News Archives for 2017-06

Free Trolley Rides Begin in Sister Bay

By Mark Kanz

Visitors to Sister Bay will be able to park their car and leave the driving to somebody else for the next six weekends.  Jerry Saballus is the village's trolley manager and says the service is in response to a shortage of parking.  Trolley drivers will make 14 stops around town.



Trolley service will run every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for the next six weekends.  Local businesses are pitching in to fund the effort.  Drivers will be able to answer questions from visitors and several will be in character throughout the trip.   The trolley has seating for 29 and standing room for another 15-20 people.

Birch Creek Features Pie And Symphony On July 4th

By Mark Kanz

Birch Creek Music Performance Center will be celebrating Independence Day the only way it knows how...with music.  Symphony students at the residential summer music academy in Egg Harbor will roll out the patriotic classics for a 4 p.m. afternoon show on the Fourth of July.  Executive Director Mona Christensen says the pre-concert free pie and ice cream social will also be a big draw.



Christensen says the percussion and steel band students wrap up their stay Saturday with a free family concert in the afternoon and the regular evening performance in the century old performance barn.

"International" Airport Hosts Fly-In

By Mark Kanz

Rio Creek International Airport will be the center of the aviation world in Kewaunee County Saturday as the airport hosts its annual fly-in.  You won't confuse it with EAA, but Rio Creek Aviation Foundation Treasurer Duane Fameree expects several dozen visiting pilots to stop in from every corner of the state.  Several hundred non-pilots are also expected to attend.  Fameree says the airport has run parallel to County K since the early 70s.



The 2,200-foot grass runway is home to about a half-dozen airplanes and pilots most of the time.  Saturday's event includes food, music, an antique car show and a visit by the Eagle III helicopter.  Airplane rides will be offered for an added cost.

Fameree explains how Rio Creek International Airport got its tongue-in-cheek "international" designation.


Casco Farm Wins National Award

By Mark Kanz

Kinnard Farms of Casco received an award this past week in Chicago from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.  The Kinnard family was one of three national winners in the category of Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability.  The award salutes dairy farmers for voluntary efforts to improve in the areas of economic, environmental and community impact.  The family farm Co-owner Lee Kinnard says the nomination was a surprise.



Kinnard says his operation is always looking for a better way.  He says there is no doubt the agriculture industry can have an impact on the environment, but technology is lessening that impact every day.  Judges for the award included representatives from the Wildlife Federation Fund and The Nature Conservancy.  He says one of the perks of the award ceremony was the ability to network with other industry leaders from around the world.

Sheriff Offers Holiday Driving Tips

By Mark Kanz

A record number of travelers are expected on U.S. roadways this weekend.  AAA says 37.5 million Americans will drive to their destination.  That's an increase of 2.9 percent over last year.  Strong employment, rising incomes, higher consumer confidence and cheaper gas prices are credited with the travel upswing.  Door County Sheriff Steve Delarwelle says the best thing you can do is wear your seatbelt.  He has a couple of other tips, too.



Delarwelle says it's also a good idea to drive with your headlights on so that other drivers can see you better.  The Independence Day holiday officially begins today through July 4th.

Local Grower Re-Elected To State Board

By Mark Kanz

Southern Door County resident Lee Petrina was re-elected Wednesday to the state cherry industry's market orders board. Petrina, the group's president, says the five-member Wisconsin Cherry Board is responsible for overseeing money earmarked to support the industry through research, market development, and consumer education.



That assessment is $10 per ton for growers who produce more than 2,000 pounds annually.  It usually amounts to $20,000-$30,000 a year.  The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) oversees elections for the Wisconsin Cherry Board and state's other commodity marketing boards.

Fireworks Can Be Awesome For Humans But Terrifying For Pets

By Paul Schmitt

Fireworks displays often bring enjoyment to people of all ages, but not so much to their furry companions. Pets can get spooked by the loud noises of the explosions or sick from getting too close and inhaling the chemicals given off. Dr. Jordan Kubilca from the Door County Veterinary Hospital and Luxemburg Pet Clinic suggests you leave your pets home if at all possible.



If you have to bring your pet, Dr. Kubilca says to make sure your pets stay away from the fireworks and

wearing a snug fitting collar. More pets are lost during Independence Day weekend than any other weekend of the year.

Algoma's "Book Corner" Celebrates Opening

By Paul Schmitt

The Algoma Library Friends is celebrating the grand opening of the new "Book Corner" bookstore this Friday.  A formal ribbon-cutting is set for 11 a.m.  and the grand opening celebration will go until 3 p.m.  Bookstore Manager Sue Haas says the new store will be a comfortable and inviting location for everyone.



Completely volunteer run, all funds raised from the bookstore will support the programs offered by the Algoma Public Library.  Book Corner is located on the corner of Third and State Streets and will be open Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.  and Sundays from 10 until 2 p.m.

Door And Kewaunee Counties To Celebrate 4th Of July Starting On Saturday

By Paul Schmitt

The evening skies will be filled with fireworks this weekend and beyond for the Fourth of July throughout the area.  Door and Kewaunee County communities will be offering celebrations and fireworks starting on Saturday night.  The Fish Creek Civic Association celebrates its Fish Creek Summer Fest on the waterfront on Saturday at Clark Park.  Egg Harbor will have a two-day Independence Day celebration on Monday and Tuesday including the annual parade at 1:30 and fireworks over the harbor at dusk on Monday.  Maplewood will have a fireworks display at about 9:30 p.m. on Monday night near the Forestville Town Hall.    Baileys Harbor will have their annual parade at 10 a.m. on the Fourth of July with fireworks planned at dusk.  "Sturgeon Bay Celebrates" will be held at Sunset Park on the Fourth of July afternoon with fireworks at dusk.  Gills Rock and Washington Island will also have their fireworks displays on Independence Day.  In Kewaunee County, includes Algoma having fireworks on Sunday evening at the Waters Edge Bed & Breakfast at about 9:30 p.m.  Kewaunee's  will begin Independence Celebration at noon Monday, July 3 at Lakehaven Hall with a Fireworks display at 9 p.m. You can find more details on the planned celebrations throughout the area with this story online.;

Weber Looking To Relocate Historic Bathhouse In Fish Creek

By Paul Schmitt

A historic cottage and beach house in Fish Creek may have a new home soon.  The Hotz beach bathhouse was considered for renovation by the Gibraltar Historical Association before repair costs were considered too high.  Door County resident Christie Weber says she is interested in moving the building in order to save it.



A recent inspection confirmed that the structure was not suitable for bathrooms as the Town of Gibraltar looks to put permanent public bathrooms near the Fish Creek beach.  Weber has a mover coming this week to determine the structural condition of the building and says a town meeting to approve the possible relocation of the Hotz bathhouse is set for next week.

Senator Baldwin Happy For Delay In Healthcare Bill Vote

By Tim Kowols

The United States Senate is expected to try again after its July 4th recess to pass its version of a healthcare reform bill after its first attempt came without a vote. Earlier this week, the Congressional Budget Office stated up to 22 million Americans would become uninsured by 2026 under the American Healthcare Act, which proposes cuts to Medicare and government subsidies for coverage. Senator Tammy Baldwin says even if there were some good parts of the bill, she still would not support it because of the harm it would do to Wisconsinites.


Senator Baldwin, a Democrat, also disagrees with the coverage for some pre-existing conditions disappearing as a part of the American Healthcare Act. Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican, also blasted the plan after it was originally released last week.

Herlache Named Door County Community Foundation Philanthropist Of The Year

By Tim Kowols

The Door County Community Foundation honored Dr. John Herlache as its philanthropist of the year during a luncheon held on Wednesday. Herlache has provided leadership for several initiatives including the efforts of the Sturgeon Bay Rotary Club, Door-Tran, and the Belgian Heritage Foundation. Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy told the crowd through a story that Herlache knows if the individual parts of the county are healthy, the community is stronger because of it.



The Door County Community Foundation gives thousands of dollars every year to support the area's 350 different non-profit groups.

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"Childs Play" Stories Give Kids A History Lesson In Ephraim

By Paul Schmitt

The Ephraim Historical Foundation's programs start this Thursday with "Child Play" stories.  The theme-related activities start at 10 a.m. and will be held every Thursday through July 20 in conjunction with the Door County Library.  Youth Services Librarian Beth Lokken says the partnership offers children a great learning experience.



Registration is requested in advance and the program is held at the Ephraim Historical Foundation's Anderson History Center.  You can find more information on summer activities offered at the Sturgeon Bay Library below.

Midsummer's Music Features Women Composers At "Indomitable Spirits" Concerts Starting Friday

By Paul Schmitt

Midsummer Music Festival will feature four concerts beginning Friday that will give a musical history of three women who faced challenges and triumphs in a music world dominated by men.  "Indomitable Spirits will have local actors portraying Melanie "Mel" Bonis, Louise Farrenc, and Amy Cheney Beach, composers from the nineteenth century and the early 20th century.  Executive Director of Midsummer Music Russ Warren says the concerts will be both entertaining and educational.



Warren says local actors from the community will portray the three composers.  You can find details of the "Indomitable Spirits" concerts and ticket information below.




Midsummer's Music Presents Indomitable Spirits


Sister Bay, Wis. – June 23, 2017 – Door County's Midsummer's Music continues its 2017 festival season with the Indomitable Spirits program, featuring music by three female composers who lived between 1804 and 1944: Mélanie "Mel" Bonis, Louise Farrenc, and Amy Cheney Beach.


Bonis led a double and, most of the time, a troubled life. Much of this was brought on by her parents and by the societal limitations women of that era experienced. She chose to use Mel as her name to hide her gender as a composer. She was a prolific French classical composer, and she wrote more than 300 compositions, including works for piano solo and four hands, organ pieces, chamber music, mélodies, choral music, a mass, and works for orchestra. Midsummer's ensemble will perform her Suite in E Minor, Op. 59.


Farrenc took up piano at an early age and by 15 was studying composition with Anton Reicha and later with Johan Nepomuk Hummel, two of the most prominent musical names in early nineteenth century Paris. The combination of instruments – flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, and piano – in Farrenc's Sextet in C Minor, Op. 40, had never been done when she composed the piece in 1851-2.


Beach is one of America's greatest composers. A child prodigy, she began composing music at age four and performing publicly at age seven. She made her piano debut with the Boston Symphony at age 17 playing the Chopin F Minor Concerto. In composition, she was almost completely self-taught, but she had access to all the conventional treatises. She studied the works of many composers, often memorizing them and then writing them down from memory. Beach wrote Quintet in C Minor, Op. 52.


All four concerts of the Indomitable Spirits program will be done in conjunction with the Women's Fund of Door County, and actors from the community will portray the three composers. Mel Bonis will be portrayed by Sara Oswald, Laura Vlies, and Moriah Grahl, while Lizz Thomas and Donna Johnson take turns as Louise Farrenc, and Claire Morkin will play Amy Cheney Beach. Audiences will learn about the challenges and triumphs that these women faced in a music world dominated by men.


The Indomitable Spirits concerts will be at 7:00 pm June 30 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 7:30 pm July 1 at Björklunden, 7:00 pm July 7 at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, and 2:00 pm July 8 at The Clearing Folk School. Tickets are $29 for adults, $10 for students, and children 12 and under are free, and they can be ordered online at midsummersmusic.comor by phone at 920-854-7088.


Midsummer's Music was co-founded in 1990 by Jim and Jean Berkenstock, long-time Door County summer residents and principal orchestral players with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The Festival has drawn on the extraordinary talent of professional musicians and artist/faculty of universities throughout the Midwest. Offering chamber music for winds, strings, and piano performed in intimate and unique settings throughout Door County, venues include art galleries, churches, and private homes. From such masters as Mozart, Schubert, and Dvo?ák to some lesser-known but very accomplished composers, each concert is an unforgettable musical experience.


The 2017 season runs June 16 – July 23 and August 25 – September 4


Temporary Living Program Helping Victims Of Domestic Abuse Make Transition To New Life

By Paul Schmitt

Many victims and survivors of domestic abuse face unique barriers to accessing shelter and affordable housing.  Help of Door County offers a fourth-month program that supports those impacted by abuse both financially and emotionally.  Executive Director Steve Vickman explains how the Temporary Living Program (TLP) works.



Vickman says Gay Pustaver from Money Management Counselors also offers assistance and services to help individuals impacted by domestic abuse develop skills needed to go forward in life.  Help of Door County recently received a $3,200 grant from the WPS Foundation for the Temporary Living Program.

Gas Prices At The Pump Surprisingly Low For Holiday Weekend

By Paul Schmitt

It looks like for the first time in the 17 year history of Gasbuddy, gas prices at the pump will be lower on the Fourth of July than it was on the first of the year.   Gas prices on New Year's Day were about $2.37 per gallon in Wisconsin while as of this Wednesday prices averaged $2.24 per gallon in the state.  Parv Jandu from Jandu Petroleum convenience stores anticipates a busy weekend and for prices to stay lower this summer.



Inaccurate projections earlier this year by analysts called for prices nearing $3 per gallon this summer.  Gas prices last year at this time were 14 cents per gallon higher statewide, according to  The lowest price in the area as of Wednesday was $2.19 per gallon.

Door County Land Trust Obtains Additional Property On Chambers Island

By Paul Schmitt

The Door County Land Trust has just acquired 113 additional acres of property on Chambers Island as part of the nature preserve.  With the current acquisition, the Chambers Island Nature Preserve now has 487 acres of forest, wetland and interior shoreline of Lake Mackaysee.  Executive Director Tom Clay says the recent purchase includes a unique and valuable piece of land including a 15-acre leather-leaf muskeg (bog), the only one found in Door County.



When it is completed, the Chambers Island Nature Preserve will be the largest of fifteen nature preserves that are owned and managed by the Door County Land Trust.  The Land Trust protects nearly 7,800 acres in Door County and is open to the public at no charge for hiking, cross-country skiing, wildlife observation and some forms of hunting.

(Photo by Drew Reinke)

Operation Dry Water Looks To Crackdown On Boating Under The Influence

By Paul Schmitt

Local law enforcement will be again patrolling the waters around Door County in efforts to reduce the number of alcohol and drug-related accidents and fatalities.  Operation Dry Water will be this weekend and is a national initiative that the Door County Sheriff's Office is participating in again.  Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says an alcohol-related fatality that happened last year is a good reminder to boat sober this summer.



Operation Dry Water is an annual three –day campaign held the weekend before the Fourth of July holiday.  Since the inception of Operation Dry Water, 2520 Boaters Under the Influence (BUI) have been removed from the waters nationally.

Island Fishing Industry Remembered At Jackson Harbor

By Tim Kowols

For almost four decades, the history of Washington Island's shipwrecks and commercial fishing industry has called the shores of Jackson Harbor home. The Jackson Harbor Maritime Museum on Washington Island features exhibits displaying the nets used by commercial anglers of today and yesteryear and the history of the Great Lakes Gill Net Tugboats. Museum Director Judy Donnelly says one of the more interesting pieces featured is a Ford Model A that had a unique job during winters in the 1930s.



Located near the dock for the Rock Island Ferry, the Jackson Harbor Maritime Museum offers free admission during the tourist season and will host its annual grilled whitefish dinner on June 30.

Door Shakespeare's Season Opens Saturday

By Tim Kowols

Door Shakespeare looks to capture the imagination of theatergoers this summer when its season opens this week. This year's troupe will be tasked with performing William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night and David Farr's The Heart of Robin Hood on alternating evenings. Artistic Director Amy Ludwigsen says Door Shakespeare is blessed to have actors from across the country perform in both plays in a unique environment.



Ludwigsen says the actors connect with the community through its Doorways Creating Theatre for Children and other programs. Door Shakespeare's opening night at the Garden at Bjorklunden in Baileys Harbor is July 1 with performances running through August 19. You can listen to a full preview of the 2017 season online with this story.

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Prevent Suicide Door County Wants To Start The Conversation

By Tim Kowols

With thousands of people dying from suicide every year and even more attempting it, Prevent Suicide Door County hopes being visible in the community starts a dialogue. The organization, founded by the family of Cheryl Wilson following the sudden death of her son, Nathan, has been appearing at local events like last Saturday's Open Door Pride Picnic and hosting "Question, Persuade, Refer" trainings across the area with large groups to address the negative stigma surrounding the discussion of suicide. Wilson says many people contemplating suicide want to be heard and included.



According to Trevor Project, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 10-24, with lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth more than four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers.

Rain Causing Issues For Door County Construction Projects

By Tim Kowols

Spring's rainy weather has caused a drag on area construction projects, including three being currently worked on by the Door County government. The new senior center and Emergency Medical Services building is still on track because crews have been able to do their interior work while staying out of the weather. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says the work on two Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Stations has not been as lucky.



The B.U.G. Fire Station projects are scheduled to be finished in Gardner in September and Brussels during November. The ribbon cutting for the senior center and EMS building hopes to take place in early 2018.

Investment Fund Searching For Partners

By Mark Kanz

About 30 investors from this corner of the state have pooled their resources and set up and investment fund to get new businesses started.  Managing Director David Trotter says the Winnebago Seed Fund has $11 million and it is searching high and low for suitable candidates.  He says 95% of the companies he'll talk to aren't what his investors are looking for.



Trotter says he'd like to have about a dozen start-ups with great potential under the fund's umbrella.  Entrepreneurs and their high-tech companies typically haven't given Northeastern Wisconsin a lot of consideration, but this could change the game.

10th Annual "Queen For A Day" Women's Golf Outing Big Success Again

By Paul Schmitt

Over 150 women participated in the 10th Annual Queen for a Day Golf Outing at Idlewild Golf Course on Monday afternoon.  Despite unseasonably cool temperatures and wet conditions, 38 foursomes hit the links to enjoy a nine hole scramble with a dinner after the round under a huge tent.  Committee member Barth Guillette says the event is as popular as ever and the golfers came prepared this year for the weather.



Guilette says the golf outing has raised over $300,000 in the last ten years.  All proceeds from the "Queen for a Day" benefit Door CANcer and the David Spude Cancer Center Fund.




