Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Menominee Chief Tomow is presented a medal by British Officer Frederick Haldimand in a scene from “Waupau,” a pageant being recreated by the College of Menominee Nation. Shown in this scene are, from left, Daynelle Grignon, Bruce Wilber Jr., Bea Corn, Karen Ann Hoffman, Bryan Wilber, Mike Hoffman, Tom Seidler, Adam Schulz, Nell-Lee Hawpetoss, Richie Plass and Ron Bowan Sr.

The Menominee Tribe, decades ago, told grand and glorious stories through pageants at the Keshena Fair.

The fair is no more, but the pageants are making a comeback through the College of Menominee Nation. On Aug. 1, the college’s theater department will present “Waupau,” a pageant produced by James Frechette Sr. and directed by James Frechette Jr. in 1959.

Ryan Winn, who teaches English and theater at CMN, is back for a third consecutive year to direct the pageant, which begins at dusk, while Melinda Cook marks her third time as stage manager.

“Waupau” is set in the 1700s, during the time when the Menominee first encountered French settlers and later the British, who many Menominee refer to as the English. “Waupau” is the Menominee word for “tomorrow.”

The Keshena Fair in 1959 included a number of tourists, and the pageant’s message implored attendees to consider the tribe’s point of view.


When it comes to polka dancing, the beat goes on

With Pulaski Polka Days coming up, it got me to thinking about polkas and dancing.

I guess polkas and dancing have been a part of my life. As a child, I’d tag along with my parents to wedding or anniversary dances and would get out on the floor and try to move to the proper steps. I recall my mother trying to teach me at home, with the radio for the music.

I did a little quick research on that type of music to find it began in the early 1830s, beginning with the Czech peasants, with the first larger dance taking place in 1835. Soon it spread all over Europe and the Americas, with the first polka dance in France taking place in 1840. It is one of the few dances that has remained popular worldwide all these years.


FRESH Project providing healthier choices for area

Photo by Carol Wagner Barbara Mendoza, left, executive director of The FRESH Project, and Kim Ihrcke, program assistant, are at the Education Garden at Church on the Hill in Shawano.

The FRESH Project’s goal is to educate people so that everyone can eat healthy. There are many people in Shawano County who are working to get healthy food to everyone with the Share the Bounty tables.

“We ask all gardeners to plant an extra row and donate it along with extra produce,” said Barbara Mendoza, executive director.

There are six FRESH gardens this year. One on the Ho-Chunk reservation near Wittenberg is working with the native community and the youth. The produce goes back to the community.

The elderly, with help from the project volunteers, take care of the garden at the Ella Besaw Center near Bowler on the Stockbridge-Munsee reservation, and the produce goes back to the center.

The Gresham garden is at the home of Jim Redmond. The produce is given to Share the Bounty, along with going to Safe Haven and on every Tuesday to Shawano Area Matthew 25 for its resource day so people can take what they want.


Meet Sue Hennigan

Photo by Carol Wagner Sue Hennigan, a volunteer gardener who is growing vegetables for The FRESH Project, needs help in her garden.

Sue Hennigan is growing vegetables for The FRESH Project and needs help in her garden.

Hennigan was born and raised in Shawano, graduating from Shawano High School. She then attended a three-year program at Marshfield Nursing School to become a registered nurse. She did volunteer work in Lancaster, Kentucky, for two years in community health and then got a paid position for three years.

When Hennigan moved back to Shawano, she worked at Shawano Medical Center, which became ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano, for 32 years in medical-surgical and special care. She retired in December 2016.

Hennigan met and married Kevin while in Kentucky, and they were together for 27½ years before his death in February 2007. She has four children and two grandchildren and lives in the town of Richmond.

Where do you volunteer?


Sunflowers shine at local festival

Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski The sunflowers will be only one aspect of Sunflower Fest. There will also be a number of crafts, nature hikes and other activities for people to enjoy among the golden flowers.

Lee Bergsbaken would see car after car stop on the side of County Road E to snap a few photos of the sunflowers he grew on his farm, sometimes to the impediment of traffic.

“It was getting kind of dangerous out on the roads,” Bergsbaken said. “There were so many cars out there. It gets to be a zoo.”

So he decided to host an event that would allow visitors to get their sunflower fix without risk of accident.

Bergsbaken Farms will host the third annual Sunflower Fest from July 27-29, with the gates opening at 10 a.m. each day. There will be walking trails for visitors to explore and three viewing platforms for those wanting to get the perfect sunflower photo.

