News

Luxemburg man passes away after accident

92-year-old Roland DeCremer of Luxemburg passed away on Wednesday from complications suffered after a three vehicle accident in the town of Luxemburg. The initial investigation determined that DeCremer was driving a 2018 red Ford Escape and turning east on State Highway 54 at County Line Road and failed to yield to an Eastbound 2015 International semi-truck. DeCremer’s vehicle hit the side of the semi, and after striking the semi, a Westbound 2007 silver Buick Rendezvous struck DeCremer’s vehicle. 

 

DeCremer and his passenger, Irene DeCremer, were trapped in their vehicle and freed by Luxemburg Rescue. They were transported to a medical facility in Green Bay. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor, and the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the accident. 

 

Fate of Kinnard Farms case in Supreme Court's hands

The Wisconsin State Supreme Court could weigh in on a pair of water-quality related cases this week, one involving a Kewaunee County Farm.  Back in January, the state’s highest court granted the legislature the ability to intervene in a pair of cases involving the Department of Natural Resources and Clean Wisconsin. One of those cases dates back to 2012 when Kinnard Farms sought to increase its herd to 6,000 cows.  According to Wisconsin Ag Connection, Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey Boldt ruled back in 2014 that the expansion could take place, but only if monitoring wells were installed. Brad Schimel, who was the Attorney General in 2015, said state agencies cannot impose permit conditions that are not state law, something a Dane County judge disagreed with when he made his ruling to allow the DNR to reinstate the regulations. The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard initial arguments in the case on Monday.

Homebuilders face competition for skilled trades workers

Building a home in Door County, Kewaunee County, and everywhere else this summer will likely take time and cost more.  That's because there are fewer skilled trades employees and more competition for those who are available.  Jeff Dorner, with Van's Lumber of Dyckesville and Egg Harbor, says there has been an acute shortage of carpenters since the Great Recession.

 


Dorner says those craft workers still on the job have travel limits.   Some will go the extra miles for the jobs which can add to the costs of some skills and materials.

 


Dorner says it's becoming a common practice for some skilled trades workers to start the day on one project and move to another worksite or more as needed.


Nearly ten Door County positive tests

Wednesday’s COVID19 report from Door County shows that thirty tests were conducted and eight of the tests were positive. No new hospitalizations or deaths were reported. In Door County 55.2% of residents have received at least one vaccine dose and 35.6% have completed the series. In Kewaunee County, 33.2% of residents have received one dose of the vaccine and 24.4% have completed the series. 

Financial Literacy a priority during pandemic

April is a month to recognize financial literacy, and some important questions or concerns have become more urgent since the beginning of the pandemic. One way to stay ahead of potential issues that may arise in the future is to have a solid understanding of where you are financially and keeping a good budget says Money Management Counselors Executive Director Leslie Boden.

 

 

Boden says there aren't too many surprises financially since the COVID outbreak began, but people have had to address issues that were brewing pre-pandemic. Boden understands stimulus checks can help, but also acknowledges that they aren’t permanent. 

 

 

Boden also stresses tailoring each person’s plans to them specifically as everyone has different needs and circumstances. One of the biggest generational differences Boden sees in clients is younger generations moving to paperless banking and app usage, whereas older generations tend to prefer a paper trail that is more tangible. 

 

New flavor coming to Cherry Hut

The White Cottage Red Door, just two miles south of Fish Creek, is seeing a change in operations from personnel to services, and is going by the name Door County Cherry Hut. Now managing the Cherry Hut is Trent Synder, who also manages Bridge Up Brewing. Taking on this additional venture isn’t something that was always sought out, but when the opportunity came, he didn’t want to pass it up. 

 

 

Snyder finds it important to maintain the integrity of what Ray’s Cherry Hut and previous owners did to make it special, but also plans to add unique twists. The typical cherry products such as pies, jams, jelly, and other Door County staples will still be sold. There will be fresh food available as well like hot dogs, street tacos, and rib tips. The Cherry Hut will also be shedding light on small businesses by sourcing products from others and women-owned businesses around the country. 

