New floral business moving into downtown West Bend
It didn’t take long for the building at 136 S. Main Street in West Bend to acquire a new tenant. The triangular two-story on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Main, formerly home to Hemauer Paint and then Century Farmhouse Soap will now host a florist.
“I feel really, really blessed to have such a fantastic location in downtown West Bend,” said Amanda Strassburg, owner of Consider the Lilies.
For over six years Strassburg has operated her business of her home and her historic barn in Barton. She said she was drawn to the shop on S. Main and its brilliant interior.
“The gorgeous lime green tin ceiling is my favorite thing,” Strassburg said. “I love the color lime green and it’s appropriate this year because the Pantone Color Institute, based in the United States, projects color trends of the year for home interiors, floral and clothing design. This year the color for 2017 happens to be greenery. Plus I’ve used green a lot in my marketing and branding and when I saw the ceiling I instantly knew.”
Strassburg gravitated to downtown West Bend because of the variety of shops, restaurants and locally-owned establishments. “People from outside the community seem to really want to come and explore the downtown,” she said.
Originally from Menomonee Falls, Strassburg got her start working weddings and events. “I did not go to school for floral design,” she said. “I got a lot of my education through the industry, working different seminars and conventions and traveling around the country.”
The style of Consider the Lilies is described best by Strassburg as “modern floral art.”
“I like to take the flowers and materials people are used to seeing and design them in a different way; something you haven’t seen before,” she said.
An example would be using garden mesh in a floral arrangement. “I want people to look at it and say, ‘I know what that is but I’ve never seen it in a floral arrangement before,’” Strassburg said. “I love getting that response.”
Planning the move from a larger space to a triangle interior is more inviting than intimidating for Strassburg. She gushes about the windows and the well lit front room.
“The beautiful natural light; flowers look best in natural light. They will really pop with the white background and the green ceiling,” she said.
And the storefront windows, according to Strassburg, are like a built in stage. “People really enjoy seeing artists of all type and I’m excited to put my workbench right in the window and create,” she said. “If people want to stand on the sidewalk and watch that would be great, if they want to come in and ask questions I welcome that as well.”
During a walkthrough of the empty building, Strassburg quickly laid out the back area as her primarily work area to process flowers and get arrangements for events. The storefront will be for displays and customer consultations; modern floral books will be available so customers can sit and learn.
The space is also inviting for classes. “It’s one part of my career as a floral designer that I absolutely love,” she said. “I love teaching design and holiday decorating and being able to host classes and parties.”
Another form of education Strassburg will feature involves introducing a unique flower a week. “Then I’ll focus my displays on that flower along with some different containers and plants so when people walk in they’re not bombarded with too much going on but they really get excited with the things on display,” she said.
Consider the Lilies is expected to open by the end of April. “I’ll have limited hours to start but I’ll be fully open in May,” Strassburg said. “I’m very excited; we have lots of plans for different things the shop will offer and to get involved in the community.”
On a side note: The name Consider the Lilies is faith based. “A friend of mine suggested it to me long before I even started my business,” said Strassburg. “It comes out of scripture but I love the thought of considering the lilies; remembering the flowers. Every occasion in life is a great opportunity to celebrate with flowers and I have to remind people of that.”
Former Sears building for sale
The old Sears building, 102 S. Main St., in downtown West Bend is for sale. Paula Becker with Re/Max posted the listing this week for $269,000. Prime location in the heart of downtown West Bend. Historic building once housed Peters General Store, the very beginnings of Amity Leather Products Co, Sears Roebuck, and most recently Generations Christian Fellowship Church. Over 13,400 square feet of space, zoned B-2 which allows for a multitude of uses. Large windows along Main St. and Hickory would be ideal for retail. Property has an apartment with full BA, roughly 15 multi-functional rooms, 4 restrooms and a 4,200-square-foot basement. Sold AS-IS.
Records in the city assessor’s office show the bank took the building in 2017 at $161,800. The building is partially assessed at $157,600.
Last week to vote in-person absentee before April 4 election
Friday, March 31 is the last day to vote in-person absentee before the April 4 election. West Bend city clerk Stephanie Justmann said 50 people vote in-person since Monday, March 20.
