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Judge forbids teen burglar to see friends PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 09 May 2012 17:51

Port 16-year-old who stole handgun from house spared prison but gets jail, probation with no-contact provision


    A 16-year-old Port Washington teenager who broke into a house and stole a handgun was spared time in prison but will spend the summer in the county jail.

    Then he better start looking for new friends.

    After withholding a prison sentence during a hearing Tuesday, Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Sandy Williams placed Joshua J. Young on probation for three years, then asked him who his friends are.

    Young, whose rationale for having a felony record at such a young age includes hanging around with a bad crowd and drug or alcohol use, named six friends. His parents added another name.

    Williams ordered him not to have contact with the friends he named for the duration of his probation.

    Young, who was 15 when he committed his crimes and was waived into adult court, pleaded no contest to a felony count of burglary becoming armed with a dangerous weapon for the Feb. 21 burglary of a house not far from his home on Port Washington’s west side.

    As a condition of probation, Williams ordered Young, who has been in jail awaiting a resolution to his case, to remain there until Sept. 1.

    “Then you’ll have a couple of days to get ready for school,” Williams said.

     Young also pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of concealing stolen property and guilty to misdemeanor marijuana possession in connection with the Feb. 21 burglary.

    In addition, he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of theft and concealing stolen property for what he called “car shopping,” or stealing items, mainly electronics, from cars. Police discovered the stolen items while investigating the burglary.

    Williams placed him on probation for two years for the misdemeanors.

    Four other misdemeanor charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

    “You’re not unfamiliar to me, Mr. Young,” Williams said, referring to Young’s juvenile record.

    In response to questions from the judge, Young acknowledged he had appeared before Williams about a month before the burglary on a juvenile charge. He recalled that he apologized and said he wouldn’t break the law again.

    “A thief and a person not of his word — that’s you, Mr. Young,” Williams said.

    Williams, who ordered Young to comply with a long list of probation conditions that includes not having contact with the victims of the burglary and performing 500 hours of community service, reminded him what would happen if he violated any of those rules.

    “If you screw up, whether it’s me or another judge, they will not hesitate to send you to prison because you have proven yourself worthy,” Williams said. “Isn’t that sad? At age 16, you’ve proven yourself worthy of prison.”

    Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Feb. 21, Young broke into a house on Portview Drive. In addition to a handgun, he stole about $120 in cash and collectible coins.

    It took police only a day to trace the burglary to Young, whose house they searched on Feb. 22. In addition to finding the stolen gun, cash and collector coins, officers found a laptop computer and accessories, video camera and GPS unit that were stolen from unlocked vehicles.

    Although Young was facing a maximum prison sentence of 15 years on the burglary conviction alone, Assistant District Attorney Jeff Sisley and Young’s lawyer, public defender Adrian Renner, argued that he should be placed on probation rather than sent to prison because of his age and the fact he didn’t contest the prosecution’s effort to waive him into adult court.

    Renner also pointed out that Young took responsibility for his crimes and sought a quick resolution to his cases.

    In a calm voice, Young told Williams, “I fully understand how horrible the crime I committed is. I understand I violated the security of this family. I understand they probably hate me, but I’m sorry for what I did.”

    Williams said she had considered a far more serious punishment for Young.

    “While Mr. Sisley wasn’t considering a prison sentence, I was,” she said. “You have no clue how important someone’s home is to them. You haven’t been a father doing whatever he can to protect his family.

    “There’s a saying that a man’s home is his castle. That’s the only place we can all retreat to ... and you violated that for this family.”

    According to the other conditions of Young’s probation, he must pay $1,341 in restitution and $1,240 in court costs, not possess, use or be around alcohol or non-prescribed drugs, undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and submit to random drug and alcohol tests.


 
Hwy. 33 work means traffic will move to outer lanes PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 18:11

    Traffic along the Highway 33 reconstruction project will be moving in the next couple of weeks, Port Washington Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven told the Common Council Tuesday.

    The stretch of highway between Tower and Portview drives in the city will be paved within the next two weeks. The road will remain closed while sidewalks are installed and landscaping done, he said, but it should be open by the end of May.

    “I want to push them to get it open for Memorial Day,” Vanden Noven said.

    Traffic along the bulk of the project will be moving to the outer lanes on either side of the median during the week of May 14, he added.

    That will allow crews to work on the medians and the center of the roadabouts, Vanden Noven said.

    Roundabouts will be constructed at Highway LL in Port Washington and Northwoods Road and Market Street in Saukville.

    Right now, he said, crews are working on the bike paths along Highway 33, the sidewalk along Highway LL and placing the light fixtures atop the poles in the medians.

