Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Plan Commission questioned about property sale to DQ

The owner of Jumbo’s Frozen Custard, Jeff Kern, spoke before the West Bend Plan Commission on Wednesday evening asking how they could justify selling the Mutual Mall to Dairy Queen.

Kern said he appeared before the Plan Commission in 2003 when he proposed investing over $1 million to redevelop the A&W property after it sat vacant following a fire and make it into an independent custard shop.

“While I’m not at all against Kevin or the Dairy Queen to reestablish itself in West Bend it is amazing to me that the City would sell a piece of property to a business that competes directly against me,” said Kern.

“I’m a free-market guy but I don’t understand the purpose of planning commission when the City is actively involved in putting the same frozen dessert-treat service with similar hot dogs, similar hamburgers, similar French fries, as a matter of fact the person who delivers my custard mix will go right across the street and deliver to Kevin.”

“It seems to me that’s a lack of foresight among the City of West Bend in allowing something like that to happen.”

Kern said DQ offered a layout of a beautiful building and expressed a lot of opportunity in West Bend for the business to move forward but questioned why they would locate it across the street from a similar business.

“I just don’t understand why it goes directly across the street from me,” Kern said. “And hits me right in the wallet the minute this vote goes through.”

Kern said “Any opportunity for future sales will be directly related to the vote happening right now.  Evidently the $1.3 million I invested in Jumbo’s when I built, the 17 years of community service and support, the $6 million or $7 million in payroll means nothing to the people sitting in this room.”

“For you to sell a parcel to these people so I can look out the window of my business at my competition. I just want to go on record saying that’s disappointing and I will be here to fight for every customer I have but this chamber is making it very difficult to succeed in this endeavor,” Kern said. Kern said DQ offered a beautiful building and expressed a lot of opportunity in West Bend for the business to move forward but questioned why they would locate it across the street from a similar business.

“I just don’t understand why it goes directly across the street from me,” Kern said. “And hits me right in the wallet the minute this vote goes through.”

Kern said, “Any opportunity for future sales will be directly related to the vote happening right now.  Evidently the $1.3 million I invested in Jumbo’s when I built, the 17 years of community service and support, the $6 million or $7 million in payroll means nothing to the people sitting in this room.”

“For you to sell a parcel to these people so I can look out the window of my business at my competition. I just want to go on record saying that’s disappointing and I will be here to fight for every customer I have but this chamber is making it very difficult to succeed in this endeavor,” Kern said.

City of West Bend development director Mark Piotrowicz said the property was zoned B-1 commercial and the decision to sell the property was up to the Common Council and not the Plan Commission.

The Plan Commission then voted unanimously in favor of the site plan for Dairy Queen. Those voting included Jed Dolnick, Bernie Newman, Sara Fleischman, Steve Hoogester, Chris Jenkins and Max Marechal.

Absent from the Plan Commission were Mike Staral, Bryce Gannon and Chris Schmidt.  The site plan must still go before the Common Council for approval.

Opening of Dunkin’ / Baskin Robbins delayed until December 2020 / January 2021

The facade signs are in place at the new Dunkin’ / Baskin Robbins location in West Bend however neighbors are going to have to wait a bit longer than expected for the opening.

The store, 1610 W. Washington Street, was slated to open in October and then pushed to mid-November. Now media spokesman Louis Lessor said their goal is still a late 2020 opening but that could possibly be delayed to early 2021.

The store is still waiting on a couple pieces of key equipment including several hand-washing stations. Construction got underway June 10, 2020 in the lot formerly home to Pizza Hut.

The 2,160-square-foot property is nearly complete. Signage was installed October 29. The building must still pass building inspection before it can open.

Spaulding Clinical increases stipends

Spaulding Clinical in West Bend has an easy way for people who may have lost their job to make money. Cassie Erato is CEO for the Phase 1 pharmaceutical testing firm. “We really have a good message for our community,” said Erato.

Spaulding Clinical currently has 12 studies available that are paying extremely high stipends.

“Because of COVID-19 it is more difficult to recruit right now,” said Erato.  “We have an abundance of trials to choose from and everyone is increasing their stipends.  So, the amount our clients are paying per day is very high, even though the risk is no greater.”

A sampling of what the stipends are like:

– One study is 20 days and it pays $7,500.

– There is a sunscreen trial that is 5 nights, sunscreen is applied and there are blood draws and it pays $3,200.

– Another study is 7 nights and 9 outpatient visits.  It pays $6,800 and that is for an FDA approved drug for high cholesterol.

“People in the community can really benefit from clinical trials, especially if maybe their restaurant jobs shut down, people are turning to clinical trials for income,” said Erato.  “We are providing so much in stipends right now; we’re sending hundreds of thousands of dollars out each week.”

