Category Archives: Off-Duty

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Century Farmhouse Soap to close

Century Farmhouse Soapnbegan at the West Bend Farmers’ Market during the summer of 2001 and the LLC was formed in December 2001.

“West Bend is my home and some of my very first customers still come through our doors to buy soap,” said Ann Marie Craig, owner and founding member of Century Farmhouse.

It was Craig’s work with Country Living Magazine in 2006 that launched her from a “very small” home-kitchen operation to a storefront.

“We were living in my inky dinky little house with 3,000 bars of soap and I had to move it out,” she said. “Someone had to leave and it wasn’t going to be me.”

Finding space took quite a while. Initially located in Barton from 2010 – 2013, Craig was on the verge of closing when the former Hemauer building / paint store opened on Main Street in downtown West Bend.

The adventure in the triangle building included an appearance on John McGivern’s Around the Corner, signature events with West Bend’s DIVA group, and soap-making classes that featured bundles of wonderful lavender.

“Some of the soaps I’ve done for Country Living have had everything from sawdust to ice cream in it,” said Craig. “That was called ‘A Day in the Country.’”

The creations at Country Living have no boundaries and included other items from Mother Nature including melted snow, Hudson River water and even chicken feathers.

The overall decision to close the store “has been extremely difficult” according to Craig but the timing is right both personally and professionally.

Moving forward the focus of the Century Farmhouse brand will broaden toward education rather than soap production and retail.

“I will make tiny batches of soap but the plan is to broaden into more do-it-yourself projects,” said Craig. “If I needed something or wanted something I had to make it because that’s how I grew up so I’m just hoping to capitalize on some of those fun things.”

Although the shop venue will close, Craig will continue to work within the Century Farmhouse brand as a speaker and teacher.

“This was an exceedingly hard decision,” Craig said. “The very hardest thing about this change is saying goodbye to people who have become not just customers but friends, and I want to be certain to thank everyone who has played a role in our successes over the years.”

Working in downtown West Bend, according to Craig, has been extremely rewarding. “The environment in downtown West Bend is fabulous,” she said. “Everybody works together and the DIVA group is an amazing group; it’s a fluid group and we really work hard to make the downtown a total shopping experience for everyone.”

Soaps from Century Farmhouse will still be available online for the next few months and on a few Saturdays at the West Bend Farmers’ Market this summer; those dates have yet to be determined.

Store hours through Saturday, Feb. 25: Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays 10 a.m.  – 6 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Website: centuryfarmhouse.com

Online orders can be picked up at other local downtown shops – notification of where will come with the confirmation of your order. Soap club cards and gift certificates will continue to be honored as long as soap is available.

Please direct questions to the comment section of the website or directly to Ann Marie Craig.

email: annmarie@centuryfarmhouse.com  Thank you, West Bend.  Ann Marie Craig

Four walls are up at Starbucks on 18th Avenue in WB

Contractors are taking advantage of the warm weather as they make significant progress on the third Starbucks in West Bend. Four walls are now up at the shop under construction on 18th Avenue, just south of Highway 33. The new Starbucks is expected to open in spring. The other two coffee shops are located on Paradise and Main and inside the new Meijer on S. Main Street.

MC Sports in West Bend is closing

MC Sports in West Bend is closing. Staff received word this week. The store on Paradise Drive has been open since November 1999. The corporate store in Michigan sent out a press release citing a number of issues including bankruptcy, which was filed Feb. 14, 2017.

The store is beginning liquidation sales. There is currently 10% off merchandise. According to a company statement it was “unable to reach an agreement on a viable out of court proposal” to restructure its balance sheet and operating performance.

Court filings show MC Sports has millions in trade debt and millions owed to companies like Under Armour and Nike with thousands owed to Adidas Group, Columbia Sportswear and Wilson Team Sports, and others. A company statement said MC Sports operates 68 stores in seven states.

Schaarschmidt Chiropractic has moved

 

Some changes on 18th Avenue in West Bend as Schaarschmidt Chiropractic has moved out of its building, 235 N. 18th Ave.  Kurt and Janine Schaarschmidt sold the property last April. They said at the time they would continue to operate their clinic out of the location.

 

That’s changed now as the Schaarschmidts are out.  A note on the door said, “We will be merging our practice with McCormack Chiropractic of West Bend effective Wed. Feb. 1. Dr. Schaarschmidt will be seeing all of his patients at the McCormack office on Shepherds Drive in West Bend. Julie and Janine are going along with Dr. Schaarschmidt, so you can expect the same friendly service you experienced at the Schaarschmidt Castle.  Sincerely, Dr. Kurt Schaarschmidt, D.C.”

 

The professional building on 18th Avenue is now for lease. In April 2016 the Schaarschmidt Chiropractic building was sold to Daniel Hess from Glendale for $625,000. The 2015 assessment on the property was $760,500.

 

“This used to be an apple orchard owned by the Barth sisters,” said Kurt Schaarschmidt. “We opened Dec. 20, 1991 and Larry Bunkelman from Bunkelman Builders was our builder.” Schaarschmidt said he was going for an English Tudor look. “Originally it was a house plan out of Arizona and we adapted it to a clinic,” said Janine Schaarschmidt.

 

Milwaukee Archbishop says Catholics can eat meat on St. Patrick’s Day

 

Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki is giving Catholics a pass this Lent as St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday. Here is Listecki’s note allowing meat on Friday, March 17: The disciplinary practice of abstaining from meat on the Fridays in Lent is an important dimension of the penitential nature of the season. This year, the Feast of St. Patrick, March 17, 2017, falls on a Friday in Lent. Given the many celebrations that occur on this day and especially as we in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee will be ordaining our two new auxiliary bishops, in accord with the norm of law, I herewith grant to all Catholics of the Archdiocese as well as all present here that day, a dispensation from abstinence from meat and meat products. I encourage all who make use of this dispensation to engage in another sacrificial or charitable act that day.

 

Popular Senior Conference in Washington County is canceled

Word is spreading across the community that the popular Senior Conference at the Washington County Fair Park has been canceled. The conference is an annual event that started 20 years ago. It featured vendors and guest speakers and was a one-stop-shop of information for senior citizens in the community.

Tammy Anderson with the Washington County Aging and Disability Resource Center said the cut is due to the county’s new priority-based budgeting, which basically means any program that’s not mandated by the state or federal government would be at risk of getting cut.

“This cost the Aging and Disability Resource Center about $23,000 a year,” said Anderson, who was made aware of the cut about six months ago when she first started. “This is an expensive program to run and no it did not end because Linda Olson retired.”

Thousands of senior citizens have enjoyed the conference over the years, they even adapted when it moved from Cedar Community to the Washington County Fair Park. So far only a couple of regular vendors have called the county asking about the event. Local senior citizens are upset. Many say, “government always taking away something from the senior; what a shame.”

Hartford runs a senior fair in the spring and fall.  An effort to “wrangle” other groups to take over the conference has not come to fruition.

Former Washington Co. Attorney Kim Nass to be hired in Dodge County

Former Washington County Attorney Kim Nass is expected to be approved next week, Wednesday, Feb. 22 as the new lead attorney for Dodge County. Nass would begin her duties Monday, Feb. 27. Nass interviewed for the post along with two other candidates.  Supervisors in Dodge County were reportedly impressed with her broad range of experience as a corporation counsel.

Polls open 7 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21 for the primary election

There are only a couple of items on the ballot for the Feb. 21 primary election. Polls open at 7 a.m. on Tuesday. Races include State School Superintendent. In West Bend there are seven candidates running for 3 seats on the West Bend School Board.  Six of the top vote getters will advance to the April 4 election. In reality there are six candidates running for three seats. Tina Hochstetter announced she is not running but her name will still be on the ballot. In the West Bend School Board race the ballot order is: Nancy Justman, Richard Cammack, Joel Ongert, Tina Hochstaetter, Ryan Gieryn, Tonnie Schmidt, Bob Miller.

Updates & tidbits

A new salon “The Hair Affair” has opened at 2131 W. Washington Street in West Bend.

– The Elbe family from Golden “E” Dairy on Orchard Valley Road and Shalom in the Town of Farmington will host the 2017 Washington County Breakfast on the Farm on June 10.

– The gloves come off Feb. 25 at Washington County Fair Park as Tiny Love, Justin Dredd and Damon Knight climb into the ring for Mayhem for Mason. Money will be raised for Mason Holbrook and family.

– West Bend Youth Football registration is Saturday, Feb. 25 at 8 a.m. at Silverbrook School.

– Paul Eve as Johnny Cash Alive is coming to the West Bend Moose Lodge on Feb. 25.  Eve has portrayed Johnny Cash since he was 9 years old; he captures the essence of the Man in Black.

– There will be casino games and prizes at the annual Vegas Night at Fillmore Fire Department on Feb. 25 starting at 7 p.m.  Information or tickets call Judy 262-692-9434 or Dale at 689-4799.

– The deadline is coming up March 3 to take part in the 2017 Washington Co. Tree Program.

Rallying 103 birthday cards for 103rd birthday

It is an overcast Thursday morning and Lucille Christianson is wheeling herself through the hallway on the third floor of the Samaritan Home.

Her soft pink slippers push along the flat carpet. It’s a slow process although Lucille is in no hurry.

It’s easy to spot Lucille; her name is in big, bold letters on the back of her wheelchair. I shout her name and she looks up. A nurse caretaker hands me a small microphone that’s attached to her headphones. It makes for much easier communication.

“I understand you’re going to be 103 years old,” I yell into the microphone.

Lucille nods as if it’s no big deal. Just another day. We return to her room and chat. The microphone squeals as I shout and try to maneuver the small black box to reduce the feedback.

Lucille is soft spoken and admittedly a bit confused. She said she grew up on a farm in the area; the family had cows which meant she had chores ….  the rest is a little foggy.

Born in 1914 when Woodrow Wilson was president of the United States, Lucille recalls very little. A gold frame with the number 50 sits on the windowsill. There’s a photo of Lucille and her husband Phil. The date reads October 20, 1931.

A family member has sent a photo of Lucille and Phil in their prime. The couple sit on the bumper of a car in a happy embrace.

Lucille’s family is working on a goodwill project as they try to rally 103 birthday cards to help her celebrate her 103rd birthday on Feb. 18.

There are already piles of cards on a nearby coffee table. We sift through a few and I read the notes aloud. One person asks Lucille who the president was when she was born. Another handmade card features a cake with 103 candles on top.

Lucille puts her hands to her face and starts to cry. “I don’t even know these people and they took the time to send me a birthday card,” she said.

It’s hard to tell, but she said it makes her happy. I try to distract Lucille and ask her what kind of cake she’ll have. “Plain vanilla,” she said. Mostly, she’d like her family to visit but she said “she understands.”

If you would like to help make Lucille’s day special you can send her a birthday card too. Cards can be mailed to Lucille Christianson, Samaritan Health Center  531 E. Washington St., West Bend, WI  53095

136

Where In The World?

It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these. This one may be too easy. There’s a glaring clue in the picture. But it’s something that’s been in the news lately.

whereintheworld

 

UPDATE: Congrats to Captain Ned! I’ll post his comment because he’s spot on.

The HQ of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, located at Via del Condotti, 68, Rome.

Commonly known as the Order of Malta, it is the successor organization to the medieval Order of the Knights Hospitaller, the group that cared for pilgrims to the Holy Land in that brief period where it was controlled by the West.  Granted extraterritoriality under Italian law and granted Permanent Observer status at the UN.

The Order is in the news these days because of liberal vs. conservative (in Vatican terms) politics, with Pope Francis seen to be interfering in the internal workings of an organization that has been accustomed to light (or non-existent) direct Papal involvement.

I would only add that as an “extraterritorial” building, it is (I believe) the smallest sovereign “nation” in the world with diplomatic relations with over 100 other countries.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Toucan’s Custard is For Sale

The Moehr girls are notifying staff today that they’ve made a family decision.

“We are announcing as a family we’ve decided to sell our business Toucan Custard,” said Rebecca Moehr-Lambrecht. “It’s been a huge part of our life and a part of our heart for the past 27 years and with our dad’s passing this year it feels fitting that the torch also be passed with Toucan.”

During a Friday morning gathering at Toucan the Moehr girls discussed their decision while taking frequent breaks to reminisce about growing up the daughters of Al Moehr and working at Toucan.

“The frozen custard shop was our dad’s baby and it was a great part of our childhood,” said Jacquelyn Heise. “I’ve been here all 27 years.”

Al Moehr bought Toucan when Jacquelyn was 14 years old. “I didn’t really have any thoughts on it,” she laughed. “I had my own thing going on.”

Rebecca vividly remembered walking down the hill with her brother Allen to get ice cream. “I was 9 years old and we lived close and my brother and I walked down here and it was fall and although it was cold we sat outside eating a black forest ice cream cone,” she said. “We were by ourselves and we were able to get whatever we wanted.”

The girls recall having instant jobs and climbing the ladder from the entry-level position of making waffle cones to serving custard and on to manager.

“None of us really wanted to cook,” said Jacquelyn.

“I remember I was a manager at 14 years old because my dad needed one,” said Rebecca. “I cried and said ‘I can’t be a manager.’”

Rebecca remembered training people who were 16 years old. “It was so weird,” she said.

Just in their teens and running a business the girls said their dad was normally just a phone call away.

“Oh dad would call down here like six times a shift,” said Rebecca. The pair then mimicked Al’s grilling. “How are things going? How much custard do you have? Do you need help?”

The decision to sell the business came from a couple different angles. Larry Porter and his wife own the building with a business partner and he passed away in April. The girls said they too had concerns about their mother’s health.

“For us mom had been sick and she’s recovered but this is a family thing and if the whole family is not here, with dad gone it just seems kind of bittersweet that it should go with him,” said Rebecca.

The business was quietly listed a couple months ago at $99,900; now it’s at $89,900.

Mentioning how Toucan is an institution in West Bend, hits the girls right in the feelings. “That’s the part that makes me want to cry,” said Jacquelyn as she dabbed away tears.

“We have a strong emotional attachment to it, that’s for sure,” said Rebecca.  “We hope someone who loves it as much as we do will take it and make it the same.”

Some people who found out earlier about the family’s decision are adamant that nothing change with the sale. “Everybody wants it to be what it is because everybody has a memory,” she said.

The girls told their children earlier this week about their decision and that didn’t go over well.

“They were devastated,” said Jacquelyn. “My daughter laid on the floor and cried.”

The Moehrs understand their children’s reaction as they too grew up in the business.

“We’d bring our babies to work, sitting in highchairs gnawing at cones while we’d do setup,” said Rebecca.

Toucan has also been a drop site for vintage memorabilia. Look around the walls of the checker-floor restaurant and you’ll see a number of toucans, a donated framed picture of Elvis, and a car. “The picture belonged to the parents of one of our customers and she had a little plaque made for it because her parents loved it down here,” said Jacquelyn.

There was also the 3-foot stuffed toucan a woman won at the county fair that hung out in the corner of the restaurant for a while.

“Remember the Toucan car?,” said Rebecca.

Al always drove Cavaliers when he worked for AT&T. “He’d pile the miles on and he eventually put Toucan on the side and the address on the back and he got Toucan license plates and when we were 16 we had to drive that car because he knew we’d behave in the Toucan car,” said Rebecca.

That car, so the story goes, once had a toucan on top that held a magnetic sign advertising the flavor of the day. “Dad went under a parking structure and ripped that bird off the top,” Rebecca said.

The girls told their children earlier this week about their decision to sell… and that didn’t go over well.

“They were devastated,” said Jacquelyn. “My daughter laid on the floor and cried.”

The Moehrs understand their children’s reaction; they too grew up in the business.

“We’d bring our babies to work, sitting in highchairs gnawing at cones while we’d do setup,” said Rebecca.

Thoughts of Al Moehr creep back into the conversation. “He had a lot of great one liners like ‘that one’s as sharp as a marble’ and he’d always want us to have our lips on,” said Rebecca. “He just thought if you didn’t have lipstick on it made you look tired; lipstick meant you were ready for the day.”

For a teenager in the restaurant business – Friday nights meant fish and working with your dad. “But it was really stressful in the cooking line because mom and dad were both there and we couldn’t talk,” said Jacquelyn.

“He’d yell at someone to get the phone or he’d be throwing stuff at us but he made it fun,” said Rebecca. “He’d be pushing his glasses up and say with urgency, ‘Beck can you believe this? Can you believe what’s goin’ on down here right now?’

“I’d say, no dad I can’t believe it,” said a mono-tone Rebecca. “He just loved it because it was so busy.”

While Al Moehr had his own unique personality, the girls developed a following as well.

“Da’ Moehr girls down at Toucan,” said Rebecca with a Midwest-Bender accent.

They acknowledge they look alike and it’s difficult to tell them apart.

“We had one customer, a 12-year-old boy, and he’d look at our shoes and that’s how he’d know which one was which,” said Rebecca.

