July 24, 2010

Flood photos from Island Park ...

This pool was surrounded by river water Saturday. 

The river's water was flowing well above its typical speed. The river is expected to crest at about 7.5 feet on Sunday morning. At that level, it shouldn't affect anyone's basement. 

This tree limb was hanging into the river.

The Root River dam on Friday. Photo by Jenny Pelton

The Root River dam on Friday. Photo by Jenny Pelton

July 23, 2010

Racine County opens hotline to report flood damage

Racine County is getting ready for possible flooding. They setup a hotline today for residents to report damage caused by the storm:
Because of the storms and heavy rains that fell on July 22nd and the potential of continued rain into July 24th, some Racine County residents may experience property damage. 
If such damage occurs, and to help assess its extent, Racine County Emergency Management has established a voicemail and email hotline.
This hotline is only for reporting the type and estimated cost of damage.
Persons who need immediate response assistance should contact their local governments or first responder agencies.
Racine County residents who experience flooding or other types of damage as a result of the recent rain events are encouraged to call 262.636.3308. Callers will be asked to leave their name; address; phone number; city, town or village; and a brief description of the type of damage, along with the estimated dollar amount.
Residents can also email RCEmergencyManagement@goracine.org and provide the same information.

The data will assist Racine County in responding to possible requests for information from the State of Wisconsin.

Racine sewer plant avoids dumping into Lake Michigan

Racine's wastewater plant withstood last night's heavy rains. 

Keith Haas, manager of Racine's water and wastewater utilities, reported Friday morning that Racine had no "bypasses" last night. In other words, they didn't have to dump sewage into Lake Michigan to protect the sewer plant's equipment. 

Racine was able to treat all of its sewage thanks to an $85 million expansion completed in 2005. Prior to the expansion, the utility was forced, at times, to dump millions of gallons of untreated sewage mixed with stormwater into the lake. 

Milwaukee still has that problem, according to the J-S. The city's deep tunnels filled up last night and the utility had no option but pollute the lake. 

Racine may still be forced to do the same, Haas said. If we get another 2 inches of rain tonight, which is possible, the plant may not be able to treat incoming water fast enough and some partially treated, or untreated, sewage may get dumped. 

Campaign Finance: Turner reports $10K cash in hand; Council members have minimal balances

Yesterday we focused on Mayor John Dickert's campaign finance report. Today we have recaps of all other local candidates who filed mandatory reports on July 20 for the first six months of this year. All local candidates filed their reports on time, the clerk's office said. If a candidate isn't mentioned below, they reported no campaign finance activity since Jan. 1. 

The summaries below are copied from the candidates' campaign finance reports.

Eric Marcus
Total Receipts - $830, $3010 YTD
Disbursements - $2069.84, $3059 YTD
Cash Balance: $101.82
Loans - $790

Tom Kee, $40
Eric Marcus, $790

Voter list data, $5
Diamond Laser Services, Racine, $2064.84

McCarthy for Common Sense government
Contributions: $60
Expenditures: $50
Cash balance: $123.78

Terry McCarthy, $60

Dino’s Restaurant, $50, City Council Welcome Dinner, April 20, 2010

Friends of Aron Wisneski
Contributions - $1,205.08
Expenditures - $1,205.08
Balance - $26.07

Aron and Debora, $1,205.08

Diamond Laser, 1,500 newsletters, $1,205.08

Friends of Bob Turner
Total Receipts: $3,600
Disbursements: $463.93
Cash Balance: $10,302.08
Loans: $5,000

Sprinkler Fitters Local 183 - $500
Wisconsin Credit Union Legislative Action Fund - $500
Plumbers Local 75 PAC - $250
Friends of Barbara Lawton - $500
WEAC PAC - $500
WLCV-PAC - $100
United Transportation Union PAC - $500
RPAC - $500
Wi State Council of Carpenters - $250
Friends of Ken Hall - $50


Returned donations: 
Joel Haubrich, $100
Kristine Krause, $100

Dem Party of Wisconsin members - $35
Sierra Club - $39
Office Max - $29.42
Tech Corp - $110.51
Total: $413.93

Friends of Jim Spangenberg
Contributions: $50
Expenditures: $18.50
Cash Balance: $539.92

TCF National Bank, interest premum for opening account, $50

TCF national Bank fee, $18.50

Any local elected officials not mentioned reported no campaign finance activity so far this year. We omitted candidates who ran for office and lost. 

80 years ago in Racine news ...

Ever hear of the nationally recognized sport of "tree sitting"? It was big news back in the summer of 1930 when a handful of Racine kids, no more than 10 years old, competed to see who could sit in a tree the longest. The sport apparently caught on around the country, and Racine was known as its birthplace. 

Below is a recap of the news on July 21,1930. I went back 80 years to see if there was any mention of the Great Depression at the time. There was very little about the economy in Racine's two daily papers - the Racine Times-Call and the Racine Journal News - but there was lots on a heat wave that walloped the city. Both papers reported temperatures hitting 104 degrees, an oppressive heat considering most, if any, people had air conditioning at the time. No deaths were reported in Racine, but nationally the heat wave killed dozens. 

The newspaper items below are in no particular order, just as I read them in the papers. They're also far from comprehensive of everything in the day's paper. Readers certainly got their money's worth at this time. A paper cost 3 cents and was packed full of local, state and national news. 

OK, on with the reports (I added any words in bold) ... 

Racine Times-Call - “Racine’s Foremost Newspaper”
Monday, July 21, 1930
Price: 3 cents

Top of the Page: Two St. Louis Flyers Soar Aloft in Attempt to Regain World Endurance Reocrd

Main headline: "HEAT LOOSENS GRIP"

“An easterly wind this morning brought relief to Racine and Wisconsin after the scorching temperature of 104 degrees over Sunday.

But before the respite came old man weather hung up a heat record for July that promises to remain unchallenged here for some time to come. Weather records reveal no heat maximum here as high as 104 degrees for the past 30 years.

Residents sought vainly for relief. Automobile travel was negligible as burning pavements and a hot wind made driving a hardship.

“Thousands at Beach”

Thousands sought municipal beach, where the easiest escape from the scorching sun was obtained, according to Christ Johnson, caretaker.

The sandy stretch that comprises the beach here was dotted with bathers until far into the night Sunday.
With the change of wind today came the possibility of rain that may relieve some of the tension among farmers in the county.

The extensive drought has brought consternation among members of the agricultural fraternity here. Blistering heat of the four-day wave has scorched crops and man alike in the open farm areas. Farmers report large opening in the ground as the result of the intense heat, which has also shriveled crops and otherwise endangered what promised to be a “bumper crop.”

Record Water Consumption

The water pumping station on Reichert court reported a record total of gallons for the four days, according to A.H. Hunting, chief engineer.

Those who took a shower, sprinkled their lawn, or mixed themselves an ice-cold drink, did their share yesterday and the hot days previous in consuming some of the 39,983,631 gallons that were used in the city.
Over Sunday Racine escaped any hot weather tragedies or casualties. No heat prostrations were reported at local hospitals, despite the record mercury rise.

