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County scrambling to boost Clean Sweep numbers PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 31 May 2017 18:21

Officials concerned about lagging registrations just a week away from revived disposal program

    Having convinced the Ozaukee County Board to fund a Clean Sweep program, officials are now working to persuade residents to participate in a revived effort to provide an environmentally safe way to dispose of household hazardous waste.
    About 150 people — less than half of the 400 people the county hoped would participate — have registered for the Friday, June 9, and Saturday, June 10, collection, Andy Holschbach, director of the county’s Land and Water Management Department, which is organizing the event, said this week.
Daily Press    “We have a long way to go,” he said.
    Registration and a $20 fee for each vehicle-load of materials is required to drop off household hazardous waste, and because of the tepid response to the program, the deadline has been extended to Thursday, June 8.
    Residents will be able to drop off waste and tires at the county Highway Department, 410 S. Spring St., Port Washington, from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 10.
    Farmers and small business operators can drop off waste and tires from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, June 9.
    To register and pay online, go to Residents can also print a registration form on the website and mail it and a check payable to Ozaukee County to the Land and Water Management Department, 121 W. Main St., Room 223, Port Washington, 53074. In addition, forms are available at the department’s office.
    Registration is not required to drop off tires, although there are fees based on tire size.
    The collection is open to all county residents except those from the City of Port Washington, who are able to dispose of household hazardous waste every Monday at the Veolia facility in Port Washington. City residents are, however, able to drop tires off at the county collection.
    Holschbach said the drop-off is designed to be quick and easy.
    “People don’t even need to get out of their cars,” he said. “All you have to do is pull into a Highway Department shed and pop the trunk. People from Veolia will be there to take it out of your car and dispose of it properly.”
    Generally, materials such as oil-based paint, adhesives, solvents, pesticides and insecticides will be accepted. A complete list can be found on the Clean Sweep website.
    Materials that will not be accepted include latex paints and stains, compressed gas cylinders and propane tanks, motor oil and ammunition.
    The county, which in 2016 was among only 18 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties that didn’t have a Clean Sweep collection, resurrected funding for the program by voting last year to include it in the 2017 budget at the urging of then-Supr. Richard Bauzenberger of Mequon.
    “The counties that don’t offer Clean Sweep programs are fostering practices that are harmful to the environment,” he said last year.
    Bauzenberger said at the time that his constituents asked him why the county doesn’t offer an affordable and safe way for them to dispose of hazardous materials.
    The answer was money. Funding for the program had been cut years earlier.
    “The program isn’t cheap, but neither is disposing of household hazardous waste,” Bauzenberger said. “If you buy a gallon of oil-based paint and have a little left over, you can spend three times what the paint cost just to get rid of it. That’s a disincentive for people to dispose of household hazardous waste properly and safely.”
    The program costs $50,000 annually. The county has budgeted $35,000 and received a $14,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture.
    Holschbach noted the county is committed to making the Clean Sweep an annual event.
    “We want a good, long-term program so people can plan to dispose of their waste responsibly,” he said.

Ozaukee, Washington counties explore public transit merger PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by JOE POIRIER   
Wednesday, 24 May 2017 20:19

Combining systems has its challenges, but officials see potential for costs savings, improved service

