Nonprofit Profile

Photo by Carol Wagner Ted Kirmse, left, and Leroy Wilken will be among the Clintonville VFW Post 664 members working in the group’s food stand during the Shawano County Fair, which opens Wednesday.

The Clintonville VFW Post 664 has manned a food and beverage stand at the Shawano County Fair for as long as past commander Leroy Wilken can remember.

“We have the biggest stand for serving,” he said.

Wilken, who was in the Marines for four years and served in Vietnam, and senior vice commander Ted Kirmse, who retired after 22 years in the Army and served in Vietnam twice, will put in many hours at the stand during the fair, which opens Wednesday and runs through Labor Day.

“We pretty much handle it,” Kirmse said.

They set up on Tuesday in preparation for the fair opening on Wednesday. The stand is open from noon to midnight during the remainder of the fair.

“I get kinda tired toward the end,” Kirmse said.

Members of the post and their families serve cheeseburgers, hamburgers, brats, hot dogs, pulled pork, chili, beer, soda, wine coolers, slushies and water.

“It’s our second best moneymaker,” Wilken said.


Volunteer Profile

Photo by Carol Wagner Dan Zernicke is the chairman of the 4-H livestock committee.

Dan Zernicke is chairman of the 4-H livestock committee. He was born and raised in the town of Lessor, graduating from Bonduel High School.

Zernicke attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for two years, earning an associate degree in meat, animal poultry science and dairy herd management. He works for North Star Select Sires, and 11 years ago also went into partnership with his dad, Delmar, and brother, Derick, on a 400-cow dairy farm.

When Zernicke was a member of the Landstad 4-H Club, he took woodworking, crops, sheep, swine, beef and dairy projects to the fair. During his last year of showing, he won grand champion honors in swine and beef carcass, a reserve in sheep carcass, and showmanship in beef and swine.

Zernicke was married 19 years and has two daughters, Deanna, 19, and Dallas, 16. They live in the town of Lessor.

Zernicke enjoys hunting out west and ice fishing.

Q Where do you volunteer?


Train trip West, Part III

Our train trip proved to us the beauty of this amazing country and also, the diversity of its people. We traveled with strangers, immediately making friends. All one has to do is smile. The rumble of the train brought us together in an atmosphere of total relaxation. We watched the magnificent scenery play out right before our eyes, we played cards, we read, we slept, we ate. Oh, did we eat! It was heavenly.

Of course, there were some inconveniences, such as when we tried to walk to the dining car, or the observation lounge car, or the bathroom. I felt like a pinball in a pinball machine until I was told, open your stance, it helps with balance! For the first little while, I giggled my way around. I couldn’t help it; I thought it was hilarious. When we stopped, getting off we felt like we were still rocking back and forth. One night, I felt completely sure the conductor was totally in love with his train whistle.


Embracing wellness in the workplace

What keeps people healthy and productive? How is disease prevented? And most importantly, why should employers care about those questions?

At ThedaCare, we’ve been probing those ideas for two decades. What we’ve learned about preventing illness drives our approach to workplace wellness for our own organization, and for increasing numbers of employers in the region.

Nothing energizes me more than the news that area employers are beginning to more deeply understand and embrace workplace wellness and preventive care as strategies for generating long-term employee productivity and improved bottom lines. It is why I went into family practice in the first place — to help keep people healthy and prevent disease — rather than other specialties that focus more on fixing health problems that have occurred.


Busy month includes trip to Creation Museum

The impending autumn was in the air last weekend with the cooler temperatures. I know some will disagree with me, but I kind of like it about 70. Makes a person feel like they can spend some time outside in comfort.

I have been busy keeping my few plants watered, but God sent a beautiful rain that took care of it for a couple of days at least.

The cucumbers took forever to produce, and I am getting some weird shaped ones, but most of them are beautiful and make a tasty snack. The ones I miss when they are small wind up as salad.

Of the three tomatoes in pots on the back deck, the middle one is outperforming the other two by leaps and bounds. For some reason its orbs are turning red a lot faster than the other two.

My diet is becoming healthier with all of these fresh vegetables. Oh yes, tomatoes are a fruit; I keep forgetting that.


Library card gives users access to world’s knowledge

September is Library Card Sign-up Month, a time when the Shawano City-County Library joins with the American Library Association and public libraries nationwide to make sure that every student has the most import school supply of all – a free library card.

