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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Friday, October 31, 2008

WIAA tournament update

Results Thursday

Division 1
Badger over Racine Park, 3-1
Division 2
Pewaukee over Whitewater, 2-0

Division 1
Burlington over Oregon, 3-0
Division 4
Burlington Catholic Central over Campria-Friesland, 3-0

Games Saturday

Soccer Sectional final
Division 1
Badger vs. Milton at Wilmot, 1 p.m.

Volleyball Sectional final
Division 1
Burlington v. Kenosha Tremper at Badger
Division 4
Burlington Catholic Central vs. Sheboygan Christian at Arrowhead

Division 3
Delavan-Darien at Reedsburg
Division 4
Big Foot hosts Winnebago Lutheran

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Fatal accident on Highway 11

A 78-year-old Burlington man was killed on Highway 11 east of Spring Prairie Thursday when his vehicle was sandwiched between two semis.

WTMJ video HERE.

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Mystery place answer: North Walworth School

This week's mystery place is the North Walworth School.

To read more, or to guess on next week's mystery, go to

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Photo gallery: Comets 16, Evansville 6

Delavan-Darien High School quarterback Michael Gonzalez after one of his carries during the Comets 16-6 victory over Evansville in a first-round Division 3 WIAA playoff game Tuesday. The Comets ran for 179 yards and Gonzalez threw for 104, including a touchdown for the first score of the game. Sam Killian/photos.

Story HERE.

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Delavan-Darien pulls off upset win over Evansville

Don't hang up your Comet colors just yet.

The Delavan-Darien High School football team pulled off an upset win over Evansville Tuesday too earn a trip to Reedsburg Saturday for a second-round matchup.

Staff writer Sam Killian was at the game and filed this report:

Delavan-Darien 16, Evansville 6

EVANSVILLE -- The Delavan-Darien High School football team refused to let its first-round Division 3 WIAA playoff matchup with No. 2-seeded Evansville High School intimidate them.

"It's the playoffs," DDHS head coach Steve Tenhagen said. "It doesn't matter what seed anyone is, or what the records are."

That attitude was on full display as the Comets (6-4) beat the Blue Devils 16-6 Tuesday night in Evansville. DDHS quarterback Michael Gonzalez completed seven of 16 passes for 104 yards, and rushed for more than 100 as Delavan-Darien racked up 301 yards of total offense.

"Our kids did it all over the field," Tenhagen said. "I'm so proud of their effort."

The Comets struck first when Gonzalez threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Aaron Logterman in the second quarter. Although the extra-point kick failed, the Comets added a field goal before halftime and headed to the locker room with a 9-0 lead.

Evansville threatened to get on the board to start the second half. However, a 41-yard kickoff return was wasted when drive stalled and the Blue Devils missed a field goal.

The Comets added to their lead when defensive end Kyle Ball intercepted a pass by Evansville quarterback Andrew Keister that bounced off the intended receiver. Ball returned the pick 40 yards for a touchdown.

Evansville finally scored in the fourth quarter, when Keister connected with wide receiver Cody Thompson for a 24-yard touchdown pass; the two-point conversion failed.

Evansville head coach Ron Grovesteen was not surprised by the way the Comets played.

"This was a hard-fought game, and we knew it would be a hard-fought game," he said. "In the playoffs you have to make plays, and they made more plays than we did."

The Comets finished with 179 yards rushing and 104 passing. Evansville, which finished their season at 8-2, had 193 yards rushing and 152 passing.

Tenhagen was happy with his team's defensive effort.

"Our defense played a phenomenal football game," he said. "We held a good offensive team to six points."

The Comets traveled to Reedsburg Saturday for a second-round matchup.

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Milton tops Elkhorn, 62-21

Elkhorn wide reciever Lisle Blackbourn pulls down a touchdown pass during Elkhorn's 62-21 Division 2 WIAA playoff loss Tuesday. Terry Mayer/photo

Milton's Hank McIvor rushed for a school-record 346 yards and scored six touchdowns to lead the Red Hawks to a convincing 62-21 victory over former Southern Lakes Conference rival Elkhorn Tuesday.

With the win, Milton (8-2) advances to a second-round game Saturday at Franklin (6-4).

Story HERE.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Final: Big Foot defeats Lakeside Lutheran, 49-0

Big Foot linebacker Matt Fogerty picks up a Lakeside Lutheran fumble early in the game and runs it in for a score. Lakeside jumped to a 35-0 halftime lead. Dan Plutchak/photo

Big Foot took advantage of five first-half fumbles by Lakeside Lutheran to sprint to a 35-0 halftime lead on their way to a 49-0 shutout in the Chiefs first-round WIAA playoff game.

In other first-round action, Delavan-Darien upset Evansville, 16-6; Verona defeated Badger, 42-34 and Milton defeated Elkhorn, 62-21.

Results and more photos on the jump and in Thursday's Weekender, available free on newsstands.

Travis Frederick, 72, leads the way for running back Jon Petkoff.
Nathan Nagel is driven out of bounds after a run.

Quarterback Steve Dowden completes a pass in the first half.

Aaron Nordentoft, left, and Phil Behrens cheer on their team from the student section.

T.J. Schaid tip-toes the sideline for a big gain early in the game.

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Mayer's cold cow a winner

Terry Mayer, staff photographer for Walworth County Sunday has photographed more than his share of cows over the years.

But one of his latest efforts has been judged the Grand Prize winner in the photo contest.

Mayer's photograph, "Cold cow," shows what the judges called, "the stark contrast of beast against Mother Nature on a cold and snowy Wisconsin winter day."

FOR BEST VIEWING, please go to this larger version of the photo in our Photo Gallery. To make the photo even larger, once you get to the Photo Gallery version, click on the left side of your screen to View Slideshow.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Fifth drunken-driving conviction appeal denied

SHARON -- Steven R. Pierson, of Sharon, accused of driving to a court hearing while drunk, lost his appeal in the 2nd District Court of Appeals.

Pierson's lawyers argued that statements made to a deputy who questioned him in the hallway of the courthouse should not have been admitted as evidence, which lead to a fifth drunken-driving conviction.

A Walworth County Circuit Court judge sentenced Pierson to two years in prison, following one year in prison for his fourth drunken-driving offense.

He also was given three years of extended supervision; an ignition interlock was ordered placed in his car for two years and his driver’s license was revoked for two years.

