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0704, 05 Jan 19

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Muth family says “Thanks” to community for 21 years of business

There’s a U-Haul moving van backed up to the entrance of the Egbert & Guido’s Citgo station,  1300 E. Paradise Drive in West Bend as the Muth family has confirmed it has sold its gas station to Kwik Trip.

“We have been very blessed with the most dedicated staff,” said Kathy Muth.

She and husband George took a break from lunch for a couple of quick comments as they wrapped up 21 years at the family-owned business.

“We have an outstanding manager, Carolee, who is a great team leader along with our assistant manager Cindy and they all surprised us last night when we closed the store and we took a group picture. They’re family,” said Kathy Muth.

It was Dec. 22, 2018 when confirmed the Muths were selling the Citgo station Kwik Trip.

“We’ve had a couple tearful days this week along with a lot of our loyal customers who were sad to see us closing the store,” said Kathy. “It wasn’t an easy decision but it made sense.”

The corner of northwest corner of Paradise Drive and River Road has been in the Muth family since 1847. “That was always farm field,” said George Muth. “It was corn, soybeans and hay and I farmed it when I was young and I was fifth generation to farm it.”

George remembered all four corners were farm field and Paradise Drive was “a very skinny, one-lane road.”

The sign on the corner of Paradise by the roundabout reads, “Thanks for 21 years. Bon voyage.”

“That was the employees’ idea,” said George.

A yellow ribbon flaps in the wind as it has cordoned off the pumps in the parking lot. A colorful sign on the door reads, “Thank you for 21 great years! We will always be grateful for loyal customers and dedicated staff! God’s Blessing in 2019! George and Kathy Muth.”

“We are not retiring,” said George. “It’s just a business we’re selling. We still have the dairy farm in Fillmore. The gas station was something my wife ran.”

Below is the press release issued today, Jan. 4, 2019 by Kathy Muth.


Egbert & Guido’s Express, Inc. announced today that after 21 years of business they have decided to sell their store. George and Kathy Muth, store owners, said their property has been sold to Kwik Trip, Inc. The Muths built and opened the Citgo gas station and convenient store in February of 1998. The store is located on the corner Paradise Drive and River Road which is part of the farm homestead George grew up on.

George said the business name has always created curiosity. The store was named after his father, Egbert Muth and his great Uncle, Guido Schroeder and has been a thriving business for over 21 years. “We are pleased and honored that we have been able to serve thousands of loyal customers over the years, many from the local neighborhoods.”

Kathy added, “The real blessing has been the dedicated and friendly staff that we have had over the years. There have been many tears shed this week as we have said good-bye to our loyal customers and fellow staff members who are like family.”

Muths said they were contemplating making changes with the business when the opportunity to sell came along and decided it was a good time to change ownership. Muths thank the community for their support and patronage for over two decades.

Egbert & Guido’s Express, Inc.

Contact has been made with Kwik Trip officials regarding the future of the store. Early word is Kwik Trip will be remodeling the store. Employees were told they had to reapply for their jobs.

This is the third Kwik Trip in West Bend. The other stores are located on Silverbrook Drive and 806 S. Main Street.

April 2 ballot order for Kewaskum School Board

Four candidates, including two incumbents, are running for two seats this April on the Kewaskum School Board. Three candidates filed paperwork on the Jan. 2, 2019 deadline including incumbent Timothy Ramthun along with Doug Gonring and Craig Staffin.

Gonring ran as a write-in in April 2017. Ramthun has been on the board five years. Mary Miller is also running as an incumbent. She’s been on the Kewaskum School Board for 12 years.

The two open seats each carry three-year terms. The drawing for the Spring 2019 Election took place Thursday afternoon.  The official order for the 2019 Spring Election (April 2, 2019) ballot is: Timothy Ramthun, Doug Gonring, Mary B Miller, Craig Staffin

Charming Paws opens second location in Grafton

A celebration in Grafton as Charming Paws has opened a second location. Owner Ashley Skinkis has been in the dog daycare business since March 2017.  After opening her first outlet in West Bend, 1410 Lang Street, Skinkis knew there was more opportunity ahead.

