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UW-Whitewater quarterback Max Meylor celebrates after catching a touchdown pass from wide receiver Ryan Wisniewski during their 51-21 victory over Central College in an NCAA Division III quarterfinal on Saturday at Perkins Stadium.

Stella Messenger takes a closer look at toy with Milton Police officer Heather Peck on Wednesday during an annual Shop with a Cop event held at Walmart in Janesville. Officers from the Milton Police Department, Rock County Sheriff’s Department and Janesville Police Department helped 14 students from the Milton School District each shop for $200 worth of free Christmas presents.

Janesville Police officer Victoria Dawson helps Gunner Butler place another toy item into his cart while attending the annual Shop with a Cop event on Wednesday at Walmart in Janesville. Officers from the Milton Police Department, Rock County Sheriff’s Department and Janesville Police Department helped 14 students from the Milton School District each shop for $200 worth of free Christmas presents.

Ex-Loudenbeck aide eyes Assembly run


Darien native and Clinton resident Ellen Schutt wants to make a difference in her community, and that’s why the 26-year-old said she is seeking election to her first public office as candidate for the 31st Wisconsin Assembly District.

Schutt, who used to work as a staff member under current 31st District Rep. Amy Loudenbeck, R-Clinton, now works in the office of 50th Assembly District Rep. Tony Kurtz, R-Wonewoc.

Schutt says she plans to run as a Republican in the November 2022 general election, and Schutt has not run for office prior to this bid. Loudenbeck has announced she will not seek another term in the Assembly but will run for Wisconsin Secretary of State.

“As a former aide to Representative Loudenbeck, I thought she did an incredible job,” Schutt said. “Being involved in politics since college, I wanted to make sure there was a strong voice that represented us and I feel very passionate about running.”

Schutt attended Delavan-Darien High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from UW-Madison. She comes from a big family having grown up on a local farm, and has four siblings along with four nieces and nephews.

“Wanting everyone to survive and thrive in the area is really important to me,” Schutt said. “I want to make sure there’s a better future for the next generation and that’s why I am running.”

If elected, Schutt said she would focus on keeping taxes low to promote people moving to and staying in the southern Wisconsin area. She would highlight the need for public safety and be a proponent for sound agricultural policies that help local farmers.

“We can’t have a one-size-fits-all mentality,” Schutt said. “As a farm kid, I am very passionate about agriculture and having smart agricultural practices.”

Wisconsin Elections Commission data did not list any candidates challenging Schutt as of Wednesday. Loudenbeck announced Dec. 1 she would not seek reelection after 11 years in the Wisconsin State Assembly.

Obituaries and death notices for Dec. 7, 2021

Sharon Harrison

Kenneth Cornell Hereford

Nancy Glezen Quickel

Marjorie H. (Glende) Spencer

Merwyn “Mert” Taylor

Lance E. Thompson

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Milton council hears consultants pitch promotion of future fire referendum

Inching one step closer to drafting and promoting a referendum to fund fire and emergency services, the Milton Common Council heard from two prospective communications consultants at its meeting Tuesday night.

City officials say a referendum is needed pay for increasing costs of emergency services. After spending more than a year exploring its options, the city decided to garner public support for a referendum.

Milton City Administrator Al Hulick said the end goal is to create a “more sustainable, predictable and efficient” fire department. “That’s not meant to say that the existing situation is bad, but the ability to effectively staff and maintain departments of our size is becoming increasingly challenging,” he said.

Initially, the plan was to include a referendum on April 2022 ballots. But Hulick said this week that a fire referendum vote in August is more feasible.

At the council meeting, representatives of Mueller Communications and Red Shoes Inc. outlined their agencies’ qualifications and preferred means of communicating with the board and the public.

During their 15-minute presentation, James Madlom and Mia Tripi, of Milwaukee-based Mueller Communications laid out the 30-year-history of their marketing firm. They said Mueller Communications has worked on referendum initiatives in Fort Atkinson and Fond du Lac. According to Madlom, the firm was engaged with similar efforts in Pleasant Prairie, Fort Atkinson and the Western Lakes Fire District, based in Oconomowoc.

