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Fleet Farm submits initial plans for Sturgeon Bay location

A popular retailer that previously required you to drive to Green Bay could be on its way to Sturgeon Bay. The Sturgeon Bay Plan Commission will hear more details and give feedback about a plan to bring Fleet Farm to the city. The company notified the city on August 4th that it had entered a purchase agreement dated June 16th with the Kerscher Family Trust to purchase approximately 40 acres in the Town of Nasewaupee for a new store just off State Highway 42/57 near South Grant Avenue. Once the land is purchased, Fleet Farm would annex into the City of Sturgeon Bay and construct the store in the near future. Actions would be required as annexing the property and approving it for commercial zoning would need to occur as it does not currently comply with the current Future Land Use designation of Agricultural/Rural, according to a memo written by City Planner Christopher Sullivan-Robinson. A public hearing is scheduled for September 21st, after which the Plan Commission can act upon a recommendation to the Common Council. The Sturgeon Bay Plan Commission meeting is planned for August 17th at 6 p.m.

 

 

State pushed to approve occupational licenses quicker

Whether caring for you in a hospital or fixing the toilet in your home, the people doing the work need the occupational licenses they are not getting right now from the state. The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, the agency in charge of approving the licenses, has been suffering from a backlog for close to a year. Rep. Joel Kitchens says his office is working with 13 cases of people trying to get the necessary paperwork to start positions. Door County Medical Center President and CEO Brian Stephens wrote in a letter to Governor Evers’ office that they have three nurses who have been waiting for their licenses since May, preventing them from working despite being licensed in a different state. This has caused the hospital to either work short-staffed or hire agency personnel at a higher expense. Stephens added that with the current nursing shortage, the situation is “expensive, dangerous, and unnecessary.” Kitchens, who is also on the Board of Directors for Door County Medical Center, says other occupations are experiencing similar issues.

Rearranging current staff within the department, hiring limited-term employees, and bringing more people back into the office are some ways Kitchens hopes the issue is addressed. The department currently has close to 30 vacancies and is transitioning from Secretary Dawn Crim to Deputy Secretary Dan Health as its leader.  


County taking steps to improve Gordon Road intersection

You may be unable to turn left onto State Highway 42/57 from Gordon Road in the future.

 

The Door County Finance Committee will look to approve a resolution to send to the entire county board later this month to transfer $100,000 from the Capital Improvement Project Highway Reserve Account to the Capital Outlay Expense Country Roads and Bridges Account to make improvements to the troubled intersection. The intersection has seen 22 accidents between 2015 and 2022, according to a presentation made by District 14 Supervisor Hugh Zettel. Ten of those accidents involved motorists making a left-hand turn from Gordon Road to head north on State Highway 57. The county has submitted a grant application to fund a permanent traffic feature to be installed to prevent left-hand turns, though Zettel hopes something can be placed. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has said in the past that the data does not support a complete redesign of the intersection to add a feature such as a roundabout.

 

In correspondence shared during the Highway and Facilities Committee meeting on August 10th, Sevastopol Town Chair Dan Woelfel shared his support for Zettels’s efforts, writing that “this is an opportunity to proactively address a need before it becomes a bigger problem.”  There is extra urgency for changes to be made after the Town of Sevastopol recommended the approval of rezoning a parcel on Gordon Road to allow for the proposed expansion of the Door Community Child Development Center. The state is also planning on repaving that portion of State Highway 42/57 next year. The Door County Finance Committee is scheduled to meet on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.

Candle fundraiser for Ukraine shooting for $1,000,000 mark

The Door County candle business raising money for Ukrainians since the Russian invasion earlier this year has a goal of $1,000,000 by August 25. Christiana Gorchynsky Trapani, owner of Door County Candle in Carlsville, says over $700,000 has been raised to date.   From this last Monday until August 24, Ukraine’s Independence Day, $5 from every online sale of its 16-inch yellow Lemongrass and Blue Lakeshore “Light to Unite” candles will be donated. Trapani, a second-generation Ukrainian American, says the fundraiser started as a way to help the people from Ukraine, including her grandmother.

