Welcome to the Website of the Tomorrow River Chautauqua, Located in Beautiful Amherst Wisconsin

Groundwater Science Forum

We, the Tomorrow River Chautauqua is back. On Oct 3rd we are offering this informative discussion on a very important issue. It is at 6:00 at the Jensen Center in Amherst. Plan to attend and take part in this discussion. 

Bio: Sarah Traynor, PhD is an Assistant Anatomy Lecturer at the School of Medicine and Public Health, UW-Madison. She is trained as a paleoanthropologist who studies the limb proportions and locomotor adaptations in the newly discovered hominin species from South Africa, Homo naledi. She has studied the original fossils of Neandertals and Homo naledi and excavated at Australopithecus and early Homo sites. Her work has taken her to institutions in the US, Tanzania, Denmark, Croatia, and South Africa.


Brief summary of my talk: Homo naledi was discovered in 2013 in the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa. The morphology of the species was described in 2015 through a series of publications without a known date for the fossil material. The preservation of the fossils suggested the species was younger than would have been predicted for the morphology. The direct date was published in 2016, and it confirmed why there was a lack of fossilization of the material: Homo naledi dates to 230,000-330,000 years ago. Because Homo naledi is more recent than expected for its features, it is shifting the paradigm of modernity in the Middle Pleistocene.

Great Concert Weekend of the 24th Sat. 

Biggest Dance of the Year

Great Opportunity to meet our New Leaders

Important Celebration at the Jensen Community Center. Great opportunity Celebrate  the Community

 This is an important discussion. Do attend.




   For about the first 50 years of activity at South New Hope Church, the language used for worship, as well as the language of the Norwegian community that settled in the Town of New Hope, was Norwegian.  On Saturday, July 8 at 2:00 p.m., the Scandinavians are returning!  The South New Hope Cemetery Board is excited to present THE NEWLANDS CO-OP, a duo of Vidar Skrede and Sara Pajunen, who will perform a program of traditional and contemporary Nordic folk tunes, often with a contemporary twist. 

   Vidar Skrede (from Haugesund, Norway) plays guitar, hardanger violin, fiddle and Greek bouzouki.  He has a Masters degree in Nordic folk music from the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, as well as the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and the Carl Nielsen Academy of Music in Odense, Denmark.  Vidar is a leading musician on the Nordic folk music scene and is a popular tune writer who now resides in Chicago.  Vidar is one of Scandinavia’s most outstanding folk music artists of the day.

   Sara Pajunen, who grew up in Finnish American northern Minnesota, is a Minneapolis-based violinist, composer and creator who has been described as an amazingly versatile musician who now counts among the most ambitious and notable practitioners of Finnish folk music outside Finland.  Pajunen holds classical music degrees from both the United States and Finland, and her work has received funding from the Jerome Foundation, MN State Arts Board, and Koneen Säätiö.  She was the 2015-16 Finlandia Foundation Performer of the Year.

  The public is invited to this performance on Saturday, July 8 at 2:00 P.M.  South New Hope Church is located ½ mile north of Hwy. 161 at 1410 Cty. Rd. T, Amherst Jct, WI, halfway between Stevens Point and Waupaca.  A suggested $10 donation is appreciated for this event.      

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Tomorrow River Chautauqua 2016-17 Season Begins!


Tomorrow River Chautauqua’s upcoming schedule of events for the 2016-17 season is taking shape.  The first event scheduled in Amherst is a Community Sing on Friday Dec. 16 in the lower level of the Landmark Bistro at 7 pm. Choirmaster Jim Heiks will lead the community in various seasonal songs as well as audience favorites and singers and non-singers are invited to attend. The highlight last year was a rousing Twelve Days of Christmas aided by dynamic bass rumblings of the Landmark’s host, Mark.  The program is FREE and refreshments are available for purchase from the Landmark’s entire selection of food and drink for the evening.

