Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

MJ Stevens Pub ‘N Restaurant has been sold

 Mark Jug poured himself a cola out of the soda gun at MJ Stevens Pub ‘N’ Restaurant on Friday afternoon. You could hear the din grow as customers came in for lunch.

Slowly Jug, 64, tried to get comfortable and leaned heavy into the end of the bar to share the news he had sold the business.

“You know I feel it was time to go a little smaller,” he said. “I’ve worked 32 years here.”

It was 1979 when Jug took over the Long Branch in Barton. In 1985 he took over the bar that ran alongside then Highway 41. “It was called the Timber Inn,” he said. Owners were John Kreilkamp and Harold Hefter.

“I leased it from them for three years and then I bought it,” said Jug.

Over three decades there were plenty of memorable moments at MJ Stevens. “We had two New Year’s Eves in a row that we got hit with snow storms and we lost both those nights,” said Jug.

If that wasn’t bad enough… “We also had two Father’s Days in a row and some guy hit a pole and knocked all of our electricity out and then the next year Mother Nature hit something electrical again and down we went that year too,” he said. “How the hell does that happen?”

Over the years the “traditional pub-style restaurant with an old-world traditional flavor” grew in popularity. Neighbors would wait an hour for a Friday fish fry, prime rib or Sunday brunch. The time would pass swiftly with a Bloody Mary at the bar or a traditional Old Fashioned.

Jug credits his 80 employees for making the business a success. During a recent Christmas party he made a list of all his long-time employees and read it aloud.

“When we started here it was just Brian the bartender, Manny, who is still with me, he was the server and I did the cooking and dishes,” said Jug. “The first Friday we sold 25 pounds of fish and I was so happy. Now we do 600 – 700 pounds.”

After a heavy pause Jug admitted he had been thinking about selling the business for a while. “It’s a big place; big operation,” he said. “I’m going to do something… it’s going to be hard to let go here.”

Recently Jug bought a place in Lomira. His intentions were to do a bit more catering. “I’m still working on that,” he said. “I do want to go back to a place like Long Branch. Small bar and grill and that’s it.”

It was last May when Jug listed the business with a realtor that specializes in bars and restaurants. “I thought it would take more time, maybe two years.” Jug whistles, like a firework taking off. “It went quick, quick, quick.”

Asked if he was happy about the speedy offer and Jug’s eyes tear up. “I have mixed emotions,” he mumbled.

A company executive from Iowa is how Jug describes the new owner. “I like him,” he said. “He’ll bring new ideas. He did this kind of work years ago and always wanted to own his own place.”

Jug said the new owner has agreed to “keep the name of the business the same, keep all the traditional recipes and the employees.”

On Thursday, Feb. 15 the Town Board of Addison will consider a “Class B” Beer and Liquor License, SAC Corporation, Andrew Kraus, agent, 5260 Aurora Road, Hartford. (M.J. Stevens Pub ‘n Restaurant). Jug said the transfer of ownership is expected to take place in mid March.

Tim Schmidt of USCCA in West Bend featured on 60 Minutes this Sunday

There will be a familiar face on national TV this Sunday, Feb. 11 as Tim Schmidt, president and founder of the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, is featured on 60 Minutes. The show, according to cbsnews.com focuses on legislation moving through Congress that would allow “state-issued concealed carry permits to be recognized nationwide.” Schmidt was interviewed by reporter Steven Kroft.

Honda dealership approved for West Bend

There’s a Honda car dealership coming to West Bend.  A vote was taken Tuesday by the West Bend Plan Commission to annex property from the Town of West Bend so development can move forward on a new Honda location.

Karl Schmidt, CEO with Morrie’s Automotive Group of Minneapolis, was officially awarded “the point” for the Honda dealership in April 2017.

Shortly thereafter Schmidt flew to West Bend to scout a location for the new store. The property search proved a bit more challenging than first expected. Schmidt finally honed in on a parcel on the west side of Highway 33 and Scenic Drive.

“I like the corner and visibility and it was kind of serendipitous because we flew into the West Bend Airport and one of the people at the airport, his family owns this land,” he said of the Devenport family.

The past few months have been filled with working with the Wisconsin Conservation Congress and the Department of Natural Resources.

City administrator Jay Shambeau said the annexation is necessary so the property can hook up the utilities, like sewer and water.

