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Judge rapped for pulling endorsement PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 19:16

Voiland criticized by judicial candidate who says he knew she signed recall petition before backing her

    A spokesman for a Milwaukee judicial candidate said this week that Ozaukee County Judge Joseph Voiland, who unseated a longtime incumbent last year after attacking him for signing the Gov. Scott Walker recall petition, volunteered his support of Laura Gramling Perez despite the fact she told him she signed the same recall petition.

    That’s why Gramling Perez, a Milwaukee County court commissioner who is running for the county’s Branch 32 Circuit Court seat, was surprised last week when Voiland withdrew his endorsement and issued a statement to the media that criticized her decision and perpetuated baseless questions about whether she listed a false address on the recall petition, campaign adviser Sachin Chheda said.

    “Ms. Gramling Perez made a mistake in signing the recall petition; I too made a mistake in endorsing her with full knowledge, including recent reports that a false address was being listed alongside a version of her name on the petition,” Voiland wrote.

    “I can only control my mistake, and have withdrawn my endorsement, effective immediately.”

    He declined to answer questions about his endorsement of Gramling Perez and his decision to withdraw his support.

    Voiland’s statement did not sit well with Gramling Perez.

    “There’s a sense of frustration when you’re honest with folks and they twist what really happened, then don’t even have the courtesy to pick up the phone or talk to the media about the real story,” Chheda said.

  In his statement, Voiland refers to a report that stemmed from a Wisconsin Election Watch online posting that suggested Gramling Perez may have listed a false address on the recall petition.

    Gramling Perez has never denied signing the recall petition and did not list a false address, Chheda said.

    “It’s really inappropriate for someone who is a judge to be so cavalier with the context so as to suggest some sort of impropriety on the part of Laura,” he said.

    According to Chheda, Voiland approached Gramling Perez, a former coworker at the Milwaukee law firm Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, late last year and volunteered his support.

    Well aware of the fact that Voiland criticized Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Tom Wolfgram for signing the recall petition in his successful campaign to unseat him, Gramling Perez wanted to be clear on the issue, Chheda said. “She went out of her way to tell him (Voiland) months ago that she signed the recall petition before she ever added his name to any list of her supporters,” he said.

    All was fine until Gramling Perez mentioned Voiland’s name at a Republican event in Cudahy last week.

    When asked during the Milwaukee South Branch Caucus if she signed the recall petition, Gramling Perez said she had and explained why, citing Voiland’s support.

    “I can tell you one of the people who endorsed me is Joe Voiland, who was recently elected to the bench in Ozaukee County,” she told those in attendance, according to a video posted by Wisconsin Election Watch.

    “Some of you who are familiar with Joe know ... that a significant issue in his race was that the incumbent, Tom Wolfgram, signed the petition. I spoke with Joe. I’ve known him for a long time. I discussed with Joe that I signed the recall petition and explained why.

    “He knows me. He knows I’m a fair and independent attorney, and that I’ll be a fair and independent judge.”    

    During his campaign last year, Voiland said Wolfgram compromised his impartiality when he signed the recall petition.

    “I firmly believe in the separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government,” Voiland said in January 2013. “Judge Wolfgram crossed that line when he signed the recall petition.”

    Gramling Perez’s comments at last week’s Republican meeting and her mention of Voiland quickly became fodder for Milwaukee talk radio, and Voiland pulled his support.

    “Laura has been nothing but honest about signing the recall petition,” Chheda said. “For him (Voiland) not to admit he knew long before this that she signed the petition is not fair, to say the least.”


 
Teens cited for underage drinking at late-night party PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 19:10

At least three Port Washington High School varsity athletes were among 14 teenagers cited for underage drinking after police broke up a party early Sunday morning.

    One of the teens, an 18-year-old Port Washington girl, was also cited for being an adult permitting underage drinking, police said.

    Officers went to the house in the 300 block of LaBrisa Court about 2 a.m. Sunday after they received two tips about the party, according to police.

    A man answering the door told officers his daughter had some friends over, but he was unaware of any drinking, police said. He let the officers into the house and got his daughter, who acknowledged she and her friends had been drinking.

    Officers found 15 teenagers in the basement of the house, as well as a number of beer cans, water bottles — including one with an alcoholic beverage in it — and Gatorade bottles, according to their report. Daily-Press

    The youths were administered breath tests. One girl had no alcohol in her system, but the others had blood-alcohol readings ranging from .008 to .17, according to police.

    According to police, tickets for underage drinking were issued to five 18-year-old boys, two 17-year-old boys and two 17-year-old girls from Port Washington, two 18-year-old girls, one 18-year-old boy and one 17-year-old boy from Saukville and a 16-year-old girl from Grafton.

