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.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Racine Community Foundation awards $123,500 in second quarter grants

The Board of Directors of the Racine Community Foundation recently announced the second quarter grants to area organizations totaling $123,500.
  • A grant has been approved to St. John the Divine Episcopal Church to be used toward the support of a statewide conference, which will provide information and support to faith-based communities in their struggle to assist families exposed to family violence. 
  • Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-All Saints Foundation received a grant to be used toward the support of Little Saints Child Care Center project (Building our Future), by relocating Little Saints onto the Spring Street campus. 
  • A request for a grant from Grassroots of Southeastern WI, Inc. has been approved to support their efforts to educate the community about HIV/AIDS. The funds are to be used toward training sessions for presenters, a laptop computer, software and a projector. 
  • A grant has been approved to Leadership Racine to be used toward recruiting potential leaders and help prepare them for positions of public influence and decision making for Racine. 
  • Racine Youth Sports (RYS) has been approved for a grant to be used toward a family basketball tournament in Downtown Racine on August 21-22. 
  • A grant to Friends of Camp Anokijig, Inc. has been approved, which will provide scholarships to be used toward the camping experience for children who would otherwise not experience the joy of camping due to their family’s lack of financial means. 
  • Southern Lakes Area Love, Inc. received a grant to be used toward maintaining the meal and pantry program. 
  • A grant has been to Women’s Resource Center of Racine, Inc. to be used toward the implementing of the Safe Alert Project. 
  • Kilties Drum and Bugle Corps, Inc. received a grant to be used toward replacing current drums and accessories with Yamaha drums and accessories. 
  • A request for a grant from University of Wisconsin has been approved to be used toward matching funds for their Strengthening Communities Fund (SCF) grant projects called CAN Works. 
  • A grant was made to Catholic Central High School to be used toward the expansion of the chemistry laboratory. 
  • A request for a grant from Racine Symphony Orchestra has been approved to be used toward the 2010-11 season and educational outreach programs (5th grade concerts, Young Artist Competition, High School Side-by-Side and an Artist-in-Residence.) 
  • Racine Community Outpost received a grant to be used to facilitate the transition from a single-family house to establishing a new community policing office and programming that will be provided there. 
In other business, Marge Kozina, Executive Director, reported that as of May 31, 2010 the assets of the Racine Community Foundation were $29.7 million. The Board of Directors approved contributions, memorials new funds established and additions to existing funds and other additions totaling $206,371.70. In addition they approved advised, designated, field of interest, scholarship, organization endowment and unrestricted grants totaling $184,097.00.

The Racine Community Foundation, Inc. is a publicly supported, tax-exempt charitable organization formed in 1975. “The mission of the Racine Community Foundation is to encourage and provide opportunities for charitable giving, to manage and distribute the funds in a responsible manner and to enhance the quality of life for the people of Racine County.” 

Information about the Foundation and the grant application procedure are available by contacting the Foundation at (262) 632-8474 or it’s Website at

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Two local youth qualify for national track meet

Two city youth have qualified for the Hersey National Track and Field Meet held in Hershey, Penn.

Daisy Harper will compete in the girls ages 9-10 division 50-meter dash, and Caleb Martinez will compete in the boys 11-12 division softball throw, according to the City of Racine's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department.

The meet is Aug. 5-8.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mary Beth Danielson: Do you have dirt under your fingernails? Read on…

Some of us have it and some of you don’t. There’s not much one can do to cure it, as far as I can see. If you were born with it, or if some seemingly trustworthy older person enticed you into it when you were little, then it’s a hard, hard thing to give up now.

(Photo-right: Carolyn Chaplin and Kathryn Rouse with some items for the plant sale on Sunday, July 11th.)

Or maybe you fell into it a few years into your marriage, when the luster wore off your shiny relationship, and you were ready for some other place to be besides glued to the side of your beloved. 

Most of us who have it don’t talk about it too much, though we recognize each other in secret ways. (The dirt under our fingernails, the bits of foliage in our hair.) Sooner or later you will find us in some hushed corner, quietly and urgently speaking about our gardens. 

I was suckered into this at the tender age of four when my dad roto-tilled a huge vegetable garden for our family, and a 4’ by 4’ patch of dirt for me. Then he bought me radish seeds. Then he ate the radishes I grew in an enthusiastic way. 

I was captivated by the mysterious pleasure it is to work like a mule to make a space to let a garden grow.
Several years ago I spent a summer afternoon at a Racine’s Sandcastles Festival. Many Racinians still deeply miss Lorna Hennig, who did much of the organizing of that event. Lorna always invited MayaWorks to host a sale. My friend Kathryn Rouse and I, as volunteers, would help run these Fair Trade sales. 

So we were together a long time, which became dangerous. I talked too much, I shared a secret that perhaps I should have kept to myself. 

I said that I would pay One Hundred Dollars to anyone who could help me figure out how to turn my jungle of a yard into a reasonable place. She replied something like, “Well, if you would do it for a hundred dollars, would you do it for free?” 

(Photo-left: Hand-crafted bird baths for sale at the Plant Sale.)

I must have said yes because the past four summers have been nuts. While the rest of you were swimming, or going for strolls in breezes, or wearing your tennis whites to lovely events – my husband and I have been digging bushes, digging rocks, weeding, weeding, weeding. I learned where the spiders lay their eggs in my yard. I terrified bunnies, watched hawks, crows, and hummingbirds zip and dive, and on one memorable occasion almost kneeled on a bat. I have sweated so hard my glasses slipped off my nose into holes I was digging. I have learned the difference, but just barely, between lungwort and toad lilies. 

And I have, amazingly, with the help, direction, kindness, humor, and plants adopted out of Kathryn’s yard, I now have an pretty yard. I was talking to my neighbor the other day, turned a minute, saw my garden from her perspective, and was floored. That’s MY garden? Wow… To think it started with radish seeds planted by a 4-year old.

Kathryn Rouse, thank you. Here is your chance to meet the dangerous and talented Kathryn. A Plant Sale and Garden Tour hosted by AAUW and Racine Garden Club will happen this coming Sunday, July 11. Kathryn, Carolyn and Jim Chaplin and others have been working for months. They have hundreds of local yard-grown plants for sale (some from my yard), as well as beautiful handmade birdbaths, planters and mosaic flower pots. All the money raised becomes college scholarships for local young women via AAUW. 

Contact info: 

Sunday, July 11th, 2010 
Plant sale hours: 9 am to 5 pm. 
Free admission to plant sale and garden at 2805 Green Haze Avenue. 
Tickets available for Racine Garden Club Tour of 8 other gardens available for $10.