“We have this abundance of trials to choose from, all for healthy volunteers.  You can take your pick from a quick, short stay or five days and being able to work around your work schedule,” she said.

There are 12 studies currently available and they can talk to our recruitment department to see what they are comfortable with.  There are a lot of different

“I’ve been in this industry for 13 years and I’ve never seen stipend payments like this before,” said Erato. “There was a small surge in 2006 right before the recession but it was not like this.”

Al and Sally Tennies Celebrating 67th wedding anniversary

Please wish Al and Sally Tennies a happy 67th anniversary. The couple were married Saturday Nov. 7, 1953.

“We just believe it’s important to cherish every milestone going forward and 67 years is amazing,” said daughter Melissa Tennies

Al & Sally Tennies met in high school, became high school sweethearts and got married on November 7, 1953 at Holy Angels Church at 10 in the morning.

After church, their driver Webster Tennies whisked them off to Lunch, Dinner and Drinks at the Moose – KC Hall on Sixth Avenue above what was called Carol’s House.

After dinner, the reception took place at Laufer’s Roller Rink where lots of dancing and memories took place.

The secret to a long marriage has always been to talk to each other during dinner, have fun and laugh, be friends and grow old together.

Every Love Story is Beautiful, but our Parents is our Favorite

9 Loved Children 804 Months and Countless Memories

18 Amazing Grandchildren 24,455 Days Laughter, Vacations, Good Times, and Endless Smiles

13 Wonderful Great Grandchildren 586,920 Hours Love Family Forever

35,215,200 Minutes & Counting

ONE BLESSED LIFE!

Candidate interviews Nov. 11, 2020 for open seat on Kewaskum Board of Education 

Ten people have applied to fill one open slot on the Kewaskum School Board. The position opened after Mark Sette quit the board after moving out of the district. The candidates who filed paperwork before the October 30, 2020 deadline are listed below.

Candidate interviews are slated for Wednesday, November 11 at 6 p.m. The board will vote to fill the seat at its next regular meeting. Mark Brunner, Lori Bruno, Clayton Frounfelker, Samantha Goehring, Richard Leitheiser, Andrew Mazurek, Rachel Moore, Trevor Owen, Chris Sabish, and Lawrence Wheaton. The board will select a new member at its meeting November 12. That person will serve for six months as the seat is officially up for election in April 2021.

The Antidote opens in West Bend

After 14 years in the restaurant/bar business Wes Feest, 32, has decided to step out on his own and this Thursday, November 5 he opens The Antidote, 302 N. Main Street.

“We’re going to be a little cocktail lounge and after our kitchen is installed, we’ll have food after New Year’s Day,” said Feest.

After some contemplation Feest said he decided to branch out on his own. “This is a great opportunity for my wife and myself,” he said. “I love this location and the brick. There’s a charm and character to the building with all the natural wood inside.”

The name The Antidote came as a response to the dismal 2020 business climate. “With the shutdown we’re hoping this is the cure for the worst year restaurants have had,” Feest said.

In September 2020, the old Foz’s aka Fasciano Properties, LLC was sold to 301 Properties, LLC for $325,000.

The 2020 assessed value was $277,500.  Foz Enterprises LLC purchased the property April 1, 2001 for $210,000. On October 17, 1996 Barbercheck and Gundrum purchased the property for $186,000.

That corner building has been home to many locally owned tavernkeepers. Over the years other tenants in the tavern included Herbie Lundquist who named it The Blue Room. Bob Corbett dubbed it Corby’s. Bob Weston changed it to The Pub. The tavern was The Mixing Place and then Al May moved in with Kings Guard Pub and Don Zimmel later ran it as Three Old Guys with Russ Vermillion and Randy Miller.

Bloomin’ Lights / Bloomin’ Holidays at Museum of Wisconsin Art

The Museum of Wisconsin Art is being transformed into an outdoor movie theatre this weekend and in the spotlight is Milwaukee artist Gabrielle Tesfaye with an animated show for Bloomin’ Lights.

The entire north-facing façade of MOWA features a multicultural painting and then blends the theme of Bloomin’ Holidays with an array of colorful flowers growing under a slow procession of blue clouds.

The animation cycles through every four minutes and is free to view from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. this Saturday, November 7 and Sunday, November 8.

Stop out at 5 p.m. and as the night sky grows dark watch as the brilliant colors come to life.

