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Thumbs Up/Down for Monday, July 28, 2014

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July 28, 2014

Thumbs up to life savers at Pick 'n Save. In the July 19 Gazette, reporter Jake Magee described rescue efforts of Brad Radloff and his aunt Tammy Brenner. They had finished shopping and were starting to drive away when Radloff heard carts crashing. He checked and saw a leg under a vehicle. He rushed to aid Thomas Anderson, who was gasping for air, while Brenner hurried inside to summon help. Store director Karl Wetzel raced out, and when he realized Anderson wasn't breathing and had no pulse, he performed chest compressions until paramedics arrived. Anderson, who has worked at the grocery more than a decade, had suffered a heart attack and is expected to undergo double bypass surgery. Sure, it's easy to suggest anyone would do the same as Radloff and Brenner. Yet as Leonard Pitts Jr. noted in a syndicated column this month, Psychology Today suggests the “bystander effect” often hinders individuals from intervening in emergencies when other people are around. Anderson, no doubt, is glad that phenomena didn't prevent these heroes from rushing to help him.

Thumbs up to teaching financial basics. Kids in summer classes at Janesville's Rock River Charter School are learning crucial lessons that should help them throughout life. These include budgeting, managing credit cards, opening bank accounts and understanding risks of quick-cash shops and rent-to-own stores. The class comes as a new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development suggests many American teens lack financial literacy. This Janesville School District charter program helps high school students who are at risk of dropping out. It also helps dropouts get high school equivalency degrees. Many of these students face disadvantages in life. This knowledge could help them find financial footing as young adults and avoid long-term debt that could reduce their chances of escaping family troubles that often span generations.

Thumbs down to a poor start for bluebird nesting. Apparently, no one but Mother Nature is to blame for a statewide decrease in spring bluebird nesting. Part of it might have been due to ice storms that covered berries on the birds' winter grounds and caused too many birds to starve. Another problem was a cool spring that delayed the bluebird migration and allowed sparrows and wrens to take over many birdhouses. As Anna Marie Lux explained in her column July 20, Harlan Rook of the town of Johnstown is among the many Wisconsinites who have helped the bluebird population surge in recent years to the highest level in 50 years. Caring people have built and monitor birdhouses that replaced the fence posts bluebirds once used. Lux did bring more good news about these colorful birds: The mild July weather might bolster hatching odds for this season's second clutch of eggs.

Thumbs up to Tallman House themed tours. When considering the historic Janesville home, many area residents think, “been there; done that. I toured it once. Why should I see it again?” The Rock County Historical Society has heard those sentiments and is crafting good reasons for repeat visits. The society, which operates the city-owned mansion as a museum, plans themed tours to focus on specific aspects of the property. First up is “Tallman's Technologies,” which showcase the inner workings of 1860s functions that were groundbreaking when the Tallmans built their home. These innovations included, for example, gravity-forced plumbing that ran through an attic cistern and a lever-operated bell system the Tallmans and guests used to summon servants. Other tours might involve putting visitors in the shoes of servants and a focus on Abraham Lincoln's stay at the home. The technology tours open Aug. 18. For information, visit rchs.us



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