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, August 28, 2008

See you at the fair

Outside of a few possible sprinkles Thursday, the weather looks great through Labor Day.

That's good, because I'll be at the fair, so no new updates until Tuesday.

You can download a fair schedule HERE.

See you at the fair.

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fair opens today

The Walworth County Fair officially opens today with a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. Judging won't wait, however, with many of the projects getting under way by 9 a.m.

Here's today's schedule:

-- Judging of Junior Class Swine, Horticulture, Dogs, Dairy.

-- Judging of Open Class Antiques, Baking, Photography and Draft Horse.

-- 9 a.m., Dog Obedience & Showmanship, Activity Center.

-- 10 a.m., Opening Ceremony with Honorary Marshals at the Main Gate.

-- 10 a.m., Clydesdale and Belgian Halter Class, Draft Horse Arena.

-- 10:30 a.m., Tractor and Truck Pulls, Grandstand.

-- 11 a.m., Yodeling Sweetheart Joyce Leonard, Park Stage.

-- Noon, Nick's Kids Show, Barnyard Adventure Stage.

-- Noon, Chainsaw Artist Dave Watson, Kiddieland.

-- 1 p.m., Moonlight madness, $23 wristband special on the Midway until 11 p.m.

-- 1 p.m., Pig Races, Kiddieland.

-- 2 p.m., Nick's Kids Show, Barnyard Adventure State.

-- 2:30 p.m., Bubblegum Blowing Contest, Barnyard.

-- 2:30 p.m., Chainsaw Artist, Dave Watson, Kiddieland.

-- 3 p.m., Pig Races, Kiddieland.

-- 4 p.m., Bee Keeping Demo, Barnyard Stage.

-- 4 p.m., Nick's Kids Show, Barnyard Adventure Stage.

-- 4:30 p.m., Chainsaw Artist Dave Watson, Kiddieland.

-- 5 p.m., Hula Hoop Contest, Barnyard Stage.

-- 5 p.m., Fairest of the Fair, Park Stage.

-- 5 p.m., Pig Races, Kiddieland.

-- 5 p.m., American Legion/VFW Flag Ceremony, Grandstand.

-- 6 p.m., Country Idol Contest Semi Finals, Park Stage.

-- 6 p.m., Nick's Kids Show, Barnyard Adventure Stage.

-- 6 p.m., Tractor/truck pulls, grandstand.

-- 6:30 p.m., Chain Saw Artist Dave Watson, Kiddieland.

-- 7 p.m., Mike Early, '50s-'60s Dance, Park Stage.

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NEWS: Dem convention, day 2.

SPORTS: Packer preview.

CULTURE: T. Cruise sued.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Nass draws Wiley's ire

In a parting shot, outgoing UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley took a swing at Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, in an interview in the September issue of Madison Magazine.

Wiley also wrote an essay for the magazine, in which he accused the state's largest business lobby, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, of undermining support for the school in the Legislature.

In the interview, Wiley singled out Nass, chairman of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, for what he considered inflammatory rhetoric bashing the school.

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Ag leader Papcke dead at 81

Charles Papcke, a Sugar Creek Town Board supervisor, died Aug. 20. He was 81.

Papcke, a life-long Walworth County resident, was deeply involved in the agriculture community.

He was to be honored this year as one of the Walworth County Fair's outstanding seniors.

Papcke hosted the first Walworth County Dairy Breakfast in June 1977.

A barn fire in 1974 displaced the family's dairy herd, but despite the setback, Papcke and his family rebuilt their dairy operation.

Obit is HERE.

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NEWS: Michelle O. opens convention.

SPORTS: Bears' Angelo barks back.

CULTURE: Fall movie sneek peek.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

HIghway 50 headaches

Having a hard time finding your way from Delavan to Lake Geneva now that portions of State Highway 50 are closed for construction?

Staff writer Sam Killian talks to business owners along the route and finds out how long drivers will have to put up with detours. Here's his story from Walworth County Sunday:

Residents, businesses navigate around two Highway 50 construction projects

By Sam Killian/staff

Dana Montana received an unwelcome surprise as she drove to work Tuesday.

"I couldn't even turn on (Wisconsin Highway) 50 to get to my own establishment," said Montana, the owner of Animal Gardens and The Dancing Horses Theatre, which lies along the highway between Delavan and Lake Geneva.

Story HERE.