Record Water Levels Good News For Washington Island Ferry

By Tim Kowols

The highest water levels on Lake Michigan in two decades are keeping major costs away for the Washington Island Ferry. A cloudy fall season, higher than usual water temperatures, and a wet spring are all to thank for lake levels rebounding from record lows in January 2013 according to the Chicago Tribune. This means the Washington Island Ferry does not have to spend the money dredging the hard clay at the island port and the limestone bedrock in Northport. Ferry President Hoyt Purinton says those dollars add up quickly, which would cost the line twenty times what is to dredge a river.



Purinton says they have not had to resort to dredging at their ports in the last four to five years. Last Friday marked another service increase for the Washington Island Ferry, which will now do 22 roundtrips daily through Labor Day weekend in addition to extra night trips Friday through Sunday.

Paying Down The Interest Now Saves You Money Later On Home Purchase

By Tim Kowols

Home ownership often means more money will be needed to keep up with the maintenance and the mortgage of your property. According to, you could pay an additional $186,000 on a $200,000 home with a 30-year mortgage with a five percent interest rate. Gay Pustaver from Money Management Counselors says if you can afford it, making principal only payments in addition to your usual monthly bill could help reduce the cost you pay in interest.



Pustaver warns if you are tempted to repay credit card debt with home equity that you should consider a debt plan so you do not get into further trouble.





Home Ownership Possible With A Little Help

Property Taxes Among Items To Consider When Purchasing A Home


Prepare For Traffic As Farm Technology Days Work Gets Underway

By Tim Kowols

Kewaunee County motorists are getting a sneak preview of what traffic could be like when Farm Technology Days kicks off July 11. The Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department is asking drivers to avoid County Highway K near host farm Ebert Enterprises in Algoma while the construction of tent city featuring 600 exhibitors and other activities takes place. Wisconsin State Patrol Sgt. Dan Diedrich says once the event starts next month, motorists are going to want to use mobile devices to find an alternate route to the three-day show. Since the location has limited access, especially from the east, Diedrich suggests you stick to the signs.


The Wisconsin State Patrol, Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department, and other agencies have been coordinating for the last three years on traffic and safety plans for Farm Technology Days, which is expected to draw over 40,000 people.

Egg Harbor Installs First Public Art Displays

By Tim Kowols

Egg Harbor's Public Arts Initiative is bringing sculpture outside to the community. Earlier this month, the new non-profit organization unveiled its first piece at Harbor View Park called "Natural Wonders," the first of four works of art to be installed throughout the village. Egg Harbor Administrator Ryan Heise says the four sculptures are just the beginning of expanding the public art experience in the village.


While the temporary sculptures will be in place through the early fall, work on the estimated $20,000 piece of public art will begin in the spring.

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Door County Coastal Byway Committee Seeks Designation For Stone Fences

By Tim Kowols

The Door County Coastal Byway Committee hopes receiving designation from the state and federal historical register will help preserve a series of stone fences in northern Door County. The stone fences were used to help mark property and keep animals contained in areas where it was nearly impossible to dig fence posts. Many of the stone fences were threatened with removal by the Department of Transportation as it planned a series of road construction projects in the area. The Door County Coastal Byway Committee is in the process of getting individual towns to jump on board with efforts to map the fences and learn more about the fences themselves and the people that built them. Ann Miller from the Door County Coastal Byway Committee says protecting the history of the area is important.



According to the State Historic Preservation Office, only six fence sites have been designated as archaeological sites in the Wisconsin Historic Preservation Database. Miller says the town of Liberty Grove has joined the effort while the town of Gibraltar declined.

Granary Takes Next Step To Being Listed On Historic Registers

By Tim Kowols

The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society is one step closer in its efforts to save the granary on the city's west side. National Register Nomination Preparer Tim Heggland will present the case for the Teweles and Brandeis Mill to be included on the State Historic Register and potentially the National Historic Register on August 18 after making it through the review board. Sturgeon Bay Historical Society President Christie MacDonald says much like the efforts to save the Michigan Street Steel Bridge in the early 2000s, the focus of the presentation will be on the historical significance of the granary to the community.



MacDonald hopes the designation kicks off fundraising efforts to help start rehabbing the building so it does not fall into further disrepair. At its June 6th meeting, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council voted unanimously to get bids on tearing down or reusing the granary after the Fire Department declared it to be unsafe and unhealthy for people to explore.

J-1 Visa Students Begin Summer Abroad In Door County

By Tim Kowols

Over 300 international students are expected to call Door County home this summer as part of the J-1 Visa Program. The college students started coming to the area around Memorial Day weekend to fill Door County's workforce shortage during the busy tourist season, turning the area into a mini-United Nations. (Huijue) Clair Su came to America from China to work on her English skills for a future career as a teacher while also learning to the culture.



Marina Lozano Gago of Spain says the Door County Bridges of Friendship program and the experience of her employers, Sister Bay Inn owners and former J-1 Visa students Vilius and Alma Vaicekauskas, have made her transition to the area a lot smoother.



Twenty-six volunteers help make the Door County Bridges of Friendship program possible by organizing social events, English conversation courses, and transportation. This is the first in our summer-long series introducing you to some of the international students helping make Door County a better place to live, work, and play.



Full Audio Interview


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Fairests Of The Fair Excited To Promote Agriculture During Landmark Year

By Tim Kowols

After winning their crowns last November, activities are beginning to hit full throttle for Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair Isabella Haen and Junior Fairest of the Fair Megan Salentine. The two have been making appearances across the area at local parades, road races, and other events as they promote the upcoming 100th Kewaunee County Fair. A herd person at Kinnard Farms, Haen says the fair's landmark anniversary and this summer's Farm Technology Days are an added bonus to wearing the crown this year.



For Salentine, a student at Luxemburg-Casco Middle School, it is an honor to promote agriculture in Kewaunee County.



Fairest of the Fair winners earn a scholarship while promoting agriculture and other Kewaunee County events during their reign before competing in the State Fairest of the Fairs competition.

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First Door County Organic Farm Set To Welcome Thousands For Sevastopol FFA Breakfast July 2nd

By Tim Kowols

A family tradition for four generations, it is what the Wilke family has done over the last five years on their farm that makes it a unique host for this year's Sevastopol FFA Dairy Breakfast. Wilke R Organic Farm in rural Sturgeon Bay is the first organic operation to host the annual Door County summer tradition in its 36-year history. Kevin Wilke says the decision to go organic with its 100 cows and 300 acres of owned and rented land was made to protect the community, including his wife Tricia and three daughters Rebecca, Rachel, and Ruth.



Other Door County-produced products will be featured at the Sevastopol FFA Dairy Breakfast, which takes place next Sunday at Wilke R Organic Farm beginning at 6:30 a.m.

Rep. Gallagher Applauds Accountability And Transparency In New VA Law

By Tim Kowols

Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin's Eighth District is doing his part to make sure his fellow military veterans are taken care of once they enter the Department of Veterans Affairs system. The Marine veteran was one of the 368 representatives that passed the bipartisan bill aimed at protecting whistleblowers and punish underperforming VA employees. Rep. Gallagher says the new law is one step to improve the transparency and accountability at the VA.



The freshman congressperson says the shared respect for the sacrifices of military veterans is one of the things that unite the country regardless of political party. President Donald Trump signed the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act last Friday.

Insurance Options Limited For Healthcare As U.S. Senate Grapple Over New Bill

By Paul Schmitt

With Republicans in Congress trying to find enough support to pass the American Healthcare Act, many in the country are trying to figure out what options are available to them for health insurance with the current Affordable Care Act.  Mike Walston of Robertson Ryan & Associates in Kewaunee says those in the exchange cannot make changes until the open enrollment period starting in November.  For those who lost their insurance through work, they have three options, according to Walston.



The U.S. Senate unveiled a drafted bill last Thursday that will make deep cuts in Medicaid and end the law's mandate that most Americans have health insurance.  The Senate has not scheduled a vote yet on the bill.  You can find the entire Ask the Expert segment with Mike Walston on healthcare insurance with this story online.



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Casco's Bruce DePeau Awarded Volunteer Fire Chief Of The Year

By Paul Schmitt

Casco's Volunteer Fire Chief Bruce DePeau was honored at the 2017 Wisconsin State Fire Chief's Association Foundation President's dinner in Green Bay Saturday night.  DePeau, who was nominated by Casco Assistant Fire Chief Duane Opicka, was notified my mail in late May that he had won the prestigious honor.   DePeau was surprised and humbled by the honor and shares the most rewarding part of being a fire chief and firefighter.



DePeau has been a firefighter for 29 years and the Casco fire chief for the past 14 years.  The Casco Fire Department will be purchasing a new fire engine in August and converting a rescue squad into an equipment van this summer, According to DePeau.

(Photo by Danielle DePeau)

Clipper Student Athletes Can Pump Up This Summer in High School Weight Room

By Connor Sannito--Sturgeon Bay High School Correspondent

The Sturgeon Bay High School weight room will be open from seven to nine in the morning, Monday through Friday, for Sturgeon Bay  students all summer long.

John Vercauteren, the volunteer in charge of the Sturgeon Bay weightroom, looks to generally improve Sturgeon Bay athletics with this opportunity. Weightlifting will strengthen the students not only on a physical level, but also in a subliminal beneficiary way.

The two hour workouts usually consist of a designed plan by Vercauteren drawn up on a board: a combination of power lifting, Olympic lifting, accessory work, and bodybuilding plans.

The reasoning that students of all athletic background, or none at all, can have somewhere to workout during the summer with professional assistance.

Vercauteren placed in the top three at Powerlifting Nationals. In addition, he studied strength and conditioning at Lakeland college, where played football and threw shot put. Vercauteren also coaches Sturgeon Bay High School football, track, and powerlifting.


The Time To Eliminate The Grub Worms That Cause Lawn Damage Is Soon

By Paul Schmitt

Homeowners who had to deal with dead spots and torn up lawns this spring should take action soon to prevent the same problem next year.  The  European Chafer beetle, more commonly called the June bugs, is the culprit that caused a lot of lawn damage in the early spring.  The beetle is in a grub worm stage that feeds on the grass roots while animals and birds dig at the lawns to get a meal.  Trevor Marin of Lawn & Landscape Specialists says July is a good time to take care of the June bugs.



Marin says most lawns will recover during the season with additional lawn care, but insecticides are needed to deal with the grubs at this time to prevent a reoccurrence next year.

Open Door Pride Day And Picnic Event Kicks Off New Organization

By Paul Schmitt

Hundreds of people attended the Inaugural Open Door Pride Picnic held at Martin Park on Saturday afternoon.  June 24 was proclaimed "Open Door Pride Day" by Sturgeon Bay Mayor Thad Birmingham.  Council member Kelly Catarozoli was on hand to present a plaque of the proclamation.  Founding member of the Open Door Pride committee Cathy Grier says the mission of the organization is to affirm the community's diversity through inclusion.



The picnic on Saturday included live music, art activities, and LGBTQ friendly vendors.  Grier says the new organization will have future events planned for later this summer.



Door County Board Member Megan Lundahl, City Alder Kelly Catarozoli, founder Cathy Grier with proclamation letter plaque proclaiming "Open Door Pride Day"





Midwest Environmental Advocates News Release On "Ordinary High Water Mark" Agreement

By Midwest Environmental Advocates

Latest News

In June, after two days of facilitated discussions between delegations of the City of Sturgeon Bay and Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront, the parties reached an agreement as to the location of the ordinary high water mark (OHWM) of 92 East Maple Street along Sturgeon Bay.

We still need DNR and the judge to agree to the location of the OHWM, but we're very glad that the parties to this litigation have reached an agreement. The parties have jointly proposed to DNR that the OHWM be located parallel to and 60 feet waterward of the meander line (according to the US government land survey of 1835).

Case Summary

Door County, Wisconsin has more miles of shoreline than any other county in the country. The shoreline is cherished whether you have been in Door County for three generations or only three hours. It is a unique place where tourism, shipbuilding, music, renowned cherry crops, and water-based recreation drive its economy. Development on the peninsula requires a respect for your neighbor while remembering there is a delicate balance between growth and protecting the natural resources that make the water and land a special place to live, visit and recreate.

That's why Midwest Environmental Advocates has joined attorneys from Wheeler, Van Sickle & Anderson to represent Sturgeon Bay residents and Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront in an action against the City of Sturgeon Bay and its Waterfront Redevelopment Authority regarding the City's proposed sale of Public Trust land. The city of Sturgeon Bay plans to sell the shorefront property to a developer for a private hotel. The proposed hotel project's footprint would overlap land that was submerged lakebed at the time of Wisconsin's statehood, which means the state holds title to that lakebed under the Public Trust Doctrine.

The City obtained an ordinary high water mark determination from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for only part of the newly drawn lot that the City plans to sell for development. This is significant because the ordinary high water mark sets the boundary between public trust lakebed and shoreline that landowners are free to develop. Wisconsin's constitution mandates that the State to protect and preserve Public Trust Land for public use. The City's plan to sell Public Trust property to a private developer for private use violates the public's right to use and enjoy land protected by our state constitution.

On May 8, 2015, Midwest Environmental Advocates sent a letter to the DNR explaining why the Public Trust Doctrine protects some of the land that the City of Sturgeon Bay plans to sell to a hotel developer. The letter clarifies the historic role of the ordinary high water mark in this area and explains why even filled land over what once was submerged lakebed does not extend property rights to the exclusion of public access to our shared rights to navigable waters.

The map below illustrates the prior property boundaries, the parcel that the City plans to sell for hotel development, the location of the proposed hotel, and the parcel of property for which the DNR has made an ordinary high water mark determination. The light green and light blue shaded parcels are those that used to be 92 E. Maple Street and 100 E. Maple Street, respectively. The light green parcel is sometimes known as the granary parcel, and the light blue parcel is what is sometimes referred to as what used to be the coast guard parcel. The bold black outline delineates the newly drawn property that the City plans to sell and the light grey shaded section is where the developer plans to build the hotel.

As the map illustrates, only a portion of that newly drawn parcel is covered by the DNR's determination of the ordinary high water mark, called the DNR ordinary high water mark "Letter of Concurrence."


(right click to view larger image in detail)


The DNR protects public trust land, and Wisconsin has vigorously defended public rights in navigable waters for over a century. We hope that the DNR will consider the available evidence so that the agency can continue to protect public shoreline in one of Wisconsin's most unique places.

MEA and Wheeler, Van Sickle & Anderson previously filed federal court action to vindicate area residents' constitutionally protected right to due process and access to the lakebed property held in public trust by our state government. The federal court dismissed the federal lawsuit against the City of Sturgeon Bay and its Waterfront Redevelopment Authority because the court concluded that individual members of the public did not have due process rights in Public Trust land under the federal Constitution. The federal court decision on the due process claims does not impact the state court case that was subsequently filed to prevent the City from selling Public Trust land.

On Tuesday, June 16, around sixty area residents gathered in Sturgeon Bay to learn more about the Public Trust Doctrine and the state's obligation to protect our shared public trust resources such as Lake Michigan, Sturgeon Bay, and the land underlying those waters. The Door County Daily News covered the event and included a video clip.

Many of these citizens attended because they are concerned about the City of Sturgeon Bay's plan to sell property for a large waterfront hotel. Questions arose regarding whether all of the property that the City plans to sell is private property or whether some of it might be filled-in lakebed that would still be subject to Public Trust Doctrine protections.

Staff Attorney Sarah Williams presented background on the Public Trust Doctrine and Wisconsin's Sunshine Laws that ensure public access to government decisions. The question and answer session that followed revealed some important questions that residents have for the City. As described in MEA's May 8th letter to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the location of the ordinary high water mark has not been determined for part of the parcel that the City plans to sell for hotel development.

Then, in a victory for defending public land, on Friday, February 10, a district court Judge said "no" to the City of Sturgeon Bay's plan to sell property on a historic dock—parcel 92 (for more, see this map)—to a hotel developer and reiterated support for the plaintiffs' position that filled Lake Michigan lake bed is public land.

Judge Huber reaffirmed longstanding rules and concluded that the plaintiffs' evidence showed that most or all of the parcel 92 property was lakebed below the ordinary high water mark at statehood. This Public Trust land must be held in trust for public use and cannot be sold to a private entity or used for a private commercial development.

This is a huge win for the Sturgeon Bay advocates who have worked tirelessly to protect public land and uphold the Public Trust Doctrine.

After the judge's decision, the plaintiffs petitioned the DNR for a declaratory ruling on the location of the ordinary high water mark. The DNR granted the petition and plans to hold a hearing. The Sturgeon Bay City Council heard from residents that the City should negotiate a settlement with the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront and deny a resolution to request legislation from the state to describe the ordinary high water mark for parcel 92. Alderman Dave Ward and Alderwoman Laurel Hauser will lead negotiations on settlement with the Friends group.

In June, after two days of facilitated discussions between delegations of the City of Sturgeon Bay and Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront, the parties reached an agreement as to the location of the ordinary high water mark (OHWM) of 92 East Maple Street along Sturgeon Bay.

We still need DNR and the judge to agree to the location of the OHWM, but we're very glad that the parties to this litigation have reached an agreement. The parties have jointly proposed to DNR that the OHWM be located parallel to and 60 feet waterward of the meander line (according to the US government land survey of 1835).

Four-Legged Friends Helping Children Improve Reading Skills

By Paul Schmitt

Dogs are not only man's best friend but are also helping children appreciate the importance of reading.  The Door County Library has reader dogs at three different branch locations during the summer.  Youth Services Librarian Beth Lokken says the therapy dogs make a big impact on children's reading skills.



The Sister Bay Library has "Amos" coming in every Thursday at 10:30 a.m.  The Sturgeon Bay Library features "Barley", "Mocha" or "Igloo" on Thursdays afternoons at 4 p.m. while "Nellie Bly" an intrepid is at Ephraim Library once a month during the summer.  You can find more information about the Reader Dog program at the Door County Library with the link below.


(photo courtesy of Door County Library)

Algoma Meeting To Discuss Trail Extension

By Mark Kanz

An exchange program with the City of Oconto two years ago has an Algoma group looking at how to maximize the benefit of having the Ahnapee State Trail coming into the city.  The program is called First Impressions and that's exactly what visitors from Oconto offered to Algoma.  Community Volunteer Dave Robertson says his group has been working for a year a half on ideas to connect walkers and bikers on the trail spur with the rest of the city.



