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Man accused of abusing girlfriend’s baby PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 19:26

Port resident charged with causing injuries to 7-month-old who suffered brain damage

    A 20-year-old Port Washington man who told authorities he became so frustrated with his girlfriend’s baby daughter that he slammed her head into the bottom of her playpen was charged Monday with seriously injuring the 7-month-old child, according to a criminal complaint filed in Ozaukee County Circuit Court.

    Irwing A. Escobedo faces one count of physical abuse of a child-recklessly causing great bodily harm, a felony punishable by a maximum 10 years in prison and five years of extended supervision.

    The infant, who was being cared for by Escobedo at his apartment last week when the incident occurred, suffered an “extensive” subdural hematoma, or bleeding of the brain, consistent with abuse, the complaint states.

    According to a report written by Alice Swenson, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa who specializes in child abuse and who examined the girl, children who suffer such injuries are often impaired for the rest of their lives if they survive, the complaint states.

    “Some children die either immediately or later due to complications of the head trauma,” according to Swenson’s report. “There is a wide range of outcomes for children who survive. Some do relatively well and are able to live relatively normal lives, and others are severely devastated and may require constant care for the rest of their lives.”    

    Port Washington police were called to Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, where the infant was taken before being flown to Children’s Hospital on Thursday, Nov. 7.

    There they spoke with the child’s mother, who according to the criminal complaint gave this account:

    She said she left her daughter in the care of Escobedo at his apartment while she worked her third-shift job the previous night. She noted that Escobedo is not the child’s father.    

    She arrived home at 6:40 a.m. on Nov. 7 and noted her daughter appeared to be sleeping. She said she decided to take what she thought would be a short nap before the baby woke up hungry.

    Instead, she woke up more than three hours later concerned that her daughter still seemed to be sleeping. She said she picked the child up and immediately knew something was wrong.

    The infant looked like she was awake but had a blank stare. One of her eyes was looking to the side as if she had a lazy eye, and the woman noticed a small bruise on the child’s forehead, a bump on her head and a scratch on her right cheek.

    The woman said she called her grandmother, then took her daughter to the hospital.

    When an officer first interviewed Escobedo, he denied that anything happened to the infant while he was caring for her.

    But when officers talked to him again two days later, Escobedo said that at one point during the night the baby needed a diaper change, and while carrying the crying child to the bathroom in a bit of a “panic,” something, perhaps his shoe or the child’s head, hit a door, the complaint states.

    As the interview with police continued, Escobedo said he was physically and mentally exhausted from working 70 hours a week and taking online classes. Then he admitted to becoming frustrated with the infant because she would not stop crying, according to the complaint.

    He said he slammed the child’s head against the bottom of the playpen in which she had been sleeping with such force that he heard her head hit the hard surface, the complaint states.

    Escobedo said he noticed the baby’s breathing change a few minutes later but did not think the change was related to slamming the child into the crib, according to the complaint.Daily-Press

    Swenson, who said she believes the incident occurred during the time police determined Escobedo was caring for the child, noted in her report that the symptoms of such a serious head injury would have been immediately obvious, the complaint states.

    During a court hearing Monday, Judge Sandy Williams set Escobedo’s bail at $25,000 and ordered him not to have contact with the child or anyone younger than 18 if released.


 
Meeting to discuss city’s bid for breakwater funds PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 13 November 2013 19:23

    A town hall meeting to discuss Port Washington’s efforts to secure funding to repair its deteriorating breakwaters will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at City Hall.

    Mayor Tom Mlada said the session will provide a forum to clear up misperceptions about the situation, to answer questions and to rally people to call on legislators to fund the needed repairs.

    “We need to continue to channel the energy of the people,” he said. “We need a strong, unified, collective voice to affect change and secure authorization and appropriation of federal funds to fix this vital asset before it fails.

    “We have to be loud and consistently squeaky so this effort doesn’t fail.”

    People have begun to contact area legislators — U.S. Rep. Tom Petri and Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin — to try and rally support, Mlada said, and it is having an effect.

    Johnson sent a staff member to the city last week to survey the breakwaters and Baldwin has asked Petri’s office for information on the city’s plight, Mlada said. Petri has been working with the city on the issue for a couple months.

    The city will further its efforts to get the Port breakwater repairs on the Army Corps’ list of projects for 2015 next week when Mlada said he and Ald. Dan Becker, the Common Council president, will go to Washington, D.C., to lobby legislators and the Corps.

