COVID-19 Update – Pending cases drop as Kewaunee County tests four more positives

Local public health officials continue to work through the backlog of pending COVID-19 cases as Kewaunee County saw four additional cases of COVID-19 added to their workload on Thursday.  Door County Public Health officials disclosed no new positive cases while receiving 45 more test results on Thursday.  Pending cases in Door County dropped below 200 for the first time in several weeks and actives remained at only four.  Kewaunee County noted two more recoveries from the coronavirus and 20 total active cases with pending cases dropping to 103 in Kewaunee County.  On Thursday, Wisconsin saw a spike of new cases and the positive testing rate compared to Wednesday. Positive results nearly doubled with 943 cases reflecting 7.6 percent of all tests.  You can find the area’s COVID-19 situation report below.



Land and Water Committee given to-do list

Kewaunee County residents gave its Land and Water Conservation Committee a dozen different items to focus on over the coming year. Some of the suggestions included different fees for variances, spill responses, and confined animal feeding operations while others asked farmers to reduce herds and increase the use of cover crops and no-till practices. Committee Chairperson Chuck Wagner says there are things the county could do better, but some of the suggestions would need legislative approval.

Wagner saluted the farmers and the Land and Water Conservation Department staff for working together to address the concerns of the community. Residents also requested recommendations made by the state’s water quality task force be supported and restrictions on manure storage and hauling be enforced.


Technology education provides opportunity for island

Staff at the state’s smallest school district continues to benefit from national technology-based programs. Washington Island School District teachers recently participated in a session with mindSpark Learning earlier this week through a sponsorship from Samsung. It is just the latest opportunity the district has benefit from since teacher Miranda Dahlke’s eighth-grade class won the 2019 Samsung Solve for Tomorrow state-level contest by addressing the island’s wastewater concerns during the high and low tourism times. In the year since, Dahlke has traveled across the country participating in trainings with other educators and has gotten involved with a nationwide cohort teacher academy. Dahlke says the opportunity has allowed students and teachers access to the same technology tools other bigger and wealthier school districts get to use.

The extra information comes at a crucial time for Dahlke and other staff members at Washington Island School District as they have been forced to adjust to virtual learning options due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Washington Island School will open for in-person instruction on September 1st, but parents still concerned about their kids’ safety can opt for virtual instruction.


Picture courtesy of Washington Island School District

Kewaunee County Park repeatedly vandalized

Another Kewaunee County Park is being victimized by vandals this week. The Kewaunee County Promotions and Recreation Department has been forced to clean up graffiti and unwind swings from poles twice over the last five days in addition to picking up a large amount of trash not making its way to the proper receptacles. Parks Director Dave Myers says the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the incidents as they beef up on other efforts to keep the park safe and clean.

Myers says specific plans addressing the vandalism will be discussed at an upcoming committee meeting. The Algoma Parks Department was forced to institute a curfew for a time at Perry Park after it suffered through similar graffiti and littering issues in May. Similar to Door County, the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department has been forced to address other vandalism calls specific to political signs posted on private property.



Fairest embracing virtual role

Door County Fairest of the Fair Michaela Guilette is making the most of her virtual reign this year. Crowned the Door County Fairest of the Fair during the canceled event’s virtual celebration, Guilette kept busy by helping host events on its Facebook page, connecting with residents on their favorite fair foods, and conducting a coloring contest. It is not what the current Northeast Wisconsin Technical College student envisioned when she submitted her application to follow in her sister Katie’s footsteps. She is, however, embracing the positives.

The lack of local events will keep Guilette out of the public’s eye for now, but she will still be busy with her position at the soon-to-be-closed Barker Child Development Center and its replacement, the Door Community Child Development Center.


Listen to our full conversation here

Sturgeon Bay man dies, woman injured in Waushara County crash

A 65-year old Sturgeon Bay man died Wednesday afternoon after his vehicle was struck by a semi-truck in Waushara County.