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WEATHER RADAR: Rain off and on.

NEWS: Obama, Biden off and running.

SPORTS: Monday a.m. QB.

CULTURE: Who is Zuma Nesta Rock?

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Friday, August 22, 2008

There's more to achieving success than winning a ribbon

Junior Leader Sarah Mathers, right, judges Lisa Heidelmeier's Magic Bars during pre-fair judging at the Walworth County Fairgrounds. Dan Plutchak/staff

What if Labor Day weekend came and there was no Walworth County Fair?

The local economy certainly would miss the boost it gets from the six-day run, which begins Wednesday.

Families would have to find other ways to end their summer.

Those in 4-H would miss out on the projects and meetings they devote their year to. And, they'd also miss out on a lot more.

Because of the fair and 4-H, these kids gain the opportunity to learn some important skills that will serve them well as they become adults.

4-H really isn't about projects and animals at all.The real value to those who participate, as well as the community at large, is the skills these 4-H kids gain from their experience.

There's no substitution.

Gaining leadership skills is a lot like gaining parenting skills. There's no manual to make you proficient, and no degree declaring you an expert.

Experience is the teacher and the road to success most often travels through failure.

Every community has different opportunities for young people to develop leadership skills - school programs, youth sports or scouting, for example.

But in Walworth County, 4-H plays a prominent role in the development of our next generation of leaders.

Many of today's community leaders have 4-H to thank for helping develop their talents.

Sarah Mathers of Williams Bay can tell you how important 4-H has been to her, and leadership skills are the first thing she'll mention.

Two weeks ago, Mathers was in the Youth Building at the fairgrounds judging the Cloverbud projects.

This year is her first as a judge, and she says it's a lot different being on the other side of the table.

She carefully listened as 8-year-old Lisa Heidelmeier of Lake Beulah 4-H described how she made her Magic Bars. Mathers offered some encouraging advice, then presented Heidelmeier with a ribbon.

"It's nice, because the Cloverbuds all get the same color ribbon," Mathers said.

The greater point of this exercise, however, is not about Heidelmeier's bars (which looked delicious, but the way), but the process by which Mathers passed down her experience and knowledge to the next generation.

"I like working with little kids and being part of the community," she said. "Without 4-H, I wouldn't have these skills."

She says they're important to her, because they'll help her in life.

At 15, she has no idea yet how true that will be.

She started in 4-H six years ago, when a friend, "who was big into 4-H," encouraged her to come to a meeting. It didn't take long before she was hooked.

For Mathers, her 4-H experience adds to what she's already doing.

She'll be a sophomore at Williams Bay High School and has to find time for swimming, basketball and softball, too. "I have a very hectic life," she said.

She also hopes to pick up a part-time job this fall, and perhaps get into a health care profession.

"I'm a very social person," and 4-H has fit her well.

It's a fit that benefits her community, too.

So as busy 4-H kids make their way around the fairgrounds this week, remember they're learning much more than how to win a blue ribbon at the fair.

They're learning how to take home a blue ribbon in life.

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WEATHER RADAR: Rain off and on until Sunday.

NEWS: Obama mum on VP.

SPORTS: Olympic track meltdown.

CULTURE: 'Bachelorette' reject new 'Bachelor'.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Unusual cases make their way into court

Our colleague at the Janesville Gazette, Ted Sullivan, filed a couple of unusual stories this week.

Sullivan, who covers courts in Walworth County, reads the criminal complaints from the Walworth County District Attorney's office as part of his daily routine.

While going through the latest batch of complaints, Sullivan ran across the case of
a Lake Geneva man who is charged with three counts of felony delivery of prescription drugs.

The unusual part of the case is that the drug was Viagra. Story is HERE.

The other case involved
a former Walworth County correctional officer accused of having a relationship with an inmate. She is accused of illegally passing the inmate a greeting card, and is expected to appear in court Friday on a felony charge. Story is HERE.

As you might imagine, comments on the Viagra story were disabled on shortly after the story was posted. We'll see how many I can let through here.

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Democrat drops out of congressional race

Three Democrats remain in the primary race for the right to take on incumbent 1st District Congressman Paul Ryan.

John Mogk has dropped out of the race for the primary, which is Sept. 9.

In a statement posted on his campaign Web site, Mogk said he plans to remain involved in local and national politics.

“From the beginning of the campaign, we held to my message that the election was bigger than any one candidate,” Mogk wrote.