When John McGivern visited to do a segment on Toucan for his Around the Corner show he remarked, “Can Al Moehr have an ugly daughter?”

Al Moehr’s legacy is a long list from the creation of the Duck Derby Kiwanis to the taco cheeseburger to the fried baloney sandwich. “Dad was watching a travel channel show and there was a place in Michigan that sold 3,000 a day … so he thought he’d try it,” said Jacquelyn.

Some people, according to the girls, still ask for it.

“We have many great memories of working together as a family and with all our great employees both past and present,” said Rebecca. “We want everyone to know we’re not closing but we’re hoping to find somebody who loves Toucan as much as we do who can carry on this awesome tradition.”

The Moehr girls said they will be “here until the end” and will celebrate the eventual sale with a big party. “We’re going to make a memory book…. something so our kids can remember this too,” said Jacquelyn.

Former Washington Co. Attorney Kim Nass to be hired in Dodge County

Former Washington County Attorney Kim Nass is expected to be approved later this month as the new lead attorney for Dodge County.

According to WBEV Radio Beaver Dam the Dodge County Board’s Executive Committee selected Nass to be the county’s lead attorney.  Nass interviewed for the post along with two other candidates.  Supervisors in Dodge County were impressed with her broad range of experience as a corporation counsel.

Dodge County is looking for someone to provide legal oversight including contract reviews, traffic and civil cases and human services matters. The Dodge County Board will confirm the position at its meeting Wednesday, Feb. 22. If approved, Nass would begin her duties Monday, Feb. 27.

Recognizing West Bend Firefighters for their heroism

West Bend Fire Department Lt. Al Hefter and Motor Pump Operator Kyle Demler were recognized this week for their heroic efforts after they rescued an 18-year-old woman from a fire at her home Sept. 26, 2016.  The West Bend Fire Department was requested to respond for a fire and possible explosion with an 18 year old trapped in the basement.

There was heavy smoke coming from the structure and Lt. Hefter and MPO Demler were advised by a family member that his sister was trapped in the basement.

After a short search they were able to locate the victim who was unconscious on the couch. The pair pulled her from the home to the front yard where rescue efforts continued. The victim was unconscious but breathing. The fire conditions worsened and the structural integrity of the building was deteriorating fast. It is the West Bend Fire Departments belief that Lt. Hefter and MPO Demler put those conditions aside while completing their task of saving the girl.

For their efforts the WBFD honored Hefter and Demler with the Lifesaving Award.  The award is based on an intentional act to save another person’s life and they take substantial steps in saving a life where a person would have otherwise suffer a grave consequence.

Rallying 103 birthday cards for 103rd birthday

Neighbors in Washington County are a helpful lot and WashingtonCountyInsider.com is working with a family on a good-will project. Lucille Christianson is at the Samaritan Health Center and on Feb. 18 she will turn 103 years old. The family is trying to rally 103 birthday cards to help Lucille celebrate. “It’s not every day someone turns 103,” said the request. Cards can be mailed to Lucille Christianson, Samaritan Health Center  531 E Washington St., West Bend, WI  53095

Local family walks away with cash on Family Feud

Liz Borden was preparing to settle in for the second night of Family Feud as her family had advanced to the next round. “I cannot believe it. What wonderful timing! Not!!!!,” wrote Borden. Her TV went on the blink. She ended up watching the Tuesday night episode at a friend’s house.

“We did not win but we had so much fun,” Borden said. “We won about $1,100. It was an amazing experience and it’s something not many families get to do together.”

West Bend School Board candidates share views during forum

About 75 people turned out for the candidate forum at the West Bend Moose Lodge on Wednesday night. West Bend School Board candidates included Rick Cammack, Ryan Gieryn, Nancy Justman, Bob Miller, Joel Ongert, and Tonnie Schmidt

Opening statements

Richard Cammack – Lived in West Bend for 22 years and excited about running for school board. I turned on WVCY and preacher Charles Stanley said, “Don’t quit. People who quit miss opportunities.” This is one of the ways I can help guide your kids to a better future. Three things important to me are family, students and teachers. Local business is also important to me.

Ryan Gieryn – I’m from West Bend and a grad of WBW in 1994 and graduated UW-Madison. Two kids in district. Wife is a teacher in Menomonee Falls. I just wanted to make a difference, work for our kids and education.  We hired a good superintendent in Erik Olson and I’d like to stay and work on things with him.

Nancy Justman – Lived in West Bend for 18 years and has three daughters in school district. Work in marketing in Brookfield. Excited about opportunity and working with the superintendent

Bob Miller – Lived in WB for 19 years and have three kids in the WBSD. Strong supporter of the arts. Works for Charter.  Appreciate your vote.

Joel Ongert – Running because I care. This district used to be one of the best, people would choose to live here but we’ve lost that. We lose great teachers and administrators each year. Lived here for 8.5 years and two kids in school district. Worked entire career at Caterpillar. Want to turn this back into the excellent district we all deserve

Tonnie Schmidt – Co owner at Delta Defense and employ over 100 people and I’m running on their interests. I feel comfortable dealing with big numbers and familiar with politics and red tape with big government. Lived in WB for 18 years and have three teens who have attended local schools. We talk to people and are involved in the community and I feel we’re in a position to help.

Common core – what’s your opinion and how should WBSD handle it?

TS – We need standards but believe in local control and teachers should develop their own curriculum.

JO – Common Core is the standard and not the curriculum. We need to equip parents with tools to get through math. In favor of having teachers set their own curriculum.

BM – Not a fan of Common Core and there are other alternatives out there. Like to see our kids succeed and if we can go above.

NJ – Want to see student excel and Common Core is a standard and want to see teachers and curriculum directors work together.

RG – Common Core is just a set of minimum standards and in WB we strive to be better than minimum standards. It should be left up to teachers to decide what works best.

RC – Looked at Galileo standards and gone to lectures in the past that are against Common Core. Need to sit with teachers and see what they think. I’m opposed to Common Core but I think if there’s something we can use then it’s worth looking at.

Proper way to evaluate teacher performance – competency vs. tenure-based pay?

JO – We can look at surrounding districts to see what they’re doing to see why our teachers are leaving. How about common-assessment tests. Use observations in the classroom. We need to give our teachers more credit and let them come together and write a common assessment.

BM – In some instances teachers can submit questions – don’t need to 100% testing on Galileo. Look into another assessment program. Check with the parents.

NJ – Important to look at a well-rounded evaluation. Observations and grading of students is one thing that’s important. Don’t look at just one quarter – evaluate over the entire year.

RG – Well-rounded evaluation. Research shows basing a teacher’s performance solely on test grades doesn’t work.

RC – A lot more I have to learn to make a sound decision.

TS – Interesting question. Lots of excited and energetic young teachers. Want to have a standard set and there would be an improvement plan on the table. Let teachers with great reputations teach and we should get out of their way.

What’s proper relationship between board and school superintendent/administration?

BM – Superintendent reports to the board. Super should be a resource

NJ – Super reports to the board. Staff underneath reports to Super. Board is also there for guidance and to help portray proper goals and image.

RG – Board is the governing structure that sets the vision. The super is the CEO for acting out that vision. Important for the board to be visible.

RC – Superintendent is the head and the board is the hands and feet but both have to work together. Important that the board gets out to meet people.

TS – Board and Super have a good relationship. Board represents stakeholders and Super executes mission. Board can ask questions of the Super and all actions should be transparent. It should be encouraged for board members to talk to teachers and parents

JO- Board needs accountability. Great opportunity to challenge and support the Superintendent. Board’s job to make sure that happens.

Parents are opting students out – why is this happening, how to win students/parents back?

NJ – Not sure why parents are opting kids out. We could speculate but win them back by instilling school pride and help teachers be happy in district. Get staff to be proud of district.

RG – Lots of reasons people leave including size and travel. Some are threatened by size of the high school. Studies show kids learn better in smaller environments. How to change size of H.S.? How do you make large environment feel smaller.

RC – Main goal is to study this question. Why are people leaving? Traffic pattern is a problem. We have to stop this from happening – it’s going on at UW-WC too. Vital issue we need to address.

TS – We have too much standardized testing, we focus on bare minimum and not excellence, we don’t offer as many AP classes and teacher pay is tied to testing.

JO – We have to ask the families why they’re leaving. Is it testing, is it bullying and we need to do exit interviews with teachers to find out why they’re leaving.

BM – Board does do exit interviews and contact families. We need to make the answers transparent on why they’re leaving. We should focus on the children first and not so much on the politics.

What conditions would you propose operational referendum to raise taxes?

RG  – If we were looking at cutting programs from our schools that would be the first indicator for an operational referendum.

RC – Priorities dictate what we do. We need to talk as a community on what our priorities are.

TS – Until we fully understand how our taxpayer money is spent and the structural makeup of administration. I need to understand our costs. I won’t vote for an operational referendum.

JO – We’ve yet to see an operational budget. What are we spending? We should see a transparent budget. I won’t vote for an operational referendum.

BM – Only if we’re cutting back on arts and creativeness.

NJ – Agree we need to see line-item budget. Want to see budget. Don’t want to see programs cut.

Common Sense Citizens lean towards conservative – how do you keep your position nonpartisan while still pleasing all stakeholders?

RC – I call myself a realist – what is the issue and how do I address it. Important to think about reality.

TS – I’m a conservative and believe in checks and balances. Everybody can voice their opinion and I want to work with the adults in the room.

JO – I consider myself a conservative but I have a big heart for teachers and students. This is for the betterment of teachers, students, and community. Need transparency in budget.

BM – I’m conservative but we have to listen to everyone

NJ – School district is backbone of community. Most important to think of what’s best for students and community.

RG – Politics don’t play a part in education. As part of the board we represent everybody

Why are you the best candidate?

TS – I’m one of the top 3 candidates. I’m very invested in this community. I have experience and I’m locked into this community.

JO – I care about teachers, kids and the community. I want to rally behind our superintendent

BM – I’m one of the best because I was born and raised here and I can make tough decisions

NJ – I care about causes. We can make this an amazing experience but we need to work together

RG – First year is like drinking from a fire hose. Big thing about being on the board is longevity. I know what it’s been like for three years and I can continue to do good work

RC – For the last 10 semesters I’ve been going to UW-WC and define what best is.  I love learning and it’s my passion and that’s my biggest asset

Closing remarks:

RC – I’ve been visiting schools and principals. I want to bring a future of hope

RG – I’ve had opportunity to do the job of hiring a superintendent. We have a $70 million budget and we’re the largest employer. The super is doing what the board has asked him to do.

NJ – I understand difficulty of reporting to a board. I want the super to stick around and the district to be successful. We need to communicate better.

BM – I have a strong passion for kids.

JO – Not easy and there are some challenges.  I’m the guy who can help make this a destination district

TS – I want to know cost, alternatives, criteria to determine facts and I’m running because I’ve had a hard time getting answers. I’m good at asking questions.

There will be 7 candidates for West Bend School Board on the Feb. 21 primary ballot. Six of the top vote getters will advance to the April 4 Spring Election. There seven candidates running for three open seats on the West Bend School Board.

In reality there are six candidates running for three seats. Tina Hochstetter has announced she is not running but her name will still be on the ballot.

In-person absentee voting is open until Friday, Feb. 17. Voters are reminded to bring an ID.

In the West Bend School Board race the ballot order will be: Nancy Justman, Richard Cammack, Joel Ongert, Tina Hochstaetter, Ryan Gieryn, Tonnie Schmidt, Bob Miller

Updates & tidbits

– Students and staff at St. Kilian School in Hartford packed over 400 lunches for the House of Peace as a service project during Catholic Schools Week.

– West Bend City Clerk Stephanie Justmann swore in three new police officers Nicholas Ratas, Shawn Spencer and Brock Bateman during Monday’s Common Council meeting.

– The Elbe family from Golden “E” Dairy on Orchard Valley Road and Shalom in the Town of Farmington will host the 2017 Washington County Breakfast on the Farm on June 10.

– In-person absentee voting is underway and runs through Friday, Feb. 17. You must bring an ID to vote. There are only a couple of items on the primary ballot for the Feb. 21 spring election.

– The gloves come off Feb. 25 at Washington County Fair Park as Tiny Love, Justin Dredd and Damon Knight climb into the ring for Mayhem for Mason. Money will be raised for Mason Holbrook and family.

– A Safe Space workshop is Feb. 22 at the Democratic Party of Washington County, 132 N. Main Street in West Bend. The event is free and open to the public.

– West Bend Youth Football registration is Saturday, Feb. 25 at 8 a.m. at Silverbrook School.

– Paul Eve as Johnny Cash Alive is coming to the West Bend Moose Lodge on Feb. 25.  Eve has portrayed Johnny Cash since he was 9 years old; he captures the essence of the Man in Black.

– There will be casino games and prizes at the annual Vegas Night at Fillmore Fire Department on Feb. 25 starting at 7 p.m.  Information or tickets call Judy 262-692-9434 or Dale at 689-4799.

– The deadline is coming up March 3 to take part in the 2017 Washington Co. Tree Program.

– Ice racing on Wallace Lake on Sunday, Feb. 12 has been cancelled.

Frieden’s Church to go to auction

There’s quite a bit of history behind the old church that sits on the corner of County Highway P and Cedar Creek Road. Local historians Terry Becker and Steve Kissinger chimed in with some interesting facts.

Frieden’s Church was founded in 1852.  The first church was a log structure.  The present church was built in 1878.  The church was remodeled in 1927 and again in 1952. History photos show an original steeple on the building.

The church was in use until June 1991 when the congregation joined with Peace Evangelical Reformed church of Jackson and they moved into a new building.

It is now called New Hope United Church of Christ. The minister still lives in the house across the street.

The bank currently owns the building. Over the weekend a crew out of Racine put a new roof on the building. The church will go up for auction in a few weeks.

County Highway Commissioner Scott Schmidt said there will be work done to add sidewalk and curb and cutter on Highway P.

There was word the state was going to build a roundabout at that intersection and raze the church – that, however, is false.

On a side note: The church or rather its cemetery has a tie to West Bend.  B.C. Ziegler’s grandparents along with extended family members rest in the church cemetery.friedens5

Bees Halt Match

It’s like my nightmare.

A swarm of bees stopped play midway through Sri Lanka’s innings in the third one-day international against South Africa in Johannesburg.

The bees disrupted play twice – sending players diving to the ground – before the game was officially stopped in the 27th over, with Sri Lanka on 117-4.

A groundsman used a fire extinguisher to try to disperse the bees, before a beekeeper was called to the Wanderers.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

The Hideout Sports Pub is opening in former Benders

There’s a new business going into the former Benders Restaurant location on Paradise Drive. Oscar Steinbauer Jr. is partnering with Nora Sanchez; the pair are preparing to open The Hideout Sports Pub.

The name has already ruffled a few feathers especially at an establishment on Park Avenue called Al’s Hideout.

Steinbauer, who is from Random Lake, said he did a license check and did not come across Al’s Hideout. During a follow-up review he found the name and now he’s discussing how to move forward with his business partner.

Steinbauer is in the business of buying and selling equipment for restaurants and Sanchez has been in the restaurant industry for 20 years.

For the past few weeks the business partners have been working with family to clean up the interior of the building. There’s new paint and flooring and updates are being made in the kitchen and behind the bar.

The pair said they’ll have a small menu of 35 items with gourmet burgers, pizza, wings, and Friday fish fries. “We’ll also have Mexican fare including fajitas and margaritas,” he said.

The beer selections will be standard along with IPAs and Guinness.  The Pub will open 11 a.m. for lunch and dinner. They hope to open in West Bend in April. The location is formerly home to Benders Restaurant and Sports Bar, 1102 Paradise Drive.

Ann Taylor presented with Mother Cabrini Award

The Mother Cabrini Award was presented this week to Ann Taylor who has worked at St. Frances Cabrini School for 14 years. The award has been given to a staff member at school since 1989 to a person who has qualities of perseverance, missionary zeal, simplicity, and educational mission:  An attitude that demonstrates love for children

Taylor’s peers had this to say: “She is a hard-working and dedicated teacher.  She always comes in early and takes on extra duties.  She is thoughtful and caring.

“She is humble and grace-filled.  She goes out of her way to balance the responsibilities of school with the needs of her family.  She does everything with an attitude of thoughtfulness, kindness and care.

“She never complains but instead gives her students and colleagues the very best of who she is.  Ann lives her life using her God-given gifts always in service of others.”

Relay for Life of West Bend is relocating

Some changes in store this year for Relay for Life of West Bend as organizers shift the event to one day in July.  The event honor survivors of all cancers and raises money for the American Cancer Society. Normally held at Badger Middle School in West Bend the event will shift this year to Regner Park. “It’ll help us save a little money,” said Relay board member Clyde Lofy.

