October 20, 2007
October 19, 2007
The 2007 Festival of Trees will be held Nov. 11 – 18 at the
Visitors will also enjoy live entertainment, holiday shopping, and “Just For Kids” fun area.
Anyone interested in showcasing their talent during this “tree-mendous” celebration should fill out an Entertainment Registration form online at www.racinedowntown.com/festival.html or at the Downtown Racine Corporation office,
October 18, 2007
A commercial office building at 5439 Durand Ave. in Mount Pleasant sold on Oct. 11 for $3.95 million (click here for this week's property transfers).
The building sits on 2.83 acres of land at the corner of Durand and Wood Road across from Regency Mall. Current business there include Associated Bank, Habush, Habush & Rottier law firm, Tiferet Family Chiropractic, Investment Securities, and Enhanced Radiology.
The building was assessed at $2.9 million last year and the previous owner, Daniel Genzel of Pewaukee, paid $45,780.67 in property taxes.
For the week, there were 72 property transfers in Racine County with a median sale price of $165,000. Here are the weekly averages broken down by community and the number of transaction for each community:
Weekly Averages (# of property transfers)
Burlington - $183,892.31 (13)
Caledonia - $277,950.00 (6)
Dover - $164,950.00 (2)
Elmwood Park - $0 (0)
Mount Pleasant - $505,156.93 (14)
Norway - $247,000.00 (2)
Racine - $85,275.00 (25)
Rochester - $221,450.00 (2)
Sturtevant - $239,186.33 (3)
Union Grove - $278,327.00 (1)
Waterford - $230,500.00 (2)
Yorkville - $352,500.00 (1)
The new Racine County Jail is not the jail you've seen in countless movies and TV shows: you know, the one with rows of cramped cells with barred metal doors that clang shut, leaving the inmates standing sullenly inside, hands gripping the bars.
It was a busy day for the shelter: 33 dogs and 19 cats received a variety of shots. Mostly rabies and distemper, but also flea treatments, heartworm and leukemia tests and several microchips. After all vaccinations were done, many owners signed up to get their animals spayed or neutered at the shelter's low-cost clinic.
October 17, 2007
How the cannons will be placed on the square is unknown, reported Janet Hoff of WRJN. The committee is scheduled to meet again on Oct. 25 to further discuss the issue.
Committee members include: Richard Christensen, Wade Helding, Devin Sutherland, Ken Carrier-Duncan, Jeff Coe, John M. Engel and Sharon Baldukas.
Sutherland, head of the Downtown Racine Corp., was the only committee member to vote against the plan, according to WRJN.
If approved by the City Council, the cannons could be dedicated on Flag Day, along with a new flag pole on Monument Square.
Click here to listen to WRJN's radio report.
Finally: yes, girls, he's single.
"There are hundreds of new waterfront villas and attached townhouses being built where you can step out your door and be right on a boat on Lake Michigan. There's a great beach, one of the cleanest on the lake, and the setting is really awesome. Historic Italianate buildings with painted cornices line Main Street, and South Main has Greek Revival homes with huge columns. Art galleries, cafés, and bars with jazz are clustered in storefronts on Sixth Street, with apartments upstairs. There are so many fun art festivals, plus the Racine Art Museum. And Racine is just one hour north of Chicago." Prices from $200,000 to $1 million plus.
She added that she doesn't own a second home, but Racine would be her "dream second-home spot.
Here's the full story.
The AP Scholar award is granted to students who receive grades of 3 or higher on three or more AP exams: The Horlick students receiving this award are Timothy Hanrahan, Kevin Larsen, David Medved, Kaitlyn Stainbrook, and Rachel Steidl.
The following students earned AP Scholar with Honor: Abigal Husch, Lawrence Neuman, and Eric Post. The Scholar with Honor Award is given to students who receive an average grade of at least 3.25 on all AP exams taken and grades of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams.
The AP Scholar with Distinction Award is granted to students who receive an average of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken and then the highest average grade(at least 3.5) on all AP Exams taken. Students receiving the AP Scholar with Distinction Award were: Dana Christensen, Amelia Fawcett, Andrew Sandgren, Douglas Schadewald, Dan Sparbel, and Justin Vrana.
The fight revolves around an underage drinking party in the town. Twenty juveniles were ticketed at the party, including some who go to Burlington schools.
After learning about the party, the school district asked the town police for the names of the kids at the party. Police officials refused, saying they could not legally turn over the names of underage students.
Burlington school officials responded that the Burlington city police have no problem turning over the names. Town police refused and the issue is at a standstill.
We checked with Racine Unified to find out if the district works with city police to get the names of kids ticketed or arrested outside of school hours. The answer: Yes they do.
