Little Gems

Parking truck and car issues continue to plague the alleys of Lake Geneva.
Part of the problem is violations of parking codes, and the other is from new technology. Technically, by Lake Geneva City Ordinance, cars must have their ignitions locked and the engine off whenever left unattended. Police officers that find a car running, but unattended, are required to shut the car off, confiscate the keys and then hold them at the city police facility until they are picked up. In truth, however, most key fobs with charged batteries can function from almost a full football field away (300 feet). And the new cars are like almost totally silent when the engine’s running. People get out of the car and walk away, leaving the engine still running. They don’t know, that the engine won’t shut off until, or if, they reach 300 feet away. And no, not everyone locks their car anymore, either. Trucks and cars parked in the alleys of Lake Geneva are required to be loading or unloading to be parked there. They get only 30 minutes to do that work. Many cars and trucks simply violate this ordinance. Interpreting the ordinance is also difficult because of the inclusion inside the ordinance of trucks measuring over 23 feet (as in; semi-trailers). And then there are the rules for loading and unloading on the other streets. Whew. Some clarity needs to be re-worked into these parking ordinances.


Geneva Lake is frozen in many locations and has a dangerously thin layer of ice covering its surface.
No one is one-hundred percent safe when out on the ice, as it can break through without a moment’s warning.  In spite of the dangers, the frozen lake still beckons many anglers, snowmobilers, ice sail-boaters, ice skaters, and more. You may have seen a demonstration at the Lake Geneva municipal pier by several area law enforcement and emergency response teams. They had their extremely loud airboat (a flat-bottomed boat with the giant propeller in a cage at the boat’s back) on the partially frozen Geneva Lake, conducting annual ice diving and airboat training this past week.  Rescuers are hoping there will be no need for water or lake rescues this season, but want to be prepared for any and all contingencies. Emergency response teams must be qualified and trained to perform the tasks they may have to undertake. Airboats can travel from open water to ice and back again, and are part boat and part plane.  This unique vessel can be dangerous and difficult to operate if the drivers are not properly trained. It appears, when watching this training, that the operators are just out-there spinning donuts and having fun. In reality, however, operators may have to spin a donut in an effort to stop the skidding because, unlike automobiles, airboats do not have brakes, and will slide and skid for a long way before coming to a complete stop. The current training goes on all winter because the airboat is the most effective tool for getting a rescuer out to somebody who’s broken through the ice and that is what makes these boat ideal for rescue work.

Ice Rescue Training


Ice Rink in Flat Iron Park.
The ice-skating rink was finally filled with water right before the holiday weekend. Thursday, December 18th the Lake Geneva Fire Department volunteered its time and came out to Flat Iron Park to help out the Nice Rink crew and fill the ready to go lined ice-skating rink form. Now the wait for mother nature to cooperate and supply enough cold nights in a row to thoroughly freeze the water begins. The plan was for the water to freeze over the Christmas holiday, and then open the rink to skaters before the New Year.  It’s not looking good right now.


The Ice Castle.
The Ice Castle is another victim of mother nature in Lake Geneva this winter. The opening of the ice rink in Flat Iron Park, and the Ice Castle at the Riviera beach have both been severely delayed due to mother nature turning the temperatures up this winter. This last week has been the first series of consistently cold night temperatures. For any freezing to be meaningful let’s hope this continues, and Lake Geneva can have the frozen winter wonderland that so many have been planning and hoping for.


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