April 30, 2017
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Nearly 340 used tires were Illegally dumped on behind the HobNob restaurant, 277 Sheridan Road, last year. While the perpetrators were never caught, volunteers helped clean up the mess. ( KENOSHA NEWS FILE PHOTO BY BRIAN PASSINO )

Curious Kenosha: Tire dumpers never caught, but volunteers saved the day

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Nearly a year ago, the Kenosha News reported the illegal dumping of tires behind the HobNob restaurant in Somers.

More recently, a Curious Kenosha reader contacted the paper asking, “Did they ever catch the people who dumped the load of used tires over the cliff, into Lake Michigan at The Hobnob last year?”

The sad answer: No.

Sgt. Eric Klinkhammer places journalist Jeff Zampanti into his squad car. Zampanti got a personal walk-through of the arrest process as an investigation into a Curious Kenosha question. ( SEAN KRAJACIC )

Curious Kenosha: What is it like when someone gets arrested?

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Slowly place your hands behind your back.

These words, if coming from local law enforcement, typically follow a one-way trip to the Kenosha County Jail. Whether it’s your first time or 100th time being arrested, wearing handcuffs in the back of a squad car can be frightening and horribly uncomfortable.

An anonymous Curious Kenosha visitor asks “With so many crime shows on TV, what is it actually like when someone gets arrested? What is jail like in K-town? How many arrested daily?”

Kristen Kornkven, center, talks about the history of Simmons Library. ( SEAN KRAJACIC )

We love our libraries: Curious reader uncovers history, eyes innovations

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From a small, leather-bound book on genealogy published in 1851 to a very large electronic sensor-driven book return system, Kenosha’s public library system has it all.

Cataloging the highlights and tracing the history of the Kenosha Public Library is our starting point as we delve into the reader-inspired Curious Kenosha questions: “What is the history of our library system?” and “How long have we had four locations?”

A lifelong Kenosha resident and self-acclaimed “book junkie,” Jennifer Burns, 51, was curious not only about how Kenosha’s libraries came to be, but how they have continued to grow and thrive.

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Curious Kenosha: What happened with Silver Lake finances?

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An anonymous Curious Kenosha visitor asks: “How did the village of Silver Lake find, have, misplace or hide almost $2.8 million found in eight accounts recently?”

Municipal accounting varies by municipality, and is inspected by independent audit firms on a regular basis. The roughly $2.8 million referenced in the question did not cause any red flags during the most recent village audit and was not misdirected or overlooked, said Village Clerk Vicki Galich.

It is the amount of general fund money divided between eight different bank accounts established prior to Galich being appointed clerk.

A Bradford logo adorns the turf inside the new stadium at Bradford High School. The new stadium was built with funds approved in a referendum. ( KENOSHA NEWS FILE PHOTO BY BILL SIEL )

Curious Kenosha: Why did we need a referendum for athletic facilities?

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An anonymous Curious Kenosha visitor asks: “If there was $4.3 million surplus in the school budget, why did us taxpayers have to vote and fund the new Bradford Stadium and Tremper (athletic facilities improvements)?”

While non-aficionados of fast-food chicken nuggets might be inclined to say, “Nuggets is nuggets,” the dollars that go into funding the Kenosha Unified School District budget — or really any other properly planned budget for that matter — can’t be thought of the same way.

That is, funding approved for one expenditure can’t typically be used to pay for a different expense altogether, particularly not without likely creating a chain reaction of financial complications that could lead to serious negative consequences for schools, students and, yes, us taxpayers.

Boyles Ice House, which was on the main rail line through Salem and Silver Lake. The rail stoppedr unning in May 1939. ( Image courtesy of Valentine digital collection )

Is there a train at the bottom of Silver Lake?

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An anonymous Curious Kenosha visitor asked us this question: “I’ve heard there was a train that you use to go across Silver Lake during the winter, and that there is a train car sunken. Is this true?”

We looked into it, and have a definitive answer:

The rumor that a train car is sunken in Silver Lake is false.

Buildings such as the former Elks Club/Hertitage House may have been considered abandoned at some point, but the city is working with developers in an attempt to save the structure. ( BRIAN PASSINO )

Curious Kenosha: Why do buildings stay empty so long?

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As development and redevelopment proceed at a steady pace, questions often arise about how existing buildings in Kenosha can remain vacant or abandoned for long periods of time.

Kenosha News reader Lorrie Marzini asked: “Why do we allow so many empty store fronts and buildings to sit for such long periods of time? Can’t restrictions be put in place to stop this?”

An answer to the first part of that question can be difficult to nail down. There are differences between something that is vacant and something that’s abandoned.

A sign welcomes passer-bys to Kenosha on Washington Rd. ( KEVIN POIRIER )

Curious Kenosha: The community melting pot

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Often a maturing community is faced with an influx of new faces. With them come new thoughts, ideas, cultures and ways of doing things.

That can sometimes cause a rub for newcomers and established residents.

Kenosha is no different.

The Bowfin Ruin is located at Southport Marina, across from HarborPark. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY BILL SIEL )

Curious Kenosha: Bowfin Ruin history remains a mystery

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Reader Guida Brown tossed us this Curious Kenosha inquiry: “What is the Bowfin Ruin? Is it art? A smokestack from a historic building? Why is it called Bowfin Ruin”?

Bowfin Ruin is a sculpture created in 1991 by Wisconsin artist Terese Agnew and installed when the graders were still leveling the former Chrysler plant grounds in the HarborPark area.

As the Southport Marina was being improved with a restroom-shower building and parking lot, the Tot Park was built nearby with a $100,000 donation from the Kenosha Rotary Club.

Rob Greskoviak and his son Jacob in the kitchen at Villa d Carlo. ( BILL SIEL )

Curious Kenosha: What’s the longest-run pizza place in Kenosha?

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Pizza. Kenosha. If they make it, we will eat it.

Whether it is because Italian families historically accounted for a strong segment of Kenosha’s early population, or because we just find the combined textures and flavors of melted cheese, savory sauce and oven-crisp crust irresistible, pizza has long played a dominant role in Kenosha’s culinary scene.

For how long? Well over half a century.

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