“It has been a long-standing goal of the Democratic Party in the 1st Congressional District to defeat Paul Ryan in the November election, and I will not stand in the way of achieving that … The election was never about me, but about making a positive change for the people.”

Three Democratic candidates — Paulette Garin and Mike Hebert, both of Kenosha, and Marge Krupp, of Pleasant Prairie — will square off in the Sept. 9 primary for the right to face Ryan in the Nov. 4 general election. Libertarian candidate Joseph Kexel, of Kenosha, also will be on the ballot.

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WEATHER RADAR: Rain later in the day.

NEWS: Guliani to give keynote at convention.

SPORTS: Brewers beat Astros 5-2: blog.

CULTURE: Barack, text me.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Speed week: 150 years of harness racing

A jockey guides his horse down the backstretch of the track at the Walworth County Fair last year. Harness racing has been a part of the Walworth County Fair since they ran the first race in 1898. File photo Dan Plutchak

Contributing writer Herb Moering was poking around the race horse barns at the Walworth County Fair recently while working on a story about the history of harness racing on the track.

Since that first race 150 years ago, Moering says the track has been home to some memorable finishes and even more memorable owners and drivers.

Moering's story from this week's Weekender begins on the jump:

For 150 years, race fans have flocked to the track at the Walworth County Fair

By Herb Moering/For Weekender

In the late 1920s, Fair Board Secretary Chet Phillips was so proud of how they ran the harness races at the Walworth County Fair, he came up with the slogan, "The fair that always makes good."

They've been making good on those races now for 150 years. The first races, held in 1858, drew more than 12,000 visitors, according to fair records.

The half-mile track has seen its share of top pacers and trotters over the years, producing some memorable moments.

One outstanding example was pacer He's All That, who Jay Garrel of Clinton drove to victory in the record-setting time of 1:58 in 2003. He's All That is the only horse in history to break the 2-minute barrier.

The top trotter at the track was Red Oaks Alex, who was driven to victory in 1995 by John Kokinos of Madison, establishing the best time at 2:02 for the half-mile.

Other top horses include 2-year-old trotter, Holly's Hot to Trot, with a time of 2:07 in 1996; 2-year-old pacer, The Long Goodbye, with a time of 2:04 set in 2004; 3-year-old trotter, Primarose Hotspur, with a time of 2:05 set in 2004 and 3-year-old pacer, Forty Something, with a time of 2:01 set in 1994.

As late as the 1970s, there were 75 horses training at the track.

The late Willard Olson had a passion for horses, including show horses, and was a regular at the track, according to his daughter, Gail Folkers, of Elkhorn.

Olson, who at one time in the 1940s operated four riding stables, won his first Walworth County Fair race in 1929. He earned a trophy, first-place ribbon and the winner's purse, Folkers said.

Olson had a farm on County Highway P in the town of Sugar Creek, where he kept some of his horses while training them on a quarter-mile track that he built, according to Gordon Folkers.

"He broke the horses and trained them at his track," said Folkers, who lived nearby on Dam Road.

Olson remained a driver until the early 1940s, then had others train and drive his horses. Eventually he moved them fairgrounds track.

Ned Livingston was the fair's superintendent of speed for many years, starting in 1965. He drove and trained Olson's horses in the '60s and '70s.

Like other local owners, Olson occasionally would take a horse to race at Maywood Park in Chicago. Olson was active in the harness and horse business into the 1970s, his daughter said.

To recognize the history of harness racing at the fair, there will be a large display in the Arts and Crafts department at its new location in the renovated horse barn behind North Hall.

Visitors can also have their picture taken on a harness racing sulky.

The Second Annual Celebrity Harness Race event will be Saturday, Aug. 30 at 1:45 p.m.

A children's peddle harness race will take place in front of the grandstand on both Aug. 30 and 31.

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Bloomfield considers incorporation

As their neighbors with an eye toward expansion look to Bloomfield Township, residents are considering incorporation to fend off future annexation.

Residents turned down a plan to incorporate Pell Lake in 2001.

Bloomfield does not have a border agreement with Lake Geneva, but it has an agreement with Genoa City that expires Jan. 1, 2009.

The village of Genoa City has filed a motion with the court to intervene in the incorporation, saying it already has identified the land to the northwest of the village as part of its urban service area.

