OSHA involved in investigating deadly accident on Wallace Lake
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is now involved in looking into the accident Thursday on Wallace Lake that led to the death of an 81-year-old man.
Authorities said the investigation shows there were no holes in the weed cutting machine/pontoon that capsized just after noon on June 15.
Officials from the DNR suspect the machine “may have been overloaded with weeds.
The DNR said it “appears the weed cutter was heading back to where it was unloaded and it may have been top heavy.”
The Washington County Sheriff said the weed cutter machine was about 10 years old.
The DNR said the part of the lake where the accident occurred had a “mucky bottom” and not a sand bottom.
Officials said Merlin Waechter from the town of Trenton lived a few doors down from the accident site on Wallace Lake. He had been doing the weed cutting for a couple years and had a passion for it. Funeral services for Merlin Waechter are pending.
Man accused of killing nun from Slinger set to plead guilty
The man accused of the brutal murder of two nuns, one from Slinger, WI is expected to plead guilty.
Sister Margaret Held, SSSR of Slinger and her friend, Sr. Paula Merrill were attacked and killed in their home in Durant, MS on April 25, 2016. Rodney Sanders faced capital murder charges in Holmes County Court.
The nuns were working at a medical clinic in Lexington, Mississippi. Both women died from multiple stab wounds.
According to a story in the Holmes County Herald, A Mississippi prosecutor said Tuesday, June 12, that a man charged with killing two nuns in 2016 will plead guilty as part of an agreement that removes the possibility of the death penalty.
District Attorney Akillie Malone-Oliver told The Associated Press she spoke with the victims’ families before agreeing that Robert Earl Sanders of Kosciusko, Mississippi, could plead guilty to capital murder. She said the agreement calls for him to be sentenced to life without parole.
Malone-Oliver said the decision takes into consideration that the two women who were killed, Sisters Margaret Held and Paula Merrill, opposed the death penalty.
Sanders’ next court appearance, according to the Holmes County Herald, is set for “June 21 before Circuit Judge Jannie Lewis in Belzoni.”
In October 2017, Held’s sister Jean Kroll of Slinger spoke briefly about the attack. “I’m just numb,” said Kroll. Her sister was 68.
“In order to protect my heart and my sight I don’t want to think of him,” she said of Sanders. “I don’t want to hate him because that’s what I would end up doing. I don’t want that.
“I just pity him,” said Kroll.
“I just love… that’s the only thing I can do but I do pity him for what he did,” she said.
On Sept. 2, 2016 friends and family gathered at Resurrection Catholic Church in Allenton to remember Sister Margaret Held.
Rev. Rick Stoffel from St. Peter Church in Slinger presided over the service.
There were messages of forgiveness and acceptance throughout the Mass. The opening hymn, Canticle of Sun, included the words, “Praise for our death that makes our life real, the knowledge of loss that helps us to feel; the gift of yourself, your presence revealed to bring us home.”
The message from the second reading, Romans 14:7-9, echoed the theme of the Mass. “No one lives for one’s self and no one dies for one’s self.”
During the homily, surrounded by the whirring hum of large fans, Rev. Stoffel told the gathering, “It is not important how Margaret Held died it’s how she lived.”
“Sister Margaret knew her life was in the hands of God even when there would be changes of direction,” he said. “Fear would be foolish and faith would be wise.”
Dressed in a white robe with a pattern of gold inlay, Rev. Stoffel worked his way down the aisle and spoke of how Sister Margaret “found her niche where she was needed the most.”
“Only by mercy it is not so much how she died it’s important how she lived and to tell one another so we’re more than just about ourselves,” Stoffel said.
Sr. Margaret Held, SSSF joined her Lord on Aug. 25, 2016 in Durant, MS at the age of 68, along with her beloved friend, Sr. Paula Merrill. She was born and raised in Slinger.
July 4 fireworks in Hartford may be in jeopardy
The July 4th fireworks in Hartford are in jeopardy. The City of Hartford and the Hartford Chamber of Commerce are putting out a plea to anyone who would like to sponsor or donate to the event.
