August 08, 2013It was a remarkable several hours.
Milwaukee Public Television has come up with a program that examines the innards of Wisconsin communities while maintaining an informality and good humor which seems to help guarantee keeping viewers aboard.
This sort of quality usually comes down to one or two personalities.
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August 08, 2013I was relieved to hear at least a few people snickering when I said that I was about to give this year's "Gipper" speech.
"Gipper," to readers that weren't alive during either the Knute Rockne or Ronald Reagan eras, refers to George Gipp, a star of the Notre Dame football team about 90 years ago.
Gipp, who died of some disease during his senior year in college, was alleged to have had a deathbed conversation with his coach, Knute Rockne, imploring him to invoke his name when things looked bleak for the Fighting Irish, and "win one for the Gipper."...subscribers>>
August 08, 2013"Hi, Tommy. How's the boy? He sure is growing up quickly, Tommy. He's going to be a fine young man."
The slender, tall man in a long-sleeved white shirt, open at the collar, reached into his pocket, as he had done so often before, extracted a shiny dime and handed it to the boy. The man patted the young boy on his head. The boy, elated as usual with the dime that had been given to him, knew that he would soon be able to buy a pack of Spearmint and a pack of Doublemint gum.
It was a hot summer day in July 1947. The young boy, his grandfather and the tall, slender man in the open-necked, long-sleeved white shirt were standing next to the American Legion Canteen on Lake Street, which today is Wrigley Drive. The young boy knew that his grandfather and the man who always gave him a dime were the best of friends. He knew that his grandfather, a plumber, had installed the plumbing in the tall, slender man's lakeshore mansion. He also knew that the man was famous because he owned the company that made the gum that the dime he clutched in his fist would soon buy. ...subscribers>>
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August 08, 2013In the 1990s, Wisconsin's economy was humming along, the unemployment rate was low, government spending was moderate, and tax revenue was peaking year after year, generating surpluses for the state.
At the time, the governor and legislators were practically tripping over themselves to either spend the extra money quickly, or on occasion, return the money to the taxpayers. Those days seem like ancient history.
By 2001, Wisconsin's economy – much like the rest of the nation – took a turn for the worse when a debilitating recession coupled with horrific terrorist attacks put a stop to any growth in the private sector....subscribers>>
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Recent Community columnists
Beware huckstersJuly 25, 2013Beware huckstersSad to say, we are a nation of hucksters. Selling seems to take precedence over people’s privacy and common courtesy. Now advertisers see robots as splendid opportunity. But “robo” calls are offensive, to say nothing about interrupting routines.
Good reading for government buffsSlow paced, predicable plot, no surprise ending, but interesting none-the-lessJuly 18, 2013I will try my best to temper my enthusiasm. The last time I wrote about the county’s “Journal of Proceedings” book I remarked that I looked forward to its annual release as if it were the latest Dan Brown thriller. A few weeks later, during a question and answer session following a presentation I made, an audience member told me that if I really felt that way I should “get a life.”
History of the Greeks in Lake GenevaJune 27, 2013Much has been written about the Anglo-Saxon Protestants from Vermont and upstate New York and their descendants who dominated Lake Geneva for at least the first century of its existence. Quite a bit has also been written about the Irish immigrants who settled in the “Irish Woods” west of Lake Geneva after they had built the railroad from Chicago to Geneva in 1856. They and their descendants became the largest ethnic minority population in Lake Geneva, and formed the backbone of the St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church. Many residents are aware of the first Italian immigrants in Lake Geneva, the Lazzaroni family, who operated a fruit stand on the north side of the 700 block of Main Street during the years following the turn of the 19th century. The Lazzaronis later purchased the Hotel Clair (and the bowling alley beneath it), which is now the “Landmark Center.” The descendants of the Lazzaronis are the Payne family. But few residents are aware of the history of Greeks in Lake Geneva, despite the fact that they have played a key role in the city’s restaurant and tourism business for more than seven decades and a Greek-American is a former mayor of Lake Geneva.The patriarch of the Greek community in Lake Geneva was Peter Pappas. Pappas came to Lake Geneva a decade and a half after the turn of the 19th century as a waiter in the then-new Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Geneva Hotel (alas, demolished 40 years ago). Subsequently he brought his family from Greece to Lake Geneva, and, with his wife Georgia, opened Georgia’s International Café on the west side of the 200 block of Broad Street adjacent to where Lake Geneva’s bus station was once located. The Pappas family was followed by the Millas and later the Chironis families. Louie and Mary Millas arrived in Lake Geneva in the 1930s. They opened Millas’s restaurant, which is today the Olympic restaurant, on the south side of the 700 block of Main Street. Louie and Mary Millas were Spyro “Speedo” Condos’s grandparents. The Chironis family opened Chironis’ restaurant, which is known today as Harry’s, on the south side of the 800 block of Main Street. It is owned by Harry Chironis, the youngest son in the Chironis family.
