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Churches join hands to fight hunger PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 03 March 2010 18:50

Catholic parishes in Port, Saukville try to raise $17,000 for Lenten challenge to feed 100,000 needy people

Three Catholic parishes in Port Washington and Saukville have taken on a daunting Lenten challenge — raising $17,000 to buy, pack and ship 100,000 meals to needy people throughout the world.

It’s more than just a fund-raiser, said Linda Gottlieb, who is spearheading the effort on behalf of the parishes’ Human Concerns Committee.

Local volunteers are needed to pack the meals over a three-day period in April, giving area residents a hands-on way to help alleviate hunger throughout the world.

“It’s going to be a pretty amazing thing,” Gottlieb said. “To see our communities come together for something like this is wonderful.”

The parishes — St. Peter of Alcantara and St. Mary’s in Port and Immaculate Conception in Saukville — aren’t limiting their efforts to their congregations, but have asked other churches throughout the county to participate.

“I want to involve all of Ozaukee County,” Gottlieb said.

“I know we have food pantries here in Ozaukee County and there are a lot of people who are struggling. But many of us are very, very, very blessed. Just think, a $2 cup of coffee is how many meals?”

The meals, which cost 17 cents each, are a mixture of rice, soy protein, dehydrated vegetables, vitamins and minerals. Distributed to the needy in more than 60 countries worldwide, they are cooked with boiling water.

“In three months time, these people go from nearly dead and emaciated to plump and healthy,” Gottlieb said. “It just builds them up.

“Many of these meals go to children in schools, and for many of these children it’s their only meal.”

The project is being coordinated through Feed My Starving Children, a Christian nonprofit hunger relief organization founded in 1987. The agency has four permanent meal assembly sites and also runs mobile operations.

The agency packed 9.5 million meals at mobile sites in 2008 and was expected to make 20 million meals last year, according to its Web site.

The local effort is one of five planned in Wisconsin this spring, the Web site states.

Each Lenten season, the Human Concerns Committee selects an international effort to fund. Last year, Gottlieb said, the committee at St. Peter’s and St. Mary’s raised $2,500 during Lent and sent it to Feed My Starving Children.

Gottlieb said she became aware of the organization about four years ago after reading about it in a newspaper. She later worked a two-hour shift at the agency’s Aurora, Ill., facility packing food.

“It was an amazing experience,” she said. “I was so moved by the experience. I can’t even describe how it felt. Two hours goes by in an instant.

“It really is an exciting thing to do.”

The local parishes have already raised almost $5,000, enough for more than 28,500 meals, Gottlieb said.

“Ten dollars here, $20 there, it all adds up,” she said. “Everybody’s pennies count. Seventeen cents can go a long way.”
 
About 550 volunteers are needed to pack the food on April 8 through 10. Three shifts will be run each day — more if the committee exceeds its fund-raising goal and can pack more meals — at Portal Industries in Grafton.

“Their facility is perfect for this,” Gottlieb said.

Volunteers can be as young as 5, although the youngest helpers will need to be supervised by an adult.

Bulk ingredients for the meals will be brought to Portal by Feed My Starving Children. There, volunteers will use premeasured scoops to pack the meals.

Fifteen volunteers can pack 4,000 meals in two hours, Gottlieb said.

At the end of each shift, the volunteers place their hands on the boxes and say a prayer for safe delivery of the food.

“In all the years they’ve operated this, there has only been two times when the shipments didn’t get where they were supposed to,” Gottlieb said.

The meals are distributed by a variety of relief organizations to the needy in countries that include Haiti, Liberia, Ghana, Columbia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Raising $17,000 and packing 100,00 meals is an ambitious goal, Gottlieb acknowledged, but it’s one she is confident can be achieved.

“If people look at their lives and think how many meals they can pay for without hurting — it’s simply amazing,” she said. “I think that once people know about this, they will respond.

“I hope God works through all of us. This can be something incredible.”

Tax-deductible contributions to the effort can be sent to St. Peter of Alcantara Parish, 1800 N. Wisconsin St., Port Washington. Checks should be made out to Feed My Starving Children.

