Bobcat sighting in Town of Farmington
This week WashingtonCountyInsider.com posted a video from a reader who spotted a bobcat while he was up north hunting in Oneida County.
That video prompted a comment about a person in West Bend who also saw a bobcat this week at Leonard J. Yahr County Park, 7999 Orchard Valley Road, in the Town of Farmington.
“It was sitting upright in the bend of the trail over there,” said Lana Alexandra of West Bend.
Alexandra bicycles through the park around 6:30 a.m. She said it was Tuesday, a little foggy but what she saw was definitely a bobcat.
“It was probably about three times the size of a big house cat,” she said. “It was sitting up and the ears were pretty big.”
Local DNR agent Tom Isaac said there very well could be bobcats in Washington County. “We had one up near Lomira the last year or the year before and one was spotted near Fond du Lac County,” said Isaac.
Sightings have been reported near the Jackson Marsh or the Colgate area. “Bobcats are in most counties,” Isaac said. “We even had a sighting November 5 and it was standing in the intersection of Highway 167 and Scenic Road in the Town of Richfield. It ran in front of a guy’s car and he got a real good look at it.”
The bobcat was described as weighing 30 pounds and with a short tail. “It also has short ear tufts,” he said. “They’re pretty much in their territory across Wisconsin.”
Chad Cook is the Washington County Parks Superintendent. “I had seen a black farm cat hanging out in the field by the park but this is the first I’ve heard of a sighting but it doesn’t surprise me,” he said.
Gearing up for Shop with a Cop in Washington County
Shop with a Cop in Washington County is Wednesday, Dec. 7 at West Bend Mutual’s Prairie Center.
The program is being organized by the Fraternal Order of Police along with local volunteers. Forty kids have been selected to participate in this year’s event and organizers are reaching out for a little help.
“We’re putting together gift baskets for the families and we’re hoping businesses in town can help supply items for children ages 8 – 12,” said volunteer Tina Beres. “We’re looking for thing like board games or something kids can play with their family.”
West Bend Police Lieutenant Matt Rohlinger said this is the first year the Fraternal Order of Police are running the event.
“When we heard the future of Washington County’s Shop with a Cop was at risk the executive board met and felt strongly we should keep it going,” Rohlinger said. “This is great interaction with the kids and in this current environment it’s critical to send a positive message.”
Rohlinger said one of the big changes will be the amount of support staff and officers involved. “We’re trying to recruit more officers so kids actually do shop with a cop,” he said.
This year’s event will include a shopping trip to Walmart, hot dogs at The Prairie Center, a rousing game of Bingo called by Police Chiefs Tom Bishop of Kewaskum and Jed Dolnick of Jackson, and a special visit from Santa.
Neighbors who would like to make donations to Shop with a Cop in Washington County can send a check to Shop with a Cop at PO Box 149, Kewaskum, WI 53040
Questions can be directed to Tina Beres at Cyberes@gmail.com
Amity Rolfs nativity
The life-size nativity display, a holiday hallmark for West Bend, was erected this week. Originally brought to the community by brothers Tom and Bob Rolfs, the pieces, handmade in Germany, were originally placed in front of the tower of the Amity building on Main Street. The nativity later moved to the front of the Amity Outlet on Highway 33 and in 2007 it was donated to the Downtown West Bend Association. From 2007 until 2014 the nativity was in front of Westbury Bank on S. Main Street.
On Thursday, volunteers with the Downtown West Bend Association and staffers from Bits ‘n’ Pieces Floral spent a couple hours assembling the nativity and a hat tip to West Bend Elevator donating the straw for the manger.
Search is on to replace WB city clerk
The city of West Bend has begun its search to fill the opening of West Bend City Clerk and assistant City Administrator as Amy Reuteman is leaving. “Amy has been a stalwart at the city and a confidant of mine the last six months as we’ve gone through some challenges but this is an exciting time for her and her husband to relocate to their vacation home,” said Mayor Kraig Sadownikow. “I certainly wish her well in her next endeavors.”
District 8 alderman Roger Kist said Reuteman is going to be hard to replace because everybody loves her and thinks a lot of her. “Amy brought a lot to the city and she has always been extremely helpful in many, many ways,” Kist said.
