News Archives for 2017-08

Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department's lifesaving classes continue to grow

By Tim Kowols

A program designed to help save lives in northern Door County continues to grow at the direction of the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department. Over the last couple years, the fire department has hosted Community Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Automated External Defibrillator class at its station and concluded a challenge earlier this year that awarded an AED unit to a local business. Fire Chief Chris Hecht says it still amazes him the response the program has received from the community.



You can contact the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department if you would like to enroll in an upcoming Community CPR/AED class, which will run from 6-10 p.m. on September 21, October 19, and November 13. You can also find details on the department's upcoming open house on September 23 online with this story.

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Kewaunee County Sheriff happy ban on transferring military surplus equipment is lifted

By Tim Kowols

The decision to lift a ban on transferring surplus military gear to local law enforcement agencies by the Trump administration could save departments thousands of dollars every year. According to the USA Today, the executive order by President Donald Trump would allow law enforcement to obtain the equipment to better respond to local unrest and assist in drug investigations. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says it is good news for departments like his to help ease the burden on their tight budgets.



Joski hopes to use the military surplus on ammunition used for training exercises. The agreement, known as the "1033 program," was reversed by the Obama administration in the wake of the 2015 Ferguson, Mo. Riots. It was also one of the recommendations by the White House as a part of their Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which the Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department participated in last year.

Gas prices surge heading into Labor Day weekend

By Baxter Colburn

With Labor Day weekend just on a few short days away drivers look forward to taking some needed rest and relaxation time with family and friends. However, the one negative many dread about holiday travel, expensive gas prices. This year marks a unique obstacle travelers as prices have already shot up due to the effects of Hurricane Harvey in Houston. Parv Jandu of Jandu Petroleum in Carlsville and Sturgeon Bay says the recent cost of gas has dramatically exceeded many projected expectations.



Jandu goes on to state that even with Labor Day around the corner gas prices would not have seen this dramatic of a rise. Since Jandu started working in the gas industry, he recalls that his worst price hike ever was $.40, something everyone hopes never to see again.

Sturgeon Bay Historical Society refutes letter from Sturgeon Bay Mayor Thad Birmingham

By Roger Utnehmer

The State Historical Preservation Review Board recently voted unanimously to place Sturgeon Bay's west-side waterfront granary on the state register of historic sites.That designation came over the objection of Sturgeon Bay Mayor Thad Birmingham who wrote a letter of opposition.

The board of directors of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society, in a letter to Birmingham, has refuted his reasons for opposition to preserving the granary.

In an August 21, 2017 letter signed by Christie Weber to Birmingham, the historical society claims to correct four fundamental errors made in Birmingham's letter.

The entire letter to Birmingham and documentation are part of this story at

Key points made by Weber refuting Birmingham's opposition focus on the historical significance of the granary, the structural integrity of the facility, the significance to the historic waterfront and, finally, the process of designating the granary as a site worth preserving. asked Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Christie Weber about the misconceptions in Birmingham's letter of opposition.

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council voted in early August to tear down the granary in January if a private group or individual does not come forward with the plans or the money to save the structure by the New Year.

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Door County Land Trust welcomes 37-acre donation

By Baxter Colburn

A new and exciting development took place Wednesday afternoon for supporters of the Door County Land Trust. Landowners Bruce and Joan Pikas donated a 37-acre conservation easement on their boreal forest tract to the Door County Land Trust. The 37-acres hold many rare plants and birds which will now have proper protection to expand their life expectancy. Communication and Outreach manager Cinnamon Rossman explains where the 37-acres will be located.


The Door County Land Trust is looking forward to partnerships with landowners to create conservation easements that enhance our land protection efforts throughout the county, says Land Trust executive director Tom Clay. More information about the new donation can be found online with this story.

Kewaunee School District cuts ribbon on new all-inclusive playground

By Tim Kowols

Under threatening skies, kids of all abilities were able to play side by side as the Kewaunee School District officially opened its all-inclusive playground Wednesday afternoon.  A crowd of eager children and adults stood by as Kewaunee School District Superintendent Karen Treml made opening comments before the ribbon on the $220,000-plus playground was cut. It has been over a year of fundraising for the school district to make the playground a reality. It brought a smile to Treml's face as able bodied and special needs kids will be able to play together for years to come.



Fundraising will continue for the playground because of higher than expected pricing for the spongy poured-in surface that will cover the entire area when the project is complete.

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Sturgeon Bay Knights of Columbus quietly changing the community

By Baxter Colburn

When people think of service clubs around the country often times the Lions and Rotary Clubs are at the top of their list. One group that sometimes doesn't receive enough credit for their community involvement are the Knights of Columbus. A branch of the Catholic Church that started back in 1882, the Knights have worked closely with building a strong and dependable presence in communities not only across the country but also the world.


District Deputy of District 4 in Sturgeon Bay Bill Hitt highlights just how impactful the Knights of Columbus are with their programs.


Along with the Sunshine House, the Knights focus on raising money for Pro Life in Wisconsin through their lifesavers for life drive.

New members are always welcome says Hitt, just contact the Corpus Christi parish office to receive details about upcoming events or to get in touch with a group administrator.

Kewaunee working towards a business incubator

By Paul Schmitt

Kewaunee 1st Ward Alderperson Arthur Schiller is putting together an organization called "Forward Kewaunee" to develop a business incubator for the city at the old Leyse Aluminum building on Ellis Street that Gannett Company currently owns.  The idea began a few weeks ago and Schiller says the plan is to utilize the near 5,000 square foot facility and an equal-size lower level to house 5 to 8 start-up businesses.



Schiller says fundraising plans are being made as the transaction to purchase the building is being negotiated and inspection of the property being done in the next 60 days.  Hopes are to open the incubator by the end of the year if all goes well, according to Schiller.

Old Eagle Tower parts to be auctioned off

By Paul Schmitt

Some parts of the old Eagle Tower at Peninsula State Park are helping reconstruct the new Eagle Tower, even if they can't be used in the new structure.  A dozen local artists and carpenters are repurposing old parts of the tower the DNR deemed unusable for the new tower for an auction being held in September to raise money for the Eagle Tower Fund.  Rachel Stollenwerk, campaign director and member of the Friends of Peninsula State Park, says the event is offering an opportunity for people to take home some unique history.



Almost $600,000 has been raised to date by the Eagle Tower Fund with the state agreeing to match donations up to $750,000, according to Stollenwerk.  The auction will be held in Fish Creek on September 30 from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.  You can more information on the Eagle Tower Fund below:

Barbara Lawton: fight continues for women's equality as right to vote marks 97th anniversary

By Paul Schmitt

Last Saturday marked the 97th anniversary of the adoption of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote.  Many still feel that women are losing ground in the fight for full equality including the gender gap in wages paid to women.  Door County resident and former Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton says there has been progressing in equality for women, but obstacles still remain.



Lawton says women are punished for the reproductive role they play in society by employers using it as an excuse for lesser pay or considering it a liability.  She says people need to get over the culture that devalues women's contributions to society.



In Wisconsin, women are paid 78 cents for every dollar paid to men amounting to an annual wage gap of $10,712, according to the national partnership for women & families.

DOJ releases names of officers involved in Kewaunee County fatal shooting

By Tim Kowols

The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation has released the names of the officers involved in a fatal shooting last week in the town of Franklin. Deputy Jamie A. Tlachac, Sergeant Dustin E. Smidle, Deputy Jordan D. Salentine, and Officer Brian Gale responded to the incident after a 911 call along County Road AB south of Highway 29 and encountered 22-year-old Tyler D. Whitmire threatening a woman and nearby residents with a knife, according to the DOJ. According to release, Tlachac was the one who fired the weapon during the confrontation. No other details about the case were released by the DOJ as it continues to collect evidence to determine the facts of the incident before turning it over to the Kewaunee County District Attorney. All four officers will remain on paid administrative leave until the outcome of the investigation has been determined.


MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), at the request of the Kewaunee County Sheriff's Office, has been investigating an officer involved death (OID) that took place on the evening of August 21, 2017 in Kewaunee, Wisconsin.


Three Kewaunee County Sheriff's deputies and one Kewaunee Police officer responded to a 911 call along County Road AB, south of State Highway 29. The responding law enforcement officers encountered a male suspect threatening a woman and nearby residents with a knife. The suspect's confrontation with the deputies resulted in one of the deputies discharging his firearm, killing the suspect. An autopsy of the decedent, 22-year-old Tyler D. Whitmire, was conducted by the Fond du Lac County Medical Examiner's Office on Tuesday, August 22, 2017.


The four law enforcement officers involved in this critical incident, who have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, are being identified as:

  • Deputy Jamie A. Tlachac – Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department; five years of service.

  • Sergeant Dustin E. Smidle – Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department; 22 years of service.

  • Deputy Jordan D. Salentine – Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department; three years of service.

  • Officer Brian D. Gale – Kewaunee City Police Department; four years of service.


The use of force by Deputy Jamie A. Tlachac resulted in Mr. Whitmire's death.


The Wisconsin DOJ-led investigation of this incident has been a collaboration between DCI, the Wisconsin State Patrol, and the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory. The Kewaunee County Sheriff's Office has been fully cooperating with DCI during this investigation.


DCI is continuing to collect evidence and determine the facts of this incident and will turn over investigative reports to the Kewaunee County District Attorney when the investigation concludes.

City of Kewaunee, Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation release RFP for restore harbor waterfront

By Tim Kowols

With much of the heavy lifting already done, the city of Kewaunee and the Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation are looking towards the future with its newly restored harbor. Work on the over $4 million project not only repaired the crumbling seawall but also installed the necessary infrastructure to support future development on the 3.2-acre site. Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Jennifer Brown says the joint effort between the city and the KCEDC hopes to bring some exciting changes to the Kewaunee waterfront.



Brown says the RFP is expected to be posted later this week for developers to look at and begin plans before weighing in on possibilities near the end of October.

Marina Fest marks the unofficial end of summer in Sister Bay

By Tim Kowols

Sister Bay is set to host its unofficial end of summer party when Marina Fest kicks off on Saturday. Local non-profits and businesses will help man food booths throughout the two-day event which also features live music, children's activities, and a Saturday night fireworks display. After concerns of the event's sustainability last year, Village Administrator Zeke Jackson says they have looked at ways to give residents and visitors the best bang for their buck.



Marina Fest commemorates the decision by the village of Sister Bay to build the marina in 1993. You can see a full schedule of events by visiting this story online.

International recognition leading to more visitors to Newport State Park

By Tim Kowols

While work by the Friends of the Grand Traverse Islands continues their efforts to turn parts of northern Door County into a national park, Newport State Park is already capitalizing on its recent international recognition. Earlier this year, Newport State Park was designated as an International Dark Sky Park for its excellent nighttime viewing of the stars. Park superintendent Michelle Hefty says it has noticed the increased interest in the area and the hobby.



When Newport State Park became the 48th International Dark Sky Park in the world, it became only the 13th state park in the country and the first in Wisconsin to earn the recognition. A site at nearby Rock Island State Park is currently being looked at by the National Park Service as a National Historic Landmark.

Charges announced in Sturgeon Bay stabbing incident

By Tim Kowols

The Sturgeon Bay Police Department has released the charges for two men involved in an early morning fight that ended with one being stabbed.  According to Sturgeon Bay Police Capt. Dan Brinkman, the two men had been heavily drinking when the fight initially broke out early Sunday at a local resort. Brinkman says the fight escalated from there.



The condition of the stabbing victim, 30, is unknown, but he will be charged with domestic battery and domestic disorderly conduct. The other man, 29, is being charged with aggravated battery, first-degree reckless injury, domestic disorderly conduct, and obstructing justice. Brinkman says the names and the exact location have not been released as they are still compiling witnesses for their investigation.

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Fertilizing is key to lawns during wet summer

By Paul Schmitt

With local areas receiving near-record amounts of precipitation this summer, lawn owners may want to keep up on their fertilizer applications.  Trevor Marin from Lawn and Landscape Specialists says lawns are growing so fast, they are using up all the nutrients available.



Marin says it's still early enough in the year to repair your lawn by seeding bare spots.  He recommends including enough fertilizer with newly seeded areas to help establish the grass roots by fall.  You can find additional tips on fall lawn care below:



City of Algoma adding housing and street improvements this summer

By Paul Schmitt

Street improvements along with new housing development are transforming Algoma's downtown area this summer.  City Administrator Jeff Wiswell says multiple projects are being worked on to improve the municipality's infrastructure.



Wiswell says Cedar Corporation in working closely with the city of Algoma to complete the street improvement work by this fall.  The City of Algoma is in the midst of a five-year street improvement plan, according to Wiswell.

Tom Jordan's "Secret Treasures of Door County" book garners international acclaim

By Paul Schmitt

Author/photographer Tom Jordan is enjoying great sales of his second book about the peninsula, "The Secret Treasures of Door County".    The popular book was one of three finalists for Best Photography International Book Awards".  Jordan shares some of the inspiration that was behind his books.



Jordan also credits the area people he interviewed in helping make his books tell a story.  Monies from the book sales benefit the Door County Community Foundation.  Jordan is currently finishing up a book about the 100th anniversary of the Milwaukee Athletic Club that should be published and released by the end of the year.  You can information on Tom Jordan books with this story online.

When should kids start using smartphones?--Money Management Mondays

By Paul Schmitt

Smartphones are an integral part of society's technology and communications today for adults.  Parents often face a tough decision to decide when it is appropriate for their children to have one.  Gay Pustaver from Money Management Counselors in Door County says it comes down to your own values.



Pustaver says despite what other parents or children think, it should come down to your shared values with your child.  She says no set age is appropriate for cell phone ownership, but the answer is to start a good conversation with your child and remember that other phones are usually available in emergency situations.  You can find the entire Money Management Monday interview with Gay Pustaver below.





Apple crop in area looking good

By Paul Schmitt

The area apple orchards are readying for another successful harvest this fall, as national projections show a favorable forecast.  According to the U.S. Apple Association, the crop this year would be 8 percent smaller than last year but right about at the 5-year average.  Steve Wood from Wood Orchard in Egg Harbor says the area apple orchards survived the summer well and is optimistic about this year's apple crop.



Wood anticipates the harvesting to begin after Labor Day with the majority of the apple crop to be harvested in mid-September.  He says the SweeTango and Honeycrisp apples remain the most popular locally.

Green Bay man drowns at Wave Pointe Marina

By Paul Schmitt

A Green Bay man drowned over the weekend at Wave Pointe Marina in the township of Gardner.  According to a Door County Sheriff's Department release Monday morning,  a missing person was reported shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday morning.  Deputies responding learned that a 61-year old man failed to return to his boat on Saturday evening.  The preliminary investigation indicated that the man may have fallen into the water near his boat. The Door County Dive Team conducted a search and found the man's body the in water near the watercraft shortly after noon, Sunday.  An autopsy is scheduled today and the incident remains under investigation but foul play is not suspected.  The victim's name will be released later in the week, according to the Door County Sheriff's Department.




On Sunday, August 27, 2017, at 10:10am the Door County Sheriff's Office was contacted about a missing person at the Wave Pointe Marina, 3600 CTH C in the township of Gardner. Responding deputies learned that the 61 year-old Green Bay man failed to return to his boat the previous evening.

The preliminary investigation indicated that the man may have fallen into the water near his boat. The Door County Dive Team was activated and a search of the marina was conducted. At 12:23pm the body of the victim was located in the water near the vicinity of the boat.

An autopsy is scheduled for later today. This incident remains under investigation but foul play is not suspected. The name of the victim will be released later in the week.

The Door County Dive Team, Door County Emergency Services, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and Door County Sheriff's Office responded to this incident.

Chief Deputy Patrick McCarty

Authority: Sheriff Steve Delarwelle

DNR still looking for input on Recreational Opportunities Analysis for parks

By Paul Schmitt

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is looking for input on new recreational opportunities people would like to see in state parks.  An analysis and informational open house was held last week in Door County that saw about 90 people attend, but ones who could not attend can still fill out an online survey until early September.  Trail and Capital Development Coordinator Cameron Bump shares what many people would like to see in this area.



The DNR divided Wisconsin into eight recreation regions and conducted the Recreational Opportunity Analysis sessions throughout the state the past few weeks.    You can find the link to the form for providing your input with this story online.   keyword ROA

HELP of Door County providing special program to curb domestic abuse

By Cynthia Germain

The HELP of Door County provides a special program that helps curb domestic abuse throughout the Door County Peninsula.  Steve Vickman, Executive Director of HELP of Door County, speaks to how to deal with conflict and alternatives to abuse.   Vickman is proud of the Alternatives to Violence program which works with men who are batterers to integrate them back into the community by changing gender expectations, which is often inter-generational.

This program works in concert with the Voices of Men program to give a more balanced view of what manhood really means, according to Vickman.  The Alternative to Violence gives an opportunity for men to express themselves in a healthy way and with a wide array of emotions.  You can find more information about HELP of Door County services with this story online.





Civil Discourse--An Occasional Attempt to Restore Civility To Our Civic Discourse

By Roger Utnehmer

 Two branches of Wisconsin government are suffering the moral equivalent of emerald ash borer disease.

Like far too many once-beautiful trees throughout Wisconsin, the state legislature and Supreme Court are in danger of losing their luster.

Government derives its power from the consent of the governed.  An informed electorate will never consent to the reapportionment and recusal corruption that's plaguing the Wisconsin legislature and Supreme Court.

Every ten years the legislature, taking into account the most recent census data, re-draws district boundaries for the state senate and assembly.  That practice has resulted in Wisconsin legislators picking their voters instead of Wisconsin voters picking their legislators.

It's called "gerrymandering" and Wisconsin is among the most gerrymandered states in the country.  When several hundred thousand more state-wide citizens vote for Democrats in state assembly races than Republicans and Republicans keep two-thirds of the seats, the electoral process is as diseased as a dying emerald ash tree.

Legislators have drawn district boundaries so that less than 10% of the 132 districts in Wisconsin are competitive.  That gives incumbents the advantage of protection and perpetuates the party in power.  And years earlier, Democrats were just as corrupt when they had the power to draw district boundaries.

