Thumbs up to Edward Brown Jr. We normally don't give "thumbs up" to people accused of armed robbery, but the Christmas spirit singled out Brown this year. Janesville police say Brown turned himself in after speaking with a chaplain about his crime. Brown reportedly told police he had committed an armed robbery Thursday at the Stop-N-Go at 1604 E. Racine St. after smoking crack cocaine. Brown encountered a chaplain at the Rock County Jail the next day when he came to pick up some property and "that was when he decided he needed to turn himself in," according to the criminal complaint. The chaplain talked to him about forgiveness, and we hope the judge in this case shows Brown compassion.
Thumbs down to kids on iPads during church. Our device-addicted society has sunk to a new low: Some parents are letting their kids play on iPads during church services. It's not a big surprise, actually. You can find kids on iPads anywhere children might lose their patience, from restaurants to airports, but sacred ceremonies had been off limits until recently. We understand kids get squirrelly during services, and parents sometimes bring food or books to try to keep their kids occupied and avoid creating a disturbance. But an iPad feels like thumbing one's nose at the altar itself. Church leaders who've noticed this problem might want to address their congregations: We hope you win that Mario Kart race. Just don't do it during church.
Thumbs up to Milton School District open records requests. The district received 127 open records requests this year through mid-December compared to only seven for the Janesville School District, according to a story by Milton Courier Managing Editor Rebecca Kanable. All that curiosity helps hold Milton officials accountable, even if the district doesn't always release the requested information. The Gazette made some of those requests, but many others contributed, including Milton resident Chuck Jackson, who sought copies of contracts for school officials. Milton has been blessed over the years with vigilant residents who aren't afraid to call out officials.
Thumbs up to a last-minute fundraising push. The Salvation Army of Rock County had only reached 62% of its fundraising goal as of last week, bringing in $248,000 through its red kettle campaign. Groups routinely miss their fundraising target, but with the economy roaring and unemployment near record lows, it's a shame to see the Salvation Army come up short. Rock County might look to Racine County for inspiration, where the Racine Salvation Army recently set a one-day fundraising record of $36,642. Much of the credit went to SC Johnson, a Racine-based company that matched people's donations. That's the level of generosity required in Janesville to help the Salvation Army reach its goal over the next couple of days.