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1932, 17 Nov 18

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

New café and bakery coming to West Bend

There’s a new bakery and cafe opening in West Bend. Katherine Schenk and her sister Sara Young will be opening Cafe Floriana in one of the retail spots on the lower level of the Cast Iron building, 611 Veterans Avenue.

“Our parents live in the building and we would come visit them and there was no place to get a cup of coffee and a sandwich or muffin,” said Schenk. “We recognized there was a need here in the building and there was space available.”

The space for the cafe is currently under construction. “We’re about 10 – 12 weeks away from completion and we hope to be open in mid-February,” Schenk said.

The sisters do not have any experience in the restaurant industry. “Neither waitressing or hostessing,” said Schenk. “My background is Active-Duty Coast Guard and I was a middle school math and science teacher.”

Young has a background in child development and finance. “I was doing a lot of project management and office management,” she said.

The sisters often talked about going into business together. “Sara is an awesome home baker,” said Schenk. “That’s why we honed in on opening the cafe.”

Homemade pie is Young’s claim to fame. “Our grandmother baked and our mother had a catering business for a while in Alaska and we helped with that so the baking has always been in the family and it seemed a really good fit,” she said.

“It does go beyond the coffee and pie because we really want to be part of the community and offer a gathering place for the residence and the people in the neighborhood and our focus will be the hospitality aspect and making our customers feel welcome,” Schenk said.

The sisters have been working on the bakery idea for a while. They found they’re on the same page with a majority of their business plan including a primary goal of providing “hospitality.”

“The culture we want to install is really important to both of us,” said Young.  “We want people to feel welcome with delicious food and delicious coffee and we’re on the same page with the hospitality aspect. Growing up it’s something our parents instilled in us; the caring for people and food is love.”

Aside from crafting a menu and a business plan, the sisters also spent time tasting a lot of coffee.

“I wasn’t familiar with the Stone Creek brand out of Milwaukee,” said Schnek. “We had our list of cafes to visit and the Stone Creek coffee is smooth and delicious and their work ethic and vision is similar to ours.”

A friend with graphic-art talent designed the logo for the cafe. Young scrolled to a photo on her phone of a pallet of colors, blues and light blues that will be the theme. Asked to describe the interior Schenk said “I can see it in my mind.”

“It’s going to smell so good,” she said. “You’ll get that coffee, cinnamon, vanilla, warmth and it will make you want to come in, sit down and stay awhile.

“It’ll be modern and clean and inspired by my time spent in Malta.”

While homemade pies will be one of Young’s specialties, she said they will have a variety of delicious bakery to fit the rhythm and the culture of the community.

“We were looking for something quick for the to-go crowd and we are talking about in the future, on evenings or weekends, to do dessert night,” said Young. “We want people to enjoy a wider variety from pies to crisps to cobblers and all the lovely local fresh fruits we can use.”

While the idea of the cafe has been on the table since February 2018, the sisters have been busy the last few months getting an education on the food-service industry.

“We’ve been taking coffee-making classes at Stone Creek in downtown Milwaukee as they’ll be providing our coffee,” said Schenk. “We’ve also gone to food-handler safety courses and food hygiene classes and a couple business classes at Moraine Park Technical College and we took some baking classes at the MPTC Fond du Lac campus.”

On the flip side, Young has been baking up a storm. “We’ve been testing recipes and tasting them and fine tuning our menu,” Schenk said.

The new cafe will be located on the lower retail level of the Cast Iron facility. The shop will be located in 1,500-square-feet of a spot just around the corner and to the east of the Children’s Hospital corner. “There are five suites on that side and we’ll be in the middle because it just best suited our needs size-and-space wise,” said Schenk.

We took a peek at the new space under construction. The ladies were surprised as much as anyone about the extent of demolition needed to put in plumbing. Contractors apparently ran into a subfloor. Anyone with knowledge of the old West Bend Aluminum Company and what might have been in that area is welcome to chime in.

Cast Iron was once home to the West Bend Aluminum Company and in 2016 owner, Jane Hendricks, completed a major remodel and turned the old factory into high-end apartments featuring 13-foot ceilings with exposed duct work, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances. While the studio units and 2-and-3-bedroom apartments rented out Phase II of development started. The retail began to take off with Tochi Ramen and the Rivershores YMCA next door along with new neighbor Children’s Hospital which moved in January 2018.

In its heyday the West Bend Company was a place where men met their wives, where their children worked and their children worked. West Bend Company was one of the largest employers in the community as entire families would be on the lines manufacturing aluminum cookware or electrical appliances. The new Cafe Floriana should be open in early 2019.  The early plan is to employ about a dozen people and be open seven days a week.

