Every year, serious news is enlivened by news that seems strange, due to irony, coincidence or some other reason.
Of course, 2013 was no exception, beginning early in the year:
• A Platteville man was arrested for drunk driving Jan. 12. The man was arrested at the Platteville police station, where he had gone to pick up an intoxicated friend.
• The fourth annual Platteville Driftbusters Radar Run was held Jan. 26, including the Bikini Powder Puff snowmobile race, with proceeds going to the Grant County Cancer Coalition. The high temperature the day of the Bikini Powder Puff race: 26.
• The Journal reported Feb. 6 on the discovery of Platteville native Robert Harvey, who found an October 1865 issue of Harper’s Magazine, the oldest general-interest monthly magazine in the U.S., which had an item about “Major R——,” who appears to be Platteville founder John Rountree. The “Editor’s Drawer” item claims that the major “‘crooks his elbow’ a little too often,” in one instance being found by “some ladies lying in a ditch, drunk.” When one asks why the major is in the ditch, the major got out and “with the air of a Judge said, ‘Oh, nothing, ladies; only pondering on the affairs of the nation!” UW–Platteville archivist Jim Hibbard calls it “possible, but probably not provable.”
• On Feb. 15–16, Grant County K-9 Diego made three drug-related arrests of five people in one night — at Main Street and Oak Street in Platteville at 9:05 p.m., on U.S. 151 in the Town of Platteville at 12:10 a.m., and on U.S. 18 near Fennimore around 2:55 a.m.
• A Sycamore, Ill., man became the punch line, so to speak, in the joke “A guy walks into a bar” in the Town of Hazel Green early Feb. 17. In this case, the man walked out of a bar restroom into the middle of a fight, where he was struck in the head with a beer bottle.
• The winner of the 2013 Ironic Timing Award must be the City of Platteville. Weeks after the That Tree project ended, and weeks after the city was named a Tree City USA, the Common Council decided to go ahead with the North Fourth Street project near Smith Park that included removal of six large trees. The trees were removed on Earth Day.
• Three men were cited March 5 for violating the City of Platteville ordinance prohibiting throwing or shooting of arrows, not for throwing or shooting arrows, but for throwing snowballs at cars on Washington Street.
• The title for the Best Graduation Speech of 2013 goes to Platteville High School graduate David Ababio, who borrowed from seven speakers for these five sentences: “Four score and seven years ago [Abraham Lincoln], I had a dream [Martin Luther King] that one day in this decade we would do things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard [John F. Kennedy]. The only thing we had to fear was fear itself [Franklin D. Roosevelt], and through struggle we learned that perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away [Antoine Saint-Exupery]. For courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear [Dwight Eisenhower]. The best way to guarantee a loss is to quit [Morgan Freeman]. In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure [Bill Cosby], but remember this: The complacency of success is the first step to mediocrity” [Ababio’s uncle].
• On July 27, the Platteville Swim Team honored Tom Caccia, its long-time coach and the first Platteville High School swimming coach, by winning the first Tom Caccia Invitational. The irony was that the meet was held with temperatures below 60, prompting a joke from the public address announcer that spectators should be careful driving home on the icy roads. Reports that next year’s meet will be called the Polar Bear Invitational were denied as vicious rumors.
• The Aug. 9 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel runs a story about Wisconsin State Fair cream puffs and their cream supplier, Prairie Farms of Carlinville, Ill. Wisconsin Bakers Association CEO Dave Schmit tells the Journal Sentinel about the controversy of State Fair cream puffs including ingredients from an out-of-state company: “What’s really funny is that everyone thinks the cream is made in Illinois. The plant is actually in Dubuque, Iowa, and everybody knows Dubuque is a suburb of Platteville.”
• The Most Unpleasant Public Safety Incident of the Year probably is the Aug. 19 crash on U.S. 151 at Southwest Road when a rented 2014 Ford Mustang convertible rear-ended a tractor pulling a trailer full of liquid manure. According to the Grant County Sheriff’s Department, the driver of the convertible was texting and talking on his cellphone when the crash occurred.
• On Aug. 21, UW–Platteville held an event showing off its new football uniforms, which include orange or white helmets; blue, orange or white jerseys; and white, orange or blue pants. The results:
Buena Vista: All-orange, win 42–17.
Dubuque: All-white, win 38–24.
Lewis & Clark: White helmet and jersey, blue pants, win 63–34.
UW–Eau Claire: White helmet, blue jersey and pants, win 49–27.
UW–River Falls: Orange helmet and pants, white jersey, win 49–7.
UW–Stevens Point: Orange helmet, white jersey and pants, win 24–23.
UW–Stout: White helmet, blue jersey and pants, win 59–35.
UW–Whitewater: All-white, loss 35–16.
UW–La Crosse: White helmet, orange jersey and pants, win 20–10.
UW–Oshkosh: White helmet and jersey, blue pants, win 17–16.
Concordia: Orange helmet and jersey, white pants, win 54–20.
North Central: Orange helmet and pants, white jersey, loss 52–24.
The all-white look was 1–1, and the orange/white/orange look was 1–1.
• Platteville police were called three times Sept. 12–13 about an excessive noise complaint. On the first call, at 9:40 p.m., police didn’t find the man, but they did find a wallet, a McDonald’s bag with food, and a damaged door knob. On the second call, police found the man and gave him back his wallet. On the third call, after being told the man was “yelling and now more agitated,” police took him to Southwest Health Center, then Tellurian Detox Center in Madison. He was also cited for loud and unnecessary noise.
• Platteville High School held its second annual Homecoming parade Oct. 18. The weather of the 2013 Homecoming parade was exactly the same as the weather of the 2012 Homecoming parade — cold.
Speaking of weather: School was canceled two days before the 2012–13 winter vacation because of snow. School was canceled the day before the 2013–14 winter vacation because of an ice storm.
That may be ironic, but it’s not unusual. This is: School was called off early Sept. 9 because of excessive heat in school classrooms.