COVID-19 in your community

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Here's the latest

UPDATE May 24, 7:30 p.m.

Shawano Farmers Market still to open

SHAWANO — The Shawano Farmers Market had finally found a beautiful home last year in Franklin Park, but due to the pandemic, it’s back out on the street.

Hopefully, that’s temporary, according to Barb Mendoza, executive director for the FRESH Project, which took over the market’s operation this year. It is necessary in order to keep with social distancing guidelines set up to curb spreading the coronavirus, she said.

The farmers market will open June 20, its originally scheduled opening date, and continue through Oct. 3, but the market will not be set up in Franklin Park like it was last year. Mendoza said the market will be set up in the 200 block of South Washington Street, where it had been for several years before improvements on Franklin Park were implemented, and the market will be set up with one entrance and one exit.

Read the full story at

UPDATE May 24, 7:30 p.m.

Virtual sales to assist local farmers goes live on Facebook

SHAWANO — A Facebook page aimed at supporting local farmers and raising money for the FRESH Project was set to go live Saturday, and will offer online purchases of Shawano County dairy and farm products.

The virtual farmers’ marketplace is an extension of the “Shop Local Shawano County” Facebook page started by Nitta Charnon, finance director for Shawano County, in response to business closings caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Charnon has held two virtual sales events for local businesses so far, with six businesses participating in the first and 19 in the second.

The events allow businesses to promote and sell their goods online and make them available via curbside pickup or delivery.

Read the full story at

UPDATE May 24, 7:30 p.m.

Shawano Speedway given the green light

SHAWANO — After several weeks of careful planning, race tracks around the state are opening up. Shawano Speedway has a practice night scheduled for May 30 before the first week of the season on June 6.

Brad Luepke, the speedway’s marketing and promotions manager, spent about 50 minutes on Facebook Live on Thursday detailing what things would look like on a race night, at least to begin the season. The full video can be found at

The speedway’s grandstands are open to spectators (both on practice night and regular race nights), but fans are to follow social distancing guidelines. Luepke said families or groups that are comfortable being around each other are free to sit near each other, but to sit at least 6 feet away from other groups in the stands.

Read the full story at

UPDATE May 19, 11:50 a.m.

Shawano's Memorial Day service to be held on May 25

SHAWANO — The parade is cancelled, but traditional Memorial Day services will be go on at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Shawano.

The program will be held on May 25 at 10 a.m. at 1115 E. Green Bay St., Shawano.

Master of ceremonies will be Dennis Bohm. The main speaker will be Brent Miller, Shawano County administrative coordinator.

The ceremony will include placement of a wreath, a rifle volley and presentation of the song “Taps” by Brent Buettner, Emma Foster and Amelia Rademacher. Other music in the program will be presented by Ralph Beversdorf and Tim and Tina Gouine.

The program is organized by the Allied Vets Council, which includes the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 22, Veterans of Foreign Wars 2723, American Veterans (AMVETS) Post 10, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 206 and American Legion Post 117.

The full story can be read at

UPDATE May 19, 11:50 a.m.

Memorial Day services canceled, adjusted in Wittenberg area

Local VFWs and American Legions have had to cancel or adjust plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Birnamwood Darling-Gunderson American Legion Post 341 has canceled the parade and Memorial Day service at the Birnamwood Elementary-Middle School gym and the Legion chicken dinner at Chet and Emil’s. A group called Friends of the American Legion will be hosting a drive-thru chicken dinner in the park behind Chet and Emil’s. Reservations can be made by calling Steve Nelson at 715-253-3912 or sending a message via his Facebook page.

The Birnamwood Legion will still hold graveside ceremonies at St. Francis Catholic Cemetery, Norrie, 7 a.m.; Norrie Cemetery, Hill Crest, 7:15 a.m.; St. Philomena’s Catholic Cemetery, 8 a.m.; Hogarty Cemetery, 8:45 a.m.; Aniwa Cemetery, 9:30 a.m.; Town Line-St. John’s Cemetery, 9:45 a.m.; and Forest Cemetery 10:15 a.m.

The Elderon VFW 8086 has canceled graveside ceremonies for Memorial Day. They have also canceled the annual Fourth of July parade, picnic and activities for this year.

The Wittenberg Bloecher-Johnson American Legion Post 502 has canceled graveside ceremonies but will be placing flags on the graves.

UPDATE May 19, 11:50 a.m.

Drive-by parade to replace traditional memorial in Oconto Falls

OCONTO FALLS — American Legion Post 302 plans a drive-by parade down Main Street in Oconto Falls on Monday as a coronavirus-safe alternative to the traditional Memorial Day ceremony at the city cemetery.

Spokesman Bob Maloney said cars are asked to assemble at East Side Beach starting around 10 a.m. At about 10:45, the group will proceed down North and South Main Street, turning at North Farm Road past the new veterans monument next to the Oconto Falls School District Office.

A group of about 10 veterans will be stationed at the monument, spaced in accordance with health guidelines, for the parade participants to wave and honk, Maloney said. Arrangements were worked out with city administration and health officials.

Most Memorial Day observances, which usually attract a crowd, have been suspended this year in recognition of federal and state guidelines that caution against large gathering, Oconto County Veterans Services Officer Ron Christensen said.

Read the full story at

UPDATE May 17, 6:15 p.m.

Health department urges continued COVID precautions in wake of court decision

SHAWANO — The Shawano-Menominee Counties Health Department is continuing to urge residents to practice physical distancing and personal hygiene as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control in the wake of a state Supreme Court decision Wednesday striking down the governor’s Safer at Home order.

“We know that COVID-19 is easily transmittable and is present in Shawano and Menominee counties,” the health department said in a statement. “This virus knows no boundaries and therefore, the most effective way to prevent, control, and suppress this virus is to take a statewide approach.”

