News

Marquette School property stirs up conversation

The City of Kewaunee is inviting the public to discuss the future of the former Marquette School property. The conversation started late last month when developer Jeff Welhouse pulled his letter of intent to purchase the property due to health concerns. He pursued a certificate of appropriateness from the Kewaunee Historical Preservation Committee more than five months for a proposed “twindomonium” project but denied by a vote of 6-2. At the public information meeting on Monday, Welhouse will discuss his proposal before Seth Hudson discusses how tax increment financing works. Mayor Jason Jelinek will discuss the history of TIFs in Kewaunee including the possibility of TIF #3 which would include the Marquette School parcel as well as the former Hamechek property. Jelinek says the meeting is important for residents to learn and to ask questions.

The public information meeting for the development proposal for the Marquette School property is May 17th at 6 p.m. inside the Kewaunee Elementary School Gymnasium.

Sevastopol prepares for senior farewells

Fighting through the adversity of the last 16 months will be how Sevastopol Principal Adam Baier remembers the 45 members of this year’s senior class.

 

The class of 2021 saw the last few months of its junior year wiped out due to the onset of the pandemic. Their senior year has also had challenges as they bounced between different models of hybrid learning and other COVID-19 related issues.

 

Despite that, Baier says the seniors refused to let the pandemic steal another year. The class boasts an average 3.4 GPA and still had its senior trip and prom, albeit a little differently. Baier says it will be a class that is remembered.

Sevastopol will host its commencement exercises inside the Sevastopol Elementary School Gymnasium at 2 p.m. Jenna Engeldinger, Kylie Newton, Noah Tomaszewski, McKenzie Wiesner will be recognized as Sevastopol’s valedictorians with all four earning perfect 4.0 GPAs.

Maritime tower filling up

Monday was move-in day for new exhibits at the soon-to-be-christened Jim Kress Maritime Tower in Sturgeon Bay.

 

Alabama-based Southern Custom Exhibits used one large semi-truck to deliver the materials for three of the tower’s 10 floors. The company will install the exhibits over the next two weeks and will outfit the first-floor maritime theater and gift shop, the stewardship area, the 10th-floor working waterfront exhibit, and the Baumgartner observation deck.

 

It has been four years since the Door County Maritime Museum announced the capital campaign for the project and Deputy Director Sam Perlman says the next two weeks will be among the most significant in the organization’s history.

The christening of the Jim Kress Maritime Tower will be the first of three such events for the new structure over the next year. It will host a ribbon-cutting when the tower’s other seven floors exhibits are unveiled and a grand opening celebration will take place next May. The 11 a.m. event also coincides with National Maritime Day on May 22nd, which will also feature a salute to health care workers and merchant mariners at noon with three loud blasts from the Tug John Purves.

 

Photo courtesy of the Door County Maritime Museum


L-C masks up again

Students at Luxemburg-Casco School District will have to mask up and follow quarantine rules once again after the school board voted unanimously to switch back to the COVID-19-era rules.

 

The 7-0 vote reversed the school board’s 4-3 decision last Wednesday to make masking optional, drop quarantine protocols, and end some of its COVID-19 mitigation strategies. Approximately 300 people watched the proceedings via Zoom while local television stations estimate another 100 people were in the high school’s auditorium. The meeting’s first two hours were primarily for public comment for community members, parents, and students. People in favor of returning to masking and quarantining argued that the decision was forcing the postponement of athletic events for the school’s track, baseball, softball, and girls’ soccer teams. Others supportive of the board’s decision last week say parents and kids should be allowed to make their own choices on what they want to do. At times, the moderator of the Luxemburg-Casco School District Zoom account reminded viewers that their comments using the chat function would be part of the public record.

 

Monday’s decision will be in effect until June 3rd, which is the last day of school for the high school. The district’s other grades will have their last day of school on May 28th. Students will still be allowed to take masking breaks behind barriers and will not be forced to wear one when they are outside. Masking will be optional during summer school after the school board voted 6-1 in favor. 

 

Currently, 15 students and one staff member are considered to be active COVID-19 cases. Another 22 students and staff members are considered to be close contacts as of May 10th at 3 p.m. according to the district's COVID-19 page. 

Dangers of grass clippings on streets

Public works officials in Door and Kewanee County remind property owners to be mindful of maintaining their yards this summer. Lawns should be cut regularly, and grass clippings should not be blown or left on roadways. Severe injuries to bicyclists or motorcycle drivers can result from grass clippings on streets. Algoma Public Works Director Matt Murphy explains the maximum length of grass allowed and the other issues associated with blowing grass clippings on the road.

