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