Photo by Rob Zimmer Classic fall asters are exploding across gardens, prairies and roadsides throughout our area as autumn arrives.

Photo by Rob Zimmer Beautiful in any color, these gorgeous asters bloom in bright sky blue.

The asters of autumn are in full glory now, sparkling along roadside edges, prairies, grasslands, even deep within our forests.

A number of native aster species and garden hybrids can be found in bloom from August into November, their explosive displays brightening late summer and autumn prairies, gardens and grasslands.

The asters bloom in shades of pink, purple, lavender, blue and white, ranging from less than 1 foot to nearly 6 feet in height.

There are asters for every habitat and light condition, one of the most versatile and delightful of all native wildflowers.

The aster king

The king of the asters, New England aster brings September and October to glorious crescendo with its rich purple, yellow centered, daisy like blossoms that erupt in frothy masses all along our highways, prairies and edge habitats. And, of course, in our gardens.


Nonprofit Profile

Photo by Carol Wagner Phlebotomist Stacy Schepp, of the Blood Center of Northcentral Wisconsin, assists Roger Hoffman, of Shawano, as he donates his 25th gallon of blood at ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano.

Roger Hoffman, of Shawano, recently donated his 25th gallon of blood at ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano for the Blood Center of Northcentral Wisconsin. Hoffman, 66, has been donating for over 30 years and said he will continue to give blood as long as he can.

“There is such a need out there,” he said. “I feel good about it because I can help.”

The blood center began in 1952 and was formerly known as the Marathon County Blood Bank. They have been coming to Shawano since before 1985. Diane Carlson, administrative director, said Shawano is part of their service area.

“People are nice,” she said. “They respond.”

The center serves not only the hospital in Shawano, but also facilities in Antigo, Medford, Wausau and Wisconsin Rapids.

The blood drive in Shawano is from 1-5 p.m. the second Wednesday of the month. The center also has blood drives at Zion Lutheran Church, Shawano Community High School and local businesses.


Volunteer Profile

Photo by Carol Wagner Courtney Brown spent 18 months in Lima, Peru, on a mission trip.

Courtney Brown spent 18 months in Lima, Peru, on a mission trip.

She was born in Shawano and graduated from Shawano Community High School in 2014. The 20-year-old daughter of Kari and Harold Brown earned money for her mission by cleaning at Shawano Community Middle School and babysitting.

“She’s changed,” Kari said. “She left as a teenager and came back as an adult. She’s become a stronger person.”

Q How did you get to Peru?

A “In our church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we have a prophet and he receives revelations to know where we should go. He tells us where God wants us to go.”

Q Were you scared?

A “I feel I was more scared of learning a different language — Spanish. Before we go, we go to Missionary Training Center for six weeks to learn the language.”

Q What was it like?


Family enjoys the Camp Randall experience

One day, knowing how much his dad loves football, our middle one texted me, “Do you think Dad would like to go to a Badger game for his birthday? I can get four tickets.” He knew it was on our bucket list and set it up. Neither my husband nor I had ever been inside Camp Randall. Little did we know we were in for a treat!
The day arrived and we again double-fed all our animals here as kickoff was 2:30 in Madison. We had arranged to meet our son at the Mousehaus Cheesehaus in Windsor, which was about halfway for both him and us. Parking our truck, we scrambled into his car and our adventure began.

Getting into Madison, the day was bright and sunny and perfect for a football game. Our “tour guide” pointed out the Capitol and the Kohl Center, all the while keeping his eye out for a good parking spot.


St. John’s Hermansfort prepares to celebrate its 140th anniversary

St. John Lutheran Church Hermansfort is celebrating its 140th anniversary with a special celebration service Sept. 25.

The celebration will begin with a worship service at 10 a.m. Former Pastor Roland Goltz will be the guest speaker. The church is located at N5633 County Road U, Shawano, in the town of Herman.

The church was officially organized in 1876, but its first services were held by the Rev. Peter Dicke the second week of October 1869 in the log home of Carl and Johanna Kroll.

In 1881, 5 acres were purchased for the site of a church and school. In 1889 the current church structure was built. A school was built in 1899.

In 1930 the congregation became a member of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. At the same time, English language Communion services were introduced and conducted two or three times a year. German services were reduced to once per month.


