Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm
Wednesday, 29 March 2017 20:52
Port Washington Town Chairman Jim Melichar and Treasurer Mary Sampont are unopposed on Tuesday’s ballot, but town voters will have a choice of four candidates to fill two supervisory seats.
Incumbent Mike Didier, who has been a supervisor since 2011, is vying with Terry Anewenter, Gary Schlenvogt and Greg Welton to fill those two seats.
All four candidates said they are seeking a seat on the board to serve their community, adding they believe the town is on the right track in working to keep the rural character of the community.
Each said they would be open to input from constituents, saying that’s the purpose of town government.
Didier, 42, of 4627 Hwy. KW, said he is seeking another term because he enjoys the work and is committed to serving the community he’s lived in throughout his life.
“I know where it came from and where it’s going,” he said. “I think I know what the town is and has been. I’ve learned there’s a back story to everything.”
While the town is relatively quiet now, Didier said he anticipates the day will come when development pressures will cause land-use conflicts.
“The city’s being pressured for development, and the town will likely follow,” he said.
The border agreement between the city and town has helped avoid conflicts, Didier said, but the town needs to look forward to the day it expires.
The town should also take a new look at the Knellsville area zoning, he said, to avoid any issues as development moves that way.
In addition, he said, the town should look toward the day when it needs to expand its garbage and recycling collection facilities.
The town took over these operations several years ago, moving the collection to the Town Hall property, reducing the cost to town residents.
“It’s only going to get bigger over time,” Didier said, and there isn’t enough room to expand at Town Hall. “The question is where and how will we do it.”
One possibility would be to purchase properties adjacent to Town Hall and move the operations there, he said, or the town could look at buying land across the street from the hall.
It’s something Didier said he would like the Town Board to study over the next year.
Schlenvogt, 67, of 2415 Hawthorne Dr., said he has some thoughts about the Knellsville area, and his 38 years in the construction industry could prove invaluable in considering development there.
“I think there’s a lot of potential there,” Schlenvogt said, especially now that the recession is over and building is picking up around the county.
Industrial or commercial development there could be especially valuable, he said, since it would bring in tax base while requiring few town services.
That sentiment was also expressed by Welton, 45, of 2563 Applewood Dr.
A builder by trade, Welton said one of his priorities is attracting business to the north side of the town, saying it will relieve pressure on tax finances.
“I think we need to revisit the standards for the Knellsville area,” he said. “We seem pretty strict.”
He said small businesses, perhaps the construction trades, offices or warehouses, could locate there, noting they wouldn’t require the extension of sewer and water — an expensive proposition for the town.
“I don’t think we’ll draw any big boxes there,” Welton said. “That (sewer and water) is going to be a big hurdle.”
He said he would also like to see the town look at the possibility of adding pedestrian trails or walkways, particularly ones that could hook up to the existing bike trails.
“I don’t know if it’s doable, but even if there was a plan in place so when areas get developed, that would be great,” Welton said.
The Town of Cedarburg has created a nice trail system, he said, and the town could look at emulating it.
Schlenvogt said he also wants to ensure the town continues to maintain its roads — another area in which his construction background could be helpful.
Anewenter, 62, of 3693 Hwy. KK, also said he wants to see a greater emphasis on road repairs, with the board undertaking more interim fixes. To facilitate this, he said, the Town Board should take a road tour more than once a year.
One road that needs to be repaired is Northwoods Road north of the YMCA, Anewenter said.
Welton concurred, but said that since three communities have jurisdiction over the roadway it’s a difficult fix.
Anewenter described himself as a citizen watchdog and said he wants to see more transparency in town government.
“There’s very little discussion, whether it be for snow removal, sign maintenance or road maintenance,” he said, even if it’s for something relatively minor. “I’d like to see more bidding for major projects.”
Anewenter said he’s a frugal man who would watch out for the town’s purse strings.
Unlike the other candidates, Anewenter is not a native of the town, and he said that serves him well. “I’m not one of the old guard,” he said.
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 19:18
Three of Port’s sirens are 50 years old, cost $23,000 each to replace
Port Washington’s northside tornado siren has sounded repeatedly over the past week — even though the weather has been calm — causing the police department to shut it down.
Crews originally determined a small portion of the telephone cable had gone bad, causing the siren to malfunction, Police Chief Kevin Hingiss said Monday.
Repairs were made, but after the siren again sounded Monday night, crews were back in the city Tuesday working on the line, Hingiss said.
In addition to checking the errant siren, located on the Monroe Street grounds of the Port Washington-Saukville School District offices, the crews from AT&T were also inspecting the city’s other older sirens for potential issues, he said.
Hingiss said early Wednesday that the sirens were again being reactivated.
“According to AT&T, they’re fixed,” he said.
