Morgan Musings

Greetings, Morgan!

Best wishes to your family this Thanksgiving. If you have a news item or photo to share, please contact me at

Veterans Day was recently observed on Nov. 11. One Morgan couple recognizes veterans throughout the year by maintaining a permanent flag display in their own front yard. Dave and Ginny Behrend, who reside at 3214 County Road C, began this undertaking after moving to Morgan and noticing that a raised area in their yard would make a perfect spot to display the American flag that Dave had received as a gift after serving in the U.S. Coast Guard in Desert Storm. (He also served in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam.)

This idea eventually turned into a series of flagpoles that Dave designed himself, putting a considerable amount of thought into the placement of the poles, with each flying the flag of a branch of the military. There is also a pole for the POW-MIA flag.


Adults invited to compete in Lena’s elf contest

The “Elf on the Shelf,” a new contest for adults, will take place in the village of Lena as part of the Village of Lights celebration.

Starting on Saturday, Dec. 3, the elf will spend 24 hours at local businesses, and contestants get a chance to follow him each day to see where he is hiding. He will make 20 different stops.

Contestants can pick up their “elf” sheet at participating businesses to keep track of where he is located. They can turn in their lists to the Village Hall by 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 23, when a prize drawing will take place. Participants must be age 18 or older.

The Village of Lights celebration on Saturday, Dec. 3, will feature family activities from 3-7 p.m., beginning with a movie and popcorn at the Lena Public Library. Santa will arrive at Village Hall at 5 p.m.


Lena is lighting up for the holidays

The Village of Lights preparation is underway in the village of Lena. The holiday kickoff is scheduled from 3-7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. The Lena Promotions Committee is spearheading the project to bring awareness of the local businesses and the village.

The kickoff starts with a holiday movie and popcorn at the Lena Public Library. At 5 p.m. Santa will arrive by fire truck to visit with children at the Village Hall. Kids can sign up for a chance to win a 3-foot-long stocking or a “Night Before Christmas” box.

Local businesses and clubs will give away special treats, and people will have a chance to win a variety of prizes if they visit the participating businesses and get their Village of Lights card punched. Some of the activities include frosting cookies at the Wooden Shoe, writing a letter to Santa at Lena Lanes, having a hot dog at Vintage Insurance and getting a bag of candy at McGuire Sport’s Bar.


Literacy council trains 5 tutors

The Marinette & Oconto Counties Literacy Council has five new volunteer tutors trained and ready to be paired with area adult students waiting for a tutor to help them with reading and speaking English.

The tutor/student pair will meet regularly in a public location, such as a library, using materials provided by the council. The tutor and student work toward goals set by the students. By achieving the goals, the students are then able to become contributing members of their communities and workforce.

For information about becoming a tutor or to refer an adult student, contact Janet at 920-897-4422 or


A privilege taken seriously

Times Herald Photo by Joan Koehne

Joan Gauthier, 103, and her daughter, Sue Campbell, arrive at the Stiles Town Hall to vote on Nov. 8. They were assisted by poll workers Peggy Sonata, left, and Marge Wicinski.

The year was 1932.

The U.S. was in the depths of the Great Depression, Amelia Earhart made history as the first woman pilot to cross the Atlantic Ocean and the parking meter was invented.

History was being made in the election of a new president when Franklin Roosevelt, who promised a New Deal for the American people, defeated incumbent Herbert Hoover.

And Joan Gauthier, of rural Oconto Falls, made personal history when she voted in her first presidential election. She cast her first ballot as a 19-year-old in Milwaukee, but the details of that vote are hazy.

“To tell you the honest to God truth, it’s hard to remember my first vote,” she said.

Exactly 84 years later, on Nov. 8, she was at the polls again, voting in the presidential race between Hillary Clinton and the eventual victor, Donald Trump.

Twenty-two presidential elections have come and gone from 1932 to 2016, and Gauthier said she has voted in every one.


Breathing new life into an old school

Times Herald photo by Joan Koehne
Andrew Lane stands in the center of the upper floor of Spruce School, a two-room schoolhouse he is renovating for a home. The school closed in 2012.

The interior of Spruce School today bears little resemblance to the classroom setting of five years ago.

