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Crime-and-courts
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Teen charged with reckless homicide in death of his 39-day-old child

RACINE — A Racine teenager has been charged with the murder of his own 1-month-old child.

Shavale Powell, 17, of the 2000 block of 16th Street, was charged Monday with first-degree reckless homicide and two counts of physical abuse of a child after one of his children was found dead and another child was found with a bruise on his left eye.

According to a criminal complaint:

On Feb. 14, police and rescue responded to the 1800 block of LaSalle Street, Racine, to a 911 call for a pulseless, non-breathing infant.

Upon arrival, the child, just 39 days old, was found deceased and cold. The parents of the child, born Jan. 6, were present and identified as Powell and Javian Clark, 18.

Clark is listed as a co-defendant in Powell’s case. Racine County District Attorney Tricia Hanson said Monday afternoon that Clark will be charged Tuesday.

Both parents reported that they had been the only caregivers the last week the child was alive.

An examination by the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that the child died from abusive head trauma and ruled the death a homicide. The preliminary injuries described by the medical examiner were as follows:

  • Blunt force injuries to the baby’s head: contusions of face, fracture of left parietal bone, subdural hemorrhage, optic nerve hemorrhages, bilateral.
  • Blunt force injuries to the baby’s chest: contusions of the chest and back, multiple rib fractures.
  • Blunt force injuries to the baby’s extremities: abrasions of right hand, contusions of the left lower extremity

Another child of the couple, who is 1 year old and was in the home, had significant bruising and an injury to his left eye. The parents reported to medical and law enforcement professionals that the child had struck his face when he fell in the shower while home with Powell; Clark was at work at the time.

An arrest in the death was made Feb. 16, the Racine Police Department reported.

The issue with the older child was later examined at the Racine County Children’s Advocacy Center, and the injury was ruled concerning for abuse. Investigators found that the 1-year-old had suffered an injury to his right eye on Feb. 4, 2020, when he was 5 months old and immobile. The child was seen at the emergency room that same day, and diagnosed with severe subconjunctival hemorrhage concerning blunt force trauma to the child’s right eye and face.

Also present at that time was a small scratch that was out of proportion to the size of the hemorrhage. Neither parent could explain any kind of trauma that would have resulted in such a serious injury to such a small child.

A preliminary hearing for Powell is scheduled for March 4 at 8:45 a.m., online court records show. His cash bond was set at $50,000 Monday.

Online court records also show Powell is facing an October charge for disorderly conduct-domestic abuse.

Mugshots: Racine County criminal complaints, Feb. 22

Local
alert
CRAFT BEER WEEK
Bottoms up, it's Craft Beer Week in Downtown Racine

RACINE — “Wisconsinites love beer. Beer brings people together,” said Andy Molina, who co-owns Racine Brewing Co. on Main Street in Downtown Racine with his wife, Angie.

Racine Brewing Co. is just one of about 15 locations participating in Downtown Racine Corporation’s Craft Beer Week, which began Sunday and continues through Saturday.

The locations include restaurants and pubs in Downtown Racine who will be hosting a slate of promotions, giveaways and free tastings during the week in celebration of craft beer.

This will be Downtown Racine’s Fourth Annual Craft Beer Week, said Kelly Kruse, executive director of the DRC.

“It’s a way to get out of the house and enjoy a tap with family and friends,” Kruse said, “all while supporting your local bars and restaurants that need your support now more than ever before.”

Diana Panuncial / DIANA PANUNCIAL, diana.panuncial@journaltimes.com 

Sarai Schuster, bartender at the Carriage House Liquor Co., pours a beer on Monday. The Carriage House is participating in Downtown Racine's Craft Beer Week.

An upcoming anniversary

Racine Brewing Co. has a different event every day of the week.

Though it doesn’t open until Wednesday, it is hosting giveaways on their Facebook page. They’ll kick off Wednesday by releasing a small batch of Smoky Amber Ale.

Racine Brewing Company’s owners say they’re excited to be able to offer something for people to do.

“Spring is just around the corner,” said Angie. “People are looking for brighter times.”

