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Photo courtesy of Higher Expectations 

Racine Unified Academy Ambassadors at Park High School give business representatives a tour of their classes.

County drug programs showing impact; County supervisors get briefing

RACINE COUNTY — As illegal drugs continue to harm the community, Racine County programs and alcohol and drug treatment can help curb recidivism.

That message came through in a March 6 presentation by Racine County Alternatives Program Supervisor Boyd Schwartz and Circuit Court Judge Timothy Boyle to the Government Services Committee. It was designed to help some County Board members better understand how the county is treating people with addiction and mental health issues after they have been arrested.

Anyone who “lands in jail with new charges, we are interviewing them the next morning” and giving a risk assessment to the court, Schwartz said.

Currently, the county has programs that deal with alcohol and drug abuse which require regular court visits, testing and counseling. People who are arrested are directed to different treatment programs depending on their personal situation.

The county has a veterans court for nonviolent offenders who served in the military, Schwartz said. It works closely with the Racine County District Attorney’s Office and allows offenders the opportunity to go into an 18-month program that includes weekly court appearances.

“Ultimately, it’s about sobriety and staying out of the criminal justice system,” Schwartz said.

He said there is a 30-day Racine County jail AODA (alcohol and other drug abuse) program that individuals participate in while in jail. It runs eight hours a day, five days a week, and “there’s a lot of success there.”

For the last six months, the county has been operating a “mental health diversion program” in the court system which has had mixed results, Schwartz said.

“We’ve been identifying people who land in the County Jail who have mental health issues,” he said. “People who have committed some lower-level crimes, we’ve been diverting and the DA’s office has been working with us to not charge people.”

There are more than 1,000 people currently participating in a program, Schwartz and Boyle said. Some programs see more than a 75 percent success rate in participants not being arrested again and staying out of jail.

Funding for the programs

Boyle, who oversees the alcohol and drug treatment court, told the committee: “All these different programs that we have, all some way or shape, involve what you guys have to fund. Whether it’s the Sheriff’s department or Human Services Department, you will find that there’s probably somewhere in their budget something that’s related to these projects.”

Boyle said the veteran’s court is “probably the best treatment court that is out there right now. The reason for that is it has a mentoring system, and it also involves people that are veterans.”

The veteran mentors have a sense of duty, honor and morality “that they learned in their participation in the military process,” Boyle said. “That background plays a huge role in adapting to treatment programming, adopting to regiment, authority.

“As opposed to the court that I run, which is the drug treatment program, where people come from all walks of life; and generally, their walks of life, the majority of the time, is complete dysfunction.”

‘Build from scratch’

Despite the treatment programming available, Boyle said it is difficult to have “somebody that you need to build from scratch. Having a sense of putting a value on going to a job, the value of getting educated, the value of supporting somebody else.

“All life skills, a lot of times none of these people have, and then you throw in a heroin addiction on top of that,” Boyle said. “It is a tremendous feat to get these individuals to overcome that.”

The reality is, he said, if “they don’t overcome this addiction, what will happen is they typically will have to go to prison.”

Particularly when it comes to people with opioid addictions, Boyle said prison treatment does not work.

“The reason being is: You need to be in the community, to be susceptible, to truly be in a recovery-type setting,” Boyle explained. “When you’re in a confined setting it’s great to program them and say, ‘Don’t do this,’ and, ‘Do that.’ Well, when you don’t have a heroin dealer right on the corner, you’re not going to do heroin.”

However, when temptation does present itself, Boyle said, the programming “does not transfer into the community.”

He reminded the committee that the surge of addiction is not just a Racine problem or a Wisconsin problem, it’s a nationwide problem.

“These programs are the wave of the future,” Boyle said. “When there is consideration of funding and these things come up, I just want you to be aware of where that money is going and that it has, and is having, a very great impact.”

“All life skills, a lot of times none of these people have, and then you throw in a heroin addiction on top of that. It is a tremendous feat to get these individuals to overcome that.” Racine Circuit Court Judge Timothy Boyle

Pete Wicklund / Photo submitted by Bill Hetland  

Bill Hetland of Mount Pleasant said he was enjoying this show Monday morning in the backyard of his home on Heinze Drive near Gittings Road. Hetland thought these sandhill cranes may have been engaged in a mating dance. Spring is in the air.

