Boots & Sabers

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Category: Off-Duty

Tornadoes Tear Up Midwest

Prayers for all those affected. Mother Nature can be a B sometimes.

A devastating tornado outbreak has killed dozens of people across multiple states, with Kentucky possibly seeing its deadliest tornado system ever, officials said.

 

As many as 70 people are believed to have been killed in western Kentucky, and the death toll could exceed 100, according to Gov. Andy Beshear. Those numbers “could rise significantly,” he said Saturday afternoon.

 

[…]

 

The Associated Press has confirmed the deaths of 30 people across five states, including 22 in Kentucky, from the storms, as search and rescue missions are ongoing.

 

“Dozens” were killed at a candle factory in Mayfield, where 110 people were working when the storm hit Friday night, Beshear said at a 4 a.m. press conference. Around 40 people were evacuated, although the facility had major structural damage from the storm and housed dangerous equipment, he said late Saturday morning.

We just recently spent a fair amount of time in Western Kentucky. It’s a wonderfully beautiful area with good people. Horrible to see this happen.

Vaccinated Are Dying

Again, the real value of the vaccine appears to be that it lessens the severity if you are infected.

More than 2,500 fully vaccinated over 50s have died from COVID-19 in the past month in England, new data shows.

 

In a report published by the UK Health Security Agency analysis revealed 2,683 fully vaccinated over 50s have died within 28 days of positive COVID test in the last four weeks.

 

Some 511 unvaccinated people died in the last four weeks of COVID-19.

 

The figures reflect the fact that the vast majority in this age group has had at least two COVID vaccines.

 

Death rates among the unvaccinated are significantly higher.

 

For people aged over 80, the unvaccinated have a death rate of 125.4 per 100,000 compared to the vaccinated 54.9 per 100,000 in the past four weeks.

 

For 70-79 the gap is even wider, with the unvaccinated death rate at 103.8 per 100,000 compared to 16.2 for the vaccinated.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Casey’s General Store in Town of West Bend sold

The signage for Casey’s General Store on CTH P in the Town of West Bend came down earlier this week as the sale closed on the property just north of Mile View Road.

The Casey’s General Store, 5105 Highway P and the store in Hustisford sold to Lakhbir Sing.

It was November 2018 when Casey’s first moved into the Town of West Bend. Casey’s purchased the former Tri-Par station owned by brothers Steve and Mark Gall.  In 2018 they sold seven Tri-Par stations in Washington, Dodge, Ozaukee, and Sheboygan counties.

Amber Mayer is the manager of the new Refuel Pantry West Bend. “This will be a BP,” she said. “We liked this location because we’ve heard good things about the products, the food is great including the chicken and fish, this is a nice road and it’s a good location.”

Mayer said based off of prior sales they looked at Casey’s numbers and compared that to Tri-Par receipts and thought there was room for growth.

Lakhbir Sing owns 22 gas stations including locations in Oshkosh, Lake Mills, Oxford, Sun Prairie, Fall River, and Hustisford to name a few. According to Sing’s LinkedIn page he has an economics degree from UW-Parkside and is the principal owner of Refuel Pantry since August 2014. Sing is also the owner of a Big Apple Bagel store in Liberty Station since 2014.

As far as gas prices are concerned Mayer said Refuel Pantry West Bend will be “competitive.” Asked to define the word “competitive” Mayer said, “We are generally cheaper than most places; it will be competitive to local which is equal or less.”

The new Refuel Pantry West Bend will be open 5 a.m. – 10 p.m. There are 11 employees at the store on Highway P.

 Rededication of Schowalter Sculpture

Residents, family, friends, and staff at Cedar Community gathered Sunday for the rededication of the sculpture donated in 1989 as a memorial tribute to Rev. Philip Schowalter.

A writeup from Cedar Community read: Rev. Louis Riesch, Cedar Community visionary and founder, commissioned the work “Eternal Life” in 1989 as a memorial to Rev. Philip Schowalter in thanks and gratitude for his faithful service.

In 1990, the work was dedicated at the northwest entrance to the Cedar Ridge campus where Philip and his wife, Audrey, served as the first managers of the newly constructed campus. The abstract work was intended to evoke the strong spiritual legacy of Pastor Schowalter.

Words from the original dedication describe the work this way.

  • three steel triangular sections representing the Holy Trinity and a strong spiritual foundation
  • two outstretched steel arms representing welcome and service
  • one stainless steel ring in the center of the sculpture, representing the fulfilment of Christ’s redeeming work

Audrey Schowalter said she very much appreciated the rededication and was touched by the memorial stone and the large turnout at the ceremony.

“Today, August 22, 2021, we proudly rededicate the work to honor Rev. Philip and Audrey Schowalter for their faithful service, joyful commitment, and legacy of leadership here at Cedar Community,” said Nicole Pretre, CEO at Cedar Community. A large turnout of the Schowalter family for Sunday’s ceremony.

Designs unveiled for new clubhouse at West Bend Lakes Golf Club

It has been nearly six months since a devastating fire raced through the clubhouse at West Bend Lakes Golf Club, 1241 Highway 33 in the Town of Trenton. It was March 14, 2021, and 15 area fire departments responded.

Kicking through the rubble of what was once a 100-year-old building, the Merkel family counted its blessings as no one was injured and they worked quickly to pick up the pieces. With generous support from the community the 18-hole course opened for the season.

Below are the first drawings to be released of the new clubhouse. Designs are courtesy American Construction Services.

“Team American is proud to be working with the Merkel family to restore full operations of West Bend Lakes,” said company President Kraig Sadownikow.  “Their golf course is a landmark in the West Bend area and we are excited to be associated with a family business that gives so much to the community.”

The building is approximately 4,000-square-feet which includes bar/dining area, pro shop, full kitchen, office, and storage. “Our design intent was a small homage to the Augusta National Clubhouse,” said Adam Hertel with American Construction Services.

The Merkel family said it is pleased to be moving forward. Some statements from the family are below. “I like the openness and the country style with the porch. We are blue collar but we wanted to keep it with a ‘country feel. We’re not going for a high-end, white collar, fancy. We want it to be a clubhouse where people could come and relax.

“The new design features all one level, no second story. From the customer side it will be more user friendly so you don’t have to go down 10 steps to get outside.

“The ground level of the first floor will be lower than what it used to be because it was built on stilts. There will be fewer steps to get in or out.

“This is a little bit smaller than we want but today’s costs are just not conducive to that. It will work very efficiently for us. I’m hoping to get it started pretty soon.”

Plans for the new clubhouse must still be approved by the State of Wisconsin.

The Merkel’s credit businesses in the community for their help including Tommy Schwai, Jeff’s Spirits on Main, Jeff Lamby, and Equipment Rentals. The cause of the fire was electrical in nature.

Six veterans from Washington County on Saturday, August 28 Honor Flight

Six veterans from Washington County will be participating in Saturday’s Stars & Stripes Honor Flight to Washington D.C.

The local veterans include WWII Army veteran Anthony Elsinger, Vietnam Army Lloyd Westerman of Kewaskum, Vietnam Army Thomas Foshag of West Bend, Korea Army Eugenie Olsen of West Bend. Vietnam Army Walter Kohler of West Bend and Vietnam Air Force Richard Lindbeck of West Bend.

Walter Kohler was drafted in 1956. “I was honored I could do my part for my country,” said Kohler.  He talked about receiving a good conduct medal and he scored pretty high with his shooting skills. “When I came home, everybody was waiting for me and that made me feel pretty good. When you’re away from your family for almost two years it’s pretty nice to get back home,” he said.

Richard Lindbeck served in the U.S. Air Force. During his time in service Lindbeck was part of the military police in Saigon. He recalled being “shelled by the Vietcong” during his service in Vietnam. Lindbeck is a former alderman in West Bend and he served as the president of the Wisconsin Chapter of Vietnam Veterans.

Hartford welcomes new alderman                                                              By Steve Volkert

On Tuesday night, the Hartford Common Council unanimously voted in Justin Webb onto the Common Council to replace Rachel Mixon. Webb is an attorney in Milwaukee dealing in cyber security and has lived in Hartford for the past 14 years. Webb’s term is up in April 2022 at which time he will need to run for the position in the Spring election.

Bob’s Main Street Auto successful school supply drive                     By Rachel Espitia

Bob’s Main Street Auto & Towing in West Bend had another successful year for its School Supply Drive.  This year the locally owned auto repair shop raised $738.18 to purchase over 800 school supply items. The supplies were taken to a local non-profit organization and will benefit over 500 children in Washington County. Bill and Laurie Rate, owners of Bob’s Main Street Auto & Towing said, “We can’t thank our community enough for their support. It’s a great feeling knowing we are able to help over 500 children here in Washington County.”

