Six from West Bend involved in balcony collapse in Florida
There was a local tie to a bad accident in Destin, Florida this week as 11 people, including six from West Bend, were injured when a second-story balcony collapsed.
According to DailyMail.com the accident happened as the group was on the balcony celebrating an 82-year-old’s birthday.
Dick and Ruby Stommel from Holy Angels in West Bend were at the gathering.
Dick, who used to drive for UPS, said he was the only one “not on the deck.”
Stommel’s wife Ruby suffered a fractured ankle and injuries to her back.
Bernie and Mona Werner of West Bend were also injured. Mona suffered a broken leg and fractured her back. Bernie, who used to work for Jecklyn Shoes, reportedly had a broken ankle.
Wally and Gladys Wenzloff of West Bend were also on the deck but only received bruises.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation.
Lillian Oelhafen has died
Lillian Oelhafen who died at her home on Friday in Kohlsville; she was 100 years old.
This past November more than 400 friends and family turned out to help Lillian celebrate her century birthday. Although she officially turned 100 on Dec. 24, Lillian said she simply wanted to see all the people who touched her life.
“She was a fixture at Germanfest,” said Todd Tennies. “She got to see all her old friends. People enjoyed walking up and talking to her because she was so friendly.”
Lillian Oelhafen was born Dec. 24, 1916 when Woodrow Wilson was President of the United States, Charlie Chaplain dominated films, and the Saturday Evening Post first featured a painting by Norman Rockwell on the cover.
Oelhafen was a small woman with an easy smile. She has spent the past years writing her memoirs and was often a frequent resource to help document the history of Washington County.
During the Washington County Fair, Oelhafen recalled attending the fair as a child in the 1920s. She remembered growing up in Kohlsville and how she would go to the fair with her family.
“It was very dusty,” said Oelhafen. “There was always a dark man with a good suit on and he was standing where you entered the fair and he had a whisk broom and he would offer to brush the men’s suits because it was so dusty.”
Oelhafen said it was normal for families to go to the fair together. “They had rides like a Ferris wheel and merry go round,” she said. “And kids would show their animals.”
In September 2015 Oelhafen took part in her 80th high school reunion. She was one of two students left from the Class of 1935. Details on funeral services for Lillian Oelhafen will be posted shortly.
Former WB Police Chief Jim Skidmore has died
Former West Bend Police Chief Jim Skidmore has died. His family said he died Saturday, Feb. 25 in Florida. Skidmore, who hailed from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, was hired as chief in West Bend on Sept. 1, 1978.
Paul Hetebrueg was captain at the time. “Jim brought the department up to more modern times,” said Hetebrueg. “He improved the training we were getting.”
Former Chief Whitey Uelmen was a patrol office when Skidmore first came to town. “He was an advocate of morality,” said Uelmen. “When they wanted to open massage parlors and tattoo shops he was pretty much against that.”
Washington County Supervisor Mike Miller was an alderman when Skidmore came on board. “He did a wonderful job bringing West Bend up to a first-class police department,” said Miller. “Just the discipline; being an ex Marine, he just brought that Marine discipline to the department.”
Travis Gordon remembered Skidmore as his little league coach when he was 8 years old. “I played for him for 3 years,” said Gordon. “He always had a kind smile and lots of patience with us. I was a tiny kid and he always told me to eat my spinach so I would grow big and strong. I always looked up to him and have many fond memories.”
Nancy Hoerz Wagner worked with Skidmore at West Bend City Hall. “He was my son’s little league coach for 4 years. Liked him a lot,” she said. Skidmore retired Dec. 31, 1993 and moved to Florida with his wife. His family said Skidmore suffered a stroke a number of years ago and then his health declined recently before his death. A memorial service is being planned at Calvary Assembly of God on Decorah Road in West Bend.
Former Washington Co. Fair manager Joyce Albrecht has died
Joyce Albrecht, a former manager of the Washington County Fair has died. Albrecht became the Home Economist for the University of Wisconsin Extension Office in Washington County and served as the Washington County Fair Manager until her retirement in 1997.
Ann Marie Craig first got to know Albrecht through 4-H. “I did projects like baking, canning, and sewing along with other projects nearly every year of the nine years I was in 4-H and she was always at the dress reviews,” said Craig.
