News Archives for 2017-12

The Ski For Free program offers an opportunity to learn snowshoeing and cross country skiing

By Cynthia Germain


Residents can now experience snowshoeing and cross-country skiing with free equipment provided at the Crossroads at Big Creek. The Ski Distribution Center is open Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 1:00-3:30 p.m. with volunteers from Crossroads or Door County Silent Sports members to help fit people with boots, skis and poles. Guides are not provided but signage along the trails and maps at intersections help visitors know where they are on a ski trail, groomed for both skate skiing and diagonal skiing, or a multi-use trail which accommodates snowshoeing and hiking. Coggin Heeringa, Director of Crossroads at Big Creek, says that although the equipment can only be used at the Crossroads trails, they also have two other areas that ski and snowshoe enthusiasts can use.



Heeringa is pleased with the new equipment offered that has been purchased with the help of grants and funds raised by the Crossroads Trail Run. She encourages those interested in snowshoeing to wear good boots, those wanting to ski to have warm socks, and of course, all to dress appropriately for the weather. The Ski For Free program is available as good conditions allow all winter long.

Local juvenile rehabilitative program has a positive impact on offenders

By Cynthia Germain


The Juvenile Restitution Program through the Lakeshore Community Action Program helps young people be accountable for offenses with focus on developing work competency and making victims whole. The JRP serves offenders age 10 to 17 who have been ordered to complete community service or pay restitution, and Sandi Soik, Manager of the Door County Lakeshore CAP and coordinator of the JRP, says that the program is very structured with assistance getting a job, ultimately having 75% of their earnings go to pay their victims for losses caused by their actions. Soik adds that this helps not only the youth's current situation but prepares them for a more positive future.



Soik says that youth in the program have paid $136,000 in restitution and completed approximately 40,000 hours in community services since its inception in 1991. The JRP also collaborates with a number of local agencies and organizations to coordinate unpaid community service work and work with the young people to transition into responsible adulthood.

Local society assists residents with genealogy research

By Cynthia Germain

Finding your family's history is not always easy but local residents can get personal help at the library through the Northern Door Genealogical Society. The Society was founded by Don and Myrma Howard to create a means to meet and share what they have done to help others explore their genealogy. The Society has grown to over 30 members and has done a number of activities over the years to support their efforts including photocopying all of the local Lutheran and Catholic Church records which are available at the local library. Every Tuesday afternoon, a member is at the Sister Bay library to assist anyone with genealogical research. Don Howard says that a person starts with present day information and works backward through generations with the many resources that are made free through the library.





Myrma Howard encourages everyone to write their own memoirs, a personal account of historical knowledge, and recommends To Our Children's Children by Bob Green. Myrma says that this can be one tool to help examine personal history or interview family members to further their genealogical research. The Northern Door Genealogical Society members meet once a month in the Howard home in Sister Bay to share new resources and common experiences.

People affected by mental illness have a place to go for resources and more

By Cynthia Germain


Those affected by mental illness have a place to go in Sturgeon Bay that offers refuge and resources. Jak's Place opened 10 years ago, named after Jonah Andrew Klapatch (JAK), the son of the center's founder who lost his life to the effects of mental illness, and continues to serve the community with support and advocacy. Jak's Place is currently a project of Lakeshore Community Action Program, and Jane Herlitz, Executive Director, says that their goal is to help those who are participating at Jak's to achieve recovery and independent function in the community through a variety of support groups and social programming.



Herlitz notes that socialization is key and that Tuesday night is a big night with a community dinner, serving on average of 25 people. Jak's Place supports not only those with a mental illness diagnosis but also their families providing counsel, community referrals and advocacy. As they look to the new year, the staff of Jak's Place are in the process of structuring youth mental health programming in collaboration with other local organizations to serve young people with mental illness in the community.

Legal Aid Society of Door County is doing its part to ensure poverty is not a barrier to legal justice


By Kent Berkley


The Legal Aid Society of Door County helps poor people seek justice through the courts.  The legal system can be a confusing place for people unfamiliar with its rules of evidence, procedure, and courtroom etiquette.   Having the facts in one's favor is important but does little good if someone does not know how to present them for consideration by a judge or jury.   Hiring a lawyer can be cost prohibitive for people living in poverty.  David Clowers, a contract attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Door County, says his role is to screen cases, provide people with basic information about the process and recruit volunteer attorneys to handle cases for individuals that qualify.





Clowers says that he works with a couple dozen volunteer attorneys from the area.  He says he is always looking for attorneys that want to satisfy their ethical and professional obligations to provide pro bono legal services for the public good.   Persons interested in supporting the organization can find information about the upcoming fundraising event on January 27th at



Local restaurant owner supports tip pooling but believes it might not be best in all cases



By Kent Berkley


Rob Scaturo of Scaturo's Baking Co & Café in Sturgeon Bay supports the concept of tip pooling because he believes it creates a sense of teamwork among the service staff.  He has worked in systems in which tip money was treated as the property of the individual server and systems in which tips were pooled and distributed equitably among the service team.  He believes customers receive better care and attention if every server is committed to every customer.






Rob understands that if the Department of Labor allows employers to pool tips earned by servers it would theoretically be possible for the employer to keep some or all of the tip money.  Rob says this would be bad business practice and lead to staff turnover and poor customer service.  On the other hand, Rob supports practices that promote teamwork among staff and fairer treatment of untipped employees like cooks, dishwashers, and others in the "back of house".

Potawatomi State Park to begin master planning that will impact activities for decades



By Kent Berkley


Potawatomi State Park is launching its master planning process.  Potawatomi State Park representatives will be part of a larger planning consortium developing master plans for all DNR properties within the northern Lake Michigan coastal region.  Erin Brown Stender, Park Superintendent, says the plan will provide the broad vision that guides recreation and development for the next generation.





Brown Stender said the current master plan dates back to the 1980s.  Planners for Potawatomi State Park will have the benefit of sharing knowledge and technical assistance with others working concurrently on their plans.



Try to replace your car battery before it goes bad and use proper caution if you must jump it


By Kent Berkley


Frigid winter temperatures take a toll on vehicles.   Vehicles are at greater risk of breaking down in these conditions and owners can be put in peril if stranded by the side of the road in sub-zero weather.  Randy Sahs from Sahs Auto Collison and Repair in Sturgeon Bay says that batteries seldom die without giving warning signs.  He suggests having the battery tested with each oil change and replacing it when the feedback suggests it is time.   Randy says that if circumstances require having a battery jumped, it is important to pay attention to the vehicle-specific instructions in the owner's manual when hooking up the cables.




Sahs says that some of the newer cars have batters in out-of-the-way places and may have special connectors for the cable attachments.   He suggests calling a professional to handle the jump if the owner has doubts about the proper way to handle the situation.


Petty Officer Michaels of Sturgeon Bay Coast Guard provides safety tips for going out on the ice



By Kent Berkley


Petty Officer Michaels of the Sturgeon Bay Coast Guard station says people should take a few prudent steps before participating in ice-based activities.  Every year people, snowmobiles and vehicles go through the ice because of false assumptions about ice depth or capabilities.  Michaels said it is important to know the minimum ice thickness standards for safe excursions.  He stated that the ice thickness should be at least three inches for walking, six inches for snowmobiles, and twelve inches for vehicles.   Michaels recommends safety checks and notification steps before heading out to skate, snowmobile or set up a fish shanty.






Petty Officer Michaels indicated that local bait and tackle shops can be a good resource to assess current conditions.  He also added that when planning a group excursion it is not a bad idea to share the float plan or safety plan with the Coast Guard as well as with family and friends.

Door County architect works to bring sustainable design into the mainstream



By Kent Berkley


Door County architect Virge Temme is nationally renowned for her cutting-edge work in sustainable design.  She has a passion for sharing what she has learned with homeowners, contractors, planners and especially, young people.   For more than 25 years she has researched and experimented with sustainable design and climate-specific architecture.  Temme defines sustainable design as building in a way that is thoughtful and intentional about the impact it will have on future generations and trying to leave the world in as good or better condition than we found it.  In discussing her career journey, she stated that it was initially difficult to get potential clients to embrace sustainable design concepts, but discovered that people were much more receptive to her ideas when she began the conversation focusing on how sustainable design would enhance their comfort and be cost effective.




Temme says that it is easier today to have a holistic discussion that integrates the environmental merits of sustainable design while addressing the practical aspects of cost and comfort.  She says her ideas have gained traction over the years as evidence of climate change mounts and sustainable design becomes more visible and prominent.  Temme says she is regularly sought out by clients wanting net-zero energy homes.   She says she intends to continue her research and advocacy related to sustainable design and will spend more time working with young people who can carry the work forward for future generations.

Snow cover important to farmer's fields future crops with extreme cold

By Paul Schmitt

Snow cover in fields this time of year is crucial to a successful harvest for farmers down the road especially with extreme colder temperatures and winds forecasted for another week.  Rich Olson from Olson Family Farm in southern Door County explains why a blanket of snow in the fields is important.



Liberty Grove hopes to add up to three new towers for broadband Internet access

By Tim Kowols

Five towers in the town of Liberty Grove by the end of 2018 is the goal to improve the community's broadband Internet access. The town is working with Door County Broadband to earn a Wisconsin Public Service grant to build the additional towers to reach more parts of the area, currently served by only two towers. Liberty Grove chairperson John Lowry says a study done by UW-Whitewater showing the impact of a better Internet connection is a major driver.