Hartford teen wins People’s Choice Award at 2021 Art & Chalk Fest

The Museum of Wisconsin Art’s 2021 Art & Chalk Fest People’s Choice Winner was Kaylee Goodman of Hartford. Goodman, 17, chalked a portrait of Amelia Earhart.

Kaylee Goodman is one hot mess, but in a good way. The smiley teen is a making her mark as a budding chalk artist. Armed with a case of soft pastels and brilliant fluorescent sticks of chalk, Kaylee sits down on her pallet of hard concrete and gets lost in the zone.

This isn’t school-yard scribbling, but a splash of magic that pours from the stained fingertips of a 17-year-old. “If she’s late for supper we normally find her in the driveway,” said mom Sandi.

She good naturedly chides her daughter on how she leaves her own unique Hansel-and-Gretel trail of breadcrumbs. “We know when she’s been in the car because there’s a chalk smudge on the visor,” she said.

Most often Kaylee’s face looks like she’s been made up for a school play as there’s streaks of chalk across her forehead and often the bridge of her nose. Though it all, Kaylee smiles. “I originally went to Chalk the Walk in West Bend at the shopping mall on S. Main Street and I chalked a mermaid,” said Kaylee.

The larger-than-life mermaid with long, flowing hair and flared blades of a fish tail caught the attention of teachers who referred Kaylee to a show at the Museum of Wisconsin Art.

“It was past the deadline and I didn’t think I could get into their event but they still wanted me,” she said. The Art & Chalk Fest in West Bend was a sunny day and a bit of a swelter; at least that’s what Kaylee remembered.

“It was very warm and I chalked both days but it was fun,” she said. “I’ve done chalk drawings for a couple years and there’s something different from just drawing on a piece of paper. I love how you can get creative, even on concrete,” she said.

Kaylee reminisces about her early career and waves it off as a learning experience when she talks about her “nothing drawings.”

“They were stick people when I started but I ventured into faces and people and I’m getting better; now I kind of show off what I can do,” she said. Art teachers in the Slinger School District have worked to give Goodman confidence. “They tell me I’m very good,” she said modestly.

Sandi chimes in. “We could draw something in chalk and it would literally look like that thing,” she said. “But when Kaylee chalks … it’s as if they’re right there. People are also starting to recognize her and she’s so dedicated.”

Kaylee does most of her initial drawings in sketch books. “After I sketch, then I ink and then color with marker,” she said. “I normally get them printed before an event so I can sell them to make money to cover my chalk supplies.”

A working artist, Goodman said she’s currently focused on drawing people but she is trying to broaden her horizons with shadowing and landscapes.

On a sunny afternoon, Goodman can be found colorful chalk in hand in her driveway just south of Pike Lake State Park. While her pallet is a little rocky in some areas, she has a large, smooth patch closer to the house.

“Kaylee can sometimes get swallowed up by the expansiveness or her pieces,” said Sandi. One piece measured about 40 square feet. “We just can’t get that big again,” she said.

Washington Co. Executive Committee selects tentative County Supervisory District Plan

After a 20-minute presentation from Washington County data and GIS manager Eric Damkot the County Executive Committee, on a voice vote, selected Plan 3 for an upcoming redistricting map.

It was February 12, 2020, when the full County Board voted 15-7 to reduce the size of the board by the year 2022 from 26 supervisors to 21. The proposed map will have an impact on the April 2022 election which not only includes supervisory seats but also the number of different versions of ballots that will need to be composed by the county clerk.

Every 10 years following the census the supervisory districts are adjusted based on population.

According to Damkok the census data was supposed to be released in March 2021 and the County Board would have 180 days to adopt a tentative plan, select municipalities and wards and then adopt a final redistricting plan before circulating papers started December 1, 2021.

Because of a delay from the governor’s office the census redistricting data was released August 12, 2021. Now the County Board must still select municipalities and wards and adopt a final plan, however the timeline will be crushed into the next 90 days.

There was a lot of intense data that went into the redistricting process.  Three plans with maps and boundary outlines were presented to the executive committee.

Some of the conversation from county supervisors included a shoutout from Supervisor Peter Sorce who felt the process was unfair and politically motivated to get rid of five supervisors.

Damkot said, “We didn’t map supervisors until after the districts were drawn. There were no outside influences.”

Supervisor Lois Gundrum said, “By keeping 5 full districts in West Bend that gives 25% of voting power on the board and townships could lose power. That’s a concern.”

Supervisor Pam Konrath echoed that statement. “Smaller townships do lose their voice,” she said. The next meeting on the issue is September 8, 2021.

Lovey’s last kiss at Shalom Wildlife Sanctuary | By David Fechter | Photo by Jessica Eirich

Five days ago, a video was posted at Shalom Wildlife Sanctuary of Lovey the deer who was dying of old age; she was nursing her twin fawns for one last time.

Lovey is the oldest doe at Shalom. Born on Memorial Day in 2012, she was a bottle-fed fawn that many visitors had the chance to feed.  In the posting we let everyone know that the end was near for Lovey and if any of her fans wanted to say their goodbyes, now was the time.

The next morning when we checked on Lovey, we told her that her friends were coming to see her one more time. To our amazement, Lovey managed to somehow get the strength to make it over to the visitor viewing area by early afternoon that day; she stayed there until last night.

Yesterday afternoon visitors started telling us that a deer had her head through the fence and was kissing a brown bear. As soon as I heard about Lovey kissing a bear through the fence, I checked it out. When I arrived, Lovey was resting on the ground on her side of the fence and Clark the bear was on the other side watching her.

I stayed there for quite a while watching; Lovey was too weak to stand. I thought to myself, did Lovey really kiss a bear, or were they sitting there sniffing each other through the fence, making it looked like a kiss.

This morning Lovey passed away.

Later this afternoon Jessica Eirich who was at Shalom yesterday sent me a picture of Lovey kissing Clark. As soon as I saw the picture, I said out loud “Oh, my God.”

You see, Lovey has been living next to Lewis and Clark every single day since they were cubs. That’s almost eight years. They loved each other; the proof is in the picture.

This morning Lewis and Clark seemed different, very tired.  After seeing Jessica’s picture, I now know Lewis and Clark were not tired, they were heart broken and silently crying inside. So long, Lovey. You will be missed by everyone.

Dugouts installed at Carl M. Kuss Memorial Field in West Bend, WI

One more finishing touch added to the upgrade at Carl M. Kuss Memorial Field in West Bend, WI as the dugouts were installed on Monday. A crane lifted the 10,000-pound dugouts into place. The dugouts are the same size as the former facility and they are even with the playing field so there’s no step to access the field. There is a small closet on the east side of the dugout for storage.

According to Craig Larsen with the West Bend Baseball Association the next thing will be to seed the outfield and eventually put the lights in place. As far as restoring the ivy to the outfield fencing, that won’t happen. “There’s an insect like the emerald ash borer that’s preventing us from putting in the ivy,” Larsen said. The WBBA even consulted with the Chicago Cubs to investigate questions about returning ivy to Carl M. Kuss Field.

STH 175 in Slinger reopen following completion of bridge work              By Ron Naab

Motorists in the Village of Slinger are celebrating the completion of road work as a segment of STH 175/ W. Washington Street from Maple Road over the bridge to Spur Road has now reopened.  According to officials in the Village of Slinger contractors started work July 26, 2021, on WIS 175 over County Shop Drive and the Wisconsin Central Railroad; it would take approximately four weeks to complete bridge deck repairs.

PRD election and $80,000 referendum result

A strong turnout Tuesday night, August 25, 2021 as the Big Cedar Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District held an election at the Town of West Bend Town Hall. Cars were lined up on both sides of the road from 4:30 p.m. until polls closed at 7:30 p.m.

The PRD also held its annual meeting.

The commissioners race included incumbent Dave Claussen and Ross Anderson. The pair ran on the same billboard. Claussen was a no show for the annual meeting. He was also not in attendance to accept the nomination for election. Commissioner Roger Walsh was also up for election but did not run for another term.  Two newcomers secured the win filling two open seats; each will fulfill a 3-year term.

Matt Haldemann 387

Jeff Braun 376

Ross Anderson 244

(I) Dave Claussen 228

$80K Referendum on Genthe Pond  442 yes 109 No

Approve obtaining a contractor to clean-out the Genthe Pond off West Lake Drive south of Peninsula Drive and change the pond infrastructure to lesson future problems for a cost not to exceed approximately $80,000.