 

 

Trapani adds that donations are being made to Razom for Ukraine.  The non-profit is providing humanitarian war relief and recovery in Ukraine, evacuating vulnerable populations, and advocating for Ukraine to strengthen its relationship with the United States. 


New CDC guidance eliminates quarantine after COVID exposure

According to new Centers for Disease Control guidance, you will only have to wear a mask if you have been exposed to COVID-19. The CDC released the latest recommendations on Thursday before many schools across the country open their doors to students. It acknowledges the ongoing pandemic, but points out that approximately 95 percent of the population have either had COVID-19 and/or have been vaccinated against it. The updated document removed many recommendations, such as quarantining after exposure to the virus except in high-risk settings. Also gone is the rule that unvaccinated students that are exposed to the coronavirus should test for COVID-19 to stay in school, even if they do not have symptoms. They are now recommended to mask up if they have been exposed. While some districts like Sturgeon Bay have already had this policy in place, Luxemburg-Casco, Washington Island, and Kewaunee have quarantining as one of their mitigation strategies for COVID-exposed students.

 

The new CDC guidance comes as it was announced that Door County remains in the high community level for COVID-19 along with 20 other Wisconsin counties. At that level, it is recommended you wear a mask inside most buildings, stay up-to-date with your vaccinations, get tested if you show symptoms, and take additional precautions if you are considered at risk. Kewaunee County remains one of 36 counties in the state at the medium community level.

Cana Island Lighthouse tower, keeper's quarters reopen August 12th

You will be able to see a whole lot more the next time you go to visit the Cana Island Lighthouse in Baileys Harbor. In collaboration with the Door County Parks Department, the Door County Maritime Museum announced this week that its Phase 4 restoration work is nearly complete. This benchmark will allow visitors to climb the 97 lighthouse tower steps once again and peruse the keeper’s quarters beginning on August 12th. While visitors have been able to tour other parts of the property, the tower and the keeper’s quarters have been closed for much of the 2022 season due to the $1.1 million restoration project. The project fulfills the goals of the Cana Island Light Station Historic Structures Report, which highlighted several issues that needed to be addressed to keep the popular attraction available for future generations.

 

School administrators brace for budget impact

You can blame several factors for the stress school boards and district administrators will likely face in the coming months. The Green Bay Press-Gazette reported earlier this week that inflation, lagging state funding, declining enrollment, and the expiration of federal dollars through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund will contribute to the Green Bay Area School District facing a $36 million budget deficit in two years and Milwaukee Public School over $70 million. Some school districts used the ESSER funding to hire additional staff to help students that suffered setbacks in their education due to virtual learning challenges catch up. Luxemburg-Casco School District, for example, hired six instructional staff members on two one-year contracts to address concerns. Last December, former Superintendent Glenn Schlender said those positions would exist as long as the dollars were available. He also remarked that time under their roof would allow the district to get a closer look at the teachers for future vacancies. Other school districts like Sturgeon Bay did not go that route. District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel says they looked at hiring additional people as being unsustainable, instead taking the state legislature’s advice to use those federal funds to address the inflationary costs they were experiencing.

Depending on what the Wisconsin Legislature and the Governor’s office decide to do with education funding in the next budget, school districts will likely have to rely on voter-approved operational referenda or cut programs to make their numbers work.

 

Community rings the bell for Salvation Army

The loose change you dropped in their red kettles last Christmas season is making a big difference thanks to the Salvation Army of Kewaunee County. Last year’s Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign raised over $25,000 which is then distributed by voucher writers in the community when individuals or families approach the organization in need. Helping people catch up on rent and utilities or make a car payment when they experience tragedy or fall on hard times is often when the dollars are used. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski is one of the voucher writers in the area, and he says the most challenging part of the job is when the people they helped need further assistance because they cannot get past the challenges they are facing. Joski says the money they distribute is supposed to be one-time payments. In times when the Salvation Army’s bell is meant to be silent, Joski is proud the community steps up and rings it for them.

The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign will return with sites throughout the area again this Christmas season. You can read more about the Salvation Army’s efforts in Kewaunee County below.

 

FROM SHERIFF JOSKI

Although you can’t get much farther from the holiday season than we currently are in the year, I wanted to pause and share some information into where some of your holiday generosity has been directed to.