 

 

Murphy adds that grass clippings can make street surfaces dangerously slick, causing bikes to fishtail.    City and county ordinances allow law enforcement to charge individuals with misdemeanors for not following the law.  

Active cases going down

Active cases continued to decline in Door County as only a handful of positive tests for COVID-19 were reported since Friday.  On Monday, Door County Public Health noted five more coronavirus cases out of 49 tests performed.  The number of active cases went down five to 53.  No hospitalizations or deaths were reported. 

 

The State of Wisconsin continued to see a decline in COVID-19 activity with 205 positive test results on Monday, with 23 hospitalizations and no additional deaths.

 

On the vaccination front, over 60 percent of Door County residents have received at least the first dose of the vaccine and 54.7 percent have finished the series of shots.  Kewaunee County has vaccinated 37.3 percent of its residents with at least one shot and 34.1 percent have completed the vaccine series.

 


Sevastopol holding STR public hearing Tuesday

Sevastopol residents will have a chance to weigh in Tuesday on a proposed “Short-Term Rental of Residential Dwellings” ordinance.  The Town of Sevastopol, which has been looking at the issue for over a year, is hosting a public hearing inside the Town Hall starting at 5:30 pm.    A notice by the town states that the intent of the ordinance is to ensure the operation of STRs is adequate for protecting public health, safety, and the general welfare of the community.  One key element of the ordinance is the minimum six-night stay requirement for STRs. An alternate site for watching the proceedings will be at the Institute Saloon.  Anyone interested in speaking should sign up in advance by calling the city clerk at 920-746-1230.  No formal action will be taken on Tuesday and the public hearing will be for comments only and no discussion.  You can find the draft of the Short-Term Rental Ordinance here. 

 

Notice of Public Hearing for STRs

States look to get people to work

Getting businesses more job applicants will be the goal of Wisconsin Republicans when they caucus this week in Madison.

 

The April jobs report released last week showed non-farm payrolls increase by only 266,000, just over a quarter of the one million new jobs that were expected. The unemployment rate crept up to 6.1 percent when it was expected to trickle down to 5.8 percent. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce greeted the jobs report with a rebuke of the $300 per week federal jobless benefit that it alleges is rewarding people to stay at home. Forbes Magazine estimates that Americans are being paid the equivalent of $17.17 to stay at home.

 

States like Montana and South Carolina are looking to withdraw from the federal program by the end of June, citing the impact the jobless benefit has had on hiring. Rep. Joel Kitchens says reinstating the requirement that people must be actively looking for a job to receive a benefit is just part of what needs to be done.

 

 

Kitchens says they need to look at the options when it comes to following the path of other states who have already pulled out of the federal jobless aid program. He adds that it is crucial people get back to work for the sake of the local economy.

 

 

The impact of child care on the employment situation in the state is something Kitchens believes will also have to be addressed as a new biennial budget is formed.

Waning vaccine interest worries health officials

Door County Health and Human Services Director Joe Krebsbach is worried about what a drop in vaccination rates could mean for the area.

 

The Associated Press reported approximately 57 percent of the adult population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccination rates have slowed to a point where states are asking the federal government to send less of the vaccine. Door County Public Health is seeing approximately a third of the people request appointments through its web portal compared to just over a month ago when hundreds were attending drive-thru clinics.

 

As tourism season starts to ramp up, Krebsbach believes more vaccinated individuals can be helpful.

Door County Public Health is providing walk-thru clinics for the Pfizer vaccine by appointment, which can be scheduled online. Kewaunee County is hosting Johnson & Johnson vaccine clinics on Tuesday and Wednesday this week by appointment, but they will also accept walk-ins as well.

 

 


Moneypenny leaving top tourism post

The search is on for a new president and CEO for Destination Door County after it was revealed Monday morning that Jack Moneypenny is moving on.

 

According to the release from Destination Door County Board Chairperson Todd Trimberger, Moneypenny is leaving the organization after 14 years due to changes within its structure and direction. Since being hired as the President/CEO in 2007, Moneypenny has helped the countywide room tax receipts more than double from just over $2.3 million to $5.1 million in 2019. He was also instrumental in helping the county grow its network of electric car charging stations.

 

Both Trimberger and Moneypenny expressed their appreciation for each other in the release show below. Destination Door County will be working with a nationwide search firm to help find a new President/CEO before Moneypenny departs July 14th.

