Transparency in local government.
In the City of Lake Geneva, plans for the community’s future are often made well in advance, and then set into motion with little or no public awareness. That’s why the citizens have seemingly had to stop them at the last moment, because that was when they first found out, through offbeat sources like the Geneva Shore Report. The parking garage and the road through Big Foot State Park are two recent examples. This type of secretive planning does a disservice to the residents of Lake Geneva, not because what is planned is wrong, but because the public was not part of the decision-making, and that omission shows an arrogance toward, and a disregard for, the residents who will be funding the project. Major, serious, and costly decisions should always include resident input early in the decision-making process, not the ‘at the last minute’ inclusion where they are called upon to vote approval or fund the issue.
Today the Fire Department is quietly setting up an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system with little public awareness of a long term objective. The current objective appears to be the expansion of the Lake Geneva Fire Department into Emergency Medical Services (EMS) that will be staffed with Emergency Medical technicians (EMT). The intent is to move from EMT – basic personnel, to EMT intermediate personnel using EMT Paramedic personnel with Advanced Life Support (ALS) training. These people would be brought in to staff the system twenty-four hours a day seven days a week with three ambulances and at least two sets of EMT Paramedics on staff 24/7. That way if one ambulance goes out there is still another ambulance with another crew available for a second emergency. The long term goal appears to be adding EMS for the entire lake area. EMT training is good for both Police and Firemen.
However, without resident support the funding needed to build and to maintain a first rate EMT facility will not be available. The key to a good EMT facility is training, equipment and a rapid response time. Furthermore, to accomplish a quick response time it requires additional facilities around the coverage area. The whole EMS issue needs to have an open discussion of its funding. The city has limited financial resources, and funding a first rate EMS will require significantly more than the city currently collects. How many lives has the million-dollar bucket truck saved, and how many could one million dollars in EMS equipment, training and personnel save?
Today the City of Lake Geneva has an EMT system that is not adequate for all calls, and has resulted in periodic double billings with Paratech Ambulance Service, and possibly delayed some responses. A participant in a recent 911 situation related: “In response to a 911 call, a police officer who arrived first at the scene asked a few questions (apparently to assess the situation) and then gave the “OK” for the Lake Geneva Rescue vehicle to come.” Why was the police officer needed? A call for a medical emergency response seldom requires the on site assessment of a police officer since the EMT personnel can do that themselves, far more accurately and timely, than a police officer. Similar delays in emergency response have been reported, and the double billing has plagued Lake Geneva’s EMT service since its inception (note: Medicare only pays for one medical response vehicle).
The quality and response time of an EMS service can be the difference between saving a life or not saving a life. The city entering into a full EMT service needs to have the full commitment of the city management, residents and the local area, or the city should stay out of it. Since (and maybe because of) the possibility of the City of Lake Geneva’s entrance into the EMS market, the area has lost Medix Ambulance Service, which leaves Paratech Ambulance Service as the area’s only ambulance service with qualified paramedics. The public needs to send this whole mess back to a committee to hold hearings and submit homework.
Full Moon Over the Lake
The new Flat Iron Cemetery.
The marker was not enough. The marker the was erected, looking like a tombstone, next to the Bunk Pavilion in Flat Iron Park, listed all the people who supposedly paid for the ridiculous pavilion. Now comes the actual cemetery marker for the man who paid much of the money behind the thing. And Mr Brunk’s gravestone is not going into a regular cemetery. It was approved by this ‘out there in the stratosphere’ city council to go smack dab in the center of Flat Iron Park. It would be a humorous erection if it were not so pointedly idiotic.