    Mlada said they are hoping to partner with We Energies’ lobbyists when visiting officials, noting that the utility’s Port facility is protected by the breakwaters.

    “It would be more powerful if we can partner with them,” he said.Daily-Press

    The Corps is currently compiling its project list for consideration, making the visit doubly important, Mlada said.

    “If we’re going to make a case, now is the time,” he said. “There is a real potential upside to this. I’m hoping we can clearly make a case for this and convince them to put our project on the list for 2015.”

 
Veterans to be honored Monday at Port High School event PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 18:40

Port Washington High School will host a Veterans Day program at 10:20 a.m. Monday, Nov. 11.

    During the program, which is open to the public, six veterans who graduated from Port Washington High School will be named to the school’s Wall of Honor.

    The living honorees will be Wilmer Helm, Russell Cantrall and Eugene Haseley. Those receiving the honor posthumously will be Jay Mayer, Paul Galles and Leonard Haseley.

    The program will also feature performances by the school’s symphonic band.

    Co-organizers of the observance — the Van Ells-Schanen American Legion Post 82 of Port Washington, Landt-Thiel American Legion Post 470 of Saukville and the Ozaukee Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5373 — will also participate in the program, which will culminate with a firing squad salute at 11 a.m.

    The high school is at 427 W. Jackson Street.

 
Reaching out to homeless veterans PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by CAROL POMEDAY   
Wednesday, 06 November 2013 18:35

Former serviceman plans collection drive Nov. 11 to combat overlooked problem

    On Veterans Day Monday, Nov. 11, Vietnam-era veteran Neil Traxel of Grafton hopes to fill the hall at Circle B Recreation Center in Cedarburg with household items for formerly homeless veterans.

    The items will be given to the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative to distribute.


    “I want to start with it empty and fill it with donations and people,” said Traxel, manager of Circle B.


    People can begin bringing items to the hall at 5:30 p.m. or drop donations into collection bins at American Legion halls in Port Washington, Grafton and Cedarburg, Christ the King Lutheran Church in Port Washington and St. John’s Lutheran Church-Lakefield in the Town of Grafton.


    A color guard ceremony will be at 6 p.m. by the Rose-Harms American Legion Post 355 in Grafton.


    A representative of the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative will explain how the nonprofit organization, which was started in 2008 by two Vietnam veterans, has expanded to help the 300 to 400 homeless veterans in the city and the 5,500 veterans identified as at risk because of their low income or living situations.


    The organization is run by five paid staff members and more than 60 volunteers, most of them veterans and some formerly homeless themselves.


    Traxel and fellow Vietnam-era veteran Mike Furlott of Port Washington are now among the volunteers.


    Furlott not only collects items for veterans but also spends one day a week fixing things at the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative Center at 7222 W. Fond du Lac Ave.


    “I feel blessed that I can give back my time and talent to fellow vets — all brothers and sisters who gave their all for freedom’s sake,” Furlott said in an e-mail.


    “It’s a tragedy that this country has homeless Americans. It is absolutely wrong that we have homeless vets.”


    An Air Force veteran, Furlott suffered a hearing loss from loading bombs onto jets while he was stationed in Thailand.


    “I enlisted in the Air Force for four years or I would have been drafted into the Army. I just couldn’t see myself carrying a weapon and shooting people,” Furlott said.


    “Upon discharge, I returned home to the UP — glad to be done fighting a useless war.”


    Sometimes a message just hits home, and that happened to Traxel when a veteran with the Homeless Veterans Initiative spoke at Christ the King Church in the spring.


    When he learned that one out of every four homeless people in Milwaukee is a veteran, Traxel said, he had to help and he brought Furlott on board.


    “There are so many things that you want to do for them. Nobody should have to sleep under a bridge,” said Traxel, who goes to the center at least twice a week with his car filled with donations.


    Traxel joined the Navy on his 18th birthday, April 12, 1966, to avoid being drafted into the Army and sent to Vietnam.


    “I joined the Navy to see the world, and I didn’t want to get shot at or killed,” Traxel said. “I’m so happy I went into the Navy.”


    For a time, Traxel was homeless himself and understands the trauma. His Port Washington trailer home was destroyed in a fire July 1, 2006.


    “I lost everything,” he said. “With help from my church and insurance, I was able to buy a better trailer in Grafton. It all worked out.”


