Best of The Gazette, Dec. 31: Cursive, taxes and a local Olympian
The Gazette publishes a lot of news in a week. Combine that with all the distractions a weekend brings, and that means there's a good chance you might have missed some important stories. Here's a look at of some of The Gazette's best content from the last week or so:
As educators work to implement Common Core State Standards, juggling keyboard instruction and cursive proficiency is a balancing act, area school district administrators said. In Janesville, that means cursive isn't getting as much attention as it did years ago. “We are emphasizing it less,” said Julie DeCook, language arts coordinator for the Janesville School District.
A group of homeowners in the town of Delavan filed a lawsuit charging their homes were over assessed. They won, and as a result, some Walworth County residents will see higher tax bills next year. Determining how much they have to pay is more than a little complicated.
At 29 years of age and with a third Olympics in sight, Janesville native Tucker Fredricks is calm, cool and reflective. He's declared this the final year of his speedskating career, and he's out to enjoy every single minute of it. “That's why I skate, because it's fun," Fredricks said. "I've just got to get back to that. So far this year that's been working, and I'm having a blast.”
The Gazette's Tom Miller recently took a fictional trip to the sports return department. What did he find? Several of the state's leading sports figures, hoping exchanges or refunds would be allowed on items including The Bradley Center, a pack of backup quarterbacks and a case of Brylcreem.
Gov. Scott Walker would like to lower or eliminate the state's income tax. The latter might be easier said than done, The Gazette Editorial Board writes. The state can't eliminate a tax without making up for the needed revenue, and the personal/individual income tax rakes in about $7.5 billion a year, or half of the state's general fund spending.
Gazette Editor Scott Angus expected his first day of work at The Gazette to be a boring one. Instead, he was assigned a front-page story about a woman who had been shot to death. Now, after 35 years of working at the same newspaper, Angus wouldn't have it any other way, he writes.
In the last couple of years, getting up Sunday mornings has become much sweeter, restaurant reviewer Joan Neeno writes. That's because of Sweetlife Bakery, located in a small, concrete-block strip mall next to Craig High School in Janesville. The business is easy to miss, but once you step inside and have a taste of LoriAnna McCool's food, you'll never drive by again without your mouth watering.
Every year, physical education teachers strive to find ways to keep kids moving while they're not in school. It used to be that “moving” defined life outside of school. School was for sitting at desks, while vacation was ideal for action verbs. In winter, that meant sledding, skating and building snow forts. Not any more, local officials and national organizations say.
Community blogger John W. Eyster has found inspiration in Pope Francis' Christmastime speech. In it, the Catholic leader called for peace between all people, whether the conflict divides fighters in foreign lands or groups with different spiritual beliefs at home.
Pollsters at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., say Americans consider “whatever” to be the most annoying word or phrase in conversation for the fifth straight year. Opinion Editor Greg Peck is not surprised.