Family asks funeral expense help for Butch's Camper owner

RACINE — The Langdon family is asking for help in paying for its patriarch’s funeral after he used his own life insurance money to pay for one of his sons’ final expenses.

Alfred “Butch” John Langdon III, a Racine native and owner of Butch’s Camper and Trailer, died at his home Wednesday.

Langdon owned and operated Butch’s Camper from the early 1980s until approximately 2010.

“It was very important to him,” said Langdon’s son, James.

The elder Langdon started the business out of his home, at about the time he was laid off from Young Radiator. He began working out of his basement and garage; he later moved the business to 3020 Kearney Ave. and then to its final location at 274 Sheridan Road, between Racine and Kenosha.

Butch’s Camper sold and repaired campers, trailers and related parts.

Langdon’s life

Butch Langdon was born Sept. 27, 1946, to Alfred J. Langdon Jr. and Luella Langdon.

Trailer and camper work was somewhat of a family business, as Butch’s father owned and operated Al Langdon’s Trailer Rental in Racine for 65 years, from 1941 until 2006.

Butch enlisted in the U.S. Army after graduating from Park High School. He went on to serve in the Vietnam War and was honorably discharged in 1972.

Langdon married the late Linda Legler on Sept. 27, 1969. Together they had three sons: James, Jeffrey and Alfred John Langdon IV.

James Langdon said he will always remember how much his father loved to play pranks on family and friends.

“He was a royal jokester,” he said.

Butch would often prank his wife while she was sleeping by tickling her nose or putting clothes pins on her glasses.

Sometimes, the elder Langdon would take the family to nearby camping spots for the weekend — but would still head into work on Saturday morning and come back to spend time with the family afterward.

When he was younger, Langdon enjoyed spending time at Vance’s Bar in Mount Pleasant. James also remembers his father helping the neighbors with snowplowing in winter.

“He was pretty outgoing in his younger days,” James said.

In 1993, Butch suffered a major heart attack. Since then, he experienced health problems that continued to worsen, eventually affecting his mobility.

After years of remission, Butch’s son, Alfred John Langdon IV, was diagnosed with brain cancer a second time. He moved in with his father shortly thereafter.

When Alfred Langdon IV died in 2010, he had no resources of his own, so Butch cashed out his own life insurance policy to pay for his son’s final expenses.

For that reason, Langdon’s family is asking for donations to help with funeral costs. The family has also set up a GoFundMe page to help with Butch’s final expenses. To donate, visit

A memorial service for Langdon is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 13, at Wilson Funeral Home, 1212 Lathrop Ave. The visitation is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. until the time of the service.

Keith Srakocic 

Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer (7) plays against the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Parking meter removal talks expected within 30 days

RACINE — Racine aldermen are expected to take up the issue of whether to remove the city’s parking meters within a month.

Alderman Steve Smetana, who represents the 5th District, initially requested the discussion in November. He previously told The Journal Times that he thinks doing away with the meters would make Racine a more inviting community. Some consider the meters a deterrent to people who might patronize local businesses if they didn’t fear parking tickets.

The city’s Transit and Parking Commission took up the matter at its February meeting. Commissioners at that time discussed concerns about the potential loss of revenue and the possibility that tenants who live above storefronts might monopolize the parking spots all day.

At that meeting, City Administrator Jim Palenick echoed Smetana’s encouragement for a conversation about Racine’s strategy toward parking.

“I don’t know the immediate answer, but we do have problems, and it’s time to begin the discussion,” Palenick said at the time.

The commission recommended the City Council send the conversation to the Committee of the Whole, a body made up of all aldermen but that cannot take final action.

As the City Council considered that recommendation earlier this month, Smetana requested that the Committee of the Whole’s parking meter discussion be scheduled within 30 days.

“I think we all have opinions on this, and I think it should be discussed,” he told his fellow aldermen.

The City Council voted unanimously in favor of Smetana’s request.

As of Monday night, a Committee of the Whole meeting on parking meters had not yet been scheduled, according to the city’s online meeting calendar.

“I think we all have opinions on this, and I think it should be discussed.” Steve Smetana,
5th District alderman