Miller Art Museum takes families "Beyond Words"

By Tim Kowols

The Miller Art Museum is offering an opportunity for the young at heart to see art from the pages of children's books make the leap to its gallery walls. Since its opening last month, "Beyond Words: The Art of Regional Children's Book Illustration" has welcomed several school groups and other guests to see the art of six illustrators, including Door County residents Malin Ekman, Mary Ellen Sisulak, and Bonnie Lieck, in a whole new, different way.  Miller Art Museum Executive Director Elizabeth Meissner-Gigstead says the exhibit follows its annual winter tradition of something locally and family-focused.

Sturgeon Bay Schools could add Montessori program for 2018-2019 school year

By Tim Kowols

The Sturgeon Bay School District is planning on having a 4K Montessori-based classroom beginning next academic year at Sunset School. Montessori programs are a little bit different than a traditional classroom by emphasizing students learn using all five senses instead of just sight and sound. Sturgeon Bay School District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel says a survey conducted by its exploratory committee and presented to the board last month yielded results that made creating the classroom a good idea.


Lasee resigns from Wisconsin Senate seat

By Tim Kowols

Senator Frank Lasee resigned from his seat in the Wisconsin State Senate Friday, causing a vacancy in the district representing parts of northeast Wisconsin including Door and Kewaunee County. According to a press release, Lasee will leave the Senate to take a job in the Walker administration as the administrator for the Department of Workforce Development's Worker's Compensation Division. According to the USA Today Network- Wisconsin, Gov. Walker's spokesperson Tom Evenson says the seat will be filled during the November election.

Center for the Arts committee submits preliminary plans for granary site to Sturgeon Bay

By Tim Kowols

The exploratory committee behind a new performing arts facility on Sturgeon Bay's west waterfront hopes members of the city's common council review their plans before a possible vote on demolishing the granary. Using a refurbished granary as  a unique feature of the development, the Center for the Fine Arts would include expanded spaces for the Third Avenue Playhouse and the Miller Art Museum, event space, and a brew pub. Committee Vice President Alan Kopischke admits the proposal is not ready for formal consideration by the council, but hopes the plan meets the criteria of an August resolution to have a plan in writing before a vote to demolish the granary takes place, even with several questions yet to answer.


Wisconsinites cannot prepay 2018 bills to take advantage of new tax laws

By Tim Kowols

Taxpayers looking to get more from their refund check by taking advantage of some of the tax reform changes are out of luck in Wisconsin. With the standard deduction doubling and a $10,000 cap on local and state taxes that can be deducted in 2018, many are trying to get the necessary paperwork needed to take advantage of the window in 2017 by looking to pre-pay next year's property taxes. Kewaunee County Treasurer Michelle Dax says she has received numerous calls on the subject and knows others on the local level also fielding questions. She says it has been the same news for everyone: under Wisconsin State Statute 74.13, no one can pre-pay their property taxes this far in advance.


Area fire departments battle fires near Brussels and Sturgeon Bay Thursday


By Paul Schmitt

One home looks to be destroyed and another one suffered smoke damage Thursday in two separate fires in Door County.  The Brussels Union Gardner Fire Department responded shortly after 10 o'clock in the morning to 729 County Road DK just southwest of Brussels.  BUG Assistant Fire Chief Jim Wautier details the scene when firefighters arrived.



Couple safe after fire destroys their Nasewaupee residence



By Kent Berkley


A Thursday morning fire in the town of Nasewaupee destroyed a couple's mobile home and took the lives of their five pets.  Southern Door Fire Chief Chuck Cihlar says his department responded to 2276 County Road O and arrived to find the trailer home engulfed in flames.  He described the scene that required mutual aid from the Sturgeon Bay and Bug Fire Departments.




The cause of the fire is unclear at this time.  The owner of the home detected nothing unusual when he left for work at 6:00 but his wife was awakened by a smoke detector a couple of hours later.  The frigid temperatures created challenges but none of the firefighters were injured.  Red Cross and EMS workers provided assistance to the firefighters and residents at the scene.


Kewaunee officials looking for feedback on waterfront's future

By Tim Kowols

The city of Kewaunee is turning to the public for help on the future of its waterfront. A Waterfront Steering Committee has been formed to oversee the future improvements to the site, which has gone through an over $4 million overhaul thanks in part to a grant from the State of Wisconsin. Kewaunee Mayor Sandi Christman says the focus of its efforts, which include a survey and public meeting, is to improve an outdated plan and to make the waterfront great for everyone.


Post-holiday Christmas trees provide fire safety hazard

By Tim Kowols

With Christmas in the rear view mirror, now is an important time to double check the possible winter dangers in your home.  Dried out Christmas trees are to blame for an average of 200 home fires every year according to the National Fire Protection Association, causing an average of six deaths, 16 injuries, and $14.8 million in property damage annually. Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht reminds live tree owners that even though the holidays are drawing to a close, you still have to keep an eye on it if you going to hold off on throwing it out.


Organic farmers still getting their cows outdoors despite bitter cold

By Tim Kowols

While some cows in the area never leave the comforts of their barn, the herds at organic operations like Wilke R Organic Farm north of Sturgeon Bay are still getting their exercise. The United States Department of Agriculture requires operators to get their cows outside at least once a day for an hour or more in order to still meet organic standards. Owner Kevin Wilke says some circumstances allow them to keep the cows inside as long as they make a note of it, but otherwise, their herd likes getting outside, even if they are just standing within the farm's three-sided solar building.


Structural engineer clears air about granary opinion, thinks it can be saved

By Tim Kowols

A Door County structural engineer is clarifying his 2013 position on the Teweles and Brandeis Granary on Sturgeon Bay's west side, saying more should be done to save the structure. In an email sent to Sturgeon Bay Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak and shared with, Michael J. Till of Michael J Till Associates stated that in 2013 he told the city the granary was salvageable, but "immediate remediation should be undertaken to stabilize the foundation issues as well as to restore the connections of 'mass-timber' element that have been compromised." Till says he made this point because of the potential for a safety concern.


New prospective candidates popping up for city council races days before deadline

By Tim Kowols

Nomination papers are still being taken out less than a week before they are due back to city halls in Door and Kewaunee County.


In Sturgeon Bay, John Lodl has taken papers out to run for the District 2 seat being vacated by Ron Vandertie. He joins Robert Starr, David Hayes, and Dawn Goodban in the race. While Richard Wiesner looks to be running for another term in District 4 unopposed, District 6 still has three people in the running: incumbent Stewart Fett and challengers Seth Wiederanders, and Lauri Fish.


In Kewaunee, James Kleiman III has taken papers out to run for mayor. Kleiman joins current Mayor Sandi Christman, council member John Griffith, and Joe Mills in the race for the city's top spot. Kewaunee is still in need of people to run in District 2 and 4 after Diane Jirtle and Don Kickbusch returned their notice of non-candidacy.


A vacancy could be in store for Algoma as well, which still has not had anyone take out nomination papers in District 2.


While some office may be closed Friday and Monday for the holiday this weekend, prospective candidates still have until the end of the business day on January 2 to turn in the required paperwork.

Bayside Home Medical under new ownership

By Paul Schmitt

Bayside Home Medical in Sturgeon Bay has changed hands.  Eric Hagen purchased the business from Tom Voegele officially last Wednesday, December 20.  Hagan, who rejoined Bayside Home Medical two years ago as the manager, says he is excited about ownership opportunity.



Algoma library helps people discover information about their ancestors and past homes



By Kent Berkley

The Algoma Public Library is helping people connect with their ancestral history.  Patrons often report that their exploration of family history is begun with tepid interest that quickly evolves into a fun and addicting hobby.  In recent years, more tools have become available to help in the discovery process.  It is relatively easy and inexpensive to get a DNA analysis to identify from what part of the world one's ancestors immigrated.  Some public libraries offer helpful services to explore in greater detail the story behind a family's history. The Genealogy Department at the Algoma Public Library offers a variety of resources to help people learn about their local ancestors and about the homes in which they lived.  Katie Haasch, Adult Services Librarian, says one of the most rewarding aspects of her job is helping people put together the pieces of their family puzzle.






Katie says that library articles dating back to 1873 and forward until 1960 are digitized and offered online to the public.    The library is also home to the massive Harold Heidelman photograph collection which includes decades of his work as a photojournalist for the local paper.  Another interesting feature is the thoroughly researched house histories directory which includes detailed information about homes in the area, including the history of the owners and information about them.


Door County Environmental Council and Door Property Owners, Inc. will be joining forces



By Kent Berkley


Mike Bahrke, President of Door County Environmental Council, reports that two organizations - Door County Environmental Council and Door Property Owners, Inc., have announced intentions to merge their respective organizations.  Bahrke says that both organizations believe that combining memberships and resources will provide a stronger voice in addressing urgent environmental matters.   A primary focus for the merged organization will be protecting Door County ground and surface water from increasing levels of phosphorous, the spreading of untreated animal waste, and sulfide mining operations in environmentally sensitive areas.   The organizations stated that by combining the two organizations under the Door County Environmental Council name, the merged groups will provide stronger advocacy for the environment during government meetings, in the media, and through educational programs.   A series of "It's Our Water" speaker programs are planned for 2018, including "The Waters of Green Bay"; "Impact of Water Pollution on Door County Tourism, Property Values, and Business"; "It's Our Water: Speaker Panel"; "Health Effects from Water Contaminated with Pesticides, Insecticides, Fertilizers, Hormones, and Antibiotics"; and "High Capacity Wells".  Those interested in knowing more about the new organization are encouraged to visit the website at



Changes in winter recreation at Potawatomi State Park provide easier access and new opportunities


By Kent Berkley

Potawatomi State Park has redesigned the layout of the cross county ski trail for the current winter season.  The trailhead has been moved to a new location at the group camp area which is near the entrance to the park.  The new trailhead is flat and easy to access.  Formerly, the trailhead was near the picnic area on the south shoreline which required users to travel the full length of the park to gain access to the trailhead. In addition, the previous layout required skiers to negotiate a challenging hill at the beginning and end of the trail.  Erin Brown Stender, Park Superintendent, described the benefits of the new layout as two-fold.