“We’re told by Monday, June 18, we have to order them or take a pass on this year,” said Hartford City Administrator Steve Volkert. “And right now we don’t have enough money for fireworks.”
He asks that support be turned over to the Chamber of Commerce by Friday, June 15.
“If we don’t have $7,000 collected by Monday, June 18 we will be cancelling the Fourth of July fireworks in Hartford,” said Volkert.
Volkert said, in the past, there have been specific companies that have stepped forward to sponsor the show. “Whatever the situation we can’t go ahead and order $9,000 worth of fireworks with less than $2,000 in our pocket,” he said.
Last May the Hartford Chamber sent a standard letter in the utility bills asking neighbors to donate to the fireworks. Vokert said the time is short to get funding together.
Washington Co. Sheriff candidates air views during forum
This week Common Sense Citizens of Washington County hosted a candidate forum for the two men running to replace Dale Schmidt as Washington County Sheriff.
About 60 people were in attendance during the forum held at the West Bend Moose Lodge.
Candidates Martin Schulteis and Jason Guslick spent a little more than an hour fielding questions about 2nd Amendment rights, a proposed drug court for Washington County, staffing, budgets, and growing gang activity. The primary election is Tuesday, August 14.
Former Slinger H.S. band director sentenced
Former Slinger High School band director David Hanke has been sentenced to five years in prison with five years extended supervision. Hanke was found guilty in a jury trial April 25 in Washington County Circuit Court. He faced felony charges following accusations of sexual assault of a student. The trial and sentencing occurred in Judge James Pouros court.
Totals are in for 31st annual Washington Co. Breakfast on the Farm
It took organizers of the 31st annual Washington County Breakfast on the Farm less than 24 hours to tall the number of guests and how much they ate during Saturday’s event at Gehring View Farm in Hartford.
According to Mike Strupp with the Washington County Dairy Promotion Committee volunteers served 4,265 people.
That included: 5,650 half pints of milk, 14,000 pancakes, 114 gallons of ice cream, 660 pounds of breakfast sausages, 462 dozen of eggs, 400 cheese curds, and 250 pounds strawberries
Also during the event three graduates from area high schools were awarded $1,000 scholarships. Recipients included Brandon Strupp of Hartford Union High School, Olivia Push from Hartford Union High School and Emily Kluever from Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School.
New nativity for West Bend arrives
It was like Christmas in June at the Downtown West Bend Association on Monday as staff and Ramiro Paz with Thrivent Financial unwrapped pieces from the new nativity.
“Oh this is nice,” said Paz as he pulled the plastic wrap down to unveil the Joseph statue.
A semi arrived just after 10 a.m. with the delivery. A hand truck was used to remove three pallets of large cardboard boxes; each piece of the nativity was individually wrapped.
For the past few years the DWBA has been discussing the condition of the historic Amity Rolf’s nativity. The pieces date to the late 1960s. Spending Christmas season in the elements of harsh Wisconsin winters has taken a toll on the set and last year vandals destroyed the baby Jesus.
Donations were accepted to try and replace the figurine but then Thrivent Financial stepped forward to fund a new nativity.
“We’re very blessed and clearly with us being a Christian organization it’s part of what we do and this lines up with our values so we’re excited for the community,” Paz said.
Representatives from Thrivent Financial that contributed to the donation include: Lisa Senkbeil, Nikole Kohn, Paz and Peter Kapler.
“The nativity scene plays an important role in our community and wanted to do what we could to bring the replacement to fruition,” Lisa Senkbiel said.
Nikole Kohn said, “It can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of shopping at so many of our great downtown businesses, and this nativity scene provides a great visual that helps us all reflect on the purpose of Christmas.”
Peter Kapler added, “Thrivent Financial is an organization of Christian members, who seek to enhance our community and spread our mission of living generously by giving back to the people and communities that are important to us.”
There are 10 pieces in the life-size nativity. Some new items include a chicken in the manger and baby Jesus is attached to his crib.
The new nativity will be unveiled in November prior to the West Bend Christmas Parade.
The Amity Rolfs nativity will stay local. Discussions are underway with an area parish to put that nativity on display.
