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I’m headed out of town for a little vacation and thought I’d write an opinion piece about Visioning a Greater Racine before I left.

So after covering the election the other night my friend JJ McAuliffe said he was a little tired of reading my whiny notes on Facebook. And I have to admit, the pressure of owning a business sometimes gets the best of me. That’s why this vacation is really important. I need a little rest, live a little and not worry about what I’m not writing.

The conversation I had with JJ, he owns McAuliffe’s on the Square, also reminded me that I don’t have to get stuck in wanting my business to thrive, that it is thriving and we are making an impact. “You are making an impact more than you know,” he said. And I’m grateful that I get to serve my community by helping people understand their world a little better. And I so needed to hear what he said.

You see, I’m pretty addicted to all of you — Mount Pleasant, Caledonia, Racine, Wind Point, Elmwood Park, and Franksville. You each have your own identity and are fighting so hard to be what you need to be. But it doesn’t have to be such a fight. That’s why I think Visioning a Greater Racine is such an important part of our community’s success.

So if you don’t know about VGR, you should. They are a group of folks that have worked hard to bring this fragmented, edgy, skeptical and somewhat fragile community together. We’ve been through a lot. And it’s time for us to roll up our sleeves and get to the business of making lasting change.

Over the past year, the community identified eight shared values that drive Greater Racine: heritage, integrity, inclusion, partnership, caring, sustainability, optimism and courage. Participants then used those values to further define 11 goals around education and youth, healthy productive lives, thriving economy, social justice, transportation, culture and recreation, revitalization, environmental sustainability, diverse and collaborative leadership, pride and self-image, and building an atmosphere for young adults.

But these are words, not action. So VGR is now asking the community to help make those goals a reality by forming Working, Action, Vision & Engagement (WAVE) teams. This is where the talking about who and what stops, and we start working on making the goals a reality.

Is it going to be easy work? No. Is it worthwhile work? Yes. But if we start addressing these goals, we will make a huge impact on our neighbors, our neighborhood and our community. The key to our success though: Keeping our focus on these shared values. When we do that, I think we’ll see our highest and best selves emerge. We’ll stop playing the victim and focus on what we can accomplish collectively.

So I just signed up for the teams focuses on pride and self-image, and environmental sustainability. So the invitation has been extended. To be part of this initiative, visit the Visioning a Greater Racine website.

In the meantime, if you need anything from the Racine County Eye, feel free to reach out to my interim editor Heather Asiyanbi at or my marketing and sales specialist Trudy Coombs at

PS: I probably have about seven stories I’ve got in progress right now. So if I have interviewed you and the story isn’t written yet, don’t worry… it will be when I get back from vacation.


Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.