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Tournament update

Games Tuesday

Division 2
Elkhorn at Milton, 7 p.m
Badger at Verona, 7 p.m.
Division 3
Delavan-Darien at Evansville
Division 4
Big Foot hosts Lakeside Lutheran, 7 p.m.

Games Thursday

Division 1
Burlington v. Oregon at Janesville Craig, 6 p.m.
Division 4
Burlington Catholic Central hosts Campria-Friesland, 7 p.m.

Division 1
Badger at Racine Park (Pershing Park) TBA
Division 2
Whitewater at Pewaukee, 6:30 p.m.

Results Friday

Division 2
Big Foot 3, Union Grove 1
East Troy 1, Greendale, 3

Division 4
Burlington Catholic Central defeated Albany
Faith Christian defeated Blackhawk.

Results Saturday

Division 1
Elkhorn 0, Oregon 3
Burlington 3, Milton 0

Division 2

Big Foot 1, Greendale, 3

Division 4
Burlington Catholic Central 3, Faith Christian 0

Division 1
Badger 2, Elkhorn 0

Division 2
Delavan-Darien 0, Pewaukee 3
Whitewater 3, East Troy 1

Division 3
Faith Christian 0, St. Catherine's 2

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Friday, October 24, 2008

The no-spin zone

It seems the presidential election has come down to this: We're being asked to pick one candidate because the other is a liar with no intention of doing what he says he's going to do.

If these claims really were true, you'd be better off voting for me. I'm not a candidate, so there's nothing to throw mud at.

I realize going negative is nothing new in political campaigns. It's true that most people profess to be against it, but it's also true that negative advertising works.

That's because the issues, while important, lack entertainment value. The easiest way to spice things up is to explain why a plan is so dangerously bad.

Issues are framed in two ways: Either the candidate's proposal will lead to all sorts of terrible consequences, or the plan only is a cover for something more devious once the election is over.

I hope voters are getting tired of being pushed around. I know I am. I don't need a squawking head on TV telling me what's good or bad; I'd rather figure that out myself.

So, for those like me who lament the focus in these waning days of the 2008 presidential campaign, I've listed the five issues most important to me, and what each candidate says they're going to do about them.

I've taken the proposals from each candidate's Web site, compared them to a variety of news stories for context and stripped them of spin. (McCain for president, Obama for president, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and

Are these ideas good or bad? It's time for each of us to decide on our own. Which plans make sense to you?

After you decide, feel free to post a comment HERE or on the link at the bottom of this post.

The economy and taxes

Sen. John McCain proposes a plan that would double the personal exemption for dependents and eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax. The government would purchase troubled mortgages directly from financial institutions and restructure those loans. His plan calls for cutting the capital-gains tax rate, and making the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 permanent.

Sen. Barack Obama proposes a plan that includes a new tax credit of $500 per person or $1,000 per working family. His plan would ban most home foreclosures for 90 days. He would repeal tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 for households earning more than $250,000.

Health care

Obama's plan would create a National Health Insurance Exchange pool to help Americans and businesses purchase private health insurance. The government also would create a plan for those who could not obtain private insurance. All large employers would be required to either provide health insurance or help pay for it. Americans could continue using their existing plans.

McCain's plan would provide $2,500 in refundable tax credits for low-income individuals, and $5,000 to low-income families who obtain their own health insurance. He would work with states to create a Guaranteed Access Plan, possibly establishing a nonprofit corporation that would contract with insurers to cover patients who have been denied insurance.


McCain would expand domestic oil and natural-gas exploration, including an expansion of offshore oil drilling. He would commit $2 billion annually to advancing clean-coal technologies. He supports expanding nuclear power.

Obama's plan would invest $150 billion over the next 10 years to support private efforts to promote alternative energy sources. He supports imposing a windfall profits tax on oil companies. He would consider expansion of offshore oil drilling.


Obama opposed invasion of Iraq from the beginning. He opposed the surge, and says the decision to invade Iraq diverted resources from the war in Afghanistan. He would withdraw one or two brigades, finishing within 16 months.

McCain voted in 2002 to authorize invasion, supported the surge and is against a timetable for withdrawal. He says more political progress in needed, and would promote the international community's help in getting the Iraqi economy back on its feet.

Homeland security

McCain would enhance our intelligence-gathering and analysis capabilities, and promote international cooperation to prevent terrorism abroad. He would improve preparedness and response for catastrophic events, and protect critical infrastructure.

Obama would bolster emergency preparedness by allocating money based on risk, and by preparing effective emergency-response plans. He would protect critical infrastructure by securing chemical plants and improving airline safety. Obama would revisit the Patriot Act to prevent abuses.

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East Troy's one-room schoolhouses

Students on the playground at Troy Center School from Al Gruling's book, "Good Ol' Fashioned School Days."

Al Gruling has been fascinated listening to stories about East Troy's one-room schoolhouses.

He realized the memories of those days were slowly fading away, so he began a 10-year project to document their history.

Contributing writer Herb Moering sat down with Gruling to hear about his new book, "Good Ol' Fashioned School Days."

Read his story after the jump.

Remembering the one-room schoolhouse

By Herb Moering/For Walworth County Sunday

EAST TROY -- Arrow Lodge, Bakers Corner, Centerville, German Settlement and Quarterline may be unfamiliar names to residents of the East Troy area.

But, thanks to Al Gruling, these one-room schoolhouses have come alive in the new book, "Good Ol' Fashioned School Days."

The book is a project of the East Troy Area Historical Society and also includes the former schools of Ackley, Adams, Baker, Bell, Black Oak, Carver, Funk, Little Prairie, Nipe, Stewart, Stone, Troy Center, Troy Lakes, Troy and Wright.

Gruling, of East Troy, spent 10 years interviewing area residents about the 20 schools.

Through hundreds of interviews, he details what life was like in a one-room schoolhouse before East Troy schools went through a series of consolidations in the 1950s and 1960s.

Only Stone, Stewart and Troy Center schools continued operating into the 1970s, Gruling said.

Stewart School closed after the 1981-'82 school year and was sold in 1986 to become the East Troy Town Hall.

Troy Center School closed in 1990 and was razed in 1996.

With only first- and second-grade classes left, Stone School closed in 1998 and was sold, but the current owners still hold crafts classes in the former schoolhouse.

The book offers a glimpse at the creative ways teachers kept their students engaged.

