Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

New baseball coach for West Bend West Spartans

West Bend West has a new head baseball coach as Dan D’Amico has been hired to fill the post following the end-of-season retirement of Billy Albrecht. D’Amico, 31, is currently a teacher at Waukesha North High School.

“An opportunity to coach a team like West Bend West doesn’t come up every day,” said D’Amico. “Having coached a summer team for the last six years and playing high school summer baseball myself the tradition of West Bend West is hard to miss. I was well aware going in of what success coach Albrecht had in the past.”

D’Amico mentioned the strong tradition of baseball in the community of West Bend overall.

The WIAA spring baseball season starts in March 2019.  D’Amico said he realizes baseball fans are not familiar with starting a season in the snow but it should be an enjoyable experience.

“This will be a good situation for West Bend West because it will allow the kids to play more baseball,” he said. “They’ll get a chance to play for their high school in the spring and they’ll get a chance to play club or with some travel team in the summer.”

D’Amico was more than familiar that he was coming into a new stadium situation as Carl Kuss Memorial Field is undergoing an extensive upgrade. “Fortunately I was able to play in the last regular season game at Regner,” he said. “We played West Bend East in the last game before the playoffs.

“I’m well aware of the history of the stadium and it’s a beautiful stadium and I think the upgrade is going to be a wonderful opportunity for both schools and the community and I’m excited to see what it looks like,” he said.

D’Amico was coach of the Waukesha North boys varsity baseball team for the past five seasons. He started as an Assistant Varsity/JV Head Coach in 2013 and became head coach the last four years. D’Amico attended UW-Stevens Point where he majored in Physical Education. He is currently a Phy Ed teacher as well as a football and track assistant coach at Waukesha North.

Questioned whether he will be changing jobs and teaching in the West Bend School District, D’Amico said, “My students ask me that 15 times a day and right now there’s no teaching job that’s been offered to me and I plan on staying in Waukesha as long as they’ll have me.”

Albrecht coached WB West baseball team for 13 years. He retired the end of the 2018 season.

Soft opening for Culaccino Bar + Italian Kitchen

The opening of Culaccino Bar + Italian Kitchen, 110 Wisconsin Street, is so close…. you can almost taste it. The new outdoor sign went up Friday afternoon just in time for a soft, soft opening this weekend. It’s an invite-only sort of event, which will run the next couple of days as the staff gets its footing. Pronounced cool-lah-chino, the modern Italian restaurant is the homegrown concept of Bibinger’s owner Travis Dowden. Designed to deliver Italian-inspired, honest cooking, with an emphasis on using the highest quality ingredients, locally-sourced whenever possible. The new sign for Culaccino was produced by Odd Job Shop in West Bend.

New sign in place at Washington County Fair Park

The folks at Washington County Fair Park took the new sign on Highway 45 for a test drive on Thursday afternoon and lit up the LED board. The new digital sign is about twice the size of the old and it’s in color; staff said the goal was an easier read for motorists along the highway. Also new: the lettering across the top, a larger banner for the Fair Park & Conference Center and a larger banner for the Washington County 4H. The project was completed by SignEffectz.Inc.

Ground breaking Monday, Oct. 15 for new West Bend Medical

Construction is underway for the new West Bend Medical at 140 E. Water Street in West Bend.

The 13,125-square-foot building will be located on the northeast corner of Water Street just east of Wisconsin Street (across from the old Dublin’s Restaurant). The groundbreaking will be held on Monday, Oct. 15 at 6:15 p.m. “We are excited for the opportunity to bring our brand of healthcare back to the heart of West Bend,” said Dr. Chad Tamez.

“We (the physicians and staff of West Bend Medical) have dedicated our careers to helping our community be healthier both inside and outside the office,” said Dr. Carey Cameron.

Doctor Wolter said, “Redeveloping an unused site in the downtown area is simply an extension of our commitment to making West Bend a better place to live.”

Development in Germantown

Although construction is already underway on 140 acres in Germantown, a ceremonial groundbreaking was held Tuesday afternoon to acknowledge the new Briggs & Stratton facility and Germantown’s future Gateway Corporate Park.

Stats on development include:

-706,000-square-foot industrial distribution facility for Briggs & Stratton Corporation.

-Gateway Corporate Park will be home to future build-to-suit projects up to 1.4 million square feet.

-To put the project into perspective, the Amazon development in Kenosha is 1 million square feet and the Germantown development is 700,000+ square feet.

-Thirty jobs will be created at the distribution facility.

Christian Tscheschlok, Executive Director of Economic Development Washington County, said the county EDWC got involved in April 2018 and made quick work of helping secure the project.

“This is exciting on so many levels because really what it’s showing is the opportunity in front of us right now as it relates to some of the spillover from the Foxconn effect,” said Tscheschlok.

“You’re seeing the market heat up so substantially in southeast Wisconsin and some of the effect for Washington County will be to leverage the position we have to be able to tap into multiple labor sheds, available space and land that is still cost effective for development and new opportunity and a workforce that’s highly skilled and you put all that together and we represent a significant place for economic development that’s going to come off of some of the challenges they’re already facing already in the Kenosha/Racine area.”

