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1909, 31 Oct 15

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Adding Rick Riehl to your prayer list

West Bend’s favorite coach is in need of some prayers as Rick Riehl has been diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it is “a neurodegenerative disorder. This disease is rapidly progressive and always fatal. Infection with this disease leads to death usually within one year of onset of illness.”

“We’re going day to day and we find something to be thankful for,” Donna Riehl said. “We have a huge contingency praying for us and the prayers are felt, it’s pretty amazing.”

During the past two days the Riehl household has been full of friends and family as word of Rick’s illness spreads.

“There’s been a lot of folks who have expressed support and now that the word is out that he has a terminal illness there’s surprise and shock and sadness,” said son Tyler Riehl.

The family decided to make public that Rick is believed to have CJD.

Riehl is a former long-time English teacher at the West Bend High Schools and has a tremendous basketball history that’s been recognized across the state.

A former Wisconsin High School Basketball Coach of the Year, Riehl put together a 334-169 mark with five conference crowns, 10 regional titles, and two State Championships in 27 seasons as a high school coach in multiple sports.

Riehl coached the West Bend East girls basketball team to its only state title in 1984.

Full disclosure, Riehl was my former coach at Don Gosz basketball camps. During a visit on Sunday we reminisced about players like Kathy Bennett from UW-Green Bay, Jenny Sell and Penny Gerner.

Rick was sharp and the team names and nicknames came easy.

Conversation turned to his upcoming award, Nov. 7, when Concordia University will dedicate the press box at Tomasini Field in his name.  “I love the concept,” said Rick.

Word also slipped that Rick is being nominated for the Hall of Fame at the West Bend High Schools and by the Wisconsin Basketball Hall of Fame.

“This is an honor long overdue,” said Tyler. “I don’t think there are many kids that can say they grew up with a dad who affected thousands or tens of thousands of people. I consider myself very fortunate to have a living legend as a dad.”

At the Riehl household on Monday, teacher friends and former players and coaches are calling in well wishes, dropping off meals and offering hugs and prayers to Rick and Donna and the family.

“It’s a lot easier to be here than long distance and hearing updates,” said Tyler. He and his wife and daughter flew in from Colorado last week.

Donna is gracious, if not a little tired and overwhelmed. “We need to be strong for him,” she said.

New assistant city administrator to be named Monday

A new assistant city administrator will be named during Monday’s West Bend Common Council meeting. The city is looking for a replacement for Steve Volkert, who was recently named the new city administrator in Hartford.

Kwik Trip with purchase agreement in West Bend

A purchase agreement is in place as Kwik Trip is exploring its options on building a store in West Bend. “This is a good piece of property,” said Hans Zietlow, director of real estate for Kwik Trip.

The parcel is 3.5 acres on the west side of Silverbrook Drive just to the south of Commerce State Bank, 1700 S. Silverbrook Dr.

The bank owns the property. Kevin Volm, Chief Risk Officer and Corporate Secretary at Commerce State Bank, had no comment.

“The property has been for sale since 2010 and we’ve had a bit of interest,” he said.

Questioned whether Commerce would like Kwik Trip as a neighbor, Volm said he thought that would be “a good thing.”

Kwik Trip has been exploring its options in West Bend. Overall Kwik Trip has 41 locations in the eight-county southeastern Wisconsin area including Slinger and Hartford.

“This will be one of 35 stores we’ll build in 2016,” said Zietlow.

Mayor Kraig Sadownikow said he was encouraged by the news. “The idea of Kwik Trip coming to West Bend has been hanging out there longer than I’ve been mayor and I’m glad they have the confidence in West Bend and welcome to the community.”

Sadownikow said he hoped to get them through the approval process as soon as possible. The next big step is to receive approval from the plan commission and the city council.

Several area gas station owners were less than surprised by the news about Kwik Trip, although of the local owners thought the location didn’t make a lot of sense.

“It’s one lot off Paradise Drive but that doesn’t really hurt,” said Zietlow, recognizing the corner would have been the ideal choice.

The price on the property deal wasn’t disclosed however Zietlow said “it was fair, not too high and not a deal; pretty comparable to what the market is.”

