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Racine fans cheer on Brewers in home opener

MILWAUKEE — After a sweep of the San Diego Padres over the weekend, Milwaukee Brewers fans could not wait to cheer on their team at Monday’s home opener against the St. Louis Cardinals at Miller Park. There were reports of fans tailgating in the parking lot as early as 4 a.m.

For the past 12 years Doug Nicholson, owner of the Ivanhoe Pub and Eatery, Main Hub and The Brickhouse, has helped organize a huge tailgate for Racine-area baseball fans. This year, nearly 90 residents filled two coach buses to make the trip to Milwaukee to join thousands of fans from around the state in cheering on the Brewers.

It’s the only time Nicholson rents a bus to take patrons to a game. He said the tickets, which cost $45 per person, covered the round-trip bus ride, food and beer. But he said Opening Day is not about making money.

“Everybody here is looking for a little bit of fun and to support their local team, and it brings camaraderie to a whole bunch of people in Racine,” Nicholson said. “We’re not the only establishment that does it, and there are so many others, and everyone knows each other (at the ballpark).”

The Racine residents were part of a crowd of 45,393 take in the Opening Day festivities, including a game the Brewers lost 8-4.

Juan Gomez said that after the Brewers won the first three games of the year, he has hopes the team can make it to the playoffs.

“The Brewers are hot right now,” Gomez said. “Who would’ve thought they would be 3-0 to start the season off, so exciting.”

This year, the home opener landed on Santos Paredes’ birthday. He has gone to the last several home openers wearing a Ryan Braun jersey for good luck.

“It’s tradition to come here; someday my kids are going to be here too,” Paredes said.

‘We don’t do this for a normal game’

For sisters Brittany and Brooke Hannes, being out with other fans adds to the appeal of the game.

“We love that everyone just comes here to love the Brewers, party and hang out,” Brittany said. “The atmosphere is the best part.”

Ashley Burdick agreed that the home opener is a day for fans to go beyond just wearing a Brewers T-shirt and hat.

“We’re in (Brewers) onesies … we don’t do this for a normal game,” Burdick said. “You go all out … I got a blue nose ring, Brewers earrings. I was going to wear blue lipstick, but I thought that would be too much.”

Although most of the people who came up from Racine were Brewers fans, there were a few Cardinals fans mixed in.

Leila Augustine grew up a Cardinals fan because of her grandpa and dad, and said she’s gotten some looks from Brewer fans as she walked through the parking lot.

“I like it because you walk past people and you get their attention,” Augustine said. There are no hard feelings, she said, because fans of all teams want to have a good time.

“You don’t come here to hate anybody — you come here to have fun and love baseball.”

“We love that everyone just comes here to love the Brewers, party and hang out.” Brittany Hannes, Racine resident and Brewer fan


Milwaukee Brewers fans from Racine Zach Buckett, left, and Heather Schweissinger, center, tailgate and play games before the home opener on Monday.


Doug Nicholson, owner of the Ivanhoe Pub and Eatery, Main Hub and The Brickhouse, operates the grill in the parking lot before the Milwaukee Brewers' home opener on Monday.

Downtown Racine Corp. art project honors county K-9s

RACINE — Downtown Racine Corp. has announced that the 17th annual Downtown public art event this summer will be “K-9 Heroes of Racine County.”

“We are just so thrilled to be working in conjunction with all of Racine County’s K-9s and their handlers,” stated DRC Executive Director Kelly Kruse. “The response has been incredible, and it is a phenomenal community event that will give the much-deserved recognition to these four-legged heroes and their handlers.”

Dogs also were the theme of the first annual DRC art project in 2002.

This year, there will be a total of 25 life-size dogs displayed throughout Downtown during the summer. Fourteen dog sculptures will be 41-inch-tall replicas of the K-9s that serve all of Racine County. They will be “somewhat realistic” but still allow artists some creativity, Kruse said.