 

RELEASE FROM DESTINATION DOOR COUNTY

Destination Door County Board Chairman Todd Trimberger announced today that President/CEO Jack Moneypenny is leaving the organization. Moneypenny’s last day will be July 14, 2021.

Moneypenny stated that due to the structure and direction change of Destination Door County, he believes it is time to part ways with the organization.

 

Destination Door County, the county’s longtime destination marketing and management organization, hired Moneypenny as President/CEO to lead the tourism organization in 2007 when the countywide room tax was just getting started. During his tenure, countywide room tax receipts more than doubled from $2,362,655 in 2007 to $5,139,717 in 2019.

 

He spearheaded a countywide car charging network and watched it grow into a network of more than 30 stations around the county. He was also instrumental in crafting a plan to build a new Welcome Center next to DDC’s existing building in Sturgeon Bay. Those plans were put on hold due to the pandemic a few months before the scheduled groundbreaking in May 2020.

 

Moneypenny said he’d like to thank all current and former board members who have been on this 13+ year journey with him in Door County.

 

Trimberger said he’d like to thank Moneypenny for his many years of service to the organization during a time when substantial changes have taken place, with more to come. He stated that organizational leadership will be working with a nationwide search firm to help find a new CEO in the coming months.

 "Relaxation Reponse" can help provide stress relief

Relaxing in troubled times can be challenging, but Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White says you can learn to use your mind not only to relax but to improve your health. Dr. White says research shows that you can lower your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen consumption by relaxing and using your mind. You can alleviate symptoms of disorders like arthritis, insomnia, and depression. He shares a technique called relaxation response that can be a learned skill.

 

 

Dr. White says there are many other ways to achieve a positive response, but one must be committed to doing it daily. You can listen to Dr. White’s entire Mental Health Minute on relaxation response below.

 

 

County Park getting overdue improvement

For the first time in two decades on Monday, Chaudoir’s Dock County Park’s boat launch will see major improvement. The park and launch will be closed from Monday until Wednesday as the boat launch parking lot will be getting resurfaced. The launch sees nearly as much action as the launches at Carmody County and Pinney County parks, says Door County Parks Manager Burke Pinney. He adds the amount of usage it gets paired with high water levels have been main factors in the parking lot wear and tear.

 

 

Pinney says people brought up the issue of potholes at the launch regularly last year and that patching them became a band-aid. The money for the permanent fix will come from the boat launch fund that consists of launch user fees, and no tax levy money is being used for the project. Over the duration of resurfacing, Pinney suggests people use Carmody County Park to launch if they’re coming from the north and Bay Shore County Park in Brown County if they’re coming from the south. 

 


DMV renewal extensions ending

Drivers on the peninsula over sixty years old, who had their drivers’ license expire in or since March of 2020, now have to renew theirs within the next couple of weeks. Since March 12th of last year, there’s been a renewal period extension to protect those at higher risk of COVID19, but that ends on May 21st.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles estimates that 20,000 drivers in the state over sixty have yet to renew licenses expired in the last year. Residents between ages sixty and sixty-four are eligible to renew theirs at wisconsindmv.gov, and that aged sixty-four and older are required to visit a DMV by May 21st to renew their license. 

 

Destination Sturgeon Bay planning full slate of events

The Fine Art Fair later this month will be the first of many of the planned events scheduled in Sturgeon Bay this year.  The Fine Arts Fair will have 65 vendors spaced out by ten feet compared to 110 vendors that usually participated in the past.  The two-day event on May 29th and 30th will now be held at Martin Park and on some downtown streets.  Destination Sturgeon Bay Marketing Director Carly Sarkis says the organization is excited to return to the long-anticipated celebrations that were canceled last year due to the pandemic.  She says COVID-19 safety protocols will remain in effect for the outdoor events.

 

 

A new event this year, the Bloody Mary Social will be on August 15 and will coincide with the Sikaflex Boat Race during the Maritime Festival.  The Fourth of July fireworks will return as well as Harvest Fest in September. 

Historical Society project wheeling along

The Kewaunee County Historical Society is over halfway toward a goal to continue making their building more wheelchair accessible. The organization’s goal is to replace their entryway with an incline ramp that will lead to a single door into the building. The historical society is $8,000 short of the $20,000 goal. So far, plenty of people and other organizations have donated to the project. Over time, the historical society has had to slightly increase their fundraising goal to keep up with construction costs. The ramp will replace a six-inch drop at the building entrance. Historical Society Vice President Richard Dorner also notes it’s a hazard with how slippery their current entryway can get when wet, and that they’ve needed this upgrade for some time.