Judge Robert Kennedy is expected to review the petition Tuesday. If he finds it meets standards for incorporation, Kennedy could forward the petition to the Wisconsin Department of Administration for review.

Story HERE.

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Sheriff tickets 24 at concert

The Walworth County Sheriff's Department wrote 24 citations at Saturday's Projekt Revolution Tour concert at Alpine Valley Music Theater.

The show was the theater's last of the season.

The show's main acts were Linkin Park and Chris Cornell, former lead singer of Sound Garden and Audioslave.

The citations included 18 for underage drinking, two for disorderly conduct and one each for battery, possession of fireworks, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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Online at 10 a.m.: Sheriff tickets 24 at Alpine
Online at 11 a.m.: Bloomfield considers incorporation

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WEATHER RADAR: Sunny and 80.

NEWS: VP speculation grows.

SPORTS: Brewers v Houston final.

CULTURE: Thievery Corporation free download.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Whitewater police seeking dog that bit man

Police are seeking information about a dog that bit a 34-year-old man about 6:30 p.m. Saturday in the 500 block of South Franklin Street.

The dog is described as a medium-sized, black, brown and gray "mutt." The dog was wearing a black collar with a tag.

The man, who lives in the Franklin Street neighborhood, told police he had never seen the dog before.

Anyone with information about the dog should call the Whitewater Police Department at (262) 473-0555.

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Local Paralympians prepare for their turn in Beijing

UW-Whitewater wheelchair basketball coach Jeremy Lade, a member of the U.S. men's Paralympic wheelchair basketball team, works on his game. File photo by Dan Plutchak.

The U.S. men's Olympic wheelchair basketball team will be well represented by athletes from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Jeff Glasbrenner, Matt Scott, Joe Chambers, Jacob Counts, Jeremy Lade, Jaimie Mazzi, Eric Barber and Matt Lesperance all play at UW-Whitewater. The team also includes coaches Steve Wilson, Tracy Chynoweth and Mike Bauler with UW-W connections.

"We're excited with the opportunity to represent our university and our country," national team player and current UW-W head coach Jeremy Lade said. "Watching the Olympics has only heightened our excitement about going to Beijing."

The Paralympic Games begin Sept. 6, two weeks after the Olympic Games end, and continue through Sept. 17.

Here's more from UW-Whitewater:

Wheelchair basketball team prepares for Beijing Paralympics

WHITEWATER - Not all athletes competing for gold are in Beijing just yet. That's because next month the city, which is now playing host to the Olympics, will host the 2008 Paralympic Games. The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater will have a significant presence at the games with 11 current and former Warhawk wheelchair basketball players and coaches on the U.S. National Wheelchair Basketball Team.

The team, which is training in Whitewater, will leave campus on Aug. 30 and depart for China from San Francisco on Sept. 3. The team knows that training is an integral part of their quest for gold. "We are trying to win gold before we even get to China," player Jaimie Mazzi said. "We've worked really hard to improve as a team and as individuals."

For the members on the team, nothing comes close to representing their country on the international stage, but the fact that they get to represent the university they attend is a bonus. "Nothing matches the honor of putting on a USA uniform and I really look forward to taking it all in," player Joe Chambers said. "Not only am I happy that I am representing our country, but that I will represent a part of UW-Whitewater on an international stage."

"We are excited with the opportunity to represent our university and our country," national team player and current head coach for UW-Whitewater Jeremy Lade said. "Watching the Olympics has only heightened our excitement about going to Beijing."

Lade isn't the only one getting excited for the trip by watching the Olympics. "We selected this team in April and the excitement has been building ever since. This is a great group of players who have worked extremely hard to give us a shot at gold. Now we're anxious to try and make all of the hard work pay off," assistant coach for the national team and former head coach for UW-Whitewater Tracy Chynoweth said.

As the games grow closer, the goal is singular for the squad. "If you do the work you get the reward," team member Jeff Glasbrenner said. "We've done the work and simply put, now I want gold."

Players from UW-Whitewater:

Jeff Glasbrenner

Matt Scott

Joe Chambers

Jacob Counts

Jeremy Lade

Jaimie Mazzi

Eric Barber

Matt Lesperance

Coaches from UW-Whitewater:

Steve Wilson

Tracy Chynoweth

Mike Bauler

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School taxes pushing bills higher

Rising school district tax levies are pushing the total bill for property tax payers in Walworth County.

