The mother of a teen who said her son was “clotheslined” by a football coach as he ran across Frank Bucci Field during the Sept. 6 varsity football game at Wilmot Union High School wants the coach fired.
“I would like to see him fired, but I don’t think that will happen,” Rebecca Langel said. “Something needs to be done. I don’t think he should get away with it.”
Langel said what her son Mason, 16, a junior at Wilmot, did was wrong. She is not arguing the five-day suspension Mason served this week or the $200 disorderly conduct ticket he got as a result.
“I’m not saying what my kid did was right, but for the coach to do that is excessive,” Langel said. “He could have killed my kid, or broken his neck. No one bothered to check and see if my son was OK.”
Langel, who was not at the game, said she got a call from the school principal.
She said he told her Mason had run across the field, was in his office, would need to be picked up and would be ticketed.
“They never bothered to tell me he was clotheslined, knocked out and dragged off the field by the football coach,” Langel said.
She said she learned about the coach’s actions when a friend shared a video of the incident taken from the stands.
That video, which has now been shared via social media on sites such barstoolsports.com, shows Mason and another student being chased from one end of the field by a security guard to the other, while the game was underway. It shows Mason being knocked to the ground by assistant coach Ken Mulhollon, grabbed by his shirt and being walked off the field.
The second student was not subdued and ran off the field. Those close to the case said he too was suspended and ticketed.
Langel said her son has experienced symptoms associated with a concussion.
“I did end up taking him to the doctor,” she said. “He has been having headaches, dizziness and blurring vision.”
Wilmot High School Administrator Dan Kopp said he has seen the video and the incident is being reviewed. Kopp said the students “posed an unknown threat” when they ran onto the field during play.
“That threat was addressed,” Kopp said.
Mulhollon, the former police chief in the town of Geneva, is a paraprofessional at the school in addition to being an assistant football coach.
Langel said he oversees her son’s first-hour study hall.
“My son won’t be in that study hall anymore,” she said, adding she will request a class period reassignment for her son.
A man who barricaded himself in a Kenosha home for several hours Saturday eventually had to be removed from the house by tactical officers.
The incident played out in the 4100 block of 30th Avenue and the standoff lasted more than four hours Saturday.
The man’s name had not been released by press time Sunday.
According to the Kenosha Police Department, officers responded to the residence at 11:41 a.m. Saturday to investigate a 911 call in which someone hung up.
When officers arrived, they encountered an adult male who barricaded himself inside the residence. The suspect armed himself with a crowbar and made threats to officers, according to the release from Police Lt. James Beller.
During the course of the standoff, police said they learned that two uninvolved adults were also inside the home.
The Kenosha County Sheriff Tactical Response Team was called to the scene and the two other adults in the house were released by the suspect.
The tactical team made entry to the home shortly after 4 p.m. Saturday and took the man into custody.
The man is being held on an outstanding warrant.
There were no injuries to the suspect or officers, Beller said.
In western Kenosha County taverns and on social media, people were talking about a field of marijuana growing in a farm field.
The plants were clearly visible from the road; you could smell the plants from the road too.
According to criminal complaints filed this month, a group of at least six people decided that the Randall property was a field of marijuana, there for the stealing.
Instead, it was a field of industrial hemp — one of 39 hemp-growing operations in Kenosha County that are licensed by the state. The plants look and smell like marijuana, but have much smaller amounts of the chemical THC. You can’t get high off hemp.
But looks were apparently deceiving enough to land six people in court with felony charges, all six apparently believing they were harvesting or attempting to harvest marijuana.
Matthew Luna, 28, of Trevor; Matthew Meck, 23, of Salem Lakes; Richard Olson, 26, of Bristol; twin brothers Nathanial and Jordan Teddick, 22, of Salem Lakes; and Parker Stanton, 21, of Fox Lake, Ill., were all charged with felonies for stealing or damaging hemp plants in the field, charges ranging from criminal damage to property to conspiracy to commit theft.
