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Kenosha News Week in Review

Have you had a busy week and lost track of what's going on? Kenosha News editors suggest the following articles to catch up:

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Kenosha couple under investigation for luxury automobile scam

A Kenosha couple is under investigation by the United States Secret Service, suspected of money laundering, counterfeiting and several types of fraud.

Mao Peng and his wife, Min Ai, lived and conducted business here, operating Longen Trading out of a Kenosha warehouse. Peng was a major luxury automobile broker, according to court documents, who would purchase vehicles for export to China, where they could be sold for many times their original price.

Red kettle donations up, but still well short of goal

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Kenosha’s Salvation Army red kettle campaign is ringing in the holidays faring slightly better with the funds it has raised compared with this time last year.

According to Salvation Army officials, kettles at 15 locations in the city raised $36,122 as of Wednesday, compared with $33,799 in 2013, for a 6.9 percent increase.

Ethics complaints target Bogdala, Ruffolo meeting attendance records

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Complaints against two Kenosha aldermen alleging they’ve had an excessive amount of unexcused absences from their assigned committee meetings will be reviewed next month by the city’s Ethics Board.

Scott Barter originally filed the complaints in late November, alleging Alds. G. John Ruffolo and David Bogdala have violated a city ordinance requiring aldermen attend meetings of their assigned committees unless they have been excused by the chairperson.

Rally pushes jobs, economic benefits of casino

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A rally for jobs to be created by a Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Kenosha drew hundreds of supporters, including local and state elected officials Wednesday.

The event at the former Dairyland Greyhound Park, featured a live band and the Hard Rock logo, which was beamed on the walls for the Menominee Tribe-proposed casino.

$25,000 bond set for driver in fatal wrong-way crash

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The man police say drove the wrong way on Highway 50 last week, striking another vehicle head-on and killing the father and son traveling inside, is still in a wheelchair from injuries he sustained in the crash.

Brian J. Smith, 36, of Lindenhurst, Ill., is charged with two counts of homicide by drunken driving and second-degree recklessly endangering safety for the Dec. 6 incident in Wheatland. He made his initial appearance in court Tuesday afternoon.

Authorities: Alleged bank robber’s fiancee wrote robbery notes

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The Kenosha man police say robbed two banks had his fiancee write the notes for him, according to testimony at the woman’s Tuesday preliminary hearing.

Jessica Cortes, 23 of Kenosha, is charged with being party to the crime of bank robbery for an incident on Dec. 8. Her fiance, Timothy LeBoeuf, 43, is charged with two counts of bank robbery, one for the Dec. 8 robbery of the Pleasant Prairie BMO Harris Bank, 9055 76th St., and the other for a Nov. 4 robbery of Southport Bank, 1350 22nd Ave., in Somers.

Flu cases rising in local schools

There are times to tough it out, and times to pack it in.

With the number of influenza cases growing in Kenosha County and around the state, school officials are warning that students with flu symptoms shouldn’t try to tough it out and come to class.

Streetcar opposition group to keep on fighting

A group out to stop streetcar expansion in Kenosha will continue collecting petition signatures in an effort to force an April 7 advisory referendum.

“At this point we just started gathering signatures and have not counted or verified any as a group. I will tell you that the response and requests for people wanting to sign and circulate (the petition) has been tremendous,” Joe Clark said Tuesday. “In spite of the vote by council ... we are still gathering signatures.”

Judge to decide accused’s fate in murder trial

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RACINE — There will be no verdict before Christmas in the case against Bianca Vite's accused murderer.

Her husband, Joseph Guerrero, is charged in Racine County with first-degree intentional homicide, arson and mutilating a corpse. The Pleasant Prairie woman's body was found Christmas Day 2012, in a Mount Pleasant home that had been set on fire.

Firm to study feasibility of year-round, indoor public market

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The Kenosha Area Business Alliance has selected Market Ventures Inc., a Portland, Maine, consulting firm to study the feasibility of creating a year-round indoor HarborMarket.

The six-month study will begin in February. Company president Ted Spitzer said he has visited the market and is impressed with its operation.

Paddock Lake begins work on golf cart regulations

PADDOCK LAKE — Officials here have begun work on an ordinance that will regulate golf cart use on village streets.

The board is moving forward based on an approved advisory referendum in November in support of the idea. Residents approved the referendum by a vote of 665-409.

12/16/14: City Council nixes streetcar expansion referendum

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The question of whether to put a proposed streetcar expansion before city voters April 7 in an advisory referendum failed narrowly Monday night after three hours of debate by Kenosha’s City Council.

Aldermen voted 8-9 against approving a resolution authored by Alds. Steve Bostrom, David Bogdala and co-sponsored by Rhonda Jenkins that would have placed before voters the question “Should the city of Kenosha expand the Kenosha streetcar?”

Christmasse Feaste celebrates 40 years

8

Ye Olde Englishe Christmasse Feaste marked a landmark with its performances this past weekend.