On Weds  January 4 at 7pm, former Amherst resident and now Minnesota beekeepers, James Cook and Samantha Jones will host a screening of the film, “Keep the Bees Alive” in the Jensen Community Center Auditorium.  It is a documentary on recent actions across the country to publicize the problems that a new generation of pesticides have created for bee colonies;  colonies that are essential for pollinating virtually all agricultural production but have been devastated by massive die-offs.  The beekeepers will also talk about their activities and be available for questions on bee topics. The program is FREE but folks may donate to the fund that is working to raise awareness of the problem.

On Sat February 25 at 7 pm, the almost annual Community Contra Dance will be held at the Jensen Community Center  with live string band music and callers. Dancers with all levels of experience are welcome as the experienced callers will accommodate all.  There will be an admission as well as refreshments available.

In March, Linda Kassera  will do a program on her recent trip to Cuba, featuring slides and a discussion of current events taking place there. The program will be free and organizers were working on scheduling the date as the Spirit goes to press.  Stay tuned for this and other pending events to be confirmed!

Excting event brought to you by Baba Ghanooj

Keep the Hives Alive   Jan 4th Wed. JCC, FIlm-Talk

Christmas sing coming to the Landmark

 Please join us for a great evening of snging. We are not this clean cut but still very cool. 

Well, Here is the start of our activities for 2016


Get your outfts ready and come on Down for some wild dancing and drinking a few fine beers.

This is a fund raiser for TRC.

Fall Season Events for 2015



2015/2016 SCHEDULE


More information will be available on these excitng events as time moves along. Stayed tuned.


Friday Oct 23 – “Art On Trial in Russia” public discussion with Russian educator Dr Elena Volkova –Jensen Community Center @ 7:30 - FREE

Sat . Oct. 31 – “Brew Ha Ha” Halloween Costume benefit for Chautauqua programming- Central Waters Brewery @ 7:30 Donation Required

Thurs. Nov. 12 – “Observations of the California Drought: Lessons for WI Groundwater” public discussion with Dr. George Kraft - JCC @ 7:30 - FREE

Fri. Dec . 5 - Community Christmas Sing and Potluck Time and Location TBA

Fri. Dec. 11 - “Timbuktu” narrative film by Abderra Sissako. Visually beautiful and poetic film exploring cultural impact of the imposition of Sharia law in Mali and its moral ambiguities. - JCC @ 7:30 - FREE

Fri Jan 29 – “Impact of the Enbridge Coal Sands Pipeline Expansion through WI” film and discussion with Dr. Carl Whiting, PhD Physics, UW Madison - JCC @ 7:30 - FREE

February - “Education, Inc.” Documentary film and speakers examining how money is corrupting local school decisions - JCC @ 7:30 - FREE


March 16th--An Evening with Bill Berry Historic view of citizen activism. 7;30 JCC Free


TO BE DETERMINED - Contra Dance Live music and caller of traditional dance - JCC @ 7 - Donation required

Fri. April 1 –“ The Last Wisconsin River Rat- Kenny Salway” Film, demos and personal appearance by legendary Mississippi River “rat” Kenny Salway who has lived sustainably on the river for over forty years. JCC @ 7:30 FREE



ATTENTION!     Contra Dance, I hate to say it, is called off for this spring. Sorry. We have had lots of calls. The plan is for this fall. 

TRChautauqua Presents the “Last River Rat” Friday April 1 @ 7pm in Amherst



TRChautauqua Presents the “Last River Rat” Friday April 1 @ 7pm in Amherst


Author Kenny Salwey, “ the last of the Wisconsin River Rats”, will talk about his long life as a guide, hunter/gatherer and passionate advocate of life in the Mississippi River bottomlands on Friday April 1 from 7-9 pm. at a public program at the Jensen Center in Amherst. The program is sponsored by Tomorrow River Chautuauqua and a donation of $3 for adults or $5 for a whole family admission is required.


