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Government shutdown looms ahead of Saturday deadline

You may see a repeat of 2018’s government shutdown if Congress cannot come together by October 1st.


The Democratic-led Senate and the Republican-held House are working on separate plans to address the 12 different spending bills to fund agencies across the federal government. 


Once the clock strikes midnight on October 1st, it means millions of federal employees will have their paychecks delayed, federal offices and national parks will close, and other services will be halted until the problem is fixed. 


During the last government shutdown, organizations like Adopt-a-Soldier Door County provided interest-free loans and other assistance to local members of the United States Coast Guard, which like many other federal employees, were furloughed during the 35-day stretch. This was because the United States Coast Guard, unlike other military branches, is under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security and not the Department of Defense. U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin introduced a bill on September 18th that would make sure the Coast Guard were treated like other members of the Armed Forces and get paid during a government shutdown. 



To avoid future shutdowns, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson joined Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma on an amendment that would automatically provide continuing appropriations if new spending bills are not enacted by October 1st. If the amendment is included, he would vote for a stop-gap measure that bundles the 12 different funding bills into three different ones. 



Rep. Mike Gallagher has proposed a bill that would make sure $11 billion in previously appropriated defense funds from being canceled and go back to the U.S. Treasury instead of to the Department of Defense. He told WLUK this week that the House has to put their best foot forward when it comes to negotiating with the Senate on a new government funding bill to avert the shutdown. Gallagher admitted there might be a temporary shutdown, though there is a chance they could avoid it.


NEW Plastics shares national spotlight with Packers

While the play of the Green Bay Packers Thursday night may have forced you to turn your attention to other things, a local business may have caught your attention in between commercial breaks. NEW Plastics of Luxemburg was featured as one of the clips returning viewers to the game on Amazon Prime. The manufacturer produces reusable squeeze bottles for Gatorade, which is a sponsor of the NFL. Founded in 1968 by Irvin Vincent, NEW Plastics continues to be a family-owned company employing more than 200 people while producing a wide variety of plastic-based products ranging from bottles and containers to lumber.


Photo courtesy of Lynie Vincent


Truck destroyed in Union Fire

It is still a mystery how a truck caught on fire while driving in the Town of Union on Thursday. The Brusels-Union-Gardner Fire Department, Door County Sheriff’s Department, and Door County Emergency Services responded to the blaze that occurred off of State Highway 57 near County D just after 8:45 p.m. where a truck was pulled off to the side of the road fully engulfed. Firefighter Matt Phillips said the driver of the vehicle pulled over when he noticed smoke coming from the vehicle but did not know how it would have caught fire. Four firetrucks spent about an hour on the scene, two of which were used for traffic control since the incident occurred on the decline of a hill.  No one was injured in the fire, but the cause remains unknown.


One injured in Sturgeon Bay crash

A Sturgeon Bay woman was transported to Door County Medical Center for suspected minor injuries following a two-vehicle crash on Thursday. Sturgeon Bay Police officers were called to the corner of Michigan Street and 5th Avenue at about 9:45 a.m. after a car struck a sports utility vehicle. According to the police report, Kristopher Strandell of Forestville admitted to being at fault for the accident, adding that he did not look when he crossed Michigan Street heading north on 5th Avenue after being at a stop sign. He struck the SUV driver, Lisa Carmody of Sturgeon Bay, as she was traveling west on Michigan Street with the right of way. Her vehicle had to be towed from the scene while she was transported for treatment of her own. Strandell was cited for a failure to yield the right of way.  

"Great Fire" commemorated at the Belgian Heritage Center

The history of the "Great Fire of 1871", known locally as the Peshtigo Fire, will be revisited on its 152nd anniversary next month. Barb (Englebert) Chisholm, a fifth-generation American of Belgian descent with ancestors who survived the devastating fire, will speak at the Belgian Heritage Center during the Remembrance of the Great Fire. Dressed in character as her great-great-grandmother, Chisholm shares the story of the Englebert family's survival.

Chisholm will re-enact her program on Saturday, October 7 at 11 a.m.   Prior to that, Green Bay Metro Fire Chief David Siegel will also speak about the unique aspects of the Great Fire and why it was so deadly for many. The blaze swept through Northeastern Wisconsin and claimed over 1,200 lives. The fire devastated a large part of the Belgian settlement in one of the worst natural disasters in United States History on October 8, 1871. 