 

Along with offering beers from Bridge Up Brewing, Cherry Hut will feature a wine-tasting room and distribute privately labeled wines, especially fruit-based wines that Door County patrons have come to love. One addition that Snyder and company look forward to most is the new outdoor patio.

 

 

There’s currently a lot of moving parts that make the official open date uncertain. Snyder would like to be open in some capacity in early May, and hopes to be fully operational by Memorial Day weekend. 

 


Supreme Court votes against capacity limits

Wisconsin’s Supreme Court ruled that Governor Tony Evers does not have the authority to issue limits on capacity for bars, restaurants, and other businesses without legislature approval. There hasn’t been a statewide capacity limit restriction in place since October. The order that was issued on October 6th limited the size of indoor public gatherings to twenty-five percent of a building or room’s occupancy, or ten people in places with no occupancy limit. The order was blocked by a state appeals court on October 23rd.

 

The Supreme Court ruled 4-3 on Wednesday that the order meets the definition of a rule, which must go through legislature. This comes two weeks after the Wisconsin Supreme Court ended the state’s mask mandate.

New school board members ready for new, familiar challenges

In the April 6 Spring elections, three new members of the Sturgeon Bay school board were announced, both new and returning. Angie Kruse and Damion Howard are two that will be taking on a new role, but for Roger Wood, he returns to the school board he previously served.

 

Angie Kruse estimates that it was six years ago she was first approached about considering a run for school board, but didn’t give it much thought. A few years later, she reconsidered and started attending open sessions of school board meetings. A big motivation for becoming a part of the board was being impressed by their ability to get kids in the classrooms this school year.

 

 

Kruse says prior experience on committees will be something to lean on. She has been active with St. John Bosco and YMCA communities. Another board elect, Damion Howard, graduated from Sturgeon Bay and also has children around the district. That coupled with his desire to be a voice for minority students like himself urged him to start his campaign.

 

 

Howard also hopes to bridge any gaps between the school and local organizations, like the Boys and Girls Club where he’s employed. Roger Wood was also elected to the school board. Previously he spent twelve years on the board, but it has been a few years since he had last been a part of it. He said he enjoyed his time on the board and looked to get back on. He’s hoping to positively use his earlier board experience to maintain the school’s positive direction. He also values the diverse skill set of the elected board members, and wants to be a board member people can approach. 

 

 

All three were honored to be selected to serve on the board. 

 

Another death in Door County  

Door County Public Health reported a single case of COVID-19 on Tuesday as the county disclosed its 22nd death since the pandemic began just over a year ago.  The death was the first one in several weeks as active cases went up to 125.  There were no additional hospitalizations reported in Door County.

 

The state confirmed 922 cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday with 70 hospitalizations and ten more deaths. 

 

On the day the scheduled Johnson & Johnson vaccinations were canceled this week, Door County vaccinated 109 residents with at least the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine while Kewaunee County gave “shots in arms” to 96 people.

 


Climate Change Coalition scores nationally recognized speaker

The Climate Change Coalition of Door County will be starting off a series of events centered around climate change awareness on April 21st. Headlining the event will be the accomplished Katharine Hayhoe, who is a globally known climate scientist who will speak at 11 AM. The Zoom talk she will bring is titled, “Using Data to Change People’s Minds on Climate Change.” What her presentation will aim to do is offer a positive message with practical solutions for climate matters. Hayhoe wants to use an approach that will hit home for a Door County audience. 

 


Hayhoe also desires for all people to have a place in the discussion rather than it being a partisan issue. Hayhoe will be releasing a book called Saving Us in September. Hayhoe hosts the PBS digital series Global Weirding which is currently in its fifth season. She has also been named to TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.

Area counties and state pause Johnson and Johnson

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services instructs Wisconsin vaccine providers to discontinue administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID19 vaccine due to adverse side effects reported. The Center for Disease Control and U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported six cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis that have been reported in the U.S. In the U.S. 6.8 million people have received a dose of this vaccine. Johnson & Johnson vaccine was supposed to be available at Wednesday's Door County Public Health vaccination clinic and on Thursday in Kewaunee County. 

