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2141, 01 Mar 20

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Property sale complete for new TIF District 14 in West Bend

The property sale of 28.57 acres east of S River Road (Hwy G) and north of Highway NN is complete. According to records at West Bend City Hall the sale from John Renner to the City of West Bend was finalized February 7, 2020.

The parcel sold for $20,927 per acre which equals a total sale of $597,900. The transfer fee was $1,793.70. That property is connected to the new TIF District 14 which will a business/industrial park and be home to the new development of Milwaukee Tool.

Interfaith Caregivers thankful for $82,500 grant from Senior Corps

Interfaith Caregivers of Washington County is singing the praises of its volunteers and giving “thanks” to Senior Corps for an $82,500 grant it just received.

“This is exciting news for our organization and the community,” said Interfaith Executive Director Janean Brudvig.

The mission at Interfaith is to connect senior citizens with caring volunteers in Washington County.

“The grant will further allow us to recruit and engage our volunteers who provide rides to medical appointments and the grocery store,” said Interfaith Communications Director Clare Robbe. “Our volunteers also visit and bond with lonely and isolated seniors and the grant will help engage volunteers with elder-abuse prevention.”

“The grant will allow us to impact needs of senior citizens in our community and thanks to all the volunteers; we couldn’t do this without you,” said Brudvig.

Interfaith Caregivers provided over 14,000 rides to senior citizens who need transportation to critical services including the doctor, appointments,

“Our services provide a family feel,” said Robbe. “Our clients can rely on our volunteers and they like that volunteers sit with them and wait at their appointments so they don’t feel alone.”

Interfaith Caregivers of Washington County: Senior Corps RSVP volunteers will provide transportation for home bound seniors and veterans to preventive/medical appointments and other services that allow them to live independently; be trained in Elder Abuse Prevention in order to identify and mitigate elder abuse of financial fraud, abuse and/or neglect; provide education on Elder Abuse prevention to at-risk seniors and their caregivers and provide outreach and education within the community; operate a durable medical equipment loan and resource referral program. ($82,500 grant; 185 Senior Corps members)

Giving time to Interfaith Caregivers is a rewarding experience. Whether it’s getting a group together to clean up an elderly neighbor’s yard or simply folding a fresh load of laundry, your time makes a real difference! In the end, don’t be surprised if you forget who’s helping who.

If you want to check out come and hear more about Interfaith Caregivers, join us Friday, March 6 at 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for Percolate, a chance for coffee, bakery and conversation, is held at the Interfaith office in West Bend, 2374A W Washington Street.  Come join us!

Kewaskum Police officers receive Life Saving Award     By Kewaskum Police Department

Kewaskum School Resource Officer Kevin Kohn and Officer Luke Wilhelm have each been issued a Life Saving Award from Kewaskum Chief of Police Thomas Bishop for their actions February 13, 2020.

On that date, both officers responded to a medical call for a male subject who possibly overdosed. Upon arrival, officers began life saving measures as the subject was unconscious and turning blue. NARCAN was administered to the subject and, after a short time, the subject regained consciousness. He was then transported via Kewaskum Rescue to Froedtert West Bend Hospital.

The 17-year-old male has been charged with Possession of Narcotic Drugs and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

The Kewaskum Police Department is trained in the use of Narcan in an effort to combat overdose deaths associated with opiate use and addiction. The quick actions of these officer’s directly resulted in saving this young man’s life, while placing themselves in a potentially dangerous situation — these efforts deserve recognition.

“On behalf of the Kewaskum Police Department and citizens of the Village of Kewaskum, I am proud to issue this award to Officer Kevin Kohn and Officer Luke Wilhelm for their outstanding performance on February 13, 2020,” said Kewaskum Police Chief Tom Bishop.

Holy Angels Students of the Month for January 2020 | By Anne Weise

Holy Angels School in West Bend is recognizing three students for the month of January 2020 including Michael Held, Lyra Keegan and Brady Barnes. 6th Grade:  Michael Held is an all-American kid.  He is a good student, with nice study skills. He is a friendly, positive, happy person who enjoys participating in a variety of activities and is a natural leader. He likes pizza and baseball. In fact, he plays many sports including basketball and football. When he isn’t shooting layups, Mikey is probably playing video games or hanging around with his family and friends.  At school, he helps out by serving at Mass and is also on the Forensics team.