A few items remain from recent school days, like the partial number line and alphabet strip, a couple of posters and a bulletin board. The rest of the classroom atmosphere is missing at the school that educated generations of Spruce kids before closing in 2012.

In its recent history, the schoolhouse was operated as a charter school with an environmental emphasis for students in grades one through five.

From 2012 to 2015, Spruce School sat empty with nothing but memories inside the two rooms that once bustled with the excitement of learning. Slowly taking the place of the classrooms is a home for a family of three, Andrew Lane and his two sons, ages 5 and 8.

Lane said he feels no vibes from the former students or teachers — no ghosts of the past flitting past the high ceilings. To Lane, it’s a beautiful historic building with a lot of promise.


Dialysis center opens in Oconto Falls

Photo by Stephanie Ortiz

The staff of HSHS St. Vincent Hospital Dialysis Center at Oconto Falls, left to right, includes Ellie Hoeft, Mary Caldwell, Debra Herman, Karen Femling, Dan DeGroot, Tom Smith, Joanne Adams, Tonja Ramthun and Connie Yost.

The HSHS St. Vincent Hospital Dialysis Center at Oconto Falls celebrated its opening Oct. 26 on the campus of HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital.

Jeff Reeves, of Gillett, was one of the first patients seen at the center, which is located inside the Medical Services Building, 855 S. Main St., Oconto Falls.

“It is wonderful. I used to have to go to Green Bay. The care was fantastic, but I was driving over an hour a day to get there,” Reeves said. “Now I get three hours a day of my life back, and you can’t put a price on it.”

When the kidneys fail, dialysis helps to remove waste, salt and extra water from the body to maintain safe amounts of chemicals in the blood and control blood pressure. The process keeps the body in balance and improves overall health.


Library’s haunted house full of characters

Contributed photo

The Gillett library’s haunted house included characters, from left, Albert Hansen as the wolf, Cindy Tuschy as Little Red Riding Hood, Kay Rankel as the Grimm, and Bella Matczak as Sleeping Beauty.

The Gillett Public Library celebrated Halloween this year by creating a haunted house inside the Gillett Library Community Center facility for the second year in a row.

Created with a Grimm’s Fairy Tale theme, the haunted house was open the last two weekends in October.

Visitors were able to wait inside the library for their house tour to begin, and were entertained with stories by the library’s new fireplace. A “lumberjack” then led them through the woods that were created in the Community Square, and the Grimm met them inside the house to lead them on a tour.

Each room in the haunted house was decorated for one of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

Library Director Kay Rankel and Gary Jaeger of the Friends of the Gillett Library worked hard to get the house decorated, and they already are talking about plans for next year.


Looking back or ahead? Age is relative

Well, the Cubbies did it; they ended their 108-year drought and won the World Series in pretty dramatic fashion, beating the Indians in 10 innings after being down three games to one in the series.

And one of the heroes of the final game was David Ross, at 39, the oldest man to ever hit a home run in the World Series. So, in baseball, 39 is old!

David Ross is retiring. Game 7 of the series was his last game.

But how old is old? How old is elderly? Merriam-Webster says “elderly” is “rather old, being past middle age.” And my online dictionary defines “middle age” as “the period between early adulthood and old age, usually considered as the years from about 45 to 65.”

So I guess “old age” is anything 65 and older. By that measure, I’ve been old for about 12 years now.

The next question, I suppose, is: When will I become “elderly”? The subject of age is fascinating to me.


Falls troupe hits the yellow brick road

For over 75 years, “The Wizard of Oz” has won over the hearts of millions of people. Now that same excitement is coming to the Falls Area Performing Arts Center. The musical “The Wizard of Oz” will be put on Thursday through Sunday.

Amy Theil, the director of the musical, who has been directing productions since 2006, called the story a classic for all ages that reminds people of the importance of family and of following your heart.

“I love the chemistry between the characters, and how you feel you are those characters,” said Kussow who has never been in a musical before.

“I love music,” she said, “and I wanted to try something new.”

Among the actors is Makenna Kussow, who is taking the role of Dorothy, and also Camden Jackson, who has been acting since kindergarten and will portray the Cowardly Lion.


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