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It doesn’t matter, sometimes, who or what does something really good. Praising rewards should always be handed out and published for such work. Such is the case with the Lake Geneva Regional News, Lake Geneva’s oldest newspaper. The managing editor there has stated that the newspaper will be publishing the weekly water quality report for Geneva Lake. That report is issued by the Geneva Lake Environmental Agency, an exceptionally diligent and hard-working environmental outfit.

Geneva Lake is very clear and pure and is one of the cleanest lakes in Wisconsin, but several times in the past decade the beaches around the lake should have been closed, or a warning posted about polluting substances being present. City officials in charge, particularly in Lake Geneva itself, did neither of those things. In 2011 there was a sewer break in Fontana and, although Fontana closed its beach, the City of Lake Geneva did not close its beach. Instead, it ignored the extremely high readings that maxed out on E. coli. The beach should have been closed, or the officials failing to do so should have risked serving possible jail time.

A complaint was filed against Dennis Jordan, the city administrator at the time, but nothing was done because the ordinance said the city administrator “should” close the beach and not “shall,” so the complaint was not prosecuted because he was not technically required to close the beach. The following year, with Mayor Jim Connors in office, the city council repealed the city ordinance and made violations and actions caused by them a “city issue” and not a “criminal issue”. The next year the beach again exceeded the specified E. coli count, but the procedure of posting or closure was again not followed.

The Lake Geneva Regional News, in its report, pointed out that there was a high reading last September. Was the attempt to cut the city’s funding to the Geneva Lake Environmental Agency in November of last year in response to the last high E. coli reading issued, or just a financial coincidence? Perhaps the Lake Geneva Regional News publishing the water quality (E. coli numbers), will force the city officials to do their jobs around the lake and to serve and protect the public, instead of avoiding full-blown responsibility for the health and safety of the public. Hopefully, along with the numbers, the Regional News will provide an interpretation of those results so the public can decide whether to risk children and other family members should there be a few bad days during the summer.

The Lake Geneva Regional News gets the thanks and praise of the Geneva Shore Report for doing something the GSR never thought of, and doing it in such a way that the entire complex of communities around the lake will all, no doubt, profit greatly.   Ted Peters, the wonderfully brilliant

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