Anyone seeking more information or who would like to volunteer their time to pack food may call Gottlieb at 284-7288  or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
Port town clerk trades job for city post PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 24 February 2010 18:23

Westerbeke will leave longtime position March 8 to begin working as deputy clerk, administrative assistant

Town of Port Washington Clerk Susan Westerbeke is resigning her post effective Monday, March 8 — the day she begins her new job as the deputy city clerk for the City of Port Washington.

“Susan is going to be greatly missed. She’s done a phenomenal job as clerk,” Town Chairman Lee Schlenvogt said Tuesday. “The city is gaining a great asset in Susan.”

The Town Board is scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, to discuss replacing Westerbeke, whose term doesn’t expire until next April.

“We’re going to look at all our options,” Schlenvogt said, including the potential to change the job from an elected position to an appointed post.

Westerbeke, who is completing her 11th year as town clerk, was hired as the city’s deputy clerk and administrative assistant to Administrator Mark Grams by the Common Council last week.

She is replacing Rose Rowe, who has been the city’s deputy clerk and administrative assistant for almost 27 years and is retiring on March 5.

Westerbeke will work with Rowe for a few hours a day beginning next week and full time the following week, Grams said.

She was selected from a field of about 250 applicants “from all walks of life,” Grams said. Most were from Wisconsin, he said, but others were from other states, including one from Colorado.

“I was surprised we got that many applicants,” he said. “I figured we’d get 100, 150 applications.”

Westerbeke, he said, was the most qualified applicant, with certifications as a municipal clerk and elections clerk.

“She’s basically the only one who could step in and take over,” Grams said. “She’s obviously got experience.”

Westerbeke said she has enjoyed working with the Town Board, but said the city position is a “unique opportunity” for full-time employment in her field.

“With my background, these types of positions are rarely available, so I applied,” she said, noting she had intended to seek a full-time job when her youngest child graduates from high school next year.

 
Borrowing surplus prompts city spending PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 17 February 2010 19:48

Port officials dip into $311,000 left from 2008 loan to buy new heating, ventilation system for recreation office

Port Washington officials found themselves in an unusual position Tuesday, looking for a way to spend money instead of save it.

The city has almost $311,000 from a 2008 borrowing left in its coffers, but arbitrage rules will only allow the city to hold $215,000 of those funds after two years, a deadline that will occur in March, City Administrator Mark Grams said.

About $90,000 of the $311,000 is owed for projects done with the borrowed money, he said, leaving the city with about $6,000 to spend to get under the cap, he said.

Aldermen agreed Tuesday to use $55,500 to replace the water heater and heating, ventilating and air conditioning system at the Park and Recreation Department, a project they said is not only essential but that will ultimately save the city money.

“It (the current system) is really oversized and inefficient,” said Ald. Tom Hudson, chairman of the Finance and License Committee.

City Administrator Mark Grams was even more blunt.

“It’s failing,” he said. “That’s got to get done.”

Replacing the system is expected to significantly reduce fuel costs for the department, Hudson noted.

The Common Council agreed to buy a new HVAC system for $52,871 from J&H Heating and a new water heater for $2,675 from Greisch Plumbing and Heating.

“It’s nice to see we’re using local contractors,” Ald. Mike Ehrlich said.

The rest of the money should be used to offset the cost of the city’s 2009 and 2010 capital projects, aldermen agreed.

It is unusual for the city not to spend the full amount it borrows for capital projects, Grams said.

However, the 2008 borrowing included some projects that officials decided against doing because of budget concerns, most notably the reconstruction of Portview Drive from Spring Street north to about Willow Road, Grams said.

That roadwork was projected to cost about $300,000, he said.

 Instead of doing the roadwork, the city opted to use some of the borrowed funds for items originally in its capital outlay budget, Grams said.

He noted that the city could still opt to include the Portview Drive work in its 2010 borrowing, which is also expected to include funds for the reconstruction of Chestnut and Division streets, Highway 33 from Summit Drive west to Jackson Road and a portion of Sunset Road.

