Aromas of sweet, spicy and smoky filled the Shawano Community High School commons on Monday night as a large crowd took advantage of the great selection of food from vendors at the 11th annual Taste of Shawano.

The Taste of Shawano fundraiser benefits Junior Achievement.

“It looks to be the biggest turnout we have had yet,” said Sandra Ebbinger, Junior Achievement director.

All of the funds raised stays here for the youth served by the JA programs in the Wolf River District.

Isabella Haen, Wisconsin Fairest of the Fair, was in attendance after she met two women from Shawano at the same event in Brown County.

“I thought it was a great opportunity,” she said. “The food is delicious, and the people are very laid back.”

Karen Kupper has attended the event almost every year. Her answer to the question why do you keep coming was, “What do you mean? For the food.”


Home country cooking

Photo by Grace Kirchner Teddie Mitchell, originally from Holland, ladles soups from her home country to an unidentified guest at the Ethnic Food Faire in Clintonville on March 18. She served curry soup with meatballs and a cheddar cheese soup.

The 18th annual Ethnic Food Faire at Clintonville’s United Methodist Church featured many cultural dishes — including two types of Dutch soup. Their authenticity was guaranteed because the soups were made by Teddie Mitchell, of Clintonville, who emigrated from Holland more than 50 years ago.

When Teddie Mitchell, then known as Teddie Stohman, arrived in New York on Nov. 26, 1965, her plan was to stay for about a year before returning to Holland. She was sponsored by a couple who lived south of Albany, New York, the husband having met and befriended Mitchell’s father during World War II.

She found work as a burler in a felt company near Albany, which was where she met her first husband, Herman Minschell. They fell in love, and Mitchell’s plans to return to Holland were forever changed. Mitchell got married in New York, and she gave birth to their first child, daughter Natalie.


JA fundraiser showcases good taste

Photo by Carol Wagner Sandra Ebbinger is the Junior Achievement director for Shawano and Menominee counties.

Junior Achievement is funded by donations and fundraisers, and their biggest fundraiser is on Monday. It is the 11th year that Taste of Shawano has been held at the Shawano Community High School commons with many different kinds of food and drink.

“We have three new restaurants this year,” said Sandra Ebbinger, JA director for Shawano and Menominee counties.

Also new this year will be a traveling trophy that will be given to the vendor who is voted Best of Show by those attending. One voter will also have a chance of winning a prize for themselves.

“We’re trying to really encourage everyone to vote,” Ebbinger said.

Junior Achievement helps students potentially find a career and prepare young people to succeed while building academic and social skills. Next year the program will be 100 years old.

Ebbinger, who is going into her third year as director, is very familiar with the program, having been a classroom volunteer in the Eau Claire area.


Meet Mary Luepke

Photo by Carol Wagner Mary Luepke chairs the board of Wolf River Lutheran High School.

Mary Luepke is the chairperson of the board of Wolf River Lutheran High School.

Luepke was born in Chazy, New York, graduating from Chazy Central High School. She worked at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh, New York, for 25 years in multiple departments. In 2008, she moved to Shawano and is a customer service representative at Aurora Health Care in Shawano.

Luepke and her husband, Patrick, who works at Siah Motor Freight, have been married 23 years and have three children. They live in Bonduel where she enjoys making stained glass.

Q What do you do at Wolf River Lutheran High School?


Bonduel woman didn’t let cancer stop her living

Photo by Carol Wagner Barb Wickman holds a photo of her daughter, Jenny Hacker, left, and her granddaughter, Cheyenne Eccles, who participated at the American Cancer Society Shawano-Menominee Relay for Life in 2012. Her granddaughter survived cancer, but her daughter passed away in May 2016 after a five-year fight.

This spring, Bonduel resident Barb Wickman will mark the second anniversary of her daughter’s death due to colon cancer. Her message to others? Pay attention to what your body is telling you.

Wickman’s daughter Jenny Hacker, who lived just a few doors away, was 35 years old when she was diagnosed in 2011. Wickman said Hacker hadn’t been feeling well for a while, complaining of tiredness and low-grade fevers. She also later reported some additional warning signs, such as blood in her stool, that Hacker attributed to stress — but certainly not cancer.

When Hacker went in to see her doctor, a CT scan revealed a pool of cancer cells. They were able to determine the disease had metastasized to her liver, and she was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer.

“I’ll never forget that day,” said Wickman. “She was determined not to let this beat her.”


