January 22, 2017
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NOW: 39°
HI 55 / LO 36
Aaron Deno, Supervisor of Kenosha's Blood Center of Wisconsin facility, relies on donors to keep the area's blood supply flowing. ( KENOSHA NEWS PHOTO BY BILL SIEL )

Snapshot: Managing the Blood Center of Wisconsin

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Aaron Deno has to balance many abilities while supervising Kenosha’s Blood Center of Wisconsin facility at 8064 39th Ave. plus the location in Racine — and that’s fine with him.

“I’ve always had a very strong predisposition for science and problem solving,” Deno said. “I get great fulfillment out of it.”

January will mark Deno’s third anniversary in his role. About 10 years ago, fresh out of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside with a psychology and philosophy double major during the Great Recession, the Racine native began working at the Plasma Center in Kenosha.

Snapshot: Galleries curator seeks to connect with community

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Amanda Brown, a Providence, R.I., native, became the curator and director of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside galleries in February.

That position leads her to create visual learning experiences for the school as well as the community at large.

Snapshot: He dreams it and does it

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Mike Schuster works at the Wilmot Mountain ski resort, fabricating jumps for snowboarders.

Schuster, originally from Palatine, Ill., worked in Vail, Colo., for eight years and returned to the area to work on the renovations for Wilmot under its new owners, Vail Resorts.

Snapshot: Christmas tree seller continuing long family tradition

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Seventy-seven years of family tradition continued Friday when the Earl Gretzinger Christmas Tree lot opened at 2710 75th St.

John Frost began working on the lot 26 years ago and wound up marrying Earl’s daughter, Debbie, one year later. She is marking her 50th year in the business that is moving into fourth-generation status.

Snapshot: Local firm helps businesses shine on social media

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OJ Aguilar dabbled in a few different businesses before returning to his hometown of Kenosha as one of the partners at Eisley Creative, an audio and video production company. The company’s work can be seen at www.eisleycreative.com

Q. What is Eisley Creative?

Snapshot: He rides for veterans

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Manuel "Manny" Salas is president of the Veterans of Foreign Wars motorcyle Riders Group with VFW Junker-Ball Post 1865 in Kenosha.

Salas, a U.S. Navy veteran who served five years on active duty and eight years in the reserves, has been a member of the VFW for 20 years. The Riders Group has 38 members.

Snapshot: Author! Author!

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Robin Gold of Pleasant Prairie has found success as an author.

Her third book: “An Eclair to Remember,” is coming out next year, but was released in Germany last September under the title “Mein Stück vom Himmel.”

Snapshot: Postmaster keeps busy at Somers office

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Lori J. Preston is the postmaster at the U.S. Postal Service facility in Somers. She has worked for the service for 21 years and was named postmaster in Somers in February.

Q. There looks to be quite a history of postmasters in Somers, going back to 1870. That would make you what, the 17th?

Snapshot: Fan’s enthusiasm is off the chain

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Rodney Nixon isn’t your average football fan.

Besides bringing three sons into the football program and another who played basketball and volleyball at Indian Trail High School and Academy — Edward, Louis and Daviyon Nixon and Jheveon St. Julien — he introduced a simple yet effective cheer that rouses the Hawks’ fan section at every game, except on home games when Nixon works as the announcer in the booth.

No strings attached (usually)

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Jill Frederickson, 44, is a puppeteer and a puppet maker.

She performs largely in Chicago and owns and operates The Little Puppet Company, a Kenosha business that focuses on puppet shows.

Snapshot: Local man makes tracks in his yard

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Harry Benn is putting long-gone trains back on their rails, only at about 1:45 scale, and in his backyard where the chugga chugga of an Electroliner replica is only briefly interrupted by the voice of the conductor announcing stops in Chicago.

About five years ago, fulfilling a childhood dream, he started landscaping his backyard to fit two O scale tracks.

Snapshot: Safe Harbor staffer keeps up with the cats

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Lori Smith has worked at the Safe Harbor Humane Society in Kenosha for 11 years.

On a recent visit to the shelter, she was helping a new arrival — Casper, a 2-year-old white male cat — with medication and grooming.

Snapshot: Local union representative carries on family tradition

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Life experiences and college curriculum converged to set Melanie Meyer’s course for becoming a union representative.

Meyer grew up in Saginaw, Mich., where he father was an United Auto Workers member until 2007 when he lost his job.

Snapshot: Never a dull moment

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From humble begins going door to door with a sharpening stone and some lubricant, charging 35 cents per knives, Jim Siebert has stepped it up. His HarborMarket booth, Blue Ribbon Edge Sharpening Service, is surrounded by several sharpening machines that can handle most jobs people bring to him.

