Nonprofit Profile

Photo by Carol Wagner Nancy Baumgartner and Ryan Alexander stand by a Little SAM’s House at CoVantage Credit Union in Shawano.

Appearing at some businesses around Shawano are Little SAM’s Houses which are helping out the big SAM’s House, the emergency shelter which operates from November through April.

Nancy Baumgartner, a volunteer for Shawano Area Matthew 25, came up with the idea while sitting on her porch.

“It just came to me,” she said.

Baumgartner, who is newly retired, attended a meeting where they were talking about getting more awareness about the shelter since a lot of people still don’t know there is one in Shawano.

She asked her husband, Richard, who is retired from the construction industry, for help.

‘He came up with the design,” Baumgartner said. “He did it all.”

He has made two little blue house donation boxes and their stands along with four others which are tabletop houses. They have a yellow heart and the words ‘Hope Health Housing’ which is the group’s motto and mission to help people get on their feet and able to take care of themselves.


Volunteer Profile

Photo by Carol Wagner Leonard Wahl is the fire chief for the Green Valley/Morgan Fire Department.

Leonard Wahl is the fire chief for the Green Valley/Morgan Fire Department.

Wahl was born in the town of Morgan, graduating from Oconto Falls High School. Wahl drove a milk truck for four years and then was a supervisor and bus mechanic for the Oconto Falls School District. He owned a campground and now has his own business, Wahl Trucking. His wife of 40 years, Cindy, owns Morgan Excavating and also works for the Oconto Falls School District. They have a daughter and a grandson.

Q How long have you been with the Green Valley/Morgan Fire Department?

A “Since 1988. I started because I had the intention of serving people and helping out with situations that arise. I was the assistant fire chief in the mid ’90s and I’ve been the fire chief since 2011.”

Q How big is the area you cover?


State Masons grand master visits Cecil

The residents at Three Pillars Senior Living Communities’ MasonWoods campus were recently paid a visit by the Wisconsin Grand Master of Masons, Arby Humphrey.

Humphrey spent an afternoon at MasonWoods Independent Living community, attending an annual steak fry event. He shared his goals to enhance the Masonic Fraternity in Wisconsin under his tenure during the coming year during the meal and a pontoon boat ride on Shawano Lake.

Masonry, also known as Freemasonry, is the world’s first and largest fraternal organization. Through its culture of philanthropy, the organization works to make a difference in communities and for the future.

This year, Humphrey intends to focus on growing membership, seeking to strengthen the network of good men doing good things in communities across Wisconsin.


Blind teen to give organ concert

Photo by Carol Wagner Isaiah Buhrke, who has been blind since birth, will play hymns and some of his own compositions Sunday at Zion Lutheran Church in Zachow.

Isaiah Buhrke has been blind since birth, but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming an accomplished musician.

The 17-year-old son of Elizabeth Buhrke, of Cedarburg, and grandson of the Rev. Rick and Rhonda Buhrke, of Cecil, will perform in concert at 2 p.m. Sunday at Zion Lutheran Church in Zachow, where his grandfather is the pastor.

“This is something I wanted to do all my life,” Isaiah said. “Play music and do concerts.”

Rhonda said Isaiah never cried in church like many babies do.

“So we took him there a lot,” she said.

His family was amazed when he began playing the music he heard in church on his toy keyboard. As he got older, they feared he lost his musical ability because they couldn’t recognize the songs he was playing.

“We realized he was playing the worship liturgy he heard each Sunday,” Rhonda said.

Isaiah now has a professional keyboard but loves to play church music on the organ, especially pipe organs.



Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Murylene Clements, of Suring, practices chest compressions on a mannequin during a CPR class Wednesday at Shawano Ambulance as paramedic Joel Magargle assists. The ambulance service plans to hold another class in order to get more people trained in CPR, with officials citing immediate CPR increases a person’s chances of survival.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation — CPR for short — can be a real lifesaver.

If you don’t believe that, just ask any of the paramedics with Shawano Ambulance.

The local service announced in July that it was going to teach CPR to anyone interested in learning but who did not want to go through a longer certification course. The announcement spread like wildfire, with the class filling within days and a waiting list building after that.

Because of that interest, Pat Trinko, Shawano Ambulance’s director of operations, said a second class is in the works, but a date has not yet been set. With the waiting list, that class could be up to two-thirds full once a date is announced.

