Singing up a Storm

Singing up a Storm

Sandra Lorenz of Sheboygan has always enjoyed singing. As a member of the Sound Celebration Barbershop Chorus, she is able to let her love of music shine.
Lorenz grew up on a dairy farm near the Kettle Moraine, west of Plymouth. “It was about the best kind of life a kid could have. Lots of time spent outdoors doing stuff, sometimes chores, and sometimes play and discovery. It was always fun.”
She sang in middle school but did not participate in singing opportunities during high school. “I was in the chorus for a couple musicals in my 20’s and 30’s, but other than that I didn’t do any formal singing until my 40’s when I joined our church choir for about four years and really loved it,” Lorenz said, referring to the church choir rehearsals as both challenging and rewarding. “I learned so much about proper singing, breath management, and vowel formation. It was a two-hour rehearsal and we rehearsed the whole time, non-stop. It was like aerobics for your voice.”
“I have always enjoyed singing,” Lorenz said. “Especially around Christmas time, because there are so many songs that many people know in common and can join in and enjoy the singing. Even though I didn’t do much of it formally I always loved singing.”
Lorenz joined the barbershop chorus, Sound Celebration, in 2012. “I had been following the chorus and volunteering to help on the shows and in other ways ever since my sister joined the chorus back in 2003,” she explained. “Late in 2011 I was reading a book and it challenged me to make a list of the things I loved to do. One of the things I listed was singing. I looked at my list and discovered that I wasn’t doing very many of the things that I loved to do. And I sort of said to myself, if not now, when?  So I decided to jump in and join the chorus.”
Lorenz sings tenor in the chorus that currently has 25 members. “I am currently the tenor section leader and I serve on the Music Team to help select and learn the music for our contests and performances.”
The public performances are what Lorenz most looks forward to. “We get to bring fun and a well done a cappella harmony to an audience,” she said. “I love to see them smile and at times sing along. I love it when they seem to be genuinely enjoying the music and the performance.”
Singing in tune is the biggest challenge facing chorus members according to Lorenz. “In tune singing is challenging and so critical to a capella music,” she added.
The group rehearses each Tuesday in Plymouth and performs two scheduled, public performances each year. The May performance serves to offer the chorus an opportunity to perform their two-song contest package in front of an audience.
“The other performance is our annual show in early to mid October,” Lorenz said. “Most summers we join the Men’s Barbershop chorus for Barbershop Chorus Night at the Plymouth Park, and we hire out for performances throughout the year to extended areas including Plymouth, Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, Two Rivers, and even Oshkosh.”
Lorenz is grateful for Director Janice Westphal and Assistant Director Marianne Cooke. “These two ladies are dedicated to the Sound Celebration Chorus. They generously donate countless hours to select and prepare music and show scripts, and are always ready to meet with chorus members who want to work on improving their sound. They are truly committed to helping the chorus and our members improve our sound and performance.”
Sound Celebration is part of an international organization called Harmony Incorporated. “We compete each year in our area contest in June, and we often attend the International Contest and Convention in November,” Lorenz said. “For a small chorus, we have strong representation in the International Organization with several members on the International Board and Committees. I think it says a lot about the commitment of the ladies in the chorus. I am proud to me a member of Sound Celebration Chorus.”
“What means the most is the collective work we do to blend our voices and produce a beautiful sound,” Lorenz said of the chorus. “It takes concentration and practice and trusting each other. It takes giving yourself and your sound over to the ensemble to harmonize and blend. It’s constant improvement every week.”
Upcoming performances for Sound Celebration include Tuesday, May 31 and the annual show at the Plymouth Art Center on Oct. 7 and 8.

More information on the chorus can be found at their website or by calling Julie Lawonn at (920) 526-3852. 

Planning your perfect wedding-Victorian Village

Planning your perfect wedding-Victorian Village

Perfect venue offers staff for planning

Victorian Village Resort in Elkhart Lake is not only a perfect venue for weddings and/or receptions, but it also has the staff and services to take the stress out of planning the big day.
“Our event coordinator helps plan your wedding with you to fulfill your unique dreams and also help with your guests’ needs so that everyone can relax and have fun while they are here,” said Judith Salzwedel of Victorian Village. “It’s easy to feel stressed about choosing vendors. We have a list of local professional vendors to choose from that we know are excellent and reliable, which makes it easier to make good, confident decisions.”
She added, “Having a ‘destination’ wedding that is close enough for family and friends to celebrate with you is a wonderful advantage. You and your guests can stay in any of our hotel rooms or condos at all price levels. There is a beautiful lake for a sunset cruise, indoor and outdoor pools, a Tiki Bar for fun, a theatre for your reception, golf nearby, and lovely landscaped grounds for everlasting photo memories. You can have every part of your wedding on our grounds from rehearsal dinner and party, to ceremony, to dinner and reception, to gift opening without anyone needing to drive or run from one place to the next.”
Asked about current trends in weddings, Salzwedel said tent weddings seem to be a growing choice of bridal couples, and Victorian Village Resort has a landscaped lawn to accommodate that. Also, it seems as though couples prefer to have more candid and fun photos taken at their wedding instead of only posed photos.
Victorian Village Resort works with the couple and their guests to do what it can to make their day extra special, being flexible where necessary and when possible. Salzwedel recounts one story: “Well, we had a wedding where the engaged couple had to move up their wedding date by half a year, because the groom found out that he was being deployed. The groomsmen were all in the military, and when they solemnly stood in full uniform with their swords in the air creating a tunnel for the bridal couple to walk through, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.”
The village of Elkhart Lake itself lends the perfect atmosphere to any wedding. Salzwedel said, “Elkhart Lake is such a charming village with an Old World feel. Every single wedding guest has complimented us on how it was simply the best place they have ever been to a wedding.”
For more information about Victorian Village Resort call (920) 876-3323 or toll-free 877-860-9988, or e-mail

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Planning your perfect wedding-Floral Studio 1796

Planning your perfect wedding-Floral Studio 1796

Bridal planning begins with listening

Kerri Brantmeier said she enjoys providing something personal to bridal parties, but the key is giving them what they want and not what anyone else wants.
That process begins with being a good listener.
“I”m really proud of the fact that I’ll really work with my brides,” Brantmeier said from the comfort of her Floral Studio 1796 shop in New Holstein. “I try to do my best for them within their budget and make it personal for them.”
Brantmeier’s desire to provide something unique and personal to weddings fits well with what she said seems to be a trend in weddings. “I think people are becoming more open to doing something personal to them vs. traditional.”
As examples, she said she is seeing weddings which are “more playful” and are incorporating brighter colors. That also works out well with what Floral Studio 1796 has to offer, which is just about everything under the sun when it comes to fresh flowers or perhaps mixing in silks if certain fresh flowers are out of season.
Floral Studio 1796 can help decorate the church and/or hall as well as providing corsages and boutonnieres, staying within the budget set by the bride and groom. Brantmeier said many brides these days get inspiration from Instagram or other social media sites. They can share those ideas with Brantmeier who can let them know what is realistic and what is not.
In addition to having the floral side covered, Brantmeier and Floral Studio 1796 also can help with other aspects of wedding planning, from invitations ordered via Carlson Craft to gifts for the bridal party available from Floral Studio 1796’s gift shop or via special order.
In addition, located inside Floral Studio 1796 is Crafter’s Studio, a paper crafts business operated by Kathy Horneck. Some brides prefer to make their own invitations or table decorations, and Horneck can help set them up with the supplies to do so.
Floral Studio 1796 is now collaborating with Carrie Strobl, who previously operated an event floral business in the Green Bay area. Brantmeier said she is excited to bring on another designer to work with brides.
Brides-to-be can check out Floral Studio 1796’s work in more depth by visiting the Paine Art Center in Oshkosh the first two weekends of March as Brantmeier has been selected to participate in Rooms of Blooms there.
In addition to serving bridal parties in New Holstein, Kiel, Chilton and the surrounding area, Floral Studio 1796 also serves many weddings in Sheboygan and in locations from Fond du Lac to Green Bay.
For more information stop in, call 898-5660, or go to the Web site

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Planning your perfect wedding-Studio 360

Planning your perfect wedding-Studio 360

Offering the latest in styling and coloring

Studio 360 is a full-service salon specializing in the latest cutting and coloring techniques.
Susan Steinhardt of Studio 360 said, “Our continuing education includes learning the newest styling, braiding, and make up techniques. We use only the best products for your hair. Eufora uses a unique blend of botanical extracts and certified organic aloe vera to keep your hair beautiful in the most natural way. Moroccanoil is infused with nourishing ingredients for healthy, strong hair.
Best known for its signature fragrance, Moroccanoil also has the ability to tame even the most coarse and unruly hair.”
She added, “Your wedding party is our main focus on the big day. We have five to six stylists (depending on the size of the party) with all hands on deck to get everyone done in a timely fashion.”
All of the stylists at Studio 360 are Elite Certified through Eufora. This means that they attend training through Eufora to keep up with product knowledge and color training.
To learn more about Studio 360, stop in, call (920) 452-3360, or check out

Planning your perfect wedding-Nesemann’s Diamond Center

Planning your perfect wedding-Nesemann’s Diamond Center

Customizing look of wedding jewelry

Nesemann’s Diamond Center offers a wide range of wedding bands for both men and women, and it also can customize bands for a more unique look.
All repairs are done in-house, so if a person has a wedding set that needs repair, a set soldered together, or a quick cleaning, most times it can be done within a day or two. They also offer groomsmen and bridesmaid gifts for wedding parties.
“Customer service is what sets us apart,” Mike Nesemann said. “You aren’t just talking to another salesmen trying to make a commission, you are talking to two men who make and repair jewelry six days a week. We can guide you in to the right piece of jewelry depending on your lifestyle.”
Asked what is trending these days in the area of wedding jewelry, Nesemann said dark or even black wedding bands for men have been very popular. “I think that is because it is something that hasn’t been done before so it’s something new,” he said. “On the ladies side of things that has been the same for literally forever. There is no one set style—everyone has their own twist to things. I have noticed a rise in jewelry matching the color of bridesmaids dresses.”
One customer summarized why people enjoy doing business with Nesemann’s Diamond Center when she wrote, ”This is one of those family businesses that you can’t help but love to work with! My husband purchased my engagement ring here and he enjoyed working with Alex and his father so much that we always go to Nesemann’s for all of our jewelry needs. We purchased our wedding rings this year as well as gifts for the attendants and moms for our wedding, and of course, everything looked great. If you are looking for a friendly, knowledgeable, and affordable jeweler, visit Nesemann’s!”
Mike added, “We are here for the customer. We do an excellent job of working with what the customer needs and wants, with keeping their budget in mind. Whether it’s a certain price range or a specific style or design we will do it. We don’t push or force anyone to buy or ‘settle’ for something they don’t love.”
For more information about Nesemann’s Diamond Center, stop in, call (920) 892-7726, or check out

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Planning your perfect wedding-A Schwarz Event

Planning your perfect wedding-A Schwarz Event

Weddings among favorite events to plan

A Schwarz Event plans a wide variety of events throughout northeastern Wisconsin, but weddings are among the favorite events for owner Lisa Schwarz and her team to organize.
“Our team meets with the clients prior to the wedding to decide upon their individualized needs whether it be as simple as dropping off the bouquets or centerpieces all the way to assisting their every need for their special day—from starting with the rehearsal dinner, ceremony assistance, to coordinating the entire event,” Schwarz said.
A Schwarz Event provides floral design and the opportunity for a lot more to help the bridal party. “A bride and groom have many decisions to make when it comes to their special day,” she said. “We offer a wide variety of choices from rustic to ultra glam and everything in between. Our floral design team takes the couple’s vision and has fun making their dream event a reality. We customize each bouquet and centerpiece to reflect the personal style and vibe trying to be achieved.”
Schwarz said she does not put a lot of stock in trends when it comes to weddings. “It is whatever the bride and groom choose to reflect their own style and personalities,” she said. “For example, ‘vintage’ is sought after right now; however, instead of doing a standard mason jar with flowers, we allow our creativity to blossom, elaborate the simple vintage idea, and make it a fresh new cutting edge version no one has ever seen before.”
She added, “The bride and groom are our sole focus on their special day. We will go above and beyond to make sure everything goes as smooth as possible. In the past, we have sewn up tuxes, dresses, retrieved forgotten items, and assisted uncooperative children down the aisle. Nothing is overlooked and we take pride in having everything go as smoothly as possible.
“I would like to emphasize that we assist every type of bride,” Schwarz added. “From DIY brides who only need rental items and a few extras all the way to the full-service bride who wants assistance with every last detail. Transforming space and adorning rooms, we here at A Schwarz Event use our talents and ideas to produce unique surroundings and awe-inspiring reactions. At the end of the day our goal is to make sure every bride and groom are 100 percent satisfied and enjoy their special day to the complete fullest.”
For more information check out, call 898-4433 or (920) 946-4915, or e-mail

Planning your perfect wedding-City Limits Hair Studio and Day Spa

Planning your perfect wedding-City Limits Hair Studio and Day Spa

Big day begins with trip to the salon

Bridal packages exclusively offered to bridal party members at City Limits Hair Studio and Day Spa in Kiel allows for pampering services to be given at discounted rates.
Included in some of these packages are massages, nail services, waxing and tanning specials.
Kenra, one of the industry’s elite professional lines, is offered in-house to assist in special occasion styles on the bridal party’s special day.
Hair coloring, hair cutting, manicures, pedicures, body waxing and skin care are just a small list of services City Limits Hair Studio and Day Spa provides to the bride, groom and bridal party members
Sisters and business partners Rachael Lubach and Rebecca Halfmann of City Limits Hair Studio and Day Spa said the salon has “an amazing staff which stays up-to-date and educated on all current trends, ideas and styles which can set the bar with how our guests leave our salon. Because of our large staff, elite salon environment, practical location and well-rounded hours, we allow servicing to bridal parties large and small. From young to old, male and female, we ensure wedding parties are prepared for the day ahead.”
Lubach added, “Provided with our wedding contract is the opportunity to have our salon staff come to you. Destination wedding contracts are always available for every bridal party. This gives the opportunity to reduce travel time, allow our services to be more readily available and reduce the level of stress on the big day.”
2016 is here and the wedding season is fast approaching. Some of the trends City Limits staff are seeing include that of effortless beauty. A classic look such as the chignon is a beautiful way to simply naturalize up-do’s. Braiding is forever a trend which is still excessively popular for this season. It is also a season of the undone locks. Many women and youths are requesting the free-flowing, soft-curl look. As for make-up, out with the smokey eye, in with the natural look. Strong eyebrows, bold lips and nudes are what are hot in today’s trends.
Halfmann relayed a story that recently a groom contacted City Limits to say that his wife was attending the salon on her wedding day and he was interested in taking care of the bill. He wanted to be sure her day was taken care of and that she was just there to enjoy her time. “It’s wonderful spending those special moments with our guests,” Lubach said. “Seeing the love and excitement in their eyes really makes our job worth it at the end of the day.”
She added, “Due to our location within the small community, we watch our guests grow. Nothing is more fulfilling than watching it happen in our chair, from listening to the stories of how they met, to their proposal, wedding planning and all that follows their wedding day.”
The City Limits staff attends regular educational classes to stay up-to-date on all that changes, new ways to improve, and how to service their guests to the best of their ability. They also attend regular bridal expos which offer deals and discounts and feature some of the work City Limits has produced.
Keep an eye out for City Limits’ Facebook page as it provides specials, deals, product information, and so much more. People also can contact bridal consultant Brittany via e-mail at

Planning your perfect wedding-Shear America

Planning your perfect wedding-Shear America

Bid day begins with trip to the salon

For a bride-to-be, her bridesmaids, and the mothers of the bride and groom, their big day often begins with a trip to the salon.
Shear America—which has salons in Chilton, Sheboygan Falls, Sheboygan, Mishicot, and Shawano—takes its role as the start of this memorable day to heart, according to owner Jeanne Schumacher.
“You’re starting the day for them and their whole memory of that day,” she said. “It is the beginning of their wedding. We’ve had wonderful responses from people, saying that we set the tone for a fun, magnificent day for them. They get extra special treatment. It’s all about them.”
Bridal parties are encouraged and welcome to bring in food, snacks, and beverages to the salon to start their day off right. While they are relaxing, the Shear America stylists are getting to work doing up-do’s, styling, airbrush makeup, manicures, pedicures, and anything else they can do to get the bridal party looking their best for the day ahead.
The stylists are what sets Shear America apart from others in the field, Schumacher said. “We have really experienced stylists at our salons,” she said. “Skilled, well educated, and ready to enhance your beauty.” As for trends in the industry, Schumacher said, “It varies with the individual—anything goes, traditional or trendy. It really is specific to the bride and the bridal party.” Schumacher said her stylists do not try to “push” a certain look on anyone. As an example, she said they want everyone involved to look like themselves and not be unrecognizable to their guests that day—just look extra beautiful.
A variety of packages are available to fit various budgets and levels of service.
Schumacher also said Shear America does not forget the grooms and groomsmen, often doing haircuts, styling, and waxing for the men a week or two ahead of the wedding day. American Crew men’s products also are available for purchase at Shear America, as are Loma organic products for women.
Schumacher encourages bridal parties to contact any of the Shear America salons for more information on how to make their wedding day even better. She said Shear America wants to be part of those special days and beyond. 

Planning your perfect wedding-Autumn Ridge

Planning your perfect wedding-Autumn Ridge

Autumn Ridge offers great wedding setting

When a couple contemplates where to hold their wedding service and/or reception, a golf course might not be the first place which comes to mind.
One look at what Autumn Ridge has to offer will have those couples changing their minds.
Located among the woods and rolling hills southwest of Valders, Autumn Ridge offers a picturesque wedding hall with many windows and a deck overlooking the golf course, ponds with fountains and a waterfall.
General Manager Chad Harrington said, “We also host many wedding services in our dedicated outdoor wedding area. Many brides and grooms had requested to be married on the golf course, so we decided to build an extra area to simulate a golf hole. The area is surrounded by towering oak trees and is built into a natural amphitheater.”
Harrington said outdoor weddings are trending these days, adding that Autumn Ridge hosted almost 20 outdoor wedding services in 2015.
Asked what sets Autumn Ridge apart from other wedding and/or reception venues, Harrington said, “The natural beauty of Autumn Ridge is absolutely spectacular. We will escort the bride and groom on the course with our limousine golf car to take photos for the special day. There are also many areas with ponds, naturalized areas, fountains, waterfalls, and rock formations that parties use for photographic memories. Another offering that many weddings choose to take advantage of is our fireworks shows. Brides and grooms will invite their guests out for a bridal toast and host their own fireworks show.”
Harrington said he remembers one special day for a couple which is indicative of what Autumn Ridge can handle. “We had an bride and groom who dreamed of having an elegant wedding reception for 500 guests in an outdoor tent setting. We actually took care of all of the details on their wish list to host the event on our property including ordering of the tents, extra tables and chairs, dance floor, food and bar service, etc., so the bride, groom, and their families didn’t have to worry about all of the details associated with hosting such a time consuming event. They could just concentrate on what was truly important—their wedding day.”
Harrington added, “We would like to thank everyone who has trusted Autumn Ridge with the most important day of their lives, and we would love to show newly engaged couples what we have to offer. Thank you!” 

Planning your perfect wedding-Schmidt’s Clothing

Planning your perfect wedding-Schmidt’s Clothing

Tux rental business shares great history

Schmidt’s Clothing of Chilton has been providing tuxedo rentals for grooms and groomsmen since 1995, but the business goes back quite a bit further than that.
Rita Holst’s aunt and uncle started the business in 1959. She has worked there since 1988 and purchased the business in 1995, and said the small town, hometown difference is a big reason why area bridal parties should look to Schmidt’s Clothing first for their tuxedos.
“I think it’s easier staying local,” Holst said. “You run up to the valley and it’s going to be 45 minutes there and 45 minutes back, and they’re not going to care about you afterward. We see our customers in church, we see them in the grocery store. It’s that personal touch.”
If she has not seen second generations of tuxedo customers coming into her shop already, she will soon. What she said she has seen over the years is a lot of grooms-to-be coming in who also were there for their prom tuxedos a few years earlier.
Schmidt’s Clothing presently works with Nedrebos/Savvi tuxedos out of Madison. The Chilton store has samples of those tuxedos in-house all year round, but an ongoing trunk show each February and March brings even more samples into the store. With the supplier so close and overnight delivery offered, last-minute alterations or requests are not a problem.
As for current trends, Holst said gray tuxedos—in a variety of shades—are popular once again. Navy suits and tuxedos also are trending. She said some bridal parties prefer to rent suits instead of tuxedos to provide a little less formal look and perhaps to keep the budget down a little more. Schmidt’s Clothing offers something to fit every budget, although Holst said it seems bridal parties are a little less budget conscious than they were just a half dozen years ago.
Schmidt’s Clothing is willing to work with bridal parties to provide whatever they want. She recalls the time a young man came in looking for a red, white and blue vest. While one could not be located, Schmidt’s Clothing set him up with a Navy blue tuxedo, a red vest and tie, and a white shirt to give him the look he wanted.
Holst also recalled the time she had rentals lined up for Chilton High School’s Sweetheart Hop. The dance was postponed at the last minute because of weather, but the company told their good customer to just hang on to the rentals for another week. “These companies work with us too,” she said. “It’s good cooperation on everyone’s part.”
“We like to be the one easy thing for brides and grooms to do,” Holst added. To that end they offer in-house alterations, returns on Monday morning instead of Sundays, and the ability to order engraved groomsmen gifts such as mugs, knife sets, bar signs, money clips, and more.
For more information stop in at Schmidt’s Clothing in Chilton’s Northside Shopping Center or call 849-4716. 

Planning your perfect wedding-Millhome Supper Club

Planning your perfect wedding-Millhome Supper Club

Millhome shares great planning experience

At Millhome Supper Club, wedding planning comes naturally.
Millhome Supper Club’s wedding planning professionals know their job is about making the wedding celebration the experience of a lifetime.
“We want people to be happy. We want to give them good information and give them good questions to ask, whether they are planning with us, or shopping around for the site to host their wedding,” owner Aaron Sloma said.
“It’s all about giving couples the knowledge they need to make good decisions.”
Millhome Supper Club tries to simplify the planning process for the bride and groom by serving as a one-stop planning center for converting wedding celebration dreams into reality.
Jennifer Sloma said, “We try to provide the services in a way that’s easy to understand. We offer one pricing structure, and it includes everything. The couple knows the cost per person, and there are no surprises at the end of the day.”
Bartenders, room rental, linens and cake cutting are all rolled into the pricing plans to make budgeting the event simple to understand. Couples do not want to be charged for every single add-on item as they budget for this major event.
Millhome has made a considerable investment in the decoration rental business, trying to provide attractive yet convenient alternatives for centerpieces, room decorations and even chair covers from their on-site inventory.
“We work with the couple to create the decor they want,” Aaron said. “And it all stays here, so there is no need for the bride and groom to be cleaning up and returning materials after the reception is over.”
The wedding planners at Millhome Supper Club like to engage couples in wide-ranging options for their celebration. “If they can think it or dream it, we can probably do it,” Jennifer said.
Seated along STH 32/57, the club is equipped to handle weddings of any size. The location helps serve guest lists that draw on people anywhere from Milwaukee to Green Bay and all the local communities in between.
The location is supported by attractive pricing, offering couples great value for the price of hosting their wedding celebration.
Millhome also has the flexibility to provide multiple hall combinations to “right-size” the wedding celebration.
While most Millhome wedding celebrations happen on site, the planners have seen growth in hosting off-site weddings. Full catering and decorating services can be extended to the site of choice, whether it is the bride’s backyard or a favorite alternate location. Aaron said they have more than half a dozen catered barn theme weddings booked for 2016 with food coming from either Millhome or the Slomas’ other restaurant, Parker John’s in Kiel.
Catering service includes the same level of food, service and amenities as if the reception were being held inside the hall at Millhome. Non-church weddings also can be held at the side of the river in Millhome—provided the weather cooperates. Aaron said this has the advantage of keeping everyone on site, moving from the ceremony at the river right into the reception hall.
Millhome Supper Club has a few open dates remaining on the 2016 calendar but bookings are already filling in for 2017.
The venue offers discounted packages on Friday nights, which are growing ever more popular. Saturday nights are also discounted in the off-season months from November through March.
“We have a team here that far sets itself apart from the competition,” Aaron said. “From our skilled kitchen staff to our wedding coordinators, we have decades of experience to assist in making your day special. All our food is prepared from scratch. Our coordinators work tirelessly to make the day seamless and our event staff has years of experience in serving both on and off premise functions.”
To start the wedding planning process, give the professionals at Millhome Supper Club a call at 894-7414, or send them an e-mail to

Planning your perfect wedding-Enchanted Florals

Planning your perfect wedding-Enchanted Florals

Decorations reflect unique personalities

Enchanted Florals’ main focus is to design and decorate a wedding or event that reflects a unique personality to create an everlasting memories.
The staff strives to design fabulous events, florals armaments, table capes, centerpieces, and rental décor, from its black formal arbor to its birch shabby chic arbor. Owner Mary Forstner said, “We enjoy reflecting the latest trends by going beyond to set the trends for each couple’s special day.” Enchanted Florals also has created lily walls.
Forstner and her superior customer service staff listen to the tastes and styles of their clients. She said, “We have a passionate enthusiasm to make the extravagant, casual or formal come true. Let us turn your dreams into reality. Our goal is to listen to our client and create a one-of-a-kind event by putting our personal thumbprint on each wedding to make it different from others. Beside offering full wedding services, we have also partnered with Du Bois formal wear to also supply the grooms and groomsmen with the latest in tuxedoes. With a close and easy pick-up and drop-off we like to make things more convenient for our bridal party.”
Enchanted Florals offers free consultation for any event, floral and event design, full-service florist, rental of glassware and pillars, arbor rental and lily wall, tablescapes (lanterns, bird cages, etc.), nonfloral centerpieces, candy dessert buffets, linen rental for any venue, table and chair rental, lighting, pipe and drape set-up, full set-up and take-down service, tuxedo rental, and photography.
Forstner added, “We also like to help you play off of your color palette and theme for that special day. Many brides like to check out Pinterest and I enjoy making their vision come true. I have an art background so personal planning and custom designing is what I enjoy doing.
“Enchanted Florals doesn’t just do weddings—we are your full wedding planner,” she added. “I believe that using the elements and principles of design in the floral industry help to make every event more personalized and polished.”
For more information stop in at Enchanted Florals, call (920) 781-5017, or check out www.enchantedfloralsof

Law Enforcement—Today’s strong women play vital community roles...continues

Law Enforcement—Today’s strong women play vital community roles...continues
DANNA HIBBARD Calumet County Probation and Parole

Hibbard found her calling while interning
by Faye Burg

Always interested in the study of people, Danna Hibbard found her calling after participating in a college internship.
Hibbard graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, and it was during a required semester long internship she completed with Probation and Parole in Wisconsin Rapids that she decided what career she would thrive in.
After her college graduation in May of 2002, Hibbard was hired as a Limited Term Employee with the Marshfield Probation and Parole office working as an agent. “Three weeks later I was hired as a full time agent in Wausau,” Hibbard said.
From Wausau, her Department of Corrections career has taken Hibbard to stints at the Green Bay and Manitowoc Probation and Parole offices before settling into a position closer to home in the Chilton office.
As a Probation and Parole agent, Hibbard’s main duties include supervising people convicted of crime and placed on probation or sentenced to prison by a judge. “They need to follow a short set of rules and report regularly to their probation and parole agent,” she explained. “Agents make sure those placed on supervision follow the rules set forth for them.”
Receiving calls years later after supervision ends from victims and offenders saying thank you is extremely rewarding for Hibbard. “It’s an amazing feeling,” she said. “The feeling you get to have helped to make a significant change in a life.”
The amount of paperwork that needs to be completed by agents can be daunting, Hibbard said. “The redundancy of it,” she added.  Yet the rewards and the excitement of the position outweigh the deskwork according to Hibbard. “It is never the same. Every day is different. The job is always changing and never boring.”
Hibbard has found a special passion in working with victims and has been recognized as a 2007 team finalist for the Secretary’s Salute (SALUTE) award from the Department of Corrections and recently as one of the 2015 National Crime Victims Rights Advocates of the Year.
“Victims are a strong point with me,” Hibbard said. “I enjoy talking and working with them and empathizing with them. It is a major thing in people’s lives being the victim of crime.”
Continuing her education is important to Hibbard as well as assisting to educate others and new agents. As a Domestic Violence Specialist with the Department of Corrections, Hibbard has conducted presentations at various trainings and expositions, including a multijurisdictional national conference for law enforcement and at area women’s conferences. “I’ve given presentations to law enforcement officers, teachers, students groups and others on domestic violence,” Hibbard said.
An important part of her job includes training all new probation and parole agents for the state four times a year in Madison with Agent Basic Training.
Having the opportunity to testify regarding domestic violence in front of the Wisconsin Legislative Committee recently was a highlight of her career.
Hibbard’s extensive work in the community includes colaborating with Calumet County officials on the Sexual Assault Response Team, the committee for bully prevention on the Run T.A.L.L. 5K, the Community Coordinated Response Team for domestic violence, the Public Awareness Committee and assisting in the creation and disbursement of a scholarship for area students called the Spirit of Understanding and Leadership (SOUL).
Married with two young sons, Hibbard enjoys spending time with her children, reading, and researching victims and domestic violence issues to constantly expand her knowledge base. When she has time, she also enjoys participating as a judge for area cheerleading competitions.
Hibbard encourages those who might be considering a career as a probation and parole agent to participate in an internship while in college. “This job is not for everyone,” she said. “It is fast paced, stressful, and you need to be able to go with the flow and adapt easily.”
“To serve as a probation and parole agent and being able to be a part of helping change lives and assisting people is pretty awesome,” she added.

Law Enforcement—Today’s strong women play vital community roles...continues

Law Enforcement—Today’s strong women play vital community roles...continues
BRENDA KNUPPEL Calumet County Corrections Officer

For Knuppel, corrections post was a goal
by Faye Burg

Brenda Knuppel always knew what she wanted to do with her life. She not only achieved her goal, she is excelling in the position.
Working for 15 years as a corrections officer with the Calumet County Sheriff’s Department, Knuppel’s daily duties include ensuring the safety and security of the jail and the welfare of the inmates. “I oversee the behavior of the inmates and submit reports when required,” she added.
“My mom told me that ever since I was a little girl, I always wanted to be in law enforcement,” Knuppel said. “It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do.”
Knuppel graduated from Chilton High School and received her Associate’s Degree in Law Enforcement from Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton. She then began her career with Calumet County.
“I’m a Field Training Officer in the jail, so I train all the new corrections officers,” she said. Knuppel also serves in the role of classification officer. “I classify all the inmates in the jail.”
“The thing I like most about my job is it’s never the same from day to day.  It could be a slow day with no booking of inmates and then the next day you are booking in two to three inmates.”
Dealing with mental disorders with inmates in the jail is the most challenging part of Knuppel’s position. “The jail is not equipped to deal with these inmates and the Corrections Staff is not well trained with handling these types of mental disorders. We do get some training to help us, but we do not have degrees in these disorders.”
Making a difference in the lives of inmates is rewarding for Knuppel, and she remembers an incident that occurred during her first year at the Sheriff’s Department. “I was working the three to eleven shift,” she explained. “I served supper meals, and about 30 minutes later I went back to the Isolation Cell, where a female inmate was located.”
Knuppel found the inmate slouched over on the bunk. “I called her name a couple of times and then I shook her to wake her up, but she was unresponsive,” Knuppel continued. “I called for backup and an ambulance.  As I laid her down on the mattress, her hand fell open and there were three pills in her hand. My partner and I believed that she was trying to overdose herself. While waiting for the ambulance she had come to a little bit. I asked her if she took pills and she whispered yes.”
The ambulance arrived and took the inmate to the hospital where her stomach was pumped, Knuppel said. “We were told she was going to be ok,” she added. “We later found out that she had smuggled Trazodone pills in earlier that day, and she wanted to kill herself.”
Approximately two weeks later, Knuppel received a letter from the inmate in which the inmate thanked Knuppel for saving her life.
Knuppel looks forward to going home each day to her husband Paul and twin boys. “I like to spend time with my family and I also like playing volleyball,” she said.
Knuppel thoroughly enjoys her position at the Sheriff’s Department. “You never know what the day will bring you,” she said.

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Law Enforcement—Today’s strong women play vital community roles...continues
RENEE BRAMSTEDT Elkhart Lake Police Department patrol officer

Bramstedt seeks to help and serve others
by Faye Burg

Renee Bramstedt enjoys the                    opportunity to help and serve people. A career in law enforcement enables her to do just that.
Bramstedt worked with the Sheboygan Falls Police Department for nine years before joining the Elkhart Lake Police Department as a patrol officer last year. “As a young woman, I wanted to join the military,” she said, adding that her father was an Air Force veteran who served in Korea. “I wanted to follow in his footsteps; however, women in the military were not received as well as they are now. My father was also opposed to the idea. It wasn’t until after I was married and had a family of my own that I decided to pursue a career in law enforcement, which is paramilitary.”
“I worked several clerical positions and was an office manager prior to being married,” Bramstedt explained. “After having my children, I spent several years as a stay at home mom. Once my children were old enough, I went back to school to pursue my criminal justice degree.”
Earning an Associate’s Degree in criminal justice, she also attended the recruit academy to prepare her to becoming an officer.
Bramstedt said she does not regret her decision to wait to attain her degree. “I loved being able to spend that time with my kids.”
After graduation, Bramstedt spent time working in corporate security prior to becoming a police officer.
“What I like most about my career is the opportunity to help and serve other people,” she said. “I find it rewarding to be able to walk into a situation of chaos and be able to restore that situation back to normal.”
“During my career, I have served as an evidence technician, school resource officer, special enforcement team member, and Sheboygan County Sexual Assault Response Team member,” she added. “I am specialized in sensitive crimes investigations, holding several certificates and trainings in this area.”
“I love the variety of different things that I do while performing my duties,” she added. “In this field, you never know what you are going to be called upon to handle. I love the structure and organization that the law enforcement environment provides.”
Serving in law enforcement often provides numerous memorable moments for the officers involved. “When I was first starting out and had been assigned to parade duty, a young boy and his father approached me asking if I was the new officer in town,” Bramstedt shared. “The boy then presented me with some dandelions that he had just picked and told me that he was glad I was a police officer.”
Another moment Bramstedt fondly recalls included a medical call involving a woman in labor. “I was the first on the scene and discovered the woman in the bathroom,” she explained. “She had just given birth in the shower. I cared for her and the baby until emergency services arrived.”
Setting boundaries in law enforcement work can be challenging, Bramstedt said. “We tend to see many things in this field, many of which are when people are at their worst. It is important not to let those things affect you. More importantly, it is important not to take those things home with you. It is not easy at times.”
“I’m fortunate to have a great family that supports our law enforcement life,” she added.
Married to her husband Doug for nearly 24 years, Bramstedt enjoys gardening and spending time with the family dogs, Winn Dixie and Liberty. With their children Jordan and Payton grown, Bramstedt is now passionate about cooking and loves to spend time in her kitchen preparing meals.
Bramstedt is proud to be a three-year Triple Negative breast cancer survivor.
“The most rewarding part of my job is when a citizen goes out of his or her way to say thank you to me for my service,” Bramstedt shared. “I don’t expect a thank you for doing my job, but I have to admit that it is nice to hear from time to time. We all want to feel appreciated.”
Officers have a deep commitment toward what they’ve been called to do, Bramstedt said. “We face challenging times, with all of the anti-cop sentiment that is out there. I know that the majority of the public supports the police, but I think it’s important that they know that most of us are good officers that are willing to do whatever it takes to protect and serve them. We are committed to enforcing laws and keeping the peace.”

Law Enforcement—Today’s strong women play vital community roles...continues

Law Enforcement—Today’s strong women play vital community roles...continues
LESLIE LEMIEUX Calumet County Sheriff’s Department/PSLO

Lemieux seeks to make a difference in her role
by Faye Burg

Deputy Leslie Lemieux dreamed of becoming Wonder Woman as a child. While she did not see that dream to fruition, she has been a valued member of the Calumet County Sheriff’s Department for the past 16 years.
Lemieux comes from a line long of family members serving in law enforcement. “My father is a retired police Lieutenant from the city of Marquette Police Department,” she said. “His father worked as a prison corrections officer.  His brother, my uncle, just retired from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections as a probation and parole agent.”
“I currently serve as the Police School Liaison Officer for the Hilbert School District, the Stockbridge School District, and Sunrise Elementary School and Woodland Elementary/Intermediate School in the Kimberly School District,” Lemieux said.
Prior to becoming a PSLO, Lemieux worked as a patrol corporal and served on the Calumet County Drug Task Force. “I am also a Field Training Officer, the Neighborhood Watch coordinator for the Sheriff’s Department and I work with our Calumet County Crimestoppers program,” she added.
“I didn’t give my career much thought until high school,” Lemieux said. “I enjoy the outdoors and science and continued my education studying sciences, eventually focusing on Environmental Studies. I applied to work as a DNR Conservation Warden after earning my college degree, but needed law enforcement education and experience to be considered, so I returned to school for another degree, this time in law enforcement.”
Lemieux’s schooling includes an Associate Degree in Biological Sciences from Gogebic Community College, a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies from Northland College, and an Associate Degree in Police Science from Fox Valley Technical College, graduating with honors.
Lemieux enjoyed law enforcement schooling and said she was lucky to be hired as a correctional officer for the Sheriff’s Department while still attending school. “I later transferred to patrol and that is where I have stayed,” she said. “I find it challenging and rewarding.”
Entering the law enforcement career field as a way to make a difference by helping others has been Lemieux’s goal. “I appreciate the opportunity to make a positive difference in my community. Working in the schools has re-energized me. If I’m having a rough day all I have to do is visit with the kids in the lunch room or take a few minutes with them at recess to put a smile back on my face.”
Lemieux enjoys the daily opportunities serving as a PSLO, allowing her to build positive relationships with kids in the communities she serves. “I hope the impact of police officers in our schools is more than just security,” she explained. “I am able to reach out to the students in the classrooms doing prevention education on topics like drugs and personal safety, outreach for the Calumet County Crimestoppers program, and mentor students.”
“Of course, there is the enforcement aspect, writing truancy tickets and investigating juvenile crimes, but it is so much more,” Lemieux said. “Law enforcement officers working with school staff, students and families, and identifying needs for support from outside resources such as social services, can increase safety and help deter juvenile crime in our schools, at home and in our communities,” she added.
Married with two young boys and a stepson attending college, Lemieux’s family includes a dog and two cats. “We enjoy the outdoors; camping, hunting and fishing and spending most of our free time up north with family. I also enjoy running, reading and crafting when I have time,” she said. “Our boys are currently interested in being Captain America or police officers when they grow up, so we’ll see.”
Lemieux said she would like community members to remember that she, along with her fellow law enforcement officers, are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents and grandchildren and husbands and wives. “We are friends and neighbors, mentors and community helpers as well as protectors and servants,” she said.
Serving as a law enforcement officer can be a difficult, but is noble profession Lemieux said. “It takes a special person to take on the ugly stuff on a daily basis. It can wear on a person. It makes it especially hard for us to see some of the hatred being expressed in our society directed at our law enforcement officers. The majority of law enforcement officers go into this profession to make a difference, to help people, and to serve and protect our communities.”