Erin added that the new snowshoe trail is nearly a mile in length.  It meanders through the picnic area before crossing the road into a short climb and descent of a hill.

Fatal incident occurs after exposure to chemical mixture



By Kent Berkley


Emergency medical responders were called to the scene of a fatal incident at 1271 County Road DK on Tuesday evening.   An 81-year-old man at the residence had difficulty breathing after being exposed to a mixture of chemicals.  The victim died at the scene and was not transported to any of the area hospitals.   Aaron LeClaire, Deputy Director for Door County Emergency Services, says emergency teams responded within minutes of getting the call.





The name of the deceased has not yet been released.  Chief Deputy Patrick J. McCarty says the matter remains an open investigation as authorities wait to announce the cause of death.


14 year-old shares experience at "America's Got Talent" auditions

By Paul Schmitt

An aspiring singer, Brianna Partyka of Sturgeon Bay had the opportunity to audition for the television show "America's Got Talent" earlier this month.  Partyka, 14, performed on December 3 at the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee in front of show producers after waiting a couple hours in line for the auditions where she estimated over a thousand people.  She says she believes she nailed her audition using her operatic voice and impressing the judges.



Extreme cold temperatures outside can be dangerous for your pet

By Paul Schmitt

With the first arctic cold blast of the winter hitting the area this week, pet owners are being warned to shield their dogs from the bitter temperatures outside.  Dr. Jordan Kobilca of the Luxemburg Pet Clinic and Door County Animal Hospital says dogs should only be let outside for a brief time.



Door County students take TRIPS around country for winter break service projects

By Tim Kowols

Five Door County students chose service over self during their winter break as a part of St. Norbert College's Turning Responsibility Into Powerful Service (TRIPS) program. From December 16 to January 20, students will participate in 11 different service projects across the country focusing on a particular area of need. Sister Bay resident and St. Norbert College junior Helen Hecht completed her week at the University of Iowa's Stead Family Children's Hospital as she and other students helped make the holidays a little brighter and more normal for the patients. Hecht, who hopes to use her Chemistry degree on her way to beginning pre-med courses, says it was a great experience.


Cold snaps can take toll on furnaces

By Tim Kowols

Furnaces are expected to get a work out this week as temperatures struggle to get into the double digits. The National Weather Service has placed the area under a wind chill advisory through noon on Wednesday and low temperatures in the single digits are expected through New Year's Day. To avoid over taxing your furnace, Jeff Blemke from Ultimate Air in Luxemburg suggests picking a temperature and sticking with it instead of letting it cool down in your home overnight or when you are not at home.


Farmers, residents together help make strides addressing water quality

By Tim Kowols

The coordination involved in addressing water quality in Kewaunee County both in the public and private sector is the biggest takeaway of 2017 for Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee Chairperson John Pagel. In 2017, the Kewaunee County Board passed a manure irrigation ordinance giving uniform regulations across the entire area instead of specific townships. Pagel says different workgroups like Peninsula Pride Farms, UW Discovery Farms, and Door-Kewaunee Demonstration Farms Network working together with the Department of Natural Resources and the Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Department also gives him hope that they are on the right track.


Door County Community Foundation hits major benchmarks in 2017

By Tim Kowols

The Door County Community Foundation hit major milestones in 2017, including surpassing $20 million in total assets. The organization distributed over $1.5 million to local groups over the last year while collecting $22 million over the last five years. Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy says the numbers show not just the generosity of a single donor, but the entire area.


Lakeshore CAP helps people get GED and more


By Cynthia Germain

Financial support is available to those wanting to start a business or simply improve the personal bottom line. The Lakeshore Community Action Program has resources that assist Door and Kewaunee residents with exploring career options and increasing earnings potential as well as returning to school to earn a GED or HSED. For those looking to expand their career prospects, the Skills Enhancement Program offers financial help and counsel. Sandi Soik, Manager of the Door County office of the Lakeshore CAP, lists the various supports provided under this program.



For those who missed getting a high school diploma, there is help with two very important options. Residents can get assistance with tuition, books and fees to pass the test for a GED or pursue an HSED. An HSED or High School Equivalency Diploma requires some additional effort but statistics show that a person with an HSED can expect to make an average of $100,000 more in lifetime income than one without a high school diploma. Applicants for either program must be 18.5 years old and demonstrate Wisconsin residency.


Quilts go to those in need around the world

By Cynthia Germain

The Trinity Quilters on Washington Island make quilts year-round to support organizations including Lutheran World Relief, Ronald McDonald House and others to bring warmth to those in need in Wisconsin and abroad. The quilters are parishioners of Trinity Lutheran Church as well as people from other parishes and the community that meet every Tuesday morning and produce 200-300 quilts a season. Barb O'Connell, parishioner and volunteer at the Trinity Lutheran Church, says that experience is not necessary and making quilts also offers the warmth of fellowship.



O'Connell notes that the quilts provided to Lutheran World Relief are collected by train annually and distributed to local shelters and far-flung places in need. In addition, the church volunteers also make school kits which provide needed supplies to children in refugee camps. Quilts and kits are just a few of the many meaningful efforts of church congregations in Door and Kewaunee counties that make a difference around the world.

Door County finding savings in reusing

By Tim Kowols

Door County is finding the benefit of recycling and reusing old buildings. The new Senior Center and EMS Station is slated to open in the coming weeks inside the skeleton of the former county highway shop. South of Sturgeon Bay, a new salt shed was built with reclaimed materials from a former building on the site, with the foundation and the roof the only "new" things about it. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says with help from the state, they were able to save money by using the materials that were still in good enough shape to reuse.


Check out the winter night skies with telescopes at the library

By Cynthia Germain

The Door County Libraries have telescopes that you can check out just like a book to view the unique winter night skies. There are four scopes available in the library system with two in Sturgeon Bay and two in Sister Bay, donated by the Door County Astronomical Society, purchased in 2015 with grant support. These are tabletop telescopes on a mount that turns by hand, making them easy to use. Gary Henkelmann, President of the Door County Astronomical Society, says that along with planets, there are a number of sights to see throughout the winter as well as good times to best view the various aspects of the moon.



Hinkelmann says that the telescopes come with instructions and many good supplementary books are readily available to check out. The Door County Astronomical Society hosts a number of educational events throughout the year in the community and also meet monthly for special presentations and sky viewing nights at the Ray and Ruthie Stonecipher Astronomy Center in Sturgeon Bay.

Algoma City Council Member runs again

By Cynthia Germain

Algoma City Council Member Kevin Schmidt enjoys serving the community and seeks to keep his 1st Aldermanic District seat in April. Schmidt is a lifelong resident of Algoma and has served on the council for four terms, the last three terms in this district of the city. He has volunteered for the local fire department, is on the rescue squad and is currently a full-time sheriff's deputy with Kewaunee County. As Schmidt enters his ninth year, he expresses his enjoyment of being of service in the community.



Schmidt says that he is proud of the steady growth of Algoma since the housing crunch and looks to continue his work in the city and in his role as chair of the Parks and Recreation committee. One of the recent projects that he has been pleased to support is an ice rink that opened last year with the financial backing of the Green Bay Packers and other local organizations. Looking forward, Schmidt expresses his desire to keep taxes down and help with improvements in Algoma public areas for residents and visitors to enjoy in all seasons.

Individual mandate gone, but other health care reform bills are on deck

By Tim Kowols

While repealing the individual mandate will get the headlines, Rep. Mike Gallagher and other legislators are working to address health care costs in other ways. In 2017, the House of Representatives has passed several reforms affecting medical malpractice, shopping for insurance across state lines, and allowing association health care plans. Work continues on bills addressing price transparency and rising drug costs, but Rep. Gallagher says ultimately they will have to experiment with different models and see what works.


Child care center in Door County offers unique programs

By Cynthia Germain

Northern Door Children's Center has served area residents since 1986 and now provides care to 112 children as they age and grow with the sole support of the community. Karen Corekin, Community Relations Coordinator for the Northern Door Children's Center, is pleased with the unique programs that they offer as well as the efforts made to reduce costs to families. They fundraise throughout the year to support their budget and collaborate with the community to offer scholarship opportunities.



Corekin says that what makes them unique is the programs that keep children together as they age beginning with the infant-toddler looping program, ages 6 weeks to three years, which allows children to stay with their peers and teachers as they age. She believes that this is vital to the children's growth and builds lasting relationships with parents. The first group of "loopers" are now sophomores in high school. As children age beyond three years, they move to a mixed age 3K program with the looping program teacher in support for a few months for the transition. Beyond this program, children then move to a 4K program which is provided with the collaboration of Gibraltar area schools to transition children into kindergarten. The Center also has after-school programming as well as a full day summer camp for ages 5 to 11 as well as support services for special needs children.

The first church in Door County continues to contribute

By Cynthia Germain

The Moravian Church, considered the oldest Protestant denomination, has a more than a 150 year history in Door County, hallmarked by mission work and community service. As Scandinavians came to the area in the 1800s, Moravian missionaries immigrated with them, eventually settling in Ephraim. The church originated in 1457 as Unitas Fratrum, translated Unity of the Brethren, after the martyrdom of Catholic priest John Hus in the Czech Republic. To escape persecution, members of the Unitas Fratrum moved from the Moravia Province in the Czech Republic to Germany, leading to the reference as the Moravians. They were the first to send missionaries to far undeveloped countries in the Caribbean, Africa and South America. Pastor Matthew Knapp of the Sturgeon Bay Moravian Church says that mission work is the hallmark of their denomination, and the Door County churches are quite active around the world.