For example, former Baker School students told Gruling about school materials, the styles of boys' and girls' dress, lunchtime, recess, discipline, transportation and the names of many of the pupils and teachers.

The children at Adams School would listen to WHA radio, broadcast from the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus each week, for art and music appreciation.

One photograph shows students at Arrow Lodge School dressed as milkmaids for dairy promotion. The school's name came from the many arrowheads found on the school grounds. The building now serves as the Spring Prairie Town Hall.

A few other interesting facts can be found at Bell School, which got its name from the prominent bell on the roof, making it the only school in the East Troy area with a bell. In 1931, gaslights replaced kerosene lamps, and schoolbooks were provided free for the first time.

Quarterline School's name most likely came from the dispute over where to locate the adjacent road. The boys in the area were known as Quarterliners.

Gruling, a 25-year charter member of the historical society, became interested in preserving schools' histories when he noticed one-room schoolhouses were disappearing, and the people who knew about them were beginning to die.

"Because I was interested in history, I wanted to preserve what we knew before it was too late," Gruling said. "It took a lot of research to acquire all the information and photos."

But, he added, "It was very rewarding and fun to do, not only the schools, but the people I met. I would talk to those I knew, and they often would give me a lead to others with information."

Gruling spent 22 years working with the Walworth County Human Services Department, and many of the seniors he met were able to help with his research. He still volunteers once a week in the senior visitor program.

The historical society's Rural School Book Committee, including Joan Couture, Eileen Kostopoulos, the late Bernice Maier, Judy Mitten and Mary Paetsch, helped with the book. Dan and Marge Richardson helped proofread the manuscript.

Now that the book has been published, Gruling is looking ahead to his next book, about the village of East Troy's schools.

"It should be easier this time around," Gruling said. "There's a lot of people waiting with stories and pictures."

The book on rural schools is going into a second printing and is $20. It can be purchased at the Citizens Bank of East Troy on the square, where the historical society meets every Tuesday morning. The book also can be purchased at the Aurora Pharmacy in the shopping center on Main Street and from historical society members.

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WIAA tournament update

Games Tuesday

Division 2
Elkhorn at Milton, 7 p.m
Badger at Verona, 7 p.m.
Division 3
Delavan-Darien at Evansville
Division 4
Big Foot hosts Lakeside Lutheran, 7 p.m.

Games Thursday

Division 1
Burlington v. Oregon at Janesville Craig, 6 p.m.

Division 4
Burlington Catholic Central hosts Campria-Friesland, 7 p.m.

Division 1
Badger at Racine Park (Pershing Park) TBA
Division 2
Whitewater at Pewaukee, 6:30 p.m.

Results Friday

Division 2
Big Foot 3, Union Grove 1
East Troy 1, Greendale, 3

Division 4
Burlington Catholic Central defeated Albany
Faith Christian defeated Blackhawk.

Results Saturday

Division 1
Elkhorn 0, Oregon 3
Burlington 3, Milton 0

Division 2

Big Foot 1, Greendale, 3

Division 4
Burlington Catholic Central 3, Faith Christian 0

Division 1
Badger 2, Elkhorn 0

Division 2
Delavan-Darien 0, Pewaukee 3
Whitewater 3, East Troy 1

Division 3
Faith Christian 0, St. Catherine's 2

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Mystery place in Lake Geneva

Do you know where this is?

Ginny Hall, historian and author of the "Meandering Around Walworth County" series of books, has discovered a unique Walworth County landmark.

The photograph above is a clue about this week's mystery.

Also: Last week's answer: The Burton-Denison-Davidson feed mill in Lake Geneva.

To make a guess, click HERE.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Suspects in robbery sought

Authorities are looking for two men who robbed the Real McCoy's bar on County Highway A in Richmond Township Monday.

According to a sheriff's department news release, two male subjects entered bar wearing dark-colored ski masks and robbed it at gunpoint.

One of the subjects was carrying a handgun, and one was carrying a long gun, possibly a rifle.

One subject is described as male, white, approximately 5'10" to 6' tall, medium build.

The second male subject is described as Hispanic, approximately 5'6" to 5'8" tall, medium build.

At the time of the armed robbery, the bartender and one female patron were inside the bar.

The two subjects took an undisclosed amount of money from the video poker games and the cash register.

Both the bartender and the patron were also robbed. Both subjects fled the bar in an unknown direction in an unknown vehicle.

This is an ongoing investigation. More information will be released as it becomes available.

If anyone has any information regarding these two subjects, please contact Captain Dana Nigbor at the Walworth County Sheriff's Office at 262-741-4400.

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Carole King to campaign for Obama in Elkhorn

Carole King, who had a string of hits in the 1960s and 70s, will speak on behalf of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama at a rally at 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Walworth County Democratic Party office, 21 E. Walworth St., Elkhorn.

King has been touring Midwestern battleground states, including Iowa, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, talking to voters about Obama's plan to bring about change in the United States, according to a news release.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Combined court considered

The villages of Walworth and Fontana are considering combining their municipal courts as part of ongoing discussions about consolidating some services between the two communities.

The Ad Hoc Joint Services Committee has drafted an agreement that would create the Fontana Walworth Court Commission to oversee the joint municipal court.

The agreement remains under review. It would create the court commission and spell out its powers, including appointing a court clerk, scheduling meetings and recommending an annual operating budget.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Mystery place, Sunday, Oct. 19, 2008

Do you know where this is?

Ginny Hall, historian and author of the "Meandering Around Walworth County" series of books, has discovered a unique Walworth County landmark.

The photograph above is a clue about this week's mystery.

To make a guess, click HERE.

Post continued HERE

Plea hearing set

Jeffrey Newberg, 45, the Linn Township man in the stabbing death of his mother is expected in court Friday for a plea hearing, according to court records.

Newberg on July 14 pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect to the charge of first-degree intentional homicide.

According to the criminal complaint, police went to the home Newberg shared with his mother, Alice Newberg, 70, at N1000 Highway 120 in Linn Township at 11 a.m. May 23.

Police saw Jeffrey walking out of the garage with blood on his head and clothes, and inside the garage investigators found Alice dead, according to the criminal complaint.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mystery place answer: Elkhorn Independent

The Elkhorn Independent newspaper has been a part of the city since 1853. In the early years, Elkhorn was more than a one-newspaper town.

Read Ginny Hall's chronology HERE.

