February 25, 2017
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Salem Consolidated Grade School Math Teacher Amy Baumhardt helps Fourth Grader Lukas Mox with a subtraction exercise during math class. At right is Chris Olson. The school is asking residents to increase the state-imposed revenue limit in a referendum April 4. ( KEVIN POIRIER )

Salem referendum still needed despite budget hike for schools

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SALEM — Governor Scott Walker’s recent 2017-19 state budget proposal, while promising for rural schools, does not eliminate the need for Salem Grade School to ask residents for additional revenue by way of referendum April 4 administrator Dave Milz said.

“The need for a referendum will not be eliminated due to the negative impact of revenue limits over many, many years,” Milz said. “We still need to build back the fund balance.”

The state-imposed Revenue Cap Funding Formula has decreased revenue to Salem School by $580.23 per pupil since the 2011-12 school year, he said. The district, like most in the area, has had to dip into its reserves to meet basic educational needs.


Sheriff's deputy Terry Tifft and his dog, Riggs, are the only K-9 unit in the department at this time. ( SEAN KRAJACIC )

City, council hope to fetch new K-9s

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The K-9 programs for the Kenosha Police Department and Kenosha Sheriff’s Department are getting a boost from local tavern leagues.

Both the police department and the sheriff’s department lost dogs in their K-9 programs in 2016.

In November, K-9 Klaus, who partnered with Deputy John Lanctot, was euthanized after he became ill and veterinarians learned he was suffering from internal bleeding and had masses on his spleen and liver. Klaus was one of two dogs in the sheriff’s department program.

ADAPT members demonstrate in front of the Kenosha office of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY DANIEL GAITAN )

Activists for the disabled descend on Ryan office

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Members of a disability-rights group protested outside U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Kenosha office Friday afternoon.

Roughly two dozen activists with ADAPT — mostly from Milwaukee and Chicago — expressed their concerns regarding repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and changes to Medicare.

“I would go another 1,000 miles for this,” said Scott Nance, of Chicago.

A view of the 458-acre parcel the Village of Pleasant Prairie will purchase from Abbott. ( Village of Pleasant Prairie )

Village eyes $37.5M land deal

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Pleasant Prairie intends to spend $37.5 million to purchase 458 acres of land on the northwest corner of Interstate 94 and Highway 165, across the street from the Uline headquarters.

The land is owned by Abbott, through a subsidiary. The village plans to turn it into a new corporate park, Prairie Highlands, with a focus on manufacturing, office and commercial uses.

Village Administrator Michael Pollocoff said in a prepared statement that the village, along with Kenosha County and the Kenosha Area Business Alliance, have worked to improve quality of life in the region by creating job opportunities.

Patty Brown searches inside a portable toilet during a count of homeless people in Kenosha County in this photo from 2014. A similar count was taken in January and the results were released Thursday. ( KENOSHA NEWS FILE PHOTO BY BILL SIEL )

Counting the county’s homeless

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A recent overnight count of homeless in Kenosha County found 184 people total on the streets, in shelters and transitional housing or rapid re-housing programs.

The count was part of the nationwide Point in Time campaign to count every homeless person and bring them needed resources.

Lisa Haen, with Kenosha Human Development Services Inc, said 17 volunteers canvassed the county from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. one night last month.

Sidney Cooks puts on a McDonald's All American Hometown Heroes jersey and hat during an assembly at St. Joseph Catholic Academy Thursday morning. ( BILL SIEL )

McDonald’s honors Cooks

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Sidney Cooks finally put on the uniform she’s always dreamt of wearing.

The St. Joseph Catholic Academy senior was presented with an honorary McDonald’s All-American jersey by the organization’s Hometown Heroes crew during an early-morning assembly Thursday at the St. Joseph Auditorium, 2401 69th St.

Cooks was one of 24 girls nationwide chosen for the 40th annual McDonald’s All-American Game, which will take place on March 29 at the United Center in Chicago. It will be televised live on ESPN2.

The Gateway Mortgage building at 1202 60th St. in Kenosha would be purchased by the countyas part of its proposed 2016-17 budget. The site would then become an expqanded adult mental health emergency crisis facility. ( Brian Passino )

City commits to mental health center

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The city of Kenosha is partnering with the county to help transform a vacant building near downtown into an upgraded mental health care facility.

