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0731, 29 Aug 15

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

West Bend High School teacher receives top Restaurant Association award

West Bend High School culinary / hospitality teacher Sally Heuer has been named the Wisconsin Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Teacher of the Year.

“I found out through voicemail,” laughed Heuer about a message received Thursday. “I normally don’t check my voicemail but saw the Restaurant Association called and it was a gal saying she was ‘pleased as punch’ to tell me I won the award.”

Heuer has been teaching in the West Bend School District 26 years; the last nine years she’s been at the West Bend High Schools.

“The award makes me feel appreciated,” Heuer said.  “I have built a very, very strong program with very supportive colleagues.”

Heuer was teaching at Badger Middle School when the Nifty Nibble, a student-run café at the high school initially got underway. “Bonnie Skadahl ran the program for years,” said Heuer. “After she left, there was some change and shortly thereafter I was asked to take the position.”

Heuer wrapped her arms around it. “I had to, because I was given about a year or two to get the program up and moving forward or it was headed for the chopping block; pun intended,” she said.

The hospitality industry, according to Heuer, is not for wimps. “Anybody in the industry knows there is a lot of blood, sweat and tears that goes into it,” she said. “I am not afraid of hard work and I give kids opportunities they don’t have elsewhere.”

Heuer’s students have gone on to great success. This past December an article ran in Around the Bend about West Bend East High School alum Cameron Anderson. He was a graduate of Heuer’s ProStart food-service program at the high school and he was featured on the Food Network. “Cameron is our poster child for success,” she said.

“I’ve had students graduate the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School, UW-Madison, the Culinary Institute of America and they’re working everywhere which is kind of exciting,” she said.

After receiving the news Heuer tried to contact her family but had little luck and then Katelyn Mueller walked into her classroom.

“I’ve had Mrs. Heuer for a couple culinary courses and I was at school and when she told me I was so happy for her because she’s my favorite teacher and she’s so deserving of the award,” Mueller said. “She had such a big smile on her face and it was so sweet to see.”

Mueller, 17, described Heuer as a ‘stand-out teacher’ who has had a big influence on her career path.  “She listens to students and asks for our opinion,” she said. “She’s a very hands-on teacher and she’ll relate things in class to real-life situations and she’ll open it up to class discussion.”

Alex Newman, ProStart Coordinator for the Wisconsin Restaurant Association Education Foundation, sent a note to Heuer saying she was “chosen for her great support of and work with the ProStart program and for advocating for students in the program.”

Heuer will be recognized on October 25 during a Banquet for Excellence at the Intercontinental Hotel in Milwaukee.

WB police distribute Packer trading cards

Local police across Washington County are prepping to hand out Green Bay Packer collector cards. Kewaskum Police Chief Tom Bishop said he received the department’s trading cards on Tuesday. “There are 20 in the set including quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wide receiver Jordy Nelson,” said Bishop.


The front of the card features a color photo and the back includes personal stats and safety tips from children. The cards in Kewaskum are sponsored by Westbury Bank. Germantown PD partners with Germantown Kiwanis and trading cards from West Bend PD are sponsored by American Metal & Paper Recycling, Inc., West Bend Police Department, and The Green Bay Packers Organization. Jackson PD will also be distributing GB Packer cards.

Angels Nails and Spa

A new nail salon and spa will open Sept. 13 in West Bend. Angels Nails & Spa, 535 N. Main St., is owned by Charlie Tran. “I named it after the movie Charlie’s Angels,” he said. Dressed in a California Angels baseball cap, Tran stood at his new circular front counter and talked about coming to the U.S. from Vietnam. He had lived in Fond du Lac with his family but felt at home in West Bend. “My shop will have six manicure stations,” said Tran. “We’ll offer manicures, pedicures, and waxing. This is where the angels will land; it will be a heavenly place.”

Tran has significantly remodeled the south end cap of the building formerly the Buick building. Tyrone Walker with Skywalker Investment Group LLC purchased the 1.33-acre property on Nov. 13, 2014. Badger Masonry & Fireplace Supply Inc. from Fond du Lac will open in the showroom portion of the building to the north of the spa.

Public Works director leaves West Bend for Germantown

Friday is the last day on the job for West Bend’s Public Works Director Larry Ratayczak. He’s leaving for a similar position in Germantown. Ratayczak came on board with the city of West Bend in the fall of 2013 following the resignation in August of Robert Richards who was hired as director of Public Works in January 2013. The city posted the opening. Mayor Kraig Sadownikow said, “We will search for another Public Works director that brings an entrepreneurial element to the position.”

