preserve,  took another step forward Tuesday when the Port Common Council approved an agreement with Wisconsin Public Finance Professionals to handle a borrowing for the tax incremental financing district that will finance much of the infrastructure for the development.

The borrowing will include $4.5 million for road projects and $6 million for projects in the TIF district, City Administrator Mark Grams said.

Because of the complexity of the TIF borrowing, he said, the city and its financial consultant are examining how to best structure the financing.

Grams said the city expects to borrow the money in April, but this may be after the city, Ozaukee County and Ozaukee Washington Land Trust purchase the Cedar Gorge nature area in the middle of the subdivision.

That purchase is expected to be funded with $500,000 each from the city and Ozaukee County, with the remainder of the $2 million purchase price coming from a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Stewardship Grant.

The $1 million grant is expected to go before the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee for approval in the next two weeks, Grams said.  Daily Press

But because the city’s borrowing may not be completed before the purchase is completed, Grams said, Ozaukee County may front the funds for a few months.

The city would then repay those funds when its borrowing is complete, Grams said.

Other options are also being considered, he noted.

“There are a lot of options out there, and we’re trying to figure out what will be the best for everyone,” Grams said.

Illinois woman charged in counterfeiting scheme PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 27 January 2016 18:50

A 22-year-old Waukegan, Ill., woman was charged last week in Ozaukee County Circuit Court with being one of three women who passed counterfeit $100 bills at nine businesses in Port Washington, Saukville and Grafton in September.

Kaleisha Lewis faces nine counts of being party to the crime of forgery, a felony punishable by a maximum three years in prison and three years of extended supervision.

According to the criminal complaint, an investigation sparked by reports from area stores led authorities to Lewis, who told authorities she traveled to Ozaukee County with two other women she knew by their nicknames — Dimples and Mane.

Lewis said Dimples gave her and Mane the counterfeit bills, and all three women passed them off as real currency to make purchases, the complaint states.

Typically the women would purchase inexpensive items, such as an $11.61 headlight bulb at O’Reilly Auto Parts in Saukville, and pocket the change, according to the complaint.

Lewis told authorities that whomever passed the bill would keep 40% of the change.Daily Press

According to court records, Lewis was charged in December with five counts of forgery in Sheboygan County and nine counts of forgery in Manitowoc County.

Man accused of stalking, threatening to rape therapist PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 27 January 2016 18:36

Woman’s client charged with texting, e-mailing obscene messages jailed in lieu of $25,000 bail

A 28-year-old Milwaukee man was charged last week with stalking his therapist in Fredonia during a three-week period in which he threatened to rape her.

In addition to one felony count of stalking, Chrisopher T. Santiago faces a felony charge of sending a threatening computer message.

According to the criminal complaint filed in Ozaukee County Circuit Court, a woman told authorities she received an obscene text message from an unknown person on Oct. 30.

The sender, who authorities later determined was Santiago, wrote that the woman had his real cell phone number and challenged her to figure out who he was. Santiago concluded the message by writing, “I will be watching you,” the complaint states.

The woman told investigators she is a therapist and said she suspected the sender was Santiago, who is one of her clients. She said she gave Santiago her cell phone number so she could help him when he is experiencing a crisis.

The woman said she received other text messages from Santiago in October and November that stated Santiago knew where she lived and that he planned to visit her at her home.

On Nov. 19, the woman received two e-mails from Santiago while she was at work in which Santiago stated he would rape her in her home and that every time she came home she should search the house to make sure it was safe for her and her children, according to the complaint.Daily Press

When interviewed by authorities, Santiago admitted to sending the text messages and e-mails to the woman, but said they were meant as a prank.

Santiago is being held in the Ozaukee County jail in lieu of $25,000 bail. In response to concerns expressed by Santiago’s lawyer, Judge Joseph Voiland ordered Santiago to undergo a psychological exam to determine if he’s competent to stand trial.

Main Street reorganizes, moves ladies event to April PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 27 January 2016 18:29

Downtown Port group now led by co-directors

Port Main Street Inc., which is largely credited with changing the image and vitality of downtown Port Washington, is itself undergoing a change as it enters its eighth year.

“The conditions that existed when Main Street was formed are dramatically different than those that exist today,” Wayne Chrusciel, president of the Main Street board of directors, said Monday. 

“And as much as things have changed just in the last 18  months, they’re going to change again in the next 12 months.

“Main Street as a whole needs to re-evaluate what’s working, what’s not and what we need to do to move forward.”

The most visible changes so far are the appointment of two part-time executive directors — Cathy Wilger and Amy Gannon — and the revamping of the organization’s popular Kiss of Indulgence, Ladies Night Out event.

The organization will also be moving its offices, leaving its home at 116 W. Grand Ave. in the Old Theatre Square building and moving to 114 E. Grand Ave. effective Monday, Feb. 1.

“We’ll practically be next door to the Chamber (of Commerce) and Tourism offices, who we do a lot of coordinating with,”  Chrusciel said.

He said that the changes were prompted, in part, by the resignation of former executive director Lauren Richmond in late November.

“Rather than running out and trying to hire someone else, we decided we’re going to look at everything we do,” he said. 

Gannon has been working to keep the office up and running since Richmond left, Chrusciel said.

As co-directors, he said, Gannon will be in charge of office management, public relations and marketing while Wilger will handle events and meetings.

“This is only temporary,” Chrusciel said, noting the situation will be reviewed every 90 days. “These are the right two people to handle this right now.”

Wilger said she will hold office hours from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

One of the most notable changes — at least for the general public — is the revamping of Kiss of Indulgence, which instead of being held on Fat Tuesday (Feb. 9 this year) has been moved to Thursday, April 14.

The change was prompted by two things, she said, a desire to freshen the event and to hold it when the weather is a little warmer.

“Last year in particular, a lot of people complained about the cold and icy conditions,” Wilger said.

“This is a fabulous event for our businesses downtown, and we want to bring new life to it. Whenever you’ve done something for so long, you need to change things up. If you keep doing the same old, same old, people aren’t going to participate.”

The remainder of the Main Street calendar of special events is largely the same, she said — the Hippity Hoppity Easter event will be on March 19, Community Street Festival on May 29, Maxwell Street Day on July 30, Harvest at the Market on Oct. 29 and Christmas on the Corner on Dec. 3.

A family kite festival at Coal Dock Park is also in the works, slated for June 18, Wilger said.

Downtown businesses are invited to two meetings, one in the morning and one in the evening, on Feb. 9 to discuss the events, she said.

Even as Main Street is continuing to work on its events, the board of directors is working to evaluate its committees and refine their missions, he said, as well as work on improving communications between them, Chrusciel said.

“We’re formalizing the communications and structure so everyone knows what’s happening and is on the same page,” he said.

The board is working to solicit input on the Main Street mission and ways to improve its operation from businesses, property owners and others interested in the success of downtown, Chrusciel said.Daily Press

“By the end of the first quarter, I think we’re going to have some sort of direction defined — at least in a rough format,” he said. “I think we’re going to make quite a bit of headway.”

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