Boots & Sabers

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0651, 13 Aug 16

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Kewaskum referendum total nears $40 million

The Kewaskum School Board voted this week to authorize $28.42 million in general obligation bonds for a Nov. 8 referendum.

Bullet points about the project:

– The potential interest adds $11 million onto the cost of development bringing the total referendum to near $40 million. The 36-cent increase on mil rate per $1,000 worth of property value includes the interest rate (possibly 3.25%) that will be paid back on the loan.

-Kewaskum Middle School dates to the 1970s and KHS has been expanded since the 1960s. Plans call for 100% renovation of the middle school. I’m asking whether that means razing the school.

-Enrollment at KHS is about 600 and at the Middle School it’s 410.

-The total referendum with interest depends on the interest rate secured by the district. Superintendent Jim Smasal said “interest rates are at an historic low”

-“If somebody wants to know how much interest we’re going to pay on a $28 million loan over 20 years it’s about $11 million. If we can get the loan for 2.75% interest that’s about $1.7 million less,” said Smasal which then equals about $10 million in interest.

-“The interest will come over the life of the loan but you have to be very careful about how you say that,” said Smasal.

-“The board did a long-range study and we took a look at our middle and high schools and we think we came up with a decent plan to get them in the shape our kids deserve. Nothing out of the ordinary, nothing extravagant, just up-to-date facilities for our needs for learning and having secure buildings and our needs to upgrade our facilities as far as heat, light, sound proofing, etc.,” said Smasal.

-“We can feather the new debt onto the old debt and keep the tax levy stable,” Smasal said.

-The goal is to have a community packet released August 22 at the annual meeting. There will be three informational sessions and a number of sessions at different events.

Get on board with Proximal – new business created in West Bend

A new West Bend-based business is being launched Monday that will break ground on how businesses advertise. Robert Tye, a millennial and a transplant from Essex, has figured out the age-old marketing question of how to get customers into a store or establishment.

Tye is the Founder and CEO of Proximal; a free app that combines marketing strategy, GPS and cell-phone technology.

“My program allows businesses to contact their customers in real time,” said Tye. “Business owners can offer deals and customers can find them immediately just by turning on their cell phone.”

Tye is congenial and a fast talker; he attributes his speed of conversation to excitement about Proximal. “When I was in banking I’d work with a lot of businesses that had that spark,” he said. “But when they’d fail and their business close it was because their advertising wouldn’t work.”

For a consumer standpoint Proximal pulls in a signal advertising a sale or an event. “You can be anywhere and get a real-time ping on your phone for deals like a local hotel offering 20% off a room, a sale on shoes or a concert that’s about to start,” Tye said.

The advertising hook – everything is instant.

“This is a marketing tool like no other,” said Laura Leszczynski, a marketing expert for the last 26 years. “Proximal is what every business owner has been looking for. I’ve done projects and fliers and ads but at the end of the day there’s no way to measure success.”

One of the key components of Proximal, according to Leszczynski, is the ability the program gives business owners to “modify, adapt and respond.”

“This is a way to dance with real-time activity and play in the space of strategy,” she said while giving the example of a restaurant giving a “ShoutOut” on a 2-for-1 deal.  “Proximal will help business owners understand consumer behavior and allow them to reach new customers.”

Trademarked terms equal success

Tye has spent the last two years developing Proximal, with the creation of a business plan, website, and he’s already trademarked his own vocabulary.

A ‘ShoutOut’ is a limited-time offer, a coupon, or event designed to get people through the front door. Tye gives the example of a local pub experiencing a slow Thursday night but then posting a ShoutOut for a free game of pool or a buy-one get-one deal.

“There’s no way I can get the word out in the paper in a timely fashion,” he said. “If I share a post on Facebook the message can get lost between baby pictures and vacation photos. If I put it on Twitter I only hit the people following me and if I put it on Groupon it takes time to get the transaction approved.”

