Sunday, September 29, 2019

Be There

50th Anniversary Celebration

November 11, 2019
Sentry World
Festivities begin at 11:30 a.m.
$15.00 per person
Dinner Pre-Payments are due
October 1, 2019
Please send a check to:
     Sherrilee Wallerman
     5419 Woodland St.
     Stevens Point, WI 54482
Make checks payable to SPARTA.  Please state chicken or beef on check.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Fall into the Woods!


Event to showcase new works added in 2019, live music and aerial artists
For more information, contact:
Elizabeth Wellso, 715-343-1437,
STEVENS POINT, Wis.  (September 6, 2019)  -- The public is invited to attend the ‘Fall into the Woods’ celebration planned for September 21, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Stevens Point Sculpture Park, 900 North Second Street in Stevens Point.
The Fall into the Park celebration will begin at 5:00 p.m. and is free to attend. Attendees will have a chance to meet artists, listen to live music and watch aerial artists, take a guided tour, enjoy interactive art as well as donated food and beverages from local businesses, and a iron pour (weather permitting). The event will occur rain or shine.
New work by artists debuting in the park this year are; Ann Klefstad of Duluth, Minnesota – ‘Small Herd’, and Beth Nybeck of Kansas City, Missouri – ‘Breathe’.
Representatives from the Stevens Point Sculpture Park as well as numerous artists will be available for interviews during the event. Several artists, with work on display in the park, will be available for a meet and greet.   
The Stevens Point Sculpture Park is all volunteer run and is only possible with the help of private donors and grants through the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin and the Stevens Point Tourism Commission. For more details and contact information, connect with the park through the Stevens Point Sculpture Park Facebook page.  
The Stevens Point Sculpture Park is a twenty-acre site featuring woodlands, wetlands, ponds and prairie. The mission of the Stevens Point Sculpture Park is to provide a welcoming and accessible outdoor venue for environmental arts exhibitions, activities, and educational programs. In addition to the rotating sculpture exhibits, the Stevens Point Sculpture Park will host a variety of art programs and events, including an artist in residency program. The park is open to the public. For more information visit

From the Desk of the President

Dear Fellow SPARTA Members,

If you weren’t able to make the meeting Monday, you missed a good time and we missed you! If you were there, don’t you agree? As usual, Jan Langton had prepared a great Power Point to guide us through the meeting (and entertain along the way!) As soon as Heather and her crew from Parkridge Family had our orders, we launched into business with Dave Blado introducing his former student Brandi Makuski who has spent her career working in the newspaper business in Stevens Point. She explained what’s been happening with newspapers in Point and all over the country: the evolution, much lack of local ownership and MANY fewer reporters, etc. Hopefully we can have her back to present a more complete program. She is currently the editor of an on-line weekly about all things local called Metro Wire. I have been subscribing for a few months and am very pleased with her coverage. You may want to check it out!

Jan explained that “The Books” passed the informal audit conducted by our Audit Committee and she presented next year’s budget, pointing out changes and explaining them. We are so fortunate to have a good source of income and competent people to manage it!

We then launched headlong into Supt. Craig Gerlach’s program to bring us up to date on all the repairs and improvements made possible by the referendum. We turned the order of our meeting around because the School Board had catered in lunch for the Washington staff on that day, and Mr. Gerlach wanted to get over there and personally thank them for their patience and extra efforts involved with the very close timeline on the extensive projects there. (I personally love to see our current staff members continue our great reputation and traditions, and even greater to see that the administration and Board appreciate them!)

Eileen Payne reported that several members have signed up for the bus trip to Fireside to the Buddy Holly Show on Wednesday, so those of us who can’t go, think of them and be jealous as they eat that great food and see such lively entertainment!

The Book Committee passed a sign up sheet and they are pleading for all the help they can get, especially with set-up and tear down of the upcoming sale Oct. 16-19. Several of our faithful workers have had injuries, sprains, and signs of wear and, as Janeen Kwarciani’s husband said, “It’s time to bring in the second team!” Let’s step up and grab any young, strong backs we can to help us with the heavy work too! Fran Vollrath distributed flyers for members to disperse in the community. Let’s make this sale another great one!!

The Grant Committee is happy that we allocated the most we ever have ($8,000 thanks to our book sales) for our community grants this year, and they are now soliciting and accepting applications. We will vote on their recommendations as we enter our big celebration in November.

Joyce Chekouras thanked us for emailing and calling our representatives when WREA puts out the word, and she urges us to continue doing so. She gave us background on several issues and then moved on to reiterate the need for us all to turn in the summary of our volunteer hours to her by email (, phone (715 446 1485), or mail (204699 Lake Drive, Rosholt 54473) She needs them by Sept. 20!

