News: Neillsville - New CC Press (Scott Schultz - 2018)

Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon

Surnames: Schultz, Schmidt, Veefkind, Butterbrodt, Basombrio

----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 1/03/2018

New Press Editor Has Deep Roots (Scott Schultz – January 2018)

New Press Editor Has Deep Area Roots

Scott Schultz has been named the new editor at The Clark County Press. Schultz, a long-time journalist, was raised in Clark County. (Nancy Curtin/Clark County Press photo)

The Clark County Press is starting the new year with a new editor as Scott Schultz takes the newspaper’s reins.

Schultz, who was raised on a central Clark County dairy farm, and for many years was a familiar face in area sports, and economic development circles, brings more than 40 years of print-journalism experience to The Press. He will replace the retiring Todd Schmidt, who held the position since 2012.

“It’s only fitting that this point in my journalism career has me back in Clark County, where it all started for me,” Schultz said. “This is taking me full-circle back to my roots, and that’s a good feeling.”

The new editor’s roots give him a deep familiarity with the county, and the Neillsville area. He was raised on a dairy farm at Veefkind – an area between Loyal and Spencer, named for his great-great-grandfather Henry Veefkind, who built the farm. He is a Loyal High School graduate, where his writing interests grew under the tutelage of legendary journalism, and English teachers Marvelene Butterbrodt, and Sybil Basombrio.

Schultz is a U. S. Marine Corps veteran. While serving in the Marine Corps, Schultz studied journalism, and photography through the Department of Defense Information School, and through a variety of universities’ journalism programs.

After his service, Schultz worked briefly at the Abbotsford-based Tribune-Phonograph and Record-Review newspapers before becoming a state, and regional reporter for the Marshfield News-Herald.

Schultz left the News-Herald to become editor of the Eau Claire-based start-up publication Northbound magazine. He then returned to Loyal to work during the 1980s as editor of the Tribune-Record-Gleaner before becoming a regional editor for The Country Today newspaper, which covers rural issues throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota.

While living in Loyal, Schultz served on many community, county, school, and church committees, and councils. He founded the annual Spanky’s Run at Loyal, and initiated the process for the siting of the Wisconsin Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial – which became The Highground – near Neillsville.

The editor worked remotely from his Loyal home for The Country Today during about half of his 22 years with that publication, and then was named its managing editor.

He moved to the Osseo area, and then left the Country Today to serve for two years as executive director of the Wisconsin Farmers Union.

Schultz left the Wisconsin Farmers Union to concentrate his efforts on The Heartbeat Center for Writing, Literacy, and the Arts – a nonprofit writing and arts education organization he founded in 2001 that he continues to operate with his wife Dee at their small farm south of Osseo. Meanwhile, he did part-time news, and features for the Trempealeau County Times newspaper in Whitehall before accepting the editor’s role at the Press.

He had earned state and national awards for his news and features writing, and his essays about the rural countryside, have been part of a national rural revitalization project and used by the Wisconsin People and Ideas magazine published by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. Some of his essays were collected into his first book, “Rural Routes and Ruts: Roaming the Roads of Rural Life.” Another collection of his essays is being collected into a book, “Rural Rerouted,” for release in the near future. Schultz also continues to work on two other book projects.

During his career, Schultz had lectured about journalism, and creative writing to high school, and university students in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Work through The Heartbeat Center also makes him a frequent writing-motivation and educational presenter to people of all ages – working with veterans’ programs through the Heartbeat Center’s Upper Midwest Veterans Expressing Themselves project among presentations he sees as his most important.

Schultz also has worked as a longtime high school wrestling and football coach at Marshfield and Loyal, and as a wrestling and football official. He continues to officiate football.

(And as I read on in The Press, his weekly column will prove to be interesting, so am including the first one with this article. DMK)

Legend in my family has it that my great-great-grandfather, Henry Veefkind was waling one day to Neillsville from his farm upwards of 18 miles to the northeast, give or take. A fellow pulled up in his buggy and asked Henry whether he’d like a ride. “No, thanks,” Henry told the kind fellow, “I’m in a hurry.”

I’ve long considered the truth behind that story, though all I’d learned about my great-great-grandfather indicates his focused intent on getting to different places. Hiking the 20-or-so miles from his farm to Neillsville might have seemed like a short trek, considering that he’s already traveled to upstate New York, and then to central Clark County to snatch up some of the Cornell land-grant property.

When Henry Veefkind put his mind to getting somewhere, it seems he did it with purpose and intensity. He moved forward, most likely in straight lines, seldom looking back.

I like to imagine that Henry and I share some traits – there certainly are some dictated by genetic default. We both seem to have liked getting on to new and interesting things in our days.

But moving somewhere in a direct and straight line hasn’t appeared to be among them.

I appreciate the way Clark County’s roads are laid out within townships and sections, so we know we’re moving north-to-south, or east-to-west. That appreciation has deepened in the years since I’ve lived along roads twisting around Trempealeau County’s ridges and coulees, yet I’m sure my literal Veefkind-to-Neillsville walk would be much different than that taken by Henry.

The figurative trek I’ve taken from taken from Veefkind to Neillsville serves as proof.

There have been plenty of things pointing me in the direction of Neillsville, the story about Henry’s walk being the first indicator.

My parents spent the first couple of years of their married life in Neillsville – my oldest sister out of their six children being born in Neillsville. My father worked for a bit in Neillsville with the Clark County Highway Department before returning to take over the Veefkind farm from my grandparents.

We listened to good old WCCN on our barn radio for the county’s news updates during my earliest years, and some nights tuned in for Cloverbelt Conference High School sports broadcasts

I occasionally rode with my oldest brother to the Neillsville creamery where he sometimes hauled canned milk as a stand-in for an area milk hauler.

I carried my high school journalism mentor to her grave in the Neillsville City Cemetery.

There were fairs, trip to the A&W, and so much more pointing me to Neillsville. I still marvel at seeing the name of my grandfather – a longtime town chairman, and county board member – on the plaque immediately inside the courthouse’s U-W Extension entrance.

But I had to make my way out across the countryside, including a stop halfway around the world, before my professional life would wend me to work in Neillsville.

It’s taken a while to get here, but I’ve finally arrived.

“It’s about time,” Henry might say. “You must have taken the buggy-ride.”



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