Leader Photo by Lee Pulaski Folk music artists, including, from left, Skip Jones, a Red River-based musician; Dan Robinson, the host of Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Simply Folk”; Andy Cohen, a performer from Memphis, Tennessee; and Keith McGillvray, a performer from the Shawano area, play together during the CD release party on Wednesday at Glas. The party had originally been intended to be an outdoor celebration, but rainy weather forced the party inside.

It was only one night, but the release of the Shawano Folk Musical Festival anthology was 40 years in the making.

“It’s the best compilation I’ve ever heard,” said Joel Kroenke, one of the festival’s board members, at a CD release party Wednesday at Glas. “When I first got it in the car, I drove for 2½ hours so I could listen to it uninterrupted.”

The two-disc anthology features 40 songs from 40 different artists from when the festival first started in 1979 to today. Even though all of the songs are from folk music festivals past, they cover a wide range of genres, according to Kroenke.

“We’re very proud of the way it came together,” he said.

There are only 1,000 copies of the anthology, and 200 of them were already committed prior to the release party. Dozens more were sold during Wednesday’s event.


Flowers from A-Z

Photo by Kelly Hogan MaryLee Johnson tends to a bed of flowers and ensures there are no weeds at Windswept Acres near Cecil.

Windswept Acres Farms is approaching its 18-year anniversary of providing fresh cut flowers to retail customers all throughout Wisconsin and beyond.

Co-owner of Windswept Acres MaryLee Johnson always knew she wanted to study something related to plants, and pursued a college degree in botany. She came across a horticulture class by happenstance, said Johnson, and also took classes in that area of study full-time to finish her degree.

Johnson worked in greenhouses, flower and seed shops throughout her time living in both North Dakota and Maine. She moved to Wisconsin with her husband, Reed Johnson, in 1998.

MaryLee Johnson said, “When we moved, I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, so my friends who also worked with cut flowers told me, ‘You’ve always been good at telling people what to do, so why don’t you start your own cut flower business?’”


Escape room participants embark on Camp Quest

Campers ages 12 and older can experience this month’s escape room “Camp Quest” at the Shawano County Library during August.

The experience is available by contacting the library and scheduling an appointment. Younger campers under 12 are welcome to attend with an adult.

Pre-registration is required due to limited appointments. This program is offered at no charge and is sponsored by the Friends of Shawano County Libraries and Thrivent.

There will be no monthly escape room in September, but it will return in October. During September, library assistants Paige Crawford and Nancy Hammond, as well as library director Kristie Hauer, will be attending the Association of Rural and Small Libraries conference to present escape room planning to other librarians from across the nation.

For information or to register, go to or call 715-526-3829.


Gone to the dogs

Photo by Leah Lehman Zoey, a comfort dog, recently paid a visit to St. Martin Lutheran Church in Clintonville.

This week has pretty well gone to the dogs for me, but in a good way.

When I accepted an invitation to a combination graduation and anniversary party, I had no idea that there would also be three golden retrievers present. I have always secretly wanted a golden retriever, but the dogs in my past have always been mutts.

The retrievers at the party were not just ordinary dogs, however. They are owned by a couple from Indiana, who attended the party, and since they couldn’t just leave the dogs home, they brought them along. Even more, the two older ones are used by the woman, as she is a psychologist who works with children and finds that, for the most part, having the dogs is a great help.

“Some kids are afraid of them, but then we just put the dog in a different room,” she said. “But most of the children are more apt to open up with one of the dogs there.”


Wheeling into area businesses

Leader Photo by Miriam Nelson Members of the Bicycle Adventure Club who stopped in Wittenberg last week as part of a trip from Seattle to Boston are, from left, front row, Bill Kiess; back row, ride director Richard Gallo, Jamie Slee, Anne Slee, Graham Johnson and Val Johnson. The Slees and Johnsons are from the United Kingdom.

Twenty-seven cyclists breezed into Wittenberg on July 18 for one of the stops on a trip that began in Seattle on June 11 and will end in Boston on Aug. 8.

The trip is one of the 25 to 30 U.S. tours planned by the Bicycle Adventure Club each year, according to volunteer trip director Richard Gallo.

The cyclists stayed at the Best Western Wittenberg Inn, ate at local restaurants and visited the WOWSPACE.

Sally Jo Stevens, vice president of the Wittenberg Area Chamber of Commerce and general manager of the Best Western, worked with Gallo as he planned the trip’s itinerary.

“I have been reaching out and promoting for over three years to build tourism with our trail system,” Stevens said. “It was a great piece of tourism for the Wittenberg area.”

