Walworth County Sunday | Janesville Messenger | Stateline News



Walworth County Sunday | Janesville Messenger | Stateline News



Wednesday, 01 October 2014 00:00

BFAI hosts Kossiba’s ‘With the Wind’ exhibit

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The Beloit Fine Arts Incubator will feature the work of prolific local artist Marek Kossiba for the fourth time since 2002 starting Friday, Oct. 3. The BFAI’s Kossiba exhibition, titled "With the Wind," will hold its opening activities from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., complete with a presentation by the artist, free admission and complimentary hors d’oeuvres and refreshments. The opening night is a great chance to meet Kossiba and discuss his work, but the exhibit will be on display until Oct. 31.

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"One of the goals of BFAI is to bring local art to the local population, and Marek is a prolific artist who works in a number of different styles," BFAI’s Ben Hawthorn said about the exhibition. "His artwork, specifically his abstract work, is very unique. But also his background is very unique compared to a lot of the local artists -- he’s a retired Polish merchant marine and he spent quite a number of years on the seas. His seascape paintings are just incredible, and that comes from his years in the service."

Friday, 26 September 2014 00:00

Survivor's family vists WWII plane crash site

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WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- There was a time in our nation’s history when taking up arms in defense of our allies took on a very different meaning than today. “Over there” was a rallying chorus designed to inspire our troops and signify other lands were in peril from contrasting beliefs. The political and physical landscape of Europe would be changed by World War II. The scars left by the Great War are still felt to this day.

There are hundreds of stories of personal sacrifice, courage and ultimately casualties. On a hillside in a small community of the Tuscany region of northern Italy, one such story recently was relived through the very personal journey of Brenda Dean, a town of Delavan resident.

WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- It has been just over a year since Gary Jurgensen, 62, of Sharon became a statistic in the West Nile Virus folder of confirmed cases in Wisconsin.

Although there were only 17 of them in the state last year, West Nile Virus is more common than we think. Eighty percent of those bitten by a mosquito that has fed on a bird infected with the disease show no symptoms. The other 20 percent likely believe they have the flu because the symptoms are similar. How many cases go unreported is anyone’s guess. Out of that 20 percent, about one in 150 become seriously ill, and some die.

STATELINE NEWS --  The Art Institute of Chicago recently was named the best museum in the world, according to a survey done by the website

It’s true that the museum is well known, particularly here in the Midwest, and features classic works of art such as Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” and “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” by impressionist Georges Seurat.

Thursday, 25 September 2014 00:00

Celebrating all things Irish

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MESSENGER -- Irish culture and heritage will take center stage next weekend during Janesville Irish Fest.

The festival, in its second year, will be held Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 2 through Oct. 5, at various locations throughout Janesville.

The festivities begin from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, with the Piper’s Ball, which will be held at the Janesville Performing Arts Center, 408 S. Main St. The ball will include an opening ceremony, food, drinks, raffle drawings and music by Borderlands. There also will be a CD release party, featuring music from local artists.

“We are doing a commemorative CD for Irish Fest with local bands,” said Dan Fredricks, co-chair for the Irish Fest Committee. “The nine acts that contributed a song will come that night and play their songs.” Read the current edition here:

The Irish Family Reunion will be held from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, at the Pontiac Convention Center, 2809 N. Pontiac Drive in Janesville, and will include an Irish buffet, costume contest and music from Tallymoore. The Rock County Historical Society will offer free genealogy research assistance and have members of local Irish families sharing their stories about Ireland.

“There will be 13 Irishmen on stage telling stories and jokes about Ireland, including the Ryans, Fitzgeralds, Sheridans and Cullens, so that will be a lot of fun,” Fredricks said.

Several activities will be held in downtown Janesville on Saturday, Oct. 4, including the Leprechaun Run/Walk with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. in the municipal parking lot at 20 W. Main St.

The Irish Hooley will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., featuring nine bands performing on three stages in downtown Janesville. Gray Brewery Co., 2424 W. Court St., will be offering tours, and Blackhawk Credit Union will be hosting a family picnic with Irish entertainment.

Gaelic Storm will make a return appearance to Janesville at 7:30 p.m. at the Janesville Performing Arts Center.

The festival continues on Sunday with Irish dancers and a pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Rotary Botanical Gardens. Members of the Kinsella Academy of Irish Dancers will be performing during the breakfast, and the proceeds will benefit Independent Disability Services and Rotary Botanical Gardens.

The Emerald City Children’s Fest will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, at Palmer Park and will include games, prizes, children’s activities and music.

“You can start at the pancake breakfast and then go to Palmer Park with the kids and have lots of fun,” Fredricks said.

Gaelic Storm closes out the festival with a second Janesville performance at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, at JPAC.

Several Janesville businesses will be hosting events and activities during the four-day festival.

“This year, there’s going to be a lot more to do,” Fredricks said. “The community wants something fun to do, so here’s an opportunity. People will have an opportunity to get outside and participate in fun activities before winter starts.”

The Rock County Historical Society will host several activities during Irish Fest, said Michael Reuter, the society’s executive director.

“We’re going to be looking at the genealogy and ancestry of the Irish culture in Janesville,” Reuter said. “We’re going to be showing the documentary ‘Irish in Janesville,’ and we’re going to be offering free genealogy research during the Irish Family Reunion on Friday.”

Members of the Irish Fest committee have been working on the event for the better part of the past year, Fredricks said.

“We’re meeting more often than before, but ever since last year’s event we had a wrap-up meeting and then we began planning again,” he said. “Now that it’s the second year, it’s a little easier.”

Finding and scheduling Irish bands has taken a lot of work, Fredricks said.

“We’ve developed a list of area Irish bands in Milwaukee, Madison and Rockford,” he said. “Last year it was a little harder to find out who could play and who we could afford. Now that we have a list and that we’re getting our name out there, a lot of bands are contacting us.”

The idea of having an Irish festival really took shape after Gaelic Storm was booked for 2013, Fredricks said.

“Once Gaelic Storm got booked, we said, ‘We should have an Irish Fest in Janesville because there’s so many Irish people,’” he said. “So, that’s how that happened.”

Response to the festival has been favorable among residents and business owners, Fredricks said.

“Venues that held activities were really happy. Basically, all of them came back this year,” he said. “Some of the venues even expanded from last year because they were so successful.”

Fredricks said he hopes Irish Fest continues to be an annual tradition in Janesville.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun to see it take shape and grow from just an idea to something that has become part of the community now,” Fredricks said.

Reuter said the festival gives residents an opportunity to recognize Janesville’s Irish heritage.

“It’s always great when we have the opportunity to promote the rich heritage of Janesville’s culture,” Reuter said. “There’s a strong Irish heritage in Janesville.”

For more information about Irish Fest, go online to

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