Now accepting applications to paid residency program for new nurse graduates

Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS) is now accepting applications for the New Graduate RN Residency Program, to be hosted in winter 2023-2024, at its four hospitals in Eastern Wisconsin: HSHS St. Vincent Hospital and HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center in Green Bay; HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital in Sheboygan and HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital in Oconto Falls.

The New Graduate RN Residency Program is designed to ease the transition of newly graduated nurses from the classroom setting to hospital and clinic environments. It combines classroom lectures, hands-on activities, and simulations of hospital/clinical scenarios with the support of highly skilled nurses, educators and leaders. Participants also receive professional and emotional support to help them be successful in their new careers.

“The New Graduate RN Residency Program truly prepares new graduate nurses for quality practice, as well as gives them the support and tools to compassionately serve our patients through our Franciscan ministry,” said Theresa Horne, MBS, MSN, NEA-BC, senior vice president and chief nursing executive at HSHS. “Our nurses develop excellent clinical skills along with a mission-driven passion to serve with empathy and care.”

The New Graduate RN Residency Program is ideal for nurses with less than one year of hospital experience and graduating from nursing school anytime between October 2023 and February 2024. It is also ideal for nurses returning to the bedside after more than five years in another role. Those accepted into the program are fully paid and can receive a sign-on bonus and comprehensive benefit package including student loan repayment options. To apply:

  1. Visit
  2. Search “Residency”
  3. Click “Apply Now” on preferred HSHS hospital location

For those still in nursing school, HSHS also offers a paid, student nurse extern program allowing students the opportunity to gain hands-on working experience. For more information, please visit:

Oconto Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Appoints Director

The Oconto Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is pleased to announce they have appointed Elizabeth Jolly to the newly formed position of Director of the Chamber of Commerce. Jolly hails from Abrams, Wisconsin, and is very excited to advocate for the Chamber and champion local businesses in the growing community of Oconto Falls. Duties of this new position will include marketing/communications, being a contact for members and growing membership, being the liaison and face for the Board of Directors to various community groups, and general administrative duties.

Previously Jolly has worked for Heritage Hill State Historical Park in several positions including the Visitor Services Manager and most recently as the Senior Marketing Specialist. She is the daughter of two retired small business owners and also works part-time for her mother’s company Syncor Ltd, a wholesale medical goods distributor based out of Abrams, WI. Jolly’s educational background is in theatre. She is equally passionate about and involved in her community theater – Abrams Spotlight Productions, Inc. as a director and actor. Her favorite role in the community theater is youth production director.

Jolly says of her new position, “Oconto Falls and the surrounding area has always been my home. A home I am passionate about making the best it can be, and I believe that starts (and ends) with our small businesses. I am excited about getting to know the many businesses in our area, finding out how the chamber can best serve them and our community, and supporting the extremely passionate and talented board of directors.”

The Oconto Falls Area Chamber of Commerce (OFACC) is a long-standing community organization comprised of businesses and individuals from communities throughout Oconto County and Northeast Wisconsin.  Its official mission is to be a valid and dynamic link between local businesses and the community. Through this mission, the objectives of the OFACC are to advocate for business interests and to promote business development, city beautification, and tourism. While the growth of the community through business development is key, the OFACC recognizes that activities, events, and recreation are what attract people to the place they choose to live and work.  The chamber maintains annual events such as concerts at the waterfront, a summer golf outing, a fall event connected to the trails and our healthy living community, and more. Oconto Falls has so much to offer! Visit to learn more.

Nurse’s Nook expanding, transitioning to independent nonprofit organization

HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital is pleased to announce Nurse’s Nook, a program that provides aid to children and families in need across Oconto County, is expanding and as a result transitioning to its own independent, nonprofit organization.

Nurse’s Nook was established in 2014 by school nurse, Nuala Nowicki, RN, to assist students and their families in the Gillett School District in need of food, clothing, basic hygiene supplies, medical supplies and more. As the need for additional assistance across the region was discovered, HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital joined Nuala in her efforts and in 2017 made the Nurse’s Nook an official program of the hospital supported by the hospital’s philanthropic, charitable arm – the HSHS St. Clare Foundation. This allowed the program to expand to additional school districts within Oconto Co. including Suring, Oconto Falls, Lena and beyond.

Today, approximately 400 students per day benefit from the Nurse’s Nook program; over 50,000 items are distributed to children and families annually; and the Weekend Food Program provides more than 200 households with weekly access to nutritious, delicious food for the whole family. In addition to food programs, Nurse’s Nook continues to provide over-the-counter medications, hygiene products, clothing, medical equipment and education, mental health services and tools, and transportation support.

