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Henry Klingelhoets PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 19:13

Henry F. Klingelhoets, 91, of Harbor Club in Port Washington, died Monday, June 30, at Aurora Medical Center, Grafton.

Visitation will be at 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 9, at Eernisse Funeral Home, Cedarburg, followed by a brief service at 7 p.m.

Burial with military honors will be at Wisconsin Memorial Park on Thursday, July 10.

Memorials are suggested in lieu of flowers.

 
Now it's our game too PDF Print E-mail
News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 14:53

Seeing U.S. citizens reveling in the excitement of the World Cup is a blow to soccer deniers who can’t abide Americans enjoying a sport we didn’t invent

Isn’t it nice to see how Americans have joined the rest of the world in enjoying the sport of soccer with our enthusiastic following of the World Cup?

    To most of us, maybe, but to others the fact the World Cup soccer game between the U.S. and Portugal was the most watched sporting event of the year here not counting NFL games is a cause for worry. Pundits who seem to be members of a soccer deniers club see it as a sign that soccer is threatening the American way of life.


    The Wall Street Journal ridiculed World Cup soccer as a sport undeserving of having American fans on the grounds that players on some teams are known to fake injuries. The editorial did not mention the fact that faking injuries is so prevalent in American professional football that the NFL has had to threaten teams with fines, suspensions and loss of draft choices to control it.


    The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s conservative columnist, Christian Schneider, weighed in with an amusing claim that U.S. sports fans are turned off by soccer because “it doesn’t conform to our values of equal opportunity.” See, he wrote, it’s not fair that a team that dominates play and doesn’t give its opponents opportunities to score usually wins. Or something like that.


    The headline over that column read, “Why soccer hasn’t caught on in America.”


    Hasn’t caught on? That may be part of the deniers club manifesto, but it has no relationship with reality. In the less than 40 years since a concerted effort was made to introduce American children to soccer, it has become the second most played sport by children and youths.

    More than a game, American youth soccer has grown into a culture that captivates broad sectors of communities with the enjoyment of watching boys and girls develop stamina, skills and appreciation of team play in what is probably the most athletically demanding of all ball sports. It’s all on vivid display in the cities and villages of Ozaukee County.

    Fed by this ever-growing “farm club” of soccer players starting in the primary grades, high school and college soccer is thriving and Major League Soccer, the professional game in the U.S., has acquired millions of fans, passing hockey to become the fourth most popular pro sport.

    Is soccer going to displace pro football as America’s favorite spectator game? Of course not. The brand of football played by large people covered with pads is our game and we love it. Nor is soccer likely to surpass baseball and basketball any time soon. The point is—it’s here and there is plenty of room for it in this big country with eclectic tastes in sports.


    To the folks in the soccer deniers club, that’s a problem because, unlike the big three sports, America didn’t invent soccer. Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, with 250 million players in more than 200 countries, but it’s not American, and elevating it to a major American sport is seen as a threat to what nationalistic types like to call American exceptionalism.


    As was painfully obvious in the Milwaukee newspaper column, some Americans have trouble understanding soccer. Maybe that’s because what the rest of the world calls football (or futbol) has so little in common with the American game of that name. A pro soccer game consists of 90 minutes of playing time. That’s real time—the ball is in play and players are running, tackling, kicking and heading for an hour and a half. Minutes are added at the end of each half when needed to make up for the time that play is interrupted for injuries or other reasons. In comparison, the actual playing time of an average three-hour NFL game is 11 minutes. It’s not surprising there’s a culture gap.


    Many American kids have no problem crossing that gap. They’re the ones who are wearing jerseys emblazoned with the names Ronaldo and Messi and others in the pantheon of the world’s greatest soccer players and watching World Cup games and knowing exactly what’s happening on the pitch.


    Soccer deniers wring their hands over Americans following 200 other countries in enjoying soccer. The rest of us can be happy that we’ve finally learned to appreciate the world’s sport.


 
Misplaced gratitude PDF Print E-mail
News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 25 June 2014 12:03

Honoring a utility company’s ‘generosity’ with a street name ignores a historical fact: Coal Dock Park was not a gift

A cynic might say that enough damage was done by naming Port Washington’s newest park; don’t compound it by naming the park’s stubby little cul de sac too.
  
 A more kindhearted observer might say that the name Coal Dock Park makes up for what it lacks in imagination and inspiration by being resoundingly literal; it leaves no doubt about the previous use of the lakefront parkland.


    Besides, we’re stuck with it.


    The city is not yet stuck with a clumsy name for the Coal Dock Park roadway, but that could happen soon enough, and the leading contender is, yes, a name suggestive of both the park’s gritty past as the backyard of coat-fired power plant and the fact that it exists in the shadow of an enormous new power plant.


    There was talk at last week’s Common Council meeting of choosing a name—Energy Way was suggested—that would be meant to recognize the generosity of the power plant’s owner, Wisconsin Energy Corp., in making the land for the park available.


    Gratitude for a generous act is admirable, but it is so misplaced here that it suggests members of the council may not be well versed in the modern history of the relationship between the city and the utility.


    If there was any generosity in that relationship, it was on the city’s part, not the utility’s. The city gave the company a permit to build a new We Energies power plant, and it expected concessions in return.


    Ask the two former Port Washington mayors, the city administrator and other officials who were involved in the negotiations with Wisconsin Energy how easy it was to get the land that is now Coal Dock Park and the other considerations that were part of the power plant deal. These were not gifts dropped into the city’s lap by a generous donor. They were concessions city officials fought for during months of negotiations, facing a veritable platoon of attorneys representing the utility.

    Coal Dock Park is a wonderful asset, but make no mistake, the city paid dearly for it by agreeing to live far into the future with a power plant on its waterfront.


    That was not the future expected for the city. The assumption was that when the useful life of coal plant built in 1930 was over, it would be shut down, and after enduring the presence of an environmental blight for 70 years, the city would no longer have to host a power plant on a valuable and potentially beautiful downtown site.


    When Wisconsin Energy announced plans for a new natural gas-fueled plant on the same site, that expectation died. The city could have fought to prevent construction of the new plant—and many Port Washington residents wish it had—but that would have been a costly David-versus-Goliath battle. If officials faced a platoon of lawyers arguing over park land, imagine the attorneys army they would have had to take on in that confrontation.


    The city allowed the plant to be built and worked hard to get the best deal it could, which included a lease for the land that is now Coal Dock Park. And Wisconsin Energy got to build its enormous new plant on prime lakeshore land. That was a more than ample reward. The utility doesn’t need a street, even a miniature one, named in its honor.


    The road in question is but a circular drive through a parking area. It’s only a few hundred yards long and doesn’t deserve the status of a city street. But if the council insists on conferring that designation, it should at least avoid another reference to the power plant that makes itself obvious by looming over the park and hardly needs more attention.


     The saving grace of the park that resulted from the decision to force a new power plant on the city is that it gives the public access to the glory of Lake Michigan.


    If the road must have a name, let it be one chosen from words that evoke the wonder and beauty of the lake.

 
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