Here's a response from Al Days, Unified's security officer:
Given the fact that we have over 40 officers working in the school system, important information is shared. We do have an informal information exchange about students involved in criminal activity especially if the student could be violent of a possible danger to other students.
It's unclear if that applies to underage drinking, and it is different given the number of city police in Racine's schools. But it seems Racine police and Unified do work together to talk about students' arrests - in or out of school.
Reappoint Alderman Ron Hart for a one-year term ending in October 2008.
Reappoint Alderman Tom Friedel for a one-year term ending in October 2008.
Appoint Jeff Pellogrom, 555 Main Street, for a four-year term ending in October 2011.
Reappoint Alderman Ron Hart for a one-year term ending in October 2008.
Reappoint Alderman Tom Friedel for a one-year term ending in October 2008.
Reappoint Jeff Pellogrom, 555 Main Street, for a four-year term ending in October 2011.
Reappoint Roberto Garza, 1909 N. Wisconsin Street, as an alternate for a one-year term ending in October 2008.
Business Improvement District - West Racine:
Reappoint Alderman Aron Wisneski for a one-year term ending in December 2008.
Reappoint Jim Spangenberg, 3219 Washington Avenue for a three-year term (property owner representative) ending in December 2010.
Business Improvement District - Uptown:
Appoint Guy Singer, 1514 Junction Avenue.
Appoint Marie Oliver, 1330 Washington Avenue.
Appoint Andy Hay, 1642 Washington Avenue.
Appoint Dr. Richard Kemper, 1509 Washington Avenue.
Appoint Peter Walquist, 1413 Thirteenth Street.
Appoint Aldrenna Smith, 1407 Memorial Drive.
Appoint Lou Larsen, 1426 Washington Avenue.
Appoint Christopher Eperjesy, 1328 Racine Street.
Appoint Alderman Michael Shields for a one-year term.
Becker referenced the police and fire cuts during a recent meeting on programming at the city's Bryant and Tyler-Domer community centers.
The grant writer may be a budget-neutral position, because a grant writer can usually bring in more money than their salary to benefit the city.
A wild card in the budget is whether the state Legislature passes its budget. Without a finalized state spending plan, local governments like Racine don't know how much state aid to expect - a major source of revenue in the city budget.
The School Board wants to meet with city officials to gather feedback on the district as it regroups after a tumultuous year. It's also meant for the School Board to explain the direction of the district.
The listening session will be held as part of the council's "Committee of the Whole" meeting, which is open to the public. The meeting is scheduled for City Council chambers at 6 p.m. It's not expected to last more than 2 hours.
Click here for a PDF of the district's letter to the mayor and City Council, including a brochure on "Listening and Linking Sessions."
October 16, 2007
Greenfield is an award-winning environmentalist who served on the Caledonia Town Board for eight years. As chairwoman, she lead Caledonia's adoption of one of the state's first conservation subdivision ordinances.
Greenfield is a Horlick High School graduate with a master's degree from Marquette University.She is married to Jerry Greenfield, Interim Provost at UW-Parkside, and they have three grown children and two grandchildren.
The Root-Pike watershed encompasses parts of Kenosha, Racine, Milwaukee and Waukesha counties, where the organization and volunteers work to protect, restore, and sustain the ecosystem through grant funding of locally initiated projects. Since 2001 the organization has awarded $297,560 in 68 watershed projects. The Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network grew out of a group convened in 1998 by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to identify critical natural resource issues in the Root River and Pike River watersheds.
October 15, 2007
The study, conducted by HNTB, found that four-way stops at Sixth and College and Sixth and Park are unnecessary. Instead, two-way stops at the intersections are enough to control traffic now and in 20 years, according to a report given to the commission. The report concluded, however, that further study on the issue was needed.
About a quarter-mile of Sixth Street between Grand Avenue and Main Street is scheduled to be rebuilt. The city studied the traffic flow on Sixth Street by shutting down traffic lights at the intersections along the Downtown Street in hopes of making it easier for people to drive through the area. Cross streets on the stretch of 6th Street include Villa, Park, College and Wisconsin.
Removing the traffic signals saved drivers as much as 20 seconds per trip along Sixth Street without impacting pedestrian traffic along the street, according to the study. But the study also noted this is not the public perception. People surveyed about stops signs on Sixth Street strongly favored four-way stops at Sixth and Park and Sixth and College. That could setup a political fight on the City Council over the need for stop signs along Sixth Street.
The study found that there 92 12-second gaps without traffic at Park and Sixth on a typical day - 12 seconds being the acceptable amount of time it takes someone to cross the street. There were 76 12-second gaps at College and Sixth.
According to state standards, a traffic signal should be considered at an intersection when there are fewer than 60 gaps per hour. Based on that standard, the study concluded that there was not enough traffic on Sixth Street to warrant traffic signals.
