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No sooner does Jim Weiss win re-election to the position of President of the Town of Linn Board, then he becomes the main player in the resolution of

Jim Weiss

Jim Weiss, Chairman Town of Linn and Village Administrator Village of Williams Bay

the Starry Stonewort problem. The problem of what to do about the initial appearance of this potentially invasive species in Geneva Lake’s pristine pure water, and all else that goes with that, has been partially solved. A man named Dick Malmin (a Lake Geneva activist) and a man named Ted Peters (head of the Geneva Lake Environmental Association) alerted everyone around the lake when it was discovered that the invasive species had been found inside the small inlet and lagoon Trinke Estates owns and operates during the summer months. Trinke Estate property owners have boat slips on that lagoon as a part of their rights and value.

The solution to the initial discovery of the fast-spreading plant was to have the lagoon dredged in a special way that would draw the muck, with the invasive species, up through big hoses and then that slurry would be pumped into special bio bags made for that purpose. The problem that arose during this last winter was that nobody would volunteer to have the slurry bags on their property. These bags are big (six feet tall and twenty to thirty feet long) and during dry months they dehydrate the slurry, partially by draining the water out slowly and then piping the filtered stuff back into the lake. Jim put all the forces together when Trinke, the Country Club, and every other person in the area with private property said no to having the bags on their land.

Dr Barry Machado

Dr. Barry Machado, emeritus professor, Washing and Lee University

Jim, with the help of Jim Palmer, Town of Linn board member (and a great one) discovered that the land just east of the Barry Machado residence was actually not privately owned. The Town of Linn owns an old road right of way adjacent to Dr. Machado’s plot. Doctor Machado, when informed that the town might have to put the bags nearby said: “somebody’s got to take the hit, and I’m fine with that.” Dr. Machado is one class act of a man and the entire area is lucky to have this professor emeritus of history (Washington and Lee University) living and owning property in their midst.

This solution to finding the location for the bags, contracting the experts to pump out the slurry and then drying and draining it over the next few seasons, does not end the Starry Stonewort problem. Geneva Lake remains at risk. Boats coming in, having been sailing on waters already infested in other lakes (there are over twenty in Wisconsin alone), can spread the infestation from the species sticking to the hulls of their boats. Some sort of central facility must be envisioned and funded, where any boats coming to the lake must go to be inspected before traveling to any of the five public launching docks. All private launching docks must also be outlawed because there would be no way to control the launching of infested boats or even the discovery of them.

Sometimes, things work right in small rural communities, when finance, intellect, and goodwill can be brought together. Chuck Coleson is all in. The DNR is all in. The City of Lake Geneva leadership and that of Williams Bay is also all in on this project. Geneva Lake is the jewel in the setting formed by the Lake Geneva communities and it is wonderful to have them working together to make the water safe, beautiful and available to one and all for entertainment, sport and just plain good fun.

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