Kenny Salwey of Alma WI grew up during the 1940s and 50s on his family’s farm near the Mississippi River in Buffalo County, Wisconsin.  Mentored by family and community, he earned his living as a trapper, fisherman, river guide, and wild plant gatherer in an area of the Upper Mississippi valley known as the Whitman Swamp.   Over the last 3 decades, Kenny has become a well-known educator, author, and storyteller in his passion to convey what he has learned of the “Circle of Life” on the Mississippi. He has entertained and enlightened children and adults throughout the Upper Midwest, weaving tales that unravel the mysteries of the river, as well the natural and human history of the area. His stories have been described as a blend of folksy humor, woodslore and a gentle philosophy of nature.

As part of the program, the Emmy award winning BBC environmental documentary “The Last River Rat” will be shown, and Kenny will bring a collection of artifacts and objects that he has collected over the years and will serve to illustrate some of his favorite stories. His recent books will also be available for signing and purchase at the event.


For additional information, contact Jim Zach at 715-572-4646, or jzach@wi-net.com. For updates on this and other TRC events, check out www.tomorrow-river-chautauqua.com or like us on Facebook.


Bill Berry   March 16th   Free talk and Discussion

Bill Berry presentation Wednesday March 16 @ 7:30 at the Jensen Center in Amherst   


  Author and long time Central WI writer Bill Berry will present a public discussion on the historic role of citizen activism in protecting Wisconsin’s environment on Weds. March 16 @ 7:30 pm at the Jensen Center in Amherst. The program, presented by Tomorrow River Chautauqua, is free and open to the public, and will focus on Bill’s personal reflections on the roots of citizen activism in WI as well as the need for engagement in current environmental  issues. 

Education Inc. Feb. 26 Jensen Center in Amherst.

“Education, Inc.”, a 2015 documentary that examines the recent nationwide flow of public education funds to private and for-profit interest groups, will be screened on Friday February 26 @ 7:30 at the Jensen Center in Amherst. The film is free and open to the public and is sponsored by Tomorrow River Chautauqua .  The film will be followed by a discussion on current education funding in WI from 71st  District Representative Katrina Shankland who will also answer questions from the audience.   

Dr Carl Whiting, a representative for Wisconsin Safe Energy Alliance(WSEA), will present an open discussion on ramifications of the Enbridge pipeline expansion for Wisconsin on Friday Jan 29 @ 7:30 at the Jensen Center in Amherst.  


Dr Carl Whiting, a representative for Wisconsin Safe Energy Alliance(WSEA), will present an open discussion on ramifications of the Enbridge pipeline expansion for Wisconsin on Friday Jan 29 @ 7:30 at the Jensen Center in Amherst. The discussion is sponsored by Tomorrow River Chautauqua and is free and open to the public.

Enbridge, a company based in Alberta, Canada, is seeking to expand its pumping of Alberta tar sands oil slurry through WI from a 2009 total of 400,000 barrels a day to 1.2 million barrels in 2016, far more oil than the controversial Keystone pipeline was expected to carry before being denied permits due to environmental concerns. Enbridge is not required to get Federal environmental permits for this cross border expansion because it will use the existing pipeline, increasing the size of the pumps being used, the pressure on the lines , and the rate of flow. Spokesmen for Enbridge note that the line meets federal standards for pumping but critics like WESA maintain that Enbridge has a record of poor performance including the worst oil pipeline spill in history at Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2010. In that spill, 20,000 barrels of tar sands crude fouled 25 miles of the Kalamazoo River, resulting in an ongoing cleanup that has cost $1.6 Billion to date. Because of the toxic solvents mixed with the tar sands slurry to make pumping possible, industry experts acknowledge that cleanups are more difficult and long term affects are unknown.

Enbridge counters spill fears by citing a better than average safety record and promising that techniques have improved since the Kalamazoo spill, but critics say that tougher Federal environmental standards should be followed, even though technically the Enbridge expansion follows an existing route. They point out that the WI DNR has never done an environmental assessment of pipeline 61, the pipeline slated to be expanded and one of several in the same 80 ft. pipeline corridor that transects the state from Superior through Dane County and then south through Illinois. In fact, they note, Enbridge fouled streams and sensitive areas during construction of that line, resulting in $1.2 mil in fines paid to WI in 2008 alone.

