Mystery place: Dec. 7, 2008

Work with farm women honored

Rep. Ryan talks about the economy

Lake Geneva native named pastor

Downtown Whitewater chooses new board members

Delavan manufacturer closing

Better e-mail address for Dan Plutchak

Swope conviction upheld

Lake Geneva home prices drop

Delavan woman pleads not guilty to embezzlement

Oct. 2008 stories

Sept. 2008 stories

Aug. 2008 stories

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New: Walworth County travel planning made easy

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Darien Legion baseball wins state

Darien's state Legion baseball champs. Front row (L to R): Jeremiah Samuelson, Chris Doerr, Matt Paul, Ben Lodahl, Nathan Boltz, Justin Fowlkes, Ben Samuelson, Eric Polzin. Back row: coach Harvey Gonzalez, coach Danny Gonzalez, Joe Kiemen, Kyle Polzin, Josh Cesarz, Bryan Kolanda, Michael Gonzalez, Connor Kolanda, Mike McErlean and coach Dave Polzin. Photo by Jennifer Cesarz

Darien's Mike Gonzalez was named tournament MVP as the Warriors baseball team won the American Legion U-17 state tournament Tuesday with a 12-5 win over Plover.

"The team came a long way," Darien coach Harvey Gonzalez told the Janesville Gazette. "We hit the ball, and the pitching was great."

Darien swept through the tournament winning five straight games.
Nathan Boltz, Josh Cesarz, Bryan Kolanda, and Michael Gonzalez were named to the all-tournament team.

The rest of the roster is made up of Jeremiah Samuelson, Chris Doerr, Matt Paul, Ben Lodahl, Justin Fowlkes, Ben Samuelson, Eric Polzin, Joe Kiemen, Kyle Polzin, Connor Kolanda and Mike McErlean.

Dave Polzin and Danny Gonzalez also coach.

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What happened to Hillmoor?

Hillmoor Hillmoor during happier times. The 18th green in 2005. File photo by Terry Mayer/The Week

"There are two things we take great pride in: the lake itself and the golf course," Henry Sibbing, who heads the Committee to Preserve Hillmoor says. "To see this, it's a dirty, rotten shame."

Sibbing's comments are in a Tribune story today which follows the saga of Hillmoor Golf course and why it remains closed for the foreseeable future.

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Construction alert: Highway 14 north of Darien

Drivers on a stretch of U.S. 14 in Walworth County will be detoured to Interstate 43 beginning Aug. 4 because of a resurfacing project.

The highway will be under construction from Wisconsin 89 north of the village of Darien to County O south of Delavan, in the southwest corner of Walworth County.

U.S. 14 will be closed to thru traffic during construction but local access will be provided to businesses and residential driveways.

The project is scheduled to be completed in October.

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WEATHER RADAR: Possible rain this evening.

NEWS: Economic growth tepid.

SPORTS: Sox deal for Griffey Jr., Cubs win

CULTURE: Olympic leak.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Lost treasure: Frank Lloyd Wright's Lake Geneva Hotel

Frank Lloyd Wright Hotel Lake GenevaFrank Lloyd Wright, Hotel Lake Geneva, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, 1911. Graphite and watercolor. Kenneth Walker Architectural Drawings Collection. Image from Library of Congress Web site

Frank Landi. noted Frank Lloyd Wright architectural historian, will lead the third and final program in the "A Summer of Architecture 2008" series at the Lake Geneva Public Library Aug. 19.

"Part 3: Frank Lloyd Wright's Lake Geneva Hotel" will be Tuesday, August 19, 2008 at 6:30 p.m.

Landi will trace the history of the Wright-designed Lake Geneva Hotel through news articles, family photos, vintage postcards, and other personal mementoes.

Wright's hotel opened in downtown Lake Geneva in 1912 and was torn down in 1970.

The site is now occupied by the Geneva Towers.

