The celebration of individuality provides the spice of life

NIAGARA, Wis. — We recently returned from a visit to our son’s new home in Queen Creek, Ariz. We had last visited him for Thanksgiving, and this was to be our first escape from our northern winter weather. Little did we know that this first venture from a frosty February in Wisconsin would be to one of the coldest winters in Arizona’s history; it rarely climbed to 70 degrees and rained a frigid rain several times during our visit. We had to sacrifice a trip to Flagstaff because that area had received over two feet of snow in one storm, roads were closed, and people were stranded! But it was a good visit and, once again, we learned a lot.

Part of our three-week visit was spent with my sister and her husband on Saddlebrook Ranch in Oro Valley, an area closer to Tucson so at a higher elevation. We spent three days there immersed in a country club lifestyle within a gated community. It was definitely a bit of a culture shock as the entire development provided a “lap of luxury” feel to which we are definitely not accustomed. They are currently renting what is called a “villa” while their home is being built. Their community is surrounded by beautiful mountains, that feel like they are right in your backyard, and protected national land that will never experience the massive sprawl of development so common in the Phoenix area.

Everything imaginable was available to residents right on “the ranch.” There was a club house that provided a lovely restaurant, smaller dining room options, an indoor swimming pool, a large event center, a spa, and several areas that were activity specific. One could even “rent” personal wine storage space at the club for a mere $500 per year. Classes in woodworking, basket weaving, pottery, painting, jewelry making, knitting, sewing and music were available. We listened in on a ukelele club in progress! Outside there was a golf course and two swimming pools as well as tennis, bocce and pickle ball courts. There was a walking trail around the entire complex. Golf carts are the preferred mode of travel. It does not as yet have a grocery store, medical clinic, or any shopping but those services do exist in a nearby town that is a short jaunt down the highway from the ranch. Many social activities are scheduled on site, and it appears very easy to get to know people.

It is also home to an HOA — the Home Owners Association — whose responsibility it is to keep the ranch looking pristine via its many rules and regulations thus guaranteeing its continued resale value and attraction to a group of people who can afford its real estate. (As an example, a single lot that guaranteed an uninterrupted view of the mountains went for $250,000.) This particular HOA determines the following: the color of your house, the design of its exterior, the type of mailbox, the style of porch light, the type of exterior decorative metal work (it must be all southwest themed), the type of landscaping, the type of divider wall, and the specific types of plants in your yard. The end result is a very homogenous neighborhood lacking any imagination or individuality. To us, it was very boring… and very brown.

My sister stated that “you could do whatever you wanted on the inside of your house.” So, we toured the many model homes from the more “modest” that started at $500,000 to the larger ones with all the bells and whistles that topped $1,000,000. Yes, they were beautiful, but after a while even the interiors were mere variations on a theme of opulence and excess. The prevailing “color” options were white, gray, beige and darker beige. The complete absence of any real color was startling and sterile. Floor plans were all similar, the only difference being the size of the kitchen island and the individual rooms. Laundry rooms were massive areas that were really only necessary if a family of six resided within the home; considering it is a 55 plus community in which children did not live, it seemed a huge waste of space and unnecessary expense. Cabinetry and counter tops are not cheap!

Two things caught my eye that were out of the ordinary on the ranch. One house had a large ceramic cowboy boot (it was southwest so had been approved) that was very colorful — I absolutely loved it! And one of the brown house homeowners had recently purchased a giant saguaro cactus for the corner of his lot. It had four large “arms” and must have stood 10 feet tall; he had paid $8,000 for it, but it was at least unique due to its size.

I returned home with a much greater appreciation for my own Niagara neighborhood. We live in one of the oldest neighborhoods in town; I prefer to call it the “Historic District.” Our home is one of the original Kimberly Clark mill houses built in 1928 for families who worked there. Yes, the houses are old. Yes, the design is generally the same — everyone’s upstairs bathroom is located within the roof gable — but have aged in different ways. And yes, the homes are in various stages of repair and upgrade; we are excited when we see a new roof or siding going on or new windows being installed. Such changes indicate an investment in the future.

And, there is history in this old neighborhood. Houses are known by the names of their previous owners; we have lived in the “old Neveau house” for 45 years. I suspect that it will always be called that despite the Killian sign having been firmly erected in the front yard for decades. We are free to paint our houses any color we want. We can plant whatever we want — wherever we want — or can grow a garden if we are so inclined. I can have a yellow door — or a blue one — if I choose and can select whatever exterior lighting I prefer. Property lines may blur a bit requiring neighborly discussions when it comes to deck additions or retaining wall rebuilds. Compromises are made. We help each other out because that is what neighbors do. Our memories keep the neighborhood alive in our hearts as we remember all of the children who once played in the backyards with our own kids, climbed the trees, rode big wheels into the streets, and played kick-the-can until the summer sun sank into the western sky.