The vast majority of Moravians are south of the equator and the largest concentrations in the United States are in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. At one time, there were 22 Moravian preaching stations in Door County offering Sunday school, gospel teachings and community support programs. There remains three active Moravian churches in the county found in Sturgeon Bay, Ephraim and Sister Bay The Shiloh Moravian Church on Shiloh Road still stands and is used on occasion. Pastor Knapp notes many of the contributions that the Moravians have made in the county, sparking programs such as Clothe and Feed My People, Loaves and Fishes and PATH serving parents with special needs children, and he is pleased with their continued service in the community.

New bill to address teen dating violence focuses on school education

By Paul Schmitt

A bi-partisan bill was newly introduced in the state legislature in Madison to help address teen dating violence.  The proposed law would be designed to help Wisconsin join the more than 20 states that have implemented dating violence classes in schools nationwide.  HELP of Door County Executive Director Steve Vickman says educating children about teen dating violence early on can help to prevent destructive behaviors down the road and reduce the need for services provided by his agency.


Winter brings new health precautions for farm workers

By Aerica Bjurstrom, Kewaunee County UW-Extension Agriculture Educator

Winter has settled in to stay, and now is the time for some cold weather safety reminders. While working outside, it may be easy to ignore signs of cold stress on your body. Be aware of signs of hypothermia. Signs of mild hypothermia may include being alert, but shivering. During moderate hypothermia, shivering may stop and body temperature will drop. More severe hypothermia may include the loss of coordination with items in the hand, and being confused or disorientated. Severe signs include the inability to walk or stand, dilated pupils, slowed breathing and pulse.


Some farm workers have never experienced a Wisconsin winter before. Employers should train workers to recognize the workplace conditions that can lead to cold stress; to learn what the symptoms of cold stress are and how to prevent them, and what to do for those affected; and how to select proper work attire for cold conditions. Remind employees to use caution around ice as well. People and cattle can easily fall and hurt themselves on ice covered concrete.


Employers should also monitor employees and offer more frequent breaks in warm, dry areas; schedule works during the warmest hours of the day, encourage the buddy system; provide warm, sweet non-alcoholic beverages; and provide radiant heaters if possible.

A good way to determine what you will need to keep you and your employees warm is to make a list of all the tasks that will be worked outside or in other cold environments, and discuss with your workers any safety concerns you, or they may have. Be prepared for winter storms that may inhibit work, or employees from leaving work. Post reminders about cold weather safety and share them with your employees.


Discussing cold weather safety and plans for winter storms will help prepare everyone for a safe winter.

Newly fininshed Kewaunee Fire Museum displaying century-old machinery

By Paul Schmitt

After a year of planning and construction, the new Kewaunee Fire Museum is completed.  Lighting, plumbing and landscaping were finished this past month as the historic equipment inside can now be viewed from the outside.  Kewaunee Fire Department Captain Jim Kleiman says the building has huge bay windows to allow easy viewing of the old apparatuses used by the fire department over a century ago.



Friends of Peninsula State Park approaching Eagle Tower fundraising goal and planning for next project



By Kent Berkley


Friends of Peninsula State Park are closing in on fundraising goals for Eagle Tower and have ambitions to improve the Nature Center as their next project.   The reconstructed version of Eagle Tower at Peninsula State Park will be a taller tower with a ramp that runs through the trees in the woods.  The group is projecting its completion for sometime in 2019.  Steve Strucely, Business Manager of Friends of Peninsula State Park,  says the Eagle Tower project has consumed most of the group's attention this past year.




Steve says he is extremely appreciative of the donor support that has put them this close to reaching their goal.  He says their next focus will be to improve the Nature Center.  The anticipated improvements to the Nature Center would include: more room for educational programs; increased space for displaying exhibits and storage; better restrooms and additional parking.


Local hunters get another shot at deer hunting with special "Holiday Hunt" starting today

By Paul Schmitt

Door and Kewaunee County deer gun hunters will have another chance starting today to get a deer during the first-ever "holiday hunt" in the area.  The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources through the request of the County Deer Advisory Councils is looking for more antlerless-only deer being harvested from Christmas Eve through January 1.


Door County Deer Advisory Council Chair Dick Baudhuin earlier this year shared the concern of deer overpopulation in the area.


Shoreline restoration continues for Kangaroo Lake


By Kent Berkley


The Kangaroo Lake Association (KLA), in partnership with The Nature Conservancy and funded by the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership, will continue its shoreline restoration project by strategically placing and anchoring mid-sized trees in the shallow waters of the shoreline.  The partially submerged trees will protect the shoreline from wave erosion and provide habitat for fish and other creatures.  In addition, the trees provide resting and feeding spots for frogs, turtles, dragonflies and many lakeshore birds such as flycatchers and kingfishers.  Tom Schneider, Kangaroo Lake Association president, described the process as labor intensive but extremely worthwhile.






Tom added that the symbiosis between the Kangaroo Lake Association and The Nature Conservancy is a nifty secondary benefit of the project.  The Nature Conservancy provides the trees by cutting invasive, non-native trees so that more desirable native trees can thrive in those areas of the forest.  Property owners with land abutting Kangaroo Lake who are interested in being part of the "Fish Sticks" project should contact Tom at



A Secret Treasure of Door County: The Art of Different Media

By Tom Jordan

When most people think of Door County art they have an image of watercolors or oil paintings of sailboats, barns and flowers. And as beautiful as these works of art certainly are, this is not the only unique art of our talented artists. Consider that within our county you can find exquisite works crafted by wood, steel, glass and even fiber.


Wood. Michael Doerr is self-taught. "I started as a wooden shipwright. Everything else I had to learn on my own," Mike explains. His shop on County M, way past the airport, is filled with exquisite tables, chairs, desks, podiums and benches. Wood shavings fill the floor of this cozy workshop. Almost all the work is on consignment and ordered from all corners of the globe. I commissioned Mike to make a chair for my wife for her birthday. She loves it.


Steel.  If you happened to catch the NOVA special a few years back on "Secrets of the Viking Sword" and something looked familiar it was because most of it happened right here in Door County. Not too far from Michael Doerr's shop you will find on County MM the barn of the blacksmith Ric Furrer. His shop is filled with giant presses that pound glowing masses of metal and kilns that are so hot I had to be across the room to take some pictures. He conducts classes attracting people from all over the country. And he just finished his second NOVA special on English armor. On a cold winter day, it feels good to be in his shop.


Glass. On a whim Jeremy Popelka will demonstrate his craft by making a glass cat right before your eyes in a manner of minutes. "But," he cautions, "it will take at least a day to cool to room temperature." Jeremy and his partner Stephanie Trenchard, a fine artist as well,  have run Popelka-Trenchard Glass Shop on Second Avenue in downtown Sturgeon Bay since 2000. The little cat is just a novelty. Most of the time they are creating incredible bowls, lamps, vases and urns. Their skills are so respected that they recently were hired to teach a company in Thailand how to make glass. "Fortunately Stephanie picked up the language quickly. Very handy when you need to catch a taxi," Jeremy laughed.


Fiber.  If you're driving on Highway 57, just south of Jacksonport,  you'll see a sign for Martinez Studios. Wence Martinez is a graduate of the National School of Tapestry in Mexico City. Sandra is fine artist, focusing on primitive drawing for over thirty years. Years ago, someone suggested that Sandra's images would work well in tapestry. Most of the fine art weavers in Mexico passed on the challenge of incorporating her images because her designs featured subtle curves that demanded patience...except for Wence Martinez. They've been together ever since, working side by side. For the past four years they have been accepted by the prestigious show at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. (And the awards and honors keep coming in.)


Each of these artists has developed a national and international following. The next time you want to buy some art that reflects the incredible character of Door County, in addition to the fabulous oil paintings and watercolors, consider something truly different.

Sevastopol Community Facility Advisory Committee assessing options for aging school buildings


By Kent Berkley

Sevastopol community members and school officials will continue to meet through June to determine the future of the buildings and physical plant at Sevastopol School.  The current facility is a mishmash of buildings constructed and pieced together over decades ever since the first building was erected in 1924.  The Advisory Committee has collected and considered a large amount of information over the first four meetings and plans on digesting a good deal more over the next ten scheduled for 2018.  District Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says the level of commitment and involvement from the community is inspiring.






Members of the Bray Architectural firm have been providing technical assistance and presented a continuum of options for consideration.  The low-end option would not alter the footprint and merely focus on infrastructure upgrades.   The other three options involve varying degrees of renovation and new construction with the most ambitious being a new two-story all grades building located elsewhere on district property.   Luedtke has suggested that the planning process include a future population study to ensure that whatever is decided will satisfy student needs in the future.

Village of Ephraim planning comprehensive Streetscape construction project



By Kent Berkley


The Village of Ephraim has invited six engineering firms to respond to a request for proposals to coordinate a series of improvement projects planned for the next few years.   The responding firms are expected to include evidence of their competence and a description of the scope of work they propose for the highway reconstruction project and related improvements that will ultimately serve to frame the picturesque Ephraim shoreline.  The village is using a qualification-based approach to ensure the design work is awarded to a firm that can manage and integrate multiple, interconnected projects.  Brent Bristol, Administrator for the Village of Ephraim, says the Streetscape planning process has improved an already inclusive approach to ensure that the input and opinions of stakeholders and community members are considered.





The village has made a commitment to the Department of Transportation to complete the highway work by 2022 but hopes to have the resurfacing work completed in 2019 or 2020.  Other related infrastructure work is expected to be completed prior to the highway resurfacing.