According to a criminal complaint, two of the men, Jordan Teddick and Parker Stanton, were found in the Randall hemp field at 3 a.m. on Sept. 15 carrying an empty suitcase and duffle bag. The pair were discovered by the property owner and two employees who had been watching the field because of past thefts.
They held Teddick and Stanton at gunpoint until deputies arrived.
Nathanial Teddick was arrested nearby, having dropped the two others off at the field.
Luna, Meck and Olson were charged after an investigation by the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department, alleged to have stolen plants from the same field earlier in the month.
According to the criminal complaint against Luna, Meck and Olson, a witness reported seeing men standing in a ditch next to the field with “a large pile of the stolen plants on the side of the road,” loading the plants into an SUV.
“Olson stated that he was told by several people that Luna was bragging around the tavern about how many plants he took,” the complaint states.
Spate of thefts
Sgt. Christopher Hannah of the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department said the arrests are related to at least two separate thefts from one farmer in Randall.
Thefts have also been reported from a separate farm in Bristol and are still under investigation, he said.
The sheriff’s department has also received at least one call from a resident who was concerned that a field of hemp was an illegal marijuana growing operation.
While Hannah said it is true the plants look just like marijuana, he is surprised that anyone would believe that it is.
“If it’s an illegal marijuana operation, it’s not going to be growing along the roadside for everyone to see,” Hannah said. “It’s right along the road. The person who is going to have illegal activity is not going to do it in plain view.”
Hemp legal in state
Farmers in Wisconsin are beginning to grow hemp as an alternative crop, the plant used for production of CBD oil and other industrial uses. The state passed a law in 2017 allowing production and processing of hemp.
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection licensed nearly 250 growers and 100 processors in 2018. This year, that number jumped to more than 1,400 growers and 690 processors.
In Kenosha County, there are 39 farmers growing hemp on 239 acres around the county, according to Rick Hummell, spokesman for the Department of Agriculture.
In the criminal complaints against the six people charged, the Randall property owner said each plant in the field produces 1 to 3 pounds of hemp that sells for $300 to $400 per pound.
According to the criminal complaints, there are allegations that Luna, Meck and Olson took as many as 30 plants from the field. Jordan Teddick and Stanton were found before any plants were taken in that incident, but according to the complaint, five plants were damaged.
The Randall property owner could not be reached for comment. Hannah said the man did not want to speak to the media, and said he had decided to harvest his field early because of the theft problems.
Another grower, Eric Rose of River Valley Ranch in Wheatland, said he has not had problems with theft in his field.
“We worried a little bit about it early on. I have some (security) cameras,” he said.
Rose said that growing hemp is so new in Wisconsin, growers are still learning about everything from what varieties grow best in the state’s climate to consumer education and security.
“There is no real (local) industry at this point,” he said. “We’re talking about forming a grower’s association here to have some sort of industry entity” to work on those issues.
In the meantime, Rose said, he is less worried about security than he is of the more typical worries of farming — weather and his crop.
On Labor Day weekend, Tyler Huffhines loaded a suitcase with $300,000 in cash and climbed aboard a plane to California.
What he did not know, as he posted a video of his first-class seats on Snapchat, was that investigators were already monitoring his social media.
When Huffhines got on the plane, detectives had already been watching Tyler Huffhines’ home in Paddock Lake and the condominium he rented in Bristol. They had also followed him as he drove between the two residences in his luxury cars, and watched one day as he stepped out of his Lexus to hand over a package to a man in what investigators say was a drug sale.
Huffhines and his brother, Jacob Huffhines, are alleged to have flown to California on Labor Day weekend, with Tyler Huffhines aiming to buy 40 to 50 jars of THC oil for an illegal vape manufacturing business.
According to criminal complaints filed against the Huffhines brothers Monday, detectives who had been watching the home and talking to informants already knew his plans.
A detective from the Waukesha Police Department had been monitoring a social media Snapchat account tied to Tyler Huffhines. On the day the informant said Tyler Huffhines would be going on his trip to buy TCH oil, “Detective Rowe was able to observe Tyler’s Snapchat and saw that he posted videos of him sitting in first class on the airplane on Aug. 28.”
