Conservation Congress member wants higher gaming fees

A Sturgeon Bay member of Conservation Congress thinks it's about time to raise hunting and fishing license fees. The prices of the fees have not changed since 2005. The Wisconsin DNR gets 80% of its funding from hunting and fishing license revenue. In 2016, DNR administration reported a $4 million shortfall. Dick Baudhuin, a member of Conservation Congress from Sturgeon Bay, says the DNR can't just raise fees on its own. That has to be passed legislatively and Baudhuin says politics have gotten in the way of the state legislature in passing higher license fees. 



The Wisconsin Conservation Congress advises the DNR on how to responsibly manage natural resources.


Short on teachers at Southern Door

Educators in Door County are seeing their pay stagnate more than other industries and that could be causing a teacher shortage. As the job market gets better in Wisconsin and all over the country, the teaching industry is taking a hit. Teachers are quitting in record high numbers according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. Joyce Turba is a representative of Southern Door United Educators, the teachers’ union at Southern Door School District. Turba says there was a higher than normal turnover rate among teachers from last school year to this. She didn’t want to attribute that to the job market since there were some teachers who were retiring anyway. Turba says there is a shortage of teachers at Southern Door and it may be because people with college degrees can make more elsewhere in the job market.



So while teaching was considered a safe place to work with high unemployment rates, the pay may not be good enough to keep many college-educated people in the teaching world. Turba has been teaching at Southern Door for 32 years as a special education instructor.


Knights of Columbus holding Free Throw Championship

Door County boys and girls will have an opportunity to show off their poise at the line at the 2019 Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship. The competition will be held on January 25th and has no entry fee, with the only requirement being that the entrant is anywhere between the ages of 9 to 14 as of the new year. Jeff Bruemmer, a local member of the Knights of Columbus, said the competition will start with the younger kids and then go from there.



Registration will start at 5:30 p.m. at the St. John Bosco/Corpus Christi Gym in Sturgeon Bay. The official start of the contest is set for 6 p.m. The competition in Sturgeon Bay is just one of many held around the world. Last year, 120,000 participants competed in 3,600 competitions. Those with questions may contact Bruemmer or another member of the Knights of Columbus.


Southern Door looking at adding more dual-credit classes

The Southern Door Board of Education will look at adding several dual-credit compatible classes at its regular meeting on Monday. The board will consider the approval of a plan that would redesign four courses to be dual-credit compatible with the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. The state of Wisconsin has asked schools around the area to give students as many opportunities to earn dual-credit while in high school as possible. Southern Door Superintendent Patti Vickman said the board will also look at adding another senior-level class to help prepare for the next step after high school.



Dual-credit classes are taken over the course of a normal school day. The school’s normal instructor will continue to teach each course, but each class will be changed to fit the curriculum set up by the NWTC.


Future of school libraries focuses on collaboration

School libraries will always have a vast collection of books at their disposal, but several media specialists from Door County schools have noted a distinct turn toward collaboration and resource gathering as well. Bridget Bowers from Sevastopol, Angela Olson from Southern Door, Mike Scoville from Gibraltar, and Holly Selle from Sturgeon Bay all pointed out that the job has changed from what it has been traditionally thought to be. As the years pass, the involvement of technology in library activities has grown to the point of being a function of the job.  Because of this, a space once known for quiet, solitary work has become a location geared more toward working together. Scoville said he has seen the library shift toward becoming a central hub for students.


Olson also mentioned the evolving role of the job itself. With the increase of technology usage, most media specialists have become troubleshooters, making sure the technology runs smoothly for both other teachers and students.


Civility Project tackling political discussions through next lecture

The next Door County Talks lecture will focus on remaining civil in the public and political sphere. Dr. Allison Staudinger will give her lecture, titled "Civility in the Public Sphere," on Saturday, January 26 at 10 a.m. Staudinger will base the lecture off of a course she has taught at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, discussing the frustrations often felt when discussing politics with others.  Shirley Senerighi, a volunteer with the Door County Civility Project, said the lecture will seek to help ease the frustrations of sharing politics across the differences that others might believe in.



Door County Talks is a collaborative effort between the Door County Civility Project and the Door County Auditorium. Dr. Staudinger's lecture is the third in a series of five talks, with the last being held on March 2nd. There is no cost for entry, but donations are appreciated.


