Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

2020 Washington County Breakfast on the Farm is at Sunset Farms in Allenton

The family at Sunset Farms, 6600 Sunset Drive in Allenton, will be hosting the 2020 Washington County Breakfast on the Farm on June 13.

Sunset Farms is a sixth-generation family farm. This will be the fourth time hosting Washington County’s Breakfast on the Farm; the last time was 2013.

A 2014 article by Dairy Professional Development featured Sunset Farms:

The farm employs 26 full-time and 6 part-time and seasonal workers, milks approximately 900 cows, has about 100 dry cows, raises most of their young stock and steers and crops 3,200 acres. Fifth- and sixth-generation family members, along with a few employees, own the farm.  Sunset Farms includes Albert and Mildred and their sons and wives, Ray and Anne, Dan and Ellen, Bernie and Cindy, and Paul and Sue. In addition, some of the next generation has joined the family corporation, including Karen Hughes who serves as herd manager; Carl, Ed and Dave Wolf; and Tim Baier.

“We continuously strive to improve our farm and the care of our cows. Cow comfort is what drives our modernization,” says herd manager Karen Hughes. The farm’s mission is to produce safe nutrition, create a good quality of life for employees as well as neighbors and friends, and ensure everyone involved enjoys their work together.

Breakfast on the Farm kicks off Saturday, June 13 at 6:30 a.m. and features all-you-can-eat pancakes served with scrambled eggs, applesauce, cheese, sausage, milk and coffee.

Activities include wagon ride to the farm, barn tours, petting zoo, pedal tractor pull, live music, Roden Barnyard Adventures, antique tractors, $1 Sundaes or Root Beer Floats   Tickets in advance – $6 Tickets at the door – $7 and Children 3 and under FREE.

West Bend Common Council selects District 8 alderwoman

On a vote of 6 – 1 the West Bend Common Council selected Meghann Kennedy as the new representative to fill the vacant aldermanic seat in District 8. Kennedy, who currently is part of the West Bend Park & Rec Commission, will fill the remaining term following the resignation of alderman Roger Kist.

Kennedy was one of four people who interviewed for the seat. Others vying for the seat included Aaron Zingsheim, Clifford Van Beek, and Alice M. Iaquinta. During a 5 p.m. interview before the Common Council, Kennedy spoke for 15 minutes outlining her work at Kohl’s Corporate where she meets with senior leadership, analyzes revenue and business trends.

Kennedy manages a multi-million-dollar business and specializes in digital processing. She has a strong background in math and analytical skills.

A resident of Villa Park for seven years, Kennedy said she wants to serve the community. “I’m good at working in collaboration,” she said. “I’ve already established relationships within government and City Hall and I look to hit the ground running.”

Questioned why she wanted to serve the community; Kennedy expressed a desire to “be part of the solution.” She described herself as a “fiscal conservative” who was interested in a “balanced budget.”

“I want to see the City grow effectively and efficiently,” she said.

Questioned about the current testing in the Villa Park subdivision and her knowledge about the gas emissions and the landfill, Kennedy mentioned she had discussions with the DNR and the city’s Doug Newman. “Villa Park is not only going to affect District 8 but the entire City,” said Kennedy. “We have good people in place and I look forward to working with consultants.”

“I’m excited to serve, it’s a good challenge and I’m interested in learning and help guide the future for families,” she said.

Kennedy received an endorsement from Mike Staral, who heads the City Park and Rec Committee.

After one round of ballot voting, Kennedy was announced the winner.

City Clerk Stephanie Justmann swore in Kennedy who immediately took her seat on the council. She will fill the remaining term in District 8, which will run to election day April 2021.

It was Friday, January 10, 2020 when alderman Roger Kist submitted his letter of resignation to the city clerk. Kist had served on the Common Council since he won election in April 2009.

Commerce Financial Holdings, Inc. in West Bend sold to Nicolet Bankshares, Inc.

