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Port High furniture bids come in on target PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Bill Schanen IV   
Wednesday, 17 May 2017 18:54

School has $283,000 to spend on desks, chairs for soon-finished academic wing

Daily PressThe Port Washington-Saukville School Board on Monday agreed to spend as much $283,000 on furniture for the high school’s new academic wing, which is to be completed by the end of the month.

Bids totalling $258,000 for 1,457 pieces of furniture are being analyzed by Bray Architects, the firm that designed the high school improvements, and administrators, who asked the board to add a 10% contingency to the furniture budget.

“The furniture is comfortable, but not so much that students will fall asleep,” Supt. Michael Weber said. 

Designers from Bray selected three options for furniture, then administrators and teachers from the various departments at the school made the selections.

“We also had students try out some of the furniture,” Weber said.

The chairs and desks for students are simple and ergonomic, and cost $85 and $55, respectively.

“The chairs force you into perfect posture,” Principal Eric Burke said.

In the case of the science department, some existing furniture is being used in the new building.

Officials hope to also be able to refurnish the existing Washington Heights building, which houses communications and social studies classrooms on the northeast end of the school, and have yet to select furniture for the new commons, cafeteria and music rooms that will be built in the second phase of the project.

A total of $370,000 was earmarked for high school furniture in the referendum plan, an amount officials knew from the beginning wouldn’t cover the total cost.

“We’re going to go over the $370,000,” Director of Business Services Jim Froemming said. “But it was my understanding the board was OK with using fund balance.”

In addition to the option of using reserve funds, officials hope there may be money remaining in the high school project contingency fund that can be applied to the furniture budget.

The furniture is expected to be delivered in August and installed by the time classes begin on Sept. 1.

Work on the three-story, three-pod academic wing built into the hillside on the west side of the school is wrapping up quickly. 

The addition will be cleaned next week in preparation for community tours beginning at 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, May 31.

The tower crane that has loomed over the school since work began last year will also be taken down before the end of the month, although its concrete base tucked between two pods will remain in perpetuity.

High school staff members will then have two days, June 1 and 2, to move materials from existing classrooms that will be demolished to the new academic wing.

“We’re hoping people purge before they move,” Froemming said. “There’s a dumpster out front that’s already filling up.”

Once the move is complete, the process of removing asbestos from the part of the school that will be demolished will begin.

Demolition of the central part of the school, which extends from the oldest part of the building immediately west of the auditorium roughly to the gym, is scheduled to begin in mid-July. Crews will work their way from the back to the front of the school.

A gift from the heart PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 17 May 2017 19:00

Port man saved by EMTs after collapsing in park and his wife donate defibrillator for boat

When Randy Lanser had a heart attack in October 2013, everything went right. 

Lanser was chatting with a group of firefighters at the opening of Coal Dock Park when he collapsed. The firefighters sprang into action, reviving Lanser, whose heart had stopped, and getting him to the hospital immediately.

AED donation s1051517453 4C“Without the department there and without a defibrillator there, he would have died for sure,” Lanser’s wife Lois said.

Doctors at the time credited the quick work of the fire department not only with saving Randy’s life but preventing any damage to his heart as well.

The Lansers recently donated $1,000 to the fire department for the purchase of an automatic external defibrillator. The defibrillator will be placed on the department’s rescue boat, which is used for water-related emergencies.

The department has defibrillators on each of its ambulances, but had none on the boat before this, Fire Chief Mark Mitchell said.

In the winter, when the boat is out of the water, the unit will be placed on one of the department’s trucks, Mitchell said.

“This is very generous of them to do,” Mitchell said. “We weren’t expecting anything.”

“Now they have the equipment they need on board,” Lois said. “The people who use the lakefront can be protected too.”

Randy’s done well since his heart attack, his wife said.  

Lois said the family didn’t initially think about what it could do to give back. But after hearing about a Milwaukee-area family who purchased equipment for a fire department after a similar situation, they decided to buy the defibrillator.

“This is a real cheap thing to do to pay it forward and give back,” Lois said. “We have one of the best fire departments around.”

The Lansers should know. Randy was a member of the Port department for 20 years before retiring. The couple’s son Ryan retired from the department after 10 years, and their son Adam is still a member.

The family is appreciative of all the fire department does, Lois said.

“We’re glad Randy’s still here,” she said. “We have a lot to be grateful for.”

And now, she said, someone else may have the chance to be grateful as well.


PORT FIREFIGHTERS revived Randy Lanser (center) when he suffered a heart attack in 2013, so he and his wife Lois recently donated an automatic external defibrillator to the Fire Department so others can also be aided. Chief Mark Mitchell held the device, which will be kept aboard the department’s rescue boat.                                        Photo by Sam Arendt

District to use ‘cloud’ to filter websites seen by students PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Bill Schanen IV   
Wednesday, 10 May 2017 21:46

System will allow schools to block sites even when computers are used at home

The Port Washington-Saukville School Board on Monday endorsed an $8 increase in fees to pay for an Internet filtering and monitoring system that will limit what sites students can access using their school-issued laptop computers no matter where they are being used.

