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0915, 09 Dec 17

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

A prank from heaven… courtesy Bob Gannon

West Bend business owner Jacci Gambucci shared a story during Sunrise Rotary about a recent incident at Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport.

During the security check Gambucci was pulled aside by TSA. Several other TSA arrived, talked in hushed voices, and then turned her over to the Milwaukee County Sheriff.  Gambucci thought she got busted for a pocketknife until the Sheriff told her otherwise. “It looks like you have ammunition in your purse,” said the Sheriff’s deputy.

“But I don’t even own a gun,” said Gambucci. Then it hit her. “It’s Bob!”…as in former state Assembly Rep. Bob Gannon.

A bit of the back story: Following Gannon’s untimely death, his remains were cremated and his wife Kris filled spent bullets with his ashes. Gannon was a big advocate of gun rights and this way his friends could have a piece of Bob to remember him by.

Gambucci received one of the bullets at a Rotary meeting, dropped it in her purse, and there it stayed.  “I could just hear Bob’s big laugh in my head,” said Gambucci. “He would love how ridiculous this situation was and the trouble he caused. It seemed like a prank from heaven.” The Sheriff eventually told Gambucci she could have “Bob” back since the TSA agents believed her story.

“Who could possibly make that up,” she said.

The next conundrum was what to do with Bob since she had to fly back from Atlanta the next day. Throwing the bullet away was not an option, out of respect, but Gambucci told the story at a business dinner that night and a client thought it was great and offered to keep Bob on her desk.

Since Bob loved publicity Gambucci thought it was a great idea, so as soon as she got back to the hotel she sent links that were “All about Bob” so the bullets new owner would have the appropriate back story of who Bob was.

Another Rotary member offered Gambucci his bullet, but she refused for the time being.  “I am flying to Florida for the Orange Bowl and don’t want to risk a repeat,” she said.

Neighbor in Town of Addison calls Washington Co. Sheriff about wolf in his yard

Washington County Sheriff’s got a call Saturday morning about a wolf in a field on William Tell Drive in the Town of Addison. “The homeowner said they thought they saw a wolf,” said Deputy Brian Herbst.  “It was out in the farm field behind their house; it was just lying in the field.”

Deputy Herbst and the homeowner approached it and got within 75 yards and the animal ran off. After it got about 100 yards away it turned around and laid down again.

“We stood and watched a bit, my sergeant came out and said ‘Yup… looks like a wolf.’ We approached it to make sure it wasn’t hurt and it moved away again and then it laid down,” Herbst said.

The homeowner said he had seen a wolf before in his field, about a year or two prior. Herbst said he too had seen wolf but “never down this far.” Herbst contacted the DNR but all of them were busy that morning.

Warden Joe Jerich did follow up and talked to the Deputy on scene. “I asked if he could approach the animal to see if it was injured and then it ran off,” said Jerich.  “We want to give him a chance to survive if he can and if it was injured we’ve have to make a decision how to handle it.”

Currently nobody from the DNR has seen the wolf. Both Deputy Herbst and the land owner said it was much larger than a coyote, even if it would have been a coyote with its fur primed out.

“Wolves could show up in this county but it’s highly unlikely,” said Jerich.  “Their range is generally to the north but coyotes are really common in this county and when their fur is primed out in this weather they look a lot bigger.

Deputy Herbst said the homeowner found wolf scat in his yard. “I haven’t had any other calls,” said Jerich. “We’ll have to see if it turns up again.”

UW-WC Ambassadors and Foundation Board honors Jeff Szukalski

Jeff Szukalski, owner of Jeff’s Spirits on Main, was honored by the UW-Washington County Ambassadors and the UW-WC Foundation Board for his generosity to UW-WC.

In presenting the gift, Joan Rudnitzki, thanked Jeff for his support and many kindnesses. “It was a great honor,” said Szukalski. “This is a great college and foundation and they do great things for the community and the kids. I’m happy to support the college.”

Szukalski said his love of the community is what prompts him to give back. “It’s just a great place to be and a great place to grow up and connect with friends,” said Szukalski. “Being involved is just the right thing to do.” The presentation was made during the annual holiday get together for faculty and staff at UW-WC sponsored by the Ambassador Council with support from the Schlegel Foundation.

West Bend listed in 30 Best Small Cities

We’re number 24! We’re number 24! has come out with a list of the top 30 best small cities in the United States and the city of West Bend is listed No. 24.

