WWII Navy vet Edward Burke heading out on Honor Flight
Edward Burke, 88, of Hartford will be one of five veterans from Washington County on the Sept. 17 Stars and Stripes Honor Flight to Washington D.C.
Burke served in the Navy during WWII. “I was at Pulaski High School in Milwaukee and enlisted when I was 17,” Burke said. “The Navy gave a bunch of high school seniors a test and I passed and it said we were suitable for training.”
Burke went to Great Lakes, Illinois for basic training where he pursued radar repair. Stationed at Wright Junior College in Chicago the Navy eventually shipped Burke to the west coast. “It was 1945, the war was over and the military didn’t know what to do with us,” he said.
While on the coast, Burke served on a sea-going tug boat. He became ill and by the time he got out of the hospital the tug had left.
Burke later found himself sailing out of San Francisco to Hawaii. “We were called the Magic Carpet Fleet,” said Burke referencing Operation Magic Carpet which was a post WWII effort to bring military personnel home. “We went to Hawaii and brought back people from the war zone and we took others over there to replace some.”
Burke said they made two trips on the U.S.S. Arthur Middleton AKA 25 and then the military “decommissioned our ship in Norfolk, Virginia.”
In the Navy for about “one year exactly,” Burke was discharged, returned to the Milwaukee area where he made his way to West Bend and bought a small farm in 1958.
Burke said he’s excited to be going on the Honor Flight. His guardian is his granddaughter Allison Dunavant.
Pizza Ranch property is sold
The scenario surrounding the incoming Pizza Ranch got a little wacky recently after PRWB Real Estate LLC (Pizza Ranch West Bend) closed on the property purchase August 15, 2016 – then, turnaround and sold the same 1.7 acres on August 29, 2016 for $200,000 more than its purchase price.
The buyer was Keajen Properties LLC, also known as Steve and Jeanne Kearns. According to records at City Hall, Kearns paid $500,000 for the parcel at 2424 W. Washington Street.
Stacy and Matt Gehring, the couple behind Pizza Ranch, say they have another site in mind.
“We are still bringing Pizza Ranch to West Bend,” wrote Stacy Gehring. “We are actively pursuing another site location and will know within the next week or two if the site is going to work. Once we know we will be in contact with you.”
Pizza Ranch was approved in June by the West Bend Plan Commission and quickly approved by the Common Council. There are currently 180+ locations across 13 states.
Successful fundraiser for volunteer firefighter
The ribs went fast on Friday afternoon as neighbors arrived in droves to pick up some Fat Boy BBQ and support Slinger volunteer firefighter Tim Roskopf, who is recovering from his second heart surgery.
“We opened at 11 a.m. and we had people immediately,” said Steve Wegner. “By 4:10 p.m. we had a line of people 25 deep.”
Cars were parked around the block and both Wegner and Roskopf, 49, said the turnout was amazing. “I can’t believe the way the community pulls together,” Roskopf said.
Although Wegner ran out of food before 5 p.m. he said folks from the community were still giving donations and placing orders for Saturday.
“I already have another 50 racks of ribs ordered for Saturday,” said Wegner.
Prepping for Friday’s event took Wegner about six hours to smoke 230 racks of ribs … the first night he worked from 9 p.m. – 3 a.m. “This makes me feel great,” he said.
Firefighters from a number of area departments turned out to show their support including Thiensville, Allenton, West Bend, Hartford, Slinger, Jackson, Richfield, and St. Lawrence.
There will be another fundraiser for Roskopf at West Bend Tap & Tavern on Sunday, Sept. 25.
Wet down in Allenton
On Wednesday, Sept. 28, the Slinger and Kohlsville Fire Departments will hold a wet down ceremony for Allenton Volunteer Fire Department’s Engine 1361. The event starts 6:30 p.m. at Zuern Building Products, 426 Railroad Street in Allenton.
A wet down is when neighboring fire departments come with a rig to spray water over the new unit. A similar ceremony is held for ships and aircraft as they enter service to help others when they can no longer help themselves. Organizers said 15 or more fire departments will be on hand to help with the christening.