Republican debate takes on more combative tone in encore

Many of the Republican candidates for U.S. President pulled no punches when it came to attacking each other and some cases former President Donald Trump during Wednesday’s second debate.


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum took the stage at the Ronald Reagan President Library in California to discuss topics like the Biden administration, foreign policy, energy independence, and social media regulation.


With last month’s debate in Milwaukee in the rearview mirror, candidates frequently attacked each other and some put their crosshairs on former President Trump more often than they did the first time. Door County Republican Party Chairperson Stephanie Soucek said the combative nature of the debate made it a little bit harder for candidates to stand out compared to the first debate.

Soucek’s biggest hope with these debates is that the Republicans on stage are able to share their ideas on how to help the move the country forward and improve upon what has been done over the last four years under the Biden Administration. The next Republican debate is slated for November 8th in Miami.

Deer activity expected to increase

The Charlie Berens adage of “say hi to your folks and watch out for deer” will likely be a part of your daily routine over the next few months. October and November tend to be the busiest months for deer vs. vehicle accidents in Wisconsin. Last year, Door County 86 deer hits in October and November combined while Kewaunee County saw 84. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says it is important for motorists to keep their eyes open for deer, especially if you are driving a vehicle where you are not as protected. 

The breeding phase is the biggest reason for increased deer activity during October and November, especially during evening and nighttime hours. You can claim deer accidentally killed by a motor vehicle, but you do have to register it online. You also have to report the incident to local law enforcement.

Local manufacturers blocked from "Coolest Things" bracket

Products made by Sturgeon Bay’s Marine Travelift and Luxemburg’s SAS Forks are still cool, but you will not see them in the next round of the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce’s Coolest Things in Wisconsin Contest. Neither company had their items chosen for the 16-item bracket, which includes food and drinks, motor vehicles, and even skeeball in the mix. 


The SAS Extreme Auto Processor can be attached to medium-sized excavators making it easier to recover valuable materials from scrap car bodies like radiators, transmissions, and more.


Marine Travelift’s variable-width mobile boat hoists give operators nine feet of width variability and can expand and retract under a full load in 60 seconds.


Voting began earlier this month for the approximately 100 nominees and continued until September 26th. You can vote for the final 16 entries by clicking on this link.

Discussions begin on possible Egg Harbor roundabout

If the Village of Egg Harbor and Door County officials can agree, you might encounter a roundabout on your travels to and from its public beach. The Village of Egg Harbor discussed the possibility of erecting a temporary, pop-up roundabout near the “five corners area” south of downtown Egg Harbor where Horseshoe Bay Road/County Road G, Alpine Road, South Trail, Beach Road, and Hillside Trail all intersect. The intersection is controlled by stop signs now, but a temporary, pop-up roundabout could change that for a lot less money than constructing a full-fledged one like what is found in Sturgeon Bay and other communities. Since Horseshoe Bay Road/County Road G is a county-owned roadway, the village would need county approval to proceed. Door County Highway Commissioner Thad Ash is approaching the request from the Village of Egg Harbor with an open mind, but he does have some reservations about the potential project. Space and driving behaviors were the biggest concerns for him.

Ash says the conversation could lead to other ideas of what could be done for that area even if it doesn’t mean constructing a roundabout. East Palo Alto, Calif. Sioux Falls, S.D., Kaysville, Utah, and Wilmington, N.C. are all examples of municipalities that have used temporary roundabouts in the past to see if more permanent ones needed to be built. 



Donors needed during blood shortage, local drives start Thursday

You can help to make up the difference in the blood supply shortage in the area as the American Red Cross looks for more blood donors due to a shortfall in August.  The organization is in dire need of collecting 10,000 additional blood products each over the next month to meet patient and hospital needs.  The national Red Cross blood supply dropped by about 25 percent in late summer after one of the busiest travel seasons ever.  Locally, the American Red Cross will be holding seven upcoming blood drives the next month to help Door County Medical Center and other area hospitals stocked up with blood units. 


In Door County

Sturgeon Bay Community Church 11:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Thursday, September 28 

The First Baptist Church in Sister Bay 11:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tuesday, October 3 

Washington Island  Trinity Lutheran Church 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.Tuesday, October 4

NWTC in Sturgeon Bay  9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Thursday, October 19

Door County YMCA in Fish Creek  Noon until 5 p.m. on Friday, October 19

Baileys Harbor Town Hall 9:00 a.m. until 2 p.m. Thursday, October 26 


In Kewaunee County

Monday, October 2nd the American Red Cross will be having a blood drive near Luxemburg at the Pilsen Church on Highway 29 from 11:45 a.m. until 6 p.m.  



