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Angelica Rios remembered as mother, CNA, Unified staffer

RACINE – Angelica “Angie” Rios was a mother, a certified nursing assistant, a member of Racine Unified’s staff and so much more.

Her life was taken early Friday — when she was only 30 years old — during a domestic-violence incident in the 2600 block of 19th Street that police are investigating as a potential murder-suicide. Police have not yet released the name of the man involved in the incident.

On Sunday, Mother’s Day, the porch of the house was piled with flowers, candles and stuffed animals. On Saturday evening, dozens gathered outside the 19th Street home to remember Rios.

One of the messages during the vigil was to support anyone who is subjected to domestic violence, said Jenna Buenger, a registered nurse at Ascension All Saints Hospital who had worked with Rios and was at the vigil with friends and co-workers.

“In Angie’s memory, we have to do everything we can to stop that cycle and help those in need,” Buenger said.

On Saturday, many of Rios’ Facebook friends changed their profile pictures to include a purple filter with the words “Break the silence” and showed a hand with the words “War against domestic violence.”

Rios was a CNA at Ascension for about five years and recently took a full-time job with Racine Unified, but she still worked some shifts at the hospital.

“She was an incredibly compassionate caregiver,” Buenger said. “She was one of the CNAs everyone wanted to work with and appreciated the details and took care of the whole patient. She was in tune with the patients’ needs, physical, emotionally and spiritually … she was literally one of those people who walked into a patient’s room and made a difference when she came out.”

Racine Unified confirmed that Rios worked as a clerk at one of its schools.

“We are heartbroken for the family of Angie Rios,” Unified spokeswoman Stacy Tapp said. “She will be deeply missed by her school colleagues and students.”

Above all else, Rios loved her children.

“They were, without a doubt, her everything,” Buenger said. “From the stories I knew about her, she was an incredible mom who would stop at nothing to give her children the best life possible.”

Her Facebook cover photo, updated May 5, includes photos of a smiling girl and boy captioned “sweet little lady and hardworking fella.”

A photo on her profile dated April 18, 2018, showed a note her children wrote to her and a prepared lunch. She said in the caption: “As my kids and I are running out the door this morning my kids stop me and say, ‘Wait mom don’t forget your lunch.’ I tell them I was too tired last night. I didn’t get a chance to pack it. They say, ‘We know mom. That’s why we packed you one.’ ”

Her post continued: “OMG my heart is literally so happy I’m truly blessed. Take care of your babies right and they’ll take good care of you.”


Local
Local business
Lehmann’s Bakery on Spring closes, but Racine north-side store may open

RACINE COUNTY — People can no longer get an éclair, coffee or cup of homemade soup at Lehmann’s Bakery, 4900 Spring St., because the Mount Pleasant store has closed.

Owner Charlie Palmer-Ball closed the Spring Street store on April 20. “I just decided it would be a good cutoff for us,” he said.

The Spring Street store was open about 15 years, and Lehmann’s has had a continual presence in the Racine area since 1934.

But trouble for the Spring Street/Highway 31 location started creeping in about three years ago with the start of road construction, Palmer-Ball said.

“We have had such a quagmire of change at that intersection,” he said.

With road improvements and the coming of Kwik Trip next door at 4924 Spring St., the retail center that housed Lehmann’s lost its ingress for eastbound traffic on Spring Street, Palmer-Ball said.

“If you were coming from the west, you have to go through the Kwik Trip parking lot to get to us,” he said, and sales started slipping. “We depend on people stopping in two or three times a week.”

Meanwhile, although Palmer-Ball said he’s a big admirer of Kwik Trip, it carries many different coffee drinks, makes its own donuts and became a big competitor.

Also, the Willkomm development at the southeast corner of Spring Street and North Green Bay Road (Highway 31) houses a Dunkin Donuts.

“I think it was just a combination of things,” Palmer-Ball said.

New Racine store this year?

Despite the closing of the Spring Street Lehmann’s, Palmer-Ball has opened a retail store just south of Lake Geneva. Consequently, employment will remain at about 40 people, he said.