7th Grade:  Lyra Keegan – is a very detail-oriented student. She pays close attention in class and will always ask questions about any piece of the concept she doesn’t feel comfortable about. She is not satisfied with doing less than a stellar job.  In addition to being strong academically, she is very artistic. Lyra participates in Forensics and helps out at school as a patrol and as a server for Mass.  Outside of school, she enjoys biking and swimming. Lyra is particularly passionate about running cross country.

8th Grade:  Brady Barnes is a quiet, funny, kind eighth grader. When he isn’t walking around on crutches, Brady participates in basketball and plays golf. He has impressed his teachers with his academic focus this year. He has improved his study skills and shown a willingness to ask for help when necessary. Brady serves at Mass and is part of the 8th grade Bells Choir.  When he isn’t hanging out with his family and friends, he enjoys playing Fortnite.

West Bend School District discusses November referendum

As the West Bend School District is in the midst of searching for a new superintendent it is also moving forward with discussion on a November 2020 referendum proposal. Some of the items reviewed at the Monday, Feb. 24 meeting.

The timetable included administration working with consultants and stakeholders from January through May, May through late July there would be mailings and school community groups soliciting feedback, interpreting feedback, confirm and finalize projects and cost and establish full scope. By Monday, August 3, 2020 the board would need to approve a resolution for referendum which would be on the November 3, 2020 ballot.

The early though was an elementary school in Jackson with a size between 550/600.

The existing referendum and debt listed at $33,245,000 through 2027-28. There is a board workshop slated for March 16 with a final boar resolution deadline of Aug. 24. In April 2019 a proposed $47 million referendum with a $74 million total failed in the West Bend School District.

In October 2019 the West Bend School District Private Task Force unveiled a solution to the West Bend School District’s facility needs. The Task Force, which was an independent body, reported it could address the issues, including funding and declining enrollment, without raising property taxes.

Board President Joel Ongert questioned the Task Force’s findings and invited them back to explain.

West Bend School Superintendent position posted

The job opening for a superintendent in the West Bend School District has been posted. This follows an announcement Superintendent Don Kirkegaard is returning to South Dakota to take a job in his previous school district.

The timeline for receiving applications is 11:30 a.m. on March 12, 2020. A new superintendent is expected to be announced by April 27, 2020 with a start date of July 1, 2020.  The posting by the consulting firm in Omaha, NE initially posted the opening February 13, 2020.

The West Bend School District will now have had five superintendents over the last four years. Kirkegaard was hired after former Superintendent Erik Olson submitted his resignation December 14, 2017. Olsen was hired June 2016. The School Board approved a two-year contract with Olson at a salary of $155,000. In 2017 that contract was extended another two years. The payout to Olson was about $300,000.

Prior to Olson, Ted Neitzke served as superintendent from 2011 – June 2016 when he resigned and Laura Jackson served as interim superintendent after Olson left and prior to Kirkegaard.

Slinger High School student recognized for logo design for Washington County Drug Treatment Court

Washington County Judge Todd Martens praised Slinger High School student Morgan Rogacki during a meeting this week of the Slinger School Board.

Rogacki was the winner of a contest to design a logo for Washington County’s new Drug Treatment Court. She was presented with a plaque and recognized for her art work, which was selected from over 30 submitted logos from five high schools across Washington County.

According to Judge Martens, “The goal of Drug Treatment Court is to help persons with substance abuse problems get sober, stay sober and rebuild their lives.  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. 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!”

Simon Weinandt of West Bend receives Eagle Scout pin

Simon Weinandt received his Eagle Scout pin during an Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony for Scouts BSA Troop 762. The celebration was in the old gym at St. Mary’s Immaculate Conception in Barton. Following the posting of the colors and an invocation by Rev. Andrew Infanger, Weinandt, 18, was praised for his leadership, love of the outdoors, and his dedication to scouts.

