News & Media

Incourage eNews: October 2015

Thu. Oct 22, 2015

Incourage eNews is a monthly email providing readers an update on a variety of Incourage related news, current work and impact in our community. Please share and invite your friends to contact us ([email protected] or 715.423.3863) to be added to the distribution.

Relationships help make Rapids home for Tonns

People and relationships have always been important to Ethan and Val Tonn.

They moved to Wisconsin Rapids in 2011 because of the connection they felt with people in the community. While neither Tonn is a south Wood County native, Val began teaching at Lincoln High School in the fall of 2008. When the couple married, they moved to Sun Prairie, only to return to Wisconsin Rapids one year later.

Photo contributed by Ethan & Val Tonn

“The choice of coming back to Wisconsin Rapids had a lot to do with the people,” the couple said. “The relationships we had made and the lifestyle we wanted to live really made Rapids a place we thought we could be happy calling home.”

Much like their decision to live in Wisconsin Rapids, both Ethan and Val attribute their participation in the Tribune Building Project to people. They found the idea that residents would be involved in the decisions unique, and they feel a great sense of optimism and rebirth in the community as a result.

“It takes a group of people who truly have a solid vision of inclusivity to hold a resident-led decision-making process. This is not a norm in any business or organization, and the focus of educating while being productive took the facilitation of a group of people willing to risk what was – or had always been – to create what could be,” they shared. “Not being from the area, it is tough to really feel a part of a community, yet through these meetings, interacting with other residents, and networking with great people, we have found a much more well-rounded feeling of ‘home’.”

The connections Ethan and Val made throughout the Tribune process inspired their involvement in other community activities, events, and organizations as well. Val worked with Incourage on the Creative Placemaking grant that Incourage received for the Tribune from ArtPlace America, and Ethan is part of the Incourage Resident Review Committee, reviewing “What If” grant applications and more.

4 Reasons to be excited about the Tribune

1. Construction has begun
On October 9, our partners at J.H. Findorff & Son, Inc. began preparation for construction on the Tribune. A construction trailer and fencing are now on site. Asbestos abatement and construction on the building’s interior will begin during the week of November 2.

2. Interest groups are engaged
Did you know that there are interest groups for the Tribune’s different areas, including the Culinary Kitchen, MakerSpace, Recreational Rental and Microbrewery? Recently members of two of those groups – the MakerSpace and microbrewery – showcased their work and progress. Watch these videos to learn more:

3. Opportunities to get involved & learn more 
As excitement for the Tribune grows, so has curiosity from individuals who’ve not yet engaged in the Tribune Building Project. Whether you want to learn more or jump in and get involved, we’ve got an opportunity for you!

  • Community Learning Opportunity: Environmental Sustainability
    Tuesday, November 3 | 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. | Renaissance Learning
    What is environmental sustainability? Why is it important? Why should we invest in it? Learn these answers and more at this interactive event, featuring partner and national speaker Steven Bingler, founder and principal of Concordia. He’ll share information about the Tribune Building’s sustainable design and functionality. He will also discuss why environmental sustainability is important to each of us, our community and our shared future. RSVP here or call 715-423-3863.
  • Tribune 101 Opportunity
    Wednesday, November 11 | 5:30 p.m. | McMillan Library All Purpose Room
    If you live in this community or have spent any time talking with friends and family who do, chances are you’ve heard about the Tribune Building Project. But do you know how the Tribune began, why residents are excited for its future, or the many ways that you can still get involved? You’ll learn that and what this “community accelerator” means for our shared future. RSVP here.

4. You can be part of Tribune art  
The arts play a central role in the Tribune’s planning and development strategies. Through an ArtPlace America grant, Kindergarten-12 grade art educators and students from the Wisconsin Rapids Public Schools, Port Edwards School District and Assumption High School will create a handmade paper mural to be displayed in the renovated Tribune Building. This project will be completed under the guidance of Artist Thomas Grade from Menasha, Wisconsin.

Students will study various aspects of the south Wood County area such as its local industries, history, ethnic cultures and natural resources. Then, they’ll design various symbols to be incorporated into a river scene made of stamped paper pulp and luan lumber. Parents and community members are welcome to take part in the project through open lab workshops on any of the following dates:

  • October 27
  • October 29
  • November 3
  • November 5
  • November 10
  • November 12

All workshops will be held in the Lincoln High School Art department, Room 133, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Come celebrate and create community art!

Environmental Sustainability = Growing Economy

What is environmental sustainability? Is it about recycling? Saving natural resources, like water and trees? Eating organic food? Or is it something larger that can change the economy and our quality of life?

Environmental sustainability is about all of these things and more. At its core, environmental sustainability is about making decisions and taking actions that protect our natural world and preserve the ability of the planet to provide the food, water and energy we need to prosper in the future.

Incourage’s most recent educational paper, Growing the Economy in Central Wisconsin Through Environmental Sustainability, outlines the value of a triple-bottom line approach to sustainability, which emphasizes that our business, policy and planning decisions need to give the same consideration to the impacts on the environment and people as they typically give only to financial return. You’ll also learn about sustainable practices being incorporated in the redevelopment of the Tribune building, based on the input of over 1,200 residents.

Incourage is fully committed to Tribune’s environmental sustainability and is pursuing LEED Gold certification. The Tribune will serve as a “community accelerator” – accelerating economic growth and opportunity, environmental sustainability, learning, creativity, and connections for community benefit.
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© October 22, 2015
Established in rural Wisconsin in 1994 to serve the changing needs of the south Wood County area, Incourage has become a nationally-recognized leader in place-based philanthropy and community development. Guided by values of equity, inclusion and opportunity, Incourage envisions a community that works well for all people. One physical manifestation of this vision is the Tribune, which demonstrates Incourage’s resident-centered approach to growing a strong and inclusive local economy. To learn more, visit incouragecf.org.

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    [email protected] | 715.423.3863
  • About Incourage

    Established in rural Wisconsin in 1994 to serve the changing needs of the south Wood County area, Incourage has become a nationally-recognized leader in place-based philanthropy and community development. Guided by values of equity, opportunity, and shared stewardship, Incourage envisions a community that works well for all people. One physical manifestation of this vision is the redevelopment of the Tribune building, which demonstrates Incourage’s user-centered approach to growing a strong and inclusive local economy.