Letter to the Editor | Save the trees in Town of Erin      | By Susan Graham

Dear Town of Erin Board,

My name is Susan Graham. I am not a resident of your lovely town, but I enjoy visiting my sister and her family here often. My sister is Jenny Graham, who as you probably remember has attended some of your meetings regarding her strong concern about the plan to clear-cut trees along some of the rustic roads in Erin Township. She asked for my assistance in looking at the trees along some of the rustic roads that are marked orange for removal. As background, my undergraduate degree is in botany, and I learned tree identification and took many ecology courses. As a naturalist, I know about restoration and habitat health. I currently work as a water resources scientist. I hope this information will help you make good decisions about how the tree removal project moves forward.

Jenny and I walked the length of Emerald Drive from Donegal Rd to St Augustine. We tied blue flags on orange flagged trees that we urge you to spare in the course of your upcoming road repair project.

We found a very small number of ash trees, already marked orange. We support the removal of these trees if they would fall on the road. There are literally millions of ashes dying in forests across the Midwest, and the only ones being actively removed are in urban areas, or managed yards. If they lean away, and they are well off the road, it’s not clear why the Town would spend the money to remove them but in the big picture, we don’t have a problem with it.

We mostly blue-flagged basswood trees as they were the most common species along the road. These trees are excellent native trees — yes, they are “softwood” but this is no reason to cut them in particular. The cut trees are not being used as firewood, so there is no difference between softwood or hardwood in this context. They produce profuse flowers in spring, providing a veritable feast for honeybees and many other pollinators. As most of you probably know, pollinator insects on the North American continent are declining, and efforts across all levels of government, nonprofits, and private people are working to support them for the benefit of our agricultural industry. Pollinators need all the help we can give them.

A possible misperception about basswood trees is that because most have multiple trunks arising from the ground together that they are in unhealthy condition. This is not the case — it is a normal growth pattern for basswoods. Some people also call these linden trees, and they are plentiful in urban areas.

After basswoods, the other tree species we put blue flags on large-toothed aspen, American aspen, slippery elm, sugar maple, shagbark hickory, and hop hornbeam. These are all wonderful, native trees growing in a healthy forest community. None of the trees I observed along Emerald Dr. are invasive species or problematic in and of themselves — with one exception. There was one buckthorn shrub marked for removal closer to St. Augustine Rd. If this shrub is killed, it would be doing this lovely forest a favor to reduce the spread of this species as it is extremely harmful ecologically, but the stump MUST be treated with an appropriate herbicide or it will resprout readily, with even more sprouts. The forests in this area are really remarkable in that they aren’t already infested with buckthorn, honeysuckle, burning bush or any other harmful invasives that are so common in most other places.

After carefully considering each tree slated for removal, we did mark a lot of them with blue ribbon to ask that they not be removed. Our concern with the proposal to remove the orange flagged trees is that there appears to be no clear rationale to justify the expense. Jenny and I spent a lot of time trying to discern the reason(s) with no conclusion. It seems that all trees within 12′ of this road are slated for removal. But the 12′ distance appears to be completely arbitrary and without justification.

If it’s for driver safety, people simply need to do what people do on roads everywhere — drive the speed limit, unimpaired, and not too fast for conditions. If it’s for school buses to pass each other safely, well, they should not be driving off the roadway to begin with, and again, safe speeds would obviously be called for. All bus drivers are hired with this good sense and trained to reinforce that. A good number of the trees flagged orange are on top of a soil bank, well out of the way of any swerving traffic or other conceivable road navigation. Driver safety is clearly not the reason for removing those.

If the reason is to make snowplowing easier, (and we did note two trees on Emerald that showed damage consistent with being dinged by the lower corner of a plow blade), the plow drivers should slow down just a little, and accommodate the trees that make these roads so scenic and special. They accommodate mailboxes, fire number posts, and utility poles, in addition to the banks of soil in places. I’m sure it’s quicker to plow a wide-open highway but doing a careful job in a variety of conditions is something civil servants take pride in doing. It is just necessary in spots along these rustic roads. As we inspected the orange blazed trees, it was clear that this rationale didn’t apply in the vast majority of cases as they were up on top of a soil bank, down low off the slope of the roadway, or just back off the road where they aren’t in the way of snowbanks.

If the tree removal is because of some sense of stewardship of the woods, the removal of most trees marked orange would be contrary to sound ecological forest management. The forest through which these roads travel is not being actively managed. Dead trees are generally left to provide food and habitat for woodpeckers and many other species of birds that rely on standing deadwood and fall when they are ready as they have in unmanaged forests long before Europeans settled here. Many species of birds and some mammals need standing dead wood.

Some of the trees along Emerald marked for removal are growing up into the canopy of old oak trees. These shorter trees we did not mark to save, because these younger trees penetrating an oak’s canopy will cause the untimely death of large branches, harming the oaks. If the Town wants to be in the business of managing roadside trees for ecologically sound purposes, this would be one small example, but it doesn’t look like that is your purpose, either.

