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Thumbs up/down for Monday, Oct. 7, 2013

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October 7, 2013

Thumbs up to Coats for Kids. The Janesville Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary has again placed red collection barrels at more than 60 sites, including schools, throughout northern Rock County. The annual collection has evolved and isn’t just for kids anymore. The auxiliary aims to serve every person—young and old—in need of warm winter wear. Last year, the drive doled out 693 coats, up from 620 in 2011, and organizers expect an even greater need this year. Your generosity is encouraged. Drop off new and gently used coats, mittens, hats, scarves, snow pants and other winter apparel by Monday, Oct. 14. The free distribution will be from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Salvation Army’s Community Center, 514 Sutherland Ave. Proof of residency is required, and children must accompany parents or guardians to receive coats. Go to gazettextra.com/coats_for_kids for more details.

Thumbs up to the car show at an Evansville school. Bruce Curtis, science teacher at J.C. McKenna Middle School, has been organizing the show the past four years. He does so to get kids out of the classroom and stir enthusiasm for learning through hands-on education. The students are charged with getting answers to various questions from the owners of the cars. Some of the cars are 50 years old; others are modern models. One of the most curious spectacles was a 1950s Messerschmitt bubble car that the driver enters by tipping up the roof. The experience is a hit with the students and helps them better understand how technology has evolved through the years.

Thumbs down to letting state residents keep wild deer. A highly publicized Kenosha case last July in which the Department of Natural Resources staff seized and euthanized a fawn being kept privately has led to a proposed change in state law that makes no sense. The DNR’s proposal clearly states that it’s illegal to keep deer. That’s as it should be. After all, a Supreme Court case dating back to 1842 says natural resources are part of the public trust and belong to all of us. Besides, penning wild animals violates a tenant of long-held wildlife management practices. But get this: According to this proposal, which needs legislative approval, if you do keep deer, you would only need to pay a modest fine of $175 and a $150 annual fee. Look, it’s either illegal or it’s not; this proposal would only encourage people to make pets out of wild creatures they have no business harboring.

Thumbs up to a resource center for GIFTS. The Janesville shelter for homeless men has its roots at Trinity Episcopal Church, 419 E. Court St., so it’s fitting that GIFTS is unveiling the resource center today at the church’s Ortmayer Hall. The shelter opens for the season tonight at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, 2130 M. Zion Ave., and rotates from week to week among many local churches through April 26. After shelter, GIFTS’ second goal is to help guests change their lives, and the resource center will assist in this. The three-room center will include a waiting room featuring coffee, reading materials, Bibles and brochures from agencies that offer resources; bathroom-shower facilities; two computers, printers and desks; a closet with clothes and hygiene products; and a room where volunteers can meet one-on-one with guests to craft life-improvement plans. The Ortmayer Hall location is temporary and will operate with a lease reviewable every 90 days. It’s another great step forward for a crucial charity in our community.



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