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1007, 01 Jun 19

Around the Bend bu Judy Steffes

Restoration underway on a much-loved holiday hallmark

A transformation is underway for a much-loved seasonal display in West Bend. A local shopkeeper is using his hidden talents to repair and restore the figures in the Rolfs Nativity.  With the patience of a saint he’s stripped the figures to their natural color and mended the hands, head and crowns.

The holiday hallmark is weathered… and that’s putting it nicely. Heavy metal staples are visible around the neck of the life-size Joseph statue, segments of crusty foam are visible on the tattered robes of the Wise Men and the Shepherd Boy looks diseased. The project has silently been underway for months as a pledge has been made to bring the Rolfs Nativity back to its full glory.

Slinger High School student achieves top ACT score

Allan Elfe Jr., son of Allan Elfe and Laura Elfe, and a junior at Slinger High School, earned the highest possible ACT composite score of 36.

Only around two-tenths of 1 percent of students who take the ACT earn a top score.

In the U.S. high school graduating class of 2018, only 3,741 out of more than 1.9 million graduates who took the ACT earned a top composite score of 36.

The ACT consists of tests in English, mathematics, reading and science, each scored on a scale of 1–36. A student’s composite score is the average of the four test scores. The score for ACT’s optional writing test is reported separately and is not included within the ACT composite score.

In a letter to the student recognizing this exceptional achievement, ACT CEO Marten Roorda said, “Your achievement on the ACT is significant and rare. Your exceptional scores will provide any college or university with ample evidence of your readiness for the academic rigors that lie ahead.”

The ACT is a curriculum-based achievement exam that measures what students have learned in school. Students who earn a 36 composite score have likely mastered all the skills and knowledge they will need to succeed in first-year college courses in the core subject areas.

ACT scores are accepted by all major four-year colleges and universities across the US.

There are 11 veterans from Washington County on June 1 Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.

Eleven veterans from Washington County are on today’s, June 1, Honor Flight. They include: Vietnam Army Douglas Janzen of Germantown, Vietnam Army James Miller of Hartford, Vietnam Army George Marquardt of Hubertus, Vietnam Navy Charles Nornberg of Jackson, Korea Army Gerald Wentlandt of Jackson, Vietnam Navy Jerold Donath of Kewaskum, Vietnam Air Force Martin Fochs of Kewaskum, Vietnam Marines John Fleischman of Kewaskum, Vietnam Navy Daniel Lukaszewicz of West Bend, Vietnam Air Force Bruce Witt of West Bend, Vietnam Army Robert Graff of West Bend. The June 1 Honor Flight will be the organization’s 52nd “mission.”

Museum of Wisconsin Art receives $22,600 JEM Grant from Wisconsin Dept. of Tourism

The Wisconsin Department of Tourism (Travel Wisconsin) presented a $22,600 check this week to the Museum of Wisconsin Art to help support its upcoming exhibit Among the Wonders of the Dells.

Anne Sayers, deputy secretary with the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, received a sneak peek of the exhibit. “I saw photos online but just being in this space it’s an incredible thing to be a part of,” she said. “This is an exhibit that will be of great interest to Wisconsinites and others.”

MOWA executive director Laurie Winters said the Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) Grant will help promote the “160-year legacy of The Dells.”

Among the Wonders of the Dells presents more than 100 photographs from eight artists recounting the fascinating history and transformation of Wisconsin Dells.

There will be an Opening Party on Saturday, June 1 for the latest exhibit.

Among the Wonders of the Dells will feature photographs by Leroy J. Gates, the first photographer of the Dells, H. H. Bennett, the great nineteenth-century photographer touted as “the man who made the Wisconsin Dells famous,” Bennett Studio, John A. Trumble, who documented the Dells’ postwar tourist boom in the twentieth century, Dennis Darmek, and three contemporary Wisconsin photographers commissioned by MOWA to spend a year photographing the Dells from their unique perspectives: Mark Brautigam, Tom Jones, and Kevin J. Miyazaki.

