August 2, 2008

Bloggers give Becker an earful about crime

Mayor Becker and the bloggers, at JavaVino

If Mayor Gary Becker thought nasty, critical, anonymous bloggers would be civil and friendly in person -- well, he's been disabused of that quaint notion.

About 20 bloggers took up the mayor on his invitation to meet face-to-face at JavaVino downtown on Saturday morning. But they were no less insistent in person -- although at times they left the mayor alone to argue among themselves.

As it is on the blogs, the subject on everyone's mind appears to be crime. Whenever the mayor does anything these days -- the Uptown mosaic mural comes to mind -- the bloggers are quick to denigrate with comments like Anonymous', "Thank God. Crime in this city will finally stop because of this beautiful art!!" The mayor invited bloggers to meet because of comments posted on the JT's website in reaction to a story about the community meeting he hosted at the Martin Luther King Center earlier this week. "How do you go from a community meeting to 'this is a cover-up on crime,' " he wondered.

In person they were somewhat less sarcastic, but no less frustrated. One after another at the JavaVino meeting they said things like:

"People in this town are very, very upset. You know what the cops tell me: 'Hide.' Well, I'm sick of hiding!"

And: "You have to take the fear out of the neighborhoods."

A number of exchanges between blogger and mayor showed a pent-up anger at the police. These residents say they constantly call the police for help, and are blown off.

One woman told him: "The cops are sick of us" who call to report drug dealers. "They don't to hear it. You can see men smoking crack at 11th and College, that whole area. The police are really sick of hearing from people who keep calling them."
BECKER: "The cops should not be dismissing you."
WOMAN: "They busted someone for having a wrench in his car."
BECKER: "I don't believe this happened. Give me the details. I don't believe this is going on."
WOMAN: "This is what happened. It happens every day."

Another man said, "I'm sorry, but it's a mess. Telling us otherwise will not make a difference when I hear gunshots tonight. Once the sun goes down, I don't come out."
BECKER: "Where do you live."
MAN: "On Main Street. I got ticketed for disorderly conduct when they couldn't find the guy I reported. They ticketed me! You've got to go sit on East Park at 3 in the morning..."
BECKER: "I drive through those neighborhoods."
MAN: "You don't live there, sir. We're sick of it, sir."

Another woman -- after decrying the fact that only whites were at the session with the mayor, said: "I see many kids arrested just for being black."
BECKER: "I would argue that on the whole the police don't hassle blacks."
WOMAN: I know it's true. If four kids are on the corner, it's the three blacks who get hassled."
BECKER: "I disagree.... I would say the cops in Racine have a good relationship with the black community. If you go to Milwaukee, cops and the community are not communicating." He illustrated with two fists coming at each other.

He also pointed out that police have executed 130 search warrants this year. But one man complained: "It's obvious to me: I see drug deals going down. If it's obvious to me, it's got to be obvious to the professionals. The drug dealers are on the corner."
BECKER: "I wish we had the right to just shake them down (search them)."
MAN: "You could have a couple of squad cars drive them off."
BECKER: "They'll just move around."
MAN: "Then move with them."

At one point Becker noted that some of those present wanted much stricter police enforcement, but others were concerned about police hassling minorities. "She's telling me we're too tough on these guys. You're telling me we're not tough enough."
WOMAN: "We have to do something, take ownership of the program, not just talk."
An agitated man argued loudly, with profanity: "I'm not going to take my life in my hands. My God, where do you live?"
BECKER: "Settle down."
ANOTHER MAN, to one in a striped shirt: "You've got the stripes, you gotta referee this."
The first man continued swearing and finally stormed out of the coffee shop.
THIRD MAN: "I hope he's not a gun owner."
FOURTH MAN: "I hear his frustration. I get it."
WOMAN: "We need to solve this, get involved with our neighbors. We don't need to be vigilantes."
BECKER: "We've got to have balance."

Drugs and violence dominated the session. The two aldermen present, Greg Helding and Jim Kaplan, added perspectives of their own. Kaplan told of a constituent who brought him a baggie full of spent shells she picked up around her house. "I told her, 'Take them to the police,' but she said, 'We're afraid if we do, they'll be shooting at us the next time." So Kaplan took the bullet casings to the police and filed the complaint himself. Helding offered an analogy about drug sales: "You know all the coffee shops downtown? Well, if we all stopped drinking coffee, they'd close. Same with the drug dealers."

At one point, the mayor was asked, "Do you spend too much time and money on Downtown?" He responded, "We spend very little." Referring to all the events downtown, like First Fridays and Party on the Pavement, put on by merchants and the Downtown Racine Corporation, he said, "We don't do anything except drop off barricades -- and we charge them for that."

The mayor talked about stepped up city inspections -- "Five inspectors work in the ugly neighborhoods, the bad ... and they're on call in the good neighborhoods." -- about the half-dozen bars that have been closed down due to violence, about efforts to tear down boarded up and abandoned houses ("I hate boarded up houses," he said.), and the city's program for helping people buy their own homes. Of one major landlord, said to be trying to sell a large bloc of rental units, "The fear is that he will sell out to someone from out of town, and we'll have nobody here to go after." Becker would much prefer the units to be sold to individual homeowners. Regarding substandard dwelling units, he said: "We will be as aggressive as the law allows us to be."

A teacher said, "Crime is just a symptom. The problem is economic. We need more jobs in the city. Good, well-paying jobs is the solution." Becker said he had met with Dr. James Shaw, the current finalist to be Racine Unified superintendent. "I really hope Dr. Shaw, if he takes the job, can get things done. He really understands the achievement gap.... the community is dying for someone to come into that position and start making decisions."

The session ended after an hour, because Becker was taking his daughter and two of her friends to Chicago to see the Lollapalooza festival. But he also said he was meeting an artist in Chicago -- a potential resident for the Uptown arts district.

Enthusiastic bidding at annual Chair-i-ties auction

'Something Seasonal' bench sold for $600

For six weeks, a few dozen budding Racine artists have toiled to transform dowdy donated chairs and other furniture into works of art.

Today was payday.

The Main Gallery program's annual Chair-i-ties auction took place to enthusiastic bidding under sunny skies in Monument Square this morning. Bidders chose among chairs, side tables, coffee tables -- even a brightly painted sled.

In all, the auction raised $7,850. Don't get the impression the kids didn't care how much their projects sold for, just because the money goes to fund next year's program, which is run by the city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department, in collaboration with the Racine Arts Council.

They cared, all right. Often the artists themselves held up their own project during bidding, encouraging the crowd, talking up the artwork.

Top seller was "Something Seasonal," a bench painted by Maggie Prioletta and Evan Hoffman. It went for $600. A table, "Up and Out," by Alex Weyenberg sold for $525, according to Michael Rude, projects director of the Racine Arts Council.

