September is Chamber Month

September is Chamber Month, so here are 7 Reasons to Shop Locally:

  1. Keep Money Local – Sales tax fund our communities. 
  2. Keep Local Investments – Local businesses are more likely to work harder to stay open. Decisions are made by those within our community and feel the impact of those decisions.
  3. Indirect Support for Nonprofits – Businesses support good work in our community. Nonprofits receive 250% more support from local businesses versus larger ones. 
  4. Find Something Unique – Unique, quaint shops offer items customers do not normally see. Inventory is often determined by customers’ desires. Show pride in your community and protect these businesses.
  5. Product Knowledge and Service – Owners and employees are well informed about what they are selling. They aren’t just selling a product or offering a service; they are selling you their reputation and their name is on the line.
  6. Cost – Sometimes prices are just better because there is less overhead; some businesses are even able to negotiate prices with you!
  7. Get Connected – Visiting local shops allows you the opportunity to learn about your neighbors and community.

The next time you hear “shop locally,” you know you’ll be making a difference in ways you may not have realized before!

Kayak Launches Added to Area Waterway

The Oconto Falls Area Chamber of Commerce recently added two kayak launches, one at East Side Beach and one at the West Side Beach to encourage community members and visitors to enjoy our little piece of heaven – the Oconto River.

This project was made possible thanks to a grant awarded to the Chamber from Community Change, a customer-based donation program offered by Oconto Electric Cooperative. Ownership of the launches will be handed over to the City of Oconto Falls; they will store and maintain the launches and install and remove them each season.

The Chamber encourages community members to utilize the launches and take some time to appreciate the area’s beautiful scenery and focus on physical and mental health.

Jayden Arndt Awarded Lester and Rosemary Korbel Scholarship

Jayden Arndt, daughter of Jerry and Sara Arndt from Little Suamico, was recently recognized as the recipient of the 2021 Lester and Rosemary Korbel Business Scholarship at Oconto Falls High School.

Jayden has demonstrated a commitment to her Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter by being elected as an officer this year and being an active member for all four years of her high school career. As a dedicated team member of the competition team, Jayden placed second in this year’s State FBLA Competition and earned the honor to compete at the National Level in June, 2021. As an enthusiastic volunteer, she has given over 50 hours of her time and talents to community service projects and continues her involvement in other high school activities, including softball, volleyball, Student Council, and the National Honor Society. In fall, Jayden plans to attend the University of Wisconsin – Madison to pursue a degree in Nursing.

The Lester and Rosemary Korbel Memorial Scholarship was established to recognize the tremendous dedication and commitment to excellence required in the field of Business Education. As the former teachers of the Business Education department at Oconto Falls High School for over 30 years, Lester and Rosemary dedicated their lives to the students at Oconto Falls High School, setting an exceptionally high standard for business education students to develop their skills and build upon them to create a successful future.

OFHS Music Department 2021 Scholarships awarded

The Oconto Falls High School Music Department recently awarded $100 scholarships to eight deserving seniors in the Class of 2021. Each student has been a member of the music department for the past four years and completed an essay on how music has made a difference in their lives. This year’s recipients are:

  • Victoria Athey (Band), will be attending St. Norbert College to pursue a degree in Theatre and Business Communications. Parents: Will and Staci Athey
  • Madeline Haines (Band), plans to attend the University of Wisconsin – Madison to pursue a degree in English, with an emphasis in creative writing. Parents: Jerry and Kim Haines
  • Casey Fischer (Band), plans to attend the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire to pursue a degree in Biochemistry. Parents: Tony and Kim Fischer
  • Samantha Landvick (Band), plans to attend the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay to pursue a undeclared major. Parent: Michael Landvick
  • Gabrielle Wellnitz (Band & Choir, will be attending the University of Wisconsin – River Falls to study Animal Science – Meat Animals, and take Pre-Veterinary courses. Parent: Bessie Wellnitz
  • Connor Romandine (Choir), plans to attend the University of Montana to pursue a degree in Musical Theatre. Parents: Ron and Carrie Romandine

National Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 18-24

In honor of National Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 18 – 24, 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 recognize the hard work, dedication and compassion of their volunteers.

“While the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on our ability to welcome volunteers into our hospitals much of last year, our volunteers have done an incredible job in assisting our ministries and patients from afar,” said Mary Ann Brunette, Volunteer Services Manager for HSHS hospitals in Eastern Wisconsin. “We are deeply grateful to each and every one of them.”

