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1725, 05 Mar 16

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

CPR training saves YMCA member

Two weeks ago Steve Riechers, 68, suffered a massive heart attack at the Kettle Moraine YMCA.  This week he returned to meet the staff who saved his life.

The 68-year-old from West Bend is the epitome of health. He worked out twice a day and on Feb. 16 was brought down by a heart attack in the locker room at the Y. “I don’t remember anything from that day,” said Riechers.

Jenny Zaskowski, director of donor development at the YMCA, greeted Riechers and said she did remember the day, quite clearly. “I was leaving for the evening and I heard a faint voice of someone saying there’s someone downstairs who is unresponsive,” Zaskowski said. “I dropped my coat and purse and ran. We realized we needed a team to help.”

Two trainers were flagged. Chris Delcamp administered chest compressions while Jen Robertson performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The pair performed partner CPR until emergency crews arrived. Riechers was admitted to Froedtert Hospital where he eventually underwent a series of heart bypasses.

“You’re just heroes,” said Cheryl Touchett the life partner of Riechers. “This is just a testament on how brave these people are who acted so immediately. How important it is for people to learn CPR.”

During the gathering Wednesday, Riechers shook hands and received hugs from his rescuers.

“Nice to meet you under different circumstances,” said Delcamp, 46, personal trainer. “To actually see him as a person; before I hadn’t even heard his voice and now it feels like what we did was even more important.”

Robertson said knowing CPR makes you more aware and you’re not afraid to step in and help

“Once you’ve got it in your head you just jump in and you know you’ve gotta keep going with it,” she said.  “It’s easy to learn and it’s easy to put into practice.”

Anna Hofmann is building supervisor at the Y. “I’ve worked here for two years and the Y makes CPR a requirement,” she said. “I’m happy I know it so I can be of assistance in situations like these.”

The Y offers CPR training classes. “The reality is if we were all just trained, we can put our skills into action,” said Zaskowski. “It was a team effort and we’re very grateful the Y lets us have CPR training; it makes a difference.”

Riechers said he was thankful for the quick action. “I have a second lease on life,” he said. “I’ll do much the same as before; I’m still working but I’ll appreciate my grandchildren more.”

Remodel underway at Paradise Theatre

A major remodel is underway at the Paradise Theatre, 2014 Parkway Drive in West Bend, as the new operations manager, Boppa LLC, took over Monday.

Spokesman Troy Hanson said Boppa LLC, has purchased the equipment of Paradise Theatre LLC effective February 29, 2016.  “The group is taking over the operations of the theatre and changing the name to West Bend Cinema,” Hanson said. “The theatre will be closed immediately as renovations and an extensive cleaning get underway.”

The Paradise Theatre closed Feb. 29 as a major renovation got underway; upgrades are being made to the bathrooms, carpet, paint, lighting, and popcorn machine.

“In the coming months new seating will be installed and outdoor updates, including new signage, will be made by June,” said Hanson. “Samples of the new seats will be on display in the theatre lobby.”

The Paradise Theatre opened in December 1994. Over the years improvements included changing from a 35-millimeter film system to high-end Christie Digital Projectors with an injector INS library system and Dolby-digital stereo; two screens were also dedicated to 3D technology.

Discussions regarding a change in ownership of the theatre began late in 2015; the new owners are now working to win back an audience that has since drifted south to theaters in Milwaukee and Ozaukee Counties.  “The new owners also pledge to insure customer satisfaction by conducting weekly onsite inspections,” said Hanson. “You could call it a ‘friendliness and cleanliness campaign.'”

As a commitment to the community, the owners group will also honor Paradise Theatre gift cards sold in the past six months.

New owners will also feature specials four nights a week including ‘Date Night Thursdays’ where there will be a newly-expanded beverage menu including beer and wine.

Prices will also be reduced across the board for movies and concessions. A grand re-opening at the new West Bend Cinema will be March 18. The Paradise Theatre was previously owned by Paradise Theatre LLC.