AT&T replaced a portion of the cable leading to the north-side siren and some of the wires at the south-side siren at the Ozaukee County Highway Department, Hingiss said. Mice had chewed through the wires there, he said.
The city’s issues with the warning system began when the northside siren went off unexpectedly twice on Friday night, Hingiss said. It rang again on Saturday, and also on Sunday morning.
“Then we shut it down,” Hingiss said.
A repair crew called in Monday morning discovered the issue “wasn’t with the siren itself but with the phone line,” he said.
A section of the cable between Heritage Nursing Home on Wisconsin Street and the tower had failed and was sporadically sending a signal to the siren to sound, Hingiss said.
The siren was put back on line late Monday morning, he said, but after it sounded again Monday night, the siren was again taken off line.
“Obviously that (repair) didn’t work,” Hingiss said.
It’s a frustrating situation, he said, noting the city often has an issue with the sirens in winter when they freeze up.
“We try and keep these to a minimum,” Hingiss said. “But things like this we can’t control.”
Hingiss pointed out that three of the city’s four tornado sirens are more than 50 years old.
“It’s pretty simple technology,” he said, noting they were originally installed as civil defense sirens, not weather warning sirens.
Today’s sirens don’t use phone lines but instead are set off using radio frequencies, Hingiss said.
They also have a battery backup so they can be set off even if the power fails, he said.
Only one of the city’s four sirens has been updated recently — the one on Wisconsin Street overlooking the police station and downtown, Hingiss said.
It was replaced at a cost of about $23,000 several years ago, he said.
“I thought that was the most important one (to replace) with all the events held downtown,” Hingiss said, noting he has asked that all the sirens be updated. “I know the city wants to eventually replace them all.”
The issue, however, is cost, he said.
“It’s a big chunk of money,” Hingiss said. “Obviously, it all depends on the budget.”
While the sirens are intended to warn residents of the possibility of a tornado and the need to take cover, Hingiss said residents shouldn’t be dependent on the sirens alone.
“Nothing’s foolproof,” he said.
Hingiss said he recommends residents get a weather radio, noting they are an inexpensive warning system.
Scott Ziegler, director of the Ozaukee County Division of Emergency Management, said NOAA weather radios usually cost between $25 and $45, adding he recommends homeowners buy one that plugs into an outlet but has a battery backup system.
Residents should then change the batteries in spring and fall, when they change their clocks, he said.
Ziegler also recommended that people sign up for a smart phone app that will notify them of weather watches and warnings.
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 19:16
Attorney targets letter to editor, but writer doesn’t backtrack on contamination issue
Port Washington City Attorney Eric Eberhardt on Tuesday disputed allegations by a resident that the city is mishandling contamination issues on land slated for the Blues Factory entertainment complex.
The claims were made by David Kasun, a registered engineer, in a letter to Ozaukee Press printed last week.
But after Eberhardt made his presentation, Kasun, 513 W. Michigan St., told aldermen he stood by his comments.
“There is nothing in my letter to the editor that I wish to rescind,” he said, reading from a statement written before Eberhardt’s comments were made. “I don’t believe the city or any of its representatives can truthfully contradict what I said.”
Kasun said he wrote the letter because “there is simply no other venue that I know of to convey my concerns to the council on the public records since all discussions about these issues are made in closed-door sessions.”
Eberhardt told aldermen this was the first time in his 18 years as city attorney he felt compelled to answer a letter to the editor.
Three components of the letter needed to be addressed, Eberhardt said — a statement that the city had violated Department of Natural Resources rules by failing to immediately notify the agency of the results of an environmental assessment; that the city attorney made statements about transferring environmental responsibility and liability to the purchaser of the parking lot and a question of whether the Blues Factory developer was informed about the contamination.
Eberhardt said the city is not required to immediately record the results of a Phase two environmental assessment to the DNR — something he said is required when a spill of hazardous materials occurs.
The city has not received any notice of violation or non-compliance from the DNR in the matter, he added.
Eberhardt also disputed the statements Kasun said he made regarding transferring environmental responsibility for the north marina slip parking lot.
Eberhardt said he told Kasun that negotiations for the site were pending and that the city anticipated the developer would be responsible for any further environmental studies on the parking lot as well as pursuing any “cost recovery assistance.”
Eberhardt called Kasun’s question about whether the city was sharing information about soil contamination and environmental management concerns with the buyer “the most troubling to me.”
“The city has kept us fully informed,” Attorney Bruce McIlnay, who is representing buyer Gertjan van den Broek, said, adding the information impacted negotiations with the city. “Never have I had any concerns about transparency with the City of Port Washington.”
Kasun said the city should take care to stay in compliance with existing laws, then noted that on Feb. 14 the city began excavating on the site without a DNR approved soil management plan in place — something he said is in direct opposition to recommendations made by the city’s environmental consultant.
