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Port Washington


Canine complaints continue to dog town PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 05 June 2013 17:17

Port officials consider new regulations after residents say man has failed to stop animals from barking, running at large

     Complaints continued against a Town of Port Washington man whose dogs bark incessantly and run uncontrolled through the area.

    Dog owner Rick Goebel was recently been cited by the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Department for having a dog at large and for having a barking dog that causes a disturbance, according to court records.

    And Monday, Gerald Wiskow of 2091 Lower Ridge Rd. told the Port Washington Town Board he has been bothered by Goebel’s dogs for years.

    “I’m behind anything you can do to help alleviate the situation,” Wiskow said. “My yard’s small, but they manage to find it.”

    He’s particularly annoyed by the barking, which continues for a significant amount of time, Wiskow said.

    Just days after a recent Ozaukee Press article about neighbors’ complaints about the dogs, Wiskow said, the animals were running loose in a field behind his house during the afternoon.

    “I don’t think they just happened to get free,” he said.

    Town Attorney Steve Cain, who wrote to Goebel last September about dog-related complaints lodged against him, sent him another letter after neighbors asked for help in dealing with the problem last month.

    “It has become apparent that you have failed to rectify the issues outlined in my last correspondence,” Cain wrote. “The town’s concerns demand immediate attention.”

    Cain also asked Goebel to address complains of rubbish and junked vehicles on his property.

    In reply, Goebel said he generally tends his dogs between 9 and 10 p.m. to try and avoid disturbing neighbors.

    “I do not feel my animals are causing a noise disturbance,” he wrote.

    “I have an electronic kennel silencer that goes off at any loud noise. All of my neighbors who have been here with me the 22 years I have lived here have no problem with my dogs.”

    Goebel, who said he has been breeding English pointer hunting dogs for the past 15 years, said in his letter that he would build a higher fence on his property, and asked for 30 days to complete the work.

    He would also try to dispose of a couch left outdoors, Goebel said, adding he does not have junked vehicles in his yard.

    Town officials Monday noted that Cain is looking at potential regulations for dog breeders and limits on the number of animals housed in residential areas, while planners are also looking at the concept of requiring a conditional use permit for dog breeders operating in residential areas.

    They noted that they have fielded complaints about Goebel’s dogs for some time.

    Last month, a group of neighbors asked the Town Board for help in dealing with the animals, which they say have made it impossible for them to enjoy their homes and yards.

    Some said they are afraid to let their own pets outside for fear Goebel’s animals — he has as many as 14, they said — will attack them, while others said their children are afraid of the animals.

    Goebel and one of the neighbors got into a verbal argument about the issue while dropping refuse off at the town dumpster recently, officials said.

    “There were a lot of exclamation points and bad words used,” Town Chairman Jim Melichar said. The dump superintendent asked Goebel to leave, he said, adding both Goebel and the neighbor returned later to apologize.  

    Officials said that Goebel had been cited in the past, but he has pleaded not guilty and, when no one has shown up at pre-trial hearings to complain about the animals, the judge has dismissed the tickets.

    Goebel has recently been issued four citations from the Sheriff’s Department — on May 21 for having a dog at large and on April 3, May 21 and May 30 for having a barking dog causing a disturbance, according to court records.

    A July 8 trial date has been set in connection with the April 3 ticket, according to court records, while hearings are pending on the other cases. Each ticket carries a maximum fine of $162.70.


 
Anglers pitch in to improve breakwater safety PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 29 May 2013 17:44

Great Lakes Sport Fishermen’s donation for ladders, life rings comes on eve of congressman’s visit to discuss upgrade efforts

    The Great Lakes Sport Fishermen have donated enough money to buy adjustable-height ladders for the Port Washington breakwater and half of the 30-inch life rings that are needed there, Mayor Tom Mlada announced Tuesday.

    Mlada’s announcement came just days before city officials are scheduled to meet  with Congressman Tom Petri to discuss the condition of the deteriorating breakwater and options for improving safety there.

    Depending on weather, Petri will tour the breakwater with officials on Friday morning to see firsthand its condition, Mlada said.