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Sheriff investigates attempted abduction

An 11-year-old girl reported an attempted abduction a week ago in Lyons Township.

According to a Walworth County Sheriff's Dept. news release, she told investigators she was walking home near Brandi Street and Clearwater Court in Lyons Township at 3:20 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, when a sport utility vehicle with three men inside drove past.

The vehicle turned around and stopped next to her. The driver asked the girl to get into the vehicle, but the girl refused.

The driver then exited the SUV and grabbed her, trying to force her into the vehicle. The girl got away and ran home.

The vehicle was described as a black, four-door Jeep with several dents and a red and white stripe.

The driver was a white man with black hair. He had a cross tattoo under his right eye.

Two young men with blond hair were sitting in the back seat.

The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information should call the sheriff’s office at (262) 741-4424 or Crime Stoppers at (262) 723-2677.

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DNR recommends blaze orange for everyone

The Wisconsin Department of Natural resources is encouraging hikers, bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts to wear bright or blaze orange clothing during the firearm deer-hunting season.

For the first time, hunters can use rifles, potentially extending their range.
The hunting seasons will take place in the entire Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest including the popular John Muir, Scuppernong, Nordic, Ice Age and Horse Trail systems.

Campgrounds, picnic areas and other specific use areas are closed to hunting.
Blaze orange vests are available for purchase at the forest headquarters from the Friends of the Kettle Moraine State Forest-Southern Unit.

More HERE:

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Monday, October 13, 2008

A young father's biggest battle

Jan VanWageningen served his country in Iraq, but didn't face the biggest battle of his life until he returned home.

Jan was diagnosed two months ago with a rare, fast-growing form of cancer.

His recent round of chemotherapy has had little affect in slowing down the disease.

Jan's fiancé, Katie, one of my former co-workers at The Week, has enlisted her friends to organize a benefit motorcycle run to show their support and to help with expenses that have mounted while Jan has been hospitalized.

Registration for the V Dub benefit run will begin at 10 a.m. at the House of Harely Davidson, 6221 W. Layton Ave., Milwaukee. Donation is $10 per bike, and riders will go from Milwaukee to Sheboygan.

For more information, e-mail

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mystery place, Sunday, Oct. 12, 2008

Do you know where this is?

Ginny Hall, historian and author of the "Meandering Around Walworth County" series of books, has discovered a unique Walworth County landmark.

The photograph above is a clue about this week's mystery.

To make a guess, click HERE.

Post continued HERE

Friday, October 10, 2008

Lake Geneva Oktoberfest: Bring on the polka!

Photo by Terry Mayer/Weekender

Horst Schaller says Lake Geneva's Oktoberfest is one of his favorite places to play.

A native of Berlin, Germany, Schaller has never quite gotten the oom pah pah out of his system.

What: Lake Geneva Fall Oktoberfest Celebration.
Where: 200 block of Broad Street.
When: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 11-12.

Contributing writer Margaret Plevak has a profile and preview of Oktoberfest, which kicks off Saturday ...

Without the polka band, it's not Oktoberfest

By Margaret Plevak/For WeekenderSchnitzel and Jagermeister are on the menu at Lake Geneva restaurants during the 17th annual Oktoberfest this weekend, but for the true flavor of Germany, give a listen to Horst Schaller, a native of Berlin, Germany.

Horst's Polka Band will play at the Oktoberfest Street Dance from noon to 5 p.m. Oct. 12 in downtown Lake Geneva.

Schaller has been a part of Lake Geneva's Oktoberfest for about 10 years, but has been playing the accordion since he was a teenager in Germany.

Years after World War II, Schaller became friends with an American soldier stationed in Berlin. The soldier ended up marrying a German girl, and the couple eventually headed back to America.

They kept up their friendship with Schaller, and when the soldier's mother invited Schaller to America, he came.

Forty-five years later Schaller is still here, living in Racine. He once ran Horst's Music Center, where sold and serviced a variety of musical instruments. Now he's retired, but the pull of music still is strong.

"I always had a dream of being in a band," he said.

The current configuration of Horst's Polka Band is about 5 years old, and depending on the gig, the band stretches from one to six members. Schaller is the only German native. The core group consists of Schaller on accordion, a drummer, a saxophonist and a female vocalist. For bigger jobs, he adds trumpet and tuba players.

Schaller's one-person jobs generally are as a strolling minstrel. He regularly plays for diners at such restaurants as the Corner House in Racine.

Other jobs include playing at wedding receptions, senior centers, and private birthday and anniversary parties.

While the band used to perform around the country, its gigs now are primarily in Wisconsin and northern Illinois. The demand for German polka bands is greatest, of course, during October. Lake Geneva's Oktoberfest is one of Schaller's favorites.

"There are not too many jobs for four- and five-piece bands these days, so it's like a reunion for us in Lake Geneva," he said. "I'm amazed how many people show up there.

We play for 50 minutes or so, and then we take a 15-minute break, and everybody is back as soon as we start playing the music again."

Schaller isn't sure exactly why polka music remains popular.

"I went dancing myself at Polish Fest, and I see even young folks are going for it.

"It's just simple music with a nice melody to it, and a nice rhythm. You tap your feet and you want to dance."

Among polka fans, there are favorite songs, Schaller said. Some of the most requested numbers are "Lili Marlene," "The Happy Wanderer," and the German waltz, "Du Du Liebst Mir Im Herzen" (You are Always in My Heart).

"People like those because everybody can sing along," he said.

Besides Horst's Polka Band, musician Tom Stanfield will be playing on the Children's Main Stage during Oktoberfest. Other activities include a farmers market, craft booths, hay rides, a pumpkin giveaway, and fall color lake cruises.

The event is sponsored by the Downtown Lake Geneva Improvement District and the Geneva Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.

George Hennerley, the chamber's executive vice president, said the festival originated with Popeye's in Lake Geneva, as a way to draw more people to the restaurant and the city.

There are still plenty of restaurant specials offered during Oktoberfest, but don't forget to get a taste of the German polka band, too. Just listen for the accordion.

Post continued HERE

Musician finds meaning in life's experiences

Williams Bay musician Sherri Richae has turned her life's experiences and strong faith into a new CD.

She'll be performing Oct. 11 at the Royal Oak Farm in Harvard, Ill.

Music writer Tony Bonyata previews the show ...

