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Local couple bringing hardware store, retail variety back to Janesville's west side

JANESVILLE

While showing off their brand-new Lloyd’s True Value hardware store soon to open off West Court Street, Janesville couple Christopher and Anita Lloyd voiced differing ideas of what ranks as the store’s coolest and best items.

For Christopher, a retired Janesville firefighter, it’s the big wall of DeWalt and Makita power tools—or the handmade, wooden American flag he has hung as décor to set off the dark wood front wall.

Anita, a former local manufacturing employee and dyed-in-the-wool animal lover, favors the store’s full aisle of pet toys and bird feeders.

That, she said, is one touch she added to the new store.

“I don’t want this to be just the average hardware store,” Anita Lloyd said. “I also want to draw the women in. You’ve got to have your curb appeal, you’ve got to have your look, and you have to carry a variety of things people expect, but also some things they don’t expect.”

That’s where Christopher cuts in, his eyes twinkling.

“We wanted to get some of the Yankee Candle stuff, some of the ‘girly’ stuff,” he said.

Chris and Anita Lloyd are new to retail, but the couple says they’ve been trying to open a hardware store in Janesville off and on since 2007.

Most recently, in 2017, the couple had made a bid on the former True Value franchise on Center Avenue on Janesville’s south side when that store was planning to shut down.

Two years later, they started pursuing the build out of this new True Value franchise on a West Court Street lot next door to the Daniels Foods supermarket. The new store is almost fully fleshed out and slated to open sometime in December.

What the couple has ranks as unique for Janesville’s west side.

For one, Lloyd’s True Value will be the first standalone hardware store to open on the West Court Street commercial strip, known as the Westgate Corridor, since the early 1980s.

The new shop’s physical curb appeal—a dark red, steel façade with a prairie-style carved stone front entryway—is something the couple said they carefully crafted to grab the eye of people driving by.

Overall, it’s the first new retail business to be built from the ground up on the west side since before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020.

Christopher Lloyd said that he saw small business financing deals for his project fall through a few times during the pandemic—an irony considering the number of businesses locally that have been able to cash in on federal COVID-19 relief loans.

The delays and hiccups might have been a blessing in disguise. The Lloyds said that True Value officials told him that had the store launched a year ago, it’s likely that suppliers would have been able to stock only about 65% of all inventory that the store aims to carry.

As of late November, Christopher Lloyd said the supply chain picture has brightened. Overall, he said True Value expects its supply chain to be able to deliver about 90% of the new store’s planned inventory.

Along with being the only hardware store within 2 miles of Janesville’s west and south business corridors, Lloyd thinks his new store might scratch the pesky—and growing—itch of consumer impatience.

“My kids are still mainly Amazon shoppers. But with that online buying, the days of you getting your goods within one or two days, it’s kind of gone. It’s not that way right now,” Christopher Lloyd said. “Now you’re waiting two, three weeks. So that’s driving people back to the (brick-and-mortar) stores some because they need what they need now, not a month from now.”

The term “variety store” might be outdated, but Anita said customers should expect to find items at Lloyd’s True Value that they might not see at other hardware stores, such as plants, décor and knickknacks.

Anita said she has dedicated a full store aisle to pet toys and bird feeders in part because residents on the south and east side said they had gotten sick of traveling across town to buy such items at big-box stores.

“On the west side and south side of town, there was a pharmacy that used to carry cute little knickknacks and stuff like that. I collected angels that they had, and they had the best selection of knickknacks, flower arrangements and things like that. For some reason, they went away from it. That was just so sad, it was just disappointing,” she said. “We’re going to bring that back over to this side of town.”


National
AP
Chief: No evidence parade-crash suspect knew anyone on route

WAUKESHA

The SUV driver who plowed into a Christmas parade Sunday, killing at least five people and injuring 48, was leaving the scene of a domestic dispute that had taken place just minutes earlier, Waukesha’s police chief said Monday.

Police Chief Dan Thompson said that there was no evidence the bloodshed Sunday was a terrorist attack or that the suspect, Darrell Brooks Jr., knew anyone in the parade. Brooks acted alone, the chief said.

