Bird sanctuary starts 2021 season

The Open Door Bird Sanctuary’s season of being open for the public officially took flight on Saturday. Open Door Bird Sanctuary is now open to the public on Saturdays until Labor Day weekend. In 2020 they found people liked the idea of private tours in which they didn’t have to be in large crowds. That has carried into 2021, as Executive Director Rob Hults says they’ve already done more private tours this year than all of last year. 



Hults predicts the trend will continue into the future as people enjoy the more personal and interactive visit of a private tour. On Saturdays, the sanctuary also made the switch to feature their Raptor Programs throughout the entirety of their public viewing days this year. 


Sturgeon Bay promenade nearly completed

The new promenade on Sturgeon Bay’s west side waterfront is expected to open before Independence Day after some slight delays.  Contracted construction crews mounted benches along the promenade’s concrete sidewalks this week and will be placing topsoil and completing other final details in the next week.   City of Sturgeon Bay Administrator Josh Van Lieshout says the nearly 1.4 million dollar project is slightly behind the originally scheduled opening of June 15.  He says high water conditions contributed to delays due to the abandonment and relocating of storm sewers.  The Sturgeon Bay Submarine Cable Replacement Project by American Transmission Company also lingered long into the spring.  The waterfront promenade project will keep the tug boats belonging to Sarter Marine Towing, although they will be positioned slightly closer to the Oregon Street Bridge.  

Unemployment numbers remain low

Job numbers this week showed unemployment in the state at under four percent.  The Department of Workforce Development released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary employment estimates for the month of May.  Wisconsin added 3,600 non-farm and 3,400 private-sector jobs last month.  Wisconsin’s unemployment rate held at 3.9 percent for the second consecutive month. Bay Area Workforce Development Director Matt Valiquette says the numbers show an encouraging trend overall.



Valiquette adds that you need to look beyond the numbers to get a complete meaning.  He says the unemployment number does not take into account those currently out of the workforce who have voluntarily withdrawn.  This largely consists of caregivers who stayed home to care for their children during the school year.  Valiquette says employers are watching this dynamic closely.



Valiquette says there has never been a better time to rejoin the workforce. He encourages individuals seeking employment to contact job centers within the Bay Area Workforce Development Board.   

Smerchek finds his calling

After wearing His name on his chest during his Luxemburg-Casco wrestling career, Newton Smerchek hopes to help UW-Madison athletes find Jesus in their own way. Smerchek joined the Badger Regional Training Center two years ago after competing for the Spartans and at Central Michigan University. His faith has always been a strong presence in his life, having worn a shirt given to him by his family with the name of Jesus on it ever since he was in elementary school.

A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in college, Smerchek recently got involved with Athletes in Action and its parent organization Campus Crusade for Christ. When the opportunity came to work with other student-athletes at the University of Wisconsin to help grow their faith, Smerchek jumped at it.

Smerchek will continue to coach Wisconsin wrestlers in Madison as he begins to drum up support for his mission. He is getting a head start on his duties that begin on August 1st by hosting bible study classes with the wrestling team beginning next week.


You can listen to the full interview at

Liking New Food Takes Time

Trying new foods can feel unfamiliar and create food aversions later in life. While these uncertain emotions may arise, it’s important to remember that patience can make all the difference for children to try new foods.

Some tips to make trying a new food more successful and enjoyable include:

  1. Eat the same food with your children as this will make it more likely to try it. Remember they learn from watching you!
  2. Avoid making separate food when children are first learning about trying new foods. Give a small portion of what you made for dinner.
  3. Give small amounts of a new food to encourage trying a taste of it.
  4. Make introducing new foods fun by making silly names for the new food, a song about the food, or make up a dance to do after eating the new food.
  5. If a new food is not liked on the first try, wait to try it again and pair it with a favorite food the next time.

Other points to keep in mind:

  1. The first 1-3 times children may just smell, touch, or play with it.
  2. The next 4-6 times they may spit it out or nibble on it.
  3. The next 7-9 times they may actually eat and swallow it.

Evers commemorates Juneteenth

As a June 19th holiday that celebrates the end of slavery was made a federal one, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers honored the day in an address to his constituents. Evers said in a speech about Juneteenth, the now federal holiday, “we recognize the trials Black Americans have overcome and celebrate the resilience, vibrancy, and countless contributions of Black Wisconsinites.” He went on to say that work toward equity and justice in this state is far from finished. 



The address came on the same day that President Joe Biden signed legislation that declared Juneteenth a federal holiday. The day pays tribute to June 19th, 1865, which is the day Union soldiers shared the news of freedom to enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas 

Kewaunee County under five weekly cases

In Kewaunee County’s weekly COVID19 report, just four residents tested positive for the virus. There were no new hospitalizations or deaths, and the number of active cases also is down. Last week’s COVID19 report showed six active cases, and as of this Friday, there are just five. 