WSEA maintains that WI residents should have a voice in the discussion and that local citizen control has been co-opted in WI. They note that recent decisions by the state legislature over rode efforts by Dane County to require higher liability limits for the pipeline company and tougher inspection standards. In Minnesota, they point out that under pressure from citizen groups, the legislature has demanded full environmental assessments for all portions of the expansion and transparency in the permitting process. In order to promote that citizen involvement here, volunteers like Dr Whiting are presenting programs across the state to explain details of the pipeline expansion and provide a picture of what a more responsible approach might look like. The presentation, with slides and printed material, is expected to last about an hour with questions and comments to follow.



TIMBUCKTU Narative Film at Jensen Center Dec. 11

Tomorrow River Chautauqua presents “Timbuktu”  a narrative film by Abderra Sissako (2014)   Fri. Dec. 11 @ 7:30 at the Jensen Center  in Amherst -  FREE
Master Malian filmmaker Abderra Sissako presents a stunning visual film based on a 2012 incident  that took place in Timbuktu while it was under the imposition of Sharia law by outsider  jihadists.  His tale is a complex narrative, enriched by the ambiguities of the oppressors, the sly resistance of the community  and local imams and  the interrelated story of a herder and his family that seeks justice in the new theocratic state.  There are brilliant visual moments in the film, from sweeping panoramas of rivers winding through  desert sands, to street scenes of Timbuktu that harken back to its past as a crossroads of Northern Africa  and a mystical center of music and learning.
 But ultimately the film is a graceful telling of a recognizable moral struggle, a cry from the heart about arrogance and the imposition of belief upon others;  a document that transcends its specific details to become a ringing endorsement  of maintaining rich cultural traditions and diversity  in the face of bigotry and cruelty. 
The film has been nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign picture of 2015. 


Other important Events in the Area. Voter Information Presentation

ITEMS BELOW are Past EVENTS, Above are yet TO Happen.

Two items of interest. We had to change bands becasue a member of the Baba Gahnooj band experienced a bad car accident. Our hearts are out to them and wll note that Ric is dong very well. The Despearate Ottos are filling in. They are a well-know local band seen by any of us.


Also keep in mind a costume is not requred, just encouraged. . Do come join us for fun and great beer.

The above Presentation in Stevens Point is not sponsored by The Tomorrow Rver Chautauqua but is being helped along by one of our members. It looks to be a great show and worth seeng. It is November 3rd.  




Dr. Elena Volkova, Professor Emeritus of literature, culture and religion at Moscow University will present a wide-ranging discussion of current events in Russia on Friday October 23 @ 7:30 at the Jensen Center in Amherst. Dr. Volkova will discuss freedom of artistic expression under the Putin regime, how the Russian people generally view America, and describe how daily life has changed in Russia, as well as explore numerous other topics. She is a uniquely qualified and interesting speaker, having traveled extensively in America and spending a year teaching in Wisconsin in 1993, as well as earning PhDs in American Literature and in Religion, Literature and Culture in Russia at Moscow University.

Dr. Volkova is currently Professor Emeritus at MU after resigning her official teaching position because of ideological pressures. As a thirty year educator in the Russian system, she will also be able to provide exceptional commentary on the differences in education between the two countries as well as

similar problems and solutions that the two share. With her excellent command of English and rare experience observing both cultures, she is prepared to answer questions and focus on specific audience interests. This once-in-a-lifetime experience to share her perspective is sponsored

by the Tomorrow River Chautauqua in Amherst with help from the Waupaca Rotary Club.


Professor Volkova has published numerous books, including “The Salvation Story in Russian Literature”, “The Albatross in Russia: Praised, Killed and Repented in the Reception of St Coleridge”, “The Oxford Handbook of Literature and Visions of Heaven and Hell” and “The Oxford Handbook of Literature and Theology”.





