July 17, 2010

Gallery Night: So little time, so much to see!

The Potter's Dream, by Marie Abbott, $650; at the Artists' Gallery

There's so much going on this weekend, we were tempted to skip Gallery Night -- but we're glad we didn't:  There was so much interesting and unusual art on display. Here are just a few sights that caught our eye during a much-too-quick run-through at too-few of Downtown's many art galleries Saturday.

Above is a porcelain on granite sculpture by multimedia artist Marie Abbott, who was featured at the Artists' Gallery. Here's the story behind the artwork: "One night, while sleeping, a potter dreamed he was making a pot on his wheel. Being a lonely man, he dreamed of creating the woman of his dreams, and she started to arise from the clay."

And, to prove Abbott's multimedia credentials, the luminous painting below is also hers.

Tulip Times, by Marie Abbott, $250; at Artists' Gallery

Once, this was the Grotto, Sam and Gene Johnson's banquet space 
adjacent to the Bistro/Yellow Rose. The spooky undersea-motif ceiling 
remains, but on Gallery Night it was display space for the artwork of
Design Partners' staff -- who occupy the space above, and whose more
mundane work involves packaging design for many big companies.

Colorfully painted chairs by Laura Underwood, $300, at Design Partners Gallery

Stone People Series 1, by Tony Macias; $300; at Racine Arts Council

Shapes Collage by Sea Daniel, at My Friday Girls art group, 202 Fifth St.

Trish Poole painted this Katrina-rescued cat on her carry-on luggage; at Cobblestone Ltd.

Musician Rob Reid drew a crowd outside the Racine Arts Council, 
layering tracks of vocals and various instruments. He and the Chicago duo
Miss Shevaughn and Yuma Wray will perform there Sunday from noon to 2 p.m.

Ironman behind the scenes... a few pictures

Dave Blank of realracine tries on a 2X jersey -- and finds it snug

The Ironman Racine 70.3 opened up shop Friday, as 2,000 athletes began arriving in town, collecting their all-important race chip and looking over the course.

Dave Blank of realracine, the county's tourism bureau responsible for bringing the triathlon to Racine when it was called the Spirit of Racine, looked around Friday afternoon at the competitors' expo  -- i.e., supply store for competitors full of Ironman-logo shirts and cups and mousepads -- and pronounced himself pleased. In addition to the more than $1.25 million he estimates competitors and their families will spend just on food and lodging this weekend, Blank guesses that the expo will sell some $250,000 worth of supplies and tourist stuff.

He especially recommends shirts with the word "Racine" on them. Even if the 2X seems a little tight...

Quick facts here.  Kiosk story here.

Ironman competitor checks in with his race chip

This could get interesting: Ryan Richards, Ironman race director, with Craig Bender, co-chairman of Salmon-a-Rama: What kind of combined event could they dream up?

July 16, 2010

It appears Heckenlively fell short on signatures...

Update: Kenosha News is reporting Heckenlively made the ballot.

That news is confirmed on the Government Accountability Board's website, which posted a revised figure for Heckenlively's approved signature count this morning: 1,059 -- 59 more than the minimum required.

Original: Is Racine Democrat John Heckenlively challenging Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, or not?

It looks as though he's fallen short on nomination signatures -- 77 fewer than the 1,000 required.

Realistically, it hardly matters (sorry, John) ... but our question relates not to available campaign funds, national recognition, experience or even issues, but merely to meeting Wisconsin's nomination requirements.

Earlier this week, as the filing period for September's primary ostensibly closed, Heckenlively had filed 1,100 nominating signatures, 100 more than the required number -- but the Government Accountability Board disqualified many, saying some who signed neglected to print the year they signed, as required.

The GAB gave Heckenlively until Friday to meet the requirement. Friday night, listing a Heckenlively filing on Thursday at 5:10 p.m.,  the GAB credited him with just 933 approved signatures.

For now, at least, it appears he did not qualify to have his name on the ballot.

Ryan, who is now serving his sixth term as the 1st District's congressman, has always had Democratic opposition -- of a sort (lackluster and under-funded). This would be the first time he runs unopposed -- although even that must be qualified: two other candidates apparently have filed sufficient nomination papers to challenge Ryan -- Independent William Thomas Tucker of New Berlin filed 1,042 signatures; and Libertarian Joseph Kexel of Kenosha filed 1,139 signatures.

Earlier story here.

A world record for Salmon-a-Rama? So far*, so good

Roger Hellen, left, and Joe Miller with world record* trout caught at Salmon-a-Rama

With any luck, Salmon-a-Rama pulled in a world record fish today -- although it will be a world record with an asterisk for Racine's 30-year fishing competition.

Roger Hellen of Franksville brought the brown trout in this morning, and it weighed in at 41.15 pounds on Salmon-a-Rama's scale, just under the world record of 41 pounds, 7 ounces, caught in Michigan last year.

But Hellen, who's been fishing "my whole life," and his fishing partner Joe Miller took the trophy fish to Brossman's Meat Market in Racine, where it was weighed on a certified scale. At Brossman's the fish clocked in at 41 pounds, 8 ounces -- enough to claim the world record at the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and the International Game Fish Association. If it holds up, it will be both the state and world record holder -- although its weight at Salmon-a-Rama will still be less because of the differences in scales.

Nonetheless, it will be Salmon-a-Rama's record fish as well. Up until now, the largest fish caught during our competition was a 37.4 lb. lake trout landed in 1997.

Hellen and Miller didn't appear concerned as they showed off the fish Friday night at Salmon-a-Rama, where it had been drawing a crowd while sitting in the glass cooler all day. Surrounded by photographers, Hellen calmly told and re-told the story of how the fish was landed, near Wind Point from their boat, the Get Hooked.

"It was just a normal, everyday thing," he said.

A TV reporter asked, "Was there anything unusual about landing it?"

"Well, it's a really big fish," Hellen said. Pressed, he added that it took about half an hour to land.

"What was your first reaction?" the TV reporter asked.

"Holy shit," Hellen said.

"How about something for TV?" the reporter pressed, seeking an FCC-friendly sound byte.

"Holy shit," Hellen said again.

"Who did you call first?" the reporter asked. Hellen gave the name of a friend.

"And what did he say?" the reporter asked.

"Holy shit," Hellen said.

The reporter pressed on: "There must be bigger fish out there. Are you gonna catch them?"

"Probably not," Hellen said. "You go out and do your thing. I just got lucky."

