Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Bob’s Main Street Auto finds interesting face under the hood

It was not a normal day at Bob’s Main Street Auto & Towing after mechanics opened the hood of a Dodge Nitro 2007 and found a face staring back at them.

“We opened the hood and it looked at us for a quick second when everything got bright and then it scurried way back behind the steering shaft,” said service writer Greg Rate. “It kind of wedged itself back down in there and it took us a good 40 minutes to get it out unharmed.”

Rate said the animal was pretty scared. “We put some welding gloves on and tried to pull it out as softly as we could,” he said.

Initially Rate thought it was a raccoon. “Those are more common… or we’ve run into squirrels or mice or rodents because they like to chew on the plastic. We’ve also had a huge problem with them chewing on air filters, but a woodchuck is the last thing I would have expected,” he said.

Shop owners Bill and Laurie Rate made sure everyone, including the woodchuck, stayed safe throughout the process.

“It was less than a productive morning…. but it sure wasn’t a boring day,” said Rate.

The owner of the vehicle was asked whether he had a rodent issue by his home, and he admitted he saw a couple woodchucks running around; but he didn’t expect one to be under his hood.

The vehicle and its passenger made it to Bob’s Main Street Auto following an accident.

“The wheel of the vehicle came off on the highway and we towed it to the south store, and it sat in the shop a couple days. So that little guy had a pretty wild ride,” Rate said.

After safely removing the 10-to-15-pound woodchuck staff took it down the Eisenbahn State Trail and let it go.

Midas to reopen in West Bend

West Bend Auto Enterprises, owner of the Midas store in West Bend is currently in negotiations with a buyer.

“The business is temporarily closed; it’s in the process of being bought out by somebody else,” said a spokesperson for WB Auto Enterprises. “It will possibly remain a Midas store.”

Negotiations are currently underway. A spokesperson said they hope to close on the deal before October 2019.

The Midas store, 2334 W. Washington Street, closed July 20, 2019. A note on the door said, “warranties will be honored at other Midas locations.”

Also Auto Safety Center, 3700 W. Washington Street, in West Bend will also honor the Midas warranties.

ALDI to temporarily close in September for expansion construction

Watch for a change in signage outside ALDI, 1114 S. Main Street, of West Bend. The local grocery is going through an expansion on the west side of the store.

More warehouse storage space is being added. There is also some interior refrigeration work currently underway. The store was expected to close temporarily in September, around Labor Day, however that has been pushed back to mid-September possibly the week of Sept. 15. The closure is expected to last up to 30 days.

ALDI Corporation, which has 2.5 acres, acquired 2.47 acres of land from the adjacent owner (King Pin) for expansion.

The site plan is for a 2,440 square-foot commercial building addition located on the west side of the building with minor architectural building alterations proposed to the remaining building.

As a part of the site plan, the two existing storage buildings and the existing pavement within this area will be demolished to accommodate the expansion of the building.

 The parking lot will be not be altered.

 The area to be acquired from King Pin contains pavement and parking area that was originally used for the bowling alley use. The pavement will be removed and curbing will be installed. As a park of the site plan, the parking lot striping will be redone on the King Pin site to redefine the drive aisle and parking stalls in the area that is being altered by the land acquisition.

 The existing retaining wall will be modified to accommodate the new building addition.

 The building materials for the building addition will match and be consistent with the existing “St. Simon Blend” brick veneer. The existing building will receive the following upgrades:

o A tan accent band color changing to a slate gray color, at the entrance area above the windows.

o The building materials will change from an aluminum composite panel to a “Cedar (vintage wood)” looking fiber cement board.

o The “Food Market” signage on the east and north sides of the building will be removed and new “Aldi” signs will be replaced.

In 2017 ALDI announced a nationwide “plan to remodel and expand more than 1,300 U.S. stores by 2020.” Early plans indicate ALDI will spend “more than $37 million dedicated to enhancing stores in the Milwaukee-area.”

Deer Management Committee to request another controlled hunt in West Bend parks

The City of West Bend Deer Management Committee will appear before the Common Council at its next meeting to ask for backing for one more year of a controlled hunt in two city parks including Lac Lawrann Conservancy and Ridge Run.

There’s also going to be a request to fund a survey on Bicentennial Park and Silverbrook Creek Parkway. “We want the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture to see where the deer are located,” said District 1 alderman John Butschlick. “If we find the deer are in Bicentennial Park and Silverbrook Creek Parkway then we want to include those two areas in the upcoming hunt.”

Butschlick said the deer are extremely heavy on 18th Avenue especially near Miller Street and Hilltop Drive. “The deer trails in that area are just like runways,” he said.

The City of West Bend has allowed a managed hunt for the past two years. The first effort in 2017 was coordinated in house and included three bow hunters who spent five days in the park and shot a total of three deer.

In 2018 the city hired sharpshooters on a managed hunt designed to remove 30 deer from Ridge Run Park and Lac Lawrann Conservancy.

The City applied for a $5,000 Urban Wildlife Damage Abatement and Control grant to help offset the expense which totaled a little more than $9,000. The city is targeting a reduction in deer numbers to reduce deer damage to habitat, property and car/deer collisions.

