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CIVIL DISCOURSE - An Occasional Attempt To Restore Civility to Our Civic Discourse

Our sympathy to Door County artist “Doc” Ranley whose gallery in downtown Sturgeon Bay was destroyed by fire early this morning. Works representing thousands of hours, international travel and military service were lost. The Maritime Gallery was a vibrant testimony to Doc Ranley’s service to his country and his love of maritime history. There must be an empty place in his heart as he reflects on the loss.

Our sympathy also goes out to Bill Lemke and Mary Wauters who operated the adjoining Steel Bridge Café. Their loss is not as personal as Doc Ranley’s yet it must be painful to see several years of hard work destroyed in one fast fire. We hope both will rebuild. I’ll miss Bill’s great pancakes and Mary’s soups and deserts…but I hope not for long. Nicolet Broadcasting has a long-standing policy of donating free advertising to anyone victimized by a fire to announce their re-opening. Hopefully, you’ll be hearing those ads for Doc Ranley’s Maritime Gallery and Steel Bridge Café very soon.

If you visit our studios in Sturgeon Bay I will proudly share with you examples of Doc Ranley’s art. Paintings of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and The Dom in Cologne as well as architecture from Florence, Italy adorn our offices here at the radio stations.

It is disappointing to see the City of Sturgeon Bay move meetings to daytime hours rather than evenings as has been the long-standing practice. Mayor Thad Birmingham cited schedule conflicts with council members as the reason for the two-month experiment. He said the move to daytime meetings might be permanent if all goes well. Daytime meetings keep a significant number of people from considering a run for public office. Daytime jobs keep many men and women who have an interest in public office from being able to run. That means governmental bodies with daytime meetings are often populated by people who are retired or own their own businesses. Daytime meetings keep many good people from getting involved in making their government better. That means less competition for those now serving.

The Sturgeon Bay City Council could use a few good women. Not a single woman serves on the council.

Driving past the Rotary Pavilion at Sawyer Park in Sturgeon Bay makes me appreciate what the Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournaments has meant to this community over the past 24 years. Fishing Guide Gary Nault and his wife, Cheryl, must be very proud that their idea of an open bass tournament has been so successful. Current Open Bass Tournament President Ken Ellis says the economic impact totals approximately $7.7 million.

That’s a significant accomplishment for a community earning an international reputation for great fishing. Tournament organizers have cooperated with Sturgeon Bay Rotary Club members in creating a pavilion used by and appreciated by our community. Thanks to everyone for the vision and hard work that makes the Open Bass Tournament a thriving success and the Rotary Pavilion a community treasure.
Based on a recent letter to the editor from Ken Ellis it appears there might be a need for a little more respect and cooperation. Hopefully those in City Hall appreciate the bass tournament as much as the business community which brings in an average of $320,000 a year, according to Ellis.

One of the under-appreciated gems in the Sturgeon Bay industrial park is Hatco Corporation. Recently recognized as Door County’s Industry of the Year, this quiet company has a lot to brag about. Hatco is proud of 340 local employees who set industry standards for lean production and implementation of new technologies. Since 2007 Hatco has been a l00% employee-owned company. Hatco has made a significant investment in employee health. The company built an on-site clinic and staffs it with a nurse practitioner and physical therapist.

Other good news in the Sturgeon Bay industrial park is the hiring at NEW Industries. We’re happy to help with their recruitment efforts. We salute companies like Hatco and NEW Industries that create jobs for hundreds here in Door County.

That’s my opinion. I look forward to yours.

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