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0841, 04 Nov 17

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Ponderosa has finally sold and Pizza Ranch is coming

It’s been quite the saga for Matt and Stacy Gehring regarding development of a Pizza Ranch in West Bend but on Tuesday, Oct. 31 the couple signed on the dotted line… several times, and bought the future home of Pizza Ranch.

The Gehrings closed on the deal with Steve Kilian and purchased the former Ponderosa building, 2020 W. Washington Street.

“Finally, huh?” said Stacy Gehring. “We were pretty relieved at the closing… it really felt like crunch time. We just had to wait for all the drawings and for permits to get finalized and we’re hoping to break ground the end of November or beginning of December.”

Stacy guesstimates construction will take about three to four months and they’re hoping to be open sometime in March 2018.  “As long as things go well through the winter,” she said.

The general contractor on the job will be Maple Creek Construction from Columbus, Wisconsin.

“We can only use three walls and the steel roof trusses otherwise everything will be brand new,” said Stacy. “We’re also going to do a little addition to the back.”

Neighbors in West Bend and even city officials have been eagerly awaiting the start of construction on the new locally-owned restaurant.

“There’s no limit to the amount of congratulations we can give you and hopefully this is the one that makes it happen,” said Mayor Kraig Sadownikow during the August common council meeting.

Kilian confirmed during a phone call Tuesday evening they closed on the sale of the building.

“The time it took to sell the building was just normal business,” said Kilian. “I had other potential buyers but they were direct competitors; I’m happy about the Pizza Ranch. The Gehrings are good people.”

Kilian owns the McDonald’s restaurant that’s within a stone’s throw of the new Pizza Ranch property. Watch for a ground breaking in the next few weeks and for trucks to be on site for the remodel later this month. A groundbreaking will be held Tuesday, Nov. 21 at noon at 2005 W. Washington Street.

Filling the seat in Assembly District 58

Within moments of Gov. Scott Walker calling for a special election to fill the vacant seat in the 58th Assembly District, local businessman Steven J. Stanek announced his candidacy for the Wisconsin State Legislature.

Governor Walker called a special election to fill the 58th Assembly District seat after Rep. Bob Gannon passed away unexpectedly last month.

Stanek, a Republican from West Bend, said he became motivated to run after meeting with residents, business leaders, and community leaders throughout Washington County.

“I will fight hard for fiscal responsibility and a smarter, leaner government like the previous representatives of this district,” said Stanek. “I am eager to continue the legacy of strong, trustworthy, conservative leadership.”

Stanek said he will emphasize “active leadership and accountability” to guide his priorities in the Wisconsin State Assembly.

Stanek and his wife, Linda, live in West Bend where they are raising three teenage children. As a business owner Stanek has experience in budgeting, negotiation, finance, compromise, and leadership.

Stanek’s current and past community service includes West Bend Sunrise Rotary Club Board, Holy Angels Parish Council, Holy Angels School Board Liaison, City of West Bend Value Task Force, Kettle Moraine YMCA youth athletics volunteer, Slinger Gridiron Football Club board member, Slinger Hoops Youth Basketball Coach, founding member of the Washington County Kings Baseball Club, West Bend Little League Coach, Washington County Boys and Girls Club Basketball Coach, West Bend East High School Assistant JV Basketball Coach, and West Bend RUSH Lacrosse Board Member.

Assembly District 58 includes the city of West Bend, the village of Slinger, and the village of Richfield in Washington County.

A formal announcement is also set for Monday, Nov. 6 as Tiffany Koehler is expected to set into the ring as a candidate for the open seat in the 58th Assembly District.

For the past 11 months Koehler has served as the policy advisor and legislative aide to Rep. Bob Gannon. The seat in the 58th Assembly District opened last month following the untimely death of Rep. Gannon.

Earlier this week Gov. Scott Walker called for a special election to fill the post. A primary will be held Dec. 19 and the election is set for Jan. 16, 2018.  In 2014 Koehler came in second to Gannon in a three-way Republican primary. Candidates must collect 200 signatures which are due Nov. 21.