Lake Geneva Public Library is (262) 249.5299 or

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Fired coach wants administrator to resign

Steve Hensel, the Elkhorn seventh-grade Elkhorn football coach who was recently fired, asked Elkhorn Area School District Administrator Greg Wescott to resign during the public comment portion of the school board meeting Monday, July 28, 2008.

Hensel says he was fired after he helped organize a a write-in campaign against school board incumbents Dr. Edward Carlson and Dave Ketchpaw in the last election.

Wescott said the district would never make a staffing decision based on politics.

Ted Sullivan's story in the Janesville Gazette HERE.

Audio link to Hensel voicemail HERE.

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WEATHER RADAR: Beautiful. NEWS: L.A. earthquake video. SPORTS: Cubs 7, Brewers 1. Same two teams tonight at 7. CULTURE:Latest Guitar Hero outsells latest Aerosmith release.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Free Tibet marchers make their way to Elkhorn Monday. Photo by Terry Mayer/The Week

Walkers in the "March for Tibet's Independence" will will be speaking at the UU Church in Elkhorn on Wednesday, July 30 at 7 p.m.

Links about the march HERE.

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Elkhorn woman wins photography prize

Stephanie Chapman's photo from

Elkhorn photographer Stephanie Chapman was a merit award winner in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's annual photography contest.

Her entry, "Grandma's Hands," shows the hands of Dorothy Kerkman, the grandmother of Chapman's husband, Jon.

Kerkman raised chickens on her New Munster farm for decades, but now, Chapman told the Journal Sentinel, "The winters are too tough." The photo shows Kerkman gently cradling one of her last chicks.

Story and more photos HERE.

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Lake Geneva library staffer accused of stealing arrested

The Lake Geneva Public Library staff member who last month admitted stealing about $18,500 from the library in the last two years is in more trouble.

Mercedes Mogensen, 44, Elkhorn, is accused of making more than $70,000 in personal purchases on the library's city-issued credit card between July 2005 and May 2008. She was arrested Monday after police executed a search warrant at her home.

Read story HERE.

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WEATHER: Rain around 3 p.m. NEWS: Virginia governor frontrunner as Obama's VP. SPORTS: Cubs 6, Brewers 4. Same two teams tonight at 7. CELEBRITY: Trial of the former dorm matron at Oprah Winfrey's South Africa school begins today.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Son gets two years for father's death

Jacob Newer is escorted from a Walworth County courtroom Friday after being sentenced to two years in prison for the death of his father. Photograph by Terry Mayer.

No one remembers what happened the night David Newer, 57, died in a Pell Lake area motel last February.

The best scenario that authorities have come up with is that there was an alcohol-fueled fight between David and his son, Jacob, 27, at the Inn-B-Tween Motel, N1691 County H.

David later died from his injuries. A plea agreement approved in court last Friday sent Jacob to prison for two years.

Full story HERE.

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Buntrocks win Geneva Lakes Amazing race

Brett & Danielle Buntrock pose after finishing first in the Geneva Lakes Amazing Race extreme edition. More photos by Matt Mason HERE.

The Geneva Lakes Amazing Race is an action packed one-day adventure based on the hit TV show, "The Amazing Race."

On Saturday, July 26, 2008 fourteen two-person teams participated in challenges and competed to find clues and solve puzzles and overcome physical obstacles.

Visit to learn more details about the race which had two versions, the recreational edition and extreme edition.

The extreme race included a wheelchair race at Inspiration Ministries, a navigation challenge at Kishwauketo in Williams Bay, a run/kayak challenge at the Delavan Boat launch, a water balloon launch and orienteering challenge at Sugar Creek Preserve, a "triathlon" in Springfield which included a one hour + river tubing expedition, cycling and running, a karate challenge in Lake Geneva, and many other crazy and challenging activities.

More from the news release HERE.

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Darien Ponies win Palmyra tournament

Front left: Coach Chris Hembrook, Brendan Huber, Julian Rodriguez, Macall Hill, Marcus Hudson, Nick Avampato, Jeff Sorg Back row: Coach Dave Bennett, Bryce Davis, Kiefer Bennett, Kyndle Bennett, Tyler Brown, Bryce Hembrook, Alex Limones, Coach Rudy Limones, Head Coach Jason Huber.