Q. How do people find you?

Snapshot: The voice of the Kingfish

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If you’ve attended a Kenosha Kingfish baseball game since they came to town, you’ve met Aaron Sims.

He’s the voice that informs, entertains and lets you know when summer humidity hits 419 percent.

Snapshot: Steeped in iron tradition

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Learning from longtime Kenosha wrought iron artist Joe Riva, Frankie Rovella struck out on his own about eight years ago and started Rovella Ornamental Iron, where he makes custom railings, fencing and decorative pieces.

Rovella learned fast and became "very, very good," according to Riva, whom Rovella calls Maestro.

Snapshot: Putting around with Marcus Gallo

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Golf is Marcus Gallo’s game.

He coaches it at Tremper High School, where he is also a history teacher. And he works with area youths as the program director for the Caddie and Leadership Academy of Southeast Wisconsin, which sponsors complimentary caddies at Kenosha County’s Petrifying Springs Golf Course.

Snapshot: Training ‘safe and effective drivers’

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Seventeen years with the Kenosha Police Department reminds Detective Jason Melichar to appreciate the value of safe driving skills.

Each year, he and his staff at Just Drive educate 500 young drivers about the rules of the road. “I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my knowledge with young drivers and get them properly trained and ready to be safe and effective drivers on our roads,” he says.

Snapshot: The hunt for old stone

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Brian Schutzen, 35, of Bristol, has been hunting, finding and collecting arrowheads for the past 30 years.

He learned the skill from his father, who also enjoyed the pastime. Today, Schutzen’s collection has grown to hundreds of pieces, which also includes fossils and artifacts from early farming and settling.

Snapshot: In need of a lift?

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Putting a little sweat in to make their customers happy, Mike’s Chicken and Donuts employees offer rickshaw rides to their customers. Assistant General Manager Nicholas Mercier has been behind the handlebars of the three-wheeled contraption.

Q: How does it feel to ride that bike?

Snapshot: Food service gives kids nutritious meals during summer

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Andrea Prichard is director of youth services at the Boys and Girls Club, where she oversees programs for ages 8-12, including after-school program, summer programs and the food program.

Q. How long have you worked at the Boys & Girls Club?

Snapshot: Military museum has the hardware

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Kyle Sonday does a lot of horse trading to get interesting items for the Russell Military Museum's collection.

Sonday is vice president of the museum, located at I-94 and Russell Road, just over the border in Illinois.

Snapshot: Jury coordinator really likes Mondays

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Vicki Maksen has been been in charge of finding Kenosha County jurors and giving them basic instructions for the past five years.

Maksen, of Kenosha, was a part-time clerk at the Kenosha County Courthouse for four years prior to that. She also coordinates interpreters who might be needed for court proceedings.

Snapshot: Aviation mechanic keeps ’em flying at airport

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Mike Eddy is the director of maintenance for Stein's Aircraft Services at the Kenosha Regional Airport.

Q. How did you get interested in doing this work?

Snapshot: Comic book collector turns passion into business

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J.D. Fountain III, 42, has transitioned from a comic book enthusiast and collector to a comic book expert and seller.

Fountain, along with business partner Keith Flores, recently opened Double Daggers Artisan Emporium, 8503 75th St. Much of the back stock of the store is part of Fountain's private collection — more than 9,000 comics.

Snapshot: Retiree volunteers his woodworking skills

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Dan Mundell has been a volunteer at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Racine for the past three years.

Mundell is retired after 34 years in education, including 27 years as a counselor at Lance Middle School in Kenosha.

Snapshot: Bradford art teacher sees steady interest in film photography

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Digital photography greeted the world in a big way at the dawn of 2000, but millennials still want to learn photography with 35mm cameras loaded with black-and-white film.

That certainly has been Caroll Pearson’s experience over the past 14 years at Bradford High School, where the art curriculum features numerous photography classes.

Snapshot: Acupuncturist helps relieve chronic pain

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Laura Cox, 35, opened Acupuncture & Wellness of Wisconsin LLC, 3917 47th Ave., last month. She is a practitioner of acupuncture and offers other health-related services.

Q. What is acupuncture?

Snapshot: Man heeds ‘Call of Duty,’ opens video gaming parlor

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Since April, David Mueller has been operating Top Dog Gaming, 621 56th St., in downtown Kenosha, which he co-owns with his wife Joanne. The gaming lounge offers different games and consoles for people to play on for an hourly fee, and a chance for players to socialize face to face.

Q. What systems do you have here?

Snapshot: Shalom Center food pantry manager does it all

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Barb Madrigrano is the manager at the Shalom Center Food Pantry.

She wears many hats at the pantry, including overseeing all of the programs, building inventories, organizing and managing logistics and driving a forklift to unload trucks and place pallets in the warehouse.

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