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Residents warned about phone scam that uses IRS ploy PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 10 February 2016 20:07

Area residents are being warned about a phone scam used by callers pretending to be with the Internal Revenue Service.

The Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Department and police departments in Port Washington, Grafton and other communities issued alerts after several people reported hearing from callers who demanded money.

According to authorities, the callers claim to be IRS officials and say immediate payment of taxes is due. The callers demand that money be paid without allowing a chance to question or appeal the amount.

The scam, which often uses a recorded message, typically requires payment using a specific method such as a debit or credit card. Callers usually threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement officials to make an arrest if payment is not received.

“My concern is the mention of the IRS and trouble with their agency can cause people to panic and not think clearly before acting,” Port Washington Police Officer Steven Footit said.Daily Press

Footit urged residents who receive such calls to tell the caller of their concerns and say they are going to check with their local police department before continuing the conversation. Residents should then contact police.

Residents who believe the call is legitimate and that they may owe taxes are urged to call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to discuss their options.

Residents can also contact the Federal Trade Commission at and use the “FTC complaint assistant” to report what they believe is a scam.

Town of Grafton residents warned about burglaries PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 03 February 2016 19:36

Reports of burglaries in the Town of Grafton have prompted the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Department to warn residents about the possibility of their properties being targeted by thieves.

According to a department spokesman, burglaries were reported Thursday, Jan. 21, and Tuesday, Jan. 26, in the town.

On Jan. 21, electronics and other valuables were stolen from a residence near Ulao Parkway and Highway 32 between 7:45 a.m. and noon. There were signs of forced entry at the rear of the building.

In the Jan. 26 incident, electronics, jewelry and other items were stolen from a residence at Terminal Road and Highway W between  8 a.m. and 3 p.m. There was a forced entrance at the front of the building.

“Both break-ins occurred near each other, so we believe they may be related,” said Lt. Marshall Hermann, head of the department’s detective bureau.

Hermann said it is possible that the thieves may be casing homes or using a scheme to determine if the residences are occupied.

A common tactic, he said, is for a suspect to knock on the door and, if someone answers, to make up a reason for being there. The visitors may offer bogus roof repairs, ask for directions or say they are looking for a lost dog, Hermann said.

If no one answers the door, the thieves assume the residence is unoccupied and may force their way into the building, he added.

Hermann said his department is also continuing to investigate four burglaries at houses in May and October 2015 in rural parts of Grafton, Port Washington and Saukville.

The department is asking the public to watch for suspicious behavior in its neighborhoods, including slow-moving vehicles and strangers walking around yards and knocking on doors.

Residents are asked to call the department at 284-7172 immediately or text “OZSO + your tip” anonymously to 847411. Daily Press

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.

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