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0608, 16 Dec 17

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Pizza Ranch in West Bend is hiring

A quick update on Pizza Ranch, 2020 W. Washington Street in West Bend. Since the groundbreaking Nov. 21 at the former Ponderosa location the building has been gutted and the remodel is underway.

“The only wall we will be tearing down is the north wall as we will have a small addition to accommodate our pick-up window,” said owner Stacy Gehring.  “We are hoping for an early 2nd quarter opening, but we will know a more exact date as construction continues.”

On the job front, Pizza Ranch is now accepting applications for an Assistant Manager.  If you know someone who is interested, please apply at

Also Pizza Ranch in West Bend has a Facebook page at

Remember the post cards for Lithia Christmas Brew?

In 1940, postcards were sent to neighbors around West Bend announcing, “On Wednesday, December 11, 1940, The Famous Lithia Xmas Brew will be ready for distribution. Best ever — try it — you will like it.”

Different labels were designed for the seasonal beer. One paper label featured a green wreath with holly berries and red bow. Inside the wreath was the familiar Lithia logo, underlined by the words “Christmas Beer” in thick German script.

Other designs featured the words “Holiday Brew” above a profile of Santa, who was bordered by pine branches.

There was the red label special dark Christmas beer and the well known Xmas label with six bearded elves each working to stoke the fire under the vat of beer, or pour hops, stir the mix, tap a pint and test the product.

Lithia’s Christmas beer was available nearly all year long. You could only buy Christmas beer in bottles and you needed an opener to get the cap off. The beer didn’t come in cans and it wasn’t on tap.

Lithia’s Christmas beer was sold by the case at liquor stores and at taverns within the West Bend area. Berres Liquor Mart, Triangle Beverage Mart, The Oasis bar (by Gehl Company); Pat’s Tavern (owned by Pat Pault), Kuhn’s Liquor, Palashes Liquor and Janz Liquormart in Barton were just some of the local distributors.

West Bend Noon Kiwanis makes special donation

An early Christmas for a 10-year-old boy from Green Tree Elementary School in West Bend as the West Bend Noon Kiwanis presented Matthew Stauff with an iPad to help him with his speech therapy.

Kiwanis member Ron Tabat had the honors of presenting the computer to Matthew this week at the West Bend Public Library.

“This has been just a wonderful program and to date the Kiwanis district in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan have given away 929 iPads,” said Tabat.  “The West Bend Noon Kiwanis has given away seven iPads to students at West Bend Schools and one to the Slinger School District.”

Tabat said he has seen a significant impact on giving autistic children iPads.

Matthew’s dad Tom said he learned about the donation from his son’s teachers. “His speech teacher Mrs. Anderson suggested he sign up for the donation of the computer so he can work at home at school and at home,” said Tom Stauff. “This is extremely generous of the Kiwanis. This is going to be a wonderful opportunity to establish his learning a bit further and he’s fortunate to have this experience.”

Honoring Pete Rettler for service on Ag & Industrial Society Board

A nice tribute to Pete Rettler this week as he was recognized by the Agricultural & Industrial Society Board for his nine years of leadership.

Rettler was introduced by Washington County Fair Park executive director Kellie Boone who presented Rettler with a commemorative clock. “We got this for you for all your great leadership and support for AIS,” said Boone.

Rettler then praised his mentors and other volunteers on AIS. “I grew up on a farm in Hartford and always attended the fair in Slinger and I always wanted to come to this one,” he said.

Rettler gave kudos to former Fair Park executive director Sandy Lang and “all the dedicated individuals who spent so much time volunteering” including Ken Miller, Robby Robrahn, Tony Warren, Roger Kist, and Marilyn Merten.

“I’m most proud in this last year when you try to replace Sandy Lang and we had a search committee and we knew we had big shoes to fill and whole AIS owes Kellie Boone a debt of gratitude,” said Rettler. The new incoming AIS president is Tracy Oestreich.

Special Primary Election is Tuesday, Dec. 19

Residents in the 58th Assembly District will head to the polls Tuesday, Dec. 19 for a special Republican primary election to fill the seat left vacant following the death of Assembly Rep. Bob Gannon.

Four Republican candidates are running. Their names are listed in ballot order: Tiffany Koehler, Spencer Zimmerman, Rick Gundrum and Steve Stanek.

Polls open from 7 – 8 p.m.  The special general election is Jan. 16, 2018 when the winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Dennis Degenhardt.

According to West Bend City Clerk Stephanie Justman there were about five people a day who came to City Hall to vote in-person absentee over the past two weeks. Justman said the early prediction on voter turnout next week is about three to four percent.

The 58th Assembly District includes the communities of Slinger, Jackson, Town of Polk, parts of Richfield, Town of Trenton and West Bend. The term for the seat in the 58th Assembly District expires January 7, 2019.

West Bend School Board has two open seats

As of Friday, Dec. 16, 2017, no one has filed for 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. School Board member Tim Stellmacher, who was selected in May 2017 to fill a one-year term, did file a non-candidacy form. Stellmacher was named to the board to fill the vacancy after Therese Seizer resigned her seat.

The deadline to file candidacy is 5 p.m. 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.

Property tax bills arrive just in time for Christmas

Neighbors across Washington County who went to fetch the mail Monday got their annual property tax statement.

Comparing 2016 to 2017 – Washington County was up 2.3% and Moraine Park Technical College climbed a whopping 4.9%.

The school district and city tax varied depending upon the community you live in. In West Bend the city tax stayed flat and the West Bend School District was down 1.5%.

The lottery-tax credit was $97, which was down from $109 in 2016. The first-dollar credit was $55.43 which is a smidge less than $57.96 last year.