Budget 405 yes  149 no                 Levy 363 yes  181 no

WAC veteran Margaret Borsch turns 100 on Sunday, August 22, 2021

Margaret Borchardt doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.

“A big day? Yes… it’s my birthday today and I’m 100 years old,” she said. “It is unbelievable. I don’t know if there is a secret to getting this old… it just happened.

Borchardt is a resident at The Waterford in West Bend.

Born in Milwaukee on August 23, 1921, to Christine and Peter Borchardt.

Margaret doesn’t recall what hospital she was born at. “Maybe it was at home on the kitchen table,” she said. “I don’t know.”

A middle child, Borchardt had one brother and two sisters.

While growing up Borchardt belonged to St. Gall’s Church in Milwaukee on 3rd Street between Clark and Center. “I went to Riverside High,” she said. “I worked at the City Hall in Milwaukee in the comptroller’s office as a keypunch operator. It was during the Depression so it really was great to have a job.” Borchardt enlisted in the Army in 1942 when she was in her 20s. “I did it because it was something new for women and it gave women a little importance and I thought I always wanted to be a nurse and when they said women could join the medics, I thought that’s for me,” she said.

“My brother was in the Navy and so I thought I’d join. My mother wasn’t too sure; she thought it was kind of risky. She didn’t make a big deal but we knew she was concerned.”

Basic training was at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. Borchardt said she arrived in Iowa either by train or bus. “Our training consisted of learning to march,” she laughed. “I did office work for the most part until I went into the medics and worked at the hospital.”

Borchardt was initially in the machine records unit for a year before becoming a medic for two years. She recalled her duties included making beds, changing dressings, and giving blood.

“They’d make an announcement when they were bringing fellas in from the field that if anyone wanted to give blood they should and we’d go,” she said.

Borchardt was stationed for a year in Dallas, Texas and then at Camp Polk Louisiana. After the service Borchardt served in the Army Reserves. “Every summer for my two weeks training I’d go up to Camp McCoy and I did that for 20 years,” she said.

Borchardt returned to her job at Milwaukee City Hall and worked there until she retired. Never married, Borchardt lived in an upper flat with her baby sister Jane in a duplex on Pierce Street in Milwaukee; her parents lived in the lower level. “For fun, we would go bowling,” said Borchardt.

West Bend boy earns money through lemonade stand for baseball bat of his dreams

Just over one week ago a 10-year-old’s dream of owning a prestigious baseball bat for upcoming tournaments became a reality. Left-handed Bowen LeMay set out with grit and determination, similar to that of his pitching demeanor when on the field with the U11 Bulldogs.

At Bowen’s insistence, he and his dad Bob LeMay, set up a lemonade and sweet treats stand outside their West Bend home. Bowen’s dad gently counseled him that selling lemonade would most likely not cover the cost of the bat he was dreaming of but Bowen’s instinct told him otherwise.

Once the community learned of Bowen’s desire to put in the hard work on one of the hottest days of the year, folks began to pour in to help support the cause. Neighbors could be seen gathered around the lemonade stand conversing with Bowen, Bob and Bowen’s mom, Rhonda LeMay. There were words of encouragement and many donations, both large and small.

It all added up to one thing – a dream come true. Bowen purchased his bat with the proceeds from his hard-earned money and the support of his friends, family, neighbors and surrounding community, some of whom simply came to the stand to give a donation.

Bowen said he and his dad mixed up lots of pitchers of lemonade. His dad would measure and fill and he would stir the beverage. He also handed out a piece of free candy to everyone that made a purchase.

“I want to just say thanks to everyone who gave donations for my new tournament bat fund. I’m going to be using it for my next season with the U11 Bulldogs,” said Bowen.

The LeMay’s immediately went to the local RBI Academy to test it out and Bowen gave the bat a double thumbs up. Bowen said of his newly acquired dream bat, “I just can’t wait to crush some balls.”

Ida Strikes

Stay safe, folks.

Around a million people are without power in southern Mississippi and Louisiana as Hurricane Ida tore through  the region on Sunday, knocking out electricity to all of New Orleans while whipping up sustained winds of more than 150mph and tearing the roof off buildings.

 

Authorities late Sunday announced the first death as a Louisiana resident died from a fallen tree in Ascension Parish – even as the storm was downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane.

 

‘APSO reports first death related to Hurricane Ida. Shortly after 8:30pm deputies received reports of a citizen possibly injured from a fallen tree at a residence off of Highway 621 in Prairieville,’ according to the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office.

NCAA Opens Door to Paid Collegiate Athletes

I support this.

The NCAA adopted an interim policy that will allow college athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness, ahead of legislation going into effect in several states which would allow for such compensation.

“This is an important day for college athletes since they all are now able to take advantage of name, image and likeness opportunities,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement. “With the variety of state laws adopted across the country, we will continue to work with Congress to develop a solution that will provide clarity on a national level. The current environment — both legal and legislative — prevents us from providing a more permanent solution and the level of detail student-athletes deserve.”

 

The expected approval from the NCAA Board of Directors came a few days after a recommendation from the Division I Council to allow athletes in every state to pursue compensation for their name, image and likeness without jeopardizing their college eligibility.

 

The NCAA’s decision to suspend restrictions on payments to athletes for things such as sponsorship deals, online endorsements and personal appearances applies to all three divisions or some 460,000 athletes.

While I acknowledge that this will change college athletics forever, it is just Unamerican to not allow adults to engage in a legal commercial exchange. For the vast majority of college athletes, there is no financial future for them in sport. A few will make a professional league, but even that is limited to a handful of sports that have professional leagues. And, let’s be real, this only impacts the best of the best in any sport.

But I just don’t have a philosophical problem with a star tennis player getting paid to do ads for the local car dealership or get a slice of the pie when the school profits off selling something with their face on it.

FDA Approves Aducanumab

Great!

Aducanumab addresses Alzheimer’s in a new way compared to currently approved drugs. This therapy slows progression of the disease, rather than only addressing symptoms. It is the first approved therapy of this type; it demonstrates that removing amyloid from the brain may delay clinical decline in people living with Alzheimer’s. Amyloid is the protein that clumps into sticky brain plaques that are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

Fired Principal Escorted From Campus After Graduation Speech

First, why would they let him give a speech if they already fired him? Second, at least the kids will remember it :)

“I was kicked out for one reason that I truly love you and this community,” Nakamura said. “I came here to serve you, to love you, to be in the mix and the grind with you.”

 

He also encouraged students to study and do their best. He shared experiences from his personal upbringing, including his mother’s death to a heroin overdose, and mentioned how much he loved his job at Stagg.

 

He touched on race, violence in neighborhoods, fighting for higher education, and working to set the bar for future graduating classes.

 

Brian Biedermann, director of educational services, confirmed Nakamura’s keys were confiscated and he was not allowed back at graduation ceremonies.

Fat Wisconsin Alligator On the Loose

Ahhhh… Bonduel. You be you. Did they check the local tavern?

The owner of a Wisconsin zoo is stupefied over how his “unathletic” and “overweight” alligator got loose, which was later safely returned.

 

Steve “Doc” Hopkins of Doc’s Zoo at Doc’s Harley-Davidson in Bonduel said he noticed the animal was missing Saturday morning.

 

Of the four animals kept in the zoo’s outdoor pen, only one, Rex, escaped.

 

[…]

 

He added, “The only thing I can think is maybe he was pumping iron all during COVID or something and planned his escape. I don’t know.”

 

Hopkins warned the public to be careful if they encounter Rex but noted that because of his failing health, he probably can’t do much damage.

 

“The old gator is very unathletic and quite overweight,” said Hopkins, according to WLUK. “He can barely open his jaws. He has terrible arthritis in his jaws. If he can open up his jaw an inch and a half, it’s a lot. … The most he could do is probably slap you with his tail and that is only if you get close and upset him.”

Plenty of Vaccines Available

If you want one, there are plenty to be had.

The state has set aside 86,580 Pfizer doses, 65,900 Moderna doses and 10,200 Johnson & Johnson doses for the week, however those numbers will soften starting Monday, according to the State Department of Health Services. Now they have ordered 9,120 Pfizer doses, 2,070 Moderna doses and just 2,100 Johnson & Johnson doses.

 

“We’ve got a long way to go, to vaccinate more of the population, we need to reach a much higher percentage of the population,” said Tomaro.

 

According to the Department of Health Service data, 44.2% of the population have received at least one dose of the vaccine, one step closer to the Biden Administration’s plan to get 70% of Americans covered for community immunity.