As an added incentive, the American Red Cross is giving donors a free $15 gift card by email for any blood donation between October 1 - 20. 


The Red Cross offers three ways to make a donation appointment that can help save lives:

Download the Red Cross Blood Donor App
Call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)


Nasewaupee Fire Rescue begins new era this week

You will see a new fire department officially starting up in Door County as of 10:00 p.m. today (Wednesday) when the Nasewaupee Fire Rescue begins operations in southern Door County.  The Town of New Nasewaupee will split from the Southern Door Fire Department which will continue to service the town and village of Forestville and Clay Banks.  Fire Rescue Chief Jacob Schartner says Nasewaupee received licensed approval from the State of Wisconsin for responding to fire calls and Emergency Medical Response by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services earlier this month.  Schartner shares the process of starting up the new department to be fully ready to go.



Schartner says the public will not notice any difference in services other than a new logo on the fire station, equipment, and clothing. Nasewaupee Fire Rescue currently has a staff of 25 firefighters and EMRs with hopes to hire five more people from recently received applications. 

Grand Opening set for Sturgeon Bay YMCA on October 8th

You can be part of the community to celebrate the Door County YMCA Sturgeon Bay Program Center expansion project next month.  Although the Door County YMCA has already opened its newly expanded facility in Sturgeon Bay, the Heart of the Community Capital Campaign Grand Opening will be held on October 8th.  Mission Advancement Executive Brett Cleveland says the celebration will be special for the staff and the community.



The renovation and expansion of the Sturgeon Bay Program Center was a $10.2 million project that added over 16,300 square feet of space including a wellness center, new youth activity center, outdoor classroom, and a new kitchen area for the year-round meals program.  The Heart of the Community Capital Campaign Grand Opening will be from 11:15 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 8th.  


Fire damages trailers in Nasewaupee

What started as a camper trailer fire on New Settlement Road southwest of Sturgeon Bay could have been a lot worse if not the the quick response by the Southern Door Fire Department on Tuesday afternoon.  Southern Door Assistant Fire Chief Chuck Cihlar says crews were dispatched around 2:30 p.m. to 2490 New Settlement Road.  Upon arrival, Cihlar was concerned about a 500-gallon propane tank that was only a few feet away from the fire-engaged camper trailer.  The fire was extinguished quickly, but substantial damage was already done to the smaller trailer and slight damage to two other storage trailers located by a shed. Cihlar says the fire was probably caused by a generator that was feeding an electrical panel in the camper from the shed that had a solar panel on it.



Cihlar notes that over 4,000 gallons of water were used to douse the blaze and that the scene was cleared shortly after 3:30 p.m.  An initial MABAS call to the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department was canceled when the fire was quickly put out.  No injuries were reported.

Travelers urged to start booking now for winter

The calendar may have just turned to fall, but airlines and their partners at airports across the country are encouraging you to start thinking about winter. Air traffic continues to nudge closer to pre-pandemic levels. Austin Straubel Airport in Green Bay has seen its air traffic increase by 15 percent each month over the last three months and it is on pace to be about 10 percent higher than in 2022. Airport Director Marty Piette thanks “revenge travel” for the uptick in air traffic as people continue to try to make up for trips canceled because of the pandemic. Piette says he expects more of the same to close out the year, urging potential fliers that if they want to lock in the right trip for the right price, the time is now.

As always, Piette encourages people to arrive early, review the different rules and regulations when it comes to your packing list, and bring a little patience as well. Local airports have been especially busy this week with the Green Bay Packers hosting their first two home games of the year within five days of each other.

Door County's love affair with lighthouses prevails

Although you may not use them for their intended purpose, lighthouses continue to fascinate people from near and far and of all ages. The Door County Maritime Museum’s Fall Lighthouse Festival is just the latest example of residents and visitors alike wanting to get up close to Door County’s 11 lighthouses plus others in Kewaunee, Algoma, and Green Bay. For many, this is the only time people can visit and tour the structures, many of which have either gone automated or dark as the times have changed. Door County Maritime Museum Deputy Director & Development Manager Sam Perlman says people remain fascinated by lighthouses and the stories that make them even more unique.

