Heart of winter helps us value community treasures

This column originally appeared in the Feb. 4, 2016, issue of the Portage County Gazette. Like that week, this one had a big snowstorm, but the column is appropriate for other reasons. As I keep archiving my old work, my appreciation grows for our friends who helped build the community into what it is. The local history represented by the Zimmermans and Bev Laska is significant, especially when it comes to places like Schmeeckle Reserve and the Green Circle Trail.

Ron and Donna Zimmerman

Tuesday’s snowstorm was a big block party that brought all the neighbors out for a fiesta of snowblowers and shovels. There were almost as many folks out on the sidewalks as we can see on our  way back from downtown summer festivals.

Observing everyone simultaneously taking care of our city-owned sidewalks is just one more reminder of the good Midwestern community ethos we have here.  It’s also a fine time to recognize some folks who have made Portage County a wonderful place in which to live.

Zimmermans not slowing down 

Visiting with Ron and Donna Zimmerman is like the best kind of snowfall.  Stories start drifting down around you.  You can just sit back and take it all in; next thing you know, you look up and you’re buried in wonderland.

I spent a couple of hours talking to the longtime University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point naturalists at their home east of Polonia recently. “Naturalists” doesn’t nearly do justice to their collective accomplishments and careers, but it might be the easiest way to describe the two of them together.

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Hiatus over for me; new paths just starting for others


Click to see larger version of this picture of Ron and Donna Zimmerman.

I’ve been on an unintended break from blogging for almost two months now. The needs of my faculty position, my other writing, and my family life took precedence, but now I’m trying to ease back into my blog.

I’ll start with a link to my Portage County Gazette column from last week that was really fun to write because I got to sit down for a while with some wonderful folks.

The paper’s site is now fully functional, so I suspect we’ll renegotiate what I do with my columns.  Access to the site is free until March.

I’ve got another post that’s not recreation-related almost ready to go.  It was written with a mix of disappointment, dismay, and criticism, and it’s the latter that is making me wait another day or so.