Library staff have challenged themselves to create 150 new cardholders during the month of September. Everyone getting their first library card will be entered into prize drawings. Library cards are free and available at any age, beginning at birth.

“Our library provides access and programs for students of all ages,” said Kristie Hauer, library director. “For preschool age children we offer early literacy and baby story times to encourage school readiness, for elementary children we supplement education with a variety of programs, and for teens we have information and tools to help prepare for college. The library is your ticket to explore the world’s knowledge.”



Photo by Rob Zimmer Late summer and fall bring a number of fun and unusual blooms, like this native bottle gentian, whose flowers never fully open.

Photo by Rob Zimmer Naked Ladies, also called Surprise lilies, Magic lilies and other fun names, appear out of nowhere in late summer and early fall, a tall, flowering stalk that quickly rises and blooms in beautiful pink.

Late summer and fall are a fun time to be a gardener in Wisconsin. Some of our most exciting, interesting and unusual plants bloom this time of year, creating a joyful and colorful show.

With unusual blooms, odd shapes, bizarre growth habits and bright colors, many fall plants are outstanding garden specimens.

If you are looking for unusual plants to add to your garden this year, seek out some of these. They’ll be the conversation pieces of your garden tapestry.

Once you begin exploring garden centers and catalogs for fun and unusual plants, you’ll discover even more.

Ornamental kale

Colorful kale in bizarre foliage patterns and striking, dramatic forms set the autumn stage with weeks of brilliant beauty. With flashes of orange, pink, purple, white and gold, kale features unusual shape, thick substance and vibrant beauty that will last to Thanksgiving if we avoid a heavy freeze.

Bottle gentian


Fulfilling God’s plan

Photo by Carol Wagner Megan Kugel will enter the Holy Family Convent in Manitowoc on Aug. 25 to become a nun.

Megan Kugel’s earliest memory of her current plans were at the age of 7 when she went up to a nun at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Shawano.

“I can remember walking up to her and saying ‘I think I’ve been called,’” Kugel said.

The nun told her to just keep listening, which is what Kugel has been doing for the last 17 years.

After graduating from Shawano Community High School, she earned an associate degree in video and motion graphics from Madison Media Institute. In May, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a degree in corporate health communications.

Kugel, who is the daughter of Chuck and Mary Lou Kugel, was in a relationship, but she and her boyfriend parted after two years.

“I felt like God was calling me again,” Kugel said.

She contacted the Franciscan Sisters and was told that she needed to grieve the broken relationship before seriously considering becoming a nun.


Waupaca County Fair kicks off Wednesday

Kristi Sawall, of Clintonville, will reign over the Waupaca County Fair as Fairest of the Fair. The fair runs from Aug. 24-28, at the fairgrounds in Weyauwega.

Sawall, daughter of Blair and Kathy Sawall, of Clintonville, is a 2015 graduate of Clintonville High School. She is a sophomore at Concordia University in Mequon and plans to become a registered nurse.

She has participated in the fair for several years, showing dairy cattle with 4-H and then Clintonville FFA.

Wednesday is entry day for all exhibitors. Judging and showings will take place in the exhibit buildings. There is also a free local tractor pull.

Country music band Trick Pony, with special guests the Mantz Brothers, will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Rock band Cherry Pie will perform at the grandstand at 8 p.m. Friday.

Highlights on Aug. 27 include a truck pull at 11 a.m. and a tractor pull featuring NTPA Mini Rods at 6:30 p.m.


Nonprofit Profile

Photo by Carol Wagner Volunteer Ken Kroenke tapes labeled boxes that will being shipped to areas in need through the Orphan Grain Train. Many volunteers help with the project at St. James Lutheran Church in Shawano.

Volunteers are everywhere as boxes of clothing are unpacked, sorted and then re-packed neatly into banana boxes for the Orphan Grain Train.

The scene is duplicated several times a year in the St. James Lutheran Church basement, where local residents first gathered in 1995 to help the worldwide relief effort.

Wil Kleinschmidt has been the coordinator since that first year.

“We never know what we’re going to get and where it’s going to come from,” he said.

The Orphan Grain Train was founded in 1992 after Pastor Ray Wilke of Grace Lutheran Church in Nebraska returned from a church mission to Russia and Latvia. Seeing orphans who needed help, Wilke envisioned a train that would travel through the Midwest picking up donated grain to be shipped overseas.


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