County to raze Annex II and Senior Center
By this summer Washington County’s Annex II and the Senior Center will be razed. Plans have been in the works for about a year as the county started looking at capital improvement projects.
“They’re just costing us money to keep them,” County Administrator Joshua Schoemann said. “The expense is around $20,000 to $40,000 a year; most of it is for boiler heat and some staff maintenance.”
On a history note the Annex II use to be the old County House or County Home and Hospital. It was also home to Lutheran Social Services which rented out a portion for a charter school in 2014. Schoemann said, since then the site has been used for file storage.
“All the office spaces are 10 feet x 10 feet and there’s not really a good use for it unless you put a lot of money into it,” he said. “If we rent it then it will be someone who needs office space, and there’s not a big demand.”
The Annex II and the Senior Center fall smack dab in the middle of the county campus. “We don’t have any construction or expansion plans where the building would be useful,” Schoemann said.
The timetable on demolition is around July or August this summer. The county has put out a request for proposal and officials from the city of West Bend are looking to get in the mix by collaborating on a demolition project of their own. The city is looking to raze a building, 145 Forest Avenue; the parcel used to be with the Gehl Company building which was razed several years ago.
Staff is currently exploring this project to see if it is something that may make sense and offer possible cost savings if all demolition bids cover both entities.
The July timeframe to raze the buildings would coincide with the June 30 date when the Senior Center moves to its new facility by The Threshold.
The early price tag to raze the two county buildings is roughly $400,000.
Drone on the loose
West Bend police said nobody was injured when a drone crashed Thursday afternoon, 5:55 p.m., in the 1600 block of E. Washington Street. Authorities said a 28-year-old man from Fond du Lac, was flying his new drone when he lost control of it in the wind.
The drone fell to the ground and crashed on the pavement in the left turn traffic lane of westbound East Washington Street, in front of a westbound motor vehicle.
The 30-year-old female driver from West Bend was unable to stop her vehicle before driving on top of the drone, which had the propeller blades still rotating.
Minor damage was caused to the motor vehicle and moderate damage was caused to the drone.
West Bend to host Tour of America’s Dairyland
This summer West Bend will host the largest competitive cycling event in the U.S. as the Tour of America’s Dairyland comes to town.
“They were looking for a new venue and one of the organizers is from this area, he approached the city and we got a sponsor and it’s locked in,” Kellie Boone, events manager with the Downtown West Bend Association, said.
The tour, dubbed Downtown West Bend Criterium presented by Delta Defense, consists of a series of bicycle races that run throughout the day. “The tour reportedly brings in over 7,000 people with competitive racers and spectators,” said Boone.
The city will host the tour Monday, June 20.
“They bring the race and we build a day of activities around it,” Boone said. “We’ll have a local kids bike race, a kids obstacle course, bounce houses, vendors and a lot of family entertainment.”
The bike racing will be on the south end of downtown. The course starts at the intersection of Main Street and Walnut. It heads up to Hickory over to Sixth Avenue to Walnut to Fifth Avenue to Chestnut and onto Main and it’ll loop from there.
“It’s something different from anything we’ve ever done,” said Boone. “It’ll be huge tourism for the city, it’ll be super exciting and it’s nice to bring something unique.”
Mayor Kraig Sadownikow echoed Boone’s enthusiasm and praised city tourism and special events coordinator Jackie Maynard for helping lock in the event. Races start at 11:30 a.m. and end at 8:30 p.m.
New tenants move into former Regal Ware Museum
A couple of local lawyers are taking over the building that was once home to the Regal Ware Museum. New tenants include Amy Salberg with the Salberg Law Firm and Sara Snyder with Snyder Law, LLC.
Snyder will move in Feb. 1 and Salberg will follow in May.
The red brick building, 18 E. Washington Street, was sold in July 2015 to Iron Ridge Properties LLC for $260,000. The building had been on the market since April 2014. It was initially priced at $630,000. The Washington County Historical Society put the building up for sale two years ago. WCHS executive director Patricia Lutz said it was “a business decision” as changes in the industry saw fewer grants, lower donations and a downturn in staff.
The museum also struggled with low attendance, growing maintenance, and a loss of revenue after Glacier Hills Credit Union moved out. Signs for the new law firm location were made by Sign Works of Hartford.