According to a WBAY report, the Wisconsin State Patrol responded to the crash scene at the intersection of Highway 21 and County V in Coloma just after 1 p.m. The state patrol says the semi-truck ran through a stop sign on County V, striking the vehicle driven by the Sturgeon Bay man as he drove east on Highway 21. The man's passenger, a 63-year old woman from Sturgeon Bay and the semi-truck driver from Bloomington, Ill. were also injured in the crash and airlifted to a hospital in Madison. The crash is still under investigation and we will provide more information about this incident as it becomes available. 

Party leaders on how Biden/Harris ticket play locally

Door County political party leaders are sharing their assessments of  U.S. Senator Kamala Harris as former Vice President Joe Biden's running mate.  Door County Democratic Party Chair David Hayes believes Harris's qualities will appeal to Midwestern voters.




Door County Republican Party Chair Stephanie Soucek believes local voters might question some of Harris's West Coast values.




Harris served as California Attorney General before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016. 



Stephanie Soucek, Door County Republican Chapter

Schoolhouse being renovated at Heritage Village

The Vignes School is being renovated. The project started at the end of July with work done on the south wall at its current location in the Heritage Village at Big Creek. The south wall, and entrance, was completed first. After pulling off the old siding, members of the Door County Historical Society found the wood underneath to be rotted to the point of needing replacement. President Bailey Koepsel says the work is drawing a crowd.


The crew is now focusing its efforts on the siding of the building, sanding and priming in anticipation of a new coat of the school’s signature white paint. 

The building stopped serving students in the 1970s and served as the town hall for Clay Banks before being donated to the Heritage Village in 1994. It acts as a meeting place and hosts presentations from a variety of groups. Koepsel says the renovation work has been planned for years and is the only major project expected for some time. The Door County Historical Society has previously put a new roof on the building and restored its interior and wood flooring. 


Rotted wood underneath south wall of the schoolhouse.


Sanding and priming near the windows.



Hit and run accident in Baileys Harbor Tuesday night

The AC Tap, located at 8322 State Highway 57 in Baileys Harbor, was the scene of a hit and run accident Tuesday night. Deputy Chief Patrick McCarty of the Door County Sheriff’s Office says only one vehicle was occupied at the time of the collision.


The exact model is not known, but McCarty says the Sheriff’s Office is looking for a black GMC pickup truck in connection with the incident. McCarty did not comment on if alcohol was a factor. The hit and run happened just after 7 PM. 


Door County down to four active cases

Door and Kewaunee Counties both reported two new active COVID-19 cases with a drop in overall disease activity. Door is at 108 total while Kewaunee stands at 134. Door County is down to just four current cases. In Kewaunee, 18 people are infected, marking a gradual drop from levels seen late last week. The decreasing caseload is being seen statewide with fewer than 500 new COVID-19 infections announced on Wednesday, compared to nearly 900 the same day the previous week.



Community Protection Committee approves Ephraim Fire purchase

At a meeting Tuesday morning, the Village of Ephraim Community Protection Committee approved a new command vehicle for the fire department. The item was originally brought up in a regular meeting on August 4th, but following a presentation from Chief Justin MacDonald, it was decided that more information was needed. Tuesday’s special session fleshed out details about why the vehicle was required. MacDonald said that adding to the department’s fleet would allow the brush truck to remain available at all times for frontline needs. MacDonald also pointed out how important it was to have a space where he could direct the department’s efforts at the scene of a fire that is distraction-free. 


Ephraim Fire intends to bid on a 2013 Chevrolet Tahoe at an upcoming auction, with the expected price around $15,000. The vehicle is owned jointly by the Town of Washington and the Door County Sheriff’s Department. It has been used for several years, with approximately 80,000 miles on it. Should Ephraim Fire win the bidding process, it is expected that the Tahoe would have a useful life of about ten years before needing to be replaced. MacDonald said he has spoken with Deputy Chief Patrick McCarty about the Tahoe and was told it is in good working order. 
The Tahoe body is painted gray, which is acceptable for its potential new role, but it will have to be modified with appropriate lighting and lettering, among other changes that could total as much as $8,000. Member John Cox was the only vote against the measure. He said there are more pressing needs for the department, including an expansion of the fire station.


