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0945, 05 Dec 15

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Lighthouse Lanes is history

As neighbors fight to retain the history connected to the bridge behind the downtown West Bend Theatre another longtime landmark has been sold and gutted.

Lighthouse Lanes, 7294 Sleepy Hollow Road, in the town of Barton was sold to Jim Otten, owner of Kettle Moraine Appliance and TV. Otten is in the process of gutting the former bowling alley to turn it into storage for his store across the street.

On Friday a Kettle Moraine Appliance truck was parked in front of the bowling alley. Inside rows of bottle beer covered the bar area, bowling balls and pins were strewn in the gutters and the mechanical pin setters lay in a pile on the floor.

“We’re stripping it down to sell some of it,” said former owner Tom Zernia. Walking to the far end of the alley Zernia tapped his toe on the lane. “This is synthetic and the original wood lane is underneath; we’ll be selling at $20 a linear foot.”

Zernia said when he owned the place he spent $100,000 putting in new flooring. “I sell this stuff pretty regular for countertops and work benches.” Zernia now runs Boss Realty. He oversaw the sale of the building for about $245,000.

Records in the Research Center at the Washington County Historical Society have a rather thin timeline on the building on Sleepy Hollow Road. Archives show it dates to the late 1930s when it was a tavern and gas station located along the old Highway 55.

Harold and Alice Laubenstein from Cedarburg purchased the Lighthouse Lanes and Bowling Alley in the mid-1940s. The couple added a dance hall and called the place Lighthouse ballroom.  An advertisement, dated June 1947, reads ‘Lighthouse Ballroom serves Chicken-in-the-Basket. Fish fry every Friday night. H. Laubenstein.’

In a back room on Friday afternoon, a couple of heavy metal signs about 3-feet long were found. The signs read ‘Laubenstein.’ Zernia wasn’t quite sure what the signs were used for but he assumed they dated to the 1940s.

Other owners were John Bertram who ran it as Lighthouse Lanes Dance Hall and Art and Edna Sepersky who owned and operated Lighthouse Lanes from 1952 until Art retired in 1982. Art kept on working for his son, Mike who ran the business until the 1990s.

Art Sepersky is quoted as saying “the tower and ballroom were built in 1942, and the building became known as the Lighthouse Ballroom.” Details on the construction of the lighthouse are sketchy. “It was built as an attraction,” said Sepersky. He recalled there used to be 8-foot high neon bowling pins decorating the roof. Wedding dances were held until 1949 when 10 bowling lanes replaced the dance floor.

Another ad, dated Dec. 1960 reads, ‘Sal’s Lighthouse Dining Room Complete dinners served daily and Sundays. The address in the ad is Hy 45 N and the phone number is FE 4-5711.

An article on bowling alleys highlighted Lighthouse Lanes. “Opened for business in August of 1950 as a corporation. Art Sepersky was hired as manager in 1951 and became one of five stockholders in 1953. Automatic pinsetters were installed in the mid-50s with more modern ones replacing them in 1968. Sepersky became sole owner in 1973 after purchasing all the outstanding stock. 1978 saw Mike Sepersky become owner of Lighthouse Lanes, along with his father.

Herb Tennies to retire from Washington County Board

Spring elections are ahead with the primary set for Feb. 16, 2016 and the General Election on tap April 5, 2016. According to Clerk Brenda Jaszewski all supervisors are up for election and because of the redistricting the candidates have to file non-candidacy papers for their old district and then file to run in their new district.

“Incumbents that have changed district numbers due to redistricting after the reduction in board size, are required to submit a notification of non-candidacy for their old district number,” said Jaszewski.

With the redistricting there will now be 26 seats on the county board rather than 30.  One of the supervisors who stepping down is Dist. 7 supervisor Paul Ustruck who filed non-candidacy on Nov. 5.

Dist. 2 County Board Supervisor Herb Tennies, who has held office for 50 years, also filed non-candidacy on Nov. 23. It’s long been expected Tennies would not run again.  Tennies was first elected in 1965; in 2008 he was elected chairman following in the footsteps of county board chairman Ken Mueller.

“He has compassion and love for the position,” Chief Deputy County Clerk Linda Doro said. “He wants what’s best for people in his district but also what’s best for Washington County.”

“Herb is very easy to get along with and work for,” Doro said. “Herb very rarely raises his temper, he’s easy going and he looks outside of the box – even with his German background.”

Aside from politics Tennies has been extremely active in the community, running his own business, Tennies Ace Hardware, he founded and ran Germanfest for 30 years and he was a volunteer firefighter.

“I didn’t know him when he worked as a young man, but he really has to have a hell of a great wife,” Doro said.

