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Former trailer park is a tough sell for Port PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 18 October 2017 18:08

CDA tackles issue of how to market vacant land on Port’s south side

    Port Washington’s Community Development Authority is looking for a few good ideas on what to do with the city-owned former trailer park property on South Spring Street.
    “It’s a challenging piece of property,” Mayor Tom Mlada said, noting overhead power lines cross the 1-3/4-acre site and a larger trailer park is immediately to the south.
    “I don’t want to be content sitting on my hands hoping someone discovers it.”
    The CDA purchased the property, which was once home to seven trailers, in 2007 with the intent of facilitating its redevelopment.
    There was little interest in the land after the recession hit the following year, but last year the city erected a “for sale” sign on the property.
    There haven’t been any offers, but a number of people have looked at it, said Randy Tetzlaff, the city’s director of planning and development.
    One person wanted to place mini-warehouses on the property, he said.
    “We said thanks but no thanks,” Tetzlaff said.
    Another sought to purchase both the city land and the adjoining trailer park, consolidating them and creating an upscale mobile home park, but couldn’t come to an agreement with the neighboring property owner, he said.
    Several others looked at it for a pocket neighborhood, but the overhead lines, railroad tracks on the east side of the property and the trailer park detracted too much, Tetzlaff said.
    Also detracting from the property is the nearby vacant Mama Mia’s restaurant building. An online auction of items from the building is set for next week, Tetzlaff said.
    Now, Mlada said, the city is paying to maintain the property, but with the right development it could help define the city’s south gateway and spur redevelopment of other nearby properties.
    Funds from the sale of the land could aid in those efforts, he added.
    “If a number of dominos fell into place, it would make the area more attractive,” Mlada said, and it could open the door to other improvements in the area.
    “My fear is we’re going to hand in a perpetual holding pattern unless we do something different,” Mlada said. “We need to do something here.”
    He suggested the city seek proposals from developers for the land or hire a group like Community Design Solutions, which created a redevelopment plan for five downtown properties in 2014, to create a plan for the area.
    Noting that CDS is comprised of students from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, CDA member Jason Wittek said the city needs to “bite the bullet” and hire a professional to plan for the area.
    “I don’t think you can talk about that area in a vacuum,” he said. “I think there are so many options. If we’re serious, we’ve got a lot of neighborhood planning to do.”
    Member Bill Prince agreed, and proposed the city seek ideas from residents via social media.
    “Let’s see if we get 200 crazy ideas and three good ones,” he said. “I would value the input of locals more than that of six students who haven’t been to Port Washington before.”
    That would also help quell the frustration of the public, Wittek said, noting that many of those upset about the proposed downtown redevelopment feel officials haven’t listened to them.
    “I think the process is what the public has really beaten us up for,” he said. “We’re at a point where we have to do more public engagement.”
    But CDA member Rory Palubiski suggested that an outside opinion can be equally important, noting they don’t hold preconceived ideas about the area and aren’t jaded by the political process.
    The committee agreed to seek input via social media and also to set a public informational meeting to seek ideas from residents.
    That meeting is tentatively set for Monday, Jan. 15.
    “We can take the conversation from there,” CDA Chairman Mike Ehrlich said. Daily Press

Mom accused of driving with 9-year-old on top of minivan PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 18 October 2017 18:03

Woman charged with a felony said boy was holding onto kiddy pool

    A mother who told police she had her 9-year-old son climb on top of her minivan and hold down a plastic kiddy pool as she drove down a Saukville street last month because she had no other way to secure the  pool now faces a felony.
    Amber L. Schmunk, 28, of Fredonia was charged last week with second-degree recklessly endangering safety.
    At about 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, police received a report of a minivan driving in the area of Hillcrest and Claremont roads with a child on top of the vehicle holding down a plastic pool, according to the complaint.
    The witness said the driver, later identified as Schmunk, eventually pulled over on South Colonial Parkway, took the child off the vehicle and wedged the pool in the minivan.
    When officers caught up with Schmunk, who dropped the pool off at her sister’s house on South Colonial Parkway, she told them that she had picked up the pool at someone’s house but had no way to strap it to her minivan. So, she said, she had her son climb on top of the vehicle and hold the pool while she drove, the complaint states.
    She said she only drove for a short time, maybe 20 to 30 seconds, before stopping and taking her son and the pool off the roof of the minivan, according to the complaint.
    Schmunk told another officer that she used a strap to tie her son and the pool to the top of her minivan, the complaint states.
    Schmunk said she thought it was acceptable for her son to ride on top of the minivan because her father allowed her to do similar things when she was her son’s age, according to the complaint.
    Schmunk is scheduled to make her initial court appearance before Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Sandy Williams on Nov. 11.
    Second-degree recklessly endangering safety is punishable by a maximum five years in prison and five years of extended supervision. Daily Press

Knife-wielding man who threatened fishermen charged PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 18 October 2017 18:01

Campbellsport resident chased men on breakwater, said he wanted cops to shoot him, complaint says