Massive Pileup

Wow. Prayers to those who wee caught up in this.

WEST BEND — An unexpected spring snowstorm led to a massive pileup along Interstate 41 on Wednesday morning, leaving one woman dead and six injured.

 

On Wednesday the Washington County Sheriff’s Office responded to a total of 20 different accidents along Interstate 41 between highways D and 60.

 

According to a press release, at 11:13 a.m., the Sheriff’s Office Communications Center began taking a series of 911 calls from motorists on I-41 near Highway D in the Town of Wayne for a multi-vehicle crash involving both passenger vehicles and commercial motor vehicles.

 

[…]

 

The sheriff’s office was handling the largest incident on I-41 northbound just south of Cedar Creek Road. At that scene, there was a total of 48 vehicles involved, 38 of which were damaged.

 

Six patients were transported to local medical facilities with various degrees of injures. Another 26 were evaluated and treated at the scene.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation confirmed that the one victim killed in Wednesday’s crashes was a 37-year-old woman from Trenton, Tenn.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

City of West Bend borrows $1.5 million after “mistake” and looks to borrow $10 million more tonight

The West Bend Common Council recently voted 5 – 2 in favor of borrowing an extra (approximately) $1.5 million after a “mistake” was made on bidding out the Seventh Avenue reconstruction project.

The City engineer said they realized the “mistake” on Monday, March 8, 2021. The council was notified about the “mistake” in an email sent 5:24 p.m. on Friday, March 12, 2021. The council was to vote on the project at its Monday, March 15 meeting.

Below is a copy of the letter set to aldermen on Friday, March 12.

Mayor and Council,

Some of you have asked about the agenda items included for Monday’s meeting around the planned borrowing. These resolutions are required as part of this year’s borrowing process. The borrowing is for the 2021 portion of our 5-year plan. The adopted capital plan is attached and included with our budget on our website. Phil Cosson provided a document that today was added to the agenda with similar level of detailed projects included in the $5.5 million borrowing.

Good news that the 7th Ave project bids came in lower than estimated. Also, we mistakenly included water and sewer utility costs in our original $2.3 million estimate. The end result of borrowing the $5.5 million in 2021 will greatly reduce our anticipated 2022 borrowing (approx. $1.5 million). We will be able to utilize the funds borrowed in 2021 for our 18th Avenue project constructed in 2022.

Our projected 2022 extra (beyond our $3 million annual amount) borrowing of $1.8 million for 18th Avenue should be reduced to approximately $300,000.

Phil, Max, Carrie and I will all be present on Monday to further explain this good news and logic for maintaining the borrowing at $5.5 million this year.

Please call my cell over the weekend 262-355-6102 or on Monday if you have any questions.

Enjoy the weekend!

Jay Shambeau  City Administrator  City of West Bend  (262) 335-5171

During the Monday, March 15 meeting Dist. 4 alderman Randy Koehler asked if the council borrows about $1.5 million over the project cost in 2021, is there a way to make sure the council borrows less next year? He also asked, “We’re just going to sit on that $1.4 million for a year and do nothing with it? That doesn’t make any sense to me. And if we don’t need it why are we borrowing it,” asked Koehler.

 

The representative from Ehlers Public Finance Advisors said “the City could earn interest on the $1.4 million. You also have the ability to lock in at the day of sale at a fixed rate for the life of the debt at a low interest rate environment for not only this year’s projects but a portion of next year’s projects.”

Koehler responded. “You said we have the ability to earn interest but we’re also going to be paying interest on money for a year that we’re just going to leave sit there. I would like us to scale this back by $1.4 million and just borrow the $4.1 million that we need to do the projects this year. That way we’re not tying the hands of the council next year and we’re also not saying we have an extra $1.5 million and then next year we borrow the same… we can’t determine how that will go next year. I want to scale this back and borrow just what we need.”

A clarification was made that the money borrowed would have to be spent on roads.

City engineer Max Marechal was asked if the money could be used in 2021 on other road projects. Marechal indicated contractors are already booked through the end of the year.

During a separate interview Phil Cosson from Ehlers indicated the interest for a year on the extra $1.5 million would cost the City $20,000. The interest received on the borrowing would be “nominal,” according to Cosson. Questioned what the dollar figure on “nominal” is he said “less than $1,000.”

“Do we think the rates are going to be better today, or are they going to be better next year,” said Cosson. “I don’t have a crystal ball…”

Cosson said interest rates would have to move “about 100 basis points or 1 percent in order to make up for that $20,000 interest payment.”

Questioned whether a 1 percent jump is normal, Cosson said, “I can’t estimate that… we’re not hearing the Federal Reserve is going to change policy over the next six months or so but it is certainly possible they could move up.”

The final vote on March 15 to borrow an extra $1.5 million was 5 – 2.

Those voting in favor: Alderman Dist. 1 Jon Butschlick, Dist. 2 Mark Allen, Dist. 3 Brett Bergquist, Dist. 5 Jed Dolnick, Dist. 7 Justice Madl

Those voting against: Dist. 4 Randy Koehler and Dist. 8 Meghann Kennedy

During tonight’s meeting, Monday, April 5, 2021 the council is voting on a proposal to create a new Tax Increment District #15 in the area north of Highway 33 and Main Street. Click HERE for details starting with Page 72.

This would be a $10 million borrowing with total borrowing of about $15 million with interest.

The vote is being held the day before the April 6, 2021 election which means no one will be representing taxpayers in Dist. 6 since that seat is open following the death of alderman Steve Hoogester.

 

The former chair of the council finance committee, Adam Williquette, reviewed available data on the proposed TID #15 and sent a note last week to alderman warning them of the dicey situation this proposal could mean for taxpayers.

Dear Council Members,

I am writing to voice some concern with the new proposed TID# 15 in West Bend. I not only bring the municipal background of TID creation and municipal finance, but an even greater understanding of TIDs due to my profession as a commercial real estate broker for the last 17 years. Having been on common council and having a good knowledge of the city’s finances, I write this as a West Bend resident with no ill intention to any of the parties involved in this development.

 

In looking at the TID plan, I find it confusing that West Bend would include borrowings for the following:

$1,000,000 developer incentive (What is this paying for?)

$4,545,000 MRO to Developer (What is this paying for?)

$2,200,000 for Riverwalk restoration south of Highway 33

$1,500,000 Main Street Improvements

I can understand how the following could be seen as “beneficial to the TID” and applicable for TID borrowing given the boundary:

$500,000 for Riverwalk North of Highway 33

Unlike other similar recent TIDs in West Bend, this has a whopping projected borrowing of $9,725,000 (without interest).

So now we get to the cash flow part of the TID plan. It factors in a very aggressive building schedule and is projecting that $17,000,000 would be completed by January 2022 to be paying $349,000 in taxes to pay for expenses in 2023. Even then the TID is only projected to cash flow $4,920 that year.

Then projecting that the project will assess at $30,000,000 in January 2023, the taxes for 2024 will be $558,000, with expenses increasing to $554,000, this projects a cash flow of $3,800 for the year.

The TID increases slowly to a maximum $14,000 surplus in 2046 (24 years from now) before finally paying off enough debt to pay surpluses of $323,711 in 2047, $711,057 in 2048 and, $714,489 in the last year of the TIDs life.

The first 24 years of this TIF are razor thin, and if things such as construction schedule are off by anything, the TIF will lose money over that time period and not actually benefit the taxpayers until 2047, and even then, everything would have to go 100% as projected.

This reminds me of the downtown River Shores TID # 10 which would have been costly to the taxpayers had the developer chosen not to pay their shortfall, which we should be thankful they had deep enough pockets and a great moral compass to do so. Thankfully, they also further developed Cast Iron Luxury Living to generate further increment in the failing downtown TID. If they didn’t have deep pockets, again, this would not have happened.

Next is downtown TID# 9, which has been one, if not the biggest, drain on city finances for the past few decades. This was the Veterans Avenue relocation which sat vacant, and then was sold largely to non-profit groups and did not pay anywhere near its TID “projection” or potential had the city held out for higher taxed entities.

The last one is downtown TID# 12. This was the relocation of a company downtown and trade for their former headquarters. In exchange for a lot of their taxes in return, they stayed in West Bend. Good, yes, but the taxpayers paid for it. The city even paid a consultant $100,000 to tell them this was a good idea, on the taxpayer’s dime. TID# 9 & 12 accounted for a huge amount of the city’s debt payments for many years and there is still work to pay those debts down. At least there has been some headway the last few years to put as much increment in those TIDs as possible. We do not need to attempt another downtown TID that we can’t look at and call a no-brainer and gamble with the taxpayer’s money again. We have had many successful TIDs in West Bend that passed that test and need to continue that as a test for approval of new ones.

