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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.

 
School security upgrade sparks debate PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 17:54

Entryway addition to Lincoln School gets OK but only after commission questions if changes will enhance safety

    An entryway addition to Lincoln Elementary School in Port Washington was approved last week by the city’s Plan Commission, but not before a debate about whether the measure will provide a secure enough entrance to the school.

    The new vestibule will have a receptionist’s window where visitors are to identify themselves before being buzzed into the school through a locked door.

    But commission member Earl Kelley questioned whether the glass used in the receptionist’s window was adequate.

    “If someone wanted to get in through that window, could they?” he asked.

    The window is intended to be laminated glass, Mike Ehrlich of 6E6S Architects said, noting it would make it difficult, but not impossible, for anyone to shatter and gain entry to the building.

    Someone would have to strike the window multiple times with a chair before it would break, he noted.

    “How much more would it cost to make that glass so no one could get in?” Kelley asked. “Anything to slow them down and make our children safe.”

    Bulletproof glass would probably be the most difficult material to get through, Ehrlich said, but it is much more expensive than laminated glass.

    The laminated glass would give school officials time to react to any intruder and call police, he said.

    No window is unbreakable, commission member Bud Sova said.

    “You can get through any window,” he added.

    The debate ended when commission member Rob Vanden Noven, the city’s director of public works, noted that the type of glass used in the window isn’t something for the panel to debate.

    “I think that’s a decision for the School Board to make,” he said.

    The new entryway to Lincoln School is part of a school security initiative launched by the Port Washington-Saukville School District in the wake of the Sandy Hook School shootings in Newtown, Conn., in December.

    As part of the initiative, the School District spent $11,100 to install electronic locking controls and video cameras at the main entrances to Lincoln and Dunwiddie elementary schools in Port Washington and Saukville Elementary School this spring.

    The addition is planned at Lincoln School because it is the only elementary school where the main office is not adjacent to the entry, giving visitors immediate access to the school.

    At Dunwiddie and Saukville schools, the entrances are next to the main offices, allowing secretaries to monitor who is entering the building.

    The new 11-foot, 9-inch-by-17-foot entryway to Lincoln School will be created on the east side of the building, encompassing a portion of the green space next to the current entryway, Ehrlich said.

    “The idea is to have this fit with the building,” he said, noting the materials and design will match those used on the existing structure.



 
Town to consider making clerk post appointed PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 24 April 2013 18:09

Port chairman says snafus with land-division meeting underscore need for change

    It’s time for the Town of Port Washington to consider appointing a clerk rather than electing one, Town Chairman Jim Melichar said after a series of snafus regarding the scheduling of a meeting on a proposed land division last week.

    Melichar said the Town Board will consider the change when it meets at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 6.

    Although he is conferring with Town Attorney Steve Cain to determine the steps needed to make the change, Melichar said it will require a referendum, possibly in spring 2014.

    If approved, a clerk would then be appointed when Clerk Jenny Schlenvogt’s term ends in two years, he said.

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

    Melichar’s decision came as the Town Board considered a request by Ted Burbach to divide two lots off Dynna Drive.

    The Town Plan Commission recommended approval of the certified survey maps that would divide the properties, and officials agreed the Town Board would consider the matter before the town’s annual meeting on April 16.

    But Melichar said when he got to the meeting, he discovered no agenda had been posted by Schlenvogt and thus the board could not meet.

    When he asked her why, Schlenvogt “got mad, yelled at me and stormed out of the room,” Melichar said.

    “I thought it was my job to tell her what was going to be on the agenda, and her job to put out the agenda.”

    The board agreed to reschedule the meeting for Thursday, April 18, he said, and he put together an agenda for that night.

    The board met and took action, but after the meeting discovered that it had not been properly noticed, Melichar said. He had posted the agenda at Town Hall, but did not provide notice to Ozaukee Press, the town’s official newspaper.

     The board then rescheduled the meeting for Monday, April 22, and notified Burbach of the error. On Monday, the Town Board unanimously approved the land divisions.

    Melichar said he’s always believed Schlenvogt was doing a good job, but his faith in her has been shaken.

    “I feel terrible about what happened. I thought we were all on the same page,” he said. “We can’t have an elected official causing this much havoc.”

    Schlenvogt said she didn’t post an agenda for the April 16 meeting because she didn’t receive the certified survey maps ahead of time.

    “In the past, we made sure we had the materials before scheduling a meeting,” she said, adding she notified supervisors Jim Rychtik and Mike Didier there would not be a meeting but couldn’t reach Melichar.

    She would not comment on Melichar’s statement about a confrontation, but said she wasn’t feeling well that night so she left before the annual meeting.

    Schlenvogt said she didn’t know Melichar had rescheduled the meeting for Thursday until receiving a text message that night. She was at another meeting and could not attend, she said.

    Schlenvogt said she was surprised to learn Melichar is planning to look at appointing the next clerk.

    “I believe I’m doing my job as required of me,” she said. “I believe I’m comunicating properly. I do have a lot of responsibiities on my plate.

    “I don’t think the board disrespects me. I thought we had a good working relationship.”

 
Town officials take aim at junk vehicles PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 17:08

Concerns with aesthetics, environmental hazards prompt Port board to explore ways to tighten regulations

    Concerned with aesthetics and potential environmental hazards, Town of Port Washington officials last week began considering ways to beef up its junked vehicle regulations.

    “We’ve had some complaints recently,” Town Chairman Jim Melichar told the Plan Commission April 11.

    “There’s a farm on Highway H where they’re collecting tractors. They must have 200 along the fenceline. Some people think it’s a nuisance.”

    Other members of the commission cited areas along Highway LL and Highway KK where abandoned vehicles can be seen littering the countryside.    

    While the town code prohibits the storing of junked vehicles, truck bodies, trailers, tractors and appliances for more than 30 days, it exempts farms from that regulation.

    “That isn’t right,” Supr. Jim Rychtik, a member of the commission, said. “I’m zoned agriculture. I’m growing corn and raising pigs, so I can park cars? I shouldn’t be exempt.”

    Today, farmers have some of the cleanest properties in the township, he noted.

    Melichar said his concern springs not so much from aesthetics but from the potential for contamination if oil or gas from these junk vehicles drips onto the land and contaminates the soil and groundwater.

    “I know this is going to bite us someday,” he said.

    Plan Commission member Dave Murphy suggested the town get rid of the exemption.

    “If they have a car they’re just too lazy to get rid of, is that right?” he asked.

    But Supr. Mike Didier, a member of the commission, warned that it may not be easy to enforce the regulations.

    “If we start to enforce this, are we poking a hornet’s nest?” he asked. “The first guy you drag in here is going to come in with a list as long as his arms of properties with junked cars.”

    Rychtik said that isn’t the right reason not to do anything.

    “I don’t think we’re saying we’re going to go on a witch hunt,” he said. “But we need a better ordinance so we can enforce it.”

    “If we don’t say you can’t do it, you can’t enforce it,” commission member Randy Noll said.    

    Building Inspector Rick Fellenz noted some people use old vehicles as art. If the town makes an exception for this, he said, everyone will claim their abandoned vehicles are art.

    Although the commission seemed reluctant to take action, Melichar said he expects the Town Board will refer the matter back to the panel for a recommendation.

 
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