“We are extremely proud of the work Nurse’s Nook staff, HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital, HSHS St. Clare Foundation, and our communities have contributed to make the program the success it is today,” said Chris Brabant, President and CEO, HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital. “As the program continues to expand in new and innovative ways, the hospital, Foundation and Nurse’s Nook staff have come to the mutual decision to let Nurse’s Nook spread its wings and transition to its own, independent nonprofit organization. While Nurse’s Nook is no longer a program of HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital, we remain cheerleaders of this tremendous program and encourage all in our community to continue to support them in their next chapter.”

To donate and/or to learn more information about Nurse’s Nook, contact:
The Nurse’s Nook LLC
P.O. Box 26
Oconto Falls, WI 54124

“At HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital, we are not only committed to providing high quality health care that is close to home in Oconto County, but we are also committed to serving our communities. In tandem with the HSHS St. Clare Foundation, we will continue to look for additional ways to support and enhance the health and wellbeing of our patients and communities beyond the walls of our health care facilities,” said Brabant.

Prescription Drug Take Back Day in Oconto County

In conjunction with National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital is partnering with Bellin Health, Healthy Oconto County and local law enforcement to offer drive-thru, medication drop-off locations on Saturday, April 22.

  • HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital, 855 S. Main St., Oconto Falls, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Bellin Health Oconto Hospital, 820 Arbutus Avenue, Oconto, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Lakewood Town Hall, 17181 Twin Pines Rd., Lakewood, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Suring Police Department, 604 E. Main St., Suring, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • City of Gillett Police Department, 150 N. McKenzie Ave., Gillett, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


All waste pharmaceuticals must be generated by a household – no businesses are allowed.

All sites will be drive-thru only and we request persons stay in their vehicle. A volunteer will come to collect your items.

Bring: Prescription (controlled and non-controlled) and over-the-counter medications, ointments, patches, inhalers, non-aerosol sprays, creams, vials and pet medications. Vape pens or other e-cigarette devices (batteries removed).

Do not bring: Illegal drugs, needles/sharps, acids, aerosol cans, bio-hazardous materials (anything containing a bodily fluid or blood), personal care products (shampoo, soaps, lotions, sunscreens), household hazardous waste (paint, pesticides, oil, gas), mercury thermometers.

  • Participants may dispose of medication(s) by removing the medication from its container and disposing of it directly into a disposal box or into a clear sealable plastic bag. Plastic pill containers should not be collected. Blister packages without the medications being removed are acceptable.
  • Liquids will be accepted during this event. However, the liquids, creams and sprays must be in their original packaging and their weight evenly distributed within the boxes of collected solid prescription medications. Liquids without the original packaging will not be accepted.
  • Illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine are not a part of this initiative and should not be placed in collection containers.

Community members are also reminded that many drug disposal boxes are open year-round.

Unused or expired medicine should never be flushed or poured down the drain as water reclamation facilities are not designed to remove all pharmaceuticals and trace amounts are showing up in rivers and lakes.

Design Specialist Joins Packerland Websites

Alexa Haferkorn has joined the Packerland Websites team as a WordPress web developer and design specialist. Oconto County-based Packerland Websites specializes in website design, Search Engine Optimization, and digital marketing strategies.

A Little Chute native, Haferkorn earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Communications at Northern Michigan University in 2016. She previously worked as a Website and Brand Designer at 906 Technologies and a Graphic Designer and Marketing Assistant at Beth Millner Jewelry. Additionally, Haferkorn worked at Packerland Websites as a WordPress web developer for one year.

Bill Koehne, owner of Packerland Websites, said Haferkorn understands what businesses and nonprofits need to maintain a dynamic online presence.

“With her background in graphic design and website development, Alexa brings a combination of talents to Packerland Websites,” he said. “Aside from her technical and artistic skills, she has a knack for communicating with customers to help them create websites that meet their business goals.”

“I’m a creative web designer inspired by bold voices and great passions,” Haferkorn said. “I want to take my client’s business goals and create an environment for them to come to life and connect with the world. I love learning how people think about media and react to visual experiences, which helps me design compelling websites for specific audiences.”

In addition to her work at Packerland Websites, Haferkorn enjoys spending time in the outdoors, especially hiking, biking, and skiing. She also enjoys all things artsy and crafty, so she spends time creating artwork and visiting local art fairs and shows.

To grow your business or organization with a new or rebuilt website or SEO strategies, contact Alexa Haferkorn at Packerland Websites, 920-393-3156.

Abrams theater to present 3 shows in its 20th season

Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc. will present two musicals and an original comedy in its 20th anniversary season. Plus, the community theater is raising money for a new roof. The nonprofit organization invites individuals and businesses to support the arts by becoming a Spotlight Sponsor.