Gallo said he definitely wanted a stop near Green Bay. “There were several towns to choose from, but when Wittenberg had the murals it sealed the deal,” he said.


Meet Mart Grams

Photo by Carol Wagner Mart Grams takes care of the flower gardens at the Shawano County Historical Society. He is standing in one of the gardens where the plants are from the Wild Ones.

Mart Grams volunteers at the Shawano County Historical Society.

After graduating from Grant High School, Grams joined the Army serving from 1976 to 1980 in military intelligence. When Grams returned he attended University of Wisconsin-Marshfield, UW-Stevens Point, and the University of Guadalajara, earning degrees in political science, history, economics, and Latin American studies.

Grams taught economics, government, history and Spanish in Gresham for 20 years and then social studies, economics, and government in Shawano for 12 years. He retired in 2016.

Grams and his wife, Linda, were married for 32 years before her death last year. They have two sons and two grandchildren. Grams lives in Shawano with his three cats.

He has written three books and two textbooks. They are available on Amazon, and he will have a book signing Aug. 18 at the Shawano County Library for his latest book, a children’s book with drawings by his granddaughter, Alli German.


RHI keeps farmers upright, working

Contributed photo Registered nurse Dawn Dingeldein takes the blood pressure of eastern Shawano County farmer Mark Karcz, who is a hoof trimmer, does drain tiling on farm fields, and has a dairy farm with his sons.

Rural Health Initiative will soon celebrate 15 years of bringing health care to people in the agriculture industry. RHI is a preventative health service that goes right to the farmers.

“They value our program,” said Rhonda Strebel, executive director. “We’re the only service that comes to the farm.”

Most services that go directly to the farms are for the animals. Strebel said farmrs usually went to the emergency room first 15 years ago.

“We said, how can we get to our farmers sooner?” she said.

Farm women were the first to say the farmers wouldn’t go to the clinic, it would have to come to them. So Dr. John Mielke, a cardiologist whose family practiced medicine in Shawano County, was instrumental in getting the program started and taking it to the farm.

Among the many things the farmers can be tested for are diabetes and heart disease. Often they can be prevented or at least managed before they get out of hand.


Strong faith in face of poverty eye-opening to missionary

Photo courtesy of Dustin Martzke During his mission trips to Haiti, Shawano resident Dustin Martzke has seen how the people of Haiti, despite living in poverty, have a very strong faith that keeps them going during difficult times.

As a fellow volunteer, I recently had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know the president of the Shawano County Humane Society board, Dustin (Dusty) Martzke.

He has served on the board for 15 years, first as secretary and currently as president.

“I am glad my employer, Cellcom, supports and encourages community involvement and volunteerism,” Martzke commented.

He has been the Cellcom store manager since 2008.

Martzke attends Hope Community Church and chairs the church’s mission program, Hope World Missions. Hope Community Church has two international partnerships; one is located in the Philippines (Dauis Baptist Church), and the other is with Pastor Diogene Pierre (Pastor Dio) in Haiti.


Over 20 years and 2,000 sheep later

Leader Photo by Kelly Hogan Several sheep peek through the slats of a wooden fence at Five Star Lamb. The flock is composed of Hampshire and Suffolk sheep, breeds known for flavorful and tender meat.

Anyone driving on state Highway 29 between Shawano and Bonduel has most likely seen the herds of sheep out grazing in the pastures of Five Star Lamb.

Located at W5729 County Road B east of Shawano, Five Star Lamb was officially established in 2016 by five individuals, Roy Wilson, Lacey Wilson, Doug Wilson, Terri Dallas and Mike Bohm. However, the Five Star Lamb story began in 1991 with a 4-H sheep project when Roy Wilson bought his first lamb to show at the Shawano County Fair.

Roy Wilson and his father, Doug Wilson, began a partnership with Bohm five years later and purchased a few ewes to start their own flock, Corner View Club Lambs (CVCL).

“My family has always farmed, and this project just seemed to perfectly fill a gap in our community,” Doug Wilson said. “We enjoyed helping spark kids’ interest in farming and agriculture who may otherwise not have a chance to try their hand at raising an animal.”


Library recognizes first 1,000 books achiever

The S. Verna Fowler Academic Library/Menominee County Library recently celebrated its first young person to complete the early literacy reading program called 1000 Books Before Kindergarten.

Rosalene (Rose) Frangenberg and her family signed up for the program in 2016 and reached the 1,000 book mark in July. Rose is a student at Keshena Primary School. To recognize her accomplishment, the library threw Rose a special party in her honor. Rose is the daughter of Audrey and Charles Frangenberg, of Shawano.


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