TID # 15 is a Blight Rehabilitation TID. The other Blight Rehabilitation TIDs that West Bend tried downtown lead to the biggest drain on West Bend’s finances for the last decade and a half because the city gambled with the taxpayer’s money and lost.

This brings me back to some of the expenses of TID# 15. The MRO (Municipal Revenue Obligation) on the Table 4- Cash Flow shows the MRO as all principal. I assume it includes interest because the borrowing says it will be $4,545,000 MRO to Developer and the Cash Flow spreadsheet says it has a total cost of $8,574,201. If we calculate interest on that number, it is around 4.5% over the life of the TID. If those costs are going to pay for public infrastructure, which TID costs generally are required to do, why would we not issue GO Bonds at a 2% interest rate? I suppose that would look like a tax increase, but nonetheless save the taxpayers money.

The EDWC was asked to do an independent look at this TID. They were denied access to all information other than the public information by the city. (Which is the same information I was able to make these conclusions from.) If this project is such a great idea, why would the city not allow an independent economic development group that is one of the city’s trusted advisors on many other financial decisions, come to the “same great conclusion” that the plan is good and should be passed?

On top of the numbers not looking great, or even good, there seem to be a lot of unanswered questions. Why not do a pay-go TID where there is little to no risk for the taxpayers? Why try a Blight Rehabilitation TID again with worse projections than those of the past that failed?

 

I urge you all to ask more questions, not support this in its current form, or table this until further information is gathered.

This is a great project, but not the way that it is gambling with the taxpayer’s hard-earned money.

If any of you have any questions on my thoughts, please feel free to reach out to me.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely, Adam Williquette West Bend, WI

Monday’s West Bend Common Council starts 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall. The meeting is open to the public.

West Bend council votes 6-1 to move forward on development of TID #15

Following a one-hour closed session the West Bend Common Council cast a 6-1 vote (Dist. 8 Meghann Kennedy the lone dissent) to approve a project plan and establish boundaries for creation of TID #15.

The focal point of TID #15 would be the redevelopment of the old West Bend Brewery which would be converted by HKS Holdings, LLC into 181 apartments and retail space. “Tax base, foot traffic and connectivity between the north and south of the river walk were the key points of the project,” said Phil Cosson with Ehlers Public Finance Advisors.

HKS proposes a mixed-use development with 181 high-end apartment units and a commercial space for retail or a restaurant.

After closed session District 5 alderman Jed Dolnick rattled off a list of direct questions. “The current value of the brewery and land is worth $770,000 (amount corrected) and it will be replaced by a structure that is conservatively estimated to be $35 million,” he said.

“The only money we (the City) will borrow is for the public improvements of the City river walk, the river walk going under Highway 33 and improvements to Main Street plus a third of the cost to clean up this site but we are not borrowing any money ($10 million) to build this.

“The third point, the most confusing, the MRO is not being paid for by borrowing it is being paid for out of the tax being paid on the property.”

Cosson confirmed all of Dolnick’s statements.

Kennedy voted against the proposal adding, “I’m really excited for this project, it’s beautiful and I think it’s going to bring a lot to the City. My no vote is on the belief that we have four potential new board members that could be on this board tomorrow (April 6 is Election Day and the even-numbered seats are up for election) so that is why I’m voting no,” she said. “I think this issue should be put before the new board.”

During his initial review of the $35 million development plan, Cosson said:

It will take 23 of the 27 years to fully pay back the tax increment district (TID)

There are up to $9.7 million in capital expenditures that are TID eligible.

The $1 million incentive to the developer is for cleanup of the site including relocation of the We Energies site. Cleanup is estimated to cost $3 million total.

$500,000 for river walk north. The $1.5 will be borrowed and it would be paid back by the City from increment from the development.

River walk south is $2.2 million and that includes a tunnel under Highway 33.

Portion of Main Street improvements which will be tackled in 2023.

HKS estimates it will have its development constructed by 2023.

MRO = municipal revenue obligation – a contract between developer and City. After the City’s obligations are first paid the remaining increment will go back to the developer up to $4,425,000.  “The key is the City costs, borrowed money, will be paid first and what gets paid last is the MRO payment which will be due on an annual basis,” said Cosson. “If the valuation comes in less or it under performs the developers are the ones at risk and they are the ones that will be hurt.”

Increment from the HKS development is 1 half of 1 percent appreciation factor as the revenue that comes into the TID.

The proposed TID #15 must still go before the Joint Review Board later this month, April 15.

Dairy Destination is June 12 at Sunset Farms in Allenton

Washington County Dairy Promotion is rolling out a brand-new event for 2021, “Dairy Destination – Carloads of Fun. This event provides a unique opportunity to load up your car with family and friends and head to one of Washington County’s finest dairy farms, Sunset Farms located in Allenton, WI.

Upon arrival, you will be guided to the auto trail where you will roll through the entire dairy operation from the comfort of your car. Cows, calves, dairy barns, farm equipment and other fascinating sites that make the wheels turn on this dairy operation.

There will be games and surprises along the way for the kids. Each car will receive a signature “Dairy Dream Box” filled with dairy products, treats, and prizes valued at over $30.

Mike Strupp, event co-chair, said the goal of this new event is to show-case locally available dairy products through a fun and creative adventure at the farm.

The event is Saturday, June 12 through advanced ticket sales only. Tours run 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Your ticket will indicate your tour arrival time.

Tickets go on sale May 1, 2021 and can be purchased online at washingtoncountydairy.com A limited number of tickets will be sold on a first-come first-serve basis. It is recommended to purchase early to guarantee a spot. The cost is just $20 per carload and promises to be fun for all ages. Tickets are non-refundable.

Washington County Dairy Promotion is dedicated to promoting the dairy industry through promotion and education in classrooms and through community events. Proceeds from this event make these programs possible. Washington County Dairy Promotion is supported and operated by dairy farmers and partners in the dairy industry.

Reported bomb threat deemed hoax by West Bend Police

Pick ‘n Save north, 2518 W. Washington Street, in West Bend was evacuated around 10 a.m. Thursday after police received a call about a bomb threat.

Police combed the area and visited other businesses along Wildwood Road including the strip mall to the north, Stein’s, and the Stockhausen mall area.

The entrances to the grocery were blocked with police vehicles and yellow tape. Employees and customers were evacuated from the store. Business owners in the area were also visited by police to ensure there was nothing amiss.

After a little more than an hour no device was found. Police issued the press release below.

Pick ‘n Save reopened around 1:30 p.m.

BOMB THREAT 2518 West Washington Street

On Thursday, April 08, 2021 at 9:23 AM, a person that did not identify themselves called the West Bend Police Department and stated a bomb had gone off at the Pick N Save North store.

West Bend Police Department personnel and West Bend Fire Department personnel responded to the store. Police officers arrived and found there was no explosion. Officers were directed to an unattended package in the parking lot.

Police and fire personnel then assisted in evacuating the area. The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit responded and examined the package. The package did not contain any explosive device or material. Personnel searched the store and surrounding area before opening the store.

The store and Wildwood Road from Washington Street to Park Avenue were closed for approximately one hour. Investigators are working on identifying the caller.

Helping small businesses recover in Washington County

Washington County, WI and Economic Development Washington County (EDWC) have partnered to offer easy-access rocket fuel financing to propel county businesses who are ready to move past the pandemic and engage in what’s next because ‘Together. We’ve Got This!’  County Executive Schoemann released the following statement on the new program:

COVID-19 and Safer at Home has ravaged our economy, and in particular our small businesses. While programs from the state and federal government have provided assistance to a great many, as the dust settles it appears that a small portion of ultra-small businesses have been hit particularly hard and have received little or no economic support.

That is why I’m excited to announce this pro-growth initiative aimed at providing funds to our farmers, restaurants and small retail establishments quickly and with no collateral necessary.  I’d also like to thank the Washington County Board for approving money for this program as I recommended: money returned to Washington County from Sales Taxes generated by the “Miller Park” tax.

I feel this money belongs to the businesses that helped generate it then and need our help now.   This is yet another example of how we are working to create a pro-growth environment.

Loans will become available on April 7 and EDWC will take applications until funds are exhausted on a first come, first serve basis. Financing subject to review and approval of EDWC. We anticipate high demand for the program.