-Guest speakers included Chad Navis, Director of Industrial Investments – Zilber Property Group, Dean Wolter, Village Board President in Germantown, John Kersey, Executive Vice President with Zilber Property Group and Bill Harlow, Director of Global Distribution and Warehousing Briggs & Stratton.

-Target completion date for Briggs distribution facility is April 1, 2019.

West Bend School Board votes 6-1 on 2018-19 teacher contract

The 2018-19 teacher collective bargaining agreement was approved on a 6-1 vote during Monday night’s West Bend School Board meeting. Ken Schmidt was the only dissenting vote.

Dave Hammelmann with the West Bend School District said, “We did complete the WBEA teachers union and we had two negotiation meetings in September.

“The negotiations did end in at impasse for both 2017-18 and 2018-19 so in general where we ended up is within the preliminary budget you all approved and authorization was given to that.

“In general it’s a 2 percent across-the-board increase for teachers which includes the teachers making over $70,000 who in the past had been at a cap. So they received in the past a cash-in-lieu-of payment instead of a natural base increase. So this plan does include that so I’m pleased to say that’s where we are.”

Ken Schmidt said he would be voting ‘no’ on the proposed contract.

“I have no problem with the amount of dollars that will be disseminated however the way they are disseminated is a challenge for me. Across-the-board base wages makes us as a district locked into that increase and that can have repercussions for the future, especially if we get into tight budget years.

“This economy is on steroids, we’ve got a great economy and because of that property values are up. There’s a high demand for housing and so on and that means there will be more taxes coming into the coffers but that’s not always going to be the case. Property values can go down and have a bad economy and then what do we do?

“Maybe give a partial across-the-board increase that would be ok with a maybe a bonus but … 2 percent lock it in across the board I think that locks us in as a district to maybe some obligations we may have problems with in the future and have to cut this or that to fund this increase, we could even be facing an operational referendum and I don’t want to see that in the West Bend School District.

“I think there’s a more reasonable way of providing this increase to our faculty and support staff.”

Board members voting in favor of the contract include Tiffany Larson, Nancy Justman, Joel Ongert, Tonnie Schmidt, Chris Zwygart, and Kurt Rebholz.

Details on the compensation package regarding health insurance and benefits included in the contract were not provided.

Superintendent Don Kirkegaard said after the meeting all teachers were treated the same. “Everybody got a flat 2 percent and that was true for all the support staff as well,” he said.

Questioned how teachers will be encouraged to excel if they’re all treated the same, Kirkegaard said, “At this time we do not have a quality process in place that addresses performance, all of the different things. That’s not there and that’s one of the things we’re going to work on for this year is to try to put something back in place so for future years you potentially have a flat amount but you also provide additional incentives based on certain criteria and that’s what we’ll work on this year.”

Paying tribute to Jeff Klotz

Funeral services were held Friday for Jeffrey Steven Klotz who was called to be with the Lord and his older brother, Daniel, on Oct. 5, 2018 at age 61.

Since the news broke about Jeff’s death many have written memories and tributes. A collection of thoughts and comments are below:

Jenny Kruse-Zaskowski – Our thoughts and prayers to Jeff’s family. As a very frequent shopper he is a testimonial to true leadership. He was always working side by side with all of his youth employees. He instilled great work ethic in his entire staff and showed customer and community service like no other. What a loss to our community.

Valery Brussat  – A great loss to our community. Sending prayers to his family.

Debra Jurcek  – What a great loss and shock. Just recently I asked him to stock something for me and a week or so later it was at the store. He really cared for his customers. Prayers to his family.

Grant Baehmann – What a wonderful man and boss he was. He will be deeply missed.

Sharon Grammel (Duckett)  – Jeff was a great boss and mentor when I worked for him and Carole back in the early 80’s at Benidts Red Owl. I am just shocked and saddened. He will truly be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Klotz family.

Anna Marie – My first summer job. I remember for lunch he’d always ask me to make him a hot ham sandwich on a Kaiser roll with plenty of horseradish sauce. He was a good man to work for and always with a smile on his face.

Barb Datka Redman – So sad. Jeff gave my son his first job. He was/is a very good man and his will be felt by the entire community.

Lisa Ryan – What a huge loss. I will forever remember a tall blonde haired man, always saying hello to me. Jeff? You were a man who cared about his customers and treated those customers as friends. RIP dear man. I wish your family peace and comfort in your memory.

Pattie Coffelt Philipps – So sad to hear this. We’re regular customers and always saw Jeff working at the store. Always a smile and hello. Heartfelt sympathy for his family, friends, and employees.

AnnMarie Corbett- Prayers to the family! He always greeted everyone with a smile and a Hello…The store won’t be the same without him!

Tom Jensen -He will be terribly missed. Jeff was a natural leader who taught by doing and not by intimidation. From him, I learned to importance of hard work, friendliness, and never giving up until the job was done. These examples were important for this snot-nosed kid in 1980 at the old Red Owl on Washington Street. God Bless you Jeff.

Jenny Schulteis – He was absolutely a quiet community leader. He helped D11SC, Inc. With our Thanksgiving and Christmas meal initiatives to provide meals for local families in need. He was happy to so this with a joyful heart.

