Bond Foundation presents $11K grant to Abrams theater

Seated in a church pew at the Byng Community Theater, Bill Koehne, president of Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc., and Debra Jolly, vice president, accept an $11,535 grant from the Leon H. and Clymene M. Bond Foundation, presented by Mary McMonagle, left, president of the foundation, and Jenni Hanna, executive director. The theater will use the grant funding to replace the pews with cushioned chairs. (Photo by Joan Koehne)

The Byng Community Theater in Abrams will install new seating for its audience, thanks to an $11,535 grant from the Leon H. and Clymene M. Bond Foundation. Abrams Spotlight Productions will replace the theater’s church pews with more comfortable and versatile chairs.

According to Bond Foundation executive director Jenni Hanna, the project was selected for funding because of the theater’s significance in the community.

“The foundation’s board of directors recognized Abrams Spotlight Productions as a great creative outlet for the local community as well as an entertainment venue for people of all ages,” she said.

“The board was also impressed with the dedication and hard work of the many volunteers who are responsible for the success of Abrams Spotlight Productions. The board felt the theater seating will improve not only the function of the theater but also allow Abrams Spotlight Productions to better serve the community.”


Veterans Town Hall scheduled in Wabeno

Veterans and their families are invited to a Veteran Town Hall scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at American Legion Post 44, 4473 N. Branch St., Wabeno. The Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center will be hosting the town hall, which is open to all veterans and their families and friends.

Leaders from the VA Medical Center and the Forest and Oconto county veterans service officers will be on hand to provide a presentation on VA services, discuss initiatives to increase access to VA health care, answer questions, and listen to veterans’ comments and concerns.

There will also be a presentation of Vietnam War 50th anniversary commemoration pins to Vietnam era veterans who served from Nov. 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975.


Oconto County Circuit Court proceedings

Proceedings of Nov. 29

Judge Michael T. Judge accepted a deferred judgment agreement for Steele J. Roes, 18, Oconto, who pleaded no contest Oct. 9 to a charge of theft in connection with an incident that allegedly occurred July 12, along with burglary while armed with a dangerous weapon and theft in connection with an alleged July 20 incident. The charges could be dismissed if he fulfills the conditions of the agreement over the next three years.

Judge Michael T. Judge accepted a deferred judgment agreement for Savannah L. Patron, 27, Oconto, who pleaded no contest to misdemeanor child neglect and disorderly conduct, in connection with an incident that allegedly occurred March 1. She originally had been charged with a felony. She is required to participate in the county’s Volunteers in Probation program for a year, take parenting classes and cooperate with any social services agencies.


Oconto County Sheriff's Department call logs: Nov. 22-30

Nov. 30

Deputies responded to 34 incidents.

Nov. 29

Deputies responded to 32 incidents, including the following:

Threatening — reported along Clay Road, How, 3:54 p.m.

Traffic crash with injuries — County Road B just north of Lee Lake Road, Brazeau, Christopher J. Davis, 36, Lena, injured when his vehicle rear-ended a tractor, taken by rescue helicopter to area hospital, 5:23 p.m.

Disturbance — reported in 10000 block of Brazeau Town Hall Road, Brazeau, 7:57 p.m.

Attempted fraud — reported in the 9000 block of County Road S, Chase, 8:28 p.m.

Nov. 28

Deputies responded to 44 incidents, including the following:

K-9 deployment — 100 block of South Washington Street, Oconto Falls, 9:34 a.m.

K-9 deployment — 200 block of North Farm Road, Oconto Falls, 9:55 a.m.

Disturbance — reported in the 400 block of East Highland Drive, Oconto Falls, 1:30 p.m.


Avenue of Lights brightens Oconto Falls holiday season

The Oconto Falls Lioness Club’s Avenue of Lights has become an annual tradition along North Main Street. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

Santa Claus arrived in the nick of time Saturday evening, courtesy of the Oconto Falls Fire Department.

As Oconto Falls High School choral students sang “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” at the East Side Beach shelter, the whoop and siren of a fire truck sounded up Main Street.

Suddenly, the trees along the street lit up with Christmas joy.

The annual Avenue of Lights debut ended with Santa and Mrs. Claus arriving with the firefighters. They spent the rest of the evening meeting with expectant kids and their parents for photos and conversation over cookies and hot chocolate.

Several hundred kids and their parents came out in clear but cool weather to enjoy a half-hour concert, as the high school choir performed such holiday standards as “Adeste Fidelis,” “O Holy Night” and “Deck the Halls,” directed by Amy Thiel.