Pizza Hut update – “employees wouldn’t know our plans”

Shortly after posting the Pizza Hut update last week I received a message that someone claimed Pizza Hut would stay at its location on W. Washington Street. The person indicated a family member worked at the restaurant and that’s how they knew.

Denise Harris is director of marketing at Wisconsin Hospitality Group. “Nothing is confirmed. The employees would not know our plans at this point,” said Harris.  Pizza Hut in West Bend closed in February 2016. Harris said they are looking for a new location in town.

Barb Justman has another fire scare

There was a fire call around 9 a.m. Monday at 448 S. Main Street in West Bend. It was a two-story rental on the corner of Main and Maple.

Property owner Barb Justman fielded the call at home. “Bob across the street at Hoffert’s service station plays pranks on me,” she said. “He said, BJ you gotta come down here there’s a fire and I was like yeah right.”

In August 2009 Justman stood across Main Street in the parking lot at Hoffert’s service station and watched as her three-story building next door to the duplex went up in flames.

There were huge plumes of smoke that could be seen for miles as fire fighters on ladders worked to knock down the flames.

Now, almost seven years later, the building next door to Justman’s salon was on fire. “We bought it in 1985,” said Justman a treasure of this community who lives by the Rotarian creed, ‘service before self.’

“I normally take my time getting dressed on Mondays but after Bob called he said, ‘Fer real – it’s next door’ and I put on my shoes and hit the door,” Justman said.

The fire at 448 S. Main Street started in an exhaust fan. “There was a bird’s nest in there,” said upstairs tenant Kraig Larsen.

Justman was unclear if a bird brought a cigarette to the nest or if it had pecked at the wires and that’s what sparked the fire. By the time she arrived there were about four cop cars and the road was blocked.  “The tenants were all shook up and they were crying and we had to turn off the power,” said Justman. “I was more caring for them than I thought about myself.”

West Bend fire fighters were on scene about three hours. Most of the visible damage is to the west side of the building. “It took a chunk out of the fascia and it looks like the porch has to be replaced,” she said. “The upstairs tenant was so nice – he only has a one-bedroom apartment but he told the four people downstairs that if they needed a place he could make room.”

Quinn Skidmore secures $2,000 scholarship

West Bend West High School senior Quinn Skidmore will come home with a $2,000 scholarship she won during the national competition of the VFW Voice of Democracy essay contest.

“I got 17th place for my speech,” said Skidmore from the banquet in Washington D.C.  “Out of 40,000 students I am definitely pleased!”

Skidmore competed at the national level against 54 finalists. She had taken first place at the local, district, and state competitions. This year’s essay topic was “My Vision for America.” With the upcoming presidential election, Skidmore wrote from the perspective of a newly elected United States President.

John Kleinmaus, Commander of VFW Post 1393 in West Bend, oversees the local Voice of Democracy contest. He and his wife Donna traveled to D.C. to be in attendance with Skidmore.

“It was an exciting evening and I know Quinn was very happy to be involved with the program,” said Kleinmaus. “What a special night; $153,000 in scholarships given to students from every state in the union. It was great to be there and see Quinn represent our city and our state. We are so proud of Quinn.”

Safety first on Highway 45 and H in Kewaskum

A safety upgrade at the intersection of Highway 45 and County Highway H east; the intersection is just south of Kewaskum. This week crews worked to install suspended traffic signals over the roadway. Kewaskum Village administrator Matt Heiser said a “private power company was doing some work on their own utility.” The signals are now more visible to oncoming traffic. That intersection, which includes a turn onto Badger Road, has been the site of a number of severe accidents over the years.

Jeff Klotz buys Piggly Wiggly in Fond du Lac

Hat tip to Bob Bonenfant who broke the story this week Klotz’s Piggly Wiggly is expanding. Store owner Jeff Klotz is purchasing a third store in Fond du Lac, 131 University Drive. Klotz will officially take over Sunday, April 10. “We’ll retain most of the current staff in Fond du Lac and add more employees to get the store up to an adequate staffing level,” he said. “Some West Bend employees will also transfer to the new location.”  Klotz said he took advantage of the opportunity to add another store because he wanted to give some existing employees an opportunity to advance. Klotz owns Piggly Wiggly in West Bend and Campbellsport.

