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0618, 05 May 18

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Padway’s on Big Cedar Lake has sold

Padway’s on Big Cedar Lake, 4919 State Road 144, in West Bend has sold. Dan and Peggy Mueller, owners of several George Webb franchises, closed on the purchase of the restaurant Monday, May 1.

“I’m excited, confident and scared as hell,” said Mueller who turned 49 Monday.

“I’ve always wanted to do a supper club,” said Mueller. “I liked what I’ve been doing at George Webb but I always wanted something more.”

Mueller has been looking at Padway’s for a while. He was attracted to the restaurant because of his lifetime on the lake and his grandparents’ ties to the area.

Neighbors will recognize the head nod to history as Mueller will rename the restaurant.

“I’m going to call it Mueller’s Linden Inn,” he said. “We’re keeping the menu the same for now but we will be adding some things. The staff will stay the same and we will be hiring.”

Over the next few months Mueller will be making some minor changes but in the near future they will be revamping the banquet hall. “We’re going to take it out of the ’70s and bringing it into modern day,” he said.

This will be a family venture as Mueller’s wife Peggy will be joining him. She will do some bookkeeping and pitch in where needed.

Dan Mueller is graduate of Sussex Hamilton High School and a 1989 graduate of Milwaukee Area Technical College. He has an associate degree in hotel and cooking management. “I’ve worked at restaurants like the Quilted Bear, the former Nardo’s Passport Inn, and in the catering department at Quad Graphics,” said Mueller.

For the last 25 years he’s been a franchisee and an owner operator for George Webb’s Corporation. “Currently I own two George Webb’s, one in Hartford and the other in West Bend and at one point in my career I owned five George Webb’s,” Mueller said.

Previous owner Joe Weinshel closed on the purchase of the old Wegner’s Cedar Lake Inn in August 2014 when the asking price was $1 million. The asking price in 2017 was $795,000.

The old Linden Inn is a lakeside restaurant that’s been an institution for over 50 years on Big Cedar Lake has a new owner.

“When I was a kid, I told my mom I was going to own this place,” said Weinshel. “That was back in the 1950s when it was really nice and called the Linden Inn.”

Memories of the food at the old supper club resonate with locals along the lake. Back in the day when Dick Peel owned the Linden Inn neighbors remember the key lime pie, the brandy sauce sundae or the skipper sundae made with a scoop of ice cream, waffle cone, two chocolate chip eyes and a cherry nose.

Owls nesting in wall of old Lithia Brewery

It looks like someone gives a ‘hoot’ about the old Lithia Brewery in West Bend as a mother owl and her baby are nesting in what looks like an old vent in the side of the building on Franklin Street.

Ric Koch moved into Rivershores recently and was out on his bike when he spotted the trail of dung on the side of the building. Next he saw the baby owl. While we were filming the mother owl flew the coop. (what are the chances?)

Below the nesting site is a rather graphic collection of last night’s dinner.  Koch said owls will take in food and then yack up hair and bones and what not; a lot of that is in a small grassy area right under the nest. (you have been warned)

Chris Schmidt owns the brewery building; he stopped to take a look. The conversation gravitated to what happens when the baby tries its first flight? The nest is about 25 feet off the ground and below is cement. Schmidt, who rents space in the building to the West Bend Dance and Tumbling Troope, suggested he go inside and bring out a couple of tumbling mats to help cushion the fall.

A volunteer at Pineview Wildlife Education Center said the Great-horned Owl typically start looking for mates in December and usually there are 2 – 3 eggs.  There is clearly just one owlet in the nest. provides a couple more insights: Great-horned Owls are our earliest nesting birds in WI. It seems a contradiction; however, the adult owls are often on nests by late January when the winds are howling and snow covers our northern landscape. Great-horned Owls do not build their own nest. Instead, they choose an old nest of a crow, hawk, or even a squirrel to call their own. When the young owls are 6-8 weeks old, they begin to venture from their nest. This is before they can actually fly. Nature’s method provides owlets opportunities to develop their leg muscles that will very soon be catching their own prey. In a natural setting owlets that appear to have fallen from their nest actually have fledged. In a natural wooded area, bushes and smaller trees provide a ladder of sorts and allow the chicks to climb to a higher perch until they can fly. When owls nest in a city with concrete below them rather than a soft forest floor, problems arise.  

Mr. Tony’s BBQ to open Friday, May 11

On Tuesday, May 1 the West Bend Plan Commission agreed to a temporary permit for Mr. Tony’s BBQ to allow the food truck and trailer to park in the Menards parking lot, 575 W. Paradise Drive. The truck would be in the north east end of the lot.

Mr. Tony’s BBQ will be able to come to town and serve his delicious fare eight times this year. He will open Friday, May 11.