“This is a 40-acre property involved in the attachment and it’s part of the boundary agreement with the Town of West Bend,” said Shambeau. “Upon request that land has to be annexed to the city of West Bend.”

The property is currently owned by Devenport Family Limited Partnership #1.

According to Washington County the parcel was purchased in 1988 by Douglas Devenport. In 1996 it was transferred to Craig Devenport and the Devenport Family Limited Partnership #1.

The 2017 assessment is for two parcels. One is 37.2 acres and its assessed value is $217,700. The second, much smaller parcel closer to the Highway is about a 3-acre strip valued at $7,700.

Morrie’s Auto representative Lynn Robson said construction will start as soon as the property sale and licensing is complete.

Schmidt said, moving forward, the design is pretty straight forward and hopefully they can break ground in a couple months. “We’re already in the process of designing the building with a manufacturer and what we’re really working through right now is the annexation and being able to proceed,” he said.

Schmidt expects to start building in late spring or early summer. “We’d like to be open yet this year,” he said. “We’ll see how the plan goes.”

The new Honda dealership will be full service; carrying new and used vehicles, parts and service.

“We’ll bring 60 to 70 new jobs, which is exciting for the area and for us,” said Schmidt. “We love the Wisconsin market and hope to be a good partner in the area and do well.”

Prepping for the Amazing Ride for Alzheimer’s

No better time to release details on the 2018 Amazing Ride for Alzheimer’s then when an Olympic hopeful, who will be tagging along on this year’s tour, is on Milwaukee TV.

Audrey Steffes, 15, is my niece and she was recently featured on TMJ4 in an Olympic-preview piece about the Wisconsin Speed Skating Club. In the video, the great thing about the club is how the participants are able to skate alongside some of the current Olympic athletes including Mitch Whitmore, Shani Davis, and Brian Hansen.

Audrey is a freshman at Milwaukee Rufus King and a fabulous athlete. She will be touring with me this summer as we head out on a bicycling adventure to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s. This year, following a request from Bike Friendly West Bend, the tour will raise money for a rickshaw bicycle to be donated to The Samaritan Home in West Bend.

The bicycles cost about $10,000 and allows seniors to be able to enjoy the exhilaration of bicycling again.

On a side note: This will be a rather large learning curve to have someone pedaling with me on tour. Normally this is a solo adventure. However, Audrey and I did a 20-mile test ride and since we didn’t have to call the cops on each other – we figure we can be pretty compatible on the road for three weeks.

The early thought is to bicycle around the entire state of Wisconsin, crossing over into Minnesota, Michigan, and Illinois although those plans are bound to change on a teenager’s whim.

More details on the 2018 Amazing Ride will be forth coming. Donations are tax deductible and the Tax ID No. 39-1741288. Please mail donations to:

Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, Inc.

William Taylor

P.O. Box 786 Cedarburg, WI 53012-0786

All money stays within Washington County and 100 percent will be donated to a bicycle for the residents at The Samaritan Home in West Bend.

Renovation of east side Riverwalk in West Bend to begin this summer

The City of West Bend is moving forward with construction of the Downtown Riverwalk project on the east side of the Milwaukee River. The $2 million project is being funded with a combination of grants from the Department of Natural Resources, funds from the City of West Bend and donations from private foundations and businesses.

The downtown portion of the Riverwalk, located between Washington Street and Water Street was originally constructed in the early 1980’s.  Reconstruction of the Downtown portion on the east bank of the river includes removal and replacement of existing retaining walls, addition of new walkways, plazas, stairs to the river for direct water access, a new pedestrian bridge, and new seating and lighting.

West Bend Mutual Insurance Company Charitable Fund, West Bend Economic Development Corporation, West Bend Business Improvement District, Serigraph, the Ziegler Family Foundation, the Johnson Family Bus Foundation, We Energies, Walmart and Roots & Branches have all contributed funding towards the project. “The Riverwalk improvements will enhance tourism and economic development opportunities for our entire city,” said City Administrator Jay Shambeau. Construction is expected to begin this summer and be completed in late fall of 2018.

West Bend Common Council to select representative to serve as Dist. 2 alderman

The West Bend Common Council hashed over its options Monday on how to fill the seat recently vacated by Dist. 2 alderman Steve Hutchins. After a short discussion the council voted to select an alderperson within the next 45 days.

City attorney Ian Prust said applications would be accepted and interviews would be held in early March and then fill the seat which will carry a term that ends April 2019.

