Winter Storm Warning for Northeast Wisconsin

It looks like our worst “spring time” fears have been confirmed here in the Northeast Wisconsin Region. A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for the entire southern 2/3 of the Region with 6-8 inches of snow expected in and just to the north of theFoxValleyand intoDoorCounty. Lesser amounts are expected to the South in Southern Fond du Lac, Southern Manitowoc, andSheboyganCounties, where a mix of snow, rain, and sleet is expected. Lesser amounts of around 6 inches are also forecast north of Highway 29.

Below is a map from the National Weather Service.

Don’t be caught off guard by winter weather travel disruptions and power outages as this is expected to be extremely wet, heavy snow – Get Prepared!

Red Cross Responds After Tornadoes, Wildfires Leave Devastation Across The South

Editorial note: Call (202) 303-5551 to speak with an American Red Cross spokesperson on the groundVisit the Red Cross Disaster Online Newsroom for response information, including photos, audio, and press releases.

Residents wait to receive meals from an Emergency Response Vehicle in Raleigh, NC.

 WASHINGTON, April 18, 2011 – The American Red Cross is working around the clock to provide relief to people affected by the deadly tornadoes and scorching wildfires that left a path of destruction in six states across the south over the weekend.

Strong tornadoes ripped homes off their foundations, destroyed businesses and schools, overturned cars and buses, uprooted trees and downed power lines in Oklahoma, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi. In North Carolina alone, preliminary disaster assessments show almost 500 homes destroyed and more than 1,000 damaged. Some of the hardest hit areas are still inaccessible, and officials say that many more than 1,000 families will be homeless in the state.

Red Cross workers sheltered more than 500 people over the weekend, served meals throughout the affected neighborhoods, and provided personal hygiene items and supplies to help as the clean-up begins. With government officials reporting more than 40 deaths from the tornadoes, Red Cross disaster mental health workers are available to help people cope with the aftermath. Red Cross chapters throughout the south are deploying trained disaster teams into the area and more than 25 Red Cross emergency response vehicles are in hard-hitNorth Carolina, or on their way to the state.

Red Cross workers make their way through devastated neighborhoods throughout West Texas. Photo Credit: Phil Beckman/American Red Cross

In Texas, wildfires have spread across more than 700,000 acres, destroying homes and forcing people to leave their neighborhoods. Red Cross disaster workers have opened shelters and are feeding those displaced by the fires. As families return to their neighborhoods, Red Cross teams are providing them with food and water. The Red Cross is also assisting those who have lost their homes to the fires, providing them with food, clothing and other necessities.

“Families have lost everything, and we are doing what we can to help them as they figure out what’s next,” said Charley Shimanski, senior vice president, Red Cross Disaster Services. “We’ll continue to help them in the weeks ahead as they try to get back on their feet.”

Since the end of March, the Red Cross has offered relief to people affected by 35 disasters in 20 states. The Red Cross is able to respond quickly with the help of corporations who are members of the organization’s Annual Disaster Giving Program (ADGP). ADGP members pledge donations on an ongoing basis to allow the Red Cross to pre-position supplies and be ready to take immediate action when disasters occur.

ADGP members include 3M, Altria, Aon, Cisco Foundation, ConAgra Foods, Darden Restaurants, Inc., Dr Pepper Snapple Group, FedEx Corporation, GE Foundation, The Home Depot Foundation, John Deere Foundation, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Kraft Foods, Lowe’s Companies, Inc., Merck, Morgan Stanley, Nationwide Insurance Foundation,  Northrop Grumman, Ryder Charitable Foundation, Southwest Airlines, State Farm, State Street Foundation, Target,  The TJX Companies, Inc., UnitedHealthcare, UPS and Walmart.

 The Red Cross depends on financial donations to help people affected by disasters like these tornadoes and wildfires. You can help by making a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. Visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross,P.O. Box 37243,Washington,DC20013.

 About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at

In the Wake of Tragedy, One Woman Gives Back

April 18: Posted on

Billi Jo Baneck describes the Red Cross response after a fire burned her parents’ home in Wautoma, Wis.

Losing your home and possessions can be a devastating blow. But when you lose a family member, possessions don’t seem to matter much.

“Everybody remembers where they were on 9/11, everybody remembers where they were when a president dies or when something really tragic happened…I remember exactly where I was when I got a phone call on December 5, 2008,” said Billi Jo Baneck, of Plainfield, Wis.

Baneck had been training to become a 9-1-1 dispatcher—learning each day how to help people through their emergencies. However, when the roles were reversed, it was a very different situation. There is no training that can prepare you for the loss of family.

Baneck lost three family members when her parent’s home burned down in a house fire, and two of her siblings were sent to the hospital with burn injuries. Right after Baneck returned from the hospital that night, American Red Cross volunteers knocked on her door.

