WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- In Wisconsin, 42 percent of the state’s households have adults who go to work every day but aren’t sure they’ll be able to put dinner on the table tonight for their families, pay the electric bill this month or buy prescription drugs to manage chronic conditions like high blood pressure.
The findings are the result of a United Way of Wisconsin report released in September on the Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, or ALICE. Often referred to as the working poor, these are people who don’t fall under the poverty level but can’t afford basic necessities.
BELOIT -- Karen Soto feels like she’s making a difference by educating her peers about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. As a member of the Rock County Youth2Youth 4 Change, Soto is on the front lines of student education.
"I’m really grateful for this program because not only have I seen the progress of us helping out the community. It had me informed, which helped me stay away from drugs and alcohol," Soto, 19, of Beloit said. "This is like my second family."
WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- Mariette Nowak believes making a positive impact on the environment is as close as your backyard.
The former director of the Wehr Nature Center in Milwaukee County, and recently retired planning commission member in the town of Troy -- where she now lives -- says by planting native trees, shrubs and plants, people cultivate a biodiversity that affects not just a neighborhood, but the world.
Native plants create a healthy ecosystem for birds and bees, which, in turn, create a healthy ecosystem for humans, says Nowak, a naturalist with degrees in botany and zoology. She’s also the president of the Kettle Moraine Chapter of Wild Ones, a national native gardening organization.
People wanting to know more about native gardening that attracts birds and butterflies can turn to her book, “Birdscaping,” where they might be surprised by the variety of flora in the state, including the blooming prickly pear, a cactus that is native to Wisconsin.
ROCKTON -- Barn quilts aren’t just for barns anymore. If you don’t believe it, visit downtown Rockton.
The first barn quilt in the country was installed on an Ohio barn in 2001, and the colorful designs have swept through the Midwest ever since.
They are popular in the Stateline area, and the trend sees no sign of slowing down.
The Rockton Township Historical Society has a new twist on the trend, and since 2011 has installed barn quilts at several downtown businesses.
Photos by staff photographer Terry Mayer from the 2016 Darien Cornfest, with fireworks , parade, tractor pull , and corn.