 

 

The project is expected to be completed in mid-July. This is part of an ongoing effort to make the Historical Society’s building more user-friendly to people of all ages. In recent years, the society has added a handicap-accessible restroom and there is also a chairlift to get up to the building’s second level. 

Sevastopol grad looking forward to return home

Having spent eight years with the NCAA’s Horizon League, most recently as the Assistant Commissioner of Competition, Branding, and Sponsorship, Sevastopol graduate Cam Fuller made a hard decision to leave his post at the Division I conference. Recently, the opportunity came knocking to serve as the Athletic Director, overseeing the athletics and physical education departments at St. Norbert College. The more Fuller talked about it, the more he knew it was the right spot for him. One of the things that clicked for Fuller in his pursuit of the position was that he admired President Brian Bruess’ vision for the college. 

 

It wasn’t just athletics that drove Fuller’s decision to return to his northeast Wisconsin roots. Fuller gets to return to the area he grew up in and is passionate about. His wife is also a Sheboygan native, making the move to the area enticing for both. Fuller does have connections to area athletics that go back several years. A former golfer at UW-Green Bay, Fuller is also the son of a former Sevastopol girls basketball coach and his brother played baseball for the St. Norbert Green Knights. 

 

Though Fuller didn’t manage a specific university’s athletic department, he sees the competitive nature of his position with the Horizon League to be similar to the role he’ll step into on June 1st. What Fuller looks forward to as much as anything, is the chance to be on campus interacting with the nearly 600 Green Knight athletes. 

 

One thing that is important for Fuller is the emphasis on academics that he expects the student-athletes to have. He wants to make sure they are focused on being students and graduating with a meaningful degree. Fuller understands the history of St. Norbert athletics and thinks any leader should have respect for the history of where they’re at. He strives to mix his appreciation for the rich tradition with his vision moving forward, through what he calls the four pillars of success. 

 

 

With family and some of his closest friends being people he played sports with growing up as a Pioneer, he thinks that helped him learn the value of sports and the relationships that come with it.

 

Kewaunee County libraries trying new approach

Beginning in June, people of all ages will no longer see fines accrue on children and teen print materials they’ve checked out from the Algoma and Kewaunee public libraries. Both libraries are following a trend with libraries around the nation to move away from requiring late payments. Algoma Public Library Director, Cathy Kolbeck, shares that overdue fines don’t work the way people think they do, according to studies. 

 

 

Kolbeck hopes this gets patrons they haven’t seen in a while back into the libraries. Kolbeck says studies show that libraries who’ve gone fine-free are still getting return items at the same rate. The American Library Association passed a resolution in 2019 that recognized fines as a form of social inequity and urged libraries to eliminate them. Kolbeck also thinks this will combat the “summer slump” that can be experienced between school years. 

 

Southern Door scores education boost

The Southern Door School District will get to focus a $25,000 grant toward hands-on learning. The district was awarded the grant to expand their equipment in their fabrication laboratory facilities. The grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation aims to prepare students with the necessary skills for today’s economy. The WEDC formed the grant to support hands-on education in science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Other public schools who’ve also received these same grants have purchased items like 3D printers, laser engravers, plasma cutters, and other high-end technology for educational purposes. 

 

Southern Door Superintendent Patti Vickman showed appreciation in a press release, stating that their support from the WEDC has helped bring the engineering and design process to students at all levels. Fabrication lab grants were awarded to twenty-eight school districts this year. 

 

Crossroads taking in Global Big Day

On Saturday, Crossroads at Big Creek hosted the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s Global Big Day, holding a range of activities centered on observing nature. One of the highlights of Crossroads’ Big Day was taking part in the county-wide Big Plant. For the project, Crossroads is planting 480 trees. Crossroads Executive Director Laurel Hauser notes that those trees will contribute to a restoration project taking place all year. 

 

 

Hauser said that Saturday’s sunny skies felt like a reward for the Crossroads Habitat Healers, who had spent a lot of time this year planting in tough conditions. The restoration project was described as being for the birds. As Hauser says the project is about restoring wildlife habitat. 

 

 

Finding help for seniors' mental health

The pandemic has only added to the stress of poor mental health for seniors in Door County. Door County Medical Center announced it was partnering with Senior Life Solutions last November as it developed a group therapy option for older residents struggling with symptoms of depression and anxiety. They are certainly not alone when it comes to mental health concerns as nearly 20 percent of the adult population suffers some form of mental illness according to the National Alliance on Mental Health. Senior Life Solutions Program Manager Shannon Kanter says there are reasons some older Americans may not ask for help addressing their mental health concerns.

