Utica Fest set for next weekend

Get ready for one of the best and longest-running summer parties around, as Utica Fest prepares to kick off the 44th annual festival with plenty of sports, pulls and live music. 

The festival is located at Utica Community Association Park, 1390 Cty. Hwy. B, in Cambridge, and runs next Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

Some of the more popular events include a slow pitch softball tournament that runs all weekend, the Wisconsin Horse Pullers Association Horse Pull, several tractor and truck pulls, plenty of live music and fireworks at dusk on Sunday. 

The weekend kicks off Friday, Aug. 1 with a  slow pitch softball tournament at 5 p.m. At 6 p.m., the Wisconsin Horsepullers Association Horse Pull takes place, followed by live music with 5th Gear at 8:30 p.m.


Memorial effort finds its footing

Photo submitted. Engineer Eric Neuhauser takes a soil sample last Friday at the Stoughton Area Veterans Memorial Park site on the corner of County B and Country Club Road, as Erich Pechmann of Pechmann Memorials and Bud Erickson of Stoughton American Legion Post 59 look on.

After several months of fundraising brought in around $100,000, the Stoughton Area Veterans Memorial Park now has a solid foundation in more than one way. 

On Friday, workers from Geotechnical Engineering Consulting Company dug holes to conduct soil tests at the park site at the corner of Hwy B and Country Club Road in the Town of Pleasant Springs. 

Bud Erickson of Stoughton American Legion Post 59, one of the coordinators on the project, said the site had plenty of natural sand, so none will need to be hauled in to create a base for some of the heavier monument structures. He said one of the engineers told him the soil type will “allow for stability during the frost.”


Honor regained: ‘Clemency’ for former Green Beret sets gay rights precedent

Photos by Samantha Christian. Jay Hatheway is pictured with his book “Guilty As Charged: The True Story of a Gay Beret” in his backyard garden at his home in Stoughton.

Four years ago, the federal government repealed a nearly century-old official ban on homosexuality in the military. And last month, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan announced a bill he’d introduced in Congress to help military service members discharged as a result of that ban to correct their military records.

The Restore Honor to Service Members Act is intended to honor their service to the country, reverse their less-than-honorable discharges and reinstate the benefits they earned. It’s a piece of legislation that resonates deeply with Stoughton resident Jay Hatheway. 

In fact, Hatheway might well have played a role in Pocan and other Democrats drafting the bill.


'The Wedding Singer' photos

Stoughton High School’s Aligning Stars Theatre presents “The Wedding Singer” theatrical performance. Based on the New Line Cinema film featuring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, the story follows the troubled love lives of wedding singer Robbie Hart and cocktail waitress Julia Sullivan.


Stoughton rallies around single mother in need of liver transplant

Photos by Jacob Bielanski. Claws and Paws in Stoughton held a Fundraiser on Saturday, July 25, to raise money for a liver transplant for local resident Natasha Radecke-Iverson. She has battled a liver condition, biliary atresia, for most of her life and now needs a liver transplant after recent surgery failed to unclock a bile duct. From left, Natasha Radecke-Iverson and Lydia Brekken prepare to wash “Dante.”

Hospital visits used to be Natasha Radecke-Iverson’s yearly vacation. 

Since November, however, those visits now occur every two weeks.

Radecke-Iverson, who was 7 weeks old when diagnosed with the rare liver condition Biliary Atresia, needs a liver transplant to remedy the frequent blockage caused by infections called cholangitis. It’s a condition that make her feel like she’s out of everyday life more than she’s in it.

“I get sick, I go to the hospital, I get out, I’m in pain, but I go straight down to the basement (where I groom dogs) and I go back to work,” said Radecke-Iverson, who owns Classy Canine Cuts. “You know, you just keep going. I don’t live my life as if I have something wrong.”


Stoughton exhibitor donates half of final fair earnings to cancer center

Photo submitted. Lauren Ace poses with her reserve champion sheep at the Dane County Fair’s Meat Animal Sale on July 16. Half of her profit will be donated to Carbone Cancer Center.

Lauren Ace finished her last year of showing sheep at the Dane County Fair by commemorating one of the people who first turned her on to the hobby.

Lauren sold her Reserve Champion animal for $10 a pound at the Meat Animal Sale on Thursday, July 16, donating half of her earnings to the Carbone Cancer Center as her way to honor her grandmother, Sandy Ace, who passed away from cancer in May.

The idea to donate came to Lauren on her way to work one day, and from that point she had no hesitation going through with it.

“It was my final year, and I wanted to go out with a bang,” Lauren said. “I thought that would be a neat idea if I could donate half of my earnings to the cancer center.”

Her donation to Carbone Cancer Center will be approximately $550.


Teen ‘Willows’ blows through Stoughton Opera House next week

It may be the middle of summer, but a group of Stoughton area teens have been working hard to put on play based on the classic story “The Wind in the Willows” at the Stoughton Opera House at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 28 and Wednesday, July 29. 

Donations will go toward funding future children’s programming at the library.. 

“The Wind in the Willows” is a children’s novel by Kenneth Grahame, first published in 1908. The production is a follow-up to last year’s inaugural summer play, “Little Red and the Hood,” which drew more than 400 people and raised more than $1,500 for the library. 

Library staff member Cynthia Schlegel has spent the last 10 weeks working with an “incredible group” of 18 teens making props, costumes, and rehearsing this show.


Nazareth celebrates 50th anniversary

Nazareth Health and Rehabilitation Center is celebrating half a century in business with a week-long celebration next week. 

Two events will be open to the public as a way to say “thank you” to the community, said Nazareth’s Karla Baumgartner. 

“It’s not just for people who have family members here right now,” Baumgartner said. “It’s a thank you to the whole community for supporting us for 50 years.”

Folks will be able to enjoy live music one night, and a family-friendly carnival is planned for another night next week. 

Free live music will be played from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, July 28. Mike McCloskey will play “50’s music for 50 years.” Tuesday also includes a free ice cream social with root beer floats and sundaes.


‘Wedding Singer’ opens July 30

Photo by Samra Tefarra. Zach Wolf (Robbie Hart) and Kristin Nett (Julia) rehearse their roles for next week’s performance of “The Wedding Singer.”

Madonna and Michael Jackson might not be in the audience, but their music and memories will.

Aligning Stars Theatre Company will present the musical “The Wedding Singer,” Thursday, July 30 and Aug. 1 at the Stoughton High School auditorium. 

The throwback score features the songs of different ‘80s icons, said director Deedee Bouzek, who also serves as theatre director for Stoughton High School and middle school.

“Normally I pick a rock musical, but I thought this had a good story about love and it has great music,” she said. “A few students brought this musical to my attention too.”

The musical is based on the 1998 movie starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. The musical premiered on Broadway in 2006 and was nominated for five Tony Awards.


‘Stuff the Bus’ for students Aug. 8

The Stoughton Lions and Lioness Clubs are teaming up with the Stoughton Area School District and area businesses to invite the community to help them “Stuff the Bus” with schools supplies and books. The event will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, at the Stoughton Wal-Mart parking lot.

School supplies and books can also be dropped off in bins at Wal-Mart, Walgreens, McFarland State Bank - downtown and Stoughton Hospital from July 20 through Aug. 8.

Jim Borling, committee chair of the Stoughton Lions Club, said, “The donated school supplies and books will make a difference in the lives of our local children and will give them the tools they need to help them be successful in school.”

School supplies requested, but not limited to, include No. 2 pencils, crayons, markers, rulers, Ziploc bags (quart or gallon), facial tissues, paper towels, pocket dictionaries and thesauruses. 


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