Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Washington County Circuit Court Judge announces retirement

Washington County Circuit Court, Branch 4 Judge Andrew Gonring will be retiring March 28, 2020.

“My wife and I always talked about me retiring in that time frame,” said Gonring during a one-on-one interview. “She’s gone and I promised her I’d retire at the end of March and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Gonring’s wife Patti, 67, died October 10, 2019 following a 10-year battle with cancer.

Gonring said he had no idea what he would do in retirement. “I’m just going to take some time off, regroup and figure out where I want to go and what I’m going to do,” he said.

“The decision to retire was difficult from the standpoint of my wife passing and did it make sense to stay or do I keep my promise to her and I decided I’d keep my promise.”

Gonring was first elected April 4, 2000.  He ran unopposed and replaced retiring Judge Leo F. Schlaefer. Gonring won re-election in 2006, 2012 and April 2018. His current six-year term would expire in 2024.

Gonring went to school with his wife Patti at St. Norbert College in De Pere, WI. He earned his undergraduate degree and then his Juris Doctor from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Gonring worked as an attorney for Bell, Metzner, & Gierhardt from 1977-79 before becoming a partner at the firm of O’Meara, Eckert, Pouros & Gonring in West Bend in 1979.

Locally Gonring served on the West Bend School Board, the West Bend Police and Fire Commission and West Bend Economic Development Commission.

Gonring was also a familiar presence on the local theater scene. He recently performed as the narrator for Benjamin Britten’s A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra as part of the season opening performance of the Kettle Moraine Symphony.

Gonring was also the celebrity narrator at the KMS November 11, 2018 concert featuring Copland’s Lincoln Portrait.

Gonring also performed with Musical Masquers and the History Center of Washington County. He was also a familiar sight at summer picnics in West Bend, donning dark sunglasses and singing Roy Orbison’s, “Oh, Pretty Woman.”

Gonring said he will be 68 years old when he retires. Gonring filed his letter to Gov. Evers this past Wednesday, Nov. 20. He also filed copies to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Director of State Courts, his Chief Judge and his District Court Administrator.

“I can recommend a replacement to the Governor,” said Gonring. “If I have strong feelings about one of the final candidates, I suppose I could voice that to the Governor… likely I won’t do that, but I could.”

Gonring suspected there would be several qualified candidates that would throw their name in as his replacement. “I suspect the process will start pretty soon,” he said.

During Wednesday’s meeting of the local Bar Association, Gonring made an announcement about his retirement. “The group was somewhat shocked; they didn’t see that one coming,” he said.

State Supreme Court Justice Annette Ziegler worked alongside Judge Gonring for seven year on Washington County Circuit Court.  “Judge Gonring brought a great deal of experience to the bench from his many years in private practice and he earned a reputation for being a jurist of the utmost integrity,” said Ziegler.  “His keen legal mind and dedication to public service will be missed.”

Over his 19 years on the bench in Washington County, Judge Gonring has presided over 160 jury trials. “Nothing really stands out in my mind. You get it done and move onto the next one,” he said.

“The nature of the cases we handle now has changed compared to 20 years ago. The drug cases just exploded and they’re reflective in everything we do. I can remember my first cocaine case,” he said. “I had about two years on the bench and I had a cocaine case and I was kind of stunned we had cocaine in Washington County and now we have dozens and dozens of heroin cases with people dying. It’s changed quite a bit.”

In February 2018, Judge Gonring swore in Assembly Rep. Rick Gundrum.

Questioned whether he would stay in the area following retirement, Gonring said he just needs time to regroup.

“I will definitely stay in the area,” he said “I just need to step back and reevaluate what I want to do. I’m sure I will keep busy one way or another.”

Kwik Trip in Richfield set to open.

Now that Highway 167 is open and some new traffic lights are in place the opening of the new Kwik Trip can’t be far behind. The store is located on Hwy 167 just to the west of I-41.

Shannon Broecker is the store leader. “We will open Black Friday, November 29. We still have some shelving to put in and stock the store,” she said.

The fire inspector was in on Thursday, Nov. 21 and gave the store clearance for occupancy.

The store in Richfield will employ between 50 – 60 people. There are 24 overnight parking stalls in back of the store for semis along with a scale for truckers to weigh their vehicles and separate diesel fuel pumps.

There are 20 pumps for customers, an extra-long counter for people to sit inside and eat and the store will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

There are currently five Kwik Trips in Washington County with at least two more opening in West Bend.

