COVID-19 Update:  Door County up four cases and Kewaunee County up five

A surge of new cases of COVID-19 has been reported in Door and Kewaunee County on Monday.  As testing numbers increase, four additional confirmed cases in Door County bringing the number to 49, while Kewaunee County had five more positive tests to show 64 cases. 
Door County has five active cases, and Kewaunee County has ten.  Door County issued a statement last Friday saying failing to wear a mask in public, not practicing social distancing, and offering to hold or attend large gatherings puts the physical health, mental health, and financial well-being of the community at risk. You can find the complete COVID-19 updated numbers with this story below.





Door Shakespeare planning for virtual fall show

It will not be like sitting outside at Bjorklunden, but Door Shakespeare is still planning on doing a full show this fall. In two weeks, the actors will begin working out of their homes for rehearsals for a yet-to-be-announced show. The production will be filmed by the actors themselves and then edited together. Door Shakespeare Managing Director Amy Ensign says like many theater companies across the country are experiencing, it will be a new endeavor for them.

The lack of summer shows does not mean Door Shakespeare is sitting idle before working on the virtual fall production. The theater company is hosting its annual Camp Will virtually for young Shakespeare fans for three different sessions beginning July 13th. Registration for Camp Will is still available.

Intersections site of two Highway 57 crashes

Vehicles trying to cross Highway 57 caused two different accidents in Door and Kewaunee Counties Monday evening. At around 4:45 p.m., an SUV traveling southbound on Highway 57 struck another vehicle towing a trailer near County Road X in Kewaunee County. Shortly after 7 p.m., a truck crossing Highway 57 at County Road H near Brussels was struck by an SUV traveling northbound.  Door County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says speed and distractions are often the common denominators in these types of crashes.

No injuries were reported in the Kewaunee County crash while the driver of the SUV in the Door County incident suffered a minor injury and was taken to Door County Medical Center for treatment.

Heat wave keeping HVAC crews red hot

Heating and cooling companies in Door and Kewaunee Counties are keeping busy as the area experiences a long wave of hot weather.  The daily high temperature has not dipped below 80 degrees since June 28th in Sturgeon Bay and June 25th in Luxemburg. That has kept companies like Ultimate Air in Luxemburg on the road maintaining older units and installing new ones. Owner Jeff Blemke advises people to make sure their outdoor units are clear of dandelion and cottonwood fuzz, their filters inside are clean, and their fingers are off the dial.

Blemke says the AC refrigerant commonly known as R22 is being phased out, which means homeowners must weigh out the costs of adding more of the increasingly expensive product or to invest in a new unit. Extended forecasts show the area may see the 70s return early next week.

Door County Fair takes projects online

The Door County Fair is making sure the hard work of area youth does not go unnoticed. On Sunday Door County Fair officials put out the call for 4-H, FFA, school kids, and open class exhibitors to share pictures of their project to be displayed in a digital format. Door County 4-H educator Dawn Vandevoort says even though no awards will be given, the area’s youth should be acknowledged for the work they have done over the last several months.

Door County is one of over 50 county fairs to cancel or modify their 2020 events. The Door County Quality Market Animal Sale will also head online for its auction taking place July 27th through 31st at 



Shortened strawberry season finishing up

Too much rain in May and the COVID-19 health crisis dampened the season for strawberry growers in Door County.  Terry Sorenson of Soren’s Valhalla Orchards in southern Door County says the overall crop in the state was relatively light in yield with incredibly high demand.  He says that presented a challenge to meet when it came to pick-your-own customers.



Sorenson says his strawberry fields were negatively impacted by heavy rains in May.  The flatland patches yielded only about 15 percent of the strawberries compared to raised-bed patches that were for pick-your-own customers.  Sorenson added that Monday was the last day of selling strawberries as sweet cherries will start up this coming weekend. 


Extreme heat dangerous to pets

With continuing temperatures forecasted to top out at nearly 90 degrees for the next several days, pet owners are reminded that hot and humid weather can be dangerous for our four-legged friends.  Dr. Jordan Kobilca of Door County Veterinary Hospital and Luxemburg Pet Clinic says a few preventative measures can go a long way in protecting your dog in the heat.



Dr. Jordan says if you ever have to travel and leave a pet in a vehicle for a brief time, be sure to park in a shaded area while keeping the air-conditioner on.  Keeping a dish of fresh, cool water available to your pet at all times is advised as well.  If you suspect symptoms of heatstroke, like excessive panting and lethargic behavior from your dog, Dr. Jordan recommends bringing your pet to a veterinarian immediately.


Multi-vehicle accident on Highway 57 near Dyckesville

A late Monday afternoon car accident has blocked traffic near Dyckesvillle.  Motorists driving southbound on STH 57 should be aware of a multi-vehicle accident blocking the roadway. Motorists have to exit the road at County X to travel south from the Door/Kewaunee border.  Law Enforcement is on the scene of the crash that occurred at about 5 pm on Monday.  No other details are available at this time.  We will update this story when more information is released.    