“We are leasing space at Twin City Plaza in the Village of Grafton,” said Skinkis. “We know there’s a demand in Grafton but nothing was available. We’re a perfect fit.”

The new shop, 1754 Wisconsin Avenue, in Grafton is located in the former Ace Hardware store. The dog hotel, daycare and grooming shop features many of the personal amenities offered in West Bend. “Our landlord Barb is a great partner for us,” Skinkis said. “She really cares about the dogs and she’s making sure we have nothing but the best to offer our customers.”

The new Grafton shop includes over 5,000 square feet and an outdoor dog play area.

“We can accommodate 20 dogs but we’re looking to grow,” said Skinkis.

Courtney Weibye of Allenton helps run Charming Paws in Grafton. “People like it that this is so clean and how our doggy daycare is included in boarding,” she said.

“We don’t have a ton of extra charges,” Skinkis said. “If you want peanut butter inside a dog toy we just do it. We are here for the care of the dogs and not a lot of up charging.”

The crew at Charming Paws goes out of its way to accommodate its customers. “I wanted a place that values relationships and we’re that place for your dog,” said Skinkis. “People can trust who is watching their dogs.”

Charming Paws in Grafton also features a cozy dog-grooming room and 11 personal dog suites for overnight care. “There are cameras in all the suites to monitor them and we come back at 11 p.m. to let the dogs out for the night before returning at 5 a.m.,” said Skinkis.

Congressman Glenn Grothman proposes Medal of Honor for FDL veteran

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah) introduced legislation to award Fond du Lac native James “Maggie” Megellas the Medal of Honor. The bill authorizes and requests President Donald Trump to award Megellas with the United States’ highest military honor for the courage he showed during the Battle of the Bulge.

“More than 70 years ago, Maggie displayed a heroism in the face of one of WWII’s bloodiest battles that is deserving of our nation’s highest award. He saved countless lives and stopped the advance of enemy troops without thought of his own life,” said Grothman. “I hope that my colleagues can come together in a bipartisan manner to recognize that Mr. Megellas is a true American hero who deserves to be awarded the Medal of Honor.”

Background: On Jan. 28, 1945, First Lieutenant Megellas led his platoon in a successful attack on an enemy battalion near Herresbach, Belgium, that outnumbered it ten-to-one. After the attack, he advanced his platoon towards the town when a German Mark V Panther tank pinned them down. Megellas weathered enemy fire to attack and destroy the tank himself with just two grenades and his submachine gun. He then led his platoon to secure Herresbach for advancing Allied forces. Under Megellas’ command, his platoon did not suffer a single casualty that day.

Megellas is the most-decorated soldier from the 82nd Airborne Division, receiving the Distinguished Service Cross and the Silver Star for his actions during the Battle of the Bulge. He was born and raised in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and graduated from Ripon College. He currently lives in Colleyville, Texas.

Three candidates file to run for West Bend School Board

Three candidates filed to run for two open seats on the West Bend School Board. Their names will appear on the ballot: Paul Fischer, Christopher Bach, and Erin Dove. The election is April 2, 2019.

National Exchange Bank building sold

A familiar name in real estate has invested in the former National Exchange Bank building, 2412 W. Washington Street, in West Bend. In September 2018 it was reported on that National Exchange Bank on W. Washington Street in West Bend would close.

According to officials at National Exchange Bank, “The decision to close the West Bend, Washington Street office is the result of the completion of a thorough branch sustainability analysis including the evaluation of traffic and transactions, past performance and predicted future performance, customer mapping and proximity to other NEBAT locations, among other factors.”

The property on W. Washington Street went up for sale shortly after the Sept. 28, 2018 closure.

This week the Dec. 20, 2018 sale to Steve Kearns was posted. Kearns paid $425,000. The property, which was built in May 1990 had a 2018 assessment of $668,500. No word yet what Kearns plans to do with the property which has 4,885 feet of space on the first floor and 4,885 feet of space in the lower level.

