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Alice Albers, 6, enjoys the bounce house slide at the Beloit Meals on Wheels 50th anniversary celebration Saturday at the ABC Supply Stadium. 

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Autorama roars back to life

TOWN OF BELOIT—They just don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

That was a familiar refrain at the 2021 Autorama car show on Sunday at Preservation Park in the Town of Beloit.

The event was hosted by the Beloit Evening Lions Club, Coachmen Street Rod Club, Blue Ribbon Classic Chevy Club and the XLR8 Car Club.

The public poured into the park beginning in the morning to appreciate the classic vehicles on display.

One man who brought his adult son with him and stopped to check out one of the classic beauties said such a gathering has a lot of meaning for people.

“Cars can bring all kinds of people together. They represent freedom. Basically, today a car is a computer on a set of wheels.”

The man, who identified himself only as “a car nut” said there was a time when car owners could take their vehicles apart and put them back together.

“Now you need diagnostic tools to take one apart.”

Dick Schultz, formerly of Janesville and now of Missouri, showed the 1950 green, Buick Eight Special that he restored.

The large sedan belonged to his father, he said. While some of the parts had been replaced, others were original, such as the front grill.

“It’s 71 years old,” Schultz said.

The categories of vehicles included: Corvette, Street Rod, High Performance, Stock, Modified, Truck and Import.

Lions’ volunteers and some of their wives helped out with the food tents.

At one tent, Lion Jerry Murray was asked how things were going.

“The weather is perfect,” he said.

Autorama Chair Todd Nelson said in all there were 1,241 show cars. And he said the crowd numbered about 4,000 people.

The warm, dry weather helped make it possible to hold this year’s event. In 2019, the park was flooded, so the event was cancelled. It also was cancelled in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As members of the public wandered among the hundreds of shiny, well-maintained cars and trucks, they offered bits of nostalgia.

“Quality and chrome,” summed up Patrick Hecker of Rockton as he viewed a 1972 Dodge Charger.

“New cars aren’t made to last,” he said.

Dennis Rodefeld of Madison also appreciates the classic models.

“I’m still crazy about the older ones; I like the original ones,” he said as he stood next to a 1961 red and white convertible Corvette in its original condition.

Proceeds from Autorama are given back to the local community such as to VetsRoll, Stateline Boys & Girls Club, Project 16:29 and others.

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Toasts raised as Oktoberfest returns to downtown


Hundreds gathered in downtown Beloit on Friday night to celebrate the return of Oktoberfest along State Street with live music, games and German-centric cold brews.

This year’s Oktoberfest marks the sixth time the event’s taken over downtown to support local businesses and offer a night of fun for all ages.

Downtown Beloit Association Executive Director Shauna El-Amin said being able to be back with the popular event meant a lot for downtown businesses.

“It’s really exciting to be able to be back this year,” El-Amin said. “We’re out here to support our downtown businesses. It’s been really great to have everyone back out this year.”

The Zweifel Brothers, yodeling and all, got people polka dancing to start off the night. The band has been playing together since 1965 and have performed across Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa. Headliner Soul 2 Soul, a 70s rock band, took the stage and covered crowd favorites from the likes of Boston, Journey, Styx and more.

New this year was axe throwing brought to the event by Rockford, Illinois based-Big Timber Axe Throwing with attendees trying their luck to grab a bullseye with a mighty heave. An event favorite, Hammerschlagen, was back with players attempting to send nails into a log with the reverse side of a hammer.

As always, the event featured a Oktoberfest-themed costume contest for best couple, cutest kid and cutest adult. Kids were able to enjoy face painting and balloon twisting.

Various food trucks from around the Stateline Area were on-hand to offer bites to festgoers.

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase, left, is unable to catch quarterback Joe Burrow's pass as Chicago Bears defensive back DeAndre Houston-Carson (36) and Kindle Vildor (22) defend during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)

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Ground breaks on future Clinton Elementary School

CLINTON—Judging from the bright smiles of the little Clinton Cougars on Friday afternoon, the future of the school district is bright, according to Clinton School Board President Sheri Mullooly.

School board members, Superintendent Jim Brewer, the Cougars mascot, construction workers and lots of kindergarteners gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony for the addition and renovation to the existing middle school at 115 Milwaukee St., which will be named Clinton Elementary School, following the upgrades.

“I want to thank community members and the core team and staff who brainstormed a plan to be proud of,” Mullooly said.

The new 4k through sixth grade facility has a cost estimate of about $22 million and is scheduled to be completed by August of 2022. J.P. Cullen and Sons is the general contractor for the project and the architect was Eppstein Uhen Architects.

“It’s an eight classroom addition with four 4k classrooms and four kindergarten classrooms,” Director of Facilities, Grounds and Safety Brandon Loomer said.

Included in the addition is a new 3,500-square-foot cafeteria/commons area and a collaborative group area between the 4K and kindergarten classrooms. The total addition’s square footage is roughly 21,000 square feet.

“We are hoping that the commons/cafeteria space can also be used by community groups for facility use,” added Vice President of the Clinton Board of Education Gary Gilbank said. “It’s a nice open space.”

The renovations at the newly named Junior and Senior High school will be completed Jan. 1. Construction began on the new addition to the high school in a groundbreaking ceremony in May.

It followed a November referendum passage for facilities upgrades totaling $32 million to address critical maintenance, renovations, repairs and additions at the middle and high school buildings. As part of the plan it was decided the elementary school building at 301 E. St. would be retired. As soon as these two projects are completed, the district will be moving students into the two renovated schools—the current high school at 112 Milwaukee St. and the current middle school, going from three schools to two.

Seventh and eighth graders from the middle school moved up to the Junior and Senior High School this fall. When completed, the district will move 4k through 4th graders to the new elementary school. Currently the fifth and sixth graders are in the building.

Upgrades for the high school included a new roof, two-station gym along with renovations, replacement of the gymnasium floor, expansion of the agriculture and tech ed classrooms and renovations to the 2D art and life sciences classrooms.

The cost for the high school project will be roughly $10 million, and the new 4k through sixth grade facility will cost about $22 million.

Thanks to the renovations at both buildings, students and staff will be more comfortable as there will be air conditioning, better temperature control and new and more movable furniture suitable to modern learning. Staff will enjoy new windows and more natural lighting as well as additional space for collaboration.

The upgrades also will help the IT functions of the school and the HVAC system to run smoother and more efficiently. The updated and high efficiency plumbing fixtures, updated boilers and chillers and energy-efficient lighting will save money. Loomer noted the former middle school was built in the 1950s and was in need of significant upgrades.

Material procurement has been challenging, but the project is still on schedule and under budget.

“We are full speed ahead and looking forward to amazing updated facilities for our community,” Loomer said.