Editorial Comment: Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding is biggest bully in Door County

The biggest bully in Door County is Bay Shipbuilding Company.

And the biggest welfare recipient in Door County is not a single mother supporting six kids on a minimum wage job and an underfunded food stamp program. Door County’s biggest welfare recipient is Bay Shipbuilding Company.

The big bully that gets millions of taxpayer dollars, preferential treatment from local government, immunity from local ordinances and a free pass on anything they want from the city council is cheap and chintzy with employees.

Worse are the disgusting bully tactics used to intimidate and silence employees who complain about safety violations. And now the biggest bully in the county is beating up on members of the Boilermakers union.

Union leaders have been suspended. Employees who complain about health risks and safety violations have shared the management threats and their fears of recrimination.

Bay Shipbuilding is threatening to farm out positions filled by local full-time employees. This appears to be union-busting at its best.

And a lap-dog city council has rolled over every time the foreign-owned multi-national corporation comes begging for street closures, height restriction exemptions and participation in the corporate welfare programs disguised as employment-securing grants.

With the millions of dollars of state and federal aid pumped into this foreign-owned multi-national corporation, why do city council members who roll over as lap dogs not demand that jobs be maintained in Sturgeon Bay rather than farmed out to sub-contractors with no commitment to Door County other than picking up a big check?

The federal, state and local officials who have given millions of tax dollars and concessions to a corporate bully have failed to do their due diligence.

Lap dog elected officials on all levels have been negligent. And so have local government leaders who overlook the conflicts of interest with Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding employees holding insider positions in local government. One can only wonder if these ethical lapses are overlooked locally because Bay Shipbuilding management contributes so much to the campaign coffers of local officials.

People are concerned about their kids being bullied at school. Another form of bullying takes place with every union vote at Bay Shipbuilding Company in Sturgeon Bay. The stories of intimidation, threats and serious concerns about health and safety remind anyone of the significant value union representation brings to those abused by corporate big shots and multi-national corporations.

As for me, I stand with these working men and women who have earned Door County and Sturgeon Bay a world-recognized reputation for high-quality craftsmanship.

The union-busting bully tactics taking place at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay are disgusting. This company has received more taxpayer dollars, more accurately called corporate welfare, than any other business in the county.


And today they are beating up people with threats of out-sourcing that should make every employee respect and appreciate the value of union representation. Just ask a member of the Boilermakers union or an electrician at Bay Shipbuilding how secure they believe their positions are today under management with a track record of OSHA and NLRB complaints and political campaign contributions.

Bay Shipbuilding management has refused to respond to media inquiries about contract negotiations. In the meantime, families worry and wonder about the security of their income, health insurance and retirement.

After all the state and federal tax dollars that have been pumped into this foreign-owned corporate welfare recipient, you’d think the Italian owners of Bay Shipbuilding Company would have a better social conscience than they demonstrate by bullying workers in Sturgeon Bay.

That’s my opinion. I’d like to hear yours.

Common council member encouraged by medical cannabis bill

A Sturgeon Bay Common Council member is encouraged to hear of bipartisan support for a bill to legalize marijuana for medical use.  The bill would allow people with diagnosed illnesses or disorders to legally obtain cannabis with a prescription from their doctor at state regulated dispensaries.  It would also require the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to set quality standards for growers, producers and sellers.  Sturgeon Bay Common Council member Seth Wiederanders, who supports legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use, calls the bill a good step for people who are hurting.




The bill is the first effort to legalize medical marijuana in Wisconsin since a similar bill failed in 2001. Since then, numerous communities have passed non-binding referendums in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.  

Reducing your risk of a lightning strike

A meteorologist says an indirect lightning strike that injured an electrical service employee in Kewaunee last week was a rare occurrence, although not uncommon.  In fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says so far this year 17 people nationwide have been killed by lightning strikes.  Scott Berschback, meteorologist at NOAA Weather Station in Green Bay, says people should know that even though they can't see lightning they're at risk of being struck by just being outside.  He says when you hear thunder it's time to take action.




Berschback says your odds of being struck by lightning are 1-in-700,000 chances.  While that's rare, the Wisconsin Lottery Office estimates those are greater odds than winning the Powerball jackpot with your chance of nearly 1-in-292,000,000. 

