Friday, June 02, 2006

Congressional candidate arrested

Lake Geneva City Attorney Michael Rielly, who announced this month he would challenge U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan for his congressional seat, was arrested a week ago on a charge of disorderly conduct at the Hogs and Kisses Bar and Restaurant, 149 Broad St., Lake Geneva.

Rielly, 44, was held overnight at the jail and appeared Friday, May 26 for a bond hearing, via closed-circuit television, before Judge John Race.

After the hearing, Rielly issued this statement through his attorney, James Martin: ìI have done nothing wrong. I have done nothing illegal. I have done nothing immoral.î

Diane Donahoo, Walworth County assistant district attorney, said Rielly reportedly was bothering female customers at Hogs and Kisses and being disruptive when the manager asked him to leave. Rielly refused.

The manager then took Rielly by the arm, escorted him out and called Lake Geneva police. When the police arrived, Rielly was seen going back into the bar.

Rielly was arrested for disorderly conduct and trespassing, a municipal violation. An alcohol breath test showed Riellyís blood-alcohol level at 0.27 percent.

Conditions of bond were that Rielly was to refrain from drinking, have no contact with Hogs and Kisses and ìtake his medication.î

The judge did not specify what kind of medication he was referring to or what condition it treated. However, he did say he thought there was a ìserious competency issueî involved with Riellyís behavior.

Martin said Rielly opposed the no-alcohol condition.

ìMy client says heís not on medication or any prescribed medication,î Martin said.

Race said he feared that Rielly might be decompensatingócoming apart mentally and emotionally.

ìMy concern is heís decompensating in the community,î Race said.

Rielly tried to break in several times via closed-circuit television as both his attorney and the judge tried to keep him quiet.

ìMike, shut up for a moment,î Race said at one point.

At another, Martin urged his client to ìtake your Fifth Amendment right.î

That evening while incarcerated, Koss said that between 7:44 and 8:54 p.m., Rielly made 11 collect calls to the Lake Geneva Police Department, identifying himself as, among others, Mayor Sheldon Shepstone, City Administrator Dennis Jordan, Municipal Judge Henry Sibbing, City Clerk Diana Dykstra and even ìPrince Albert in a can.î

None of the over-the-phone aliases worked, however, and Rielly was arrested in jail on a new charge of unlawful use of a telephone.

Walworth County District Attorney Phil Koss said the new case, like the earlier arrest for disorderly conduct, will be transferred to the Jefferson County District Attorneyís Office to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, Koss said.

Rielly is one of the few elected city attorneys left in the state. Heís been city attorney since 1996 and was re-elected without opposition in April.

By Chris Schultz
Janesville Gazette


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Lake Geneva city attorney announces run for congress

Lake Geneva City Attorney Michael Rielly has announced plans to run as a Democratic candidate for the First Congressional District.

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, is the incumbent.

Rielly, 44, has 17 years of experience as a lawyer in Lake Geneva. He has been the elected city attorney since 1996.
According to the Wisconsin State Election Board Web site, five other Democrats are running for the seat.

They are Mike Hebert, Steven Herr and Ruth Santa Cruz Bradley, all of Kenosha; Don Hall of Elkhorn and Jeffrey C. Thomas of Janesville.

The Democratic primary is Sept. 12. The general election is Nov. 7.
Candidates officially file for office between June 1 and July 15.