Wheelchair accessible boardwalk planned at Newport State Park

The Newport Wilderness Society has received a $20,000 Knowles-Nelson stewardship grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to install a boardwalk on the fern loop at Newport State Park. While the path totals over 2 miles, the new installation is intended to cover around a third of a mile. President Gene Kenny says flooding is becoming a more severe problem in springtime. Some years that extends well into the summer season, and those conditions are keeping the path from being Americans with Disabilities Act compliant, which is the intention.


A 2003 project in conjunction with the Boy Scouts installed roughly 400 feet of boardwalk already. The path also features several aids for the visually and hearing impaired. Restoration of existing facilities and the new pathway comes with a price tag of over $100,000. Kenny says a fundraising campaign begins later this year. That should not be affected by COVID-19, but construction may get pushed back if restrictions continue into 2021. Kenny says there are already plans to potentially do the project in a piecemeal fashion over several years. The DNR grant does not expire until 2022. 

Newport State Park is a dark sky preserve, the only one in the Door Peninsula, but there are no programs scheduled to celebrate this year’s Perseid meteor shower. Kenny shares that the park’s naturalist, Beth Bartoli, is not permitted to organize group events at this time. Kenny says individuals are encouraged to take advantage of Newport’s facilities with peak activity expected the next two nights.


Photo courtesy of the Newport Wilderness Society Facebook page. Taken in 2017.


Door County vacation rentals attracting younger visitors

Door County is drawing more interest in vacation rentals from younger travelers.  That's according to the analytics firm AirDNA.  It found that Airbnb bookings in Door County have risen about 15-percent among people from larger metropolitan areas.  Destination Door County Communications Director Jon Jarosh says his organization has noticed increased interest this summer, especially among younger adults.




Jarosh says the official number of July visits to Door County will be known about mid-September.

Gibraltar School District explores COVID mitigation efforts

The Board of Education met Monday night for Gibraltar School District to hear a presentation from Johnson Controls on new technologies available that reduce COVID transmission. Director of Learning Tim Mulrain says there are several possible options. The first is to increase circulation using the building’s existing HVAC unit. That is expected to lead to additional wear on the ventilation system, which would decrease its useful life. Especially during winter, the temperature of outdoor air will need to be modified significantly before it can make its way into classrooms or offices, and that stands to create a hefty heating bill. 
Options two and three involve new HEPA filters and bumping up the building’s relative humidity. Ultraviolet light scrubbers were also included in the presentation, along with what Mulrain feels is the most effective technology.


Johnson Controls says that the new air filter system reduces airborne COVID-19 molecules by as much as 90 percent. It is being installed in colleges and other academic settings in addition to county courthouses and government facilities. Mulrain says the system is also part of the HVAC unit for the Fiserv Forum, home of the Milwaukee Bucks. 
Gibraltar plans to be flexible for the beginning of the academic year, transitioning between in-person instruction, a hybrid model, and remote learning as conditions dictate. COVID-19 activity levels in Door County have fluctuated between moderate and high since the beginning of July. 


Primary election results for Door, Kewaunee Counties

The treasurer’s race in Door County was the only contested race across the peninsula. Five candidates vied to represent their respective party on the November ballot. Chief Deputy treasurer Ryan Schley won a plurality of votes in a three-way race to clinch the Republican nomination. He secured 1,534 votes or 48% of the overall tally. Jan Arbter Anderson was victorious against Ashley DeGrave on the Democratic side, garnering 1,925 votes, 55.33% of the total.

