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Proposed NOAA marine sanctuary sparks debate PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 27 September 2017 19:00

Opponents voice concerns at forum but one-time critic says Alpena preserve has been a boon to area

    Opponents of a proposed shipwreck sanctuary that would stretch from Ozaukee County north turned out in force at a public forum in Sheboygan last week, but the concerns they voiced can be alleviated simply, one panel member said.
    Get involved in the process and let your voices be heard, Steve Kroll, a diver and member of the Sanctuary Advisory Council for the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena, Mich., said.
    Then, the management plan will address the concerns of everyone and truly become a plan for all, Kroll said.
    Getting involved is how he went from being opposed to the Thunder Bay sanctuary to being a proponent of it, Kroll said in an interview with Ozaukee Press.
    “When they picked me (for the council), I thought, they put the fox in the chicken coop,” he said. “I was against it.”
    But he learned that the council “actually drove the ship,” Kroll said.
    “After a year or so, I realized the things we wanted as a group were actually happening,” he said. “I said to them, prove it. Prove you’re going to do the things you said you were. They did.”
    It benefits the sanctuary to have opponents involved, Kroll added, because they bring up concerns that might not otherwise be addressed.
    “Their environmental concerns should be duly noted and addressed,” he said. “But this is about maritime history and shipwrecks.”
    When the Alpena sanctuary was proposed, Kroll said, the process was different than it is today. It was a top-down process, he said, with officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration seemingly telling the local residents what they were going to do.
    Now, he said, NOAA officials get input from the community first.
    “You’re going to come up with a management plan that does what people want it to do,” Kroll said.
    He added he doesn’t think the area should be called a sanctuary.
     “I consider sanctuary to be an unfair word,” Kroll added. “It implies ‘keep out.’ In reality, this is managing something for the best use of everyone.”
    Although opponents of the sanctuary fear state and local communities will be giving up their rights to control the lakefront and the lake and property owners will find their riparian rights diminished if not eliminated, that’s not the case, Kroll said.
    “The sanctuary is going to stop at the water’s edge,” he said. “This is about shipwrecks.”
    It doesn’t mean that beachcombers won’t be able to collect driftwood or beach glass, he added, addressing another concern expressed by opponents.
    People will be able to dive on the wrecks, Kroll said, adding that the resources brought to the area by NOAA make it likely that additional shipwrecks will be found within the sanctuary borders.
    Educational outreach is a priority, he added, noting the sanctuary staff has developed a curriculum for students from fourth grade through college.
    “The sanctuary is able to bring the maritime history to everyone,” he said, not just divers.
    The Thunder Bay Sanctuary has 10 to 15 employees, as well as a friends group and 300 volunteers who give 8,000 hours a year to the sanctuary.
    The sanctuary in Alpena has been a boon to the area, he said, something opponents have said isn’t likely to occur.
    The Thunder Bay Sanctuary draws about 100,000 visitors annually, Kroll said, many of whom stay in the area for several days, spending money at local businesses, restaurants and hotels.
    And the visitor’s center is a LEED-certified facility in a converted paper mill, he noted, adding that since NOAA leases the building, it remains on the tax rolls.
    “Alpena is not the city it used to be,” Kroll said, noting another new hotel has opened on the waterfront. The downtown is more vibrant, and the entire area is finding new life.
    Officials in Alpena are willing to share what they have learned with the proposed Wisconsin sanctuary, Kroll added.
    “We’re as excited as you to have another sanctuary in the Great Lakes,” he said. Daily Press

City officials want Port to go viral on YouTube PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 20 September 2017 19:12