More information on the WashCo Small Biz Loan is available at edwc.org/washcosmallbizloan/

Local establishments change hands as liquor license applications are reviewed

It was March 12, 2021 when a story was posted on WashingtonCountyInsider.com about the sale of Culaccino Bar + Italian Kitchen in West Bend.

Jeremy Hahn bought the establishment. On Monday, April 5, 2021 he will be one of six requests before the City of West Bend Licensing Board.

Hahn, who currently owns The Boardroom, The Inferno, and Garden Lounge, will be requesting an Original Class B Combination license for 110 Wisconsin Street. It will be the future home of Vino Con Volo. Hahn said his chef at The Inferno is classically trained in Italian cooking. “He ran Buca di Beppo in Milwaukee for 10 years so it could be a good fit,” Hahn said.

As far as the menu is concerned, Hahn sees things remaining Italian but will try to push for a lunch crowd.  “We’re going to have a special with burgers but I’m not 100% yet.” Hahn said he is leaning towards an “airplane theme” since his dad is a pilot and the blades on the ceiling fans resemble propellers from a plane.

Also on the docket for Monday is a liquor license request for The Wedge 53095 Uncorked. The story about the new cheese and wine store was first posted on WashingtonCountyInsider.com on January 15, 2021.

The business is owned by Jessica Youso.

Just a bit up the road at 1539 N. Main Street the old M&R Bar has changed hands. Who has some history knowledge to tell us what M&R stands for?

B&K Sal Properties has applied for the license. Robert F. Salinas is the one filing the application. Right now, renovations are underway and there is a Dumpster in the parking lot as new life is breathed into the building.

Finally, it looks like the location to the south of Saloon Royale will be named Mavens on Main, 241 N. Main Street. Chad Goeman has applied for a liquor license. Monday’s meeting begins at 6:25 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall. The meeting is open to the public.

Fond du Lac County Breakfast on the Farm is Sunday, June 27

Envision Greater Fond du Lac Agri-Business Council is gearing up for its annual Breakfast on the Farm. This year’s event is Sunday, June 27 at LaClare Family Creamery in Malone.

“We actually did a drive-thru last year and this year we are ready to celebrate June Dairy Month in person,” said Amy Ries, director of agricultural program.  “This is going to be a safe, outdoor event and we encourage families to come celebrate agriculture in Wisconsin.”

The breakfast is $8 in advance and $9 at the event. Breakfast will feature scrambled eggs with ham and cheese, pork sausage, cheesy potatoes, coffee and milk. “We will have custard in a separate van and those will be $1 apiece and we will also have LeClare Creamery goat ice cream sundaes and those will be $1 as well,” said Ries. “All proceeds from the goat ice cream goes to the Ag Ambassador (ag in the classroom) program.)

Sheboygan County Breakfast on the Farm

Sheboygan County Dairy Promotions Association has announced its 2021 Breakfast on the Farm will be at Devin Acres in Elkhart Lake on Saturday, June 19. Breakfast on the Farm in Sheboygan County will include pancakes, eggs and cows. The event at Devin Acres, W3844 Primrose Lane, Elkhart Lake is with your hosts Kevin and Deb Kirsch on Saturday June 19, 2021 from 7 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Wall panels put in place at new Milwaukee Tool in West Bend

The walls are finally going up at the new Milwaukee Tool in West Bend. The walls arrived on a flatbed and were then lifted in place by a crane. The new manufacturer is located on River Road.

 Transplanting 4th-generation rhubarb in Cedar Creek

On a dreary Saturday morning with temps in the low 50s Kevin Zimmer and his sidekick Coco set off on a mission to transplant a 4th generation rhubarb patch from the old Peil Farm.

Climbing into his 6-wheel drive red pickup Zimmer cut through the back of his property on County Highway C and headed south through the 97-acre Peil farm; a parcel he closed on purchasing this month.

Rolling through a tree line, past low rock walls that date to the mid-1800s, Zimmer is elated about transplanting the old Peil family rhubarb plot.

“This is just really nice rhubarb,” he said, his eyes a little wild, similar to when local auctioneer Mike Paul talks about his love of bread pudding or limburger cheese.

“It’s really nice rhubarb. Kinda like when you drive down the highway past a farm and you see great big rhubarb. It’s that kind of rhubarb; we like rhubarb.”

Coco kept her eyes forward, watching turkeys cross in front of the vehicle. She had heard the story before, she hid her excitement well.

The 97-acre Peil farm has an extensive history. Zimmer grabs the original abstract title off the dashboard. “I just really want to know how old this rhubarb patch is,” he said. “In 1849 the farm traded for $200 and if you page through in 1914 it traded for $5,700 on a 10-year land contract.”

Zimmer plans on developing the property, located north of Highway 60 and east of Hillside Road. His mission today was to save the rhubarb.

Armed with a yellow-handled shovel and a “rhubarb extracting tool” Zimmer got to work, separating the thick stalks and cutting through the roots.

Putting the business end of the shovel into the rich soil Zimmer jumped on the blade for good measure and heaved up a ball of leafy rhubarb.

The project moved rather quickly as Zimmer narrated. “This is nice rich dirt; rhubarb really likes organic dirt, sun and manure,” he said. “I could have my own Saturday morning gardening show.”

“If any of the Peil kids are watching and they want some of their heritage rhubarb back… I’ll part with a few,” said Zimmer. Before noon Zimmer potted 75 rhubarb plants.

Recipes are now being accepted as the sweet harvest is just around the corner.

Revising COVID Numbers

I don’t really believe any of these numbers or rankings. The U.S. vastly overcounted COVID deaths by combining those who died “from” COVID with whose who died “with” it. China’s numbers are utterly unbelievable. Some countries are not testing at nearly the rate of others, so nobody knows how many actually died of COVID. We really don’t have any idea how many people COVID-19 killed with any specificity. We never will. We missed out opportunity for data integrity.

Mexico has published revised figures indicating that the number of deaths caused by coronavirus is 60% higher than previously reported.

More than 321,000 people are now believed to have died from Covid-19 in the country.

 

The revised toll places Mexico with the second highest number of Covid-related deaths in the world, after the US.

[…]

That places Mexico above Brazil, which has registered 310,000 deaths, and below the US which has recorded 549,000 fatalities – despite having a population of 126 million which is far smaller than either country.

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

In-person absentee voting begins Tuesday, March 23 for April 6 election

In-person absentee voting begins Tuesday, March 23 from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. and will continue through Friday, April 2. Election Day is Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

Absentee Ballots were mailed Tuesday for the April 6 Spring Election and local clerks pretested voting machines for the election. Absentee ballots will be mailed as requested until the Thursday, April 1 deadline at 5 p.m.

Fire guts West Bend Lakes Golf Club – 15 fire departments on scene

Fifteen fire departments from Washington and Ozaukee Counties responded to a large fire at West Bend Lakes Golf Club on Sunday afternoon, March 14.

The first fire call came in around 2 p.m. The fire appeared to start in the back of the building at 1241 Highway 33.  The 18-hole course was designed by Dewey Laak, the West Bend Lakes golf course opened in 1968. Chris Merkel manages the course as the Club Manager.

Prepping for Kwik Trip No. 5 at 18th Avenue in West Bend

The big trucks are moving earth and removing a longstanding tree line on the south end of the property at 18th Avenue and Highway 33 as the development of Kwik Trip No. 5 is underway in West Bend.

On a windy Thursday, large dump trucks and excavators could be seen pulling up the blacktop at the site, formerly home to Fleet Farm. On the south side of the property trees were being removed from a nearby fence line.

Lois Biron is a neighbor whose property abuts that tree line. Biron has lived on Concord Lane for 20 years.

In March 2020 Biron was concerned with the development design that would remove a 50-foot-tall line of Evergreen trees and how the new store would be about 60-feet off the property line.

She said another concern was there would now be ongoing traffic since the store would be open seven days a week and the reports to the Plan Commission showed a 75% increase in traffic to the area and even more if a restaurant will be built.

“Kwik Trip is a 24-7 operation and we’ll no longer have holidays with no noise or quiet at night and with added development there are added concerns,” said Biron. “From 15th Avenue and 18th Avenue there are other businesses coming in and our concern is this will be another Paradise Drive. This will directly impact the enjoyment we have along with the four other neighborhoods behind us.”

Biron was primarily concerned about the noise and how they would be able to hear things in the summer when their windows would be open. “We accept Kwik Trip,” said Biron. “But still have concerns about a number of things.”