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Law Enforcement—Today’s strong women play vital community roles...continues
Jo Ann Mignon Brillion/Reedsville Chief of Police

Mignon relishes her role as chief for two communities
by Faye Burg

Jo Ann Mignon of Brillion relishes her dual roles serving as police chief of the Brillion and Reedsville communities.
Mignon has been with the Brillion Police Department for 23 years, first serving as a patrol officer. She became police chief for the city in September of 2013.
“In 2009, the City of Brillion began contracted service with the Village of Reedsville,” Mignon explained. “I have been chief there since 2009.”
Mignon’s role as chief is the protection of life and property, prevention of crime, and the enforcement of the laws of the State of Wisconsin and the ordinances of the City of Brillion. “The main duty of chief is to provide leadership within the department and give support to the department members,” Mignon said. “I respond to calls for service or emergency situations, and if needed I take command of the scene. My role is to enforce all department policies, procedures, rules, regulations, orders or directives within the department and oversee the daily operations.”
Mignon’s original life plans did not include becoming a police chief, or even a police officer. “When I left high school I had no plans of entering a career in law enforcement,” she said. “My parents were a very strong influence in our lives growing up and always said if you see a problem, don’t complain about it, go out and do something about it,” Mignon explained. “I went to college, and during that time I saw people who were struggling and needed assistance or guidance, violations of laws and other things that frustrated me. I realized quickly there was nothing I could do as I had no authority or ability to change what was happening, or the means to help people in need, so I went back to school and gained my degree in law enforcement. I love what I am doing.”
Mignon is a graduate of Appleton East High School and earned Associate Degrees in Natural Resources and Police Science before adding to her education with an American Management Degree and attending Criminal Justice Executive Development Institute.
She began her career in law enforcement by serving as a park ranger at Hartman Creek State Park in Waupaca. “I loved working with all the people and being outside, but the position was only limited term from April to October each year,” Mignon said. “During my time at the park I met the local deputies and officers and found out about a part time dispatcher position with the City of Waupaca Police Department. I applied there and received the job so during the off season I was a part time dispatcher.”
Mignon said she loved working with all of the Waupaca officers, but her long-term goal was to be an officer on the road. “I saw a part time police officer position open in Brillion, and at that time my now current husband raced stock cars at the Chilton Race Way which was close, so I took the test for the position and received the job.”
 “I loved my job and the community so we made Brillion our permanent home,” she added.
Mignon thoroughly enjoys her position and finds it hard to pinpoint what she likes the most. “It’s very hard to say one thing that I like most about my job. I love that every day is different and you never know what each day may bring. I love that I get an opportunity to meet so many people and have the benefit to work with amazing people who are dedicated to their communities and would do anything to keep them safe from harm.”
Mignon enjoys staying active in the community she serves and attends civic organization meetings and events at the schools when her schedule allows. “I try to interact with the citizens I serve,” she said.
Being able to bring comfort to someone in need is something Mignon finds personally very rewarding. “Many times when we are called people are in a difficult situation and need help, they may be scared or hurt or angry, and if I can walk away and know we maybe couldn’t resolve everything, but for at least that moment we brought peace and comfort to that person, that is the most rewarding feeling.”
“There are some situations you just can’t fix, and there aren’t any easy answers,” Mignon said of challenges faced each day. “There are times you can use all the resources you have, make all the phone calls, try everything you can, and you know the problem or situation is not resolved, it may be taken care of at the time but chances are you will be back again at some point. Those are the cases that weigh heavily on your mind and heart and can be challenging because you know there is nothing more you or anyone else can do.”
Mignon said she has not faced unusual circumstances or hardships while serving as a female Chief of Police. “I love being a chief and am fortunate gender has not posed extra challenges,” she said. “We all wear the same uniform and provide the same services, as chiefs we all have challenges we face but it’s not determined by anything other than the day to day events we deal with. I have been very fortunate and have had great mentors and role models both male and female and have always been treated with respect by those around me.”
Dedicated to her profession, Mignon has been recognized with a National Traffic Safety Council Youth Safety Award and was named Wisconsin Association of Women Police Officer of the Year in 2015.
Mignon strives to ensure the public knows she is the same person on duty as well as off duty. “You get what you see,” she said. “My goal is to give someone something to smile about each day. In our line of work you learn very quickly life is short so I do my best to enjoy every moment.”
While Mignon’s line of work can provide its share of difficult moments, it can also lead to humorous and memorable ones. “A few months ago I was working and a family was out for a walk with their young children,” Mignon shared. “One of the adults yelled “Hi Chief Mignon.” The young girl ran up to me and hugged my legs and said “Oh I love the Mignons.” She was referring to the current Minion movie playing in theaters. It made me giggle for the rest of my shift and the following few days.”
Mignon is proud of her marriage of 21 years and grateful to be married to a supportive husband. “He puts up with some pretty crazy schedules,” she said. “A few years ago I had cancer which made it impossible for us to have children, but we have two cats and a very spoiled dog.  When we have time off together we enjoy cooking, camping, bon fires, and time spent with our family, friends, pets and traveling.”
“I truly care about people and love what I do and life in general,” Mignon said. “I have two amazing departments I have the opportunity to lead, and one of my greatest moments of pride is when I see my officers and others we work with doing well.”
“Life isn’t always easy, but you can get through,” she added. “Never be afraid to ask for help. There is usually someone who would be glad to give it.” 

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Law Enforcement—Today’s strong women play vital community roles...continues
Erin Scharbarth New Holstein, Chilton Police Officer

Drawn by the day-to-day activities of police work
by Faye Burg

The exciting day-to-day activities of police work keep Erin Scharbarth thrilled with her decision to enter the law enforcement career field.
A police officer assigned to patrol for the New Holstein Police Department for two and a half years, Scharbarth spends her shifts responding to dispatched calls, enforcing laws and ordinances and assisting fellow officers and citizens.
Scharbarth also works part time with the Chilton Police Department where she practices community-policing techniques.
 “I originally was very interested, and still am, in the forensic side of law enforcement,” Scharbarth said. “I found Crime Scene Investigation very intriguing and wanted to pursue a career in it. I guess you could say I was brought upon the idea from the popular show CSI.”
Also intrigued by the medical examiner profession, Scharbarth said the idea of over eight years in school was not something she felt she wanted to do. “I found going to school for forensics would make me just as proud,” she explained. “As I went to school for Criminal Justice with a forensics emphasis I spoke with professors who informed me I needed to be a police officer before I could do the crime scene work as most detectives do that in agencies.”
While serving her internship with the Grand Chute Police Department, Scharbarth realized she was thrilled with the everyday patrol activities of the job. “I thought, hey, most of these officers get to do the first part of crime scene processing then either call a detective or get to help them out. Not to mention, the thrill of being a road cop from going lights and sirens to making arrests made me want to be a police officer even more. The array of calls and how every day is different really brought me into this career.”
A 2006 graduate of Chilton High School, Scharbarth received a Bachelor’s Degree in Art from UW-Platteville with a double major in Criminal Justice and Spanish, and an emphasis in forensic sciences in 2010. “I also studied abroad in Seville, Spain in fall 2008,” she said.
Scharbarth enjoyed various jobs before becoming a police officer, including stints at Ariens, as a nanny, and at a local grocery store as well as area farms. “I believe my customer service skills and ability to communicate in previous jobs helped me prepare for being a police officer,” she said.
Grateful for the opportunity to serve, Scharbarth said she most enjoys taking drugs off the streets. “I didn’t realize how much I would like to investigate drug crimes until working with New Holstein’s Drug Officer Rob Baldwin. I like knowing we are taking these drugs off the street, even if it’s a small arrest or a large bust. Drugs really can do damage to a person.”
“I also like how every day is different and I never know what my day will hold,” she added. “When we get the opportunity, I like the crime scene processing aspect also.”
Scharbarth finds helping people and socializing with citizens a very rewarding part of her job. “Medical calls are always sad for family members involved, but I like working with the New Holstein First Responders on medical calls and interacting with the people in need. I believe they are thankful for us.”
Working as an advisor for the New Holstein – Kiel Police Explorers gives Scharbarth a chance to work with youth in the community, something she enjoys immensely. “It’s great to see them grow and respect our jobs a bit more after they can experience what officers really do. Working with children during National Night Out and the bike rodeo is also enjoyable, to see families in a different side of policing-the community policing aspect.”
Enjoying the daily activities and excitement of the job can sometimes lead to humorous situations. “I was called to a residential burglary alarm,” Scharbarth explained. “The other officer and I cleared the house of any possibly intruders as the home owner was not home. While clearing the house and while we were in the basement, I observed what I thought to be a person, hiding behind a door.” Scharbarth said she began yelling commands, and along with the other officer involved, opened the door. “To my surprise, it was a coat rack, with a pair of Carhartt bibs and a jacket hanging on it. There was also a pair of boots on the floor. It was very person-like. It got my heartbeat racing, but the other officer and I got a good laugh after the fact.”
Dealing with mental health disorders can be challenging and is not easy for anyone involved, Scharbarth said. “It can be challenging to speak with someone with a mental health disorder and confusing for them. It is difficult for both the person and the officer,” she said.
Scharbarth is engaged and thoroughly enjoys the companionship of her cat. “She is my favorite thing,” she said. “I love animals very much. I love working on the farm for that fact. I do not have any children but have two nieces, and another niece or nephew on the way, that I spoil and enjoy my time with.” Scharbarth also enjoys spending her free time traveling, turkey hunting, fishing, and working out.
“I also have a need to always keep learning,” she added. “I enjoy going to new trainings.”
With a career she loves, Scharbarth said the special recognition she receives from the citizens she works for is the only reward she needs.

Law Enforcement—Today’s strong women play vital community roles

Law Enforcement—Today’s strong women play vital community roles
Julie Leverenz Calumet County Victim Witness Coordinator

by Faye Burg
Leverenz works to keep people informed

Serving as one of two victim witness coordinators serving Calumet County, Julie Leverenz of New Holstein is amazed at the resiliency she sees in the people she assists every day.
Leverenz enjoys the position she has held with Calumet County District Attorney’s office since September of 1992, working closely with victims and their families, and doing her best to make sure their needs are taken care of.
“Most of what I do involves providing information to victims and witnesses regarding the status of the case; court; assistance in the preparation of the victim/witness for testimonial proceedings and accompaniment of victim and/or witness to court as a support person; services referral to ensure the victim/witness needs are met; assistance with victim impact statements and restitution claims; notifying victim/witness of case final results; and return of evidence,” Leverenz said.
Leverenz graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh with a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in political science and criminal justice. “I also had a minor in French,” she added. “Not so useful in Calumet County.”
During her senior year at the University of Oshkosh, Leverenz served an internship that helped create the path for her career in the District Attorney’s office. “I knew I did not want to be a police officer, corrections officer or probation agent,” Leverenz explained. “For my internship I was placed with the Victim/Witness Assistance Program in the Winnebago County District Attorney’s office in Oshkosh.”
Through that internship, Leverenz found her passion. “I realized that working with crime victims was what I wanted to do,” she said.
After her 1991 graduation from UW-Oshkosh, Leverenz married her college sweetheart, Paul Leverenz, a New Holstein native.
“Paul and I moved out of state for his graduate studies and I took a few retail jobs to help pay the bills,” Leverenz said. “I also worked at a facility where I assisted people with disabilities.”
“We decided to move back to Wisconsin after Paul finished his graduate degree and ended up back in the Calumet County area,” she continued. “We quickly learned that the newly created Victim/Witness Assistance Program in the Calumet County District Attorney’s Office needed a coordinator.” Leverenz applied and has worked in the position for the last 23 years.
Leverenz not only enjoys the work she does, she has also received numerous honors. “In 2007, I was awarded the Outstanding Victim Advocacy By A Victim Service Provider award by the Wisconsin Victim/Witness Professional Association,” Leverenz said.
In 2008, she was awarded the Public Service Award by the Wisconsin Association of Homicide Investigators.
Leverenz has continued to increase her knowledge over the years and is a credentialed member the Wisconsin Victim/Witness Professional Association.
Being involved and serving on numerous boards, including the Board of Directors of the Wisconsin Victim/Witness Professional Association and the Calumet County Crimestoppers Board of Directors is important to Leverenz. “I have been an active member of the Calumet County Coordinated Community Response team, a group that addresses issues of domestic violence in our communities, since 1995.”
Helping people is a big part of Leverenz’s life. “I am amazed every single day about how resilient people are, even after something terrible has happened to them.”
“Victims often experience a lot of stress as a result of the circumstances surrounding their victimization, and the criminal court system is oftentimes a confusing and scary process,” Leverenz explained. “Offering support to people in our county who have been victimized is reason enough for me to go to work each day.”
“We work with a wide range of people in our communities, whether it is a merchant who is the victim of retail theft or bad checks, or the family of a homicide victim, or someone who has been assaulted or robbed, we strive to be empathetic and offer education about the court process to all of the people we serve,” she added.
Leverenz finds the most challenging aspect of her position to be working with children who have been victimized. “Most often they have been maltreated by someone who is supposed to love and care for them,” Leverenz said “Unfortunately, this dynamic creates a whole different tier of trauma for those children.”
Sharing her favorite quote from Edmund Burke, an 18th century Irish statesman, Leverenz said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good (wo)men to do nothing.”
Married to Paul for 25 years and the mother of Rachel and Erin, both current college students, Leverenz enjoys scrapbooking, camping, running and going on vacations. She is  a member of Bethel United Methodist Church in rural New Holstein and serves as the secretary of the church’s administrative board.
“We here at the Calumet County District Attorney’s Office work to treat all victims with sensitivity and respect,” Leverenz said. “I most enjoy helping people. I strive to help people to help themselves, so they can perhaps move from being a victim to being a “thriver” or survivor.”

Women in Motion

Women in Motion

What do you do to alleviate cabin fever?

Leading the way in Faith continues...

Leading the way in Faith continues...

Saturday morning visits with her father to area nursing homes helped inspire Reverend Kathryn O’Connor Kuhn to a life of service as a pastor.
Now serving since 2013 as Director of Ministries at Cedar Community, Kuhn admits her original intention was to attend law school.
“My father is a United Church of Christ pastor,” Kuhn said. “I didn’t have any intention of following this path. However, some of my earliest memories are of the times I would accompany him on pastoral visits to nearby nursing homes. When I was in college, I intended to go on to law school, which I did for one year. Fortunately I realized it wasn’t a good fit for me. I went to seminary without intending or planning to be ordained. I just knew I wanted to do something with my life that involved being a voice for those whose voices aren’t always heard, and a listening ear for their unique stories.”
Kuhn is proud to have had the privilege of serving in a variety of ministry setting including congregations, an HIV/AIDS ministry, a hospice ministry, and currently at Cedar Community. “I do feel like this position brings me back to where I started, all those years ago, making those Saturday morning visits with my dad,” she said.
Kuhn received her high school diploma in 1987 from Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati followed by a Bachelor of Philosophy from the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1991. She then received her Master of Divinity in 1995 from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis.
“My first ministry setting was an HIV/AIDS ministry operated by a group of Catholic brothers known as the Order of St. Camillus, in Wauwatosa,” Kuhn explained. “I was ordained through the United Church of Christ while I was serving in that ministry, which made for lots of interesting conversations between our traditions.
Growing up in the United Church of Christ meant I was aware of women in ministry from early on. The student population at Eden Seminary was more than half female when I was there, and it still is. I had the good fortune in most of the churches I have served, of having other women serve before me. Those congregations accepted me very warmly because of the wonderful experiences they had in the past with women as ministers.”
Kuhn said she is aware that many area faith communities do not ordain women. “Sometimes this led to interesting encounters at funerals or weddings when visitors let me know I was the first “lady pastor” they’d ever met,” Kuhn commented. “Most of the time they were surprised how little a difference gender really makes; good ministry is good ministry. Sometimes they let me know they were uncomfortable with the idea of a woman minister because of their own tradition and the teaching of their church.”
A great-aunt once told Kuhn she couldn’t quite accept women in the ministry. “I learned early on that it doesn’t pay to argue against someone’s life experience. All I can do is serve as faithfully as I know how,” Kuhn said.
Kuhn’s family has a rich history in ministry beginning with her father. “I met my husband at Eden Seminary,” Kuhn said. “He is also ordained in the UCC and went on to complete his PhD.” Kuhn’s husband is the Rev. Karl Kuhn who is Professor of Religion at Lakeland College. “I have an uncle who was a pastor. My mother’s college degree was in Christian Education, and her parents, though not clergy, were very active in their UCC church in Iowa. My decision to attend seminary evolved out of a long conversation with my parents, when I realized law school was not the right path for me. They were very supportive, but had never suggested that direction for me in the past.”
Kuhn has worked in a variety of settings over the years and said each setting has been fulfilling in its own way. “I wouldn’t trade having had these varied experiences. I hope I’ve provided good ministry in all of these settings, however long I’ve served in these communities.”
“I think anyone in this profession, male or female, has to have a love for people and an ability to accept people for who they are; and have a deep faith,” Kuhn said. “I’m not sure that women have an advantage in these things as I’ve met male and female pastors alike who are gifted in these areas, and just as many who are challenged in these areas, too.”
Kuhn’s current role at Cedar Community allows her to minister with residents and staff across five residential campuses with four located in West Bend and one in Elkhart Lake. “One campus just north of West Bend is a retreat center called Cedar Valley,” Kuhn explained. “I lead worship at several sites weekly and provide one on one pastoral care to residents and staff. In that way, my work at Cedar Community is very similar to ministry in a church. The main difference is the opportunity I have to serve with an interdisciplinary administrative team of professionals. We work together to serve the needs of the community as a whole. Because Cedar Community is affiliated with the UCC, I serve as the liaison to the wider church including our regional and national UCC connections.”
In terms of hopes and goals Kuhn said she is interested in growing the relationship between local congregations and ministry settings such as Cedar Community. “I wonder if there are ways that the ministry of Cedar Community can be more supportive or helpful to our local churches,” she ponders. “I still have so much to learn about this ministry and its possibilities, so it’s hard to answer this right now. All I know is I’m kept busy every day doing things I love, as well as things that challenge and stretch me, and that’s a really good place for me to be.”
Kuhn thoroughly enjoys spending time with Cedar Community residents and said each person has a unique story and a unique contribution to the life of the community as a whole. “Getting to know our residents, and the gifts they bring, and the ways we as staff can be of help and support to them along the journey is a great privilege,” Kuhn shared. “I also really love the opportunities I have to meet people in other UCC-affiliated ministries across the country. There is so much good ministry happening in so many settings including senior living, healthcare, child and family services, housing, and more. I learn so much from these amazing people and their work.”
Leading worship in Cedar Community memory care areas and listening to people sing familiar hymns with gusto is what Kuhn said is most rewarding for her. “The rituals and traditions, songs and prayers of the faith become sort of ingrained in us if that’s a strong part of our lives. It’s amazing to see those things come back when even short-term memory is fleeting.”
“It’s also very rewarding to provide comfort or support to residents and their families as life draws to a close,” she added. “That’s sacred time for our residents and their loved ones. If I can provide some comfort through a prayer, a listening ear, or just being present, that’s a great privilege and I don’t take it lightly.”
Kuhn finds herself wondering if her ministry makes a difference as she said serving as a pastor can be emotionally or spiritually challenging. “Am I doing enough? Am I being faithful to who God wants me to be in this circumstance? Am I keeping a balance between work and family? These are daily questions for me,” she said.
Kuhn encourages any one thinking of entering the ministry to follow their dreams. “Explore the many options for ministry, and find the one that nurtures your own soul while you are nurturing others. I think it’s really important for any person in ministry to feel confident in their call, and grounded in their own spirituality.”
“Ministry is a very personal thing,” she added. “Spirituality, it is a deeply personal thing. A minister has to lead from their own spiritual core, at the same time walking alongside others whose needs may be very great. Boundaries are important. Staying healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually is important. Family is important. Sometimes the challenges of ministry feel very personal, and that can be hard to take.”

Leading the way in Faith continues...

Leading the way in Faith continues...
Pastor Deborah Tyler, Community United Church of Christ, Elkhart Lake

Pastor Deborah Tyler has come a long way to be able to serve Community United Church of Christ in Elkhart Lake—literally.
She arrived in the village May 29, with a car full of her belongings and two cats. They had just completed a journey of 2,000 miles from Seattle, WA.
Although she didn’t mind the many miles, she confesses it is a journey she would love to make again without the cats.
Pastor Tyler answered a call from the congregation at Community UCC after serving in the Seattle area for the past four years.
She is hardly new to the ministry. Her graduation from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA came after 22 years of lay ministry with children and families.  Although ordained through the United Church of Christ, she served that capacity earlier with the United Methodist Church.
An Army brat, Pastor Tyler’s father was a chaplain for the US Army. She grew up in the Disciples of Christ tradition, and got familiar with traveling. After living in Germany and all over the United States, she found God calling her into pastoral ministry.
Those journeys and her background in working with youth and children have provided an incredible background for her pastoral work, Rev. Tyler said.
While opening herself to her most recent pastoral call, Rev. Tyler never even imagined a move to Wisconsin. “I just didn’t imagine not staying in Seattle,” she said.
Yet, her mother’s German roots came ringing through loud and clear with the nudge to Wisconsin. Even in conversations with the Community UCC search committee, she began to feel at home with that connection to the European background and the Evangelical and Reformed branch of the United Church of Christ.

Meeting them where they are
Rev. Tyler sees her role as one of “meeting the congregation where they are.”
“We need to figure out together what God is calling us to do. That takes a whole lot of listening and learning—it’s about getting to know the people and the community and discern what is next for this place,” she said.
Rev. Tyler has officially become part of the Elkhart Lake community, making her home on Washington Street. Already she has come to appreciate how deep the roots of the community run.
“It’s very different than Seattle. Elkhart Lake offers a wonderful lifestyle and one that’s very different from living in the city,” Rev. Tyler noted.
She thoroughly enjoyed rubbing elbows throughout the week with the people she sees in worship on Sundays.
“Being able to be part of the community and its life is a wonderful change for me, and I am enjoying it,” she noted.
“I also have the privilege of being engaged in ministry with so many people who are connected to farms. That’s a very different way of being, and I love it. I really don’t even have the words to describe it,” she said.
The roots even run deep for many of the visitors who come to Elkhart Lake, Rev. Tyler noted.
“I did a non-member wedding a couple of months ago, and it was a young woman who always imagined getting married here,” she said. “Their family had come to Siebkens every summer and there’s a history in that too.
Rev. Tyler has learned a few other key elements about the Elkhart Lake lifestyle since her official June 1 start at Community United Church of Christ.
“The bratwurst......” she mused, “I knew about them before, but they are way better here.”
A coffee lover, she admits that Off the Rail has become one of her favorite places.
She enjoys going to movies and looks forward to the start of the community theater season in Eastern Wisconsin.
Indeed, Rev. Tyler has made a long journey to get situated in Elkhart Lake, but like the rest of her life, she has connected with friends along with way.
Settled into this small Wisconsin resort town, she looks forward to continuing her journey in faith at Community UCC. 

Leading the way in Faith continues...

Leading the way in Faith continues...
Pastor Traci Maass, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church

Traci Maass, pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, has found her calling and loves every moment of it.
Maass grew up in a Wisconsin Synod Lutheran Church and remembers a life changing experience as a young girl. “My brother passed away at the age of 7,” Maass said. “I was 10 and I remember having a lot of questions and I didn’t get helpful answers. I walked away from the church for quite awhile.”
Maass enlisted in the Navy after graduating from high school at the age of 17 and served from 1989 to 1991, living in Guam for quite a bit of her time with the Navy. “It was an amazing experience,” she said. “Another form of service. The military got me out of Wisconsin and the United States.”
When Maass reached age 30, she realized something was missing in her life. “It was the church,” Maass said. “So I found a church. I realized for a good portion of my life God was calling me to this but I couldn’t see it.” At the age of 32 Maass quit her job and started school full time to become a pastor.
Maass attended school for nine years starting with two years spent at Madison College (MATC) where she graduated with an Associate Degree in the school’s liberal arts transfer program. Maass then spent three years at UW-Madison earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Studies, and four years of Wartburg Seminary School in Dubuque, Iowa. “It went so fast,” she said. “The classes were not easy but there was no question where I was supposed to be.”
“I graduated and was ordained in 2014,” Maass said. “I was fortunate to be able to come to serve Gloria Dei in July of 2014.”
“I had been looking my whole life for something that filled me and it was doing this,” she added. “Finally being able to step outside of myself and help others, that fills me. My worst day here is better than any other job for me. This is so much more than a job for me; it’s how I live. I am pretty proud of it.”
Maass said her maternal grandmother always believed in her. “She believed I could do this,” Maass said. “My parents didn’t believe it would happen as I switched jobs so often. My father called it the three-year plan. But all have come to embrace it. They are proud.”
During college Maass had an interesting experience while serving as an intern in Michigan. “A supervisor and I were doing hospital visits on Christmas Eve,” she said. “We went to the information desk and the nurse commented that two nuns were here for a visit. It really proved the fact that women clergy do get challenged.”
Maass said from her experience women in the clergy are more accepted in Wisconsin. “There is mutual respect for one another,” she said. “I really enjoy that.”
Maass encourages anyone interested in a life in ministry to educate themselves first. “Talk to others about the process as it is not the same for everyone,” she said. “It is not easy, but it’s worth it. It is worth the work to be here. Don’t take it lightly.”
Home and hospital visits are a favorite part of her life now and she loves to hear the stories people have to share with her, adding it can easily turn a bad day into a good one. “I also love doing worship services and seeing people have those “aha” moments,” she said. “There isn’t anything about this job that I don’t like.”
A fan of hugging, Maass said she needs to remind herself to watch boundaries when it comes to men. “I have to think about it as most prefer handshakes,” she said. “I don’t think it matter to women. They just see me as Pastor.”
Not the typical pastor, Maass said she is more comfortable wearing jeans and finds wearing the pastoral collar uncomfortable. When not at the church she can often be found riding her Honda Shadow 1100 motorcycle, visiting friends and exploring the countryside.
Maass said the congregation she serves is very laid back and liberal. “All are welcome to attend church here,” she said. “It is a relaxed atmosphere here. I enjoy giving the congregation something in my sermons to take to their week and to pray about; to contemplate.”
“I really love what I do,” she said. “God has put me here for a purpose.”
With a goal to continue learning and build trust with her congregations, Maass is excited about the possibilities at Gloria Dei, calling the people very supportive. “I have felt very cared for and loved here,” she added.
Hoping to help the church focus, Maass enjoys working with the people of the congregation. “The people are great,” she said. “Very caring and loving.” Maass also enjoys the small town atmosphere of life in the New Holstein and Kiel areas. “It has forced me to slow down a bit and that is good. I like working with the other churches as well. I am growing in a different way than I expected and that is a wonderful thing.”

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Leading the way in Faith

Leading the way in Faith
Ashley Nolte, Bethlehem United Church of Christ, Rural Kiel

Women of faith have always been a major force in the Christian church. Today, we see strong women of faith in our midst taking on pastoral roles as spiritual and theological leaders of local churches. While the opportunities for women to be ordained does not extend to all denominations, it is evident from their collective body of work that women are making a significant difference in their respective faith communities as well as the wider communities they serve. In this issue, we  highlight four area pastoral leaders.

Ashley Nolte, Bethlehem United Church of Christ, Rural Kiel

Growing up in a multi-generational home, the Reverend Ashley J. Nolte enjoyed a strong bond with her family that helped influence her eventual journey to the vocation she has enjoyed for six years, serving as pastor of Bethlehem United Church of Christ.
“My journey into this vocation began at an early age,” Nolte explained. “I spent a good deal of time with my grandpa as my family lived and still does live in a multi-generational home, so I grew up with my maternal grandparents in my home. We would often visit his mother who lived in a nursing home within driving distance.”
“And I still remember being introduced by my grandfather as, “My girl, Ashley, she’s going to grow up and be a preacher,” Nolte added. “Mind you, I was 3.”
“It’s this part in my journey when I feel like I didn’t choose the ministry, but it chose me,” she said.
Nolte spent her school years developing skills as a visual artist while planning to attend the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design to achieve degrees in children’s book illustration with an emphasis in painting. “But that didn’t happen,” Nolte said. “Instead, I listened to that still small voice that had burning inside me since I was a child and left, soon to be art school, for a career path in the ministry.”
Nolte grew up attending church regularly with her family, often attending with her grandfather or parents. Her mother served for years as the church’s Sunday School superintendent and her uncle served for years as a licensed local pastor at the church. “Church was always something my family did,” she said.  “This was buttressed by the community of my home church, Salem United Church of Christ in Plymouth, that loved my family and me in so many ways.  Not only was church important, but I grew up understanding why it was important; having a community that loved and cared for individuals and families, and one that fostered beautifully the growing faith of children, youth, and adults at all life stages.”
“One of the clergy at my home congregation was a woman, so I had no idea that it was different or weird to be a female in this profession,” she added.
After graduating from Plymouth Comprehensive High School in 2003, Nolte attended Elmhurst College in Illinois until she received her Bachelor of Arts degree with majors of Philosophy and Theological Studies and Christian Ministry in 2007. “I graduated with a Master of Divinity degree from Garrett-Evangelical Seminary in 2009,” Nolte said.
Nolte’s family was very supportive during her journey to become a pastor. “As a first generation college student my parents had always pointed me towards a college education and when I told them about my switch in career paths they were excited for me,” she said. “My boyfriend at the time, who was and still is Catholic and is now my husband, was also very supportive and has been ever since.”
While serving as pastor at Bethlehem is Nolte’s first call out of seminary for a full time position, she has served in many capacities including serving as a disaster response intern at the National Office of the Evangelical Church of America, a youth pastor at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Chicago, an intern at Emmanuel United Church of Christ in Hales Corners, a nursing home chaplain in Glenview and a trauma one care center chaplain on the north side of Chicago.
Nolte is not the first female member of the clergy to serve at Bethlehem. “I am very lucky to have had wonderful and gifted predecessors who happened to be female,” she said. “I am forever grateful for their presence and work within the congregation. So much so, that when I was called there was no mention of my gender what so ever.  So if you happen to be one of those women, thank you.”
“My gender does provide me with different opportunities in how I can connect with people, and I don’t always look the part per se so that helps break down barriers for people who are skeptical and suspicious,” Nolte shared. “I am not sure if that has to do with my gender or the simple fact that I tend to be pretty laid back with most things.”
Nolte’s experience at her first Youth Fellowship meeting at Bethlehem helps illustrate her point. “I was sitting in the middle of a group of high school kids and they were about to start the meeting. The advisor said that they couldn’t start until the Pastor got there. I raised my hand slowly and let them know that I was already there.  Needless to say, there was some laughter.”
Nolte is aware of some skepticism that a female pastor can receive. “There have been comments made about my gender and whether or not that makes me fit to serve and lead in a congregation,” she said. “I will leave those statements to your imagination.  I try not to take those too much to heart, knowing that the example I offer with my ministry, my life, and my service will speak much more loudly than a retort I would ever offer.  I cannot change who I am, nor would I ever want to because I am the person God has intended and created me to be.  And there is no reason any one should ever, ever make you apologize for living as best you can.”
“A personal favorite of mine is when sales people call by phone to the church asking for the pastor,” she explained. Nolte said callers continue to ask to speak to the pastor and do not seem to comprehend when she tells them she is the pastor. The callers hang eventually up. “If I had a quarter for every time that happened,” she said.
Nolte enjoys her position immensely and looks forward to serving her congregation faithfully and with great integrity. “I hope that they trust me as a leader and continue to be forgiving when I make mistakes and know with out a doubt that I love them the best that I can,” she said. “But also, to remind them that each of them and all of you are loved by God more than you can imagine or fathom.  That is really my primary goal, to over and over tell them and you, you are loved beyond measure.  If folks start believing that, then I have done my job.”
To be able to see the beauty of all life stages is very rewarding for Nolte.  “I have visited newborns in the hospital, held people’s hands as they enter into life eternal, celebrated with couples on their wedding day, found myself at birthday parties, anniversaries, and graduation parties,” she said. “I get to watch children grow up, and be a part of their life for awhile, and I get to listen as families share wisdom from those who have passed away.  The most rewarding part of my work is the ability to see just how beautiful life really is.  And with that, the beautiful resilience of the human spirit. I have been witness to some terrible and tragic things, but the wells of our souls are deep and I get to sit with people as they learn just how brave and courageous they are and remind them along the way that God is with them.  It’s beautiful, wonderful, and humbling beyond words.”
Nolte would like women to know their gender does not limit them. “God has created you exactly as you are and it is good,” she said. “Never ever apologize for that.”
For those called into ministry, Nolte says to listen deeply and whatever your perceived limitations are, know that the Spirit will fill them, and fill them abundantly.  “But first you have to listen,” she added.
“I’m a terribly ordinary person,” Nolte shared. “I yell at my kids in the grocery store, take my dogs for walks, love to drink good beer with my husband, and read all the time. But most importantly I get to do what I love every single day of my life.  And I never wake up in the morning without thanking God for another go at it.”

Crazy over Cookies continues...

Crazy over Cookies continues...

Fond memories abound at holidays
by Faye Burg

Growing up in the Osman area, Sharon Mueller has fond memories of her grandfather at Christmas time.
“He would whittle small wood Christmas trees while my sister and I decorated cut out Christmas cookies,” Mueller said. “When his three inch tree was finished, we would add white frosting to the tips of the tree.”
“My Grandma Hickmann made five to six dozen cookies and we decorated them at her house, which was only two miles away,” Mueller remembers. “She always provided a colorful assortment of sprinkles to decorate the cookies with.”
While Mueller said they decorate cookies for several years with her grandmother, she can only recall one with her grandfather whittling the wood Christmas trees. “He died when I was only 9 years old,” she said. “Grandpa whittled at the huge kitchen table while we frosted cookies at the same table.  Grandma usually frosted the wood tree branches with white frosting, as they had very delicate branches. After the three inch trees were frosted they were anchored in a nut, which was the tree stand that kept them upright.”
Mueller said the trees were used as part of the Christmas decorations each year. “My aunt and uncle still have one of the original wood trees.”
“Any time we were able to spend at our grandparent’s house was a very special time,” she shared. “They were the only grandparents I knew, as my paternal grandparents died before I was born. Christmas always meant going to midnight Mass, followed by a special meal of “Christmas sausage”, that was a type of bologna, at our grandparents house. Then we would return later in the day for opening presents with our many relatives.”
With Mueller now living near School Hill and her sister, C.J. Hartlaub-Degeneffe living in Neenah, Mueller enjoys continuing the Christmas cookie baking tradition with her grandchildren.
 “My sister-in-law hosts an annual cookie exchange for the Mueller family and we enjoy that family tradition.” 

Crazy over Cookies continues...

Crazy over Cookies continues...

Propson-Enders enjoys holiday traditions
by Faye Burg

Louette Propson-Enders of Valders cherishes time spent with family. The annual Christmas baking days are something she eagerly looks forward to all year long.
“It is a Christmas tradition,” Propson-Enders said of the day family members gather to work on cut out cookies.
Propson-Enders spends the entire day before the event rolling the dough, cutting out the cookies and baking them so the 12-15 dozen cookies made from approximately 20 different cookie cutters are ready when the rest of the family arrives. “All the grandchildren which are ages 9 to 29 are here and some of the adults too. The adults frost cookies and the kids decorate the cookies.”
The daylong event is planned each year when it is most convenient for every one to join Propson-Enders at her home in rural Valders. “All of them take home about two to two and a half dozen cookies,” she said. “I also give some to area shut-ins.”
Propson-Enders feels fortunate that her family all live in the area. “Family means everything to me,” she shared. “I was an only child and I had five children of my own.”
The group enjoys the day decorating and telling stories of years past and eating cookies as well. “I think my grandson Justin eats the most,” Propson-Enders added.
Another day of tradition in the Propson-Enders family is lefse day. “Between Christmas and New Year’s we gather again to make lefse that we then enjoy on New Year’s Day. We have it for dinner and everyone makes desserts to share.”
The lefse tradition began about 15-20 years ago when Propson-Enders decided she wanted to include more of the family’s heritage in the holiday season. “Everyone loves lefse,” she said. “I want the kids to know their Norwegian heritage. We are also German but we eat German food all year round.”
Propson-Enders spends an entire day before the lefse event to get the ingredients ready for her family. She peels and boils about 40 pounds of russet potatoes and mixed with butter and cream, which then needs to set overnight.
The next day as the family gathers, each take turns rolling and frying the lefse dough. “After it gets done we have stacks and stacks of lefse and everyone takes a stack home with them,” Propson-Enders said of the approximate 50 to 60 pounds of lefse that is created.
Propson-Enders uses her grandmother’s special lefse rolling pin and is always on the lookout for more, purchasing them for her family.
Also included during lefse day is other Norwegian delicacies including cruffle, almond tarts and krum kake. “If we have time we also make fattigmand,” she added.
“We go through a lot of butter,” Propson-Enders said. “We eat some during the day but we save enough for Christmas Day.”
Incorporating fun memories into the day is another goal of Propson-Enders as she purchased a special Viking helmet she found a few years ago and has made it part of the day as well. “Whoever is rolling the lefse dough has to wear it,” she said, of the helmet with horns and blonde braids.
Special hand made aprons were made by Propson-Enders as gifts for her grandchildren, who wear them on the family baking days. “They are all personal to them and their personalities,” she said.
“These days together just mean the world to me,” Propson-Enders said. “Just to see my family together. We joke around and we have fun.” 