A moment of silence in Madison for Rep. Bob Gannon

A moment of silence this week at the State Capitol in Madison as the Wisconsin State Assembly recognized Rep. Bob Gannon (R-West Bend). The moment was broadcast live on just after 1:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said, “Bob we remember for his big heart, his even bigger passion for politics, he will be remembered as a successful business owner, a community leader,  someone who came to this place for all the right reasons…. he didn’t come for the money, he didn’t come for the fame… even though he got a little.

“He did come because he cared and he wanted to truly show the best of what Wisconsin is. Unfortunately this teaches us all a lesson that no matter what age you are we should live life every day because you never know when it’s your turn to meet your maker. If we can all please rise for a moment a silence to remember one of our former colleagues who passed away too young.”

Rep. Bob Gannon died unexpectedly Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. Following the moment of silence Rep. Jason Fields offered a couple of words and a prayer with Rep. Gannon in mind.

Breakfast with a veteran at Hartford Union High School

Hartford Union High School (HUHS) is hosting a free Veterans Breakfast on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017 from 7:15 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. to commemorate all those who served our country. All Hartford area veterans are cordially invited to attend the event, which includes a cooked breakfast, music, and a keynote speaker.

The courtesy of an RSVP is requested by November 8. Veterans can RSVP for this free event by calling Julie Buser, Superintendent’s Assistant, at (262) 670-3200, extension 209; emailing; or by visiting

Students in HUHS’s Leadership and Project Management class are the primary hosts of the breakfast, which is designed to offer thanks and pay respect to those in our area who have served in any branch of the US Armed Forces, either in wartime or peacetime.

“This is an excellent opportunity for the school community and members of the community at large to come together, break bread, and say thanks,” said Dr. Attila J. Weninger, Superintendent of HUHS. “We are especially pleased to honor our local veterans, whose service and sacrifice make our way of life possible.”

The Leadership and Project Management class at HUHS will greet the attending veterans and visit with them during breakfast. High school teachers and staff who are veterans, along with members of the administrative team and the School Board, will also be in attendance.

The HUHS band will perform music appropriate to the occasion, and a keynote speaker, School Board President and veteran Joshua Schoemann, will offer brief remarks to welcome the veterans and express appreciation for their service and commitment.

Celebrating 60 years at St. Frances Cabrini School

With great pride the 60th-anniversary memory quilt was unveiled during St. Frances Cabrini’s Sunday celebration.

Some of the talented ladies that assembled the quilt included LaVerne Doll, Nancy and Angie Ruplinger, Judy Peters, Arlene Doll and Dolores Koenig. The quilt-making process started in February as the ladies gathered memories about school history and they also stocked up on supplies with generous donations from Royce Quilting. A list of the contributors to the quilt is on one of the squares.  The quilt will be hung in the hallway at St. Frances Cabrini School.

Slinger equestrian team ties for fifth at WIHA state meet                   Courtesy Kerri Ast

The Slinger High School Equestrian team tied for fifth in Division C at the WIHA state meet Oct. 27-29. There were 77 schools that participated in the 10th annual event at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. Of the 13 schools in Division C, Slinger was voted to receive the Spirit Award.

Team members and their horses participated in various events including Trail, Showmanship, Equitation, and Speed. The team includes Macy Ragsdale, Lola, Kayla Ormiston, Brooke Kiefer, Josie Odermann, coach Heather Woehrer, Team Manager Heather Kiefer, Mariah Kiefer and Jazmin Kropp as Hootie.

Veterans Tribute at Moraine Park Technical College

Common Sense Citizens of Washington County is organizing a Veterans Tribute on Monday, Nov. 6 at Moraine Park Technical College. The event will pay tribute to all veterans but special recognition will be given to all women who served and continue to serve. The event is free and open to the public. It will be held in the cafeteria at MPTC beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Make plans to attend Veterans Day program

Veterans Day is Saturday, Nov. 11 and the traditional Veterans Day program will be held “at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.” Next Saturday local veterans will gather at 10:45 a.m. at Veterans Plaza at Fifth Avenue and Poplar Street in West Bend.