Hellen's fish is almost twice as big as the second-place fish on the leaderboard, a 22 lb., 4 ounce brown trout caught by Craig Kelliher of Menomenee Falls. Of course, both will have to sweat another couple of days; the fishing contest doesn't wind up until 11 a.m. Sunday. Top prize this year is $10,000.

Craig Bender, Salmon-a-Rama co-chair, said the fishing has been "outstanding" this year, "particularly the offshore angling." After falling on tough times in recent years -- when it went from a two-weekend fishing competition and music festival to a shorter Big Fish Bash and now, again back as Salmon-a-Rama, but without the festival -- Bender said the number of entrants has held up. The nine-day Salmon-a-Rama has about 1,300 entered this year: 1,000 on boats, 200 shore fishermen, 50 youth and 50 kayakers. They're competing for a total of about $25,000 in cash prizes.

Salmon-a-Rama's leaderboards are online HERE.

Jim Snopek of Raymond, with his 12.25 lb. Lake Trout
Snopek leads the Master Angler competition with a total of 63.05 lbs.:
Rainbow, 12.25; Brown, 19.8; Lake, 12.25; Chinook, 13.95; Coho, 4.8.

 Dan Hendricks of Racine with 12.55 Rainbow, which leads its division

Bobby Kroes, 14, of Racine, with his 17.55 lb. Brown Trout

Everyone wanted to get a picture of the potential world record Brown Trout

Dickert appointed to Mayors Water Council

Racine Mayor John Dickert has been appointed to the Mayors Water Council of the United States Conference of Mayors.

The Mayors Water Conference functions like a task force for the US Conference of Mayors. It provides mayors with a focal point for discussion of issues impacting how cities provide water and wastewater services, and protects water resources for citizens, the environment, and the local economy.

The MWC when, appropriate and necessary, will develop positions on federal legislation, regulation, and policy, and propose resolutions on water-related matters for consideration by the USCM Environment Committee.

Mayor Jennifer Hosterman of Pleasanton, Calif. and Mayor Brian Stratton of Schenectady, N.Y. will serve as co-hosts of the MWC.

Sheriff candidate Molnar says he'd put jail inmates to work

Racine County Sheriff candidate Ron Molnar said Friday he'd put jail inmates to work if elected.

“There are many healthy, able-bodied individuals that can make a contribution to the society they victimized,” he said in a prepared statement.

Molnar (right) is one of three Republicans running to replace outgoing Sheriff Bob Carlson, who is retiring. Christopher Schmaling and Gonzalo Gonzalez are also running as Republicans. One of the three candidates will advance to the general election following a Sept. 14 primary.

Joseph Buckley is running for Sheriff as a Democrat, and Jeffrey Gerrietts is running as an independent. Both will appear on the general election ballot.

Molnar said jail inmates were potential source of labor for the county.

"There’s too much work to be done," he said in his statement. "Creating partnerships throughout Racine County, inmate labor can assist with service projects that make a difference to our taxpayers. They can cut brush and remove trash. Or work to keep our parks beautiful by mowing, cleaning and painting.”

He added inmates can also work for Habitat for Humanity and help maintain community buildings. He also wants inmates to grow some of their own food in a community garden.

“Not a single inmate will lounge his time away while incarcerated," Molnar said. "They will pay their way, just like the rest of Racine County taxpayers,” says Molnar. “Racine County taxpayers should expect nothing less from their Sheriff.”

Quick facts on this weekend's Ironman 70.3

2009 triathlon

One of Racine's biggest summer events, the Ironman 70.3, is this Sunday. The annual triathlon draws athletes from around the world to our city. Every hotel room in the area is filled, and the popular event is expected to pump $2.5 million into the local economy. Here's some quick facts on the event: 

Sunday, July 18, 2010, beginning at 7 a.m. (professional athlete start) and 7:10 a.m. (age group athlete start).

A 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike race and 13.1-mile run. Competitors have 8.5 hours to finish; cutoff times are applied to each segment of the race.

Athletes will swim along North Beach in Lake Michigan, bike through the countryside of Racine County and a run on a course that features a tour of Racine Zoo and the beautiful Lake Michigan coastline.

Approximately 2,000 athletes from around the globe. Athletes will represent more than 35 states and eight countries. There are 400-plus participants from the state of Wisconsin.

Prize Purse:
A total of $30,000 is split among the top five professional men and women. First place wins $6,000, second place $4,000, third place $2,500, fourth place $1,500 and fifth place $1,000.  

Qualifying Slots:
Athletes will compete for 50 coveted slots to the Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3, Presented by Ford, taking place on Nov. 13 in Clearwater, Fla.

The average hours per week devoted to training for Ironman 70.3 generally fall between 10 and 30- plus hours. Many competitors also cross-train with weight training, stretching and yoga, among other activities.

Average training distances for the three disciplines:

1) Miles per week swimming: 7 to 8
2) Miles per week biking: 150 to 175
3) Miles per week running: 30 to 40

Best Places to Watch: 

North Beach for swim start and finish 
Both transition areas on the course 
The finish line 
The run is along the lakeshore bike path and Michigan Blvd.

Schedule of Events: 

Friday, July 16, 2010
12:00-7:00 p.m. Ironman Store Festival Park
12:00-7:00 p.m. Ironman Bike Store & Tech Service Center Festival Park
12:00-7:00 p.m. Ironman 70.3 Racine Expo Festival Park
12:00- 7:00 p.m. Athlete Check-In Festival Hall
12:00- 7:00 p.m. Race Information Booth Festival Park

Saturday, July 17, 2010
9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Ironman Store Festival Park
9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Ironman 70.3 Racine Expo Festival Park
9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Ironman Bike Store & Tech Service Center Festival Park
12:00-1:00 p.m. Athlete Race Briefing Transition Area 
12:00-8:00 p.m. Race Information Booth Festival Park
12:00-8:00 p.m. Athlete Check-In Festival Hall
12:00-8:00 p.m. Mandatory Bike Check-In Transition at North Beach Park

Sunday, July 18, 2010 - Race Day!
5:00 a.m.-6:30 a.m. Transition Open; Body Marking; Gear Set-Up Transition Area at North Beach Park
5:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Race Information Booth/ Lost & Found Outside Transition at North Beach Park
7:00 a.m. Race Starts
8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Ironman Store Festival Park
11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Post-Race Athlete Food Transition Area at North Beach Park
1:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Mandatory Bike & Gear Check-Out Transition Area
2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. 2010 Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3 Registration Festival Hall
4:00 p.m. Awards Ceremony Festival Park
4:00 p.m. 2010 Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3 Roll down Festival Park

July 15, 2010

Mason, 30 state legislators call on Congress for jobless benefits action

State Rep. Cory Mason, D-Racine, sent a letter Thursday to each member of Wisconsin’s Congressional Delegation, asking for quick action to extend unemployment benefits. The letter was co-signed by 30 other legislators, including State Sen. John Lehman and Rep. Bob Turner, also Racine Democrats.

