Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Pete Rettler and 25 Runs of Gratitude receives call from The Ellen Show

On the eve of Pete Rettler’s 25 Runs of Gratitude a conversation was held between Rettler and a staffer at The Ellen Show. That’s The Ellen Degeneres Show …. if you’re not familiar.

The hot topic of conversation is Rettler’s runs and how he is going to spend the next 25 days running 2.5 miles, trying to raise $25,000 for charities connected to the United Way of Washington County.

It’s his way of celebrating 25 years of good health, running every single day, and supporting the wonderful non-profit organizations in the community.

As far as the phone call from The Ellen Show. Rettler said his phone blew up while he was out on a run Tuesday afternoon. The call was coming from Burbank, California which is home to Walt Disney and Warner Bros. studio. He thought it was a spam call until he listened to the message.

The call was from Sommer Green, a staffer at The Ellen Show.

The pair talked about 15 minutes and then set up a Skype interview for Wednesday afternoon. Rettler conducted the interview from his office at Moraine Park Technical College.

“We talked about whether I watched The Ellen Show and then she asked if I could tell Ellen anything what that would be and I told her I was watching the George Bush funeral today and they mentioned his humor and making fun of himself and Ellen does the same thing. She tries to stay away from politics and I think that’s good because there are great people on both sides of the aisle,” said Rettler.

At one point Rettler said he thought he referred to Ellen as Roseanne … but he wasn’t quite sure.

“This definitely has ignited a spark and companies are coming forward to sponsor the run,” he said. Rettler will be culminating the 25 Runs of Gratitude with a big event New Year’s Eve Day, Dec. 31.

We are seeking sponsorships of $1,000 or less per day.  The $1,000 gift will be matched $1 for $1 as a new corporate leadership gift by West Bend Mutual Insurance and Commerce State Bank.  United Way will send an invoice for pledge made.  If you would like to be a sponsor call at 262-338-3821 or kbrandner@unitedwayofwashingtoncounty.org.

Pair of bald eagles spotted on Silver Lake

Curt Rudy and his wife got up Saturday morning and saw a unique sight out their bedroom window on Silver Lake. “We have high windows and cathedral ceilings and we saw him just sitting out their beautifully,” said Rudy.

“We look to the side and about 10-feet away there was a second one.”

The Rudys’ spotted not one but two bald eagles.

“I did some research and they hang around in pairs, for life, and the only time when they’re together is when they’re mating,” he said. “They mate anywhere from November to January.”

Rudy’s photo from his wife’s cell phone.

The Rudys’ live on the east side of the lake on Quaas Drive. “We’ve been out here 35 years,” he said. “This fall my neighbor about two doors down said he saw a bald eagle hovering over the lake.”

Rudy said the eagle was in one of their trees. Fascinated by the eagles, Rudy searched to see if anyone posted about the birds in the past or if there was a nest in the Washington County area.

“I found something that said there was a nest reported in 2016 in Washington County,” said Rudy.

Neighbors in Kewaskum have seen bald eagles. Doug Gonring phoned in a couple months ago that he spotted a bald eagle along Highway 45. Others have seen the majestic bird near Hon-E-Kor Golf Course in Kewaskum.

World War II veteran Howard Knox has died

It’s with a heavy heart we relay the news of the death of World War II veteran Howard Knox.

Knox and his trusty bugle were a familiar sight across Washington County. Knox was part of River City Irregulars. When he wasn’t playing in the band he was holding high the military signs to salute those who had been in service.

Most recently Knox addressed students during a Veterans Day Assembly at Addison Elementary.

Knox was the first Cub Scout in the state of Wisconsin and he received a bugle when he was 10 years old. “The bugle was given to me by the scout master and he used it during World War I,” he said. Knox was attending the University of Wisconsin when he joined the U.S. Navy.

Howard Knox died Wednesday morning, Dec. 5.  He was 99 years old. Knox will be buried in a private service at a cemetery in Whitewater next to his wife Pearl. A memorial service will be announced shortly.

Update on construction on Carl M. Kuss Field

It was August 7, 2018 when a ceremonial groundbreaking was held to signify the official start of the reconstruction project at Carl M. Kuss Field at Regner Park in West Bend.

The project would include a synthetic turf baseball field with a new, ADA equipped grandstand.

A grant from the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation helped spark the $2 million project. Back in May, West Bend Mayor Kraig Sadownikow said “the $500,000 grant from the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation was a game changer for the project.”