Some in the community have questioned whether the deer are still a problem and Butschlick said he is still fielding calls about deer cleaning out bird feeders and ravaging flowers and gardens.

Country Inn & Suites in West Bend sold…. again

Country Inn & Suites, 2000 Gateway Court, in West Bend has been sold. According to records in the city assessor’s office West Bend Lodging Inc. sold to JNP Management LLC, Jatin Patel, for $2,550,000.

History on the sale of the three-story hotel overlooking Highway 45 shows West Bend Properties sold to West Bend Lodging LLC on Dec. 29, 2015 for $1,538,750. The property had a 2015 assessed value of $2,189,900. Previous owner Jim Walker bought the property Oct. 1, 2007 for $3,350,000. The 58 room Country Inn & Suites originally opened in May 1998.

WB Plan Commission approves rezoning and 15 new duplexes for Cedar Community

Four people spoke Tuesday night during the public hearing before the West Bend Plan Commission in regard to a proposed rezoning and 15-unit duplex housing development on 101 Cedar Ridge Drive, just north of the Cedar Ridge Campus.

All who spoke were generally in favor of the project with only one neighbor concerned about keeping a tree line between his backyard and the new senior living housing.

Joan Adler lives on Kilkenny Court in West Bend. Adler, who used to be the past president of the Cedar Community Board of Directors, lives right behind where the 15 duplexes are proposed. “My main concern is maintaining the tree line between our houses and the Ridge and I’m concerned about bright lights and the quality of houses and maintaining access to easily get into Ridge Run Park,” said Adler. “Our first choice is to have nothing ever built there but that’s unrealistic, so I’ll speak in favor.”

Tom Boyer also lives on Kilkenny Court. He was concerned about the setback. “My house has a 57-foot setback. I walked off from the lot line to the end of the tree line. That means houses on the north will have 27 feet of green space. I’m concerned about the set back on northern ridge to the north. Neighbors want to keep tree line,” he said.

Bill Hansen is a second-generation resident at Cedar Ridge as is his wife. Hansen spoke in favor of the project citing the quality of care Cedar Ridge has with its residents and properties.  “There’s not a match to it. The site plan, beautiful trees and pond. The property is over 30 years old because it’s so well taken care of,” he said.

Bill Myers lives on Village Drive and has also been on the Cedar Community Board of Directors. “I urge support of the amendment and zoning change,” he said. “I believe the homes will be very attractive and similar to what’s at Elkhart Lake. This will be a good addition to West Bend.”

The Plan Commission voted unanimously in favor of the rezoning and for the development plans. Adam Hertel with American Construction Services said he will begin drawings and house plans. Hertel said the development of the units will be done in stages with construction hopefully starting in early fall.

The proposal still must be approved by the West Bend Common Council.

Cedar Communities submitted a request to consider a comprehensive land use plan change and a zoning change for approximately 9.8 acres located at 113 Cedar Ridge Drive. The request is for the northern portion of the 49-acre parcel. The request is to consider a change in land use from the existing multi-family residential to two family residential land use for the northern portion of the Cedar Ridge Campus.

“Cedar Community has a years-long waiting list for active seniors who are looking for larger apartments and homes,” said Julie Gabelmann, Cedar Community Vice President of Resident Experience. “The twin homes we hope to build will help meet that growing demand, while providing the natural beauty of the 50-acre Cedar Ridge Campus, and the access to all of Cedar Community’s services and amenities.”

WI-33 in Allenton to be closed for 5 days at end of August          By Ron Naab

Goods sources have indicated that the end of August, WI-33 and the Canadian National Railroad Crossing will be closed for a five-day period to have a FULL renewal of rails, ties, ballast and approach surfaces.  This will be a project of the Canadian National NOT the town of Addison or Washington County Highway Department.

According to Canadian National they believe to be doing a FULL renewal (rail, ties, ballast, surface) requiring a M-F closure at the end of August at the STH 33 crossing in Allenton.

Fleet Farm in West Bend to hire more than 150 Team Members

Fleet Farm is announcing plans to hire more than 150 team members to expand the staff for the new Fleet Farm in West Bend. The new store on Highway 33 will more than double in size when it opens in November. The new store is less than two miles from the existing store and will offer a greatly expanded breadth and depth of products and services.

Company representatives are interviewing for full- and part-time team members to staff a variety of departments throughout the store. In addition to the sales floor team, the new West Bend Fleet Farm will hire for specialty roles to work in the automotive service center and Fleet Farm will offer a gas station.

“Fleet Farm is honored to be a part of the West Bend Community for nearly 60 years,” said Robert Foster, general manager. “We are proud to reinvest into this loyal community, open a greatly expanded store and add team members to this talented workforce.” The new West Bend Fleet Farm will include a 190,000 square-foot store and a 7,000 square-foot convenience store.

Due to applicant volume, interested job candidates are encouraged to search job opportunities and complete the short, 7-minute online. As applications are reviewed, chosen candidates will be notified by email to self-select a convenient date and time for their in-person interview. In addition to a competitive wage and benefits package, Fleet Farm employees also receive a generous employee discount.

