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Department merger garners state recognition PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Mitch Maersch   
Wednesday, 11 January 2017 20:02

Washington-Ozaukee Public Health Department lauded for cost savings, service by UW-Madison

Merging the Ozaukee and Washington counties’ public health departments has earned statewide recognition.

Department Director Kirsten Johnson and Washington County Administrator Joshua Schoemann have been chosen to receive the 2016 Lloyd D. Gladfelter Award from the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The award totals $2,500.

The two departments merged July 1, the culmination of a year’s worth of planning, Johnson said. Both counties’ strategic plans call for finding ways to share services, and they saw an opportunity to merge public health departments, she said.

Financially, the merger saved Ozaukee County $70,000 to $80,000 due to splitting the salary and benefits package of one director instead of each county paying for its own, said Ozaukee County Administrator Tom Meaux.

Attrition, Johnson said, allowed for reorganization. Duties of those leaving were not just dropped on other people’s plates, she said.

“I feel strongly that you should have the right people in the right jobs because then they do the best jobs,” she said.

Johnson was named Director of Ozaukee County’s public health department in 2011, bringing a focus on best practices and alignment to national objectives. Washington County’s director of public health retired, allowing Johnson to head the combined department.

Johnson heads 34 people in the newly joined department, which she said can provide better services than when the two were separate.

“Really, the concept is to build the public health infrastructure so we can provide the services the community expects from us, and do it well,” Johnson said.

One advantage is the merging of the two counties’ information systems.

“What’s nice is because we’re one department we can see lab reports. If someone is working on the case (in one county), they’re able to share information (with the other county),” Johnson said.

Due to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Johnson said counties with separate health departments may not see each other’s lab reports.

The department has already used that system to better track norovirus and other diseases, Johnson said.

In addition, the combined department picked up a third public health educator. Johnson started the position in Ozaukee in 2011, and Washington County hired its own in 2015.

Last spring the two departments hired a third person they shared until the merger. That wouldn’t have happened if the departments would have remained separate, Johnson said.

“It’s built our capacity,” Johnson said.

The health educators focus on how to best prevent diseases and pool resources.

“It’s really looking at policies in communities and how they shape the environment we live in and how they’re conducive to healthy behaviors,” Johnson said.

She said examples would be communities offering walking and bike paths and better access to fruits and vegetables. The department is working with school districts and places like the Wellspring organic farm in Newburg to promote a Harvest of the Month, a program that highlights a locally available crop in school cafeterias, restaurants, workplaces and grocery stores.

“The difference is the health educators are trained to do this work,” Johnson said.

Another example is communities becoming “mental health friendly,” she said. “What are the pieces that need to be in place, services available and in schools, and that there’s a culture of empathy.”

The merger wasn’t without the typical fears of job losses, and Johnson said she is learning how to run a larger department.

“But the exciting thing about it is to be the first merged county health department in Wisconsin. It’s exciting to build something and think strategically about how we want to provide services,” she said.

“This is the best kind of consolidation,” Meaux said. “We’re offering better service and have lower costs. It’s a tribute to leadership in both counties.”

In addition, the department is one of four across the country this year that received a $75,000 grant to measure the impact of sharing services from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to health care.

One way to measure shared services is to track the time it takes for someone to get an immunization from the time they walk into the department or make the first phone call, Johnson said.

Another is to measure the time it takes to investigate a communicable disease outbreak as a joint department instead of a single department, she said.Daily Press

Sensenbrenner, Brooks to host listening sessions PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 11 January 2017 20:00

Rep. Rob Brooks and U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner will hold their first listening session of the year with constituents Monday, Jan. 16.

They will be at Newburg Village Hall, 614 Main St., from 9 to 9:30 a.m.

The officials will respond to inquiries from constituents, answer questions and address concerns.

Brooks represents the 60th Assembly District, which includes parts of Washington and Ozaukee counties, while Sensenbrenner’s district includes Washington County and parts of Jefferson Waukesha and Milwaukee counties.Daily Press

Teen faces felony for posting video of locker room shenanigans PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Bill Schanen IV   
Wednesday, 04 January 2017 19:27

Port High senior charged under law used to prosecute jilted lovers who post nude photos of exes for revenge

A law intended to prosecute jilted lovers who post nude photos of their exes online to embarrass them is being used to charge a Port Washington High School student with a felony for taking a video of locker room shenanigans and posting it on Snapchat.

Tanner R. Meinel, a 17-year-old senior, is accused of recording a video that shows the naked backside of a 16-year-old retrieving his underwear in a school locker room and posting it to the popular mobile app that self-deletes images and videos 10 seconds after they’re opened, according to a criminal complaint filed in Ozaukee County Circuit Court last week.

Meinel is charged with capturing an image of nudity in a locker room under a statute referred to as Wisconsin’s porn revenge law, which is punishable by a maximum 1-1/2 years in prison and two years of extended supervision.

According to the complaint, on Nov. 10 a police officer was called to Port High and told by Assistant Principal Thad Gabrielse that Meinel had recorded a video of the 16-year-old in a locker room and shared it with other students on Snapchat.

A witness said the video was recorded after a student threw the 16-year-old’s underwear on top of a speaker box. As the 16-year-old was trying to retrieve his underwear, Meinel recorded the video, which showed the boy’s buttocks, the complaint states.

Meinel admitted to recording the video and disseminating it on Snapchat, according to the complaint.