Mary Ann represented the Health Committee to remind us to get our flu shots! If our pharmacy has a waiting list, her advice is to get your name on it!

Lynne Kagelmann reminded us all of our priority for the new school year: Recruit! Recruit! Recruit! Perhaps some folks would be inspired to attend the anniversary celebration, and we have until the end of the month to sign up for that with Barb Clementi (715 572 6564), Sandy Schroeder (715 344 8435), or Sherrilee Wallerman (715 344 0031). Let’s reel ‘em in!

And Sandy and Barb promise us that they are planning a very fun time (Their lips are sealed about what all that entails, but we are invited to dress in clothes from the 60s if we can remember what we wore and if we can fit into any) Nov. 11 at Sentry for our
big anniversary, so buy a ticket for your spouse or best friend too!

Members representing us in LaCrosse at the annual convention are Jan Langton, Sherrillee Wallerman, Dave Blado, and me with Joyce Chekouras and Eileen Payne serving as alternates. Lynne Kagelmann will be there too representing our District III. We promise to take care of business and not be too wild, or at least I do!

We had some news that I consider really great: Park Ridge Family Restaurant is once again opening on Mondays, so our 2020 meetings are on the books there! (I love being able to order from the menu and not having to make reservations and the food is good too!)

I intended to have this be a brief note, so I’m stopping here! This is certainly not the Minutes, but my usual dashed-off note to my friends! I hope you are all well and that I’ll see you soon!


Friday, September 6, 2019

Thought of the Day

One of the best ways to win arguments is to be so completely wrong that there's no way anyone could feasibly correct you without teaching three entry level college courses in the process.


Thursday, August 29, 2019

It's September!

What: September General Meeting
Where: Park Ridge Family Restaurant (Old Blue Top)
When: September 9, 2019 at 11:00

1. PLEASE bring your completed volunteer sheet!!!

Joyce C. will love you forever!!

You can download a copy from the WREA website:

2. Also, fill out and bring your 2019-2020 Membership form with your dues.  You can download a form from the "News and Notes" section in the sidebar.

3. The newsletter is missing all the graphics; our website doesn't seem to want to copy them and won't allow copying of pdfs.  Anyone out there who can straighten me out?

Monday, July 8, 2019

Congratulations to the U.S. Women's Soccer Team!

The U.S. Women's Soccer team won it's fourth World Cup on Sunday, beating the Netherlands 2-0.  It was the Netherlands team's first appearance in the World Cup tournament, so good on them, too.

picture from the NY Times
 The fans in the crowd chanted "Equal Pay!" in response to the victory.  And before the question's  asked, the women's team brings in more money than the men's team.

chart from Pharyngula

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Make Your Reservations for the July Meeting


Stevens Point Area Retired Teachers’ Association
July Meeting Announcement
“Retirement’s a Picnic”
July 8, 2019 – 11:30 a.m.

Program – What’s going on in the forest today?

Boston School Forest
5084 Lincoln Ave.
Plover, WI 54467

Meal - $12.00
Grilled Chicken or Burger (Choose One), Potato Salad, Marinated Vegetables, Potato Chips,
Fresh Fruit Salad, Dessert Bar, Beverages (supplied by SPARTA)

Reservation Required by June 21st – Noon
Bring a Friend!

Call – Sherrilee at 715-344-0031or
Please state Chicken or Burger Choice
Make Checks Payable to: SPARTA - PAY AT THE DOOR

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Looking Ahead

The Book Sale is off and running.  It's not too early to mark these dates on your calendar:

Book take-in days:

Monday, June 24
Monday, July 22
Monday, August 26
Monday, September 23

 Please do not block the sidewalk or leave books in the hallway!

The Fall Book Sale will be Wednesday, October 16, 2019 through Saturday, October 19, 2019.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Flying Spaghetti Monster Has Spoken!

 Remember the re-scheduled spaghetti dinner benefit for the Kollocks on Tues, April 16, from 4:30 to 7:30 pm at the Point of Discovery School at 1900 W Zinda Dr in Stevens Point.  Please help support this family.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

The Book Sale is Coming

The SPARTA Spring Book Sale is right around the corner.  You can find us on the first floor of the Central Wisconsin Children's Museum Building, 1100 Main St., Stevens Point.

Times are:
Wednesday, May 1  -noon - 7pm
Thursday, May 2     - 9am - 7pm
Friday, May 3          - 9am - 7pm
Saturday, May 4      - 9am - 2pm

If you can work a shift, contact Nancy Mezyk. 

