Welcome to January

“The immediate function of curiosity is to learn, explore and immerse oneself in the activity that initially stimulated the deployment of attentional resources.”
—Todd Kashdan

This depiction of shot tower activities was painted by Amy Bakken while she was working at Tower Hill State Park in 1994. (See story, p. 5.) Tower Hill history connects the Wisconsin River to the mining of Mississippi Valley Type lead-zinc deposits that are indigenous to our nook of the Driftless Area. A mining trade school in Platteville made this region central to the pioneering of what would become Wisconsin. Platteville is bringing back the Miners Ball tradition on Jan. 19. (See invitation, p. 15).

What better way to start off a new year than to savor the pleasure of indulging one’s curiosity? With each new year we take the opportunity — as Kathy Steffen does in her column on p. 6 — to ask, “Who do I want to be?” To be curious is about as good a thing to be as any: Curious about whether cultural activities really still happen in the winter. (The answer is yes; many! See the Calendar of Events, p. 12.) Curious about the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. in our community. (See story, p. 7.) Curious about how to view bald eagles during the winter along the Wisconsin River. (Find the answer on p. 7.) Curious about curiosity itself. (See Marnie Dresser’s column, p. 10.)
Last fall, Paul Kuenn needed to satisfy his curiosity about the provenance of a series of paintings depicting historic activities at what is now Tower Hill State Park. In November, Paul wrote to us at Voice of the River Valley to share his latest Tower Hill endeavors to update the display area and to ask for help finding the Amy Bakken whose name is on the back of paintings depicting shot tower activities. We connected Paul with Bridget Roberts at the Spring Green Community Library and within a week Bridget connected Paul with the artist whose name was on the back of the paintings. Curiosity yields connections among our communities.
Members of Friends of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway were curious if Voice would help with their first-ever annual membership campaign with magazine inserts (see story, p. 7). For many years we have welcomed similar inserts for the Spring Green Food Pantry locally in the River Valley area, and we are happy to support this worthy cause. This is one more way that we can connect with our community.
Wishing you a happy new year full of curious connections and happy reading,