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Going into the new year, Downtown Racine will have a new ice rink — a new reason for people to head Downtown. The new ice rink is set to open Friday, Jan. 12, at Monument Square, Main and Sixth streets, Downtown Racine Corp. announced on Wednesday. The rink is planned to be 35 feet by 70 feet in size. The rink is expected to be open to the public daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. from its opening day on Jan. 12 through March, as conditions allow. Rentals will be offered from 4 to 8 p.m. Fridays, noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. Skate rentals are free, but those renting must provide identification as collateral for the skates.

This is great news for Downtown Racine. Families, as you venture Downtown to try out the ice, make time to stop by area shops to get a new pair of gloves or hat and then grab a bite to eat for dinner and a warm cup of coffee or hot cocoa.

Also on the positive side, it was nice to see SC Johnson Chairman and CEO Fisk Johnson out ringing bells for the Salvation Army the Saturday before Christmas. While red kettle donations are not yet totaled for the season, initial indications show that area residents were generous. That is in large part due to Johnson’s donation matches. For instance, on the Dec. 16 match day, more than $23,700 was collected at Racine-area red kettles that day. Johnson personally doubled the donations for that day with more than $47,400. That brings the grand total of donations for that day from the community and Johnson to more than $71,000 — which is a record one-day donation total. Those are donations that can do a lot of good for our community. Thank you to Johnson and the community for helping out with this campaign.

While this is supposed to be the blessed, fun time of year, we are still reminded daily of the struggles that many families are going through fighting drug abuse. It doesn’t get much sadder than the criminal complaint issued Wednesday about a Kenosha couple who reportedly stole a Salvation Army red kettle from Walgreens at 5005 Douglas Ave. in Caledonia. The kettle reportedly contained about $200 in cash and the couple reportedly admitted that they have a heroin habit. On top of that theft, Alicia Wojtowicz, one of the two charged, was reportedly fired from a Taco Bell after allegedly stealing from a donation collection display at her place of employment. It’s sad that people stoop to that level to feed a drug habit.

To help combat the drug issue that our community continues to face, Family Service of Racine plans to host a conference titled “Opioids: Killing More Than Pain.” The conference is planned for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 31 at the University of Wisconsin–Parkside Student Center at the campus in Somers. The conference is designed to provide relevant information on the opioid crisis to medical professionals, criminal justice professionals, human resource professionals and concerned citizens. Registration can be accessed at http://events.constantcontact.com/register/event?llr=rq4x9bcab&oeidk=a07eewaoz7vc18a38cf or by calling (262) 634-2391. This is an event that is relevant to everyone in our community because everyone is affected by the epidemic in one way or another.

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