Gift ideas for the Holidays continues

Gift ideas for the Holidays continues

Dancing diamonds are eye-catching

Ever see a diamond dance?
At Nesemann’s Diamond Center of Plymouth, “dancing diamonds” are definitely trending upward and are a great idea for holiday shoppers. Mike Nesemann explained that dancing diamonds are an item such as a pendant, ring or earrings where the focal point diamond is able to move freely, so it is “dancing” and always catching reflections of light.
Another hot holiday buy could be the two diamond ring. The two diamonds in the ring signify the two people in a relationship.
To help kick off the holiday shopping season, Nesemann’s Diamond Center will be hosting a Black Friday/Small Business Saturday event. Savings of 20 to 60 percent will be offered storewide with door busters and free giveaways to the first 20 customers through the door on Black Friday.
Nesemann’s Diamond Center is family run with a strong focus on customer service. All work is done on site, which means customers are talking to actual jewelry makers and not just individuals looking to make a sale. Nesemann’s offers extreme variety with items starting at $20 and ranging up to tens of thousands of dollars.
Mike said it is difficult to suggest specific items at Nesemann’s which would make great Christmas gifts because the focus at Nesemann’s is on individuality. “Each person has their own unique style, so it really depends on a person’s lifestyle, likes/dislikes, etc. to offer an idea for a gift,” he said. “Sentimental ties in the jewelry are a fantastic way to start. Family jewelry is an option and diamonds are a girls best friend so those always go over well.”
Nesemann’s Diamond Center was established in 1919 and has been in the town of Plymouth since 1957. Having had four generations of jewelry makers should help put customers at ease. “We want you to love whatever you have received or are giving,” Mike said.
In addition to the sale of fine jewelry, Nesemann’s Diamond Center provides expert repairs on all jewelry needs in house. Not one single item repaired at Nesemann’s is sent off site, everything is done by the owner Mike or his son Alex. Engraving and appraisals add to the list of services they provide to customers.
Nesemann’s has a full line of engagement rings that fit any budget, and with a bench jeweler on hand customizing and designing rings becomes very easy. They also carry a large selection of gold/silver gemstone designs, watches, and giftware for any occasion.
“Please allow Nesemann’s Diamond Center to fulfill all of your jewelry needs,” Mike said. “There’s always a Nesemann at Nesemann’s Diamond Center.”
Nesemann’s Diamond Center
W5132 CTH O, Plymouth

Gift ideas for the Holidays continues

Gift ideas for the Holidays continues

Some like it “hot” for cheese flavors
Ask the people at Henning’s Cheese what is “hot” this Christmas season in their gift shop and the answer might be, “HOT.”
Hot is HOT these days in cheese. Adding a little kick to cheese seems to be what people want, according to Hennings’ Mindy Ausloos. “The hotter the better,” she said. “This year we introduced the Scorpion Cheddar and it has quickly become a huge request from customers. Grab it while supplies last.”
Other popular “hot” flavors are the Mango Fire Cheddar and Ghost Pepper cheese spread.
Christmas season events and specials are still in the works at Henning’s Cheese, but one of them will be a wine tasting. The date is still to be determined, but “like” the business’ Facebook page to be kept up to date on all the latest happenings.
The staff at Henning’s Cheese enjoys customizing gift boxes for each individual. “Our gift boxes are put together in old fashion wooden cheese boxes and shipped anywhere in the U.S.,” Ausloos said. “We let the customers bring in their own ‘additions’ to their gift boxes, whether it be homemade cookies, candies, etc. We will add them to your gift box to make it feel as personal as possible.”
In addition to gift boxes, Ausloos offered the following ideas for some specific Christmas gift items available at Henning’s Cheese:
- For the wine lover, a Wisconsin wine along with a fun accessory;
- If you have a Packer fan on your list, Henning’s has Cheese Heads, jewelry and other Packer accessories;
- For the party planner, Henning’s carries a large variety of Stonewall Kitchen items. Unique jams, mustards, sauces and other fun additions to any party are available.
- A man’s gift—six-packs of Wisconsin beers, Johnsonville sausage, and Ferris Popcorn.
Henning’s Cheese also carries Wisconsin souvenirs and many items of holiday décor.
 If you aren’t sure what their favorites are, we also offer gift cards.
All these ideas can be in addition to your favorite cheese. “We do have wine, beer and cheese pairing ideas throughout our store to help make your decisions a little easier,” Ausloos said.
To make gift buying and delivery easy, Henning’s Cheese ships Mondays through Fridays via Federal Express throughout the U.S. Orders can be placed in the store, over the phone (920-894-3032) or online at If wanting to ship out of the country via USPS, Henning’s will gladly help you get your order together, box it up and it just has to be taken to the post office.
“You can’t go wrong with giving the gift of cheese,” Ausloos said.
Henning’s Cheese
20201 Point Creek Rd., Kiel

Gift ideas for the Holidays continues

Gift ideas for the Holidays continues

Love is in the air at Christmas season

Love is in the air as much at Christmastime as it is on Valentine’s Day, and Bob Schoenborn’s Jewelry in Kiel has the perfect pieces to express that love during the holiday season.
The hottest jewelry trend for 2015 is the Forever Together two-stone jewelry pendants and rings set with two diamonds. Each of the diamonds represents a person in the relationship and their love for one another.
Shimmering diamonds are available in sterling silver or 14kt gold. Matching sets of pendants and earrings are available along with unique designs which have a fluttering diamond that moves with natural movement creating extra sparkle. The staff at Bob Schoenborn’s Jewelry said it is a great way to create a big look for a small price.
Other hot items heading into the holiday season are unique pieces from Bob Schoenborn’s Italian and German designer jewelry lines. Those include Breuning pendants, earrings, rings and bracelets, and Officina Bernardi sterling silver pendants, earrings, and bracelets.
Customers should watch for sales of 20 to 40 percent off select items as the Christmas shopping season unfolds. They should also know that all services at Bob Schoenborn’s Jewelry are completed in the store, including custom design work, diamond and gemstone setting, jewelry repairs and also clock and watch repair. Also, Bob Schoenborn’s Jewelry hand selects each piece of inventory keeping their customers in mind, ensuring the better quality for the best value.
Suggestions for specific items which make excellent Christmas gifts include diamond stud earrings, a shimmering diamond pendant with matching earrings, a pendant from our Together Forever collection, and wall clocks and watches from Citizen, Bering or Bulova.
Service at Bob Schoenborn’s Jewelry does not stop after the sale—it is just beginning. Complimentary gift wrapping is offered with any purchase, and the staff said it takes pride in providing better prices, better quality and the best customer service possible along with strong attention to detail.
Bob Schoenborn’s Jewelry
307 Fremont St., Kiel

Gift ideas for the Holidays continues

Gift ideas for the Holidays continues

Kitchen and gift ideas abound

Relish is a unique kitchenware and gift store located in the heart of downtown Sheboygan.
Relish specializes in fine cookware, cutlery, tools and gadgets for the home chef. Associates are knowledgeable in the use and care of these products and said they are excited to share their expertise in a fun and friendly atmosphere. Relish carries specialty home gifts by Nora Fleming, Polish pottery, Mud Pie, and Gurgle Pot. Gourmet foods from favorite local vendors are available in the store.
The associates at Relish Kitchen Store said they are observing are a couple trends which are hot heading into the Christmas season. One of those trends is spiralizing vegetables. Relish has the tools to turn zucchini and root vegetables into tasty “pasta” with no wheat worries. The recipe ideas are endless, tasty and quick.
The second hot trend is multi-use items, from kitchen appliances to serveware to kitchen gadgets. Anything that you can use for more than one purpose in the kitchen is a great value.
Black Friday and Small Business Saturday (Nov. 27-28) really kick off the holiday season for Relish, and on those days it will have amazing discounts on the highest-quality brands—All-Clad cookware, Wusthof knives, Vitamix, and a ton of other surprises.
An Open House is planned for Saturday, Dec. 5 and Relish Kitchen Store also will have 12 days of special deals on the days leading up to Christmas.
Join the e-mail list or like Relish on Facebook to be the first to know about all upcoming events and holiday specials.
Relish is proud to bring unique gifts and kitchen essentials to Sheboygan County that shoppers cannot find anywhere else nearby. Jane Davis Wood of Relish Kitchen Store said, “We know these products, we use these products and we can tell you all the details you’d like to know in order to make an informed purchase. Relish is a playground for all home cooks, and there are gift ideas galore.
“Also, we know our customers love to give gifts from Relish, but even more, they love to get gifts from Relish,” she added. “This Christmas, if there’s something you really want, fill out a wish list at Relish, and we’ll let the special people in your life know exactly what you’re dreaming about.”
Relish has plenty of ideas for specific items which would make great Christmas gifts. A few of those are as follows:
n Cookware—The store carries a wide selection from All Clad, Vollrath, Swiss Diamond, Lodge and DuBuyer.
n Bakeware—Vollrath makes a cookie sheet that has been rated by America’s Test Kitchen as the world’s best cookie sheet and it is available at Relish. No burned cookies for Santa!
n Nora Fleming Serveware—Called the “Pandora of Serveware” it is one platter for every occasion decorated with minis for each season and each reason.
n Stocking stuffers—Kitchen gadgets also make great hostess gifts and teacher gifts. New favorites include the Garlic Twist, Oil free Potato chip maker, the Angry Mama microwave cleaner and the butter knife that melts butter.
n Teas—Relish carries The Republic of Tea, Tea Forte, Davidsons and Urbal Tea with all the infusers, teapots and mugs to make a perfect gift.
n Cutlery—Quality knives in all price ranges from Wusthof, Victorinox and Kyocera are available. Relish offers professional knife sharpening to keep that fine edge.
Ask the people on your shopping list to fill out a wish list at Relish, and associates will help find exactly what they want. When in doubt, a gift certificate to Relish is always a perfect choice.
“Whether you are hosting a large party, planning a gathering with friends, or preparing a simple family dinner, the kitchen becomes the heart of the occasion,” Davis Wood said. “Let Relish help you find the products and tools that makes prep, cooking and serving all the more fun. Relish the possibilities!”
Relish Kitchen Store
811 N. 8th St., Sheboygan

Gift ideas for the Holidays continues

Gift ideas for the Holidays continues

Say cheese with gift boxes

Who wouldn’t want to get a gift box of Wisconsin cheese as a Christmas gift? Vern’s Cheese of Chilton can make that happen.
“Gift boxes are always a great idea to give,” said Kari Meyers of Vern’s Cheese. “We have already designed gift boxes for easy grab and go, or you can create your own. People can choose from our large variety of specialty cheeses, both imported and domestic.”
Several years ago Vern’s Cheese also expanded and remodeled its gift shop, turning it into a must-stop shopping destination all year round but especially for Christmas. As if the wide assortment of cheese were not enough, it also carries a large assortment of gift items. Gluten-free products are available and very popular with customers, Meyers said.
Vern’s Cheese’s annual “Taste of the Holidays” Open House is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 4 from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is a time for customers to come in and sample many different easy-to-make recipes, holiday wines, beers, and non-alcoholic beverages they would be able to use for their entertaining needs during the holidays.
Proudly serving customers with quality service for over 50 years, Vern’s Cheese a small-town friendly atmosphere. Meyers said employees treat customers like family. “We have a large variety of different cheeses, gift items, wines, craft beer, meats, and other specialty items that would suit your liking and budget,” she added.
Asked about specific items available at Vern’s Cheese which would make good Christmas gifts, Meyers said, “Everyone always loves Wisconsin cheese. Gift boxes, wine and cheese baskets, Nueske hams, specialty candies (regular and sugar-free), gluten-free products, and holiday drink mixes and garnishes are also items people love to receive.”
She added, “Come in to our specialty store and let our friendly staff assist you as you choose that special gift. We ship UPS throughout the continental U.S., so your family and friends throughout the country can enjoy that special taste of Wisconsin. If you cannot make it into our store, give us a call at 920-849-7717 or visit us online at Remember to ship early. From easy-to-make recipes to easy-to-purchase gifts, your holiday entertaining needs begins at Vern’s Cheese.”
Vern’s Cheese
312 W. Main St., Chilton

Gift ideas for the Holidays continues

Gift ideas for the Holidays continues

Eclectic ideas include tropical Christmas

Seranya Studios is gearing up for the Christmas shopping season with an open house scheduled for Friday, Dec. 4. “Tropical ‘70s Christmas” is the fun theme for the open house, and owner Susan Radke said she is hoping visitors also have some fun with the theme by coming in wearing their flip-flops and Hawaiian shirts. Seranya Studios will be open normal hours that day—starting at 10 a.m.—but the party really gets started on Dec. 4 from 4 to 8 p.m. with live music and food, including sampling of the Rabbit Creek artisan baking line. Other events will be going on in downtown Plymouth that evening as well.
Visitors to Seranya Studios also will have opportunities to win gift baskets donated by area artists worth several hundred dollars.
In addition to all that fun, people will want to make Seranya Studios a destination for their Christmas shopping. “We’re not your normal retail outlet,” Radke said. “We’re very eclectic.”
In addition to a wide variety of art pieces for sale from local artists, Seranya Studios also offers handmade baskets, jewelry, and pottery, and gourmet lines of dip mixes. Rabbit Creek baking mixes are available, and people can present either this article or Seranya Studios’ ad from this magazine to receive $1 off any of those mixes.
Classes and gatherings are popular at Seranya Studios. Poetry clubs, book clubs, knitting groups, Bible study groups and more have made Seranya Studios their destination, or just book a Girls’ Night Out with one of the local artists—perhaps a scarf party or jewelry party. Book a party for family or friends and give the experience as a Christmas gift.
As another example of the classes and events held at the studio, “The Twisted Sisters” are a knitting and crocheting group which meets the first and third Monday evenings of every month. Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. a basket weaving class meets. Instructors are available for most mediums including stained glass mosaics, drawing, acrylic painting, silk scarves, sewing, polymer clay, and more. Classes also work great for couples’ date nights.
Seranya Studios also has a gift registry. Help out that special someone in your life with a list of items you would love to get as Christmas gifts from Seranya Studios.
The business has something for all ages and genders. Radke said many of their art pieces are attractive to men, including some of the garden art available. Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin Badgers ornaments also seem to catch their eye, as do items such as cutting boards, cheese boards, pizza cutters, and wine stoppers.
“We are very original and unique,” Radke said. “We have hand-painted neckties. We have fabulous canes.”
Doll clothes for American Girl dolls gain the attention of children who stop in with mom or dad at Seranya Studios.
Also on the horizon is a mid-winter art contest called “Don’t Trash My Art.” People can take recycled items or “trash” and make art out of it. Adult entries will be judged while youth entries will be voted on by customers. Sign up between now and Jan. 10 to take part in the contest.
One last note on Christmas shopping: Radke said Seranya Studios has not done any gift wrapping to date, but there is a good reason for that. “Our bags are so darn cute,” she said. ϒ
Seranya Studios Art Boutique
307 E. Mill St., Plymouth

Gift ideas for the Holidays

Great events, shopping ideas from the DPA

Downtown Plymouth will be buzzing with activity in the coming months.
The Downtown Plymouth Association (DPA) is in the midst of planning several holiday events for all ages.
The always popular “Queen for A Day” event will take place Saturday, Nov. 21. Ladies can visit downtown Plymouth for the chance to enter the “Queen for a Day” basket filled with goodies. The winner also will be crowned queen and will ride in a convertible in the holiday parade.
The Christmas Parade on Nov. 27 is a hometown favorite. This amazing holiday light parade is an evening spectacle sure to get all ages in the mood for Christmas. Enter for a chance to see the parade from the warmth of a downtown business by participating in the “Cozy Window, Cool Parade” silent auction which started Nov. 1 and do not forget to vote for your favorite downtown Christmas window by dropping a dollar in the vote box.
The second annual “Charming Downtown Christmas” event will run from Dec. 4-5. Friday evening will be filled with family fun. Pictures with Santa, trolley rides, live reindeer, strolling carolers, in-store specials and an add-a-charm necklace are just a few of the activities. Saturday’s events will include build-your-own holiday recipe book and enter to win the downtown Christmas cookie contest.
In addition to those community events, the Christmas shopping season will bring a lot of activity downtown to shops such as Maggie’s Closet, Allechant Boutique, and The Sewing Basket.

Maggie’s Closet, 127 E. Mill St., is ready for the holidays. This high-end consignment shop carries a wide range of sizes starting at a junior size 0 and going up to women’s size 3X. Whether you are in need of a new pair of jeans with a cute sweater, skirt and leggings with a pair of high boots or a full-length formal gown for the holiday season, Maggie’s has you covered. Owner Gina Chandler said the trend this year is all about layers. Skirts with solid or print leggings and boots look great with a top and sweater combination. The look is perfect because it can be dressed up or down according to your needs.
Maggie’s Closet also has a wonderful selection of holiday home décor items, jewelry, shoes, boots, scarves and purses. Stop in Maggie’s Closet, the consignment shop that feels like a boutique.
Allechant Boutique, 217 E. Mill St., is once again ready to welcome shoppers with a lot of great gifts and clothing for holiday giving. Located in downtown Plymouth one block east of Maggie’s Closet and one block west of The Sewing Basket, Allechant is ready to help people look their best while giving meaningful gifts to those special people on your list.

Allechant carries the very popular Alex and Ani Bracelets, Earrings and Necklaces. They also carry Forever Locketts and Charms and Spirit by Chelsea Taylor. Packer, Badger and Panther Jewelry is in stock. It has sweaters, tunics, leggings, skirts, dresses, scarves, purses, and a ton of jewelry.
Right now clothing is being made in lighter fabrics so you can add a new layer over a previous look to give you a new look and stretch your wardrobe.

Allechant owner Jackie Pottratz said, “We are a boutique but like a mini department store. As president of the DPA, the entire downtown and community is important to us and we involve ourselves in every activity that we can and are always happy to donate to special causes.”

The Sewing Basket, located at 426 E. Mill St. in downtown Plymouth, is Sheboygan County’s largest quilt shop. You will be surprised and inspired as you investigate 3,000 square feet filled with hundreds of samples and thousands of bolts of unique cotton fabrics not available in chain stores.
The Sewing Basket embraces today’s quilting trends from modern quilts with their fresh white backgrounds and big bold prints to cuddle fabrics which give a soft touch to any project for children or adults. New this fall, we are carrying a large selection of adult coloring books. One of the hottest new trends, these coloring books which exercise the mind and reduce stress are perfect for every adult in your life.
Let us help you find the right gift for the quilter on your list, from fabric bundles, to new notions and patterns, and the most cutting edge sewing machines from Brother.
Plymouth Downtown Assoc.
Maggie’s Closet
Allechant Boutique
The Sewing Basket

Crazy over Cookies

Crazy over Cookies
Satzer Family

Holiday time is cookie baking time, and cookie eating time, too! Families share their cookie making traditions.

Cookie baking is family time for Satzers
by Faye Burg
Ginny Satzer and sisters Karen, Chris, Jackie, Sherri and Pam enjoy spending time together each holiday season baking cookies and other goods and sharing what they create with others.
“I am not exactly sure when it began, possibly 1992,” Satzer said. “We bake and do an exchange the first Saturday of December.”
The group takes turns hosting the annual event with sisters and sisters-in-law each opening their homes for the family’s favorite activity. Three of Satzer’s sisters live in other states, but Satzer said she knows they would participate if they could.
“Right now we are up to about nine people who are in the exchange,” Satzer explained. “Some nieces have joined in and also daughters and daughters-in-law. Some of our favorite recipes to bake are chocolate chip sticks, Andes mint cookies, peanut butter blossoms, peppermint snowballs, and spritz.”
“The same cookies are not always made every year,” Satzer continued. “We also do an exchange with candy. Some of our favorite candies to make are mounds balls, peanut butter balls. mints, and caramels.”
Satzer said each family member chooses one type of cookie and one type of candy and is in charge of making two dozen of each kind for each person in the exchange. “That comes to 18 dozen of each cookie and candy,” Satzer said. “Not all get baked or made the day of the exchange as there would not be enough oven time or time in general to get them finished. Many of us have them completed before we arrive that day and then help out with whomever needs help. When we finish with that, we do some other favorites like Christmas wreaths and sometimes cut-out cookies.”
Much planning goes into the event as the participants discuss what they would like to make and sign up for their choices before the exchange. “The amounts made depend on how many are involved in the exchange,” Satzer added.
“Nobody ever wants to get stuck making cut-outs for everyone else,” Satzer said. “One year my sister Lori was here visiting from California and she helped out and joined in. She wishes she could always be here but that is not possible. She got stuck rolling and cutting out the cut-outs that year and she decided that if that’s what we were going to make her do, she really didn’t want to be here all the time.”
“My sister-in-law Donna, niece Erika and daughter-in-law Jennie along with granddaughters Ayla and Harper are involved in rolling out balls for the mint candy and wherever else they are needed,” Satzer said. “Ayla always manages to get a few of the mints before she leaves because that’s her favorite and grandma doesn’t really care for them.”
Other family members participating include Satzer’s sister Chris’s daughter-in-law Sara, sister Jackie’s niece Jamie participates when she can. “Nieces Amanda and Danielle are always there to help out as well as great-nieces Naudia, Helena, and Malora,” Satzer said. “Jackie’s daughters Abby and Alicia and Donna’s granddaughter Sage also help.” Sisters Lori of California, Mary of the D.C. area, and Diane of southwestern Wisconsin have been present when possible to help out with baking and rolling and participate when they can throughout the years.
Ginny’s sister Pam said, “It’s fun thinking back and seeing how the day has evolved over the years. It’s like we now have it down to a science. Our mom would be thrilled that we have continued this tradition and that we share the goods with so many people.”
The fun and stories that are exchanged between all who are there and the tradition that she hopes will be carried on for many generations are what Satzer cherishes most. “Our mother passed away 21 years ago and she was involved in all of the get-togethers before she died. I remember her that last year, she was not feeling well at all but she hung right in there with all of us and didn’t let on. That year the exchange was at my home in Chilton.”
“She would be very proud of all her daughters and their families who have carried on the tradition for so many years,” Satzer added.  “Every year something happens the day of the bake and we all say that mom had something to do with it.”
“I come from a family of nine sisters,” Satzer commented. “One of us is always there for the other. I feel sad for anyone who has no sisters because they are not only sisters but also my best friends. As I grow older I am realizing the importance of each and every one of them.”
“Christmas is a very busy time for everyone but most all of us will take the time out for this day because it is special to each and every one of us,” Satzer shared. “We all have fun and family time is very important.”
“We all also give our home baked goodies as gifts and many people count on them so we don’t want to disappoint any of them. Our mother taught us all how to bake and cook and we all enjoy doing it. It wouldn’t Christmas without it.”

Women in Motion

Women in Motion

Furry Friends inspire continues...

Furry Friends inspire continues...
Sheboygan County Humane Society

Helping the Homeless—Shelter gives pets a second chance

by Faye Burg

Sheboygan County Humane Society (SCHS) is an open admission shelter serving Sheboygan County, which takes in an average of 2,000 to 2,500 animals annually.
Executive Director Leah Helms works to create and improve shelter programs, oversee and promote the future direction of the humane society and is in charge of fundraising and public relations.
“In the early 1960’s, Mrs. Harold Knier and a group of dedicated volunteers set out to deal with handling the overpopulation of companion animals in Sheboygan County after learning that the City of Sheboygan was euthanizing unwanted animals by using carbon monoxide poisoning from the exhaust systems of city vehicles,” Helms said. “Mrs. Knier and a group of devoted supporters went about fundraising door-to-door, pleading with the city and the county to help them out, and doing the extensive paperwork to start a non-profit organization. In 1964, the physical shelter became a reality because of their extensive efforts. For years, the shelter was run strictly by the volunteer efforts of this group, which consisted of dedicated lawyers, veterinarians, and laypersons, plus three devoted high school girls.”
“They each worked one of three shifts per day and everyone worked 365 days per year,” Helms continued. “Dogs were sold for $10 each and the income was used to buy necessities for the shelter. Eventually SCHS was able to hire paid staff.
The present shelter looks very much as it did in the early 1970’s and its mission remains the same.”
The mission of SCHS is the prevention of cruelty to animals, the relief of suffering among animals and the extension of humane education with goals including creating life long bonds, decreasing euthanasia rates and increasing adoptions.
“SCHS was graciously donated 6.2 acres from the Muth family in the fall of 2014 and in May of 2015 received a large portion of a donation of the Nemschoff building,” Helms said. “Both properties are adjacent from SCHS’s current property now totaling 12.1 acres.”
Approximately 80 volunteers between SCHS, PetSmart in Grafton and PetSmart in Sheboygan work at the society along with 14 staff members
“Shelter work is very rewarding when you can take a dream and make it a reality and make a difference,” Helms explained. “Many projects and planning take time and money and SCHS is very lucky to have the community, board members, staff and volunteers that believe in our mission and strive to improve for Sheboygan County’s residents.”
The goal at SCHS is to continue to decrease the euthanasia rate and to be considered a low kill shelter. “One large challenge that the shelter faces is the increased cat population. Each year our intake of cats increases with many factors contributing including owner surrender, feral and semi-feral cats, and overpopulation due to the large amount unaltered cats,” Helms said. “SCHS offers discounted services for feral cats to get spayed or neutered through TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) and SNAP (Spay-Neuter-Assistance-Program). The barn cat placement program only takes cats at SCHS who have lived or spent time outside per their previous owner, cats that were found as strays, cats that may be too independent and would not be suitable for an indoor home and cats that are shy or fearful of people and prefer to be outdoors and independent. Barn cats are the safest way to control the rodent population in your barn.”
“SCHS needs the support of the community to get their animals spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted litters,” Helms said. “When moving, finding a place that accepts your current animals instead of surrendering.” Helms encourages anyone with questions to speak with a SCHS staff member for help finding solutions to problems.
  In 2014 approximately 2,000 animals came through the doors at SCHS and of those 1,300 were cats made up of 830 stray cats and 360 surrendered cats.
In 2014, SCHS was able to adopt, transfer or reunite a total of 855 cats. “Through our adoptions the public is getting an animal package as each cat is spayed or neutered, vaccinated, dewormed, micro chipped and has a Felv/FIV test,” she added.
SCHS is not supported by tax dollars through the city or county and operates solely on donations, sponsorships, fundraising efforts, bequests and grants. Last year SCHS cared for over 2,000 animals and provided fundamental programs to the community.
“SCHS is dedicated to enriching the lives of the animals while creating a positive and educational experience to Sheboygan County Residents,” Helms said.
The Sheboygan County Humane Society is located at 3107 North 20th St., in Sheboygan and can be reached at (920) 458-2012 or by email at Additional information can be found on their website at


Furry Friends inspire continues...

Furry Friends inspire continues...
Diane Schmidt and her husband Randy operate Happy Tails - a pet boarding and grooming facility in Sheboygan County.

​Happy Tails offers creature comforts

by Faye Burg

Happy Tails Pet Grooming and Boarding LLC offers numerous amenities in their conveniently located facility between Howards Grove and Sheboygan.
Started by Diana Schmidt in May of 2008, Happy Tails soon expanded offering grooming and boarding in a 2,800 square foot facility. “After extensive research and touring many other kennels, we came up with the design and built Happy Tails,” Schmidt said.
Diana runs the facility along with her husband Randy with the goal of offering quality grooming and boarding at an affordable price while treating all customers with compassion and respect.
“We have four full time groomers and two part time kennel helpers on staff,” Schmidt said. “We love animals and this was a natural fit for us. Pets come to us very nervous at first and it is nice to watch them get used to everything and us and become friends. I like to let dogs be dogs and try to spoil them every chance I get.”
Happy Tails is wheelchair accessible and offers boarding for cats and dogs of all sizes. There are 22 kennels including 14 large and two multi-dog and a small dog kennel area in the climate controlled facility. A large 40 by 70 foot outdoor play area allows visiting animals a chance to run and play.
“Soothing music plays through out the day,” Schmidt said. “The animals are out of the kennels every two hours for bathroom breaks and playtime. We offer special needs services and have a local veterinarian on call at all times.”
Multiple pet discounts are available as well as grooming services for all pets. Cats are kept in a separate private room segregated from the dog kennel to make sure the cats stay is as quiet and stress free as possible. “They each have separate housing unless two cats from the same household are able to stay together,” Schmidt explained. “They are given play time outside their cages if requested by the owner.”
Kitchen facilities are available to prepare any type food visiting pets’ needs.
In addition to offering boarding and grooming services, Happy Tails is proud of their affiliation with the Illinois Bird Dog Rescue. “We donate time, boarding services, and money to them on a regular basis,” Schmidt said. “They save hundreds of animals each year, pulling them from shelters and private situations all over the country. Many pets come in to the rescue with major health problems or behavior problems. They are treated for their Illnesses and worked with in one of the many foster homes that help out the rescue. We are happy to have adopted four English Setters from them and they are a wonderful addition to our family.”
Happy Tails has also formed a working relationship with Ruff Academy Real Life Dog Training. “Rebekah Hintman is a dog trainer extraordinaire and offers classes twice a week here at Happy Tails. If you would like more information on dog training please contact her at
“We are open seven days a week and someone is onsite from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.,” Schmidt said. “We are back out here between 8 and 9 p.m. to let everyone out for a last potty break. We give them a treat and send them off to bed.”
Happy Tails is located at N7894 STH 42, Sheboygan and can be reached at (920) 912-6066 or by email at More information can be found on their website
“We treat all of our guests as if they are our own with love and respect,” Schmidt added. “We would like to thank our many customers who have made our success possible.”

Furry Friends inspire continues...

Furry Friends inspire continues...
Trish Brunner, owner of Legacy Studios, has a passion for pet photography

Brunner keeps pets in keen focus

by Faye Burg

A passion for animal photography as a child turned into a successful career and business for a Sheboygan photographer.
Trish Brunner, owner of Legacy Studios, has always been a photographer. “When I was a little girl my father was a detective for the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department and took a lot of photographs,” she explained. “At the age of about nine I became interested in photography and he gave me my first camera. While learning how to use the camera, I took photographs of all the neighbor’s pets.”
For the first 15 years Brunner worked as a photographer, she concentrated on children and family photography before adding pets. “I love to do pet photography,” she said, adding she now travels across the country to photograph pets and their families.
Owning her own studio for the last 18 years, Brunner has photographed a large variety of pets. “Everything from dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, iguanas, you name it,” Brunner said. “I have a spring special and a Christmas special with the backgrounds always changing. We can make it fun or more traditional. Whatever the client is looking for.”
Brunner visits numerous pet stores each year that offer pet photography for their customers. “There is no sitting fee and many families come back year after year,” she said. “Its fun when people say I will never get their dog to sit and five minutes later we have been successful and got the shot. I can usually get what I want.”
Cats are the most challenging to photograph for Brunner but the rewards are great. “Working with animals and seeing the client smiling because they are so happy with the photos is very rewarding,” she added.
Legacy Studios offers a variety of products to clients including mugs, coasters, ornaments, watches, pillows, blankets, and more. “Just about anything someone would like, we can do.”
Brunner is a master photographer, photographic craftsman, and certified professional photographer. She is a three-time international bronze medal winner, one time silver medal winner and she has four medals with each one standing for an international photographer of the year award. “I have spent time in the past judging professional competitions as well,” she said.
Active in the community, Brunner also offers presentations and demonstrations on photography.
“Working with pets is a science,” Brunner said. “They can be dangerous and you can’t take it lightly. You have to have a good healthy respect but no fear.”
While specializing in pet photography, Brunner also offers complete photography services including children, student and family packages.
“We are extremely patient and always willing to do what it takes to get what we want,” Brunner said. “I love what I do.”
Legacy Studios is located at 1402 South 12th St., in Sheboygan and can be reached at (920) 803-8880 or Additional information can be found at

Furry Friends inspire continues...

Furry Friends inspire continues...
Central Bark offers Doggy Day Care

Central Bark offers Doggy Day Care

by Faye Burg

Central Bark Doggy Day Care is like an exclusive indoor-outdoor dog park, but not your average dog park.  Opening in March of 2008, the franchise location of Central Bark Doggy Day Care in Manitowoc is operated by Adrianne Spaulding.
Spaulding spent the first 11 years of her career working in the fast-paced nuclear power world. Routinely spending 72 hours away from her 4-legged kids she realized that Manitowoc was in need of a facility like Central Bark. Adrianne has been trained as a small animal masseuse and canine first aid and CPR. She also was the editor of the newsletter for the Lakeshore Humane Society and a former obedience instructor at a local Kennel Club.
Central Bark Doggy Day Care in Sheboygan opened in August of 2008 and is operated by Linda Gurath. Gurath spent many years as a corporate controller until one day she decided to follow her passion for dogs and has always had a soft spot in her heart for her furry companions. “They have all been special members of my family,” Linda said. “When I learned about Central Bark Doggy Day Care, I knew it was meant to be.”
As the name implies, Central Bark Doggy Day Care offers day care services for dogs. Like child day care, doggy day care has a daily schedule of activities that include supervised play time and nap time. The dogs are provided with stimulation, interaction, and lots of tender loving care in a clean, healthy, fun and nurturing environment. Day care alleviates the boredom. Most dogs go home so tired that they sleep most of the following day.
Both locations pride themselves on outstanding service and satisfaction guaranteed. Whether you’re bringing in your pup for a grooming or dropping your furry child off at doggy day care, the Central Bark staff cares for your pet like it was a part of their family.
Central Bark offers a wide variety of toys, food, collars, leashes and more in their Doggy Boutique. “The vast majority of our edible and non edible products are made in the USA,” Spaulding said. “That is important for a lot of pet parents and sets us apart from the large pet retailers. Even if your furry companion has allergies, bring in the list of ingredients to avoid and we will match you with the right food for your pet.”
Central Bark Doggy Day Cares are located throughout the United States with 26 total locations, 16 of which are located in Wisconsin. “This allows our doggy parents to be able to bring their furry companions to any location once they have met the Central Bark Doggy Day Care requirements,” Spaulding explained. Central Bark requires all furry friends over 6 months be spayed or neutered, current on all shots as well as participate in day care a minimum of one day per week.
“Dogs love coming to Central Bark to play with their friends” Gurath said. “Our program helps them to be well adjusted dogs and parents love taking home a tired dog. Central Bark truly is the best way to love your dog.”
“One of the major differences between Central Bark Doggy Day Care and other dog day cares is their one day a week policy.” Spaulding said. “The dogs learn our daily routine and many of them develop best friends to play with. Coming often is critical for dogs that are fearful or skittish around strangers or other dogs. Our program helps them to gain confidence and learn to trust. We get to know each dog and his or her special needs. Many of our clients have come in as young puppies, and our staff forms an alliance with the parent to do what is right for the dog.”
Central Bark welcomes the general public to book an appointment with their skilled groomers or shop in the boutique.
Central Bark Doggy Day Care can be reached in Sheboygan at (920) 457-9663 and is located at 3513 South 32nd St. The Manitowoc location is located at 1910 Mirro Dr., and can be reached at (920) 652-9663. More information can be found at

Furry Friends inspire continues...

Furry Friends inspire continues...
Terri Ebersole

Woman’s passion for TNR aimed at happier, healthier cats

by Faye Burg

A local woman has turned her passion for trap neuter and release for cats into a new organization aimed at helping cats lead healthier and happier lives.
Trap, neuter, release, otherwise known as TNR is a program that helps feral cats and barn cats and their caretakers. The cats are trapped and taken to a veterinarian who spays or neuters each cat, provides vaccinations, worming and ear mite treatments after which the cats are released back into their home territory. The goal is to reduce unwanted cats and kittens and ultimately give the cats a better healthier life.
Terri Ebersole of Elkhart Lake originally trapped her first feral cat in 2008. “It made me look at them closer,” Ebersole said. “He was the coolest cat with such a unique personality. I decided to read and learn everything I could about helping cats that are living outside. I needed to do something. I wanted to make the biggest difference. The only way to reduce overpopulation is to stop them from being born in the first place.”
Originally serving as the TNR coordinator for an area organization since 2011, Ebersole has now decided to create her own organization called My Feral Fix in an effort to continue her personal mission to help as many cats and their caretakers as she can. “It’s my life,” she said. “It’s what I love to do.”
Since she began actively trapping cat colonies in 2011 in an effort to help keep acceptable animals from being euthanized, Ebersole has made a difference in the lives of thousands of cats including 2,300 cats in just the last three and a half years. “That is quite an accomplishment,” she said. “But there are more that need help.”
Ebersole said TNR is the only successful way to control community cat overpopulation. “TNR helps the cats to be much healthier and live longer,” Ebersole said. “The fewer kittens born means fewer kittens enter our shelter system and therefore reduces euthanization rates and increases the chances for those cats already in shelters to get adopted.”
TNR also helps each caregiver by keeping the number of cats in the colony to a manageable number so it doesn’t cost more money to provide feed and care. “The caregivers enjoy their cats rather than worrying about how many more are going to be born each year,” Ebersole added. “Since the males are neutered they no longer spray, fight with other males or wander across roads to find females in heat. The females are so much healthier since their bodies are not being drained from litter after litter.”
“Another very important function of TNR is educating caregivers,” Ebersole continued. “I teach them about the importance of proper food, fresh water, and adequate shelter.
Excited to get My Feral Fix up and running, Ebersole is available for questions by phone at (920) 946-1775 or email at More information can be found at


Furry Friends inspire continues...

Furry Friends inspire continues...