Individuality is important, and it should be welcomed and celebrated. Not only does it encourage the expression of our own creativity, it requires us to allow our neighbors to do the same. In so doing, we share who we are and we learn to accept who our neighbor is. There is tremendous honesty in individuality, and courage in its expression; in fact, individuality breeds these character traits. Fred Rogers of the famed “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” had a couple of things to say about individuality: “We all have different gifts, so we all have different ways of saying to the world who we are” and “The greatest gift you ever give is your honest self.”

We all learn about ourselves by being allowed to exercise our creativity. And we all learn about others by allowing them to exercise theirs. We all benefit from the flexibility that allows us to escape from a pigeon hole existence. Vive le’difference!



Freeman Nursing and Rehabilitation Community



Group activities are ongoing, and doors are unlocked for visits. They welcome anyone who would like to entertain residents.

Sunday: Church on TV, 10 a.m.; crossword, 1 p.m.; color a picture, 2 p.m.; T “NCIS” on ION-TV, 6 p.m.

Monday: Rosary in the dining room, 10 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; reminisce, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Movers and shakers group, 10 a.m.; card games, 10:30 a.m.; music and milk shakes, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Exercise, 10 a.m.; devotions, 10:15 a.m.; game choice, 10:30 a.m.; arts and crafts, 2 p.m.

Thursday: Movers and shakers group, 10 a.m.; card games, 10:30 a.m.

Friday: Movers and shakers group, 10 a.m.; card games, 10:30 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Saturday: No information available.

Iron County Medical Care Facility

Crystal Falls


Sunday: Room visits, 9 a.m.; Pictionary, 10 a.m.; chair exercise, 11 a.m.; afternoon matinee with popcorn 1:30 p.m.

Monday: Cooking, 9 to 10:30 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; DT luncheon, noon; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; sunshine club, 2:30 p.m.; trivia teasers, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Just friends/book club, 10 a.m.; mystery ride, 1 p.m.; wildlife film, 1:30 p.m.; faces and places, 2 p.m.; western movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Coffee social, 10 a.m.; volleyball, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; current events, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 1 p.m.; travel film, 1:30 p.m.; happy hour, 2 p.m.

Friday: Crafts, 9 to 10:30 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; throwaway bingo, 2 p.m.; comedy movie, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Room to room bingo/high rollers, 10 a.m.; geri-gym, 11 a.m.; room visits, 12:30 p.m.; social hour, 2 p.m.; musical movie, 6p.m.

Optalis Healthcare (formerly ManorCare/ProMedica)



The center is open for visitation. There is no longer a need to call in advance of your visit.

No information available.

Maryhill Manor Nursing Home

Niagara, Wis.


Visitation is allowed as long as all infection control guidelines are followed, including wearing a mask, washing hands and social distancing. Daily scheduled activities continue to be for residents only.

Sunday: Rosary/communion, 9 a.m.; Scattegories, 10 a.m.; rummage bingo, 2 p.m.

Monday: Rosary/communion, 9 a.m.; tic-tac trivia, 10 a.m.; “Price Is Right,” 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Rosary/communion, 9 a.m.; prayer service, 9:30 a.m.; Protestant service, 10 a.m.; Yahtzee, 10 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Rosary/communion, 9 a.m.; Easter pottery class, 9:30 a.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.; evening prayer, 5 p.m.

Thursday: Rosary/communion, 9 a.m.; Uno, 10 a.m.; joker-eno, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.

Friday: Rummy, 10 a.m.; happy hour with Jim D., 2 p.m.

Saturday: Spelling Bee, 10 a.m.; movie and popcorn, 2 p.m.

Florence Health Services

Florence, Wis.


Visitation is allowed seven days a week in designated areas only. Each visit is limited to 30 minutes and must be scheduled in advance. All visitors will be subject to health screening before entering the facility. There are no group activities at this time.

Victorian Pines

Iron Mountain


Sunday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 1:30 p.m.

Monday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; bingo, 1:30 p.m.; refreshments, 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; tenant meeting, 1:30 p.m.; refreshments, 2:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Juice time, 10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; bingo, 1:30 p.m.; refreshments, 2:30 p.m.