Shawano Ambulance is teaching hands-only CPR, which is different than the standard CPR procedure. While CPR usually mixes chest compressions with mouth-to-mouth resuscitations, the hands-only procedure is strictly the chest compressions.


Global adventurer sharing his stories in Shawano

Leon Logothetis from the Netflix documentary “The Kindness Diaries” will be in Shawano from 6-8 p.m. Aug. 28 at the Shawano Lake County Park Pavilion, W5791 Lake Drive to share his inspirational message and stories.

Logothetis has made it his life mission to use the experiences gained during his world travel to help others live and love fully. In “The Kindness Diaries,” Logothetis travels around the world on his yellow motorbike, Kindness One, relying only on people’s kindness at each stage of his travel.

In addition to his Netflix documentary, Logothetis is a global adventurer, TV host, producer, author, motivational speaker and all around good guy. He used to be a broker in the city of London where he felt uninspired and chronically depressed, so he gave it all up for a life on the road. This radical life change was inspired by the movie “The Motorcycle Diaries.”


Library planning eclipse program

The Shawano City-County Library is preparing for the “All-American Total Solar Eclipse” on Aug. 21.

The library will provide safe viewing glasses to area residents. Glasses can be picked up from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 18 and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 19.

Additionally, an allotment of glasses will be reserved to be handed out at the library’s event Aug. 21. The giveaway is not intended for groups or organizations.

The eclipse begins at 11:52 a.m. in the Shawano area, with peak viewing at 1:15 p.m. The eclipse will be completed at 2:37 p.m.

The library will feature eclipse displays, and visitors can view the NASA Edge Mega-cast on a large, flat-screen TV located at the checkout desk on the main level. At 12:45 p.m., children can participate in bubble blowing and shadow tracing in a roped-off area of the parking lot. Popsicles for all!

The next total solar eclipse visible in the U.S. will be April 8, 2024.


Trumpeter swan inspires children’s book

Photo by Grace Kirchner Ginger Ann Wedde held a book signing at the Living Room in Clintonville on July 28. Her new book that has just been released is “Trumpeter Swan: A Mother’s Love Story.”

In 2000, Ginger Ann Wedde, of Clintonville, wrote and published her first book, a recipe book. Now she has written and published a second book, a children’s tale titled “Trumpeter Swan, A Mother’s Love Story.”

The book takes a light-hearted journey of a trumpeter swan’s quest to find a mate and a family. The journey begins with a swan named Thomas finding his true love, Tayla, and continues though the life cycle of a trumpeter swan.

In June 2016, Wedde, a professional photographer, received a call from a friend at the NEW Zoo in Suamico, telling her to bring her camera to take photos of the trumpeter swans. She took over 400 photos. As she assembled the photos by subject on her kitchen table, she said to her husband, “that looks like a story.”

The idea of writing a children’s book grew from there.


Folk fest mixes old and new talent

Contributed Photo The Green Bay Pickers are a new addition to this year’s Shawano Folk Music Festival. The band will be playing during the day Saturday and Sunday.

It won’t just be the birds singing in Mielke Park this weekend as the Shawano Folk Music Festival returns.

Four outdoor stages and the Mielke Arts Center will echo with a variety of music Friday through Sunday performed by dozens of folk musicians from Wisconsin and beyond.

“There are some incredible musicians,” said Dori Jerger, public relations co-coordinator for the festival.

There are plenty of familiar faces in this year’s show. Tom Pease, a popular children’s entertainer, is the festival’s honorary co-director and the master of ceremonies for the Friday night concert.

Frogwater, known for playing a variety of songs from Celtic to delta blues, will also return to the stage at the Mielke. The band is based in Milwaukee.


Autism event is young dreamer’s vision

Leader Photo by Scott Williams Inside the Bridge the Gap agency in Shawano, McKenna Montour prepares signage for Wednesday’s autism awareness event at Shawano Community Middle School.

McKenna Montour is a dreamer, a planner and an organizer.

Although the Shawano County girl is just 15 years old, she is about to pull off a significant achievement by putting together a benefit for an organization that has special meaning to her.

Chad and Beth Montour’s daughter has organized an autism awareness event Wednesday to raise funds for Bridge the Gap, a Shawano-based organization for people with disabilities.

Making sure the benefit is well-planned and executed is important to McKenna because she hopes someday to find a career as an event planner.

And also because she has autism.

By personally handling nearly every detail of Wednesday’s event at Shawano Community Middle School, the town of Richmond teen aims to demonstrate that people with autism are capable of accomplishing difficult tasks, just like anyone else.


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