Finding meaning in life's experiences

By Tony Bonyata/For Weekender

Williams Bay musician Sherri Richae says scripture, prayer and life's circumstances inspire her.

She will be appearing Oct. 11 at the Royal Oak Farm in Harvard, Ill., where she'll perform songs from her debut CD, "Basking In Freedom."

Richae describes her music as inspirational with a folk flavor. She was raised in Chicago and started her musical training at the age of 4, when she began singing.

She took up the violin a few years later before settling into acoustic guitar.

She began to write her own compositions after her interest in folk, blues, jazz, bluegrass and country-rock began to blossom.

Richae played in a number of bands during her college years, but eventually put her music on the back burner to focus on her family.

It wasn't until 1994, when she and her family moved to Williams Bay, that Richae returned to her music.

As she became more involved with the choir at Calvary Community Church, she was inspired to return to songwriting; only now she was focusing her music on something decidedly more spiritual.

"I tend to write songs in story form, based on profound Christian beliefs and struggles faced sometimes in the Christian walk," Richae said.

Richae said the album's title came from her own struggles.

"I had written the song 'Basking In Freedom' when I was going through something quite traumatic," she said. "Not long after that, a friend of mine, who was serving in Iraq, encouraged me to record some of the songs I had written. Once I realized the great meaning in the three words 'Basking In Freedom.' I decided it would be the title for the album."

"Life is so fragile," she said, "but God created it that way so in my weakness he could teach me to depend on him and trust in him with childlike faith."

The album was produced by Tom Hilker, the worship pastor at Calvary, and was recorded in Lake Geneva at Machine Record's Velvet Château Recording Studio.

"Working with Tom was a privilege and a pleasure," Richae said. "He is a man of God who has a servant's heart that is bigger than life."

"I have a great respect for him and his artistic and musical abilities," she said. "He wrote and arranged some of the instrumental parts and added other creative ideas, which helped to make each song unique.

While she already has more new music in the works, she's patient about her career. "I'm not sure what the plan is yet," she said. "I'm researching my options, however, and praying for God's direction. In the meantime, I have plenty to keep me busy."

More about Sherri Richae's "Basking In Freedom" is at:

Post continued HERE

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Mystery place answer: Blue Overalls

The Blue Overall Tavern is the answer to Ginny's Hall's mystery place quiz from Sunday, Oct. 5.

The building is located in Sugar Creek Township at the intersection of county highways A and H.

Ginny Hall's history of the property is HERE.

Post continued HERE

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Teacher pleads not guilty

A second-grade Walworth Elementary School teacher arrested in the school parking lot on a cocaine possession charge pleaded not guilty in Walworth County Circuit Court Oct. 3.

Katie M. Luessenhop, 26, Delavan, was arrested Sept. 18 after police were called to the school for a disturbance, Walworth police said.

The school has hired a substitute teacher to replace her.

Walworth Joint No. 1 School District Administrator Pamela Knorr said the school does an extensive background search on potential employees, including a criminal background check.

Luessenhop will be in court next Nov. 5.

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Walworth County foreclosure rate jumps

Walworth County foreclosures jumped roughly 60 percent in September from the previous month, according to an online tracking site. reported 72 foreclosures filed in September, up from 45 in August.

The September rate is the highest of the year. Foreclosure filings have been hovering around 50 per month for most of the year.

Overall, there were 933 foreclosure actions started in September in the southeast Wisconsin counties of Walworth, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Washington and Waukesha.

Story HERE.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Mental disease ruled in stalking case

The 58-year-old Whitewater man accused of stalking former Walworth County Fairest of the Fair Sheri Nelson in 2007 has been found not guilty of felony stalking by reason of mental disease or defect.

Joseph G. Schraeder, 58, of 147 Hyer Lane, No. 4, Whitewater, was committed to the care of Department of Health and Family Services

Schraeder was suspected of following former Walworth County Fairest of the Fair Sheri Nelson to public events in the summer of 2007, sending her mail and proposing marriage to her, according to the criminal complaint.

Schraeder fascination with fair royalty apparently didn't end there.

He also is accused of the Jefferson County Fairest of the Fair Kassandra Kramer in July.

Story HERE.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Parents accused of teaching kids to smoke pot

A father and stepmother were charged Oct. 2 in Dane County Circuit Court after they were accused of teaching their 9- and 3-year-old children to smoke marijuana.

Mathew J. Mathias, 27, and Ashely C. Mathias, 21, were released on signature bonds after a brief appearance, according to a story in the Capital Times.

The couple formerly lived in Madison but now resides in Delavan, according to court records. The newspaper said they moved shortly after a Sept. 12 search warrant raid on their Madison home.

Story HERE.

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Through practice, kids learn how to survive a fire

Walworth County Firefighters' Association President Paul Yakowenko in the Survive Alive Smoke House. Dan Plutchak photo

By Dan Plutchak/Associate Editor

Paul Yakowenko has spent nearly 20 years teaching a lesson he hopes his pupils will never use.

As president of the Walworth County Firefighters Association, Yakowenko is one of the driving forces behind the Survive Alive Fire Safety Smoke House project, a high-tech re-creation of a typical home where kids learn how to survive a fire.
"One of our goals is that we save the life of at least one kid," Yakowenko said. He may never know if it will, but that's fine with him.

Most kids know little about what to do in a fire, and Yakowenko says the result can be devastating.

To promote National Fire Safety Week, which begins today, Yakowenko gave me tour of the smoke house last week.

Sitting in the parking lot of the Linn Fire Station, the house appears similar to a small mobile home that can be towed to demonstrations anywhere in the area.

The smoke house recently was at the Walworth County Fair, and Yakowenko says it's interesting to see how surprised parents are to learn how little their children know about fire safety.

For example, Yakowenko says many kids don't know their own address.

Others don't know how to open their bedroom window.

Many parents have purchased rollout emergency ladders, but their kids don't know how to use them.

Candles have surpassed smoking as the No. 1 cause of house fires.

That's why the smokehouse is such a great teacher. It gives kids experience in a real-world, stressful and unpredictable situation.

That's why the smoke house is such a great teacher. It gives kids experience in a real-world, stressful and unpredictable situation.

Inside the smoke house is a living room, a bedroom downstairs and a bedroom upstairs.

Volunteer firefighters, who run the demonstrations, begin with a presentation about fire safety, and explain how to handle various situations.

But the demonstrations drive home the point.