Packers Game Day Bus set to be busy this week

The Packers are in the middle of a four-day stretch that features two home games and, for the Kewaunee Area Chamber, that means big business. Many fans come from out of town to attend games, or just to tailgate. Lodging in Green Bay fills up quickly which means out-of-towners look east to Kewaunee County to spend the weekend. The relaxed small-town atmosphere is an attraction as well. Chamber Administrative Assistant Cassie Jelinik says people from across the country take advantage of the Game Day Bus.



The bus is round-trip transportation starting three hours before kickoff for twenty dollars per person. It makes stops in Algoma, Kewaunee, and Ellisville. The bus returns one hour after the game has finished. It departs Green Bay from the Moose Lodge.

Operation Warm underway in Kewaunee County

The Violence Intervention Project is spearheading Operation Warm in Kewaunee County again this year. The movement was begun in 1998 in Pennsylvania by Dick Sanford. The goal is to provide new or gently used coats and apparel for children and adults during the winter. Locally, there are two dates to know about. The coat drive runs through October 7th. You can drop off clothing at 22 locations across the county. Families registering for a coat must do so by October 18th. Danielle from VIP stresses the need to enroll prior to the distribution date.


Operation Warm also provides the ability to purchase new coats through its website. Last year over 100 coats were handed out in Kewaunee County alone. 



Volley Tots enrollment surges in Kewaunee

Kewaunee's Volley Tots program is experiencing a boost in attendance. Last year, 32 girls were enrolled. The 2019 class was over 50 by the middle of last week, before any same-day registrations occurred at the first session on Saturday. Volley Tots is a five-week program that teaches fundamentals of the game to first through sixth graders in Kewaunee. Organizer Greta Bloniarz says it is important to keep young girls interested in the game at an age where playing opportunities can be hard to come by.


Volley Tots is a feeder program for junior volleyball and eventually high school teams in the county. The increased enrollment should produce a trickle-down effect for years to come.


Harvest Fest a boon for local businesses

Third Avenue shut down on Saturday for vendors, classic cars, and chalk art drawing throngs of people to Sturgeon Bay. For Sonny's Italian Kitchen, that meant setting up a temporary booth on the other side of the canal from its permanent location to take advantage. The Brick Lot Pub and Grill is located at Third and Jefferson, adjacent to where John Soukup was etching a chalk mural. The professional artist from Cedar Rapids, Iowa added something new to the Brick Lot experience. Owner Wendi Carter says Harvest Fest is a great help to her business.


Fall weekends normally present high traffic for the Brick Lot. Carter says the extra touches of Harvest Fest help turn it into one of the biggest days of the season.


Algoma addresses storm water flooding

The City of Algoma is going green when it comes to controlling storm water and snow runoff while also protecting Crescent Beach.  The city will  put a plan for a bioswale, or flood water retention pond, out for bids in January.  Bioswales and rain gardens are being looked at by communities to ease the runoff loads on storm sewers.  Matt Murphy, Algoma Public Works Director, says the bioswale project is the first of its kind for the city, which is looking for ways to divert runoff from going directly into Lake Michigan.



The City of Green Bay is looking at expanded use of bioswales and rain gardens to reduce flooding that has occurred with repeated torrential rain falls and changing climate conditions.

Sevastopol school paper to address community issues

The Sevastopol Elementary School newspaper made a successful return last school year and will be focusing on issues beyond the classrooms.  The Pioneer Press returned after an absence of several years and was enthusiastically embraced by staff, students and parents.  The paper plans to put out four issues this year instead of three.  Students will be covering the renovations and building replacements approved by voters.  Newspaper advisor Brooke Tanck says this years focus will also be on bringing current community issues into focus for younger readers.




The bulk of this year's Pioneer Press writers will come from the fifth grade, although students from all grades will have input on story ideas.

UPDATE: Highway 42 reopened north of Carlsville

UPDATE: The Door County Sheriff's Department has advised that 42 has been reopened as of 11:45 AM.


Highway 42 was closed Sunday morning north of Carlsville because of a multi-vehicle accident. More updates to come as information becomes available. 