Café Soeurette celebrates 11-year anniversary

When you meet a person for the first time, typically one of the first questions you ask is “What do you do for a living?” or “Where do you work?” Years ago, for an individual with special needs there was not always an answer. Times have changed.

When Drew was born with Down syndrome 29 years ago, the last thing we were thinking about was “What will he do for a job? “ As he entered West Bend High School however, the “what’s next after graduation?” was an important question for the future.

Easterseals of Southeast WI helped Drew discover the job he now loves. Their Lilyworks employment programs offer a variety of training programs designed to help individual succeed in the workplace.

The commercial training and catering kitchen teaches certification in ServSafe food handling and all aspects of prep, cooking, cleanup and service for the hospitality industry. After graduating from one of their programs Drew immediately landed his first job at the former Dublins here in West Bend.

His experience made him the perfect candidate for the new Culaccino, now at that location. His job provides what we all want for our children, to be happy and successful at whatever they do. Drew takes pride in saying he has a job, like dad and mom and his brother.

He loves the inclusive camaraderie of the kitchen and of course the paycheck. For most individuals on SSDI there is not a lot of discretionary income for things other than basic needs. Those paychecks help Drew access the things that make his life fulfilling. He is currently trains twice a week, working on a second degree black belt at Cho’s Martial Arts and is an assistant instructor to beginners on Tuesday evenings.

He is able to have a Y membership, join a bowling league and have a weekly night out for dinner with his friends, and let’s not forget the ability to afford those superhero DVDs or save for a vacation to Disney. Yes, times have changed and the future looks bright.

The opportunities for employment are as endless as the potential and desire of each individual. Easterseals taps that potential through programs like Lilyworks in Waukesha and Project SEARCH at St. Josephs Hospital in Jackson. For information visit

Stop out Saturday night, Nov. 17 and help Cafe Soeurette celebrate 11 years in business. One of the specials – 11% will be taken off of you dinner bill or donate your 11% to Easterseals and the Lilyworks program.

Churches gather to share Thanksgiving prayers               By Colleen Mas

Churches throughout the area will come together to celebrate Thanksgiving in shared ecumenical services next week.

The West Bend Area Ecumenical Group will gather for an open Evening Prayer of Thanksgiving on Tuesday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m.  This year’s event will be hosted by Fifth Avenue United Methodist Church in West Bend, with similar gatherings the following evening at Peace United Church of Christ in Kewaskum, and St Luke Lutheran in Slinger.

Several area churches will participate in the services, which will include a shared prayer in both West Bend and Kewaskum.

“While the world around us may emphasize our differences and encourage independence, we gather as one community to thank God and to recognize our shared blessings,” said Pastor David Schoob, Trinity Lutheran West Bend, who penned the shared Prayer of Thanksgiving several years ago. As a group of people of faith, we feel it is important to come together with one voice and acknowledge God who sustains each of us.”

Each year a free-will offering is collected in support of area non-profit organizations. The gathering concludes with an annual Pie Social, featuring a variety of pies brought and shared by volunteers of the participating churches.

This year’s West Bend gathering was planned by Pastor Clarissa Martinelli of Fifth Ave. with Jill Maria Murdy, Director of Liturgy and Music at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church, including ministers from Cedar Community, Holy Angels Catholic Church, St. James Episcopal Church, Trinity Lutheran Church, and others. The Kewaskum gathering includes Peace UCC Church and Holy Trinity Catholic Church. The Slinger gathering at St Luke Lutheran includes ministers from St. Peter Catholic Church, St John’s United Church of Christ, and Faith United Church of Christ.

Moonlighting in Barton closed

Moonlighting, 326 Commerce Street, in Barton has been listed for sale with broker/owner Adam Williquette of American Commercial Real Estate in West Bend. The tavern/restaurant was founded in 1995 and has been a popular restaurant in the Barton area ever since.

In 2017 the owner of the property, Joe Stefanko, attempted to sell/lease the property to Chad Goeman. With that lease coming to an end and not coming to successful terms to continue, the property has now come available for sale or lease.

The asking price for the +/-6,000-square-foot tavern/restaurant with attached living quarters is $725,000. Lease terms are negotiable.

“With my strong ties to the area and involvement in the community, I am both happy and sad Joe has picked my firm to represent him in a sale of this iconic Barton landmark,” said Williquette.  “It has always been sad to see business move out of the Barton area, but I am confident we will find a buyer who will get it back up and running and continue/start a thriving business at this location again.” Any interested parties can contact Adam at 262-424-3217 or

Unveiling the new nativity

On Monday, Nov. 19 the Downtown West Bend Association will unwrap the new nativity. 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. 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.

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. The new nativity will be unveiled Monday, Nov. 19 at 3 p.m. at Old Settlers Park. The Amity Rolfs nativity will remain on display at Holy Angels Parish.