Brooks, 39, of Milwaukee, had left the site of the domestic disturbance before officers arrived, and was not being chased by police at the time of the crash, according to the chief, who gave no further details on the dispute.

Police said they were drawing up five charges of intentional homicide against Brooks.

He has been charged with crimes 16 times since 1999 and had two outstanding cases against him at the time of the parade disaster—including one in which he was accused of deliberately running down a woman with his vehicle.

On Sunday, a joyous scene of marching bands and children dancing in Santa hats and waving pompoms gave way in an instant to screams and the sight of crumpled bodies as the SUV sped through barricades and struck dancers, musicians and others in the city of 72,000.

The dead were identified as four women ages 52 to 79 and an 81-year-old man. Members of a Dancing Grannies club were among those killed, as was a bank employee.

Mayor Shawn Reilly described the parade as a “Norman Rockwell-type” event that “became a nightmare.”

“It looked like dummies being thrown in the air,” said Nicole Schneiter, who was there with her children and grandchildren. “It took a second to register, like, ‘Is that what we really just saw?’ And then you looked in the road and there were just people laying in the road.”

At least nine patients, most of them children, were listed in critical condition at two hospitals, and seven others were reported in serious condition.

Hundreds gathered at a downtown park Monday night for a candlelight vigil to honor those lost and hurt. Volunteers handed out sandwiches, hot chocolate and candles at the vigil, which was attended by interfaith leaders and elected officials.

“We are parents. We are neighbors. We are hurting. We are angry. We are sad. We are confused. We are thankful. We are all in this together. We are Waukesha Strong,” said a tearful Amanda Medina Roddy with the Waukesha School District.

The chief said that while police were not pursuing Brooks before he entered the parade route, an officer did fire a shot to try to stop him but ceased shooting because of the danger to others. Brooks was not injured.

Brooks has two open criminal cases in Milwaukee County. In one case, filed Nov. 5, he is charged with resisting or obstructing an officer, reckless endangering, disorderly conduct, bail jumping and battery. Records show his $1,000 cash bond was posted Friday.

In that case, a woman told police that Brooks deliberately ran her over with his vehicle in a gas station parking lot after a fight. She was hospitalized for her injuries.

In the other case, filed in July 2020, Brooks is charged with reckless endangering and illegal possession of a firearm.

His attorney in those cases, Joseph Domask, said he was not representing him in the parade crash.

The Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office said prosecutors’ $1,000 bail recommendation for Brooks was “inappropriately low,” given the charges. The DA’s office said it is investigating the matter.

Republican Rebecca Kleefisch, a former Wisconsin lieutenant governor who is running for governor in 2022, called the killings “yet another avoidable tragedy that occurred because a violent career criminal was allowed to walk free and terrorize our community.”

Brooks is an aspiring rapper. On a YouTube page, a video that has since been removed showed him rapping in front of a red Ford SUV resembling the one at the parade. The rapper uses the name MathBoi Fly on his Twitter and other social media accounts.

The horror of the crash was recorded by the city’s livestream and onlookers’ cellphones. One video shows the moment the SUV broke through the barricades and includes apparent gunfire.

“It was like a war scene walking through there” afterward, said Ken Walter, who had been riding in the parade in a hot air balloon basket towed on a trailer along with his wife and youngest son. “There were these piles of blankets with cops standing over them that you just knew were bodies.”

Walter said he saw a red SUV careen into view and watched it hit a member of his real estate-agency parade contingent, then barrel straight into members of the Waukesha South High School marching band.

The SUV continued down the parade route. Behind it, people were screaming, running, searching for family and friends and unsure whether they were still in danger, he recalled.

Schneiter said that after sheltering in a store, she emerged to see bodies in the street, along with strollers, chairs, candy and shoes.

Police identified those killed as Virginia Sorenson, 79; LeAnna Owen, 71; Tamara Durand, 52; Jane Kulich, 52; and Wilhelm Hospel, 81.

The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies posted on its Facebook page that its members were “doing what they loved, performing in front of crowds in a parade, putting smiles on faces of all ages, filling them with joy and happiness.”

