BELGIUM AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

Chamber Member Spotlights

  • Monday, November 01, 2021 4:01 PM | Tara Williams (Administrator)


    They joke that it all started with a bad day of deer hunting.  Bob Hubing and Kevin Peiffer returned from hunting one chilly November night in 2018.  While sitting in their hunting camp (Bob’s garage) discussing the day’s events, the conversation switched to how great it is to use their ATVs to get around their property.  They believe ATVs and UTVs are the perfect mode of transportation for a variety of uses, and wondered if other ATV/UTV enthusiasts felt the same way and wanted to get together.  It sparked the idea of starting a family-oriented ATV club. 

    They booked a meeting room at the Belgium Fire Department and put out flyers inviting people to come and learn more about this idea.

    “We didn’t know what to expect, but we had 65 people show up!” says Brenda Peiffer, secretary of the club. 

    That night, the Lakeshore ATV/UTV Club was born, with the mission to “Create a safe and positive future for ATV/UTV recreation and to have fun together as a family-oriented club!”

    Today, the club boasts a membership of more than 150 people, including 20 Business Memberships, from Belgium and its surrounding communities.  The club’s first ride was up in Mountain, Wisconsin.  Members booked a hotel and spent the day riding 120 miles of trails and routes in the Northwoods.  That was the first of several club rides.  


    The club has travelled to Black River Falls, Tomahawk, Shawano, Kettle Moraine, Hurley, and more.
     They also participate in an annual Charity Ride Event benefitting the Make-a-Wish Wisconsin organization.  In 2019, it was up in Antigo, where the club helped to raise $27,000.  In 2021, the Lakeshore ATV/UTV Club partnered with the Kettle Moraine ATV/UTV Club and Wisconsin ATV Association (WATVA) to host the event for the first time at the Washington County Fairgrounds where $22,000 was raised for Make-A-Wish.  All ages could participate.  One family attended with a child who had benefitted from getting their wish. 

     “It was heartwarming to hear their story and be part of such a great cause,” Kevin recalled.

    Community service is a big part of what the club is about.  They participate with festive floats in a number of area parades and volunteer at many local events.  They even volunteered to staff the Town of Fredonia’s recycling center a couple of times when its waste manager was injured.  Keeping a positive public image and being an active member of the community is important to the club.

    Patrol Ambassador Dylan JentgesSafety is of the utmost importance, which is why it’s listed first in their mission statement and promoted throughout their events, rides and training.  In fact, several club members have been trained and certified as Trail Ambassadors.  

    The WI DNR ATV/UTV Regulations require that ATV/UTVs follow posted speed limits and all regulatory signs, be registered, have a license plate, and have their headlights and taillights on at all times.  UTVs also have seat belt requirements, just like a car; seatbelts are required to be fastened at all times.  When riding on public routes and trails, helmets are required for those under 18 yrs, and anyone born after 1988 must pass the DNR ATV Safety course which covers laws and ethics.  Noise regulations must also be met; ATV/UTVs cannot legally be louder than 96 decibels, which is lower than some motorcycles and similar to the decibel level of your lawn mower.

    “Personally, I feel safer driving my ATV on the road than when I used to drive my motorcycle,” adds Brenda; “they are on four wheels, so they are wider and more stable, and much more visible to others.”  

    ATVs and UTVs also flow with traffic, unlike bicycles or smaller scooters.  The average size of a UTV is larger than a smart car.

    ATVs and UTVs are recreational activities that older riders can enjoy and are accessible to people with disabilities.  They can be used year-round and in all kinds of weather.  It’s a very popular mode of transportation throughout the state.

    While road tripping is fun, the club’s dream is to be able to ride locally. There are over 42,000 miles of routes (a route is a road that is legal for ATVs/UTVs to drive on) in Wisconsin but very few in the Belgium area.  The club dove headfirst into researching other municipalities’ ordinances and learning through other clubs’ experiences to ensure that ATVs/UTVs will amicably coexist on local roads.

    The club has already worked with the Town Boards in Belgium and Fredonia, both of which approved ordinances to allow ATV/UTV usage on local roads.  They are currently working on proposing an ordinance in the Village of Belgium.  The club hosts fundraisers that pay for 100% of the signage needed to enact the ordinances as they are passed.  Other nearby towns and villages have similar ordinances, such as the Villages of Random Lake and Waldo, as well as the Towns of Sherman, Scott, Farmington, Kewaskum, etc. 

    The club pointed out that the traffic local restaurants and businesses enjoy for a few weeks a year from snowmobiles could be enjoyed year-round with a passed ATV/UTV ordinance. 

    After COVID hit our world, the popularity of ATVs/UTVs skyrocketed, as they provide an outdoor family-friendly activity, and as Ozaukee County’s only ATV/UTV organization, the Lakeshore ATV/UTV Club is happy to help nourish this hobby.  

    Bob Hubing taking his grandkids for a ride

    Kevin hopes to be able to use his UTV to get around Belgium more, like going to the post office, the bank, the recycling center and restaurants.  Brenda wants to be able to drive her kids down the road to visit Grandpa & Grandma on their ATVs.  Bob plans to use his UTV to help maintain the cemetery and pick up garbage on the side of the road.  He wants to point out that at his age, he really enjoys riding it whenever he can.

    Kevin summarizes, “This is just another form of recreational transportation that we want to make safe and legal for everyone to appreciate, and for our local businesses to benefit from.”

    EDITORS NOTE: Since this article was first published, the Village of Belgium has approved use of ATV/UTV vehicles on village roads.