Korean War vet Gerald Wentlandt, 86, of Jackson on Honor Flight | By Samantha Sali

Korean War veteran Gerald Wentlandt, 86, of Jackson, is heading to Washington D.C. on the June 1 Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.

Wentlandt was born in 1932 and grew up in Milwaukee. “I graduated from Boys Tech in 1950 and then got a six-year apprenticeship at a printing company,” he said.

Wentlandt had two years of the apprenticeship under his belt before being drafted into the Army to serve in the Korean War. “That was in March 1952,” he said. “I think at that time they had a draft office set up downtown, so my folks took me down in the morning and dropped me off. They gave me a physical, but it wasn’t a real physical, just more of a once over. I can’t remember if we were sworn in that day, but afterward they took us out for lunch at at an Italian place called Mimi’s.”

With a few extra hours to spare, Wentlandt and the other new draftees were told they could call their parents to come down and spend time with them before leaving. “I’m an only child, so saying goodbye the first time to my mom was the hardest,” he shared. “My mom was crying and kept looking up at my dad to do something, which of course he couldn’t do anything. I didn’t want to call again and do the goodbyes again.”

Wentlandt was taken to Camp Chaffee, mostly an artillery base, in Arkansas for Basic Training. “The difference between a Camp and a Fort is that a Camp is temporary, and a Fort is permanent,” he explained. “My experience wasn’t too bad because I had just gone to Boys Tech. It was almost like going to high school again, just a little stricter. I thought I adjusted pretty good. They had really old, wooden barracks…nothing like it is today.”

After Basic Training ended, Wentlandt stayed in Camp Chaffee for four extra weeks, where he took a Fire Direction Control (FDC) course. When that was finished, he was able to go home for 10-15 days and then received his shipping orders. “If you got orders to report to New York or New Jersey, you were probably going to wind up in Germany,” Wentlandt said. “If you were to report to Fort Lewis, you were probably going to end up in Korea. I read my orders and I had to go to Fort Lewis. I waited two weeks for more orders and one day the sergeant comes walking through the barracks telling us to pack up and move out. It turned out that the last four guys on the roll-call roster were being sent to Alaska.”

Wentlandt shared that once the weather hit 40 degrees below zero, there was nothing they could really do except keep warm and keep the vehicles running. “When I reported to headquarters, they asked me if I could type…I couldn’t,” he said. “They were just filling holes where they needed someone. I wound up in FDC battalion. At the time, there was only one railroad connecting Anchorage to Fairbanks. There were no roads that went into Fairbanks because of the mountains and rivers. It was really cut off up there. The Northern Lights you could really see. I went back 50 years later, and Fairbanks hasn’t changed.”

Wentlandt’s service ended in 1954 and he went back to Milwaukee to finish his apprenticeship. After that, he worked at Trade Press until he eventually retired.

Not long after his service ended, Wentlandt and his friends went to The Eagles dance hall one evening. It was there that he met his wife, Joan. Together, they have two children, six grandchildren, and soon will have five great-grandchildren.

“My son, David, is the Police Chief in Butler,” said Wentlandt. “He wanted me sign up for the Honor Flight. I didn’t really want to at first. I thought this Honor Flight was for the guys that saw action, but David said that I could and should go. David goes down there and helps get things organized for the Honor Flights and he was really the one that talked me into going.”

Modern Woodmen of West Bend supports Medical Foundation of Hartford | By Daniel L Frey

Sarah Grotelueschen Financial Representative with Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial recently presented a check for $1,000 to Deb Holtan with the Medical Foundation of Hartford. The check was a matching fund from recent events at Faith and Giggles in Hartford along with the Medical Foundation of Hartford. The event was “Denim Days” and it helps people in the community to consider giving donations to or support a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence.

Vietnam veteran James Miller of Hartford on June Honor Flight | By Samantha Sali

Vietnam War veteran James Miller, 72, of Hartford, is heading to Washington D.C. on the June 1 Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.

Miller was born in 1946 to Franklin, a car salesman, and Angeline, a housewife. Miller and his family lived in Milwaukee, where he graduated St. John’s Cathedral High School. Miller remembers his first car a 1955 Plymouth.