Parent Cafe provides chance for parents to network

The Door County Partnership for Children and Families is offering a community-wide event to give area parents a chance to come together. The very first "Parent Cafe" in Sturgeon Bay will be held on January 22nd from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The cafe is being offered as part of an initiative to raise successful children by creating successful parents. Chad Welch, the family engagement leader at the organization, said connecting parents with those in similar situations would help create efficiency when deciding what is best for them.



If the cafe is successful, Welch hopes to hold at least one more similar event in 2019, with the possibility of another if all goes well. There will be a free family meal from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m., and the organization will offer free on-site childcare as well.


Vignes Schoolhouse to be renovated in 2019

The Door County Historical Society has revealed plans to renovate the Vignes Schoolhouse. Originally built in 1890, the one-room school is currently located at the Heritage Village at Big Creek and is one of the organization’s most popular attractions. To be restored, plenty of maintenance and repair work will be required before the renovation is considered complete. Bailey Koepsel, the executive director of the Door County Historical Society, said the schoolhouse is her favorite attraction the society offers.



The Door County Historical Society is taking January off before returning next February with a full slate of programs and projects for the 2019 season.


Government employees receive free entry to Maritime Museum

In the face of a long government shutdown, the Door County Maritime Museum is offering free entry to federal employees and their immediate families as long as business remains suspended. The Maritime Museum has been in contact with other museums and cultural institutions across the country and decided the move would be an excellent way to show appreciation for families most impacted by the shutdown. The offer is also being extended to members of the active duty U.S. Coast Guard and their immediate families as well. Executive Director Kevin Osgood said he is excited to open up an opportunity for federal employees and their families because it spreads a message of goodwill throughout the county.



Osgood said the offer would be valid for as long as the government stays shut down, and mentioned all programs fall under the deal.


DCMC offering free memory workshop

The Door County Medical Center is offering a free workshop in February for those worried about memory loss or already dealing with early-stage memory loss.  The M.I.N.D. workshop is facilitated with the Door County YMCA, and will last six weeks. The Caregiver Café will be offered consecutively with the workshop, and gives caregivers an opportunity to find tools to improve both their care giving abilities and their well-being. Christy Wisniewski, a geriatric outreach specialist at DCMC, said the program is truly meant for everyone.

Registration is required to participate in the work shop. Questions or registrations may either be submitted at the DCMC website or by calling Wisniewski at (920)746-3504.


Very cold eclipse hike

The cold temperature forecasted for Sunday night isn’t preventing Door County hikers from being out. The Door County Land Trust is hosting a “Blood Moon” eclipse night hike at the Three Springs Nature Preserve in Sister Bay Sunday night. The temperature that night is forecasted to be in the single digits. Tom Clay, Executive Director of the Door County Land Trust, says that if you sign up for a night hike in the winter, you already know you have to dress warmly.



Clay says the hike is at full participation, but you can sign on to the waiting list at


Water librarian to kick-off Door County Reads event

Door County Reads will kick-off with a keynote speaker from the Wisconsin Water Library. Anne Moser is a senior special librarian at the library, which collects any writings and resources dealing with the waters of Wisconsin and the Great Lakes. The library also supports the UW Aquatic Sciences Center and its two programs, the Water Resources Institute and ther Sea Grant Institute, by reaching out to citizens of all ages and further spreading awareness of issues that may harm or otherwise affect the water neighboring Wisconsin. Marie Zhuikov, a science communicator for the Wisconsin Sea Grant, said Moser is an experienced speaker who has given talks throughout the state. 


Moser will also give a talk about plastics currently polluting the Great Lakes on February 7th at the Ephraim Library. Other events, such as book discussions, gallery exhibits and more will be held February 2nd through the 16th. 


Agenda being discussed for Door Kewaunee Legislative Days

With the biennial Door/Kewaunee County Legislative Days trip to Madison coming up again this spring, the local agenda is being discussed.   Mark Nelson, Door Kewaunee Legislative Days Steering Committee member, frames how the criteria for forming the agenda is done. 



 Nelson says the requests are not always monetary.



The dates for this spring’s Door/Kewaunee County Legislative Days 2019 have not been set yet.  You can still suggest issues and register to participate by logging on to 


Extreme cold can be dangerous to pets

With the first arctic cold blast of the winter hitting the area this weekend, pet owners are being warned to shield their dogs from the bitter temperatures outside.  Dr. Jordan Kobilca of the Luxemburg Pet Clinic and Door County Veterinary Hospital says dogs should only be let outside for a brief time. 



