The Little County That Can & Does: World, National, & State Firsts

Originally published August 28, 2013.

Revised and republished October 11, 2017 after a web host transfer.

Portage County, Wisconsin (population a little more than 70,000) is The Little County That Can & Does because it is lucky and smart. Portage County is lucky because it grew up with everything it needed to create success. Many Portage County residents are smart because they use their luck to create a variety of successes. Today, Portage County is a hotbed of spectacular success. The book From Pyramids to Circles: Shaping Groups to Succeed will include chapters about both Portage County and Wood County in Wisconsin.

Wood County was not as lucky as its neighbor Portage County because it did not grow up with everything it needed to create spectacular success. However, the residents of South Wood County are learning to shape their county to create the kinds of success that can lead to spectacular success.

From Pyramids To Circles is currently in revision. Blog posts about Portage County and Wood County will be listed in the book as further reading.

Because Portage County residents are both lucky and smart, the county is also a hotbed of world firsts, national firsts, state firsts, and models of effectiveness.

When appropriate, firsts appear in more than one category.

The wide range of firsts indicates what is possible when the situational factors necessary for spectacular success are present in one place.

Contact paula at speakingfromtriumph dot com with additions and corrections. Both are welcome.

Embarrassing Firsts

As of November 2017, I added an embarrassing Portage County state first. No one is perfect. Embarrassing Portage County firsts are at the bottom of this post.

Portage County, Wisconsin Volunteers

The spectacular successes are possible because of the people who volunteer to make events successful. I am now interviewing Portage County volunteers, asking these five questions.

1. Have you always lived in Portage County? If yes, skip to #4.

2. How long have you lived in Portage County?

3. How is Portage County different from the other places you’ve lived?

4. What do you enjoy about living in Portage County?

5. How does your volunteer work benefit your life in Portage County?

If you are a Portage County, Wisconsin volunteer and would like to participate in the research for my book, please send your answers to the email address above.

Thank you.
Paula Kramer

World

Educational First

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
1991

Educational First

Aber Suzuki Center & American Suzuki Institute
Originally known only as American Suzuki Institute, the Aber Suzuki Center is the first Suzuki Institute in the world outside of Japan.
1971

Business Firsts

Women In Trucking Association
The Women In Trucking Association is the first association for women truckers in the world. Men can be members as well. The Women In Trucking Association has members in North America, Australia, and Europe.
2007

The Women In Trucking Association initiated an event for Girl Scouts to earn a Transportation Patch. Working with the Greater Chicago/Northern Indiana regional office, the Women In Trucking Association developed the curriculum and patch. The event has been repeated in the United States and Canada (Girl Guides in Canada).
2014

My Record Now
(usa.myrecordnow.com)
Online directory that creates positive identities for ex-offenders and other people with mugshots to offset the character assassination of mugshots.  Also provides four closed group Facebook pages for mutual emotional and financial support.
2017

Largest

Trivia Contest
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point radio station, WWSP 90fm
1969

Renewable Energy Fair
Midwest Renewable Energy Association
1990

Student Operated Paper Machine
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Paper Science and Engineering

National

Educational Firsts

Cottage at Stevens Point Normal School
For students to learn how to run a household
1915

Conservation Education Major
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
1946

Bachelor of Music Degree
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
1959

Student/Faculty Television
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
1968

Communication Program
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
1969

Student Chapter of the American Water Resources Association
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
1975

Wellness Program in University Life
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
1975

Computer Information System Major
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
early 1980s

Paper Machine Designed for Teaching
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
1995

Suzuki Voice Training
2006

First American to Fulfill Voice Requirements of the European Suzuki Association
Suzuki Singing Books 1 through 4
Mary Hofer
2008

Undergraduate Health Promotion and Wellness Programs
National Wellness Institute
2008

Wellness Academic Accreditation Program Institute
National Wellness Institute

Student Government Association’s Environmental and Sustainability Issues
Director and Committee
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Business First

Restaurant Salad Bar
Sky Club
1950

Media Firsts

Radio Broadcasting Station at a Teachers College
1937

Student/Faculty Television
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
1968

Health Firsts

Wellness Symposiums, Now National Wellness Conference
1975

Six Dimensions of Wellness Model
Dr. Bill Hettler
(National wellness founder along with Dennis Elsenrath and Fred Leafgren)
Intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, occupational, and physical wellness
1976

First Institute with Wellness as its Mission
National Wellness Institute
(Originally launched as Institute for Lifestyle Improvement by the
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Foundation)
1977

Environmental Firsts

Conservation Education Major
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
1946

Student Chapter of the American Water Resources Association
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
1975