This Saturday will also be Racine Brewing Company’s third anniversary. The couple plans to celebrate it with a party at their location in tandem with the last day of Craft Beer Week.

“We like that it coincides with Craft Beer Week,” Molina said.

Racine Brewing Co. is the only current brewery in the City of Racine, and Angie Molina said she and her husband, Andy, recognize the role they play in the community.

“From the beginning, we knew we wanted to be a community-centered brewery,” Angie Molina said, adding the brewery has been a part of many fundraising events in the city. “We want to be involved and make everyone feel welcome.”

A second local brewery is planned, Littleport Brewing Co., which could be open as soon as the spring.

What other locations are up to

Carriage House Liquor Co., 220 State St., is one of the participating locations.

They are featuring seven craft beers — a different one each day — including Wisconsin beers from Milwaukee and Madison, but also beers from Utah, Georgia and Indiana.

Sarai Schuster, a bartender at Carriage House, said customers will want to celebrate Craft Beer Week because, like Andy Molina said, beer brings people closer together.

“A lot of people are going to come just to have a beer, but they’re also going to catch up with their friends,” Schuster said. “Socializing is one of the biggest things they need right now.”

Carriage House is also hosting a raffle, where those who come in for Craft Beer Week can enter to win a free 6-pack of beer.

Reefpoint Brew House, Pub on Wisconsin and Toad Hall are some of the pubs offering free samples of craft beer.

Dewey’s Restaurant & Sports Bar, The NASH, Butcher & Barrel Gastropub and Joey’s Yardarm are among the businesses offering a dollar or so off of their beers.

What could Imagine Alley bring to Downtown Racine?

RACINE — Chris Flynn doesn’t mince words when it comes to the alley next to her brewery-to-be on Third Street. Right now, there are a couple cars parked back there, four trash bins, more than a dozen garbage cans and recycling bins, tangles of electrical wires overhead, and the trash that finds its way between the buildings just off Main Street is scattered across the cracked pavement.

More information

Every craft beer purchase is another opportunity to win two tickets to the Belle City Brewfest, according to the DRC.

The Belle City Brewfest is a beer festival and homebrew competition that takes place at 5 Fifth Street in Racine annually. You can learn more about it at brewfestracine.com.

For more information on Craft Beer Week and its participating locations and promotions, check out the DRC website at racinedowntown.com.

Franksville Beer Garden opens for 2019 season
Franksville Beer Garden opens for 2019 season

Local
‘Technical issues’ BLAMED
Public launch of Wisconsin's online signup for vaccine appointments delayed because of 'technical issues'

On Monday, a day when no new Wisconsin COVID-19 deaths were reported for back-to-back days for the first time since September, details remained vague about the state’s public vaccination plan.

On Thursday, the Department of Health Services announced that the Central Racine County Health Department would be one of 10 statewide health departments that would begin a preliminary rollout of Wisconsin’s vaccine registry Monday. The intention for that registry is for people who are eligible to schedule appointments at a local vaccinator, and for people who aren’t yet eligible but want to be vaccinated to put their names on a waitlist.

On Monday, neither CRCHD nor the other health departments included in the rollout had registry sign-ups publicly available, and one of the 10 health departments had dropped out.

A notice on the DHS’ website states: “The vaccine registry will likely become available to the public on March 1, 2021. Not all vaccine providers using this system will be participating as of the launch date, many will be added over time.”

The delay has been blamed on “technical issues.”

A statement from CRCHD, which covers all of Racine County excluding the City of Racine and the villages of Elmwood Park and Wind Point, said: “While the Central Racine County Health Department has been picked as a test site for the vaccine registry, there will be no public-facing interactions at this time. CRCHD continues to work with DHS to resolve technical issues with the WCVR, which will allow CRCHD to use the system in a public-facing manner.”

CRCHD also noted that private vaccinators must “opt into the registry” and so, even if it launches publicly, “it may not be a comprehensive resource for all vaccination options.”

Tech problems have plagued launches of similar programs nationwide. Massachusetts’s vaccine sign-up website crashed last week. Washington D.C.’s had similar issues in mid-January, but cleared them up within hours. In El Paso, Texas, there were reports of people submitting their information immediately followed by the webpage crashing.