The letter said that more than 72,000 Wisconsin families lost unemployment benefits because Congress failed to approve an extension before leaving for its July 4th recess. "Congress' failure to pass this extension before taking a vacation is shameful," Mason wrote.

"As state Legislators, we hear every day from constituents who are anxiously watching time run out on their unemployment insurance. Many have only a few weeks of eligibility remaining and face mounting stress as they wonder how they will pay for basic necessities should these vital benefits come to an abrupt end," the letter said.

The House of Representatives did approve a bill to extend benefits, but the Senate failed to act before its recess.

“While our economy is definitely heading in the right direction, I know that recovery is slow. For those laid-off workers still searching for jobs, unemployment benefits are often the only thing keeping their families financially afloat,” Mason said. “Cutting benefits right now is the worst thing Congress could do to these workers, their families, and for the economic recovery we’ve worked so hard to accomplish.

“Wisconsin was the first state in the nation to recognize the importance of providing a safety net to workers struggling to get by between jobs. I hope that our Congressional delegation will remember our state’s proud history and work diligently and quickly to secure the votes to pass an extension of these benefits,” Mason concluded.

100 years ago in Racine ...

Here's the news reported in the July 19, 1910 edition of The Racine Journal ...
  • A 20-year-old Racine man was shot and stabbed after a fight at De Mark Bros. Saloon. Antonio Bonadio, of Forest Street, was shot by two men from Kenosha while their father stabbed Bonadio. Johanne Frazee and his sons were wanted by the police.  Bonadio and Frazee were cousins. The story was front-page news, taking up two full columns in the 8-page weekly paper. The headline: "Italian feud may result in murder."
  • The Caledonia train station was robbed for the third time in five months. Trunks and packages were found opened in the station and the contents strewn about.
  • The second annual banquet of the Taylor Orphan asylum alumni was held in the institution south of the city. The orphanage was made possible through an endowment by the Hon. Isaac and Mrs. Taylor in the seventies. Since that date hundreds of homeless children have been cared for, given an education and otherwise equipped for life's work. There 35 children in the home in July 1910.
  • "The Racine Chautauqua was marred by an accident Sunday morning at 9:30 o'clock when Mrs. Caroline Poulson of 1553 Sixteenth street was thrown from the steps of an open car to the ground and suffered a severe injury to her spine. It is doubtful if the unfortunate lady can recover, as she is sixty-eight years old. "
  • The strike at Molders will be called off on August 1 and the strikers are expected to return to work.
  • The Universal Crushed Stone Co. set off a largest blast of dynamite in Racine County history at Ives. The blast was heard for miles around the surrounding country and could be plainly heard in the city. It was composed of 10 tens of dynamite and several hundred pounds of other explosives. Enough limestone was loosened to last the company for six months.
  • Description of the Racine Journal: "The Weekly Journal is an eight-page seven column paper, containing interesting correspondance from country towns and the news of the adjacent county and county seat up to the morning of publication. ... The Weekly Journal endeavors to give the news of the day unbiased. Its miscelleneous news matter is compiled by competent writers, and the serials published from time to time are always of interest and are from the best authors. Its correspondents are instructed to give news of interest from their respective towns and avoid all local gossip with offensive personal allusions. ...
  • The subscription price of the Weekly Journal is one dollar ($1.00) a year, in advance, and the several premiums offered are valuable.

Anonymous reporters wrote local news in a column called "City Happenings." Here's a recap of the July 19, 1910 column ...

  • The carpenters and contractors report that the present summer has been the best in several years. Many new homes and buildings are now under course of construction in various parts of the city.
  • Miss Helen O'Laughlin of 834 Main street, while turning the corner of Main and Fifteenth streets last evening in her father's touring car ran into a telegraph pole. The machine was quite badly damaged.
  • This morning a horse attached to a wagon, property of the Thomas Livery, became frightened and started on a wild run down Wisconsin street. The beast ran into the stables and entered without doing any damage.
  • Henry Allen Cooper, present congressman from the district, who will be a candidate for re-election and William H. Bell, of Hamilton avenue, who will run for assembly of the first district, have placed their nomination papers in circulation.
  • Reports from the St. Mary's hospital this morning are to the effect that little Charlotte Hermes, of Summit avenue, who was dangerously injured in a fall a few days ago, will recover. The physicians consider the child's case a remarkable one.
  • Several small boys set fire to a plat of grass between Fourteenth and Fifteenth streets on Center street last evening, and for some time it looked as if near by houses were in danger of being set on fire, but a large gang of men put the blaze out.
  • Mrs. Albert Hansen of the Rapids Road entertained a number of her friends, among those present, being Mrs. F.B. Stafford, Mrs. Joseph Hecht, Mrs. E. Wuertzberger, Miss Ethel Schlosser, Miss Minnie Smith and Miss Lydia Wuertzberger.
  • Milk Famine ...
Racine is in the throes of a milk famine. The summers has been so dry that the grass in the pastures has died and the cattle have been unable to get fresh fodder. Consequently the milk supply has become limited. Ice cream dealers are the first ones to be struck by the famine.

A. Matson and Son, one of the largest ice cream dealers in the city, with head quarters on Washington avenue, ordered fifty quarts of cream this morning from A F Crane, a milkman. The cream was to be used in the making of ice cream for tomorrow's business. Mr. Matson was informed by his milkman early today that it was utterly impossible to supply the order as his cows were not giving much milk and that which was secured he was forced to give to families having small children.

