Friday, January 19, 2018

Oshkosh area students and staff to experience Hocus FocusTM

[We are happy to post this press release on behalf of the Oshkosh Area School District]

Oshkosh area students and staff to experience Hocus FocusTM

Upcoming visit from leading authority on the educational and therapeutic benefits of magic
Oshkosh, WI - World renowned teaching artist and master illusionist, Kevin Spencer, will spend three days working with students and staff in the Oshkosh Area School District through a residency presented by The Grand Oshkosh. On January 29th and 30th, area classrooms will experience the therapeutic and educational benefits of magic and area educators will learn how to engage and teach students with diverse learning needs. This opportunity is being made possible by a sponsorship from the Boldt Foundation, with additional support from the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, Oshkosh Area Community Foundation and the John E. Kuenzl Foundation.

Linda Pierron, the Director of Special Education, said the OASD is eager to work with Spencer because this type of creative instruction aligns with the district’s ongoing efforts to support a personalized learning environment and strengthen academic and behavioral supports for students.

During his time in Oshkosh, Spencer will visit eight special education elementary classrooms and lead students through 50-minute sessions of engaging, magical and hands-on learning. Having developed an entire curriculum called Hocus FocusTM​, Spencer uses magic tricks to bring transformative educational experiences to students of all abilities by tapping current research on neuroscience, learning and the arts. With the understanding that magic tricks offer a creative means for stimulating the senses in special education students, this classroom approach enhances the learning experience and encourages creative problem-solving skills, observational techniques and critical thinking.

Spencer will also spend time working with OASD special education therapy staff – discussing the benefits of the arts in the development and retraining of the brain and teaching staff various research-based methods and exercises to further connect with students.
“It is an incredible opportunity for us to host such a groundbreaking thought leader,” stated Pierron. “Our students will not only get to experience the wonder of magic, but they will be able to engage their curiosity and strengthen their cognitive skills. And our educators will be able to add more tools to their toolkit and brainstorm new ways for us to keep meeting the individual needs of our students.”

In addition to bringing an innovative learning opportunity to the OASD, this visit will also allow Spencer to complete a portion of his doctoral research - focused on validating an assessment instrument capable of measuring student outcomes in cognition, motor skills, communication and social skills, while developing creativity and flexible thinking.
Kevin Spencer’s residency contributes to the educational and Community Outreach Programming presented by The Grand Oshkosh. Each season, over 20,000 community residents, students and underserved members of the community benefit from these social and educational initiatives.

About Kevin Spencer:​ Kevin Spencer is an educator, artist, consultant, and social entrepreneur. After more than 25 years as an award-winning touring artist, he now devotes his time to using the power of the arts to provide access and opportunity to individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. In addition to working with performing arts organizations and school districts, he is faculty in the special education program at Carlow University (PA) and has earned an M.Ed. in Arts & Interdisciplinary Academic Education and a Certification in Autism Studies. He is widely considered the leading authority on the educational and therapeutic benefits of magic tricks in the classroom and is an authorized speaker for the U.S. State Department on arts integration for special populations. His work has taken him around the world where he has conducted professional development training for educators and interactive classroom activities for students. He is a regular speaker at international education conferences and believes in the power of the arts to bring transformative educational experiences to students of all abilities. For more information visit  

About The Grand Oshkosh
The Grand Oshkosh is a collaborative and innovative leader in providing entertainment, social and educational opportunities for the community. Designed by local architect William Waters, the building is on both the State and National Historic Registers. Owned by the City of Oshkosh and operated by the Oshkosh Opera House Foundation, The Grand Oshkosh hosts over 100 performances and events every year, including arts education events, local and regional arts events, student performances, corporate meetings and weddings. For more information visit