In an era of iPods and video games, kids need to see it to believe it, Yakowenko says. "In our world today, kids are hands-on," he said.

Part of the presentation is a dramatic lesson on how fast a fire can spread.

On one side of the trailer is the burn room, equipped with fireproof walls, a sprinkler system and a floor-to-ceiling observation window.

A curtain hangs from the ceiling, and as the kids watch, it begins to burn.

A timer above the window counts off the seconds, and the kids watch as the curtain is rapidly consumed by flames.

Think you have a lot of time to deal with a fire in your home? The demonstration illustrates that you don't. That's why firefighters emphasize the importance of getting out.

Next, students get a chance to test their own reactions in a fire.

They enter one of two rooms, similar to their bedrooms at home. The rooms are equipped with windows and smoke alarms, and at the signal of the operator in the control room, theatrical smoke begins to pour in through a series of vents.

As smoke fills the room, the alarms begin to scream and the kids work through the drills they were taught earlier.

Some kids panic, some cry, Yakowenko says, but now is the time to do it, rather than in a real emergency.

The kids are taught to touch the door with the back of their hand. (The doors can be electronically heated.) If it's warm, they should look to escape through the window.

Why the back of their hands? Because if the door is hot and they burn the palm of their hand, they won't be able to crawl to safety.

Once everyone is out, the kids use a working telephone to practice calling 911.

That's followed by a review of what they've been through.

Yakowenko says association members haven't counted how many students have gone through the smoke house since it was first used in 2004, but nearly everyone comes out impressed.

Yakowenko said the idea for the current smoke house was hatched in 2002. The previous house had fallen into disrepair, and area fire departments couldn't agree on how to replace it.

Yakowenko decided the firefighters association could take on the project, and launched a fundraising drive.

Hat in hand - actually, fire boot in hand - firefighters visited community events and told people what they wanted to do. They started collecting money and began visiting businesses to ask for donations. The project was more than one business could take on, but if each business chipped in what they could, Yakowenko thought, they'd keep moving closer to their goal.

Doors came from a lumber company, a vendor donated the fireplace, sheet metal came from another local company and the frame came from an abandoned mobile home donated by the owner of a mobile-home park.

(A list of contributors can be found online at

They ended up raising $65,000 in cash for things that couldn't be donated, like electronics.

Much of the work was done over two years at Badger High School by students in the woodworking, metal and automotive classes.

Yakowenko isn't shy about promoting those who have donated because this project is his passion.

His paying job is as a correctional training officer with the Walworth County Sheriff's Department motivates him.

"In my real job, I see where people are going with their lives. I joined the fire service in 1990 to help people who are less fortunate than myself," Yakowenko said. "I want to leave the world a little better off than I found it."

And promoting the smoke house is his way of fulfilling that mission.

For questions about the smoke house, or to find out how to schedule a presentation, call Yakowenko at (262) 279-6391. There is a fee for the presentation, which provides needed income for maintenance and repairs.

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Donations bring fire safety to area kids

These businesses and individuals have donated to the Walworth County Firefighter Association's' Survive Alive Smoke House.

Pioneer Estates
Stan's Lumber
Dunn Lumber and True Value Hardware
Barker Building Supply
Home Lumber Co.
East Troy Lumber Co.
Stock Lumber Co. Inc.
United Building Center
De Haan Auto and RV Center Inc.
Kieth's Auto Body
Lawson Screw Products
Plan-It Design LLC
Kopy Kats
Taggart Real Estate
Lakeland Builders Association
Wisconsin Alliance for Fire Safety
Delavan Lake Improvement Assoc.
American Legion, Bunker
Essman-Schoreder Pot 20 Waterford
A.O. Bauer Glass, Inc.
A.B.C. Supply Col Inc.
McEassy Investment Co.
Hot Dot Images
Swift Pint
Stuart Tank Sales Corp.
Timber Line Signs
U.S. Tanker Fire Apparatus, Inc.
Comsource Communications
Town of Linn Fire Department
Dexter Signs
Hawk's View Golf Club
Elkhorn Roofing Co. Inc.
Otto Jacobs LLC.
Flagsource North
Larry's Towing and Recovery Service
The Step 2 Company
Papco Traffic and Parking Control Co. Inc.
Community Bank Delavan
Five Alarm Fire and Safety Equipment Inc.
Automatic Fire Protection, Inc.
Mt. Zion Church and School
Delavan Lions Club
Hotter - Faster, Inc.
Georgia - Pacific Corp.
Frey Automotive
Henry Court Reporting Service
Patricia L. Corey
Sassy Shirts Whitewater
Generac Whitewater
Boss Construction
B.R. Amon and Sons Inc.
Ahern Fire Protection
Guetzke Alarm Systems
JSE Electrical Contractors
Harold Ellertson Jr.
Dave Clark
Paul A. Yakowenkl
Willy Ellertson
Allan Buzzell
Mr. Arnie Oswald
Mr. George Sobotka
W.E. Energies
Elkhorn NAPA
Britz Buttons
Paul M. Yakowenko
Silvia C. Yakowenko
Badger High School metals, auto and wood building classes
Badger High principal Mark Pienkos
Traver School, Linn
Eastview School, Lake Geneva
Genoa City Elementary School
Star Center School, Bloomfield
St. Francis De Sales School, Lake Geneva
Faith Christian School, Williams Bay
Mark Henningfeld
Knox Box Systems
Burlington R.B. and Travel
Lab Safety Supply Inc.
Lynch Diversified Vehicles Inc.
Pete's tire Service Burrough's Floor and Wall Coverings
Pope Transport Inc.
Geneva Upholstering Corp.
BWO Insurance group
National Fire Sprinkler Assoc.
Daniel J. Gengler
Town of Linn
Haase Derrick Lockwood Funeral Home
Bruce Haase
Jon Scheske
Tractor Supply
Renee Wilging
Upper Crust Pizzeria and Pub
Bloofield/Genoa City Fire and Rescue
Brian Christ
Jim Bryan
Lake Geneva Womens' Association
Grant Winger Sr.
Joyce Smith
Safety Town
Mary Jane Gengler
Lake Geneva Jaycee's
The Compassionate Friends of Walworth County
Wisconsin Tavern League
Lonze and Associates Inc.
Lazer Electric Supply
Marcus Group
Champs' Sports Bar and Grill
USG Interiors Inc.
Walworth County Sheriff's Department
Ann Pienkos
Kikkoman Foods Inc.
Shodeen Inc.
Komfort Heating and Cooling Inc.
Dan Pitt
Dale Matteson
Daniel Kundert
Fire Chief Tim Rasch
Chuck Chiariello
Lake Geneva Fire Dept.
Josh Landreman
George Leedle
Grant Winger Jr.
Jason Smith
Bendlin Fire Equipment Co. Inc.
Jefferson Fire and Safety Equipment
Charles Fischer
S.C. Johnson and Son

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Winning horses from the Horsing Around Town project

Quarter Caddy, by artist Mark Dziewior of Monroe, was the grand prize winner in the Horsing Around Town public art project.