The qualifications for the ranking reads: “Big, crowded cities don’t have a monopoly on cultural offerings. If you’re looking to visit (or move to) a place that flows to a slower pace and has a lower cost of living, these towns under 100,000 residents still have plenty to cool things to do.”

The copy reads: “Riverfront Parkway lines the Milwaukee River in sections just north of the downtown area and the path is dotted with sculptures. On the other side of the river the Eisenbahn State Trail stretches north and south for a total of 25 miles. Those aren’t bad offerings for a southeastern Wisconsin town about an hour outside of a major economic center.”

On Facebook neighbors chimed in on what they thought made West Bend one of the TOP best small cities in the U.S. Some of the answers included the Downtown West Bend Farmers’ Market, locally-owned restaurants, MOWA, and the Kettle Moraine Symphony.

Deer Management committee outlines plan to hunt in parks

The Deer Management Committee met for the first time Tuesday night at City Hall in West Bend to outline some of the parameters in its Urban Deer Management Plan.

Members of the committee included Dist. 1 alderman John Butschlick, Paul Schleif, Chris Dymale, Larry Polenski, Joanne Kline, Duane Farrand, Michael Jentsch and Dist. 2 alderman Steve Hutchins.

In November the West Bend Common Council approved a resolution to allow hunting in two city parks under strict rules that must still be approved by Council. The hunting measure is designed to help manage the deer herd in the city.

The resolution detailed several suggestions and the Deer Management Committee addressed a 14-page packet of guidelines. Only adult bow hunters who pass a proficiency test would be allowed to hunt during a four day time span in January 2018. The only parks where this will be allowed as a test is Lac Lawrann Conservancy and Ridge Run Park. The parks will be closed during the four-day hunt, January 10-14, 2018. Written exam and proficiency test/shooting test as established by the committee. Hunters will only get one shot at a proficiency test. Individual must score 100% on Bow hunter Exam.  Fees will be set yearly with City Council

Some of the issues the committee addressed several times was that safety will be a top priority, this will be a lottery system and six people will receive permits. The participants must stay in their assigned zones. The guidelines drafted by the Deer Management Committee must still be approved by the Common Council. That review will most likely occur at the Dec. 18 meeting.

Albrecht Free Clinic unveils $50,000 matching grants

A big announcement from the Albrecht Free Clinic, 908 W. Washington Street in West Bend, as it unveils $50,000 matching grants from Aurora Health Care and Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin.

According to Ruth Henkle, executive director with the Albrecht Free Clinic, Froedtert and Aurora, have agreed to underwrite a challenge grant as each will provide a $50,000 match.

“As a result, each dollar raised will result in three dollars in funding for our community healthcare services,” said Henkle. “If the rest of us rise to the challenge and contribute $50,000, we’ll generate $150,000 more to continue and expand our mission.”

The Albrecht Free Clinic provides access to basic, quality medical care through the generosity, caring and compassion of volunteers and donors.

Neighbors will receive a mailing from the clinic this weekend that details its medical, dental and behavioral health services and how it has seen a 46 percent increase this past year.

Over $86,000 was recently raised during a matching campaign with the Thomas J. Rolfs Family Foundation.

Carrie Killoran, executive vice president – central region, Aurora Health Care said Aurora Medical Center in Washington County has a long-standing relationship with the Albrecht Free Clinic.

“Aurora Medical Center remains committed through volunteerism and service delivery,” wrote Killoran. “We are especially proud to be a part of this very important initiative to help secure the future of the Albrecht Free Clinic so that they can continue to serve those in need.  Their work aligns perfectly with Aurora’s purpose to help each other live well.”

Henkle said the organization would not be able to exist without the support from both Aurora and Froedtert.

“The majority of our volunteer medical providers come to us from both healthcare systems,” she said. “In addition, they support the care of our patients through a voucher program so our patients can receive labs, X-rays and specialty care they need that we do not provide at our clinic.

“We also send our patients to their pharmacies for medications.  There are many additional things both systems do to support our operation. We have a wonderful partnership with Aurora and Froedtert and they truly value us as a safety net for the uninsured medical population living at 200 percent or below the federal poverty level.”

Donations can be made between now and January 31, 2018 to take advantage of the opportunity to triple your impact by participating in the Aurora/Froedtert challenge grant.

Candidate forum for 58th Assembly District is Wednesday, Dec. 13

There is a special primary election Dec. 19 as four Republicans are running to advance to the special election Jan. 26, 2018 to fill the vacant seat in the 58th Assembly District.