 

Door and Kewaunee Public Health cancelled all Johnson & Johnson vaccine appointments this week. Door County asks those scheduled for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to call them if they’d like to schedule the Pfizer vaccine. Door County Health and Human Services Director Joe Krebsbach says there is worry this will scare people from vaccination.

 

 

 Door County has limited appointments available this week and more Pfizer appointments available next week. DHS Secretary-Designee Karen Timberlake said they are pausing administration out of an abundance of caution and that vaccine providers should hold on to the vaccine until federal review has been completed.

 

Nicolet National Bank acquires Mackinac Financial

For the fifth time in six years, Nicolet National Bank is getting a little bigger after its parent company acquired Michigan-based Mackinac Financial on Monday. The acquisition is valued at $248 million and includes Mackinac Financial’s 28 mBank locations. Nicolet’s purchase of Mackinac Financial will allow customers in Michigan and northern Wisconsin access to wealth management services and larger business loans. Nicolet National Bank President and CEO Mike Daniels says the positive impact of the sale will also be felt by its current customers.

Daniels also pointed out that acquiring Mackinac Financial adds to the culture Nicolet National Bank has established as a community bank and the local decision-making that comes with it. The recent string of acquisitions for Nicolet National Bank started in 2015 when it purchased Sturgeon Bay-based Baylake Bank.


Starlink gets boost

Door County’s Starlink Internet users are getting more good news this week thanks to improvements being made.

 

The Starlink project, which is part of Elon Musk’s SpaceX, recently launched another 60 satellites into orbit in addition to other updates for its beta users. The improvements addressed some preventative maintenance and gateway availability concerns. PC Magazine recently ranked Door County in the top 30 best locations nationwide for Starlink and has given high marks for speeds in Kewaunee County. While the wait may be long for some applying to get the hardware necessary to get the service, Quantum PC owner Nathan Drager said during last month’s “Ask Mr. Quantum” podcast that the early returns have been great for his customers.

Quantum PC has been installing new Starlink equipment for area customers since the winter. Drager advises customers to apply for the equipment now and have their site surveyed to make sure there are no obstructions. You can learn more about Starlink Internet by listening to the Ask Mr. Quantum podcast here.

 

 

Egg Harbor moves forward with July fireworks plans

Celebrating the Fourth of July is back on the agenda for three Door County communities. The Village of Egg Harbor is proceeding with plans for its Independence Day fireworks show. That's still dependent on the COVID-19  pandemic.  The Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday to spend $5,000 for the July 3rd event.  Interim Village Administrator Tom Strong recommended approval of a contract to help the pyrotechnic operator lock in the purchase price.

Village Trustee John Heller agreed and made a motion to move forward, which would also give the village a contingency plan.

July 4th celebrations are also back on the agendas in Baileys Harbor and Fish Creek.

Door County adds more cases with one hospitalization

Door County Public Health reported six confirmed cases out of 48 tests performed since Friday.  The active cases on Monday went up from 118 to 124.  The positivity rate was lower than most levels shown last week, reflecting 12.5 percent on Monday.  There was one additional hospitalization in Door County with no recent deaths noted.

 

The state disclosed 402 positive tests and three deaths on Monday, along with 34 more hospitalizations.

 

The Department of Health Services reported that Door County administered 2751 doses last week and has vaccinated 54.6 percent of its population with at least the first dose.  Kewaunee County has given the first dose to 32.8 percent of its residents and gave1,175 vaccinations last week.  

 

Kewaunee County Public Health offering immediate vaccine appointments

Connecting with people on the COVID-19 vaccine waiting list is the biggest challenge the Kewaunee County Public Health Department is facing in getting more shots in arms.  Public Health Officer Cindy Kinnard says the department is working to schedule the 50 or so remaining people on the waiting list.

