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Case’s Branden Lopiccolo watches his tee shot on the first hole of the red course Tuesday morning, June 8, 2021, during the WIAA Division 1 Golf Sectional at Ives Grove Golf Links.

Brooklyn Nets forward Joe Harris (12) becomes entangled with Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday (21) during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Monday, June 7, 2021, in New York. Harris was charged with a foul on the play. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Get vaccinated, learn history | Vaccine clinic to be open during Racine's Juneteenth celebration

RACINE — Community members will get a chance to learn about the history and impact of Juneteenth while receiving their COVID-19 vaccination at a pop-up clinic opening on the holiday, the city announced this week.

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Ascension Wisconsin is scheduled host the pop-up vaccination clinic from 12-4 p.m. on June 19 inside the Dr. John Bryant Community Center, 601 Caron Butler Drive, coinciding with the city’s official Juneteenth celebration. Ascension will administer second doses of the Pfizer vaccine from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 10 at a location to be determined.


Alderman Mollie Jones, who was hospitalized with COVID-19 for two weeks, said she encourages community members to add getting vaccinated to their Juneteenth celebration.

Juneteenth celebrates the news of the abolition of slavery reaching enslaved people in Texas — since slave owners there ignored the orders from the Union, as Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation more than two years before. As such, the holiday celebrates the actual end of legalized slavery in the U.S.

“This day, June 19, 1865, ended one form of oppression on African Americans, but COVID-19 has also been oppressive to our people,” Jones said in a statement.

Reaching those who haven’t gotten their shot

The rush of early adopters getting vaccinated is over. Now, health leaders are trying to find other ways to get COVID-19 vaccine shots in the arms of people who didn’t go out and get vaccinated on their own as soon as they could, with the hope of finally officially ending the pandemic.

While case rates and death rates have fallen to miniscule levels compared to where they were in fall and early winter 2020, the coronavirus still has a presence in southeastern Wisconsin. The seven-day average for new cases confirmed has remained in the double digits since March, although preliminary data from the second week of June shows numbers approaching zero. Since April 1, according to state data, 14 people in Racine County have died after contracting COVID-19 bringing the cumulative county total to 392.

Vaccines started being available to Wisconsinites in December. All Wisconsinites age 16 and up have been eligible to get vaccinated since April 5.

Vaccination rates remain lowest among communities of color in most of the country, including in Racine County and Wisconsin. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that these racial disparities in getting vaccinated exist due to factors including less access to health care in communities of color. The pandemic in general has negatively affected communities of color due to housing instability, food insecurity and unemployment; simply put, for people of color who are more likely to be low-income, missing work (which is more likely to be in the service industries and so couldn’t be performed remotely) was less of an option.

Black Americans were 10% more likely to catch COVID-19, 190% more likely to be hospitalized and 90% more likely to die from it compared to whites, according to the CDC. For Hispanic or Latino Americans compared to white Americans, the case rate was twice as high, the hospitalization rate was nearly triple, and death rate was 130% higher.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit that provides information on national health issues, reported as of May 24: “Black and Hispanic people have received smaller shares of vaccinations compared to their shares of cases and compared to their shares of the total population in most states.”

In Racine County as of Wednesday, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, 43% of white residents have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, nearly double the rate of 22.8% for African Americans and considerably higher than the rate of 29% of Hispanic residents.

“Having a clinic at Juneteenth is a resource for our community,” Jones said, “and I encourage everyone to use this opportunity to get vaccinated.”

Ascension has been part of expanding efforts to reach more people to get vaccinated who haven’t gone to do it themselves. The nonprofit Catholic health system has hosted vaccine clinics at places like Health Care Network Inc., 500 Wisconsin Ave., a nonprofit clinic that primarily serves Racine’s uninsured population with a focus on those who speak English as a second language and so have been less targeted by traditional vaccination efforts.

Other input

The Racine-Kenosha National Black Nurses Association will be at the Juneteenth Celebration to educate the community about “vaccine safety, how it has saved lives and to dispel myths and information about the vaccine,” a release said.


“Communities of color were hardest hit by this pandemic, yet we are not being vaccinated at the same rates as other groups,” stated Shronda Green, a nurse at Gateway Technical College and vice president of the Racine-Kenosha NBNA. “Come talk to us at Juneteenth so that we can work to better protect our community by getting vaccinated.”