Tennies sat on major committees including finance and personnel. “Nothing seems to scare him otherwise he wouldn’t have stayed on as long as he did,” said Doro. Tennies term will end in April 2016.

There are several contested seats as incumbents from two districts battle it out for one seat in the new district. Some of those races include Dist. 12 supervisor Brian Krebs will face Dist. 9 supervisor Ron Naab if newly formed District. 8.

Dist. 19 incumbent supervisor Philip Laubenheimer will face off against Dist. 15 incumbent Robert Hartwig to represent Dist. 13. Former Dist. 13 supervisor Gerald Schultz has been shifted to Dist. 9. He’s currently the only one who has declared candidacy in that district.

Dist. 27 incumbent supervisor Dennis Myers avoided a contest with incumbent Mel Ewert, who died earlier this year. However, two others have filed to run in Dist. 27 including Dale Peterson of Colgate and Rock Brander of Hubertus.

Other seats up for election in April include a pair of supervisor seats in the Town of Barton, the Town of Addison, the Town of Erin, and the Town of Jackson.

There will be a seat up for election on the Silver Lake Sanitary District in the Town of West Bend. The seat carries a 6-year term. There Village President in Germntown is up for election.

There are trustee elections in the Village of Kewaskum, Village of Newburg, Village of Richfield, and the Village of Slinger.

The city of Hartford will elect a new mayor as Joe Dautermann says he will not seek reelection. There are also three aldermanic seats up for election in Hartford including Dist. 1 alderman Joe Kohler, Dist. 2 alderman Wayne Rusniak and Dist. 3 alderwoman Rachel Mixon.

Duquaine files non-candidacy in WB

Mike Chevalier has pulled papers to run for District 3 alderman in the city of West Bend. Incumbent alderman Ed Duquaine filed non-candidacy papers; he is building a house outside the district. Duquaine’s term will end April 2016.

Chevalier is president of MCR Services LLC in Richfield. He served on the city’s Value Task Force from July 2011 – April 2013, he was a former president of Common Sense Citizens, on the facilities committee with St. Frances Cabrini Church, and Chevalier is a member of the West Bend Sunrise Rotary.

The odd numbered aldermanic districts in the city of West Bend are up for election in April. Dist. 7 alderman Adam Williquette has already turned in his papers to run for reelection. Others up for election include Dist. 1 alderman John Butschlick and Dist. 5 alderman Rich Kasten.

West Bend boy featured in Boston Globe

Aidan Abbot, 10, from Addison Elementary School was featured in the Boston Globe this week.  Abbott has a rare disease called Ectodermal Dysplasia. The Boston Globe wrote an article about an exhibit, Beyond the Diagnosis by Rare Disease United Foundation, currently on display at Harvard and later at the National Institutes of Health. The exhibit features portraits of children who have different rare diseases and are trying to raise awareness. “Aidan was chosen to represent Ectodermal Dysplasias,” said mom Becky Abbott. “He was one of a few children who had their picture in the Boston Globe and we are just amazed our son is going to be seen by many and raising awareness for all families that suffer from rare disease.”

Successful Taste of Washington County

Nobody went home hungry following this year’s Taste of Washington County at the Washington County Fair Park. The event featured 36 food and beverage vendors along with a lot of great auction items including a 2016 Brewers suite package, a Long Beach, California Grand Prix Race adventure and the ever popular “Training Day” with the city of West Bend SWAT Team.

Auctioneer Mike Paul oversaw the live and very entertaining auction. Proceeds benefited the Boys and Girls Club of Washington County.

The Taste of Washington County started in 2000 with a dozen vendors. At the time, organizers hoped to make it their signature event. How things have changed in 15 years, just take a look at raffle items which included Milwaukee County Stadium seats and a Brett Favre autographed jersey. Now 15 years later The Taste has become a ‘can’t miss event.’  “Our daughter works at the Boys and Girls Club in Washington County and she bought us tickets,” said Lisa Seeger about her daughter Emily.

The Seegers had never been to The Taste until this year. “We’ve always heard wonderful things about this and the Boys and Girls Club really makes a great difference for the kids.”

Vendors featured The Norbert which served street tacos. “It’s half turkey, half pork, cilantro, red onion and chipotle,” said Tony Koebel.

Moonlighting was a popular stop as it was serving chicken stir fry, spicy Asian chicken noodle soup and a German style brat sandwich with pretzel bun, fried onions and Dusseldorf mustard.

Chef Jodi Janisse-Kanzenbach from Cafe Soeurette served blackened shrimp with jasmine rice and sauces were either the apricot and jalapeno butter or buttermilk garlic.

