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Friday, March 31, 2006

The Beatles never left

I ’ve been trying to think of the modern-day equivalent of The Beatles’ arrival United States in 1964.
With the ubiquity of today’s anytime everywhere media along with marketers and managers staging every single move, there’s little room for spontaneity. Maybe things have never been quite the same.
I was 6 at the time, and I also remember that historic Ed Sullivan show on Feb. 9, 1964 that writer Douglas Stewart mentions in this week’s cover story on the world’s youngest Beatles tribute band, Stockwood (a play on the name of their hometown, Woodstock, Ill.)
My older sisters, Linda and Beth, were teens at the time. They led the hysterics as we gathered in front of the TV. My mother sat on the floor, folding my younger sister’s diapers.
I remember my brother pointing out the length of Paul’s hair and arguing everybody was wearing it that way now.
I have no memory of my father being there. He was probably hiding in the garage. Even without him there, the revolution had begun, and apparently still continues today, if Stockwood is any example.
The real Beatles are long gone. John Lennon was murdered, George Harrison died of cancer. Paul McCartney continues to record but Ringo Starr has faded from the spotlight.
But what remains influences musicians today, just as every generation’s music is built upon the accomplishments of those who came before them.
The topic came up last night with my teenage son, who was playing “Need for Speed” on his PS2. The soundtrack in the background was a Snoop Doggy Dog remix of The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm.”
My son’s familiar with Snoop Dog, but figured Doors’ lead singer Jim Morrison must be some up and comer that Snoop discovered. He was surprised to hear that the Doors influenced the direction of rock music in the ‘60s, just as Snoop influenced the direction of the modern days of hip-hop.
I explained that you can’t really understand rap and hip-hop unless you understand the blues, and you can’t understand the blues without knowing the spiritual music of African-American slaves.
In time I’m sure he’ll get it. Top 40 music today is filled with echos of the music of previous decades. Sometimes through simple inspiration, other times sampled directly.
This week’s cover harkens back to earlier times as well. Designed by news intern Stephanie Foelker, it was inspired by the design of early 1960s Beatles posters.
Hurray to the four lads from Woodstock for keeping Beatles music alive.
They say that without an understanding of the history, we’re doomed to repeat it. In the case of the Beatles, however, musicians do it every day.

Post continued HERE

Friday, March 17, 2006

Election coverage in The Week

The April 4 election is just around the corner. We're currently working on profiles of the mayor's races in Lake Geneva, Delavan and Elkhorn as well as the two contested county board races for our March 26 issue. Writer Donna Lenz Wright has been meeting with the mayoral candidates to ask them about their visions for the future of their communities. Photographer Terry Mayer has put together a portrait gallery of the candidates.

For the county board, writer Mike Heine will preview the the two contested county board races.

The deadline for letters for the Sunday print edition is Tuesday, March 21 at 5 p.m E-mail them to theweek@theweekextra.com

We are also encouraging comments on the races. You can post your thoughts on the Walworth County Politics blog


Post continued HERE

Friday, March 10, 2006

The mayor's race-what do you think?

Readers,

It's been quite a while since the three cities in Walworth County that have mayors have all had contested races.

This year, voters in Lake Geneva, Delavan and Elkhorn have the opportunity to stay the course or move in a new direction.

In Delavan Incumbent Mel Nieuwenhuis faces opposition from Ron Siedelmann and Ellen Reddy, both current city council members.

In Elkhorn Incumbent Mike Roberts faces opposition from former police chief John Giese.

In Lake Geneva, Mayor Sheldon Shepstone will face former aldermanWesley "Pete" Peterson.

We encourage dialogue, input and feedback on these and the other races in Walworth County.

We will run election letters in the Sunday Week through March 26.

Letters of fewer than 300 words have the best chance of running un-edited.

Partisan letters on the subject of elections or candidates will not be published in the edition prior to an election.

We'll also run the letters online at www.theweekextra.com/blogs/politics/ with the opportunity to reply to the posts.

Send letters via e-mail to theweek@theweekextra.com.

Please include a daytime phone number so we can verify the identity of the writer.

~Dan Plutchak, editor


Post continued HERE

Friday, March 03, 2006

Taking matters into their own hands

Charlotte Huntley’s cover story this week on Calvary Community Church’s Project Nehemiah to help victims of Hurricane Katrina stands in stark contrast to two news items from the past week:
Item No. 1: The Washington Post has been tracking money raised for Katrina relief by private charities and reports that roughly two-thirds of the $3.27 billion raised by private non-profit groups has been spent, leaving less than $1 billion dollars left. The full cost of recovery will likely be much more.

“There are many, many needs that the federal government cannot cover,” Don Powell, coordinator of the Gulf’s longterm recovery, told the Post.

And the line between what the government pays for and what charities will pay for remains blurred.
Item No. 2: An Associated Press story reported that Red Cross had been warned years before Hurricane Katrina hit to resolve its internal disputes or risk a repeat of the problems that plagued the Sept. 11, 2001 relief efforts

The U.S. Senate on Monday released thousands of pages of Red Cross e-mail, corporate documents and whistleblower complaints that painted a picture of an organization whose mammoth structure contributed to the charity’s uneven response to Katrina.

Following Sept. 11, Red Cross CEO Bernardine Healy resigned amid charges that the organization had mismanaged Sept. 11 donations. At the time, Red Cross board member Bill George warned Red Cross chairman David McLaughlin to resolve disputes within the organization, according to the released documents.

But four years later, the next CEO, Marsha Evans, would also resign following Katrina, citing board friction.
The Red Cross issued a statement saying they would fully cooperate with the Senate committee’s review.

It all paints a pretty dismal picture. Money’s running out. The government is uncertain of its responsibility in the effort. The nation’s largest relief agency, the Red Cross, stumbled in executing it’s primary mission.

If the residents of the Gulf Coast lost hope in the days following Hurricane Katrina, what can they look ahead to some six months later?

I’m just glad nobody told the folks at Calvary Community Church how difficult this whole relief and reconstruction business is.
Instead, this group put their heads together, figured out a way they could help, lined up their pickups and travel trailers and headed south.

In many cases it’s true that the big jobs require big organizations. But I remain disheartened that the disaster along the Gulf Coast—which had been predicted and anticipated for years, by the way—had been so poorly managed.
But small groups of volunteers, like these from Walworth County, have accomplished something for many that the largest of organizations have been unable to do.

They've given people a chance to get on with their lives.

Post continued HERE

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