  • Wednesday, September 01, 2021 4:26 PM | Tara Williams (Administrator)

    ALC ED Sarah Gilday points to a map noting the dozens of countries represented by ALC students.

    Most of us take the ease of daily living for granted. Can you pick up the phone and make an appointment with a person on the other end? Can you walk into a store and ask the associate to help you look for what you need? Do you know how to fill out important paperwork or applications?   Can you the imagine the frustration you would feel every single day if any of these tasks was a struggle?  

    Lucky for us, we have the Adult Literacy Center of Ozaukee County to aid in solving these issues and more. Housed within Grace Lutheran Church in Grafton, the ALC provides valuable services to local residents, including helping people learn English as a Second Language, assisting those who are trying to achieve U.S. Citizenship, and providing adult tutoring for anyone pursuing a higher degree of education- from a GED or technical school, to four-year college, and even to those attaining their master’s degree who may just need assistance in a specific class.  They also help adults with the day to day struggles caused by learning disabilities.

    We sat down with ALC’s Executive Director, Sarah Gilday, who says the three main things people don’t realize about the ALC are: 

    1.)   We are here.

    2.)   We are free.

    3.)   We offer one-on-one tutoring.

    Students are set up with volunteer tutors, who then determine a schedule and location that works best for both parties.  ALC assesses the student’s level of skill and records the goals the student sets for themselves. 

    “We create pathways to help our students achieve their goals,” says Gilday.

    Gilday says the program is a win/win for all involved, providing enriching experiences for both the student and the teacher.   Tutors often say things like, “I get way more out of the tutoring experience than I feel I give.”

    It isn’t unusual for the partnerships to become meaningful friendships. Tutors love the opportunity to learn about other countries and cultures and to help their students become better integrated into their community.  Some tutors have even traveled to reunite with their students in their home countries.  One student was quoted as saying, 

    “This tutor changed my life. They are my friend. My tutor threw me a party when I became a citizen.”

    Students pay a $25 registration fee and around $30 for books, but, Gilday points out, there are scholarships available if those fees are an issue.  There is never a charge for the tutoring sessions.

    According to the National Coalition on Literacy: “Improving basic adult education skills could save $200 billion in government support programs. Therefore, improving basic adult education skills has a positive impact on all of us.  A better educated workforce means an increase in workplace efficiency, higher income, families who are more independent, and children with a brighter future.”

    “We’re an important asset to the community and we are only able to exist through philanthropy,” says Gilday.   

    ALC’s biggest fundraiser of the year is coming up September 19-25, 2021, which coincides with National Adult Literacy Week.  ALC will be sharing five video stories of students and tutors.  Each story features a corporate sponsor who matches all donations given that day.  Gilday noted that there are a few corporate sponsorships remaining for interested businesses.  Donations can also be made any time on their website: www.adultliteracyoz.org  

    Below: 2020 testimonial video from two ALC students, Natalya & Sergey.

    ALC is gifted rent-free space, utilities and financial support from Grace Lutheran Church in Grafton, which started the ALC in 1988 as a means of helping people learn how to read, speak English, and fill out job applications.  Today, United Way of Northern Ozaukee County is also a major supporter.

    ALC is continually seeking both students and tutors.  ALC tutors are willing to visit corporations and help employees improve their basic skills, gain confidence and be able to grow in their current position.  They are hoping to expand more into Northern Ozaukee County and west into Washington County. 

    While many retired educators enjoy being tutors for ALC, there are no education requirements to be a tutor- just people with a good heart and desire to help others.  

    “You get to provide the key that opens the door to individuals pursuing their dreams,” reminds Gilday.  

    The next training session for interested tutors is October 2, 2021 from 9 am – 12 pm.  Tutors are only asked for 2-3 hours of service each week, and are paired appropriately with students to meet their needs.  Tutors are not required to speak a second language.   ALC provides all the materials that will be needed.

    Below: 2020 testimonial video from Sudeshna, an ALC tutor.

    The pandemic has made ALC’s services more critical than ever.  Gilday first started at ALC in May, 2020 as the nation was moving into lockdown.  She notes that her colleague, Katie Eippert, ALC Program Director, quickly helped tutors transition to virtual learning and worked with students to set up technology.  She says it was also important to help students navigate health literacy education so people would know how to get tested and find and understand information about the virus.  

    “Tutors became a lifeline for families who didn’t speak English as their first language to navigate the pandemic,” she stated.

    Eippert even helped to start an ALC book club for the first time as a means for people to stay connected.  As students are often new to their community, this club helped combat loneliness during that difficult time.   Today it is just as important to aid students as they seek education on the vaccine and determine where and how to get it.

    Gilday becoming the ALC’s ED may have been fate.  She came to ALC with more than 20 years of nonprofit experience in Milwaukee, but was amused to realize she had come full circle in life, as her mother also built her career in adult literacy, working in Stevens Point at Mid-State Technical College’s Goal Program.  

    Gilday says she was really happy to call her mom and say “I ended up in the same place you built your career.” She is enjoying the opportunity to make a difference through literacy and loves Ozaukee County, saying, “People are quick to return your phone calls, they are nice, and people take the time to get to know each other.”

    To learn more about ALC, visit their website at adultliteracyoz.org, or follow them on Twitter, Facebook , Instagram, and Linked In.

THE BELGIUM AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE MISSION:

The mission of the Belgium Area Chamber of Commerce is to promote the economic and social development of the Village of Belgium and the surrounding area by encouraging the support of business, education, tourism, community participation and growth. 

CONTACT US:

belgiumareachamber@gmail.com
262-483-1200
P.O. Box 215, Belgium, Wisconsin 53004 USA

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