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Bits and Pieces for Jan. 11
I made the normal check of projects in the city, Charley Brinkmeier, who heads projects for the municipality, said it is “kinda slow.”

That’s to be expected after the first of the year when it is difficult to start fresh exterior construction projects, and with the temperatures and chills of the past week or so, impossible.

Brinkmeier said spring does not look bad, though, with the Pebble Ridge apartment complex near the intersection of Steinfest Road and Charlotte Street on the north side scheduled to occur.

Work on the massive renovations at the Park View Manor complex will get started in the spring and he said there are a number of residential remodeling projects currently underway.


We have tickets for the Snow Ball here at the Journal, and Jan. 18 is starting to close in.

Jeremy Doucette, an Antigonian who works as a theater set designer, will be here again and he comes to town with boxes and boxes of items from the professional stages on the East Coast and New York.

The curtains from last season’s “Dancing With the Stars” will be hung at the Edison Club and the chandeliers are truly stunning.

The orchestra is excellent and this year the event will be held Saturday evening. The last few Snow Balls ended early for me so it was possible to return to my desk at the Journal, but not on the 18th.

The cost of the tickets can be deducted from your taxes at $35 each, with the money raised going toward a performance theater and arts facility in the downtown district.

It is a good cause and I’m predicting a good time.


A hurried late Sunday morning led to an error in the newspaper-buying project, so instead of coming home for the Packer game and that fireplace blaze with a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, I had picked up a copy of the Wisconsin State Journal. I’m familiar with the Milwaukee paper, not so much the Madison publication.


I was able to figure out quickly where the editorials were because the section is marked “Sunday Opinions.” What a novel idea... telling people just what’s inside that section.

A number of papers have left the traditional designations for portions of the paper, but why?

In the business section, there was a story about the Wisconsin Surplus Online Auction, run by Richard and Matthew Lust. The firm contracts with the state of Wisconsin to sell its unwanted stuff, which explains why Antigo is not host to that big DNR sale of trucks, cars and boats at the fairgrounds. I found those sales great fun and while I never bought anything, it was interesting watching the dealing on smorgasbord equipment being offered.

There was also a few fine pictures for the front page of the paper and very nice revenue for the ads run by the state.

The new sales model isn’t a deal where the deals are conducted from a pickup truck-mounted auctioneer’s stand.

Millions and millions of dollars change hands here, and quickly.

From the sound of that article, the Lust family does very, very well these days. I’d love to sell them ads to promote their services and that state sale.


Another story that caught my eye was about a fly-in at a snowy and small airport in Iola, where the facility has hosted a Friday fly-and-dine program for a number of years.

It draws about 45 pilots from a wide area.

They need skiies to get into this place in the winter months. 

It is held despite the weather, flying conditions or depth of snow on the grass runway.

Calling it “grassroots aviation,” pilots wrap their engines in blankets while they dine and visit with other air adventurers.

About 15 years ago pilots who use the facility on a regular basis donated something in the area of $100,000 of their own money to build a clubhouse, with a fireplace, and that’s where they all get together.

For those who love aviation, it sounds great. The meals started again on Friday with scalloped potatoes and ham including all of the trimmings. Sodas are 75 cents.

The article was excellent Sunday afternoon reading.


Dating back a number of years, I’ve received the Marinette Eagle-Herald, a newspaper that serves the eastern part of northern Wisconsin, Menominee, Mich., and western territory of Upper Michigan.

On Dec. 27, the paper had a full-page article, with a very large photograph, featuring an Antigonian, Pete Kretz and his wife Amy, who operate the Little River Country Club in that community. Pete is a son of Terry and Jamine Kretz, still from Antigo.

The writer from the Eagle-Herald is impressed with the couple.

Amy is a former executive director of the Tri-City United Way, a very busy post responsible to see that organizations and people in that area are helped.

The article dwells on the positive acts they perform from their golf course for the community.

The Kretz golf roots run deep. Terry’s father was one of the founders of Riverview Country Club in Antigo just over 50 years ago, and Pete’s uncle, Joe, operates the golf course today.

Cousin Kelly Kretz, Joe and Sandy’s son, is an excellent golfer, is a former member of the Marquette University team and currently playing on the Dakotas Tour.

Another cousin, Todd Wagner, is manager and senior instructor of the Kohler Golf Academy. 

Kohler is one of the top-shelf golf facilities in the world ... so that position is very impressive.

The article closes with observations that Pete and Amy are dedicated to helping people.

The piece brings smiles about the excellent work and results people from and linked to Antigo have accomplished and how they continue to grow.

It was just a feel-good story for the holiday season.


I got another of that kind of story on Thursday afternoon.

Judy Popelka of White Lake called to explain that she and her family had gone to Crandon to ride the locally-made trolley around the community to eye the Christmas lights.

It was a fund-raiser for the cancer battle in the Forest County area that I had written about in a previous Bits & Pieces. In that column, I suggested that we could try something similar in Antigo.

Judy called it a “nice experience,” and when it was done, she and the rest of the family dined at the Crandon Hotel. “That was very good, too,” she said.

We started visiting about the lights tour and she explained that White Lake is a bit too small for a such an outing, but with all of the activity by the historical society in that part of the county, that could provide fodder for a real outing right here in Antigo.

It would work here, too. It is something to explore.


While I was reading a newspaper on Sunday aftenoon, and eyeballing the Packers, Laura Harvey, who works for the Journal, was on the field at the Packer game taking pictures.

She said it was just about zero at game time, and the chill was in the area of minus 20.

What amazes me is she really has a good time.

2016 space
612 Superior Street
Antigo, WI 54409
Phone: 715-623-4191
Fax: 715-623-4193
Mail to: Fred Berner
MapOnUs Location: (local)

612 Superior Street,
Antigo, WI 54409
Phone: 715-623-4191
Fax: 715-623-4193
Mail to: Fred Berner
MapOnUs Location: (local)

*Member WNA & NNA

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