Coming Nov. 12 George Kraft's Recent Observations

These were last year's exciting events 2014

Presentation on Early Scandanavian history of Portage County. Free to Public


Friday, January 23 @ 7:30 “Early Scandanavian Immigration in Amherst and Eastern Portage County

Historian Don Romundson will present a well-researched and insightful commentary on this fascinating early chapter of Portage County history. Don has an extensive collection of photos which will help illuminate personalities and conditions of these early settlers. Don’s family has had a long time presence in Portage County and New Hope township, and he is an active member of the Portage County Historical Society and one of the organizers of “Barns of Portage County” photo calendar and exhibit at the Rising Star Mill in Nelsonville.

The program will be at the Jensen Center in Amherst at 7:30 and is a FREE program, although donations are always welcome to support future programs and defray Jensen Center

CCl and Tomorrow River Chautauqua present Economics and Climate Change



Climate Policy and the Economy: Not a Free Lunch, but Perhaps a Lunch Worth Paying For

by Professor Thomas Rutherford of UW Madison, Agriculture and Applied Economics

Saturday, January 24, 2015 at the Pinery Room, PC Library, 10:00 am



 Professor Rutherford’s presentation in his words,


Global climate change over this century is projected to eventually warm the planet by between 3 and 8 degrees C and impact the environment, the economy , and society. Because greenhouse gases result from virtually every kind of economic activity – driving a car, heating a home, operating a steel mill, raising, pigs – any policy aimed at reducing emissions will have significant and broad impacts. This public lecture provides an overview of current academic discourse about climate change, climate policy and the economy. How do we quantify the costs and benefits of greenhouse gas mitigation policies? How does climate policy relate to public policy challenges such as environmental sustainability, public health, and government budget constraints?




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Halloween Dance for 2014---The Big One. At the Central Waters Brewery

This is the big dance of the year. Get your finest costume ready and come on down.


Sunday , October 12 @ 4 pm – 2nd Annual Harvest Community Sing at South New Hope Church
Choral director Jim Heiks directs an open sing for all comers in this historic building with wonderful acoustics.…. No experience necessary! Bundle up if weather dictates as this structure built in 1879 has no central heating. Located on County Hwy. T , 4 mi. north of Amherst.


Sat. November 1 @ 7:30pm- BrewHaHa Halloween Costume Ball @ Central Waters Brewery
Our annual fundraiser hosted by the generous folks at Central Waters in their newly expanded space. Featuring live music by Baba Ganouj , libations by Central Waters and a host of fabulous prizes for costumes!


Fri. November 14 @ 7:30 pm- Film: “Shadows of Liberty “ @ Jensen Community Center
Documentary film directed and written by JEAN-PHILIPPE TREMBLAY. Nominated for 2014 best documentary of the year, this Canadian film interviews renowned journalists, activists and academics who give insider accounts of a broken US media system. “Shadows of Liberty” poses a crucial question: why have we let a handful of powerful corporations write the news and turn a forum for public discussion into a private profit zone? NPR review: 5 stars (out of five)


December (Date TBA)- Christmas Community Sing
Carol through Amherst, singing traditional and secular seasonal songs with simple arrangements conducted by Jim Heiks with a snack and dessert potluck gathering to follow. Singers of all abilities and persuasions are welcome! Dress warmly! (Last year we caroled elderly housing and some downtown establishments and are looking for more locations to sing in town so let us know if you have suggestions.)

Spring 2015 (Dates TBA)

We are working on a number of possible events including a program on “Immigration in Portage County”, a third annual Contra Dance, programs on sustainable economics, climate change, cancer perspectives, an author visit, more films and more. We welcome suggestions for additional programs as well as volunteers to staff events. Our next meeting is Oct 7 at the Jensen Community Center @ 5 pm.
Get updates at www.tomorrow-river-chautauqua.com and on faceboo


Get updates at www.tomorrow-river-chautauqua.com and on facebook.