After high school, he attended and graduated from MIT (now MATC) before getting a job in the accounting department of BlueCross BlueShield. Not long after working for BlueCross, Miller was drafted into the military. “I got my notification December 1967. I was nervous and scared overall,” he said.

Miller completed Basic Training in Fort Benning, Georgia. “It was a real treat,” said Miller. “At the time, basic was eight weeks. It was tough. I was not a physically fit person at that time and had to really keep it up to make it through.”

“After seven weeks, you start prepping for graduation and you get your orders,” Miller said. “Most of the draftees were being sent to Fort Polk, which was called Little Vietnam, for infantry training. Ten of us didn’t get orders on the day everyone else did. We were called to the Captain’s office two days later and told the 10 of us have been pulled and we’d be remaining at Fort Benning and going into the finance company for post…I ended up doing permanent personnel payroll.”

Miller admitted he was extremely lucky to have been able to serve his entire length of service in Fort Benning, “For a draftee…talk about getting down on your knees and thanking the Lord.”

Miller’s service ended in January 1969 and when he came home, he went back to work at BlueCross for six months before pursuing other accounting jobs. He officially retired in April 2015.

He and his wife of 48 years, Nancy, have three children together and Miller plans on being outside this summer, enjoying his favorite pastime of tending to yard work and mowing the lawn.

Aside from being excited to see the memorials in Washington DC, Miller opened up about the other reason he’s looking forward to the flight. “When we went home, we weren’t acknowledged. Our commanding officer told us we should try to avoid wearing our uniforms in the airport due to protesters and stuff like that. My friends and family welcomed me back, but when the Honor Flight came up, I just felt it would be nice thing to do.”

Hy-Brid Lifts in Richfield featured in Wall Street Journal for creative hiring practices

Hy-Brid Lifts in Richfield recently was featured in an article in the Wall Street Journal regarding what to do to fill jobs and keep production on track in a tight labor market.

The article by Ruth Simon is titled, ‘I Don’t Want to See Him Fail’: A Firm Takes a Chance on Ex-Inmates

Terry Dolan is President and CEO of Hy-Brid Lifts. “Like a lot of small manufacturing companies in the state of Wisconsin, we’ve been dealing with the difficulty of hiring employees especially bringing them into manufacturing, so we’ve gone a couple of different routes,” said Dolan.

Aside from working with local high schools and creating more part-time shifts, Hy-Brid Lifts has also partnered with the Department of Corrections.  “We’ve brought people in who are currently serving time but going through an educational program through the Milwaukee Area Technical College,” he said.

“This has worked fantastic. The employees show up every day on time, they’re brought from their facility to our facility, they’ve been assigned a mentor and each one is learning a trade; they’ve been great employees.”

Questioned whether the company or its regular employees had any reservations, Dolan said “not at all.”

“We had experience with a person we hired who was on work release, we also talked to our employees and we felt confident working with our mentors and the Department of Corrections.”

Dolan said his peers in the industry and others across the state realize they’ve got to find unique ways to keep production moving forward.

“This is a challenging time,” he said. “We’re at less than 3 percent unemployment in the state of Wisconsin, we’re not the biggest company so we really had to find unique ways to secure our employee base and bring in talented workers who want to be here and learn a trade.”

A portion of the article in the Wall Street Journal reads:

America’s tight job market has employers looking beyond their traditional labor pools—hiring workers needing flexible hours, letting more work from home, lowering education requirements.

At tiny Progressive, Mr. Walters is experimenting with putting former inmates into vacancies. He is experiencing both the ups and downs: Hiring people with criminal records can pay off but keeping them on the job sometimes presents heart-rending dilemmas.

“The tough part of it,” Mr. Walters says, “is how much rope do you allow? How much leniency do you give before you become unfair to the business or other employees?”

Is there a line between being a good boss and a good person? “It’s something I struggle with.”

Former inmates often grapple with issues that test the most motivated among them—homelessness, strained family relationships, substance abuse. Many return to troubled neighborhoods.

