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Save the YMCA effort hits $500,000 with just weeks to go PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 03 September 2014 17:41

Save the Feith campaign is halfway to its goal of raising $1 million to keep Ozaukee facility open

    The fundraising effort to save the Feith Family Ozaukee YMCA in Saukville reached the half-million-dollar mark this week, but with only three weeks until it is to be sold at a bankruptcy auction, organizers of the Keep the Feith campaign are scrambling to double that amount.

    “It was pretty amazing to see 50 checks in the mail this week,” said Rob Johnson, executive director of the Kettle Moraine YMCA in West Bend.

    The Kettle Moraine organization has negotiated an offer to purchase the Ozaukee YMCA from the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee for $2 million, but the deal — considered to be the only feasible way the Ozaukee Y can remain open — has been complicated by the Milwaukee organization’s bankruptcy filing.

    At the request of the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee and its creditors, a bankruptcy judge has cleared the way for a Sept. 29 auction.

    The Kettle Moraine YMCA’s offer of $2 million will be considered the base bid, but, with rumors of private health club operators interested in the Ozaukee facility on Northwoods Road, the West Bend YMCA needs to be prepared to bid at least $2.5 million, Johnson said.

    That means that the grassroots fundraising effort cleverly named Keep the Feith will have to raise $1 million.

    Initially, the Kettle Moraine YMCA had planned to finance $1.5 million of the purchase price and raise $500,000. The fundraising goal was increased to $1 million after it became clear the Ozaukee YMCA could be sold to the highest bidder.

    As of Tuesday, the campaign had reached $510,060, Johnson said. That total includes $105,830 of a $200,000 challenge gift from John and Elizabeth Feith and their family, who were the principle donors to the Ozaukee YMCA.

    If the Keep the Feith effort can raise enough money to match that gift, the fundraising total will reach $700,000. That would allow the Kettle Moraine YMCA to offer $2.2 million for the Ozaukee facility, which shows there is work to be done, Johnson said.

    The fundraising effort picked up steam last week when 200 people packed a Keep the Feith meeting in Saukville. The crowd cheered when the Feiths’ donation was announced and more than $12,000 was collected that night.

    If the Kettle Moraine YMCA is not able to purchase the Ozaukee Y, the donations will be returned.

    If it does acquire the facility and collects more money than needed for the purchase, excess funds will be spent on maintenance at the Ozaukee site, Johnson said.

    None of the money will go to the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, he stressed.

    The challenge now, Johnson said, is to keep the fundraising effort energized because the clock is ticking.

    The recently launched website www.keepthefeith.org has a countdown clock that on Wednesday read 25 days to the auction.

    Whether there are other interested buyers will become clear on Sept. 22, which is the deadline for bidders to register with the bankruptcy court. The Ozaukee YMCA could close shortly after that if it is not purchased by Kettle Moraine. An October closing date for the sale is expected.

    Donations to the Keep the Feith campaign can be sent to the Kettle Moraine YMCA, 1111 W. Washington St., West Bend 53095 or made online at www.keepthefeith.org.



 
Tests expected to show Port water free of algae toxin PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 03 September 2014 17:39

Utility having lake samples checked to ensure problem in Ohio hasn’t surfaced here

    The City of Port Washington sent samples of Lake Michigan water to a laboratory last week to ensure it does not contain the toxin caused by an algae bloom that poisoned the drinking water of Toledo, Ohio, last month.

    Water Supt. Dave Ewig said his department was hoping to get the results of the test later the this week.

    “We’re certainly not anticipating any evidence of this toxin,” Ewig said. “But we’re going to analyze the water just to put our customers at ease.”

    Ewig said the crisis that forced more than a half-million Toledo residents to stop using municipal water from Lake Erie for almost three days isn’t likely to occur here.

    “We did this because of what happened on Lake Erie, but we’re talking about two entirely different bodies of water,” he said.

    Lake Erie is shallower and warmer than Lake Michigan, Ewig said.

    Both lakes are home to zebra and quagga mussels that clarify the water, which allows more light to penetrate the surface and encourages algae growth, he said.

    “The clarity of Lake Michigan is just amazing,” Ewig said.

    In the past, when crews would go out to inspect the city’s water intake about two-thirds of a mile off shore, people would put their arms in the water up to their elbows and they wouldn’t be able to see their fingers, he said.

    “Most often today, you can see the intake from the boat,” Ewig said.    

    The additional light encourages the growth of algae, although the cold waters of Lake Michigan inhibit that growth to some extent, Ewig said.

    In Toledo, a blue-green algae in Lake Erie produced the toxin microcystin, fouling the water. High amounts of phosphorus in Lake Erie are also believed to have contributed to the growth of the algae.

    Ewig said the deep waters of Lake Michigan, as well as its temperature, inhibit the growth of the blue-green algae.

    “We’ve not experienced this toxin in Lake Michigan,” he said. “I think we don’t see it because it’s a much larger, deeper lake with less algae growth.”Daily-Press
    That’s not to say algae doesn’t grow in Lake Michigan. It does, Ewig said, though it’s generally not the same type of algae that fouled the water off Toledo.