Porn revenge laws are relatively new, born in an era when the Internet provides people with the ability to retaliate against others by posting embarrassing images for millions of people to see.

California was the first state to pass a law targeting revenge porn in 2013.

Wisconsin passed its law a year later.

One of the first people prosecuted under the Wisconsin law was a Milwaukee man who posted nude photos of his ex-girlfriend online, then told her there was nothing she could do about it because the revenge porn bill was not yet signed into law. It turns out he was wrong. Gov. Scott Walker signed the bill into law just 12 days before the man was charged with a misdemeanor version of the crime.

Ultimately, he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge, disorderly conduct, and was sentenced to four days in jail.

At about the same time, a Madison man was sentenced to six months in jail for posting nude images of his former girlfriend on Facebook. He was also found guilty of misdemeanor battery and felony intimidation of a witness relating to his ex-girlfriend.

Meinel is scheduled to make his initial court appearance in front of Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Joseph Voiland on Feb. 7.

Consummate Port volunteer named Citizen of the Year PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 04 January 2017 19:25

Chamber honors Zehren for her involvement, firm for its partnership with group

Geri Zehren has been selected as Citizen of the Year by the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce, and Molded Dimensions has been named the Business of the Year.

The honors will be awarded by the organization during a reception at Ansay & Associates Thursday, Jan. 26.

Also being recognized are the Ozaukee Master Gardeners, which will receive the City Beautification Award; Pat Morrissey for Outstanding Achievement; and Bill Schanen III for Distinguished Service.

Lisa Crivello, executive director of the Chamber, said that Zehren was selected as Citizen of the Year based on her love for the community and her volunteer work over the past several decades.  

Zehren has been a member of the Port Tourism Board for at least 17 years, she said, and has served as its treasurer. 

Zehren, who had been a member of the Port Washington Garden Club, also maintains the grounds at the Pebble House, which serves as the headquarters for the Tourism and Chamber offices, and is a member of the Main Street Design Committee.  

She is a guide at the Port Light Station and co-director of the Port Washington Historical Society Resource Center, Crivello said.

Molded Dimensions was picked as the Business of the Year based on the firm’s partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and its work promoting manufacturing, Crivello said. The company has hosted a number of community programs, including educational programs for students and an open house for the community.  

Ozaukee Master Gardeners is being recognized for its work planting and maintaining the garden in the triangle at the base of St. Mary’s Hill, Crivello said, noting it creates a welcoming sight for visitors, shoppers and workers.

Schanen was selected for the Distinguished Service Award based on his lifetime in leadership roles in the city, Crivello said, noting he has lead the city’s Tourism Board, Port Historical Society and Yacht Club. The publisher of Ozaukee Press, he has also been an advocate for the city on many levels, she said.  

Morrissey is being honored for her work as founder of Family Promise  — a position she left because of a serious illness  — and later started Companioning the ARTS at the Aurora Grafton Cancer Center.  

The annual awards reception will be held beginning at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 26. The fee is $15, and reservations may be made by contacting the Chamber at 284-0900.Daily Press

Spring races set for two Town Board seats PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 04 January 2017 19:22

There will be a race for the supervisory seats on the Port Washington Town Board this spring.

Four people are seeking the two seats on the board in the April 4 election.

Incumbent Supr. Mike Didier, 4627 Hwy. KW, will face off against Terry Anewenter, 3693 Hwy. KK; Gary Schlenvogt, 2415 Hawthorne Dr.; and Greg Welton, 2563 Applewood Dr.

Incumbent Supr. Jim Rychtik is not seeking re-election.

Didier, who has been on the board since 2011, was also challenged by Welton and Anewenter in 2015.

Town Chairman Jim Melichar is running unopposed in the April 4 election, as is Town Treasurer Mary Sampont.Daily Press

Polar Bears ready to take annual dip Jan. 1 PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 28 December 2016 18:43

The Port Washington Polar Bears Club will take its annual dip into Lake Michigan at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 1, culminating a weekend of revelry to bring in the new year.

Hundreds of people are expected at the lakefront near NewPort Shores restaurant at the east end of Jackson Street to watch the jump.

Polar Bears President Jon Crain predicted 284 people will take the plunge -- an estimate made using a software program.

That program, he added, predicted there will be 73 first-timers.

“We’re looking for a younger crowd,” Crain said. “We’ve lost a lot of our older veterans due to age and health.”

Last year, 9-year-old Hope Gilhooly participated in the plunge, and Crain said she has been appointed the club’s “director of marketing” to help get youngsters to participate.

Crain said the temperature is expected to be about 32 degrees Sunday. “That’s not bad at all,” he said. “It’ll be nice.

“This will wake you up.”

He reminded those participating to wear shoes or sandals for the plunge, and asked that they be respectful of one another.

The registration table will open at 1 p.m. in the NewPort Shores parking lot, Crain said.

“Remember, to become a member you have to go all the way under — and have fun,” he said.

The annual Polar Bear plunge isn’t the only opportunity revelers will have to safely welcome the new year.

On New Year’s Eve, they will have several options to get home safely.

The Ozaukee County shared-ride taxi service will offer free rides throughout the county from 9 p.m. Saturday, New Year’s Eve, until 4 a.m. New Year’s Day.

To arrange for a ride, call 238-8294 or 284-8294.

Port Washington’s bars and restaurants have also banded together to provide free bus service in the city. The bus runs from 7:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve until 4 a.m. New Year’s Day.Daily Press

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