“Amy stepped up to the plate following the mess with T.J. Justice and she was so excited when we hired Jay (Shambeau) as the new city administrator.”
Quite a few people connected with City Hall in West Bend have expressed disbelief when told of Reuteman’s departure. Former Dist. 7 alderman Terry Vrana said Reuteman is irreplaceable and a very stabilizing force.
“I was an alderman when Amy first came to the city and she was impressive then,” he said. “She’s a rare find.”
Reuteman started as an assistant to then city Clerk Barb Barringer. “She was always a high-quality person and got along with everybody and very smart and she fit the job perfectly. That’s going to be a huge loss for the city,” said Vrana. “I always really enjoyed working with her because she was so good at what she did; such a good person and good with everybody.”
John Kleinmaus is one of Reuteman’s trusty poll workers during elections. Kleinmaus was bowled over by the news. “Wow,” he said. “You’re kidding. I wish her well but wow.”
Kleinmaus said, when it came to elections Reuteman knew her stuff. “If I ever had to call her with a question she was always right there on top of it,” he said. “Her job was very stressful but she handled it in a very cool and professional way. I don’t ever remember seeing her get mad; she was always there to help and we could always count on her.”
Kist read from an email that detailed Reuteman leaving for a position up north. “Her last day will be December 1,” said Kist. Reuteman is currently taking some post-election time off and she is unavailable for comment.
No confidence vote moves forward on County Treasurer
The Washington County Executive Committee held a lengthy discussion this week regarding a proposal to pass a ‘vote of no confidence’ for County Treasurer Jane Merten.
The proposal stems from an incident 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.
District 1 County Supervisor Kris Deiss felt the public should be the one to determine how the issue is dealt with. “It’s not our job as a supervisor to issue a vote of no confidence, the public can do that at the ballot box,” said Deiss.
Merten was just reelected to her position as County Treasurer during the Nov. 8 election. She received 62,455 votes or 98.90%. Merten ran uncontested.
District 21 Supervisor Donald Kriefall initiated the resolution for a ‘no confidence’ vote. He said, “We’re limited on our actions and to take a vote of no confidence is similar to putting a notice in her file. This is the smallest thing we can do.”
Deiss was adamant it was still up to the voters of this county. “They had plenty of time to decide,” she said.
District 5 Supervisor Mike Bassill asked if there was a way to make the county treasurer post a “non-elected position.” That question was quickly dismissed as it is state statue that the post be elected.
District 20 Supervisor Mark McCune asked if Merten even apologized and to that Dist. 15 Supervisor Marilyn Merten answered from the audience that County Board Chairman Rick Gundrum had received a letter from Jane Merten.
“Isn’t it true you did get a letter from the treasurer,” said Marilyn Merten.
Gundrum said he had not but he would double check his email.
District 17 Supervisor Tim Michalak said if this had happened at a company with a comptroller then that person would be out of work. “I’m not asking for a resolution for resignation but a letter in the file,” he said.
Supervisor Kriefall is now working on a resolution to bring to committee.
Washington Co. parts ways with County Attorney Kim Nass
A unanimous decision this week by the Washington County Executive Committee to enter into a separation agreement with Washington County Attorney Kim Nass.
The committee met in closed session for more than an hour. Once it reconvened the question was called and the decision was made final in less than two minutes. Nass had been on an unconfirmed administrative leave since Oct. 20.
As per direction from the executive committee the County Administrator Joshua Schoemann must provide a summary report to the full county board at the December 2016 meeting.
Schoemann said there are still several steps that have to be completed before this decision is finalized. Questioned about Nass’s last day on the job Schoemann said that had yet to be determined.
Schoemann confirmed the county does have attorneys on staff however he acknowledged they do have a large workload. He said the county will be exploring various options on how to fill the post moving forward.
County board chairman Rick Gundrum praised the staff in the county attorney’s office for the job they’ve been doing. Gundrum refused to disclose the reason for the separation with Nass citing “closed session and a personnel matter.”
Former county board chairman Herb Tennies attended the committee meeting. He said Nass had always been professional while he was on the board. He praised her work with the county.
Nass was not in attendance at this week’s meeting.
Lights by Meijer
The streetscape has changed on South Main Street and Humar Street as new traffic lights have been installed. The lights are part of the Meijer grocery development.