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Our Latest Good Deed is Done

Sandy Williams, at far right, executive director of the Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum, demonstrates the recently installed Automatic Door Operator donated by the Stevens Point Area Retired Teachers’ Association (SPARTA) from profits of a recent book sale. The north entrance off the city parking lot is now handicapped accessible to the Museum and businesses on the first floor. SPARTA book committee members pictured, from left, are Janeen Kwarciany, Janet Swiston, Nancy Kemmeter with Maya Kemmeter, Mary Marks, Nancy Mezyk, Charlene Laurent, and Santha Bickford, president of SPARTA. The next SPARTA book sale is Wednesday, May 1, to Saturday, May 4.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Paid Your Taxes Yet?

What Those DNA Tests Really Show

Jennifer Raff makes these points:
  1. Your DNA is not a good snapshot of your whole family tree more than a few generations back. You have many more genealogical ancestors than you have genetic ancestors.
  2. Any given individual in the past (including all of the ancient people referenced in the Primeval DNA test) is extremely unlikely to have passed along their DNA to anyone, including you.
  3. Any person in the distant past—be they anonymous peasant or famous monarch—who passed on their DNA into present times might be your ancestor, but he or she will also likely be the ancestor of everyone else in the world. In other words, as geneticist Dr. Adam Rutherford explained in his post on the subject for The Guardian, “we are all special, which means none of us are.”

The BIG Picture

There can be only be one?

This image illustrates hominin history over 4 million years, highlighting a recent discovery in the Philippines. Is anyone else as horrified by it as I am?

It illustrates 8 species of Homo in the last million years. The fossil record is spotty, so there are probably more…and the record prior to a million years ago is going to be even weaker, and the number of species is going to be even less representative of reality. Our family was a wonderful flowering bush of diversity, and now its been pared down to a single twig, us.
That’s an illustration of failure. We should be worried, especially since we’re actively exterminating even our distant cousins, taking an axe to the whole family tree. We’re working towards only supporting one primate type on the entire planet, which seems a little selfish and short-sighted.


Click on graphic to enlarge.

George Who?

During a guided tour of Mount Vernon last April with French president Emmanuel Macron, Trump learned that Washington was one of the major real-estate speculators of his era. So, he couldn’t understand why America’s first president didn’t name his historic Virginia compound or any of the other property he acquired after himself.

“If he was smart, he would’ve put his name on it,” Trump said, according to three sources briefed on the exchange. "You’ve got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you"...

If Trump was impressed with Washington’s real estate instincts, he was less taken by Mount Vernon itself, which the first president personally expanded from a modest one-and-a-half story home into an 11,000 square foot mansion. The rooms, Trump said, were too small, the staircases too narrow, and he even spotted some unevenness in the floorboards, according to four sources briefed on his comments. He could have built the place better, he said, and for less money.

-Digby, Hullaballoo


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Notes from the President (The one that works hard and makes sense)

I wanted to get this little update out quickly so that you don’t think it’s an April Fool joke. First of all, doesn’t it feel great to be able to get outside again? Hurray! I hope you were not affected by the flood!
I also wanted to report on our WREA Seminar which we hosted for anyone with money in our state retirement fund. It was held on the evening of March 14 at the Lincoln Center and, even though it was the night of the big rain and we had many cancellations, we still had over 60 in attendance! They came from our Point Schools, Rosholt, Amherst, and Almond in addition to both city and county workers in many departments. Many thanks to those of you who helped with that! Judy Zimmerman and I took reservations, Lynne Kagelmann helped me with goodies, and Jan Langton helped sign folks in and get the evening launched. Remember that we do this in odd-numbered years, so we have a year off in 2020!
On that same afternoon, SPARTA was invited to a special program that our local Symphony held for all the third and fourth graders in the county. It is designed to introduce these young students to the orchestra through a curriculum developed by Carnegie Hall in New York. They have a portion where they can play their recorders along, and several teachers did actually bring recorders! Why, you may ask, were we invited? Because it is one of the projects we support with our Book Sale money. Jan Swiston, as head of the Grant Committee, was invited to attend with other folks who contributed in some way, and I tagged along with her! Wow! It was very impressive! Did you ever guess we’d get a chance to be connected to something from Carnegie Hall? All of us who helped with the Book Sales, take a bow!
On May 9 our District III Spring Meeting will be held in Wausau. So far Lauren Isberner, Jan Langton, and I are planning to attend along with Lynne Kagelmann, our own District President! Is anyone else interested incoming along? More details are in the latest edition of the Red Apple Express or call one of us!
This is not a joke-the Lincoln Center has several new exercise and strengthening programs for older adults (US!) and they need weights, which are expensive. If any of us have some sitting around at home, they would love to have them. I have a couple left from students and from my own good intentions, and maybe you do too! If so, give me a call and I’ll help you donate them.
Don’t forget the Book Sale May 1-4! If you’re helping with publicity, next week is the time for us to get the word out. And if you haven’t signed for your shift to work, call Nancy Mezyk! That’s all my ramblings until next time! Don’t forget to vote Tuesday!

--Santha Bickford