THUMBS UP: A safe community is a better community to live in. It’s better for friends and neighbors, for schools, for businesses and for visitors who come to the city. So the news this week that Racine crime rates tumbled in the past year was good news for all of us. Total service calls were down, property crimes were down, violent crimes were down. Homicides in 2013 matched the city’s lowest on record — just one — the same number that was posted in 1984. Yes, there were a couple of blips — burglaries rose and reported rapes doubled, although that was due in part to a reclassification of how statistics are reported. All in all, it was a good year for safety in the city.
THUMBS DOWN: More numbers came in this week, as is usually the case when a year ends. This set showed a huge rise in the number of alternate-side street violations. Citations — at $20 a pop — ballooned to 28,301 in 2013, compared to just 19,096 the year before. We’re sure city fathers weren’t distressed that the revenue from fines jumped somewhere in the neighborhood of $200,000 (assuming it was all collected). But the downside is that it means there were more impediments to snowplows and street sweepers who are trying to keep our city streets cleaned up. As the winter from hell rolls on with unabated snow and cold, we’d prefer to have good driving lanes, instead of pumped-up fines.
THUMBS UP: Salutes this week to Prosser RV on Leetsbir Road in the Town of Yorkville for teaming up with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to provide some summer camping opportunities to Corey Frye, a 14-year-old Williams Bay teen who suffers from cerebral palsy. Corey and his family received a new pop-up camper this week in a celebration at the RV shop. Happy camping.
THUMBS UP: Another good deed that made the news this week came on Chatham Street, where the winter’s bone-chilling cold was pipe-chilling as well and froze the service pipe to the city water main. Friendly neighbor Clarence “Buddy” Beegle helped out by running a hose from his house to his neighbor to provide them with water. Beegle is not alone in the Winter Good Samaritan effort — the city says 30 city residents have had frozen service pipes this winter and have relied on neighbors for water supplies. Now if only we could get a midwinter thaw to help things out.
THUMBS UP: Southeastern Wisconsin’s relentless winter has had an equalizing affect on trucks, buses and cars. They’re all white — snow-salt white. So are many parking lots. The harsh winter hue has depleted salt supplies in communities across the southeastern part of the state and put government officials on the phone trying to restock their dwindling supplies. The good news is that two bulk carriers from Canada docked in Milwaukee this week after a U.S. Coast Guard ice cutter finally helped them through the Straits of Mackinac. Their cargo of 50,000 tons of salt should keep roads and highways safe, and we predict there will soon be a run on car washes. It will be so good to return to the days of multihued vehicles.