January 18, 2017
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Kenosha Police Office Kendal West, left, and Kenosha Ald. Kevin Mathewson, right ( )

NAACP backs Kenosha police officer


Local NAACP members voiced support for Kenosha Police officer Kendal West at Kenosha City Council’s meeting Wednesday night.

Earlier this month, West was charged with battery, disorderly conduct and misconduct in public office for a New Year’s Day incident.

West is accused of leaving his assigned patrol area while in uniform and punching a man who was in a romantic relationship with his wife at Kenosha Medical Center.

Kenosha Police Office Kendal West, left, and Kenosha Ald. Kevin Mathewson, right ( )

NAACP backs Kenosha police officer


Local NAACP members voiced support for Kenosha Police officer Kendal West at Kenosha City Council’s meeting Wednesday night.

Earlier this month, West was charged with battery, disorderly conduct and misconduct in public office for a New Year’s Day incident.

West is accused of leaving his assigned patrol area while in uniform and punching a man who was in a romantic relationship with his wife at Kenosha Medical Center.

The ice that covered Pike River is breaking up and moving downstream as temperatures rise. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY KEVIN POIRIER )

Rain, snow melt swell Kenosha County rivers, creeks


Rivers and creeks in Kenosha County are swelling due to recent rains and snow melt brought on by rising temperature.

Kenosha received more than an inch of rain Monday through Tuesday, as temperatures remained steadily above the freezing mark, according to the National Weather Service.

The Pike River level shot up dramatically starting Monday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, rising from less than 2 feet to more than 5 feet at the official gauge near Racine County.

Dave Klimisch and his daughter, Sara, pose before heading out Wednesday to attend Friday's inauguration in Washington, D.C. ( submitted photo )

Pleasant Prairie father-daughter headed to inauguration


A handful of locals are traveling some 800 miles to Washington, D.C., to watch as President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in as the nation’s 45th president.

David Klimisch, of Pleasant Prairie, is heading to the nation’s capital with his 18-year-old daughter, Sara.

“It’s the most fabulous thing,” said Klimisch, a special education teacher at Nash Elementary School, who will be attending his fourth inauguration.

Margaret Brown points out where flooding water come up to nearly the floor level in her home at 1689 Green Bay Road. Brown said the water was 4 inches deep in some parts of the house. ( BRIAN PASSINO )

Water floods Somers home, displacing residents


SOMERS — The walls were gurgling.

And that very sound woke up Margaret Brown at 3 a.m. Tuesday while she and her boyfriend were asleep in a home they rent at 1689 Green Bay Road.

Before long, the floors of at least two rooms became soaked in water.

Somers delays action on cabaret license for Somers House

SOMERS — A local tavern will have to wait a bit longer before it learns the fate of it cabaret license for this year.

At its Tuesday work session, the Somers Village Board said it wants to continue discussions with the owners of Somers House, 1548 Sheridan Road, before issuing the license, which allows the tavern to host live entertainment.

Earlier this month, the board delayed voting on cabaret licenses for Somers House, the Kenosha Country Club, Cortese Supper Club, the Hob Nob and Icky Ricky’s in order to gather input from the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department.

Coffee Pot owners Janis Barnhill, left, and Julie Zorn speak with Tove Bjorgass, a reporter with NRK Norwegian Broadcasting Corp. at the Coffee Pot on Wednesday. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY BRIAN PASSINO )

Norwegian TV crew takes political pulse in Kenosha diner


The Coffee Pot, a Harborside restaurant noted for its hot, tasty breakfasts and lunches, is fast becoming a hot spot for political commentary and television film crews.

Less than week after CBS recorded a segment of “48 Hours” at the diner, NRK, Norway’s public broadcasting company, was there Wednesday, asking diners their views on national politics.

The show is to air in Norway soon after the presidential inauguration. Meanwhile, the “48 Hours” segment is to air at 7 p.m. Friday.

The Rev. Quashana Foster speaks at Wednesday's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Luncheon. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY BRIAN PASSINO )

King luncheon in Kenosha features call for peaceful change


A call to enact peaceful change highlighted a Kindness Week luncheon Wednesday.

the Rev. Quashana Foster, of Racine’s Trinity United Missionary Baptist Church, challenged attendees at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Luncheon to become catalysts to empower themselves to bring about peaceful change in the community.

