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Monday, 25 September 2017 15:11

They’re painting the town

WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- The newest addition to downtown Delavan marks some of the city’s oldest industrial roots -- in a way that makes people stop and stare.

A new mural on the west side of the Delavan Fitness Center building, 114 N. Third St., features three of Delavan’s early industries: Barker Lumber Co., Moser Screw Machine Co. and Urbandale Dairy.

Walworth County is looking for people or organizations to assist in a long-term planning committee for those affected by the July 12 flooding in Walworth, Racine and Kenosha counties, according to a release from the Walworth County Sheriff’s Office.

Persons or groups interested in learning more about this committee are invited to attend an informational meeting at 10 a.m. on Saturday Aug. 26 at the Burlington High School, 400 McCanna Parkway, Burlington Wisconsin.

Friday, 18 August 2017 00:00

Language of opportunity

WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- Born in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, Lilly Barrett came to the United States as a child, so she understands firsthand the difficulties of learning a language while simultaneously navigating life in a new country.

That experience adds a compassionate dimension to her new job as coordinator of the Walworth County Literacy Council, where she assesses the needs of students and matches them to tutors.

Friday, 04 August 2017 00:00

Not a maze, but a journey

WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY-- The first time Julie Dieterle walked a labyrinth, she followed the same winding stone path set into the floor of the 12th-century Chartres Cathedral in France that people had been walking on for more than 1,000 years.

At Chartres, the 42-foot diameter labyrinth was used by many medieval pilgrims unable to travel to the Holy Land as their own version of a spiritual quest. Today the circular paths of labyrinths remain a form of meditation for many.

The Red Cross will help Walworth County residents affected by last week’s heavy rains and flooding by opening a Multi-Agency Response Center Friday, July 21, from noon to 7 p.m. at the Walworth County Department of Health and Human Services building, W4051 County Highway NN in Elkhorn.

Agencies such as the Red Cross and Samaritan’s Purse will be available to provide resources and help with cleanup.  

For more information, call the Department of Health and Human Services at 262-741-3200.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017 09:56

WC Food Pantry slated to close

A longtime food pantry in Walworth County is slated to close its doors at the end of October unless someone steps forward to manage it, according to a release from the Walworth County Resource Center.

After serving the Walworth County community for eight years, the Walworth County Food Pantry will close its doors on October 29, 2017.

Jim and Ardith Drescher, along with a steady group of volunteers, say they have been serving 50 or more families twice a week, every week since 2009.

Friday, 14 July 2017 12:21

Restaurants that come to you

WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- In the midst of a busy weekend at Babe Mann Park last month during Elkhorn Community Days, Mariann Hunter, executive director of United Way of Walworth County -- whose agency helped coordinate the event -- managed to make time for a hot breakfast that was close, quick and delicious. She found it at one of the food trucks on the grounds.

“The Rodeo Wagon had the best breakfast burritos. You could add bacon or chorizo to your egg, cheese and potato burrito,” Hunter wrote in an email.

Hunter and her family were at the park early for the annual walk and run benefitting the local United Way, and she said other families who worked up an appetite after running or walking also were sampling food truck fare. More food trucks, from El Chile Caliente and Jakarta Café to Rolling Cones and Gourmet Kettle Korn, set up shop as the day progressed, so visitors could find food for lunch and dinner.

“There was something for everyone,” Hunter said. “My kids all had homemade milkshakes and I had the best steak taco with avocado sauce -- yum.”

Jenna Gough, assistant director at the Elkhorn Chamber of Commerce, an organizer of Community Days, said the trucks offered kind of a “custom catering” approach for diners.

“People like the convenience of them coming to you, and it’s a fun way to sample food,” she said. “I went for the classic at Lefty’s Chicago Style Hot Dogs that day, but this gave people an opportunity to try some new things, too.”

Lefty’s already has a summer-season stand along U.S. Highway 12 in Elkhorn, but its location isn’t easily seen from the road, and first-time customers tend to stumble upon it, said Dona Mann, whose daughter, Karlee Mann, owns the business.

Dona Mann said her daughter decided to expand by adding the more visible food truck this year. 

