Boots & Sabers

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2019, 01 Nov 20

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Bull elk spotted on trail cam wandering near Holy Hill

Bow hunter Nathan Heinritz of Hartford said he and his wife had to watch the trail camera footage about 10 times because they couldn’t believe what they were seeing.

“That is a 4×4 wild bull elk,” said Heinritz. “We’ve seen turkey and whitetail deer and all of a sudden a giant elk… we couldn’t believe it.”

After binge watching the 20-seconds of video Heinritz called the DNR and it confirmed the bull elk is tagged and comes out of Jackson County, WI.

“The tag number is 323 and this bull elk along with a cow elk have been moving down south in search of other elk,” Heinritz said. “The rut for the elk is September through October.”

The elk came ambling through an area near Holy Hill and Highway 164 on Tuesday, October 20 at 11:44 p.m. The video shows some precipitation and the grey and white elk moving directly toward the camera.

“I pulled the camera the next day and that evening my wife and I were looking through the video and we couldn’t believe our eyes,” he said. “We didn’t even know there were elk in this area.”

Heinritz grew up in Pewaukee and his wife in St. Lawrence.

“We have a lot of family who are hunters and nobody ever mentioned elk.  We didn’t even know it was possible… it was just crazy.”

Heinritz, 31, returned to the trail and found monster hoof prints left by the elk.

“Matter of fact you can see the elk’s breath at the end of the video and its antler or nose flipped open the cover of the trail cam and you can hear that in the video,” he said. “When I checked the camera, I wondered why the cover was flipped open but it was the bull elk tampering with the trail cam.”

As far as the size and weight of the bull elk, Heinritz said he could not even estimate but the DNR said the herd is doing well.

“There is a herd in Jackson County called the Black River herd of elk and they were released a couple years ago and they’re all doing very well,” said Heinritz. “The cows are having calves and the population is expanding and that’s encouraging to hear.”

The gun-deer season is ahead and Heinritz confirms an elk tag is needed and those tags are very hard to come by.

According to the DNR the elk hunting season is open Oct. 17 – Nov. 15, 2020 and Dec. 10-18, 2020. Only Wisconsin residents are eligible to receive an elk tag.

“When thousands of people apply for an elk tag only 10 hunters get it and they normally hunt north in the Hayward, WI or Clam Lake area,” Heinritz said. “There is a herd up there and that population is about 160 so there’s a better chance of seeing one.”

Because the gun deer season is Nov. 21 – 29 Heinritz thought it best to report the elk sighting to the DNR. “I wanted it on their radar so they could share the information and warn hunters,” he said. “You really need to know your target and beyond. Hunters need an elk tag to shoot and elk but those tags are very rare.”

The DNR told Heinritz “this is the first time a wild bull elk has come this far south into Washington County.”

Right before Heinritz called in his sighting the DNR said it fielded a report from Waukesha County. “It was a day or two prior and after I posted my video on October 23 there was a reporting of the same elk in Fond du Lac County,” he said. “So that elk is on the move. He came through here at midnight so he must be moving at night”

An education in elk at Shalom Wildlife

On Monday, October 26 a story was posted at about a bull elk seen in the Holy Hill area near Highway 164.  Nathan Heinritz shared an awesome trail cam video of a large young bull elk walking at 11:44 p.m. on October 20.

The animal is a bit out of place and according to the DNR they’ve been tracking it since it came out of the Jackson County area.

David Fechter from Shalom Wildlife has several elk, bull and cows. He said this is mating season for the elk and the young buck has one thing on his mind.

“One boy gets all the girls,” said Fechter about the elk population. “What they do is the dominant elk chase the young bulls away and then they go off and try to find new territory.”

Fechter said normally in January, after the mating season is over, the young bulls can go back and rejoin the herd.

Shalom has a pasture full of elk including one Fechter thinks is the size of the young bull that has been traipsing through Washington County. “The young guy in the photo will make a lot of miles in a day, sometimes 30 to 40 miles a day, but he won’t find anything down here… unless he comes to Shalom… which is possible,” he said.

The dominant elk at Shalom, named Buttercup, is 10 years old. Fechter refers to him as a Royal elk because he has six tines on his antlers. If he had seven tines he would be an Imperial and eight would be a Monarch.

We got pretty lucky during a stop at Shalom Wildlife as the bull elk let go its bugle mating call. “That’s pretty rare to see,” said Fechter.

Then things went very National Geographic got together for a little afternoon delight. “Well now that’s very rare to see,” said Fechter.

Within minutes the bull elk was sniffing the air again. “It’s called scenting the air and he’s checking to see if there are any other cows in heat,” he said.

The bull made a brief advance in the direction of the young bull elk but the youngster kept his distance.

“The bull elk can mate 20 or more times in a matter of weeks,” said Fechter. “Sometimes a couple times a day. The bull elk can lose up to 25-to-30 percent of its body weight during the mating season because they’re trying to keep other bulls away while keeping all the girls together.”