Tails of Comfort for grieving owners

by Faye Burg

A pet loss support group started by an area woman offers those who have suffered the loss of a pet a place to express their feelings with others.
Tails of Comfort meets monthly in Sheboygan under the leadership of Louise Hansen and Kristi Irving. “I saw a need for it several years ago,” Hansen said. The group originally met at the library in Cedar Grove before moving to its current location at Wesley Methodist Church.
Hansen said attendance varies each month as the group meets each second Monday at 6 p.m. “It is very rewarding,” Hansen said. “We would like more people to come. People who have come said it has helped them. Pets are truly a member of our families, not just a dog or a cat. Sometimes the death of a pet hits people harder than the death of a family member. We give a lot of ideas on how to handle grief including planting a bush or tree, placing a stepping stone, or donating to a shelter.”
“We let them know it’s OK to get another animal,” she added.
In addition to her involvement in Tails of Comfort, Hansen has been participating in Bichon Frise rescue work for 14 years. “I am still doing it,” Hansen said. “I have several foster failures.” Foster failure is a term Hansen uses to explain foster dogs that she adopted as members of her own family. “A lot of the dogs are very needy and have come out of puppy mills.”
Hansen is now retired, but feels the 33 years she served as a special education teacher at the Early Learning Center in Sheboygan helped prepare her for her work with the rescue dogs. “You realize you can’t go into fostering with expectations,” she explained, “Accept them the way they are and try your best to make them feel loved, accepted and less fearful.”
Working with several organizations in Wisconsin and throughout the United States, Hansen includes home visits as part of her duties. “I will go into homes for other rescues and make sure it is a safe environment,” she said. “It is very rewarding to do home checks and seeing the small steps that the dogs make. Knowing they are going into a loving home and will be well cared for and loved is wonderful.”
The most challenging part of working with the rescues is finding enough suitable foster homes and those who are willing to adopt the dogs. “There is always a need,” she said. “So many people go to pet stores and they are buying puppy mill dogs. While they deserve homes too, the people are perpetuating the industry.”
Hansen has a special affection for senior dogs and has several living in her home. “These dogs deserve homes,” she said. “We have lots of support for those who adopt for as long as they have the animals. All of us involved in rescue have a wealth of resources.”
Hansen also keeps active having served on the board of the Sheboygan County Humane Society for six years and now as a PetSmart Cat Adoption Center volunteer for SCHS. “I also make belly bands for the dogs.”
Serving on the board of My Feral Fix has given Hansen a love of cats as well. “I never really cared for cats, but I love cats now. I have one of my own.”
“We all have a common goal of helping animals find good homes,” she added. “The connections we make with people that we still hear from are very rewarding. People think of you and trust you.”
“Our church has also become pet friendly,” Hansen said. “Many of our members including our Pastor have animals so now we have a designated area in the back where members may sit with their animals. In addition a group called Pawsitive Devotions and Discussion meets once a month and anyone is welcome to come.”
Tails of Comfort is located in Wesley House, 829 Union Ave., in Sheboygan. More information on Tails of Comfort and Pawsitive Devotions and Discussions can be found by calling (920) 458-4889. “We are always ready to listen and lend support as well as give you resources to help you.” Hansen said.
“I can’t imagine life any other way,” Hansen said of her involvement in so many animals groups and organizations. “We all have a purpose in life. For me it’s the animals. I love my life.”  ϒ


Furry Friends inspire

Furry Friends inspire

Barb Techel gave her dog a second chance with a wheelchair rig

by Faye Burg

The challenges faced by her treasured pet changed Barbara Techel’s life perspective starting in 2006.
Techel’s dog Frankie, a six and a half year old dachshund, was paralyzed in an accident while the Techel’s were on vacation. “We tried surgery, physical therapy, acupuncture and nothing helped,” Techel said. A suggestion for a dog wheelchair changed despair into hope for Techel.
“At first I didn’t want to do it,” Techel shared. “I couldn’t imagine what her life would be like.”
Three months later Frankie received her wheelchair and after an initial three to four minutes of indecision, Frankie began to run. “It blew me away how she just could go on with life. It was so inspiring,” Techel said.
“It was hard at first,” she added. “Some people looked at her funny and at me funny. I felt they were judging until I turned it around and realized I could educate others.”
Techel credits Frankie for helping her feel more confident. “I would worry about what people thought and here was Frankie in her wheelchair running and happy and not caring about what anyone thought of her,” she said. “It changed my life.”
Techel went on to write two children’s books about Frankie while visiting over 350 schools and libraries with Frankie to help kids face their own challenges. “Frankie served as a therapy dog for several area places as well,” Techel said.
Frankie retired in 2012 and passed away soon after. “I loved the work so much and am so passionate about animals, especially challenged ones,” Techel said, adding she founded the Frankie Wheelchair Fund to continue to help dogs with Frankie’s challenges.
Memorial funds received were used to help six dogs acquire wheelchairs that they otherwise could not have had. “Wheelchairs are quite expensive with the cheapest around $385 and some costing as much as $1,500,” Techel explained.
“Part of the reason I do this is there are a lot of organizations but by the time you go through physical therapy and everything else, a lot of people run out of money,” she added. “I fill a need.”
Two months later Techel came up with the idea of a National Walk ‘N Roll day, which is held every year on September 22. “I do it to honor Frankie and to recognize all dogs in wheelchairs.”
Techel wants people to be aware that wheelchairs for dogs are a viable option and says her biggest reward is seeing a dog that was paralyzed be able to run again. “Being able to help a dog and give others hope is huge,” Techel said. “You don’t have to lose a dog because of paralysis.”
Techel encourages having hope. “Don’t give up if it happens to your dog,” she said. “There are options. Reach out to others. Bad things happen in life, but search for the blessings and positive points.”
More information on Techel’s books and charitable organizations can be found on her website at

Keeping in Touch with History continues...

Keeping in Touch with History continues...

The Waelderhaus was built in the architectural style of the Bregenzerwald region of Austria, ancestral home of the Kohler family.
This “house in the woods” features carvings, woodcuts, iron and pewter work designed by Kaspar Albrecht, a talented Austrian sculptor and architect.
Guided tours are conducted daily at 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., except holidays, free of charge. Guests are invited to explore the gardens and grounds at their leisure.
For activity information, call 855-444-2838. The Waelderhaus is located at 1100 W. Riverside Dr., Kohler. °

Washington House, Two Rivers
The historic Washington House, located at 1622 Jefferson Street in Two Rivers, is a three-story immigrant hotel built in 1850.
The site contains an original 1890’s saloon, ballroom and a staffed replica of Ed Berners’ Ice Cream Parlor, where visitors may enjoy ice cream treats and fountain service.
Berners invented the ice cream sundae in 1881 in Two Rivers. The second floor ballroom features rare, restored Early American murals.
Ten rooms of the building are devoted to historic displays, including a Victorian dollhouse and antique toy exhibit.
The Washington House is open daily from May through October: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. November though April: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Admission is free, but you might want to set aside a few nickels to enjoy an ice cream treat!

Galloway House and Village and Blakely Museum
A good deal of Fond du Lac history is contained at the Galloway House and Village and Blakely Museum on the city’s southeast side. The restored Victorian Galloway House is the focal point of a collection of 25 historic buildings that have been moved to the site and restored. The Blakely Museum houses a collection of local artifacts and materials from the estates of leading figures in community history. The historical buildings include:
 Photographers’ shop
 Dress shop
 Newspaper print shop
 One-room school
The Galloway House and Village and the Blakely Historic Museum welcomes groups by appointment, extending its exhibition and educational resources through its guided and unguided tours.
Group visits are available at reduced rates for a minimum of ten and a maximum of fifty people. Reservations must be made by phone at least two weeks in advance. For further information, please call 920-923-1166 or e-mail at
Tours are available to educational, day-care and adult groups. Travel through our historic village with your own tour guide. Bring a lunch along and eat in the pavilion.
If an indoor history lesson is more appropriate, the site offers educational traveling trunks. There is a variety to choose from. These trunks can aid teachers in helping deliver history topics.
The Galloway House and Village is located on the south city limits of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin at 336 Old Pioneer Road, midway between Wisconsin 175 and U.S. 45.
Regular hours are Monday - Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Special group tours are available during closed hours by reservation only, May through October. For more information call 920-922-6390.
The Blakely Museum is open during regular business hours.
The Thornton Library/archives is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 am to 4 pm. Other times available upon request. You can also email to make an appointment.

Keeping in Touch with History continues...

Keeping in Touch with History continues...
Hearthstone Historical House

Hearthstone Historical House 
Built in 1882, this stunning Victorian landmark is the first home in the world lit by a hydroelectric central station based on the Thomas A. Edison system.
Guided tours of the museum offer a step back in time to the dawn of domestic electricity.
Hearthstone was lit on September 30, 1882 along with two other buildings. Only Hearthstone survives.
This was the first time in the world that several buildings were lighted with a central hydroelectric station using the Edison system.
The generator was situated in the beater room of the Appleton Paper and Pulp Company. The three buildings that were lighted on that historic occasion were the Appleton Paper and Pulp Company owned by John Van Nortwick and run by Henry J. Rogers who owned the home on the bluff above, now known as Hearthstone, and Kimberly & Clark’s Vulcan Paper Mill located nearby.
Only one other Edison central station existed in the nation. Thomas Edison’s steam powered Pearl Street Station in New York City began its operation September 4, 1882. It lit several businesses in the Wall Street area.
Hearthstone’s rare 1882 Edison light switches and electroliers still are in operation. It is possible that Hearthstone is the sole surviving example of wiring and fixtures in their original location from the dawn of the electrical age.
William Waters, a prominent, Fox Valley, turn-of-the-century architect, designed the stunning home. He gained national recognition for his Wisconsin building at Chicago’s 1893 World Columbian Exposition, and is noted for numerous prestigious private and public buildings throughout the Fox Cities, Oshkosh and Wisconsin.
Mr. & Mrs. Henry J. and Cremora Rogers and their daughter, Kitty, lived in their home approximately 11 years. They left Appleton in 1893. The house then changed hands nine times. In the 1930s it was a public restaurant called The Hearthstone because of its nine fireplaces.
In 1986 the City of Appleton considered razing the building. A grass-roots effort by 13 or more Appleton residents raised enough money to purchase the property in December 1986, saving it from destruction. The group formed the Friends of Hearthstone, Inc. and opened the home as a museum emphasizing its Edison heritage.
The building is being restored to the historic era 1880-1895.
Today guests from throughout the country and the world tour this amazing example of early domestic electricity.
At the Hands-On Hydro Adventure Center you can learn about electricity while trying fun hands-on activities. Adults and children alike will be captivated by their ability to generate electricity from a water wheel.
Try using one of Edison’s light switches, or try to generate enough electricity to make our electric trolley model work. The Hearthstone Hydro Adventure center is a great place for discovery for kids of any age!
The tour schedule is listed here: Thursday — Friday: First tour begins at 10 a.m., Saturday: First tour begins at 11 a.m., Sunday: First tour begins at 1 p.m. Tours are conducted every half hour with the last tour of the day beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Grignon Mansion
In 1837, Charles A. Grignon built this elegant Mansion as a wedding gift for his Pennsylvania bride, Mary Elizabeth Meade. An oasis of luxury and civilization on the Wisconsin frontier, this stately home was known as “The Mansion in the Woods” to countless travelers.
Today, a National and State Historic Site, the Grignon Mansion is a proud reminder of our state’s beginnings. Restored to the time period of 1837-62, when Charles lived there, the Mansion is a beautiful link to our heritage.
The Charles A. Grignon Mansion is located at 1313 Augustine Street in Kaukauna. For more information, contact (920) 766-6106,or email

Plymouth Historical Society Museum
The Plymouth Historical Society Museum is located in the heart of Plymouth’s downtown district at 420 E. Mill Street. Our museum is open year-round. The first floor of the facility is wheelchair accessible.
The museum is open to the public free of charge. The first floor gallery’s of the museum are open year-around Thursday through Sunday. The lower level Plank Road exhibit is open Memorial Day through Thanksgiving weekend. Hours are 10:00 to 2:00 p.m. We welcome school groups and guides are available when requested in advance.
The museum can accommodate private group tours. We welcome your group or organizations to hold its meetings or programs at the museum. Call us at (920) 893-1876 for more information.
The Stahlman Library is located on the second floor of the museum. The research library was established in honor of Jim Stahlman who, along with his wife Peg, founded the Plymouth Historical Society in 1990. The library resources may be viewed in-house. Because the library contains rare and unique collections, we do not allow items to be removed or checked out.
The library is open Tuesday from 9 to 12 noon or by appointment.

Keeping in Touch with History continues...

Keeping in Touch with History continues...
Wisconsin Maritime Museum

Wisconsin Maritime Museum & USS Cobia
Explore the nation’s most completely restored World War II submarine, stroll the streets of 19th century shipbuilding town, sail a boat down a river and more.
The Wisconsin Maritime Museum engages and educates the public about the maritime history of Wisconsin in the Great Lakes region, including Wisconsin’s World War II submarines and USS Cobia, by collecting and preserving artifacts and archival materials; creating interactive exhibits; promoting research; and developing and implementing maritime history and marine natural resource environmental educational programs.
Did you know that 28 submarines were built in Manitowoc during World War II? Although USS Cobia is not one of the 28 submarines built in Manitowoc, she is a National Historic Landmark and an International Submariners Memorial.
For more than 40 years Cobia has been a fitting memorial to the thousands of men and women who built submarines here and the brave men who served on them.
USS Cobia is the most intact World War II Submarine in the nation and is home to the oldest working radar in the world.
During a 45-minute guided tour you will learn how submarines operate and what life was like aboard a “pig boat” with 79 other men.
Tours of the submarine are offered seven days a week, weather permitting, throughout the year. Tour times are approximate and subject to change.
Allow three to four hours to fully explore the Museum and tour USS Cobia.
Experience Great Lakes maritime history at the largest maritime museum in the Midwest and the first Smithsonian Affiliate in Wisconsin.
Take a guided tour of USS Cobia, the nation’s most completely restored WWII submarine; learn even more about the everyday of life of the Cobia crew in our newest exhibit USS Cobia Below the Surface: Submarine Simulation Experience; operate a triple-expansion steam engine; stroll the streets of a historic Great Lakes port; scan the harbor through a periscope; explore some of the spectacular boats made in Wisconsin; and think like a scientist in our Suspect Species Investigation Lab!
If you want an unusual experience, you can book an overnight stay program on the USS COBIA.
The Wisconsin Maritime Museum’s USS Cobia Overnight Education Program offers people a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience first-hand a taste of submarine life. The program offers not only an educational alternative to the traditional camp-out, it also facilitates an appreciation of history and insight into a unique time in America’s past. Boy Scouts have the opportunity to earn towards the American Heritage Merit Badge during their visit, and Girl Scouts can work on their Local Lore Badge.
Overnight participants will receive a guided tour and overnight accommodation on board a World War II submarine. In addition to undertaking various educational activities, participants will be offered special supervised access to some non-public areas of the submarine and admission to the museum.
Cost is $44.00 per person. Food, snacks or refreshments are not provided. You will need to bring your own bedding. Submarine is fully heated and air conditioned, but participants are encouraged to dress in layers. Programming begins at 7:30 p.m. and includes accommodations aboard the USS Cobia, educational activities, and your museum admission the following day.
The Wisconsin Maritime Museum’s hours are listed here.
Summer (July - August): 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Fall (September - October): 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Winter (November - Mid March) Weekdays: 10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Saturday - Sunday: 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Spring (Mid March - June): 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
The museum is closed New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
May not be suitable for children under 10.

Kiel Area Historical Society-Charles Heins Home
Kiel Area Historical Society Membership involves people interested in preserving and expanding Kiel’s history. The KAHS house on Fremont Street and Third Street is furnished with period furnishings and many Kiel area artifacts. It was originally the home of Charles Heins, one of Kiel’s early business leaders.
Open House tours are given throughout the year. Membership is open to local and out of state people, as well as businesses and corporate memberships.
The home is open to public touring during major community events, and by appointment. For more information call 920-565-3830.

The Green Hotel
In Brillion, visitors can learn about history at The Green Hotel, the cornerstone for all Brillion Historical Society activity.
The Green Hotel was Brillion’s very first hotel, originally located on south Main Street. It was built in 1872 by F. F. Green, son of Asaph Green, who interestingly enough was a Chilton pioneer. The Brillion Historical Society took over the Green Hotel in 1969 and moved it to its present location on Francis Street.
Today, the Green Hotel serves as Brillion’s “History House” museum.

Keeping in Touch with History continues...

Keeping in Touch with History continues...
Calumet County Historical Museum

Calumet County Historical Museum
It has been a busy year for Calumet County Historical Society (CCHS) and that is just the way they like it. “We have had numerous fun projects going on this summer that has spurred renewed interest in the museum and area history in general,” CCHS member Mike Pichee said.
“When you visit the museum, you’re going to see a wonderful new lay out inside,” Terry Friederichs, CCHS president said. “We did not intend to do a large scale rearrangement of the museum, but that changed when we had the opportunity to purchase 12 new show cases. The new cases allowed the society to change the layout and create new displays which allow for improved viewing of the artifacts.”
To extend history outside of the museum the society launched a new Web site in May. The site not only gives details about the CCHS but also other local historical organizations, people in the area that are doing great work in history, and links so you can connect with them. Also featured is a priceless historic film of Chilton from 1938 that was originally commissioned by the Chilton Kiwanis Club.
 “This film is remarkable. What the Kiwanis filmed in 1938 and the newly added narration is amazing. It is an important commitment to history,” Friederichs said.
Pichee added, “In this film you will see some of the people that our streets are named after, business and stores that are long gone and even some early views of those that are still here. Chilton was really a bustling town in 1938 and the film does a great job of showcasing what small town life was like. You will see a parade and people outside of our churches, schools and businesses going about their daily business.”
Another ongoing project is a documentation project that captures every item and its historic significance. “We have the best software for a museum of our size courtesy of a Chilton Area Community Foundation grant. The project entails archiving thousands of objects that have been collected for over five decades by photographing and entering them into our software. It is a big project, but with the help of area high school students nearly 750 objects have been entered thus far,” Friederichs said.
 Additional new endeavors include digitalizing all the old county maps the museum has in its collection and emphasizing collectables from the 50’s and 60’s. Gifts from the Zarnoth Family Fund and the Allen and Karen Schuette Heritage Fund have contributed to the map project.
The museum dates back to 1961 when county veterinarian Dr. Royal Klofanda converted an old hatchery on his Reed St. property in Chilton to house his personal collection of antique farm and home implements. In September of 1967 ground was broken for the first of two 40 x 100 foot steel buildings that house the artifacts today. The museum does not charge admission and is funded mostly by the generosity of current society members, past members, and donations. It is affiliated of the Wisconsin Historical Society.
The Calumet County Historic Society Museum is located on Irish Road in Chilton just south of STH 32/57. Their two buildings and restored log cabin are open Sundays afternoons June through September but the society will open for private tours of any size. To arrange for a tour call (920)849-4042.
In addition, the society has five off site displays and provides outreach to area schools and organizations. Their website may be found at

Malone Area Heritage Museum
The Malone Area Heritage Museum is a historical museum which documents the history of immigrants into the Holyland region of Wisconsin.
The museum is affiliated with the Wisconsin Historical Society.
It has been in existence since 2005. It is open to the public on Thursday afternoons between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m. and on the second Sunday of each month.
The museum consists of two buildings. Both were purchased from Malone’s co-op.
One is the original train depot for Malone, which was moved across the street to its present location in early 2005.
Had the building not been moved, it would have been dismantled because it was in the way of large trucks.
It documents the development and usage of the Sheboygan and Fond du Lac Railroad. There is a piece of the original railroad that was dug up in a local field.
The building is the final remaining depot from that line.
The other building is a more recently purchased agricultural shop which is being adapted for displaying items as of 2008. Both buildings contain artifacts from activities common in the area, especially farming.
Documentation and photography are displayed from the local communities of St. Cloud, Mt. Calvary and its train station at Calvary Station, Charlesburg, Dotyville, St. Peter,
St. Joe, Garnet, St. Anna, Marytown, Taycheedah, Johnsburg, and Silica.
Mishicot Historical Museum
The Mishicot Historical Museum is housed in a two-room schoolhouse built in 1873.
In addition to displaying artifacts of Mishicot area history from pioneer days to the present, it features collections on rural schools and the Potawatomi Indians.
Admission is free. The museum is open weekends throughout the summer from 12-4 p.m. Other times by appointment
Henschel’s Indian museum
Henschel’s Indian Museum offers insights into settlements of native Americans along the lands adjacent to the Sheboygan County Marsh.
Located at N8661 Holstein Road, the site offers both a museum and active trout fishing ponds.
Either way you look at it, the Henschel family invites you to come for the fishing and stay for the museum or come for the museum and stay for the fishing!
The museum is full of both artifacts found on the Henschel site and the surrounding area, as well as collections on loan.
The ancient springs that feed the trout ponds no doubt was a source of fresh water for the indigenous peoples of the area.
Since the first Henschel homesteader settled in Sheboygan County in 1849, the family’s land has yielded evidence of 10,000 years of human occupation.
Today, the Henschel collection of prehistoric artifacts is one of the most complete in Wisconsin. A truly captivating collection of Indian artifacts including chipped and ground stone tools, bone tools, projectile points, copper implements, pottery and antler artifacts track the lives and times of the original culture inhabiting the area.
The museum and fishing opportunities are offered Memorial Day to Labor Day. Tue-Sat 1-5 p.m. or other times by appointment.
Each fall, Henschel’s Indian Museum also hosts a special fall festival, featuring pumpking patch, a corn maze and tours of the native woodland areas.

Keeping in Touch with History continues...

Keeping in Touch with History continues...

Pinecrest Historical Village
There’s a place where interactive experiences are intertwined with lifelong memories—where families grow closer together through stories and discover they have acres and acres of common ground.
Known as Pinecrest Historical Village, the site features buildings from around Manitowoc County, relocated and refurbished to make a village of living history.
Pinecrest Village is owned and operated by the private, non-profit, Manitowoc County Historical Society.
 At Pinecrest Village, history, science, art and nature are coming to life.
Pinecrest Historical Village was officially dedicated on Sunday, June 26, 1977. It is set as a village in Manitowoc County would have been around the year 1900.
The village features restorations of many actual buildings. Among them are—
• The Collins train depot;
• Two Creeks town hall;
• Rockwood Firehouse;
• Newton State Bank;
• Shadyside School;
• Tina Lulloff’s Cheesemaking building;
• The Nennig Dance Pavillion from Cleveland;
• A general store from Clarks Mills;
A new project is looming at Pinecrest—one which will make a big impact.
The Meeme House Inn, its original livery stable and poll house will soon make the 15 mile journey to Pinecrest Historical Village where all the buildings will be restored to their circa 1900 glory.
At Pinecrest the buildings will truly come alive!  The livery stable will be the center for horse-drawn wagon rides through the grounds and teach about the important care of the stagecoach horses.
 The Inn will be a central point for all Village business and socialization.  The space will also feature a circa 1900 era kitchen to be used for wood stove cooking classes.  The second floor boarding rooms will be utilized as overnight experiences for families and community groups.  A main focal point of the Inn is the ballroom and stage on the second floor which will provide countless hours of entertainment to visitors.
 The recreated property would not be complete without the historic poll house.  The poll house will come to life as political debates and elections take place at Pinecrest which will let our visitors decide on the “community’s” progress and elected mayor.
The cost of the project, expected to near $1 million, is expected to be provided through fundraising efforts.
Pinecrest Village is open Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
This fall, the Rural Life Days: Tractor Show and Thresheree will be held September 12-13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission is $7 for Adults, $6 for Seniors, $5 Children age 5 to 17, $18 for Family. MCHS and MLRI members are free. Must show Membership card at gate.

Newton Classic Cars
If you are a car buff and you like vintage vehicles, you might want to check out Newton Classic Cars, located at the intersection of I-43 and CTH C northeast of Newton.
Newton Classic Cars, 8010 County Trunk Highway CR, Newton.
Phone: 920-726-7600 for more information.

Aviation Heritage Center of Wisconsin
At the Sheboygan County Airport, one can find interesting lessons about the history of flying.
The Aviation Heritage Center of Wisconsin was founded in 2004 by a dedicated group of volunteers and EAA Chapter 766 who raised $1.4 million to construct its magnificent facility.
Since then, the Aviation Heritage Center has hosted thousands of visitors and pilots.
The Center’s mission is to preserve Wisconsin’s pioneering aviation history via fascinating exhibits. In addition, educational programs, including an affiliated flight school, encourage young people to pursue careers in aviation related fields.
Situated at the heart of the Sheboygan County Airport, the Center offers guests a close-up look at aircraft operations. During much of the year, Sheboygan County Airport is one of the busiest private aviation airports in the state.
Military Aircraft Simulators are one of the more fascinating offerings at the center.
The Center’s T-37 jet simulator is one of two in existence. These simulators were used by the United States Air Force to teach the fundamentals of jet aircraft operation to more than 78,000 U.S. Air Force fighter pilots.
The Center’s T-28 simulator is one of two in existence. The T-28 was a military trainer during the 1950s and 1960s, and many were used in combat during the Vietnam War.
The center also features four award-winning, radio controlled aircraft built by master craftsman Dario Brisighella.
Every piece of these airplanes was hand-made from scratch. No parts were bought or assembled from a kit. Everything – even the cockpit instrument markings, upholstered seats, navigation lights and flight controls - were delicately crafted by hand. On display are a rare de Havilland Hornet, a 1947 Stinson Voyager, Piel Emeraude, and Starduster Too. These aircraft a unique masterpieces of aviation art!

Keeping in Touch with History continues...

Keeping in Touch with History continues...

Sheboygan County Historical Museum 
The Sheboygan County Historical Society has as its primary mission to collect, preserve, and educate about the history of Sheboygan County.
The museum complex includes this stately brick building reflecting Judge David Taylor’s career and the era of 1850-1900; the 1864 Weinhold Family Homestead; the 1890’s Schuchardt Barn with rural agricultural displays; and the 1867 Bodenstab Cheese Factory with early commercial cheese making implements.
A recent addition of 20,000 sq. ft. features seasonal displays, temporary exhibits, classroom, and the museum store. Changing exhibits include Indian history, ice harvesting, maritime, circus, local sports, medical pharmaceutical, early agricultural and related trades.
This year one of the changing and seasonal exhibits touts the 60 year history of road racing at Road America, America’s Park of Speed.
The site offers self-guided tours of the main museum & four historic buildings. Hours from April 1 to October 31 are Mon. - Fri., 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults 18 and over with reduced rates for children and seniors.
Sheboygan County Historical Society Members are admitted free.
Free admission is provided to the nation’s active duty personnel including National Guard and Reserve and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2015.
Self-guided tours of the main museum & four historic buildings.

Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum
The Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum is the only museum dedicated to the preservation, study, production and printing of wood type.
With 1.5 million pieces of wood type and more than 1,000 styles and sizes of patterns, Hamilton’s collection is one of the premier wood type collections in the world. In addition to wood type, the museum is home to an amazing array of advertising cuts from the 1930s through the 1970s, and all of the equipment necessary to make wood type and print with it, as well as equipment used in the production of hot metal type, tools of the craft and rare type specimen catalogs.
The Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum has been open at its new location, 1816 10th Street, Two Rivers, since November of 2013.
The new address is a short distance from the original location with a stunning view of Lake Michigan. The building was previously owned by the Formrite Company of Two Rivers, and it’s more than twice the size of the original museum.
Self guided tours are available anytime during our regular business hours. Guided tours of the museum are offered at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Don’t forget the Hamilton staff hosts educational demonstrations, field trips, workshops and offers opportunities for artists, printers, historians and other scholars to experience this vast wood type collection.
Please contact the museum at or (920) 794-6272 for more information or to schedule a group visit.
Summer Hours: May 1-November 1: Tuesday-Saturday: 10am-5pm, Sunday: 1pm-5pm. Closed Monday.

Sheboygan Falls Walking Tour
This 1.5 hour, self-guided tour features more than 30 significant homes, churches and buildings. Two of its districts, the Cole District and Downtown Historic District, are listed on the National Register and are home to some of Sheboygan County’s oldest buildings.

Keeping in Touch with History

Keeping in Touch with History
The Timm House

It’s easy to dream about how things might have been years ago.
We may wonder what it was like to live in another era. What would our lives have been like? What would our homes have been like? What daily challenges would we have faced?
Instead of carrying so many questions about the past, it’s much easier to dig into opportunities in our surroundings to get in touch with that past. The opportunities surround us almost at every turn of the corner.

Thanks to the many organizations dedicated to preserving our history, Eastern Wisconsin abounds in opportunities to travel back in time.
Historical tourism beckons visitors from near and far alike to learn about those who have gone before us.
From native American history, to the proud immigrant history in our area, we can get a glimpse into early times.
This article contains a vignette style summary of the many opportunities that abound in Eastern Wisconsin for taking that trip back in time.

Timm House & Pioneer Corner
History has a home in New Holstein. Actually, it has two homes, thanks to the New Holstein Historical Society.
The New Holstein Historical Society, formed in 1961, owns two facilities. The Pioneer Corner Museum (2103 Main St.) houses a variety of collections that highlight the history of New Holstein and its surrounding areas.
There is always something new at the Pioneer since new displays, exhibits and vignettes are added. One visit is never enough!
The Timm House (1600 Wisconsin Ave.) is a restored Stick-Style Victorian home built in 1873 and added onto in 1892. It is decorated to the period of 1898 to 1905.
The New Holstein Historical Society undertook the huge task of restoring the Timm House in 2002. The house had been owned and maintained by the society since 1974 and the 100 plus years since it had been built had taken their toll. It was apparent that a full restoration was required in order to save the precious Victorian gem.
The Timm House is a house listed on the National Register of Historic Places in New Holstein, Wisconsin, United States. The house was the home of an original settler and prominent citizen, Herman C. Timm.
Timm came to New Holstein in 1848 from Marne, Germany at age 14. He made his money operating a feed mill called Calumet Feeds at the north end of the block the house is on.
He started a bank and was the first president of the village.
The Timm House is open on Saturdays and Sundays from the first weekend in May through the final weekend in October from 1 to 4 p.m. It is also open during the month of December for the Timm House Christmas. Times and dates are noted elsewhere on this website.
The Pioneer Corner Museum is open on Saturday & Sunday, 1 - 4 p.m. from the first weekend in May through the final weekend of October.
Pioneer Corner Museum is located at 2013 Main Street, in the historic Market Square area of New Holstein.
The museum is located in a building which served as one of New Holstein’s early general stores. It showcases an extensive collection of artifacts, displays and vignettes that recall the early years of the community. The Fenn Button Collection is also on display here.
You can also learn more about these sites and the New Holstein Historical Society by visiting their website—

Elkhart Lake Depot Museum
Elkhart Lake’s Depot Museum is located in the Elkhart Lake village square adjacent to the railroad tracks.
The century-old railroad station houses original depot furnishings and memorabilia recording the history of this resort community.
The depot museum is generally open Memorial Day through Labor Day. Call 920-526-3392 for times. One of the best times for a visit is on Saturday mornings, when the adjacent square is packed full of activity with the Elkhart Lake Farmer’s Market.

11 great places to enjoy fall colors

11 great places to enjoy fall colors

Autumn in Wisconsin is all about the color…and getting out to see it. Here are eleven fall color driving tours guaranteed to put you in a front row seat for Mother Nature’s annual show. Of course, you can always design your own fall driving tour; from urban parks to colorful country roads, Wisconsin is loaded with colorama opportunities throughout the autumn season.
The Wisconsin Fall Color Report is your guide to peak colors throughout Wisconsin. With 100 fall color reporters providing updates in all 72 counties of the state, there is no other report that is as comprehensive or timely.

Marinette County’s Waterfall Tour
Marinette County’s Waterfall Tour is a scenic wonder in autumn; a series of 14 falls and cataracts linked in a 125-mile loop tour. See one or see ‘em all; make your fall foliage driving tour as long or as short as you want. Half the falls are located in pleasant county parks with picturesque footbridges and practically-perfect picnic areas.
Marinette County boasts some of the finest whitewater paddling in the Midwest on the Pike, Peshtigo and Pemebonwon Rivers. They run fast and clear through pine and hardwood forests that light-up in beautiful fall colors during the autumn season. Their tributaries offer 623 miles of excellent trout fishing.
Access the falls via Parkway Road on the west side of the county, or Hwy. 141 on the east. Blue “waterfall tour” signs mark the route and help you find some of the more hidden – and lovely – falls.

Hayward Lakes Area
The Hayward Lakes Area in northwestern Wisconsin has developed six fall color tours ranging from 45-70 miles in Sawyer County. Most of the driving routes traverse portions of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, the Lac Courte Oreilles Indian Reservation, or the Blue Hills vibrant with fall color this time of year. Fall foliage scenic routes are well-marked with numbered signs that incorporate a distinctive leaf-design.
Hayward is one of Wisconsin’s prime fall vacation areas, so you’ll find plenty of resort accommodations and eateries, as well as world-class fall walleye and musky fishing. The 74-mile Tuscobia State Trail, popular with ATV riders, bisects Sawyer County and offers other fall driving tour options.

Upper Mississippi River Valley
The Upper Mississippi River Valley is fantastic for scenic fall drives; a broad ribbon of water shouldered by sandstone bluffs daubed in amber and rust. Follow Hwy. 35 (the Great River Road) from Prescott to Potosi for 234 miles of charming river towns, antique shops, great cafes, and stunning bluff-top views.
Along the way, observation platforms allow you to watch river barges “lock through” at Lock & Dam No. 4 at Alma, No. 6 at Trempealeau, and No. 8 at Genoa. Enjoy three Wisconsin State Parks, a pair of Wisconsin Historical Society sites, terrific walleye and bass fishing, and some of the finest bird watching in the Midwest (they do, after all, call it the “Mississippi Flyway”).

Kewaunee and Door Counties
Protected by the warming waters of Lake Michigan, the hardwoods of Kewaunee and Door Counties make for scenic fall drives. You can trace Hwy. 42 north from Kewaunee to Gills Rock at the very tip of the Door County thumb (75 miles). On your return fall foliage road trip, follow Hwy. 57 down the Lake Michigan side of the peninsula for the “other half” of the Door County experience.
Along the way, enjoy terrific bluff-top views of the lake, a set of four popular state parks (Potawatomi, Peninsula, Newport and Whitefish Dunes), seven picturesque lighthouses in as many charming towns, apple orchards to pick-a-peck, and a 20-minute ferry ride to Washington Island. The Door County peninsula is one of Wisconsin’s premier fall vacation destinations, so quality accommodations, restaurants, shopping and attractions are always close at hand.

Bayfield Peninsula
Fall colors frame the views along the Bayfield Peninsula tour. Start in Ashland at the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center where a wonderful series of exhibits detail the area’s regional history and culture.
During your scenic fall driving tour follow Hwy. 13 and the Lake Superior shore north to Bayfield, a quaint harbor town with a great fall vacation vibe. Bayfield is also the gateway to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore; 21 gem-like coastal islands and 12 miles of mainland that are home to six lighthouses, labyrinthine sea caves, terrific blue-water sailing, and some of the best sea kayaking in the world. You can take a ferry to Madeline Island where you can visit Big Bay State Park and a State Historical Society site.
North of Bayfield, Hwy. 13 swings west paralleling Lake Superior’s southern shore for forty miles to the Brule River State Forest – 40,000 acres of beautiful fall color, whitewater canoeing, kayaking, camping and trout fishing.

Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive
The Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive is a 115-mile ramble through the riot of oak, maple and aspen fall color in the 50,000 acres of the southern and northern units of the Kettle Moraine State Forests.
The scenic fall drive traverses six Wisconsin counties; from Whitewater Lake in Walworth County north to Elkhart Lake in Sheboygan County. The forests include much of the terminal moraine (where the last great glacier stopped 12,000 years ago) in south-central Wisconsin. There are many places to picnic, hike, camp, bike, swim and fish during your fall foliage road trip.
Marked by distinctive green and white “Acorn” signs, the scenic fall drive ends near Greenbush and the Wade House – an 1844 stagecoach inn operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Hilltop Color Tour
Three of the state’s highest points can be found in central Wisconsin along the Hilltop Fall Color Tour from Wausau to Ogema to Neillsville.
A 60-foot observation tower in Rib Mountain State Park near Wausau affords a breathtaking perspective of the Wisconsin River Valley’s fall foliage below. The mountain, estimated at one billion years old, is one of the oldest geological features on the planet.
Timm’s Hill, near Ogema, is the highest point in Wisconsin – 1,951 feet above sea level. The peak is preserved in Timm’s Hill County Park. At its top, an observation tower rises an additional 60 feet for outstanding views of the surrounding forest and its breathtaking fall colors.
One of the best fall foliage drives includes The Highground near Neillsville which occupies a ridge that overlooks colorful hillsides and glacial moraines. It is dedicated as a memorial park with many sculptural tributes to Wisconsin veterans.

Lake Geneva Area
For more than a century, vacationers have come to the Lake Geneva Area in every season. Autumn is particularly delightful here where fall colors abound.
A trio of Wisconsin Rustic Roads (R-11, R-12 and R-36 totaling nearly 20 miles of scenic fall driving) accesses the Lyons State Wildlife Area just northeast of the city. They are easily accessed via Sheridan Springs Road and Spring Valley Road. These quiet country roads traverse glacial Kettle Moraine topography passing through large wooded areas of oak, maple and hickory, as well as old cranberry bogs and the tiny community of Lyons with its several quaint churches. Of course, the Lake Geneva area offers much more for the fall traveler. Enjoy fall color cruises on the lake, championship golf, spa retreats, boutique shopping, a full range of dining and lodging options – even a chance to see the giant telescope at the Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay.

Black River State Forest
The Black River State Forest lies just east of Black River Falls in west-central Wisconsin. Its 68,000 acres accesses some unique geology that makes it a great destination for fall foliage road trips. The forest lies in two lobes; the largest north of Interstate 94, and a smaller lobe to the south. The southern lobe includes Castle Mound. A hike to the top provides colorful fall views of the former bed of glacial Lake Wisconsin, as well as the unglaciated buttes, sandstone hills and castellated bluffs that dot the fall forest landscape.
While driving through the beautiful fall colors, you can access the northern lobe of the forest via North Settlement Road (I-94 exit 128 at Millston). The road sweeps north ten miles to the Dike 17 Wildlife Area. Climb the observation tower there to see the autumn splendor, as well as sandhill cranes, geese, ducks, bobolinks, warblers, harriers, and bald eagles. The forest also offers 98 family campsites, 27 miles of hiking trails, and 33 miles of mountain bike and ATV trails. As a bonus, the Black River Falls area is rich in cranberry bogs, turned red in autumn with the seasonal harvest.

Wisconsin River/Baraboo Hills Tour
The Wisconsin River/Baraboo Hills Fall Tour begins in Lodi and heads west on Hwy. 113 for five miles to Cty. V and Gibraltar Rock County Park (watch for the signs). The climb to the top is steep and not for the faint-of-heart, but the autumn views are truly spectacular. Two miles further on Hwy. 113 and you’ll cross the Wisconsin River aboard the ColSac III Merrimac carferry – it’s free. Hwy. 113 then turns north and bisects Devil’s Lake State Park – one of Wisconsin most popular parks with terrific views of the fall color from the bluffs above the deep blue lake. Hwy. 113 continues into Baraboo where the kids will love a stop at Circus World Museum.
For more fall foliage driving, follow Hwy. 12 north seven miles to Fern Dell Road west to Mirror Lake State Park. From there the many amusements of Wisconsin Dells – including autumn boat tours through the carved sandstone bluffs of the Wisconsin River – are just minutes away.

Dodgeville to Spring Green
The scenic fall drive along Hwy. 23 from Dodgeville to Spring Green is one of the most picturesque in southwestern Wisconsin. This 18-mile stretch traverses the hardwood ridges and valleys of Wisconsin’s driftless area. During your fall foliage road trip, you can visit a pair of Wisconsin state parks as well as two of the state’s top tourism attractions. For additional fall color adventure, take any of the intersecting roads that meander the coulees and echo their history – Norwegian Hollow Road, Hunter Hollow Road, or Percussion Rock Road.
Just outside Dodgeville, Governor Dodge State Park offers 5,000 acres of fun with 270 campsites, 28 miles of hiking trails and a scenic waterfall. Closer to Spring Green, The House on the Rock’s daring infinity Room features a 218-foot-long glass walkway that hangs over the autumn splendor of the Wyoming Valley, 156 feet below. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Wisconsin home, Taliesin, is nearby as is Tower Hill State Park.

VERVE celebrates 5th year Women of Delta share insights on the magazine

VERVE celebrates 5th year Women of Delta share insights on the magazine

This May, Verve for Women marks its five year anniversary.
Eastern Wisconsin’s quarterly magazine for women has enjoyed wide readership and success, as it has taken the opportunity to share stories about strong women, and topics of interest to women of all backgrounds.
Women lead the way at Delta Publications, Inc. in preparing each Verve that hits the newsstands. Women at Delta Publications help shape the vision for Verve and the spearhead the selling and production of the magazine. From brainstorming content, to writing stories and columns, selling advertising, producing graphic designs for ads and layouts, assisting customers and delivering the magazine to news outlets—women have the lead roles in bringing this magazine to the readers.
On its fifth anniversary, the women of Delta and Verve shared some of their insights about the project and what it means to them.
Together they paint a picture of passion and enthusiasm for a publication that continues to speak to women of all backgrounds.

