Thumbs Up/Down for Monday, April 21, 2014

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Thumbs up to changes in the city’s demolition landfill. The city of Janesville has made the site more user friendly by keeping it open until 7 p.m. weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Last year, evening hours were just two days a week; the other weekdays, it closed at 3 p.m. That didn’t help families with regular work hours. The demolition landfill still lets only city residents dump leaves, grass clippings, garden debris and twigs for free in the compost area. Yes, the city has started charging to dump tree branches, brush, unpainted and untreated wood and concrete in its demolition landfill. Cost per cubic yard is $5.50 for residents and $7 for nonresidents. That’s reasonable given city costs and considering users are filling the space. Besides, the city reduced staffing costs by using seasonal help instead of paying full-timers overtime to man it.

Thumbs up to garden plans at an Elkhorn school. Jackson Elementary School has received a $2,000 grant from the Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation. The source shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, a medical organization understands the value of nutrition and education about healthy eating that a school garden can provide. Jackson will add $400 from Fiskars, which makes garden tools, to the foundation’s Seeds for a Healthy Tomorrow grant. The school will transform its overgrown courtyard into a comfortable reading spot, complete with vegetable plants, flowers and benches. Students, staffers and the general public will be encouraged to enjoy it. Foundation grants encourage community involvement to start and maintain the gardens. Jackson might use the produce to offer taste-testing lessons or for donations to food pantries or needy families. This garden seems destined to sprout not just lessons in healthy eating and science but teamwork and community spirit, as well.

Thumbs up to Parkview School District psychologist Jaime Harris. This Janesville Parker graduate is making a difference in the Orfordville district. She was named Wisconsin School Psychologist of the Year by the Wisconsin School Psychology Association. Beyond counseling students, identifying special needs and supporting parents, she uses data to identify and push changes that create better school environments. Harris and her computer-programming husband, Matt, have created a web-based program that helps teachers better understand and use testing and other assessment data. Their eduCLIMBER program also caught the attention of other school districts. Standardized test scores in Orfordville are rising, and Harris is an example of the good staffers doing good things at Parkview.

Thumbs up to Robert “Bob" Consigny’s lifetime of service. Some people toil through professional careers without taking time to give back to their communities. That wasn’t Consigny, who died April 11 at age 83. He served on the city plan commission right up until the end. But that was only one aspect of this longtime attorney’s public service. He was elected to the Rock County Board and served on the boards of the YMCA and Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center, presided over the Rock County Bar Association and was president of the First Lutheran Church Foundation. He pushed creation of two senior apartment complexes in Janesville. Consigny was a breed apart, and he used his booming voice to advocate for causes he held dear. The hospital, his church and his law firm stood as his three pillars, but he also enjoyed camping with buddies each summer. Good friend Rollie McClellan said “His heart was as big as all our outdoors.” Janesville is better for Consigny’s passions.

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