In 2020, HSHS hospitals in Eastern Wisconsin had 350 volunteers dedicate 12,771 hours to our ministries:

  • HSHS St. Vincent Hospital had 149 volunteers put in 4,304 hours
  • HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center had 88 volunteers put in 3,486 hours
  • HSHS St. Nicholas Hospital had 80 volunteers put in 3,856 hours
  • HSHS St. Clare Memorial Hospital had 33 volunteers put in 1,125 hours

Volunteer efforts include patient screening and wayfinding; working in the hospital gift shops; filing; sewing pillows for heart patients; knitting prayer shawls; and making baby hats, blankets and chemo caps for patients.

“We are incredibly blessed to have dedicated volunteers that partner with us to bring health, healing and hope to our patients,” said Mary Ann. “Volunteers bring joy to our patients and to all of us daily!”

All four HSHS hospitals in Eastern Wisconsin welcome new volunteers to join their ministries. Those interested in volunteering for the following hospitals should contact:

From Baker to Website Developer

Welcome back, Adam! Packerland Websites welcomed a familiar face to its team in February. Website developer Adam Jeanquart, Packerland Websites’ summer intern in 2020, rejoined the team as a website developer. Adam earned a Website Developer Associate Degree in 2020 at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. In 2019, he earned an Associate Degree in Software Development.

Talented Website Developer

“Adam is a great addition to the Packerland Websites team,” said Bill Koehne, owner of Packerland Websites. “He showed a lot of potential during his summer internship and now has the opportunity to build a career as a top-notch website developer. We’re happy to offer our clients the talents of Adam and his teammates.”

Designing Exquisite Websites

Before joining the world of technology, Adam worked as a baker in Luxemburg, Wisconsin. As a website developer, he enjoys working with clients to make exquisitely designed websites, comparable to well-iced cakes. When he develops a website, Adam has the clients and the clients’ audience in mind.
“I try to look holistically at what clients like and work with them as much as I can to satisfy their needs,” he said.

Down-to-Earth Personality

Adam lives in Luxemburg and enjoys playing cards and board games, reading, watching movies and shows with family and friends, and doting on his family’s puppy.

Contact Us About Internships

Packerland Websites is passionate about giving the next generation of website developers an opportunity to hone their talents in a real-world setting. To learn more about internship opportunities with Packerland Websites or website development in general, contact Bill Koehne at 920-826-5901.

Domain Name Scams: How to Recognize & Avoid Them

No one likes to be fooled by scammers or questionable ads. Domain name notification letters and emails are a good example. A typical subject line goes something like this: “This is your final notice for domain listing.” Although disguised as legitimate requests for domain name renewal or transfer, these notifications are rarely legitimate. In this article, I explain domain names, how to recognize domain name scams, and how to avoid these scams.

A domain name is referred to as an Internet deed to online real estate. The domain name is the group of letters that “point” users to a website. For example, our company’s domain name is PackerlandWebsites.com. Every website owner needs a domain name and needs to renew the name at least annually. On a side note, Packerland Websites helps clients choose and secure domain names that work best for them.

Next, here are some telltale signs of a domain name scams.

  • Errors in emails – Scammers, especially those operating outside the U.S., often send emails with spelling and grammatical mistakes.
  • Emails without account numbers – A legitimate domain name expiration notice will include a domain name registry account number.
  • Emails from unusual senders – The sender’s address can be a tip-off, although even reputable domain registrars like GoDaddy get spoofed by cybercriminals.
  • Emails with peculiar links – For example, Packerland Websites received a domain name renewal email with a link to a hair salon, not a reputable domain name registrar. That made us suspicious. Never click on a link you don’t recognize and trust.

So, how does a company or nonprofit guard against these scams? Essentially, domain name scams rely on people being unfamiliar with their domain name registration. Therefore, knowledge is power. The best way to protect yourself is to answer two questions: Where is my domain name registered? When does my domain name expire?

If you don’t know the answer to these questions, visit the website whois.net and type in your domain name. You will find the registrar and expiration date.

Although domain name emails and letters may contain technical terms that look official, don’t be fooled. For more information about domain names or other items related to websites, contact your website developer or Packerland Websites, 920-826-5901 or Team@PackerlandWebsites.com.

By Bill Koehne, Packerland Websites

National Suicide Prevention Week is Sept. 6-12

Close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds, according to the World Health Organization.

Navigating a pandemic and national unrest may contribute to this troubling statistic, as fear and anxiety may overcome us as we’re trying to understand what’s happening around us.