Then in October the West Bend Mutual Charitable Trust presented a $500,000 gift to help move the new field closer to fruition. Following Monday night’s, Dec. 3, Common Council meeting Sadownikow said the park will be done by June 15, 2019.

“Progress is going well. Soil borings are scheduled to be out on site before Christmas which is the first step in the process,” he said. “My understanding is fundraising is on schedule and we expect baseball by the summer of 2019.”

Sadownikow said if the current schedule holds the demolition work will be underway in March.

The WIAA spring baseball season begins March 23, 2019 with the first game slated for March 31.

The current scenario, which could possibly change, looks like the first season for WIAA spring baseball in West Bend will be played at the high school field on Decorah Road.

Franklin Bales has died

It is with a heavy heart to relay the news of the death of Franklin Bales of West Bend. Franklin and his wife Margaret were featured in an article this past October 25 highlighting their 70th wedding anniversary.

It was Sept. 25, 1948 when Franklin Bales and Margaret Weninger recited their vows to remain faithful and committed for the rest of their lives.

Franklin and Margaret Bales celebrate 70th wedding anniversary. Franklin, 91, was born on the family farm on Rusco Drive in West Bend. He and Margaret, 90, met at a dance.

“Our farm was just a mile west of Gonring’s Resort. I had broken up with a different guy and me and my girlfriends were standing there and then he (Franklin) came over and asked me to dance. Then he asked to take me home, then he asked me to another dance and from there we kept on going.”

Margaret said she “didn’t think of marriage right away. She just liked being with him.”

“I liked his laugh,” said Margaret. “We had fun.” Margaret was 18 years old when she met Franklin. She worked at Amity Leather at the time. Franklin was 19 and a half and he worked on the family farm. “I like her because she was easy going,” he said. “I could handle that.”

When Margaret turned 20 she and Franklin tied the knot. The wedding photos look straight out of ‘June Bride’ featuring an elegant Margaret and a dapper Franklin surrounded by a wedding party of eight set against a backdrop of blue skies, two meaty columns and drapes.

“The photographer didn’t come to the wedding, we had to go to the photographer,” Margaret said.

Franklin recalled a delayed honeymoon as chores on the dairy farm took precedent. “She had to can pears before we left and I had to fill the silo again,” he said.

A couple days later the pair were off gallivanting. “We drove into Canada and circled around a bit just so we could tell our friends we were in Canada,” said Margaret.

The couple moved in to Franklin’s home. “I’ve always live here,” he said. “Our bedroom is the room I was born in.”

Franklin C. Bales, 91 of West Bend passed away on Wednesday, December 5 at his home surrounded by his family. Franklin was born February 14, 1927, Valentine’s Day. This was appropriate since there was great love shown by Franklin for each of the family members in his very large extended family and he was loved by each family member as well. The greatest love was for his wife of 70 years, Margaret.

This special 70th anniversary on September 25, 2018 was honored with an event at the family farm attended by more than 40 family members. This was the dairy farm that Franklin was born on, grew up on, worked as a dairy farm and continued to live on in retirement until he passed away. The farm will be a century farm next year being in the Bales family for 100 years.

Franklin will always be known for his happy laugh, storytelling, willingness to help anyone no matter how busy farm life kept him, being a trusted advisor and always leading by example on how to live a good Christian life. But most of all Franklin was devoted to Margaret and as a team they grew more than crops and produced more than milk on their beloved family farm. They grew and produced a strong family as well. Franklin and Margaret never missed Sunday Mass until age prevented travel. Mealtime prayers, evening rosary, while holding hands and prayers throughout the day exemplified their devout faith.

Well into his 80’s Franklin volunteered at the Samaritan Health Center, St. Frances Cabrini and Meals on Wheels. Over the years extensive travel was made throughout the country. Sheepshead was a passion of his and Franklin and Margaret had several groups of friends they played with over the years. Franklin has now played his last hand but we are sure that if sheepshead is played in heaven, he is already dealing out the cards.

Visitation will be on Monday, December 10 from 2:00 p.m. until 3:45 p.m. at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church, 1025 S. Seventh Ave, West Bend with a Mass of Christian Burial at 4:00 p.m. Burial will take place Tuesday in Holy Angels Cemetery, Memorials, in lieu of flowers to the Paul Bales Memorial Scholarship at UWM Washington County or to St. Frances Cabrini Parish are appreciated.