The same weekend, Tyler Huffhines had posted photos of himself in California.
A few days later, of Sept. 5, the Huffhines brothers were arrested after investigators served a warrant on their family home at 24622 74th St., in Paddock Lake, and at 7937 Williamsburg Court in the Bristol Bay subdivision, a condominium Tyler Huffhines rented under a false name from his mother Courtney Huffhines, the real estate agent for the property.
On Monday, Tyler Huffhines, 20, was charged with three counts of possession of THC with intent to deliver over 10,000 grams, along with maintaining a drug trafficking place and identity theft.
Jacob Huffhines, 23, was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of cocaine, possession of THC, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance.
“This is a very large criminal enterprise,” said Lesli Boese, deputy district attorney of Waukesha County. Boese is acting as a special prosecutor on the case, which originated with an investigation in Waukesha. She said the thousands of vape cartridges and 57 mason jars filled with THC oil found during the execution of the search warrants “is just taking a snapshot of one day,” saying that, by her calculations based on the investigation, the business could have been generating “$2.2 to $2.5 million” in revenue.
Boese said that the cartridges and other material found at the condo are being tested to see if they can be tied to vaping-related lung illnesses that have been reported around the Milwaukee area and around the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 450 people have been affected by the condition and six have died. Many of the people who have been affected have reported buying THC vaping cartridges illegally.
Mark Richards, Tyler Huffhines’s defense attorney, said in court Monday that there is no evidence tying his client to the illnesses. “There have been no deaths in Wisconsin,” Richards said, calling the statements that the vape cartridges could be tied to illnesses and deaths “hysteria.”
“The bond is supposed to reflect the crime,” Richards said, calling the $500,000 bond set in the case outrageous and prosecutors estimates of the “supposed street value” of the drugs found inflated. “A cart goes for about $9 on the street,” Richards said.
After his arrest, Tyler Huffhines told investigators he began selling THC vape cartridges in January 2018. He told detectives “the reason he remembered that day was because he took a picture of it on Instagram,” according to the complaint.
At first he purchased prepackaged THC vape cartridges manufactured in California, where marijuana sales are legal, purchasing and then selling 100 cartridges at a time, according to the complaint. Later, looking to increase his profits, he started manufacturing them himself, purchasing the oil, empty cartridges and packing material separately and hiring 10 people to make them.
“You invest more, you make more; no risk, no reward,” Huffhines told investigators after his arrest, according to the complaint.
“He stated that he originally paid his workers … $20 per hour to fill THC cartridges for him but found out that by changing it to 30 cents per cartridge the people would work harder so their productivity went up and he saved even more money,” the complaint states. “Tyler stated that he would stop in the condo maybe once a day to say ‘hi’ to the workers and then to also pay them.”
Boese said Jacob Huffhines, who was on probation for dealing cocaine, told investigators he knew about his brother’s operation and that he traveled with him to California to buy the THC oil. Boese said the investigation into the operation is continuing and more charges could be filed against Jacob Huffhines.
The most serious charge against Jacob Huffhines is possession of a firearm by a felon. Convicted felons in Wisconsin are banned from ever owning, possessing or handling firearms. When police searched the Huffhines’ home in Paddock Lake, they found a loaded AR-15-style rifle in Jacob Huffhines’ bedroom, along with a small amount of cocaine, Xanax and marijuana.
Boese said, if convicted of having the gun in his possession, Jacob Huffhines faces a mandatory prison sentence of at least four years. She said his probation agent is also moving to revoke his probation for his previous drug dealing conviction.
Investigators also found additional weapons in the home, including a loaded .12-gauge pump action shotgun in Tyler Huffhines’ bedroom. According to the criminal complaint, an informant working with investigators told them Tyler Huffhines “carries a Springfield XD semi-automatic pistol with him at all times.” The pistol was found in one of several cars — a Lincoln, a Lexus and a BMW — believed to be used by Tyler Huffhines.
