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Town of Port’s 2016 budget keeps tax rate flat PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Tuesday, 24 November 2015 21:40

Town of Port Washington residents last week approved a $450,449 tax levy and $223,000 in highway work for 2016.The levy is needed to support a budget of $645,990, and a tax rate of $2.33 per $1,000 assessed valuation will be needed to raise the levy. Last year’s tax rate was $2.34 per $1,000.

Officials have touted the budget as one that keeps them on a steady path while not raising taxes.

That’s important, they said, given the fact that the Port Washington-Saukville School District’s referendum borrowing for a renovated high school and other school improvements is expected to significantly increase taxes.

But the budget does allocate funds to repair Green Bay Road, a project the town has been considering for years. 

Only one resident attended the public budget hearing Nov. 17, Town Clerk Cheryl Karrels said.Daily Press

The discussion largely centered around ditch mowing, Karrels said. This year, the town did more mowing in fall and less in spring, but those attending decided that the town should allocate equal resources for the  town mowing sessions.

 
Harbour Lights work to restrict parking on both sides of street PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Thursday, 19 November 2015 14:50

There will be no parking on much of the 100 block of Franklin Street for as long as five days to accommodate construction of the Port Harbour Lights project, Port Washington Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said Tuesday.

Parking will be prohibited on both sides of the street while contractors abandon two water services that are located in Franklin Street, he said. That work is expected to begin Dec. 7.

Two-way traffic would continue on Franklin Street, although the lanes will be shifted to the west side of the street, Vanden Noven said.

The actual construction work is expected to take a couple days, after which it will take the new concrete two days to set and cure, he said.

Port Harbour Lights, a multi-million-dollar mixed-use development, will create 10,000 square feet of commercial space and 14 luxury condominium units in Daily Pressdowntown. To do this, the former M&I Bank and Harry’s restaurant buildings will be razed and replaced with new structures. A new building will also be constructed between them.

Construction fencing went up around the site last week, and demolition of many of the existing structures is expected to begin soon, officials said.

 
Let the hunt begin: PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by MITCH MAERSCH   
Thursday, 19 November 2015 14:42

Obeying rules, putting safety first emphasized by DNR officials on eve of gun deer season that includes zones in local parks

As the opening of one of the most popular Wisconsin traditions nears, State Department of Natural Resources game warden Tony Young reminds everyone how best to save lives: safety first.

“The entire goal every season of every warden is no accidents,” he said.

The gun deer season, running Nov. 21 to 30 this year, is when the most people are firing weapons at once. While hunters have taken hunter safety courses, some may have done it decades ago. Regardless, new and veteran hunters could use a refresher.

Young provides the following acronym: TABK.

T stands for “treat every firearm as if it’s loaded,” he said. A is “Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.” B is “Be certain of your target and what’s beyond.” K means “Keep your finger outside of the trigger guard until ready to shoot.”

“There’s a lot of rules and regulations people need to abide by,” Young said. “My passion for the hunting season is people are safe and nobody gets hurt. If everybody abides by those four rules, there are no accidents.”

It’s not only hunters who need to exhibit safe procedures. Anyone driving, Young said, should be on the lookout.

The rut for deer is usually around Halloween, meaning deer may run across roads more than usual. Later November is still a popular time for deer crossing streets.

“Definitely, people need to keep their head on a swivel,” he said.

The only major changes to the deer season this year, Young said, is registration, which is now done online or over the phone.

“It actually makes it easier,” he said. “Just different.”

For questions about deer hunting, Young suggested calling him at 262-993-0078.

For hunters patrolling east of Sauk Trail in the Town of Belgium, there’s another change, albeit a minor and neighborly one. The town made an addition to its ordinance in early fall that require hunters to have a permission slip from the landowner, said Town Chairman Tom Winker.

Residents voiced safety concerns at a town meeting in August, sparking the addition to the ordinance. Incidents of neighbors not agreeing on the discharge of firearms had been reported.

The concern, Winker said, is the lots east of Sauk Trail are smaller and thus have a more concentrated area of residents.

Enforcement of the ordinance is one challenge. The town doesn’t have a constable and doesn’t want to pay the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Department to patrol.

“We like neighbors to police neighbors,” Winker said. “One, try to get along, and two, try to be neighborly.”

Two area parks — one state and one county — are keeping with their annual tradition to allow hunting.

In Harrington Beach State Park, muzzleloader hunting is allowed from Nov. 21 through Dec. 13, with the Dec. 10 to 13 window an antlerless hunt only. Late archery deer season runs through Jan. 3.

“The biggest thing for us out here is they know where they’re at. Get a map. They’re responsible to know,” said Carolyn Morgen, superintendent who oversees the Harrington Beach and Kohler-Andrae state parks.

All Harrington Beach State Park bulletin boards have maps, and a map rack sits outside the park office. The park encompasses about 1,000 acres, but only about one third of that may be used for hunting.

At Lion’s Den Gorge Nature Preserve in the Town of Grafton, the park closes for the nine-day gun deer season. Only hunters are allowed inside, and only those who won the lottery are allowed to hunt. More than 50 apply, but only about 10 are issued to hunt, Andrew Struck, director of planning and parks for Ozaukee County, said.

Usually, Struck said, not all 10 hunters are in the park at the same time.

Of the park’s 73 acres, hunting occurs on about 60. But hunters roaming the adjacent 44-acre U.S. Fish and Wildlife property need to be aware, Struck said. Trails run between the park and the property, and the park polices the area to ensure no hunters come across into Lion’s Den.

Lion’s Den does not close during bow hunting season, which runs through Jan. 3.

“Our goal for allowing hunting out there is really driven (by the fact) that we’re trying to manage vegetation,” Struck said. “Some of (the deer’s) most favorite plants are some of our most prized plants in the park, like cedar trees.”

Once hunters bag their deer, Blau’s Saukville Meats is a popular destination for processing.

“Right now we’re just getting the store ready and sausage made,” owner Mark Blau said. “I need every square inch for the gun season.”

Blau said family and friends help during deer season, when the shop is regularly open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., but employees still work on Thanksgiving Day.

“We do leave early but it’s still work,” Blau said.

 
NOAA heads to Port to get input on sanctuary PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 11 November 2015 21:49

Agency says residents’ feedback will shape plans for shipwreck preserve

Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be in Port Washington on Wednesday, Nov. 18, to hear what residents think about a proposed marine sanctuary that would stretch from the city north to Two Rivers.

“We’re there to listen,” said Vernon Smith, NOAA’s national media coordinator. “We want to hear what the public has to say about this proposal.”

Information garnered by NOAA officials during a 6:30 p.m. meeting Wednesday, Nov. 18, will be used to refine the sanctuary concept, Smith said.

“Potentially it could help us figure out what it (the sanctuary) might look like, what types of programming it may offer,” he said. “There are a lot of things for people in the community to consider.

“This stage of the process is all about us listening to you and your neighbors. Sanctuary proposals evolve as they go along. We listen to what the public says, consider it and try to evaluate the options and possibilities.”

The meeting, which will be at the Wilson House in downtown Port, will begin with a 30-minute open house, followed by a program at 7 p.m. and public comments. It is expected to wrap up by 8:30 p.m.

Meetings on the proposed sanctuary will also be held next week in Manitowoc and Sheboygan. 

Mayor Tom Mlada said he is hoping for a strong turnout, noting this will demonstrate support for the sanctuary. That might someday translate into a physical presence by the agency in Port, he added.

“The best way to demonstrate we’re the kind of community where a presence is warranted is through a strong showing,” he said.

After the meeting, Smith said, NOAA will draft an environmental statement that will fine tune the proposal. Following a public hearing on that document, the agency will compile a final environmental statement or management plan that will be reviewed by the public.

Only after that will NOAA make a final decision on the sanctuary designation. 

“This is a several-year process,” Smith said.

The proposed sanctuary, a joint project between Port, Sheboygan, Manitowoc and Two Rivers, as well as the State of Wisconsin, would only be the second on Lake Michigan — the other is Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena, Mich.  — and the second freshwater sanctuary.

It would encompass 875 square miles containing 39 known shipwrecks, 15 of them listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The area contains 15 shipwrecks that are essentially intact and three with standing masts, a rarity in the Great Lakes. 