    “We’re in for a traffic shift soon,” Vanden Noven said.

    Ald. Dan Becker questioned whether the Highway LL sidewalk north of Highway 33 will end abruptly without being linked to existing walkways.

    It is, and Becker said the city should now plan to link the path to an existing walkway so pedestrians aren’t stranded.

    “I totally agree,” Vanden Noven said. “It should be done.”

    But because of the terrain, the work will require engineering and a retaining wall will have to be built to extend the walkway to Aster Street.

    “It’s not going to happen this year,” Vanden Noven said.

 
More kudos for downtown Port PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 18:45

State group gives awards for Baltica Tea Room work, creation of new website


    The renovations at Baltica Tea Room and Gift Shop and the website operated jointly by Port Washington Main Street, the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Council received Main Street Awards from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. Friday.

    Also honored were Jill Kirst, Port Main Street’s volunteer of the year, and Marcia Endicott, board member of the year.

    Baltica Tea Room and its owners, Urzula Cholewinska and her husband Dan Micha, received the award for best interior renovation project.

    The project, which converted a dated jewelry store into a bright restaurant and shop, was honored for the attention to detail and the historic nature of the renovation, Main Street Director Sara Grover said.

    “They researched and researched the building, and they were very careful to observe the history of the building as they renovated it,” she said.

    The project also had a green aspect to it, she said, noting that the couple reused as many pieces of the original building as possible and also recycled items not used, such as the Vitrolite panels that were on the front facade.

    The renovation was originally nominated in another category, Grover noted, but the judges moved it to the interior renovation division to ensure the work got the recognition it deserved.

    “We’re so excited about it,” Cholewinska said. “It’s been a fun journey. When we bought the building in January 2011, we knew we had an 1854 Italianate-style building. We uncovered a lot of architectural details and clues to its history. “

    The clues included the original tin ceiling, which had been hidden under a false ceiling, and old paneling that was used as inspiration for similar panels in the front and back of the shop, Cholewinska said.

    “We had a great vision for it, and we had a great crew who supported it,” she said including architect Vince Micha, contractor John Sauermilch Jr., Joe Lawniczak  of the Wisconsin Main Street program, Port Main Street and the City of Port.

    The couple’s decision to cover the facade while renovating the building also helped to build excitement about the project, Cholewinska said.

    “That created immense curiosity,” she said. “When we finally unveiled it, many people walked in in awe.”

    The excitement is continuing throughout downtown as more buildings are being occupied and renovated, Cholewinska added.

    “Getting involved in all that’s happening in Port Washington is a dream come true,” she said. “I think the excitement is building. We’ve talked to a lot of business owners, and they feel it too.”

    The website www.visitportwashington.com was lauded by the state in large part because it is a joint venture between Main Street, the Tourism Council and Chamber of Commerce, Grover said.

    “We are unique to the state,” Grover said. “We’ve worked together to provide all the information citizens and tourists want and need. We’ve done our homework to make sure it’s visible and people are able to use it easily.”

    The site’s mobile app will be a significant asset for tourism, she said, noting many visitors are not planning ahead but instead stopping in communities on the spur of the moment.

    “The app gives them a constant source of information,” Grover said, as will the QR code to scan.

    “This really portrays Port Washington as a destination.”

    Tourism Executive Director Kathy Tank concurred, adding that the site provides information not only for visitors but for people who are looking for a location to open a business, businesspeople who want to network and residents in need of services.

    It is especially gratifying to know the state organization will use Port’s site as an example of community collaboration, Tank said.

    Kirst was recognized for the many roles she has played with Main Street since it was formed in 2008, Grover said, especially as volunteer coordinator for Maritime Heritage Festival.

    Endicott has worked on a number of initiatives, including the BIZ breakfasts and is chairing a masquerade ball planned for fall.


Image Information: BALTICA TEA ROOM in Port Washington and its owners, Urzula Cholewinska and her husband Dan Micha, received an award for the best interior renovation project by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp last week. The couple’s son Jakub, who stood next to his mother, showed off the award Tuesday. The project was nominated for the award by Port Washington Main Street.       Photo by Sam Arendt

 
Harley event could bring 20,000 riders to Port in 2013 PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 18 April 2012 18:36

Main Street plan for street festival held in conjunction with motorcycle maker’s anniversary bash endorsed by council


    Port Washington will be in hog heaven next year.

    City officials on Tuesday gave their approval to a plan by Port Washington Main Street and Suburban Harley-Davidson in Thiensville to host a street festival in conjunction with the iconic motorcycle-maker’s 110th anniversary celebration over Labor Day weekend 2013.

    The festival, which is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 29, would be held at the beginning of the anniversary celebration, organizers said.