The disappointed merchant then called up every milk dealer in the city, but was unable to get one quart of cream or milk.
  • The county insane asylum, with its 200 hundred unfortunate inmates, was the main subject of discussion. For years, the heating apparatus and ventilation have been inadequate and during the winter months half of the structure was cold and the inmates could not help but suffer. The county board of supervisors agreed to spend $10,000 installing a heating system and modern water system.
  • The newspaper included a column called "Items of Condensed News - A Resume of Happenings in Tabloid Form for Busy Readers Who Like News in Abbreviated Shape." The column is simply a collection of unattributed paragraphs from around the country and world. One example include, "England is alarmed over the speedy increase of the drug habit, all classes of society being affected."
  • 'Of Interest to Women'
It also included a column titled, "Of Interest to Women." The July 19, 1910 column began, "Are Women Changeless? - Prof. Haeckel, with that customary skeptical attitude of the German philosophers toward feminist movement, says: "The women are still fond of paint and feathers and wearing jewelry and of scenting themselves as they were 3,000 years ago. Time and civilization have had no effect on them. Their weapons of then are their weapons of today. They are beautiful, but no more so than they were, and it grieves me to think that they lay such stress on clothes and other outward adornments. But it always has been so and always will be so."

The professor's last sentence cheers us. We are glad that they will always be so: that is, that they will continue to look as pretty as they can, which we do not take to mean that they will always wear such grotesque hats and unpleasant looking gowns as they so often do now.

We live in fervid hope that some day woman with her accumulating intellectuality will throw off the slavery of fashion and attire herself (each one) in the garment that becomes her.

We even hope this for men, but with less confidence.

It will be a gloomy, dull, dead era when women cease to regard wherewith they are arrayed, but it will be a glorious awakening, a regeneration, on apotheosis, when they appear like the flowers of the field, each blossoming forth in such splendor as her gifts of face and figure make fit, and no garb shall exceed the limitations of its wearer ...
  • Programme For Health - The programme for a day's hygienic life may be laid out as follows:
  1. Upon waking go to the open window and take several long breaths of pure air
  2. Drink a glass of cold or hot water
  3. Take exercise for 20 minutes
  4. Take warm sponge bath followed by cold plunge
  5. Light breakfast - no meat
  6. Short walk - one mile or two
  7. Work.
  8. Light lunch - no meat
  9. (Frequent drinks of water during the day.)
  10. A little rest after lunch.
  11. Work.
  12. Recreation for one hour, combined with out-of-door exercise. Two miles walking.
  13. Slight rest.
  14. Dinner.
  15. Recreation.
  16. Two glasses of water.
  17. Exercise for 15 minutes.
  18. Sleep for eight or nine hours.

July 14, 2010

White House lunch and a quick sit in President's chair
highlight Racine pageant winner's summer tour

Jeanette Morelan of Racine, Miss America's Outstanding Teen, at the White House

What does it mean to win a beauty pageant?

Well, there's the princess crown, of course, and the scholarship money.

But as Jeanette Morelan of Racine found out, there's so very much more -- including singing on a float in Washington, DC's, Fourth of July parade, lunch at the White House mess, even a chance to sit in the President's chair in the White House Situation Room -- just a few minutes before President Obama was scheduled to arrive.

Jeanette, a Mount Pleasant 15-year-old, won the Miss Wisconsin Outstanding Teen pageant in Oshkosh last July, and the Miss America's Outstanding Teen Pageant in Orlando last August -- taking home $30,000 in scholarships and other prizes.  The daughter of Dr. Robert and Helen Morelan -- dad is superintendent of the 21st Century Preparatory School here -- she told us last summer that she plans to become President of the United States in 2040.

A three-week tour this summer included appearances at this year's Miss Wisconsin Outstanting Teen Pageant in Oshkosh  (at which she fell and badly bruised her knee, but the show went on!); the Forward 2010 teen leadership conference in Atlanta; a photoshoot in Orlando; and performing "Party in the USA" on a Showboat float during the capital's 4th of July parade, and singing "America the Beautiful" at the finale.

And her second visit to the White House, as the guest of Rear Admiral Stephen Rochon, director of the Executive Residence and White House Chief Usher.

Here's an excerpt from Jeanette's blog about that visit:
 I was so excited to see the Admiral again!! We started by going one place that we never did on our tour…his office! The Admiral’s office was incredible. You wouldn’t believe what kind of things he had in there! A rosary from the Pope, challenge coins from dignitaries from all across the world.

And also… three more chairs. Picture what I did when I found out that I was sitting in the chairs of FDR, Winston Churchill and Bill Clinton! I could hardly believe what I was doing! The Admiral also had some gifts; for me, he brought a set of presidential pens… the personal pens of the last seven presidents in office. I could hardly believe my eyes! It meant the world to me that the Admiral would think of something like that, especially for a future President.

We went down to the White House mess for lunch. It was SO nice. Lunch was fabulous, and I had the White House signature dessert  -- a molten chocolate cupcake with vanilla ice cream. It was amazing. Now I’ve got one more reason to take on the White House in 2040 – great food  ;)
After lunch, we went somewhere I never imagined….the Situation Room....the series of meeting rooms in which our nation is run. There was a meeting scheduled in half an hour with the President, but we still had time to look around. And….in the Situation room….I sat in the President’s chair!!!! Right before the meeting! To the back of me was the Presidential seal, to my left was the seat of Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and then many more chairs of people who are the reason our country is up and running….it was incredible.

Before we left, I said a little prayer…that someday, somehow, I would sit in that chair again, as President of the United States of America.
Read more of Jeanette's blog, and see more pictures from her trip, here.

Root River Environmental Education Center celebrates new weather station July 28

The Root River Environmental Education Community Center (REC) is holding a celebration for its new weather station Thursday, July 28, beginning at 9 a.m. 

Made possible by a grant from the AT&T Foundation, the station will be installed at the REC, located at 1301 West 6th St., Racine, and will be used to educate school children and the public about the affects of climate on water quality in the Root River.

“The REC’s location within an urban watershed river offers a unique opportunity to tie water monitoring into weather curriculum,” said Dr. John Skalbeck, director of UW-Parkside’s Center for Community Partnership which runs the REC. “Dissolved oxygen levels are affected by water temperature and aquatic plant photosynthesis, which are directly affected by the weather. This weather station is a vehicle to educate the community about how weather relates to water quality.”

Skalbeck, who also serves as an associate professor in UW-Parkside’s Geosciences department, said the weather station will be installed in spring 2011 along with an educational program in which area youth can participate. Skalbeck thanked the AT&T Foundation for its generous support which will improve students’ understanding of the factors contributing to water quality. The AT&T Foundation weather station celebration is free and open to the public.

A partnership between UW-Parkside and the City of Racine, the REC connects area students and residents to Racine’s Root River through research and recreational opportunities. Canoe rentals and bicycles are available at the REC Fridays through Sundays from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Educational activities for area school children and university students are conducted throughout the year.
For more information on the REC, visit www.uwp.edu Keyword: REC or call 262-595-3340.

