County program would give those who have defaulted on mortgages a second chance

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Individuals in Kenosha and Racine counties who have defaulted on their home mortgages could get another chance to save their home through a new program expected to be available in July.

The Home Foreclosure Mediation Program uses a formal mediation process between lenders and borrowers to affect an alternative to home foreclosures.

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It’s time to build heat awareness

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Did you realize that Thursday was Wisconsin Heat Awareness Day?

Probably not, based on the temperatures that battled to reach 60 degrees. But remember earlier in the week when the heat index was pushing 100?  Believe it or not, those temps will be back and the county wants you to know how to stay healthy when they are here again.

Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser joined with Governor Walker in proclaiming June 9, 2011, as Wisconsin Heat Awareness Day.

“This is a good time to review how heat and humidity affects you,” Kreuser said. “Heat is America’s Number One Weather related killer. Knowing what you can do to stay cool can save your life.”

“Per the National Weather Service, between 1982 and 2010, Kenosha County experienced 17 Heat Wave events representing 61 Heat Wave Days resulting in four deaths,” stated Lt. Ed Van Tine, Director, Kenosha County Emergency Management.

“People who are most vulnerable to heat-related illness and death are the elderly, infants, young children, people with chronic heart or lung problems, people with disabilities, overweight people, those who work outdoors or in hot settings, users of some medications, especially those taken for mental disorders, movement disorder, allergies, depression and heart or circulatory problems. Other vulnerable people are those who are isolated and don’t know when or how to cool off or when to call for help,” Van Tine said.

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On Memorial Day …

Remember those who served and especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

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Units responding to report of car fire

Photo by kconnors with morgueFile.com

At 3:56 p.m., Somers Fire and Rescue and sheriff’s deputies are responding to a report of a car fire on Green Bay Road just north of Washington Road.

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Kenosha Community Foundation creates Howard J. Brown Fund

At its May meeting, the Board of Director’s of the Kenosha Community Foundation created a named endowment in honor of Howard J. Brown – a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors for over 17 years.

The endowment, to be known as the “Howard J. Brown Fund,” was established with contributions received by the foundation since Brown’s passing in April.

The Howard J. Brown Fund, like other named endowments overseen by the Kenosha Community Foundation, is part of the foundation’s unrestricted funds. These funds are invested and the income will be used for grants to charitable organizations in the Kenosha area. Some of the grants awarded will carry the name of Howard J. Brown, along with other named funds. In this way, Howard’s philanthropy will be perpetuated in future years.

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Small craft advisory issued

The National Weather Service has issued a small craft advisory for an area of Lake Michigan that includes the Kenosha shoreline.

The advisory will be in effect from 1 p.m. today until 7 a.m. Friday.

A small craft advisory means that wind speeds of 21 to 33 knots and/or waves of at least 3 to 5 feet are expected to produce hazardous conditions to small craft. Inexperienced mariners — especially those operating smaller vessels — should avoid navigating in these conditions.

Severe thunderstorm warning issued

At 7:28 p.m, a severe thunderstorm warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for an area that includes Kenosha County.

The warning is in effect until 8:15 p.m.

The storm moving in from the west at about 65 mph is expected to be near Kenosha Airport around 7:50 p.m. and downtown around 7:55 p.m.

UPDATE 8:01 p.m. — Tree reported down in the 4500 block of Highway L, Somers.

UPDATE 8:07 p.m. — Police officer reports tree down in 4700 block of 20th Avenue, blocking the road.

UPDATE 8:18 p.m. — Severe thunderstorm warning has expired. Tornado watch continues until 10 p.m.

Students participate in Law Day activities


The essay finalists pose for a photo in the Assembly chamber during their visit to Madison. /Submitted photo

State Rep. Samantha Kerkman (R-Randall), representing the Kenosha County legislative delegation, participated in the annual Kenosha County Law Day at the State Capitol. The event is held each year to provide students with the opportunity to learn more about law enforcement, and local and state government.

Sponsored by the Kenosha County Council of the American Legion and organized by Deputy Ray Rowe of the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department, Officer Dennis Walsh of the Kenosha Police Department, Commander Dennis Hackeloer of the Kenosha County Council of the American Legion, and local school teachers, the event kicked off at the Kenosha County Administrative building on Monday, May 3. During that time, participating students were given the opportunity to witness the proceedings of an actual court case, tour the 911 center, and meet local government officials. The event also included a canine demonstration and a crime scene investigation demonstration. The American Legion Post 21 provided a lunch to the students.

