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In a showdown between man and ice, the physics of ice formation always wins. Most people don’t know that much about the formation of ice. Fresh water freezes at thirty-two degrees, for example, but not if the water is moving. Water freezes into ice because the molecules of water slow down as they get colder, until they finally stick together. We call that sticking together freezing. However, if the water contains salt it must be much colder than thirty-two degrees before it can freeze. Seawater, for example, must get down to about twenty-eight degrees to freeze. The more salt in the solution, the lower the temperature must be. That’s why we put salt on our driveways and sidewalks. Once the temperature gets below zero, then water with salt in it becomes what is called eutectic. This is a mixture of salt crystals and needle shards of ice with air in between. This mix can freeze too, if the temperature goes down even lower.

How much ice is on the surface of a fresh water lake is only measurable by going out and taking a core sample. Predicting how thick the ice is out there on the lake is best left to the experts, because it is cold air that circulates over the water that freezes it, and how cold the air is in any given pocket moving across a lake is basically impossible to predict. Another person went onto Delavan Lake on New Year’s Day, not long after the gentleman who died a week earlier in Lake Como. Fortunately, the Delavan Lake person did not die, and neither did the two figure skaters who were skating away on two inches of ice on the top of the BigFoot beach pond. But they should not have been out there, and neither should the ice fishermen on Lake Delavan. It’s too early and still too unpredictable to gamble your life on. The Delavan Police and Fire Departments, and Lake Geneva Fire Department all performed flawlessly, but you don’t want them to have to come for you under such deadly conditions.

Thin Ice


What happened to the new nail salon that was going to open where Plum Crazy used to be?
Ken (absolutely not on my watch) Robers, the city building inspector read the riot act to the potential new lease holder of that space. Under Wisconsin’s new ethereal toxic fumes laws a nail salon must now have a twenty-thousand-dollar exhaust system to open anywhere in the state. The fumes from chemicals used in salons are extremely toxic, according to the state. Of course, given that there are already a ton of nail salons all over the state, all the existing shops are considered exempt and ‘grand-fathered’ in. So, you can go to any of those existing shops and inhale all the toxic chemicals you might want to consume. But the new shop will not be going in. The woman who was going to lease the space to open a new salon could not figure out how she could ever recover her start-up costs if she opened under the new regulations. Ken (complain here) Robers is on vacation for the next two weeks, so he was unavailable for comments, questions or complaints. Hopefully he went somewhere colder than Wisconsin to get into a proper mood for the year ahead, after he returns.

Around Our Place

Dave Shultz Lake Geneva

Dave Schultz, better known as “Longboat Dave,” joined in on the Polar Plunge. Dave started the New Year like never before last Sunday. Longboat Dave is an avid kayaker and is a member of the Lake Geneva Dip Stick Paddle Board Club. Dave is a long board not a dip stick, even after the plunge.


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