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0932, 30 Dec 17

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Pete Rettler has been on the run every day for 24 years

On Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017 Pete Rettler will get together with about 120 friends for a little 5K run. For Rettler it’ll mark 24 years straight he’s run every day in a row.

“I will start my 25th year of not missing a day running on Jan. 1, 2018,” said Rettler.

The idea to run daily started as a bet during a college reunion. “It was me and a guy I wrestled with in college, Phil Scharenbrock,” said Rettler. “We went back to UW-Eau Claire for a wrestling weekend and we were both nearing 200 pounds.”

Well over his game-day college wrestling weight of 126 pounds (and Scharenbrock wrestled at 142) the pair made a resolution to get in shape.

“We vowed we didn’t want to be fat so we would run every single day in 1994,” said Rettler.

The pair lasted one year. “And then Phil quit….like any smart person would, and I’ve just kept it going,” Rettler said.

With a normal routine of running about 2 miles a day Rettler has been able to maintain his weight at 175 pounds.

“A lot of people don’t believe me when I tell them about the streak,” said Rettler. “The thing that drives me a little nuts is when people say they don’t have the time. I’m as busy as anybody else and I’ve been able to find the time whether it’s early in the morning or late at night or at lunch.”

Rettler normally runs at night after work. During the weekend he gets his miles in first thing in the morning and when traveling he may wake up at 3 a.m. to be sure to log his miles.

There are a couple strict Rettler rules about what qualifies as a daily run; it has to be outdoors and the minimum is 1.2 miles. “Over the 24 years I’ve averaged 2.5 miles a day,” he said.

There have been some close calls where the streak could have been in jeopardy. Rettler said during a road trip he waited out some severe thunderstorms before finally risking a quick run at 11:30 p.m. Another memorable event happened when he turned 40 years old.

“We were setting up for the Wildcat wrestling tournament. I collapsed on the mat and thought I was dying. The nurses in the emergency room quickly figured out it was a kidney stone issue,” he said.

Doped up on morphine Rettler with actually diagnosed with two kidney stones. “I was in a lot of pain but asked the doctor if I could run. He wanted to know why and my wife chimed in ‘he’s got this stupid streak,’” said Rettler.

The doctor sided with Rettler and offered one bit of advice. “He just suggested I run while the morphine was still working otherwise I’d be in a lot of pain,” Rettler said.

Over the years Rettler’s 2.5 miler has averaged about 30 minutes; now it takes a little longer. “I used to be able to run an easy 7-minute mile and now I’m at about a 9-minute mile,” he said.

Since the 20th anniversary of Rettler’s run streak he’s been raising money for local scholarships. “I wanted to do something fun and came up with a scholarship idea and invited everybody who ever ran with me in the past to kick in $20 and that’s where it started,” he said.

Over the years Rettler’s has advanced from $150 scholarships to two $500 scholarships. This year he’s hoping to get enough for three $500 scholarships. The criteria on who receives the scholarships is that the person is mainly a high school senior from Washington County

Sunday’s 5K run will consist of two laps around Regner Park starting at 1 p.m. on Silverbrook Drive. There are about 110 people who have preregistered this year. People who would like to contribute can make a check to Moraine Park Foundation/Streak. Early forecast Sunday calls for temps in the single digits.

Several Washington Co. Supervisors to face challengers

There will be several incumbents on the Washington County Board facing challenges come the April 2018 election. All 26 seats on the board are up and some of the highlights include:

-County Board Chairman and District 16 Supervisor Rick Gundrum has filed a notification of non-candidacy. Gundrum took first place in the Dec. 19 primary for Assembly Rep. in District 58. Gundrum has another special election ahead on Jan. 16, 2018 where he will face Democrat Dennis Degenhardt.

-Other supervisors who have filed non-candidacy include Dist. 7 Jeffrey Geib, Dist. 9 Gerald Schultz, Dist. 10 Mike Otten, Dist. 14 Raymond Heidtke, Dist. 23, Daniel Goetz, and Dist. 26 Dawn Eyre.

-Dist. 4 appears to be a popular seat as Mike Miller has filed non-candidacy. Three people have taken out papers and two of the candidates, Chris Jenkins and Randy Koehler, have already turned in nomination papers and valid signatures. Jenkins and Koehler have squared off before in the Dist. 4 on the West Bend Common Council. The third potential candidate is Robert Olson; he ran for Washington County Circuit Court Judge last year against Todd Martens and lost.

– A couple other contested seats include Justice Madl who declared candidacy against Dist. 1 incumbent Kristine Deiss. Madl has also taken out papers to run for the Dist. 7 aldermanic seat in West Bend vs. incumbent alderman Adam Williquette.

