Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...


Everything but tech support.

1157, 07 May 16

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Sobelman’s to open in Cedar Creek  

There was a giddy atmosphere at the former Schwai’s in Cedar Creek as Dave Sobelman and his franchisee Travis Dowden, 30, met the majority of the Schwai family.

“This is phenomenal,” said Pat Puestow, part of the Schwai family who grew up in the building.

On Friday Sobelman, owner of Sobelman’s Pub & Grill, joined building owners Kevin and Amy Zimmer and a handful of Schwais to make the official announcement that the Milwaukee-based restaurant chain would be leasing the building and opening a restaurant in Cedar Creek this summer.

Sobelman’s is known for its award-winning burgers and Bloody Marys.

“I feel like I won the lottery,” said Zimmer.

For nearly two years the Zimmers have been working to upgrade the building that dates to the 1800s and was home to three generations of Schwai’s.

As part of the Sobelman’s announcement there was also a casual ceremony to replant a time capsule into the bones of the building.

Franchisee Dowden, dressed in a black polo shirt, was reveling in the hype and enthusiasm.

“My partner Ben Anderson and I have both been in the corporate world and we didn’t see ourselves there long term – we wanted to do something different,” Dowden said. “We know the Sobelman’s brand and we saw Dave was going to be franchising and we thought it would be an interesting opportunity.”

For the past six months Dowden, his wife and Anderson have been working alongside Sobelman and learning the business.  “It’s a great brand, a great opportunity and I’m so excited to be expanding into Washington County.”

Adam D. Williquette, Senior Vice President of Anderson Commercial Group was the real estate leasing agent responsible for solidifying the deal.

The grand opening is expected in a couple of months, possibly July, as the remodel of the former Schwai’s is completed.

Jam For Kids Music Fest takes a break

After 40 years in Washington County the Memorial Day tradition of Jam For Kids Music Fest is taking a break.

“We’re in a stage of reform,” said longtime organizer and volunteer Mary Fiegel.  “We’ve been successful for 40 years and things are changing and we’re just taking a year off during this revision process.”

Jam for Kids started May 3, 1974 after Mike Engeleiter, Bob Cross, Bob Mueller and Vern Klemme approached Pat Czerniak and Mary Fiegel about having a music fest fund raiser for cognitively disabled athletes.

The name “Jam For Kids” was created as most of the athletes were children who participated in team sports through the West Bend Recreation Department.

The first Jam For Kids was held in 1975 at Mike’s Village Inn on the corner of North Main Street and Park Avenue.

From 1976-1994, the music fest was held at several locations including the Holiday Inn (currently Pick n’ Save north), Bob’s Starlite Inn, and Our Place Tavern.

Jam For Kids moved to Regner Park in West Bend in 1995 and in 2012 it relocated to Jug’s Hitching Post in Kohlsville.

“I’m hopeful we’ll come back bigger and stronger,” Fiegel said. “Our break will not hinder the financing of Special Olympic programs in this area.”

Fiegel said Jam may create something for this fall.  We’ll keep you posted.

Successful Shred Fest at Thrivent Financial

A total of 11,400 pounds of paper were shredded during the first Shred Fest at Thrivent Financial in West Bend. Money and donations were raised for Support the Troops Wisconsin and according to LeAnn Boudwine $2095.70 was raised. “Thank you to Thrivent for paying for the shredding truck, donuts and coffee,” said Boudwine.

Hartford manager receives Ray Kroc Award  

Some high praise for Hartford McDonald’s manager Jon Schmidt who was recently recognized as one of 340 top restaurant managers to receive the 2016 Ray Kroc Award.

“There’s no higher honor and it’s pretty cool to win it,” said Schmidt.

Selected from more than 36,000 restaurants, Schmidt represents the top 1 percent of McDonald’s restaurant managers from around the world. The award, named after McDonald’s Corporation founder Ray Kroc, “recognizes hardworking restaurant managers who deliver superior results in team performance and operational excellence.”

Schmidt, 47, started his career at McDonald’s when he was 16 years old and a student at Slinger High School. “I worked the front counter and in the kitchen and one of the things on the menu was the McDLT,” he said. “It was packaging that had the hot side hot and the cold side cold. That was a big deal when I was in high school.”

Schmidt said the other thing that was very hard to forget was the blue polyester uniform. “It had a big floppy collar and we wore paper hats,” said Schmidt. “I don’t miss that at all.”

