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Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

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Around the Bend    July 9, 2016          By Judy Steffes

Officer Named in Jackson Shooting

According to Village of Jackson Police Department Chief Jed Dolnick, the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), at the request of the Village of Jackson Police Department, has been leading the investigation of an officer involved death (OID) that took place on the evening of July 1, 2016.

The Village of Jackson Police Department dispatched officers to a residence on Stonewall Drive for a domestic violence-related incident. Officer Kyle Henning, who has been a law enforcement officer since 2006 and a Village of Jackson Police Officer since 2008, discharged his weapon, striking the armed male suspect.

Officers on the scene rendered first-aid to the suspect until EMS arrived, but the suspect, 58-year-old Helmut Wihowski, succumbed to his injuries.

The Wisconsin DOJ-led investigation of this incident has been a collaboration between DCI, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory, and the Washington County Medical Examiner’s Office. The Village of Jackson Police Department has been fully cooperating with DCI during this investigation.

DCI is continuing to collect evidence and determine the facts of this incident and will turn over investigative reports to the Washington County District Attorney when the investigation concludes.

No additional information is available at this time.

Just Ducky: Derby Winners Announced

West Bend Kiwanis Early Risers announce the winners of the annual Fourth of July Duck Derby held at Regner Park on Monday. A slide show from the event is below the list of winners.

Business Best Dressed: 1st Care Wisconsin, 2nd Snyder Law LLC, 3rd Vrana Lock and Safe
Business Race: 1st West Bend Lithia Regner Red, 2nd Design 2 Construct, 3rd Cedar Lake Sales
Family Best Dressed: 1st Katelyn Taylor, 2nd Raymond Spors, 3rd Violet Spors
Family Race: 1st Charlie Mayer, 2nd Jim Whittle, 3rd Jud Wulff

Brantner Trial Reconsideration Set for 9/6

The next go around in Fond du Lac County Court for a 62-year-old Kenosha man accused of killing 18-year-old Berit Beck will be three months from today. During a status conference Tuesday a motion hearing was scheduled for September 6th. District Attorney Eric Toney says at that time a decision could be made on whether Brantner will be retried.

Last week a jury was unable to decide whether he killed Beck in the summer of 1990 in the Fond du Lac area. The jury was dismissed.

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Local journalist Judy Steffes continues her annual trek to raise funding for programs that benefit those with Alzheimer’s at Cedar Community. Below are some notes from the road. Donations may still be made by visiting her blog at imthebikewriter.blogspot.com or contacting Cedar Community.

Glad to Report I’m Not Batty

Ann was easygoing. She had been at Mary Immaculate for three years. Prior to that she worked in the public schools.

I was losing steam fast and we decided to go down the street to a local Mexican restaurant. Ann pointed out some of the landmarks including A.T. Still University, Truman State University, and the town square.

Dropping me off at the school, she wished me well on my journey and said, “I called the local TV station and they might stop to interview you ….and we were having some trouble with bats in the school but we haven’t seen any for a couple days so you should be OK.”

So sweet.

I seem to have collected quite the menagerie of animal, rodent and reptile friends on this tour.

AMAZING RIDE MAKES THE LOCAL NEWS IN MISSOURI

On a much brighter note, the local TV station, KTVO in Missouri, did, in fact, get in touch with me and I had an interview which appeared on the evening news. You can watch the interview on my blog here: http://imthebikewriter.blogspot.com/2016/07/thanks-to-ktvo-in-mo-who-picked-up-my.html or by accessing my blog at www.imthebikewriter.blogspot.com.

So Much To Do, So Little Time

Two weeks into the tour and I’m reluctantly starting to accept reality. I’ve pedaled from Albuquerque, N.M. to Oklahoma City, OK but I’m pathetically slow and have a lot of territory to accomplish in the next seven days.

So, on to Plan B! With severe heat warnings in northeastern Oklahoma I’ve rented a car for a day to get me at least up to the Midwest. The brilliant decision affords me a couple luxuries, including a visit to the American Banjo Museum in Oklahoma City. I saw the museum on July 4 as I was pedaling around Bricktown. The museum is in a former candy cane factory on Sheridan Avenue. There are over 400 banjos on display, including one with Wisconsin ties.

Les Paul of Waukesha started his career playing the banjo. “He actually bought the banjo, took it apart and electrified it,” said Dustin Pyeatt, museum development manager.

Pyeatt leads me on an exclusive tour of the two-story museum pointing out some of the highlights and sharing the history of minstrels and jazz, blue grass and the amazing talents of Steve Martin.