     

As I have shared in the past, I have the privilege of being the Kewaunee County Voucher Writer for the Salvation Army and in doing so, I have the unique opportunity to interact with those who are in need throughout our community on a regular basis, and I am always humbled by their willingness to share what they are going through.

     

As you may recall, all of the funds for these types of assistance interactions are derived from the donations that you the community provide through the Kettle Campaign which runs from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve. These Kettles are placed at businesses throughout Kewaunee County and the requests for assistance are also received from our neighbors throughout Kewaunee County.

     

Recently, I provided a voucher to a young Mother who was in between jobs with assistance for her rent. In another instance, I was able to provide your generosity to a gentleman in the early stages of cancer treatment to assist with utility expenses during his recovery. Yet in another time of need, your generosity provided fuel for a young woman’s vehicle so that she could get to a job interview. Unfortunately, there is very seldom a week that goes by that I do not receive a request for help in some way. Fortunately, most of these needs can be met. While I am able to provide assistance through the Salvation Army on most of these occasions, there are also other charitable organizations that assist our community in resources as well. I am very grateful for the local food pantries, as well as the Lakeshore Community Pantry Thrift shop. There have also been so many situations in which local businesses have stepped forward to assist a family or individual with help in the area of their expertise.  

     

In a world that tends to fixate on the negative, we can never let ourselves be distracted from the fact that they are vastly outnumbered by the positive events and supportive people that are around us every day. Even in those negative people or events, it doesn’t take a great deal of effort to peal away the layers to find the good.

     

Many times, we feel helpless as we watch events unfold around the world and even in our own communities. While we can not change so much of what we see, we can make sure that it does not change us. Please know that each and every time we are able to assist someone in our community, we are sending a message that we will always be here for each other without judgement and without hesitation. That in itself is the definition of community.

Door County Fair gets off to rocking start

If Wednesday's opener was any indication, you will see big crowds at the Door County Fair all weekend long. Helped partly by excellent weather, Door County Fair President Tom Ash was optimistic for one of their biggest opening days ever as he watched the midway fill up ahead of the official welcome and introduction by Door County Fair Ambassador Emily Guilette. Flanked by fair officials, her family, and Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair Grace LeGrave, Guilette welcomed local favorites Boogie and the Yo-Yoz to the stage for the first of five straight nights of live music.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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While the midway was packed with revelers, exhibitors were busy in the barns getting their animals settled in for their fair residency and in the junior fair building having their projects judged. Door County 4-H Educator Dawn VandeVoort believes they saw an increase in participation this year as the barns and exhibit halls slowly filled up.

 

 

The first animal exhibitions are scheduled for Thursday, with the horse pleasure show in the morning and the beef show in the evening. The Door County Fair runs through August 14th. You can click this link for a full schedule of events.

Door and Kewaunee counties see strong primary turnout

You were not alone on Tuesday if your polling place in Door or Kewaunee counties was running low on ballots. 

 

Both counties saw higher than usual activity at their polling places for the partisan primary, which featured 11 different races among the Democratic, Republican, Constitutional, and Libertarian parties. Contested primaries for Governor, U.S. Senate, and First Assembly District were among the reasons that led to 29 percent of eligible Kewaunee County voters and 40 percent of Door County voters participating. Kewaunee County Clerk Jamie Annoye says she tried planning ahead by looking at three to five years of historical data and considered the political climate when she ordered ballots this year. It was not enough as they still had to make additional copies for some locations, requiring those ballots to be hand counted. It did not get to that point in Door County, but Clerk Jill Lau says it could be a sign of what to expect for the general election in November.

The Wisconsin Elections Commission estimated that the turnout statewide was going to be 16 percent, but the most recent data shows it may be around 20-25 percent. By clicking this link, you can find the results of this year’s primary and how they fared in Door and Kewaunee counties. The general election will take place on November 8th.  

Door County Maritime Museum awards Coast Guard, Mariner honors

The Door County Maritime Museum took time on Tuesday to honor three individuals who have significantly impacted the city’s maritime history. The museum gives out two Mariner Awards and one Coast Guard Person of the Year Award every year as a part of the city’s Maritime Week festivities.