    A suicidal, knife-wielding man accused of chasing and threatening to kill two people on Port Washington’s lakefront last week now faces criminal charges in Ozaukee County Circuit Court.
    Douglas M. Schacht, 63, of Cambellsport, is charged with two felony counts of second-degree recklessly endangering safety and two misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest.
    A man told officers that on Tuesday, Oct. 10, he had been fishing on the breakwater and, at about 9:30 a.m., was walking to shore when he encountered Schacht, who was carrying what authorities described as a 12-inch butcher knife, the complaint states.
    The man said Schacht told him he could not leave the breakwater, and when the man said he was leaving anyway, Schacht told him, “No. If you do, I will kill you,” the complaint states.
    The man evaded Schacht by running around the wave-breaking wall and off the breakwater with Schacht chasing him.
    Another man, who was near NewPort Shores restaurant at the foot of the breakwater, said he saw the fisherman being chased by Schacht. Schacht then ran toward him and began slashing at him with the knife, according to the complaint.
    The man said he ran onto the breakwater and was heading toward the lighthouse when police officers arrived.
    Three officers cornered Schacht on the breakwater and ordered him to put the knife down. At one point Schacht dropped the knife, but then he picked it up again, prompting officers to warn him that they would shoot if he came toward them with the weapon, the complaint states.
    Eventually Schacht, who during the standoff said he wanted to jump in the lake and die, put the knife down and was arrested, according to the complaint. He refused to walk off the breakwater and had to be carried by officers.
    Schacht had apparently come to Port Washington to jump into the lake, then became upset when the first fisherman he encountered ruined his plan, Port Washington Police Chief Kevin Hingiss said. Schacht later said that he wanted police to shoot him and allow him to die, the complaint states.
    Officers found a note in his car stating his intentions and were told by his wife that he had mental health problems, Hingiss said.
    Schacht was taken to the Winnebago Mental Health Institute for a psychiatric evaluation, police said, and had yet to be transferred to the Ozaukee County jail as of earlier this week.
    Second-degree recklessly endangering safety is punishable by a maximum five years in prison and five years of extended supervision.   Daily Press        

Police disarm suicidal, knife-wielding man on breakwater PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 18:47

    A 63-year-old Kewaskum man who authorities said tried to commit suicide by cop on the Port Washington lakefront Tuesday is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation at the Winnebago Mental Health Institute.
    Port Police Chief Kevin Hingiss said the man originally intended to jump off the breakwater into the water, but chased a fisherman off the structure while brandishing a 12-inch knife. He later told officers he was upset that the fisherman had ruined his plan.
    The man, still brandishing the knife,  then came onto the NewPort Shores parking lot and chased another fisherman from the area, Hingiss said.
    The second fisherman had seen what occurred on the breakwater and notified police, he said.    
    When officers arrived, they ordered the man to drop the knife but he refused,  telling the officers he also had a gun, Hingiss said.
    Eventually, the man dropped the knife and was taken into custody, he said.
    “Luckily, he did it in time or he might have gotten his wish,” Hingiss said.
    The man had left a note in his car outlining his intention, Hingiss said. His wife told police he had other mental health issues.
    The man was taken to the hospital before being transferred to Winnebago, Hingiss said.
    Police have asked the Ozaukee County District Attorney’s officer to charge the man with two counts of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, two counts of endangering safety by use of a weapon, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, Hingiss added. Daily Press

Grafton police search for suspect in attempted carjacking PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by JOE POIRIER   
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 18:45

    Police continue to search this week for a man who attempted to carjack a sport utility vehicle at gunpoint from a female driver at approximately 6:45 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 6, in the parking lot in front of Ulta Beauty and Pier 1 Imports on Port Washington Road in Grafton.
    According to Grafton Police Department’s Capt. Joe Gabrish, the suspect is described as a black male with a slender build and is about six-foot-two. He was wearing a dark-colored hoodie and light-colored pants.
    Gabrish said the victim was sitting in her car, when an SUV pulled up next to her. The suspect exited the vehicle and walked to the driver side of the victim’s vehicle with a gun. According to Gabrish, the victim said it was a semi-automatic weapon.
    During the incident, a female bystander screamed, which distracted the suspect and allowed for the victim to drive away. Gabrish said the suspect left immediately and did not commit any other crimes in the area.
    According to Gabrish, the Grafton Police Department is working with other communities to see if there have been any similar incidents with the suspect.
    “We currently don’t have any corresponding crimes with the same situation in other communities,” Gabrish said. “Typically these guys steal these cars and abandon them so it’s kind of hard to match up.”
    Anyone who has any information about the incident should call the Grafton Police Department at (262) 375-5320. Daily Press

Opening on Port Council attracts just one candidate PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 18:43

Residents of city’s 4th District have until 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, to apply

    Only one person has applied to fill Port Washington’s 4th District aldermanic seat, which was vacated by Ald. Doug Biggs on Sept. 15.
    That person is Dan Benning, 1012 Jade St., who in his letter of application noted he has been a resident of the city and the district for 9-1/2 years.
    Benning said he has been employed by Johnson Controls for the past 28 years, most recently as an information technology director, and is involved in a variety of community activities.
    He has worked with teams staging the annual Port Christmas parade through Port Main Street Inc., Benning said, and served in various roles with Grand Avenue United Methodist Church.
    Applications for the seat representing the 4th District, which encompasses much of the city’s south and southeast sides, are due at City Hall by 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20.
    The Common Council will interview applicants at their Tuesday, Nov.  7, meeting and could appoint a new alderman that night.
    The new alderman would serve until April, when Biggs’ term would have expired.
    Candidates for the spring election for the seat can begin to circulate nomination papers beginning Dec. 1. Daily Press

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