In 1990 when Steve Kilian purchased a series of McDonald’s in the area Schmidt interviewed for a position and he’s climbed the ladder ever since. Schmidt is the seventh Ray Kroc winner in the Steve Kilian franchise.

“Jon is an incredible leader,” said Steve Kilian Jr. “He really cares about all the people he works with and tries to help them in any way he can and he loves the McDonald’s brand.”

“I’m proud to work here,” said Schmidt. “We have a great group of employees that work really hard and there are some long-term people who are very loyal and I wouldn’t be where I am today without their help.”

Schmidt credited the management team and its loyalty for helping him get to where he is today. “We have had a lot of excellent managers who are now at other McDonald’s restaurants who started with us and worked hard and advanced their own careers,” Schmidt said. “Our Administrative Assistant and my wife, Lisa Schmidt is integral to any success we have had and she doesn’t get enough credit. All of our kids have worked there and three of them Allen, Brittany, and Jamie have been managers. Jamie still works with us and does an outstanding job. Thanks to Kilian Management for pushing us to be the best!”

Ray Kroc Awards were distributed during the McDonald’s 2016 Worldwide Convention on April 13, 2016 in Orlando, Florida.

Nearly 400 vehicles at Uptown in Slinger damaged during hail storm

Neighbors across Washington County will recall that brief hail storm that pushed through the area Monday, April 25. It was quick and in a narrow alley that hit parts of Hartford, Slinger, and West Bend but then left some parts of the community untouched.

One area that sustained quite a bit of damage was Uptown Chrysler Jeep, 1111 E. Commerce Blvd. in Slinger.  “We all just stared out the windows and our hearts just sank,” said new car sales manager Josh Schumacher.  “My quote on my video was ‘This is not good.’ It’s a feeling I never want to feel again I’ll tell you that.”

Schumacher said they watched the storm come in around 4 p.m. and the next thing they knew the pea-sized hail turned to golf-ball sized hail. “Watching your inventory get damaged and there’s nothing you can do – that’s a horrible feeling,” he said.

About 350 vehicles, new and used were damaged. “Customers who were in for service had their vehicles damaged and vehicles belonging to staff were also damaged,” he said.

Uptown has been in business 70 years and this is only the second time the dealership has had to handle something like this. There were meetings last week and on Monday as the management devised a plan on how to handle the situation.

“Uptown’s image has always been to be straight forward and we just figured it would be better to get them fixed and give hail discounts,” Schumacher said.  “It’ll save people money and they’re going to get a car as close to new as we can make it.”

Within the next 30 – 45 days all the vehicles are expected to be fixed. “If someone wants a certain vehicle as is, we’ll work with them on the price,” he said.

Because all vehicles sustained a different amount of damage, Schumacher was unable to put a dollar figure on the amount of savings other than to say the damaged vehicles will be “deeply discounted.”  Watch for details on Uptowns “Hail Sale” to be posted in the coming weeks at

Old Settlers’ Park to receive new signage

Here’s a first look at the new signs that will be going up at Old Settlers’ Park in downtown West Bend. There will also be signs on the Recognition Wall to thank organizations in the community for their support.

Among the names you’ll see include the Rotary Club of West Bend, Johnson’s Nursery, Roots & Branches, Prudence Pick Hway, West Bend Germanfest Volunteers, Downtown West Bend Association, West Bend Business Improvement District, Larosa Landscape Company, Leadership West Bend, and In Memory of Mike Sheehy. The grand reopening of Old Settlers’ Park is June 1.

Updates & tidbits

-Historic Barton Business Association is hosting a Brat Fry at The Sign Shop on May 7. Live music will be provided by Mike Sipin and the gang.

-The Brent Schultz Memorial fundraiser is today, Saturday, May 7 at the New Fane Sportsman’s Club, N829 County Road G, Campbellsport. Schultz, 16, was killed in an accident June 2014. Schultz was an FFA officer and participated in agri-science events. All money raised will go toward a future greenhouse at Kewaskum High School.

– Downtown West Bend’s ArtWalk is Saturday May 14 with a sneak peek of the 2016 banners from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. at the Museum of Wisconsin Art. The event will feature free admission to MOWA, a silent auction of banners and live music. The Banner Art Event features hand-painted banners by local artists that will create an outdoor gallery on the streets of Downtown West Bend. The banners hang on the light poles of Main Street and Sixth Avenue from May through October. Pamphlets will be available at downtown businesses offering a synopsis of the banners.