Robertson says his group will collect feedback from residents at a public meeting Tuesday at the Algoma Boat Club at 6 p.m.  The final plan will be presented to the city council for approval.  He says another goal of the project is to support the health and well-being of the community by providing high-quality recreational assets.   A copy of the First Impressions results presented to Algoma is available in a link online.

Unplug And Play In Sister Bay

By Mark Kanz

Saturday is Unplug and Play Day in Sister Bay.  The community will celebrate the first official weekend of summer and the great outdoors.  Chris Milligan is Sister Bay's Civic Association coordinator.  He says the silent sports event combines the always popular Paddlefest event with a tournament on the village's new disc golf course and several other activities.



He says many summer visitors are from large cities and are looking for an opportunity to put their phone down and just relax for a while.

Open Door Sanctuary Features Raptors

By Mark Kanz

The Open Door Bird Sanctuary begins its new season Saturday.  The 34-acre sanctuary is home to unreleasable birds of prey. The facility is open every Saturday and Sanctuary Executive Director Rob Hults says the raptor program at 1 p.m. provides the best venue for visitors to meet the sanctuary's residents.




Hults says the birds are incredible ambassadors for the environment.  He and his volunteer staff often provide programs elsewhere in the community.  Two new aviaries are under construction this summer to accommodate more residents.  Hults says sanctuary hiking trails run through three distinctive habitats: prairie, hardwood forest and pine forest where bird watchers will view the wild birds that live there.  Open Door Bird Sanctuary is located one mile west of Highway 57 on County I near Jacksonport.

Asian Carp Creeping Closer To Lake

By Mark Kanz

A commercial fisherman near Chicago found an eight-pound silver Asian carp in his net Thursday just eight miles from Lake Michigan.  In 2010, another Asian carp got past the electric barrier designed to prevent the invasive species from reaching Lake Michigan, although carp DNA has been discovered in the water before.  Wisconsin DNR Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator Bob Wakeman says boaters and fishermen can play a big role in preventing the spread of all invasive species.



Wakeman says studies have indicated conditions in Lake Michigan might not be able to support Asian carp, but the Bay of Green Bay would provide a good habitat.  The spread of the Asian carp would threaten the multi- billion dollar Lake Michigan fishing industry.

Blue-Green Algae Returns To Local Waterways

By Mark Kanz

Right on schedule, the first blue-green algae bloom of the season has been reported near Dyckesville on Green Bay.  DNR Eastern District Water Resource Supervisor Rob McLennan says recent rain storms have washed nutrients into the bay.  Once the hot sun hits the enriched water, it provides an environment for algae growth.



McLennan says you need to get medical assistance if you experience any of those symptoms.  He advises keeping your pets out of the water also if you are near an algae bloom.  He says these outbreaks will come and go as conditions change until early fall.

Major Step In Nuclear Plant Decommissioning Complete

By Mark Kanz

A major milestone in the decommissioning of the Kewaunee Power Station nuclear plant was reached recently.  Workers removed the final used fuel bundle from the plant's spent fuel pool and placed it in outdoor dry storage.  With the spent fuel pool now empty, Dominion's Manager of Nuclear Fleet Communications Richard Zuercher says 90 of the remaining 140 people at the site will be leaving over the next nine months.



Zuercher says the economic combination of low natural gas prices and cheap coal made turning a profit impossible for Dominion.  The timeline for completely decommissioning the nuclear plant is 60 years long.  Zuercher says passersby won't notice major changes at the site in the near future.  About 50 workers will remain to monitor and guard the outdoor fuel storage area.

Summer Solstice Comes To Ahnapee Trail

By Mark Kanz

The summer solstice officially took place a few days ago, but runners from throughout the area will celebrate it the best way they know running on Saturday.  Race Director Melissa Dupke says competitors in the Ahnapee Summer Solstice can choose the 30 or the 50-mile course.  People can complete as an individual or team.  Dupke says the race starts at the Ahnapee Trail Neenah Avenue parking lot and ends at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds in Luxemburg.



The entire run will be completed on the Ahnapee State Trail with the exception of the final quarter mile to the fairgrounds.  This is the fourth year as a long distance running event and Dupke is encouraged by the 40% growth in registrations.  Solo participants will start at 7 a.m. and teams will head out at 8 a.m. Saturday.

Plan Commission Approves Two New Housing Developments Despite Opposition

By Tim Kowols

Two new housing developments in Sturgeon Bay would help ease the city's housing concerns but could also have a negative effect on property owners already in the area. The city plan commission approved two separate development agreements with Lexington Homes and SC Swiderski LLC to locate 56 apartments and 14 townhome-style buildings on Grant Avenue. Along with being sent public hearing notices with the wrong time printed, property owner Patrick Markham is frustrated because he believes his land could be negatively affected by poor storm water drainage plans for the developments.



City Engineer Chad Shefchik says after reviewing the methodology, site layouts, and grades from the architects, he believes the necessary precautions have been made.



Shefchik says the storm water drainage design must show that the water leaving the site is equal to or less than what it would be if the development did not exist and allow for retention ponds to drain over a long period of time. The Sturgeon Bay City Plan Commission also approved a Planned Unit Development agreement for the Door County Maritime Museum's tower project. All three developments will need to get final approval from the Sturgeon Bay Common Council at an upcoming meeting.

Business Revives Little Sturgeon Days

By Tim Kowols

A Little Sturgeon business owner is taking it upon himself to save the community's annual summer event. When the Little Sturgeon Property Owners Association decided it could not meet the demands of putting on its annual Little Sturgeon Days event, some residents asked Compass Rose owner George Kingsland if he would take on the task of organizing it. Trimmed down to one day this year, Kingsland says it was important to still keep the tradition alive.



Food, drinks, and live music will highlight the revival of Little Sturgeon Days, which will take place on Saturday.

Kewaunee County Seeking Broadband Internet Funds

By Tim Kowols

Kewaunee County is looking towards the future as it applies for aid for rural broadband Internet access. The request for $800,000 from the Public Service Commission grant money pool would be matched by the county ($1.6 million project total) to expand the network of existing towers so rural areas could have broadband Internet access similar to what is already available in the cities of Kewaunee and Algoma and the village of Luxemburg.  Between encouraging the growth of small business in Kewaunee County and the growing technology needs for farmers and students, Administrator Scott Feldt says broadband Internet access is worth the investment.



Feldt is hopeful for the grant being approved by the PSC because of its suggestion that the funds be provided over the course of a few years. The deadline to apply is June 30 with a decision on the grants to come sometime in August.

Wednesday Highway Closure "A Precautionary Measure" During Union Suicide Threat

By Tim Kowols

No one was taken into custody after a Union man threatened suicide, forcing law enforcement officials to close State Highway 57 for about an hour Wednesday evening. At around 6:30 p.m., the Door County Sheriff's Department received word about the situation at a residence near the Door-Kewaunee County line where a man made suicidal threats after having an argument with his wife. The Sheriff's Department called in multiple units from Door and Brown counties including SWAT teams to close down the highway as a precautionary measure and for extra help after reports that the man could have been armed. Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says after having a conversation with the man, his wife, and other family members, it was decided no arrests were needed.



McCarty says they did leave information about mental health awareness with the couple as a proactive measure as the country continues to struggle with the issue.

Hewett Gaining Experience As Youth With Farm Technology Days

By Tim Kowols

As a model lighthouse shines brightly on the future site of Innovation Square at the upcoming Farm Technology Days in Algoma, it does the same for the youth in Kewaunee County. Nineteen-year-old Will Hewett has been the co-chairperson of the Innovation Square committee since he was in high school, making him one of the younger members of the 18 different committees organizing the three-day event. Hewett says he has learned a lot from his fellow Innovation Square co-chairperson Bill Roethle and other committee members but is also happy to inject some youth into the mix.



Innovation Square will be the site of a farmer's market featuring local vendors, a toy show, a model Lake Michigan, and new agriculture-related technology. Farm Technology Days will take place at Ebert Enterprises in Algoma July 11-13.

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Friends, City Come To Agreement On Ordinary High Water Mark, Awaits DNR Decision

By Tim Kowols

The Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront and the city's ad hoc negotiating committee have come to terms on the location of the ordinary high water mark on the disputed west side parcel. According to a press release from the Friends' lawyers, both sides anticipate they will jointly recommend to the Department of Natural Resources an ordinary high water mark on 92 East Maple Street that is parallel to and sixty feet waterward to a meander line drawn in an 1835 U.S. government land survey.


Other terms of the agreement include an inclusive public process for future development of the west waterfront, maintain the site's scenic view and public use, and for the city to withdraw its request of the Wisconsin State Legislature to draw its own ordinary high water mark. The DNR is still expected to host a public hearing in Sturgeon Bay on the placement of the ordinary high water mark in the near future.


Friends spokesperson Carri Andersson said in an email to members of the media that "it was important to everyone in attendance to have an inclusive public process written into the resolution." Sturgeon Bay City Administrator Josh VanLieshout could not be reached for comment.


Picture of site from Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront with 1835 meander line (green dotted line). According to the agreement, the mutually agreed upon OHWM would be 60 feet closer to the water than what is shown here.




Press Release From Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront


National Our Lady Of Fatima Statue Visits St. Joseph's Church In Sturgeon Bay

By Paul Schmitt

St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Sturgeon Bay was host to the National Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima on Wednesday.  The statue travels the United States under the sponsorship of the World Apostolate of Fatima to bring the message hope, peace, and salvation to millions of people.  Statue Custodian Bill Sockey says the reception this year coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the apparitions at Fatima has been great.



The historic statue was blessed by Pope Paul VI in 1967 and has been in the Green Bay Diocese since June 2.  It will now travel to Manchester New Hampshire in July.  You can see pictures of the National Pilgrim Virgin Statue of our Lady of Fatima below:






Students From Sturgeon Bay To Experience Prestigious Art Camp In Georgia

By Connor Sannito

Four Sturgeon Bay High School students will attend an art camp at one of the nation's top art schools this summer.


Eric Frank, Connor Sannito, Grace Hubbard, and Ellie Johnson, three up and coming seniors and one soon to be Junior, have the unique chance to go to the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia.


The four individuals all achieved partial scholarship at the prestigious art school. Nicole Herbst, the Sturgeon Bay High School Art teacher, assisted the students in attaining the scholarships. They required transcripts, listings of extracurricular activities, essay answers, and three art pieces.




The week-long camp is a special opportunity for the four students. The school has a ninety-nine percent job placement rate and the school is known for their connections to internships with art giants such as Disney, Pixar, and Nickelodeon.


The four Sturgeon Bay Students leave at the end of June and will come back the beginning of July.

Kewaunee County Board Approves Resolution For New State Prison

By Paul Schmitt

A resolution in support of a legislative bill that would possibly build a new state prison in Kewaunee County was passed at Tuesday's Kewaunee County Board meeting.  Although the action is not a formal commitment, it follows the resolutions passed by the Luxemburg Village Board and the Algoma City Council that identified parcels of land that could house the new prison.  Kewaunee County Board President Bob Weidner says the county is considered a prime candidate by the state for the new prison due to two recent economic setbacks.



Weidner says Kewaunee County will be sending out a questionnaire poll to residents for feedback on the potential relocation of the Green Bay Correctional Institution.  The current facility is 119 years old and Rep. David Steffen introduced a bill earlier this year to build a new prison in either Brown County or one of the neighboring counties.

Sen. Ron Johnson Looking To Address Immigration And Workforce Needs With Visa Program

By Paul Schmitt

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson introduced a new state-based visa pilot program last month that would allow states to tailor guest worker programs to meet their individual workforce needs.  The State-Sponsored Visa Pilot Program Act is co-authored by Johnson and Sen. Ken Buck of Colorado and is designed to address the need for manufacturers to find people to work.  Johnson in an interview with last week says the proposed bill is a good first step in dealing with immigration issues as well.



The bill would allow states to each get 5,000 visas for additional foreign workers per year, plus a population-based share of another 245,000 visas and a share of visas not used by other states.  You can read the entire State-Sponsored Visa Pilot Program Act below:

Extremely Wet June Putting Farmer's Crops At Risk

By Paul Schmitt

With the official start of summer today, farmers are normally looking for rain to help their crops grow, but too much of a good thing is not beneficial to a healthy harvest.  Rich Olson of Olson Family Farms in southern Door County says recent heavy rains and standing water in many fields are putting future crops in danger.

According to, areas of Door County have received between five to seven inches of rain already in June when the total average rainfall is 3.62 inches for the entire month.  Olson says area farmers are already behind two to three weeks from late planting caused by a wetter than normal spring.   

Democratic Lawmakers Propose "BadgerCare For All"

By Tim Kowols

Two Democratic lawmakers in the state Legislature are calling for a plan to bring less-expensive health care plans to Wisconsinites. Rep. Eric Genrich and Sen. Dave Hansen have introduced "BadgerCare for All," which would make the state's insurance program for low-income individuals and families an option for those who do not get coverage from their employer or cannot afford what is currently in the marketplace. Rep. Genrich knows the United States Senate is working on the American Health Care Act in Washington D.C. and the bill is unlikely to get a lot of support with state Republicans but says he wants to show his party is at least generating ideas.



Genrich says "BadgerCare for All" would not require any additional state funds if federal waivers are approved and could potentially generate new revenue through management fees associated with operating Medicare plans. The bill will look for co-sponsors this week and be up for discussion on the Assembly and Senate floors in the coming weeks.

Ellison Bay Days Kicks Off Friday

By Tim Kowols

A new name will not stop Ellison Bay Days from bringing back many of the activities residents and visitors have come to know and love. The three -day event kicks off summer in the Northern Door community and will boast its "grande parade" and arts and crafts fair on Saturday and the "Bestminister Dog Show" and Cowboy Church Service on Sunday. Bob Murray from the Ellison Bay Service Club says dropping "olde" from the festival's name is a testament to how the event has evolved.



Door County North and the Liberty Grove Historical Society will host additional events as a part of Ellison Bay Days. You can see the full schedule online with this story.

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City Goes Into Closed Session for Settlement Talks and Land Acquisitions

By Roger Utnehmer

The Sturgeon Bay City Council went into closed session after a forty-five-minute meeting Tuesday to discuss a controversial west-side waterfront hotel and the acquisition of yet-to-be-named property.

Council Member Kelly Catarozoli argued against the closed session. She said the city is considering significant land purchases and the public should know about it.

Council Member David Ward argued for the closed session. City Attorney Randy Nesbitt said property prices skyrocket when word gets out about possible acquisitions.

Joining Catarozoli in voting for open discussions were Barb Allman and Laurel Hauser.

Topics expected to be considered in the closed meeting are the development agreement with hotel developer Bob Papke and settlement discussions conducted last week in Madison with representatives of the city, Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront and the Department of Natural Resources. Papke announced recently that he was pulling out of the hotel agreement and filed a notice of claim with the city demanding more than $500,000.

No public statements were made by council members about what properties are under consideration for purchase, however, the proposal came to the council from the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority, according to Catarozoli.

Algoma To Host Second Comprehensive Planning Meeting And Workshop Wednesday

By Tim Kowols

The city of Algoma is looking to the future when it hosts its second comprehensive planning meeting Wednesday evening. After hosting a brief public hearing at the outset, the meeting will break out into individual workshops where residents and other stakeholders can lay out what they would like to see the needs of the community, economic development, and housing. After their first meeting held in April, city administrator Jeff Wiswell says officials were able to learn a lot heading into Wednesday's workshops.


The city is holding the series of meetings after recently receiving money from the federal Community Development Block Grant program. Wednesday's meeting will begin at 6 p.m. inside the Algoma High School cafeteria and commons.

Rep. Kitchens Weighs In On Recent Actions In Madison

By Tim Kowols

Wisconsin joined the effort last week to call for the first constitutional convention in 230 years, but without the support of Rep. Joel Kitchens. Only seven Republicans voted against the measure, including Rep. Kitchens, which hopes to get enough other states together to force the convention to call for a balanced budget amendment. While he supports efforts to rein in federal spending, Rep. Kitchens does not think the convention route is the way to go.


As for the state budget, Rep. Kitchens hopes the Assembly and Senate can bridge the gap of its budget differences, especially in the areas of education and transportation.



The Wisconsin Legislature will be in Madison for most of June as it tries to pass a new budget before the start of the next fiscal year on July 1.

Lincoln Board Previews Groundwater Mapping Study

By Mark Kanz

The Kewaunee County Town of Lincoln isn't waiting for others to decide what to do to improve the water quality.  Last week, the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey and the University of Wisconsin-Extension presented the town board with a preliminary report on groundwater mapping and contamination susceptibility of local wells.  Lincoln Town Chair Cory Cochart says the town invested almost $40,000 with the County Land Information Services Department picking up about $20,000 of the cost of the two-year study.  Cochart says the health and welfare of town residents is at stake and it is the board's responsibility to find answers.



The final product will provide town leadership with scientific data about the underground aquifers that provide town residents with drinking water.  The maps include data showing the townlands which are most susceptible to groundwater contamination.  Cochart says the board will continue to gather information so it can make informed decisions.  Work will begin immediately with the town's planning committee to discuss stricter rules and stronger enforcement of rules already in existence.

Lightning More Dangerous Than You May Think

By Mark Kanz

Weather experts tell us lightning is an underrated killer.  It's Lightning Awareness Day in Wisconsin Tuesday and Door County Emergency Services Director Jeff Roemer says like any other weather threat, you need to take lightning seriously.



Roemer says outdoor activities should be stopped at the first sight of lightning and not resumed until 30 minutes have passed since the last visible strike.  The National Weather Service says a lightning storm does not need to be right over you to be a threat.  Lightning can travel up to ten miles.  Remember, "when thunder roars, go indoors."

Kewaunee County Board To Consider Pursuit Of Possible Prison

By Tim Kowols

Kewaunee County officials will look to either get in line or a step away from a process that could bring a new prison to the area at their Tuesday night meeting. The county's Personnel, Advisory, and Legislative Committee passed a resolution last week approving the possible relocation of a prison that is expected to close in the Green Bay suburb of Allouez. Kewaunee County Board Chairperson Robert Weidner says it is important to keep the conversation going.



