“Popular music is the soundtrack of our individual lives. Anything that ever happened to you, good or bad, was scored with the music you listened to.”
-- Dick Clark
JANESVILLE MESSENGER -- Dick Clark, longtime host of “American Bandstand,” said it best when he referred to music as “the soundtrack of our lives.” Who among us hasn’t flashed back in time when we hear a song that epitomizes a certain time in our life?
“I know I always watched that show -- it was our MTV before there was such a thing,” said Cindy Halpren of Janesville. “Still those songs come on now and I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. And going to concerts was always a big thing in the summer.”
MESSENGER -- Autumn recently graduated from Craig High School and now plans to attend Blackhawk Technical College to study culinary arts.
Autumn, 19, of Janesville, said that opportunity would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the help she received from Project 16:49, an organization that works with unaccompanied homeless teenagers.
JANESVILLE— Jake Wisniewski held off Andrew Cobb to win the 48th Annual Ray Fischer Public Links Amateur Championship in a playoff June 29 at Janesville’s Riverside Park.
MESSENGER -- The Rotary Botanical Gardens will host its annual Home Garden Tour from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 12. The tour will feature the gardens of eight Janesville homes. Attendees will have an opportunity to view different types of plants, landscapes and lawn decorations, as well as receive information about different gardening techniques.
MESSENGER -- There are no hushed corridors or muted color schemes in this area of Edgerton Hospital, but visitors can’t help to feel relaxed when they visit.
The hospital’s new healing garden features the sounds and colors of nature, offering those who visit an atmosphere that soothes the body and soul.
The garden was dedicated in June and offers a walking path, a pond, a waterfall, benches, sculptures, plenty of trees and perennial plants and open areas for physical therapy and wellness activities.
More hospitals and medical facilities are installing healing gardens to help patients get back to health, said Bonnie Robinson, director of the Edgerton Hospital Capital Foundation.
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“Years ago, hospitals were focused on disease-based care … Today, health care facilities have changed from disease-based care to (centering) around patient, family and staff needs and preferences,” Robinson said. “Healing gardens are green spaces in health care settings, and they’re specifically designed to improve patient outcomes.”
Sunny Bowditch, marketing manager for Edgerton Hospital, said she has noticed many patients walking along the path of the healing garden to take in the scenery.
“We have met with many people who have said having access to the garden makes them feel more relaxed,” Bowditch said. “They can get out on their own if they’re able to. We have patients using their walker or we’ve seen them out here getting some fresh air. It’s just calming.”
The garden has been used by patients in the cardiac rehabilitation, physical therapy and short-term rehab programs. Yoga classes, tai chi classes and other wellness programs also have been held in the garden.
The garden even serves as a social setting for patients who are recovering from surgery, said Susan Kindschi, cardiology and sleep study manager.
“For people who are struggling with heart disease or lung disease, it’s an opportunity for them to receive support from their peers,” Kindschi said. “It’s a non-threatening, stress-free environment. There’s benches where people can sit and enjoy nature. It’s a private and clinical setting.”
Staff members enjoy visiting the healing garden as well, Kindschi said.
“I think it benefits our workforce. There’s dragonflies, hummingbirds and lots of nature to watch,” she said. “Working in health care can be stressful, so we will take a lap or two around the garden. We get to view changes every day. So even if we can’t be out in the garden, we can look out our window and see nature and all the changes that are going on.”
Besides the patients and hospital staff, the healing garden also is open to the public.
“Anybody can come out here and use it and enjoy it,” Robinson said.
The garden also has attracted some wildlife visitors.
“We have a pair of mallards that keep the geese away,” Robinson said. “They are very territorial. We had some geese fly in, and the ducks chase them away.”
The garden is maintained by hospital staff and local volunteers, who help plant, install mulch, water plants and remove weeds.
Cindy Leverenz, master gardener and volunteer coordinator, said there are about 12 volunteers who help maintain the garden each week.
“The weeding is pretty non-stop. Once you plant a garden, they’re always present,” Leverenz said. “Everyone takes ownership of the garden. Some of the volunteers have adopted their own section of the garden.”