Each year, Kenosha County Law Day includes an essay writing competition in which students write about a featured topic. The topic chosen for this year was “If I Could Change a Law,” and the finalists of the competition were rewarded with a trip to the State Capitol. During their Capitol visit, the finalists were given a private tour by Rep. Kerkman, who also provided a more in-depth discussion about how state government works and posed for pictures with the group. Rep. Kerkman then joined the group for a lunch sponsored by Pete Wasilevich, owner of the Kenosha area Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants.

The winner of this year’s competition is John F. Holeman. In his winning essay, Holeman wrote, “The law I would like to change is the tolerance of disrespect and desecration of our flag under the First Amendment. Additionally, I want to introduce the consideration of a penalty which is punishable under treasonous acts against our country.”

The history of Law Day dates back to the Boston Massacre trials of 1770, when John Adams defended a British officer and soldiers charged with shooting into a crowd of protestors and killing five of them. His role in the trials serves as a lawyerly exemplar of adherence to both the rule of law and the defense of the rights of those accused. Recognizing Law Day encompasses a renewal of the understanding of and appreciation for the fundamental principle of the rule of law.

Rep. Kerkman would like to thank Deputy Rowe, Officer Walsh, and the Kenosha County Council of the American Legion for their efforts in making Kenosha County Law Day 2011 a success.

Drug unit makes arrest

Photo by kconnors with morgueFile.com

The Kenosha County Drug Operations Group (K-DOG) executed a search warrant in the 350 block of 48th Street today. The suspect, a 48-year-old man, was arrested on two counts of Delivery of Cocaine and one count of Possession with Intent to Deliver Cocaine, and was found in possession of 3 grams of crack cocaine in eight individual baggies,  a Sheriff’s Department press release said.

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Paul Ryan says no to Senate run

US Rep. Paul Ryan

Kenosha County’s congressman Paul Ryan has ended speculation that he might run for US Senate. He won’t run.

Current US Sen. Herb Kohl announced this week that he will not seek re-election.

Pleasant Prairie approves paving projects

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On Monday, May 16, the Pleasant Prairie Village Board awarded a contract for paving projects to Payne & Dolan, Inc. of Kenosha in the amount of $983,262.13. Seven projects are slated for completion as part of the 2011 Paving Program:

Petrifying Springs Golf Course celebrating 75th birthday this week

Petrifying Springs Golf Course is celebrating its 75th year in operation with some special activities this week, May 9 to 13.

The celebration includes the following:

  • $.75 per hole green fees & $.75 per hole cart fees (Must make tee time for these rates).  At these rates the cost for 9 holes would be $6.75 walking and $13.50 riding. At these rates the cost for 18 holes would be $13.50 walking and $27.00 riding. These rates will be valid at both courses from opening to 2 p.m., when twilight rates become available.
  • $.75 hot dogs, candy bars, bags of chips, fountain sodas, bottled water and free popcorn.
  • All week, all American meal specials with American food items at the bar and grills will be offered.
  • A participation prize for all golfers will include coupons for a discount on a future round of golf (current local coupon), the driving range at Brighton Dale (buy one bucket get one free), 10% off future lessons, food and beverage at the clubhouse ( buy an entrée and get a free appetizer) and 25% off golf shop apparel.

On Friday, there will be a one-day celebration party that will  include:

Howard J. Brown memorial to be broadcast, webcast

The Memorial Service for Howard J. Brown, community leader and owner of the Kenosha News, will take place today starting at 3 p.m. at Siebert Chapel at Carthage College.

If you cannot make it in person, the service will also be broadcast live on WGTD 91.1 FM.

The News also will be streaming live video.

If you missed seeing or hearing the service live, you may be able to find it later here at Carthage’s iTunes archive.

Organizations team up for Post Prom Parties

A scene from last year's post prom party. /Submitted photo

The Kenosha Sheriff’s Department announces a partnership with Youth for Christ and the YMCA to host a Post Prom Party for the third year in a row.

Prom night can be a dangerous time for students. They don’t want the night to end. Without positive alternatives students can be tempted to attend parties where drugs and alcohol are offered.

“I am so glad to see our community donating time and money in order to encourage students to make great decisions on prom night,” said Sheriff David Beth. “Poor choices made on prom night can affect a person for the rest of their life.”

Many prizes will be given away in a drawing included in the price of admission. Some of those prizes are gift cards to area businesses and restaurants. The big prizes are season tickets to Six Flags, an iPod touch and an Xbox 360. Event coordinators want students to be attracted by great prizes, fun and food. They want students to avoid places that might push them into making poor choices.

Volunteers were able to organize two events this year:

Views from outside the Ryan listening session

U.S Rep. Paul Ryan held a series of listening sessions Tuesday in Kenosha County at which he detailed his vision of the federal budget and took questions from audience members.