The solution is essential to democracy.  It's time to get the drawing of legislative district boundaries out of the hands of legislators and into a non-partisan entity like our Legislative Reference Bureau, as is done in Iowa today.

The second decaying branch of state government is the Supreme Court.  Just a few years ago the Wisconsin Supreme Court was a model admired throughout America.

Today, the carcinogenic influence of special interest money and the refusal of court members to adopt a strict recusal standard put in jeopardy that long-standing tradition of fair, impartial justice.

Special interest groups on both sides of the political spectrum have dumped millions of dollars into Supreme Court races.  Spending is spiraling to several million dollars a race.  Yet a majority of current justices have refused to adopt rules that would regulate when they recuse themselves from voting on matters brought before the court by major campaign donors.

Who in Wisconsin would believe they can receive a fair, impartial hearing before a justice who accepted, or benefited from, millions of dollars in campaign contributions or dark money expenditures on their behalf?  

Justices who take money from special interest groups or benefit from their spending should not vote on cases in which those donors are involved.  If Wisconsin citizens are to have faith in their court, recusal rules need to be adopted.  Only two of seven sitting judges are of that opinion.  Justices Shirley Abrahamson and Ann Walsh Bradley stand head and shoulders above their colleagues when it comes to this common-sense contribution to confidence in the court.

Solutions are simple.  Move drawing of district boundaries to the non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau.  Stop voting for legislators who oppose reapportionment reform.  Join Common Cause, the good-government group that allows me to be among the members of their board of directors.  Refuse to vote for a Supreme Court candidate who does not endorse common-sense, confidence-restoring recusal rules.

The opportunity cost of continued business-as-usual is the death of public confidence in our institutions of government.  That's a cost that will not be paid if more speak out today in support of reapportionment reform and recusal rules for the Supreme Court.

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

Roger Utnehmer

President and CEO

Washington Island High School holds unique partnership

By Baxter Colburn

Washington Island High School is changing the news world one student at a time. While there is no formal student newspaper, the high school has joined forces with the Washington Island Observer. This partnership is held together thanks to the dedicated work of superintendent Mati Palm-Leis, who took over the program back in 2015.


Audio Clip #1


Similar partnerships are growing in popularity for towns that have small but dedicated interest in journalism among their students. More information about where to find work from the Washington Island students can be found at

To find work from Washington Island Students, visit

Back to School Block Party In Algoma a Major Success

By Baxter Colburn

As students in Kewaunee County head back to school in September, many will lack the required supplies needed to be properly prepared for the year.  The reality, some families just do not have the funds to purchase basic necessities for their kids. Enter Lakeside Community Church and Shaun Schmiling. Thanks to Schmiling's planning, the "Back to School Block Party" in Algoma became the perfect answer for families and students in need. The best part about the event for Schmiling is actually what many attendees don't see.


Lakeside has provided similar events in the past, however, this type of event is a first. Schmiling hopes the block party becomes an annual happening. Over 20 families will receive the needed supplies to make this coming school year a success, and it is all thanks to the hard work from Schmiling and her team at Lakeside Community Church.

Surface water study for Door, Kewaunee counties awaits Governor approval

By Tim Kowols

Addressing the health of area surface waters took a step forward this week when the state's Joint Finance Committee approved a Total Maximum Daily Load study to performed in waterways located in Door, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, and Sheboygan counties. The TMDL study looks at the maximum amount of pollutant a body of water can handle before failing water quality standards. With many of the state's impaired waterways located in Kewaunee County, First District Rep. Joel Kitchens says a TMDL Study in the Ahnapee Watershed and elsewhere in the region can go a far way.



Critics of the measure said earlier this year the four-year timeline of the TMDL study was too long for an area in need of immediate action. If approved, the watersheds covering the four-county region would be the state's fifth such area.

Main Street Market honors its past and looks ahead with 30th anniversary celebration

By Tim Kowols

As the village of Egg Harbor has grown up, so has the Main Street Market. The full-service grocery store is celebrating its 30th year in business and has been using its Facebook page to reflect on how far they have come and the friendly faces helping them along the way. Four generations of the Callsen and Northrop families have run the store during that time,  and Kaaren Northrop says a big part of that is how they stand out from other grocery stores.




A member of several different village committees and non-profit organization boards, Northrop says it has been important for her family to be active and visible in the community they call home.



Main Street Market is hosting a 30th anniversary celebration this Wednesday at 5 p.m. and will feature food and live music.


The Door County North Rotary Club Is Having Fun Doing Good

By Baxter Colburn

The motto, "Having fun while doing good," is a driving catalyst for the Door County North Rotary Club. Secretary and charter member Cynthia Crock believes her club offers a welcoming and unique atmosphere for its members.


Membership continues to grow for the Door County North Rotary Club, thanks to a high level of friendliness and energy in the club according to Crock.


Rotary Clubs around the country work closely with the Bill Gates Foundation to raise money in an attempt to end Polio, something Crock and her members take great pride in and feel confident they can accomplish.

Plum Island Calling For Deer Control Program

By Baxter Colburn

Plum Island, located off the tip of Door County, is ripe with deer. Usually something like this is a good problem to have for avid hunters, however, this current influx of deer is causing big problems for the little island. Dustin Hoffman from the US Fish and Wildlife Service is part of the group putting a plan in motion to slow down this increasing population.


The plan to help limit the population centers around sending groups of dedicated hunters to the island to tag and kill the required 30 deer. Hunters must apply to be considered for the random drawing taking place on September 10th at Washington Island's Rutledge Room.

Since the coast guard left the island back in the mid 90's, the deer have had less human intervention to slow them down. Hoffman believes this initiative will be a positive move for the island to aid in the needed tree growth.

For application instructions and Special Use Permit Application forms, visit the Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge website. Hover over the "Visit" link near the top of the page, and click on the "Permits" link.

Door County Sheriff's Department Cracking Down On Drunk Driving

By Baxter Colburn

Local law enforcement is cracking down on drunk driving. The Door County Sheriff's Office is participating in the Wisconsin DOT Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over initiative until September 4. Chief Deputy Pat McCarty explains the DOT's initiative behind the event.


McCarty says this initiative is geared towards making sure those who plan to go out first plan a way to get home safely.


The Wisconsin DOT has a "Zero in Wisconsin Drive Sober" app that includes a find-a-ride feature that uses a smartphone's GPS system to locate alternative transportation, a blood alcohol estimator, designated driver selector, and interactive games to help determine whether someone should give up their car keys.

Kewaunee County benefitting from Lakeshore CAP food pantry

By Baxter Colburn

Food Pantries around Door and Kewaunee counties are making an important impact. Workers like Amy Kennard and the people of the Lakeshore Community Action Plan are part of those making an impact. Pantries survive based on both financial and food donations. Kennard says for Lakeshore, they don't have one particular preference on how people give.



The Lakeshore CAP continues to grow their reach with pantries in Door, Sheboygan and Manitowoc counties. More information about getting involved or donating to Lakeshore CAP can be found online at


Casco's Village Kitchen celebrates 20 years of business

By Tim Kowols

It has been 20 years since Gary and Chris Jacobs made the decision to expand their business and open Casco's Village Kitchen in its current location after renting space in the village's downtown for four years. The staff has grown to nearly 40 full and part-time employees, including the Jacobs, who are at the restaurant every day of the week. Chris Jacobs says her employees and her customers have been the key to her success.



Celebrating their 20th anniversary this month, Jacobs says one of the biggest challenges her restaurant has faced is trying to keep up with the evolving taste of her customers while keeping familiar staples for her loyal regulars.

Sevastopol High School student newspaper paving way for success

By Baxter Colburn

High School student newspapers are shaping Door and Kewaunee County youth. Sevastopol, Washington Island, and Kewaunee are just several of the local schools running successful papers. Newspaper advisor Mindi Vanderhoof of Sevastopol sees incredible value in her newspaper class.



Sevastopol's newspaper class has been in existence for over 50 years, thanks to 30 years of hard work from former advisor Linda Thompson. Vanderhoof also attended Sevastopol and credits her love of print news to the talented Thompson.

Door County Hosting State Judicial College This Coming Week

By Paul Schmitt

Here come the judges.  Door County will be hosting judges from around the state for the annual Wisconsin Judicial College starting next Monday.  Judges are required to attend the five-day state program once every six years or during their term.  Door County Circuit Court Branch 1 Judge Todd Ehlers says the judges will be instructed on issues of evidence, criminal law, civil law, and family law.  He shares the most useful part of past judicial colleges he has attended.



Judge Ehlers, the chairperson of the judicial conduct committee, will also be making a presentation Tuesday morning to the group on ethics issues.  The judicial college, which rotates around the state every year, will be held at Stone Harbor Resort in Sturgeon Bay from next Monday morning through noon on Friday.

Rep. Gallagher lauds Boys and Girls Club of Door County during Sturgeon Bay visit

By Tim Kowols

Wisconsin's 8th District Congress member Mike Gallagher visited the Boys and Girls Club of Door County in Sturgeon Bay Friday afternoon to discuss the work the organization is doing locally. Boys and Girls Club of Door County Executive Director Julie Davis and some of the organization's board members led Rep. Gallagher on a tour of the facility while discussing the balancing act of providing quality programming and support for its kids and its limited funding. Rep. Gallagher says the work the Boys and Girls Club of Door County is doing reminds you of what is still great about the country.



The freshman Republican Congress member has been touring the district meeting with various stakeholders since Congress went on recess earlier this month.


TRIP hopes to address Door County transportation concerns

By Tim Kowols

As Door County continues to grow older while also trying to attract younger people, members of local government and other organizations are looking into how to improve transportation in the area. Representatives from the city of Sturgeon Bay, Door County, the Door County Economic Development Corporation, Door-Tran, and other agencies met in one of the first meetings of the Transportation Resource Improvement Partners (TRIP). Door-Tran Mobility Manager Pam Busch says along with TRIP promoting what is already available to residents in Door County, the new partnership also hopes to make other improvements to transportation in the region.



Door-Tran had over 360 responses to their Accessible Transportation Community Initiative Survey that was completed earlier this month, which showed the community is open to more public transit and shared rides options but are not aware of the services that are already available.

Kewaunee County Sheriff urges town ordinances on burning garbage

By Tim Kowols

With Kewaunee County slated to close its landfill in June 2018, Sheriff Matt Joski hopes the extra refuse from town residents do not end up on burn piles. Joski spoke to the Kewaunee County Towns Association about passing an ordinance similar to Door County's banning garbage burning. It is the option of least resistance and most convenience striking the concern in Joski once the landfill does close.



Joski says some towns are already in the process of formulating plans for when the landfill does close. He encourages residents to ask their town officials about those plans and give them your feedback.

Southern Door welcomes new teachers, celebrates its experienced staff

By Tim Kowols

Southern Door School District is preparing for another exciting school year. The district will have about 20 new teachers and support staff members this year, joining a group already boasting people with over 40 years of experience with Southern Door. Superintendent Patti Vickman says once kickoff of the first football game occurs, she knows the school year is getting close to being in full swing.



Before students report for classes on September 5, Southern Door School District will honor staff members celebrating major milestones and its two local Lions Clubs for being its Friends of Education. The district will also host an open house for its families on August 30.

Fire Chief Steve Schopf recaps Shipwrecked blaze in Egg Harbor

By Tim Kowols

Members from every mainland Door County fire department convened Thursday to rehash the good and the bad from Sunday's fire that destroyed Egg Harbor's Shipwrecked Brewpub and Inn. Egg Harbor Fire Department traditionally holds the meeting after their major fires, but Sunday marked the first time a fire in the area reached Box 5 status on the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System and new rehab procedures were used to cycle firefighters in and out. Fire Chief Steve Schopf says he felt MABAS worked well for those fighting the blaze, but minor tweaks might be needed for departments providing backfill help as more were called into action.



Schopf admits the rehab process, which started after a firefighter went through two bottles of air and included having their vitals checked, tested the patience of those who wanted to get back to fighting the fire.



The cause of Sunday's fire was filed in the report as undetermined, but Schopf says the source came from an outlet in the guest room where the blaze started.

Computers aiding in rising production for farmers

By Baxter Colburn

Farming has been a necessity to human existence since the beginning of time. Over the past 20 years, the implementation of computers has significantly increased the production of farmers across the country. Rich Olson of Olson Family Farms, who is a member of the Ag advisory board, in Sturgeon Bay utilizes technology every day.



In a recent article from the Wisconsin Ag Connection, a reported 77% of all farmers in Wisconsin use a computer to aid in their daily work, a figure that is slightly higher than the national average of 73%. While technology is the way of the future, Olson advises skeptic farmers not to rush into it.



The agriculture industry continues to trend towards more tech involvement both locally and nationally, according to Olson.

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Egg Harbor library project slated to open in January

By Tim Kowols

Progress continues to be made on the Donald and Carol Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor. The village of Egg Harbor has tapped F|3 Real Estate Services to manage the library and community center, which will also be able to be rented out for private events. Village Administrator Ryan Heise says more donations are coming in, which means it can make the building even more high class.



Heise says the Kress Pavilion should be open in January 2018.

Door County Sheriff's Department back to school safety tips

By Baxter Colburn

The end of summer means Door County kids are heading back to school. As the school year approaches, local law-enforcement looks to continue their plan of keeping our youth safe. Door County Juvenile Investigator Chris Neuville aims to make sure both parents and students stay safe with several key reminders for motorists.



When it comes to a more focused approach on area high school students, Neuville and his staff leave nothing out.



The bottom line this school year, Neuville and his staff just want people to stay safe and be aware of the changes taking place around the community. Washington Island begins classes September 1st, while Sturgeon Bay, Algoma, Gibraltar, Sevastopol, Kewaunee, and Southern Door start on September 5th.

Bruemmer Park Zoo in Kewaunee celebrates Zoobilee

By Baxter Colburn

Bruemmer Park Zoo is among the many recreational areas receiving improvements this fall. In addition to some aesthetic changes to its signage, Bruemmer Park Zoo has added new green space and hopes to begin work on a new bobcat enclosure. Dave Myers from the Kewaunee County Promotion and Recreation Department says the changes are being made to the zoo and other parks in the area to help more people get outside.



Visitors can see the new changes and learn about other upcoming projects at the Bruemmer Park Zoo at its Zoobilee event taking place on Saturday.


Door County Medical Center reaches outs to elderly with aging network

By Tim Kowols

Door County Medical Center is reaching out to the area's older population with its Northern Door Aging Network. Started last year thanks to a grant from the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation, the Northern Door Aging Network is reaching out to residents suffering from age and dementia-related issues. Geriatric Outreach Specialist Kristy Wisniewski says the peninsula's geography leaves many seniors without reliable help.



The Northern Door Aging Network received another grant to expand its Dementia Capable Door County project, which is a group of community members and service providers discussing ways to enable and empower people living with dementia and other age-related issues.

Area schools await conclusion to Wisconsin budget stalemate

By Tim Kowols

School officials are patiently waiting on Wisconsin lawmakers to agree on a budget deal so they can finalize their own.  According to the Associated Press, Governor Scott Walker said Tuesday there was an agreement in principle for the biennial budget, which is wrestling with issues including transportation funding. Sturgeon Bay School District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel says early reports were saying schools would be getting more money over the next two years, but he and his budget committee will still be conservative when looking at the numbers.



Schools still get funding from the state despite the stalemate, but it will continue at the levels of the previous budget. Education funding was slated to get a $740 million boost in the 2017-2019 budget according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Kewaunee County shooting suspect identified

By Tim Kowols

The Wisconsin Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigations has released the identity of the person killed in an officer-involved shooting in Kewaunee County on Monday evening. According to a release from the DCI, 22-year-old Tyler D. Whitmire was found threatening a women and other nearby residents with a knife when deputies from the Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department arrived. One of the deputies was involved in a confrontation with Whitmire when the shot was fired, killing the suspect. The deputy has not been identified, but will remain on paid administrative leave until the outcome of the investigation by the DCI.

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Lions Club of Casco hits home run with community involvement

By Baxter Colburn

The Lions Club of Casco is a home run in their community. Club president Chris Vandenhooten highlights how his club continues to grow in popularity.



Entering his seventh year with the club, Vandenhooten is more of a newcomer compared to several club members.



The next event for the club takes place in April as the club holds their annual rose sale. For more information about the Casco, Lions Club visit their Facebook page at

Missing kayaker found dead near Horseshoe Island

By Tim Kowols

The kayaker that went missing over the weekend was found dead Wednesday morning near Horseshoe Island off of Peninsula State Park. According to a release from the Door County Sheriff's Department,  the body of 20-year-old Joseph D. Quagliano of Salem, Wis. was found by the Door County Dive Team at about 9:20 a.m. after the Door County Sheriff and Sturgeon Bay Police's patrol boats found his kayak. An autopsy will be conducted on Thursday to determine a cause of death. Quagliano was not wearing a life jacket when he was found. Assisting in the search included the U.S. Coast Guard, Door County Sheriff's Department, Sturgeon Bay Police, the Wisconsin DNR, the fire departments of Ephraim and Gibraltar, Peninsula State Park Rangers, Gibraltar Police, and the Door County Dive Team.

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Door County Land Trust to start "Bay Shore Blufflands Buckthorn Blast" in September

By Paul Schmitt

The Door County Land Trust recently announced a Partnership Restoration Project at the Bay Shore Blufflands and Nature Preserve.  In partnership with the Bay Shore Property Owners Association, the land trust will remove buckthorn, honeysuckle and other invasive species in what is being called the "Bay Shore Blufflands Buckthorn Blast".   Door County Land Trust Development Director Susan Gould says the partnership spurred an idea for an educational opportunity as well.



The Bayshore Blufflands Buckhorn Blast will kick-off on September 1 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. with a short presentation for the public on invasive species along with several hikes and recruitment for stewardship volunteers.  The nature reserve is located on Bay Shore Drive, just south of Carlsville Road between Sturgeon Bay and Egg Harbor.


(contributed photo)




Photo above: Denice and Ken Hubbard (center), representing Bay Shore Property Owners Association, present a grant award to the Door County Land Trust executive director Tom Clay (left) for invasive species removal and restoration work at the Bay Shore Blufflands Nature Preserve, south of Carlsville Road. Also pictured are Door County Land Trust's land stewardship manager Amanda Pyke (far left) and president of the Land Trust's board of directors Jeff Ottum (far right)

Door County Sheriff's Department receives K-9 unit "Gent"

By Baxter Colburn

The Door County Sheriff's Department has a new member. However, this one is a little fuzzier than most on staff.

