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0853, 29 Apr 17

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Celebrating Loyalty Day in West Bend

The city of West Bend will be celebrating Loyalty Day today with a huge parade and dignitaries from across the state. Loyalty Day is observed nationally. All VFW Posts will be invited to take part, but so are all other veterans’ organizations, bands, marching units and others from across Wisconsin.

The event will kick off with a parade beginning at Badger Middle School at 9:30 a.m., followed by a celebration at Regner Park.

There’s only one Loyalty Day parade in each state each year. Last year Pleasant Prairie was the host city.  For more information on the event and parade, visit

On a history note: Loyalty Day was first celebrated in 1921 as “Americanization Day.” It was a way for people to reaffirm their loyalty to the United States and recognize the heritage of American freedom. The first national observance was declared by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on May 1, 1955; three years later it was deemed an annual holiday.

West Bend featured in AARP magazine

The title of the article in AARP Magazine is “If You Lived Here, You’d Be Happy Now.”

The online post went on to name 31 cities on the AARP Livability Index that it defined as “can help you find places worth moving to or staying put.”

Some of the other “worthy” locations included Madison as the No. 1 choice in the medium population category. In the small population category La Crosse was No. 1 followed by Fitchburg at No. 2.

AARP touted West Bend at No. 10 across the country in the small population category. The city was tagged with the comment, “Public works of art punctuate the Riverwalk which snakes three miles through downtown along the Milwaukee River. If it’s snowing duck inside the Museum of Wisconsin Art.”

St. Mary’s Parish recognizing school history

St Mary’s Parish is to creating a living history of St. Mary’s School by resetting brick pavers from a fundraising effort in 2006-2007 to get new playground equipment.

Matt Pederson and Debbie Quevy from Heritage Hill Nursery in Cedarburg worked together to set the pavers. A committee has been established to direct the project, it’s called the St. Mary’s School Living History Core Group. Watch for more updates as St. Mary’s Parish celebrates its 160th anniversary this summer.

5th annual Banner ArtWalk is May 15

The 5th annual Banner ArtWalk is May 13 at the Museum of Wisconsin Art. Fifty hand-painted banners will hang from the second-floor railing in the atrium entrance of museum.

Artist and banner organizer Chris Porter said the idea started as a way to help beautify the downtown. “We didn’t have the money for flower baskets and it was a good way to take old Christmas banners and repaint them,” she said.

“The first year we learned a lot, the second year we learned more, and from year to year it’s getting better; we have a lot of talent here and I’d love to see it continue forever and ever.”

Those taking in the event will also be able to explore the Museum of Wisconsin Art free of charge. The banners are painted by local artists who have received rave reviews in the past.

“They’re beautiful and unique and everyone has its own little story,” said Jan Nesladek of West Bend.

“It beautifies our downtown and it gets people to go downtown,” said Grace Wright. “I give Chris Porter a lot of credit this had to be a huge project.”

“I’m really impressed with the artwork and especially the fact there are a lot of students involved,” said Carol Casadonte, formerly of Tomahawk.

Banners from previous years will be auctioned off. Money raised will support the banner ArtWalk project.

ION Sports Bar to open Monday, May 1

Friends and family were treated to a special night this week as ION Sport Pub in West Bend held a test run for its kitchen and wait staff.  ION Sports Pub, 1102 E. Paradise Drive, will officially open Monday, May 1.

Major remodel underway at Pick ‘n Save south

Neighbors in West Bend may have noticed shelving and stock being moved at Pick ‘n Save south in West Bend.

Here’s a note from one reader: I was just at Pick N Save South this morning.  It is full of staff (folks I have never seen before) that are busy clearing off (completely) shelves all over the store.  At first I thought that they were just doing a major re-arranging of the store, but now I am wondering if they are closing the store? Perhaps you might want to take a look.

To be clear, the store is prepping for a major remodel. It’s a story posted this past January. The Kroger Co. is completing an interior remodel of the two 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.

Rick Riehl Memorial Scholarship to be awarded Monday, May 1

The Rick Riehl scholarship will be awarded for the first time during Monday’s Scholarship Award Ceremony at 7 p.m. at the West Bend High Schools Silver Lining Art Center. Funds for the award were donated by friends, family, and those that new Riehl since his battle with what was likely Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The Rick Riehl Memorial Scholarship reads: Rick Riehl was an educator and coach in the West Bend Schools for 32 years, teaching high school English and coaching more than 60 sports seasons. Rick was a tireless advocate about the importance of sports. He dedicated much of his life to strengthening the quality of athletics in both the youth and high school programs.