Dr. Kobilca also suggests checking your pet’s paws and stomach area to remove any ice, salt, and chemicals.  You can find winter safety tips for your pets with this story online.


Winter Tips:


Holiday Hazards 
Be careful how you deck your halls! The holiday season is generally a time of family togetherness in which even our pets participate. One's thoughts generally are far from thoughts of injury; however, one must be aware of some important seasonal hazards in order to insure a happy holiday season.


These are of special interest to playful cats and kittens who see these materials as toys (or prey) to be chased, pounced upon, chewed or swallowed. While chasing and pouncing pose no health threats, chewing and swallowing do, as these strings or "linear foreign bodies" can catch in the GI tract, leading to bunching of intestine as the body tries in vain to move the string or ribbon through. This is a life-threatening condition requiring surgery for correction. Supervise animals who play with string closely.


These are also tempting to cats who like to play with string as well as to puppies who are teething and interested in chewing. If a pet bites through an electrical cord, it could result in a severe burn to the tongue, which causes the pet's lung to fill with fluid, causing respiratory distress. This is also an emergency requiring immediate veterinary attention.


Many people do not realize that chocolate can be a poison. Unsweetened baking chocolate carries a much higher dose of the toxin "theobromine" than does milk chocolate, but even normal milk chocolate can be dangerous; a small dog sharing candy can wind up in big trouble. Clinical signs of chocolate poisoning include hyper excitability, nervousness, vomiting, and diarrhea and death.


Consuming this festive-looking plant can be irritating to the mouth and stomach of the dog or cat that chews on or eats it. Contrary to popular belief, poinsettia is not especially toxic.


The fact that there are several types of mistletoe makes it difficult to predict the clinical signs of poisoning. Some mistletoes produce only stomach upset while others may lead to liver failure or seizuring. Consider mistletoe to be a hazardous substance and keep it inaccessible to pets and children.


Keep pets out of the kitchen during the hustle and bustle of the season. The last thing you want is for someone you love to get underfoot or burned from spillage.


We all like to include our pets in Holiday meals along with the rest of the family, but try to keep in mind that sudden rich diet changes are likely to upset a pet's stomach. Vomiting and diarrhea are not uncommon. If leftovers are of an especially fatty nature, the pancreas become inflamed and overloaded. This condition is serious and may require hospitalization

Staying active - Daycare may be the best option for your energetic dog to keep them trim and fit during the cold months.


Musher's Secret - this can be rubbed onto the pads to protect from the snow and ice.


Cold - Frost Bite - watch the temperature outside...just because your dog/cat has a thick coat does not mean that they cannot get frostbite.


Anti-freeze - if your pet drinks anti-freeze call your veterinarian immediately!!!  This is an extremely toxic chemical.


Do not trim the hair between your pet's pads.  It serves as protection during the cold months.


Reducing salt use on local roads a constant effort

Rock salt remains the tried and true method of keeping Door and Kewaunee County roads free of ice in winter.  Extensive use of road salt, however, has leeched into lakes and rivers and caused road pavement and bridges to deteriorate faster.  That has Wisconsin counties pushing for salt-alternatives whenever possible.  Salt brine liquid solutions have become popular with counties.  Door County Highway Commissioner John Kolodziej says there are other reduced-salt alternatives that are being developed.


Door County currently gets salt brine from Brown County.  Kolodziej says the county is working to develop its own salt brine equipment to save money. 


Shutdown not yet affecting food aid in Door County

People in Door County who depend on programs like SNAP for food assistance continue getting benefits despite the federal government shutdown.  Door County Department of Human Services Director Joe Krebsbach says food assistance programs are fully funded for another month.  Krebsbach says beyond that he's not sure what to expect.



Krebsbach says if the shutdown continues and no new funding comes to assistance programs area food pantries will likely see more demand.  


County supervisors tell lawmakers more money needed for defenders

Supervisors from Door and Kewaunee Counties are telling lawmakers face-to-face more money is needed to get private attorneys to act as public defenders.  During a recent gathering at the state capitol, county supervisors brought the needs facing local governments directly to legislators.  Door County Supervisor Megan Lundahl says Wisconsin counties almost unanimously agree that the current compensation is inadequate for public defenders.



In some larger counties, some defendants have had to wait to make court appearances because of the delay in finding someone to act as a public defender.