"Gent" is a two-year-old German Shepherd from Germany that has been assigned to the new K-9 unit for Deputy Matt Tassoul. Chief Deputy Pat McCarty is excited about what advantages Gent brings to the department.



The Sheriff's Department hasn't held a K-9 unit for the past 29-years, making this addition that much more valuable. Until this new addition, Door County relied on the aid of the Brown or Kewaunee County offices for a K-9 unit.

Deputy Tassoul and Gent have begun their training in Menomonee before leaving for seven straight weeks of training at K-9 Services in New Mexico.  


Farewell to Door County J-1 visa students as summer nears its end

By Tim Kowols

The final weeks of summer often mean goodbye for many of Door County's J-1 visa program. Since J-1 students are only allowed to work for three months, they spend their final weeks in the United States touring the country. Darius Zbluî of Romania will be completing his second season as a J-1 visa student in October, this year working at Main Street Market in Egg Harbor. The aspiring dental technician says every European should try the program at least once, especially in Door County.



Zbluî hopes to return to Door County with his new fiancé as a J-1 visa student to work and travel after spending a year back in Romania to start his Master's degree. Over 300 students called Door County home this summer through the cultural exchange program, which allows them to work and travel in the country.


Full Interview

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League of Women Door County to host ethics presentation

By Baxter Colburn

The League of Women Voters of Door County will hold a Public Information Session on Code of Ethics for Local Governments on September 11 at the Sturgeon Bay City Hall. Co-President Bailey Koepsel views this meeting as an opportunity to better inform the local citizens of Door County in this difficult political climate.


Speaking at the event is Attorney Daniel Olson who provides Assistant Legal Counsel with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities and Door County District Attorney Colleen Nordin. For more information about this session and other upcoming events, visit


Few details released in officer-related shooting fatality in Kewaunee County

By Paul Schmitt

The Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department says an autopsy for a man who was fatally shot by a deputy in the town of Franklin Monday night has been performed.  Not many details from the incident that took place near two homes on County AB about eight o'clock in the evening Monday were disclosed at a press conference held Tuesday morning.  Neither identification of the uninjured officer involved in the shooting nor the deceased suspect has still not been released at this point.  The Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigations has taken the lead on the investigation, according to Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski.



County Road AB at the intersection of County J south of Stangelville remains detoured as the crime scene remains closed to the public.  Joski asks that, in respect to the families involved, for the media and public to be patient with the process.

BUG's North Station Expects To Be Finished Labor Day Weekend

By Tim Kowols

Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department's North Station should be fully operational by Labor Day weekend. The addition at the station in Gardner will include two truck bays, fire hose drying area, and areas for lockers, equipment storage, and maintenance. BUG Fire Chief Curt Vandertie says his crews are excited to have a little more elbow room when they report for work.



Vandertie says the South Fire Station in Brussels is behind schedule due to wet weather this summer. The South Fire Station will include space for the Door County Emergency Medical Services ambulance.

Death's Door BBQ Acts As Big Draw For Washington Island

By Tim Kowols

Often known for its Southern roots, barbecue is beginning to make its mark on Washington Island. The sixth annual Death's Door BBQ brings some of the best cooks to the Washington Island Airport for a day of activities, music, and of course, barbecue. Even more important than the food, Town of Washington chairperson John Rader says the event brings people from not just the region but the entire country to their small community.



Death's Door BBQ begins August 25 with the public being invited to the event on August 26. Forty-two teams were present at last year's competition as they battled for $8,000 in prize money.

Baldwin named Great Lakes Legislator of the Year

By Tim Kowols

Senator Tammy Baldwin was recognized at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay Tuesday morning for her efforts in advancing waterborne commerce on the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Maritime Task Force presented Senator Baldwin with the 2017 Legislator of the Year award after she helped lead the charge to design and build a new Coast Guard ice breaker ship and promoting shipbuilding as a viable trade. Senator Baldwin says the maritime industry and Wisconsin's fresh waterways are important to the state.



Tuesday marked the fourth time a Wisconsin legislator has garnered the honor since the award was first given in 1998. Earlier this month, Senator Baldwin announced two pieces of legislation focusing on tax reform for manufacturers and apprenticeships.



UPDATED: Suspect killed in officer-involved shooting in Kewaunee County

By Tim Kowols

The Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department has turned over the investigation of an officer-involved shooting to the state authorities after a man was shot dead during an incident Monday night. Shortly before 8 p.m., authorities reported to a disturbance two miles south of Stangelville on County Road AB that involved multiple residences. Following the incident, the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) was called in to conduct the case per state statute. The identities of both the officer and victim have not yet been released and Sheriff Matt Joski hopes people on traditional and social media respect their families' privacy.



An autopsy of the victim is currently being conducted and the crime scene remains closed to traffic.  Joski says any subsequent updates to the case will come from the DCI over the upcoming days and weeks.

Sky event eclipses expectations for Door Peninsula Astronomical Society

By Tim Kowols

The Door Peninsula Astronomical Society hopes Monday's eclipse keeps people looking to the skies. Cars were lined up on area streets near the organization's Stonecipher Astronomy Center and Leif Everson Observatory as hundreds stopped to view the first total solar eclipse to unfold completely in the United States in a century. Academic Coordinator Jim Maki hopes this is the start of more people taking an interest in the hobby.



Approximately 75 percent of the sun was blocked by the moon when the eclipse hit its peak in Door County at approximately 1:16 p.m. The Door Peninsula Astronomical Society hosts monthly meetings and viewings at its location on Utah Street and is currently planning a special event to celebrate Astronomy Day.



Sturgeon Bay Mayor objects to granary listing on Register of Historic Places

By Roger Utnehmer

When the Teweles and Brandeis Grain Elevator on Sturgeon Bay's west-side waterfront was unanimously approved Friday for inclusion on the state Register of Historic Places it was done over the objection of Mayor Thad Birmingham.

In a letter to State Historic Preservation Officer Jim Draeger dated August 1, 2017, Birmingham asked to either delay or deny the designation.

Birmingham called the application for historic status "adversarial."

His letter states "Several of the individuals named as board members are currently engaged in litigation against the development of the land on which the building is sited."

Birmingham also stated that the city, the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority, Plan Commission and Historic Preservation Committee have not authorized, been afforded the opportunity to review or critique, or approved any such nomination.

Birmingham also said the building has been deemed a human health hazard.

The mayor also questioned the historical value of the waterfront granary saying others still exist in Door County and that "the structure does not represent any technological advance in the storage and handling of grain."

His letter concludes by saying, "In summary, the building is clearly in a dilapidated state and its prospects for renovation and reuse are questionable at best.  The listing of the building on the state and national registers of historic places might actually hinder any remaining financially viable opportunity for saving it. There are several legal issues pertaining to the site that have not been resolved yet.  The Sturgeon Bay Common Council and its boards and commissions have not had an opportunity to weigh in on the matter."

The Sturgeon Bay City Council recently called for bids on demolishing the granary no earlier than January 1, 2018.

The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society is hopeful funding can be secured by that time, the granary preserved and the site developed.

NEWS AND OPINION: Thomas Cap Wulf charges women on Sturgeon Bay City Council with "significant conflicts of interest"

By Roger Utnehmer


Former Sturgeon Bay City Council and Waterfront Redevelopment Authority member Thomas "Cap" Wulf charged in a post to that the three women who serve on the Sturgeon Bay city council "have very serious conflicts of interest."


Wulf should know about ethics in government and conflicts of interest.

Wulf commented on an August 18th news report about the formation of the controversial WRA.

In his comments, Wulf refers to the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront as a "fringe group."

"There's been an all-out effort," said Wulf, "even by sitting council members to  demean, delegitimize and call for disbanding of the WRA because they don't agree  with its positions."

Wulf claims that two city council members "have sisters who are named plaintiffs that have brought the lawsuit to kill the city's redevelopment plan and one, who sits on the WRA, has worked directly with another named plaintiff in an effort to save the granary."

Those council members are Barbara Allman and Kelly Catarozoli whose sisters filed a lawsuit against the city and WRA over the west-side waterfront development and Laurel Hauser who, Wulf claims, worked with another "named plaintiff."

Wulf ends his post by stating "This media double standard is almost worse than the three council representative's blatantly obvious conflicts of interest."

Wulf should understand conflict of interest restrictions on public officials exercising the duties of their office.  As a condition of pleading to a charge of using his position as an elected official for personal gain, Wulf was required to take a court-ordered course offered by the Wisconsin Bar Association on ethics.

A review of the Wisconsin Circuit Court website shows Wulf was found guilty of using his position of public trust, as a member of the Sturgeon Bay City Council, for personal gain.  Wulf is an owner of Wulf Brothers, Inc., a Sturgeon Bay heating and cooling firm.  He was an original member of the WRA but resigned his position from the city council upon his plea bargaining over ethics charges.

Wulf has since claimed his innocence.  He says he got bad legal advice and faced a corrupt court system.  He did, however, agree to a plea agreement regarding the charges against him, something he says today he regrets.

He was a member of the WRA during the time a city tax incremental district was written to include property he owned at the time on Madison Avenue, site of the Loft apartments but has since resigned.

He also had a restraining order in effect for several years after verbally assaulting former mayor Dennis McIntosh with vulgar language at a Sturgeon Bay business.

So why is Cap Wulf so often in the news?  Because he keeps charging others with what it certainly appears to be guilty of himself.

None of the three city council members Wulf has criticized have had a restraining order preventing them from contact with a former elected official.  None have been ordered by a court to take a course in ethics.  None of the three were charged with using their positions of public trust for personal gain.  None have misrepresented the facts to a legislative committee as the Madison Capital Times reports Cap Wulf has done.

None of the women Wulf attacks have brought the negative publicity to any governmental body on which they serve as Cap Wulf has done to the Sturgeon Bay Waterfront Redevelopment Authority.  Fortunately, Wulf has resigned.  And if he keeps picking on people like Barbara Allman, Kelly Catarzoli and Laurel Hauser you can count on to continue exposing Thomas "Cap" Wulf for the vulgar, ethically-challenged and angry bully he is.

You can read Wulf's entire post by going to and finding a story on the WRA litigation posted August 18, 2017.

National Park Service to study historic landmark designation for Rock Island site

By Tim Kowols

The National Park Service will study the possible designation of Site II at Rock Island State Park as a National Historic Landmark. In the late 1960s, students from Lawrence University did an archeological study on what was one of the first Native American settlements in Door County. The designation would provide extra protection to the land and make it eligible for federal grants. Rock Island State Park property manager Michelle Hefty says it would be another "feather in the cap" for the site, which was also home to the first white settlement in Door County.



It is unknown how long a study by the National Park Service would take, but it would be subject to a 60-day review by stakeholders once the report is released.  The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has owned the island and its buildings other than a Coast Guard lighthouse since 1965.

Sunday's fire shows the importance of mutual aid, cooperation

By Tim Kowols

Sunday's fire at Shipwrecked Brewpub and Inn in Egg Harbor provided a great example of the cooperation among fire departments in Door County. Every mainland Door County fire department was on the scene at the fire with other personnel held back to provide coverage in other parts of the area. Sister Bay-Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht says there were four main mutual aid agreements put into action during Sunday's fire: Northern Door, Door County, Door-Kewaunee County and the statewide mutual aid box alarm system (MABAS). Departments lay out what they can provide and what they might need if an emergency arises. Hecht says no one is reimbursed for the staffing or equipment used in action because, over time, the mutual aid agreements have generally a positive and equal impact on fire departments over time.



Egg Harbor Fire Chief Steve Schopf said Sunday's fire originally started as a Box 1 fire in MABAS and eventually reached Box 3.

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Scholarships ease burden of college costs

By Tim Kowols

With the cost of attendance at a private university, soaring past the $33,000 mark, the work towards earning a college degree often begins well before the first day of classes. For students not necessarily athletically or academically inclined, filling out scholarship applications may be the only way they can afford college without being burdened by loans later in life. Enter Gabrielle McCormick, who according to the USA TODAY earned more than $150,000 from the 50 scholarships applications she sent out. Gay Pustaver from Money Management Counselors says it is a great example of how important it is to form a plan on how you are paying for your education, even if you have to delay going to college for a year or two.



Pustaver says to start your scholarship search locally and with the schools you are thinking about attending. You can listen to the entire Money Management Monday interview with Gay Pustaver online with this story.


DNR to host Recreational Opportunities Analysis meeting in Sturgeon Bay

By Tim Kowols

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is going to the public for the first time to gauge the interest of recreational activities. The DNR is hosting a series of meetings across the state, including Sturgeon Bay on Tuesday, to complement its study on the state's current and future recreation needs and what the agency can do about addressing it. Cameron Bump from the DNR says there are many opportunities available in Door County, but believes the public can better foresee where those opportunities can be expanded and improved.



Tuesday's meeting runs from 4-7 p.m. at Stone Harbor Resort. If you are unable to make it, you can contact the DNR or fill out an online survey before September 8. You can find that survey online with this story.

Egg Harbor brewpub destroyed by fire

By Tim Kowols

Egg Harbor Fire Chief Steve Schopf says Shipwrecked Brewpub and Inn is most likely a total loss after a fire destroyed the upper floors of the building Sunday. Crews began responding to the fire shortly after 11 a.m. after housekeeping staff at Shipwrecked discovered the fire in one of the guestrooms. The blaze quickly required more and more crews to be called in, which featured every Door County-based Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services station as well as support from Algoma, Kewaunee, Luxemburg, Green Bay, De Pere, and Ashwaubenon. Schopf says the department often talked about what the historic building known for being a retreat for Al Capone in the 1920s would be like if a fire were to break out. Their expectations were met.





Over 90 firefighters and emergency personnel came to offer assistance with members rotating in and out as they ran out of air in their tanks. Door County Emergency Services Deputy Director Aaron LeClair says no injuries were reported during the fire, but nine firefighters were transported to Door County Medical Center for treatment due to heat exhaustion.



Schopf says the fire did not reach the ground floor but most likely suffered significant smoke and water damage. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Beth Levendusky from Shipwrecked says it was most likely because of an electrical issue.

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Coast Guard's search for kayaker near Peninsula State Park suspended

By Tim Kowols

The United States Coast Guard has suspended its search for a 20 year old man that went missing near Horsehoe Island, located near the shores of Peninsula State Park, on Saturday. According to a release from the United States Coast Guard, family members of the missing man contacted the Door County Sheriff's Department at around 9 p.m. five hours after the man indicated he would return. The Door County Sheriff's Department notified the Coast Guard of the missing kayaker after the DNR found his kayak and vehicle at a nearby boat ramp at 10 p.m. The United States Coast Guard searched through the night with no luck, but members of the DNR, Door County Sheriff's Department, Ephraim Fire Department, and a dive team remain on scene.



CLEVELAND — The Coast Guard suspended its search for a kayaker who went missing Saturday in Green Bay near Horseshoe Island off of Peninsula State Park, pending further information or developments, Sunday.

Family members of the 20-year-old man contacted the Door County Sheriffs Department shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday, indicating he was expected to return by 4 p.m. The man was believed to have been kayaking from Nicolet Bay to Horseshoe Island.

Door County Sheriffs Department notified the Coast Guard shortly after 10 p.m. after a crew from Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources notified them that they had found a kayak on Horseshoe Island. The man's vehicle was located at a nearby boat ramp with his cell phone and a life jacket inside.

Watchstanders in the Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan command center launched a rescue crew from Station Washington Island and an aircrew aboard an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Air Station Traverse City at about 10:15 p.m.

The Coast Guard searched through the night.

Local agencies remain on scene, including Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Door County Sheriffs, Ephraim Fire Department, and a dive team from the local agencies. 

Farm Meets Fork Gala in Kewaunee County traces products' path

By Tim Kowols

Kewaunee County Dairy Promotion's Farm Meets Fork Gala is just one of the ways the organization helps show the path people's food makes. The event started four years ago as a different spin on its Breakfast on the Farm where visitors can tour a farm and ask producers questions about their operations. Organizer Kari Kuehl says more and more people want to know where their food is coming from and the steps it takes before it ends up at the grocery store.



The Farm Meets Fork Gala will take place August 26 at Jauquet Hillview Dairy in Luxemburg. Limited tickets are available for the event.


For tickets call Kari Kuehl at (262) 203-4016

Northern Sky's Stoeger sings Door County's praises

By Tim Kowols

Whether it is inside or outside, Northern Sky Theater's Chase Stoeger loves playing in front of Door County audiences. Stoeger has played multiple shows for Northern Sky Theater over the course of eleven seasons, including three currently playing at its amphitheater inside Peninsula State Park. Living in Milwaukee during the off-season, Stoeger says he enjoys performing in Door County because of the people coming to support the shows, whether it is watching or volunteering.


After Northern Sky Theater's summer season closes this Saturday, Stoeger will star in the fall season's world premiere of "Naked Radio" beginning September 1.

Washington Island School prepares for "Fall Voyage" to Rock Island

By Tim Kowols

Door County's smallest school district has big plans for its upcoming year. In a few weeks, students will be preparing for its Fall Voyage, an experiential learning project which will focus on Rock Island across several different subject areas like science and social studies. Superintendent Mati Palm-Leis says since the school's voyages involve every student from Kindergarten to 12th grade, it takes a lot of hard work and planning by its teachers to fuse everything together.



Washington Island School District will host registration days on August 23 and 28 before the first day of classes on September 1.

Brussels Pack among first in the country with Lion Cub program

By Tim Kowols

Pack 4140 in Brussels is home to one of the Boy Scouts' newest programs as the organization looks to recruit youth at a younger age. The Lion Cubs program, designed for Kindergarten-aged children and their adult partner, is currently only available in 200 councils nationwide, including five serving Wisconsin youth.  Pack committee chairperson Mike Verhagen says they only had one Lion Cub Scout last year because a family approached them about it and became very involved in the pack's activities. He says it was a positive experience for both sides.



