Monday, August 9, 2010

Hey, JT! Help Mitchell!

Dear Journal Times,

It's time for you to help. I know you're hard at work re-writing police reports and reminding us that Frank Lloyd Wright's roofs leak. It's good to be reminded there's crime in our city and that flat surfaces don't do well in Wisconsin's winters. But now it's time to redirect your efforts.

Mitchell Middle School is hard at work trying to win $500,000 to improve its building. Teachers, principals, students and parents are rallying together to rally the community to simply vote for Mitchell on Facebook. That's it. If enough people in the Racine area simply click their mouse buttons enough time an aging schools gets a half-million dollars. That's $500,000 that doesn't come from taxpayers or the school district's textbook budget. It's purely outside money, a free gift, a windfall for city middle-schoolers. All it takes is a few votes.

Mitchell has a real shot at winning. Monday morning they were in 22nd place in the nation, just behind at least a dozen schools that are giving away free iPads to get people to vote. The top 20 schools each win $500,000. We should also note Racine's Knapp Elementary is also making a run at the Kohl's contest. They got in a little late and have some work to do, but if enough people in Racine rally, they could vote for both Mitchell and Knapp and help both schools along.

But here's the thing. People have to know about the contest to vote in the contest. If they know, of course they'll vote. Who wouldn't? But if they don't know, how can they vote?

That's where you come in, JT (and by JT I'm talking specifically to you Mark Lewis and Steve Lovejoy). You could help Mitchell win $500,000, and probably Knapp, too. All it'd take are some stories, some free house ads and an editorial or two. Here's the plan:

1. Write a kickoff story this week telling everyone about the contest and how to vote. Document the renovations Mitchell and Knapp plan to make with the money, tell people how they can join efforts to rally the city, and update progress on how Mitchell is using the $50,000 it won from Pepsi to rebuild its science classrooms. You've got art, a main story and a sidebar - perfect for your Tuesday or Wednesday front page. (I'd strongly suggest focusing on Mitchell, because they're just a few hundred votes out of the money. Knapp has a shot, but it's a long one.)

2. Every day after that, through the contest's Sept. 3 deadline, run a small box on the front page reminding people to "Vote for Mitchell & Knapp!" This is 2-3 paragraphs, easy to slot in. Maybe even run it in your skyboxes as a permanent badge through Sept. 3.

3. Create a free house ad and run it every day through Sept. 3. Easy enough, you certain run enough of your own house ads.

4. Write editorials calling on the community to vote. Appeal to their civic duty, and their bottomlines. Call for companies to get all of their employees to vote, and parents of students in all schools to support Mitchell and Knapp with the understanding that their school will get its chance. Suggest Unified, the city, RCEDC, RAMAC, YPR, Leadership Racine and other groups study creating a social media/grant director position specifically to find new ways to pay for our schools needs. It sure beats raising everyone's taxes.

So that's it, JT. There's your four-point plan for rallying support and helping our schools win a significant amount of money to improve our students' education. Take a risk, actually care about the community. Use your power for good. You can make a difference here, you can even take all of the credit. Do it well and I bet you could even win a Lee President's Award ('JT helps school wins $500,000' has a nice ring to it.)

And, here's the reality: Mitchell and Knapp can't do it without you. Right now they're outgunned by rival schools around the country and they need a powerful ally to aid their cause. You're that ally. It's time for you to help.

Dear Readers,

Help us convince the JT to jump in here. Contact Editor Steve Lovejoy ( and Publisher Mark Lewis (, or either at 634-3322, and let them know you want the JT to back Mitchell and Knapp.

If you'd like to help more directly, contact Mitchell organizer Kim Wendt at and let her know you'd like to get involved.

Thanks much,



  1. hey , racinepost!

    we know you're busy taking shots at the journal times and writing anti Ryan stories, but.....

  2. Kim Wendt has done more virtually single-handedly to improve the schools of Racine than the people on our school board may ever accomplish.
    We all need to get behind her and Mitchell, especially as it's so easy.
    I realize that $500,000 additional dollars won't have much of an impact on my property tax, but it's $500,000 that doesn't have to be found in other budgetted accounts.

  3. So how about people at our largest employers start talking up sending in their votes from work too? What harm is in that? Employers support the community too, right?

    So, All Saints, Case (or whatever it's called now) or how about people at the administration offices of Unified? Just these would bring in the votes to be in the top 20 for sure.

    By the way, I'm retired and have no connection other than just wanting Racine to prosper.

    Good luck to all.

  4. This would only be news worthy if they were to win the money. Furthermore there are other schools that are in it, maybe not in contention at this time, but it seems to me you should be impartial which the Post was not from the beginning.

  5. Personally, I am glad the Racine Post is partial toward Racine Schools. Sir, should they be partial to Milwaukee or Kenosha schools instead? sheesh. What kind of community do you want to live in sir?

    Thanks Racine Post. Continue what you are doing.

  6. maybe racine post can do something instead of asking JT to do something.

  7. 1:29 - You are not really that dumb are you? Who said anything about Milwaukee - there are other Racine schools that were involved. That is what I was referring too.

  8. Saw a nice thing on CAR25 with her as well.

  9. Mitchell - We are supporting you! And Knapp. Just wish we were big enough to get it as we could really use a face lift.