While some tours are sold out, Perlman says there is still some availability depending on if you want to travel by air, water, or land. Making the Fall Lighthouse Festival even more attractive is the arrival of the fall colors to the peninsula. According to the Travel Wisconsin Fall Color Report, Door County is at 15 percent peak while Algoma is at 25 percent.


Presidential candidates ready for debate encore on Wednesday

You will be able to hear from most of the Republican Presidential candidates on Wednesday as the political party hosts its second debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum will all take the stage for their second debate while former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson failed to meet the minimum standards for fundraising and polling to join the group behind his podium. The debate serves as an encore to last month’s event that took place at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, which will also host next year’s Republican National Convention. Door County Republican Party Stephanie Soucek was among those who attended the debate and gave her thoughts on the candidates who participated the next day.

Former President Donald Trump, who leads the polls with 55.2 percent of likely voters supporting him according to FiveThirtyEight, is opting to not participate. DeSantis leads the debate field with 13.8 percent, followed by Ramaswamy (6.1 percent) and Haley (5.6 percent). According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll, Trump is also leading the poll against his likely opponent President Joe Biden, leading him 51 percent to 42 percent. No one is likely to challenge Biden in a presidential primary, though the same poll shows only 33 percent of Democrats prefer Biden as the nominee while 63 percent would rather choose someone else. The debate is scheduled to air at 8 p.m. on the Fox Business Channel. 


Photo courtesy of Stephanie Soucek

One injured in Friday's Ephraim rollover crash

A Sister Bay man was injured and transported to Door County Medical Center as the result of a one-vehicle crash into a concrete barrier Friday afternoon.


The Door County Sheriff’s Department responded to the scene on State Highway 42 near Holand Road just after 4 p.m. with the car resting against a concrete wall with its passenger-side door up in the air. According to the crash report released on Tuesday by the Door County Sheriff’s Department, the driver, Jerry Lee Zaug of Sister Bay, was still seated on the driver’s side and was being treated for a possible diabetic issue when deputies arrived. Zaug was transported to the hospital to be treated for his injuries. The car had to be towed away while the owner of the property was alerted about the damage sustained to the wall as a result of the crash.


The incident closed down the roadway for approximately one hour and crews reopened it shortly before 5:15 p.m.

Algoma in search of new City Treasurer

The City of Algoma is looking to fill the treasurer position currently held by Amber Shallow, who will be leaving her post on October 13.  City Administrator Matt Murphy says Shallow did a great job over her ten years of working for the city, especially the application process for community development block grants earned by Algoma over the years.  Murphy describes the work Shallow performed over the years and expectations for the new treasurer.



Murphy adds that Shallow has agreed to help out after October 13th with onboarding the new person who is hired and working some evenings if needed.   

EV Charger Mini-Grant Program restarts next month

You will have another opportunity to get a little financial assistance installing a new EV charger with help from Destination Door County. The organization is opening its third round of mini-grants on Sunday at 8 a.m. for area businesses that want to install the electric vehicle infrastructure needed to charge cars when needed. The $ 1,000 grants are open to any Door County business, non-profit organization, or government entity wishing to upgrade their current equipment or to install new products. The grants have disappeared quickly in the past because of interest in the program, which is part of Destination Door County’s sustainability initiatives. You can find more information about the program by clicking this link. The mini-grants program for EV chargers is expected to expire at the end of the year, but there is a possibility that it will get extended. There is a network of over 50 charging stations in Door County, located primarily in Sturgeon Bay, Sister Bay, Fish Creek, Ephraim, Ellison Bay, Egg Harbor, and Baileys Harbor.


Inattentive driving blamed for Sturgeon Bay crash

No one was hurt but an accident in Sturgeon Bay early Sunday afternoon gave you a lesson in the importance of keeping your eyes on the road. The Sturgeon Bay Police Department was called to State Highway 42/57 near Utah Street just after noon on Sunday after a two-vehicle crash led to both of them getting towed. According to the police report, Max Boursaw of Sturgeon Bay was driving behind Zhifeng Liu of Algoma when his eyes went off the road. When his pickup truck hit the rumble strips on the shoulder of the road, Boursaw overcorrected and tried swerving around Liu’s vehicle before striking it. His truck went off the roadway and both vehicles suffered significant front-end damage. The accident caused major back-ups on State Highway 42/57 as many people were traveling home after their weekend stays. The road was closed for about 25 minutes and the scene was cleared before 12:45 p.m. Boursaw was cited for inattentive driving and operating a vehicle without insurance. 