Friday, April 07, 2006

A few new faces

A few new faces will be in a few new places following Tuesday’s election. The Walworth County board will have two new members and the city of Elkhorn has a new mayor. Here’s a brief look at some of the major races in Walworth County:
~Mike Heine, The Week

County Board
Challenger Dan Kilkenny unseated incumbent Walworth County Supervisor Jerry Waelti for the District 18 seat.
Kilkenny tallied 329 votes to Waelti’s 298.
“I’m happy. It’s hard to beat an incumbent, Kilkenny said. “I worked hard. I have great respect for Jerry. When I was campaigning, I heard a lot of great things about him. He was well-respected. But I’m glad to hear the voters thought I would do well.
Kilkenny, 49, a Delavan lawyer, is no stranger to political office. He is also a town of Darien supervisor, a position he’s held since 2001.
Waelti, 67, served just one term on the board. He was vice chairman of the Finance Committee and was a member of the Children with Disabilities Educational Board.
“I’m just disappointed that I will not be able to serve Walworth County in the next couple of years, Waelti said. “Having said that, it has been a fun time the last two years and interesting and time consuming. I liked it.
Waelti did not rule out running again in 2008. He intends to remain on as president of the Walworth County Economic Development Alliance.
Kilkenny said he is willing to listen to his constituents and hopes he can serve them well.
District 18 encompasses the western half of the city of Delavan and a small portion of the town of Darien.

In the District 10 race, Kathy Ingersoll, 61, won over fellow newcomer Paul R. Nelson, 62.
Ingersoll will take the seat vacated by Betty Felten, who is moving from the district.
“I felt like my opponent was very knowledgeable and knew what he was talking about, maybe even more so than me, Ingersoll said. “But I am willing to work hard and be responsible to my position and my constituency.
Ingersoll admits she has a lot to learn about political life.
“I need to catch up, she said. “I’m going to go in and work hard. It will take me a while to fully understand my position, but I will work hard on that and to understand the issues that are before us.
District 10 covers northwestern Elkhorn and southeastern Sugar Creek Township.
The other 23 county board incumbents ran unopposed. All have retained their seats.

Elkhorn Mayor
Challenger John Giese, 57, slipped by incumbent Michael Roberts, 51, by just 25 votes.
Giese, the city’s former police chief, took the post, 653-628.
Giese has held office twice before as a city alderman. He held two one-year terms in 2002 and 2004.
Roberts was elected mayor in 2002.

Delavan Mayor
Incumbent Mel Nieuwenhuis, 44, retained his seat by defeating two challengers, Ellen Reddy, 47, and Ron Siedelmann, 62.
Nieuwenhuis collected 662 votes to Reddy’s 585 and Siedelmann’s 190.
Nieuwenhuis has been mayor since 2002.

Lake Geneva Mayor
Mayor Sheldon Shepstone, 77, will start a second term after handedly defeating former alderman Wesley “Pete Peterson, 720-317.
Shepstone has served as a Lake Geneva alderman for 27 years, not all consecutive.

Voter turnout
An estimated 14 percent of eligible voters came to the polls Tuesday. A total of 10,405 ballots were cast, up 1,180 from two years ago.
Walworth County Clerk Kim Bushey said the totals were typical for this kind of election.
“Basically, it was pretty standard, Bushey said. “I think the turnout was fairly routine for this variety of election.
There were three closely contested races, separated by less than 10 votes.
In the town of Delavan, incumbent Supervisor Dick Hummel was edged out of his seat by six votes, losing to Bill Endisch 421 to 415. Incumbent Wayne Polzin took the other open seat with 481 votes.
Challenger John Finley took incumbent city of Delavan District 1 Alderman Jay Adam’s seat by seven votes, 247-240.
Fontana had the closest election. Six contestants vied for three seats. Joseph Bidwell took the third spot by one vote over Thomas McGreevy, 240-239. Fifth-place finisher Irene M. Labonne was just three back of McGreevy, according to preliminary results.
Incumbents Ronald Pollitt and William Turner retained their seats with 315 and 296 votes, respectively.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Comment on the county board race

There will be two contested county board races April 4. Kathy Ingersoll faces Paul Nelson in the District 10 race (parts of northwest Elkhorn and Sugar Creek Township). In District 18 (the western half of Delavan) Jerry Waelti faces a challenge from Daniel Kilkenny.

Click the comments link below to add your thoughts on the race.