All other races featured a lone candidate or write-ins only. The preliminary results are below.


Door County


Kewaunee County:


Door County working on resurfacing projects

A resurfacing project by the Door County Highway Department near the Cherryland Airport will start up next Monday.  The roadway on County C from Rileys Bay Road to County PD will be detoured for a month while the construction is being completed.  Door County Highway Commissioner John Kolodziej estimates that the road work will take about a month.



Kolodziej notes that local drivers needing to access the roadway should be aware of loose gravel and dusty conditions.  Workers will be on the job site from 6 am until 5 pm on weekdays.  Other projects planned for later this summer include another resurfacing on County U from Johnson Road to just south of Lake Lane and overlay work on County M from County C north to Hainesville Road.




Public Notice


CTH C Resurfacing Project – Rileys Bay Road to CTH PD


August 10, 2020


The Door County Highway Department will begin a resurfacing project on CTH C from Rileys Bay Road to CTH PD on August 17, 2020. The work includes milling off the existing pavement followed by placement of new hot mix asphalt surface, gravel shouldering and pavement marking. 


Traffic Control: The Roadway will be closed to thru traffic during construction hours each working day on the project. Local access to property will be permitted. A detour will be established and signed to include Rileys Bay Road, Sand Bay Road (CTH SB) and CTH PD. All sections will be opened to traffic at the end of each workday. Sections may require complete closure of the roadway for the milling and paving operations. The highway department will provide signage in advance of the closed sections when this occurs. Access for emergency vehicles will be provided at all times. 


Project Schedule: Pulverizing the existing asphalt pavement will begin on Monday, August 17, 2020 at the intersection of CTH C and Rileys Bay Road. Paving operations will begin the week of August 17, 2020. All work is scheduled to be completed by September 18, 2020. Workers will be on the job site between the hours of 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday thru Friday. 


Please be advised to use caution around road construction crews and equipment. As with any road construction project, the work is controlled by favorable weather. Because of the scope of work, you will experience dusty conditions, loose gravel and uneven paving lanes. Please slow down when traveling the roadway. All motorists are urged to use caution in the construction area and to obey all signage. 


Questions regarding this work can be answered by contacting the Door County Highway Department at 920-746-2500. Thank you for your cooperation. 

Performances going virtual

Entertainment venues in Door County have taken to virtual performances and online events to offset the unfortunate cancellations of summer and fall shows.  Jeff Herbst, artistic director for Northern Sky Theater in Fish Creek says the performing arts group has adjusted to keep followers and supporters engaged.



Herbst has collaborated with Katie Dahl for a weekly online show since July 12 on Sundays that will run until September 27.  A Songs of Hope event is planned for August 21.  Northern Sky Theater announced the cancelation of their fall season last month.  You can find the most recent video from the last “Jeff and Katie Show” below. 






City shoring up Sunset Park

The flooding of Little Lake in Sunset Park, brought on by higher water levels, has the City of Sturgeon Bay working to protect some valuable real estate.  Municipal Director Mike Barker says shoreline restoration and protection for the project is expected to start in September and finish in late fall.  He says many parts of Sunset Park are still open and accessible, but you may have to do a little more walking.



The City of Sturgeon Bay accepted a bid from Payne & Dolan from Waukesha to do the restoration work at a budget of $200,930 last month.  Barker adds that bids are still out for the restoration project for the railroad spur on Sturgeon Bay’s west side.  



COVID-19 Update:  No new COVID-19 cases reported in area on Tuesday

The total number of positive COVID-19 cases in the area held steady on Tuesday as the State of Wisconsin’s death toll surpassed the 1,000 mark with eight additional deaths reported.  Door County Public Health reported no new positive tests on Tuesday while noting five more recoveries and leaving only eight active cases.  Kewaunee County did not show any more positive tests for COVID-19 on Tuesday and remains at 132.  The active cases dropped to 21 with three new recoveries reported.  You can find the updated COVID-19 report from Door and Kewaunee Counties below.