“Our goal is to hire and train a knowledgeable team who can speak to the extensive product assortment at the new Fleet Farm, and retail experience is always a plus,” said Jackie Walz, Regional Human Resources Manager.

The new West Bend Fleet Farm is located at 3815 West Washington St. West Bend, WI 53095.

Trees leveled outside Holy Angels Rectory in West Bend

There’s a new look to the landscape outside Holy Angels Rectory in West Bend as work crews were on site early Wednesday morning leveling a couple trees and pulling up bushes.

Wollner Excavating pulled a permit on Tuesday, Aug. 6 to take out a 60-foot pine tree and other landscaping as the parish prepares to upgrade its sewer lateral and extend it to the street.

John Butschlick is one of the Holy Angels crew members helping with the cleanup. He said the pine was nearly at its life expectancy. Eighth Avenue in front of Holy Angels Parish is currently under construction. City Engineer Max Mareschal said letters were sent to property owners on Eighth Avenue encouraging them to upgrade their laterals at this time if needed since the street was open at this time.

The four blocks of street construction includes sanitary sewer installation, water main installation, storm sewer installation, roadway excavation, curb and gutter installation, curb ramp replacement, roadway reconstruction and restoration of disturbed areas. The $1.3 million project is expected to take five months. It started in May 2019 and should be completed in October, depending on weather.

Hartford Plan Commission to hold public hearing on development of new TID

The Hartford Plan Commission meets Monday, August 12 and one of the items on the agenda is approval of a new sign for Puebla’s Kitchen, 28 E. Jackson Street.

The wall sign will be placed above the main entrance door. Puebla’s Kitchen will be in a blue font with the words ‘Authentic Mexican Cuisine’ in black. The new signage is below.

At 7 p.m. the Plan Commission will hold a public hearing as it looks to rezone three properties; two of the rezoning requests will be to change from A-1 Agricultural District to M-3 General Industrial District, the third request will be to change from M-4 Industrial Park District to M-3 General Industrial District.

Hartford City Administrator Steve Volker said the rezoning is basically to create a connection between two roads that currently do not meet; once complete it will expand the industrial park by 62 acres.

“We have someone interested in building so we’re putting the infrastructure in the roads including water and sewer, electric and storm sewer,” he said. “The total cost of the project is roughly $3 million. In the big picture this will help bring one or two more buildings to the industrial park as well as open the door for companies to build on the remaining acres.”

The Plan Commission is working to develop a new Tax Incremental Financing District in the 1500 block of Innovation Way. According to the executive summary “The creation of TID 12 is intended to allow for development of industrial park land between the Dodge Industrial Park and the Western Industrial Park and facilitate the completion of multiple public purpose projects for the City of Hartford.”

Monday’s Plan Commission meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in the council chambers at Hartford City Hall, 109 N. Main Street. The meeting is open to the public.

Historic West Bend Theatre sign relighting Sept. 5

 The iconic West Bend sign in front of the Historic West Bend Theatre will be re-lit Thursday, Sept. 5.  As part of the “Light Up the Bend” ceremony, the board of directors of Historic West Bend Theatre, Inc. (HWBT) ask the community to help fund the renovation of the 1929 Art Deco structure into a performing arts center and community gathering place.

“We have come a long way toward raising the necessary funds, a goal of about $3.5 million, but we need everyone’s help,” said Nic Novaczyk, HWBT president.

The relighting event will start at 5:30 p.m. Former employees of the theatre will be recognized and a short history will be presented. The actual re-lighting will be at 6 p.m.

Poblocki Sign Company took down the perimeter-lit sign over the marquee in December 2018 for a complete overhaul. Called “the blade,” it will to be re-hung in mid-August in time for the relighting.

Supporters will have three ways to contribute to the restoration campaign. The first is to buy a bulb for $100 to help pay for the refurbished “blade,” selling out the words “WEST BEND” in capital letters with 470 bulbs, and the marquee, which is lit by an additional 194 bulbs, for a total of 664.

The second part of the campaign is the sale of shares in the non-profit corporation for $200 apiece. “It worked for the Green Bay Packers, and we hope the sale of stock works for the theatre,” said Dan Dineen, HWBT board member and corporate counsel.

The stock offers no dividends or capital gains. “It does offer a sense of ownership in the restored community asset,” he added. When you buy a share of “The Bend,” your name will be placed on our donor board.”

The shareholders can vote annually for one member of the board of directors. Twenty-four shares have already been sold.

The third community fundraiser is the sale of 325 seats at $300 apiece. The “Seat the Bend” dollars will allow the purchase of comfortable period-appropriate seats for many kinds of events.

There are 125 seats on the main floor and 200 seats in the balcony. The original 1929 movie and vaudeville house had 400 seats on the main floor and 227 in the balcony. Patrons can combine all three donations in a $500 package for one light bulb, one share of stock and one seat.

Contributors can make their donations on-line at www.historicwestbendtheatre.com or in person at 102 N. Main Street, West Bend.

All donors will receive a booklet on the history of the former “movie palace.”