The plan to build a new state prison to replace the aging Green Bay Correctional Institution has gained traction in some communities because it could be privately owned, which means a boost in property tax revenues. The Kewaunee County Board will take up the measure when they meet at 6 p.m. inside its County Board Room in Kewaunee.

Property Taxes Among Items To Consider When Purchasing A Home

By Tim Kowols

Along with keeping up the maintenance and utility costs of a new home, the property tax bill is another reminder of the difference between buying and renting.  Property taxes vary from home to home and year to year, making it a moving target when budgeting. Gay Pustaver from Money Management Counselors also reminds homeowners that property tax payments do not end just because your house payments do.



Pustaver recommends going to the Door County Real Estate records Web site to find the property tax records for the parcel you are considering. We have the entire Money Management Monday interview with Gay Pustaver posted online with this story.


Cherry, Apple Crops Look Good After Last Week's Storms

By Tim Kowols

Cherry and apple orchard owners could be looking at big crops this year. The fruit trees weathered last week's storms thanks to a lack of hail and no high winds in the area. Wood Orchard owner Steve Wood says he is starting to see cherries form on his trees and believes they are on pace to be ready for the middle of July.


There are over 2,500 acres of cherries grown in Door County, making it one of the top producers of the fruit in the entire country.


Supreme Court To Hear Wisconsin's Redistricting Case

By Tim Kowols

The future of redistricting in Wisconsin will get its day in court. According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear the case involving Wisconsin's legislative districts and its alleged partisan gerrymandering. This follows a three-judge panel's call for the state's district maps to be redrawn in time for elections in 2018. State Senator Dave Hansen of Green Bay told after Attorney General Brad Schimel requested a stay for redrawing the maps last month that it should be one person, one vote.



It is estimated the case will be heard in the fall and that it could have a ripple effect in other allegedly gerrymandered states like North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. The case dates back to a 2015 lawsuit when Democrats sued the state over legislative maps it drew in 2011.


Statement from Attorney General Brad Schimel


Statement from Sen. Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay)

"With the Supreme Court's decision to take up Wisconsin' redistricting case the Court has the opportunity to correct a part of our electoral process that has opened the door to election rigging here in Wisconsin and across the country.

Wisconsin Republicans rigged the electoral map so profoundly that two federal courts have ruled it unconstitutional saying the Republican effort "intended to burden the representational rights of Democratic impeding their ability to translate their votes into legislative seats."

Republicans can argue that rigging the maps is legal, but anyone who believes in a truly representative democracy knows it is not right.  Voters have a right to expect fair and competitive elections.  And the health of our system of government depends on it.

Our democracy works best when we have fair and competitive elections.  Regardless of how the court decides this case. it is time to take partisan politics out of redistricting and adopt a non-partisan process that voters can be confident in."


Manure Ordinances Get Heard By Kewaunee Board Of Health On Monday

By Tim Kowols

Two proposed ordinances for Kewaunee County are making their way through committee before being discussed at the board level.  The ordinances would require manure haulers to be certified, have electronic readers keeping track of spread manure, and use low-pressure methods to put nutrients on the fields. Don Niles of Peninsula Pride Farms says the ordinance regarding the low-pressure manure spreading is a great idea.



Lynn Utesch from Kewaunee CARES also says it is a good idea, but it needs to be done correctly.



After being discussed during Tuesday's Land and Water Conservation meeting, the two proposed ordinances are up for discussion during the Board of Health's meeting on June 19. The measures will go before the full county board later this summer.

Waterfront Focus Of Closed Session For Sturgeon Bay Common Council

By Tim Kowols

Recent developments affecting Sturgeon Bay's west waterfront will be discussed in closed session when the city's common council reconvenes on Tuesday. According to the meeting agenda, the council will refer to its legal counsel regarding the development agreement with Bob Papke, who pulled out of the project over a week ago and is currently suing the city for over $550,000 in damages. A possible settlement between the city and the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront will also be discussed after two days of negotiating last week in Madison. The closed session will conclude with the discussion of purchasing property within the Waterfront Redevelopment District. The meeting, which begins at noon inside the council chambers, will also cover the city's 2016 financial audit report and the annexation of two parcels of land from the town of Nasewaupee.

Glabe Named Ephraim Fyr Bal Chieftain

By Tim Kowols

Along with the annual "burning of the winter witch" on the shores of Eagle Harbor, Ephraim residents named Anne Glabe their 2017 Fyr Bal Chieftain. A village resident since 1984 after spending much of her life in the Chicagoland area, Glabe has been a poll worker for elections in Ephraim since 1989 and has worked with the Ephraim Moravian Church and the Northern Door Genealogical Society. It was Glabe's Norwegian roots and her long-standing ties to the community that made the Chieftain designation such an honor.


Glabe is the 53rd Chieftain in Fyr Ball lore, which dates back to 1965 as a way to welcome the summer solstice and introduce visitors to June in Ephraim with a bonfire and other activities.



School is Out for Summer! Is Your Child Ready to Stay Home Alone?

By Renee Koenig, Assistant Professor, Family Living Educator with UW- Extension

Putting together a schedule of summer activities for your children can be a challenge.  Like many parents, you might be trying to decide if it is safe to leave your school-age child home alone during the summer break.  Your child might be ready to stay home alone if your child:


  • Is willing to stay alone

  • Acts responsibly and follows rules

  • Knows how to handle emergencies


UW-Extension offers a free on-line video class called Home Alone.  The video lessons were developed to help you prepare your child for self-care.  Watch the videos together with your child at

Egg Harbor To Host Public Discussions On Library Project

By Tim Kowols

The village of Egg Harbor will host two public informational meetings Tuesday to showcase its library and community center project. Named the Donald and Carol Kress Pavilion, the $6.5 million fully-furnished building is expected to host different social events in addition to being the home of the Egg Harbor Historical Society and its branch of the Door County Library. After brief presentations about what will be offered at the center and what libraries of the 21st century look like, Village Administrator Ryan Heise says they are opening the floor for discussion to its residents.



The pair of discussions, facilitated by the UW-Extension office, will take place at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m inside the Bertschinger Center. Egg Harbor transferred the project to a friends group after a group of residents sued the village for violating a 2008 ordinance forbidding it from spending more than $1 million on a project. The project has raised over $5 million in private donations.

Krohn Dairy Store Turns 125

By Tim Kowols

Ever since the price of cheese was 9.25 cents a pound in the 1890s, the Krohn family has been a part of making it in Kewaunee County. Krohn Dairy Store in Luxemburg, now owned by Agropur, celebrated 125 years of operation over the weekend, which has seen close to 50 cheese factories in Kewaunee County come and go during that time. Jean Doell's grandfather Charles Krohn bought the factory for just over $3000 in the early 1900s after leasing it previously and says one decision may have saved the whole operation.



Doell's brother Roger Krohn remains a master cheesemaker at the plant and appreciates the community support it has received over the years.



Krohn and fellow Agropur cheesemaker Terry Lensmire won awards for their work at the Luxemburg plant earlier this year, earning honors for their mozzarella and provolone varieties in the United States Cheese Contest.

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Birch Creek Is Gearing Up

By Mark Kanz

The century-old Dutton Concert Barn will sound a bit like a tropical island in a week from now as Birch Creek Music Performance Center opens its new season with percussion and steel band concerts.  Egg Harbor Wine Fest is also next weekend and Birch Creek Executive Director Mona Christensen says the 3 p.m. matinee performance next Saturday will allow you take part in both events.



She says many first-time visitors fail to realize the wealth of talent that is spending the summer in Door County.  Two-hundred students and 100 faculty members will study by day and perform at night throughout the summer at Birch Creek.

Marsy's Law Looks To Protect Victims

By Mark Kanz

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel was among those testifying during a joint hearing of the Senate and Assembly public safety committees in Madison this past week in support of Marsy's Law. The proposed constitutional amendment would "ensure equal rights for crime victims that are clear, enforceable, and permanent," according to Schimel.  HELP of Door County Executive Director Steve Vickman says victims' rights would get even more consideration than under current law.



The law is named after Marsy Nicholas, a California woman who was killed by her boyfriend in 1983.  Defense lawyer Dean Strang warns the state could be setting itself up for lawsuits if anyone's constitutional rights are violated.  Five other states have already adopted the law.

Best Of Door County For Computer Services

By Mark Kanz

Nathan Drager has always had the need to be wanted.  He started Quantum PC in Sturgeon Bay six years ago and says he's happy to serve the community.  His first store has been open a year and a half and the second is just seven months old.  Quantum PC is the Best of Door County winner for computer service.  Drager says one key to success is his staff doesn't use "geek speak."



Drager says he wants to be certain consumers understand what the problem was with their computer and how to guard against it happening again.  Quantum PC had very humble beginnings and while he's honored to win the Best of Door County award, Drager says not going to forget how he got to where he is.

Strawberry Season Has Arrived

By Mark Kanz

If you've had a craving for strawberry shortcake or fresh strawberries on your ice cream, your wait is over.  Sully's Produce, a half mile west of the airport in Sturgeon Bay, began selling fresh strawberries at its produce stand this weekend.  Owner Steve Sullivan says the harvest is six or seven days later last year.



Sullivan says most of his strawberry fields are on higher ground and don't have any issues with standing water.  Kraynik's Berry Farm, west of Kewaunee, says it will open Monday for those who prefer the "pick your own" strawberry experience.

Finding The Best Kayaks For Fishing Or Recreation

By Bill Schultz

I'm seeing quite a few recreational and kayak anglers on the waters of Door County.  I am often asked about kayaks and specifically fishing kayaks.


Most recreational kayaks are the sit-in style, while the best fishing kayaks are sit-on-top.  You can fish out of a sit-in, but, you are limited on gear storage as well as somewhat hindered with casting.  The sit-on-top fishing kayaks will be wider for more stability, have a good deal of storage both in front and behind the angler, usually more comfortable seating, track systems to add accessories, and, some even allow you to safely stand.


If there is one thing I see the most is kayak anglers buying kayaks that are shorter than I prefer for bigger water.  Yes, a 10 to 12-foot kayak will work and you'll have a great time.  But, to cover more water faster, I'd suggest looking at a fishing kayak that is in that 13 to 15-foot range.  And, always keep in mind how you plan to transport your kayak.


I mentioned accessories.  This is a personal preference.  Many anglers add fish locators and rod holders.  Some even go with a trolling motor.  There are kayaks out there with self-propulsion systems like Jackson Kayak's Flex Drive.  This can be helpful if you have a lot of water to cover.


As always I'm happy to answer any of your questions at, or, stop by one of the area outfitters.

Weather Posing Challenges For Spring Planting

By Tim Kowols

Mother Nature has been doing its best to delay farmers with their planting. Rain and cool temperatures in the early parts of spring made getting out to the fields a little more difficult. While the weather had improved before two straight days of heavy rain earlier this week, Rio Creek Feed Mill general manager Andy Barta says it has been a struggle for farmers and his employees working in the fields.



According to Bloomberg, spring wheat prices in the U.S. are rising due to a dry spell before this week's storms pushed crops into the worst shape they have been at this point of the year in three decades.

Senator Ron Johnson Shares Thoughts On Security After Recent Shooting

By Paul Schmitt

With the recent shooting in Virginia that injured Majority Whip Steve Scalise and four others, lawmakers may spur questions on whether congressional security practices should be overhauled.  U.S. Senator Ron Johnson in an interview Friday with says that the issue goes deeper than providing increased security.



Johnson, who heads up the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, says regardless of the political motivations of the shooting, a free society incurs risks no matter the degree of security.  He acknowledges divided politics and inflamed rhetoric in Washington, D.C., but describes a very collegial atmosphere inside Congress where both sides of the aisle want to work together to improve the country.

Miss Wisconsin To Be Crowned Tonight

By Mark Kanz

The preliminaries are over and the next Miss Wisconsin will be crowned Saturday night in Oshkosh.  Eleven finalists out of a field of 26 will compete for the crown.  Shirley Ehlers is the executive director of the Miss Door County Pageant and will be in attendance Saturday as she has been all week.  Even the 21-year veteran gets a little nervous for the finals.



Miss Door County Susan Fochs is already a winner capturing the $400 Four points scholarship earlier this week for her 300-word essay about how she represents scholarship, success, style, and service...the four points of the Miss Wisconsin crown.  Door County's Emma Jeanquart participated in the Miss Wisconsin Outstanding Teen competition Friday night in Oshkosh.  She did not finish in the top five.

Door County Habitat For Humanity Making Progress On 40th Home Build

By Tim Kowols

Door County Habitat for Humanity has been making big strides on its 40th home build despite the late start. After pouring concrete for the home's foundation last week, volunteers have spent much of this week installing floor joists as they continue to work towards their fall goal. Door County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director David Van Dyke says it has also been great having its partner family, the Bilodeaus, around almost every day helping make their home a reality.



Volunteers help build the home during their work days on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can volunteer to help with the home build taking place on 6th Avenue in Sturgeon Bay by contacting Door County Habitat for Humanity.

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L-C's Pinchart Elected Wisconsin FFA Section 9 Vice-President

By Tim Kowols

Luxemburg-Casco High-School graduate Sam Pinchart has been elected as the Section 9 State Future Farmers of America Vice-President. It was just a part of an exciting state conference in Madison for Pinchart, who also received his State FFA degree and earned top honors in the discussion meet.  Pinchart says FFA has been a great experience.



Pinchart hopes to become an agricultural instructor in the future but will take the next year off as a state FFA officer.  According to the Wisconsin State Farmer, FFA officers will meet many of its 20,000 members statewide along with local, state, and national leaders in a year where they could travel as many as 10,000 miles.

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Record Year For Scholarships Given By Door County Community Foundation

By Tim Kowols


It was a record year for applicants and dollars given by the Door County Community Foundation for students looking to continue their education. Approximately $74,000 was given to the dozens of scholarships administered by the Foundation to high school graduates and adults heading back to school. President and CEO Bret Bicoy says the common scholarship application available on their Web site makes it easy for applicants to find and apply to the awards they seek.



Bicoy says they are looking to award close to $80,000 for scholarships next year.

City Of Algoma Able To Deal With Tornado Warnings And Heavy Flooding

By Paul Schmitt

With some area municipalities reporting over four inches of rainfall on Wednesday and dealing with thunderstorms and tornado warnings, most communities escaped major damages.  Algoma City Administrator Jeff Wiswell says it was a challenge to keep up with the deluge of rain.



The Perry Street area had the most flooding, according to Wiswell.  A tornado warning around 4:30 Wednesday afternoon also forced dozens of campers and mobile park residents to seek shelter at City Hall, which was formerly the Emergency Management Center in Kewaunee County.  Seven tornadoes reportedly touchdown in Northeastern Wisconsin on Wednesday,  but none in Kewaunee or Door Counties.

"Relay For Life" Events Taking The Fight To Cancer This Weekend

By Paul Schmitt

Thousands of communities around the country and beyond will be coming together this weekend to participate in the annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life.  Locally, The Kewaunee County Relay for Life will be holding their event Friday night at the Kewaunee High School from 6 p.m until midnight.  Community Manager Heather Krawinkel shares this year's theme.



In Door County, the theme is Welcome to the Beach and will start at 2 p.m. Saturday at Waterfront Mary's in Sturgeon Bay with a special walk through Potawatomi State Park, according to Community Manager Shannon Thompson.



The Relay for Life includes a Luminaria ceremony to remember those who lost their battle with cancer.   The event is free to the public and monies raised goes to the fight against cancer.  You can find details of the activities being held in Kewaunee and Sturgeon Bay below.





"General Consensus On General Principles Of An Agreement" Reached At West Side Waterfront Negotiations

By Paul Schmitt

The negotiations between The Friends of The Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront and the City of Sturgeon Bay's ad hoc committee fruited a "general consensus on the general principles of an agreement" concerning the west side waterfront parcel after meeting on Wednesday in Madison for the second time this week.  The spokesperson for The Friends of Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront Carri Andersson says an agreement is close.



The meetings were mediated by Jeremy Kautza of Madison Technical College using a process of Interest-Based Problem Solving (IBPS).  No other details were given regarding the meeting.  The Friends Group won a lawsuit against the city earlier this year contesting the building of the Lindgren Hotel on the land parcel in dispute.  Developer Bob Papke pulled out of the hotel development last Friday and issued a notice of claim against the City of Sturgeon Bay for over $500,000.

Rep. Gallagher Hopes Reforms Can Help Fix Healthcare

By Tim Kowols

Rep. Mike Gallagher hopes work on a new healthcare law will help fix the dire straits the industry is currently in. Since the House passed their version of the American Health Care Act in May, Rep. Gallagher says more insurers are pulling out of the Affordable Care Act's marketplace and projections show the individual market could disappear in northeast Wisconsin if nothing is done. There are a number of items the freshman Congress member hopes the United States Senate is able to address as their work continues on their version of the bill.



Some of those reforms Rep. Gallagher mentioned included issues concerning malpractice and transparency in healthcare pricing. Critics of the AHCA point to a nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projection of 23 million people losing or opting out of health insurance coverage by 2026.

Fyr Bal Set For This Weekend In Ephraim

By Tim Kowols

The village of Ephraim will try to blend new with the old when it hosts its 53rd annual Fyr Bal this weekend. While the event will still feature its traditional Saturday burning of the "winter witch" on the shores of Eagle Harbor prior to naming the 2017 chieftain, the event will feature the first alcohol sales in its history and new activities both on the land and on the water. Director of Tourism Rocky Marciano says Fyr Bal will move into the future without leaving its past behind.


Fyr Bal kicks off Friday and concludes on Sunday with area church services. You can find the full schedule online with this story.

"Oklahoma In Wisconsin" To Debut Friday At Northern Sky Theater

By Tim Kowols

Wednesday's storm may have delayed its official opening, but Northern Sky Theater is set to present a world premiere of an original musical this summer. Oklahoma in Wisconsin, written by Richard Castle and composed by Matthew Levine, highlights a Door County inn during the 1950s and the clash of the big lights of Hollywood and small-town values. Artistic director  Jeffrey Herbst says you could feel the energy of the new show even during rehearsals.



