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Familiar face picked for TJ administrator job PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by bill Schanen IV   
Wednesday, 05 April 2017 21:09

Former phy-ed teacher chosen by board to replace veteran assistant principal at Port middle school

The Port Washington-Saukville School Board on Monday chose a familiar face —former Thomas Jefferson Middle School phy-ed teacher Jodi Swagel — to become the school’s assistant principal beginning July 1.Swagel, currently the principal of Cedar Grove-Belgium Middle School, will replace Liz Ferger, who is retiring on June 30 after serving as the school’s second-in-command for 21 years.The board voted unanimously to hire Swagel, who was among 56 applicants and two finalists for the job.“It does feel like a homecoming for me,” Swagel said in an interview Tuesday. “My previous experience in the district was amazing. It’s a great school district and a great community. I’m humbled to be able to return to TJ as a leader.”Swagel was a phy-ed and health teacher at Thomas Jefferson Middle School from 2004 to 2010. She is completing her third year as principal of Cedar Grove-Belgium Middle SchoolSwagel has master’s degrees in administration, curriculum and instruction, as well as exercise science, and a bachelor’s degree in physical education.She said the move from principal to assistant principal was not a factor in her decision to leave Cedar Grove-Belgium Middle School and return to the considerably larger Thomas Jefferson Middle School.“I see both as leadership positions that give me the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of students,” she said.While admitting being a middle school educator can be challenging, Swagel said it’s her calling.“There are a lot of things going on with adolescents, and it really takes a special breed of educator to work in a middle school setting,” she said. “But it’s a place where educators can really make a difference.“For me, middle school is my sweet spot.”Swagel is the second new middle school administrator hired in as many years. Steve Sukawaty was picked last year to replace longtime principal Arlan Galarowicz, who retired.Swagel will be paid $89,000 next year, plus an additional $3,000 to oversee summer school, Supt. Michael Weber said. Also on Monday, the School Board recognized Ferger for her 21 years in the district and a career in education that spanned 31 years.“Thank you for the great service you provided to our kids,” Weber said. “You always tried to find something positive.”Looking back on her career, Ferger said, she is struck by the changes she has witnessed at Thomas Jefferson Middle School, which now has an enrollment of about 740 students.“The amount of change in 21 years has been just been incredible,” she said. “At one time we had 980 students at the school. It was a very big school with all sorts of stuff going on.” 
Image information: PORT WASHINGTON-SAUKVILLE School Board President Carey Gremminger (right) presented retiring Thomas Jefferson Middle School Assistant Principal Liz Ferger with a plaque Monday recognizing her 31-year career in education. Ferger is retiring June 30 after 21 years at the middle school.        Photo by Bill Schanen IV 
PW-S school incumbents fend off rare challenges PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 05 April 2017 21:13

Veteran board members who touted referendum projects win new terms

Two Port Washington-Saukville School Board members who have a combined 39 years of experience on the board fended off rare challenges in Tuesday’s election.

Brian McCutcheon, 59, who was first elected to the board as a write-in candidate in 1998, garnered 51% of the vote to top challenger Aaron Paulin, 917-880, and retain his seat representing the City of Port Washington on the board, according to unofficial results from the Ozaukee County clerk. 

This was the first time in McCutcheon’s career on the board that he was challenged.

Paulin, 38, a social studies teacher at West Bend West High School, was making his third run in as many years for a seat on the board.

Sara McCutcheon, 52, who has been on the board since 1997, won 58% of the vote to beat challenger Scott Fischer, 1,004-721, and retain her seat representing the Village of Saukville.

Sara McCutcheon is Brian McCutcheon’s sister-in-law.

Fischer, 49, is a Village of Saukville trustee who said he wanted to offer voters a chance to make a rare change on the School Board.

For the incumbents, the election was an opportunity to tout planning for and the approval of the School District’s $49.4 million referendum in April 2015.

Both board members said the district has done a good job of overseeing the referendum projects — the $3.8 million expansion and renovation of Dunwiddie Elementary School, which was completed in December, and the ongoing $45.6 million Port Washington High School project slated to be completed in 2019.

“I’m confident our projects will be completed on time and on budget,” Brian McCutcheon, the longtime chairman of the board’s Building and Grounds Committee, said prior to the election.

Board member Marchell Longstaff, who represents the Town of Port Washington on the board, was re-elected without opposition.

Board members represent specific municipalities within the School District but are elected at large, or by all voters in the district. They serve three year terms. 

Districtwide turnout was 17.8%.

Grafton school referendum passes

Elsewhere in Ozaukee County, Grafton School District voters approved a $39.9 million referendum a year after defeating a more expensive plan, with 57% of those voting supporting the borrowing plan.

The approval of the referendum clears the way for the demolition of Grafton Elementary School and the expansion and renovation of the district’s other two elementary schools, as well as renovation of the high school. (See story on page 6B.)

On the referendum question, 39% of registered voters cast ballots.Daily Press

County backs Evers in state education race

In the state superintendent of public instruction race, 53% of Ozaukee County voters picked incumbent Tony Evers over challenger Lowell Holtz, who garnered 47% of the county’s vote. Statewide, Evers garnered a substantially larger percentage of the vote to retain his post.

Countywide turnout was 21%.

Schlenvogt, Didier win Port Town Board seats PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by kriSTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 05 April 2017 21:09

Incumbent Town of Port Washington Supr. Mike Didier will be joined on the Town Board by Gary Schlenvogt, voters agreed Tuesday.

Didier, who has been a supervisor since 2011, received 183 votes, or 40% of the ballots cast, to be re-elected to the board.

Schlenvogt received 149 votes, or 33%, to take the place of Supr. Jim Rychtik, who did not seek re-election.

Greg Welton received 63 votes, or 14%, and Terry Anewenter received 59 votes, or 13%, to round out the ballot.

Also re-elected Tuesday were Town Chairman Jim Melichar and Treasurer Mary Sampont, who were unopposed.Daily Press

Almost 24% of registered voters cast ballots Tuesday.

Port to roll out eggs, judge bonnets Saturday PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 05 April 2017 21:04

The Hippity Hoppity Easter Egg Hunt and Easter Bonnet Contest will be held starting at 10 a.m.  Saturday, April 8.

The event will be at Possibility Playground in Upper Lake Park.  

The Easter bonnet contest is open to people of all ages and pets, while the egg hunt is for children ages 2 to 9.

Prizes will be awarded for the best bonnets in five age groups, plus pets.

Following the egg hunt, the Easter bunny will be available for photos.

Shana Harvey will provide live children’s music in the park pavilion and the Key Club will provide a lollipop basket and hot chocolate. 

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day, youngsters are invited to visit downtown businesses displaying an egg sign on their doors to fill their baskets.  

The event is sponsored by Port Washington Main Street, the Greater Port Washington Kiwanis Club, Aktion Club and the Port Washington High School Key Club. 

Four hopefuls vying for two seats on Port Town Board PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
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.Daily Press

Repairs made to city siren but age of warning system an issue PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
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.Daily Press

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