Dean Copps once went for a run when the thermostat read 13 degrees below zero.
So running Tuesday night, when the temperature hovered around 11 degrees, was no big deal.
About 25 people dressed in reflective, fluorescent outfits braved the cold and snow to run in the first Tuesday night pub run at Sidelines Sports Pub and Grill in Janesville.
Pub runs have been offered in Madison and Milwaukee for years, organizer Shilo Titus said. He wanted to give Janesville runners an opportunity to run together while learning about upcoming events and organizations.
Tuesday’s run featured representatives from the Madison Mini-Marathon, Fleet Feet shoes and Wisconsin Brewing Company.
Madison Mini-Marathon reps promoted their event, while Fleet Feet reps fitted people for running shoes. The brewing company offered free beer to participants after their 4-mile trek on Wuthering Hills Drive.
Beer might not make runners faster, but it does help people socialize, Titus said.
Runners of all experience levels are welcome to join the group, he said.
Tuesday’s route started at Sidelines and followed Wuthering Hills Drive to Milwaukee Street, where runners turned around and came back. Titus said it’s an easy course that is “impossible” to get lost on, which makes it appealing for the runs.
Those looking to avoid hills opted for a slightly shorter path around the Janesville Youth Sports Complex baseball diamonds.
People often ask Titus why he runs when it’s freezing outside.
Runners never know what weather conditions they will face when they sign up for a race, he said. He and other runners practice in all kinds of weather so they’ll be prepared.
The key to winter running is layers, Titus said. His usual winter outfit includes waterproof shirts and pants, a jacket, one or two pairs of gloves and a couple of hats.
Copps said he usually doesn’t feel the cold after the first mile.
After years of running solo, Copps started joining groups such as the pub run and has never looked back.
“Running by yourself stinks after this,” he said.
Titus wants to create a comfortable environment for people to join the group and make friends. Everyone can benefit from the runs, he said.
“Getting outside and fresh air is key to mental stability,” Titus said.
Tuesday night pub runs will be offered once a month with new organizations attending each time.
The next one is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, March 6.
For more information, search Tuesday night pub run on Facebook or email Petra Kilian at petra@madison minimarathon.com.
Local • 3A, 7A
Police: Kids forced to fight
Two men accused of forcing two boys, ages 7 and 8, to fight each other at a baby shower face felony charges in Walworth County Court. Two boys told a sheriff’s deputy that the men forced the boys to fight each other in one of the men’s backyard. The men threatened to beat the two boys if they didn’t fight each other, according to a criminal complaint.
Nation/World • 6B-7B
Rocket, car sent into orbit
SpaceX’s big new rocket blasted off Tuesday on its first test flight, carrying a red sports car aiming for an endless road trip past Mars. The Falcon Heavy rose from the same launch pad used by NASA nearly 50 years ago to send men to the moon. With liftoff, the Heavy became the most powerful rocket in use today, doubling the liftoff punch of its closest competitor.
Gene Wright said he will spend the next six months working to reinvigorate the Clinton Fire Department membership as chief.
“My goal is to get the membership of the department ready for the future,” Wright said. “I’m here to help our neighbors.”
Wright, the town of Beloit fire chief, will serve as interim chief for the Clinton Fire Department after a joint board finalized the decision Tuesday night.
Wright said he will fulfill all of his duties for the town of Beloit but contribute about 20 hours each week to the Clinton department.
The appointment was approved Tuesday night by the Clinton Fire Protection District Board, the Clinton Village Board, the Clinton Town Board and the Bradford Town Board.
Members from the community were not allowed to speak at the meeting, but about 80 district residents attended.
“The time for debate is over,” Clinton Village Police Chief David Hooker told The Gazette before the meeting. “Our feelings are, we know there’s a problem, we’re acknowledging there’s a problem,” and the intention Tuesday night was to “take care of this problem.”
The Clinton Fire Department has been without a permanent chief since November. In the past several months, the department has lost about one-quarter of its staff, Hooker said.
The fire district board has also lost several members. The village of Clinton is without three of its four appointed board representatives.
Two of those fire board members resigned, but at least one member was informed that he “was no longer appointed,” Hooker said. That member resigned Tuesday afternoon.
Jeff London became interim fire chief after the longtime Clinton Fire Department Chief John Rindfleisch resigned in November. London said he was “removed” from his position as interim chief several weeks ago. He resigned from the department a few days later.
A Jan. 30 memo by attorneys for the municipalities and the fire district board gives the board’s version of troubles between the department and the board.
London said information in the memo is correct, but he said it lacks the department’s input.
London said he felt the department wasn’t being listened to in the past few months by the fire district board or the town boards.
“No matter what we did, we were shut down on asking questions,” London said.
London said the working relationship used to be “very, very good” between the fire department and the board and that Rindfleisch “was the reason for a lot of that.”
The recent lack of communication with the fire district board was one of the reasons London retired from the department after 36 years of service, he said.
“I was doing everything I could within my authority and knowledge to try and hold everything together,” London said. “It just got to the point to where I was fighting an uphill battle.”
After the meeting, Wright said his first step will be to sit down with the members of the department to “figure out where we’re at.”
“I’m here to assist,” Wright said. “We’re not taking over. We’re here to make the community better.”
Wright said he is “a clean slate type of person” and that he would entertain the idea of hiring back members of the fire department who have resigned in the past few months.
“This takes a lot of dedication, and we need it here,” Wright said. “The biggest thing is the lack of policies at the board level, the lack of a long-term direction.”
London said hiring a chief from outside the department to solve the current dilemma is “unfortunate” when there are already “capable people in the department to do that.”
But London said he has faith in Wright.
“I know it’s something that he can do, and it can be corrected,” London said. “But he has to have the support from the district board and the municipal boards. If he doesn’t have that support, then nothing is going to change.”