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On a history note | Farmers in the field for annual harvest across Washington County, WI

Town of Barton, WI – Farmers across Washington County are in the fields toiling away at their fall harvest. It’s an annual part of the farming culture. The picture below is a Town of Barton farming photo circa 1890, courtesy the Washington County Historical Society; it drew an unexpected response from Ann Enright of Boltonville.

She wrote: This is a picture of my paternal great-grandparents, John J. and Augusta (Frank) Kocher. They are the couple standing to the right. He has a pitchfork in his hand.

My paternal grandmother was Mary Kocher daughter of John J. and Augusta Kocher. My father, Marvin Schaefer, was the son of Mary Kocher and August Schaefer.

Aside from this photo – below are other highlights from 10 years ago, September 2013… do you remember the West Bend woman finding the Indian head nickel?

Farmington woman attends benefit featuring Cardinal Timothy Dolan

Mary Feind of Farmington said she was ‘blessed’ to be in attendance at St. Francis Seminary last Friday at the annual fundraising dinner featuring Cardinals Timothy Dolan, James Harvey and Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki.

“Usually they hold the event at a hotel but this time they wanted it on the grounds of the Seminary so guests could know what they were investing in and they did it up beautifully,” said Feind, a member of Holy Trinity Parish in Kewaskum.

A strong Catholic, Feind has close ties to the church with three nephews who graduated St. Francis de Sales Seminary. The now-ordained priests of the Milwaukee Diocese include Rev. John Burns, Rev. Patrick Burns and Rev. Philip Schumaker from St. Michael’s near Kewaskum.

Feind described the invite-only event as “extremely gorgeous” and “although it was a crush” she did get to say a word to each cardinal and the archbishop.

“They were jovial and clever in their talks, especially teasing Cardinal Dolan about losing 20 pounds and they ribbed Cardinal Harvey about his roots in the Milwaukee area,” said Feind.

Cardinal Harvey was born in Milwaukee, studied at St. Francis Seminary, was ordained to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and later served as the Prefect of the Papal Household for Pope John Paul II.

“The most striking thing to me was that every seminarian, under grad and post grad, were beaming and introducing themselves to everybody and it was so encouraging to see the light of Christ’s love in those guys,” said Feind. “It is evidence of the spring time of the church; they are on fire.”

There was a record crowd of 850 people at the event. Fiend said Dolan and Harvey were both dressed in fuchsia vestments, the tablecloths were brilliant orange, and the catered dinner was underwritten by one man. “He underwrote it so every penny we donated went directly to the seminary,” she said.

The generosity was contagious; Feind said she was moved to donate “more than I usually do because it was so beautiful and so encouraging.”

Seated at tables of 10, Feind said Dolan was humble, loving and very gracious. “He was so warm and so filled with memories of his life in the seminary and that was true of Cardinal Harvey as well,” she said.

A light-hearted moment came when one of the seminarians spoke. “He was just a college kid and he was so nervous because his speech followed presentations by the two cardinals,” said Feind.

“It was very encouraging for the faith of the church and everyone was so filled with a love, a brotherhood or sisterhood and it was like family.”

Cardinal Dolan talked about the church as a family. “He said the church is a place where all are welcome,” said Feind.  “He said we don’t wait to make ourselves perfect to get into the church – the church is a place for all people as imperfect as we are.”

The message of church and family was similar to the address Dolan gave the night before during the Archdiocese of Milwaukee’s 10th annual Pallium Lecture series.

Rev. Nathan Reesman and Jill Maria Murdy from St. Frances Cabrini attended that event along with others from West Bend.

“I passed along Dolan’s message of church as a family to our confirmation students on Sunday,” said Reesman. “The one point I tried to communicate was that you can’t un-baptize yourself and how the church is your family and your home.”

Reesman said he was quite impressed with the cross section and demographic at the Pallium Lecture. “Young, old, lot of priests, different diocesan officials, non-Catholics, and the common thought was it’s a sign of hope for the future of the Archdiocese and the broader church,” he said.

For the archbishop, Reesman said, it was a chance to have his church in front of him. “It was an important moment for Listecki as he leads our diocese to have a good, captive audience to listen, to engage and talk about the archbishop’s priorities and the cardinals picked up on that as well.”

Murdy, the director of liturgy and music at Cabrini, said Dolan talked about Catholics standing up for their faith and how we need to be fervent about it.

“He was really amazing,” said Murdy of Cardinal Dolan. “He has a way of engaging you with his humor, and then getting down to brass tacks.”

Distribution facility for sale in West Bend

The distribution facility for Focus Products Group International, 2845 Wingate St., is for sale.

Focus Products designs and sells products for kitchens and bathrooms under the old West Bend Co. name.

A corporate statement said the company is restructuring the distribution network, there will be consolidation of the center in West Bend and product will be rerouted to new distribution centers in Illinois and California. The office staff, including customer service and international sales operations, is currently seeking space in West Bend although there’s no confirmation on a new site.

The consolidation plan calls for closure of the West Bend distribution facility by Dec. 31, 2013.  Approximately 20 employees will be impacted by the move. Existing employees will have the opportunity to apply at the new Chicago-area facility. Those choosing not to pursue a position at the new facility will receive a competitive severance package.

RFP Commercial, Inc. of Milwaukee is marketing the warehouse building. The lease rate for the 160,000-square-foot building is $4 per square foot or for sale at $5.6 million.

RFP real estate agent Paul McBride said so far “things have been quiet” regarding interest in the property.  The distribution facility on the east side of West Bend was built in 2009.

First domestic partnership divorce filed in Washington Co. 

