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0957, 21 May 16

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Man saved by WB firefighters stops to say “Thanks.”

An emotional reunion this week at the West Bend Fire Department on Seventh Avenue as Scott Koehler shook the hands with the rescue personnel who saved his life.

“You guys did a fantastic job,” said Koehler. “You went over and above the call of duty.”

The life-saving scenario he referred to played out in an ambulance on January 16, 2016.

Koehler initially called 9-1-1 around 1 a.m. but sent the rescue crew packing. “When we signed off the first time,” said firefighter Marc Rinzel. “We knew we’d be back.”

As soon as the ambulance was parked in the station, the second call came in and the team with Lt. Andrew Whitmore and firefighter Alec Hakes returned to Koehler’s home on Eighth Avenue and loaded him up for transport to Community Memorial Hospital and its catheterization lab.

It was after the ambulance had just passed the exit for St. Joseph’s Hospital that Koehler, 56, suffered a heart attack.

“We could see it on the monitor,” Rinzel said.

The Med-11 transport team immediately turned the ambulance around on Highway 60 and made a bee line 1 mile to St. Joe’s. During that time they performed CPR and shocked Koehler three times with the defibrillator.

“We turned around because we weren’t sure we’d get your pulse back,” said Whitmore.

The third shock brought back Koehler’s pulse and breathing. St. Joe’s stabilized him in 20 minutes and then the ambulance rushed him to CMH where Koehler received two stents.

“Technically you were dead,” said Rinzel. “Had we not done another thing you would have went to the morgue.”

This year alone the West Bend Fire Department and paramedics have saved four people who had heart attacks. During Monday’s common council meeting several members of the community were recognized by the Fire Department with Heartsaver Awards for their life-saving assistance.

Cheri Hart from UW-Washington County performed CPR on student Jerry Williams and helped save his life after he went into cardiac arrest.

At Serigraph, Calvin Steinert, Darryl Pree, Kip Wagner, and Mike Walker helped save the life of co-worker Craig Zillmer who had a heart attack and the staff at the Kettle Moraine YMCA including Chris Delcamp, Anna Hupfmann, Jen Robertson, and Jenny Zaskowski helped save the life of Steven Riechers who had a heart attack in the locker room at the Y.

The message the fire department wants to get across is that all of the Heartsavers took time to learn CPR. In ever scenario their quick action saved a life.

Bike rack opportunity

On Wednesday, May 25 there will be a gathering at Old Settlers Park as a local photo shoot takes place to promote the bike racks.  The BID Board will be on hand along with members of Bike Friendly West Bend.

There will be a total of 10 bike racks in the downtown BID district.  “Three are already installed in our two parks, with seven being installed soon,” said Parks Director Craig Hoeppner.

The BID Board paid for the bike racks and the city is installing them.  The bike racks will extend from BMO Harris Bank and West Bend Tap & Tavern on the north end to Riverside Brewery and Restaurant on the S. Main Street.

“The racks the BID Board has provided and the city has installed are artful, functional and placed near shops, restaurants, parks and activities where cyclists want to go,” said Jeff Puetz with Bike Friendly West Bend.  “Racks are a visible sign cyclists are welcome and that the community values their presence and the security of their property.”

Local Builders Club places U.S. flags on veterans graves today

About 40 students from Silverbrook Middle School Builders Club are volunteering today placing American flags on veteran’s graves at Washington County Memorial Park.

This is the sixth year the Kiwanis Early Risers have wrapped their arms around students by paying tribute to veterans. Kiwanis member Scott Schmidt said the students learn history, respect and how people fought for this country’s freedom.

Johnson Bus of West Bend is volunteering to transport the students to Washington County Memorial Park, Holy Angels, and Union Cemetery. About 1,900 flags will be placed on graves in preparation for Memorial Day.

The West Bend Memorial Day parade will step off at 9:30 a.m. Monday, May 30. A ceremony will follow at the Old Courthouse Square on Fifth Avenue and Poplar. The keynote speaker will be Gold Star Mother Liz Kryst of West Bend.

