Thumbs up to planned safety upgrades for ARISE Town Square. The rescue of an 8-year-old who had fallen into the Rock River at the town square demands some type of action on the city's part. Officials say they will install a flotation device to assist in any future rescue effort. The city is also considering installing a floating "safety rope" downstream to help anyone caught in the river's current. A challenge with this site is its high walls along the river, making it difficult for someone who's fallen into the river to climb out. We hope the 8-year-old's fall was just a fluke. If it happens again or multiple times and a death occurs, the city might be forced to rethink the town square's design and take more drastic measures.
Thumbs down to Rep. Bryan Steil's response. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Janesville, neither rebuked President Trump nor condoned his tweets telling four Democratic congresswomen to "go back" to their countries (though they are U.S. citizens). In his response last week to Trump's outlandish attacks, Steil made a vague pronouncement about "disagreeing with someone without being disagreeable" and said "his tweet is not my style." Well, we should hope not. Steil is understandably frustrated dealing with questions that distract from his work in Congress. But tepid responses such as Steil's give Trump license to continue instigating chaos. By downplaying Trump's behavior, Republicans in Congress become complicit in the president's assault on political norms.
Thumbs down to Asian Bistro closing. One of Janesville's best Asian restaurants (first runner-up in The Gazette's Reader Choice awards this year) is closing, and its loyal fan base is mourning. Many customers took to social media to express their dismay. Lisa Fornstedt captured the overall sentiment with her comment: "This greatly upsets me. Your food is amazing, and everyone who works there is extremely kind. We will miss you." The restaurant's owners and building's owner failed to agree on terms for a new lease, prompting the decision to close the West Milwaukee Street restaurant Aug. 17. It is a shame, but hopefully, Asian Bistro will reopen someplace else in Janesville.
Thumbs up to suburban Chicago family's move to Rock County. Best of all, the Snare family started a farm, demonstrating agriculture has a future here despite the financial challenges. Ben and Meghan Snare run a community supported agriculture, or CSA, operation in the town of Plymouth near Orfordville. CSAs help connect their customers to the source of their food, giving more meaning to the dinnertime routine. The Snares haven't given up their day jobs in Illinois, yet, and continue to telecommute with aspirations of someday making their farm--Field and Farm Co.--a larger enterprise. Rural communities often fret about brain drain (young people leaving the area for urban settings), but in this case, Rock County is getting some great brain gain. We wish the Snares success.