Baneck asked, “What can I do for you?” to which the Red Cross volunteer replied, “No, I’m here for you.” They were prepared to help with things that Baneck hadn’t even had the luxury or time to consider yet.

A fire destroyed the Baneck home in December 2008. Red Cross volunteers immediately contacted Billi Jo to offer her family assistance

“The things you don’t think of, the things that are least important on your mind at that moment, but are going to be very important down the road, that’s what the Red Cross was on top of. They showed up so fast and I didn’t even have time to get home and just stop for a second,” said Baneck.

The Red Cross gave Baneck money for groceries, clothing and gas, since one of her siblings was taken to a hospital hours away. Luckily, since Baneck was living on her own, she had a place where her brother and sister could stay after they recovered. Her family had lost everything, but the Red Cross provided the necessary supplies to help them through the disaster.

The connection with the Red Cross didn’t stop there. Since that experience, Baneck has been giving back to the Red Cross and her community. She spearheaded the “Wautoma’s Got Talent” contest, which benefits local disaster relief, and is now training to become a Red Cross disaster services volunteer—ready to help others who are facing tragedy.

In a speech at the Red Cross in Oshkosh, Baneck told the crowd, “I got through this with the help of everybody in my community—with friends, family and the American Red Cross.”

Thank you Time Warner Cable for Your Support of the WI Tornadoes

(l-r) Robin Long, Deanna Hau, Steve Hansen, Sue Miller and Shannon Johnson

Time Warner Cable team members rallied support for the American Red Cross immediately after the Sunday, April10th tornadoes and severe storms. Not only were their customers affected, many of their team members were as well.

During the check presentation, Robin Long, Deanna Hau, Sue Miller and Shannon Johnson shared their storm stories with Steve Hansen, Regional Chapter Executive. For some, part of the homes were damaged, a few building destroyed and many trees were toppled. They all breathed a collective sigh of relief when their neighboring TannerSchool was not damaged.

The Red Cross would like to thank Time Warner for being part of the early warnings, which recommended people take cover. The best news of all is that no one was seriously injured during the storms! Time Warner has also produced an American Red Cross public service announcement encouraging local support for their disaster relief efforts. Stay tuned!

American Red Cross Announces Spring Nurse Assistant Training Schedule

Addition of Evening Class Starting April 25


The purpose of the American Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training course is to provide the information and skills that will enable nurse assistants to provide quality care for residents in nursing homes, as well as supplemental information and skills that will enable them to provide quality health care for clients at home and patients in hospitals. The program is designed with input from educators, caregivers, and long-term industry representatives from across the United States.  The American Red Cross Nurse Assistant Training course is approved by the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services and provides students with job skills needed to become a qualified CNA.

The American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter is accepting applications for upcoming nurse assistant training classes.


*Clsrm: 8:00am-2:00pm, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Apr 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, May 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, (make up day- Fri, May 13)

1st Group Clinical: 7:00am-2:00pm, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, May 16, 17, 18, 19; 7:00am-1:30pm, Fri, May 20

2nd Group Clinical: 7:00am-2:00pm, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, May 23, 24, 25, 26; 7:00am-1:30pm, Fri, May 27

*Clsrm: 5:00pm-9:30pm, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Apr 25, 26, 27, 28, May 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17; 5:00pm-10:00pm, May 18, 19, 23, 24, 25, (make up day-Fri, May 26

1st Group Clinical:  5:00pm-10:00pm, Tue-5/31, Wed-6/1, Thu-6/2; 7:00am-3:30pm, Sat-6/4; 5:00pm-10:00pm, Mon-6/6; 5:00pm-9:00pm, Tue-6/7

2nd Group Clinical: 5:00pm-10:00pm, Wed-6/8, Thu-6/9; 7:00am-3:30pm, Sat-6/11; 5:00pm-10:00pm, Mon-6/13, Tue- 6/14; 5:00pm-9:00 pm, Wed-6/15.

*Clsrm: 8:00am-2:00pm, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, May 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 31, Jun 1, 2, 6, 7, 8 (make up day-Thu, Jun 9)

1st Group Clinical: 7:00am-3:30pm, Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri, Jun 13, 14, 16, 17

2nd Group Clinical: 7:00am-3:30pm, Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri, Jun 20, 21, 23, 24

*Clsrm: 8:00am-3:00pm, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Jun 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29; 8-11:30am, 30 (make up-Fri, Jul 1)

1st Group Clinical: 7:00am-3:30pm, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Jul 11, 12, 13, 14

2nd Group Clinical: 7:00am-3:30pm, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Jul 18, 19, 20, 21

The Nurse Assistant Training course is scheduled for a total of 120 hours which includes 88 hours of classroom and 32 hours of clinical. Students are required to attend the minimum 120 hours as required by the state.  The course fee is $750 which includes the books.  Minimum class size is 5 students.  Enrollment is limited to 16 students per class.  Early registration is encouraged. 