Property tax payment altered because of Sunday due date
The start of 2016 means a new two-payment plan for those paying their property taxes in installments in West Bend. The first payment is due in the coming weeks on Jan. 31. However, since that date falls on a Sunday the finance department said the payment can be made Monday, Feb. 1. There will be no interest or penalty.
he second and final installment for 2016 is due July 31, which is also a Sunday. That payment can be made Aug. 1 with no penalty or interest. Remember the second payment this year will be to the Washington County Treasurer. The finance department at City Hall is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
BG Decal & Apparel opens downtown WB
BG Decal & Apparel has opened in its new home in the Centrum building, 120 N. Main St., in downtown West Bend. The shop, owned by Bruce and Gena Biertzer, moved from Barton to Main Street in a space previously home to Mangold Clinic.
“I’m excited,” Gena Biertzer said. “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 is still getting settled in its new space. “We’re looking forward to the foot traffic and the Farmers’ Market, the parade, the restaurants and all the happenings,” she said.
Tim Leitheiser and new service department
Leitheiser Auto has added a service center. Bob Lane is the head mechanic. “He’s been working in the area for about 25 years,” said owner Tim Leitheiser. This past year Leitheiser moved his auto detailer to the Ace Canvas building on Highway 33.
The service center then set up shop in a two-bay facility behind the car dealership. Leitheiser has been on Highway P for 25 years. “People were asking for a repair shop,” said Leitheiser. “There’s nothing on this end of town for mechanical work and I thought it was a good idea.”
In October, Leitheiser made the investment in a couple of hoists, a compressor and new tools. “This is for anybody,” he said about the service center. “We don’t handle Porches or exotic vehicles but everything else Bob can turnaround in a day; we do oil, tires, transmission and full service. There’s not much he can’t do.”
Help available for winter heating bills
Help is available to families in Washington County that need assistance with winter heating bills. Kay Lucas is program support supervisor with Washington County Human Services Department which oversees the Energy Assistance Program.
“Even though we’ve had a rather warm winter so far, we still want people to apply,” Lucas said. “Income, home heating usage and family size will determine eligibility and the amount of benefit.”
Applicants for energy assistance need to meet with Lucas, if they’re receiving assistance for the first time. Mail-in applications require copies of a photo ID, social security cards for all household members and proof of income for the previous three months for all household members. Other information required involves a copy of a lease if renting and the current utility bill. For more information contact Lucas at 262-335-4677.
New parameters for WB Farmers’ Market
There was a bit of drama during Monday’s West Bend common council meeting as alderman split 4 – 4 on approving a permit for the Downtown West Bend Association and this year’s Farmers’ Market.
The issue involved setting up vendor tables at the south end of the market on Main Street. Dist. 2 alderman Steve Hutchins argued it wasn’t the best use of space considering parking was at a premium.
Mike Husar, owner of Husar’s House of Fine Diamonds, supports the Farmers’ Market, however he has concerns with parking and how the vendor booths are laid out, specifically on the south end of the market which is in front of his store.
“We know the market helps downtown and Husar’s is not against the market,” said Husar. “We are upset when the empty slots are not filled throughout the entire market and there are four tents on the south end.”
Husar said it would help if the empty spots would be filled from the north, moving south.
“This expanded zone in front of our store, many weeks does not need to be there,” he said. “The vendors can be placed in open spots on the north end and when all those spots are filled then start to grow south.
Prior to the start of Monday’s meeting, Husar distributed a letter to the council asking for cooperation on the layout of the market with consideration to business storefronts that are blocked.
“How can anyone honestly say that closing access to a business does not affect business? It does and it will,” wrote Husar. “I am asking our Council to consider a restriction on the DWBA, please require them to fill up the main area of the market first and then move vendors to the south as needed. We realize the Market is a good event for the community and we ….are asking for a balance help those that benefit from the market but also help those that it financially affects.”
Dist. 1 alderman John Butschlick, Dist. 2 alderman Steve Hutchins, and Dist. 8 alderman Roger Kist posed questions about the market layout and how empty vendor spots were handled. “I do attend all the Farmers’ Markets and I bring a notepad to mark the empty stalls,” said Kist.