    It  would run from 3 to 11 p.m. and initial estimates are that it could draw as many as 20,000 people to downtown Port, Main Street Executive Director Sara Grover said.

    “This would be a massive undertaking,” Grover said. “We never take an event lightly.”

    Suburban officials will seek Harley-Davidson’s endorsement to see if the event could be designated as an official part of the anniversary celebration, said Amy Gannon, a member of the organizing committee. If the company endorses it, the festival would be listed on the official anniversary celebration tickets that will go out to roughly 500,000 riders, she said.

    Even if it isn’t endorsed by the corporation, it will still go on, organizers said.

    The one-time festival, which would be patterened after Main Street’s Community Street Festival, would be held on Franklin Street and Grand Avenue, stretching from the foot of St. Mary’s Hill to the corner of Wisconsin and Franklin streets next to City Hall. Among the attractions would be music, a variety of vendors from within the city and outside the community and fireworks.

    Local businesses would be encouraged to stay open until 10 p.m. that day.

    “There are a lot of great ideas right now,” said Cathy Wilger, a member of the organizing committee. “The excitement seems to be growing as more and more people find out about this.”

    Funding for the festival would come largely through sponsorships and in-kind donations, the organizers said. Grover said she will also seek a grant to help defray expenses.

    Ald. Jim Vollmar said that, although he likes the idea of the festival, he is worried that the city may not attract many of the motorcycle riders. When Harley celebrated its centennial, the city prepared for an influx of visitors but only a few showed up, he said.

    “I’m enthusiastic about this, but I’m concerned we might get ready for a big party and no one comes,” he said.

    Gannon noted that Suburban Harley is one of the state’s largest Harley-Davidson dealerships, and the company decided it wanted to host a celebration in Port. That support will help draw people to the city for the event, she said.

    “Everything we’re doing is to truly set us apart from the other block parties (being held by other dealerships in conjunction with the anniversary celebration),” Gannon said.

    Wilger also noted that Suburban Harley is talking about developing a lakefront motorcycle ride that would lead enthusiasts to Port Washington.

    City officials were enthusiastic about the idea.

    “Obviously we’re a tourist town. We like bringing people into our community. This is a unique event,” Ald. Dan Becker said. “I don’t see anything bad that can come of this.”

    Ald. Paul Neumyer, a retired Mequon police officer and current acting Thiensville police chief, said that when Suburban last hosted a party for Harley’s anniversary, everything went smoothly.

 
PW-S board closes book on $2.6 million referendum PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 11 April 2012 17:20

District makes final payment on maintenance work loan that changed school officials’ approach to borrowing


    Just nine years after winning voter approval to borrow $2.6 million, the Port Washington-Saukville School Board has repaid the loan and is free of referendum debt.

    The district made its last payment of $465,000 at the beginning of the month.

    “This is terrific,” Supt. Michael Weber said. “We have no referendum debt. There just aren’t many districts in this situation.

    “This is a milestone for me. In all the years I’ve been a superintendent (22), I’ve never been in a district that has made a final payment on its referendum debt until now.”

    The money was spent on a host of improvement projects throughout the district that included heating upgrades, a new Port Washington High School gym floor and a makeover of outdoor athletic facilities.

    “For what we were able to accomplish with $2.6 million, this was a good referendum,” Weber said.

    More than allowing the district to accomplish deferred maintenance projects, the referendum, and its failed predecessor, set the tone for the district for years to come.        In November 2002, voters rejected a more costly referendum proposal. Stunned but determined to fund a more austere improvement initiative, school officials turned to their constituents for guidance.

    “I remember walking through Harry’s (restaurant) and people saying, ‘OK, Patty, you asked for our input so you better sit down and talk with us for awhile,’” School Board President Patty Ruth said.

    Board member Myron Praeger said, “We actually run our district the way we do today because we asked the community what it thought and we listened.”

    Five months after the referendum defeat, voters approved a revised borrowing plan and officials vowed to change the way they did business.    

    First, a School Board wary of saddling the district with long-term debt decided to repay the $2.6 million in just nine years despite foreseeable financial challenges.

    “To take such a short term on this amount of money really shows the fiscal responsibility of the board,” Director of Business Services Jim Froemming said.

    Then the board made good on a pledge Weber announced prior to the second referendum vote by creating a budget line item for building and grounds maintenance so the district would not have to ask voters again for permission to borrow for routine upgrades.

    Today, the district has a $200,000 maintenance fund and is considering increasing it to $300,000.

    “Eventually, we may need to go to referendum to take care of expensive projects like the replacement of roofs, but that’s a lot different than going to referendum to fund yearly maintenance,” Weber said.

 
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