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Port Washington


Candidates list for police chief pared by panel PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 14 September 2011 21:30

The Port Washington Police and Fire Commission on Monday trimmed the list of 29 candidates for police chief almost in half, Chairman Rick Nelson said.

In doing this, the commission accepted without change the recommendation of a committee of five area police chiefs who reviewed the applications and initially narrowed the list of potential candidates.

Brown Deer Police Chief Steve Rinzel, head of the panel of chiefs, went over the applications and the city’s criteria for its new chief with the commission in closed session Monday.

“We thought they did a terrific job,” Nelson said.

Nelson said the new, narrower list includes a “substantial number” of applicants from within the department, but would not say if all five of the candidates from the Port police department remain in the running.

All five of the potential candidates in the department applied for the job, Nelson said.

“Thanks to Chief (Richard) Thomas, our guys really are quite qualified,” he said. “He’s sent them to leadership classes, management schools.”

The remaining candidates will now be asked to answer a list of about six questions that will be sent to them this week, Nelson said. These will be due in about two weeks, after which the panel will again trim the list of applicants. The commission is expected to review that list when it meets in October, and will either accept the chiefs’ recommendation or cull the list further, Nelson said.

Those remaining in the running for chief — Nelson said he expects the number will be six or seven — will then be sent to an assessment center in late October or early November.

After that, the commission will hold one-on-one interviews with the finalists before selecting a successor to Thomas, he said. A background check will be done following the selection.

Thomas, who has been the department’s chief since August 2005, is retiring on Dec. 31. The commission hopes to have his successor on the job before that time.

 
Historic firehouse goes on the market PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 07 September 2011 17:38

City to list building with local real estate firm for $249,900, give Historical Society two weeks to bid


The Port Washington Common Council Tuesday agreed to list the historic firehouse with Re/Max United with an asking price of $249,900.

The firm was one of two the city considered to market the building at the corner of Pier and Wisconsin streets in downtown. The other was Grubb Ellis of Milwaukee.

“They’re pretty equal,” Randy Tetzlaff, the city’s director of planning and development, told aldermen of the two firms’ proposals. “The marketing is identical, really. One is local. One has a little bit more of a national reputation.”

Re/Max United, which is based in Port Washington, proposed a 6% commission, adding that the sale price would likely be “a lot less,” Tetzlaff said.

Grubb Ellis had proposed an asking price of $225,000 for the property, but noted that the sale price would likely be between $175,000 and $199,000 because of the required mechanical updates and maintenance issues. Its commission would have been 7%.

City Administrator Mark Grams said that it may serve the city well to go with Grubb Ellis.

“We’ve already tried locally to sell the building,” he said.

But aldermen spoke unanimously in favor of listing the property with Re/Max United, a local firm.

Ald. Joe Dean made the motion to list the property with Re/Max, specifying there would be a two-week period during which the Port Washington Historical Society could come forward with a bid for the property. Re/Max’s commission would be reduced to 2.4% if the society successfully negotiated a purchase by then.

“I think 14 days is plenty of time given that they’ve had ample time to discuss this,” Dean said. “The writing has been on the wall for a long, long time.”

The Historical Society has long been interested in acquiring the building for use as a museum and offices. Its officials have asked the city to retain ownership of the property and lease it to the group for a nominal annual fee.

Ald. Jim Vollmar, who cast the lone ballot against listing the building, said Re/Max officials may have more success coming up with a workable plan for the Society to purchase the building.

“Tom Didier (of Re/Max) may have some ideas they could use,” he said.

Vollmar said his vote against the listing contract reflects his belief the city should not sell the historical building.

“I think it’s an asset to the community,” Vollmar said, adding he would like to see the Port Washington Historical Society take control of the building, either through a lease or purchase.

“I’d rather see the Historical Society succeed in its goal of making the city a historic attraction,” he said. “I just came back from Europe, and over there it’s all about museums and historic places.”

The sale of the historic firehouse is the last part of a complex deal the city made to keep Franklin Energy, a successful business, in the community. The firm is leasing the top floor of the Smith Bros. Marketplace building and renting its former home on Foster Street to the city, which converted it into the new senior center.

A key to making that deal work was the plan that the city would sell the former senior center — the historic firehouse — and use the proceeds to offset the cost.

 
Port police chief job draws a crowd PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 17:27

Soon-to-be-vacant post attracts more than 20 applicants, including two department members, before deadline


Twenty-three people applied to become Port Washington’s new police chief by Wednesday morning, just hours before the 5 p.m. Aug. 31 deadline, Police and Fire Commission Chairman Rick Nelson said.

