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0728, 22 Sep 18

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Teen finishes Eagle Scout project for West Bend Community Memorial Library

Connor Markohn of West Bend is with local Scout Troop 762. The troop holds its meetings at the West Bend Moose Lodge.

Markohn came dressed for the video shoot about his Eagle Scout project in a tan, button-down scout shirt covered with a collage of merit badges that show off his many accomplishments.

Earlier this month Markohn finished an Eagle Scout project for the West Bend Community Memorial Library.

“I found out about some projects when the Community Memorial Library held its open house,” he said.

At 13 years old Markohn is tall, wiry and direct. His mother, Jen Martin, has mentioned autism but throughout the interview Markohn comes across as super intelligent, mature, outgoing, and a tell-it-like-it-is kinda kid with a lot of facts and knowledge thrown in.

“Building 40 shelves for library books really seemed like more of a worthy project,” he said.

With that stepping off point Markohn is on a roll talking about the construction process, which for an Eagle Scout project for a young teen is pretty in depth.

“I had to compile designs, collect materials and create funding,” he said. “I decided to use particle board and then solicited donations from Zuern and Home Depot. For the materials I had to pay for I used donations received from The Soul Source, a community wellness center.”

Librarian Hannah Kane said the pair sifted through a number of project options and then settled on tackling an insert for the wire racks in the Teen Zone section of the library.

The project was a team effort with friends and family chipping in time and talents. “The project took a full month to complete,” he said.

To finish off the shelves Markohn’s subtle sense of humor is evident by the dedication sticker tagged on each level.

“I dedicated it to all the librarians who suffered from having to move all the books and CDs for all the years,” he said.

Martin said she is proud of her son’s drive and accomplishments. “He just is an awesome example of what all kids can do when they are encouraged to be themselves and focus on their abilities instead of their disabilities,” she said.

“He has put in more than 225 hours of service in the community (this does not include his Eagle Project hours), and his Troop has done so many wonderful projects for local schools, parks and community organizations.”

Aside from scouts Markohn is an accomplished musician. He sang the National Anthem at the 2018 America’s Dairyland Tour in West Bend, played the part of Shrek Junior in a production by Musical Masquers and he is the only student from Badger Middle School going to State Honors Choir in October.

“Scouting can really help me with lifelong skills like leadership skills, organizational skills and time management skills,” he said.

Markohn is also a part-time student at Pathways Charter School. He has been active in scouts since March 2016.

Heavy hearts at the Pike Lake office of the DNR as word spreads about the death of Forester Julie Peltier.

“She was extremely popular and had been at Pike Lake for years,” said DNR warden Bill Mitchell. “Every year she helped at the spring Fish and Game hearing and she was a hunter safety instructor.”

Washington County Conservation Congress chairman Brett Weir worked at the spring hearings with Peltier. “What I liked about her is when she spoke people listened,” he said. “She was very good at explaining things, she helped me with forestry questions and she had a personality where she was always approachable.”

Weir said he was shocked by the news. “What a loss; that is a big loss,” he said.

Peltier had been with the DNR since February 1997, according to a post on her LinkedIn account.

Peltier received a Bachelor of Science degree in Forest Resources from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and she worked as a Forestry Tech for nine years at the Black Hills National Forest, located in southwestern South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming,

Friends said Peltier had not been to work for a couple days. Police were called after she failed to appear at an event and she was found deceased at her home on Tuesday afternoon.  Friends said the death is not considered suspicious.  Friends are asking to keep Peltier’s family in your thoughts and prayers.

Hartford tennis coach receives recognition

Hartford Union High School (HUHS) is proud to announce Andy Andress, head girls tennis coach, has been named 2017-18 National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) Girls Tennis Coach of the Year for Wisconsin. “I am blessed to have a supportive group of coaches to work with, supportive administration and leadership that values all the learning experiences student athletes get from sports and an understanding family that allows me to do what I do,” he said.

Every year the NFHS recognizes a coach from each state for significant achievement in their sport.  State level recipients are considered for NFHS Sectional Recognition. National Coaches of the Year are then chosen from the sectional winners in which Andress will be considered.

Paradise Springs Fitness moving and building for lease

Tony Chemer, owner of Paradise Springs Fitness, is moving his club to the Kettle Moraine YMCA and putting his space at 1414 E. Paradise Drive in West Bend up for lease.

“The main reason is my real full-time job, which is sales for Alloy Personal Training Solutions, it’s real hard to run the different facilities (Paradise Springs and a program at the Y) and travel several times a month for Alloy.”

Conversations with the Kettle Moraine YMCA

“I’ve been talking with the Y over the past few months to find out how to still service the people with training but do it in an easier way. The Y said they would love to accommodate the training at the branch on W. Washington Street.”