On Wednesday, Dec. 13 Common Sense Citizens of Washington County will host a candidate forum at the West Bend Moose Lodge at 7 p.m.  Candidates include: Tiffany Koehler, Spencer Zimmerman, Rick Gundrum, and Steve Stanek.

Candidates will introduce themselves and then all four will be asked the same questions.

Candidates will be encouraged to stay after the forum to greet the audience and answer individual questions.

In-person absentee voting is already underway. It will run until 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 15.

The 58th Assembly District includes the communities of Slinger, Jackson, Town of Polk, parts of Richfield, Town of Trenton and West Bend.

The seat in the 58th became vacant following the unexpected death of Rep. Bob Gannon. His term expires January 7, 2019.

West Bend School Board has two open seats

As of Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, no one has filed for candidacy or non-candidacy for two open positions on the West Bend School Board according to Deb Roensch, executive assistant to the Superintendent in the West Bend School District. The deadline for filing for candidacy is 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018 at the Education Service Center.  The deadline for incumbents to file notification of non-candidacy is Friday, Dec. 22 by 5 p.m.

Rezoning West Bend Brewery property

This week the West Bend Plan Commission voted to rezone land on N. Main Street that includes the old West Bend Brewery building along with the strip of other properties to the north.

Bob Bach from P2 Development is planning on razing the buildings for a 99 unit, three-story apartment building. Local businesses that would be affected include RT’s Speed Shop, Ray’s Shoes, Pruett’s Floor Covering, Casa Guadalupe and the cleaning-supply shop on the far north end.  The rezoning would affect 2.65 acres of land 445-485 N. Main Street. The zoning was changed from General Business and Warehouse to Mixed Use District.

Washington Co. Parks stickers on sale

Beginning January 1, 2018 visitors to Washington County parks listed below will need to purchase a $5 daily pass or $30 annual sticker. Parks include Ackerman’s Grove County Park,

Glacier Hills County Park, Heritage Trails County Park, Homestead Hollow Park, Leonard J. Yahr County Park, and Sandy Knoll County Park. Park visitors will have three methods of payment and have up to seven days from the date of their visit to pay, much like a highway toll system. Each of the parks listed above will have an entrance station where park visitors will be required to take a pass form unless they already have an annual sticker, have pre-paid, have an event code, or are attending a soccer game. Annual stickers are on sale now. For more information and a complete list of pricing call the Washington County Planning & Parks Office at 262-335-4445 or visit

Updates & tidbits

-Join the Festge family as it hosts a Grand Opening Celebration at Rally Time Sports Bar & Grill, 1373 N. Main Street. The celebration runs 11 a.m. – close.

-To honor Mother Cabrini and the 100th Anniversary of her death, St. Frances Cabrini is collecting items for the Albrecht Free Clinic whose mission is, “To serve individuals in Washington County who are underinsured, uninsured and otherwise unable to afford medical services.” St. Frances Cabrini Month of Charity runs until Dec. 22.

  Bob’s Main Street Auto and Towing is collecting toys and money for Family Promise of Washington County’s Christmas Event. This event will help give local, needy children the Christmas they deserve. With a donation the shop is giving a free tire rotation or a set of free wiper blades (max $32 value) with any service. If you are looking to donate toys or help contribute feel free to stop by either of their locations or give a call at 262-338-3670.

-The Kettle Moraine Ice Center is hosting Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 18 from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. Tickets are $8 and include all-you-can-eat pancakes plus a public skate voucher for the 2017-18 season. Children 3 years old and younger eat free.  There will be photos with Santa and letters to Santa will be collected.

 -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.

-Winter on Main in downtown West Bend will be held the next two Fridays in the Downtown West Bend business district. Shop local DIVA businesses, dine at your favorite restaurant and explore Historic Downtown West Bend from 5 p.m. 7 p.m.

-The Kettle Moraine EAA Chapter 1158 Breakfast with Santa is Saturday, Dec. 9 at West Bend Municipal Airport, 310 Aerial Drive. Come have breakfast and watch Santa arrive in a helicopter. Breakfast is 7 a.m. – 11 a.m.  No cost to see Santa. $6 per person for breakfast, children under 4 eat free.

-The Annual Hartford Historical Home Tours is Saturday, Dec. 9 from noon – 3 p.m. Four Historical Homes featured including: George Kissel Home – 215 E. Sumner Street, Charles Uber Home – 505 E. Sumner Street, Louis Kissel Home – 407 East Sumner Street and Adolph Laubenstein Home – 203 Church Street. $15 per person and tickets available through The Schauer Arts Center


0915, 09 December 2017


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