Scene of the accident

Milk centerpiece of new beverage guidelines

Milk's primary role in the new guidelines for millions of American children means a great economic opportunity for Door Peninsula dairy farmers. The new Healthy Drinks, Healthy Kids guidelines say that water and milk should be the primary beverages for young kids. UW-Extension Kewaunee Nutrition Educator Kaila Stencil says the key is avoiding added sugars. Consumers are about to get help with that.


Because so much of the dietary intake for toddlers and infants is liquid based, what beverages are consumed affects health as much as what is eaten. Previous guidelines from the USDA suggested limiting juice and sugary drinks but that is a far cry from the new advice to stick to small servings or to thin it out using water.



Rare "birdcage" lighthouse in Door County

The Fall Door County Lighthouse Festival is a great chance to see one of the last birdcage lighthouses in the United States. For a variety of reasons, namely the quality of construction, most lighthouses from before 1850 have collapsed or been torn down. In the early part of the next decade, American lighthouses switched from using Winslow Lewis lamps and the birdcage design to the more modern housing for a fresnel lens. In that transition period, some lighthouses were built in the older style. Only a handful exist in the US today according to enthusiast and filmmaker Jake Heffernan.


The Old Bailey Harbor Lighthouse last had a functioning lamp in 1869 but the structure is still there. It was replaced by the Range Lights on the property of the Ridges Sanctuary.


Debate exists over cutting back perennials

Gardening experts split over the proper time to cut back perennials. The traditional view is to do so in the fall and there are benefits to that course of action. If the plant is suffering from disease then an autumn trim followed by a long, dormant winter can help the plant come back healthy next year. On the flip side, leaving perennials untrimmed gives birds access to a meal in winter according to Master Gardener Carrie Sherrill.



Sherrill says that she goes about half and half each year as far as the number of perennials she trims back in the fall. She says she will always keep the occasional stalk to ensure what she calls "winter interest." For gardeners, just having something poking out above the snow is better than nothing at all. If plants are not cut back in autumn, they can be pruned back through late April when new growth is just beginning to sprout.

Chalk the Bay adds color downtown

Coinciding with Harvest Fest, Chalk the Bay brightened up downtown Sturgeon Bay Saturday. Professionals and community members took part with the Door County Public Library organizing the showcase. John Soukup arrived in town last night, his first ever trip to the Door Peninsula. He is based out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Soukup used nearly 60 sticks of chalk to etch a mural of a young girl in nature. Soukup has a background in graphic design and says at times that chalk can be a difficult medium to work with.


Soukup does chalk art at roughly a dozen festivals each year. He stressed how impressed he was by the overall event as it filled Third Avenue with art, vendors, and classic cars for several blocks.


Photorealistic chalk drawing being worked on


Public defender pay raise eases backlog

Wisconsin's 2019-2021 budget won't provide Door and Kewaunee counties with additional assistant district attorneys.  Increased compensation for public defenders, however, is expected to help process cases faster.  Currently, court appointed attorneys receive $40-an-hour.  Door County District Attorney Colleen Nordin says increased compensation will help some defendants finally get their day in court.




Nordin says her office could use a half-time assistant district attorney, which was not included with the recent state budget.  She adds she and Assistant DA Nicholas Grode have been able to keep up with current case loads.  The increased compensation for court-appointed attorneys will make their jobs even easier.

Classic car show has everything

Diane Seiler was in Sturgeon Bay for Harvest Fest Saturday showing off her 1984 Mercury Cougar Tiffany. Seiler's car may have a Detroit name but it couldn't be further from Motown metal. The car was custom built in Miami to be shipped to European celebrities to replace their Rolls Royce. Seiler wasn't in costume this year but she has been known to honor the car's cinematic heritage.


The car show was put on by the Old Bolts Car Club based in Sturgeon Bay. The classic car show drew hundreds of entrants to Third Avenue. The cars were parked on both sides of the road stretching for blocks east of Michigan Street. 


Mercury Cougar Tiffany


Dedication at Algoma's Christmas Tree Ship Park

Christmas has come early to a park near the Algoma marina. There was a dedication Thursday at Christmas Ship Tree Park, named for the booming commodity trade in the 1800's. Algoma Parks and Rec Director Sara Robertson talks about all of the groups who made the park possible.