Following on the heels of that decision the mayor filled some of the key committee positions. Dist. 6 aldermen Steve Hoogester was voted the new council president. Hoogester was also named to the Licensing Board. Dist. 5 alderman Rich Kasten was voted onto the Plan Commission. Dist. 4 alderman Chris Jenkins was voted onto the Community Cable TV Committee.

Hutchins turned in his resignation Tuesday, Jan. 30. Hutchins had been alderman since April 2009. Kasten was first elected in 2014. He said Hutchins, as the longest-serving member on the council “always helped bring a historical perspective to the table.”

While Hutchins served as Council President he also was on a large number of committees including Plan Commission, Redevelopment Authority, Community TV, Solid Waste and Recycling Committee, Long Range Transportation Committee, and Deer Management Committee.

The city has already received interest in representing District 2 as Mike Christian called to inquire about the post. Christian has been involved in the community. He currently sits on the board for the History Center of Washington County and he’s on the Community Cable Committee. Christian also ran for mayor of West Bend in 2008 and lost to Kristine Deiss.

New look for Galactic McDonald’s on S. Main Street

The Galactic McDonald’s, 1140 S. Main St., in West Bend is going to get a bit of a makeover. The West Bend Plan Commission approved a facade update, reconfigured building signage and designs for a newly laid out parking lot. Aside from the signage on the building the other big change will be the layout of the parking lot, especially on the south side of the building as a new one-way drive aisle and a lane for parallel parking will be added for customers waiting for orders.

Hartford in the spotlight on Discover Wisconsin

Discover Wisconsin, a long-running tourism TV show, put Hartford in the spotlight last weekend with an episode, “Bike Nights and Fall Sights in Southeastern Wisconsin.”

The show kicked off in Milwaukee at the Harley-Davidson Museum before Haberman headed out on motorcycle to Holy Hill. In Hartford the crew checked out The Mineshaft, met up with the local Hartford Hog chapter outside of Pike Lake State Park and then stopped at Mickey’s Frozen Custard, Scoop DeVille, and the Erin Inn. The Westphal Mansion Inn was also featured.

Third candidate to step into race for 59th Assembly District

Watch for another candidate to enter the race to succeed Rep. Jesse Kremer in the 58th Assembly District. Ty Bodden is scheduled to formally announce his candidacy in the coming days.

“I’ve been into politics almost my whole life,” said Bodden.  He put a start date to his interest at 2004 when he met President George W. Bush. Bodden was Jesse Kremer’s campaign manager in 2014. He assisted Duey Stroebel in a special election campaign in 2015 and has worked in the past with Congressman Glenn Grothman. The 24 year old is currently a member of the Stockbridge Village Board.

Born in Madison, Bodden moved to Highland Avenue in Kewaskum before residing in St. Cloud. Bodden attended Stockbridge High School and received his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Administration, along with a Business Administration minor, from the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay. Bodden is currently the Farm and Nonprofit Manager of Cristo Rey Ranch.

A pro-life advocate and an NRA member, Bodden is a strong supporter of 2nd amendment rights. He promises to protect and support the Constitution of the State of Wisconsin, as well as the Constitution of the United States of America. One of his main goals is to create and support policies that help farmers. In addition he wants to make sure there are more job training opportunities for high school and college students, especially tech school students.

Bodden is the third candidate to announce his intentions for the 59th Assembly District. On Jan. 28, Rachel Mixon announced at the Washington County Republican Lincoln Day Lunch she was running and Fond du Lac County Supervisor Ken Depperman will reportedly make a formal announcement about his candidacy later this month.

The 59th Assembly District extends through portions of Calumet, Fond du Lac, Sheboygan, and Washington counties.

Updates & tidbits

-Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner will have a town hall meeting Sunday at 1 p.m. at West Bend’s City Hall.

– The 2018 sturgeon spearing season on the Winnebago System gets underway on Saturday, Feb. 10.

– On Jan. 17 West Bend West senior Alex Rondorf scored 37 points against Nicolet and was presented a plaque for reaching 1,000 points in her high school career. Rondorf is only the second girl in school history, aside from Meghan Conley, to achieve this. Rondorf has received a full-ride scholarship to Michigan Tech.

