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Tony Dejak 

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) drives past Los Angeles Lakers' Brandon Ingram (14) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

2015 Accident
Some defendants in Post Prom case ask for dismissal

RACINE — Some defendants who are being sued by a 2015 Post Prom attendee after she fell off an inflatable slide have asked a judge to dismiss her complaint.

Libbie S. Miller of Yorkville in May sued a group of Rotary Clubs, insurance providers and Fun One, a party supply shop. She alleges that the defendants were negligent in how they set up, secured, inspected and supervised use of an inflatable slide during the May 16, 2015, event.

Miller was on the inflatable slide when it tipped over, her lawsuit states. She asserts that the defendants’ alleged negligence caused her to sustain “permanent injuries and damages, including past and future pain, suffering, disability, humiliation, embarrassment, worry and mental distress, all of which are permanent in nature.”

She also claims to have lost enjoyment in life and missed out on wages, and that her future earning capacity is impaired. Miller also incurred medical expenses and compensable injuries, the lawsuit states.

She requested a 12-person jury and judgment against the defendants for damages in an amount “found to be appropriate.”

SC Johnson is listed as an involuntary plaintiff in the case because it carried Miller’s medical insurance.

Miller is represented by the law firm Habush Habush & Rottier.


Fun One and The Cincinnati Insurance Co. responded to Miller’s complaint on May 31 through their attorney at Kasdorf, Lewis & Swietlik law firm in Milwaukee. In their reply to Miller’s allegations, the two entities admitted that Fun One provided the slide but denied “any allegations or implications of negligence in any manner or respect whatsoever as it applies to them.”

They argue Miller’s own “negligence and carelessness” were responsible for the incident.

“The plaintiff has failed to mitigate her injuries and/or damages,” the reply states.

The two defendants state that The Cincinnati Insurance Co. is not a proper defendant in the case because it did not issue an insurance policy to Fun One, as alleged by Miller. The company’s insurance policy was issued by Cincinnati Specialty Underwriters Insurance Co., according to the defense.

In addition to arguing that Miller failed to bring the correct parties into the case, Fun One and the insurance company further claim that they were not properly served the summons and complaint in the case.

They requested that a judge dismiss Miller’s complaint based on its merits and order reimbursement for their legal expenses.

Judge’s order

On June 11, Racine County Circuit Court Judge David Paulson ordered, based on a stipulation between the parties’ attorneys, that Racine Founders Club Rotary is a proper party in the action. The organization was responsible for the event, the order states.

As of Friday afternoon, the other defendants were still listed as part of the case in online court records.

4TH Fest parade
Racine's calliope is ready for the Fourth after some much-needed restoration

RACINE — It’s named after the Greek Muse of historic poetry, is 86 years old, can get really loud and has been in nearly every Racine Fourth of July Parade since 1938.

A calliope is a wind instrument associated with circus fanfare. It functions similarly to a pipe organ, using keys to direct compressed air into brass whistles to create its music. Racine’s calliope has almost been retired or left Racine on multiple occasions, but has boomeranged back to Main Street time and time again.

Now, thanks to generous community members and the dedication of a few calliope lovers, the aging calliope has been revitalized.

Changing hands

On July 5, 1993, The Journal Times reported that “Today could be calliope’s last Fourth of July parade.” It wasn’t, even though the machine may have appeared to be on its last legs, er, pipes.

“It’s seen better days,” said Wendy Spencer, 4th Fest of Greater Racine parade co-chair.

Legacy on Main opens Downtown, celebrates local history

RACINE — Caron Butler. The former NFL team Racine Legion. John Dillinger’s robbery of American Bank and Trust. All of these significant parts of Racine’s legacy and more are highlighted at the new restaurant Legacy on Main, which celebrated its grand opening Friday evening.

Racine had its first modern parade in 1937, but the calliope didn’t appear until the following year after it was purchased by a now-defunct chapter of the American Legion. Its first caretaker was dentist Walter “Doc” Gearen. He played it yearly between 1938 and 1979, at which point it was sold to circus collectors in Milwaukee.

In 1987, Ross and Terri Blomgren happened upon the historic instrument at an estate sale. They purchased it and sold it to the Kiwanis Club six years later, which in turn donated it to 4th Fest in 1999.

In spite of rotting wood, chipped keys and spotty rubber lining, the machine persevered for the next decade and a half. Several of the whistles no longer worked and one was missing entirely, but the calliope could still manage to play a handful of tunes.

“Little things turned into big problems,” Spencer said.

A couple years ago, volunteers from the Racine Fire Department rebuilt the calliope’s wagon. The iconic parade float had received a much-needed face lift, but its musical capabilities were still waning.

Saving the music

Fundraising efforts kicked off last spring to repair the instrument itself. Nearly $7,000 was collected, largely thanks to $5,000 from Dr. Joseph and Nancy Geenen.

“For 80 years the calliope has been a fixture in the Fourth of July Parade,” said David Maack, president of the 4th Fest board. “The calliope is a community treasure.”

Last month, the instrument was repaired by Dan Dohmann of the Miner Co. in Kirksville, Mo. It returned to Racine in the final week of June, just in time for the parade.