Thursday: Juice time,10 a.m.; exercise, 11 a.m.; Lutheran Bible study,1 p.m.; “Wheel of Fortune,” 2 p.m.

Friday: Juice time, 10; exercise, 11 a.m.; bingo, 1:30 p.m.; refreshments, 2:30 p.m.

Saturday: Juice time, 10 a.m.

Pinecrest Medical

Care Facility



Sunday: Karaoke, 10:30 a.m.; Phase 10, 2 p.m.

Monday: “The Price is Right,” 10:30 a.m.; movie, 2 p.m.; social circle, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Casino outing, 10 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; social circle, 3:30 p.m.; Uno, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Social circle, 10:30 a.m.; karaoke, 2 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Coffee social, 10:30 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; trivia, 6 p.m.

Friday: Catholic Mass, 10:30 a.m.; happy hour, 2 p.m.; social circle, 3:30 p.m.; crossword puzzles, 6 p.m.

Saturday: No information.


Alpha-Mastodon Center


The center, at 415 Main St., is open four days a week — serving soup and sandwich meal from noon to 1 p.m. Thursdays; fish fries from 4 to 7 p.m. Fridays; pizzas from 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday and dinner from 2 to 3 p.m. Sundays.

Amasa Center


This center remains open. Their new cook prepares meals on site.

Tuesday: Vegetable beef soup, loaded tater tots and coleslaw.

Wednesday: Chicken Alfredo, green beans and salad.

Thursday: Fish sandwich, macaroni and cheese and fruit.

Breen Center



Open for dine-in eating Monday through Thursday — serving at noon. Friday and night meals are on hold indefinitely. Carryout meals are available. Soup and salad bar are also available. Menu for the week —

Monday: Chili and grilled cheese sandwich.

Tuesday: Roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy and chef choice vegetables.

Wednesday: Ribs, browned potatoes and corn.

Thursday: Ham steak, cheesy potatoes and mixed vegetables.

Note: All meals served with a choice of skim milk or juice and fruit.

Crystal Falls Center

Head Cook: Sterling Peryam

Assistant Cook: Bitsy Peryam


The center is now open on Mondays and is serving meals for dine-in or takeout — call the center by 1 p.m. to make reservations or to place an order. All food is purchased from local vendors. All dinners include warm vegetables, salad bar, soup, homemade desserts, coffee, tea or milk. Salad bar begins at 4:30 p.m. and dinner is served at 5 p.m. Pickup for takeout meals is 4 p.m. — call ahead and leave a message with phone number. A volunteer will deliver meals to homebound citizens only.

No information available for the on-site meals.

Home Delivered Meal Menu –

Monday: Soft shell tacos, refried beans and Mexican rice.

Tuesday: Boiled dinner, beets and dinner roll.

Wednesday: Parmesan fish, mashed potatoes and broccoli.

Thursday: Pizza, garlic bread, mixed vegetables and treat.

Dickinson-Iron Community Services Agency


Iron Mountain

906-774-2256 ext. 230 or 235

This is a Meals on Wheels program only. Home-delivered meals only — call to make arrangements. Menu for the week —

Monday: Soft shell tacos, refried beans, and Mexican rice.

Tuesday: Boiled dinner, beets and dinner roll.

Wednesday: Parmesan fish, mashed potatoes and broccoli.

Thursday: Pizza, garlic bread, mixed vegetables and treat.

Friday: Barbecue pork sandwich, tater tots and carrot salad.

Note: All meals include a choice of skim milk, juice, or no beverage

For more information, call Christine McMahon at 906-774-2256

Crystal Lake Center

Iron Mountain


Schedule for the week:

Monday: Spinning Spools quilting, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Les Artistes’ art club, noon to 4 p.m.; woodcarvers, starting at 9 a.m.

Tuesday: Cards — Pinochle and cribbage, noon to 4 p.m.

Wednesday: Bingo, 1 to 3 p.m., cards cost 25 cents with 10 games played; Happy Quilters, 1 to 3 p.m.

Thursday: No activities at this time.

Friday: Cards — Smear, noon to 4 p.m.

Felch Center


Open for dine-in eating — call for serving times. Carryout meals also available. Menu for the week —

Monday: Spanish rice, Mexicorn and garlic bread.

Tuesday: Beef stroganoff, noodles and winter blend vegetables.

Wednesday: Chili, grilled cheese sandwich and chips.

Note: All meals served with skim milk or juice.

Home delivered meals:

Monday: Soft shell tacos, refried beans and Mexican rice

Tuesday: Boiled dinner, beets and dinner roll.