Also, he’s looking into the possibility of opening another store in an undisclosed location on Racine’s north side, perhaps in about August or September. “Negotiations have been positive,” he said.

He still has his Sturtevant store at 9117 Durand Ave., where the bakery is located and where the company built an addition about three years ago.

Lehmann’s ships product across the country from there, and Palmer-Ball said wholesaling has been growing “quite nicely” and now makes up about 75 percent of revenue.


Mallwitz


Local
North Pointe wants true equality for LGBT members, comes out against UMC decision

RACINE — North Pointe United Methodist Church wants the public to know that it welcomes members of the LGBT community into all aspects of its ministry, even if the United Methodist Church as a whole does not.

In February the General Conference, an international body made up of 1,000 delegates that sets policy and speaks for the United Methodist Church, voted to maintain restrictions for its LGBT members. This means “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” cannot be ordained as ministers in the UMC.

The leaders and the congregation at North Pointe, 3825 Erie St., are not OK with that.

“It’s not right,” said church member Paula Thorson. “It’s not the United Methodist Church that I want to be a part of. The United Methodist Church I want to be a part of is inclusive of everybody.”

Although UMC’s Book of Discipline, its international rules of conduct, says LGBT people are welcome at its churches, can receive sacraments and be baptized, it also says “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

Several of North Pointe’s leaders said they wept when they learned of the General Conference’s decision to maintain restrictions on LGBT members. The decision also means that UMC ministers are not allowed to officiate same-sex marriages and gay members of the clergy may be stripped of their credentials and lose their jobs.

The decisions made by the General Conference were upheld by the church’s Judicial Council — basically UMC’s Supreme Court — in late April, and the rules are now set to be put into place Jan. 1, 2020.

“I think we forget that Christ tells us that we should love everyone,” said Ron Morishita, co-chair of North Pointe’s leadership board.

North Pointe has yet to vote to become a “reconciling congregation” or one that seeks full inclusion for LGBT people in the United Methodist Church, but its members are overwhelmingly in favor, with 91 percent voting to make a public statement of welcome to the LGBT community.

Historical split

The Methodist church has a history of division over issues of equality, splitting in the 19th century over disagreements regarding slavery. Women in the United Methodist Church fought for years to be allowed full clergy rights before they were granted in 1956.

“We can see that mistakes were made in the past, and we need to unshackle ourselves from them and move forward through Jesus Christ, our Lord,” said Pauline Mitchell, co-chair of North Pointe’s leadership board.

For some of North Pointe’s leaders, this issue hits close to home.

Charlie Bauer-King, North Pointe pastor emeritus, and his wife Nancy Bauer-King have a lesbian daughter and a transgender grandchild.

“This stuff, for me, just feels really personal,” Nancy Bauer-King said.

Martha Jackson Oppeneer, UMC minister and counselor, said she has a sister who left the ministry after coming out.

“We all have our stories of family members and friends who have suffered greatly and the church has suffered because we’ve lost their talent, we’ve lost their voices,” Jackson Oppeneer said.

Mitchell believes that every member of the congregation needs to stand up for what’s right. North Pointe is far from the only United Methodist Church to speak out against the General Conference decision, and Mitchell said it’s largely been a grassroots effort.

“The people on top don’t necessarily change anything until the people on the bottom force them to, and that’s what we’re doing,” she said.

The group of eight representatives from North Pointe that sat down with The Journal Times on Sunday agreed that there could be another split coming in the United Methodist Church over LGBT issues, with the more liberal Reconciling Congregations in favor of full equality and the more conservative Wesleyan Covenant Association backing the General Conference decision.

Commentary from North Pointe United Methodist clergy: Saying no to discrimination

How is it that some people still find it necessary and appropriate to judge another? In the last 100 years the church has recognized the sin of discrimination, for example against racial/ethnic minorities and against women, in law and in roles in the church. Though for hundreds of years this discrimination and even slavery was justified by reference to a few scattered verses in scripture, we have seen the folly in such reasoning.