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Sheriff’s office adds patrols for homecoming weekend

The Rock County Sheriff’s Office will be adding additional patrol deputies to the roads during Homecoming this weekend, according to a release.

Deputies will be dedicated to patrolling roadways and areas that can be hazardous for young and inexperienced drivers, officials said. They will also be enforcing traffic and alcohol violations.

The leading cause of violent traffic deaths for teenagers is motor vehicle crashes, according to the release.

“It is our intent to be proactive in hopes of preventing any unfortunate events and to see that their homecoming night is safe and enjoyable,” the release said.

Rock County Sheriff Bob Spoden said he wants to encourage parents and guardians to talk with their teenagers about the importance of using seat belts, adhering to traffic laws and to reinforce safe driving habits.

Report cards grade Rock County districts on state expectations

State education officials say the majority of Wisconsin public schools and school districts meet or exceed expectations for student achievement.

The Janesville, Edgerton and Milton school districts were rated as meeting expectations. The Evansville School District was rated as exceeding expectations. The Beloit School District was rated as meeting few expectations.

The state report cards for about 2,100 public schools show approximately 88 percent met or exceeded expectations. About 98 percent of the state's 424 districts also achieved that mark.

It's the second year the state Department of Public Instruction has issued district report cards and the third year for schools.

Both are evaluated in four main areas; student achievement in reading and math on statewide assessments, student growth in those assessments, closing achievement and graduation gaps and readiness for college or careers.

$1M DOT grant will fund riverwalk project in Beloit

$1M DOT grant will fund riverwalk project in Beloit

The city of Beloit and Beloit College have been awarded a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to fund a Rock River riverwalk project, according to a release.

The $1,009,158 grant, provided as part of the Federal Transportation Alternatives Program, will extend riverside access to the outer walls of the planned redevelopment of the Alliant Energy's Blackhawk Generating Station, officials said. Beloit College plans to turn it into a waterfront activity and recreation center.

"We are thrilled to get this key piece of funding in place, which will further cement this facility's role as a city and college resource," Beloit College President Scott Bierman said in the release. "This will, in essence, help extend Riverside Park south and offer our community easier access to the river, the park and downtown Beloit."

Janesville schools see increase in graduation rates

The Janesville School District has seen an increase in high school graduation rates for the past three years. Data released by the Department of Public Instruction this month shows the district is continuing to make improvements, specifically with minority and economically disadvantaged students.

"We believe that when you set goals, when you set a small number of goals and really target those goals, typically you're going to see an increase and that's what we have done," Superintendent Karen Schulte said.

Craig and Parker high schools in Janesville surpassed the state?s 88 percent graduation average. In the 2012-13 school year Parker High School graduated 91.8 percent of students, while Craig High School graduated 95.1 percent, with minorities showing the biggest improvements.

3 area students recognized for academic achievement

3 area students recognized for academic achievement

Three area students were among the nine Wisconsin semifinalists named for the 2014 Presidential Scholars award. If chosen, they could be headed to Washington, D.C., for the White House's annual ceremony for academic achievement. 

Eden H. Girma of Madison, from Middleton High School; Samuel C. Schendel from Parker High School in Janesville; and Breanna N. Aldred from Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha were among those recognized nationwide as distinguished high school students. 

Edgerton high schooler wins car through safety program

Edgerton high schooler wins car through safety program

An Edgerton High School senior was the winner of a car Thursday as part of a campaign to keep teens safe on the road.

Julia Snell was the excited winner of a 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt at the Rock County chapter of Operation Click, a peer-enforced driver monitoring program aimed at reducing fatalities from crashes involving teen operators.

VIDEO: Watch as teen wins car

Snell was the sixth student from a Rock County school to choose a key and attempt to start the red sedan, valued at $10,000, provided by Burtness Chevrolet of Orfordville.

In addition to Edgerton High School, students from Parker and Craig schools in Janesville, Evansville and Orfordville high schools were at the banquet Thursday in Janesville.

Local athletes, Edgerton Hospital rally to fight cervical cancer

Local athletes, Edgerton Hospital rally to fight cervical cancer

On Feb. 27, Edgerton Hospital, the Edgerton High School girls’ varsity basketball team, cheerleaders and Evansville High School will partner to raise awareness of cervical cancer. The event will take place during the girls’ varsity game, which begins at 7 p.m. at Edgerton High School. The community is invited to attend and encouraged to wear teal and white to show support. A 50/50 raffle will be held and proceeds will be donated to the Wisconsin Women's Health Foundation. Medical staff from Edgerton Hospital will be on hand to provide cervical cancer education and prevention tips.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 12,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014, and 4,000 will die. The good news is that cervical cancer can often be detected early, and even prevented through regular PAP tests. And if it’s found early, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable cancers.