The audience at the first session in Twin Lakes was supportive. The audience at his second appearance in Paddock Lake was more mixed.

In Kenosha, there were protesters out front. All three appearances had more people that wanted to attend than the rooms they were in could hold.

Freelance photographer Mike Gordon was not able to get inside the Madigrano Auditorium at Gateway Technical College, so he talked to some of the people outside. Here’s his video:

Meanwhile, westofthei.com does have extensive video from the Western Kenosha County sessions. It’s likely that Ryan’s statements were similar in Kenosha, even if the atmosphere was more charged.

Eight apply for Gateway Technical College Board seats

Eight candidates have applied for the three Gateway Technical College Board seats up for appointment, including three who are seeking re-appointment to the board.

Current board members Pamela Zenner-Richards (Racine), Ram Bhatia (Racine) and Neville Simpson (Kenosha) are seeking re-appointment. Frederick Brookhouse (Pleasant Prairie), Erin Decker (Silver Lake), Fred Loomis (Kenosha), John Skalbeck (Pleasant Prairie) and Edward Potter (Mount Pleasant) are candidates, as well.

Appointments begin July 1 and end June 30, 2014.

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County Health Department publicizes services during public health week

Raising awareness nationally and locally of public health’s critical role in ensuring a healthy America is the focus of National Public Health Week, which was this week.

The week long celebration, started by the American Public Health Association in 1996, educates the public, policy-makers, and public health professionals about issues important to improving the health of all Americans.

The Kenosha County Division of Health would like residents to know that “Public Health is Everywhere.”  From the food you eat, the water you drink, the home you live in, and the way you get to work every day.  Public health is all around us – protecting your health by safeguarding the places where you live, work, and play.

If you can answer “yes” to any of the questions below, the Kenosha County Division of Health (KCDOH) may be able to help you.

Hazardous weather outlook issued for area this weekend

National Weather Service graphic

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for an region that includes the Kenosha area.

The statement says there is a chance for severe thunderstorms stating tonight and continuing through Sunday night. Showers of some kind are in the forecast through Monday.

Units responding to report of crash on I-94

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At 6:52 p.m., sheriff’s deputies and state patrol are responding to a report of a crash in the northbound lanes of I-94, at the Highway N overpass.

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Police find individuals involved in possible child enticements; suspects say it was a prank

The Pleasant Prairie Police Department reports that three individuals have been identified in connection with three recent reports of possible child enticement incidents. All three teens told police that this was a prank, that they were out driving around and yelling at kids and that they never intended to harm anyone.

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Kenosha County ranks 61st and 57th in Wis. in UW health report

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Kenosha County ranked 61st out of 72 counties in Health Outcomes and 57th in Health Factors, according to the new County Health Rankings report released Wednesday by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Kenosha County Health Department said in a news release.

The rankings have ranked the health of Wisconsin counties annually since 2003.

Kenosha County remained consistent with their ranking of 61st in Health Outcomes, dropping one spot from 2010. Improvement was seen in the Health Factors ranking, moving from 63rd in 2010 to 57th this year.

“The rankings help everyone see how where we live, learn, work and play influences how healthy we are and how long we live,” said Cindy Johnson, director/health officer of the Kenosha County Health Department.  Continue reading

Units responding to report of crash

Photo by kconnors with morgueFile.com

At about 7:25 a.m., sheriff’s deputies and Somers Fire and Rescue are responding to a report of a crash near Highway H and Highway S.

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Social hosting ordinance passes committee

Note: The following report was prepared by Steve Fredriksson, SPF Process Director, “Stand Tall Against Alcohol,”  Concerned Citizens Coalition On Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse for Greater Kenosha — DH

An ordinance designed to increase enforcement of existing underage drinking laws has passed the  Kenosha Public Safety & Welfare Committee meeting Monday.

The proposed “social hosting” ordinance, sponsored by Alderman Michael Orth, more clearly delineates parent/guardian legal responsibility as it pertains to underage drinking gatherings. It also defines who can be held responsible when underage drinking occurs, and defines “residence, premises, public or private property” as those areas pertain to underage drinking gatherings. This ordinance closely mimics the social ordinance that has been in force in Manitowoc. That ordinance is one that is considered a “model”, and that is being replicated at municipalities throughout the state.

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UW School of Medicine to survey area residents

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The Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW), is the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health’s new statewide research project. Every year, SHOW meets with Wisconsin residents from all over the state to measure their health. This spring, the survey teams will visit households in the Kenosha area.

SHOW surveyors will knock on the doors of randomly selected households to complete a multi-step in-person health survey. SHOW combines personal interviews, laboratory tests, physical measurements, and community environmental measurements to gather important information on our health. The information that SHOW compiles will be made available to researchers who are interested in Wisconsin’s public health issues.

