RACINE COUNTY — Parts of Racine County were hit with accumulating snow over the weekend, as cities farther north battled a spring blizzard.
About 1 to 2 inches of sleet fell in the area by Sunday morning, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Ben Herzog. He said the mix also included snow and some freezing rain. As of Sunday afternoon, NWS meteorologist Sarah Marquardt said about 3 inches of snow and sleet had accumulated in some of the western portions of Racine County.
About half an inch accumulated in the eastern part of the county, including the City of Racine, she said.
The heaviest snowfall wound down in the afternoon, with light snow expected to linger into the night.
Light snow may continue on Monday, with up to an inch more of accumulation. Tuesday is forecast to be dry, and Wednesday may bring more light snow.
The worst of the weekend snowstorm hit the between Green Bay and Stevens Point, Marquardt said. As of 4 p.m. Sunday, 23.2 inches of snow fell on Green Bay. East of Stevens Point, NWS received reports of 24 inches of snow in some locations, with snow continuing to fall.
Although snow is not unprecedented this time of year in Wisconsin, the weekend storm was large and strong for April, Marquardt said. Green Bay typically sees about 2.9 inches of snow in April.
NWS reported that the weekend storm was the third-largest in Green Bay’s history, as of Sunday afternoon.
Marquardt said the system’s duration in southern Wisconsin was impressive, as it included a lengthy period of rain, followed by hours of sleet, then hours of snow.
“This time of year is, a lot of the time, when we tend to get strong storms, just as we’re transitioning from winter into the warmer months,” she said.
About 100 customers in Racine County remained without power as of 10 a.m. Sunday morning, according to We Energies. That included 78 customers in the City of Racine and 16 in the Village of Caledonia.
By Sunday afternoon, 22 Racine County customers were reported without power.
We Energies spokesperson Cathy Schulze said Sunday morning that the company had restored power to more than 26,000 of its customers since Friday night. The majority of the outage activity, she said, was overnight Friday and throughout Saturday.
The outages are being attributed to the weather, with winds and tree limbs knocking down wires.
“This time of year is, a lot of the time, when we tend to get strong storms, just as we’re transitioning from winter into the warmer months.” Sarah Marquardt, National Weather Service meteorologist
MOUNT PLEASANT — When George and Vellabe Creuziger built their house 58 years ago, they built it so it would be bordered on three sides by oak trees.
Arborist Kevin Nolan said the more than 150-year-old trees east and west of the house at 12706 Braun Road were probably the progeny of the giant burr oak in their backyard. Nolan estimated it’s around 300 years old; George is convinced it’s closer to 400. Either way, it’s probably as old, or older, than the United States.
Before building the house, George had farmed the fields now bordering his backyard, just like his father had before him. The fields are also sprinkled with old oaks. It could have made farming easier if they had cut some of them down, but it wasn’t an option.
“My dad wouldn’t destroy an oak tree,” said George.
Now George, Vellabe, Nolan and the Hoy Audobon Society are working with the county to try to save the 300-year-old burr oak, which is sitting on land slated for the second phase of the Foxconn development.
Sue Schuit, Hoy Audobon’s Conservation Chair, started the Trees We Love program through which people submit a tree that they want recognized.
“I’m a tree lover, always have been,” said Schuit. “They’re silent curators of history.”
Vellabe submitted their giant oak to the program because she was afraid of what would happen to it once they sold their house to the Village of Mount Pleasant.
“We were afraid it would be destroyed,” said Vellabe. “I’ve just enjoyed all the trees but with that big one, you can’t replace it.”
When Schuit called her to learn more about the tree, she learned that the Creuzigers’ house was part of the future site of the second phase of the Foxconn project.
“At that moment my heart sunk,” said Schuit. “I went, ‘We have to do what we can, because it’s an absolutely gorgeous tree.’ ”
Schuit sent Nolan, who volunteers as an arborist for Hoy Audobon, to evaluate the tree. Its trunk is about 60 inches in diameter, and it’s 70 feet tall. Nolan estimates that the tree’s spread, which measures its width from branch tip to opposite branch tip, is 85 feet.
