Margie Gentner

Legosaurus labs

Tomorrow, on Saturday, January 12th, at the Dinosaur Discovery Museum, there will be five Legosaurus Labs sessions.  The museum is located at 5608 Tenth Avenue.  Times for the labs are 11:15 am, 12:45 pm, 1:45 pm, 2:45 pm, and 3:45 pm.  The 11:15 am session is full.  There is still space available in the other four sessions.

Join father and son Lego builders David and John Xandegar in a 30-minute Creativity lab using some of their more than 1 million bricks to create your favorite dinosaur.  The Xandegars will provide assistance and some instruction during the labs.  Three winners will be selected from all the participants, and the winning creations will be on display at the DDM.  Only the three winners will get to keep their creations.

These sessions are open to children ages 5 to 12 with an adult.  The cost of each session is $5, or $2 for Friends of the Museums.

City Plan Commission approves rezoning for Meijer’s

meijerAt tonight’s City Plan Commission meeting, the petition to rezone properties at 7729, 7733, 7741, and 7811 Green Bay Road from RS-1, single-family residential district, and a portion of a property at 7800 – 60th Avenue from M-2, heavy manufacturing district, to B-2, Community Business District, in conformance with Section 10.02 of the Zoning Ordinance was approved.

One of the Meijer representatives presented the plans to the commission.  Once the five parcels are rezoned, it would give them a 23-acre parcel of land.  The plan is to build a 191,000-square-foot store with a drive-thru pharmacy and garden center.  The back of the store would point out towards 77th Street.  In addition, a 24,061 convenience store and gas station would also be built off Green Bay Road.

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Harbor Park porch permits

Harbor Park_optAt Monday night’s Finance Committee and Common Council meeting, an agenda item had to do with a request from Steve Marovich, president of the Harbor Park Parcel C Condominium Association, to rescind all or a portion of the permit fees, plus penalty fees, associated with work started without permits totaling $3,240 for eleven porch permits on eleven separate parcels at 301 to 341 – 54th Street.

Marovich, Don Miller, treasurer, and Eric Routman, Harbor Park resident, all spoke at the Finance Committee meeting.  Marovich said that, due to the severe settling of the porches, and the rotten wood, the eleven porches had to be replaced.  They submitted a single plan to the city because all porch work was identical.  They were told they had to pay for a permit for each porch, and there was a penalty involved also due to the fact that work had already started on seven of the porches with no permit.

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Civil War lunchbox lecture

General Rosecrans (left) rallies his troops at Stones River.  Illustration by Kurz and Allison (1891).

General Rosecrans (left) rallies his troops at Stones River. Illustration by Kurz and Allison (1891).

A Civil War Museum program will take place tomorrow, Friday, January 11th, at 12:00 noon.  It is part of the Second Friday Lunchbox Lecture series, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.  It is a free program sponsored by the Milwaukee Civil War Roundtable and the Iron Brigade Association.  It takes place in Freedom Hall at the Civil War Museum, 5400 First Avenue, in Kenosha.

Friday’s lecture is entitled, “The 36th Illinois at Stones River.”  Tom DeFranco presents an account of the January 1, 1863, Battle of Stones River.  At the Battle of Stones River, the 36th Illinois engaged in a desperate fight.  A veteran regiment from Northeast Illinois, they had already seen action at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, and Perryville, Kentucky.

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Communication problem?

Do the alderpersons of the Common Council have a communication problem with the mayor’s office, or with the municipal building administration?  Some believe they do, and some don’t think so.

At Monday night’s Common Council meeting, during the Alderpersons’ Comments portion of the meeting, several of the alderpersons made comments about the front-page article that appeared in the Kenosha News that morning regarding communication issues.  Two alderpersons, David Bodgala and Kevin Mathewson, questioned the trip that happened months ago, the visit to Madison to see a Madison Mallards baseball game, hosted by the Northwoods League.

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Liquor license quota ends

Photo by Lukas Zeman via stock.xchng

Photo by Lukas Zeman via stock.xchng

At Monday night’s Common Council meeting, it was approved by a vote of 10 to 4 to repeal a section of the city’s zoning ordinance requiring certain distances  be kept between retail liquor license holders.  Instead, the penalties for violating any of the ordinance’s rules became harsher.

