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1649, 07 Jun 20

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

July 4 fireworks may be in jeopardy in West Bend

The West Bend Parks Department is currently putting together a plan regarding the July 4 fireworks.

Mike Jentsch, Park, Rec and Forestry Director for City of West Bend said they have met several times and are evaluating the Washington County Health Department’s Blueprint to Reopen.

“We’re evaluating everything from public safety to what happens if West Bend and Hartford are the only communities in Washington County to have fireworks? How many people will we see traveling into the community?

“At this point in time we do not have an answer whether we will have fireworks on July 4 or not,” said Jentsch.

The discussion, according to Jentsch, is ongoing between the Parks Department, Police and Fire, city administration and the mayor’s office.

“Right now, our answer is, we don’t know for sure,” Jentsch said.

District 4 alderman Randy Koehler encourages people to contact their district aldermen who will be voting on the issue at the Monday, June 15 meeting. “The Parks Department will make a recommendation and the council will then decide to accept it or move in another direction,” said Koehler.

“At some point in time we have to quit living in fear and move on with life,” said Koehler. “It is time to get back to as near normal as possible. The local fireworks to celebrate the country’s freedom is an important event and I think it should go on as in past years.”

Earlier this week the Village of Kewaskum Board voted 4-3 to cancel its July 3 fireworks. By the next day Trustee Jim Wright said he had a change of heart and now the Village is working to take the issue up again.

“In Kewaskum the community was a little surprised by the vote but the common council in West Bend is going to vote on its fireworks so contact your elected official and let them know how you feel,” said Koehler.

District 8 alderperson Meghann Kennedy said it is important we hear from people about the issue. “I hope we are able to reevaluate. I know there was hope for the fireworks and hopefully we’ll still do the fireworks even if they don’t do the July 4 parade,” she said.

Kennedy said the parade is up in the air right now as well. “That’s an evolving situation and we want the events to happen; we have to keep in mind is it best for the city,” she said.

Kennedy said she has not seen a spike in COVID-19 cases and personally she is living a life of supporting local businesses. “I’m going to restaurants and I’m not afraid for myself and I’m definitely on team ‘let’s open things up,’” Kennedy said.

A check Wednesday, June 3 of the Washington/Ozaukee Health Department COVID-19 statistics show 36 confirmed cases in 53090 area code and 42 confirmed cases in 53095.

Jentsch said part of the administration discussion is where to hold the fireworks. Normally Riverside Park is used but alternatives are being reviewed. “I’d rather not discuss the site at this point… it’s not a big secret but we just want to make sure what we bring forward is the right choice for West Bend,” he said.

The fireworks are sponsored by Horicon Bank. It is still onboard to support the event.  If fireworks are moved to another location, there may be more funding issues on the table.

West Bend Mayor Chris Jenkins said, “I believe it is important for both the morale of the City and as an opportunity for our residents, to carry out this celebration of the birth of our nation. I would be in favor of doing so and have made that known to both staff and the Council. I look forward to having this discussion, and hopefully, moving forward with a plan that allows us to celebrate our Independence Day in whatever fashion that may be.”

Balloon release at Regner Park for 19-year-old West Bend man killed in Milwaukee

Friends gathered at Regner Park in West Bend on Thursday afternoon to share memories of their friend who died Wednesday in Milwaukee.

According to

MILWAUKEE — A 19-year-old Milwaukee man was fatally shot near Sherman Boulevard and Locust Street Wednesday night, June 3. It happened just before 9 p.m. Police said the circumstances leading to the shooting are under investigation. Austin Owsley attended West Bend High School.

Phillip Funeral Home in West Bend is handling the service arrangements. More details will be posted when information becomes available.

Kewaskum Village Board flips on initial vote to cancel July 3 fireworks

A busy week for the Kewaskum Village Board which met again in a special meeting Wednesday afternoon to again take up the issue of July 3 fireworks.

See the note from Village President Kevin Scheunemann below.

Fireworks vote at special Village Board meeting this PM was 5 yes, 0 no, 2 abstaining to hold fireworks on July 3.

The only change will be: Reigle Park will be launching point. Reigle Park will be closed to public and Police Chief Tom Bishop will restrict parking and street access near Reigle Park as he deems necessary.

I discourage large crowds from gathering anywhere in the Village, without social distancing, River Hill Park and Kiwanis Park will be open for viewing. I am hopeful there will be other exciting announcements, in relation to other public viewing opportunities, soon, in relation to this event.

Earlier this week the Village Board voted 4-3 to cancel fireworks this year. The next day Trustee Jim Wright had a change of heart. “Initially I was concerned about attracting more people to Kewaskum and causing more problems in light of all the unrest going on today,” Wright said. “However, after not being able to sleep last night I’m reconsidering that vote.”

