Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Volunteer opportunities

RACINE PUBLIC LIBRARY’S GRAND RE-OPENING: The Racine Public Library is hosting a grand re-opening party for its newly refurbished second floor on Thursday, December 2nd from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Volunteer docents are needed to lead tours and highlight the new features of the second floor. Each docent will be given talking points and a tour prior to the event.

HELP OUT AT THE COPS ‘N KIDS’ BOOK GIVEAWAY:  Cops ‘n Kids Book Giveaway is set for Saturday, December 4th at Merchants Moving and Storage from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Volunteers are needed for a variety of jobs including set-up on Friday December 3rd from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

PROVIDE TRANSPORTATION FOR MEAL ON WHEELS: Homeless Assistance Leadership Organization (HALO) is seeking volunteers to provide transportation for its clients to the Meal on Wheels site for vocational training in assisting the packaging of meals.

TRANSPORTATION NEEDED THIS WINTER: HALO’s Snow Removal Service needs volunteers to provide transportation for its clients to and from job sites this winter. HALO’s aim is to help its clients earn income so they may secure safe, warm homes. Volunteers are also needed to move equipment to the sites.

COPS ‘N KIDS NEEDS HELP: Do you have time to work with 3rd and 4th graders after school Wednesdays from 3:30 to 6:00? You will help teachers locate reading materials as well as assist in preparation of snacks and the like.

SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIM ADVOCATES ARE NEEDED: Volunteer advocates are needed to answer crisis intervention calls and provide support to survivors of sexual assault and their families. Volunteers respond directly to the Emergency Room 24 hours a day to meet with survivors and their families to provide emotional support and information. Volunteers carry a crisis intervention phone for 24-hour shifts once a month and are required to sign on for one year. Volunteers must have reliable transportation and pass a background check. Training is provided. To register or for further details, call Katy Adler at 262-619-1634.

If you are interested in any of the listed volunteer opportunities or others on file at the Volunteer Center of Racine County, call 262-886-9612 or toll free (Racine County only) at 1-800-201-9490 or email us at or visit our web site at Office hours are weekday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 6216 Washington Avenue, Suite G.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Over the gunnels at Reefpoint's Fill-a-Boat food drive

What do car loads of food, battling boaters, and a blown tire have in common?  All of them were present at Reefpoint Marina's First Annual Fill-A-Boat Food Drive.

Now, this may sound like something dreamed up by the quirky staff of an office sitcom, but it is a real event, the brainchild of Debb Hutchison, administrative manager of SkipperBud's Reefpoint Marina.  The Fill-A-Boat food drive came to fruition this past weekend.  It was a simple idea: put out the marina workboat for a day, fill it with food, and then donate everything collected to the Racine County Food Bank.

The idea took off.  Individual docks got wind of the event, and the boaters started a contest to see which dock could bring the most food.  Volunteer organizer Andra Colm made several trips to the store in an effort to win.  "It was a close race.  We didn't have enough to win.  But in an event like this, everyone wins," said Colm.

In the end, there was too much food for the boat to handle -- a tire on the boat's trailer blew out!  "I was hoping to get a lot of food, but I never thought we'd get that much," said Hutchison.

Next year's event is already being planned, and may include either a bigger boat, or multiple smaller boats.  One thing is for certain: the marina staff will be sure to have plenty of spare tires on hand.

For more information, or to find out how to donate, contact SkipperBud's Reefpoint Marina at (262)633-7171, or the Racine County Food Bank at (262)632-2307.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

YWCA to honor ten Women of Distinction

Ten women will be recognized as Women of Distinction at the 23rd annual Women of Distinction dinner, sponsored by the YWCA. The event will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 11, at Roma Lodge, 7130 Spring St.

