Talking Shop

Photo by Charles Collier John Boyd from Antigo spent four years rebuilding this 1959 King Midget. On display for the second time at the Customs & Classics Car Show held Sunday, the car was originally sold in a box with all assembly required.

Shawano Lake County Park was filled with hundreds of unique cars Sunday for the seventh annual Customs & Classics Car Show from the furthest edge of its parking area to its share of shoreline.

Judges made their rounds through the winding, stationary parade of passionate handiwork, but sharing stories and insights with a likeminded crowd was reward enough.

What a crowd it was.

“It’s a huge turnout, has been all day. I had no idea it could fit this much,” said Jeff Feistel, one of many onlookers.

In past years, Feistel has seen the park from his cabin across the lake but never gave it much of a second look. Having judged several contests in years’ past, Feistel has an eye trained for minute detail in search of superiority.


All that remains are the memories of Mom

It doesn’t get easier. The sense of loss and the feeling of loneliness doesn’t go away, not ever.

My mother was born in September. During the month, I spend more time than usual thinking about her. I never once missed spending Mom’s birthday with her. I usually bought her a special card, but one year, I cut out colorful words from magazines, such as beautiful, loving, humorous and glued them to a card. Inside was a poem written especially for her. I found the card in her dresser drawer after she passed. It touched me that she kept it all those years.


Talk to loved ones about senior scams on Grandparents Day

When wishing your grandparents a happy Grandparents Day this weekend, it might be a good idea to talk with them about elder scams.

“While we are all targets for scammers, some con artists prey specifically on seniors,” said Michelle Reinen, director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection within the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. “Education is the best way to prevent fraud,” so the more information we can share with older friends and family, the less likely it is they’ll fall victim to a scam.

The department has a hotline which can provide seniors with a free bookmark or booklet to help them identify scam operations, spot fraud and navigate tricky consumer issues. The number is 800-422-7128. Seniors can also sign up for consumer alerts by email or text message by calling the hotline or by emailing


Weekend with fairgoers and family doesn’t disappoint

Well, another great Shawano County Fair has come to a close. On the days I was there, I got sprinkled on a few times. Even though I had an umbrella in hand, I never opened it up. On Labor Day, I managed to get through most of the buildings. I enjoy talking to exhibitors and meeting up with people, many I only get to see once a year at the fair.

I was much impressed with the crops and vegetable exhibits; with all the heat and humidity of the summer, it seemed things excelled. The animals are so well groomed, and it is fun to see the pride of the exhibitors.

Once again, the Shawano County Historical Society did a great job on their exhibit. One picture I saw seemed impossible to me, taken back in the day when logs were cut and hauled the old-fashioned way. The logs were piled exceeding high on a sleigh, with only two horses hitched to the load. I could only wonder at the danger this posed to the loggers.


Local girl sings at Kiwanis convention

Leader Photo by Miriam Nelson Brianna Schmidt, of Wittenberg, sang at the Kiwanis International Convention in Las Vegas in June as part of the Penguin Project in Wausau.

Most people would not feel at home performing in front of 15,000 people. But for 16-year-old Brianna Schmidt, of Wittenberg, there is no place like it.

Schmidt and four other youngsters from the Penguin Project of Central Wisconsin Children’s Theatre performed at the annual Kiwanis International Convention in Las Vegas earlier this summer.

The Kiwanis organization is dedicated to improving the lives of children, and the Penguin Project helps children with special needs explore their creative talents.

The Penguin Project is open to children with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and other neurological disorders, as well as children who have visual or hearing impairments. Special needs children are paired with peer mentors as they prepare one musical each year.

Schmidt, diagnosed with high functioning autism, had lead roles in two previous Penguin Project productions in Wausau. She played Mazey in “Suessical Jr.” and Kathy in “Singing in the Rain.”


Shawano Pathways honoring one of its own

Contributed Photo Barb Mader, who passed away in June, volunteered every year for the Bike the Barn Quilts. Even though she didn’t ride the long distances herself, she enjoyed riding her bicycle around her own neighborhood at Koonz Lake.

Barb Mader was an integral part of the Bike the Barn Quilts event held in late September. She was always helping to set up the directional banners that show bicyclists the course to take.

Mader’s daughter, Heidi Bedwell, lives in Seattle and has never participated in Bike the Barn Quilts, which features routes between 5 and 70 miles all around Shawano County and showcases some of the almost 340 barn quilts dotted along the countryside. Bedwell will be bicycling this year, however, after Shawano Pathways decided to designate one of the routes in honor of her late mother, who passed away June 17.

The route designated for Mader is the 35-mile trek from Memorial Park in Shawano to the village of Gresham and back again. As an added bonus, the route includes alternate areas that are a little more hilly and totals 50 miles.


Boys and girls can sign up for Cub Scouts

For the first time, area Cub Scout packs are welcoming new families to join their ranks — including those with boys and girls. Sign-up night for families with children in kindergarten through fifth grade is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 17 at the United Methodist Church, 1000 Engel Drive, Shawano.

Girls were first included in Cub Scouts in spring. “Our daughter joined the pack. She gets so excited about it,” said Mike VanHandel, Cub Scout dad and leader. “It’s fun to watch her doing the things that we haven’t been able to find the equivalent opportunity elsewhere.”

“My daughter joined Scouting this year,” added Ian Schiesl. “She’s been having a blast and learning all sorts of things that she’s never had the opportunity to do before — snowshoeing, (using) tools and just overall good character building.”

For information on Scouting, visit


Training offered for Master Gardener volunteers

Time is running out to sign up for Master Gardener volunteer training through the Shawano County University of Wisconsin-Extension. The training session will begin Sept. 13 and run through Dec. 13.

The course work prepares participants to help others in their community, for example, by assisting with community beautification projects, performing horticultural demonstrations and answering plant care questions. Course instruction is free; however, the instructional materials cost $150. Included in these materials are the instruction manual, access to the online Foundations in Horticulture site and numerous take-home materials that are part of the hands-on skill-building sessions, which are the main feature of the course.


Vendors sought for Christmas craft fair

The Merry Mielke Arts and Crafts Fair has put out a call for vendors.

The event, sponsored by the Shawano County Arts Council, will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Mielke Arts Center, N5649 Airport Road, Shawano.

A non-refundable registration fee of $40 is due in advance to reserve a preassigned space, and spots are limited. Arts and crafts exhibitors are responsible for setup and cleanup and are asked to be open during the duration of the fair. They are solely responsible for any loss, theft or damage to property.

Kits, manufactured or resale items are discouraged. Original art, crafts or Christmas gift items may be sold and exhibited. All items should be described on the entry form.

Exhibitors registered prior to Nov. 1 will have their names and locations shown in the fair program.

A self-addressed, stamped envelope should be included with registration, as confirmation will not be given without it.


What do you mean chili doesn’t have peas?

Like many of you, one of our favorite stops at the fair is the Rural Firemen’s stand. I’ll never forget the time our son and his family joined us for burgers and chili. My daughter-in-law, my grandchildren and I sat down at one of the picnic tables behind the stand. My hubby and son brought the food over to us.

I remember my daughter-in-law asking, “What kind of soup is this?”

When I asked her if she never had chili before, she said, “Lots of times, but I have never heard of chili with peas in it.”

Her comment really surprised me. My mother always put peas in our chili. I guess I just thought everyone did.

A few months later, when we had a chili dump at City Hall, I was told chili with peas wasn’t allowed. Obviously, many of the staff at City Hall weren’t “homegrown.” (except Dana Dillenburg, who grew up on Shawano chili, too)


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