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STATELINE NEWS -- About 75 children currently are on the waiting list for Big Brothers Big Sisters, but a variety of innovative new program hopes to match those kids with mentors.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rock, Walworth and Jefferson counties is gearing up its Bigs in Blue program following a national TV rollout.

The group also has formed partnerships with the Beloit College softball team and the Janesville Boys & Girls Club.

MACHESNEY PARK -- Manger scenes depicting Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus surrounded by the three wise men are popular decorations on people’s lawns during the holiday season.

However, that scene is now coming to life, because several area churches are conducting live Nativity scenes during the upcoming weeks.

Riverside Community Church, 6816 N. Second St. in Machesney Park, will conduct "A Night in Bethlehem" drive-thru Nativity scene from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 10, 2016 and Dec. 11, 2016. The program will feature five scenes depicting the story of Jesus’ birth.

BELOIT -- While many local teens will be looking forward to getting an Xbox or iPhone for Christmas this year, others will be happy to receive just the basic needs.

Project 16:49 has become an important lifeline for unaccompanied teenagers in Rock County.

Friday, 02 December 2016 11:29

Pearl Harbor: A reunion with history

STATELINE NEWS -- Stan Van Hoose will be returning to the site of one of the more horrific attacks in the history of the United States.

Van Hoose, 96, is set to attend the Pearl Harbor 75th Commemoration on Dec. 7, 2016.

The Beloit resident was serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II and was aboard the USS Maryland when Japanese fighter planes attacked on Dec. 7, 1941.

Even though it’s been 75 years, Van Hoose recalls the attack vividly.

Monday, 28 November 2016 14:43

2016 Rockton Christmas Walk and parade

STATELINE NEWS -- The annual Christmas Walk will be held Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, in downtown Rockton.

Highlighted activities include the Candy Cane Craft Fair, which will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Greater Community Center.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016 13:44

This just in blog: Our election hangover

Instead of a presidential honeymoon, Americans have been given a campaign hangover.

This election season was historic, more for careening off the rails of how traditional campaigns are run than any significance the candidates might bring to the office.

Trump voters seemed as surprised as Clinton voters that the disruptive New York businessman so decisively claimed the race.

And Wisconsin was the final domino to fall in the early morning hours after the polls closed.

The Scott Walker coalition not only delivered the state for Donald Trump, but returned Sen. Ron Johnson, who had trailed in the polls through the fall, to the Senate, assuring that Republicans would have control of the House and Senate.

Now, the question is can we come together as a country?

Maybe, but we have a long way to go.

Hidden in the ugly campaign was a roadmap for the new president and Congress showing what voters want from their government.

We’re frustrated by the rapidly growing income gap.

We’re worried about the influence of unaccountable money in our electoral process.

More people have health insurance than ever before, but costs continue to rise and we don’t know why.

Terrorism remains a threat.

Although the national economy rebounded from the depths of the Great Recession, a wide swath of the working class saw little change for the better.

That frustration fueled the Trump surge.

Although Trump’s transition team touched on a range of topics this past week, wage growth could solve a lot of problems.

Workers with more money feel more secure. They contribute more in taxes. Rising incomes mean people rely less on government services.

More money in people’s pockets means businesses can grow to accommodate increased demand.

Republicans surely will pitch tax cuts as a way to raise wages, but those cuts initially benefit the wealthy and businesses.

A raise in the minimum wage is unlikely, but tax reform can directly drive wage growth by giving companies incentives to raise wages or by penalizing them if they don’t.

So too with health care.

"It'll be great health care for much less money," Trump told Lesley Stahl on "60 Minutes" last week.

I suspect it won’t be quite that simple or easy.

Republicans, led by House Speaker Paul Ryan of Janesville, finally will be able to reveal their long-alluded to replacement to the Affordable Care Act.

Frustrated voters, on the other hand, won’t have much patience for solutions that are retreads of previous proposals.

There are lots of ways to move forward as a country.

But one way that never came up in the dozens of letters to the editor that we ran in the weeks leading up to the election was that we should do nothing.

It’s commendable that our representatives stick to their principles, but the overarching principle should be to make government work for the people.

Republicans were loath to soften their positions during the almost eight years of President Barack Obama’s term.

They may need to now in the Senate to get Democrats to play along. Republicans will need 60 votes in many cases.

Sometimes that means accepting a compromise and living to fight again in the arena of public opinion. Finding ways to work together means moving away from personality and moving toward policy.

Now that the votes have been counted, our Constitution provides a process by which government can work together to tackle the country’s most serious problems.

We don’t really have much of a choice but to let that process play out.

And maybe we’ll get something done in the two years before the next election season rolls around.

Hopefully we’ll be over our hangover by then.

Dan Plutchak is the editor of CSI Media, publisher of the Janesville Messenger, Stateline News and Walworth County Sunday. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or on Twitter @danplutchak.

BELOIT -- Beloit Ribfest, a fundraiser for Beloit Regional Hospice, was honored at the 12th Annual Doves and Diamonds gala with the Spirit of Caring Award.

The gala was held Nov. 5, 2016 at the Eclipse Center in Beloit.

Thursday, 17 November 2016 11:49

Shed destroyed after fire near Clinton

CLINTON—Fire destroyed a 20-by-40-foot shed in rural Clinton on Wednesday.

“It was a total loss,” Clinton Fire Chief John F. Rindfleisch said.

Owner Jared Nortier at 5:21 p.m. Wednesday reported the fire at 8719 E. Highway 67.

Rindfleisch called it a "fairly large fire." Firefighters dispatched from the village about four miles from the fire could see a glow from the flames in the sky, he said.

Area fire departments were called for help, he said.

Firefighters found the structure engulfed in flames and partially collapsed, Rindfleisch said.

“It had gone up pretty fast,” he said.

All of the fire departments except the town of Turtle and Sharon were called off before they arrived, Rindfleisch said.

Damage is estimated at $20,000. The cause is undetermined, he said.

The homeowner told fire officials he was burning leaves and brush earlier in the day but not next to the shed, Rindfleisch said.

There was no electricity to the building, he said.


BELOIT -- The Overflowing Cup in Beloit is looking for food donations and volunteers serve about 300 people on Thanksgiving Day.

If you can help, call Wendy at 608-365-0365 and leave your name and number.

Date: Thursday November 24, 2016

Time: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

What: Thanksgiving Day meal

Where: The Masonic Lodge, 229 West Grand Ave., Beloit

Sponsored by The Overflowing Cup In cooperation with The Masonic Lodge, area churches, businesses and other organizations

Sunday, 13 November 2016 19:46

Viewing tips for tonight’s super moon

Did you see tonight’s super moon? A super moon is when a full moon coincides with the moon’s closest point to the earth as it makes its way around its orbit.

Astronomers call it the perigee-syzygy, meaning the moon is both full and closest to Earth. Tonight’s version will be a “showstopper,” according to NASA.

It’s the nearest super moon in almost 70 years — and we won’t see another like it until 2034.

“When a full moon makes its closest pass to Earth in its orbit it appears up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter, making it a super moon,” NASA says.

Here are five things to help you enjoy this super moon this evening, from READ



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