In order for SHOW’s health measurements to be truly representative of Wisconsin’s population, the survey randomly selects households from throughout the state. Roughly 1,200 households from neighborhoods around Wisconsin are invited to participate each year.

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Local services set for slain police officer with Kenosha ties

Services in Kenosha have been set for Friday and Saturday for a Fond du Lac police officer who was shot and killed on duty.

Officer Craig Birkholz was killed in a stand-off Sunday in Fond du Lac. Birkholz is a Kenosha native.

A full obituary and info on the services is available at the Piasecki-Althaus Funeral Home website.

RecPlex Kids Expo coverage

The RecPlex in Pleasant Prairie hosted its annual Kids Expo Saturday.

The Kids Expo is free and open to the public. Families attending the expo found nearly 50 exhibitors on hand providing demonstrations, products, information and activities related to youth and families. Special youth-oriented activities included: on-stage entertainment every half hour; children’s Passport Raffles; an obstacle course sponsored by Pleasant Prairie Fire & Rescue; an appearance by Rico, the Pleasant Prairie Police Department’s K-9 friend; a free inflatables area; and more.

County Emergency Management to host weather spotting classes

NOAA photo /Public domain

Kenosha County Emergency Management will sponsor Beginners and Advanced classes on Severe Weather/Tornado Spotting on April 4 and 28.

“The classes are free and the public is highly encouraged to attend to learn more about severe weather, how it is formed and how it affects them. Law enforcement, fire, EMS, public works and amateur radio operators are especially encouraged to attend,” Lt. Ed Van Tine, director, Kenosha County Emergency Management, said.

“Trained Tornado Spotters are the eyes and ears of the National Weather Service. Tornado Spotters provide critical information during severe weather to the county and the National Weather Service,” said Van Tine. “These two classes build upon each other and will inform citizens what they need to know to identify potential hazardous weather. Whether people want to be a trained tornado spotter or just become more knowledgeable about severe weather and tornadoes, these two classes are extremely informative.”

The April 4 Beginner’s Severe Weather/Tornado Spotter’s class will cover basic meteorology, including how tornadoes are formed, tornado spotting tips and tornado reporting procedures.

The April 28 Advanced Severe Weather/Tornado Spotter’s class will cover thunderstorm types, thunderstorm development, wall clouds, tornado classifications and variations, and a tornado’s life cycle.

Kenosha County is one of several southeast Wisconsin counties to offer the Advance Severe Weather/Tornado Spotter’s Class. The Beginner’s Tornado Spotter’s Class is a prerequisite to taking the Advanced Spotter’s Class and can be taken anytime previous to the Advanced Class.

Both classes are free  and will be held at the Kenosha County Center, Highways 45 and 50 in Bristol, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. To register for the April 4 and/or the April 28 classes, please RSVP no later than April 1 to Kenosha County Emergency Management at 605-7900 with your name, phone number (in case of cancellation) and how many people will be attending, so as to assure enough handouts and seating.

The Severe Weather/Tornado Spotter Classes are co-sponsored by Kenosha County Emergency Management, the National Weather Service, and the Milwaukee Area Skywarn Association.





Opinion: Good teachers deserve good comp and taxpayers deserve relief

People sputtered, spit and spewed my damnation, private and public, and probably wanted to do very bad things to my privates in public, when I wrote a few weeks ago in support of the so-called budget repair bill, and urged the 14 wandering senators to come home.

Now it is done.

But is it really?

Eh, not really …

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Wirch back in state

State Sen. Bob Wirch, center, acknowledges the crowd at a rally in Madison Saturday. /Photo by Earlene Frederick

State Sen. Bob Wirch, gone from the state for about three weeks regarding a showdown over Gov. Scott Walker’s budget repair bill, is back in the state.

Wirch and the other 13 Democratic state senators who left to deny a quorum for a vote on the bill were the guests of honor at a rally on the grounds of the state capitol Saturday.

A version of the budget repair bill, focused on reducing public employees’ collective bargaining rights, passed the Assembly and eventually the Senate this week and has been signed into law by Walker. However, legislative opponents claim the process violated state law and they are challenging its legality.

On Sunday, word has it that Wirch was right back doing his customary visiting of various community events.

Wirch’s district includes all of Kenosha County except Wheatland.

Regional Connections provides business speed networking

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It’s almost time for another round of Regional Connections, a program of fast-paced business networking sponsored by the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce, the Twin Lakes Area Chamber and Business Association and other nearby business organizations.

This Regional Connections will be sponsored by GFC Leasing. It will take place at Bristol Oaks County Club, 168801 75th St., Bristol on Wednesday, March 23 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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