Over the past few years Relay for Life has struggled with fundraising and participation numbers. By moving the event to Regner Park the organization will be able to take advantage of the park’s facilities and cut back on expenses, primarily for tents. Relay for Life is slated for Saturday, July 22 from 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Gov. Walker salutes National Guard troops in WB

Military representatives from Wisconsin’s National Guard as well as Gov. Scott Walker gathered at the Armory in West Bend on Thursday as 33 soldiers were shipping out to Afghanistan.  Numerous speeches sent encouragement to the families and loved ones of the troops and repeatedly sent the message to the soldiers that the Badger State honors them and their service to our country.

“You’re the best of the best,” said Walker as he presented a Wisconsin state flag to the troops. “You’re well trained and well prepared. Think of the impact of what it means to be from Wisconsin and there are men and women from across the state that will be lifting you up in prayer all the while you’re deployed.”

The troops traveled south for 3 weeks of training before being shipped overseas. They’re expected to return in December.

More than 250 neighbors miffed about Reliever Route meeting

Bill Schellinger of Hartford and Anne Gehring from Stone House Dairy in Hartford had some real concerns following Tuesday night’s meeting on the proposed Reliever Route. The plan is designed to go through the rural towns of Hartford, Slinger and Addison.

Schellinger and Gehring said trucks traveling at 55 miles per hour, combined with farm equipment on the road and school buses for Addison and Slinger had everyone worried about safety. “We have fender benders now,” said Gehring. “But those will turn into fatalities with those trucks and tractors and speeds at 55.”

According to the No Reliever Route group, “The Reliever route comes at the request of a few large corporations in Hartford based out of the Industrial Park and the city of Hartford.  It is a Highway 60 bypass cutting north through farms and the town of St. Lawrence eventually connecting with Interstate 41. The intention is to divert semi truck traffic off of Highway 60.”

The county has projected the cost at $23.9 million. There is no state money available for the project.  It is anticipated Washington County taxpayers will be responsible for funding the project.

Regis Hairstylists in West Bend has closed

Regis Hairstylists in the Paradise Pavilion has closed. All that remains is an empty storefront and shadows of the lettering on the building facade. According to a former employee the store got a call in mid-January to let them know they were one of 300 salons in the franchise that were being shut down. The last day for the salon was Jan. 17. On a side note, stylist Laura has relocated. Her clients can call or text 414-416-9231.

Winners of Optimist Club Oratorical Contest

Four students from West Bend participated in the inaugural Optimist Club of West Bend Oratorical Contest. Students, age 12 through 17, spoke on the theme, “What the World Gains from Optimism.”

Taking first place was 14-year-old Natalie Heinrich, 14, took first place and Libby Willkomm, 15, took second place. Both advance to compete Saturday, April 8, 2017 at the Pauline Haas Public Library in Sussex.

“All the students did a wonderful job presenting their speeches around the topic being presented,” Club President Mike Hartwell said. “The members of our Optimist Club have no doubt all the students have bright futures.”

The Optimists thanked sponsors The Law Offices of John A. Best, Toucan’s Food and Custard, the Kettle Moraine YMCA and Michael and Lucy Bloedorn.

Evan Powers presented with Optimist Club Explorer of the Year Award

The West Bend Optimist Club presented its 2016 Explorer of the Year Award today to Evan Powers.

The 22-year-old is a West Bend West High School graduate. Powers is currently enrolled at UW-Waukesha County and currently studying criminal justice.

“This is my third year in Explorers and I joined because I wanted to get real-life experience,” he said. “I’ve volunteered 200 hours to community service and I’ve learned I have to maintain professionalism when dealing with people.”

Powers has also spent 100 hours on ride alongs with West Bend Police. “He’s volunteered with the July Fourth Parade and he volunteers at the high school with special education,” said mom Kim Powers.

Powers said he enjoys working at Wheels on Main the most. “We rotate shifts and it’s a great atmosphere,” he said.

Optimist President Mike Hartwell said they were really impressed with the amount of hours Powers committed to volunteer service. “Evan does a real good job with the hours he volunteers and that helps free up other officers for police work,” he said.

Hartwell said Powers is a good listener and consciousness about following through on every project.  The Optimist Award, along with a $250 scholarship award was presented at noon on Thursday at New Perspectives Lighthouse in West Bend.

Germantown H.S. senior finishes Eagle Scout project.

Tony Matheny of Germantown is working on his Eagle Scout Badge. The 17-year-old with Troop 271 was busy Friday afternoon putting the finishing touches on 18 footstools for the NICU unit at West Allis Hospital.

“I got a lot of the materials from the Habitat ReStore in Germantown,” he said. “We’re using rescued wood from the trees taken down because of Emerald Ashe Borer.”

Matheny has been in scouts more than 7 years. He was contacted by a family friend about the need for the stools at West Allis Hospital.

The project started last August. After Matheny secured the materials he worked with carpenters, mentors and shop teachers to plane the wood.

In a test of leadership, Matheny guided six younger scouts who helped sand and stain the wood. “It was a good test of working in a group,” said Matheny. “No one got hurt.”

Matheny has put in about 70 hours on the project. Later this morning he will present the footstools to staff at West Allis Hospital.

“It’s nice to be able to make a difference,” he said. “Knowing that a mom who holds her baby for the first time will also be using the footstool. It serves a great purpose.”

To be eligible for the Eagle rank a scout must have 21 merit badges; Matheny has 22. In the coming months his project will be reviewed by the Council Service Center and National Headquarters. If accepted Matheny will receive his new rank during the Eagle Court of Honor.

Updates & tidbits

– Holy Angels School in West Bend recognized Pamela Carter with the National Catholic Educational Association’s Distinguished Graduate Award during this year’s Catholic Schools Week celebration.   Principal Mike Sternig presented the honor and noted Carter has certainly embodied the school’s mission

-Mary Hafeman has been selected a Top 50 US Kids Coach. Hafeman is a golf pro from West Bend.

-On Monday, Feb. 6 Casa Tequila in West Bend will host the viewing party for the Borden family as they will be featured on Family Feud on WVTV Channel 18. The show starts at 6 p.m.

-The city of West Bend will be hosting Loyalty Day in 2017.    The event, which will feature a huge parade, will be Saturday, April 29. Loyalty Day is observed nationally. All VFW Posts will be invited to take part.

-Vegas Night is Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Fillmore Fire Department.  Proceeds benefit the Fillmore Fire Department.

-There was a sendoff ceremony Thursday in West Bend for 33 National Guard troops being deployed to Afghanistan. Gov. Walker explained how to create the Wisconsin Badger “W” to the crowd. He then had those gathered simultaneously show the “W” to the deploying troops so they would remember there are those here at home who are thinking of and supporting them.

– Jeff’s Spirits on Main along with West Bend Mutual will welcome author and master distiller Fred Noe to a backyard Bourbon Q this spring. All proceeds benefit the MACC Fund.

-John Roy Volkert, 92, of West Bend died this past week. On a history note Volkert owned Sports Apparel Plus in West Bend for 8 years. First in the Kohl’s mall on South Main, then it moved downtown next to the theater (currently the Candy Man).

– Allan Kiekhaefer was at a Republican Party event last week when he took a spill by the stairs. He said a nice young man came along and helped him to his feet. That “nice young man” ended up being U.S. Senator Ron Johnson.

– On Monday the West Bend Common Council will present a Fire Department Life Saving Award to West Bend Fire Lt. Alan Hefter and MPO Kyle Demler. The pair saved the life of Emily Craig, 18,

-During Monday’s West Bend Common Council meeting the Board of Public Works will discuss possible changes to the Public Works Drop-Off Yard Stickers for 2017. According to Mayor Sadownikow there will be no price increase, just a clarification on who can use the sticker; the city is trying to open the process up to more West Bend businesses.

– Next Saturday, Feb. 11 the sturgeon spearing season gets under way on the Lake Winnebago system. The harvest cap for adult females is 855, up from 740 last year. This year the DNR is asking spearers to donate the head from their fish as the DNR is doing a comprehensive study to evaluate different methods for estimating age and growth of lake sturgeon. One of the methods is the use of otolith (ear bones).

– West Bend Mutual CEO Kevin Steiner is the chairman of the 2017 United Way of Washington County campaign. “I said yes for five reasons,” said Steiner. “This next year’s campaign will be the biggest ever.”

-There will be three incoming West Bend Police Officers who will take the Oath of Office on Monday including Officers Brock N. Bateman, Nicholas D. Ratas and Shawn K. Spencer.

-Reality Day is coming up Feb. 15 in the south gym at the West Bend High Schools. College-and-Career Day is March 15 and 16 at Washington County Fair Park.

– The gloves will be coming off Feb. 25 at Washington County Fair Park as Tin Love, Justin Dredd and Damon Knight climb into the ring for Mayhem for Mason. Money will be raised for Mason Holbrook and family.

History photo – celebrating Catholic Schools Week.

Holy Angels picnic 1959 – courtesy Dan Berres
holy-angels-school-picnic-1959-dan-berres

“Investigators found vaseline and latex gloves…”

I thought only the tax man used those accessories

Investigators found vaseline and latex gloves in the mint employee’s locker.

Judge Doody said these items “could have been used to facilitate insertion of gold items inside his rectum”, reports the Toronto Star.

The 17 laundered pucks weighed as much as 264g apiece and were sold for sums up to $7,300 each between 2014 and 2015.

Lawrence was convicted of conveying gold out of the mint, breach of trust by a public official and possession of property obtained by crime.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Man who fell on ice has died

 Neighbors in Barton mourned the loss of Jeff Dolde, 61, this week after word came he fell on the ice and spent the overnight outdoors. Dolde died a week after being hospitalized.

On January 17, WashingtonCountyInsider.com reported Dolde, locally known as Schnapps, fell on the ice just outside Bagg End Tavern.

Dolde was walking Monday evening. Friends said he apparently could not get up and every time he tried he slid further from the road. Dolde reportedly hit his head and was found in the snowbank outside the closed tavern the next morning.

Dolde was taken to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee. Friends said he was walking and talking and appeared to be recovering. Word came Tuesday, Jan. 24 that he died.

Services will be held at a later date.

Rev. Haines appointed Auxiliary Bishop by Milwaukee Archdiocese

Former St. Frances Cabrini priest Rev. Jeffrey Haines has been appointed by Pope Francis as Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Details from the Archdiocese are below.

Milwaukee native Fr. Jeffrey R. Haines has been appointed by Pope Francis as Auxiliary Bishops for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.  The appointments were announced in Rome, January 25, and Haines will be ordained bishop by Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.  The ordination date has not been announced, but should be within the next five-to-eight weeks.

“Praised be Jesus Christ; this is a proud moment for the Church in southeastern Wisconsin,” Archbishop Listecki said.

Auxiliary bishops serve the Church by assisting the archbishop in the pastoral and spiritual leadership of the archdiocese.  They assist the diocesan bishop in his role as shepherd – teaching, leading, serving and celebrating the sacraments with the people of God.

“I always have considered the vocation of priestly ministry in the Church to be the greatest of gifts, because each and every day I am blessed with the opportunity to proclaim the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ in Word and Sacrament and thus encounter Him in the people I serve,” said bishop-elect Haines.

“This ‘new calling’ as an Auxiliary Bishop brings the grace-filled opportunity to expand the parameters of this joyful service to the whole archdiocese.  I am profoundly humbled by this calling and keenly aware of my shortcomings, but I find strength and inspiration in the powerful presence and vitality of the Holy Spirit emerging in the implementation of our recent Archdiocesan Synod.  I look forward to assisting Archbishop Listecki in fulfilling the pastoral priorities of this mission.  I give praise to God and thanksgiving to His Holiness Pope Francis for the honor of this Episcopal appointment.”

Bishop-elect Haines, 58, was ordained to the priesthood on May 17, 1985, by Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland, O.S.B., and is currently serving as Rector and Pastor of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Milwaukee.

After ordination in 1985, Father Haines was appointed Associate Pastor of St. Nicholas in Milwaukee. In 1996, he was appointed pastor of St. Frances Cabrini Parish in West Bend.  He was granted temporary leave to study canon law at Catholic University in 2002.  In 2003, he returned as Pastor of St. Frances Cabrini Parish in West Bend, and was given additional responsibility as assisting priest of Immaculate Conception/St. Mary’s, West Bend in 2004.  In 2011, he was appointed Rector of the Cathedral.

Ooh La La… accessories closing

After nearly 8 years in business Ooh La La…. accessories in downtown West Bend is closing.

Shop owner Kim Riley posted this note: “We are saddened to say that Ooh La La… accessories will be retiring our West Bend location.

It has been a true honor to be part of the West Bend community and business district. We have been blessed to have such wonderful friends come into our lives over the past 8 years! We hope to continue our friendships at our Menomonee Falls location. It is still our mission to help you with “adorable and affordable” fashion accessories.

Also, I want to assure everyone that gift certificates you may have from West Bend are always welcomed at our Menomonee Falls store. Thank you all for your friendship and love. Sincerely, Kim Riley

Downtown WB Theatre will be featured Sunday on CBS 58

This Sunday the downtown West Bend Theatre will be featured in a story on CBS 58. Photojournalist Dan Blanchard spent some time on N. Main Street this week talking to a couple of entities involved in the debate over the future of the theatre.

The facility is owned by neither party but plans have been drawn up and funding has been raised by at least one party. Mayor Kraig Sadownikow was interviewed for the piece, although the city has zero to do with the project since the building is privately owned.

Claire Rolfs was also interviewed for the piece about her proposal to keep the facade of the building and take the back end and make it into an open-air amphitheater.

Slinger grad named Big 10 Conference Field Athlete of the Week

Slinger High School alum Kiley Sabin is making a name for herself in the college ranks. The 2014 grad is a sophomore thrower on the University of Minnesota women’s track & field team.

This week the 20-year-old Sabin was named the Big Ten Conference Field Athlete of the Week after breaking Minnesota’s program record in the shot put to lead the Gophers to an 82-80 win over Wisconsin in the third-annual Minnesota-Wisconsin Dual.

Sabin threw 17.17m (56-04.00) to win the shot put, improving on one of Minnesota’s oldest program records by nearly two feet.

When Sabin was in high school she was already making her mark, not only athletically but also academically. The 4-time track-and-field letter winner was on National Honor Society and German National Honor Society. Sabin owns Slinger school records in the shot put (46-2) and the discus (143-0).

Students from Holy Angels, Cabrini and St. Mary’s attend March for Life in D.C.

This week a delegation of 17 students and 5 chaperones from the West Bend Catholic Churches of Holy Angels, Saint Frances Cabrini, and St. Mary’s Immaculate Conception attended the National March for Life in Washington, D.C. The March for Life is an annual event that “provides all Americans with a place to testify to the beauty of life and the dignity of each human person.”

Catholic Schools Week Jan. 29 – Feb. 4 – the value of a parochial education

Catholic Schools Week is about to get underway across Washington County as schools participate in Mass, dress-up day and the naming of the winner of the Mother Cabrini award. On that note we reached out to graduates of parochial schools in the community to get their reflections on how a Catholic School education impacted their life.

Ann Enright: I attended Holy Trinity Catholic School, Kewaskum, from 1951-1959.  Our teachers were nuns from the order of The Sisters of St. Agnes. Their motherhouse was and still is in Fond du lac, WI.

There were four classrooms with two grades per room.  The nuns were pious about their faith, well educated and loved their jobs. They expected respect and students to work up to their abilities, no less.

Demanding quality personal effort was a motivator for me which I have continued to apply in my careers as wife, mother, real estate broker and citizen.

English, History and Geography were my favorite subjects.  High School classes were a breeze because I had such a good foundation.   I think I can still diagram a sentence and say most of the Gettysburg Address thanks to those nuns.

Religion was taught with enthusiasm and that enthusiasm has remained with me to the present.  I am still learning and taking Bible classes.

Jayne A Peplinski: I feel very blessed I was able to attend a Catholic School.  The education I received was fantastic.  I was able to attend higher-level classes in high school because of it. I also am grateful for the religious education I received. It wasn’t just in religion class, but in all classes.

They incorporated the importance of being kind to each other and treating others like we would treat ourselves into each lesson. I believe this has helped me throughout my life. It was such a wonderful experience for me that my husband and I moved back to West Bend many years ago so all of our 5 children could attend the school I did; St Frances Cabrini.  I have thanked my parents many times for their sacrifice to send me and all my siblings to a Catholic school.

Updates & tidbits

There will be ice racing on Wallace Lake to raise money for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Washington County is Sunday, Feb. 12 at Eddie’s Lake House (formerly Pier 144) at 7138 Highway 144 N, West Bend. Southwest side of the lake. Spectators watch for free, beverages and food available.

It’s been a beehive of activity at the new Mad Max, 1229 S. Main St. in West Bend. The gas station/convenience store/coffee shop opened Friday morning.

-Good news for the Walk for a Cure for Diabetes held at Ridge Run Park in West Bend. The American Diabetes Association ranked the walk No. 11 in the 2016 Top 20 list of Community Walk Events.  Dave Reed organizes the event.  In three years it has raised $2,164.  “This is a real grassroots effort and the people who are involved are normally touched by diabetes,” said Reed.

