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Take Ten: Canoeing


Editor’s note: Guest columnist Lynne Diebel of Stoughton is the author of numerous books about the outdoors, and the most recent is “Crossing the Driftless” (University of Wisconsin Press, $20). The book is both a traveler’s tale and an exploration of the land the glaciers missed, an ancient landscape of bluffs, ridgetops and steep valleys that long ago was a seabed. Lynne and her husband, Bob, crossed the Driftless Area by canoe, journeying 359 river miles from Faribault, Minn., to their home.

There’s a moment when you slide your canoe into the current of a new river and take your first paddle strokes. For the devoted river rat, there’s so much promise in that moment. Here are 10 of my favorite Wisconsin rivers for you to sample.

Crossing the Mississippi: Cassville ferry service dates back to 1833


What makes the “bucket list” for Don and Janice Robins of Oak Creek? A 17-minute ride across the Mississippi River: That is what brought the couple almost 200 miles to Cassville, population 947, this summer.

Seventeen minutes is all it takes for the Pride of Cassville ferry to cross the river between Wisconsin and Iowa. River shuttles are becoming increasingly rare along this waterway, which stretches at least 2,300 miles.

UW upgrade: Memorial Union to begin renovation


I’m not a University of Wisconsin alum but love to linger at Memorial Union Terrace on a sunny day or evening, facing pretty Lake Mendota. The Terrace is one of the most-loved outdoor destinations in Madison, but on Sept. 1 most of the area closes until next summer.

A $52 million renovation aims to enhance Memorial Union cosmetically while maintaining historic integrity. The need for practical updates — electrical, sprinkler and other mechanical systems — is what makes the project urgent.

Free speech (and live music) in the Northwoods


“Justified” is a prevailing theme in Molly Otis Stoddard’s life lately, especially since that’s the title of her first music release in nearly two decades, and first solo album.

The Northwoods ode to free speech and expression comes 24 years after the single “Chasing Something Called Love” hit the Top 50 for Molly and the Heymakers, her band with country-tinged music that toured Africa to Iceland via Warner/Reprise Records.

10 great golf courses that won’t break your budget


Editor’s note: The PGA Championship is Aug. 10-16 at Whistling Straits, a course near Kohler that is a pricey ticket for the average golfer. Guest columnist and longtime journalist Joe Hart of Madison shares challenging and affordable alternatives.

Performers bring the music home


Summerfest in Milwaukee gets a ton of credit for knowing how to put on a really big show for music lovers, but other Wisconsin cities are learning to work these audiences with the help of hometown boys who have done good.

Newest is Eaux Claires 2015, an outdoor music and camping festival at Foster Farms, 3443 Crescent Ave., Eau Claire. In the marquee, 40-act lineup this month was gospel music from the Blind Boys of Alabama, the Indigo Girls with their new “Swamp Ophelia” studio album, musical storyteller Grandma Sparrow in the family zone and Grammy winner Bon Iver as a headliner.

Family farm keeps on growing


Agri-tourism in Wisconsin takes a giant step this month because of a large-scale, family-owned farm in Kewaunee County with ambitious projects that are unmatched by others in the state.

Pagel’s Ponderosa — home to 5,000 cows and 8,300 acres — plans to open a farm-to-table restaurant and market in downtown Green Bay that also will make cheese curds in a 200-gallon vat onsite.

Southern barbecue in the Northwoods


When Dave Anderson opened a little barbecue shack in 1994 on Sawyer County’s Round Lake, the waterfront business gained a quick and strong following. In two decades, those efforts grew into a web of almost 200 down-home restaurants in 34 states, Puerto Rico and Canada.

Now Famous Dave’s and the founding father are going through major changes in Wisconsin’s Northwoods, but they are on two paths, not one.

Take Ten: On the Water


With the arrival of summer comes our urge to take to the water, if not on the beach or with a fishing pole, then on a boat that traverses urban or remote shorelines. Instead of maneuvering your own watercraft, let someone else do the navigating and narrating.

Public tours are plentiful and include these excellent options. Reservations are advised and sometimes required. Group charters are possible, in addition to the public cruises.

Times change at county fairs


If you think county fairs are stuck in time and all pretty much the same, think again. Many go way beyond corn dogs, cotton candy, thrill rides and midway games of chance.

All but one of Wisconsin’s 72 counties hosts at least one fair (Menominee County is the exception), and about 85 percent of these events get up to $10,000 in state aid per year. The best fairs have at least one distinguishing feature and celebrate our rural roots.