Adults, kids on same wavelength for anxiety

While the pandemic is relatively new, how to handle the anxiety surrounding it is not according to Kewaunee County UW Extension Family Life Educator Renee Koenig. Research shows children often imitate the brain state of the adults they are around. This causes children to operate with the emotional side of their brain without thinking through the issue at hand. Koenig says by decreasing your children’s access to sources of stress, practicing calming skills, and empathizing with them, you can help them feel less afraid or anxious.

She adds that if fears or worries get in the way of daily life, a possible anxiety order should be addressed with help from a therapist, doctor, or school counselor. You can read more about Koenig’s thoughts on anxiety, fear, and worry below.



In ambiguous situations, such as the COIVD-19 pandemic, we don’t have past experiences to give us direction on how to act or what might happen. Research shows that in ambiguous situations humans feel nervous, uncertain, or out of control. When we feel anxious and afraid, we function as if we are under attack – using our “emotional” brain instead of using our “thinking” brain skills. Our “thinking” brain helps us understanding other people’s emotions, practice perspective taking, and calm down. Our “emotional” brain, on the other hand, prepares us for safety by activating our fight, flight, or freeze response.


“Both ways of thinking have their purpose but our fight or flight response was intended for short term needs. Long term anxiety and stress can be harmful,” says Renee Koenig, Associate Professor for UW-Madison Extension. “There’s not much we can do to change the level of ambiguity outside our door. Adults can, however, be mindful of how our anxiety, fear, and stress impacts children. Parents can set the stage in their own home to help children manage anxiety and stress.”


Children often imitate the brain state of the adults around them – when adults activate their emotional brain, kids move into their emotional brain. Imagine two scenarios: a child has spilled a cup of milk. In the first scenario, the parent yells at the child for the mistake. This child yells or melts down in response. In the second scenario, the parent takes a deep breath and says, “Mistakes happen. Grab a towel and we’ll clean it up together.” Most likely this parent and child work together to calmly clean up the milk. Children co-regulate with adult help; they need an adult to model calm and problem solving before they can access those skills independently.


When children or adults are feeling stressed, angry, or fearful, one thing adults can do to help children is to practice and model calm. Try to be aware when you are feeling anxious or afraid of what might be triggering that feeling. You can try to minimize your exposure to that trigger. But we often can’t fully avoid the source of our anxiety. Instead when you feel anxious, practice actively calming yourself by taking deep belly breaths and talking to someone you trust about your feelings.


Parents can also teach these skills to children:

Decrease children's access to adult sources of stress or worry. Turn off the news and, instead, ask your child what he has heard or wants to know. As a child grows older, teach her that she is allowed to adjust her exposure to triggering movies, books, social media feeds, or news.

Practice calming skills together to better understand how to handle anxiety-producing moments. Teach deep breathing by pretending to smell a flower and blow out a candle or using a straw to blow a paper ball across the table. Make a mindful jar and take deep breaths until the glitter settles to the bottom.  

Empathize and problem solve with your child. When he is scared or angry describe the emotion – “You’re sad that you can’t go to the playground. I’d be sad about that too.” Then work together to find a next step – “It’s ok to feel sad. Would it help to think of some things you can do now?”


“During this time of global uncertainty and stress, parents have the power to turn the dial down on the stress and worry that children experience at home,” says Koenig. For everyday worries and fears, supportive parenting can help children cope with these anxieties. Parents teach children healthy ways to reduce anxiety when they model calming techniques and recognize emotions. Parents also help children advocate for themselves and problem solve a less anxiety-producing approach.


UW-Madison Extension Parenting. . . Behind the Behavior videos offer additional positive parenting ideas at . You can tune in weekly from home for parenting support from Extension educators.


Feeling afraid, worried, or anxious is normal for children and adults. When fears or worries get in the way of daily life, however, they may be a sign of an anxiety disorder -- this is an important time to talk to a doctor, therapist, or school counselor.


