Feb. 27--Thumbs down to making history a low priority. When somebody wears earmuffs at the office to save on heating costs and hauls home the garbage to avoid trash pickup fees, that's true dedication. Milton College Preservation Society curator Judy Scheehle does these things to keep open Milton College's Main Hall, though it's unfortunate more people in Milton aren't showing an interest in preserving history. For many years, the city donated $500 to the preservation society and increased that amount to $1,000, but this year dropped its support. "It kind of hurt," Scheehle said. "We're important, but we're not $1,000 important." Taxpayers cannot afford to save every historical building, but this is Milton College, one of Milton's defining institutions. Is Milton's memory so short (the college closed in 1982) that residents cannot see the significance in maintaining this link to the community's history?
Thumbs up to Bon-Ton. If the department store chain's goal is to generate a buzz about its "Close to Home" line of products, it succeeded. In this made-in-China era, an initiative by a national company to sell locally made merchandise is worth publicizing. Just how local? Well, no Janesville-area merchants are selling their wares at Boston Store in the Janesville Mall, yet, but a Madison resident, Janet Gangler, counts her soaps among those products included in the "Close to Home" line. She had to hire five new employees to get her soaps into Bon-Ton stores across the region. As a nice added touch, Bon-Ton has placed signs next to products telling the merchants' stories. Last week, we touted Bradley Department Store in Delavan for being locally owned. Bon-Ton gets our praise this week for being the next best thing, an advocate of locally made products.
Thumbs down to DOT math. In response to an audit revealing the state Department of Transportation grossly underestimated the cost of major roadway projects (by hundreds of millions of dollars), legislators have introduced a bill requiring the DOT account for basic factors, namely inflation, when estimating project costs. Is the DOT really in such bad shape that a law is necessary to force the DOT to do proper math? Inflation is a tricky concept for third-graders, but it shouldn't be for professional bean counters. Perhaps as precaution, this bill should include an amendment mandating the DOT use addition to find the sum of two or more numbers and subtraction to find the difference. Let's just hope the I-90/39 expansion project doesn't become a victim of the DOT's "alternative math," with an exit ramp or two gone missing to balance the budget.
Thumbs up to golfing in February. The worst part about temperatures reaching 60 degrees for five straight days in February is that it could never last. As we feared, the warm streak turned out to be Mother Nature's big tease, creating only the illusion that Florida had slid north. It's been sad times for fans of ice fishing and skiing, but golfers celebrated as Riverside Golf Course opened, despite spring still being weeks away. "We've not had golf in February in the last six or seven years that I've been here," said Scott Loomis, course general manager. College students Matt Risser and Brandon Rogers were among those at the course indulging in the sun's rays. "It's a beautiful day out," Rogers said. "A lot better than going to class." We like his spirit (though would never condone skipping class, of course. Wink, wink.)
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