Wednesday: Parmesan fish, mashed potatoes and broccoli.

Aging and Disability Resource Center


Florence County, Wis.


Director: Tiffany White

Menu for the week —

Monday: Cranberry chicken, baked potato, green beans, tomato salad and fruit.

Tuesday: Pizza casserole, spinach salad, biscuits and fruit.

Wednesday: Country style ribs, boiled potatoes, three bean salad and applesauce.

Thursday: Soft shell tacos with lettuce, tomato and salsa, refried beans, coleslaw and fruit.

Friday: Cheese ravioli, dark green salad, garlic bread, carrots and fruit.

Note: All meals served with whole grain bread, butter and milk.

Fence Center/Town Hall


RSVP for meal at 855-528-2372

Same as ADRC menu, served at noon on Wednesday only.

Florence Community Center/Town Hall

RSVP for meal at 715-528-4261

Same as ADRC menu. Open Monday through Thursday serving at 11:30 a.m.

RSVP for meals at 715-674-2320

Same as ADRC menu, served at noon on second Thursday only.

Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora

RSVP for meals at 715-589-4491

Same as ADRC menu. Open, served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Hermansville Center

Coordinator: Barb Peters


Center is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Meals are served through the Menominee-Delta-Schoolcraft Community Action Agency in Escanaba. Meals-On-Wheels program is available for those who are homebound.

Monday: Salsa chicken, fiesta potatoes, baby carrots and fresh apple.

Tuesday: Bourbon steak, coconut rice, California blend vegetables, garden salad, ambrosia.

Wednesday: Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes with gravy, Monte Carlo vegetables and peach quick cake.

Thursday: Cream of potato soup, ham and Swiss sandwich, pea and cheese salad and fruit cup.

Friday: Tuna noodle casserole, Cook’s choice vegetables and fruit cocktail.

Iron River Center


Now open for dine-in eating — serving at 11 a.m. — salad bar available. No night meals. Carryout meals also available. Menu for the week —

Monday: Chicken breast sandwich, tater tots and wax beans.

Tuesday: Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, gravy and mixed vegetables.

Wednesday: Chili, corn bread and applesauce.

Thursday: Chef salad, boiled egg and cottage cheese.

Niagara Senior Center/Café


The center is open, and dinner is served at noon on Monday through Thursday. Reservations are required one day in advance. Suggested donation is $5 for those older than 60 and $7 for 60 and younger. Bingo played on most Wednesdays. Transportation is available.

Monday: Beef stew with biscuit, and warm cinnamon applesauce.

Tuesday: Chop suey, rice, chow mein noodles and dump cake.

Wednesday: Pork roast, mashed potatoes with gravy, mixed vegetables and spice cake.

Thursday: Chicken breast, wild rice, vegetable and fruited Jell-O.

Join us for Bingo on Wednesday this week.

Norway Center

Director: Joyce Olesky

Head Cook:  Brian Gutkowski. 


Open for dine-in eating served restaurant style beginning at 11:15 a.m. Salad bar available from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Takeout meals will remain available for pick-up from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Let staff know if planning to dine in or pick up. Menu for the week —

Monday: Roast beef over bread, mashed potatoes and gravy and vegetables.

Tuesday: Lasagna, breadstick and vegetables.

Wednesday: Liver or burger with onions, mashed potatoes with gravy and vegetables.

Thursday: Sweet and sour chicken with rice and stir fry vegetables.

All meals include milk, juice, fruit, bread and dessert.

Center activity schedule:

Mondays and Thursdays — Exercise at 10 a.m. and card bingo after the meal.

Monday through Thursday — Card game 101 from noon to 3 p.m. Call Joe at 906-563-5587 for information.

Tuesdays — Quilting and sewing.

Wednesdays — Ceramics and crocheting.

Last Monday of each month — Book club at 9 a.m.

Second Thursday of each month — Birthdays and bingo.

Sagola Center


Now open for dine-in eating — call for serving times. Carryout meals also available.

Menu for the week —

Tuesday: Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes and corn.

Wednesday: Pulled pork sandwich, boiled potatoes and carrots.

Thursday: Chicken Alfredo, buttered noodles and broccoli.

All meals served with an option of milk, juice or no beverage.

Home delivered meals:

Monday: Teriyaki chicken, rice and Oriental blend vegetables.

Tuesday: Italian sausage soup, dinner roll and yogurt cup.

Wednesday: Honey and brown sugar fish, sweet potato fries and green beans.


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