 

 
City recruits public in fight to secure lighthouse PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 11 November 2015 21:47

An informational meeting addressing Port Washington’s efforts to acquire the iconic lighthouse in its harbor will be held at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, at City Hall.

Mayor Tom Mlada said the meeting is intended not just to update people on the efforts to acquire the landmark but to solicit help for that task.

“We want to not just get out information but to open the door to people, to give them the opportunity to get involved,” he said. 

A broad-based committee is working on the application to acquire the lighthouse from the federal government, and that group is seeking input from residents, Mlada said.

In addition to completing the city’s application, which is due Dec. 25, the group is conducting a survey to gauge not just people’s interest in having the city obtain the structure but to seek support for its efforts, he said.lh

It is also seeking people’s stories  about the lighthouse — something Mlada said is key to the application.

“What we’re really trying to do is tell the narrative of why this is so important to us,” he said. “For people who live here, it’s meaningful. That’s not a story other communities, other entities, can tell.”

That’s important, Mlada said, since the Michigan-based Geek Group has also told the federal government it wants to acquire the Port lighthouse.

To indicate just how important the lighthouse is to Port, Mlada noted that of the 200 people who had responded to the survey by Monday morning, 80% said they had visited the structure more than a dozen times in the last year.

“That tells you how much people factor that lighthouse into their day, what it means to them,” he said, calling that a central theme of the city’s application.

The stories told by people responding to the survey are telling:

“My parents got engaged there. I love walking out there,” one person wrote.

Another said, “Fished out there all the time when I was growing up.”

“I grew up in downtown and listened to that fog horn while going to sleep many nights,” wrote another.

Another said, “I go there, usually during the summer, because despite the cold winds and sometimes dangerous water, it’s a place of peace and solitude. You get one of the most gorgeous views in the entire Midwest. And I would never want that to be jeopardized.”

Port Washington Main Street Inc.’s Design Committee recently approved lighting the lighthouse — something the group had approved earlier but delayed because of questions surrounding its acquisition, Executive Director Lauren Richmond said.

“This is still an asset to Port Washington, no matter who owns it,” she said. “It’s an important landmark, and now you will see the entire structure at night.”

The city is also working to position itself to care for the structure, Mlada said, and that will also be addressed in the application and at Tuesday’s meeting.

“I think it’s important to understand we’re committing to the long-term care of a meaningful asset,” he said.

Copies of the survey can be accessed at www.keepthelighthouse.com. Paper copies are available at some city businesses.

 
USS Milwaukee stop off Port may be moved to Sunday PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 11 November 2015 21:38

The USS Milwaukee will stop off Port Washington’s shore at about 10 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, Mayor Tom Mlada said Thursday.

The stop was originally scheduled for Friday, Nov. 13, but due to the blustery weather the ship’s commander decided to delay the trip by two days. 

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The stop in Port will occur as the ship  travels from Marinette to Milwaukee for its commissioning on Nov. 21.

“Perhaps this is to our benefit, allowing more city and county residents to come out on Sunday morning,” Mlada said. “The weather on Sunday is supposed to be really nice, sunny and 58 degrees.”

As the vessel makes it way to Milwaukee, it is expected to come to a stop 100 to 200 yards off Port’s harbor, he said. The crew will gather on the deck for the approximately 20-minute stop.

Plans are in the works to coordinate an honor guard at the World War II memorial pillar in Coal Dock Park during the ship’s visit, Mlada said. A 21-gun salute and the playing of taps would be part of the event.

“This is an opportunity for people to come out, pay their respects to the crew and take some pictures,” Mlada said, noting the ship is an impressive vessel.

The USS Milwaukee is a Freedom class littoral combat ship, the sixth littoral combat ship to be delivered to the Navy and the third Freedom class ship to join the fleet. 

It is also the only Navy ship to be commissioned in her namesake city, in the state where she was built.

The ship is 389 feet long and 57-1/2 feet wide, operates with a 98-member crew and is capable of traveling 45 knots.

Small and agile, it is a versatile vessel whose missions include surface warfare, mine countermeasures and anti-submarine warfare.

The ship’s stop will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many people, Mlada said, noting that it is likely the only time the Milwaukee will be on the Great Lakes.

Once the ship is commissioned, it is slated to be stationed on the West Coast.

 
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