Dolan said he’s very connected with the shop at Hy-Brid Lifts and monitors production and staffing closely. “I’m extremely appreciative of the people who work here,” he said. “The people are always thanking us for the opportunity and talking to me about what they’ve learned.”

Dolan said we are all fighting for employees and “we have to help our community and I think this is an excellent way for us to satisfy the need and be responsible to our community.”

West Bend Defenders baseball team gives back to the community | By Ray Luokka

West Bend Defenders baseball team does not only play baseball, but every other month will give back to the community by volunteering for various community projects.

WEST BEND DEFENDERS ⚾️ “If You Build It, They Will Come”

May 18, 2019 was a fun fulfilling day for the U11 West Bend Defenders. They had a chance to give back to the community by helping with improvements to the Villa Park baseball field.  “You teach them by the way you conduct yourself. Be a good role model and don’t cause them to stumble”

Updates & tidbits

– Get your tickets for Washington County Breakfast on the Farm on Saturday, June 8. Doors open at 1207 Highland Drive at 6:30 a.m. as Breakfast on the Farm will be held at Highland Dairy, LLC this year in Kewaskum. Mike, Linda and Corey Enright are set to roll out the red carpet and invite guests to tour the robotic farm, compete in pedal tractor pull, listen to live music and share in some eggs, ham and applesauce. Tickets at the door are $7 and in advance $6. Children 3 and under are free.

– Bango, the mascot from the Milwaukee Bucks, was in West Bend on Tuesday, May 28 to help dedicate the new basketball/pickleball/volleyball courts at Regner Park. Bucks at ribbon cutting for basketball court. The complex is part of the upgrade at Regner Park, 800 N. Main Street. The sport court is made of a grid of super-strong material for year-round play. The hoops have a glass backboard and the height can be adjusted. There is also a pulley and crank system to raise or lower nets for volleyball or pickleball.

– Holy Angels Parish, 138 N. Eighth Ave., West Bend will hold its “Festival of Angels” June 7, 8 and 9 this year with fun for the whole family. Just two blocks south of Hwy 33 on Eighth Avenue, the fun starts at 5 p.m. Friday.

– The Knights of Columbus are sponsoring Dad’s Day 2019.  The event is June 15 at St. Mary’s Parish in Barton from noon – 4 p.m.  There will be activities including a Bounce House with slide, food and games including a Wiffle Ball tournament.

– The City of West Bend announced that Menards three-year property tax assessment challenge has ended. Menards has withdrawn its case that had been scheduled to go to the circuit court in June 2019. “West Bend has been a leader in combating the dark store theory,” said City of West Bend Mayor Kraig Sadownikow.  “I am proud of our city council and staff for their resistance to buckle to the big box pressure to accept a settlement offer. Any type of settlement would have caused a tax shift to other city property taxpayers. This was unacceptable in my opinion.” Mayor Sadownikow now calls on the Wisconsin State Legislature, “to have intestinal fortitude to adopt statewide legislation which closes the dark store loophole thereby preventing these frivolous and costly lawsuits from reoccurring in the future.”

Remembering “a true cow man” Richard “Dick” Henry Mayer, 84, of Slinger

Richard “Dick” Henry Mayer, 84, of Slinger, slipped away to be with his Lord in the early hours of Thursday, May 30. Dick graduated from Slinger High School in 1953 and farmed with his father and brothers Bob and Fritz. Mayer Farms was well known for developing outstanding Holstein genetics. Dick was a true cow man. He judged numerous county and state Holstein shows, and served on numerous All-American Selection Committees. He was active in the County, State, and National Holstein Association, and served on the Washington County Holstein Board for many years, where he started the County Junior Holstein Association. He also served on the Wisconsin Holstein Board for 12 years. Funeral Services for Dick will be held at 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 2 at Faith UCC Church (2895 Slinger Rd. Slinger) with Rev. Sharon Stier presiding. Visitation will be held on Sunday at the church from 12:30 p.m. until time of service. Interment will be at Faith UCC Cemetery.

