Shawano resident completes 10 months of national service

Brandon Wegner, of Shawano, is one of 130 men and women who have completed 10 months of national service with National Civilian Community Corps.

Wegner spent 10 months serving with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the administration of emergency management and long-term recovery activities. His unit was based in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

“I believe everyone has a strong moral obligation to help those in need,” Wegner said. “I receive a large amount of satisfaction in knowing we are making a positive impact in the world, even sometimes at a small scale.”

Wegner was the recipient of the Leadership Award for the Southern Region’s 22nd class and also served as master of ceremonies for the graduation ceremony on April 21.

After completing his service, Wegner received an education award of up to $5,775, which can be used to continue education or pay back student loans.


Marquardt will host writing awards program

Former Shawano Mayor Lorna Marquardt will serve as master of ceremonies for the 2016 George Putz Memorial Student Writing Contest awards ceremony next month.

Awards will be presented to students in three age groups at 9 a.m. May 7 at the Mielke Arts Center, N5649 Airport Road, Shawano.

Marquardt began her banking career with Dairyman’s State Bank in Clintonville and retired from Associated Bank in Shawano as vice president in charge of public relations, bank security and customer service.

She became the first female mayor of Shawano in 2002. Marquardt served for 14 years and is writing a book about her experiences as mayor.

The writing contest is named in honor of George Putz, a writer and benefactor who wanted to encourage young people to write. Cash prizes and certificates will be awarded for first, second and third places as well as honorable mentions.



Photo by Rob Zimmer Vibrant and colorful, lilies come in many growth forms and sizes, including this striking red and black Asiatic known as Olina.

Photo by Rob Zimmer Many gardeners grown striking Rex begonias as annual plants outdoors, but the large rhizomes can be brought indoors where these amazing foliage all-stars make excellent house plants all winter long.

Editor’s Note: Rob Zimmer is an award-winning nature and garden writer who lives in Appleton. He has written four books, conducts garden programs in Shawano and elsewhere, and is a popular speaker for groups and organizations. His column runs weekly in The Shawano Leader and Oconto County Times Herald.

It’s time to stock up on summer blooming bulbs as garden centers are now offering all of your classic favorites. Summer flowering bulbs are an excellent choice for beautiful bloom throughout the season, offering dramatic coloration, texture, long-lasting beauty and grace.

While many summer flowering bulbs should be dug, dried and stored in fall for replanting next year, there are a few that are perennial in our area and may be left in the ground all year round.

Try summer bulbs in containers and pots, where they make a dramatic backdrop or centerpiece to other annuals, foliage plants and more.


TULP efforts fight hunger, poverty locally and globally

As part of a Lenten project, The United Lutheran Parish in Tilleda collected enough money to purchase three “family farms” plus extra animals through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s “Good Gifts” program.

TULP is composed of three congregations: Elias in Gresham, Peace in Tilleda and St. John’s in Leopolis.

The ELCA Good Gifts programs are used to make a difference fighting hunger and poverty in over 90 countries, including the United States.

Under the program, a family farm donation of $715 includes a cow, a couple of goats, a dozen chicks, two pigs, farming tools, seeds, and agricultural training and support. With the extra money collected, more gifts can be added, such as a piglet, goat, honey bees, oxen and plow, cow, fish farm and sheep.


As spring bursts forth, take time to enjoy it

Strange things have been happening while I have been gone.

Was I volunteering at the LCFS Thrift Store in Shawano, or at a Tigerton High School softball game, or perhaps in the basement sewing mission quilts when the “little people” came and dug holes in my yard?

Did the Martians land here? Was it an extremely large gopher? Perhaps a huge meteor landed on the northeast part of the backyard.

All I know is that I was shocked and amazed by the size of the hole I walked up to while I was checking on the daffodils blooming brightly along the outside of my yard. I remember planting the daffodils and tulips along the perimeter of the backyard, as was suggested in the catalog, in fall 2005.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. I was shortsighted enough to think that the brush wouldn’t grow up between the yard and the road. Of course, it did, and now they bloom without anyone seeing them without getting a little closer.


Volunteer Profile

Photo by Carol Wagner Karen Baker volunteers for St. Paul Lutheran Church in Bonduel, Wolf River Lutheran High School and Shawano County Area Retired Teachers Association. She is holding a tray of favors she made with paper napkins and candy.