Additional weapons were found in the Paddock Lake home, which a defense attorney said belonged to the brothers’ grandfather.
Investigators also found marijuana in the garage of the Huffhines’ home, and paraphernalia associated with drug sales, including a vacuum sealer system, glass pipes, a digital scale and vape cartridges.
In court Monday, Boese said there are conflicting statements about whether Courtney Huffhines knew about the drug operation at the Bristol condo. “In terms of her knowledge of the enterprise, that is something we are still investigating,” Boese said, asking that Tyler Huffhines not be allowed to have contact with his mother.
Tyler Huffhines is being held on $500,000, the court commissioner saying he is a flight risk. Jacob Huffhines is being held on $50,000, although even if he posted bond he would not be allowed to leave custody because he is on a probation hold.
The brothers are next expected to appear in court Sept. 26.
A 20-year-old Paddock Lake man faces numerous charges for allegedly running a high-tech marijuana operation — with as many as 10 employees serving under him — out of his mother’s Bristol condominium.
Tyler Huffhines, 20, is expected to be formally charged with manufacturing THC, possession with intent to deliver THC, maintaining a drug trafficking place and identify theft.
Huffhines, along with his 23-year-old brother, were arrested Thursday after a pair of search warrants were served at a condominium in the 7900 block of Williamsburg Court and his family residence, located in the 24000 block of 74th Street in Paddock Lake.
Warrants were served by multiple agencies including the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Kenosha Drug Operations Group.
Law enforcement seized 188 pounds of marijuana ($1.5 million street value), about $15,000 to $20,000 in cash, nine iPhones, eight firearms and drug paraphernalia, along with small amounts of Xanax, cocaine and THC oil.
Huffhines, a Central High School graduate, appeared in court on Monday with attorney Mark Richards. He was issued a $500,000 cash bond by court commissioner Loren Keating.
“Based on how everything was set up, this was a very high-tech operation that was running for some time,” Kenosha County assistant district attorney Andrew Burgoyne said.
“This was set up almost as a business. There were vape cartridges packaged to look professionally. He had 10 employees working for him that would receive 30 cents per package while they assembled, manufactured and processed THC. (Huffhines) would stop in once a day to oversee the operation and pay them.”
According to the allegations, Huffhines had time cards set up for his employees. They filled about 3,000 to 5,000 cartridges per day and sold them for roughly $16 each. Huffhines told law enforcement he started the business in January 2018.
Huffhines paid $2,000, or was in the process of paying that amount, to obtain an innocent third-party’s identification to put on the lease of the condo.
Due to the sophistication of the operation, Burgoyne recommended a bond of “several hundred thousand dollars.”
“I understand these are allegations, but what we’re talking about appears to be some sort of organized, criminal behavior,” Keating said. “This is more than selling marijuana in small doses. The court believes (a high cash bond) is warranted.”
Pointing toward his client’s clean criminal history and strong local ties, Richards requested a $10,000 cash bond. Huffhines was a full-time college student at the time of his arrest, according to Richards.
“He has been very cooperative, some might say to a fault,” Richards said. “A $10,000 bond is more than sufficient to assure his (court) appearances. There is nothing left. I think $100,000 bond on a marijuana case, in this day and age, is ridiculous.”
According to social media posts, Huffhines is a local real estate agent.
The Kenosha News published a feature story on Huffhines in 2018 with the headline “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” when he was an 18-year-old Central High School student with a business selling athletic shoes online and “thousands of dollars in the bank and thousands invested in the stock market, thanks to his own hard work and uncanny ability to make a deal.”
Huffhines is scheduled to appear in court 1 p.m. Friday.
Hundreds of people gathered for a vigil Monday night near where 23-year-old Keshawn Jenkins was shot to death.
Jenkins was killed just before 9 p.m. Sunday in the 5900 block of 19th Avenue in Kenosha.
Neighbors said Jenkins had been near his car outside a home when he was shot.
The person who shot him fled on foot between houses. Jenkins collapsed in a driveway and died.
