City of West Bend selects new Park, Rec and Forestry Director
The City of West Bend has selected a new Director of Park, Recreation and Forestry and they didn’t have to go far from home.
According to the upcoming Jan. 30 Park & Rec Commission agenda, Mike Jentsch will take over the position. Jentsch had been filling the post in the interim along with City Administrator Jay Shambeau.
“We evaluated the structure within the department and had a conversation about joint ventures and decided against that,” said Shambeau. “I initially spoke with Mike and as more time passed his interest peaked.
“Mike’s excited for the position and he’s got some good ideas and I think it’s a great fit.”
Jentsch has a unique employment history; he started with the City of West Bend as a summer worker when he was a teenager.
“Mike has been with the City for 21 years,” said Shambeau. “After college he was in the Marines and most recently, he was Parks Superintendent.”
Shambeau said although Jentsch is advancing internally, his old position won’t be posted but it will be filled by two current employees who will share responsibilities. “The Superintendent roll will be retitled to Parks Supervisor and that post will be filled by our lead arborist Dan Farvour and Kevin Lisko.
The language on the Jentsch appointment is below. It still needs to be approved by the Parks Commission and then it will be voted on by the Common Council at its February 3 meeting.
City Administrator, Jay Shambeau and Human Resources Director, Michelle Hoey ask for your assistance in approving the recommended appointment of Mike Jentsch to position of Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department. Mike brings over 20 years of experience in the field of Parks and Forestry as well as over 15 years in management.
The position of Park, Recreation and Forestry director opened in mid-July 2019 after Craig Hoeppner resigned to take a similar job in Oconomowoc.
Could West Bend taxpayers be faced with a referendum for two new elementary schools
The West Bend School District Committee of the Whole reviewed several discussion items during its Monday night meeting with board members agreeing the Village of Jackson needed a new elementary school and possibly two new elementary schools were needed in the district.
In April 2019 voters in the West Bend School District turned down a proposed $47 million referendum, which would have totaled $74 million with interest.
In June 2019 a Private Task Force approached the district with a plan to use private funds to study an alternative way to assess existing conditions in the district and bring the expertise of how modern educational facilities should be designed.
Findings were presented by the Private Task Force in October 2019. A long-term sustainable approach was rolled out which included new facilities and a way to fund the project without increasing taxes. “Money is the solution to the problem – more money may not be,” said Task Force leader Kraig Sadownikow.
Fast forward to Monday night’s 2-and-a-half-hour meeting where the Committee of the Whole began with growth projections for the West Bend School District.
Village of Jackson President Mike Schwab and Village Administrator John Walther talked about development of single family and multifamily homes and they anticipated possible commercial development after the new municipal complex was completed.
Board member Paul Fischer asked for a breakdown of new housing starts over the last five years.
Schwab and Walther believed a school in Jackson was important to its identity as a Village. “It’s important for the future and the kids,” said Schwab. “Yes, we believe an elementary school is vital.”
Schwab also indicated the parcel the district purchased for $750,000 at W204 N16722 and W204 N16690 Jackson Drive was a better location for a new school than the current site. “It’s close to the community center, the new site is safer and it eliminates kids crossing Highway 60 to get to the Boys and Girls Club,” he said.
Questioned about the marketability of the current Jackson Elementary School, Schwab indicated it would “take careful planning.” He believed it could be an attractive site if it was “repurposed in a quick fashion.”
Economic development manager Adam Gitter then presented an overview of growth and development in the City of West Bend. “Residential growth has been slow,” said Gitter.
The City, according to Gitter, has seen an increase in development of housing for senior citizens and the former Barton School is “workforce housing.”
The City is expanding into a new 216-acre industrial park on River Road and Highway NN. There was also a review given of newer business growth with additional Kwik Trips, Morrie’s Honda and the new Fleet Farm.
Questioned several times on where residential growth is most likely to occur, Gitter said it would be “pushing toward the east side of Highway 33.”
Christian G. Tscheschlok, executive director of Economic Development Washington County, presented an in-depth look at business growth and trends nationwide and then he brought the vision closer to West Bend.
He mentioned how “businesses need to sell products outside of Washington County” in order to succeed.
