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Washington Island says farewell to school year with lost tradition

One of the final things you may have lost due to the pandemic makes a triumphant return to Red Barn Park on Washington Island on June 2nd. For the first time since 2019, the Washington Island Community Health Program will host its annual End of Year School Picnic, complete with a potluck dinner and free rides for students on the Cherry Train. It is just one of the many unique traditions centered on Washington Island School’s graduation classes. Earlier this week, Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Bethel Church, and Stella Maris Parish honored the Class of 2023 with a special High School Baccalaureate service. When the five graduating seniors attend their graduation ceremony, they not only receive their diploma but also a personalized quilt crafted by community members that are followed by a dinner and celebration in the community gym. Washington Island Community Health Program Director Christine Andersen says the picnic is just another example of the intergenerational connection the island’s residents have with their students.

The End of the School Year Picnic runs from 12:15 to 2 p.m. at Red Barn Park. The community is invited, but you are asked to bring a dish to pass.   


Picture courtesy of Washington Island School



Brush fire extinguished near possible explosives site

A potentially catastrophic event was avoided Friday afternoon after thick black smoke from a brush fire was reported in northern Door County.  According to the Gibraltar Fire & Rescue, they were dispatched a little after 2 p.m. to an area near County Highway A and Peninsula Players Road.  A uncontrolled brush fire on Juddville Road, near where a drilling and blasting company’s building where explosives are occasionally stored. 

After a MABAS call was issued, Gibraltar Police Chief Roesch was able to deploy a drone to assess the scene for firefighters and determine a safe course of action.  Once the area was deemed safe, fire crews extinguished the fire quickly and no injuries were reported.  The incident remains under investigation and the Gibraltar Fire & Rescue expressed appreciation to the multiple agencies in the county that responded.


(photo courtesy of Gibraltar Fire) 



Algoma valedictorian looks ahead to future

Amelia Robinson graduated from Algoma High School, on May 21, 2023. Robinson says there was a lot of competition in her class, and the class salutatorian pushed her to be the best version of herself. She plans on going to the University of Wisconsin- Green Bay, but she’s undecided for now. She plans on getting her Bachelor's and Master's degree while finding a career path she is passionate about pursuing. 


Robinson’s goal is to find a job that makes her happy. She says she definitely wants a job that involves children or other people. During her junior year at Algoma, she shadowed one of the Speech and Language Pathologists at the school and is now looking into similar career paths, but is open to change. 

Advice Robinson has for other students, “Get involved, your time there is short and there's so much to do. So if there is something you like, just go for it and be a part of it… it’s nice to be connected.” Robinson talks more about what she wishes someone would have told her while she was in high school. 

Spring Kayaking and Kayak Fishing is Here!-- Series I

Pictured is my fishing kayak my last day on the water in Door County last early November.  It always amazes me how fast time flies and here we are on Memorial Day Weekend ready for another great season of kayaking and kayak fishing in Door County!


As I always do in my first bi-weekly article from now through Labor Day is to remind everyone to be careful. Water temperatures in many locations are as cold as 50 degrees, so, when you take to the water in your kayak take precautions.  Be sure to wear your PFD, put your phone in a plastic waterproof bag, wear proper clothing in case you tip, and be sure to tell someone where you are launching and will be kayaking. Also, be aware of the weather conditions. In Door County, the wind can shift quickly making conditions dangerous.  With the big water and quick weather changes, I stay close to shore. 


In upcoming articles, I look forward to sharing great spots to kayak in Door County, fishing tips, where to launch, rigging your kayak, information on paddles, transporting your kayak, and more. Kayaking is becoming more popular each year and this time of year many people looking to get into kayaking have questions.  


There are several stores and outfitters in NE Wisconsin, including Sturgeon Bay and Sister Bay, where you can check out kayaks, paddles, and other kayak-related equipment.  If you are on Facebook there are kayaking sites with great information and good places to ask questions.  For general kayaking check out Wisconsin Kayaking and Kayaking in Wisconsin. For kayak anglers, Wisconsin  Kayak Fishing Club is a good source of information.  