Committee seeks $4,380 for videos promoting economic development

Port Washington officials are considering going viral in their economic development efforts.
    Aldermen on Tuesday tabled a request by the Economic Development Committee to create several videos to be used as the city markets itself and to create a YouTube channel with these videos.
    “They would show what makes Port Washington unique as a place to do business,” Mayor Tom Mlada said.
    The council tabled the measure on the recommendation of the Finance and License Committee, which wants to make sure there are enough funds in this year’s budget to pay for the project.
    “We think it’s a great idea and a great project,” Ald. Dave Larson, chairman of the committee, said. “But we want to make sure we understand where we are with the budget.”
    Mlada said the Economic Development Committee has long talked about creating a digital presence, saying it could augment other efforts.
    While brochures and other print media have long been used by communities trying to attract new businesses, Mlada said that corporate leaders on the committee say they get many of these each day and “the immediate place they go is into the recycling bin.”
    “As a city, we need the ability to be more proactive and nimble,” Mlada said. “We want to get ourselves not only in the room but at the table.”
    Videographer David Bennett, who does work broadcasting the city’s meetings, does similar videos for the City of Ripon and has submitted a proposal to do this work for the City of Port, Mlada said.
    He said he hopes to begin this work during the National Manufacturing Day celebration on Nov. 1, getting Bennett to film activities in the city that day.
    The YouTube channel would provide a more in-depth look at Port and, in addition to helping attract new businesses, also help connect residents with employment opportunities, business events and more.
    The $4,380 proposal would include a series of videos for the YouTube channel, and from those a three-minute marketing video would be prepared by Dec. 21.Daily Press

Nice try, but no treats on Halloween PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 13 September 2017 18:45

Former Port Washington Ald. Kevin Rudser got a shout out last week as the Common Council held its annual debate  about trick-or-treat hours in the city.
    “In honor of our previous alderman Rudser, and my annual roll-a-rock-up-a-hill effort, I move we hold Halloween on Halloween,” Ald. Doug Biggs said.
    The motion — his last before his resignation takes effect at 5 p.m. Friday — was to hold trick or treat from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 31.
    “It’s for the kids,” he said, noting many adults trick or treated on weekdays and suffered no harm.
    The motion was defeated, with only Biggs and Ald. John Sigwart voting for it.
    An alternate motion by Ald. Mike Ehrlich to hold trick-or-treat from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, was approved. Daily Press

Press story sparks interest in abstracts PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 13 September 2017 18:44

Article on history of property’s real estate transactions prompts donation of records that Historical Society says are invaluable to tracing the evolution of city

    After reading a recent Ozaukee Press story about the abstract for a downtown Port Washington building and the history it brought to life, a woman called the Port Washington Historical Society.
    She, too, had an abstract of title for a property on Pier Street and wondered if the society would like it.
    The answer is yes, said Jackie Oleson, co-director of the society’s Resource Center.
    “That is probably one of the most valuable things we can get to trace the evolution of the city,” she said.
    An abstract is essentially a record of all the financial transactions attached to a property, from sales and mortgages to bankruptcies and liens.
    The Aug. 10 Press story told the tale of the building at the corner of Main and Franklin streets that houses Biever Travel and the Shoppes of Port Washington.
    Its abstract, shared by former building owner Jim Biever, recorded the story of the property from the time it was sold by the federal government to Wooster Harrison in 1935 — more than a decade before Wisconsin became a state and Port became a city — until it was sold to the Biever family in 1962.
    The record showed the initial tract of land sold, more than 75 acres, was split and divided numerous times to names that resound through the city’s history, including Leland Stanford, Solon Johnson and Solomon Juneau.
    While abstracts were once a common feature presented at the sale of a property, they are no longer. Instead, title companies search records going back 60 years and then present a title commitment at the closing of a sale.
    Oleson said these documents offer a plethora of information about the formation of the community.  
    “If anyone out there has an abstract, if they would just let us copy it, it would help us fill out the history of the city,” she said.
    “We’re always looking for that kind of information.”
    To reach the Historical Society, call 268-9150. Daily Press

United Way campaign to kick off with a toast PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 06 September 2017 18:40

