Thumbs up/down for Monday, Aug. 26, 2013

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Thumbs up to the Girl Scouts One Tough Cookie challenge. The Girls Scouts of Wisconsin-Badgerland Council will again host the 5-kilometer adventure challenge Saturday, Sept. 14, at Oakwood Knoll Girl Scout Camp in East Troy. It is designed to not only raise money for the council but help women taking the noncompetitive challenge to build courage, confidence and character while having fun with friends. Fun, that is, if you’re up to clearing almost 20 obstacles, including an 8-foot vertical wall, a 7-foot angled wall and a 3-foot-deep mud pit. Girls ages 14 or older and women can sign up, and race intervals begin at 9 a.m. and continue throughout the day. Last year, more than 900 females took part and the first-time event raised more than $30,000. For more information, go to onetoughcookierun.org.

Thumbs down to state control over cell towers. A recent change in state law blocks communities from regulating most aspects of cellphone tower installations. The cellular industry argued that patchwork municipal rules shortchanged network coverage and wireless broadband service in some areas while negotiations between municipalities and cellular companies stretched for months. Yet aesthetics are important, and the change, slipped into law under the radar as part of the new state budget, usurps one more aspect of local control. “We thought we were doing a good job of meeting the needs of the cellphone networks without overwhelming the community with towers on every corner,” said Gale Price, Janesville’s manager of building and development services. “We tried to limit them and co-locate them where we could.” When current leases expire, towers could pop up and cause visual pollution most anywhere.

Thumbs up to anonymous tips using mobile devices. Walworth County CrimeStoppers hopes to boost crime tips through TipSoft, a program that allows people to send anonymous test messages, emails and web links using mobile devices or computers. Janesville has been using the technology for five years. Janesville police officer Chad Sullivan says TipSoft’s database strongly protects the tipster’s identity. In Janesville, text a tip to CRIMES (274637) and use keyword JACS with your message; or call 608-756-3636. In Walworth County, send tips by typing Tip4WC, then a message to CRIMES. Provide as much detail as possible, including the nature of the crime, identifying features of people, license plate numbers and other details. In Walworth County, you can also go to  tipsubmit.com/webtips.aspx?AgencyID=1192 or call 262-723-2677.

Thumbs up to a Rock County Historical Society assessment. A subsidy from a national museum organization covered the $4,000 for an outside consultant to analyze our historical society, its programs and direction. The analyst offered five priorities for the society to better engage the community. These suggest a stronger long-range plan and longer lease of properties with the city of Janesville; better signs around the Lincoln-Tallman House complex; making residents rather than tourists the primary target for marketing; reinvigorating events and adding new ones to encourage more local visits; and retooling tours and introducing new ones to encourage repeat visits. We’re glad to see that the society, steered by ambitious new Executive Director Mike Reuter, is not satisfied with the status quo and plans to incorporate these ideas as it strives to progress and be self-sustaining.

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