GoGuardian, a filtering system designed for schools, solves to a large extent one of the challenges the district faced when it issued Chromebooks to every student in fifth through 12th grades several years ago.

While the computers are connected to the school’s network, the district’s Internet filters are applied and access to sites flagged by the district is blocked. 

But students use their computers as if they were their own, which means they take them home where the district’s network-based Internet filters do not control what sites they are viewing.

Daily PressGoGuardian is cloud-based, which means the filters set by the district can be applied to school computers regardless of what networks they are using to access the Internet. That will prevent students from viewing inappropriate sites, either intentionally or unintentionally, with school computers, officials said.

The system was piloted on Thomas Jefferson Middle School computers this year and has proven effective, Director of Business Services Jim Froemming said.

“GoGuardian puts school filters on all Chromebooks, not only at school but off school grounds,” he said. “From what we’ve found, there’s really no way around the filters. It’s a sound tool.”

GoGuardian is particularly important now, officials said, because for the first time since students were issued laptops they will be able to keep them over the summer break.

The system also allows teachers to monitor the Internet browsing of students in real time.

“Teachers can upload class info through GoGuardian and see what sites students are browsing,” Froemming said. “It should be a good way to make sure the kids are a little more focused.”

In order to pay for GoGuardian, the district’s school fee policy would be amended to increase the $85 fee each middle and high school student pays for workbooks, subscriptions and other expendable supplies to $93. The board endorsed the change during the first reading of the amended policy Monday.

Sinkhole has city worried about creek seawall PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 10 May 2017 21:37

Revetment near Fisherman’s Park is in danger of failing without repairs that could cost $100,000

A sinkhole has opened up near the entrance to the Fisherman’s Park bridge in Port Washington — a symptom perhaps of serious deterioration of the seawall along the north side of Sauk Creek, Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said Tuesday.

This is the second sinkhole to have sprung up along that stretch in the last two years, Vanden Noven told the Board of Public Works. 

Daily PressLast year, a sinkhole was discovered immediately northwest of the north abutment for the bridge. City crews patched the seawall and filled the sinkhole with concrete.

“It’s been holding up,” Vanden Noven said.

But a couple weeks ago, crews discovered the newest sinkhole, he said.

“It’s a cavern underneath the sidewalk,” he said, likely caused by an opening in the seawall and scouring action by the rising lake levels.

Vanden Noven said he does not believe the sinkhole poses a problem for pedestrians using the bridge — one of the last king post truss bridges in the state.

“It’s an extremely low risk,” he said. “It’s a pedestrian sidewalk. Any settlement is going to be incremental. There would be larger signs if there were to be any type of major failure.”

The easy and temporary fix would be to have crews excavate the sinkhole and fill it with concrete to stabilize the walkway and wall, Vanden Noven said.

While that’s something city crews will do as soon as possible, he said, it’s not a permanent solution.

“Clearly, looking at the wall, it’s obviously not getting any better,” he said, showing the board members photos of the wall. “It’s all in very poor condition. The way to properly repair it is to replace the whole wall.

“Eventually the whole wall’s going to fail. Now’s the time to prepare ourselves to plan a more permanent solution.”

Vanden Noven noted that several engineering firms  are expected to be in the city next week to look at deadmen and tiebacks in the north marina slip parking lot, and he will ask them to look at the Sauk Creek wall as well.

The city only owns a portion of the seawall along Sauk Creek. Bob Pfeffer, 132 S. Wisconsin St., said the condominium owners whose property stretches west along Sauk Creek from the city land, asked if they could form a partnership with the city to repair the entire wall.

“We’re trying to avoid a total failure of the wall,” he said. “We would like to be proactive in shoring up that wall. If there’s something we could do as a joint venture ...we would be interested.”

Vanden Noven said he would seek proposals from the engineering firms that encompass the entire wall as well as just the city’s portion.

Ald. John Sigwart, a member of the board, suggested the city consider building a form along the wall and pouring concrete there. That, he said, would fill any voids in the existing concrete wall and prevent future undermining of the soils behind it, although it would not help support the wall.

“I think we have to do something now,” Sigwart said. “That hole (sinkhole) kind of amazes me, how big it is.”

Vanden Noven estimated it would cost about $2,000 for the city to excavate and fill the sinkhole, and $50,000 to $100,000 to design and build a new section of the seawall.

Work on a permanent solution likely wouldn’t be done until winter, when water levels are lowest, if funds are allocated in the 2018 budget, he added.

Vanden Noven said he hopes to bring estimates from the engineering firms to the board in June or July.

