severity of growing deficitJune 10, 2010Williams Bay — About 30 community members gathered in the lecture center Monday to hear Superintendent Fred Vorlop make a case for why the school district will need to establish a referendum by late summer.
His suggestion was that the concerned residents form a referendum committee, establish leaders and activate group members to promote the district's need to make up funds for a preliminary $530,000 deficit projected for the past school year. That deficit is expected to reach $1.4 million by 2015.
"I'm going to recommend to the School Board to consider a September voter referendum," Vorlop said. "They have not yet voted on this issue and they have not decided on an amount for the referendum, which they would have to do as well."
Officials: response and enabler of community growthJune 10, 2010Geneva Township — With bulldozers and shovels ready last week, Mercy Walworth Medical Center officials unveiled the details and artist renderings of a $45-million expansion.
A traditional groundbreaking ceremony started the construction project on what is now a dirt and grass lot next to the current facility at the intersection of highways 50 and 67.
The project will expand the current center from 60,000 square feet to 200,000. Additions will include a birthing center, more patient rooms, intensive care unit and an outpatient clinic. There also will be a sleep disorders lab, a cafeteria with an outside courtyard, a chapel and community education rooms, screenings and presentations. The radiology, physical therapy and pharmacy departments also will expand.
Fontana looks at rewriting codesJune 10, 2010Fontana — When land use issues are discussed at Village Hall, it isn't unusual for crowds to gather to fight development and preserve the current character of the community.
In an effort to prevent unwanted changes, the village is planning a complete rewrite of its zoning and land use codes.
The current code was written more than 40 years ago. Over time it has been altered and changed to the point where it is no longer effective or coherent.
Recent Geneva Lake West
Business Association proving doubters wrongJune 03, 2010Williams Bay — “There were a lot of people who said it would never happen in Williams Bay. They said ‘there’s not enough business in the community,’ ‘no one will join the group,’ ‘it’ll fizzle.’”Seven years later, Jim D’Alessandro said the Williams Bay Business Association has surpassed even its members’ own expectations.The co-founder and leader of the group admitted it took a couple years to get the organization up and running, but the number of businesses that work with the association have tripled since its conception in 2003.
Former teacher avoids prison for drug possessionJune 03, 2010Elkhorn — Walworth County Circuit Court Judge Michael Gibbs sat forward in his chair and warned former Walworth Elementary School teacher Katie Luessenhop that one more mistake will land her in prison for 3-1/2 years.“Time is waiting for you if you do anything else,” he said during her sentencing Thursday, May 27. “The next time you look at drugs, a line of heroin, decide whether you want to give 3-1/2 years of your life away.”Luessenhop, 28, Clinton, was found guilty on Feb. 5 of drug possession after purchasing and using heroin in the Huber dorm bathroom on Oct. 16, 2009, while serving for a previous conviction of drug possession. During the sentencing, Luessenhop said she is a recovering drug addict and has been sober for about eight months.
Veterans share World War II storiesMay 27, 2010Walworth — Frank Ontl still proudly wears his original World War II jacket, although the slim veteran jokes that he gained weight and it is now snug.Inside of his home, the 89-year-old Ontl recently discussed his service in World War II, as he paged through documents from an era that soon only will be known in history books and films.Ontl is one of only 15 World War II veterans who are still part of the Ingall-Koeppen American Legion Post 102. Years ago the number of World War II veterans in the legion was much higher, but as time passed those numbers have dwindled.
Fontana school going green?District looks at becoming ‘green certified’May 27, 2010Fontana — Suzy Accola wants the village’s elementary school to decrease its impact on the environment. Accola, a district parent and certified green consultant, has offered to help make Fontana Elementary School “green certified,” which will recognize it for decreasing its impact on the environment. “Like most of you I’m concerned how we affect our environment,” said Accola, who is donating her services to the district.
Walworth may drop engineerVillage “re-evaluating” serviceMay 20, 2010Walworth — Foth, the village’s current engineering firm, soon may be down a client. During its May meeting, the Village Board renewed its committee appointments and providers for professional services.However, when it came to the village’s engineer, the board didn’t act on whether to keep Foth.
Geneva Lake Law Agency upgrades patrol boatLake safety for users,
officers should increaseMay 20, 2010Williams Bay — With the recent addition of a custom-made patrol boat, Geneva Lake Law Enforcement officials believe safety on the lake will increase this summer. The replacement of a six-year-old GLLEA boat comes just in time for National Safe Boating Week.The new boat will specifically meet the needs of the police officers on Geneva Lake, GLLEA Manager Tom Hausner said.
Volunteers help rebuild walkway on Shabbona DriveMay 20, 2010Fontana — A crew made up of a soon-to-be Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts, the Big Foot Football team and other local volunteers dug their hands into the dirt to reopen an old path on Shabbona Drive. On Saturday and Sunday, the crew laid gravel, built stairs and created landscape along the path, which is commonly referred to as “Path Closed” or the “Fourth of July Path.”The end result of the volunteer’s efforts is an improved walkway that connects the top of Country Club Estates to Shabbona Drive.
District will defend use of “Chief” nicknameMay 13, 2010Walworth — If challenged, Big Foot High School won’t give up the use of its nickname, “The Chiefs,” without a fight.With a new state law about to take effect, the district may find itself defending the use of its name and nickname to the state superintendent. Gov. Jim Doyle recently signed a bill into law that will allow someone to file a formal complaint against the use of a Native American mascot or name. The state superintendent will then host a public hearing and will determine whether the use is offensive.
Board hears park concernsRecreation Director lists
suggestions, maintenance needsMay 13, 2010Walworth — On Monday night, Big Foot Recreation Department Director Chuck Thiesenhusen questioned whether the Village Board was dedicated to its parks and made suggestions on how they could improve them. “I feel, at times, the leadership in Walworth views the parks as a burden instead of an asset,” Thiesenhusen said.Last month, board members raised concerns that maintenance demands on the parks were being made by Big Foot sports teams and other area youth teams. They questioned whether these groups were asking for too much from the village.
School Board approves teacher contractsIncrease in salaries, benefits lower than expectedMay 06, 2010Williams Bay — The School District is focused squarely on its finances in the midst of a growing deficit, according to acting School Board President Peter Miller.On Monday, the School Board formally approved an agreement with the Teachers Association for the 2009-11 contract. The contract included a 3.06-percent increase in salaries and benefits. “We have people wondering about our referendum issues and we’ve been doing our due diligence financially,” Miller said Monday. “We have a raise less than other districts in the area. That’s a good thing for this district in an era when raises are mandated by arbitration and you have to give that raise.”