The next big step is to get plan commission approval and then city council. “Those are the only two steps we have to go through that are still unknowns,” Zietlow said acknowledging, “everything looks pretty good, we don’t see any hurdles and it should go right through.”

Support from the community, according to Zietlow, weighs in their favor. “We get more customer requests to be in West Bend than any other city in Wisconsin,” he said.

The plan commission meeting for November has been cancelled. The next meeting will be the first Tuesday in December.

Tochi prepping to open

The much-anticipated opening of Chef Gregg Des Rosier’s ramen restaurant, Tochi, is just around the corner. This week Des Rosier allowed a sneak peek at his new 44-seat restaurant at 705 Village Green Way in West Bend.

“The art work on the back wall is of the different ramens,” said Des Rosier listing off Shio, Tonkotsu, Shōyu, and Miso. “But it’s also the image for the American punk rock band Black Flag.”

At his former Tochi restaurant in Shorewood Des Rosier had a Godzilla theme. He’s left that image in the dust and switched it up to a strong punk-rock image for West Bend. “Our logo uses the same font as Husker Du and the punk-rock girl and guy up front are by artist Dan Dalenay,” he said.

The 48-year-old Des Rosier has a beatnik quality about him; gravelly voice, thick black-rimmed glasses, creative and artsy but comfortable.

His new space in the former Imagine Coffee House already feels like home, although Des Rosier admits he was a reluctant customer.

“I wasn’t even going to look at this space but Adam Williquette really talked me into it,” Des Rosier said about his leasing agent with Anderson Commercial. “I didn’t think the kitchen would be big enough but he just brow beat me into this spot and he is absolutely right, this is a perfect fit.”

The art extends from the walls to the ramen counter to the tables. “We went to Kettle Moraine Hardwood and found this piece of black walnut and then we started thinking if we could find a tree 30-inches across we could have our tables all come from one tree,” Des Rosier said.

The final product is from a 119-year-old tree that was felled in northern Wisconsin. “When all the tables are pushed together you can see the grains match up,” he said.

As far as the food is concerned, Des Rosier said some of the traditional Tochi menu items will remain, along with a couple modifications and some new additions. “We will allow carry outs which we didn’t do in Milwaukee,” he said.

Menu prices will be $8 – $15; drinks will include Saki, beer and wine.

“We won’t be open for lunch; at this point just dinners and next spring and summer there will be outdoor seating,” he said.

In the future Des Rosier is looking at offering cooking classes and he’s being courted to open another location in Milwaukee in the former Pabst bottling plant.

“They’re working on a redevelopment where they’re doing a 420 live-in dormitory and they’re doing four or five street-level restaurants and that’s next summer and we’re looking at doing that,” he said.

A guy from California recently visited Des Rosier and interviewed him for his ramen documentary. “He wanted to know about our Bratwurst ramen and our Wisconsin, grass-fed beef ramen,” said Des Rosier. “He liked our regional take on ramen and just the growing trend.”

As far as an opening date, Des Rosier said he’ll probably do it quietly. “If you see the shades are up and you can look in the restaurant, that’ll mean we’re open for business,” he said.

West Bend represented at Milwaukee Bucks drumline

A big night this week as the Milwaukee Bucks opened its season Wednesday and so did West Bend East junior Duwayne Davis who started performing as one of the members of the 2015-16 Bucks Beats. Davis, 16, was one of about 40 people who tried out for the Bucks drumline in the fall. Davis made the cut and played opening night for the Bucks vs. Knicks as well as Friday when the Bucks hosted the Wizards.

Do building lights add to ambiance in downtown West Bend?

On Monday the lights bordering the buildings in the downtown West Bend business district will be turned off as a determination is made whether to spend money to fix the lights.

The lights are sporadic and broken across some of the buildings. The downtown Business Improvement District wants to gauge community reaction to determine the significance of the lights to the downtown, future funding and whether more cost-effective LED lights should be considered.

Early estimates put the cost of investigating the electric conduit and lights is up to $15,000. It is anticipated that replacement of the lights could cost more than the original installation, which was about $100,000.

