Community

Thu
29
Nov

Annual Community Christmas Concert set for Dec. 8

The annual Sounds of the Season Community Christmas Concert will be held December 8 at 2 p.m. in the Shawano Community High School Auditorium.

The concert will feature the Peace United Church of Christ Celebration Choir, St. James Lutheran Church Choir, Men’s Choir and Belles of Praise, Wolf River Harmony Women’s Barbershop Chorus, “It’s About Time” Women’s Barbershop Quartet, Messengers of “The Way,” The Westerfeld Trio, and other special guests.

This is a free event, however a collection point will be offered for non-perishable food items and monetary donations for the F.R.E.S.H. Project.

Thu
29
Nov

Local physician assistant honored

Brenda K. Balthazor was recently named Physician Assistant of the Year by the Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants. Balthazor is a physician assistant with the Aspirus Health System and practices at the Aspirus Birnamwood Clinic.

Balthazor was one of six finalists from a field of hundreds of physician assistants across the state.

“I was thrilled to hear that Brenda was the recipient,” said Andy Barth, CEO of Aspirus Langlade Hospital. “She brings a deep commitment to our mission of healing, promoting health and strengthening our communities.”

The annual award honors a physician assistant who, among other criteria, demonstrates excellence in service to patients and exhibits involvement in the community.

Sat
24
Nov

Deer hunting story months in the making


Leader photo illustration by Carol Ryczek A group of Belle Plaine hunters demonstrates their technique for a deer drive on Friday. The hunters gathered at Bryce Beyer’s home on State Highway 22 south of Shawano before heading out for the drive. The nine-day gun deer season ends on Sunday.

Hey, just what you need — another deer hunting story!

Every year around this time, I have a notion to sit with my husband in his deer stand. I go back and forth in my head trying to talk myself out of it. This year, the voice inside my head won. Pulling on blaze orange on top of layers; tugging on boots and grabbing thermos, cookies, water bottle, notepad, pen and cell phone, I bounced my way out the door with my husband and son.

Getting to the drop-off spot, I closed the truck door as quietly as possible and, following my husband, trudged out to the deer blind, talking to myself the entire way.

My nose started running. “Good thing I grabbed Kleenex.”

I got a bit of a chill. “Wow am I glad I packed six hand warmers!”

My lips felt chapped. “Do I have my Carmex?”

“How long yet?”

Sat
24
Nov

As winter approaches, fall is also on the way

Falling is such a helpless feeling. In that instant, you know you are going down, but there’s nothing you can do about it.

Of course, the first concern is injury. The second concern is, “Did anyone witness the fall?” I have only fallen twice, but I sure made a public display of myself both times.

The first time I fell, it was in front of the post office. I tripped on a crack in the sidewalk. My purse flew in one direction and my glasses in another. As I reached for my glasses, I could hear someone loudly proclaim, “The mayor is down; the mayor is down.” I desperately wanted to fall through the sidewalk and disappear. I quickly got up, not knowing or caring if I was hurt, and bolted to my car. The voice called out, “Can I help you? Are you OK?”

Sat
24
Nov

The lost art of being thankful

Sometimes it seems like Thanksgiving is buy the turkey, thaw the turkey, bake the turkey and then pick the carcass at the end of the day; but at least that means turkey soup.

This is after spending the week before shopping and cleaning house, baking pies and planning side dishes to go along with the main dish. As the day approaches, I moan and groan and wonder why I do this year after year.

Is this really how the pilgrims did Thanksgiving? I highly doubt it.

However, since the main purpose of the day is for thanking God for family, friends and food, my attitude seems a little off. Here I am thinking about all the work and none of the blessings.

So, I determined that it is time for me to get an attitude of gratitude. I thought about how blessed I was that I have funds to purchase a turkey and all the trimmings. I was thankful that I was able to lift that nearly 15-pound bird into the freezer, and I still had some muscle to spare.

Sat
24
Nov

Forest Park Village gets new exercise equipment

An expanded exercise room and senior friendly exercise equipment is the latest improvement at Forest Park Village, an independent senior living facility in Wausau.