Weinandt was featured in an article in November 2019 when there was a special blessing for his Eagle Scout project. He built 14 Stations of the Cross in the park across from St. Mary’s Immaculate Conception Parish in Barton.

The 14 Stations feature a stone base, a large wooden cross and a series of bronze images “portraying events in the Passion of Christ from his condemnation by Pontius Pilate to his entombment. “The most challenging part was not at all in the building, but it was in the planning,” said Weinandt. “People are eager for it to be used.”

A scout since he was 6 years old, Weinandt sports a tan sash crowded with 48 merit badges. “Wilderness survival is probably the one I’m most proud of,” he said. “I got that in my first year in scouts and it was one I really wanted because you have to build your own shelter in the woods and start fires.”

Chess and music making are two other merit badges that rank high on his list of accomplishments. Earning the highest rank of Eagle Scout was also one of his goals. “There’s a saying that only two-percent of people make it to Eagle Scout,” Weinandt said. “But I had a standard that was set by my dad, brother Spencer, uncle and cousin; they all achieved it and I wanted to too.

During the Eagle Scout ceremony Weinandt’s parents participated in swapping out his red neckerchief for a royal blue neckerchief with red and white trim.

Weinandt will be attending tech college in Red Wing, Minnesota where he will study to be a luthier, a maker of string instruments like violin, bass, and cello.

GUEST EDITORIAL | Why is it difficult to find volunteer firefighters            By Ron Naab

The issue of finding people to fill the boots of a firefighter or EMT is challenging. It is a societal issue. We are now in the mindset of what others can do for us and not what we can do for others. I have had conversations with younger generation.  Following is a post in response to the Slinger Fire Department asking for help over the weekend to dig you fire hydrants, when I suggest to an individual to join a fire department; “no thanks, time is all I have in this life and I don’t give that away for free.”  How do we change that mind set?

How did we create a generation that is not willing to sacrifice their time, their skills, or their talents to help others?  I had a mentor tell me once, “Your kids are what you make them.  The apples don’t fall far from the tree.”

I have read many times that our Wisconsin fire service is made up of approximately 78% volunteers.  These individuals that are willing to leave a kid’s birthday party, get up at 3 a.m. for a fire call that could last until 8 a.m. and still go to work, are willing to give 2 to 3 nights a month to be trained and hone their skills or are willing to spend hours to design and purchase and verify construction of a new piece of apparatus or building.

WHY!! Because of pride, pride in their membership to an elite group of individuals that all love helping others.

Pride in that they have successfully completed 100+ classroom hours to become a Firefighter 1 or 180 hours to become an EMT.  Plus, to become a IV Tech is another 100 hours. They have pride in the fact you were able to help someone at a very terrifying or tragic time in their lives so they can “see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

After the educational requirements and training we still ask our members to give up hours to help raise money to buy equipment.  How many other government or quasi-government entities must do fund raisers to purchase their trucks, or their equipment?

We expect our firefighters to enter building made of lightweight construction filled with furniture made of petroleum-based products, that burn hotter and faster.

Firefighters pride in their department maybe because of the equipment or the building they have for a fire station that was purchased with fund raising dollars and taxpayers supported dollars.

Former Chief Chuck Himsel of Mount Horeb Fire-Rescue stated once to his fire district board, “We have 50 people respond to any type of call at any time of day, on any given day of the year for NO money.  All we as a department and as a community have to offer is pride.  Pride in who we are, what we do and what we have.  So, if the members want a bell on a fire truck or an area to have an antique apparatus on display, this is nominal to the dollars we would have to pay them for each call.

We as fire departments and as communities need to look at ways of attracting younger generation members of our community so they will get involved.  Our department, Allenton, has had an Explorers Club, their other departments that have similar program where 8th graders through seniors can be a part of the fire department to be part of training and do support duties at an emergency scene. These programs have been very successful, it takes a group of adult fire-rescue members to be willing to support this group.

