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Gottlieb to step down as head of DOT Jan. 6 PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 28 December 2016 18:42

Former Port mayor says he’s retiring after six years on job

Former Port Washington Mayor Mark Gottlieb will step down from his job as secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation  Friday, Jan. 6.

Gottlieb, who also served in the State Assembly for eight years, offered his resignation to Gov. Scott Walker, according to Walker’s office. No reason was given.

Gottlieb, 60, said Wednesday that he is retiring. When asked about the reason for his resignation, he said, “I’m not really talking  about it.”

Gottlieb’s resignation is effective almost six years to the day after he took what he called then his “dream job” at the DOT.

It also comes ahead of what promises to be a fight over how to fund the state’s roads.

Over the years, Gottlieb has called for increasing fees and taxes to pay for highways — a stance opposed by the governor, who said he would not raise gas taxes or license fees without corresponding tax decreases elsewhere in the budget.

Gottlieb submitted a proposed budget that went along with Walker’s directives, but told the Assembly Transportation Committee this month that it means the number of roads in poor condition would double over the next decade and projects could be delayed for years.  

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos called Gottlieb “one of our most hardworking and articulate public leaders.”

“During his tenure, Secretary Gottlieb transformed the Department of Transportation, made it more efficient and saved taxpayers more than $1.5 billion in the process,” Vos said in a statement.

“As we’re set to begin the 2017-18 legislative session and make the tough but prudent decisions regarding the state budget, Secretary Gottlieb’s expertise and candor will be missed.”

Gottlieb has a long history of public service, serving as the Village of Grafton’s public works director for almost 21 years and as a Port Washington alderman and mayor.Daily Press

 
Financial backing sought for parish upgrades PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Mark Jaeger   
Wednesday, 28 December 2016 18:38

St. John XXIII congregation officials decide to explore funding options for renovations that could cost $4.5 million

Church leaders at St. John XXIII Catholic Parish in Port Washington and Saukville have decided there is sufficient support to continue refining plans for renovations that could cost as much as $4.5 million.

Now, the challenge is to determine if there is enough financial backing.

“There is overall support for the project, and those who have indicated they were unsure, we believe, will be supportive once their concerns and questions are addressed,” said Deacon Mike Burch, the parish administrator.

Earlier in the year, the parish that was formed by the merger of the community’s three Catholic churches announced preliminary plans for renovations at the school and church on the St. Peter of Alcantara campus on Port Washington’s north side.

Those tentative plans, prepared by Groth Design Group, call for a 5,520-square-foot addition for school offices and Continuing Religious Education facilities, a two-floor addition for seventh and eighth-grade classrooms, space for art and religion classes and a 1,520-square-foot child-care room.

The school improvements are needed to accommodate plans to relocate the parish’s K-12 school to a single campus.

A full elevator is also part of those plans, along with expanded parking and security enhancements.

Once those plans were firmed up, a brochure was prepared, feedback sessions were held and individual parishioners were contacted to gauge support for the proposed improvements.

That work was done by the James Company in conjunction with a parish feasibility study team.

Of 51 parish households contacted for the follow-up interviews, 33 agreed to provide feedback on the capital fund appeal.

From that group, 23 said they supported the preliminary plans and only one said they opposed the expansion and renovation. Nine others said they were uncertain about the project.

Nineteen of the supporters of the capital campaign said they would pledge gifts that totalled between $375,000 and $450,000. Individual pledges ranged as high as $100,000.

A broader survey of parish members was conducted earlier this year, drawing responses from 185 households — of the 1,057 that regularly contribute at least $100 toward the parish.

In total, the parish has roughly 1,800 households.

From that broader survey, 58% of those responding said they would support the capital fund appeal, 14% said they would not support the effort and 28% said they were uncertain about their support.

Backers of the plan said they liked the idea of consolidating operations at a single location and the long-term outlook it offers the parish.

Of concern among those who said they were uncertain about the campaign were questions about the parish’s ability to afford the work, the school’s apparent dropping enrollment and what the project means for the future of the St. Mary’s and Immaculate Conception churches.

One of the recurring concerns cited by a number of parishioners was that the proposed renovation might make the entrance to St. Peter’s feel less welcoming. Others suggested that the worship space currently used at St. Peter’s be designated for school use, with all worship services moved to the St. Mary’s and Immaculate Conception buildings.