If you are a kayaker or kayak angler, I hope you have a special season on the water and as always I am also happy to answer any of your questions. You can email me at


Linnan earns perfect score on ACT

Sevastopol junior Ezra Linnan just accomplished something you thought was impossible and statistically, you are not that far off. Linnan is one of just 3,376 students to earn a perfect score of 36 on the ACT, which is used as a college readiness exam in the subjects of English, math, science, and reading. That puts him in the less than 0.25 percent of ACT exam participants who were able to accomplish the feat. Linnan says he felt confident that he got a good score, but was still shocked by the 36 he received.

Linnan is the second Sevastopol junior to score a 36 in recent years, but he also had some classmates that were not far off the mark. Kylee Duessler (30), Samantha Herrell (30), Inho Lee (33), Jolene Luedtke (31), and Merrick Mann all scored 30s on the ACT. Like many schools across the country, Sevastopol runs an ACT preparatory course to help students prepare for the exam.

Return of tourism season brings safety reminders

More people traveling around Door County could bring more problems for you if you are not careful. Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer across the country and the beginning of tourism season for locales like Door County. With that comes more people traveling on area roadways and opening up their second homes for the summer. Ephraim and Egg Harbor Fire Chief Justin MacDonald say there are things you should keep in mind to help keep safe not just this weekend, but all summer long.

Tourism officials expect this summer to be similar to last year when a record $11.1 million in room taxes were collected. Room tax revenues are one of the tourism indicators Destination Door County uses along with other data that will be made available by the state next month.

"Fourth trimester" a concern for women's health professionals

The health concerns do not stop after you give birth according to Door County Medical Center’s Dr. Elizabeth Gaida.


While much of the attention around women’s health centers around breast and cervical cancers, the number one killer of women is actually heart disease. Gaida says a lot of it is because the health needs of women often take a back seat to that of their families, especially if they recently gave birth.


Gaida says many doctors are now emphasizing the need for “fourth-trimester” care, the time after a woman gives birth when their physical and mental well-being may be fragile, but hidden behind the joy of a child.

May is National Women’s Health Month, an annual observance led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health to help them understand the steps they need to take to stay healthy. You can listen to our full interview with Dr. Gaida by clicking this link.

Bald eagle struck in Kewaunee County

The hope is a dented beak is the most a bald eagle may have to suffer long-term from after being struck by a vehicle on Thursday in Kewaunee County. Deputies discovered the bald eagle in a ditch near what is presumed to be its nesting location near County Highway K and Red River Lincoln Townline Road, which is between the communities of Frog Station and Casco. The Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department contacted a bald eagle rescue group for an expert’s opinion on the bird. While it appears the bald eagle did not sustain any major injuries, the group did keep the bird for further evaluation. If all goes well, they will release the bald eagle back where they found it.



Dillon embraces bright Door County spotlight

As soon as the Boston College running back was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 2020 NFL Draft, he became a fan-favorite around the state. Door County however, took in the Packer as he expressed his newfound love for the county. 


After Dillon raved on Twitter and in press conferences about the beautiful landscape and his favorite spot to stop and eat wings, he was given the key to the county and was named the “Honorary Mayor of Door County” by Destination Door County. Many Packer’s players have made their impacts in communities, but nothing quite to the level that AJ Dillon has left on the local area. NEW Radio Sports Network was able to sit down with the Packers running back to ask him what is truly so special about Door County. 



A prime example of his love of Door County was this past Sunday, when Dillon threw out the first pitch at the Door County Baseball League Washington Island vs Sister Bay game. Fans flocked towards him, and AJ made sure to take the time to get a picture with or sign an item for every person who wanted one.

