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Geneva Lake West Lake Geneva REGIONAL NEWS

Thursday, August 29, 2013 Serving Walworth, Fontana, Williams Bay and Walworth County


Playground construction under way

Lifeguards rescue 26 from water

Bourneuf back on board

Water Safety Patrol breaks record for water pullouts

By Jade Bolack FONTANA — After months of fundraising, the Fontana Elementary School will feature a new playground for its middle school students. Starting in the spring, the Parent Teacher Organization sold bricks for a walk of fame. Money raised from the bricks covered the costs of the playground equipment. District Administrator Sara Norton said she’s really excited about the new equipment. “It’s a really cool plan,” she said. “I think we’re planning an opening for the first day of school.” Installation of the equipment began Aug. 26, and Norton said the volunteer crew ran into some problems at the site, just north of the school building. “We’ve got some major concerns that need addressing,” she said. “We think the area has been tiled. We found that out when we tried to dig a hole and hit water through rock.” Norton said the rock is larger than gravel size and spread throughout the area evenly. Joe McHugh, school board president, and Chadd Hartwig, school board treasurer, both have experience


SPONSORS for the Fontana Elementary School playground purchased engraved bricks that will be placed along the sidewalk at the school. Along with alumni memorial bricks, many donors had bricks engraved with quotes for students to read while waiting outside.

By Chris Schultz

Board member appointment With the resignation of school board president Jennifer Keefe earlier this month, the board accepted applications to fill the seat until the April election. Leo Bourneuf, a former school board member, was approved unanimously by the board. McHugh was selected by the board to fill the president seat, and Rebecca Decker was selected to become vice president. Bourneuf was not at the Aug. 26 school board meeting. He left the board in the spring of 2012, after serving for one term, according to Regional News Bourneuf records.

This is a record year for rescues by the Geneva Lake Water Safety Patrol, according to Ted Pankau, the patrol’s director. Although a cool late May and June made for a slow start to the swimming season, a July heat wave brought huge crowds to the 12 public and private beaches patrolled by Water Safety Patrol lifeguards. This year, so far, patrol lifeguards have pulled 26 people from the water who were experiencing difficulties while swimming, Pankau said. A cool stretch since the start of August slowed things down at the beaches for a while. However, a renewed stretch of warm weather brought the beaches back to life. This past weekend, the patrol surpassed last year’s record of 25 pullouts, Pankau said. Pankau The good news is, as of Monday, there have been no fatal accidents on the lake. The last fatality occurred in 2011, Pankau said. Of particular concern this year is warning boaters to not jump of their boats to go swimming unless several precautions are taken. Pankau said there were several near-drownings this summer involving people who, while boating alone, decide to jump off their boat to go swimming. The wind pushes the boat away from the swimmer, and the swimmer then can’t get back into the boat. It’s not illegal to jump off your own boat into the lake, Pankau said. But an ordinance adopted by all communities on Geneva Lake require at least one experienced boater remain onboard when others are in the water, Pankau said. And, it might be a good idea to wear a personal flotation device when going overboard for a dip, he added. This year, state water safety rules now require paddle boards to have a personal flotation device on board.




CONSTRUCTION BEGAN Aug. 26 on the middle school playground at Fontana Elementary School. Before this equipment was installed, students had a few benches and broken basketball hoops to use during recess. with professional engineering and plumbing. Norton asked if they could assist with the site. “I think we need your eyes and brains,” she said. “It would be wonderful to have someone who understands all of that.” Bricks have already been placed in front of the school, next to the main entrance.

Professor finishing Shore Path study Survey seeks information on visitors, residents use of path person interview with Van Auken to further discuss the path. “I’ve talked to a few people so far,” he said. “The people The Lake Shore Path may seem like old news to most I’ve talked to all have different experiences using the path. in the Geneva Lake area, but academics from Oshkosh are I hope to interview more people before I (finish).” Rick Steinberg, owner of Lake Geneva Art Supplies, studying its use. Paul Van Auken, professor of sociology at the Univer- spoke with Van Auken about the path. “I got the postcard about the survey in the mail,” Steinsity of Wisconsin Oshkosh, sent postcards to residents in berg said. “I don’t use it every day, but I use it a lot. I walk communities surrounding the lake earlier this summer. in the mornings, I usually head out for 10 or 20 minutes The study was paid for using a UW Oshkosh faculty and then turn around.” development grant. Steinberg said he’s interested in what He said he has received a large number “The respondents over- Van Auken gathers from the study. of responses. whelmingly look at the “It’s neat to look at the way people use “The respondents overwhelmingly look at the path as a major asset to the commu- path as a major asset to the path,” Steinberg said. Though he uses the path frequently, nity,” Van Auken said. “The postcard was the community,” Steinberg hasn’t walked the entire cirsent to a randomly selected list of addresses. As long as I can get to the minimum number UW Oshkosh professor cumference of the lake. Paul Van Auken said. “People are so friendly on the path,” of respondents, then I can say the response Steinberg said. “I’ve had tourists stop out is a representative group.” there, and we just talk. It’s just a friendly atmosphere.” The survey, still available online at Auken said he’s not worried about path lovers path, asks respondents questions about their use of the skewing his study results. path and their feelings toward it. “Anytime you do something like this, you get what they Van Auken said he’s missing one group of path users. “I’m hoping that I get more of the Chicagoland folks to call self-selection bias,” he said. “You get people that are interested in it. It’s hard to convince people that aren’t fill out the survey,” he said. “I have a strong suspicion that interested in it to do (the survey). It’s just a fact of doing there are quite a few of them in the Lake Geneva area.” this sort of thing. You take it into account the best you He said he’s gotten responses from other Lake Geneva can.” As classes resume at the university after Labor Day, transplants from Florida and California. Van Auken said the study may not be his main focus. At the end of the survey, respondents can set up an inBy Jade Bolack


THE LAKE SHORE PATH was the focus of a recent study by University of Wisconsin Oshkosh professor Paul Van Auken.

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