Johnson touts newly signed tax reform legislation as "pro-growth"

By Tim Kowols

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson is confident the new tax legislation signed into law Friday by President Donald Trump will have great, positive impact on Wisconsinites. The bill is the most significant overhaul of the country's tax system since the Reagan administration according to the New York Times and includes permanent tax cuts for corporations, temporary ones for individuals, and a repeal of the health insurance mandate from the Affordable Care Act. Sen. Johnson says the legislation not only allows businesses to compete better on a global scale but also delivers on President Trump's promise of middle-class tax cuts.


GI Bill benefits go further than veteran

By Tim Kowols

Children of disabled military veterans can get help paying for college thanks to changes to Wisconsin's GI Bill. The GI Bill allows a state's veteran's benefit to pay for tuition and fees at a Wisconsin college or technical school if they enlisted in Wisconsin or have lived in the state for at least five years. Wisconsin Act 59 passed earlier this year extends that benefit to dependents of honorably discharged veterans disabled at a rate of 30 percent or higher and meet residency requirements. Kewaunee County Veterans Service Officer Jane Babcock says there are many opportunities for people to be offered free tuition at state colleges and technical schools.


Van Dyke shares his Rotary Youth Exchange host family experience

By Tim Kowols

Shriyans Saxena is 8,000 miles away from his home in India, but Sturgeon Bay Breakfast Rotary Club member David Van Dyke and his wife Mary are hopeful they can provide the next best thing. The Van Dykes have hosted Saxena over the last month through the Rotary Youth Exchange, which has high school students crisscrossing the globe to experience a new culture for a year. This is the first time Van Dyke has hosted a Rotary Exchange student after getting over initial reservations about volunteering and filling out an online application. Talking to other host families has given Van Dyke ideas on how to make this a meaningful experience.


Jacksonport Polar Bear Club swim keeps tradition, family roots

By Tim Kowols

A lake water temperature hovering above freezing is perfect for members of the Jarosh family, which with other members of the Jacksonport Polar Bear Club and hundreds of their closest friends, tackle every January 1. What started as a dare between a father and son has grown into 32 years of tradition and more than just a family affair. Looking back at the growing crowds that have gathered on the frozen beach over the years just before the ten-second countdown begins, club founder J.R. Jarosh still cannot believe what he started.


Commission looks to fix school funding formula

By Tim Kowols

A group of legislators, superintendents, and other education professionals hope by the time the next budget comes around that it has finally fixed school funding formula. The school funding formula has not dramatically changed in the last 20 years while tweaks along away have made the situation worse for some districts while not for others. Rep. Joel Kitchens co-chairs the commission studying the issues with the current formula and says he has been told by Speaker Robin Vos to do what is necessary to make it right.


Plans for potential new Kewaunee County Jail look at more than just size

By Tim Kowols and Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski

Despite having the state's oldest and smallest jail, Kewaunee County does not necessarily want to get bigger.  County officials are beginning the planning phase with a Jail Needs Assessment, which involves looking at current trends within their population and the dynamics that brought them there. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says he sees the potential new facility as more than just a place to hold criminals in jail, but to rehabilitate inside a community resource.


Big road projects remain on the schedule for the Department of Transportation in Door County

By Tim Kowols

Crews may be shut down for the winter season, but the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is still preparing for another busy year of road construction in Door County for 2018 and beyond. The DOT will resume its work on the portion of State Highway 57 between Baileys Harbor and Sister Bay that forced motorists onto a detour up until Fall Fest weekend. The hope is that project will wrap up before the tourism season hits full force in June. DOT Project Manager Jeremy Ashauer says a lot of attention will also be focused on a resurfacing project from Fish Creek to Sister Bay, even though it will not be officially worked on until fall 2019.


Holiday travel expected to be heavy starting today

By Paul Schmitt

With AAA projecting a record 97.4 million Americans traveling by automobile during the upcoming holiday week, local law enforcement is advising travelers to take extra precaution when driving on the busy area highways.  The forecast travel is based from Saturday through New Year's Day and Door County Sheriff Steve Delarwelle shares some tips for safer driving.


Veterans invited to special Christmas Day dinner

By Paul Schmitt

The Door County Veterans Services is once again having a special Christmas dinner for area veterans.  While most people may have family close by during the holidays, Door County Veterans Services Officer shares why the Christmas Day meal is being provided.



Kewaunee County Board could see shake up in spring


By Tim Kowols

There could be lots of new faces on the Kewaunee County Board this spring with five current members turning in their notice of non-candidacy and nine resident challenging for seats. Larry Kirchman (District 2), Christopher Rasmussen (District 5), Dennis Cravillion (District 7), Ron Paider (District 10), and Linda Sinkula (District 11) have all said they will not seek re-election, while Cory Cochart (District 2), Joseph Musial (District 2), Mark Kusniesz (District 2), Kenneth Secor (District 7), Charles Schmitt (District 7), Frank Madzarevic (District 8), Richard Schleis (District 11), Aaron Augustian (District 11), and Milton Swagel (District 12) are looking to join the board. Of the 24 candidates seeking election, 10 have turned in their nomination papers. District 5 and District 10 currently have no one running for those seats ahead of the January 2 deadline for nomination papers.


Click here to see full candidate list

Door County Maritime Museum hits $2.5 million benchmark for tower project


By Tim Kowols

The Door County Maritime Museum is nearly halfway towards their goal of $5.5 million to build their Maritime Lighthouse Tower. The museum raised $2.5 million in its first stage of fundraising for the Maritime Lighthouse Tower, which includes ten stories of new exhibit space and an 11th floor outdoor observation deck. Executive Director Amy Paul says she is thankful for the support the community has given.


Some of the tower's exhibits will focus on the evolution of commercial ships, shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, and other regional highlights. The Door County Maritime Museum hopes to break ground on the project in the near future.

State Senator worried about rollback on environmental regulations

By Tim Kowols

A Green Bay Democratic senator is alarmed by some of the bills circulating in the state Assembly and Senate that are taking aim at environmental regulations. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the latest bill to receive a hearing would eliminate state oversight of hazardous air pollutants and instead align the regulations with the federal Environmental Protection Agency. If  Assembly Bill 587/Senate bill 459 becomes law, the list of regulated hazardous air pollutants would be trimmed from about 550 to 187. Coupled with the approval of a mine in upper Michigan and other actions loosening regulations on high-capacity wells and wetlands, Senator Dave Hansen says the state's tourism industry could take a hit.


Wolves mentoring "pups" through Algoma High program

By Tim Kowols

Algoma High School students have taken it upon themselves to make sure the "pups" of today turn into the full-fledged Wolves of tomorrow. The "Wolves and Pups" mentoring program pairs high school students with elementary school students to do homework, social activities, and get to know one another in a positive manner. Superintendent Nick Cochart credits students Abigail Robinson and Madison Robertson with championing the program which currently stands at 25 pairs.


Kewaunee County approves joining lawsuit against opioid manufacturers

By Tim Kowols

Kewaunee County is the latest to pass a resolution to join a lawsuit in federal district court against prescription opioid manufacturers. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, over two-thirds of Wisconsin counties have joined the suit, alleging pharmaceutical drug makers and the physicians prescribing them for playing a role in the abuse of the drugs by making false claims about their benefits. Kewaunee County Board Chairperson Bob Weidner says they could be in line for a claim because of the costs associated with fighting the epidemic.



Brown, Manitowoc, and Door Counties have already joined the lawsuit, which claims over 1,800 people died from opioid overdoses from 2013 to 2015.

Family gatherings are a good time to do a wellness check up with an aging parent


By Kent Berkley


The holidays provide a good opportunity for adult children to evaluate how their aging parents are doing.   Family gatherings are a good time to unobtrusively observe how well your parents are functioning and whether the supports that are in place are adequately serving their needs.  It is helpful to have a mental checklist of wellness indicators when watching and engaging with your aging parent or parents.  Jake Erickson, Director of the Aging and Disability Resource Center, says that it is important for adult children to assess whether their aging parents exhibit significant changes in weight, hygiene, mood, diet, dress, and other indicators of functionality.  He stresses, however, that the most important aspect of the assessment is what you do with the information.   He says it is important to have a loving an honest conversation about any concerning issues you observe.




Erickson reminds adult children to make their parents feel empowered when discussing their needs and future.  He says parents should feel that their children will honor their decision-making authority over their own lives.


Peninsula State Park offers outdoor events over the holidays



By Kent Berkley


Peninsula State Park will host a series of events during the holidays for those craving outdoor time.  On Wednesday, December 27th there will be a snowshoe adventure that departs from the Nature Center and ends at the Black Ash Swamp.  On Friday the 29th, visitors are invited to attend a twilight campfire followed by star stories and star gazing.   Visitors are invited to celebrate the New Year by participating in First Day Hike, a national event that showcases state parks and fosters healthy outdoor lifestyles.  Steve Strucely, Business Manager of Friends of Peninsula State Park, says the First Day Hike will offer several exits along the trail in order to accommodate the needs of persons and families that want to go longer or shorter distances.



Those wanting to participate in the snowshoe hike should bring their own snowshoes.  Participants in the First Day Hike should arrive at Weborg Shelter by 10:00 and are encouraged to bring water, field guides, and binoculars.


Names released from Monday's accidental police shooting

By Tim Kowols

The Sturgeon Bay Police Department released the names of the officers and the suspect in Monday's disturbance Wednesday afternoon. According to the release from the Sturgeon Bay Police, Officer Kyle C. Engebose and Door County Sheriff's Deputy Mike Reeths responded to the call Monday morning and found 26-year-old Brian C. Crook wielding a knife and threatening his father. It was during the ensuing struggle with Crook that Engebose's tactical rifle fired unintentionally, lodging bullet fragments into Reeths' leg.