Overall, parish leaders said the level of support shown in the follow-up interviews justified continued planning for the building work.

“After having received the results of the feasibility study, our parish pastoral council and finance committee have agreed to move forward with plans to conduct a capital fund appeal in 2017,” an announcement in the parish’s Dec. 25 bulletin noted.

“We will be in discussion with the Archdiocese to receive their approval to proceed with an appeal. Prior to launching the appeal, parish leaders will spend the next couple of months further reviewing the parishioner feedback received during the past several months.”

The capital fund appeal is expected to be launched in spring. During the appeal, parishioners will be asked to consider doubling their envelope giving for the next three years.

The parish stressed that no final decisions on the scope and nature of the renovation will be made until parishioners have responded to the capital fund appeal.

In need of updating, the St. Peter’s school building was built in 1966, shortly after the church was erected. The gymnasium was added in 1987.

The consultants said there appears to be “sufficient parishioner support” for a three-year, capital appeal of roughly $1.5 million that could be stretched to $2 million.

The capital fund appeal is expected to be augmented by any proceeds from the sale of four parish properties deemed no longer needed by a visioning committee of the parish. They include the St. Mary’s school building, St. Mary’s parish center, Immaculate Conception school building and the Saukville parish center.

Burch said the local dynamic on the pending work is similar to what he experienced as parish director during a capital campaign at St. Peter Claver Church in Sheboygan.

By supporting the building campaign there “we demonstrated that as a parish, we had faith in our future and as a result there was new life experienced in parishioners.”

He said that same swell of support is likely to occur at St. John XXIII.

“After all, this is about more than brick and mortar. It is about building usage and creation that fosters our mission as a parish,” Burch said.

The full feasibility study report is available at www.stjohn23rd.org.Daily Press

 
Fake $20 bills prompt warning about counterfeit cash PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 21 December 2016 19:51

An Ozaukee County Sheriff’s deputy recently stopped a car and, during a search, discovered a number of fake $20 bills, prompting Port Washington police to warn area businesses and residents to be on the alert for counterfeit money.

“These bills look extremely real if one were to just accept them without really looking at the bills,” Port Officer Steve Footit wrote in a memo.

The bills, known as novelty bills, are in denominations ranging from $1 to $100, he said.

They look identical to real currency, Footit said, except they have dashed lines through one corner of the bills and Chinese or Japanese markings on the bills.

“The rest of the bill looks real,” he wrote.

The fake currency can be purchased on the Internet, Footit said, including sites such as eBay.

Port police haven’t had any reports of the false money being passed in the city, Police Chief Kevin Hingiss said.

“We want people to stay vigilant,” Hingiss said. “We have had incidents in the past of people passing counterfeit bills, so we want people to be aware of this. We want merchants to check the bills they receive.

“If you’re not paying attention, you can easily be taken in by these fake bills.”

If anyone tries to pass off the bills, police ask that they be notified.Daily Press

 
Town of Port clerk decides to stay on the job PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 21 December 2016 19:49

Port Washington Town Clerk Cheryl Karrels will keep her job for the next year.

Karrels said she told the Town Board last week she would accept the one-year contract they offered her on Dec. 5.

Karrels, who has been town clerk since July 15, 2015, is paid $35,100 annually.

Karrels said she was “a little shocked” that the board did not offer any sort of salary increase. When she accepted the job as clerk, she noted, she had no experience but she has gained skills and expertise in the 18 months since then.

“I’m a little bothered by that,” she said.

When the board agreed to extend Karrels’ contract, Supr. Mike Didier noted that, according to a 2014 survey by the Towns Association, the Town of Port offered the highest salary for a part-time clerk among similarly sized townships in the state.

That, he said, was the reason he declined to suggest a salary increase for the coming year.

Karrels’ contract was set to expire on Dec. 31.Daily Press

 
Town of Port may have to hire a new clerk PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 14 December 2016 18:31

Port Washington Town Clerk Cheryl Karrels was expected to announce Wednesday whether she would continue to hold her post for another year.

“I’m still contemplating it,” Karrels said Monday.