That work, he said, spurred him to write the letter to the editor to start a public dialogue.
Written by Bill Schanen IV
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 19:13
Saukville resident said she began cultivating crop for friends with cancer, epilepsy
A 46-year-old woman who said she began growing marijuana in her Town of Saukville yard to help friends suffering from cancer and epilepsy, then started using it herself, was spared prison but ordered Monday to serve four months in the county jail as a condition of probation.
Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Sandy Williams withheld a prison sentence and placed Heidi S. Johnson on probation for two years. In addition to time in jail, the conditions of Johnson’s probation include participating in drug and alcohol counseling if deemed necessary, maintaining absolute sobriety and undergoing random drug testing.
Johnson, who was arrested in September after authorities received tips via text messages that she was growing marijuana in her yard off Highway Y, pleaded guilty in February to manufacturing/delivering marijuana, a felony punishable by a maximum three years in prison and three years of extended supervision.
An additional felony, maintaining a drug trafficking place, and a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia were dismissed as part of a plea agreement but read into the record, which allowed the judge to consider them for the purposes of sentencing.
“She wasn’t growing large amounts of marijuana to sell. I don’t think she was part of the drug culture,” Johnson’s lawyer, Benjamin Lutgen, said during the March 20 sentencing hearing. “She started this to help some friends and it ballooned into garbage bags of marijuana.”
But District Attorney Adam Gerol said he is skeptical of Johnson’s seemingly altruistic motivation for cultivating a marijuana crop and doesn’t subscribe to the idea that because this case involved marijuana it is less serious than other drug cases.
“This is a serious crime,” he said. “I refuse to buy into the argument I hear more and more today that marijuana (crimes) are a lesser variety of crime.”
Gerol noted that 11 plants and more than five pounds of marijuana were found on Johnson’s property.
“It took two brown paper grocery bags to secure and haul it away,” he said.
Gerol recommended a withheld prison sentence but argued that time in jail is a necessary punishment.
“You don’t want to be labelled a drug dealer by saying it was for personal use, but you were growing it to give to others,” the judge told Johnson. “You’re involved in that culture. I think you want to justify your actions by saying it was for someone who was sick.”
Johnson and her lawyer argued against jail time, saying that if there is a need for punishment, it had already been satisfied by the consequences of a felony conviction.
Johnson, who is married and has three children, said she can no longer be a firefighter and EMT or continue to help the various organizations she has been involved with over the last 13 years because of her conviction.
“I can’t volunteer any more,” she said. “I’ve done that for 13 years. It was something I was so proud of.
Lutgen said Johnson, who had no criminal record prior to this, enrolled in substance abuse treatment immediately after being arrested and is now in counseling.
“She realized she made a huge mistake,” he said. “She recognizes she has a problem with substance abuse. She was in the news. She’s very embarrassed. Now she’s known as a marijuana grower.”
After receiving two text message tips, one of which included photos of marijuana growing on the land on the far north end of the town, authorities searched Johnson’s property on Sept. 30.
Some of the 11 marijuana plants found on the property were growing behind a shed and in pots on the back porch. Others had been harvested and were drying in a shed, the criminal complaint states.
The marijuana from the plants drying in the shed weighed more than 5 pounds, according to the complaint.
In the house, authorities found marijuana and marijuana seeds in Mason jars, zip-close bags and a shoebox. They also discovered a digital scale, cigarette roller and marijuana grinder, the complaint states.
Written by Bill Schanen IV
Wednesday, 15 March 2017 17:47
Underage port residenet was trying to buy brew when struggle with clerk ensued
A Port Washington man charged in January with attempted robbery for trying to wrestle a case of beer from a convenience store clerk has pleaded guilty to less serious crimes.
William G. Breen, 20, was sentenced by Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Sandy Williams last month to four months in jail after pleading guilty to attempted retail theft, a misdemeanor.
Breen also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor counts of retail theft and disorderly conduct. Williams sentenced him to six months in the county jail for those crimes, but stayed the sentence, which means he will not have to serve the time if he completes three years of probation.
According to the criminal complaint filed in Ozaukee County Circuit Court, an employee of Mad Max South, 1100 S. Spring St., Port Washington, told police that shortly after 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 20, Breen, who was 19 at the time, came into the store and tried to buy a bottle of liquor.
The clerk said she refused to sell the liquor to Breen because state law prohibits alcohol sales after 9 p.m.
Breen hung around the store for about 30 minutes, she said, then asked if he could buy a case of beer. The clerk said she agreed and took his money, but after looking at his driver’s licence and realizing he was younger than 21, took the beer away from him and placed it behind some displays.