-Ralph Hensel has taken out papers in Dist. 3 to face incumbent Christopher Bossert.

-Richard Bertram and Kara Guse have both pulled papers for Dist. 9. Incumbent Gerald Schultz isn’t running.

-William Blanchard has pulled papers to run against Dist. 11 incumbent Michael Parsons. That seat represents the Town of Farmington/Kewaskum area.

-Marcella Bishop and Andrew Jones have both turned in valid signatures and will be vying for the seat in Dist. 14 that’s being vacated by Raymond Heidtke.

-Dist. 20 Supervisor Mark McCune may have a challenger in Ryan Lippert.

Each candidate must turn in a minimum of 50 signatures by Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018.

West Bend businessman files to run for local school board

West Bend resident and business owner Kurt Rebholz submitted his candidacy papers for the West Bend School Board on Thursday morning. Rebholz is the Co-Founder and President of Bay MarketForce, LLC.

According to the company website Rebholz’s areas of expertise include Market Strategy, Business Modeling, Sales Management, Operational Management, Campaign Development, Dashboard Measurements, Sales & Marketing Plan Development, Growth Goals & Forecasting, Recruiting, Employee Development and ROI Marketing.

Rebholz has 20 years experience in sales and operations positions for large and small world class organizations like IBM, Kemper Financial, and The Frantz Group.

At every company he was promoted to numerous leadership and management positions due to sales growth, increasing divisional and company profitability, and streamlining company operations.

Previously, Mr. Rebholz served as Sales Support Specialist, Education Coordinator, Business Development Rep, Market Research Analyst, Controller, General Manager, and 8 years experience as Vice President. In 2005, Mr. Rebholz was honored at the Wisconsin Business & Technology expo winning the 2005 Small Business Times IQ Award for Telecommunications.

Rebholz is the second person to apply for two open seats on the West Bend School Board. Each seat carries a 3-year term. Incumbent Monte Schmiege also filed to run.

Schmiege’s campaign issued a statement: My name is Monte Schmiege. I am a candidate for the West Bend Joint School District #1 School Board.

I struggled with this decision because serving has been a lot of work and very challenging, especially in this last year in which so much has changed, including four new board members and administrative turnover. And the change continues as we try to rebuild.

I did not join the board with any thought to the possibility that I might be the longest serving member of the board with what will soon be three years. I think of the people who preceded me and served six or more years and respect the commitment they made. I think some degree of stability is important, and I have thanked them for their service.

People join the board with little or no idea what the work entails or what legal restraints, such as open meetings law and school finance complexities, exist and need to be learned and navigated. Prospective members sometimes have goals they want to accomplish right away and may be disappointed to find out how hard, and perhaps inadvisable, change is.

I think we’ve seen what damage can occur when too much change happens too fast. Even good change can have negative consequences to the stability of the organization and student outcomes if it cannot be managed and made organic, a delicate balancing act.

As it is, the board faces some big decisions that can only mean more change. Some or all may be decided by the time of the election. The board must hire a new superintendent who can smooth out the waves of change and strengthen or build an effective administrative support team. We still have openings to fill there. The salary framework is under review and likely to be replaced. Capital improvement plans are under way that will likely bring a recommendation for a building referendum. Even though these may be decided by the time of the election or well under way, new challenges will arise, and there are the undercurrents of continuous change, such as policy, curriculum and teaching and learning, which, though they seem of much lesser degree, are of equal or greater importance and significance to student success.

I’ve been just short of three years. I currently serve as treasurer, a post I will have held for two years, thanks to the support of fellow board members. I currently serve as chairman of the policy committee, thanks to appointment by the president. I have worked with members of the finance team and administration and attended workshops to better understand the what, why and how of finances and compensation. I am bringing some new finance reporting and transparency to monthly meetings. I’ve identified areas for improvement in policy. I brought forward policy changes that permit the board, consistent with revised state statute, to have the final decision in the adoption of curriculum.

Yes, I’ve opposed some things, perhaps most notably, the adoption of four-year-old preschool. I studied the matter extensively and independently before the vote. We will never know, other than sentimentally, if there is a positive impact to long-term student success. I opposed it because the very concept that “kindergarten is the new first grade,” which was an argument for 4K as the new kindergarten, is wrong. I have a family member who teaches 5K and bemoans the changes that have taken place at that level in recent years.

