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PWHS alumni ready to raise a grateful sound PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 30 December 2015 19:09

Nearly 200 current, former music students to join forces for fundraising concert Jan. 2

Sarah Kruske’s invitation to alumni of Port Washington High School’s music program to perform together again at their alma mater during a Saturday concert has been well received.

About 80 graduates of the school’s vocal and instrumental programs, who vary in age from their late teens to late 70s and hail from cities across the country, will perform in the alumni fundraising concert on Jan. 2, said Kruske, a 2012 Port High graduate who is organizing the event.

Alumni will be joined by about 100 current Port High students during the concert, which will feature choir, band, vocal jazz, solos and combo performances.

“I expect a lot of people to show up and realize how much they miss performing together,” Kruske said. 

But as much as the fundraising concert will be a reunion for performers, it was also conceived by Kruske as a way for graduates, many of whom were inspired to pursue careers in music because of their experiences at Port High, to thank a community and give back to a school that has demonstrated a commitment to music, Kruske said. 

“I got into a top music program because of my experience at Port High,” said Kruske, who will graduate in spring from DePaul University in Chicago with a degree in performing arts management. “What I’ve learned from students at college who talk about funding for their high school programs being cut is just how rare Port High’s program and its teachers are.

“And what I really love is the community support Port High’s program has. Time and time again, our community has shown its support for music in schools, and that’s not the way it is in every community.”

The concert is free, but organizers are asking for donations to benefit the music program. Net proceeds will be used to equip a new music theory computer lab, Kruske said.

Donors have already contributed about $1,000 and the Port High Music Boosters club is providing volunteers the night of the concert and a meal for performers, she said.

The concert is also ideally timed to give graduates one last chance to perform in the auditorium they remember, Choral Director Dennis Gephart said. 

A $45.6 million high school project  approved by voters in April will include a major renovation of the auditorium and new band and choir facilities. Work is slated to begin in spring and be completed by fall 2019.

“We want people who performed here as Port High students to have one more experience on this stage,” Gephart said.

While having nearly 200 musicians involved in the concert is good news, it puts a premium on planning and organization, said Kruske, who last year organized a fundraising concert at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Port Washington to thank music director Drew Rutz and the parish and raise money for the church organ.

“Sarah has experience in organizing concerts, so this is nothing new for her, although this one is exponentially larger than the organ fundraiser,” Gephart said. “It’s really enjoyable to watch a former student of yours just kind of take things over.”

The musicians will rehearse together for the first time on New Year’s Day, then practice the day of the concert before taking the stage.

“We’re going to take some time for a sit-down talk between alumni and students so the alumni can discuss what the Port High music program did for them and what they learned along the way,” Kruske said.

The alumni fundraising concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 2, in the Port High auditorium at 427 W. Jackson St. Doors open at 7 p.m.

A $5 donation at the door is suggested.

Preferred seating tickets for sponsors of the concert can be picked up at a will-call table in the auditorium hallway.

Image information: 

PORT WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL graduate Sarah Kruske is organizing an alumni fundraising concert with the help of Choral Director Dennis Gephart (right) and Band Director Alan Dust. The performance will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 2, in the school auditorium.                 Press file photo

Challenger joins incumbents in PW-S school race PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 30 December 2015 19:09

Two Port Washington-Saukville School Board incumbents will face a challenger on the April 5 ballot.

Aaron Paulin, who ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the board in spring, has registered to run against incumbents Kelly O’Connell-Perket and Brian Stevens to represent the City of Port Washington on the board. 

The two candidates who garner the most votes in the three-person race will be elected to the board.

Paulin, a social studies teacher at West Bend West High School, ran against Stevens, Brenda Fritsch and Michelle Shinners in the April 7, 2015, election.

Stevens was appointed to the board in February 2014 to replace the late Jim Olson, who resigned for health reasons. He was elected in spring and must run again in April 2016 to retain his seat because Olson’s term would have expired on April 25.

O’Connell-Perket was first elected to the board in 1998.

No candidates have registered to run for a seat on the board representing a small, southern area of the School District in the  towns of Grafton and Saukville.

That seat had been filled by Paul Krechel, who was appointed to the board in July 15, 2014, and elected without opposition in April 2015. He resigned in October citing conflicting career obligations.Daily Press

The seat has been a challenge to fill because the area it represents is relatively small. Only about 350 registered voters live in this area, officials said. 

If no one is elected to the seat, the board will continue its efforts to appoint a board member. 

Candidates have until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 5, to file nomination papers and declare their candidacy.

Diamond to start new year in jail for bar fight knife incident PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 23 December 2015 18:54

Former actor ordered to begin serving 120-day sentence on Jan. 15 for Christmas night tavern fracas in Port

Nearly a year after he pulled a knife during a Christmas night bar fight in Port Washington, former television actor Dustin Diamond was ordered last week to report to jail next month to begin serving a 120-day sentence.

Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Paul Malloy, who in June stayed Diamond’s sentence pending an appeal, ordered the man famous for playing Screech on the 1990s TV show “Saved by the Bell” to turn himself in to the county jail by 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 15.