Classroom work is completed at the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter Service Delivery Facility at 121 Bader St., Green Bay. Clinicals are completed at Parkview Manor Health & Rehab, 2961 St. Anthony Dr., Green Bay. For copies of the training program registration packet, please call the Health and Safety Services Department at 920-227-4290 or 1-800-733-9909 or pick up a registration packet from the department at 2131 Deckner Ave  (lower level) Monday-Friday, 8am-4:30pm.



Oconto County house damaged in fire

WLUK FOX 11:Published : Thursday, 14 Apr 2011, 2:13 AM CDT  Click HERE for video of Story

It took Oconto firefighters 35 minutes to battle an overnight house fire.

Officials say the fire broke out around 12:30 a.m. Thursday on the 300 block of Oconto at a multi-family home.

Officials say the fire started upstairs and that there’s extensive damage to that unit, while the lower unit had minor smoke and water damage.

Everyone inside the house was able to get out safely.

The Red Cross is helping those affected by the fire.

Volunteer Spotlight: Brother & Sister Disaster Duo: Joe Gerrits & Mary Roellchen

(l-r) Disaster Team Members participating in 9/11fundraiser: Jan Traversa, Barb Flanigan, Carrie Carlson, and Mary Roellchen

National Volunteer Week, April 10-16, is a time to celebrate volunteers. This year’s theme, Celebrating People in Action, aptly describes volunteers from Northeast Wisconsin. Red Cross volunteers are doers. Red Cross volunteers are people in action. Learn more about some of the amazing people who give of their time, talent, money and blood to support the organization.

Mary Roellchen joined the American Red Cross after the tragedies of September 11, 2001. She was watching the news and wanted to do something more than simply make a monetary donation.  She attended an informational meeting that the Red Cross was having, signed up, went through disaster response training, and has been a volunteer ever since. 

Within her first year at the Red Cross, Mary became a team lead. As a disaster team lead, Mary is on call about every 6-7 weeks and during that time, if her pager goes off, she puts her personal life on hold, and answers the call to help.

As part of the disaster team Mary has responded to many national assignments including the tragedies of September 11, Hurricane Katrina, and the 2008 WI flooding.  Locally, Mary has been on site for some large disaster situations including the explosion in Ellison Bay in 2006, Lakewood tornado of 2007, and many structure fires.  

Being on the Disaster Team is exciting, and at times emotional.  “One thing that really sticks out for me is seeing people come out to help people they don’t know in times of a disaster, said Mary.  “You tend to see the best in people during these times.”

Grilling brats on the 4th at the Festival Foods Fire Over the Fox (l-r) Rich Hermans, Joe Gerrits, Larry Staszak and Steve Maricque

Her brother Joe Gerrits, became a registered volunteer with the American Red Cross in 2010, after helping for many special events with his sister, Mary. He is now a trained disaster team member and responds to calls with his sister.    

The Disaster response team also works pre and post deployment events for the military units in the area. “The thing that stands out most for me at these events is how grateful the military personnel are when we are the ones that owe them and others like them for the freedoms we enjoy every day,” said Joe.

What is the best part of being a volunteer?  According to Mary its “Helping someone that needs assistance through no fault of their own.  I know I made an impact when someone says to me I never knew what the Red Cross did, but I am going to start donating to them, or how can I get involved with the Red Cross?”

Her brother Joe agrees.  The best part of being a volunteer is “helping people when they really need it.”

Statewide Tornado Drill Set for Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wisconsin Emergency Managment: Contact:  Lori Getter, 608-242-3239

Statewide Tornado Drill Set for Thursday, April 14, 2011

School children, workers, and citizens across Wisconsin will be taking cover Thursday afternoon during the statewide tornado drill.  The annual drill is a key part of Wisconsin’s Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week sponsored by Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) and the National Weather Service (NWS).

The statewide tornado drill will begin at 1:00 p.m. with a mock “Tornado Watch” issued by the NWS followed by mock “Tornado Warnings” for different areas of the state every 10 minutes.  The drill will end at 2:00 p.m. See schedule below.

If there is a real threat of severe weather such as tornadoes, downburst winds, or large hail anywhere in the state, the drill will be postponed to Friday.  The forecast for Thursday calls for some light rain over parts of the state – so it is unlikely that the drill will be postponed.

“Sunday’s tornado outbreak shows the importance of being ready for storm season,” said WEM Administrator Mike Hinman.  “The drill is an excellent opportunity for families, schools and businesses to discuss and practice their emergency plans so everyone knows what to do and where to go when severe weather strikes.”