Nicolet Bankshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: NCBS) (“Nicolet”) and Commerce Financial Holdings, Inc. (“Commerce”) today jointly announce the execution of a definitive merger agreement, pursuant to which Nicolet will acquire Commerce and its wholly-owned banking subsidiary, Commerce State Bank (“Commerce Bank”).

Based on the financial results as of December 31, 2019, the combined company will have pro forma total assets of $4.3 billion, deposits of $3.6 billion and loans of $3.2 billion, as Commerce would represent approximately 16% of the combined company’s year-end assets.

Mike Daniels, President and CEO of Nicolet National Bank said, “We are excited to partner with great people who have a purpose very complementary to ours: to serve our customers, shareholders, and each other. Both Nicolet and Commerce are entrepreneurial organizations that know what it’s like to build a business from scratch. This quality allows us to relate to each other and our customers and will be a driving force as we move toward integrating our two cultures in the coming quarters.”

Bob Atwell, CEO and Chairman of Nicolet said, “In each merger, we have purposefully found partners who focus on serving customers and the community.  When we combine our resources and cultures, we can positively impact the community banking landscape of Wisconsin.  The geography isn’t as important as the characteristics of the communities and the passion of the people.”

Joe Fazio, CEO of Commerce said, “We have known Nicolet for a long time and we like their reputation for doing things the right way.  We are going to leverage the combined strengths of Commerce and Nicolet, which are our people and relationship-focused attitudes, to accelerate our growth.  The time feels right for the next chapter.”

Jack Enea, Chairman of Commerce said, “This merger creates an opportunity for shareholders to rapidly get to the next level of our strategic plan.  We have created a strong bank that centers on talented and experienced people.  That model will continue and expand through our combination with Nicolet.”

Transaction Information: Under the terms of the merger agreement, Nicolet will acquire Commerce with Nicolet being the surviving corporation. In the merger, Commerce shareholders shall receive 1.15 shares of Nicolet common stock for each share of Commerce stock. Based on Nicolet’s closing price of $72.32 as of February 14, 2020 the merger consideration is valued at approximately $129.6 million, which excludes Nicolet’s pre-existing ownership of Commerce shares.

The merger agreement provides for a cap and collar to potentially re-set the exchange ratio or change the mix of consideration should the Nicolet Common Stock Price, as defined in the merger agreement, rise above $82.00 per share, or fall below $62.00 per share.

The estimated transaction value is a 1.9 multiple of Commerce’s tangible book value as of December 31, 2019 and equates to approximately 18x Commerce’s 2019 after-tax income. Additional assumptions and metrics can be found with the attached Financial Supplement.

Leadership/Employee Information: Post-merger, Joe Fazio will join the Board of Directors of Nicolet Bankshares and Nicolet National Bank. Tom Hopp and Dave Borchardt, Commerce’s President and CFO/COO, respectively, will join Nicolet National Bank.  All customer-facing employees of Commerce are expected to stay on in the same capacity.

Approvals and Closing Date: The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies.  It is subject to Commerce shareholder approval, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2020.  Upon consummation of the transaction, all branch offices of Commerce Bank are expected to open as Nicolet National Bank branches.

Primary election results in Washington County

Unofficial election results are in for two primary races in Washington County. The polls closed at 8 p.m. and while there was a predicted turnout of about 10 percent in Washington County it appears the turnout may have exceeded 20 percent.

There was a primary for Justice of the Supreme Court. Advancing to the April 7 election will be incumbent Justice Daniel Kelly and Jill J. Karofsky.

In Washington County Kelly received 75 percent of the vote while Karofsky received nearly 19 percent of the vote.

In the Slinger School District four candidates advance to the April election where there are two open seats on the Slinger School Board. Candidates advancing to the April 7 election include Bruce Hassler (Incumbent and Vice-President), Jen Novotny, Jody Strupp, and David Zukowski (Interim Incumbent).

A Community Forum will be held Tuesday, March 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the Slinger Middle School cafeteria. The forum is designed to provide community members an opportunity to meet the Slinger School Board candidates and ask questions about their candidacy.

