Nonprofit Profile

Photo by Carol Wagner Brenda Bartz will sponsor a Koi Experience at her koi pond at her home in Shawano on July 26.

This is the second year that Brenda Bartz will host the Koi Experience at her home in Shawano. The public is invited to see her ponds and garden, ask questions and get information.

Bartz would like to offer her help to anyone who is starting a pond, has issues with their pond or is just curious.

“I was frustrated when I did my pond,” she said.

Visitors can tour the garden and observe the koi in the pond, which is home to a boat and beautiful lily pads.

Last year several people took advantage of her open house and her expertise.

“Everybody walked through and enjoyed the gardens,” Bartz said. “Some sat down on the bridge and couldn’t believe how relaxing it was.”

She is in a rebuilding stage right now. Her 64 koi died from the harsh winter, which caused mechanical problems. Before she lost all her longtime fish, some of them would eat out of her hand.


Aunt celebrates her 100th birthday

Life in America was very different in 1914. Not only was there no TV, cell phones and the like, there also were none of the other things that we have come to think of as common and ordinary.

In those days most roads were dirt. While there were cars, not everyone could afford one. A trip to Europe required passage aboard a cruise liner.

Sports seems to have been an important pastime during those days. The first U.S. motorcycle race was held in Dodge City, Kansas, and was 300 miles in length.

Wimbledon tennis winner for the men was Norman Brookes, who beat A. Wilding. For the women, it was Dorothea Chamber over E. Larcombe.

Interesting tidbit, in baseball, as of July 5, 1914, the Boston Braves were 15 games back in the National League, but went to win the World Series.


Seniors encouraged to get moving

Leader Photo by Jason Arndt Matty Mathison, of Shawano Pathways, speaks to nearly 60 seniors Thursday at the eighth annual Senior Information Day. Mathison unveiled her bicycle-car hybrid, known as ELF, which operates on a rechargeable battery and is self-propelled to assist going uphill.

Nearly 60 seniors at Thursday’s eighth annual Senior Information Day were encouraged to combine social engagement and physical activity to promote better health.

The event, held at the Shawano Civic Center, was a combined effort of the Aging Unit of the Shawano County Department of Social Services and Shawano Community Education.

“We had a great turnout today,” said Holly Konitzer, social worker with the Aging Unit of Shawano County. “There was so much they have learned today.”

Four presenters discussed the benefits of staying active, focusing on using exercise to relieve pain associated with arthritis and osteoporosis.

Matty Mathison, representing Shawano Pathways, led off the day’s events by unveiling of a bicycle-car hybrid, called ELF, which is a self-propelled vehicle that has three wheels, pedals and an enclosed cab.

ELF is run on a rechargeable battery; the engine is primarily used to assist with hills and valleys.


Sacred Heart church renovation progressing

Leader Photo by Carol Wagner The ceiling is being repainted, rafters re-stained, lighting refurbished and pews refinished as part of a renovation at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Shawano.

Most areas of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Shawano are unrecognizable as it undergoes an extensive renovation. Work started on May 13 and is expected to be completed by Oct. 1.

The renovation is being financed by $432,000 that was raised 10 years ago for the second phase of a reconfiguration of the church.

“It was repurposed toward this simplified renovation,” said the Rev. Luke Ferris, pastor at Sacred Heart.

However, another $68,000 needed to be raised to complete the project. A letter campaign asked parishioners to consider donating $200 each. The money was raised within four weeks.

“Thanks to the grace of God and the goodwill and generosity of many people, we’ve achieved our goal,” Ferris said. “It’s the grandparents of people in Shawano that built this church in 1952, and now this generation has contributed their part.”

During the renovation, Mass and church services are being held in the school gym.


Program emphasizes value of exercise for seniors

Physical fitness will be the focus of Thursday’s eighth annual Senior Information Day at the Shawano Civic Center.

The program, “Healthy Inside-Out,” starts with a continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m. and features four speakers who will discuss the importance of exercise. Lunch will also be served.

Senior Information Day is a collaboration between the Shawano County Social Services’ Aging Unit and Shawano Community Education. The event drew more than 50 participants in 2013.

“We really want people to be healthy indoors and outdoors through activities with others,” social worker Holly Konitzer said.

Konitzer said the topic was selected based on evaluations from lasts year’s participants.