“There are a lot of burr oak in this area,” said Nolan. “But not a lot that have maintained their quality and health.”
Schuit contacted county officials, who she said have been very responsive.
M.T. Boyle, Racine County chief of staff, has helped put Schuit in touch with the different parties planning the construction and utilities for the site.
“It’s easy to recognize the beauty and historic nature of this burr oak and the local project and construction teams share the desire to keep it,” said Boyle.
The Department of Transportation has confirmed the tree is out of the public right-of-way. But right now, the main focus is Phase 1 of the project, so the specifics for Phase 2 haven’t been laid out.
“While there is a goal to preserve the tree, some construction and utility work is still in planning stages, including work related to the parcel where the tree is located,” said Boyle. “We hope to know more in the coming weeks as these plans are finalized and moving forward.”
Still, the responsiveness by the involved parties has made Schuit “cautiously optimistic.”
“To get in touch with the Foxconn folks to help save one tree is something I think everyone would imagine is quite daunting,” said Schuit. “We’ve gotten greater progress than I ever would have imagined. There’s a long way to go yet.”
The Creuzigers assume they’ll have to sign away their property to the village in the next week or two. They said they’ll miss sitting on their back porch, looking at the tree where their kids used to play on a tire swing.
“I just enjoy looking at it,” said Vellabe.
Nolan tried to reassure them it should be fairly easy to build around the tree; it could be a nice green space on the Foxconn campus.
“I think Creuziger Park has a nice ring to it,” he said.
During the press run for Sunday’s Journal Times, an ink pump that affects our color capability went bad, causing us to complete the run in black and white. We were not able to resolve the issue until Sunday afternoon.
We apologize for any inconvenience.
Publisher, The Journal Times
RACINE — The Racine Police Department wants to work on solutions that could alleviate traffic congestion around schools.
Officials from the department requested to speak with the city’s Traffic Commission about past practices and protocols regarding traffic issues at Racine Unified School District campuses, as well as street signage. During its Monday meeting, the commission is scheduled to meet with representatives of the department and district to talk about the issue as a whole, as well as about problems identified at Jefferson Lighthouse Elementary School, 1722 W. Sixth St.
The discussion is expected to be introductory in nature, said Racine Deputy Police Chief William Macemon, the commander of the department’s school safety and security division. He said the department receives complaints from time to time about about traffic congestion near the schools, but no major issue is pressing.
“We’re just trying to develop a relationship with the Traffic Commission so, as we move forward, we can develop solutions to those,” Macemon said.
He said the requested conversation builds on a partnership formed between the school district and the Police Department in recent years. That partnership placed Community Oriented Policing officers in two local high schools, for example.
“We’re always looking for other stakeholders and partnerships that we can develop to make our schools safer,” Macemon said.
Police seek to improve traffic around Jefferson Lighthouse Elementary School, according to emails included with the Traffic Commission’s meeting materials.
Police were approached by the school’s principal, a December email by COP House Officer Tim Cisler states.
Cliff Avenue between Maple Street and West Sixth Street is not wide enough to accommodate a vehicle parked on each side of the road and two moving cars, the email states. A sign on the east side of Cliff Avenue prohibits parking during school hours, but parents disregard it so that kids do not have to cross the street to get into a car after school.
“The enforcement option does not seem to be successful,” Cisler’s email states. “Regardless of how many parents I tell about the proper flow of traffic, if even one vehicle stops/stands on the east side of Cliff during those hours, it throws a wrench into the flow of traffic. The parents will just stop/stand there whenever a squad is not present.”
A solution Cisler suggested was to prohibit parking on the west side of Cliff Avenue from Maple and West Sixth Street between 3:45 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Additional emails included with the meeting packet state some neighbors were responsive to Cisler’s proposal when he canvassed the area.
Macemon said police ask parents to be aware of traffic congestion and parking restrictions around the schools to ensure safety. Should someone identify an issue, he recommended first bringing it to the attention of the school’s principal.
“We’re always looking for other stakeholders and partnerships that we can develop to make our schools safer.”
William Macemon, Racine deputy chief of police