The park provides a great view of the iconic Algoma Pierhead Lighthouse. Over 50 ships dedicated solely to carrying Christmas trees to Milwaukee and Chicago passed by the point over the years. A well-known captain of one of the Christmas tree ships was born in the city of Algoma as well. The renovations honor that heritage.


Outdoor pickleball courts in Sister Bay

Pickleball is now an option at the Sister Bay Sports Complex. Lines were added to the existing tennis courts. The two Sister Bay tennis courts play host to four pickleball courts, one on either side of the center net. The Advancement Association made purchases as well including specialized pickleball nets. The nets are housed in a storage unit at the court and there are two options for those wishing to engage in a pickleball match according to enthusiast Stephan Reynolds.


The fee is $10 for the reservation. Pickleball is a social game with 15 or 20 participants regularly cycling through on a court so the outlay is nominal. The sport is booming in popularity with the Door County Pickleball Club being formed to advance participation in outdoor games during the summer months.


St. Joseph's Church begins restoration work

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Sturgeon Bay is undergoing a huge restoration project this fall.  The century-old building is under both the National and Wisconsin Historic Registry.  The project, which is currently in phase four of the restoration timeline, began masonry repairs two weeks ago and will also include repairing the huge Rose stain glass window in the choir loft.  Dianne Coopman, a finance council and ad hoc restoration committee member, says this is by far the largest restoration project on the church in recent history.



Coopman says the mason and window restoration work will cost an estimated $230,000.  She adds that the fundraising efforts conducted in the last few months successfully exceeded that amount allowing a cushion in case of cost overruns.  The complete project is expected to be completed by the end of November.  


Sevastopol schools honors Bellin Health for support

By continuing to provide counseling support and staff development for unmet mental health needs in the Sevastopol School District, Bellin Health was recognized for its efforts last school year.  Bellin Health was recently honored as part of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards 2019 Business Honor Roll program.   Marilou Counard, director of Business Development & Ambulatory Clinical Services at the Bellin Psychiatric Center, says Bellin has a strong relationship with the school district and the STRIDE community program.  She hopes the program can build off of last year’s success.



Counard says a mental health therapist visits the Sevastopol schools one day a week and works with students who are in need of services that are not available in traditional outpatient settings.  


Historic Goodrich Ship featured at Gibraltar Talk

The Gibraltar Historical Association will share the stories of a bye-gone era of steamships in Door County at the end of the month.  The final Gibraltar Talk of 2019 is Monday, September 30 and will be a presentation on the Goodrich ships that transported people from Chicago and Milwaukee to Door County.  Jim Baye, a Great Lakes diver and historian, will share his collection of stories connected with items from the Goodrich ships.  Gibraltar Historical Association Director Laurie Buske says Baye has a fondness for the Goodrich ships and its history that will be shared a week from Monday.



The Gibraltar Talk on the Goodrich Steamship will be held at the Gibraltar Old Town Hall on Maple Street in Fish Creek.  The event is free to the public with refreshments served.



(photo submitted)


Press Release :


Gibraltar Historical Association announces our Final Gibraltar Talk of 2019.
                                                         September 30thth    Goodrich Ships

Curiosity and love for a bye gone era, is the reason for a presentation on the Goodrich Steamship and a display of a notable Goodrich ship collection.  Founded in 1856 as a Chicago-Milwaukee transportation service and eventually delivering summer guests to beautiful Door County. Jim Baye Great Lakes Diver/Historian will share his fascination with Goodrich ships, his collection and stories connected to these items. 
 Throughout the summer the Green Bay waters were part of the trip by the Georgia and Carolina, departing from Chicago to Mackinac Island, with each boat completing a round trip in a week. One arrived in the middle of the week the other came at week’s end.  Often the steamship’s whistle could be heard in the neighboring town of Ephraim.  

Fish Creek’s story would not be complete, without a glimpse into the early 1900’s and the arrival of the Great Lake steamers. Various ships plied the waters of Green Bay and delivered tourists to their summer retreat where the air was fresh and cool.  The Carolina was but one of these ships and its arrival in early summer was always reason for great excitement. Merchants readied their storefronts with fresh coats of paint and filled their shelves with supplies. The last curtain was pressed and hung, welcoming guests to the summer resorts.  Women and children of the town joined the menfolk at the dock to greet the ship.  Wagons and buggies lined the waterfront waiting to take guests to their respective hotels.  Another summer had begun. The streets of Fish Creek bustled with activity. The Goodrich Ship era running from 1856- 1933 most likely was one of the reasons Fish Creek became the quaint village it is today.