Reeths has been released from the hospital while Crook has  been charged with Threat to a Law Enforcement Officer, Resisting an Officer, and Disorderly Conduct Use of Dangerous Weapon. The Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation continues to investigate the discharge of the fire arm.

Sturgeon Bay Historical Society makes formal complaint against Fire Chief and requests investigation into his actions


By Kent Berkley


The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society has filed a formal complaint against Fire Chief Dietman and requested the Sturgeon Bay Police and Fire Commission to undertake an investigation into his actions.  The complaint alleges that Dietman acted outside the scope of his authority as defined by the Wisconsin statutory code provision that he cited as justification for issuing the order to raze the historic Teweles & Brandeis grain elevator.   The complaint states that the Fire Chief failed to make the prerequisite findings of fact as required by law.  The statute requires a finding that satisfies one of two criteria -- a finding of dangerousness related to the likelihood of a fire at the site, or in the alternative, a finding of dangerousness related to combustible materials being on the site.  The complaint states that since no supportive findings of fact were offered in support of the raze order, the actions of the Fire Chief were in violation of the law and constitute an abuse of office.


The complaint further rebuts any notion that the Fire Chief's actions were valid under a different line of authority.  It states that the Fire Chief misapplied municipal authority in trying to argue an alternative theory to justify the raze order.   First, the complaint states that the municipal authority is irrelevant because it was not cited as authority for the raze order.  Second, the complaint adds that even if the municipal authority was legally tied to the raze order it was misapplied because the remedy provisions of the law were not followed.


First ever "Great Kewaunee County Holiday Lights Contest" announces winners


By Paul Schmitt


Christmas lights may be still lighting up the neighborhood areas, but the Great Kewaunee County Holiday Light Contest has been decided.  Seven winners were announced this week as part of the first-ever contest collaborated by the Algoma, Kewaunee and Luxemburg Chamber of Commerce.  Online voting by the public was on six categories including the popular "Griswold" choice which was on won by 13 St. John Street in Luxemburg (above photo.  Sara Krouse, director of the Algoma Area Chamber of Commerce, says the contest was a fun way to celebrate the holidays and have the communities work together like they did for Farm Technology Days.



Vandertie gives notice of non-candidacy, former mayor joins race for Sturgeon Bay Common Council

By Tim Kowols

Former Sturgeon Bay Mayor Robert Starr is looking to re-enter city politics as a common council member after taking out nomination papers within the last week. Starr joins David Hayes and Dawn Goodban in the quest to replace current District 2 council member Ron Vandertie, who turned in his notice of non-candidacy. Council member Richard Wiesner is the only person from District 4 to take out papers while Lauri Fish has joined the field in District 6 with current council member Stewart Fett and Seth Wiederanders. Fett and Wiederanders are the only candidates to have turned in their nomination papers. Candidates for the Sturgeon Bay Common Council have until January 2 to file their paperwork to make it on the ballot.

Luxemburg hopeful for continued growth in 2018

By Tim Kowols

Luxemburg is continuing to evolve, and that is good news for Village President Ken Tebon. In the past year, several businesses have invested in new or renovated buildings, while families are also starting to move into the area and build homes. Tebon believes its proximity to Green Bay is just part of the success starting to bloom in Luxemburg.



Luxemburg rededicated its Main Street this summer after a months-long reconstruction project added new sidewalks and lighting to the area. Tebon hopes to make more progress attracting new businesses to the area, including a hotel.

Parliamentary procedure keeps Sturgeon Bay waterfront granary alive

By Roger Utnehmer

The lack of a quorum kept the Sturgeon Bay City Council from accepting a bid to dismantle the historic Teweles and Brandeis granary.

Council member Kelly Catarozoli did not attend the meeting and when it came to voting on the demolition bid recommendation, council members Barbara Allman and Laurel Hauser walked out of the room.  That left Mayor Thad Birmingham without a quorum and he adjourned the meeting.

Birmingham scheduled three special council meetings to act on the order by Fire Chief Tim Dietman to raze the granary.  Council members Catarozoli, Allman and Hauser did not attend any of the three special meetings, causing all to be adjourned quickly.

Hauser and Allman urged the council to negotiate "in good faith" in order to avoid continuing litigation.  That motion was defeated when council members Richard Wiesner, Stewart Fett, David Ward and Ron Vandertie voted in opposition.

Hauser also attempted to table the proposal to award demolition bids, asking for more time.  Her second motion also failed by the same four to two vote.

Council member David Ward moved to award the contract and before his motion was seconded, Allman and Hauser left the room, depriving the council of a quorum.  Five of seven council members must be present in order to conduct business.


Sevastopol's SADD makes kids glad with annual teddy bear toss event

By Tim Kowols

Sevastopol's Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) group hopes the fur flies this Friday when it hosts its Teddy Bear Toss during its upcoming boys basketball game.  The student organization works to inform their fellow classmates to make good decisions and avoid potentially dangerous ones. The money raised and teddy bears collected during the event are given to St. Vincent's Children's Hospital in Green Bay. Student Jillie Jorns says it is a great experience for them to head to Green Bay to tour the hospital and give back.



The Sevastopol boys' basketball game will take place at 7:30 p.m. with the teddy bear toss occurring at halftime.[

Kewaunee County takes strides in 2017 addressing water quality concerns

By Tim Kowols

A two-hour presentation at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds in June could be to thank for some of the positive momentum towards addressing the area's water quality concerns. In the six months since Dr. Maureen Muldoon called Kewaunee County and the surrounding area a hydrogeologically bad place to put a lot of cows, a Total Maximum Daily Load study has been commissioned by the state to focus on the area's watersheds and county officials passed a manure irrigation ordinance limiting how and even when farmers can spread nutrients on their fields. Kewaunee County Board member Lee Luft says the presentation opened a lot of eyes.


Southern Door recruiting for Citizens Advisory Committee

By Tim Kowols

Southern Door School District is looking to local residents and business owners to improve its community outreach. Beginning in February 2018, the new Citizen Advisory Committee will begin meeting to discuss many of the issues facing the district and work with the Southern Door School Board on how to address them. Superintendent Patti Vickman says a nice cross-section of its population is needed.


Stock Market continues to set records as investors are advised to stay steady

By Paul Schmitt

The Dow Jones Industrial Average reached another milestone yesterday.  On Monday, the 30-stock average went up 5,000 points in the same calendar year for the first time ever.  According to CNBC, The Dow Jones jumped up over 200 points during the session and is also on track to post 70 record closes in a year for the first time.  Casey St. Henry of Thrivent Financial in Sturgeon Bay says it has been a remarkable market run of growth.



Open house planned in January for new Door County Community Senior Center/EMS Station

By Paul Schmitt

The new Door County Senior Community Center and Emergency Services building is close to opening.  The ground was broken back in May for the new facility which was the former highway shop on North 14th Avenue in Sturgeon Bay.  The outside stone and wood of the structure were kept intact but the entire roof, wiring, and inside of the building is being completely redone.  Wayne Spritka, head of the building and ground maintenance, says the finishing touches will be done in the next few weeks.



Snowmobilers show patience as trails stay closed

By Tim Kowols

Last week's big snow fall still was not enough to open snowmobile trails in Door and Kewaunee County. Winter Storm Abigail dumped as much as 10 inches in some areas, but drifting caused some parts of the trail to be a little light for snow for volunteer snowmobile groups to groom. Kewaunee County Parks and Recreation Director Dave Myers says a predicted snowfall later this week might finally put it over the top.



Snowmobile owners are anxious to get back on the trails after last winter's rainy and mild weather limited them to just five days of riding, according to Myers.

Getting people into financial counseling a tough task

By Tim Kowols

Even though money is one of the leading causes of divorce in the country and a sore subject between friends and family, having the conversation to meet with a financial counselor is often a tough one. Employers, parents of adult children, and married couples are among the wide variety of groups looking out for a second party, but do not know how to get on the same page with them. Gay Pustaver from Money Management Counselors says it might be easier to come in together than it is to just ask them to sit down with a financial counselor.



Pustaver says education is a good way to bring comfort to those unsure if they need the counseling, but the first step is to come in and have that conversation. You can listen to the entire Money Management Monday interview with Gay Pustaver online with this story.



Mills joins Kewaunee Mayoral race, two vacancies on city's council

By Tim Kowols

It could be a three-way race for Kewaunee Mayor this spring after Joe Mills took out his nomination papers. A member of the Kewaunee Chamber of Commerce, Mills joins current Mayor Sandi Christman and Council member John Griffith for the potential ballot in his first foray in city elections. Mills says he wants to add a level of honesty and openness to the office.



On the Kewaunee Common Council, Jeff Vollenweider is looking to challenge Jason Jelinek for his District 1 seat and District 3 Council member Janita Zimmerman is currently running unopposed. No one has taken nomination papers out for District 2 or District 4 since Diane Jirtle and Don Kickbusch both turned in their notice of non-candidacy. Interested candidates have until January 2 to turn in their nomination materials to Kewaunee City Hall.

Good News Monday: Southern Door's Patti Vickman

By Tim Kowols

Once a month, Southern Door Superintendent Patti Vickman stops by the radio stations of to share the district's good news. In Monday's interview, Vickman talks about the board's recent energy efficiency resolution, the development of its Citizens Outreach Committee, its upcoming Fab Lab classes, and a rundown of upcoming events. You can hear today's interview beginning at noon on 103.3 and below.


Sturgeon Bay Police officer injured by "unintended discharge" during Monday dispute

By Tim Kowols

A law enforcement officer is recovering after a fellow responding officer from the Sturgeon Bay Police Department unintentionally shot him in the leg during a domestic dispute call Monday morning. Police responded to a Sturgeon Bay residence just after 6 a.m. to a report of a 26-old-man wielding a knife threatening his parents. Sturgeon Bay Police Captain Dan Brinkman says officers were able to get the knife away from the man, but that was when he got into an aggressive stance.