While Karlee Mann is at the stand this summer, Dona Mann will be operating the truck. Besides showing up at events around the county, the truck can be found outside Aurora Lakeland Medical Center in Elkhorn from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays and Fridays.

Dona Mann said the truck was purchased from a Delavan restaurant and tweaked to prepare the hot dogs, burgers, milkshakes and smothered fries on Lefty’s menu.

Food trucks aren’t cheap, although operating costs are lower than for a standing restaurant. The food truck website Roaming Hunger advertises vehicles for sale ranging from $15,000 for a simple food trailer or cart to $269,000 for a food truck fashioned from a DC-3 airliner fuselage and designed to look like the Space Shuttle.   

But interest is booming. The food truck industry grew at an annual rate of 7.9 percent from 2011 to 2016, according to a May article in The Economist, which notes there are about 4,000 food trucks around the country.

Kay-Tee Olds, owner of Rodeo Wagon, said she’s increased employee shifts at her Madison-based food cart business from six to eight shifts per week to 17 in one year. Rodeo Wagon has traveled to events in Green Bay, Eau Claire and Monroe.

The workload isn’t lightened for food truck operators like Louis and Cari Ortega, whose Milwaukee-based food truck, La Guacamaya, was at Bands, Bites & Beer, an event at Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan last month.

“The part that is challenging would be the long hours that are put in every day to shop for supplies, prep the food, set up the kitchen and then taking down and cleaning up everything at the end of the day. There is also quite a bit of paperwork involved with licensing, permits and applications for each event, as well as the bookkeeping/accounting side of running a business,” Cari Ortega wrote in an email.

Some businesses, like Rodeo Wagon, have a base kitchen apart from their carts from which they prepare their food. Most, however, use the tighter quarters of a food truck kitchen, where workers have to make every inch count.

“We have learned how to organize everything better to make the most of the space we have,” Ortega said. “We have a hot station, cold station, refrigerator, freezer, grill burners, deep fryer, a three-compartment sink, a hand sink and shelving. We have our own work areas for the most part and are able to work well around each other. There is a lot of side-stepping.”

Bigger cities, like Milwaukee, Madison and Chicago, have restrictions on where and when food trucks can operate. Because of their mobile nature, many food truck operators use social media to let customers know their locations and hours.     

Facebook posts often serve as word-of-mouth for the mobile businesses, widening the travel range.

Milwaukee-based Marco Pollo Global Cluck Truck also was at Lake Lawn last month, but it has traveled to points as far as Madison, Racine, Sheboygan and Oshkosh for events, company parties and even a wedding.

“Food trucks are great for weddings and parties because guests get good food, personalized service and a fun atmosphere for minimal cost compared to traditional catering,” Stewart Lerner, a co-owner of Marco Pollo, said in an email. “Customers enjoy being able to talk with the people who create and cook the food they are eating, which doesn’t typically happen in a restaurant setting. And since our menu is limited, we can focus on making everything we serve the best quality possible for our customers.”

Marco Pollo’s internationally inspired menu includes gua bao --braised and spiced pork in a soft bun -- as well as egg rolls, crispy chicken and steak nachos.

Vanessa Lenz, executive director of the East Troy Chamber of Commerce, said one of the most popular food trucks featured at several of East Troy’s First Friday events on the square is Meat on the Street, a Milwaukee-based Filipino vendor whose menu includes marinated meat on a stick, rice bowls topped with meat and lumpia or egg rolls.

 “Many of the truck owners specialize in one particular style of food,” said Gerard Prendergast, director of food and beverage at Lake Lawn. “Their fare has the allure of fast food, but still almost fine dining because owners put their own unique twist to it. A hot dog is no longer just a hot dog. They use different types of meat, sauces, bread.”

At Rodeo Wagon, whose menu Olds describes as “Southern dining with a foodie flair,” an optional topping for both burgers and salads is Texas caviar, a homemade blend of tomatoes, black beans, black-eyed peas and onions blended with oil and vinegar.

“Part of the appeal of food trucks and a trend in dining in general is that people are looking for micro-cuisines that feature local foods with a twist,” Olds said. “People want fresh food.”

Olds even has adapted her menu to customer requests.

“People asked if we could put bacon on the triple-cheesy mac,” she said.