Tornado Drill Schedule

1:00 pm – Mock tornado watch for all of Wisconsin

1:10-1:15 pm – National Weather Service Green Bay issues mock tornado warning for Brown, Calumet, Door, Florence, Forest, Kewaunee, Langlade, Lincoln, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marinette, Menominee, Oconto, Oneida, Outagamie, Portage, Shawano, Vilas, Waupaca, Waushara, Winnebago and Wood Counties.

1:20-1:25 pm – National Weather Service Milwaukee issues mock tornado warning for Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green, Green Lake, Iowa, Jefferson, Kenosha, Lafayette, Marquette, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Rock, Sauk, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha Counties.

1:30-1:35 pm – National Weather Service La Crosse issues mock tornado warning for Adams, Buffalo, Clark, Crawford, Grant, Jackson, Juneau, LaCrosse, Monroe, Richland, Taylor, Trempealeau and Vernon Counties.

1:40-1:45 pm – National Weather Service Minneapolis/Chanhassen issues mock tornado warning for Barron, Chippewa, Dunn, Eau Claire, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Rusk and St. Croix Counties.

1:50-1:55 pm – National Weather Service Duluth issues mock tornado warning for Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Price, Sawyer and Washburn Counties.

Additional Pictures of the WI Storms; Red Cross in Action

American Red Cross Disaster Service volunteers Roger Palmer, left, and Mack McElrone inspect storm damage to a home in Kaukauna, WI. on Monday April 11, 2011. A large storm and reported tornado left a path of downed trees and destroyed homes on Sunday night.
The Post-Crescent photo by Wm. Glasheen

TGIF at the Blood Center

National Volunteer Week, April 10-16, is a time to celebrate volunteers. This year’s theme, Celebrating People in Action, aptly describes volunteers from Northeast Wisconsin. Red Cross volunteers are doers. Red Cross volunteers are people in action. Learn more about some of the amazing people who give of their time, talent, money and blood to support the organization.

Regular volunteers at the blood center not only help the blood center run smoothly but they sure do add to the friendly atmosphere too. If you are a regular blood donor on Fridays you are probably used to seeing the friendly faces of Rita Haase, Eleanor Terrien, Karen Parfitt and Lorraine Nelson.

Eleanor and Rita

Eleanor and Rita work have been volunteering in the blood center for over twenty years and have been friends for longer than that. Eleanor currently volunteers as a donor room aide and Rita assists with registration. Rita began after her husband volunteered her when he became a member of the High Gallon Club. Eleanor was inspired to volunteer when her daughter worked in the blood center.

They also have both been volunteering at Bellin for about ten years. They currently help in the coffee shop making everything from coffee to smoothies. They also keep very busy in other ways. Before they volunteered together these good friends bowled together. Rita has always enjoyed spending time up north and Eleanor loves spending time with yard work and golfing.

They are both proud of their families. Rita has 2 daughters,  5 grandsons and 4 great grandchildren. Eleanor has 4 children, 10 grand children, and 17 great-grand children. “I had a handful but you really enjoy them as you get older,” says Eleanor. “I’m really proud of my children; they have been good to me.”

You will find Karen at the blood center registration every other Friday but the other Fridays she is helping with blood donor registration at Pilgrim Congregational Church.

“Registration is the front line of the process,” says Mary Brunner, Customer Service Representative, who schedules the volunteers in the blood center. “They meet and greet the donors while getting them through the process in an efficient manner. Time is so important to donors who want to get in and out.”

Lorraine and Karen

Karen started volunteering at the blood center when she retired from blood services in 2003 after 32 years of service. “It’s a wonderful organization that does so much good,” says Karen. “I couldn’t stay away.”

Karen also finds time for crafts, reading and extensive travel. She has also been enjoying her retirement by taking classes as a member of the Institute for Learning in Retirement.  “I’m learning things I didn’t have room for in college,” says Karen.

Since retiring from Diana Manufacturing, Lorraine enjoys life. She spends time working in her yard, with her card club, going to church and anything that means getting out to meet people. Before retirement she thought she wouldn’t have anything to do but she has found many ways to spend her time. She has found she enjoys every minute of it. “I would suggest it to any body,” she says.

Lorraine has been volunteering with the Red Cross for 10 years and says she really enjoys it.  Every Friday she assists in the canteen where she makes sure donors are comfortable by providing them with refreshments and plays a vital role as the eyes and ears of the blood center staff.  In the event that a donor would become faint from donating blood the canteen volunteer is there to alert the staff quickly.

“The Red Cross relies on volunteers through out the community,” says Mary Brunner, Customer Service Representative, who schedules the volunteers in the blood center.

“We couldn’t do it with out them,” says Mary. “They add a personality, a smile, a thank you, and the caring concern they have for others.”

Fridays get a special touch by the TGIF Blood Center Ladies and every one of them says they come back so regularly because of the wonderful people. “It’s the thing to do on Fridays,” says Lorraine. “That and fish fry at night.”