MST Rustin Batterman of the Marine Safety Detachment (MSD) received the Coast Guard Person of the Award, recognized for his commitment to developing four junior personnel at MSD Sturgeon Bay. Batterman fought for a year to transfer to MSD Sturgeon Bay from Sector New York for family reasons so they could be close to the support network that they needed. As a result, Batterman commutes to Sturgeon Bay four hours every day.

The living recipient of this year’s Mariner Award was Bill Schoendorf, who, along with his brother, bought Baudhuin Yacht Harbor in 1979. Now known as  Bay Marine Yacht Harbor, he improved and expanded the yard while adding more storage and harbor facilities. He was also a big promoter of the Sail Training Foundation, which helps people learn the finer points of sailing.

The posthumous Mariner Award went to Lieutenant Gene R. Gislason, a World War II veteran who was awarded a Silver Star while landing assault troops at Omaha Beach as a part of the D-Day invasion of Normandy. After retiring from the U.S. Coast Guard in 1970, Gislason returned to Sturgeon Bay and served as a master on vessels undergoing sea trials at local shipyards. 

 

Pictures courtesy of Door County Maritime Museum

Racing Sausages to participate in Shanty Days

The traditional celebration of the Lake in Algoma returns this weekend with Shanty Days and the famous Racing Sausages for the first time. An estimated 25,000 people have attended the event in the past, which will feature an art show, street fair, live music,  5K Run/Walk and Kids Superhero Fun Run, beach volleyball tournament, car show, parade, and more. Parade organizer Jim Rabas expects another big weekend in Algoma. He says the parade at noon on Saturday is one of the biggest in the area and even caught the attention of the Milwaukee Brewers and its Racing Sausages.

 

 

Long-time volunteer Mitch Groessl, who passed away in June, was named the 2022 Shanty Days Honoree. This year’s theme is “Fired Up for 35 years,” and the Shanty Days annual celebration will wrap up on Sunday evening with fireworks over the Algoma Harbor at dusk. You can find the complete schedule of events here.  

July inflation holds steady as gas prices drop

The high inflationary trend leveled off in July as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced no increase in the Consumer Price Index last month. Coupled with decreasing gas prices in July and an increase in hourly wages for employees around the country went up a half percent, the news slightly offsets the record high 9.1 percent figure. The gasoline index fell 7.7 percent in July, with the food index increasing 1.1 percent.

Gas prices in the Sturgeon Bay area have dropped as low as $3.69 per gallon for regular unleaded, which is the state average price as of Wednesday. According to AAA, the national average price is $4.01, which is one dollar less than the all-time high of $5.01 in June.

Groundbreaking for first addition in two decades and free community picnic at YMCA

You will see the first major expansion of the Door County YMCA in Sturgeon Bay in over 20 years, and the groundbreaking for a two-story wellness center and youth program center is set for September 6.  Executive Director Heidi Erickson says the renovation will include a new welcome center desk entranceway and multi-purpose rooms.  She shares how an outdoor classroom and activity area will be featured on the campus.

 

 

Erickson adds that the Door County YMCA will host and celebrate a Community Picnic on Saturday, August 27, from noon until 3pm at Peterson Park.  The family event is free to the public with games, free popcorn, and cotton candy provided.  The Door County Community Picnic is put on by the Door County YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, and United Way of Door County.  

Republican Primary Election:  Kitchens wins easily, Michels edges Kleefish

Tuesday’s decisive Partisan Primary saw the Republican races in the state run the gamut from landslide wins to tightly contested races.  In the State Assembly for District 1 race, Incumbent Joel Kitchens won convincingly by a 78 to 22 percent margin over challenger Milt Swagel. 

Tim Michels won the hotly contested race with Rebecca Kleefisch for the opportunity to face off with Governor Tony Evers in November.  Claiming 47 percent of the vote, Michels was declared the winner.

Both U.S. Senator Ron Johnson and Mike Gallagher won by over an 80 percent margin in their races to win over their challengers. 

You can find the complete results from Tuesday’s primary election here. 