“Economic development is measured in jobs and new investment,” he said. “Over the last 10 years the trend is suggesting each project had job creation but that trend has declined because it’s hard to find employees.”
One of the key trends, said Tscheschlok, is the speed with which a business can develop. “Decisions are made in less than 90 days and the trend is end users don’t want to own properties but lease properties,” he said. “Project needs location, workforce and to be competitively priced.”
Questioned whether West Bend is prime for development Tscheschlok said the key factor was “availability of land.”
The district has been discussing future enrollment trends ever since October 2019 when administration indicated “unless there is a change in enrollment trends, the district can expect declining enrollment for the next 8-10 years.”
What are wishes of the board?
Following the presentation of data, board members weighed in on the future of Jackson Elementary. In October one of the findings of the Task Force had been to close Jackson and build a new school to the north by about a mile to serve students in both West Bend and Jackson.
“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.
Paul Fischer – I can’t personally see a community of 7,000 not having its own elementary school. It’s pretty obvious there’ s more growth happening in Jackson than in WB. It warrants having a K4 facility.
Erin Dove – I live in Jackson and my three kids went to Jackson Elementary. It was walk able for us and it feels like community. I can’t imagine leaving a community with 7,000 people and it’s hard to stomach.
Chris Zwygart – It would be ill-advised not to have a school there (in Jackson). We need to be a good partner.
Kurt Rebholz– We can’t afford to turn our back on Jackson and a whole student and parent population. Being bold do we put a K-6 school there. Getting into how do we fund it. I said before – getting out of the taxpayer base and being responsible for facilities the trend is for public sector communities to rent or lease space.
Superintendent Don Kirkegaard – We have ability to lease buildings too. Because we’re a low spending district all that will come out of Fund 10. The way you would pay for that is take it out of Fund 10 and that’s already strapped and where do we get the money to pay for the lease.
There was some discussion about closing an elementary school in West Bend; possibly closing Fair Park or Decorah Elementary and then building another elementary school. The board acknowledged a declining enrollment and debated the best scenario.
Finally, Superintendent Kirkegaard laid out three options. 1) new elementary in Jackson 2) what would cost be to renovate or add on to one of two elementary facilities 3) what would be cost to replace Fair Park and Decorah Elementary and build a school to the east.
There was also a proposal to move the Rolfs Education Center and relocate the Head Start program to Silverbrook while also moving the district office, possibly to Badger School. Kirkegaard said he is also exploring working with Moraine Park Technical college on a joint program to enhance building trades rather than remodeling the area at the high school.
The board did not address funding for the new school proposals other than referendum. Maintenance projects such as locker rooms at the high school were suggested could be paid for by fundraising and/or a private partnership with area businesses.
The Task Force indicated funding in lieu of a referendum could be generated through consolidation of the campus, selling property, and outsourcing jobs.
Communities in Washington Co. receive over $8 million in General Transportation Aids
Neighbors in Washington County may want to buckle in for this next story. It looks like cities, towns, and villages across Washington County are set to receive over $8 million in local road funding.
The true total for Washington County for transportation-related projects for 2019-2020 is $8,236,273.
The money is coming from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. It falls under the category General Transportation Aids, Connecting Highway Aids and Expressway Policing Aids.
Below is a tidbit from the General Transportation Aids website:
Program overview: The General Transportation Aids (GTA) program enables local governments to receive state aid payments to offset the cost of county and municipal road construction, maintenance, and traffic operations. The funding sources of these aid payments are the fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees collected by the state. GTA is WisDOT’s second largest program.
Distribution of GTA funds is based on a six-year costs average or a statutorily set rate-per-mile. Transportation-related expenditures and revenues incurred by local governments are necessary factors in the calculation process. This financial information is taken directly from the Municipal Financial Report Form that each local government files annually with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue. The Cost Reporting Manual provides guidance in identifying the eligible expenditures and deductible revenues that are applicable to GTA.
Below is a list of how communities across Washington County will be impacted. According to Tim Olusegun with GTA the first quarterly installment was already received this month by local governments. The amount received is 10 percent more than what the state budgeted in 2019.
According to Hartford City Administrator Steve Volkert, the funding will help offset the increase the City has already seen in the price of road salt.