The longtime staple at Tremper High School, now open to student performers from all three of Kenosha’s comprehensive high schools, celebrated its 40th year.

Shopping patrol: Police help students spread holiday cheer

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SOMERS — Dozens of specially chosen elementary students took part in the Kenosha Police Association's annual Shop with a Cop program Sunday morning at Wal-Mart.

Sixty students were matched with an equal number of officers who led them through the mega-mart and helped to fill their carts with $200 worth of toys, DVDs, candy and household staples. Parents dined on Starbucks-donated coffee, doughnuts and juice while chatting with principals and officers' spouses.

Holy Rosary serves up breakfast for 300

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Members of Holy Rosary Church found the best way to spend Sunday morning was by serving others at the parish’s free community breakfast.

For the second year, the men of the church’s Holy Name Society put their spatulas to work preparing eggs, pancakes and sausages for anyone who cared to attend.

    Coalition opposes right-to-work proposal

    MADISON (AP) — A newly formed coalition of more than 300 construction-related private businesses in Wisconsin announced Wednesday that it will work to defeat a right-to-work proposal being discussed by Republican leaders in the Legislature.

    Formation of the group comes as talks proceed behind the scenes among Republicans who control the Legislature about the timing of a right-to-work bill and what form it may take.

    State overpaid $168M in jobless benefits in 3 years

    MADISON (AP) — The state Department of Workforce Development overpaid nearly $168 million in unemployment benefits during the last three years and the agency’s call centers couldn’t handle hundreds of thousands of calls initiating claims, according to a state report released Tuesday.

    The Legislative Audit Bureau’s findings showed the agency identified 681,400 overpayments totaling $167.9 million during the three years that ended June 30. The department attributed nearly 85 percent of the overpayments to individuals who unintentionally provided the agency with inaccurate information used to calculate their weekly payments, according to the audit bureau’s report. The agency traced 9.5 percent of the overpayments to individuals who intentionally provided inaccurate information.

    Judge gives man 15 years in half-brother’s death

    MADISON (AP) — A judge sentenced a man to 15 years in prison Monday for fatally beating his autistic half-brother, calling his efforts to hide the body something out of horror fiction.

    Jeffrey Vogelsberg pleaded no contest in a deal with prosecutors in September to one count of second-degree reckless homicide in connection with 27-year-old Matthew Graville’s death.

    Groups to seek ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy

    MADISON (AP) — Wisconsin anti-abortion groups are gearing up for another legislative session, with plans to push for a new ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and to revive a host of initiatives that went nowhere last time around.

    The anti-abortion lobby scored a huge victory last session when the GOP-controlled Legislature passed a law requiring abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Republicans retained their majorities in the Assembly and Senate in November’s elections, setting the stage for more wins for anti-abortion groups. Republican leaders aren’t publicly committing to anything, but Democrats are already fuming.

    Health insurance enrollment deadline looms Monday

    MADISON — The open enrollment period for Wisconsin residents shopping for coverage on the federally run health insurance exchange for the first time ends Monday. Important information for new customers facing the deadline to consider includes:

    Monday is the deadline for people who are signing up for coverage through HealthCare.gov for the first time and want those plans to start on Jan. 1. It’s also the deadline for current customers to make changes to their coverage and have those take effect at the start of the year.

    Walker not saying much about school voucher program expansion

    MADISON (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker said during his re-election campaign that he wanted to grow Wisconsin’s statewide voucher program incrementally, but since his victory last month, he has not said whether that’s still the plan or if he will eliminate the enrollment caps all at once.

    Walker, when asked Wednesday about the outlook for vouchers, didn’t say whether he would do away with the 1,000-student cap immediately or over time. He said details of his approach would come in his budget being released early next year.

    State coalition pushes for road improvements

    MADISON (AP) — Wisconsin cities, towns and counties joined together Wednesday to encourage that everything — from a new personal property tax on vehicles to regional cooperatives that would share resources — should be considered to help pay for local roads’ needs.

    A report commissioned by the Local Government Institute, a coalition of groups representing local governments, detailed how funding has decreased for roads over the past decade, and offered ideas on how to address the problem.

    Werwie’s fire for pro golf still burns bright

    1

    jreeves@kenoshanews.com

    Kenosha’s Carly Werwie freely admits that her 2014 season playing the Symetra Tour, the LPGA’s official developmental tour, didn’t go as well as she had hoped.

    950 pounds of elk

    2

    bfeivor@kenoshanews.com

    The average teenager dreams of the day when they get their driver’s license but for Pleasant Prairie’s Michelle Knapp her favorite license is her hunting license.

    UW-Parkside women win again in Puerto Rico

    The UW-Parkside women’s basketball team won in Puerto Rico for the second consecutive day on Wednesday, beating the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, 68-43, in Bayamon, P.R.

    Gaby Bronson paced Parkside (7-2) with 13 points, 11 rebounds and four assists in recording her second double-double of the season. Tara Knapstein scored 11 points, Stephanie Furr 10 and Justine Boerger nine with six rebounds.