Northern Door sees better than expected July 4th business

Expectations were high for July 4th business in Door County. Many businesses were not disappointed.  The Door County North Visitors Center was busy aiding vacationers who came for a summer getaway.  Mickie Rasch, the Community Coordinator with Door County North, says even with the hot, humid conditions tourism business exceeded expectations.



Rasch says visitors to Northern Door County showed remarkable patience in dealing with limited hours and limited staff at some businesses.



(Photo courtesy of Door County North)

Promenade project looks to enter bidding phase

A proposed promenade for Sturgeon Bay’s west waterfront could be one step closer after the common council meets on Tuesday night. The council will be presented with another look at the promenade plans before deciding if it should put the project up for bid. City administrator Josh Van Lieshout told last week that the promenade has been a big priority for the common council this year.

The common council will also weigh in on a street closure for a new night market event organized by Destination Sturgeon Bay and an ordinance banning the use of electronic cigarettes in certain areas when it meets on Tuesday at 7 p.m. inside city hall.

Grant money aids Salmon Harbor Marina purchase

The City of Kewaunee is getting a little more help with its goal of buying the Salmon Harbor Marina.  The Wisconsin Coastal Management Program announced a $60,000 grant to be used as part of a purchase offer for the three-acre marina site.  The city has made overtures for the property in the past without developing a purchase agreement.  Kewaunee Mayor Jason Jelinek says Salmon Harbor Marina would benefit boaters and the entire community.  



Jelinek says the City of Kewaunee has also applied for a  Community Development Block Grant to be used toward the purchase of Salmon Harbor Marina.

Multiple injuries, fireworks keep law enforcement busy

Fireworks were just a small part of the reason law enforcement in Door and Kewaunee Counties stayed busy over the weekend. From July 3rd through July 5th, law enforcement in Door County responded to 28 phone calls related to fireworks while Kewaunee County had five such calls. Door County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says they had to adjust their operations as its dispatch handled over 300 calls.

A professional fireworks company had one of its employees get hurt during a show in Little Sturgeon while Gibraltar Fire and Rescue Chief Andy Bertges told that a display on Chambers Island started a small grass fire that was easily contained. Door County law enforcement also responded to close to 20 accidents and a fight at a Washington Island campground that resulted in one person being stabbed and a couple of other people taken into custody.

Contact tracing emphasized as cases go up -- UPDATED

Contact tracers for Door and Kewaunee Counties are being kept busy as COVID-19 cases climb across the state. As of Monday afternoon, Door County went up four to 49 total positive cases while Kewaunee County climbed to 64 over the holiday weekend according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. Door County Public Health Director Sue Powers said last week the state is looking into taking over contact tracing efforts if multiple positive cases can be tied to a single location.

Powers reassured residents that contact tracers are trying to help control the spread while also abiding by HIPAA protections. Contact tracers will not ask for personal details like a social security number or bank account information.




UPDATED: Fight reported at Washington Island campground

A fight at a campground provided some extra fireworks on Washington Island over the holiday weekend. According to a report from the Washington Island Observer, emergency personnel responded to a brawl at Washington Island Campground, located on East Side Road on July 4th. Washington Island Police Chief Tyler McGrane told the reporter he could not provide further comment until more information was compiled. The Washington Island Campground responded a few hours later in a Facebook post, calling it an isolated incident at a “group campsite involving a small amount of individuals of the same group.” The post acknowledges members of the Washington Island Police Department and EMT/Fire Department responded to the call and that the individuals involved were removed from the campground with no additional action needed.


According to Door County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Pat McCarty, deputies were called into help with the investigation. One person was stabbed and a couple of other people were taken into custody as a result of the incident. McCarty added that there will be no press release with additional details about the incident issued by the Door County Sheriff's Department or the Washington Island Police Department.



We will have more information on this incident as it becomes available.

Community feedback drives projects in Egg Harbor

The developer of a proposed condominium project in Egg Harbor is scaling it back. Initially, he had asked for a 27-unit complex downtown where Mueller’s Mini Mart was once located. Residents had concerns, and at a Plan Commission meeting last week, the number of condos was reduced to 14. Village Administrator Ryan Heise says it is a double-edged sword, mainly as it concerns the possibility of affordable housing being involved.


Heise says he has gotten a lot of positive reaction regarding the beach work the village recently wrapped up. He says residents are supportive of the proposal to purchase shorefront at the Alpine Resort. The next step is a new road connecting the beach to downtown.


No budget cuts yet for school districts

The Department of Public Instruction released estimates for school funding for the 2020-2021 academic year. Unlike other sectors of the economy, education is escaping budget cuts in the near term. Luxemburg-Casco Superintendent Glenn Schlender says uncertainty actually helped in this case.


Schlender says the concern is that the state could make up for holding steady now with deeper cuts in the future, possibly in 2021-2022. Federal stimulus during the last recession allowed districts to patch funding shortfalls temporarily, but by 2011 layoffs hit hard prolonging the employment consequences from the financial panic. 


*Picture courtesy of the Luxemburg-Casco School District website.