 
Sugar Dragon fun: PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 19:07

Appearance by fiery creature will help warm family event Sunday at Riveredge Nature Center

The inaugural Sugar Dragon Snowshoe Scurry, a 5K race and fun snowshoe run or hike, will be held Sunday, Feb. 9, at Riveredge Nature Center in the Town of Saukville.

    The event will run from noon to 4 p.m. and also include a kids loop, scavenger hunt, costume contest, post-run pancake breakfast and family activities.


    The competitive race will start at 1 p.m.  Fun waves will be staggered, starting at 1:15 p.m. The kids 0.1-mile loop will be at 2 p.m. Snowshoes must be worn for the competitive race, but are optional for the fun events.


    An awards ceremony will be at 3 p.m. The top three male and female finishers in the competitive race will be awarded bottles of Riveredge maple syrup on ribbons. Gift baskets will be given to costume winners.


    After the race, participants can enjoy a free pancake breakfast with maple syrup and pickles. Spectators can enjoy the meal and family activities for $5.


    Registration is $35. The kids loop fee is $10 and includes free snowshoe use.


    A $50 family registration covers an unlimited number of 5K and kids loop participants from an immediate family.


    All participants will receive an embroidered Sugar Dragon Snowshoe Scurry winter headband.


    The event is named for the elusive Sugar Dragon that reportedly starts the fire under the Riveredge evaporator and keeps it burning to turn the sap collected from the center’s maple trees into sweet maple syrup. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.


    “It’s sometimes hard to start a fire in winter. Our Sugar Dragon steps up to the challenge every year to start the fire in our evaporators for the maple sugarin’ volunteers,” said Jessica Jens, Riveredge executive director.


    The Sugar Dragon will reportedly start bonfires along the trail, where participants can rest and get warm.


    Jennifer Clearwater, director of the Feith Family Ozaukee YMCA in Saukville, which  is cosponsoring the event, noted temperatures are expected to be near 20 degrees Sunday with only a slight chance of snow — ideal snowshoe and hiking weather.


    “It will be fun. We want people to come out and have a good time,” she said.


    Ozaukee County’s Leaders for Ozaukee Next Generation (LONG) program are also sponsors of the event.


    The YMCA is handling registrations, which is limited to 30 participants for the competitive race and 100 participants for the fun event. It will be an annual event, Clearwater said.


    Registrations can be made at the YMCA, 465 Northwoods Rd., by calling 268-9622, or at the event. A registration form can be downloaded at www.riveredgenaturecenter.org.


    Riveredge is at 4458 Hwy. Y one mile north of Highway 33. If additional parking is needed, there will be a free shuttle from Fireman’s Park in Newburg.


 

Image Information: THE ELUSIVE Sugar Dragon that reportedly keeps the fire burning at Riveredge Nature Center’s sugarin’ shack to turn sap into maple syrup may make an appearance Sunday at the center’s inaugural Sugar Dragon Snowshoe Scurry.    Photo by Sam Arendt

 
Summer street projects will be discussed Feb. 4 PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 18:15

A public information meeting to discuss street projects slated for this summer in Port Washington will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 4.

    Input received during the meeting, which will be held in City Hall, will be used to help design the improvements, Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said.

    “We’re very early in the design process right now, so this is the time for people to give us their input,” he said.

    Representatives of Gremmer & Associates, the city’s design consultant, will be at the meeting to talk to residents, Vanden Noven said.

    The streets include:

    • Holden Street from Orchard Lane to Van Buren Street to Jackson Street.

    • Jackson Street from Holden to Webster street.

    • Van Buren Street from Holden to Wisconsin street.

    • Milwaukee Street between Jackson and Walters streets.

    • Prospect Street from Wisconsin Street to the cul-de-sac.

    • Prospect Court from Prospect Street until the end.

    • Benjamin Street between Theis Street and Norport Drive.

    The projects, which are expected to cost just more than $2 million, involve street reconstruction work and water main replacement on most roads, he said.

    Where there is no sidewalk along the road, walkways will be built, Vanden Noven said, and damaged sidewalks will be replaced.

    Some storm sewer improvements will also be incorporated into the projects to help with drainage, he added.

    Construction is expected to begin in May and be completed by October, Vanden Noven said, adding that work will be staggered.

    “We don’t want to have any one area under construction for the full four months,” he said.

    The roads around Port Washington High School will be constructed during the summer months so school won’t be impacted, he said.
Daily-Press
    Anyone who cannot attend the meeting but who would like information on the projects is asked to call Vanden Noven at 284-2600 or e-mail him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
Breakwater walk gets man a ticket for trespassing PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 18:13

West Allis resident cited by police who say he ignored sign, dangerous icy conditions

    A 40-year-old West Allis man was cited by police for trespassing on the Port Washington breakwater Friday afternoon.