Mayor Dickert keeps Racine involved with Great Lakes initiative

Mayor John Dickert is keeping Racine involved in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. Here's a press release from his office:
Dickert among Mayors Leading Way as Green Cities Chart Sustainable Future for Great Lakes and St. Lawrence 
RACINE – Mayor John Dickert has joined mayors of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, representing 13 million Americans and Canadians, in committing to adopt and expand green municipal practices, through the launch of the Green CiTTS program. 
“Mayors understand that actions in our cities have a positive impact across the Great Lakes Basin,” said Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daily, founding United States Chair of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Initiative.”Today, cities are committing to expand and accelerate the implementation of innovative municipal projects and programs so that we can continue to lead the way on the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.” 
Racine Mayor Dickert, who serves on the Board of Directors of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative couldn’t agree more. 
“On behalf of the City of Racine, I am proud to join the 72 Mayors of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative in our pledge to transform the entire region, community by community, towards a sustainable, vibrant, and prosperous future,” said Dickert, “”We can lead the way in this effort. We know we must utilize the assets we have to build strong partnerships for growth around the water industry, and with funds becoming scarce, we’re working harder and smarter with our money to protect such a valuable asset.” 
The Green CiTTS (Cities Transforming Towards Sustainability) program has four objectives: 

  • To Protect Water Resources and Costal Areas 
  • To Promote Lo-Carbon Energy Generation and Consumption 
  • To Adopt Green Land Use and Building Design 
  • To Encourage Green Economic Development 
Actions under the Green CiTTS program in its inaugural year will contribute to protecting water resources and coastal areas, by providing support for municipal actions to reduce storm water runoff. This year’s program is supported by the Joyce Foundation, in collaboration with partners including American Rivers, and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. 
Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities are already demonstrating their leadership their leadership. From Chicago’s Alternative Fuel Project to Montreal’s Sustainability Plan, from Grand Rapids’ commitment to 100% renewable fuels to Milwaukee’s Green Seems Program to reduce storm water runoff, mayors make it their daily duty to create sustainable communities. 
An important aspect of the Green CiTTS program is the promotion and adoption of green technologies to support this effort and the creation of green jobs to stimulate local and regional economies. Cities around the Great Lakes spend an estimated $15 billion on environmental protection initiatives each year. 
“Our cities have enormous investment and purchasing power that can be deployed to support the development of environmental technologies and trainings for green jobs,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, host city of last month’s Cities Initiative conference. 
Mayor Dickert also was part of a panel at the conference and addressed the members at which time he announced that the City Of Racine had installed a handicapped beach mat on North Beach – the first of its kind anywhere on the Great Lakes. 
The installation of the mat which gives access to Racine’s lakefront to the handicapped, those with strollers, and others, many for the first time in their lives, drew extreme interest from other mayors and officials attending the conference. 
The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative is a bi-national coalition of over 70 mayors and other local officials that works actively with federal, state, tribal, first nation and provincial governments and other stakeholders to advance the protections, restoration, and promotion of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence basin. 
For media: For additional information see backgrounder and GLSLCI website for more details, www.glslcities.org/initiatives/greencities.cfm.

Community Development Meeting July 7

The meeting was cancelled due to lack of a quorum.

Members who attended the meeting: Q.A. Shakoor II, Brian O’Connell, Gregory Helding, Ken Lumpkin, Debbi

Embry, James T. Spangenberg, Aron Wisneski and Jeff Coe

Those excused:  John Dickert, David L. Maack, Donnie Snow, Lee Martinez and Steve Hansen

Items scheduled to be considered included:

  • Subject: Request of the Director of City Development to change the grant recipient of the Kitchen Incubator project. Kevin Cookman, HALO, invited.
  • Subject: Application of Project New Life Community Development Corporation for CDBG Local Option funds. Elliott Cohen, Project New Life, invited.
  • Subject: Approval of the 2010-2014 Consolidated Plan. Marcia Bergeson and Bob Berlan, Community Planning and Development Association, invited.

Racine City Council meeting July 6

City Council President Jeff Coe presided over the meeting in the absence of Mayor John Dickert. Aldermen Michael Shields and Aron Wisneski were excused.

No one spoke during a public hearing on Alderman Greg Helding's ordinance addressing non-commercial uses in commercial districts. The ordinance later passed the council. It was in response to a north side church that wanted to open in a space meant for commercial development. The church was allowed to move into the space because there was no city ordinance preventing it from doing so. Now, the city can stop churches and other non-commercial uses in commercial districts.

Public comments: Susan DeKeuster, Deborah Madrigan, Dennis Hardenstein, Vivian Merlo, George Meyers

Among items referred to committee, Alderman Bob Mozol requested a change to the yearly system of repaving non-critical streets. The item was referred to the Committee of the Whole.

The council agreed to meet in closed session with Deputy City Attorney and Human Resources Manager to discuss strategy regarding upcoming contract negotiations with the City's labor unions.

3 Mile Road from Erie Street to LaSalle Street may be repaved in 2012. The council unanimously agreed to approve a preliminary resolution to rebuild the road with portland cement concrete paving. The Village of Caledonia would be involved in the project. Alderman Ray DeHahn sponsored the resolution.

The city will spend $348,480 to buy road salt for the coming winter. Cargill Inc. will provide the salt.

The following street projects are planned for 2011:
  • Orchard Street from Nineteenth Street to Twentieth Street
  • Orchard Street from Durand Avenue to Pierce Boulevard
  • Perry Avenue from Byrd Avenue to Sixteenth Street
  • Chatham Street from Barker Street to Kewaunee Street
  • Orchard Street from Nineteenth Street to Twentieth Street
  • Orchard Street from Durand Avenue to Pierce Boulevard
  •  West Boulevard from Fifteenth Street to Wright Avenue