Community MILES JURISDICTION STATE AIDS MAINTAINED
WASHINGTON COUNTY $2,414,744 N/A
CITY OF HARTFORD $603,098 71.13 mi.
CITY OF WEST BEND $1,327,163 134.43 mi.
VILLAGE GERMANTOWN $1,077,507 130.70 mi.
VILLAGE JACKSON $340,857 27.00 mi.
VILLAGE KEWASKUM $204,788 18.24 mi.
VILLAGE NEWBURG $55,900 5.57 mi.
VILLAGE RICHFIELD $386,500 147.07 mi.
VILLAGE SLINGER $231,635 29.41
TOWN OF ADDISON $169,637 64.55
TOWN OF BARTON $121,598 46.27
TOWN OF ERIN $149,008 56.70
TOWN OF FARMINGTON $171,135 65.12
TOWN OF GERMANTOWN $11,721 4.46
TOWN OF HARTFORD $127,379 48.47
TOWN OF JACKSON $155,893 59.32
TOWN OF KEWASKUM $99,995 38.05
TOWN OF POLK $152,871 58.17
TOWN OF TRENTON $174,525 66.41
TOWN OF WAYNE $142,611 58.55
TOWN OF WEST BEND $117,708 44.79
Two people apply for open seat as District 8 alderman in West Bend
As of Thursday afternoon, two people had expressed interest in the opening for District 8 alderman in West Bend.
City Clerk Stephanie Justmann said Meghann Kennedy has turned in paperwork for the position along with Aaron Zingsheim.
Kennedy is currently on the West Bend Park and Rec Commission. She is fulfilling the term of Jennifer Koehn, which expires in 2021. Kennedy works at Kohls Corporate in Menomonee Falls and is a digital business category analyst.
Zingsheim is a fifth-grade teacher at Silverbrook School in West Bend. He lived in Milwaukee nine years and then moved to West Bend in 2014.
The seat in Dist. 8 opened when Roger Kist submitted a letter of resignation on January 10, 2020.
The City posted the position and are now seeking interested individuals who reside in District 8 to fill the vacancy.
The Council will review required materials and interview candidates at the Common Council meeting on February 17, 2020. The successful appointee will represent District 8 for the remainder of the term, expiring in April 2021.
To be eligible to serve, an individual at the time of the appointment must be:
A citizen of the United Sates and the state of Wisconsin; An elector of the city of West Bend; and A resident of District 8. Official maps of the districts are available at the City of West Bend Clerk’s Office.
Those interested in being considered for the District 8 aldermanic appointment are required to submit the following materials: Letter of interest with brief summary of what they feel they bring to the position. Resume or statement of qualifications
Required materials are due to the City Clerk by February 10, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. delivered, mailed, or emailed to: City of West Bend Attn: City Clerk Stephanie Justmann
Candidates will be reviewed at the Common Council meeting on February 17, 2020.
Kewaskum resident receives Froedtert WB Hospital Sunflower Award By Tim Olsen
Sara Groeschel, critical care technician on the Modified Care Unit and Kewaskum resident, has been recognized with Froedtert West Bend Hospital’s semi-annual Sunflower Award for the dignity and respect she provided a patient.
“Sara was kind and compassionate while tending to mom’s cares,” said one of her nominators. “Sara gave her dignity and respect as she deserves. Sara always went above and beyond, asking if anything was needed. God bless you.”
The Sunflower Award honors extraordinary nursing support staff who demonstrate devotion, strength and compassion to ensure the well-being of patients, family and staff.
Froedtert West Bend Hospital recognizes two nursing support staff member each year. Each Sunflower honoree is recognized at a public ceremony in his/her unit with a certificate, a Sunflower Award pin and a hand-carved stone sculpture titled “Supporting Heart.” The sunflower was chosen as the award theme because the sun symbolizes warmth and strength, and the flower represents devotion, compassion and enthusiasm.
Patients, visitors, nurses, physicians and staff may nominate a support staff member by filling out the form available in the hospital lobbies and nursing stations and following the instructions or through Excellence in Action.
Kwik Trip on E. Washington Street in West Bend goes out to bid
The demolition of the old Mobil station on E. Washington Street happened in late December 2019 and this week bids went out for the new Kwik Trip on East Washington.