Walworth County Fair

Aug. 30-Sept. 4, 2017

Mobile guide and schedule

Whitewater continues to party hearty at the Cravath Lakefront park through July 4, after having opened its celebration Friday.

The festival opens at noon Sunday, July 2; 5 p.m. Monday, July 3; and 11 a.m. Tuesday, July 4. The event includes a carnival, food and beverage vendors and live music daily. Fireworks will be held at 10 p.m. Tuesday to close out the celebration.

The 33rd annual car and bike rally is held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 4. The parade steps off at 10 a.m. that day with the 10th annual Whippet City mile run taking off about 10 minutes before the parade. 

Monday music:

New Image, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Ripple Effect, 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Tuesday music:

Steve Meisner, polka, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Glenn Davis, blues, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Cat’s Pajamas, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Other area communities will hold festivities for Independence Day.  Here's a local listing:


Fourth of July parade with staging at 11 a.m. July 4 at Lakeside Beach (northeast corner, Pell Lake) in Bloomfield. Starts at noon from Lakeside Beach, around Pell Lake to village hall. Fireworks over Pell Lake start at dusk. 262-903-0229.


The parade, sponsored by the American Legion, starts at 11 a.m. July 4 on Cambridge Street and proceeds to Winn Street before ending at Memorial School.

Firefighters dance begins at 2 p.m.  July 4 at Echo Park, Wisconsin Highway 36 (Milwaukee Avenue), Burlington. Lunch Money Bullies will perform from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Fireworks will be displayed over the ChocolateFest grounds on Maryland Avenue at dusk. Contact the Burlington Fire Department for more information, 262-763-7842.


Let Freedom Ring Fourth of July celebration begins at 7 a.m. July 4 with a pancake breakfast at the fire station, 811 Ann St., Delavan.

The Carp-O-Rama — a free fishing derby for kids 15 and younger — takes place from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. July 4 at Lake Comus, North Terrace Street. Poles available on a first-come, first-served  basis. The parade begins at 3 p.m. July 4, from Sixth Street to Phoenix Park. There will be family and children’s activities from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Veterans Park, food and drink tents and live music.

Cold Sweat and the Brew City Horns perform at 8:30 p.m. July 4 at the Phoenix Park Bandshell, 111 E. Wisconsin St., Delavan. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. at Terrace Street/Lake Comus. 262-728-5585,


Independence Day celebration begins at 10 a.m. July 4. Capture the spirit of Independence Day in 19th century America through living history presentations and hands-activities for the entire family.

Help make ice cream or participate in a pie eating contest, games or the greased-pole contest.

The event is highlighted by an interactive parade at 4p.m. through the village at Old World Wisconsin, W372 S9727 Highway 67, Eagle, 262-594-6301,

East Troy

The festival, hosted by the East Troy Lions Club, runs through July 2 with most events at the amusement park grounds, 3072 Graydon Ave.

The beer tent features live music.

The parade will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, July 2. Kiddie pedal tractor pulls are held at 4 p.m. Sunday.

More information at


Fourth of July cookout from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the Harbor Lawn at the Abbey Resort. Bounce house, two-person joust, inflatable slide, obstacle course, Shooting Stars basketball, soccer fever, face painting, temporary tattoos, Star-Spangled games and glow gear to light up the night. 269 Fontana Blvd., Fontana, 262-275-6811,

Fireworks start at 10 p.m. at Fontana Beach.

Lake Geneva

The Frank Kresen American Legion Post 24 Ladies Auxiliary is hosting its  annual Independence Day parade and costume contest at 10 a.m. July 4. Participants should gather at Eastview Elementary School, 535 Sage St., Lake Geneva, at 9:30 a.m. The parade route will travel on Dodge Street from the Eastview parking lot north on Center Street and then up Henry Street to the Legion hall. In the event of rain, the parade will be canceled.


Fourth of July celebration from noon to 9 p.m. July 4 at Goodland Memorial Park, Sharon. Food, music and children’s activities.



ELKHORN -- A coalition of business and government groups is hosting a forum on the long-delayed completion of the U.S. Highway 12 freeway expansion between Elkhorn and Whitewater.

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