At first, Alderperson Rocco LaMacchia wanted to defer the vote for two weeks.  The agenda item before this one had to do with who could appear on behalf of a license holder in front of licensing disciplinary hearings. That item was deferred for two weeks due to the absence of the chairperson of the Licensing & Permit Committee (Alderperson Jesse Downing).  (Read more about this item below.)

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KUSD votes to terminate Simmons Field lease

chalk-board-KUSDThere were three Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) standing committee meetings that took place earlier tonight.  Listed below is a summary of those meetings:

Planning/Facilities/Equipment Standing Committee Meeting

Patrick Finnemore, KUSD’s director of facilities, provided a report of background information on the Simmons Field lease termination.  In the fall of 2005, the KUSD was offered $2 million by the United Hospital System for Durkee Elementary School and related property.  It was decided that a new school would be constructed to replace both Durkee and Lincoln Elementary Schools on the former American Brass site.  A deal was negotiated between the district and the city of Kenosha that included the following:

  • The KUSD received approximately 6.36 acres of land at the Brass site for the construction of Brass Community School.

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TID approved for old KYF site

Photo by mensatic via

Photo by mensatic via

At last night’s Finance and Common Council meetings, a resolution proposed by Mayor Keith Bosman to create tax incremental district (TID) #15 was approved.  This is the property that represents the old KYF Building in Library Park, in downtown Kenosha. The vote was unanimous at the Finance Committee meeting, 5 to 0 (Alderperson Tod Ohnstad was not present), and also at the Common Council meeting, 14 to 0 (Alderpersons Eric Haugaard, Jesse Downing and Ohnstad were not present).

At the Finance Committee, John Fox spoke against creation of the TID.  He said that he expressed his concerns at the last City Plan Commission meeting.  (To read about this meeting, click here:  TID Approved by the City Plan Commission.)  His objections were two-fold.  First, when the re-zoning was done on the property, he said that there was no mention on the TID being created.  Also, a question was raised at that meeting by two of the commissioners as to the property’s blight condition.  He said that two of the commissioners were not sure that the property was more than 50% blighted.  He also said that there was no formal city inspection done on the property, only one by the property owner.  Secondly, this is the first TID for 100% housing.  It would be setting a precedent for the future.  He stated that he hoped that the commission would not approve this.  He said that he talked to assistant city attorney Jon Richardson, and Richardson’s comment was that he hoped the inspection had been done.

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Resolution approved urging governor to OK Kenosha casino

Gov Walker casinoAt tonight’s Common Council meeting, an agenda item included a resolution sponsored by Alderperson Patrick Juliana and co-sponsored by Alderpersons Michael Orth, Jan Michalski, Curt Wilson, Tod Ohnstad, Scott Gordon, Eric Haugaard, Jesse Downing, and Rocco LaMacchia to urge the governor to approve the casino proposed for the city of Kenosha.  The resolution was approved by a vote of 12 to 2.

Alderpersons Kevin Mathewson and David Bogdala voted against the resolution.  Mathewson said that he didn’t feel that a “nasty letter should be sent to the governor.”  Bogdala said that he voted against it because his constituents are opposed to the casino at Dairyland.

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Museum gets in on Second Saturday events

Second Saturday with the City

The Kenosha Public Museum will start to participate in the Second Saturday events that have been taking place in downtown Kenosha.  The first of the events will be held this Saturday from 6 to 9 pm.  It’s called, “Hot Jazz on a Cold Night.”

In conjunction with Downtown Kenosha Second Saturday, enjoy great exhibits, music and refreshments at the museum.  This month, it’s antipasto and art!  Come and hear the jazzy sounds of Synergy, have appetizers, and help create an indoor public art mural.  You can also visit the museum exhibits.

Tickets are $20 per person, or $15 for friends of the museums.  Two drink tickets are included in the ticket price.  Call (262) 653-4140 for tickets.


