A new year

Turning the calendar is a visual reminder that we’ve begun anew. A new month, or in this case, a brand new year.

It is crazy how fast time flies. My husband and I celebrated the New Year quietly, attending church, going out to eat at Perkin’s, spending a bit of time at the casino (I brought my $20 home, he did not) and finally ending the night with grasshoppers I made at home, clinking glasses and wishing each other a Happy New Year with Molly contentedly napping at our feet, us sawing logs as the ball dropped.

Driving that night, we reminisced how we’d spent New Year’s Eves in the past. Thirty-five years ago (what?) we’d be out all night, dancing to our hearts’ content at either

King James in Shawano or Mr. Roberts in Appleton, hating to see the lights come on, signaling the party-goers to head on home. Later, stopping for breakfast we’d pull in during the wee hours of the brand new year. What a difference the years make!


Granny Van heads into retirement

To trade or not to trade, that has been a question popping around in my mind for the past couple of months. Whether it is better to keep on driving the 11-year-old Granny Van, with its 180,000 miles, or to look at something else.

I was the one who loved my car until I went to have the oil changed one day and got talked into buying a van. By then I was a widow, and I also enjoyed taking grandkids to places such as Wisconsin Dells, Green Bay or the movies, or whatever. A car didn’t have enough seat belts for that task. So there I was, trading in the car I loved, for this van, which seemed huge in comparison.


Nature center remains busy in winter

Winter has arrived, and lots of indoor and outdoor activities are planned at Navarino Nature Center.

Tim Ewing will present “Hiking Isle Royale National Park” at 1 p.m. Jan. 14. Through photos, learn about the background of the island, hiking the Greenstone and Minong ridges, wildlife found on the island, travel to the island, shipwrecks and lighthouses. Cost of the program is $4 NNC members, $6 individuals, $12 for the entire family.

Explore the trails of Navarino by candlelight and torchlight this winter. Dates of candlelight or torchlight events are 5:30-7:30 p.m. Jan. 20, Jan. 21, Feb. 10, Feb. 11, Feb. 24 and Feb. 25. Cost of the program is $4 NNC members, $6 individuals, $12 for the entire family. Snowshoe rentals $2 for 15 and younger, $4 for 16 and older. Ski rentals are $5 for 15 and younger, and $10 for 16 and older. The sledding hill will be lit nights of the candlelight events.


Jencks opens 2017 house concert series

Joe Jencks will kick off the 2017 Cotter Creek House Concert Series at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Jencks is an international touring performer, songwriter, entertainer and educator based in Chicago.

Other concerts scheduled this year include Hans Christian (cello) on Feb. 4, Andy Cohen (blues) on March 4, Stas Venglevski on March 11, Matt Watroba on April 2 and Red Tail Ring on May 20.

All concerts are held at the home of Joel Kroenke, W9050 Broadway Road, Shawano. The evening traditionally begins with a potluck meal at 5:30 p.m., followed by music at 7 p.m.

For reservations or information, call 715-853-6879.


WOW show features work of area quilters

Contributed Photo “Down Below the Ocean,” a quilt by Dar Borchardt, will be among the quilts and wall hangings in the “Home Grown, Home Sewn” show at Walls of Wittenberg this month.

The “Home Grown, Home Sewn” quilt show is back.

Walls of Wittenberg is again sponsoring a unique quilt and wall hanging show this January, featuring about 40 quilts from quilters from the greater Wittenberg area.

The free exhibition is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from Jan. 14 through Jan. 29 at the WOWSPACE, 114 Vinal St., Wittenberg.

Quilts in the nonjuried show were selected for their design, creativity, color and detailed sewing. At least 15 quilters are expected to participate.

A new feature of the show will include ongoing demonstrations each weekend showing a variety of quilting techniques by local quilters.

Some of the topics for demonstrations will include working with 1930s reproduction fabrics, 1/2 square and 1/4 square triangles, machine piecing, free-motion quilting, hand quilting, Grandma’s Flower Garden handwork, fabric painting, wool applique, reverse applique, needle turn applique and more.



Photo by Rob Zimmer Beat the winter blues by expanding your gardening hobby to include many wonderful new ways to grow and create. Collecting gorgeous African Violets is just one way to do just that.