Kanter adds that many seniors also do not associate some physical ailments with undiagnosed mental health issues. May is National Older Americans Month and National Mental Health Awareness Month. You can listen to our full conversation with Kanter on our podcasts page.

Fire breeds generosity in Kewaunee

A family of five in Kewaunee has lost their home due to a Thursday fire, but has gained the support of an entire community during a trying time.  

 

On Thursday, the Kewaunee Fire Department responded to the scene near Wisconsin Avenue and Vliet Street at approximately 11:30 a.m. when flames were already visible.  About half of the first floor is severely damaged because of the fire that eventually reached the home’s second level.

 

In the days since, community members have created drop-off sites at businesses like Next Level Salon in Kewaunee for items for the two parents and three kids that are now displaced. Through efforts of the Salvation Army of Kewaunee County, Sheriff Matt Joski was able to provide money for lodging for the next few days and gift cards for essential items while the family gets back on their feet. Joski says he is thankful for the response the community has shown in the family’s time of need.

 

The American Red Cross also helped out in the aftermath of Thursday's fire. As of Friday, the cause of the fire had not been determined and two members of the family transported to the hospital for smoke inhalation have released. You can find more details on how you can help below.

 

Donate to the Salvation Army of Kewaunee County

 

List of clothes and shoes needed provided Heather Hansen's Facebook page

Letting your children serve themselves

Children are born knowing how much to eat. You don’t need to tell them how much to eat. They will eat when they are hungry and stop eating when they are full, all on their own. Let them learn by serving themselves! Teach them to take a small amount at first. They can get more if they are still hungry.

 

Listen to your child. If they say they are full, don’t force them to eat more. When children are given large amounts of food or are encouraged to clean their plates, they cannot stop eating when their bodies tell them they are full. Over time, they may learn to ignore when their bodies tell them that they are full and eat more than they need to. By letting children serve themselves, it allows them to decide what to eat from the healthy options you provide and decide how much to eat.

 

A good rule of thumb: You decide what, when, and where foods are offered and let your children decide whether and how much to eat. If your child doesn’t want to eat when the rest of the family is eating, have them sit with the family while everyone else eats. Make the food they would have eaten during the meal available for later if they get hungry. 

 

L-C school board to revisit COVID decision

The Luxemburg-Casco School Board will host its second special meeting in a week on Monday (May 10th) to discuss its COVID-19 restriction decision.

 

On Wednesday, the board decided to revert to pre-pandemic restrictions. The decision was effective immediately and made masking optional and curtailed quarantine rules. In the days since, the high school's student-athletes have several sporting events canceled. The district's principals were meeting on Thursday to discuss their next steps, including the removal of hundreds of barriers from classrooms.

 

Monday's meeting begins at 7 p.m. and can be accessed at the district's website.

Door, Kewaunee Counties remain wildfire risks

Door, Kewaunee Counties remain wildfire risks

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is stressing vigilance as much of the state remains in mid to very high fire danger this week, according to the latest fire danger index. Door and Kewaunee County follow suit with the rest of northeast Wisconsin, being in the high fire danger category. The DNR also reported that burning debris is the leading cause of Wisconsin’s wildfires and have even been attributed to forty percent of the state’s wildfires this year. The DNR will also be paying attention to high-risk areas as they point out the peak of fire season is near. So far 556 wildfires have been reported in the state this year. 

Residents are urged to check fire danger and burning restrictions as they can change on a daily basis. Below is Friday’s fire danger index from the DNR as well as tips for those who choose to burn. 

 

  • Obtain proper burning permits from DNR
  • Check fire restrictions before burning
  • Make sure fires out before leaving
  • Put off burning a debris pile until the vegetation “greens up.”

Door County Reports three new cases, Kewaunee admits one to hospital

In the weekly Kewaunee County COVID19 report, one hospitalization was reported this week as well as seventeen new cases. There were no new deaths in Kewaunee County. Kewaunee County is nearing the forty percent vaccinated mark, as 37.2% of residents have received at least one vaccine dose and 33.6% have completed the vaccine series. 

 

In Door County’s daily update on Friday, they had three positive cases out of eighteen tests conducted. There were no hospitalizations or deaths. Door County has 59.7% of residents with at least one vaccine dose. 53.8% are fully vaccinated. Nearly 115,000 Wisconsin residents were vaccinated this week, as 4.5 million residents have at least one vaccine dose. 

 

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