Eighteen children ages 3 to 16 were brought to Children’s Wisconsin Hospital, including three sets of siblings, said Dr. Amy Drendel, medical director of the emergency department.

They suffered injuries ranging from scrapes on their faces to broken bones and serious head injuries, she said. Six were listed in critical condition.

The Waukesha school district canceled classes Monday and today and said extra counselors would be on hand for students and staff. The parade’s lineup included cheer, dance and band entries associated with district schools.

The parade, held each year on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. This year’s parade was the 59th one.


Obituaries and death notices for Nov. 23, 2021

Richard Anderson

Frieda Callegari

Thomas J. Delaney

Evelyn Jane (Lhotka) Griffing

Joann B. Hummel

Georgia A. (Tiegs) Janisch

Gerald “Jerry” Miller

Bridget J. O’Neill

Lydia H. Scott

Lois C. (McDermott) Schulze

Charles G. Spooner

James B. Udelhoven


Education
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Effort to alter Milton School District's COVID-19 masking, quarantine protocols fails

MILTON

After a recent period of virtual learning at a Milton School District elementary school, an effort to change the Milton School District’s Milton Forward plan, which outlines the district’s COVID-19 quarantine and mask protocols, failed during a school board meeting Monday night.

One parent at the school board meeting described her frustration with the short-notice announcement of Consolidated Elementary School going into all-virtual learning from Nov. 5 to 18.

“When the administration put forward the Milton Forward plan, it was never conveyed that the administration could just go in and close down the school,” Heather Moore said during the public comment portion of the meeting. “When I spoke to the superintendent, (he said) we as parents are supposed to automatically assume that anytime in the past 18 months, school can get closed down.”

The district decided to go virtual at Consolidated after positive COVID-19 cases in multiple grade levels. Superintendent Rich Dahman said. He added there were a significant number of close contacts between the positive cases that comprised more than 50% of the student body.

In his report to the board about the district’s recent COVID-19 data, Dahman said that as of Thursday, Nov. 18, there were 26 active COVID-19 cases among students, 48 students quarantining after in-school exposure and 56 quarantining after out-of-school exposure. There were also four active staff cases and four staff members quarantining after exposures.

Dahman said about 63% of residents in the Milton School District are fully vaccinated and about 54% of 12- to 18-year-olds in the district are fully vaccinated. The high school recently hosted a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for 5- to 11-year-olds to receive their first dose of a vaccine.

“About 22% of our 5- to 11-year-olds have received their first dose,” Dahman said.

The superintendent did not recommend changing COVID-19 protocols Monday night but said it could be considered at the next board meeting Dec. 13. Dahman said the district wants to see if more students in the 5-to-11 age range get vaccinated and if case rates go down as a result.

After Dahman’s update, board member Leslie Hubert moved to alter the Milton Forward plan to end quarantine procedures and to make masking at Milton Middle and Milton High schools optional starting Monday, Nov. 29. Hubert’s proposal also would have made masking optional at district elementary schools starting Jan. 3, 2022.

Dave Holterman said he agreed with parts of Hubert’s proposal but was concerned about the younger age group and its access to the vaccines. Holterman, who said his young son was recently vaccinated, had issues trying to find a vaccination site.

Board member Shelly Crull-Hanke was concerned that upcoming holiday breaks could lead to increases in COVID-19 cases and said she would rather err on the side of safety. Board member Jennifer Johns also had a major issue with eliminating the quarantine protocols.

“This virus is contagious, we’ve seen it’s extremely contagious,” Johns said. “So eliminating quarantine altogether, regardless of vaccination status, is not something that I will be supportive of at all.”

Board member Rick Mullen also confirmed with Dahman that the quarantine procedures are currently mandated by Rock County, meaning Hubert’s motion would violate county protocols.

Board member Joe Martin offered an amendment to the motion to keep the quarantine protocols in place.

The board voted on the amended motion, which failed 4-2. Hubert and Martin voted yes. The board then voted on the original motion, which also failed 5-1. Hubert was the only yes.

School board President Mike Hoffman was not at Monday’s meeting.


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