In Kewaunee County, 40.3% of people have one dose of the vaccine while 38.6% are fully vaccinated. In Door County, 65% of residents have a vaccine dose and 61.5% have completed the series. In Wisconsin, 49.5% of residents have a vaccine dose and this week 49,580 residents received the vaccine.

Outdoor burning discouraged with dry spell

With the extremely dry weather conditions throughout the area, local firefighters are hoping residents will take extra care when experiencing the great outdoors.  Brussels-Union-Gardner Assistant Fire Chief Jim Wautier says his department has not issued a burning ban yet but warns people that grass fires can start very quickly.



Northern Door County experienced several fires earlier this spring. Wautier says southern Door County has been a little more fortunate.  He recommends that residents hold off on requesting burning permits until the area gets more substantial rainfall.  As far as the use of campfires, Wautier advises people to take the extra time to make sure the embers and coals are completely extinguished and to never leave a fire unattended.  Door and Kewaunee counties were listed under a “moderate” danger warning this week, according to the DNR updated Fire Danger Map.

New Look for Non-Profit Relay

This weekend, Relay for Life Door County returns to the area at Waterfront Mary’s. On Sunday, June 20th, from 12 pm to 5 pm, the non-profit event will be commencing, supporting those who had or have cancer. The manager of this year’s event, Susie Paul, describes the difference in this year’s relay compared to others.



Although this year won’t include the traditional walk, there will be other activities that everyone can participate in. There will be music, games, and a silent auction. Instead of the traditional Luminaria ceremony, they will have a “Balloonaria” ceremony where they will release balloons into the sky in place of lighting the candles. All proceeds from this event go to the American Cancer Society to support the survivors and the people struggling with cancer. There is still time to register for the event; there is information for registration at .

Door County League of Women Voters issue voting reminder

The Door County League of Women Voters is alerting residents who wanna get back to the polls for future elections of how to make that process smoother. The Wisconsin Elections Commission is sending postcards to voters who haven’t voted since 2016. The LWV is encouraging those receiving the cards to fill out the requested info and send it back within the required thirty days. The postcard asks recipients whether they want to remain a registered voter at that address or if you want to update it. 


There are approximately 187,000 people who will be sent these cards, and those who don’t send the cards back will be removed from the voting list, and will be required to re-register. The Door County LWV Voter Service Coordinator Dan Powers notes that making sure your voter registration is up to date now will save time on election day.



Powers also reminds residents who’ve moved, even a very short distance since the last time they registered, to update their information. More on updating voter registration can be found on the WEC site.


Town puts home on the selling block

A major step for the future of Mariners Park in the Town of Liberty Grove has its real estate listing. The town is currently accepting bids for the home on the Gills Rock property it purchased back in 2018 for $1.45 million. The home’s former owner Betty Weborg was allowed to live at the site until this point. The winning bid will have to move the home by the end of the year. Town chairperson John Lowry says the sale will be another step towards a park being developed.

Lowry says the site does have some benches for people to enjoy, but it will be three to five years before the park’s full potential is realized. Sealed bids with a $1,000 payment must be submitted by July 6th at 4 p.m. The bids will be discussed at the town board meeting scheduled for July 7th at 7 p.m.


The picture features a plan that was previously suggested to the town board prior to the formation of the Mariners Park ad hoc committee. 

Anticipation growing for dairy breakfasts

Dairy farms in Door and Kewaunee counties will be the host of some of the biggest events the area has seen since the beginning of the pandemic. Both the Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm and the Sevastopol FFA Dairy Breakfast were canceled last year due to the pandemic after hosting thousands at Kinnard Farms in Casco and the Valmy Thresheree grounds the year before. Hosting the first big event on the downside of the pandemic was on the radar of Aaron Augustian when his farm in Kewaunee agreed to host the event three years ago. As volunteers descend on Augustian Farms to start preparing for 5,000 hungry people on Sunday, Augustian says the Kewaunee County Dairy Promotion Committee and the farm worked with the Kewaunee County Public Health Department to help make sure they could provide a safe event for people to attend.

Augustian is excited for Sunday’s opportunity to show off the barns and their conservation practices and hopes other operations get their chance to follow Kinnard Highland Farms in 2022 and Salentine Homestead Dairy in 2023. The Sevastopol FFA will host their dairy breakfast on June 27th at Sturgeon Bay’s DeFere Family Farm.


Update: According to and the Sevastopol FFA Alumni Facebook page, their 2021 Dairy Breakfast scheduled for June 27th has been canceled as of earlier this month. 