Interestingly this ceremony is for a unit which is replacing the apparatus  that had the first wet down in Wisconsin.
American Legion to raise money for U.S. flag
In 2014, members of American Legion Post 36 in West Bend purchased the former social Security Building at 712 Park Avenue with a vision of giving members a new home. Now the Legion is offering neighbors an opportunity to recognize veterans who have served honorably in the armed forces as a new memorial is constructed.
The centerpiece features a 30-foot aluminum flag pole donated by a member of Post 36. Money raised from the sale of granite engraved stones will help defer the construction costs of the memorial and the main granite stone.
Engraved granite stones will be inlayed forming a plaza area in front of the flag pole and memorial stone. An engraved granite stone can be purchased and inscribed with the name of the service member, rank, branch of service, dates of service, conflicts or other information which will reflect the honor of their service.
The honored veteran does not need to be a member of the American Legion. To launch the project, from now until Oct. 1, 2016 the granite stones can be purchased for half price.
A 16 x 8 engraved stone can be purchased for $200 to honor organizations or specific military actions, conflicts or wars. Contact Mike Hartwell at 262-305-4036 for more details.
Boost Mobile moving to downtown WB
A couple of changing storefronts in West Bend as Mind the Gap, 121 S. Main Street, has closed and Boost Mobile takes over that spot in downtown West Bend.
Ross Christifulli, owner of Boost Mobile, will be moving from his location at 1108 W. Washington Street. “Our current location has only three parking spots and even though it’s on Highway 33 the store has no window display so most who drive by do not know what we do,” said Christifulli.
On the plus side, Christifulli missed working downtown. For seven years Christifulli worked on Main Street at Mountain Outfitters and he owned a music business, Play it by Ear.
“There is more potential for Boost downtown,” he said. Currently in the midst of a major remodel, Christifulli expects to be open in his new location before November 1.
Washington Co. receives funding to improve Bike & Pedestrian Plan
Washington County Planning and Parks Department has received up to $72,000 of federal funds from the Wisconsin DOT for the development of a Bike & Pedestrian Plan for Washington County to increase opportunities for non-motorized vehicle transportation. Plans include developing a countywide network of trails and routes that provide accessibility to schools, commercial centers and major employment centers. The plan will also promote recommendations for policies, programs and ordinances that will support a safe and accessible network of trails which encourage active lifestyles.
Valedictorians and Salutatorians from 2016 WBHS
Following up on a request to post the 2016 West Bend High Schools Valedictorians and Salutatorians. 2016 West Bend East – Valedictorians – Emmalee Ciriacks, Amelia Daley, Morgan Dommisse, Kayla Furlano, James Griffin, Emily Rusch, Lauren Sorensen, Andrew Steiner, Elizabeth Williams and Salutatorian: Jacob Kruepke Salutatorian: Jacob Kruepke
2016 West Bend West – Valedictorians – Ifeoluwa Ekunsanmi, Mackenzie Heinen, Abigail Janto, Alexis Johnson, Rachel Kruepke, Matthew Stoll and Salutatorian – Rachel Monday Salutatorian.
Kewaskum Classic Car Show & Benefit is Sept. 18
One of the largest, local car shows in Washington County is just around the corner as the annual Kewaskum Classic Car Show & Benefit is coming up September 18.
“In 2015 there were 450 classic and modern cars, trucks, and street rods,” said organizer Mark ‘Curly’ Kissinger. Next Saturday’s show runs 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. Driver goodie bags will be given to the first 150 cars (includes dash plaques). This is a non-judged show (meaning no trophy). Raffle prizes, silent auction and 50/50 raffles.
Kewaskum Firefighters Association will be providing the food. Benefactors this year include Troy Krezinski (cancer) and Jason Anderson, who suffered a head injury this past winter.
If you’d like to donate contact Kissinger at 262-347-9992 or drop off at The Grand Larsony.
Updates & tidbits
– Paws for Pets is today, Saturday, Sept. 10 at Jackson Park. Pets and their human companions are invited to join the 9 a.m. walk to raise money for the Washington County Humane Society.