 

 

Anyone over the age of 16 can schedule with the Kewaunee County Public Health Department for openings this Wednesday for the Pfizer Vaccine and Thursday for the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  Kewaunee County has been able to administer over 1,000 doses each of the past three weeks at the vaccination clinics.  Kinnard emphasizes that it is important for people to continue to mask up, socially distance, and practice good hand washing.  

Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week will be quieter

Door County Emergency Management Director Dan Kane says the annual statewide tornado drill will not include the traditional sirens sounding that occurred other years.  He says for the sake of less confusion, the sounding of tornado sirens will not happen on April 15.  Also, the interruptions of messages on radio and television stations for the emergency alert system will not be happening for Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week in the state this Thursday.

 

 

Door County Emergency Management encourages you to set aside 15 minutes to practice tornado and severe weather safety during the standard set times of 1:45 pm or 6:45 pm. Kane stresses that everyone should have an emergency kit and emergency plan in place at home and in their workplace. Kane adds that Door County is looking at implementing a CodeRed system within the next few weeks to allow mobile device users to opt-in for weather, missing persons, and other emergency alerts.

 

Click here for news release 

Voter roll fight turns to local clerks

The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled on Friday it will be up to the local clerks and not the Wisconsin Elections Commission to remove thousands of names off its voter rolls. According to the Associated Press, the high court’s 5-2 decision will keep approximately 69,000 names on the list and not have their registrations deactivated. Conservatives argued that the state’s election commission was breaking Wisconsin law by not removing voters who did not respond to a mailing done in 2019. Liberals believe the maneuver was being done to lower turnout for people who may have voted in favor of their candidates. The court says the duty of keeping the database up-to-date falls in the hands of not the WEC, but rather the state’s municipal clerks. Common Cause Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck encourages local clerks to reach out to people they know that have moved to make sure their information is up-to-date.

He adds there must be a legitimate reason for people to be removed from the voter rolls and not just because they did not vote in recent elections. The Wisconsin Legislature could approve measures to change the law, but Heck believes those actions would likely be vetoed by Governor Tony Evers.

Two lost hikers found safe

A pair of hikers in Baileys Harbor needed an assist from local emergency personnel to get back to their hotel on Saturday. The two hikers called the Door County Sheriff’s Department before 5:30 p.m. to alert them that they were lost in the woods. After providing dispatch with their coordinates, a search and rescue party involving the sheriff’s department, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Door County Emergency Medical Services, and the Baileys Harbor Fire Department was formed. Conservation Warden Mike Neal was able to locate the hikers and bring them to safety. Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says it was smart of the hikers to carry a cellphone with them and to stay put once they reported that they were lost.

McCarty added that the two hikers were given medical evaluations once they were brought out of the woods before they went back to their hotel for the evening.

Haunted Mansion permanently closes

There will be no final fright for the Southern Door Haunted Mansion after the event’s leadership announced on Sunday it would be permanently closing after a 14-year run.

 

In the release posted below, the leadership decided there was not enough interest generated to fill the vacant core leadership positions needed to run the month-long event. With the help of over 500 volunteers annually, the Southern Door Haunted Mansion raised over $415,000 for programs at Southern Door School District over the last 14 years. The organization thanked the community and sponsors for their support over the years. They also expressed appreciation for the owners of the former Quietwoods South Campground, which hosted the event every year. The owners of Door County KOA, which recently purchased the Quietwoods South property, had offered its facilities to continue hosting the event.

 

The Southern Door Haunted Manion was voted a Fan Favorite Northeast Region Haunted Attraction by HauntedWisconsin.com 10 years in a row.  

 

Picture from The Haunted Mansion at Door County KOA Facebook page dated October, 20, 2017

 

 

DNR seeking hunters input

One of Wisconsin’s favorite past times, deer hunting, affects the lives of hunters and non-hunters alike, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources wants the public to weigh in on management. DNR Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha explains that people’s lives are impacted by deer in ways they may not even know. 