Granary preservation is possible with taxpayers protected

Granary preservation is possible with taxpayers protected

Civil Discourse: An Occasional Attempt to Restore Civility to Our Civic Discourse

Roger Utnehmer
President and CEO

Preserving the Sturgeon Bay Teweles and Brandeis granary will someday be recognized as an exceptionally forward-thinking decision. And when future generations celebrate the sound decision-making of today’s city council majority, much of the credit will be given to the Door County Community Foundation.

That’s because the resolution adopted by the Sturgeon Bay city council to accept the granary requires the community foundation to play a significant role in protecting taxpayers. Council member Laurel Hauser introduced the resolution that calls on the foundation to facilitate an agreement between the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society and the city, protecting both. That agreement will be voted on by the city council February 5th.

Few in Door County have become as respected, trusted and influential as Bret Bicoy and the Door County Community Foundation. Protecting taxpayers and preserving history can be accomplished when the trusted leadership of the foundation plays such an essential role.

Hauser outlined compelling arguments for preservation of the granary on the city’s west-side waterfront during Tuesday's council meeting including;

...the recent compromise ruling that delineated where private development can occur on the waterfront and what property must be held in trust for the public. That Department of Natural Resources ruling on the ordinary high water mark puts the granary site on the portion of the property that must be preserved for public use not private development.

...the granary footprint will comprise only 2% of the entire west-side waterfront property in question. public taxpayer dollars will be used to move or renovate the granary and an endowment for future long-term maintenance costs will be established.

Hauser also stated that significant private development can still occur to the benefit of Sturgeon Bay taxpayers and that the city ad hoc waterfront committee can still play an important role with the granary back in its original location.

Not too many communities have benefactors coming forward with donations of more than $1.25 million to preserve a state and nationally-recognized historical structure.

The Sturgeon Bay city council was wise to rely on the trusted ability of the Door County Community Foundation to facilitate acceptance of those dollars and preservation of the granary without costing taxpayers a dime.

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



Weekend sermons will focus on abusive Catholic priests list

This Sunday Catholics in Door and Kewaunee counties and throughout the Diocese of Green Bay will hear more about the list naming priests involved with sexual abuse of children.  They'll also learn what's being done to help assault victims and their families.  The list of 46 former priests, some living and others dead, was released Thursday.  Diocese Communication Director Justine Lodl says the diocese has sent out information to help pastors and church staff reach out to their parishioners.



Among the priests named with substantial allegations of sexual abuse of minors were nine who served at parishes in Door and Kewaunee Counties and the former St. Mary's Hospital in Kewaunee. 


Kewaunee discusses demolition contract

The demolition of Marquette School is not yet complete, and that has been a cause of concern for city of Kewaunee officials. The agreement between the city and the contractor called for the project to be completed in 120 days so the site could be cleaned up and landscaped by the end of 2018. Locating the building’s second basement and additional hazardous materials forced the timeline to be adjusted, but Dakota Intertek assured the city it would still meet its deadline. With 70 percent of the work completed, the site has been dormant recently as the two sides resolve its contract issues. Kewaunee Mayor Sandi Christman says there is some good news for the future of the project.

The Kewaunee City Council met earlier this week in closed session to discuss the details of the contract with Dakota Intertek. Demolition work of the former school located near Highway 42 began last summer after sitting vacant since 1999. 


Clerk welcomes ruling against lame duck early voting limits

Terry Kovarik -- The Door County Clerk says she's pleased that early voting limits adopted by a lame duck session of the state legislature have been struck down.  U.S. District Judge James Peterson ruled the law limiting early voting to two weeks statewide before an election was similar to limits he struck down in 2016.  Some communities previously offered early voting up to six weeks before an election.  Door County Clerk Jill Lau says counties and municipalities should have flexibility in offering early voting.



Lau says local election officials were told in advance of possible court challenges to the lame duck early voting law.


Supervisors tour former Younkers store prior to purchase decision

Members of the Door County Board of Supervisors did a walk-through of the now-vacant Younker's Home store on 4th Avenue in Sturgeon Bay. The county is looking at the building as a possible archive for historical artifacts and records.  Friday's tour was to show supervisors where improvements may need to be made including the roof, windows and heating and cooling systems.  The Facilities and Parks Committee approved a resolution in favor of the purchase.  While there are a few more steps before the deal could be closed, County Administrator Ken Pabich says the site is ideal for the county's needs.


The Younkers purchase proposal will go before the full County Board of Supervisor January 22nd.