– County music star Jon Pardi will headline this year at the Fond du Lac County Fair. Pardi will perform July 20. Tickets go on sale Feb. 12.  The country music star is known for hits, “She Ain’t In It” and “Dirt On My Boots.”

– Molly Riebe, Campbellsport, RN on the Modified Care Unit, has been recognized with the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin St. Joseph’s Hospital third quarter DAISY Award for her “huge heart” and compassion.

– St. Frances Cabrini alum Brianna Vitkus, a sophomore at West Bend East, and Jillian Wedin, a senior at West Bend West became selected members for their solo performances at the 2018 WACPC State Championships, held at the La Crosse Civic Center on Saturday, Feb. 3. The West Bend West team also performed at State, and placed 5th in D2 Pom and 8th in D1 Kick.

The West Bend East Dance Team is hosting a dance camp for grade school and middle school students on Saturday, Feb. 10 from 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. at West Bend East High School.

– Join the Wisconsin Antique Power Reunion for its 19th annual Farm Toy Show on Sunday, Feb. 18 at Circle B Recreation in Cedarburg from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. The show will feature over 50 tables for dealers and displays. Food and refreshments available.

-There’s a motivated seller for the West Bend Wash, 2110 W. Washington Street in West Bend. The six-bay car wash features 2 automatic bays, 4 self serve bays, 3 vacuum pods, various dispensers and large billboard sign with LED scrolling message board. It is located to the west of the new Pizza Ranch. There sale price by BOSS Realty lists the property at $750,000.

– The Washington County Fair Park will be celebrating this St. Patrick’s Day with an indoor concert featuring Irish and Scottish folk tunes and classic pub songs from bands Tallymoore and Ceol Carde. Headlining the event will be U2 Zoo.

-The 7th annual Diamond Dinner & Benefit for the West Bend Baseball Association is March 3 at The Columbian. There will be a tribute to athletes who made their mark in local baseball circle including Mark Scholz, Adam Rohlinger, Bob Meyer, Bob Kissinger and TJ Fischer.

Letter to the Editor: County proposes wasting $5 million on road to nowhere   By Elaine Gehring

This past Wednesday evening, Feb. 7, 2018, I attended an informational meeting at the Addison Town Hall in Washington County held by the Washington County Road Commissioner. At that meeting I learned that the state together with the county plans to spend $5 million to build a brand new road in the Township of Addison that nobody in the community wants and even the county admits will not get used much.

If you look carefully at this map you will clearly see that the proposed new road will be constructed between two existing roads a half mile or less from where this road will be. All three of these roads connect with the exact same two roads, Hwy 83 and Hwy 175.

In a time when the state is scrounging to find dollars to fund repairs for its existing aging roads and bridges, even seriously considering installing tolls on some of our major roadways, the WiDOT is planning on wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on building a very expensive new road in a tiny township, in the middle of NOWHERE, that the local community does not want, that the county expects very few people to use and doesn’t really go anywhere!

When we in the Addison community objected to this wasteful use of Wisconsin taxpayers’ money, the county insisted that the new road is necessary for safety.

But when the citizens asked the county to document how building yet a THIRD road between two already existing roads within a half mile of the proposed road improves safety and doesn’t just spread out the problem to more intersections, they told us not to worry about it because the road won’t be used much.

Well if the road is necessary to improve safety but it isn’t likely to be used much then how can it possibly be necessary? This is a circular logic shell game intended to confuse Wisconsin taxpayers and hide the fact that this new road is entirely unnecessary.

Rather than improve the safety at the intersections of our EXISTING roads, the WiDOT and Washington County’s absurd safety solution is to build yet a THIRD road instead! In the process, the state is going to destroy many acres of valuable farmlands and unnecessarily bisect and ruin a number of large farm fields.

Our farmers are having it hard enough trying to make a go of farming, now they have to fight the WiDOT and the county from paving over their fields. This is an INSANE waste of taxpayer’s money and it needs to be stopped. We absolutely do not need THREE roads within a one mile stretch that all connect the very same road!

The estimated $5M cost to build a road that local taxpayers did not ask for and do not want can and should be used to repair and restore Wisconsin’s EXISTING transportation infrastructure to benefit motorists and taxpayers in the entire state of Wisconsin.

Thank you for your consideration of this very serious matter

Anne Gehring

For further information please contact me at: 262-224-0712 centuryfamilyfarms@gmail.com

4830 State Road 83 Hartford, WI 53027

Leave a Reply