Taxpayers, on average, will pay nearly 10 percent more this year, pushed higher by an average 12.9 percent increase in school taxes.

Officials say the start of the county’s 10-year plan to shift special education costs from the county to the local school districts is one of the driving factors.

The town of Geneva saw the biggest jump in its gross tax levy at 20.6 percent—an increase largely driven by a 25.4 percent increase in the school district levy.

The town covers five school districts, including the Lake Geneva elementary district and the Badger High School district.

More HERE.

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Police suspect murder-suicide in Edgerton

Police believe two people found dead in an Edgerton home were the victims of a murder-suicide, Chief Tom Klubertanz said Monday, Aug. 18, 2008 at a news conference.

Police found Shaun and Jennifer Vordermann dead in their home at 39 Mildred Ave. at about 8 a.m., Klubertanz said. A family member called police after neither Shaun nor Jennifer showed up for work today, he said.

Both died of gunshot wounds, Klubertanz said.

More at

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NEWS: Russian missile provocation.

SPORTS: Local Paralympians.

CULTURE: Phelps finally kicks back.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Notice a bigger paper Sunday?

If you thought there was a louder thump than usual when your Walworth County Sunday newspaper hit the porch Sunday, you weren't hearing things.

We debuted the new, two-section Sunday paper this week, a combination of CSI's Sunday publication and the former Walworth County Week.

In addition to overseeing the Thursday Weekender section (You can pick that up free on newsstands), I also coordinate the new County Living pages inside Walworth County Sunday.

This week, we feature the story of an East Troy family battling the double devastation of a remodeling project gone bad, and a daughter battling cancer.

Terry Mayer also has a wonderful photo essay of a charity bike ride that made its way through Walworth County.

Associate editor
Eric Kuznacic explains more about the new, beefed-up paper HERE.

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Monday music

Thievery Corporation Basement Tapes Session -- free download:

Dave Matthews and The Black Crowes Photo Gallery from their Aug 9th Alpine Valley show:

The Birthday Massacre - Looking Glass CD review -

Scorpions concert review: Metal mania and melodic mayhem -

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NEWS: Musharraf resigns.

SPORTS: Packers: Monday morning quarterbacking.

CULTURE: Screen Test: Penelope Cruz.

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Few non-conference teams want to play Warhawks

File photo by Terry Mayer/Weekender

UW-Whitewater, the Division III college football national champions, are headliners in their powerhouse league.

The problem is that nobody outside the league wants to play them.

Of the 198 nonconference games played by WIAC teams since the 2000 season, only 54 percent (108) have come against Division III competition, writes Steve Williams of the Stevens Point Journal.

Story HERE.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tourism businesses see drop in visitors

Despite hopes that the soft economy would keep Milwaukee and Chicago vacationers close to home (and Walworth County) some businesses have seen a dip this year.

Business "has definitely been softer," said Harold Friestad, general manager of Lake Geneva Cruise Line told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Some of Friestad's corporate clients have canceled group tours, although individual ticket sales have picked up over the past three weeks, he said.

Story HERE.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

WEATHER RADAR: No rain until Sunday.

NEWS: Bush to Russians: Get out.

SPORTS: Weekend Olympics coverage.

CULTURE: 'Narnia' opens this weekend.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Whitewater cops seek robbery suspects

Whitewater police are seeking two teens who robbed a man jogging in Cravath Lakefront Park on Monday evening.

Story HERE.

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A season for new beginnings

By Dan Plutchak/Assoc. Editor

Back to school -- the season when parents try to prove they're not out of touch with their children.

Here's the same lead from my kids' perspective:

Back to school -- the season when we confirm our parents are as out of touch as we thought.

With most Walworth County schools set to open the week after Labor Day, the back-to-school culture dance is in full swing. It's the time of year that defines school style for the next 12 months, and the two biggest arbiters of style are music and fashion.

Most parents view their children's style choices with dread, but we have only ourselves to blame. Take jeans, for example. Why would a kid want to wear regular jeans anyway? Go to school in a basic pair of jeans, and you end up looking like your parents.

The problem with the baby boom generation is that they never gave up their jeans. Before them, jeans were something you couldn't wait to grow out of. As men got older, they'd progress into slacks and more formal clothing. For the most part, women didn't wear jeans in the first place.