    By building trust with homeless veterans, the Initiative helps them get benefits, housing, medical care, clothing, food and other things they need.


    When veterans find a place to live, the Initiative provides furniture, household items and toiletries, and that’s where Traxel and Furlott help.


    In addition to furniture, donations of bedding, towels, appliances, kitchen items, dishes, utensils, toiletries for men and women, cleaning products and paper items are needed, Traxel said.


    For more information on the Nov. 11 event or to arrange a pickup, call Traxel at 377-7223 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


    Circle B is at 6261 Hwy. 60.


Image Information: VIETNAM-ERA VETERANS Mike Furlott (left) and Neil Traxel picked up a container filled with donated household items at the VanElls-Schanen American Legion Hall in Port Washington. The items will be given to veterans being helped by the Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative. A collection event will be held Veterans Day, Monday, Nov. 11, at 5:30 p.m. at Circle B Recreation Center in Cedarburg.                                   Photo by Sam Arendt

 
Main Street debate sparks talk of takeover by BID group PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 30 October 2013 17:58

BID officials say move may be needed ‘to right the ship’ but wait for public input

    In order to save Port Main Street Inc. and preserve the benefits of the organization, the Business Improvement District may have to take over the organization — at least for a time, BID Board President Neil Tiziani said Tuesday.

    “Main Street can function within BID as an alternative,” Tiziani said. “It would give us a chance to right the ship ... then send it on its way.”

    This would allow the BID board to better monitor Main Street, create a long and short-term vision for the organization and help create a budget and funding plan, he said.

    To facilitate this, Tiziani said, the BID board could hire on a short-term basis former Main Street executive director Sara Grover, who has the knowledge of the organization’s budget and programming.

    The Main Street program is worth saving, Tiziani said, as evidenced by the redevelopment that has occurred downtown and the number of volunteers working with the group.

    “None of us want to run events and do those things,” he said. “Our goal is to keep Main Street going in one shape or form or another.”

    Main Street is currently not in compliance with all the state requirements for the program, Tiziani said, adding one of those requirements is for the group to have a full-time executive director.

    “We have a grace period to fix it,” he said.

    But the BID board took no action after hearing that Main Street Inc. is holding a meeting for its constituents at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31, at Heron Bay Banquet Hall to get input on what they want from the group.

    Jim Biever, president of the Main Street board, told the BID board that there is a need for better communication with downtown businesses and property owners.

    “I had a feeling Main Street didn’t listen to downtown,” Biever said, instead taking its direction from the state and federal Main Street organizations. “Maybe we’ll find out Main Street is not the way people want to go.”

    Jim Neulreich, who with his wife Deb operates Zing Boutique, questioned whether Main Street can ever regain the trust needed to be an effective organization, suggesting that the best solution might be to disband and transfer the group’s duties to the Chamber of Commerce.

    In order to save Port Main Street Inc. and preserve the benefits of the organization, the Business Improvement District may have to take over the organization — at least for a time, BID Board President Neil Tiziani said Tuesday.

    “Main Street can function within BID as an alternative,” Tiziani said. “It would give us a chance to right the ship ... then send it on its way.”

    This would allow the BID board to better monitor Main Street, create a long and short-term vision for the organization and help create a budget and funding plan, he said.

    To facilitate this, Tiziani said, the BID board could hire on a short-term basis former Main Street executive director Sara Grover, who has the knowledge of the organization’s budget and programming.

    The Main Street program is worth saving, Tiziani said, as evidenced by the redevelopment that has occurred downtown and the number of volunteers working with the group.

    “None of us want to run events and do those things,” he said. “Our goal is to keep Main Street going in one shape or form or another.”

    Main Street is currently not in compliance with all the state requirements for the program, Tiziani said, adding one of those requirements is for the group to have a full-time executive director.

    “We have a grace period to fix it,” he said.

    But the BID board took no action after hearing that Main Street Inc. is holding a meeting for its constituents at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31, at Heron Bay Banquet Hall to get input on what they want from the group.

    Jim Biever, president of the Main Street board, told the BID board that there is a need for better communication with downtown businesses and property owners.

    “I had a feeling Main Street didn’t listen to downtown,” Biever said, instead taking its direction from the state and federal Main Street organizations. “Maybe we’ll find out Main Street is not the way people want to go.”