Others have criticized the concept of vaccination sign-up websites since they rely on users’ access to the internet, which creates a barrier primarily for elderly and low-income populations.

“Racial and ethnic minority communities that lack internet access have been left behind in the race to get a COVID-19 vaccine. The average monthly cost of internet access, about U.S. $70, can be out of reach for those who can barely afford groceries,” wrote a trio of researchers in a column published on TheConversation.com earlier this month. “Reporters and scholars have written about the effects of lack of internet access in rural areas in the U.S. and developing countries, but they have paid less attention to the harm of lack of internet access in racial and ethnic minority communities in major cities.”

A news release asked the public to refrain from calling CRCHD about the vaccine registry and instead go to surveymonkey.com/r/VaccineContactList to sign up for weekly emails.

When DHS announced the vaccine registry last week, the plan was to have the registry periodically opened to be statewide on March 1. That same day, teachers and child care workers are planned to be able to begin being able to sign up for vaccinations. But it’s unclear if either of those plans remain on track.

The Journal Times asked DHS in an email Monday what the status of educators getting access to vaccines and when public-facing vaccine sign-ups may begin in Wisconsin. That email had not received a reply as of press time Monday.

Numbers update

Since the pandemic started, 6,284 Wisconsin residents’ deaths have been linked to COVID-19, according to government data.

Wisconsin’s death count is the 23rd-highest in the nation and the 34th-highest per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University. Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases has decreased by nearly 42%,

Wisconsin’s vaccination rate dropped from a high ranking of seventh nationally last week to 15th as of Monday, according to federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. As of Monday, 14.9% of Wisconsin’s population had received at least one dose, which was ahead of the national average of 13.3%.

Nearly 353,000 residents have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, or about 6.1% of Wisconsin’s population, DHS said.

Everything you need to know about COVID-19 vaccinations and testing
Everything you need to know about COVID-19 vaccinations and testing

Crime-and-courts
breaking topical alert
RACINE CITY COUNCIL
Racine alderman arrested after reported police chase early Saturday morning; reportedly plans to plead not guilty

CALEDONIA — Edwin Santiago Jr., a Racine alderman since April, was arrested early Saturday morning following what was reported to be a police chase in Caledonia.

Santiago booking photo

Santiago

Details are still emerging as to what occurred and what preceded the chase. Criminal charges had not been filed by 4:30 p.m. Monday, even though the DA’s Office had issued charges in other cases from over the weekend by that time.

Racine County District Attorney Patricia Hanson said in an email that her office was still waiting on paperwork from the Caledonia Police Department on the case.

Santiago’s attorney, Patrick Cafferty, said Monday that his client plans to plead not guilty should charges be filed.

“Edwin Santiago is presumed innocent of all charges. He intends to enter a plea of not guilty at the appropriate time,” Cafferty said in a text message. “We urge the public to withhold judgment until all the facts are available.”

Santiago was arrested Saturday by the Caledonia Police Department and posted $5,000 to get out of jail that day, Hanson confirmed.

Santiago has not replied to multiple requests for comment.

According to the Caledonia Police Department, the arrest occurred at about 1:27 a.m. Saturday. The police report has not been released as charges are still considered pending. Correspondingly, no court appearance has been scheduled.

After advancing out of a primary, Santiago was elected in last spring’s election by a vote of 305 to 221 over Dennis Montey to represent the City of Racine’s 4th District.

When running for office, Santiago told The Journal Times: “I had never imagined myself as a politician. However, when facing situations such as the Machinery Row controversy, being ranked as the second worst city in the country for African Americans, and having lived in District 4 for over seven years witnessing the hardships of my friends and neighbors, I made the choice to step up and be a leader for my community. People are fed up with politicians that are lazy, corrupt, immoral and connected to political dynasties. We need average citizens with more diverse perspectives to represent our diverse city.”

Santiago’s district is located just north of Downtown and is roughly bordered by the Root River, Lake Michigan, English Street, Charles Street, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Marquette Street.

53 photos showing what life has been like in Racine County throughout this infamous year: 2020
53 photos showing what life has been like in Racine County throughout this infamous year: 2020

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