    Walden III Parent

  10. in regards to the commentor at 1:31pm: while in many message boards that kind of shot at the moderator is using fitting, in this case it isn't. even a marginal follower of this blog (ie; myself) has seen Racinepost push for readers to support Mitchell in seperate posts for many weeks.

    And it worked too, on a small level. I voted. Directly due to the awareness I got from this site. I commend their push to have the Journal Times follow suit, since even basic probablilty tells us that a much bigger audience = substantially more votes.

  11. There are many RUSD schools involved in the Kohl's Cares program - not just Mitchell and Knapp. All of our schools could use support and you can share your 5 votes per school with other RUSD schools. Just begin a search with Racine and you will see all the schools involved.
    Perhaps a list could be posted here.

    The scary thing is - these contests will result in have and have not schools all across the country. If your child is not lucky enough to attend the school that has won such a contest will that change the education they are given?

  12. Well...just as I thought...all of our schools need your votes!

    RUSD Elementary Schools - Every school is listed.
    RUSD Middle Schools - Every school is listed.
    RUSD High Schools - Every school is listed

    The only RUSD school I could not find listed was the Mack Alternative Center.

    There are many private and parochial Racine schools that are also involved in the Kohl's Cares contest.

  13. Anon 3:28 - You're right, all of our local schools could use an outside investment. But the reality is one school - and possibly a second - has done the legwork needed to win this contest. Mitchell has done incredible work to attract 7,000+ votes, placing it among the top 1% in the country.

    If other local schools were in the running we'd loudly support them. But Mitchell has a real shot, and let's take a run at Knapp, too.

  14. Hey, Dustin. Can you create a Facebook link for the Mitchell voting? if you had one, I'd post it! Was a major part of Kalamazoo Central High School's win to have President Obama speak at commencement (and yes, we were there - and yes, it was awesome!) Thanks! Ellen N. Kalamazoo MI (formerly of Racine)

  15. It would be helpful if you had the direct link listed - can you post that?

  16. If you already have a facebook account clicking on the banner at the top of the Racine Post page will take you directly to the Kohl's Cares page.

    You have to like Kohl's on facebook to vote.

  17. Dustin - that is BS. You have been promoting Mitchell from day one even though there were many schools in it at the beginning. So what's your connection with Mitchell - come clean.

  18. Sir: I have no connection to Mitchell. They're just the school best organized to win a national competition, so we're trying to help them out.

  19. Dustin - Were they the best from day one when you started to promote them over anyone else? I don't think so - both you and Pete always have a hidden agenda - sometimes not so hidden.

  20. I wanted to vote for Mitchell school except I have to sign up on Facebook and then receive those annoying e-mails. Sorry

  21. Sir: Yup, they were. When I first heard about Mitchell running they were in 13th place and had already secured over 1,000 votes. They really hit the ground running on this. Remember, this is the school that won $50,000 from Pepsi. They know what they're doing over there.

  22. "Remember, this is the school that won $50,000 from Pepsi. They know what they're doing over there. "

    OHHHH WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Thank you everyone for all your support, encouragement and efforts to make this a reality. Mitchell Middle has invested a lot of time and money into this contest including purchasing ads in our local plays, paying for a booth at our country fair and going out to local businesses to gain support. Together we can make a difference in the lives of Racine youth.

    The direct link to vote is: and you can vote 5 times total. Please also post it to your profile page if you are willing to support us even further. You do receive 15 other votes for three other schools.

  24. They are probably too busy working on the next KRM story to cover this.

  25. The web site at the JT is by far the biggest piece of crapola in the state!
    (and I'm being kind)

  26. If you don't have a Facebook account, but still want to vote, and don't want all the emails-- here's how you do it.

    1) Go to

    2) SIgn up, but don't fill in all the unnecessary information.

    3) After you confirm your account through the email message they send, sign in to your account.

    4) Vote for Mitchell Middle School 5 times. Vote for other Racine schools 5x each to use up your 20 votes.

    5) Click on "Account" in the upper right and select "deactivate" account.
    Your account activity will stop. No more emails.

    Thanks for your support! We can't do it without you!

  27. Wouldn't it be something if we could work on funding education at the state and national level to the point where all these contests would not be needed?
    For Pepsi and Kohl's to mount these campaigns tells me there is a desire to help education and also a desire to create some positive spin for their companies. Perhaps we could make branding deals with corporations to better fund our schools.
    Pepsi made an exclusive deal with RUSD back in the McGoldrick days - no idea if that's still going - but Pepsi machines are exclusive in RUSD.

  28. The lady at First Fridays getting Mitchell votes was very rude. I'd rather vote for another school. Sorry.

  29. Hi Uncle,

    I'm sorry you had a bad experience with one of our volunteers.

    Please re-consider supporting these kids and our community.

    We are accepting more volunteers who are good with handling the public.

    Please consider joining us. We need you!

  30. I am also sorry to hear you had a bad experience Uncle. I can imagine it is difficult to walk up and ask people to vote and they probably don't always get the nicest responses. These teachers are passionate and taking up their time trying to improve the lives of Racine's youth when they could easily just relax and not even try. I would rather have dedicated and hard working teachers setting an example for others to follow. I agree with the other comment above- volunteer and lead the way Uncle!! The email for the teacher is above I am sure they could use you!

  31. I would vote for any school that Dustin didn't promote.

  32. No - I just don't support someone who has an agenda.