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0649, 19 Dec 15

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Clara Moll turns 105

Clara Moll of West Bend will turn 105 years old today. Moll was born Dec. 19, 1910. It was the same year William H. Taft was President of the United States. In 1910 the Boy Scouts of America were founded and the first test flight of a twin-engine plane was conducted in France. In 1910 James O. Davidson was governor of Wisconsin and William C. Bratz was mayor of West Bend.

$100,000 lottery winner at Pick ‘N Save south

A $100,000 winning ticket for the Holly Jolly Raffle was sold at Pick ’N Save south in West Bend. The winner stepped forward Friday afternoon around 5 p.m. and asked to remain anonymous. The drawing was Dec. 10 and there was 1:100,000 chance of winning the grand prize. The winning numbers were 022868. Tickets were $5.

The largest lottery winner at the local grocery was in April 1990 when Harold Zimdars of West Bend won an $8 million Megabucks Lotto America jackpot. Zimdars was 51 years old. He spent $24 a week on the lottery. After winning, Zimdars retired as a truck driver and in 1997 he and his wife Joanne purchased the Coachman House. Harold Zimdars died April 3, 2012 at 73.

The Shed Resale & Consignment Store is closing

After five years in business Terry Lyon, owner of The Shed Resale & Consignment Store is calling it quits. “Sadly, we must announce The Shed Resale is going to close at the end of our lease,” Lyon said Friday.  “We will be here selling stuff at hugely discounted prices through February.” The Shed, 411 Kettle Moraine Dr. S., has a testosterone-fueled feel with a “man-cave” decor, including tools, neon signs, bar mirrors, hunting and fishing equipment and collectibles like baseball cards and beer cans.

Lyon opened the shop in November 2010 with his daughter, Lindsay. Items at The Shed change constantly as consignments increase. Although he caters to men, Lyon said he doesn’t carry adult material, except for one time. “We had a Braille Playboy from 1979. A guy from a local HOG chapter came in and bought it for $10,” said Lyon. “There were no pictures, just words in Braille – so I guess some guys do buy it just for the articles.” Most items at The Shed are now 50 percent off or more!!! Hurry in!

Suspending the D.A.R.E. program in Wash. Co.

There are 14 schools in Washington County that received word this month that the D.A.R.E. program is being suspended.  D.A.R.E. is a Drug Abuse Resistance Education program designed to teach students to say “no” to drugs. The program is also designed to build students social skills and improve their self-esteem.

Mary Woerner had been an instructor with the D.A.R.E. program through the Washington County Sheriff’s Department for 15 years.

For 10 weeks, she said, they would reach out to students in fifth grade before most experiment with drugs and alcohol.

“Critics often say D.A.R.E. does not work but it is an important piece of the prevention puzzle,” said Woerner. “D.A.R.E. teaches students the facts and consequences of drug abuse. It opens up communication between parents and children about drug use and it builds a lasting bond between students and officers.”

Woerner had seen the program changes lives. “I measure success in having a student come up to me years later and tell me how important the program was to them,” she said. In an effort to save the program there is a grass-root effort to show him the community support. A web site, Save the Washington County Dare Program, was created Wednesday evening.

One of the posts from parent Jerilyn Kind notes “manpower” may have played a part in the decision to reportedly suspend the program. Last month, Washington County Insider ran an exclusive story about Mary Woerner leaving the Washington County Sheriff’s Department in November to take a job in the private sector.

Woerner started with the Washington County Sheriff’s Department in 1993 as a special deputy when Robert Schulteis was sheriff. In March 1997 she was hired full time and three years later she took over the D.A.R.E. program.

Updates & tidbits

Flags will fly at half-staff Sunday in honor of firefighter Larry Millard of Endeavor who died after responding to an accident a week ago on Interstate 39. Authorities said Millard, 56,  was struck by a vehicle last Friday afternoon, flown to Divine Savior Hospital in Portage and UW Hospital in Madison, where he later died.

Enchantment in the Park will host a “Star Wars Night at Enchantment on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Anyone in a Star Wars costume receives a free cup of hot chocolate. Food and $10 cash donation suggested. Enchantment in the Park powered by Westbury is a holiday light show with proceeds benefiting area food pantries.

