February 26, 2015
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Daniel J. Hall, an employee with the Lake Geneva Streets Department, was working security at the Riviera, keeping an eye on the snow sculptures along Wrigley Drive on Feb. 1 just after midnight, when he heard someone calling for help.
Hall, 34, who joined the street department in 2014, was honored by Mayor Jim Connors and the Lake Geneva City Council on Monday for exemplary bravery while saving the life of a man who had fallen into open water near the Riviera pier.
Hall showed up for the ceremony, as did several street department employees, including Tom Earle, assistant director of public works.
Hall accepted his award, but declined to speak. Asked if he had anything to say, Hall smiled and replied, “Not today.”
According to a Lake Geneva police report, an inebriated 37-year-old Illinois man had been walking on the ice near the Riviera pier, when he either attempted to jump from the ice to the pier and missed, or the ice gave way beneath him.
The water behind the Riviera is aerated to keep it from freezing and damaging the piers.
Hall had volunteered to work early-morning security for Winterfest, and was keeping watch on the Riviera and the snow sculptures in the front of the Riviera.
He was in the second floor Riviera ballroom when he heard the cries for help. He looked out from the balcony which overlooks Geneva Lake and saw the man in the water by the southeast pier, hanging onto the edge of the ice. The man yelled that he didn’t know how to swim.
Hall raced out of the Riviera. He saw some people out in front of the Riviera looking at the sculptures, and he yelled at them to call the police. A young woman made the call to police which was recorded at 12:48 a.m.
Hall ran over to the pier nearest the victim, laid down full length on the pier, and extended his hand and arm to the man in the water.
The victim grabbed Hall’s hand, and Hall pulled him onto the pier. He then hustled the rescued man into the Riviera where he began wrapping the soaked subject in towels and blankets to keep him warm.
Police who investigated followed the victim’s footprints from the Riviera piers to the city boat launch and Wrigley Drive.
The man was unable to answer any of the police’s questions about where he was going or where he came from. Police said he smelled strongly of alcohol.
According to the police incident report, the victim was taken to Aurora Lakeland Hospital where he was treated and then released to a responsible party. No charges were filed in connection with the incident.
In other news, the council recognized retired firefighter Richard Herwald. Herwald was with the department for 35 years.
February 26, 2015The corner grocery store, with its narrow list of items and narrower aisles is long gone.
But anyone who says mom-and-pop grocery stores are gone is simply wrong.
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February 26, 2015
Liquor license holders turned out en masse on Feb. 9 to oppose an ordinance that would have set up a demerit system based on serious incidents in liquor-serving establishments.
February 26, 2015
The Lake Geneva Streets Department is conducting an experiment in sanding and salting the city streets.
Recent Lake Geneva News
Plan board recommends Basso rezoneFebruary 19, 2015
Despite protests by neighbors, a proposed rezoning of four acres on Skyline Drive and Curtis Street was unanimously recommended by the Lake Geneva Plan Commission on Monday.
Koss says he will judge Traver case on meritsFebruary 19, 2015
ELKHORN — The court case involving the Traver Hotel will continue, although how far the legal process can continue at the county level is an open question, since the hotel is also tied up in federal bankruptcy court.
The Traver is currently owned by 323 Broad Properties LLC, whose chief agent, Keith Venturi, Barrington, Illinois, is fighting to retain possession of the building in the face of a foreclosure and sheriff’s sale bid made by John Klug, who holds the mortgage and once owned the building.
A motion hearing on Feb. 12 was for Venturi’s attorney, Scott D. Connors, to present a motion before Walworth County Circuit Judge Phil Koss in answer to claims made by Klug.
However, Connors apparently did not file the motion with the court.
Connors apologized to the court, saying that pressing family issues were the reason he did not get the motion in writing.
Koss was sympathetic about family issues interfering with professional responsibilities, however, Koss said a letter requesting an additional 10 days or so would have sufficed, and probably would have been granted.
“I was not happy with no motion being filed,” Koss said. “All it takes is a letter that says ‘give me a little more time.’”
Because Torhorst had to prepare for a motion that was not filed, Koss ordered Connors to pay Torhorst $150 for work Torhorst did.
However, Koss said he wants to try the case on its merits and not just decide based on procedure.
Koss also said he wasn’t an expert on the processes of federal bankruptcy court.
“I do know one of the ways a judge can get into trouble is by violating a bankruptcy order,” Koss said.
Connors argued before Koss that the foreclosure and results of the sheriff’s sale are on hold because the property is now part of a bankruptcy filing.
Meanwhile, VP Construction, Barrington, which lists Venturi as managing director, has filed a lien against the property as well.
Torhorst said that the VP lien should not be allowed to interfere with the foreclosure and sale process.
“The debts were prior to the lien and the bankruptcy,” Torhorst said.
The sheriff’s sale confirmation is on hold.
Torhorst said the bankruptcy filed by 323 Broad Properties LLC, Traver’s owner of record, was a stalling tactic.
Connors later said that the bankruptcy filing was intended to slow things down. He said the action to be taken because the process was moving too quickly.
“The whole process was rushed and flawed,” Connors told the court.
At its peak use, the building was a 68-unit hotel.
There is dedicated parking for four vehicles.
According to the Lake Geneva Regional News archives, the building was built in 1870 by Benjamin Fish who opened it as the Union House hotel.
Since 1870, the building has been known as the Garrison House, the Hotel Denison and the Traver Hotel.
The building was used as a retirement home for missionaries for a number of years, but it ceased being a residence of any kind by about 2000.
Venturi bought the property in 2004.
After foreclosure proceedings, the property went up for sheriff’s sale on Oct. 2, 2014.
Klug entered the only bid for the property at $185,000.
However, the sale was not confirmed.
Clearwater wins cocoa crawlFebruary 19, 2015
The first downtown cocoa crawl is history, and the winner of the best hot cocoa recipe is Clearwater Outdoor, 744 W. Main St.
Sean Payne, store manager, and Clearwater employee Hannah Blohm came up with the recipe for a cocoa that featured salted caramel and whipped cream.