According to plans the incoming Kwik Trip No. 4, 1610 E. Washington Street, would include 10 pump/dispenser islands with a total of 20 fueling spaces. The diesel canopy will accommodate 2 fueling positions. It appears construction will get underway in spring, after the frost is out of the ground.
Then trusses will arrive in early August and framing will begin around August 10. The gas canopy will be installed August 17 and signage and graphics should be in place by October.
It looks like Kwik Trip is aiming for an early November, maybe between Nov. 2 – 6, opening.
Bids are due to the Construction Manager (Thrive Construction) on January 31. West Bend has two Kwik Trips currently in operation; one is on Silverbook Drive just north of Paradise Drive and the second is on Main Street and Decorah Road. There is another site set for development of a Kwik Trip on E. Paradise Drive and River Road and then the No. 4 Kwik Trip on E. Washington Street and Schnoenhaar Drive.
A fifth Kwik Trip has been proposed for the former Fleet Farm site on W. Washington Street and 18th Avenue. That public hearing regarding a No. 5 Kwik Trip has yet to be rescheduled.
Rep. Gundrum presents Hometown Hero Award to Pete Rettler By Jason Knack
Rep. Rick Gundrum (R – Slinger) kicked off Wednesday, Jan. 22 on the Assembly Floor Session with recognition of special guest, West Bend constituent and philanthropist Pete Rettler, who was joined by his son, Max Rettler.
Pete Rettler was nominated by Rep. Gundrum to be a recipient of the Hometown Hero Award. This award is reserved for individuals who have gone the extra mile to benefit his or her community and improve the lives of its residents. For 26 years, Pete Rettler has dedicated himself to causes and programs that fit this exact description.
To date, Pete has logged over 23,700 miles since 1994, not missing a single day of running over the 26-year span. He has used this remarkable track record to raise money, recruit volunteers and sponsors, and highlight the work of non-profits in Washington County.
Just over a year ago, Pete Rettler coordinated the largest donation to the United Way of Washington County and largest overall percentage increase in fundraising history through his “25 Runs of Gratitude.”
“It is my sincere honor to have nominated Pete Rettler to be a recipient of this year’s Hometown Hero Award. Pete has been a pillar of the community for many years, and his contributions to numerous non-profits, charities, and projects in Washington County are worth this recognition,” said Rep. Gundrum. “Over the past 26 years, Pete has been an outstanding example of what it means to give back to the community by donating his time and resources to improve the lives of residents in the 58th Assembly District.”
Pete served for four years as the director of Mental Health Clinic Lutheran Social Services, has served for 13 years as the Dean at the Moraine Park Technical College’s West Bend Campus, and is a past President of the United Way of Washington County.
His past, present, and future efforts are a testament to the impact one individual in a community can make.
Eulogy for Margaret “Peggy” Ziegler By Nicholas Novaczyk
A beautiful tribute Thursday afternoon at the Schmidt Funeral Home in West Bend as friends, family and neighbors paid their respects to the family of Bernie and Margaret Ziegler.
Peg Ziegler died January 15, 2020.
The funeral parlor was packed with old friends including Ken and Marge Miller, Allan Kieckhaefer, Gloria Dawn Strickland, Nancy and Vern Van Vooren …. to name a few. There were flowers and flags of Peg’s favorite sports teams including the Brewers, Badgers and Packers.
Rick Gilbertson, accompanied by piano and violin, sang a couple of hymns including “I come to the garden alone” and “In the Garden.”
Nicholas Novaczyk presented a touching eulogy that defined Peg Ziegler as a champion blessed with a gift of compassion and an opinion.
Good afternoon. For those who don’t know me, I’m Brooke’s husband, and by marriage, a grateful and proud grandson to Gum Gum. Bernie, Jane, and JJ asked if I could say a few words on behalf of the family today, to mark the incredible life of their Mother.
Which gladly I will, but first let’s start with some housekeeping, please take out your phones and delete every email forward that you have ever gotten from Peg, she was prolific, and it should save you about 5 gigabits in space….
February 22, 1925 a day that set-in motion the 94 years that will define an impactful life. The reaches of which are hard to assess, But I sense we all have a collective idea of how vast and deep Pegs influence on our lives are marked. The space and time that is filled between that day and January 15, 2020 is a legacy that I think we all can look to as a standard, as a goal, and as an achievement.