But sometime during the last generation, boomers forgot to give up their jeans, depriving teens of a style that would separate them from their parents. The only kind of jeans we parents aren't wearing are those that are ripped and faded -- making them perfect for today's kids.

I recently made the mistake of shopping for a new pair of jeans. My favorite pair was on its last legs, so to speak. They were worn, and had a huge tear in each knee.

As I walked into the men's department, I was amazed to discover that instead of wearing something that needed to be replaced, I already was wearing something expensive and stylish. My ripped and worn pair was more expensive than anything else on the racks.

So, I purchased a cheap pair that weren't faded or ripped, and I put my tattered pair in my dresser until they were needed for a more formal occasion.

If we've forced our children into clothing styles we don't approve, we've been more successful getting our kids to adopt our music -- they just don't know it.

Ask your children this popular music-quiz question: Which two classic '70s songs does Kid Rock's current hit, "All Summer Long," incorporate?

My guess is that they'll have no idea.

You already know the answer: Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" (1978) and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" (1974).

Is there an escape to this annual autumn battle of cultures? Yes, and we're here to help.

Pick up the new Walworth County Sunday and Weekender papers.

Along with the new Weekender -- a free, weekly entertainment guide available on newsstands each Thursday -- this edition of Walworth County Sunday represents a new commitment to covering our communities. For me, it's also a reunion.

CSI Media Associate Editor Eric Kuznacic is an Elkhorn native who knows as much about Walworth County news and newspapers as anyone. I'm reunited with Senior Editor Lynn Greene, who I worked with for many years early in my career here in Walworth County.

Photographer Terry Mayer also joins me here at CSI Media, continuing a successful collaboration we've spent years developing.

All this happens under the guidance of Managing Editor Bruce Heisel, a seasoned newsman who has guided Walworth County Sunday's development into an integral part of our communities.

We'll also continue to showcase the work of Walworth County's best writers, including this week's County Living story by longtime writer Donna Lenz Wright and humor column by Susan Lanham.

Although back-to-school season thankfully has a short life, we're excited about the future of this new newspaper family.

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WEATHER RADAR: No rain until Sunday.

NEWS: Bush to Russians: Get out.

SPORTS: Brewers' streak ends.

CULTURE: 'Narnia' opens this weekend.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lake Geneva's Venetian Festival runs through Sunday, topped off by the spectacular fireworks over Geneva Lake.

Donna Lenz Wright's story from the current Weekender is HERE.

Schedule is HERE.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

WEATHER RADAR: Clouds, no rain.

NEWS: Bush to make statement on Georgian conflict at 11 a.m.

SPORTS: Phelps sets gold standard.

CULTURE: Britney on motherhood.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Drunken driving suspect and deputy crash

A Walworth County Sheriff's Office deputy was injured by an alleged drunken driver while on duty early Monday morning.

Deputy Richard Johnson was patrolling in a marked 2008 Crown Victoria on Highway 12 south of Sheridan Springs at 3:20 a.m. when dispatchers received a report of a car driving west in the eastbound lane of Highway 12 near Lake Geneva, according to a news release.

Johnson was at that stretch, but unaware of the approaching 1997 Ford Thunderbird. He activated his emergency lights and tried to avoid the other car, but the vehicles struck head to head, off center, the release stated.

Horvath, 28, Lake Geneva, was arrested for endangering safety by reckless driving and causing injury by operating while intoxicated.

Johnson was treated and released at Lakeland Medical Center.

More HERE.

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WEATHER RADAR: Clouds, no rain.

NEWS: Edwards' story doesn't add up.

SPORTS: Women's Synchronized 3m Springboard Final.

CULTURE: 'Tropic Thunder' boycott

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Gen Con's tribute to Gary Gygax

Gary Gygax serves up ice cream in Lake Geneva during a school fundraiser in this 2005 file photo by Terry Mayer.

The annual Gen Con gaming convention gets under way Thursday in Indianapolis.

The convention, which attracted 26,000 attendees last year, owes its existence to Lake Geneva's Gary Gygax, who passed away in March.

We ran this remembrance of Gygax at the time.

Gygax held the first Gen Con in his basement in 1967.

This year, Gen Con plans a special tribute to Gygax, co-creator of the Dungeons and Dragons role playing game, with a moment of silence Saturday.

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Former Lyons fire chief accused of theft

Craig A. Amann, 34, the former Lyons Township fire chief, is accused of using the fire department's credit card to buy gas for his personal vehicle.