In June 2009, then Gov. Jim Doyle signed a budget that included a provision allowing declarations of domestic partnerships. Now, four years later, Washington County has registered its first domestic-partnership termination.

Washington County Clerk Brenda Jaszewski said the county clerk issued just one domestic partnership license so far this year and one termination. The cost for a domestic-partnership license, wedding license, or termination are each $100.

In 2009 there was an initial rush, and 14 domestic-partnership licenses were issued by the end of the year. In 2012 there were two licenses issued. Jaszewski said she was not planning a price increase for 2014 for either license.

Sandy Lang and HD turnout

The Washington County Fair Park reportedly “broke even” as it provided space for about 1,000 campers during the 110th Harley-Davidson anniversary celebration. “We had about 200 campsites sold, a combination of RV’s and tents,” said Fair Park executive director Sandy Lang about the campers that came from all over the U.S., Canada and England.”

Lang said about 75-percent of the campers were return visitors, having stayed at the Fair Park during the Harley 100th and 105th celebrations. This time, however, things were different. “We were not endorsed by Harley Corporate, so we had to do everything ourselves on a shoestring budget,” said Lang. “There was also a lot of competition from events sponsored by Harley.”

Business owner finds Indian head nickel

Ann Marie Craig, owner of Century Farmhouse Handcrafted Artisan Soaps has made an interesting find. “I opened my wallet expecting to see a few coins and an old button, I never expected to find a 1917 Indian head/buffalo nickel in my hand.”

Craig was at a store paying for something when she found the coin. “Just a little glance at the money in my hand made me take a second, closer look because the face of the Indian was an unusual sight,” she said.

Craig described the edges of the coin as “somewhat worn, especially on the front face, making the 1917 look more like 1912 and visible only when the coin is held at a certain angle in the light. “The buffalo on the reverse is quite clear, as are the words United States of America, E Pluribus Unum, and Five Cents.”

Craig said she has no idea how she got the coin; when, where or if she got it in change. “I plan to keep it – it is worth at least five cents,” she said.

On a history note – Woodrow Wilson was President in 1917. In March that year, he was elected to a second term. Also in November 1917, nine members of the Milwaukee Police Department were killed by a bomb. It was the single most fatal event in U.S. police history until the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Race results

Results are in from the third annual Motorcycle Charity Race at Washington County Fair Park. Organizer Scott Schneiberg said there were 48 teams with almost 100 riders and they raised $5,000 for Chix 4 a Cause; a local charity that helps cancer victims in need. First place went to Ben Carlson/Joe Stoffel- West Bend, 2nd place Jeremy DeRuyter/Jesse Janisch-West Bend Harley, 3rd place Dan Luchon, 4th place Eric Wedemayer/Glenn Curtis- Fuel Powersports, and 5th place Chase Guthrie/ BPS Racing.

The top teams completed 77 laps around the 1.2-mile course in two hours. The next local race will be Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, on Wallace Lake. All proceeds will benefit Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Washington County.


Tough Mudder

Downtown West Bend business owner Lauri Gundrum participated on a team of eight in last weekend’s Tough Mudder in Oshkosh. “It was harder this year but I had a blast,” said Gundrum, owner of Apple Barrel General Store, 229 S. Main St. Gundrum has completed the race three years in a row. “They added these burn zone, there were more extra-body workouts and big obstacles and it was extremely muddy because it poured rain that morning,” she said. Tough Mudder is a 12-mile course. Proceeds benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.

Business updates & tidbits

– The Washington County Dairy Promotion said Bob and Jane Falk and family will host the 2014 Breakfast on the Farm in June at River Back Farm on CTH M just east of Newburg.

-The 13th annual Grand Larsony Car Show and Benefit is tomorrow Sunday, Sept. 15 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot across the street from The Grand Larsony tavern in downtown Kewaskum.

-Lieutenant Micheal Hartwell said the West Bend Police Department has 2013 Green Packer trading cards available. The cards are sponsored again this year by American Metal and Paper Recycling.

– Wisconsin Riders 4th Annual Pig Roast is today at Regner Park. Tickets are $15 which includes one entry for a door prize, free food, and two drink tickets. Kids under 16 are free. The event includes music, a dunk tank, face painting and other kids’ activities. The grand prize for the raffle this year is a DPMS .223/5.56 AP4 Carbine courtesy of Nelson Tactical in Green Bay. The drawing will be the last of the night around 7:30 p.m. Only one ticket will be drawn and you don’t need to be present to win. The pig roast helps promote the annual Police Unity Tour which raises awareness of law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.

– Six businesses will participate in the upcoming UW-Washington County Fish Fry Frenzy fundraiser. The Thursday, Oct. 17 event will include Riverside Brewery, Timmer’s Restaurant, Jug’s Hitching Post, Mineshaft/Fox & Hounds, West Bend Lakes Golf Course, and Barley Pop in Germantown. All proceeds benefit the HOPE Scholarships. Tickets are $20 for adults. The event has sold out the past two years.

-The Traveling Tractor was finally located at Century Farmhouse, 1803 N. Main St., by Cindi Hennes.  She won her choice of soap selecting ‘Chocolate meets Cinnamon’ and a soap net. The Traveling Tractor is a weekly contest designed to promote the Farmers’ Market in downtown West Bend.

-The latest on Veterans Trek, a walk from Milwaukee to Los Angeles by Anthony Anderson of West Bend and his friend Tom Voss to raise money and awareness for PTSD. The pair stepped off from Milwaukee on August 30. This week, after completing the Military Ridge State Trail that runs from Dodgeville to Mount Horeb and Fitchburg, the pair crossed the Mississippi River into Iowa. Their longest day so far has been 23 miles. More details on the tour are at www.veteranstrek.com

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