At 10:55 a.m., a brief statement will be read followed by a moment of silence. At 11 a.m., the siren will sound and the West Bend Veterans Color Guard will fire the traditional three-round volley followed by the playing of Taps.

Cards for Veterans at West Bend Memorial Library

The American Legion Post 36 of West Bend will again sponsor the “Cards for Veterans” program at the West Bend Memorial Library. From Monday, Nov. 20 through Friday, Dec. 15, patrons visiting the library will find a display of Christmas and holiday cards.

All are encouraged to select a card, write a message to a veteran, and place the sealed cards in the box provided.  There is no cost for this service. On Dec. 15, the cards will be distributed to veterans living in the West Bend area. Donations of cards would be greatly appreciated. We wish to thank all of those who participated in this project in previous years.

Traffic jam for annual We Energies Cookie Book distribution

It felt a smidge like rush hour in Milwaukee… but without the road rage. And that looooong line of cars from the West Bend Police Department on Main Street to Decorah Road and then up Indiana Avenue to Sand Drive on Wednesday was all because of that popular We Energies Cookie Book.

Volunteers, staffers and retirees from We Energies were busy handing out about 6,000 books. It’s not just ANY cookie book by the way – it’s THE cookie book of the season and it’s tradition in West Bend to wait in line to get yours. How popular is it? West Bend Police and the State Patrol were out swinging traffic from about 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cars started lining up at 8 a.m.

Book World closing – neighbors recall Fireside Books

Book World, 1602 S. Main Street, in West Bend is closing. According to a report in the Wisconsin Rapids Tribute, Book World announced today it will close all its 45 stores in seven states.

Book World, which touts itself as ‘family owned since 1976,’ opened its store in the Paradise Pavilion in October 2014.

According to Book World, “The company will begin liquidation sales Nov. 2. Each sale will run until all of inventory is sold.”

Company officials say a change in shopping habits and online sales impacted their decision.

Neighbors in West Bend remember January 2014 when Gary and Karen Christianson and his wife made the difficult decision to close Fireside Books & Gifts.

Tough decision for Fireside Books & Gifts

Some interest is being generated on the sale of West Bend’s hometown book store, Fireside Books & Gifts.

“Despite our accountant’s advice we put a sign in the store, feeling that a local person who knows the business might be interested and we’ve had several people contact us. We’re hoping something will come together,” said Karen Christianson, co-owner of Fireside Books with her husband Gary.

After more than 30 years in business the Christiansons are selling the shop at 1331 W. Paradise Dr. “My husband had some health problems,” Christianson said. “It was a hard decision but balanced against health you have to say this is what we’re going to do.”

The Christiansons have posted the store on Craig’s List and they sent an email blast along with direct-marketing mailings to gift and book shop owners in southeast Wisconsin. The latest step has been the basic ‘For Sale’ sign in the store window.

“We’ve operated in a high-traffic location for the last 15 years and the big bonus is our 30-year history of success,” said Christianson. “This is not a start-up business; we have wonderful staff that’s trained and can help customers find books, even out-of-print books. It’s such a pleasant business to be in because people want what you have to sell.”

A profitable business, Christianson said the competition with e-books and ordering online hasn’t really affected them. “We have maintained a good, strong customer base and a lot of people are moving away from e-books, except for vacation reading because they just like the feeling of a book.

“Also many more people say they really like the experience of coming to the store and supporting local merchants; don’t want to be dealing with an Amazon that doesn’t even create local jobs,” Christianson said.

Questioned whether they would close if the business is not sold by a certain timeline, Christianson said they “haven’t made that decision yet, we’ll see what happens.”

“Lots of people are saying ‘we don’t want to see this business go away and we want you to find somebody,’” said Christianson.

Update & tidbits              

-Stuff the Lifestar Rig with non-perishable foods from Piggly Wiggly, 1100 E. Commerce Blvd. in Slinger to benefit the Slinger Food Pantry. Lifestar crew members will be in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. All food will be donated to the Slinger Food Pantry.