Kratom legalization explored by Assembly Republicans

Whether you eat, drink, or inhale it, kratom could be legalized if approved by state officials later this year.


Rep. John Macco of Ledgeview and four other legislators introduced the bill known as AB 393 last week calling for the legalization of the herbal supplement some use to self-treat conditions like pain, anxiety, and opioid use disorder. Under the bill, kratom would be regulated to help prevent other issues from occurring. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, kratom can produce opioid and stimulant-like effects depending on the dosage. Its usage has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for medical use. Rep. Macco told WBAY last week that it would be a “great alternative to add some of the drug problems we have.”


Door County Sheriff’s Department drug investigator Elizabeth Williams says they have not seen too many issues yet with kratom but knows that despite it being a misdemeanor to possess, people can order the supplement through the mail. She sees kratom as an accessory to other drug use, not necessarily a replacement.

Assembly Republicans introduced a bill legalizing kratom last year, but the effort was dropped due to criticism from law enforcement. Kratom is legal in over 40 states with some stipulations and approximately 1.7 million Americans 12 and older used the substance in 2021.

Corn maze puts state's history forward

You can get lost in a corn maze and in the state’s agricultural history thanks to a fall attraction in Forestville.


The 175th anniversary of Wisconsin inspired the Guilette family to design its Red Barn Corn Maze in the state of Wisconsin, adding other features of America’s Dairyland into the final product. Visitors can follow the outline of the state and other elements of the Wisconsin flag.



Jan Guilette designed the course on graph paper before they planted the corn and subsequently began carving the path with a lawnmower. With the entrance stationed just outside a tent featuring old farm equipment, Guilette hopes visitors learn and have fun at the same time.

For those wanting less history and more hysterics, the Red Barn Corn Maze will feature a haunted maze on Fridays in October. Guilette credits members of the former Southern Door Haunted Mansion for helping them outfit the maze and help continue a Southern Door-area Halloween tradition.



Community Choir of Door County starting up on Tuesday

You can bring your vocal talents and sing with the Community Choir of Door County for the fall season.  The Community Choir is for all ages and levels of talent and skills.  The group will meet on Tuesday, September 26, and rehearse from 5:30 until 7:00 p.m. weekly during the season at the Sturgeon Bay High School choir room.  The first planned performance will be for a Veteran’s Day performance, and they sing the Messiah during the holidays.  There are no auditions or mandatory attendance, and a $25 dues fee covers expenses.  The choir director is Avery Burns and Cheryl Pfister is the choir’s founder.  If you want more information on the Community Choir of Door County, contact them on their Facebook page.  

Accident snarls traffic near bridge

An accident near the Bayview Bridge may affect your commute through Sturgeon Bay on Sunday.

A multi-vehicle accident between the Bayview Bridge and Utah Street closed both lanes of traffic as emergency crews clear the scene.


Crews were still on the scene as of 12:20 p.m., forcing people to use Sturgeon Bay's downtown bridges to travel across town. 


We will have more details on this incident when they become available.

"Sinking of the Erie L. Hackley" commemorated 120 years later

You can find out the interesting facts behind what is considered the largest single sea disaster in the history of Green Bay waters and how the loss impacted Fish Creek.  The last Gibraltar Talks for the 2023 season next month will feature the “Sinking of the Erie L. Hackley”.  The presentation will tell the story and numerous accounts of the survivors and victims of the tragedy that occurred on October 3rd, 1903.   Eleven people perished with only eight survivors who clung to the wreckage.  Gibraltar Historical Association Director Laurie Buske says the evening will have a narrator who will tell the story with community members representing the characters who were involved in the disaster 120 years ago.



The steamship transported freight and passengers across Green Bay waters long before roads and highways were around and sank near Marinette in 110 feet of water. The “Sinking of the Erie L. Hackley, the Day Fish Creek Stood Still” presentation will be at 7 p.m. at Gibraltar’s Old Town in Fish Creek on Tuesday, October 3rd.  The program is free to the public and you are encouraged to bring any articles or stories related to the sinking of the steamboat that evening. 


(Photo contributed)

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