Man charged with reckless race through school zone PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Bill Schanen IV   
Wednesday, 03 May 2017 21:08

Port driver who is accused of speeding away from cop, forcing cars off road in Fredonia faces two felonies

A 32-year-old Port Washington man accused of leading a deputy on a chase, then forcing other drivers off the road as he sped through residential neighborhoods and a school zone in Fredonia last week has been charged with two felonies in Ozaukee County Circuit Court.

Erik H. Pantle faces counts of attempting to flee an officer and second-degree recklessly endangering safety. Because Pantle was convicted of a felony in 2011, he is now charged as a repeat offender and would face additional penalties if convicted.

PantleAccording to the criminal complaint, at 7:25 a.m. Tuesday, April 25, Ozaukee County Sheriff’s deputy Matthew Haas was driving on Highway H between Port Washington and Fredonia when he saw a speeding Dodge Grand Caravan heading west.

Haas, whose radar indicated the minivan was traveling at 81 mph in a 55 mph zone, turned around and began following the vehicle, which he later learned was driven by Pantle. The deputy said Pantle accelerated to more than 100 mph as he followed him with his emergency lights and siren on, the complaint states.

Pantle entered the Village of Fredonia on Martin Drive, blew a stop sign at Highland Drive and sped past the Northern Ozaukee School District campus at 45 mph, according to Haas, who stopped chasing Pantle because they were in a residential area and school zone.

Haas lost sight of the minivan, but as he continued driving west he saw several vehicle that were forced off the road by Pantle.

At about the same time, authorities received 911 calls from several drivers, including one woman who recorded the license place of the minivan and said the driver was a white man with a gray sweatshirt with the hood covering his head.

Authorities traced the minivan to Pantle’s finacee, who lives in Port Washington. She said Pantle, who usually takes Highway H to his landscaping job in Kewaskum, is the only person who had access to her vehicle, the complaint states.

At the request of Haas, the woman called Pantle, then had him talk to the deputy. Pantle admitted he was driving the minivan that morning and said although he typically takes Highway H, he took a different route that morning, according to the complaint.

“I have a hypothetical scenario for you,” Pantle told the deputy. He went on to say that if he had been driving the minivan and sped away from the deputy, he would be “going away for a long time” since he is on probation, the complaint states.

Pantle was arrested later that day at the Wisconsin Department of Corrections probation and parole office in Saukville.

During a court hearing last week, Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Sandy Williams set Pantle’s bail at $5,000.

Attempting to flee an officer carries a maximum penalty of 1-1/2 years in prison and two years of extended supervision. Second-degree recklessly endangering safety is punishable by five years in prison and five years of extended supervision. 

If convicted, Pantle would face an additional four years for each count because he was convicted of a felony in July 2011 for using his grandfather’s charge card to make more than $10,000 in purchases, according to court records.

Council acted properly when electing leader, attorney says PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 03 May 2017 21:01

Biggs named president before other nomination made

Port Washington Ald. Doug Biggs remains president of the Common Council.

City Attorney Eric Eberhardt on Tuesday told aldermen that, after reviewing Robert’s Rules and consulting with a professional parliamentarian, he found that the Common Council did not violate the rules when electing Biggs to the position last month.

“It is clear that in the nomination and election process used to fill the office of Common Council president, there was no infringement on the basic rights of any individual council member,” Eberhardt said. “The council president was lawfully elected to office.”

Biggs, who has been an alderman for five years, was elected council president April 18 on a 5-2 vote, with new aldermen John Sigwart and Mike Gasper dissenting.

Sigwart tried to nominate Ald. Mike Ehrlich for the post, but before a second could be recorded, Eberhardt said aldermen were to vote on the initial nomination of Biggs first.

At the end of the meeting, that procedure was called into question by resident Kenny Mitchell, 622 W. Pierre La., who said Robert’s Rules of Order calls for all nominations to be accepted and considered.

Sigwart said Tuesday that he was stunned when Ehrlich’s nomination wasn’t considered on April 18, adding, “I wanted him to be considered.”

Eberhardt cited 19 rules in Robert’s Rules of Order in making his decision Tuesday, and added, “the custom of this body is to do precisely what was done.” 

BiggsThe only exception, he said, is that the mayor did not specifically ask if there were further nominations before the vote.

Eberhardt also noted that no alderman challenged the election results at the meeting, and noted that citizens cannot issue such a challenge.

On Tuesday, Mitchell told aldermen he believed they should hold a second election for council president.

“This council has a perception problem. By not taking action, you’re furthering that perception problem,” he said.

Pat Tearney, 334 W. Eva St., suggested that the city review its rules to ensure all potential candidates are considered in the future.

A retired reporter, Tearney said he couldn’t remember a time when a government body didn’t provide the opportunity for a number of people to be nominated for a position.

“I don’t doubt this is how it was done in the past,” Tearney said. “But it just cuts against the grain of what we think of as democracy and representative government.”

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