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Port Washington


Town incumbents to be tested in Tuesday vote PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 27 March 2013 18:04

Didier, Rychtik being challenged by Anewenter, Fieber in race for two supervisory seats on Port board

    Town of Port Washington residents have a full slate of candidates from which to select town supervisors Tuesday.

    Incumbents Mike Didier and Jim Rychtik, who are completing their first term in office, are being challenged for their seats by Terry Anewenter and John Fieber, both former Plan Commission members.

    Running unopposed on Tuesday’s ballot are Town Chairman Jim Melichar, Clerk Jenny Schlenvogt and Treasurer Mary Sampont.

    All of the candidates said they believe the town’s decision to privatize much of its road work — including snowplowing, ditch cutting, some road construction and maintenance projects — rather than contract with Ozaukee County has proven to be a good one.

    Anewenter said, “You can’t argue with the results this year. If it’s truly saving money, you can’t argue with it.”

    “I was nervous initially,” Didier said of the town’s decision to privatize snowplowing. “But it’s working well. We’ve had a lot of positive responses and only a few negatives.

    “At a minimum, we’re getting the same amount of services for less money.”

    “The private contractor seems to be a little more responsive,” Fieber said. “In general, I think things have improved.”

    Rychtik added, “I think we’ve gotten what we expected. I’m proud it’s worked so well. In general, people seem happy.”

    Rychtik, 42, of 4855 Hwy. B., said the board has made inroads during the past two years but there’s still work to be done.

    “I think we’ve been a productive board,” he said. “I think most people who have come before us have probably left happy.

    “We’ve worked to make government more transparent.”

    Rychtik, owner of Rychtik Construction, said the board is working to get more public input on projects it considers, pointing to the recent public hearing on Green Bay Road.

    “Too often, what’s lost in government is officials listening to the people,” he said. “We want to listen to our residents.”

    Rychtik, who said officials need to be open to development, suggested the town form a steering committee of residents to take a look at plans for the Knellsville area.

    “That way, when things start to happen we’re going to be ready,” he said.

    Fieber, a retired executive vice president at Kuttner North America, said he would like the town to look at ways to reinvigorate the Knellsville Business Park concept it championed several years ago.

    “We finished that up and the economy took a nose dive,” he said. “I’d like to review that whole plan. Five years later, is there something we can do better? Looking at it optimistically, how can we market the area? Let’s see what’s available to us.”

    When the economy picks up, he said, the freeway interchange is going to be a logical place for development to occur.

    Fieber said he would also like to see if the town can do more to upgrade its roads — a topic he said he’s brought up numerous times.

    Didier, 39, of 4627 Hwy. KW, said he’s spent the last two years learning how things work.

    “Now that I’m in the swing of things, I’m ready to tackle two more years,” he said. “The past two years weren’t what I expected.”

    He thought budget issues would be the most difficult, Didier said, and land-use issues would be easier. The opposite proved to be true.

    “The land-use balance is challenging,” said Didier, who is a real estate agent. “People do have the right to do things with their property, but many times that conflicts with the town’s land-use plan. We have to walk a delicate line. It takes a lot of thought.

    “Budgeting is easy. If you don’t have the money, you don’t spend it.”

    The town’s decisions to privatize roadwork and take over the garbage and recycling operations have all helped the bottom line, Didier noted.

    The town isn’t facing any major issues right now, he said, allowing officials to focus instead on day-to-day matters.

    Fieber, 64, of 3200 Northwoods Rd., said a seat on the Town Board would allow him to do more for the town than he could on the Plan Commission, particularly when it comes to setting policy and procedures.

    “With my engineering background and business experience, I think I can offer some help with planning and looking at the long-term picture,” he said. “That’s one of my strengths.”

    Anewenter, 58, of 3693 Hwy. KK, said he wants to see the board reflect divergent viewpoints, adding it should become a more approachable body that works to help residents.

    Anewenter, a farmer who served on the Plan Commission for several years in the 1990s, described himself as a conservative candidate who will look out for town finances, saying he believes the Town Board spends too much money.

    “In these times, I think you have to watch your money,” he said, adding he would not accept the $5,000 annual salary that comes with the position if elected.

    He pointed to a recent board decision to contribute $750 to fund the Ozaukee County Economic Development Corporation as an example, saying he believes the town could attract just as much development on its own.

    The estimated $200,000 cost to remove the Highland Road overpass at the Ozaukee Interurban Trail is too much, he added.

    And, he said, the $39,000 salary paid to Schlenvogt, a part-time clerk, is “outrageous.”

    “It should be a source of great embarrassment,” Anewenter said, noting teachers in the Milwaukee Public School System likely make a similar amount for a full-time job. “We’re a small town.”


