Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Johnson Bus to be sold to Landmark Student Transportation

Johnson School Bus Service is pleased to announce its impending sale to Landmark Student Transportation. Specialized Transport Services (STS), a subsidiary providing Shared-ride Taxi service to Ozaukee and Washington Counties, will change ownership as well. The sale is expected to be completed by end of February.

A three-generation, family-owned business, Johnson Bus has been a trusted provider of student transportation in southeast Wisconsin since 1942. Founded by Aaron Johnson, the business grew and flourished under the care of his children Chuck and Dianne, then further expanded to 11 locations and more than 450 buses with the guidance of Chuck’s children Steve, Dan and Judy.

In a letter addressed to its school districts and customers, the Johnson family thanked their local communities for their support. “After more than 77 years of family ownership, the third generation has made the difficult decision to sell the family business. Like all business owners, there comes a time to retire and begin enjoying the benefits of a long, successful career. It has been our life’s work to provide safe transportation to the children entrusted to our care. We cherish the memories and the relationships that were built over the years.”

Johnson Bus chose Landmark Student Transportation as a family-based, experienced organization that will continue our culture, identity and strong reputation. Landmark will maintain the same high standards and level of professional pride that the Johnson Bus team has built together over the years.

President Steve Johnson said the local insight and expertise of the Johnson Bus and STS teams will be of great value as we are welcomed into the Landmark organization. Landmark will retain the Johnson Bus and STS names and the employee teams of Managers, Maintenance Support and Drivers are expected to continue in their current capacities at each location. Steve, Dan and Judy will support Landmark through the transition and continue on as advisors.

“The continuity of staffing will ensure a seamless transition for our schools, customers and employees. Moving forward, the new relationships will benefit everyone, especially the students we deliver to and from school safely each day. We wish to extend our sincere thanks for the honor of working together in safety with our school districts, our communities and our dedicated employees. We are very excited to see what the future holds for Johnson Bus and its employees under their ownership.”

Opening date for new Pearl of Can Ton

Neighbors in West Bend have been anxiously awaiting the official opening of the new Pearl of Can Ton. The restaurant, 515 Hickory Street, is located in the old Sears and former Generations Christian Fellowship building in downtown West Bend.

Owner BeBay Luu purchased the 2-story building in 2017 and had hoped to be open in early January however, flipping an old retail outlet into a restaurant proved to be a challenge.

Today the restaurant announced it would open Feb. 14. Contractor Ron Dibble said the project was a bit daunting considering the installation of plumbing and updating the electrical.

The new look resembles a luxurious Asian restaurant with high recessed ceilings and 6,000-square-feet of space on the first floor. The color scheme is rich burnt reds and browns. There are arched entryways and black string curtains to separate rooms. Some of the art features Buddha statues and paintings along with decorative wood dividers that set off table spaces closer to the walls.

Transportation and Future Borrowing Plan for City of West Bend

West Bend City Administrator Jay Shambeau spent about 30 minutes during Monday night’s Common Council meeting rolling out details on the Transportation and Future Borrowing Plan for 2020.

The biggest talking point was how the City has reduced its debt from $80 million to $47 million in a matter of seven years. It was February 2016 when Mayor Kraig Sadownikow first talked about “bending the curve” and working to pay down debt by implementing a program called “truth in budgeting.”

By studying the budget in 2011 the mayor and then Dist. 7 alderman Adam Williquette found “debt payments on borrowing were draining finances.”

Over the past eight years the city buckled down and reduced capital borrowing by initiating a $1.5 million cap on borrowing for three years.

Williquette said “paying down the debt will take time, but it allows the city to continue to move forward without raising taxes.”

Fast forward to February 2019 and the city has knocked $33 million in debt off the books and is in good standing to move forward on a plan to fix the roads without increasing taxes.

“I wasn’t part of this council when you guys started tightening the belts around here but I have to say I’m happy to see we are in the categories that we are regarding comparatives to other municipalities and all the numbers make me feel really good moving forward,” said Dist. 2 alderman Mike Christian.

Mayor Kraig Sadownikow issued the following statement: “The increase in reserves, reduction in debt and hopeful increase in Capital expenditures/Maintenance while still reducing overall debt is the culmination of about 7 years worth of work and promises that ‘we are bending the debt curve downward.’