“I’m a little surprised,” Nelson said. “I expected a few more, but a lot of the time a number of applications come in the last day or two before the deadline so the number should increase.”

There are about eight candidates from out of state, Nelson said, but the vast majority are from throughout Wisconsin.

Two applicants are from within the department, he said, adding he expected at least one more candidate from the department to apply before the Wednesday evening deadline.

There are five potential candidates in the department — Captain Mike Keller and lieutenants Kevin Hingiss, Mike Davel, Tom Barbuch and Eric Leet — who meet the standards set for the job, commission members have said.

Applications postmarked by Aug. 31 will be considered by the commission, he noted.

In 2005, the last time the city sought a new police chief, 72 applications were received after a nationwide search.

“There are some highly qualified candidates,” Nelson said of the field of applicants. “Those who meet the criteria set by the commission really meet it and are highly qualified. Some have significant life experiences. Some have master’s degrees and even beyond. Some have gone to some really fine schools.

“There are also some that I look at and wonder why they’re sending in an application.”

A panel of five area police chiefs will do the initial review of applications next week and recommend a list of candidates to interview, Nelson said.

The commission will review that list in closed session during its Monday, Sept. 12, meeting, he said, noting the group can accept the list, or add or subtract candidates from it.

The panel of police chiefs will then do face-to-face interviews with the candidates, Nelson said.

The field will then be narrowed, with the finalists being sent to an assessment center, probably in October, he said.

“I’d like to get it (the list) to no more than a half-dozen,” Nelson said.

The commission will then interview the finalists before selecting a successor to Chief Richard Thomas, probably in November, he said. A background check will be done following the selection.

Commission members would like the new chief to be on the staff in time to work with Thomas, who has been the chief since Aug. 29, 2005, before his retirement on Dec. 31.

The commission has discussed the possibility of allowing all the candidates from within the department to continue through the entire selection process, Nelson said, but no decision has been made.

The requirements for the new chief include:

A bachelor’s degree in business, public administration, criminal justice or a closely related field.

Additional training from the FBI National Academy, Northwestern University, Southern Police Institute or similar law-enforcement institution.

At least 10 years of progressively responsible law-enforcement experience, including five years in a command position.


A valid driver’s license and be eligible for Wisconsin law-enforcement certification. That certification must be attained within one year.

Applicants must be willing to move to the City of Port Washington within one year of their appointment.

They must be serious about such things as accreditation, consolidation, community-oriented policing, collaboration with Ozaukee County and other police agencies
and budgeting.

 
Port’s Hwy. 33 assessments total $295,000 PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 24 August 2011 18:04

Council to determine charges property owners will face for improvements done in road project

A preliminary resolution calling for special assessments to cover a portion of the cost of new sidewalks, curbs and gutters for the Highway 33 project was to be considered by the Port Washington Common Council Wednesday night.

The preliminary assessments, which cover work on highway 33 and LL, as well as Freeman Drive, range from $196 for a residential lot to $27,600 for the Aurora Advanced Healthcare property, according to the resolution.

Ozaukee County would also be assessed $65,600 for work along its land fronting Highway LL, according to the resolution.

The assessments total $295,000.

Before the assessments become final, a public hearing will be held. Property owners would be notified both of the meeting and the assessment charges and terms.

Property owners are typically given five years to pay the assessments.

A number of assessments are for land in the Town of Port Washington. The city traditionally holds such assessments until these properties are annexed into the city.

Construction crews recently removed the Highway LL embankment on the south side of Highway 33 and are continuing to work on a stormwater detention pond in that area, Port Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said.

The embankment on the north side will be removed “very soon,” he said.

Crews will begin installing curbs between Northwoods Road and Sweetwater Drive on Thursday, Aug. 25, he said, noting storm sewers have already been installed in that area.

All of the storm sewer work is expected to be completed by mid September, Vanden Noven said.

The $12 million Highway 33 project, which extends from Tower Drive in Port Washington west to an area east of Highway W in Saukville, involves replacing the two-lane road with a four-lane divided highway, complete with turn lanes, curb and gutter, sidewalks, bike lanes, landscaping and new lighting.

The Highway LL overpass will be replaced by a roundabout, one of three traffic circles included in the project. The others are in Saukville at Northwoods Road and Market Street.

While the bulk of the work will be done this year, several  parts of the project, including rebuilding the road between Portview and Tower drives in Port Washington, won’t be completed until spring 2012.

Officials said recently that work on the project is four to six weeks behind the contractor’s schedule, adding they are looking at their options to get the project back on schedule.