Still in the pilot stage nationally, Verhagen hopes their Lion Cub program grows in its second year when their recruitment efforts begin for the new year on August 30. You can learn more about the Lion Cub program online with this story.

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Solar Eclipse viewing Monday at Lief Everson Observatory

By Paul Schmitt

The first total Solar Eclipse to be visible in the United States in over 750 years is coming Monday morning.  Although a total eclipse will not be seen in Wisconsin, according to Dave Lenius of the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society, locals will still be able to see history.  He estimates that 75 to 80 percent of the sun will be blocked locally beginning at about 11:45 Monday morning.   As far as the best way to observe the eclipse, Lenius shares the safest option.



The eclipse phenomenon will last about two hours, according to Lenius and the public is welcome to watch it at the Leif Everson Observatory in Sturgeon Bay.  The Door Peninsula Astronomical Society will also be offering tours of the facilities and providing special eclipse glasses to safely view the eclipse directly with your eyes.

City of Algoma using Algoma Medical Center for office space for Masonite workers

By Paul Schmitt

Algoma is creatively using some freed up space in the Algoma Medical Center to house about 50 Masonite Corporation workers including IT and ordering department employees.  The City of Algoma has about 7,000 square feet of office space in the facility that gives the community some great options, according to City Administrator Jeff Wiswell.



Wiswell says the project of placing the Masonite employees in the Algoma Medical Center complex should be completed this month.

Sister Bay millennial has ideas to attract more young adults to Door County

By Paul Schmitt

Generation Y poses the question why when it comes is to the challenge of Door County attracting the younger demographic.  Better known as millennials,  the age group is one, communities and businesses across the country are trying to recruit.  Caitlin Oleson, a 2006 graduate of Gibraltar High School, says she returned back in Door County when a fellowship offered the opportunity to reintegrate into the community by working with nonpartisan, civic and voter engagement.



Oleson, who received her undergraduate degree from New School in New York City and studied in Edinborough, Scotland to get her masters in nationalism studies as part of the school of social and political science, says that infrastructure, specifically internet access,  and affordable housing are two key issues facing Door County in attracting millennials.  She says she hopes her peers and old classmates will strongly consider the possibilities of living and working in Door County in the future.

State Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett shares qualities of Kewaunee and Door Counties

By Paul Schmitt

As the summer tourism season heads into the later stages, State Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett is well aware of the peninsula's unique assets that attract thousands of visitors every weekend to the area.  In an interview earlier this year with, Klett shared what stands out for her when she visits Door County.



As far as Kewaunee County, Klett says the variety of experiences available is what intrigues her.



Visitor spending in Door County was up $15 million dollars last year according to a report from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism in May.  Early indications are that this year's  tourism numbers are strong despite a wetter than normal spring and summer, according to Jon Jarosh of the Door County Visitors Bureau.

Door County girl's high school swim team grows in numbers

By Connor Sannito

The Door County girl's high school swim team just went up from 12 swimmers of last season to this season's 20 swimmers. The team is the collective of girls from Sturgeon Bay, Sevastopol, and this year's new addition, Southern Door. The sharp increase in numbers is partly because the girls continue to keep making connections across the County's high schools. The team is closely knit; the mechanics of the small team resemble something closer to a family - a big family.



Swim meets are decided not only on talent but also based on a large roster. Last season they went undefeated in dual meets and in every individual event. However, a number of swimmers they had were lacking, so overall team achievement was difficult.


Now, the team has depth in numbers to make for a very successful swim season. They increased the amount of swim meets from 12 a year to 15 a year.


Dave Bubnik, the seven-year head coach, expects good things from his girls team this season. Bubnik is happy that girls come out to do such a taxing sport and able to stick around even after a practice of his:


Two 2 hour-long practices, one in the morning and one in the late afternoon: Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. And a two-hour long practice in the morning for Wednesday and Friday. The girl's high school swim team swim about 5000 yards per practice. Bubnik also is set on overtraining the girls for their events to maximize their times.



This year's captains are Jillie Jorns, a senior from Sevastopol, and Kaitlyn Schauske, a junior from Sevastopol.


The girl's high school swim team first home meet, at the Sturgeon Bay YMCA, is August 22nd.

Friends of the Door County Library helping children read with "bags of books" this summer

By Paul Schmitt

An unheralded group of volunteers makes a difference that most people may not realize when it comes to your local library.   The Friends of the Door County Library is a resource that may fly under the radar but by no means overlooked in their impact in lending a helping hand to librarians and library programs.  Beth Lokken, the youth services librarian, says the Friends of the Door County Library gives the opportunity for better outreach in the community.



This summer the Friends of the Door County Library helped to fund and supply special books to area school districts for children that are struggling with reading.  Once a month children are given bags of books this summer chosen by them prior to school being let out earlier this summer, according to Lokken.

Belgian Heritage Center celebrating community kermis this Sunday

By Paul Schmitt

The annual Belgian Kermiss is this Sunday at the Belgian Heritage Center in Door County.  A Kermis is a traditional harvest celebration that is open to the whole community and features Belgian food, beer, music, and presentations.  Joe Alexander, co-president of the heritage center, says you don't have to be of Belgian-descent to enjoy the kermis and ethnic food.



Old fashion ice cream will be made on-site as well, according to Alexander.  The Belgian Kermis will include a special presentation on "When Walloon pioneers emigrated to Wisconsin" at 12:30.  Kermisses were traditionally celebrated in Belgian settlements on consecutive weeks prior to Labor Day and extending into October.  The event will be from 11 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Sunday.  The Belgian Heritage Center is located on County Road DK west of Brussels on the curve in Namur.

Granary building approved for State Registry Of Historic Places

By Paul Schmitt

The old Door County Coop granary building on Sturgeon Bay's west side has been unanimously approved by the Wisconsin Historical Society for the State Registry of Historic Places.   After a successful meeting in Madison on Friday morning, Christie Weber, president of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society, says the next step is a National Register of Historic Places designation.



Weber says the granary building was among a number of other nominees reviewed by the State Historical Society Board for architectural and historical significance.  A closely-divided Sturgeon Bay City Council extended the life of the structurally-challenged waterfront granary to the end of the year earlier this month after the Sturgeon Bay Fire Chief Tim Dietman issued a Notice of Emergency Action, after finding it unsafe for people to enter.  Weber says now is the time for the granary building to get the respect it deserves.



Weber says experts need to be brought in to stabilize and secure the granary building and make it a monument to the agricultural history of Door County.



(L-R) Chip Brown (WHS) , Jim Drager (SHPO), Kelly Catarozoli (Sturgeon Bay Alderperson), Shawn Fairchild, Christie Weber, Bonnie Staatz, Marianne Ewig, Dan Collins, and Nancy Aten all members of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society



(photos submitted)

Solar eclipse could cause damage to pets as well as human eyes

By Paul Schmitt

With the solar eclipse coming Monday, people may be aware of the precautions needed to protect their eyes but animals are not so fortunate.  Some experts believe your pet will be fine outside during the eclipse, while others say you might want to keep them inside.  Dr. Jordan Koblicka from Door County Veterinary Hospital and Luxemburg Pet Clinic says the full intensity of the sun is not likely to be out on Monday and that as long as pets due not stare into the sun, they should be fine.  According to Live Science, "eclipse blindness" is a condition where human and even pet eyes suffer damage due to looking directly at an eclipse.  The event can cause over-stimulation to the retinae of the eye because of too much sunlight that releases "communication chemicals that in turn can damage sensitive parts of your eyes.  The solar eclipse is expected to have 75 to 80 percent blockage of the sun in this area and last about two hours starting at about 11:45 Monday morning.

Door County YMCA's Peterson Park adds new excercise equipment this summer

By Paul Schmitt

It is unique enough that a YMCA has an 18-acre campus, but the Door County YMCA in Sturgeon Bay also can lay claim to having its very own park.   Peterson Park was built adjacent to the "Y" location two years ago and now has added outside exercise equipment this summer, according to CEO and President Tom Beerntsen.



Beerntsen says the exercise equipment is made by one of the premier manufacturers, Greenfield.  He also added that Peterson Park is a community park that is available to all people to enjoy regardless of membership.  The park which has a walking path and playground is located north of the YMCA building on Michigan Street in Sturgeon Bay.

The Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront prevented from dropping Waterfront Redevelopment Authority from lawsuit

By Roger Utnehmer

When the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront challenged a controversial hotel development in court they probably did not anticipate finding themselves caught between the elected city council and appointed Waterfront Redevelopment Authority.


The Sturgeon Bay city council voted in July to accept a compromise that would allow some development on the city's west-side waterfront while protecting a portion for public use.  That compromise settlement agreement had been rejected by the WRA in a meeting the previous week.


Many citizens have questioned how a non-elected authority can overrule the vote of an elected city council.


The answer can be found in Wisconsin State Statutes and a November 6, 1990 vote of the Sturgeon Bay City Council creating the WRA.


Section 66.1333 gives cities the power to create development authorities to eliminate blight and clear slums.  Activities development authorities are empowered to conduct include acquisition of blighted areas, demolition of building and construction of improvements.


The statutes also outline how members are to be appointed to development authorities.  Sec. 66.1333 (3) (5) says "In making appointments of commissioners, the appointing power shall give due consideration to the general interest of the appointee in development, slum clearance or urban renewal program and shall insofar as possible, designate representatives from the general public, labor, industry, finance or business group, and civic organizations.  Appointees shall have sufficient ability and experience in related fields, especially in the fields of finance and management, to assure efficiency in the redevelopment program, its planning, and direction.  One of the 7 commissioners shall be a member of the local legislative body.  No more than 2 of the commissioners may be offices in the city in which the authority is created."


Sturgeon Bay's Waterfront Redevelopment Authority was created in November of 1990 by an unanimous vote.


The first members appointed to the WRA by then-mayor Norbert Schactner were Craig Ostrand, Cathy Wiese, Dan Austad, Gerald Lamer, Cap Wulf and Thomas Herlache.


So, if the city council supports a compromise that will end litigation why can the WRA over-rule that decision?  How can an appointed authority have more power than an elected city council?


That answer, according to Sturgeon Bay city attorney Randy Nesbitt, is because only a judge can dismiss a party to the litigation.  The Friends group filed an action against both the City of Sturgeon Bay and the WRA.  "Once an answer has been filed to a court complaint,". Nesbitt explained the only way that a party can be dismissed is upon order of the judge."


Nesbitt also said that the Friends group no longer has the authority to dismiss the WRA from the suit and that the WRA is bound by the judge's order.


Several WRA members have shared their reasons for opposing a settlement compromise in stories posted at, including member Cindy Weber who said she is open to settlement and would like another meeting of the authority scheduled "sooner than later."


WRA Chair Thomas Herlache told he has no plans to schedule another meeting.


The next step is a public hearing scheduled in Sturgeon Bay on September 6th that will be conducted by the Department of Natural Resources.  The DNR will take comments from the public on the location of the ordinary high water mark.  That determination outlines the boundary for development on one side and preservation for the public on the other.  That ruling will end the opportunity for parties to the lawsuit to reach a compromise.


The compromise agreement reached between the Friends group and the Sturgeon Bay city council would allow development with sufficient space to construct a hotel while preserving a portion of property along the waterfront for public use.

Door County Humane Society retrieves 40 cats before house demolition on Washington Island

By Paul Schmitt

Responding to a human health hazard this week the Door County Humane Society was able to retrieve 40 cats from a condemned home on Washington Island before it was demolished Thursday. The 40 cats are getting health and behavioral assessments this week and Executive Director Carol Boudreau says they are reaching outside the area to help deal with managing the increased numbers at the shelter.



A majority of the cats were feral and undomesticated that were rescued this week.  The Door County Humane Society is not funded by government dollars and relies on donations and grants from the Humane Society of the United States to feed, spay, neuter, vaccinate and house stray cats and dogs.

First ever "Safe Kids Door County Day" this Saturday

By Paul Schmitt

John Miles Park in Sturgeon Bay is hosting the first annual Safe Kids Door County Day on Saturday.  The free event is a collaborative effort with dozens of organizations in the county.  Local municipalities will have fire trucks, police cars, ambulances and other vehicles on-site.   Safety tips will cover biking, swimming, boating, sun, animal and more.   Door County Public Health Nurse Mary Ellen Smith says the day will include a big presentation at 11 a.m.



The first-ever event will be held in the Junior Fair Building at the fairgrounds and people are asked to use the Alabama Street entrance to the soccer fields.  The Safe Kids Door County Day will run from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Algoma moving along on Plans for a new TIF district

By Paul Schmitt

The City of Algoma is in the process of establishing a new Tax increment financing (TIF) district in the downtown area.  TIF district 3 would help the community on two fronts, according to Algoma City Administrator Jeff Wiswell.



Wiswell says the city is also looking for a developer to put up new housing in the downtown area ranging from 25 to 50 new units.   He says the TIF District will help with street improvements, sidewalks, and landscaping to attract private developers.   A Tax increment financing is a public financing method that is used as a subsidy for redevelopment, infrastructure, and other community-improvement projects by local governments.  It is a tool to spur economic growth by earmarking property tax revenue increases in assessed values within a district.

Island Fair provides fun as summer quickly closes

By Tim Kowols

The Washington Island Lions Club continues an over 50-year tradition when it hosts its annual Island Fair this Saturday. Much like its Fly-In Fish Boil in July, the Island Fair acts as a major fundraiser for the organization's efforts to provide upkeep for the island's medical and performing arts facilities. Washington Island Lions Club member and town chairperson John Rader says like many similar events, the Island Fair acts as the last hurrah of summer for many residents and visitors.



The Island Fair, which features a parade, games, and fair exhibits, runs from noon until 3 p.m. on the grounds of Washington Island School.

Friends of Crescent Beach hopes community support of mission continues

By Tim Kowols

The Friends of Crescent Beach hopes events like this weekend's Soar on the Shore inspire residents and visitors to protect what they love. The group organizes clean-up days throughout the summer to keep the beach clean and works with city leaders to find grants to help pay for much-needed restoration work. Cathy Pabich from Friends of Crescent Beach says improvements include bringing bike racks to the area and redirecting six storm water drains away from the beach.



Friends of Crescent Beach and the city of Algoma will welcome Unique Flying Objects and the Wisconsin Kiters Club along with other enthusiasts for this Saturday's free Soar on the Shore event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Proceeds from the event go to support future beach projects.

Small State Fair contingent yields big results for Door County 4-H

By Tim Kowols

The Door County 4-H experienced some great success from its small contingent at the Wisconsin State Fair last week. The timing of the Door County Fair, which coincides with the state fair's opening weekend, limits the number of animal exhibits making the trek from the area to West Allis. Carmen Jorns represented the county in the Champions Challenge in the Gymkhana event, which puts some of last year's best horse riders in the state in the show ring. Door County 4-H Youth Development Educator Dawn Vandevoort says it is a huge accomplishment.



Vandevoort says last year's Door County Fair exhibition winners had their projects displayed at the state fair with a quilt made by 4-H member Josie Kinnard earning a merit award.

Fish Creek resident pitches potential workforce housing solution

By Tim Kowols

Fish Creek resident Donn Dresselhuys has seen northern Door County struggle with workforce housing for 50 years, and he has tapped himself as the man to try to solve it. Dresselhuys has approached officials in the village of Sister Bay and the towns of Baileys Harbor and Gibraltar to build a series of two-bedroom houses on land leased by a management firm and sold to local businesses for their summer workers. In Dresselhuys' view, it is costing businesses potential employees and income to not get behind a project like this.



Dresselhuys says the houses would only be allowed for workforce housing, even if a business decided to sell their building. After having the plan rejected by the town of Gibraltar last year, hope is still alive in Baileys Harbor after it was sent back to its plan commission on Monday night and has another date with the Sister Bay Plan Commission on August 29.

Egg Harbor to host community session on beach expansion

By Tim Kowols

The village of Egg Harbor wants the community's input on potentially expanding its beach. It has received a Wisconsin Coastal Management Grant covering the design costs for the beach expansion heading north to land already owned by the village. Administrator Ryan Heise says the goal is to take advantage of the growing popularity of the beach.



The community meeting is scheduled for August 28 at 2 p.m. inside the Paul J. Bertschinger Community Center.


The Village has received a Wisconsin Coastal Management Grant for design costs associated with potentially expanding the current Egg Harbor beach to the north.

The Village of Egg Harbor invites you to attend a community meeting for a design charrette for the project on Monday, August 28th, at 2:00 p.m. at the Paul J. Bertschinger Community Center.

At the meeting, we will discuss the way the land currently functions and with future improvements how it can be used by the public, tourists, and many other stakeholders.

Come and share your thoughts on design, current uses, and possible uses with Village staff, the Village Board of Trustees, the Parks and Public Works Committee, and the engineering firm for the project; Smith Group JJR.

Algoma Superintendent happy major construction is done for now

By Tim Kowols

Life around Algoma School District buildings this summer was a lot calmer than it has been in recent years. Other than some minor aesthetic work, Algoma School District was relatively construction-free after work at its middle and high school in 2015 and its elementary school last year. Superintendent Nick Cochart says it is nice to get back into a routine after a couple busier summers and he is looking forward to having the kids back in the buildings.



Algoma School District will host a pair of open houses on August 30, with early childhood through grade six from 3-6 p.m. at the elementary school and grades seven through twelve from 4-7 p.m at the middle and high school. The first day of school is September 5.

Settlement deadline on Sturgeon Bay waterfront compromise approaches

By Roger Utnehmer

The deadline for the Sturgeon Bay Waterfront Redevelopment Authority to agree to settle a simmering suit is coming in September.


Both the Sturgeon Bay city council and Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront have agreed to settle a lawsuit that would allow development on the city's west waterfront.  However, that settlement was blocked with the WRA voted in July to reject the compromise.


The Department of Natural Resources has scheduled a hearing to take public comments regarding the location of the ordinary high water mark on the disputed property September 6th.  That ruling will determine where commercial development can occur and what property must be held in trust for the public.


Once the DNR rules on the OHWM in a declaratory ruling, it will not be possible to revisit settlement discussions between the parties, according to Dan Collins.  Collins heads the Friends group.  He told that if either party to the lawsuit does not like the ruling it will be too late for settlement negotiations.  The only option, Collins said, is to appeal the DNR ruling.  That, says Collins, makes the DNR the focus of the dispute not any of the parties involved.