The health department said it is waiting for further statewide guidance on how to proceed from here.

The department said it is strongly encouraging local businesses to protect customers and staff by adopting appropriate safety guidelines.

“Shawano-Menominee Counties Health Department continues to monitor the situation closely and will notify the public of any updates,” the statement said. “The health department continues to isolate and conduct investigations with any individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and implement quarantine for any close contacts. We thank you tremendously for your cooperation with isolation and quarantine as well as your continued support of following the guidelines to help protect the community.”

Read the full story at

UPDATE May 17, 6:15 p.m.

Oconto County releases reopening guidelines

The Oconto County Public Health Department released a four-page set of guidelines Friday to assist business, individuals and event organizers in reopening while remaining vigilant of the coronavirus threat.

“We appreciate the great sacrifice from Oconto County businesses and residents as we move through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Debra Konitzer, Oconto County health officer. “We have full confidence in our businesses and residents that they will implement these guidelines in order to keep their customers and staff safe.”

Oconto County is not issuing an order to extend Safer at Home or any other mandated restrictions. However, Konitzer said her office continues to reserve the right and duty to take such action in the event COVID-19 overwhelms the health care system or jeopardizes public health.

“While the order has changed, the virus has not,” she said. “Personal responsibility and accountability are essential to keep the spread of COVID-19 low.”

The guidelines can be found at this link: include information for bars, restaurants, churches and salons, to name a few. There is also individual guidance for residents which includes frequent hand washing, staying home when sick and wearing a mask in public.

“We are aware that best practices may change over time, and we continue to monitor the situation,” Konitzer said. “We can all do our part to keep Oconto County safe. It’s in our hands, Oconto County.”

For information, call the Oconto County Public Health Department at 920-834-7000.

Businesses including Travel

UPDATE May 17, 6:15 p.m.

48 Shawano businesses got boost from city grant program

SHAWANO — The city is reporting that 48 Shawano businesses have received money from an emergency grant program aimed at helping local businesses with occupancy costs during the economic shutdown that was forced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city awarded a total of $175,098, with businesses receiving an average of $3,500.

The temporary relief program was designed to assist small businesses with immediate grant assistance of up to $5,000 to help cover occupancy expenses for up to 60 days — including rent, mortgages, utilities, insurance and other property-related business expenses.

Read the full story at


City government

UPDATE May 17, 6:15 p.m.

Shawano encourages continued COVID precautions

SHAWANO — City officials are encouraging residents to continue following social distancing rules and other precautions to stem the spread of COVID-19 in the wake of a state Supreme Court order striking down the extension of the governor’s Safer at Home order.

The city is also keeping its public facilities closed for the time being while it evaluates how to reopen safely.

“We’re going to take a week, because there’s a lot of things we’ve got to figure out,” City Administrator Eddie Sheppard said.

Sheppard said that includes whether the recreation center and civic center should be reopened.

Read the full story at


County and State Government

Gas prices / consumer issues

Health system


UPDATE May 19, 11:50 a.m.

Coronavirus changes delivery of summer school in Shawano

SHAWANO — School buildings are still closed through June 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic, making it necessary for the Shawano School District summer school program to go virtual like regular classes.

The Shawano School Board received an update on plans for summer school Monday, learning that the virtual learning was the only feasible way to keep summer school going altogether.

“We’ve gone through a few different plans, hoping we’d be able to open up,” said Rod Watson, the district’s summer school coordinator. “It doesn’t look like we’re going to be able to do that this year.”

A survey was sent out to parents in the district to see what would be preferred. Watson said the virtual option was not the most popular, but that parents understood it was the best choice during the pandemic.

Read the full story at

UPDATE May 19, 11:50 a.m.

Summer school canceled in Oconto Falls, Gillett

OCONTO FALLS — The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision on extending shelter-in-place orders last week let stand Gov. Tony Evers’ executive orders that closed school buildings through the end of June.

The decisions disrupted not only the high school graduation ceremonies, originally scheduled this week and next, but plans to hold summer school starting in mid-June.

After reviewing its options – including an effort to conduct a “virtual” summer school online — the Oconto Falls School Board decided May 11 to cancel this year’s sessions planned for the months of June and July.

Read the full story at

UPDATE May 19, 11:50 a.m.

Virtual ceremony brings grads together — in spirit

MARION — There is no second take in a traditional graduation ceremony.

Once the graduates march down the aisle, whatever happens next is there forever — stumbling on the stairs, forgetting to turn the tassel, skipping a section of the valedictory speech.

Marion High School graduates aren’t going to have to worry about that happening as they go through the school’s first virtual graduation, a necessity due to schools being closed through June 30 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The school is one of two in the area — the other being Bonduel — that plans to have a virtual graduation on May 22, the same night it had planned its original graduation.

Read the full story at


UPDATE May 17, 6:15 p.m.

Menominee Indian Tribe COVID-19 state of emergency orders remain in effect

KESHENA – In response to the Wisconsin Supreme Court decision to reverse the Wisconsin Safer at Home order, Menominee Tribal Legislature has issued a reminder that the tribe’s adopted guidelines and emergency orders remain in place through May 25, or until modified by the tribe.

On March 12, the Menominee Tribe declared a state of emergency related to the COVID-19. As a sovereign nation, the tribe enacted emergency orders and actions to help protect the safety and health of tribal members, tribal employees and the community, according to a press release from the tribal chairman’s office.

These orders including establishing a curfew, limiting gatherings, restricting camping, remain in place. Menominee tribal government continues to operate with essential services, and continue to remote work and modify programs and services.

Read the full story at

State, CDC links

Wisconsin Department of Health Services

U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention