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0806, 10 Jun 17

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Gehl Foods building in West Bend sold to Austrian company for $5.4 million

Gehl Foods, headquartered on Whitney Drive in Germantown, has sold its West Bend plant, 825 Rail Way, to a plastic bottle manufacturer from Austria.

Records obtained from the Register of Deeds shows Alpla Inc. closed on the purchase of the property May 31, 2017 for $5,430,000.

The property on Rail Way was built in 2006. The building is assessed as a manufacturing company and in 2016 the assessed value was $3,741,600.

Alpla Inc. describes itself as “an internationally active company that grows with its global customers. Leadership in innovation together with operational excellence are key success factors. ALPLA’s corporate culture is characterized by a hands-on mentality and with a deep identification of family values. With this in mind, ALPLA provides professional on-the-job training with attractive entry-level career opportunities.”

Gehl Foods was acquired by Wind Point Partners of Chicago in March 2015. Just last month the company went before the Germantown plan commission with a request to expand its Main Street plant.

Ice Age Trail developing new connector point to Ridge Run Park

There’s been somewhat of a flurry of property sales on Highway 33 west in West Bend in recent months and paperwork came through the city assessor’s office this week regarding the sale of a 1.38-acre parcel on W. Washington Street.

The Living Trust of Sharon E. Marth was the previous owner of the woodsy lot just north of the RE/MAX building.

According to the register of deeds, that parcel had been in the Marth family since March 27, 1972 when William J. Marth bought it from Richard J. Sander and his wife Jeanne A. Sander. Records show the lot sold June 1, 2017 for $360,000 to the Ice Age Trail Alliance, Inc., A Wisconsin Corporation.

Mike Wollmer, executive director with Ice Age Trail Alliance, said the acquisition of the Marth property will extend the trail from Ridge Run Park out to Highway 33. “It will eliminate the long road walk that currently exists between Camp Silverbrook and Highway 33,” he said.

The Ice Age Trail Alliance had its eye on the property for the last 15 years. “It’s a great connector point,” said Wollmer. “It makes for a much safer opportunity for people to hike the trail.”

The connection is about 1 mile in length. “As the crow flies it may be shorter but depending on how it’s laid out it could be about a mile,” Wollmer said.

The Alliance plans to develop the trail which will include construction of a bridge. “There are going to be significant structures,” said Wollmer. “We anticipate investing as much as $100,000 to make the connection on the property for the trails.”

The timeline on the project is still several years off. Wollmer cited more government oversight such as surveying the property, regulatory issues, water regulations, and archaeological surveys.

“We’ve got to also learn the land a little more than what we see from the street,” he said. “How the water moves through the property and then make a determination the best route for the trail.”

Wollmer said the deal to purchase the property was a team effort. “The Department of Natural Resources, the National Park Service, the City of West Bend and Sharon Marth and Gloria Dawn Strickland were helpful in making this an affordable acquisition. “This has been a long effort and we’re thrilled it came together,” he said.

Subway in Slinger hosts donation for Honor Flight

Korean War veterans from Washington County participated in a check presentation this week as SUBWAY® outlets in Wisconsin and Illinois partnered with Honor Flight hubs to raise funds to send approximately 167 World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans on Honor Flights.

Korean War veteran Gerald Schwalbach, 86, of Jackson said, “It’s a wonderful thing to see the support behind the vets.” Schwalbach was drafted and served in the Army from 1951 – 1953. “The Honor Flight is an awesome day and I would recommend it to anybody.”

Korean War veteran John Hensen, 88, of Hartford served at the tail end of the Korean War from 1947 – 1951. “The Honor Flight is very emotional,” said Hensen. “That’s all I’ll say.”

The check presentation, for $83,786, was made on the 73rd anniversary of D-Day and just a few days before the Honor Flight’s 40th “mission” on Friday, June 9.

Five veterans from Washington Co. were on Stars & Stripes Honor Flight

Five veterans from Washington County were aboard Friday’s Stars and Stripes Honor Flight including Korean War Air Force jet mechanic Chuck Campbell of Jackson, WWII Marine Ralph Simoneau of Germantown, and three Korean War veterans from West Bend Richard Klumb, Gus Szalewski and Steve Zacher.

State title reunion

There was a nice reunion Thursday at Carl Kuss Field in West Bend as the 2002 West Bend East WIAA State Champion Baseball team gathered to celebrate the 15th anniversary of its state title.

The team held a number of impressive records including an overall record of 28 wins and 4 losses, 16- 0 North Shore Conference, defeated Muskego 7-6 in the 2002 championship game.

“The major highlight was Josh Boyer hitting a home run in the bottom of the ninth to give us the victory,” said Andy Kastner. “We never even saw it because it was so foggy.”

Kastner recalled the game against Muskego was played at Bukolt Park in Stevens Point. There was a long, long rain delay and they didn’t finish the game until midnight. Bob Dohr called the game for WBKV along with Mike Elliott. “I remember Mike Elliott said ‘The Green Tree Gator’ when Boyer hit the home run,” said Kastner.

