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LINN TOWNSHIP--Police recovered the body of a man who drowned on Geneva Lake while ice fishing Tuesday, according to a release from the Town of Linn Police Department.

The body of Michael Zielinski, 60, of the town of Linn,  was recovered by divers from the Linn Fire Department Tuesday afternoon, according to the release.

Thursday, 19 January 2017 12:30

Dog rescued from car fire in Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva firefighters rescued a dog trapped in a burning van as they battled a fire in a Wal-Mart parking lot Wednesday afternoon. The fire caused damage to at least five vehicles, according to news releases from the Lake Geneva police and fire departments.

According to a release, emergency responders were dispatched at 12:56 p.m. Jan. 18, to a car fire in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart at 201 N. Edwards Blvd. in Lake Geneva.

Crews found a fire engulfing two vehicles and used foam and dry chemicals to battle the blaze, which spread to three adjoining cars.

Firefighters entered a burning van to rescue a trapped dog. Crew members resuscitated the animal and transported it to the Lake Geneva Animal Hospital for treatment.

No other injuries were reported.  

“This was a serious and stubborn fire. Our crews worked hard to prevent further loss.  We’re glad the dog was rescued and that no one was injured,” Lake Geneva Fire Chief John Peter said.

The fire’s cause and origin remain under investigation. Criminal activity is not suspected at this time, according to a release.    

Two vehicles were total losses and one sustained minor damage.

When Joe Schaefer  of Lyons was re-elected as a Walworth County Board supervisor  April 5, he earned the distinction of the longest continuous-serving board member in the county’s history at 42 years.

Schaefer, 73, died Wednesday, Jan. 11 at the St. Luke Medical Center in Milwaukee.

TOWN OF WHITEWATER—Two men were hospitalized—one in critical condition—after  a car collided with a semi-tractor on U.S. Highway 12 in the town of Whitewater Wednesday morning, according to a release from the Walworth County Sheriff’s Office.

Ryan Gellings, 21, of Whitewater was taken to an area trauma center in critical condition. Marc Tracy, 43, of Carpentersville, Illinois, was transported to an area trauma center with moderate injuries.  

At 10:10 a.m. Wednesday, Walworth County Sheriff’s deputies, City of Whitewater police, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater police and Whitewater Fire and Rescue units received reports of a semi versus car head-on crash at the Highway 12 bypass, just east of the S. Wisconsin Street overpass in the town of Whitewater.

Emergency responders found a green 1997 BMW with extensive front end damage on the eastbound shoulder of the highway. A 2012 Volvo semi-tractor with an attached tanker trailer was in the southbound ditch. Debris was scattered across the road.

A preliminary investigation revealed that Gellings was driving the BMW eastbound on Highway 12 when his car crossed the center line.  The semi, driven by Tracy, was westbound on Highway 12 and swerved to the right to avoid the collision. Both vehicles collided head on in the westbound lane.

The drivers were the only occupants of each of their vehicles.

Highway 12 was closed for about 6 hours in the Whitewater area for investigation and cleanup, according to the release.

 The crash remains under investigation by the Walworth County Sheriff’s Office Crash Investigation Team and the Wisconsin State Patrol.

Agencies who responded to this scene include Walworth County Sheriff’s Office, City of Whitewater Police Department, University of Wisconsin Whitewater Police Department, Whitewater Fire and Rescue, Wisconsin DOT, Wisconsin State Patrol, Walworth County Department of Public Works.

A woman was seriously injured and a man arrested Monday after a methamphetamine cook ignited at a Lake Geneva hotel, according to a news release from the Lake Geneva Police Department.

Friday, 06 January 2017 10:14

Living in the time of Shakespeare

Literature Lady Chris Brookes will portray Lady Anne Bacon in her program “An Elizabethan Experience” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, at the Lake Geneva Public Library.

During her costumed performance, Brookes will capture the essence of what it was like to be a Renaissance courtier and will bring to life the times of William Shakespeare and his queen, 400 years after his death.

The program is sponsored by the Friends of the Lake Geneva Public Library. Brookes will sell her DVD “Introduction to the Elizabethan Age” after her program, donating part of the proceeds to the Friends.