-United Way of Washington County will hold its annual celebration Thursday, Feb. 2 at the West Bend Mutual Insurance Prairie Center. Watch for a new 2017 campaign chair to be announced.

-There’s a group deploying to Afghanistan from the National Guard and a ceremony will be held Feb. 2 in West Bend. Either Gov. Scott Walker or Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch will be in attendance.

–  This year’s West Bend Youth Football Fundraiser, “The Washington County Beer Tasting” is Friday, Feb. 3 2017 at Washington County Fair Park.

-On Feb. 8 the City of West Bend will be hosting a Community Blood Drive at City Hall from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The American Red Cross remains in the midst of a severe blood shortage and has issued an

-West Bend West H.S. alum Jamie Griffin rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange this week. Griffin, who graduated Class of 1999, is executive director with Women in Bio, Inc.

-The City of West Bend officially has a new clerk in office. During Monday night’s Common Council meeting Megan Gundrum swore in Stephanie Justmann.

– Casa Tequila will host the viewing party for the Borden family as they will be featured on Family Feud on Feb 6 on WVTV Channel 18. The show starts at 6 p.m. Liz Borden advises people get there by 5:30 p.m. if they want to purchase tacos or drinks.

-The Family Adventure Pool at the Kettle Moraine YMCA reopened this week. The pool was recently cleaned, the deck stained and new play features including a bulldozer slide were added.

-Longtime Assistant County Attorney Brad Stern has been appointed the new Washington County Attorney.  Stern has served as an Assistant County Attorney since 2004.

-I was leaving the West Bend Public Library the other day and a man held open the door for me. I recognized him but just couldn’t remember his name.

Me: Thank you. How are you?

Man: Good, how are you?

Me: Good.

Man: I ran into your husband the other day.

Me: Really? ..said genuinely surprised. Did you tell him he should come home?

WWI nurse Thecla Richter from West Bend              By Lee Krueger

Resident historian Lee Krueger is looking to highlight his great aunt Thecla Richter, who served as a nurse during WWI.

During the years after “The Great War” Thecla Richter was asked to make a number of presentations telling about her time in France as a Red Cross Nurse.  The following introduction to one of these talks was written by Edith Heidner, noted West Bend historian and good friend of Ms. Richter.

World War I started in 1914. At that time the countries involved included Germany, France, Italy and Great Britain. Assisting Great Britain were her colonies which included Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Canada. The year of 1916 was a horrible year in the War with a staggering loss of life. The battles of Verdun and Sommes, alone, had resulted in over two million casualties. It appeared that this horrific loss of life would continue into 1917.

The United States did not enter the war until April 6, 1917. After the declaration of war it would take a number of months to organize the U.S. effort and to get troops and supplies ready to be deployed to Europe.

Small groups of civilians could react more quickly and, immediately after our country’s declaring war on Germany, a group of doctors affiliated with Northwestern University organized a medical unit to give service during this World War.

Representatives of this group were sent to the various hospitals associated with Northwestern University to obtain volunteers to join the unit.  The personnel of this newly formed unit were to consist of 35 doctors, 60 nurses and 200 enlisted men.

The newly formed medical team was on its way to Europe within a month.  But, because there were no American units on European soil, the deployment plan had the group joining the Red Cross, being assigned to and working with British units that were already deployed.

This Red Cross medical unit included Thecla Richter, a West Bend nurse, who felt the need to serve her country and who had recently graduated from the Northwestern University School of Nursing.

History photo – Celebrating Catholic Schools Week

As we prepare to celebrate Catholic Schools Week we take a look at Holy Angels classroom from 1941. Photo courtesy Karen Halverson.12

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

West Bend man recovering in ICU after being pulled from snowbank

A West Bend man, 61, is being treated at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee after being found lying in a snowbank Tuesday morning on N. Main Street.

According to West Bend Police Lt. Duane Farrand, the man was reportedly found before 6 a.m. in the 1300 block of N. Main Street.

Neighbors in Barton said a member of Asplundh Tree Service found the man in the snowbank just outside Bagg End Tavern. The man was cold and wet.

Patrons at Joker’s 5 Bar & Grill said they knew the man as Jeff and said “he walked everywhere.”

Lt. Farrand said they were called to the scene for someone who had “slipped on the ice.” Farrand did not know if the man suffered hypothermia.

Vrana Body Shop shares the same driveway as Bagg End Tavern. Staff said they were aware police were on scene Tuesday morning. They said the driveway was a “sheet of ice” and even the trucks from Asplundh had a tough time with traction.

The man’s relatives said he was walking around 8 p.m. Monday when he slipped and fell on the ice. Every time he tried to get up he fell again and slid further down the driveway away from the road. The final time the man tried to get his footing he fell and hit his head. The man did not regain consciousness until he was found the next morning.

The man is still at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.

New events director for Downtown West Bend Association

Anna Jensen, 25, is relatively new to the community of West Bend. A transplant from Edgerton, Wisconsin, Jensen moved to town for a job in radio sales. Now a short year and a half later she’s the new events director for the Downtown West Bend Association.

Jensen studied meteorology in college. She took courses like physics and chemistry and interned at a couple of TV stations in the weather department.

“I’m really more into the people and less into the computers,” she said, while visiting Tuesday morning in the Main Street office of the DWBA.  “That’s what kind of brought me into sales. I can start a conversation with a stranger and have no problem talking to anybody.”

Aside from her strong social skills, Jensen has managed to successfully network in West Bend and surrounding communities. She’s a member of the green coats with the West Bend Chamber of Commerce and she’s with the Hartford Chamber.

Last year Jensen worked closely with the DWBA marketing several events including the Downtown West Bend Concourse/ToAD, Maxwell Street Day and Music on Main.

“I’d really like to grow the current events and maybe build another event in the following year,” she said.

Carol Baranyk will be working alongside Jensen. “She’s a perfect fit for this position,” said Baranyk. “She’s not afraid to strike up a conversation with someone, she’s enthusiastic, and hopefully with meteorology in her background she’ll be able to predict the weather and keep the rain away for Music on Main.”

West Bend-area family to be featured on Family Feud

A family from the West Bend area will be appearing next month on The Family Feud as their episode airs Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. on WVTV Channel 18.

Liz Borden said her family was on the Feud over the summer. “We said we are from Hubertus, since that’s where we grew up,” said Borden. “We are spread out now but I’m in the Newburg area and my sister is in Jackson.”

The family in the picture with Steve Harvey starting from the left is brother Chris from Milwaukee, sister Kim from Jackson, myself Liz, mom Janet and dad Gary who split time between Nekoosa and Green Valley, AZ.

The family auditioned in Milwaukee in November 2015. “We found out they only took 25 families from Wisconsin and then when you went to Atlanta and you had to try out again,” she said. “So there was a chance you might have gone to Atlanta but not actually make it on.”

The show paid the families travel expenses and the word at the network was, “They told us they only take the best of the best.”

Borden raved about show host Steve Harvey. “He is amazing and the funniest guy you will ever meet,” she said. “He will crack jokes all day long on and off camera.

“He is a very down-to-earth guy; very heartfelt and faithful but he sure can make you laugh.”

Borden said she can’t say if they won. She said they are excited to see how they will edit the episode “because we were laughing the whole time.” Borden said she is planning a viewing party.

Semi crosses 2 lanes of traffic and clips old Held’s Meat Market

A semi traveling northbound on I41 crossed the median and crashed on the other side of the I system near Sherman Way.  Washington County Sheriff Dale Schmidt said the accident happened just after 10 a.m. on Thursday.  He said the semi driver choked on his soda, lost control of his rig, went through the median, across the southbound lanes of I41, through the ditch and the fencing. The semi clipped the corner of the former Held’s Meat Market building.  The driver suffered minor injuries but was not transported. No other vehicles were involved in the accident. The rig was from Aim Trucking.

Noon Rotary exhibit helps detect drug use

The Noon Rotary Club of West Bend is partnering with Elevate, the Heroin Task Force of Washington County and Moraine Park Technical College to bring forward a program that focuses on educating parents on the critical issue of prescription drug abuse, underage drinking/tobacco consumption and other forms of illegal drug use.

Located at Moraine Park Technical College in West Bend, Hidden in Plain Sight is an interactive display of a teenager’s bedroom with many items hidden or in plain view that helps to identify areas where teens may hide drugs, alcohol and other paraphernalia.

It also points out household items that can be used to either cover up drug and alcohol abuse or can be used to facilitate drug and alcohol use. The purpose of the program is to educate family and caregivers about the signs that can be an indicator of drug abuse.

Guided tours of the exhibit bedroom will run Saturday’s from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and on Thursday’s from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. through February 23. It is free to attend and open to everyone 18 and older. The exhibit is located next to the MPTC Library at the West Bend Campus.

New LED sign at Regner Park

Hat tip to the West Bend Noon Rotary as it completed a project donation to the community and Regner Park. A new LED sign is in place on N. Main Street just north of Silverbrook Drive. The programmable sign will highlight events at Regner Park including concerts and events at the Silver Lining Stage.

Fillmore Fire Department Awards night                             Courtesy Bob Bonenfant

The Fillmore Fire Department held its annual awards banquet at the Fillmore Fire Hall.

Chief Jeff Steinert then gave his report of the departments 2016 activity which included 19 fire calls, one structure fire, two vehicle accidents and 35 EMS calls.

A number of members were honored for years of service: Jake Guttman, DJ Neumann and Eric Spaeth received 10 year service certificates, Duane Taylor was recognized for 20 years and Jeff Steinert honored for 25 years of service. Larry Polanske was the recipient of the First Responder of the Year plaque.

Dale Spaeth was honored as Firefighter of the Year and Judy Spaeth was recognized as Social Member of the Year, an award given to an individual who lends a hand in any way to help the department.

Updates & tidbits

The West Bend Kiwanis Early Risers 9th Annual Chili/Soup Cook-off is Saturday, Feb. 4 from 11-2 p.m. at Silverbrook Intermediate School. There are over 25 entries in 4 categories: restaurants, business, First Responders and non-profits. There is a new category this year for First Responders which will be a competition between the West Bend Fire Department and the West Bend Police Department.

-Mary Hafeman, from Missing Links, has been named to U.S. Kids Golf’s annual list of Top 50 Kids Teachers. The Award recognizes the world’s most outstanding youth golf instructors, and Hafeman is part of a select group that earned Top 50 accolades among nearly 350 applicants.

– The Elbe family from Golden “E” Dairy in the Town of Farmington will host the 2017 Washington County Breakfast on the Farm. The dairy is located at the corners of Orchard Valley and Shalom. Advance tickets will be available in April.

Sunday, Feb. 12 the 12th annual Motorcycle Ice Races will be raising money for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Washington County. Races will take place on Wallace Lake with event headquarters at Eddie’s Lake House, 7138 Highway 144 N, West Bend.

-Local Girl Scouts will soon be hitting the streets and offices with their colorful grid of cookie sales including thin mints, shortbread, Thanks-A-Lot and Lemonades. Scouts will be taking orders through the end of February.

– The Washington County Dairy Promotion Committee is looking for volunteers to serve on its board (3-year term). Three positions will be voted on at the Feb. 2 annual meeting. Contact President Bill Hinckley if interested at williamh921@charter.net or 262-365-9734.

– Someone with the West Bend Theatre project will address the common council during its Jan. 23 meeting. Mayor Kraig Sadownikow made clear the council has no say in the project as the building is owned by a private party.

-Paul Eve as Johnny Cash Alive is coming to the West Bend Moose Lodge on Feb. 25. Tickets to dinner and a show are $30. Call and make your reservations at 262-338-8122.

– The gloves will be coming off Feb. 25 at the Washington County Fair Park as Tin Love, Justin Dredd and Damon Knight climb into the ring for Mayhem for Mason. Money will be raised for Mason Holbrook and family.

– Donald and Barron Ryan, a talented father and son piano duo, will take the stage at UW-Washington County on Friday, January 27 to present their brand of classic and contemporary music.

Remembering the old tower fire escape

Today’s 1919 photo, courtesy Steve Kissinger, is posted as a tribute to Catholic Schools Week, Jan. 29 – Feb. 4.

According to the archives in the Research Center at the WCHS, ‘The public grade school was located at the head of Elm Street where it intersects with Eighth Avenue. The view looks northwest and was taken from Eighth Avenue. Notable with this view is the addition of the tower fire escape.  The building was later sold to Holy Angels Catholic Church, which used it as an elementary school. The building no longer exists.’

 

Dick Klumb of West Bend wrote a book in 2001 about the ‘History of Holy Angels.’ “The Public School was constructed in approximately 1888,” said Klumb.

 

“In 1939 after McLane School was built Holy Angels purchased this school from the West Bend School District and it became Holy Angels grade school. An addition to the south side of the school was added in 1950 and in 1963 the original Public School was torn down and the current building was completed.”

 

Roger Strack of Kewaskum was in second grade when he moved to McLane School. He said he didn’t recognize the Public School as much as he did the big merry go round on the north side of the playground and the fire escape. “I remember we’d open the steel door and climb up the slide,” Strack said.

 

Washington County Judge Andrew Gonring said his father, Mike, went to school when it was Holy Angels. “He used to say, a lot of famous fannies slid down that fire escape,” said Gonring. “At the annual Valentine’s Day party at school you could slide down it for two cents.”

 

Corey (Kohl) Wuebben said he “spent some of the happiest years of my life in that building.”  Wuebben said the “old part of the building where the fire escape is pictured was demolished” and is now the site of the food stand and band tent during the annual parish festival.

 

Mary Ann Goeden Hupfer of West Bend went to school at the original Holy Angels in the mid 1940s when Sister Agatha was principal and Rev. Stehling would “teach religious ed and hand out jellybeans.”

 

“I remember the really long cloak room in the sixth grade,” Hupfer said. “It had hooks and we’d all hang our coats and caps in there because we had no lockers.”   Hupfer also remembered marching with music. “When we’d go outside for recess there was an old Victrola in the lobby and we’d march in procession and you wouldn’t talk until you were down the street,” she said.

 

Hupfer also remembered an incident in first grade when she was in Sister Robert’s class. “My friend Marcella broke her crayon in half and we got caught giggling in the back of class. I had to stay after school until 4 o’clock with my finger on my mouth,” laughed Hupfer.

 

Kay Baker Michels was a 1963 graduate of Holy Angels School. “Both my husband, Terry Michels, and I attended this school and I taught at Holy Angels for 26 years as a second grade teacher and librarian.” Michels said the connection with the photo was that it tied into celebrating Catholic Schools Week. “I also remember the old fire escape,” said Michels. “Everyone wanted to be in Sister Hildebrand’s class as you got to take a ride in it each time there was a fire drill.”

 

James Fellenz went to Holy Angels back in the 1950s. “I’ll never forget the fire escape,” Fellenz said. “The janitor took our shoes and we had to walk home bare footed. It was in March; talk about having cold feet.”

 

Doug Jaeger also recalled how “some of us kids used to climb up that outdoor emergency escape chute and slide back down.”

 

Maureen Dick of West Bend was a student at Holy Angels until in 1963. “I was in the eighth grade and that was the first year for the new addition on the north side of the building,” she said. “If I remember correctly the old building wasn’t taken down until the new one was completed.”

 

Dick recalled that was also the beginning of the Holy Angels picnic. “At the first picnic we were allowed go inside and pay to swing a sledge hammer at a wall,” she said referencing the demolition.

 

Some of the teachers connected to Holy Angels included Sister Mary Marks; she ran the candy store in the basement at lunch time. Sister Mary Agatha, Sister Mary Lisetta, Sister Mary Ventura, Sister Mary Hildebrand, Sister Cyril, Ms. Brown, Sister Lillian, Mrs. Rice, Sister Marinella, Sister Mary Floria, and Sister Mary Amabilis.

On a side note: One of the notable talking points was the fire escape. Jim Dricken wrote, “When they took the building down in the mid 1960s, my dad Len Dricken, saved the fire escape to be used as a fun item for kids. The fire escape, named ‘The Tower,’ is still in use at Lake Lenwood Beach and Campground.12

Considering our library and its debt

My column for the West Bend Daily News is online. Here you go:

A little spat over debt between the West Bend library and the city of West Bend, of which the library is a part, has been resolved, but it begs us to confront some broader questions.

At issue was an old debt. Thanks in part to generous donations from individuals, the West Bend library undertook a major expansion project at the turn of the millennium. But as is always the case with projects of this sort, the taxpayers were not left completely off the hook. Part of the project was financed through debt that Washington County and the city of West Bend agreed to pay back.

For almost two decades, Washington County has been paying roughly $100,000 to the city of West Bend and the city put in about $150,000 to pay off the debt.

The process was a bit convoluted. Since the library is an entity of the city and the city managed the debt, the process was set up so that the county would pay the city; then the city would allocate the funds to the library; then the library board would authorize the same funds to be sent back to the city for the service of the debt. As some point, someone at the city decided that such a process was convoluted and the city just bypassed allocating the money to the library.