Stores currently are W188N10963 Maple Road, Germantown, 1411 E. Sumner Street, Hartford, 200 E.Commerce Blvd, Slinger, 1750 S. Silverbrook Dr, West Bend and 806 S. Main St, West Bend. Two other stores set for construction in West Bend are at 1300 E. Paradise Drive in the old Egbert & Guido’s, and 1610 E. Washington Street in the former Mobil station owned by Bob Yahr.

Civil War monument dedication at St. Augustine Cemetery in Washington County

The sun was out early Saturday morning as a small group gathered at the edge of St. Augustine Cemetery off Holy Hill Road and St. Augustine Road to dedicate another Civil War monument.

Veteran Mark Baldwin led the ceremony to recognize Civil War veterans Casimere Goetz and Jacob Kramer.

“The county’s Civil War monument group is made up of veterans from all the different groups and part of this project is to make sure we honor all our Civil War veterans buried in Washington County,” said Baldwin. “The project to recognize Civil War veterans is a labor of love. This project was started by Gene Wendelborn, a key researcher at the Washington County Historical Society, and he passed away before we ever got to this phase of placing monuments.”

Tony Montag, co-chair of the Washington County American Legion, thanked the 25 Sportsmens Club for making a donation to pay for the monument.

Recommendation to consolidate libraries at West Bend High Schools

The West Bend School District Committee of the Whole met Monday night, Nov. 18 and one of the topics of discussion was High School Library configuration.

Topic and Background: On June 10, 2019 the Board of Education was presented and a discussion held about the high school libraries and the need for updates to the facilities. It was discussed that the district would be studying the potential of going to one library at the high school as part of the renovation process.

Rationale: Since the June board meeting, a group consisting of the Library Media Coordinator, High School Principals, Director of Facilities, Director of Technology and the Superintendent have visited three other school libraries that have been built or remodeled in the past few years, looked at 21st century library design ideas, discussed the idea of going to one library and worked with an architect to have a conceptual plan developed to see if space would allow for one library to meet the needs of students/staff at both East and West High Schools.

After reviewing all information, it is the recommendation that the high schools consolidate to one library to provide an updated space for students/staff, provide access to additional resources for students/staff and provide efficiencies in our high school library system.

School Board member Paul Fischer send more details in an email:

“Regarding the West High School library renovation project, the budget for this work is $1.2 million, broken into $200,000 in this year’s budget and the balance in the July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021 fiscal budget.  This amount covers all construction, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical components, as well as an allowance for furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E).  The specifics on the FF&E elements have not been finalized yet, but certain existing FF&E components may be used in the renovated space if it makes sense, while recognizing that many of these components may have 20+ years of use on them, surpassing their useful life.  In addition, with the focus on creating a collaborative workspace for the students, some of the existing furnishings could likely be replaced with components that better foster a collaborative setting.”

So far there’s no data on what the consolidation would cost or if any of the current tables and chairs, desks and equipment would be used in the consolidation.

This past summer when the West Bend School District Private Task Force unveiled its findings and it pegged the cost of consolidating and modernizing the high school library and study hall at $1,750,000.

During the Oct. 14, 2019 report Task Force organizer Kraig Sadownikow said, “We challenged ourselves to ask tough questions. It’s critical to take a long term, sustainable approach. Over the mid and long term these are best choices. It can’t be business as usual. Funding and enrollment is declining.”

Other findings from the Task Force included:

“As a district there are multiple campuses at wide geographical locations. That means maintaining and monitoring is difficult. This makes operating the district more expensive.”

“Communication is critical with residents; currently it isn’t transparent. Erring on side of too much communication is better than too little.”

“Money is the solution to the problem – more money may not be.”

“Finally – the capital maintenance budget is inadequate. It’s underfunded. Can’t consider a new investment in new facilities without considering how to maintain what we currently have. Building new while avoiding maintenance is a losing situation.”

The District also discussed declining enrollment and projects over the next 10 years.

During an Oct. 29 meeting Superintendent Don Kirkegaard said, “unless there is a change in enrollment trends, the district can expect declining enrollment for the next 8-10 years.”

Superintendent Kirkegaard:

Our enrollment has been going south. It has been for quite a few years and it’s going to go for quite a few more years. We’re down about 600 students since 2006

There are about 60 kids that open enroll out of Jackson. Jackson area is the largest open enrolling out of the district.