He pleaded not guilty last week.

According to the criminal complaint, the town's treasurer was reviewing bills and discovered an $80 gas purchase June 12 without the fire department’s approval.

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NEWS: Russian tanks quell break-away region.

SPORTS: Weekend Olympic highlights.

CULTURE: Police wrap up reunion tour.

Post continued HERE

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Colorful horses take over downtown Lake Geneva

"The Rhinestone Cowboy" by Delavan-Darien High School. Sponsored by The Week at East St. Denim

The colorful horses that have taken over the streets of Lake Geneva this summer are a summer-long public art project to benefit the S.M.I.L.E.S. therapeutic riding center in Darien.

"Horsing Around Town" features 80 sculptures painted by local and national artists and sponsored by local businesses and organizations.

Vote for the People's Choice Award horse HERE.

Find horses on the downtown map HERE.

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

WEEKEND WEATHER: Some rain Saturday.

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"We all know that when people cut back, they stay closer to home and for us, that means more business," says Pete Zellmer, Lake Lawn Resort's director of sales and marketing. "July was better than last year and we expect August to be busier, as well.”

In some ways, the troubled economy has kept vacationers closer to home, and that's meant more business in Walworth County.

Lynn Greene reports on the trend in this week's Walworth County Sunday HERE.

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Darien firefighters have battled several large blazes in the past year. File photo.

Up to five Darien firefighters may be resigning following a dispute over authority.

As many as five members of the Darien Fire Department left their gear at the fire station Tuesday night, a move that could signal their resignations, Village President Robert Metzner said.

Fire Chief Dan Nickels said although five sets of gear were left at the station, only two firefighters have submitted letters of resignation.

"Until we get letters, they haven’t resigned," he said.

Story HERE.

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Whitewater sex offender faces new charges

A registered sex offender living in Whitewater has been charged with first-degree sexual assault of a child and possession of child pornography after a search of his residence.

David L. Wells, 46, of 218 S. Cottage St., Whitewater, was arrested July 23 on suspicion he grabbed the buttocks of an 8-year-old girl at Wal-Mart, 1362 W. Main St., according to the criminal complaint.

Story HERE.

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WEATHER RADAR: Nice weekend ahead.

NEWS: Terrorists threaten Olympics.

SPORTS: Favre in a Jets jersey.

CULTURE: How to prevent an ill-fated marriage.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Developer buys old Lakeland School

A Chicago developer has agreed to purchase the old Lakeland School building for $400,000 and turn it into senior housing.

Ming L. Wang, a Chicago-based developer, had the highest bid, "by a long shot," County Administrator told the county board Tuesday night.

The sale of the old Lakeland School is scheduled to close Wednesday, Aug. 13, and Wang has indicated he wants to begin remodeling right away.

Story HERE.

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Rainbow springs to open for hunting

The state of Wisconsin is currently working on a deal to purchase the Rainbow Springs property, which straddles the Walworth and Waukesha county line.

The site is home to two golf courses, but the Walworth County portion of the property is undeveloped. The DNR hopes to open that portion to hunting this fall.

Story HERE.

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WEATHER RADAR: Nice again.

NEWS: Anthrax case details.

SPORTS: Favre to Jets.

CULTURE: Details on Ledger death sought from M-K Olsen.

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Ten things Kelly Guzman will miss from the Thursday Week

There are people, places and things that the Week's entertainment editor, Kelly Guzman, passed every day and never gave a second thought until she started working for The Week 17 years ago.

In her farewell piece for the final Thursday edition of The Week, Guzman reveals her ten favorite things about Walworth County.

Story is HERE.

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Making the worst of a bad situation

A Lake Geneva woman was about to be transferred to Walworth County to serve a 120-day sentence for drunken driving causing injury when she showed up at jail with alcohol on her breath, according to a Dodge County Sheriff's Department report.

"I was dumbfounded," Sheriff Todd Nehls said of Cathleen Borskie, 27.

Borskie's sentence stems from a December 2007 accident where she crossed the centerline with two small children in her car and struck an oncoming vehicle, according to the report. The driver of the other car was hurt and called 911.

Borskie will now serve her sentence in Dodge County.

Story HERE.

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Next time, remember to bring your own water

Three parched workers from Walworth County in search of a cold drink are now in hot water after allegedly moving a water cooler closer to their work area in the federal courthouse in Chicago.