Early word is another neighboring building to the east also has an accepted offer. Stay tuned…

Swearing-in ceremony for Washington Co. Sheriff Martin Schulteis

It was a family affair Thursday night at the Old Washington County Courthouse as Martin Schulteis took the oath of office and was sworn in as the 47th Sheriff of Washington County, WI.

Schulteis follows in the footsteps of his father, Robert, who was Sheriff in Washington County from “I beat the incumbent Clarence Schwartz,” said Robert Schulteis, 76. “This January it will be 30 years.” Schwartz was Washington County Sheriff for 16 years, followed by Robert Schulteis and then Jack Theusch was elected Sheriff in 1996. Theusch died of a heart attack in the middle of his third term April 8, 2003.

Brian Rahn was appointed Sheriff by Governor Jim Doyle and then Dale Schmidt ran against Rahn and won. Schmidt announced his retirement in February 2018 and now another Schulteis is taking over as Washington County Sheriff.

“I was surprised that he ran but he did a good job,” said Robert Schulteis. The swearing-in ceremony began with a benediction and opening prayer from Rev. Jacob Strand.

Superintendent interviews slated in Hartford Union School District

Two candidates for the Hartford Union High School Superintendent position, Cassandra Schug and Conrad Farner, will visit January 8 and 9, 2019. Community members, parent/guardians, staff and students are invited and encouraged to attend community forums: Tuesday, Jan. 8, from 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. HUHS Library Media Center and Wednesday, Jan. 9, from 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. HUHS Library Media Center. The new Superintendent will be named at the Jan. 28 Board of Education meeting.

West Bend Safety Committee to discuss adding more stop signs in town

There’s a full agenda set for the Safety Committee meeting on Jan. 8 in West Bend. Among the hot topics will be to review the timing of traffic signals on Paradise Drive.

There’s been quite a bit of discussion regarding the construction on 18th Avenue in West Bend but a sidebar story has neighbors concerned about the future of the stop signs at Silverbrook and Decorah. When construction started on 18th Avenue there was an increase in traffic on Decorah Road. To make it safer the city put up a 4-way stop at Decorah and Silverbrook. After the road reopened the 4-way stop remained in place at Decorah and Silverbrook.

Aside from the future of that intersection the Safety Committee will also weigh in on whether additional stop signs are needed at Seventh Avenue and Decorah Road. That’s a high-traffic area, especially when school is in session.

If you remember in September 2017 crossing guard Phyllis Wendt was hospitalized after she dove out of the way after two vehicles collided at that intersection. City engineer Max Marechal said the city has cut back some of the brush going up Decorah Road to make visibility better in that area.

The meeting Tuesday, Jan. 8 gets underway in the council chambers at City Hall at 6:30 p.m. The meeting is open to the public.

Updates & Tidbits

– Join the Nabob Prairie riders on Jan. 5, 2019 at the House of Heileman’s on Big Cedar Lake for the annual Winterfest/Fisheree. Fishing is from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., entertainment in the tent includes music, food and drink all available from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

– Kettle Moraine YMCA – West Bend Winter 1 session begins Monday, Jan. 7 and there is still time to register for your favorite programs.

– 19th annual Bridal Fair at Washington County Fair Park is Jan. 27. Over 70 vendors with everything from dresses to cakes, wedding venues to entertainment. Tickets $5 Pre-Sale $6 Day-Of

-Cedar Community Annual Chili Social and Used Book Sale is Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Cedar Ridge Campus, 113 Cedar Ridge Drive, West Bend. Enjoy items for sale by ceramics, crafters and Nimble Thimbles. Cedar Ridge Resale will be open with a 50-percent off sale on all items and furniture. Visit the train room. Tours of Cedar Community’s independent living apartments will also be available by appointment. Call 262.338.4615 for a tour by Friday, Jan. 11 and receive your lunch for FREE! Only those with a tour reservation will receive a free lunch. Enjoy our famous chili, hot ham and cheese croissant, fruit, fresh baked cookie, coffee or hot apple cider – all for only $8.50! Quarts of chili to go for $7.75.

