October 24, 2016
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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.

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?

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.”

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.

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.

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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.

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.

The Kenosha Unified School District ( )

Unified, KEA negotiate small teacher wage hike


Teachers will get a minimal pay increase with the Kenosha Unified School Board’s approval Tuesday.

District and Kenosha Education Association negotiators met earlier this month and tentatively OK’d a collective bargaining agreement that would increase the base wage across the board by 0.12 percent.

As a result of Wisconsin’s controversial Municipal Employment Relations Act, better known as “Act 10,” general municipal employees — a category that includes teachers — can collectively bargain with districts on base wages but not on other subjects such as hours and conditions of employment.

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:

Claire Czerwonka holds an over-sized tennis racquet and a bouquet of flowers during a celebration of her third state tennis championship at St. Joseph Academy and High School Thursday morning. ( BILL SIEL )

St. Joseph honors three-time state champion


St. Joseph High School athletic director Dave Witthun presented Claire Czerwonka with an oversized tennis racket Thursday during a celebration of her third state tennis championship.

On Saturday, Czerwonka captured the singles title at the WIAA Division-2 State Tournament in Madison.

She is only the seventh girl to win at least three consecutive state crowns. She completed an undefeated senior season, going 32-0, and finished her high school tennis career with a 115-8 record.

Local Wisconsin Forward test results outlined

How much or how little 2016 statewide spring test results will help improve learning among Kenosha County students appears to be a matter of some dispute locally.

Kris Keckler, chief information officer for the Kenosha Unified School District and head of its Office of Educational Accountability, and Renee Blise, research coordinator for the office, say the results can be useful in helping individual schools determine where and with whom they need to offer greater support.

At the same time, they say the data can help steer faculty and staff toward replicating strengths and successes.

Jennifer Whittaker intake court appearance Thursday. ( BILL SIEL )

Bond set for mom in prostitution sting


A Kenosha woman accused of operating a place of prostitution using teenaged girls is being held on $7,500 cash bond.

Paula Whittaker, 55, was charged Thursday with keeping a place of prostitution.

Not all may be as the Federal Bureau of Investigation has indicated this week in announcing her arrest.

Local club gets large gift grant

The Boys and Girls Club of Kenosha is one of 12 organizations that will share $2 million in personal contributions made by Rob Katz, CEO of Vail Resorts, Inc, and his wife, Elana Amsterdam, in the communities where the company operates.

Vail Resorts purchased Wilmot Mountain in 2015 and has invested more than $13 million in the property in preparation of its grand reopening this winter. The Kenosha youth organization, which serves more than 12,291 children in kindergarten through 12th grade, was presented $33,500 as part of the giving campaign.

Jake McGhee, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club, said the donation will help meet increased programming demands as a result of increased membership. Grants from Kenosha County and Palmen Motors helped expand free transportation to the facility from schools, which increased attended from 50 kids per day last year to 130 kids per day this year, he said.

Christopher Naumann, executive director of Downtown Kenosha Inc., leads a tour of Wyoming Main Street professionals in this photo from May. The Lakeshore Business Improvement District today approved a tax increase to boost support of DKI. ( KENOSHA NEWS FILE PHOTO BY BILL SIEL )

Lakeshore BID approves tax increase


The Lakeshore Business Improvement District Board has approved a $125,000 budget calling for a property tax increase to commercial property owners within the downtown BID.

The Lakeshore BID board, the funding agency for Downtown Kenosha Inc., Thursday voted 6-3 to adopt a proposal that would have commercial property owners paying $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value, $1 more than the current rate.

The measure now goes to the City Council, which will consider it as part of the general operating budget. If approved there, it would go into effect in January.

Recall election of entire Paris Town Board to be Nov. 22

PARIS — A recall election of the entire Paris Town Board will go forward next month.

The Town Board voted unanimously Wednesday night to certify that petitions filed in August were sufficient in seeking to recall Town Board Chairman Virgil Gentz and supervisors Ronald Kammerzelt and Kenneth Monson.

The recall election, in accordance with statute, will take place Nov. 22.

Indian trail Tenth Graders Evelyn Pedraza, left, and Monserrat Gutierrez get their books signed by author Farah Ahmedi at Indian Trail High School after giving a talk to students who read her book in the English Language Development class. ( KEVIN POIRIER )

Afghan author tells local students her story of overcoming challenges


Author Farah Ahmedi’s story is about holding on when the thread is ready to break.

It’s also a story of loss: she lost her leg at the age of 7 when she stepped on a land mine; she lost her father and sisters less than three years later in a rocket attack on their home in Afghanistan; and finally she lost her country when she and her mother had to flee into Pakistan.

The 28 year-old author of the 2005 book “The Other Side of the Sky” came to Indian Trail High School Wednesday afternoon, delivering a message of hope and imploring her readers to never give up.

"True Grit" is the pick for the Big Read. ( SEAN KRAJACIC )

Trivia Jamboree celebrates wit (and grit)


Who says reading a novel can’t be fun? OK, maybe it was me, but that was only when I was trying to work my way (unsuccessfully) through “Ulysses.”

And maybe I wasn’t having any fun because we didn’t attend a “ ‘Ulysses’ Trivia Jamboree.” (Can you imagine such a thing? The one and only question would be: What is this James Joyce novel about? Anyone?)

Lucky for us, this year’s Big Read book is “True Grit,” a 1968 Western novel by Charles Portis that lends itself well to the Saturday evening event “True Wit — A ‘True Grit’ Trivia Jamboree.”

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