From the royal schoolroom to the formal presence chamber, Lady Bacon educated her son, Francis Bacon, and traveled with Queen Elizabeth.

In her portrayal of Lady Bacon, Brookes will take her audience back in time to the 12-day Yuletide celebrations at Greenwich Palace, which have just concluded.

The courtiers are flushed with the spirit of masking and mumming, feasting and frivolity. The debut of Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night” drew the festivities to a close.

Lady Bacon will share some of the lines destined to become known the world over: “If music be the food of love, play on!”

As the Literature Lady, Brookes owns more costumes than clothes in order to bring history and literature to life for her re-creations of figures from a variety of time periods, including the Dark Ages, the Renaissance, Victorian times and the 1860s to the 1960s.

Her love of performing started in kindergarten when she played the Troll in “Three Billy Goats Gruff.” Since then, she has performed as Lady Bacon at the Bristol Renaissance Faire and has played a variety of characters with several community theater companies.

After retiring from classroom teaching, Brookes, a Lake Geneva native, added performing, presenting and traveling to her repertoire. Currently she offers adult travel classes for graduate credit through Tools for Learning and regularly teaches for Road Scholar, a division of Elderhostel Inc. Brookes is a member of the Wisconsin Humanities Council.

Everyone is welcome to attend this free program.

For information, call 262-249-5299 or visit online at

This week, holiday packages are going out to 157 people whose lives could use a little brightening, thanks to an area program called Christmas for the Kids.

Something for the Kids began in 2006 as a program to provide clothing and other needed items to children being taken into foster care by the Walworth County Department of Health and Human Services, according to volunteer Susan Bell.  It quickly evolved into including all families receiving services from DHHS and those in need.

The program is housed at St John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church, 13 S. Church St. in Elkhorn, where it has gradually taken up the church basement.  New and gently used clothing, infant supplies, and household items, toys, books, toiletries and more are collected throughout the year, and distributed to families in need. Matheson Memorial Library/community center participates by collecting items in bins right inside the door to make it easy for people to donate.

In its second year, Something for the Kids added Christmas for the Kids. From six families in 2007, it has grown to 40 families in 2015. Each person in each family receives at least one large bag of new gifts as well as used clothing, shoes, books and more.  Families also receive food boxes and gift cards for food or gas.  

In 2015, 161 people were helped. This year Bell said 37 families were helped, though the number grows.

“We actually got three emergency cases (Dec. 13),” she said.

Bell said program volunteers are from every walk of life and participate by “adopting” people, donating items throughout the year, wrapping packages, shopping and giving cash donations—even tins of homemade cookies “from bakers all over town,” Bell said. In Elkhorn, even organizations have joined in the effort: the Reindeer Run and 4-H do food drives.

Real Estate agents and staff at Keefe Real Estate--which has offices in Elkhorn, Lake Geneva and Burlington--have been donating gifts to area foster children for over two decades.

“About 25 years ago, when I was the managing broker at Keefe and my daughter, Charlotte, was in junior high school, she had a friend who went into foster care," said Lael Vandenburgh, a broker who has worked at Keefe for almost 30 years. "He seemed to be having a positive experience, and yet I wondered what would happen at Christmas. Would he receive gifts from his foster family? I really had no idea how the system worked, but he was a nice boy and so I contacted the head of Walworth County Foster Care.”

Lael discovered the children in the foster care program did not receive Christmas gifts at that time. While some foster families could afford to be generous with their kids, others didn't have the resources.

“It broke my heart,” says Lael. She said that was when she asked the Keefe agents if they would like to play Santa and make the holidays special for foster kids in the community.

This year Keefe employees bought gifts for 47 foster kids.

Employees from Department of Health and Human Services pick up and deliver all of the packages before Christmas and even stay to tidy up, Bell said. “Many volunteers consider their participation in this event as the best way to put them in the Christmas  spirit,” she added.

People start purchasing items during the January sales and bring them all year. Items can also be dropped at the bin in the library starting again in January.

For more information on the program, please contact Mary Koss at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Sue Bell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit Bells Under Glass. 