Sturgeon Bay blood drive to combat national shortage

There is a national blood shortage, and on Friday June 17th that will be addressed locally. From noon until 5:30 PM the Sturgeon Bay Community Church is hosting a blood drive put on by the Community Blood Center, which is the Door County Medical Center blood product provider. All healthy and eligible donors are encouraged to come out. Community Blood Center Public Relations Specialist Julianna Jarchow says the entire process which includes screening and the donation is simple and takes roughly an hour. 


Jarchow also highlights the importance of donating blood, noting that blood transfusions are possible only because of volunteer donors. 



Currently, there are particular urgent needs for types O positive, O negative, and A positive blood. You can schedule a donation online or by calling (800) 280-4102. 


Door County Public Health goes weekly with report

As Door County Public Health announced this week that they will be moving to a weekly COVID19 report on Thursdays for the time being, they had good news to report this week. In the weekly report, there were no positive cases of COVID19 for the week out of seventeen tests performed. In the county, there are twelve active cases. There’s also no new hospitalizations or deaths this week. 


Door County is up to 65% of residents with one vaccine dose and 61.4% who’ve completed the series. Kewaunee County has 40.3% of their residents with one vaccine dose and 38.5% of residents have completed the series. 


House and Garden Walk on for 60th anniversary

One of the nation’s oldest house and garden walks will be on in late July. The Door County Medical Center Auxiliary is hosting their annual House and Garden Walk on July 27th, displaying unique Door County homes, gardens, and art. The event will follow the tradition of being held on the final Tuesday in July. Co-Chair of the event Wendy Walker stated in a press release that this year is special because it’s the 60th year of holding the event and went on to note that it may even be the oldest event of its type in the nation. 


You may even get to leave the event with a new art piece, as a commemorative poster designed by local artist Ryan Miller will be available for purchase and proceeds will go to the Door County Medical Center. More information on the House and Garden Walk and on ticket sales can be found on its Facebook page. 


Scenic Byway designation gets celebration

A crowd gathered at Lakeside Park in Jacksonport on Thursday afternoon to celebrate the finalizing of the Door County Coastal Byway being recognized on a national scale. The 66-mile stretch was honored with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a variety of speakers. Speakers at the event included:

  • Jon Jarosh, Destination Door County Interim CEO and Director of Communications
  • Ann Miller, Door County Coastal Byway Chair
  • David Spiegelburg, Travel Wisconsin Regional Tourism Specialist 
  • Colleen Harris, Wisconsin Department of Transportation Northeast Regional Director
  • David Lienau, Chairman of the Door County Board of Supervisors

The ribbon was cut by the Jacksonport scenic byway kiosk. The kiosks are placed in different communities along the byway and share history about the community. David Spiegelburg shared what pillars of Door County are included along the route. 



The entire ceremony can be watched below, as well as an interview with Ann Miller, who details the process of earning the national designation. 




Stopping the "summer slide"

The learning does not have to stop even if your kids are not enrolled in summer camp or school. According to WWS Parent University, only 48 percent of parents have heard of the “summer slide,” which occurs when kids lose some of their academic skills when they are not in school. That percentage drops to 38 percent when it comes to the lowest income family. Many parents rely on summer reading programs or educational trips as a way to prevent the summer slide from occurring among their kids. Karen Corekin-DeLaMer from Sister Bay’s Northern Door Children’s Center suggests parents keep some structure to the day similar to if they were in school.

Corekin-DeLaMer says if summer school or camps are not an option, she recommends parents still find a way for their kids to interact with others to keep their social connections active during the upcoming months.

Kewaunee County broadband expansion buffering

Some Kewaunee County residents will have to wait a little longer than originally expected for better internet. Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt says both the county and Bug Tussel Wireless were hoping to have things ready by late spring and early summer. Delays in getting the necessary equipment like computer microchips and securing the necessary locations have forced the timeline back to late July and early August. In some cases, it could be in the fall when things are up and running. Feldt says the towers and the equipment that have already been installed have built up enthusiasm in the community.

The plan calls for installing equipment on six existing towers and building another half dozen to provide better internet coverage for almost 90 percent of the county. Feldt says the county is planning on applying for another round of broadband expansion grants later this year. The Wisconsin Legislature approved this week $125 million to expand broadband access throughout the state. A Forward Analytics Report showed that nearly 25 percent of the rural Wisconsin population lacked high-speed internet.

Wisconsin lags behind in workouts

More Wisconsinites would rather split a six-pack with friends rather than work out according to a trail running and ultrarunning website. polled 3,000 Americans and found that the average workout session is approximately 18 minutes, three minutes more than what Wisconsinites usually do. It also lags behind the over 21 minutes a day recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. Bellin Health President and CEO Chris Woleske advises people looking to build up their exercise routine or start a new one to pick something they like and build up slowly.