TENNIS CHAMP: Herman Lynch is men’s senior tennis champion today. He won the final match in the senior singles division of the city tournament at the courts of Wisconsin’s Racquet club on Spring street this morning, defeating Joe Kunple 9-7, 6-1.

CITY HALL: shipments of steel for the new city hall were in the city today and construction was started at once. A crew of workmen for the Wisconsin Bridge and Iron company accompanied the steel. Delayed for almost a month the failure of the steel to arrive sooner slowed up the building of the new municipal building considerably. Several weeks will be required to erect the steel, it is believed.

OBIT: Phillip I Hess, 82, native son of Racine, died Sunday afternoon at St. Mary’s hospital after an illness of several months.
He was born Jan. 3, 1848 at the corner of Bridge and Ontario streets, where his father, Henry Hess, a pioneer resident, conducted a blacksmith shop in the days when Racine was but a small village. He lived in Racine all his life, with the exception of a few years spent on a farm in his early youth. Subsequently he became the owner of a meat market on Sixth street, which he conducted for nearly half a century until he retired from active business 12 years ago, and lived a quiet life at his home, 1000 Park avenue.

WATER TANK: Construction of a monster water standpipe or tank west of the city is expected to relieve the low pressure encountered in West Racine and in the southwest section of the city, it was announced today by the water commission.
Cost of the tank will be around $35,000 and represents a major addition to the water facilities. It will be 65 feet high and 85 feet in diameter. (Note: The Racine Journal News had the cost at $145,000.)
Senator W.S. Goodland, president of the commission, Mayor Armstrong, Superintendent Pierce, W.S. Dooley and W.T. Harvey inspected the site and decided that the tank will be erected on the south end of the land recently purchased. The land is about in a line with Fifteenth street and nearly one-half a mile west of the present city limits

TREE SITTERS: Sipping ice cold drinks in their leafy bowers, Racine’s two tree sitters survived the heat wave that swept the city Sunday, and hung up records of 260 and 240 hours respectively this morning.
At 7:15 a.m. Eddie Staskas, 1001 Grove avenue stood 104 degrees of heat that blasted the city, and was still “going strong this morning with 260 hours “in the air,” to his credit.
Following close on Eddie’s heels is Bobby Pritchard in his tree at Fifth street and Lake avenue. Bobby reports 240 hours in the air at 7:30 a.m. today. “I’m sticking it out until I have to come down for school in September, if Eddie does the same thing,” Bobby said today.
Others “Forced Down”
In the meantime, while Bobby and Eddie are hanging up a world’s tree sitting record for Racine, authorities in other sections agreed that the craze is a hazardous “occupation.”
Danger from live wires that loops through trees, the hazard of tumbling out while asleep or fatigued, and the parental paddle, were gaining the upper hand throughout the tree-sitting belt, with the prospect that many of the “endurance flights” would come to a quick and ignominious end.
In El Paso, Tex., Cecilia Schwartau, 10, remained in her tree on the fifth day and claimed the “world’s record for girls.” Cecilia’s record quashes the record set up by DeBorah Bell, of Racine, who can still, however, lay claim to be the first girl tree sitter in the world. DeBorah established 51 hours “in the air” here, during the pioneer days of the “profession” some few weeks ago.
Jimmy Clemons, the 10-year-old Racine boy in whose mind was born the idea that has set the nation’s children endurance mad, paid Milwaukee tree sitters a tribute Sunday by coming to visit them. Among his visits was one to Harold Herder, who had been up for 267 hours and who claimed a record. Jimmy, the original tree sitter, who remained perched in a tree for 36 hours, 15 minutes, climbed into Herder’s tree to congratulate the Milwaukee boy.

RAIN: While Racine hoping against hope for rain, two police detectives got more than their share last night.
Detectives Lester McEnchern and Earl Olson were handed warrants calling for the arrest of a man at Boyd, Wis. … and another for a man in Oconto.
On their way back to Racine, but more than 100 miles from the city, they encountered a miniature tornado, they reported. They wind howled and dispelled the heat from which they suffered earlier in the day. And then it rained.
The rain poured down so hard it was almost impossible to see the road, the detectives reported. The car was covered with blotches of mud from the running board to the top.

CIVIL WAR: Stillwater, Minn. – The faint scent of garden flowers floated from bouquets at the backs of 33 crepe-draped chairs as Charles Lockwood said goodbye today to his companions of battle.
Lockwood kept a promise made 45 years ago. He sipped a toast of vinegar – once choice Burgundy – to the memory of his dead comrades.
Alone at the table with the memories of his Civil War comrades in Company B, First Minnesota Volunteer Infantry, Lockwood recited:
“The camp fire smoulders-ashes fall;
The clouds are black against
The sky;
No tap of drums, no bugle
My comrades, all, goodbye.”

POSSIBLE DROWNING: Fear that a woman was drowned while indulging a midnight swim near the municipal beach last night was expressed by the police today. Police were summoned when a woman living near the beach reported she heard a scream for help about midnight.

DRAMA: Charges against his wife and another man followed a husband’s unexpected return to his home last night while he was recovering today from severe loss of blood caused by a severed artery.
Police raided his home after he made a complaint and was rushed to St. Mary’s hospital for treatment.
He told the officers he came home to find all the lights out and the doors locked. Pounding on the doors he demanded admittance, but there was no response from within. Attempting to force his way in he pushed his hand through a pane of glass with the result that the artery in his right arm was cut.
At this point the police were called and the doors of the home forced open. They found the wife and the other man. Both were brought to the station and charged with disorderly conduct.
The husband’s condition was reported favorable today, although he was considerably weakened by the loss of blood.

VISITORS: Mayor and a party of 11 aldermen and other city officials from Columbus, Ohio, will be in Racine Thursday morning to inspect Racine’s new garbage disposal plant.

The Racine Journal-News = "Circulation of the Journal-NewsReaches Seventy-one Per Cent of the Racine Trading Territory."

Top headline: “Intense Heat Wave Moves East”

DRIVING CONTEST: Official start of the 120-hour second speed endurance drive will be made from the Journal-News building Tuesday afternoon at 4 o’clock. Sheriff John Anderson will handcuff “Speed” Kelly, the driver, to the wheel of the Willy’s Six in which he will attempt to establish the new record. From the Journal-News building, the driver will proceed to Air City airport, where a special track has been constructed for his long drive.
Ed Hedeen, manager of the airport, has completed arrangements and, in addition to providing ample lighting facilities for the night driving, has planned a program of stunts and thrills for persons who visit the field.
Kelly, a veteran of several endurance drives, will attempt to set the new record by driving five days and five nights without a stop. The car has been prepared by mechanics and the machine will be locked in second gear, preventing the shifting of gears. Attendants will be on hand constantly to care for man and machine in their grueling test.
Full view of the driver may be obtained at any time of the day or night as lights have been provided to illuminate the track during the night.
Saturday will mark the first appearance of a glider at the local air field. Hedeen is bringing an experienced man to demonstrate this type of machine which has become very popular throughout the nation. The gliding exhibit will relieve the monotony of the steady drive.