Local retailers hoping for late boon with projected increase in holiday shopping


By Paul Schmitt

With Christmas exactly one week away, area retailers are hoping for a strong finish to the year as area shoppers make their last-minute purchases this week.  According to, shoppers around the country expect to spend an average of $983 for gifts this holiday season.  That is an increase spending of $54 over last year.  Ken Batten from Batten True Value says buying local is important to communities as well as the local retailers.



Sturgeon Bay City Council meeting to address Granary bids, Premier Resort Area Tax, and possible litigation

By Paul Schmitt

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will have their regularly scheduled meeting tomorrow after three failed attempts to meet last week for a special meeting to consider the bids for dismantling the granary elevator on the west side.  The special meetings did not have the required quorum to do city business.  Agenda item nine for Tuesday's meeting includes that consideration.  The council will also convene in a closed session to confer with legal counsel on potential litigation being sought by the Wisconsin Historical Society in regards to the removal of the granary building.  In other city business to be discussed is the resolution to establish the City of Sturgeon Bay as a Premier Resort Area in order to hold a referendum in the spring for a half-percent sales tax to cover the upkeep costs of city streets.   The Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting will begin at noon Tuesday inside the Council Chambers at City Hall.

Sheriff Joski stepping up to help numerous local charities again this holiday season

By Paul Schmitt

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski is doing more than working to keep the communities he serves safe.  During the holiday season, Sheriff Joski is involved in three different local charitable programs in Kewaunee County.  The Toys for Tots campaign, the Salvation Army and the Shop with a Cop program are causes Joski promotes because of the impact they make locally.  He says if you don't give back to your community this time of year, you are missing out on the true reason for the season.



Sheriff Joski has been involved with the Toys for Tots program since 1991 which distributed the toys over the weekend.  He credits his personnel in the Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department for going above and beyond the call of duty by helping with in many local charitable causes on their off days.


Sturgeon Bay band "How About No" traveling to Nashville for recording opportunity

By Connor Sannito

Three Sturgeon Bay high school alumni will professionally record music with Rian Dawson, the drummer from the famed band, "All Time Low".


Reid Stevenson, Robert Desotelle, and Sean Sannito will be heading down to Nashville, Tennessee in January for a week of ten hour long days to produce and record a demo EP under their band name, "How Bout No". Rian Dawson will serve as their sound engineer in the studio. In addition to improving their sound, the hope is to also try and build a serious connection in the music industry.


This collaboration has been in the works for about two years. Stevenson has been connecting with Rian Dawson's manager, sending him their current "How Bout No" demos. Dawson decided to choose to record with them over countless other bands.


Although the opportunity is incredibly unique, it is expensive. "How Bout No" has put on small concerts - including one with prepaid tickets at Stevenson's house - as well as designing and selling their own t-shirts, in order to fund this project.


This is what Robert Desotelle, the drummer for "How Bout No", had to say regarding community support for the band.



Strong Sturgeon Bay presence at State Capitol last week for college credits transfer bill hearing


By Paul Schmitt

A state bill aiming to make college more affordable by allowing easier transfer of credits is being considered.  Lawmakers in Madison heard testimony last week from members of the public about a bill that would require the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents to have transfer policies of college credits for highs school students that have earned them.  Barry Mellen, a U.S. History and A.P. U.S. History teacher at Sturgeon Bay High School, who testified, says 1st District Representative Joel Kitchen's bill will help students deal with the rising cost of higher education.



The bill will also allow high school students to take exams to get credit for classes that are not accredited AP or dual enrollment.  Sturgeon Bay High School graduates, Jenna Seiler and Nora Scheer, who are college freshmen at U.W.-Madison, also testified in support of the bill.

17th annual Children's Book Drive wraps up another successful campaign in Door and Kewaunee Counties


By Paul Schmitt

Over 500 books were collected from the 18th annual Children's Book Drive in Door and Kewaunee Counties.  The collection of gently used and new books for area underprivileged children finished up this weekend in Sturgeon Bay and Algoma.  Kewaunee County Food Pantry President Ken Marquardt says the program helps to replenish the supply of books they give to families over the holidays and into the New Year.  Marquardt shares the importance of the campaign and the happiness it gives to the recipients.


Social workers study life stories of children in foster care to build families and a network of support



By Kent Berkley


Children in foster care typically do better when living in a family setting.  Some children are forced to live in group care because foster or adoptive families are not immediately available.   Child welfare practitioners have discovered that the best way to locate family placements and community support persons for a child in foster care is to ask the child.  It is incumbent on caseworkers to listen to the child and understand his or her story so the worker can be successful in finding and reintroducing supportive people into the child's life.   Rediscovered people often end up having lifelong relationships with the child, whether as an adoptive parent, foster parent, respite caretaker, mentor or life coach.   Doreen Goddard, Child and Family Services Manager with the Door County Department of Human Services, says it is especially important to ask the right questions to help these children reconnect with important people in their lives.






Goddard says that if a child in out-of-home care is able to connect with at least one loving and caring adult, then their chances of ultimately thriving and achieving good outcomes increase dramatically.


Door County Land Trust expands capacity by adding land and recruiting volunteer citizen scientists


By Kent Berkley



The Door County Land Trust is increasing its capacity to carry out its mission in two different but related ways. First, it passed a significant milestone related to the number of acres it protects.  With recent acquisitions, the Land Trust now protects more than 8,000 acres of fields, forests, farmlands, orchards, wetlands, and shoreline.  A second way the Land Trust is building its capacity is through a more ambitious use of volunteer expertise.   Tom Clay, Executive Director, says that a point of focus in 2018 will be to recruit and train more even citizen scientists.






Tom is confident that bringing in more citizen scientists will permit the Land Trust to collect and analyze more data and be in a position to better serve the land and community.  Information about how to be a volunteer for the Land Trust can be found at


Candidates for local office in Door and Kewaunee Counties can take comfort in knowing that if they keep their hands clean, they do not have to worry about being sued for their actions as an elected official


By Kent Berkley


The legal concept is called "governmental immunity."  It provides protection to local elected officials unless they have unclean hands from involvement in certain types of improper activities.   This should provide candidates in Door and Kewaunee Counties who are in the process of submitting paperwork to run for office, with peace of mind that they do not have to put their personal assets at stake in order to serve the community.   The doctrine also motivates the electorate to put prudent and ethical candidates in office so taxpayer money will not be used to pay judgments against the local government.  A  Wisconsin Supreme Court case described the doctrine as a way to protect the public purse against legal action and encourage citizens to use the political rather than the judicial process to restrain public officials. John Fuchs, an attorney with more than three decades of experience in municipal law, says that the governmental immunity is broad, but not an absolute protection for public officials involved in bad acts.





Fuchs summarized by saying that officials can be personally liable for damages based on violations of certain federal rights and can be ordered to do or not do non-discretionary official acts when official duty clearly requires it.


Senior citizens use the wisdom of peers to advance lifelong learning


By Kent Berkley


Door County Learning in Retirement is an organization that facilitates lifelong learning opportunities for older adults in Northeastern Wisconsin.   They offer hundreds of classes that target students age fifty or older.   Students need not be retired to attend but must be members.  Membership is open to anyone in the target age range who pays the 50 dollar membership fee and wants to attend classes.   Charlene Rowe, President of Learning in Retirement, says that course offerings run the gamut from serious to fun.   They include classes that are academically challenging, that focus on arts and crafts, and that study the unusual and esoteric.  Charlene says that faculty members are recruited from age peers who share what they have learned in their life journeys.



Hmong memoir selected as 2018 Door County Reads selection

By Tim Kowols

The Hmong culture will be the primary focus of this year's Door County Reads program and its book, The Latecomer A Hmong Family Memoir, beginning January 28. The book written by Kao Kalia Yang is a memoir of her life running away in war-torn Laos before living in a refugee camp in Thailand and emigrating to the United States. Tracy Vreeke from the Door County Library says the book is powerful because the events are still relatively fresh in people's minds.


Affordable Care Act enrollment deadline passes as Individual mandate may go away

By Paul Schmitt

The 2018 enrollment period for obtaining health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) ended yesterday.  One version of the proposed new tax reform bill includes the elimination of the individual mandate that requires by law certain persons to purchase the ACA health insurance.  Mike Walston of Robertson, Ryan & Associates says ACA looks at income level and ability to pay rather than the usual insurance metrics.





The open enrollment period for 2018 began on November 1.  Coverage will take effect on January 1.  According to CNN, 7.4 million people have signed up for the Affordable Care Act this year compared to seven million last year.

Nursing Assistant Students, residents show bond during 2018 Project Poinsettia


By Tim Kowols

A group of Algoma High School students reunited with some of the residents they cared for Thursday as a part of's Project Poinsettia. The six students participated in the three-month Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) course through Northeast Wisconsin Technical College's Luxemburg Regional Learning Center at the Algoma Long Term Care Unit, where they would put in a couple hours every weekday before school and a weekend shift to get a feel for the position. Senior Khloe Williams has enjoyed making a difference in the lives of the residents as a member of the class.


Local photographer gets recognition from National Geographic

By Tim Kowols

Every day produces a different image at a familiar spot for author and photographer Tom Jordan to shoot, but sometimes he gets national recognition for it. Jordan recently received an Editor's Choice award from National Geographic magazine for his shot of the landscape standing on top of the ski hill at Potawatomi State Park. While the honor in essence is a virtual "that-a-boy" from National Geographic, Jordan still appreciates the recognition.