Proximal, according to Tye, is a very affordable form of advertising that doesn’t get lost. “Geo-targeted cash,” he said.

The launch is Monday

Two years of hard work and team building comes to fruition as Proximal launches Monday, Aug. 15. There’s a free starter kit to all new businesses signing up to promote Proximal. Businesses can choose a variety of packages including a starter level at $29.99 a month to a Premier package at $79.99 a month.

A short-term special features a Basic Package for 3 months at $119.97 with a bonus 3 months free.  There’s also a special Premier Account at $239.97 for 3 months with a bonus 3 months free including service coverage over a 30-mile radius.

Customer friendly

From a consumer standpoint Proximal means saving money. The free app is already available on the App Store. “Click the app to bring up the map on your iPhone or Smartphone and view the participating businesses,” said Tye.

Forgetting a redeemable coupon at home will be a thing of the past as Tye said businesses that offer coupons will just be a simple click on your phone.

Businesses buying in

Staff at Proximal have been actively pre-selling ad packages and the response from businesses has been a mix of eager and excited to tentative but trusting.

Deb Slais runs Over the Moon, a gift shop in Barton.

“As far as Proximal goes, it seemed like something that would appeal to that segment of the population that is on their phones all the time,” said Slais. “Being a fairly new store I am always open to trying new things and Rob made the launch price too good to pass up.”

Other businesses that have jumped on board have praised the affordability of the ad packages, the hands-on customer service to help businesses with marketing ideas and they’ve already come to realize that the future of business growth will be tied to the Internet and technology.


Tye is realistic. “I’m not out to put print advertising out of business, but with Proximal there is no printing cost, there’s no leaving a coupon at home and advertising is immediate,” he said.

Find more about Proximal by logging onto

Third Starbucks in West Bend gets green light

A concept plan for a Starbuck’s restaurant in Sendik’s West Bend Plaza, 280 N. 18th Avenue, received a go ahead from the West Bend Plan Commission on Tuesday. Commission member Jim White had a couple concerns for Eric Neumann, the senior project director with MSI General Corporation.

White asked if the third location would replace the store on Paradise and Main. Neumann did not believe the development on the north end of town would affect the store on the south side of West Bend. There were also questions about the queue as members of the Plan Commission brought up several examples of crowded conditions at the Starbucks on Paradise Drive.

Early plans for the store by Sendik’s show a drive thru that can handle eight vehicles in queue.

Two other Starbucks in West Bend include the location on Paradise Drive and inside the new Meijer store, currently under construction on S. Main Street.

Treasurer questioned about missing funds from Hartford Youth Football

Some difficult news for families of Hartford Youth Football as word came this week that a theft from the organization’s bank account is under investigation. Jim Sedlachek, HYFB President, spoke exclusively with

He said the situation is “still under investigation and technically she has not been charged with anything right now.”

The ‘she’ Sedlachek is referencing is the treasurer of the club. The HYFB website has removed the name of the name of the woman who held the position. Sedlachek praised the Youth Football organization and said “it’s a great community to work with and parents and families have been supportive.”

Sedlachek, president of the club since May, said they found a discrepancy in the HYFB account on July 1, 2016. “Once she’s charged we’ll have more to say,” he said.

This is the 28th year for HYFB and there are 166 kids between grades 5th – 8th grade participating this season. Hartford Police had no comment on the case.

Sedlachek’s letter to parents is below.

It saddens me that I have to send this email out to the families of this organization.

Hartford Youth Football has been a victim of a crime. Charges have been filed and an arrest has been made. A member of our board of directors is accused of stealing money from our organization and ultimately you the Hartford Youth Football families.

At this time, we are still working on finding out the scope and depth of what has been taken. This will take time. The investigation into these allegations is still ongoing therefore I cannot get into specifics. Hartford Youth Football has been victimized by someone who has been in the organization for several years.