    The Ozaukee and Washington county public works committees began discussing last week the creation of a regional public transportation partnership that would be one of the largest in the state.
    A merger of the two transit systems, both of which provide express bus service to and from Milwaukee and shared-ride taxi service within their counties, has potential to save money and improve service, officials said. This comes on the heels of the merger of the two counties’ Public Health Departments in 2015.
Daily Press    “It makes a lot of sense to work with both counties because of the operational expenses and to improve the quality of life with transportation,” Ozaukee County Supr. John “Chip” Slater said during the May 18 meeting of the two departments at Newburg Village Hall.
    Ozaukee County Supr. Kathlyn T. Geracie, chairwoman of the committee, agreed.
    “I’m in favor of moving forward because we’re always looking for how we can work together with other counties and businesses to provide a good quality of service that is cost effective,” she said.
    The consolidation would allow for seamless public transportation between the two counties, Ozaukee County Transit Supt. Jason Wittek said.
    Both counties currently use the same dispatching software so consolidating the system would be relatively easy and save money, officials said.
    “It’s really been initial exploration so far. We’ve been talking about what we need to get this done, and now we’re looking for direction from the two boards,” Wittek said. “There may be pent-up demand for crossing county lines.”
    Currently the two counties are weighing the potential cost savings for the merger. One example is having a consolidated dispatch center that could provide a savings of $60,000.
    “It’s not as straightforward as it was for the public health merger because there were some very definite cost savings one could see in terms of staffing,” Wittek said.
    There are currently 230,000 rides per year for residents crossing between Washington and Ozaukee counties. According to the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, which analyzed the proposed merger, it expects that number to grow by 7,000 rides if the merger occurs.
    With the future increase in rides and route distance, Washington County Transit Division Manager Joe Stier III noted it will require added accountability for federal and state reporting.
    “My concern is if we become a bigger entity, regardless, there will be more federal and state reporting. We’ll be one of the biggest organized transit services in the state,” he said. “In my eyes we’ll be the size of Waukesha County. The bigger the organization, the longer the travel distances are going to be.”
    The other concern for the merger is improving the quality of rides for the passengers.
    “By working together to cross county lines, that would eliminate the need for arranging two different rides for the shared-ride taxi, which would be a benefit for people waiting outside during inclement weather or having the elderly and disabled waiting at transfer points,” Wittek said.
    Wittek also said the two counties need to decide on a plan for a contract of service.
    “The administrative plan is the more technical and confusing, where as the operational plan isn’t that complicated because we essentially both have contracted services,” Wittek said. “So really the operational expertise really rests with the contractors.”
    If the departments are merged, a standard fare structure would be needed. Currently Ozaukee charges by a zone rate while Washington charges at a mileage rate.
    Both committees are uncertain as to when the transit partnership will take place but said they will have a stronger idea for a set time in 2018.

Port Historical Society wins state award for community service PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 24 May 2017 20:18

    The Port Washington Historical Society has been awarded the Reuben Gold Thwaites Trophy for excellence in serving the community.
    The award, presented by the Wisconsin Historical Society, not only recognizes the role the society is playing in the community but also the fact it has restored three historic structures in the city, said Jackie Oleson, a former Society president who nominated the group for the award.
 Daily Press   “It validates what we’re doing, and that’s priceless,” she said. “It recognizes us not just for restoring buildings but also says we’re having an impact in the community.”
     The Society has moved from simply being a steward of historical documents and artifacts to a group that works to engage people in the connection between the past and the present, Oleson said.
    “Education is becoming such a part of our focus,” she said. “We don’t just have a bunch of old stuff we’re trying to keep dusted. We’re trying to use that old stuff to tell a story.”
    That’s evident at all three of the Society’s buildings — the 1860 Light Station atop St. Mary’s Hill, the Resource Center at 205 N. Franklin St. and the Exploreum at 118 N. Franklin St.
    “We’re not a single-focus group,” Oleson said. “We’ve come to a point where we are multifaceted, and hopefully going forward we’ll find different ways to tell the stories of the community that will engage people.”
    The award is also a tribute to the foresight of the Society’s founders, Oleson said.
    This was the second time the Society has been nominated for the award, Oleson said. After an unsuccessful application last year, Rick Bernstein, the district administrator, urged the Society to try again.
    The Reuben Gold Thwaites Trophy, which is named for the second director of the Wisconsin Historical Society, has been presented virtually every year since 1958.
    Two Ozaukee County groups, the Cedarburg Cultural Center and the Ozaukee County Historical Society, received the award in 1997 and 1969, respectively.

