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Connecting the dots to Black Hawk: Artist starts work on downtown mural


The image shows Chief Black Hawk at his most regal.

His chin is lifted, his prominent cheekbones giving his face its distinctive look.

In the background, the landscape shows woodlands and a mountain.

That’s the image artist Jeff Henriquez has created for a massive mural on the north side of the downtown Janesville building at 29 S. Main St.

Henriquez started work Wednesday between bouts of rain. He created a grid of dots to serve as a guideline for his initial sketch and the final painted image.

On Thursday, he started sketching the Sauk Indian chief.

Depending on the weather, the mural could take 10 days to two weeks to finish.

Everything will be done in spray paint.

Angela Major 

A portion of the mural outline is completed Thursday, June 13, 2019, in downtown Janesville.

Henriquez’s previous work shows the exquisite details and emotional impact that can be achieved with spray paint, even on an uneven canvas of bricks.

When asked how he developed such detail and clarity, Henriquez replied, “It’s the same way you get to Carnegie Hall: Practice, practice, practice.”

Angela Major 

Jeff Henriquez uses spray paint to create the outline of Black Hawk on Thursday, June 13, 2019, in downtown Janesville.

A can of spray paint has a surprising amount of range.

“There’s some different types of caps, and there’s different types of pressure,” Henriquez said. “You can turn the can upside down, let some of the air out so you get a softer line; you can turn the can one way, and you get an edge.”

In the end, the Carnegie Hall advice still applies.

“It’s all just practice,” Henriquez said. “You gotta screw things up a lot and then be like, ‘OK, this is not how things are done,’ and then you have to try something else.”

Henriquez, who lives in Newark, New Jersey, has spent a significant amount of time in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, where people can find his artwork livening up stale walls and energizing street corners.

Angela Major 

Jeff Henriquez uses a lift to paint a mural of Black Hawk on Thursday, June 13, 2019, along Main Street in downtown Janesville.

This is his first time in the Midwest—outside Chicago, that is. It’s also one of the largest projects Henriquez has created on his own. He has done some commercial jobs on the sides of buildings, but he was always accompanied by other artists.

Even as he was getting started Wednesday, he drew small crowds. When he begins to paint, those numbers are expected to increase.

Henriquez isn’t bothered.

“That’s all right,” he said. “It’s all about the public. We’re here to bring some vibrancy, some happiness here.”

His work is being supported by Janesville resident Nigella Ryan and the owners of the building, George and Karen Collas.

Ryan first saw Henriquez’s work during a visit to Salem, Massachusetts. There, a development council hired a number of artists to create massive outdoor murals for a neighborhood revitalization project.

Angela Major 

Jeff Henriquez uses a lift to paint the outline of Chief Blackhawk on Thursday, June 13, 2019, in Janesville.

Obituaries and death notices for June 14, 2019

Priscilla “Pat” Benton

Danny “Doc” Franklin Clark

Simon C. Haskins

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Ag company plans $10 million fertilizer plant in town of Rock


International agricultural chemical company Nutrien plans to build a $10 million fertilizer plant and regional office in the town of Rock, company and town officials said.

The facility will supply fertilizers, seed chemicals and field treatments for more than 100,000 acres of farmland in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

Submitted by Marcus Construction 

A rendering of the $10 million fertilizer plant agricultural chemical company Nutrien plans to build in the town of Rock.

The company’s subsidiary, Nutrien Ag Solutions, a retailer of crop production inputs, is planning what town officials said will be a $10 million fertilizer plant on about 10 acres off Beloit-Rock Townline Road, just north of the Alliant Energy Riverside Energy Center.

Nutrien officials and town of Rock officials said the plant will be a site for wet and dry fertilizer storage. It will serve as a retail hub that Nutrien will use to distribute and deliver chemicals to farms in a large swath in Rock and Green counties and counties in northern Illinois.

Mark Gunn, Rock Town Board chairman, said Nutrien’s plant will be the biggest new commercial development the town has seen in years. He said it will be a benefit to farmers in the town and throughout the region.

Nutrien, a new company formed in 2018 from several subsidiaries, agreed to develop the town of Rock property after the town earlier this year approved a conditional-use permit for landowner Arthur Donaldson.

Local planning and environmental reviews are underway, Gunn and town inspector Chris Dodge said. A Minnesota-based contractor is grading and preparing the site for electrical service, Dodge said. No structural work has begun, Dodge said.

Under Nutrien’s former name, Agrium, subsidiaries Crop Production Services and Loveland have been operating for several years at an aging manufacturing site at 1903 Beloit Ave. on Janesville’s south side.

Nutrien has outgrown the Janesville site and plans to open the new facility by spring 2020, Nutrien Ag Solutions site manager Andrew Abbe told The Gazette.

It would be a significant expansion for the company locally and one that would make Nutrien’s future town of Rock site a regional center of retail distribution and corporate operations, Abbe said.

“We’ve grown so fast out of Janesville the last three years. We knew we’d been outgrowing the facility. As far as capacity and size, the new facility is about four times the size” of the Janesville site, Abbe said.

Angela Major 

A sign at the construction site at the future location of Nutrien Ag Solutions on Thursday in the town of Rock.

The plant will be built with new electronic automation, Abbe said, and all of the storage would be indoors—an “environmentally-safe” configuration that allows operations without using a major water capture system.

Abbe said the plant will include a large warehouse with semitrailer truck bays where dry fertilizers would be stored and a facility with tanks for liquid chemicals. He estimated the plant is set up to hold 2 million gallons of liquid chemicals and about 3,500 tons of dry fertilizer and seed treatments.

“That’s a really big outfit. This is going to be kind of like a flagship operation here. Everything will be state of the art,” Abbe said. “This is going to be something pretty special. I don’t know of any facilities that are this current and this updated.”

Abbe figures that between Nutrien’s regional corporate offices and the plant itself, the town of Rock site could employ 50 to 60 people during the busy seasons.

The plant is on land that’s west of the Rock River, an area of the town that’s not tied to an intergovernmental agreement the town of Rock holds with the city of Janesville.

Gunn said that means Janesville cannot annex land that encompasses the Nutrien site. That ensures property tax revenue generated from the plant will remain in the town of Rock.

“Our tax base, our town levy, is what we have to work with, and it would be pretty enhanced by this,” Gunn said. “I don’t have the particulars until the plant is able to be assessed, yet, but I’ll tell you it would be pretty enhanced.”

Angela Major 

A worker uses an excavator Thursday at the future site of a Nutrien Ag Solutions fertilizer plant in the town of Rock.