Moving to Kenosha

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What makes people want to move to Kenosha?

I can tell you how my family of five ended up here. I had a job offer in Chicago, so we packed up our home in Oakland, Calif., and moved into a hotel in Schaumburg, Ill. We looked all over the north suburbs of Chicago and toured homes along the Chain O’Lakes. Then, based on a former colleague’s recommendation, we drove to Pleasant Prairie. We couldn’t figure out where downtown Pleasant Prairie was, and in hunger and desperation, decided to drive toward the lake and look for a restaurant.

The restaurant we found was The Boathouse. And while we didn’t know anyone there, we could tell that everyone else knew someone. People couldn’t get to their tables without running into friends. We drove through Allendale and gathered Realtor sheets from homes for sale. We were sold — we went back to Schaumburg, packed up that hotel room, and moved to Wisconsin.



‘A small town and a big city wrapped up in one’

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Daniel Gaschke, 33, and Emilie Gaschke, 32

‘People are so nice. Everything is easy to get to’

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Alize Tran, 30

‘Now we have all this accessibility to Milwaukee and Chicago’

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Molly Polk, 32, and Ryan Polk, 32

‘There is a real sense of community and tradition’

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Jim, 34, Lesa, 33, Carolena, 6, and Eva, 3, Roemke

‘We want to create an extended family here’

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Brit Windel, 29, and Stacie Windel, 31.

Kenosha’s cold-case files

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Unsolved but not forgotten.

That’s the message local law enforcement is delivering in its ongoing investigation of every unsolved homicide, missing-person case or crime committed within its statute of limitations.

Kenosha’s Cold Case files

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Unsolved but not forgotten.

That’s the message local law enforcement is delivering in its ongoing investigation of every unsolved homicide, missing-person case or crime committed within its statute of limitations.

Cold cases

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Julian Louis, homicide

Case: 00-136425

Other Kenosha County cold cases include:

Edwin Hart, homicide

Case: 74-BB4773

Local crafters sell wares near and far through Etsy shops

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Ten years ago, if you wanted to buy something handmade, a craft show was often the best bet.

Sellers brought their work, throwbacks to the days when people made their own things out of necessity, and evidence of people pushing their craft and creativity. Pillowcase dresses, wooden signs, salt dough ornaments, stained glass, doll clothes. Shoppers meandered through aisles of booths, looking for favorites for themselves or as gifts.

Lego table a gold mine for busy woodworker

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Five years ago, Kelly Taylor had a garage, and some tools, and a love for woodworking.

He started making things, “real lightly,” he said. Collector’s cabinets, lamps and other things.

Seamstress develops products to fill a need

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If someone had told a young Jane Gnagey that she would someday sew her own clothes, she wouldn’t have believed it. That she’d have a business based on sewing would have been an even more far-fetched idea.

Growing up in Iowa, she said, she couldn’t understand a pattern.

Cards mailed to customers daily

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Kristin Kerpec made cards for family and friends, giving a handmade touch along with a birthday or holiday greeting.

When she left her job at the community library to stay home to care for her young son, many people told her she should start selling her handiwork. She found Etsy, and started listing fabric postcards, then greeting cards, and now offers sewn bags and other items.

Lip balms get a personal touch

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Stephanie Ammerman and her husband had a deal. She’d work while he went through law school, and once he had a full-time job, she’d get to quit and see what happened next.

She left her job in May 2012, and by the fall had opened an Etsy shop, at first selling the personalized plates, ornaments and throw pillows she made.

Eye for vintage items, design fuels two shops

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Laura Pierce looked to things she loves to do for inspiration to start her two Etsy shops.

It started with Timber & Twine, where she sells vintage items she finds at estate sales and other likely spots. She opened the online storefront in February 2013, while she and her husband, Tristan, were living in Florida, waiting to see where his job would take them.

Is college still worth it?

A four-year-degree pays off — in more ways than one — data from a study released in February by the Pew Research Center shows.