“There is a sense of urgency for a bull elk to pass along its genes as fast and as often as he can because he only has a couple years to really do that,” Fechter said.

Old-fashioned pumpkin patch field trip at St. Frances Cabrini School

The temps were a little chilly Tuesday morning but the kids at St. Frances Cabrini School were dressed for the weather and a traditional field trip.

Mittens, check. Knit hat, check. Pillowcase, check. And off went Mrs. Pat Kraemer’s kindergarten class with little red wagon in tow to the pseudo pumpkin patch in the grassy area next to the old Cabrini convent….. and ooooooh were the kids excited!

“Oh, my goodness… look at all these pumpkins,” said Mrs. Kraemer.

The kids sloshed through leaves to find the perfect pumpkin. They were all of a pretty manageable size.

Halloween on Indian Lore donated the pumpkins for the event which included K3 and K4 classes. “The kids are pretty excited, which is good,” said Principal William Waech.

Kewaskum man on the mend following horrific accident

Neighbors across Kewaskum and Washington County are praying for Joey Donald after he was involved in a horrific accident Thursday afternoon, October 22 on eastbound I-94 in Waukesha County.

The accident happened at 2:48 p.m. at HWY G just west of Grandview Road. The call came in as “one person pinned under pickup truck.”

Joey’s wife Carrie relayed how the accident happened.

Joe was on I-94 east when he saw a lady spin out and hit the median 3 times. In Joe fashion, he quickly pulled over to make sure the lady was ok. He went up to her window, confirmed she was ok and then took her phone and called 911. That is all he can remember… Thank God.

Suddenly, another lady came down the road and hit the exact spot that the lady Joe was helping hit and also hit the median. She then flew into the truck that Joe was helping which then rear ended his work truck and threw it 100 feet.

When she rear-ended the car Joe was helping, it threw him into the median, the car ran over him and pinned him against the median. Fire truck had to use a winch to get the truck off Joe because they could not get to him.

Carrie and Joey have been married five weeks and have two children.

First, we want to thank you for all your prayers. I just wanted to share with all of you Joe’s condition. In case you did not hear yet, I got a horrific call yesterday from Froedert informing me that Joe was hit by a car. I am writing this cause as much as I to respond to all of you, my time needs to be with Joe. He is down at Froedert in the SICU right now.

He had a broken pelvis, broken humerus, 2 broken ribs, 2 cuts by his right eye, fractured L1, L2 and a puncture in his bladder. He had surgery today on his pelvis where they had to put in plates and screws to put it back together.

During surgery he lost 2 liters of blood, so they had to do a blood transfusion. When they got all that under control, they then went into his bladder and repaired the tear that the pelvis ripped. Everything finished great.

His humerus bone did not get fixed today because with the transfusion and the extra time under sedation. They want to wait till next week so he has time to heal before the next big surgery. They are keeping him sedated overnight along with a breathing tube to keep him relaxed and rest easy. I also got the chance to talk to the police officer that was at the accident yesterday.

We need your continued prayers as this will be a long recovery for Joe. But in the words of Joe before surgery, “There ain’t no way a Ford is gonna kill me!”

We love you all and thanks for all your kind words and prayers.

Slinger School District partners with Allenton American Legion

As a tribute to Veterans Day members of the Allenton American Legion Fohl-Martin Post 483 gathered for photos and to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Fohl-Martin Post is working with the Slinger School District to gather memories and answer questions for students in lieu of visiting the classes this year.

Coming up watch for more videos as members of the Allenton American Legion answer student questions about being in the military, what they did for a job, where they slept, what they ate and if they missed their mom.

Jackson man recognized for his efforts to save a life

Doug Sewell, 42, of Jackson received a commendation from Washington County in October for his efforts to save a life while working for the Shared Ride Taxi Service.

On September 21, 2020, Sewell picked up a client from the nursing home and quickly noticed at a stoplight the woman was unresponsive. “I pulled over, checked her pulse and called 911 and started CPR until paramedics came,” said Sewell.

The woman eventually died at the hospital however Sewell received a commendation for “going above and beyond” in his efforts and for being a man of strong “character, quick action, and demonstration of love for his neighbor.”

“The recognition makes me feel appreciated,” said Sewell. “I tried to stay calm and just do the best I could.”

Scott Stortz to announce candidacy for Village of Slinger president

While most election eyes are focused on Tuesday, November 3 there are some people looking ahead to the April 2021 election including Scott Stortz.

Later today Stortz is expected to announce his candidacy for president of the Village of Slinger.

“Current Village President Russell Brandt has indicated he will not be running again and I bring some unique insight and skills to the table and want to give it a shot,” Stortz said.

A familiar name in the area, Stortz has been in local real estate for close to 30 years and is owner of Star Properties, Inc. for the past 24 years.

“I bring business skills to the table with a successful, well-known company. I’m used to negotiating with real estate sales and troubleshooting and I have many years of serving the community from county level to the Village of Jackson and Slinger,” he said.