The following alleys are up for reconstruction in 2012:
  • Alley bounded by 8th Ave to 9th Ave. and South St. to Shoreland Ave.
  • Alley bounded by Carmel Ave. to Mohr Ave. and Graham St. to Chicago St.
  • Alley bounded by Goold St. to Jones Ave. and Geneva St. to LaSalle St.
  • Alley bounded by Goold St. to Walton Ave. and LaSalle St. to Superior St.
  • Alley bounded by Jerome Blvd. to 20th St. and Taylor Ave. to Kearney Ave.
  • Alley bounded by Jones Ave. to Walton Ave. and Charles St. to Geneva St.
  • Alley bounded by Lindermann Ave. to Kinzie Ave. and Hayes Ave. to Grove Ave.
  • Alley bounded by Slauson Ave. to Washington Ave. and Taylor Ave. to Phillips Ave.
  • Alley bounded by Walton Ave. to Romayne Ave. and Green St. to St. Clair St.
  • Alley bounded by Washington Ave. to Lindermann Ave. and Arthur Ave. to Blaine Ave.
  • Alley bounded by Washington Ave. to Lindermann Ave. and Hayes Ave. to Grove Ave.
  • Alley bounded by Wright Ave. to Washington Ave. and Quincy Ave. to Thurston Ave.
  • Alley bounded by 13th St. to 12th St and Terrace Ave. to Memorial Dr.
  • Alley bounded by 15th St. to Washington Ave. and Grange Ave. to Flett Ave.
  • Alley bounded by 16th St. to Slauson Ave. and Taylor Ave. to Phillips Ave.
  • Alley bounded by 17th St. to 16th St. and Packard Ave. to Memorial Dr.
  • Alley bounded by 19th St. to 18th St. and Flett Ave. to Holmes Ave.
  • Alley bounded by 20th St. to Meachem St. and Taylor Ave. to Kearney Ave.
The council waived the formal bidding process and agreed to buy $60,000 worth of LED lighting from Beta-Kramer, which is owned by Ruud Lighting. It also finalized a $245,717 contract with  Beta Lighting for LED Building lights.

Taqueria Nuevo Vallarta, of 3700 Durand Ave., received a liquor license.

The council approved Image Management selling ads n the side of city buses. It's expected to bring in about $3,600 in monthly revenue.

Bucket's Pub, 2031 Lathrop Avenue, is getting a new pole sign.

The council agreed to issue $3.895 million in general obligation refunding bonds. The money will be used to pay past refunding bonds dated Feb. 15, 2002 and set to mature in the years 2013 through 2012.

The council agreed to issue $9.65 million in promissory notes for the public purpose of financing capital improvement projects and acquisitions set forth in the City's 2010 Capital Improvement Plan.

The Common Council's next scheduled meeting is July 20, 2010.

RDA agrees to help nonprofit buy a building; establishes criteria for disqualifying developers, contractors

Recap of the Redevelopment Authority meeting on Friday, July 2:

The city's Redevelopment Authority has put a request for proposals for environmental services on the Racine Steel Castings property. Grant money is available for further environmental work.

The RDA voted unanimously to help the First Choice Pre-Apprenticeship Training program purchase a new building.

The authority voted unanimously to create a series of criteria to automatically disqualify contractors or developers who apply to develop RDA-owned property. It's estimated the ordinance would weed out 10 percent of the contractors who apply for city work.

Attendance: Scott Terry, James Spangenberg, David Lange, Robert Anderson and Jim Chambers attended. Peter Karas and Doug Nicholson were excused.

Others present: Brian O'Connell, director of city development; Jean Wolfgang, associate planner; Olatoye Baiyewu, Human Capital Development Corporation

City's building and occupancy permits for June

Racine Occupancy Permits from June 23-30:

  • Paul Myers, of Myers Health Conditioning Retail Sales, received an occupancy permit for 405 High St. 
  • Tim Baumstark, of Boxhead Design, received an occupancy permit for 436 Main St. 
  • Pedro Sanchez, of Mi Jacalito 2, received an occupancy permit for 740 College Ave. 
  • Syed Mikhail's Inc., of Total 24 Gas Station & Store, received an occupancy permit on 930 Washington Ave.
  • Muhammad Khan, of Solo Oil Gas Station, received occupancy permits for 600 3 Mild Road and 2500 Lathrop Ave.
  • Scott Hansen, of The Warning Track Tavern, received an occupancy permit for 1301 Washington Ave. 
Each permit cost $200. 

Commercial Building Alteration permits for June 1-30:

  • Citi Trends, 4003 Durand Ave., took out a $70,000 permit for facade and interior renovations. Innovative Construction Solutions is doing the work. The permit cost $840. 
Commercial Building Addition permits for June 1-30: 
  • Buckets Pub is building a 500-square-foot room and a 700-square-foot overhang at 2301 Lathrop Ave. The project is estimated at $60,000. Realistic Builders is doing the work. The permit fee was $480. 
  • Park High received a permit to remodel and build a 70,000-square-foot addition to its fieldhouse. The $2.5 million project is being done by Magill Construction Co. The permit fee was $16,000. 

Government notes for July 14

  • The Health Board voted Tuesday to allow the city to draft an ordinance to allow homeowners to keep chickens in their yards. The board voted 7-2 in favor of drafting the ordinance after an expert from the University of Wisconsin allayed fears of disease and uncleanliness.
  • The city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Board meets today at 5:15 p.m. in the City Hall Annex, Room 110. Key items being considered: 
The board will take another look at negotiating a long-term agreement with the Racine Art Museum. The item has been before the board since February 11, 2009. 
ATM Financial wants to place an ATM machine at Horlick Field. 
The Boy Scouts of America want to install soccer goals at Lockwood Park and is seeking a waiver of fees and charges for use of the field. The Finance and Personnel Committee agreed to waive $900 in fees. Letter from Director of Boy Scouts on the proposal.
Board proposal: Request to the Common Council to revise Ordinance 30-41 to change verbiage relating to composition of Board from “citizens of the City” to “citizens of Racine County." The proposal was deferred in June. Ald. Sandy Weidner supports the change, noting in June it's hard to find people to serve on the board. 
Parks Director Donnie Snow is asking the board to allow for people to walk dogs on a leash on the Lake Michigan and Root River pathways. Pets are now prohibited on the pathways. The proposal requires amending ordinance 70-90. 
Focus on Community is planning a 5K run/walk during Party on the Pavement Oct. 2 from 8:30-10 a.m. Here's the proposal, including route information.
Alderman Kaplan wants No Park signage from Hoffert Drive from Barker Street to English Street. 
Claudius Adebayo of OIC wants the city to donate, or sell at a nominal fee, a plot of land at 2138 N. Wisconsin Street. 
The city is working on an agreement with the Downtown Racine Corp to provide supervision and related services of the Laurel Clark Memorial Fountain/Splash Pad. 
The Milwaukee Wave wants to use North Beach to host a Beach Soccer Match on Aug. 7.  
  • The Human Services Department will be holding 2011 Budget Deliberations on Tuesday, July 13, Wednesday, July 14 and Thursday, July 15, 2010.  County Board Supervisors are invited to attend.  There is a chance of a quorum, but no business will be conducted.
  • Agenda for the County Board's Public Works Committee on Thursday: 