Collins says the WRA's rejection of a settlement agreement reached between the Friends group and the city is "risky and regrettable."


The Friends group challenged the development of a west-side water-front hotel in circuit court and won.  The compromise reached with the group and city council would allow commercial development on a portion of the property in question and preserve some for public-use only.


Several members of the WRA have explained their opposition to the settlement and one, Cindy Weber, says she's open to a solution.

WRA Chair Tom Herlache told he has no plans to schedule another meeting of the authority before the DNR hearing.

Valmy Thresheree Celebrating 35 Years Of Farm History And Heritage

By Paul Schmitt

The 35th Annual Thresheree near Valmy is this weekend starting on Friday.  The three-day event is held on 30 acres on Country View Road.  Activities include a display of antique farm machinery, sawmill and chainsaw competitions, blacksmith demonstrations, and a tractor pull.  Organizer Ralph Bocheck says the family-friendly event includes exciting activities for children on Sunday.



Bochek adds that the weekend's most popular attraction, the mud pig wrestling competition is at 3:30 Sunday afternoon.  You can find more information about the events held at the Valmy Thresheree with this story online.

EL-NA Farms In Kewaunee County Participating in Pilot Program To Curb Erosion

By Paul Schmitt


El-Na Farms in Kewaunee County is starting a new pilot program with Land O'Lakes called SUSTAIN!.  The technology that is implemented helps farmers use conservation practices that improve environmental outcomes for air, soil, and water without losing profit potential.  Lonnie Fenendael, who operates the farm with his brothers Barry and Shane, says erosion and the depth of the soil in Kewaunee County is a major concern because of the limited top soil and limestone rock under their fields.  He says the program puts numbers to the proof that a lot of soil is moving around.



Fenendael estimates that nutrient loss in an average 40-acre field can amount to probably up to $2,000 in loss production each year. The precision conservation pilot was implemented starting back with meetings in February.   El-Na Farms is located west of Algoma on Pheasant Road and is a six-generation farm that milks 1,500 cows and manages 4,500 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat, and alfalfa.

Washington Island Bakery Destroyed By Fire

By Paul Schmitt

A fire broke out early Wednesday morning at a business on Washington Island.  Flames engulfed the Danish Mill Bakery, Deli & Restaurant and the Washington Island Fire Department responded at about 3:45 a.m. Wednesday.  Fire Fighters were able to put the fire out, but the building was completely destroyed, according to Fire Chief Paul Swanson.  Swanson says no one was in the business at the time of the fire.



Swanson says state officials are being called in to investigate the fire.  He says the origin of where the fire started could not be determined at this time.  The Danish Mill Bakery opened in 2010 and is owned by Tom and Patty Nikolai, according to their website.

Kelly Tassoul Named First Woman President Of Brussels Lions Club

By Paul Schmitt

The Brussels Lions Club has their very first woman president.  Kelly Tassoul was installed as the head of the organization on July 26 at the first meeting of the club's fiscal year.  Tassoul who has been involved with the Brussels Lions Club with her husband, Dean, for the past 28 years, says her term as president will carry through Belgian Days next year.  She says the ever-growing event helps with funding improvements at the Brussels Town Park.



The Brussels Lions Club has 39 members and also loans out medical equipment including hospital beds, walkers, canes, and bath seats to help out community members at no charge.  Lions International is celebrating their 100th year of service worldwide.


(contributed photo)

Sturgeon Bay City Council Approves Ordinance Change To Allow Dogs In Parks

By Paul Schmitt


Man's best friend will now be welcome in Sturgeon Bay parks.  The Sturgeon Bay Common Council approved the Joint Park and Recreation Committee/Board recommendation on Tuesday to change a city ordinance and allow dogs in all city parks.  The motion approved in a 5-2 vote and includes an exception for beaches, playgrounds, ballfields and ballfield areas with the understanding that all dogs must be leashed.  Council member Rick Wiesner voted against changing the ordinance saying dogs should not be allowed in all parks.



Council Member Kelly Catarazoli says an earlier ordinance was difficult to enforce and that she would favor heavy fine for violators who won't leash or clean up after their dog.



The fines will still be needed to be set by the Common Council in the future and signs will be placed in all city parks regarding the new ordinance.

New Law To Help Outreach Efforts For Door County Medical Center Dental Clinic

By Tim Kowols

A new state law affecting dental hygienists could be good news for area clinics. Earlier this year, Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill letting dental hygienists work without the supervision of a dentist. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the rule change could make basic dental care more readily available for low-income and rural patients. Tanya Fischer from Door County Medical Center's Dental Clinic says the law will not necessarily affect them inside the clinic itself, but will certainly be helpful in their outreach efforts.


The Door County Medical Center Dental Clinic is open five days a week in Sturgeon Bay and serves patients from low-income families and those on Medicaid.

Kewaunee County UW-Extension Agriculture Intern Reflects On Summer Experiences

By Carmen Haack

This summer I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve as the summer intern for UW Extension in Kewaunee County. I was very excited to learn of the opportunity because of the work I did with Extension in my 4-H career. I have experienced and learned many new things throughout the past 3 months. My favorite part of the summer was the behind the scenes look I got at Farm Technology Days, and watching the countless volunteers come together to pull off such a great event. Along with Farm Technology Days I have also worked on many other projects throughout the summer. I began my internship doing alfalfa scissor clippings throughout Kewaunee and Door counties. It was certainly interesting for me to see the positive effects the lake has on crop value in our area. I also got the opportunity to meet and chat with farmers around the area.


My favorite adventure of the summer was traveling around to area farms to complete a survey that analyzed the calves of dairy operations. The survey is technically known as an Intuitive Cost of Production Analysis (ICPA) and compared costs of automatic feeding operations to a similar sized standard individual feeding program. I have been a lover of calves since the day I set foot on a farm, so I knew this project would be extremely interesting to me.


As I close out my time at UW Extension in Kewaunee County, I look back and realize that the most valuable part of my time here has been the people I've met along the way. From local farmers, to farm tech days volunteers, we are each a small part of a pretty amazing little community. Connections like these will stick with me into my future endeavors, and hopefully someday into my dairy career!


As for my future, I will soon be entering my sophomore year at the University of Wisconsin Madison where I am pursuing a degree in dairy science with a certificate in agricultural business management. Attending my dream school and being able to learn about something I'm extremely passionate about are truly a blessing to me.


Having the opportunity to intern with UW Extension allowed me to learn a lot while staying close to home.  This situation was ideal for me, and I could not be more thankful for all I've learned throughout the course of this summer!

Big Brothers Big Sisters Of Door County Hopes To Grow On-Site School Programs in 2017-2018 Academic Year

By Tim Kowols

Big Brothers Big Sisters hopes to have another successful year of connecting "bigs" and "littles" together at area schools. The organization has started on-site programs at the school districts of Southern Door, Gibraltar, and Sturgeon Bay during its first five years in the county. Patty O'Rourke from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Door County says the relationship between the high school students and elementary school children continued through the summer even when classes were out of session.



O'Rourke is grateful for the volunteers the organization does have but hopes more matches are made this year through Big Brothers Big Sisters' on-site and off-site programs.

Luxemburg-Casco School District Looks Into Alternative High School For Middle School Site

By Tim Kowols

Luxemburg-Casco School District is continuing discussions on what to do with its current middle school building, including the creation of an alternative high school. The district has been talking with various stakeholders since February to move middle school students to the main campus in Luxemburg and repurposing the Casco building into something new. Superintendent Glenn Schlender says the alternative high school could be one idea to keep the promise to Casco residents of keeping a school presence in the village while helping students struggling to learn in a traditional setting.



With the idea still in its infancy, Schlender says the alternative high school concept could become a good outlet for Kewaunee and Algoma School Districts, similar to its partnership with the Ahnapee Regional Technical Academy.

Sturgeon Bay Waterfront Redevelopment Authority Member Open To Settlement

By Roger Utnehmer

A member of the Sturgeon Bay Waterfront Redevelopment Authority who voted against settling a lawsuit brought by Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront says she's "personally not opposed to some type of settlement."


Cindy Weber told she feels other members of the WRA would probably say the same thing.  She also said she would like the WRA to meet again "sooner rather than later."

Weber said, "My goal is to see an active waterfront like we have at Stone Harbor and Sonny's."  She fears the location of the ordinary high water mark in the compromise reached between the Friends group and the city would mean"another big park space that would not have a lot of activity."  Weber cited existing city parks that provide waterfront access as sufficient.

The Friends group challenged a proposed development of a controversial hotel on the west-side waterfront.  They won in circuit court and recently reached an agreement on the location of where potential development could occur but the WRA voted 5 to 2 to reject that compromise.

A problem, Weber said, is that the State of Wisconsin has not been consistent enforcing the public trust doctrine, a provision in the state constitution prohibiting commercial development on reclaimed lakebed.  The Friends challenge was based on the location of a hotel on what a judge ruled in the case was former lakebed.

WRA chair Tom Herlache told he has no plans to schedule another meeting of the authority.

College Students Urged To Make Sure School Identification Measures Up To Wisconsin Law

By Tim Kowols

Even though the next election is still months away, students heading off to school should double-check their college's identification cards to make sure they are compliant with state law for voting. According to Common Cause Wisconsin, only 20 of the state's universities and colleges have identification cards that fall under the standards, which could cause problems if students do not currently hold a valid driver's license, passport, military ID, or other acceptable forms. Executive Director Jay Heck says with school just a couple weeks away, now is the time to make sure you have what you need for the polls.



The next major election will not be until spring 2018 when voters choose their Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice, Court of Appeals Judge, and Circuit Court Judge.

Voter ID Graphic with VA card_REVISED-8-24

Money And Emotion Often Get Mixed Together

By Tim Kowols

There is often an outside factor when it comes to money issues. The emotional fallout from an event like a divorce, a lost job, or sudden expense could make a bad financial situation even worse. Gay Pustaver from Money Management Counselors says while financial advisors are not certified therapists, they can help separate the money from the outside forces affecting the situation.



Pustaver says fear, shame, and anger are often the emotion she hears the most from clients when it comes to discussing their financial burden. You can listen to the entire Money Management Monday interview with Gay Pustaver online with this story.



Door County Humane Society To Rescue Dozens Of Cats From Condemned Washington Island Home

By Tim Kowols

Close to 50 cats could be brought back to the Door County Humane Society in Sturgeon Bay by the end of the week after a Washington Island home was condemned and declared a public health hazard. Door County officials asked the humane society to step in to help remove the cats last week before the home is demolished on Thursday.  Executive Director Carol Boudreau says the largely feral and undomesticated cat population will be examined this week to see if any can be adopted locally or sent to other no-kill facilities in the region.



Even if the Door County Humane Society is able to secure grants from the Humane Society of the United States, Boudreau says the organization will struggle to care for the cats, which includes feeding, spaying and neutering, vaccinating, and housing. You can learn how you can help by following this story online.

Kewaunee County Farm Technology Days Committees Working To Pass The Torch

By Tim Kowols

The event may have been over a month ago, but all of the planning committees involved with Wisconsin Farm Technology Days hosted by Kewaunee County are still hard at work. Final reports are being compiled for the Wood County Farm Technology Days committees, which will host the event next year. Executive Chairperson Amber Hewett says it is not just a time to reflect on what worked well (introducing local foods at concession areas) and what did not work as well (vendor departure on the final day), but the time spent together over the last three years planning for the state's largest agricultural show.



The show, which featured an attendance greater than the county's population, is expected to exceed the net profit goals of the Executive Committee. Hewett says final numbers, including the distribution of money to volunteer-driven local groups during Farm Technology Days, will be released in September.

Sturgeon Bay Common Council Set To Vote On Revised Dogs In Parks Ordinance

By Tim Kowols

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council could lengthen the leash on the city's park ordinances relating to dogs at its meeting on Tuesday. Under the proposed ordinance, owners would be allowed to bring their dogs to parks as long as they are on a leash at all times and do not go on beaches, playgrounds, and ballfields. According to the meeting agenda, the debate on the topic goes back to 2010, with opponents citing safety concerns at sporting events and crowded areas along with owners not picking up after their pets as their main reasons. Dogs would still be allowed to be unleashed at the city's dog parks while owners would be fined under the proposed ordinance if they violate the terms. The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will meet at noon inside their chambers at city hall.

Sevastopol Principal Excited For Beginning The School Year

By Tim Kowols

Sevastopol Middle and High School Principal Adam Baier is excited at the prospect of another school year coming in the next few weeks. Baier has already welcomed his new boss, Superintendent Kyle Luedtke, earlier this summer along with other new staff members. The summer provided some nice time off, but Baier says it has also given staff members a chance to work on some other educational objectives for the new school year.



New technology and new families will greet returning students when the Sevastopol school year begins on September 5.

Waterfront Redevelopment Authority Member Opposes Settlement And Wants Hotel On Water

By Roger Utnehmer

Sturgeon Bay Waterfront Redevelopment Authority Member John Asher voted recently to oppose a settlement agreement that would end a lawsuit over use of the city west-side waterfront.


Asher cited two major reasons for his vote.  He said the lot size in the proposed settlement would not allow a brew pub and hotel to be constructed.  The city had interest in a brew pub at the granary site and a hotel development nearby, since withdrawn by Robert Papke.  "I doubt you'll find anyone interested in adding $10.5 million to the city tax base with that line pushed back as far as it is in this settlement," Asher said.


With the proposed lot line in the settlement agreement, Asher said a parking lot would be on the waterfront with a hotel set back a significant distance.  "Tourists," he said, "do not come to a hotel to look out at a parking lot."


He also recalled a conversation with City Parks and Recreation Director Bob Bordeau who said the city already has 19 parks at a cost of $800,000 a year to maintain.


Asher said Bordeau told him Sturgeon Bay does not need more parks.  According to Asher, Bordeau said the city is already "stressed" supporting the parks it has.


"Taxpayers," Asher said, "sooner or later are going to ask when is enough enough."


Asher was one of five members of the WRA who voted to reject a settlement agreement reached between the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront and the city, effectively scuttling the compromise.


Because the WRA is a party to the lawsuit, the authority must vote to approve the settlement.  The Sturgeon Bay City Council has voted to accept the agreement.


Asher told west-side business owners feel like they're the "step sons of the city," stuck with dirt piles.  "With a hotel, there would be more people walking up and down the streets," Asher said.


He concluded his interview saying, "We can do better.  There is just not enough information about what could be done with the proposed lot size."

Sister Bay Historical Society Bring Traveling Exhibits To Its Museum

By Tim Kowols

More than the village's history has been featured this summer at the Sister Bay Historical Society's Corner of the Past Museum. The museum has featured two traveling exhibits this summer, including the current "Working Warriors: Military Life Beyond" display on loan from the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. The exhibit focuses on the 75 percent of military work considered as "non-combat" and features a trunk containing uniforms, artifacts, and other activities for guests to interact with during their visit. Curator Roberta Kutlik says the historical society has received a lot of good feedback on bringing the different traveling exhibits to the museum.



The Corner of the Past Museum's first traveling exhibit focused on the effect water has on Wisconsin. The "Working Warriors" exhibit runs at the museum until August 26.

First Safe Kids Door County Event This Saturday

By Tim Kowols

A new event featuring childhood safety is set to take over John Miles County Park on Saturday. Safe Kids Door County is a collaborative effort including the Public Health Department, Door County Cradle to Career, the Door County Partnership for Children and Families, and the Center for Childhood Safety to present a fun-filled day of interactive activities while also promoting valuable safety reminders. Door County Public Health Nurse Mary Ellen Smith says the event will provide a great learning opportunity for area kids and their parents.



Safe Kids Door County runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and does not charge admission.


Van Donsel's Supreme Goat Exhibitor Title Leads Kewaunee County 4-H At State Fair

By Tim Kowols

It became clear at Wisconsin State Fair Park last week that Kimberly Van Donsel knows her goats. A member of the Pilsen Skylighters 4-H Club, Van Donsel beat out 49 other competitors from around the state to earn the title of Supreme Goat Exhibitor. Even though her goats did not do as well as she had hope, Van Donsel took the honors by showing her prowess in the showmanship, skillathon, quiz, and judging categories. It was all worth the extra effort for Van Donsel.



Van Donsel was not alone in the winner's circle as fellow Kewaunee County 4-H member Stashia Jensen took 2nd place in the Supreme Goat Exhibitor contest. You can see the other achievements of the Kewaunee County 4-H at this year's Wisconsin State Fair by following this story online.


Door County Economic Development Corporation Brings Back Home Build Program

By Tim Kowols

After a poor housing market forced the cooperative effort into hiatus, local districts and the Door County Economic Development Corporation are bringing back the popular High School Home Build program. Under the supervision of Sturgeon Bay High School's Seth Wilson and local contractors, twelve students will work on the single-family home for course credit over the next year. Door County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Caleb Frostman says the program is a great way for students to learn some new and valuable skills.


After closing on the land in Sturgeon Bay last Friday, work on the new home is expected to begin during the first few weeks of the school year, which begins September 5.

Automated Cars Expected To Bring New Challenges To Insurance Industry

By Paul Schmitt

Self-driving car technology is here.  Many such vehicles are being developed, but as of yet, automated cars on public roads are not yet fully autonomous, according to Wikipedia.  As sure as the robotic cars will have an impact on the automobile industry, it will have an even greater effect on the auto insurance providers as well, according to Mike Walston from Robertson Ryan & Associates in Kewaunee.  Walston says that day is not too far away.



Walston says the manufacturer would be the one to carry the insurance if some third party or first party accident occurred.  The only insurance an individual would need to purchase is comprehensive coverage of your vehicle to cover things like hail damage or theft, according to Walston.  The self-driving car technology will more than likely mean young children today will not need a driver's license by the time they are sixteen.

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Door County Classic & Wooden Boat Festival Concludes Today With Race And Awards

By Paul Schmitt

The 27th Annual Door County Classic & Wooden Boat Festival concludes today as part of the Maritime Week celebration in Sturgeon Bay.  The two-day event is located on the west side by the Door County Maritime Museum.  Executive Director Amy Paul says children can get into the spirit with a special boat-building kit.