The squabble over it arose last year when the Library Board decided that its prerogative was being violated because it should authorize payment to the city. In trying to unravel all of this, it was found that there was very little documentation to back up any of these agreements — including the term for paying off the debt. Since the process was all part of the internal workings of the city and the Common Council decided all of this in closed session over 15 years ago, nobody perceived a need for rigorous documentation.

Since nobody could tell any different, the library and the city agreed last week that they would consider the debt fully repaid in two years, at which time the money the county and the city allocate to the library every year for this purpose would be banked for capital projects.

This invites the question, what might those capital projects be? Would it be a wise expenditure of tax dollars to expand or renovate of the library?

And in the digital age, do the taxpayers really need to spend money on a traditional library at all? In the past, libraries served a critical function to diffuse knowledge into a community. Books were expensive and most homes rarely contained more than a Bible and a handful of other books. We relied on libraries to provide a window to the past and to the wider world.

The internet has changed almost everything in our society and libraries are not immune.

Now people can access billions of books, magazines, newspapers, pictures, films, recordings, and other media in hundreds of different languages within seconds. The internet did not just open the window. The internet has torn it off its hinges and kicked down the wall to provide a panoramic view.

As a lifelong bibliophile, I love libraries. I love bookstores too. Despite also being a technophile, I vastly prefer browsing a dusty row of books or paging through the dog-eared pages of a good book to the glow of a screen.

But I can get the same knowledge from a tablet and it is difficult for me to justify the taxpayers paying for preference of reading format.

The taxpayers currently spend about $1.4 million per year on the library and the Library Board expects some major capital needs within a few years. To put that in perspective, it would only cost about $1.34 million per year to provide each of the roughly 13,500 households in West Bend with a subscription to Amazon Prime with access to far more information than the library could ever hold. While that probably is not the best alternative, there are certainly many alternatives to the traditional library model that would cost far less.

The mission of the West Bend library is, “to be a lifelong learning resource by providing quality services, resources, and learning opportunities through a variety of formats to meet informational, educational, cultural and recreational needs of the community.”

With the world changing around us, it is prudent to consider if there are other means by which the library can accomplish its mission.

What a Game

Sorry for the short hiatus. Did you miss me? I didn’t think so. I was occupied…

20170115_153517

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Wash. Co. 4-H members file stories from Presidential Inauguration   By Mariah Mihm

Hi, our names are Mariah and Ashley Mihm.  We are two of 11 delegates from Washington County 4-H going to the Presidential Inauguration in Washington D.C. This is a highly sought after opportunity and we are excited to be part of it.

We found out about this trip in November 2015, a year before the actual election.

Washington County 4-H did a great job promoting the opportunity, sending information packets and e-mails, explaining the activities involved as well as reminders on the sign-up date.

In March 2016, applications became available online. At 6 p.m. when the application opened, members would fill out simple questions about themselves and submit it within a couple minutes.

Delegates were chosen on a first-come, first-serve basis; there were 31 spots available for all Wisconsin 4-H members.

My sister Ashley and I decided to double up on the application system. I sat at the kitchen table on the laptop as Ashley was on the desktop. We logged in at 5:30 p.m. and anxiously waited for the process to open at 6 p.m. Once the application was available, we quickly filled out the questions.

After waiting a couple of months for an answer from the state, we both got letters congratulating us for securing a spot on the trip.

Our 5-day adventure to Washington D.C. begins Tuesday, Jan. 17. All delegates are departing from the Milwaukee airport around 1 p.m. The inauguration of the President of the United States is Friday, Jan. 20.

Watch for updates from the Presidential Inauguration as members of Washington County 4 – H file stories at WashingtonCountyInsider.com

Retired Slinger band teacher facing sex assault charge

Charges were officially handed down in on Wednesday in Washington County Circuit Court as former Slinger High School band director David T. Hanke, 66, was charged with a Class D Felony for alleged sexual assault of a student by school staff. If convicted Hanke faces up to $10,000 in fines, up to 10 years in prison, or both.

Hanke appeared in court Wednesday afternoon before Judge James Pouros.

Hanke had a court appearance for a bail/bond hearing before Washington County Judge Andrew Gonring on Dec. 14, 2016 at which time a $3,000 signature bond was signed and Hanke was told to have “no unsupervised contact with females under age of 16. No contact with HLB or RAS.”

The criminal complaint was filed by a former Slinger High School student who was under 18 years old when the alleged assault occurred around September 1999 or 2000. The complaint said the girl was a band student in Hanke’s class. She recalled going to his house, drinking a beer and then going to the basement of the home where a back massage turned to “grabbing and groping.”

In 2004 – 2005 the complaint said the woman wrote an anonymous letter to the school but did not want to disclose the incident. In 2016 she reportedly wrote another signed letter to the principal at Slinger High School and he turned it over to authorities.

“We’re very troubled by the news about our former colleague and we have tremendous compassion and sadness for what the alleged victim went through in this circumstance,” said Slinger High School Superintendent Daren Sievers.

“We will be fully supportive and cooperative of all aspects of this investigation and the pending charges and it’s disappointing to see Slinger School District attached to this type of accusation.”

Sievers said the school district is “prepared to be supportive to anything connected to these accusations.”

“We need parents to trust that these accusations are very much isolated to the year 2000,” said Sievers. “We’re doing everything we can every day to provide a top educational experience and a safe educational experience for their kids.”

Sievers also stressed “it’s important for parents to talk very openly about what they’re experiencing in school so they know what they’re feeling and experiencing.”

Hanke retired in June 2012 after a 37-year career in the Slinger School District. Sievers described him as a “valued member and a high-performing band teacher with quality programming for kids.”

Sievers said, “Our heart goes out to the victim until we know more.” Hanke was ordered to return to court on January 30, 2017 at 8:15 a.m.

Slinger High School evacuated Friday following dryer fire

It’s been a one-two punch for the Slinger School District this week but administrators are handling it with a great deal of professionalism and organization.

District Superintendent Daren Sievers said a clothes dryer in the basement of the high school caught fire this morning. “It’s an industrial-strength dryer and some towels were in there,” he said. “The phy ed teacher found it along with head of maintenance and the principal and AD chipped in and got fire extinguishers and put the fire out.”

The smoke forced evacuation of the building. Nobody was injured. Sievers said the Slinger Fire Department has determined that toxin levels are low enough for people to return to the building.

Long Branch Saloon for sale

 

Watch for the Long Branch Saloon, 1800 Barton Avenue, in Barton to go up for sale. The local restaurant at the corner of Barton Avenue and Commerce Street closed in early 2016. The building went to a sheriff’s sale and then got hung up in the system. Paula Becker with Re/Max United is listing the property for $184,500. The property was last assessed at $242,200.

 

The property is described: Former popular restaurant and tavern needs new owners to breathe new life into it. Priced right, the dining room is in great shape, as is most of the bar area. The kitchen needs a renovation to be usable again. Historic building sits on a very visible corner, well traveled by those entering Barton/West Bend from the NE. Spacious two-bedroom apartment upstairs with separate entrance can also be accessed from the bar. Parking pad for two cars, shed, and little yard to the east.

 

New wine bar opening in West Bend

 

Remodeling is underway for the new Riverview Arts & Spirits, 277 S. Main Street in West Bend. “This is a natural expansion and the town needs it,” said owner Tammy Denz.

 

The space for wine and art is connected to Denz current business, Zodiac on the River, which is a “unique shop that offers seasonal full service Kayak/River Tube Adventures/Rentals, an Internet Café, an Event Venue for rent and Electronic Cigarettes, MODS, and over 100 E- Juices.”

 

Denz said she was exploring a venue similar to Board & Brush in Cedarburg. “This isn’t just wine and art it’s stained glass and people can come in and use the expensive equipment like our pottery wheel and we’ll have days where members can come in for classes and eventually we’ll expand out to the river with a deck,” she said.

 

The past few weeks Denz has been taking the space, connected to the south of her store, down to the bare walls as she prepares to add the bar, some high-top tables and bring in more light.

 

“The bar will be open until 11 p.m. and over here we’ll have large windows overlooking the river and there will be tables made out of the recycled wood from the Habitat Restore,” she said.

 

An opening date is tentatively around mid February. Denz is looking to establish a local connection with a wine vendor. Anyone interested can contact Denz at riverviewartsandspirits@gmail.com

 

The space next to Zodiac opened after the owner of ROOTZ purchased the old John’s Decorating building, 536 S. Main Street.

 

Laura Pedersen purchased the building for $80,000 and will re-open her business. Pedersen opened ROOTZ (Fair Trade and Locally Made) in 2011.

New sous chef at Café Soeurette

Café Soeurette will celebrate 10 years in business this year and owner Jodi Janisse-Kanzenbach is preparing to take the S. Main Street restaurant in West Bend to the next level.

One of the primary steps has been to hire sous chef Kyle Pett, 30.

“Jodi’s farm-to-table concept is what drew me in,” said Pett.

A native of Lake Mills, Pett went to Waukesha County Technical College for culinary management along with hotel and restaurant management. After spending time at the Oconomowoc Lake Club and La Merenda in Milwaukee, Pett was ready for a new adventure.

“Jodi had been talking with one of my old mentors and our paths crossed and she was looking for someone and here I am,” he said.

Starting in 2007 Executive Chef Janisse-Kanzenbach has morphed Café Soeurette into a trend-setter that’s been helping set the restaurant scene in West Bend.

She has opened her doors to host cooking classes, taken her restaurant to the middle of Main Street for Dish Downtown and inspired by seasonal produce Janisse-Kanzenbach struck up a partnership with vendors at the local Farmers’ Market. She has pickled and canned produce that would rival any grandma’s pantry.

Janisse-Kanzenbach has also grown her family and with a 2 year old in the mix she said investing in another sous chef was needed. “It’s just time to take the restaurant to that next level,” she said. “With farm-to-table and my kid, my time is a little more limited. I’m still in the kitchen but now I have somebody who can take care of these things and create new menu items while I’m running the business and working on marketing.”

Janisse-Kanzenbach spent several months looking for the right person to add in the kitchen. “I almost didn’t even bring Kyle in because I felt he was overqualified for the position,” she said. “I’m glad I took the leap because we have a lot of the same flavor profiles and we believe in the same things from a culinary aspect.”

WB common council approves salary for new city clerk

During this week’s West Bend common council meeting Mayor Kraig Sadownikow read a proclamation declaring January 16-20, 2017 as Adult School Crossing Guard Recognition Week. There were a couple of crossing guards in attendance out of 16 that help safely guide students to school in the morning and get them home in the afternoon.

“West Bend is proud of our school crossing guards and commend them highly for their continued commitment to the safety and well-being of our children,” said Sadownikow.

“And tell that guy at the corner of Main and Decorah to put some pants on,” said Sadownikow referencing crossing guard Chucky Fellenz.

In other action during Monday’s meeting the council voted unanimously to hire Stephanie Justmann as its new clerk.

Justmann takes over from Amy Reuteman, who left at the end of December to take over the clerk’s position in Rome, Wisconsin. Justmann’s salary was approved at $65,985. She will start the job January 23.

With that hire brings a vacancy at clerk in the Village of Kewaskum. Administrator Matt Heiser said they’re currently accepting applications and said Justmann will be missed.

Meeting on the No Reliever Route

There is an open meeting Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Hartford Town Hall on Highway K about the latest developments regarding the proposed Highway K reliever route.

The Washington County Board is moving closer to making decisions regarding this reliever route option.

The preliminary engineering report will be presented at a joint meeting of the Executive Committee and the Public Works Committee of the County Board on Tuesday, Jan. 24, at 7 a.m. The meeting will be at the Ziegler Building at the Washington County Fairgrounds.

Questions/comments will not be taken from the public at this meeting. A “listening session” for public feedback on this reliever route alternative will be scheduled for February.

Updates & tidbits

 

-The West Bend East National Honor Society will be presenting a check today for $1,085.94 from its holiday loose-coin drive to the family residing in the new Habitat for Humanity home on Bender Road in West Bend.

 

-Nabob Prairie Riders Snowmobile Club is hosting its 18th annual Winterfest & Fisheree on Saturday, Jan. 14 on Big Cedar Lake. There will be raffles, cash prizes, food and music at House of Heileman’s. Winterfest tent opens at 9 a.m.  Fish judging at 3 p.m.

-There will be a 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Kewaskum Junior Women’s Club on Sunday, Jan. 15 at Hon-E-Kor Country Club, Kewaskum. Noon lunch followed by a program.

– Sonny’s Party & Variety in Slinger is holding a 70% off sale. In true five & dime store fashion, Sonny’s ad reads like a carnival barker for retail. “This is your last chance to stock up on items you’ll need soon anyhow. A whopping 70% off everything. Bargains galore at Sonny’s Party store on Highway 175 in the Village Square Shopping Center in Slinger. Free peg board and scrap wood. Weekday hours 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

– The Washington County Dairy Promotion Committee is looking for volunteers to serve on its board (3-year term). Three positions will be voted on at the Feb. 2 annual meeting. Contact President Bill Hinckley if interested at williamh921@charter.net or 262-365-9734.

– Someone with the West Bend Theatre project will address the common council during its January 23 meeting. Mayor Kraig Sadownikow made clear the council has no say in the project as the building is owned by a private party.

– The gloves will be coming off Feb. 25 at the Boys and Girls Club in West Bend as Tin Love, Justin Dredd and Damon Knight climb into the ring for Mayhem for Mason. Money will be raised for Mason Holbrook and family.

– The Optimist Club of West Bend 2017 Oratorical Contest is Tuesday, Jan. 31 at the Lighthouse of West Bend. There are cash prizes and a chance to advance to Zone, District, and World Championship with a potential $22,500 in scholarships. Deadline to register is Jan. 20. Request more inform at WestBendOptimist@gmail.com

History photo

Today’s c.1940s photo, courtesy the Washington County Historical Society, features an ice harvest on Big Cedar Lake. For six weeks beginning in January, men came armed with sharp-toothed saws and steel tongs and cut blocks of ice from the frozen lake.12

Former Slinger Band Director Charged with Sexual Assault of a Student

Wow.

Jan. 11, 2017 – West Bend, WI – Charges were officially handed down today in Washington County Circuit Court as former Slinger High School band director David T. Hanke, 66, (photo left) was charged with a Class D Felony for alleged sexual assault of a student by school staff. If convicted Hanke faces up to $10,000 in fines, up to 10 years in prison, or both.

Hanke appeared in court Wednesday afternoon before Judge James Pouros.

Hanke had a court appearance for a bail/bond hearing before Washington County Judge Andrew Gonring on Dec. 14, 2016 at which time a $3,000 signature bond was signed and Hanke was told to have “no unsupervised contact with females under age of 16. No contact with HLB or RAS.”

The criminal complaint was filed by a former Slinger High School student who was under 18 years old when the alleged assault occurred around September 1999 or 2000. The complaint said the girl was a band student in Hanke’s class. She recalled going to his house, drinking a beer and then going to the basement of the home where a back massage turned to “grabbing and groping.”

In 2004 – 2005 the complaint said the woman wrote an anonymous letter to the school but did not want to disclose the incident. In 2016 she reportedly wrote another signed letter to the principal at Slinger High School and he turned it over to authorities.

Old charges like this are problematic. It’s been over 15 years, after all. Evidence is very hard to verify. But clearly the DA thought there was enough there to charge.

Monkey Love

This is more interesting than another Obama speech.

The macaques have previously been observed grooming the deer or riding them in a playful manner.

The curious behaviour is outlined in a study published in the journal Primates.

The monkey seemed to be a low-status male, who guarded his “love interests” by chasing away other male monkeys who came near.

Co-author Alexandre Bonnefoy commented: “The male mounted the deer and displayed some copulation behaviours, which included about 15 sexual movements over a period of 10 seconds, before dismounting.”

_93348783_mediaitem93348782

Giants Trash Plane on Way Home

Stay classy, New York.

Mark Kropf said he was waiting to board United Airlines Flight 934 out of Newark when “the pilot came out and asked for everyone’s patience, and shared where the plane came from and that the plane needed extra help repairing and cleaning the interior.”

“Another 30 minutes passed and the gate agent told us it was the Giants that destroyed the biz class cabin, and we saw service personnel walking countless seat cushions off the plane,” Kropf wrote in a message via Twitter.

“Upon entering the business class cabin, the cleaning scent only partially masked the alcohol smell. I had popcorn, chewing tobacco and other food crumbs on my seat.”

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Interior remodel on tap for Pick ‘n Saves in West Bend

In the next few months The Kroger Co. is expected to complete an interior remodel of the Pick ‘n Save stores in West Bend.

Some might say this is “the Meijer effect” as the new chain retailer based in Grand Rapids, Michigan is opening a new store in West Bend, 229 S. Main Street, in March/April. Other say it’s part of the intended restructuring Kroger had in mind following its $866 million acquisition of Roundy’s Supermarkets in Dec. 2015.