Another factor that makes operating and funding a department in today’s world is the cost of equipping a firefighter with a helmet, with a hood, firefighting and rescue gloves, turnout coat and pants, boots along with a pager to alert them.  Total cost is approximately $2,500 plus.  This does not include Self Contained Breathing Apparatus [air packs] we are at $6,500+ and the cost go on.  A single-axle truck to haul water is in the range of $275,000.  In 1973 you could do this vehicle for less than $13,000.

Our community governments and businesses need to be supportive of our volunteer and paid-on-call emergency services. There was a time that employers would allow their employees to respond to calls with NO dock in pay.  NOW we have a difficult time getting these entities to allow them to respond.  One reason is the owners are not residents of the community.  There was a time that local municipalities allowed fire departments to have a few extra things so as to pay wages.  I understand tight budgets, we need to be creative to get businesses to support our volunteers.  We need to work with state legislators and those representing us in Washington, D.C.  I believe that valid avenue to help get people involved and to support our volunteer fire-rescue squads is having a tax credit for employers based on allowing employees to go on calls.  We need to get tax credits for firefighters and emergency medical responders for time being served, training and responding.

This year alone there are probably 15 bills that would have supported our firefighters.  Some of these bills introduced were to give tax credits to volunteers, with more years of service the greater the credit.  The Length of Service Award changed to Service Award Program which was funded by local governments and the state was changed to allow younger, less time served firefighters and EMTs to cash out.  The payout was raised but the funds were not set aside this some that retired this year are still waiting for funds.  There was a bill to increase the penalties for those that caused bodily harm or death and accident scene.  There was a bill to help get timely reimbursement to those departments that are involved in Wisconsin’s Urban Search and Rescue Task Force.   WHAT HAPPENED TO THESE BILLS?  They died at a committee chairman’s desk or at the legislator in-charge of the assembly or senate.

In my opinion, our state and our federal government need to get involved!  We need to have representatives that will follow through and not make promises and not to follow through to get the legislation completed.


2141, 01 March 2020


  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    Well stated Ron,

    I remember a conversation here bitching about the ridiculous amount of training hours turning off volunteers and Nord denied the facts. We also had libs taking same position on nursing training requirements.

    We have liberals running around in denial of this problem. More absurd government regulation equals less volunteers/more cost.

  2. Le Roi du Nord

    Mr. Naab makes some great points, but nowhere does he mention “the ridiculous amount of training hours turning off volunteers”.  Either you struggled to comprehend the written word once again, or you intentionally made up a false narrative to make a point unsupported by the piece written by Mr. Naab.   What is a great interest is his comment, “WHAT HAPPENED TO THESE BILLS?  They died at a committee chairman’s desk or at the legislator in-charge of the assembly or senate”.  Ask yourself, which party controls both the senate and assembly?

    And in our previous discussion regarding volunteers I did not deny any facts.  But I did relay the unanimous feelings of our volunteer department, and those of all the surrounding departments at a county-wide meeting.  Why must you lie to support your anti-education and anti-safety agenda?

  3. Kevin Scheunemann


    So will you stipulate the training requirement for volunteer firefighters is excessive and discouraging/oppressive toward the time of the volunteers?

  4. Le Roi du Nord


    Not at all.  Better training results in better and safer outcomes.  And nowhere in my experience is your claim true.  And it appears Mr. Naab disagrees with you as well.

    Perhaps you should focus your ire on the current senate and assembly leadership.

  5. Kevin Scheunemann


    This is why simple problems can’t get solved.

    We can’t even agree on the hurdle to more volunteerism.

    Is it really ” volunteer” when you force that much training?

    Time is valuable, and if you place difficult hurdles in the way, you get less participation.

    Why must you be an oppressive central planner, destroying volunteer spirits wherever you go?

  6. Le Roi du Nord


    Why would anyone, me included, agree with your false narrative? You have provided nothing to prove your point.

    Have you contacted vos and fitz regarding Mr. Naab’s concern?