Wayne Kainz from Riverside Brewery sliced thick, red prime rib alongside some festive employees whose ties and hats were lit for the season. Riverside Brewery also served jambalaya, spinach and artichoke dip, along with some ‘Be home soon honey’ ale and Black IPA.

“It continues to get better every year,” said Boys and Girls Club executive director Jay Fisher. “We normally have about 800 people and this year we have to have cleared 1,000.”

“I got hooked back in the 1980s on getting the Boys and Girls Club up and going somewhere,” said George Prescott, a board member for the Boys and Girls Club. “Now we have multiple locations and it’s just grown into something special.”

Behind the scenes: The event started at 6 p.m. and by 6:30 p.m. it was difficult to find a parking and the greeters had run out of event programs.

-Someone mistook George Prescott for actor Jack Nicholson. “I love Jack Nicholson,” said Prescott, sporting a two-day shadow of a beard.

-Along with barbecue ribs Timmer’s Restaurant also had Barbara Johnson’s book on display, “Timmer’s Resort a journey through Time.”  -McDonald’s was serving breakfast all day.

Main Street improvements discussed

Brick pavers and parking, informational kiosks and dog-watering stations were all discussed this week during the West Bend BID board meeting as a Main Street Improvements and Streetscape Evaluation was submitted by Kunkel Engineering Group.

Jackie Kohn, senior design engineer for Kunkel Engineering, spent about 20 minutes briefing the BID board on some of the items in the 31-page report. “You could add 20 parking stalls by eliminating curb extensions here,” Kohn said.

Curb, gutters, overlay, street lights, deteriorating brick pavers, and the potential of a gateway arch were some of the soft generalities presented to the board and then things got down to brass tacks when financing was brought to the table.

“How do utilities underground look,” asked Herb Tennies, a veteran on the BID board. “The sewer and water date to 1982. I don’t know what the expected life is but I suggest you find out what’s underneath before you start sticking money into the top and the ripping it all off.”

BID board president Mike Husar said it was best to assume that all conduit and piping would need to be replaced. “That can be your gift to the city when you retire,” said Husar, needling Tennies in good-natured fashion.

Funding got a bit more serious when Husar suggested it fall to the city and not so much the BID. “I don’t know that we’re going to raise the money to cover the $1.5 million in what’s my opinion a city responsibility,” he said.

In a final series of motions the BID agreed to put the Main Street improvements as a monthly item on the agenda. Steps will also be taken to bring the project before the city council, address potential funding and inform the community with a public presentation.

Former Goodyear building sold

The building at 303 Water Street, just south of the roundabout by Dublin’s, has sold. Kevin and Amy Zimmer closed on the purchase of the building this week. “This property has been overlooked and neglected over the years, which makes it attractive to us to bring it back to life,” Kevin Zimmer said. “The next few months we will be working with engineers and architects to create a plan to transform and update this mid-century (1949?) garage into newly-renovated retail space.” Records in the city assessor’s office show Robert and Mary Kuester and John and Grace Kuester sold the property to Harley and Alice Koehler on Dec. 9, 1970. Many folks in the community will remember that corner lot as a Goodyear station. At one time it was also home to a furniture and restoration shop, colorfully called ‘The Male Stripper.’

The Zimmers have been making significant property purchases in the community the past few years. The couple own the Dublin’s building, formerly known as The Binkery. The Zimmers also purchased Schwai’s / Emily’s in Cedar Creek and this summer they bought the gazebo from Old Settlers Park. “We look forward to adding another property to our portfolio that will make West Bend and the area proud,” said Kevin Zimmer.

BG Decal & Apparel moving downtown

BG Decal & Apparel will be moving to the Centrum building in downtown West Bend. The shop, owned by Bruce and Gena Biertzer, is currently in Barton, 1942 N. Main St. “We’ve been here a year and we’re going to go more into the retail end of the t-shirt business,” said Gena. The shop in Barton is spacious with 4,100 square feet; however we just don’t get any foot traffic.”

The Biertzers are currently remodeling the space previously home to Mangold Clinic. “I’m so excited. We’ll still do our banners and signs and work with all the schools; we’ll be more of a West Bend spirit store with all our school apparel.”  BG Decal should be open by Feb. 1, 2016. “We’re looking forward to the foot traffic and the Farmers’ Market, the parade, the restaurants and all the happenings,” she said.