Two other upcoming events include:

  • February 9 – Kenosha Public Museum – It’s Valentine’s Day, Charlie Brown!  From jazz to ragtime to pops, Preludio Strings sets the mood with music.  Throw in chocolate treats of the delectable kind, and the celebration begins!  Also, be sure to check out the “Peanuts. . .Naturally” exhibit.
  • March 9 – Civil War Museum – The Luck o’ the Irish – A bit o’ blarney, the lilt of Irish music, and light refreshments by Ashling on the Lough will have your Irish eyes smiling!  Be sure to see the exhibit, “Keith Rocco:  Capturing the Past.”

Demolition begins at KEP

KEP 008_optDriving past the Kenosha Engine Plant today, the writer noticed that demolition has begun at the old Chrysler plant.  The last engine was produced on October 22, 2010.  Here are some pictures which were taken earlier this afternoon on the south side of the property:

Along 60th Street

Along 60th Street

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Lincoln in the movies

Lincoln - Team of RivalsImages and artifacts from many of the 200+ films and television productions that have depicted the 16th President of the United States are on display at the Civil War Museum.  It’s a new exhibit called “Lincoln in the Movies.”  Included are images and artifacts from many films and television productions that have depicted Abraham Lincoln.

This exhibit will run through May 31, 2013, in the second floor lobby hallway cases.

Frost fest at the Kenosha Public Museum

Frost FestFrost Fest is a free drop-in program for children with adults at the Kenosha Public Museum.  Sponsored by the Friends of the Museums.

Animals in Winter
Wednesday, December 26th, 1 pm to 4 pm
Find out how animals survive and stay warm in the winter.  Make animal tracks to discover what animals visit your yard.  Help our feathered friends by making some bird treats.

Celebrate Kwanzaa
Thursday, December 27th, 1 pm to 4 pm
Learn about the holiday “Kwanzaa,” celebrated December 26 through January 1st.  Make a Kwanzaa pasta necklace.  Create a family tree.   Weave a mkeka mat.  Play African musical instruments.

Happy New Year!
Friday, December 28th, 1 pm to 4 pm
Let’s welcome 2013!  Make a New Year’s hat and a noisemaker for your New Year’s Eve celebration.  Make a peace dove.  Decorate a wall calendar to keep track of all those important 2013 dates.

Call the museum at (262) 653-4130 with any questions.

Holiday tree disposal sites offered

christmas treesHoliday trees may be dropped off inside the green snow fence enclosures at the locations listed below until January 31st, 2013.  Collected trees will be chipped and used as mulch in city parks. To prevent damage to chipping equipment, please remove all tree bags, ornaments, tree stands, nails, and other metal objects and place in trash receptacles provided at each bin.

Disposal of other holiday greenery (wreaths, garlands, etc.) must be placed with your normal residential trash collection.

Holiday Tree Disposal Locations

  • Wolfenbuttel Park:  60th Street/3rd Avenue
  • Park @ Southwest Library:  38th Avenue/79th Street

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Holiday trash collection and drop-off site hours

trashThere will be a one-day delay for curbside collection of garbage, recycling, tire, and bulk collection routes for the Christmas day holiday beginning Tuesday, December 25, 2012. Tuesday’s routes will be picked up on Wednesday, Wednesday’s routes on Thursday, Thursday’s routes on Friday, and Friday’s routes on Saturday, December 29, 2012.

For the New Year’s day holiday, the delay will begin on Tuesday, January 1, 2013. Tuesday’s routes will be picked up on Wednesday, Wednesday’s routes on Thursday, Thursday’s routes on Friday, and Friday’s routes on Saturday, January 5, 2013.

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New second Saturday events to begin on January 12

2013 calendar

The City of Kenosha will present a new series of entertainment at the Kenosha Public Museum and Civil War Museum this winter, tying in with Second Saturday specials in downtown Kenosha.

Second Saturdays with the City begins on Saturday, January 12th, with “Hot Jazz on a Cold Night,” featuring music by Synergy from 6 to 9 pm at the Kenosha Public Museum. People may contribute their talents to an indoor public art mural,visit the museum exhibits, and enjoy antipasto appetizers.

Upcoming Second Saturdays include “It’s Valentine’s Day, Charlie Brown!” on Saturday, February 9th, which highlights a new museum exhibit, “Peanuts . . . Naturally.”  From jazz to ragtime to pops, Preludio Strings sets the mood with music.  Refreshments will include delectable chocolate treats.