– Former Hartford alderman Dale W. Maas died Tuesday, Dec. 15 at 92. Maas served in the Army Air Corp. from 1942-1945 as a radio operator gunner on a B-17 Bomber. He had 30 missions in the European Theater. He also served as a city of Hartford alderman for 12 years. Funeral services are Saturday, Dec. 19, at 1 p.m. at the Shimon Funeral Home.

Old Ziegler Bridge coming down

Work got underway this week to remove the former Ziegler Bridge, just south of Highway 33, that crosses the Milwaukee River. The pedestrian bridge between Service Drive and Veterans Avenue is being removed by Janke General Contractors. A new bridge will be built about 100 feet to the south that will connect Main Street and Vest Park to Veterans Avenue and the Museum of Wisconsin Art.

A preconstruction meeting was held Tuesday morning. “As soon as the water resides a bit we’re going to build a steel I-beam bridge under the Ziegler bridge and then start jack hammering the deck of the bridge,” Tony Niewolny, a superintendent with Janke Construction, said.

Railings of the bridge were removed on Tuesday and demolishing the old bridge is expected to take a couple days. A silt fence still needs to be installed and brick pavers need to be removed. Those pavers will be saved. Contractors will be driving pilings about 20 – 25 feet. The manhole will be reconstructed and excavation completed before work begins on the new footbridge.

Mixed reaction to improvements on 18th Avenue

About 40 people attended an information session Tuesday evening at West Bend City Hall to look over a proposal to widen 18th Avenue from Decorah Road south to Vogt Drive. There were two proposals in the mix including a rural plan which included a 1-to-2 foot widening of the road and paving the existing shoulder for bicycles. The urban plan would expand the road from 26 feet to 52 feet and include a bike lane, parking lane and sidewalk.

“There was a survey when we moved in for a proposed widening of the road,” Jim Ciborosky said.  “We’ve lived there since 1974, there was no city around us and we’ll see how it goes if it affects us or not.” Ciborosky realized 18th Avenue was a main thoroughfare with a lot of traffic. “But we don’t want to see it widen into our living room,” he said. “This will eat up a bunch of our yard and possibly some valuable trees.”

Proposed improvements include reconstruction of 18th Avenue, new pavement, curb and gutter, sidewalk, storm sewer and improved sight distance. John Pedersen has lived on Julen Circle and 18th Avenue for 27 years. “The road does need to be repaved and widening, that would be fine,” Pedersen said. “But only adding a bike lane; that would easily accommodate the few walkers but there’s no need for extra sidewalks. We’re concerned with who will shovel it. For me that’s an extra 150 feet of sidewalk.”

Amy Schmidt has lived in the area for 14 years and said that stretch of 18th Avenue may be a costly project but it’s long overdue. “The traffic has done nothing but increase, foot traffic has increased and it’s dangerous walking through there,” she said. “If the urban plan is done with the curbing and sidewalk that would give people the sense of driving in a neighborhood and it would bring the speed down a little bit.”

Quite a few members of the local Bike Friendly West Bend group attended the information meeting. Jeff Puetz said the diagrams were exactly what the Bike Friendly group has been promoting for the city.  “The rural option doesn’t have the parking lane while the urban alternative does,” he said. “The cool thing, from a biking standpoint, is if we have sidewalks and we have an ample bike lane incorporated in both plans it’s a win for cyclists and pedestrians.”

Neighbors that attended the meeting filled out brief surveys that talked about sidewalks/pedestrians, bike traffic, parking and speeds. Contractors from Alfred Benesch & Company will review the plans and come back with an update at a later date. A final proposal and possible property acquisition must still be approved by the Plan Commission and the Common Council.

Relay for Life holiday light show

The “Dulak Festival of Lights” in the Town of Erin is in full swing. For the last 18 years Danny and Wendy Dulak have decorated their house for Christmas with over 150,000 bulbs raising money to benefit the American Cancer Society via the Hartford/Slinger Relay for Life.

The display, which lines 2481 Hall Road in the Town of Erin, “dances” to the music and skits broadcast on the low-power radio station 91.5FM. Thousands of families have driven past and the Dulak’s and their three children have raised over $105,000 to for the Hartford/Slinger Relay for Life.

The Dulak Festival of Lights display is nightly until January 3. Operating hours are Sunday – Thursday from 4 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. – 1 a.m. Hours are extended on Christmas and New Year’s Eve. A secure donation box is available at the end of the Dulak driveway. The Dulak Festival of Lights features a 65-foot Christmas tree, a 20-foot NOEL, a Christmas carousel, flying reindeer and candy canes lining the street. This year’s display has been further enhanced with a life-size nativity scene as well as two new musical numbers performed by the Dulak’s and their children.