This year’s recipients represent leadership in many facets of the Racine community:
  • Marie Abbott, Arts & Humanity category. Through her work as an artist and her expertise as a docent at RAM and Wustum Museum, Marie Abbott has shared her love of the arts with Racine. She recently has been working with a program to bring the arts to Alzheimer patients and their caregivers.
  • Ida Alia, Anna DeBartolo and Gemma DeBartolo Wells, Professional/Business category. These three women are co-owners of Salute Italian Restaurant. They are strong supporters of the Italian community and serve as mentors and role models to their employees.
  • Kristin Hildebrandt, Young Woman of Tomorrow category. A June graduate of Burlington Catholic Central, Kristin Hildebrandt is an exceptional student and volunteer. She has been involved in Key Club, orchestra, Girl Scouts and 4H, also raising and selling rare breeds of specialty poultry.
  • Teri Jendusa Nicolai, Woman of Courage category. She is a strong woman, with courage to speak out on domestic violence. Teri Jendusa Nicolai has taken a terrible personal tragedy and turned it into a positive by sharing her story and the warning signs with various groups.
  • Anastasia Majors, Young Woman of Tomorrow category. A June graduate of JI Case High School, Anastasia Majors has overcome truancy, teen pregnancy and academic issues to achieve success. She is working as certified nursing assistant and will study nursing at Gateway Technical College.
  • Susan Richardson, Youth Education category. Although trained in the human resources field, Susan Richardson has focused her volunteer time on youth. She was a Girl Scout leader for 12 years, a 4H project leader for 11 years and started a job skills workshop for high school students in Racine and Kenosha.
  • Laura Sumner Coon, Human Rights category. Through her work as Executive Director at San Juan Diego Middle School and now at SOAR (Scholarship, Opportunities and Access in Racine), Laura Sumner Coon has worked to champion the rights of the underserved in education.
  • Sister Janet Weyker, Environmental category. As Director of the Eco-Justice Center, Sister Janet Weyker is concerned about sustainability and the environment. She has developed workshops, camps and events that teach about the environment and respect for life.
The recognition dinner and program will begin at 6 p.m. on Aug. 11. For more information and reservations, contact Barb Feider at

Women of Distinction, a nationally established YWCA award, is designed to honor women who are committed to creating strong, sustainable social change through passion, insight and leadership. Over 180 women Racine County women have been honored in the 23 years the YWCA of Racine has celebrated this event.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

DRC celebrates its 30 years of service Downtown

The Downtown Racine Corporation is  celebrating its 30 years of service to the Downtown community with a number of activities during August, including:

  •  DRC Membership Discount -- A 30% discount off membership fees for new members during August.
  •  Free Cake and Lemonade -- On Friday, Aug. 6, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. during Music on the Monument complimentary cake and lemonade will be served and free balloons will be given away.
  • Got Clocks? -- DRC's ambassadors will give away a "Got Clocks?" t-shirt every day during August to someone viewing one of Racine's 60 clocks of Hour Town, Racine's 2010 public art project.
  • Pearl Jam – Because pearls are the symbol of a 30th anniversary, Art Metals Studio is creating a pearl pendant, worth over $1,000.  Entry boxes will be at Art Metals Studio (332 Main Street), the DRC office (425 Main Street), Moxie Child (304 6th Street) and the Downtown Information Kiosk.  The winning name will be drawn by Chris Sklba of Art Metals Studio on Saturday, Sept. 11, during the “Clocks on the Auction Block” public art auction. (Entries are limited to one per day, per location.)
  • Share Your Memories of Downtown Racine -- Do you have a favorite story or photo (old or new) from Downtown Racine?  Submit your photo / story to DRC's office or by e-mail  A photo collage of the past 30 years will be assembled and displayed at the DRC office.  Everyone who submits photographs or stories will be entered into a drawing for a $50 Downtown gift certificate.
The Downtown Racine Corporation (DRC) is a non-profit organization serving as the voice of Downtown Racine, facilitating, coordinating and catalyzing efforts to enhance the image and functionality of Downtown, attracting new businesses, residents and visitors. 

DRC's origins date to the 1970s, as business Downtown declined.  In the mid-70s, Downtown's small-business owners formed the North of Fourth group, hoping to revitalize the neighborhood. This group became Old Main Street Inc., which worked with the city to install more energy-efficient street lights, plant trees along sidewalks, create alliances among store owners and draw more Racine residents to the central business district.

In 1980, a community effort was introduced to restore the historic downtown area of the city and the Downtown Racine Development Corporation was formed.  Old Main Street Inc. and the Downtown Racine Development Corporation joined to become what is known today as the Downtown Racine Corporation.

