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0852, 22 Oct 16

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Tommy Schwai goes Hollywood

Tommy Schwai was sporting a white boa and signing autographs Friday night as he made his big-screen debut on the new TV series State Plate with former American Idol Taylor Hicks.

“This was awesome,” said Travis Dowden, co-owner of Bibinger’s. “He was a celebrity before this and now he’s an official celebrity.”

Cars packed the parking lot at Bibinger’s and some vehicles moved to the surrounding streets in Cedar Creek as friends and neighbors gravitated upstairs at the former Schwai’s to watch the making of a new leading man.

Ron McMullen from Germantown said he came out to Bibinger’s special to see the show. “He’s a movie star,” he said. “I got his autograph.” McMullen flipped his fluorescent baseball hat off his head and proudly showed off his the collectible Tommy Schwai signature.

“I’ve known Tommy for 25 years,” said Dee Dee McMullen. “I was here when he and Kathy had their first date; they’re a hard working couple and they deserves this.”

Hicks featured Schwai in the second segment of the show, which was uniquely sponsored by Marie Osmond and a weight-loss product.

In typical Tommy Schwai fashion, he worked the crowd – greeting guests and posing for photos with his fans.

There was a raucous cheer when Tommy came on the screen. Hicks greeted him with a “Mr. Schwais.”

Tommy rolled with it and pretty soon the two were filling sausage casings and Hicks was twisting off hearty links of brats.

After a hard day’s work the pair sat down to enjoy some of brats hot off the grill.

“He had four of them,” said Tommy. “Best brats he ever had – that’s what he said.”

Tommy interrupted the celebration to make an announcement of a new Bibinger’s brat and then plates full of the steaming sausage were passed around for guests to try.

“He was bound to be a star,” said Nancy Oinas of Menomonee Falls. “Tommy is larger than life; he’s been the star of Cedar Creek for more than 40 years.”

“I hope that people who see it bring us a lot more business,” said Tommy. The life of a celebrity meant Tommy will get up early Saturday morning so he can help set up for his booth at the West Bend Farmers’ Market and then it’s off to Regner Park as he’s catering lunch for the volunteers at Enchantment in the Park.

Former Ziegler building for sale

The former Ziegler Building also known as 215 N. Main Street is for sale. According to archives at the building last sold Sept. 15, 2011.

The article read: The B.C Ziegler building, 215 N. Main St. was recently sold at public auction to John Kreilkamp and his son Tim for $450,000. The Kreilkamp’s were the only bidders at the Aug. 31 auction. The building had been on the market since Dec. 2008 with a sale price of $2.95 million. The total 2011 proposed assessment for the property is $1,802,800. The building was last sold May 2004 to Leisure Investments for $2 million. The Kreilkamp’s are exploring their options regarding the future of the building; ideas on the table include retail, non-profit, some residential and maybe even a deal with the City. City administrator Dennis Melvin refused comment on a rumored proposal to swap the current City Hall for the Ziegler building.

According to the city assessor the building dates to the 1900 and was last assessed at $1,298,000.  The Kreilkamps have listed the property at $1.6 million with Marcus & Millichap.

Some of the tenants in the building include Client First Investment Management Inc., Greymont, GrandCare Systems, and nonprofits including the Downtown West Bend Association, Volunteer Center of Washington County and the United Way of Washington County.

Washington Co. attorney is on leave

Washington County attorney Kimberly A. Nass is not in the office. When questioned about her current status County Board Chairman Rick Gundrum refused comment as did County administrator Joshua Schoemann. Washington County Sheriff Dale Schmidt confirmed he was not conducting any criminal investigation on Nass.

Nass, 49, started with the county in the early 1990s as an assistant to Washington County Judge Patrick Faragher.

The job of the county attorney according to the county website is “provides legal advice to county board, it’s committees and county departments; drafts and reviews ordinances and resolutions for county board action; advises the county board with respect to parliamentary procedures; prosecutes mental commitment cases, guardianship, protective placement/services cases, termination of parental rights cases and shoreland, wetland, floodplain and sanitary code violations; attends county committee meetings and other county-related meetings; reviews contracts in which the county is a party and commences legal proceedings to collect on outstanding accounts due the county.”

