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Angela Major 

Families walk together on the first day of the school year Tuesday, September 4, 2018, at Roosevelt Elementary School in Janesville.


Angela Major 

Jessica Smith, right, kisses her daughter, Jordan, as she attends the first day of second grade Tuesday, September 4, 2018, at Roosevelt Elementary School in Janesville.


Anthony Wahl 

Jim Disrud holds his hand out filled with milled corn from the authentically restored 1868 grist mill at the Beckman Mill, located at Beckman Mill County Park along County H west of Beloit.


Angela Major 

6-year-old Amara Rindfleisch covers her face from the sun while her parents take her photo on the first day of first grade Tuesday, September 4, 2018, at Roosevelt Elementary School in Janesville.


Obituaries and death notices for Sept. 5, 2018

Kenneth H. “Blackie” Blackburn Jr.

Marvin J. Herbert Jr.

Geraldine C. Hilt

Dennis H. Johns

Paul David Kitzman

Steven John Logterman

Jeffrey Glen Malkow

Joyce A. McGuire

Tonette Rebout

John Richard Reese

Dona Mae Risseeuw

William L. Slowey

Beverly J. Sutherland

James Cassidy Walsh

Sandra M. Wilkerson


Anthony Wahl 

Parker's Ashlyn Burdick hits her second shot on the this hole of their Big Eight Conference golf meet at Glen Erin Golf Course in Janesville on Tuesday, Sept. 4.


Local
top story
Water levels inch toward flood stage on Rock River, Lake Koshkonong

Expect flooding this week along the Rock River and the shores of Lake Koshkonong.

It will be nowhere near 2008’s carp-on-Main-Street levels, but the National Weather Service urges caution.

Flooding already has affected roads in the Avon Bottoms/Sugar River area in far southwestern Rock County.

The flooding on the lake and Rock River is minor so far, but it’s predicted to get worse by the weekend.

A minor problem has already arisen in the Newville area, where the Rock River flows out of Lake Koshkonong.

Matthew Prochaska, manager at The Anchor tavern, said Tuesday the water was so high that some boats couldn’t sail under the Highway 59 bridge. That means customers used to boating from the lake for drinks or dinner along the shore can’t get through.

Much of that traffic is from Illinois vacationers, Prochaska said, so the Anchor is trying promotions to boost local business.

But the tavern will lose business, and employees will see a decline in tips, Prochaska predicted.

The Lake Koshkonong gauge was close to 10 feet Tuesday, which is the level at which minor flooding begins. The forecast called for the gauge to rise to 11.4 feet by Saturday and to stay there at least through Monday.

Moderate flooding along the lakeshore starts at 11 feet, which means knee-deep water over Blackhawk Island, and Lake Koshkonong merges with Mud Lake.

Residents also can expect widespread flooding on the west side of the lake and along Oxbow Bend Road.

The Rock River at the Afton gauge was at 10.2 feet and rising Tuesday, a level that brings minor flooding.

The Afton gauge was forecast to rise to 10.9 feet by Saturday.

At 10.4 feet, floodwaters cover some spots on South River Road on Janesville’s south side and a road along the river in Janesville’s Riverside Park.

Extensive lowland and agricultural land flooding in the Afton and Janesville areas is also expected.

The weekend’s rainfalls, totaling 3.62 inches in downtown Janesville, have left the ground saturated, said meteorologist Ben Miller of the weather service’s Sullivan office, so most additional rain will run off the land and into the river.

How high the water will rise this weekend will depend on the amount of rainfall this week, Miller said.

The weather service predicted Tuesday that showers and thunderstorms from Tuesday night through early Thursday morning would amount to one-half inch to an inch in the Janesville area.

Miller said if the rainfall is greater, and especially if it’s over a wide area, the river flooding forecast could be revised upward.

If the river were to rise to 11.5 feet at Afton, water would cover and close many secondary roads in the Afton area, and Janesville’s Traxler Park would be flooded.

Miller said most people who die during flooding drive their cars into water-covered roads, sometimes ignoring warning signs.

“Heed the warnings. Don’t drive through flooded roadways. It’s not worth it,” he said.

Nick Elmer, assistant director of public works for Rock County, and John Whitcomb, director of operations for the Janesville Public Works Department, were in a wait-and-see mode Tuesday.

Sandbag stations were established last week, and those are still available, Elmer said. In Janesville, sandbags are available by appointment by calling the City Services Center, 608-755-3110.

Water from rainfalls to the north over the past two weeks is arriving in Rock County now, Miller said. That includes areas of the Rock River Watershed as far north as Green Lake, Fond du Lac and Washington counties, the Horicon Marsh and the Madison chain of lakes area.

While Madison is dealing with high water on its lakes, and that water flows down the Yahara River to join the Rock River near Fulton, that represents a small fraction of the Rock River’s total, Miller said.


Local
Questions continue to swirl around future of Milton fire station

MILTON

The Milton City Council hopes to keep communication with other governing bodies open while community leaders search for a way to upgrade or replace the city’s ailing fire station.

At its Tuesday meeting, the city council tried to flesh out the city’s stance on how it thinks the Milton Joint Fire Commission should approach updating the Milton Fire Department’s facilities.

Discussion focused mainly on getting the city council caught up on what the fire commission has done so far.

At the end of the night, the council chose to table further discussion on fire department facilities until after the commission can provide cost estimates for four potential solutions that were proposed at the commission’s last meeting.

Milton Town Supervisor and Joint Fire Commission member Jon Jennings gave the council an overview of the four potential solutions that Fire Chief Randy Banker will provide plans for in the next six months. They include:

  • Renovating or replacing the fire station at its current location.
  • Building a new fire station at a new site within the Milton fire district.
  • Building a shared fire station with the Janesville Fire Department on the north side of Janesville and maintaining the existing Milton station as a secondary station.
  • Building a shared station with the Janesville Fire Department on Janesville’s north side and building a secondary station at a new site in the Milton fire district.

A group of a couple dozen Milton Fire Department employees attended Tuesday’s meeting.

Deputy Chief Jeremy Parker said he is glad there is open communication with the council.

Ideally, Milton would have a fire station on both sides of the railroad tracks that bisect the Milton fire district, Parker said. Staff won’t know what the most feasible solution will be until they learn the details.

Among many uncertainties is how the fire commission would staff a new station or multiple stations.

Jennings said it would be putting the cart before the horse to talk about operations before having capital solution.

Alderman Larry Laehn said at an August council meeting that he thought the council should further explore the possibility of sharing a fire station with the city of Janesville, said City Administrator Al Hulick.

Laehn said he was satisfied by the end of Tuesday’s discussion.

Hulick said it’s still unclear what the commission wants.

The fire commission chose to suspend a subcommittee charged with making decisions on a new fire station until the full commission can narrow down what it wants to build, Jennings said.