A priority for the state is opening Highway LL and the roundabouts by the end of the year, Vanden Noven told the Common Council recently. 

“It is a near certainty that traffic over winter will be over the newly constructed eastbound lanes,” he said, adding the westbound lanes probably won’t be completed until next year.

 
Drunken driver gets 3 years for hitting bicyclist PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 17 August 2011 18:17

A 35-year-old Port Washington woman  was sentenced to three years in prison last week for running over a bicyclist while she was driving drunk for the third time.

Ann C. Stelling was also sentenced to three years extended supervision, as well as additional probation and jail time because she continued to drink after the accident in violation of a judge’s order.

“Third-offense drunken driving is serious in itself, but here we had somebody who was just taking a ride on an early fall evening with every safety device he was supposed to have and someone who’s essentially blind drunk drives right over him,” Ozaukee Circuit Judge Paul Malloy said, adding that Stelling had a blood-alcohol level of more than three times the legal limit.

Injured in the Sept. 16, 2010, accident was Robert Splan, 44, who was riding his mountain bike north on Wisconsin Street in Port Washington when, at about 7:30 p.m., Stelling hit him from behind.

Splan, a Town of Port Washington resident who said he was following all traffic laws and had lights on the front and rear of his bike and reflective material on a bag and his shoes, was thrown from his bike and hit a metal garbage can, he said in court last week.

“The accident was extremely traumatic for me,” he said. “I was thrown so hard that I dented a galvanized garbage can in half.”

Splan said he suffered a concussion and torn rotator cuff and has spent the last 11 months recuperating. He said he will also have to undergo surgery to repair his shoulder injury.

Splan objected to Assistant District Attorney Patti Wabitsch’s recommendation that Stelling be sentenced to two years in prison and three years extended supervision for hitting him.

“I don’t think two years in prison is enough,” Splan said. “I spent three months in rehab and suffered symptoms of my concussion for six months. Now I’m going to have to have surgery and they say I may only recover 80 to 85% of the use of my shoulder.

“That’s two years of my life that I’ll be dealing with this because a person made the decision to drive drunk.”

In addition to his injuries, Splan said, he suffered financial harm because he cannot pay the thousands of dollars worth of medical bills he incurred after the accident.

“I’m lucky she (Stelling) has insurance, but they haven’t paid anything,” he said. “I receive bills every day. My credit rating has dropped 265 points.”

Wabitsch said Splan is seeking $13,229 in restitution to cover existing medical bills and will have other medical expenses from his shoulder surgery.

Splan said Stelling has added insult to injury by not taking responsibility for the accident.

“She’s never once apologized,” he said. “She said I caused the accident.”

According to the criminal complaint, Stelling told police shortly after the accident that Splan was biking on Douglas Street and rode onto Wisconsin Street in front of her vehicle.

But a witness said he saw Stelling, who was driving north on Wisconsin Street, suddenly swerve to the right and hit Splan, who was also heading north on Wisconsin Street.

In court last week, Stelling’s attorney, Perry Lieuallen, said his client has not made excuses for her actions but has been limited in what she can say by her insurance company.

“She merely told the insurance company that she didn’t see him (Splan),” Lieuallen said. “Her insurance company, which is American Family, has told my client not to send any letters of apology, which she has wanted to do. I can’t let her say anything today because the insurance company has told me not to.”

Wabitsch said the fact that this was Stelling’s third drunken driving conviction is telling.

“She has not learned her lesson,” Wabitsch said. “She’s a danger to herself and the community, and now an innocent victim has been hurt.”

The recommended sentence is severe enough to teach Stelling a lesson and protect the community, Wabitsch said.

“Two years is a long time for someone who has never been in prison,” she said.

In June, Stelling pleaded no contest to charges of drunken driving causing injury and third offense drunken driving.

Malloy sentenced Stelling to three years in  prison and three years extended supervision on the drunken driving causing injury conviction, a felony punishable by a maximum six years in prison. He ordered that she be eligible for the earned-release program after serving two years in prison, meaning she could be released early.

Malloy ordered her to pay a fine of $2,400 and revoked her driver’s license in connection with the third-offense drunken driving conviction.

Stelling also pleaded no contest to two felony charges of bail jumping, which were issued after she tested positive for alcohol on Jan. 14 and March 18. Malloy had ordered her to maintain absolute sobriety while free on bail.

The judge sentenced her to 30 days in the county jail on one of the bail jumping convictions. On the other, he withheld a prison sentence, placed her on probation for two years and ordered her to serve 45 days in jail.

 
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