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JANESVILLE MESSENGER -- Law enforcement officers and innocent drivers survived life-threatening situations this past Dec. 31 during a police chase that started in the town of Beloit and ended after a standoff near the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport.

And Rock County Sheriff’s Office squad car cameras caught all of the frantic action along U.S. Highway 51 between Beloit and Janesville.

JANESVILLE MESSENGER -- Break out the flip flops, lawn chairs and sunscreen. It’s time to enjoy festival season in Janesville and nearby communities. Here are some events that are sure to help you get your fill of music, food and summer fun.

As May moves into June, it’s time to think about different ways to use that most perfect fruit of summer -- strawberries.

If you really need a reason to eat strawberries, it is good to know that about eight strawberries will contain more than 100 percent of the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin C.

FONTANA -- Chalk up Jennifer Dexter’s social media career to some happy holiday memories with cookie cutters, frosting and sprinkles.

Her earliest forays into baking as a little girl were making cut-out Christmas cookies with her mother. Gradually she added more treats to her repertoire, much to the appreciation of her family.

STATELINE NEWS -- The halfway point of the 320-mile Rock River Trail is in Beloit, where a grand opening celebration will take place June 3, 2017.

Trail runs through Wisconsin and Illinois

BELOIT -- After years of planning and preparing, the Rock River Trail officially will open Saturday, June 3, at the Rotary River Center, 1160 S. Riverside Drive in Beloit.

The event coincides with National Trails Day. Beloit was selected because it is located at the halfway point of the 320-mile trail.

The trail begins in headwaters above Horicon Marsh in Wisconsin and ends where the Rock River flows into the Mississippi River at Rock Island, Illinois. The trail traveling through 11 counties and 41 communities. 

The Rock River Trail Initiative began seven years ago to create a system of recreational trails encompassing the Rock River. Today the trail is recognized as a National Water Trail by the National Park Service.

But it’s much more than a water trail and offers many ways to experience and discover the Rock River and its river communities.

The trail offers a scenic and historic road route for touring the river corridor by car or motorcycle. In addition, there are designated routes for biking, hiking and horseback riding and an air route that links 10 airports along the river. 

Recent additions to the trail include an online map of historic sites, a brochure titled The Art Route of the Rock River Trail and the Rock River Chocolate Trail, which offers a delicious way to enjoy any trip.

To encourage exploration, the initiative has established a 320-Mile Award for individuals who reach the goal of doing the whole 320 miles of the trail, whether it’s via hiking, biking, paddling or driving.

Miles can be accumulated over any period of time and can be broken up in any segments. Participants keep their own records and self-report their accomplishments to receive their award patch. Five paddlers will be awarded their patches at the grand opening.

To commemorate the grand opening , Gary Meier and Perry Folts of Beloit will launch on June 3 for a kayak journey to the Mississippi River. The 163-mile journey will take about seven days with overnight stops at camping areas that have been established along the water trail. 

The public is invited to participate in  the many activities happening before and after the ceremony. All events are free unless otherwise indicated.

For more information on all elements of the Rock River Trail, go to  RockRiverTrail.com.

 Grand opening schedule, June 3. 2017

7 a.m. to 11 a.m. -- Fly-In/Drive-In pancake breakfast at Beloit Airport hosted by EAA Chapter 60. Enjoy a pancake breakfast and view classic cars and airplanes, $7.

9 a.m. -- Community bicycle ride hosted by the Stateline Spinners and other area riding groups from Beloit Airport to Rotary River Center. 

 9 a.m. -- Community flotilla paddle to the grand opening ceremony, launching from Armstrong Eddy Park. Must provide own kayak/canoe.

9 a.m. to noon -- Fur trader re-enactor and voyager canoe exhibit

9:30 a.m. to noon -- Booths and displays by Visit Beloit, Friends of Riverfront, Sky Dive the Rock, Rock River Trail Initiative

9:30 a.m. -- Horse trail ride at Happy Hollow Park by Rock County Multi-Use Trail Group.

10 a.m. to 11 a.m. -- Grand opening ceremony and ribbon cutting with speakers.

11 a.m. -- Riverwalk stroll; Rock Trail Coalition will lead a 2.5-mile walk on Beloit’s Riverwalk 

11 a.m. -- Kayak camping and packing for an overnight trip, a seminar by Rocktown Adventures

11:30 a.m. -- Tales from the Trail: Q&A session featuring Rock River Trail 320-Mile paddlers 

1:30 p.m. -- Fur Traders River Run guided paddle trip by Rocktown Adventures

BRADFORD TOWNSHIP -- Jill Bier looked through what was left of her barn Thursday morning to see what could be salvaged after fast-moving storms rolled through Rock and Walworth counties.

JANESVILLE MESSENGER -- Art lovers in Edgerton have rekindled the idea that what is old can be new again, particularly those who are fired up about clay pottery.

No one exemplifies both better than Fred Maves, an Edgerton native and lifelong resident who has continued to share his talents since retiring in 2006 after 36 years as an art teacher at the high school.

He was instrumental in establishing the first Clay Day and Pottery Festival last year and is excited about the second annual event, which is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 20.

Friday, 12 May 2017 11:24

Editor's blog: Intimidation is futile

You can try to stifle a person from speaking out, but you can't stifle an idea. Just like the arcade game Whac-A-Mole, ideas -- both good and bad -- persist.

Just last week, a regular contributor to our Perspectives page received an anonymous letter in the mail criticizing what the contributor had written a week earlier in the paper.

WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- Here in the Midwest we tend to take our farms for granted, surrounded as we are by the red barns of earlier generations.

Your great-grandparents knew exactly where their food came from. Even 150 years ago, 90 percent of the population grew nearly all of its food. Today, only 2 percent does.

JANESVILLE MESSENGER -- Emily Johnson couldn’t bear to hear her dad had decided to sell the Farmall 300. The tractor had been bought by her great-grandfather, who started a farm near Orfordville in 1936. It was sold to her grandpa and later her dad, who both had ridden it through those same farm fields.

So she bought it. 

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