Memorial weekend traffic expected to spike

You might want to plan your holiday travels a little better in the coming days as AAA projects that 42.3 million Americans will venture more than 50 miles from their home this Memorial Day weekend.  With a favorable weather forecast predicted, more travel is expected on the roadways as the price of gas is also lower nationally than last year when it was more than $4.00 per gallon at the pump.  Door County Sheriff Chief Deputy Pat McCarty advises drivers to plan accordingly with the influx of traffic this weekend.  [MCCARTY]  Peak traffic is expected from noon to 8 p.m. Friday and Monday, but delays and backups can be expected at times over the weekend.  Local and state police will be out enforcing the “Click it or Ticket” campaign during the National Seat Belt Enforcement Mobilization now through June 4th.   

Jacksonport's Maifest celebrates 50 years

You can kick off your Memorial Day festivities this weekend in Jacksonport at one of Door County’s oldest festivals. Maifest celebrates its 50th year in 2023 by continuing the many traditions that have helped it reach the milestone. The two-day event begins on Saturday with a juried art fair, activities on the Maifest Family Midway, a parade, live music, and food. Sunday’s slate includes much of the same fun, but it also features the 40th running of the Maifest 10K Run and 2-Mile Fun Run/Walk. Race organizer Annie Kapolnek says it means a lot to the whole community that the Memorial Day tradition continues in Jacksonport.

You can click on this link to see the entire schedule for Jacksonport’s Maifest, which also includes the new Saturday night fireworks and a Sunday afternoon exhibition by the Door County 4-H Horse and Pony Drill Team.

Mountain Tower reopens on Washington Island

You will have one more place to check out on Washington Island if you are visiting this Memorial Day weekend. The Town of Washington announced on Thursday that additional work done on Mountain Tower has been completed and visitors can check out the entire structure. Mountain Tower was closed last Tuesday in order for repairs to the second level of the tower to take place.  The work had been years in the making after the tower had to be closed in 2020 because of the need for repairs. In late 2021, the Town of Washington electors purchased the necessary land around the tower and earmarked $100,000 for repairs to be made to save the structure. Repairs to the supports and the first level of the tower were completed late last summer. The town specifically thanked the public, their crews, Town Supervisor Martin Andersen, and Sun Valley Enterprises for their assistance in making the project a reality.



Register for field trips with The Ridges Sanctuary for the Festival of Nature

There is still time for you to register for some outdoor activities and hands-on field trips in Door County. Throughout Memorial Day weekend and early June, The Ridges Sanctuary will be providing over 60 field trips and activities for families and community members. 


While some are sold out, there is bound to be something that piques your interest. Katie Krouse, Assistant Director of The Ridges Sanctuary says it’s a “choose your own adventure” type of festival. With limited availability, some activities include hiking, kayaking, biking, learning, and exploring. 


Some trips include going hiking and learning more about fossils. Join Dave Bultman, a local fossil hunter and expert, and explore and identify local fossils. Learning to draw plants of your choice with scientific illustrator Kathleen Garness. Supplies will be provided. 


You will also have the opportunity to go out onto Lake Michigan on a retired U.S. Navy boat. Hear stories of the past, of shipwrecks and lighthouses, ancient geology, and current geography. Also, take a hike through the dunes to Europe Lake and the headlands of Newport State Park in search of birds and wildflowers, bring your binoculars. 


There are many more field trips to register for, to see what the festival has to offer, click this link. 

Kewaunee County Board nixes wage study, returns surplus general funds

A string of emails and phone calls between County Administrator Scott Feldt and his colleagues in other counties will continue to be the way wages are studied in Kewaunee County.


During Tuesday’s meeting, the Kewaunee County Board approved an amended motion 14-4 to remove up to $75,000 that was to be earmarked for a wage study. The county’s executive committee panned the study earlier this month, saying the information learned from the study was not going to present anything that they did not know. It still sparked some discussion during Tuesday’s meeting with both sides of the argument presenting their case. District 5 Supervisor Brian Patrycia saw the merits of the study, saying the county should be taking the steps necessary to recruit and retain the best that they can.