 

 

The County Deer Advisory Council is inviting everyone to give feedback on the preliminary recommendations provided by County Deer Advisory Councils for the 2021 deer hunting season structure. The online input tool for public comment will be available from April 12th to April 25th on the DNR CDAC webpage. All CDAC meetings are open to the public and will be held via Zoom. The DNR and the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board will present the final county-level recommendations for final approval in June.

 

Shedding light on child sexual abuse

A Door County organization is promoting the social and the emotional well-being of children and families in the area communities by speaking out against sexual assault.  Milly Gonzales, executive director of Help of Door County, says it is important to raise awareness about sexual violence and inform the public of the ways to prevent it.  She says over 60 percent of childhood sexual abuse occurs within the home.

 

 

Gonzales shares some of the warning signs that a child may have been sexually abused.

 

 

Any one sign does not mean that a child was sexually abused, but the presence of several suggests you ask questions and consider seeking help.  Gonzales adds that you should have ongoing conversations with your child about what is healthy and what is not.  April is National Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Awareness Month.  You can listen to the entire conversation with Milly Gonzales on the podcast page at DoorCountyDailyNews.com.   

Ash lays out upcoming projects

Travelers in Door County are going to notice roadwork happening on the peninsula starting this Spring. Door County Highway Commissioner Thad Ash mentioned the four marquee projects that will be taking place in Door County starting in April. 

 

Roadwork will be beginning on April 19 at County A and going all the way from County V in Jacksonport to County E, and will begin April 19th as they’ll be milling, putting two layers of asphalt down, shouldering, and doing paint markings. The expected finish date is June 7th. 

 

Work to Highway 42 from the north end of Sister Bay and going to Gills Rock is tentatively scheduled to start April 26th and expected to be done around June 1st. Crews will be milling out old pavement, re-shouldering, and marking. 

 

On May 4th on Highway 57 at the Mill Supper Club intersection in Sturgeon Bay and onto Summit Road in Bailey’s Harbor, crews will be milling off existing asphalt. They will also do guard rail repair, paving, shouldering, and installing rumble strips. The expected finish date is September 30th. 

 

Those three projects will be through the state, and the county personnel will have limited to no involvement. 

 

 

The last big project planned in Door County is work on County J by the Ahnapee River in the village of Forestville, and going east to County O. There is no schedule in place for this project yet but they will be doing bridge work over the river as well as storm sewer and curb and gutter work. There will also be removal of existing asphalt, regrading, and repaving at the location. This is expected to usually be passable but will shut down on occasion as well. For all projects, Ash asks for residents to be cautious when driving by. 

 

 

Work will be off over holiday weekends, which could mean low shoulders and construction signage to be aware of. 

Putting an end to distracted driving

The month of April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the Sturgeon Bay Police Department is urging drivers to avoid phone use while driving. Captain Dan Brinkman notes that distracted drivers are bsomething the department sees at times when patrolling. 

 

 

Brinkman pushes for drivers to get to a stopping point or to safely pull over if there is an urgent need to use a phone while in a vehicle. He also notes that many newer vehicles do have bluetooth capability where people can take calls and talk hands free and keep their eyes on the road. Some indicators of an accident happening as a result of phone use is a phone on a seat or floor, or a phone activated in a text or call mode. 

 

Bird conservation a specialty for Sturgeon Bay

Caring for birds has certainly taken flight in Sturgeon Bay, and Bird City Wisconsin has noticed. The recognition as one of Wisconsin’s bird cities is from practices in Sturgeon Bay which aids the survival of local and migratory birds. The city applied for the honor, having to display practices in forestation management and providing protection for birds. Director of Municipal Services for Sturgeon Bay, Mike Barker, thinks this lets everyone know that Sturgeon bay does take pride in their preservation practices. 

 

 

The practices in place to help get this award are a broad list of techniques conducive to bird preservation. Some city ordinances include requiring trees to be planted, having heavily wooded city parks, removal and replacement of dead and hazardous trees, and other efforts. 

 

 

Barker doesn’t see these efforts by the city slowing down any time soon.

 

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