On Saturday, March 9th, the festivities move to the Civil War Museum, for “The Luck o’ the Irish” party.  A bit o’ blarney, the lilt of Irish music by Jeff Ward, and light refreshments by Ashling on the Lough will have your Irish eyes smiling. Be sure to see the exhibit, “Keith Rocco: Capturing the Past.”

Cost is $20 per event and includes refreshments. A discounted price of $15 is available to members of Friends of the Museums. For further information, or to purchase tickets, phone the museum at (262) 653-4140.

Police and Fire Department retirements and promotions

Kenosha-Police-Dept-Badge-Logo-webKenosha Fire Department LogoOn Tuesday morning, there were several retirements approved by the Police and Fire Commission.  Those retirements are listed below, along with their years of service in parentheses:

  • Detective Kenneth Kopesky’s retirement effective December 31, 2012 (42).  Kopesky is the fifty longest-serving member in the history of the Kenosha Police Department.
  • Line Captain John Kiel’s retirement effective December 31, 2012 (33).
  • Fire House Captain Kenneth Walton’s retirement effective December 31, 2012 (32).

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Shell Plaza loses beer license

Shell LogoAt Monday night’s Common Council meeting, it was voted to approve the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation of the Licensing & Permit Committee to revoke the beer license of Shell Food Plaza, located at 11748 – 75th Street.  This was a voice vote.  It was not an unanimous decision; there were a couple of no’s that rang out, which couldn’t be identified definitively.

Ray Misner, of the Licensing and Community Standards Consultants of Wisconsin, LLC, spoke on behalf of the licensee, although he stated that he was not his legal counsel.  He handed out a packet to the Council members and to Steve Cain, the legal counsel for the Common Council.  Misner stated that the old agent, Yolo Yolov, was no longer employed by the corporation.  “The successor agent is a temporary placeholder until approved for permanent placement.”  He made the case that the revocation was against the agent, the employee, and not the corporation.  The recommendation of the Licensing & Permit Committee is for revocation.  He said that the demerit points should not be applied to the corporation or to the new agent.  He stated that he was challenging the revocation.

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Public works releases map for 2013 resurfacing

At Monday’s Public Works Committee meeting, Mike Lemens, public works director, unveiled the 2013 resurfacing map:

Flag 001_opt

The list of streets scheduled for resurfacing in 2013 include:

  1. 26th Avenue:   31st Street to 34th Street
  2. 34th Avenue:   86th Place to 88th Place
  3. Lincoln Rd Intersections:      28th Avenue and 22nd Avenue
  4. 70th Street:      39th Avenue to 40th Avenue
  5. Cul-de-Sacs:   87th Place West of 42nd Avenue and 44th Avenue south of 87th Place
  6. 40th Street:      Sheridan Road to 80 feet East

If there are any questions, they can be answered by Clement Abongwa, assistant city engineer.  He can be reached on (262) 653-4166.

Quota system ends for retail liquor licenses

Gas Station Selling LiquorAt Monday night’s Common Council meeting, several changes were approved to Chapter 10 of the code of general ordinances for the city of Kenosha entitled, “Alcohol Beverages.”  These changes were sponsored by Alderperson Jesse Downing, chairman of the Licensing & Permit Committee, and co-sponsored by Alderpersons Patrick Juliana, Rocco LaMacchia, and Curt Wilson.  The changes included:

  • Eliminating the self-imposed quota, which was previously set at one license for every 5,000 residents, allowing for 20 retail liquor licenses in the city.  All of these licenses are in use at the present time.
  • A new, separate system where two license violations in one year will result in a 60-day suspension, and three violations in one year will result in license revocation.

The retail liquor licenses will still fall under the point-based demerit system, where 100 demerit points over two years will result in a review of the license in front of the Licensing & Permit Committee that could result in suspension or revocation.  Any applicant for a Class A license will still need to apply to the city, contact the alderperson of the district, and be approved by the Common Council.

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War zone flag dedicated

Flag 002_optAt Monday night’s Common Council meeting, Scott Martell dedicated a flag on behalf of his son, an Iraqi war veteran.  Flags were flown in his son’s division from the home towns of the men and women who were serving there.  All who were serving in that war zone signed the flags.  The flags were then returned to the municipalities from which they came.  Three were returned to this area, one in Kenosha County, one in Kenosha, and one in Pleasant Prairie.