For those concerned about the walking trails being too long to traverse, Bergsbaken assured that there is a shorter trail for them to enjoy.

“It gets a little too far for some elderly people to walk,” Bergsbaken said.


Clintonville student-authors finalists in National Book Challenge

A group of Clintonville Middle School students were recently named as finalists in a nationwide challenge hosted by a student publishing company. Stacey Conradt and her sixth-grade class were among the top 50 student-published contestants out of more than 800,000 entries in Studentreasures Publishing’s 2017-18 National Book Challenge.

“I am extremely proud of the hard work and creativity that each student put into this authentic piece of literature,” said Conradt, who will be starting her fifth year of teaching in the Clintonville School District. She said the 16 student-authors in her class worked together to write “The Adventures of Jerky Turkey,” an idea they came up with when thinking about a turkey’s perspective on Thanksgiving. The students worked together to research, write and illustrate the book before sending the completed pages to be published.


Entries still sought for art and craft fair

Only a few weeks remain before the 50th annual Shawano County Art and Craft Fair, which will be held July 29 on the grounds of the Mielke Arts Center, N5649 Airport Road, Shawano.

One of Wisconsin’s longest-running annual outdoor art and craft shows, it is sponsored by the Shawano County Arts Council.

In the show’s early years, only drawing, painting and some pottery were exhibited. Now the show includes jewelers, sculptors, photographers, potters, weavers, quilters, wood workers and others. Every year sees new artists and offerings.

Local artist Alex Majeski, of Krakow, will again feature his pottery pieces at the fair. Bird feeders and fairy houses by Shawano artist Dan Spielvogels will also be available for purchase. Other exhibitors will travel to the show from such places as Rhinelander, Milwaukee, Madison, Appleton, Iron River and more. Entries are still being accepted.


Birnamwood dedicates new ballfield

Leader Photo by Miriam Nelson Alice and Norman Matsche, left, receive thanks from Birnamwood Little League players and coaches July 10 at a dedication ceremony for the new Rivertronics Stadium they funded.

Birnamwood hosted a dedication ceremony for the new Rivertronics Stadium on July 10.

Former Birnamwood residents Norman and Alice Matsche, who live in Wood River, Illinois, donated $500,000 for the new grandstand and concession area. Rivertronics is the name of the business the Matsches started in Wood River in 1967.

Mason Meverden presented a bat signed by Birnamwood Little League players and coaches and the Birnamwood BABA team to the Matsches at the dedication.

On one of his trips back to Birnamwood in 2016, Norm Matsche stopped in at the library, where Chanda Kersten thanked him for donating money for the Matsche Center.

“I asked her what else they needed. And when she said, ‘A new ballpark,’ I said, ‘Done,” Matsche said.

Matsche said he and his wife were pleased with how the project turned out, which generated considerable community support.


Escape room offered at Shawano library

Contributed Photo Paige Crawford and Nancy Hammond stand before the Harry Potter-themed escape room. They are both escape room planners at Shawano County Library.

The Shawano County Library escape room program will serve as a model to libraries all over America.

Staff members from the library have been asked to attend a national conference to help other libraries across the country build similar escape room programs after the success their own program has achieved since opening last October, said Kristie Hauer, library director.

For those unfamiliar with the game concept, escape rooms give groups of players hints and clues to solve a series of puzzles within a time frame. The library’s escape room contains seven to eight different puzzles that players must unlock, Hauer said. The library’s escape room changes every month, so players can come back for new mysteries.

Escape room games have been increasing in popularity, but there was none in Shawano County, leading library staff members to set out and create one. Like other library events and programs, there is no charge to participate.


Emergency blood shortage during holiday week

Contributed Photo Dennis Clapper donates platelets via apheresis at a donor center in Charlotte, North Carolina. He started giving whole blood in the 1960s and switched to giving platelets in the late 1970s.

For many folks, Independence Day marks a week of backyard barbecues, fireworks displays and time spent with family; however, the week is also notorious for an extreme drop in blood and platelet donations.

This year, there were 550 fewer blood drives organized by businesses and other community groups during the holiday week than are held during a typical week. That equates to as many as 15,000 fewer donations than needed.

“The Red Cross’s blood shortage escalated from a state of urgency to a state of emergency. Donations are being distributed to hospitals faster than they are coming in,” said Laura McGuire, the Red Cross’ external communications manager in Wisconsin.

Donors of all blood types are being urged to donate, especially those with type O blood. Type O negative is the most in-demand blood type because it is the universal blood type; emergency room personnel reach for it when there is no time to determine the blood type of a patient.


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