Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Fleet Farm to be razed this week

Contractors from Robinson Brothers Environmental will meet with City of West Bend officials on Monday, July 13 for a final walkthrough of the old Fleet Farm,1637 W. Washington Street, before demolition begins later this week.

The old Fleet Farm and the site of the former Tri-Par, 1613 W. Washington Street, were sold on May 8, 2020 to Kwik Trip Inc. Corp.

Records show Kwik Trip Inc. Corp. paid $3,100,000 for the former Fleet Farm site on the southeast corner of Highway 33 and 18th Avenue.  The parcel was last assessed in 2019 at $2,174,700.

The former Tri-Par parcel just to the east of the large former Fleet building sold for $190,000 to Kwik Trip Inc. Corp. That parcel was last assessed in 2019 at $250,000.

The old Fleet Farm closed Nov. 17, 2019 when the new Fleet opened at 3815 W. Washington Street.

Mike Robinson is vice president of Robinson Brothers Environmental. “The building will come down pretty quickly, in about two to three days, but the concrete below will take a bit more time,” he said.

The building is described as an open-span warehouse. According to Robinson the asbestos in the building was removed last week.

“Metal and concrete will be recycled,” Robinson said. “The gas station will also come down; another company will come in and take care of that.”

Robinson said they are set to start demolition this week. The area will be fenced off Wednesday, July 15 and then the building will come down.

The old Fleet Farm building was constructed in 1968.

Kwik Trip is not expected to start construction on its new store until 2021.

Washington Co. Exec asks Dept. of Revenue to request return of Stadium tax overpayment

It was 1996 when taxpayers in Washington County joined Milwaukee County, Ozaukee, Waukesha, and Racine counties in paying 0.1% sales tax to the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District.

The sales tax would help pay for the construction of Miller Park. That five-county sales tax was promised to end in 2019 or 2020.

This week the Associated Press reported:

“after 23 years, the five-county sales tax that paid for construction of Miller Park in Milwaukee will end March 31, 2020. Members of the board that oversees the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District decided unanimously Tuesday to end the tax. Gov. Tony Evers signed a bill last November to end the tax by Aug. 31. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the tax has collected about $605 million.”

One note however, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the “Wisconsin Department of Revenue overpaid the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District $4.3 million. The district executive director asked to return the money and the Department of Revenue told him not to.

Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann issued the following statement:

Last fall, the legislature finally ensured the baseball district would end this tax in 2020. Act 28 was intended to ensure the Department of Revenue could properly sunset the tax.

Washington County taxpayers have waited too long for this tax to sunset and now Madison bureaucrats cannot figure out how to end the tax. Mike Duckett and the park district board are trying to do the right thing by returning the money to the taxpayers.

If the Department of Revenue cannot figure out how to properly return the money, first thing next session, legislators should introduce a bill which would require the overpayment returned to the taxpayers of the five counties in the most efficient way possible.

In 2017 the Miller Park District put out a question-and-answer statement:

How much sales tax is collected each year? In 2016, the District received $30 million in sales tax revenues.

What does the Miller Park sales tax cost each resident of the five-county District each year? In 2016, it is estimated that each resident of the five counties, on average, contributed approximately $11.

Ozaukee County Fair cancelled

Officials with the Ozaukee County Fair have come out with an extended announcement canceling the 2020 fair.

A portion of the announcement reads:  “We will not be utilizing Firemen’s Park this year for any events, we will not have food vendors or any shows which the public can attend.

“The Fair Board met this week and decided to limit this year’s Fair to the judging of 4-H and Open Class exhibits and holding the traditional livestock and small animal auctions. Attendance will therefore be limited to those necessary events and will not be open to the public.”

The Ozaukee County Fair Board cited “recommendations from the health department” as its primary reason for canceling the 2020 fair. Vendors said they had been informed of the closure earlier this week.  The Ozaukee County Fair had been scheduled July 29 – August 2, 2020.

The full announcement from the Ozaukee County Fair Board is below.

Contrary to misinformation in the community and media, the Ozaukee County Fair Board has enjoyed a very collegial and productive relationship with the Washington and Ozaukee Health Department, Ozaukee County, the Cedarburg Fire Department and City of Cedarburg.