Rediscover the quiet delight of lettersJune 27, 2013In the 1960’s a lot of people “turned on and tuned out.” Today we are so tuned in, we are “WIFI-ed” and “GPS’d” 24/7. Armed with cellphones, BlackBerrys, iPods, satellite radio and instant messaging, many of us have never been more “connected” ... or so overwhelmed.In the steadily growing chaos we call life — with its never-ending meteor shower of information, commentary and noise — more and more people are rediscovering the quiet delight of sending and receiving cards and letters.Letters help make moments special. Joys are recorded, shared and savored. Problems fade, or at least gain perspective, when they are written down and shared with family or friends by mail. When you sit down to write a friend, you are never alone.
...subscribers>> August supports Gov. Walker's budgetJune 27, 2013The State Assembly recently wrapped up the 2013-15 budget bill process. After Gov. Scott Walker put forth his recommendations earlier this year, the Joint Finance Committee held hearings around the state and voted on modifications to the budget bill. The full legislature took up the bill this week. The budget bill is one of the most important pieces of legislation that the legislature votes on during the legislative session. The budget bill is more than1,000 pages and contains many different provisions; however, I only get one vote as your state representative. Although I do not agree with every single item in the budget, I do feel that overall it does keep Wisconsin on the right track. Therefore, I voted in favor of the budget bill because I believe there are many positive provisions for the residents of our area.To begin with, the state budget contains one of the largest tax cuts in state history. Specifically, income taxes will be cut by more than $650 million dollars, and all tax cuts contained in the budget total nearly $1 billion. These tax cuts were possible because of the budget reforms we enacted last legislative session, which resulted in a large budget surplus this fiscal year. Wisconsin has notoriously been categorized as one of the top 10 taxed states in the nation. It is my hope that by returning the surplus to the taxpayer by enacting this historic tax cut, we can move our state out of the top 10 highest taxed states.
...subscribers>> Remembering a Lake Geneva heroJune 20, 2013He was not a hero in the military sense, but he was a hero as a Lake Geneva High School athletic star and as a pillar of the Lake Geneva community in the late 1940s and 1950s.He was born in Chicago on Feb. 14, 1906 — Valetnine’s Day — as the son of a railroad switchman and his wife. His two sisters were born in Chicago in 1908 and 1910-the first, in the 4100 block of South State Street, and the second at 512 W. 37th Place, which is today the site of the Chicago White Sox’s U.S. Cellular Field (formerly Comiskey Park). In 1912, his family moved to Lake Geneva, where his mother’s sister Frances had married the owner of the Sherman Livery Stable, then located on the east side of the 300 block of Broad Street. His father took a job driving carriages for the Sherman Livery Stable, including driving Chicago millionaires from their special railroad cars that had arrived at the railroad depot at North and Broad Streets to their regal yachts, moored at the dock at the foot of Broad Street, where the Riviera is today.
...subscribers>> Mental health gets funding in budgetJune 20, 2013Following the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, a nation-wide call to action was issued to help those who suffer from various mental health issues.This incident – along with several others in recent years – has given rise to a number of concerns regarding the mental state of these individuals and how future occurrences could hopefully be prevented.Mental health is a complex issue, affecting both children and adults, and resources should be available to them in order to maintain the health and safety of our citizens and communities.
An appeal on behalf of Lake Geneva historyJune 13, 2013
Times change. And so do the keepers of Lake Geneva’s unique history. In the 19th Century, the keeper of Lake Geneva’s history was James Simmons, but he passed away as the century was ending.