“We’ve always collaborated well with the Kettle Moraine YMCA. Even during the Y’s recent flooding issue we had everybody come over here. We opened up the doors and basically we were YMCA south for about a month.”

Repurposing the building on Paradise

“I spoke with a realtor about the best use for the property because we have gyms all over town and I don’t have a whole lot of people in here except for training times. They thought the location on Paradise Drive was better for a medical facility or some sort of business professional that would fit in better with the spa. Philosophy Day Spa will remain at the location on Paradise Drive. “I will still be the owner of the property and I want it to have the highest value and I think that will happen if we move the fitness facility.”

Membership transfers

“We want to make this change over to the YMCA in October. We wanted to make the transition and make everybody feel comfortable before the new year. This gives us time to get all the schedules organized and the Y is seeing if the trainers want to work with them.”

Member reaction

“Some are shocked and others already do joint training at the Y. One client today was excited and said now they can use all the Y amenities along with the training while another said they liked Paradise Springs because there weren’t a lot of kids.”

Membership transfers

“We’re starting over fresh. The membership will end here and if the members and staff choose to go to the Y they will be offered a special deal but it’s up to them whether they choose to do that.”

History of Paradise Springs Fitness – Purchase story that ran Dec. 17, 2009

Tony and Jenny Chemer are the new owners of Paradise East Springs, 1414 E. Paradise Drive.

“I got the whole ball of wax,” said Chemer, who bought the building and the business from Janine Peters.

Chemer has run the fitness business at Pleasant Valley Fitness the last 12 years.

“At first I was just looking for potentially a new place to lease my business and then when I learned more about the spa business, it just made a lot of sense to take over everything,” he said.

Chemer is renaming the location Paradise Valley Spa and Fitness. All memberships from Pleasant Valley Fitness will carry over as will current memberships at Paradise East Springs. Chemer hopes to be open before the end of the year.

As far as Pleasant Valley is concerned, John and Jacci Gambucci will start a new fitness facility, Pleasant Valley Tennis and Fitness, which will all be under their ownership. The Gambuccis will take over the fitness space on Jan. 1, 2010, with the hope of opening in mid-January.

New sign for Stein Gardens & Gifts

Change is afoot at Stein Gardens & Gifts in West Bend. The store on W. Washington Street is changing its logo and its name to Stein’s Garden & Home.

The rebranding of 16 stores across Wisconsin started two years ago.

Everything was in line for a new look including the landscape to how merchandise would be laid out inside the store. Watch for the new signage to go up in the coming weeks.

Did you ever wonder how Stein’s got its start?

In 2010 Amy Rabideau Silvers with the Journal Sentinel wrote Jack Stein’s obituary. A portion of that story is below.

Published on: 4/26/2010 – Jack Stein learned a lot working for his parents’ florist business, following service during World War II and a couple years of college.

“He learned that he didn’t want to do that kind of work,” said his wife, Joan Stein. “But he also learned other things.”

Instead of taking care of one customer at a time, Stein wanted to take care of lots of customers. The result was Stein Gardens & Gifts, the second-largest independently owned garden center business in the country. “He was a merchandiser,” she said. “He wanted to sell merchandise.”

When Stein founded his business in the 1950s, he also realized that the market for gardening supplies was changing. Department stores were getting out of the business. The postwar housing boom was on. “Everybody was buying houses,” his wife said. “And that’s when he stepped into the gardening supply business.”

Stein’s now has annual sales of nearly $90 million at 16 stores. The company employs about 1,000 people in Wisconsin and about 200 more during the busy spring season.

New Charter School opening at Riveredge Nature Center in Newburg

In partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and the Northern Ozaukee School District, Riveredge Nature Center is establishing a nature-based public charter elementary school. It will serve up to 99 students K-5th, after a 3-year phase-in period that starts with the 2019-2020 school year. Riveredge Nature Center will accept students from any school district, subject to space availability and following the Open Enrollment process into the Northern Ozaukee School District

Riveredge Nature Center is located in Ozaukee County, less than 2 miles from the Village of Newburg. Currently elementary students from Newburg are bussed to Decorah School in West Bend, at a distance of less than 8 miles. Northern Ozaukee School Districts also operates a virtual (on-line) charter school that serves public education students under Open Enrollment.

Recount on Tuesday, Sept. 18 for Big Cedar Lake PRD

A recount was held Tuesday night, Sept. 18, as a follow up to a pair of requests regarding the final tally from the election August 29. Nicole Gonring submitted a petition along with Troy Zagel, both were candidates in the race for two seats for PRD commissioner.