Under the topic “Be a Catalyst for peace, Empowerment to Build Our Community,” she reminded the audience at the Italian American Club that such empowerment came from realizing the importance of the phrase: “the movement, the tool and the cause.”

Kenosha man gets two years for beating of apartment manager

A Kenosha man will serve two years in prison for a battery that left an apartment complex manager with a broken leg.

Pervis Menton, 48, had pleaded guilty to felony battery and disorderly conduct for the Feb. 17 incident in the lobby of Shirley Apartments, 5922 10th Ave.

According to statements in court, Menton had gone to the apartment building to buy marijuana, and had given money to the dealer, who had asked him to wait in the lobby for him.

News briefs: OSHA probing death of worker at Chrysler site

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating what may have been a fatal workplace injury at the site of the former Chrysler Kenosha Engine Plant.

According to a spokesman for OSHA and the Kenosha Police Department, a 32-year-old man working at the site told his wife he had an accident at work, and said he had shortness of breath.

He was taken to a local hospital at about 6:20 p.m Tuesday, and died Tuesday evening after going into cardiac arrest.

Kenoshan Betsy Ade, center, sings on stage with Well-Known Strangers. ( submitted photo )

The stars align for Well-Known Strangers


While the world’s attention is focused on Donald Trump’s inauguration Friday, the local band Well-Known Strangers will be busy celebrating the release of the group’s first full-length album, “Aligned.”

That’s right. A CD release trumps Trump.

“Honestly, we had no idea that date was the inauguration,” said guitarist Joe Adamek when we talked last week. “There’s no Trump connection at all. The Friday date just fits in with the music industry’s calendar.”

Members of the Tremper Travel Club include, from left, Savannah Novak, Ebony Beard, Faith Wrycha and Vincent Watring. They will be traveling to the inauguration Friday in Washington, D.C. ( Brian Passino )

Tremper Travel Club headed to Washington for inauguration


Eighteen Tremper High School students are about to witness history.

When Donald Trump takes the oath of office as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, they will be there on the National Mall along with a crowd estimated at 800,000 to 900,000.

The students, members of the Tremper Travel Club, will be taking in the inauguration along with an inaugural ball and sightseeing excursions during a four-day tour of Washington, D.C.

Man charged with substantial battery for attack on uncle

A Kenosha man was charged Tuesday with felony substantial battery after he allegedly dragged and stomped on a relative.

Darrell D. Garrett, 34, is being held on $2,000 cash bond.

According to the criminal complaint, Garrett was visiting with family at a home in the 4800 block of 16th Avenue around 11:30 p.m. Saturday when he became angry with his 56-year-old uncle.

Joshua Erickson ( )

Trevor man charged in drunken-driving crash that critically injured woman


A Trevor man is facing up to 12 years in prison for a drunken-driving crash that left one of his passengers critically injured.

Joshua D. Erickson, 22, is being held on $15,000 cash bond on a charge of injury by intoxicated use of a vehicle, along with a series of traffic offenses, for the Sunday crash.

According to the criminal complaint, Erickson lost control of a pickup truck he was driving in the 8700 block of Camp Lake Road at 1:45 a.m., crashing into a tree.

Armed robbery sentence comes with possibility of redemption

A 24-year-old Kenosha man received a sentence Tuesday that offers him a shot at redemption, but a risk as well.

Lazeric Maxey appeared in court Tuesday, the last of a group of defendants to be sentenced in a 2014 armed robbery.

Maxey had entered a deal with prosecutors, pleading guilty to a reduced charge of theft of movable property, with a second charge of disorderly conduct-use of dangerous weapon dismissed.

Salem cries foul on Silver Lake appointments ahead of merger

SALEM — Salem officials said Monday it was “bad form” for the Silver Lake Village Board to appoint members to what will be the inaugural village of Salem Lakes Police and Fire Commission.

“It’s way premature,” Salem Chairwoman Diann Tesar said. “Anything like that should be discussed by the new board in April.”

