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Friday, 15 September 2017 08:32

Apples of Their Eyes

JANESVILLE MESSENGER -- Providing tasty, quality apples to area residents and visitors is a labor of love for a local couple.

Darcie and Todd Haakinson operate Hawk’s Orchard, 9034 N. Serns Road in Milton. The orchard is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from early September through late October.

The 10-acre orchard features 14 varieties of apples grown on 2,200 trees, and Darcie said most of the apples begin to blossom in May.

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.

Friday, 30 December 2016 08:51

2016:Top stories in the Janesville area

JANESVILLE MESSENGER -- A variety of people and places made for a newsworthy and noteworthy year in Janesville.

As we take our first steps into 2017, take a glance back at the events that helped shape our community and local culture in 2016.

MESSENGER -- The Milton Area Chamber of Commerce will host the 14th annual Milton Christmas Walk from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016.

Friday, 04 November 2016 12:38

Janesville-area students star in fall plays

JANESVILLE MESSENGER -- Participating in a school play or musical gives students an opportunity to showcase their talents, develop valuable life skills and escape reality for a while.

This weekend and the next several weekends are full of high school productions. Here’s what that talented teens in your neighborhood have in store:

43rd Assembly District

Allison M. Hetz, Republican

Age: 23

Address: 343 S. Janesville St. Whitewater

Job: General employee, Straight Forward

Education: Graduate, Badger High School, 2011; student, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, present

Community service: Food drive volunteer, Jitters Coffee House volunteer, trash cleanup volunteer around the Whitewater community, voter registration deputy, election poll worker

Publicly held positions: UW-Whitewater student body president, 2015-’16

What should be done to fix Wisconsin’s transportation funding gap and why? We need to lay all of our options out on the table. Wisconsin is known for our tourism industry and for agriculture. Both require maintained roadways. I believe we need to maintain what we have first and make sure we aren’t wasting money. For example, in the city of Whitewater we have a bridge that currently goes to nowhere. I do not want to see anymore taxpayer money wasted. We need to make sure expansion projects are needed and that what is currently in place is in good condition first.

Wisconsin school districts are going to referendum in droves. Should the state consider adjusting its revenue cap on school districts? Why or why not? This is an issue that we certainly need to take a look at. We need to fund our K-12 schools while at the same time protect our homeowners from a massive increase in property taxes. As far as the referendums are concerned, I believe in more local control and the fact that voters will be able to decide whether to give schools in their area more funds.

What do you see as the major issue in this campaign? There are several issues my campaign focuses on, but one particular issue is education funding. K-12 schools need to be adequately funded. These kids will be the next titans of industry and are the leaders of tomorrow. If they cannot do basic math, our state and our country will be in bad shape. On top of that, the UW system needed some cuts to be made, however, we need to stop cutting our assets, which is why I do not want to see further cuts to the universities in Wisconsin. But I do believe student debt is a huge problem that we are not addressing. I am very much in favor of furthering the tuition freeze while we sort out how to help young adults in our state.

Don Vruwink, Democrat

Age: 64

Address: 24 W. Ash Lane, Milton

Job: Retired teacher

Education: Bachelor’s degree in broadfield social studies and political science with minors in history and coaching, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, 1975; master’s degree in history, UW-Whitewater, 1986

Community service: 20-year member of Milton Park and Recreation Committee, founding member of Milton Optimist Club, member of Milton Historical Society, member of the Milton Gathering Place, member of the Milton Historical Preservation Committee

Publicly elected positions: Milton City Council, 2011 to 2015; city council president, 2014-’15; Milton School Board, present

What should be done to fix Wisconsin’s transportation funding gap and why? The harsh reality is that due to years of shortsighted budgeting and planning by legislators and the governor, our road transportation infrastructure is crumbling. I am encouraged to hear current legislative leaders from both parties acknowledge the need to increase revenue for our roads budget. However, it is disappointing to hear the governor continue to say he won’t consider increased revenue for roads by way of a gas tax increase. Nobody likes to increase any taxes, but when local roads are falling apart, townships are reverting to gravel and our highways and bridges need repair; we need to make tough decisions.

It was a mistake by the Legislature to end the gas tax indexing a decade ago, and it’s time to reinstate gas tax indexing to allow for future growth. I will be willing to discuss a gas tax increase and other revenue options to address our road infrastructure problems.


Wisconsin school districts are going to referendum in droves. Should the state consider adjusting its revenue cap on school districts? Why or why not? Yes, the state should consider adjusting its revenue cap on school districts. Act 10 has caused school districts across Wisconsin to rely on referendums to simply meet operating costs. More and more, districts are passing referendums because community members acknowledge the benefit of successful schools. An investment in local schools is an investment in the local economy, as companies considering where to build, relocate or expand weigh the quality of local schools in their decisions. Ensuring access to good education is an investment in the future success of our state. I dedicated my career to public education and have a lifetime of experience seeing the many benefits that good schools bring to their communities.


What do you see as the major issue in this campaign? I believe investing in our schools and fixing transportation are two critical issues.

I also believe the Legislature cannot properly represent the people of Wisconsin when the current majority has worked to isolate and shield the Legislature from public scrutiny and accountability. I am running to be a strong advocate for good government. I want to take a page out of former Sen. Tim Cullen’s handbook and continue a steady drumbeat in favor of nonpartisan redistricting reform. I am an ardent supporter of maintaining and strengthening Wisconsin’s open records laws and find it shameful that the current majority has attempted to weaken open records laws. I will fight to restore transparency and accountability to state government.

 Special section: Vote 2016 is HERE.

Friday, 22 July 2016 15:12

City kids find success in 4-H

JANESVILLE MESSENGER -- Traditionally, 4-H has been a showcase for farm families and country kids.

But a growing number of city dwellers are involved in everything from craft projects to raising livestock.

Many Rock County 4-H members live in urban areas, according to Megan Rebout, 4-H youth development adviser.

MILTON -- A local veterinarian and his staff will soon be responsible for making sure hundreds of horses have a clean bill of health.

Dr. Dean Peterson and two of his staff members at Janesville Equine Hospital & Clinic, Erica Reinman and Julie Johnson, have been named the official veterinarians for this year’s Midwest Horse Fair, set for Friday through Sunday, April 15 through April 17, 2016 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- Students undecided about a career might want to consider agriculture, and plenty of people in the industry hope they do. The demand for employees in a wide variety of ag-related fields continues to outstrip the supply, said Jeff Hicken, agriculture education consultant and Wisconsin FFA adviser, and that has some leaders in the field worried.

Adding to the problem is an increasing shortage of experienced agriculture teachers as they retire and potential replacements choose more lucrative careers.

MESSENGER -- A lifelong reader, Ethel Himmel now shares her love of books with fellow mystery buffs through monthly meetings of the Mystery Book Club she began at the Milton Public Library.

Since 2002, participants have pored over more than 145 mysteries ranging from popular favorites like Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” to classics like Agatha Christie’s “Death on the Nile,” and authors that have included Michael Crichton, Dan Brown and Tony Hillerman.

The former deputy director of the La Crosse Public Library, Himmel is a semiretired library consultant at Himmel and Wilson, a firm she founded more than 20 years ago with her husband, Bill Wilson, who is a former Wisconsin state librarian.

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