    Girls high school basketball ticker

    Indian Trail 74,

    Racine Park 55

    Prep ticker: Boys basketball, swimming

    BOYS BASKETBALL

    Indian Trail 65, Racine Park 62

    Sculpting a body and a reputation

    1

    bfeivor@kenoshanews.com

    Kenosha’s Andre Adams, 29, won an International Federation of Body Builder’s (IFBB) pro show on Nov. 29, in Santa Barbara, Calif.

    Local briefs: Kenosha Ballers lose in IBA final

    The Kenosha Ballers semi-pro basketball team lost to the Schenectady (N.Y.) Legends, 154-137, in the championship game of the Independent Basketball Association fall playoffs on Sunday afternoon at the KVPD RecCenter in Kankakee, Ill.

    Lloyd Johnson poured in 61 for the Legends (13-0). Thomas Cobbs scored 37 to lead Kenosha (9-5).

    On Campus: A fine start for Rampart

    6

    ahorschak@kenoshanews.com

    Central graduate Danielle Rampart was one of the top NCAA Division II volleyball players in the country this season.

    Gordon second to Mariota in Heisman

    2

    Marcus Mariota wrote it all down, every word of his Heisman Trophy acceptance speech. It was a good thing, too, because getting through it might have been tougher than sprinting away from linebacker or tossing a long touchdown pass for the Oregon Ducks.

    The understated star quarterback became Oregon’s first Heisman winner going away Saturday night, capping a three-year climb to college football’s most prestigious individual award.

    Shoreland falls short

    ahorschak@kenoshanews.com

    SOMERS — The 1-2 punch of Ellie Harmeyer and Caylee Koker was not enough for the Shoreland Lutheran girls basketball team on Saturday night

    Doormat no more

    8

    mjohnson@kenoshanews.com

    PLEASANT PRAIRIE — Tommy Laken, the senior goalie for the Kenosha Unified hockey team, isn’t much for words.

    Saturday’s prep ticker

    BOYS BASKETBALL

    St. Joseph 52, Racine Lutheran 47

    Indian Trail boys defeat Tremper

    4

    KENOSHA — In addition to whipping the crowd into a frenzy, high-flying dunks usually provide a basketball team with an extra boost.

    It had the opposite effect on Indian Trail.

    Gordon seeks one more long run to the Heisman

    1

    The voice sounded a little weary. The steps were a bit slow, at least compared to Melvin Gordon’s usual gait around Camp Randall Stadium.

    Nearing the end of a memorable season, 17th-ranked Wisconsin’s star running back sounded and looked like he could use a pick-me-up days after his team’s humbling 59-0 loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.

    Epping to be guest at Sports Night

    1

    Tremper graduate Zac Epping, a senior left guard for the University of Minnesota football team, will be a celebrity guest at the 62nd annual Holy Rosary Sports Night on Feb. 8, it was announced Friday.

    Epping started all 12 games for the Golden Gophers this season and has made 46 consecutive starts overall. He shared Minnesota’s Offensive Lineman of the Year award with Tommy Olson for a team that rushed for 2,695 yards and 31 touchdowns and was named first-team All-Big Ten by the media and second-team by the coaches.

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    Scout's Eagle project helps foster kids

    5

    A Pleasant Prairie teen’s Eagle Scout project was inspired by personal experience.

    Streetcar opposition group to keep on fighting

    A group out to stop streetcar expansion in Kenosha will continue collecting petition signatures in an effort to force an April 7 advisory referendum.

    Solar group says PSC commissioner is biased

    MADISON — A Wisconsin utility regulator whose impartiality in the pending We Energies rate case was called into question by a solar coalition, rejected a request to recuse herself, stating she has been and will remain objective.

    Central cheerleaders hope to compete at national contest

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    The Central High School varsity cheerleading squad has earned a bid to compete in the National High School Cheerleading Championships in Orlando, Fla., by taking first in its division at the Universal Cheerleaders Association Milwaukee Championship on Dec 6.

    Flu cases rising in local schools

    There are times to tough it out, and times to pack it in.

    Authorities: Alleged bank robber’s fiancee wrote robbery notes

    4

    The Kenosha man police say robbed two banks had his fiancee write the notes for him, according to testimony at the woman’s Tuesday preliminary hearing.

    Holiday House fills families’ stockings with toys

    3

    The 2014 edition of the Holiday House opened its doors to a lively reception Tuesday, serving about 200 families in the first two hours.

    $25,000 bond set for driver in fatal wrong-way crash

    5

    The man police say drove the wrong way on Highway 50 last week, striking another vehicle head-on and killing the father and son traveling inside, is still in a wheelchair from injuries he sustained in the crash.

    Salem man who brought kids to drug deal gets prison

    One member of a Salem couple accused of bringing their children on a drug deal and offering to leave one as collateral while fetching more heroin has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.