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THE REF To Focus On Safety At Good Neighbor Festival

THE REF To Focus On Safety At Good Neighbor Festival

To reach out to motorcyclists around the state and encourage them to enroll in rider training, The Wisconsin Department of Transportation's Motorcycle Safety Program will bring its new mobile training facility, THE REF or Transportable High-End Rider Education Facility, to Middleton's Good Neighborh Festival.

Built with federal funding, the 40-foot-long REF trailer is more than just a classroom; it is an interactive learning environment for both riders and non-riders to learn more about sharing the road, crash avoidance and awareness of traffic and road hazards, according to DOT officials.

To see THE REF, visit the Web at http://www.zeroinwisconsin.gov/TheREF/Default.asp.

THE REF will be on display Friday from about 4 to 9 p.m., on Saturday from about 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sunday from about 9 a.m to 4 p.m.

Middleton Triathlon Promotes Active Lifestyle For Children

Dozens of schools in the Madison area took part in the "Tri 4 Schools" race Saturday in Middleton. Children, some as young as 3, participated in the triathlon, which included swimming, biking and running.

Organizers said the event, which aims to encourage children to live a healthy and active lifestyle, is much more than a competition. "It's definitely not about winning. It's about a sense of accomplishment. It's about getting out. It's about being active. It's about doing something new for the first time," said Tri 4 Schools volunteer Kaylan Pesature.

Parents said they were proud of their children finishing the race. "I think this is a great event to promote fitness, fitness for kids," said parents Ron Verhelst.

"It's definitely something very beneficial for them, and it shows a lot of dedication to be able to do three different things in one day." Around 400 children participated in the event.

Gluten-Free Expo Caters To Celiac Disease Sufferers

The Madison area's first-ever expo to showcase gluten-free foods brought vendors from across the country to Middleton over the weekend.

About 50 vendors came to the Keva Sports Center to display their products catering to people with Celiac disease.

The wheat-free offerings included soups, granola and even pizza.

There was also a beer vendor selling beer made with the plant sorghum instead of barley or wheat.

The event's organizer said the expo makes it easier for those affected by the disease to discover the wide variety of foods available to them. She said she speaks from personal experience.

"When my husband was diagnosed with Celiac disease, we had to go to a gluten-free diet. Buying a loaf of bread that was $5 for him to try and find that he didn't like became a financial hardship. So, we thought, wouldn't it be fun if we could try a product before purchasing it?" said Julianne Karow.

Middleton Man Running Badwater Ultramarathon

Middleton Man Running Badwater Ultramarathon


A Middleton man is participating in a 135-mile ultramarathon for the second time to raise money for charity.

Darren Fortney is running in the Badwater Ultramarathon, a nonstop race from Death Valley to Mount Whitney, Calif., in temperatures up to 130 degrees.

He ran the race in 36 hours a few years ago and hopes to raise money, again, for the local Gilda's Club for cancer patients and their families.

As a cancer survivor himself, Fortney said running is his way of pushing his body and giving back.

"There are only a few opportunities in life I think to actually take your mind and body to places like that," Fortney said.

Fortney started at noon Monday, and http://badisbad2011.blogspot.com/ is giving blog updates on his progress.

He said he will go through three pairs of shoes, two iPods and up three mountains through the night.

1-Year-Old Smoking Ban Helps Some Kick Habit

It's been a year since the statewide smoking ban took effect, and despite a backlash from some, Gov. Scott Walker said the ban is working and it's here to stay.

There's no doubt some will continue smoking, but the ban is making many cut down on cigarettes.

The pack a day habit started 40 years ago for George Smid, who said the ban is getting him to reconsider.

"I would say the ban has cut down on my amount of smoking," said Smid. "You smoke a lot less when you have to go outside than when you're sitting in a bar stool lighting up one after another."

"We're not smoking like we used to," said Shelley Golackson, another smoker. "We're standing outside in the cold in the winter, and it does change your habits because you aren't smoking as much as you did, so it's a good thing for me."

The University of Wisconsin Center For Tobacco Research and Intervention said calls to its quit line rose sharply around the time of the ban.

Healthy Living Expo Set For Middleton

Healthy Living Expo Set For Middleton

The Marriott West in Middleton will be hosting the 2011 Healthy Living Expo on June 25.

This free family-friendly event will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and its purpose is to raise money for Gilda's Club of Madison.

Gilda's Club serves the community through its support of families that have been touched by cancer.

The Healthy Living Expo will be comprised of some of Madison’s finest health and fitness businesses.

During this event, visitors may peruse informational booths, and enjoy presentations from health and fitness "experts" every half hour. There will be demonstrations of dancing, yoga, martial arts and much more. Children's activities will include balloon making and face painting.  There will also be a silent auction with many items from local businesses.

FEED Kitchens Livens Up Fundraising Efforts With Summer Party

FEED Kitchens Livens Up Fundraising Efforts With Summer Party

Efforts to fund the building of Food Enterprise & Economic Development Kitchens, a food business incubator, will continue on Tuesday, June 21 when the organization hosts a Summer Solstice Sampler event at Capital Brewery.

"We’re not only looking to raise money for construction of the facility, we’re also hoping to connect with potential users of the community kitchen, such as entrepreneurs, food cart operators and those looking to gain new job skills,"  FEED event managerJodi Pathmann said.

The event, which begins at 5:30 p.m. and goes until sundown, will feature a live performance from the band Sweetgrass.

Advanced tickets are $33 or $38 at the door and include appetizers and desserts from local restaurants, as well as a cash bar.

In addition, FEED will host a silent auction, with all bidding conducted at www.feedkitchens.org.