Democratic Primary Election: Night ends with no surprises

With many races on your Democratic ballot featuring either zero or one candidate on the ballot, Tuesday's primary was more of a formality than anything. Governor Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul were unopposed for their statewide offices. First District Assembly candidate Roberta Thelen and First Senate District candidate Andrea Gage-Michaels also had no one to face other potential write-in candidates. Speaking of write-in candidates, Julie Hancock was hoping to get at least 7,000 votes so she can appear on the ballot opposite likely Republican primary winner Rep. Mike Gallagher. Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes won his U.S. Senate primary easily, but many of his prospective opponents bowed out of the race weeks ago.  Doug La Follette easily won his Democratic primary over Alexia Sabor for his re-election bid for Secretary of State. The only competitive primary was for state treasurer where Aaron Richardson is leading but has not been declared the winner over Gillian Battino. 

 

You can find the full results and how they fared in Door and Kewaunee counties here.

Denny's Super Valu being purchased by Hometown Grocers

An Algoma supermarket with a family history of over five decades will have new ownership starting next week.  According to the Wisconsin Grocers Newsletter, Hometown Grocers, Inc. is acquiring Denny’s Super Valu with plans to start operations on Tuesday, August 16.  Hometown Grocers is a subsidiary of Festival Foods and will continue to operate the store under the Denny’s Super Valu banner.  Jodi Wautlet, who currently owns the grocery store, purchased it from her parents, Denny and Karen Wautlet in 2008.  Denny Wautlet began the business in 1968, which was initially called Denny’s Red Owl.  Hometown Grocers has five other locations in Wisconsin, including Wittenberg, Merrill, Lakewood, Lake Mills, and Seymour.  

Northern Door Children's Center excited for 4K collaboration with Gibraltar

Starting school for the first time can be difficult, but a new collaboration in northern Door County could make it easier for your children. This marks the first year Gibraltar Area Schools will offer a 4K program to the community, an initiative started by the since retired superintendent Tina Van Meer. The challenge before was not upsetting the area's 4K ecosystem established by Northern Door Children's Center in Sister Bay, Peninsula Preschool in Ephraim, and the Dragonfly program at The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor. All four institutions will work together as Gibraltar begins its 4K pilot program. That has meant changes for Northern Door Children's Center beyond the addition they are putting on their facility to accommodate the extra section of 4K students. Karen Corekin-DeLaMer from the center says they began adjusting their curriculum last year to accommodate the students crossing over from their facility to Gibraltar for kindergarten.

Corekin-DeLaMer added that working with new Superintendent Dr. Brett Strousland and Elementary School Principal Lauren Ward has been a fabulous experience, citing that the pair have been excited about the pilot program's potential and that it has been a true collaboration. Before this school year, Gibraltar was one of three school districts in the entire state without a 4K program.

Lessons learned at Door County Fair extend to life

Behind every animal and exhibit, you will find at the Door County Fair in the coming days are youth developing skills they will take with them for the rest of their lives.  Door County Scrap Metal owner Hilary Heard certainly credits her time exhibiting at the fair for how she has grown as a business owner and a community member. Heard's relationship with the fair started as a Cloverbud, a project within 4-H designed for younger children in kindergarten, first, and second grades. Even though everyone gets a ribbon at that age, you still had to work on your interpersonal skills, and the lessons learned only grew from there.

You can click this link to hear how Heard's passion for the fair led her to giving back as an event sponsor.  Youth participants will head to the fairgrounds on Wednesday to have their projects judged in the exhibition. Those showing animals will have their projects evaluated during the opening days of the Door County Fair, which runs August 10th through the 14th at John Miles County Park in Sturgeon Bay. 

Reading program preparing to dock for the summer

You only have a couple more weeks to finish up those books you have been reading this summer. The Door County Library Summer Reading Program, “Oceans of Possibility”, wraps up on August 31st after three months of aquatic-themed activities. Since the program started June 1st, the Door County Library has invited speakers from the Department of Natural Resources, Crossroads at Big Creek, Fish Printing, and the United States Coast Guard for different programming opportunities. They have also been able to go out to the DNR’s Strawberry Creek facility and the Coast Guard Station Sturgeon Bay for unique experiences while keeping with the theme. Door County Youth Services Librarian Beth Lokken says it has been great to see families coming through its eight branches to participate.

