Best of The Gazette, May 6: Hunting, gravel and the scourge of heroin
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:
Barbara VanGalder found her son Clayton Smith dead on the bathroom floor Jan. 25 with a needle still in his arm. His overdose is part of a tragic health problem leaving a trail of heartbroken families. “Rarely a day goes by where there is not a drug-related rescue call that goes out,” said Louis Smit, Rock County chief deputy/acting coroner.
The state Department of Transportation estimates the 45-mile widening of Interstate 90/39 between Beloit and Madison will require 8.8 million tons of sand, gravel and limestone aggregate. That's about 440,000 truckloads. Lucky for the DOT, there's plenty of options for supplying local stone for the project. It's not called Rock County for nothing.
After three decades of writing for The Gazette, outdoors columnist D.S. Pledger is retiring from writing. Things have changed a lot over the years, he writes. There didn't use to be 26 different .30-caliber rifles on the market, for example. However, one thing has remained the same, and that's a basic truth about the outdoors.
Long a football punch line in the Big Eight Conference, Joe Dye turned Parker football's fortunes around in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Now in his third year as Parker's athletic director, Dye was a no-doubt selection for the Janesville Sports Hall of Fame. “He always exuded the highest character and the highest level of integrity,” Middleton head football coach Tim Simon said. “If you have a son that plays football, you want that son to be coached by Joe Dye.”
While closing the Janesville city landfill might eliminate big future expenses, officials would need to consider costs to cap it and how to pay off debt already incurred, The Gazette Editorial Board writes. No, it doesn't make sense to let outsiders fill our landfill too quickly, nor dump toxins that might someday leach into Janesville's groundwater. Still, a landfill can be a valuable asset.
Whether to attend a local government meeting or not is a frequent question in newsrooms. If a reporter spends three hours in a room with the city council, that's three hours the reporter can't devote to a different, possibly more interesting and relevant story, Editor Scott Angus writes. The Gazette tries to be selective on which meetings it attends, but making that decision is not as easy as it sounds.
Word got out quickly: Sweet Aroma Ristorante was reopening after a nine-year hiatus at the same spot in Delavan with the same owners. If you visit, it's safe to say you won't leave hungry, restaurant reviewer Joan Neeno writes.
Janesville artist Val Saxer believes painting is something anyone can do. And she's tapping into an art trend that encourages amateurs to pick up a paintbrush—and a beverage if you like—and make art in a group setting. “When people create something, they open up the right side of their brain, and they're able to problem-solve better,” Saxer said.
In his first blog post for GazetteXtra, veteran poultry farmer Dale Wheelock tackles a common question: Do you need a rooster for your hen to lay eggs?
Garden blogger Janice Peterson is confident that nice warm weather is nearly here. And so is Rotary Botanical Gardens' spring plant sale.