District 10 Supervisor Scott Browne said the money should be spent on additional maintenance projects that some of the county-owned buildings desperately need.

The amended motion made by District 11 Supervisor Aaron Augustian did not make the original resolution more palatable for the Kewaunee County Board. The resolution, which also allocated $30,000 to complete county building maintenance and $32,362 to replenish the vehicle damage fund balance along with setting aside $75,000 for the purchase of a new financial/human resources software system, was also nixed because it did not reach a two-thirds majority vote. Those dollars will remain in the county’s general fund.


You can watch the full discussion below:


Seven pets, home lost in Red River fire

An exact cause is yet to be determined of a fire that destroyed a home in the Town of Red River on Wednesday afternoon.


The Luxemburg Fire Department was called to the scene of a fully-engulfed home shortly after 2 p.m. on Wellers Lane. Flames were coming out of the front door and side windows and beginning to pierce the roof when the Luxemburg Fire Department called for extra assistance en route to the home. Once they arrived, firefighters could knock down the fire from the outside before entering the home.


Luxemburg Fire Chief Lew DuChateau said that due to the number of voids in the home that allowed the fire to breathe, crews had to cut into the home's roof and attic to fight the blaze. Firefighters had most of the fire under control within the first hour of their efforts, which required several apparatus including a ladder truck. DuChateau said the homeowners were outside of the house but on the property when the fire began. While there were no injuries, the home is a total loss and three dogs, two cats, and two turtles died in the fire.


Fire Departments from Luxemburg, Casco, New Franken, Brussels-Union-Gardner, Kewaunee, and Tisch Mills, Luxemburg Rescue, and the Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department assisted with the fire, which included shutting down County Highway DK for a couple of hours. DuChateau said they were able to clear the scene a little more than four hours after they arrived.

Sevastopol Destination Imagination brings home Global titles

The kings and queens of Destination Imagination are in your backyard for the second year in a row. Two Sevastopol Destination Imagination teams won the Global competition held in Kansas City, Missouri this week with a third coming in the top 20.


Coached by Annie Rabach, Nick Schultz, and Jenny Hobart, the Ultimate Miners won their category for the Thrill Ride: Engineering competition.



Da’ Magix, coached by Annie Rabach, Mindi Vanderhoof, and Shelley Stenzel, took first place in the Far-Fetched: Scientific competition.



The third team, 7 Musketeers, tied with Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan’s Flames of Creativity and Camden May’s Dungeons and Digons for 16th place in the Flip the Script: Fine Arts competition. They were led by Annie Rabach, Kim Lama, and Susan Czagas.  



The Sevastopol teams will be honored with a police escort through Sturgeon Bay before arriving at school to a hero's welcome at approximately 7:15 p.m. Wednesday.

Algoma was also represented at the Destination Imagination Global Finals with the Matt Schaper-led Swing taking 18th in the Far-Fetched: Scientific competition and Duck Usta, led by Jillaine Toebe and Lisa Stewart, took 10th place in the same competition, but in different divisions.  The Candy Vans, led by Lisa Stewart and Megan Schaper took 31st place in their division for the Flip the Script: Fine Arts competition.


Pictures and videos courtesy of Sevastopol Destination Imagination

Celebrate Memorial Day weekend with the 25th Annual Sturgeon Bay Fine Art Fair

You could explore and see different types of art and activities with Destination Sturgeon Bay on  May 27th and 28th. At Martin Park, view over 70 various artists' works, enjoy live entertainment, children's activities, food, and more. 


On Saturday, May 27 from 10 am - 5 pm and Sunday, May 28 from 10 am - 4 pm you can stop by over 70 exceptional artists that range from mediums in sculpture, glass, jewelry, painting, wood, fiber, and more who will be selling their art. Both two-dimensional and three-dimensional artworks will have the opportunity to be awarded. Winners will be given their awards Saturday afternoon. 