Type: Technical or Academic   School:East or West  Amount:$10,000 ($1,250 per semester)

Qualifications: A female basketball player who has proven to be hard working and motivated in both the classroom and gymnasium. Community service and school service will be considered. Financial need will be considered

Updates & tidbits

-Wednesday, July 26 is Senior Citizens Day and Military Day at the Washington County Fair. Special discounted admission for ages 60 and older is $5 for the day as well as Sunday, July 30. Also, any card-carrying military person and a guest are admitted FREE on Wednesday, July 26. This year the Washington County Fair Military Committee will be recognizing all Women Veterans and Gold Star Families. Washington County Fair would like to thank Delta Defense for its support of Military Day at the Washington County Fair.

– Students from Central Middle School in Hartford dropped off over 95,000 items at the Goodwill West Bend Store and Donation Center on Friday. The students hope to earn a visit from former Green Bay Packer Donald Driver on May 22.

– Word traveled fast across Washington County over the weekend about the death of Richard Rosche, the former owner of Links Hideaway in Jackson and Links II in Kewaskum. Rosche was killed in an accident last week Friday morning in Illinois.

– The Hartford Police Department is investigating several instances of individuals passing counterfeit $100 bills. The bills look authentic except for the fact they say “For Cinema Use Only” in several spots on the front and back of the bills.

– Volunteers with West Bend Firefighters Local 2025 and members of Friends of West Bend Park & Rec took advantage of the nice weather this week to pack up what remained of Enchantment in the Park.

– Holy Angels School in West Bend salutes the March Students of the Month including Ellie Eckert, Ericka Beistle, and Andrew Glaszcz.

– There’s music and food and a live auction at the 11th annual Samba Chicken Dinner on Saturday, May 13. Tickets are available at Romie’s BP in Allenton, Landmark Credit Union-Hartford, Bergmann’s Appliance in Slinger or from any music director at Slinger High School.

– First Bank Financial Centre in West Bend recently made a nice donation to the Downtown West Bend Association for its Concourse Bike Race. The money will fund the Kids Roll.

– This was the second best year for the most cans collected at American Metal & Paper Recycling during Earth Week with a total of 157,284 pounds. That’s about 5.33 million cans.

– Grace Braeger, AKA 57 Lady, is featured in the latest edition of Grace can be seen in her 1957 Chevy Bel Air tooling around West Bend. She’s also popular at local car shows.

Thecla Richter: a West Bend nurse serving during WWI

Resident historian Lee Krueger is highlighting his great aunt Thecla Richter, who served as a nurse during WWI. Below are letters home from Richter dated February 9, 1918, Feb. 10, 1918 and March 18, 1918.

February 9, 1918 (received on March 9)

……  I never realized how much I cared about coffee until I got to a place where we could not obtain it.  Even in Paris we were not able to obtain a good coffee and I certainly regretted the fact that I did not take my little stove, Sterno heat and coffee with me.

Paris had its first air raid while we were there on our leave. I never heard anything more weird than the warning sound of the siren.  After only a few moments and we could hear the humming of the engines of the German aeroplanes and the whiz of the bombs before they exploded.  It was not my first experience so I really was not panicky although I would be quite pleased if it were the last raid I would have to witness.  I viewed the skies from a balcony and it sure was a spectacular sight….  A beautiful moonlight night, skies were dotted with star shells used for lighting purposes.  We could also see the planes because some of them were lighted.  I think the ones we could see were French planes that carried lights in the wings.

Much damage was done and quite a number of people were injured and killed.  One plane was brought down only a few blocks from where we were staying.

Feb. 10. 1918  (received on March 9)

At the present time we have only about 800 patients but we will be getting large convoys of wounded very soon if the nice weather continues.  Each year all people look forward to the big spring drives to have all important work accomplished and of course that will mean many casualties.  I dread to think of all the splendid young men coming over from the United States to face hardship unheard of before this frightful war but I suppose that they will withstand the strain as well as the Tommys and Colonials.

Met quite a few friends and acquaintances while in Paris. It really seems strange to be meeting people you know way over here.

I received a great many splendid Kodak pictures from Hank Regner-a splendid Christmas box from him.

March 18, 1918  (received April 6)

I am on night duty at the present time.  This is the first night duty I have had since coming over…….

Just admitted a convoy of patients.  Have been receiving patients almost daily for the past week.  One notices the difference at once.  As soon as the nice weather comes along we have more patients admitted.

I have been working in the wards actually caring for the patients since I returned from my leave.  I do enjoy the work so much more than I did doing office work and certainly am feeling better than I ever did.  I certainly am getting fat.  I know that I have gained several pounds this last week.  Please don’t worry one bit about me.  Of course we do go out and buy food from the peasants…. eggs and bread are the most important items.

…. I am sure that the French people will have more money after this war than they ever had before.  Even in the houses around our camp you see new stores every day.  The people turn their kitchens or any available place for a counter into a store and sell something.



0853, 29 April 2017


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