Heavy Cottonwood seed in Washington County
There’s been a rather heavy cottonwood seeding this year in the West Bend and Washington County area. A white cottony substance can be seen floating through town, clinging to entryway rugs and collecting in tufts along the grassy edge of the sidewalk.
According to Riveredge Nature Center in Newburg the cottony-covered seed is a reproductive part of the female cottonwood tree. The cottonwood seeding process normally happens in late May through June. Heavy rains may also have led to the increase in seeds.
Dedication of memorial for Larry Ammel is June 19 in Kewaskum
It was April 16, 2017 when word started spreading across the small community of Kewaskum that Larry Ammel, 73, had died.
Ammel moved to Kewaskum in 1973. He served as the high school band director and adviser to a large number of student groups in Kewaskum until his retirement in 1999.
He was an active member of the Kewaskum community serving on the village board, Kiwanis Club, American Red Cross, Big Band, Kettle Moraine Symphony and the Kewaskum Area Arts Council. He served as Choir Director at Peace United Church of Christ for over 30 years, where he directed the chancel choir, women’s choir and men’s choir. He was instrumental in the formation of the local group, the “Ecumen”, a men’s choir consisting of men from multiple communities and denominations.
In the days since his passing his family has been contacted by many of his former students, expressing not only their condolences for his passing, but sharing how he touched their lives in meaningful and irrevocable ways. They described his role as their teacher and mentor citing how “Mr. Ammel” was the one that listened, encouraged, and believed in them when they needed it most.
Coming up June 19 there will be a dedication memorial for Larry Ammel at River Hill Park in Kewaskum. The event gets underway at 6 p.m.
The recently refurbished band stand will be dedicated and there will be a memorial stone in honor of Ammel.
The ceremony is presented by the Kewaskum Kiwanis Club. The ceremony will take place before the Goodtime Dutchmen play for Music in the Park.
Updates & tidbits
– Eaton’s Fresh Pizza will hold a soft open starting Wednesday, June 20 at 830 E. Paradise Drive in West Bend.
– Please be aware that counterfeit $100 bills are being passed in the Kewaskum area. Businesses should contact local law enforcement and advise if they have any in their possession.
-The US Cellular outlet in West Bend celebrated its expansion with a ribbon cutting this week, June 13. The store, 2025 W. Washington Street, underwent a major interior remodel. Stop in and check out the new look and enjoy refreshments and in-store gifts and specials.
– Rally Time Sports Bar and Grill in West Bend is looking for a part-time line cook position. Rally Time has a family-friendly team atmosphere. The position is primarily day shift and coverage as needed. Call Dan at 262-389-1142 or Cindy at 262-389-0839 or stop at the bar for an application.
-Relay for Life of West Bend will host its annual fundraiser Saturday, July 21 at Regner Park.
-Full time and part-time bartenders wanted at the V.F.W. Post 1393, 260 Sand Drive, West Bend. Call Jerry Faber for details 262-388-7006.
Executive Director of Camp Awana dies at 43
Kurt Halvorsen, the Executive Director of Camp Awana in Fredonia, WI, passed away Thursday, June 7, due to a stroke.
Camp Awana issued this statement on Facebook, “It is with a heavy heart that we share that our executive director, Kurt, unexpectedly went home to be with the Lord this morning.”
Halvorsen, 43, joined the staff of Camp Awana in 2012 where he served until the time of his death.
Kurt Halvorsen was born October 8, 1974 and passed away Thursday, June 7, 2018.
Funeral services for Kurt will be held at 3 p.m. on Monday, June 18, 2018, at Kettlebrook Church, 2378 W. Washington Street West Bend, WI 53095.
Visitation at the Kettlebrook Church from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 18, 2018.
Memorial contributions can be made to the Halvorsen Family or to Camp Awana/Latham Christian Camping.
He was raised in Elmwood Park, IL, and graduated from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL, with a BA in Youth Ministry. He served for 15 years in youth ministry. Halvorsen leaves behind his wife, Kristy, and three children, Bryce, Trent and Mackenzie. Funeral services are pending.