The Main Gallery program started 13 years ago, modeled after a similar program in Chicago. Youths 14-19 work under professional instruction for about 18 hours per week, earning $6.35 an hour. Furniture was decorated in a variety of media, from paint to ceramics to photography.

'Up and Out' table sold for $525

Mailboxes were part of silent auction, which hasn't been tallied

Journal-Sentinel shutting down its Racine section

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is ending its Racine section that ran in Sunday papers.

The paper confirmed the move this week. The last section is apparently scheduled to run next Sunday.

While great news for The Journal Times, which was running scared from the J-S for years, it's a sad blow for news in our community. It means less coverage, less exposure and less competition for our entrenched daily at a time when it needs more competition to get its act together.

The end of the Racine section puts a period on the J-S's ambitious plans to take over Racine County. At one time, the Milwaukee paper was considering a daily Racine section with a staff in its Sturtevant bureau comparable to the JT's. There were actually days when the J-S had more reporters on the ground than Racine's paper, which was leaving positions dark to try and meet Lee Enterprises' budget figures.

The heyday of the Racine section came around 2001 and 2002, when Tom Kertscher was the lead reporter in the office. He consistently pounded the JT with great reporting, and left the JT veteran scratching their heads on how he got his stories.

Here's a story as to why we need competition. Back around 2002, the JT's ace reporter found out a police officer was caught by the Police and Fire Commission (literally caught with their own eyes) sleeping in his car. The reporter found out about the story, but didn't write about it because he was friends with people in the department and didn't want to upset people.

After a couple of weeks, the J-S got word and ran the story, which went national. The JT ended up looking foolish.

Competition in the news business insures against cozy relationships affecting coverage. Racine has less competition now, which means the JT has less to worry about. That's not a good thing.

August 1, 2008

Shop holds benefit for rescued Afghan hounds

Dana Goodsell and Montgomery

Isn't this a face you could love? We're talking about the Afghan hound; of course you could love Dana Goodsell!

Dana and her sister, Regan, own the Elegant Pauper gift shop downtown, which on Friday night was turned over to Montgomery, their parents' 2-year-old Afghan, who sat and slept regally on the couch while Dana and Regan ran a benefit to raise funds for Afghan hounds.

Montgomery -- he answers to "Mo-Mo" -- is a rescued Afghan. Dana discovered him 18 months ago on one of the breed's rescue websites, soon after Elliot, one of the family's two Afghans had died. "There were 30 families willing to adopt him, but I wrote a very compelling letter," Dana says, and so they were given 48 hours to come to Arkansas and claim him. Which they did, by hurriedly flying down and then renting a car to bring him home. He is the family's sixth Afghan -- and a welcome companion to 8-year-old Remington, another Afghan. ("Remington just missed Elliot so much; the second we brought Montgomery home he was so happy, his tail started wagging and it couldn't have worked out better.")

Those of us who have fallen in love with one dog breed or another can understand this attraction, even for a breed that can reach 80 pounds and likes to hog the couch, the whole couch.

But this isn't a story about Montgomery. Rather it's about 67 Afghans hounds rescued two weeks ago from their New Mexico breeder, who got sick and ran out of money. (There were also 25 exotic birds, but that's another story.) Dana and Regan wanted to raise funds to help Afghan Rescue New Mexico, which is bringing the dogs back to good health, and then hoping to find them good homes around the country.

So the girls turned Elegant Pauper over to the dogs on Friday night: There was Mo-Mo's Lemonade Stand inside the shop, with all proceeds going to help the dogs. And for a $5 donation, shoppers could receive a 15% discount on all purchases made in the shop this weekend. Dana and Regan will also share some of the funds raised with HOPE Safehouse, which finds homes for abandoned pets in Racine.

The benefit at Elegant Pauper will continue Saturday.

The Santa Fe New Mexican's story about the rescued Afghans is HERE. More on the effort to raise funds and find homes for the dogs is on the website of the Afghan Hound Club of America, which has posted pictures and web pages for many of the dogs.

Montgomery, in his place of honor at Elegant Pauper

First Friday: Downtown was jumping!

Monument Square was packed, as Mean Jake rocked!

First Fridays are supposed to be about the shopping -- the galleries and stores are open late and Downtown restaurants and bars are packed. But for me, it's usually about the music, the joy of seeing the streets jammed with people (like Cape Cod used to be), Monument Square absolutely packed, kids dancing, friends socializing.

This month's First Friday was all that -- and much more. Tons of people, great music in more than half a dozen places, cash registers ringing, exhibits at both RAM and the Racine Heritage Museum ... and some amazing old cars and even a doggie benefit.

Below, some images and explanations...

Cheryl McCrary and her band on Sixth Street...

Musicians in Training on Main Street...

Husband and wife, Jill Jensen and Jack Grassel on Sixth...

Paul Kaye on Sixth ...

Eric Nelson's 1935 Nash (note its 1935 license plate, too)

And then there were the cars! The Nash/American Motors Car Club displayed a dozen cars in the parking lot of Jeff Leavell's law firm on Main Street -- beautiful cars, many from a forgotten era when people didn't mind that their cars got less than 13 miles to the gallon.

Two of the oldest, a 1935 and a 1938, were from the collection of Eric Nelson of Pleasant Prairie, who actually worked at the Nash factory in Kenosha, from 1952 to 1954. He left, he said, because Nash was going through hard times, during the "Korean situation," and its cars weren't selling very well. "I was underemployed with them, and I finally said, 'Enough.' I went into the wonderful world of plumbing."

Eric is retired now -- he's nearing 75 -- but he still collects old Nash's. One of the newer ones on display Friday was a 1954 model owned by Tom Creece of Racine. He bought it from Eric three years ago, but its provenance goes farther back than that: Eric actually helped make the car.

Creece was a fount of information about Nash: The company started out in 1902 as the Thomas B Jeffery bicycle company, but later built cars after buying the old Simmons Mattress Factory in Kenosha. It was purchased by Charles W. Nash in 1917, who changed its name to Nash Motors... until 40 years later merging with Hudson to become American Motors. Eventually, in 1957, the Nash marque was dropped, when its sales were far outstripped by AMC's Rambler. Creece guessed that Nelson's gorgeous '35, above, is worth about $30,000.

More information on the cars can be found at the Nash Car Club website.

And then there was one sad note on Main Street -- this sign in the window of The Yellow Rose. We've already reported on the restaurant's closure at the end of June, but hated to see that it's really true and permanent.

We picked up another bit of news last night: 716 Fine Art, an art gallery and performance space that located on the corner of Main and 4th Street last fall, having moved here from Kenosha, is moving again.

But not very far: just down the block, next to Dover Flag and Map, in the space vacated by Silents Please. Although the space will be somewhat smaller, gallery owner David Geisler promises to continue both his art shows -- perhaps limiting them to two artists at a time -- and the gallery's musical performances. And he promises the new gallery, which he is just starting to renovate, will be as nice as his present one. He hopes to be open in the new space by the next First Friday, in September. Until then, the existing 716 will remain open.