-West Bend band director Mrs. Baumann-Schuppel is retiring and her last concert is Wednesday, May 11, at 6 p.m. in the Silverbrook gym. Former students, band parents and even community members who weren’t personally connected to the band family are welcome.

– There will be a ribbon cutting at Jackson Youth Baseball Association’s new T-ball diamond at our Jackson Town Hall Complex at 6 p.m. Tuesday May 10.

Reflecting on judo career of Lynn Roethke

The West Bend Judo Club hosts its 44th annual tournament today, May 7, at UW-Washington County. Judo instructor, Jon Sanfilippo will make a special presentation to Lynn Roethke, two-time Olympian and 1988 Silver medalist.

Roethke was recently promoted to 8th degree Black Belt by USA Judo. At 55 years old, she will be the youngest Judoka promoted to that rank and also becomes the highest woman Judoka currently alive in the U.S.

The West Bend Judo Club present a set of 3 real Samurai Swords to show a direct connection of Judo to its martial warrior roots of Japan.

Exclusive note from Jon Sanfilippo as he submitted photos of himself and Roethke.

The first one is when Lynn returned from the 1988 Olympics with her Silver medal. She came back to her home Judo club and placed her medal around my neck as a thank you for all we had done together as student and coach in Judo.

Lynn was the first U.S. woman to ever win an Olympic Judo Medal. The second picture is the most recent I have with us together at last year’s July, 2015 Junior National Judo Tournament in Indianapolis, IN where we both had our top Judoka from our respected teams competing.

Korean War vet Duane Tate set for Saturday’s Honor Flight

Duane Tate is a vibrant and youthful-sounding man who recently celebrated his 84th birthday. He is also a Korean War veteran, having served in the Navy from 1951 to 1955, and he will be one of 16 vets from Washington County taking part in the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight on May 14.

Tate was living in Shawano and a recent high school graduate at the time he was drafted in 1951. He traveled with other draftees to meet with the Draft Board in Green Bay and, since he was “the youngest one of the bunch” he was sent home and the Draft Board told him they would call him in a month.

During that month-long period, Tate decided, “I don’t want to be in the Army, so I enlisted in the Navy.”

“I got out of boot camp at Great Lakes. I was shipped to Japan and was on a destroyer, DD790, the USS Shelton,” Tate recollected.

“And then we were on to Korea doing shore bombarding. As we were going up, on the third day, we incurred three direct hits on our ship. We had 18 men wounded.” (Editor’s note: The USS Shelton received eight battle stars for service in the Korean War and eight for service in Vietnam.)

Tate escaped injury because he was on a gun mount that was protected by armor. “They put a hole in the bow from the ship’s quarters so we kind of limped out of there, got us patched, and then we went back to Japan,” he said.

After being in dry dock for repairs, Tate says they returned to the United States and he began to work as a deck hand.

Not feeling fulfilled, he said, “I wondered what else I could do, so I started working in sick bay and was sent to corpsman’s school in San Diego.”

“While I was there,” said Tate almost blushing, “one of my friends was dating a lieutenant nurse and she got discharged and began working at a civil hospital – St. Mary’s in San Diego. It turns out this same nurse just so happened to have a friend who was a nurse from Wisconsin and they just kind of put us together and,” Tate chuckles boyishly, “that’s my wife!”

“After I got out of corpsman school, I was stationed at the Naval Hospital in San Diego,” Tate continued.

“I worked in Admission and Receiving and on the emergency ward. I was there for a year and after that I was shipped out on an AKA landing vessel that they used in World War II. That was after the Korean Conflict was over and we were on kind of a good will tour to Japan, China, and the Philippines. Shortly after that I came back to San Diego and was discharged.”

Tate said that a lot of people look at the time Korean War servicemen and women served as “negative,” but says “I really didn’t mind it. I did what I could do and it was good.”

“And actually,” Tate said, “If I hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t have met my wife.”

The Honor Flight is not something new to Tate. His late brother, who served in WWII, took part in an Honor Flight.  “We went up and greeted him when he got off the flight and I always thought that was such a neat thing to see,” he said.

While Tate’s wife Marilyn is quite obviously the high point of his service career, he also proudly stated, “I have seven sons.” His son, Jeffery, who lives in Neosho, will be accompanying Tate on the Honor Flight.  Tate says he has been to Washington, D.C. a number of times, but each time it was before the Korean War Memorial was built, so he has not yet had the opportunity to see it. “I’m real honored to be able to have this flight to Washington,” Tate humbly concluded.



1157, 07 May 2016


Pin It on Pinterest