The non-profit that now owns the Yerkes Observatory has been ridden hard, Spanish Spurs dug into its sides, and the results are coming in.
Oh, no plans for the place are yet being shared. The Observatory is still working under the ‘cone of silence’ from Get Smart, or maybe with instructions from the CIA, so the plan is secret, maybe Q Clearance, or does the use of that letter hit too close to the bone? What is happening is related to the work being done on the building. It’s closed over there on the grounds, with the gates closed. It’s unlikely the observatory will ever be open to the Geneva Shore Report, anyway. The observatory, like many of the small governmental bodies in and around Southern Wisconsin, much prefer to do just as much as they can to make decisions cloaked in secrecy.
What are they doing at the Yerkes? Will Yerkes be reopening anytime soon or is the future uncertain? Currently, there are a lot of ongoing projects and renovations being done. Allegedly the Yerkes Future Foundation is expecting to open the observatory for limited hours sometime by early fall. If there is still ongoing work throughout the observatory tours could be limited to certain areas limiting what can be safely shown to the public. Hopes are that the renovations will bring the observatory back to its former glory.
The biggest and most challenging project currently is the replacement of weathered or damaged brick around the building. There are 120 years worth of damage that needs to be recognized and dealt with properly. An additional parking lot will also be coming to the southeast side of the observatory along with a sidewalk that will have an ADA compliance ramp and entrance to the building. There are hopes to bring two of the ground floor bathrooms into ADA compliance although not a requirement to reopen. Inside work will also consist of staining the original wood floors of the office spaces which will be turned into working offices or specialized exhibits. Each room will have its own theme, purpose, and educational value. Some interior work has been completed including the installation of an all-new electrical system throughout the whole building and a fresh new coat of paint on the rotunda interior. In early June work on the observatory’s two reflective telescopes should begin.
The team of experts will come in to do a complete assessment, evaluation, and reestablishment of the telescopes. They have all worked on the telescopes before and will be refurbishing needed areas of the telescopes to make them operational. Time will tell if, and when the observatory will be open and what the future holds for Yerkes Observatory.
Lake Geneva is all about summer and the lake is a big part of the summer fun. The weather is currently warm, and it feels like summer is already here sometimes. The boaters are heading to the lake. Those that own boats do not spend most their time on the water, so that means refamiliarizing on the rules of the water and boating safety is important. Last weekend on the lake there was a painful reminder that boating safety should always be taken seriously. Late afternoon, on Saturday, Fontana Rescue responded to a call of a male victim with a severed leg. Before anyone heads out on a boat they need to make sure all is checked and ready.
Boating safety courses are highly recommended and, in some cases, can be life-saving. Safety classes are also a great way to freshen up on and learn the rules of the water. Propeller strikes can be prevented in most cases. Always make sure all passengers are accounted for before starting the engine, and wear emergency cutoff switches for the duration of the time in the boat. Also, when people are in the water have someone propeller watch and consider investing in propeller guards or sensors. Dress for the water temperature, not just the air temperature. If you can’t swim, take lessons and always have life jackets handy. If you are going to be on the water, make sure someone on land knows you are going out and have a cell phone available and charged. One of the biggest causes of boating accidents, and a large contributor to boating fatalities, is boating under the influence. Geneva Lake gets very busy during the summer and safety must be a top priority. Look out for each other and have fun! Don’t drink, however, if you are driving the boat.