Holy Trinity Social Fest

A rousing success for this year’s 21st annual Holy Trinity Social Fest. The fundraiser at River Hill Park in Kewaskum included 491 folks who dined on a steak or chicken dinner, bid on live and silent auction items and waited for the much-anticipated cash drawings.

Jodi Strobel of Kewaskum was the big winner of the $5,000 grand prize. Organizers said $30,275 was raised at the auctions and this year an anonymous donor agreed to match that amount which will go to construction of the new Holy Trinity Parish Center.

Some of the special live-auction items included an American Flag pallet that featured student hand prints from the 5K class in place of the stars. There was also a priceless piece donated by the family of John McElhatton who always contributed a hand-made piece of woodwork to Social Fest. He made a 2-in-1 patio table earlier this year. McElhatton died in his sleep on April 18; he was 85.

Bike racks and holiday decorations on tap at next BID meeting

A decision on bike racks for the downtown business district will be discussed during Tuesday’s West Bend BID Board meeting. The BID and a new organization, Bike Friendly West Bend, have been working on finding a design that will work well in the downtown and be efficient for bikers.

Locations of the bike racks and who will pick up the cost are still being discussed. Mike Husar, president of the BID board, said the racks are about $450 a piece and the BID may just shoulder the cost for the first few racks. Some businesses that have already put out the welcome mat for a bike rack include Savoring Thyme, Conversation Piece, Century Farm House, Downtown West Bend Association, and the Museum of Wisconsin Art.

Jeff Puetz, president of Bike Friendly West Bend, will be on hand to discuss two bike racks, possibly near the new Vest Pack, that will hopefully be installed by fall and improve bike parking for 20 bikes.

Another hot topic at Tuesday’s meeting will be the decision to purchase more holiday decorations downtown. Last year the BID made a significant investment in holiday lights spending up to $30,000 on decorations for the downtown which included 80 green, holiday sprigs for the light poles and two ‘beefier lights’ to hang across Main Street. This year the BID is considering spending up to $15,000 more on holiday lights. More discussion will be at the meeting.

Listening sessions with Sen. Stroebel and Cong. Sensenbrenner

Listening sessions with Congressman James Sensenbrenner have been outlined for September. The Dist. 5 Rep. will meet with constituents for one hour. Senator Duey Stroebel and Rep. Jesse Kremer will be on hand at a number of meetings.  The schedule is as follows: Sunday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. Hartford City Hall. Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 9 a.m. Newburg Village Hall, 10 a.m. Kewaskum Village Hall, 11 a.m. Addison Town Hall, and 1 p.m. Jackson Village Hall. Sunday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. West Bend City Hall.

Updates & tidbits

-The new webpage for Extra Mile Snow Plowing in West Bend went live this week. Company owner Aron Rodman worked with Epic Creative. “We will be doing some photo shoots during the snowstorms to get better pictures to use this winter,” said Rodman.  “Only so much you can do in July.” The new site is at

-Watch for a nice donation to be made next week during the West Bend Sunrise Rotary meeting as Thrivent Financial turns over a check for $1,000 for Enchantment in the Park.

– Proceeds from ticket sales at the comedy night, Thursday, Oct. 22, at the Mineshaft in Hartford will go to help William Springer, 17, of Slinger acquire a diabetic alert dog.  The West Bend Lioness Lions Club is helping Springer raise $11,000 to pay for the dog.

-Today is the Supermoto Charity Race at Washington County Fair Park benefiting “Chix 4 a Cause” and organization that shares Gifts of Love with people who are fighting cancer. Practice is noon to 1:30 p.m. on before racing gets underway 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Spectators are only $5.

– Bids on sale and removal of the gazebo at Old Settlers Park are due by 10 a.m. on Sept. 1.  The city of West Bend is conducting a silent auction for the sale and removal of the gazebo. The bids should be submitted in a sealed envelope marked “Park & Forestry Department, Gazebo” to the City Clerk, 1115 S. Main St, West Bend, WI 53095.

-Local gardening group Roots and Branches is asking for help Wednesday, Sept. 2 at Old Settler’s Park in downtown West Bend. The current park is being demolished and a brand new park is being installed with help from a $200,000 gift from the Community Foundation.  Roots and Branches is trying to save as many of the existing plants as possible to be potted, stored and transplanted in the new park. The group needs volunteers to dig and pot plants. If your time permits, please drop by the park at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Main Street at 4 p.m. Bring along garden tools and gloves.