Staff at the Kroger stores in Fond du Lac said all the stores in the “Fox Valley area” are being remodeled.

The Pick ‘n Save in Fond du Lac has all new cases, new produce tables, new refrigeration equipment along with a new interior-and-exterior decor package.

Grocery industry analyst David Livingston offered some insight on the proposed remodel.

“Anything under $2 million in my opinion is just routine maintenance,” he said.  “Over $2 to $3 million is a remodel.  If a store is just adding a coat of paint, buying employees new t-shirts, putting up new signs, replacing shopping carts, and blocking off the excess cash registers no longer used, that to me is not a remodel.”

Questioned whether Meijer is impacting the Kroger decision, Livingston gave an example of what happened in neighboring Waukesha County.

“In Waukesha a new Meijer opened on Sunset Drive and there is a Pick ‘n Save across the street and another Pick ‘n Save a mile west on Sunset,” he said. “The one a mile west they remodeled and put up new signage. The one across the street was left untouched and is a museum.”

There’s no confirmation from Kroger on the remodel. Livingston was correct in his prediction, “Kroger is not going to tell you anything.” As far as which Pick ‘n Save will be remodeled first, there are bets it’ll be the store on S. Main Street… because it’s closer to the incoming Meijer.

 

RR crossing at Highway 33 in Allenton  

Highway 33 in Allenton will be shut down Tuesday, Jan. 10 from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. as another repair is completed on the approach at the Canadian National Railroad crossing. The issue is the same one that’s been hindering the crossing the past year as the approach is unsafe and could damage vehicles.

Former Washington County Supervisor Ron Naab said the product around the rails doesn’t hold and creates a divot on either side of the track.  “They use a rubber composite for the road bed instead of wood ties but the bolts used down don’t hold and the studs come up and stick up 3 to 4 inches,” said Naab.

Crews from the Washington County Highway Department were on hand Friday to fix it again.

Washington County Highway Commissioner Scott Schmidt said the problem is multifaceted. “It’s a combination of the cold weather, the composite material, the bolts used and the lumber around it being old as well as being located in a swampy area,” said Schmidt.

Naab said the “middle lanes of traffic” are where the biggest problems occur.  “Last Sunday they had to put a squad down there,” he said. “The two center lanes are the problem. That’s the worst.” Last November when the area was repaired a spokesperson with Canadian National Railroad said “it’s a rough crossing.”

Pizza Ranch moving forward in West Bend

West Bend, WI – The Pizza Ranch in West Bend took one more step towards fruition tonight as the Plan Commission green lighted its new proposal.

The primary sticking point for the location on W. Washington Street about 300-feet west of 18th Avenue had been acquisition of an entrance/exit at the southern end of the property. The developer has been working with Sendik’s and while terms and conditions haven’t been finalized a second access would be through the southern property line.

With the new egress the parking was shifted a bit on the east side of the lot and the other change is the original standard ground sign will now be a coordinated development sign with Sendik’s.  No final design has come in yet but the location is acceptable to the city.

The Plan Commission gave unanimous approval with the stipulation six conditions were met which included submission and approval of an erosion plan, landscaping, a storm water management plan, revision of site plan for some technical corrections, and the Plan Commission gives staff  the ability to approve final details for the coordinated development sign.

The only question from the Plan Commission was whether motorists could use the driveway and exit the restaurant parking lot back onto Highway 33. The answer was “yes, but only making a right turn out.” No action will be needed by the common council on the easement.

After the vote, business owners Stacy and Matt Gehring said they felt relieved.  “I know the community is behind us on this because I see it every day on the Insider,” said Matt Gehring.  “This has been going on a long time and we’re just excited to be in West Bend.”

Pizza Ranch developer Bjorn Kaashagen with Umbrella City Holdings said groundbreaking on the restaurant should happen the end of February or March 1. “A lot depends on the weather and how much frost is in the ground,” he said. “It’s about a four-month build so we’re looking at a mid-summer opening.”

Also during the Tuesday meeting the Plan Commission approved an LED panel sign for Valvoline, 829 S. Main Street. The commission also approved combining two lots in the Glenn Ivy Subdivision for Tim and Julie Ann Luetschwager, 220 Upper Woodford Circle.

Change in Chief at St. Lawrence Fire Company       Courtesy Ron Naab

After 21 years at the helm, St. Lawrence Fire Company (SLFC) Chief Gary Karnitz has stepped down.  Karnitz was a mentor and leader who helped guide his department over the last 31 years to better serve the community and those traveling through the St. Lawrence area.

“I knew the time was right to step out,” said Karnitz who took over for Chief Mike Schmidt in 1996. “I have great people behind me and I felt that I want them to experience this too.

“I’m still going to be involved with the department but now it’s going to be fun to watch it grow under someone else,” he said.

Karnitz, 51, signed on with the department when he was 30 years old. “When I first started we were one of the few departments in the county that still rode on the back of the fire trucks,” he said. “It was 1986 and we rode the tailboard on two of the trucks. We were belted in but in winter it was cold.”

Some of these innovations Karnitz helped implement included sharing emergency medical response personnel with Allenton Fire Department and Hartford Fire-Rescue.  Another was developing and instituting an “automatic mutual response” with Allenton Fire Department.  This helped both departments respond with more people and with shared equipment on all calls.

During an annual meeting this week Captain Jeff Infalt was elected to the position of fire chief for a 3 year term. Infalt has served many years as Captain of the department and is a local businessman with great leadership skills.

Infalt has served as picnic chairman for18 years.  He is respected and appreciated by all of the members of the St. Lawrence Fire Company.

Elected as president of the non-profit corporation was Bryon Messig who comes with an extend background in management and leadership roles.

Four candidates are running for three open seats on the Hartford School Board.

 

Two of the incumbents turned in non-candidacy papers including William Savage and Barbara Lindert, who resigned because she moved out of the district.

 

Incumbent Adam Majerus is running along with Josh Smith, Greg Erickson and former State Superintendent candidate and state Assembly Rep. Don Pridemore. The top two vote getters will get full time spots the third will finish the Lindert term of one year.

 

Primary election ahead for WB School District

 

Six out of seven candidates will advance to the spring election following a Feb. 21 primary. Voters can cast a vote for up to three candidates. Tina Hochstetter, who turned in paperwork, has already announced she is not running however her name will still be on the February ballot. If she wins in the primary her name will still advance to the April ballot for the spring election.

 

A new draw for ballot order in the April election will take place after the February primary.

 

In the West Bend School Board race the ballot order will be: Nancy Justman, Richard Cammack, Joel Ongert, Tina Hochstaetter, Ryan Gieryn, Tonnie Schmidt, and Bob Miller.

Candidate profile: Tonnie Schmidt to run for West Bend School Board

Tonnie Schmidt, 45, of the Town of West Bend is throwing her hat into the ring to run for the West Bend School Board.

“The number one reason I’m running is because we support West Bend,” said Schmidt. “Being an employer in town we owe it to our employees and the ones we’re trying to attract, to have a strong public school system.”

Schmidt and her husband Tim have lived in the community over 18 years. They own Delta Defense/USCCA which employs over 110 people. “That represents over 100 kids being educated in the West Bend Public Schools and that’s why I’m running,” said Schmidt. “Plus we’ve made such an investment in West Bend it’s important for us the public schools remain strong.”

Schmidt said her second goal is to help the superintendent define a good responsibility chart for administration.  “I want to know what people actually do in the school district,” said Schmidt. “My big issue is to get a legitimate accountability chart because I think people work better when they know what their job description is and responsibilities are.”

The Schmidts have three children; the oldest attends an online private school and the other two, 16 and 13, go to the University School of Milwaukee.

“We had our children in the public schools and the private schools in West Bend for a number of years,” said Schmidt. “We just wanted our kids to be educated in a smaller environment and I think I can bring what USM is doing and what’s working to the public schools here. I’ve experienced a number of school formats first hand and I can bring that point of view and strategies to the table.”

A couple of bullet points on Schmidt:

Goal: “My goal for serving on the WB School Board is rooted in a simple desire to bring accountability back as a core value of our district.”

Common Core: “It was developed to help gauge teacher performance but unfortunately it’s had a negative effect. While I’m in favor of measuring teacher performance I’m not in favor of the way Common Core teaches math. Teachers want parents to help their kids with homework but with Common Core it hinders that teamwork.”

Setting aside money for future Jackson School:  “It’s financially responsible to sock money away so you don’t have to ask for it later and it could still be spent on the students if the need came about. I don’t think there’s anything irresponsible in spending less money in planning for the future.”

Walker recall: Did not sign the Scott Walker recall.

Candidate profile: Joel Ongert to run for West Bend School Board

There are three open seats this spring on the West Bend School Board and it appears a primary may be in the offing as a handful of candidates are stepping forward.

Joel Ongert of West Bend has thrown his hat in the ring. “I’ve just always had a passion for teachers and I’m a proponent of great public schools,” said Ongert, the son of two public school teachers.   “We’ve got a great public school system in West Bend and I’m just excited to be a part of it.”

Ongert has lived in the community with his wife, Tina, for 8 years. The couple has two children who attend Decorah Elementary School. Ongert has spent the last 13 years at Caterpillar, Inc. He has been active on different committees and boards through work and Our Saviors Lutheran Church in West Bend.

“Now is a really cool time with a new superintendent; he’s approached the job well with listening to parents and teachers and I think we’re on the brink of a culture change with the positive things going on in the district,” Ongert said.

Things that have impressed Ongert include creating a positive and uplifting culture and having open and honest communication with staff, business owners, teachers and parents.

A couple of bullet points on Ongert:

Walker recall: Did not sign the Scott Walker recall.

Galileo testing: “The kids don’t like it the teachers don’t like it and I’m sure the district pays a lot of money for that and it’s something we need to look at and make changes to.”

Goal: “It starts with listening to the teachers; empowering the teachers and principals to run their schools at a building level and not micromanage the district from the central office and I think the new superintendent brings in a perfect opportunity to start that culture change of being more positive.”

Common Core: “We need to follow the principles of Common Core to get the funding we need but our new U.S. President hates Common Core and if he gets rid of it I’ll be celebrating with all the other parents and teachers and students around the state.”

Galileo testing: “I work for Caterpillar which is one of the largest companies in the U.S. We’re a very conservative company that wants to create jobs; looking out for shareholders is a huge part of working for a big public company so we’re very conscious of the dollars we spend.  Bringing that kind of a background to a school board and questioning what type of return we’re getting out of an initiative, that should be our approach with Galileo testing; we probably spend tens of thousands of dollars on it every year and if we’re not getting our return on it that’s a bad investment.”

Setting aside money for future Jackson School: “The school district owns buildings and cars and tracks and football fields and if we want this district to survive capital improvements has to happen. The board has a 25-year plan in place but part of the budget will also be saving and improving the assets we have. Building a new Jackson Elementary School is going to happen and saving for that and preparing for that is a good thing instead of asking taxpayers to vote on a multimillion dollar referendum; if we can save for it now and sock away some money so we don’t have to do that down the road I’m all for it.”

Election platform: A Champion for Students, A Champion for Teachers, A Champion for the Community! “Is it good for the students, is it good for the teachers, and is it good for the taxpayers.”

Updates & tidbits

– Sonny’s Party & Variety in Slinger is holding a 70% off sale. In true five & dime store fashion, Sonny’s ad reads like a carnival barker for retail. “This is your last chance to stock up on items you’ll need soon anyhow. A whopping 70% off everything. Bargains galore at Sonny’s Party store on Highway 175 in the Village Square Shopping Center in Slinger. Free peg board and scrap wood. Weekday hours 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

– Charity wrestling event ‘MAYHEM for Mason’ is Saturday, Feb. 25. Proceeds benefit Mason Holbrook and family.

– The Washington County Dairy Promotion Committee is looking for volunteers to serve on its board (3-year term). Three positions will be voted on at the Feb. 2 annual meeting. Contact President Bill Hinckley if interested at williamh921@charter.net or 262-365-9734.

– The West Bend Common Council on Monday will issue a proclamation declaring January 16-20, 2017 as Wisconsin Adult School Crossing Guard Recognition Week.

-The Students of the Month for January 2017 at Holy Angels School in West Bend Are 6th grader Sophie Dahlberg, who is a careful worker, turning in work that is complete and thoughtful. 7th grader Owen Schmidt is willing to put in the work it takes to learn difficult concepts and 8th grader Laura Zautner is a nice blend of serious and bubbly which is one reason she is such a great patrol leader for the K4 kids.

– Someone with the West Bend Theatre project will address the common council during its January 23 meeting. Mayor Kraig Sadownikow made clear the council has no say in the project as the building is owned by a private party.

-The Ice Rink at Regner Park officially opens Saturday, Jan. 7. The warming house will be open and rink lights will be on in the evenings.

– The gloves will be coming off Feb. 25 at the Boys and Girls Club in West Bend as Tin Love, Justin Dredd and Damon Knight climb into the ring for Mayhem for Mason. Money will be raised for Mason Holbrook and family.

-Baby New Year came in on Monday, Jan. 2 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in the Town of Polk as Ashley and Matt Kimlicka of West Bend and big brother Max welcomed Avalynn Muriel. She was born at 4:19 p.m. and weighed in at 7 pounds 2 ounces.

-The Downtown West Bend Business Improvement District Board will meet Tuesday, Jan. 10 and agenda items include election of officers, and update on the bridge behind the downtown West Ben Theatre and a discussion of blighted buildings. That’s become a hot topic as several buildings on Main Street have fallen into disrepair with boarded up windows and poor curb appeal.

– Doug Jaeger remembered his teacher Gwendolyn (nee Birkholz) Puestow, 93, of West Bend, who died Christmas Eve. Puestow taught fourth grade for 37 years at St John’s Lutheran School.  “We all had Miss Birkholz for first and second grade during 1948 and 1949.  I thought I was unusual reminiscing about the many times I was sent to “The Closet.”  Probably a 4′ X 4′ storage closet toward the back of the classroom full of jump ropes, library paste, soft balls, and various other stuff. Mostly we had to stand because the space was tight.  No lights but the gap under the door was fairly large so it was not completely dark. I remembered eating library paste, goiter pills, and feeding jump ropes under the door which my classmates continued to pass down the aisles. A classmate remembered being sent to the closet with one of the girls in our class and two of the guys shared the closet with each other at least once.  Of course we all visited the principal at various times. Thinking back, Miss Birkholtz was one of our very best teachers as she cared; strict but caring. We did not have Dunce stools, our knuckles were not rapped with rulers, and we did not have our mouths washed with soap but we always had THE CLOSET !!

Flying with Guns

There’s nothing wrong with the process.

(CNN)The shooting Friday at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport may test the bounds of something that is entirely legal and commonplace in the United States: Flying with a gun and ammunition.

The incident highlights the peculiarities and seeming contradictions of local, state and federal gun laws inside the nation’s airports: It is legal for a passenger to travel with a firearm and ammunition in checked baggage, but inside baggage claim or at a ticketing counter, that person might otherwise be breaking the law if the weapon is out in the open or carried on their person.

I fly with a gun fairly often – at least 12 or 15 times a year. The process is pretty straightforward and secure. When I check a bag, I declare to the agent that there is a firearm in my bag. The firearm must be in a locked case and unloaded. One can also include ammunition, but only in the original box. I sign an orange form verifying all of that and place the form on top of the case in my bag. I also have my cell number taped to my case in case the TSA has any questions. Long guns are a bit different because they are in their own case, but the process is basically the same.

The Indianapolis airport has an extra step where you have to take a form and give it to the TSA supervisor after security, then the supervisor calls down to make sure the bag has been checked before letting you move on. That’s the only airport I’ve been to that has that extra step, but it’s not a big deal and the TSA is usually pretty friendly about it.

That’s it. When I get to my destination, I get my bag like usual and go on my way. The firearm is never within my reach in the secure area of the airport or on the airplane.

As far as the weapon being available in the baggage area, that is true. But someone with evil intent could just as easily park outside and walk in with a gun. It is an unsecured area of the airport and even though firearms are prohibited in most airports even in the unsecured area, a sign does not prevent evil people from doing evil acts. By the way, the same is true in schools, malls, sporting venues, and other places that prohibit firearms.

The only way to possibly have prevented this would be to move the secure area to the exterior walls. This would require people to check and retrieve bags outside of the building and have TSA checks at every entrance. Not only would it be a huge additional expense and hassle, it would only move the unsecured area further out. The killer would then just attack people outside waiting for their bags.

In other words, unless we want to live in a totalitarian police state, it is impossible to prevent a determined single killer from attacking innocents. What we can do is be vigilant about the people around us and mitigate the damage by responding quickly and harshly.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Do over on Pizza Ranch site proposal goes before Plan Commission on Tuesday

A revised site plan for a new 5,786-square-foot Pizza Ranch will go before the West Bend Plan Commission on Tuesday, January 3. According to the agenda the plans will include a second entrance and egress to the south of the proposed restaurant with traffic flowing into the same lot as Sendik’s.

