October 24, 2016
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Capt. Jason Church skydives with his instructor, Joe Johnson, above Skydive Midwest in Sturtevant on Sunday. Church lost both his legs below the knees to a roadside bomb four years ago while serving in Afghanistan ( PHOTO BY Neil Kuhlman )

A return to the skies


STURTEVANT — Skydivers Jason Church and his girlfriend Nickie Sather found themselves blown a bit of off course on a bright, but windy Sunday afternoon.

Both landed safely. Church ended up in centerfield of a unoccupied baseball field at Home Run Heaven, 3400 S. Sylvania Ave., while Sather landed at the edge of a nearby cornfield, a mile south of the grass target at SkyDive Midwest, 13851 56th Road, at the Sylvania Airport.

But Church, 27, of Menomonie, who was “medically retired” as an Army captain, said he had the time of his life.

Firefighters from the Kenosha Fire Department work to vent fire from a two-level residence at 2106 61st St. Sunday night. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY TERRY FLORES )

Families displaced by Uptown fire


Fire broke out in an upper unit of a two-level residence in the Uptown area of the city late Sunday.

Firefighters were called to the scene at 9:45 p.m. for the fire at 2106 61st St., where smoke and flames could be seen emanating from the top of the building.

Residents looked on as firefighters took an ax to the roof, which was still smoking half an hour later, to vent the smoke and flames.

News briefs: Police arrest man for throwing woman to ground

A Kenosha man was arrested after he allegedly threw a woman to the ground at the intersection of 64th Street and 10th Avenue Saturday night.

Dustin L. Madsen, 27, was taken into custody in the 10:24 p.m. incident, according to a Kenosha Police Department report. Police are recommending charges of disorderly conduct involving domestic violence and a probation hold.

According to the report, Madsen had yelled at the woman before lifting her up and throwing her down violently onto the grass, police said.

Capt. Jason Church skydives with his instructor, Joe Johnson, above Skydive Midwest in Sturtevant on Sunday. Church lost both his legs below the knees to a roadside bomb four years ago while serving in Afghanistan ( PHOTO BY Neil Kuhlman )

A return to the skies


STURTEVANT — Skydivers Jason Church and his girlfriend Nickie Sather found themselves blown a bit of off course on a bright, but windy Sunday afternoon.

Both landed safely. Church ended up in centerfield of a unoccupied baseball field at Home Run Heaven, 3400 S. Sylvania Ave., while Sather landed at the edge of a nearby cornfield, a mile south of the grass target at SkyDive Midwest, 13851 56th Road, at the Sylvania Airport.

But Church, 27, of Menomonie, who was “medically retired” as an Army captain, said he had the time of his life.


Police probe early morning shooting


One person was shot outside a home in the 1500 block of 61st Street early Sunday.

Officers responded to the shooting around 3 a.m. but no information was being released on the victim nor suspects, according to Sgt. Joe Nosalik of the Kenosha Police Department.

The victim, who had non-life-threatening injuries, was treated at Kenosha Medical Center and later released.

Longtime traveling salesman Count Copy-Fuller, left, sells a Fuller brush to Johannna Burmeister at Hot Headz Hair Design. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY SEAN KRAJACIC )

Snapshot: Don’t ‘Count’ out this salesman


Count Copy-Fuller, formerly known as Jeff Pergoli, 64, has worked as a door-to-door salesman for more than 44 years.

His reach extends from the suburbs of Milwaukee to the suburbs of Chicago. He’s known for the outlandish costumes he wears while selling his goods along with a court case he won that challenged his name change.

Q. How did you get involved with door-to-door sales?

Marelene Burnett, left, and Helen Oechler enjoy the company of fellow First National Bank retirees during a weekly breakfast gathering at Home Run Restaurant. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY BILL SIEL )

Lifetimes of compound interest


In 1949 when Helen Oechler began working for Kenosha’s First National Bank, all the bank’s tellers were men. She became the bank’s first female teller in 1965.

During her 30 years with the former bank, located at 5522 Sixth Ave., she also had the dubious distinction of being kidnapped at gunpoint while on the job.

“I was standing by the vault when a woman pointed a big brown gun at me and put me in her car,” Oechler, 88, said.

Jim Tatge was a fisherman, businessman and lifelong booster of the Powers Lake area. ( submitted photo )

A Life Remembered: Owner of resort was believer in Powers Lake


Each Monday, the Kenosha News takes a look at the life of a Kenosha County resident who recently died. We share with you, through the memories of family and friends, a life remembered.

Jim Tatge was a believer.