Our family has lost a real treasure but we are all blessed to carry a bit of his spirit within us. The Schmidt Funeral Home in West Bend is serving the family.

Hartford musical raises money for LOVE>hate project               By Samantha Sali

The Hartford Union High School’s fall production of Little Shop of Horrors Musical raised $1,330 for the Sojourner Peace Center and LOVE>hate Project. “In Little Shop of Horrors, Audrey is abused by her boyfriend,” said Musical Advisor, Shelia Parker. “While the musical makes light of this situation, the students felt that they needed to take this opportunity to assist women who find themselves in abusive situations and to work to curb violence against women.”

The students in the production were able to collect $580 audience donations for the Sojourner Peace Center in Milwaukee and $750 for The LOVE>hate Project in Hartford. “The students will be meeting with Buck Blodgett, founder of The LOVE>hate Project, on December 20th to present a check to him for the donation,” said Parker.

Blodgett was extremely appreciative of the students’ decision to not only donate to the LOVE>hate Project, but raise awareness on the important topic of male against female violence. “I’m so very grateful that these talented students chose to remember Jessie and advance her mission,” Blodgett said. “Their giving will go directly into spreading Jessie’s messages far and wide through videos, social media, live radio campaigns, local projects to raise awareness and call to action, and more.”

Updates & Tidbits

Slinger High School and its production of “Wizard of Oz” has been nominated for 11 Jerry Awards.

– The Amity Rolfs Nativity has found a new home in West Bend. The display, which is a hallmark of the holiday, is in place on the front lawn of Holy Angels Parish on 138 N. Eighth Avenue.

– The Hartford-Slinger Boys Swim Team broke a relay record at their home meet on Saturday, December 1, 2018. The new meet record of 1:35:72 was for the 200 yard Free Relay with Adam Marx, Logan DeBack, Robert Klockow, and Dylan Webb.   Hat tip Samantha Sali

– Citizen Advocates Board of Directors promoted Jessica Frederick as the organization’s new Executive Director. Frederick has been a part of Citizen Advocates for 11 years, serving as a Community Organizer, then as the Program Coordinator.

– Don Muth and the University Ambassadors will host a breakfast for students on campus on Thursday, Dec. 13 at 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. as part of week-long events before final exams start.

-Rick Takacs at Meadowbrook Farm in West Bend has fresh balsam and Fraser fir Christmas trees 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.

– Santa is flying in from the North Pole on Saturday, Dec. 8 and he’s landing at the West Bend Airport. Come out and have breakfast and give Santa a warm Washington County welcome! Santa lands around 8:30 a.m.

Hidden mural uncovered at Historic West Bend Theatre

A bit of an archeological find this week in downtown West Bend as colorful murals have been uncovered in the balcony level of the Historic West Bend Theatre.

“This is the first exposure and it’s the same pattern in each of the red panels,” said conservator Brian Fick with Evergreene Architectural Arts. “It’s a five-color stencil pattern on a shield shape with two birds; it looks a bit Germanic which, in an art-deco context is a little odd but it kind of suits the area.” Fick uncovered the mural using solvents and gels. A large breathing apparatus is on the floor next to the dusty theatre seats.

“I knew there was something there because I could see a bit of shadow,” he said. Pointing to the ceiling Fick highlights some of the black lines of another pattern of work.

“This piece will be documented and I’m taking samples,” Fick said. “We take the paint from the plaster it’s painted on all the way through to the top layer. We then cut that so you see the paint layers in cross section and that can give a better, more accurate representation of what the color was.”

Fick walks up the stairs in the balcony and points to another square of art behind some scaffolding.

“The painting that’s on these urns and the backgrounds is all original,” he said. “It’s just very dirty.” The iconic theatre dates to 1929.

“There are some historic photographs where you can see in black and white some painted decorations you just can’t make it out because the photos aren’t distinct enough,” said Fick. ”

Fick speculates on the reason the murals may have been painted over. “There may have been damage in some area and the thought was ‘who would fix this?’ Or they just wanted to lighten and brighten the place and they thought the easiest thing to do would be to paint everything a lighter color.” This phase of the research project started Monday and Fick is working through Friday.  A report will be delivered to the theatre board on the mural finding in a couple of weeks.

There are red rectangles below each decorative urn. Fick said the same exact pattern will be unveiled in every block.

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