    “The urgency of the situation is what we want to underscore,” he said. “The fact this is a health and safety issue, and that fixing it now makes a lot more fiscal sense than letting it fail and repairing it then.”    

    Mlada said the donation by the Sport Fishermen will help underscore the importance of repairing the breakwater.

    “It shows that we’re aware there is an imminent danger out there, and we’re not going to wait around,” he said. “As a community, we’re not just standing by looking for a life ring from the federal government, so to speak. We recognize this is a health and safety issue and something has to be done.”

    Mlada said he is hoping that Petri, a longstanding member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, can help the city navigate the federal process as it seeks funding and approval for the repairs from the Army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for the structure.

    He also hopes Petri will bring attention to the situation on the federal level, Mlada said.

    “We need help,” he said. “I think this is a good time to have this conversation. We need to let him (Petri) know this is important to us.”

    Mlada said officials from the Army Corps of Engineers are also expected to visit the city in the coming weeks to review the condition of the breakwater.

    The donation by the Great Lakes Sport Fishermen is the first from a civic organization since the Waterfront Safety Committee revealed an ambitious fundraising campaign to improve thousands of dollars to make the lakefront safer.

    Projects to be funded through the campaign include everything from signs displaying water conditions to life rings, as well as a series of cameras and call boxes  along the lakefront and a installing a WiFi system on the beach.

    Bob Hammen, president of the Port chapter of the Great Lakes Sport Fishermen, said members are concerned about the safety of everyone using the lakefront.

    Currently, there are no life rings on the breakwater and many of the ladders on its face are missing rungs and don’t come close to the surface of the water, making it difficult for anyone struggling in the lake to use them.

    “A lot of people use that breakwater,” Hammen said. “A lot of people fish off the breakwater for salmon, trout and perch. We’re concerned about its condition, and we don’t want to see anyone hurt there.”

    The club is also purchasing a camera for the marina that will be incorporated into the Waterfront Safety Committee’s plan to install cameras that could be used to aid in searches.

    “We figured our camera could become part of that effort,” Hammen said.

    There is no timetable yet for when the camera, life rings or ladders will be installed, Mlada said. “It’s encouraging that heading into summer we could get some of our safety measures implemented,” he said.



 
Port Street Festival returns Sunday PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 17:21

Sixth annual celebration to again provide variety of music, food and family fun

The sixth annual Port Washington Community Street Festival will be held from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, May 26.

    Franklin Street will be closed off for the festival, which is a celebration of the community and its downtown.

    As usual, music will play a big part in the festival.

    Featured at the north-side stage at Jackson Street will be Big Noise. The band, originally known as Hoochie Koo, performs a diverse song list focused on rock and pop hits from the past five decades. Along with cover material, the band also performs original material.

    At the south-side stage, local favorite Vinyl Groove will play its blend of vintage rock dance music from the 1960s through early ’80s.

    The bands will play throughout the fest.

    This year’s event will include many of the attractions found in previous years — booths by city businesses, bounce house, chalk drawings, face painting, a Port Washington Fire Department truck, the police department’s DARE vehicle and a variety of children’s games.

    The Port Washington High School pirate mascot and McGruff the Crime Dog will wander the grounds during the event.

    The Disney princesses — Cinderella, Belle and Snow White — will be on hand from 1 to 4 p.m. so youngsters can have their pictures taken with royalty.  

    Before having their pictures taken, girls can get their hair done at the Little Princess Boutique.

    A hole-in-one contest will be held in Rotary Park throughout the day. Golfers will try their hand at hitting a ball onto a hole set in a boat in the west slip.

    Children’s games sponsored by the Port Washington Parks and Recreation Department playground program will also be offered in the park from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.

    Charter fishermen will offer free boat rides throughout the festival.

    More than 60 vendors, including businesses and service clubs, will line Franklin Street selling a variety of items, including children’s books, fresh produce, plants, baked goods and more.

    Northern Cross Science Foundation will set up telescopes so people can safely view the sun.

    Ozaukee Sports Center will offer laser tag, and a number of city restaurants will have their specialties on hand for purchase.

    A full lineup of entertainment will be part of the festival.