Green Circle That Forms a Physical Circle Around a Community
1989

Artistic Firsts

Bachelor of Music Degree
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
1959

Suzuki Voice Training
2006

First American to Fulfill Voice Requirements of the European Suzuki Association
Suzuki Singing Books 1 through 4
Mary Hofer
2008

Award Firsts

First Recipient of Friends of Lulu’s “Women of Distinction” Award
Maggie Thompson
2004
(Friends of Lulu existed from 1994 to 2011)
National organization promoting women as readers and participants in the comic book industry

First Recipient of the Transportation Innovators Champion of Change Award
Ellen Voie, President & CEO
Women In Trucking Association
Presented by the Barack Obama White House
2012

Models Of Effectiveness

CAP Services
Community action against poverty
(Asked where Portage County gets its volunteers, the late CAP President
Karl Pnazek replied, “I pick them off the sidewalk. They just grow here.”)

Central Rivers Farmshed
Events, programs, workshops, and resources that support a local food economy

Community Care of Portage County
Long term care for the elderly and disabled
(Until the state of Wisconsin changed home healthcare in Wisconsin)

Teaching Partners
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
College of Professional Studies
Pairing faculty and teaching academic staff for discussions about teaching and learning

Wisconsin Lake Leaders Institute
Management of lakes and working with state and local governments

Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners of the Americas
Peer to peer partnership

Writing Lab (now Tutoring-Learning Center)
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Horticultural Only

“Hans Aanrud” Triumph Tulips
Named for Hans Aanrud, Norwegian writer, drama critic.
Great uncle of Portage County resident Ruth Aanrud.
Ruth has kept the tulips growing in her garden since the 2010s.

State

Educational First

Student Organization to Work with North Central Conservancy Trust
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Land Conservation Society
2014

Environmental Firsts

Renewable Energy Fair
Midwest Renewable Energy Association
1990

First Publicly Owned Project to Earn LEED Platinum
George W. Mead Wildlife Area Education & Visitor Center
Architect Thomas Brown, Stevens Point
Mead Wildlife Area encompasses land in Marathon, Portage, and Wood Counties.
2005

First Solar Transpired Wall
Stevens Point Airport
2009

Green Tier Status
Central Waters Brewing Company
2010

Student Organization to Work with North Central Conservancy Trust
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Land Conservation Society
2014

UW Campus with 100% Electricity from Renewable Sources
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
2016

We Are Still In Declaration
The “We Are Still In” declaration was released June 5, 2017. Leaders across the United States are signing the declaration, committing their organizations to the Paris Agreement on combating climate change. University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Chancellor Bernie Patterson was the first chancellor in the University of Wisconsin system to sign the declaration.
2017

First University Of Wisconsin School Named To The Princeton Review Green College Honor Roll
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

First University Of Wisconsin School To Achieve 100 Percent Renewable Electricity
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
2017

Agricultural First

Anaerobic Digester
Gordondale Farms
Nelsonville
2002

Artistic First

First Sculpture Park Owned by a Municipality
Stevens Point Sculpture Park

Investment First

Investment in Healthy Food Enterprises
Incredible Edibles Investment Club, LLC
One member lives in Wood County
2013

Religion First

Call to Common Mission
In 2000, the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America came to an agreement known as The Call to Common Mission. The agreement allows the two denominations to share worship, clergy, evangelism, and outreach. The Stevens Point congregations of the Intercession Episcopal Church and the Redeemer Lutheran Church are the first in Wisconsin to partner by sharing not only a building, but also a clergy person for the two churches. Together they are the Beloved Community of the Episcopal Church of the Intercession and Redeemer Lutheran Churches.
2017

Largest

Free Cultural Festival
Portage County Cultural Fest

Walk Wisconsin
Noncompetitive yearly event for people of all ages and abilities
Routes include all or parts of Portage County’s Green Circle

State Embarrassments

Criminal First

Double Lynching
In October 1875, brothers Isiah and Amos Courtwright shot and killed Sheriff Joseph Baker. Stevens Point residents removed the the Courwrights from the jail and lynched them from a large jack pine tree. This was the first and only double lynching in Wisconsin.

~~~~~

Paula M. Kramer
Resource Rock Star (See websites below.)

Copyright 2015
All rights reserved.

Posts on this blog alternate with posts at the link below. Posts for both blogs are published on Wednesdays as they are ready to be published. Time between posts could be weeks.

blog.smilessparksuccess.com.

Standards For Success Posters

Working With Others & Satisfying Others

Resource Rock Star Details

speakingfromtriumph.com

smilessparksuccess.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *