Monthly Archives: January 2012

KUSD meeting to discuss transformational plan

Tonight, the KUSD Board met to discuss the a new personalized learning model, which requires that the way we educate our children in the district will change.  This was a special joint meeting of the school board and the Curriculum/Program Standing Committee.  The proposed student schedule at the high school level will be  transformed to create a flexible eight-block schedule.

Michele Hancock, superintendent opened the meeting.  The room was filled to capacity with audience members.  Public comments were not allowed during this meeting.  Hancock then turned it over to Dan Tenuta, assistant superintendent of secondary school leadership, who stated the goals of the project:  to meet the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Literacy in All Content Areas; and to provide a personalized learning approach, taking into consideration technological changes.  The common core state standards have been adopted by over 40 states.

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Very few reported feeling earthquake

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The above map shows (green arrow) the epicenter of the Jan. 30, 2012 earthquake.
Did you feel the earthquake last night?

Me neither. But don’t feel bad. For all the stir today, it doesn’t seem many people felt, or at least were alarmed by, the event.

A 2.4 magnitude earthquake centered in McHenry, Illinois occurred about 9:55 p.m. Monday night, according to the United States Geological Survey.

As of  noon today, about 10 people from Kenosha County have reported to the USGS that they felt the quake  — one in Kenosha and two in Pleasant Prairie.

But I found another fact perhaps even more telling. Kenosha County Joint Dispatch received no calls relating to the quake last night, said Sgt. Bill Beth, Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department spokesman.

Commissioners approve park work

The Board of Park Commissioners met last night.  The master contract between SAA Design Group, Inc., and the city of Kenosha for professional services was approved.  At first, Alderperson Anthony Kennedy expressed that he had a problem with the costs not being listed, but city engineer Mike Lemens explained that there is no exact cost.  “SAA Design Group will charge on what work we tell them to do.  Each project specifies a task order, of which there are two on the agenda tonight.  The city can only spend what’s authorized in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).  The scope of services has budget control.  It’s not an open-ended check.”  The analogy Lemens gave was bids for heating work.  “A blanket order is issued to the vendor.  If the city uses them once or ten times, they have the hourly rate approved.”  Kennedy did then vote for approval, as did the other commission members.

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Units responding for crash in Pleasant Prairie

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At 10:56 a.m., Pleasant Prairie Fire and Rescue units are responding to a report of a crash in the 9300 block of 39th Avenue.

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McKinley Middle School parent meeting


McKinley Middle School/

As was reported last Friday, the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) is contemplating the closure of one of its middle schools, McKinley Middle School, located at 5710 – 32nd Avenue.  (Click here to read that story:  “McKinley Middle School May Close, Reports Say.”)  Tonight, an informational meeting was held at the school for parents.  About 150 people filled the auditorium.

In attendance were officials from the school:  KUSD’s school superintendent Michele Hancock, assistant superintendent of secondary schools Dan Tenuta, and facilities director Patrick Finnemore.  Three aldermen were also in attendance.  The alderperson of the district, Anthony Nudo, was joined by G. John Ruffolo and David Bogdala.  Kenosha County supervisor David Arendt was also in the audience.  Mary Snyder, KUSD school board president, was present and spoke at the end of the meeting.

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Units responding for crash in Kenosha

/Earlene Frederick photo

At about 8:15 p.m., Kenosha Police and Kenosha Fire and Rescue units are responding to a report of a crash with injuries at Green Bay Road (Highway 31) and 52nd Street (Highway 158), Kenosha.

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Sheriff’s Department to offer Citizen’s Academy

The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department will again offer the Sheriff’s Citizen’s Academy.

The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Citizen Academy is a 9-week program designed to give participants a first-hand look at the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department operations and allow them the opportunity to experience law enforcement from a deputy sheriff’s standpoint. Participants will ride along with deputies on the street, receive instruction in criminal and traffic law, and be instructed in basic law enforcement procedures, as well as firearms, and officer safety practices. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and be Kenosha County residents.

Classes are held once a week and will begin on Monday, March 5, and end on April 30. Applications are available by email, on the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department website, or at the Sheriff’s Department, 1000 55th St., Kenosha. Applications will be accepted through Feb. 1.

Pleasant Prairie PD announces release of sex offender

Carey P. Riley /Pleasant Prairie Police Dept. photo

The Pleasant Prairie Police Department is making notification of the release of convicted sex offender Carey P. Riley into the village.

Riley was to moved to a residence in the area of the 12100 block of 120th Court in Pleasant Prairie after being released from prison on Jan. 17, 2012.

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Grand opening of “The Rita”

The Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities/Photo by Margie Gentner

This evening, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside hosted a reception for the grand opening of  “The Rita” (the Rita Tallent Picken Regional Center for Arts and Humanities).  After more than twenty years of creative, collaborative planning and brainstorming by members of both the UW-Parkside campus family and the diverse communities that we serve, the new “Rita” officially opened tonight.  “This is the beginning of something truly great — a cultural renaissance for the place that we call ‘home,’ said Dean Yohnk, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

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McKinley Middle School may close, reports say

Word from sources is that an announcement was made today at McKinley Middle School that the building may be closed at the end of this school year.

WGTD is also reporting the closure on its website.

Judges forum addresses mental illness

At tonight’s Judge’s Forum, which was held at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, each of the five candidates gave their thoughts and answered questions in order to gauge their mental health awareness.  Jack Rose, President of the Kenosha County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) organization, hosted and mediated the forum.  The audience consisted of about fifty people.  This is the third time that NAMI has hosted a public forum such as this one.

Each of the candidates was given the opportunity to give a few introductory remarks:

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Fire reported in Pleasant Prairie

Photo by kconnors with

At 8:18 a.m., the Pleasant Prairie Fire Department has activated a box alarm related to a fire in the 10200 block of 28th Avenue, Pleasant Prairie.

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Kenosha County Youth In Governance seeking nominations

Kenosha County Youth In Governance, a youth empowerment program that offers area teens the chance to directly participate in local government and community service, is seeking nominations for outstanding and motivated young people for the 2012 -2013 year.

The requirements to participate in Youth in Governance are:

  • Youth must currently be a high school student in the 10th or 11th grade;
  • Youth must have a GPA of 2.5 or greater;
  • Youth must be a Kenosha County resident; and
  • Youth must be able to attend the monthly meetings and additional committee meetings that are combined with other committees
  • Go here to nominate a young person,  or contact John de Montmollin, Youth & Family Educator, Kenosha County UW-Extension, at 857-1945.

Nominations are due Feb. 10, 2012.

KUSD collective bargaining agreement with S.E.I.U. modified

At Tuesday night’s KUSD Board meeting, it was voted to ratify the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the district and Service Employees International Union (S.E.I.U.), Local No. 168, effective January 24, 2012.  On Monday, January 16, 2012, the S.E.I.U. local voted and agreed to modify the current collective bargaining agreement between the union and the KUSD.  The terms of the MOU are as follows:

Benefits:  a 5.8% employee contribution to Wisconsin Retirement System; and a 12 % employee contribution to healthcare premium costs.  Deductions will start on January 25, 2011.  The board stated that it appreciated the contribution.

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KUSD approves sale of bonds

Tonight, the KUSD Board met to discuss the resolution authorizing the issuance and sale of $9.275 million taxable general obligation refunding bonds, series 2012.  At the September 27, 2011, Board meeting, the Board voted to approve the recommendation of refinancing Fund 38 debt consisting of taxable G. O. refunding bonds, Series 2002B.  The original plan was to go out to the market in October, 2011, but this was later postponed.  Moody’s Investor Service requested an investor’s call shortly after that Board meeting.  Administration and their financial consultants, PMA Securities, postponed the offering until such time that the district’s updated rating was known.  “The Moody’s rating, as of January 18th, 2012, is A1, negative outlook.  The reasons for this rating are the CDO litigation and the material decline in the fund balance.  The district has taken a proactive approach in turning things around.”  These were the PMA Securities’ representative’s comments at tonight’s meeting.  (To read about the September meeting, click here:  Dr. Michele Hancock Announces a Bit of Good News.)

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Units responding for crash in Pleasant Prairie

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At 5:08 p.m., Pleasant Prairie Fire and Rescue units are responding to a report of a crash in the 8800 block of Bain Station Road, Pleasant Prairie.

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Youth Commission scholarships announced

Each year, Kenosha Mayor’s Youth Commission Award winners at the junior, senior or college level are eligible for the scholarship selection process. At a reception hosted by the Mayor’s Youth Commission on Jan. 10, scholarships were awarded to the following finalists from the 2011 award winners:

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Water found flowing in empty downtown condo building

Firefighters can be seen inside the building as water flows. /Earlene Frederick photo

Kenosha police responded to an alarm last night at an empty downtown condominium building at Fourth Avenue and 57th Street to find a large volume of water flowing inside.

After unsuccessful attempts to reach someone with access to the uninhabited Virginia Towers, Kenosha firefighters eventually broke in, but could not shut off the water. Kenosha Water Utility workers did so from the street.

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A word from our sponsors: HuHot Mongolian Grill to host Special Olympics fundraiser Jan. 25

HuHot Mongolian Grill, 7214 Green Bay Road, Kenosha, is raising some cold cash with a hot fundraiser to benefit Special Olympics Wisconsin’s Southeastern Region.

On Wednesday, Jan. 25, from 5 to 8 p.m., local Special Olympics athletes and volunteers will become “Helping Hands” that will cook up a little fun and funds at HuHot Mongolian Grill. Volunteers from Special Olympics Wisconsin will display their grilling skills, assist HuHot’s dining room staff and mingle with patrons, while also raising funds through raffles and souvenir sales.

You’ll also have an opportunity to talk to local Special Olympics athletes and hear heart warming stories from volunteers.

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Keep safety in mind while out walking

Photo by Thibaut Monot via stock.xchng

This is the latest in a series of articles that will regularly appear on from Kenosha Police Department Crime Prevention Unit Officers Jeff Wamboldt and Ron Francis:

“Horrifying” was how Patty described the assault.

On a cold dark January night, Patty put on her warmest winter coat, slapped on a set of earmuffs, and left the restaurant where she worked. Walking home alone, she took the same route she had taken for years. She only lived six blocks from the restaurant and felt safe. It was a nice neighborhood – the street lights all worked and a few homes still displayed Christmas decorations.

Once outside, Patty made a cellphone call to her best friend as she crossed the street. Further up the sidewalk, Patty passed by a tall row of hedges. Absorbed in her phone conversation, she did not notice the pair of hands reaching out from behind the shrubbery. Unknown to Patty, a man from the restaurant had been watching her for months and determined she was an easy mark. She was always on her cellphone and did not pay attention to her surroundings. The ponytail she wore, which he used as a handle, made nabbing her that much easier.

Fortunately, this true story has a happy ending. Patty did not give up without a fight. While trying to prevent from being raped, Patty’s winter coat unzipped and she was able to struggle free, leaving the suspect with only her coat.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland can be fun as long as you keep one thing in mind at all times – YOUR SAFETY! Here are some tips:

County encouraging winter activities at parks

Photo by Denis Tarantola via stock.xchng

With some snow finally falling here, your thoughts may be beginning to turn to outdoor winter fun.

Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser is encouraging people to embrace the winter by participating in the outdoor activities available through the Kenosha County Park System.

“We’re pleased to be opening the lighted cross country ski trail at the Petrifying Springs Park,” Kreuser said. “The trail has been dark for about a decade. But, with the help from community volunteers, it will be available for people to enjoy.”

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Units responding for crash at Green Bay and Washington roads

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At about 8:27 p.m., sheriff’s deputies and Somers Fire and Rescue are responding to a report of a crash at Green Bay Road and Washington Road.

Dispatch one patient is reporting a head injury.

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County gets grant to remove Petrifying Springs park dam

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The Kenosha County Division of Parks will receive $234,000 from the Fund for Lake Michigan to support the Pike River Fish Passage Dam Removal, bridge construction, and stream bed and bank restoration at Petrifying Springs Park, Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser announced Friday.

“We appreciate the Fund for Lake Michigan recognizing the importance of this project to improve the health of the fish, the Pike River and, ultimately, the health of Lake Michigan,” Kreuser said. “This is also an important safety improvement for the families who enjoy the park, as well as a way to mitigate the long-term costs associated with the constant flooding of the bridge and parkland.”

This is the second grant Kenosha County has received from the Fund for Lake Michigan. In 2011, the Fund for Lake Michigan provided a $102,000 grant for an engineering study for the dam removal project.

The mission of the Fund for Lake Michigan is to support efforts, and in particular those in southeastern Wisconsin, that enhance the health of Lake Michigan, its shoreline and tributary river systems for the benefit of the people, plants and animals that depend upon the system for water, recreation and commerce. The Fund for Lake Michigan is a donor-advised fund of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Inc. The Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network, which is working to improve adjacent Lake Michigan watersheds, has also been a Fund for Lake Michigan grant recipient, as well as an important partner with Kenosha County to clean and restore the Pike.

Also involved in clean-up and restoration efforts have been the Kenosha Sport Fishing and Conservation Club and the Hawthorne Hollow Nature Sanctuary and Arboretum. Both Carthage College and UW-Parkside have been doing water quality testing in the Pike River.

“These partnerships and community collaborations are critical to make the Pike River clean-up efforts successful for the long haul,” Kreuser said. The roughly three-month project is expected to begin on or about June 1. The total estimated cost is $655,000. Kenosha County is expecting to receive another grant to assist in the cost of the project, Kreuser said.

The 360-acre park, located at 761 Green Bay Road, was purchased in 1927 and is comprised of the floodplain of the Pike River, as a lagoon, bluff lands and upland forests surrounding the river corridor. Petrifying Springs Park Golf Course is located to the north of the park.

The earthen dam was built in 1936 when the Work Progress Administration constructed the Petrifying Springs Golf Course. The lagoon was deepened and the dam was constructed to create a lake to be used for irrigation water for the golf course. Later, an irrigation system was built for the golf course and it no longer relied on the lagoon. In its 2010 Pike River Watershed Plan, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources found the Petrifying Springs dam to be illegal and recommended its removal and streambank stabilization to improve fish migration to Lake Michigan. The Petrifying Springs Park dam is the last physical fish passage barrier in the watershed. After removal, the dam and roadway will be replaced by a vehicular bridge that will allow fish passage. The streambanks, both upstream and downstream, will be stabilized and restored to native vegetation. Invasive reed canary grass upstream of the dam will be removed and replaced with native vegetation to prevent the spread of the invasive vegetation. Steep slopes leading to the floodplain upstream of the dam will be restored for erosion control.

“Petrifying Springs Park is one of the jewels of the county’s park system,” Kreuser said. “This is a critical step toward restoring the park and ensuring it will be available for future generations to enjoy.”

Lake effect snow advisory issued

A lake effect snow advisory is in effect for eastern Kenosha County until 9 a.m. Saturday morning, the National Weather Service has announced.

Residents in the effected area could get an additional 2 to 4 inches of accumulation.

Winds also could reach 15 to 20 mph.

Parking ban in effect in Kenosha

According to the city of Kenosha website (as of 7:19 p.m.):

Two inches of snow have fallen in the City of Kenosha. No parking is allowed on posted snow routes until further notice.

Common Council report

The Common Council met on Wednesday night.  Present were about ten members of Boy Scout Troop 551 from the Wesley United Methodist Church, earning merit badges for observing city government at work.  Lou Rugani spoke on the planned demolition of Heritage House.  His suggestion was to offer the property to a developer for $1, who would then “bring it back to historical standards.  It’s called “adaptive re-use.”  This would put the property back on the tax rolls.  “Maybe a developer would have a vision in mind more than the city has shown to date.”  He urged the council to “act upon this yesterday.”

The following issues were discussed and acted upon at the meeting:

  • Nineteen operator’s (bartender) licenses, two special Class “B” Beer and/or special “Class B” Wine licenses, and one taxi driver license was approved.  These are on file in the Office of the City Clerk.

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Pleasant Prairie declares snow emergency

From Pleasant Prairie:

A Snow Emergency will be in effect in the Village of Pleasant Prairie beginning Friday, January 20 at 5:00 p.m. and ending Saturday, January 21 at 12:00 p.m. During the Snow Emergency, no parking is allowed on Village Streets. All Snow Emergency parking restrictions will be enforced throughout this time period. For more information related to the Village Snow and Ice Removal Plan, please visit

Kenosha man dies in early morning crash

A Kenosha man died in a traffic crash early this morning in Somers.

From a statement from the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department:
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Aldi’s receives approval for ordinance exception

Aldi’s (6404 – 75th Street) received approval tonight for a special exception to the spacing requirements of the zoning ordinance for “Class A” liquor licenses.  The current ordinance, which was approved five months ago, was put in place to limit the number of convenience stores and gas stations selling alcohol, according to vice chairman Jesse Downing.  The current requirement is that a new Class A liquor license cannot be located nearer than a mile from a present licensee.

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Cell phone tower agreement denied

At the Common Council meeting held last night, there was much discussion and confusion on the issue of the vacant land sale and leaseback agreement between the city of Kenosha and New Cingular Wireless PCS, for the property located at 1613 Washington Road.  There were three votes taken on this issue:  The first vote for a two-week deferral failed by a vote of 6 to 7.  The next vote to postpone indefinitely also failed by a vote of 5 to 8.  The third vote to approve, as presented, also failed by a very close margin (6 to 7).

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