BIKE ENDURANCE: Four North Main street lads have started another contest. They are not interested in tree-sitting and have adopted something different.
Al Leuker, Sylvester Soens, Gordan Melvin and Charles Hemmingsen, all living on North Main street, mounted their “bikes” at 1 o’clock this afternoon in front of the Hemmingsen residence, 3603 North Main street, and started riding.
The lads are going to see which can remain on his bicycle the greatest number of hours. They are riding slowly along North Main street and Michigan boulevard and the cross streets in that district.

LARGEST EGG: Inspired probably by the tree sitters who have been making history here for the past 10 days, Biddy, a Rhode Island hen in the flock of George White, Orchard avenue, went out for a “setting” record herself last Friday and the result is that Mr. White is proudly displaying what is probably the largest egg ever laid in this section. It is eight inches around the middle and weighs three-sixteenth of a pound.
From faint indentures in the shell it appears that Biddy combined three eggs in the record shell. Mr. White, who was born and brought up on a farm, declares that in all his experience he never saw such a ponderous egg.

CRIME EXPLAINED: A new way of reasoning the why of crime was laid before President Hoover’s law-enforcement commission Saturday by a young San Francisco physician who believes the chief factor in all human misbehavior lies in chemical or physical malformation of men’s bodies.
Dr. Ralph A. Reynolds gave his findings from extensive investigation in San Quentin prison to Chairman Wickersham and Commissioner Anderson, in charge of the inquiry into causes of crime.
“Here is a girl, 11 years old,” he exemplified, “who, because of disfunctioning gland, has developed physical characteristics normally attained in 18 years. She has the problems of 18 years and the experience and knowledge of 11 years. Is it any wonder she gets into trouble? Yet, if we did not know her physical defect, we would only condemn or pity her for moral turpitude.”

Flood warning issued for the Root River in Racine

Graph showing the forecasted rise of the Root River over the next two days. The river level is expected to peak at noon on Saturday, just shy of a major flood stage

Update, Saturday, July 24: The rain is expected to end by mid-morning, and the Weather Service says our flash flood watch will then expire. There is a slight risk of severe thunderstorms this afternoon and early evening, but even then "the flash flood threat is low."

Update: The river's forecasted peak level was dropped to 7.65 inches, slightly further away from a Major stage flood.

Original post:
The National Weather Service in Milwaukee/Sullivan issued a flood warning this morning for the Root River in Racine.

The river was at 4.5 feet at 4:15 a.m. Friday and rising, according to NWS reports. The river is forecast to reach its flood stage of 7 feet sometime after midnight tonight. It's expected rise near 7.9 feet by Sunday morning, and then fall below the flooding stage on Monday morning. Moderate flooding is forecasted.

Here's the best site available to gauge the Root River's level.Readings are taken at the Root River dam near Northwestern Avenue and Rapids Drive.

Here's the possible impact of flooding at different water levels:

8.1 This level is about a 4 percent chance flood meaning there is a 4 percent chance in any given year of the river reaching this level.
8 There is basement flooding to around 250 homes in Racine.
7.5 This level is about a 10 percent chance flood meaning there is a 10 percent chance in any given year of the river reaching this level.
7 There is flooding in Lincoln Park and Horlick Park in Racine.
6.8 This level is about a 20 percent chance flood meaning there is a 20 percent chance in any given year of the river reaching this level.
6 There is minor lowland flooding.
5.9 This level is about a 2 year flood.
Updates from the state:
  • The Sheriff's Department is reporting water pooling on Interstate 94's northbound lanes at Highway G. 
  • Scattered storms are expected to continue today with strong storms this evening with possible heavy rain this evening across southern Wisconsin. The State Emergency Operations Center remains open to monitor the flooding situation. There has been no request for state assistance.

July 22, 2010

Racine County helping low-income residents by putting stimulus money to work

Racine County is putting stimulus money to work to help local low-income residents gain skills and find jobs. 

County Executive Bill McReynolds and Human Services Director Jonathon Delagrave announced Thursday the Workforce Development Center was awarded a $560,580 "Transitional Jobs Demonstration Grant" from the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families. The grant is paid for with stimulus money. 

“Transitional jobs are time-limited and publicly funded, combining real work, skill development, and support services to help people overcome substantial barriers to employment,” said Alice Oliver, Workforce Development Center Manager.

The Transitional Jobs Project is designed to provide low-income Racine County residents who meet program guidelines with skill development as well as job placement. The core elements of the program include orientation and assessments, job readiness and life skills training, case management and supportive services, a subsidized wage-paying transitional job, assistance in placement in unsubsidized employment, job retention services, and linkages to education and training. Participants will engage in work for up to 40 hours a week and spend additional hours participating in education and training related to skills development.

McReynolds said the project will place out-of-work county residents in the private, non-profit and public sectors for up to six months, with all costs associated with wages and taxes covered by the grant. Project participants will earn $7.25 an hour. There is no requirement that the employer retain the program participant at the end of the transitional job placement.

“This project is good for participants who gain work experience, work history, work reference and a paycheck; and it’s good for local employers and the community,” said Delagrave.

Employers interested in being the employer of record or hosting a program participant can log onto
www.wdc.racineco.com to learn more and submit a proposal or application by noon on Friday, August 6. Recruitment for program participants will begin in the near future.

Park 6, city will argue over liquor license July 29

Park 6 at one of its calmer moments.

Update 2: Given the responses were getting on all sides of this issue, the city's handling of Sixth Street is going to be a major issue in the coming weeks. Just about everyone is upset right now, some with diametrically opposed viewpoints.

Update: We're getting feedback that the incidents outside of Pepi's and at Henry and Wanda's are completely different than the issues involving Park 6 and The Place on 6th. First, the shooting outside of Pepi's   involved two people who had left the bar and were not causing problems. It's being described as an accidental shooting between two guys in a car parked on Sixth Street, which is certainly different from the security guard who was randomly shot in May.

The Henry & Wanda's "fight" only lasted a few seconds, and the bartender still called the police even though the participants were tossed out immediately after it happened.

The critical difference between the incidents is Henry & Wanda's, and the recently opened Pepi's, are not chronic sources of problems that require extensive police coverage every weekend. Park 6 and The Place on 6th do generate regular calls to the police, and they've been called before the city to explain those calls and problems.

Original post: The controversial Sixth Street bar Park 6 is headed to a hearing next week over the fate of its liquor license.

The city announced today they would hold a due process hearing beginning at 5 p.m. on July 29 to try and revoke the bar's ability to sell alcohol. Police calls and a shooting outside of the bar in May have the Common Council concerned about owner Thomas Holmes' ability to control the large crowds his bar attracts on Friday and Saturday nights. 

Supporters of the bar are accusing the city of holding businesses responsible for people's conduct on the street. An NAACP report released this month accused the city of targeting African-American owned businesses in Downtown Racine. 