Property assessments in 2017 remained the same in West Bend however there will be a revaluation in 2018. If you pay in installments in West Bend, that first payment is due Jan. 31, 2018.

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.  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

Town Tins make a great Christmas gift to encourage shopping local

The Downtown West Bend Association has the one-stop-shop solution to wrap up your Christmas gift giving. The Town Tin features 30 business deals for just $30 and includes $175 worth of savings.

For example Shooting Star Travels features $25 off an all-inclusive vacation value of $1,000 or more, West Bend Tap and Tavern features a free appetizer with purchase of two beverages, Downtown West Bend Association has a coaster for a free beverage at Music on Main.

Many of the offers are graduated offers the more you spend the more you save. Some offers are a percentage off a purchase/service. To pick up your Town Tin contact Anna Jensen at the Downtown West Bend Association, 215 N. Main Street, Suite 109 or call (262) 338-3909.

Updates & tidbits

Elevate, Stop Heroin Now, and the Washington County Heroin Task Force will hold a memorial vigil on Sunday, Dec. 17 at Richfield Fire Station No. 1, 2008 WI-175, from 5 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

– Cast Iron Luxury Living has a unique short-term leasing special. The remodeled West Bend Aluminum Company located on the scenic Milwaukee River is offering a month of free rent if you move-in before the end of the year, 2017. There are one and two-bedroom apartments available. For more information 262.334.7943 or

The 2018 Washington County Fair will feature four straight days of live music from July 25-28 featuring Saving Savannah, The Now, Bella Cain, and Cherry Pie. In an effort to follow the likes of the “Do Drop In” and “Why Go By” music stages, the fair is looking to rename its Entertainment Tent. Post your creative suggestions on the Washington County Fair Park Facebook page for a chance to win a 4 pack of tickets to the Fair! The winner will be contacted by Fair Park staff.

-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.

-Harold W. Groth, born October 30, 1933, died peacefully at his home on Tuesday, December 12, 2017. He was born and raised in Jackson, WI. He was a lifelong dairy farmer. He was past president of the Washington County Farm Bureau, Washington County Supervisor, Town of Polk Supervisor and 4-H Leader. A Memorial Service for Harold will be held Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 1 p.m. at the Phillip Funeral Home Chapel. The Visitation will be at the funeral home on Saturday, Dec. 16 from 10 a.m. until the time of service at 1 p.m..

-The Kettle Moraine Ice Center is hosting Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 16 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.

Note from a Good Samaritan

A Good Samaritan passed the note below following a horrible rollover accident Thursday night around 8:30 p.m. on northbound I41 just north of Pioneer Road.

According to Washington County Sheriff’s a northbound vehicle, driven by an 80-year-old Hartford man began to merge into the slow lane and struck the rear portion of a semi-tractor trailer that was traveling north in the slow lane. The vehicle then lost control and began to roll over prior to coming to rest in slow lane of I41.

The driver of the vehicle suffered serious injuries as a result of the accident and was subsequently transported by Jackson Rescue to Froedtert Hospital. He was not wearing a seatbelt. No one else was injured in the crash.

The Good Samaritan’s note is below.

I wanted to take a minute to tell you about how amazing our community is. Last night there was a rollover accident on northbound I41. I came upon the accident moments after it happened.

There were not any police, fire, or EMS on the scene. I was amazed how many people stopped to help the person in the vehicle. There had to be at least a dozen.

People were helping the victim, directing traffic, holding flashlights, getting the person out of the vehicle, attending to medical needs, calling 911, grabbing first-aid kits from vehicles, trying to contact the driver’s family, getting blankets from cars, etc.

It was truly an amazing sight to see so many bystanders take action to help on a cold, dark, windy winter night.  One of the people attending to the victim was actually driving southbound, saw no EMS on the scene, turned around to come northbound and help with medical needs at the scene. Another person was an EMT off duty. I am a RN.

No doubt that the police, fire, EMS, and I believe flight for life there to take over did an amazing job…but the compassion people showed was incredible!

My winter pet peeve brings trouble… and a creepy guy who won’t go away

Just too embarrassing… so I convinced myself I had to share.

There’s a super pet peeve that comes with winter and I still don’t know why it bothers me so much. Wait a minute, yes I do…. it’s because these snowy, dirty ice clumps collect behind my car tires and then normally choose to selectively fall off on my garage floor.

I can’t TELL you how much that just irks me.

So, the other day I went to check on my parents at Cedar Ridge. As I exited my car I saw the aggravating snow clump clutching tight to the area by the wheel well. A couple swift kicks and I conquered it.

Visit the parents, yahdah yahdah, get in the car, run an errand, dart into the grocery quick and then dash back to my car and sure enough – there’s another large clump of dirty snow ice right behind the tire. Are you serious? I didn’t even go that far.

So I make a beeline for it, kick it with my toe. This one chips off. It’s annoying. I blame the frigid temps and maybe some beet juice the city put on the road. I’m working on it, working on it…. telling myself I have better things to do and dang it’s cold, why does this bother me so much….yahdah, yahdah…

Then…. over my shoulder I notice this guy. He’s creepy. Kinda walking in my direction and looking at me. I figure I’ve probably interviewed him before – even though I totally don’t recognize him.

He’s got the look that I get in Walmart. People look at me and smile. I figure they follow the Insider.

I give the ice chunk a back kick with my heel. One last stab. I look up and the guy is right there. Like right there. It’s a little startling.

“Hi there!” I said.  He says “Hi.” Gruff. Direct.

“Can I help you with something,” I asked, really super friendly… even though he’s totally creeping me out.

“That’s my car,” he said dryly.


0608, 16 December 2017


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