The Door County Classic & Wooden Boat Festival will finish up after three o'clock today with an awards ceremony for the Sikaflex Boatbuilding Challenge winner and people's choice.  You can find pictures and video below.




Schedule below:

Cherry Tree "Shakers" Finishing The Harvest This Week In Door County

By Paul Schmitt

The days of mass harvesting cherries with a ladder and pail in hand are long gone as hydraulic tree shakers make their way through Door County orchards to harvest the last of the cherry crop this week.  Steve Wood from Wood Orchard explains the hi-tech way cherries are taken off the trees.



Wood says the only cherries now being picked by hand are those being sold at farm markets around Door County.  He added that the tree shaking technology accounts for about 90 to 95 percent of the total cherry crop harvested every year.  You can see a video of the cherry tree shaking process with this story online.

Sturgeon Bay Clipper Football Shooting For Playoffs This Year

By Connor Sannito

The Sturgeon Bay high school football team appears strong in their second week of practice.

Head coach Mike LeRoy is confident in this year's football team. Backed by a senior dominate lineup, the leadership is undisputed. In addition to the high volume of upperclassmen players, the Clippers look to take advantage and play with a physically dominate playset - that is thanks to the early rigours of the team's practices.

The Sturgeon Bay high school team practices run on a short day schedule: a three hour long session with a 30 minute intermission water break. They practice five times a week.


Uniquely this season, the Sturgeon Bay Clippers have enough players for a Junior Varsity team. Also, coach LeRoy has set goals for his Varsity squad.



The Sturgeon Bay Clippers first official game is played here at home: August 18th against Valders.


A Few Favorite Smallmouth Bass Lures

By Bill Schultz

This is a great time of the year to get out for some kayak fishing in Door County.  Although it can be a little more challenging finding those smallmouth bass.  Let me give you some tips on a few lures that might help you catch and release those exciting Door County smallies.


For 10 years, my favorite presentation has been swimming a Kalin's Lunker Grub.  This is a great presentation when you find bass in shallow to about eight feet of water, and very simple.  Thread the Kalin's on a 1/16th up to 1/8th ounce jig, cast as far as you can and retrieve it slow and steady.  At this time of year, the four and five inch versions will be the best.  My suggestion is to try a variety of colors, but, for me, the four-inch version in Smoke Salt and Pepper is my favorite.  To get the casting distance in our clear waters, I am using St. Croix medium-light fast action rods that are 7'6".


The other presentation that has been so successful for me the past two years in both shallower water, up to water as deep as 25 feet, is the Ned Rig.  This is a newer presentation that is also quite simple to use.  I am using a 1/16th to 3/32th ounce jig with a #1 hook and the Z-Man Finesse TRD or TRD TubeZ.  Both are finesse lures and under three inches in length.  Made from Z-Man's ElaZTech plastic, they float and stand up off the bottom, unlike most soft plastics.  This gives a look the smallies can't resist.  For this presentation, I'm using 7' medium-light fast action St. Croix rods.  You simply cast, let settle on the bottom and lightly twitch it as you retrieve very slowly.  


With all my clear water presentations, I am adding a 30" to 40" fluorocarbon leader to my very small diameter braid or super line.  This is done with a Uni to Uni knot.  


If you have a chance to get on the water to chase smallmouth bass, these are tremendous presentations.  If you have any questions, please email me at, and, I'll be happy to answer your questions.

Algoma Close To Getting Bids For Storm Water Treatment Work

By Paul Schmitt

With the Algoma water-front busy this weekend with the Shanty Days celebration, behind the scenes the City of Algoma is still working on improvements to their marina and harbor.  City Administrator Jeff Wiswell says phase two of the project is complete.



RFP stands for request for proposal and Wiswell says the city of Algoma has already secured two grants, one from the Environmental Protection Agency and another one from the Fund for Lake Michigan.  Those grants will help fund the project engineering needed to deal with the storm water issues facing the city as well as some minor redesigning on Crescent Beach.

Door And Kewaunee County Food Pantries Try To Meet The Demand As Summer Donations Slow

By Paul Schmitt

Area food pantries are facing challenges of restocking their shelves as the summer season winds down.  Feed and Clothe My People of Door County Director of Operations Estella Huff says donations of clothing have been strong this summer but the food pantry is a different story.



Huff says the greatest needs for the food pantry right now are soups and juices for children.  She added that household and cleaning supplies like bleach and laundry detergent along with personal hygiene items like shampoo are also needed.  Donations can be dropped off at Feed and Clothe My People on N. 14th Avenue in Sturgeon Bay during working hours which are Monday and Thursday from 2 until 6 p.m. and Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Algoma Public Library Collecting Donated School Supplies For Children Through August 25

By Paul Schmitt

The Algoma Public Library in partnership with the Optimist Club is making sure every child returning to the classroom this fall has the proper school supplies.   Donations are being accepted at the Algoma Public Library until August 25 to assure all students have the proper tools to achieve success in school.  Adult Services Librarian Katie Haasch says any and all donations are appreciated.



Haasch says all the school supplies will be divided up and given to local teachers on Tuesday, August 29 at the Algoma Public Library's annual Teacher's Meet N Greet for their classrooms.

Sturgeon Bay Blues Musician Cathy Grier Wins Solo Performer Award

By Paul Schmitt

Musician Cathy Grier of Sturgeon Bay will be taking her notable songwriting and performing skills to Memphis, Tennessee in January.  Grier recently won the Paramount Music Association's People's Choice Award for solo performer and will represent Wisconsin at the International Blues Challenge in January.  She says it was quite the honor to be selected.



Grier who has been playing since her childhood in the 1970's says she has been influenced by the music of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, and Etta James to name a few.  A native New Yorker, Grier moved to Door County less than a year ago after living and performing around the country including Key West, Florida.  Her guitar solo career started in 1977 in Connecticut as a high school senior.


Cathy Grier performing at Martin Park in Sturgeon Bay back in June.

Sister Bay Celebrating "Door County Festival Of Fine Arts" This Saturday

By Paul Schmitt

Door County's  Festival of Fine Arts will be held Saturday on the waterfront in Sister Bay.  The day will showcase live music and hands-on activities for all ages as well as feature local artisans demonstrating their skills and fine pieces of craftsmanship.  Sister Bay Advancement Association Coordinator Louise Howson says the free festival will have a special activity center for children to enjoy.



The Door County Festival of Fine Arts will be held on the beach across from the town hall and run from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. this Saturday.

Door Peninsula Astronomy Society Planning Event For Solar Eclipse Coming August 21

By Paul Schmitt

The so-called Great American Total Solar Eclipse is coming on Monday, August 21 and will be visible around the country.   The Door Peninsula Astronomy Society will be hosting a free event at the astronomy center in Sturgeon Bay to allow the general public to view the eclipse safely.  Member Dave Lenius shares what will be available on the 21st.



A total eclipse will not be seen in Wisconsin but Lenius estimates that 75 to 80 percent of the sun will be blocked locally.  The eclipse will be visible for two hours and 41 seconds beginning about 11:45 in the morning on August 21, according to Lenius.  The Leif Everson Observatory and Stonecipher Astronomy Center which is owned by the Sturgeon Bay School District is located on the end of Utah Street in Sturgeon Bay.

Door County Firefighters rehash operating procedure following Sunday's fire

By Tim Kowols

Members from every mainland Door County fire department convened Thursday to rehash the good and the bad from Sunday's fire that destroyed Egg Harbor's Shipwrecked Brewpub and Inn. Egg Harbor Fire Department traditionally holds the meeting after their major fires, but Sunday marked the first time a fire in the area reached Box 5 status on the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System and new rehab procedures were used to cycle firefighters in and out. Fire Chief Steve Schopf says he felt MABAS worked well for those fighting the blaze, but minor tweaks might be needed for departments providing backfill help as more were called into action.



Schopf admits the rehab process, which started after a firefighter went through two bottles of air and included having their vitals checked, tested the patience of those who wanted to get back to fighting the fire.



The cause of Sunday's fire was filed in the report as undetermined, but Schopf says the source came from an outlet in the guest room where the blaze started.

Maritime Week Concludes This Weekend With Wooden Boat Festival

By Paul Schmitt

Maritime Week in Sturgeon Bay is wrapping up this weekend with the Door County Classic and Wooden Boat Festival.  The Door County Maritime Museum and a packed working waterfront will display some of the maritime histories of the peninsula and offers tours of the Tug John Purves.  Executive Director Amy Paul says Saturday morning features the always fun and challenging boat-building contest.



The sea trials for the Sikaflex Boat Race will be held at noon Sunday.  The Door County Museum is still hosting the "Sea Dogs" exhibit this summer.   You can see a full list of Maritime Week activities online with this story

Algoma's Shanty Days On The Lake Looking For "Pool Sharks" This Year

By Paul Schmitt

The community of Algoma will be buzzing with excitement and activity this weekend as the 31st annual Shanty Days celebration kicks off today.  The three-day "Celebration of the Lake" event includes a couple new activities this year, according to Algoma Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sara Krouse.



Krouse says the festival includes the famous parade at noon on Saturday, juried arts and crafts fair, a 5K run, beach volleyball, fishing contest, car show and fireworks display over the lake to cap off the weekend on Sunday evening at dusk.  You can find a link to the complete schedule of activities of Shanty Days with this story online.

Chair of Sturgeon Bay Waterfront Redevelopment Authority Cites Reasons for Blocking Settlement Agreement

By Roger Utnehmer

A recent vote by the Sturgeon Bay Waterfront Redevelopment Authority has effectively stopped a settlement of the lawsuit between the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront and the city.


WRA members voted five to two against accepting the settlement offer that has been approved by the city council.


Authority Chair Tom Herlache cited three reasons for his vote to reject the settlement and questioned how individual votes of members are known to the news media.


Referring to the settlement agreement, Herlache said, "I don't think it gave us anything."  He said the 60' of additional land for development below the meander line agreed to in the settlement went over a sewer line, making it a problem for construction.


Herlache also said the lot proposed under the settlement "was not sufficient in size to do anywhere near the kind of increment we need to do the kind of waterfront we want to see."  He also said the agreement was not specific enough and was too vague.


When asked to explain his reason for opposing the settlement Herlache questioned how knew how he voted.


"Where did you get who voted how?" Herlache asked.


"I'm not going to tell you how I personally voted," he said, "I will simply give you my personal opinion."


Votes of authority members are a matter of public record and were released under an open records request filed by


That open records request shows that the five authority members voting against the settlement were Herlache, Cindy Weber, John Asher, Ryan Hoernke, and Chris Jeanquart.  Votes for the proposed settlement were cast by Laurel Hauser and David Ward.


WRA members are appointed by the mayor.  Recent speakers at Sturgeon Bay city council meetings have called for the abolition of the WRA.  At least one member of the city council, Kelly Catarzoli, thinks the authority is an impediment to settling a lingering lawsuit that could cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars and keep Sturgeon Bay tied up in litigation for years.


Herlache told he has no plans to revisit the vote opposing a settlement nor does he have immediate plans to schedule another authority meeting.

Wautier Family, Church-Site Farm Celebrates Centennial In Door County

By Tim Kowols Ag Advisory Board members the Wautier Family took time out of their busy schedule at the Door County Fair last week to celebrate a major milestone. Church-Site Farm in Brussels is celebrating 100 years of operating as a family farm. Five generations strong, it was Jim Wautier's grandfather that bought the land back in 1917 and his son Matt says he is thankful for the support before he takes over someday after four years of teaching in Luxemburg.



In addition to his brother Joe and sister-in-law Beverly, Jim's wife Penny, son Brandon, daughter Courtney, and grandson Kaiden are among the family members helping out on the farm.

Wisconsin Tops Critical Access Hospital List

By Tim Kowols

Critical access hospitals in Wisconsin were recognized as the nation's best according to study completed by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration. The HRSA looked at Wisconsin hospitals' reporting rates and their level of improvement among other factors which were the highest in the nation. Door County Medical Center CEO Jerry Worrick credits the whole health care system in Wisconsin for the success.



Critical Access Hospitals like the award-winning Door County Medical Center are designated by Medicare as a facility with 25 or less beds and are often found in rural areas. Worrick says despite the misconceptions about small, rural hospitals, Critical Access Hospitals often exceed larger hospitals in some areas such as childbirth.

Use Of New Kewaunee All-Inclusive Playground Right Around The Corner

By Tim Kowols

Kewaunee school children are just a couple weeks away from being able to play on their brand new, all-inclusive playground. Volunteers worked through wet conditions last week to construct the playground being designed to allow kids of all abilities be able to play side by side. The wet conditions forced Kewaunee School District to delay the installation of the soft play surface on two-thirds of the playground while an additional $40,000 is raised to complete the project. Superintendent Karen Treml says crews will be back out Thursday and Friday to start the process.



Treml says children curious about the playground should wait until after the surface is installed before playing on the equipment. Community members have held countless fundraisers over the last year to help pay for the $200,000-plus playground.

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Kewaunee County Joins Growing List Of West Nile Virus Cases

By Tim Kowols

Kewaunee County has officially been added to the list of communities with a positive case of the West Nile Virus. On July 28th, an infected dead crow was brought in after it had already been found in the surrounding areas of Brown, Door and Manitowoc Counties weeks before. Spread by the bite of mosquitos, Kewaunee County Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard says it was just a matter of time.



Kewaunee County joins over 40 other counties in the state with positive West Nile Virus cases, but according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, none have affected humans. Less than one percent of humans contracting West Nile Virus will suffer serious illness while as many as 80 percent will not experience symptoms at all.

Women's Fund of Door County Has Another Successful Event

By Paul Schmitt

The Women's Fund of Door County continues a long history of successful events with more than 350 people attending the annual luncheon Wednesday. The day began with a panel discussion in the morning on "Women in Nontraditional Careers".  The keynote speaker at the luncheon was Elizabeth McCormick, a former US Army Black Hawk pilot and author.   Prior to the luncheon Board Member Jane Stevenson shared the goal of the new Community Collaborative Grant the Women's Fund established last year.



The Women's Fund of Door County's $1.2 million endowment campaign has a goal to fund $200,000 every three years for the Community Collaborative Grant with the first one being announced this fall.  The endowment also will provide $30,000 every year in Sustainability Grants to area non-profits already working to positively impact the lives of women and girls.

Help of Door County To Have Northern Door Location Soon

By Paul Schmitt

Help of Door County will have a permanent presence in northern Door County soon.  The organization has an office on Green Bay Road in Sturgeon Bay currently and is looking reach out better to the north side of the peninsula with another location.  Executive Director Steve Vickman says the details for the branch office are being worked out.



Vickman says the additional growth of Help Door County was made possible by a recent $5,000 gran received from the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation.  You can find information on Help of Door County's mission to eliminate domestic abuse through prevention and intervention services by going to this story online.

Sturgeon Bay Soccer Benefits From Captain's Led Summer Practices As Season Approaches

By Connor Sannito


Sturgeon Bay High School soccer team captain's practices are showing progress.

The high school team started as early as the first week in June with a senior captain coordinating practices. The practices consist of a warm up, a few drills, and then they roll into a long scrimmage finishing the session. The players have been organizing practices 5-6 times a week, from 6:30 p.m. until you cannot see the ball, all summer long.

The ultimate goal of a practice without the contact of the head coach, Todd Maas, is to attain familiarity, chemistry, and gather kids - who wouldn't normally play in the summer - together. The senior captain, Jaden Stevenson, had this to say.



Stevenson is a promising captain for the Sturgeon Bay Clippers. He holds the goal record of 120 as a career total entering his final season. In addition, he plays up an age group for a MRL (Midwest Regional League) team: FC Wisconsin North. There, he is also the club's top scorer. Stevenson is among the elite players of the Midwest.

This year's boy's High School soccer team is hoping to repeat another season as successful as the 2015 team which won state. The players bring passion to every practice, invigorated for the upcoming soccer season. However, the majority of the team is underclassmen; the team is considerably young.

Actual practices with the coaching staff start in the second week of August.

Door Shakespeare's "The Heart Of Robin Hood" Bringing Audience Of All Ages

By Paul Schmitt

A classic play is capturing hearts of young and old at Door Shakespeare in Baileys Harbor with "The Heart of Robin Hood".  The Garden at Bjorklunden has been transformed into Sherwood Forest this summer and Artistic Director Amy Ludwigsen says the reaction by the audience to the David Farr's adaptation of Robin Hood has been incredible.



The last performance is set for Saturday, August 19.  Door Shakespeare is also performing "Twelfth Night" by David Farr as well this summer.  You can find details about both performances and show times that remain this for this year's Door Shakespeare with this story online.

Algoma Keeps Improving City Parks With The Help Of "Farm Technology Days"

By Paul Schmitt

Kewaunee County keeps reaping the benefits from hosting the Wisconsin Farm Technology Days back in July.  Algoma City Administrator Jeff Wiswell shares an improvement that Perry Park is receiving, thanks to Farm Technology Days.



Wiswell says the City of Algoma also added the county's only ice rink at Peterson Park in the past year with the help of the Green Bay Packers "NFL Play60program".

Newer Cars Present Different Challenges For Door County Vehicle Extrication Practice

By Tim Kowols

The donation of junk cars to the Sister Bay-Liberty Grove Fire Department will go long way in preparing firefighters across the county for the future of vehicle extrication. Fire Departments like Sister Bay-Liberty Grove usually practice removing people from crumpled vehicles at least once a year to keep their skills sharp. The department expects to receive a shipment of crash-tested 2017 model cars from a manufacturer in southern Wisconsin, but Fire Chief Chris Hecht says with new technology comes new things to keep in mind during vehicle extrication.



Hecht says the donated junk cars will be used to practice the newer techniques until the other vehicles arrive.

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Sturgeon Bay Bridges' Remote Operations Continue In Test Period After Meeting

By Paul Schmitt

After an informal open house last week to receive public feedback on the remote control operation of the three bridges in Sturgeon Bay, the test period will continue before the United States Coast Guard will make a final determination on its status.  Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) Regional Bridge Engineer Jason Lahm says the plans the planning for the first-ever remote operations of three bridges in one community goes back over a decade.