Some trees are growing near the power line. Removing these trees to reduce conflict with the line is the power company’s responsibility, not the Town’s.

Are the trees considered a serious falling hazard to drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists using the road? Even removing the trees near the road will not reduce that hazard due to the sheer number of large trees — this is a mature forest. Very few of the trees marked for removal are leaning over the road, and many are leaning away, but still marked for removal. One was nothing but a 10′ tall stump, about 10 to 12′ from the roadway, leaning away from the road. Cutting this makes no sense. Clearly this falling hazard is not the purpose to remove them.

One last possible rationale we could imagine is if someone felt tree roots near the road would interfere with digging down to refresh the bed of the road during reconstruction. Well, those roots would be present for many, many years whether or not the trees near the road are removed this winter. I know the road reconstruction is scheduled to happen soon, so that can’t be the reason either. Tree roots do not continue to grow after a tree is felled (with the exception of buckthorn, which isn’t killed by chain sawing).

The trees we added a blue ribbon to are stately and beautiful, providing shade and cool during the summer, and habitat for pollinators, birds, and mammals throughout the year. They are a crucial element of a healthy forest and were a prime incentive to the Town of Erin’s original designation of these rustic roads. The trees we marked to save are well off the road, not creating a maintenance problem or any special hazard. They are not hurting other trees, leaning excessively, and not interfering with normal snowplow operations. Many are large and must be very expensive to remove. During the few hours we were walking and talking and looking at the trees, we saw so many people bicycling, driving slowly on that cool Sunday morning, and we spoke with no fewer than 4 curious drivers who stopped to ask what was going on. All 4 individuals or families were unhappy to learn of the proposal to remove the trees, and one already knew, and vehemently stated their opposition, although they want the road resurfaced.

Finally, we could not imagine any other logical justification for this very expensive, disruptive and unpopular proposal. After all the objections, why do residents still have to wonder what is the reason for it? What possible benefit is there to the Town residents?

In summary, by being more judicious about tree removal along these roads, you, the Town board, have the opportunity to save a significant amount of taxpayer money. You can also protect the unique aesthetic pleasure for those who treasure this rustic road. The newly renovated road will be a beautiful place to walk, cycle or drive without the excessive number of trees removed. The area will continue to attract visitors who marvel at the beauty of this township, with outstanding fall color, intimate feel of the forest enclosing the roads, and contributing to the business interests in the area. We feel that in the absence of clear, logical justification, the Town should significantly scale back this arbitrary, harmful, and unpopular waste of taxpayer money, and listen to the residents you were elected by.

Thank you for listening,

Susan Graham

7 Responses to Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

  1. Avatar dad29 says:

    “I’m a Free-Market guy, except when somebody competes with ME!”

    Egads.

  2. Avatar Jason says:

    Right?  I want the City planning commission to control and decide who and what can buy property.  Wonder if he would support such a thing based on sex or race as well?

  3. Avatar dad29 says:

    if he would support such a thing based on sex or race

    Or religion……….

  4. Avatar jsr says:

    I guess Menards and Home Depot should not be near each other either.  The same for Meijer’s, Pick n Save, and Walmart (although they are a bit farther apart).

  5. Avatar Kevin Scheunemann says:

    I love a good headline. :-)

  6. Avatar jsr says:

    How about this one then?

    “Lawyers For Mentally Ill Woman Set To Be Executed By U.S. Contract Coronavirus”

    https://reason.com/volokh/2020/11/14/lawyers-set-to-be-executed/

    I wonder if it is cruel and unusual to execute lawyers with coronavirus?  And how does the government contract for this service?

  7. Avatar MjM says:

    Daddio sez: “Egads.”

    Indeed. Mr. Kerns doesn’t even realize he’s already facing competition.

    On the same section of WB road (main st) there are three auto parts stores within a 1/4 mile of each other. In a square mile (if that) there are four pizza joints, four grocery stores (@Jsr: u missed Aldi’s), three pharmacies, six banks/credit unions, three tire/repair shops, two pet supply stores, and the two giant home improvement stores mentioned above. I didn’t count up all the restaurants/coffee joints b/c there are too many and coffee can be had just about anywhere.

    But there is an Arby’s and Wendy’s literally right next door to each other, and a McDonald’s, which, along with Wendy’s also serves the same kind of burgers and fries and “ frozen dessert-treats”, 400 feet +/- from Kerns’ Jumbo’s.

    Not to mention Culver’s and the other McD’s on the the North side of town.

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