The study did find that two-way stops on Sixth at Park and College did speed up traffic along the road. When there were four-way stop signs at the corners the average traffic speed was between 17.9 and 23.5 mph. When there were two-way stops at the intersections the average speed was between 23.2 and 29.0 mph.
The accelerated traffic did not seem to sway the engineers in charge of the study. The report said:
There is strong public support for installation of all way stop control at both intersections however, surrounding property owners and the public perceive existing speed and safety concerns that are not supported by data.
Click here for a PDF of the full report.
The fee increase was included in a $5.5 billion two-year transportation budget, which included a new tax on oil companies. Because of a political fight over the oil tax, the transportation bill was broken out of the state budget.
The Assembly now needs to pass the transportation budget with the KRM funding intact, and the governor needs to sign the bill, for it to become law.
Along with the rental car fee increase, the bill allocated $1 million for the KRM extension, allowed the Regional Transit Authority in charge of KRM to borrow $50 million to build the system, and required the RTA to study extending KRM to the north side of Milwaukee.
The transportation budget passed the Senate 18-14. Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine, voted in favor.
The Assembly did not vote on the transportation budget Monday night. It's unclear when they will vote on the bill.
The nearly $60 billion budget was rejected 53-44 in the Assembly. Reps. Robin Vos, R-Caledonia, and Steve Gunderson, R-Waterford, voted no. Reps. Bob Turner and Cory Mason, both D-Racine, voted for the plan.
Here's the full roll call vote.
The Senate passed the budget, with Sen. John Lehman, D-Racine, voting yes.
Wisconsin is the last state in the nation with a budget for next year. Local governments and school districts across the state are in limbo waiting for legislators to finalize the amount of state aid that will be distributed next year.
If no budget is passed, the previous year's spending levels are put into place - an act that would amount to a more than $2 billion budget cut.
1 Cinderella Man
2 Wild Hogs
5 Man of the Year
6 The Notebook
7 The Pursuit of Happyness
9 Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
10 The Messengers
11 Blades of Glory
12 Perfect Stranger
14 The Queen
15 Stranger than Fiction
16 The Number 23
17 The Holiday
18 Are We Done Yet?
19 Lonely Hearts
21 Rome: Season 2 (5-Disc Series)
22 I Think I Love My Wife
23 Grey's Anatomy: Season 3 (7-Disc Series)
24 Heroes: Season 1 (7-Disc Series)
25 Lucky You
Karas also included a summary of constituent contacts he received on the cannons. He said most people he's heard from are opposed to putting the cannons on Monument Square, where they once resided.
Among the opinion Karas reported included leaving them behind the Public Works barn, sending them to Kenosha for the planned Civil War museum and position them on Highway 32 facing Kenosha.
Here's Karas' comments for the official city record:
October 15, 2007
Members of the Ad-hoc Cannon Committee:
In addition to the emails below, I also have had six constituent contacts on this issue. Of those, five did not want them to be placed at Monument Square and one wished that they were placed there.
All five that did not support the Monument Square location offered alternative sites (two at Gateway, two at a cemetery, and one on Highway 32 facing Kenosha.)
The individual who supported placing them at Monument Square mentioned that they would enhance the existing monument, incorporating the cannon into the name of the square, (which is of course, Monument Square,) and pay tribute to Racine veterans.
Personally, I believe that they should stay in Racine as they fit very well into the Joshua Glover story. I recently finished reading the book, The Rescue of Joshua Glover, Runaway Slave, by Ruby West Jackson and Walter McDonald which does an excellent job of chronicling Mr. Glover’s life, his quest for freedom from oppression, and the support the Racine people gave him.
The book also touches on the larger abolitionist movement in Racine and Wisconsin in the Mid-1800s, which includes a succession movement by Wisconsin over Federal slavery laws. The succession movement essentially ended when Abraham Lincoln was elected President as a third party candidate.
Local Racine people and organizations, with financial support of the City of Racine, have begun the process of showcasing the story of Joshua Glover, the local Underground Railroad, and the abolitionist movement in Racine. All indications that this, when completed, will not only honor our proud past, but also will attract a large number of history-minded tourists to the City – a demographic group that spends more dollars and stays a longer time than the average visitor, yielding an economic benefit to the City.
I believe that the cannon would best be placed at a temporary location, Gateway, next to the President and Mrs. Lincoln seems most historically fitting to me. As the aforementioned historical project continues, I feel we should be flexible in the future placing of the cannon for display – giving the option of either staying at the Gateway location or moving them to a place that is a better fit as time passes and incorporating them into the Joshua Glover project as it proceeds.
Thank you to the Committee for their work on this issue and for considering my comments.
Ald. Pete Karas
Here are the emails I have received on the issue:
----------------------------I support keeping Monument Square AS IT IS.