The rest is history:

    * The harbor was transformed
    * Festival Hall was built
    * The Johnson Building was built.
    * The Racine Art Museum was created in an empty bank building.
    * The Downtown Business Improvement District #1 was created, the Root River Pathway was constructed and the bus transfer station was moved to State Street
    * Numerous housing developments have been built including Belle Harbor Lofts, Mitchell Wagon Factory Lofts, Riverbend Lofts, The Harbor at State and Main and The Atwater at Gaslight Point
    * Monument Square was renovated.
    * Main Street and 6th Streets were rebuilt  with new sidewalks, roadway and amenities

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Project Reach Out offers help to homeless veterans

Racine and Kenosha County’s homeless veterans will get a “hand up not just a hand out” for the fourth year in a row at Project Reach Out, on Saturday, Aug. 21, at the Veterans’ Assistance Program cottage #16 in the Veterans’ area in Union Grove.
The event, from 8 a.m. until noon, will offer homeless veterans, and veterans at risk of becoming homeless, an opportunity to connect with those who can help them with services and benefits.

Working with the Center for Veterans Issues, Ltd. and a grant from Help America Foundation of Alsip, IL, the Veterans Services Team of the Racine County Workforce Development Center, and the Kenosha County Veterans Service Office are coordinating this event.

Modeled after the Stand Down events that have been going on in Milwaukee for over 17 years, this event will offer a breakfast and lunch, clothing, veterans services benefits specialists, haircuts, eye glass attention, legal assistance, a therapist, transportation, personal care items, employment and case management agencies, along with homeless shelter information.

Pick-up points will be in Racine County at HALO, The Racine Transit Center, Sturtevant Amtrak Center, and Loves Inc (262-498-9048) in Burlington. In Racine, call Jerald Wright at 633-5180 or Sharen Pease at 262-878-9151 for times. In Kenosha County the pick-up points will be at The Kenosha Job Center and the Shalom Center. Call Derrell Greene at 262-605-6690 for times. All of these calls should be made before noon on Friday, Aug.  20.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Motorcycle stunt show draws a crowd

Cory Gulan and Ryan Stephen of the Racine-based Freestyle Super Moto performed a motorcycle stunt show Saturday in a parking lot adjacent to the Pershing Park Skateboard Park. Dino's Pizza sponsored the show, which went on despite the city cancelling its skateboard and BMX competition called the Lake F/X Games. The games are rescheduled Aug. 7, and Gulan and Stephen plan to be back to perform for the competitors.   

Hot weather and dirt on the parking lot made for a tough day of riding. But they pulled stunts for about 30 minutes to a crowd of about 50 people.

Gulan talks with people in the crowd after his performance. 

Friday, July 23, 2010

The DCS Trading Company bookstore's grand opening is Saturday

The public is invited to the Grand Opening of the DCS Trading Co. (Bookstore), 5144 – Douglas Avenue, Caledonia, WI on Saturday, July 24th, 10am – 6pm. The store is located west of the 4 Mile Road across from Pick’n Save. Nick Cibrario, the author and artist, will read excerpts from his new manuscript, Return to Kathmandu: Murder in the Mountains, at 11:30 am and 2:30 pm (publication this fall). This novel is set in Nepal during the massacre of the royal family, allegedly by the Crown Prince in the spring of 2001. Carl Brecht , the anthropologist, returns to Kathmandu with his daughter, Kathy, to attend a convention prior to the assassination.

Nick will also have a Book Signing of his four novels at $12 each plus tax and an Art Exhibit of his paintings and sculptures at reduced prices. Those purchasing his work will receive a free copy of A Visit to India by Mary Ann Lackovich, poet and photographer. Cibrario wrote the following article.

By Nick Cibrario

When I received a message from Cindy Johnson on my answering machine inviting me to spend the day at her bookstore, I was pleased. She is now the manager of the DCS Trading Co. in Caledonia. Cindy informed me that she loves books and was currently reading Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell. She had read all 23 futuristic mysteries from The In Death Series by Nora Roberts. She said that her store has many romance and mystery novels with some biographies, autobiographies, children’s books, and a collection of CD’s.

