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0816, 23 Sep 17

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Hotel, gas station and housing planned across from Fair Park

The landscape across from the Washington County Fair Park is going to look mighty different in the coming years as the Francis and Rita Peters have sold their property to a developer.

Tom Timblin and his business partner and high school friend Mike Koepke closed on the purchase of the 80.6-acre farm on the southwest corner of Pleasant Valley Road and County Highway P. “There are 14 lots right now,” said Timblin. “Four of them are commercial and 10 of them are multifamily.”

The town of Polk rezoned the property last year from farming to business/commercial. “With the commercial lots we’re hoping to get a gas station, convenience store and a hotel and some offices possibly,” said Timblin.

The property, dubbed Pleasant Valley Farms, is currently being marketed by Koepke and Emmer Real Estate Group.

Timblin and Koepke have been working on purchasing and developing the property for the past two years.

“We’re hoping to start development in 2018,” Timblin said. “It’s a unique property because there are a lot of moving parts. It’s got a West Bend address but the sewer and water is in the Village of Jackson and the property is located in the town of Polk.”

Timblin said he’s had conversations with potential hotel and gas station developers. He said, “Now we’re going to start talking in earnest to get quotes on the property.”

There is sewer on the property that was installed around 2002 to service the hospital and Fair Park. Timblin confirmed water “is close” on CTH P.

As far as the property is concerned, the location is wonderful according to Timblin. “It’s highly visible and the key is it’s by the on and off ramps at Pleasant Valley,” he said.

The purchase price for the property has not yet been released.

Farm photo of the original Peters homestead is courtesy Terry Becker/Ryan Lesperance. That farm was a bit further west where the Highway 45 bypass is located. This farm was eliminated when the bypass was constructed. The Peters farm that just sold is to the east of Highway 45.

City crews dredge weeds above Barton Dam

Public Works crews from the city of West Bend were up to their armpits in muck and weeds this week as they worked to remove vegetation from the Milwaukee River.

“We don’t want this vegetation to float down river against the dam so we’re trying to remove them as part of our dam maintenance,” said Public Works director Doug Neumann.

The process was slow as two men in a jon boat worked with a big claw-like apparatus made of rebar to hook the weeds and then a bulldozer would pull it to shore and a crane would extract the glop of mud and weeds.

Neumann worked with an aquatic biologist and the DNR. He said some of the weeds include things like canary grass and yellow flag.  “The problem is the seeds are floating,” said Neumann. “We did this a few years ago and pulled them out and the problem is the seeds are still there and we’re trying to pull the roots.”

The weeds are not attached to the bottom of the river.

Neumann said the best solution is to dredge and excavate the weeds out of the river. He said that option is over $100,000. “We decided to take a less expensive route and pull them to shore and excavate them ourselves,” he said. “This is certainly not a long-term solution.”

It took crews a while to get their system of dredging down. By the end of the day, Thursday, they were able to pull larger clumps of vegetation to shore.

Some neighbors in Barton said the grassy weed is called wild rice. They said the ducks love it and the weeds will die once cold weather hits.

Creepy coincidence during Hartford Historical Society’s Cemetery Tour

Nearly 100 people spent a warm September day exploring the Pleasant Hill Cemetery on Highway 60 as the Hartford Historical Society hosted a cemetery tour.

During the 3-hour event local historians dressed in period costume brought the dead back to life with stories of their careers, families and …. in some cases, local scandal.

“It’s an old custom where people used to come on Sunday afternoons with their picnic basket and grandma and grandpa were in the ground and the families would clean up the area and then have a picnic lunch,” said historian Jean Knoll.

Aside from the history of the cemetery, the docents also provided detail on cemetery etiquette. “When you enter the cemetery from Highway 60 you’ll notice the beautiful gates and what those represented is whenever you entered a cemetery you were leaving your world of the living and you were coming into the city of the dead and they wanted you to show the respect of the people buried there,” Knoll said.

There was also an educational element about how to care for your headstone. It was presented by Rex Melius and it had an unplanned and very creepy ending. Melius has spent hours shining up headstones and grave markers. On Saturday with spray bottle and brush in hand he was cleaning the moss, dirt and debris off the stone belonging to Irma Emmer.

The work is tedious. Each stone takes about 30 minutes to clean. After his presentation the question was asked how he picked Irma’s headstone. Without missing a beat Melius said it because she was next to Harvey. Sure enough…the stone for Harvey John Emmer was right next door.