About 68 percent of respondents say they would get more pleasure drinking with friends rather than working out. In addition to the physical benefits of getting active, Woleske says working out can help improve mood and combat depression. You can listen to the rest of our discussion of staying physically active on our Podcasts page.


Chris Woleske picture courtesy of Bellin Health

Infographic courtesy of

Quarry group maintains position

A member of the Quarry Neighborhood Action Group says the fight against a proposed condominium development is the same as it was when an RV village was in the picture. Earlier this month, the Door County Resource Planning Committee heard more details to subdivide 57 acres controlled by the Margaret Druetzer Trust into 43 condominiums located across from George Pinney County Park along Bay Shore Drive. The proposed parcels met the ordinance size and width requirements for the Recreational Commercial zoning district and the conceptual plat met land division ordinance requirements. Pete Hurth from Baudhuin Engineering answered questions about the roads, private wells, and septic systems that will be needed for the site. Opponents to the subdivision sent several emails to the county’s Land Use Services Director Mariah Goode, citing the site’s environmental risks among their concerns. Brenda Lange, who owns a home near the site, reiterated the points she made a month ago and in emails to the county recently.

No motion or vote is required for the conceptual plat review, but members of the Resource Planning Committee said the applicants could work on preparing and submitting a preliminary plat to be decided on at a future meeting.


Picture from June 3rd RPC Meeting Packet

Double play for Egg Harbor Firefighters

The Egg Harbor Fire Department was kept busy with a pair of blazes still under investigation on Wednesday.


A little after 11 a.m., firefighters headed to a trailer fire on West Carlsville Road where they found it fully engulfed. Egg Harbor Fire Chief Andy Staats said it appears it started in a back bedroom but no cause has been determined. The home’s residents were not at home at the time of the fire. Two of their cats died while the residents’ dogs were able to escape.



As they were wrapping up the scene there, firefighters had to travel to a field near Fairview Road where a bailer caught on fire and subsequently started parts of the field on fire as well. Faulty equipment could be to blame, but Staats said no exact cause was determined.



Over 12,000 gallons of water were used between the two fires and Staats is happy for their mutual aid partners.

Fire Departments in Sister Bay/Liberty Grove, Ephraim, Gibraltar, Jacksonport, Baileys Harbor, and Sturgeon Bay all assisted in Egg Harbor’s efforts over the course of several hours.

County Board looks to fill Wotachek's position

Supervisor Laura Vlies Wotachek has resigned from her position on the Door County Board.  Wotachek represents District 9 in Sturgeon Bay.  According to the news release by County Board President Dave Lienau,  any persons wishing to be considered for the vacant position can send a letter of interest to the County Administrator.  Letters must be received no later than noon on Wednesday, July 14.  Wotachek could not be reached on Wednesday afternoon for comment and her term was set to expire on April 18, 2022.  No reason was given for her resignation and you can read the news release here.



YMCA getting artistic

The Door County YMCA is getting diverse with children’s art offerings this summer. The YMCA is starting their Youth Art Camp series which is held on Fridays. The camp attempts to reach multiple age cohorts, as it’s available to children ages four and up. Marketing Director for the Door County YMCA Amy Gamble said that there are activities to reach people with all sorts of artistic interests. 



The Friday sessions last a half day. Gamble pointed out that the YMCA website will show guardians more information on Art Camp. According to the series, sessions are held until August 27th. 


Northern Door County road construction completed

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced that finishing touches were put on a $2.68 million project to make northern Door County transportation smoother. According to a press release from the DOT, all major construction on Wisconsin State Highway 42 from Scandia Road to Wisconsin Bay Road in the town of Liberty Grove and the village of Sister Bay has been completed. The project also reached goals, finishing on time and within its budget. The 9.6-mile project included milling and resurfacing, and added gravel to shoulders and pavement markings.

Bald Eagle numbers soar

One of the most prevalent symbols for the United States has made a strong comeback in the last forty years across the country and in northeast Wisconsin. Bald Eagles, which remain protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, have seen their population grow in the state since 1974. The last time the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources got to fully survey the numbers was in 2019 and there were 1684 occupied nests in the state and 21 in Door County. DNR Biologist Jacob Koebernick states that the public plays an important role in nest watching and reporting efforts. Koebernick says they’ll have a couple new nests in Door County to check out next year. 



Koebernick credits public awareness and waterway clean-up efforts for going a long way in improving the eagles’ ecology as well as eliminating use of certain pesticides like DDT. He adds that it’s not just symbolism that makes Bald Eagles important to Wisconsin’s ecosystem



Other ways the public can help are by being an Adopt an Eagle Nest Program donor or by being an Endangered Resources License Plate holder, in which some proceeds go to eagle habitat conservation.


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