    An officer was called to the area about 3 p.m. after patrons of NewPort Shores restaurant, who had seen the man walk out onto the breakwater with his cameras, noticed he hadn’t returned 40 minutes later, according to police.

    The officer went to Upper Lake Park and was able to see the man about two-thirds of the way to the lighthouse, police said. He was not in distress, but was standing on a block of ice that had formed on the rocks surrounding the breakwater.

    The officer then headed to the breakwater, where he walked out far enough to ensure a warning sign posted by the Army Corps of Engineers was visible.

    After seeing the man was walking toward shore, the officer returned to his squad car.

    When the man was back on land, the officer asked him if he had seen the sign and was aware of the risk.

    “Sorry, I missed that,” was his reply, police said.

    The officer then issued the ticket.

    Police have not cited people walking on the breakwater before, but Police Chief Kevin Hingiss said the officer decided to do so in this case because of the dangerous, icy conditions on the breakwater and the fact the man ignored the warning sign.

    “He felt it was a dangerous situation because of the ice,” Hingiss said.

    The danger wasn’t just to the man walking on the breakwater but to any emergency personnel who may have had to come to his aid if he had fallen into the lake, Hingiss said, adding he was glad the officer hadn’t walked out any farther.  

    “I’m not sending my officers out there,” he said. “It’s too dangerous.”

    After the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers posted signs last year reading, “Jetty Unsafe for Walking. Danger. Restricted Area. Keep Out,” Hingiss told Ozaukee Press that officers wouldn’t keep anyone from walking on the breakwater.

    But given the dangers posed by people walking out in winter, Hingiss said, he has contacted Army Corps representatives for direction.

    In other police news, officers cited a 20-year-old Port Washington woman for misuse of 911 on Jan. 25. The woman told officers that her child had been playing with the phone, police said.badge

    This was the second time in two weeks she was cited for the offense, and the 11th time in recent months officers responded to her house after receiving a 911 call, police said.

    Officers typically issue a citation after fewer incidents than this, Hingiss said.   


 
Group’s goal: Fix the breakwater PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 20:03

Residents concerned about deterioration of lakefront structure will hold first meeting Jan. 25

    The deteriorating condition of the Port Washington breakwater has alarmed not only city officials but residents and former residents alike.

    Concern for the crumbling landmark has prompted the formation of a friends group that will hold its organizational meeting at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at NewPort Shores restaurant.

    “We’re reaching out to people, letting them know what’s happening with the breakwater and that we’re serious about what we’re doing,” said James Meyer, one of the group’s organizers.

    “We want people to know there are a dozen or so ways, big and small, they can do something to help. Everyone should have the chance.”

    Meyer said the citizen group will take a multi-pronged approach as it works to help the city obtain federal funding to fix the breakwater, which is owned by the Army Corps of Engineers.

    “We all kept hearing the same thing, that the Army Corps isn’t going to do anything,” he said.

    By helping to raise funds and bring pressure to bear, the group can have an impact and help the city in its quest, he said.

     The breakwater serves several purposes, all of them essential to the city.

    It protects the shoreline, marina and downtown from the lake’s sometimes furious wave action. City officials have estimated that if the breakwater fails, it could put $70 million in property and infrastructure at risk.

    The breakwater is also a tourist attraction, drawing people out onto the water to enjoy breathtaking views of the city and prime fishing opportunities.

    The Army Corps of Engineers conducted an analysis of the breakwater last summer and concluded that it is in poor condition, with parts of the structure already failing.

    But federal funds to repair it haven’t been forthcoming, and officials were told last year that some local funding will be needed.

    “This is one of those no-brainer causes,” Meyer said. “The lighthouse and the breakwater — they are Port Washington. They’re the symbols we all identify with.

    “I’ve talked with a bunch of people, and when I ask if I can count on their support, everybody has said yes without thinking about it.”

    Meyer said a Facebook page devoted to the citizens’ group has more than 500 members — residents and former residents alike — and organizers are hoping to leverage that into support for the project.

    “We need to raise awareness and raise a few dollars, too,” he said. “If we can show we’re the little David, they (the Army Corps) may feel compelled to help us.”

    Saturday’s meeting will include a silent auction of photos of the lighthouse that’s intended to raise seed money for the group. The photo that goes for the most money will likely be used in the group’s logo, Meyer added.


 

Image Information: AN ALMOST ARTISTIC coating of ice obliterates the warning on a sign atop the Port Washington breakwater, where only a few brave souls navigate the walkway on their way to the lighthouse during winter.               Photo by Sam Arendt

 
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