A luncheon for ladies of faith

Leader Photo by Miriam Nelson Pastor David McElroy provides the entertainment at the St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon on Thursday at the Holy Family-St. William banquet hall in Wittenberg. He sang songs and told jokes to the 69 attendees.

An ecumenical event came out of an idea from Margie Mech, parishioner of Holy Family-St. William Catholic Church in Wittenberg.

The St. Patrick’s Day Luncheon was held on March 15 at Holy Family-St. William. Sixty-nine people attended.

“My mom started this kind of event when she lived in Clintonville,” Mech said. “It’s a nice opportunity to gather with other women of faith.”

Organizers invited women from the two Lutheran churches in Wittenberg, Redeemer and St. Paul, were invited along with women from two Catholic parishes, St. Anthony in Tigerton and St. Mary in Marion. Participants were encouraged to bring a non-perishable item for the Wittenberg Food Pantry.

St. Patrick’s Day is a good time of the year for the event, Mech said, because there is not a lot going on and people are tired of winter and eager for spring.


Sacred Heart celebrates Rural Life Days

Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Bishop David L. Ricken, left, of the Green Bay Diocese blesses a 1944 John Deere tractor outside Sacred Heart Catholic Church as its owner, Carl Montoure, of Shawano, watches. Ricken also blessed animals, soil and seeds after a special Mass for Rural Life Days.

Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Pam Jahnke, who broadcasts the Wisconsin Farm Report daily on radio stations around the state, tells Sacred Heart Catholic Church parishioners about her early days on the farm. She told the farmers in attendance that they are “rock stars” because they have direct knowledge on where food comes from.

Churches regularly bless the people in their congregation, but Sacred Heart Catholic Church took things a step further Thursday and blessed the soil, seeds, animals and equipment that farmers use.

The blessing was a portion of Rural Life Days, a program through the Green Bay Diocese dedicated to those that grow the food that people consume. Sacred Heart in Shawano was one of two sites in the diocese for the annual event; the other church was Holy Family in Brillion.

Bishop David L. Ricken attended the Shawano ceremony, presided over a Mass and blessed a number of animals, from dogs to chickens to a calf named Little Rocketman.

“In the modern world, especially in our country, it is easy to take our daily bread for granted, so it is important that we step back and recognize those who provide for us,” Ricken said in a piece written for the Catholic newspaper The Compass.


Sporting clay shoot to benefit nature center

Get excited about spring with a variety of activities and programs offered by the Navarino Nature Center.

The center’s annual sporting clay shoot will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the J&H Game Farm, W5810 J&H Road, Shiocton. This fundraiser will support educational programs for students, scouts, seniors and various local groups. Entry fee for the first round of sporting clays is $25 per person; re-entry for additional rounds is $15. Food will be available on the grounds.

Pre-registration is appreciated, but walk-ins will be accepted. Information about the sporting clay shoot, which is sponsored in part by Thrivent Action Teams, is available at the nature center and the J&H Game Farm.


It takes a village to make a difference

PHOTO BY MIRIAM NELSON Parents of Head Start students, from left, Andrea Bacquenc, Jaime Neir and Kristin Wild help out with a rummage sale at the Siga Funmaker Community Center last weekend. The event raised $440, which will be used for the Head Start graduation gifts and party on May 10.

Marcia Jolin, owner of The Olde Dime Store consignment shop at 510 S. Webb St. in Wittenberg, has a policy that anything that has been in her store more than a year gets donated.

“I like to keep things local,” Jolin explained.

One of Jolin’s challenges this year was to decide what to do with an organ.

“So I reached out to the Ho-Chunk Elder Center and the Head Start program,” she said.

The organ went to the elders, and some extra toys went to Head Start.

While chatting with Ann Koester, family and community coordinator at Head Start, Jolin wondered aloud what else could be done with her other excess inventory.

“What if we do a rummage sale?” Koester said.


Donors urged to help restock blood banks after snowstorms

Though spring is officially upon us, the American Red Cross is still reeling from severe winter storms in March. Due to winter weather, more than 270 blood drives were forced to cancel across the country, leaving thousands of lifesaving blood and platelet donations uncollected.

The Red Cross is urging donors of all blood types to roll up a sleeve, as the need for blood persists for cancer patients, those undergoing surgeries, trauma patients and others this spring.

Blood donors can schedule an appointment by downloading the free Red Cross blood donor app, visiting or calling 800- 733-2767. Volunteers are also needed to help transport lifesaving blood products to area hospitals. For information and to apply for a volunteer transportation specialist position, visit

Upcoming area blood drives include:

April 6: Bowler High School, 500 S. Almon St., Bowler, 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


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