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Mitchell Park Domes Closed For Safety Concerns

Milwaukee's famous Mitchell Park Domes are indefinitely closed. The Arid Dome was closed on January 29 after pieces of concrete fell from the dome. The other domes closed on February 5 as a safety measure while county officials wait for details of how expensive repairs might be. (The geometric framework is based on cast concrete.) Deterioration of the concrete framework was caused by moisture, humidity, and changes in temperature, all enhanced by the age of the structures.

The domes were built in stages between 1959 and 1967, with Lady Bird Johnson, First Lady of the United States, attending the ribbon cutting ceremony.

"If the domes strike you as unusual, it's because they are," County Executive Chris Abele said in a press conference. Preliminary reports show that temporary repairs to reopen the domes could take three to six months and cost anywhere from $450,000 to $900,000. The repairs would consist of wrapping suspect nodes with a nylon material to prevent concrete from falling.

The long term solution would include rebuilding the domes. Estimates place the cost upward of $75 million, according to an engineering report.

The problems in the county owned structures were quickly politicized. 2016 is an election year for the position of county executive between incumbent Chris Abele and challenger Chris Larson.

The Friends of the Domes launched a Go Fund Me - Save the Domes account to generate donations for the restoration of one of Milwaukee's most famous icons.

News Links: http://www.biztimes.com/2016/02/08/mitchell-park-domes/

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Statue of Abraham Lincoln Vandalized in Burlington, Wisconsin

A 22 year old genius has been charged with vandalism in the damage done to an eight foot tall statue of Abraham Lincoln in Burlington, Wisconsin. The senseless act took place last Saturday, January 30. Charges were leveled on February 2.

Jacob Hinds of Burlington, toppled the statue by pulling it over with his pickup truck and a tow strap. The 22 year old was charged with felony criminal damage to property.

The statue was created by George E. Ganiere of Chicago, a 1912 gift of dentist Francis Meinhardt to mark the opening of Lincoln School. The statue is just outside the boundary of the official NRHP district, but is considered a local landmark. The statue was restored in 2014 and rededicated at that time.

Burlington Mayor Robert Miller said the damage was in excess of $2,500. The statue is currently being stored by the parks department, awaiting restoration. The firm that restored the statue in 2014 will likely be contracted to repair damage caused by Hinds' action.

Burlington Lincoln Statue Vandalized photo lincoln-statue-jpg_zpsofc7ewzo.jpg
Photo by Burlington Historical Society

A citizen came upon the toppled statue shortly after the act of vandalism occurred and called police. According to the criminal complaint, police followed tire tracks to a parking lot where a Chevrolet truck was parked that matched the witness description. A tow strap was dangling from the passenger side of the tailgate. Police said the tires were still wet and the engine was warm. The truck is registered to Hinds.

Hinds faces up to 1-1/2 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. He has an extensive record, mostly of traffic violations. As of this writing, an accomplice is still at large.

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