I strongly request to the study committee that it considers lending the historic Civil War cannons to the soon-to-open Kenosha museum. Why has there been such resistance to joining what appears to be an exceptional historical project? This resistance needs to be investigated and talked through by the committee, the city leaders and others who are interested in this project.
The museum appears to promise to fully tell the story of the Civil War in the context of the Midwest involvement in the war, the people and issues, etc., and I presume will allow professional and amateur historians to contribute in a number of ways. I hope such a venture will REALLY educate people about this part of our nation’s history, rather than simply placing the cannons in the square or other location with no real explanation or context.
Having traveled in the cities and villages of Italy, there is something quite special about the openness of the city and village squares there. The wide open expanse – sometimes marked by a statue or fountain and sometimes not – offers the chance to gather and mingle and be part of a COMMUNITY – an important experience in this day and age, one that benefits people and cities as well as businesses that surround the area. We have enjoyed recent concerts on the square, as well as the opportunity to stroll the streets, visit a nearby book store and enjoy the ice cream shop nearby.
And please remember that the request is a LOAN only, so that if we believe that the cannons are not properly being cared for in the Kenosha museum, Racine city can ask for their return.
I think Karen has the right idea. My residence is not in the City, but my business is. Hope that counts for something.
Hope you're doing really well.
Pete, You are not my alderman, but I agree 100% with Karen about the cannons. I've been very puzzled as to what the problem is with loaning them to the museum in Kenosha, which I think is the perfect place for them. They will get the care and respect there that they should, as historical objects--much more so there than in the square.
I don't think that this is an especially popular opinion, but one that I think you may appreciate. I think it is high time that we stop glorifying the symbols (and actual instruments) of killing people!! There is no other appropriate use for such a gun (cannon). So..."the cannons freed the slaves," then it took 100 years for them or their ancestors to actually begin to become equal citizens!
The spot behind the DPW barn was a great spot for them, in my opinion, but the museum may be a good option.
A museum that can preserve the history of such instruments would be most appropriate, especially if accompanied by descriptions and photos of the carnage so that we can learn (some day!) that we should not do this again.
I gather the issue is one of public display of the cannons downtown or such.
I like the idea of loaning, even giving, them to a museum dedicated to that war.
October 14, 2007
Click here for the full list of Racine County property transfers from October 3-10.
"Our deficit is the lowest as as a percentage of GDP in about 20 years; the deficit just went down 35% this year from the last estimate, so we're making progress on the deficit. We are still spending too much money."
"When we tax our businesses, our capital, our corporations at the second highest tax rate in the industrialized world, it is inhibiting our competitiveness. So I'm very much worried that we are pushing jobs and businesses overseas and we have to be more competitive on our tax system so we can attract jobs and growth and business here at home. To the extent that we keep raising taxes to pay for ever-higher spending, that hurts our ability to be internationally competitive. It hurts our ability to win in this era of globalization."
"The problem I see with politics today at the national level, both on the Democrat and Republican sides, is that no one has proposed solutions that rise to the level of the challenges that are confronting us today. We have three enormous challenges. Islamic totalitarianism, globalization, and this pending entitlement bankruptcy with the baby boomers beginning to retire this year, and not one of these candidates is getting beyond a two-sentence answer to one of these problems."
"I haven't selected a person to support myself, not that that matters to many people."
Watch the full interview here. (If it doesn't load, upgrade your RealPlayer here.)
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The folks at Redline Tavern, 1200 N. Wisconsin, knew.
Click here for print version of this photo.
This weekend they're holding their Second Annual Duct-to-Do, an event fueled by duct tape (and beer, duh!), a contest in which artists of every stripe make whatever they can dream up out of (you can see this coming, right?) duct tape.
Boring grey duct tape. And blue, red, yellow, green, purple, black ... the whole rainbow, in fact.
To get the mood started, the Redline is decorated with duct tape bats hung from the ceiling, and owner Connie Nau has created a large and scary spider.
While we watched on Saturday, regular Tracey Larrin was putting the finishing touches on a life-size witch: black outfit and pointed hat, green face, red lips, complete down to a wart on her nose. The broom will be a finishing touch.
All made of duct tape. "I wanted to make a pumpkin," she said, "but there was no orange tape."
Last year, Tracey made a dress from duct tape. Very slinky, and she wore it to a party. "But I couldn't sit, and I couldn't pee..." she said, her voice drifting off. (Yeah, we've been there, done that, although not so much in a duct tape dress.)
Click here for print version of this photo.
3M donated the raw stock. There are rules, of course, and two categories: objects made with tape stuck on a base of cardboard or wire or whatever, and objects made just of tape itself.
Lots of prizes too ... all made of duct tape.
So far, entries include a purse, earings, a couple of ties, a dress, a wallet, flowers.
Hey, you can't watch football all the time!