Winter road conditions available statewide on 511

[We are happy to post this press release on behalf of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation]
Winter road conditions available statewide on 511
Plan ahead, stay off bad routes, move over
Current winter road conditions are visible on the mobile-friendly 511 Wisconsin website ( and mobile app. This information is populated by frequent reporting from the Wisconsin State Patrol and enhanced by updates from additional highway staff in-the-field.
On the website’s map of Wisconsin, interstates and select state roadways have corresponding colors to represent conditions. They are (listed from best to worst) good winter driving, slippery stretches, snow covered, ice covered, and travel not advised. No information will also be represented when data is not available for that segment of road.
Drivers are asked to plan ahead to avoid the most hazardous routes if possible. Wisconsin has been seeing an average of more than 200 crashes annually involving at least one emergency vehicle that’s engaged in an emergency response. Emergency responders, including law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs, tow truck operators and highway maintenance crews, are especially vulnerable during heavy volumes of traffic amid winter weather conditions.
In the last five years, Wisconsin has averaged 18,600 motor vehicle crashes during the winter months when roads are covered with ice, snow or slush. On average, 48 people are killed and more than 4,600 injured in Wisconsin each winter season in crashes when roads are covered in ice, snow and slush.
Safe driving is everyone’s job.
·         Slow down and move over when passing by an incident scene to provide a protective buffer for responders and the motorists behind you.   
·         If you can steer it, clear it.  Many drivers think they should not move their car if they are involved in a fender-bender or crash.  If (and only if) your car is drivable and there are no injuries, you should move your car to the shoulder or nearby safe place off of the road before calling for help. 
·         Visit to learn more about safe driving tips, links to best practices for winter road safety, and the law.
·         Never access 511 information while driving. Either safely pull off of the highway, or have a passenger check it.

Oshkosh Public Museum presents REPLAY: The Exhibition

[We are happy to post the following press release from the Oshkosh Public Museum.]

Oshkosh Public Museum presents REPLAY: The Exhibition
Contemporary Artists Celebrate Comic Books, Superheroes, Sci-Fi, Fantasy and the Eternal Power of Pop Culture

Oshkosh, Wis. January 19, 2018 – Calling all pop culture fanatics, your favorite characters are coming to the Oshkosh Public Museum on February 18. REPLAY is a one-of-a-kind, multimedia group exhibition that draws inspiration from popular science fiction, movies, comics, and games.
With more than 30 pieces on display, using both traditional and unexpected media, REPLAY is delightful, whimsical, striking and often nostalgic as it harkens back to the stories, games and experiences of this iconic era. The selected group of talented artists featured in this exhibition have put a playful, modern spin on how these iconic characters are seen today. It challenges the way we view the storylines, and at the same time, reflect on the stories we hold dear about our community and its history. A keen-eyed guest will quickly find references to fan favorites, such as PAC-MAN, Wonder Woman and Darth Vader.

“This collection of works showcases the inspired energy that drives pop culture and makes geek enthusiasts of us all,” said Debra Daubert, Curator of Exhibitions. “REPLAY celebrates these iconic characters and the comic books, stories and animation from which they are found as part of our own modern mythology. Just as folktales, fairy tales and ancient myths say something about the cultures from whence they came - superheroes, mystical warlords and space explorers are our heroes, our stories, and commentary on our society.”

From Teletubbies to Tie Fighters, from LEGO® bricks to Rubix Cubes, the artwork in the REPLAY exhibition features something for the entire family. Since his emergence in the art world, Dave Pollot has been known for his ability to merge classic and contemporary stylings with a bit of tongue-and-cheek humor. The artist paints a second life onto the repurposed canvases he finds at thrift stores, including Flyin’ Solo, an elaborate turn of the century seascape with what appears to be a visitor disrupting the harmonious beach day, the Millennium Falcon preparing to land.

“Most everything that I’ve painted was based around something from my childhood, something that I’ve grown to love,” said Pollot. “The characters bring people together and give us something to root for, they give us something we can all believe in, and REPLAY allows us to re-experience these important icons through an artistic lens.”

The monumental-sized, vibrant and hyper-realistic works featured in this exhibition evoke a shared sense of nostalgia that pop culture fanatics of all ages and backgrounds can easily relate with. Pop culture is amplified on a fine art platform in a way no other collection has ever done. REPLAY is the ultimate throwback, combining mediums and artists the world over. This fun and lively exhibition will make you feel like a kid again!

REPLAY will be on display at the Oshkosh Public Museum, 1331 Algoma Boulevard, from February 18 through May 13. Regular hours are Tuesday–Saturday from 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m.–4:30 p.m. For more information about the Museum’s exciting events and exhibits, visit, call 920.236.5799 or email

About the Oshkosh Public Museum:
The Oshkosh Public Museum is a non-profit regional history museum, an amazing resource for research and discovery, entrusted with the care of more than 300,000 collections and historical documents representing the history, culture and heritage of the region.

