Interior remodel on tap for Pick ‘n Saves in West Bend
In the next few months The Kroger Co. is expected to complete an interior remodel of the Pick ‘n Save stores in West Bend.
Some might say this is “the Meijer effect” as the new chain retailer based in Grand Rapids, Michigan is opening a new store in West Bend, 229 S. Main Street, in March/April. Other say it’s part of the intended restructuring Kroger had in mind following its $866 million acquisition of Roundy’s Supermarkets in Dec. 2015.
Staff at the Kroger stores in Fond du Lac said all the stores in the “Fox Valley area” are being remodeled.
The Pick ‘n Save in Fond du Lac has all new cases, new produce tables, new refrigeration equipment along with a new interior-and-exterior decor package.
Grocery industry analyst David Livingston offered some insight on the proposed remodel.
“Anything under $2 million in my opinion is just routine maintenance,” he said. “Over $2 to $3 million is a remodel. If a store is just adding a coat of paint, buying employees new t-shirts, putting up new signs, replacing shopping carts, and blocking off the excess cash registers no longer used, that to me is not a remodel.”
Questioned whether Meijer is impacting the Kroger decision, Livingston gave an example of what happened in neighboring Waukesha County.
“In Waukesha a new Meijer opened on Sunset Drive and there is a Pick ‘n Save across the street and another Pick ‘n Save a mile west on Sunset,” he said. “The one a mile west they remodeled and put up new signage. The one across the street was left untouched and is a museum.”
There’s no confirmation from Kroger on the remodel. Livingston was correct in his prediction, “Kroger is not going to tell you anything.” As far as which Pick ‘n Save will be remodeled first, there are bets it’ll be the store on S. Main Street… because it’s closer to the incoming Meijer.
RR crossing at Highway 33 in Allenton
Highway 33 in Allenton will be shut down Tuesday, Jan. 10 from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. as another repair is completed on the approach at the Canadian National Railroad crossing. The issue is the same one that’s been hindering the crossing the past year as the approach is unsafe and could damage vehicles.
Former Washington County Supervisor Ron Naab said the product around the rails doesn’t hold and creates a divot on either side of the track. “They use a rubber composite for the road bed instead of wood ties but the bolts used down don’t hold and the studs come up and stick up 3 to 4 inches,” said Naab.
Crews from the Washington County Highway Department were on hand Friday to fix it again.
Washington County Highway Commissioner Scott Schmidt said the problem is multifaceted. “It’s a combination of the cold weather, the composite material, the bolts used and the lumber around it being old as well as being located in a swampy area,” said Schmidt.
Naab said the “middle lanes of traffic” are where the biggest problems occur. “Last Sunday they had to put a squad down there,” he said. “The two center lanes are the problem. That’s the worst.” Last November when the area was repaired a spokesperson with Canadian National Railroad said “it’s a rough crossing.”
Pizza Ranch moving forward in West Bend
West Bend, WI – The Pizza Ranch in West Bend took one more step towards fruition tonight as the Plan Commission green lighted its new proposal.
The primary sticking point for the location on W. Washington Street about 300-feet west of 18th Avenue had been acquisition of an entrance/exit at the southern end of the property. The developer has been working with Sendik’s and while terms and conditions haven’t been finalized a second access would be through the southern property line.
With the new egress the parking was shifted a bit on the east side of the lot and the other change is the original standard ground sign will now be a coordinated development sign with Sendik’s. No final design has come in yet but the location is acceptable to the city.
The Plan Commission gave unanimous approval with the stipulation six conditions were met which included submission and approval of an erosion plan, landscaping, a storm water management plan, revision of site plan for some technical corrections, and the Plan Commission gives staff the ability to approve final details for the coordinated development sign.
The only question from the Plan Commission was whether motorists could use the driveway and exit the restaurant parking lot back onto Highway 33. The answer was “yes, but only making a right turn out.” No action will be needed by the common council on the easement.
After the vote, business owners Stacy and Matt Gehring said they felt relieved. “I know the community is behind us on this because I see it every day on the Insider,” said Matt Gehring. “This has been going on a long time and we’re just excited to be in West Bend.”
Pizza Ranch developer Bjorn Kaashagen with Umbrella City Holdings said groundbreaking on the restaurant should happen the end of February or March 1. “A lot depends on the weather and how much frost is in the ground,” he said. “It’s about a four-month build so we’re looking at a mid-summer opening.”
Also during the Tuesday meeting the Plan Commission approved an LED panel sign for Valvoline, 829 S. Main Street. The commission also approved combining two lots in the Glenn Ivy Subdivision for Tim and Julie Ann Luetschwager, 220 Upper Woodford Circle.
Change in Chief at St. Lawrence Fire Company Courtesy Ron Naab
After 21 years at the helm, St. Lawrence Fire Company (SLFC) Chief Gary Karnitz has stepped down. Karnitz was a mentor and leader who helped guide his department over the last 31 years to better serve the community and those traveling through the St. Lawrence area.
“I knew the time was right to step out,” said Karnitz who took over for Chief Mike Schmidt in 1996. “I have great people behind me and I felt that I want them to experience this too.