(The photographer apologizes to anyone who may have been cut out of the picture.)

Hancock tries to dispel rumors

chalk-board-KUSDLast night, the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) school board met for two hours.  Michele Hancock, superintendent of the district, made a PowerPoint presentation trying to dispel some of the rumors that she is hearing.  The rumors and facts that Hancock gave to dispel them are summarized below:

Rumor:  All staff will be fired when the contract expires on June 30, 2013.  Fact:  We cannot and would not do that.  State statutes protect that from happening.

Rumor:  Staff reductions and class size increases are the result of the Transformation Plan.  Fact:  No.  These changes are due to budgetary constraints and wage increases that have been included in the contract.  Eight hundred million dollars ($800 million) has been taken out of the Wisconsin education system.  I have never seen anything like it.

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BeExposed! to the Arts at the Rhode – holiday concert and art celebration

On Friday, December 21st, starting at 6 pm, at the Rhode Center for the Arts, located at 514 – 56th Street, in Kenosha, the Kenosha Art Association will be presenting The Kal Bergendahl Project Holiday Concert and Art Celebration.  The suggested donation is $5.

Come and enjoy a jazzy mix of your Christmas favorites performed by the Kal Bergendahl Project (KBP). Founded in the fall of 2005, the KBP steps into the worlds of vocal R&B, pop, and smooth jazz, creating a unique and interesting blend of music that attracts a wide audience. The group’s sounds are reminiscent of David Sanborn and Kirk Whalum on the jazz side and Norah Jones and John Mayer on the pop side.

Melodic variety is a key element of the KBP’s style, as a live show features pop and soul vocal melodies incorporated with instrumental melodies led by the saxophone, guitar and bass. This variety creates an intriguing musical texture that can be led by any member in the band.

The Kenosha Art Association’s mission is to promote art, art education, and art appreciation in the greater Kenosha area.  Visit their website at:

Health care benefits extended to domestic partners of city employees

At last night’s Finance Committee meeting, the proposed resolution sponsored by Aldperson Chris Schwartz and co-sponsored by Alderpersons Michael Orth, Scott Gordon, Curt Wilson, Tod Ohnstad, Jan Michalski, Daniel Prozanski, Anthony Kennedy, and Keith Rosenberg, authorizing and directing the directors of the Human Resources Department and the Finance Department of the city of Kenosha to extend health benefits coverage in the employee health plan to domestic partners of eligible city of Kenosha employees and their dependents, was approved unanimously.

When asked what the fiscal impact would be, Steve Stanczak, the city’s human resources director, said that “with statistics I’m familiar with, it would be less than 1% of a medical spend.”

Chairman Daniel Prozanski said that the city has no idea how many single employees would now elect to be covered under the family plan.  They have no data on the number of domestic partnerships in place, which have been registered with the state.

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Transit Commission approves bus fare increase yesterday’s Kenosha Board of Transit Commissioners meeting, there was unanimous support for the bus fare increase from $1.50 to $1.75 for adults, even though there was some discussion about just going to an even $2. Route supervisor Dave Ishmael said that, of the numerous phone calls that he fielded over the last six or seven weeks, most all of them made that comment.  “Why not just go to an even $2?”  He said that “80% of people will put in $2 now.  People don’t like to carry change.”  Most people said they were willing to pay more, $2 to $3; however, they wanted to make sure that the restored Saturday service would remain in place.  Transit director Ron Iwen agreed with Ishmael and said that he had similar sentiments expressed on phone calls he received.

On November 27th, the Common Council had voted to include $25,873 in the Transit budget to provide hourly bus service for all of the Saturday routes.  Currently, three Saturday routes run every other hour (Routes 2, 4, and 5).  Click here to read that article:   “Common Council Votes to Restore Hourly Bus Service on Saturday.”

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Bell asked Police/Fire Commission to request FBI investigation

At this morning’s Police and Fire Commission meeting, Michael M. Bell, retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and 21-year resident of Kenosha, requested that the commissioners contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to conduct an investigation into the patterns and practices of the Kenosha Police Department.  On Friday, Bell sent a portion of the affidavits discovered by his investigative team to the commissioners, to the FBI, and to the attorney general’s office.