Early excitement
Delta Publications sales manager Pam Mathes said, “From the very first edition it was evident that Verve was going to be a success.  Women from our area were excited to have a local magazine that covered issues and topics that span several generations.”
 “The Delta team loves working on every edition of Verve and our efforts show in the quality product we produce.  We have fun and are proud of every edition.  Thank you to our readers and advertisers for continuing to support Verve.”
Office manager Sharon Schjoth echoed that sentiment, noting that the team spirit in producing Verve  comes from many years of working together and growing together.
To her Verve symbolizes “women and independence.” She said, “The past five years of publishing Verve, we have had so many different aspects of stories, that I have learned so much from, either a new recipe, or a new subject I didn’t know anything about, or learning additional knowledge on something I enjoy.”
Donna Berchem, a member of the office staff at Delta, sees through her role how readers have connected with Verve magazine.
“I see it connecting with all ages of women. From older to younger stopping in to get the latest edition. Waiting for the next, wondering who the person is on the front?  I tell them it is a random photo. One person didn’t believe me, and actually it was a man picking it up for his wife. He thought he knew the lady on the cover.”

Enjoyment obvious
Schjoth concurred on what it means to see people enjoying the magazine. “It’s always enjoyable to see that excitement on people’s faces when they come in and ask “Is this the new one?”  The smiles to me mean they enjoy what we publish and the work we do is appreciated,” she said.
“And, Verve isn’t just enjoyed by women alone. Men enjoy it as well.”
Berchem said an elderly lady usually calls from a nursing home wanting to get an issue.
“I am not sure where my mother came upon the magazine from Mount Calvary, but she made a specific point to make sure I get a copy for her,” Berchem said. “I just think it’s amazing that a tiny quarterly magazine can have such an enthusiastic following.”  
Berchem feels Verve connects with some soft spots in women especially the portrayed spirit and enthusiasm that women can relate to.
“Reading all the amazing articles of women in leadership rolls, to women in farming, caregivers, etc. hopefully it will inspire others to find their passion in life,” she said.
“Even in simple ways. In reality we are all different, but truly validating that at heart, all the same.”
Berchem has her favorite parts of Verve. “I especially like Darlene Buechel’s section at the end. I recall some of the same events in my life that she writes about. It stirs up memories from family holidays etc. The times were so different and memorable then but yet young women of today I think are trying to go back to those family values that were lost somewhere along the way,” she shared.
Dianne Fett is a member of the sales staff who  started with Delta Publications in April 2010. “Our first Verve came out in mid-May so it was very exciting to get in on the ground floor,” she said.
“Many of my friends live out of the area and I always give them a copy. They seem to enjoy Verve also. Some of them were actually in the “Show us Your Verve” contest,” she said.
“If I had to pick a favorite part of Verve it would be the articles that are about our customers. It gives us the opportunity to give back to them. I also enjoy the Women in Motion questions. There have been several I wish I could have answered myself.”

Getting the right look
Fett says working with customers on the right look for their ad has been rewarding. “I like the fact that all ads are in color,” she said.
Candy Te Beest, also a sales rep, said about the magazine, “Verve is entertaining, informational, educational.  I love the sharing of thoughts and ideas from women in all walks of life and circumstances. Verve is great for shopping and recipes, too!”
Graphics team leader Judy Preder sees the work that goes into producing Verve each quarter. “I’m very fortunate to be part of a team that works very hard on making this magazine come together and always excited to see it in print.
Preder appreciates how the magazine focus on local businesses/and individuals that are right here in our communities. “Some we didn’t even realize is in our backyards. There are so many women in our communities that have amazing talents, gifts and dedication to offer—and Verve brings that to light,” she said.
Preder finds it rewarding when she is out and about and hears the community, family or friends talking about the magazine. “It’s great to hear how they experience some of the articles we featured, and sharing their eagerness for the future editions.”
Preder said, “Of course this all could not happen if it weren’t for our advertisers. So thank you for making this a successful magazine for our community and also for me to enjoy.”

Vibrant, soulful spirit
In celebrating its fifth anniversary, Verve Magazine continues to reflect the vibrant, soulful spirit that is marked by the unique women who make up its readership area. But, more than that, Verve continues to reflect the vision and spirit of the professional staff that produces it each quarter.
Delta Publications president Mike Mathes said, “We are truly blessed to have this team of dedicated and amazing professionals working together to bring you this magazine. Their fervor, excitement and talents are what makes Verve the product it has become. They are all truly women with great Verve!” °


Helping hospice one couch at a time

Helping hospice one couch at a time

The Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice in Sheboygan Falls provides care for individuals with life limiting conditions, helping about 400 families per year.
Little did the staff know when the hospice started in 2007 that the day would come when the sale of used lamps, couches, books, tableware, jewelry, clothing and much more would help provide significant funding for the valuable work done at the hospice center.
Andrew Viglietti was the finance manager for the hospice center a couple years ago when he attended a conference and learned that other hospice centers had opened resale shops to help fund their efforts. He brought back the idea to the board of the Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice, but they were concerned because there were already so many thrift stores in the county.
Viglietti was persistent, however, and saw a vision for a resale shop which would be a little more upscale. Eventually the board gave the OK to the idea, and in October 2013 the Richardson Hospice Resale Store opened in the Plankview Green Shopping Center in Sheboygan Falls at the intersection of STH 32 and STH 23—thanks in part to the support of landlord Ron Burrows.
Barely a year later the Resale Store had outgrown its initial location of 2,300 square feet. In a one-day move last November it relocated just a few doors down in the same shopping center, and is now doing a good job filling 10,000 square feet. Viglietti is now the administrator of the hospice center which last year benefitted from $50,000 provided by the Resale Store, and sales so far this year are up significantly.
Margaret Kirton manages the Resale Store and is its only paid employee, overseeing a friendly and loyal crew of about 60 to 70 volunteers. Kirton said the Richardson Hospice Resale Store is not only a little different than other resale stores inside, but also in the cause it supports. “I think that’s one of the ways we’ve created a loyal customer base,” Kirton said about people wanting to shop at the Resale Store because of its connection to the hospice center.
“It is a fabulous place,” a customer by the name of Karen said recently after purchasing several items. “I feel so at home here. I want to be a volunteer here.” She added that her out-of-state family members make it a point to stop at the Resale Store when they visit, and she also said her mother had benefitted from the care at the hospice center.
In addition to providing hospice services at its center located at W2850 STH 28, The Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice also provides hospice and palliative services wherever people call home. Nobody is turned away based on an inability to pay, which is why funds from the Resale Store are so important.
Similarly, the volunteers at the Resale Store want to help because of the important services provided by the hospice. All volunteers are taken to the hospice center for their orientation. Some have been there before or at least know about hospice; for others, it is their first time and it leaves an impression. Perhaps that is why the Resale Store continues to grow its volunteer base, said Kirton, who experienced the care given by the hospice center when her husband passed away last December.
One volunteer was recruited when Kirton visited the woman’s rummage sale and asked if she wanted to help her at the Resale Store. Another volunteer said she envisioned this Resale Store being more upscale than others—and that is exactly what Kirton and her helpers have created. There are still plenty of items which can be purchased for a few quarters or dollars, but also very nice used furniture, desks, paintings, and more.
There have even been a few amazing finds. A plate recently was donated to the store which, upon further investigation, was found to be quite rare and now carries a price tag of $149. Kirton said she also uses eBay to sell some items and once sold a pair of rare floor lamps for $1,000 apiece to a couple in Mississippi.
High quality furniture sells well at the Resale Store, as do books and art. The jewelry case has been upgraded recently and that has resulted in increased sales. Staff is regularly rearranging the store to give it a fresh look.
“We like to have a balance so that everyone can be successful,” Kirton said of the shopping experience at the Resale Store. She also pointed out a second large room which is filled with clearance items marked down 50 percent.
Resale Store volunteers will pick up items from the homes of donors, some of whom are cleaning out homes because they or their loved one are entering the 18-suite hospice. More volunteers able to pick up items are being sought. Donations also can be made at the store and are tax deductible with receipts issued.
Angelia Neumann, director of development and communications for Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice, said larger companies in the area also regularly help out with donated furniture when they remodel, as well as with cash donations.
The Resale Store was nominated as the Nonprofit of the Year by the Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce and won the Business Startup of the Year Award from the Sheboygan Falls Chamber of Commerce.
But Kirton and her volunteers do not do what they do to win awards. Their number-one goal is to help the Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice—one couch, one lamp, and one sweater at a time.

More about the Store

Hours: Mondays to Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Fridays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Phone: (920) 550-2114
Items accepted: quality clothes, next-to-new baby and teen clothes, furniture for all rooms, antiques, collectibles, housewares, home decor, linens, toys, games, models, puzzles, books, CDs, DVDs, computer games, rugs, tools, and more; call first for vehicles, recreational vehicles and boats; also accepted upon pre-approval are mattresses, entertainment centers, and medical supplies
Not accepted: large exercise equipment, blinds, window shades, ironing boards, car seats, cribs, computers, TVs

Fit Moms for Life

Fit Moms for Life

by Faye Burg
After a group of community members attended a recent Night for Women event last fall in Chilton, they were inspired to come together and start a local group focusing on community health and fitness.
Jenny Konen, public relations and marketing coordinator at Calumet Medical Center, had arranged for Dustin Maher, a fitness professional, to be the featured speaker at the Night for Women event in 2014. “There was a very positive response to having Dustin speak at Night for Women as we thought there might be,” Konen said. “Not only did Dustin speak at the event, but we offered a boot camp for attendees to try out the next morning which was also well attended. Of course after the event, attendees wanted to join the program. At the time, we didn’t have anyone in the area who could lead the program. Shortly afterwards, I met Olivia Cully as she had attended the event. Olivia, myself and a few others from the community got together to talk about how we could improve access to physical activity programs in Calumet County and the surrounding areas as it is very scarce.”
Cully, who said she hopes to eventually lead a Zumba class in the area, said she thought the program through Dustin Maher known as Fit Moms for Life could potentially be a nice option for local ladies. “I had never done the program myself nor did I know the ins and outs of it, so I’ve been learning along the way with the rest of the team,” she said.
“We are all real people in this group,” Cully said. “There are days when we fail and when we want to give up. Personally there are days when I eat way more than I know I should and self-control is a concept I quickly dismiss so that I can eat whatever I want. There are days when I eat due to my emotions. There are weeks when I slack on working out because life happens, or I just can’t scrounge enough energy to make it happen or use my time as wisely as I should. There have been seasons where I have had to give my body a rest from exercise due to physical limitations.
“There are days when I wonder if this really is something I want to commit myself to for the rest of my life as it takes discipline and drive every single day and frankly sometimes I just get tired of having to be disciplined and driven over and over again,” Cully shared. “I have learned though that whenever a setback occurs, I have to keep going and realize that tomorrow is a new day. One good decision is a step forward, and once I start making one good decision after another it becomes easier, it becomes more of a habit, and that translates into a life-style.”

There are setbacks
Cully said she still has days that she calls setbacks, but the Fit Moms for Life program has helped her learn to let go and move on from bad days. “I am learning to make a good decision sooner and to capture how I felt on the difficult days so that I can better fight returning to those temptations when they arise. I am learning that what I think I am missing out on, like a second helping of dessert, is not really as wonderful and magical as I make it out to be in my mind. Usually my setbacks lead to feeling tired or sick to my stomach, and this is not how I want to live life.
“We have to forgive ourselves and let go, so to speak, and continue on our journey forward and that’s why the community of the Fit Moms for Life Six-Week Challenge is so important. You’re in a group with others that have probably experienced the same struggles in some way that you have.
“Whether you haven’t done anything physical in years or decades or whether you work out every day this program is great because one of the main focuses is community and therefore accountability,” Cully explained. “Those two things are so important when it comes to health and wellness, especially for women. This six-week challenge can help you start your healthy living journey or it can help enhance what you already do and challenge your body and mindset in new ways.”
According to Cully the program workouts for Fit Moms for Life are short and effective. “Women tend to stray away from weights and lifting and building muscle, but building muscle actually helps our bodies to burn more calories while toning and strengthening our bodies for everyday activities. I have done some exercises with weights over the years but not a lot. This challenge has been good for me in that sense. I have been working my way up to heavier weights, and it feels great to know that I pushed myself. The weight training aspect of fitness is so important for our overall health.”

Making time for this
Time is a major factor for most women and Cully understands how hard it can be to fit another activity into daily lives. “But I also think it’s so important to find a way to make time. Maybe that means we get up an extra hour earlier or maybe that means we don’t watch TV after supper; maybe that means we cook ahead on the weekends so we have a couple more evenings free to work out. The cool thing about this challenge is that you can try it out for a month and a half and if at the end of it, you just don’t think it’s a good fit for your lifestyle and schedule, then you can stop. If you find that you can make it work, that you feel great and that you are seeing results then you may realize that whatever you’ve had to set aside or move around is well worth it.”
Cully explained the program workouts and cost as being very manageable and cost efficient. “The workouts are only 20 to 30 minutes long four days a week. Such a low time commitment but, again, they are effective. The cost is also minimal for the investment. The digital version comes down to a little over $1 a day, and you will always have access to the materials.
“This program challenge focuses on lifestyle. It’s not a diet or just an exercise program. It’s about making changes and keeping with those changes because you want to and because you like what those changes mean for you and your family. The community and accountability aspect of this challenge is what I think makes it so successful. It’s hard to stick with new things in terms of health and wellness because it’s hard to be motivated and to stay motivated. When you have others who will check in on you or do the workouts with you it helps keep you going even when you don’t want to. And with that comes long-term workout and accountability partners even when the six weeks is up.”
Members of the group represent different age groups and abilities. Exercises and diets can be modified to fit each person’s strengths and abilities. “This is not just for moms,” Cully stressed. “Although it is targeted toward moms, you don’t have to be a mom or even female to participate in the challenge. This program can be effective for any individual.”

Finding days which work for all
Most challenging in leading the group has been finding a day or time when everyone wishing to participate can make it to the time and day specified. “Because we’re a small group of five, it makes a difference when a few can’t make it, but we’ve made the most of it. Everyone has been understanding and supportive of it all, and we’re still moving forward. Life happens. No matter the size, it will be hard to have every participant at every meeting, but our goal is to make it as convenient a time and day for the most people as possible,” Cully said.
Seeing women make changes in their lives and feel empowered to do so because they want to is the most rewarding part for Cully in leading the challenge group. “I love seeing the ladies push themselves physically. When we’re doing group workouts, I can tell when someone is really giving it her all or trying to push herself or attempting something she’s not sure she can do. It’s so cool, so inspiring, and so motivating. It keeps me accountable and makes me want to give more and push harder.”
Cullen said she hopes to inspire other women to realize they can be successful in whatever they would like to accomplish in terms of health and wellness. “Sometimes these things seem impossible, we just don’t want to take the time, we lack the motivation and drive, and we don’t see change, so we give up, and we end up just thinking it’s OK or I am fine where I am. But we are capable, we can push ourselves, we can accomplish goals.”
Local resident Anna Waldron said she is participating in the group to build connections with other women who care about nutrition and exercise and their related health benefits. “Fit Moms for Life gives you a support system and provides accountability for keeping up with food and exercise journaling, which can be hard to make a priority amidst all my other responsibilities,” Waldron said.
Low cost, high accountability
Member Deb Wagner said she likes what she calls the very low cost of participating in the group. “I also like the accountability and the support received in the group,” she said, adding she decided to join after she attended the 30-minute gym time offered after the Night for Women event.
Lisa Mathes said she knew she needed to get more movement in her life which is why she decided to participate in Fit Moms for Life. “I like the balance of activity and nutrition offered,” Mathes said. “It helps me hold myself accountable.”
“I’m so happy that it worked out for Olivia to lead this group,” Konen said. “She is a great inspiration and a good leader. Olivia is at the point in her life where she can relate to the moms participating.
“I’m glad we were able to introduce our community to this program and now make it available,” she continued. “I think it’s important for people to know that this program is not just about weight loss. It’s more than that. It’s about the whole person—mind, body and spirit. The people in the program become a family as they are all going through the same things, maybe not at that moment but at some time in their life. The support the group gives each other is like no other.”
“The potential we spoke of to form a local group is now a reality, and I hope it can be a reality for many more women and moms in our community which is why we hope to continue with another and hopefully even another after that,” Cully said.
Cully said many positive things have been learned with this first challenge group. “We’ve all learned things and applied things and changed things,” Cully explained. “I think this local Fit Moms for Life group is off to a good start. I’m so grateful for and to the first members of the program. I’m grateful they put themselves out there, stepped out of their normal routine or comfort zones, and made it happen. I hope they will all be encouraged by the fruit of passing on the legacy to future groups to come.”
“We’re all in it together to encourage and support each other on this forward moving journey,” Olivia added. “I love building community, getting to know people, and connecting others. This is just another way to do all of these.”
For more information on local Fit Moms for Life and future six-week challenge groups please send an e-mail to

Fighting cancer on her terms

Fighting cancer on her terms
Kiel woman relies on faith, nutrition, exercise to let her body do what it was created to do

by Faye Burg

Kim Olson of Kiel met the love of her life while helping a family member who was fighting breast cancer.
Now, 25 years later, Olson herself is fighting that same battle and has chosen nutrition and lifestyles changes to treat her cancer.
Olson was diagnosed with Stage II, Grade 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in May 2013 after finding a lump in her breast. “After I found the lump myself in my right breast, I saw my family doctor who scheduled a mammogram followed by an ultrasound and a needle biopsy,” Olson explained. “The radiologist called me with the biopsy results and diagnosis the next day.”
“When I found the lump, I immediately had a feeling it was cancer, for no other reason than the fact that my family had not yet experienced any serious trials, and I had often wondered when it would be our turn,” Olson said, adding she never experienced any symptoms before being diagnosed. “I simply found the lump in my breast one day and had it checked out.”
“As soon as I had the diagnosis I began researching everything I could about breast cancer, specifically, and about cancer in general,” she said.

Taking news in stride
Olson said she was calm when she received the diagnosis. “I wasn’t filled with fear or worry; I was very calm and accepting and matter-of-fact about it. That response was partially due to my personality, and mostly due to my faith. I put my trust in Christ a long time ago, and because of the salvation I experienced through Him and the relationship I have with Him, I know that whatever happens in my life is not only allowed by Him, but I can also trust His promise to be with me through everything. Philippians 4:7 speaks of God's peace, which is beyond comprehension, ‘keeping your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’ That is what I experienced.”
Olson and her husband Bob have been married for 21 years and have five children ranging in age from 19 years to 9 years. “We met in 1990, while I was in Michigan helping take care of my cousin’s five small children while she underwent chemo treatments for breast cancer.”
The most difficult part for Olson of learning she had cancer was telling her children. “They were understandably upset and emotional, and as a mom whose instinct is to protect and make everything better, it was hard to have to give them news that caused fear and sadness. I knew they were thinking that their mom might die, and it was heartbreaking hearing my youngest child, through her tears, say those exact words.”
She spent a great deal of time with her children giving them information, answering their questions and reminding them of their faith. “We spoke of God’s promises, His faithfulness and His sovereignty,” Olson said. “Then we all prayed together as a family.”

Considering her options
After her diagnosis, Olson was presented with treatment options including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and the drug Tamoxifen, which would lower her estrogen levels. “My cancer was estrogen receptor positive,” Olson explained. “I chose to have the lumpectomy which is the removal of only the cancerous tumor, but not the sentinel lymph node biopsy. I declined radiation, chemo, and Tamoxifen, choosing a natural approach of fighting the cancer instead, which included detox, diet changes, supplements, and lifestyle changes.”
Olson said she discovered through her research that the sentinel lymph node biopsy surgery, which is a much more invasive procedure than just the removal of the tumor, is only done to determine treatment recommendations. “I confirmed this with my surgeon,” she said. “If cancer is in the lymph nodes, chemotherapy would definitely be recommended. So, if the patient has already decided to either get or refuse chemo, this surgery is unnecessary. Since I had already decided not to have chemo, I chose to skip the lymph node biopsy and just have a lumpectomy.”
“Even before I was diagnosed with cancer, having seen or known people who had gone through standard cancer treatments, it never really made sense to me to poison the entire body in order to kill some cells,” Olson said referring to chemotherapy. “Chemo doesn’t only attack the cancer cells; it is a systemic treatment that attacks cells throughout the entire body, decimating the immune system and weakening the whole body. I thought there had to be a better way to beat cancer and maintain health at the same time.”
“Also through research, I learned that both radiation and chemotherapy cause more cancer,” she added. “While both treatments do kill cancer cells, they also cause normal cells to mutate into cancerous cells weeks, months, or years later. Chemotherapy also causes those cancer cells to become resistant to chemo drugs, requiring stronger and stronger chemo drugs to be used when one stops working. This explains why cancer patients who undergo these treatments will commonly be declared in remission or cancer free for a period of time, but then at some point, the cancer returns, either as a recurrence of the original cancer, or as a new cancer in some other part of the body, so more, stronger chemotherapy is given and the cycle repeats. That seemed pretty counterproductive to me, and I really didn’t want to trade one cancer for another down the road.”
Olson decided to forego treatment with the drug Tamoxifen because she said it disrupts the body’s endocrine system and artificially induces menopause. “It also has a host of unpleasant and harmful side effects of its own, and again, it didn’t make sense to me.”

Improving diet, nutrition
Working with Dr. Nic Giebler for five years, Olson had learned a lot about nutrition and said she had loosely followed Giebler’s nutritional recommendations. “After I was diagnosed, I fully implemented a change in diet and nutrition. I also read several books, but the majority of my research was done online. As I learned more about specific foods and nutrients that were especially effective against cancer, or about specific foods that contributed to cancer, I added to or eliminated them from my diet. I am continually researching and learning more all the time.”
“I chose to use nutrition and lifestyle changes to fight my cancer when I realized that our bodies are designed to heal themselves, and I needed to get my body back to the state where it could function the way it is meant to function,” Olson said. “Our complicated immune systems are capable of identifying, killing, and eliminating cancerous cells, but when the body and the immune system is overwhelmed because it can’t keep up with the inflammatory load caused by poor diet, poor nutrition, toxins, stress, etc., it can’t function the way it was designed.”
Olson said the body and immune system’s inability to deal with various health issues going on in the body results in symptoms such as allergies, joint pain, digestive issues, thyroid issues, skin issues, sleeping problems, autoimmune disorders, and cancer, among other things. “Cancer is a symptom of a poorly functioning body,” she said. “Surgery, chemo, radiation, and drug therapies only address the symptoms and do not address the reason why the body is allowing cancer cells to thrive and proliferate in the first place. Nutrition and natural, alternative cancer treatments change the environment of the body from one of ‘dis-ease’ back to an environment of strength and health in which the body systems can function properly and heal the body.
“Although there are many natural, alternative cancer treatments available, I have not had to seek them out at this point. The nutrition and lifestyle changes I have implemented so far have been adequate to beat my cancer. My last two thermography scans were clear, and right now there is no evidence of cancer. I do have an oncologist who is willing to work with me despite refusing standard treatments. I haven’t needed to see him much, but I plan to follow up with more blood work, and I have sent him the doctor reports from my thermography scans.

Themography’s advantages
Olson prefers thermography scans over mammograms. “I refuse to have another mammogram. I know that’s a controversial statement to make because mammograms are pushed so heavily, but after doing the research, I discovered that mammograms are neither safe nor always effective. Mammograms are one of the cash cows of the cancer industry, so they aren’t likely to be eliminated any time soon despite results of the most recent study involving 10,000 women over a span of 25 years which showed that regular mammograms offer no benefit over not having regular mammograms.”
“The study showed there is actually a slightly increased risk of incidences of cancer and cancer deaths in women who have regular mammograms compared to those who don’t,” Olson continued. “Mammograms use ionizing radiation, the same form of radiation that causes cancer, so regular mammograms increase the risk of developing breast cancer; they also have significant rates of false positives and false negatives, and they are unreliable for young dense breast tissue, very small breasts, and very large breasts. Instead, I have replaced mammography with thermography scans.”
Olson explained thermography as infrared imaging done by a licensed technician. “It takes pictures of the body with an infrared camera which produces full-color images that are read by a doctor who issues a report on the results. If there is moderate or high risk of cancer, follow-up is recommended with a doctor. Thermography is completely non-invasive, it has no side-effects, and it is more accurate than mammography. Thermography can detect breast cancer 10 years before a mammogram can. It can also detect inflammatory breast cancer which cannot be detected by mammography. Cancerous activity in the body involves inflammation and vascular activity which produces heat. These abnormal heat patterns show up in thermographic images.”
Deciding not to seek traditional medical methods of treatment, Olson’s daily life has been relatively unaffected by her diagnosis. Every morning she gets the kids off to school and walks three blocks to work. Evenings are spent checking in with the kids, assisting with homework and piano practice and seeing that chores are done. “I do try to get some exercise every day,” she said. “On Tuesday and Friday mornings I play basketball with the guys at open gym at Kiel High School, and I try to get a good walk in on the other days. In the colder months I will sometimes walk on my lunch hour, but in the warmer months when it is light earlier, I can go for a walk or jog in the early morning. I try to make sure I get plenty of fresh air, sunshine, and sleep daily, and I try to avoid unnecessary screen exposure, especially since I work on computers most of the day.”

Family support helps
Olson enjoys strong family support for her treatment decisions, and everyone has tried to make good changes to their diets along with Olson. “Instead of forcing my family to change their diets abruptly like I did, I’m taking the approach of leading by example. My kids do pay attention, and they have seen my overall health improve. They ask me a lot of nutrition questions, and especially my older girls have made changes on their own, which is great.”
“I can’t really afford to buy everything organic, so I do the best I can, within reason,” Olson said. In addition to planning a yearly garden, Olson seeks out other sources for healthy food. “Grassway Organics farm store just outside of Kiel is a regular stop for me. It’s best to know where your food is coming from, so growing it yourself or becoming a member of a local CSA are great options as well as buying eggs and meat from local farmers whom you know use natural, healthy farming practices.”
Since her diagnosis in 2013, Olson said not only have her family bonds been strengthened, but also her faith in God. “The threat of cancer has definitely strengthened our family and drawn us even closer together. I am thankful that I have not had one moment of physical suffering, and that my family has not had to watch me suffer.
“This experience has strengthened my faith and reminded me that the God who designed the human body also provided everything needed, food and medicine from the earth, to keep it functioning optimally.
“I have learned so much about real nutrition and health over the past couple years that I probably would not have learned if I hadn’t been diagnosed with cancer,” Olson said. “In the same way, I have had many opportunities to share what I have learned and share my faith with others.”

Had few risk factors
While Olson has wondered why she got cancer, she is not despairing or lamenting over her diagnosis, but rather has often considered how few risk factors she had for developing cancer. “I never drank alcohol or smoked, I had five natural births and nursed them all, I wasn’t obese, I was pretty active, I didn’t have extraordinary stress levels, I generally ate well, I wasn’t regularly exposed to high toxin levels, so why? It could be that God allowed me to get cancer simply so that I would do all this research, gain all this knowledge, and be able to share it with others. I am content with that idea.”
Olson said her hope for the future is a confidence in the Lord that He knows the number of days she has on this earth, and it is not bound by her treatment decisions. “If it is God’s will that I live another 40 years or that I only live a few more years, then that will be accomplished whether or not I have chemo. One hope for the future is that no matter what occurs in my life, I will respond in a way that brings honor and glory to my heavenly Father. Another hope is that God would use me to be instrumental in pointing others to Him and sharing the hope that a personal relationship with Christ makes possible. My hope for my kids is that they would grow up to live lives that are pleasing to God as well.”
“Another hope I have is that the medical establishment will recognize the most basic necessity of true health, which is real nutrition, and start training doctors and nurses in comprehensive nutrition instead of pushing pills and doing surgeries and other procedures that increase some company’s bottom line without the patients’ best interests in mind.”
Olson said she feels blessed by what she calls the overwhelming positive responses she has received from people who find out about her story, the choices she has made, and the reasons behind those choices. “Some people have an interest in dealing with health problems in a more natural way but don’t know where to start. Others have sought me out just to fellowship with someone who views health the same way they do. People are hungry for better options than what standard medical treatments offer, and it’s a joy for me to share what I have learned.
“I would like people to know that there are other options for successfully treating and beating cancer and so many other health issues besides the standard treatments offered by Western medicine. I want to encourage people to advocate for themselves, ask questions, do the research, and make truly informed decisions. Not everyone is going to make the same choices I did, and that’s OK, because there isn’t always only one right answer. It is important to be confident and comfortable with whatever treatment decisions are made.”
Olson has shared her journey on a blog that can be found at

Loving the Lake Shore

Loving the Lake Shore

Summer is a time for exploring things. Whether you venture alone, sneak off with a friend, or take the whole family, Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan shore has ample opportunities for all to enjoy.
In Eastern Wisconsin, it’s easy to overlook the beauty and the opportunity we often take for granted that lies just with a short drive from home.
Here’s a whirlwind tour of some of those opportunities that lie a short way from our doorstep.
The list is not intended to be inclusive of every opportunity, but more than anything, the highlighted activities based on family experiences, as well as relying on the fountain of knowledge that is the internet. You can find literally any opportunity for fun along Lake Michigan’s shore by visiting the various tourist information sites, and chambers of commerce. And, when you think you may have buttoned down several ideas, it’s always good to check with TripAdvisor to find out what your friends and others are saying.
TripAdvisor not only offers reviews, but rankings of featured activities and places to visit in each community.
So, join in here, if you will to enjoy a summary tour of Life on the Lakeshore to learn more about opportunities for fun in the summer sun.

Sheboygan area
Let’s start on the south end of our Verve readership area with Sheboygan, or shall we say the Lakeshore just immediately south of Sheboygan.
Nothing speaks to summer like the beaches at Kohler-Andrae State Park.
Kohler-Andrae is a true gem on the Lakeshore, with its majestic sand dunes and miles of golden beaches, sparkling clear blue Lake Michigan water, towering whispering pines, an abundance of wildlife and recreational activities for everyone.
Kohler-Andrae, as a Wisconsin State Park, is one of the last great natural preserves along the Wisconsin shoreline of Lake Michigan.
Nature trails and cordwalks along the dunes are great ways to see the park firsthand. Hiking, biking and horse trails provide additional opportuntiies. Most trails are under two miles, and several of the trails can be connected to form longer loops.
Camping is a mainstay at Kohler-Andrae, with 137 units available in the family campground. Of those sites, 52 are equipped with electrical hookups. Reservations are recommended, and can be made online.
Two additional group campsites for tent-only camping are offered.
Visit the Sanderling Nature Center in the northern area of the park to learn more about Kohler-Andrae and its surroundings. It’s open every day from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. May through October.
A variety of fun-filled educational programs for all ages. Volunteers staff the Sanderling Center, and the park is always looking for volunteers to help out.
Moving north into the city of Sheboygan itself, many great opportunities await visitors.
The John Michael Kohler Arts Center, located downtown, is a must-see and its FREE! Designed with an authentic historic Kohler family home, ruins of the old library and a beautiful windowed entry way, the arts center offers ever changing displays, classroooms, gardens, an event hall, and some say the coolest bathrooms in the world.
Bookworm Gardens is also a free attraction (although donations are appreciated). The Gardens are a place where children’s books come alive. Tree houses are big enough to hold 30 people. The Three Bears are life-sized. You can venture inside Hansel & Gretel’s house. No matter your age, you will feel like a kid when you make this visit part of your day.
Sheboygan’s Harbor Center offers spectacular lake views, superb dining, cozy accommodations, top notch entertainment and eclectic shopping. Here, throughout the summer, you will find a variety of lively lakefront festivals, twilight park concerts or just a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk.
If you like to walk, you can take a stroll along the beach near the Blue Harbor Resort, or further to the north along Deland Park and North Point.
At North Point, many people delight in walking on the breakwater. From North Point, you can look up the shoreline to Manitowoc.
Charter fishing opportunities abound in the area. Check out the many choices on the internet.
Take your children to the Above and Beyond Children’s Museum. Or, how about a trip to the Sheboygan Railroad Museum, where old displays, new displays and displays you can play with abound.
Two disc golf courses are available at Vollrath Park and the Jaycee Quarry Park.
Fountain Park hosts the Sheboygan Farmer’s Market every Wednesday and Saturday. Concerts are presented weekly in the park.
To find out more, visit the Sheboygan Squared website.

Just north along Lakeshore (LS) Drive, south of Cleveland, visitors can connect with one of the international marvels known as Whistling Straits. The 36-hole championship golf course is a world class venue.
From Aug. 10-16, the course will be inundated with the trappings of the PGA Championship, the third time the Straits has hosted the championship. Previously played here in 2004 and 2010, the PGA championship brings the worlds top golfers to Eastern Wisconsin. Whether or not you play the game of golf, the views of Lake Michigan are spectacular. For a diversion, stop out to the Straits and enjoy a dinner or beverage on the veranda overlooking the 18th green, enjoying the cool lake breezes on a hot summer afternoon or evening.
Right in Cleveland, HIKA Bay Park offers a great chance to sit and watch the waves roll in, enjoy a family grill out, or launch your boat for some fishing action.
Continuing up LS, outdoor enthusiasts can check in at the Fischer Creek State Recreation Area. With about a mile of Lake Michigan shoreline, scenic woodland bluffs, grasslands and wetlands, Fischer Creek offers opportunities for hiking, picnicking, wildlife viewing and relaxing on the beach. Much of the shoreline consists of bluffs that rise as much as 40 feet from the shore. The area also includes 600 feet of frontage on Fischer Creek.

Moving northward, the Manitowoc area provides the next opportunity for visitors to interact with Lake Michigan. Some of the best opportunities lie on the south side of the city, with Silver Creek Park offering lake access. Picnic areas are available throughout the park and on the bluffs overlooking the lake. Silver Creek enters into the lake and allows for hiking. Disc golfers will also enjoy the opportunity to play their favorite game at Silver Creek Park.
Just slightly up the road from there is one of Manitowoc’s great little stops—Cedar Crest Ice Cream. Look for the large cow statue on the west side of the road to point out the ice cream manufacturing facility and ice cream parlour. Stop in to try one of 32 hand-dipped flavors of ice cream, sherbet and frozen yogurt.
Red Arrow Park on the city’s south side offers a handicap-accessible lakefront and beach walkway.
Downtown Manitowoc marks the start of what tourism outlets refer to as The Schooner Coast, a stretch of Lake Michigan that spans the shoreline north to Sturgeon Bay. Schooners were dependable and speedy ships that came into prominence during the Civil War era.
Though not officially part of the schooner tradition, one of the great functional ships of our time still docks in Manitowoc and serves as a transportation means for crossing lake Michigan. The SS. Badger Carferry arrives in Manitowoc at noon, and departs for Ludington, MI at 1:55 p.m., carrying passengers and vehicles. From June 10 to August 28, the Badger makes a second round trip each day, arriving in Manitowoc at 11:30 p.m. and departing at 12:55 a.m. Fare information can be found on the website.
Just north of the Manitowoc River mouth lies one of Eastern Wisconsin’s true gems, the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, complete with a restored World War II era submarine, the USS Cobia.
Tours are available throughout the day as needed, and are offered seven days a week, weather permitting. Tour times vary by season. Allow three to four hours to fully explore both the Museum and tour USS Cobia. Special adventure programs allow families to spend a night on the Cobia.
If you need a refreshment break, you aren’t far from one of Manitowoc’s favorite spots on Eight Street—Beerntsen’s Confectionary offers special treats for the sweet tooth, be it an ice cream sundae or specially made chocolates. In fact, the website says, “We must assume you are interested in chocolate or you wouldn’t be here now.”
North of downtown Manitowoc, you can consider a detour west along Waldo Boulevard to enjoy the confines of Lincoln Park. Picnics are great, but your kids will really love a chance to enjoy the animals at the park’s zoo, which is open free of charge.
The Mariner’s Trail also starts in that area, and runs along the shore of Lake Michigan to connect with downtown Two Rivers. A great trail for hiking, jogging and biking alike, the Mariner’s Trail is one of the great cooling off spots in summer time with its many turnouts, gardens, sculptures, parking, rest rooms and picnic points. Roller blades are welcome too. The six-mile trail is paved.
Animals on leashes are welcome, and pet owners are reminded to clean up after their animals. Expect the trail to be breezy most days.
Near the start of the trail, heading north, you will encounter West of the Lake Gardens. The West of the Lake was designed and named for its unique location by Ruth West in 1934, with numerous additions through 1950. Six acres of backyard gardens on Lake Michigan on the estate of John & Ruth West featuring a rose garden, Japanese, sunken and formal gardens, with more than 900 feet of herbaceous borders with colorful annuals. You can also visit the link to view a virtual tour of the gardens at West of the Lake. The gardens are open for public touring Memorial Day Weekend to Mid October. 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. seven days a week weather permitting. Admission and parking are free.
If the six-mile route from Manitowoc to Two Rivers isn’t enough, you can pack the bikes on your car and venture out to Rockwood on the northwest side of Manitowoc. There you can catch the Devil’s River State Trail, and hit the limestone screenings trail for a 30-mile round-tripper to Denmark, WI and back.
The west side of Manitowoc also offers one other interesting side trip at the Pinecrest Historical Village, where real architecture from Manitowoc County’s history offers insights into life from earlier times. This 60-acre outdoor interpretive museum of local history features over 25 historic buildings with period furnishings from Manitowoc County’s early settlers. See the church, railroad station, blacksmith shop and more.

Two Rivers
On the north end of the Mariner’s Trail, you will come to Two Rivers, also known as Cool City, because it’s always cooler in Two Rivers than anywhere else in Manitowoc County.
Just off the main highway in downtown Two Rivers, you can get a look at history.
Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum has been open at their new location, 1816 10th Street, for a whole year. The new address is a short distance from our original location with a stunning view of Lake Michigan. The building is more than twice the size of the original museum and was previously owned by the Formrite Company of Two Rivers.
East of the main thoroughfare, you can find the Washington House. Staffed by volunteers, the Washington House offers historical exhibits for free. Donations are accepted. Oh, did we add—they serve great ice cream, too! An upstairs ballroom is used for occasional music concerts and jams.
Down at the harbor, visitors can hook up with the Rodgers Street Fishing Village, a great place to learn about Lake Michigan and the shipping/fishing industries. Celebrating 175 years of commercial fishing, the Rogers Street Fishing Village and Great Lakes Coast Guard Museum exhibits an 1886 historic lighthouse, shipwreck displays and artifacts, and of course our commercial fishing exhibits. For 175 years, commercial fishermen have battled Lake Michigan for their living and even today, fish tugs haul in the day’s catch.
The Susie Q Fish Company is open six days a week. The company is run by the LeClair Family, one of the longest running fishing families in Two Rivers, with more than 130 years in the business. Stop in for fish smoked the old fashioned way at 1810 East Street.
The trail system continues in Two Rivers where the Mariner’s Trail ties into the Rawley Point Trail, which takes the user through Two Rivers and into Point Beach State Forest. This seven-mile section utilizes city streets, limestone surfaces, and a five-mile section through the State Forest.
Point Beach State Forest is home to three State Natural Areas—Wilderness Ridge, the Two Creeks Buried Forest and Point Beach Ridges. Point Beach State Forest features 3,000 acres of land and six miles of sandy beach along the shores of Lake Michigan. Point Beach offers family campsites, two large group cabins and an outdoor group camp. A popular feature within the property is the Rawley Point Lighthouse, which has been operated and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard since 1853.