But the city's Public Safety and Licensing Committee lost patience with the bar after a private security officer was shot in the foot on May 20. The shooting remains under investigation with no suspects at this time, Sgt. Martin Pavilonis relayed this week. But the city believes Park 6 was involved in the crime, and that's got the bar on the hot seat. 

The shooting, along with rowdy crowds near Sixth and Park streets most weekends, has hurt business for other Sixth Street bars including the Raytown Roadhouse, Henry & Wanda's and the new Pepi's Pup and Grill. But Pepi's may find itself answering questions before Ald. Aron Wisneski's Public Safety and Licensing Committee in the near future, because it had a shooting nearby this month. A 26-year-old Racine man is facing criminal charges after he accidentally shot his cousin July 17 outside of Pepi's. The victim is expected to survive. The suspect told police his handgun accidentally went off while picking up the victim outside of the bar. 

The incident has business owners and activists buzzing over how the city will respond. The incident is different than the May 20 shooting because no shots were fired randomly into a crowd.

Ald. Jeff Coe wound up in a bit of a fracas two weekends ago, as well. Coe jumped in and grabbed a guy who had exchanged punches with another guy. The fight was quickly broken up and both guys were thrown out of the bar. Initially, we'd reported witnesses said Coe was knocked down last weekend. The fight was actually two weekends ago and Coe says he was not knocked down. 

All of the incidents are background noise to next Thursday's hearing, which promises theatrics. Holmes has already said he's planning to fight the city for the license, and that may lead to some heated moments inside of the City Hall chambers. The Common Council sits as jury during the due process hearing and will decide if Holmes will continue to hold his license. If he loses it, no bar can move into the Park 6 building for a year after the hearing. 

As an aside, the city is accumulating unused liquor licenses these days. Three local bars - Salt & Pepper, 1111 Washington Ave., 2nd Time Around, 1922 16th St., and Tradewinds, 1518 Washington Ave., declined to renew this year. Also, Blind Alligator lost its license in a due process hearing. All told, the city has about six vacant liquor licenses, a huge number considering a year ago people were waiting outside of the City Clerk's office to try and get a license before Racine hit its quota. 

You never know what you'll find at the Habitat ReStore

 Frank Hay, Habitat ReStore's newest -- and oldest -- volunteer

You never know what you'll find at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

This week I found a 92-year-old antique there -- in great condition -- with a backstory that could have come straight out of Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. In fact, it turns out that Frank Hay, the store's newest volunteer, actually covered the same ground as the Joads and millions of other Okies, emigrating from the Midwest to California during the Great Depression in search of work.

How he got there, and back to Racine, is one hell of a story...

Hay was born in Racine in 1918, but before he reached his teens his father took him and his three brothers to Long Beach, CA, looking for work. An uncle there said he had work in the oilfield for Frank's dad, who was a construction engineer. And at first there was work, erecting oil well towers. "But then the union reared its ugly head, saying 'Hey! You're non-residents,' " and the company was forced to let him go, Hay said.

They became migrant fruit workers. "Apricots, peaches, cherries; up to Oregon for raspberries; the Yakima Valley for apples.  Us kids went to schools wherever we were. We always had to fight for the pecking order -- but I had older brothers, so that helped."   

Eventually, Frank's father "hocked my stepmother's diamond ring to raise enough money to get back to Illinois, where an uncle was a foreman in a glass factory, and got jobs for my dad and brother. Until 'non-residency' caught up with us again."

The family moved back to Wisconsin when Frank was 13, and he attended McKinley Middle School and graduated from Park High School. In all, he had attended 11 different schools.

It was now the worst of the Depression years, but Frank got a job as an apprentice tool and die maker. "I had always been handy, always fixing stuff," he says. He went to night school, took correspondence courses in geometry, trigonometry and mechanical drawing -- "The stuff I shied away from in high school."

He spent four years as a Navy reservist, working at the Great Lakes Naval Air Station as a crew mechanic and "lineboy" fueling airplanes. "I could jump on the North Shore in Racine and get off at the gates. At the end of the day -- the tracks went by my house -- I could jump off and be home." But after three years the air station moved to DuPage, IL. "I had no car and couldn't get there, so I quit.

Eventually, he went to college in Ft. Collins, CO, wanting to be a forester. He switched to mechanical engineering after  a year, but soon returned to Racine and worked for seven years as a mechanical engineer at Sterling Tool and Die. That was a "preferred industry" for a time, and so he was exempt from the draft. But in 1945 the draft board ended the exemption, and Frank was drafted.

"I told them I'd been in the Navy, but they said, 'You're in the Army now.' " The Army sent him to the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland, where he learned instrument repair and was never sent overseas.  "I always liked working with my hands; as a kid I built lots of model airplanes."

After the Army Hay joined his older brother, who had worked at Young Radiator's tool shop, and they started their own company -- Hay Manufacturing. He was there for 13 years, before selling out in the early '60s and leasing the Air City Airport in Sturtevant, where he was the fixed base operator, performing aviation mechanics, engine and air frame repair. He had learned to fly, had a company airplane and "a pretty good business."

But when the landowner donated a portion of the land to the school district for Schulte School, he had to give up the airport, so Hay bought a place in Minnesota, where he had a hanger and home,  remaining in the aviation business and teaching vocational school aviation mechanics. In the '70s, he bought a helicopter and went barnstorming at county fairs, family picnics. "The helicopter was a novelty; I gave rides, did photography and forestry work." He became a qualified Hughes helicopter mechanic, bought and sold them. "I had five at one time." Hay was in Minnesota for about 30 years, retiring in 1995 well into his 70s. He bought a 50-acre farm, and stayed there until his wife died.

In 1997, with two daughters living in Racine, he returned "home."

Still, he was hardly your typical retiree. He bought a 3 1/2 acre place on the Root River.  Hay also likes to go dancing, and joined a "singles" club that held dances every week. "I started out there as a 'single' but then I met Mary" -- she's 27 years his junior, same age as one of his daughters -- and they were married four years ago. "She tries to keep up with me," he says.

Brave talk. Later he admits that he and Mary exercise together. "I can't keep up with her.  She runs; I take my bicycle."

They also take dance lessons at the John Bryant Community Center twice a week, and go ballroom dancing every Sunday at Hiawatha, where Frank especially likes the wood floors.

So how did Frank Hay end up at the Habitat ReStore, I hear you impatiently asking. Like this: "When hot weather arrived, my wife wouldn't let me work outside. I'd go crazy just sitting in the house ... Well, I was always interested in woodworking. I drove a lot of nails helping my father," he remembers.

So he went to the Habitat ReStore looking for a jointer/planer. "They had a couple of jointers. I'm torn between the desire for this or a planer."

While there, he says, "I looked at the Habitat operation and said, 'I think I'll volunteer here.' " He told Lois Solberg, the store's founding director, "You have a mess in the wood area; everybody just leaves it wherever."

That was three weeks ago. "I found a home," Hay says. "I enjoy it. And my wife is happy to have me out of the house." And the millwork at Habitat is now neatly sorted. Frank works three hours a day, from 10-1, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He expects he'll continue to volunteer all summer.