Danny Dulak, a colon and bile duct cancer survivor, looks forward to raising money for ACS each year and bringing the joy of the holidays to families all over Southeastern Wisconsin.

Washington County kids remember Santa 

A photo of December 1910 provided by the Washington County Historical Society shows a line outside a store in downtown West Bend when Santa came to visit.

The enthusiasm was evident by the long line. Records at the Washington County Historical Society show a kid’s Christmas party was held by downtown merchants nearly every year in the early 1900s.

Neighbors in West Bend also remember some of their visits to Santa. Jacci Gambucci worked at Westfair Mall on S. Main St. “I didn’t visit with Santa but I remember him sitting in the lobby area near Nobil’s Shoes and Bresler’s 33 Flavors – later The Cookie Cone Cafe,” she said.

Lee Krueger lives on Little Cedar Lake. When he was growing up he’d go to Milwaukee with his mom, dad and sister on a special Saturday before Christmas and they’d see Billie the Brownie (WTMJ Radio) in the Christmas Parade and then shop at Schuster’s Department Store on 12th and Vliet Streets.

“The parade was made up of three or four decorated streetcars (yes, on rails) and a special last car, which was a flat car, carried Santa and his sleigh and reindeer,” said Krueger.

“In the late 1970s, my wife and I went to Northridge several times and in the early 1980s we went to the Grand Avenue Mall. Our four kids were always dressed up; shirts with collars and no T-shirts and jeans with no holes. We always got a family Santa picture; usually one child was crying or mad,” said Krueger.

Barb Justman from the town of Trenton said she used to drive her husband Homer around on Christmas Eve. “He’d be dressed as Santa and we would go from house to house and I’d park the car, let him out and he’d walk to the window and scare the bahjeebese’s out of whoever was there.

“Then he’d go to the door, leave some candy canes and we’d move on to the next unexpecting soul,” said Justman. “If people ever asked who he was, Homer would say, ‘I’m Santa Claus! HO HO HO!’”

Mike Paul of Kewaskum said his family would watch a movie at the now closed Kewaskum Theater. “Killy Honeck owned it back then; now it’s Tom Kudek’s auto body shop and there’s a tattoo parlor in front,” said Paul. After the movie Santa would come riding into town on the Civil Defense fire truck. “Just like he does in all the traditional German Christmas tales,” said Paul.

The fire truck would drop him off at Rosenheimer’s General Store, currently the Antique Mall, and he would set up court on the second floor.

“The second floor was rarely open to the public, or at least kids, so it was a big deal just to stand in line and look at all the stuff,” said Paul. “After waiting in line fooorreeeevveerr, we’d sit on Santa’s lap and do some horse trading.

“Reasonably good behavior for a Hot Wheels race set with the rechargeable cars; stuff like that,” said Paul. Some years Mrs. Paul would load all four of kids into dad’s Bell Telephone work van. “There were no passenger seats or seat belts but lots of cool tools,” said Paul.

“Dad would drop us off at the Chicago Northwestern depot in West Bend and we’d take the passenger train down to Milwaukee, catch a bus to a downtown department store and do the big city routine. This was in the late 60s, early 70s,” he said.

Barney Strobel celebrates 90 years

There was a big celebration this month as folks packed CC’s Place in Wayne to wish Barney Strobel a happy 90th birthday. Strobel has been a fixture in the tavern business since 1949. His personality is a bit of a mix of the cast of the Honeymooners meets comedian Don Rickles.

Growing up a farm boy who lived in a self-proclaimed bachelor pad with his uncle, his dad and his brother, Strobel was set to get married and needed to find a place of his own. “My dad wouldn’t spend the money to get a decent floor in the house for a lady so I went into town for a haircut, stopped at the bar and asked the bartender if there he knew of a place.”

The bartender at Karnitz’s Inn said he could rent the tavern for $75 a month. “I asked my dad for money and he said ‘no way.’ Then the owner of the tavern said I could have all his stock behind the bar for $1,500,” said Strobel.

In an effort to find some fast cash Strobel sold a couple of heifer calves to his brother for $200, then went to the bank in Campbellsport for a loan, got married Sept. 3, 1949. His first day in business behind the bar was Sept. 16, 1949.