I believe this is good government in action. We worked hard and took some arrows to make significant changes to how we operate, budget and spend.  We had to right size some areas, completely cut others, and change our standard method of doing business to get to the point where we can begin investing back into the community while still remaining small-ish and efficient.

Rather than taking the easy route and increasing revenue (taxes) when we ran into tough budget challenges, we did what any well run family or business would do, reduce debt.  We have freed up over $1 million in debt payments that can now be re-invested into the community,”

Below is a summary of the data released at the meeting. Aldermen have agreed to review and take up a measure in March regarding a proposal to increase borrowing to $3 million annually and dedicate $2 million to city streets.

Transportation and Future Borrowing Summary

In Fiscal Year 2020 there is a $1.1 million reduction in our current debt schedule. Recommendation from 2018 street referendum included in this increased borrowing. Long Range Transportation Planning Committee reviewed this increased borrowing recommendation last Friday, Feb. 1.

Current debt management policies include total general obligation debt service to non-capital expenditure shall be at no higher than 20%

Additional debt policy proposal to keep the percentage of debt limit no higher than 10% below than the median of comparable communities

Increase annual borrowing to $3 million beginning in 2020. Dedicate $2 million annually to road maintenance/reconstruction

Additional borrowing of $2.7 million in 2021 to fund Seventh Avenue and $1.8 million in 2022 for 18th Avenue. Federal grant funding received for DOT STP – Urban $2.3 million – 57% (2019-2021)

Seventh Avenue to be reconstructed in 2021 and 18th completed in 2022. Overall debt service levy rate levels out at approx. 1.4 – 1.5%. Total debt continues to decline from $47 million to just under $28 million by 2028

National Guard Blackhawk crew from West Bend recognized for rescue | By Capt. Joe Trovato

The crew of a Wisconsin Army National Guard UH-60 Blackhawk that rescued two kayakers stranded in a marsh near Fond du Lac last fall received a major award from the Army Aviation Association of America at Fort Rucker, Alabama, Jan. 30.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jason Wollersheim, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Scott Kramer, Staff Sgt. Robert Gibson, and Sgt. Caleb Estenson, all received the Army Aviation Association of America’s Air/Sea Rescue Award.

The four West Bend-based Soldiers responded Sept. 9 to a request for assistance from local rescue crews attempting to reach two kayakers that lost their way in a thick marsh and reached the point of exhaustion. The isolated nature of the marsh and its terrain made a land rescue nearly impossible, prompting local rescue crews to reach out to Wisconsin Emergency Management to seek assistance.

The Wisconsin National Guard was ready and within 90 minutes of receiving the call, had a helicopter in the air. Fifteen minutes later, the crew was hovering over the Eldorado Marsh searching for the wayward kayakers, who had cell phone contact with rescue crews on the ground. With sunlight quickly diminishing and the kayakers stranded in a dark marsh, the crew asked first responders to relay a message to the kayakers to turn on their cell phone flashlight, which, thanks to their night vision goggles, immediately pinpointed the kayakers’ location.

Within minutes, a crew chief was descending into the marsh via the helicopter’s hoist system to retrieve the stranded men and bring them back to safety. The situation could have grown precarious quickly, given that the two kayakers were wet, exhausted and temperatures dropped into the 40s that early fall evening.

“Their training, experience and quick thinking enabled them to successfully conduct a very demanding mission on short notice, saving the two kayakers from a potentially life threatening situation once land and boat rescue efforts by civilian authorities failed,” the award citation read. “Their dedication to fellow citizens and willingness to volunteer on short notice for a hazardous rescue mission reflects great credit upon themselves, the Wisconsin Army National Guard, and the United States Army.”

Brig. Gen. Joane Mathews, Wisconsin’s deputy adjutant general for Army, travelled to Fort Rucker, along with Command Sgt. Maj. Rafael Conde, the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s senior enlisted advisor, to witness the award presentation.

“It was an extremely proud moment for me, knowing these brave and highly professional Soldiers were from the Wisconsin Army National Guard,” Mathews, herself a former helicopter pilot, said. “This crew deserves this recognition for their heroic actions to rescue their fellow citizens. Responding here at home is one of the core missions of the National Guard, and having the opportunity to apply the skills we gain preparing for our federal overseas mission to make a difference locally is truly rewarding.”