Wright said he considered the trend of how everything is being taken away from everybody during this pandemic.

“In Kewaskum we lost our ability to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the community and that was really, really upsetting.  Basically, you are talking about an hour or less time for the fireworks,” said Wright.

The fireworks, according to Wright, would have to be relocated to the new Reigle Park because there’s not enough parking available at River Hill Park. “According to the fire chief and the police chief that would be feasible,” said Wright.

A special meeting was called for Wednesday, June 3 where the board reconsidered and the  fireworks issue passed by majority 5 -0 with 2 abstaining including Dave Spenner and Richard Laubach.

On Monday night, June 1 trustees voting to cancel fireworks were Richard Laubach, Dave Spenner, Jim Hovland and Jim Wright. Their decision was due to concerns about COVID-19.

2020 Washington County Fair canceled amid COVID-19 public health concerns

With the uncertainty of the COVID-19 situation and after discussions with Washington County officials and the Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department, the Washington County Agricultural & Industrial Society Board of Directors (AIS) decided the 2020 Washington County Fair scheduled for July 21-26, cannot take place this year.

The AIS Board considered many factors in making this decision but ultimately concluded the risks associated with proceeding with the fair as planned were too much to overcome.

“Planning the fair is a tremendous undertaking and our hearts break for the long list of people and organizations involved in the fair every year, including the exhibitors, staff, hundreds of dedicated volunteers and groups, sponsors, the carnival, food and commercial vendors, entertainment, equipment providers and the fairgoers who make the fair possible each and every year,” said Kellie Boone, Executive Director.

In place of virtual or in-person judging, the Fair is working on a showcase/tribute to the exhibitors and will be reaching out directly to them with information as soon as it is available as well as options for youth exhibitors aging out of participation this year.

Additionally, the Fair Park Committee will be meeting to discuss a possible alternate celebration of the Fair towards the end of Summer or early Fall. Should that transpire, details will be released as soon as they are available.

Regarding the 2021 Fair; both LANCO and Brantley Gilbert have agreed to move their performances to the 2021 Fair.

LANCO will headline the Silver Lining Amphitheater on Thursday July 22 and Brantley Gilbert on Saturday July 24.

Tickets already purchased will be honored for the 2021 dates. If you are unable to attend the 2021 show, a refund can be requested.

Details will be emailed to all current ticket holders.

The Washington County Fair staff will reach out to sponsors, vendors, exhibitors, and other ticket holders with specific information related to them.

“This decision was extremely difficult, and the impact will weigh heavily on all of us,” said Boone. “We thank our community and fair family for their support and understanding as we move forward to when we can all come back together at the 2021 Washington County Fair to be held July 20-25, 2021.” Paradise Spring Fitness may change to senior living development

There is going to be a public hearing Tuesday, July 7, 2020 before the West Bend Plan Commission regarding a proposal to change the zoning at the former Paradise Springs Fitness, 1414 E. Paradise Drive.

There was a request at this week’s Plan Commission meeting to change the 3.2 acres from commercial /single-family residential to institutional land use in order to open a senior living development. The developer would use the original structure of the building and then add a two-story addition. The facility would be designed for 20 assisted living units, 20 memory care units, and 22 senior apartments.

On a history note: That building had been home to Paradise Spring Fitness from mid-December 2009 until owner Tony Chemer moved his business in Sept. 19, 2018.

The property is currently for sale for $1.7 million.

Total Building Area 15,329 SF  Land Acres 2.86 Acres  Expenses $6.60/SF

Lease Rate $14.00 -16.00/SF Net

Washington County elected officials support cancelation of Washington County Fair

Earlier this week an announcement was made to cancel the 2020 Washington County Fair. The Agricultural and Industrial Society (AIS) cited COVID-19 and the standards of the Washington County Health Department which need to be met should the fair continue.

In an effort to allow Washington County 4-H to showcase their animals, the Fair is working on a showcase/tribute to the exhibitors and will be reaching out directly to them with information as soon as it is available as well as options for youth exhibitors aging out of participation this year.

Additionally, the Fair Park Committee will be meeting to discuss a possible alternate celebration of the Fair towards the end of Summer or early Fall. Elected officials in Washington county offered a note of support for the decisions made by AIS.


Hartford Union HS’s Andy Hacker selected Outstanding Educator     By Teri Kermendy

Hartford Union High School’s (HUHS) teacher, Andy Hacker, was selected as a University of Chicago Outstanding Educator, nominated by student, Alexander Byard who was accepted into the University of Chicago Class of 2024.