The chutzpah of Dr. Barbara Pulliam

In Yiddish there's a word -- chutzpah -- that roughly translates as unmitigated gall, brass balls, selfish insensitivity. The dictionary genteelly defines it as "utter nerve, effrontery."

Well, tonight we have another definition:
Chutzpah = Dr. Barbara Pulliam
Yes, that Barbara Pulliam: the educator chosen on April 29 by the Racine Unified School Board to be its next superintendent, expected to start work on July 1. Except that on June 10, after more than five weeks of contract negotiations, she suddenly called Unified’s attorney Gib Berthelsen, to announce that she had taken another job.

Actually, she didn't even have the class to make that call herself; her attorney called Berthelsen.

Well, that was then, this is now. A week or so ago, we'd heard that things weren't going too well for Dr. Pulliam in Greene County, Georgia, where she hastily became interim superintendent, after the school board there bought out its existing superintendent after just one year of a three-year contract, and interviewed and hired her in the same week.

Actually, we heard two things: One, that she had quickly rescinded her predecessor's controversial plan to put all the district's children in uniforms, and in gender-specific classrooms; no mixing of the sexes. Second, we'd heard -- but didn't bother to verify since we really didn't give a darn and didn't write anything at the time -- that turnover among the school board that hired her is expected to replace her best friend on the board and others who'd supported her appointment. So her job -- paying $155,000 per year -- might be in jeopardy. Karma, we thought; what goes around, comes around.

The first point above we know is true; the second is still hearsay.

But what we now know as fact -- having confirmed it with a member of Unified's School Board -- is this:
Dr. Barbara Pulliam is willing to come to Racine after all!
Don't all stand up and cheer at once.

Yes, about two weeks ago, she called Gib Berthelson to let him know that she was willing to forgive and forget and come to Racine as superintendent; let bygones be bygones as it were. We don't know what went on in Gib's mind -- we can guess -- but we're told he said to Pulliam: "I'll tell the board, but don't make any travel plans."

As far as the board is concerned, "Thanks, but no thanks." LOL.

Meanwhile, the board hasn't yet voted whether to offer the superintendent's job to Dr. James Shaw, the UW-Madison professor who was here this week meeting with teachers, administrators, parents and the public, continuing his interview for the job. But at the same time, almost everyone sees such a vote as a formality; Shaw was very impressive. He's also the board's only candidate.

At least one school board member told me the only question is salary, and Shaw will be given a pay package comparable to superintendents in peer districts, probably about $170,000 plus benefits.

There's also the expectation that Shaw will be his own man, independent in many respects from the school board. For example, he is said to have told them already that the much-vaunted Quality District Model implemented by former Supt. Tom Hicks was OK -- twenty-five years ago!

Anonymous, meet the Mayor

The anonymity of the internet often brings out the worst in people, as the JT has seen often in the comments posted to its news stories. ("Editor's note: Please refrain from swearing AND using racial slurs. Thanks, JT Staff" is a not unusual response to deleted comments.) Nor is RacinePost immune, although -- thankfully! -- not to the same extent.

After a while, the subject of some of this animosity manages to shrug it off, as Racine Mayor Gary Becker must have been doing since the JT's blogs began. But once in a while it gets through even the thickest skin.

Such must have been the case Thursday, when Becker posted the following response on one of the JT's blogs to nasty criticism of his promise to help improve the neighborhood around the Martin Luther King Center (click to enlarge):

Coffee with the mayor, face to face at JavaVino on Saturday! It should be interesting to see how many of those who hide behind silly avatars and "names" like "goodoldraytown," "hottieblue77," "BwzrJr" and all the gang show up and identify themselves.

July 31, 2008

Kissing babies is so passé

We linked earlier this week to a blogger's report about Marge Krupp, one of four Democrats running for Congress here, who took on Rep. Paul Ryan at the County Fair.

And whupped him. In goat-milking.

Well, it turns out, that was just a partial report. This, as Paul Harvey would say, is the rest of the story:

The goat milking contest is an annual event for all politicians at the Racine County Fair. Because there are only two goat milking stations, Fair officials pair off two politicians at a time. Everyone has to wait his or her turn, but all are given the same amount of time to milk the goat, by aiming into a smalll bottle with an even smaller opening.

In addition to Krupp and Ryan, milkers included Democrats Paulette Garin (pictured at right), John Lehman, Lisa Van Koningsveld, Linda Flashinski. I assume there were more Republicans as well, but to tell the truth I wasn't there (and am planning to miss it next year as well.)

In any case, I hear that Garin got almost three ounces of milk from her goat, while Krupp and Ryan managed only a little over an ounce apiece.

Sad to say, the "official" record, logged on a yellow legal pad, is somewhere in the goat barn, beyond reach. We're considering filing an FOI request to get to the bottom of all this.

In any case, the pols say it was all in good fun. Not at all sure the goats would agree.

McCain: 'I work for you and the country I love'

Republican Presidential hopeful John McCain, the senator from Arizona, brought his campaign to Racine today, to an enthusiastic crowd of about 1,000 at Memorial Hall. He delivered what the Associated Press referred to as "his standard stump speech" and then took questions from the audience in a Town Hall format for 30 minutes.

I lost count of how many times he was interrupted by applause. Many.

Some of the key points he made during his half-hour speech:

"I work for you and the country I love."

"I fought for the surge strategy -- I spoke against my party on this issue -- and it's working. We may have the lowest casualties in July since the war began." McCain, a POW during the Vietnam War -- as the audience was reminded with touching videos shown before he arrived -- insisted, "I hate war. I'm going to end this war and bring our troops home," but only after establishing a democracy in Iraq.

Two days after Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, a Republican, was indicted on charges of accepting more than $250,000 illegally, McCain spoke out against "the corruption that exists in our national Congress today. We have former members of Congress in prison." Realizing that his comment might not be appreciated by his fellow senators, he added, "I didn't win the title of Miss Congeniality."

McCain, who said he likes and respects the presumed Democratic nominee, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, pointed out differences between the two of them. One key difference: their approach to earmarks. "In two years, he's proposed nearly $1 billion in pork barrel spending for his state. I have never asked for a pork barrel earmark," he said, adding, "I'll veto every single pork barrel bill that comes before my desk." The audience gave him a standing ovation. Another difference is their position on off-shore oil drilling; McCain is for it, Obama is not.

Obama says one thing, but does another, McCain said. "I asked Sen. Obama to travel across this country with me and engage in town hall meetings. He has refused to do so, and yesterday -- in case you missed it -- he wanted to have a duel. I'm not sure exactly what weapons he had in mind."

The subject of energy came up again and again, and McCain made the case for nuclear. "Nuclear power is safe," he said, noting that France gets 80% of its power that way. Later he said he would build 45 nuclear plants in the U.S. by 2030.