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

Comment the Delavan mayor's race

Delavan voters will choose between three candidates for mayor April 4. Mayor Mel Nieuwenhuis faces a challenge from Ellen Reddy, a former council member, and Ron Siedelmann, currenlty on the council.

Click the comments link below to add your thoughts on the race.

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

Comment on the Elkhorn mayor's race

Mayor Michael Roberts faces former police chief John Giese to be the next mayor of Elkhorn when voters go the polls April 4.

Click the comments link below to add your thoughts on the race.

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

Comment on the Lake Geneva mayor's race

Lake Geneva voters will choose between incumbent mayor Sheldon Shepstone and former alderman Pete Peterson on election day, April 4.

Click the comments link below to add your thoughts on the race.

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

Friday, March 10, 2006

Send us your letters on the election


We encourage dialogue, input and feedback on the Walworth County races that we'll vote on April 4.

We will be running letter here (one by Dan Stebnitz of Delavan and one by Michael Roberts, Elkhorn mayoral candidate follow) and in our Sunday edition.

The last Sunday for election letters in the paper will be March 26.

Letters of fewer than 300 words have the best chance of running un-edited, and we reserve the right to edit letters and online comments for length, libel and appropriateness.

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

Send letters via e-mail

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

~Dan Plutchak, editor

Dan Stebnitz: Mel gets my vote


I am writing to encourage you to vote for Mel Nieuwenhuis as city of Delavan mayor. In his four years as the Mayor, he has brought honesty, experience, objectivity, trust, respect, and accountability.

He has been very instrumental in the new developments and businesses coming to Delavan, as well as helping to maintain a great quality of life here.

Change in this city will happen, whether we want it to or not, and I for one, feel secure with Mel's experience leading us. I own a small business in Delavan, and on several occasions he has taken the time to ask me my opinion about matters relating to the city.

I feel like he is truly concerned with the best interests of this city, and that he will not be swayed by any special interest groups. He is not afraid of any challenge that comes his way.

Finally he is a devoted family man who has been very supportive of his kids in many different ways. He has been a willing servant of many different organizations and charitible groups in and around Delavan. And he loves this community in which he has lived all of his life.

I recommend that you would all go and vote on April 4th, and while you are there, vote for Mel Nieuwenhuis for Mayor of the city of Delavan.

Dan Stebnitz

Michael Roberts: The problem with no growth


My name is Michael Roberts. I am currently the mayor of Elkhorn and I am running for re-election. My opponent has been recently quoted in the Elkhorn Independent saying that if he becomes mayor, he will halt all growth in Elkhorn.

Let's explore the consequences of his policy. First, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled on many occasions that a municipality cannot simply decide to halt growth without specific rationale, documentation and policies--standards that Elkhorn will have difficulty meeting.

Second, our school district operates in a financial environment where revenues from tax levies may increase 2.1 percent per year (excluding referenda), while expenses increase at twice this rate.

My opponent knows that no growth will harm the schools. Additional students result in additional state revenues, which enable our schools to pay their bills.

Third, the pending TABOR legislation in Wisconsin will put Elkhorn in the same financial predicament as the schools. Some growth will be necessary to the city to continue to provide the required services to our residents.

Yes, we have seen substantial growth recently. These subdivisions were approved inn the 1990s. We cannot stop what was previously approved. During the past four years, we have worked on a Smart Growth policy to enable the city to define and balance growth in the future.

We believe the city is now poised to have balanced, responsible growth for the future.

As for the assertion that the growth will result in increased taxes for services, we have been able to reduce our cost of government per resident during the past several years. In fact, over the last seven years, the city tax on the average home has increased about 1 percent per year--one of the lowest rates of increase in the state.

Finally, my opponent says he want to accomplish tow things: halt growth and attract large retailers.

Do you really think retailers will come to Elkhorn if we tell them that we will not allow any growth, which is necessary to make their business viable?

Michael J. Roberts, incumbent
Candidate for Elkhorn mayor



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