We were notified of a discrepancy in our bank account on Friday July 1, 2016. This led members of our board to investigate further. Upon this investigation we immediately went to Hartford Police to notify them of the theft. We were talking with the police within 4 hours of discovery. The investigation is ongoing. When the time comes the details will be made known to the members of this organization. We will be as open and honest about all details as allowed.

This is a difficult and challenging time for Hartford Youth Football. I know that as details come forward the members of this organization will see that this was one person, who took it upon herself to steal from you, the club, and the kids. As of now we are putting things in place to ensure our season will go on without an issue. Our focus is to allow the legal system to run its course and to do everything in our power to give the kids of Hartford a great football experience.

Thank You for Your Support, Jim Sedlachek  HYFB President

Razing the former Senior Center and Annex II

Demolition of the former Washington County Senior Center on E. Washington Street got underway today. The county will next raze Annex II. In January, was the only media to report on the county’s plans. The buildings are being demolished as part of the county’s new performance based budgeting practice.

Updates & tidbits

-Monday the West Bend common council will move to approve a new City Administrator/Director of Development. City officials pared through 29 applicants and trimmed the field to four finalists.

-Allenton Picnic and Parade is Aug. 20 – 21. Weekend event will also include Badger Fireman softball tournament, co-ed volleyball, and huge parade starting at 11:30 on Sunday, Aug. 21.

– West Bend and Washington County law enforcement raised $1,018.50 in the 5th Annual Cop on the Rooftop at Dunkin’ Donuts in Hartford. West Bend Police Officer Ally Mahl was joined by Washington County Sheriff’s Sergeant Chad Beres, and Deputies Brittany Kell and Chad Polinske. The goal was to raise awareness and money for the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics Wisconsin.

-Josee Weigand of West Bend took first place in the State Fair Fiddlers Competition. She was accompanied by Keith Keehn of West Bend.

– After an 18-year career with the Kewaskum A’s of the Rock River League, Jason Strobel is hanging up his cleats. Strobel has been with the team since he was 16. Last Sunday the team pulled out a 5-2 final season victory over first place Plymouth Flames. The A’s will play today at home against long time rival Brownsville 49ers at 1:30 p.m. to open Rock River playoffs.

-Former Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Mary Woerner received the Lifetime Achievement Award presented at the D.A.R.E. conference on Aug. 9 in Oshkosh.

– Dale Malecha recently closed on the purchase of the former Bargain Mart building on Poplar Street for $98,000. Malecha is currently trying to lease the space. Bargain Mart moved into the old Lots for Tots space in the West Bend Plaza and will open this weekend.

-The 2nd annual West Bend Diabetes Walk is Saturday, Oct. 15 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Ridge Run County Park. The goal is to raise $2,900 to promote community awareness and raise funds for diabetes research.  Registration is $29 at  Contact event organizer: David Reed at 630-862-2711

-On Thursday, Aug. 25 Slinger High School will officially unveil new lights on its baseball field.

– More than 70 students were kickin’ it old school this week as the History Center of Washington County hosted its annual Pioneer Kids Day.  Students participated in activities like grinding corn, using a washboard to do laundry, rug beating, milking a cow  – well, a pretend cow, and creating a game out of buttons and thread.  Behind the scenes: Students got a little nervous at the clothes washing station as the volunteer docent gave a pretty graphic warning about how it was imperative to keep their hands from getting caught in the wringer washer.  Didn’t we all hear some of those stories while growing up?

Newspaper from 1886 found lining walls of Barton home

An interesting discovery in Barton this week as newspapers from 1886 were found lining the walls of a home being remodeled. The newspapers include The Farm and Fireside, The New York Weekly Witness, and a paper from Wisconsin published in Milwaukee. The newspapers line the wall at the bottom of a stairwell in what once was the blacksmith shop on Barton Avenue.

The advertisement runs the gamut from garden seeds to an Imperial sulky and hand plow to a ‘New Premium Watch and chain for Only $3.’ Up the stairwell build into the south wall is a wood panel from a shipping crate stamped Barton, Wis.dg


0651, 13 August 2016


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