“I have a little bit of a following,” said Tony Roy.  “We’re going to start with 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. … quite frankly I normally stay until 6 p.m. but judging from your page I don’t know if I can bring enough food.” Mr. Tony’s offers southern style pit BBQ. He was voted the No. 3 BBQ food truck in the nation in 2015 by Mobile-Cuisine.  His menu includes brisket sandwiches, pulled pork, pulled chicken, St. Louis style ribs, popcorn chicken and fries and meat by the pound. (see menu below).

Dr. Engelbrecht has died

Steven Jay Engelbrecht, O.D., 59, passed away on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at his home, surrounded by his loving family.

Born and raised in West Bend, Steve graduated from West Bend East High School in 1977, after which he received a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1981. He married his high school sweetheart, Kathryn (nee Beistle) on July 3, 1982 at St. Frances Cabrini. He then went on to complete his Doctor of Optometry degree from Indiana University in 1985.

Steve served as a dedicated doctor to his patients and the West Bend community for twenty-seven years, working first with Dr. Paul Rice and then with the West Bend Clinic/Froedtert Health Center. He additionally was an active participant serving on numerous state and local associations and boards, including the Wisconsin Optometric Association, the St. Frances Cabrini School Board, the YMCA Board, and the West Bend Noon Rotary.

Steve is best remembered for his athleticism, sense of humor, and prowess on the dance floor. He especially enjoyed playing a round of golf at the West Bend Country Club in the company of good friends. Most of all, he loved spending time with his family at his home on Silver Lake.

A Celebration of Steve’s life with a Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 5 at St. Frances Cabrini Parish, 1025 S. 7th Ave, West Bend, WI 53095. Visitation will take place at the church on Saturday, May 5 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Former Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy has died

Jack E. Wirth passed away Wednesday May 2, 2018 at the age of 87 years. He was born May 20, 1930 in Hartford, the son of Elmer and Emma (nee Korth). Jack was a Washington County Deputy Sheriff for 21 years. He was a past member of the Hartford Fire Department for 24 years and member of Hartford VFW Post #8834 and Hartford American Legion Courtney-Carr-Milner Post 19. Visitation is Sunday May 6, 2018 from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. at the funeral home. Closing prayers at 4 p.m. Private interment.

West Bend School District considers $80 million referendum

Six members of the West Bend School Board, (Tiffany Larson was not in attendance), spent nearly two hours discussing a proposed survey to test the waters on a possible $80 million referendum. The referendums would focus on Jackson Elementary and the West Bend High Schools.

The survey would be created by Slinger-based School Perceptions. Bill Foster, the president of the company, was in attendance.

Highlights of the meeting are below:

-Foster said the taxpayers and teaching staff could take the survey online or via a paper questionnaire.  Foster said it would be mailed to 24,000 people within the school district boundaries.

Some of the most spirited conversation came when board member Nancy Justman asked if taxpayers in Jackson haven’t supported a referendum in the past why would voters in the Village of Jackson support a request for a new school.

-Justman said, “It has been discussed widely in the past that Jackson has not supported a referendum in the past. Dave Ross said that is true. As we continue to look at Jackson – if the Village of Jackson voters aren’t willing to support a referendum and that speaks loudly to me that they don’t want to update the school.”

-Justman said, “We already bus our Jackson students up here 5 – 12th grade.” There are currently 372 students at Jackson Elementary School.

-Options for Jackson included remodel the current elementary school, build new, or incorporate the kids at the elementary school into the West Bend schools.

-Board member Ken Schmidt said one of the key questions that hadn’t been brought up was the cost. “What are the projected costs to remodel, or update, or buy peripheral property. I want to have some ballpark figures before I’d be able to make a sound decision on how I’d vote.”

-Board member Joel Ongert corresponded via phone and questioned whether the $23 million for a new Jackson accounted for the $4 million already save up. (Editor’s note – than figure has also been quoted at $5 million saved for Jackson).

-Board member Tonnie Schmidt corresponded via phone said, “We need to take the opportunity to educate the community and what’s led up to this point. The background would be helpful.”

-Ken Schmidt said, “It’s OK to put information in about the Jackson fund. Be careful about making this a leading statement. We can put it out as a piece of information but don’t want it to tip the scales.  For sake of transparency we need to realize there’s a declining student population that’s going down about 100 students per year and how does that impact Jackson?”

-Joel Ongert said, “Our school district is way bigger than just the Village of Jackson. If the Town of West Bend, City of West Bend, Town of Trenton and Newburg, and Barton. If all those people vote yes for a new school in Jackson it will pass. So even if the people in the Village of Jackson vote ‘no’ not only would the survey show it but a referendum would pass.”

-Joel Ongert said, “If the survey says go to referendum and you do the math and it failed because of Jackson then we talk to the people of Jackson. That has to be done after it would fail.”

