Junior Achievement honors Fred Ponschok

Contributed Photo The board of directors of the Wolf River District of Junior Achievement of Wisconsin presented Fred Ponschok with a JA Three Pillar Award at its annual meeting June 15. Shown, from left, are Dennis Heling, vice chair, Nicole Belongia, chair, Ponschok and Sandy Ebbinger, district director.

The board of directors of the Wolf River District of Junior Achievement of Wisconsin presented Fred Ponschok with a JA Three Pillar Award at its annual meeting June 15 at Angie’s Main Street Café in Shawano.

Ponschok has been an advocate for youth education for more than 30 years in Shawano County, first with the Shawano Area Business and Economics Education program, then through its transition to Junior Achievement and continuing with the current program.

The award honored Ponschok for his tireless efforts to bring Junior Achievement curriculum to Shawano and Menominee county students.

Junior Achievement of Wisconsin’s vision statement lists three focus areas, or pillars: work readiness, financial literacy and entrepreneurship, which serve to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy.


Single dad does it all

Photo by Carol Wagner David Reedy and his sons, Adan, 10, left, and Anthony, 13, are shown by a woodpile made from a tree in their yard in Shawano.

David Reedy has been a single dad for nine years. He is dad and mom to Anthony, 13, and Adan, 10, after divorcing in 2006.

“We went our separate ways,” he said.

Reedy graduated from Gresham High School and shortly after joined the Air Force. When he became a single father, Reedy was stationed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California with the 4th Space Launch Squadron. His responsibilities included monitoring space launches as flight chief and quality assurance of the Delta IV and Atlas V rockets.

Reedy was required by the Air Force to have a family care plan, which includes having someone ready to take care of the boys if necessary. His friends stepped up to help, and luckily he was never deployed.

“It’s been tough going sometimes.” he said.

On Feb. 1, 2014, Reedy retired from the Air Force after 24 years and moved to Shawano, where he has family in the area to help with the kids.


Volunteers, donations always welcome at arts center

We live in the Township of Pella, a short 10-minute drive to Shawano or Clintonville.

Lorna Marquardt mentioned in her column that the word “Pella” is a biblical reference meaning “place of refuge.” We have lived in our “place of refuge” for 38 years now and what memories to share and stories to tell! I keep thinking I should write a book, but I doubt I’d have the time to dedicate to it.

Our large country home is for sale now, as we don’t need all the space or the work that’s required to keep the property looking nice. We’re hoping a family will buy it and make their own Pella memories.


Nonprofit Profile

Photo by Carol Wagner Sue Dionne, left, and Brenda Gruentzel are heading up the Backpacks for Kids program in Shawano County.

Three hundred kindergarten through eighth grade students in Shawano County will take new backpacks filled with school supplies to school this fall, thanks to the Backpacks for Kids program that kicks off on July 1.

The Salvation Army pays for the backpacks. Other organizations involved in the program are Women of Today, Shawano Lake Lioness and Shawano County Area Retired Teachers Association.

“I think it’s a really good idea to help the community,” said chair Brenda Gruentzel, a member of the Salvation Army board.

Sue Dionne, representing the Women of Today, will be helping out like she has in the past.

“I’ve been involved since the start of it,” she said. “A lot of these kids go to school without anything,”

Fundraising began when the backpack committee sent out 60 letters to businesses and organizations asking for donations.


Volunteer Profile

Photo by Carol Wagner Glenn Van der Linden helps in many areas of the Shawano Area Food Pantry and Resource Center.

Glenn Van der Linden helps in many areas of the Shawano Area Food Pantry and Resource Center.

He was born in Milwaukee and moved with his family to Shawano when he was a freshman in high school. He earned a degree in restaurant cooking and management from Fox Valley Technical College. He worked in several businesses in Green Bay, the last one as a chef at Embassy Suites.

Van der Linden is now retired and lives in Shawano. He enjoys making stained glass and gardening. He makes several kinds of jelly and jam in the summer. Last year, he volunteered for Toys for Tots.

Q How did you get started volunteering at the food pantry?

A “Originally, I was a caretaker for my dad. He was getting home care, and I wanted to do something different. It was a way of getting out of the house. My dad passed, and I continued helping here. I’ve been volunteering here a year and a half.”

Q Why do you volunteer?


Pie contest was highlight of the week

As another somewhat rainy week in Wisconsin comes to a close, I am going to take a look back at some of the highlights. The main highlight was being one of three judges for the first-ever rhubarb pie contest held during Rhubarb Fest in Shawano.