Friday, 09 December 2016 20:51

Area recovery teams pull body from Lake Como

TOWN OF GENEVA—Dive teams called to Lake Como after the report of a man falling through the ice recovered a body Friday afternoon, according to a news release from the Town of Geneva Police Department.

According to the release, at 1:15 p.m. Friday, Town of Geneva police officers responded to a report of a man who had fallen through the ice on Lake Como.

The man had walked onto the northwest side of the lake from property at Geneva National, and was several hundred yards onto the lake when he fell through the ice, according to the release.

A search was started by the Walworth County Sheriff’s Office’s dive team, aided by deputies in wet suits.
The City of Lake Geneva also deployed a rescue team on an airboat.

More than 30 law enforcement organizations and fire departments from southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois aided in the search. Responders from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources also assisted.

At 3:30 p.m., the rescue effort became a recovery effort. The victim was discovered at 4:52 p.m. and his body was pulled from the lake at 5:28 p.m., according to the release.

The man’s identity is not being released pending notification of family.

Friday, 09 December 2016 09:44

Chapel on the Hill offers Living Nativity

The Christian Arts Centre of Chapel on the Hill presents its fourth annual Living Nativity, the story of the birth of Jesus presented through music and narration.

This year's Nativity features a live, outdoor, contemplative scene with caroling, followed by a concert in the Christian Arts Centre. Shows are at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, and Saturday, Dec. 10, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11.

 Tickets are available at 262-245-9122 or at

 The Christian Arts Centre is located at N2440 Ara Glen Road in Lake Geneva.

Starting Jan. 3, 2017, Walworth County residents will have a county-wide public transportation through a shared-ride taxi service, according to a news release from the Walworth County Transportation Coordinating Committee.  

Since April 2014, the Walworth County Department of Health and Human Services contracted with VIP Services of Elkhorn to provide transportation services to residents 60 years and older, disabled adults and veterans.

The services were limited to non-medical appointments, dialysis appointments, senior dining center and grocery stores on limited days.

The new service will offer transportation to all county residents for any purpose.  

Hours of operation will be from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, according to the release.  

The service is available to all areas of the county, but will not provide in-town transportation in the City of Whitewater, which has its own shared-ride program.  Whitewater residents, however, may use the service to travel to other Walworth County communities.

Individuals who reside in rural areas of county, however, will have transportation to the nearest community to their residence regarded as in-town transportation.

The basic fare for in-town transportation is $3.50 for adults and $2.50 for seniors, persons with disabilities and students.  

VIP Services, Inc. of Elkhorn will provide vehicles, drivers and dispatch for the service after successfully meeting the County’s requirements during a procurement process. 

Individuals desiring rides should call VIP at 262-723-4043, Extension 161after December 22 to reserve rides.  While advance reservations are suggested, the service will provide rides without advanced reservations as well at the same phone number.

Further information regarding the program is available by contacting Walworth County Administration at 262-741-4357.

All Fares Shown are One-Way:

In town:   Elderly/Disabled/Student        $2.50
         Regular Adult                                 $3.50
         Billed Fare                                      $7

Next Community :
    Elderly/Disabled/Student        $4
    Regular Adult                          $5
    Billed Fare                               $9

Next towns are defined as: Delavan to Elkhorn, Darien; Darien to Delavan, Walworth/Fontana; East Troy to Elkhorn; Elkhorn to Delavan, East Troy, Williams Bay; Genoa City to Lake Geneva, Pell Lake; Lake Geneva to Elkhorn, Genoa City, Lyons, Bloomfield, Williams Bay;  Bloomfield to Genoa City and Lake Geneva; Sharon to Darien and Walworth/Fontana; Walworth/Fontana to Darien, Sharon, Williams Bay; Whitewater to La Grange, Richmond; Williams Bay to Elkhorn, Lake Geneva, Walworth/Fontana.

Walworth/Fontana is regarded as one community.  

Mercy Walworth Medical Center is treated as a next-town trip from Delavan, Elkhorn and Williams Bay and an in-town trip for Lake Geneva.

Township residents trips are regarded as in-town to the nearest community listed above.

Any in-county trip not listed above:
    Elderly/Disabled/Student        $6
    Regular Adult                          $7.50
    Billed Fare                               $12

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