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1056, 27 Feb 16

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Pizza Hut update

Received an update from the Wisconsin Hospitality Group regarding the latest on Pizza Hut in West Bend and there’s not much more information than last we spoke. “We are planning on rebuilding in West Bend in the near future,” said Denise Harris, director of marketing WHG.  “Our exact plans and location have not been finalized.”

Pizza Hut closed its store, 1610 W. Washington St., on Feb. 1. Harris said at the time, “It is a priority for the company to rebuild in the West Bend area before the end of 2016 and possibly open one of the new Pizza Hut restaurant concepts, which has been very well received in other communities. Company development managers are actively searching properties in the area, but have not yet selected a final site.

A search of ‘new restaurant concepts’ showed Pizza Hut was looking into “selling pizza by the slice” and “include the addition of fresh ingredients.”

Local real estate brokers have not heard of a new location for Pizza Hut but said “everything seems to be attracted to the south end of town on Paradise Drive.” Incoming stores include Kwik Trip and Meijer, with satellite stores possible around Meijer grocery. Early word is the city has reached out to Chick-fil-A, an American fast food restaurant chain specializing in chicken.

Superintendent search plays big part in April 5 election

The news spread quickly across the Internet on Wednesday afternoon as West Bend School Superintendent Ted Neitzke announced he would resign at the end of the year.

That change now places added importance on the April 5 election as four people are running for two seats on the West Bend School Board including Ken Schmidt, Tiffany Larson, Jennifer Donath and Randy Marquardt. The winners will be charged with the task of finding a new superintendent. Candidates were asked how they would approach the hiring process.

Ken Schmidt:  I have been involved in a search for replacing three college presidents and so I do have knowledge of the process of finding and retaining the services of a person for a high level academic administrative position.  I would suggest developing a list of desirable strengths and talents and hiring a search firm to generate a list of qualified candidates.  I have been involved in the process of choosing a new president for a college three times.  It is a process that requires patience, diligence and foresight.

Tiffany Larson:  Certainly the school board has an important job both in hiring a new high school principal and a superintendent. The individual (s) should have a strong moral code of conduct, positive experience in management, and meet all educational/professional requirements at the time of hire.  I trust all members of the school board respect the enormous responsibility and will do their due diligence to attract candidates with exceptional qualifications, integrity, and complete investment in West Bend schools and the surrounding community.

Jenn Donath:  Because Mr. Greymont is also leaving, I see the benefits of filling at least one position (high school principal or district superintendent) from within to make the adjustment period easier. However, there are also benefits to having an outsider’s perspective and being open to change. The new superintendent will have the power to bring significant changes in our District, and that is why it is essential to conduct a search that invites qualified people from both inside and outside of the District to apply.

Randy Marquardt:  I’m very disappointed and a little angry that we’ve driven another tremendous asset out of this district with our negativity and I’m frustrated with it all. We will be leading as a board next week to talk about what’s next.

Order of names on ballot for April 5 WB school board race

This week West Bend School Board Vice President Bart Williams and Board Clerk Therese Sizer drew names of how the candidates will be listed on the April 5 ballot. The order: Ken Schmidt, Tiffany Larson, Jenn Donath, Randy Marquardt.

Attempt to save Washington County Annex II fails

On January 23, reporter Judy Steffes broke the story about plans to raze Washington County’s Annex II and the building housing the County Senior Center.

“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.”

Following the story there was some interest in saving the buildings. The property has a strong history in the community; years ago the building was the “asylum for the chronic insane.”

Shortly after the story ran Kevin Zimmer toured the Annex II with an architect. Zimmer was set to appear before the Washington County Executive Committee this week to discuss possibly saving the buildings. However on Feb. 16, Zimmer received a letter from County Board Chairman Herb Tennies sealing the fate on the structures.

Mr. Zimmer,

County Administrator Schoemann has brought your interest in Annex II and the Senior Center to my attention.  The County has discussed and approved the current policy direction to demolish the buildings on numerous occasions and will continue to move this project forward in 2016.

As you know, the buildings reside in the center of the County’s southern campus within very close proximity to the County’s 24/7 nursing home.  The buildings and potential uses for the County were discussed in detail as part of the County’s 2009 Master planning process.

Both the Senior Center and Annex II buildings received poor ratings in the facility conditions assessment due to high costs of updating the existing structures.  With the copy center relocating to the new Administrative Office Building, the Long Term Master Plan recommends demolishing the two buildings allowing for future expansion of the Samaritan Senior Housing complex and parking. ~Master Plan Report by Potter Lawson, Inc.