New dental clinic opening

Neighbors in West Bend and Washington County are going to have the best teeth ever as construction of a dental office was approved during Tuesday’s Plan Commission meeting. Dr. Kunick will be building on E. Washington Street, adjacent to Wingate Street and Trenton Road, by Klotz’s Piggly Wiggly. Dr. Kunick has an established family practice in Cedarburg. West Bend’s other new dental practice, Forward Dental, is opening soon in the former location of The Coachman House and Club Ten 06, 1006 S. Main St.

Disney night at Enchantment in the Park

Elsa, Olaf, Snow White, Superman and a Disney Princess will be on hand at Enchantment in the Park tonight, Saturday Dec. 5. The special guests will be available for photos from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Enchantment in the Park opens at 5 p.m. and Sunday don’t forget the Diamond Dash – the event starts at 4:30 p.m. with packet pickup and registration at 3 p.m.

Deer kill numbers in

The DNR has released preliminary harvest totals for the 9-day gun deer season. Although hunters in Washington County got off to a better start opening weekend, (703 compared to 665 in 2014), for the season area hunters killed 282 fewer deer than in 2014. The totals were 1537 this season compared to 1,819 last year. That’s a decrease of about 15.5 percent.

In neighboring Fond du Lac County totals were down by 3.5 percent with a kill of 2,762 this season compared to 2,861 last year.  In Dodge County there was significant success with a total kill of 3,181 this season compared to 2,898 in 2014 and in Ozaukee County the numbers were down from 612 last year to 541 this year. Statewide totals were up a little over 1 percent to 201,812 deer compared to 199,583 in 2014.

Updates & tidbits

 Jim Retzlaff, airport manager at the West Bend Airport, has retired. Retzlaff worked for the city of West Bend from April, 2004 – August, 2015. Retzlaff listed his accomplishments as having a perimeter fence put up which eliminated problems with deer. Successfully contracting a building for all of the airport equipment such as the plow truck, loader, tractor with broom, and snow blower; having the primary runway and taxiway re-paved plus started the process to have the second runway repaved in 2016; removing obstructions on the approaches to four runways to be in compliance with FAA Rules and Regulations.

Blooming Acres is back in business in West Bend. The popular seasonal gardening business in the Westwood Shopping Center, 2374A W. Washington St., got a vote of approval during this week’s Plan Commission meeting. Owner Nathan Neumann has his holiday trees in place just to the southwest of The Threshold. “I’ve got balsams, Fraser Fir, spruce, scotch pine, white pine,” Neumann said. “The trees start at $19.99 and up.” Blooming Acres is open 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. The last day for selling trees is Dec. 23.

-This week Germantown Village Clerk Barb Goeckner swore in new police officer Matt Jones.

-Washington County’s annual Shop with a Cop is Dec. 9 at the Washington County Fair Park.

– Verlo Mattress, 1325 S. Main St., in West Bend has closed. In January 2012 the Verlo Mattress Factory store in West Bend was acquired by the Verlo parent company, which is owned and operated by the Marcus Family. Prior to Verlo the building was home to Juan’s Mexicali restaurant which opened in April 2008 and was owned by partners Steve and Linda Paykel and Tracy and Jeff Ketter. Juan’s was in the former showroom for Consolidated Doors, which moved to the back of the building.

– Public information meeting Dec. 15 regarding improvements to 18th Avenue: There’s going to be no formal presentation but neighbors, bikers, and others in the community are welcome to come to a public info meeting Tuesday, Dec. 15 to discuss reconstruction of 18th Avenue from Vogt Drive to Decorah Road. The group Bike Friendly West Bend has had 18th Avenue on its radar for a while. That road headed south from Decorah is pretty dicey and suggestions have been floated about adding a bike lane.

– Saturday Dec. 12 will be the last day for Call of the Wild as the new owner will take over in January.

Watch for new Charter Spectrum signs to be installed at 1515 W. Washington Street. The signs will be installed by Innovative Signs of Waukesha. Charter Communications began marketing its video, telephone and broadband service under the Charter Spectrum brand in 2014 as the company moved to an all-digital product.

 The Kettle Moraine Lutheran Elementary School Jazz Band recently received a $275 grant from the Madison Jazz Society to purchase a variety of rehearsal tools and performance music to be featured at Family Music Fest on April 8 and at their final concert on April 26.  

The West Bend High Schools have nominated Andrew Steiner and Jocelyn Martinez for the 2016 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards for their outstanding volunteer efforts. Winners will be announced Feb. 6, 2016.



0945, 05 December 2015


  1. Steve Austin

    As always another great piece by Judy.

    Also reminds me to get the kids up to see Enchantment in the Park. Even though they are all teens now they still enjoy driving through there on a weekend night.

  2. Kevin Scheunemann

    You can get more info in one Judy column than a whole week’s worth of the WB News.

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