Town Hall questions began after 30 minutes. I counted 19 questions, although some of them were merely statements, like one young man's: "I don't have a question, but I want to say to my friends that I talked to the next president."

The first question asked got the biggest laugh. "We love you and wish you the best, but we've got a big problem in Wisconsin. Would you talk to Ted Thompson and Brett Favre?" McCain handled it well. "I've jumped into lots of controversies in my time," he said, "but I'm not so dumb I'm gonna jump into that one."

Some of the Q&A went like this:

Asked about energy prices and the proposed carbon tax, McCain responded: "I do not favor a carbon tax. Who is being hurt the most? The poor, driving older cars. Congress is deadlocked on energy, but they're not going to miss their August recess," he said (sorta ignoring the fact that he's part of Congress...) He gave a strong endorsement to "green technology," like "wind, tide, solar and alternative fuels. Let's give every American a $5,000 tax credit" to buy an efficient car, he said.

Asked if he would release more funds for "Christian Choice Schools," McCain said: "I support all choice; the civil rights issue of the 20th Century is education. Too many of the worst schools are in the lowest income areas." He said he's for Charter schools, vouchers, home schooling. "Competition" will improve the schools he said, noting that "Obama called this 'nonsense.' "

A teen-aged girl said, "I'm a teen and I have to say Obama terrifies me." McCain responded: "I respect Obama, but we have stark differences."

Asked by a college student what he would do about the high cost of tuition, McCain said: "We have to have a brake on inflation." And then he suggested the country encourage young people to serve the country as volunteers, in return for "increased educational benefits and incentives." He also wants to make student loans more available, especially for those studying in math and science.

Asked by a young woman from the Lake County YMCA, "how are you going to combat poverty in our economic recession, McCain listed four points: "Get spending under control, keep taxes low, focus on energy independence, make health care affordable and available to every American."

At the end of about 30 minutes, McCain wrapped up by thanking the crowd. "I have learned more from this meeting than you have. I believe in the future of this country."

And then, having come here from Denver and a fund-raiser in Kansas City, he was off to Florida.

Preliminaries: The crowd was entertained by Cheryl McCrary, who with her Heir-Born Praise Band sang three songs, Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA," Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" and "God Bless America."

The crowd was warmed up by Reince Priebus, state GOP party chairman, who welcomed McCain "to the battleground of the battlegroud state of Wisconsin." He compared the positions of Obama and McCain and asked a series of rhetorical questions, like: "Who do you trust to keep our taxes down... and provide American oil..." After a few, the audience picked up the chant, "John McCain!" "We need a man who's never voted for a tax hike, not once in his life," Priebus said.

McCain's wife, Cindy McCain, was introduced by Racine County Executive Bill McReynolds, and then she in turn introduced McCain who, she said, epitomizes "hope, courage, generosity, spirit and most importantly, heart."

"I hope I'm introducing you to the next president of the United States," she said.

McCain made an introduction of his own. Before the Town Hall meeting, he met with the Waterford delegate to the Democratic National Convention who was defrocked by the state party because she wanted to vote for McCain: Debra Bartoshevich, her 16-year-old daughter and Bartoshevich's father. The meeting took place at at Dunn Brothers Coffee Shop downtown.

Memorial Hall is the same venue Barack Obama chose for his stop in Racine, back in February. The building has hosted other candidates as well. David Rowland remembers hearing Thomas E. Dewey there in 1948 -- before the election everyone said was his for the taking. So Dewey played it safe, careful not to say anything controversial. In Racine, he gave a speech about agriculture, "even though there wasn't a single farmer in the hall," according to Rowland. We all know how that election turned out.

Jim Walczak, Civic Center executive director, said McCain's rental of Memorial Hall will cost about $4,500, because of the amount of labor involved in setting it up and the rental of an overflow room, whih turned out not to be needed. Obama apparently was more frugal; his rental came to $3,800. Walczak doesn't take sides: "It's green, they pay, I'm happy."

Before McCain arrived at the Town Hall meeting -- on the dot of noon as his schedule had promised -- the audience was shown a series of videos about his life -- especially his years as a Vietnam War POW, and his refusal to accept early release from the "Hanoi Hilton" (because his father was an admiral). One of the most moving moments was an interview with his mother -- who initially had believed he was killed in the crash of his jet, shot down by the North Vietnamese. Later he showed up on their propaganda video in a huge body cast, both arms, one leg broken. Said his mother, "When I was told he was captured, it was the best news I ever had."

One final note: Lindsay Fiori of the Journal Times -- I think she's just an intern -- live-blogged the event very impressively. Her running report is HERE.

Pictures from McCain's Town Hall in Racine

A hug before leaving ... on his way to Florida

What one national reporter was writing about...

Four pictures from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,
which ran today's press photo pool

John and Cindy McCain at Dunn Brothers Coffee Downtown

July 30, 2008

Zoo 'vine-cutting' opens new exhibit space

Follow the red path -- but be aware the 'roos can jump that fence

A vine-cutting ceremony -- no ribbons for these guys! -- opened the Racine Zoo's new Gateway to Adventure entrance and Walkabout Creek Australian exhibit Wednesday night.

The event was for members only, but the public is invited to explore the new $2.1 million project, begun last November, at its official grand opening ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 2, from 1 to 3 p.m.

Visitors Wednesday night walked along a dark red path to observe the animals that can wander through Walkabout Creek, which is located on the southeast corner of the zoo next to the new main entrance. The entire exhibit is surrounded by a tall wooden fence, but inside that fence the animals are free to roam, separated from visitors only by a split rail fence that they can easily jump over. (The sign said that kangaroos can jump up to 25 feet.) The zoo’s current wallaroos will be joined by kangaroos, black swans, emus and egrets. A zoo volunteer explained that the only difference between kangaroos, wallaroos and wallabys is their size; they are just different sizes of basically the same species.

The animals seemed a bit shy -- the emu was pacing back and forth along the wall -- as they are still adjusting to their new home and the sights and smells of humans. Walkabout Creek covers about two and one-half acres and although the animals are all accustomed to the changing seasons, a state-of-the-art all-weather shelter house on the west side of the site allows the six species to enjoy indoor accommodations when they wish.

Meanwhile, the new entrance pavilion at the corner of Main and Goold includes restrooms, and a Zootique gift shop filled with cute stuffed animals -- an extensive collection of kangaroos, koalas and emus (go figger). There's also Max and Jenny’s Jungle Grill restaurant, located in the former zoo gift shop and named after the zoo’s most famous residents, orangutans Max and Jenny. It will serve hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream, soda, water and snacks.