The lights have been in place since 2003. “There’s definitely a debate on whether they’re important to the downtown,” said Brian Culligan, BID Board member and owner of West Bend Tap + Tavern. “I’d like to know if people think these are important for the landscape or if there are other things we can do.”

The lights will be out Nov. 2 – 4. The city is administering a survey to gather input which will close Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. Results will be presented at the next BID Board meeting.

Washington County Board approves $120,000 for new Senior Center

On a vote of 21-4 the Washington County Board this week approved $120,000 for a new Senior Center. “We are very thankful to Washington County for many years of support,” Senior Center executive director Deb Anderson said. “This vote will bring us closer to moving into a location where we will expand our services for the largest population of seniors this county has ever had.”

The Senior Center will be moving into space just south of The Threshold, in the former Pick n’ Save north location off W. Washington Street. The Senior Center space is a combined project that also includes Kettlebrook Church.

“We hope by promoting good health and community involvement, our seniors will continue to contribute their many years of experience and skills back to the community through increased volunteerism on a variety of levels,” Anderson said. “The County Board has generously started that ball rolling by approving up to $120,000 toward the construction costs of our new senior center. We are very excited to get this project started.”

Choral festival coming to Kettle Moraine Lutheran H.S.

Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School in Jackson will host the WELS National Choral Festival on Nov.13-15. The fest is held every four years features show choirs from all of the WELS high schools nationwide. This year there will be 460 students from 21 choirs and 20 high schools. On Friday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. there will be a Pops Concert, where each choir will perform its own 5-minute show. The rest of the weekend choirs will be grouped into three larger choirs. On Sunday, the choirs will present a Sacred Concert at 2 p.m.

Updates & tidbits

-The Lions Clubs of West Bend and Newburg are asking bow and gun hunters to donate their deer hides to the Lions Camp of Wisconsin. Since 1956 the Wisconsin Lions Camp has provided a quality camping experience for Wisconsin youth and adults with disabilities. Money raised from the deer hides will go directly to the Lions Camp. Play ‘n For Pennies, 1240 N. Main St., in West Bend has graciously agreed to be the drop off site for the deer hides.

-The West Bend High School Marching Band held its annual scholarship concert this week. The theme was “Oldies but Goodies.” Money raised will help fund band camps and scholarships. During the concert band director Leah Duckert announced the trumpet section was named ‘section of the year.’

-The annual Taste of Washington County is Wednesday, Dec. 2 at the Washington County Fair Grounds. Tickets are $40 and money raised benefits Boys & Girls Clubs of Washington County.

-The Kettle Moraine Coin & Stamp Club is celebrating 50 years on Thursday Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. at Silverbrook School Library. “We will have a program on world paper money and one member of the club has been with us almost all 50 years,” said the club’s Dave Hunsicker.

-Regner Park in West Bend is beginning to look a lot like Christmas as setup for Enchantment in the Park is well underway. Rotary groups from across the county are volunteering along with organizations from area high schools. Enchantment in the Park, powered by Westbury, is a holiday-light show that opens Nov. 27. Proceeds benefit area food pantries.

-Celebrate LiFE Dinner & Auction is Thursday, Nov. 12. All proceeds go to support LiFE OF HOPE in the reduction of suicide attempt and death. Details at

Recognizing veterans

On Monday, Nov. 2 the West Bend Common Council will team with Common Sense Citizens to recognize veterans and proclaim Nov. 11, Veterans Appreciation Day.

For the past few weeks names and photos of West Bend High School graduates and teachers who have gone into the military have been collected by East high school teacher Scott Mindel. Hundreds of people with ties to the community turned in military pictures of family and friends with ties to West Bend.

Those names and pictures will be displayed during the ceremony Monday at the Silver Lining Arts Center at the West Bend High Schools. One of the pictures submitted by Barb Hafeman is of Dale Hafeman. He enlisted in the Army Air Corp after completing his junior year at West Bend High. He served three years in the occupation forces in Japan, then returned home and obtained his high school degree before enrolling in Marquette University in 1950.  Everyone is welcome to Monday’s recognition which begins at 6:30 p.m.

Dale military


1909, 31 October 2015


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