“Joyce also worked behind the scenes with the home arts judges at the Fair. She is another icon that several generations of 4-Hers and others in her field will remember and miss.”
Agnes Wagner was with Washington County for 18 years. Wagner and Albrecht were both extremely visible when the fair grounds were located in Slinger. “Joyce was a great worker and a great friend,” said Wagner.
Albrecht was a regular guest on the “Neighbor to Neighbor” show on WBKV AM-1470 with Steve Siegel.
Judy Etta said Albrecht was a fixture with 4-H at the County Fair. “She was a dear person,” said Etta. “She was smart and witty and a good person even after she retired.”
Albrecht, 74, died after a lingering illness on Feb. 28, 2017. Funeral Services will be held Sunday, March 5 at Trinity Lutheran Church, Seventh Avenue in West Bend. Visitation starts at 1 p.m. followed by a memorial service at 2 p.m.
7-year-old girl from McLane notifies authorities about fire
The keen eye of a 7 year old helped save the day this week as Serenity Sunde spotted a fire atop the former Badger Car Wash on W. Washington Street.
“I was driving with my uncle and he was going to get some papers and I saw the light and knew it was probably a fire,” she said of the red flames.
The second grader from McLane Elementary School said it took a bit to convince her uncle what she saw was real. “He was driving away and I started crying and saying he had to go back and check,” Sunde said. “I was crying because I didn’t want anybody to be hurt.”
The pair turned around, drove in, saw the fire and started beeping the horn.
Sunde’s uncle left the vehicle and helped pull scaffolding over so an attendant at the car wash could climb up to the roof and use a fire extinguisher to put out the fire.
On Tuesday a number of West Bend firefighters gathered outside the car wash to meet Sunde and hear her story. Dressed in yellow turnout gear the firefighters listened to what Sunde learned in class about fire safety.
“We learn stop, drop and roll if you have a fire on you and if there’s a in your house crawl on your knees or how low you can get,” she said. “If one door is blocked and you don’t have any more doors go through a window.”
Sunde’s aunt Becca Steines said she was extremely of her niece. “We have discussed fire safety in our house and I told her I was proud she could recognize an emergency and knew she had to tell an adult,” said Steines.
Firefighters praised Sunde for being in the right place at the right time. “For a 7 year old to be that alert and to even be that cognizant to see a fire and know it’s bad ….. that’s pretty special,” said Lt. Alan Hefter. “So somebody really trained her well.”
The fire occurred late Monday afternoon. The amount of damage was undetermined and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
New owner for Planet Mobile in West Bend
Terrance Kesler has taken over the Planet Mobile, 121 S. Main Street in downtown West Bend.
The Appleton native has worked in the phone industry since graduating high school. “I started at U.S. Cellular right out of school and also held jobs at Verizon and AT&T for the last 15 years,” he said.
For the past 10 years Kesler has been operating an online phone repair business called The Phoneyard. “I recycled cell phone batteries and learn about trouble shooting and I’ve done quite a bit of fundraising,” he said.
Kesler said he was attracted to the location downtown because of the visibility and foot traffic. “I want to be part of all of the events down here,” he said. Some of the new policies at the store will be a quick turnaround on all repairs and a solid schedule of hours. “Most phones I can get fixed in three days,” said Kesler. “I want to have this place be a one-stop shop; I’ll work on Galaxy phones and iPhones and I’ll have the repairs completed on a timely basis.”
Kesler uses words like “ethical” and “honest” to describe his business practices. “I follow up with people and the communication with customers is really important,” he said. “I’m also going to start offering data recovery, so if you crash your phone I’ll be able to grab your photos and I’ll have free loaner phones.” New hours will be Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. during the week and Saturday’s from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Comic book store opening in Barton
A new comic book store will be opening in Barton. David Gloyd and Curt Schoob will be opening Crimson Cowl Comics and Collectibles. The store will be at 1749 Barton Avenue next to Revive Salon Studios. “We’re excited to be joining the Barton business community and will do our best to promote other Barton businesses,” said Gloyd.
The pair has been working to bring a comic book store out of their home space to West Bend. A grand opening is planned for March 11. The store will be open four days a week. More details can be found at Crimson Cowl Comics and Collectibles.