Property updates

The former Graymont building, 206 N. Sixth Avenue in West Bend, has finally hit the real estate market. The property is formerly home to Western Lime Corporation. It changed to Graymont in April 2012 after the company moved from a small office above the Husar building.

Last April, Graymont moved across the street to 215 N. Main Street, formerly the Ziegler building.  The property at 206 N. Sixth Ave. was built in 1961, updated in 1994, is 7,500 square feet and is listed by agent Jodi Brandt from RSM Property Management & Realty at $495,000.

Student from Addison Elementary tours D.C.

Aidan Abbott of West Bend and his family met with legislators on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. this week as lawmakers recognized Rare Disease Week. Becky Abbott said her 10-year-old son Aidan has a rare disease called Ectodermal Dysplasia. “We were able to visit the National Institutes of health in Bethesda Maryland to see the portrait of Aidan in the Beyond the Diagnosis Exhibit,” said Abbott. “Aidan shared his story with the legislators as well as Speaker Paul Ryan at Capitol Hill. It was a great experience and he has been incredibly brave.” Last October Aidan was featured in an article in the Boston Globe as it covered the Beyond the Diagnosis exhibit by Rare Disease United Foundation.

The Candy Tree in Kewaskum on the move

The Candy Tree in Kewaskum is moving. The store is relocating from 230 Main Street to 1302 Fond Du Lac Avenue, in the old Bartelt Insurance Agency. The move is expected sometime later this month as renovations at the new site are underway.  Chris Jung started The Candy Tree in 2002. Monica Klippel and her sister Doris Schladweiler took over in 2013.

Updates & tidbits

The Jackson Police and Fire Commission swore in Duane Hafemeister this week as the newly appointed Interim Chief. Hafemeister has been a member of the department for over two decades. “I am confident Duane will competently fill that role and he will receive the support of all of the members of the JFD during the transition to a new full-time chief,” Village Administrator John Walther said. There will be a ceremonial swearing-in for Hafemeister Tuesday, March 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the Village Hall.

-Preparations will begin Friday for the 2016 Mile of Art as businesses in downtown West Bend help showcase art work by students in the West Bend School District. The drawings and paintings and crafts will be on display in storefront windows from March 11 – 24.

There will be some familiar faces on TMJ-4’s Morning Blend on Friday, March 11 as Ann Marie Craig, owner of Century Farmhouse Soaps, is the featured guest. Show airs at 9 a.m.

-Truck Outfitters, 1325 S. Main St. in West Bend, will have a grand opening of its new showroom March 7 – 19. Owner Douglas Geracie moved one store north in February to take advantage of a bigger showroom. Truck Outfitters is open M-F 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sat. 8 – Noon.

-Green Bay Packer legend Paul Hornung is coming to West Bend on March 12. He will be part of a collector card show and autograph session at the West Bend Moose Lodge. The show will run from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. and the ‘Golden Boy,’ will be on site for autographs around 10:30 a.m.

– The Washington County Slayers are recruiting for the 2016 season. There will be a team signing day and meeting Saturday, March 12 at 2 p.m. at Pioneer Bowl in Richfield.

-The grand opening is today of Mind the Gap, 121 S. Main Street in West Bend. The British import store is hosting a Marmite challenge. Marmite is a salty, yeasty spread normally eaten in small quantities. Let’s say it’s an acquired taste. The challenge starts at 10 a.m.

– Registration for West Bend Youth Football League is Tuesday, March 15 at 1248 Lang St. starting at 5:30 p.m. The WBYFO is a tackle football league for 5th – 8th graders in the West Bend School District.  More information at

– The Holy Angels students of the Month for February include 6th grader Isaac Fichtner, 7th grader Elizabeth Meurer, and 8th grader Katelyn Matenaer.