Dohmann has the blueprints for Racine’s model of calliope, which was purchased for $200 in 1932 from a company in Muscatine, Iowa.

“They have all the original artwork and all the original plans,” said Mark Chaffee, the calliope’s current caretaker. “It needed a lot of TLC. He (Dohmann) used as much of the original wood as possible.”

Dohmann even outfitted the calliope with a device that will allow it to play on its own, similar to a player piano.

The device won’t be necessary this year. Mike Becker, the senior choir director and organist at Mount Pleasant Lutheran Church, will man the keys.

Becker has played the calliope in the parade since 2016. He learned to play the instrument from Jerry Buck, who passed in 2015 after 21 years of being the calliope’s caretaker. Buck also was Chaffee’s father-in-law.

“We all treasure it, but Mark really treasures it,” Spencer said of the calliope.

With its shine, vibrancy and unmistakable sound restored, 4th Fest hopes to share the calliope’s music more often than once a year on Independence Day. If the weather cooperates, Maack hopes to have it appear in Waterford’s Christmas parade.

“We’re hoping to have the calliope out and about this year,” he said.


The 1959-1960 St. Catherine's High School basketball team...They were the National Catholic Finalist; the Catholic State Finalist; and Catholic Conference Champions with a 28-2 record. Front, from left: Rodger DeMark (junior); Don Hartig (senior); S. Thomas Donovan (junior); Edward Everson (junior); Rocke Calvelli (junior); and Bob Letsch (junior) Center row: Rev. Anthony Zukaitis, left, (Athletic Director and co-coach); Mike Binetti (sophmore), manager; Thomas Cramer (junior); Chuck Wood (senior); R. Todd Pettit (junior); David Dudor (sophmore); and co-coach John McGuire Top row: Robert Olley (sophmore), manager; David Koenings (senior); Brian Verheyen (junior); Tom Schilke (junior); Jim Poulsen (senior); Joseph Gamell (senior); and Geoff Miller (senior), manager)

Resources for the Homeless
Lorenzen: After closing HALO Child Care, needs filled by other services

RACINE — HALO’s child care center has been closed for almost exactly a year, but Gai Lorenzen, the homeless shelter’s executive director, said she hasn’t seen much demand from residents for child care services since then.

“I really have not heard a lot from clients in the past year that there’s a problem because they don’t have child care there,” she said.

The homeless shelter, 2000 DeKoven Ave., made some big changes last year: It began accepting residents with ongoing substance abuse issues and closed HALO Child Care on June 30, 2017.

“When the board made the decision to close the child care, one of the reasons was the lack of use by clients in the shelter,” Lorenzen said. “Another one was that they felt at that point we should be focusing more on our mission of providing shelter and that there were other resources in the community that should be accessed.”

At the time the child care center was closed, it was being utilized more by community members than those in the shelter, Lorenzen said.

The number of children staying in the shelter with parents fluctuates, Lorenzen said. She estimated that at the high point this winter there were about 30 children at the shelter, but said the average might be about 15.

One HALO resident who asked not to be identified told The Journal Times in May that she couldn’t make it to job interviews or orientations because she had no one to watch her two young children.

The shelter did retain one staff member to watch children while residents went to job interviews or other appointments, but that person only stayed on for about six months after HCC closed.

Lorenzen said there wasn’t a high demand for this service, there are other options for residents and HALO had to take into consideration budgetary concerns. She said the child care center was not a revenue stream for the shelter.

Other resources

Lorenzen said that many of HALO’s residents qualify for child care subsidies through the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program that they can use at other child care centers. Subsidies provided through this program, called Wisconsin Works in this state, can be used at various facilities that accept them.

However, the program comes with work requirements. Some residents also receive help with child care expenses through Wisconsin’s FoodShare Employment and Training program and Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program.

Lorenzen said there were several day care providers in the vicinity of HALO, and it was up to parents to decide where to take their children. She said parents could get their children to these facilities or others by bus or car, if they have one, and could talk to their case manager about it if transportation is an issue.

The HALO resident who spoke with The Journal Times said she couldn’t get subsidized day care, as she didn’t have pay stubs to submit for proof of employment, because she couldn’t get a job without first lining up day care for her children.

Lorenzen advised that any HALO resident who is struggling to find child care or transportation to a day care center should speak with their case worker.

In the past, when a parent had no other options, HALO’s children’s case manager has watched a child while a parent went to a job interview or other appointment, Lorenzen said. Sometimes HALO residents allow others who live in the shelter to watch their children, but not everyone is comfortable with that option.

“It’s something that we continually evaluate,” Lorenzen said. “We evaluate all our programs, all of our positions on a continual basis. If there is a high need for something, then we would look at trying to get those services.”

Lorenzen said that HALO does not want to duplicate services, but if there is a need it will attempt to fill that gap.

HALO has included some funding in its proposed 2018-19 budget for a part-time babysitter to watch children while parents attend on-site workshops, or if they go to appointments and have no other options or childcare. This budget, for the fiscal year that began Sunday, has not yet been approved by the board.