Karen Baker volunteers for St. Paul Lutheran Church in Bonduel, Wolf River Lutheran High School and Shawano County Area Retired Teachers Association.

Baker grew up and graduated from high school in Crown Point, Indiana. She earned a degree in elementary education from Concordia Teachers College and was assigned to teach at St. Paul Lutheran School in Bonduel. She taught first and second grade for two years, then grades first, second and third in Keshena for 10 years, followed by 23 years at Olga Brener in Shawano, where she taught fourth grade.

Baker retired in 1999, but in 2001, she was a substitute for a semester at St. Paul Lutheran.

“I was in the same classroom where I started,” she said.

Baker and her husband of 49 years, Jon, are both retired. They live in the town of Hartland. They used to dairy farm and now raise steers. They have two children and one grandchild.

Q What do you do for St. Paul Lutheran Church?


Nonprofit Profile

Photo by Carol Wagner Sabrina Brzezinski holds an article on her late grandmother, Bonnie Young, who started the Cecil Community Closet in 2009.

The late Bonnie Young had a dream that is being carried on by her granddaughter, Sabrina Brzezinski, and several other volunteers.

Young started the Cecil Community Closet in 2009.

“I’m happy it’s still running and I’m a part of it,” Brzezinski said.

It started when Young went to a local resale store to buy shirts and pants, and realized that many people wouldn’t be able to afford the items for sale there.

Young got together with Pastor Moira Finley to see what could be done. Members of St. John’s United Church of Christ in Cecil donated some clothing, and the Cecil Community Closet was born.

“It spread like wildfire,” said Brzezinski, 20, who came to the closet with her grandmother. “I’ve been here since I was 12.”

The store has expanded over the seven years but is still run totally by volunteers, some of whom have been there from the beginning.

“We all try to make decisions,” Brzezinski said.


Moving the animals

With the warmer weather gracing our days, we were finally able to move the animals around. What a relief. Five 400- to 500-pound heifers and steers are now outside living with Big Red and his accomplices. It is so much easier feeding and keeping them clean out there.

Also because of the warmer temps our cows are now outside day and night. That first morning when they were let out to pasture after milking instead of just the cow yard, they ran around kicking up their heels, tails flying. It’s so fun to see them frolic like that, these big thousand-pound animals acting like young calves.

Now they only come in the barn to be milked and fed their individual grain portions, top-dressed with protein. My husband has index cards above each one’s stall and when I go around and feed their grain, I only have to glance at the card and that tells me how much to feed. They get the maximum measure when they are at the top of their production.


‘Annie’ is out, ‘Alice’ is in

Due to conflicts with the Annie National Touring Company, The Box in the Wood Theatre Guild was unable to secure rights to perform the musical “Annie” this summer.

The guild is trying to secure rights to perform “Annie” in 2017 and will stage the musical “Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland” in its place this summer.

The cast will require four adult females, eight younger females, five adult males, two younger males and a number of extra characters. Auditions will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. May 3-4 at the Mielke Arts Center, N5649 Airport Road, Shawano. Callbacks, if necessary, will be on May 5.

Those auditioning should prepare an upbeat song or song segment to perform. They will also do readings from the script.



Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Sisters Abby and Martha, played by Mary Madsen, left, and Germaine Schwaller, prepare to receive a visitor during a scene from “Arsenic and Old Lace.” Box in the Wood Theatre Guild will open the show on Thursday for a two-week run.

Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Mortimer, played by Ethan Fregien, looks horrified when he realizes he has discovered a corpse inside the window seat at the home of his two aunts during a scene from “Arsenic and Old Lace.” The classic play follows the antics of the two elderly aunts who lure unsuspecting men to their deaths.

A new production at the Mielke Arts Center might have people looking twice at the elderly women they encounter.

Box in the Wood Theatre Guild will present “Arsenic and Old Lace” for its spring production, opening Thursday at the Mielke for a two-week run. “Arsenic and Old Lace,” written by American playwright Joseph Kesselring in 1939, provides a farcical look at a drama critic who discovers his two spinster aunts have been luring unsuspecting gentlemen to their deaths by placing arsenic in elderberry wine.

The Brewster family line dates back to when the Mayflower hit American soil, but now most of the family tree consists of killers and lunatics. Besides the aunts, Martha and Abby, the hero, Mortimer, must deal with one brother who believes he is President Theodore Roosevelt and another brother who committed murder and has changed his appearance through plastic surgery.


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