Russell Kozbiel, 41, of Elkhorn. Wis.; Greg Ingersoll, 40, of Elkhorn, Wis.; and his brother, Jeffrey, 42, of Lake Geneva, Wis. were arrested and charged with stealing or purloining government property, a misdemeanor, according to a story in the Sun Times.

Story HERE.

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NEWS: Oil getting cheaper.

SPORTS: Favre held hostage, day 3.

CULTURE: Lollapalooza look back.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

WSD students are cheerleading champs

WSD cheerleaders Nick Shaw and Shaniqua Felton, along with coach Amber Havers, center, won two awards in their first competition against hearing cheerleading squads.

In March, the two-person varsity basketball cheerleading team at the Wisconsin School for the Deaf in Delavan, was invited to the Cardinal Classic competition in Sun Prairie to compete against squads that are not hearing impaired.

Teammates Nick Shaw and Shaniqua Felton won first place in cheer dance, and third place in small varsity coed.

Story HERE.

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Mirbeau wants millions from Lake Geneva

For those in Lake Geneva who thought Mirbeau's defeat in last spring's referendum was the last they would here from the developer, think again.

On July 25, Mirbeau of Geneva Lake, which is half of the former group that proposed Mirbeau-Hummel development, filed a lawsuit against the city seeking more than $29 million in damages.

The lawsuit alleges the city "acted maliciously toward Mirbeau" and deprived Mirbeau of its rights by asking voters whether the city should approve the rezone request and general development plan.

Story HERE:

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Teen on bicycle killed in collision

A 13-year-old boy who died Monday after being hit by a car while riding his bike will be remembered as a quiet teenager who loved video games and the trombone.

Troy Kozbiel died at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa, his grandmother Maryann Kozbiel told the Janesville Gazette.

Story HERE.

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NEWS: Storm hits Texas

SPORTS: Favre held hostage, day 2.

CULTURE: Sheen, Oprah are highest paid.

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Beating leads to year-long sentence

The third defendant in the nearly fatal gang-related beating of a Delavan man will spend a year in the Walworth County Jail, while a fourth defendant remains on the lam.

Story HERE.

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Monday, August 04, 2008

WEATHER RADAR: Really hot.

NEWS: NASA finds ice on mars

SPORTS: Packer scrimmage highlights.

CULTURE: Brangelina baby pics coup

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

WEATHER RADAR: Nice this weekend, mostly.

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Friday, August 01, 2008

A monk's embrace, and a march for a free Tibet

John Halverson writes about speding time with Palden Gyatso, left, a 77-year-old Buddhist monk who is determined that Tibet will some day be independent from China.

The monk was part of a group of marchers who made their way through Walworth County this week on their way to Chicago.

Read Halverson's post HERE. Photograph by Terry Mayer/The Week.

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Animal ICU: Gentle care for wild animals

Two patients in the 'Squirrel ward' at Fellow Mortals Animal Hospital in Lake Geneva, Wis. Phot by Terry Mayer/The Week

Writer Donna Lenz Wright always wondered what to do when she came across an injured wild animal.

What she found out is that she should do what many others in Walworth County have done for more than 20 years--call Fellow Mortals in Lake Geneva.

Read her story HERE.

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Fewer builders speculating on spec homes

The number of new homes in the South Central Wisconsin Builders Association Parade of Homes is down this year, says Executive Director Carol Engebretson.

The trend is just one more consequence of the sluggish economy forcing builders to scale back plans to build homes on spec.

Story in Walworth County Sunday HERE.

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Suspect in custody in U.P. border killings

A Marinette County official says the suspected camouflaged gunman who fatally shot three young people along the Menominee River was taken into custody shortly before 9 a.m.

Sheriff's authorities say the man armed with a military-style assault rifle shot and killed three Michigan teenagers and wounded a 20-year-old Michigan man Thursday evening as a group of young people gathered to go swimming near the Wisconsin-Michigan border near Niagara.

Story HERE.

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Manhunt under way near U.P. border

Three teens from Michigan were shot and killed and a fourth injured near the community of Niagra (MAP) in Marinette County, where more than 100 law enforcement personnel are seeking their killer this morning. (VIDEO)

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NEWS: McCain in Racine.

SPORTS: Packer scrimmage Sunday.

CULTURE: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor opens.

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