“I was open when church let out and the bar was so full it was unbelievable,” he said. “By noon I had to hire two people to help me and I took in $200 on nickel beers.”

Strobel said back in 1949 you could get 21 mugs of beer for $1 and whisky was 20 cents.  “We had 10-ounce mugs and I only served West Bend Lithia,” he said. “The next morning I got up and had money in every pocket.”

Strobel was born Dec. 5, 1925 at his home in the Town of Ashford. He lived on a farm in St. Kilian. Went to a little farm school and completed the sixth grade before he dropped out.  “I couldn’t stand it,” he said. “My dad told me if you don’t want to go to school then work the farm.”

Strobel worked alongside his dad until June 8, 1945 when he was drafted at 19.  When he returned home he bought the bar in Wayne. “I called in Barney’s,” he said. “I stayed there for two and a half years and then Schneider’s Bar run by Al Schneider came up for sale in 1952; it was listed at $16,500 and I made the move.”

Strobel stayed in business from 1949 – 1989. “My secret was good clean livin’,” he said. “I never drank any beer and I never smoked.” Strobel’s drink of choice, “Canadian whiskey and a lot of water.”

Strobel opened at 8 a.m. and worked until 1 a.m. “All by myself; long hours but we made it,” he said. Back in the day there was a bit more life in the Town of Wayne.  There was Petri’s neighborhood grocery, a cheese factory and creamery, a blacksmith’s shop, an Oliver dealer at the top of the hill, barber shop, and a feed mill.

“We had Jimmy Gantner from the Brewers stop at the bar,” said Strobel, when questioned if he ever served anybody famous. “Rev. Groppi came in once. I think he went to the grocery across the street and then had to use the bathroom so he came here.”

The most famous person had to be the local legend Cal Bowe. “He brought three big horses in here,” Strobel said.

Cal Bowe had a long history of spoiling his horses. He rode his horse into the bank in downtown West Bend. Locals say he even took his horse swimming at the indoor pool at the Holiday Inn in West Bend, currently Pick ‘N Save north.

“Cal came up to me and said, ‘Barney it’s raining outside and I gotta bring the horses in.’ I told him no and then he said he’d buy a drink for the house so in they came.”

“Lot of beers have been poured here,” said Myron Strobel. “You have to remember he opened at 8 a.m. The old farmers would come to town for feed, have a beer and then go home.”

Former Kewaskum Police Chief Dick Knoebel worked for 7UP when he was in college in 1969. “I’d deliver to Barney here and he had a really low dirt basement; you’d almost hit your head every time,” he said.

Asked to qualify Strobel’s success and Knoebel puts it simply, “He’s friendly to everybody and treats everybody well and that’s what it’s all about.”  After 40 years behind the bar, Strobel retired. “I just made up my mind 40 years was enough.” Sharp and fit Strobel hasn’t seen the doctor in years, he claims it’s because he’s “outlived them all.”

Looking back on the decades in the bar business, Strobel admits it was tough. Married three times he said he ate all his dinners, every night at the bar. “My first wife passed away early, the second wife should of but I’ve got Joanie and she’s the love of my life,” he said.

In retirement Strobel is back to his old habits. “I’m tending bar at the Fifth Quarter in Kewaskum,” he said. “My wife just died and I work Monday, Wednesday and Friday 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.”   Eric Anderson has owned the Fifth Quarter, 1257 Fond du Lac Ave., Kewaskum, for eight years. “Barney was working at the bar when I took it over and he asked me about staying and I said every Monday, Wednesday and Friday you can work as much as you want and he’s been here ever since,” he said. “He was going to retire when he turned 90 and he said I gotta keep working.”

Strobel brings in a huge Monday night crowd. “Barney knows your name, he can remember years ago, he’s sharper than a whip and he’s got the personality that just draws people in,” said Anderson.   Today’s history photo is of Barney behind the bar – in his younger days.



0649, 19 December 2015


  1. T of B

    Judy Steffes, the above comment (“Mark H. Maley”) is a troll comment. Do not use for endorsement purposes on the WCI Facebook page.

    Note: if Owen deletes the above comment (which he should), this comment can be deleted too.

  2. T of B

    And Owen, you might want to capture the ISP – might be a child molester who gets off on making “fantasy porn” – might be “fapping” to this right now. Belongs in the database that the FBI uses to track these types. Just in case it gets more serious.

  3. Owen

    Yeah, T of B. I have his details if it ever escalates.

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