The original vote from the Aug. 29 election showed Roger Walsh with 197 toes, David Claussen at 166, Nicole Gonring at 163 and Troy Zagel collected 161 votes. The tally from Tuesday’s recount was as follows: Walsh 200, Claussen 166, Gonring 163 and Zagel 161.

UPS box removed from Centrum building in downtown West Bend

There’s some confusion that’s causing a mix of panic and frustration as the UPS box has been removed from the lobby of the Centrum building, 120 N. Main Street, in downtown West Bend.

Businesses within the Centrum building say the UPS box had found its home for years on the lower level next to the soda machine; that UPS box was removed about a week ago.

Packages are still arriving and sitting on the ledge as well as the neighboring wooden bench even though the brown and yellow box is no longer there.

Some neighboring businesses thought a recent uptick in drop offs, which took up a sizable portion of the entryway, may have played a part in the removal of the UPS site.

In the interim, neighbors looking for a new UPS drop site can find one on W. Washington Street in West Bend. The site is in the same parking lot as the Shorewest Office, 2419 W. Washington Street.  It’s across from the AmericInn Motel and what will soon be the former location of National Exchange Bank.

Hartford School Board president resigns

It was an announcement that was short and to the point. On Monday night, Sept. 17, during the Hartford Union High School District Board meeting Board President Deborah Reinbold resigned.

“Next on the agenda is the Board President’s report and I’m really thankful all of you are here tonight because I wanted to let you know that last Friday evening I emailed all of the board members to let them know that tonight will be my last meeting,” said Reinbold.

“I have a new job I’m starting next week Monday and I just wanted to be able to start and make sure I have the time available to put into that and I’ve been on the board the last 10 years and I think it’s ready for someone else to move into this spot.”

Reinbold was first elected to the board in 2008. She was re-elected multiple times after that. She won her last term in 2016. Her current term would expire in April 2019.

“Anyone with the tenure and 10 years of community service should be exemplified,” said board member Scott Hanke.

The board will set a timetable to collect names and schedule interviews to fill the remaining term for that seat.

Updates & tidbits

 The one and only fan favorite Milwaukee Brewer Gorman Thomas will be at Tommy Schwai’s booth at the downtown West Bend Farmers’ Market on Saturday. The market runs from 7:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.

– An 84-year-old West Bend woman who had been missing since Sunday afternoon has been found safe. Imelda Algiers went missing from her home in the 1000 block of Decker Drive around 3:50 p.m. Sunday. Imelda has Alzheimer’s Disease. Police were joined in the search by Washington County Sheriff’s deputies, the West Bend Fire Department and members of the community. Police reported they found Algiers a little after 1 a.m. She was located in a wooded area in the vicinity of the Ice Age Trail just north of Park Avenue. Algiers was turned over to a family member who took her to St. Joseph’s Hospital as a precautionary measure. West Bend police expressed thanks to the community for their cooperation.

– The Columbian is hosting a Ham and Chicken Dinner on Sunday, September 23, 2018. Make your reservations today. The event is open to the public. Cost is $15 per person. Bar opens at 4 p.m. and serving is from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

– There’s new signage in place at West Bend Sausage Plus, 1435 W. Washington Street, in West Bend. Ben Houle, 31, is the new owner of the local meat market. The sign was put up by The Sign Shop of Baraboo.

– Visit Heritage House, Cedar Community’s restored turn-of-the-century farmhouse, located at their main campus, 5595 County Road Z, West Bend, on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. for a family fun day. Tour Heritage House and Ye Olde School, enjoy complimentary desserts and refreshments, musical entertainment, fall color rides throughout the beautiful trails, old-fashioned school games and pumpkin decorating. This event is open to the public and free to attend.

– Hartford’s H.e.l.p. Corner at Redeemer Church is slated to open mid-September.

-St. Frances Cabrini annual Rummage Sale is Thursday, Sept. 20 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday, Sept. 21 from 8 a.m. to noon in Mother Cabrini Hall in the lower level of the church. Baked goods will also be available. Rummage items can be dropped off Sept. 15 through Sept. 19.

– 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.


0728, 22 September 2018


  1. Mark Hoefert

    Interesting tidbit about the public charter school – you have written previously about West Bend School District enrollment trending down due to declining enrollment based on demographic changes and Open Enrollments out to other districts.  I imagine this one, being in such close proximity to the district, may be a further drain on WBSD enrollment.  I noticed quite a few parents and grandparents sharing this information – Judy’s posts, as well as the link to   Today’s generation seems to be pro-choice when it comes to education.


  2. Mary

    Yes, indeed, parents like school choice for their children. Shouldn’t they? Beware of a Governor Evers. He likely will not embrace school choice.

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