He believed in hospitality, never giving up and “the spirit of Santa Claus.”

Event briefs: Mind celebration set at Carthage

KENOSHA — The second annual Martin Gardner Celebration of the Mind begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Natural and Social Sciences at Carthage College, 2001 Alford Park Drive.

The event, free and open to the public, will use magic, puzzles and games to instruct and bring people together in honor of magician and mathematician Martin Gardner.

This year's speakers include professor Anthony Barnhart, psychological science; professor Erlan Wheeler, mathematics and computer science; and a digital visit by James "The Amazing" Randi.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson visits the Kenosha County GOP Victory Center, 5901 75th St., Saturday afternoon, for a private meet-and-greet with supporters. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY BILL SIEL )

Four questions for Ron Johnson


Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, who is seeking re-election to the U.S. Senate, stopped in Kenosha Saturday for a meet-and-greet with supporters at local Republican Party headquarters, 5901 70th St.

While aides barred news media from covering the event, Johnson met with the Kenosha News briefly before the event.

Q. The race between you and former Sen. Russ Feingold is tight. What do you need to do, or think you need to do, to widen the gap in your favor?

During a ceremony Sept. 3 at Lord of Life Lutheran Church, pastor Stacy Seger blesses 1-week-old Ellie, who is being adopted by Daniel and Emilie Gaschke, left, from Brianna Daugherty, right. With Brianna is her mother Chris. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY KEVIN POIRIER )

Open adoption a blessing for all


A Kenosha couple expanded their family this fall in an open, local adoption, bringing home their daughter, Ellie.

Daniel and Emilie Gaschke adopted the infant from Brianna Daugherty in September, in a way that kept Brianna and the community of people that know her connected with the new family.

Before the adoption was finalized, Stacy Seger, pastor of Lord of Life Lutheran Church, facilitated an “adoption blessing.”

News briefs: Man arrested after high-speed chase

A Kenosha man was arrested after a short high-speed chase in the city around 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Kenosha Police said Sirajul Jackson Jr., 21, was apprehended after the chase, which began in the 5600 block of 19th Avenue, ended when the car Jackson was driving crashed into another car in the 6100 block of 56th Street.

Police said the car was reported stolen.

Kenosha Water Utility General Manager Ed St. Peter says it would cost $50 million to replace all the lead water pipes in the city. ( KENOSHA NEWS FILE PHOTO BY KEVIN POIRIER )

City wants to get the lead out


It will cost the city of Kenosha tens of millions of dollars to remove all of its lead water service pipes.

Roughly 9,000 homes still have lead services, said Ed St. Peter, general manager of the Kenosha Water Utility.

Although lead levels are well below the threshold for immediate action, it would still be best to remove them all as soon as possible, St. Peter said. Lead services carry water from the city’s cast iron or plastic mains into individual homes for drinking, bathing and cleaning.

Amtrak to up Hiawatha service

A public hearing will take place this week to discuss an increase in the frequency of round-trip travel for Amtrak’s Hiawatha Service line, which operates between Milwaukee and Chicago.

The hearing will be 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Washington Park Senior Center, 4420 W. Vliet St., in Milwaukee.

Input on service improvement proposals is encouraged, according to Arun Rao, passenger rail manager for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Mason Lichter, 7, of Union Grove pulls rabbits out of his hat during his magic act in the "Salem's Got Talent" show Saturday, part of Salem's PumpkinDaze festival. ( PHOTO BY CHRISTINE VERSTRAETE )

Plenty of fun at PumpkinDaze


TREVOR — It’s not every day you get to see a pumpkin blown to smithereens.

But the annual display put on by the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department and the Salem Fire Department made quite the impression at the fifth annual PumpkinDaze event Saturday.

“It’s pretty cool,” said 12-year-old James Talbert of Bristol of watching the explosion outside the Salem Public Safety/Fire building on Highway C in Trevor.

A We Energies work crew installs an osprey stand in marshland west of the Fox River in the New Munster Wildlife Area earlier this month. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY BILL SIEL )

A home for ospreys


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources hopes putting up some hospitable homes will help draw ospreys to Kenosha County.

Working in partnership with We Energies, the DNR recently installed an osprey platform in the New Munster Wildlife Area off Highway 50 near the Fox River.

Ospreys are big, fish-eating birds of prey that hunt on rivers and lakes. Sometimes called fish eagles, they have a wingspan of up to 6 feet.

Carthage College policital science professor Jeffery Roberg speaks about the 2016 presidential campaign at the school on Saturday morning. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY DIANE GILES )

Historic or business as usual?


Is this year’s presidential campaign business as usual, or is it unprecedented?

Two Carthage College professors — who team-teach a course on campaigns and elections during presidential election years — disagree, and they discussed their viewpoints during a public program Saturday at the college titled “Presidential Hunger Games.”

Political science professor Jeffery Roberg maintains that the muck-raking and personal attacks are par for the course for political campaigns.

Winter Wraps distribution begins Monday

The annual Holiday House Winter Wraps event begins Monday.

The children’s coat distribution, coordinated by Women and Children’s Horizons, is noon to 7 p.m. Monday, noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Kenosha County Job Center, 8600 Sheridan Road.

Winter Wraps distributes coats, hats, mittens/gloves and scarves to families in Kenosha. The program guarantees a coat to all registered children age 15 and younger. Sometimes coats are available to older teens and adults as well.

Event briefs: Brain scientist to give lecture

KENOSHA — A researcher in brain science will discuss her work during a free public lecture at Carthage College.

Celia Sladek will speak at 4 p.m. Monday in Room 163 of the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Natural and Social Sciences on the campus, 2001 Alford Park Drive.

The seminar will focus on Sladek's extensive research about a specific part of the brain that integrates autonomic responses, behavior and emotions in order to regulate bodily functions.

Kenosha Police probe attempted abduction

Kenosha Police are investigating a report of an attempted abduction that reportedly took place near the intersection of 45th Street and Sheridan Road Friday evening.

The call to police came in shortly after 7 p.m.

Officials were not able to provide a description or age of the victim.

Today’s News Briefs: Van careens into house, backyard, car

A Kenosha woman was taking her dog out in her front yard at about 2 a.m. Thursday when a van careened across her yard and hit her house.

According to a Kenosha Police report, the woman said a white utility van came westbound from an alley near her house, turned onto the 7500 block of of 31st Avenue, jumped the curb and the went straight into her house. Bushes planted in front of the house slowed the van and prevented it from doing structural damage.

After hitting the house, the man driving the van proceeded into her back yard “like he thought it was a street.” The van driver then attempted to back up. The woman told police she banged on the van’s driver’s side window, but the driver did not look at her or acknowledge her in any way. Instead he drove away southbound on 31st Avenue, hitting a parked car on the way.

Twin Lakes, Silver Lake ink new refuse collection, recycling contracts

Two western Kenosha County communities changed their refuse collection service providers this week.

The new service will start for Silver Lake residents on Nov. 7, while Twin Lakes will transition to the new provider beginning Jan. 1.

The Twin Lakes contract with Groot Industries out of Illinois comes with an increase of $4.84 per residence for the first year of the contract, administrator Jennifer Frederick, said.

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Illinois woman caught attempting huge shoplifting cache


A McHenry, Ill., woman has been caught shoplifting at Wal-Mart stores so many times the corporation has apparently barred her from entering any of their stores in the United States.

But according to a Kenosha Sheriff’s Department report, she drove from Illinois with her two children Wednesday to the Somers Wal-Mart on Green Bay Road. Security staff called deputies after watching the woman spend two hours in the store using a razor to strip jewelry from packages, stuffing the trinkets into purses and bags.

According to the deputy’s report, Tiffany Judt’s bags, when searched, contained 231 stolen items valued at $1,625. A store security officer told the deputy it was the largest number of items they had seen stolen at the store in one go.

Zion man held for false imprisonment, intimidating a victim

A Zion, Ill., man allegedly held his former girlfriend against her will and threatened her with what she thought was a handgun.

Aaron Bailey, 28, was charged Friday with three felonies for allegedly sneaking into his former girlfriend’s Kenosha home, threatening her with a BB-gun that appeared to be a real handgun, and forcing her to contact the man she is now dating — getting him to come to her home.

Bailey was charged Friday with false imprisonment, intimidating a victim, threats to injure, criminal trespass, battery, criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct.

Lights flash at a police stop. ( kenosha news file photo )

Racine 17-year-old charged with firing gun at teens at Kenosha home


A 17-year-old Racine boy is being held on $20,000 bond on charges he fired a gun at a group of teens on a Kenosha porch.

Auston C. Harris was charged Friday with first degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon, and possession of a firearm by an adjudicated delinquent.

According to the criminal complaint, a 17-year-old girl told police she was sitting on the front porch of a home in the 3600 block of 48th Street at about 4 p.m. on Oct. 10 when a white car pulled up in front of the house. The driver of the car told the people on the porch that he was a member of the Latin Kings, then the passenger of the car got out and pulled out a gun, pointing it at the people on the porch.

