DCEDC welcomes back Wisconsin economic outlook report

Local governments and economic development organizations will once again have access to the latest information on Wisconsin's economic trends.  The Department of Revenue is resuming publication of the "Wisconsin Economic Outlook", which had been issued quarterly from 1970 until 2015.  Jim Schuessler, Executive Director of the Door County Economic Development Corporation, says the report provides needed information to help communities with economic planning.



The latest "Wisconsin Economic Outlook" projects the national and state economies will continue growing in 2019. That growth, however, will be at a slower pace as the impact of the federal fiscal stimulus starts to fade.

Fighting back after dark web identity theft

Whether you live in New York City or Sturgeon Bay hackers can take your information from the internet or from computers at stores where you've shopped.  From there it can be sold on the so-called "dark web".  Credit monitoring services, however, may not be the answer for which victims of identity theft are looking.  While they can help fix problems caused by hackers, the stolen information cannot be removed.  Nathan Drager, co-owner of Quantum PC in Sturgeon Bay, says while credit monitoring can be a valuable tool there are simpler steps people can take to protect themselves.



Drager says your information can be sold for as little as $2 along with stolen ID's from hundreds of thousands of other people.  That makes hacked ID's a big business on the "dark web".

Poetry on display at Door County Libraries in April

The art of poetry has been around for millennia and Door County libraries will be celebrating it in the month of April. Professional poets including Door County’s Poet Laureate Sharon Auberle will be sharing their poetry this month. Door County students will also be sharing poetry in the month of April. Those poetry events will be at the Fish Creek, Bailey’s Harbor, Forestville and Sturgeon Bay branches. At all Door County Library branches, they will host blackout poetry events. Tina Kakuske, Director of Door County Libraries, explains blackout poetry. 



Specific times are not official as of yet. Go to to check for times which will be posted at a later date.

Spring break is a good time to vaccinate

With many students on spring break this week the Door County Department of Public Health says this is as good a time as ever to get your children vaccinated. Especially before leaving Door County to go on a vacation it’s very important to be fully vaccinated according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, so as not to catch or spread disease. Katie VanLaanen, a nurse for the Door County Department of Public Health, says it’s a good time to get your kids vaccinated as many college students are also on spring break.


Southern Door, Sturgeon Bay and Sevastopol Schools will have all or part of this week off for spring break. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says 228 people have contracted measles so far in 2019 including some cases in Illinois.

Best of Door County voting going on now

You can vote for your favorite Door County businesses online to decide which ones are truly the best in the area. In its third year, the annual contest celebrates the best of the best across several different categories. Quantum PC has won best computer repair service the last two years, something executive vice president Erin Helgeson says has had a positive impact on their business.

After winning several categories last year including best dining view and old fashioned, Donny’s Glidden Lodge owner Tim Zellner said it is an honor to be chosen.

Voting for Best of Door County runs until April 7th

Kewaunee looks to life after Shopko

Kewaunee, Sister Bay, and other communities across the country are asking themselves the same question: what are they going to do after Shopko disappears? The Green Bay-retailer announced this week it would close all of it stores after a deal for someone to buy its retail operations fell through. Kewaunee’s location has been in liquidation mode since February and expects to close for good in May. Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Richard Baker says the city of Kewaunee has a task force in place to help find the right business to fill the space with the building’s owner. He believes a study done about a year ago gave the city a good idea of what kinds of businesses to go after.

The city of Kewaunee filled one major void last week when it was announced a pharmacy was moving into the former Lakeshore Pizza Company building to be open on June 1st. You can see other updates from Kewaunee Mayor Sandi Christman online with this story.



Shoplifting remains problem locally for stores and thieves

Retailers in Door and Kewaunee Counties face losses from shoplifters, although on a much smaller scale than communities such as Appleton or Green Bay.  The Sturgeon Bay Police Department investigated 30 retail thefts during 2018, ranging from no reported thefts October and November to as many as five in February and September.   Sturgeon Bay Sergeant Investigator Chad Hougard says, however, larger stores have the ability to handle retail theft on their premises.  He adds that improvements in video recording can better help smaller stores nab offenders.



Algoma Police Chief Randy Remiker says shoplifting is certainly not an uncommon occurrence.  He adds, however, the old saying "size matters" works to his community's advantage.



Smaller police departments have to prioritize investigations, which mean shoplifting cases can be put aside.  Sergeant Hougard says improved video surveillance helps identify shoplifting suspects better so that they can be prosecuted at a later time.

Tourism finding enough interest from summer job seekers

Door County's summer tourism season kicks off in a little over two months and, so far, there's much interest in seasonal employment.  Door County Visitor Bureau Membership Director Phil Berndt bases that on the amount of activity from employers and job seekers on websites.  Berndt says he's not heard any concerns about a lack of job applicants.  He adds employers are helping potential employees make sure they have a place to stay for the summer.



Berndt says employers are also being aided by the J-1 program which attracts foreign students looking for opportunities to work in the U.S.A. during the summer.