The Benstead Discovery Center will include numerous amphibians as well as various saltwater creatures originating in the Red Sea. It moves from its prior location in the Vanishing Kingdom building into the east building at the new entrance. The anchor is a 1,500-gallon saltwater fish tank, “much larger than anything we’ve ever done before,” said Jay Christie, Zoo president, “and representative of tropical saltwater ecosystems that have spectacularly colored fish and invertebrates.” Exhibits in the center will change periodically.

Saturday's grand opening will offer many activities, including cookie decorating from O&H Danish Bakery, face painting, animal chats, live entertainment from Radio Disney and the appearance of all five of the Milwaukee Brewers’ Racing Sausages.

Zoo admission prices for the Grand Opening are the regular summer admission prices: Adults- $4; Children ages 3-15, $2; Children 3 & under, free; Seniors, $3; and Zoo members, free. The Racine Zoo’s hours are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., with the last admission of the day taking place at 7 p.m
Meet one of the zoo's wallaroos
The new project, Phase 3 of the Zoo's strategic plan, added about 3,000 square feet of indoor space to the zoo’s campus. The City of Racine provided $300,000, Racine County gave $250,000 and the remaining $1.55 million came from private donations, according to Christie. Phase I, the Charles and Jennifer Johnson Land of the Giants, home to the giraffes and black rhinos, opened on the north end of the zoo in 2002. Phase II, Heart of the Zoo, including Bear Ridge, Meerkat Manor and Mount Mouflon, was opened in 2005.

The Racine Zoo was founded in 1923 by a local dry goods merchant who donated three monkeys to establish the Zoo at Island Park. Guests during that first year could view monkeys, two deer, two badgers, two gray foxes and several Rocky Mountain goats. As more animals were added to the collection, the zoo grew too large for its locale and was moved to its present location on Lake Michigan. The zoo now houses 250 animals in 76 species, 24 of them endangered.

The zoo is visited by more than 100,000 people each year.

The Zoo's new entrance building at Main and Goold

Local Obama campaign plans counter-event to McCain visit

The local Obama campaign will be hosting a counter event to Sen. John McCain's visit Thursday afternoon. Here's the details:

Racine Leaders, Residents to Discuss Devastating Effects of McCain-Bush Policies on Economy

RACINE – State Senator John Lehman, Representative Bob Turner, and Representative Cory Mason will join local residents at a news conference in Racine tomorrow, Thursday to discuss the need for a President who understands the struggles of working families and will turn around our economy.
With gas prices skyrocketing while oil companies are set to report huge profits once again tomorrow, Racine residents are looking for a President who will stand up for hard working men and women and reverse the disastrous Bush Administration policies of the past eight years. Unlike John McCain who will continue implementing many of the failed economic policies of the Bush Administration, Barack Obama will work to put money back in the pockets of middle class families and turn our economy around.

WHO: Sen. John Lehman
Rep. Bob Turner
Rep. Cory Mason
Racine Residents

WHAT: News conference to discuss devastating effects of McCain-Bush
policies on economy

WHEN: Thursday, 2:00 p.m.

WHERE: Racine Campaign for Change Office
522 6th St.
Racine, WI

Throwing out the welcome hat for McCain

Most people, when a major presidential candidate comes to town, throw out the welcome mat.

Mary Osterman, proprietor of Copacetic on Main Street, has a new twist: she's throwing out the welcome hat for John McCain.

Copacetic, which sells hats and witty t-shirts is all decked out for the Republican presidential hopeful's visit to Racine Thursday. There's a big sign in front that says, "Hey, John McCain, your HAT is here!"

No information at press time whether Mary thinks McCain needs a new hat because of the lesion removed from his face Monday in Scottsdale, AZ -- a coin-sized spot of skin that a biopsy showed did not presage skin cancer, something McCain fought in the past on four occasions -- or simply because he needs a style upgrade. Hats are good for both: too much sun can indeed cause skin cancer. And too little style ... well, that, too, can be fatal for a politician.

'Secret' fund-raiser for Humane Society at Menards

Shhhh, it's secret!

Menards is having a secret fund raising event for the Countryside Humane Society. A shopper reports they are encouraging all their customers to donate bleach, laundry soap, office supplies, computer paper, gas cards, thin washable blankets, used towels and wash cloths, and gift cards to Menards.

Countryside will be "surprised" by their collections some time in August.

Tell all your two-legged friends!

Happy-go-lucky Melanie just what you need

With all that's wrong with the world -- wars, the stock market, gas prices -- how about adding some happiness to your life?

We have just the ticket: Melanie.

Melanie is a 2 1/2-year-old female Collie/German Shepherd mix. She's got a happy-go-lucky personality, is eager to please, and pretty besides.

She's available for adoption at Countryside Humane Society, 2706 Chicory Road, or call (262) 554-6699.

Countryside is full of very adoptable dogs, cats and kittens. Maybe it's time you stopped in to save one today. Add a little happiness to your own life and to a homeless pet's at the same time.

July 29, 2008

Meet Unified's next Superintendent candidate

Dr. James Shaw at open forum Tuesday night

It was about halfway through the 45-minute question-and-answer session, after Dr. James Shaw's 45-minute presentation about the achievement gap in schools, and what to do about it, when someone asked the key question of the only candidate to become Racine Unified School District's next superintendent, the only hope the district has of avoiding another school year with an interim in charge:

"If you didn't apply the first time around, why now?"

It was a great question, clearly on everyone's mind after the district's disastrous first attempt at finding a superintendent. The search firm-produced finalists all came with -- what's the accepted term: baggage -- and yet the district picked one of them anyway, only to be dumped at the altar. In fact, it had been in this very same hall -- the Golden Rondelle Theater -- that many in the audience had been exposed to that first round of three candidates. It had not been a night to remember fondly. And yet, here we were again, at another meet-the-candidate night. Why Shaw; why now? What are we getting into?

He handled it very well, a modest, soft-spoken, engaging candidate seemingly as surprised by his current position as much as we are. "I wanted to work on closing the achievement gap at the university. I had the sense good things were happening in Racine, and then I read the paper. And the Public Policy Report described Racine as the worst of 10 districts it was compared to. After Racine went through the search and didn't have a candidate, I made an innocent inquiry: 'How can I help?' "

And here we are today, with Shaw as the only candidate on Unified's radar. He's just come through two days of community meetings, culminating in last night's public forum at the Rondelle, attended by about 150 people. "I had three wonderful days here... well, two days but it seemed like three. I have met parents and teachers who are very proud of Racine Unified, but they want improvement. Racine is poised to make major improvements in closing the achievement gap."

Well, it had better be -- because the gap in reading and math skills between black and white students, rich and poor, is considerable, as the Public Policy Report and WKCE test results show, year after year. "We have huge achievement gaps," he said. "I know what your reaction is to these numbers: You want to change them. That's my reaction, too." Shaw was asked by the school board to tell how he'd address that gap, and he spoke for 45 minutes, finally winding up with, "I sound too much like a professor. I'm trying to sound like a superintendent."