Weather permitting, Oklahoma in Wisconsin will debut at Northern Sky Theater located inside Peninsula State Park at 8 p.m. Other shows this summer season include Victory Farm, Doctor! Doctor!, and Lumberjacks In Love.

Washington Island Art And Nature Center To Host Opening Reception Friday

By Tim Kowols

An annual rite of summer on Washington Island takes place Friday when the Art and Nature Center hosts its opening reception. It offers an opportunity for artists to show off what they have been working on since last year and for visitors to view the artwork and nature exhibits. Washington Island Art and Nature Center Director Laura Waldron says the opening reception also gives visitors a chance to talk to the artists face to face and reconnect with old friends.



The opening reception, which will feature the art of Charles H. Jack, Laura J. Jack, and Julia C Jack-Scott, will take place at the Washington Island Art and Nature Center beginning at 6 p.m. You can find a schedule of the other upcoming events at the Art and Nature Center online with this story.

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National And International Recognitions Provide Boost To Area Tourism

By Tim Kowols

Door County's recognition on the national and international stages is turning into good news for tourism. The nationally recognized Door County Coastal Byway, the worldwide acclaim for the wetland habitat located within The Ridges Sanctuary, and the recent honor for Newport State Park as an International Dark Sky Park are examples of recent distinction for the area. Jon Jarosh from the Door County Visitor Bureau says such recognitions can shine a light on the attractions and introduce new faces to check it out.


Visitor spending has grown $90 million since 2009, increasing $15 million alone in 2016.

Manure-Related Draft Ordinances Hit Committee Agendas In Kewaunee County This Month

By Tim Kowols

Farmers are voicing their concerns about a pair of new draft ordinances affecting manure spreading hitting the agendas of committee meetings this month.  The ordinances would require manure haulers to be certified, have electronic readers keeping track of spread manure, and use low-pressure methods to put nutrients on the fields. Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation chairperson and owner of Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy John Pagel believes many of the concerns from farmers are not the ordinances themselves, but rather center around the additional cost for equipment and the time required for the additional training. Pagel says this is the time for everyone to get their voices heard.



The two proposed ordinances are up for discussion again during the Board of Health's meeting on June 19. Pagel says the two items will get its first reading in front of the Kewaunee County Board in August and could be approved in September.

Peninsula State Park Offering Visitors Many Opportunities Even Without Eagle Tower

By Paul Schmitt

One of the landmark locations in Door County is Peninsula State Park nestled between Fish Creek and Ephraim on the bay.   New Park Superintendent Brian Markowski says the summer offers visitors some great opportunities even though the new Eagle Tower has not been restructured yet.



Peninsula State Park is open year-round from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and offers rentals of canoes, kayaks, bicycles, tandems, and tagalongs.  You can find more information on camping and state park system volunteering opportunities at Peninsula State Park with this story online.

Barbara Lawton To Introduce Midsummer's Music Festival Opening Night Gala Friday

By Paul Schmitt

Midsummer's Music Festival in Door County will have their opening night gala this Friday with a very special mistress of ceremonies.  The performance will begin at 7 p.m. at Birch Creek's Juniper Hall in Egg Harbor and Executive Director Russ Warren says a former Lieutenant Governor and long-time attendee will have the honors on Friday.



The Opening Night Gala will begin Midsummers Music Festival's 27th season that will feature 34 performances through September 16.  You can find the complete schedule of the events and ticket information with this story online

Little Lake Resoration Project Having Cleanup Day On Saturday--Cancelled

By Paul Schmitt

As the restoration of Little Lake in Sturgeon Bay inches closer to the completion of Phase I, the Sturgeon Bay Rotary Club is looking for volunteers this weekend for a cleanup of the area.  Sturgeon Bay Rotary Environmental Protection Co-Committee Chair Roger Anderson says the project is progressing well but a cleanup is needed before June 22 when the street runoff or storm water from 260 acres east of Little Lake will be allowed to flow into the Wetland.



The City of Sturgeon Bay is assisting in the project by applying for state grant money to offset the cost of the next phase which will be dredging Little Lake.  That could cost anywhere from $1.5 million and $4 million, according to Anderson.  The cleanup will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, weather permitting.  Volunteers are encouraged to bring boots and gloves to wear.  Little Lake is located by Sunset Park off Third Avenue in Sturgeon Bay.



Sturgeon Bay Rotary Club has decided to cancel the Wetland Cleanup at Little Lake scheduled for Saturday morning, June 17th.  We had 2 1/4" of rain at the end of Lansing Avenue this morning, and someone told me they had 3".  It looks like more rain is coming tonight.  I took pictures of the wetland this noon, and water is covering most of the debris.  I sent the pictures to Greg Meissner, and he agreed we should cancel the cleanup.  This is disappointing because after June 22nd, the storm water will be diverted into the wetland, and if this rainfall pattern continues, it may be some time before we can clean the bottom of the wetland.

Heavy Rains And Thunderstorms Cause Flooding And Power Outages

By Paul Schmitt

Heavy rains and severe thunderstorms rolled through Door and Kewaunee Counties Wednesday morning causing power outages and flooded streets in the area.  Over three inches of rain fell within one hour in Sturgeon Bay causing 14th Avenue and the Michigan Street Bridge to be closed to traffic temporarily.  WPS reported that 71 Sturgeon Bay customers were without power as of 9:00 a.m. while Algoma, Kewaunee and Egg Harbor had only one customer each affected.  Sturgeon Bay Utilities experienced outages on 7th Avenue and Jorns Drive but had power restored quickly.  You can see a video of flooding on 14th Avenue Sturgeon Bay with this story online.

Flag Day A Good Reminder To Fly The Stars And Stripes Properly

By Paul Schmitt

Today is Flag Day and millions of Americans across the country will be proudly flying the red, white and blue.  Every year on June 14, Flag Day is celebrated by paying tribute to the stars and stripes.  Richard Woldt from the V.F.W. Post 3088 in Sturgeon Bay says it is important to display the flag properly.



Ripped or damaged flags may be taken to drop-off boxes in front of the VFW building on 744 Delaware Street in Sturgeon Bay.  The American Legion Post 527 in Sister Bay also collects flags and does retirement ceremonies of flags, according to Woldt.

Building Farm Technology Days From The Ground Up

By Tim Kowols

Volunteers will take the next few weeks to build an entire city in the middle of a field in Algoma. Preparations for this year's Farm Technology Days in Kewaunee County are already underway as Ebert Enterprises prepares to welcome over 600 exhibitors and thousands of visitors for the three-day event. Seven generators will help power the 60-acre tent city, with an additional 10 miles of cable required to make sure the site has enough Wi-Fi coverage. Utilities committee member Ryan Hoffman was brought in to help due to his experience with working with other farms meeting their electrical needs and says the field being used for tent city offers a blank slate.



In addition to the technical infrastructure, 22,000 square feet of snow fence, 300,000 gallons of water, and 3,000 yards of woodchips will be required for the show, which runs from July 11-13.

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Open Door Pride Hopes To Have Last Impact Long After Inaugural Picnic Next Week

By Tim Kowols

Open Door Pride hopes its impact on the community goes far beyond its inaugural event next week. Regardless of sexual orientation, Open Door Pride wants to establish a welcoming community for people living, working, and visiting the county. Committee member Cathy Grier says she has lived all around the country and believes the area can do more to support the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, and Queer (LGBTQ) community than flying a rainbow flag and hanging a sign.



In the future, Open Door Pride hopes to establish itself as a 501(c)(3) organization and be present for people in the community who need the support.  Featuring musical acts and art activities, the inaugural Open Door Pride Picnic will take place June 24 at Martin Park in Sturgeon Bay beginning at 11 a.m.

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State Legislature Slated To Vote On Constitutional Convention Bills Wednesday

By Tim Kowols

The state of Wisconsin could join the evolving list of close to 30 states in calling for a constitutional convention on Wednesday. States are lining up to call for the first constitutional convention since the document was first created in 1787 to take aim at federal spending and requiring the United States budget to be balanced. Jay Heck from Common Cause Wisconsin says his worry is not necessarily the cause to action, but what could happen once the constitutional convention opens up.



Thirty-four states are required to force the constitutional convention to occur. Heck believes attempts to change the constitution should be done through amendments, which would require 38 states to adopt the measure after Congress approves it.

Drugs Found During Traffic Stop Leads To Two Arrests

By Tim Kowols

Two people have been jailed after Door County Sheriff patrol units found large amounts of drugs during a traffic stop. Last Thursday, the Door County Sheriff's Department in conjunction with the Baileys Harbor Town Constable pulled over a vehicle swerving on the road near the Village of Sister Bay. A 39-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of operating the vehicle while under the influence of drugs, according to a press release from the Door County Sheriff's Department. Her passenger, a 39-year-old man, was arrested after a search of the car found syringes, needles, and the synthetic opioid Fentanyl. No names have been released, but both individuals will be held on bond as they await their hearings.

City, Friends Group Praise Productive Negotiating Meeting

By Tim Kowols

The city of Sturgeon Bay and the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront praised each other Tuesday for what is being deemed a productive first day of discussions regarding the disputed west side parcel. According to a press release from the city, both sides stayed until 6 p.m. in Madison discussing where a proper location for the site's ordinary high water mark could end up. Monday's session, facilitated by Madison College's Interest-Based Problem Solving interim director Jeremy Kautza, was the first time the two sides met face-to-face during negotiations according to Friends group member Carri Andersson, who called the meeting positive and collaborative.



City Administrator Josh VanLieshout said in the press release that "there is a sense that progress is being made, which is a positive thing for the community of Sturgeon Bay. Wednesday could mark the next time the city and the Friends group reconvene to continue their discussion.

Local Pageant Winners In Oshkosh For Next Competition

By Mark Kanz

A pair of Door County young women will be in Oshkosh this week competing for a crown and scholarships as the annual Miss Wisconsin Pageant week gets underway.  Miss Door County Pageant Executive Director Shirley Ehlers says the last several months have been busy making sure wardrobes are set, talent presentations are rehearsed and getting the girls ready for what's next.



Miss Door County Susan Fochs is one of 26 contestants for Miss Wisconsin with the winner crowned Saturday night.  Preliminaries are held this week in talent, evening wear, lifestyle and fitness in a swimsuit and an on-stage question.  The top 11 will advance to Saturday's finals.  In addition, Emma Jeanquart is competing for the crown of Miss Wisconsin Outstanding Teen on Friday night in Oshkosh.

Home Ownership Possible With A Little Help

By Tim Kowols

Five local home buying programs are helping people at certain income levels buy their first house. Through low-interest loans and grant money, the Wisconsin Housing Economic Development Corporation, Downpayment Plus Consumer Center, Wisconsin Rural Development can help prospective homebuyers have the funds needed for a down payment and closing costs. Gay Pustaver from Money Management Counselors says in many legal and financial ways, buying a home is more "grown-up" than having a baby.



Income level, credit scores, and down payments are three factors considered when applying for a mortgage. Pustaver says it is often necessary to meet with her for spending plan advice and home buying education courses to qualify for some of the local, state, and federal cost-assistance programs.


Papke's Biggest Claim for Failed Hotel Project Is To Pay Himself $180,000

By Roger Utnehmer

The developer of Sturgeon Bay's failed waterfront hotel project has started legal action against the city and his biggest claim is to pay himself $180,000. Bob Papke is asking for $540,534, claiming the city was negligent for not informing him of concerns regarding the ordinary high water mark at the proposed location of the hotel. The city, Papke's action claims, was well aware of concerns about the ability to obtain title to the property and did not disclose that to him.

In a list of expenses Papke claims $180,000 listed as "compensation to the developer for three years of work at city's request."

Other expenses Papke wants to be reimbursed by Sturgeon Bay taxpayers for include interest on a line of credit to Nicolet National Bank for $36,498, legal fees of $51,237 and marketing expenses totaling $7,372.

The notice to the city submitted by Papke's law firm says "the city's failure to disclose the OHWM problem prior to the execution of the development contract was at least negligent misrepresentation. After Sawyer executed the development agreement, the city avoided any disclosure to Sawyer of the fact no title insurer was willing to write a title insurance policy given the existence of the OHWM."

The entire notice of claim including Papke's expenses for which he is demanding payment is included with this story at The address used by Papke in his notice of claim to the city, 1241 North 18th Avenue Sturgeon Bay is the address of Pine Crest Village LLC, an assisted living facility owned by Papke.

Sturgeon Bay community activist Christie Weber announced an effort last week to recall Sturgeon Bay Mayor Thad Birmingham, citing the failed hotel project as one of the factors prompting the action.





Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department Supports Special Olympians In Stevens Point

By Tim Kowols

Members of the Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department spent a portion of their weekend riding their bikes for a good cause. Approximately twelve members of the department rode to Stevens Point for the Torch Ride for Special Olympics Wisconsin, which held its summer games over the weekend. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski made the 80-mile trek despite a strong headwind, but hopes the local Special Olympians from the area appreciated seeing familiar faces supporting them.



The Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department raised over $2,000 to support the organization through T-shirt sales and other fundraisers. The Kewaunee County Special Olympics team captured medals in several different categories including the softball throw, turbo javelin, shotput, and 25-meter wheelchair race.

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Tjernagel Honors Hauser Winner Matt Proposom

By Tim Kowols

While June 4 was an important day in the lives of the Sturgeon Bay seniors graduating from high school,  it was also a special one for a teacher who helped many of them get there. T.J. Walker Middle school science teacher Matt Propsom was awarded the Hervey Hauser Award during the commencement ceremony for being one of the best teachers in the district. Sturgeon Bay School District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel says his innovative ideas truly make him an outstanding individual.



Propsom was also instrumental in developing the middle school's Science Buddies program, where his students help teach science concepts to the younger grades.


Full Remarks

Gills Rock Group Seeks Help Preserving Petragraphs Site

By Tim Kowols

An organization in Gills Rock is hoping to protect the history of its Native American past with help from the county. Last month, Matt Velguth from the Gills Rock Interpretive Center presented his ideas to preserve the 1600s era rock paintings that tell the story of a battle between the Iroquois Federation and Anishinabe tribes.  The organization requested $25,000 to start developing signage for the historical site and a structure with lights and cameras allowing visitors to see the drawings without potentially destroying. Velguth says it is important to take measures now to protect the site for generations to come.



Velguth, who also wrote a book on the Gills Rock petragraphs, hopes a temporary structure could be put in place so visitors can safely see the site and to kick-off fundraising efforts.  The plans will be discussed at the next Door County Airport and Parks Committee meeting on June 14 at the Cherryland Airport.

Cover Art Courtesy Of Matt Velguth

Kewaunee County Breakfast On The Farm Avoids Storms And Serves Over 5,000 Sunday

By Paul Schmitt

With humid temperatures in the high seventies and overcast skies on Sunday morning, the Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm was able to accommodate over an estimated 5,000 people at the Wallace Dairy Farm in the town of Forestville. With over half-dozen huge tents sprawled across the countryside, families came to enjoy breakfast, a petting zoo of farm animals, children activities and horse-drawn rides and tours of the farm. The host of this year's Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm, Paul Wallace, Jr., says the whole experience went smoothly Sunday.



Wallace took over the farm from his parents in 2013, after they moved to the area from Forest Junction in 1978. The Wallace Dairy Farm milks one hundred cows and farms 315 acres of owned and rented land.






Paul Wallace visiting with a guest at "Breakfast on the Farm"



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Bayside Home Medical Starts Out New Location With "Best Of Door County" Award

By Paul Schmitt

A new location along with a new award has Bayside Home Medical in Sturgeon Bay feeling honored and proud of serving the needs of residents of Door and Kewaunee County.  Bayside Home Medical which recently relocated with inside the Cherry Point Mall in Sturgeon Bay was awarded the "Best of Door County" for medical equipment.   Owner Tom Voegele says he credits the community and his staff for winning the distinction.



Bayside Home Medical Manager Eric Hagan says customers seem to really like the new location and store layout. received 6,751 nominations in the "Best of Door County" and over 12,500 votes were cast during the four-week poll in April.

Friends Group And City Of Sturgeon Bay's Negotiations Still Set For Monday

By Paul Schmitt

Despite the decision by Sturgeon Bay developer Robert Papke to pull the plug on his waterfront hotel project and sue the city for more than half a million dollars, the scheduled meeting between the city representatives and the Friends of Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront will go on as planned.  City attorney Randy Nesbitt says a determination of the Ordinary High Water Mark )OHWM) must still be made for future developments on the disputed parcel of land.



Dan Collins of the Friends Group says the talks are progressing but is upset at the city's decision to pursue a legislative decision on the OHWM.



The mediator chosen for the meetings is Jeremy Kautza an interim director of Madison College's Interest-Based Problem Solving (IBPS).   The meeting is scheduled from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. in Madison, according to Collins.

Door County YMCA Summer Foods Program For Children Starts This Week

By Paul Schmitt

The Door County YMCA is beginning their Summer Foods Program this week.  The annual program serves healthy meals during the summer months to anyone 18 years and younger throughout Door County.  CEO and President Tom Beerntsen says the Summer Foods Program picks up where the school lunch programs left off.



Beerntsen says this year the YMCA is working very closely with the Boys and Girls Club of Door County by using their new kitchen and employing their chef to make up the meals.

If you have questions or concerns regarding the Summer Foods Program, please contact Sherri Dantoin at or at 920-743-4949.

Kitchens' Bill Would Help With One Side Of Groundwater Contamination Issue

By Paul Schmitt

A state bill from First District Representative Joel Kitchens offering assistance to residents suffering from well water contamination due to failing septic tank systems would address part of the problem laid out from the yearlong study on groundwater in Kewaunee County that was presented last Wednesday in Luxemburg.  Kitchens who attended the presentation says his Assembly Bill 226 will offer short term help to those affected by lending money to citizens to put in new wells or well water treatment systems or new septic tanks and apply the expense to their tax bill.



Kitchens' proposed bill which was introduced in April would award payments for no more than 75 percent of the eligibility costs and may not exceed $16,000.

Papke's Pull Out Creates More Questions Than Answers

Civil Discourse

An Occasional Attempt 

To Restore Civility to Civic Discourse




June 12, 2017

The decision by Sturgeon Bay hotel developer Robert Papke to pull the plug on his waterfront hotel project creates more questions than it answers.  As does his notice of claim demanding $550,000 plus attorney fees from the City of Sturgeon Bay.