Traveling north to Kewaunee, visitors can enjoy a pair of wineries. Both the Cold Country Vines & Wines and Parallel 44 Winery are located just south of Kewaunee off Highway 42.

Cold Country Vines & Wines produces hand-crafted wines from cold climate cultivars. Many varietals are harvested from our own vineyard; others by the experienced hands of fellow grape growers throughout the Midwest.
At Parallel 44 the visitors tour includes a walk in the vineyard, a tour of the production facility and a tasting of Parallel 44 wines.
In Kewaunee, a pair of beaches offer family picnic opportunities. Kewaunee also hosts the starting point for the Ahnapee Trail, a former railroad bed converted to a biking/hiking trail. Crush limestone is the surface for the trail which runs all the way to Sturgeon Bay.
A pair of lighthouses can still be seen in Kewaunee, one is the pierhead lighthouse, which is operational and can be viewed by walking to the end of a pier for a closer look. The former Kewaunee Life-Saving Lighthouse, operated by the US Coast Guard until 1947 can also be seen in Kewaunee, with its original watch tower and boat house still a part of the building. Summer Sundays bring a live music concert series.
The tugboat Ludington rests in Harbor Park near downtown Kewaunee. A 115-foot WWII sea-going tug, the Ludington was built in 1943 and served in D-Day invasion. Visitors can climb aboard and get an inside look at this workhorse of the sea.
Nature lovers can catch a glimpse of wildlife on the Marshlands Walk, along the Kewaunee River. They can also see fish traveling upstream to spawn at the Department of Natural Resources Anadromous Fish Facility.

Heritage Park in Algoma is a great waterfront park with spectacular views of the lake. It makes a great place for family picnics, with an opportunity to watch local fishermen come and go from the Algoma marina.
Algoma is also the site of two major shipwrecks, the Daniel Lyons and the Lady Ellen. Remnants of the Lady Ellen still remain in the Ahnapee River, and can be seen when the river levels are low.
Downtown, the Von Stiehl Winery-—Wisconsin’s oldest winery—was founded by Dr. Charles Stiehl. Get a taste of some of Wisconsin’s finest wines made from fresh Door County fruit as well as California and Washington State’s finest fruits at Wisconsin’s oldest winery. Von Stiehl Winery in Algoma is listed in the Federal Historic Registry. Tours include a visit to the Civil war era underground limestone caverns where wine is fermented and aged. Learn how wine is created and sample over 25 varieties of grape and fruit wines.
Just south of town, The Flying Pig Gallery & Greenspace is set along the uncluttered Lake Michigan shore. It is the owners’ mission to bring an amusing, inspiring and educational peek at art and gardens. The site includes indoor galleries, creative environment, sculpture gardens, display gardens and unique plant selections in an eco-eclectic environment.
Just like most other Lake Michigan towns, charter sport fishing opportunities abound.

All decked out...Relax outdoors on those great summer evenings

All decked out...Relax outdoors on those great summer evenings
The outdoor deck at PJ Campbell’s, Plymouth

Nothing beats the outdoors in summer time.
It gives everyone a chance to enjoy that perfect evening of relaxation while basking in the warmth and glow of a warm summer’s eve.
Enjoying live music....sipping your favorite glass of wine....conversing with friends....gushing over a glowing sunset....or simple enjoying some quiet moments are all favorite activities for partaking at Eastern Wisconsin’s destinations. Both large and small venues have opened their spaces up to accommodate those who don’t want to be walled in during the summer months. Decks and patio opportunities offer the best in hospitality, while combining it with the open air environment that feels so welcoming to patrons.
Whether it’s a simple street-side cafe that attracts your interest, or a lakeside venue overlooking one of our great Wisconsin lakes, decks and outdoor seating offer a special opportunity to soak in the summer, while relaxing.
For many people, finding just the right deck hospitality beats having to stay at home on that same old deck, where you have to serve yourself—and clean up afterwards.
Something liberating occurs when you leave the service and the hospitality up to others.
In eastern Wisconsin, you can find all sorts of great decks on which to enjoy your favorite weeknight or evening.
Some spots, like resort areas in Elkhart Lake offer a great regimen of live music on weekends. You can check out the Elkhart Lake chamber website, and those Elkhart Lake businesses on these pages for more information and scheduled performances.
The Osthoff boasts a great Lake Deck, expanding from the resort out to the shores of Elkhart Lake, and interacting with the five-star resort’s gardens. The Lake Deck is open to the public throughout the summer months.
Just outside of Kiel, off Highway XX, you can find The Cedars Bar & Grill, situated above lovely Cedar Lake for an afternoon or evening of enjoyment.
Neighboring towns have businesses that expand their lounge space into the outdoors, either on patios, or on specially constructed decks.
At Millhome, the Millhome Supper Club offers a generous outdoor seating area for the patrons of its upper bar area. Outdoor cocktails are always a great option either prior to dinner or during that time when dinner is settling in.
Up the road in Brillion, the Bakkheia Wine Bar has a wonderfully landscaped outdoor patio and garden, to extend its hospitality into the outdoors for its clientele.
El Camino Restaurant in Sheboygan has an interesting take on a deck. They offer outdoor seating on a rooftop deck, overlooking parts of downtown Sheboygan at Michigan Avenue. Those great margaritas taste even better under the setting sun. Ole!
PJ Campbell’s in Plymouth has ventured into the outdoor deck scene in a big way, constructing a wonderful outdoor venue, with elegant stonework and a roof overhead to protect from both rain and unbearable hot sun.
What follows is a summary of deck and restaurant options from participating advertisers in this Summer Verve edition. They represent a selection of deck opportunities offered in our readership area. We invite you to check out their decks for the 2015 summer season.
We hope you find that getting all decked out is a great way to enjoy the summer months.

The Osthoff Resort
The Lake Deck at The Osthoff Resort offers resort and public guests panoramic views of breathtaking Elkhart Lake while enjoying a traditional menu of fun food such as nachos, quesadillas, brats, Chicago-style char dogs, burgers, salads, wraps and sandwiches, pizza, snacks, beach treats, waffle cones and ice cream sundaes. Soft drinks, lemonade, ice tea, smoothies, wine, beer, cocktails and other special summer beverages are available at the Lake Deck Bar.
Live entertainment is featured each weekend throughout the summer season. Some of the performers include the Abler Boys, Jones, MonRo, Burgundy Ties, Ethan Keller, Rosetti & Wigley, Marc Ballini, Strawberry Jam Band, Redfish Remix, Joe Kadlec, Quiet Storm, Acoustic Graffiti, The BBMC featuring Dave Steffen and many more! For a complete list of performers, visit
In close proximity to the Lake Deck is The Osthoff Resort’s water sport building which is also open to the public seasonally and provides both bike and water equipment rentals for recreational enjoyment. Experience Elkhart Lake on a pontoon boat, sailboat, hydro-bike, canoe, kayak, paddle boat or paddle board. Coffee and Evening Cruises are also offered. Visit for more information.
This year, The Osthoff Resort celebrates its 20th anniversary. As part of this celebration, The Osthoff Resort is displaying memorabilia from the original Osthoff Hotel which includes a 1940 neon sign that reads “The Funspot” which was the name of the old hotel’s Art Deco bar and dining spot that housed the obligatory gambling devices. Guests may view this neon sign at the Lake Deck where it will be displayed throughout the summer.
The Lake Deck is open Memorial Day – Labor Day on the Osthoff lakefront.

Elkhart Lake
Amenities at Siebkens resort include, two restaurants, Sissy’s Coffee and Ice Cream Shoppe, an outdoor pool and hot tub, the historic Stop-Inn Tavern, meeting facilities, and our private sandy beach. Golf, shopping, water sports rentals and a day spa and salon are all within steps of the property.
A great outdoor deck opportunity exists off the Stop-In Tavern, with a chance to socialize and enjoy live music. The Stop-In Tavern also offers a screened porch.

Wine bar, Brillion
Picture this, you’ve had a long day at work. You aren’t ready to deal with the stresses of home. A crowded bar doesn’t seem very relaxing. You just want to be free of the madness of the day and sit back with a glass of wine. Come relax at Bakkheia, where we offer a warming environment of relaxation, friends, and wine. Sit down in our comfortable lounge area or cozy up to our bar with a few friends. If you’d like some fresh air, have a seat in our outdoor bistro.
If wine isn’t enough, we also offer top-shelf spirits and micro-brews. While you are here, you may work up a small appetite. Ask us about our various food items - from gourmet pizzas to cheese or bread plates - we offer something for everyone.

Millhome Supper Club welcomes patrons to its “Upper Bar” year round, but in the summertime, when the weather’s fine. They have an outdoor seating area that beckons to enjoy those warm evenings in the great outdoors. Take your cocktail, favorite beer or glass of wine onto the deck for a great conversation with friends.
Stop on out and enjoy our spacious upper bar with week-night specials including Two For One Tuesday’s, Wine Wednesday and our Thirsty Thursday with 2 buck domestics and 3 buck old fashioned’s all night long.
Featuring a special menu with a variety of appetizers, flatbreads and sandwiches along with a specialty drink menu the upper bar is a great place to unwind after a long day of work or to stop for a casual dinner.
In addition to Millhome’s great drink specials, appetizers are half price Sunday through Thursday nights (closed Mondays).
Our upper bar area features large booths, high top penny tables and a spacious bar area for you to enjoy.
In addition to plenty of seating and great food and drink, the atmosphere includes several big screen televisions, a 150 gallon saltwater fish tank and some of the nicest bartenders around.

El Camino, located in the Heart of Sheboygan, is the perfect venue for all occasions. The dining place is well known for its festive and colorful atmosphere. a wedding rehearsal, a private get together or a team building experience.
El Camino is the place to be! Treat your guests to the feel of Mexico without crossing the border. Our private group room is large enough for 120 people seated and if you need a dance floor around 80 people. There is a separate bar area just next to the hall that can cater to your needs. El Camino offers many buffet options making the possibilities endless.
Enjoy your favorite Mexican cuisine in our dining room, but in the summer be sure to enjoy our hospitality on our rooftop deck, overlooking Michigan Street. It’s a great place to enjoy awesome food and great fun.

You’ll find a celebration of German-American traditions on the patio of PJ Campbell’s at The Depot in Plymouth.
At PJ Campbell’s, the patio space is built with comfort in mind and sets the mood for those beautiful Wisconsin nights. All of the outdoor patio furniture was hand crafted and provides a relaxing feel, especially when the fireplace is lit.
For four years, owners Patrick and Judy Campbell have carved out their own niche in Plymouth’s eclectic dining scene with an abundance of German flair.
“We are fortunate to have a lot of diversity for dining in the Plymouth area, which makes it a special place,” Patrick said. “It’s the local businesses that we can really hang our hat on.”
The surrounding region, from Kohler to Elkhart Lake, also provides opportune tourism that bring in fresh faces and eager appetites to the Plymouth area. That is especially true in the summertime when the weather allows the Campbell’s to open their Beer Garden outdoor patio.
Patrick grew up working in his grandfather’s restaurant, washing dishes as a youngster. Being in the environment nurtured his passion for the restaurant industry, which led him to becoming a chef and eventual business owner. Patrick also worked for a former German restaurant and saw opportunity for the niche in the Plymouth area where he has brought his unique menu to life.
“I think it’s important to have something that stands out in today’s world,” he said. “You have to stay true to what you do and do it well.”
From rouladen to sauerbraten and a variety of schnitzels, PJ Campbell’s’s take on German cuisine offers a variety for the eager pallet.
“We offer our German Combo Sampler, which is very popular,” Patrick said. “It gives people, especially ones who haven’t been here before, a chance to try a few new things.”
On top of their core menu, PJ Campbell’s also offers four to five rotating specials and fresh seafood. In the land of the Friday night fish fry, Patrick and his staff have developed their own unique take on the tradition.
“We call it our Friday Night Fish-Try,” he said. “We feature a variety of fish on a weekly basis and invite people to try our featured fish entrée.”
PJ Campbell’s also offers a variety of beers and drinks to accompany their eclectic menu. For the folks that chose to try the Friday night fish special, they are rewarded with a drink coupon that they can redeem on their next visit.
“It’s a great community to be apart of here in Plymouth,” Patrick said. “We have a lot of events and things for people to do and it’s a lot of fun to be a part of.”
Special events in Plymouth bring the community together and offer PJ Campbell’s a chance to showcase their flavors alongside their dining counterparts in the area. The Jazz Crawl, Taste of Plymouth, Mill Street Festival, and the Autumn Festival are just a few milestone events that unify the Plymouth area and bring people to the Beer Garden to enjoy the day.
“The local support between businesses here in Plymouth is special,” Patrick said. “We treat each other like family and it’s a collective effort.”
PJ Campbell’s knows that the support between businesses is what makes a small town grow and prosper and they are thankful for it.
For more information and a closer look at the menu, visit

Nothing beats a great deck and tiki bar overlooking the beach. You will find such a place at The Cedars, just four miles northeast of Kiel on secluded Cedar Lake.
The deck overlooking the lake offers both great dining and social opportunities—a great place to gather with friends and family.
Join the fun at the Tiki Bar every weekend of the summer
Better yet, bring your kids to the beach, and observed them as your relax on the deck.
The Cedars offers a full menu, plus sandwiches and its own special pizza.

Sun & Skincare

Sun & Skincare

by Dr. Andrew Campbell
Sun protection is the first and best way to prevent and slow skin aging. Genetics have a very significant impact on a patient’s skin appearance later in life, but protecting the skin, regardless of the season, is of utmost importance for those of us who want to maintain a youthful appearance.
It is important we understand the variety of UV waves coming from the sun. UVA, UVB, and UVC rays each create different problems for the skin, such as damaging elastin, causing wrinkles and pigmentation issues. All forms should be blocked with appropriate skin care, and I explain to my patients that a quality sunblock is a mandatory purchase for skin health. Most people are more familiar with “sunscreen” as opposed to “sunblock”. Sunblock acts as a physical block to prevent skin damage from all harmful sun rays, whereas a sunscreen allows some of the rays to filter through, allowing a potential for skin damage.
At Quintessa Aesthetic Center, we recommend all of our patients apply sunblock, of at least an SPF 30, every day. Unfortunately, lotion sun protection only remains active for approximately two hours, so reapply often or include a mineral sunblock for adequate protection. Mineral based sunblocks do not hold bacteria and are not made with talc, allowing them to blend in with your skin tone. I prefer sunblocks that have titanium and zinc minerals in them, as these ingredients create a barrier of protection against all UV radiation, protecting the skin extremely effectively.
Quintessa offers an array of sunblocks, making protecting your skin easy. Apply Obagi’s SPF 50 Matte SunShield or Quintessa’s Illuminating SPF 45 for a daily moisturizer. Patients rave about Colorescience’s Sunforgettables portable SPF 50 mineral sunblock that is applied through a refillable makeup brush, as it offers on-the-go protection for all ages.
Once you’re in the habit of protecting your skin, maintain your anti-aging regimen with a Broadband Light treatment, where flashes of light treat sun damage, age spots, freckling and redness. We recommend our patients receive at least two Broadband Light treatments per year, as studies have proven regular treatments across several years dramatically decrease a person’s perceived age.

Kids visit the 1800’s

Kids visit the 1800’s
History comes to life at Wade House Day Camps

Some parents send their children off to a different community for summer camp—and some have been sending them off to a different era.
For more than the past decade the Wade House state historic site in Greenbush has hosted several different summer camps for children, and those camps are now enrolling youths for the 2015 sessions.

Pioneer Day Camp
Pioneer Day Camp will be offered in two sessions, June 16-19 and July 28-31, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day and is intended for youths ages 8 to 13.
Pioneer Day Camp introduces children firsthand to daily life in Wisconsin nearly 150 years ago. Children will get an up-close look at blacksmithing, woodworking, candle making, sewing, hearth cooking, and much more. The program culminates with a horse-drawn stagecoach journey to the Wade House as many Plank Road travelers took during the heyday of this historic hotel.
Kathy Dimig is the lead interpreter for Pioneer Day Camp. She said the various camps at the Wade House generally draw between 7 and 20 youths. About 75 percent of them are from the local area, but camps also see students attending from Oshkosh, Fond du Lac, Sheboygan or even from Illinois or other states as their parents might be staying in Elkhart Lake or the child might be staying with a grandparent during the summer.
Activities during Pioneer Day Camp include baking cookies, making candles, working in the garden, and having a family picnic on the last day complete with homemade ice cream. “We try to immerse them in the 19th century as much as possible,” Dimig said.

Civil War Day Camp
Civil War Day Camp also is offered in two sessions, June 23-26 and Aug. 4-7, with the same times and ages as Pioneer Day Camp. Paul Edmonds is the lead interpreter for Civil War Day Camp and said there is some flexibility on those ages. “Just like the war, we have occasionally fudged the numbers,” he said with a smile.
The Civil War Day Camp is predominantly boys but not exclusively. Youths explore the world of Civil War soldiers. Edmonds said they are issued equipment including a wooden musket and haversack (backpack), and they sign enlistment papers. They do marching drills and maneuvers, and Edmonds said it is always fun to see how their proficiency improves from the start of the camp to the end.
To some degree Edmonds goes into character with the youths, showing them how a Civil War soldier would have loaded and shot a musket and what they would have done on their off time such as “mathematical probability”—also known as gambling.
Civil War Camp runs from Tuesday to Friday, and on Friday families are invited to visit as their young soldiers are mustered out. During the week the children have been given the names of actual soldiers from the area who fought in the Civil War, and at the end of camp they find out what happened to their namesake—including some who did not make it home.
Encampments including tents are set up near the Wade House, which remains open to the public during the various youth camps. Dimig said the visiting public gets a kick out of seeing the youngsters in period clothing and doing activities from a long-ago time.

Needle Arts Day Camp
A newer addition at the Wade House is Needle Arts Day Camp which provides a fun and educational way for children to learn the traditions of needle arts in a historic setting.
A sewing box will be made at the Needle Arts camp July 7-8, while a slat bonnet will be made at the camp planned for July 21-22.
The Needle Arts Day Camps are for older children, ages 14 and up. Dimig said the Wade House had so many return campers that they wanted to offer something for older children. “If we’ve got kids coming back, they’re obviously enjoying it,” Edmonds said.
The Civil War and Pioneer day camps each cost $130 per child, with the Needle Arts Day Camp costing $65 per child. Participants bring a bag lunch each day. For more information or to register a child, call (920) 526-3271. Camps do fill up so call soon.

Navigating Life's Adventures

Navigating Life's Adventures
Faye Burg

Life is anything but boring for Trisha Propson

For Trisha Propson of Brothertown, life is meant to be lived. With the adoption of two children and a dramatic weight loss journey all occurring in a two year time period including the opportunity to now help others navigate both adventures, life is also anything but boring for Propson.
Propson, 41, grew up the middle child to Al and Pat Lisowe of Brothertown. Older sister Tina and younger brother Todd enjoyed outdoor activities with Propson while growing up. “We did a lot of things outdoors and enjoyed building forts and playing in the sandbox,” Propson said.
Propson married her high school sweetheart Larry Propson and is now a fields claim representative for Acuity Insurance of Sheboygan. Trisha and Larry are 1991 graduates of Chilton High School and recently celebrated 25 years of dating and 15 years of marriage.
Now relishing her life working from home, maintaining her weight loss and being a mother to two young children, Propson’s journey to motherhood and weight loss was anything but easy.
 “I have always wanted to be a mother and the day I was told we would not be able to conceive ourselves I became very sad,” Propson shared. “I knew that was not going to be how it was going to be for our life story. So we reached out to Lutheran Social Services, an open adoption agency of Appleton.”
“We started the process of adoption in 2006 by jumping through all the hoops that are required including background checks, finger printing, home inspections, physicals, references and financial history,” Propson continued. “Not a simple process by any means.”
In May of 2009, Propson received the call they had been waiting three and a half years for. “They said we had been chosen by a birth mom,” Propson recalled. “That first meeting with the birth mom was one of the most terrifying days of my life. What color do I wear? Do I wear my hair up or down? Do I shake her hand or hug her?”
“The meeting went great and our experience with the birth mother was very memorable.” Propson and her husband were able to keep in close contact with the birth mother during the pregnancy, attending doctor appointments and ultimately sharing the birth experience in the labor and delivery room.
Their experience with open adoption was a  positive one and the Propson’s were shocked when within a year they were contacted once again by Lutheran Social Services telling them the birth mother that had given them their first child was pregnant and wanted them to adopt this child as well.
“We were together for 19 years, it was definitely the right time,” Propson said. Most rewarding for Propson during the adoption process is the fact that she now has a son and a daughter; the family she and Larry had longed for.
With the knowledge that the adoption process is not an easy one, the Propsons now reach out and are available and open to other couples going through the experience. “We speak a lot to other couples,” Propson said. “The “I don’t know’s” and uncertainty of adoption is difficult. We try to help other couples through the adoption process.” Propson said her strongest advice to others is to not be close minded to any situation.
The adoption of her children also spurred another change in Propson’s life when she realized the possibility of her weight holding her back from living the life she wanted to live.
 “The “Freshman Forty” definitely was a realization for me and my struggle with weight after high school,” Propson said. No longer active in sports and getting comfortable living on her own, Propson said she never really had a day to day meal plan.
“I tried it all,” Propson said of her struggle with weight over the years.
Propson said she ate most during stressful times in her life and gained a total of sixty pounds during the two adoptions which occurred between 2009 and 2011. “In 2011 I realized that at my age if I wanted to keep up with the kids and the younger parents we were getting to know, I needed to do something,” Propson said. “In 2011 I wrote a letter to myself and I still read it often when I need to.”
Most challenging for Propson is not reverting back to old habits. “Every day is a challenge,” Propson admits, “For a long time I kept an apple on the countertop and if I found myself in the kitchen looking for something to eat, I would look at the apple. If I wasn’t hungry enough to eat that apple, I realized I wasn’t that hungry.”
Part of Propson’s successful weight loss was joining a kickboxing class in the Valley. Propson said while she tried to stay committed, the circumstances made it difficult. “With the drive, working full time and being a mom, two hours out of my day was hard,” Propson said. In April 2012, Propson turned to her friend Trisha Oakley, who Propson said was on the same rollercoaster journey with weight. “Together we committed to each other that if I got two punching bags we would do a workout a couple of times a week,” Propson said. “Well those two bags then turned into six and then eight and finally stopped at ten. I had family and friends start committing to classes and the next thing you know I had a private facebook group of over twenty people and classes four times a week happening in my garage.”
“If they call and say they just don’t feel like coming, I tell them if you give up on yourself, you are also giving up on me,” Propson said.
Teaching kickboxing classes at Fox Valley Technical College came as a surprise to Propson. “I was contacted by Lori Popp of Fox Valley Technical College in Chilton in April of 2014,” Propson said. “She found out that I was doing this out of my home and asked if I would consider teaching classes out of the tech.”
Propson agreed and started her first five week session of two classes a week at FVTC in the September of 2014. “My first session had eleven students,” Propson said. “My second session had fourteen with six returning participants.”
Her third session started January 6 and will be followed with another session from February 17 through March 19 and again on March 31 through April 30.  “It is a good stress reliever,” Propson said of the workout that she said is high intensity and goes to the beat of music. 
Her personal workouts now include two nights a week with family and friends and two nights a week teaching at FVTC. Propson is blessed to have had up to 28 friends and family members that have joined her at one time with her home kickboxing workout. “I have about six to eight of the original group that are still participating,” Propson said. “They include ages 16 to 65.”
Propson said her regular workout routine and weight loss have changed her life. “I have way more energy,” she said. “More self confidence and I am more fun to be with.” From January 2012 through October 2013 Propson lost close to 100 pounds and is proud to say she now participates in 5K runs.
Now two years into her weight loss, Propson is amazed at how happy she has become. “I love that I learned to love myself again,” Propson said. “It has to be both in your heart and your head; it can’t be one or the other. If people are ready to take the journey, they have to do it for themselves.” 

Change in Direction

Change in Direction
Olivü owner finds silver Lining in life’s tragic turns

by Margaret Richman

It started as a tender gesture to assist a friend and led to the path of entrepreneurism. With a continuous and impressive upward trend on the business line graph, Olivü 426, the Sheboygan based maker of natural personal care products, wraps up yet another successful year culminating with Hollywood attention. The company’s products were featured in the swag bags given to the presenters, winners, and related media of the 2014 August Emmys and the 2015 January Golden Globes. As owner Caitlin Brotz said, “It has been quite a ride.”
In 2003 when Caitlin’s then boyfriend Adam was badly burned, she was given a recipe for a lip balm from St. Mary’s Burn Center in Milwaukee. His lips and grafted skin would benefit from products that promoted healing versus merely lubricating and avoidance of alcohol infused products found on most store shelves was recommended. After creating the lip balm Caitlin began to research and experiment with additional natural products giving birth to her second creation of Whipped Lotion.
Two years later when Adam was tragically killed in a car accident, Caitlin took time to reflect and reevaluate her life direction. Ultimately she complimented her Business Degree from Lakeland College with an entrepreneurship certification and her experimentation of skin care products and selling of those products was expanded into her business, Olivü 426. The unique name is derived from the use of olive oil, a nod to the linguistic similarity to ‘I love you’, and 426 is a tribute to Adam. The number was Adam’s semi-pro snowmobile racing number; a number that Caitlin believes has brought her good luck.
Located at 511 8th Street in the Harbor Center District of Sheboygan, Olivü 426 has already expanded their space to meet the production demands of their loyal and growing clientele.  From its 2006 opening to a staff of eight today, there is a continuous stream of visitors to their store and online purchases.
Brotz explains her traverse in the business. “Initially, I did a great deal of research in understanding the benefits of specific natural substances and how to blend products. Resources were limited at the time so I experimented quite a bit engaging in much trial and error. The process is similar to mixing chocolate, tempering the ingredients,” she said.
Today their products are numerous, 120 in all. From the start of lip balm and Whipped Lotion her inventory now includes a full line of products for body, bath, men, and babies. Numerous lotions, soaps, scrubs, deodorant, sun screen, bug spray, and shampoos are offered along with specialty items for anti-aging and more. All Things Emu is a line of products utilizing Emu oil from a local source ensuring for a 100% pure product that provides health benefits for the treatment of psoriasis, eczema, arthritis, scaring and painful joints and muscles.
Descriptions of ingredients along with the natural health benefits of all Olivü 426 products are detailed on accompanying cards found in the store and on their Web site for online purchases. Herbs, oils, fragrances and more are explained for their healthful properties. Blue Malva Flower will disinfect wounds, Calendula is used for treating bruises, minor burns, and varicose veins, and Eleuthero Root helps the body address stress and boosts immunity. These are just a few among over 27 ingredients utilized along with several dozen flavored oils and fragrances, all of which combine to make the numerous personal care products.
“All of our products are made fresh unlike general store products that may sit on a shelf for up to two years. Those products require the incorporation of alcohol and other substances for increased shelf life that may be detrimental to your skin,” Brotz said.
 In addition to their available products, Olivü 426 will also customize orders for both in store and online purchases. Customers also have the opportunity to blend their own products in the store where lip balm creations are a favorite among children.
Brotz has been featured in numerous newspapers and television segments as well as received recognition from Olivü 426 has been nominated for Business of the Year from the Sheboygan County Chamber of Commerce and was a co-winner in 2010. The latest honor of having her products featured in the swag bags of the Emmys and Golden Globes has brought further attention to the business.
“The organizers contacted me saying that I make the exact product that they were looking for. I was asked to submit products to them that went before a jury. They liked what they saw and said they would love to have my products in their swag bags. For the August Emmys I shipped 100 bags that contained our most popular lip balm, pomegranate, and our anti-aging face serum.  For the January Golden Globes I shipped 150 bags,” Brotz said.
The attention is welcomed and the focus is now in business direction. “I am now carefully controlling the ship because of the continued growth. We already expanded our physical space utilizing the upstairs of the store for our production area and need to address our capabilities. We cater to our loyal customers and want to maintain our relationship with them and affordability of our products,” she said.
Share in the brush with Hollywood by visiting the Sheboygan store Monday – Friday 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. or peruse for product information and online purchases.

Horses have an amazing impact on HUMANS—Free SPIRIT Riders, Inc.

Horses have an amazing impact on HUMANS—Free SPIRIT Riders, Inc.

Free SPIRIT Riders, Inc., located in Fond du Lac County, is on a mission to enrich the lives of children and adults with disabilities through safe, therapeutic interaction with horses.
Founded in 1987 by Emmy Butzen and Mary Narges, Free SPIRIT (Special People in Riding Therapy) Riders is governed by a six-member Board of Directors and has 10 part-time employees and over 100 volunteers.
“A needs assessment demonstrated that there were interested people and a large enough population with disabilities to support a therapeutic riding program in our community,” Executive Director Mary Narges said. “We sought to provide an experience that was challenging, but fun to a population that does not readily have the opportunity to engage in sport and recreation.”
According to Narges, Free SPIRIT Riders primarily provides therapeutic horsemanship in the form of riding lessons. “We also offer ground skills and grooming,” Narges added. “We have offered cart driving for those whose weight precludes them from riding and hope to do that again in the future. For two years we had a drill team made up of our more independent riders. We offer field trips in the spring and fall for special education class field trips.”
Free SPIRIT Riders’ season typically begins in early May and runs through mid-November with classes held during the afternoon and evening three days a week. “We add classes during the daytime on Wednesdays during the summer break from school as well,” Narges said. “Our facility includes an indoor and an outdoor riding arena and we have riding trails on the 38 acres of land we own.”
Geared for participants 3 years of age and older with a diagnosed disability, Free SPIRIT Riders’ goal is to promote active therapy, provide a valuable experience that is enjoyable and challenging and promote the rehabilitation of individuals with physical, psychological and learning challenges through equine-facilitated services. “The major benefits include improvement of muscle tone, balance, posture, coordination, motor development and emotional and psychological health,” Narges said.
“We offer an experience that normalizes their life experiences and makes them feel confident in their abilities. The caretakers enjoy a brief respite from their caretaking and are empowered by the participant’s smiles and excitement about their adventures with us.”
According to Narges, most participants are brought to the Free SPIRIT Riders program through word of mouth as well as referrals from social workers, doctors, and physical therapists. “We have had as many as 120 participants per year,” Narges added.
“I have seen many participants become more verbal and demonstrate improved social skills. Most participants make friends with other participants and our volunteers. The biggest difference for most is the big bright smile on their faces that last beyond their time riding with us,” Narges said.
“Not only do we affect the lives of our participants, our volunteers receive benefits from helping others, some are referred by their psychiatrist or therapist due to depression and after a few hours with us they begin to feel like a different person who has found empowerment and fulfillment from helping challenged people who enjoy what they are doing and working with the horses.”
Twelve horses provide the horse power at Free SPIRIT Riders with most of them coming to Free SPIRIT Riders as donations. “The horses we incorporate into our program undergo a 90-day trial period during which they demonstrate their ability to help us meet our mission by their calmness, strength, agility and more,” Narges explained. “If they do not meet our needs, they are returned to their donor. If they stay they continue conditioning and training to increase their ability to help us.”
Finding and increasing funding to maintain the facilities along with the care of the horses can be a challenge for Free SPIRIT Riders. “The construction of our facility on land owned by our program in 2001 is a highlight as is providing services from our own facility,” Narges said. “I am proud of the fact that we are accredited by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International at the Premier level.”
“We are uniquely qualified and prepared to offer sport and recreation to those whose challenges prevent them from engaging in sport and recreation that is so readily available to others,” Narges explained. “The horses move diagonally, laterally, up and down and forward simultaneously. This simulates the human walking motion. While sitting on the horse and maintaining proper posture, the abdomen is exercised; this aids in vocalization. Physically challenged individuals benefit from improved balance, posture, range of motion, circulation and stamina. The action of the horse relaxes and stimulates unused muscles and joints, builds muscle tone and improves coordination. The warmth and rhythmic movement of the horse quiets and stimulates the senses required for a child with ADHD to maintain concentration and focus.”
Narges said riding horses exercises the mind as well as the body. “Program participants with cognitive challenges develop better attention spans, listening skills and concentration. They learn to follow directions and enjoy the responsibility of giving directions to their horses.”
Narges said after a 4-year-old boy with Autism Spectrum Disorder started participating at Free SPIRIT Riders, he changed his bedtime prayers to begin ”In the name of the Father, the Son and Free SPIRIT Riders, Amen.”
Free SPIRIT Riders will hold their 24th Annual Ride-a-Thon on Saturday, Aug. 24. “It is a pledge raiser with a silent auction, raffle, roast pork lunch, Wild West show, musical entertainment by K G & the Ranger, riding demos by our program participants, barn tours, interaction with our horses, walks in our garden and more,” Narges said. “This is our largest annual fundraiser.”
Located at W3950 STH 23 in Fond du Lac, Free SPIRIT Riders can be reached at (920) 924-9920. Additional information can be found on their Web site,, or by e-mailing
“For participants with emotional challenges, riding provides excellent opportunities for positive social interaction. Learning to respect and control their horses becomes a valuable first step toward controlling their own lives. The list truly goes on and on for the many benefits the horse provides. Statistics aside, we know that our program activities enrich our participants’ lives, building confidence, pride, and self-esteem. We hear it from the parents and guardians, therapists, teachers and counselors who tell us so. We know it from the growing demand for our program. But best of all, we know it in the expressions on our riders’ faces.”

Horses have an amazing impact on HUMANS—REINS

Horses have an amazing impact on HUMANS—REINS

For 31 years REINS—Recreation and Exercise for Individuals Needing Special Assistance—has been providing Sheboygan County with equine assisted activities and therapies.
The non-profit corporation is committed to improving the lives of those with special needs through individually structured classes using therapeutic interactions with horses.
The 501c3 corporation is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and first began as a class project at Lakeshore Technical College in 1982 when students started a therapeutic riding class that blossomed into a full-time program. REINS provided services to as many as 74 disabled individuals each week.
“When LTC disbanded the equine program in 1994, REINS, Inc. was established as a 501c3 and moved to the farm of Tom and Barb Slatter where it remained until this year when we moved to Brackenwood Farm in Sheboygan Falls as a transitional barn while we look for a permanent dedicated facility,” Board of Directors member and future chairperson Deana Hamel explained.
According to Hamel, REINS offers both therapeutic riding (TR) and equine facilitated learning (EFL). “Our EFL program is focused on serving at-risk youth,” Hamel said. “We provide services to individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities and significant mental health needs. Our participants are referred to us from schools, group homes, social service agencies, doctors and therapists. Our goals and lessons are structured to meet therapy goals and to increase strength, range of motion and balance.”
REINS is a premier therapeutic center accredited by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International and serves individuals from ages 3 to 70. “We are one of three premier facilities in Wisconsin,” Hamel added. “We strive to provide personal growth and development through equine assisted therapeutic education and recreational activities.”
REINS is currently able to provide 53 individuals per week with specialized equine assisted activities and therapies.
Instructors are paid for their services at REINS and are assisted by a volunteer base numbering 187. “This does not include the community and business groups who donate time each year as workdays for projects,” Hamel said. “We also add that our horses are paid staff as their care is a significant portion of our current budget.”
REINS uses six to eight horses for both therapeutic riding and equine facilitated learning, with each horse going through a rigorous evaluation and screening process. “Our horses are donated to us for use during the program season, which currently runs May through August,” Hamel explained. “Each horse is evaluated and screened for the program by our instructors, equine specialists, volunteer coordinator and board members. Horses that pass the evaluation and screening are then trained by our equine specialists, instructors and skilled equine volunteers to accept the special needs and equipment of a therapeutic program.”
Participants are referred to REINS from schools, group homes, social service agencies, doctors and therapists, and tuitions include $150 for a five-week session. “Tuition covers 29 percent of the cost of this special program,” Hamel said. “Many of our students are unable to pay the tuition so REINS has a comprehensive scholarship fund. No student referred to REINS is turned away based on ability to pay.”
REINS sees many return participants each year with instructors and volunteers thriving on watching the progression of each rider. “Becoming a part of their ‘family’ is very meaningful for our instructors and volunteers,” Hamel explained. “Volunteers come as families and their support becomes generational—those who volunteered as youths now bring their children or grandchildren to volunteer. Some of our current volunteers were once riders in our program. Current riders are also volunteers. Seeing the ability of participants and volunteers to both give and receive support is very rewarding.”
Most of the challenges for those involved with REINS include funding and running the program, Hamel said. “However, meeting those challenges makes us develop deeper ties within our community and opens us to new perspectives and insights as we grow and change. Not having a dedicated facility or executive director has been one place that continues to challenge our ability to offer a full range of therapeutic services to the area. We are committed to overcoming that challenge in the next year.”
“REINS can only offer these wonderful and beneficial services through the support of the community,” Hamel continued. “Each year we are able to expand the services we provide because of the generous donations of talent, time and financial support given by individuals, corporations and foundations. It is a remarkable thing to see the growing commitment to provide equine therapy in the area. There is a growing body of work supporting the unique benefits of this therapy and we a proud to offer these services to our community.”
According to Hamel, REINS Board of Directors adopted an aggressive five-year plan in 2013 designed to bring a wider range of equine assisted activities and therapies to area individuals. “We are working in cooperation with therapeutic and community partners to fulfill this plan. The need is growing in our schools, with returning veterans, with families and throughout our community. We are committed to working together to help meet those needs.”
Hamel said she looks to the future with hopes of moving into a fully dedicated facility that can accommodate a wide range of programming. “This will be a big undertaking and require tremendous support from the communities we serve. We are excited about the future but we need your help. If you are able to share your time, talents and treasure with us, we would welcome you to contact us. We are always happy to speak to individuals, groups and corporations about the benefits of equine assisted activities and therapy and our desire to serve the needs of the community.”
Hamel invites anyone wishing additional information or to schedule a presentation to contact REINS at or by phone at (920) 242-6101.
“REINS means something different to each of our participants and their families,” Hamel said. “For some it is the first place they hear their child speak, to others it is a place to belong and a place where everyone needs assistance and to some it is a place to regain motor skills lost due to accident or illness. To some it is the only place where they feel the sensation of walking and for others it is one of the few activities that calm their minds and bodies. It is a place where they experience unconditional love first from their horse and then their therapeutic team. Some find a sense of accomplishment and empowerment and still others find it a place where they gain insight into their own places of hurt and open the doors for healing.”

Horses have an amazing impact on HUMANS—BEAMING, Inc.

Horses have an amazing impact on HUMANS—BEAMING, Inc.

he documented impact horses can have on humans is nothing short of amazing.
That comes as no surprise to horse owners or people who work around horses. They have seen it themselves and, in all likelihood, experienced it themselves.
Northeast Wisconsin offers multiple opportunities for other people—including people with special needs—to be helped by horses as well. In the paragraphs which follow, read about how people from a former Army Ranger with a brain injury to a blind child working to find the courage to get up on that horse have been helped by exposure to these majestic animals.