In Shaw's educational universe, "It's the teachers who are important." His goal -- doubling the number of kids in the "advanced:" category in five years -- focuses on teachers. "Most of the variable is teachers so you focus on teaching. You try to use techniques that are effective with different kinds of kids." And he also would use a pay-for-performance plan to reward the best teachers.

Although he's been a professor at UW-Madison for five years, he had a key criticism: "At the University of Wisconsin, the best teachers get the best kids. That system is not working. We need to share the best teachers with the kids who are struggling." And he wants to improve teaching at Unified first by speeding up the hiring process, cutting through the delays that let the best new grads commit early to other districts, and by developing our existing teachers through active coaching. "Teachers working with other teachers, not just lectures. Professional development must be embedded in the schedule," he said.

"The most common reason teachers become teachers is to make a difference. I know Racine teachers want this. When people are so focused on closing the achievement gap, that creates a different environment."

Shaw said he produced a five-year plan aimed at doubling performance at the request of the School Board, but he insisted it was just preliminary; any real plan would be developed with input from teachers, administrators, parents, the community. And, he set out an ambitious first 90 days for himself, if he gets the job: reviewing data, picking the brain of Interim Supt. Jack Parker, joining three local organizations, visiting all the schools and meeting with teachers, followed in each case by a forum with parents, 50 interviews with business leaders, meeting REA leaders and forging a relationship, meeting with all the administrators, and on and on.

Shaw also handled questions from the audience. After the break, some of the Q&A:

How do you feel about classroom sizes? "Madison spends $2,500-$2,700 more per student than Racine, and there's a big difference in class sizes. I saw 35 in one middle school here. It really makes the task of engaging much more difficult. It's a major challenge. I would like to see smaller class sizes. I don't know how to achieve it here -- maybe through reallocation of resources."

How do we get black reading scores up? "Kids who are read to at home do better; we've got to engage parents. We've got to be more explicit about what parents can do at home."

RUSD is a unique animal: urban and suburban. It represents itself as an urban district, but 2/3 of its tax revenue is from the suburbs and 40% of the kids don't attend Unified and the 60% who do are unhappy. How are you going to work for the 2/3 that pay the tax bill? "It's important for the schools to serve all of the kids. If there's a sense that's not happening, it's regrettable. If these kids are not enrolling in Unified, we need to ask the parents why. I trust parents as the most reliable advocates for their kids."

I'm a school social worker and our ranks, and despite the growing need, our ranks and guidance staffs are declining. What would you do? "I think that is a loss," Shaw said, blaming declining resources. "Our support has to be the classroom teacher. That inevitably leads to cuts in music, athletic programs and the important work that social workers and psychologists do. I don't know that we can restore past cuts, but I hope we can avoid future cuts."

We're urban, suburban and rural, but the focus is on urban. How can you bridge that gap? "We've got to create a culture of excellence for all populations."

You've avoided any mention of No Child Left Behind. Why? "I like No Child Left Behind; it makes us look at data. What I don't like about it is that it's unrealistic. Over time, every school will fail; it's kind of meaningless. And I know many teachers, many professors really dislike it. But that law has made the achievement gaps more recognizable."

So what happens next?

The school board collected feedback from those at Tuesday's Golden Rondelle session, and those who met with Shaw over the past two days. Then it will have to decide whether to make him -- their White Knight -- an offer, or start the whole process over once again.

My money is on the board hiring Shaw. As school board member Julie McKenna told me -- remember, she's one of only two board members who voted against the hiring of Dr. Barbara Pulliam, who stiffed us without even a personal phone call after more than a month of salary negotiations -- anyway, as McKenna said: "You don't always get exactly what you want." She listed Dr. Shaw's negatives as his age -- 62 -- and the fact that he has not had big-district superintendent experience. Even she realizes these are minor negatives in the great scheme of things (especially when you consider the ones brought by Unified's previous candidates).

Dr. Shaw's CV is HERE.

Dominicans plan fair trade store and coffee shop

A Fair Trade store sponsored by Racine Dominican sisters will open downtown on Oct.1. It will include a retail store called Just Trade, next door to a fair trade coffee shop called Cup of Hope.

The address will be announced as soon as contracts are signed. The store will help finance related HOPES Center ministries, including mental health, AODA treatment, and wellness services for low-income people.

Volunteers are needed to make the store a reality. If you can provide one or more of the services below, contact Sisters Ann Pratt or Lisa Kane at 633-0751.
-Sept. 1-Oct. 1 we need a licensed electrician and licensed plumber and people good with other construction skills to help remodel the buildings. A general contractor will direct the work and ensure that all codes are met etc.

-Sept. 6 (Sat.) we need lots of help to paint.

-Sept. 7 (Sun.) St. Andrew Lutheran Church on 4 Mile is having a Fair Trade sale as part of their Harvest Days. We need people to work selling our merchandise.

-We need a board member experienced in finance, and anyone else willing to serve on the board.

-At the last minute we will need help unpacking merchandise and stocking shelves.

-Once the store opens we will need 60-80 regular volunteers to assist paid staff in staffing the store in 4-hour rotating shifts, and with ongoing maintenance.
Two garage sales have been planned to help us raise funds: Saturday, Aug. 2, at 7917 39th Ave. in Kenosha, and Saturday, Sept. 6, at 414 Romayne Ave. in Racine. Set-up and clean-up volunteers are needed, as are customers willing to spend a lot of money. If you have items to donate, call Sister Ann at 633-0751.

The project's next organizational meeting will be Thursday, Aug. 7, at 6:30 p.m., in the Siena Center small dining room.

More money for police, but churches must step up

City and county press conference on rising crime:
Zarzecki, Carlson, Nieskes, McReynolds, Wahlen and Becker

County and city officials presented a united front today, promising more resources to fight crime in Racine.

Mayor Gary Becker said the city will provide an additional $200,000 to cover Racine Police overtime; County Executive Bill McReynolds said the county will give $150,000 to County Sheriff Bob Carlson, who said it will provide an extra deputy, another criminal investigator and support staff for a "suppression effort." Mount Pleasant Police Chief Tim Zarzecki said the village will cover overtime for his forces to patrol the four-blocks on the east side of the village that abutt Racine's crime area.

"I want to relieve the fears of the community, which has been fed a steady diet of crime in the local media," said Racine Police Chief Kurt Wahlen. "I want to reassure the community: we have things under control. Members of the community should not live in fear."

Becker said, "I stand 100% behind this chief and the police force. He's been creative and aggressive."

McReynolds said, "Public safety is the No. 1 job of any elected official. Racine County will not tolerate lawlessness."

But the "six white men" - as one person in the audience referred to Becker, McReynolds, Wahlen, Zarzecki, Carlson and District Attorney Michael Nieskes - got into trouble with some in the audience of about 70. The press conference at City Hall got heated after the officials called one too many times for help from the "faith-based community," and more action within the African-American community.