Local athletes sign college letters of intent

A big day for student athletes at West Bend West High School as Lauren Downs, Ethan Coughlin and Isabelle Holbrook signed college letters of intent during National Signing Day.

Downs will be headed to play basketball at Lakeland University. “I’ve always wanted to play at the college level; it’s been a dream of mine so long,” said Downs. “I think Lakeland is impressed with my hard-work ethic.” Downs holds a G.P.A. of 3.75 and plans on studying broad field social studies with an emphasis on history/political science/psychology with a major in secondary education.

Ethan Coughlin signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Canisius College ub Buffalo, NY and play lacrosse. “It’s a great opportunity for me,” said Coughlin. A hockey player, Coughlin said he picked up lacrosse as a freshman. “I’m really a very raw talent and I can be molded into what they need me to be,” he said. Hand-eye coordination is one of Coughlin’s strengths. “My coaches were excited for me and happy to see how my hard work paid off,” Coughlin said.

Coughlin carries a 3.2 G.P.A. and plans on studying finance. “I’ve visited the campus and I like it because it’s an urban campus and has a Marquette sort-of feel,” he said.

Isabelle Holbrook signed a letter of intent to swim Division 1 at the University of North Texas. “I visited in October and I fell in love with it the moment I stepped on campus,” said Holbrook. “It’s just that feeling where everything is so right and if you don’t do it you’re going to regret it for the rest of your life.” Coaches, according to Holbrook, were looking for mid-distance freestyle swimmers. “This is a very goal-based university and I think I can achieve a lot there,” she said. As a student Holbrook carries a 3.6 G.P.A. and she plans on studying finance.

Updates & Tidbits

-St. Vincent De Paul in Washington County is having a 50% off sale on Nov. 17 at all three stores from 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Mattresses, box springs and bed frames are excluded from the sale.

– Pat Groth is teaching snowmobile safety class Dec. 4, 5 and 6 at Riverside Park in West Bend.

-On Nov. 27 at 6:45 p.m. there is an event at the West Bend Community Library regarding a presentation about the teachings of evolution. The event is free and open to the public.

-Rick Takacs at Meadowbrook Farm in West Bend will be unloading fresh balsam and Fraser fir Christmas trees from his truck as he preps for the upcoming holiday. Takacs gets his trees from the same vendor in Oconto County who once supplied the tree to the White House in Washington D.C.   Tackas said he really liked the trees from the Vander Velden’s farm because they’re “tall and have super color.” Meadowbrook Farm is located at 1270 Meadowbrook Road.

– Tickets are now on sale for the amazing Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Holiday Pops Concert on Dec. 11 at the West Bend High Schools Silver Lining Arts Center.

– St. Mary’s Immaculate Conception, 406 Jefferson Street, and St. Frances Cabrini in West Bend are holding a Women’s Morning of Reflection on Saturday, Nov. 17 following 8 a.m. Mass.

-Almost a year to the day and the Arby’s and Wendy’s properties in West Bend have sold again. Records in the city assessor’s office show SWEP No. 2 LLC sold the property at 730 W. Paradise Drive (Arby’s) on Oct. 23, 2018 to Fountains Mobile Home Park LP. Sale price was $1,460,000. The 2018 assessed value $1,126,200. The Arby’s, 730 W. Paradise Drive originally opened in October 2004. In 2017 the sale price to SWEP No. 2 LLC out of West Lake Village, California was $1,411,666. The 2017 assessed value is $832,300. The Wendy’s next door, 650 W. Paradise Drive, opened in March 2005. In 2017 it too sold to SWEP No. 2 LLC for $1.3 million. The 2017 assessed value was $837,000. Latest records show SWEP No. 2 LLC sold to Fountains Mobile Home Park LP on Oct. 22, 2018 for $1,340,000.

West Bend man living in Thousand Oaks says he’s “ready to evacuate”

There’s a West Bend tie to the tragic stories going on in Thousand Oaks, California.

Steve Kissinger of West Bend has split his time between his hometown and a teaching job at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks for the past 28 years.

On Saturday, Kissinger spoke from his home in Thousand Oaks about the wildfires and the recent shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill.

“I’m OK but it has been a horrible two days,” said Kissinger. “With the mass shooting that happened here at Thousand Oaks; one of the kids who got killed had been a student of ours. He graduated about two years ago from Cal Lutheran.”

Kissinger quickly shifted gears to the deadly wildfire. “About 2 p.m. Friday the fires broke out. I have fires burning on two sides of me and one fire

Friends of mine had to spend the night here because they were evacuated and the fire on the other side of me, they were evacuated. That’s getting a little too close for comfort and there’s an evacuation zone about a quarter mile from my house.”