Butschlick asked if was possible or if it was a hardship to arrange for vendors to fill open slots in the north end. “Can vendor No. 65 move to slot No. 45,” he said.
Boone said it was something that could be arranged.
In the high season, when the market is at peak, Husar said it’s very reasonable to have all the slots filled up and down the street. “But when vendors are sporadic and out of season, there’s no reason to have them blocking off the south end.”
When calling for the motion to approve the permit Butschlick read into the record that the Downtown West Bend Association would have to fill all empty spots to the north before moving the market to spaces to the south.
Kellie Boone, events manager for the DWBA, agreed to the motion and the permit was eventually approved. Mayor Kraig Sadownikow followed up the vote asking that “Kellie be conscientious of the ongoing saga that this continues to be and please take the comments to heart.”
Boone agreed she would work with the vendors to make sure the empty spots were adequately filled. The Downtown West Bend Farmers’ Market starts May 21.
Updates & tidbits
– Common Sense Citizens is hosting a question-and-answer forum starting at 7 p.m. on Jan. 27 at the West Bend Moose Lodge for five candidates running for the West Bend School Board. Candidates include incumbent Randy Marquardt, Jenn Donath, Tiffany Larson, Robert Miller, and Ken Schmidt.
-Lots have been drawn for the upcoming Feb. 16 primary for the West Bend School Board. Names will be listed on the ballot in the following order: Ken Schmidt, Jenn Donath, Randy Marquardt (inc), Robert Miller, and Tiffany Larson. Four will advance to the April 5 general election.
– Slinger High School made the AP School District Honor Roll according to the College Board. Only 425 school districts achieved this in the United States and Canada, which is probably around 3 percent of the total. Slinger High School was posted along with 32 other Wisconsin schools; Slinger fell between the District of Hudson and the Tomahawk School District. “Outstanding job by our teachers and students! Nice way to end our week,” said SHS Principal Phil Ourada
-Reporter Judy Steffes broke the story last Saturday about the Pizza Hut, 1610 W. Washington St., closing Feb. 1. The marketing director with Wisconsin Hospitality Group said Sunday they hope to rebuild in another location in the community before the end of the year. Company development managers have not yet selected a final site. Local real estate agents believe Pizza Hut will open somewhere on the south end of town near Paradise Drive and the new Meijer.
-An interior remodel is ahead this summer for the West Bend Walmart on Paradise. There’s also another franchise business within the store that’s leaving. The last day for the business is Jan. 29. In May 2015 the Subway restaurant left Walmart. That space was converted to an expanded liquor section.
-The winner of the $100,000 Holly Jolly Raffle is Mary Beth Stoffel of West Bend. The ticket was purchased at Pick ‘n Save south in West Bend. Stoffel had a 1:100,000 chance of winning.
–Living Word Lutheran High School in Jackson will get an interior remodel this summer as the gymnasium will be gets LED lighting, more seating, a refinished floor, and air-circulation fans.
– Holy Angels School in West Bend will be holding its Kindergarten RoundUp on Sunday, Jan. 31, at 10:45 a.m., in the Walnut Room of the school. Holy Angels offer a 3-year-old, 4-year-old, and 5-year-old program.
-The Slinger-Allenton Rotary’s Treasurer Darren Sievers recently presented a check to Ron Naab, a volunteer, with Washington County Heroin Task Force. The donation will be used by ELEVATE, a non-profit corporation, dedicated to help those with addictions along with supporting families of addicted family members. The money will help keep the Heroin Awareness Trailer in operation. Last year the trailer was in 11 parades and parked at locations throughout the county.
The 5th annual Randy and Janine Memorial Fish-O-Ree on Wallace Lake was a success. More than 50 fishermen braved the chilly but sunny weather last Saturday as they tested their luck.
Some of the more sizable catches included a 10-inch perch from Kevin Roman of West Bend, 11.5 crappie and a 9-inch blue gill from Jesse Arndt and an 8.5-inch blue gill from Chris H.
Money was raised for ABATE of Wisconsin, a motorcycle awareness group. The memorial fishery is dedicated to Randy Brossard and Janine Roman who were killed in May 2011 when their motorcycle struck a vehicle that pulled out in front of them on Highway 33 in West Bend.