 
Mother who tried to drown girl found not guilty PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by Bill Schanen IV   
Wednesday, 10 February 2010 19:11

Mental illness cited in case of Town of Port woman accused of holding daughter underwater off beach

A Town of Port Washington woman who held her 10-year-old daughter underwater in Lake Michigan, nearly drowning her because she was a sinner, was found not guilty because of mental illness last week.

A psychiatric evaluation determined the  41-year-old woman, who has a long history of bipolar disorder, was suffering from religious delusions and was in a manic and psychotic state when she held her daughter underwater off the Port Washington beach Aug. 26, Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Sandy Williams said.

Police credited the girl’s 13-year-old sister and people walking by on the beach with preventing a tragedy. The woman, who released the girl after her other daughter began screaming and passersby called police, told authorities she knew she came very close to killing the 10-year-old, who at one point was so deprived of oxygen she stopped struggling.

The woman, who worked as a clerk for the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Department at the time, was charged with first-degree reckless endangerment and could have been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison if the judge determined she was responsible for her actions.

Mental illness cases have two phases, that first of which determines if the person committed the crime. The woman, who Ozaukee Press is not naming to protect the identity of her daughters, pleaded no contest to the charge.

The second phase determines if the person can be held responsible for her actions. Based on the psychiatric evaluation, which was not challenged by Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol, Williams determined the woman lacked the capacity to realize what she was doing was wrong.

Williams referred the case to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, which will recommend whether the woman should be institutionalized or remain free. A hearing on the issue has been scheduled for March 17.    

According to the criminal complaint, the 10-year-old girl told police her mother took her and her sister to the beach and told her she needed to be punished because she was a sinner.
The woman told authorities she led the 10-year-old about 20 feet off shore, pushed her underwater and knelt on her. She said she put her hands on the girl’s shoulders and held her under the water as she struggled, the complaint states.

The woman remains free in lieu of bail pending the outcome of the March 16 hearing. 

 
Riveredge helps clear marina pier clutter PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 03 February 2010 19:17

Nature center takes up city’s offer, removes pilings that created lakefront eyesore

The Port Washington lakefront is significantly less crowded now that Riveredge Nature Center has removed many of the old piers that littered the marina parking lot.

There were only about seven piers left in the lot Monday morning, Harbormaster Dennis Cherny said.

“About 99% of them are gone,” he said. “The rest is likely to be gone in little or no time.”

The pilings that were also in the parking lot are being removed by Port Recycling, Cherny added, noting the firm is taking a load every day.

That news was welcomed Tuesday by aldermen who for the last month have complained that the debris was littering the lakefront.

“It looks much better with a lot of the debris gone,” Ald. Paul Neumyer said.

The marina contractor McMullen and Pitz was responsible for removing the old piers and pilings, Cherny said, but this was not slated to be done until the end of the marina project in spring.

However, Cherny offered the piers and pilings to anyone who wanted them and was willing to remove them from the lakefront.

Having private parties remove the piers will result in a cost savings for the contractor, not the city, Cherny said.

“But we’re benefitting by getting them out of here,” he said.

Riveredge did not take the piers for any specific project, Sanctuary Manager Don Gilmore said.

“We grabbed them on speculation because they were free,” he said.

Some of the piers will likely be used to create a bridge or walkway in a marshy area of the center, Gilmore said, while others will be used to replace existing bridges and walkways over small creeks and wet areas.

“We need to figure out how to get them there and then anchor them,” he said. “They’re not just something people can pick up and move.”

It took Riveredge volunteers two days to move all the piers, Gilmore said, estimating they took roughly 450 feet of piers.

“There’s a fair mount of work to do on them,” he said, noting there are rotted ends to cut off, bumpers and cleats to remove and deck boards to replace.

“They were well built, that’s why there’s some life left in them,” Gilmore said. “If you have to put a few bucks and some time in (to fix them up), it’s worth it.

“If we don’t use them all, maybe somebody else can actually use them.”


THE PILES OF DEBRIS that littered the marina parking lot in Port Washington just weeks ago have been depleted lately. Riveredge Nature Center took many of the old piers to use at its Town of Saukville property, and Port Recycling has claimed many of the pilings. Press file photo

 

 
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