The 192,940-square-foot Meijer is under construction on the 32-acre lot that used to be home to Northfield Block and prior to that Bend Industries. Visible from Parkway Drive is the 31,000-square-foot outdoor garden center on the north side of the building; there will also be parking for 970 vehicles.
There will be an exit onto Parkway Drive and another onto S. Main with traffic signals at Humar Street. Construction on Meijer should be completed in March or April of 2017.
Judy Etta enters 4-H Hall of Fame
4-H volunteer Judy Etta of Kewaskum has been inducted into the Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development Hall of Fame. Etta has been a 4-H Club leader for 39 years; she was recognized for outstanding service. Etta helped establish the 4-H American Spirit Experience, taking 4-H members from Wisconsin to historic sites in the eastern United States, to increase their knowledge, and appreciation of America’s heritage. Etta has been a chaperone/coordinator for Citizen Washington Focus, co-chairs the County 4-H Achievement and Recognition Committee and interviews youth for awards, experiences, and scholarships throughout the year.
Updates & tidbits
–Members of the West Bend Professional Firefighters Union will be distributing coats to students in the West Bend School District on Monday. This is the third year for Operation Warm where firefighters provide coats to needy children. About 200 coats will be donated this year.
– A major remodel is underway in downtown West Bend at the space above The Exclusive Company. Boss Realty owner Tom Zernia has cleaned up the space for a new business location. Zernia also plans on renting out space.
– Rick Takacs at Meadowbrook Farm in West Bend has Christmas trees from the same vendor in Oconto County, Dave and Mary Vander Velden’s Whispering Pines Tree Farm, who is supplying the tree to the White House in Washington D.C.
– The Downtown West Bend Association is making a list and checking it twice as it prepares for the annual Winter on Main on Dec. 9 from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. The family-friendly event includes a special tree-lighting ceremony at Old Settler’s Park along with ornament decorating for the kids and a special visit from Santa.
–Max Stowers, 16, a junior at Kewaskum High School is this year’s winner of the Brenda Oelhafen Award which was presented Oct. 15 as Washington County 4-H held its Achievement and Recognition Banquet at the Washington County Fair Park. The Oelhafen family present the award each year in memory of their daughter who was an active member of the Wayne Crusaders 4-H Club and won the Grand Champion Beef Dairy at the County Fair in 1985.
–Santa will land at the West Bend Airport again this year but he’s on an earlier flight. Santa plans to arrive at 8:30 a.m. so he can greet more children and take note of items on their wish list. The event sponsored by EAA Kettle Moraine Chapter 1158.
– Saint Frances Cabrini Parish will be hosting an evening of Advent Taizé Prayer on Tuesday, Nov. 29 from 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. Taizé is an ecumenical prayer based on the pillars of scriptures, song, intercessions and silence.
– 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.
Letter to the Editor – Man fights for reimbursement after Daily News cancels e-edition
Letter to the Editor from Terry Wentz. I had a bit of a surprise Monday when I went to the West Bend Daily News website to read my Monday online edition; only Saturday’s paper was available. I called their local office and was told they no longer publish the Monday paper. I explained that I have always had an E-newspaper on Mondays and was unaware it had been discontinued. I was assured of a return phone call with an answer to my question.
When I received the call, I was told by the Daily News staff that they no longer offer an e-edition; it had been discontinued. When I asked why it was discontinued, the person I spoke with told me that it appeared the Daily News did not feel the e-edition was worth anything and also appeared to think subscribers would most likely not care about it. I told them I cared about paying for something I will not get. I asked if I would receive credit for those Monday editions that I had pre-paid with my subscription. In the end, I was offered a 4-week extension on my subscription; we settled on 5. I think there are a lot of people who will not get any compensation if they do not call the West Bend Daily News and ask. I’m afraid the Daily News is hoping to keep the money paid and try to forget about it. Terry Wentz, West Bend
EDITOR’S NOTE: On Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2016, the West Bend Daily News posted the following notice to their subscribers via email: “To our readers, We are ending publication of our Monday e-edition to refocus resources on our other products. The last Monday e-edition will be published Nov. 7. We will continue to publish e-editions Tuesday through Saturday.”