As we have stressed in prior announcements, we have been working closely with the health department for the past several months in monitoring the frequently changing situation as to what events could be held. To that end we relied on recommendations from the health department, including the Guidance for Fairs and Festivals that was released in mid-June, to formulate a safety plan that was shared with multiple organizations.

The planning and recommendations were influenced by positive trends in statistical information that led to changes in recommendations not only for fairs but restaurants and other businesses by the health department. Those positive statistics continued through most of June when the Fair Board was moving forward with its planning.

Unfortunately, the positive trends changed last week and have continued in a negative trend this week.

In keeping with the Fair Board’s stated intent to continue to monitor the situation and be responsive to changes in the situation, and as a result of close communications with the health department, the Fair Board met this week and decided to limit this year’s Fair to the judging of 4-H and Open Class exhibits and holding the traditional livestock and small animal auctions.

Attendance will therefore be limited to those necessary events and will not be open to the public. We will not be utilizing Firemen’s Park this year for any events, we will not have food vendors or any shows which the public can attend. It is with great frustration and regret that we will not be able to hold our traditional fair events, an event that we recognize would be of tremendous morale value to the Ozaukee County community, but prudence dictates otherwise

under the circumstances. While the nature of the Ozaukee County Fair allowed us greater flexibility and time in monitoring events in our planning process, the recent developments required this decision in fairness to our loyal vendors and the community in general.

Field of solar panels to be installed at Regal Ware in West Bend

Regal Ware, 1100 Schmidt Road, in West Bend will soon be home to a field of solar panels. The setup with We Energies is similar to the solar field just a couple blocks away on the corner of Creek Road and N. River Road.

Tyson Strankman from Sunvest Solar Inc. was on hand this week to answer questions as the West Bend Plan Commission reviewed putting solar panels on the grassy area to the east of the Regal Ware building and more panels on the roof of the building.

“It is about 6,186 solar modules,” said Strankman. “It is just a little smaller than the field on Creek Road.”

Half of the 40-inch x 60-inch panels will be installed on the ground and the other half on the roof of the Regal Ware building.

Strankman said the energy created will feed onto the grid and projections are it will generate enough to power 1,400 homes for a year.  “Since Regal Ware is the closest load it will physically go into their plant but they will have to buy it back,” he said. “Otherwise it is basically a power plant that’s feeding the grid.”

Regal Ware is leasing the equipment from We Energies, similar to the agreement Washington County has with its setup on Creek and River Road.

Strankman said there are currently no other plans on tap now for any other solar panel fields in Washington County.  The timeframe for construction is expected to be fall 2020.

Man who drowned on Big Cedar Lake identified

An autopsy is being conducted today on the 50-year-old Wausau man who, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, accidentally drowned Friday, July 3 on Big Cedar Lake.

According to WDEZ Radio in Wausau the man who drowned was Brett Lucht; he was Market Manager of Midwest Communications in Wausau.

According to the radio station web page:

Brett joined Midwest Communications in 1998. He became Market Manager for the company’s Central Wisconsin radio stations (WSAU, WRIG, WDEZ, WOZZ and WIFC) in 2004.

“For many of us, Brett is the only General Manager we’ve ever known,” said Chris Conley, Operations Manager. “Although you’d almost never hear him on-air, he shaped the sound of all five of our radio stations in Central Wisconsin. He either hired or approved the hiring of everyone you hear on-air. Brett was a great leader and a personal friend to so many of his co-workers. It is a devastating loss.”

Tom King said in his blog at wsau.com: “There are so many thoughts that swirl when someone you know passes suddenly. You think of potential unfulfilled. You think of what the person’s last thoughts were as the situation became reality. But mostly you think of the children. I didn’t know Brett that well outside of the office but I can say with some degree of certainty that his last thoughts were on his family. He doted on his wife and three daughters.”

Brett is survived by his wife, Stacy, and three daughters. His sister Lisa is a marketing consultant for Midwest Communications’ WIXX in Green Bay.

Below is the post from the Washington County Sheriff’s Department.