“I’m still going to be involved with the department but now it’s going to be fun to watch it grow under someone else,” he said.
Karnitz, 51, signed on with the department when he was 30 years old. “When I first started we were one of the few departments in the county that still rode on the back of the fire trucks,” he said. “It was 1986 and we rode the tailboard on two of the trucks. We were belted in but in winter it was cold.”
Some of these innovations Karnitz helped implement included sharing emergency medical response personnel with Allenton Fire Department and Hartford Fire-Rescue. Another was developing and instituting an “automatic mutual response” with Allenton Fire Department. This helped both departments respond with more people and with shared equipment on all calls.
During an annual meeting this week Captain Jeff Infalt was elected to the position of fire chief for a 3 year term. Infalt has served many years as Captain of the department and is a local businessman with great leadership skills.
Infalt has served as picnic chairman for18 years. He is respected and appreciated by all of the members of the St. Lawrence Fire Company.
Elected as president of the non-profit corporation was Bryon Messig who comes with an extend background in management and leadership roles.
Four candidates are running for three open seats on the Hartford School Board.
Two of the incumbents turned in non-candidacy papers including William Savage and Barbara Lindert, who resigned because she moved out of the district.
Incumbent Adam Majerus is running along with Josh Smith, Greg Erickson and former State Superintendent candidate and state Assembly Rep. Don Pridemore. The top two vote getters will get full time spots the third will finish the Lindert term of one year.
Primary election ahead for WB School District
Six out of seven candidates will advance to the spring election following a Feb. 21 primary. Voters can cast a vote for up to three candidates. Tina Hochstetter, who turned in paperwork, has already announced she is not running however her name will still be on the February ballot. If she wins in the primary her name will still advance to the April ballot for the spring election.
A new draw for ballot order in the April election will take place after the February primary.
In the West Bend School Board race the ballot order will be: Nancy Justman, Richard Cammack, Joel Ongert, Tina Hochstaetter, Ryan Gieryn, Tonnie Schmidt, and Bob Miller.
Candidate profile: Tonnie Schmidt to run for West Bend School Board
Tonnie Schmidt, 45, of the Town of West Bend is throwing her hat into the ring to run for the West Bend School Board.
“The number one reason I’m running is because we support West Bend,” said Schmidt. “Being an employer in town we owe it to our employees and the ones we’re trying to attract, to have a strong public school system.”
Schmidt and her husband Tim have lived in the community over 18 years. They own Delta Defense/USCCA which employs over 110 people. “That represents over 100 kids being educated in the West Bend Public Schools and that’s why I’m running,” said Schmidt. “Plus we’ve made such an investment in West Bend it’s important for us the public schools remain strong.”
Schmidt said her second goal is to help the superintendent define a good responsibility chart for administration. “I want to know what people actually do in the school district,” said Schmidt. “My big issue is to get a legitimate accountability chart because I think people work better when they know what their job description is and responsibilities are.”
The Schmidts have three children; the oldest attends an online private school and the other two, 16 and 13, go to the University School of Milwaukee.
“We had our children in the public schools and the private schools in West Bend for a number of years,” said Schmidt. “We just wanted our kids to be educated in a smaller environment and I think I can bring what USM is doing and what’s working to the public schools here. I’ve experienced a number of school formats first hand and I can bring that point of view and strategies to the table.”
A couple of bullet points on Schmidt:
Goal: “My goal for serving on the WB School Board is rooted in a simple desire to bring accountability back as a core value of our district.”
Common Core: “It was developed to help gauge teacher performance but unfortunately it’s had a negative effect. While I’m in favor of measuring teacher performance I’m not in favor of the way Common Core teaches math. Teachers want parents to help their kids with homework but with Common Core it hinders that teamwork.”
Setting aside money for future Jackson School: “It’s financially responsible to sock money away so you don’t have to ask for it later and it could still be spent on the students if the need came about. I don’t think there’s anything irresponsible in spending less money in planning for the future.”
Walker recall: Did not sign the Scott Walker recall.
Candidate profile: Joel Ongert to run for West Bend School Board
There are three open seats this spring on the West Bend School Board and it appears a primary may be in the offing as a handful of candidates are stepping forward.
Joel Ongert of West Bend has thrown his hat in the ring. “I’ve just always had a passion for teachers and I’m a proponent of great public schools,” said Ongert, the son of two public school teachers. “We’ve got a great public school system in West Bend and I’m just excited to be a part of it.”
Ongert has lived in the community with his wife, Tina, for 8 years. The couple has two children who attend Decorah Elementary School. Ongert has spent the last 13 years at Caterpillar, Inc. He has been active on different committees and boards through work and Our Saviors Lutheran Church in West Bend.
“Now is a really cool time with a new superintendent; he’s approached the job well with listening to parents and teachers and I think we’re on the brink of a culture change with the positive things going on in the district,” Ongert said.
Things that have impressed Ongert include creating a positive and uplifting culture and having open and honest communication with staff, business owners, teachers and parents.
A couple of bullet points on Ongert:
Walker recall: Did not sign the Scott Walker recall.