The U.S. Coast Guard will evaluate the data provided by the WisDOT and determine if the remote operation arrangement will become permanent for next year.

Orchards Overcome Soggy Spring And Storms To Produce "Decent" Cherry Crop

By Paul Schmitt

The majority of orchards throughout Door County once speckled with the red dots of cherries are finishing the harvesting process this week.  Overcoming an excessively wet spring and early summer season, the cherry crop has responded nicely the past two weeks, according to Steve Wood of Wood Orchard in Door County.  Wood says he believes the county has plenty of cherries for the rest of the season.



Wood says the area experienced one major hail storm that severely affected 200 acres of orchards in Door County.  He added that the heavy rainfalls in May and June caused some disease problems but the overall cherry crop appears above average.

Algoma Approves LNRP Plan To Help Restore Portion Of Crescent Beach

By Tim Kowols

The city of Algoma has approved a proposal from the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership to restore the southern end of Crescent Beach. The LNRP is currently in the process of securing the necessary grants to remove invasive plants from the shoreline and replace it with native beach grass. Cathy Pabich from the Friends of Crescent Beach says the restoration efforts are much needed.


Pabich says the city of Algoma is also working on securing additional grants for more restoration work on Crescent Beach, which would include redirecting stormwater drains away from the area.

CTA Programs Continues Growth For Door County Visitor Bureau

By Tim Kowols

The Door County Visitor Bureau's Certified Tourism Ambassador continues to grow with the area's overall gain in visitors.  Over 100 people have gone through CTA training this year, bringing the current total of ambassadors to 937. The program works with employees and volunteers to turn encounters with visitors to the area into a positive experience. Jon Jarosh from the Door County Visitor Bureau says the dog days of summer present a reminder that providing top notch customer service is important to everyone, whether it is in person or on social media.


The Door County Visitor Bureau will hold three more CTA classes this year on Washington Island (September 21) and in Carlsville (November 29) and Sturgeon Bay (December 13). We have registration information online with this story.

Door County Fair Expects To See High Attendance When Final Numbers Come In

By Tim Kowols

The changes made to the Door County Fair over the last year have seemed to pay huge dividends. Following the county's decision to pay for the event's expenses in full during last fall's 2017 budget talks after years of failing to turn a profit, fair officials retooled the event by lowering the ticket costs, adding new entertainment, and making most of the activities such as rides and grandstand shows inclusive with admission. Door County Fair Board Member Tim Ash says although official counts are not in, he expects a huge improvement.




It was also a successful weekend for area youth as many will now take their projects to the Wisconsin State Fair currently being held in West Allis.

Baileys Harbor's Ridges Sanctuary Begins 80th Anniversary Celebration

By Tim Kowols

The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor is taking the next year to celebrate 80 years of conservation. Its anniversary celebration kicked off over the weekend with the dedication of its Cook-Albert Fuller Center, which was completed in 2015 and recently opened new exhibits inside the building. Executive Director Steve Leonard says they have worked hard to maintain the vision of The Ridges Sanctuary, which began in October 1937 as Wisconsin's first land trust.



The Ridges Sanctuary has earned national and international recognition in recent years, becoming a National Audubon Society Important Bird Area in 2007 and A Wetland of International Importance Under the Ramsar Convention 2015. Leonard says more 80th anniversary celebration events will be announced in the coming months.

United States Coast Guard Ships Moor In Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal For Maritime Week

By Tim Kowols

Three ships from the fleet of the United States Coast Guard are docking in Sturgeon Bay to celebrate Maritime Week. Residents and visitors had the opportunity Sunday and Monday to tour the visiting Coast Guard Cutters Mackinaw and Buckthorn before planned training sessions later in the week. Boatswain's Mate First Class Christopher Kohl says the crew enjoys showing the Cutter Mackinaw off, whether they are kids like his own in his home state of Michigan or local Coast Guard veterans.



Although additional tours are not currently planned, the Cutters Mackinaw, Buckthorn, and Sturgeon Bay's own Mobile Bay will be moored in the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal for the remainder of Maritime Week.

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Stone Harbor Conference Center Owner Suing Sturgeon Bay Over Tax Assessment, City Expects Minimal Effect To TID If It Loses

By Tim Kowols

The owner of Stone Harbor Conference Center in Sturgeon Bay is taking the city to court over what he believes is an unfair property tax assessment.  Lewis Krueger, through his attorney Don Millis from the Madison office of the Milwaukee firm Reinhart, Boerner, Van Deuren, is challenging the $43,000 tax bill on the waterfront property.


The city has assessed the property at a value of $1,978,000.  According to information included in Krueger's court filing, he believes the assessed value should be no higher than $1,060,000.


If Krueger is successful in his tax challenge it will mean less money coming back to the Tax Incremental District that was formed to spur economic development.  City Administrator Josh Vanlieshout told the amount of the impact on city finances would not be a major problem.


Stone Harbor General Manager Nancy Bertz told the property in question is only the convention center and not the restaurant, bar and hotel.

According to lawsuit documents, Krueger first filed a Claim for Excessive Assessment January 24, with a summons to Door County Circuit Court coming on July 24.

Live Algoma Initiative Focus Of World Leader Visits Over The Next Two Weeks

By Tim Kowols

The eyes of the world will be on Algoma over the next two weeks as leaders learn more about the success of the community's Live Algoma Initiative. The visit from leaders from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and other organizations is a part of the initiative's recognition of being a finalist for the Culture of Health Prize, an award given to communities going above and beyond to help each other improve their health and well-being. Algoma School District Superintendent Nick Cochart says it is yet another opportunity for the community to show the strides it has made.



Algoma is among 11 finalists for the prize from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which could net the initiative a $25,000 grant. Cochart says Algoma will also welcome world leaders on August 15 as a part of a summit being held in Green Bay.

Dairy Business Association Sues DNR Over Method Of Regulation Institution

By Tim Kowols

The rule-making process for proposed manure spreading limitations in northeastern Wisconsin is an example of how the Dairy Business Association would like to see the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources make changes regarding farming. The DBA is suing the DNR for going around Wisconsin law and issuing "guidance documents" to change and enforce certain regulations such as the pollutant discharge permit process and vegetative treatment areas near calf hutches and feed lots. DBA Director of Government Affairs John Holevoet says they would rather see a process similar to what was used to develop the new manure spreading limits for northeast Wisconsin, which included a committee involving UW-Oshhosh professor and Kewaunee County water quality presenter Dr. Maureen Muldoon and local government officials.



The lawsuit is still upsetting for those that were involved in the multi-year DNR/Kewaunee County workgroups regarding water quality. Kewaunee County Board member Lee Luft said in an email the lawsuit puts the debate of the DBA's "intent to fight and avoid even current regulations aimed at trying to protect our ground and surface waters" to rest.

DNR Sets Date, Time For Sturgeon Bay's Ordinary High Water Mark Declaratory Hearing

By Tim Kowols

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has picked a date and a time for a declaratory public hearing for the west side waterfront in Sturgeon Bay. Wednesday, September 6th, from 3 to 7 p.m., in the Jane Greene Room at the Door County Library is when DNR officials will hear from members of the public to weigh in on the location of the ordinary high water mark at 92 E. Maple Street, which is the subject of a lawsuit between the city of Sturgeon Bay and the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront. With the DNR hearing, a requirement of Judge Raymond Huber in the case, city administrator Josh VanLieshout says the confirmation of the date and time adds more certainty.


VanLieshout says it is up to the DNR to pick a venue for the hearing, but he expects a larger space than normal may be needed.

Sister Bay Considering Implementing Premier Resort Area Tax

By Tim Kowols

The village of Sister Bay is discussing the possibility of becoming one of seven municipalities to implement a 0.5 percent premier resort area tax. Sister Bay and Ephraim are exempt from a Wisconsin law stating premier resort areas must have at least 40 percent of the equalized value of the taxable property be occupied by tourism-related retailers such as restaurants, hotels, and gift shops. Village Administrator Zeke Jackson says Sister Bay has seen an influx of tourists over the last few years, which is good for its local businesses but bad for its infrastructure.



Jackson says the premier resort area tax is subject to a referendum. Residents will be able to give their opinion on the potential tax when the village sends out its biennial survey in the coming weeks.




Premier Resort Area Tax Providing Funding Solutions For Some Wisconsin Municipalities

Door County Educators Invite Literacy Education Expert To Discuss Student Writing

By Tim Kowols

Educators from Sevastopol, Gibraltar, and Sturgeon Bay hope to get a helping hand on their students' writing skills when literacy education advocate Kelly Gallagher conducts a conference in Institute August 28. During the conference, teachers from the three school districts will learn about how to connect reading and writing together and what goes into students' own efforts. In addition to being able to collaboratively with other Door County school districts, Sevastopol Middle and High School Principal Adam Baier says inviting Gallagher was a logical next-step based on their previous work improving reading literacy.



The conference takes place a week before classes begin for area schools on September 5.

Community Shows Their Support Of Adopt-A-Soldier Door County

By Tim Kowols

Residents and visitors put in a full day supporting Adopt-A-Soldier Door County on Sunday. Sturgeon Bay firefighters began the day serving pancakes at their station before the party picked up steam for the lunch hour with more food, live music, and other activities. Sunday's event was a first for organizer and Adopt-A-Soldier matriarch Nancy Hutchinson and she was extremely happy with the turnout.



All proceeds from the event go to support members of the Armed Services from Door and Kewaunee County. Adopt-a-Soldier Door County sends out over 1,500 care packages to troops every year.



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Sturgeon Bay Salutes Ties To Coast Guard With Maritime Week

By Tim Kowols

Over the next week, the city of Sturgeon Bay is taking the time to thank the men and women of the United States Coast Guard. As Wisconsin's Coast Guard City, festivals, picnics, and other special events will take place by honoring the military branch's presence in Sturgeon Bay, which dates back to 1883. Ranging from the picnic it helped host on last Saturday to its Coast Guard of the Year honor it distributes at its Mariner Award dinner on Monday, Door County Maritime Museum Executive Director Amy Paul says it is important to take time out of the summer to honor the branch's current members, veterans, and their families.



Maritime Week concludes next weekend (August 12 and 13) with the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center's Maritime on Madison event and the Door County Maritime Museum's Classic and Wooden Boat Festival. You can see a full list of Maritime Week activities online with this story.

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Senior Center, EMS Construction Projects In Door County Keeping Pace Despite Weather

By Tim Kowols

Door County's three big construction projects are moving along despite rain doing its best to delay the work. In Sturgeon Bay, interior work has kept crews busy as they are currently ahead of schedule on the new joint senior center and central Door County Emergency Services building. County Administrator Ken Pabich says it could be as soon as December when residents will be able to see what they have been working on.



As for the work on the two Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department stations and Door County EMS bay, Pabich says the weather has played a bigger role.



After breaking ground on the station projects in April, the B.U.G. Fire Department had hoped to be able to have their stations operational this fall.

Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Confident It Can Still Save Granary

By Tim Kowols

Last week's decision to raze the 100-plus-year-old granary on the city's west side has not halted the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society's efforts to try and save it. The organization expects to hear back in just over two weeks on whether the structure would be included on the State and National Historic Register. Christie Weber from the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society says the timeline to form a feasible plan for the granary by January 1 is tight and believes the city could have gone a different direction.



Weber charges the city with neglecting the building for several years, leading it to its current state of disrepair. The granary has been fenced off since May 26 after Sturgeon Bay Fire Chief Tim Dietman issued a Notice of Emergency Action due to noxious odors inside the building and safety concerns.

Door County Environmentalists Encouraged By Message In "An Inconvenient Sequel"

By Tim Kowols

Former Vice President Al Gore's follow-up to his 2006 Oscar-award winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth" is inspiring local environmentalists' efforts to combat global climate change. In "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power," Vice President Gore shows the progress that has been made since his first documentary and where improvements still need to be made. Virge Temme from the Climate Change Coalition of Door County cites the booming renewable energy industry as one of the biggest markers of progress.



"An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power" opened nationwide this past weekend, but it is only showing currently in Madison and Milwaukee in the state.

Grocery Stores Adding More Organic Foods As Popularity Soars

By Paul Schmitt

Organic food sales are setting records in grocery stores nationwide.  Even though organic foods can cost up to 50 percent more than non-organic products, Americans are filling up their shopping cart with foods produced without pesticides.   According to the Organic Trade Association, sales of organic food surpassed $43 billion last year.  The record year reflects an 8.4% increase over the previous year.  Jon Calhoun, store manager at Econofoods in Sturgeon Bay, says he believes the popularity of organic foods is growing because people are concerned about what they are putting into their bodies.



Fruits and vegetables account for nearly 40% of all organic food purchases.  Although organic food represents only 5.3% of total retail sales in the country, the growth can be attributed to both a health-conscious consumer and a strong economy, according to Calhoun.

Adopt-A-Soldier Program Hosting Big Event At Martin Park Today

By Paul Schmitt

Martin Park in Sturgeon Bay will be buzzing with activity today as the Adopt-A-Soldier program is hosting a full day of food, music, and fun.   Organizer and Adopt-A-Soldier Coordinator Nancy Hutchinson says the event that will go until 5:30 pm this evening and will help raise funds to support the 190 care packages that are shipped eight times a year to the area men and women who are serving in our military all over the world.



Hutchinson founded the organization in 2008 which received 501C3 status last year.  You can find more information about today's event at Martin Park and the Adopt-A-Soldier program with this story online.

Sturgeon Bay Senior Experiences Pre-College Program For Harvard

By Connor Sannito

Sara Pabich, a Sturgeon Bay High School senior, went to the Harvard pre-college program this July. The two week long camp at the Ivy League school offered campus life- staying in the actual dorms of Harvard students- and the rigors of the variety of offered courses- having three to four hours of homework every night after a three hour long daily lecture.

Pabich took the course AIDS, Earthquakes, and Ebola: The Fight to Save the World - ostensibly about global health. She received the college resources/access that a true Harvard student would have as she was among other bright young high school students - about 500 kids from across the country - who were also among the top of their class.



The application process itself was long. Pabich had to send in her transcript, get a recommendation from the school counselor, and she had to answer an array of essay questions.

Now that Pabich is home, she awaits a mailed letter determining if she passed or failed the camp. In addition, she will receive an evaluation from her professor discerning whether she met the requirements that a real graduate student would achieve.

Sara Pabich is in the top ten percent of her senior class at Sturgeon Bay high school with a 4.0 GPA. Along with taking various college level classes, she is also in National Honor's Society and is a frequent volunteer.

After this advantageous experience at the Harvard pre-college program, Pabich feels like she learned a lot and she now hopes to pursue a humanitarian/global health base with her future.

Miller Art Museum's "Arts & Treasures Sale" Allows Visitors To Take Home Original Door County Art

By Paul Schmitt

You have the opportunity to purchase and bring home some original Door County Art as the Miller Art Museum is hosting the 12th annual Art's & Treasures Sale the next two weeks inside the Sturgeon Bay Library.  Executive Director of the museum Elizabeth Meissner-Gigstead says the annual sale is a cross between an estate sale and a yard sale.



Proceeds generated from the Art & Treasures Sale benefit the museum's exhibitions, programming and community outreach, according to Meissner-Gigstead.   Admission is free to the Miller Art Museum which is open 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily except for being closed on Sundays.  The Art & Treasures Sale is located on the mezzanine level of the museum through August 19.

Bay Lake ATV Club Hosting Huge Hare Scramble Race Sunday In Kewaunee

By Paul Schmitt

About 120 ATV and motorcycle racers will be converging on Kewaunee County this weekend for the Bay Lake ATV Club's annual WIXC Hare Scramble Race.  The races will be held Sunday starting at 8 a.m. and will be held at the Riverview ATV Park just west of Kewaunee.  BayLake ATV Club member Kelly Froelich says this is the eighth year of bringing the races to the county and spectators can expect a full and exciting day of racing.



The races are sponsored by RPI Off Road and Wisconsin Cross-Country Series that attracts racers from all over the Midwest, according to Froelich.  The gate fee for admission is $10 and proceeds from the event help maintain and develop the Riverview ATV Park located on County L by the Kewaunee County Winter Park.

Local Enviromentalist Worried That Foxconn Deal Is Moving Too Fast

By Paul Schmitt

Environmental groups are speaking up against the legislative package that would exempt Foxconn Technology Group from environmental regulations.  Door County environmentalist Wayne Kudick says he believes the state legislature is moving too rapidly without dealing with the complexity of how the Foxconn plant in Kenosha or Racine County would impact Lake Michigan.



Kudick says he is also worried that the environmental concessions would set a precedent.



According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the environmental exemptions and $3 billion in subsidies were in exchange for Foxconn agreeing to hire thousands of workers and invest up to $10 billion in the factory.  The State Assembly started hearings on the Foxconn deal on Thursday in Madison with a vote expected sometime in mid-August.

SBU's Power Supply To Be 40% Emission-Free With New Wind Energy Resource

By Paul Schmitt

Sturgeon Bay Utilities announced Friday that their customers will be receiving even more of their electricity from cost-effective renewable energy beginning in 2018.  An agreement between Sturgeon Bay Utilities' not-for-profit WPPI Energy and Invenergy will have output purchased from the 132 megawatt Bishop Hill III Wind Energy Center in Illinois.  Sturgeon Bay Utilities General Manager Jim Stawicki says the newly purchased output should help hold the line in pricing for customers and provide more than 40 percent emission free power supply.



The addition of the Bishop Hill III Wind Energy Center will bring to more than 20 percent the total portion of Sturgeon Bay Utilities' power supply that comes from renewable energy.

Area Schools Not Changing Cell Phone Policy For Classrooms

By Paul Schmitt

Weighing the advantages and disadvantages of having cell phones in classrooms is making it challenging for school administrators to decide the right policy.  According to, Portage High School decided to ban cell phones in classrooms this year.  Luxemburg-Casco School Superintendent Glenn Schlender says the school district does not look to make any changes to their policy.



Schlender says the school district tries to make the use of cell phones similar to a work environment and has not experienced any serious issues.  He says when cell phone privileges are violated in the classroom, teachers handle it on a case-by-case basis.