Mary is happy for another reason, too. "My wife has her eyes on this couch; made me measure it," Frank says, pointing to a colorful '50s-ish design. Price $150.

Habitat has about 40 volunteers. Now in its third year of operation -- one of 12 such stores in the state -- the store has grown from its initial 5,800-sq. ft. to 13,800 sq. ft. There's always a little of everything: appliances, wood, tools, furniture. "We're serving the community," Solberg says. "I want to be a little place that is always able to pick up things when people offer donations."

In the front showroom this week when I met Frank, there was a lovely baby grand piano -- small and beautiful. Solberg says Habitat has sold 15 pianos since the store opened, and this is their fourth baby grand. Price: Just $400. But hurry... good stuff has a habit of going fast. (The two jointers that lured Frank in the door are still there, priced at $150. I'm tempted.)

The Habitat ReStore is located in the Kranz building at 2302 DeKoven Ave. It's open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; 9 to 4 on Saturdays.

UPDATE, July 27: Well, that didn't take long! The grand piano sold this morning, and is on its way to Michigan...

Mayor Dickert pulled in $18,559 in contributions so far this year

Mayor John Dickert at his election victory party last year.

Mayor John Dickert will head into his re-election campaign next spring with a tidy sum of money, according to campaign finance reports due Tuesday.

Dickert’s campaign fund totaled $16,280.08 as of June 30, 2010. The report, required of all local and state candidates, covers Jan. 1 to June 30.

Dickert raised all of that money this year, pulling in $18,559.33 in donations from individuals and committees, according to his report, which was filed by campaign treasurer Mary Jerger.

Dickert spent $2,509.99 during the first six months of this year, according to the reports.

Dickert, a former lobbyist and Realtor, received several donations from Madison-based lobbyists and politicos and from Racine County Realtors. He also received sizable donations from local business leaders, former state rep Jeff Neubauer and representatives of Illinois-based Omar Medical Supplies.

Here's a list of Dickert’s donors, home cities, employers and amount contributed listed on his campaign finance report:

  • Greg Grambow, Milwaukee, Du-Well Grinding Ent. Inc., $100
  • Scott Tyre, Middleton, WI, lobbyist, Capitol Navigators Inc., $100
  • Larry Martin, Madison, Intergovernment Affairs Director, State of Wisconsin, $100
  • Peter Christianson, Fitchburg, attorney, DeWitt Ross & Stevens, $25
  • Mary Lou Keleher, Madison, $50
  • Carol Reineking, South Milwaukee, Rep. Terry Van Akkeron, $100
  • Patrick Goss, Madison, executive director, Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association, $50
  • Nancy Wenzel, Madison, CEO, Wisconsin Association of Housing, $50
  • Stephen Hiniker, Madison, executive director, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, $100
  • Gary Goyke, Madison, owner, Goyke & Associates, $250
  • Jack O’Meara, Madison, O’Meara Public Affairs, $50
  • Peter Fox, New Glarus, WI, $25
  • Michelle Thompson, Madison, $50
  • Robin Marohn, Cottage Grove, Heartland Credit Union, $100
  • Elizabeth Kluesner, Waunakee, $100
  • Rebecca Weise, Madison, assistant attorney general, Department of Justice, $100
  • JP Heim, La Crosse, retired, $100
  • Krista Elias, Verona, spokesperson, Dept of Tourism, $100
  • Kevin McKillip, Burlington, realtor, Bear Realty, $100
  • Courtney Huffines, Salem, realtor, Re/Max, $50
  • Shirley Chmielewski, Racine, Realtor, Re/Max, $35
  • Sandra Carlson, Racine, Realtor, Re/Max, $50
  • Joseph Busch, Burlington, Realtor, Bear Realty $50
  • Sharon Smolensky, Kansasville, Keefe Real Estate, $100
  • Diane Reierson, Rio, Wis., $100
  • Tamara Maddente, Shorewood, Realtor, First Weber, $150
  • Roger Rushman, Oconomowoc, Realtor, First weber, $100
  • Cynthia Fleming, Pewaukee, Realtor, First Weber, $100
  • Joseph McLean, Milwaukee, Realtor, Shorewest, $50
  • E. Joe Murray, Sun Prairie, Realtor, Wis Realtors Assoc., $75
  • Kevin Donnell, Brookfield, Realtor, First Weber, $200
  • Shelley Morgan, Sussex, Realtor, Homestead Realty, $50
  • Patricia Townsend, Elm Grove, Realtor, First Weber, $100
  • Leo Fitzgerald, Brookfield, Realtor, First Weber, $100
  • Patricia Hasenbank, Marshfield, Realtor, First Weber, $100
  • Michael Ruzicka, Cedarburg, Realtor, Greater Milwaukee Assoc. of Realtors, $100
  • Thomas Larson, Madison, Realtor, Wisconsin Realtor Assoc, $50
  • John Dickert, Loan, City of Racine, $431
  • George Stinson, Racine, President, General Converters and Assemblers, $100
  • Jeff Neubauer, president, Kranz, Racine, $800
  • Jane Hutterly, Racine, SC Johnson, $250
  • Helen Johnson-Leipold, Racine, CEO, SC Johnson, $500
  • Craig Leipold, chairman, Minnesota Wild, $500
  • Ed Lonergan, Racine, Diversey, $250
  • Jim Eastman, Racine, president, Merchants, $250
  • Thomas Burke, Racine, manager, Modine, $250
  • Dave Perkins, Racine, Racine Federated, $100
  • Jerold Franke, Racine, president, WISPARK, $400
  • Steve Botzou, Habash Habash & Rottier, attorney, $500
  • Bill Pugh, Racine, sales, WH Pugh Coal Co., $500
  • David Namowicz, Racine, manager, Warren Industries, $250
  • Barbara Campbell, Kenosha, homemaker, $100
  • Jeffrey Hoey, Racine, president, Shorpac, $100
  • Bill Angel, Racine, owner, Angel Lithographing, $50
  • William Sustachelc, Racine, owner, Rasmussan Diamonds, $250
  • Fisk Johnson, Chicago, SC Johnson, $250
  • Dick Hansen, Wautoma, President, Johnson Financial Group, $250
  • M. Alice O’Connor, Madison, DeWitt Ross and Stevens, $100
  • William Skewes, Madison, $50
  • John Gard, Green Bay, $50
  • Kenneth Buser, Racine, president, Wheaton Franciscan, $250
  • Jim Imhoff, Madison, Realtor, $200
  • Bill McClenahan, Vasona, WI, lobbyist, Martin Schresbet and Associates, Madison, $100
  • John Schmitt, biz manager, Labor Int. Union, $100
  • Gary Brownell, Racine, senior technical architect, $50
  • Paula Long, Racine, associate technical ckt, $50
  • John Shubert, Janesville, maintenance, Cedar Crest Homes, $100
  • Kenneth Walsh, Madison, owner, Martin Shreiber, $100
  • Thomas Pinnow, Jefferson, Wis., president, County-City Credit Union, $25
  • Alan Ruud, Racine, president, Ruud Lighting, $803
  • Terrell Wilson, Park Forest, Ill., Omar Medical Supplies, $800
  • Dale Wilson, Hazel Crest, Ill., Omar Medical Supplies, $800
  • Rosie Daniels, Chicago, Ill., Omar Medical Supplies, $800
  • Daniel Cunningham, Del Mar, Calif., owner, Cunningham Property Holdings, $500
  • Pamela Floyd, Hazel Crest, Ill., homemaker, $800
  • Willie Wilson, Chicago, Omar Medical Supplies, $800
  • Kerry Thomas, Sussex, communication, Kerry Thomas Design, $30
  • Jeff Berg, Whitefish Bay, real estate, First Weber, $50
  • Kevin Donahue, Milwaukee, architect, Engberg Anderson, $100
  • Evan Zeppos, Brookfield, WI, pr specialist, $100
  • Peter Dickert, Sussex, Northwest Mutual Life, $50
  • Tricia Conway, Racine, director, AT&T, $50
  • Marc Marotta, Mequon, Foley and Lardner, $200
  • Jennifer Thoennes, Racine, teacher, 21st Century Prep, $125
  • Michael Kobylka, Lorain, Ohio, president, RAMAC, $25
  • Claire Weslaski, Racine, owner, IM, $25
  • John Crimmings, Racine, real estate, First Weber, $100
  • Chris Terry, Franksville, sales, Carpetland, $25
  • Dave Brown, Franksville, owner, Carpetland, $100
  • Steve Donovan, Racine, banker, US Bank, $50
  • Chris McKinney, Racine, banker, Community First Bank, $50
  • Robin Garard, consultant, Ceanet Inc, $25
  • Chad Arents, grphaic designer, Image Management, $30
  • Dave Grebetz, Racine, Clearcom, $100
  • Troy Muniz, Racine, director of operators, Verizon, $310
  • Alice Thomson, faculty, UW-Parkside, $25
  • Jodi Emmons, Racine, branch manager, Express Employment Profe, $50
  • John Waters, Kenosha, $50
  • Jay Christie, Racine, zoo director, $100
  • Don Trottier, Racine, bank officer, M&I Bank, $25
  • Tim Majcen, Burlington, $30
  • Gary Anderson, $20
  • Anonymous $20
  • Anonymous $20
  • Jody Muniz, Racine, self-nutritional Design, $50
  • David Titus, Racine, $50
  • Mark Patzke, Franksville, owner, Multi Products, $250
  • Doug Nicholson, College Ave., owner, Ivanhoe, $200 (in-kind)
  • John Lang, Racine, owner, A&E, $100