Wahlen said, "The long-range solution: it's a community problem. The faith-based community must step up. Where are the African-American males?" he asked rhetorically, referring to a peace march he attended Saturday at which no more than a half-dozen of the 100 adults present were black. Becker, too, called upon the "faith-based community" -- PC code for black churches: "Others have a responsibility to provide opportunities, to give people hope."

Added Wahlen: "Good people do not steal from one another; good people do not shoot one another." He said, "We all have our part to do. Kids are not being taken care of; they're sleeping in their clothes on the floor, watching violent videos, playing violent video games." There's been, he said, "a breakdown of the family, no dad in the house. We need family and the faith-based community to solve it."

Journal Times reporter Janine Anderson asked, "Why lay so much on the faith-based community?" Wahlen responded, "Only a spiritual endeavor can change a heart. They need to step forward and put their money where their faith is."

Former District 1 alderman Keith Fair, who is now the local NAACP's political action chair, called Wahlen out on his statement that blacks must step forward. Wahlen replied, "It's a fact they're not stepping up to the plate." Fair responded, "We never call for those black men until there's an event like this. Don't make an indictment against this community."

The discussion also touched on poverty, joblessness and economics, and the culture of our times.

The chief said he saw the new Batman movie. It was good, he said, but part of "a very violent culture, a gun-toting culture."

Poverty and unemployment were major themes. A woman from Mount Pleasant spoke up and said, "We need jobs. You can't support a family on $5 and $6 an hour."

Becker replied, "There are 600 to 700 jobs posted at the Workforce Development Center." But they're not for the unskilled, as in years past, when he said hard work was enough.

"This is a brutal economy, and there's nothing I can do to change it," the mayor said.

But he insisted, "Crime is not kids stealing to help mom." And Wahlen noted, "We've not had anyone busted for going into a grocery store stealing bread."

Other points discussed:

Sheriff Carlson: "This used to be a rural county; no longer. We are going to redeploy a number of our patrol staff to the City of Racine. We cannot go on like this; it creates a climate that is unacceptable."

District Attorney Nieskes: "There are a lot of initiatives, a lot of efforts under way. Two shootings in one week: that really, truly is not the norm." But he said it's not as bad compared to '92-'96. "This is not something that occurred overnight; it took decades...and in two decades, the new mayor and county executive will still be dealing with the problem."

Chief Wahlen said, "Obviously, I'm not happy about the 2008 statistics." He said the crime stats are well above 2007's, "but that year was the lowest since 1967." robberies are on a six-year trend up, unemployment is up. But vehicle theft has dropped 40%, he said, "perhaps because people cannot afford gas."

He said he has been patrolling the streets, visiting neighborhoods where the latest shootings occurred. "I want to reassure the neighborhoods that these are not random acts." He pointed out that the two latest slayings started "behind closed doors." The implication was that police could not have prevented them.

July 28, 2008

Superior Linens: Everyone kisses and makes up

If there were a Nobel Prize for laundry service, the Racine County Board would have awarded it Monday to Superior Health Linens.

The board's Health and Human Development Committee/Ridgewood Care Center Trustees finally had "Laundry service/Superior Linen" on its meeting agenda -- after resisting doing so for months -- and members spent much of this months' 35-minute meeting extolling the virtues of the laundry company that had been accused of mingling clean and dirty linens, and that was just awarded its professional accreditation some 10 months after signing a contract that indicated it already had it -- at least until the county wrote that provision out of the contract four months ex post facto.

But all that was forgotten and forgiven Monday, as County Board members, a longtime Ridgewood resident, and the facility's administrator all provided testimonials about Superior Health Linens' service, its plant's efficiency, its workers' professionalism in their new uniforms... it went on and on.

The love fest was so hot and heavy one was tempted to tell them all to get a room...

The meeting began with a short statement during the three minutes set aside for "Citizen Comments" by District 3 Supervisor Diane Lange, who has been trying to get Superior Health Linens on the agenda for a 30-minute discussion since March. She settled Monday, not happily, for a short statement decrying the committee's refusal to allow her to bring the matter up since February. "The process needs to be addressed," she said, but agreed that it is a "good thing" that Superior has achieved accreditation.

John Shultz, a Ridgewood resident since 1981, said linens used to be stained, and sometimes there had been shortages, but since Superior Health Linens got the laundry contract four years ago "there's never been a shortage of linens, there's been plenty; everything's been fine."

Fran Petrick, Ridgewood administrator, said, "I've made two unannounced visits to Superior's plant; I brought my infection control nurse to the plant. I was really pleased the last time we went; I saw many changes. I didn't see any problems with cross-contamination. I have absolutely no problem with their service."

District 19 Supervisor Joseph F. Bellante, Jr., who when he was Ridgewood board chairman in March cancelled a scheduled meeting on the controversy because County Executive Bill McReynolds couldn't attend, said "I visited the plant in February. From a layman's perspective, I have no problems."

District 2 Supervisor Gaynell Dyess described her visit to Superior's Milwaukee plant this way: "I was so impressed. It was super. I feel it's a great place."

District 14 Supervisor Michael J. Miklasevich, the new Ridgewood trustees' chair, said the two issues are the quality of the product provided residents, and the price the county pays for the service. "Both are being addressed," he said.

The meeting was also attended by Superior's president and CEO, Scott Reppert, who said his company has 170 employees, serves 45% nursing homes and 55% hospitals and recently engineered a buyout of the company, with employees participating in the purchase. The company is growing at a 10% clip, he said, and has plans to build a new plant, in addition to the ones it now operates in Madison and Milwaukee. "We try to say current with standards," he said.

The committee broke protocol and permitted Lange to speak during its discussion of Superior, and she said she was pleased that supervisors were able to visit the plant, and "there's a reason why we want to be sure they run a safe operation." She said she had hoped to bring a speaker with "specialized information" about linen service to the meeting. Later she elaborated: "These are not red bugs you can see. I wanted them to hear from a national expert in cleanliness and contamination. Laymen can't see this. I'm glad they went; it seems things are better, which is a good thing. But I still have problems with the process. A supervisor should be able to speak on issues."

In other business, Petrick disclosed that patient counts at Ridgewood are up -- the facility had 235 admissions in the second quarter of the year, more than it had in all of 2004 -- and both private pay and Medicare patients are above budgeted levels. In addition, some $750,000 above what had been budgeted has been received from the state, putting the budget in good shape.

County Executive Bill McReynolds said he hears good things -- "People come up to me to say they were so happy with the facility. I think you're going to see even greater demand." He also said he will get the county to provide a closed circuit TV system to monitor the parking lot, for safety. "It won't cost a real lot of money," he said. "You used to have it, but it became obsolete."