Projections: I made an assumption that the kindergarten class would stay the same and every kid who is in school this year stays in school throughout their whole career.

If you go to the high school we’re at 2184 this year. If you look at current students in the school, I added 50 kids every year once they become 9th graders, based on Holy Angels and Cabrini, typically the last few years we picked up 50 parochial kids that come to high school. You’re down to 1669 students with both east and west together.

This isn’t doom and gloom, it’s just reality.

The West Bend School District Private Task Force also studied the declining enrollment and loss of state aid.

Randy Stark – task force member: How do we take older inventory off line and replace it.

Options:

We could do nothing. Keep spending $1.5 mil a year on facilities

Retain all building and come up with money and address immediate capital needs however the design characteristics with concerns can’t be changed. Even if come up with $22.5 mil – we still have 80% of square footage is getting older.

Replace Jackson – in 25-year plan – solves some problems but only addresses one building.

“Perhaps a school in Jackson is no longer justified,” said Randy Stark from the Task Force.

Construct one new school (783 capacity) at a south side location and expand Green Tree. Close/sell Jackson School, Jackson land, Decorah, Fair Park, District Offices, Rolfs & Maintenance. Develop a single central campus on the south side of WB.

Doug Barnes from Zimmerman Architectural Studios – “Other school districts that have consolidated include New Berlin which has closed four schools and Beaver Dam has closed elementary schools and consolidated and Racine.”

Superintendent position posted for Germantown School District

It was in June 2019 when Germantown School District Superintendent Jeff Holmes announced he would retire at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. This week, the Germantown School District officially posted the opening. It’s online at the Wisconsin School Leadership Center. Holmes has been superintendent in Germantown since 2013. He took over for outgoing Superintendent Susan Bordan.

In May 2016 Holmes announced his intentions to run for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. That effort was short lived after Holmes failed to turn in enough signatures by the January 3, 2017 deadline. In 2018-2019 Holmes salary was listed at $165,966 with benefits of $45,749. Holmes last day is officially June 30, 2020.

Local Korean War Veteran Nick Habersetzer has died

It’s with a heavy heart to report the passing of Korean War veteran Nick Habersetzer, 83. According to his family Nick passed at 10:20 p.m. at the VA Hospital in Milwaukee on Thursday, November 14.

Nick was a well-respected veteran and a very familiar face at events in the community. He was often seen with his friend Norbie Carter serving brats and burgers at the little red shed on Highway 33.

Habersetzer was also part of a group that returned to South Korea in 2016.

Habersetzer was 18 and a half years old when he enlisted in service on Sept. 26, 1955. “I graduated West Bend High School in 1954 and got a job at the Gehl Company,” said Habersetzer. “They gave me three years of service time.”

For eight weeks Habersetzer went through basic training at Fort Carson, Colorado and then went to jump school at Fort Bragg for three weeks. “We jumped out of C-19s,” he said. “My older brother went so I had to go and then my next brother also went. I was actually the scaredy cat of the three.”

Habersetzer served shortly after the Korean War ended and was part of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. “We went to Korea by ship and I was very sick,” he said.

While in Korea, Habersetzer worked in the 120 MEDEVAC hospital just outside Incheon, Korea. Ranked a Spec-4 Army corporal, Habersetzer worked as a diet cook in the kitchen at the hospital until his discharge in 1958.

“I hitchhiked home from Fort Sheridan, Illinois and got to about this side of Chicago and got another ride,” said Habersetzer. “Then a guy gave me a ride within a mile of my house. He bought me a beer in St. Anthony and then I walked to Kohlsville where my parents lived.

“I was carrying a duffel bag and didn’t have much in it; only two sets of clothes because I had to leave the rest in Korea because of disease.”

Habersetzer returned to the Gehl Company and worked in tool and die for 46 years. Nick Habersetzer was a man of great faith. He was a fixture at St. Mary’s Immaculate Conception. He never had a bad thing to say about anybody.

West Bend West varsity football coach resigns

West Bend West High School football coach Mitch Draxler announced his resignation from coaching. A note was sent to parents this afternoon, Nov. 20.

It was June 28, 2016 when it was announced Draxler was the new head coach of the Spartans. A portion of that article is below.

