October 20, 2011I glanced out the window of our bus. There was a lone soldier standing as stiff as a stick, saluting. He couldn't have been much past 20.
That lone soldier was standing outside one of two buses full of World War II veterans at the D.C. airport. I was a Chaper One for one of those veterans on something called Honor Flight. Honor Flight is an organization which honors veterans by sending them to Washington to see the patriotic sites. The World War II memorial. The Iwo Jima statue. The guards changing at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
But it's more than a sightseeing trip. It was a whirlwind journey meant to honor the last of the World War II veterans, to say thanks. For many of them it was the first time they saw the memorial built in their name. For too many it will be the last time.
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January 20, 2011Although I enjoy almost all sports, I don't typically use this column to talk about those things.
An editorial should be about important national topics such as our more than $14 trillion national debt, increasing health care costs and the use of politics by some to make excuses or try to explain why an insane man shot people at an Arizona grocery store.
An editorial typically should be an opinion about a local issue such as the rescue and fire services disagreement between Geneva Township and the Lake Geneva Fire Department or whether the Walworth County District Attorney's Office should have filed charges against Lake Geneva city staff for mismanagement.
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Downtown parking solutions not easy to come byOctober 13, 2011It seems as though I have rattled many raw and exposed nerves when it comes to this parking issue in the city of Lake Geneva. Last week, I sang the praises of the councilís decision to purchase 60 parking pay station kiosks and suggested many of the people complaining about them will soon realize how wrong they were to moan and whine about them. Time will tell if I am right or if I end up completely full of it. For now, I stand by every statement I made and the way I made it.
State-of-the-art parking kiosks a good ĎchangeíOctober 06, 2011The ink isnít even dry, so to speak, on a contract to buy the 60 new state-of-the-art parking station kiosks and all Iím hearing and reading are complaints. People are whining about having to walk a few extra steps to the stations after they park and how itís going to be more time consuming and inconvenient. Others are complaining about having to remember their parking space number or how they may have to actually read and use their brain to figure out how to work the new machines.The cost of the new system also appears to be irking some people. With an $810,000 price tag, this system nearly matches the cost of the new aerial ladder truck. Itís slightly less than all the road work that will occur in the city during the next three years.
Local hero has difficulty accepting recognitionSeptember 29, 2011Sal Dimiceli may very well not win the CNN Hero of the Year and $250,000 for his Time Is Now organization.But one thing is certain ó he is my hero and he should be a hero for many others and this community as a whole. It was many years ago when I first met Sal. The Time Is Now column was already running in the Regional News and I had become editor. He didnít know me and he wanted to make sure we were still on board to print his weekly letters. At that time, it was still unknown how big this would all get.
Hummel lawsuit over, but questions still lingerSeptember 22, 2011The cityís insurance company has paid $2.1 million to Geneva Ridge Joint Venture to settle claims the developer made against the city and its officials.But the exchange of money and four-page release of claims agreement donít come close to answering the real questions and concerns that remain.The agreement states the $2.1 million payment ďis not to be construed as an admission of fault or liability on the part of the released parties in any respect whatsoever. To the contrary, it is understood that the released parties expressly deny such fault or liability ...Ē
9/11 tragedy remains sobering in many waysSeptember 15, 2011To be honest, my plan this weekend was to avoid all news coverage of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America. It certainly wasnít a decision made out of disrespect for this country, those who died, all the heroes who made a difference that day and the soldiers and other servicemen who continue to battle this war on terrorism. I thought the memories of that day were still ingrained enough in my mind that watching it all again Sunday was unnecessary. .
Geneva Ridge saga has many chapters to goSeptember 08, 2011Last weekís Lake Geneva City Council meetings may have seemed like an unfortunate example of democracy gone awry.Virtually all the speakers wanted the council to turn down the proposal that might pave the way for a new development in the Geneva Ridge area.Not only did the council members support the change in the comprehensive plan on a 5-3 vote, but they gave very few reasons for their vote. Only Alderman Tom Hartz provided any explanation.
The good, bad and ugly in a communityAugust 25, 2011For many visitors to Lake Genevaís annual Venetian Festival, the first thought that comes to mind is having fun.We go on carnival rides, play games, listen to music, catch up with people, spend time with family and friends and definitely hit the food tents. While all of that is fun, I think the best parts of Venetian Festival are the food and beer tents run by the local charity organizations.
Council decisions will determine cityís futureAugust 18, 2011Monday night is going to be quite a battle.Itís been a long time since such important city decisions were expected to be discussed and possibly voted on all at the same meeting.Probably the most controversial will be the public hearing on the recommended change to the Master Plan for the Geneva Ridge Joint Venture property on the southeast side of the city.
A new battle concept for comprehensive plan hearing: ListenAugust 11, 2011Spyro ďSpeedoĒ Condos and I havenít always agreed.I often see him outside his restaurant when Iím going to take a lakeshore walk and we have short conversations. Last Saturday, Speedo and I had one of these sidewalk conversations. I commented on how nice I thought the bridge looked; he didnít totally agree with me ó which is, as I said, not all that unusual.ďIím a heritage guy,Ē he said.
Itís almost time for Venetian, Walworth County FairAugust 04, 2011The heat is here. But, that also means ... I canít believe Iím going to say it ... summer is almost over. The months of May, June and July just flew by, didnít they?Itís already August and local students will be heading back to school in just more than four weeks. Teachers will be back at school earlier than that and the rest of us who try to get away and enjoy the beautiful Wisconsin summer almost have run out of time.But, August also signifies some of the areaís biggest and best events including Venetian Festival and the Walworth County Fair.