Street Fest, parade on tap for holiday weekend PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 24 May 2017 20:14

Opening of attractions in Port will also mark unofficial beginning of summer

    There’s plenty of activity to greet summer this Memorial Day weekend in Port Washington.
    The 10th annual Community Street Festival will be held Sunday, May 28, on Franklin Street in downtown Port.
    Tourist attractions, from the Light Station to the Eghart House, are opening for the season.
    And on Monday, residents will gather to commemorate the war dead during the annual Memorial Day activities.
   Daily Press The Community Street Festival, which will run from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, will offer a wide variety of food, music and activities.
    There will be music by Sideshow on the north stage at the intersection of Franklin and Jackson streets from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. The Fabulous Rug Burns will perform on the south stage near the Harborview Holiday Inn from 1 to 5 p.m.
    The Performing Arts Stage in front of Port Washington State Bank will feature a performance by Impact Dance. Classic rock and country music will be played by Alex Simmons, and 4th Dimension, a saxophone quartet from Port Washington High School, will also perform there.
    There will be an arts and crafts area as well as a children’s area, which will include everything from a bounce house to chalk drawings.
    The Disney princesses will be on hand for a tea at Baltica Bistro and Tea Room. Parents are asked to call ahead for reservations.
    The princesses will be available for families to take photographs. Sign-up for the photos begins at noon.
    The Port High football team will offer a football experience for youngsters, and the Port Washington Fire Department will have a truck on hand.
    The street will be filled with vendors. Maureen McCourt Boylan, executive director of Port Main Street Inc., which sponsors the festival, said all the vendor spaces have been reserved.
    This year, she added, portable toilets will be stationed downtown for the crowds.
    The first Community Street Festival was held in 2008 as a way for the city to show off the newly reconstructed Franklin Street and for merchants to draw shoppers who had stayed away during the many months of roadwork.
    Since then, it has evolved into a laid-back festival where neighbors linger and sample what the city has to offer.
    “I love the idea of the community coming together, with family activities offered,” McCourt Boylan said. “Everyone’s getting really excited about it.”
    The only question is the weather, she said, which through the years has ranged from idyllic to stormy.
    “I’ve ordered sunshine for the day,” McCourt Boylan said.    
    On Monday, May 29, Memorial Day events sponsored by the Van Ells-Schanen American Legion Post 82 will begin with a 10:30 a.m. parade through downtown.
    The parade will begin at the corner of Wisconsin Street and Grand Avenue, head east on Grand Avenue, north on Franklin Street and then follow Pier and Lake streets to Veterans Memorial Park.
    A program at the park will follow. Al Richard, a member of the Rose-Harms American Legion Post in Grafton who is also a past state commander, will be the guest speaker.
    Comments will also be offered by a number of local officials, including Port Ald. Doug Biggs, who will offer a welcome, and Van Ells-Schanen Post Commander Jim Schmidt.
    The Badger Boys and Girls sponsored by the Legion post will also be introduced, and longtime Legion members will be honored.
    The Port Washington High School will perform patriotic songs.
    To salute deceased veterans, a wreath will be placed in the park and taps played. A rifle salute will also be presented by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5373.
    Those attending are asked to honor fallen soldiers with silence during this portion of the event.
    Following the program, ice cream and soft drinks will be provided by the Legion to youngsters.

Port High furniture bids come in on target PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Bill Schanen IV   
Wednesday, 17 May 2017 18:54

School has $283,000 to spend on desks, chairs for soon-finished academic wing

Daily PressThe Port Washington-Saukville School Board on Monday agreed to spend as much $283,000 on furniture for the high school’s new academic wing, which is to be completed by the end of the month.

Bids totalling $258,000 for 1,457 pieces of furniture are being analyzed by Bray Architects, the firm that designed the high school improvements, and administrators, who asked the board to add a 10% contingency to the furniture budget.

“The furniture is comfortable, but not so much that students will fall asleep,” Supt. Michael Weber said. 

Designers from Bray selected three options for furniture, then administrators and teachers from the various departments at the school made the selections.

“We also had students try out some of the furniture,” Weber said.