The data indicates that college graduates age 25 to 32 (Millennials) are outperforming not only their less educated peers, but also college graduates from other generations, based on several economic measures.

Parkside students ponder their education

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Kenosha News journalist Jill Tatge-Rozell spent a recent morning conversing with a random sample of University of Wisconsin-Parkside students about what is important to them when it comes to their education. Their responses reflect:

* The value of the overall college experience.

Degree takes Carthage graduate to Silicon Valley

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Isa Peterson, 26, is proof a bachelor’s degree from a small private college in Kenosha can take you places — and can lead to a lucrative career.

The Kenosha native — a graduate of Bradford High School with a bachelor’s degree in physics and astronomy from Carthage College — is now an aerospace engineer in Silicon Valley, California.

Degree can predict income, employment

Any bachelor’s degree is better than no degree at all — but some are a better economic investment, the results of a report recently released by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University show.

“What’s It Worth — The Economic Value of College Majors,” details the earning potential associated with 171 specific undergraduate majors.

Theater, English major sees value in liberal arts education

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Neither of the two majors Mikaley Oasley is working toward at Carthage College — theater nor English — are on a recently released list of undergraduate majors that lead to lucrative careers

“That doesn’t surprise me, Oasley said. “That’s OK, though.”

A long winter’s bite

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According to the calendar and the phases of the moon, the first day of winter was Dec. 21. This year, however, Mother Nature had other ideas. The first snow of the season was Nov. 25 — a full three days before Thanksgiving and six days before the beginning of alternate-side parking season.

Since then, not even the brief thaw in February gave us much of a break — the snow kept coming and record-breaking cold brought things to a grinding halt on more than one occasion.

Social media a valuable asset for law enforcement

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Social media has become a worldwide presence, touching the lives of countless people — and law enforcement agencies are taking advantage of the things they can accomplish with it.

Year after year, social media sites continue to grow exponentially and expand with new users, such as businesses and organizations, which use the networking avenues to connect with others within their community and around the world.

Law enforcement making social media a priority

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The Kenosha Police Department has spent the last two years building up followers, friends and likes on its Facebook page while not only adapting to the modern changes in the job of law enforcement, but also taking advantage of the benefits it has to offer.

Kenosha Police Sgt. Cindy Fredericksen is the primary administrator of the page, while Crime Prevention Unit officers also occasionally contribute to it by posting consumer alerts, product recalls and Neighborhood Watch information, among other things. The department often posts important media releases, surveillance photos of wanted suspects and missing person information and values the benefits received in return.

Sheriff’s Department interacts with residents through Twitter, Facebook

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The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department in recent months has evolved its Facebook page into a daily project to keep it updated, keep it moving and keep its followers’ interest, Kenosha County Sheriff’s Sgt. Bill Beth said.

“It’s a way for us to have a positive relationship with people in a modern way that people understand,” he said.

Clicks come from near and far

The Kenosha Police Department’s Facebook page was graced with a flood of additional likes from all over the country after a Jan. 21 post from another Midwest agency.

Brimfield (Ohio) Police Chief David Oliver recognized the page as the day’s “Internet Sensation Agency of the Day” and sent out a “crazy cousin flash mob,” inviting all of the Brimfield Police Department’s followers to also follow and post on the Kenosha page.

Facebook frenzy: Who is on Facebook

— Approximately 73 percent of adults online use a social media networking site of some kind

— Approximately 42 percent of adults online use multiple social networking sites

Kenosha Day at the Oscars: Mom, daughter seeing stars

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Look out, George Clooney.

Jan Anthonsen is looking for you on the Red Carpet today.

Kenosha native will watch the Oscars from the orchestra pit

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While all eyes will be on Oscar show host Ellen DeGeneres and the A-list celebrities inside the Dolby Theatre today, at least some people will be looking at the orchestra pit.

That’s where you’ll find Kenosha native Dan Fornero.