Sturgeon Bay council member hopes for huge voter turnout

Sturgeon Bay Council Member Seth Wiederanders says he hopes a pair of referenda on the April 2nd ballot will bring more people out to vote than usual. The marijuana and Sturgeon Bay Schools referenda are hotly debated topics and Wiederanders thinks that could bring more voters to the polls. Wiederanders added he hopes people will be interested to learn more about the other races on the ballot and not just the referendum items.



Wiederanders says the granary issue could also bring more people out.

Southern Door Schools proceed with resource officer plan

The Southern Door County School District is moving forward with plans to add a full-time school resources officer.  The district approved a proposal to contract with the Door County Sheriff's Department for a resource officer.  That request must first be approved by the Door County Board of Supervisors.  Superintendent Patricia Vickman says having a full-time school resource officer will be an asset to school staff, students and their families.



Southern Door Schools join the Sevastopol and Gibraltar districts in efforts to add school resource officers five-days a week during the school year.

Some prime ice fishing spots could become risky

The season is open for Whitefish, Northern Pike and Walleye on Green Bay and the Sturgeon Bay Canal though fishing enthusiasts need to be aware of rapidly changing ice conditions.  The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says outdoor lovers continue taking to the ice on foot and some ATV's.  Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha warns current conditions are such that today's safe spot can become tomorrow's hazard.



Kratcha recommends that you not take to the ice alone, let someone know where you'll be fishing and when you'll return.  He adds if you have any doubts about ice conditions it's best to call it a season and wait until you can fish from a boat.

Ukulele Society playing Beatles jams

You can hear the Beatles music in a whole new way in Fish Creek on Sunday afternoon. The Ukulele Society of Door County is meeting Sunday at the YMCA in Fish Creek and the theme will be Beatles songs. The group meets twice per month and according to the Ukulele Society Coordinator Bruce Hake, members have been clamoring for a Beatles theme day.



The program will start at 1 PM and last until 2:45 PM. The Ukulele Society of Door County meets two Sundays per month at the YMCA in Fish Creek. Ukulele players of all skill levels can attend their meetings and there are no costs.

Egg Harbor to reopen comprehensive plan

The village of Egg Harbor will dust off its shelved comprehensive plan after learning a major road project is coming their way by 2023. The village was given notice by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation recently that it would be doing a road construction project similar to what is currently being done in Ephraim. After last discussing its highway improvement plans three years ago, village administrator Ryan Heise says the road construction announcement gives them the opportunity to start talking again.

Heise says redoing the comprehensive plan will open the door for several public meetings in the coming months. It already plans to be a busy year in Egg Harbor with several new businesses opening in their downtown and the bidding process for its long-awaited beach project already underway. 

Lent remains an important time for Catholics

Fasting, almsgiving, and prayer continue to be cornerstones for Catholics in Door and Kewaunee Counties during the Lenten season as it approaches the halfway point. In addition to giving up meat on Fridays, many Catholics head to confession more often and try to go without something for the 40 day period. Father Daniel Schuster of Holy Trinity Parish in Casco and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Luxemburg says Lent keeps followers from going through the motions when Easter comes.

Fasting rules vary depending on age and health, but Father Schuster says the practice helps Catholics open themselves to a deeper life. Lent continues until Easter Sunday on April 21st

Northern lights on display this weekend

Look to the skies this weekend and you might see some colors you are not used to seeing in this part of the country. A geomagnetic storm is expected to make the aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights, visible across the country as far south as Chicago and stretch from Washington state through Wisconsin to New York. It is not often Wisconsinites get a chance to see this kind of show in the sky, so David Lenius from the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society says you need to get in the right spot to really enjoy it.

Even though it was expected to be at its strongest on Friday and Saturday night, it may also still be visible on Sunday night as well.

DNR hearing scheduled for mill pond

It is another day and another informational hearing for those wanting to learn more about the two-year drawdown of the Forestville Mill Pond. With organizational assistance from First District Rep. Joel Kitchens, members of the Department of Natural Resources staff will answer questions about what the public can expect during and after the drawdown takes place. Door County Conservationist Erin Hanson gave a presentation about its plan to improve the water quality and remove invasive species from the mill pond during the Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation meeting earlier this month. She said at that time that it is important to provide accurate information to all those concerned.

Opponents to the drawdown plan say it would release additional agricultural run-off into an already impaired waterway as well as eliminate a fill site for local fire departments. The informational meeting is scheduled for April 1st at Algoma City Hall at 3 p.m. 

Town Board chair, candidate spar over campaign survey

A rift between the Lincoln Town Board and a candidate for office is already brewing just over two weeks from election day. Jordan Nowak is running against incumbent Nick Cochart for the Supervisor 1 post on the board. Nowak sent a survey to town residents asking about their knowledge about money being spent on its hall project, its pilot water study and pending lawsuit with Stonehouse Water Technologies, and the lack of transparency when it comes to its budget and financial reports. Town chairperson Cory Cochart, who is also Nick’s cousin, says the survey is misleading.