Last week, the Town Board agreed to extend Karrels’ contract for another year at the same pay rate, but Karrels did not accept the offer immediately.

“I guess I’ll think about it,” Karrels told the board.

Karrels, who has been town clerk since July 15, 2015, is paid $35,100 annually.

Her contract runs from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31.

Supr. Mike Didier noted that is the highest salary for a part-time town clerk among similarly sized townships in the state, according to a 2014 survey by the Towns Association.

That, he said, is the reason he declined to suggest a salary increase for the coming year.

Karrels told the board that when her first contract was approved last year, she asked that there not be a salary increase, primarily because she had much to learn.

“Now, I have election experience,” she said. “That was a big part of my job that I’ve learned. I’ve been through a recall.”

And, she added, the onus in elections falls far more on clerks than it did in the past. The county used to handle many more of the duties, Karrels said, but today those have been turned over to the townships.

Karrels also told the board that she believes it will take her time to learn all there is to do during tax time.

“That’s going to be a learning curve for a while,” she said.

The board set a deadline of Wednesday, Dec. 14, for Karrels to decide whether to accept the contract, setting a special Town Board meeting for 7:15 p.m. that night.The Town Board on Tuesday also approved a three-year snowplowing contract with Dave’s Excavation & Grading. 

The contract, which runs through the 2020 season, calls for the rates to remain the same for the first two years, then increase 2% in the third year.Daily Press

 
‘Senseless’ fight leaves bartender injured PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Kristyn Halbig Ziehm   
Wednesday, 14 December 2016 18:29

Port police searching for suspects after drinking game leads to late-night tavern brawl

The Port Washington Police Department is continuing to try to identify the suspects in a “senseless” bar fight early Saturday morning that left a bartender injured.

Police are seeking four or five African-American men, three of whom were involved in the incident at Schooner Pub, Police Chief Kevin Hingiss said Monday.

“We do have a couple of leads, and I’m hopeful they’ll lead us to identify them and eventually make an arrest,” Hingiss said.

That’s contrary to what Hingiss called a “misinformed and misleading” report on social media that said police had ended their investigation because the bartender didn’t know the names of those involved.

“Nobody was ever told we’re not investigating because we don’t have names,” he said. “That’s not how we work. People should know better than that.”

The incident occurred about 1 a.m. Saturday when one of the men apparently bet another customer at the upstairs bar that he could drink more than the man, but he lost the wager, Hingiss said. When the other customer sought his winnings, they got into an argument.

The bartender, Trae Mittnacht, got between the men and separated them, Hingiss said, and things seemed to cool down. The suspect involved in the bet headed down the stairs, but then ran back up toward the other customer.

Mittnacht again stepped between them, and the man started punching him until he fell to the ground, Hingiss said. Even after Mittnacht was on the ground, the man continued to hit and kick him, and was eventually punched by one of the man’s friends as well.

“Sometime during this time, he was knocked unconscious,” Hingiss said.

Another of the man’s friends tried to join the melee, but was restrained by a second bartender, Kal Gahan, Hingiss said. The man who began the fight then punched the Gahan in the face twice.

The group then left the bar, he said.

“By the time we got there, all the suspects were gone,” Hingiss said.

The bartenders and customers in the bar told officers they had not seen the men before that night, Hingiss said.

Police and deputies from the Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Department searched unsuccessfully for the men, he said.

Hingiss said Mittnacht was treated by the ambulance crew but refused transport. He later sought medical treatment on his own.

Gahan did not seek treatment, he said.

Hingiss said Mittnacht told him that the men, accompanied by a woman, came to the bar earlier in the evening, Hingiss said. The man who later was involved in the fight ordered a round of shots, paying for it with a $100 bill. When he tried to pay for a second round with another $100 bill, the bartender questioned whether it was counterfeit and asked him to pay with a smaller bill.

The man then accused Mittnacht of short-changing him, Hingiss said.

Hingiss said police have a recording of the incident taken by cameras at the bar and are using it in their investigation.

“We’ve got some leads we’re working on,” he said, adding that anyone with information about the men is asked to call police.

“That would be a big help,” he said.

Anyone who wants to anonymously provide information may text 847411 and use the keyword PWPDTIP.Daily Press

 
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