Players from the 2002 team included Shawn Pasbrig, Josh Heisdorf, Josh Boyer, Andy Schneider, Ryan Gonwa, Adam Wiedmeyer, Ryan Rohlinger, Mark Adams, Andy Kastner, Joe Lord, Luke Sternig, Aaron Feucht, Chris Kilian, Nick Chesak, Mike Chiannelli, Mike Brock Cranney, Randy Bratten, Paul Olson and coaches Doug Gonring, Craig Larson and Curt Schroeder.

Downtown BID approves $50,000 for new bridge

The Downtown West Bend Business Improvement District approved donating $50,000 to help sponsor a new pedestrian bridge over the Milwaukee River. This bridge is south of the now removed theatre bridge AKA bridge to nowhere.

The bridge being replaced is sometimes referred to as the Mountain Outfitters bridge. The project is part of the overall $1.5 million plan to revamp the river walk.

Park and Rec director Craig Hoeppner said the new south bridge would come in around $64,000 but then installation, bridge supports and concrete would bring the total to about $125,000.

Mayor Kraig Sadownikow and city administrator Jay Shambeau are helping spearhead an effort to recruit outside private funds for the project. At one point in the BID meeting, board member Peggy Fischer suggested the BID increase its donation to cover the entire $64,000. Larry Porter echoed her thought.

The final vote on $50,000 for the bridge project was approved 3 – 2.  Board members Herb Tennies, Brian Culligan and Wayne Kainz were absent and Adam Williquette abstained.

Voting in favor were John Hafeman, Mike Husar and Tony Jasen.  The two discenting votes were Fischer and Porter. The BID discussed a number of other items at its Tuesday meeting including the success of a recent cleanup of the flowerbeds and the success of its marketing plan with the DIVA group.

Stocky’s Fast Track has closed

There’s an auction June 20 – 21 at Stocky’s Fast Track in the Town of Trenton. Owner Jeff Stockhausen announced Sunday, May 28 he was closing after 16 years in business. Stockhausen said he’d like to sell the business but since he didn’t get any takers he is opting to lease the space. The building is roughly 21,000 square feet and the asking price through Boss Realty is $1.25 million.

Updates & tidbits

-The USGA has relocated one of the two main complimentary spectator parking lots for fans attending the 117th U.S. Open Championship at Erin Hills. The RED Lot has been moved to the Washington County Fair Park in West Bend. The USGA made the decision this week to use the alternate site because it would better manage adverse weather conditions.

– A public visitation in remembrance of Dylan Steffen will be held Wednesday, June 14, 2017 from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. at the Myrhum Patten Miller & Kietzer Funeral Home, 1315 W. Washington St., West Bend.  Steffen, 22, a2013 graduate of West Bend West High School passed away Wednesday, May 31, 2017.

-The West Bend Bier Garten is June 10 – 11 at the Regner Park Pavilion. Sponsored by West Bend Friends of Park and Rec. Music, food, dancing and beer at the Silver Lining Stage.

– 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.

-There are 59 new units being added in Phase II construction at Cast Iron Luxury Living in West Bend.  Phase II is officially over 25% pre-leased. Cast Iron is located in the former West Bend Company building. An opening celebration of Phase II is scheduled for Saturday, August 12. It will feature a pig roast with live entertainment.

-Homes for Independent Living is holding on-site caregiver interviews Wednesday, June 14 from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. at 2395 W. Washington Street. Mention this post and earn a signing bonus up to $1,000.

– Action in Jackson is June 10 – 11 at Jackson Park in Jackson. Highlights include the woodcarving auction, music, food, amusements, and a noon parade Sunday.

-The Kettle Moraine Sport Riders 34th Annual Motorcycle Hill Climb is Father’s Day Sunday, June 18 at Sunburst Ski Hill. Gates open 9 a.m. and the first bike goes up the hill at noon.

A big day for grandma June Behm

It’s a big day for Grandma June Behm who turned 100 years old on Friday, June 9.

Behm was born June 9, 1917 when Woodrow Wilson was president of the United States. Behm was an only child, born in Cambridge, WI. She excelled in education and graduated high school at 16.

After school she went to work for the state government in the Industrial Commission in Madison. Behm was 24 when she married on May 10, 1941. She came to West Bend and worked for 25 years as a legal secretary at the O’Meara Law Office when it was located on the triangle, where Old Settler’s Park currently stands.

“They should have never torn down that building,” said Behm. “That was quite a landmark and they didn’t believe in keeping the antiques there. This was on the Main Street and it was featured on one of the telephone fliers.”

Behm recalled some of the attorneys at the firm including Jim Pouros, Steven O’Meara and Tom O’Meara.

“When I worked downtown I used to go shopping at Campbells and the Penny’s store,” she said. “They had a first floor and then clothing for sale in the balcony.”

A member of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Behm said she liked West Bend because it was “always friendly.”