Couple from Hansen’s Piggly Wiggly die 12 days apart
The couple that started Hansen’s Piggly Wiggle has died. Doris Ansay met Jack Hansen during WWII. They were working at the Wisconsin Chair Factory together. The war ended, the couple married and settled in Saukville. Jack was a traveling salesman but soon grew weary of the job and moved his family to Hubertus where they ran a tavern and grocery store. Years later the family operated several Piggly Wiggly grocery stores in Washington and Ozaukee County under the name of Hansen’s.
On March 10 Doris died and on March 22 Jack died at the age of 92. The obituary read, “Jack joined Doris in heaven, she preceded him in death 12 days prior.” The couple had been married 70 years.
County Board reverses property sales, forced to give back money By Ron Naab
The Washington County Board passed four resolutions this month that rescinded property sales made in February.
There were six resolutions passed by the County Board in February to sell six properties. The county had taken possession of the parcels because no taxes had been paid on them for five or more years. Daisy Hill Properties LLC, from Hartland, purchased most of the properties.
On March 14 the board was forced to rescind the sale of three properties to Daisy Hill Properties and another to Steve and Michelle Brandt for a total of $128,034.
According to Supervisor Tim Michalak, city of Hartford, there was an oversight by the County Treasurer’s Office in doing complete and thorough research for any liens or mortgages on the properties. Michalak filed a request with the Human Resources Department to inquire how these four errors occurred. Supervisor Chris Bossert thanked County Clerk Ashley Reichert and her staff for doing diligence and finding this problem.
Michalak state it appeared the four buyers were no longer interested in purchasing the properties and the county is out a fair amount of money due to the error.
The County Treasurer’s Office and County Administrator Joshua Schoemann referred all comments to County Attorney Bradley Stern. “In light of the County Board’s action, I am reversing the tax deeds, so we’re conveying the properties back to the property owners,” said Stern. “Additionally, the successful bidders will receive refunds. For the Treasurer’s part, she is going to resend the Notice for Application of Tax Deed to the necessary parties to start that part of the process over again.”
Stern qualified the mistakes during the title searches as “simply the result of human error.”
Moving forward, the county indicated once the title searches are completed and clear of any mortgages, etc., the properties will again be listed for sale.
Therese Sizer resigned from the West Bend School Board.
Therese Sizer has resigned from the West Bend School Board. Sizer, a clerk on the board, read a prepared statement following a vote on policy 511.1 which related to nepotism within the district.
The board passed the policy on its second reading with a 6 – 0 vote; Sizer abstained as she has a daughter that works in the West Bend School District.
The policy essentially made clear that a board member cannot vote on a measure that affects a direct relative. After the measure passed Sizer read a 3-page statement and left the meeting.
“I didn’t take it that she was upset,” said board member Ryan Gieryn. “She made clear that she didn’t try to do anything that would have an effect on her daughter and she’s always been very ethical.”
Gieryn described Sizer’s statement as “eloquent.” During her statement Sizer mentioned how the nepotism policy would only allow her to vote on minute amounts and she’d have to recuse herself so much that she could not fulfill her responsibilities on the oath she took to perform her duties on the board. At the close of Sizer’s statement she mentioned “do not go around spreading rumors about each other.”
Sizer chose to refrain from making any comments after the meeting. Sizer had one more year left on her term. Gieryn will fill in the next meeting as board clerk.
The board will also review the process to fill the seat during its next meeting April 3.
In other action the board named Jeridon Clark the new principal for the West Bend High School. Clark is currently the Executive Director of Information & Technology in the Mequon-Thiensville School District. Clark will take over for interim principal Tracy Conners who will return to her position as Director of Elementary Education.
Side note: Replacing Therese Sizer on the school board cannot be completed in the April 4 election. Those ballots have already been printed and in-person absentee voting is already underway. There are three seats that will be filled in the April 4 election.
Gieryn said the current school board will not make a motion to fill the seat. He said that will be up to the new board.
New executive director of activities at Washington Co. Senior center
There is a new executive director of activities at the Senior Center in Washington County. Mary Russell is stepping out to help with her husband’s business and Paula Hader will take over. Hader has extensive work with senior citizens as she held a long-time position as activities director at Cedar Community.