    And when the algae here dies, the city adds powdered activated charcoal to the treatment process to improve the taste and control the odor, he said.


 
Driver cited after striking car, sign, tree, fence PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 27 August 2014 17:43

A 51-year-old Port Washington woman was ticketed after she allegedly drove her car off Wisconsin Street and into yards Aug. 20, striking a parked car, tree and fence before stopping short of hitting a home, according to police.

    The woman was driving north in the 500 block of Wisconsin Street about 6:30 p.m. when she struck a Pontiac Vibe owned by Lee Gierke of Mequon that was parked in front of a home, police said.


    The woman didn’t stop, but instead continued driving north about 117 feet, striking a pedestrian-crossing sign in the middle of the road near Dodge Street.


    She then veered to the right and, about 100 feet farther down the road, entered the parkway and struck a tree at 604 Wisconsin Street, police said.


    The woman continued to drive north, crossing the yard at 608/610 N. Wisconsin Street, narrowly missing a large pine tree and the duplex itself, according to police.


    The vehicle then went into the side yard at 614 N. Wisconsin St., going through a cedar fence and coming to a stop near the corner of the house, police said.


    The woman was cited for operating while impaired and driving at unreasonable and imprudent speed, according to police.
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    In other police news, a 37-year-old Milwaukee man was cited for soliciting without a license and obstructing an officer after he was stopped while driving an ice-cream truck through the city Aug. 20.


    Police said the man was stopped as part of a routine check by officers to verify he had a permit to operate the truck in the city.


    The man gave officers another person’s license, police said, noting the permit had expired on Aug. 2. He said he received the permit from his boss.

 

 
Sheboygan County plan to buy Amsterdam Dunes stalls PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by CAROL POMEDAY   
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 19:28

    The acquisition by Sheboygan County of 333 acres of undeveloped land known as Amsterdam Dunes — which is a half-mile from the Ozaukee-Sheboygan county line and includes more than 1,900 feet of Lake Michigan frontage — has stalled.

    Sheboygan County has an accepted offer to purchase the property for $4.2 million and was scheduled to close on Aug. 1 with Amsterdam Equities in Chicago.

    That didn’t happen.

    The problem involves the complicated ownership of the land, which is divided between three separate limited liability corporations (LLCs) each one with different members, Sheboygan County Administrator Adam Payne said Tuesday.

    “One LLC member is apparently challenging other members on the sale,” he said. “We’re continuing to proceed as though we’re going to close this year,  but we can’t do anything until their internal affairs are settled.

    “We have an accepted offer, and the key people we have been involved with are very supportive and very enthusiastic about selling to us. Attorneys representing the sellers assure us they have the support needed.

    “The sellers are motivated, and we want to see this through.”

    Sheboygan County is seeking a state stewardship grant and a federal fish and wildlife grant to help pay for the property. The county planned to purchase the land from its general fund and reimburse that fund with grant money. The county will learn in February if it received the grants.

    In addition to preserving the last remaining undeveloped stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline between Sheboygan and Chicago, the acquisition would allow the county to create a wetlands mitigation bank on about 75 acres.

    The Department of Natural Resources requires that every one acre of wetlands destroyed by development be replaced with 1-1/2 acres of wetlands.

    Sheboygan County currently purchases mitigation credits from as far away as Ashland County, Payne said, so that money will be saved if the sale goes through.

    There will be enough wetlands on the property to sell mitigation credits to public and private entities to help pay for the land and perhaps even make money, he said.Daily-Press

    County officials are eager to acquire the mostly pristine property they have sought since 2009, Payne said, but wants to make sure the sellers have everything in order.

    “It’s not like it’s holding us up other than the celebrating,” he said. “I have a bottle of champagne waiting.”


 
Maritime Fest celebration to mark tall ship’s return to Port PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 13 August 2014 18:43

Annual salute to city’s heritage this weekend will feature variety of changes

    A tall ship will return to the harbor this weekend for Maritime Heritage Festival — the first of many changes, some obvious and others not, for the annual fest.

    The festival, which will be held in Coal Dock and Rotary parks, runs from noon to 9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

    While this is the 14th annual festival, it is the first one that isn’t sponsored by Port Main Street Inc.

    An independent nonprofit agency, Port Washington Maritime Heritage Festival Inc., was formed to take over the festival — a task that took time and led the group to consider delaying the event for a year.

    But, group president Sara Grover said, some “significant” sponsors were committed to holding this year’s event and board members believe continuity is important for the festival.

    Being a new sponsoring agency did bring some challenges, she said, including fundraising. This year, the festival didn’t have the $10,000 contribution from Main Street Inc., and it didn’t have its nonprofit designation in place in time to obtain funds from Port Washington Tourism Council either.

    But a number of new sponsors signed on and the group raised enough funds and sponsorships to put on this year’s event, Grover said.

    This year’s festival is operating with a $73,000 budget, one of the smallest in its history, she said.