The list of questions that need to be answered is long.

First among many;

Should Sturgeon Bay taxpayers be on the hook for the more than half-million dollars Papke is claiming?  

Is that money Papke is claiming just the risk an investor incurs when he gets a sweet-heart deal on the purchase price of property, payment terms and added amenities like pilings, aesthetic improvements, parking and snow removal paid for by taxpayers?

What is the responsibility of the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority?

What is the role of former Door County Economic Development Director Bill Chaudoir and former City Administrator Steve McNeill in "throwing rose petals at my feet," as Papke claims officials did to "lure" him into the investment?

What specific promises were made to Papke that now results in him claiming damages of more than $500,000?  By whom were they made?

What did Mayor Thad Birmingham know about the inability to obtain clear title to the property for the hotel development and when did he know it?  What did he, or did he not, disclose to Papke as he attempted to get him to develop the waterfront property?

Who misled Papke and "duped" him into parting with his money on this project?

Why, after questions about valid title, public opposition, hundreds of signatures on petitions and hours of outcry at public meetings did city officials, mayor and a council majority continue without researching information raised by Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront and others?

What impact will Papke's lawsuit have on the ability of the city to attract other developers in the future? 

Are there individuals who should not have served and are serving today on the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority because of the appearances of conflicts of interest?

Is it appropriate for the same law firm, Pinkert, to represent Bob Papke and the City of Sturgeon Bay?  What impact has that had on the development of this case?

Does this create the proper timing for the city to adopt an ethics policy to protect the public from conflicts of interest, the appearance of conflicts of interests or corruption?

Who will remove the dirt piles on the waterfront and when will it be completed?

These are important questions.  Answering them sooner rather than later will restore trust lost in the process that has divided our community.  Clearing up questions is an opportunity to unite and move forward, smarter for the experience and wiser for the challenge.

The City of Sturgeon Bay is at a critical point where it can project a much more positive, open, respectfully image in how it treats its citizens.  Or it can continue the legacy that has been long-established of acceptance of conflicts of interest, "good old boy" networking at its worst, disrespect for taxpayers and often tone-deaf leadership.

The first step to improving the situation now created in Sturgeon Bay is for the parties involved to answer important questions. 

I invite and encourage Mayor Thad Birmingham, Bob Papke, city council members, Waterfront Redevelopment Authority authority members, Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront, former city administrator Steve McNeill, former Door County Economic Development Executive Director Bill Chaudoir, members of the Pinkert Law Firm and anyone who can share clarifying, constructive comment to make this situation better for the taxpayers of Sturgeon Bay....and a lesson learned so it never happens again.

Many are waiting.  


That's my opinion.  I'd like to hear yours.

Thad Birmingham, Tom Herlache Respond To Papke Pull Out and Lawsuit

By Roger Utnehmer


The City of Sturgeon Bay responded to the announcement Friday that developer Bob Papke is pulling the plug on his proposed west side hotel and suing the city for more than $500,000 plus attorney fees.
In a press release, Mayor Thad Birmingham said he was surprised by Papke's actions and predicted the issues "will get resolved." Birmingham said that the "waterfront parkway and other improvements will be completed."
Waterfront Redevelopment Authority Chair Tom Herlache said nearly thirty years of effort are evident in downtown Sturgeon Bay. He also said, "The west side waterfront redevelopment project is the last piece of the effort."
The entire press release from the City of Sturgeon Bay is available below.



Sturgeon Bay, WI)   The City of Sturgeon Bay has been served with a notice of circumstances of claim by Attorneys representing Robert Papke, developer of the proposed Sawyer Hotel in Sturgeon Bay.  The City had been aware of his concerns and dissatisfaction and was working on a resolution to them, and frankly I am surprised by his press release", said Mayor Birmingham.  The City is reviewing Mr. Papke's claim and will take appropriate action.


The City and Mr. Papke have worked very closely throughout the project to resolve title matters and was looking forward to completing the hotel.  Since 2014 the City and Mr. Papke have worked together to create the economic reinvestment that in turn would generate the cash necessary to create more and better public space and public attractions.  The hotel was one part of a comprehensive effort to reinvest in the west waterfront.   However, the hotel and public aspects have been delayed by a lawsuit challenging the redevelopment project and title to lands.


The West Waterfront Redevelopment Project has been reviewed, shared and approved by multiple state agencies, including the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Department of Administration.


For nearly 30 years, the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority of the City of Sturgeon Bay has been working to eliminate blight, invigorate and stimulate retail activity, and bring people to the Sturgeon Bay waterfront.  Waterfront Redevelopment Authority Chair Tom Herlache said "The fruits of this labor are quite evident in downtown Sturgeon Bay with thousands of people enjoying the improved waterfront every year. The West Waterfront Redevelopment Project is the last piece of the effort."


Birmingham added "The residents and small business owners, including many who are sole proprietors deserve to have the opportunity to thrive and grow.  The residents of the whole City and especially those on the West Side, deserve to have a completed waterfront parkway and the recreational opportunities it presents without seeing their property taxes rise substantially. The City will continue its efforts, the title issues will get resolved, and the waterfront parkway and other improvements will be completed. "

Pelicans Moving Into Algoma

By Mark Kanz

Algoma has some new visitors making themselves right at home in town this summer.  American white pelicans have been sharing the city's shoreline with seagulls, ducks and other wildlife in recent weeks.  Algoma Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sara Krouse says the city is frequently on the bird migration flight path, but this is something new.



The Department of Natural Resources says the white pelican is a relative of the ocean-going brown pelican and have been making somewhat of a comeback in recent years, with more sightings being reported.  Adult white pelicans have a nine-foot wing span and weigh 16 pounds.  The birds can live up to 30 years, which means there is a good chance the visits could be annual.  They can eat about three pounds of fish a day, but Krouse jokes she doesn't think they'll compete with the charter fishing industry.

Luxemburg Music In The Park Series Begins

By Mark Kanz

The Luxemburg Chamber of Commerce is off and running with its Music in the Park series.  The weekly Thursday night concerts take place at Fireman's Park across from the Village Hall.  Volunteer Dan Porath promises something for everyone from polkas to country and plenty of rock and roll.



Porath says the event is "bring your own".....chairs, food and beverages.  Concerts run from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays.

Date                        Band

June 15                   Mark Jirikovec Band (Polkas, Modern, Old Time and Big Band)

June 22                  Dr. Bombay (50s, 60s & 70s)

June 29                  Sugarbush Boys (Polka & Modern)

July 6                      Notables - Ron Gilles (Variety)

July 13                    Petty Cash (Rock & County)

July 20                   No music due to County Fair

July 27                   Blind Ambition (50s, 60s & 70s)

August 3               Interstate 45 (Country, 60s & 70s)

August 10            Greatest Hits Band (Polka & More)

August 17             Luxemburg Community Band

August 24            Ken & Shirley Duo (Country 50s & 60s)

Steel Bridge Songs Bring Crowds

By Mark Kanz

It started as an effort to save Sturgeon Bay's Michigan Street Bridge from the wrecking ball and this weekend marks the 11th Steel Bridge Songfest.  Citizens for Our Bridge's mission is to preserve and promote the bridge and the week-long Songfest celebration is one way to do it.  Wayne and Becky Schmalz have made the trip from Appleton for four years and even brought their neighbors along for the second year in a row.  Wayne says you can't beat it.



Becky agrees and says you'll see a lot of acts that aren't on the usual festival circuit.



The music continues through 6:30 Sunday night near the north end of the steel bridge in downtown Sturgeon Bay.

New Recruiting Tool And Source of L-C Pride Unveiled

By Mark Kanz

A new video production made its debut at the Luxemburg-Casco High School graduation recently.  The 13-minute, professionally produced video features ten L-C alumni talking about what the school and the communities mean to them.  L-C School Superintendent Glenn Schlender says the production was a year and a half in the making.  He says people have been "blown away" by the powerful message the former grads deliver and he says it will help connect the school and the communities.



Schlender says the production was unscripted.  He challenged the2017 L-C grads to write their own life stories as they take the next steps in their careers.  The project was patterned after a similar video done at Chilton recently.  In addition to building community pride, Schlender says the video will be a tool for the district with families considering L-C for Open Enrollment.  The video is posted on the school website or click this link.

Newport Beach First In State For Dark Sky Designation

By Mark Kanz

Newport Beach State Park is the first park in Wisconsin and one of less than 50 parks in the world to recently be designated a dark sky park by the International Dark Sky Association.  The organization looks to prevent the night sky from being overtaken by city lights.  Michelle Hefty, manager of Newport Beach and Rock Island State Parks says the clear night sky has always been a draw, but she especially looks forward to an August event where people will watch the Perseid meteor shower.



Hefty says it's always fun to watch someone seeing the Milky Way for the first time.  Typically, they've lived in an urban area and were unable to see the stars due to the bright city lights.  She says astronomers have known about the park for a long time, but others are also starting to take note.  The Door Peninsula Astronomical Society and Newport Wilderness Society were partners during the two-year application process.  Newport Beach is a 2,300-acre park, northeast of Ellison Bay on Lake Michigan near the tip of Door County where only backpack camping is allowed.

Brussels Town Park Gets $8,000 Worth Of New Playgound Equipment Thanks To Lions Club

By Paul Schmitt

The Brussels Lions Club celebrated the 100th Anniversary of Lions International this past  Wednesday by installing playground equipment at the Brussels Town Park.  Penny Wautier, the secretary of the Brussels Lions Club, says the centennial legacy project was three years in the making and includes unique playground structures.



The total cost of the playground equipment and installation was about $8,000, according to Wautier.  The Lions Clubs International Convention will be held in Chicago this year from June 30 thru July 4.  You can see photos of the playground equipment being installed at the Brussels Town Park with this story online.


(submitted photos)




Groundwater Study Presentation Gives Hope To Finding Solution To Contamination Issues

By Tim Kowols

Both sides of the groundwater debate in Kewaunee County believe the information presented during Wednesday's presentation in Luxemburg provides a good starting for initiating change in the area. The yearlong study conducted by Dr. Mark Borchardt from the United State Department of Agriculture showed the contamination of wells by both manure spreading and leaking septic tanks. Lynn Utesch pointed to the contamination of wells by bovine-borne viruses as a reason to start dealing with all the issues and being realistic about it.



Don Niles from Peninsula Pride Farms says the information gives his group of farmers the knowledge base needed to refine their practices to get better results.



Borchardt reported Wednesday that 26 to 28 percent of the private wells are positive for total coliform, E. Coli, or nitrates, with those number varying based on the soil depth to bedrock.

"Giggles And Grins" Opens New Store In Scenic Rural Setting

By Paul Schmitt

A new retail store is opening its doors this weekend out in the country sides of Sturgeon Bay.  "Giggles & Grins" which will feature home décor, garden, yard art and jewelry will be open for business after three years of planning, according to owner Mary Vig.  The store is located at 3755 County Road M six miles west of Sturgeon Bay.  Vig says the name "Giggles & Grins" is one she hopes will bring smiles to customers when they come.



Vig says she has over a thousand of items she has picked and purchased from local artisans throughout Door County.  "Giggles & Grins" will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday or by appointment.  You can see pictures of the new store online with this story.







Hotel Developer Pulls Out Of Project

By Mark Kanz

The developer of the proposed Sturgeon Bay downtown waterfront hotel has filed a notice of claim for damages against the city.  Sturgeon Bay native Bob Papke is seeking $550,000 in damages for money he has already spent plus legal fees.  The city has 120 days to respond to the notice of claim which is the first step in the lawsuit process.  City Attorney Randy Nesbitt says the city will be turning the claim over to its insurance company.



Papke says the city didn't disclose the fact that the title for the proposed Sawyer Hotel project was not clear when he was first asked to be a part of the project.  The hang up was due to the on-going dispute over the Ordinary High Water Mark for the property.  Monday's meeting in Madison between the city and the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront will go on as scheduled since the Ordinary High Water Mark needs to be established for any future development to occur on the site.

NEWS RELEASE from Robert Papke below:

Sturgeon Bay Hotel Developer Notifies City of Claim Claim states Sturgeon Bay officials knew City lacked clear title to land it offered to sell FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 9, 2017 (Sturgeon Bay, WI) Attorneys representing Robert Papke, developer of the proposed Sawyer Hotel in Sturgeon Bay, have provided notice to the City of Sturgeon Bay of a claim resulting from actions and omissions of the City related to the development. Papke is seeking nearly $550,000 in damages, plus attorneys' fees. Under state law, the city now has 120 days to respond. "The city called me three years ago to build a hotel," said Papke. "I've worked tirelessly since then to make it happen. As someone who was born and raised in Sturgeon Bay, I was looking forward to doing something positive for economic development efforts in my community. However, when you realize there is simply no waterfront property legally available for this effort, you reasonably come to the conclusion that the project is over. I'm done. I invested enough." "It's unfortunate that Mr. Papke was not given a true picture of the situation three years ago when he was first approached by the city," stated Papke's attorney, William Plummer of Godfrey & Kahn, S.C. "He has no real option other than to abandon the current project." The notice of claim states that as early as 2013, the City was aware of concerns regarding the location of the Ordinary High Water Mark ("OHWM") on the waterfront land where the Sawyer Hotel was to be built. Despite extensive correspondence between City employees, attorneys retained by the City, and third parties, the City never disclosed to Papke that there was an issue with the OHWM, which precluded the City from conveying clear title to the land needed for the project. The notice of claim states the City had a duty to disclose the information; a duty the City breached when it failed to alert Papke about the issue. It also states that the Sawyer Hotel project invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into the proposed development without ever being told the OHWM line issue would prevent the City from conveying the clear title necessary to close the transaction.


NEWS RELEASE from City of Sturgeon Bay:

Sturgeon Bay, WI)   The City of Sturgeon Bay has been served with a notice of circumstances of claim by Attorneys representing Robert Papke, developer of the proposed Sawyer Hotel in Sturgeon Bay.  The City had been aware of his concerns and dissatisfaction and was working on a resolution to them, and frankly I am surprised by his press release", said Mayor Birmingham.  The City is reviewing Mr. Papke's claim and will take appropriate action.


The City and Mr. Papke have worked very closely throughout the project to resolve title matters and was looking forward to completing the hotel.  Since 2014 the City and Mr. Papke have worked together to create the economic reinvestment that in turn would generate the cash necessary to create more and better public space and public attractions.  The hotel was one part of a comprehensive effort to reinvest in the west waterfront.   However, the hotel and public aspects have been delayed by a lawsuit challenging the redevelopment project and title to lands.


The West Waterfront Redevelopment Project has been reviewed, shared and approved by multiple state agencies, including the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Department of Administration.


For nearly 30 years, the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority of the City of Sturgeon Bay has been working to eliminate blight, invigorate and stimulate retail activity, and bring people to the Sturgeon Bay waterfront.  Waterfront Redevelopment Authority Chair Tom Herlache said "The fruits of this labor are quite evident in downtown Sturgeon Bay with thousands of people enjoying the improved waterfront every year. The West Waterfront Redevelopment Project is the last piece of the effort."


Birmingham added "The residents and small business owners, including many who are sole proprietors deserve to have the opportunity to thrive and grow.  The residents of the whole City and especially those on the West Side, deserve to have a completed waterfront parkway and the recreational opportunities it presents without seeing their property taxes rise substantially. The City will continue its efforts, the title issues will get resolved, and the waterfront parkway and other improvements will be completed. "

Recent Barn Fire A Good Reminder To Obtain Burning Permits

By Paul Schmitt

The B.U.G. Fire Department is warning people to take extreme caution when burning outdoors.  A proper burning permit may be required and weather conditions can change fast to adversely affect a fire.  B.U.G. Fire Chief Curt Vandertie says a recent fire in the town of Union got out of hand and the owner did not have a burning permit.



A fire on Wednesday morning destroyed a barn that was being dismantled on County Road "Y" near Duval Road in the town of Union.  Vandertie says the owner of the property was burning clean lumber in a pit and wind gusts caused the fire to spread to the old barn.

Recalling Of Mayor Called "Parallel Effort" Of Friends Group Negotiations With City On Waterfront

By Tim Kowols

Christie Weber is calling her efforts to recall Sturgeon Bay Mayor Thad Birmingham a parallel effort as the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront and the city prepare to begin another round of negotiations to resolve the west waterfront dispute. Weber announced her intention to recall the mayor after the Sturgeon Bay Common Council voted to pursue bids to potentially tear down the granary and ask the Wisconsin State Legislature to declare the ordinary high water mark for the west side waterfront development. There were a few reasons why Weber felt the need to organize an effort to collect the 1,000 signatures needed to begin the recall process.



When asked about the potential for a recall against him, Birmingham told that he "does not think Christie likes him."  The city of the Sturgeon Bay and the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront are expected to begin negotiations on a settlement in Madison on Monday.



K-9 Officer Exceeding Expectations in Kewaunee

By Mark Kanz

Kewaunee Police Chief Frank Salentine says he didn't know what to expect at first when K-9 officer, Charlie, joined the department last August.  Salentine says the experience has exceeded his expectations.  He says Charlie has helped find missing people, prevented at least one person from a suicide attempt and aided in taking thousands of dollars worth of drugs off the street, but there's another benefit.



Salentine says Kewaunee has assisted other departments with similar situations.  He says Charlie has saved time for the human officers and has made their work safer.  The chief says there are on-going costs for Charlie including medical, additional training and food.  The police auxiliary will be across from Haney Park Saturday selling hot dogs and other items during the citywide rummage sale

Emergency Director Warns Of Hot Weekend Weather

By Mark Kanz

The National Weather Service is predicting our area's first heatwave of the season this weekend with the temperature lakeside in the 80s and reaching 90 inland.  Kewaunee County Emergency Management Director Tracy Nollenberg has a hot weather safety checklist if you are going to be out working or playing this weekend.



Nollenberg says the best plan is to stay inside with the air conditioning on.  If you don't have air conditioning, Nollenberg suggests the lower levels of your home are usually cooler.  She reminds people to check up on elderly friends or relatives, especially if they don't have air conditioning in their home.