The horse, sponsored by Timber Ridge Lodge and Water Park, was chosen in the contest sponsored by S.M.I.L.E.S.

Over the summer, 81 horses, decorated by area artists were on display in downtown Lake Geneva. The horses will be auctioned Saturday, with the proceeds benefit S.M.I.L.E.S., a riding stable that provides therapy for those with disabilities.

Margaret Plevak's story on the auction is HERE.

Grand Prize

Quarter Caddy by Mark Dziewior of Monroe, sponsored by Timber Ridge Lodge and Water Park.

Second place

In My Treehorse by Glenna Schilthelm of Walworth, sponsored by Ackman Glass.

Honorable Mentions

K, Seurat, Seurat by Connie Bier of Milton, sponsored by The Grand Geneva Resort and Spa.

Dolcetto del Lago by Liz Haseley of Lake Geneva, sponsored by Lake Geneva Wine Festival.

Star --The Quilted Rock-in-Colt by Paulette Jensen of Lake Geneva, sponsored by Fox River State Bank.

Lady Liberty by Shawn Kraemer of New Glarus, sponsored by The Richard Pfeil Family.

Frayed Knot by Mary Steinhardt of Waterford, sponsored by Animal Gardens and the Dancing Horses.

High School Category:

First place

Zee by Faith Christian School of Williams Bay, sponsored by Engerman Contracting.

Honorable Mention

Painted Pony by Beloit Turner High School, sponsored by US Bank.

Tree Spirit by Sean Quinn, Williams Bay High School, sponsored by Dave and Julie Brach.

People's Choice

Frayed Knot by Mary Steinhardt was the People's Choice winner in online voting at, with 205.099 votes. The sculpture was sponsored by Animal Gardens & The Dancing Horses and was displayed in front of Noure's Oriental Rug Gallery.

The second place winner was Freedom by Tania Gill & Pam J. Haas, with 151,821 votes.

Third place was Go Green by Parkview Charter High School with 73,143 votes

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After a summer on the town, ponies ready for auction

By Margaret Plevak/For Weekender

Call it art inspiring life - and death. Earlier this summer, a life-size, 50-pound fiberglass colt - blazoned in red, white and blue - was wheeled from a bank on Center Street in Lake Geneva into a local funeral home where it stood at the wake of a World War II veteran.

The man had served under Gen. George Patton, according to a female relative who made the request for the horse to appear at the funeral, said Francine Jacobs, whose book, "Horsing Around Town - The Trail of a Dream," mentions the patriotic pony, dubbed "Freedom."

The horse has a POW-MIA medallion, peace symbols, the American flag, and the words "God bless America" painted on it. Its head is painted to resemble a bald eagle. Family members had seen "Freedom" on display and thought it would make the perfect memorial for a proud veteran who loved horses, Jacobs said.

"Freedom" is one of 81 ponies that were uniquely designed and painted by area artists as a public art exhibit to benefit Special Methods in Learning Equine Skills, Inc. Darien-based S.M.I.L.E.S. is a therapeutic riding center for adults and children with disabilities.

The fiberglass ponies, which were placed at locations around downtown Lake Geneva earlier this summer, will be sold at a live auction Oct. 4 at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa. Online bidding started Sept. 19. One horse was previously sold at auction in June.

Public art exhibits of fiberglass animals aren't new. Both New York and Chicago displayed cows; Cincinnati used pigs; Miami tried flamingos and White Fish, Mont., exhibited moose.

Kathy Hansen, project coordinator for The Mane Event Auction, said horses were a natural symbol for S.M.I.L.E.S., but the choice turned out to be inspirational for participating artists, who included professionals, art instructors and even local elementary and high school students.

"The horse itself has a lot of different facets," Hansen said. "It means different things to a lot of different people."

Many artists followed equestrian themes from Pegasus to racehorse Barbaro. But designs ranged from whimsical - like a zebra sporting red sneakers or a Charlie Chaplin look-alike - to cultural, with horses that resembled a pop-art painting or works by Jackson Pollack and Georges-Pierre Seurat.

There are localized horses that depict Lake Geneva's beaches and pristine waters, and even a horse with an environmental message to "Go Green."

"A lot of inspiration came from a bottle of wine," Jacobs joked, referring to "Would you like some cheese with that Whinney?" and "Tuscan Love," whose designs are centered around grapevines.

Her softcover book profiles the artists of the exhibit and includes stories about their work. Terry Mayer, staff photographer for Walworth County Sunday, donated his time to take the high-resolution color photographs of every horse that accompanies the text. Sales of the book also benefit S.M.I.L.E.S.

A volunteer for the organization, Jacobs already had been writing articles for its newsletter when she was approached about tackling the book. She sent an e-mail to all the artists, asking what inspired the design of their ponies.

The e-mail responses she received "ran the gamut of emotions for me," she said. "Some were funny. Others were very touching."

"Foal of Hope," depicting a garden of flowering vines against a bright pink background, had a special meaning for artist Terrece Crawford, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year.

"She began her cancer treatment the same time she began painting her horse, so they went on a journey together," Jacobs said. "She went on her journey to good health, and he went on his journey to become a beautiful object of art."

Many of the artists bonded with their work, Jacobs said.

"The horses kind of became part of their family and home environment. When the artists had to deliver the horses to the kickoff reception back in May, they really missed them. A number of the artists - I heard this a lot - said they experienced 'empty nest syndrome.'"

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Lakeland Players' 'Forum' becomes a family affair

Len Hodges-Goettl, left, and Mark Badtke rehearse their roles in the Lakeland Players performance of "A Funny thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," opening Oct. 4. Lakeland Players photo.

By Herb Moering For Weekender

The Lakeland Players production of "A Funny thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," definitely can be called a family show.