Three women with a passion for horses who believed there was a community need for special needs therapy that could be met through the partnership of horses and humans made their dream a reality in 2004 with the creation of BEAMING, Inc.
Located in Neenah, BEAMING—Building Equine Assisted Mobility into New Growth—is run by a board of directors and employs one director, three PATH certified instructors and over 150 volunteers. The mission of the BEAMING staff is to enhance the quality of life for individuals with special needs ages 4 to adult through developing connecting relationships with people and horses.
“BEAMING , Inc. provides EAAT (Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies) to individuals in the Fox Cities and surrounding areas with diagnoses including but not limited to Autism, ADHD, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Developmental and Cognitive Delays, Spinal Cord Injury, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury and other neurological, orthopedic and behavioral diagnoses,” Director Julie Van Lieshout explained.
Numerous programs are offered by BEAMING including Private Riding which is geared for individuals age 4 through adult who receive lessons designed to enhance physical, cognitive and emotional well being. “Each class can accommodate four to five riders and lessons are held once a week for a 10-week session,” Van Lieshout said. “Riders are charged $35 a lesson.”
The Partners in Riding program is a collaboration between BEAMING and local school districts and provides an adaptive physical education program for children with special needs.
A mother shared her thoughts as she watched her young child participate at BEAMING. “As soon as I open up the car door, she realizes where we are. She begins fighting against her car seat yelling “OK, OK.” She remembers what BEAMING is and wants to get on the horse.
When you have a child with limitations, you come to except that there are moments you will not have with your child—they will not be the quarterback, they may not have the friendships others their age have, and they may not even be able to communicate. But when she is on that horse, I get a few of those moments back. I get to see a group of people cheering her on, I get to see the volunteers interacting with her and helping her interact with the other kids, I get to see her use her body and sometimes words to communicate with the horse. It makes me feel proud watching her. Then I look at all the volunteers. They are always upbeat, always excited to see the kids. They truly do make a difference in these lives. We are so thankful for all that BEAMING has given our daughter.”
Another featured program at BEAMING is the Horses, Hearts and Heroes program which was created for veterans with visible and not so visible challenges. “This program is offered at no charge to our veterans,” Van Lieshout said.
Van Lieshout spoke of an Iraqi war veteran who suffered a traumatic brain injury and how his life was changed by his participation at BEAMING. “He will proudly tell you he was an Army Ranger that served in Iraq. Although he cannot always remember your name, he will remember the name of his horse and will stand at attention and proudly recite the Ranger Creed.”
The veteran’s mother wrote a letter to the BEAMING staff on behalf of her son and his experience with BEAMING programs. “I wanted to thank you for the wonderful gift the program Horses, Hearts and Heroes has given to my son. Matthew is a veteran and suffered a traumatic brain injury six years ago. The Horses, Hearts and Heroes program has given back to Matthew what he has needed and so much more. Not only in the short time he has been involved with the program has his focusing improved, but his balance along with his memory has as well. He took pride in riding with other veterans. I also feel what he enjoyed most is a sense of belonging and as he stated, ‘When I’m there, Mom, I don’t feel different. Everyone accepts me for who I am.’ The sense of belonging and being a part of such a wonderful program is what Matthew enjoys so much. He has met so many wonderful individuals and is proud to say he rides at BEAMING.”
Camp F.I.L.T.E.R. is a collaborative program between the Christine Ann Center and BEAMING which focuses on self-esteem and relationship building for teens and a collaboration between BEAMING and Clarity Care provides the Day Camp for Adults with Disabilities program.
A teen who attended Camp F.I.L.T.E.R was so moved by the experience she chose to partner with BEAMING for her Honors English “Passion Project.” As part of that project she raised money for five children at Merrill Elementary School to attend five weeks of riding at BEAMING.
Christine Ann Prevention and Youth Advocate Bryan Wright commented, “The teen F.I.L.T.E.R camp was one of the most motivationally uplifting, hope-filled camps I have ever been to. The connections that were made, stories that were shared and obstacles that were overcome were incredible to say the least.”
Another popular program offered at BEAMING is the Saddle Up for Success program which is also a collaborative effort between BEAMING and local school districts and encourages healthy life style choices to middle and high school youth.
“There are many benefits to therapeutic riding including greater muscle strength, postural control and coordination, improved memory and cognitive skills and a renewed ability to focus and balance,” Van Lieshout said. ”In addition to the physical benefits is the increased self-esteem and self-confidence as each encounter with their equine friend helps the rider discover their new abilities.”
“This year BEAMING has changed the lives of over 75 riders, each with their own story to tell of what brought them to BEAMING and what keeps them coming back week after week,” Van Lieshout continued. “It is each of these stories that inspire us to continue our mission. We hear often from riders and volunteers that BEAMING is a place where they are accepted, where they feel like they belong.”
The growing interest in Equine-Facilitated Therapy has meant an increased demand for programs at BEAMING. “The most difficult challenge has been managing that demand by maintaining a slow and steady growth of the organization to help assure a solid business foundation,” Van Lieshout said.
Participants from the Fox Cities and surrounding areas hear about BEAMING from volunteers and community partners. In 2014, BEAMING is anticipating providing over 800 rides to more than 95 participants.
Twelve American Quarter horses are used in BEAMING’s programs and are provided by horse owners. All horses used in the programs have passed a trial test and have gone through a training period before being mainstreamed into the programs. “Many of these horses are retired or semi-retired show horses whose owners allow us to use them for our BEAMING programs as well as the EWD (Equestrians with Disabilities) program through American Quarter Horse Association.”
Van Lieshout said she fondly remembers the very first participant she worked with at BEAMING. “I will never forget a young boy with autism,” Van Lieshout said. “I met him at the door before lessons and he was holding the hand of his caregiver and staring blankly at the ceiling. I was told he was non-verbal. I took his hand and led him into the arena where I placed a brush into his hands and proceeded to help him groom the horse, moving his hands in large circles and introducing him to his new friend the horse. Slowly, during that first ride I saw life in his eyes. He began looking around, smiling, and giggling out loud as we trotted. I was speechless as tears welled up in my eyes. As the weeks progressed he began signing and then making sounds. He loved to trot and would make a ‘tah’ sound when he wanted to trot…and a ‘wah’ sound when he wanted to walk on. The final week of the six-week session I put on his helmet and we walked into the arena together. He ran to pick up the grooming bucket and then to the horse, picked up the familiar brush and made quick circles on the shoulder of the horse as he knew the routine. He quickly returned the bucket back to the storage area and proceeded to run towards the horse in an effort to jump on. I was in awe of the power of the horse that gave this little boy a voice.”
The memory of a young child who was blind is still vivid in Van Lieshout’s mind. “It took us weeks to get him on the horse,” Van Lieshout explained. “We would sit next to the horse, feel the horse, listen to the horse breathe, sing to the horse. We had to practice wearing a helmet, sitting in a saddle, and we used a wheelbarrow to train for the riding experience. It took a few weeks until he was finally comfortable with the idea of riding a horse, but when he did it was beautiful to watch. He would sing to the horse as he giggled and together they made their way around the arena with the help of the volunteers that had by then become familiar friends.”
BEAMING has formed partnerships with several groups at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. In conjunction with the College of Nursing, BEAMING served as a clinical site for their senior nursing students for both pediatric and community nursing and mental health outreach. “We have also formed a partnership with the UW-O Kinesiology Department, who utilized our riding program as a field experience opportunity for adaptive physical education major students,” Van Lieshout said. “BEAMING will be a participating site for the QUEST III Community Engagement Project in the Fall of 2014. In addition, BEAMING has partnered with the Marian University nursing students and is a site for their community nursing clinical.”
Additional BEAMING community partnerships include Neenah Joint School District, Oshkosh Area School District, Christine Ann Center and Clarity Care.
“A few weeks ago we gave a ride to a woman in hospice. She rode a horse when she was younger and her wish was to ride a horse again. The smile on her face as she rode confidently around the arena as her family watched was priceless. I was in awe of the power of the horse. It gave this woman hope.”
BEAMING, Inc. riding facilities are located at KK Quarter Horses, 2962 CTH GG in Neenah and can be reached at (920) 636-5001. Additional information can be found on their Web site,, or by e-mail at
“Through BEAMING, we have had the privilege to work with some of the most amazing people,” Van Lieshout commented. “Our Board of Directors, our staff, our donors, our volunteers and most of all our riders. They have all taught us to appreciate life, live a little harder, love a little more, but most of all they have taught us that nothing is impossible when you believe.”

“Whether you come to BEAMING as a board member, volunteer, rider or just as a visitor you will never be the same,” Van Lieshout said. “The passion, kindness, compassion and dedication of all involved are contagious.”

Grape Location—Armstrong Apples Orchard and Winery

Grape Location—Armstrong Apples Orchard and Winery

The votes have been tallied and the results of the 2014 International Women’s Wine Competition are in. Armstrong Apples Orchard and Winery entered two wines and won two medals.
This competition was expertly judged by the wine industry’s leading professional women. The competition not only recognizes the best wines that appealed to our judges, but also the wines they feel would most appeal and influence other women wine buyers and consumers. International Women’s Wine Competition is committed to the highest standards of competition. On June 25 more than 975 wines were judged.
Armstrong Apples Orchard and Winery submitted a red grape called Passion that won a silver medal in the red wine division, and their True Blue, blueberry wine won a bronze in the fruit wine division. When asked: Why did you select this competition for your wines? Owner Lisa Klein responded “We usually submit our wines to the Wisconsin State Fair Professional Wine Competition and our Marquette Reserve which is a deep dry grape, won a silver medal there this year. However, we wanted to try something different by competing on an internationally larger scale. The international women’s competition has wineries from all over the world and all the big wineries in California. To do as well as we did among the really great wineries of the world, tells us that we are on the right track. This is the first time we made grape wine and both the Marquette Reserve and the Passion are made from locally grown Marquette grapes. The winemaker for the grape wines is Dan Aussem of Glendale WI. He has been making wines for 20 years for a select group of wine conesurs. All of our wines continue to win awards with the apple wines winning silver, peach won a silver while the raspberry wine won a gold at the International Cold Climate Competition in Minneapolis.”
Armstrong Apples has been growing apples in Armstrong for 20 years. They planted peach trees about 10 years ago and pear trees four years ago. There are a total of 14 apple varieties on approximately 3000 trees. In the fall they also sell their fresh apples and every manner of apple product including: pies, fritters, turnovers, apple oatmeal cookies, fresh pressed cider, a large variety of preserves, salsas, and butters and apple wines. There are lots of fun activities for the whole family.
During the summer you can tour the orchard in an apple wagon, play disc golf, picnic or the kids can enjoy the play area while the adults sample wine in their beautiful tasting room. New this year is live music under the stars with great live performers.
Music nights are on Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and sing along to your favorite tunes or get up and dance. In the Fall, after the apples are ripe their customers enjoy the slingshots using deer apples to hit the apple targets.
Armstrong Apples is currently open Thursday thru Sundays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. but expand their days of operation to Tuesday thru Sunday starting September 1.
They are conveniently located in the beautiful Kettle Moraine area; east of Eden, between Fond du Lac and Plymouth and three miles from Long Lake. Come enjoy some of the best wine in the world and celebrate their award winning wines.

Grape Expectations—Bakkheia

Grape Expectations—Bakkheia

While it might not be wise to judge a book by its cover, you might do well to consider defining a lounge by its name. That’s especially true when the name of the wine bar is derived from Bacchus, the Roman God of wine and the frenzied feeling it may induce.
Bakkheia opened its doors in September 2013, offering Calumet County its first experience at a wine bar. Named after Bacchus, the wine bar is located at 425 West Ryan Street, Brillion the southeast corner of a business complex.
Brittany Horn manages the wine bar for business partners Douglas Buboltz and Dave Mathiebe.
Bakkheia came into being after the owners saw the building open for more than six months. They thought they would give the wine bar life.
Mathiebe is a wine conniessuer, and has visited similar wine-themed lounges in Appleton and Green Bay. “We thought we could bring something unique to this area, so that people might be able to enjoy a great glass of wine without having to travel,” Buboltz said.

Wide variety
Bakkheia offers more than 70 different wine labels from many international origins. A wine afficionado can find brands from Europe and South America. They can also enjoy great wines from Wisconsin. Bakkheia offers wine from the Ledgestone Winery, just up the road in Greenleaf. The wine bar also carries Wollersheim wines from Prairie du Sac, a well known Midwest winery.
At any given time, Bakkheia will have from six to 10 different wines on its pour list. Sample tasting is available.
Other wines are also made available by the bottle to enjoy in the Bakkheia lounge, outside on the patio, or to take home.
Bakkheia shouldn’t be confused with a sports bar, as it has an ambience all its own. If the television is on, it’s likely to be playing music instead of ESPN.

More than just wine
In addition to wine, guests at Bakkheia can also enjoy beer. Bakkheia complements its large selection of bottled beers with three tap choices. That selection usually includes something from Rowlands, a brew from Stone Arch in Appleton and another from Leinenkugels.
Cocktails are also on the Bakkheia menu.
This summer, the wine bar completed its outdoor patio. With grassy areas enhancing the stone poured patio, the outdoor area also inclues a stage for live music.
“We just had our patio grand opening recently, and it was a great success,” Buboltz said.
Bakkheia is open on a limited basis, just Thursdays through Saturdays. Doors open at 4 p.m. and close at 11 p.m.
Private parties can be booked any day of the week. Approximately 40 people can be seated indoors comfortably, although the outdoor area allows for larger groups to be accommodated.

Grape Escapes—The Blind Horse

Grape Escapes—The Blind Horse
The Blind Horse

Enjoying a great wine experience doesn’t require a trip to California’s Napa Valley.
Kohler’s Blind Horse Restaurant and Winery have brought the Napa Valley experience to Eastern Wisconsin.
Two years ago, the restaurant portion of the business opened its doors on County O, just north of Kohler. This April, the winery welcomed its first guests.
Thomas Nye, general manager/winemaker of The Blind Horse, said the goal is simple. Between the winery and restaurant, The Blind Horse seeks to provide an enjoyable experience mixing great tastes in food with some awesome wine experiences.

Fine dining a plus
At The Blind Horse, the combination of fine dining and a winery on the same property create a great opportunity to serve guests in unique ways.
Dining guests at The Blind Horse have the opportunity to learn about interesting wines to complement their meals—including both selections from The Blind Horse and some of the best wineries in America.
The restaurant is open seven days a week, from 11 a.m to 6 p.m. Sundays through Wednesdays and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays through Saturdays.
Even though the restaurant was opened a year and a half before the winery, Nye said it was always the dream of the Moeller Family, owners of The Blind Horse, to focus on the winery.
“They knew it would take a little more time to plan and execute the startup of the winery, but it was always their original dream,” he said.

Focus on dry wines
The Blind Horse Winery wants to be known for making great dry wines. “We want to hang our hat on becoming a great producer of dry wines,” Nye said.
The winemaker has nothing against the many sweet wines available. “We already have many good ones here in Wisconsin. Since we love the California style dry wines, that’s what we seek to bring here,” he said.
Although the first wine production period was officially last fall, The Blind Horse has already earned accolades in competition. At the Wisconsin State Fair, The Blind Horse received a silver medal for its syrah entry and a bronze medal for its dry rosé wine. “To obtain that recognition right out of the barn was a real feather in our hats,” Nye said.
In all, The Blind Horse offers 17 of its own wines. They are complemented by opportunities to taste and purchase select wines.
The winery started its first year with an aggressive plan. Approximately 2,000 cases were created between the 17 different brands in the first season alone. “It’s unheard of to start a winery with that level of complexity,” Nye said.
In addition, The Blind Horse will feature reserve wines—special wines crafted in small batches. Two of those varieties were started before the winery was even built.
Fall is the time for production mode at The Blind Horse—as grapes need to be processed as near to the right harvest point possible.

Wine tasting opportunities
Tasting opportunities start in the elegance of the winery’s tasting room.
Traditional tasting opportunities are available at The Blind Horse, with options for guided tours.
Wine and food pairings are presented by The Blind Horse in its one-bite pairing opportunities. Five small bite-sized pairings can be sampled on one plate. They include offerings like grilled watermelon and feta cheese paired with pinot gris. Or, wine afficionados might enjoy candied bacon with blueberry relish with cabernet sauvignon.
“The food alone is great,” said Nye. “The wine alone is wonderful. But when we bring them together it’s amazing.”
Guests have a choice of three pairings in the tasting room:
• Food & Wine Pairing
• Cheese & Wine Pairing
• Chocolate & Wine Pairing.

Jazz and wine nights
The Blind Horse has also paired its ambience with great musicians from Wisconsin on its Thursday Jazz and Wine nights. “We have been getting some great bands and drawing people from as far away as Milwaukee,” Nye said.
In addition to the great wine selections, Thursdays feature gourmet flatbread pizzas, also a great hit on the musical evenings.
The Jazz & Wine evenings are hosted on the popular Patio Bar which overlooks the beautiful outdoor gardens. Winery hours offer tastings from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays through Sundays.
Service on the Patio Bar is available from 5-9 p.m. on Thursdays with Jazz & wine events beginning at 6 p.m.
Fridays hours are 5-10 p.m. Saturdays, the Patio Bar is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Food truck nights
This August, The Blind Horse featured a major event—The Gourmet Food Truck Festival.
Nye feels this is the beginning of an annual event that will define The Blind Horse’s place as a Wisconsin destination.
“We are excited to be doing this, and we hope it will be a wonderful signature event for Sheboygan County for years to come,” he said.
“Some of the most inventive foods in the culinary trade are coming from food trucks. They are extremely popular.”

Fall Harvest festival
Join the fun September 20 as The Blind Horse Winery celebrates its 2nd annual Fall Harvest Festival. The festival includes the following fun activities:
• Live music on our
patio bar
• Grape stomping competition
• Horse shoe throwing competition
• Make your own pizza – learn to throw like a pro!

Special event capabilities
The Blind Horse welcomes guests to consider holding their special events or meeting in the beautiful wine cellar. Guests are surrounded by wine in The Blind Horse cellar which can accommodate up to 24 people - the perfect venue for team meetings, rehearsal dinners, bachelorette parties or just a fun night out with friends and family. Reservations are required.
More information can be obtained on The Blind Horse website:
Special five course food and wine pairings are also offered through The Blind Horse restaurant and winery. Though none are currently scheduled, customers are encouraged to check the website often for new listings.

Great community presence
Located just outside of Kohler, The Blind Horse is easily accessed by travelers coming to or passing through Sheboygan County.
“Being associated with the Kohler community and Elkhart Lake is something that the Moeller’s appreciate,” Nye said. The opportunity to add to the importance of those Sheboygan County communities as destinations for visitors is important to The Blind Horse.
“We are confident that The Blind Horse will be known as a great destination as well,” Nye said. “That will only enhance what we already have in Sheboygan County and give people another reason to come, visit and stop here.”
Nye comes to The Blind Horse, with 12 years experience as a winemaker. He previously spent nine years as the owner and winemaker of The Grape Escape Winery in Dayton, NJ.

Connections in Eastern Wisconsin
For Nye, the appointment as general manager and winemaker at The Blind Horse enables his wife to return to an area she calls home.
Nancy Seifert Nye was born and raised in Manitowoc County. She and her husband are excited about raising their daughter in the area she grew up and among her family.

Grape Relaxation—pourvino

Grape Relaxation—pourvino

Have you ever longed to find that place where you can enjoy a glass of fine wine along an ambience that speaks of relaxation?
You might think such a place can only be found in a metropolitan atmosphere.
Think again.
At Pourvino, Sheboygan County’s premiere wine bar, it’s easy to surmise that life is all about the wine. To a degree that’s correct. Pourvino is a wonderful place to enjoy great wines.
But, to owners Sally and Frank Maydak, Pourvino is also about the ambience, a truly unique atmosphere that brings a big-city experience to small-town Plymouth.
“We have always enjoyed relaxing with a glass of wine,” Sally Maydak said. “When we moved here four years ago, we looked around to find such a place. Finally, we decided it would be nice if we could create a place like this in Plymouth. It’s a fabulous town with lots of great venues. We thought our concept would add something special to the portfolio of the community.”
In November 2013, after going through the necessary red tape, Pourvino opened its doors, sharing its comfort and coziness with the public for the first time.
“We like to think of the Pourvino experience as one of casual elegance, with a touch of class,” Frank said.

Great wine selections
Pourvino offers more than 100 wines to choose from. The wines are on display in a glass encased wine “cellar” located on the ground floor of Pourvino.
Customers can purchase wine by the glass or by the bottle. In the event they don’t care to finish the bottle at Pourvino, the wine bar is equipped to re-cork the wine for transport.
Knowledgeable lead bartenders offer their expertise in helping guests make the best wine choices. “It’s important for our staff to bring knowledge and answers about wines. Our customers appreciate their insights,” she said.
No wonder it’s important. Pourvino offers wines from all around the world, including 22 different glass pours.
“Our red blends are very popular, as are the cabernets and moscatos. It’s all about personal taste, and that’s what our staff is trained to help people find,” Sally said.

In some cases, it’s important for customers to try several tastings before they select a wine they would like to settle in with.

We love options
Pourvino likes to give its guests a chance to sample many varieties of great wine. A large segment of the customers like to sample the wines in flights—three ounce pours featuring multiple wine choices.
“We have a lot of people who come in and decide to take a bottle of their favorite choice along home,” Sally said.
In fact, Tuesdays have become a featured day at Pourvino. “We offer 50% off on all bottles on Tuesdays, whether they drink them here, or take them home,” Sally noted. “That’s a great savings, and a great way to get introduced to some of the more upscale wines.”

More than wine
Although wine is the featured pour at Pourvino, the options don’t stop there.
Pourvino has also ventured into offering fine scotch and bourbon. Just like the wine, guests can enjoy a glass, or try varieties by sampling in flights.
Martinis are a specialty of the house, made with Grey Goose vodka. Bottled beer and soda are also available.
In addition, Pourvino offers a fine selection of cigars to be enjoyed in the outdoor smoking lounge.
Food is also part of the equation, as Pourvino offers small plates of cured meats and cheese, specialty dips, sweet treats, and dessert for those who like to nibble while they sip.

Part of the community
To the Maydaks, blending Pourvino into existing venues in the Plymouth community is important. “We want to be seen as being part of the community. We aren’t trying to be the whole deal all on our own,” Sally said.
Pourvino would like to be known as a great place to stop before or after dinner.
Pourvino also aims to be a destination for out of town travelers. Already, the wine bar has attracted visitors from Sheboygan, Fond du Lac, Milwaukee and Chicago.

Art and wine
A specialty program offered by Pourvino combines wine with creativity. Art & Vino takes place once a month, combining the talents of a local artist with the opportunity to sample wine.
The participants actually get to work on their own paintings while sampling specialty wines. Seranya Studios of Plymouth offers the instruction. Pourvino can also host private Art & Vino parties. Remaining Art and Vino sessions this year are planned for August 21, September 18, October 23 and November 20.
Pourvino also has an event room available for gatherings. The room is offered at no charge. Catering is available if your event requires food service. Many different types of events have already filled the room, including bridal showers, wedding rehearsal dinners, anniversaries, corporate dinners, Christmas parties, meetings and more. The event room seats 40, but has the spill-over opportunity into the rest of the Pourvino space.
As Pourvino completes its first year in business, the owners are excited about being able to bring something really special to the area.
“We want to be an upscale venue, without being over the top,” Frank Maydak said.
To that end, Pourvino keeps creating the illusion that one can be transported somewhere else in the world of ambience, through a sip of wine and a quiet conversation.
At Pourvino, they can enjoy the journey without ever leaving the comforts of Plymouth, Wisconsin.

Joan Lechler—Women in Finance

Joan Lechler—Women in Finance
Joan Lechler

Joan Lechler
Bank Mutual
Assistant Vice President

Joan Lechler credits professional mentors, a supportive family, and learning through the ranks for her 32-year longevity and rise in the financial world. Lechler began her career as a teller at Farmers & Merchants Bank in Marytown, a four-employee bank. Early on she was given direction and mentoring from Tim Meyer, an educator by profession who worked in the banking world in between his teaching career. Meyer’s initial coaching and the sideline cheering from her family initiated her advancement throughout several banks covering roles from teller, bookkeeper, loan processor, loan officer, manager, investor of annuities and securities to her current position as Bank Mutual assistant vice president in Kiel.
“I started at the ground level and worked my way up and have found that to be an asset. I eventually learned everyone’s position and what they go through. Tim really pushed me along toward management at times telling me that I was going to take a particular class. Diane Thorson (also featured in this article series) was also a mentor to me, a great sounding board. My husband put up with my hours and I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him. I often got home at 7 p.m. with him in charge of the kids,” Joan said.
Lechler points out the evolution of the banking industry and the role of women along the way. “The world of banking is so different from when I started. Computerization changed everything. We were once more directly involved with the lives of our customers; we actually knew when people were sick because we hadn’t seen them in the bank for a while. ATMs, direct deposits, and online banking has changed the culture. I saw few women early on in management, mainly in HR roles and no women on a bank’s board of directors. Today there are more women in management but still few on the board of directors. Boards are still very male dominated most likely because the group is made up of business owners, an area where women are still making progress,” she said.
Joan said she feels her gender no longer presents a challenge today and mirrors Thorson’s view that involvement in the community is a key component to success.

Diane Thorson—Women in Finance

Diane Thorson—Women in Finance
Diane Thorson

Diane Thorson
BMO Harris Bank
Vice President

With just shy of four decades in the banking industry, Diane Thorson likes to jokingly tell others she was 3 years old when she started her career. Her lifelong profession did start early with a high school co-op position at a former independent M&I Bank in Ripon. She found banking to be a good fit for herself and utilized the opportunity to work her way through undergraduate and graduate school. But Thorson’s combined experience and higher education were not enough to advance her to a higher level in the industry. Perseverance and self-advocacy became her driving forces.
From what she describes as starting out in that typical female role of receptionist to gradual advancements and title today as vice president of Chilton and New Holstein branches, Thorson pointedly states, “You really have to want it.”
“I remember too many conversations wanting advancements. I fought for my position and had enough of men getting the job. Eventually they did send me to banking school and in the late 1980s I became the first female loan officer in the Ripon branch. Today it is different, the male/female ratio of management is close to 50/50,” Diane said.
Personal ambition and a willingness to relocate paved Thorson’s road to advancement. “I was the controller of bank financials and operations and later branch management in Ripon but had plateaued in my position. I wasn’t afraid to move out of the area. If you want to advance you have to put your foot forward,” she said.
Once that foot is firmly in place Diane emphasizes that going the extra mile does not end. “You need to be willing to be involved in the community, nonprofit groups, and functions. Involvement in various city chambers is always helpful and know once you are on any board as a banker you will always be asked to be the treasurer,” she said with a laugh.

Katia Korchagina—Women in Finance

Katia Korchagina—Women in Finance

Katia Korchagina
Community Bank & Trust
Senior Vice President, Chief Credit Officer

Katia Korchagina’s traverse of success in the financial world is reflective of a strong personal belief and one that she would pass on to other women seeking the same achievement. “You must work hard but your foundation to build upon is education. Success is achieved with the combination of hard work, education and believing in what you do,” Katia said.
Korchagina is a highly educated woman obtaining a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Accounting in her native Russia and later a MBA and CPA in the U.S. Her U.S. education provided her educational fortification and the needed jump from conversational English to articulating in the business world. She began her career 13 years ago as a credit analyst and continued her path as senior credit analyst, credit department manager, VP chief credit officer to her recent promotion as senior vice president at the Sheboygan location.
Korchagina said she feels she has had parallel growth with the company as needs and opportunities arose. “I have not had aggressive career goals. It is organic growth. As the company has grown I took what life gave me and grew with the company. I have had freedom in my work and have never been micro-managed but with that freedom comes ownership. I have always needed to take ownership of my ideas and decisions and find that I compete against myself reflecting on if I can do better next time,” Katia said.
She said she has felt a barrier as both a foreigner and as a woman and has learned her method of circumvention. “I feel in general women are more technical and detail orientated. I have always put more research into my ideas and present more facts, often being a little more prepared than most males. I have found a woman needs to do more homework to prove her point versus a male,” Katia said.
Passion for your profession is the seed Katia plants for career growth. “I have lived the American dream. If you work hard and invest your knowledge and energy you will get something in return. In my case, I am appreciated for what I accomplish but I also believe in what I do. If you put your heart into it, people will follow. You must be passionate,” she said.

Amber Tenpas—Women in Finance

Amber Tenpas—Women in Finance
Amber Tenpas, Wisconsin Bank & Trust, Assistant Vice President, Commercial Banking

Amber Tenpas
Wisconsin Bank & Trust
Assistant Vice President, Commercial Banking

An ability to be coachable from her entry level position on up resulted in Amber Tenpas obtaining top performer status throughout her 10-year career in banking. The advancement from teller to senior teller, personal banker, assistant manager, branch manager and now a commercial lender by choice occurred in a mere six years. WI Bank & Trust in Sheboygan is her third banking institution and Tenpas has been guided by both male and female mentors along her career journey.
“I have always been coachable accepting criticism and the ability to be molded by others in order to take that next step. I have had both male and female mentors although it was a male, a former business associate, who recruited me for my position today. I am told that I am a likeable person with an upbeat and energetic personality that draws others toward me,” Amber said.
Tenpas said her early career ambition was driven by personal goals around family responsibility and later for professional enhancement. “Initially my aspirations were related to supporting my daughter and the desire to provide her the lifestyle I felt I wanted for her. Later, I became more self-driven. I decided to leave management of others to focus on my own career in commercial banking. I miss the ability to guide others to their full potential but enjoy my role today,” she said.
Tenpas takes an omniscient view of her various positions in banking and feels that her gender has only recently been tested. “I really didn’t see an issue of being a female until I focused on commercial banking. Most other areas of banking are a greater mix of males and females but commercial banking is male dominated so I did sense the barriers. I needed to learn how to separate myself and navigate into the circle with what I have to offer. As a result, I have become more focused on women-owned businesses. I feel I can offer women recommendations on balancing career and family, providing solutions to their challenges,” Amber said.
Tenpas exudes excitement for the financial industry and provides encouragement to other females. “There is a lot of opportunity for females in banking. Nothing is impossible. There is so much more available than traditional female tellers,” she said.

Barbara Van Grinsven—Women in Finance

Barbara Van Grinsven—Women in Finance
Barbara Van Grinsven, Thrivent Financial, Financial Advisor

To climb the ladder of success in the financial world requires more than muscle endurance.
How does a woman ascend the rungs in what is no longer a male sport? Female financial leaders discuss factors influencing their ascent and the challenges with their climb.

Barbara Van Grinsven,
Thrivent Financial, Financial Advisor

Barb Van Grinsven is decorated with numerous Thrivent Financial awards including number one in the country for new members in 2011 demonstrating her enormous success in the profession.
Thirty-seven years with the company provides her a wealth of professional experience as well as what she believes is equally important—life experience.
Van Grinsven initiated her career in the company’s Human Resources Department working for 26 years before entering management of reps in the field. After three years of assisting others, Van Grinsven decided she wanted to build her own practice. Beginning out of her home with a cell phone in hand to today’s multi-room office suite in Chilton with three employees, her accomplishments transpired over a short six-year period.
Barb cites what drove her engine of success. “Thirty-seven years ago about 10 percent of the reps nationwide were women,” she said. “Today it is getting better but I am estimating it is still only about 30 percent. When I was in a mentoring role helping the reps understand the products, I saw a difference between the males and females. I found that women show what they feel providing extra empathy, going beyond care and compassion while men tend to want to close the sale. I provide that empathy. The ability to impact lives when people are at their lowest and highest points is an honor to me. My motivation is serving others and trust must come first. People don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care,” she said.
Van Grinsven describes herself as a workaholic, noting that her profession is not for a part-timer and the love of her personal connection fuels her daily. Her advice to other females pursuing financial careers is a set of mantras that she has followed to pave her own success. “Have passion, do what you love and do it well. Get your priorities in order and fight to keep them there—faith, family, and community. Take risks; sometimes it is necessary going with your gut and conquering your fear. Network with other women, mentors, and role models and never stop learning. Lastly be extremely well organized and efficient, surrounding yourself with a good team and support from a great spouse,” Barb said.

Luan Leonardelli—Women of the Theater

Luan Leonardelli—Women of the Theater
Luan Leonardelli

Luan Leonardelli—Women of the Theater

by Mike Mathes

Unlike many theater enthusiasts, Luan Leonardelli didn’t fall in love with theater from being under the lights.
She doesn’t feel a particular call to being on stage, or even acting out her favorite role.
Leonardelli literally loves everything else about the theater just as much.
She found her passion for theater out of a search for friendship.
Almost two decades ago, she was a newcomer to the Manitowoc area, and found herself invited to join her spouse and some co-workers to see a play in Tisch Mills.
“I got to know the others who came along and they invited me to come to meetings of their club that does plays.”
The organization was The Masquers, Inc.—a well-known non-profit theater group from Manitowoc.
“I wasn’t looking to join the club to be on stage. I was looking for friends and I found them,” Leonardelli said.
“From the moment I walked in the door, I was impressed by the warm, friendly welcoming group. I had always enjoyed plays, but I found myself thinking, ‘This is a nice group of people.’”
None left a greater impression on Leonardelli than an older couple, Loris and Leo Touhey, who have since passed on.
“They had done the season ticketing process for many years, and they asked for someone to help them. I volunteered, and they mentored me in the process,” she noted.
But Leonardelli took more than season ticket advice from the Touheys.
“Leo is the one truly who empowered me with his passion for the theater. He was like a 65-year-old kid-in-a candy store when it came to sharing his love of theater,” Leonardelli recalled.
He offered her a tour of the Coach House, the Masquers clubhouse next to the Rahr Museum. He later took her on a tour of the Capitol Civic Center.
“I remember him telling me that no matter what role any of us have, when we walk through those doors, we are a Masquer,” she recalled.
“Leo’s energies were amazing. He always shared his vision that anything is possible. That was so amazing for someone who had been with the organization for more than 50 years,” Leonardelli said. To this day, she tries to keep that spark in front of her fellow club members. There is great value in being willing to try things, even if they seem too big to tackle on the surface, Leonardelli learned from her mentor.
“He would always say, ‘Let’s try that, or let’s do that,’ He was one of the oldest members, and yet we were all able to see his passion and say—’Why not?’” she noted.

Passing the torch
An interior designer by trade, Leonardelli has worked her way through the Masquers organizational hierarchy to its presidency. Her greatest hope is that she is continuing the torch passed to her in welcoming everyone’s contribution as well as being able to think big.
After years of ticket sales, and working behind the scenes, she responded to the call to take the helm of the organization a few years back, when it was facing trying financial times.
“We really needed to pick up the pace financially, and I felt that I had some ideas I could offer to help make things better,” she said. “We have had some bumps in the road, but I feel like I have helped taken the club down a road they didn’t expect to go.”
In an effort to reach out to new patrons, Leonardelli helped steer the group away from its typical conservative production selections. She also brought a business sense to the operations. “It’s more than just a club. Yes, we want to have fun, but if we are going to do this for a really long time, we have to run it like a business. That means we have to create production budgets, sell tickets and get sponsors. If we can’t go out and find the funding for what we want to do, we will be out of business and we won’t have the club,” she said.
As the president of Masquers, Inc. Leonardelli has the task of overseeing all the committees that carry out the function of the theater troupe. Her involvement comes as an ex-officio member of those groups.
Beyond organizational work, Leonardelli has used her business mind to find another way to become involved in the theater.
In her many years as an observer, she would make notes about improving sets, productions, scenes and the like. As that outside observer, she eventually became attuned to the things an audience would want to see. Over time, that’s what prompted her to raise her hand to volunteer as a show producer.
“Eventually, the things I would see would point to the need for a really good producer to tie all the loose ends together and focus on some of the details that would be forgotten. I thought I could put a little bit more of my organizational skills into the way I produced,” Leonardelli said. “They were pleased with the results. Apparently, I have both left and right brain skills and that’s what allows me to be good at what I do.”
“I have tried to put the emphasis on how other people would view our productions,” Leonardelli said. “When I produce, I am the ‘other people.’”
“I look for something that I would buy a ticket to or would want to work on—something that has a benefit for the community. I ask whether the audience would love it and if it would sell tickets. Is this a show I want to see on the stage?”
Leonardelli said that just because a script may give one of the actors a chance to spread their wings doesn’t mean it will be a script that will sell to an audience.

Organizational goals
To Leonardelli, the most important things are keeping the Masquers traditions going.
Those are the traditions she learned from the Touheys and everyone else who spread their sense of hospitality and friendship to her.
She loves the tradition, yet is willing to break with tradition to engage a new and younger generation in community theater, whether it be as participants or spectators.
Even Leonardelli knows that her time at the helm of The Masquers will have to come to an end. She is hoping that other committed members will soon step into that leadership role. After all, it’s only healthy for leadership in such an organization to be spread among many hands. To Leonardelli, that’s one of the ways of insuring the organization will remain fresh and vibrant.
No doubt, when that time comes, she will continue to take on administrative and other volunteer duties in various committee roles. You won’t likely find her under the stage lights, though.

Once upon the stage
She hasn’t forgotten her one brush with stage stardom, however. It came during the production of “Harvey” several years ago. The director asked Leonardelli to consider taking the part of the maid, during a show Luan was producing. “I politely informed her that I was the producer and not interested,” Leonardelli suggested.
The director wouldn’t relent and said that Luan would be perfect—besides it didn’t make sense to bring another actor in for one line in one scene.
“It eventually turned into more than one line and one scene, but basically I got to dust on stage and answer the door and telephone. I was also the invisible rabbit behind the scenes,” she said.
So much for glamour under the lights.

Dianne Fett—Women of the Theater

Dianne Fett—Women of the Theater
Dianne Fett

Dianne Fett—Women of the Theater

by Mike Mathes

You’ll have to pardon Dianne Fett if her acting aspirations don’t include Broadway.
She’s not quite certain she’s ready for prime time—or divine time for that matter.
At least that’s the sense you get from the name that she, her husband and a friend tacked onto their church theater group a few years back. Dianne and Al Fett teamed with Dr. Mike Hetzner to initiate a group called the “Not Ready for Divine Time Players” at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church between New Holstein and Kiel.
The “Not Ready” group was founded back in 2002 and has been going strong ever since. Each year they perform a dinner theater production over two weekends, inviting the community out to their church for a show. Fett handles much of the leg work for the production, including serving as the show’s producer, overseeing the dinner preparation, handling publicity and tickets, and working down to the last detail of enlisting ticket takers.
“It’s a really big undertaking, but it’s something I do as a service project for the church,” Fett said.
Each year, the production involves transforming the worship space into a stage. Church members prepare the meal that is served to guests between the two acts. Member of the cast come out to serve wine with the meal, remaining in their characters from the play.