Larry Last-  I was shocked. Jeff as so many say will be missed. A pillar in the community, always supporting events and teams and more. Gave so many jobs to teens. My most favorite grocer ever. Always ready to great customers with that kind and caring spirit. You have been a great example to me and so so many more. Prayers to all your loved ones Sir. Rest in Peace and we all shall meet again on the other side.

Josh Wiedmeyer – He is going to be truly missed. My daughters and I shop every Saturday morning at the Pig. Jeff always said hi and would go out his way to help. How many grocery store owners today are still on the floor stocking, shelf facing or just being completely approachable? He was one of the very last of those guys and the very reason I would shop a grocery store. He was awesome!

Mark Hoefert – I remember when Jeff started working at the Red Owl store in West Bend, as the Assistant Manager to Gregg Benidt who had purchased the store. The Benidt family owned numerous grocery stores in Waukesha at the time – as I recall, Jeff had worked for them before they bought the West Bend store. Gregg himself died at a young age in a tragic car accident near his home on east Paradise Road in the Town of Trenton. I used to tell Jeff that someday he would own the Red Owl store and he would laugh at me. I was 1/2 right – he may not have become the owner of the Red Owl store, but he did become owner of his own Piggly Wiggly. I don’t think I ever knew a more positive, upbeat guy. Always smiling.

Lisa Lange I can’t wrap my head around this news. I just saw you last week. Jeff I have known you for many years. You always had a smile on your face when I ran into you at the Pig. I watched your kids and even worked for you and Carole in High School. Sending many thoughts and prayers. R.I.P Jeff.

Jeff never met a golf course he wouldn’t play, a mountain he wouldn’t hike, or a person he wouldn’t help. A masterful and hilarious storyteller. A good man, a great man, and a great loss.

Halloween Trick or Treat in Washington County                By Samantha Sali

Halloween is almost here. Here are some of the trick-or-treat times for Washington, Ozaukee, and Dodge Counties.

Thursday, October 25, 2018  – Mayville (Downtown), 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 27, 2018  – Cedarburg, 5 – 8 p.m., Grafton, 5 – 8 p.m., Farmington, 4 – 7 p.m., Hartford (Downtown), 1:00 – 2:30 p.m., Kewaskum, 5 – 7 p.m., Port Washington, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Downtown Trick or Treat (Participating businesses will have a pumpkin in the window.) 4 – 7 p.m. city-wide trick or treat, Richfield, 3 – 6 p.m., Slinger, 5 – 7 p.m. (Afterward families are welcome to a free event as Spooky Slinger will be held from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. at Slinger Community Park with music, pumpkin carving contest, costume contest, food and beverages.), Trenton, 4 – 6 p.m., West Bend, 4 – 6 p.m.

Sunday, October 28, 2018 – Addison, 3:00 – 6 p.m., Belgium, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m., Jackson, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., Mayville (City), 1:00 – 3:00 p.m., Mequon, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m., Saukville, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m., Thiensville, 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018  Halloween – Germantown, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Hartford (City), 6 – 8 p.m.

Updates & tidbits

– The doors at Good Shepherd Lutheran and Little Lambs Child Care will be open to the community this Sunday, Oct. 14, from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Tours of Good Shepherd and Little Lambs Child Care, treats, door prizes and more. Bring your friends and relatives to see the blessings showered on Good Shepherd and the vision to connect to Christ, each other and our community. Join in the activities and the fun.

– There’s a complimentary session on Monday, Oct. 15 at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in West Bend on how to plan to finance a college education. RSVP at 262-224-5058 or email peter.kapler@thrivent.com

– Keller Inc. carried out its 4th annual Police Dedication and presented about a dozen checks for $2,500 each to area police departments including Germantown Police Department.

In-person absentee voting is underway in Washington County for the Nov. 6 General Election.

– The VFW Post #1393 in West Bend, 260 Sand Drive, is gearing up to host its annual spaghetti dinner on Saturday, Oct. 13 from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.. All money raised goes to the organizations general fund. Bring the family and come join us.

– The Allenton Volunteer Fire Department and St. Lawrence Fire Company have announced plans for their annual Pancake Breakfast and Open House in conjunction with Fire Prevention Week. This year’s event will be Sunday, Oct. 14 from 8 a.m. to 12 noon at the Allenton Fire Department.

-American Legion Post 36 will host a brat fry on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 26 and 27 at Highway 33 and 15th Avenue in West Bend. Hours will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Proceeds go to local veterans programs.

– The annual Interfaith Tea is just around the corner and you’re invited. This year’s theme is Tailgating. Celebrity waiters will serve you and your guests and there will be an amazing silent auction, a fun purse auction, 50-50 raffle and a beer and wine pull. Lots of fun on tap and all for a good cause. Interfaith Caregivers of Washington County is a local organization that matches volunteers with senior citizens to help with doctor appointments, shopping, cleaning and just paying it forward. Reserve your seat today and contact Interfaith Caregivers of Washington County.  See you Oct. 14 at the West Bend Mutual Prairie Center.

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

– 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.

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