Diamond’s attorney, Daniel Fey, said during a Dec. 17 hearing that Diamond weighed the merits of an appeal, but decided against it. 

The case against Diamond, 38, of Port Washington, went to trial in May. After hearing three days of testimony and deliberating for just less than six hours, an Ozaukee County jury acquitted Diamond of one felony count of second-degree recklessly endangering safety in the stabbing of 25-year-old Casey Smet of Port Washington at the Grand Avenue Saloon.

The jury, however, found him guilty of two misdemeanor charges — carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct with a dangerous weapon.

Malloy withheld sentences on both convictions and placed Diamond on probation for 15 months. As a condition of probation, the judge ordered him to serve 60 days in jail for each conviction.

The jury also found his fiancee, 28-year-old Amanda Schutz of Port Washington, guilty of disorderly conduct. She was fined.

During the trial, which was covered by media from throughout the country, witnesses gave two different accounts of what occurred at the tavern, and it appears the jury believed parts of both stories. 

Although a single surveillance camera in the tavern captured much of the incident on video, which was used extensively by both the prosecution and defense, it left ample room for interpretation.

District Attorney Adam Gerol built his case on the testimony of nine witnesses, five of whom are relatives and friends who,  as they traditionally do on Christmas, gathered at Grand Avenue Saloon the night of the incident.

Some of the people in the group admitted to taking photos of themselves with Diamond and Schutz in the background after they realized the man who played Screech was just feet away from them, but said they did little else to provoke Schutz.

It was Schutz, several of them testified, who pushed one woman in their group, punched another and attacked a third woman, inciting the scuffle that lead to Smet being stabbed.

Several prosecution witnesses said they saw Diamond holding a knife or heard it click open, but no one testified to seeing Diamond stab Smet. In fact, no one knew Smet was injured, including him, until after the fight was over. 

Diamond’s lawyer, Thomas Alberti, told jurors that Smet’s wound near his armpit was tiny and urged them to rely on the video rather than the testimony of a group of relatives and friends who had been drinking.

“We’re here over a nick in a drunk guy’s shoulder,” Alberti said.

Diamond was the lone defense witness and, in a polished performance on the stand, told jurors that he and his fiancee were minding their own business at the bar when the group of revelers sitting near them — atwitter by the fact they were in the same bar with a television actor — began harassing them.

Diamond testified that members of the group attacked and bloodied Schutz as she tried to leave the bar, and in an attempt to deter her attackers, he opened a folding pocketknife he was holding. That’s when Smet charged him, Diamond said.Daily Press

“Casey came out of nowhere,” Diamond testified. “He had come running at me and tried to put his hands on my throat.

“I didn’t swing or motion the knife at him. I think he injured himself when he grabbed me.”

Gerol, who referred to Diamond as “an accomplished liar” in his closing statement, said the true story was the one told by his witnesses.

While on probation, Diamond has been ordered to maintain absolute sobriety and not have contact with Smet or enter Grand Avenue Saloon.

Malloy granted Diamond, who is now a stand-up comedian, Huber work release privileges while in jail. 

Clues sought in Saukville man’s disappearance PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by MARK JAEGER   
Wednesday, 16 December 2015 20:44

Police issue missing person’s bulletin for divorced dad who hasn’t been seen since Dec. 10

Saukville resident Cory M. Catterall is deeply immersed in the world of social media. That is why his prolonged silence has friends concerned.

The Saukville Police Department issued a missing person’s bulletin on Monday for the 39-year-old Saukville man who was last seen Thursday, Dec. 10.

Catterall is described as a white male, 6-feet tall, weighing 190 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes. He was last seen wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt.

Catterall is the divorced father of two children. His family lives in the West Bend area.

Authorities said Catterall may be driving his black, four-door Mazda with Wisconsin plates. The car has not been located.

The disappearance is completely out of character for Catterall, according to his longtime friend David Herro, who is running an online campaign to gather any information on the missing man.

“We have about 3,000 people who shared the Facebook link about Cory being missing. Anyone who knows him has probably seen that we are looking for him,” Herro said.

“Cory is the hardest-working guy I know and he just loved his kids,” his friend said.

It is that last characteristic that has Herro most concerned, because Catterall failed to pick up his daughter from her West Bend school on Friday. He also did not attend a holiday performance that night at the school.

Herro said his friend is known to frequent the Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee.

“Potawatomi has video of him leaving their building at 7:50. At 7:51 he turned off his cell phone,” Herro said. “He is definitely a people person. It is the silence that terrifies me.”

Herro said Catterall loves gambling and worries that the habit may have gotten him in trouble. “I don’t know if he got in over his head, but I do know he loves the rush … the thrill … of playing cards,” Herro said.

Herro said Catterall frequently comments on his favorite sports team, the Chicago Cubs, on his Facebook page.

“Cory is a huge Cubs fan. When they made that big free-agent signing last week (outfielder Jason Heyward) and he didn’t post a word, I was worried,” Herro said.

Saukville Police Chief Jeff Goetz said his department is following up on every lead on Catterall’s disappearance.

Anyone with information about the missing man is asked to contact police at 284-0444.

