Meet MaryAnn Kojis-Zopp

Photo by Carol Wagner MaryAnn Kojis-Zopp has been ringing bells for the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign for five seasons.

MaryAnn Kojis-Zopp has been ringing bells for the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign for five seasons.

Kojis-Zopp was born in Milwaukee, graduating from Mercy High School. She earned a degree from UW-Milwaukee in early childhood education and taught for four years. She then entered the Peace Corps going to Malaysia for two years training teachers in their own language and then to the Philippines for two years where she taught nutrition.

Kojis-Zopp then taught in schools in Milwaukee for two years. Then she was a Title 1 language development teacher and then taught kindergarten and first grade and Title I math teacher for the Menominee Indian School District for a total of 31 years. She retired in 2011.

Kojis-Zopp and her husband, Dennis, have been married 36 years and have three sons and one granddaughter. They live in the town of Richmond.

Q How long have you volunteered to ring the bells?


Autism program grows to help many people

Contributed Photo Bridge The Gap is an organization that helps adults and children with autism and special needs. Recently the teens did all the preparation for a dinner at the Hartland Town Hall. From left, front row, Brandon Novitski, Brady Jones, Beth Montour, James Barkow, Lesley Laluzerne, Salix Dobbs, and Penny Ferguson; back row, Lucas Schmechel and Brandon Hull.

Bridge The Gap is a nonprofit that helps adults and children in the autism spectrum and has grown to include people with special needs. The center is located in Shawano but covers Shawano, Brown, Oconto, Menominee, Outagamie and Waupaca counties.

“There’s a need in this community,” said Lesley Laluzerne, president and center director.

People from four to 48 go to the center either directed by a doctor, friends, family, and some through the internet. Six school districts send students to them.

“We fit the program around the person’s needs,” Laluzerne said. “We don’t try to fit them into a program. We’re really unique. We teach them that having autism is just part of them.”

Earlier this year, the teens made food for a restaurant-type setting where they planned the meal, bought the groceries, prepared the meal, and served it at Hartland Town Hall.


‘Christmas Pageant’ opens tonight at Mielke

The Box in the Wood Theatre Guild presents “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” written by Barbara Robinson

The show opens at 7 p.m. Friday and will also be performed at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Mielke Arts Center, N5649 Airport Road, Shawano. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children.

“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” directed by Mary Madsen, follows the Herdmans, who are the worst kids in the history of the world. They crash Sunday school and demand parts in the Christmas pageant, and the whole town panics. There’s not supposed to be fighting or cigar-smoking in Bethlehem, and while these kids have never even heard the Christmas story, they definitely have rewrites.

Call 715-526-2525 to reserve tickets or buy at the door.


Auxiliary turning on Love Lights Tuesday

The ThedaCare Medical Center Auxiliary is lighting its Love-Light trees in a ceremony at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the lobby of the hospital, 100 County Road B, Shawano.

The three Love-Light trees are located outside the hospital entrance.

The ceremony will include a prayer, announcement of the scholarship money raised, lighting of the trees, singing of holiday carols, and refreshments.

The auxiliary has sponsored the Love-Light program every year since 1986. Proceeds raised from the Love-Light program help the auxiliary provide scholarships to area students entering their final year of college in the health care field.


Bank’s holiday giving program begins

First State Bank announced last week that its Share the Joy holiday giving program is now underway.

For decades, the bank has worked with community members and local organizations to collect and distribute toys and gifts for families in need. This year, the bank’s new Rudolph office is continuing its community tradition of collecting cash and other donations for food baskets for local families in need, and also is collecting children’s warm mitten and glove donations that will be provided for students in need of them at Think Academy.

Community members who would like to help Share the Joy can stop by First State Bank’s offices in New London, Cecil, Clintonville, Dale, Manawa, Rudolph or Waupaca to select an ornament from the tree in the lobby. Participants then purchase a gift to fit the needs of the individual listed on the ornament tag and return the gift to First State Bank by Dec. 8.