Darien won the Pony League baseball tournament this past weekend in Palmyra., according to Alice Davis, coordinator for the Darien Youth Baseball.

Going into the tournament the team had a record of 13-1, losing only to the Palmyra Panthers.

Palmyra Panthers final standings 14-0 for the season.

The two teams met again in the tournament with Darien winning 9 to 5.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Free Tibet march coming through Walworth County

Walkers in "March for Tibet's Independence" will be traveling through Walworth County from July 28-31 on their way to Chicago, according to Janis Anton, assistant with the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lakes in Elkhorn.

Members of the group will be speaking at the UU Church in Elkhorn on Wednesday, July 30 at 7 p.m.

Anyone is welcome to join the walk at any part of the route/

For more information on the group go to:

Walkers will include Jigme Norbu, nephew of the Dalai Lama, and 73 year old Palden Gyatso ( who was held prisoner by the Chinese for 33 years. In spite of what he went through, he has no animosity toward the Chinese.

Check this website for the exact route, download THIS PDF.

They will be staying over night in Elkhorn, Monday July 28- Thursday the 31.

For more information, contanct the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Lakes, 319 N. Broad St., Elkhorn, WI., (262) 723-7440

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Elkhorn coach who led write-in campaign fired

Elkhorn Area School District Administrator Greg Wescott and Athletic Director Dean Wilson are on the hot seat following the decision to get rid of long-time middle school football coach Steve Hensel.

The buzz in town is that Hensel was canned because he led a write-in campaign against school board incumbents Dr. Edward Carlson and Dave Ketchpaw in the last election.

For his part, Wescott says the decision to remove Hensel wasn't politically motivated.

In her front page story in this week's Elkhorn Independent, Maureen Mayrand quotes Wescott as saying "I told (Wilson) I wasn't sure if (Hensel) is an appropriate role model for out students."

Mayrand's story includes a detailed account of the background of the story.

Now, radio talker Charlie Sykes has fanned the flames even higher on his 620 AM WTMJ radio show after airing the voicemail in which Wilson tells Hensel he won't be coming back.

Audio is HERE. Sykes story is HERE.

Add your comments and I'll publish the ones fit for a family newspaper.


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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

George Carlin's first and last show in Lake Geneva

Dan Plutchak/Editor

George Carlin, the stand-up comedian who made legal history with his trademark seven dirty words, died last month at the age of 71.

But those seven words weren't the only ones that got him in trouble during his long career, according to Fontana resident Jerry Pawlak.

Pawlak was the maitre d' at Lake Geneva's Playboy Club, now the Grand Geneva Resort and Spa, when Carlin was nearly thrown out of town after a show.

It was Nov. 27, 1970, when the 32-year-old comedian was hired to perform in the Penthouse Room.

Carlin was still a relatively unknown comic, and as the story goes, he made a string of jokes about the Vietnam War that were not going over well with the predominantly conservative crowd.

Pawlak says he wasn't really paying attention to the act when someone came up and told him the audience wasn't responding well to the show.

Pawlak says he turned around just in time to see Carlin flip off the group and leave the stage.

"I've only had three people walk off stage on me," Pawlak said. "Joan Rivers, Buddy Rich and Carlin."

It got really nasty, Pawlak remembers. He says there was a Marine who wanted to go back stage after Carlin. Pawlak had to intervene to settle the serviceman down.

That night, Pawlak says, Playboy fired Carlin and he was never hired to play a Playboy Club again.

"It was terrible," Pawlak said. "We had to comp everyone for the show."

During its heyday in the 1970s, the Playboy Club's Penthouse Room hosted performers from Bob Hope to Sonny and Cher.

Pawlak, who is originally from Milwaukee, got his first job at the Playboy Club in 1968 as a bartender.

He worked his way up to become maitre d' of the Penthouse Room where he would make sure the right people got the 'ringside seats" to the stage show.