Work Begins On Kewaunee All-Inclusive Playground

By Tim Kowols

The children in Kewaunee are getting closer and closer to having an all-inclusive playground to call their own.  Community members and organizations have continued to donate funds to the estimated $200,000 project as work begins on removing the old playground to make way for the equipment so able-bodied students and challenged children can play side by side. Superintendent Karen Treml says it has been exciting to see the support the playground continues to receive.



Treml says additional fundraising events are being scheduled and grant requests are being written to help reach their goal, which is currently $60,000 away according to the Kewaunee All-Inclusive Playground Facebook page.

Door County Habitat For Humanity "Rock The Block" For Sturgeon Bay Neighborhood

By Tim Kowols

The 40th home build is not the only project volunteers with Door County Habitat for Humanity have been working on recently. Last week, crews worked on replacing the roof of one home as it kicked off its new "Rock the Block" program, which will concentrate on one neighborhood with a variety of projects. Executive Director David Van Dyke says the roofing project has gotten noticed in the neighborhood on the 500 and 600 block of 4th, 5th, and 6th Avenues.




As for the home build, crews were finishing pouring concrete for the foundation and flooring on Thursday after battling weather conditions on their usual twice-a-week work dates.

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Storm Water Management Still A Focus For Ephraim Despite Setback

By Tim Kowols

After the Department of Transportation told Ephraim officials they would have to make changes to its streetscape plan, the village is looking at other possible ways to handle its storm water concerns. The DOT told the Village Board last month it would have to install curbs on both sides of the road to help direct storm water on Highway 42. Ephraim officials had wanted curbs on only one side of the road from German Road south. Since residents rated storm water management in the south end of Ephraim high on their list of needs for the community, Village Administrator Brent Bristol says the board is discussing other options in case the streetscape project needs to b e scrapped.


The village is also being asked to reconsider its road lane width by the DOT, which according to federal standards need to be at least 12 feet wide for trucking routes instead of its current 11 feet.

Homeless Count Set For July 26 In Door County

By Tim Kowols

Lakeshore CAP is looking for volunteers to help locate the homeless population around Door County. The "Point In Time Homeless Count" is needed to identify the services needed in the community and to help state and federal officials know how much money is needed to fight the issue. Kate Markwardt from Lakeshore CAP says homelessness in Door County is often an unknown concern.



The count, which will also occur in Brown Kewaunee, and Manitowoc Counties, will take place during the overnight hours of July 26. We have information on how you can help online with this story.


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Redistribution Of Beds Could Mean Big Things On the Horizon For Door County Medical Center

By Tim Kowols

The redistribution of 18 nursing home beds to Door County Medical Center could be the catalyst needed to spur a major addition to the hospital's Skilled Nursing Facility. The Joint Finance Committee announced last week the measure would be included in the budget after it was determined the state was under its nursing home bed limit. Door County Medical Center Vice President Greg Holub says if the measure is approved by Governor Scott Walker, the hospital would move forward with developing a business plan to expand the Skilled Nursing Facility to allow for 48 private rooms. Holub says the prospect of new facilities has been the topic of focus groups in recent months.



According to Holub, the private rooms at its current facility have a waiting list at a time where the statewide bed limit has stayed steady for several years.

Soil Depths, Recharge Events Drive Kewaunee County Well Contamination Rates During Study

By Tim Kowols

The depth to bedrock and recharge events were two key factors discovered to cause well water contamination across Kewaunee County according to a presentation given by researchers in Luxemburg Wednesday evening. Over 200 people attended the presentation with Mark Borchardt from the United States Department of Agriculture and Maureen Muldoon from UW-Oshkosh presenting the data from their yearlong study.  The study points to contamination from leaking septic tanks and manure spreading as the culprit for up to 28 percent of private wells in Kewaunee County testing positive for total coliforms, E.Coli, or nitrates and those issues spiking in areas with shallower soils. The study also showed contamination by manure would increase during recharge events like heavy rains and snowmelt while leaking septic tanks caused more problems during other times of the year. Borchardt says he has not seen numbers like this in his 25-plus year career.



The work is not yet done for Borchardt as he hopes to dive deeper into the numbers and publish a paper on the topic by the end of the year. Davina Bonness from the Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Department says more information from the study, including a mapping of some of the affected areas, will be available within the month on the Kewaunee County Web site.

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Door Kinetic Arts Festival Hosting New York Times Writer At Bjorklunden

By Paul Schmitt

The Door Kinetic Arts Festival will begin its second year at Bjorklunden next week.  The one-week festival gives Door County residents and visitors a peek at the creative process through staged readings, a dance presentation, and some film screenings that feature award-winning shorts.  Producer Alan Kopischke says this year's fest will offer a nationally recognized writer.



The Door Kinetic Arts Fest will run from June 13 through the 18th with nightly presentations.  You can watch the official 2017 video trailer for this year's festival below.

Door County YMCA Summer Day Camps Begin Next Week

By Paul Schmitt

The Door County YMCA will begin their day camp programs next week.  CEO and President Tom Beerntsen says the impact that day camp makes on the youth is considerable when developing future leaders.



Beerntsen says the  Door County YMCA summer camp experience helps children learn and master skills that help them realize their passions, talents, and potential while building relationships with new friends while expressing their individuality.  You can watch a Behind the Scenes of the YMCA's Best Summer Ever 2017 video below:

Council Member Questions Payment Of Legal Bills On Lawsuit Settlement

By Roger Utnehmer

Sturgeon Bay City Council Member Barb Allman does not like paying a legal bill she says was not approved before being incurred.
Allman questioned a payment of $4,383 to a law firm representing the city in settlement negotiations with Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront. That group has challenged the construction of a hotel on the city's west-side waterfront, citing constitutional protections granted to the formerly-filled lakebed.

Allman said she felt like a rubber stamp. The firm, she says, ran up a bill before council action authorized the hiring of the attorneys.

She told council members she was very disappointed.

City Attorney Randy Nesbitt responded to Allman's questions, saying that it's debatable if the firm would have charged the city for initial research if they had not been hired.

Mayor Thad Birmingham defended the action.


Allman's response to Birmingham...

Council Members Laurel Hauser and Kelly Catarozoli joined Allman is voting against approving the bill.

Council Asks State To Determine Where Waterfront Hotel Can Be Built

By Roger Utnehmer

The Sturgeon Bay City Council voted Tuesday to pursue legislation that would determine where development can take place on the west-side waterfront.  Development of a controversial hotel has been held up since a circuit court judge prohibited construction without determining the ordinary high water mark.  The state Public Trust Doctrine holds that land that was filled waterway is held in trust by the public and cannot be commercially developed.  The site of the waterfront hotel includes portions of filled land.

The two sides in the legal dispute, Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront and the city, have a negotiation session scheduled for next week.  Several council members spoke against asking legislators to draw the high water line.

The resolution, introduced by Council Member David Ward, would ask the legislature to draw the ordinary high water mark, effectively determining where development can occur.

Council Member Barb Allman called that sneaky.



Not only does a city special committee appointed to negotiate a settlement have a meeting next week, the Department of Natural Resources has scheduled a hearing on the ordinary high water mark for August.

Council Member Laurel Hauser also criticized the legislative action.




Council Member Stuart Fett defended seeking a legislative solution, saying "It is not uncommon to solve problems in parallel paths."


Resolution author David Ward defended the request for legislative involvement.



That comment prompted Council Member Kelly Catarozoli to question why negotiate while at the same time threatening legislation.


City Attorney Randy Nesbitt informed the council that he had just received a message from the lawyer hired by the city to negotiate with the Friends group as the meeting was taking place. Nesbitt said the attorney hired by Sturgeon Bay said pursuing a legislative solution could "put a dagger in negotiations scheduled for next week.


The council voted four to three to ask the legislature to draw the boundary lines for permissible development.  Council Members Kelly Catarozoli, Barb Allman and Laurel Hauser voted against the proposal.

Community Activist Calling For Mayor's Ouster

By Roger Utnehmer

A divided Sturgeon Bay city council meeting ended Tuesday with community activist Christie MacDonald announcing a recall effort against Mayor Thad Birmingham.

MacDonald, speaking during the public comment period near the end of the meeting, said that on the same day the Wisconsin Historical Society is considering placing Sturgeon Bay's granary on the National Register of Historic Places the mayor is talking about getting bids to tear it down.  She reprimanded the mayor before stating her intention to start the recall campaign.



Earlier, the council voted unanimously to get bids on tearing down or re-using the granary.

Ebert Enterprises, Wisconsin Farm Technology Days Ready To Welcome People To Kewaunee County

By Tim Kowols

The countdown towards July's Wisconsin Farm Technology Days has officially begun after Ebert Enterprises and the show's committees welcomed members of the media Tuesday morning in Algoma. Introduced as the host family for the 64th annual event, Randy Ebert expressed gratitude to a number of people including his wife and children, his parents, his employees, and the committee members that have worked so hard for three years to make the event a reality.



Wisconsin Farm Technology Days General Manager Matt Glewen says it has become obvious in what he has seen and heard over the last several months is the pride Kewaunee County has in its agriculture.



Over 45,000 people are expected to attend the three-day event July 11 to 13, which makes it the largest agricultural show in Wisconsin and one of the biggest in the entire country.

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Live Algoma Initiative Becoming A Standard For Communities Around The World

By Tim Kowols

The success of the Live Algoma community initiative has certainly not gone unnoticed. In addition to hosting leaders from around the globe, Live Algoma will be sending representatives to Boston in the coming weeks for presentations with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Algoma was the highest performing community when it came to municipalities receiving a grant from the organization, an effort the IHI hopes to replicate elsewhere. Nick Cochart from the Algoma School District says it is representative of the good things happening in the city.



You can learn more about Live Algoma and the progress it has made in the two years since it was developed during a presentation at the Algoma Public Library on Thursday beginning at 5 p.m.

DCEDC Helping Entrepeneurs Become Businesses

By Tim Kowols

Aspiring entrepreneurs have learned they can lean on the Door County Economic Development Corporation for help and guidance. In addition to hosting an incubator site for small businesses and providing lending programs, the DCEDC is wrapping up another session of its entrepreneurial training.  DCEDC Executive Director Caleb Frostman says the participants are now working on business plans that could mean big things down the road for them.


The DCEDC will open registration up for the multi-month training program again this fall before the classes begin in January.


Door County Medical Center Adds More Awards To Mantle, Wins Three "Best of" Categories

By Tim Kowols

Door County Medical Center has been recognized by professionals in the healthcare industry and now by the people in the area who depend on their facilities on a daily basis. In addition to the ten distinct Excellence in Healthcare Awards it received from Professional Research Consultants in April, Door County Medical Center also earned honors for being the best hospital, hosting the best rehabilitation service, and employing the best doctor in Dr. Richard Hogan. Director of Rehab Services Debra Whitelaw-Gorski says the awards validate the high-quality services she has always known.



In comments written by Dr. Hogan, he says his "fellow physicians and ancillary providers go a long way to make me look good, not to forget our excellent nursing and support staff in the hospital and clinic." Door County Medical Center was recognized by PRC for its emergency, inpatient, and outpatient services. It will formally receive those awards during the 2017 Excellence in Healthcare Conference in Austin, Texas on June  22. Over 12,000 votes were cast in the Best of Door County poll, with awards be presented in over 80 categories.



What does it mean to be voted the best doctor in the County?
My youngest son Liam just finished his first year at Marquette University. From school he texted me this "best doctor" news a couple of weeks ago. He apparently saw it in the Door County News on line. I thought he was pulling my leg.
I am mystified by the honor and I have absolutely no clue what it means !  We have so many excellent clinicians here in Door County. I am lucky to be surrounded by top notch colleagues. My fellow physicians and ancillary providers go a long way to make me look good, not to forget our excellent nursing and support staff in the hospital and clinic. I also appreciate the specialists from Green Bay who come and give great service. Kudos to our forward looking Administrators who have put the hospital and clinic in the right place.

What do I do different from my colleagues?
I am not sure that I do anything different from my colleagues. We have an outstanding group of health care providers here.
Advice to others entering the field of Medicine?
Don't go into health care if you don't like people.
Don't go into medicine if you cannot be wrong at times, if you cannot cope with having an unintended outcome for your patient, if you cannot stand eventually  losing a patient you have known for a long time and who has become like family to you.
Treat patients like they ARE your family.
Learn and keep learning.
When faced with a challenge, rise up to it.
Know your limitations.  Seek  the help of others when needed.
Take pride in your work but also be humble.... You never can know it all.
Press on when you might not feel like it.
Fight discouragement.
Treat everyone with whom you have contact with dignity and respect.
Keep the patients and the community's health number one in all you do.
Keep a sense of humor.
Keep a sense of wonder at the miracle of life.
Remember your family and thank them for their sacrifices.
Take care of yourself.
Be grateful for your great life and the privilege you have been given.

Sevastopol To Honor Zipperer Friday At Town Park

By Paul Schmitt

The town of Sevastopol will celebrate the 20 years of service by past town Chairperson Leo Zipperer this Friday.  The gathering will be held at the Sevastopol Town Park in Institute and honor Zipperer for his dedication and commitment to the community.  Zipperer shares some of the accomplishments over his years as town chairperson.



Zipperer, who formerly retired this last April, says he enjoyed working with the different people in the community and serve on the Door County Board of Supervisors.  The retirement celebration will include an award of appreciation to Zipperer and is planned from 5 until 8 p.m. Friday at the park pavilion.

Drivers Advised To Use Extra Caution With More Pedestrians And Bicyclists On Roadways

By Paul Schmitt

With traffic increasing in the area with summer travel and schools out for the year, drivers are reminded to use extra caution on the roadways.  Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says drivers should be more patient and extra attentive with the increased traffic.



45 people were killed on Wisconsin roadways in May which was ten fewer traffic deaths than last year. So far this year 27 pedestrians and 13 motorcyclists died from traffic-related crashes, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

Wallace Family Prepares To Host Thousands For Kewaunee County Breakfast On The Farm

By Tim Kowols

At 100 cows and 315 acres of land owned and rented, what the Wallace Dairy Farm in Forestville lacks in size compared to past Breakfast on the Farm hosts it has in heart. Paul Wallace Jr. is the fourth generation in his family to operate a dairy farm, taking over for his parents in 2013. He is continuing to close on additional land and buildings, including the home he, his wife Corrina, and two children hope to live in soon. Wallace says it is an honor to host the annual event and let visitors get an up close view of his farm and his animals.



Volunteers to help set-up, serve, clean, and run activities are still needed for this year's Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm, which takes place this Sunday from 8 a.m. until noon.

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Car Payments A Nuisance When Falling Behind

By Tim Kowols

Car payments are often the highest bill for many people on monthly basis and could get some in trouble if they are not careful. According to CNN Money, six million auto borrowers are at least 90 days past due on their payments on their loans. If you find yourself falling behind on payments, Gay Pustaver from Money Management Counselors suggests you call your lender right away.



Pustaver says something as simple as changing the day of your payment could alleviate some of the stress from your bottom line and make it easier to pay off your loan. You can listen to the entire Money Management Monday Interview with Gay Pustaver online with this story.


Sturgeon Bay Graduates 94 In Sunday Ceremony

By Tim Kowols

Ninety-four students walked across the stage at Sturgeon Bay High School gym on Sunday as new graduates. Highlighted by Valedictorian Moriah Grahl and Salutatorian Jenna Seiler, 85 percent of the graduating class will continue their education at a two-year or four-year institution. Principal Bob Nickel says it is always difficult to lose the senior class but is happy they are moving on to the next stage of their journey.



As for the rest of Sturgeon Bay School District, their last day of classes is June 8.


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Gedicks Highlights Dangers Of Michigan Mine And Its Possible Effects On Door County in Tuesday Presentation

By Tim Kowols

A proposed mine just across the bay in Stephenson, Michigan could have a detrimental effect on the waters of Door County. Wisconsin Resources Protection Council Executive Director Dr. Al Gedicks will present Tuesday evening why the development of the Back Forty Open Pit Mine near the Menominee River in Michigan's Upper Peninsula poses environmental dangers to the region and societal issues by building on the original homeland of Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin.  Gedicks says the sulfide waste from the large pit mine could cause issues for the Menominee River and Lake Michigan.




Gedicks' presentation on the dangers of the Back Forty Mine will begin at 6:30 p.m. at The Olde Opera House in Sturgeon Bay.

Northern Sky Theater Looks To Bring All Operations Under One Roof In Constellation Campaign

By Tim Kowols

Its overall sustainability is the reason why Northern Sky Theater hopes to turn 40 acres in Fish Creek into a creative hub for years to come. Currently, Northern Sky Theater uses space in Ephraim, Baileys Harbor, Egg Harbor, and Fish Creek to run its operations before it ever hits the stage inside Peninsula State Park. Using the site purchased from Stella Maris Parish in 2015, Northern Sky Theater hopes to bring its set design, rehearsal space, office operations, and off-season programming under one roof. Artistic Director Jeffrey Herbst says it was in 2014 when he realized the center was needed to keep the organization sustainable, especially since Northern Sky Theater relies so much on developing its own programming.



Northern Sky Theater reached the $4.5 million milestone before entering the public phase of fundraising, which has a $6.7 million goal. Herbst says a groundbreaking date will not be set until it has raised enough money to complete the project but hopes it will open in 2019.  Northern Sky Theater opens its 2017 season  June 14 with three shows including the world premiere of "Oklahoma in Wisconsin."

[vc_video link="" size="480x385" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Pictures Courtesy of Northern Sky Theater

northernskyconstellation1 northernskyconstellation2

Rep. Kitchens Pleased With JFC Decisions, Hopeful Of Compromise With Governor On Budget

By Tim Kowols

There is plenty of good news for Door County residents and visitors if the Joint Finance Committee has their way.  In addition to allocating up to $750,000 for the reconstruction of Peninsula State Parks' Eagle Tower, the JFC has decided to bring back "Wisconsin Natural Resources" magazine on a quarterly basis and redistribute 18 beds from the state limit for nursing home facilities to Door County Medical Center. While he is thankful for the JFC for recognizing some of the issues facing the First Assembly District, Rep. Joel Kitchens says he knows Governor Scott Walker still has to sign off on these and other proposed changes to the biennial budget.