Catastrophe averted in Allenton as sidewall gives in at road construction project | By Ron Naab

Some excitement in Allenton as contractors working to put in a manhole assembly on Railroad Street just south of Highway 33 had a sidewall give way Thursday afternoon, March 11. Witnesses said a huge geyser shot up as a pipe was pulled completely out of the valve assembly.

The incident emptied the 350,000 gallons in the water tower as the hole on Railroad Street filled with water coming in a 115-pounds of pressure.

Contractors with Highway Landscapers from Little Chute stayed on scene until 2 a.m. to fix the break.

There were several issues that led up to the incident. According to the contractor the crews were attempting to make the hole safe enough to work in along with being dry. A sidewall of the opening gave way and the weight of the water and ground pushed against the water line pulling the pipe out of the valve assembly and that caused the water tower to empty.

According to Highway Landscapers the previous repair to the water line apparently did not have a thrust block installed per state code. Early word is the line may date to 1961 and state code could have been different back then.

Allenton neighbor and local volunteer firefighter Ron Naab said the ground in that area is referred to as “liver sand” because it is gray in color with a high concentration of water.

After the fix, the two well pumps started working to refill the water tower.

Contractors are working on a major road repair and upgrade on County Highway W from Highway 33 south to Highway 175. The first portion of the project from Hwy 33 to Maysteel should be completed by June 1.

Below is the notice from the Washington County Highway Department.

WORK TO BEGIN ON COUNTY TRUNK HIGHWAY W FROM STH 175 to STH 33

Reconstruction of County Trunk Highway (CTH) W, from STH 175 to STH 33 in the Town of Addison is scheduled to begin on Monday March 8th, 2021 and be substantially completed by November. The prime contractor for the project is Michels Corporation from Brownsville, Wisconsin. The construction project will be closed to through traffic from the beginning of March to November, in two stages. Stage 1 will be from Hillcrest Drive (East) to STH 33 and Stage 2 will be from STH 175 to Hillcrest Drive (East).

Improvements will include grading, asphalt, curb and gutter, sanitary sewer, water main, storm sewer, culvert pipes, acceleration/deceleration and bypass lanes, and sight line improvements.

Please follow the posted detour routes utilizing STH 33 and STH 175. Residents are asked to use extra caution when driving in the construction area and to obey all flagmen and construction signs. Alternate routes should be utilized if possible, to avoid delays. Access will remain open to local businesses.

Also note, the Canadian National train that passes through Allenton is now traveling at 5 miles per hour. Naab said the horn, which normally sounds two longs, a short and a long is now blowing one long. The assumption is that is tied to the repairs going on within 300 feet of the track.

Building supplies in high demand at East Side Lumber in Hartford

Paul Faust has been with East Side Lumber in Hartford for 42 years. He has been doing sales and purchasing since about 1987 and he has never seen anything like the current market.

“Lumber has always had patterns as far as buying and selling and this past year has been basically a year like no other,” Faust said. “Nobody could predict this and anybody who has been doing this a long time has never seen this.”

What Faust and others in the building/construction industry are seeing is unprecedented demand, unprecedented shortage in materials, not enough raw material to supply the demand, and extended lead times to get the materials.

“Lumber is still in high demand and people continue to purchase even at the high prices,” he said. The reason for the push, according to Faust, can be tied to this past year where people were not able to go to work.

“People were not being able to do normal things so they have been trapped in their homes,” he said.  “Then they do projects like building home offices, building garages, basements and money has been cheap so there is still demand to build houses. The demand for new homes is there so that’s what has created the whole supply and demand imbalance.”

With an eye to the future, Faust said his prediction critically hinges on what happens to interest rates and if people keep working. “We will still have a lot of demand because young families and the next generation is starting families so the demand will continue. I think we’re at the top end of the scale as far as pricing,” he said.

Faust said he “feels pretty confident for the future of building.”

“We are continuing to buy,” he said. “You have to be proactive and continue to buy and we have the supplies.”

It had been rumored the price of lumber may double or even triple in the coming month.

“Spring prices will be lower and as the year goes on people get busier and prices escalate,” he said. “If hurricanes come ashore this season then prices will go up. Building lumber, panels, treated lumber we are at 300% inflated number from what we saw pre-covid last year.”

Faust asked customers to “be patient with us. This is something we haven’t seen before.”

Public information meeting on CTH W extension and intersection improvements

About 50 people attended a public information meeting Tuesday night at Addison Town Hall.  The hot topic was County Highway W extension and improvements to intersections at STH 83, STH 175 and CTH S.

Washington County Director of Public Works Scott Schmidt led the information session touting “the project will create a more effective and efficient roadway system and improve the poor operating conditions of the existing intersections.”

Schmidt stressed “safety” and “efficiency” as the top two talking points.

Neighbors in attendance pushed back on the proposal saying making one change would cause a bottleneck elsewhere. There were complaints about the need for three parallel roads within a single mile and taking away more farmland to complete the project.

People in attendance were encouraged to fill out forms with their input.

The next meeting on the project is Thursday, March 18, 2021 – Town of Addison meeting.

The issue will come before the full Washington County Board on May 12, 2021.

One of the complaints filed by neighbor Elaine Gehring read:

Say NO to Hwy W Extension Again!! Washington County is once again proposing that Hwy W be extended from STH 175 to STH 83 with a new road through several existing farm fields.  This proposal was previously brought to the County Board in both January 2019 and February 2019; it was voted down both times… but here it is again!!

The issues and questions haven’t changed…

–           Is it fiscally responsible to spend at least $2.1M (initial cost estimate in 2019) on a half-mile (.55 mile) of new road?

–           At a time when Washington County continues to seek new sources of revenue, is this the best use of our tax dollars?

–           Is this new roadway necessary when two connectors between STH 175 and STH 83 already exist within one mile of each other; do we really need three parallel roads within a single mile?

–           Frequent daily congestion due to the railroad tracks in Allenton is still a problem – will more traffic from Hartford using the new Hwy W extension improve that situation?

–           What about safety concerns with slow-moving farm vehicles on the curve of the Hwy W extension?

The most important questions – Why is the Hwy W extension back on the table after just two years?

What is the purpose of all of this?  Why do they keep pushing it?  What’s going on?           

In 2018, the County explained that one goal of the Hwy W extension was to “increase mobility from Hartford” – sounds like another reliever route option!  In 2019, the County explained the need for this extension was because of safety concerns related to the STH 175/CTH S intersection; if that’s still true, then why not focus on the proposed changes to that intersection and other CTH S interchanges for an anticipated cost of $450,000 (2019 initial estimate)? 

The Highway Department wants your input, so please bring your questions and your comments.  If you are not able to attend the meeting, they ask that you communicate with the project contacts listed below to share your comments.  Please provide comments by noon on March 18. Scott Schmidt, Washington County Director of Public Works – 262-335-4435 – scott.schmidt@washcowisco.gov

Kewaskum School Superintendent Jim Smasal retiring

The Kewaskum School Board announcing today the retirement of superintendent Jim Smasal. A note was sent to parents in the district Wednesday morning.

Good Morning Kewaskum families!

After 9 years of strong leadership, James Smasal, District Administrator of the School District of Kewaskum, announced his intention to retire effective June 30, 2021.  In his tenure at Kewaskum, James has tackled many difficult challenges including top 20% in student achievement while being lowest 20% in mill rates in Wisconsin, significant renovations of the school facilities and upgraded athletic fields below budget, built a solid, talented team of effective educators, support staff and leaders.

Most recently, the challenge of keeping our schools open and our students in school during the past year when many districts around the state elected to keep their schools closed for in-person education.  We thank James for his leadership, his hard work and efforts in moving our district forward in a positive direction.

As we transition, we are extremely excited to announce that we have promoted Dr. Mark Bazata, current Curriculum Director, to the position of District Administrator.  Mark has been with the district since 2014 and has served in several leadership positions.  With the district’s support, Mark received his PhD in 2018 and his District Administrator license in 2019 from Marian University, Fond du Lac.  Mark is well qualified to lead and his passion for the School District of Kewaskum and our Community is evident.

Being able to develop talent and promote from within is a WIN-WIN for the school district.  Ultimately, it saves money for the district, is more effective and provides for good continuity of leadership.  It is also a testimony to the quality and focus of our leadership team within the district over the past 9 years. The Board of Education conducted an extensive interview and voted unanimously to promote Dr. Mark Bazata as District Administrator of the School District of Kewaskum.  Board President Jim Leister stated, “Dr. Mark Bazata is a strong match for District Administrator of the School District of Kewaskum.  I am very pleased, on behalf of the Board of Education, to welcome Mark in working together to ignite a passion for learning.”