Lenten Prayer Service starts in March
West Bend area Churches will be hosting a Lenten Ecumenical Prayer Service over the Wednesday noon hour. Each service will last from 12:15 p.m. to about 12:45 p.m. The theme is about Seeds of Hope found within Sacred Scriptures and our lives. The service schedule: March 8 Trinity Lutheran Church – Rev. Clarissa Martinelli, March 15 Cedar Ridge—Jill Maria Murdy, March 22 Saint Frances Cabrini Parish –Rev. Kathryn Kuhn, March 29 Saint James Episcopal Church – Rev. Shoob, April 5 Fifth Avenue Methodist Church – Mother Mindy Davis (soup lunch to follow) A free-will offering will be taken for a local charity to be announced.
Updates & tidbits
-You could see the lights in the sky for miles last Saturday night and if you traced them they led to Main Street in downtown West Bend where Kelsey and Wes Krimmer were celebrating the 2nd anniversary of Krimmer’s Restaurant.
-Homes for Independent Living is holding a day in West Bend for on-site caregiver interviews. It’s Tuesday, March 7 at 2395 W. Washington Street Suite 206 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. There’s a $1,000 sign-on bonus for mentioning the post in WashingtonCountyInsider.com
– Treat yourself Irish style! On Saturday, March 4 from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. there will be Irish music, food, beer, raffle prizes, dancing and plenty of other fun at the Jackson Community Center Live music by Frogwater, The Celtic Company and Rambler. Frogwater plays from 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. Don’t miss them no matter what!
– A near-capacity crowd at the first Mass on Ash Wednesday in the newly renovated St. Peter Catholic Church in Slinger. One of the hymns, “All Are Welcome in this Place.” Hat tip Ruth Marks.
– Two student athletes from the UW-Washington County womens basketball team have been selected to the Wisconsin Collegiate Conference All-Conference team Megan Breuer was named first team all conference and Kimberly Zimmel was named honorable mention.
-Callie Olinski, 16, of Campbellsport will be the soloist with the Kettle Moraine Symphony on Sunday, March 5. The concert begins 2 p.m. at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in West Bend.
-Katherine Gehl is the featured speaker March 8 at the MOWA Women’s Forum of Wisconsin. Gehl is a business entrepreneur and former president and CEO of Gehl Foods in Germantown.
– The city of West Bend will be hosting Loyalty Day in 2017. The event will feature a parade Saturday, April 29. Loyalty Day is observed nationally. All VFW Posts are invited to take part.
-Groundbreaking is March 17 for the 911 memorial in Kewaskum.
-Delta Defense/USCCA in West Bend will be moving to its new headquarters on Freedom Way off Corporate Center Drive next week Thursday and Friday.
-The Joseph Marest Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution honors seven high school seniors on March 16 who have been named by their schools as DAR Good Citizens. The 2016-2017 Good Citizens are: Chloe Christiaansen, Hartford Union High School, Kara Conley, West Bend West High School, Maria Tischer, Living Word Lutheran High School, Kayla Fixel, Germantown High School, Hailey Herriges, Kewaskum High School, Alison Wolf, Slinger High School and Meredith Vande Zande, West Bend East High School. These seniors have demonstrated outstanding dependability, service, leadership and patriotism. Daughters of the American Revolution awards $150,000 in scholarships and aid each year.
-Preliminary signs of a pending remodel can be seen at Pick n’ Save south on S. Main Street in West Bend. Some shelves are being emptied and pallets of items are on sale. Watch for the floral department to be moved to the entryway by produce. In January, WashingtonCountyInsider.com reported the remodel was part of the intended restructuring Kroger had in mind following its $866 million acquisition of Roundy’s Supermarkets in Dec. 2015.
-The 30th annual Washington County Breakfast on the Farm is Saturday, June 10 at the Golden ‘E’ Dairy Farm on 8262 Orchard Valley Road, in the Town of Farmington.
-The Kettle Moraine Geological Society (KMGS) is holding its 55th annual show March 11 and 12 at the Washington County Fair Park. The event features club speakers, demonstrators and a variety of displays. For schools, the KMGS is a valuable