The Wisconsin State Legislature is back to work on Tuesday with a budget deadline of July 1.



"Over the past two weeks, the Joint Committee on Finance has voted on several issues important to the constituents of the 1st Assembly District.


"First, I applaud the Joint Committee on Finance's decision to allocate funding for the building of the new Eagle Tower in Peninsula Park. Eagle Tower was a pinnacle attraction of the park and we are all eagerly looking forward to the new tower being erected so we can all enjoy the breathtaking views of our Peninsula.


"Working with the Friends of Peninsula Park, the DNR and Senator Lasee (R- De Pere), I submitted a motion earlier in the budget process for the state to provide half of the funds for Eagle Tower. This project will be a wonderful opportunity for the state to come together with local supporters of the park and create an attraction that Wisconsinites and visitors will build their memories on.


"Second, the Joint Committee on Finance voted to require DHS to redistribute 18 nursing home beds that are currently available under the statewide bed limit to Door County Medical Center. Door County faces a rapidly aging population, and an increase in available nursing home beds in our area is crucial in order to effectively care for our most vulnerable.


"Finally, I was very happy to see that the Joint Committee on Finance voted in favor of continuing the publication of the DNR's 'Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine'. The magazine will now be published quarterly and continue to highlight the valuable natural resources of our great state. Immediately after the Governor released his budget which authorized the elimination of the magazine, I received an outpouring of support for the magazine from my constituents in the 1st Assembly District. Early in the budget process, at the encouragement of countless constituents, I submitted a motion to save the self-supported DNR Magazine.  


"I would like to thank the constituents of the first assembly district for their continued advocacy for our area. This is a perfect example of democracy in action. Additionally, I would like to thank the members of the Joint Committee on Finance for prioritizing the important issues of the 1st Assembly District. I look forward to continuing to advocate on my constituents' behalf as the budget continues."

Seven Students Set To Graduate At Washington Island School

By Tim Kowols

Despite being one of the smallest graduating classes in the entire state, Washington Island School District Superintendent Mati Palm-Leis believes the senior students will go on to do magnificent things in the future. Valedictorian Alex Johnson and salutatorian Elena Waldron highlight the seven-member senior class which saw the development of the Hype Squad, which helps generate school spirit throughout the building. Palm-Leis says you can often judge an entire school year by the quality of its senior class and believes they will leave big shoes to fill.



Washington Island School will host its graduation ceremony on Friday, June 9.

Algoma Native Haack Sees The Other Side Of UW-Extension's Work

By Tim Kowols

A summer internship is giving Algoma native Carmen Haack a look behind the curtain at the Kewaunee County UW-Extension office.  Under the direction of agriculture educator Aerica Bjurstrom, Haack will assist the UW-Extension office with forage projects and calf and heifer surveys this summer. Haack is embracing the opportunity to work with local farmers, but the former 4-H member says she has learned a lot about the UW-Extension as a whole.



Haack is pursuing a degree in dairy science while also working towards a certificate in agriculture business management at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Kewaunee County Well Test Findings To Be Released During Wednesday Presentation

By Tim Kowols

Kewaunee County will host a presentation showcasing the final results of a year-long well testing study this Wednesday evening. Dr. Mark Borchardt from the United States Department of Agriculture, Dr. Maureen Muldoon from the UW-Oshkosh Department of Geology, and Randy Hunt from the United States Geological Survey will provide statistics from its randomized county-wide well sample, which has shown contamination from bovine and human waste. Davina Bonness from the Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Department says the findings will show what is needed to be done by the entire community to help start fixing the area's water issues.



The presentation entitled "Sources of Fecal Contamination in the Dolomite Aquifer in Northeastern Wisconsin" will take place inside the exhibition hall at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds beginning at 6 p.m. While the presentation is open to the public, Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt reminds residents that it is not a hearing for two draft ordinances aimed at manure spreading in the area.

Gov. Walker Hopes Voters See Dramatic Reduction In School Referenda With Education Budget Proposal

By Tim Kowols

Governor Scott Walker is hopeful his proposed education budget will help school districts not rely on voters for additional funding. The governor has proposed $649 million in new state money for public and private schools, which would be a $200 per pupil increase in spending each of the next two years. Increases to sparsity aid and high-cost transportation funding are also included in the budget plan, two areas that are expected to help Door County school districts finding themselves in a constant cycle of operational referenda. During his stop at Sevastopol School last week, Gov. Walker expressed his confidence that his measures will help schools get the funding they need without relying on the ballot box.



School districts can still go to referendum if needed, but state lawmakers are currently working on bills restricting when and how often the questions can appear on the ballot. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, the Joint Finance Committee is considering a $91 million cut to Governor Walker's education budget proposal, affecting per pupil aid and revenue limit authority.

Celebrate National Trail Day On The Ahnapee

By Mark Kanz

Sunday is National Trail Day and our area is blessed to have some outstanding recreational trails. The largest is the Ahnapee State Trail tying together communities in Door and Kewaunee County with nearly 50 miles of refurbished railroad right of way.   The Friends of the Ahnapee State Trail assist the state and both county parks departments with projects along the trail. Friends Group President RJ Weber says the trail caters to multiple user groups.



Weber says providing more trail access points is a priority for his group.  One way the friends are helping to raise funds is through the Summer Solstice distance running event later this month.

Underwood To Boost Performance For Athletes And Non-Athletes

By Mark Kanz

Local athletes and others looking to perform at peak levels will have an opportunity to get advice from an expert Sunday.  Southern Door High School is bringing John Underwood to Crossroads at Big Creek to discuss the Human Performance Project and Life.  Underwood has trained Olympic and professional athletes and worked with military special operations forces.  He helps students achieve their best on and off the field.  Topics he'll cover include sleep, nutrition, drug and alcohol use, injury prevention, as well as motivation, accountability and the effects of blue lights.  Reservations are not required.  Underwood's presentation starts tonight at 6 at Crossroads at Big Creek.

Kayak Fishing Series--Where To Launch Your Kayak In Door County

By Bill Schultz

Kayak Fishing Pro Bill Schultz will again feature a weekly series on kayaking and Kayak fishing in Door County.  In the second of his summer series, Bill shares the available spots throughout the peninsula you can launch your kayak.



If you have any questions for Bill, you can email him at


Elder Abuse Claims Continue To Climb

By Mark Kanz

Elder abuse is a growing problem around the country.  Steve Vickman, executive director of HELP of Door County says it's no different here at home.



Vickman says 26% of Door County residents are over 60 years old, while the state average is only about 15%.  He says our older population is living longer and tend to be in much better health than previous generations.  His office is continuing to work with local seniors to call attention to abuse issues.

Kewaunee County Fair Parade To Show A Century Of Progress

By Paul Schmitt

The Kewaunee County Fair will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in July with a parade to commemorate every decade during the century.  The theme of parade this year is "Through the Decades" and Kewaunee County businesses, farms and community groups are encouraged to enter a float or vehicle in the parade.  Jean Dax of the Luxemburg Area Chamber of Commerce explains what participants can do to make it fun and interesting.



The Kewaunee County Fair parade is set for 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, July 23.  No preregistration is required and the parade route begins at St. Mary's Church on Main Street and proceeds through the village and back to the county fairgrounds.  Attendees, participants and volunteers can contact the Luxemburg Area Chamber of Commerce directly with any questions.

Sturgeon Bay Council To Debate Waterfront Resolution Tuesday

By Mark Kanz

Tuesday's Sturgeon Bay City Council agenda includes a resolution asking the state legislature and not the Department of Natural Resources to determine the ordinary high water mark for the city's west side waterfront property.  Christie Weber, one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the city to block a proposed hotel development says it's an attempt by the mayor and council to backdoor the process.



Weber says there is a process in place to determine the high water mark and she believes that even if the resolution is approved Tuesday, state lawmakers will not take action outside their legal bounds.

Parks Department Asks For Help Curbing Vandals

By Mark Kanz

Kewaunee County's Park Department spent the past few days cleaning up after vandals hit Krohn's Lake Park, southwest of Algoma, earlier this week.  Parks Director Dave Myers says it's disheartening after all the work his crews have put in with very limited resources at their disposal.  He says the parks belong to everyone and if you see something out of the norm, say something.



Myers says his staff is working with the Sheriff's Department to identify the culprits.   If caught they will not only have to pay for the repairing the damage but will also be in line for a stiff fine.

Library Friends To Open Book Store

By Mark Kanz

A staple of Algoma's Shanty Days weekend will be absent this year.  The good news is the Friends of the Algoma Library's used book sale is moving from the library lawn to its own building.  Bookstore Manager Sue Hass says "The Book Corner" will be opening several days a week, year-round.



Hass says they'll have the same bargains as always on Shanty Days weekend.  They store is located a few blocks from the library, across from the fire department.  Hass says the store will primarily carry used books in hardcover and paperback, audio tapes, CDs and puzzles.  Book donations will always be accepted.  Proceeds from the store will be used to fund library projects.

"Meet And Greet" With All Family Members A Good tip Before Adopting A Pet

By Paul Schmitt

Making sure that a pet adoption is in the best interest of the animal and your family is a question future pet owners should answer before adopting a cat or dog.  April Delfosse of the Door County Humane Society says that an initial "meet and greet" with all family members is a good start.



Delfosse also says that determining how your lifestyle will adjust with a new pet is another thing to consider.  The Door County Humane Society just raised $100,639 in a national pet challenge and finished 6th out of over 500 other organizations around the country.  The monies will go towards operational costs of maintaining over 700 animals per year at the shelter, according to Delfosse.

Birch Creek Music Performance Center Adds New LED Lighting For Stage

By Paul Schmitt

The lights will shine brighter on the Birch Creek Music Performance Center stage this summer.  Thanks to new LED lights recently installed at the performance center in Egg Harbor.  Executive Director Mona Christensen says the high-end quality theater lighting was previewed a couple weeks ago and will make a big difference for the visual experience of the audience.



Birch Creek Music Performance Center is a summer music academy for advanced young musicians that are taught by nationally-known performers and educators during the day, and perform alongside them in concerts at night.  You can find the schedule of percussion and steelpan, symphony, and big band jazz sessions that are planned this summer by going to



Future Redevelopment Of Old Granary Building In Sturgeon Bay Remains In Doubt

By Paul Schmitt

The future development of the former granary building on Sturgeon Bay's west side waterfront is in doubt.  The building was deemed unhealthy and unsafe for people to enter due to "respiratory and human health hazardous substances" earlier this week.  City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout says they were responding to complaints by residents.   He says it is too early to say what impact the city action would have on the planned west side redevelopment.



The historic structure was purchased by the city from the Door County Cooperative as part of the west side redevelopment project.  The city placed fencing around the granary building to secure it this week after boarding up windows last month to deter entry by people.  The emergency action to ban entrance was issued on May 26 by Fire Chief Tim Dietman.

Eagle Tower Gets A Boost From Lawmakers

By Mark Kanz

The replacement of Eagle Tower at Peninsula State Park took a giant leap forward this week as the legislature's Joint Finance Committee passed a motion to provide a matching grant of up to $750,000 for the project.  Eagle Tower Campaign Manager Rachel Stollenwerk says her group worked with local lawmakers to persuade their colleagues to earmark uncommitted Stewardship Fund dollars for the project.  While a lot of work says been done since last September, Stollenwerk says the Friends of Peninsula State Park aren't relaxing.



Stollenwerk says state funds provide a dollar for dollar match of private donations.  The group is just under $430,000 raised.  The design phase is in progress with the challenge of making the new tower handicapped-accessible.

"Birding On The Bay" Event This Weekend On Plum Island

By Paul Schmitt

You can get an up close and personal birding experience on Plum Island this weekend.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service along with the Friends of Plum & Pilot Islands Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge are sponsoring the event where visitors can observe professional techniques of capture, banding, and release of birds.  Park Ranger Dustan Hoffman says the public will see how mesh nets are used in the process.



The "Birding on the Bay" event is this Saturday and Sunday.  Hoffman says bird books, binoculars and spotting scopes will be provided with hiking opportunities available as well.  Morning and evening trips of four hours are planned with free public boat transportation provided from Gills Rock and Washington Island.  To make reservations, you can go to contact information found with this story online.   920-421-0922

Walter, Wallace Family Honored At Kewaunee County June Is Dairy Month Breakfast

By Tim Kowols

Kewaunee County community members toasted farmers with a carton of milk Thursday morning at the June in Dairy Month Kickoff Breakfast at the Rendezvous in Luxemburg. They also toasted the Wallace family for hosting the upcoming Breakfast on the Farm and Don Walter with its Honorary Volunteer Award. The owner of Walter's of Rio Creek and Walter's Hardware in Algoma, Walter said he did not know how important suppliers were to the agriculture industry in Kewaunee County.



Walter has been working at the two storefronts since he was in high school in the 1950s and currently runs them with the help of his wife Wendy and two daughters.  The kickoff event is the start of a busy June Dairy month for area farmers, including the Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm on June 11.

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Door County Silent Sports Alliance's Bike Rides Growing In Popularity

By Paul Schmitt

The Door County Silent Sports Alliance is growing in popularity as more and more people look to connect with the outdoors and take in the beauty of the peninsula from a different perspective.  Member Randy Sahs says that even though bike trails are limited in the county a great opportunity still exists for riders to tour the scenic country sides.



The Door Count Silent Sports Alliance which has over 650 members offers scheduled morning and evening bike rides weekly.  You can find membership information and a schedule of upcoming rides and where they start from with this story online.

Free Pass To Visit State Parks This Saturday

By Tim Kowols

State parks around Wisconsin are opening their doors to visitors without the need for a daily or annual park pass as a part of the Free Fun Weekend this Saturday.  Special activities, including free fishing and ATV/UTV usage, will be available at some of the different recreation areas. Potawatomi State Park Superintendent Erin Brown says the free fun weekend is a great opportunity to try somewhere or something new.



You can visit the individual park and forest pages online to find out what activities will be offered. Some activities such as camping with special fees will still be required.

Casco Marine Memorialized With 8th Annual Softball Tournament This Weekend

By Paul Schmitt

The Luxemburg and Casco communities will come together again this weekend to honor the memory of Lance Corporal Dean Opicka with the 8th annual Softball Tournament at the Casco Villlage Park.  Opicka, a 1997 graduate of Luxemburg-Casco High School who served in the Marines and Operation Iraqi Freedom, was one of three L-C graduates who died in the Iraq War.  Dennis Opicka says the tournament is a perfect way to memorialize his brother.



The weekend softball tournament that features 16 teams begins Thursday night and includes a motorcycle ride on Sunday has raised over $100,000 the past seven years.  All proceeds benefit the Lance Corporal Dean Opicka Memorial Fund that supports local academic scholarships and local hardship gifts.

Sturgeon Bay High School Graduates Their First Pilot Zsa Zsa Tebon

By Nick Freimuth

Zsa Zsa Tebon did something this school year no other student has ever done at Sturgeon Bay High School. The 17-year-old senior spent a few hours during every school day during her entire senior year learning how to fly.


Not only did Zsa Zsa take the class but she passed all the written tests, homework and 19-hours in the air controlling a Cessna 172 plane. Just last week Tebon took her first ever solo flight that lasted 30 minutes. Zsa Zsa said being in the air by herself made all of her work "real."


After Zsa Zsa completed her first solo flight she participated in an aviation tradition. Her instructor cut off the back of her shirt. This ritual happens after every student "earns their wings." Zsa Zsa said when her instructor told her she was going up by herself she said, "This is where I do it or I die. However, I was more relaxed than I thought I was going to be."


Tebon worked with a certified instructor, logged airtime in the cockpit, and took her first solo flight. Sturgeon Bay Principal Bob Nickel said, "High school is supposed to be a stepping stone for whatever it is that you want to do next. We are here to help prepare kids for whatever it is they want to do in the future."


Nickel said the partnership with the Cherryland Airport, Dan Lake and Jeff Tebon made this course possible. The course earned Zsa Zsa Tebon high school credit. Nickel said this is something so far out of the ordinary and it was the first time a student has done anything like this at Sturgeon Bay High School.


Zsa Zsa Tebon wanted to thank Mr. Nickel for making her dream a reality. She said she is a step ahead in her career because of him. She also wanted to thank her mom for pushing her to achieve these goals and her dad for his support, helping make it all possible, and coordinating the plane and flying time.


Zsa Zsa will be attending Oregon Community College in the fall. She said they are nationally renowned for their great flight program. She will be studying to achieve her commercial license first. United and Horizon Airlines have already contacted Zsa Zsa and talked to her about the tremendous opportunities for her as a female in a male-dominated field.


If there are other students interested in this program, contact Sturgeon Bay High School Principal Bob Nickel. He said this is definitely something they would offer again.


To listen to's interviews with both Zsa Zsa and Bob Nickel click on the audio links below.





Vandertie Named Southern Door's New Elementary School Principal

By Paul Schmitt

Cory Vandertie is Southern Door School District's new elementary principal.  Vandertie will replace retiring Laurie Connell after the Southern Door School Board approved his hire on Tuesday.  Vandertie, who was an administrator in the Green Bay School District the past five years, says it is special to return to Southern Door.



Vandertie taught 3rd and 5th grade at Southern Door for 13 years and also heading up the gifted and talented program at the school.  The school district is planning a meet-and-greet reception next Wednesday from 5:30 until 6:30pm in the school cafeteria.  Vandertie will assume his new duties as the Southern Door Elementary School Principal on July 1.


(photo courtesy of Southern Door School District)

Possible Withdrawl From Climate Change Agreement Disappointing

By Tim Kowols

Local environmentalists are concerned with reports that President Donald Trump could be withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement. Multiple national news agencies are reporting the official decision from President Trump could be made later this week following meetings with world leaders in Europe last week. The agreement, signed by President Barack Obama and others in 2015, addresses greenhouse gas emission mitigation and adaptation by the year 2020. Dick Smythe from the Climate Change Coalition of Door County says he would not be surprised by the decision, but he would be disappointed.



According to the United Nations Treaty Collection, 195 countries have signed the accord, with 147 ratifying it.

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