Cindy advised me to visit the place, giving me the directions. From out of town --Take I-94 to Hwy 20 Exit- east. Go several miles. Turn left on Hwy 31 and go north. At the 4 Mile Road turn right. Go east until Douglas Avenue and then turn left. Go north about a city block. Turn left after passing Cricket. (See map below).

As I drove along, I was intrigued by the name DCS Trading Co. I could visualize ships from the British East India Company landing in Bombay (Mumbai) engaging in the spice trade until the Sepoy Mutiny in 1857, which resembled the Boston Tea Party. I thought about Kipling’s Jungle Book, Forester’s A Passage to India, and Fisher’s Gandhi’s Truth. My favorite is Markandaya’s Nectar in a Sieve. There was also Haley’s Roots, dealing with the Dutch East India Company trading and transporting African slaves to the colonies in its ships.

It occurred to me that Caledonia also has a unique history. A friend lent me a copy of Nicholas P. Weber’s Caledonia: Journey to a Village. I discovered that Caledonia had twelve pocket communities. Among them were Husher, Caledonia, Franksville, and at one time Wind Point. My friend said the Kaspers settled in Wind Point. Her Grandfather Kasper married a Simpson, whose ancestors lived in Virginia prior to the American Revolution. The Kasper family had an extensive farm at 3712 North Main, now the Atrium. They earned their living marketing cabbage, apples, and strawberries. The family had dairy cows and chickens for their own use. A Kasper eventually married a Wishau, whose relatives had built the first schoolhouse in the area which had 37 pupils in 1867.

Since Franksville is also part of Caledonia, I read that the Jambeau Brothers were French fur traders. They came to Franksville in the 1790’s, married Potawatomi Indians, and established a Trading Post at Skunk Grove. The Potawatomi inhabited all of Racine County until 1833. After the Blackhawk War, they were deported to a reservation west of the Mississippi River. Our government bought the land from the Native Americans and sold it to settlers from New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. The next wave was German, Irish, and Bohemian farmers and traders. By 1899 Caledonia added Welsh, Danish, Scandinavian, French, Swiss, and Dutch to the township.

When I finally arrived at the DCS Trading Company, which is connected to the Cricket Building, I recognized Dan Dehling, who previously worked at Martha Merrell’s for three years. He was now behind the desk on T, W, Th, 12:00 am-6:00 pm. Cindy and another employee are there Fri. and Sat. 12:00 am-5:00 pm. Dan informed me they recently purchased 350 books, dating from 2006-2009.

After a tour of the store, he introduced me to Gordon Klema, the facility manager of the property, which includes a warehouse. Gordon offered me a seat on wicker furniture beneath a canopy outside, a perfect place to read and socialize over coffee. He informed me his mother, Beryl Klema, owned the property. I was intrigued by his family history. Gordon’s great-grandfather was a Bohemian farmer and tradesman who immigrated to Racine County to escape persecution from the Austrian Empire. He established an extensive family farm north of the store although only the original house was now standing. A relative, Martin Klema, bought the mill in Franksville in1919 shortly after World War I and ran Klema Feeds until 1960.

While touring the warehouse behind the store, Gordon mentioned that he intends to convert the building into a miniature golf center ( Black- Lite Mini Golf). His father, Kenneth, was an engineer, who worked for Case and Johnson Wax. The warehouse changed hands numerous times. Among them were: Easterday Paint Factory, Norco Aircraft, producing hanger doors, and The National Hoist & Equipment Co. Inc., making steel girders.

Gordon pointed out that the nearby railroad tracks once played a strong part in the history of Caledonia. The Chicago and Milwaukee Road was linked to the quarry on the 4 Mile Road, transporting stone and lime used for the construction of buildings, roads, and railroad beds. At one time farmers clearing their land of trees sold cords of wood to run their steam engines.

Gordon was hoping that in the future the Metra (KRM) would link Chicago to Madison and stop in Caledonia. He showed me the field of daisies alongside of the property where the road could be extended from across the street to the tracks. He said that Caledonia was now a village with over 50,000 people. I added that the village needed a bookstore and a train station.

While we were talking, the name Downtown Caledonia Trading Co. made sense. I imagined people buying a novel or biography to take on the train going south to Chicago or west to Madison. While waiting to board the train, their children could enjoy a round of miniature golf, leaving their parents to relax with a book under the canopy.