Plan to move senior center draws support PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Wednesday, 16 December 2015 20:43

Port commission recommends relocating facility to Aurora Health Center building on city’s west side

The Port Washington Senior Center should relocate to the Aurora Health Center on the city’s far west side, the Commission on Aging agreed Monday.

With little discussion, the commission agreed to adopt a recommendation made by its ad-hoc strategic planning committee, which was tasked with finding a new home for the center.  

“If we as a community had put together a wish list of ideal centers, I don’t think we could have come up with a better location,” Commission Chairman David Owens said. 

He ticked off a list of attributes of the Aurora site at 1777 W. Grand Ave. — it is large enough for the center and on one level, is easily accessed, has plenty of parking, is between Port Washington and Saukville and, with a city park planned for land just to the west, ideal to perhaps become a community center as well.

“I think it’s ideal — all kinds of positives here,” Owens said. 

Commission member Edie Webb, who is also a member of the ad-hoc committee, said many people have told her they like the idea of moving the center to the clinic.

“We’ve had so many positive comments from people in the community about the direction we’re going in,” she said. 

Years of hard work have gone into the recommendation, Webb said, adding, “I think we’re there.”

Senior Center Director Catherine Kiener agreed, saying, “Out of all the plans to date, this seemed to be what people felt has potential for us.”

Commission members did not take up the question of whether a senior center should be combined with a community center. The ad-hoc committee indicated it would like to see the senior center be part of a community center, but said its job was only to make a recommendation on the senior center.

Although the city moved into its current location only four years ago, doing extensive renovations to convert the former church and office building into the center, the Common Council recently said it would not continue renting the facility at 403 W. Foster St. beyond June 2017.

Seniors have expressed concerns with parking and accessibility at the site since the center moved to the site, and officials also have said the rent payments are higher than desired.

The ad-hoc committee, which looked at numerous sites for the center, said the clinic seems to best meet the senior center’s needs.

It has between 12,000 and 15,000 square feet of usable space on one floor, is handicapped accessible and has plenty of parking.

The layout is conducive to a center, with a reception area at the entrance, and the entire building is wired for technology, a plus in today’s digital world.

There is plenty of space for another city department to move into, members said. If the Parks and Recreation Department were to move to the site — something repeatedly suggested through the years — there is room on the lot to build a gymnasium for the program, they added. 

If another city department doesn’t join the senior center at the site, any extra space could be rented, they added..Daily Press

John Mutschelknaus, Aurora’s senior vice president of clinic operations, told the ad-hoc committee last month that the health-care group is looking at consolidating its Port Washington clinics, both of which are off Highway 33.

It’s likely Aurora would retain its eastern-most clinic, but it would need to construct an addition there to accommodate the consolidation, Mutschelknaus said.

Ald. Bill Driscoll, a member of the commission and the ad-hoc committee, said the asking price is expected to be about $750,000.

The commission’s recommendation is expected to go to the Common Council next month, Kiener said. If approved, the city would be expected to begin negotiations with Aurora regarding the clinic purchase.

District to start seeking bids for school addition PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by BILL SCHANEN IV   
Wednesday, 16 December 2015 20:41

PW-S board solicits proposals for Dunwiddie work as part of $49.4 million improvement plan

The Port Washington-Saukville School District will begin seeking bids this week for a $3.8 million addition to Dunwiddie Elementary School — part of its $49.4 million school improvement plan approved by voters in an April referendum.

The elementary school plans were endorsed Tuesday by the City of Port Washington’s Design Review Board and will be considered by the Plan Commission Thursday.

Bids are due next month, and construction of the addition that will provide classrooms to alleviate overcrowding at the elementary school level is slated to begin in spring, Supt. Michael Weber told the school board Monday.

Work will begin with the construction of a new parking lot and student drop-off area to the west of the current lot on West Lincoln Avenue. Once that is completed, work will begin on the 13,000-square-foot addition that will include a courtyard and new entrance to the school. 

Work is scheduled to be completed by the end of next year.

It is likely, however, that shovels will break ground first at Port Washington High School, which will undergo a $45.6 million, three-year renovation that includes the demolition and reconstruction of the oldest part of the school.

The high school project is expected to be bid in early March. As early as April, work could begin on a retaining wall on the west side of the building to accommodate a new three-story academic wing built on the hillside. 

Construction of the facility, designed to centralize classrooms at the north end of the school near the technology-education and Washington Heights sections of the building, is slated to begin in spring and be completed by the fall of 2017.

Once students move into the new academic wing, demolition of the oldest part of the school, which dates to 1931 and houses math and science classrooms as well as offices, will begin. 

A new entry will be built, along with a sprawling commons and cafeteria area and music classrooms. A new gym will be constructed on the south side of the school along with a fitness center and related facilities.

The construction is expected to be completed in the fall of 2018.

Daily PressThe current gym will be retained for use as an auxiliary athletics facility. It will also serve as the cafeteria during the second phase of construction.

The final phase of the project will include the interior renovation of the auditorium. The current band and choir rooms will also be renovated to provide space for dressing rooms, costume and prop storage and a small black box theater.

The high school project, which is being designed by Bray Architects and managed by CD Smith, is expected to be essentially completed by the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year.

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