The City Council approved $1.5 million for renovations to the Gateway Mortgage building, 1202 60th St., including $1 million for rehabilitation work Wednesday night. The structure — in Tax Incremental Financing District 4, which surrounds the downtown — was purchased last year by the county for $500,000.

The building will replace the current Kenosha Adult Response Emergency Center, 510 60th St., an 11-bed facility that officials said is inadequate to serve the county’s growing needs. The newly renovated facility will have 18 beds when it opens in 2018.

Tabitha M. Ruiz cries during a court appearance Tuesday. She faces charges of child neglect and intentionally abandoning animals. At right is her attorney Toni Young. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY KEVIN POIRIER )

Plea deal likely for mom who kept kids, dogs in house filled with garbage

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A woman is expected to take a plea deal for allegedly keeping her five children living in squalor and then abandoning three dogs inside their uninhabitable house.

Tabitha Ruiz, 34, was charged in December with five counts of child neglect, three counts of intentionally abandoning an animal, and charges of intentionally providing improper animal sanitation and failing to provide food to an animal.

In court Thursday, attorneys indicated that Ruiz planned to enter a guilty plea to the five counts of child neglect, with the state agreeing to drop the other charges. However, the prosecutor asked for the plea hearing to be rescheduled to allow more time for the victims in the case — Ruiz’s children — to reply to victim notification packet sent by the state.

City to refinance debt, fund infrastructure projects

The Kenosha City Council overwhelmingly approved a multi-million dollar resolution to refinance some city debt and fund infrastructure improvements Wednesday night.

The resolution from Mayor John Antaramian refinances some $5.3 million in debt at a lower interest rate. Antaramian said about $100,000 will be saved.

“In this case, the timeframe for refinancing comes up and we get a lower interest rate than what we had before,” Antaramian said. “Every year we review our bonds. We want to reduce our costs.”

Jack Thomsen, owner of Transcendental Golf, is shown with his dog bookie at his buisness in this file photo from October. During a court hearing Wednesday, a judge ordered that the dog be euthanized for its attacks on its owner and two boys. ( KENOSHA NEWS FILE PHOTO BY KEVIN POIRIER )

Kenosha court orders dog to be euthanized

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A Kenosha County Circuit Court judge has ruled that a dog that injured his owner on multiple occasions must be put down.

After a hearing on Wednesday, Judge Chad Kerkman granted the order in favor of a petition filed by the village of Pleasant Prairie that Bookie, a 7-year-old mastiff, be humanely euthanized.

“I feel so bad that I couldn’t have done better,” said Bookie’s owner, Jack Thomsen, after Wednesday’s hearing.

Voters cast their ballots in Salem Lakes Tuesday. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY BILL SIEL )

Didn’t vote Tuesday? You’re not alone

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The extremely low voter turnout for this week’s spring primary did not surprise Kenosha County Clerk Mary Schuch-Krebs.

County electors cast 7,018 votes Tuesday in the three-way, non-partisan primary race and only statewide contest — for state school superintendent, which featured incumbent Tony Evers running against challengers, Lowell Holtz and John Humphries.

That’s just a hair more than 9 percent of the 77,010 Kenosha County votes cast Nov. 8 in the hotly contested presidential election.

Carthage College nursing students, from left, Mary Clare Barto, Emma Dresen, Kendall Santin and Laura Siecinski tend to a robotic infant after a dedication ceremony for the school's nursing program Wednesday afternoon. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY BILL SIEL )

Carthage unveils high-tech learning lab for nursing students

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They talk, have a pulse, can groan from pain and can even present medical symptoms that mimic ailments nursing students would encounter in a real-life clinical environment.

The lifelike mannequin simulators are part of Carthage College’s new $1.4 million learning laboratory for its nursing program, which was unveiled Wednesday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The 3,000-square-foot laboratory was converted from a campus bookstore and was designed to provide students with the simulation of a myriad of ailments and medical conditions to prepare them for real-patient scenarios.

Voters cast their ballots in Salem Lakes Tuesday. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY BILL SIEL )

Former Salem board members lead Salem Lakes primary

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SALEM LAKES — Former Salem Town Board members led the field of candidates in the Salem Lakes Village Board trustee primary Tuesday.