After leaving the Playboy Club, Pawlak worked at the Abbey for a while.

Now retired, he helps beautify Fontana by planting flowers.

Carlin's famous monologue, "The Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television," led to a 1978 Supreme Court case that affirmed the government's right to regulate indecent material on public airwaves.

Carlin's underground comedy eventually thrust him into the mainstream.

In later years, he was known for such gems as when he wondered,"If the black box in an airplane always survives a crash, why don't they make the whole thing out of the same material?"

Or, "What was the best thing before sliced bread?"

For his part, Pawlak says he doesn't like to speak ill of the dead, but he was no fan of Carlin's that night over 30 years ago. But he does wonder who else in the packed Penthouse Room remembers the show.

If you were there, add your recollection as a comment below


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Obama's Lake Geneva getaway

It turns out Barack Obama was in Lake Geneva a few years back, but my guess is few would have recognized him.

Obama's trip to Lake Geneva was revealed recently in a Chicago Sun Times interview.

Barack and Michelle were guests of Chicago businessman Antoin "Tony" Rezko, 52, a political fundraiser who counted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich among his friends.

Rezko was convicted on federal corruption charges last month in a trial that exposed Illinois' crooked political culture.

In the interview, Obama, still an Illinois legislator at the time, said he spent a day as a guest at Rezko's Lake Geneva summer home.

I took a quick look at the Walworth County online tax records indicate which showed that Rezko has a condo in Lake Geneva's historic Stone Manor.

You can bet if Obama makes a return visit to Lake Geneva, he won't be able to get in and out quite as discreetly.

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Seeds sown while young flourish for Elkhorn native

Karen Carlson has never been one to wait for opportunities to come along. Her theory is that if you want something, you have to make it happen.

So when the Elkhorn Area High School grad accepted her Daytime Emmy last month, it was no surprise to those who have watched the energy and determination she's poured into her career.

Carlson, vice president of Tapestry International, a television production company in New Jersey, says she dreamed about working in television while growing up in Elkhorn.

"I tried to take advantage of everything local that was entertainment related," she wrote earlier this week in an e-mail.

Carlson won her Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Series during the award ceremonies last month in New York.

She served as supervising producer and writer for the series Greatest Inventions with Bill Nye, which airs on the Discovery Channel. This was Carlson's third nomination and first win.

"It's very rewarding to work on projects like this," Carlson said, "but an Emmy is icing on the cake."

She graduated from Elkhorn Area High School in 1994 and went on to get her radio/television/film degree at Northwestern University.

Most would agree there are an infinite number of paths to success.

For some, it's long after high school graduation before they decide what they want to do with their lives.

For those like Carlson, the future becomes clear at an early age.

She says the seeds of her future success were planted many years earlier and nurtured by many inspiring teachers she had when she was young.

It was in her fourth grade class with Mrs. Coogan, however, that she really began to see the possibilities that lie ahead for her.

"Her classroom really sparked my imagination," Carlson said.

By the time she reached middle school, she submitted everything she could on video.

During her school years she participated in plays, performed with Lakeland Players and worked at the former Belfry Theater in Williams Bay, said her mom, Wendy.

"Honestly, I don't know where a kid gets it," Wendy says of her daughter's early fascination with performing.

By the time her daughter got to Northwestern, she also wanted to become involved in the full creative process, leading her to a career in television.

Wendy attended the awards ceremony in New York with her daughter, and says she was "kind of star struck."

The mother-daughter duo got to rub shoulders with the likes of actor Christopher Lloyd, Alex Trebek of Jeopardy and Bindi Irwin, daughter of famed Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin and now host of her own Animal Planet show, Bindi the Jungle Girl.

Karen is the second of four children raised by Wendy and Dr. Edward Carlson.

"I've been blessed with many great opportunities," Karen said. "I think you have to look at every single day as a potential turning point if you want to make things happen for yourself and your career."

Karen lives in New Jersey with her husband, Yuri, and daughter, Katerina.


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