– Chix 4 a Cause LTD is throwing down a unique challenge. “I want the entire community involved in showing support for cancer patients by temporarily dying or streaking their hair purple or adding a purple hair extension,” said Chix founder and CEO Jillian Clark. Photos can be posted on a special Facebook page and/or make a financial contribution to benefit Chix 4 a Cause’s Gifts of Love program at”

-Sunday, March 6 is the 1-year anniversary of the fire at Meadowbrook Orchard that claimed more than 90 animals and leveled his barn on Mile View Road. Owner Rick Takacs is taking time this week to say thanks to everyone who helped during and after the fire.

-The 34th annual West Bend Kiwanis Pancake sausage brunch is 8 a.m. – noon on Saturday, March 19 at the Washington County Fair Park Pavilion. Bring the kids and meet the Easter Bunny. Tickets are $6 for adults and $3.50 for kids.

Remembering Joe Barbercheck – Pizza Joe

There were memories of good food and good times at the memorial service Thursday for Joe Barbercheck, owner of Pizza Joe’s in Barton. “When we moved to Wisconsin we were actually Papa Joes,” said Mark Barbercheck, son of Joe. “They sent us a letter.”

Mark said if you look closely at the old sign that hung outside the business on Barton Avenue you can see it’s made up of three boards. “I said let’s just make it Pizza Joe’s and we replaced the boards and changed it from Papa to Pizza.”

Teaming up with his father, Mark said he got his start in the pizza business when he was in 6th grade and they were living in Indiana.  “At that time we were Gambie’s Pizza and we were located in Rensselaer,” he said.

Things weren’t happening for the Barbercheck family in Indiana. They were set to move to Colorado but had to pick up their sister Dawn at camp near Mauthe Lake. “We came through here and liked the area and ended up moving here instead,” said Mark.

Pizza Joe’s first opened in Kewaskum, 250 Main St., where Michaleno’s Pizzeria currently is located. “That was 1976,” said Mark.  “We moved here the week before the ice storm and everybody got so sick.”

The pizza shop eventually moved to Barton Avenue. “A bigger market,” said Mark.

Pizza Joe’s specialized in carry-out pizzas and subs. “When we opened the sit down our lasagna was pretty big,” he said.

Darlene LeRoy of West Bend said Joe Barbercheck was a very close personal friend for almost 30 years.

“Both our daughter’s first jobs were at his restaurant and that is how we became friends,” she said. “He was a very fair and kind boss, always had a way to get everyone to do the best with a firm, yet loving discipline. He cared about everyone who worked for him and he respected him for that.

A kind and generous friend, LeRoy said Joe was happiest serving food and he took great pride in everything he made. “His menu went far beyond pizza,” she said. “He made a wonderful Italian egg roll, a small pizza folded in half and deep fried, garlic bread, plus a huge chicken sandwich and great California burger.

“His pizza was perfect and broasted chicken, the best in town, also the best homemade German potato salad. He also made apple strudel on occasion which was a great treat.”

During his career Barbercheck opened six restaurants. Every one of those restaurants closed after he sold out to new owners. There was a fire at Pizza Joe’s in Barton in 1980. Barbercheck sold the restaurant after he was diagnosed with terminal throat cancer. He bought it back about three years later. The last Pizza Joe’s changed to Just Joe’s and was at 1726 Barton Ave., where Maricio’s is now.

Joe ran the pizza business upstairs and Fast Eddy’s tavern was in the lower level.

Joseph P. (Pizza Joe) Barbercheck passed away unexpectedly at his home on Friday, Feb. 26, 2016. He was 77.

History photo of Pizza Joe’s

A circa 1977 photo, courtesy Terry Becker, of Pizza Joe’s when it was on Barton Avenue.

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Pizza Joe's circa 1977 One of Barton's original buildings,  it was built in 1850 as a general store by John Reisse. photo courtesy  Wisconsin Historical Society


1725, 05 March 2016


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