I came to the board opposed to Common Core, which was already in place. I opposed the adoption of Engage NY, new Common Core compliant curriculum for English Language Arts, but, at that time, the board did not have to approve curriculum. Furthermore, I would have been in the minority. I don’t seek this office for personal gain or even satisfaction. Few do. Community members recognize my conservative stance and have asked me to run. Without their support, urging and encouragement, I could not.

What are my goals? Stability, Sustainability and Student Success. The district has gone through a great deal of turmoil, especially on the staffing side. We need to establish stability. We anticipate adopting a new compensation plan. It must be financially sustainable. Most of all, we need to focus on student success in the long term, which is a function of many decisions, big and small.

Papers to file candidacy for the West Bend School Board are due by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018. The district office on S. Main Street will be closed the remainder of this year and on Jan. 1, 2018.

Judge Andrew T. Gonring files papers to run in April 2018

Washington County Circuit Court Judge Andrew Gonring has turned in signatures and required paperwork to run for judge in Branch 4 in April 2018. Gonring was first elected on April 4, 2000 to replace retired Judge Leo F. Schlaefer. His current term expires in 2018. Signatures to run for the seat are due Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018.

Skating rink open at Regner Park in West Bend

The frigid temps are good for something as the ice skating rink at Regner Park is now ready to go. The rink opens today, Thursday, Dec. 28 from 12 p.m. – 9 p.m. and the lights will be on weekdays from 5 p.m. -9 p.m.  The warming house will be open Thursday through Sunday.

A bit of history on Regner Park: The warming house at Regner Park is the original bathhouse built in the 1930s during an era when President Franklin D. Roosevelt backed programs like the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Work Projects Administration. The efforts were designed to create jobs to pull the country out of the Great Depression. The WPA developed projects to improve city streets, playgrounds, bridges and public buildings. Regner Park opened in 1935.

Deer Management Plan moving forward in West Bend

A Deer Management Committee meeting is set for Wednesday, Jan. 3 at 5:30 p.m. There were nine bow hunters who participated in the proficiency test and bow hunter exam. The step was part of the process to take part in the public deer hunt set for Jan. 10-14, 2018.

Five hunters passed with a perfect score including Steven Kraker, Brad Zuba, Jeffrey G. Bach and Brad Beck. Following a background check the hunters will be issued nuisance tags.

The city is working with people in the community to try to trim the local deer herd by about 40 bucks and does. City clerk Stephanie Justman said the committee will determine how to move forward with fewer hunters. “There were four districts/zones outlined for the hunt at Lac Lawrann Conservancy and five districts/zones at Ridge Run Park,” she said.

Hunters had to pay $30 to take part in the test.

City administrator Jay Shambeau said the zones may be redesigned to help accommodate the hunters. “The individuals that tested were excited about taking part in the process,” Shambeau said.

The deer taken during the hunt will be donated to local food pantries. Hunters participating in the deer management will get to keep one deer. Shambeau said the DNR will likely cover the cost of processing the deer. He said the expense will not be covered by the hunter nor the city.

The proposed deer management hunt was approved by the Common Council on a 6-1 vote with one amendment to change the number of permits from 20 to 40.

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.  For more information and a complete list of pricing call the Washington County Planning & Parks Office at 262-335-4445 or visit

Washington County Fair Park to add concert series in 2018

During the recent Agriculture and Industrial Society Board annual meeting at Washington County Fair Park an announcement was made on changes for 2018. Aside from a new look to the Fair Park and Convention Center web page and implementing a new marketing campaign to help spur facility rentals, Kellie Boone, the executive director of the Fair Park, said they were planning to utilize the Silver Lining Amphitheater for more events.

“We’re in the process of looking at several different music events to be held in the next year or two, besides the fair,” she said. The Silver Lining Amphitheater was a gift to the Washington County Fair Park from West Bend Mutual Insurance. It officially opened in 2016.

“From the second I accepted the position I just thought we could do so many cool things at the Amphitheater,” said Boone. “Rather than just using it three days of the year during the annual County Fair, why not use it for multiple concerts throughout the year.”

In 2018 the Fair Park will kick off a one-day music festival. “We’re in talks with a person to run it in a partnership,” said Boone.

Open dates would be either one Saturday in June or in August 2018. “We have two potential dates to block off the grounds,” said Boone. “This will be an outdoor event, it’ll be multiple acts and the idea is to have a couple local bands and then a fair-level national act.”

Boone said July would be off the table at this point because the County Fair takes up a majority of time for staff.

Moving toward more of a music scene at the Fair Park is being done for a couple of reasons including replacing Rummage-A-Rama, which is on hold indefinitely; the strategy would also help showcase the venue. “People know we host weddings and business meetings and conventions but we need to show the parks flexibility and the variety of things we can do with the space available,” she said.