1 . Call to Order, Roll Call
2 . Public Comments
3 . Approval of the Minutes of the June 24, 2010 Meeting
4 . Consideration and Approval of Resolution to purchase ROW using land sales account, CTH-C from Airline Rd to Sunnyslope Rd
5 . Update on Highway Projects
6. Update on Old Settler’s Park new concession building
7. Special Use Requests
a. Miscellaneous Requests
8. Communications and Referrals
9. Miscellaneous Public Works Business
10. Adjourn
  • The Racine Unified Board of Education's Legislative Committee will meet on Monday, July 19 at 5 p.m. in the Board Room at 2220 Northwestern Ave. Here's the agenda: 
1. Call to Order
2. Approval of Legislative Committee Minutes of May 27 and June 2, 2010
3. Elect Chairperson
4. Presentation: Voces de la Frontera
5. Discuss Next Steps After Meeting With Elected Officials
6. Set Next Meeting Date
7. Adjourn
Committee members include: Pamala Handrow, Melvin Hargrove, Don J. Nielsen, Kim Plache, Gretchen Warner, William S. Van Atta, Ex-Officio

  • Press release from Sens. Feingold and Kohl ... 
Deal clears environmental hurdle in 3 to 0 vote
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold announced that the Export-Import Bank of the United States met today to approve the environmental aspects of the deal between Reliance Power Ltd. in India and Milwaukee manufacturer Bucyrus International Inc. to purchase $600 million in mining equipment. The 3 to 0 vote is the first step in reversing a decision by the Ex-Im Bank last month to deny loan guarantees for Reliance, after Kohl and Feingold worked intensively with Ex-Im Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg and Bucyrus chief executive Tim Sullivan to allow the transaction to move forward. Chairman Hochberg notified the Senators on June 30th that the Ex-Im Bank would reconsider its decision if Reliance could present a new proposal including an increase in the amount of renewable energy produced in India, with a preference for American-made equipment.
“We did not want to see jobs in our state jeopardized and did all we could to be effective advocates for Bucyrus International’s workforce. Chairman Hochberg was open-minded and reasonable throughout this process, and Tim Sullivan worked tirelessly for his employees. The facts prevailed in this case, and we’re encouraged by the way the proposal is progressing and hopeful that it will lead to more good manufacturing jobs for our state,” Kohl said.
“I am pleased the Export-Import Bank Board approved the revised proposal, and kept this deal alive. With Wisconsin unemployment already near double digits, killing this deal would have only made a bad situation worse while effectively sending even more American jobs to China. When given a level playing field, American businesses and American workers can compete with anyone in the world. I will continue to be a strong advocate for Wisconsin’s manufacturing base, and for the level playing field that Wisconsin’s workers deserve,” Feingold said.
This is the first in a series of three votes the Ex-Im Bank will conduct before the Reliance/Bucyrus deal is finalized. Following this approval, there will be a vote – possibly in late August – on financial aspects of the deal, then a 35-day period where the deal is sent to Congress for review, and then a final vote by the Ex-Im Bank board in fall.

  • Also from Feingold ...  

U.S. Senator Russ Feingold announced today that the next round of rebate checks is on its way to Wisconsin seniors to help pay for prescription drugs.  The checks will be mailed tomorrow to assist even more Wisconsin seniors who fall into the gap in prescription drug coverage in Medicare Part D known as the “doughnut hole.”  Filling the Medicare doughnut hole was a major provision of the new health care reform law and the one-time rebate checks are the first step in closing the gap in coverage.  Checks will be mailed monthly for those newly reaching the doughnut hole.  By the end of the year, more than 74,000 Wisconsin seniors who fall into the doughnut hole will receive the one-time $250 rebate check.   By 2020, this gap in prescription drug coverage will be completely closed, covering 155,000 seniors in Wisconsin. 

July 13, 2010

Vos unopposed; few surprises in primary election filings

Few local election surprises were apparent Tuesday night, as the filing period for Wisconsin's Sept. 14 primary closed.

The only new news is that State Rep. Robin Vos, Republican, from Assembly District 63, will be unopposed, and a couple of third-party candidates have jumped into the fray.

In the 1st District Congressional Race, Democrat John Heckenlively filed nomination papers to run against Republican Paul Ryan -- as did Libertarian Joseph Kexel of Kenosha and Independent Bill Tucker of New Berlin.

So far, Heckenlively is credited with filing 0 signatures (rather than the 1,000 required), due to some of those he filed lacking dates. Heckenlively has been given until Friday to clear up the problem. Ryan filed with 2,000 signatures. Tucker filed 1,042 signatures, and Kexel also is credited with 0.

State Sen. John Lehman, a Democrat from the 21st District, picked up two opponents: Republican County Board member Van Wanggaard of Racine had already announced his candidacy; Bob Gulan of Union Grove, another Republican, filed nomination papers Monday. Gulan is credited by the state with 0 signatures so far; Lehman filed 599 and Wanggaard 711.

State Rep. Robert Turner, who represents Assembly District 61, picked up two opponents: James DeMatthew of Racine had already announced his intention to oppose Turner in the Democratic primary; George Meyers of Racine, a Libertarian, filed Tuesday. DeMatthew filed 370 signatures; Turner filed 400; Meyers was credited with 0.

Rep. Cory Mason of Assembly District 62, a Democrat,  has two opponents: already-announced Republican opponent Chris Wright of Sturtevant, and Libertarian Anthony DeCubellis of Racine. Wright filed 400 signatures; Mason and DeCubellis both are credited so far with 0.

Pete Karas of Racine, is one of four candidates filing papers for Secretary of State. He's registered with the Wisconsin Green Party. Others in the race include Doug La Follette of Madison, the Democratic incumbent; Jeremy Ryan of Madison, another Democrat; and Kavid King of Milwaukee, a Republican. Only La Follette is credited with filing the required signatures; he filed 2,886.