April 7 is the election to determine who will gain the two seats on the Slinger School Board.

Canvassing for all results will occur before the end of the week.

Slinger and Hartford HS Snowboard teams finish season strong | By Delaney Braun

The Hartford and Slinger High School snowboard season has wrapped up with an excellent finish. All members on the girls’ team and six of the student athletes on the boys’ team competed in the toughest race yet at Mt. LaCrosse.

The state qualifying boys included Brady Jackson, Conor Schmitt, Gabe Kebbekus, Zak Raskin, Isaac DeWalt, Ethan Smith, and Brayden Wiedmeyer. All of the girls’ team qualified as well and the team was able to come home with some pretty amazing accomplishments.

Friday was met with some frustration and hard training from the racers to prepare them for the race the next day. The coaches were strategic with the courses and amount of time they required the racers to prepare.

The courses on Saturday were challenging. Marisa Reyes took second in boardercross, following Kallie Weyer in 11th and Ava Stortz in 15th and the girls took second overall.

For the boys boardercross Cole Rummel of West Bend took first along with Ethan Benedict in ninth and Brian Pomeroy in 15th. Ethan Smith and Brady Jackson took the 12th and 13th spots and Isaac DeWalt finished 17th.

Giant slalom was the next event. Reyes took an unfortunate fall during her race. That left Kallie Weyer scoring highest for Slinger in 12th place and Sophia Parkinson of Hartford taking 14th.

Ava Stortz had a nice finish in 17th. For the boys, Rummel again took fourth, Smith from Slinger took fifth. DeWalt finished 14th and Pomeroy in 15th. An honorable mention to Conor Schmitt, taking 22nd, beating all but one boy on the Slinger team that event.

Last but not least was Slalom. Reyes took ninth place and Weyer finished 15th. Rummel took fourth, Smith was seventh, Pomeroy 12th, and Jackson 14th. Benedict and DeWalt were close with Benedict taking 18th and DeWalt was 19th.

For the event team results, the Hartford and Slinger ladies took second in boardercross and third in giant slalom and slalom. That is a huge accomplishment for them. For the boys, they took fourth in all events.

Congratulations to the West Bend snowboard team for taking first place overall in boardercross. Overall results were third place for girls and fourth place for the boys.

Thank you to all the parents for the constant support this season, the racers really could not do it without you.

Socks in the Frying Pan coming to UWM at Washington County on Friday, March 6

Get your tickets today to Socks in the Frying Pan. Performance at UWM at Washington County on Friday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m. Don’t miss this award-winning trio from County Clare Ireland – the universal hub of Irish traditional music. Socks in the Frying Pan includes Aodán Coyne on guitar and vocals and the accomplished Hayes brothers — Shane on accordion and Fiachra on fiddle and banjo.

They blend Irish traditional melodies with their own personal flair, which has gained them critical acclaim and accolades including New Band of the Year by the Irish Music Association.

Public hearing on special assessment for property owners on 18th Avenue

There’s going to be a public hearing on March 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers at West Bend City Hall. The special assessment is tied to the reconstruction of 18th Avenue between Vogt Drive and Decorah Road.

“The way the assessments are calculated are based on the frontage of the lot,” said City Engineer Max Maréchal. “We’ve established the cost of lineal foot of project and we multiply that by the frontage of each property. If your frontage is smaller than you will get a smaller assessment.”

According to preliminary numbers the total for the special assessment varies from $1,757.14 to $5,449.47 to over $16,000. That last increase is for an address that houses a non-profit organization on 18th Avenue.

“That will be up to the common council to address,” said Marechal. “This is what the public hearing is for so aspects can be addressed between the public and the council.”

The special assessment, overall, is based on an existing policy. “When there are new improvements the property that benefits directly the government entity has power to assess for the cost of installing those new improvements,” said Marechal.

Improvements on the 18th Avenue project include curb and gutter, streetlights, sidewalk, etc. About 85 properties are included in the special assessment.