    While some things had to be cut or trimmed back — there won’t be fireworks this year — organizers are confident they are putting on an event that will offer something for everyone and won’t leave them facing a deficit, she said, adding that the group has prepaid many of its expenses.

    This year’s festival will once again feature a tall ship, something that wasn’t possible last year, Grover said.

     The Peacemaker, a wooden, 140-foot, three-masted barquentine, is expected to arrive around noon Thursday and be open for deck tours throughout the weekend.

    The square-rigged tall ship was built on a riverbank in southern Brazil using traditional methods and the finest tropical hardwoods. The ship was launched in 1989 as the Avany, a name chosen by her designer and owner, Brazilian industrialist Frank Walker, who planned to travel and operate it as a charter vessel in the Caribbean.

    The ship traveled to Savannah, Georgia, where the family intended to rig her as a three-masted staysail schooner. But other interests captured the family’s attention, and in 2000 it was purchased by The Twelve Tribes. Renamed The Peacemaker, it set sail for the first time in the spring of 2007.

    This is only the second time the ship has been on the Great Lakes, Grover said.

    The Peacemaker will be moored off Coal Dock Park, while the other vessels open for deck tours — the Ozaukee County rescue boat and a Coast Guard boat — will be off Rotary Park.

    Deck tours will be $6, and tickets are available online or at the event.

    A special evening reception aboard the Peacemaker will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday. A fundraiser for the festival, tickets are $15 and include music and a food and beverage tasting. Tickets may be purchased online.

    Also in the harbor for the festival will be Lakeside Spirit, which will offer 45-minute tours. Tickets are $13 for children and senior citizens and $25 for adults.

    Also at Rotary Park will be an antique boat display, music in the gazebo and, at 2 p.m. Saturday, the annual cardboard boat regatta.

    Those attending the festival will be able to walk between the parks via the harborwalk, which will be lined with informational boards and a Port Washington-based trivia game, or take a shuttle bus provided by Johnson Bus, Grover said.

    The shuttle will also stop at the Port Washington Historical Society’s research center, which will feature new exhibits and be open throughout much of the festival.

    Coal Dock Park will feature a large, classic Ferris wheel at the east end, near the children’s area.

    “We wanted to bring in something that will draw the eye out to the end of the park and give people a unique view,” Grover said.

    From the top of the Ferris wheel, riders will be able to take in expansive views not just of the city but of the area north and south of the community as well, she said.

    The children’s area will include an area where children can build and race wooden boats, as well as an obstacle course and arts and crafts.

    A stage will be set up in the park where Friday’s headliner, Nobody’s Hero, will perform classic rock at 5:30 p.m.

    On Saturday, Vinyl Groove will play at 1:30 p.m. followed by Familiar Looking Strangers will take the stage at 6:30 p.m.

    Sunday, the reggae band In Black ‘N White will perform from 1 to 5 p.m.

    This year will also mark the inaugural run of the Land Regatta at 9 a.m. Saturday. The event will have two and four-mile courses, and proceeds will go toward the cost of a railing on the Coal Dock Park promenade.

    For additional information and tickets for the harbor tours, visit www.portmaritimefestival.com or call (262) 689-3299.


 
Street work around PWHS expected to be done by Aug. 29 PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 13 August 2014 18:40

Summer road repairs that have frustrated motorists scheduled for completion before the start of classes

    The streets around Port Washington High School should be open by the time classes begin next month, officials said Tuesday.

    The contractor, Wood Sewer and Excavating Inc. of New London, has made good progress in the last week, and should be able to get the project done by the Aug. 29 deadline, Port Washington Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said.

    “I see no reason why he can’t get it done,” Vanden Noven said. “He’s determined to finish it on time so there aren’t any problems. He knows how important it is. He said they’ll work on Saturdays if they have to.

    “He is committed to having it done on time, and we are committed to making sure he fulfills that promise.”streetLG
    Curbs and gutters were installed this week, and the remainder of the concrete work — which includes sidewalk replacements and driveway aprons — are expected to be done as well, Vanden Noven said.

    The asphalt roadway is expected to be built next week, he said, with landscaping and pavement markings done after that.

    “The only question is whether Holden Street will be completed from Orchard Street to Van Buren,” Vanden Noven said. “We have emphasized it’s important it be completed as well.”

    Holden Street will likely be open to traffic during drop-off and pick-up times even if it’s not completed, he said, acknowledging it’s a key route for people going to and from the high school.

    It’s not the road construction that’s likely to be incomplete on Holden Street, Vanden Noven said, but landscaping. That work can be done during non-peak traffic hours.

    During a progress meeting Aug. 7, Vanden Noven said, the contractor said one problem that delayed the work is that he had to excavate more than expected because the fill used around the high school was not adequate.

    But while the work is progressing, it hasn’t been without problems.

    A crew installing storm sewers cut a fiber optic line on Thursday that apparently hadn’t been marked on the pavement, Vanden Noven said.

    That meant phone and Internet service to the schools were out, stymieing parents and school officials.

 
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