There will also be activities for families and children, like temporary tattoos, hula hoops, chalk, and more, provided by Door County Health & Human Services and the Door County Library. As well as, a free raptor meet and greet with Open Door Bird Sanctuary Saturday 12- 2 pm and Sunday 11 am - 1 pm, which is a new addition to the Fine Art Fair. Rachel Malcore, Marketing Director for Destination Door County says “We are really happy they are coming, it’ll be a great addition” 


For more information on the artists that will be participating in the Fine Art Fair, click this link.




Photo credits to Rachel Lukas.

Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department investigating Algoma High School parking lot incident

A  black vehicle traveling through the Algoma High School parking lot early Wednesday morning reportedly was carrying what appeared to be a weapon.  Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says his department received a call at about 6:30 a.m. and was notified of the vehicle immediately and began to investigate the situation.  A student came forward and shared that another student brought a paintball gun to school in the morning.  The intentions behind the incident remain unclear.  The Algoma School District sent a safety update to parents by email and the incident remains under investigation as a strong police presence will be at the schools through Wednesday, according to Sheriff Joski.  You can read the safety update below. 




Life Jackets key to water safety this boating season

The United States Coast Guard and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources want to help keep you safe this summer on the water.  This week is National Safe Boating Week, and the United States Coast Guard recommends before leaving the shore on your boat that you check to make sure it’s ready to launch. You should look over all the safety equipment that is on board, make sure lights are functional, registration is current, engine cut-off lanyard and plug are present – and don’t forget to make sure you have one life jacket per person on board.  Today’s life jackets are more comfortable, lightweight, and stylish than the old bulky orange style of the past. There are innovative options, such as inflatable life jackets that allow for more mobility and flexibility for activities like boating, fishing, or paddling and are cooler in the warmer weather. Coast Guard Auxiliary is offering a courtesy vessel safety check for your boat if it is 65 feet long or smaller.  You can click here to schedule your free boat safety check.  


Here are other tips on boating safety by the Wisconsin DNR:  


Sign up now to take an online boater education course.


Always wear a properly fitted life jacket that has a snug fit and is fastened when you're on or near the water. Life jackets will keep you on top of the water if you walk off an unexpected drop-off, or a wave or current overpowers you or you fall out of a boat.


Enjoy the waters sober and know your limits. Alcohol blurs a person's judgment, reaction time, and abilities.


River shorelines and sandbars pose unseen dangers. Higher, fast-moving water can overpower an individual's boating, paddling, and swimming skills.


Keep an eye on the weather and let someone know where you are going.


(Photo courtesy of USCG)

YMCA stresses Membership For All program

You and your family can have access to two fitness facilities in Door County regardless of your financial situation.  Through the Door County YMCA Annual Campaign, the YMCA provides assistance to youth, adults, and families based on individual needs and circumstances.  Membership Engagement Executive Brett Cleveland says anybody in the community can become a member of the YMCA through a mutual partnership.



The support offered by the Door County YMCA reduces membership fees but does not eliminate them.  The financial assistance is based on household size and annual income.  Every YMCA member receives the same membership benefits, regardless of whether or not they receive financial assistance.  You can fill out an application for the Membership For All program by stopping into either of the Y program centers in Sturgeon Bay or Fish Creek.  

Grant makes trail bridge repairs possible

If you have spent any time at the Bay Shore Blufflands Nature Preserve recently, you may have noticed the trail bridge with some damage. Thanks in part to a new grant, the damaged bridge will be no more. 


The grant given to the Door County Land Trust was a part of the first round of the Community Investment Fund Grants given by Destination Door County in the middle of May. The grant was given for a full construction of a new bridge for visitors and community members to use while they are at the Blufflands. Door County Land Trust Executive Director Emily Wood says the project was a necessity for the area, and goes into detail about what the new bridge will be like. 



The Land Trust was given $75,000 from the DDC, the second most amount of money in the eight different governments and organizations that received money from the grants. However, the cost of the construction of the bridge will be more than the amount of money they received, so fundraising will be required to complete the cost of the project. 