Remembering Howie Knox                                          By Karen Knox

Hundreds of friends joined the Knox family on Monday, Dec. 31 at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Slinger to pay tribute to Howie Knox, who died Dec. 5, 2018.

The tribute below was presented by daughter-in-law Karen Knox.

Our family is here from far and wide this New Year’s Eve to say goodbye to our beloved father, uncle, grandfather, and great-grandfather. You already know this is hard to do because we want you back right now. For us it wasn’t time yet but, we know Howie, at 99, accepted his own passing with the anticipation of joyful meetings and reunions and freedom from his weary body.

Howie’s working life started with that paperboy job. He was on the move doing, fixing, serving – working all his life until about six weeks ago. Eagle Scout, runner, Navy skipper, college grad, county agent, recreation director, pastor, camp director, photographer, trumpeter, singer, horn player, volunteer, organizer of people and programs, generous giver.

Four years ago our family gathered for a happier occasion in a huge house near Somerset, PA, to celebrate Howie’s 95th birthday. To write a tribute for the occasion, I asked everyone for ideas. I’ve modified parts of the tribute to share with you now so you can better understand how we treasured and admired Howie.

I’m speaking now as if I am addressing Howie at his 95th.

The times were grim when you arrived in 1919 in the aftermath of World War I and the great influenza epidemic. Who knew the day you were born in Mount Sinai Hospital, Milwaukee that you would be celebrating your 95th birthday was 17 of your nearest and dearest nestled in a lovely house in a lovely wood?

Who knew that you would reach 95, sharp, healthy, adventuresome, a world traveler, storyteller extraordinaire, player in two bands, singer in two choirs, and still a paperboy on the double at 6:30 every morning.

We honor you for so many reasons. All your life you have been physically fit and active. You have run cross country, lifted hay bales, played tennis, driven horses, skied and toboggan and biked with your brother from South Milwaukee to Marion to court your Pearl and back (150 miles on a single-speed foot-break bikes each way!) You ran and biked to the hospital in Lancaster to make your pastoral calls. You have consistently chosen action, discipline and striving. How many people are still running at a national level when they hit 80?

Yeah.  You smile and say, “The competition is a lot weaker now!”  How many are playing instruments at 95? Only as your legs have started arguing with you, have you begun to slow down. You inspire us to exercise, run, swim, row, referee, stay on the move.

You are a devoted and loyal son of the cities of Milwaukee and West Bend and the state of Wisconsin. You know Wisconsin’s forest, eskers, kettles and moraines, its farms, crops, produce, its roads, rivers, and lakes. You taught it to your kids especially when you were in the car. Little Nancy’s question was how come our other kids don’t know what a drumlin is? They don’t know what glaciation did.

The Brewers and Badgers and Packers are your teams. Move you to Florida and it isn’t you anymore. Take you to Minnesota for Christmas and you are edgy to get back to holy ground.

Music makes your spirit sing. You brought John and Nancy into that awesome world and begin Nancy’s lifelong passion for sacred music. Trumpet and band started that whole love affair for you. We know you played while sitting, standing, marching down the street and in the stadium. You probably played lying on your back. You played for dances you weren’t allowed to dance at. You called for square dances, taught folk dances, joined band after band and choir after choir. Music is one reason you are here today at 95; it has kept you young.

You can talk to anyone. On a Philadelphia subway sitting next to a total stranger in dark, baggy, street-smart clothes with long, dirty hair.  Hunched over and not very approachable, you said, “So have you ever been to Milwaukee?” The guy laughed aloud, started talking to you.  You have an amazing talent for finding out how everyone is connected to everyone else.

You are a great teacher about the world and the amazing things to be seen in other countries as well as our own. You showed us how to love natural beauty, pack up a tent and sleeping bags, leave indoor comfort‘s behind and have fun. You’re really good at teaching people how to play cribbage, helping them find points they didn’t even notice, then really teaching them who knows how to play by skunking them. You have shown us if we want something enough and are willing to work really hard we can achieve it. Even the impossibility of supporting a family of four while changing careers and going to seminary, you and Pearl made possible.