The overall County direction paired with the ongoing costs associated with maintaining these buildings, led to the identification and approval of the building demolition project last year.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me directly.

Sincerely,  Herb Tennies, County Board Chair

Quinn Skidmore to DC

West Bend High School senior Quinn Skidmore is in Washington D.C. this weekend as part of the finals for the Voice of Democracy essay contest.  Skidmore filed this piece on her journey so far and what’s ahead.

The Voice of Democracy is a speech competition offered by the VFW for all high school students.

To get to the national level, a participant must win first place at the local, district, and state competitions. Each of the 50 state winners receives an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. at the beginning of March. During this trip, there is a ceremony in which the grand champion is announced. The grand prize is a $30,000 scholarship.

This year, the prompt was “My Vision for America.” With the upcoming presidential election, I thought it would be unique to write my speech from the perspective of a newly elected United States President.

I am the first West Bend student to win this competition at the state level. I leave for Washington, D.C. on Saturday.  The judging will be announced Monday night. As one of 54 competitors, I feel like I have a shot at placing high in the ranking. Regardless of how well I do in the national competition, I am proud to represent the state of Wisconsin and the West Bend School District.

I have so many people to thank for this opportunity. I greatly respect and admire John and Donna Kleinmaus.

They have encouraged and supported me since I first entered the Patriot’s Pen competition in 7th grade. Without their hard work and dedication to the community I would not be a contender in the national competition.

I am also grateful to the West Bend community. I am thankful for the support and love I have received from my family and friends. I am thankful for Mr. Neitzke’s invitation to give my speech at a local school board meeting. I am thankful for the West Bend School District for providing me with the education and skills that have contributed to my writing success.

Pooch Palace opens today in new location

Pooch Palace has found a new home at 821 S. Main Street. Owner Dawn Dunker moved her dog grooming salon about 100 feet around the corner from her previous location in the Decorah Shopping Center.

Pooch Palace is just to the south of Jeff’s Spirits on Main in the spot formerly home to Snap Fitness. The new location features a large grooming area, bathing room, kennels and tons of space for a new doggy daycare. Owner Dunker established Pooch Palace in 1996. She said the move was a lot of work but worth it. “There were a lot of obstacles to overcome but everybody’s been so supportive,” said Dunker. New signs were put in place on Friday afternoon by Kruepke Printing Inc. Pooch Palace opens at 8 a.m.  More information is available by at

Delta Defense rolls out new design plans this week

A couple developments will be addressed during Tuesday’s Plan Commission meeting in West Bend. Delta Defense, which is building a new corporate headquarters in West Bend’s Corporate Center, will present a new site plan layout. The initial site plans were approved at the Sept. 1, 2015 Plan Commission meeting. The new design is a bit more scaled back from the initial presentation.

A representative from Meijer Stores will also request changes to the certified survey map at 2180 S. Main Street. Meijer is asking to create two lots and one outlot.

Round two for Smokin Ink as a new agent is applying for a conditional use permit for a tattoo and body piercing establishment, 162 S. Main Street. The last time Travis Nyholm applied and he was turned down. The new agent is Christina Sergeant of West Bend.

Property sales

A couple of business buildings on S. Main Street in West Bend have changed hands. The National Tire & Battery building was sold Feb. 16, 2016. Blueroad Net Lease LLC bought the property from Brauvin Net Lease LLC for $1,253,249.  Just down the street Neil Peterson sold the West Bend Dental Center building to ZTM Properties LLC for $720,000. That sale was also completed Feb. 16, 2016

New treasurer of Gridiron

Randy Gromowski is the new treasurer or the West Bend Gridiron Club. Gromowski replaces Dave Wolf who held the position for seven years and resigned for health reasons. The Gridiron raised over $500,000 in support of West Bend athletics. Gromowski is the father of Luke Gromowski, a popular West High School athlete who died in an automobile accident in November 2014.  The Gridiron Club sponsors the Luke Gromowski Ironman Scholarship.

Smarty pants chess club at St. Frances Cabrini

The Saint Frances Cabrini Chess Club attended the Nicolet High School tournament last weekend. Two students were in the K6 division (4th-6th grade), and seven were in the K3 division (K5-3rd grade). Aaron Ruplinger won 1st place in the K6 division individually. Ruplinger has been participating in chess tournaments since the beginning of the season and holds one of the top seats in his division in the WI Scholastic Chess in southeastern Wisconsin. Cassie Erato is the coach and coordinator of this program for Saint Frances Cabrini.