Move over law still applies to rural roads

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says motorists are required by law to make sure they give vehicles with warning lights plenty of room to operate, even on smaller two-lane roads. It has been about a week since a Green Bay area tow truck driver was struck while helping a stalled vehicle on U.S. 41. It renewed calls for motorists to follow the “Move Over Law”, requiring vehicles to safely change lanes away from where emergency vehicles and others with warning lights may be located. Joski says it even applies on smaller streets and rural roads where there may be only two available lanes.

Joski encourages motorists to extend the same courtesy to cyclists, runners, and other outdoor enthusiasts. Not moving over will cost you over $260 in fines and three demerit points on your license. You can learn more about this topic from Sheriff Matt Joski online with this story.




This past week, we experienced another tragedy in our state due to the dangerous conditions to those who are stopped on the side of the road rendering aid to another. In this situation it was a tow truck operator assisting a motorist in need; however it could have just as well been a utility worker trying to improve our infrastructure, or first responder serving their community. What makes this event an even greater tragedy is that it was preventable. Those of us, who have had the experience of responding to a call which required us to carry out our duties in close proximity to moving traffic, can attest to the high degree of danger this type of environment can create. Even with the red and blues flashing, I have still had my own close encounters with vehicles whose drivers were more focused on the distraction of the incident than their own responsibility as a driver to safely navigate around the immediate area.

     It is also beyond logic that years after the creation of legislation specifically aimed at creating a safety zone for those assisting others on the side of the road; we still have drivers failing to understand their duties to “Move Over”. So let’s start with the law itself.

     Wisconsin State Statute 346.072 “Passing Stopped Emergency or Roadside Service Vehicles” applies to any of the following vehicles that are parked or standing within 12 feet of the roadway displaying their respective warning lights.

  • An authorized emergency vehicle
  • A tow truck
  • Any road machinery of motor vehicle used in highway construction
  • Any vehicle of a public utility, telecommunications carrier or cooperative association

     The actions that other motor vehicles are to take is stated as such; on four lane divided highways you are two move to the lane that is not nearest to the vehicle stopped. On a two lane roadway you are to slow down and continue in a reduced speed using due regard until you have completely passed the stopped vehicle.

      The fine for failing to follow this very important law is $263.50 and three demerit points to your license. But more importantly the cost of failing to follow this very simple common courtesy could mean the life of another person.

      I would also add that this law is just the statutory minimum of required behavior, but I know that we can do much better. We could use this same cautious approach as we are passing any motor vehicle stopped along the side of the road, or how about we apply this courtesy to those walking along a roadway, or riding a bike. Too often I have seen drivers open themselves and others up to needless risk by not showing due regard when in close proximity. Each year on our Law Enforcement Torch Run, I feel the wind rush passed my back as a vehicle speeds by within inches of me without giving a thought to slowing down or creating a safe distance. In the mornings I run along STH 42 and am always grateful for those drivers who make deliberate efforts to slow down and maybe even give a wave or a honk.

      On the other side of this message I would also say to those who find themselves along a road for any reason to not assume anything. Don’t assume that the vehicle approaching from ahead or behind you is paying attention or that they see you or your vehicle. Whether driving biking walking or running, make yourself as visible as possible by use of lights, flares, clothing or reflective material.


        There are plenty of unavoidable tragedies we all face in our lives, let’s do our best to eliminate the preventable ones.


Kids show support for Coast Guard families

On one of the coldest days of 2019, Liliahna and Willa Snyder of Sturgeon Bay chose to do their part to warm the hearts of local Coast Guard families. The sisters, 11 and 8 years old, chose to set up a cocoa and doughnut stand to raise funds for Sturgeon Bay’s Coast Guard members still affected by the ongoing government shutdown. It especially hits close to home for Liliahna, who is friends with the daughter of a Coast Guard member. No matter how it is done, she says it is important to support the families.

The Coast Guard is the only military branch with members not being paid during the government shutdown due to being under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security, not the Department of Defense. 


Picture by Trent Snyder




House fire in Gibraltar

A dog is still missing after a house fire in the town of Gibraltar Thursday morning. According to a report from the Gibraltar Fire Department, crews responded to the fire on Gibraltar Road and immediately called for back-up upon arrival. Two people were still in the home when crews arrived to smoke and flames coming out of a second story window. One person was able to make it out of the home on their own while the other was brought to safety by Gibraltar Fire Chief Andy Bertges. A small black dog is still missing after the fire took place after another dog was able to be located and brought to safety. Seven fire departments, Door County Emergency Services, and the Door County Sheriff’s Department were on the scene for over six hours.




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