Abrams troupe to present timeless Christmas show

Music and dancing are key elements in the Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc. performance of “Meet Me in St. Louis.” Rehearsing the song “Skip to My Lou” are performers, front row from left, Tim Rutten, Janet Koehne, Preston Pelegrin, and Kelly Klein, and back row, Ellie Finger, Brooke LeMense and Josie Sieber. (Photo by Joan Koehne)

Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc. will perform a rare, old-school gem, “Meet Me in St. Louis,” to be performed the first two weekends of December at the Byng Community Theater.

The plot follows the lives of the middle-class Smith family as they journey through comedic misunderstandings, jovial pranks, love, and hardship surrounding the 1904 World’s Fair.

With music and lyrics by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane and book by Hugh Wheeler, this production was adapted from a 1944 film of the same title starring Judy Garland.

“Although it is an older show and therefore has the stigma of being old-fashioned and out-of date, because of the relatability of the struggle of the family, it really is timeless,” said director Liz Jolly.


Oconto County Sheriff's Department: Nov. 17-21

Nov. 21

Deputies responded to 42 incidents, including the following:

Theft — reported in the 17000 block of Lake John Road, Lakewood, 7:43 a.m.

Trespassing — reported near state Highway 32 and Hanson Lake, Maple Valley, 10:53 a.m.

Traffic crash — County Road I at U.S. 141, Stiles, Catherine B. Kellogg, 65, Oconto Falls, started to pull onto the four-lane highway from the County Road I stop sign but then stopped; Courtney A. Stelzer, 19, Suring, struck the first vehicle from behind, no injuries, 11:30 a.m.

Trespassing — reported in the 200 block of Muehl Drive, Suring, 4:12 p.m.

Nov. 20

Deputies responded to 41 incidents, including the following:

Burglary — reported in the 5000 block of Deer Hill Road, Underhill, 6:39 a.m.

Trespassing — reported in the 9000 block of Balcom Lake Road, Gillett, 8:38 a.m.

Burglary — reported in the 6000 block of Deer Hill Road, Underhill, 10:31 a.m.


Oconto Falls wrestling program has big shoes to fill

Oconto Falls High School wrestlers, from left, Bryce Peterson, Clayton Whiting, Aidan Stary and Noah Stary, will be some of the Panthers’ wrestlers depended on to take the place of the seven talented seniors that graduated last year. (Photo by Alayna Smith)

Last season was a prime example of why the Oconto Falls wrestling program has been so successful.

The Panthers featured a star-studded senior class led by two guys who captured state titles during their careers: Nate Trepanier (160) and Bryce Ash (145). State qualifiers Mac Winkler (182) and Brice Delzer (170), along with Garret Cole (195), Trent Peetz (220) and Connor Scray (152) were also part of the phenomenal senior group that had great careers on the mat.

“That was a pretty special class as far as state champs in it, state qualifiers,” Oconto Falls tri-head coach Marc Kinziger said. “It’s kind of turning of the page of an era here coming up. Definitely, it’s a different group of kids.”

For a program that’s good year in and year out, rebuilding seasons don’t happen too often.

“It kind of feels like one,” Kinziger said. “I don’t want to sound too negative, but they’ve got shoes to fill. I don’t want to say it’s impossible.”


A tale of two eagles

In a still from video taken Nov. 25, a newly released eagle flies toward the Oconto Marsh. (Times Herald photo by Warren Bluhm)

About 200 people on Saturday took advantage of a rare opportunity to see a rehabilitated eagle fly back into the wild.

The 2-year-old female, given the name “Freedom” after a suggestion from the crowd, wasted no time after the door to her cage was opened, soaring quickly away over the Oconto Marsh.

Freedom was found in May near Madison and was suffering from lead poisoning. Lori Bankson, curator of animals for Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary in Green Bay, said the young eagle might have ingested lead pellets while feeding on an animal that had been shot.

The story of how she found her way to Oconto began with another eagle and two duck hunters who came to its aid in August.


Grateful at Thanksgiving

Kay Runkel has been director of the Gillett Public Library for 20 years. (Wolf River Media photo by Greg Mellis)

The area in and around the Gillett Public Library has undergone a transformation the last couple of years, and director Kay Rankel is thankful for it.

Rankel is one of eight local civic, community, governmental and business leaders who we asked to share their personal thoughts regarding why they give special thanks during the Thanksgiving holiday season, in a special section inside this week’s Oconto County Times Herald.

A popular feature for several years inside the Shawano Leader, the Times Herald’s sister newspaper, “Why I Give Thanks” was expanded this year for inclusion in all three Wolf River Media publications, including the Times Herald and the Wittenburg-Birnamwood Enterprise & News.

The Gillett library is a busy place this week as students are on their fall break. Kids gathered for a showing of the animated feature “Sing” on Monday afternoon, and Tuesday brought a make it and take it crafts program.


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