The other 11 will be 30-inch German shepherds in a sitting pose, and the artists will have full creative freedom.

“During the past five years, the City of Racine has recorded record-low crime rates,” stated Racine Police Chief Art Howell.

“Complementing the effort of the sworn members of the department who have led the way in reducing crime are our K-9 companions,” Howell continued. “Whether conducting article searches, clearing buildings or apprehending fleeing felons, collectively, our regional K-9 teams represent a force multiplier in the countywide fight against crime and disorder.”

The 14 K-9s being replicated for the event are:

Burlington police: Zander

Caledonia: Louie

Mount Pleasant: Brutus and Ares

Racine County Sheriff’s Office: Friday, Nox, Nitro and Murphy

Racine police: Dozer, Titan, Hax, Odin and Dixie.

Sturtevant: Rhea

The 14 Racine County actual K-9s and their handlers will be interacting with the community during the summer at various Downtown events including the Public Art Preview Party at 10 a.m. June 8 at Johnson Bank, 555 Main St. according to DRC.

A different K-9 and handler will also be featured each week at Saturday Sounds on the Square, which is scheduled for each Saturday from June 23-Sept. 1 on Monument Square.

K-9s and their handlers will also make an appearance at the Public Art Auction from 5-10 p.m. Sept. 9 at The Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, 33 E. Four Mile Road.

“Our K-9s have a strong presence in Racine County and a strong following by the community,” stated Racine County Sheriff’s Deputy Ed Drewitz. “We are honored that our dogs have been chosen as representatives for Downtown Racine’s public art project this year. “

Unified borrowing business method to improve processes

RACINE — Racine Unified School District is working to continuously improve its practices by using the Lean Six Sigma method.

The district began using Lean Six Sigma in February 2017. Its School Board members recently underwent training to better understand the method.

“From our perspective, you can remove Lean Six Sigma from the title and say we bring people together to look at a process from a holistic standpoint,” said Kamaljit Jackson, Unified’s senior accountability and efficiency officer.

In Lean Six Sigma, when the district wants to improve a process, it gathers a group of employees from various departments who are impacted by a problem. Then they look at the data surrounding the problem and work to solve it together by developing a better process.

Six Sigma has been used in various industries, especially manufacturing, for about 30 years.

The district has already used this practice to review its enrollment processes and to develop changes in the middle schools.

The district included middle school teachers in the discussion to determine what the middle school transformation would look like. The district will be switching in the fall to mostly K-8 or 6-12 grade schools, from its former model with three-year middle schools for grades six through eighth.

Jackson said it made a big difference to involve the teachers.

Emily Neubauer, Unified’s senior communication specialist, agreed.

“There would be no way that we would have been able to successfully implement this middle school transformation without the support and buy-in of our teachers,” she said.


There a five levels of Lean training, beginning with white belt and topping out with master black belt.

During a Jan. 8 School Board meeting, Jackson asked all board members to take part in a white-belt training to help them better understand the Lean Six Sigma process.

As of the most recent board meeting on March 19, most of the board members were recognized for completing the training.

“With any initiative in any organization, any sector in the business community, you have to have top-level support,” Jackson said. “And this is a commitment from the top.”

Jackson said this training will help board members be more informed when decisions made using the Six Sigma method come before it for approval.

Topics to be determined

The district doesn’t have a set list of processes to review just yet.

“One of the things that we’re going to do differently is: We’re going to get project ideas from our workforce,” Jackson said.

The district wants to hear from staff in all departments including teachers, janitors, secretaries and central staff members, as well as others, Jackson said.

The district will also be looking at how to use data from various student assessments to ensure classroom strategies are effective.

“We have a lot of data points here, and we need to use those data points to make decisions on what strategies we need to use to make sure our students are successful on the academic side,” Jackson said.

“With any initiative in any organization, any sector in the business community, you have to have top level support. And this is a commitment from the top.” Kamaljit Jackson, Racine Unified School District senior accountability and efficiency officer