-Commemorative beanies arrived this week for the new Husar’s Diamond Dash 5K which will be held Dec. 6 at Regner Park. Proceeds benefit Enchantment in the Park.

– Work began this week to flood the rink at the Kettle Moraine Ice Center, 2330 S. Main St. in West Bend. Board president Thomas Postulka said it takes 10,600 gallons of water and one week to build the rink, all the logos are hand painted on the ice and here are 100 layers of Boom spray and 100 Zam floods to be thick enough for hockey. The season starts Monday.

Post cards will be in the mail shortly as the West Bend Business Improvement District prepares for a public meeting Wednesday, Oct. 7 to discuss long-term strategic planning items and projects currently underway. The meeting will begin 6 p.m. at West Bend City Hall.

Home for sale

A ‘for sale’ sign is out front the old John’s Decorators, 536 S. Main St. in West Bend. Neighbors remember the days when John and Maria Hernikl from Budapest, Hungary ran the business. Their son Alexander Hernikl later took over. He died March 4 at 70 years old. Alexander had recently been honored by the West Bend Police for 30 years of volunteer service, 1984-2014, as a member of the West Bend Crime Prevention Patrol.

Hernikl’s obituary by the Myrhum-Patten Funeral Home told the story of how Alex was born June 12, 1944, to the late John and Maria (nee Varga) Hernikl near Budapest, Hungary. In his early more carefree days, Alex loved spending his summers near Lake Balaton pitching hay and riding horses bareback.

By 1956, however, Alex and his parents were prominent freedom fighters. An arrest warrant was issued for Alex’s family on Nov. 20. They were warned by the officer serving the warrant because they had saved him during the Holocaust. Alex said they had five minutes to leave the country with just the shirts on their backs. Alex’s family traveled 100 miles in 27 hours … partly through an icy swamp.

At age 12, Alex and his family boarded a Flying Tiger with about 100 Hungarian refugees. They were low on fuel during a snowstorm and about to land in New Jersey on Christmas Eve. Alex said, “All the runway lights were covered in snow, so attendants working on the ground pulled all of the emergency vehicles out and turned on the lights. Once we broke through the clouds, all we could see were these rotating beacons. It was a sight I’ll never forget.” And he never did.

Alex arrived speaking no English and was automatically put back a grade in school. Due to his previous survival experiences, Alex said he was quick to anger and hit out.

Alex went to Madison to become an electrical engineer. His failing eyesight required a change in direction so he attended the Chicago School of Design and the Harvard Graduate School of Design and was a member of A.S.I.D.

By the 1970s, Alex expanded John’s Decorators to include a showroom with furniture and accessories while making high-end draperies.

The home, listed by Coldwell Banker, is priced at $130,900.

Celebrating Germanfest

Today’s history photo, courtesy Suzanne Tennies, is from the early years of Germanfest when brewmaster Ernst Frankenberg would help the mayor tap a new keg of German beer for the festival.  This week is the 30th anniversary of Germanfest. Next year Habitat for Humanity is taking over the festival.



0731, 29 August 2015


  1. Fairs Fare

    Sally Heuer a state licensed, college educated teacher who happens to be Co-President of Region 7 of the Wisconsin Education Association Council (the teachers union) has earned some respect. I wonder if Mel from Mel’s Diner could have achieved the same success with his skill set (or lack there of). I wonder how many non-degreed, non-licensed teachers have received such awards. I’m willing to bet lunch at the Nifty Nibble that on a state or even national level that number is going to be extremely low if a number exists at all. Being a college educated, state licensed and certified professional teacher really does make a difference in the lives of young people. Congratulations Ms.Heuer!

  2. Kevin Scheunemann


    I was right with you until you said “I wonder how many non-degreed, non-licensed teachers receive such awards.”

    A license and a degree does not neccesarily make you a good teacher. There are plenty of great unlicensed, no-degree, teachers in the marketplace for all kinds of educational issues. Bill Gates is widely regarded as one of the smartest people alive and more people listen to him and learn from him than the average “licensed” teacher. He’s received a ton of awards.

    I don’t have a problem with WRA award here. I’m sure Sally Heuer is dedicated and deserving of the award.

    However, I stopped being a member of WRA 15 years ago when crusty WRA liberal lobbyist, Ed Lump, sold 99% of its membership out to try and save Madison from itself on local minimum wage.

    WRA is free to do what wants. I personally found it difficult to try and influence a very closet liberal lobbyist organization from the inside a long time ago. Probably one of the best kept secrets in politics.

