Thumbs up/down for Monday, March 17, 2014

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Thumbs up to police chaplains. The Janesville Police Department’s chaplaincy program is hosting  three days of police chaplaincy training this week at the Holiday Inn Express. The local chaplaincy program was formalized in 2005 after police officers and ministers teamed up for years of work. Today, involved chaplains are the Rev. Bruce Jones of First Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Bob Lebron of Trinity Episcopal Church, the Rev. Dan Grimes of Emmanuel Church, the Rev. Tim Hartley of Harvesters Church, the Rev. Jim Moses of Abundant Life Church and the Rev. Paul Speerbrecher of St. Mark Lutheran Church. As reporter Catherine W. Idzerda explained in a story last week, the ministers rotate into on-call shifts to provide support when officers must inform a family of a loved one’s death, help with debriefing and defusing after major incidents, support officers and absorb some of the emotional trauma of victim families so police can focus on other duties.

Thumbs up to Wisconsin Master Naturalist volunteer training. The Master Gardener program has been a wonderful way to train experts who then agree to spread knowledge of gardening. On a similar vein, Master Naturalist training will spread knowledge of nature. Once trained, these experts will be expected to volunteer at such sites as nature centers, parks and museums. Lena Verkuilen, director of the Welty Environmental Center, west of Beloit, and Dan Bartlett of Beloit College will start teaching this course for up to 25 people April 8. It will foster awareness, understanding and stewardship of our state’s vast natural resources. Classes will be Tuesday and Thursday evenings for six weeks at the environmental center, along with two all-day mandatory Saturday field trips. Cost is $250. For information, go to wimasternaturalist.org. Register online at gazettextra.com/naturalist or contact Martha Martin at 608-262-0020 or mimartin3@wisc.edu.

Thumbs up to Hazel Tellefson. She might be 95 and living at Whitewater’s Fairhaven Senior Services, but that doesn’t stop her from helping make the world a little warmer. She does so by stitching and giving away quilts to groups and charitable causes. Last year, she crafted 95. In 2012, she made 110. Her time and gifts are “nothing special,” she told Andrea Anderson in the March 9 Gazette. Recipients of her generosity, however, likely would disagree. So would the Rev. Steven Forrest of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. He called her efforts “priceless.” As part of its 160th anniversary celebration, the Whitewater church set a goal of gathering 160 blankets to donate to children in a trip to Peru. Tellefson has made more than 70 of them. She might be slowing down and tiring more quickly, but she should inspire all senior citizens to realize that volunteerism and purpose can help keep them active and healthy for many more years.

Thumbs up to the US First Rock n’ Robots Team 3692. Janesville’s squad of Craig and Parker high school students won the Lake Superior Regional and qualified for nationals April 22-26 in St. Louis. These 15 students didn’t reach this level without lots of talent and hard work, coupled with dedicated instructors and adult volunteers. They also didn’t get this far without support of the district and sponsorship from Prent Corp. and Pierson Products. To reach nationals, they need even more help—$5,000 to register and almost another $5,000 for travel expenses. Computer programming teacher and adviser Bob Getka calls it an amazing opportunity. Our community should do whatever it can to help these bright students—those interested in science, engineering, technology and math—aspire to the highest achievement possible. To donate, call Getka at 608-436-8044.

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