Hiring a District Administrator is one of the most important roles placed on the Board of Education.  Please join us in thanking James Smasal as he moves on to a hard-earned retirement and embracing and congratulating Dr. Mark Bazata in his new role.

Sincerely,

Jim Leister, President   Tim Ramthun, Vice President   Stephanie Bird, Clerk

Dennis Aupperle, Treasurer  Sue Miller  Doug Gonring   Richard Leitheiser

One person injured in motorcycle accident in neighboring Dodge County

On Friday, March 19, 2021 at approximately 11:28 a.m., the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office responded to a motorcycle crash on STH 175 near CTH HH in the Township of Leroy, Dodge County. Initial investigation shows a 2003 Honda motorcycle was traveling south on STH 175 at a high rate of speed.

The motorcycle passed over the top of a small hill and began to slide on the roadway. The motorcycle traveled off the right/west side of the roadway, struck a mailbox, and overturned in a cornfield. The motorcycle operator was wearing a helmet. He was ejected from the motorcycle as it slid and overturned in the cornfield.

The 25-year-old motorcycle operator sustained serious injuries and he was flown by Flight for Life helicopter to Froedert Hospital in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

The crash remains under investigation by the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office. The Dodge County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Brownsville Fire Department, Mayville EMS, Fond du Lac Paramedics and Flight for Life.

Regal Ware appointments Ryan Reigle as President & Chief Executive Officer

Kewaskum, Wisconsin – Regal Ware, Inc. announces Jeffrey A. Reigle, has stepped down as President and Chief Executive Officer and will hand the reins to his son, Ryan Reigle. Jeff will remain active in the business as Chairman of the Board.

Jeff has been with the company since 1973. Under Jeffs’ leadership, the company has always had a reputation for integrity, growth, innovation and continually reinventing themselves.

Jeff was always willing to invest in new ideas while keeping a focus on customers, suppliers, and employee’s success. His continued commitment of building the type of company that treats Regal Ware family members, customers and communities with honor and respect are testaments of his dedication and commitment as a leader.

The Board would like to convey its appreciation to Jeffrey A. Reigle. His leadership, talent and expertise have been a great asset to Regal Ware’s success. We are pleased that Jeff will stay active in the business serving as Chairman of the Board.

The Regal Ware Board of Directors is pleased to announce Ryan Reigle will take over as President &Chief Executive Officer effective March 18, 2021. Ryan is a fourth generation descendent of Regal Ware founder J.O. Reigle.

“There are three members of the fourth generation of the Reigle family working in this business. I cannot think of any other indication of our commitment to the business and the community than to have members of the fourth generation of the family come back and want to be part of the organization and helping to build the future,” said Jeffrey Reigle.

Ryan has long been groomed for the top job. He began his career with Regal Ware in 2007 serving in a variety of sales and management positions. In January 2016 he was appointed President of Saladmaster, overseeing global sales and operations worldwide, growing the division by 20+ percent.

In October 2019 he was appointed Sr. Vice President, Sales, providing oversight of all Regal Ware sales divisions. Keys to Ryan’s success have been his extensive background in global sales and operations providing a solid base of experience that allows strategies to be developed and implemented across the organization. Ryan was elected to Regal Ware’s Board of Directors in 2018.

“We are fortunate to have someone of Ryan’s caliber and experience step up to lead Regal Ware,” said Jeff. “Ryan is a visionary with a proven track record of execution. He is a strong communicator who is customer focused with deep leadership capabilities. He is the right person to successfully implement our strategy while delivering exceptional value to our customers.”

“I am honored to step into this role and excited to lead Regal Ware,” Ryan said. “When I reflect on Regal Ware’s past, I see a history of progress, not a progress of history. Here at Regal Ware, we made things happen and made the world a better place. Reflecting upon how that happened, it only happened one way. It is around the great people that have made up this organization for the past 75 years. I am fortunate to work alongside an incredible team of global employees and sales leaders to fulfill our mission of enriching life by bringing families together across the world.”

 

High winds snap metal flagpole in Fredonia

The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory on Wednesday night and by 3 a.m. Thursday, March 11, 2021 the gusty winds caught a metal flagpole at Big Joe’s on Highway A in Fredonia and snapped it in half.

The clerk at the gas station said nobody was in the store when the pole hit the building. The owner arrived shortly thereafter and it took him an hour to get the flag off the pole which was estimated to be about 50 – 60 feet in length.

Hot Tub Insurance Claims Skyrocket

Put this on the list of things we should have seen coming.

Aviva said there had been a 188% year-on-year increase in accidental damage claims for hot tubs in 2020.

 

Claims it accepted include a grass strimmer bursting an inflatable tub and an engagement ring ripping a lining.

 

The high-ticket items rocketed in popularity in 2020 as more people spent summer in the UK.

 

Last June, shopping platform eBay reported sales of hot tubs had increased by nearly five times. And, stock on Argos’s website remains limited, where hot tubs can cost up to £6,439.

 

But parasols falling into tubs have also caused customers trouble, as have birds pecking holes in their covers, according to Aviva.

More Progress in Fight Against COVID

Great!

Eli Lilly & Co says its combination antibody therapy is effective at treating mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.

 

The treatment, a mixture of drugs bamlanivimab and etesevimab, was developed by Indianapolis-based Lilly and the Canadian company AbCellera.

 

It recognizes the virus once a person is infected and attaches to it, preventing the pathogen from entering human cells, and therefore neutralizing it.

 

In trial data released on Wednesday, Eli Lilly said the combination reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by 87 percent compared to a placebo.

 

The results are an improvement of an earlier study of the combination, which reduced the risk of hospitalization and death by 70 percent.

COVID Cases Plunge in Nursing Homes

Excellent!

New coronavirus cases in Wisconsin nursing homes have taken a nose-dive since the first week of vaccinations and were in the single digits in the latest week reported to the federal government.

 

In the week from Feb. 15 to 21, only eight nursing home residents tested positive for COVID-19, according to the latest data reported by Wisconsin nursing homes to the federal government.

 

Nursing home cases have been on the decline since mid-November when cases peaked following a deadly surge of COVID-19 statewide.

 

But the weekly rate of cases has continued to plummet since a vaccine became available to nursing home residents, falling 97% from late December through the third week of February.

Asymptomatic Spread of COVID is Very Rare

FYI

“Children might be more likely to be asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 than are adults…This apparent lack of transmission [in schools] is consistent with recent research (5), which found an asymptomatic attack rate of only 0.7% within households and a lower rate of transmission from children than from adults. However, this study was unable to rule out asymptomatic transmission within the school setting because surveillance testing was not conducted” (emphasis added).

 

The “recent research” the study authors cite is a meta-analysis of 54 household COVID-19 transmission studies that observed 77,758 participants, which was posted as a pre-print this summer and published in December.

 

The text of the analysis is even more consequential than the CDC’s reference makes it seem: “Estimated mean household secondary attack rate from symptomatic index cases (18.0%; 95% CI, 14.2%-22.1%) was significantly higher than from asymptomatic or presymptomatic index cases (0.7%; 95% CI, 0%-4.9%; P < .001), although there were few studies in the latter group. These findings are consistent with other household studies28,70 reporting asymptomatic index cases as having limited role in household transmission” (emphasis added).

The 0.7 percent figure includes not just people who never show symptoms of COVID-19, but people who haven’t yet shown symptoms—two groups that have been alleged to be major factors driving the spread of the virus. This is a major data point often underplayed or even challenged in much media coverage of the virus.

J&J Vaccine Approved

Excellent.

MILWAUKEE — On Saturday the FDA gave emergency use authorization to the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. This is the third vaccine to get the approval, including Pfizer and Moderna.

 

Doctors from UW Health and the Medical College of Wisconsin said the biggest problem right now in trying to get people vaccinated is that the supply just isn’t there. The approval a third COVID-19 should help get more shots into more arms quicker.

Wolf Harvest Already Over

Wow. That was fast. I suspect that there are a lot more wolves than they thought.

This means all six zones will be closed for the season by 3 pm on Wednesday.

 

The DNR updated harvest numbers at 3 pm, and 82 wolves have been harvested since the season began Monday morning. This is an increase of 30 since the initial update at 8 am.

 

Zone 2 and 6 exceeded their quota’s for wolves. Zone 2 by 3, Zone 6 by 1.

 

Zone four is the only one that hasn’t had a wolf harvest.

 

The 82 harvests is 69% of the statewide allocation of 119 wolves. The other 81 are allocated to the Ojibwe Tribes.

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