At least that's the way Director Donna Badtke sees it, since the cast of 17 performers includes three members of her family.

The show opens Oct. 4 at the Walworth County Performing Arts Center in downtown Elkhorn.

When Badtke turned to her husband, Mark, her daughter, Colleen Walker, and new son-in-law, Sean Walker, to fill out the cast, she knew they could handle the roles.

Mark played the lead character, Pseudolus the Storyteller, twice before. Colleen has been acting since she was 5, and already has been in the role of Philia the Courtesan.

Sean, whose character, Hero, falls in love with Philia, started acting when he was a Delavan-Darien High School student.

Badtke, of Genoa City, described the show as the typical boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy regains girl, in a Roman-Greek period.

She called it one of her favorites.

"It is one of the funniest musicals, where you can just sit back, relax and laugh," Badtke said. "This is the show to see."

The "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," is produced by Wendy Koehnke and under the musical direction of Jeanette O'Dierno.

Koehnke, who has produced and directed Lakeland Players productions in the past, said the "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" is the theater group's 123rd presentation.

Others shows this season include, "A Christmas Carol in Hogpatch Holler" at the end of November, which will be Koehnke's eighth time directing the holiday show.

Additional productions are the Monte Carlo dinner theater show, "Front Row Center, Best of Broadway" in February; "Sylvia" in March and "Rocky Horror Picture Show" in May.

The show continues Oct. 5 and Oct. 10-12. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.

Tickets are available in Elkhorn at Scene II and by calling the ticket manager at (262) 728-5578.


Len Hedges-Goettl, of Kensosha, as Hysterium.
Kenelon Scheske, of Salem, as Senex.
Tom Deichsel, of Lake Geneva, as Lycus.
Kevin Rathunde, of Pell Lake, as Miles.
Jeanette O'dierno, of Walworth, as Domina.
John Roberts, of Mukwonago, as Erronius.
John Kobernick, of Burlington, as Protean 1.
Nathan Russell, Elkhorn,
as Protean 2.
Debbie Gustafson, Lake Geneva, as Tintinabula)
Kasey Cragg, of Burlington,
as Seminae 1.
Ali Nelson, of Elkhorn,
as Seminae 2.
Elizabeth Armstrong, of Delavan, as Vibrata.
Betty Steenstry, of Delavan,
as Gymnasia.

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Exploring the dark side of Charlie Brown

Amanda Franecki as Tricia, left, and Savannah Hardyman as Marcy in the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Theatre/Dance Department's production of "Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead," opening Oct. 7. Photo by Sarah Altermatt for Weekender

The fall season of performances by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Theatre and Dance Department opens Oct. 7 with the edgy contemporary production, "Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead."

This hilarious, unauthorized parody follows the cast from the iconic comic strip, "Peanuts."

On top of dealing with the death of his beloved dog from rabies, CB has to cope with the changes that are taking place in his life as he grows up.

Now in high school, CB and his gang are faced with drug use, suicide, eating disorders, teen violence, rebellion and sexual identity.

Written by Bert V. Royal and directed by Jim Butchart, "Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead" is a darkly humorous play that is not for the young or faint of heart. We see that life can be amusing at times and poignant at others.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7 - 11 in the Barnett Theatre in the Greenhill Center for the Arts on the UW-Whitewater campus.

This is an adults-only show because of strong language and adult subject matter.

Tickets to individual shows may be purchased online at To request a brochure or for more information regarding the 2008-09 Theatre/Dance season, call Sarah Altermatt at (262) 472-5943.

2008-2009 season

For more information and show times, visit

Oct. 25 -- Calling all families, kids, grandmas and grandpas, don't miss "Stuart Little" as he jumps off the page and onto the stage in Joseph Robinette's new adaptation of this classic children's story of a courageous and spunky little mouse.

Dec. 2-6 -- Passion is reignited for a Sicilian seamstress whose love, grief and anger know no bounds in Tennessee Williams' "The Rose Tattoo."

Feb. 22, 24, 26 and 28 -- Mozart's critically-acclaimed romantic comic opera, "The Marriage of Figaro."

March 16-17 -- With a mix of eclectic styles, DanceScapes '09 entertains the audience with innovative, creative and thought-provoking performances. The annual dance concert features works choreographed by UW-W dance minors, faculty and guest artists in an enticing exhibit of remarkable talent. Guest choreographer Chris Johnson of Beloit College contributes a large group work that is a fun energetic romp for UW-W student performers.

April 28-May 2 -- William Shakespeare's classic, "Macbeth" is an epic tragedy about murder, mystery and revenge. Spurred to fulfill their dark ambitions by an encounter with three witches, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth plunge deeper and deeper into murder and its ensnaring consequences.

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Girl Scout camp sold

Camp Singing Hills, the Girl Scout camping facility on the Lauderdale Lakes, was sold to a trust and investment group last month.

The Girl Scouts of Wisconsin announced plans to sell the facility nearly five years ago, however a group filed a lawsuit to block the sale.

At the time, officials pointed to declining numbers of campers and an estimated $2 million in renovations they said would have been required to bring the facilities up to par.

Circuit court and appeals court judges ruled in the Girl Scouts' favor.

Singing Hills opened in 1953 and hosted scouts from Racine County. It sold for $7.25 million.

More on the sale HERE.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Elkhorn police station dispute heats up

The long-running disagreement over the city of Elkhorn's plans for the downtown government center foamed over again Monday.

This time, the dispute centers on the city's plans for a new police station.

The dust up dates back to negotiations in 2002 over plans to build the Walworth County Judicial Center on Highway NN at the county complex.

Because the courts had to be located within the city limits of the county seat, Elkhorn would have to annex the land for the new courts facility.

Concern that the move would hurt downtown Elkhorn held up an agreement.

After long negotiations, the county agreed to lease the west wing of the downtown facility to the city of Elkhorn for $1 in exchange for a land annexation for the judicial center.

The plan was to move the police department into the vacated Sheriff's Department spaces in the building.

However, not everyone was convinced the downtown Elkhorn location was the best place for the police department.

At a meeting Monday to discuss plans for the station, an argument over the cost of the project spilled into the hallway, and police chief Joel Christensen stepped in after angry residents confronted the city's architect.

Ted Sullivan's story on Monday's meeting is HERE.

A background story on the police station plans is HERE.

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