Living at The Cottages feels like home

At The Cottages, most of us are in our 90s, with the exception of one special lady turning 100.

Most of us use walkers or wheelchairs, but not her. It seems our legs are the first to go. They offer us exercise classes on weekdays to help us keep going strong.

Parkinson’s Disease seems to affect a larger percent of the 30 some residents here and at other assisted living sites.

My middle daughter, who is 66 and types my columns, has just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, so I am getting more knowledgeable about it. It’s something you can live with. I have a cousin, who is 93, whom I visit at one of the other assisted living sites in town. She has had Parkinson’s for many years. She did well for a long time.


Curtain Call

CMN performing 3-episode radio comedy

The College of Menominee Nation invites the public to attend a theater production Dec. 6-7.

Showings both evenings begin at 7 p.m. Admission is free. The Dec. 6 show is in the Menominee Indian High School theater, N500 State Highway 47-55, Keshena. On Dec. 7, the production is in the auditorium of the Norbert Hill Center, N7210 Seminary Road, Oneida.

This semester, CMN will present three episodes from Cherokee author Thomas King’s radio comedy, “The Dead Dog Café Comedy Hour.” Set in the fictional town of Blossom, Alberta, the humorous show features three friends interviewing celebrity guests and performing segments titled “Aboriginal Decorating Tips,” “Ask Tonto” and “Blackout Bingo.” The production features live acting and music, sound effects and projected imagery.


The many faces of gratitude

Stepping inside our woodstove-heated farmhouse, I paused just inside the door and felt the warmth wrapping itself around me like a blanket. Gratefully, I waited a moment and closing my eyes, appreciated the feeling returning to my extremities. I had just come back in from accompanying my family on the opening weekend deer hunt. That Sunday morning, the temperatures were in the upper 20s with wind gusts kicking up now and then.

Every year when gun hunting season rolls around, I always convince myself I should join in the fun. Two of our three come home to hunt with their dad, and I think I’ll catch the hunting bug and just get out there and enjoy the great out-of-doors with them.


Nonprofit Profile

Contributed photo Tara Huebner plays the piano for her son, Zeke Fietsch, as Brandon Byng watches at a rehearsal of the Phoenix Players for their first production, “Christmas … On The Air.“

The newly formed Phoenix Players are planning their first production, “Christmas … On The Air.” Mary Beth Kuester, of Clintonville, along with Abrams resident Brandon Byng, got the group started.

“I’ve done a lot of work with the Mielke (Arts Center),” Kuester said.

Other Clintonville residents often were involved at the Shawano venue throughout the years. That is what made Kuester and Byng go forward with their new group.

“We have people who would like to have a place in Clintonville,” Kuester said.

The family-friendly Christmas musical will be at the handicapped accessible auditorium at Clintonville’s old high school. It is often referred to as the 1918 building, which is attached to the Rexford-Longfellow Elementary School.

Kuester often used it when the Mielke was being renovated and expanded. That made her ask the question, “Why can’t we always have a Christmas show here?”

So they are.


Volunteer Profile

Photo by Carol Wagner Don Bublitz and Patty Pape, holding her dog, Jojo, are master gardeners who volunteer for many of their activities.

Don Bublitz and Patty Pape are master gardeners who volunteer for many of their activities.

Bublitz was born in Milwaukee, graduating from Milwaukee Lutheran High School. He earned a degree in elementary education from Concordia College in Illinois. Bublitz then taught in a two room school in Iowa and then in Detroit for five years. He earned a masters in elementary education from Wayne State University and moved to Shawano in 1969 where he taught at St. James Lutheran School for 30 years. Bublitz retired in 1999.

He and his wife, Joanne, have been married 59 years and have three children and six grandchildren. They live in Shawano with their toy poodle, Cookie. They like to garden and attend concerts and plays. Bublitz helps out at the Navarino Nature Center.


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