Amy Forst, Director of Operations, said they were able to open a wall between the original fitness room and the wood shop, repaint and buy new senior friendly exercise equipment. The equipment that had been in the fitness room had been donated by past residents.

“We were seeing a need for our residents to exercise more,” said Forst.

Overtime, lifestyles of the seniors have changed. Forst, who has been with the company for 17 years, has worked to meet the changing needs of the residents. Forst noted that people used to get their exercise working on their farms and daily chores. That’s not the case anymore and more seniors are used to going to a gym for exercise.

Fri
23
Nov

Longtime Clintonville coach: ‘You can’t be best in everything’


Photo by Grace Kirchner Retired Clintonville coach and teacher Carl Bruggink says sports, especially basketball, has been good to him. A special display of the trophies his teams have earned is on exhibit at the Museum on Main Street.

Winning in sports is important. But it’s also important to learn how to lose.

That’s one of the messages legendary Clintonville coach Carl Bruggink had for the audience at the Clintonville Historical Society’s annual meeting, held Thursday at the Museum on Main Street.

“I would tell players that if I had to hire someone, I would hire them because they stuck it out even when they lost,” said Bruggink, now 80 and retired. “You can’t be best in everything. We think the Packers have to win all the time.”

Originally from Oostburg, Bruggink and wife Judy came to Clintonville as newlyweds in 1960. He was looking for his first job out of college. Before the day was out, then-Superintendent K.O. Rawson had offered Bruggink the job as varsity basketball coach and athletic director, at a salary of $3,600 a year with $400 extra for coaching.

Fri
23
Nov

ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano nets new VP


Contributed Photo Julie Chikowski, the new ThedaCare vice president at ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano, also owns Chico’s Landing, a fishing resort in Fremont, with husband Gary. Together, they have five grandchildren under the age of 3.

The new vice president at ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano is no stranger to rural Wisconsin. Julie Chikowski, former CEO at Memorial Hospital of Lafayette County, has co-owned a fishing resort in Fremont with her husband for nearly two decades.

“Things were going really well in Darlington,” Chikowski said of the CEO position she’s held for the past six years. However, living three hours away from her family and only coming home on weekends grew tiresome, especially as she and husband Gary “Chico” Chikowski have five grandchildren under the age of 3. “My people are definitely what drew me home,” she said.

Chikowski steps in for the retiring Bill Schmidt, who has served as president of ThedaCare Medical Center-Shawano for two years.

“Bill has been introducing me to employees and community members, and the people I meet are warm and welcoming,” Chikowski said. “The ThedaCare organization truly values and supports its critical access hospitals.”

Thu
22
Nov

Thankful to be facing new challenges

At this time of the year many of us reflect on the past year — what has happened in our lives, who was part of our lives and what the future holds. For me, this special time of the year causes me to reflect and ponder, were I’ve been, where I am at and where I am heading.

Personally, I experienced some extreme highs and lows this past year. Last year at this time, my wife, Diana, and I knew the journey we were on was rapidly coming to a close, she passed away in my arms on Christmas Eve. After 37 years of marriage, partnership and love, she lost the battle to liver cancer. I quickly realized that the world is not going to come to a sudden stop and that life does go on, albeit a little differently. Fortunately, I have the love and support of family, friends and faith in our Lord that I was able to move forward with my life.

Thu
22
Nov

Grateful for the lessons of a farm childhood

Thanksgiving is the perfect time of year to pause and reflect on our blessings. I have many. I grew up on a hog farm in northwestern Illinois. Even though farming is a 24/7/365 commitment, my father would make a point to “take off” — completing just the basic chores — on Sundays and holidays, including Thanksgiving.

We all understood the importance of taking time to give thanks and recognize our blessings. Farming was a stressful and unpredictable life for my mom and dad, but we never went without a meal on the table and clothes on our backs. The meals were literally “farm to table” before that term was in vogue. Our main dish was usually pork, of course.

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