For more information on parenting, contact the Kewaunee County UW-Madison Division of Extension office at or 920-388-7137.




Women's Fund recognizes "sheroes"

The Women’s Fund of Door County is making “sheroes” out of everyday people making a difference in the community during the pandemic. The organization began honoring women  last week when it paid tribute to United Way of Door County Executive Director Amy Kohnle for her partnership with others to address rental assistance, food needs, and childcare. This week the Women’s Fund honored Nicolet Bank’s Michelle Sternard for helping local businesses stay open during uncertain times. Women’s Fund Board Member Jennifer Moeller hopes through these stories, young women and girls find inspiration to serve their community.

Recognizing local “sheroes” is part of this year’s virtual Celebrate Women! Luncheon, which past in-person events have served as the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year.



Ferry line meeting the demand

People taking advantage of the outdoors are finding their way to the Washington Island Ferry Line. As the pandemic wore on, the Washington Island Ferry slowly expanded its services as the state opened up. Ferry President Hoyt Purinton says they look at weather reports, website hits, and hotel bookings to forecast how ridership may be a couple of weeks out. Although he has been surprised by the amount of traffic all things considered, Purinton says there have been some factors working in their favor.

The Washington Island Ferry Line is doing daily roundtrips to and from Northport about every 45 minutes from 6:45 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. in addition to weekend night trips.

Century farm status important to Salentine

It was not the celebratory year Salentine Homestead Farm in Luxemburg was planning for, but fourth-generation owner Josh Salentine says getting to this point is what is most important. The 400-plus cow dairy operation was to celebrate its Century Farm status by hosting the Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm in June and be formally recognized at the Wisconsin State Fair on Tuesday before both events were canceled. He believes his great-grandparents and grandparents would marvel at the efficiency they have been able to develop to produce more crops and milk. Given the strife many dairy farms have faced in recent years, he is proud to carry on his family’s tradition.

Over 10,000 farms across Wisconsin have earned Century Farm status since the program was introduced in 1948. Salentine says he is excited for a second attempt at celebrating when it hosts the Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm in 2022. Other Century Farms honored are listed below:


Door County—Beverly Knutson, North Bay Road Farms, Sister Bay


Kewaunee County—Glenn and Gloria Paplham, Living Trust, Kewaunee; Mary and Jim, Jenny and Josh Salentine, Salentine Homestead Dairy LLC, Luxemburg; Tammy and Wayne Selner, Kewaunee


Picture courtesy of the Kewaunee County Dairy Promotion Committee





Schools preparing for reopening

With elementary schools looking to return to face-to-face instruction this fall, St. Mary School in Algoma has operational plans in place to follow guidelines set down by the Diocese of Green Bay and health officials.  Cindy Massey, the lead teacher at St. Mary School in Algoma, says the staff is taking all the precautions to make the return to the classroom as safe as possible.  She says teachers are on board and anxious to return to teaching as well.



St. Mary School in Algoma formed a panel of stakeholders who reviewed the Reopening School Buildings Risk Assessment Tool from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.  Massey notes that the school’s smaller population of students will make it easier to socially-distance in the classroom.


(photo submitted,  2019-20 school year)


Click here for reopening details


Special meteor viewing this week

An annual phenomenon in the dark skies will be taking place this week.  The Door County Astronomical Society is hosting a public viewing of the Perseid meteor shower this week at the Astronomy Campus in Sturgeon Bay.  The viewing will coincide with the peak time of the meteor on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings from 9:30 until 11:30 pm.  President Dave Lenius says that there is a back-up plan if the meteor showers are not visible.



Lenius says meteors are essentially leftover remnants of a comet tail which triggers bursts of light from the small dust fragments burning up in the earth’s atmosphere.  The public is invited to bring lawn chairs while social distancing and wearing masks.




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