A crowd of 200 to 300 people gathered Monday night at the shooting scene. They lit candles and released blue and silver balloons, and made a small memorial of photographs surrounded by candles.
According to Kenosha Police, the crowd was largely peaceful but a few became unruly, throwing bottles at police and attempting to flip a parked car.
Police are continuing to investigate the shooting, Lt. James Beller said.
On Tuesday, a 20-year-old Kenosha man was charged with fleeing and eluding police for a chase that began during the investigation of the homicide.
According to the criminal complaint, an officer in the area after the shooting saw a thin man in a hooded sweatshirt coming out of the garden area of Frank Elementary School and getting into the passenger side of sedan, which then sped north on 19th Avenue.
Believing the person who got into the passenger seat could be involved in the homicide investigation, the officer pursued.
The vehicle stopped on 17th Avenue near the intersection of 57th Street, but took off as an officer approached with a flashlight.
Police lost sight of the vehicle, then saw it again about 10 minutes later on 18th Avenue near 51st Place.
The vehicle stopped in the 5000 block of 17th Avenue. There was no passenger in the vehicle.
According to police, the driver said, “I only took off from you guys because I didn’t want to get shot, being a black man,” the complaint states.
Anyone with information about Jenkins’ death is asked to call the Kenosha Police Department Detective Bureau at 262-605-5203.
Those who wish to stay anonymous can contact the Kenosha Area Crime Stoppers at 262-656-7333.
Tyler Huffhines has a pair of sneakers to sell you. Or a used car. Or a desk.
Huffhines is an 18-year-old entrepreneur about to graduate from Central High School with thousands of dollars in the bank and thousands invested in the stock market, thanks to his own hard work and uncanny ability to make a deal.
“Two months ago I bought 40 pairs from a guy and sold them within a day,” Huffhines said.
Huffhines first went into business in seventh grade, when he bought a pair of high-end sneakers and sold them at a profit. That deal led him to more deals, until he was turning over dozens of pairs of shoes every month.
If you’re not familiar with sneakerhead fanaticism, you might be surprised to hear that shoes with names like Nike Air Yeezy Pure Platinums or Air Jordan Retro Grey 9s might go for hundreds or even thousands of dollars per pair.
Some people buy a pair from Huffhines for $300, wear the shoes just one night to a party, and sell them back for $150. That means that overnight, Huffhines has made $150.
He keeps track of sneaker prices using several apps that compare shoe value by size and color. His client base extends from some fashionable classmates all the way to Milwaukee and into northern Illinois.
“I haven’t asked my parents for money since sixth grade,” he said. “I like making money. I’m a businessman, and the hustle is my lifestyle.”
But his business model is not just shoes. He is willing to buy and sell anything, if there’s a profit to be had. He recently purchased 25 desks for $20 each sold them that same day for $140 each.
Huffhines also has a used car dealer license and a dozen cars for sale in Paddock Lake.
Huffhines said his mother, Courtney Huffhines, and grandfather, Tom Blount, both real estate agents, helped him learn about business from a young age.
Courtney said she couldn’t have kept Tyler from learning if she’d tried.
“We would have business meetings at home, and he’d hide behind the couch and take notes,” she said. “For his eighth or ninth birthday, he made us take him to the bank so he could open two accounts and compare how they grew. He loaned his brother’s friends money and charged them interest.”
Huffhines said some of his success is also thanks to inspirational teachers at Central, including honors speech teacher Marcia Johnson and economics teacher Brent Mansky.
“Mr. Mansky teaches you real-life lessons. He taught me about the stock market, about supply and demand, and that’s what I do,” Huffhines said.
Inspired by his mom and grandfather, Huffhines is just one test away from getting his Realtor’s license. And next fall, he is going to attend Lake University in Sheboygan and study (of course) business. He plans to own several more businesses some day.
“Millionaires have six ways of making an income,” he said. (He’s a consumer of business self-help books.) “I do see myself moving on to bigger things to make more money.”
But there will also be shoes to sell.
“Everyone needs shoes. Everyone can afford a pair of shoes. And you have to keep your money coming in,” he said.