Bell spoke during the citizen’s comments portion of the meeting.  He said that on November 9, 2004, his son, Michael E. Bell, was shot by police.  Bell said that there were eight people standing there on the day his son was shot, four police officers, and four eye witnesses.  “No one saw my son’s hand on any weapon,” he said.  He relayed the story of a nurse, who said that she heard gun shots and one of the police officers say, “What the hell did you do that for?” and “Get help now!”  Bell claims there was a cover up, and that the chief of police and top administrators were involved.  He then asked that the lead of his investigative team, Ira Robins, speak.

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A Christmas poem to keep you safe

Twas the NightThis 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:

With the holidays fast approaching and 2012 soon coming to an end, we thought we would write a special safety article for the season.

Together with Officer Friendly, Dennis Walsh, we wrote this poem based on “T’was the Night Before Christmas.”  We hope you enjoy it.  Have a safe and happy holiday season.

T’was the Night of the Break-In

T’was the night of the break-in, I again case your house.
I had cased it for weeks, quiet like a mouse.
There were no lights on, you had no alarm.
You made it so easy for me to do harm.
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Simmons Field lease is approved

Northwoods_League_LogoThe topic of the Simmons Athletic Field lease between the city, the Board of Park Commissioners, and Baseball Like It Oughta Be, LLC, and the Northwoods League, Inc., was on the agendas of both the Finance Committee and the Common Council meetings tonight.  Vern Stenman and Conor Caloia were the two representatives from the Northwoods League present at both meetings to answer questions.

Alderperson David Bogdala said that he was in attendance at the public meeting held last Tuesday.  To read the article on that meeting, click here:  “Simmons Field Meeting.”  Bogdala made several amendments to the lease, including inserting a security deposit performance bond, a renaming clause, language regarding the sale of alcohol and wine beverages, fireworks displays, and handicapped access.   He said, “If these are not detailed, written in the contract, we’ll have problems down the road.”  Bogdala’s motion to amend the lease at the Finance Committee failed for lack of a second.

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Kenosha symphony concert

K Symphony Logo

Join the Kenosha Symphony Orchestra for their 73rd performance season of
“A Tradition of Musicianship” with their new conductor, Robert Hasty.  The concert will take place on Sunday, December 16th, at 3 pm.  It’s called “Holiday Fare,” and it will be held at the Historic Reuther Auditorium, 913 – 57th Street.  The concert features classic holiday songs (and classical music), a visit from Santa, a delicious bake sale, plus… take your ticket to Mangia restaurant before or after the concert for a free glass of prosecco wine!  Cookies, wine and Christmas music – sounds like the perfect way to celebrate a Packers victory!

Call (262) 654-9080 for more information.  Tickets are $15 in advance for adults and seniors, $5 for students.  At the door, the prices are $20 and $5.  Visit

Simmons Field meeting

There were about sixty people in attendance tonight at the Simmons Field public information meeting held at the Southwest Library.  Here is a rendering of the ball field which was shown at the meeting:

Mayor Keith Bosman, as well as other city representatives, public works director Mike Lemens, community development and inspections director Jeff LaBahn, and parks superintendent Jeff Warnock, were in attendance.  Alderpersons who were present were Steve Bostrom, Curt Wilson, Chris Schwartz, Jan Michalski, Kevin Mathewson, Keith Rosenberg, David Bogdala, and G. John Ruffolo.  Vern Stenman and Conor Caloia were the two representatives from the Northwoods League.

Bosman made a few introductory remarks.  The Northwoods League’s main franchise is in Madison.  They are looking to Kenosha because Kenosha is the fourth largest city in Wisconsin.  The league started out with 5 teams; now, they are up to 16 teams in four states.  They will run 35 games from June to mid-August.  The team in Wausau draws 1,200 to 1,700 people a game; Madison draws 6,000 people a game.  If this gets approved, construction would start in the spring of 2013, baseball games would continue in the summer, and in the fall, the remainder of the work would be completed to have the opening pitch thrown out on June 1, 2014.  Bosman brought with him a copy of the 30-page lease, which is ready to be voted on by the Common Council on Monday night.

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