Stortz is not a stranger to local politics. In early 2000 he was a supervisor on the Washington County Board and while living in the Village of Jackson he was on the Plan Commission and Village Trustee.

Stortz touts his work with the Boys & Girls Club and public-private partnerships.

A father of two children in the Slinger School District, Stortz said he has a good grasp on young families and growing the community.

“I have fresh ideas and fresh perspective on ways of thinking through things,” he said.

Questioned how he would fill the corner on Highway 60 and Highway 175 after Casey’s General Store razed its building and then announced it would not be moving forward with new construction, Stortz said he sees opportunity.

“Not only that corner but downtown Slinger as well,” he said. “In this time of businesses closing or struggling, I find my clients are coming up from Milwaukee to the small towns and I think that is going to be true for smaller companies as well that want the small-town atmosphere and smaller storefronts rather than the chaos of the bigger cities.”

Stortz, 51, was born in Richfield. He lives in the Village and touts the strengths of the community starting with the Slinger School District, robust rail line, local ski hill, and racetrack as well as the positive, strong family values and work ethic.

The election for the non-partisan seat in the Village of Slinger is April 6, 2021.

Candidates can start pulling papers Dec. 1, 2020. Signatures are due January 4, 2021 in order to qualify to be on the April 6, 2021 ballot.

“I’m not running against anybody, I’m running for the position,” said Stortz.

Russell Brandt has been Village President in Slinger since 2003. He has previously served as a supervisor on the Washington County Board and in November 2019 filled non-candidacy papers.  In the late 1980s and early 1990s Brandt served for six years as a Village Trustee in Slinger.

Day 17 and Town of Barton man has not received requested absentee ballot

Terry Lyons of the Town of Barton is not a happy camper. Lyons contacted about the status of his absentee ballot. His story is below.

“My absentee story: I am going to be away for the election, so I ordered an absentee ballot on 10/9/20. Sherry Eckert, Town of Barton Clerk, who is a longtime friend, mailed the ballot to me on 10/12. Well here it is 11 days for the USPS to deliver, but no ballot. So I went and did in-person absentee voting and cancelled the absentee ballot. This tells me that the post office worries are valid.

Sherry was extremely surprised. Asked me to let her know if it ever shows up. I feel I do not trust the USPS for voting issues. They sure can get a pile of junk mail to me everyday yet can’t get a ballot across town! Do not vote by mail. Go to in-person absentee voting if need be. There are no crowds.

If they have ordered a ballot, it can be cancelled when going in for absentee voting.

And yes, it makes me angry!  Signed Terry Lyons”

Sherry Eckert is the clerk in the Town of Barton. She said she is familiar with Lyons.

“I don’t have a lot of people who have called me saying they have not received a ballot,” she said.

“Eleven days is excessive. I usually try to find out and I look at to see if there was a mistake in the address. A lot of time they are entering the address so it could be a small error in anything.”

Eckert’s advice on dropping a ballot in the mail is to monitor it closely.

“They should closely monitor the website and it would show when the ballot is mailed. I would give it 10 days and then call the clerk,” she said.


“They can also come in to vote. I had one person where I issued the ballot, he didn’t receive it and I welcomed him to come in and vote. We spoiled his ballot; he didn’t have one to turn over but people should vote in person if they’re concerned.”

Lyons contacted on Tuesday night and said his ballot still had not arrived and that would make it 16 days since the request was submitted.

Dean Krueger is postmaster at the US Post Office in West Bend.

He said the ballot requests are sent down to Milwaukee for processing. “We do not hold anything in the local Post Offices because they want to be sure they’re processed to the right address, there’s tracking information built into the barcode on that ballot and that will show when that piece is processed with the date and time and then it comes back usually within the next day or two to be delivered,” said Krueger.

“Depending on this man’s address it could be delivered by West Bend Post Office or it could be delivered by Kewaskum Post Office. But once it goes down to Milwaukee it gets processed and delivered by the carrier to the customer.”

Questioned whether he could explain the 11, now 16 days without receiving a requested ballot. “That seems extremely excessive and I don’t know,” he said.

“We want the requests sooner than later so everything can be processed. Without having seen that piece or knowing the address I can’t give you an exact reason for the delay.”

Lyons asked who is being held accountable?

“The actual tracking of the individual ballots is not something the USPS is capable of monitoring. I can tell you the steps we take locally is we sweep our buildings in the morning, mid-day and night to make sure nothing is left in the building. We do surveys and that goes to the district to show the sweeps are being done.

“If we have ballots that come to our office that are not for our office, we send them via express mail to the intended office to ensure they get there. We had an Allenton ballot and I personally drove it to the Allenton polling station so it got there.

“We deliver in a timely manner right up until the election,” said Krueger.

Lyons advised people “go in person if you want your vote counted.”

“I’m teed off,” he said. “My faith in the USPS has evaporated.”

Election Day is November 3, 2020.


2019, 01 November 2020


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