On July 3, 2020, at 7:58 pm, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a man who dove into Big Cedar Lake and had not surfaced.

Big Cedar Lake PRD boat patrol responded along with Sheriff’s Deputies, and Wisconsin State Patrol. Allenton Fire Dept. and West Bend Intercept were dispatched to the address in the 5700 block of West Lake Dr, in the Town of West Bend.

The 50-year-old Wausau man was brought out of the water and lifesaving efforts were attempted on scene.  Ultimately, the man did not recover, and was pronounced deceased.

The case remains under investigation by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the Medical Examiner’s Office.

Name released of Kewaskum woman, 68, killed in Ozaukee County

The Ozaukee County Sheriff’s Department confirmed the woman killed in a two-vehicle accident this week on State Highway 33 just east of Newburg was Jane Strobel of Kewaskum.

Strobel was a passenger in a vehicle that was struck head on around 11:49 a.m. Wednesday, July 8 just east of Singing Hill Road in the town of Saukville.

Authorities said the accident happened when Jane Strobel and her husband Michael, 67, were driving their SUV eastbound on Highway 33 when a westbound vehicle attempted to pass a semi in a no-passing zone.

The westbound vehicle was driven by a 34-year-old Milwaukee woman; she was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The driver of the SUV was also treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Jane Strobel was hospitalized and eventually died from her injuries on Thursday morning, July 9.

Strobel has strong ties to law enforcement in Washington County. She is the sister-in-law to James Schwartz who used to be the Chief of Police in West Bend. Schwartz retired in 2000 after spending 34 years with the West Bend PD. Schwartz’s brother Clarence Schwartz was Washington County Sheriff.

Jane and Mike graduated Kewaskum High School in 1970. Jane Strobel’s mother, Bonnie Theusch, of West Bend died recently at 101. The Ozaukee County Sheriff said the accident remains under investigation.

Slinger on Base U14 boys baseball team wins Field of Dreams tournament 

By Jenny Roemer

A hat tip to Slinger on Base U14 boys and coach Mark Leoni as the team won the “Field of Dreams” tournament in Iowa over the July 4 weekend.  The championship tournament was played on the actual field where the movie was filmed. Leoni has coached the boys since they were 10 years old.

 

 

Washington Co. Dist. 22 Supervisor resigns

There is an opening on the Washington County Board after Dist. 22 supervisor Rock Brandner resigned. Brandner served on the Washington County Board since April 2016. He was reelected in April 2020 and represented the Germantown and Richfield areas.

Washington County Sheriff Martin Schulteis said, “I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked closely with Rock on the Public Safety Committee. His years of dedicated service to our community has made Washington County a better place for all.”

Washington County is now looking for applications from District 22 to fill the unexpired Board term ending April of 2022.  Interested candidates must reside in District 22, attend County Board meetings including regular meetings held on the second Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. and attend regular standing committee meetings.

The Washington County Board of Supervisors is vested with powers of local, legislative character to act upon matters of general government, public safety, transportation, health and human services, court services, land use, planning and the conservation of land resources as delegated to the counties of Wisconsin by State Legislature.

To apply:    Email applications to Don Kriefall, County Board Chairperson at don.kriefall@co.washington.wi.us Subject: District 22 Applicant – Last Name

Mail or drop off applications to P.O. Box 1986, 432 E. Washington Street, West Bend, WI 53095  Attn: Don Kriefall – District 22 Candidate

Applications may include a resume and statement of interest but at a minimum, must contain an address and brief biography.  The deadline for applications is Wednesday, July 22, 2020, at 4 p.m.

Memories of DQ in West Bend

Following the release of Saturday’s story about the possible return of Dairy Queen to West Bend the opportunity came about to share some of the personal memories of DQ.

One included a story about how CURLEY – the ice cream cone mascot at Dairy Queen fell over on Main Street and couldn’t get back up.

At the time the story ran – – we kept the identity of Curley secret – – but we will reveal that the gem making the best of the sweaty time in the cone was none other than Nancy Mehring.

Early reports read: Curly was outside the DQ on Main Street encouraging people to come to inside. Curly fell over and could not get up because of the cumbersome costume.

“It was really easy to fall….my top is bigger than my bottom,” bragged Curly.