Each year, newly admitted students can select educators who go beyond everyday teaching and leave an impression that is carried over a lifetime. An Outstanding Educator thinks carefully about their instruction, shares an infectious love for learning, and cares for their students both inside and outside of the classroom. “Recognition from a student of this caliber is extraordinarily humbling and a prime example of the great things our students at HUHS do for the school and community at large. I am honored to know Alex and be able to help support his passions in music and beyond. Helping students realize and reach their goals is rewarding for all teachers and a token of appreciation like this is over the top.

Our HUHS students are incredible individuals and I cannot wait to see where they go as people, scholars, musicians, lovers of music, and professionals. The young adults we work with at HUHS inspire me so much every day.

Franz Liszt said, “For the formation of the artist, the first prerequisite should be the development of the human being.” His words are what drive the instruction at HUHS to help foster lifelong learning and passions.”

St. Lawrence Fire Company cancels 2020 picnic                    By St. Lawrence Fire Company

The St. Lawrence Fire Company made it official today as it announced the cancelation of its 2020 picnic.

St. Lawrence Volunteer Fire Department would like to say THANK YOU to our past, present and future supporters. In one of the most difficult decisions we ever had to make we have decided to cancel our picnic for 2020. We feel terrible for our community and friends. We will be back in 2021 and hope to see you then.

On a follow-up note the Ashippun Firefighter’s Picnic is on for 2020, The Board of Directors of the Ashippun Fire Department has made the decision, to hold the 2020 Ashippun Firefighter’s Picnic. The picnic will be shortened to a one-day event. The date of the picnic, rain or shine, will be Saturday, July 11, 2020. The following events are planned with approximate time frames: Car Show from 8am – 3pm, Big Al and HiFi’s 1pm – 4pm, Wrestling 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., Stetsin and Lace 8:30 p.m. – 12 a.m.

Dollar General moving into Dove Plaza in Slinger       By Ann Bauer

It was a subtle announcement Tuesday, June 2 as a large yellow banner with black lettering was draped across the Dove Plaza sign on Highway 60 in Slinger. A new Dollar General is opening in the stripmall at 1026 E. Commerce Boulavard.

The franchise dollar store will occupy about one third of the shopping center, starting at the corner formerly home to Snap Fitness plus the former Mainly Gold location all the way to Chinatown Kitchen.

There’s a Dumpster out front of the building as the interior remodel is underway. The store is slated to open June 22, 2020. There is currently a Dollar General location in West Bend, 1120 E. Washington Street.

Tuesday Morning to remain open in West Bend

The manager at Tuesday Morning, a home decor store in the West Bend Plaza, said they will remain open for business. Corporate announced it had filed bankruptcy and will close 132 of its nearly 230 locations.

The West Bend store, 828 S. Main Street, first reopened last Friday, May 29 after being shuttered more than a month because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company said in a statement the stores that were closing were deemed “underperforming” or in an area with “too many locations in close proximity.”

There are two Tuesday Morning locations closing in Wisconsin including one outlet in Green Bay and the other in the Greenway Shopping Center in Middleton.

Lazy days of summer

A gaggle of boys took advantage of the remodeled Riverwalk in Downtown West Bend to launch their innertubes and they were off …. floatin’ down the Milwaukee River. One managed to find a plunger and used that as a paddle. Temps were sunny and about 81 degrees. The kids did not seem to be concerned about water temps… or, for that much, anything.  Even with the storms Tuesday night the water was about at knee level.

Lastly, you have in a VM a couple of days ago asked about unemployment rates and had what sounded like a COVID related question…how we might come out of it. Let me know if you wanted to have that conversation…or if the timing on that is past. I did review current employment information in prep. Happy to offer what I can…can call to discuss.

Tom Schwai sets new fish fry record at Fillmore Fire Hall

For the past two years Tom Schwai has thrown down a challenge to serve 600 fish fries at Fillmore Fire Hall for its fundraiser. In 2019 Tommy promised a Schwai’s hot stick for everyone if he served more than 600. Last Friday, Tom just put out a simple challenge and asked people to respond and help support the Fillmore Fire Department. What happened? Watch the video and see if Tommy and his crew reached their goal.

The newly proclaimed “King of the World” of fish fries will be at the Downtown West Bend Farmers’ Market on Saturday with his famous strawberry brats in tow. Come visit the Schwai booth and give Tommy the business about being the Leonardo DiCaprio of the Friday fish fry


1649, 07 June 2020

1 Comment

  1. Kevin Scheunemann


    Celebrating the greatnes of the country is on.


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