Contribution from Committee

  • Wisconsin Credit Union Legislative Action Fund, Peaukee, $250

Here's what the mayor's campaign spent money during the first six months of this year:

  • M&I Bank, bank fee, $12
  • Store All LLC, Sturtevant, storage, $135
  • M&I Bank, bank fee, $12
  • Ivanhoe, fundraiser, $344.73
  • Minute Man Press, printing invitations, postage, $510.56
  • M&I Bank, bank fee, $12
  • Erin Manders, Racine, website work, $400
  • Store All, Stutevant, $135
  • Minute Man Press, invitations, $83
  • USPS, stamps, $44
  • USPS, stamps, $44
  • M&I Bank, bank fee, $12
  • Pay Pal, service charge, $34.34
  • Brocach Irish Pub, Madison, Madison fundraiser, $154.38
  • USPS, Racine, post card stamps, $56
  • Minute Man Press, Racine, invitations, lit pieces, $308
  • Doug Nicholson, in-kind, fundraiser, $200
  • Register.com, website hosting, $12.95

Rain slows, but does not stop the bicycle racers

Update, 7 p.m.: Rain in the morning gave way to moderate sunshine ... and then tornado warnings.

Not a great day for a series of bicycle races!

The men's pro race began on schedule at 6 p.m. tonight, but with a reduced field of competitors and a shortened course, only 75 laps down from the initially planned 90. But worse was to come: early in the race, one cyclist slid into a barrier, and took down 10 to 15 other riders, forcing a halt to the race and then a restart.

Then, with 44 laps to go, the tornado sirens started to blow -- nasty weather had already been reported in Milwaukee and northern Racine County. That, too, forced a postponement of the race, and it never did resume. Full results of the day's races will be posted online. Racing continues Friday in Kenosha.

Here are some pictures from the men's race, followed by our original post from this morning:

The original field of the pro men's race: Far fewer than the 200 cyclists expected
 This was the re-start, after those injured in the crash received attention

 The men pounding up Main Street
Matthew Rice, who led the first part of the race; he won yesterday in Milwaukee

 Original post:

On a day better suited to Salmon-a-Rama, hundreds of bicyclists took to Downtown's Racine.org Criterium course today, racing on two narrow wheels in the pouring rain.

The multiple downpours didn't seem to sap anyone's enthusiasm, although it certainly slowed the racers and reduced the expected field considerably.

First race this morning, a 15-mile run for Cat 3/4 women, was won by Sarah Huang of Kenosha.

Note: These pictures were taken during the first two races; shortly after I left the course the Heavens really opened -- dumping enough rain to drive men and beasts to shelter. I could barely drive a four-wheel car in it...

Our earlier story is here. 

Complete results will be posted here.

Sarah Huang of Kenosha crossing the finish line first

 Cat 4/5 men carefully lean into the first turn in their 25-mile race

Crime Stoppers seeking info on July 8 home invasion

The Racine Police Department in conjunction with CRIME STOPPERS of Racine County Inc. is seeking information on a HOME INVASION in the City of Racine.

On Thursday, July 8th, at about 3A.M., Racine Police officers responded to a residence at 1425 Lathrop Avenue for a report of a robbery.

The victim reported that three suspects had forced entry into the home and demanded cash.

The victim stated that one suspect pointed a gun (revolver) at her and demanded cash, while two other suspects ransacked the house.

The suspects were wearing masks and described as: a Hispanic male, medium build and height wearing a blue bandana, t-shirt and blue jeans. A second suspect was described as a black male wearing a bandana. A third suspect ransacking the lower level was not seen.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about this Home Invasion is asked to contact the Racine Police Department at 635-7700.

Anyone with information can contact CRIME STOPPERS anonymously by: calling 1-888-636-9330, email: http://racine.crimestoppersweb.com, or text message: RACS to 274637(crimes). We want your information, not your name. Callers may receive a cash reward up to $1,000 for their information.

CRIME STOPPERS of Racine County Inc., is a non-profit organization supported primarily by private donations. To donate, write to CRIME STOPPERS of Racine County Inc., P.O. Box 081245, Racine, WI, 53408-1245.

July 20, 2010

Celebrating the 'Bounty of Racine County' on Monument Square

Local health food advocates gathered on Monument Square on Tuesday for "Celebrate the Bounty of Racine County," the second annual event aimed at showing people local, organic and nutritionally rich dining options.

At least 200 people packed the Square, including many children, to learn about the benefits of greens, to mix a healthy snack mix, and to visit with local farmers who produce everything from garlic and carrots to brats and goat meat.