There was no comment on when Nass would return. Attempts have been made to contact Nass. This is the response received to the email. I am out of the office.  Please contact the County Attorney’s Office at 262-335-4374. Thank you, Kim Nass

Lightning strike damages vehicles

Three ambulances from LifeStar Medical Transport were damaged during a fire caused by a lightning strike early Sunday morning. LifeStar owner Mike Krueger said two EMS drivers who were at the building during their shift managed to escape unharmed after lightning apparently came in through the electrical service.

“There was about $75,000 to building and contents,” said Krueger. “Mostly smoke damage to the vehicles; I’ll know how much once the insurance adjusters review the situation.”

Krueger said the incident happened around 12:45 a.m. Sunday as a line of strong storms passed through the community. The West Bend Fire Department was able to quickly knock down the main part of the fire; it took several hours to put out hot spots and get We Energies on site.

“I’d really like to thank the fire department and police department for their efforts,” said Krueger.

Delays for opening of St. Peter Church in Slinger

Rev. Rick Stoffel sent a miserable message to parishioners at St. Peter Church letting the congregation in on the news that the much-anticipated Christmas opening of the newly remodeled church would not be happening.

Notes below explain some of the problems contractors ran into.

The soil for footings beneath the new south addition was rock solid, but the new north addition the solid was poor; we poured 20 loads of cement, assuring a firm foundation.

We had problems getting the amount of cream city brick we needed to have our new wings blend in with the original church. After using up bricks from our own inner walls and bricks donated from a local demolition, our original brick supplier proved less than reliable; we fired them.

A new firm with a great reputation was quickly vetted, hired, and all the brick we will need was delivered in one week.  Of excellent quality it came from the demolition of Annex No. 3 building on Washington County grounds near Samaritan Home in West Bend and originally made in Slinger’s historic brickworks; coincidence or providence?

What will delay our final occupancy is totally another matter of material procurement involving windows. In order for church to have thermal pane windows, providing greater comfort in heating and cooling season as well as protection for placement of our old/new stained glass as being planned by our Stained Glass Committee, a system of sophisticated, specialized extruded frames is needed. These frames have many productions steps to meet installation needs; the company making them suddenly changed their lead time from two to four months.

Window delivery will now be mid-November, not mid-October; they must be installed before we finish the drywall, put case-work around the windows, prepare the floors (new surfaces on both levels), and install the pews. So, Christmas Masses will be in the St. Peter School gym and St. Lawrence Church for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Proposal for new homeless shelter in Wash. Co.

Initial designs have been released for a proposed homeless shelter in West Bend. The $1.3 million project would be privately funded with $400,000 coming from St. Vincent De Paul. The proposed 14-bed shelter would sit on county property just to the east of Indiana Avenue, south of the Public Agency Center and overlooking the Little League diamonds.

Vote of ‘No Confidence’ for County Treasurer Jane Merten

During the next Washington County Board meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 25, a resolution vote of ‘No Confidence’ in County Treasurer Jane Merten will be brought before Supervisors.

The resolution stems from a pair of wire transfers that occurred June 1, 2016 when Merten sent two separate wire transfers to fraudulent accounts. The total was $87,760 although the Washington County Sheriff said half of that never went through.As a result $32,163.76 was returned to Washington County on Sept. 15, 2016.

Merten is up for reelection and her name is on the Nov. 8 ballot. She is running uncontested.

District 21 Supervisor Donald Kriefall initiated the resolution for a ‘no confidence’ vote. His comments are below.

“As an elected official we’re limited in what we can do in our scope of authority over another elected official. If it would have been an administrator or county employee there would have been disciplinary action taken, up and including termination.”

-“I met with Jane and standard practice was not followed with this transaction.”

-“We’re caretakers of the taxpayers money and we need to have some sort of consequence for this error and a vote of no confidence is the least we can do.”

-“This kind of puts her on notice and she made a mistake and this is our way of putting a letter in her file.”

-Questioned whether this vote will help Merten do her job better, Kriefall said, “I don’t know.”

-Raises for elected officials are approved by the County Board and increases were approved for all elected officials.

-Kriefall said the resolution wasn’t brought up immediately because the situation was under investigation. He said numerous supervisors have complained and wanted some action taken. A simple majority on the 26 member board is needed for the resolution to pass.

-“I didn’t get the impression this was an intentional act but there were quite a few wire transfers made before and they were all done with an invoice, RFP or a signature by the person sending them and this is the only one that was not done that way.”