Rooted in chancel ministry
A lover of the theater, Fett recalls that the “Not Ready for Divine Time Players” got their roots back in a desire to start small group ministries, and particularly a chancel ministry in the life of the church, almost 20 years ago.
“It was Mike Hetzner who suggested the dinner theater,” she said.
“The first play we ever did was, ‘Who Stole the Boston Cream Pie?”
Like all their productions the “Not Ready” group selected a comedy, and it was a big hit.
“We like to do comedies, but we have to be careful about the language, particularly with some of the newer shows,” Fett said.
At Gloria Dei, the theater group is a vital part of raising funds to support missions and ministries in the life of the church. Proceeds have been funneled to local families—this past year to the family of a young man with lung cancer, where the father had lost his job. Other benevolent causes have been served, while the church has also benefit with needs such as new carpeting.
“We probably have well over 1,000 hours of volunteer time devoted to each production,” Fett said. “That includes getting the church ready, baking desserts, meal preparation and getting ready to perform the show.”
When the production is over the group’s fundraising efforts are supported by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans which offers matching grants for the group.

Early messaging
That Fett is even involved in theater is somewhat of a surprise. Growing up, her mother told Dianne that she couldn’t sing.
Despite that early admonition, Fett finds herself attracted to the theater beyond her own church walls in a group called the Calumet County Community Theater.
Her mother would be all the wiser if she knew that some of those productions have been musicals.
The Fetts were encouraged by fellow congregation member Miki Wise to participate in the community group. So Dianne traveled along with her husband to see what the audition process was all about. “I wanted a part in that first show, and they made me sing. I actually did okay,” she said.
She has since had multiple singing parts, including two in a lead role.
“Mothers aren’t always right,” Dianne mused.
Regardless of singing issues, Fett loves being in front of an audience, whether the role is dramatic or comedic. “Mostly, I love to make people laugh. But, I also love drama,” she said.
In one role, for “The Night of January the 16th” she spent most of her time on stage crying—hardly a way to bring laughter to the audience.
“I also did a serious part in Damn Yankees. I am a ham, but when you get a meaty part like Meg Boyd, it’s fun to bring out the character in a drama too.”
For Fett, the stage continues to be alluring. She notes that many of the local theater groups have no trouble finding women to play roles, but often are challenged to find enough female parts to keep all the acting members happy.
Some plays, like Brigadoon, for instance, up and coming on the CCCT performance slate, the group does run into challenges filling younger leads. “When it comes to the younger set, we sometimes struggle getting younger people to the shows and to play parts,” Fett said.
To Fett, the theater is a hobby, albeit one that requires a healthy amount of her attention. “It seems like I go right from one production to the next,” she said. “There doesn’t seem to be any break time or separation. About the only time when I am not involved in doing a show is in the fall.”
If the work isn’t tending the millions of details involved in producing a show, Fett’s labor of love is devoted to learning her lines.
When she has a show coming up, it’s nothing for Fett to get up at 5 a.m. and pour over her lines. She does that every day, except Thursday, when the work of preparing for the theater is interrupted to participate in Bible study.
“Even on the morning of the last show, I still get up and go through the script to make sure I am on my game,” she said.
It’s lot of work indeed—for a hobby.
Still, she wouldn’t give up the theater for anything. In fact, Fett is already part of a group trying to resurrect the Bauer players, a New Holstein Community theater group that was once headed up by the late Jim Bauer.

Miki Wise—Women of the Theater

Miki Wise—Women of the Theater
Miki Wise

Miki Wise—Women of the Theater

by Mike Mathes

You won’t find moss growing under Miki Wise’s feet, and that’s not just because she loves to dance.
Wise’s love for dance has turned into a love for performing and growing theater opportunities for others. When she isn’t auditioning, rehearsing or shining under the lights, you might find her working on a project for the Calumet County Community Theater group, or supporting Chilton’s Engler Center for the Performing arts.
She readily admits that her life rarely has a dull moment, even though she is always trying to find a way to say no and do less. Wise is fortunate to have the support of a family that understands her need to pursue these dreams.
“My husband was an actor in both New York and Los Angeles. He understands what it takes, and he has been supportive because I never got to do this type of thing,” Wise said.
She belonged to a dance company in Racine, her home town, but once moved to Chilton, those dance opportunities withered. For years, she has done a two-person road show with her husband, performing at libraries and schools. But, there was always more out there that lured her inner longings to be on the stage.
“Theater was a chance for me to perform dance. Theater became the avenue for that,” Wise said. “To me, performing is about the art and the creating. When I dance, I am an artist on stage.”

Art teacher by trade
An art teacher by trade, Wise’s current day job is entrenched at Kimberly High School. Prior to that, she taught art at the Kiel Middle School.
Yet, it’s dance and theater that have her attention in remaining hours of the day.
To her, creating a character or choreographic routine is just an extension of art. To make the stage presence work, Wise has to come up with the story line behind the character. She researches, goes through historical background of the show and starts to fill in the blanks in the character.
“You want to put your own twist on the character, to make it your own, not just doing it the way someone before you,” Wise said.
She looks at choreography the same way. Having choreographed many shows, she knows her job is to come up with ideas to shape the show. “It’s almost like being a sculptor,” she said. “I like sitting further back in the house, watching the dancers and making sure that the picture they are creating is what I want. The only difference between dance and painting is that people are the medium,” she said.

From ‘monotone’ to many leads
Wise has had a stage presence since she first got a job working in a Nigbor Furs fashion show.
Yet, one of her earliest memories of performing was being branded as a monotone singer in kindergarten. It wasn’t until she turned 27, when Wise made an important discovery.
Trying out for the lead dancer role in “A Chorus Line” she needed to be able to sing to earn the role. The director brought the keyboard over for that fateful test, and ‘voila’ Wise proved she could sing—opening her world to singing and playing lead roles ever since.
“My parents still marvel at the fact that I was the girl who couldn’t sing, yet I got to plan Anna in ‘The King and I,’” she said. “Teachers and parents sometimes don’t realize that the things they say to young children stick with them forever.”
Since then, Wise has become a prominent face in many plays offered by the Calumet County Community Theater and UW-Fox Valley Theater groups. This April, she just wrapped up a lead in “Dream Role” with the Menasha based group.
“It was truly an honor to be involved with that show. We had a huge cast and a lot of very talented people, with people from all over the Valley auditioning for the show,” Wise said.
She was involved in a lot of numbers and even got to sing a solo as Anita in ‘America’ from West Side Story.
Her lengthy list of credits includes key roles in productions like A Chorus Line (for the 3rd time), Rent, Hairspray, Chicago, Damn Yankees and more.

Bringing theater to the people
Yet, Wise’s connection to theater runs deeper than the stage lights would indicate.
When she and her family moved to Chilton 18 years ago, she had been doing theater in the Fox Valley and she missed it. Wise wanted to do something locally, but the old Chilton High School facilities just didn’t suit the purpose.
Then, the Engler Center for the Performing Arts arose as part of the new Chilton High School construction project, thanks to a generous donation from the Engler Family. Wise had a venue for her dream.
The Calumet County Community Theater group was beginning to feel a breath of life.
“I was really fortunate to be involved in the planning of the Engler Center, including the technical aspects,” Wise said. She still serves on a supportive group for the Center, as president of the Friends of the Chilton Performing Arts.
But, it was her dream of forming the CCCT that started to grow. It took two years from the start of planning until the first performance.
“I did a lot of research on forming a non-profit group, writing articles and lots of research and blood, sweat and tears. We ran newspaper ads, asked for interest and sought others to be involved,” Wise said. “When it was all said and done, six people showed up at my dining room table. Turns out they would be some of our first board members,” she said.
Wise would direct the first CCCT performance at the Engler Center. It would be “Music Man.”
The Calumet County Theater group isn’t the smallest theater troupe in the state. In terms of participation numbers, it probably ranks on the smaller end of middle. But, it is a group that Wise takes great pride in, as it has formed in the midst of long-standing theater companies in Manitowoc and Appleton.
To Wise, it has brought some of her most enjoyable moments in her theater career.
“When we did some of our first performances, and people found out I was the founder of CCCT and came up to say thank you, that was really special,” she said. “I realized that before that, we had nothing. Then, we were graced with performers and an audience, both full of joy. All the hard work was worth it.”
Wise would love to see a growth in appreciation for theater in Calumet County. “I would like to see people include theater as a normal recreational activity, just like they would plan to go see a baseball or football game,” she said.
She gets a little frustrated to hear people who come out to the theater saying they were not aware Calumet County had these kind of opportunties.
“I want to create a cultural appreciation for what we do in theater. I want to make it a habit for people to go to the theater,” Wise said.
“We are fortunate to have such a beautiful facility here in Chilton,” she said.
In addition to providing a cultural opportunity for spectators, Wise sees other opportunities streaming from the Calumet County Community Theater. “We have a lot of people in our area with a lot of talent who otherwise wouldn’t have an outlet for sharing their joy. Many who have moved in from outside the area have found us and taken advantage of the opportunities CCCT provides,” she said.
CCCT is still “her baby” as Wise calls it. That means sometimes she has to pull her wings in and fly closer to the ground, as she will be this summer when coordinating “Brigadoon” for the Calumet group.
“I have been flying pretty high lately, and I actually said no to two jobs this summer to just be able to do Brigadoon with CCCT,” she said.

Claran LaViolette—Women of the Theater

Claran LaViolette—Women of the Theater
Claran LaViolette

Claran LaViolette—Women of the Theater

by Mike Mathes

Claran LaViolette’s creations have seen far more stage time than she has.
As the costume mistress for Masquers, a Manitowoc-based theater group, LaViolette has helped shape theatrical images for many stage performances in the last 15 years.
For LaViolette, an early experience that fizzled didn’t hold her back. Despite doing some work for Masquers while she was employed by Goodwill in the 1980s, she dropped the notion of making theater costumes. She was simply not moved by the experience.
Many years later, in 1999, LaViolette was working with a woman who happened to be a stage manager for a Masquers show. “She was looking for someone to help with costuming for ‘Singing in the Rain’ and she encouraged me to come along and join the fun,” the costume designer said.
“I got involved and it turned out to be a wonderful experience. It opened me up to such a great group of people. We have become good friends and have so much fun together,” LaViolette said.
Her excitement for costume design was likely born out of a childhood love for dressing up at Halloween time. “My mom was a seamstress and she would make my costumes for Halloween. Dad helped, too. I always got to pick what I wanted to be,” she said. “And, I always liked everything about that.”
It wasn’t long before she was designing her own costumes. LaViolette recalls shaping a vampire costume in college from an old wedding dress picked up at St. Vincent de Paul. She dyed it black and added a long, draping cape and a big stand-up collar. “It was my first really great costume design,” she recalled with pride.
Ever since, she has been collecting things and making new costumes. What started as a personal hobby grew into an opportunity to make costumes for others, including the theater group.
While costuming is just one of the teams that comprises an overall Masquers production, LaViolette takes her part of the game seriously.
“I oversee the inventory of costumes and am in charge of pulling things out for shows, also determining what we need to acquire or make,” she said.
LaViolette surrendered an important confession, “I love to shop. That really helps. I’ve been collecting costumes for 40 years, and the collection has become extensive.”
Some of the costumes are housed in the Masquers collection at the Coach House (official clubhouse of the Masquers) while others may be in separate locations.
LaViolette and the Masquers costume group also makes the costume collection available for rent by other groups to help keep their costs reasonable.
Occasional rare request
Most costuming needs are basic, and can involve re-using materials or making new designs with ease.
However, occasionally, a show comes along that tries even the most tested costume designer.
LaViolette recalled a need for the play “The Producers” several years ago. One of the characters had to wear a dress that embodied the Chrysler Building. “It was in the script. We couldn’t fudge it,” she said. “We called rental places all over the country, and we would have paid enough to rent that costume to eat up our budget for the whole show.”
What else could she do?
LaViolette and her team went to work. “I am lucky to have some very good seamstresses. These ladies spent 16 hours at my house making this dress,” she said. “We made the

costume for about $75 worth of materials rather than spending more than $300 to rent it.”
LaViolette says there is no better feeling than sitting up in the balcony on opening night and watching people’s reactions to the imagery she has helped to create.
“Just seeing the crowd react to the final product, and how they enjoy it is a great reward,” she said.
Times can be harrowing for a costume mistress too. “Something always rips or breaks. You have to be ready all the time for emergencies,” LaViolette said.
Of course, there are last-minute harrowing deadlines to meet. LaViolette recalls an experience about five years ago, struggling with costumes and a crown for Pharaoh in the production of “Aida.”
“We had 30 people in the cast and many of them had six costume changes. We were still sewing during tech week,” she noted.
“I had to get the crown to fit and stay put so it wouldn’t fall off. Luckily, we had it right in time for a Wednesday dress rehearsal.
LaViolette said the work of a costume mistress never ends. Between Masquers shows, summer church theater shows and Halloween costumes, she is always creating something.
Social outlet
For LaViolette the excitement of producing something creative is matched by the social benefits of belonging to the theater group.
“It’s definitely a great social thing as well as being a creative thing,” she said. “We get to work with great people.”
“We are all part of the troupe no matter what our role. We are all Masquers. Whether its putting up posters, fund raising, or putting together costumes, we are part of the show. You get to be part of something bigger than yourself,” she said.
“Granted, there can be drama. It’s theater after all. But in the end, everyone’s working to the same cause, and we do a beautiful job of it.”
For LaViolette, the lure of costuming will always be a connection to theater. But she admits she has taken on stage roles on occasion. “Most of the time it’s some sort of character actress—a crazy old woman part,” she said.
Though it helps the show go on, LaViolette would cast those acting roles aside to be remembered for what she does best—putting others in costumes that make great theater.

Rachel Elizabeth Thuermer—Women of the Theater

Rachel Elizabeth Thuermer—Women of the Theater
Rachel Elizabeth Thuermer

Rachel Elizabeth Thuermer—Women of the Theater

by Mike Mathes

Spreading the Joy to Young People

Rachel Elizabeth Thuermer traces her theater career to age four. 
She had no clue she was opening herself up to the theater by serving as a member of the Stonewall Brigade Civil War re-enactment group.
It was just something her family did.
Then, in her high school years, that early indirect connection to the theater began to blossom.
“I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere,” she said. “I found a home and friends in the high school theater program. That truly planted the seeds of love for theater in me,” Thuermer said.
“It was there I found out for the first time that theater can make a difference. It can save a person by giving them a place to belong,” she added.
At Wisconsin Lutheran College, Thuermer found further evidence for that theory. She connected with a college theater professor who had the same vision for what theater could mean for people.
It was at Wisconsin Lutheran College where Thuermer became involved in the creation of the campus’ theater program. 
Not only did she help found the college theater program, it was there she founded her own theater group, called Dare to Dream. After graduation, she helped for three years to form a developmental theater program for inner city, first-generation college prospects called Pathways to College.
Thuermer was acting on her belief that theater can be a catalyst for life development.
A family move to Manitowoc prompted her to bring her theater dreams north along the Lakeshore where Dare To Dream took on a new life form.

Serving the Lakeshore
Today, Dare to Dream Theater is a non-profit theater company serving schools and families in Manitowoc and the surrounding counties. 
Dare to Dream Theater enlightens families with quality affordable theater education, opportunities to perform together, and uplifting and thought-provoking glimpses into history, culture, and social issues through productions based on award winning and popular literature. At Dare to Dream people from all ages and backgrounds have a chance to make a difference together and benefit from life skills learned through theater. 
Dare to Dream’s home is located on North 10th Street in Manitowoc, in a former church building.
It’s the location for most of the Dare to Dream rehearsals and performances, although the troupe has worked at other locations. For Thuermer, Dare to Dream is a wake-eat-sleep-breathe journey 24 hours a day and seven days a week as necessary. 
The bottom line is to provide as many opportunities for young people as possible.
“We like to say that we meet children where they are. We help them learn to grow and flourish. Dare to Dream helps them learn life skills by developing stage skills,” Thuermer said.
Most of Dare to Dream’s productions are cast with young people. Some casts involve 14 and under age groups. Some have 18 and under casts. Some casts may include a handful of adults.
Approximately 60 young people are engaged in every production.
Though based in Manitowoc, Dare to Dream participants may come from as far away as Green Bay, Milwaukee, Sheboygan or other areas.
“We are always open to working with new people, but we do have an important participation requirement,” Thuermer said.
“The parent of the child needs to be involved in some way. We try to match parent contributions with their skills. But, everyone can sell an ad or help build a set,” she said.
“It’s so critical to our success. When the parent and child are both involved in building toward the same thing, it builds important bonds between the parent and child. It’s not a drop-off site. Hosting children without parental involvement would leave them heartbroken,” Thuermer added.

Joint school venture
Recently, Dare to Dream began a partnership with the Howards Grove School District. Some of the cast members in last year’s production of “Shrek” noted that they wanted more drama opportunities in their school.
“This spurred conversations with decision makers at Howards Grove. We agreed to start a partnership and build a drama program,” Thuermer said. “This is really our first effort of this nature. It’s a really new role for our theater company.”
Though performances may be hosted in Manitowoc, some performance experiences are also extended out to area schools and libraries.
Last fall, Dare to Dream sought to tour area libraries with part of its “Dora” production.
In the past five years, the Dare to Dream Theater group has also taken small groups of young performers to Atlanta to participate in the Junior Theater Festival. Dare to Dream Theater is pleased to announce the opportunity to perform at the National Performing Arts Festival at Walt Disney World February 19-23, 2015! Dare to Dream will be performing a 20 minute selection from its Spring, Summer, or Summer Camp Musical!

Directing gives wider view
In order to run Dare to Dream Theater, Thuermer has had to put her desire to perform on the back burner. The business demands that she serve as the director. She has adapted, though.
“I used to think I needed the performing. But, I am finding that when you get to be the vision of the show, it’s a lot like being the artist who opens the container of paint and puts the paint to work,” she noted.
“Being a director is like painting with people. Everyone comes with their own skills, art and colors and as a director you get to mix them together,” Thuermer mused. “As an actor you know your lines, but as the director, you put yourself into everything that happens on the stage.”
For now, Thuermer takes joy in providing opportunity for numbers of children, and also for literally creating something from nothing.
“We are looking to grow and improve our support network, and we rely on volunteers,” she said.
But the bottom line, like it is for so many other theater people is that Thuermer loves her work.
“That’s why I do this, because I love it. I don’t think I could live without it,” she said.

Financial challenges
Part of operating a theater troupe for young people is fundraising, something Thuermer admits is not one of her strengths. “I am not very good at asking people for money. But we occasionally have volunteers who really make a difference in that way,” she said.
One means of supporting Dare to Dream stems from a superb costume effort. “We have an amazing costume designer in Amanda Johnson from Howards Grove. We are able to rent out some of the costumes to help pay the bills for the theater,” Thuermer said.
If you would like to register as a volunteer, suggest additional locations, or receive more information, contact Rachel Elizabeth Thuermer at

Susan Rabideau—Women of the Theater

Susan Rabideau—Women of the Theater
Susan Rabideau

by Mike Mathes

Dreams of Streisand lead to teaching others

Susan Rabideau loved the theater at an early age. She can remember being a “theater person” when she was just five years old.
It’s no wonder that her career has evolved into one that teaches an appreciation of theater to others.
Rabideau, who holds a Master of Fine Arts in Directing, serves as an associate professor of Theater and Communications at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley. She has served in that capacity for the past 12 years.
In her role, Rabideau also experiences the joys and challenges of running the university’s theater program. She also takes part in local community theater programs in the summer months.
From Rabideau’s perspective, theater is about creating community. “We bring students and community members together. Many times it can be people who are truly square pegs fitting into round holes. Yet, they are so accepting of each other. They essentially create their own family,” she said.
“We have had many occasions where we have people who have been saved from the brink come together. They give up their free time to create art together, and its a pretty cool thing,” Rabideau said.
To her the biggest factor in building a theater community is the acceptance factor. “We emphasize the fact that everyone is welcome,” she said.

Team building capacity
The arts have a tremendous capacity for team building and creativity, both of which are highly valued in the workplace.
Planning, preparation and presentation of a theater production carries with it many hours behind the scenes. “That work is so important, and we all have to support each other. You can’t just have a group of actors who want to work weekends, but aren’t willing to build sets,” she said.
That amount of work also requires an intense planning effort, one which usually beings a year in advance of a show for Rabideau.
“It’s important for us to work very long range for our productions,” she added.
One show, the production of “Tarzan” required a pre-production period of nearly two years.

Blending the workload
Blending a 4-4 teaching load with the community theater responsibilities can be harrowing at times.
Rabideau says it requires great organizational skills and admits she is somewhat of a “freak” when it comes to organization.
“I love my lists. I also plan to work an hour a week on each show in the pre-production phase. I actually set a timer,” she said.
Lists are critical. She has one 80-point checklist for any show that she starts checking off early in the process.
“You have to do that, because every show gets overwhelming during tech week. You have to have so many pieces in place prior to that,” she said.

Dream of the spotlight
Rabideau began to focus on her organization skills right after college. “There was a time when I dreamed I would be the next Barbra Streisand and take my career to Broadway,” she said. “But after college I realized I didn’t have the skill sets to allow that to occur.”
She found her penchant for organization, realizing that she has a rare combination of being half business-brained and half creative-brained.
Rabideau came to the realization that directing and producing theater is really a small business operation. Her path directed her back to business classes, where she enriched those ingrained organization skills.
“I have been very fortunate that people have realized the value of the rare combination of organization and creativity,” she said. “And I hope I have been able to draw on that to make our theater productions successful.”

A lot of work involved
For Rabideau, the early lure of the stage has boiled down to the realization that theater involves a lot of work, a lot of which isn’t very glamorous.
“There is not a job I haven’t done. People have seen me sweeping stages,” she said.
Her greatest sense of accomplishment, though comes from yielding her ego to overall success of the production.
“On opening night, if I have done my job well, nobody thinks about me. They just think about how all those people came together to make this art,” she said.
“If it’s a good show, that feeling really mushrooms.”
The other thing that brings a sense of accomplishment to the educator is the opportunity to see people coming into their own and growing their sense of self worth as part of a theater production.
In fact, Rabideau encourages everyone to consider an opportunity to be enriched through theater.
People are enriched through watching, but the enrichment is even greater when participating.
“My advice to people is that they should jump off the cliff and put themselves out there to get involved. Audition or call someone to offer your talents. I have never met a theater artist that has turned down help,” she said.
“Tell yourself you want to try this. It could be a spectacular failure, but nine times out of ten you are going to find a new home,” she noted.

Cultural value
Rabideau can’t emphasize enough the cultural value of theater art in our society. “We are losing social interaction, and it would be a sad world without that. Theatrical events have a community feel to them. It’s actually a time where we turn off text messaging and we may even speak to the person next to us,” she said.
Located on Midway Road in Menasha, UW-Fox Valley boasts a relatively new, 14.7 million communication arts facility­­—one with a marvelous footprint for theater. A schedule of upcoming theater opportunities and performances can be found on the university’s website—
It’s a great place to check out the schedule, and it even includes opportunities to “jump off the cliff” by auditioning or signing up to volunteer.
Though starring under the spotlights may once have motivated Rabideau, she has found her niche educator/organizer in building communities, teaching appreciation for the theater and helping others realize their dreams.
“I truly have my dream. I do what I love and I get a paycheck at the end of the week. It’s really cool,” she said.

Women of the Theater

by Mike Mathes

Broadway might be located half a continent away in the real world, but for local women, the opportunity to be a part of the theater might linger just around the corner.
Whether they are attracted by the bright lights of the stage, or prefer to do their work behind the scenes, women have turned their talents and interests into wonderful theatrical opportunities.
Those opportunities may be for their own gain, but many times, there is an altruistic aim of bringing an appreciation of the theater to others.
Whether they find their joy in creating costumes, performing a dance routine, acting their favorite role, directing, teaching, or simply volunteering for the many mundane tasks that bring theater to life, the women associated with theater in Eastern Wisconsin are doing their part to build cultural appreciation.
Their rewards are personal.
They are often as simple as fulfilling a childhood dream.
Some see the theater as an opportunity to flex their wings and soar in the creative arts.
For others, the rewards are even simpler yet. They seek a place to belong. They search for friendship.
They long to be part of something bigger than themselves.
We share six profiles of area women whose involvement in theater has brought great joy to their lives. They are a mere representation of the larger group of women who love to express themselves through theater.

  • Rachel and marcy's visit dec 2011 55320140219 409 1sf0p1t 960x435

Bringing Light into places of despair

By Mike Mathes

In a world filled with darkness, a young Kiel native has answered the call to be a beacon of light.
Rachel Mathes graduated from Kiel High School in 2007, like many of her classmates, with an eye on college, and a profession beyond.
What started out to be a pathway into the graphic design profession and an avocation for fastpitch softball was only the first step on a faith journey that would lead her around the globe. The travels would be marked by an effort to bring hope and comfort to some of the world's poorest and most needy people.
Yet to turn 25, Mathes has made five worldwide mission trips, and serves currently in an inner city outreach center in Milwaukee. Her objective is simple. She feels called to bring the light of Christ to others who need that ray of hope.
Mathes' first mission trip came during her sophomore year at Concordia University of Wisconsin, where she was immersed in softball, pitching in relief for the Falcons while studying graphic design.
She felt God's call, and it wasn't an easy one to accept.
Softball would have to be put aside to make her first journey to India. Mathes discussed her plans with her coach, then came home to inform her family of her decision. Instead of pursuing her role on the college softball team, she was now a member of the Jesus team, heading for a faraway land.
"Jesus put the desire in my heart to go to India, before I even understood my relationship with him as my Lord and Savior," Mathes said.

Working through Bethania Kids
Making the decision to join the India mission team was only the first step. A simple matter of raising the money to support the journey-a tidy sum of $2,500 had to be raised by her and every other member of the India team-was the next hurdle.
Fundraising events and support from friends, family and fellow believers helped achieve the necessary financial goal. As is often the case, the mission teams received financial support from others, but more important is the prayer support for their effort.
The mission team traveled as a group based out of St. John's Lutheran Church in West Bend. That congregation had supported Bethania Kids in Southern India with prior mission ventures.
Through the Bethania presence, the traveling messengers would ground themselves in a relatively established presence in India. Christianity is a significantly minority religion in the country. But, the Bethania Kids homes are results of Christian efforts to help the disadvantaged-young boys and girls who might not otherwise be supported in Indian culture.
The young mission traveler recalled the exhaustion of the long flight halfway across the globe. Exhaustion would soon be replaced by the desire to interact with the children they had traveled to see. As a team member Mathes helped organize songs, skits and told stories about Jesus in her relatively low key role.
"We had 19 people on our team that first mission trip, and that was a huge team. I would never take that many again," she said.
The group visited children's homes starting out in Chennai and moving on to Kodaikannal. Mathes remembers getting off the bus to lines of children ushering them into their buildings screaming and shouting with joy.
"We were there to serve them, and they were blessing us so richly-literally treating us like royalty. I couldn't help but thinking, 'I am no one, why are you so excited to see me.'"
What she learned in the background and the safety net of the large group would pave the way for her next role-team leader. That would come on her third trip to India, where she had to take responsibility for planning and carrying out the entire team effort.

Learn to just love them
Mathes said one of the earliest and easiest things to comprehend is that the people on mission are simply there to share God's love for those they visit. "It's amazing how they just love you-they just need you to be there to reinforce their faith," she said. Sometimes it mean playing games, laughing together, drawing silly pictures or stumbling through language obstacles. For Mathes, the added gift of playing the guitar and singing helped her connect even more with the young people.
"It didn't take long to notice each of the children. Their clothes were heavily worn. Many were not wearing shoes. Yet they were still so happy," she said.
"You are amazed that they can be this happy while you can only imagine what they have gone through in their lives."
Visits involved singing, dancing and skits with translators. The guests would perform, and the children would share bits of their culture in return. Together, they ventured into the universal language of prayer.
"We prayed with and over each child. We spread out blessing them," Mathes noted, indicating the process that would be repeated at each location.
Of course, one of the intentions of the trip was also to bring supplies directly to the homes-items like blankets, vitamins, water purification systems, sweatshirts and other necessities were hauled along, making sure the good would actually reach their intended destinations.

Religious challenges
Serving as a Christian mission person in a distant land brings its set of challenges. In India, for example, Christianity is accepted as a minority religion in the south, where some freedom to choose religions exists.
Some parts of the country practice a hybrid theology, combining Catholicism with tenets of Hinduism, offering mixed blessings to the Christian faith.
Moving north, however, Christian beliefs are not part of the culture, and are frowned upon.
For the mission team, it's all about trying to find the right time to portray the message of Christianity. The travelers felt at ease witnessing to people in the market while surrounded by Indian friends and translators. However, on a second trip to India, Mathes and fellow team members encountered a driver who became offended when the group played some of their worship music on a CD. "He got pretty mad at us and came close to pulling the car over and leaving us out in the middle of nowhere," she said.

Mission misconceptions
Mathes said she learned early among her four trips to India that Americans, in particular, often have the wrong idea about the role of mission teams. Too often, they see themselves as fixers.
"We think we are there trying to help them, to give them something or to do something for them. Worse yet, we think we have to tell them how to live and whatever comes along with that," she said. "You can't go in somewhere-a place where you have no idea of what's happening-and decide what's best for someone else. You have to build the relationship. You have no clue of what's happening before you have been there," she said.
"If a person can realize the value of just being there and just loving one other person in a way that they are seen as the presence of the Lord, that's what really speaks to my heart," she said.

Listening for the Voice
Following her year as team leader, Mathes heard the call to return to India yet a fourth time. This time would be different. Instead of joining up with a team, Mathes and a roomate, Marcy Kelto, were called to make the trip on their own. Traveling to familiar Bethania settings and being called to venture into the non-believing north of India, this trip would be different.
Imagine being conflicted by hearing the call, yet being in a position where finances would be a huge issue. "I had graduated from Concordia and was making minimum wage as a day care facilitator at a Lutheran church. I lived in Grafton, then moved to Milwaukee. Big parts of my car had broken down two months earlier, sapping my savings. If I took this trip, I would be basically homeless upon my return to the Milwaukee area. I had no money to pay for my trip," she said.
"We had some people together praying for the trip. All I could remember was thinking how I needed $3,000 by the end of the week in order to make this journey," she said.
By 10 p.m. the group finished praying and was ready to depart, when someone noticed an envelope left at the entrance. In crayon, Rachel's name was scribbled on the envelope.
To her surprise, when she opened it, the envelope contained an anonymous cashier's check for $3,000-the exact amount needed to cover the journey. Her friend Marcy received a refund check from a grant in the mail the next day, and it was obvious Jesus had answered their prayers.
It was on this fourth journey, Mathes said, that she began to understand fully why God calls disciples to the nations. "It's not to make us feel good or say things about the cool places we have been. It's to demonstrate God's love for them," she said.
It can mean showing acceptance for disabled children in a culture where they are outcasts. It can mean helping women find their faith and sense of self-worth in a society where they have been abused or rejected. "We get to laugh, sing, talk and share with them. We get to pray together. We get to dream with God about their possibilities," she said. "We get to tell kids without earthly fathers that they still have a Father who cares for them.
"It's amazing to see the difference even one person can make and delivering God's message of love to the people," Mathes noted.

In a dark place
On her fourth trip, the mission called for Mathes and Kelto to journey to the north, to a place where a Christian mission was just taking a toehold in the midst of a strong Hindu tradition.
The American visitors felt the voice of God calling them to visit a major Hindu temple and pray. While that may not seem like a daunting task on surface, it was a place where Christians weren't allowed. As they explained their request to visit this place to a local Christian pastor, he silenced them.They were in a restaurant, fearing others would hear of their plans.
Later at the hotel, he advised, "Don't do this, it's really unsafe. But, if you want, I will try to get you there."
Take them he did in his car, despite Marcy feeling ill the whole trip.
They were able to get past the first checkpoint into the shrine but were halted as they passed the second guard, who charged the car yelling furiously. Apparently the pastor had the name of Jesus written on the windshield of his car. A second, younger man came over, explaining that the province practices freedom of religion, so it was okay to pass, provided the name was covered up with newsprint.
Together the duo prayer walked around the shrine, noting the solemn looks on the faces of those who came to wait their turn to enter the temple. "We didn't preach or start a riot," Rachel said. "We didn't see three thousand converts. We only did what God asked us to do and prayed for this place."
Adults and children alike at the shrine bore solemn looks on their faces, almost as if they were about to die.
Yet, while the two women walked they encountered one young girl who couldn't stop looking at them. "She was beaming. She could not take her eyes off us. She was seeing something different than everyone else on that mountain," Mathes noted.

Diverted to Africa
Mathes was locked in the throes of planning her fifth trip to India and a return to the children she loved working with. But things changed dramatically.
"I had plans and had sent in my deposit to go, but God stopped me. The ministry planning the trip was shutting things down, and I could not go alone," she said.
Attending a Burn 24-7 event, Mathes said a friend communicated that Rachel would be going to Africa, not India-something learned in prayer.
After prayerful consideration, and some scurrying to circumnavigate last minute deadlines, Africa was the destination indeed.
"I didn't have much time to decide, but prayer helped us understand we were being called to go to the Congo," she said.
That's Congo, as in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a central African nation torn by warring rebel factions, and decimated by disease, famine and abject poverty. No place on earth has a higher incidence of rape or sexual violence. The DRC is not the sort of place a woman would seek on her travel agenda.
In recent wars, genocide was practiced as Rwandese and Congolese battled for control of the country and its limited resources.
"I was well aware of the dangers," Mathes said. "We had visited with some of the ministry people connected with the trip and we were well aware we might be going into the bush."
After a lot of praying, Mathes and those she would be journeying with were buoyed by their faith. They had to trust that God would protect and keep them safe as they were venturing on this important mission to support Christians in the backcountry of one of the world's darkest places.
"All of us on the team felt at peace with the mission because we were going to see the friends who had been called to ministry in this place," she said.
Loving, gracious people
Halfway around the globe, in the midst of this strife, Mathes and her fellow travelers took stock in the hearts of the people they encountered.
"The people in the Congo are the most loving and gracious people I have ever met. They were hospitable and wanted to take us in. And, this was in places where the country was so war torn that their natural love and hospitality has been beaten down. It's sad to see that people so willing to give are being stolen from and abused," she said.
It was in this place where the mission team struggled to find words and answers.
"Where is God?"
"That's a common question for the Congolese to ask. They tell us, 'You come and talk about God and we believe in Jesus. It's so hard to keep believing when we don't see him bringing peace,'" Mathes noted.
She admitted feeling uneasy-having never experienced the level of pain and the trauma associated with the plight of the Congolese.
In the end, it's most important that the visitors leave the message of hope that God still cares about these people. "We are there to let them know that someone came to care about them, to care about the hurting in their nation and to care about the injustices. Our presence brings the Light to their darkness," she said.

Extended worship
While in the bush, Mathes and others with her conducted a "burn" or extended worship time, with guitar, praise singing and prayer leading the way. Working with a ministry that had been active in the Congo, the team reached out to local pastors to bring them together for worship and prayer.
"It was amazing to worship with the Congolese. They worship like no one I have seen. We danced and sang praise to the Lord all night long," she said.
"We taught them how to be intimate with God during worship and worked with 30 pastors in the process," she said.
During the midst of the burn, completely exhausted at 3 a.m., it was Mathes' turn to lead worship for two hours. She remembers the joy-filled 12X16 room jammed with 40 people-mostly pastors. The group soon wore itself out and some stretched out to sleep on the floor. One of the Congolese played the drum while two others from the American mission team remained awake. "We just keep singing out the goodness and hope of Jesus," she said.
One of the pastors, whom she thought was sleeping, had remained awake to tearfully greet her at 5:30 a.m. on the way back to the house she was staying.
"He started to cry," she said. "He told me, 'You all mean so much to me and to God that I wanted to give of myself to bless you.'"
Mathes said the pastor told her he was moved to see her awake at 4 and 5 a.m. singing God's goodness over his country.
"One of the pastors that was reluctant to do anything of this sort said they would do this on a regular basis, and he would organize it-he was that moved by God's presence," she noted.
To her it was evidence that mission work isn't about changing people.
It's about serving as God's presence in their midst.
"The seeds you plant are the seeds that will grow," she said. "It's incredible to know that something changed in their hearts. They wanted to continue what God started while we were there."

Experiencing freedom
On her journeys, Mathes has seen the changes that can occur among believers of the faith.
In India, a country where women are very oppressed, especially in poorer areas of the country, she felt her presence made a great statement. "The mere fact that we were women in these countries demonstrated to the women there that we are valuable as people. We got to speak that value and self-worth into women's lives," she noted.
She recalls meeting an Indian woman on her first visit. As she was leaving the village, the woman asked the mission traveler to pray for her. Later, Mathes found out the woman was being abused by her husband, who didn't like the fact that she had turned to Christianity.
On her last trip there, the woman came up to Mathes and spoke to her in English, explaining the she had been freed from the abusive relationship.
"It's scary to go to some of these places as a woman, but to see how we impacted so many of the women we encountered makes it all worth it," she said.

Meeting life in the pit
Mathes, who serves back home in Wisconsin as director of worship and creative services for Adullam Outreach Center on Milwaukee's northwest side, acknowledges that her life is far from normal.
She lives and works in a community where she is a minority, surrounded by all the challenges that poverty, unemployment and mistrust foster. Yet, she knows, it's the life she is called to in her relationship with God.
People live in fear of racial mistrust and divisions because walls need to be broken down.
The hardest part of that "inner-city" ministry is getting to break down the walls that exist in the cultural divide. "I want to get to know the people-their needs, their dreams, what moves and shapes them. But we continually run into walls. The racial divisions are a two-way street. It's difficult to help others, or become their friend when they push us away," she said.
Much of that comes from cultural differences, but also fear.
"Many of the people in the neighborhood are fearful that we may hurt them as others have in the past," she said. "Because we are different we get a lot of suspicious looks. Others may think we are cops or spies, instead of someone truly reaching out to help."
So, the focus for Mathes boils down to her job within the ministry-creating an atmosphere through worship and prayer where people can feel safe, not judged nor rejected.
"We want them to experience the radical freedom through Jesus to feel loved and cared for," she said.
"I often ask myself why would God send a white girl who doesn't know anything about the people here, who never grew up in Milwaukee, who was raised next to a cornfield and throw her into the middle of this chaos. But, a huge part of why I am here is the same reason I have traveled to other dark places-If I can even bring hope to one person, to see one child loved, to see one life transformed-then I have fulfilled my purpose," she said.
"It's a circle. When one person is touched by God, it doesn't stop with that person. It touches another and another, and so on.....," Mathes added.
"My lifestyle is not normal. That's the best part about it. I get the opportunity to see lives change, not because of who I am, but because of how good God is," she said.
"Jesus wants to meet people in their despair, in the crap and in the pit of life," she said.
"That's why I am called to go to the darkest war zones and places without much of a future. Even in my own country, in a place where I can speak the language there's a different pit to attend to," she said.
"As long as someone needs the hope and needs to know that Jesus is good, that's where I'll be."