Draxler served on the Spartan staff for the past six years in various positions, both offense and defense. Most recently, he served as the offensive coordinator for the Spartans. “Mitch has been with the program for the past six years on both sides of the ball. His dedication to West football, as an alumni and coach, will provide stability from which to build a quality program,” said Brian Heimark, Athletic Director for West High School. Draxler is currently a physical education teacher at Holy Angles Catholic School and serves as the school’s Athletic Director.

In 2019 Spartans finished the season with a record of 0-9.

Dear Football Players, Parents and Guardians,

Please read the message below is sent to you from Varsity Head Coach Mitch Draxler.

Dear Spartans,

After much consideration, I have come to the decision that I will resign from my position as Head Football Coach at West Bend West effective immediately.  After 11 years as a part of the football coaching staff, the time is right for me to look forward to the next chapter of my life and explore other opportunities.

I’d like to thank Wendy Reitz and Kyle Butters for their help keeping our athletes healthy, and of course Doctor Gary Herdrich for his many years of service to the program.  Additionally, the athletic department staff past and present for all of the work they do and have done for our athletes.

Lastly and most importantly, I’d like to thank every single player that has put pads on for this program the past 11 years as well as every coach who I had the pleasure of coaching with during that time span.  It is those relationships that makes this sport so great.  I wish the players nothing but the best of luck in their future endeavors.

Regards, Mitch Draxler

On behalf of West Bend West High School, I want to publicly thank Coach Draxler for his hard work and dedication to the Spartan football program for the past 11 years.  Coach Draxler genuinely cares about each and every one of the players in our program.  He has gone out of his way to welcome me into the Spartan family and he has worked countless hours for the betterment of our student athletes.  Thank you Coach Draxler, I wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavors. Sincerely, Erin Felber    West Bend West High School Athletic Director

UWM at Washington County dominates WCC First Team All-Conference volleyball | By Deb Butschlick

UWM at Washington County not only finished as the Runner-up in the Wisconsin Collegiate Conference State Volleyball Tournament but it has placed four players on the Wisconsin Collegiate Conference All-Conference Volleyball team.

Kayla Boehm was second in the Eastern Division with 79 kills as a middle hitter and hitting at a 30% kill rate. She led the division with 33 blocks.  Boehm was selected First Team All-Conference and named Player of the Year for a second year in a row.

Caryn Hamm led the Eastern division as a setter, she had 305 assists for kills, 10 ace serves with 91% serving accuracy.  Hamm also had 64 digs and 3 blocks.  She was selected to First Team All-Conference and named Setter of the Year.

Heather Pokowski was our defensive specialist and led the Eastern Division with 308 digs.  She also had 12 ace serves with a 90% serving accuracy, Pokowski was selected First Team All-Conference and named Defensive Specialist of the Year.

Morgan Kappler was an outside hitter and ranked 3rd on the WCC All-conference Team. She led the Eastern Division with 90 kills with a 20% kill rate, 21 ace serves, serving accuracy at 90% and 181 digs.  Kappler was selected to the First Team All-Conference.

“I am so proud of these players especially for all the hard work they put into the season,” said coach Deb Butschlick.   “The Conference coaches truly saw the skills each one of our players had.  To have one or two players make the WCC All-Conference Team is a blessing, but to have four players on the All-Conference team and three players receiving the highest honors given by the Wisconsin Collegiate Conference is truly amazing.  Even though four players received the honors, it was an entire team effort to have such an outstanding season.”

5 UWM at Washington County soccer players selected WCC All-Conference | Mitch Bury

Five members of the UWM at Washington County soccer team have received post-season accolades.

The Wildcats had four players awarded WCC First Team All-Conference: Maxwell Breit, Austin Ulickey, Brenden Rice, and Zach Ross.

Noah Karimi was awarded WCC Second Team All-Conference.  Zach Ross was also named WCC Offensive Player of the Year. These five players contributed 22 goals and 9 assists during the season, helping the Wildcats to take second place in the conference.

Their efforts led the Wildcats to victory in the Wisconsin Collegiate Conference semi-final State Tournament beating UWO – Fond du Lac 5-1 and winning the Championship against UWO – Fox Cities 2-1.

West Bend woman named new head soccer coach at Wisconsin Lutheran College

A familiar name in soccer circles across West Bend and southeastern Wisconsin has been tabbed as the new head coach of the women’s soccer program at Wisconsin Lutheran College.

Waech played in West Bend throughout grade school and high school. She went on to play college at Cardinal Stritch University and then transferred to Concordia University.