 
Concept plan for lakefront pavilion gets thumbs up PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 18:30

Board backs proposal for picnic building that would also memorialize drowning victims

    A concept plan for a proposed picnic pavilion that would be placed on Port Washington’s coal dock as a memorial to two recent drowning victims was approved Tuesday by the city’s Design Review Board.

    The pavilion, planned by the Port Washington Waterfront Safety Advisory Committee, would stand as a memorial to those who drowned off the city’s shores, including 15-year-old Tyler Buczek, who drowned off the city’s north beach on Sept. 2, 2012, and 23-year-old Peter Dougherty, who drowned while kayaking on March 11, 2012.    

    The octagon-shaped, open-air pavilion features a second floor lookout offering 360-degree views of the city and Lake Michigan that would be lit at night.

    The heavy timber and metal-roofed structure would be 30 feet in diameter and be built in a prominent position near the main parking area in Coal Dock Park.

    Architect Mike Ehrlich told the Design Review Board that the committee wanted to build something that wouldn’t simply be a memorial but instead would be functional.

    Board member Jorgen Hansen asked how the memorial would be incorporated into the design, saying the two uses seem disparate.

    “I’m wondering how to separate the two activities,” he said. “Intuitively, I don’t think it (the memorial) should be right next to where people are sitting and eating lunch, laughing.

    “I like the whole concept. I’m just taken aback with how you can merge these two things so directly.”memorialLG
    Fire Chief Mark Mitchell, a member of the board, concurred, asking, “Is it going to grow with stuffed animals, plantings and other things left there on anniversaries?”

    “That’s a legitimate concern,” said Ehrlich, who told the committee the memorial aspect of the pavilion would take the form of a plaque that could be mounted to the structure or a sign hung or mounted nearby.

    Ehrlich said the memorial will be erected once the group has raised the estimated $90,000 needed to build it. Before construction begins, he said, he will seek final approval from the board.

    In other action, the board recommended approval for an expansion of the Yacht Club in Veterans Memorial Park.

    The roughly 600-square-foot addition to the east side of the building will provide additional meeting space for the club and a unisex, handicapped-accessible restroom.

    It will also allow the club to level off the floor of the building. Currently, there is a 6-inch difference in grade at that side of the building.

    Care was taken in designing the addition to ensure it fits in with the existing structure, club member Bill Driscoll said.

    “We want people to come in and say, ‘I love this old building,’ not ‘What a nice remodeling job,’” he said.

    Plans for the memorial and the Yacht Club addition will be reviewed by the Plan Commission Thursday, March 21.

    Contributions to the Tyler Buczek Memorial Fund may be sent to Port Washington State Bank and earmarked for the pavilion.


Image Information: A DRAWING shows a memorial pavilion to be built in Coal Dock Park to honor those who have died in Lake Michigan off Port Washington’s shore — including Tyler Buczek and Peter Dougherty, who both drowned last year. The pavilion was approved by the Port Washington Design Review Board Tuesday and will be reviewed by the Plan Commission Thursday, March 21.                            


 
City to tell homeowners about tree removal PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 13 March 2013 17:58

Port official says policy will be followed more closely after resident complained about not knowing ash would be cut down

    Port Washington officials on Tuesday said they will notify property owners before taking down trees in the right of way in front of their homes.

    That’s been the city’s policy for more than 15 years, but it hasn’t been followed recently, Street Supt. Dave Ewig told the Board of Public Works.

    “It wasn’t adhered to on a regular basis in recent years, I’m discovering,” Ewig said.

    That was discovered after a resident complained in January that he had not been notified before the city removed a healthy ash tree in front of his house — one of two white ash trees he had planted 29 years earlier and cared for ever since.

    Richard Thompson told the Common Council he and his wife nurtured the trees, even hiring an arborist to treat them when a flowering pod appeared on them several years ago.

    Because of that, he said, he was surprised when one of the trees in the parkeway in front of his house at 1724 Parknoll La. was removed.

    “It’s taken a long time for them to get to that size. We wanted to make sure they stayed healthy,” he said. “We value them for shade. They provided us with some privacy.”

    Ewig said the two trees were only 10 feet apart, and the one the city removed was being crowded out by the other.

    That’s especially important now because the emerald ash borer, an invasive pest that kills ash trees, seeks out weaker trees initially, officials said. They are taking an aggressive approach to ash trees, removing those that could have a detrimental effect on other, stronger trees or are in a state of decline, they added.

    The form the city uses to notify residents that a tree will be removed lists five reasons for this decision — structural weakness, hazardous condition, general declining condition, insect or disease and root damage — and workers will mark those conditions that apply.

    The notices aren’t mailed, but instead dropped off at houses, Ewig said.

    The street department tries to give homeowners at least two weeks notice before a tree is to be taken down, he added.

    Frequently, Ewig said, trees are marked with an orange X in August and the notices handed out, while the removal isn’t done until winter.

    When replacement trees are planted, another letter is sent out to the homeowner, Ewig said.