Photo by Rob Zimmer Take a class on creating planters and other garden items from hypertufa, concrete and other materials. Many garden clubs and shops offer classes such as these throughout the winter months.

Even with the coldest weather of the season upon us, the dreams and passions of gardeners across our area come alive with thoughts of spring color, flowering plants and getting our hands dirty.

Connecting with the earth through the plants and landscapes we nurture, our deepest dreams and treasured memories come to the surface, filling us with an excitement that lasts through all four seasons.

It is now, in the coldest part of January, that the gardening season truly begins. Here are some ways to enjoy gardening activities even during the coldest part of winter.

Pages of dreams

By now, garden catalogs have begun to arrive, sometimes by the dozens. All of the big, popular gardening catalog companies have begun shipping out their colorful, tempting delights, brimming with the season’s newest and most colorful selections.


Strong Bones winter sessions begin this week

Memberships are being accepted for the Strong Bones Strength Training program in Shawano County. Classes begin this week.

At Zion Lutheran Church in Shawano, both regular and advanced classes will be offered at 8:30 a.m. Monday and Wednesday, and 7:30 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday. There will be a men’s class at 8 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday.

Sessions also are scheduled at St. Paul Lutheran, Bonduel, 7:30 a.m. Monday and Friday; St. Francis Solanus, Gresham, 4:05 p.m. Monday and Thursday; Sacred Heart Catholic, Shawano, 3:45 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; Total Fitness, Shawano, noon Monday and Wednesday; Clintonville Community Center, 1 p.m. Monday and Thursday; Mohican Family Center, Bowler, 5 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; Peace Lutheran, Tilleda, 5:15 p.m. Monday and Thursday; Pulaski Senior Center, 7:45 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday; Holy Family, Wittenberg, 4:30 p.m. Monday and 2 p.m. Friday.


Nonprofit Profile

Photo by Carol Wagner Pastor Gordon Oliver of Covenant Life Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Shawano is starting a grief support group in January.

Pastor Gordon Oliver of Covenant Life Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Shawano is starting a grief support group.

“We hope to help people in their grief and let them know there’s a place they can come to,” Oliver said.

Every Tuesday from Jan. 10 through April 4, Oliver will lead Grief Share seminars at the church.

“I’ve been a grief counselor for hospice in the past,” he said.

The group will meet at 7 p.m., but people can attend Grief Share at any point, and come and go at any time. There will be a video, workbook and discussions.

“The ultimate goal is to heal,” Oliver said.

Grief Share is nondenominational and features biblical concepts to heal from grief.

The 13-week session can also be a training tool for anyone who wants to help others, Oliver said.

Oliver said people who lose a loved one often feel alone. Friends and family want to help but don’t know how.


Volunteer Profile

Photo by Carol Wagner Matt and Jess Martens and their children, Isabella, 7, and Brayden, 4, are members of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Shawano. Their children attend the school and the couple volunteers with the Sacred Heart Home and School Association.

Matt and Jess Martens volunteer for the Home and School Association at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Shawano.

Matt was born in Shawano and graduated from Shawano Community High School. He attended Milwaukee School of Engineering and then came back to Shawano, where he worked at various places. Matt then got his associate degree in mechanical design from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and has been working at Marion Plywood for three years.

Jess was born in Shawano and graduated from SCHS. She worked at CoVantage Credit Union for 11 years. For the past seven years, she has been an investment assistant at Premier Community Bank in Shawano.

The couple has been married 12 years and lives in the town of Richmond with their two children, Isabella, 7, and Brayden, 4. They enjoy camping, gardening and swimming in their pool. Jess does stamping and cross stitch.


Christmas preparations blend with New Year’s thoughts

I know I should be thinking about New Year’s, but I am still stuck on Christmas. In fact, I just finished decorating my tree on the 27th. I finished making the cookies I am making, and the fudge also got made on the 27th.

You might think I am a little behind, and you would be right. However, I am not having the family Christmas gathering until the 31st, so I guess it is right on time after all.

So far, except for things that needed carrying up from the basement, I was able to accomplish all of the baking on my own. My shoulder was already sore from being slept on wrong one night, but I still
managed to stir up the two batches of homemade cookies on my own. I didn’t feel like dragging out the big mixer, and they were single batches, not doubles, like years past.


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