Martin got his start in music and magic at 10 years old working at Disneyland. As far as the banjo was concerned he said, “As a beginner you can’t practice the banjo or violin around anybody as they’ll go insane, so I would sit in my car and roll up the windows even on the hottest summer days -and struggle to learn the banjo.”

Behind the scenes: The updated tour now looks like this:

To get home in the scheduled three weeks I’m hoping to leave the excessive heat behind me and resume pedaling this afternoon from Columbia, Missouri.

Situations

Sometimes on these tours I get myself into situations that even I can’t imagine.

I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version: On the road for about two weeks and the weather in Oklahoma is so steamy even my socks are soaking wet.

I join Joyce and Jackie for breakfast after pedaling 15 miles from Clinton to Weatherford. We eat at Lucille’s, a well-known stop on Route 66.

“Got married when I was 16,” said Joyce. “We’ve been married longer than you’ve been alive.” The couple had three children and more than 10 grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Joyce and Jackie had already attended a great grandchild’s soap box derby race that morning. The couple knew a lot of people at the diner. Jackie was 83 and a retired truck driver. He wanted to drive me in the worst way to see the real Lucille’s truck stop on Route 66.

The story of Lucille raising a family during the 1940s was one of fortitude and then despair when the government shut off access to her gas station when they rerouted the new interstate.  Lucille’s was a photo op for all travelers on the Historic Route 66.

Not long after that stop I started to cramp up. Maybe the sweltery weather or something I ate. I pulled under an overpass and sat for a while. Temperatures were sunny and in the 90s. I eventually got back on my pony and made it 10 miles to a Love’s truck stop.

Two words: Air conditioning.

I sat for a while, crunched some ice and weighed my fatigue and my options. After about 40 minutes a man exited a van hauling a mobile home. He was in his 70s, wore a Navy hat and said, “Pretty hot day for biking.”

Next thing you know I’m in the back of the van talking to his wife, Sue, and they’re giving me a safe lift to Oklahoma City. Sue and I talk about books, the demise of media and the adventures of touring. The couple drops me off in downtown Oklahoma City, with its skyscrapers and traffic lights. I don’t think I’m going to find a church in the vicinity so I roll into the lobby of the Courtyard Marriott. It’s located next to the Chesapeake Energy Arena where the NBA Oklahoma Thunder play.

I ask the clerk, Josh Allen, for help and directions to a youth hostel. Josh asks if I would stay if he could make a night at the Courtyard affordable.
I’m thinking that the definition of ‘affordable’ is something that’s probably not going to be in Josh’s wheelhouse.

And you are not going to believe what happened next….

I got the most amazing room ever at The Courtyard in downtown Oklahoma City.  Let’s give it up for Josh Allen.

He totally had excellent customer service. He got me a bottle of water and a banana and I was getting out credentials and ID and going on and on about the tour and all he said calmly was, “I believe you.”

I must have just looked and smelled like a total mess; I KNOW I wasn’t their normal clientele… and Josh just helped.

Let’s hear it for Josh!

Meet Harley – Did I, or didn’t I?

One of my most favorite encounters so far has been with Harley in Erick, Oklahoma.  After a much-needed rest stop at the Roger Miller Museum. I drifted down the road to a building that had a ton of colorful vintage business signs.

“Take as many pictures as you like,” said Harley. He was the owner of the shop, with was the former City Meat Market turned into a frequent tourist stop just off Route 66.

Harley was dressed in well-worn blue-and-white bib overalls. He was minus a shirt…probably cooler that way. Harley, 76, had his gray hair pulled back in a ponytail. His voice was gravelly and his personality eccentric. I found him endearing, entertaining and lonely.

There are photos with Harley and his beloved wife Annabelle; the pair apparently drew more attention than the local museums. “Now what are you doing on this bike trip,” said Harley. “You want a cold drink?” I declined and Harley came back with a root beer and poured it in a frosty mug that looked like it could hold 64 ounces. I explained the tour and then got distracted by a picture frame full of rattlesnake tails.

Harley had a lot of musical instruments mixed in with his old-school items. And with that Harley belted out a dedication tune of Route 66 to my dad, Al Steffes. Some people might have been scared. I thought it was wonderful. You can listen to the ballad here: http://imthebikewriter.blogspot.com/2016/07/meet-harley-did-i-or-didnt-i.html  or by accessing my blog at www.imthebikewriter.blogspot.com.

After the song Harley said, “You want to come over and see my house? I call it the castle/sanitarium.”  How could a gal resist? I felt a little uneasy. I could see through Harley’s shtick. But I was nonetheless a little wary so I …..
The question is… Did I go along with him or not?

(Answer: NOPE.)

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