Fondly referred to by her family as “The Dessert Queen” Behm could whip up some famous desserts including poppy seed torte and hoho cake.

The secret to longevity? “I don’t think anybody really knows,” laughed Behm. “Part of it is your ancestors.”

Below are some memories from her great grandchildren:

She crocheted me these cute little slippers that I still have! I wore them all the time and they were made with love. Also this beautiful needle point picture that hung on my bedroom wall my whole life… announcing my birth. So special to have those family made treasures! I can’t believe the amount of time and love that went into that given how many grandkids and great grandkids she has! It’s mind blowing. What a labor of love all those things were! And she never forgot a birthday or celebration – despite having so many family members to keep track of! I always got a card in the mail. That is dedication! She is such a gem. Also I can’t forget the forbidden peanut M&M jar on top of the dresser in her upstairs room.. one of my favorite parts of going there I must admit! Oh so many memories coming up… the lemon poppy seed torte and hoho cakes at her house in the summer. The long line of food – rolls, baked beans, coleslaw mm mm – going all through her kitchen. The park across the street. Crayfish in the stream. So many memories! All the owls on the table in her front room. I still remember the smell of her home and the art work on the walls and the mustard colored couch. —Kristin, Great granddaughter

I always loved going there and counting how many owl decorations and knick knacks she had, I counted all the way up to 80 or 90 I believe! Ha! —Marlissa, Great Granddaughter

I remember walking to her house after work, just to talk. We talked about everything from World War II and the Kennedy assassination to the recently elected Scott Walker. I always thought it interesting that all of those historical moments felt so far removed from myself but for her, seemed just like yesterday. Such a wealth of knowledge! —Joshua, Great Grandson

Most of my favorite memories were when we went out to Arizona to visit her and grandpa. We would always go out to their favorite Mexican restaurant, play cards and go hiking in Saguaro National Park. I also remember her taking us to this restaurant in the old western city that was decorated like a saloon. Ties weren’t allowed so we went to Goodwill to buy old ties and wear them to the restaurant and they would cut them off. Another fun memory was her taking us to Nogales, Mexico and getting a picture of us riding a donkey with a sombrero on. —Jamie, Great granddaughter

Peanut M&Ms; Ho Ho Cake; Poppy seed Torte; pool table in basement; holidays and various special occasions at Grandma and Grandpa’s; Christmas in October; Playing at the park across the road; Catching crayfish in the creek across the road; Sitting on the back patio looking on their well-kept yard; Rabbits, birds and squirrels in the back yard; Always happy to see you; always “proper”, never uncouth, etc.; Very loyal; Intelligent; Always enjoyed good conversation; faith and morals; strong opinions; “everything in moderation”; Good sense of humor; Dignified; Played cribbage with Grandpa every night; Enjoyment of sports (Badgers, Packers, Nascar—Matt Kenseth); Love of animals and nature; Used to fish with Grandpa, and went fishing with me a few times on Bass Lake.  Caught a nice 26” Northern Pike one time; Good with dogs and cats.  She used to take care of our cat Kookie during vacations, and when she’d sternly tell her to stay out of a certain room, she did!; In my adult life, she took care of our cat Felix at least once also; Staying at their place in Arizona; Grandma and Jake, our dog.  She would feed him buttered pumpernickel bread.  She insisted he liked it buttered best, so that’s what he got.  But he wasn’t allowed on the couch, and he obeyed her when she told him so; married 70 years and they still liked each other!; Lunches at Gma & Gpa’s, sometimes with friends of theirs or extended family – I believe this is how I first met folks like Inez and Arden; Their neighbors in AZ – “happy hour”; Personal appearance always nice; Stories she would tell; She seems to have always seen the best possible me in me, and that makes me want to be that person.  —Myles, Grandson

Grandma was a great wife.  She was always respectful, forgiving, supportive.  I remember her telling me once that she would always fix her hair a little and at least put a little lipstick on in the morning before making Grandpa’s breakfast for work because she didn’t want him to remember her looking like she just got out of bed.  I guess it paid off, since they were married for 70 years!  And if Grandpa were still here, he’d find her just the same.  She is always in full dress: hair done, face made-up, outfit and jewelry coordinated.  Maybe that’s what keeps her young!  That and her social nature.  She loves to visit and has always been wonderful at keeping in touch through the mail and the phone.  When I think of Grandma Behm, I think of the perfect Grandma…what you think of when you say, “grandmotherly,” yet few of us really have contact with such people.  She’s a beautiful combination of love and affection and stern expectations.  When I married into the Muckerheide family, I gained many blessings, and she is most definitely one of them.  Paula, Granddaughter-in-law

Grandma and Grandpa Behm had a cottage on Long Lake, which is north of Newald, getting close to the northern border of Wisconsin. When I was around 5 years old, my brother Mitch and I were staying overnight at their cottage. In the morning, grandma got us ready for church and told us NOT to get dirty while we were outside. Needless to say, I fell in the lake! ..or was I pushed?”–Matt, grandson


0806, 10 June 2017


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