Bits and Pieces for Sept. 28|
I walked away from the homecoming parade Friday afternoon thinking about how lucky we really are.
A big crowd lined Fifth Avenue to see the floats and cheer their organizations and classes and of course the bands and football players.
Those players were everywhere, with the royalty and on some of the floats. This is hometown fun on a grand level Antigo loves its Red Robins.
Football teams may win and may lose, but the young men and coaches have dedicated thousands of hours to perfect the activities for those 60 minutes on the field once a week during the fall.
I thank everyone, from the cheerleaders to the coaches and certainly the players, for their dedication.
At this years parade, I did miss Ed Vavruska, a 1932 Antigo graduate who was a football icon and was usually part of the parade.
He was a high school football player and Antigo supporter until the day he died in June at the age of 101. It was the first homecoming parade hes missed in a number of years.
I have two building tales this week.
It was 75 years ago that voters in the city of Antigo approved an addition to the junior high school, and it is still there, hooked onto the older, but still very much, in-use portion of the complex.
The addition was needed badly. The board explained the space and facilities problems and at the time of this referendum, the school district was from Antigo. No one outside the city limits had anything to say because funding was municipal.
Works Progress Administration employees who had been secured for the big building, which also moved the issue ahead. Im sure more than seven decades ago, hundreds of Antigo men having a tough time with the Great Depression worked on that structure, and did an artful job.
I was in the school earlier this week, the old section is just that, older, but clean and much like I remember it 50, or so, years ago.
The new section is, in fact, new. Even if it is 75 years old.
The Journal editorial following the referendum cheered Antigo voters for their commitment to the community and education. The measure of victory was about three-to-one.
The other building story took place this week in Birnamwood, where the Guelig firm from Eden is razing the old main street hotel.
It was time for the huge structure to go.
Years since it was open, the small town hotel relied on the railroads and commerce in the smaller bustling cities and we all know what happened to them. Gone.
I went to the auction for the hotel in June of 2010, and I think the buyer got the buildings for about $18,000. He died and it was sold again, but challenges loomed. You could do quite a job fixing it up for a half-million or million dollars. But if you have cash like that, you are likely far too smart to get mixed up in a 112-year-old hotel building.
Today it is gone, being tucked away to the Eden yard where the pieces and parts are being sorted into recyclables and what is true waste I think there is plenty of both.
It will create a heck of a hole in downtown Birnamwood, so I think another grassy park would be nice. It will be better.
I have another interesting story about Birnamwood, and the hotel.
A native son, who has had a very successful life and returned to the community to spend his summers, is helping clear up the hotel yard.
The Wittenberg Enterprise and Birnamwood News reported this week that Norman and Alice Matsche donated $100,000 for the project. The new town hall also is named for the couple and the newspaper estimates that over time, about $1 million has been spent for projects in the area.
Its a good tax break for us so it makes good business sense to invest the money in Birnamwood, Matsche told the paper.
Thats very, very generous and wonderful for Birnamwood.
Ive rocked and rolled for decades. Ever since Elvis grabbed a microphone and guitar, back in the 1950s, I was there. Over the years, Ive enjoyed the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Mamas and Papas andEric Clapton in the 1960s. Of course, there are far more.
But there is one song that survived as my favorite, and it still is.
It is Gershwins Rhapsody in Blue.
United Airlines, which holds the advertising rights to the song, has brought it out in a heavily-exposed campaign on television.
The new advertisement is classy. It shows an orchestra aboard a United jetliner performing Rhapsody in Blue.
The Chicago Business Journal, in the same town where United is based, explained that the ad is part of a campaign to bring back the ailing airline to financial health.
The Orchestra ad starts a drive to get travelers to forget about the darker side of modern air travel tapping the old United tagline, The Friendly Skies.
It has been a decade or so since you read or heard that anywhere.
I think the debut ad is great, but the reason is obvious.
The Lincoln County Sheriffs Department sends out a weekly review that shows what has happened, and last week there seemed to be an item just made for Bits & Pieces.
It shows that if you think you are clever after a few drinks, you are wrong.
On a Saturday night, an officer was parked along Highway K at Highway 51 in the town of Merrill just before 8 p.m. when he saw a vehicle drive past him.
That car turned around and pulled up behind the squad car and the officer got out of his cruiser and walked back to the car. The driver told him that he thought the officer may need help, and returned to his car to check on him.
The officer decided to check the driver instead and he failed a field sobriety test, was arrested for drunken driving and taken into custody.
There is a lesson tucked in there.
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