Your guide to Oscar-related TV viewing

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— Today’s Red Carpet pre-shows:

ABC: “Red Carpet Live,” 6 to 7:30 this evening, hosted by “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts and Lara Spencer, along with Jess Cagle, editorial director of People and Entertainment Weekly, and model Tyson Beckford.

‘Frozen’ is on fire

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Dan Lund, a longtime Disney Studios special effects animator, has been enjoying a huge hit with “Frozen.”

He’s also the creative force behind the new online series “Jeffrey,” for which Kenosha resident Mare Aehlich does the social media work.

Mentors bring support to members of Bridges Community Center

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When Jim Maynard talks to you, his gentle smiling eyes never strays from yours. His calm demeanor is worlds away from his crisis laden life in 2004.

“I lost the last job I could lose. I had nowhere to go. I had a mental illness and it was preventing me from working,” Maynard said. “Bridges was a place for me to go during the day for a couple hours where people could understand me.”

Obstacles range from lack of resources, self-medicating

When talking to those knowledgeable in local mental health services, advocates and officials are well aware of the hurdles, turnstiles and helping hands that exist for those with mental illness in Kenosha County.

One of the biggest problems, they say, is that there aren’t enough psychiatrists and psychiatric care providers in Southeastern Wisconsin.

NAMI courses help families

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In its 31st year in Kenosha, the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness’ mission is to improve the quality of life for the mentally ill through education, advocacy and support.

“That’s the beauty of NAMI. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” said Jack Rose, who has been actively involved with NAMI for Kenosha County since 2002, serving as president since 2006.

Improved mental health treatments result in more success stories

The treatment of mental illness has changed greatly in the last 40 years.

Improvements in medications have opened doors for those with severe mental illness.

Multiple groups team together to help

An array of services through Kenosha County’s Mental Health and Protective Services helps those with mild as well as severe and persistent mental illness.

Funding for mental health and Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse services come from multiple places including private insurance, Medicare/Medicaid, federal/state grants, Kenosha county coffers and donations.

Today’s special: Craving some favorite Kenosha foods

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If you’re not already hungry, you will be by the time you’re finished reading this.

Kenosha is known for many things and its food specialties are at the top of the list. But what makes the area’s culinary offerings so unique?

Dining tips for visitors

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The Kenosha Area Convention and Visitors Bureau often fields questions from travelers who are looking for places to eat that are uniquely Kenosha.

Here is a partial list of other “must tries,” according to Laura Tyunaitis, marketing coordinator for the bureau.

Readers share their favorite Kenosha foods

Kenosha News asked Facebook readers to share their favorite Kenosha food specialties. Here are some of the responses:

TIFs help reshape Kenosha’s landscape

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For more than 100 years, Kenosha’s front yard functioned as industrial space. Smoke stacks at the American Motors Corp. Lakefront Plant rose above the rest of the downtown, the only building in town that scrapped the sky.

The car-manufacturing plant, which began its life in the 1890s as a mattress factory, was somewhat decrepit and outdated when it fell in 1989. When its closure was announced, The New York Times said the plant “looks like something out of a Charles Dickens novel.”

TIFs help reshape Kenosha’s landscape

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For more than 100 years, Kenosha’s front yard functioned as industrial space. Smoke stacks at the American Motors Corp. Lakefront Plant rose above the rest of the downtown, the only building in town that scrapped the sky.

The car-manufacturing plant, which began its life in the 1890s as a mattress factory, was somewhat decrepit and outdated when it fell in 1989. When its closure was announced, The New York Times said the plant “looks like something out of a Charles Dickens novel.”

County, Unified, Gateway also have say in TIFs

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The city’s Plan Commission and the City Council are routinely tasked with reviewing and approving tax incremental financing projects. But a lesser-known entity has final say in TIF creation.

The Joint Review Board exists for the sole purpose of approving TIFs. It is made up of representatives from the area’s four taxing bodies: the city, Kenosha County, the Kenosha Unified School District and Gateway Technical College.