Amazing Ride for Alzheimer’s wins national recognition

The Amazing Ride for Alzheimer’s, an annual bicycle tour I take to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s, has won national recognition. LeadingAge, an association of 6,000 not-for-profit organizations dedicated to making America a better place to grow old, is presenting me with the Exceptional Friend or Family Caregiver Award during its Great Minds Gala on March 15 in Washington D.C.  Cedar Community recently published information in its Cedar Giving mailing. “Judy’s energy and dedication to her father’s care in the face of Alzheimer’s has helped inspire an entire community through her storytelling and international bike trips.”

Updates & tidbits

Regal Ware, Inc. awarded the 2016 J.O. Reigle Scholarships to Lindsey Du Charme and Alexandra Krueger, seniors at Kewaskum High School. The $18,000 scholarships are awarded annually and provide each student $4,500 per year toward a 4-year college program.

Washington County has an accepted low bid from Design 2 Construct for the new Silver Lining Amphitheater.  The new stage is being funded by a $600,000 donation from West Bend Mutual Insurance. Construction at the Fair Park is expected to begin in mid-March.

– The 29th annual Washington County Breakfast on the Farm is set for June 11 at Level Acres Dairy on County Highway S in Hartford. The event includes barn tours, an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, free wagon rides and an antique tractor display. Advance tickets are $6 and children 3 and under are free.

-More than 20 people walked through an open house at the Albrecht Free Clinic, 908 W. Washington St., on Wednesday evening. Many were impressed with the layout of the clinic, the added dental service and the brilliant painting in the lobby by artist Dan Gerhartz of Kewaskum.

-St. Boniface seventh grader Elliot Lehman of Germantown repeated as the champion of this year’s Lumen Alliance Spelling Bee. Lehman correctly spelled etymology and hemorrhage to claim the top spot. Holy Angel’s eighth grader Sam Cooley took second place honors.

Common Sense Citizens of Washington County will host a General Election school board candidate forum March 23. The public is invited to submit questions to CSC president Chris Jenkins at

– Lee and Mary Krueger tapped 80 maple trees at their home on Little Cedar Lake this week after eight grandkids showed up to help. “Weather this week looks to be too cold but, on warmer days (mid-30s and above) we’ll tap the 150 remaining trees and get all the pipes and tubing set up,” said Krueger.  By mid week they had 200 trees tapped and gathered 200 gallons of sap.

-There’s a free seminar Tuesday, March 1 at 7 p.m. on ‘How to Grow a Champion Tree.’ Guest speaker will be Dave Scharfenberger, president of Wachtel Tree Service in Merton and a Board Certified Master Arborist. The event at West Bend City Hall is sponsored by Roots & Branches.

The Kettle Moraine YMCA’s gymnastics team is hosting a gymnastics meet Feb. 27-28. Nearly 500 gymnasts from throughout Wisconsin will compete in USAG Levels 1 – 9 and xcels. Competitors as young as 5 years old begin at 8 a.m. The event runs throughout the weekend.

-One of the more popular annual events is this week at Decorah Elementary as second graders put on a circus, March 3 at 6:30 p.m. to show off what they learned about balance and movement in phy ed. Students will dress as circus performers and demonstrate their skills for an audience. The event is coordinated by phy-ed teacher Deanne Seaman with support from the art teacher for props and decorations and second grade teachers to organize the acts.

-You can find all the stories from Around the Bend by Judy Steffes posted seven days a week at

History photo Barton

Today’s circa 1940’s photo of Main Street Barton is courtesy Darren Schacht with a hat tip to Terry Becker who notes Frank’s Meat Market, Pfeiffer’s General Store, Marv’s Drug Store, Kapfer & Gehl Furniture / Funeral Home. Frank and LaVerne Polyak operated Frank’s Meat Market in Barton for over 35 years. LaVerne “Lovey” continued to operate the market for several years after Frank’s death June 8, 1987. LaVerne passed in 2000. A U.S. Census report from1930 shows Henry “Laddie” Mitter and his wife Caroline settled in the former Village of Barton in 1926 and operated Mitter’s Meat Market until retiring in 1955.  Mitter and his wife bought the building in the 1930s and the Mitter family ran several butcher shops in the village including one with Frank Polyak.Circa 1940 Frank's Meat Market, Pfeiffer's General Store,  Marv'd Drug Store, Kapfer & Gehl Furniture Funeral Home


1056, 27 February 2016

1 Comment

  1. Steve Austin

    Liked the Barton main street photo. Can recall going to West Bend Tropical Fish and Pet (at a building on left in photo) there a few times as a kid. Great store and owners back in the day.

    Interesting on Chik-Fil-A. Think a WB location would clean up. People who haven’t had those sandwiches don’t know what they are missing. Would easily be the most popular fast food place in WB area.

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