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Friday, 25 September 2015 10:32

Elkhorn walk aims to raise suicide awareness

WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- Diane and Michael Michalek lost their 22-year-old daughter, Alyssa, to suicide about four years ago. Now the Delavan couple has helped organize a walk in her memory to help others who have lost a loved one to suicide or people who are struggling with thoughts of suicide.

The Walworth County Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention and Awareness Walk will be held Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Walworth County Fairgrounds in Elkhorn. Registration begins at 8 a.m., an opening ceremony with a balloon release will be at 9 a.m. and the walk begins at 9:30 a.m. People also can register for the two-mile walk by going online to

WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- The walls of the former antique mall came tumbling down this summer, but the demolition of the longtime fixture on the historic Walworth square precedes construction plans for the re-route of U.S. Highway 14 in its path by at least five years.

The exact route of the finished highway through the village of Walworth isn’t clear, but the proposed plans continue to draw attention and criticism from area residents.

WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- For a little more than 40 years, WBSD 89.1 FM has been providing music and entertainment to area residents who want to listen to the favorite songs they grew up with as well as some from newer artists.

Thomas Gilding, WBSD general manager, said if you walk into a Burlington-area business, most likely a radio is tuned into 89.1.

Editor’s note: Saving Downtown is an award-winning series by freelance writer Lisa Schmelz exploring how Walworth County communities are breathing new life into their historic downtown districts. This is the fifth installment. Visit other towns in the Saving Downtown series by going online to

WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- Last Sunday morning, a table was hard to come by at Daddy Maxwell’s in Williams Bay. Two hours before the Packers-Bears kickoff, this igloo-shaped diner felt as crowded as Soldier Field -- provided one made the proper per-capita and square-footage adjustments and was still prone to exaggeration.

But folks here didn’t mind waiting for a table, being elbow-to-elbow at the counter or shoulder-to-shoulder along the western wall, where a row of tables overflowed with locals and weekend visitors. The mood was jovial. Conversations were a mix of politics, town gossip, including whether or not the cashier should be allowed to wear a Bears jersey in Packers country, and the glorious fall weather of the moment. There was also much pontificating as to where downtown Williams Bay started and stopped, and even more specifically, if Daddy Maxwell’s could claim to be a part of downtown Williams Bay.

WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- Teaching has been called many things -- an art, an inspiration, a life-changing experience.

There are many gifted teachers in our midst, and there are some who are simply spectacular. They go above and beyond, inspiring students and others with whom they work. One such teacher is Christine Hayes.

WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- Sandee Ortiz was the coach, April Shaffer the athlete. That relationship, like the one between parents and their children, often dictates a delicate balance.

But when those relationships click, the bond grows much stronger. In this case, Ortiz and Shaffer, who has a cognitive disability, became what they treasure most -- friends.

Ortiz has coached girls and boys tennis and taught at Delavan-Darien High School for the last 18 years and has run the local parks and recreation program for 19. She also has run a tennis camp for high school students for 17 summers.

Friday, 04 September 2015 14:04

In Darien, time is ripe for Cornfest

WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- As summer days shorten, the cornfields around Walworth County start to lengthen. Row upon row of green sentinels silently stand watch, waiting to change color and welcome in fall. Anyone who is an avid corn on the cob fan can’t wait to roast one, two or more ears of the delectable treat featured at county fairs and backyard barbeques everywhere.

Folks in Walworth County know the real place to claim your own cob is at Darien Cornfest, set for Friday through Sunday, Sept. 11 through Sept. 13. The event has held a spot on the calendar for more than 50 years, somewhere between first frost and the second weekend in September.

WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- The sound of music fills the air and the ears of festivalgoers every September at the East Troy Bluegrass Festival. The 22nd annual festival kicks off Saturday, Sept. 12, and continues through the weekend, with more fiddles, banjos and guitars than you can strum, pick or slide a bow across.

East Troy is the perfect setting for such an event, said Vanessa Lenz, executive director of the East Troy Area Chamber of Commerce.

The 166th Walworth County Fair 2015

The Meat Animal Sale is held at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. The Sale of Champions follows at 3 p.m. in the Wiswell Center.



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