The new Pizza Ranch is proposed on W. Washington Street just west of 18th Avenue.

During an initial appearance before the Plan Commission several months ago there were concerns about parking and the entrance and egress.

Commission member Jed Dolnick said the driveway exit onto W. Washington Street would only allow people to travel east.

Dolnick felt motorists who had to head west would either try to cross three lanes of traffic and make a U-turn at the signals or dodge over, turn left, go north on 18th Avenue and then cut through the McDonald’s lot and wind their way back to Highway 33.

The new proposal to allow an easement into the Sendik’s lot will be discussed during next week’s Plan Commission meeting starting at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.

Bart Williams will not run for another term on West Bend School Board

This week Bart Williams turned in non-candidacy papers as he made the decision to not run for another term on the West Bend School Board. “It’s time to pass the torch,” said Williams. “There’s never a great time to step back. I’d love to serve forever but you can’t.”

Williams was first elected in 2011. “I’m most proud of keeping my promise on my 24-point conservative-action plan and I led the charge to keep our two high schools,” he said.

Full and Total Disclosure of all Referendum Costs was another measure Williams accomplished during his six years on the board. “That was part of my 24-point action plan and another was letting the public speak for two minutes at any regular board meeting,” he said.

Aside from Williams, who served as the vice president on the School Board, Rick Parks, the president of the Board, will also not run for another term. Board member Ryan Gieryn is running as is newcomer Nancy Justman. Watch for another candidate to turn in papers on Tuesday.

The election will be Tuesday, April 4, 2017 to fill three at-large seats on the West Bend School Board, each with an expiration date of April 2020.  A Declaration of Candidacy Form and a Campaign Registration Statement must be filed by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017.

 

Pier 1 Imports in West Bend is closing

Pier 1 Imports in West Bend is closing. The store, known for home decor and furniture, opened Nov. 1, 2000 in the West Bend Corporate Center. The 8,700-square-foot store is in the same area as Boston Store, Wal-Mart, Office Max, MC Sports, Great Clips, Check n’ Go and Subway.

Over the years Pier 1 Imports, which is based in Fort Worth, Texas, had over 800 stores. It recently opened its fifth Milwaukee-area store in Grafton in February, 2015. That same year there were 20 Pier 1 Import stores across the state of Wisconsin.

Calls to corporate regarding the closing of the West Bend store have yet to be returned.

When Pier 1 Imports first opened there were a variety of other stores that made their way in and out of the WB Corporate Center including Great Party!, Little Professor Book Store, and The Paper Factory. The last day for the West Bend store Pier 1 store will be at the end of February, 2017.

Pizza Hut will open Jan. 3, 2017

Doors will open on the new Pizza Hut in West Bend in 2017. According to a spokesperson from Wisconsin Hospitality Group the new Pizza Hut in the Paradise Pavilion will open Tuesday, January 3. The store, 1460 S. Main Street, is just north of Regis Hairstylists.

Pizza Hut closed its old location on W. Washington Street Feb. 1, 2016. The new store will have a couple of tables up front but it will be nothing like the sit-down service at the old restaurant in West Bend. Because of the setting in the strip mall there will also be no drive thru.

Challenge in Branch 3 of Washington Co. Circuit Court

There will be a challenge in Branch 3 of Washington Co. Circuit Court as incumbent judge Todd Martens faces Robert T. Olson.  The judge’s position is a 6-year term.

Martens, 54, was appointed by Gov. Thompson as District Attorney in Washington County in 1999. Martens ran unopposed 5 times until 2010 when Judge Dave Reschke retired. Martens received the gubernatorial appointment and then ran successfully the next year.

Robert Olson was born in West Bend, attended the University of Minnesota-Carlson School of Management and received a Bachelor’s degree in Business with a major in Finance. He has been a practicing attorney for 15 years and said he wants to “restore faith in our legal system one case at a time.”

Elsewhere – signatures for the Spring election are due Tuesday, Jan. 3. In West Bend aldermen up for election include Dist. 2 Steve Hutchins, Dist. 4 Chris Jenkins, Dist. 6 Steve Hoogester, and Dist. 8 Roger Kist. As of Thursday, Dec. 29 – Kist had turned in his required signatures as had Chris Jenkins. Mayor Kraig Sadownikow also turned in his required signatures. Two others have taken out paperwork in Dist. 2 including Kevin Aubery and Elijah Jackson.

Main Street business owners weigh in on future of WB Theatre

The downtown West Bend Theatre remains a hot topic of conversation. Quite a few conversations during Christmas get-togethers honed in on plans to save the façade and marquee and convert the rest to an open-air park. Others talked about saving the theatre.

After plans were released some long-time business and building owners on downtown Main Street chimed in with their thoughts and the reaction of many will probably surprise you.

Sager’s Men’s Apparel has been on Main Street in downtown West Bend since 1932. Second generation owner Scott Sager has watched many businesses come and go on and he reacted positively to the news about the theatre.

“I think the open-air concept is pretty cool,” said Sager. “Matt Prescott is right, it’s going to take a bundle of money to get it back to a theatre and then how do you sustain it? How do you make the venue go?”

Sager said it all comes down to dollars and cents. “You can embrace the past but you have to have that forward vision,” he said.

On a similar note, Sager mentioned the Milwaukee Symphony and how it had its eye on the former Warner Grand Theatre on Wisconsin Ave.  The symphony would like convert the 1930’s theatre into its new concert hall. The cost is $120 million. The building has been unoccupied since 1995 and the sticking point is how to fill the other dates in the year-long calendar to make for a viable, 1,750 seat facility.

“They’re looking at an astronomical amount they have to raise,” said Sager.  “And in town we already have UW-WC, the new Silver Lining Art Center at the West Bend High Schools, the Schauer Center in Hartford, and the new amphitheatre at the Fair Park. It would be wonderful if someone had an unlimited pile of money and they could do it for fun, but there are some things unfortunately in today’s economy that are just not going to be dollar feasible.”

Kevin Schultz from Mountain Outfitters said he was indifferent. “Whatever makes for a viable situation and doesn’t cost the taxpayers or the BID any more money,” he said. “The BID shouldn’t have had to front the bridge. The BID money could have been better spent elsewhere.”

Mary Gamerdinger, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County, has worked downtown since the 1990s. “I really have mixed feelings about it,” said Gamerdinger. “I grew up here; I saw my first movie as a kid… I remember seeing Bambi and I always thought it was a neat balcony and I’d love to see it restored but I don’t know the business.”

“I don’t know if it can compete as a theatre and how much it would be used now with the new theatre at the high school,” she said. “I manage an old building here and I know it can be tough but that one is bigger, older and has been sitting empty longer and in the end I’m afraid it’s going to come down to what’s going to be financially feasible and sustainable.”

Larry Porter owns a building on N. Main Street and he’s a member of the BID Board. “My biggest fear about restoring that – well, everybody wants to go to heave but nobody wants to dies, if you know what I mean,” he said. “Everybody says we’ve got to save the theatre, which is great, but with whose money?

“It’s something you’re going to have to feed forever; the city doesn’t want to pay for it so if you’ve got some deep endowment pockets go ahead and save it but I don’t see that happening,” Porter said.

“I see people saying you have to save it, well pony up. To have the plan that Claire is talking about to leave the façade and leave the sign, basically not interrupt the storefronts but have a passageway into this neat park that oversees the river.”

Todd Tennies is a second-generation owner of Tennies Ace Hardware. The store has been on S. Main Street since 1964. “Keeping the exterior façade would be great,” said Tennies. “The building could be used as a retail department store such as J.C. Penny used to be over there; the building is there it just needs some renovation to be able to adequately represent it as a retail or service-oriented location.

“If it were to be a park, if it was a park where you could walk out and look over the river and it joined with the 2017 plan to renovate the riverwalk it would be a neat thing,” said Tennies.

As far as rehabbing the theatre, Tennies said there were too many unknowns about how to pay for it and then create revenue.

Tom O’Meara III was heavily involved in the downtown representing the district as an alderman from 1992 – 2004. O’Meara now lives in Utah but has been keeping an eye on West Bend via WashingtonCountyInsider.com. “Claire Rolfs has a great plan with an open air and performance center down near the river and seating on a grassy slope, that’s marvelous,” he said.

“As far as the history is concerned, it was a great theatre and had a beautiful chandelier inside. But saving the façade and the marquee would be really important. When you see the picture of my father and U.S. Senator Jack Kennedy that marquee was in the background. It’s a landmark in many respects with that little piece of history.”

Behind-the-scenes of the fire on Silver Lake

Mark Helmle turned 52 years old on Wednesday. He was at home with his father at 11 p.m. when he awoke coughing and unable to breath. A fire was racing through the Helmle home on Silver Lake.

 

Mark ran upstairs to get his 83-year-old father Julius out of the house. The pair were rescued by Washington County Sheriff’s and West Bend Police Officer Lee Goodman. Mark and his father are recovering from smoke inhalation and second-degree burns at Froedtert St. Joseph’s Hospital. “It was my birthday and our family home burned down,” said Helmle. “But I got the best gift ever because both me and my father are alive.”

Julius Helmle, 83, said he is lucky to be alive. Resting in his hospital bed on the second floor of Froedtert St. Joes, Helmle has a white gauze bandage on his right arm. His blackened toes are covered with a bed sheet. “Second-degree burns,” he said with a thick German accent.

Helmle came to the U.S. in 1945. He made his way to Madison and then with the encouragement of his brother he came to West Bend. “More work here,” he said.

At home on Wednesday night Helmle was awakened from his sleep and told to get out of the house to save his life. Helmle extended a strong “thank you” to all the firefighters and law enforcement for their help.

Neighbors in the community will recognize Janice Stauske; she was the former principal for 14 years at St. Frances Cabrini School.  Stauske is also the neighbor of Julius and Mark Helmle; the father and son lost their home to a devastating fire Wednesday night on Silver Lake.

Stauske said a Washington County Sheriff’s deputy pounded on her door at 11:15 p.m. and order her and her sister to evacuate. Stauske saw her neighbor Julius on a stretcher and prayed for his recovery. While recounting the events and vision of the fire with flames as high as the treetops, Stauske took some time to thank all the firefighters and law enforcement for their quick action and dedication.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. The home was a total loss.

Three to be inducted during WB Baseball Association Diamond Dinner

The 6th annual Diamond Dinner & Benefit will be held Jan. 21 and three who will be inducted into the West Bend Baseball Association Diamond of Honor Wall of Fame include Jim Hughes, Robert Pick II and Stuart Walter.

Updates & tidbits

-There was a funeral this week for Gwendolyn (nee Birkholz) Puestow, 93, of West Bend, who died Christmas Eve. Puestow taught fourth grade for 37 years at St John’s Lutheran School. Former student Jay Watzlawick wrote, “She was one of the strictest teachers I ever had. Goofing off in class and she would drag me out the room by my ears and if you ever got the hiccups she would grab your head and stare into your eyes until they went away. I also remember washing her old Buick a few times and she would give me a hand full of lemon drops.”

– The Cyclone fence is up and the heavy equipment is in place as work is set to begin on the new Starbucks on 18th Avenue in West Bend.

-Retiring West Bend Police Officer Steve Seitz was honored this week for 23 years of service.

-Neighbors in the Town of Erin will host an emergency meeting, Thursday, Jan. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Erin Town Hall as the state works to place a convicted sex offender in their community. Discussion will focus on Terry Olson, a convicted sex predator jailed in 1990 for child molestation. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is interested in placing Olson in a home at 1898 Terry Road which is less than a half mile from Erin School.

-Energy assistance is available to families in Washington County who need help with winter heating bills. Kay Lucas oversees the Energy Assistance Program with Washington County Human Services Department.  For more information contact Lucas at 262-335-4677.

-A joint meeting is set for Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 7 a.m. in the Ziegler Building at the Washington County Fairgrounds where details will be presented regarding the Highway 60 Reliever Route 30 percent engineering study. The meeting will be strictly between the Executive Committee and the Public Works Committee. No public comment will be taken at that time.

Do you remember Shady Side Lane

Two weeks ago I ran a story about Delta Defense/USCCA and its new street name Freedom Way. That prompted some input on the origin of other street names in the community. Here’s a tidbit from former West Bend City Engineer Ken Pesch.

“In your recent story about the city renaming streets, Valley Avenue did indeed get its current name when The Valley Bank Corporation bought the lot along the east side of Valley Avenue immediately south of Washington Street. When they purchased that property, Valley Avenue was called Shady Side Lane. The bank requested the name change because they did not want their facility to be known as their Shady Side branch. I was the city engineer when the request for the name change was received at City Hall and I chuckled when I heard the reason for the request. The property was subdivided by Dave and Audrey Bohn so you can ask them why they chose the name Shady Side Lane when they prepared the plat for the area.” Ken Pesch

Man Protects Self with Gun

I’m glad this guy is safe. Thank goodness he was equipped to defend himself against these two violent thugs.

A man walking his dog Tuesday night near his home shot two people who tried to rob him, killing one and wounding the other.

Deonte M. Thomas, 17, of Milwaukee was shot to death and his 18-year-old companion was wounded, police said. The 36-year-old man had a concealed-carry permit.
[…]

Milwaukee Police Sgt. Timothy Gauerke said the two suspects may be responsible for an armed robbery about 8:55 p.m. Tuesday, about an hour before the incident on W. Euclid, in the 2200 block of E. Park Place.

Thomas was arrested as a juvenile for criminal trespassing and armed robbery in 2014 while the 18-year-old man, whose name was not released, was arrested in 2014 for auto theft. The 18-year-old man is facing charges of party to the crime of armed robbery and homicide in connection with the incident on W. Euclid Ave.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Local business leader Al Moehr has died

It is with a heavy heart to pass along the news Al Moehr, long-time owner of Toucan Custard has died. Moehr owned the business with his wife Debby since around 1992 when he bought it from his brother Dennis. “Dennis owned it in 1989 and he bought it from us,” said Larry Porter.

Porter said when he and his wife Chris started the business with Bob Sivilotti that lot on Main Street was nothing but a vacant lot. “We opened it in 1985 and called it Toucan,” Porter said. “The name just sounded like the antithesis of what you’d expect for a tropical frozen custard joint.”

Porter recalled how they named the sundaes for tropical birds. “The turtle sundae was named a hawksbill because that’s a tropical sea turtle and the raspberry sundae was a kookaburra because that’s the one that was always giving you the raspberries.”

Porter had high praise for Moehr, his energy and commitment to the community. “If you didn’t know Al he was one of the most dynamic people I ever met in my life,” Porter said.  “He had so much energy and vim and vigor and I met him in Kiwanis Early Risers and whenever there was something to be done Al would do it. He was just a dynamo and a wonderful guy.”

A strong Republican in West Bend, Moehr was foremost a supporter of the community. “He was a major backer of mine and every time I ran for office he’d put my banner out front on the railing,” said card carrying Democrat Tom O’Meara III.

“He was a dear, dear fellow even though we were almost opposite ends of the political spectrum,” said O’Meara.  “He was beyond a Tea Partier; we respected each other, liked each other, never got angry even when talking politics.”

Glenn Peterson remembered Moehr as a frequent customer. “When I owned that tiny Glenn’s Grill on N. Main Street Al was always a customer, especially when he worked for the telephone company,” Peterson said.  “Al was a small guy, thin and very, very nice.”

Reflecting on the history of Toucan, Peterson said the location was previously a car lot. “Harry Schremmer bought the Boltz Cadillac and Pontiac, where the vet clinic is now. He bought that car dealership from Lauri Boltz and he parked his cars over there where Toucan is now.

Prior to that Peterson remembered a house on the property. “I think the Troedels lived there,” he said.

Bob Bonenfant knew Moehr for a long time. “He was really a local guy and very political but he loved his business,” he said. “His kids were raised in that business and now they’re working in there.”

Moehr is also being remembered as a strong family man. “He just really cared about the kids,” O’Meara said. “He was willing to take ‘bad kids’ in and teach them some business sense.”

Take a look at the interior of Toucans and you’ll see Moehr’s commitment to the Kiwanis Early Risers and its annual Fourth of July Duck Derby.  “He always one of the biggest sellers of ducks for the derby,” said O’Meara.

Bonenfant agreed. “He was one of the big promoters of the Duck Derby and you could buy your ducks from there,” he said.

“He was just a super nice guy,” said Peggy Fischer, owner Shooting Star Travel. “He was really fun and he was really involved in the community.”

Randy Koehler makes decision about running for WB Dist. 4 alderman

Randy Koehler has made it official; he will not be running for Dist. 4 alderman in West Bend.

Koehler issued this statement: “After much discussion and thought I will not be filing papers for District 4 Alderman. Being a realist in a volatile political world does not serve my best interests. This city likes status quo, not someone who challenges the system and expresses opinions. Therefore I will continue challenging both the social and political leaders of this community from outside of the establishment.”