Photos from a great event ...

Abby Carr, known to some as the "Leafy Green Queen," shared tasty recipes for cooking different varieties of green. Carr picked up her love for greens living down South, and hopes Racinians will pick up a taste for the nutritional vegetable. "I'm trying to encourage Midwesterners to expand beyond spinach, lettuce and occassionally arugula," she said. "... Greens are all vitamins, and not a single carb."

 This sign in the middle of the event said it all. 

Parents must have been happy to see kids take an interest in carrots, apples and other healthy snacks.

Robert Stardy, of B.S.W. Farm in Union Grove, sold fresh eggs, beef, goat cheese and goat meat. Stardy's animals are cage-free and grass fed, and all eggs are handwashed. He's been farming in Union Grove since 1959. 

Tony Hammer grows a huge garden at his home Caledonia home. He's spent 40 years working on growing the perfect garlic, and thinks he's just about got it.

Scott Warner, of Bernhart Farms in Lake Geneva, sold hormone-free eggs and meats, including brats, steaks, hot dogs and hamburgers. 

Ben Lehner, owner of Circa Celeste in Racine, talks with a young customer at his stand. Lehner uses all natural ingredients in his cafe's baked goods. 

Great displays greeted large crowds.

Katie Lafond performed on the Square.

Kayla McClure, right, and Veronica Gagliano, left, sold produce at the Lemke Family Farm stand. McClure's grandparents own the farm, which sells at the Elmwood Plaza Farmer's Market on Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to noon and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon, and at the West Racine Farmer's Market on Wednesdays from 1-5 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m.-noon.

 Milaeger's had a nice display. 

Monument Square is a great location for this type of event. Organizer Heidi Fannin said she hopes to see a Farmer's Market on the Square some day. Maybe they should think about Tuesday nights.

 Nancy Carlson demonstrates verma-composting, which uses red worms to breakdown food materials. Carlson keeps four bins at home to turn egg shells, cantaloupe and other foods into "black gold" that is ideal for gardens.  

The worms 

Lots of people ... 

This little girl is planting sunflower seeds with her dad. 

The Junior League of Racine was giving out free trail mix. People got to choose a dried fruit, grain, seed and nut for their mix. The booth showed how easy it is to make a healthy snack without heavy amounts of sugar. 

A few snack ingredients 

Great turnout for a great event

Kohl votes to confirm Kagan...while criticizing process

Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl criticized the process of vetting Supreme Court nominees before voting today to approve Solicitor General Elena Kagan's nomination by President Obama. The vote came in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Kohl is second in seniority among Democrats.

Here are excerpts from Kohl's remarks,  delivered prior to the committee vote:
 "I am pleased to support General Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court.  Her confirmation will be a milestone that we can all be proud of -- for the first time in history three women will be serving on the Supreme Court at one time.

"General Kagan ... impressed us with her sharp mind, keen intellect, and comprehensive knowledge of the Constitution and the law...

"...At times ... Solicitor General Kagan seemed to be somewhat more candid than previous nominees... But like so many nominees before her, General Kagan often retreated to the generalities and platitudes that she once criticized.   I am pleased that she rejected the analogy that Supreme Court Justices are like umpires, simply calling balls and strikes.  Instead, she did acknowledge that each Justice’s legal judgment determines the outcome of close cases.  Yet her opaque and limited answers to questions about who she is and her views on important issues left us with little insight into what informs her unique legal judgment and how it will impact those close cases.

"I think it was proper for her to decline to comment on potential cases and hypothetical facts.  But General Kagan’s refusal to “grade cases” extended far beyond her obligation to avoid prejudging matters that might come before her.  Too often we heard detailed explanations about the state of the law, but learned little more about what weight she would give to relevant precedent.  The substance of her answers was so general at times, that it would be difficult to distinguish her answers from those of any other nominee.

 "I say this not to chastise Solicitor General Kagan, whom I greatly respect.  The problem I have outlined is inherent in our hearing process, not in General Kagan.  All nominees in the last few decades have answered questions with eloquent words and collegial conversations, but when it comes to their substantive views they say the bare minimum necessary to get confirmed.

"...The confirmation process demands more than that.  This is the public’s only opportunity to hear from General Kagan more than a recitation of her resume and her knowledge of the law. In my opinion she made small in-roads, but we still have a long way to go in meeting the high standard to which we should hold Supreme Court nominees.

"Nonetheless, I am voting for General Kagan because she is unquestionably qualified, has a record of being a principled, consensus-building lawyer, and because I believe her judicial philosophy is within the mainstream of our country’s legal thought..."

Second Ryan opponent faces nomination challenge

John Heckenlively isn't the only one of Paul Ryan's opponents to face a challenge of his nominating papers.

William Tucker of New Berlin, who is attempting to run as an Independent against our six-term congressman, has also been challenged. Democrat Heckenlively  faces a hearing Wednesday; Tucker's hearing is also Wednesday.

Like the challenge to Heckenlively, the one against Tucker was filed by Andrew Davis and the Republican Party of Wisconsin. In all, Davis' name is on five of the eleven complaints filed, the only complainant with multiple challenges.

The gist of much of Davis' complaint against Tucker is that some of the 1,042 nominating signatures he filed in support of his 1st Congressional District race came from electors who reside in the 5th Congressional District, a definite no-no.

As Tucker sees it, "Paul Ryan has challenged my Nomination Papers to keep me off the November ballot, and he might just succeed."

Celebrating 175 years: Boy Scouts celebrating a century of work

By Gerald Karwowski, racinehistory.com

The Boy Scouts of America,  founded in 1910, is celebrating its 100th Anniversary this year.

In the 1910s boy scout groups were springing up all over America and Racine, Wisconsin was no exception.  The  idea of scouting was  stimulated after a English author Lieutenant-General Sir Robert Baden-Powell  wrote a book Scouting for Boys.

Soon Baden-Powell became a  hero  to young men  and they admired his ideals.

At the time the center of youth activities for boys in the  area  was the Racine branch of the Y.M.C.A, which was located in the historic 1886 Y.M.C.A. building at the north east corner of 6th and College Avenue.

Local boys approached Paul M. Stauffer who was the boys work secretary at the time and asked him to help organize a scout group in Racine. He agreed and became the first scoutmaster. Within the next few years several other scout groups were being organized and Tom Rees became the local scout commissioner and also supervised scouting activities in the area. However, it wasn’t until 1918 that the Racine council was formally organized and chartered as a permanent Boy Scout organization.

Some of the early scout groups would use the wooded camping area above Horlick’s Dam. They had a cabin called the “Wigwam." The area was scattered with camps and cottages owned by families and  local club groups.

The first permanent summer campsite was at Norton’s Lake east of Burlington. The Consumers Co. of  Chicago let the Council use the property as a camp site. In 1935 the Racine Council bought its own 50 acre site on Pleasant Lake in Walworth County this in turn  was replaced in 1962 when summer camping was moved to Camp Robert Lyle in Langlade County, 245 miles north of Racine.

 Judge Ellsworth B. Belden was the first council president serving from 1918 to 1931.     