The ASPI season opens with the musical “Gypsy” March 16-19 and 23-26. “Gypsy” is the tale of an ambitious stage mother fighting for her daughters’ success, while secretly yearning for her own. Tickets for “Gypsy” are on sale now at or by calling the box office, 920-826-5852. ASPI seeks volunteers to construct sets, sew costumes, work backstage, and fulfill other roles. Please contact the box office to volunteer. 

“Lustful Youth,” a two-act comedy written by Mike Eserkaln, will be performed June 8-11 and 15-18. A fast-paced farce, “Lustful Youth” tells the story of a television statistician who is contractually obligated to write an evening soap opera. With the help of his muse, he pieces together an out-of-control romp known as “Lustful Youth.” Eserkaln, the artistic director of Comedy City in De Pere, is an ASPI performer and director. 

In the final show of 2023, youth will be the featured performers in the musical “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Jr.,” scheduled Nov. 30, Dec. 1-3 and 7-10. The show takes the audience on a fantastic musical adventure with a magical car.

Season tickets for the 2023 shows are now available at or 920-826-5852. All performances take place at the Nancy Byng Community Theater, 5852 Maple St. Abrams. ASPI has an exciting goal for its 20th season. By the end of 2023, ASPI seeks to obtain 100 new Spotlight Sponsors: Silver ($100), Gold ($250), Platinum ($500), or Corporate ($950 per show). With the help of its sponsors, the theater hopes to raise over $30,000 for a new roof for its facility, a 100-year-old former church. All sponsors receive early access to tickets and recognition in show programs. Gold and Platinum sponsors receive two or four tickets, respectively, to each show. To become a Spotlight Sponsor with a tax-deductible donation, visit and click “Support.”

The cast of “White Christmas” performs a song at the Nancy Byng Community Theater in Abrams. Abrams Spotlight Productions presented nine sold-out shows of “White Christmas” in December and is gearing up for its 20th season, starting with “Gypsy” March 16-19 and 23-26.
The cast of “White Christmas” gathers onstage at the Nancy Byng Community Theater in Abrams. Abrams Spotlight Productions presented nine sold-out shows of “White Christmas” in December and is gearing up for its 20th season, starting with “Gypsy” March 16-19 and 23-26.

Oconto Falls Renews Bronze Level Wisconsin Healthy Communities Designation

Oconto Falls has again received a Bronze Level Wisconsin Healthy Communities Designation. Oconto Falls had previously received a designation in 2018 and this renewal is recognition of continued work and programs towards improving local health.

This program is intended to recognize and encourage achievements in health improvement in Wisconsin communities, and to promote cooperation across multiple sectors.

Through the collaborative efforts of the Oconto Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital, Bellin Health-Oconto Hospital, and Oconto County Public Health – programs such as the Run for the Trails 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon event; Mental Health First Aid training opportunities within schools, businesses, and organizations; Starlink Pilot Project providing broadband access; planning and financial support of Oconto County Farmers Market; and coordination of Medication Take Back events – improve the health and wellbeing of all.

Gail Yatso, Oconto Falls Area Chamber of Commerce President states, “Our community is proud to be among the 28 Wisconsin communities that received designations this year. Our city is committed to sustain community collaboration to continue to improve health, wellness, and safety in our area.”

The designation recognizes Oconto Falls and the bronze level for its commitment to improve health and the quality of life for another three years.

The Healthy Communities Designation program is designed to be accessible to communities of all shapes and sizes, both rural and urban. The definition of community is broad and can include counties, municipalities, neighborhoods and other self-defined, place-based communities in Wisconsin. The program uses a three-tiered approach – gold, silver and bronze – which are meant to provide a trajectory and serve as a guide for communities as they continue to strive toward better health.

“This is a well-deserved recognition for the collaborative efforts to improve community health, fitness, and safety. We continue to create a vibrant community for people to live, work, and explore,” says Yatso.

The Wisconsin Healthy Communities Designation is an initiative offered by the Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health (MATCH) group of the UW Population Health Institute (UWPHI), in collaboration with diverse statewide groups. The Healthy Communities Designation program, funded by the Wisconsin Partnership Program of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, is designed to recognize and encourage achievements in health improvement in Wisconsin. To learn more about the program, visit the program website:

Theater Launches Raise the Roof Campaign

Stephanie Holman, president of the Oconto Falls Lioness Lions Club, presents a ceremonial check to Bill Koehne, president of Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc. The club contributed $1,000 to the community theater’s Raise the Roof fund and $250 for a new toilet.

Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc. launched its Raise the Roof campaign with a $1,000 donation from the Oconto Falls Lioness Lions Club. Stephanie Holman, president of the club, presented a $1,250 check to Bill Koehne, president of ASPI, with $1,000 earmarked for a new roof and $250 for a new toilet. Holman said the donation to ASPI fits well with the Lion Lioness Club’s mission to serve the community.

“The theater gives unique life experiences to a diverse group of people in our community, whether they are attending the live performances, the actors, or working behind the scenes. We feel it enriches our community, especially with the youth and the veterans,” she said.

“It’s exciting to have a local organization like the Lioness become our initial donor in kicking off the Raise the Roof campaign,” Koehne said. “Within the first couple of weeks, other donors stepped up to contribute an additional $2,500, but we’re still a long way from achieving our goal.”

The theater hopes to raise over $30,000 for a new roof. Koehne encouraged people to become Spotlight Sponsors, either Silver ($100), Gold ($250) or Platinum ($500). All sponsors receive early access to tickets and recognition in show programs. Gold and Platinum sponsors receive two or four tickets, respectively, to each show.

Approaching its 20th season, ASPI performs three or four shows every year at the Nancy Byng Community Theater, formerly St. Louis Catholic Church in Abrams. The facility, built in 1927 and home to ASPI since 2007, has undergone a series of transformations. These include the construction of a stage with modular set booms, backstage dressing rooms, a concession stand, a light, sound, and projections booth, and restoration of the original hardwood floor. ASPI built an outdoor patio and replaced the old church pews with more comfortable, padded chairs. The roof is the next project on the list.

The latest ASPI show, “White Christmas,” will be presented in eight performances, Dec. 1-4 and 8-11. An anonymous donor provided 50 free tickets to veterans, and the eight shows sold out by mid-November. So, a ninth, Raise the Roof show was added on Dec. 6.

“All but seven seats sold out within the first 72 hours,” Koehne said, referring to the Raise the Roof show. “What a tremendous show of community spirit and support of community theater.”

Only single seats are available for “White Christmas,” and the box office has a waitlist in the event of cancellations.

Over the past 20 years, ASPI has presented many amazing shows for the community to enjoy. None of these performances would be possible without the theater’s volunteers and sponsors. To make a tax-deductible donation, visit and click “Support.”

Support the Arts: Theater Auction is Dec. 8-11

Brigette Finger, a volunteer with Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc., shows prize baskets included in the ASPI Spotlight Auction on Dec. 8-11. To bid on prizes, visit

Support the arts by participating in the online auction benefitting Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc., an Oconto County community theater organization. More than 60 items are up for grabs, including sailing cruises, golf packages, hotel stays, and homemade candy, cookies, and dinners. The auction also features theater-related prizes like season tickets, a cameo appearance in an ASPI musical, and in-person performances by characters from “Beauty and the Beast” and “White Christmas.”

The ASPI Spotlight Auction opens at 12 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, and ends at 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11. Prize pick-up is scheduled from 12-6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12, at the theater, 5852 Maple St. Abrams. Merchandise is sorted by category for easy viewing and bidding online. To view prizes and place a bid, visit

ASPI is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that presents musicals, comedies, and dramas at the Nancy Byng Community Theater. The theater is operated solely by volunteers, and proceeds from the auction help bring high-energy, live entertainment to the community. ASPI currently is running two capital campaigns to raise funds for a new sound system and roof.

ASPI thanks all of its supporters, especially the local businesses and individuals who donated to the auction. To learn more about ASPI, visit

Iverson Named Exemplary Employer

Bryce Iverson, owner of Iverson’s Piggly Wiggly of Oconto Falls, was awarded the Exemplary Employer Award from the State of Wisconsin – Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). Each October, during National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Wisconsin Workforce Development Area (WDA) 5 chooses one award winner from Brown, Door, Florence, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Shawano, and Sheboygan counties. An award presentation was held on Thursday, October 27, 2022, with Meredith Dressel, Deputy Administrator of DVR; Jennifer Bscherer, Director of WDA 5; Whitney Hostettler, Supervisor of WDA5; and Lynn Hardginski, Business Services Consultant. Iverson was surrounded by staff from the location, including Mr. Pig, and board members from the Oconto Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. 

Danielle Kline, Employment and Training Specialist with New View Industries, nominated Iverson for the award, “because he (Iverson) sees a person’s abilities, not their disabilities.” She continued, “Bryce has created a culture of natural supports within the store to help support people with disabilities. Bryce and his employees deserve to be recognized for their outstanding partnership and support for the community.” 

DVR provides services such as career and guidance counseling, job search and placement, transition to work services for students with disabilities in high school, vocation and other training, job shadows, and more. 

Congratulations to everyone at Iverson’s Piggly Wiggly!