Silver Lake president Bruce Nopenz last week recommended five residents from Salem and Silver Lake for appointment. Nopenz and Tesar will face off in April for the Salem Lakes president post.

Ice at Silver Lake Park beach on Tuesday. The Department of Natural Resources is urging caution by people who are going out on the ice after the recent warm weather and rain. ( Brian Passino )

Thin ice a dangerous situation


Ice conditions on inland lakes are poor in spots and getting worse, according to reports from across Kenosha County.

“It’s terrible,” said Randy Rogness, owner of Paddock Lake Sporting Goods. “All the lakes have certain areas that are open, or where the ice has heaved. You’ve got to be careful when you go out.”

Department of Natural Resources Warden Brandon Smith said two all-terrain vehicles broke through the ice on Camp Lake and another went through on Silver Lake over the weekend.

The people running scams that target the elderly could be subject to greater penalties under legislation proposed by Sen. Bob Wirch, D-Somers. ( SHUTTERSTOCK PHOTO )

Deterring fraud against seniors with new legislation


State Sen. Bob Wirch has re-introduced a bill to combat a growing problem: “heartbreaking” scams targeting the aged and ill.

The legislation, which is being circulated for co-sponsors and has received bipartisan support, creates a civil cause of action for financial exploitation of a vulnerable person, defined as someone who is elderly, incapacitated or living with certain disabilities.

Under the bill, a court must award such a person who can successfully prove that he or she was defrauded up to three times the damages, plus attorney fees and reasonable fees for any necessary services of a conservator or guardian ad litem.

Jill Gillmore, center, a Kenosha County supervisor, has been named Mrs. Wisconsin Royalty International 2017. She is pictured with her husband and their seven children. ( submitted photo )

County supervisor earns a pageant crown


Kenosha County Supervisor Jill Gillmore has been named Mrs. Wisconsin Royalty International 2017, a title she hopes will raise awareness about her work caring for families of premature infants.

“It’s a very prestigious pageant; I’m very new to it,” said Gillmore, a mother of seven. “I’m really excited about it.”

In August, she will compete in a national pageant at The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee.

Nine promoted on Kenosha Police, Fire departments

The Police and Fire Commission promoted five members of the Kenosha Fire Department and four members of the Kenosha Police Department Tuesday morning.

Promotions are effective Feb 1.

— Capt. Christopher Bigley to interim deputy fire chief

Westosha-Central High School students learned about emergency medicine equipment and techniques from members of the Salem Fire and Rescue Department. ( Submitted Photo )

Homeroom: Wilmot Academic Decathlon continues tradition of excellence


For continuing Wilmot High School’s legacy of academic excellence by placing second at the regional Academic Decathlon competition, the Panthers’ Academic Decathlon team earns this week’s School Standout.

The team entered the regional round ranked fourth in the state and was slotted to place third. But Wilmot outscored the team from Sun Prairie to take second. On the bus ride home, team members learned their score was the second highest in the state.

“When we heard that news, the bus erupted with shouts of, ‘We’ve got a shot,’” said coach Don Serkowski.

Heather and Chris Cutts and their three children, foreground, join a swarm of kids and parents making Lego creations Monday at Southwest Library. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY BILL SIEL )

Legos at Kenosha’s Southwest Library popular on a rainy holiday


With no school because of a holiday and lots of rain outdoors, more than 50 kids and their parents unleashed their creativity with Legos Monday at Southwest Library.

“We actually were just coming to the library because it was a rainy day, and we saw all the kids playing with all the Legos and got excited,” said Ashley LaPoint of Kenosha, visiting the library with her son Malakai Wells, 4.

Malakai and his mother started to build a castle when he suddenly decided he wanted to do something else.

News briefs: Man tries to push woman from car

A Kenosha man was arrested after an argument in which he reportedly scratched a woman and attempted to push her out of a moving vehicle as she was driving early Sunday, according to authorities.

The 35-year-old man was arrested for disorderly after the 2:05 a.m. incident, according to a Kenosha Police Department report.

According to the report, the altercation occurred when the woman slowed the car down in the 1100 block of Sheridan Road. The suspect attempted to push her out of the car and also scratched her neck.