Wood hopes the construction of the new bridge can begin this fall, and an official ribbon cutting may come as early as next summer. 

More graduating seniors heading straight into the workforce

You will see more graduating seniors earning a paycheck rather than filling out a financial aid form this year.


According to a National Student Clearing House study last year, undergraduate enrollment was down by 1.4 million people. The combination of higher wages coming out of high school and the prospect of not carrying debt has carried many people into the trades or technical and vocational schools where you can get on with your career after two years in some cases.


It is a trend Luxemburg-Casco High School is seeing with this year’s graduating class, which will receive their diplomas on Wednesday. About 44 percent of its graduating class (44 percent) of 139 students is committed to attending a four-year school, compared to the 45 percent that is going to a vocational or trade school and 21 percent that are heading right into the workforce. Praising the success of its own apprenticeship and vocational training programs, Luxemburg-Casco Principal Troy Haws says he is happy that students feel more comfortable following their passion rather than what many think is the norm.  

Luxemburg-Casco is the second area school to hold its commencement exercises this week after Algoma hosted theirs on Sunday. 

Birch Creek readies for another exciting season

It will not be long before you will be able to walk the grounds of the Birch Creek Music Performance Center in Egg Harbor and hear music in the air. Tickets are already on sale for the upcoming season, which kicks off on June 22nd with the Percussion, Steel Band, and World Music session. The Symphony session starts up two weeks later on July 4th with the first of two Big Band sessions following suit on July 19th. Just because the barn is sitting quietly now does not mean there is not a lot of work happening behind the curtain. Executive Director Mona Christensen says a lot of work goes into welcoming hundreds of students and their supporting staff members for a summer of music.

In addition to their performances in the concert barn from July 22nd through August 12th, Birch Creek Music Center has four family concerts and more than 20 shows around the county featuring their jazz combo scheduled for this summer. You can listen to our full interview with Christensen by clicking on this link.

Fire chief expresses caution after Liberty Grove grass fire

Just because it is greening up does not mean you can rest easy when lighting a fire in the area.


The Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department responded to a grass fire near Hill Road in Sister Bay before 4:30 p.m. Monday afternoon after a passerby noticed some debris near where they were driving was ablaze. When crews arrived, approximately a half-acre was on fire with some flames jumping from tree to tree. Firefighters were able to knock down the fire in about 45 minutes with no buildings threatened and no injuries reported. Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht reminds people that even though the fire conditions have improved a little bit as the plant life has greened up over the last few weeks, there also has not been much measurable precipitation during that time either.

The grass fire in Sister Bay was not the only one reported in Door County on Monday. Egg Harbor Fire Chief Justin MacDonald says they also experienced one near Fairview Road at 12:45 p.m., but that it was quickly extinguished.

Region expects big boom from NFL Draft

You can expect to see more than just Packers and Bears jerseys roaming around Door and Kewaunee counties in April 2025.


The National Football League announced on Monday that Green Bay will be the host of the 2025 Draft. The Green Bay Packers expect an estimated crowd of 240,000 people to attend the event, generating an economic impact of approximately $94 million statewide and $20 million locally. According to Green Bay Packers Chief Operating Officer Ed Policy, that would make the draft the biggest event Green Bay has ever hosted. 


Similar to what occurred when Whistling Straits in the Sheboygan area for the 2021 Ryder Cup, areas as far away as Milwaukee and Madison could see people staying in hotel rooms there before driving to Green Bay for the NFL Draft festivities. Destination Door County’s Jen Rogers says the area will likely see its own influx of visitors due to the draft, whether they are just here to sleep in between rounds or need to escape the draft for the day.

Rogers says they will start planning ahead for 2025, working with Discover Green Bay, area businesses, and visitors on how to make this a positive experience for everyone. The NFL also announced plans to flex Thursday night games to get the best matchups available for their partners. While the Packers were one of eight teams to vote against the proposal, Destination Door County’s Jon Jarosh said earlier this month that it could actually turn into an advantage for the area.

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