Melius said, “That wasn’t planned… but it sure is a little creepy.” For those not up on current events – the two recent hurricanes to hit the south were named Harvey and Irma.

Man who took over Rick’s Tap in Barton has died

Allen J. “Whitey” Rick, 89, of West Bend, passed away on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, at the Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Association Hospital in Milwaukee.

Whitey was born on July 19, 1928, in Barton, the son of the late Allen and Bernadina (Tina) (Stellpflug) Rick. On June 15, 1950, he was united in marriage to Harriet Schroeder. Whitey grew up in Barton.  He proudly served his country in the U.S. Army during World War II.  In 1960, he took over the family business and operated Rick’s Tap in Barton for the next several years.  Whitey was also a volunteer fireman for the Barton Fire Department. His funeral was Friday.

Successful GERMANfest

Organizers of this year’s GERMANfest in West Bend have some great news. “We raised $70,000 net,” said GERMANfest’s Lisa Jensen. “We could not have done it without the community sponsorship’s, in-kind contributions, volunteers and participation! We have enough now to cover the material costs of a home as well as the land to build a house.”

The annual German festival in downtown West Bend is organized by Habitat for Humanity of Dodge and Washington Counties.

Neighbors ask motorists to slow down for injured crane

Neighbors on Schmidt Road in West Bend are encouraging motorists to slow down because of what appears to be an injured Sandhill Crane in the area. Kenlyn from The Sign Shop on Schmidt Road said there is a pair of Sandhill Cranes that continually cross the road and one has an injured leg. “We have been in contact with Wanakia Wildlife Rehabilitation and they are aware and are trying to help with the situation,” she said. On a side note: Sandhill Cranes mate for life.

Village of Kewaskum accepts property donation

The Kewaskum Village Board has voted unanimously to accept a donation of 31 acres from the Reigle family.

The land is on Edgewood Road and County Highway H. Early plans are to turn the parcel into a sports complex with youth soccer fields and baseball/softball diamonds.  Officials said the park would help ease overcrowding at the Kiwanis Park.

Dave Spenner, a trustee on the Village Board, said this is a great opportunity for the community.

“We are greatly indebted and thankful to the Reigle family for such a generous donation; we feel really blessed,” Spenner said. “Many of its users will participate in its development and share in the cost and it will benefit more than just the village itself.”

At the Sept. 7 listening session several neighbors were concerned about a number of things including, parking, possible trespassing, and there was a safety concern regarding the 2-acre pond on the property.

“The planners and Kewaskum athletic programs are genuinely committed to working with the neighbors to make sure this is a good experience for everyone,” said Spenner.

“We have the Milwaukee River running directly through town and we don’t fence every waterway.

“The final plans aren’t in yet. What we looked at is conceptual and there’s much more planning that needs to be done.”

The next step for the village is to execute the donation agreement with the Reigle family, zoning has to be changed from residential to recreational and an agreement has to be completed with the soccer organizations and other sports teams.

Property donor Jim Reigle has lived in Kewaskum since 1947; the gift of property is estimated at about $640,000. The village will receive about $4,000 a year in taxes from the proposed park. Funding for the park would come from private donors and corporate sponsors.

The village does not anticipate any expense to maintain the park as that job would be split between the Kewaskum Athletic Association (KAA) and the Kewaskum Youth Soccer Organization.

The village would own the land but would lease it to the Kewaskum Youth Soccer Organization and the KAA.

WBSD Facility Advisory Committee begins meeting this week

The first meeting of the West Bend School District Facility Advisory Committee is Sept. 27, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the library at Jackson Elementary, W204 N16850 Jackson Dr., Jackson. The district is exploring facility needs at Jackson Elementary School and East/West High Schools. Bray Architects won the bid at $35,000 on a 3-phase proposal to oversee the first part of the project which includes community engagement, architectural, engineering and interior design services.

Kettle Moraine Symphony prepping for a new season

A lively Thursday evening at Our Saviors Lutheran in West Bend as the Kettle Moraine Symphony held its weekly practice. Dr. Richard Hynson is the new director this year.

According to the KMS website, “Hynson is well-known in the Milwaukee area as the director of the Bel Canto Chorus and Orchestra. He has contributed to the greater Milwaukee community as conductor, published composer and teacher for the past 30 years.

His past conducting roles include serving as music director of the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra from 2006 to 2014, music director for Gathering on the Green from 2008 to 2013 and as music director and conductor of the Waukegan (IL) Symphony Orchestra from 1990 to 1998.