“The African American community was hit hardest by COVID-19. The pandemic cost us jobs, it took our kids out of school, and worst yet, it took the lives of so many we love,” Lesia Hill, director of the Bryant Center, said in a statement. “Let’s celebrate Juneteenth, but let’s do it safely. If you haven’t already got the vaccine, I would encourage you to do it on Juneteenth Day.”


Reggie Newson, chief community impact officer at Ascension Wisconsin, stated that the health care provider encourages everyone who is eligible to get their COVID-19 vaccine to “help protect not just themselves, but their loved ones, friends and neighbors.”

“As we continue to work together to protect the health of our community,” Newson said, “the importance of getting vaccinated includes protecting those who are most at risk.”

In photos: Racine rallies to celebrate Juneteenth one month after George Floyd was killed
PHOTOS AND VIDEO: Getting vaccinated at Festival Hall

Watch now: Volunteers band together to open Caledonia Zoo, replacing Jo-Don Farms

CALEDONIA — Just a few months after Jo-Don Farms’ closure was reported, its former employees have finally opened the new attraction they had planned for its site: the Caledonia Zoological Park.

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Caledonia Zoo, located at 5907 Nicholson Road, the same site as Jo-Don Farms, opened Memorial Day weekend. Its hours are Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Diana Panuncial / DIANA PANUNCIAL 

Cody Zibung, one of the co-owners of Caledonia Zoo, pets one of the goats at the zoo on Saturday.

It doesn’t house as many animals as Jo-Don Farms did, said co-owner Cody Zibung — who remembered Jo-Don having anywhere from 250 to 300 animals before she left in 2019 — but the new zoo offers more diversity.

From a new African crested porcupine to an ancient emu to a pair of alpaca girls, Caledonia Zoo has about 30 furry (and prickly and scaly) residents with some on the way, like a wild raccoon exhibit.

Zibung said the crew has been trying to get some of the animals from Jo-Don Farms back — the animals were all rehomed when the closure was reported — but, for now, they are focusing on making sure the zoo’s new inhabitants are comfortable.

“We have large enclosures, and we’re going to keep adding enrichment — behavioral, mental, environmental — so they’re actively engaged and happy in their environment,” said Sylvia Minnis, another co-owner of the zoo.

For example, on Saturday, the zoo’s second weekend open and also the first time southeastern Wisconsin saw 90-degree temperatures for the year, the crew gave the animals frozen treats to keep them cool.

Minnis said the animals’ health and well-being are number one. “We’re hoping, as we move on, we can do some fun, educational things for the community,” she said.

‘We enjoy it’

There are six co-owners of Caledonia Zoo; four of them are former employees of Jo-Don and two of them worked closely with Jo-Don for years, Zibung said. The co-owners are aided by a “solid” group of volunteers who help out with everyday maintenance.

No one is getting paid.

“We all really love it, working with the animals,” Zibung said. “Maybe, someday down the road, three, four years from now, it starts to pull in money and we can have a full-time staff member that we pay to be here. But we never counted on this being our money maker. We did this because we enjoy it.”

Diana Panuncial / DIANA PANUNCIAL 

Caledonia Zoo volunteers, including co-owner Sylvia Minnis, right, oversee the animals on Saturday.

Every crew member has a full-time job aside from working at the zoo, Zibung said. But those skills in other trades prove to be a benefit for the new zoo.

For example, Minnis is a veterinarian at Caledonia Veterinary Clinic on Highway 38, which she owns; she’s the one who specializes in the health of the animals. Other co-owners work in careers like business or carpentry.

“Each of us bring something different to the table, which cohesively allows us all to kind of cover all the bases,” Minnis said of working together at the zoo.

“There’s all these things that we’re doing, working, and then coming here at night doing stuff to fund (the zoo), because we just love it that much,” Zibung said. “Once you get that ticking, you’re just stuck with it.”

Legal battles still ongoing

Controversy loomed around the closure of Jo-Don Farms when it was initially reported on in April. The co-owners of Caledonia Zoo, however, want to leave the negativity behind.

The legal battles are still “an ongoing thing,” said Minnis.

But “as far as we’re concerned, we’ve switched hands. That should just go to the wayside, and let’s all focus on making a great, wonderful place,” Minnis added.