Authorities are investigating whether a large-scale operation by two Paddock Lake brothers allegedly manufacturing illegal THC vaping cartridges — the cartridges packaged to look like candy and believed to have been marketed to teens — could be connected to a spate of vaping-related lung illnesses and deaths.
Tyler Huffhines, 20, and Jacob Huffhines, 23, were arrested Sept. 5 after simultaneous warrants were served on the home where they lived with their mother and grandfather, 24622 74th St. in Paddock Lake and a rented condominium at 7937 Williamsburg Court in the Bristol Bay subdivision in Bristol.
Tyler Huffhines is being held on a temporary bond of $500,000. He is expected to be charged Friday with several drug-related felonies along with unauthorized use of an individual’s personal identification.
Jacob Huffhines is being held on a probation violation — he was on probation for a felony cocaine dealing conviction from 2018 — along with possession of cocaine and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
At a press conference Wednesday, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth said at the Paddock Lake home investigators found $59,000 in cash, eight guns and ammunition, 10.6 grams of marijuana and a small amount of cocaine and Xanax, along with scales and other paraphernalia related to drug sales.
The bulk of the operation was found at the Bristol condominium, which had been rented under a false name.
“Of this type, it’s the largest we’ve ever had, and as far as I know one of the largest in the country,” Beth said.
In the sparsely furnished condo, investigators found more than 100,000 filled and unfilled vape cartridges, three money-counting machines, 18 pounds of marijuana and 57 mason jars, each filled with 1,616 ounces of refined liquid THC, the oil in each jar valued at approximately $6,000. The filled cartridges contained approximately 1 gram of THC.
Beth said the operation, allegedly launched by Tyler Huffines in January 2018, had as many as 10 employees who were paid to use syringes to inject THC oil into the vape cartridges, which were then placed in candy-like, brightly colored packaging with names like Sour Patch, and distributed for sale.
Employees were at first paid $20 an hour until, Beth said, the brothers decided they would have higher profits if they paid 30 cents for each filled cartridge. Huffhines kept timecards to record the employees’ time.
The sheriff said because the investigation is ongoing, he could not say how the vape cartridges were marketed and sold.
Vaping illnesses, deaths
Beth said the department hopes to work with federal agencies and jurisdictions around the country to see if the operation could be tied to any of the spate of vaping-related lung illnesses and deaths that have been reported over the last two months.
“We’ve lost six people (who died from vaping-related illness); hundreds and hundreds have been hurt. I am very curious, and we’re willing to work with any agency in this country ... to see if our people here in Kenosha County have any responsibility in hurting the hundreds and hundreds of people in the United States, especially in Wisconsin,” Beth said.
As of Sept. 6, according to the Centers for Disease Control, there have been 450 cases of vaping-related illnesses, including six deaths, with deaths reported in Illinois, California, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota and Oregon.
The CDC states that many of the people affected reported using THC vaping products. The first vaping-related illness was reported in Illinois in August.
The CDC investigation has not found an exact cause for the vaping-related illness.
According to the Washington Post, federal authorities are looking into the possibility that product contamination or counterfeit vaping products are tied to the outbreak, as many of the victims reported buying THC vape products from the street rather than through legal distributors.
Started in Waukesha
The Huffhineses’ alleged operation came to light after parents of a teenager in the city of Waukesha brought their son to the police station there to report that he was involved in the sale of THC vape pens at a local high school.
“The parents (of the Waukesha teen) were focused on holding their son accountable,” said Capt. Dan Baumann of the Waukesha Police Department. “These parents were courageous for what they did and should be commended.”
Baumann said the investigation went through “five tiers” of distributors before leading to the Huffhineses.
The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department, the Kenosha Drug Operations Group and the Racine County Metro Drug Unit were all involved in the investigation along with the Waukesha Police Department.
Beth said the operation “was not on our radar screen” until they were contacted by the Waukesha Police.
“It was right under our nose,” he said.
The sheriff said he anticipates additional people will be charged as the investigation into the operation continues.
