As you know, to me Hometown Festival Week was created with the intent of driving the editor of your favorite weekly newspaper into the ground.
That’s how I feel about this past week, except that only three of those days are attributable to the three Platteville Dairy Days. This was one of those weeks where this newspaper had more front-page-worthy stories than room on the front page.
In chronological order:
Sept. 8: The newspaper was on the way from the printing plant to our retail outlets when I got a text suggesting I check out the Chicago State University presidential search page. That was my tip for one front-page story, before two stories that other weeks might have been front-page stories — expanding the city’s taxi service and providing free wifi downtown, though the city has funds for neither.
I have some background in the subject of presidential searches, having witnessed a few searches for presidents of colleges. The more interesting part of this story is not what chancellor Dennis Shields has done at UW–Platteville (or the other two finalists at their respective schools), it’s the mess (and that’s an understatement) the winner, if that’s what you want to call him, will walk into at Chicago State. When the Huffington Post says that Chicago State risked losing its accreditation over allowing failing students to remain to improve enrollment numbers, well, I’d be wanting lots and lots of money to take that job.
The wifi would be of the rudimentary kind found on the UW–Platteville campus or in Platteville Public Schools buildings. (Where, I have found, Facebook posts require using up part of your data plan.) It would really not compete with CenturyLink, though given the quality and price of said service some might prefer an Internet service competitor. If you need Internet for your business, you’re not going to get very far with free wifi.
Wednesday: My morning was taken up by the strange sight of a tipped-over milk truck that failed to successfully negotiate the Adams Street-to-Lancaster Street curve. While I was at that, a reader came in to tell us the strange sight of a large number of police officers outside a house elsewhere in Platteville. That was my tip for another front-page story.
Thursday: It’s unclear why the aforementioned object of police interest was reported outside Wisconsin to be from Platteville, since there is no evidence he grew up in Platteville. It took some time to investigate that, along with a trip through Georgia’s death penalty law.
Friday: Since I was at Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium, I missed night number one of Dairy Days. I didn’t miss day number one of the Historic Re-enactment, which had nearly 2,500 students, along with, among other re-enactors, three giant Newfoundlands. I forgot to check how the Newfies felt about the periodic explosions of cannons, though in my experience Newfies are very laid-back dogs, which is good since they are the approximate size of small bears.
Saturday: Due to a change in plans, I ended up spending nearly the entire afternoon and evening at Dairy Days, following, of course, the morning parade. (Not for the first time I noticed a huge temperature difference between the south side of Main Street, where photos should be taken, and the north side of Main Street, where the sun shines.) You’ll have to check out The Journal next week for winning float photos, because there is no room for them this week. I think I got scooped in my nighttime midway shot by John Urness, who shot his (on page 14B) one night before mine (on page 1).
While eating Optimist cheese curds, the question was posed of whether Elvis Presley impersonators, such as Tony Rocker Saturday night, grew up wanting to be Elvis impersonators. I was just impressed with Tony Rocker and the Comeback Special’s beginning its second half with the beginning of Elvis’ 1973 Hawaii concert, which I remember watching. Rarely do you hear “Also Sprach Zarathustra” followed by “See See Rider,” though you do hear “Burning Love,” Elvis’ last number one hit and perhaps his best rock song, slightly more often.
Sunday: I ran to Legion Field before church to shoot photos of the Platteville United Methodist Church service (see page 4B) including its contemporary band, Blind Faith. Classic rock fans will be amused because Blind Faith was the name of a ’60s supergroup that featured Eric Clapton (well, Clapton), Steve Winwood (of the Spencer Davis Group and Traffic) and Ginger Baker (of Cream). For exactly one album and one concert tour. On the other hand, one of Blind Faith’s two recognizable songs is “Presence of the Lord.”
Later, I walked through the Southwest Wisconsin Auto Club show while trying to monitor the Packers–Bears game. In addition to Corvettes and Mustangs (one signed by Carroll Shelby, who devised the Shelby Cobra and GT-350 and GT-500), there was a 1967 Chevrolet Biscayne coupe, with a not-from-the-factory 540-cubic-inch V-8 engine. The owner proudly said he gets up to 13 mpg.