YPR announces new board of directors

YPR (Young Professionals of Racine) announced its new board of directors Monday. Here's the release:

Elections were held for the 2008-2009 Young Professionals of Racine board of directors. YPR’s board is often a starter board for young professionals looking to get more involved in the community. The board of Young Professionals of Racine welcomes 5 new members; Scott Terry from Fuel Creative, Marlene Keilholz from Johnson Bank, Mark Graceffa from Educators Credit Union, Matt Chamberlain from Perpetual Motivation and Chuck Swetland from Network Specialists.

The 2008-2009 Board of Directors is formed by: Chris Terry, President, Tracy Nielsen, Vice President, Chuck Christoffersen, Secretary, Mike Slye, Finance Chair, Courtney Graney, Events Chair, Ellen Tracy, Events Chair, Kevin Pinkerton, Marketing Chair, Christine Markusen, Membership Chair, Mark Graceffa, Professional Development Chair, Marlene Keilholz, Technology Chair, Kelli Stein, Vision Chair, and the following Member At Large; Melanie Cannon, Matt Chamberlain, Catherine Conaghan, Edyta Odorowska, Ben Smith, Chuck Swetland, Scott Terry and Melissa Udovicic.

"We are very pleased with this year’s board. There were some difficult decisions to make in this year’s election process; but we definitely feel that the people we have selected are a talented, passionate group of people who will lead YPR in a great direction," said Dana Grueter, Program Director.

Young Professionals of Racine is a membership-driven organization created in 2002 as a division of Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce as a vehicle to engage the next generation of Racine’s leaders. Founded by 12 enterprising professionals, the group has grown to more than 2,200 associates representing more than 150 companies regionally.

McCain to hold town meeting in Racine Thursday

Republican Presidential hopeful, and presumed nominee, John McCain will be in Racine Thursday, for a town hall meeting.

The event will be held at Memorial Hall, 5 Fifth St. Doors open at 10 a.m.; McCain is expected to arrive about noon.

To RSVP, click HERE.

The picture is from McCain's last visit, to Milwaukee in April

UW-Parkside students from Racine receive Sentry Scholarships

Here's some good news for two Racine students at UW-Parkside:

University of Wisconsin-Parkside students Janell Topczewski, 706 Hialeah Dr., a sophomore; and incoming freshman Brian Sasaki, 530 Hayes Ave., have earned Sentry Insurance Student Leadership Scholarships. Given by the Sentry Insurance Foundation, Inc., the philanthropic arm of Sentry Insurance, headquartered in Steven Point, Wis., the scholarships are worth $2,500 each. Topczewski and Sasaki can renew them for up to four years.

The Student Leadership Scholarship helps provide educational opportunities for students majoring in business administration, computer science, accounting, finance, or mathematics (actuarial science). To renew her scholarship, Topczewski, who is majoring in business with a concentration in finance, maintained a grade point average of 3.3 or above on a 4.0 scale and continues to pursue a degree in business. Sasaki will major in business. To be considered for the scholarship, incoming freshmen must place in the top 15 percent of their high school graduating class. They also must have a significant record of involvement in extracurricular and community activities that indicate outstanding leadership potential.

"We are glad to be a partner with the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in providing an opportunity for young people to achieve their educational goals," said Peg Sullivan, Sentry Insurance Foundation Vice President and Executive Director.

UW-Parkside is one of a dozen universities whose students benefit from The Sentry Insurance Foundation’s generous support of higher education.

July 27, 2008

Hot action at the city tennis tournament (updated with results)

There was some hot tennis played in the city this weekend at the annual Racine on the Lake tennis tournament on the courts at Lockwood Park. The tournament, which has been around for decades, brought some of the best players in Racine County. The weather was scorching on the courts (which could really use some new paint), and some players stuck out three-hour matches on Saturday and Sunday.

(See results after the photos.)

Here's some photos from matches on Saturday:

Mark Pelton serves during a match over the weekend. Mark is a huge local supporter of tennis - and he's not bad at the game, either. He won the men's 4.0 finals and the 35+ mixed doubles finals on Sunday. Photo by Katy Pelton

Photos by Marie Block


Kids 10 and under CHAMPIONSHIP

Patrick Anderson def. Collin Colwell: 6-4, 7-5


Zane Navratil def. Fordy Leipold


David Leffler def. Mathew Ruhm: 6-2, 7-5


Annabel Ware def. Hayley Clope: 6-4, 6-2


Bobby Pirtle def. Zane Navratil: 7-5, 7-6


Jeremy Shufelt def. Adam Shufelt: 7-6, 6-2


Thomas Ware/Zane Navratil def. Adam Shufelt/ Jeremy Shufelt: 6-2, 6-4


Sam Leipold def. Lenny Betker: 6-1, 6-1


Hans Korndoerfer def. Jeff Collins: 7-6, 6-1


Amy Upthagrove def. Alicyn Kirchenwitz: 6-2, 6-1


Brianna Madson/ Lauren Madson def. Annabel Ware/annie Zelvor: 5-7, 6-2, 6-2


Stephanie Besaw/Allison Jopke def. Carly Laurent/ Grace Nelson: 6-1, 6-1


Chris Besaw def. Jon Murphy: 4-6, 6-1, 6-0


Conner Leipold def. Sean Mainland: 6-1, 6-0


Chris Besaw/ Andy Bjerregaard def. Max Zelvor/Jake Nilles: 6-3, 2-6, 6-2


Chris Besaw/Lauren Madson def. Amy Upthagrove/Bobby Pirtle: 6-4, 6-2


Mark Pelton/Janice Borchardt def. Sherry Allen/Don Allen: 6-1, 6-0


Hank Trevino def. Dustin Block: 6-1, 6-3


Jeff Schultz def. Normizam Sudin: 6-4, 3-6, 6-2


Brando Salvatiere def. Javan Pham: 6-1, 6-1


Mark Pelton def. RJ "wheels" Lindsay: 6-2, 6-4


Joan Szymezak/Nancy Kaydo def. Asiyah Khan/Eileen Beesley: 7-5, 6-0
Alyssa McCormack/Katie Schultz def. Natalie Caspers/Julie Rupnow: 6-3, 6-0


McCormack/Schultz def. Szymezak/Kaydo: 6-0, 6-1


Caspers/Rupnow def. Khan/Beesley: 6-3, 6-2


Katie Schultz def. Amando Infusino: 6-0, 6-0


Glen Schultz/ Bruce Triplett def. Roger Huberty/Bill Apman: walkover


Patrick Dwyer def. Evan Graf: 6-1, 6-1


Brian Hankel/ Berry Hankel def. Adam Graf/Evan Graf: 6-4, 6-4
Jason Caspers/ Kevin Lock def. Patrick Dwyer/ Fritz Dwyer: 5-7, 6-3, 7-6


Caspers/Lock def. Hankel/Hankel: 5-7, 7-6, 6-0


Jeffery Lotz/ Rob Bjerregaard def. Paul Garf/Tim Brownwell: 6-1, 6-2