Door County Humane Society offer adoption by appointment

There will be happy dances and tail wags aplenty soon at the Door County Humane Society. The facility has been closed since March due to COVID-19, but adoptions will be available again for only one day a week beginning in mid-July. Summer tends to be the busiest time of the year for the organization. Vice President of Communications Angela Speed says that the Humane Society statewide has been able to handle the seasonal surge with only two branches open, Milwaukee and Green Bay. 


The date has not been finalized yet. Speed says it will be on the weekend, most likely a Saturday.


Algoma Parks Department tries out pick up and go summer camp

The summer camp program through the Algoma Parks Department begins Monday, but it will have a twist to it this year. Typically, it involves hands-on, outdoor activities Monday through Thursday in the middle of the day. Parks Supervisor Madeline Prokash says the goal for 2020 is to provide activity bags that will contain enough material to keep kids learning and on the move for the same 12-hours-per-week timeframe. There are two components to the program.


The YMCA’s summer lunch distribution begins Monday, handing out meals at 11:30 each morning. Pick up is at Perry Field.


Door County Justice Center sees unexpected repairs

The Parks and Facilities Committee will meet Wednesday morning at the Door County Government Building, and they are expected to hear about two unexpected repairs needed at the Justice Center. Department Director Wayne Spritka says they both involve plumbing. The first is a boiler issue requiring a replacement with a back-up unit being utilized for now. The other situation is less routine involving the boost pump system, explained Spritka.




Also on the agenda is a proposal from the Southern Door Fire Department to install a dry hydrant at Forestville Dam County Park. 


Nicolet Beach facilities reopened

Concessions were served at Nicolet Beach this weekend on the grounds of Peninsula State Park. The inside remained closed to customers, who had to place orders at the window and keep to social distancing recommendations while waiting in line. The rental kiosk also reopened. Steve Strucely says the beach was already proving a popular destination this year, and he expects additional amenities to make it even busier. Strucely suggests you be an early riser to avoid the crowds.


Strucely says the Friends of Peninsula State Park have teamed up with the concession stand so that a portion of sales are donated to the group for improvements on the grounds. The Nature Center remains on track for a fall opening.


Photo courtesy of the Fish Creek Civic Association website.


Door, Kewaunee Counties both see increased COVID-19 activity

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has changed its assessment of COVID-19 activity in Door and Kewaunee Counties for the worse. DHS now ranks Door as having a medium activity level from low a week ago. Kewaunee rates as high. Door County Public Health Director Sue Powers says the four cases that cropped up last week were enough to cause the downgrade. The rating does not give Powers additional authority to combat the disease, but it will have a notable effect on high school sports in the area.


Additional recoveries were reported Thursday in Door County. It has fewer than a handful of active cases, while Kewaunee County is at nine.


Sister Bay cancels Festival of Fine Arts and park events

The Sister Bay Parks, Properties, and Streets Committee met Monday to decide the fate of several August events. All concerts and movie nights held at the Waterfront Park  have been canceled plus the Festival of Fine Arts. Louise Howson of the Sister Bay Advancement Association says it was not practical to postpone them to later where the calendar is filled with events like Marina Days and Fall Fest. Howson says the committee will meet in three weeks to consider September activities.


Even without summer staples like Freedom Fest, Sister Bay is seeing a lot of visitors, says Howson.


DNR water quality webinar scheduled for Thursday

The Department of Natural Resources is conducting a series of web presentations this summer on the development of the Northeast Lakeshore total maximum daily load, or TMDL. The region includes Kewaunee and Southern Door Counties, focusing on water quality regarding phosphorous and sediment contamination.  When calculating the TMDL, state officials determine how much runoff area watersheds can handle while comparing that to the amount of pollution that is occurring. From that baseline, the DNR works on calculating an acceptable amount of contamination from individual sources. Water Resource Engineer Kevin Kirsch explains when the new allocations would go into effect.


The second webinar is scheduled for Thursday morning at 10 AM. It will be discussing data collected by the agency in the initial phases of the TMDL process. A link for more information can be found here.


COVID 19 precautions becoming EMS standards

The Door County Emergency Medical Service required extra precautions from communicable diseases before the COVID-19 pandemic.  Such precautions will likely become standard operating procedures for the foreseeable future.  EMS Director Aaron LeClair says the safety of patients and emergency personnel dictated changes in response protocols.



LeClair says sanitation procedures for ambulances are also being done more frequently.  He adds that a reserve ambulance is now dispatched when it's known or suspected that paramedics will be responding to a case of COVID-19.

Farmers market adds vendors

The Sturgeon Bay farmers market added craft vendors Saturday for the first time in the 2020 season. Nebraska Street was closed at 4th Avenue to handle crowds of pedestrians who strolled to tents set up two parking spaces apart, roughly six feet. One of the more popular stands is manned by Renard’s Cheese. Kyle and Katie were stocked with about a dozen of the company’s best-selling flavors.


Due to COVID-19, there were no samples available, but you can still find a bite of your favorite cheese at the two Renard’s locations in Door County and choose from the full assortment of 70 kinds of cheese Renard’s sells. 






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