    Jim Neulreich, who with his wife Deb operates Zing Boutique, questioned whether Main Street can ever regain the trust needed to be an effective organization, suggesting that the best solution might be to disband and transfer the group’s duties to the Chamber of Commerce.

    But members of the BID board were adamant that Main Street provides a valuable service to the downtown.

    Board member Brian Barber said that a collaboration between Main Street and Port Washington State Bank made it possible for him to bring his company to the downtown.

    “It would be a shame to see them go away,” Barber said.

    Wayne Chrusciel, a BID board member who will run Thursday’s meeting, said it’s important to get support from the downtown business and property owners.

    “I think we have to get their buy-in,” Chrusciel said. “They’re funding it.”

    The BID and Main Street programs are intertwined in many ways. The BID, which is funded through a city tax on downtown property owners, had funded Main Street since its inception with an annual contribution of about $55,000. That has been supplemented with  a $25,000 annual contribution from the city.

    However, frustrated by the aftermath of the Rock the Harbor Harley-Davidson anniversary festival that lost an estimated $20,000 of Main Street funds, the city’s Finance and License Committee last week recommended the city ends its contribution.

    Committee members also said they would not allow the BID to contribute funds to Main Street unless it ends the year without any debt.

    Main Street board member Harry Schaumburg questioned how the BID could take over the program.Daily-Press

    “What you’re trying to accomplish requires a great deal of cooperation between BID and Main Street,” Schaumburg said. “You can’t take us over. You can invite us in. We’re a totally separate entity.”

    The Main Street board owns the information about its programs and financing, he added, not BID.

    Tiziani said the state Economic Development Corp. could transfer the Main Street agreement to the BID, leaving the existing Main Street board as a separate non-profit agency.




 
Chamber to honor Grover, NewPort Shores PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 18:03

Port organization chooses outgoing Main Street director, restaurant for annual citizen, business awards

    Sara Grover, the outgoing executive director of Port Washington Main Street Inc., is the Citizen of the Year, the city’s Chamber of Commerce announced Tuesday.

    The Chamber is honoring NewPort Shores as the Business of the Year, and Coal Dock Park as the city beautification project.

    The Main Street Design Committee is receiving the distinguished service award, while the city’s Parks and Recreation and Street departments are receiving the special recognition award.

    Grover, who has been Port Main Street’s director since the organization was formed five years ago, was selected for the honor based on her years of service to the city, Chamber Executive Director Lisa Crivello said.

    “She’s gone above and beyond,” Crivello said. “You look at the criteria for the award and that is Sara in a nutshell. We could not think of a more deserving person.”

    The award is given to someone who has contributed to the city through community-oriented projects, providing professional expertise and personal talents and engaging in civic and community activities that promote the city.

    “That person has stepped outside of her paid job/position to embark upon an effort for the greater good using her own time, talents and personal fortitude,” the criteria reads.

    Grover, who served as executive director of the Port Washington Business Improvement District before becoming the Main Street director, last week was fired by the Main Street board effective at the end of the year. While saying it wanted to “transition to new leadership” to make the organization more sustainable, the board credited Grover’s leadership and outreach with bringing a new vibrancy to downtown.

    Crivello said NewPort Shores was selected as Business of the Year because of the support owner John Weinrich offers the Chamber.

    “He’s always willing to help in the things we do,” she said. “He’s just been a great asset to the Chamber.”

    It was hard to look past Coal Dock Park when selecting the beautification award, Crivello said.

    “We just have gotten so many compliments on how beautiful it is, what an asset it is to the city,” she said. “It’s just going to get better and better as the years go by.”

    The work done by the city’s Parks and Recreation and Street departments is also hard to ignore, but it’s work largely done outside the public view, Crivello said.

    “They all give of their time and talent for events and for projects around the city,” she said. “They do a lot of stuff behind the scenes that people don’t know about.”

    The Main Street Design Committee also has done a lot of volunteer work, putting in its time and talent to make the downtown a more attractive place to be, Crivello said.

    Among their key projects are facade and design work with businesses and upcoming improvements to downtown parking lots behind Duluth Trading Co. and Port Washington State Bank, she said.Daily-Press

    The awards will be presented during the annual Chamber awards banquet, which is set for Nov. 20 at Memories Ballroom in the Town of Port Washington.

    A cocktail hour is set for 5:15 p.m., followed by a 6:30 p.m. buffet dinner and the awards presentation.

    The cost is $35 per person, and reservations may be made by calling the Chamber office at 284-0900.



 
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