You are a proven leader promoting community and goodwill, always ready to be of service at the Ridge with your congregations, family, friends and neighbors. Your goal in each encounter is to make someone else smile or laugh and get involved. You generously donate your time and talents, slideshows, docent tours, Kiwanis, Ye Old School, music programs, pastoral listening, shopping for the lady down the hall, on and on.

You lead with a calling in church ministry and with persistence on church councils. You showed Lancaster the vision of a beautiful new church and build it. We honor you for your service in the Navy especially aboard the USS Tawasa, for becoming the commanding officer at age 24 after an emergency removed the skipper.

Thank you for telling us your World War II stories over and over and over and over. Your experiences have become real for us. You stepped up then to lead as you do again and again when you see a need.  You and Pearl knew how to stretch a dollar.  As one of five children and the son of a plumber you found the roaring 20s mighty tight.

Groceries were expensive with three growing boys, even if the girls didn’t eat much, even though your mother made everything she could from scratch, even though maple syrup for those many meals of pancakes was boiled water with brown sugar thrown in.

Then came the Depression when relatives who had lost everything moved in with you with their own three boys. The squeeze was on. Your dad’s customers who could not afford food and rent did not pay the plumber.  Your dad told them “pay me later when you have it.” That was a fantasy to help everyone save face.

One night coming back from the band gig your older brother told you, “Howie you gotta leave home. Dad can’t feed you.” You showed up on the UW campus in Madison with $54 in your pocket. Registration was $25, lab fees $10.  You had $19 to your name. You found an elderly woman who would let you sleep on the closed-in unheated porch of the boarding house for $2 a month if you can make all the beds every day and clean every Saturday.

You got another job at a little diner so you could eat. You could never afford a book so you studied the ones the library had. By the time you scrimped through college and then seminary with you and Pearl working odd jobs, you made it to your first call, a three-point parish, which paid over $3000 a year.

With chickens brought over every so often from the church farmers. On that you raised your two children and sent them both to college. I give Pearl a lot of credit for that.  She earned a degree in home economics and dedicated herself to being a 110% mother, wife, nutrition specialist and homemaker. The two of you wasted nothing. Nothing was thrown away. Even now you usually keep whatever is broken for parts, you wear your clothes until you can see through them, your shoes have cracks in the soles and some hand me downs have holes enough to fit your little toe can stick out.

It’s OK to wear new socks, jackets, shirts in your closet and dresser but we know you feel. You must first use up the old ones God gave you. You and Pearl were devoted environmentalists before most of us knew what that was.

How could you know that your stewardship and frugality would be rewarded a thousand times over when you entered your 50s?  At 95 you don’t have to think about money anymore but you still live as if you are trying to survive the Depression. And every year you quietly, very generously gave away more than you earned in the combine 12 years of your first ministry.

You are a cheerful giver. We are grateful for all you have given us and churches and people in need with incredibly little income for so many years. You and Pearl could’ve kept every dime for yourselves in fear of financial insecurity instead, even in those lean and now-how-will-we-make-it years you tithed and built and supported and then gave him more as others needs became apparent.

Words from the great grandchildren.

I like you grandpa Howie because: You read to me. You tell me stories. You give us your Big Dog blanket. You have no hair.

When I called for these thoughts from our family it was remarkable how often some version of the words “amazing, generous and inspiring” came flying at me in the emails. Know that these are the words that come to mind when your family thinks of you, Howie.

Finally we treasure you and Pearl for together creating a stable, well-grounded, exploring family. From this have come spiritual meaning, justice seeking, love for neighbors, open doors, adventures and advantages far beyond what you even dream you are providing. We will be forever grateful.

We have come full circle now. Today, Howie, one of your granddaughters is delivering babies at Mount Sinai, where you first draw breath.  She held your hand here when you took your last. We say in gratitude for 99 years of life, “Go Howie, thou good and faithful servant, go with God.  May the longtime sun shine upon you, all love surround you, and the pure, pure light that’s within you guide your way home.”

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0704, 05 January 2019


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