Updates & tidbits
– West Bend Deputy Chief Chuck Beistle, Firefighter/Paramedic Alec Hakes, and Firefighter/Paramedic Jake Lodl participated in the annual American Lung Association Fight for Air Climb. Last weekend all three successfully climbed the 47 floors of the US Bank Center building in Milwaukee, while wearing full turnout gear and an air pack.
–The Downtown West Bend ArtWalk is Saturday May 13 from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. at the Museum of Wisconsin Art. The event will feature free admission to MOWA and a silent auction of banners.
–The Allenton Buffalo Feed has been modernized. Come out for a steak dinner on Saturday, April 22 and do some gambling in the casino. Who would have ever thought…gambling in Allenton! The evening is being presented by the Allenton Area Advancement Association.
-Free Easter dinner at the West Bend Moose Lodge on Sunday, April 16. Please call to make reservations, 262-338-8122.
-Tickets are on sale for the 22nd Annual Newburg Lions Big Raffle. The Grand Prize is $5,000. There will only be 500 tickets sold. There will be five $100 “Early Bird” drawings from April – August. Drawing will be held Saturday Sept.9 at 1 p.m. at the Newburg Fire Department. Tickets are $50 a piece. Contact any Newburg Lions member or call 262-338-0432
– The West Bend Korean War Veterans Post 111 will host a brat fry on Friday and Saturday, April 7 and 8 at 1421 W. Washington St., from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Proceeds will go to the Honor Flight Program, The National Flag Day Foundations and other veterans’ programs.
-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.
-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 35th annual Kiwanis pancake-sausage brunch with the Easter Bunny is being held Saturday, April 8 at The Columbian. Tickets are at Horicon Bank in West Bend, The Columbian and Minuteman Press.
Thecla Richter – life of a West Bend nurse during WWI By Lee Krueger
Resident historian Lee Krueger is highlighting his great aunt Thecla Richter, who served as a nurse during WWI. Below are two letters home from Richter dated August 30, 1917 and Sept. 28, 1917.
Aug. 30, 1917 (received Aug 30)
“Somewhere in France”
Dear Brother….. Will you do me a favor and order some candy at Webers or the Princess for me. Ask father to give you the money. I have enough at home. Put in a standing order for them to send one pound every week and have them send it directly to me so it won’t be any trouble for you. They could send you the bill with postage each month….. I don’t want chocolate creams but do want an assortment of hard centered chocolates such as nougats, caramels, puddings, coated nuts, peppermints. Also some of their assorted caramels.
It is absolutely impossible to buy any sugar. Our foods such as rice, tea and puddings are sweetless….. If they send me one pound a week I will at least get quite a bit and still allow some to Fritz to feed the fishes.
Now for some real news. We had an air raid the other night but not a German air raid. It was a real wind storm. We had to abandon a great part of our hospital. Fifty-three marques (small tents) were abandoned and are lying in ruins. That means 1000 beds are out of commission-a loss estimated to be $100,000.
Have many of the boys from West Bend come over? But then I must not go into details because it would all be censored….
…. I do not want any chocolate creams because they do not come in good condition.
Sept. 28, 1917 (received Oct. 17)
Almost a week has passed and I haven’t written but we have been so very busy. When we receive several hundred new patients a day it means that everyone works as hard as they can and all day. Really it is pathetic the condition of some of these patients are in. Even at the very worse they try to be cheerful and patient.
Sometimes these cases are sent back to England to recuperate. Many are permanently unfit for service and others whose injuries are not as severe stay at the base hospitals until they are ready to go to a convalescent camp or to their own base camp and then go back into line to do their bit.
The other day I met a man from the same town in Scotland where Miss Wood lived. You remember, Miss Wood was the Evanston girl killed on the boat coming over here. We were glad to see him. He had visited at Miss Wood’s home only several weeks ago.
Undoubtedly you read about the bombing of hospitals. It is true but fortunately no one was hurt in our camp and I really don’t think it was meant for hospitals and probably won’t happen again.
Judy Steffes, Editor
Washington County Insider