Electors in the newly formed village, the result of the merger of Salem and Silver Lake, narrowed a field of eight candidates to six in its first election.

Former Salem Town board members Dan Campion, Mike Culat, Dennis Faber and Ted Kmiec all made the cut. Also advancing to the general election in April are Pat Dunn and Eric Ericksen, members of the Silver Lake Village Board that became the Salem Lakes Village Board when the governments combined.

A bill being proposed in the state Legislature would eliminate the requirement that minutes from governmental meetings being published in local newspapers. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY KEVIN POIRIER )

Newspapers oppose bill to forgo publishing of meeting minutes

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Wisconsin newspapers are strongly opposed to an effort to eliminate the requirement that meeting minutes of governmental entities be published in local newspapers.

A group of Democratic and Republican lawmakers has drafted a bill to do away with the requirement that summaries of meetings by school districts, municipalities, counties and technical colleges be printed in local newspapers.

Instead, the bill requires meeting minutes — a summary of what occurred at a public meeting — be posted on the government entity’s website and in a “public place” for at least three years.

Trever Hall is collecting donations for the Shalom Center Food Pantry from people who use his recording studio. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY BRIAN PASSINO )

Former Shalom Center client finds way to give back

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When he was 6 years old, Trever Hall received a toy pickup truck for Christmas.

The little red truck became not just a treasured toy, but a treasured memory for a child whose family was homeless at the time.

Hall, his mother and three siblings were living in the the Shalom Center’s Emergency Family Shelter, 1713 62nd St.

( KENOSHA NEWS FILE PHOTO )

Thieves tried hitting Kenosha car dealer

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Car thieves who led Racine County Sheriff’s deputies on a high-speed chase on Interstate 94 may have attempted to hit a Kenosha dealership first.

Thieves broke into a Libertyville, Ill., car dealership on Sunday, taking five vehicles and then sped north on Interstate 94, with lights off and speeds of more than 100 mph.

One of the vehicles crashed around 11:30 p.m. after Racine deputies put spike strips on I-94, but the thieves were able to escape on foot.

Bradford's Trey Glass reaches for a defensive rebound against Badger's Nathan Gibson. Zach Borden is at right. Bradford H.S. basketball vs. Lake Geneva Badger on Monday, February 20. ( BRIAN PASSINO )

Red Devils rout Badgers

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The Bradford boys basketball team will have some confidence heading into the playoffs.

The Red Devils scored 22 of the first 27 points Monday night to cruise to a 73-42 non-conference victory over visiting Lake Geneva Badger to wrap up the regular season with a 9-13 record.

They entered February with a season-high five-game losing streak but have gone 3-2 since — with each loss by just four points.

Colin Jost, left, and Jay Pharoah will be performing at Carthage College. ( )

‘SNL’ stars Jost, Pharoah performing at Carthage

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“Saturday Night Live” cast member Colin Jost and former “SNL” cast member Jay Pharoah will perform March 16 at Carthage College.

The 8 p.m. show will take place in Tarble Arena at the south end of the Carthage campus, 2001 Alford Park Drive.

Tickets are available to the public for $25 each (plus fees) and can only be purchased online.

Kenosha officials seek to borrow $7.6 million

Mayor John Antaramian wants the city to borrow $7.6 million, then levy a tax to pay for it.

His request will come before the Finance Committee and City Council on Wednesday. According to the Finance Department, the $7.6 million will include:

— $5.3 million for a refunding issue for a 2008 note.

Bobbie Castillo walks his children, from left, Dalyla, 5, Nina, 7, and Eszabla, 10, across 63rd Street after Brass Community School dismissal. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY KEVIN POIRIER )

Kenosha police, city officials seek to address safety concerns near Brass School

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Kenosha Police and city officials are taking a closer look at safety concerns near Brass Community School, 6400 15th Ave.

“Kids run across 63rd Street in front of cars, and it’s a problem,” said Brass parent Candice Ohm said.

Fellow parent Bobbie Castillo agreed. He said he has taught his children to look both ways when crossing the road. He has seen several instances of road rage in the area.

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