Alex Meyer, who took over Jo-Don Farms when her father, Robert Meyer, died in December, declined a request for comment.

The new zoo has only been open to the public for about a week, but Zibung said the turnout has been great. The crew is seeking feedback from visiting families and using it to guide their way.

Diana Panuncial / DIANA PANUNCIAL 

A little boy and a lemur climb on fences, looking at each other at the Caledonia Zoo on Saturday.

“When you work so hard at something, and you’re not getting any like monetary value out of it, you’re doing it because you love it — getting that feedback makes it worth it,” Zibung said.

For more information on the zoo, visit its Facebook page. The zoo is accepting donations through GoFundMe, with a goal of $10,000 to help organizers fill the zoo with animals.

Admission to the Caledonia Zoo is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors 65 and older, and $6 for military with ID and children ages 2 to 15. There is no charge for children 2 and younger.

From fur to needles, meet some of the residents at Caledonia Zoo in photos

When the HOA told them to take their Pride flag down, this Wind Point couple complied, kind of
  • 3 min to read

WIND POINT — How did residents respond when their neighborhood association requested that their rainbow pride flag be taken down? They lit up the neighborhood with pride.

Last week, homeowners Memo Fachino, 35, and Lance Mier, 36, gathered floodlights from their basement and online to unveil a rainbow light show in their front yard.

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“We thought it was a funny way to still show what we wanted to express and represent,” said Fachino.

Soon, this display reached a viral audience overnight after Fachino posted it on the r/MaliciousCompliance Reddit forum, leading to features in numerous newspapers, on TV news programs and websites.

Fachino received an overwhelming number of responses, with many commenters airing their own frustrations with homeowner associations.

“A lot of people are too enamored with HOAs in general and get some satisfaction from sticking it to the HOA,” he said. “But that wasn’t our goal at all.”

Fachino serves as a co-director board member of his HOA, the Wind Meadows Corporation. He said that this one situation isn’t representative of his experience in the neighborhood.

“I don’t have a vendetta against my neighbors, my HOA or co-directors on the board,” he said.

Debie Truckey, vice president of the Wind Meadow Corporation’s board, declined to comment on the situation. Other board members did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

No-fly zone

Fachino and Mier have been living in their Wind Point neighborhood for nearly five years and have a notable presence.

During the holiday season, the couple creates and displays elaborate homemade decorations right in their front yard to make their home feel welcoming to the community.

Alyssa Mauk / JAKE HILL, For The Journal Times 

Memo Fachino, left, and Lance Mier stand in front of their front yard in Wind Point in October 2019, where they have an elaborate Halloween display. The two say the display gets larger each year.

Since moving in, Fachino and Mier have often flown a pride flag on their front porch.

“We’ve always displayed our pride flag. But over the past year or two, political support has been more present everywhere, not only in our community,” Fachino said. “And that’s led to some discussions between other neighbors displaying opinion flags.”

For the past year, the Wind Meadows Corporations’ guides and regulations have been under review, with board members going through a list of updates and changes needing to be approved.

Fachino mentioned homeowners in the past have butted heads over political disagreements for having “opinion” flags like “Black Lives Matter” or “Thin Blue Line” flags displayed on their property. Due to these experiences, the HOA decided to restrict the presentation of having any flag displayed in the front of homes, with the exception of the U.S. flag.

Fachino mentioned that policies are subject to change at any time. However, board members struggle with creating language that draws the line between “appropriate” and “inappropriate” flag displays.

“(The board) were open to reviewing the policy if anyone could come up with wording that would make it possible,” said Fachino.

A prideful example

The update to the flag rule was enacted at the end of April. The next day, a neighbor reported Fachino and Mier’s pride flag for violating the rule.

Even with this on his mind, Fachino said: “I still knew that the rule wasn’t aimed at us or our pride flag, but a rule that would prevent any future altercations.”

Fachino and Mier were able to display their lights due to a loophole in the HOA’s new rules that said “removal of exterior lighting doesn’t require approval from the board.”

Since their creative project, Fachino says his neighborhood has been supportive of the situation and is appreciative to have the ability to showcase pride.

“We hope,” Fachino said, “that if any other person is struggling in other neighborhoods or families with acceptance, we want to show them there is acceptance beyond their immediate circle.”

IN PHOTOS: 2020 Pride without Prejudice march calls to attention deaths of black transgender people