How TIFs work: When done correctly, values in these districts will go grow

City and economic development officials say tax incremental districts are the one major tool Wisconsin cities have to help spur growth.

Tax incremental financing allows municipalities to fund improvements to an area with the end goal of making the area more suitable for development. A tax incremental district is the physical boundaries that define an area where tax incremental financing can occur. A TIF must have a specific district, although those boundaries can be amended by municipalities.

Nearly a decade later, drive for reform continues

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When Michael M. Bell talks about the fatal police shooting of his 21-year-old son, his outward demeanor is calm, still anguished, but calm after nearly 10 years trying to get answers and pushing to reform investigations into police shootings.

The Kenosha resident speaks in the steady, earnest tones of a seasoned jet pilot examining cockpit controls, knowing how they’re designed to function, explaining what should happen when something goes wrong, and the expectation outside investigators will painstakingly piece together what took place when disaster strikes.

Q&A with Michael M. Bell

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Kenosha News: In 2010, you and two family members accepted a $1.75 million out-of-court settlement from the city of Kenosha. That ended a federal lawsuit alleging Kenosha police violated the civil rights of your son (Michael E. Bell, 21, referred to here as “Mike Jr.”). The suit stemmed from him being fatally shot in November 2004 while unarmed and struggling with four officers to resist arrest. Why did you accept?

Michael M. Bell: I accepted it on a number of conditions. Number one, I needed to talk to the chief of police. I needed to sit down and talk with him about changing this process (for investigating police-involved shootings). And I did. I sat in his office for an hour, Chief John Morrissey’s office, and we talked about independent review. (Morrissey, the current Kenosha Police chief, took the reins in 2008, succeeding Dan Wade, who was chief at the time of the incident and is now retired.)

AB 409 aims to ‘strike a balance’

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Top-to-bottom police reform in Wisconsin isn’t the aim of a proposed bill being considered in the state Assembly bill by the Criminal Justice Committee.

But, if AB 409, co-authored by Reps. Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay, and Chris Taylor, D-Madison, becomes law, it could set precedent nationally for outside investigation and independent review of police shootings and in-custody deaths.

Madison woman pushes for change after friend shot by officer

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Amelia Royko Maurer, of Madison, pulled no punches calling for passage of a reform bill to require outside investigation and independent review of all police-involved deaths in Wisconsin.

“Change in the institution of law enforcement is difficult, but I’m willing to bet it isn’t as difficult as losing a child and being barred, ridiculed and threatened for seeking an unbiased investigation and review of the death of that child,” Royko told the Assembly’s Criminal Justice Committee at a public hearing in early December.

Bell gains ground on police review issue

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bguida@kenoshanews.com

Since 2005, Michael M. Bell, of Kenosha, has been campaigning to get an independent, state-level review panel for all police-involved shootings and in-custody deaths in Wisconsin.

Local officials hesitate to support bill

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Shortly after Dan Wade retired as chief of the Kenosha Police Department, John Morrissey, who replaced Wade as top cop in 2008, instated a policy outlining procedures for outside investigations of officer-involved shootings.

In February 2008, Assistant Chief Thomas Genther sent personnel a memo spelling out those procedures, which include potentially calling in the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation.

Common arguments for AB 409

Since 1890 there is no known record of a Wisconsin Police Deptartment or commission finding against one of its officers in a police-involved death.

According to the bill’s authors and supporters, AB 409 is both pro-police and pro-civilian, they say:





    Board balks at gates for parking lot

    The Kenosha County Board voted Tuesday night to send back to its committees a proposal to install gates to secure an employee parking lot used by law enforcement staff.

    Salem to form group to consider incorporation

    SALEM — Electors at the annual town meeting Tuesday night gave overwhelming thumbs up to motion a motion to explore possible incorporation as a village.

    Residents mull fight over proposed Kenosha annexation

    PARIS — Residents concerned about losing land to Kenosha through annexation brought their ideas to the annual town meeting Tuesday night.