Arielle Kelly ( Image courtesy of the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department )

Woman charged with keeping place of prostitution


A 22-year-old year old woman being treated at a local hospital this week told staff she was being forced into prostitution, leading to the arrest of the person she said was acting as her pimp.

According to a criminal complaint filed Friday, police were called to the hospital to speak to the woman. She told officers that last summer Arielle Kelly, 27, told her she could live with her and that she would take care of her if she would have sex with men for money. The woman said she had nowhere else to go so she agreed.

The woman told police that Kelly placed advertisements for prostitution on websites, and that men would come to their home on the 1700 block of 71st Street to have sex in exchange for money.

Window art adds a splash of color to a Sept. 24 party for Kenosha Creative Space in the alley between Sixth and Seventh avenues in downtown Kenosha. A yearlong process has begun to develop a strategic plan for the growth of Kenosha's creative economy. ( KENOSHA NEWS FILE PHOTO BY BILL SIEL )

Amy Greil: Growing Kenosha’s creative economy for the future


I was in Eau Claire for an economic development conference a few weeks back and heard from several state and national leaders speaking on urban redevelopment through strategic investments in arts, culture and creative ventures.

Eau Claire, in case you haven’t heard, is experiencing a bit of a creative renaissance — specifically in music — and just broke ground for a massive downtown public-private performing arts center called the Confluence Project.

Both the Eau Claire and Kenosha areas are just one hour’s drive from a major international hub, both have a major higher education institutions in their communities, both have cultural hearts or downtowns and traditional neighborhoods transitioning from disinvestment to re-investment.

Stacks of ash trees removed from Petrifying Springs Park. The emerald ash borer has devastated the ash tree population in Kenosha County. ( KENOSHA NEWS FILE PHOTO BY KEVIN POIRIER )

Curious Kenosha: What’s the plan for dead ash trees?


Leaves aren’t the only things falling from trees these days.

City workers removed about 500 ash trees this year, with more than 3,000 others scheduled to be taken down in the future among concerns over falling branches, limbs and other debris, according to city forester Dirk Nelson. The emerald ash borer is to blame for this mess and the extensive cleanup project needed to remove the area’s entire ash population.

The Kenosha News looked into this issue after a question about ash trees received the most votes in a Curious Kenosha voting round. The question, asked by an anonymous user, was:

GO Events: PumpkinDaze Saturday in Salem

SALEM — The fifth annual PumpkinDaze festival will be Saturday at the Salem Highway/Fire Building, 11252 245th Court, Trevor.

The event includes a vendor fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., children’s activities from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., a talent contest at 1 p.m. and a costume contest at 3 p.m.

Starting at 5 p.m., each entry will cost $5, with the bands 4 Grand playing 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Bella Cain performing from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Alexander Garcia makes an emotional appeal before sentencing in Judge Bruce Schroeder's courtroom Friday. Garcia beat his girlfriend's father with a baseball bat on Christmas 2015. ( BILL SIEL )

Jail, probation in Christmas Day beating


A man originally facing up to 20 years in prison for beating his girlfriend’s father with a baseball bat was sentenced to three years probation Friday.

Alexander Garcia, 25, was initially charged with aggravated battery with a dangerous weapon for the Christmas Day beating of his then-girlfriend’s father. Garcia allegedly beat 58-year-old Thomas Eppers of Twin Lakes with a metal baseball bat, leaving him unconscious with serious head injuries.

Garcia pleaded guilty last month to aggravated battery-intended bodily harm.

Jack Thomsen, owner of Transcendental Golf, is trying to prevent his large mastiff Bookie from having to be euthanized by the village of Pleasant Prairie after allegedly biting people, including himself, which he denies. He has moved the dog to a kennel in Bristol to avoid having the dog euthanized. ( KENOSHA NEWS FILE PHOTO BY KEVIN POIRIER )

‘Vicious’ dog spared with move to kennel


PLEASANT PRAIRIE – A dog deemed dangerous by village officials is now staying at kennel in Bristol, according to its owner.

Jack Thomsen, owner of Bookie, a 6 1/2 year old mastiff, had until Wednesday to either remove the dog or have the canine euthanized.

At A 2-hour hearing held Sept. 19, the Village Board unanimously found the dog dangerous to the community after it bit two teenage boys and also injured Thomsen during the course of a year, according to testimony. Thomsen, a diabetic, denied that the dog injured him but rather clawed at him during a diabetic episode causing him to bleed. He believes the dog can sense when his blood sugar is low.

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