Why is it that the Lake Geneva Regional News, Lake Geneva’s ‘official’ newspaper is becoming subsidized by the city?
There is nothing unethical going on in Lake Geneva’s attempt to pay the Regional News to put on ‘fests.’ The Bacon Fest was a huge success. Now, the Regional News is back to get financial support, and other benefits, in putting on a Taco Fest. The city has every motivation to want to endorse and seek the support of the newspaper in any way it can. But, what about the independence of the Regional News? How does it remain able to cover uncomfortable or unpopular issues (occurring all the time at committee, commission, and council levels) with any objectivity whatever, if, when it goes back to the ‘well’ for more funding of its fest activities it might expect to be turned down because of something someone in the city leadership did not like?
There are no accusations intended here, but there are some especially important questions and issues to be discussed and worked out and through.
The Lake Geneva Tourism met Monday night and reviewed the application from the House of Music and the Lake Geneva News. Chris Buttleman, representing the House of Music, and Robert Ireland, representing the Regional News, filed the application and are the contact people for the Event. The event is the Taco Fest to be held September 10th, through the 12th, at the Lake Geneva House of Music; located at N3241 County Road H. The Lake Geneva House of Music already has all the necessary zoning for this kind of event, apparently, and has the setup needed, including an outdoor music stage. The plan is to host a three-day music and food festival. The House of Music owner has a lot of experience organizing events and lining up music for large affairs, while the Regional News (being a newspaper and most recently an event host with Bacon fest) will oversee marketing, promotions, securing vendors and sponsors. The festival is estimated to bring three to five thousand attendees, resulting in a hopeful five hundred overnight stays. The entire mission of the tourism commission is to put heads in beads, and this meets its criteria. The $10,000 grant money will be used for professional digital advertising targeting frequent travelers to the area. This event is a great idea for the City of Lake Geneva but NOT so good for the Lake Geneva Regional News.
Last Thursday the Police and Fire Commission met and had some great updates for Lake Geneva.
The police department is still looking into, and interested, in getting body cams for each officer. The federal government has finally come out with grants to help cover the cost of the cameras, but Lake Geneva did not qualify for the first round of grants. They are hoping to qualify for the next round because they are looking forward to utilizing them, especially now, as the downtown gets busier and crazier. The police department has also gotten complaints about the large speed bumps at the hill on Center Street. They were put in by the Town of Geneva, as that is their district. They were clocking too many speeders and getting too many complaints so, without having an officer stationed there all the time the speed bumps were the solution of choice. They will remain in place until October. and then be removed for the winter. If the speeding has declined the police will not put them back, but if it continues, they will be put the obnoxious bumps back in spring. The fire department’s new airboat had the radios put in last Thursday and is officially ready for action. The new airboat is so impressive (and very few communities have them) that it was highlighted in the airboat magazine. The old airboat has been retired and will be sold with the money going back into the equipment replacement fund.