The crew was highly experienced. Three of the four crew members aboard the rescue flight – Estenson, Kramer, and Wollersheim – had returned from deployments to Afghanistan less than a year before the incident where they flew rescue missions in support of U.S. and Afghan special forces and U.S. Marines. The fourth – Gibson – had returned from a deployment to Kuwait less than two years prior and deployed to the U.S. Virgin Islands in support of Hurricane Maria relief in 2017. Estenson, who had the task of descending into the marsh that evening, said it was an honor to get recognized but said the most rewarding part of the experience was making a difference in his local community and doing his job.

West Bend Police officers sworn in

The West Bend Police Department grew by two this week as Christopher Brook and Breanne Knutson were officially sworn in.

West Bend City Clerk Stephanie Justman carried out the ceremonial process and then Police Chief Ken Meuler pinned a shiny badge on each new officer.

Meuler took a moment to share a special note of dedication about Officer Brook who started on the job a day early when he spotted a drunk driver and called it in to the WB PD.

Meuler said it was good work by the rookie as he helped get a 5-time drunk driver off the road.

Police Officer Brook graduated from Goodrich High School in Fond du Lac, served in the U.S. Army from 2005 to 2009, earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Marian University and successfully completed the State of Wisconsin Basic Recruit School at Fox Valley Technical School in 2013.

Shortly after his graduation from Recruit School he was hired by the Jefferson County Sheriff Department and has worked there until being hired by West Bend. Christopher and his wife Michelle are the proud parents of Ethan, Harper, and Elijah. We welcome Christopher and his family to the community.

Police Officer Knutson graduated from Slinger High School. After high school she enrolled at Concordia College where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Justice and Public Policy.

During her senior year at Concordia, Breanne completed an internship at the West Bend Police Department. After graduation from Concordia she completed the State of Wisconsin Basic Recruit School at Fox Valley Technical School in December 2018. We are happy to welcome Brianne to West Bend.

Former Tri-Manor in Barton has sold

The former Tri-Manor, 1937 N. Main Street, in West Bend has been sold. The property was owned by James R. Schulz. It was built in 1949 and had an addition in 1983. According to records at City Hall the property was last sold in 1983 for $118,000. The 2018 assessment was for $445,200. The parcel was sold Jan. 23, 2019 for $222,400 to Danker, Inc, a Wisconsin corporation.

 

Winners from Kiwanis Early Risers 11th annual Chili/Soup Cook-off

A note of thanks to everyone who came out for the 11th annual Kiwanis Early Risers Chili & Soup Cook-off. There were some fantastic entries and nobody went home hungry.

Winners from this year include:

Community Service Chili: 1) Interfaith Caregivers 2) West Bend Fire Fighters 3) West Bend Noon Kiwanis

Business Chili: 1) American Commercial Real Estate 2) New Perspective 3) Don Patnode and Minute Man Press

Restaurant Chili: 1) Brazenhead Pub 2) The Norbert 3) No No’s Restaurant and Texas Roadhouse

Restaurant Soup: 1) Braising Pan 2) Brazenhead Pub 3) Jug’s Hitching Post

People’s Choice Award: Chili winner: 1) Brazenhead Pub 2) West Bend Fire Fighters  3) Interfaith Caregivers

People’s Choice Award: Soup winner 1) Jug’s Hitching Post   2) Brazenhead Pub  3) Great Outdoors

Coming up April 13, 2019 it’s the Kiwanis Kid’s Free Fishing Clinic. Saturday is the day to attend the Kid’s Free Fishing Clinic sponsored by the West Bend Kiwanis Early Risers in partnership with the Wisconsin DNR and Southeastern WI Trout Unlimited at Regner Park in West Bend.

The kids learn some of the basics of fishing and test their fishing skills at the pond which is stocked with rainbow trout by the DNR, as well as other fish species stocked by the City of West Bend Park, Recreation & Forestry Department.

Holy Angels School looking for new principal

Holy Angels School (HAS) is a K3-8 Catholic grade school that has been educating children for over 150 years. HAS is currently looking for a dynamic principal to lead the dedicated staff, parents, and students to enhance and elevate this high level of Catholic education in West Bend, WI. The preferred candidate would be experienced, enthusiastic, and faith-filled. For other key requirements and responsibilities, go to the home page of the school’s website: www.has.pvt.k12.wi.us  If interested, please send a cover letter and resume to principalsearch@haswb.org by Feb. 15, 2019.

