Thumbs up/down for Monday, Nov. 18, 2013

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Thumbs up to the new Boys & Girls Club of Walworth County. Credit the Delavan-Darien School District for letting the club use Phoenix Middle School in Delavan to host the club from 3 to 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays when school is in session. Credit, too, club organizers for trying diligently since 2010 to raise money for a permanent location, but when that failed being flexible enough to partner with the district. More than half of the district’s students live below the poverty line. Providing this positive, structured environment should boost academics, social skills and children’s lives in general. The club will be open to ages 7-18, and activities and services will include homework help. “By teaching study habits, offering intensive tutoring and exposure to role models, this Boys & Girls Club will provide these children with a strong foundation on which they can build for success in the future,” Gov. Scott Walker said in a news release. Walker, a Delavan-Darien graduate, attended a Nov. 5 ceremony marking the club’s opening.

Thumbs up to a traveling Parker Pen exhibit. True to his word about spreading awareness of the Rock County Historical Society, Executive Director Mike Reuter has orchestrated the exhibit “Making Their mark; 125 Years of Parker Pen” at Olde Towne Mall in downtown Janesville. It helps that this first traveling exhibit is in a mall co-owned by Jackie Wood, the society’s board president. Reuter said the location provides good foot traffic in a safe, secure spot. The exhibit features an interactive kiosk with touch screens that give users interactive experiences and allow them to gauge how various Parker Pen brands affected them. The exhibit, to be in place until Nov. 8, 2014, also includes company history, advertisements and Parker Pen band music. It’s the type of interactive exhibit the society hopes to offer more often. In the process, the society should build its base of supporters.

Thumbs down to employers prying into private social media. Credit the state Senate for approving a bill to ban employers, landlords and colleges from requesting passwords so they can see private social media and email accounts of applicants for jobs, apartments and athletic scholarships. Some business groups applaud the legislation because it would still provide access to public Internet postings. A spokesman said Gov. Scott Walker would sign it if the Assembly passes it. Many young people today think nothing of posting online their every move—including some that might raise concerns for employers or colleges. However, letting employers, landlords and colleges pry into what applicants intended to be available online only to selected relatives and friends is almost the modern-day equivalent of demanding to read a diary. Applicants can refuse these demands but fear doing so could hurt their chances of landing jobs or being accepted. Other states have been rushing to protect such content, and it’s great to see bipartisan support for this bill in Madison.

Thumbs up to Parker High’s kitchen. The cafeteria kitchen in the high school on Janesville’s west side scored an unheard-of 100 percent in a recent Rock County Health Department inspection. Among other things, an inspection checks for cleanliness and staff procedures, and gauges whether hot and cold foods are kept at safe temperatures. Parker’s kitchen manager, Annie Lobrano, earns an “A,” as does her staff. Other kitchens in the Janesville School District are near flawless, as well. Since the federal government demanded school kitchen safety and sanitation improvements in 2008, average inspection scores in Janesville’s district have risen from 82 to a stellar 96.5. Jim Degan, district manager of food services, and his assistant Laurie Meehan are doing things right, as are kitchen workers throughout the district.

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