Honoring the Missing In Action Veterans

The Missing Man Ceremony, a formal program honoring veterans who are missing in action, will be presented at the Memorial Day Ceremony at Fillmore Turner Hall on Monday, May 30, at 12:30 p.m.  The program will also include the Kewaskum High School Band and a fresh flower wreath ceremony in the cemetery. The public is welcome; refreshments will be available.  The program is hosted by the Farmington Historical Society.

Rezoning request for proposed Pizza Ranch

On June 6 a request will be made before the West Bend Plan Commission to change the zoning for a 1.7-acre parcel on W. Washington Street from B5 to B1.

The purpose is to lay the groundwork for development of a 6,107-square-foot Pizza Ranch. The franchise, based in Iowa, is described as, “Buffet Your Way” means you can request any pizza you want and we’ll not only make it for you, we’ll personally deliver the first slice to you! Now that’s legendary service!”

There are currently 180+ locations across 13 States including Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Michigan, Nebraska, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.

In Wisconsin the closest Pizza Ranch to West Bend is in Fond du Lac. There’s also a Pizza Ranch in Oshkosh, Oostburg, Portage, Waupun, Sun Prairie, Sheboygan, Kohler and Appleton.

The property on W. Washington Street, just west of Westbury Bank was listed at $316,000.

There is an accepted offer on the table. The buyer has yet to close on the sale. Officials at the corporate Pizza Ranch office confirmed West Bend, Wis. was on their radar however, they did not disclose any more information at this time.

Discount Ramps in WB bought Heavy Duty Ramps in Kewaskum

West-Bend based web-only retailer has purchased Heavy Duty Ramps in Kewaskum. “It’s the perfect marriage of two companies,” said Larry Marmon, CEO of Discount Ramps. “They’re our biggest supplier and we’re they’re biggest customer but we service different markets.”

Discount Ramps, 760 S. Indiana Ave., classifies itself as the “industry’s biggest selection of low-priced, high-quality ramps and accessories” and the “one-stop online shop for all your loading, hauling, transportation, and mobility needs.”

Heavy Duty Ramps, 7865 Sandy Ridge Road, Kewaskum, has been in the ramp manufacturing business for 36 years and produces over a thousand different variations of aluminum loading ramps.  

Marmon said he had been in talks with Richard Beilstein, founder of Heavy Duty Ramps, for about a year.  “Beilstein was ready to retire and we thought it was the perfect opportunity for us to step in and take it to the next level,” Marmon said.  “Heavy Duty Ramps is a very well-run business with great products and customers and from a product innovation point of view it’s our leading vendor.”

Marmon said they will continue to use the former Key West location in Kewaskum for production. “The biggest change is we’re aggressively hiring more staff,” he said. “We need welders and more people in the warehouse.”  Motorists on Highway 45 will also notice a sign change in the coming months at the Key West location.

City officials aware of bridge issues

City officials in West Bend are well aware the new bridge across from the Museum of Wisconsin Art has its shortcomings. The saga of the bridge began in March when an unpainted version of the steel truss bridge was delivered.

That was hauled away and soon the painted bridge arrived and was put in place. Then contractors laid down rebar and concrete and a bit of a wave was found in the final product so, after a sealant was put down, another material was put on top to try and even things out.

That’s where the discolored patches come in. City engineer Max Marechal admitted the bridge doesn’t look the best. He said the appearance of the concrete is being addressed and it may take about a year to fix.

WBHS Orchestra teacher is leaving

West Bend High School orchestra teacher Josh Zallar is leaving the district. Zallar, a graduate of the Milwaukee High School of the Arts, has been in the district since 2011. Starting his career at Silverbrook Middle School, Zallar began working on a part-time basis at both the high school and Silverbrook in 2012.

Zaller is leaving to be closer to his in laws in Michigan. He said telling his students was the hardest thing. “I feel really sad about leaving because I love the kids and the community and the parents and I thought we built a pretty good orchestra program,” he said.  “Some of these kids I’ve known for five years; I just told them to keep playing.”

Zallar, 31, will be teaching in a smaller community but with an orchestra that’s just as big. “I worked to provide big opportunities for the students,” he said. “We started a chamber music program and we played with a couple of rock bands, so we just tried to think big and get the kids excited.”  Zallar praised the support of the district and Superintendent Ted Neitzke. The WBHS orchestra will have a concert on Monday, May 23.