Galileo testing: “The kids don’t like it the teachers don’t like it and I’m sure the district pays a lot of money for that and it’s something we need to look at and make changes to.”
Goal: “It starts with listening to the teachers; empowering the teachers and principals to run their schools at a building level and not micromanage the district from the central office and I think the new superintendent brings in a perfect opportunity to start that culture change of being more positive.”
Common Core: “We need to follow the principles of Common Core to get the funding we need but our new U.S. President hates Common Core and if he gets rid of it I’ll be celebrating with all the other parents and teachers and students around the state.”
Galileo testing: “I work for Caterpillar which is one of the largest companies in the U.S. We’re a very conservative company that wants to create jobs; looking out for shareholders is a huge part of working for a big public company so we’re very conscious of the dollars we spend. Bringing that kind of a background to a school board and questioning what type of return we’re getting out of an initiative, that should be our approach with Galileo testing; we probably spend tens of thousands of dollars on it every year and if we’re not getting our return on it that’s a bad investment.”
Setting aside money for future Jackson School: “The school district owns buildings and cars and tracks and football fields and if we want this district to survive capital improvements has to happen. The board has a 25-year plan in place but part of the budget will also be saving and improving the assets we have. Building a new Jackson Elementary School is going to happen and saving for that and preparing for that is a good thing instead of asking taxpayers to vote on a multimillion dollar referendum; if we can save for it now and sock away some money so we don’t have to do that down the road I’m all for it.”
Election platform: A Champion for Students, A Champion for Teachers, A Champion for the Community! “Is it good for the students, is it good for the teachers, and is it good for the taxpayers.”
Updates & tidbits
– Sonny’s Party & Variety in Slinger is holding a 70% off sale. In true five & dime store fashion, Sonny’s ad reads like a carnival barker for retail. “This is your last chance to stock up on items you’ll need soon anyhow. A whopping 70% off everything. Bargains galore at Sonny’s Party store on Highway 175 in the Village Square Shopping Center in Slinger. Free peg board and scrap wood. Weekday hours 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
– Charity wrestling event ‘MAYHEM for Mason’ is Saturday, Feb. 25. Proceeds benefit Mason Holbrook and family.
– The Washington County Dairy Promotion Committee is looking for volunteers to serve on its board (3-year term). Three positions will be voted on at the Feb. 2 annual meeting. Contact President Bill Hinckley if interested at firstname.lastname@example.org or 262-365-9734.
– The West Bend Common Council on Monday will issue a proclamation declaring January 16-20, 2017 as Wisconsin Adult School Crossing Guard Recognition Week.
-The Students of the Month for January 2017 at Holy Angels School in West Bend Are 6th grader Sophie Dahlberg, who is a careful worker, turning in work that is complete and thoughtful. 7th grader Owen Schmidt is willing to put in the work it takes to learn difficult concepts and 8th grader Laura Zautner is a nice blend of serious and bubbly which is one reason she is such a great patrol leader for the K4 kids.
– Someone with the West Bend Theatre project will address the common council during its January 23 meeting. Mayor Kraig Sadownikow made clear the council has no say in the project as the building is owned by a private party.
-The Ice Rink at Regner Park officially opens Saturday, Jan. 7. The warming house will be open and rink lights will be on in the evenings.
– The gloves will be coming off Feb. 25 at the Boys and Girls Club in West Bend as Tin Love, Justin Dredd and Damon Knight climb into the ring for Mayhem for Mason. Money will be raised for Mason Holbrook and family.
-Baby New Year came in on Monday, Jan. 2 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in the Town of Polk as Ashley and Matt Kimlicka of West Bend and big brother Max welcomed Avalynn Muriel. She was born at 4:19 p.m. and weighed in at 7 pounds 2 ounces.
-The Downtown West Bend Business Improvement District Board will meet Tuesday, Jan. 10 and agenda items include election of officers, and update on the bridge behind the downtown West Ben Theatre and a discussion of blighted buildings. That’s become a hot topic as several buildings on Main Street have fallen into disrepair with boarded up windows and poor curb appeal.
– Doug Jaeger remembered his teacher Gwendolyn (nee Birkholz) Puestow, 93, of West Bend, who died Christmas Eve. Puestow taught fourth grade for 37 years at St John’s Lutheran School. “We all had Miss Birkholz for first and second grade during 1948 and 1949. I thought I was unusual reminiscing about the many times I was sent to “The Closet.” Probably a 4′ X 4′ storage closet toward the back of the classroom full of jump ropes, library paste, soft balls, and various other stuff. Mostly we had to stand because the space was tight. No lights but the gap under the door was fairly large so it was not completely dark. I remembered eating library paste, goiter pills, and feeding jump ropes under the door which my classmates continued to pass down the aisles. A classmate remembered being sent to the closet with one of the girls in our class and two of the guys shared the closet with each other at least once. Of course we all visited the principal at various times. Thinking back, Miss Birkholtz was one of our very best teachers as she cared; strict but caring. We did not have Dunce stools, our knuckles were not rapped with rulers, and we did not have our mouths washed with soap but we always had THE CLOSET !!