Hartford Rotary names Students of the Month for January | By Teri Kermendy

The Hartford Rotary Club and Hartford Union High School are pleased to announceMatthew Becker, Katie Brockhaus, and Mike Scepanski were honored recently as Rotary Students of the Month.

The students were given special recognition for their accomplishments at the Hartford Rotary Club’s Thursday noon meetings during the month of January.

Matthew Becker is the son of Cheri and Joe Becker.  Becker is a member of the National Honor Society, the Varsity Math Team, and Student Council.  He is also Percussion Section Leader of the Symphonic Band, a member of the HUHS Concert Choir, and had the lead role of Seymour in the fall musical “Little Shop of Horrors” at the Schauer Arts and Activities Center.

The Hartford Rotary Club and Hartford Union High School announce Matthew Becker, Katie Brockhaus, and Mike Scepanski were honored recently as Rotary Students of the Month.

Becker received special honors in several areas in 2018.  He earned WSMA State Solo and Ensemble Exemplary Soloist recognition in piano and was selected to perform with the WSMA State Honors Band.  Becker was also selected as a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist.

Becker has given back to his community by serving as a Religious Education Teacher’s aide, a member the Bell Choir and playing piano at church and community events at St. Kilian Catholic Church. Becker plans to attend a 4-year university and is considering a major in either math or music.  His top university choices are Michigan, Notre Dame, and Northwestern.

Katie Brockhaus is the daughter of Heather and Michael Brockhaus. Brockhaus is a member of Peers 4 Peers, Mock Trial and the girl’s tennis team at HUHS.  She has been very active in the instrumental music program. Brockhaus is a member of the Symphonic Band, Marching Band, Jazz Band and Pep Band. She is also a member of the Moraine Symphonic Band and Youth and Wind Orchestra of Wisconsin. Brockhaus was a State Solo and Ensemble qualifier in 2018 and performed with the HUHS Marching Band in the New Year’s Day Parade in London, England.

Brockhaus has given back to her community by volunteering her time with Family Promise of Washington County and at Northbrook Church in Youth Ministry. She has served as a youth soccer coach and enjoys giving private bassoon and saxophone lessons to interested students. Brockhaus plans to attend Concordia University to study music education and music performance.  Her goal is to eventually become a high school Music Teacher.

Updates & Tidbits

– United Way of Washington County will celebrate a record-breaking campaign year on Feb. 13 with a luncheon that features highlights from 2018. Awards will be given to several of Washington County’s leading employers and community advocates.

– Jay Anderson received Post 36 American Legion Certificate of Participation from Service Officer Jim Maersch.

-Urban Vantage, 128 Wisconsin Street, is offering a rent special of ½ month free if a person rents during the month of February 2019. Contact 262-353-9732.

-In light of the fatal police officer shooting in Milwaukee this week, Hartford is paying its respects by lighting up the downtown with a thin blue line. All gave some, some give all.

-Common Sense Citizens of Washington County will host a panel discussion on Wednesday, Feb. 13 on the effects and facts of legalized marijuana. Detective Mark Sette from the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, Mary Simon from Elevate, and Jim Giese with Affiliated Clinical will be on hand. The 7 p.m. event is open to the public and held at the West Bend Moose Lodge.

A quick peek inside the new Cafe Floriana in West Bend

A quick peek inside the new Cafe Floriana; it’s the new cafe/bakery opening in the lower level of Cast Iron Luxury Living, 611 Veterans Ave., Suite 104,  in West Bend. (Across from Rivershores YMCA).

Katherine Schenk and her sister Sara Young are the ones behind the project and it is really starting to take shape. So far the floor, lighting, bakery display cases, bathrooms and food prep area are all near completion.

The lighting is very artistic with big globe clear glass shades that reflect in adjacent mirrors resembling decorative windows. There’s also mini pendant lights above individual table seating areas. A textured wall runs the length of the back of the bakery. The wall has somewhat of a tin-ceiling appearance.

Up front it’s counter space and a glass display case awaiting scrumptious selections of homemade sweets and sandwiches. The menu for Cafe Floriana features egg bake, traditional oatmeal, fresh breakfast pastries and muffins, a soup of the day, loose leaf teas, real fruit smoothies, an array of sandwiches, and Stone Creek Coffee.

Owner Katherine Schenk has been at the store daily working through some of the final logistics. The sister duo is working on a schedule for a soft opening later this month with their hearts set on being in business by March.

 

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