You could still participate in the final weeks by downloading the Beanstack app and logging your reading for your chance to win gift certificates. You can hear more about some of the upcoming activities at the Door County Library’s branches by clicking on the link below.

 

Partisan Primary election Tuesday, polls open at 7am

You can vote on who will be on the ballot this November starting at 7am Tuesday. The field for the upcoming general election will be narrowed tomorrow as the Partisan Primary will be held throughout the state. 

 On the Republican side, Door and Kewaunee voters will have to choose between incumbent Joel Kitchens and challenger Milt Swagel for the District 1 Assembly seat. 

Both incumbents, U.S Congressman Mike Gallagher and Senator Ron Johnson, are being opposed in the primary.  

The Democratic ballot will have contested races for the U.S. Senate, although Alex Lasry, Sarah Godlewski, and Tom Nelson have withdrawn and put their support behind Mandela Barnes. Multiple candidates for the State Treasurer, Secretary of State, and Lieutenant Governor positions will also face off tomorrow.

Polls will be open statewide from 7am until 8pm, and voters must show a valid Wisconsin ID to vote in person on Tuesday. Door County Daily News will update the primary results as they become available. 

Casco girl's toymaking brings joy to others

Making your dog happy with a new toy this week will be paid forward thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of a 10-year-old Casco girl. Sky Schoenberger began making her Tugs of Love dog toys shortly after going to a Green Bay fabric store to buy supplies for a fleece tie blanket for a friend’s birthday gift. When the clerk told her the fabric could also be used to make dog toys, Schoenberger’s love for animals kicked in. Since 2020, Schoenberger has made hundreds of her braided dog toys. The money she makes goes not to a piggy bank but instead to two charities close to her heart. Her dog Rooster and her neighbor Michael served as inspiration for her philanthropic spirit.

It is one of the biggest weeks of the year for Schoenberger, who will host her fourth annual lemonade stand at her home on Division Street at 10:30 a.m. on Friday. All proceeds will go to benefit Saving Paws Animal Rescue and the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. 

 

Previous version of this story had Sky living in Algoma. While the sale will be taking place in Algoma at her grandparent's house, the Schoenbergers are from Casco. DCDN regrets this error.

One more hospitalization added to Door County's COVID rolls

Door County is in the high COVID-19 community level, and Kewaunee County is in the medium level as health officials urge you to take proper precautions to protect yourself and your family. In Monday’s Door County situation update, the public health department reported that 51 of the 123 tests administered in the last week returned positive for COVID-19. The update noted no deaths, but one additional hospitalization was stressed. That pushes Door County to 254 hospitalizations since the beginning of the pandemic. Friday’s Kewaunee County update showed 21 additional cases of COVID-19 but no new deaths or hospitalizations. Statewide, the seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases was 1,672 as of Friday, which is 113 less than it was a week ago.  

Kewaunee County crash victim identified

The 37-year-old Algoma man who died in a traffic accident in Kewaunee County has been identified. Jeremy J. Garrett was driving his pick-up truck northbound on County Highway AB when he drove into the back of a hay bine at a high rate of speed. The Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department, Luxemburg Fire and Rescue, Luxemburg Police Department, Wisconsin State Patrol, Wisconsin DNR, and Red River First Responders all assisted with the call after the crash was reported just before 4:40 p.m. on August 6th. The crash remains under investigation by the Wisconsin State Patrol.

 

Click here for the original story

Pierce gets life in prison

A nearly 50-year-old cold case came to a close last Friday when 86-year-old Richard Pierce was given a life sentence for murdering his wife, Carol Jean. Pierce was arrested in 2018 at his home in Cheboygan, Mich., before eventually going to trial for his crimes earlier this year. He was found guilty of first-degree murder and for moving the body on April 28th.  Carol Jean went missing approximately 47 years ago when she lived with Pierce in Sturgeon Bay while he was a member of the U.S. Coast Guard. The body has never been found, a point Pierce’s defense team tried to relay to the jury during the trial. Pierce was also given three years in prison for moving the body after he murdered her. 

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