Wisconsin Lutheran College posted the coaching write up below:

Wisconsin Lutheran College Director of Athletics Skip Noon has appointed Maggy Waech as the next head coach of the Warriors women’s soccer program, it was announced today. Waech becomes the sixth head coach in the history of the program’s recently completed 25th season.

“I am honored to be named head coach of the Wisconsin Lutheran College women’s soccer team,” said Waech. “I would like to thank the administration team that has entrusted the program to me and to my family for their continued support. I look forward to serving the young women of the program for many years to come. God is good. Go Warriors!”

Waech, who has served for a total of four seasons – two as a graduate assistant and two as a part time assistant – on the Warriors’ coaching staff, spent the 2018 season as the development coach at NCAA Division II Barton College (N.C.). She helped lead the Bulldogs to a 10-6-2 overall record and a 5-5-1 conference record, which included a first-round win in the conference tournament.

Waech’s coaching experience also includes serving as Washington County FC U-10 boys’ head coach in 2014 and the WCFC U-10 girls’ head coach in 2015. She was also an assistant girls’ varsity soccer coach at West Bend East High School in 2016, when the Suns claimed the Wisconsin Little Ten Conference championship. Waech was the head girls’ junior varsity coach at Wauwatosa East High School in 2017. She also assisted with the Raiders’ run to the WIAA Division 2 State Girls Soccer championship game.

“We are excited to have Maggy as our next women’s soccer head coach,” said Noon. “She is a proven recruiter and has a passion for Warriors Athletics. We look forward to her leading the program for many years.”

Waech played striker for one season (2012) at Cardinal Stritch University, appearing in 10 games and scoring two goals as a freshman for the Wolves. After a career-ending injury her freshman year, she transferred to Concordia University Wisconsin where she graduated from in 2016 with a degree in exercise physiology. Waech lettered in basketball and soccer at West Bend West High School, where she graduated from in 2012.

Waech, who earned a Master of Arts in leadership and innovation from WLC in May 2018, resides with her husband in Wauwatosa.

Debbie Butschlick named Wisconsin Collegiate Conference Volleyball Coach of the Year

UWM at Washington County volleyball head coach Debbie Butschlick was honored with the Wisconsin Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year award.

Butschlick serves as both athletic director and volleyball coach at UWM at Washington County. Butschlick began coaching the Wildcats volleyball team in 1985.

Since then, the team won the WCC conference championship nine times, WCC Eastern Division Title 12 times, advanced to the final-four state competition 16 times, State Runner up seven times, and earned the state title five times (1992, 2002, 2003, 2013, 2018).

UWM at Washington County posted a second-place finish in the WCC Eastern Division with a 4 – 2 record and 9-4 overall. The team finished the Wisconsin Collegiate Conference State tournament with a 7 – 3 record earning the Runner up State trophy

The team also placed four players on an eight-person WCC all-conference team. Three players earned the highest honors of player of the year, setter of the year and defensive specialist of the year.

This is the 11th time Butschlick has received WCC Coach of the Year.

In 2018 the UWM at Washington County team put together a video praising coach Butschlick for her direction on the court and support in the classroom.

The team gathered to sing the praises of their coach and share their thoughts on how discipline, integrity and determination help them work together to secure the 2018 WCC state title.

“She was a great coach for many reasons – she was able to coach each individual player.

She wasn’t afraid to fight for us on the court especially when it cames to chatting with the refs.

She has high expectations and pushes us to our full potential.

During a group huddle after one match she would say the right thing and get us fired up.

She not only pushed us on the court, but she set the standards high in the classroom as well.

From the beginning Deb told us we weren’t just a team but a family.

Thanks to Deb Butschlick for such a wonderful season.”

Donna Kleinmaus honored with Women Veterans Impact Award | By Amelia Neuwirth

Veteran Donna Kleinmaus of West Bend recently received the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, Women Veterans Impact Award.

Kleinmaus began serving in the Women’s Army Corps when she was only 19 years old. As it was her last year as a teenager, she felt the need to do something that would leave a big impact.

Seeing the posters of Uncle Sam saying, “I WANT YOU!” inspired her to join the military to find “fun, travel, and adventure.”

After basic training in Ft. McClellan, Alabama, she was assigned to Permanent Party Status in the Finance Division in Fort Ord, California. Because Kleinmaus was the secretary to the secretary of her post’s Finance Adjutant, a typical day consisted of transcribing her boss’s shorthand, typing it up, and sending it on its way.