City opening job labs at three community centers

The city is opening "job labs" at three of its community centers starting in August. Here's a press release from the city announcing the new program:
Community Centers set to provide Job Labs; City needs Volunteers to assist Job Seekers
RACINE – The Tyler-Domer, Dr. John Bryant, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Centers will transform their Computer Labs into Job Labs three times a week beginning Monday, August 2.
The Job Labs are being set up to offer space and assistance for community members seeking employment. The program is also looking for volunteers to assist job seekers.
The Job Labs will be open Mondays from 10 am – Noon at the Tyler-Domer Community Center – 2301 12th Street, on Tuesday evenings from 5-7 pm at the Dr. John Bryant Community Center – 601 21st Street, and on Wednesday evenings from 5-7 pm at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center – 1134 Martin Luther King Drive.
“This is another example of the things being done to create great community centers in the City of Racine,” said Mayor John Dickert. “We want to create more than just a place to play basketball and hang out. We want to offer a wide-variety of programs and opportunities to people of all ages and from all walks of life.
“The Job Labs are intended to help with one of our community’s biggest needs – finding people jobs and putting them to work. I’m reaching out to the volunteers in our community who have the expertise to help others in this area. Your participation will be one of the keys to the success of this program and you will become a partner in creating a better community.”
In addition to providing work space for job seekers, the Job Labs will offer one-on-one assistance for those seeking employment. Individual help will be available on a first-come-first-served basis. The center’s computers will be available to work on employment-related issues. Internet access will also be available.
Qualified volunteers will be on hand to help those seeking employment with resumes, cover letters, interview preparation, job searches, online applications, and a wide range of other employment-related activities.
To volunteer or for more information about the Job Labs, contact Tom Molbeck at 262-636-9452 or Debbi Embry at 262-636-9450.

New and improved Laurel Clark Fountain ...

A Downtown Racine Corp. employee looks on as kids play in the Laurel Clark Memorial Fountain Tuesday. The DRC trailer, with supervision, is one of several new additions to the revived fountain, which recently reopened thanks to a donation from SC Johnson.  


Salmon-A-Rama in full swing

Jeff Zinuticz, a DNR fishery technician, weighs in fish Tuesday at Salmon-A-Rama.

Salmon-A-Rama is in full swing this week at Racine's Festival Park. Follow the leader board here.

The contest is more than just a race for the biggest fish. It's also an opportunity for the Department of Natural Resources to assist researchers studying Lake Michigan's fish population.

Jeff Zinuticz, a DNR fishery technician, conducted the official weigh-ins Tuesday afternoon. Along with serving as an impartial judge, Zinuticz also monitored the incoming fish for certain types and sizes. Fish of above a certain length, or below a certain length, had their stomaches and tails set aside for researchers.

Tails in the chinooks are studied because researchers inject fish in Michigan hatcheries with a dye and can gather data from how the dye flows into the tail, Zinuticz said. The stomaches are used to study fish diets.

The research angle gives a helping purpose to the week-long Salmon-A-Rama, which has already registered over 1,300 fish caught. A total of 296 were tallied on Tuesday alone.

This year's Salmon-A-Rama is under new management. Salmon Unlimited Wisconsin, a Racine-based organization dedicated to the betterment of Lake Michigan, it's fishing, tributaries, and shoreline, took over the day-to-day operations of the tournament and activities this year.

Kraig Kelliher, of Menomonee Falls, is leading the Offshore Grand Prize division with a 22.4-pound brown trout. It's the largest fish caught, so far.

People check out the leading fish caught in this year's Salmon-A-Rama contest in Racine. 
The largest fish caught in each category are on display in a cooler at the weigh-in area. 

YMCA joins a trend, formally changing its name to ' the Y'

Racine's YMCA, it appears, is ahead of the curve. Mostly

The organization formally known for more than a century as the Young Men's Christian Association since its founding in London in 1844, is about to change its name.

Henceforth, it will be simply the Y.

Which is just what the signage proclaims atop our YMC...uh, Y on Lake Avenue. Even if some other signage is suddenly behind the times.

The international organization originally dedicated to putting Christian principles into practice, achieved by developing "a healthy spirit, mind, and body," is bowing to a public that for generations has called it the Y. According to the New York Times, the Y is part of a naming trend, following on the heels last week of National Public Radio, which has now declared itself simply NPR; Kentucky Fried Chicken which now prefers to be called KFC; and a host of others including AARP, BP and P&G.

As for what the change will mean here, Jeff Collen, executive director of the Racine YMCA, says he and his staff are planning to go along with the change in name and signage. "We're looking at all of that and determining a transition timetable," he says.

July 12, 2010

Celebrating 175 years: Western Printing

By Gerald L. Karwowski, www.racinehistory.com

When you think about books and publishing in Racine it’s almost automatic that Western Printing Co. and their famous inexpensive children’s books come to mind. But an interesting fact is that a printer named Mark Miller was producing children's books on his printing presses here in Racine, Wisconsin, as early as 1850.

Cover of Mark Miller's geography book 

EH Wadewitz

It wasn’t until fifty seven years later E. H. Wadewitz bought out a small print shop operating in a basement on State Street and began one of the largest publishing companies of its kind in the world. 

To write a detailed history of Western Printing would take volumes so I’ll leave that for the professional writers. However, Western Printing has truly touched millions of people throughout the world. Because of their low-cost books, puzzles and games Western entertained generations of children and adults. For many children the first short sentences they uttered while reading a book were from one of the simple, beautifully illustrated “Golden Books." So exploring this part of Racine’s history with a few pictures of a truly “GOLDEN” era will be interesting.

Western got its start in this basement print shop on State Street in Racine in 1907. The original five employees (from left) were Roy A. Spencer, Catherine Bongarts Rutledge, Edward H. Wadewitz, William R. Wadewitz and William Bell. Mr. Bell remained with Western for only a short period of time. The other four spent their entire working careers with Western.

This photo taken about 1909, shows the second home of West Side Printing Company, forerunner of Western Publishing Company. The store was located at 548 State Street and Western occupied the first floor and basement at that location. William R. Wadewitz with the tie and cap is seated on the railing.

In 1910, the company was incorporated as Western Printing and Lithographing Company and also moved into the basement of the imposing Dr. Shoop Building on State Street. As Dr. Shoop’s business declined, Western’s increased so that eventually the Company occupied the whole structure.

In 1928, a new modern headquarters and printing plant was built on Mound Avenue. It was designed and laid out specifically as a graphic arts center, one of the first completely air-conditioned and humidity-controlled plants of its kind in the world. Numerous additions had been added to the Main Plant which made it one of the largest and most diversified graphic arts establishments in the nation.

Western Printing & Lithographing Co. complex as it looked in 1947. 

Books from 1960.

Western Publishing's end began in 1984 when it was purchased by Mattel. The toy company quickly sold the company to new owners. The company was eventually absorbed into the Golden Books Publishing Company, which was acquired by Classic Media and Random House in 2001. Racine's plant closed shortly after.