The Museum is nationally accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places. Housed in the historic Sawyer home since 1924, the Museum brings history to life through quality exhibitions and special programs, engaging guests in ways that inspire discovery.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Eye on Oshkosh - Girl and Boy Scouting, taped 1-18-18

In the latest episode of Eye on Oshkosh, host Cheryl Hentz looks at scouting for youth and young adults. In the first segment she talks with Melissa Loest, Communications Coordinator for the Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes. In the second segment, Hentz talks with Kevin Corkin,
Twin Lakes District Director, and teenaged scouts Nyssa Schneider and Elijah Rogers. You'll hear about the many and varied opportunities scouting offers kids and young adults, how to get your child or children involved, and how you can volunteer, even if you don't have children in scouts. The show can be seen here, or by clicking below:

For more information on scouting, contact the Girl Scouts at, OR the Boy Scouts at, or, or 

OASD to Test Emergency Messaging System, February 1, 2018

Oshkosh, WI - On Thursday, February 1 at 7 p.m., the Oshkosh Area School District (OASD) will conduct a test of its emergency communication system. In advance of the test, the district is asking all parents/guardians to review their contact preferences within the district’s campus messenger system and make updates as needed; detailed instructions were sent home to district families and are available online at This exercise is a proactive approach to ensuring that families receive timely information in the event of a real school or district emergency.
The OASD has also established an Emergency Information page on the district’s website. To learn more about the OASD's commitment to safety, including how the district will communicate in the event of an emergency and information on school closures, visit - click on the “District” drop-down menu and select “Emergency Information”.

WHAT TO EXPECT: ​The February 1 test will include voice, email, and text messages from the district's Infinite Campus system, and will be labeled as “OASD EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION TEST.”
Simultaneously, the OASD will also post alerts to the district Facebook and Twitter accounts. Should a real emergency arise, the test will be delayed.

Just as students drill for emergency procedures, this emergency communication test is intended:
● to test the campus messenger system with a live message to all emergency contacts

● to let parents/guardians know in advance how the district would communicate with them in an emergency (school closing, building lockdown, etc.)
● to create and correct parent/guardian emergency contact information and communication preferences

The safety of students and staff, along with timely communication with parents and the public, will always be top priorities for the OASD. Parents and guardians are asked to contact their child(ren)’s school office with any additional questions or for further assistance.

City of Oshkosh adopts innovative public engagement platform

City of Oshkosh adopts innovative public engagement platform

Diversifying engagement through technology

OSHKOSH, Wis. January, 18, 2018 – The City of Oshkosh is excited to announce the launch of Polco, an innovative engagement platform where residents can directly influence the community decision-making process by responding to survey questions.

Through new insights using the Polco’s civic analytics website and apps, the city will post questions directly to residents and receive insightful, reliable data to drive local policy decisions. By increasing civic engagement through web-based polling, there is an opportunity to meet Oshkosh residents where they are and collectively move policy forward. Nick Mastronardi, Founder and CEO of Polco, states, “When all constituents feel a part of the decision process, communities inherently become more resilient to future challenges.”

The City values community knowledge and is committed to improving communication channels to impact change. The City of Oshkosh is dedicated to sharing polling results and explanations of policy decisions based on this new mode of participation. The City will start polling with questions having to do with the future use of the Lakeshore Golf Course site.

“Polco will give residents a greater opportunity to provide their input and opinions on the Lakeshore topic, in addition to more easily access information regarding the decision. This feedback will be used to drive public policy decisions,” said City Manager Mark Rohloff. “We look forward to using this new tool to supplement the public input process on both big questions like Lakeshore, as well as more general items such as snow and ice removal.”

Residents become active users by visiting and creating an account. Polco’s platform is available via web, mobile, email, and any place Polco e-ballots are found online. This service is free to all constituents.

Polco is committed to a strict privacy policy where they only share aggregated de-identified results. Participant detailed data and votes are never shared

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Emily Springstroh at (920) 236- 5269 or

Friday, January 12, 2018

Get that Hygge feeling at Oshkosh Public Library

Finding it difficult to get that cozy and contented feeling during the recent Wisconsin cold snap? The Oshkosh Public Library can help battle the winter blues by sharing a taste of the Hygge life.

Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is a Danish concept, defined as “A quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” Besides atmosphere and cuisine, it also includes finding ways to enjoy the outdoors. During January and February, the library will offer a suite of programs that bring on that Hygge feeling.

“For some of us out here on the frozen tundra, the struggle to get through a Midwest winter is real,” says Sandy Toland, the adult programming coordinator at the library. “By offering some “how-to” programs, along with opportunities to drop in and enjoy some cozy times at the library, we can help people find ways to enjoy the winter months and experience a feeling of community with others on that same quest.”