Nowak defends the survey, saying he will release the results he receives from the over 300 postcards he sent out next Wednesday and will make additional comments on the matter at that time. 

Washington Island Ferry triples trips for spring

Snow melting, robins chirping, and four additional roundtrips for the Washington Island Ferry are all sure signs that spring is here and even warmer weather is on its way. From January 3rd to March 21st, the ferry between Northport on the mainland and Detroit Harbor on the island tops out at two roundtrips a day. Friday morning marked the beginning of an expanded schedule, and ferry captain Joel Gunnlaugsson says as the trip numbers go up, so does the activity on the docks.

The Washington Island Ferry slowly adds trips throughout the spring before it reaches its peak summer season when it runs approximately every 30-45 minutes. Its next expansion of service will be April 27th when it goes from its current six roundtrips a day to ten. 

Body found confirmed to be Neenah man

The body recovered by the Door County Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday afternoon has been identified as the Neenah man who went missing in February. Eric Richter, 57, was visiting Cave Point taking pictures on February 10th when he went missing. The Door County Sheriff’s Department, Department of Natural Resources, and numerous other agencies participated in search efforts that lasted over six weeks.  After being notified Wednesday afternoon about a possible body floating in Lake Michigan, members of six different agencies battled rough waters and slippery conditions to bring Richter in from the water. Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says the cause and manner of Richter’s death will be determined by the Dane County Medical Examiner in the coming months. 



Door County happy with health ranking improvements

Door County jumped up 14 spots in the annual health rankings report released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Finishing overall in 20th out of 72 counties, it had the fourth highest score in the state when it came to health behaviors which included adult smoking and obesity rates, access to exercise opportunities, and alcohol-related issues. Door County Public Health Officer Sue Powers says the rankings review is a valuable tool for the office.

Powers is most proud the county saw its premature mortality rate drop in 2018 but hopes to see improvements in some categories like the number of primary care physicians and mental health providers.

Mayoral candidates share economic growth ideas

The candidates for the mayoral position in Sturgeon Bay would take different approaches to attract economic development to the city.  At the recent candidate forum, Shawn Fairchild shared his vision of growth for the city. 



He adds that the tax base is mostly generated from the retail revenue and it must continue to grow.  David Ward sees that the strength of Sturgeon Bay coming from a vibrant and balanced economy.  


Ward says providing additional senior housing and filling the vacant Younkers store are two priorities for the city.  You can hear the candidates complete response to economic development with this story below.



Gibraltar moving ahead on Fish Creek restoration

The planning commission for the town of Gibraltar is implementing the Fish Creek plan for reforestation and creek restoration.  Chair Linda Merline says grant money has been approved through the Department of Natural Resources to help make improvements while picking up 75 percent of the $33,000 cost of the project.  She says the town is currently waiting to hear back from the request for proposals from engineering design firms. 



Fish passage and meander restoration assists in the spring spawning fish of pike and suckers.  The Town of Gibraltar Park and Lands Committee is working on invasive species like the removal of buckthorn and barberry from the creek corridor, according to Merline.    


Support for dealing with divorce now available

To help people heal from the emotional fallout of divorce, a local church is offering the only support group in Door County.  Bay View Lutheran Church in Sturgeon Bay is starting a 13-week session program next Wednesday called Divorce Care.  Lou Ann Brown, the parish nurse, says every week a video featuring a well-known divorce counselor with be shown covering many topics. 



Brown says dealing with a divorce can be almost as traumatic for people as a death in their family.  The Divorce Care sessions begin next Wednesday at Bay View Lutheran Church with registration at 5:00 pm and class starting at 5:30 pm.  Registration is $25 for all sessions to cover the cost of workbooks.  You can find out more information and scholarships that are made available to cover the cost by contacting the church.     

A local doctor on baby aspirin for heart health

Low dose or so-called baby aspirin has been touted as helping prevent heart attacks or strokes.  New guidelines, however, find it may not be appropriate for those who don't have cardiovascular diseases.  The guidelines released by the American Heart Association and the College of Cardiology say low dose aspirin should not be routinely given to adults 70-years of age or older or to adults at risk of internal bleeding.  Dr. Rob Anderson with Bellin Health in Algoma recommends a visit to your doctor and a frank assessment of lifestyle behaviors.


The new guidelines follow a series of studies last year that also indicated low-dose aspirin did not help those patients who don't have cardiovascular diseases.

State travels leaving Frostman impressed

Secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Caleb Frostman has put on the miles since he was appointed by Governor Tony Evers earlier this year. Frostman has been crisscrossing the state in recent weeks to meet with various stakeholders about what is needed to help develop more and better careers. Frostman says the postsecondary education opportunities in the state to find jobs have left him the most impressed.

Frostman testified before the Wisconsin Legislature as a part of his confirmation hearings on Wednesday. Frostman previously served the area as the executive director of the Door County Economic Development Corporation and as a state senator. 

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