Speakers at the event will be Matty Mathison, of Shawano Pathways, Nancy Schultz, of the Shawano County University of Wisconsin-Extension, Carrie Verkuilen, of Verkuilen Chiropractic and Wellness, and Jean Darling, of Advanced Physical Therapy.


Raether receives American Legion School Award

American Legion Post 117 on June 23 recognized Shawano Community High School graduated senior Caitlin Raether as the winner of the coveted American Legion School Award for 2013-14.

This is the highest honor awarded to youth by the American Legion. It is presented to students who exhibit courage, honor, leadership, patriotism, scholarship and service.

Raether, daughter of Todd and Mary Raether, of Shawano, graduated with 3.9 grade point average and plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to pursue a film degree. She was also awarded the Student of the Year Award by the Optimist Club, plus an award from Dollars for Scholars.

Through her high school years, Raether was listed as an academic scholar and a member of the National Honor Society. She was a member of the cheerleading squad and in a variety of clubs that led to the development of several educational videos. She also participated in the school’s singing and performance programs.


Backpacks for Kids collecting school supplies

The Backpacks for Kids campaign is collecting school supplies until Aug. 4.

The Salvation Army purchases 360 backpacks that are then filled with supplies donated by area residents. The backpacks are given to children of families in need before the school year begins.

Donations needed include pencils, pens (black, blue and red), erasers (block), crayons (box of 24), markers (box of 10), spiral notebooks (wide ruled), rulers, scissors, colored pencils, two-pocket folders, glue sticks and pencil boxes.

Donations can be dropped off at the following Shawano locations: Curves, 820 E. Green Bay St.; Perkins, 1398 E. Green Bay St.; Premier Community Bank, 1273 S. Main St.; CoVantage Credit Union, 911 E. Green Bay St.; and Walgreen’s, 401 E. Green Bay St.

Monetary donations can be mailed to Backpacks for Kids, W4925 Stark Road, Shawano.


New acts flood 36th annual Polka Days

Photo by Mikie Farias Photography Alex Meixner, a Grammy-nominated polka musician from Palm Springs, Florida, is just one of many new acts coming to Pulaski Polka Days this year.

Contributed Photo Grammy-nominated Fred Ziwich and his International Sound Machine, of Cleveland, Ohio, will make their first trip to Wisconsin to perform at the Pulaski Polka Days.

From established, Grammy-nominated artists to polka newcomers, the 36th annual Pulaski Polka Days is gearing up to get visitors young and old off their seats and dancing.

Event chairman and organizer Harold Otto said Polka Days aims to please everyone making the trip to Pulaski — just like it always has.

“We try to change it around a little bit,” Otto said. “It’s what the people want.”

With more than 70 bands waiting for a chance to play at Polka Days, Otto had his hands full in selecting the 20 to 25 needed to fill the schedule. However, he said he is excited about the new lineup, especially because of the number of young performers.

“We have got a lot of the younger generations getting involved,” Otto said. “Even if you come to Polka Days you will see a younger generation.”


Maroszek Brothers named Pulaski Polka Days parade marshals

The Maroszek Brothers have played for their fans, their music and the town they call home at the Pulaski Polka Days every year since 1979.

This year, the festival is showing the band some love as the polka-playing brothers are honored as parade grand marshals.

“This is our hometown, so for us it’s kind of like a family event,” Gene Maroszek said.

The Maroszek Brothers band includes four brothers — Gene, Al, Frank and Scott — their nephew Bruce Brzeczkowski and family friend John Wudtke.

Gene, the oldest brother, began playing polka in 1972, and his brothers quickly followed. Their first performance at Polka Days came in 1979, and event chairman and organizer Harold Otto said they were all just kids at the time.

“They have been with us a long time,” Otto said. “They are local, they have got a good following and a lot of people like them, so I thought, hey, I think we should return the favor.”


CD helps celebrate state dance

The Pulaski Polka Days festival is celebrating the 20th anniversary of polka as the official Wisconsin state dance, and event chairman and organizer Harold Otto devised a way to keep polka enthusiasts dancing long after this year’s party ends.

For the first time, a Pulaski Polka Days CD featuring bands from the festival will be sold in the souvenir tent at the Polka Grounds.

“It’s something that (visitors) can have in their hand that they can play,” Otto said. “It will give them memories of when they were at Polka Days and the bands that they saw and danced to.”

Otto said 20 bands chipped in to put together the CD that will act as a fundraiser for Polka Days.


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