Leverenz said she enjoys working in the garden and interacting with the patients.
“It’s extremely peaceful. When you’re out there, you don’t have a care in the world,” Leverenz said. “We interact with people who visit the garden. We talk to them about the garden and the plants, and we explain to them what we’re doing.
“We’ve seen many people walk around the garden. I think it’s one of the best-kept secrets in Rock County.”
Leverenz said as the plants continue to grow, the garden will look even more impressive.
“The whole idea is the trees and the perennials will change with the seasons,” Leverenz said. “The plants will not be changed in and out themselves. They will just change with the season.”
Volunteers always are needed -- and they don’t need gardening experience, she said.
“If people have a half hour or an hour to spare, that would be great.”
Robinson said the hospital is raising funds to install a labyrinth and pergola in the garden.
“I have a very generous donor who has given funds to help complete the pergola/arbor,” Robinson said. “The donor has asked for matching funds. We are still raising funds to complete the pergola/arbor and labyrinth and remaining outer loop sidewalk.”
Residents can donate funding by having a tree, brick or bench dedicated to the memory of a friend or family member.
MESSENGER -- When two Waukesha girls allegedly stabbed their friend recently in an attack apparently inspired by the Internet Slenderman phenomenon, it left many parents worried and wondering what to do.
JANESVILLE -- Richard Snyder already has helped save one historic building in Janesville and now hopes to help restore another that’s been a downtown landmark for years.
Update 12:22 p.m., Tuesday, June 17, 2014 -- Parker defeats Bay Port 4-3 to advance to tonight's semifinal game against Big Eight rival Sun Prairie.
Watch online live here: Fox Sports Wisconsin.
JANESVILLE -- The Janesville Parker baseball team returns to the state tournament Tuesday for the first time in 22 years.
The Vikings face Bay Port about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 17, at Fox Cities Stadium in Grand Chute in a WIAA Division 1 quarterfinal game.
ROCK COUNTY -- On a sweltering summer day, you peel yourself out of bed about the same time as the sun peeks over the horizon. Yawning and stretching, you head for the car. Normally, such early hours would be a mystery to many, but not today. Today, you get to have an old-fashioned farm breakfast with a gracious host family and several thousand of their closest friends.
JANESVILLE -- Jennifer Wagner and Amanda Suckow forgot their wedding rings at home, but it didn't dampen the spirit of the brief ceremony Monday for Rock County's first marriage between two women.
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Rock County Clerk Lori Stottler began issuing same-sex marriage licenses this morning following a ruling Friday by U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb that Wisconsin's prohibition on same-sex vows in the state violated the rights of gay and lesbian couples to equal protection under the federal constitution and fair treatment under the law.
Rock County is the third county in Wisconsin to begin issuing licenses, following Dane and Milwaukee counties.
"I'm more worried about not giving a license than I am about denying one," Stottler said.
Wagner and Suckow received their wedding vows outside the courthouse by The Rev. Matthew Mills of the Universal Life Church. It was his first wedding, he told Stottler, who walked him through the legal requirements of the marriage.
Ed Timmer and Barbara Fett of the Unitarian Church in Janesville were on hand to present couples with roses. They served as witnesses for the ceremony. The Rev. Jim Jaeger of the Unitarian Church in Madison also was on hand to serve as an officiant if needed.
Stottler said of the clerks she talked to, most were waiting to see if any same-sex couples would show up to apply for a license this morning. "It tends to split along party lines," she said.
Wagner and Suckow, who met at work, will hold a ceremony for family and friends later at Traxler Park, the couple said.
Walworth County Clerk Kim Bushey decided to not issue same-sex marriage licenses until she received notification from the county lawyer on what is the "correct legal action," additional information from the state and a decision from a federal court hearing today.
Two people, one via email and the other via phone, spoke with Bushey about marriage licenses Monday. Another couple stopped by in-person, Bushey told the Gazette.
"It puts all of the county clerks in a very difficult situation," Bushey said. "I think its sort of a moving target right now, and we need some additional information."