Burglar smashes store door with rocks, takes cash register

Kenosha police are seeking a suspect who used rocks to smash the front door of a local convenience store before absconding with the cash register early Sunday.

The incident occurred shortly before 1 a.m. at Ayra’s Liquor and Cigar, 1900 22nd Ave., according to a Kenosha Police Department report. The store owner was alerted to an alarm by his security company. When he arrived at the store, he discovered the door shattered.

According to the report, about $150 was in the register at the time it was taken. The register was valued at about $150, as well. Damage to the door was estimated at $350. Also broken was a $35 bottle of Jagermeister.

Wyndham Garden signs are erected at the former Best Western Harborside hotel in downtown Kenosha on Monday. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY SEAN KRAJACIC )

Owner has big plans to spruce up Kenosha waterfront hotel


Rajiv Singh says he’s committed to repairing the image of Kenosha’s only lakefront hotel — and making it a downtown hotspot.

Singh, president of the company operating the establishment, is busy re-decorating — and renovating — the site of the former Best Western Harborside, 5125 Sixth Ave.

New signs appeared recently bearing the hotel's new affiliation with the Wyndham Hotel Group. It now carries the Wyndham Garden banner, a brand familiar to business travelers and corporate travel account managers.

Sol R. Crown Boy Scout Camp ( )

Plans for climbing tower, zip line at Salem Boy Scout camp move forward


SALEM — Plans for a climbing tower with a zip line and two new cabins at Boy Scout Camp Sol R. Crown will advance to Kenosha County with a favorable recommendation from Salem officials.

The Town Board voted Monday to recommend approval of the required conditional use permit for the proposed amenities at the 146-acre campground, 11651 304th Ave., owned by the Boy Scouts of America Northeast Illinois Council.

The board had tabled the action last week after neighbors voiced concerns about the proposed location of the cabins and the tower, and about road improvements.

Kenosha city employees’ credit union merges with Janesville group

Blackhawk Community Credit Union and Kenosha City Employees Credit Union will merge.

The membership of the Kenosha credit union voted unanimously at a special meeting on Wednesday to merge with Blackhawk, based in Janesville. Both unions are nonprofits.

“Our objective in finding a merger partner is to create long-term benefits to our members,” said Kimberly Granger, president of Kenosha City Employees in a statement. “Blackhawk puts our members first and has respect for the history of our organization.”

Michael Cina ( Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office )

UPDATED: Suspect arrested in Reavers homicide


This article has been revised since its original posting.

A West Allis man is facing charges for the August murder of Kenosha resident Bernard Reavers.

Michael W. Cina, 38, was charged Monday with first-degree intentional homicide, burglary while armed with a dangerous weapon, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

County gets $1.3 million in back Medicaid reimbursements

The Kenosha County Human Services Department will return a surplus of $1.3 million to the general fund, mostly the result of the department capturing retroactive Medicaid reimbursement funds dating back to 2014.

Laurie Staves, chief financial officer for the department, said $1 million of the surplus is from Medicaid reimbursement for case management, crisis help and mental health support services the department provides.

A significant portion of that is reimbursement due to the Human Services Department from the state for services provided in 2014 and 2015, Staves said.

Ivan Rodriguez Gonzalez, Student Star Ambassador at Gateway Technical College tells his story during the 23rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at the college on Monday, Jan. 16, 2017. ( SEAN KRAJACIC )

Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy honored at Gateway event


Every year the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration at Gateway Technical College draws a big crowd, the event featuring speakers honoring King’s legacy and humanitarian awards for people working to better their communities.

This year’s event was packed as usual, but also a bit more poignant.

The celebration of King’s birthday came as President-elect Donald Trump was getting headlines for a high-profile verbal attack on civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, and as many people concerned with civil rights issues worry about the impact of Trump’s election.

InSinkErator will expand in Racine County. ( )

InSinkErator plans new headquarters in Mount Pleasant


InSinkErator has submitted plans to build a new headquarters and lab facility in Mount Pleasant.

InSinkErator, a business of Emerson, has a headquarters and manufacturing facility in Racine, as well as a facility in the Business Park of Kenosha.

The new 85,000-square-foot facility in Mount Pleasant will cost $24 million.

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