    Ald. Mike Ehrlich, a member of the board, suggested the department print the notices on brightly colored paper so home owners see them.

    “What if the homeowner is adamant they do not want the tree taken down?” Board Chairman Craig Czarnecki asked.

    “We take it down,” Ewig said, noting trees planted in the right of way are owned by the city.



 
Revised liquor license law OK’d PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 18:43

Port council approves ordinance changes that tighten rules for applicants

    With little discussion Tuesday, the Port Washington Common Council approved revisions to its liquor license law.

    Although the measure was initially met with resistance from current license holders, officials tweaked the law to ease some of their concerns while still strengthening the ordinance.

    City Administrator Mark Grams said Tuesday that he had not heard any comments from license holders since amending the proposed ordinance.

    Ald. Dan Becker lauded the city staff for working with current license holders to address their issues with the new ordinance, saying that was an important step.

    Most of the changes in the ordinance only affect applicants for new liquor licenses who must submit significantly more information to the city before their application can be approved.

    For example, new liquor license applicants must provide a detailed business plan to the city for approval and, in subsequent years, to obtain city approval for any substantive changes to that plan.

    This does not apply to existing license holders and will also not apply to family members or partners who take over a business, as long as they have been working at the business for at least one year.

    New license holders are also be required to meet with the police chief to formulate a security plan that could require the installation of security cameras inside the building.

    The revisions also reduce the number of causes for which a license can be revoked, suspended or not renewed from 10 to six. These are basically the same grounds outlined in state law.

    The impetus for the changes was the controversy over the denial of a liquor license for the former Foxy’s tavern late last year. Several aldermen said at the time they wanted to see the city’s licensing regulations tightened.

 
Tighter security awaits PW-S school visitors PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 19:33

Electronic locking controls, video cameras being installed this week at Lincoln, Dunwiddie, Saukville elementary schools

    The days of being able to walk right into Port Washington-Saukville schools are gone.

    Electronic locking controls, or so-called buzzer systems, and video cameras are being installed this week at the main entrances to Lincoln and Dunwiddie elementary schools in Port Washington, as well as Saukville Elementary School, at a total cost of $11,100, Jim Froemming, director of business services, said.

    Previously, the main entrances to schools remained unlocked during the school day and visitors were instructed to go to the office to sign in.

    Now, parents and other visitors have to ring a buzzer outside the main entrance and use an intercom system to request access to elementary schools. Video cameras that relay live images of the entrance to three monitors in each school office will allow staff members to see who is waiting to enter schools.

    “It will take a little getting used to,” Froemming told the Port Washington-Saukville School Board Building and Grounds Committee Monday, adding that the district’s goal is to retain “that warm, welcoming atmosphere in schools” while making them more secure.

    Installing buzzer systems at elementary schools became a priority after the Sandy Hook School shootings in Newtown, Conn., in December, but it is just the beginning of changes intended to tighten security at the district’s five schools and administrative office building.

    The committee on Monday authorized the hiring of an architect to design new entrances for elementary schools.

    The committee also recommended that the district use money from its fund equity account to pay for the security measures.

    School officials want to reconstruct elementary school entrances to create double-door systems that will allow visitors to wait in a secure vestibule before being let into schools.

    “We’re really not talking about structural changes at Dunwiddie and Saukville, but Lincoln will end up being more extensive,” Froemming said.

    At Dunwiddie and Saukville elementary schools, entrances are adjacent to the main offices, which allows secretaries to monitor who is entering the building.

    But at Lincoln Elementary School, the entrance is not near the office and gives visitors immediate access to a main hallway.

    “Lincoln doesn’t have a very welcoming entrance,” said School Board member Brenda Fritsch. “You just kind of walk into the building, and there you are. You can be in the building and no one knows you’re there.

    “As a parent, I’m thrilled by the changes.”    

    Redesigning the entrance to Lincoln Elementary School will likely mean constructing an addition onto the front of the building, school officials said.

    “Anytime you do something on the outside of a building it’s going to be expensive,” board member and committee chairman Brian McCutcheon said.

    Froemming said, “It’s cheaper to add onto the building than it is to demolish what you have inside and rebuild it.”

    Work on school entrances will likely be done over the summer, as will other security improvements.

    The district is planning to install electronic locks that are opened with programmable fobs on several outside doors at each elementary school. This will help ensure doors remain locked during the school day while giving select staff members the ability to open them if needed, for instance when children are coming in from recess or returning from a field trip.

    “The fobs are really nice because they’re software based and you can see who has accessed the doors and when,” Director of Special Services Duane Woelfel said, adding that the fobs can be reprogrammed remotely if the district wants to deny access to someone who previously had it.

    Security at Thomas Jefferson Middle School and the high school is less of a priority because those school underwent improvements several years ago. Both schools have electronic key fob systems, as well as entrances that restrict access beyond the main offices, although officials said additional improvements may be made.



 
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