Gibraltar Historical invites you to learn more about the Goodrich Ship line, share Goodrich Ship memories or bring items you have collected. GHA will have the book, Red Stacks over the Horizon by James L. Elliott available for purchase. Come down to Gibraltar’s Old Town Hall, 4167 Maple Street, on Thursday, September 30th, at 7:00 p.m. in beautiful Fish Creek. 
The event is free and all are welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served.



We also invite you to come and visit the Alexander Noble House Museum featuring Victorian Wedding customs and gowns. 

Tuesdays-Sundays, 10-3:00 with a small admission of $5.00.

Ferry build progressing

In the eyes of Door County residents at least, the “coolest thing made in Wisconsin” is beginning to take shape in Sturgeon Bay. Work on the Washington Island Ferry’s newest vessel named the Madonna began in August at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding. When it is complete, Madonna will be 124 feet long with a capacity of 28 vehicles and 150 passengers, making it the largest in the Washington Island Ferry fleet. The ferry will also give the company extra flexibility in the winter because of its ice-breaking abilities. Washington Island Ferry President Hoyt Purinton says with every one of his regular updates on the project, he is happy Madonna is being made in Door County.

While the ferry line expects its newest vessel to be delivered in May 2020, you only have until Sunday to make sure Madonna beats pickles made in Bear Creek as the “Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin.”

Southern Door celebrates Homecoming 2019

Southern Door High school has been celebrating this past week with their 2019 Homecoming. The week has been filled with dress-up days and decorating every inch of the high school walls, halls, lockers, and the gymnasium. From prep day on Monday, squad day, generation day, tv show theme, and finally class shirts on Friday, students are coloring the hallways in school spirit. 

Monday, students gathered late after school at their football field for their annual powderpuff game. It ended in a tie between Juniors and Seniors. 

The Senior class of 2020 won the Spirit Jug last year, Southern Door’s Homecoming glorious prize, and show their hopes in winning it again. 

The homecoming game Friday night evokes a large student support section that carries loud cheers. SD football athletes go head to head with Oconto. 

SD Homecoming concludes with the annual High School dance Saturday night. 




Photo above is Seniors of 2020 Powderpuff Team
Monday game
Photo courtesy of Southern Door Parent





Seniors hand painting posters
Hallway posters
Photo: Delilah Rose


Mrs Delwiche
Feelings on Homecoming




SDHS Gym Teacher
Mrs Virgin
Feelings on Homecoming






SDHS Senior
Mixed Feelings on Homecoming




SDHS Junior
French Foreign Exchange Student
(Audio in French) “Homecoming is new for me. I’m excited!”




SDHS Sophomore
Dislikes about Homecoming



Mental health just as important for farmers

National Farm Safety and Health Week in Door and Kewaunee Counties is focusing just as much on the mental side of things as much as the physical. The annual campaign, which coincides with the fall harvest season, focuses on safety around tractors, confined spaces, and other agricultural aspects. Recently, more emphasis has been placed on farmers’ mental health as the suicide rates have started to climb. Kewaunee County UW-Extension Agriculture Agent Aerica Bjurstrom says as important as it is to take care of your fields and your animals, it is even more imperative to watch over yourself during this stressful time.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agricultural sector is the most dangerous in the country with 581 deaths in 2017. National Farm Safety and Health Week runs through Saturday.

Lightning strikes man in Kewaunee Thursday

Just after nine o'clock Thursday morning, a 30-year-old man was indirectly struck by lightning in Kewaunee. He was on the job as an employee of MJ Electric from Michigan. The worker was holding an uncharged power line when lightning struck the conduit. Kewaunee Police and Kewaunee Rescue responded. Assistant Chief James Kleiman Jr. was one of the officers on the scene.


Lightning strikes are rare and are treated similarly to exposure to an electrical shock. Kewaunee Rescue transported the man to Aurora Hospital for additional care. His status is currently unknown.


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