Members of the Citizens Facility Advisory Committee were invited to attend Monday’s meeting. The CFAC volunteered more than 13 weeks of their time to tour schools and provide input on the direction the district should take regarding Jackson Elementary and the WBHS.

At one point in the meeting CFAC member Carol Hegar questioned some of the information being read into the survey. Board member Nancy Justman said it wasn’t common practice to let members of the public speak during a work session and then CFAC member Susan Crysdale Kist said, “Then why did you invite us?”

Board members took a straw poll to see if CFAC members could speak and everyone agree except Board President Joel Ongert who said ‘no.’

-CFAC member Carol Heger – “I believe there is wrong information on Jackson Elementary and I want to make sure this is corrected. The school is not over 100 years old. Renovations were done in 1970s or 80s. Roof replacement should not be part of the referendum, that’s misleading. Financially the renovation was discussed and the reason most of us went for the new school was the site.  The difficulty of the site was an issue. Another thing that was misleading was the sentence ‘based on the building’s condition as well as an assessment of educational inadequacies…’ What’s the assessment of educations inadequacy? That wasn’t explained to us other than today’s current educational research that says students should be educated in these huge two-story atrium.”

-CFAC member Mary Weigand – “I’m concerned about referencing a 100-year-old Jackson. That’s just one small area. Let’s just tear down that old front so we can stop saying Jackson is 100 years old.  I spoke with Dave Ross about the concerns about safety and he said to me “Jackson is not falling down – if there were problems with safety I’d be first to raise the alarm.”  There are no safety issues with crossing the road.  Police have it under control. Comments about being landlocked, there’s a large area to east a large area to east of current school. I was also very offended about the educational inadequacies that were put on paper because Jackson has the second highest elementary scores other than McLane which is the oldest school in the district. So that has nothing to do with the age of the building. When the 25-year plan was brought up now there are much fewer students. The question should be to ask the community if they’re aware the numbers are declining.”

-Susan Crysdale Kist – “It’s the numbers I’m concerned about. There are 100 less because you moved the 5th grade out. Busing kids to West Bend? Where will you put them? If you close Jackson you will be changing school boundaries again and that’s not a popular thing.”

Foster then went through some slides of what the survey would say.  Options for a response would be four choices: High, medium, low or not sure.  One note, there is no selection to decline a specific project.

Funding Support: The cost to address all the projects identified in the survey is estimated at nearly $80 million. (again – discussion about adding taxes and interest to that number). Given the cost it may not be realistic to complete all of these projects at one time. Therefore, the work may need to be completed in phases, based on the priorities of the community and its willingness to financially support the projects.

Jackson Elementary:  Build a new school          $23 million (2-story school,  82,000 square feet significantly larger than current Jackson)

High School Projects:

Classrooms, Libraries and Science Labs                   $10.5 million

Cafeteria               $2.2 million (CFAC members said this was never discussed in their meetings)

Technical Education (Shop) and Engineering Labs   $7.6 million

Weight Room/ Locker rooms                                    $4.0 million

Safety and security  $1.5 million (WBSD has applied for a state grant which could cover this cost or a portion)

Building infrastructure   $31.3 million


There was a note about being a good steward of taxpayer money and paying off a portion of the debt. “This drop in loan payments gives the community an opportunity to borrow up to $35 million in facility upgrades with no tax increase over the current level.”

A CFAC member indicated the tax may not go up but the lifetime of payments would be extended 10 to 20 more years.

On a history note:

Taking a look at the current referendums the West Bend School District is currently paying off….

In April 2009, voters in West Bend approved a $29.3 million plan to renovate, as well as build an addition to Badger Middle School.

In November 2012 the West Bend School District passed a $22.8 million referendum to close Barton Elementary School, expand Silverbrook School and add classrooms and a gym at Green Tree Elementary School. The actual total cost of the referendum with taxes and interest was $31.975 million with a 15-year payback on borrowing.

After the Nov. 2012 referendum passed the $31.9 million total was added on top of the $29.3 million payment for the 2009 Badger referendum.

The target date to completely pay off the debt on both referendums, totaling about $61 million*, is 2029.

The final segment of discussion provided a table showing the tax impact for various referendum amounts. The tax impact on a 20-year bond with an estimated interest of 4.5% was not calculated into the total.

For example: If the referendum was $40 million the estimated increase on a home valued at $100,000 would be $5 per year.

For an $80 million referendum the tax impact on a $100,000 home would be $48 per year.  This would be over the span of 20 years, again without taxes and interest calculated into the total.

A clarification was made asking that in the spirit of transparency the board make it clear on the survey the tax impact would only be for the school referendum. Taxpayers would be made aware their bill would also include an annual tax impact from the state, county, city, MPTC, and the school district which annual has voted to tax to the max. The referendum amount would be on top of those other annual charges.