The clerk said she was in the process of refunding Breen’s money when he grabbed the case of beer. She also grabbed the case and a struggle ensued, causing a display case filled with mini liquor bottles to be knocked over.
Breen then let go of the case, grabbed several mini liquor bottles and ran from the store, according to the complaint.
When questioned by police, Breen admitted to trying to take the case of beer and stealing two mini bottles of Captain Morgan rum, the complaint states.
Breen became angry while being taken to jail and said he wanted to punch and kick the clerk, according to the complaint.
As conditions of his probation, Williams ordered Breen to maintain absolute sobriety, have no contact with the convenience store or the clerk he struggled with and undergo a psychological exam. He must also earn a high school equivalency diploma and/or maintain full-time employment.
Written by Bill Schanen IV
Wednesday, 15 March 2017 17:17
Saukville resident pleads guilty to charges that include child neglect, OWI
A 31-year-old Saukville woman who racked up 11 criminal charges, including child neglect and spitting on a police officer, during a 10-month period beginning in December 2015 was sentenced last week to 16 months in the Ozaukee County jail.
Lisa M. Dulong, a former Fredonia resident, pleaded guilty March 8 to third-offense operating while intoxicated with a child in the car, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and four counts of bail jumping, as well as the child neglect and spitting on an officer charges. Three other charges were dismissed.
The charges were filed in four separate complaints between December 2015 and March 2017.
In addition to ordering her to serve time in jail, Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Paul Malloy sentenced Dulong to 1-1/2 years in prison and two years of extended supervision for her most serious crime — spitting on an officer — but stayed the punishment, which means that if she completes three years of probation she will not have to serve the time.
Dulong’s troubles with the law began on Dec. 19, 2015, when she was arrested for hitting and kicking the father of her son in the parking lot of a McDonald’s restaurant in Fredonia, where they had met to exchange custody of the boy, according to the criminal complaint.
Dulong was charged with disorderly conduct-domestic abuse and released in lieu of a $500 signature bond.
About a month later, on Jan. 15, 2016, Dulong was arrested again after a Grafton gas station employee called police to report that Dulong was passed out in a car parked at the station with a screaming child in the back seat, the complaint states.
The employee told police that she noticed Dulong’s car parked at a gas pump at about 10:40 p.m., and when she and a coworker approached the car and knocked on the window, Dulong sat up momentarily but then slumped over again.
An officer who arrived about 30 minutes later pounded on the window of the car but could not wake Dulong. He then unlocked the door and tried rousing Dulong, who woke up only momentarily before falling back asleep.
The officer said Dulong’s 4-year-old son was awake in the back seat. The temperature at the time was about 29 degrees.
A preliminary blood alcohol test revealed no alcohol in Dulong’s system, but the officer found a bottle of the anti-anxiety medication alprazolam while searching her belongings. The prescription for 90 pills had been filled the day before, but only 24 pills were in the bottle, according to the complaint.
Dulong was initially charged with misdemeanor crimes and her bail was set at $5,000. She spent about a month-and-a-half in jail before her bail was reduced to $1,000, which she posted on March 3, 2016. An additional charge of third-offense operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a child in the car, a felony, was filed later.
Just more than two months later, a sheriff’s deputy responding to a report of a car in a ditch off Highway A in the Town of Fredonia found Dulong asleep in the vehicle at about 5:30 a.m.
When confronted by the deputy, who had to knock on the car window to wake Dulong up and said he could smell alcohol, Dulong admitted to drinking, which was prohibited by the conditions of her bail, the criminal complaint states.
Dulong denied she was the driver of the vehicle but refused to say who was.
Dulong, who according to a preliminary test had a blood alcohol level of 0.03, below the 0.08 threshold for intoxication, was charged with bail jumping. Her bail was set at $350.
With three cases pending against her, Dulong was arrested again on Oct. 13 after a man said he saw her hit a parked car near Quade Park in Saukville, then drive away, according to the criminal complaint.
The man called police and followed Dulong to the employee entrance of Charter Steel, where a police officer stopped her.
The officer noticed Dulong’s car had significant front-end damage and the air bags had deployed, although Dulong said it had happened about a week earlier.
The officer, who noted Dulong smelled of alcohol, said she resisted arrest and spit on him and inside his squad car.
As he was taking Dulong to a nearby hospital, the officer said, she launched into an expletive laced tirade directed at him. At one point she said, “I’m going to get out and find you all. I know your last name. My friends know where you live and it’s all good.... You ever been raped...?” according to the complaint.
Officers found unidentified pills in Dulong’s purse and a bottle of vodka and Dr. Green’s Agent X Fake Pee in her car.
Dulong was charged on Oct. 14 with six crimes, including three counts of bail jumping. Her bail was set at $25,000 and increased to $5,000 in each of the three other pending cases. She has been in jail since then.