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.
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.
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Wednesday, 10 August 2011 19:38
Field of potential successors to department’s outgoing leader includes three out-of-state candidates
Five people — three of them from out of state — have applied to become Port Washington’s next police chief, officials said.
The other two applicants are from Wisconsin, but outside Ozaukee County, Police and Fire Commission chairman Rick Nelson said Tuesday.
Advertisements for the position were posted on Aug. 1, Nelson said, and the first application, which was from someone in South Milwaukee, was received by the city on Aug. 4.
“I have no idea how many applicants we’re going to get,” he told the commission Monday, noting that the last time the city sought a police chief, 72 applications were received after a
This time, the city is only advertising for applicants throughout Wisconsin.
Thomas, who has been chief since August 2005, has announced he will retire effective Dec. 31.
Nelson said he was surprised that the initial candidates for the job came from outside the area, noting officers working nearby knew about the opening before it was advertised.
“It’s kind of interesting (that most of the first applications came from outside the state),” Nelson said.
Those applications came from Connecticut, New York and Georgia, he said.
“That’s the power of the Internet,” commission member Mike Mueller said.
Commission member Terry Tietyen said the city should anticipate a number of applications from area officers.
“I will guarantee we will have several in-county candidates,” said Tietyen, a retired Mequon police officer. “I can name several.”
Officials have said there are five potential candidates in the department — Captain Mike Keller and lieutenants Kevin Hingiss, Mike Davel, Tom Barbuch and Eric Leet.
Applications will be accepted by the city through 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31. A committee of five police chiefs from outside Ozaukee County will screen the applications on Sept. 7, and
those that make the initial cut will be presented to the commission on Sept. 12.
The candidates will answer essay questions, then be interviewed by the commission. The finalists will then go to an assessment center for evaluation.
The finalists will then have a final interview with the commission, after which background checks and physical evaluations will be performed. The commission will then selecte its finalist.
Commission members will be able to review all the applications as they come in, the group agreed Monday.
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 18:36
Resident who says she’s irritated by smell of dryer sheets plans petition drive to have nuisance ordinance enforced
For Amy Leder, the distinctive odor of dryer sheets that sometimes lingers over parts of Port Washington is a cloying stench that brings on a physical reaction.
“It clogs my throat. It gives me a headache,” Leder said. “It doesn’t happen that often, but when it happens, I can’t be outside.”
Leder, who lives on West Walters Street, said she is circulating a petition calling for the Kleen Test Products to contain the odor within its plant at 603 N. Moore Rd.
“This action will greatly enhance the quality of life and business opportunities in Port Washington, reduce allergic discomfort ... as well as save residents money by not having to air condition their homes to exclude the stink of Kleen Test,” the petition reads in part.
“They don’t have to close it down,” Leder said. “I just want them to get a better filtration system.”
Leder said she didn’t know about the company when she moved to Port Washington more than two years ago.
“If I had known I had to smell dryer sheets, on some days really intensely, I would not have moved here,” she said.
“Since I’ve been here, I find very few people say, ‘I love the smell of Kleen Test.’ Some people don’t notice it. Most people can’t stand it.”
Leder said she has called City Hall and Kleen Test to complain about the odor to no avail. Because of that, she put together a petition asking the city to enforce its public nuisance ordinance in regard to the odor.
City Administrator Mark Grams said the city has received few complaints about the company in recent years.
“She (Leder) is the first to complain in a long time,” he said.
Several years ago, he said, the city received a number of complaints about the odor, but since then the company has installed a new filtratation system and instituted a policy not to leave doors open.
That has largely solved the problem, Grams said, although there are occasions when the distinctive scent can be detected in the city.
“I haven’t smelled it much lately,” he added.
Mayor Scott Huebner said he, too, has received few complaints about the company.
“If the company’s not emitting anything hazardous, I don’t see where we would take any action,” he said. “If any action needs to be taken, it would probably have to be through the Department of Natural Resources.”
Huebner noted that many communities have distinctive smells, not all of them pleasant, and they linger all the time.
“You go to the Fox Valley and you smell paper mills,” he said. “This isn’t an everyday smell. They have taken steps in the past to minimize the odor. I don’t think it’s been as bad as in the past.”
Ron Dillahunt of the DNR said the agency has not received any complaints about Kleen Test for the past couple years.
“I have talked to a few people about Kleen Test in the past,” he said, adding that the DNR worked with the firm in the past to minimize odors.
The firm uses internal air scrubbers to reduce odors at the plant, he said, and keeps its doors closed.
“Those are the main things they can do,” he said.
The firm, he said, is not required to have an air permit from the DNR because its emissions are below the standards set by the agency.
Odor regulations are subjective, Dillahunt said, adding that the agency looks at frequency, intensity, duration and objectionability.
“It is not a foul-smelling odor,” he said, “The intensity hasn’t been that high when I’ve smelled it.”
A call to Kleen Test Products for comment was not returned.