The Holy Name Society Drum Corps in their scout uniforms in 1916.

Racine Boy Scouts Camp, Norton’s Lake, Burlington, Wisconsin. Camp Director Voss instructing the 1st period class. This rare photo was taken by Wilfred G. Marshall in August of 1921. 

Norton’s Lake showing the Diving platform in 1921. Marshall’s caption – “The ol’ swimming hole”  camp site in the distance. These two views were printed from original glass plate negatives. There are over 1,000 views in the Marshall collection.

Racine County Scout leaders of 1932 at the Norton’s Lake camp. It was called “Camp Chickagami” at the time. From left, In the front row, Arthur Gruhl, Scout Executive at the time, Joseph Moriarity, James E. Bunck and Harry J. O’Haire who was Camp Director in 1932. In the back row is Charles Goodsell, Russell Hansen,  Robert Bowman and Edward Westberg.
The Racine County Council Boy Scout Drum and Bugle Corps in front of Memorial Hall in 1937. This was the first time that the Racine Boy Scouts ever appeared at a Wisconsin American Legion Convention.
A  Racine County Boy Scout history wouldn’t be complete if John Batikis (now deceased) wasn’t mentioned. Batikis is credited for his services to all Racine youth, especially the Boy Scouts. He was Scoutmaster of Troop 400 and also served as the VFW Youth Work chairman. In this 1972 photo he is seen holding a Wm. F. Ehrlich Post 1391 Youth Activities album. 

Western Printing & Lithographing Company  encouraged their employees to  be active in the community and made generous contributions to many civic activities. Boy Scouting was high on their list. In 1959 Western Printings Golden Press printed “The Golden Anniversary Book of Scouting." The beautifully illustrated hard cover  book was done by Robert D. Bezucha with assistance from the Staff of the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America honoring the first 50 years of scouting. This was the personal book of one of Racine's best known scout leaders, Arthur Gruhl, who was the Scout Executive for Racine County for many years. A treasured volume among the growing collections at Oak Clearings.

City of Racine 2009 statements of economic interest

Every year the city's elected officials, candidates or elected office and department heads are required to file a Statement of Economic Interest with the city clerk's office. Officials must report anyone who pays them, or their spouses, more than $5,000 per year. They also must report any properties they own, boards they serve on, gifts they receive and all investments. 

Below is an alphabetical list of city officials who filed statements of economic interest for 2009. Each listing includes the officials' name, sources of income, property, boards and gifts they reported. We did not reprint each person's investments, and we did not include candidates who ran for office, but were not elected.  

All city officials filed the reports on time, according to City Clerk Janice Johnson-Martin. 

2009 Statements of Economic Interest 

Sam Aiello, purchasing agent
Income: City of Racine

Paul Ancona, MIS director
Income: City of Racine; Wheaton Franciscan Hospital; DeVry University, Chicago, Ill.

Ray Anderson, city assessor
Income: City of Racine
Property: 4104 Nantucket Place, Racine, home; 3107 Bruce Drive, resident, tenant in common life estate

Ald. Bob Anderson
Income: Gateway Technical College; DOT Endocrine Clinic; Century 21 Savaglio Cape; Racine Appraisals, Racine; Sunrise Change, Racine
Board: President, Neighborhood Services of Southeastern Wisconsin

David Brown, finance director
Income: City of Racine

Jon Christensen, building inspector
Income: Christensen and Associates; Newman Road, farm

Ald. Jeff Coe
Income: City of Racine

Ald. Ray DeHahn
Income: City of Racine;

Mayor John Dickert
Income: City of Racine
Property: 151 Westminster Square, Racine, home

Thomas Eeg, assistant director of public works
Income: City of Racine; American Family Insurance
Property: 805 Cleveland Ave., rental

Kathleen Fischer, assistant finance director
Income: City of Racine; eHealth Global Tech, Rochester, NY

Tom Friedel, city administrator
Income: City of Racine; Twin Disc

Keith Haas, general manager Racine utilities
Income: Educators Credit Union; City ofRacine

Steve Hansen, fire chief
Income: City of Racine

Ald. Ron Hart
Income: Auto Excellence; S&R Consulting Services
Property: 4420 Republic Ave. – Home; 1901 Carter St.  – Rental

Ald. Greg Helding
Income: Wisconsin Internet, Inc.; Q Research

Rick Heller, chief building inspector
Income: City of Racine; In-Sink-Erator

Rick Jones, commissioner of public works
Income: City of Racine
Gift: ICLEA, $750, Washington DC conference
Board: TDA Wisconsin, president

Ald. Jim Kaplan
Income: WFHC-All Saints; City of Racine

Scott Letteney, deputy city attorney
Income: City of Racine; Town of Geneva; Wisconsin Air National Guard; Bigfoot High School

Ald. David Maack
Income: Racine County; Racine Unified
Board: Chair, Leadership Racine; board member, Indian Summer Festival

Jessica MacPhail
Income: City of Racine; St. Luke’s Church; John MacPhail Renovation, Racine

Ald. Eric Marcus
Income: Allied Commercial Holdings, Inc. (Woofdorf-Astoria Dog Hotel and Day Spa); Starbucks
Property: 1520 College Ave., home; 1308 18th St., commercial,
Boards: President, Preservation Racine, Inc.; President, Allied Commercial Holdings Inc.

Ald. Terry McCarthy
Income: Volkswagon of America, Libertyville, Ill.

Ald. Robert Mozol
Income: City of Racine
Sam Aiello, purchasing agent
Income: City of Racine

Brian O’Connell, director of city development
Income: City of Racine
Board Member: St. Joseph Parish – Council Chair

John Rooney, assistant commissioner of public works
Income: City of Racine; Midwest Airlines (received more than $5,000)

Jerry Scott, human resources affirmative action officer
Income: City of Racine; Ottawa University, Cardinal-Stritch University, Eastern Airlines retirement
Board: OIC of Racine County board of directors

Ald. QA Shakoor II
Income: Twin Disc; City of Racine

Ald. Michael Shields
Income: Racine County; City of Racine
Property: Rental property at 1025-1027 Washington Ave., Racine
Board: President, Racine NAACP; Board member, Community Economic Development  Corp.; Board member, Salvation Army; Member, Racine Democratic Party

Donnie Snow, director of parks, recreation and cultural services
Income: City of Racine
Property: Rental properties at 829/831 Valerie Court, 934 Grand Ave.
Board: President, Sickle Cell Foundation of Racine

Ald. Jim Spangenberg
Income: Johnson Furniture; City of Racine
Commercial properties at 3219 Washington Ave. and 2817 Eaton Lane, Racine
Board member, West Racine Business and Professional Association

Rob Weber, city attorney
Income: City of Racine; Racine Unified

Ald. Sandy Weidner
Income: Racine County; City of Racine

Ald. Aron Wisneski
Income: Synteract Inc., Carlsbad, CA, contract research organization; City of Racine; University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Property: 1025 Arthur Ave.

Ald. Dennis Wiser
Income: retired teacher; City of Racine