The chairs and desks for students are simple and ergonomic, and cost $85 and $55, respectively.

“The chairs force you into perfect posture,” Principal Eric Burke said.

In the case of the science department, some existing furniture is being used in the new building.

Officials hope to also be able to refurnish the existing Washington Heights building, which houses communications and social studies classrooms on the northeast end of the school, and have yet to select furniture for the new commons, cafeteria and music rooms that will be built in the second phase of the project.

A total of $370,000 was earmarked for high school furniture in the referendum plan, an amount officials knew from the beginning wouldn’t cover the total cost.

“We’re going to go over the $370,000,” Director of Business Services Jim Froemming said. “But it was my understanding the board was OK with using fund balance.”

In addition to the option of using reserve funds, officials hope there may be money remaining in the high school project contingency fund that can be applied to the furniture budget.

The furniture is expected to be delivered in August and installed by the time classes begin on Sept. 1.

Work on the three-story, three-pod academic wing built into the hillside on the west side of the school is wrapping up quickly. 

The addition will be cleaned next week in preparation for community tours beginning at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, May 31.

The tower crane that has loomed over the school since work began last year will also be taken down before the end of the month, although its concrete base tucked between two pods will remain in perpetuity.

High school staff members will then have two days, June 1 and 2, to move materials from existing classrooms that will be demolished to the new academic wing.

“We’re hoping people purge before they move,” Froemming said. “There’s a dumpster out front that’s already filling up.”

Once the move is complete, the process of removing asbestos from the part of the school that will be demolished will begin.

Demolition of the central part of the school, which extends from the oldest part of the building immediately west of the auditorium roughly to the gym, is scheduled to begin in mid-July. Crews will work their way from the back to the front of the school.

A gift from the heart PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 17 May 2017 19:00

Port man saved by EMTs after collapsing in park and his wife donate defibrillator for boat

When Randy Lanser had a heart attack in October 2013, everything went right. 

Lanser was chatting with a group of firefighters at the opening of Coal Dock Park when he collapsed. The firefighters sprang into action, reviving Lanser, whose heart had stopped, and getting him to the hospital immediately.

AED donation s1051517453 4C“Without the department there and without a defibrillator there, he would have died for sure,” Lanser’s wife Lois said.

Doctors at the time credited the quick work of the fire department not only with saving Randy’s life but preventing any damage to his heart as well.

The Lansers recently donated $1,000 to the fire department for the purchase of an automatic external defibrillator. The defibrillator will be placed on the department’s rescue boat, which is used for water-related emergencies.

The department has defibrillators on each of its ambulances, but had none on the boat before this, Fire Chief Mark Mitchell said.

In the winter, when the boat is out of the water, the unit will be placed on one of the department’s trucks, Mitchell said.

“This is very generous of them to do,” Mitchell said. “We weren’t expecting anything.”

“Now they have the equipment they need on board,” Lois said. “The people who use the lakefront can be protected too.”

Randy’s done well since his heart attack, his wife said.  

Lois said the family didn’t initially think about what it could do to give back. But after hearing about a Milwaukee-area family who purchased equipment for a fire department after a similar situation, they decided to buy the defibrillator.

“This is a real cheap thing to do to pay it forward and give back,” Lois said. “We have one of the best fire departments around.”

The Lansers should know. Randy was a member of the Port department for 20 years before retiring. The couple’s son Ryan retired from the department after 10 years, and their son Adam is still a member.

The family is appreciative of all the fire department does, Lois said.

“We’re glad Randy’s still here,” she said. “We have a lot to be grateful for.”

And now, she said, someone else may have the chance to be grateful as well.


PORT FIREFIGHTERS revived Randy Lanser (center) when he suffered a heart attack in 2013, so he and his wife Lois recently donated an automatic external defibrillator to the Fire Department so others can also be aided. Chief Mark Mitchell held the device, which will be kept aboard the department’s rescue boat.                                        Photo by Sam Arendt

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