He said the motive for the operation appears to be entirely on profit, with the younger of the two brothers telling investigators he does not use drugs.
At the same time he was running the drug sales business, Tyler Huffhines was featured in the Kenosha News as a “young entrepreneur” for his business selling athletic shoes, Beth said.
Beth said Huffhines has been cooperative, but not remorseful, saying he was focused on “this family willingness to make money at other people’s expense.”
The Kenosha Unified School District has reversed its decision to prohibit Bradford cheerleaders from honoring a murdered teammate.
The original decision, handed down Tuesday, enraged family, friends and the community.
A moment of silence and dedicated, halftime cheer was planned at Friday’s Bradford football game in remembrance of former Red Devil cheerleader Kaylie Juga, who was shot and killed inside her family’s home on May 9.
Martice Fuller, a former quarterback on the school’s football team, was charged with first-degree intentional homicide in connection with Juga’s death and the shooting of her mother, Stephanie Juga.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Kenosha Unified said it will “not sanction any memorials or acknowledgements because it would be legally required to do so for all students involved in order to protect the district against possible legal claims. Instead, the district will remain neutral. While the district fully supports students and staff in moments of crisis, it cannot allow memorializing or acknowledging one student without allowing it for both.”
The district encouraged the public to “honor its decision as it works to take into consideration the well-being of all of its students — past, present and future.”
However, just before 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Unified released a statement saying it would allow the memorial observances to proceed.
"Upon further consideration, Superintendent Dr. Sue Savaglio-Jarvis and board president Dan Wade have decided to reverse the decision regarding memorials for Kaylie Juga. Upcoming events will be allowed to occur as planned," it states.
The reversal came after two days of community outrage at Unified's original decision. Many people openly questioned the district’s rationale and ability to recognize the distinction between legality and humanity.
In a candid radio interview before Unified's reversal, Kaylie’s father Nick Juga said he would no longer remain silent.
“This (expletive) thing of staying neutral is ridiculous,” Nick Juga said on WLIP AM 1050. “There is no neutral standing to this. My daughter was murdered. She didn’t do anything wrong. She was in her room getting ready for work and she was murdered. My wife was shot trying to give CPR to my daughter. They can’t do a moment of silence or a five-minute cheer? Ridiculous.”
By numerous accounts, Kenosha Unified previously approved Friday’s events, abruptly reversed course on Tuesday then reversed again on Wednesday.
“In recent weeks and days, the district received requests from students, parents and the general public, including representatives of both families, concerning the district’s position regarding memorializing or acknowledging the students involved,” Kenosha Unified said in its original decision release. “The district sought legal counsel ... and has decided to follow the legal advice received.”
Wade said Wednesday before the reversal that the issue intensified when a member of the Bradford football team requested, and was eventually denied, to wear Fuller’s jersey.
“That’s part of the problem,” Wade said. “There’s two different things in play here.”
Nick Juga said he was outraged and contacted the district when the Bradford football team considered honoring Fuller’s jersey.
“About a month ago, Martice’s family decided they wanted the stepbrother to wear and honor Martice’s jersey and honor him for being in prison,” Nick Juga said in the radio interview. “Me, as a father, I went to the School Board and said this is unacceptable. We honor the fallen. We don’t honor alleged, whatever you want to call it, murderers.”
Board stays mum
Several students and supporters of the cheerleaders confronted the School Board about the original decision at a meeting Tuesday night — a meeting specifically called to address the district’s budget.
Citing legal reasons and the state’s open meetings laws, no one on the board or district administration would speak further on the decision at the meeting.
But Bradford student Jenna Tranberg did use a public comment portion of the agenda to weigh in on the issue. Tranberg and other cheerleaders were wearing shirts with “Kaylie” printed on it.
Moved to tears as she went before the board, Tranberg said the district’s decision was hurtful.
“Do you guys realize how bad this sucks that we can’t do this?” she said. “It feels so low. ... I understand people can still wear blue, but the cheerleaders won’t be allowed to wear the shirts that Stephanie — Kaylie’s mom — made for the cheerleaders. It’s ridiculous.