Hynson’s local guest conducting engagements have included performances with the Milwaukee Symphony, Skylight Opera Theatre, and the Racine, Sheboygan and Waukesha Symphony Orchestras. He has also conducted numerous other ensembles nationally and internationally.

The Kettle Moraine Symphony season begins Oct. 1.

Update & tidbits

Crossroads Music Fest is today, Saturday, Sept. 23. This year’s free Christian music event is being held at Hartford Town Hall on County Road K in Hartford. From noon – 7 p.m. there will be live music, food, a silent auction, and lots of family-friendly activities.

The Faith, Hope & Run! 5K Run/Walk is Sunday. Registration is also available Sunday starting at 10:30 a.m. Kids Race at 1:15 p.m. and 5K at 2 p.m. More information is at

-Cast Iron Luxury Living in West Bend, formerly the West Bend Aluminum Company factory building, is now high-end apartments and the Apartment Owners and Managers Association (AOMA) just recognized the managers of Cast Iron with the Property Excellence Award.

Interfaith Caregivers is holding its 2017 Campfire Tea on Sunday, Oct. 8 from 1:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. at the Prairie Center at West Bend Mutual. The annual fundraiser helps positively impact the lives of Washington County seniors. This year’s event features celebrity waiters serving wonderful tea and scrumptious appetizers. There will also be an amazing silent auction, the very popular purse auction, and a 50/50 raffle. Tickets are $35 per person.

– A full lineup of music and outdoor fun is ahead as the Jackson Park Beer Garden gets underway Sept. 27 – Oct. 1 at Jackson Park. The festivities run from 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Officers from the West Bend Police Department performed well at the 2017 Wisconsin Professional Police Association State Police Shoot. The matches consisted of the traditional Bullseye Match, a Rifle Match, and a Sub-Compact Pistol Match. West Bend was represented by active officers Robert Lloyd and Justin Klopp and retired officers Kenneth Johnson and William Matheus. Multiple trophies and medals were received.

– Dress in your Halloween best and trick or treat in downtown West Bend during Fall Fest, Oct. 13. Yup…. that’s Friday the 13th. A new addition to Fall Fest this year is Pumpkin Bowling. Roll a hand-sized pumpkin, knock down pins and win prizes.

– More than 400 volunteers this week from more than 30 local organizations were at the kick off of the United Way of Washington County’s annual campaign. Volunteers packed 2,500 personal care (hygiene) kits for distribution through local food pantries, churches, schools, and nonprofit organizations

-Today, Sept. 23 at 1 p.m. the Kettle Moraine Ice Center and Washington County Youth Hockey Association are sponsoring a Girls Try Hockey Free Event for ages 4-14. All gear will be provided; many coaches and older skaters will be at the rink, ready and eager to help. This is a great opportunity for girls to experience firsthand a featured winter Olympics sport with no monetary commitment.

-Washington County’s annual Clean Sweep is Saturday, Oct. 7 from 8 a.m. – noon at the Washington County Highway Facility, 900 Lang Street.

-The West Bend VFW Post 1393 is looking for a bar manager, full-time and part-time bartenders. Please send resumes to PO Box 982 West Bend, WI 53095.

Theater seats have arrived at Kettle Moraine Playhouse in Slinger

They sold the event as a “flash mob” of sorts as volunteers gathered outside the Kettle Moraine Playhouse to unload a truck full of new theater seats. “Well…. they’re new to us,” said Playhouse facilities director Lyle Krueger.

The green cushioned theater seats came out of a Bible theme park in Oklahoma. “The operators didn’t get permits and when they tried to open they failed inspection and the seats went on eBay,” Krueger said. Volunteers worked for about an hour in assembly-line fashion on a steamy Friday evening unloading and stacking nearly 70 cushions, seat backs and armrests.

The former St. Paul’s Church, 204 S. Kettle Moraine Drive in Slinger, is being remodeled into an intimate 64-seat theater.  The entryway to the theater was completed by Keller, Inc.  Local contractors and Playhouse volunteers are doing a majority of the interior remodel.

The Kettle Moraine Players are on track to “open the Playhouse this fall” with a five-show season. Today volunteers will be installing the seats. The inaugural season at the Kettle Moraine Playhouse will get underway with the performance of “Blind Dating at Happy Hour” on October 20, 21, 26, 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m., October 21 at 4 p.m., October 22, 29 at 2 p.m.



0816, 23 September 2017


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