We all have our own stories of Peg, each of whom has shared and individuals memories that help us define what she meant to us, the subtle memories of a mother, the connect gift of a sister, The comfort of a grandmother, and the laughter and trouble making of a friend, but to define Margret Ziegler we may need a little more runway. Our world in which God has placed us is less today because of our loss.
*West Bend and Washington County have lost their champion, Wisconsin has lost a favorite daughter, and our Country has lost the strength and grace of a depression and war-era Matriarch.
So much can be learned from the examples that Peg set. Her gifts were many, and even more remarkable was her willingness to share them. Some might argue that her greatest gift was that of having an opinion, which in turn gave her the moniker of the “The General” This stern and rigid reputation was widely known and depending upon who you were, either blessing or a curse.
I would argue that her greatest gift was that of compassion, that gift, so often hides behind the above-described. Peg was straightforward and direct, but was also loving and kind, and connected these traits as well as anyone I have ever met. The world has changed so much of the last 94 years, throughout her life, as we all do, she felt loss and uncertainty, suffered tragedies and pain, but each time, she made a choice to not let those events and circumstances define who she was. She became better because of them.
I would suggest that she used those times as fuel to shine and be a light. Her leadership as head of her family, her leadership as a community member, and her devoted moral compass are many small examples of her storied life. The success she enjoyed in life was earned through her determination and resolve.
Her marriage to Bernie is a great American love story. Blessed are those who were able to witness that story unfold over the decades, I can only imagine what those early years together were like, as they planned and worked to create such legacy that will leave us so much better off because of them. I had the privilege many years ago to talk about Bernie and his life. I recall finding the words to describe him, as the Caddies and the Kings, after talking to one of his golf caddies in Arizona.
This was a man that could inspire the least of us and greatest of us without a changing tone. What I didn’t know then, and I certainly know now, is that this very well may be the case of the Women that made the man. Through letters and stories, and simple pictures or memories, she was to Bernie as she was to all of us.
*She made us better people, stronger people, Better Fathers, Better Mothers, better stewards of all the blessings that God has given us. This was not a request, she demanded we be better. I’m glad she did, and I’m hopeful that she will continue to demand us to be better as we move on from this day without her.
There is no doubt that Peg in the later stages of her life was truly blessed. Her strength carried her to 94 years old, her health stayed steady for most of those years, and her children surrounded her in the last hours. The void she leaves is vast, as often is the case with Matriarchs, there is no replacement, there is only the chance that we lead our lives with purpose, and with respect paid to what Peg wanted for all of us. Happiness, success, health, and the chance to make the world around us a better place.
A complete life is a rare site, but on occasion the example is so clear and bright, it is worth for us to stop and recognize that our Friend and Mother, had the good luck, the good fortune, the good looks, and the good lord beside her to make each of her 94 years on earth count in spectacular fashion.
*I can see the dusty roads of the 20’s and 30’ when she grew up in an American that was just becoming, I can imagine the pause when she watch our country head to a War that would define her generation, The created memories she made raising a family in the great decades of the 50’s and 60’s. While I have no confirmed reports that she attended Woodstock in 1969, the next 30 years were spent building and shaping her family and her state, Peg turned the century as a strong and beautiful example of what the freedoms of America can produce. As her husband’s legacy does, Gum Gum belongs to the ages now. We all are eternally grateful for her and what she meant to all of us.
As her book is ending, those of us left to live our lives will watch the sun rise in morning. We get to decide on our actions and our choices we make each day on how to live, I think Peg left us with many indelible guiding moments for us to learn from. In honor and memory of this Ziegler’s life, I am going to ask you all to think about completing a task.
*It can be as small or as large as you can creatively organize. I’m going to ask that at some point in your life in years to come, you make a meaningful difference in the lives, communities, and country that you are a part of. The kind of difference that Peg so often made. The kind of impact that changes lives and makes it a little easier for others to achieve what maybe they couldn’t without a nudge or a little support.
****But here is the catch, after you do, and after the rewards are felt and seen, you can’t tell anybody it was you. You can silently say a prayer and remember that Peg wanted all of us to be better, and that is enough I am certain, for anybody in all walks of life to aspire too.