    Five new aldermen join Kenosha City Council

    After a day of orientation, five new members of the Kenosha City Council were sworn in Tuesday along with the returning incumbents.

    Kenosha sets snowfall record

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    While Wisconsin has been the epicenter of the polar vortex this winter, it might not surprise residents that Kenosha has set an unofficial record for the most days with snowfall this cold season.

    State offers more money to Amazon

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    Because it has expanded its building plans, Amazon.com has been awarded an additional $3.3 million in state tax credits for its new Kenosha location.

    RecPlex video defendant faces 11 felonies

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    The woman police say placed cameras in Pleasant Prairie RecPlex lockers to videotape female patrons while they changed was charged Tuesday with 11 felonies.

    New law cracks down on deed-processing scheme

    A new state law hoping to curb deed-processing schemes charging people far more for records than what the county would charge has gone into effect.

    Man ordered to pay $250,000 in sexual assault

    The man who sexually assaulted a mentally disabled client of the Kenosha Achievement Center has been ordered to pay his victim $250,000.

    Event briefs: Virtural school hosting information session

    KENOSHA — Wisconsin Connection Academy, a K-12 public virtual school, will have an information session from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at Circa on Seventh, 4902 Seventh Ave.

    News briefs: Conflicting reports given in accident

    Two drivers both claiming to have the right of way collided at the intersection of 22nd Avenue and 35th Street just before 9 a.m. Monday.

    Bristol to buy 28 acres for park expansion

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    BRISTOL — Richard Hansen Memorial Park — the annual home of Bristol Progress Days — will grow by nearly 30 acres through a parkland purchase approved by the Village Board Monday night.

    New volunteer group forms in Silver Lake

    SILVER LAKE — A new volunteer group of residents — Silver Lake Citizens in Action — has formed to bring people together to do positive work in the village.

    1 man dead, 2 in custody after Monday night shooting, crash

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    Kenosha Police said there are two suspects in custody in connection with the homicide of a 20-year-old Kenosha man on Monday night.



    ‘Small Wonder’

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    The Rev. Georgette Wonders danced down the aisle of Bradford Community Church Unitarian Universalist whenever the choir and congregation sang Cris Williamson’s “Song of the Soul.”

    Conservation Congress OKs resolution regarding ice fishing shelters

    BRISTOL — A resolution seeking practical rules about the removal of ice fishing shelters, based on ice conditions rather than an arbitrary date, advanced Monday at the spring hearing of the Conservation Congress.

    County seeks security gates for parking lot

    A parking lot used by the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department and the Kenosha Police Department is about to become more secure under a proposal to install new $60,000 gates and safety system at its entrance.

    Fire station repairs, expansion to proceed

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    The Kenosha Public Safety and Welfare Committee voted Monday to deny an alderman’s request that money earmarked for a fire station’s expansion go toward another station’s repair.

    Paris eyes options in annexation of land by Kenosha

    PARIS — Town chairman Virgil Gentz is hoping the town can work with all parties involved in the potential loss of 348 acres of town land near I-94 to the city of Kenosha through annexation.

    Lockheed thanks Snap-on for contributions to latest jet fighter

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    Snap-on Inc.’s contributions to the military’s latest fighter jet were lauded Monday.

    News briefs: Police probe Monday night shooting

    One person was shot at 58th Street and 11th Avenue late Monday night.

    Event briefs: Railroading group to meet Wednesday

    STURTEVANT — Those with an interest in railroading are invited to the Western Union Junction Railroad Club’s monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Sturtevant Village Hall, 2801 89th St.

    Kenosha teen accused of burglaries

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    A Kenosha teen is accused two counts of burglary and one count of concealing stolen property in incidents that occurred between Jan. 23 and March 21.

    History Mystery: Kenosha’s Statue of Liberty takes up new residence in museum

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    Last week’s question: Whatever happened to the Statue of Liberty statue in Civic Center Park?




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