Neighbors on 18th Avenue and Decorah Road question, if the entire community is using the streets and sidewalks, then why are only the property owners in that area charged with a special assessment to cover the cost of improvements?

Marechal went back to his statement of “property that benefits directly” from the work. “Direct benefit to the property,” he said. “Are there properties immediately adjacent that will benefit.”

Marechal said his office is receiving phone calls. “Most of the people understand what’s going on but we’re also open to answering any other inquiries,” he said.

The reconstruction project on 18th Avenue between Vogt Drive and Decorah Road was completed in October 2018.

The entire first portion of the project was less than a mile in length. There’s a second phase of the project waiting in the wings which will run from Vogt Drive south to Paradise Drive.

“Obviously we will follow the same process as the first phase,” said Marechal. “Which means we will go to the City common council and ask them whether they intend to assess for new improvements; will that directly benefit those properties or not and we’ll go from there.”

Slinger HS student wins design contest for Drug Treatment Court | By Todd Martens

The Washington County Drug Treatment Court Team invited students from Washington County high schools to submit designs for its county-wide Drug Treatment Court logo design competition.  Students from five County high schools submitted over 30 logo designs for the team’s consideration.

The team appreciates all the hard work students put into submitting designs which reflect this important new program.  The goal of Drug Treatment Court is to help persons with substance abuse problems get sober, stay sober and rebuild their lives.

After careful consideration and considerable debate, the team chose the design submitted by Slinger High School student Morgan Rogacki.  Congratulations to Morgan and thanks to her for submitting a design which we felt best embodied the mission and spirit of Drug Treatment Court.  The logo will be used in Court program documents, Court letterhead, and certificates given to Court participants.

The decision was a difficult one.  The winning design received six votes, and the runner up received five.  Both designs were outstanding.  The team would like to specially thank and acknowledge the design which came in second place—it was submitted by Germantown High School student Hannah Hermann.

We appreciate all the hard work put in by students to design Drug Treatment Court logos.  The designs were all excellent, and we thank you!

Washington County Drug Treatment Court Judge Todd K. Martens will recognize Morgan Rogacki and her contribution to the Washington County Drug Treatment Court in a ceremony during the Slinger School Board meeting at 7 p.m. February 24, 2020.

Downtown West Bend establishment may have cracked the recipe for Dick’s Pizza

The Inferno Bar & Grill, 140 N. Main Street, in West Bend thinks it may have cracked the recipe for Dick’s Pizza.

In the 1980s Dick’s Pizza was an institution in West Bend. The original Dick’s Pizza dates to the 1950s when Dick Turnquist opened on north Main Street near where West Bend Tap & Tavern is located.

“In 1977 Turnquist started building the new restaurant on 18th Avenue but he was killed in a car crash three weeks before even opening,” said owner Earl Richter about the crash on Paradise Drive when Turnquist swerved to avoid hitting a dog.

An employee at the restaurant, Paul Schloemer became the new owner and ran the business for three years before Dave Wolf bought the pizza place in March 1980. Twenty-one years later in December 2001 Richter bought the business.

“We really grew the sales within the first three or four years,” said Richter. “My sales were probably fifty percent higher than anything they’d ever done but all of a sudden one restaurant after another started opening in this town.”

Neighbors remembered a number of things about Dick’s Pizza; from the thin crust to the spicy tomato sauce to the hot cheese.

The Inferno Bar & Grill will have pizza samples available on Thursday, February 20 starting at 3 p.m. through dinner.

Sample pizzas will be made on the spot so they stay warm and fresh.  Everyone that comes in can get a free slice of pizza.  It will be served party style, so it is cut into small squares.

Pizza will be available for sale with a $3 off pizza special every Thursday.  The full pizza menu is below. It also includes the soup of the day and chili options.  You can also combo the soups with sandwiches for discounts, and there is a “half a sandwich/cup of soup” option.

The Inferno is also contracting for delivery. For those who want to call in and get food to go –  (262) 353-9016.