Best of The Gazette, May 13: Moms, gambling and a local craftsman
The Gazette publishes a lot of news in a week. Combine that with all the distractions a weekend brings, and that means there's a good chance you might have missed some important stories. Here's a look at of some of The Gazette's best content from the last week or so:
Police found Britney Cross' body in Janesville last week. She was bludgeoned to death by her ex-boyfriend, they say. Family and friends described the 21-year-old woman as a steadfast friend who wore a peace-sign pendant and called people she loved “groovy.” “I didn't know this would happen,” said Tyler Cross, her younger brother. “If I did, I know what I'd have told her. I'd have said, 'I love you.'”
What's Mother's Day like for a woman with 17 children? Ask Janesville's Agnes Debroux. After bearing and rearing so many children, Agnes appears quite sane and centered, reporter Marcia Nelesen writes. She also has 35 grandchildren, 31 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren. Not surprisingly, she has no pets.
There is almost not a day that goes by in which Alli Calkins, a three-sport standout at Janesville Craig, stops in to see her mother, Kathy, who works as the athletic trainer at the high school. “We've had a few of those days where I choose not to stop down, but most days we're on good terms by 3:20,” Alli said. “I think my close friends (think of her as a second mom). I joke that she's better friends with some of the senior class than I am.”
Wisconsin's Beau Allen took it personally that he wasn't invited to the NFL's scouting combine in Indianapolis in February. “For me to see defensive linemen I know that I am better than at the combine was really insulting,” said Allen. “Pro day was my shot, and I came out there and did everything I wanted to do. Not getting invited to the combine definitely gave me something to be angry about.” But that snub didn't stop him from getting drafted.
Wisconsin beefed up its drunken driving laws this year. Really. Gov. Scott Walker signed related legislation April 8. The bill was so weak, however, that it didn't even warrant mention in an Associated Press roundup hitting the highlights of the 62 he signed that day. To argue lawmakers didn't do enough to address the problem might be the year's biggest understatement, The Gazette Editorial Board writes.
Seniors are less likely and less willing to seek help when gambling becomes a problem. There's a tendency for them to hide possible gambling issues because of embarrassment, so they are reluctant to reach out. And for seniors, particularly those on fixed incomes, the financial impact of a gambling problem can be quick and devastating, Rose Gruber of the Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling writes.
Thirty-three craft beers on tap. For fans of the craft beer craze, that's about all you'd have to say to persuade them to check out the Side Door Grill and Tap. But there are reasons for folks who aren't microbrew aficionados to drop by for a visit as well, especially if you're on State Street and looking for upscale comfort food, restaurant reviewer Bill Livick writes.
Organizers of the Janesville summer school musical scored a coup this year when director Jim Tropp persuaded Tony Award-winning actress Karen Olivo to lead a three-day workshop for students in this year's show, the American jukebox musical “All Shook Up.” “I keep pinching myself,” said Jan Knutson, a Parker High School music teacher who is co-directing the music with her husband, Brian. “We're just so thrilled about it.”
Video blogger Glen Loyd takes viewers on a trip back in time. Get ready for black-and-white footage, hand-powered movie cameras and skillful photography.
Whether you're planning to start raising chickens for the first time, or just try a new breed of poultry, make sure you have an exit strategy set in place, community blogger Dale Wheelock writes. After a few months, you may realize raising poultry is not, ahem, all it's cracked up to be.
If everything were as clean and simple as Tad Smardo's table designs, he wouldn't have a care in the world. But Smardo must now worry about running his business, the new Tad's Tables and More in downtown Edgerton. “I'm not a fancy craftsman. I'm not Norm Abram from 'This Old House.' My stuff is pretty simple,” Smardo said. “It's the type of thing that looks better once you swipe your hand over it and feel it. And it looks even better when it gets older. It's real wood.”
Bill and Marilyn Hess of Janesville have been Revolutionary War re-enactors since 1981. As members of the nonprofit North West Territory Alliance, they strive to duplicate the uniforms, weapons, battlefield tactics and camp life of the era as accurately as possible. "When you put on your period clothing, it brings it into perspective what these are all about," Bill said. "It isn't just about a bunch of guys shooting guns."