– The Salvation Army is kicking off its Red Kettle Campaign today and celebrity bell ringer Tinker will be on hand at Cabela’s in Richfield from noon – 2 p.m. The miniature horse is one of the more popular attractions for the Salvation Army.   Donations will be collected through Christmas Eve.  The goal this year is $3.8 million and all money raised stays local.

– There was a check presentation this week at Slinger High School as students from Hartford Union High School and Slinger teamed up to raise money and awareness during the 7th annual Slinger vs. Hartford “Coaches vs. Cancer” football game. This year the event raised over $12,000.  To date the event has contributed over $83,000 towards the fight against cancer.

– U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin participated in a roundtable discussion at Washington County Heroin Task Force and Elevate in Jackson on Friday.

– Hartford Union High School (HUHS) is hosting a free Veterans Breakfast on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017 from 7:15 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. to commemorate all those who served our country. All Hartford area veterans are cordially invited to attend

-Help is available to families in Washington County that need assistance with winter heating bills. Contact Kay Lucas with the Washington County Human Services Department which oversees the Energy Assistance Program. The number is 262-335-4677.

– Buy your ticket today from the West Bend Sunrise Rotary and have a chance at a $5,000 grand prize. Drawing is Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. at Enchantment in the Park. Tickets available at Jeff’s Spirits on Main, Pleasant Valley Tennis & Fitness and any Sunrise Rotary member.

– There will be a reunion Wednesday, Nov. 8 for the former employees of the old St. Joseph’s Hospital in West Bend. “The Best of St. Joe’s” are having another get together, according to Carol Ann Daniels. The gathering will begin with a social hour at 11 a.m. at the Top of the Ridge at Cedar Ridge in West Bend, 113 Cedar Ridge Drive.

– The annual VFW Essay contest is underway. The Patriot’s Pen Contest is for all 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students.  The theme is “America’s Gift to My Generation.” The Grand Prize is $5,000.  The Voice of Democracy Contest is for all high school students.  The theme is “American History: Our Hope for the Future.” The Grand Prize is a $30,000 scholarship.

St. Frances Cabrini at 60: How can the years have passed so quickly? | By Ann Marie Craig

Her hair was a bit whiter than the last time I saw her and moving around seemed to be more difficult for her, but the memories were spilling over as we shared stories about sixth grade so many years ago. Sister Jean patted my cheek as she said, “Let me look at your face.”

Standing outside the windowed black doors under the west veranda while waiting our turn to walk into St. Frances Cabrini School last Sunday brought back memories of wearing wet snow pants and mittens during cold, cold recesses and waiting for those very doors to open so we could come back inside and warm up.

There was no reprieve from frozen playtime when we were students at St. Frances Cabrini School.

The best we could do was play hard to stay warm, or hop around near the doors in hope of being first in line to get back into the building when the bell rang. The years fell away as my sisters and I – and our mother – stepped through those very doors along with several hundred other former students and parents to reminisce and celebrate the school’s 60th anniversary.

How can the years have passed so quickly?

There have been many changes to the physical plat of the school since we were students. Classrooms have been rearranged and some have been appropriated for activities other than daily academics. The old stage is gone and the former gym is reclaimed as a multi-use space and cafeteria. Library books line the walls of the old Chapel.

The bathrooms are the same as they were years ago – my sisters made certain to check – and aqua tiles still line the long corridors. Locker number 376 probably still harbors that little wooden bead I dropped behind it decades ago. I don’t suppose I will ever get it back…..

It is the shared experience of growing up and working and worshiping together in this space that brings us back with a sense of pride and no small bit of curiosity about who we have become since we left St. Frances Cabrini School.

Paging through yearbooks and poring over class photos from every one of those 60 years sparked giggles over siblings’ looks and memories of friends and hard work and fun.

“I loved school, and it is wonderful to be back at Cabrini again,” said Nancy Kruepke of Jackson( Class of ’74). “One of my fondest memories is when Judy Jessup and I were picked to crown the Mother Mary in second grade.”

Katie (Mueller) Noetzel of Cedarburg, WI (’86) commented, “I could remember the music room distinctly with the painted murals of the Muppets on the blue walls and was disappointed to see those were gone and the space was repurposed.