A trip down memory lane

The past couple of weeks have been ones of reminiscing.

First, there was the pie crust question, whether it is better to make my own and roll them, or should I be safe and just buy the refrigerated crusts?

I knew the rolled ones would taste better, but my mind quickly flew back to when I tried to make my first pie crust when I was out on my own. It never looked that difficult when my mother made pie. But my first attempt was nothing but a lesson in failure. Funny, I don’t remember what kind of pie I was making, but I do remember the pie crust, which I wanted to throw out of the window.

In the end I decided to roll the crusts for the pies I was making for our church’s Harvest Dinner. I found a recipe that made six crusts, and also saw that it said you could roll them ahead, put them in the pie pans; then, with wax paper in between, they could be frozen.


Plans in place for Caroline Lions Colorama

The 28th annual Caroline Lions Colorama will be held from Sept. 29 through Oct. 2. It is billed as Wisconsin’s largest trail ride and is expected to attract about 1,000 horses and riders.

Activities begin on Thursday with free live music by The 308’s from 7:30-11:30 p.m.

Nashville Pipeline will provide the music for a dance beginning at 8:30 p.m. Friday.

On Saturday, breakfast will be served from 7-10 a.m. The trail ride starts at 10 a.m. Lunch will be available on the trail. Horseshoe and bean bag toss tournaments begin at 1 p.m. The Spitfire Rodeo band plays at 8:30 p.m.

On Sunday, the Lions will serve a pancake breakfast from 7-10:30 a.m. The trail ride will start at 9:30 a.m., with lunch again available on the trail. A parade will travel down Caroline’s Main Street starting at 1 p.m. An auction will be held following the parade, with the proceeds going to the Lions Camp.


Mielke play keeps politics all in the family

Another fall season is upon us, and winter will be coming way before we want it to, as it does every year.

Our church, St. Mary’s of Leopolis, had its annual Autumn Fest on Sept. 11, and that kind of marks the official end of summer for me. It was a successful parish event on a beautiful fall day, plus the Packers won, so what else could you ask for?

Who’s going to win the election? No, I don’ mean the Clinton vs. Trump contest. I’m talking about the Storm vs. Storm election for mayor of Anderson, Georgia.

The comedy “Running Mates: Or The Family Party,” written by Beth Kander and presented with permission of Steel Spring Stage Rights, will be on the Mielke stage beginning Sept. 29.


Bonduel founders fest coming Saturday

Bonduel will celebrate its 14th annual Founders Day on Saturday with a festival of food, music and crafts.

The celebration is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with vendors and activities lining the roads along Green Bay Street, South First Street and Mill Street.

About 3,000 people attended the festival last year.

Organizer Renell Bartlett said between 140 and 150 vendors have registered so far, offering festival goers everything from homemade ice cream and funnel cakes to wood carvings, florals and rag rugs.

Other vendors will be selling a variety of food, and the Bonduel Community Archives on South First Street will have chili, along with live music at its outdoor gazebo.

The Bonduel police and fire departments will be hosting open houses, while an Amish family will be on hand to offer Amish buggy rides.

Local businesses in the downtown area will be open, with many offering festival specials.



Photo by Rob Zimmer Zinnias are exploding into full bloom in late summer and early fall, showing off a variety of fun and vibrant colors.

Photo by Rob Zimmer Zinnia Envy is a beauty, blooming in lime green, making it a great choice for pairing with other colors such as white, pink, purple and red.

Colorful zinnias burst into explosive bloom from late summer right through Halloween, filling our gardens, borders and containers with a riot of spectacular color.

A favorite of many gardeners throughout our area, these traditional blooms welcome a whole new generation of gardeners with all new shapes, flowering forms and colors.

There are dwarf zinnias, giant zinnias, single zinnias, pom-pom zinnias, traditional cone shaped flowers, as well as spectacular, ragged cactus bloomers or spiny zinnias.

They come in every color of the rainbow, as well as many spectacular and fun color patterns.

In addition to the long-lasting beauty they provide in our gardens, beds, borders and containers, zinnias are especially important to late season pollinators and nectar feeders.

As the summer bloom season winds down, the zinnias are just heating up, providing a bounty of nutritious food for bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and more.


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