As the day approached, I was uneasy as to whether I would be up to the task of judging. I wondered how we would be able to determine the top three pies. After all, I always feel that as far as taste is concerned, each person has his or her own preference.

I need not have been concerned. The other two judges and I decided that we would judge each pie and rate them together. The determining factors was presentation, filling and taste.


Gate, cellphone and chopping

The first time I hopped back up into the tractor, I sat back and just sighed with satisfaction. I really do enjoy chopping hay.

The warm breeze through the windows, the aroma of fresh-cut alfalfa and the view, all combined, cannot be beat. It’s hard for me to spend these sunny June days indoors. For many years, I was pretty much outside all the time.

Getting to the field, I shifted into low three, adjusted my chopper head and, following the rows, started out. Filling the load, I unhooked, but not before making sure I was not on a downward slope. My biggest fear is that I’ll unhook a full load and watch it slowly roll backward, gaining momentum until it crashes. I shudder.



Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Karen DeKelver makes a funny face at a fake baby during the multi-tasking portion of the Ms. Senior Homemaker Pageant on Thursday. Besides caring for the baby, DeKelver and other contestants had to fold laundry, wash dishes and answera phone call.

Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Karen DeKelver, right, of Shawano, takes her celebratory walk after being crowned the 2016 Ms. Senior Homemaker on Thursday at the Shawano Lake County Park Pavilion, escorted by Donna Delzer, the 2015 pageant winner. DeKelver, 73, beat out six other candidates from Shawano, Oconto and Waupaca counties for the title.

Seven women from Shawano, Oconto and Waupaca counties showed a crowd Thursday at the Shawano Lake County Park Pavilion that they still have what it takes to run a household, no matter their age.

In the end, Karen DeKelver showed she best exhibited what it takes to be crowned Ms. Senior Homemaker for 2016 — charm, a cheerful smile, some good old-fashioned horse sense and a little sass.

Her take-no-guff attitude showed when her reply to a question on how she came to Shawano was, “My truck.” At 73, DeKelver keeps busy as a volunteer with the Red River Riders and makes her own T-shirts.

“It’s just a craft,” she said, describing her T-shirts, which she can make in a day. “It helps with the dexterity in my hands. I design them on the computer.”


County’s 314th barn quilt has religious theme

Photo by Jim Leuenberger The Kolaske and Ainsworth families sponsored Shawano County’s 314th barn quilt. The Ainsworth families are represented on the right by Terri Ferfecki, Kristin Whitehorse and her daughters, Bailey and Brooklyn, Diane Przybylski, Margie Ainsworth and Sandy Swietlik. In the back row are Pastor Mike Dismer, Bill Kolaske and Carrie Kolaske. Their son Ben and his wife, Stephanie, are shown with their six children, Taylor, Carson, Andrew, Bentley, Blake and Alivia.

Shawano County’s 314th barn quilt is now on display on a barn at N1731 County Road S, Pulaski. It sits adjacent to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church of Lessor.

Named Our Savior’s Martin Luther Seal, the quilt was sponsored by the Ainsworth and Kolaske families, who are members of the church.

“The silhouette of our church was included in the quilt pattern because it tells us, and all who see it, that this is God’s house, a meeting place for God’s people,” Pastor Mike Dismer said.

The focal point in the center of the quilt is the Martin Luther seal. The chief symbols in the seal are the cross and the heart. The white rose represents the joy, comfort and peace that Christ brings, Dismer noted. The sky blue field behind the rose suggests hope of a heavenly future filled with joy. And the golden ring is symbolic of Christ’s gift of life, which never ends.



Photo by Rob Zimmer Coral bells can be used in combination with brightly colored annuals, like this lobelia, to create stunning garden or container displays.

Photo by Rob Zimmer Many coral bells come with interesting colors and patterns that make them a great addition to the garden.

Coral bells, also known by their botanical name heuchera, are among the most stunning and colorful perennials available to gardeners. What they may lack in large, vibrant bloom, they more than make up for in their spectacular, colorful foliage.

Known primarily as shade loving plants in the past, many of the new hybrids of coral bells are well-suited for even full sun, making them ideal choices for beds, borders and container combinations.

Many gardeners are not aware that coral bells are actually native plants in Wisconsin, known as alum root. The native variety features foliage in light green with sprays of cream to amber colored blooms.

Colorful coral bells

Hundreds of hybrid coral bells are now available at garden centers, featuring incredible foliage in a wide range of colors. From lime green and silver to rich black purple and fiery red, coral bells offer a stunning range of foliage beauty for most areas of the yard and garden.


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