  3. Fairs Fare

    I’m sorry but a Bill Gates doesn’t work for $40,000 a year and I’m absolutely positive he won’t end up teaching K-12 nor has he ever. He has never won any type of teacher of the year award. There is no comparison between Gates and Heuer. Gates was born with a silver spoon in hand and a prep school education that landed him in Harvard. No comparison. To try and make the connection that opening up the teaching field to the non-degreed, non-licensed and uncertified will attract the likes of Bill Gates or others of his caliber is ludicrous. This is quite a stretch even for you.

  4. Fairs Fare

    I find it fascinating that you are willing to use Bill Gates, a non-believer and a Democrat, as an example of excellence.

  5. Kevin scheunemann

    Used him because he is the world’s most famous college dropout.

    I’d take him as an example of life learning over a college degree’d Hillary any day,

    Would agree with you that his spiritual learning could use some work.

  6. Fairs Fare

    Gates is a great example of success but he’s not employed as a teacher and as far as I know he hasn’t announced his candidacy for president either. I fail to see any correlation. The stretch is lengthening.

  7. Kevin scheunemann

    Are you saying teachers can only be employees of a school ?

    That’s quite a narrow view.

  8. Fairs Fare

    I’m speaking to the context of the article. I’m talking about teachers (k-12). See, Ms. Heuer is a teacher and I was commenting on the article and acknowledging the fact that she is college educated, certified and licensed. She also happens to be Co-president of the teachers union in a Region 7. I pointed out the likelihood of non-degreed, non-licensed TEACHERS receiving awards of a similar nature is highly unlikely and was willing to bet lunch that I was right. You can try and manipulate the meaning and definition of what a teacher is but per the article it’s clear I’m referring to (K-12). Now, if you would like to stay on topic and give me the names of all the uneducated, non-degreed and unlicensed TEACHERS that have received similar awards then we can have a debate. Otherwise, you are just pulling the same old crap as always and I refuse to play into it. The one thing that never changes about this blog is you and your attempts to trap/railroad people in unrelated debates and/or to try and put words into others mouth. I took a break from this blog because people complained about the constant back and forth between you and I and I won’t allow it to happen again. Please respect others and me and give the badgering a break. I will add that I have been following for the last couple of months just not commenting. Its clear that the name calling, profanity and closed minded middle aged to old white man mentality continued without me. Therefore, I concluded that it wasn’t me and that my participation wasn’t the problem.

  9. Steve Austin

    Clicked on the link to find out why Judy’s nice column would have 8 replies. Assumed something interesting historical related.

    Have to admit though, this time Kevin didn’t start the food fight (pun intended).

    Not sure how the cooking teacher having teacher certification and a college degree means someone without that educational attainment couldn’t potentially do as good a job.

    Mel’s problem with the role would have been his temperament, not his lack of degree. Bobby Flay never went to college although he did go to a culinary institute. He’s a great teacher. It all depends on the person, not the degree necessarily. And I’m sure Sally has all those attributes which have contributed to her success.

  10. Fairs Fare

    I’m sorry is this not a blog where people express opinions. I had an opinion and it was questioned. I replied. Sorry if opinions different from yours are hard to hear. So much for free speech and the right to my opinion.

    The French Culinary Institute (now the International Culinary Center) is a college specializing in the culinary arts. Kind of like MIT specializes in technology. Bobby Flay would struggle to control a classroom in a high school environment. He lacks the training essential to teach. Is it so hard to admit teaching is a specialty in and of itself. Teachers k-6 major in education. Teachers k-8 major in education and minor in a subject (English, math, science). Teachers 9-12 have a double major (education and a subject to be taught). Reality T.V… Bobby Flay is edited. Real life classrooms are not. So, it absolutely and “necessarily” depends on the degree, the license, the certification and the person. From the published, on the record, personal opinions of those who have worked with Flay and those of people close to him he’s clearly an A-hole, an adulterer, hot headed and verbally abusive. Not the same attributes Ms. Heuer has been recognized for and definitely not the person I want teaching my children. Nice try!

  11. Fairs Fare

    Apparently, Bobby Flay committed adultery in all three failed marriages. He flunked out of several catholic schools before finally dropping out of high school. I guess his success should be judged only by his wealth. As we all know money does not buy happiness nor can you buy your way into heaven. The problem with Bobby Flay’s role in reality T.V. is also his temperament and from all accounts it’s also the problem in his personal life. Not teacher material.

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