-Questioned if Merten has made other, numerous mistakes Kriefall said, no. “Typically when you make a wire transfer of that amount there are checks and balances for it and they weren’t followed.”

-“The treasurer can choose to step down and there are other steps that could be taken too like a call for resignation.”

-“In the long run it still was an error in judgment by the treasurer and her checks and balances should have been followed and they weren’t for whatever reason.”

County Board Chairman Rick Gundrum: -“This is the best way to deal with this and we’ll see where it goes from here. We are not asking for her to resign, at this stage.”

-“We sat down with Jane and asked for her side of the story and from there Don decided he still wanted to do the resolution.”

County Supervisor Kris Deiss: -“I just got the paperwork. I’m thinking about it. I want to hear what comments are made. I don’t know the specifics to form an opinion at this point. This resolution does not mean she loses her job.”

Washington County Administrator Joshua Schoemann: “The problem the County Board really has is with the timing because the November election is three weeks from now and her name is on the ballot but she’s uncontested.”

Discover Wisconsin filming in Hartford

The Discover Wisconsin film crew was back in Hartford on Tuesday for a second day of filming as businesses in the community, Holy Hill and the Town of Erin will be featured in a segment set to air May 20, 2017.

“We’ve been working on this the last six months,” said Scott Henke, executive director of the Hartford Area Chamber of Commerce. “They were at Pike Lake, Mickey’s Fresh Frozen Custard and Erin Hills Golf Course,” Henke said.

On Monday the film crew was at the Westphal Mansion, Wisconsin Auto Museum, Mineshaft, Scoop DeVille, and Rustic Road No. 33 in the Town of Erin. Henke said it wasn’t difficult at all to convince the Hartford Chamber Board to move ahead with the idea.

Discover Wisconsin has been around since 1986, it was “the first public and private sector partnership under Governor Tommy Thompson’s Administration.” The segments are paid for by the communities that are showcased. “Just the number of people that will see the segment is a big plus,” said Henke.

All members of the board thought it would greatly benefit local tourism. The cost of the show also covers publicity, marketing and advertising.

Updates & tidbits

The new Kwik Trip sign was installed along Highway 45 just north of Paradise Drive this week. Landscapers are also put down sod and border plants. The new gas station opens Oct. 27.

-The Knights of Columbus is having a ‘Fifth Sunday’ Pancake Breakfast at the Columbian on Oct 30 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.  It is $5 per person or $15 family. Proceeds will support Seminarians in their studies.

– First place finishers at Sunday’s 4th annual Downtown Dash include Aidan Schmidt, 14, of West Bend who finished the 3.1 mile race in 21 minutes and 11 seconds and Elizabeth Bird, 38, of Cedarburg who finished in 21:52 and in third place overall.

-Mike Hartwell is the new president of the West Bend Optimist Club.

-Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner was spotted last Saturday at the St. Mary’s Rummage Sale. The congressman was looking for a onesie as he is expecting his first grandchild. When I asked the congressman if he knew what a onesie was he said, “Yes, I have one – it was given to me by Congressman Duffy.”

– Paul and Kathy Melius and business partner in the dairy farm, brother Jim, are retiring after 40 years of milking cows. The Melius farm on Sherman Road in Jackson held a 170 head cattle auction this week.

-Some excitement at Allenton Elementary School on Wednesday as about 380 students were evacuated and bused to Slinger High School after the fire alarm sounded. It ended up a faulty sensor was to blame and there was no actual danger. Students were returned to school after they watched the H.S. marching band practice and they had lunch.

-Kristin Bayer is the new Development Coordinator at St. Frances Cabrini Parish.

– Slinger High School students volunteered their time last Saturday to help set up the mega trees for this year’s Enchantment in the Park at Regner Park. The students said they learned the value of donating their time for a good cause. There were also volunteers this week from WB Friends of Park & Rec and the WB Fire Department.

– There’s a new wooden fishing platform at the Early Risers Kiwanis Fish Pond at Regner Park. It’s opposite the extended platform with seats on the south side of the pond.

– Help is available to families in Washington County that need assistance with winter heating bills. Contact Kay Lucas with the Washington County Human Services Department which oversees the Energy Assistance Program. The number is 262-335-4677.

– UW-Washington County women’s volleyball team captured 2nd place at the Wisconsin Collegiate Conference State Volleyball Tournament last weekend in the Wisconsin Dells.



0852, 22 October 2016


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