    At the Performing Arts Stage in front of Port Washington State Bank, Impact Dance will entertain the crowd throughout the afternoon.

    Between performances, the troupe will offer children’s activities.

    Animals are prohibited on the grounds. However, Port Washington’s new dog park, Lucky Dog Park, will have a dog in a fenced area at its booth.


 
Truck driver charged with killing deer PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 17:15

West Bend man accused of intentionally spooking, running over animal in city

    A 29-year-old man was charged last week in Ozaukee County Circuit Court with intentionally killing a deer by running it over with his pickup truck near Port Washington’s south beach.

    West Bend resident Michael A. Cox, who faces one misdemeanor count of killing a deer without a license, flagged down a police officer at 5:26 a.m. Saturday, April 27, to report that he had accidentally hit a deer on South Beach Road just south of the WE Energies power plant while he was on his way to go fishing in the harbor, according to the criminal complaint.

    Cox said he wanted to claim the dead deer.

    But while speaking to Cox, the officer received a call from a dispatcher who said a WE Energies employee reported a different version of events.

    That employee told police he saw the red Dodge Ram pickup truck driven by Cox accelerate and hit the deer intentionally. And if authorities needed proof, the employee said, the entire incident was caught on power plant surveillance video.

    The video confirmed that report, as well as the account of another WE Energies employee who told authorities he saw Cox driving north on South Wisconsin, then stop at the intersection with South Beach Road where a number of deer were gathered.

    The employee said Cox appeared to be trying to spook the deer by flashing the truck’s headlights and making whistling noises. The deer ran east on South Beach Road and Cox followed, accelerating to a high rate of speed before hitting one of the animals, the complaint states.

    Despite the accounts of witnesses and the video, a passenger in Cox’s truck told police Cox did not intentionally hit the deer.

    Cox, however, admitted to spooking the deer and said that as the animals ran away, he “gunned” his truck and hit one of them. He told authorities, “It was more intentional than not,” according to the complaint.

    If convicted, Cox, who is scheduled to make his initial court appearance on June 14, could be fined between $1,000 and $2,000 and sentenced to six months in jail. He would be not be able to hold a hunting, fishing or trapping license for three years.

    Cox was also cited by police for endangering the safety of a person or property by reckless driving.

 
Town to hold referendum on clerk’s post PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 08 May 2013 17:15

Port board decides to ask residents next spring if they want office changed from elected to appointed

    Town of Port Washington residents will decide next spring whether to continue with an elected clerk or instead appoint the community’s next clerk.

    The Town Board on Monday decided to hold a referendum on the issue during the April 2014 election.

    “You don’t hurt anything by putting it on the ballot,” Supr. Mike Didier said.

    The impetus for the move was a spat between Town Clerk Jenny Schlenvogt and Town Chairman Jim Melichar over a land division.

    But Melichar praised Schlenvogt’s work as clerk Monday, saying “She is the most qualified in the town for the job. I think the town’s been running pretty smoothly except for a couple bumps in the road.”

    Town resident Teri Dylak, who recently retired after 23 years as the Village of Grafton clerk, urged the board to hold the referendum.

    An appointed clerk is the way to go, Dylak said.

    “It’s in the best interest of the town. It’s in the best interest of everybody,” she said. “It’s a position that takes a long time to feel comfortable in.”

    The clerk’s duties are many and varied, Dylak said, and it takes a long time to learn them.

    Because the clerk is elected every two years, there is the potential for turnover every other year, she said, and that “would be disruptive to the whole process.”

    Appointing a clerk would not only give the town the opportunity to select the best qualified person, it would provide security for the employee, Dylak said. Residents and businesses also would know that a trained person is filling the post and will be there when needed, she said.

    Appointing a clerk would make the process of filling the position simpler if the clerk resigns in mid-term, Melichar said.

    It would also eliminate the possibility that a clerk would be elected in a popularity contest, Didier said.

    “If it’s a personality contest, an unqualified person could get in,” he said.

    This will be the second time in recent history the town considers appointing its clerk. In 2010, residents rejected the change by a 25-vote margin.

 
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