WBHS senior accepted to Harvard

West Bend East High School senior Emmanuel Garrison-Hooks has been accepted into Harvard University. “I’ll be part of the class of 2021,” he said humbly.

Garrison-Hooks filled out the application for Harvard in October. The results arrived Tuesday, Dec. 13. “I rushed home from wrestling practice and I waited until my parents got home,” he said. “It was 6:15 p.m. and we all opened the letter at that time.”

While Garrison-Hooks refers to the notice as “a letter” he said it was actually “an update online on my Harvard application status portal.”

He said he held the cursor over the “view” button for a while before finally clicking the update. “I was nervous,” he said. “I was scared.”

“I was comfortable with whatever result I was going to get because I absolutely put my soul into my application,” he said of his supplemental essay.

Garrison-Hooks wrote about himself. “It was about how I viewed the world; it was very introspective,” he said.

The application to Harvard University is the only one Garrison-Hooks submitted.

For all his trepidation the 18-year-old is a confident yet quiet-spoken young man. During an interview this week in the Silver Lining Arts Center, Garrison-Hooks sat in a chair, his light brown Allen Edmond shoe perched on the opposite knee and he smoothed the leg of his pants in nervous strokes while he spoke.

For the past four years Garrison-Hooks has been a student at West Bend East; prior to that he was at St. Peter Emmanuel on the north side of Milwaukee and Morgandale School on the south side of Milwaukee

During his final year of high school, Garrison-Hooks is doing anything but coasting. “I have AP-physics, AP-literature, AP-U.S. History, French 5, and AP calculus,” he said.

With an eye on majoring in neuroscience and a career in the medical field, Garrison-Hooks said his current off-hours reading is designed to push him ahead of his peers. “I’m reading two books right now; one on neuroplasticity and one on development of the mind over time,” he said.

A part of the East Sun’s wrestling team Garrison-Hooks said he’s able to balance his academics and athletics on little sleep. “Lots of late nights, but doing both has really taught me how to allocate my time,” he said.

A self-described “serious student,” Garrison-Hooks said he worked extremely hard to get to where he is today. “I basically killed myself to get here,” he said.

Garrison-Hooks expects to graduate with honors. His next step will be to get to Boston. “I haven’t even visited the campus,” he said. “That’s already scheduled for April 22 – 24 and I cannot wait. The level of excellence there is going to be other-worldly and I’m going to love it.”

Renovations proposed for West Bend Theatre

During Monday night’s West Bend Common Council meeting an update about the downtown Business Improvement District and its timeline on removing or refurbishing the pedestrian bridge morphed into a proposal about the future of the West Bend Theatre.

David Stroik, president and CEO of Zimmerman Architectural Studios made the presentation. He outlined saving the façade of the theatre along with the iconic marquee and turning the rest into an open-air park.

“It’s not like a Western storefront but the façade of the building and the easterly 12 – 15 feet would be saved,” he said. Drawings showed the front of the theatre building intact with trees and green space visible through the door frames.

Stroik said the 3-story brick façade, which previously housed the projection room, would help maintain the structural viability of the building; he said that space could eventually hold restrooms and storage.

Painting a picture of the proposed design, Stroik walked through the theatre doors onto a natural grade of a terraced park with a vision of the Milwaukee River and the Museum of Wisconsin Art.

“That area could be used for anything,” said Stroik.  “We would preserve the essential part of Main Street without leaving the space a missing tooth; keep the façade, keep the sign and encourage a performance venue and theatre activity in hopes a time would come when something could be built or it could stay like that in perpetuity.”

“The beauty of it at this point is it’s not a facility that needs bookings to make a go of it,” said Claire Rolfs, one of the people involved in the project. “It can just be a park.”

Rolfs said her involvement comes from her passion for the community. “I was born and raised in West Bend, I love the community and I view this as an opportunity to do something positive,” she said.

Stroik outlined the simplicity of an open-air concept compared to spending millions to renovate the existing theatre. “The difficulty that most of the theatre spaces have is the tremendous amount of effort it takes to keep bookings and to keep the venue active,” he said. “Most in small communities struggle.”

Stroik was clear “this is simply an idea at this point.” Financing for the project has yet to be secured.  Rolfs said they’ve been working with George and Matt Prescott since September.

“They’re well aware of it and supportive,” she said. “Matt would like to see something positive done with the theatre and right now he’s not married to any specific plan.”

Questioned whether the building is structurally sound, Stroik said rarely is an old building flawed in its structure. “It’s the other systems that fail including the mechanical system, plumbing, electrical and the roof,” he said. “Plus what you’re going to do in the future with the seating, flyways, dressing rooms, and staging will be different, so the structure is a minor component.”

There have been other unsubstantiated plans for the buildings that also, apparently, do not restore the theatre to its original structure.

Mike Husar, president of the BID Board and owner of the building next door to the theatre, said the “most critical part of the building is the front of the building and the sign.”

“Are you in love with the sign or in love with the theatre,” he said. “With the way the building is right now the cost to fully restore it is potentially $5 million verses let’s save the part that is iconic to West Bend which is the façade and the sign and make it functional at a reasonable cost.

“We’re not saddling the rest of the community to keep it operational and if there ever comes a point a group raises enough money to put three more walls and a roof on, then so be it,” he said.

As far as the pedestrian bridge is concerned, the proposed plan is to remove the bridge, cut down the footings and replace it with a bank-to-bank bridge, similar to the MOWA bridge to the north.

The future park space, titled Performance Park, would eventually be donated to the city of West Bend.  The current construction estimate for the park and the bridge is about $400,000, according to Stroik.

Husar made clear “the BID cannot own property” and the BID will have nothing to do with the purchase of the building. The BID, however, is on the hook for $75,000 to remove or repair the bridge by Jan. 31, 2017. The mayor said an extension will not be granted.

On a history note: Matt Prescott and his business partner Erik Nordeen with Ascendant Holdings,  purchased the building, 125 N. Main St., in May 2012 for $100,000.

 

The 2016 assessment for the property is $100,000, with taxes at $1,883.64 and $300 for the Bid Assessment.

Matt Prescott talks WB Theatre proposal

The downtown West Bend Theatre is a hot topic as a proposal was presented at Monday’s Common Council meeting to keep the façade and marquee of the theatre, raze the eastern portion of the building and turn it into an open-air park.

Matt Prescott owns the theatre. He purchased it with business partner Eric Nordeen in May 2012 for $100,000.

When Prescott purchased the building 4 years ago he said, “Nothing like a decrepit old building to get you going,” he laughed.  In 2012 Prescott said, “I see the theater as an asset to the downtown. I just wanted to take a chance, control an important part of downtown and see what we can do to make it better.”

 

Prescott made clear he will keep the West Bend marquee but he does not intend to restore the theater to its historic status. Instead, he simply wants to demo the newer additions inside, hollow it out and get it back to the configuration of the old theater. “I want to stabilize it, get the roof back in shape and clean it up – so we know what we’re sitting on and see what uses people might come up with,” he said.

During a conversation Monday night, Prescott reiterated his initial thought. “Plans for the building remain same as it always has,” said Prescott.  “Hopefully find the group that has the next life figured out for the building and sell it to them.”

“It was always the plan to stabilize the building, do some selective demo and then hand it off,” he said. “That still remains the plan.” Briefed on the plan presented Monday by Mike Husar, Claire Rolfs and David Stroik, Prescott qualified it as “definitely interesting.”

 

“It’s something I could get behind,” said Prescott. “I’m not trying to make a giant moral decision on my end as far as whether the building stays or goes. It did surprise me a bit but the plan has grown on me since they first bounced it off me and it’s an interesting asset for downtown.”

 

Prescott made clear he has no specific agreement to sell the theatre. “I have said I would be cooperative as they pull their plans together and they may make an offer or they may not but I haven’t done anything beyond having them keep me informed,” Prescott said.

 

Another proposal to refurbish the theatre is being floated. Prescott said he’s aware of it.

 

“The two plans are quite a bit different, and tearing the building down or not… that’s something I never planned to get caught between,” he said. “But it’s not surprising to have different ideas.”

 

Prescott and Ascendant Holdings own several properties in West Bend including the Baird building, 111 N. Main St., Le’s Bridal & Alterations, 262 N. Main St., and Portrait’s Today, 105 N. Main St.

 

The theatre has been a “unique asset” according to Prescott. “Getting a viable theatre plan in place is no easy thing,” he said. “It’s taken a while and a little longer than I hoped to be waiting to see what it’s next life will be.”

Prescott said he’s very happy with the theatre. “It’s stable, it’s in good shape and people are very interested in it,” he said. “Whether something happens now, three months from now, six months or a year from now – it is what it is. I’m just looking to have something good happen for downtown.”

Questioned whether he is looking to profit from the sale of the building, Prescott laughed. “No, not looking to profit I don’t think there’s any chance that could happen,” he said. “Not with the money we have in it. I’m not looking to pass it off for free but I’m looking to move it over at a very reasonable price to start its next phase in the world.”

Naming Freedom Way in West Bend

The West Bend Common Council voted unanimously in favor of a request this week to add a unique street name for the new headquarters for Delta Defense. The company owned by Tim Schmidt is building a new 64,000-square-foot facility between Corporate Center Drive and State Highway 45.

Delta Defense requested the driveway extending east of Corporate Center Drive become “1000 Freedom Way.” Although the request isn’t standard addressing practice for the city, it has approved similar requests in the past for a corporate campus or commercial development. The council voted to give its full approval.

On a history note: Can you name other roads in the city named after businesses or developments?

One Gehl Way  – named for the Gehl Company but now it’s the Manitou Group. Metalcraft Road – named for Metalcraft of Mayville and its plant off Progress Drive. Was Silverbrook named for the school or the school named for the road?

Heather Bruss – Chopper Drive, where the National Guard armory is. It’s an aviation unit, helicopters to be specific.

Jeffrey Kenkel – Valley Avenue, named after the now gone Valley Bank. Randall Koehler – I think Valley Avenue was there before the bank. Kenkel They both opened at about the same time. Not sure who the developer of the road and adjoining lots was, but they probably had a pre-sale arrangement with the bank.

Richard Bechler – University Ave

Randall Koehler – Rolf’s Road, Cedar Ridge Drive, Stockhausen Lane.

Jeffrey Kenkel Continental Drive, named after the developer of the West Bend Corporate Center.

Shannon Lynn – Johnson Street for Johnson Bus

Updates & tidbits

 

A mighty respectable moment this week at Holy Angels School as Peter James German Jr. received his Eagle Scout Award. German received a pair of certificates including a signed certificate with a gold seal from state Senators and a plaque from County Board Chairman Rick Gundrum and County Clerk Brenda Jaszewski.

 

– Town of West Bend chairman Paul Rice turned in his non-candidacy papers this week. Rice said 20 years is enough. “I gave the papers to Town Clerk Rebecca Schuster and told her to hang onto it just in case I changed my mind.” Rice signed the paperwork a couple weeks ago. “A lot of my ideas have gotten tired and worn out and it’s time for new blood,” said Rice.

 

– A joint meeting is set for Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 7 a.m. in the Ziegler Building at the Washington County Fairgrounds where details will be presented regarding the Highway 60 Reliever Route 30 percent engineering study. The meeting will be strictly between the Executive Committee and the Public Works Committee. No public comment will be taken at that time.

 

There was cake for Bert Neuburg this week as he retired following a 38-year career in the Washington County Park System.  

 

The Allenton Volunteer Fire Department received a commendation from the Washington Co. Board this week for the positive outcome following a fire call at Allenton Elementary School on Oct. 19. The incident was a false alarm but the department handled the call and safely evacuated 400 students.

 

The new Pizza Hut sign is in place at its new location, 1460 S. Main St., in the Paradise Pavilion. The store is just north of Regis Hairstylists.

 

-The West Bend Police Department recently recognized School District Crossing Guard Barbara Krell for 25 years of dedicated service.

 

– The United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) is celebrating its 50th Anniversary Campaign in 2017 and this week UPAF was at the West Bend High Schools filming a video that will be used as its 50th Anniversary Campaign.

 

– Anna Jaeger, 74, of West Bend, passed away on Monday, December 19, 2016. Jaeger worked as a waitress at Dick’s Pizzeria in West Bend for over 25 years.

– A check presentation this week as proceeds from the 2nd annual Diamond Dash were turned over to Lori Yahr and Enchantment in the Park. This year the Diamond Dash raised $7,629.29.

-Energy assistance is available to families in Washington County who need help with winter heating bills. Kay Lucas oversees the Energy Assistance Program with Washington County Human Services Department.  For more information contact Lucas at 262-335-4677.

 

– Natalie Dorrler is the winner of coming up with a new slogan for the Washington County Planning and Parks Department. “Your Washington County. Your Parks.” Dorrler won 18 holes of weekday golf for 2 at the Washington County Golf Course.

 

Clara Moll turns 106 years old

 

Clara Moll is a pip! On Sunday, Dec. 18 the life-long Barton gal turned 106 years old. She celebrated with family and friends. Pizza, her favorite, was the supper of choice. We prayed and passed a plate.

 

Clara reminisced; prompted by her daughter Mary. “Remember in 1976 when you took advantage of the Greyhound Bus offer… 99 days for $99?” Clara traveled the U.S. and saw all her relatives. “Don’t get married,” she advised. “Travel.”

 

Meantime the group at the party tried to recollect where the Greyhound stops were in West Bend; the consensus was on S. Main Street in front of the Centrum building and outside George Webbs in the West Bend Plaza. Clara touted “exercise” as the secret to longevity.  She wore out roller skates and proclaimed she would “rather dance than eat.”

 

“Wiggle your feet when you’re sitting in a chair,” she said. At 106 Clara said she feels fine. “I can read without glasses if it has to be,” she said. “But my hearing is going.”

 

A single-layer chocolate cake with chocolate frosting is placed on the table. Three separate candles that count out 1 – 0 – 6 stand mighty on top of the chocolate frosting. “Believe it or not that number 6 was a 5 last year,” said Mary. A little wax melting helped morph it.

 

A rendition of Happy Birthday …. “and many more” filled the warm kitchen of the old farmhouse on Salisbury Road in Barton.

Lithia Christmas brew

In 1940, postcards were sent to neighbors around West Bend announcing, “On Wednesday, December 11, 1940, The Famous Lithia Xmas Brew will be ready for distribution. Best ever — try it — you will like it.”

Different labels were designed for the seasonal beer. One paper label featured a green wreath with holly berries and red bow. Inside the wreath was the familiar Lithia logo, underlined by the words “Christmas Beer” in thick German script.

Other designs featured the words “Holiday Brew” above a profile of Santa, who was bordered by pine branches. There was the red label special dark Christmas beer and the well known Xmas label with six bearded elves each working to stoke the fire under the vat of beer, or pour hops, stir the mix, tap a pint and test the product.

Lithia’s Christmas beer was available nearly all year long. You could only buy Christmas beer in bottles and you needed an opener to get the cap off. The beer didn’t come in cans and it wasn’t on tap. Lithia’s Christmas beer was sold by the case at liquor stores and at taverns within the West Bend area. Berres Liquor Mart, Triangle Beverage Mart, The Oasis bar (by Gehl Company); Pat’s Tavern (owned by Pat Pault), Kuhn’s Liquor, Palashes Liquor and Janz Liquormart in Barton were just some of the local distributors.merry-christmas-wci-fb-cover-vintage

More Activity With West Bend’s Downtown Theater

There’s nothing like a deadline to get people moving. The groups interested in renovating the theater apparently sat on their duffs for the entire year that the City gave them and now there’s a flurry of activity. The Washington County Insider has this:

On Tuesday a private tour was held with a potential investor. “I’m very interested in this project,” said Tim Schmidt, CEO of Delta Defense in West Bend.

Schmidt is in the process of building a new headquarters in West Bend. His company provides sales, marketing and IT administrative services to the United States Concealed Carry Association and publishes Concealed Carry Magazine. In 2016 Delta Defense was No. 1971 in Inc. 5000 rankings.

I’m just going to point out that an old movie theater is perfectly configured for an indoor pistol range. Just sayin’…

And this:

On Monday, WashingtonCountyInsider.com broadcast live the unveiling of plans to retain the facade and marquee of the building and the raze the remainder.

David Stroik with Zimmerman Architectural Studios presented details on an open-air park that would be terraced to the riverwalk to the east.

A new graphic (see right) released by Stroik shows a view to the west. The blue and red canopy on top and on the wall a historic reminder of the theatre’s past.

 

New designs for those looking to restore the theatre include a proposed hydraulic floor and cutting a large window into the wall behind the stage for additional natural light should the theatre be turned into a hall for receptions.

Plans have honed in on an entertainment-and-education complex with a goal of not only restoring the theatre’s historical significance, but breathing new life and purpose into it.

Call me jaded, but we’ve seen plans and artist renditions for 10 years as the theater has sat empty. I’ll get worked up when someone actually puts some money into it.