Organization to host beer garden fundraiser

United Way of Northern Ozaukee is kicking off its new campaign season this weekend as it operates the Port Washington beer garden in Upper Lake Park from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9.
    The organization will not only be selling beer and food, it will also collect nonperishable items for area food pantries as well as its second annual Stone Soup event.
    Nonperishable food items needed for the soup event include pasta — particularly rotini and bowtie — canned tomatoes, tomato paste, rice, Parmesan cheese, crackers, corn and vegetable and chicken stock.
    Volunteers are being asked to sign up for the Stone Soup event, which will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 7, at St. Peter United Church of Christ in Saukville.
    Volunteers can sign up to provide food items for the soup, including chopped garden tomatoes, leeks, onions, squash, zucchini and fresh basil.
    Last year, 125 volunteers helped make 100 quarts of soup for people in need.
    This year, the hope is to make 150 quarts, Executive Director Barbara Bates-Nelson said.
    For more information or to donate food items, call Bates-Nelson at (248) 613-7855 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Daily Press

Council OKs subdivision rezoning despite outcry PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 06 September 2017 18:39

Port aldermen vote 6-1 to clear way for apartment complex opposed by residents of Hidden Hills

Port Washington aldermen agreed Tuesday to rezone a portion of the Hidden Hills subdivision on Port Washington’s west side for a 35-unit senior apartment building despite an outcry from residents opposed to the development.
    The rezoning was approved 6-1, with only Ald. Jonathan Pleitner, who lives in the subdivision, voting against it.
    Aldermen said the apartments, which are intended for active adults ages 55 and older, will fill a housing need in the community.
    Housing for active adults is preferable to many of the commercial uses that could go there, aldermen added, noting that these buildings could be located closer to the neighboring residences than the apartments will be.
    “If someone wants to put a nightclub there that would increase nighttime traffic, potentially increase crime, the city could not stop it,” Ald. Doug Biggs said, because the commercial zoning would allow this use by right.
    Studies have shown that commercial development within 700 feet of residential properties decreases their value, Biggs added, while senior housing within 1,500 feet has a positive impact on housing values.
    Bielinski’s “not going to hang onto it,” Ald. Mike Ehrlich noted, and there are many other uses that could impact the subdivision more seriously.
    “I really sympathize with everybody, but I don’t see a downside to what’s been brought up,” Ehrlich said. “Fifty-five-plus housing just seems to make the most sense.”
    Ald. John Sigwart said, “The Plan Commission has done a good job of making sure this development is appropriate for this neighborhood.”
    Randy Tetzlaff, the city’s director of planning and development, noted that Bielinski has responded to all the city’s concerns about its proposal, modifying the design for the building and relocating it on the site to mitigate the impact on the subdivision.
    “I’m struggling to understand the argument that it’s going to be so detrimental,” Mayor Tom Mlada said.
    Residents told aldermen that 60 of the 80 households in the subdivision opposed the rezoning, which Bielinski Homes needed to construct the apartment building.
    They said they feared the apartments would decrease their property values, increase traffic in the subdivision and decrease safety there.
    “Building this complex would dramatically change the character of Hidden Hills,” Rick Lovell, 220 Indigo Dr., said. “There’s no compelling reason to change the zoning here.”
    The best thing would be to leave the land undeveloped as a gateway to the city, he added.
    Patty Schulz, 1818 Aster St., told aldermen what attracted her family to the subdivision were the green spaces that surrounded it and any changes to that would “irrevocably change” life there.
    Several residents told officials that Bielinski never told them about the proposed change in zoning or use for the property, which was initially to be used for commercial development fronting on Highway 33.
    Ron Corlyn, 1800 Aster St., told aldermen that Bielinski should hire an aggressive firm to market its commercial land rather than trying to flip the zoning and create apartments there.
    But John Donovan, acquisitions and development manager for Bielinski, said the company is committed to ensuring 80% of the apartments are occupied by people 55 and older and the design of the structure.
    “Bielinski believes this is the best use of the property,” he said.
    Officials said that concerns about increased traffic were moot, noting that the apartment driveway would lead only to Highway 33, and the chance of increased crime in the area would be greater with commercial development than with housing for older adults.
    Concerns that the rezoning amounts to spot zoning were rebuffed by City Attorney Eric Eberhardt, who said that the use is compatible with the neighboring properties and provides a public benefit.Daily Press

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