  7. Mar

    While Mr. Naab didn’t mention, the training being excessive is the elephant in the room.
    As a former volunteer firefighter and EMT, I can say a lot of the training involves big city problems as opposed mostly rural areas. Why would a volunteer need to learn about high rise hose pacts and nothing on silo and barn fires?
    The Firefighter 1 class should be about the basics and learn the more detailed lessons in Firefighter 2.

  8. Kevin Scheunemann


    This is the nursing regulation issue all over again.

    These libs don’t get it.  More regulation and training means less interest.

  9. Mar

    The other thing about the training for volunteers. The 100+ hours is not completed in just a few weeks. Because they are volunteers, the class usually runs about 4 hours a class, one or two times a week. That’s 3 or months of training before you even go and operate at a fire or rescue scene. Sure, you will get pack and unpack those, clean the trucks and do dirty work. That’s not a great incentive to be a volunteer.

  10. Le Roi du Nord

    I guess we can agree to disagree on this one.  Based on my experience as Town Chair, and being on our County Mutual Aid organization, I have never heard ANYONE from our rural northern WI county say that the drawback to recruiting new volunteers, or retaining existing ones are training requirements.  What I have heard from numerous chiefs is that they see several issues; aging population, longer commutes for working members, other activities and commitments.  Perhaps there are different reasons in your area,  but not up here.

  11. Kevin Scheunemann


    Clearly, you are not listening to people close to this.


  12. Le Roi du Nord


    How could you possibly make that claim without being at our meetings and talking to our folks? Or is it yet another display of your unbounded arrogance and inability to admit you don’t know everything about everything?


  13. Kevin Scheunemann


    I am not in love with unneccessary Marxist central planning like you are.

    This is a clear case where the excessive training requirements for volunteers discourages….big time.

  14. Le Roi du Nord

    No k, it is yet another clear cut case of your aggressive and willful ignorance. Awful. Just awful.

  15. Kevin Scheunemann


    Well, you certainly are not going to solve the volunteer crisis with that attitude.

    Leave solutions to the adults, not the Bernie Sanders romper room.

  16. Le Roi du Nord

    Well k, let us all know when you reach adulthood. Maybe then you will drop all the lies and fall back on the truth.

    And have you contacted vos and fitz yet to argue for Mr. Naabs point?

    And when do you want to attend one of our meetings so you can lecture our volunteers on how training and safety are overrated and unnecessary?

  17. Kevin Scheunemann


    Just because I say MANDATING volunteers take hundreds of hours of training to volunteer is EXCESSIVE does not mean I am against safety.

    That is always the disgusting refuge of central planning crazies, like yourself.

    Your real agenda here is: paid firefighters. You want to take volunteer out of this and make taxpayers pony up, rather than seeking common sense solutions.

  18. Le Roi du Nord


    You are once again lying to protect your fragile ego. Paid firefighters is not on my agenda. It never crossed my mind, as I realize that rural departments like ours could never afford to do that. My real agenda is to support truth and honesty, and to oppose folks like you that resort to dishonesty and outright lies to promote their deceitful agenda.

  19. Kevin Scheunemann


    Then what do you advocate to resolve volunteer shortage?

  20. Le Roi du Nord

    A good start would be some action on the 15 bills described by Mr. Naab.  Since guys like vos and fitz are blood brothers of yours why don’t you encourage them?  Or would that upset your sense of self-righteousness?

  21. Kevin Scheunemann


    Many of those bills convert volunteers to paid staff…that is what you want?

    That would be death of volunteerism.

  22. Mar

    Well, Hell just froze over as I kind of agree with Le Roi.
    Most rural fire districts could never afford full time firefighters and EMTs. It’s just not feasible to have a full time dept who has 100 or less calls a year.
    And I agree that there are bills out there that would help volunteers in pay and retirement. That should not be ignored.
    However, I know there are many fire depts that are private and not government agencies, I wonder how these laws would affect them.

  23. Le Roi du Nord

    Thanks, mar.  You hit the nail on the head.


    Could you expand on your claim, “Many of those bills convert volunteers to paid staff”.  Details please.  Facts would be a bonus.

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