Thumbs down to deluge of candy before Halloween. Holiday creep is an American tradition, as many stores now promote Christmas before Halloween. But it's unfortunate many businesses and organizations start handing out candy long before Oct. 31. Kids these days seem to collect two bags of loot: one from trick-or-treating on Halloween night and another during the weeks leading up to Halloween. October, unfortunately, has become license for kids to gorge on junk food, and shame on the adults for it. Obesity and diabetes among children is at record levels, and many of the adults in these kids' lives seem not to care. For the sake of the children's health, give them an apple or a trinket—anything but sugar-laden junk food. Besides, all the candy before Halloween diminishes the holiday itself.
Thumbs up to Franklin Middle School cellphone policy. Janesville School Board members are understandably confused by the district's cellphone policy, which allows each school to decide for itself whether to allow the devices in the classroom. With that said, we like Franklin's policy the best. Students there lock their phones into pouches at the start of the day and unlock them from the pouches at the end of the day. It's simple and effective. Policies requiring students to leave their phones in their lockers don't work as well because many students hide the phones in their pockets, complicating enforcement efforts. Marshall Middle School and both Parker and Craig high schools should switch to the pouch system, and the school board should consider mandating it.
Thumbs up to new crosswalk signal for Hedberg Public Library. The Janesville Police Department deserves kudos for focusing on pedestrian safety during an enforcement effort last month. The police discovered the crosswalk on South Main Street at the library is particularly hazardous, and they're recommending the city install a crosswalk signal there. Police found only 45% of vehicles yielded for pedestrians at that crosswalk, while nearly 80% of vehicles stopped at a signaled crossing on South Main Street near the Olde Towne Mall. The sad truth about Janesville drivers is that many of them simply aren't paying attention, and they need lights to get them to see pedestrians.
Thumbs up to $450,000 award in Sandy Hook defamation suit. A Wisconsin jury last week sided with the father of a boy killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shootings, awarding him $450,000 for the harm caused by a book, "Nobody died at Sandy Hook," written by a pair of conspiracy theorists. Not too long ago, people ignored such nonsense, but more and more conspiracies have wormed their way into the mainstream, arguably starting with the Barack Obama birther claims. The Sandy Hook conspiracy also involved Obama, alleging his administration fabricated the shooting to justify more gun control. When such lies ruin lives, there should be consequences, and this jury delivered justice.