“At our core, we are strategic problem solvers,” Madlom said.

With 30 full-time employees, Mueller can do community surveys, research public safety needs in the area and deal with local media.

Lisa Cruz, of Red Shoes Inc., and Jeff Roemer, public safety manager for McMahon Public Safety and Municipal Management Group, gave a united pitch, claiming to be the “agency to call in crisis situations.”

Roemer said he and two other McMahon officials, have more than 80 years of public safety experience, including experience as fire chiefs.

Roemer said he and his colleagues provided fire management advice for the city of Delavan in April and helped win passage for a $66 million referendum for Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton.

After the presentations, Mayor Anissa Welch thanked the two consulting firms. She stressed the importance of choosing the right consultants to help guide the city as it looks to change how it provides fire protection.

“The council and our staff take it really seriously, because of what an important decision and an impactful decision it will have for generations to come,” she said.

The council took no action at the meeting. Hulick said the topic will be revisited at the council’s Jan. 4 meeting. The next common council meeting will be held ay 6 p.m., Dec. 21.

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Forward Janesville to hit the switches on second annual holiday lights contest


Last year, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, local chamber of commerce Forward Janesville rode a wave of renewed interest among local residents in decorating their homes with holiday lights.

The chamber group sponsored “Let it Glow, Let it Glow, Let it Glow,” a holiday lights contest that ultimately pitted about 30 entrants whose creations ranged between a re-enactments of famous Holiday film scenes to one house that was so brightly lit that organizers speculated whether the display would be visible from space on a cloudless night.

This year, Jenny Tschudy, Forward Janesville’s marketing coordinator, said “Let it Glow, Let it Glow, Let it Glow” is back.

The chamber, along with Alliant Energy and a cadre of local business sponsors, are hosting the contest, which includes prizes and matches by sponsors to support local charities.

Tschudy said the chamber has reached out to all the participants from the 2020 lights contest. Grand-prize winners from last year won’t have the chance to win again, but Tschudy said the contest is open to the first 35 people who sign up.

During the evenings the week of Jan. 1 through 6, those who enter the contest might notice slow-crawling visitors in cars who might be leaning out their windows with cameras or clipboards. Those people are volunteer judges for the light contest, and they’re observing your light show to give it a score that will be used for part of the judging.

Top prize this year is a $350 gift card from Forward Janesville, plus a $350 match to benefit a local nonprofit charity. Prizes for second place is a $250 gift card and a match to a local charity; and the third-place winner will be awarded a $125 gift card plus a match to a local charity.

Unlike last year, this contest will include a people’s choice vote. Winner of the people’s choice category will receive a $75 gift card along with a match to a local charity.

Any resident can place a people’s choice vote by texting to 507-568-2172 the voting number listed for the address of the home they think has the best lights.

A map of all contestants with voting numbers will be posted on Facebook and the Forward Janesville website on Saturday, Jan. 1.

Though you might have spent hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of dollars on lights—and the electricity to run them certainly costs money, too (but you probably wouldn’t have decorated if you were worried about all that), the chamber’s lights contest itself is free to all participants.

Participants are required to include with their registration a photo of their light display.

Decorations can include exterior decorations on windows, on houses and other residential buildings, and in yards, but the lights must be visible to judges from the road.

The one suggestion, whatever you do, would be to make your display as bright as possible. Consider oodles of lights—or as many as you think might fit the boundaries of taste and the built-in limitations of your home’s electrical system.

“We’re not going to discriminate,” Tschudy said. “What’s beautiful to one person may not be beautiful to everyone else. But what counts is if it’s beautiful to you.”

So, then, is it a case of “Don’t hide your 20-foot-tall, lighted reindeer under a bushel?”

“That’s right,” Tschudy said. “I always say it’s good to err on the side of cheesy.”