Door County Library Supplying Books For Altrusa's "Back to School Fair" This Saturday

By Paul Schmitt

The Altrusa "Back to School" Fair is this Saturday and the Door County Library is helping out with an important aspect by donating books to the cause.  Door County Library Youth Services Librarian Beth Lokken says pride of ownership of books is crucial to a child's literacy development.



Last year the Altrusa of Door County's "Back to School Fair" welcomed almost 600 children and provided backpacks, school supplies, shoes, socks, and free books as part of the community project.  The Friends of the Door County Library are responsible for supplying the books for the fair, according to Lokken.

Birch Creek Looking For Additional Musicians For "Adult Band Camp"

By Paul Schmitt

Birch Creek Music Performance Center is looking for musicians to participate in the annual "Adult Band Camp" performance coming up later this month.  Executive Director Mona Christensen says you don't have to be a professional to join in on the fun experience headed up by three award-winning directors.



Christensen says that community band members from five states, including as far away as California, are participating in the four days, three nights camp August 19-22.   You can find more information and a link to online registration for the Birch Creek Music Performance Center Adult Band Camp with this story online.


July Was Deadliest Month Of The Year On Wisconsin Roads

By Paul Schmitt

Wisconsin roads in July were the deadliest of the year.  According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), 66 people died in traffic crashes last month.  State officials from the DOT issue a special "call to action" urging motorists to be safe and responsible by being alert, buckling up, slowing down and driving sober.  Door County Sheriff Steve Delarwelle also has advice to drivers as heavy weekend travel and tourism will continue for the next several weeks.



Traffic fatalities year-to-date in Wisconsin have numbered 388.  Of those deaths, 192 were car and truck drivers, 59 passengers, 45 motorcyclists and 38 pedestrians.

Luxemburg Speedway Canceling Races For The Next Two Weeks

By Paul Schmitt


Citing poor weather conditions and the financial health of the speedway, organizers from the Luxemburg Speedway are canceling the next two  Friday night events.  According to the Luxemburg Speedway website, Ron Cochrane and Eric Mahlik says the track has experienced a lower car count and a fan count that was half of last season.  Although sponsorship is down as well for the year, plans are to finish the 2017 season with the scheduled races on the last two Fridays of the month.  The August  18th event will feature the John Soukup Memorial and Quietwoods RV Stock Car Special with the final points night of the season being held on August 25.

Culture Creates Sustaining Success For Door County Medical Center

By Tim Kowols

The path to Door County Medical Center receiving high marks for patient satisfaction and sharing their success story to a conference in Chicago begins with a simple hello to each other. For the last fourteen years, Door County Medical Center has emphasized creating a positive culture throughout their organization from CEO Jerry Worrick to the night housekeeping staff and the rest of the over 600 employees. Worrick says it starts with medical students who are given the opportunity at Door County Medical Center to learn by doing as well as watching.



Vice President of Patient Care Jody Boes says it continues throughout an employee's career at the hospital by celebrating each other's achievements and expecting them to say hello to each other in the hallways.



The positive culture has carried over into recent studies showing Door County Medical Center's patient satisfaction in several different areas at or above the 95 percent percentile, leading it to be a top 20 critical access hospital in the country according to the National Rural Health Association.

West Nile Virus Found In Door County Bird

By Paul Schmitt

A dead crow that tested positive for the West Nile virus was found in Door County last week.  The Door County Public Health Department issued a news release on Wednesday stating this was the first bird found in Door County since surveillance for the mosquito-transmitted virus began on May 1.  Public Health Director/Health Officer Rhonda Kolberg says the positive bird means residents should take extra measures to guard against mosquito bites.



In 2016, Wisconsin had only had 13 cases of West Nile virus contracted by residents.  Kollberg says the majority of people who are infected with the virus do not get sick with less than one percent getting seriously ill.  She says the elderly and those with a compromised immune system are more susceptible to high fevers, muscle weakness, confusion, paralysis and even death.

Rogue Theater Reprises First Play From Depot Run Beginning Next Week

By Tim Kowols

Rogue Theater is going back into the vault when it debuts its newest play next week in Sturgeon Bay. Written by John Ford Noonan, "A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking" was the play chosen by Rogue Theater to open its residency at the Depot Performing Arts Center, a venue the troupe played in from 2013 to 2015. Rogue Theater co-founder and "Coupla White Chicks" director Stuart Champeau says reprising the play is good for people who may have missed it the first time.



The play, starring Rachel Seizer and Rogue Theater co-founder Lola DeVillers, runs from August 10-20 at the Jaycee Clubhouse.

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4-H Hopes To Grow Opportunities In Northern Door County, Washington Island

By Tim Kowols

Door County 4-H hopes time will help develop more opportunities for youth in the northern part of the area and Washington Island. Of the county's eight clubs, only Washington Island has one north of Egg Harbor. 4-H Youth Development Educator Dawn Vandevoort says geography and time poverty are to blame for some of the low numbers.



Vandevoort is thankful for the volunteers involved in 4-H for helping the programs and clubs be successful. 4-H members from across the county will be in Sturgeon Bay this weekend displaying their projects at the Door County Fair, which runs through Sunday.

Sewer Line, Concerns For Future TID Success Leads To No Vote For Vandertie

By Tim Kowols

District 2 alderperson Ron Vandertie says there are several reasons why he chose to not support a settlement agreement between the city of Sturgeon Bay and the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront. Vandertie, along with alderpersons Stewart Fett and Rick Wiesner, was in the minority when the Sturgeon Bay Common Council voted 4-3 Tuesday to approve the settlement agreement. Developer reluctance to build over a sewer line without incentives and generating enough money to cover the tax increment district were among Vandertie's chief concerns.


Vandertie says for him, it comes down to where the Department of Natural Resources draws the ordinary high water mark.



The DNR had originally set a date of August 3 to hold a public hearing on the mark, but never followed up with a time or location, according to city administrator Josh VanLieshout.  No future meeting has been scheduled.

Door County Economic Development Corporation To Host Manufacturing Days

By Tim Kowols

The Door County Economic Development Corporation hopes to introduce local high school students to career opportunities in their own backyard. Based off of a similar event held in Kewaunee County last year, the DCEDC will host Manufacturing Days October 20-21 at different businesses located within the Sturgeon Bay Industrial Park. Executive Director Caleb Frostman hopes the students realize they do not need to go to a four-year university to get a fulfilling and challenging career with a living wage.



High school students will take part in a three-hour program touring the facilities on October 20 while the community is invited to take part in similar activities on October 21.

Kewaunee County Budget Coming Along

By Tim Kowols

The early stages of constructing the Kewaunee County budget have not experienced the same drama it had just a year ago. Last year's budget discussion included the debate over the implementation of a 0.5 percent sales tax, which was put into effect earlier this year. This year, Kewaunee County Finance Committee Chairperson Lee Luft says the budget does not just keep in check revenues and expenses, but also details specifics in areas such as capital improvements and personnel.



The Finance Committee will meet at least two more times before a scheduled budget hearing and a public session on October 17 at 6 p.m.

Bilodeau Forming Bond With Future Home, Door County Habitat For Humanity Volunteers

By Tim Kowols

Every Tuesday, you can count on Kendra Bilodeau being at the site of her dream home. Bilodeau, along with her children Matthew and Elizabeth, are this year's partner family with Door County Habitat for Humanity's 40th home build. From putting tar paper on her future roof to laying down flooring, there has not been much Bilodeau has not done to help the group of volunteers building the home. She is thankful for the time the volunteers are spending and for getting her outside of her comfort zone.




Project Supervisor Chuck Stone has worked with a lot of partner families during his time as a volunteer with Door County Habitat for Humanity but says this year has been even more special.



Stone says it has been the building boom in Door County and not the weather that has slowed down volunteers as contractors for specific parts of the project have been hard to get. Bilodeau hopes more families in need of a "hand-up" hear her story and apply for future Door County Habitat for Humanity home builds.

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Door County YMCA Summer Day Camps Continuing Through Early September

By Paul Schmitt

The Door County YMCA summer day camps have been involving over 400 children that receive a lunch and snack as part of the summer food program provided by the YMCA.  CEO and President Tom Beerntsen says this year is a collaborative effort with another organization.



The Door County YMCA's summer food program has been in existence for six years and the summer day camps will continue through the first week of school in early September, according to Beerntsen.  You can find information on still including your child yet this summer by going to the link with this story online.

Annual "Czech & Kolache Festival" Being Held At Ag Heritage Center This Weekend

By Paul Schmitt

The Agricultural Heritage Farm in Kewaunee County will be hosting annual "Northeastern Wisconsin Czech & Kolache Festival this weekend.  The Czech and Slovak origin will be modeled and narrated with a parade of costume-dressed dancers and choraliers on Saturday afternoon along with a special featured presentation, according to Heritage Farm member Orv Konop.



Freshly baked Kolaches will be baked each morning during the festival including a Koloche cooking demonstration by Joanne Vogel and music featuring Czech music and polkas.  You can find more information on this weekend's  Czech & Kolache Festival at the Heritage Farm south of Kewaunee on Highway 42 with this story online.

Council Member Says Vote For Waterfront Lawsuit Settlement Is One Step Forward

By Paul Schmitt

One of the council members who cast the deciding 4 to 3 vote in favor of accepting the proposed settlement between the City of Sturgeon Bay and the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront says the action Tuesday by the council is another step towards hopefully resolving the lawsuit looming over the city.  District 3 Alderperson David Ward says a future resolution still remains in doubt.



Ward voted along with members Kelly Catarozoli, Laurel Hauser, and Barbara Allmann to approve the settlement reached by an ad hoc committee that met with representatives of the Friends group back in June.  The ad hoc committee consisted of Ward and Hauser.  The Waterfront Redevelopment Authority, who is also listed as a defendant in the lawsuit, voted last week 5 to 2 against the proposed settlement.  According to Ward, the Wisconsin DNR will be meeting next week to determine a date for an upcoming declaratory ruling on the Ordinary High Water Mark that is the factor in any private development on the disputed west side waterfront property.

Jacksonport Ready To Celebrate 23rd Annual Cherry Fest On Saturday

By Paul Schmitt

Jacksonport will once again be all things cherry this Saturday at the 23rd annual Cherry Fest.  Gary Rezeau, chair of the event and a member of the Jacksonport Historical Society, says the family-friendly event usually features over 70 vendors and plenty of cherry-related foods.



Cherry Fest will be from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m on Saturday at Lakeside Park located on Highway 57 in Jacksonport.  You can find details of all the planned activities for the 23rd annual Cherry Fest at the link below.

City Council's Vote To Approve Negotiated Deal Still Awaits DNR Declaratory Ruling

By Paul Schmitt

The Sturgeon Bay City Council's 4 to 3 vote Tuesday to approve a settlement agreement that would end a lawsuit filed by Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront does not mean the lawsuit is over.   Since the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority rejected the agreement last month by a 5 to 2 vote and is also named in the lawsuit brought by the Friends group, there is no settlement yet, according to City Administrator Josh VanLieshout.



VanLieshout says the next step is for the Wisconsin DNR to hold the declaratory ruling on the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM) on the disputed land.  The lawsuit was initially won by the Friends group and banned development of a proposed hotel on land that Judge Raymond Huber ruled was once lakebed.  Judge Huber would also have to sign off on any negotiated settlement.


The four members of the city council who voted for the settlement agreement were Kelly Catarozoli, Barbara Almann, Laurel Hauser, and David Ward.

Sturgeon Bay City Council Votes 4 to 3 to Approve Settlement Agreement


The Sturgeon Bay City Council returned to open session today and voted 4 to 3 to approve a settlement agreement that will end a lawsuit filed by Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront.  The lawsuit was initially won by the Friends group and prohibited development of a controversial hotel on land that a judge ruled was former lakebed.

Permit Reissuance For Kewaunee County Farm Renews Call For CAFO Moratorium

By Tim Kowols

Environmental advocates are renewing their call for a moratorium of large scale farm expansion after a Kewaunee County farm had their permit request approved by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. El-Na Farms located in the town of Lincoln will be allowed under the permit to potentially add close to 3,300 cows to their operation just months after UW-Oshkosh professor Maureen Muldoon called the region a hydro-geologically bad place to put a lot of cows. Nancy Utesch and her organization Kewaunee C.A.R.E.S. is part of the Sustain Rural Wisconsin Network that is calling for a moratorium on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations for the short term. She says officials need to step back and pause before reissuing permits.



In May when the DNR first announced the hearing, El-Na Farms owner Lonnie Ferendael told the biggest misconception on the permit is when the expansion would take place and how many cows compared to animal units would be involved. The reissued permit is good for five years.

Sturgeon Bay Granary Life Extended to 1-1-18

By Roger Utnehmer

A closely-divided Sturgeon Bay City Council extended the life of the structurally-challenged waterfront granary to the end of the year.

Council Member Stewart Fett moved to obtain bids for the razing of the structure with demolition not be begin before January 1, 2018.

Fett's motion was adopted by a 4 to 3 vote in spite of a proposal made to the council by Hans Christian to repurpose the granary as part of a Center for the Arts.


Christian has been in discussion with the Miller Art Museum and Third Avenue Playhouse to create a waterfront performing arts complex that would be utilized by both organizations and available to the public for performances.



Christie Weber, president of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society, also asked for a delay in demolition stating the granary will be listed on the National Register the of Historic Buildings soon.


Voting against obtaining demolition bids were Council Members Barbara Allman, Laurel Hauser and Kelly Catarozoli.


Numerous members of the public appealed to council members before the vote to save the granary and to approve a settlement negotiated by Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront and the city.  The vote to go into closed session sparked an emotional appeal by Council Member Catarozoli to be transparent and meet in open session.



Her motion failed by a 4 to 3 vote.  She was joining in advocating for open discussion by Council Members Allman and Hauser but not before Council Member David Ward claimed that "everything said in closed session is leaked to the press," something he called "unprofessional behavior."


An ad hoc committee with representatives of both the Friends group and city government reached an agreement that would settle the lawsuit brought by the Friends to restrict the location of waterfront development.  The council went into closed session to discuss settlement on a vote of 5 to 2 with Catarozoli and Allman voting against the secret session.


Council Members Allmann and Hauser have asked for a special meeting of the council to consider the settlement but that request has not been approved by Mayor Thad Birmingham.


Ward did confirm that attorneys hired by the city to appeal the lawsuit won by the Friends could take "from two to six years" to resolve.


During public comments, Paul Anschutz charged city officials or the council with ignoring an agreement to provide access to a housing development on the city's west side and Laurel Brooks called for the adoption of an ethics policy.  Brooks also said the council is not complying with the state's open meetings law by allowing the mayor to make appointments without listing the names of the people being appointed on the agenda.


Both Mike Orlock and Bonnie Staatz used the public comment period to ask for evening meetings of the council and more transparency in city government.  Several speakers also asked that the controversial Waterfront Redevelopment Authority be abolished.


Entire audio of open session below:

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Progress Being Made On Northern Sky Theater's Constellation Campaign

By Tim Kowols

As performances continue on their stage inside Peninsula State Park, Northern Sky Theater is happy progress is being made with their future home away from home. The public phase of Northern Sky's Constellation Campaign kicked off in June to raise $6.7 million for a Fish Creek facility that would include a 250-seat indoor theater and space for offices, set and costume design, and rehearsal space. Artistic director Jeffrey Herbst says he is confident they will be able to raise the money necessary to break ground in the near future.


Northern Sky Theater currently uses space in four different municipalities across Door County before their shows get to their outdoor amphitheater during the summer season and the stages at the Door Community Auditorium and Old Gibraltar Town Hall during the fall and winter.


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New Sturgeon Bay Ordinance Hopes To Increase Positive Buzz On Beekeeping

By Tim Kowols

Local beekeepers hope Sturgeon Bay's new ordinance making it easier to take up the hobby will help answer some concerns about bees. Last month the Sturgeon Bay Common Council approved an ordinance allowing beekeepers to pay a smaller fee for a permit to install a hive given it was at least 25 feet from adjacent homeowners. Mark Lentz, a member of the Door County Beekeepers Club and one of the many voices that helped write the ordinance hopes this fosters a dialogue between the 80 club members and concerned land owners.



Sturgeon Bay's beekeeping ordinance, which had changes made to it during the July 18 Common Council meeting, was based on similar rules in other municipalities across the country.

Luxemburg-Casco School District Putting Energy Savings To Work

By Tim Kowols

Luxemburg-Casco School District is investing in their future while making some upgrades to their buildings. For the last year, the school district has partnered with Nexus Solutions to find ways their buildings can invest in some energy-saving improvements. Thanks to a law signed by Governor Scott Walker in 2011, school districts like Luxemburg-Casco can use these energy savings to help pay for the improvements without directly asking taxpayers for help. Superintendent Glen Schlender says the law also allows them to spread those savings out over 20 years, so something as simple as new lights can go even further.



Some additional work using those energy savings dollars may also be done next summer as well. Schlender says talks are beginning about potentially introducing a referendum question for next spring to help fund additional projects such as upgraded fitness facilities.

Egg Harbor Historical Society Restoring Old Bookmobile Into "History-mobile"

By Paul Schmitt

The Egg Harbor Historical Society is looking to restore the original Door County Library Bookmobile.  The plan is to have the vehicle touring Door County again by next year and Egg Harbor Historical Society President Myles Dannhausen, Sr. explains how the bookmobile would be utilized.



The bookmobile which was used as far back as the 1950's through a state program designed to distribute books to more rural areas.  After the county took over the program through the 1980's, it was purchased in 1989 by John Enigl a local historian who in turn sold it to the historical society in 2014, according to Dannhausen.    You can find more information on the bookmobile project and the Egg Harbor Historical Society with the link below.


(photo compliments of Egg Harbor Historical Society)

Estate Plans Should Be Reviewed And Updated

By Paul Schmitt

Just because you checked off a will or an estate plan on your to-do list, it does not mean you don't have to revisit it.  According to Bob Ross of Ross Estate Planning in Sturgeon Bay, reviewing and updating one's estate plan is important when changes occur in your family.



Ross says people may want to make changes to their advance financial and health care directives in the future.  Using charitable contributions for tax advantages and the planning for a nursing home are also two frequent inquiries made in regards to establishing an estate plan, according to Ross.


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