The chicken-wire-mesh seam inside the plaster costume helped cushion Curly’s fall.  Cries for help were drowned out by a sudden increase in din as passing cars honked their horns.

“People mistook my flailing for waving and that damn Curly has a smile pasted on its face – so I guess everybody thought I was break dancing and having a gay old time,” said Curly.

D.j. Kleinke photo of curly

Karen MacFarlane – My first job at age 15 was at the DQ on Barton Hill- which has been gone for many years. Many fond Memories of making Dilly Bars-Peanut Buster Bars and those Delicious Chili Dogs. Many Thanks to Jerry and Nancy for Many Years of Hard Work-which brought Many families Fond Memories!

Bernie Nielsen  – Remember it well, great people and business.

Rita Schmitt  – With sincere appreciation and love, for all Nancy and Jerry have done for our community, and the families who have been employed with them, including ours. We thank them for their hard work, dedication, and friendship. God Bless you always…The Schmitt’s…

Jennifer Buchholz – I worked at DQ South for many years. Nancy and Jerry made everyone feel like a part of the DQ family. Thanks for the memories.

Janet Shirkey Sivula – I remember when there was only one Dairy Queen…at the base of Barton Hill. We used to walk there for dilly bars, hoping to get a “free dilly” stick. Thank You Nancy and Jerry for the memories and all your community support !!!

Samantha Danielson I remember the free dilly sticks. I grew up in Barton and I remember going there in the 80’s as a kid. Anyone remember the baseball helmet sundaes?

Ann Sippel Will greatly miss this place…as i still miss Mehrings Fishery downtown on the corner! :(

Joan Wichlacz Thank you to all the Dairy Queens for employing so many young people. Both of my sons worked there after school and on weekends along with many other area teenagers. I loved the bubble gum dilly bars and the buster bars!

Joy Kristine – I met my husband at DQ West in the early 90’s…Jerry and Nancy were always great to their employees. We had a “lock in” overnight at the West side DQ and they let us make/eat all the ice cream we wanted!

Terri Balistreri – I was about 9 or 10, and my parents took us for a ride on a summer day and we ate at DQ on Main. After dinner we went and got our dog Lucky! I will always think of DQ when I think of that special day!

Chelsea Swanson – For my 16th birthday my friends took me to that DQ and surprised me with a group of our out of town friends. We had blizzards before going out to a local concert. It’s one of my favorite memories, only a handful of my friends could drive at the time so it was amazing that they all came for my birthday :)  Oh to be 16 again!

Sarah Harrison – I remember walking there from St John’s school for a tour. And we got to make our own ice cream cones when we were done.

Therese Falter – My husband & I used to meet at this DQ for lunch once a week when we were dating.

Carolyn Rehm Inman – I rode my bike there often as a kid.

Dianne Laatsch Pesch – Such a treat to stop at the Dairy Queens when our kids were young!!

Dawn Weiss – Thank you to Mehrings for many great years. We really miss DQ in West Bend. Many fond memories of taking my family there and also taking my Girl Scout troops there when I was a Girl Scout leader.

United Way Of Washington County – The Mehrings have always been great supporters of United Way Of Washington County! We are grateful for all the years they hosted Blizzard Days for United Way.

Chris Burkart – I remember going in there with friends Steve and Carrie, dropping a few coins in the juke box, and rockin out to Elvis’ Teddy Bear and Jerry Lee Lewis’ Great Balls of Fire. Great memories!

Christy Gagan I can’t believe both of them are gone for good. DQ is my favorite ice cream place and I went there all the time. So sad when I found out they were closed. :(

Gloria Witt I decorated cakes there throughout college. I could make my own hours as long as the freezer was full, backups available, and orders filled! Best job ever! I seriously cried when I became a nurse and had to quit! lol

Gloria Witt – One day I came in for work in the back door… as I walked past the office a guy was in the safe in there…he saw I saw him and came and literally bowled me down and then ran out the back door!!!! I got up and ran to the manager and said, ” I think we were just robbed” the police came and I got to ride in a cop car and taken to the station and worked with a caricatures artist!!! I was like 18 years old….

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