We are fortunate that his superb, unsurpassed history of Lake Geneva in the 19th Century, “Annals of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, 1835-1897”, survived and was reissued in a new format by the Geneva Lake Museum last year. Simmons’ successors as keepers of Lake Geneva’s history,
Eva Seymour Lundahl and Alice Denison Hackett, are also gone. Eva Seymour Lundahl was the granddaughter of Moses Seymour, who came to Geneva from Vermont with James Simmons in 1843. Alice Denison Hackett was the daughter of E. D Denison, for whom the Central-Denison School is named, and was the granddaughter of John Burton, one of Lake Geneva’s most well-known 19th-Century businessmen.
Recently Lake Geneva has lost several more keepers of its history, including Gretchen Allen, Wilma Habacker Bailey Jacobson, Sam Gonzalez, Ken Schneider, Larry Magee, and John Fedorovich. It also lost the owner of the Breadloaf Bookstore, Kevin Vail, who was very interested in Lake Geneva’s history.
With the passing of these and other individuals, Lake Geneva’s collective historical memory has been greatly diminished. Fortunately we still have Ken Etten, Ginny Hall, John Halverson, Bruce Johnson, Vern Magee, Burly Brellenthin, and Doug Elliot, among others, as well as the many volunteers, who, under the leadership of Karen Walsh and James Gee, sustain the Geneva Lake Museum.
But as times change and the keepers of Lake Geneva’s history pass away, we who remain, as well as future generations of Lake Geneva residents, will necessarily have to rely even more on the published and unpublished historical documentary records of Lake Geneva’s history held by the Lake Geneva Public Library, the Geneva Lake Museum, the Wisconsin Historical Society, and the Area Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Library.
Among the most useful documentary historical sources held by the Lake Geneva Public Library are the microfilmed copies of Lake Geneva’s newspapers and the yearbooks of the Lake Geneva High School and Badger High School. But sadly, many LGHS and BHS yearbooks are missing from the collections of Lake Geneva Public Library and the Geneva Lake Museum.
I am therefore appealing to readers of the Lake Geneva Regional News to rectify this lamentable situation by donating old LGHS and BHS yearbooks in their possession to the Lake Geneva Public Library and the Geneva Lake Museum in order to fill the gaps in their invaluable collections of Lake Geneva High School and Badger High School yearbooks.
Another excellent source for Lake Geneva’s history would be the compilation of oral histories of Lake Geneva based upon the memories of longtime Lake Geneva residents. Perhaps Bruce Johnson could be persuaded to conduct oral history interviews with such longtime Lake Genevans as Burly Brellenthin, Sturg Taggert, Muriel Malsch, Buzz Braden,Vern Magee, Doug Gerber, and Clyde Boutelle, just to mention a few people with superb memories of Lake Geneva’s history.
Copies of these oral histories could be deposited at the Lake Geneva Public Library and the Geneva Lake Museum, where future residents of the city would find them to be invaluable historical resources.
But filling the gaps in Lake Geneva High school and Badger High School yearbooks held by the Lake Geneva Public Library and the Geneva Lake Museum is the most urgent priority if we wish to preserve Lake Geneva’s history for future generations. The Lake Geneva Public Library is missing Badger High School yearbooks for the years 1970, 1976, 1977, 1982, 1984, 2011, and 2012.
The situation with Lake Geneva High School yearbooks is even more egregious. Rather than listing all of the missing LGHS yearbooks, suffice it to say that the Lake Geneva Public Library would greatly appreciate the donation of any LGHS yearbooks between 1958 and the date that the first LGHS yearbook was published, which was around 1911. The LGPL will offer any duplicate yearbooks it receives to the Geneva Lake Museum.
I really do hope that the readers of the Lake Geneva Regional News will respond to this appeal and donate LGHS and BHS yearbooks to the Lake Geneva Public Library. I issue this appeal not only on behalf of the Lake Geneva Public Library (and the Geneva Lake Museum), but on behalf of Lake Geneva’s history and the records that document it.
Patrick Quinn is a Lake Geneva native who is University Archivist Emeritus at Northwestern University.
Senior year lastsJune 06, 2013Editor’s note: Nicole Johnson is one of the four valedictorians at Badger High School this year. She read the following poem at the graduation ceremony.Last Game;