Rave reviews for Banner ArtWalk

The 4th annual Banner ArtWalk was a huge draw at the Museum of Wisconsin Art on Saturday. Fifty hand-painted banners hung from the second-floor railing in the atrium entrance of museum.

Artist and banner organizer Chris Porter said the idea started as a way to help beautify the downtown.  “We didn’t have the money for flower baskets and it was a good way to take old Christmas banners and repaint them,” she said. “The first year we learned a lot, the second year we learned more, and from year to year it’s getting better; we have a lot of talent here and I’d love to see it continue forever and ever.”

Downtown West Bend Association event manager Kellie Boone organized the ArtWalk. She said the banners on N. Main Street are so popular, the community of Minocqua called and asked if they could copy the idea.

Many visitors to the event felt the banners helped tie the businesses to the community. Daniel Kindler bid on the West Bend Theatre banner. “I used to work there and my father was a projectionist there so there are a lot of memories,” he said.

Kindler started work at the theatre when he was 16. “I had my first date there in 1975,” he said. “We saw Towering Inferno; the movie didn’t go over well and neither did the date.”

Van Cline was in town from St. Paul, Minnesota and he too found a local tie in the banners. “This is really unique and there’s a Dunn Brother’s banner,” he said. “The original one is in St. Paul.”

The 2016 banners hung along the second-floor railing. Those entering MOWA were able to explore the museum free of charge and get an up-close look at the artwork.

“They’re beautiful and unique and everyone has its own little story,” said Jan Nesladek of West Bend. “I was surprised at the quality of some of the work because it’s very good and widely varied,” said Bob Bergstrom of West Bend.

“It beautifies our downtown and it gets people to go downtown,” said Grace Wright. “I give Chris Porter a lot of credit this had to be a huge project.”

“I’m really impressed with the artwork and especially the fact there are a lot of students involved,” said Carol Casadonte, formerly of Tomahawk.

This was the first time banners from previous years were auctioned off. Money raised will go to support the banner ArtWalk project.

Updates & tidbits

-The blue stone inlay on the new sculpture outside the Police Department in West Bend was taken from West Bend City Hall during the construction. It represents the river running through the city and more importantly, the ‘thin blue line’ that is walked by law enforcement every day both on and off duty.

-Sign up today for youth summer sports camps at UW-WC including girls volleyball, co-ed soccer and basketball. More information at

– Jen Sell, a 1982 graduate of West Bend East, will be inducted into the West Bend Athletic Wall of Fame. Sell was an All-Conference basketball player for coach Rick Riehl. The presentation will be in October.

– The grand reopening of Old Settlers’ Park is June 1. The park will host a Recognition Wall to thank organizations in the community for their support. Names 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 Co., Leadership West Bend, and In Memory of Mike Sheehy.

– The Downtown West Bend Association is looking for volunteers for the Tour of America’s Dairyland bike race on June 20 from 12:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Sign up at 262-338-3909.

– Local artists will be creating sidewalk chalk drawings Saturday, May 21 between Hobby Lobby and Kohl’s on Main Street in West Bend. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and awards will be presented at 4 p.m. Viewers can vote for their favorite artwork to win top prizes.

– Brian Culligan and the crew at West Bend Tap & Tavern open at 9 a.m. on Saturday’s during the West Bend Farmers’ Market as they roll out their build-your-own Bloody Mary bar. Stop out and enjoy breakfast with a beer chaser at 315 N. Main Street.

West Bend Farmers’ Market used to be Pig Market

Neighbors are gathering up their cloth bags and put a little oil on their wagon wheels in preparation for the start of Saturday’s downtown West Bend Farmers’ Market. The origin of the market dates to 1942. Pig Market was a weekly gathering on the east side of the Milwaukee River at the site of the old Wallau Dairy, west of the railroad depot.

The West Bend Farmers’ Market was voted one of the top 10 in the world in the 2014 edition of Vogue magazine. The Downtown West Bend Association coordinates the Farmers’ Market along with Music on Main.

This photo was donated to the Washington County Historical Society by Ruth Schloemer.



0957, 21 May 2016


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