The work session concluded with an attempt to sign off on the survey questions by May 7 so the survey could be mailed before the end of the month.

The district indicated it is aiming for a November referendum.CG Schmidt has been hired as the contractor for the project. (*request is being made to confirm current referendum debt)

House fires rage in Kewaskum

Authorities are discussing some of the possible causes of the Kewaskum house fires this week.

According to authorities oily rags from deck staining were stored in a container in the sun.  The deck was on south side of the home at the initial home that caught fire on Odawa Circle in Kewaskum. It has also been determined the Jefferson Street fire was a flaring ember from the original fire scene a couple blocks away.

No injuries were reported however there was a high school student at home at the time and they got out OK thanks to assistance of Kewaskum Police.  Dogs also escaped safe from the home.

No injuries were reported among residents or firefighters.

More than a half dozen area fire departments are on scene at a structure fire, 845 Odawa Circle Kewaskum. The call came in around 2 p.m.

Matt and Amy Herriges have been walking around the charred rubble of what used to be their family home on Odawa Circle in Kewaskum. Today the wind kicked up; Matt warned to protect your eyes from small shards of glass and debris.

The couple asked to relay a message thanking everyone for their support in this dire time. They were thankful for the volunteer firefighters who worked so hard. They were thankful for the generosity of friends and family and friends they didn’t even know they had. They were thankful for the prayers and support.

A walk around the remains of the home is numbing. The frame of a wall is distinguishable, as well as a child’s bike and a car. It’s hard to believe no one was injured. The Herriges family is thankful for that too.

Nathan and Kelly Kjer and their family are also working through damage to their home and they too are thankful for all the prayers and support. Note below is from Nathan.

“During one of the worst days in our lives it was wonderful to have so much support from everyone. I am proud to call Kewaskum my home for 13 years. We have wonderful neighbors that have helped us with everything possible. For all the bad things going on in this world when something like this happens it truly shows how good people are. Words can’t describe how much all this means to us. We are thankful every day that our daughter made it out safe with the dogs. The fire fighters and police were all amazing. And our neighbors feel more like family now than ever. ” Thank you.  Nate and Kelly Kjer

Kettle Moraine Symphony to perform with UW-WC Moraine Chorus

On Sunday, May 6, UW-WC’s Moraine Chorus, the Kettle Moraine Symphony, and three soloists will be collaborating in a performance of Haydn’s oratorio The Creation. The spring concert begins at 3 p.m. at Holy Hill, 1525 Carmel Road in Hubertus.  Tickets are $18 Adult, $15 Senior and $5 Student with ID.

On Sunday, May 13, the Moraine Symphonic Band will present a concert in the campus theatre at 3 p.m.  The band will perform Children’s March by Percy Grainger, Robert Jager’s Third Suite, October by Eric Whitacre and other well-known works for band. The concert is free and open to the public.

Updates & tidbits

Don’t miss the West Bend “Ride Of Silence” on Wednesday, May 16.  Bicyclists will meet in the MOWA parking lot off Veterans Drive at 7 p.m.

– On Saturday, May 19, 2018 the Slinger Area Music Booster Association (SAMBA) will be holding its 12th Annual Chicken Dinner at Veteran’s Memorial Park-Pavilion, in Allenton. It is SAMBA’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

– The West Bend Theatre Company is having a benefit concert with Joe Gallo to raise funds and awareness of the theatre mission. “An Evening of Show Tunes with Joseph Gallo, Tenor” will be at Bibinger’s in West Bend on May 19 at 7:30 p.m. Reservations are limited for this intimate performance. Tickets are exclusively available at

-Friends of West Bend Park & Rec are inviting companies to host their company summer party at either the West Bend Biergarten, Regner Fest and German Night. Contact Lori Yahr for more information at

– Mai Fest is coming to Friedenfeld Park in Germantown on May 18, 19 and 20. There will be fantastic beers, fabulous music and dancing and good old-fashioned fun. There will be food from Schwai’s Fish Friday (Friday night only), Germantown Kiwanis Club, Brats, Frankfurters, Hamburgers, and Potato Pancakes. Come enjoy the fun.

-The Downtown West Bend Association is gearing up for the 6th annual Banner ArtWalk. Fifty hand-painted banners will be on display at the Museum of Wisconsin Art on Saturday, May 12.

– The 31st annual Washington County Breakfast on the Farm is at Gehring View Farms this year, 4630 Highway 83 in Hartford. The host family will be Eugene and Christine Gehring and their family Derik, Jordan and Emily. This year’s Breakfast will be Saturday, June 9, rain or shine.

– “Logan’s Laps for Love” is May 26 starting at 9 a.m. at Hartford High School track. All money raised will go to the Love for Logan Fund at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.


0618, 05 May 2018


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