“Walking into the library, however, was like stepping into a time capsule. How amazing to see those same tables and chairs I sat in so often during my eight years there. I enjoyed the opportunity to remember my grade school days and that time in my life when I was immersed in the Cabrini community.”

The 60 years of St. Frances Cabrini School’s existence is an accomplishment and the memories continue to be made. This year’s graduates will join the ranks of the alumni as will the classes following, each having experienced the Cabrini community of faith and learning in unique ways.

Celebration of the commitment of the parishioners and greater community will continue as well with annual bestowal of alumni awards. We will see, in a very real way, the contributions of Cabrini graduates to the greater good of the world.

The pat of Sister Jean’s hand on my cheek seemed to be a touch of the love that binds all of us together as the Cabrini family then and now. She said to me, “…we had a saying, ‘Cabrini, a good place to be.’ It really was.”  It really still is.

Washington County veterans on today’s Honor Flight                By Samantha Sali

Vietnam War veteran and former mayor of Hartford, James ‘Jim’ Core, will be heading to Washington D.C. on the Stars & Stripes Honor Flight on Saturday, Nov. 4.

Born and raised in Waupun, Core graduated Oshkosh Technical Institute with an Associate’s Degree in Accounting in June of 1967. Just as he started working at International Paper Company in Fond du Lac, he was drafted and entered into service in November of 1967.

Core completed eight weeks of basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.  “It was not fun,” he said. “Nothing like my desk job.”

After basic Core was transferred to Fort Polk, Louisiana where he had nine weeks of advanced infantry training.

After a 30-day leave, he was shipped to Vietnam in May 1968. “I landed in Da Nang, Vietnam,” said Core, “I was at a base there for 4-5 days before I was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Infantry Company, stationed out of Quang Tri. Our mission was search and destroy and we would be taken by helicopter to various villages.”

His missions quickly came to an end, five months later, when he was wounded by a booby trap. When he was well enough, he was transported to Japan for recovery time.

When he was strong enough to make the trip to the United States, he was admitted to Fitzsimmons VA Hospital in Aurora, Colorado. “I was out there a few months,” Core said, “I got home safe, which I’m thankful for, and I received the Purple Heart.”

Core was discharged in November 1969. He moved to Hartford in 1970 and was hired at Chrysler Outboard Corporation, and married his sweetheart, Kathy. He eventually decided to serve the city of Hartford for 25 years (alderman 1992-1998 and 2004-2012) and mayor for six years (1992-1998). He also served two terms as a supervisor on the Washington County Board.

His wife Kathy is delighted her husband is getting honored, “He keeps serving his country and his city and I’m proud of him,” she said. Their son, Jeff, is excited to be accompanying him on the Honor Flight as his guardian.

Core said the Honor Flight will be a very rewarding trip but he also expects it will be emotional and somewhat stressful as he will see the Vietnam War Memorial. Two names on that wall served in Core’s squad and were killed in action. Though it will be hard Core said he can take comfort knowing it will give him some closure as he honors his fallen comrades.

There are 16 veterans from Washington County on Saturday’s Honor Flight out of Milwaukee including:

James Coplin, Richfield, Vietnam War Air Force, Vietnam Army veteran Ron Wesloski from Germantown, Raymond Fairbanks, West Bend, Vietnam War Army, Frederick Grauberger, Germantown, Korean War Army, Russ Guillaume, West Bend, Vietnam War Army, Gregory Henson, Colgate, Vietnam War Army, James “Jonesy”  Korth, Kewaskum, Vietnam War Marines, William Kulas, Kewaskum, Vietnam War Marines, Russ Lamb, Hartford, Korean War Army, John McCauley, Sr., Jackson, Vietnam War Marines, Frederick “Fritz” Mueller, Slinger, Korean War Army, Ken Quade, Germantown, Korean War, Jerry Schneider, Kewaskum, Vietnam War Army, Bill Stueckroth, Germantown, Korean War Navy


0841, 04 November 2017


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