On pay days, she would supervise the officers as they counted the money to make sure that it was all accounted for.

Since her time in the Women’s Army Corps, Kleinmaus has been busy raising her family and volunteering in her community. She helps perform Veterans Military Honors for the family of deceased veterans; on average it’s 65 to 75 funerals each year.

As an executive board member of Lt. Ray Dickop Legion Post 36, Kleinmaus has organized a number of different projects. She orchestrated a banquet and program for the 100th birthday of the national American Legion, and a brat fry for the 100th birthday of Post 36. This included decorating the post to look like it was in 1919 and organizing a 100th Anniversary Directory.

Additionally, Kleinmaus and her husband, John, work with student veterans at UW Washington County and march in the Fourth of July and Memorial Day Parades.

She also sets up POW/MIA tables around West Bend and is working with another legionnaire to create one for Veteran’s Day. Furthermore, she organized a brat fry to support two young veterans and their wives who walked the county to raise money for the Memorial Day Flag Program so that no grave will remain undecorated for any veteran who has served his or her country.

She is also the Kitchen Commander so she prepares and plans meals for on a monthly basis and for special occasions.

Kleinmaus and her husband also greet veterans at the airport as they return from the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight, and they were honored to go on that flight November 3, 2018.

It is not only all of these accomplishments that earned Kleinmaus the nomination for Woman Veteran of the Year, from her County Service Officer, but also her work in the West Bend Veterans Honor Guard, volunteering in her community, charities, and her church.

This year the Women’s Veterans Impact Award was created, and any Woman Veteran of the Year nominee who scored over 200 points was given this honor.

Four out of 17 nominees were given this award, including Kleinmaus. She is very thankful for this award. “I’m terrifically honored,” she said. “I am completely flabbergasted at the accolades and cards and congratulations being sent my way by complete strangers.”

Updates & tidbits

-Ozaukee Christian School is cordially inviting everyone to join in on Sunday, December 8, for the Christmas Open House, 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. and Dedication Service at 4 p.m. The community is invited join in and celebrate God’s faithfulness to His kids at Ozaukee Christian School.

– Santa is flying in from the North Pole on Saturday, Dec. 14 and he’s landing at the West Bend Airport. Santa lands around 8:30 a.m. The airport is at 201 Aerial Drive in West Bend. Breakfast is $7 and Santa will be taking wish-list requests from good girls and boys.

-Recently the Washington County Dive Team wanted to purchase a trailer for their boat. The folks at Cedar Lake Sales & Service decided the Dive Team shouldn’t pay for it and donated it to them. Happy to help this service in our community

-Senior Citizen Activities, Inc. is hosting its 2nd Annual Christmas Cookie Walk & Crafts on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 8 a.m. – noon at 2378 W. Washington St. Suite A, West Bend.

Reminiscing about the old Fleet Farm in West Bend

It was a rainy afternoon on Sunday, November 17. No Packer game and neighbors from across Washington County were filtering into the old Fleet Farm, 1637 W. Washington Street for one final experience in the 49,680-square-foot building that dated to 1968.

Over the years, especially the last 30 or so, neighbors in West Bend groused about the narrow aisles, the ads that read: ‘Not available in West Bend or Clintonville,’ and there was the promise of a new Fleet that never came to fruition….. until now.

“I started shopping here in 1979 when I bought the building across the street,” said Bink Steinbach, former owner of the popular tavern The Binkery. “That was before they put on a number of additions here; there was no McDonald’s across the street, there was no Kmart which later became Planet Fitness, the Tri Par gas station was a pretty busy place and there used to be a little burger place called Tastee Freeze next to that and that’s back when there used to be a Red Owl on the other corner where Rogan’s Shoes is now.”

Steinbach had a shopping cart with two containers of blue windshield washer fluid and some bags of candy corn.

“One of the things that’s been really amazing about Fleet Farm over the years is they seem to have everything you need and things you don’t even think you need…. they have it,” he said.

Employees with the most longevity lined up outside the store this week. “We added up all the years for Rodney, Jeff Patasius, Lisa Freitag, Lynn Bogdan and Jason it came out to 160 years,” said Freitag. She’s one of the employees with the most longevity at 31 years.

Employees were hard at work as if it were any other day. The only thing changing for them will be their drive to work and the updated atmosphere as the new Fleet Farm opens today at 4 p.m.  The grand opening for the West Bend store is Nov. 22 at 6 a.m.

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