–West Bend West Junior Spartans 2016-2017 basketball tryouts are Monday Sept. 12, Tuesday Sept. 13, or Wednesday Sept. 14 at the West Bend High School Field House from 7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Please arrive by 7:15 p.m. The West Bend West Junior Spartans Basketball teams focus on teaching good sportsmanship, building character, and teaching leadership skills through high-level competition. Plans are to have at least one team at each grade level 3rd to 8th grade.
–On Wednesday, Sept. 14, you can honor the first responders who answered the call for help on 9/11 by donating blood between 1:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Call First Baptist Church, 2300 S. Main Street in West Bend to schedule an appointment, 262-334-9211.
-Dave Sobelman has inked a deal with Al and Nancy Hochmuth to bring his Sobelman’s Pub & Grill to Richfield. Sobelman is working with the owners of the former Amici’s Restaurant in downtown Richfield. “It’s not a done deal because now all of the legal paperwork etc. begins, but it is a major step forward,” said Sobelman. “Thank you to everyone for your kind words and well wishes. Stay tuned for more updates coming soon!”
– A gluten-free lifestyle can be challenging. Expand your knowledge and find available resources at the Gluten Free Expo on Sept. 24 at the Washington County Fair Park. The event is sponsored by Wellness Found Organic Foods. Tickets are $7.
– Laurel’s Camera and Gift has opened in its new location 239 N. Main Street. The Fehrings will share space with their son’s jewelry shop M.F. Diamonds.
-The 21st annual Boltonville Fire Department Street Dance is today Saturday, Sept. 10 featuring Rebel Grace.
-There are informational meetings next month for the Kewaskum School District referendum project. The Nov. 8 referendum is for $28.4 million. With interest total cost is close to $40 million.
– Badger Masonry & Fireplace Supply, 545 N. Main Street has a grand opening Sept. 16 – 17. The store is located in the former Tennies Buick building. The office number is 262-343-8580.
– Halloween Express is open; it’s in the former Walgreens on Decorah and S. Main Street in West Bend. Halloween Express secured its lease until Nov. 2 through Adam Williquette at Anderson Commercial Group.
– Early Farm Days in Kewaskum is Sunday, Sept. 11 at River Hill Park.
– DIVA night is on tap Thursday, Sept. 15 in downtown West Bend and Barton.
Flashback to Sept. 9, 2006 – Tandem update …..
I was combing through my archives of Around the Bend and found this gem from 2006 when my parents were living in the Milwaukee area. They were much younger at the time meaning my dad was in his 80s. The family had just presented them with a tandem and here’s the story that followed.
Several weeks ago I wrote about delivering a single speed orange tandem to my parents in the Milwaukee area. My 83-year-old father was the one who asked for the bike.
Since then my Mom’s been keeping me posted on their progress. They reportedly started slow, working on balance and coordination, signals and patience. My Mom said they’re actually turning a lot of heads. “And we’re starting to pass the walkers,” she said cheerfully. Speedy, I chided as my Mom started to talk about the catcalls.
“One young man ran past us and shouted “Schwinn Twinn,” said my Mother amused and amazed someone would know the make and model of the bike. “Then he said something like COOOL and TRAVEL ON.”
“Are you sure he didn’t say “Don’t fall down,” I asked knowing my mother was hard of hearing.
“Another time there were five young boys biking towards us,” said my Mom. “They pointed and yelled, “Look at the dynamic duo.” I’m hoping my parents don’t start wearing capes and crime fighting.
I tried explaining how the bike was unique. “You’re actually antiques riding an antique,” I said reminding her to always lock the bike.
“We were headed down to Veteran’s Park the other day to watch the kites by the lake but Dad said he was having problems with the seat.” Apparently my Dad has been blessed with the old man’s no-flab butt and he needs more cushion on his saddle. “I told him before we left that he should just shove a pillow down his pants,” said my mother the problem solver.
I can just see it, my German father down at Milwaukee’s lakefront with his long sleeve flannel shirt, fishing hat, and junk in the trunk. He’d be walking with my very small mother. They’d be cute. Two old people holding hands and my Dad’s red, corduroy throw pillow riding up the back of his pants.