“We talked about doing things like a winter carnival. I’d like to take our signature events, like the Bridal Fair and Holiday Craft Fair, and mix that with more open-to-the-public type of events.

Boone’s proactive approach is already underway as coming up St. Patrick’s Day the Fair Park is hosting an indoor Irish concert. “It’ll be Saturday, March 17 and the tentative plan is to start it after the Erin parade and have a couple different Irish-themed music acts,” Boone said.

Tallymoore, a contemporary Irish Folk band from Milwaukee, has already been booked. More details on the event will be released in the coming weeks.

Updates & tidbits

– After 41 years of dedicated service, West Bend Public Works employees joined together to celebrate Mark Palmer’s retirement from the City of West Bend. Department employees enjoyed a celebratory lunch on Friday, Dec. 15 in Mark’s honor. From a historic perspective, in 1976 when Mark Palmer started working for the city the same year U.S. President Gerald Ford visited West Bend. Ford stayed at the Holiday Inn, 2502 W. Washington St. – currently Pick n’ Save north.

– 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 January 2018. There are one and two-bedroom apartments available. For more information 262.334.7943 or

-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.

Remembering N. Main Street in West Bend

This is a great history story about West Bend from 2015 with comments by William Kirchner of West Bend. The picture, courtesy Steve Kissinger, looks north on Main Street. City Bakery remained on the corner of Highway 33 and Main Street through the 1970s.

“Gonring’s Tavern was on the corner; I was in that building,” said 96-year-old William Kirchner of West Bend. “The men’s entrance was on the corner and the women’s entrance was on the end of the building because women didn’t go to the bar years ago.”

Kirchner, who made 18-cents an hour when he started work in 1933 at West Bend Aluminum, remembered coming to town as a kid and parking his horse and wagon by a big horse barn on Seventh Avenue. “You could put your horses in that barn, leave your wagon on the street and then go shopping. You’d put whatever you bought in the wagon and go and get a drink if you like and then hitch your horses back up and go home,” he said.

The beer of choice at Gonring’s Tavern was “West Bend Lithia of course,” said Kirchner. “The kids had West Bend soda; either root beer, green river, cream soda or orange.”

Kirchner said the building next to Gonring’s was John Baren’s Hardware, next to that was a harness maker, and then Tessman’s shoe-repair shop and Schnepf tavern.

John Gonring of West Bend also recognized his grandfather Matt Gonring’s Tavern. “Grandpa remodeled it in 1932, moving the barroom to the street level, added a ladies’ entrance to the north, and renovating the second and third floors to very nice living quarters. To the west up the hill was a horse barn. Previous property owner was M.B. Goeden who was Matt’s father-in-law.”

Jerry Mehring also chimed in. “The corner building was Gonring’s Tavern, then Five Old Guys and now the martini place, JP Foz’s, 302 N. Main St. Highway 33 turned west there at the traffic light. A door or two north of the tavern was the Monaco Cafe,” said Mehring.

Janine Matenaer, 77, of West Bend grew up behind the Monaco Café. “That’s the fifth building from the left in the photo; my mom and dad, Walter and Ella Schnepf, ran that and we lived upstairs,” she said. “I’d crawl up on the roof and I had a crush on this guy and he’d come walking down Wilson Avenue and I’d sit up there with my binoculars – oh, he was a lifeguard at the park and I’d spend all my summers out there.”

Matenaer recalled her grandfather Adolph G. Schnepf first had a harness and buggy business, Schnepf Bros., on that block. The Monaco, a restaurant and tavern, later opened in1940s – 1960s. “You went up a couple steps and it was the tavern and you walked straight in and it was the restaurant with an old-time counter and there was a back room and old wooden booths,” recalled Matenaer.

Recognizing the red brick building in the photo, Matenaer flashed back to Baren’s Hardware. “I remember going in there and it was run by Frank Wolf and every time I went in it would smell so hardwarey,” she laughed. Later Landvatter Inc. moved in and sold and fixed radios and black-and-white TVs.

“Next to that was an apartment building with two floors and then next to the third building in the photo was City Bakery and Arnold Kannenberg ran that,” said Matenaer.

The Monaco Café was later torn down when the fire department was built on the corner of Seventh Avenue and Highway 33. Records in the Research Center at the WCHS indicate the corner building in the photo is the Farmer’s Home and M. B. Goeden Saloon. Notice the stop-and-go light and the sign advertising Gonring’s Resort on Big Cedar Lake.


0932, 30 December 2017


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