While Hygge has been a key part of Danish culture since the early 1800s, it started gaining traction elsewhere over the past several years, with an increase in books and articles published on the topic and plenty of buzz via Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter.

Hygge happenings at the Oshkosh Public Library include:

What’s Cooking Cookbook Club

Feb. 14 - Chocolate

Check out a library cookbook, make a dish to sample and bring copies of your recipe to share. Starts at 6 p.m.

Get Hygge with It (3 sessions)

Jan. 14; Feb. 10 & 24

The library can help you enjoy life's simple pleasures. Hot chocolate, comfy space, soothing music and a good book. Experience a taste of the Hygge life! Drop in from 1-5 p.m.

Scents of the Season

Wed., Jan. 17 at 6 p.m.

Hear tricks and tips for using herbs to brighten up your winter.

DIY for Adults (4th Tuesday of the month)

Jan. 23 – Decorate a mug and get meal-in-a-mug recipes.

Feb. 27 – Bath salts and other spa products.

Starts at 6 p.m. Supplies provided. Registration required. Call 236-5205.

Luging for Loungers

Thurs., Feb. 15; 5-7:30 p.m.

The Winter Olympics brings out the couch-lete in all of us. Come to the library and go for the gold with Wii Sports.

Sayonara PyeongChang

Sun., Feb. 25

1-4:30 p.m.

This closing ceremony celebration for teens and adults gives you one more day of friendly competition before we say “sayonara’ to PyeongChang and the Winter 2018 Olympics.

For more information visit    

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Eye on Oshkosh - New Laws for 2018, taped 1-11-18

In this episode of Eye on Oshkosh, host Cheryl Hentz spends the hour talking with attorney George Curtis about new laws for 2018, why some of our laws are the way they are, Wisconsin drunk driving laws, and more.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Grants support Color-Brave Photo Project

Fit Oshkosh has received two grants to fund an art show entitled “Color-Brave Photo Project: Black and Brown faces a new narrative,” which celebrates People of Color who live in Oshkosh. Fit is a diversity education non-profit organization that supports social justice advocacy “because race matters.”
The nonprofit organization received a major grant of $9,900 from the Wisconsin Humanities Council and a $7,500 Community Impact Grant from the Oshkosh Community Foundation to support the show. One of the organization’s goals is to is create a community where everyone, regardless of racial identity, feels welcome, can “fit” in, are valued, and are treated with respect and dignity.

The exhibition includes 20 framed photographic portraits with stories about each subject. The stories will be compiled in a book and videos will be produced for social media. It is estimated that the project will impact more than 50,000 people of all ages throughout the Fox Valley. It will travel to 10 locations, beginning with the Paine Art Center and Gardens from April 19 through April 25. There will be guided discussions called “Color-Brave Conversations” at each location.
“The goal of this project is to overcome false ideas about why People of Color live in Oshkosh,” said Tracey Robertson, executive director of Fit Oshkosh. “Some of these ideas are that People of Color come here exclusively from the ‘hoods’ of Milwaukee or Chicago, that they only moved here to be students or staff at the university, or that they have moved here ‘because of the prison’. The last example is the most damaging and the most alarming.”

Because the exhibit includes stories, viewers will learn about the complexities of People of Color in Oshkosh. According to Robertson, this greater awareness is critical as Oshkosh becomes more diverse. Greater knowledge about People of Color will help ensure continued educational and economic success for the community.
Aaron Sherer, Executive Director of the Paine, says, “Art and storytelling are among the best ways to help make the world a better place. By seeing the faces and hearing the stories of Black and Brown citizens, our community will be given a deeper understanding of the many People of Color living here and the many meaningful reasons why they call Oshkosh home.”

Fit Oshkosh will help schools schedule field trips to the exhibition and present photo books to Oshkosh fourth grade classrooms. Middle schools, high schools and university students will also be encouraged to explore the project.

The Oshkosh Area Community Foundation awards Community Impact Grants to non-profit organizations to develop projects that serve the community and meet emerging community needs. The Wisconsin Humanities Council awards grants that help communities thrive and give people opportunities to share personal stories and explore culture and history.

For more information about this grant, its use, or other information about Fit Oshkosh, contact co-founder and executive director Tracey Robertson at (920) 267-8687 or by email at