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Photo Gallery

    Neighborhood comes together for ‘Home’


    With free popcorn, punch and hot dogs in hand, about 40 children and their parents spread blankets and sheets before a large screen where the the movie “Home” was about to play in the parking lot outside the Urban Outreach Center Thursday night.

    Today’s event briefs: All for a Cure 5K walk/run on Sunday

    KENOSHA — The seventh annual All for a Cure 5K will begin at 8 a.m. Sunday at the south end of Kennedy Park, 4051 Fifth Ave.

    Concrete work begins at Velodrome


    The new racing surface for the Washington Park Velodrome began taking shape Thursday, with a Rasch Construction & Engineering crew forming, pouring and finishing some 300 feet for the north straightaway.

    Bank robbing couple head to prison

    It’s prison time for the Kenosha couple that worked together to rob banks last year, with her writing the notes and driving the getaway car and him going in to get the money.

    Four local schools top state ACT average

    Four Kenosha County high schools exceeded the state average ACT score, while Wisconsin itself is second in the nation in the college entrance exam scores for 2015 graduates.

    Randall voters to weigh in on property tax plan

    RANDALL — Taxes will not increase if Randall School District residents approve an additional $460,000 in annual funding for the next three years, district administrator John Gendron said.

    County unemployment rate drops to 5.2%



    News briefs: Two armed robberies reported

    Kenosha Police are warning people to be cautious after two armed robberies were reported in the last five days in the residential neighborhood between 75th and 80th streets, and 30th and 39th avenues.

    Woman pleads guilty in secret video case


    A woman accused of secretly taking videos of people in locker rooms at the Pleasant Prairie RecPlex and Uline pleaded guilty Thursday morning to 47 felony charges.

    Fix It: Walkway is dark at marina, Wolfenbuttel Park


    This week’s problem: A reader contacted Fix It with a concern about the overhead lights being out along walkway at the Southport Marina and Wolfenbuttel Park.

    After chasing mini motorcycle, police find weapons cache

    Kenosha Police found an AK-47 style assault rifle, a handgun, a large supply of ammunition and high capacity magazines in the home of a man who led an officer on a brief chase on a mini motorcycle.

    Paris clerk appoints deputy


    PARIS — Town clerk Beverly McCumber named Heather Nikula as deputy clerk on Thursday.

    County weighs ideas for addressing mental health budget deficit


    Kenosha County Board supervisors surveyed a variety of ideas Wednesday night aimed at addressing a budget deficit for mental health services.

    Museums a success, despite not meeting lofty projections


    When proposed in 2005, the $15 million Civil War Museum was projected by some to attract 300,000 visitors a year.

    Centenarian sisters share tips for a long life


    Two centenarian siblings are on track for a world record. Like a good wine, they have a few more years before their combined ages are ripe for a record.

    Budding entrepreneurs hit home runs at FastPitch


    Gary Krause, George Carlozzi and Daniel Haas dreamed of ways to make life easier and safer for others.

    WestoshaMarket enjoys successful inaugural season


    BRISTOL — The plentiful, bright produce at the last WestoshaMarket of the season Wednesday served as both a metaphor for the market's attendance, as well as its future.

    Unified alters snow day notifications

    Kenosha Unified School District families will get a slightly earlier announcement of snow days.

    Unified to acquire land near EBSOLA

    A plan to cleanup an industrial site near Edward Bain School of Language and Arts will move forward after a vote from the Kenosha Unified School Board.

    Social media threats may have led to shots being fired at a Kenosha home Tuesday night.

    It’s party time in Twin Lakes

    TWIN LAKES — Main Street in Twin Lakes will close to traffic from 9 a.m. to midnight Saturday for a daytime car show and an evening block party.

    Unified schools get upgrades


    At Jane Vernon Elementary School, teachers are busy readying classrooms for students who will return to a newly renovated — and more energy efficient — building next week.

    Teacher pleads guilty to sexual assault


    A former Bullen Middle School teacher and coach pleaded guilty Wednesday to the charge that he sexually assaulted a high school student while he was employed by the Kenosha Unified School District.

    Snyder: This Grill Games team cooks up fun along with food


    Let’s make something clear right up front: Laura Tyunaitis is not going to share her award-winning grilling recipes.

    Event briefs: Fundraiser to aid college tour organization

    KENOSHA — A fundraising “Back to School Rally” for Education Youth Development Outreach begins at noon Friday and will continue until noon Saturday at Second Baptist Church, 3925 32nd Ave.