Vietnam veteran Jerold Donath of Kewaskum on June Honor Flight | By Samantha Sali

Vietnam War veteran Jerold Donath, 72, of Kewaskum, is heading to Washington D.C. on the June 1 Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.

Donath was born in 1947 to Orin, a meat cutter, and Mildred, a stay-at-home-mother. He was raised around the Kewaskum and West Bend area, graduating from high school in 1965.

He worked at Gehl until he decided to enlist into the Navy in 1966. “I don’t know why I chose the Navy,” Donath said. “At that time, you either enlisted or you were drafted.”

Donath was sent to Basic Training in Great Lakes, Illinois shortly after enlisting. “It was in the middle of winter and it was very limited to what we could do outside. There was a lot of indoor classwork. After Basic, I was in Reserves for a year. We had weekly meetings and more classes…  just general studies.”

In 1967, Donath went into active duty. “I was home ported in San Diego and left for Vietnam on the USS Colonial on November 1967.

Donath was a machinist on the USS Colonial. “It was just day-by-day. We traveled up and down the coast, starting in Saigon,” he said.

On December 1968, Donath’s service ended, coming home as an E4, “When I came home, I went back to work at Gehl and then worked for the 7up bottling company for 30 years before retiring in 2013,” he said.

Donath and his wife, Lauren, have been married 52 years and have three children and four grandchildren, the youngest being 10 years old.

While Donath did have friends, who shared their memorable experiences on past Honor Flights, it was his son, Jon, who asked if Donath wanted to sign up. Jon, who works for Gordon Food Services, will be his father’s guardian on the flight.

After the Honor Flight is over, Donath plans on doing yard work this summer and maybe a road trip with his wife.

Homer Justman of the Town of Trenton has died

It’s with a heavy heart to report the passing of Homer Justman, 74, of the Town of Trenton. According to his wife Barb, Homer died Monday afternoon, May 27, around 3:30 p.m.

Bob Bonenfant, former morning guy with WBKV AM 1470, remembered Homer for his music and kindness.

“I never saw Homer without a smile on his face,” said Bonenfant.  “He truly enjoyed life…whether it be working, playing drums in various bands (particularly Revival) or socializing with others when he and Barb came along on our gambling bus. I never heard him utter a bad word about another person. He will be missed.”

Many people remember Homer as the guy who bagged their groceries. He worked at several stores including the former Reuben’s Market in Hartford or most recently at Piggly Wiggly in Slinger.

Homer even had a little grocery in his basement. It was the most well-organized food pantry. He kept it stocked with canned goods and items from his garden and every spring he loved moving Barb’s 100-pound cactus up the stairs to the back porch as it wintered in the basement.

Homer and Barb were high school sweethearts. They were frequently seen at Kiwanis Steak Fries, chili cook offs, and even the recent Breakfast with the Easter Bunny.

Jeff Szukalski from Jeff’s Spirits on Main said Homer knew his diagnosis wasn’t good, but he didn’t let that get him down.

“He was always in a good mood,” said Szukalski. “I saw him about a month ago and he was still upbeat even though he looked tired. He was always a positive influence on everybody. Sorry to hear he passed.”

Homer was the leader of the local band ‘Revival.’ He could be seen behind the drum set at local taverns and events including the Washington County Fair.

“He was such a good people person and a great musician and really enjoyed himself,” said Joan Stoffel of Campbellsport.  “I know my sister Diane and I would go with Barb and Ross Bradt, about 39 years ago, and we’d go listen to the band and the band wives would hang out and we’d polka and they were a good band and Homer was a good guy.

West Bend Mayor Kraig Sadownikow recalled Homer was always smiling. “He always was in a good mood,” said Sadownikow. “I smile when I think about him.”

In addition to his parents, Homer was preceded in death by eight brothers, Harry, Harvey, Hillary, Hilbert, Henry, Herbert Jr., Herman, and Howard Justman; three brothers-in-law, Harold Westerman, Harry Beall, and Richard Ehnert.

A funeral service for Homer was held Thursday, May 30, in Kewaskum.  Church services were Friday in New Fane.


1007, 01 June 2019


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