Kissinger said his cable and Internet went out, although he still has power. “I can’t really keep track of what’s going on…. so I’m just waiting for the evacuation notice,” he said.

A truck outside his home already loaded with pictures and papers. “It’s exciting,” he said with a nervous laugh. Kissinger said the Santa Ana winds are “what fueled the fire.”

“Right now it’s really pretty calm outside but every once in a while there’s a little gust of wind and the helicopters are out dropping water.

“The fire that burned my friend’s neighbor’s house… that fire has now burned down to the ocean and the entire City of Malibu (southeast of Thousand Oaks) has been evacuated and it’s burning mansion after mansion.”

“I guess what makes this really bad is we had that mass shooting a couple days ago and it was mostly students involved. I don’t know how much is being broadcast in West Bend but the City of Thousand Oaks is usually rated as one of the safest cities in the country and we’ve lost that rating big time now,” Kissinger said.

The shooting happened Wednesday night, Nov. 7 at 11:30 p.m. Kissinger said the bar had a country theme and was popular with students. “I went to bed early that night around 8:30 p.m. and by 4:30 a.m. my iPhone and iPad were ringing with multiple calls and notifications,” Kissinger said.

“I got up and the messages were from friends with their condolences about the shooting. When I turned on the TV I was just in disbelief. People say you just can’t believe this would happen in your own town…. and it does.”

Kissinger said he then spent the entire day watching TV. “School was closed and so was the campus,” he said. “Then once the fire broke out the shooting was overtaken by fire coverage.”

Questioned whether he was safe Kissinger said “not necessarily.”

“If I were to put money on it I’d say I’m fine but after that fire that happened last year in Ventura County which is about 30 miles from here, and also the one that happened up north last year …. nobody’s safe,” he said. Kissinger said there is smoke all around but he can’t see the fire from his house.

“I haven’t really noticed the smell of smoke but my eyes have been burning all day and my nose has been stuffed up,” he said. “I’ve had all my windows and doors closed because it’s just not safe.”

Kissinger has lived through major fires before where he said it “looked like it was snowing because of all the ash” but he’s not seeing that this time.

“There are houses all around and usually the fires you hear about are out in the hillside and mountains and the brush is all burned and that’s how I used to think about these fires but it’s not that way anymore,” he said. “When a house in the city starts burning those winds take those embers and they can start bonfires anywhere in the city. So technically no, I’m not safe. My house could still burn down…. but because the winds have died down I don’t think it will happen.”

Over the weekend Kissinger said he was staying close to home. “I’m not driving around looking at anything because if there’s an evacuation alert I want to be ready and most of the roads around here are closed anyway,” he said. “The main freeway to town is closed and if I did have to evacuate I can’t tell you exactly where I would go.

“When the city is surrounded by fire you’re kind of limited. I think I would go north but I’m not sure.” Aside from the roads being closed Kissinger said the grocery stores and restaurants are also closed. The community where Kissinger lives has a population of about 131,000. “It may sound big but it seems like a small town,” he said. “It feels very much like West Bend with a small, friendly feel.” Kissinger is preparing to return to West Bend later this month for the Thanksgiving holiday. Stay tuned, we’ll bring you another update when Kissinger is back in town.

 Letter to the Editor | $85 million referendum will not improve student performance | By Valery Brussat

Did you receive, or do you give money for a good report card?

The West Bend School District will be asking for a $50 million school referendum ($85 million in real dollars when you add interest) to build a new elementary school in Jackson, remodel the high schools’ cafeteria, expand the weight room, fitness center and locker rooms, as well as improve safety and security.

This referendum is on top of the current $130 million referendum debt.

It has been proven time and time again that once the basic safety and space needs for school buildings are met, spending more on buildings does not result in better education.

With a declining enrollment, WBSD has more than adequate space, and monies received from a grant from the State of WI in the amount of $190,741 were awarded to WBSD on 9/26/2018 for school safety and security.

The WI State Report Card for Badger Middle School shows an overall score of 74.9%, while Slinger Middle School scored 83.6%, even after a Badger Middle School $27 million renovation in 2011.

Overall, the West Bend School District is at the bottom of all the WI State Report Card grades in Washington County. The numbers say it all: Slinger 87.1, Kettle Moraine Lutheran 84.9, Kewaskum & Richfield 81.8, Hartford 80.6, Germantown 79.0, and West Bend 75.4.

Given this week’s WI State Report Card scores, I believe it would be more prudent to look at spending money on curriculum to improve students’ performance and success than asking taxpayers for money for bricks and mortar.

Please join me on Monday, November 26 at 5:15 p.m. at the WBSD Office, 735 S. Main Street, West Bend as the School Board discusses this very important issue affecting everyone in West Bend.   Signed Valery Brussat

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1932, 17 November 2018


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