As National Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 6 – 12) approaches, HSHS St. Vincent, St. Mary’s, St. Nicholas and St. Clare Memorial hospitals remind everyone that if you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, you should call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or dial 911.

Alyssa Van Duyse, an HSHS colleague and suicide prevention instructor certified by the national QPR Institute, says it’s important to not only take note of your own feelings during this uncertain time, but also of those around you.

“The word ‘suicide’ is still thought of as taboo – especially in the Midwest because we’re not so great at talking about our feelings,” says Alyssa. “That’s why it’s important to recognize the clues a person may be contemplating suicide.”

Four ways someone may tell you they are contemplating suicide:

  1. They give a direct verbal clue by saying something like “I’m going to end it all,” or “I wish I were dead.”
  2. They give a coded verbal clue by saying something like “I”m tired of life. I just want out,” or “I can’t take it anymore.”
  3. They exhibit behavioral clues like increased risk-taking, self-injurious behavior or drug or alcohol abuse.
  4. They should situational clues like being fired from a job, being diagnosed with a serious illness or being bullied or humiliated.

During QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) suicide prevention classes, Alyssa instructs participants to practice asking the question, “Are you thinking about suicide?”

“If you practice it, it won’t be so hard to ask if you ever have to ask someone in a real-life situation,” she says. “Also, sometimes people who are considering suicide are relieved if you ask because it indicates that someone noticed their struggle.”

For more information about how you can help someone struggling with mental health, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Abrams Theater to hold auditions for Mark Twain Show

Abrams Spotlight Productions Inc. will hold virtual auditions for its summer play, “Mark Twain’s the Diaries of Adam and Eve.” Adults and teens 16 and older are encouraged to audition. The play calls for a variety of roles, both male and female. Newcomers are encouraged to audition. No previous experience is necessary.

The play is a light-hearted look at the world’s first love story through the eyes of America’s great humorist, Mark Twain. Throughout the play, the Garden of Eden bursts with wit, laughter, and the lyric poignance of the first love and the first loss.

The show is scheduled to be presented June 19-21 and 26-28 at the Nancy Byng Community Theater, 5852 Maple St., Abrams.

Anyone interested in auditioning should email theater.aspi@gmail.com or call 920-826-5852. Individuals will be asked to record themselves reading from the script and send the recording to ASPI electronically. ASPI will provide the reading. Submissions are due by 8 p.m. Friday, March 27.

Anyone interested in helping out behind the scenes should call 920-826-5852 to volunteer.

First produced for “American Playhouse,” on PBS, “Mark Twain’s the Diaries of Adam and Eve” is a uniquely American theater piece. The show has been produced well over 200 times in both extended runs and touring engagements at regional theaters, university theaters, and performing arts centers across the country.

OFHS Choir Students Selected to WCDA All-State Choir

L to R: Connor Romandine, Autumn Canavera, Isabella Rennie, Cedar Olson, and Keith Van Dornick

Oconto Falls High School Choirs were proud to have five students selected to perform as part of the WCDA All-State Choirs in January, 2020. Approximately 100 -120 singers from the state were selected for each of the choirs, which represented outstanding choral students from throughout the state. A final All-State Choir performance was held at Lawrence University in Appleton.

Representing the All-State Bass Clef Choir were Connor Romandine, son on Ron and Carrie Romandine, and Keith Van Dornick, son of Wendy and James Van Dornick, Jr. Autumn Canavera, daughter of Scott and Jennifer Canavera, Cedar Olson, daughter of Scott Olson, and Isabella Rennie, daughter of Chad and Heather Rennie, were selected for the All-State Treble Clef Choir. Students were nominated by their high school choral director, Miss Amy Thiel.

The conductor of the All-State Bass Clef Choir was Dr. Anthony Trecek-King, President and Artistic Director of the award-winning Boston Children’s Choir. The 108-voice men’s ensemble representing 38 high schools choral music programs in Wisconsin performed Ho Boys Cancha Lin’em, Song of the Blacksmith, Arrow, The Warrior, Sit Down Servant, and Hard Times Comes Again No More.

The conductor of the All-State Treble Clef Choir was Professor Giselle Wyers of the University of Washington, where she conducts the University Chorale. The 119-voice women’s ensemble representing 46 high school choral music programs in Wisconsin performed Vidi Aquam, Flower Duet, In Freezing Winter Night, Nada te Turbe, Woodsmoke and Oranges, and Barso.

The All-State Choir program is one of four signature programs offered by the Wisconsin Choral Directors Association that promotes its mission to foster musical excellence through education, collaboration, and inspiration.