One Drum Concert Saturday, September 20 at 7:30pm Jensen Center/Our Community Spirit in Amherst, Wisconsin

This event is being put on by local citizens in conjunction with the Jensen Center here in Amherst. It will be lively evening with exciting music. It is a family event and with luck all attendents will be singing till the cows come home.

Contra Dance, Spring Fling, has been changed to March 29th

 The Contra Dance has been changed to March 29th at the Jensen Center. Stay tuned for the details as they become available. Poster above confirms the new date and all the great action.

Please Check News and Events on Sidebar for More Activitiews

Chautauqua Events of the Season



Sun., Oct.20 @ 4:00Community Harvest Sing @ South New Hope Church

Sat., Oct. 26 @ 7:30Halloween Benefit @ Central Waters w/Baba Ganouj

Fri. Dec. 13@ 5:45Community Christmas Sing in Amherst

Fri. Jan. 24 @ 7:30“Is Peace Possible in the Mideast?” Open forum with Emeritus

Professor of Mideast Studies, Neil Lewis

Sat. March. 29(CHANGED)@ 7:30Contra Dance with John Wilson (caller) and “The Rakes of

Mallow” band @ Jensen Center Community Room

Fri. March 7 @ 7:30Documentary“Koch Brothers Exposed”Campaign financing forum

Fri. March 21 @ 7:30Documentary“The Price of Sand”Frac SandMining in Wisconsin

Fri. April 11 @ 7:30“An Illustrated History of Scandanavian Immigration in Central WI

With historian Don Romundson


All events at the Jensen Community Center in Amherst unless otherwise noted.

Featured below is a shot of the Christmas singing revelers. A number of establishments in town were "treated" to many fine tunes led by Jim Heiks. The high point was visiting the care facility in Amherst. The group ended its outing at the Central Waters Brewery where snacks were served. Please stay tuned for future events panned by Tommorrow River Chautauqua.

List of Possible Exciting Events in the next 6 Months

Please note below the possible Christmas Caroling on Dec. 13th


The following events are not all locked in as of December 5th.
Some of the locations are not confirmed so it is important that interested parties do check back it get the full facts as they develop.

Sunday, October 13- 4:00............................Harvest Sing @ South New Hope Church w/Jim Heiks directing.
This will be a community singing event featuring music selections by Jim. This is a new effort and if it turns out to be exciting there will be more to come.  This event has taken place and was most sucessful.

Saturday, October 26 -7:30...........................Halloween benefit @ Central Waters w/Baba Ganouj
This event is our annual costume event and a big fund raiser for TR Chautauqua. Make sure to come. This event is also completede and like always, was huge.

Friday, Dec 13th. If all goes well we are putting together a community evening of caroling in the Villiage of Amherst. There will be a 6:oo practice in advance of going to the street.The final performance will be at the Brewery. Do stay in touch as this event developes.

Friday or Saturday January 24 25 -7:30......... Mideast Panel w/Neil Lewis and others
(Film- “Gatekeeper “ earlier in month?)

Saturday February 15-7:30.............................Contra Dance @ Jensen Center Community Room
The date for this is not a lock but it will take place


Friday or Saturday March 7,8 - 7:30............... Film “Citizen Koch, or “Gaslands II”

Friday or Saturday March 21, 22..................... Global Warming Forum

Friday April 11.................................................Legislative Forum w/Katrina and Lassa or Romundson,

“Immigration in Portage County" Date unknown but it will be in the spring.


Halloween Dance at Brewery is On the 26th Not the 27th as last year's poster shows

Community Sing at south New Hope Church

The Tomorrow River Chautauqua organization works in close association with the Jensen Community Center

Lettie W. Jensen Community Center
487 North Main Street
Amherst , WI
Telephone:  (715) 824-5202               

Our Projects

Mission Statement: 
"To promote proactive citizenship through presentation and discussion of
the important political, social, and cultural issues of our time and to provide
a venue for their creative expression through the arts."

About Us

It should be noted that this website is very much in its early stages. With luck, each day will see additions featuring the many cultural events that occur in and around the Community of Amherst.