“They can’t do the performance. They can’t hold up a picture of a girl that was murdered. ... That is sickening to me.”
Wade did say at the meeting he understood their frustration.
“We all have our personal opinions and wish things could be different, but they’re not. We have to follow the law. Thank you for opening up your hearts to us. It did mean something, especially to me.”
Previously not an issue
Before the start of every game, the Bradford cheer team honors Kaylie Juga by visiting her gravesite with flowers. A photo of Kaylie, wearing her cheer uniform, is positioned alongside the group during the games.
“It’s never been an issue,” said Angie Covelli, a close friend of the Juga family. “Three weeks ago, it was brought to Unified’s attention they wanted to do a theme where they asked everyone to wear blue and have a moment of silence before they do a cheer at halftime. They received approval from Bradford and KUSD three weeks ago.”
Rallying behind family
In response to Unified's original decision to deny, several local businesses, organizations and individuals have rallied behind the Juga family.
There will be a candlelight vigil outside of the stadium’s main gate on Friday.
Kenosha Tattoo Co., 3012 30th Ave., and Kenosha Moose Lodge, 3003 30th Ave., offered parking in their lots for those interested in gathering before the game and organizing a walk to the stadium.
Students are still allowed to wear blue and show support in an orderly fashion. Citing safety as his top concern, Wade said he expects an additional police presence at the game.
“I’d hate to put a cloud on the game,” Wade said. “We want to make sure everyone is safe and that nothing transpires in a negative way.”
Kenosha News correspondent Dave Fidlin contributed to this article.
By CHRISTINE A. VERSTRAETE
KENOSHA NEWS CORRESPONDENT
TREVOR — Residents in Trevor wondered what was going on.
Several fields along Highway C (116th Street), near Trevor-Wilmot Consolidated Grade School and east toward Highway JF suddenly have exploded with hundreds, if not thousands, of bright yellow sunflowers.
Are they natural, since this was the first year in recent memory that many residents didn’t see the usual corn or soybeans planted there?
It turns out that farmer Rob Hawkins, owner of Hawkins Farms in Bristol, was behind the smile-inducing fields.
With the spring’s continual rain and the muddy fields afterward, it marked the first time no corn could be planted for any kind of harvest this year, according to Hawkins, who rents the fields from the local Holst family farm.
“This has never happened before,” said the 45-year-farmer. “We were able to get soybeans planted on April 24, but we didn’t plant on June 10 because of rain. By June 22, it was too muddy. It was just continuous rain.”
The farmer, which rents 5,200 acres in Trevor and also rents fields in Pleasant Prairie, had one solution since he couldn’t get corn planted in July either: a total of 44,000 pounds of a seed mixture were planted instead.
“It’s a mix of 12 seeds to improve, to preserve, the soil,” he explained.
The mixture includes not only the sunflowers, but peas, buckwheat, radishes and other plants. Up close, the other plants look more like “weeds” growing, though the sunflowers are obviously the most visible and most appreciated growth noticed by passers-by.
A pleasant surprise
Pleasant Prairie resident Tracy Topps said she and her daughters, Rachel and Sarah, were also surprised to spot the sunny yellow fields on 95th Street off Old Green Bay Road and on Highway 165 near Sheridan Road.
“It’s a pleasant surprise to see,” said Topps. “So many people were running out with their cameras. It’s something you drive past every day and all of a sudden you see all this yellow. I thought they were Black-Eyes Susans at first.”
Everyone should enjoy the view now. The eye-catching landscape will probably be gone by Halloween.
“It’s going to be plowed down in the fall,” he said. “We have to prepare for next year’s crop. We don’t want the seeds to germinate.”
As usual, he plans to plant corn next spring.
So far, with this year’s horrible weather and the trade tariffs on farm crops, it hasn’t been a good year for farmers. No surprise that Hawkins, like other farmers, is definitely hoping everything, especially the weather, goes back to “normal” for 2020.
“It’s the first time we never got the crops in,” he said. “Hopefully, it never happens again.”