As if we needed one more reason to love the “Green and Gold.” Racine County got one anyway this week when the Green Bay Packers announced they had secured a $250,000 grant through the NFL Foundation Grassroots Program to provide a new synthetic-turf football field for high school and youth athletes here at Pritchard Park. The grant will augment efforts by Racine County and the Racine Unified School District to build a $6 million multi-use state-of-the-art football facility at the park as part of the burgeoning SC Johnson Community Sports Complex there. The green and gold from the NFL is welcome, so we’ll put this in the “W” column.
Racine has a long history of contributing to state government and that continued this week when two local people were tapped by Gov. Tony Evers for state jobs. Former area legislator Kim Plache was appointed the next chief operating officer for the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority and Racine Alderman John Tate was named chairperson of the state Parole Commission. Plache, a former state senator and representative, has worked at the state’s affordable housing agency since 2002. Tate, who has been active in advocating marijuana reforms locally, has been on the City Council for two years and has also run for the state Legislature. We hope they do a good job in their new state roles and uphold Racine’s tradition of service.
Another Post Prom and the following night’s “Night to Remember” for special needs students is in the books and both lived up to their billing and created great memories for another class of students from Racine area high schools. Once again, Racine Founders Rotary Club, deserves a round of applause for pulling off another spectacular event at Festival. This one was a little more strenuous than others when student athletes from three high schools had to deal with a conflict in state regional track qualifying that was finally held Saturday morning — creating a long, but no doubt memorable day.
Homeowners on the corners of blocks near high schools, middle schools and elementary schools have long had to deal with students traipsing diagonally across their lawns instead of using the sidewalks. But the Gifford Woods subdivision kicked that age-old dispute up a notch when it went to enforce its private sidewalk law. It seems that some parents of Gifford Elementary school students were dodging the chaos of picking up their students at the school by parking — legally — in the adjoining subdivision and having their kids walk the rest of the way. But the sidewalk is not a public sidewalk — it is owned by the local homeowners association and was built solely for use by subdivision children. The Caledonia Police Department has advised the homeowners association to post signs along the walkway. Maybe something like: “Stay off the sidewalk.” And stay off the lawn, too.
Since we’re being a little cranky here this morning, we’re going to give a dart to the Wisconsin disability advocacy group that challenged an extension the City of Burlington gave to a resale shop in constructing an Americans with Disabilities Act compliant restroom. The city had approved a five-year extension for the small shop, which has already reworked its front porch and added a ramp for people with disabilities to enter the store — to add a handicap-accessible restroom. The advocacy group argued the city was ignoring federal law and didn’t have that authority. The owner noted the improvements the shop had already made but said they had a financial plan to remodel the restroom and just couldn’t do it right away. The shop last fall had sought an exemption for small retail or mercantile shops to not have a restroom at all, which the owners said “is the norm” for small retail businesses. The city denied that exemption as well. A little patience would go a long way here.
“Book ’em, Danno.” That Hawaii Five-O catchphrase came to mind this week when we read that Racine Police will once again begin carrying donated books in their squad cars and handing them out to area youngsters. The books-in-squads program had been dropped five years ago when Cops ‘N Kids founder Julia Witherspoon had some health issues and the program faded. But it’s back and it once again provides a positive connection between law officers and community children. It’s a much better interface than the other kind of booking.