Third attempt for Special Sturgeon Bay City Council meeting on accepting granary building dismantle lacks quorum

By Tim Kowols


For a third time in a week, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council failed to reach a quorum in its efforts to accept a bid for the dismantling of the granary on the city's west side. Council members Kelly Catarozoli, Laurel Hauser, and Barb Allmann were no-shows for the special meeting, while Mayor Thad Birmingham and Council members Ron Vandertie, David Ward, Rick Wiesner, and Stewart Fett were in attendance.  After roll call, Mayor Birmingham waited five minutes past noon before announcing the next step.



The Sturgeon Bay Common Council has two bids to consider as they look to comply with a raze order issued by Fire Chief Tim Dietman in October. The item will make its fourth appearance on a Common Council agenda this Tuesday, but not before a closed session takes places to discuss a letter sent to the city from the Wisconsin Historical Society requesting a negotiation on whether the granary can be saved or must be either demolished or dismantled. The meeting is scheduled for noon.



Sturgeon Bay Fire Chief taking heat for dereliction of duty

By Roger Utnehmer

Sturgeon Bay Fire Chief Tim Dietman has been charged by the president of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society with dereliction of duty for rejecting directives to "negotiate to avoid, minimize or otherwise mitigate the adverse effect that will result to the historically significant granary building from its demolition or deconstruction."

That quote is from a recent letter to Sturgeon Bay City Administrator Josh VanLieshout from the compliance officer of the Wisconsin State Historical Society. Dietman ordered the Teweles and Brandeis grain elevator to be taken down in October and has refused requests from a group working to save the granary from entering the facility to evaluate its condition.

Christie Weber, president of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society, said Dietman has not reached out to discuss efforts to save the granary.

In a December 14, 2017 letter to city administrator Josh VanLieshout, Andrew Stern, Historical Preservation Specialist-Compliance Officer, stated "We do hereby require negotiations with you."

Stern told VanLieshout that "we must determine whether the Grain Elevator must be demolished or dismantled, or if other options exist."

He also said, "The building appears to be structurally sound."

The entire correspondence from Stern is available with this story at

Dietman is also under fire from Don Freix who, in a letter to the editor posted today, calls on the Sturgeon Bay Police and Fire Commission consider acting on Dietman's raze order.

"Why are you as a commission," Freix asks commission members, "not yet meeting and discussing the issue of what looks like an almost certain, unnecessary expense to city taxpayers and not yet advising the Fire Chief that the SBFPC would prefer or are directly requesting that he let others solve the public health and safety issue at their personal expense, fully accomplishing the same public protection goal?"

Freix, in his letter to the editor, also questions if Dietman's refusal to take advice from the State Department of Safety and Professional Services to solve the issue without involving the state constitutes "good behavior.



Below are press releases by the Wisconsin Historical Society and the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society


WHS 17-1364



SBHS_SHPO_WHS Press Release 12.14.17-2WHS 17-1364

Algoma could have open seat on city council

By Tim Kowols

A pair of non-candidacy announcements has the city of Algoma hoping for more candidates to fill its city council. While it appears Jake Maring will run to replace the vacating Jan Dart in District Four, there is no one with nomination papers even taken out to replace Janice Mueller in District Two. City clerk Jamie Jackson says the process of getting the paperwork to have petitioners sign is relatively easy.



There are so far no contested races in Algoma as Mayor Wayne Schmidt, First District Council member Kevin Schmidt, and Third District Council member Eugene Cleveland have all taken nomination papers out. Maring and Mayor Schmidt are the only ones to have turned in their nomination papers before the January 2 deadline.

Joffe's book "Personal PR" a tool for small businesses getting started


By Paul Schmitt

Door County author and pastor Bruce Joffe has published six books with topics ranging from religion to his own memoirs, but his 2008 book called Personal PR is one new business owners may benefit from reading.  Joffe, who taught public relations for over 25 years at seven different universities around the country, says Personal PR is a simpler and less expensive read than most academic text books.


Finance Committee recommends denial of fee waiver for public records request


By Kent Berkley


On Tuesday, the Sturgeon Bay Finance/Purchasing and Building Committee recommended denying the request of Don Freix to waive the fees associated with producing materials pursuant to his public records request.  Vice Chair David Ward stated that the Committee recommended the denial because public record requests cost the city "a lot of money" and they did not want to set a bad precedent.  Council member Ward said a large part of the expense is due to the attorney fees associated with the time it takes to review the documents before turning them over.   Ward indicated that the attorney review is standard protocol for the city and claimed it was a necessary part of the process to ensure that inappropriate materials are not included, or are redacted prior to being released.   The city currently charges 25 cents per page to produce records.  The Committee recommendation will go to the Common Council for a vote on the matter.


Sexual harassment problem coming to light nationally, being addressed locally


By Paul Schmitt

With sexual harassment allegations continuing to be made weekly in all career backgrounds like politics, entertainment and sports, HELP of Door County is working locally to get the message out that women and men who have been harassed should be able to come forward without retribution.  HELP of Door County Executive Director Steve Vickman says sexual harassment can be more about control than it is about sex.  He says the problem is not new to the workplace or social settings and that victims should not feel shame in coming forward.


Natural Resources Board pumps brakes on new manure spreading rules for sensitive areas

By Tim Kowols

The Natural Resources Board will take more time to discuss potential new rules concerning manure spreading in areas like Door and Kewaunee County affected by karst topography. Thin soil depths and fractured bedrock in some areas of the two counties are to blame for poor groundwater quality. During hearings at the county level, some farmers of smaller operations told officials the new rules could drive them out of business because of the additional time and financial costs of compliance. Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy owner and Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee Chair John Pagel says the delay could help get more issues get sorted out before the new rules are approved and implemented.


Shepherd of the Bay Pastor leads by listening in Ellison Bay

By Tim Kowols

When Pastor Jim Honig took over as the leader of Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church in Ellison Bay earlier this year, the first thing he did was listen. Honig and his wife moved to the area from Chicago's western suburbs after being recommended for the position by a member of the congregation. During his first six months, he sat down with over 100 church members one-on-one, which was when Honig says both sides agreed that he was their pastor and they were his people.


Door County student makes most of her Rotary Youth Exchange experience

By Tim Kowols

One Door County student loved her Rotary Youth Exchange experience so much that she is going back. Stephanie Benton participated as an outbound student in the Rotary Youth Exchange last year, embarking on a year-long journey to Chile where she went to school, participated in service projects, and immersed herself in the culture. Benton says if you are interested in participating to make sure you are doing so for the right reasons.


Gibraltar Schools, Northern Door Children's Center delayed two hours due to roads

By Tim Kowols


Students in Gibraltar Area School District in Fish Creek have Winter Storm Abigail to thank for the extra couple hours of sleep this morning. Due to poor road conditions, classes at Gibraltar are delayed for two hours in the interest of safety for families. The first bell of the day will ring at 10:08 a.m. Northern Door Children's Center in Sister Bay is also delayed two hours with sessions beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Industrial hemp could offer new opportunities, challenges for farmers

By Tim Kowols

With industrial hemp now legal to grow in Wisconsin, agriculture agents in the UW-Extension are working to see what it could mean for their counties. Currently, the UW Extension need to make sure discrepancies between federal and state policies are handled since they get funding from both entities and industrial hemp farming is only currently legal in 31 states.  Door County UW Extension Agriculture Agent Annie Deutsch says farmers are interested because of low crop prices and diversification, but there is a lot that needs to be done before seeds are planted.


J-1 Student Visa changes on hold for now

By Tim Kowols

The lack of action on immigration programs like the J-1 Student Visa is good news for Door County businesses.  Owners have been on high alert since September when details of President Donald Trump's Buy American/Hire American initiative showed a severe reduction to the program local businesses heavily rely on for staffing during the busy tourist months. Jon Jarosh from the Door County Visitor Bureau says they have been in constant talks with local legislators to make sure the program stays in place.


Alberts overcomes Juvenile Arthritis and helps cause with $14,000 raised

By Connor Sannito

Sturgeon Bay high school student Allison Alberts, with overwhelming support, exceeds her donation goal of $7,000 to $14,000 for a very personal cause.


This was the high school senior's third year attending the Jingle Bell Run held in Green Bay. Alberts was asked to be this year's Young Adult Champion at the event in which she gave a speech telling others about her story dealing with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIV). Many of Alberts' fellow classmates came in support. She explains how some days are tougher than others as she has pain all over her joints including her neck, knees, jaws, and wrist- just to mention a few places.


Despite having arthritis at her young age, Alberts is a three-sport athlete. She also resides in the top ten percent of her class due to her outstanding academics. In addition, she is an incredibly avid volunteer, she's a member of National Honors Society, and is Student Council President. This is what she had to say regarding the Jingle Bell Run.



The aim for the event was to raise money to find a cure to arthritis. Additionally, it raises awareness and helps others understand the condition. Allison Alberts created a team in her name, 'Alli's Allies' for people to come support the event and help donate.


Alberts hopes to become a physician to maybe one day help kids like her with arthritis.

(photo submitted)


Lifetime Service Award bestowed on volunteer for three decades of caring for others


By Kent Berkley



Donna Peterson has performed nearly every role one can have at Neighbor-to-Neighbor, a non-profit organization that comforts and assists people experiencing problems arising from conditions or limitations that lead to a deterioration in their quality of life.  Donna started as a volunteer focusing primarily on providing direct support to individuals facing end of life challenges.   Over the years, Donna did whatever needed to be done, including serving in numerous volunteer positions and as the President of the Board of Directors.   Donna says it an honor to receive the Lifetime Service Award from Neighbor-to-Neighbor and encourages others to volunteer.  She says the work is rewarding and critically important because it helps some of our most vulnerable community members.






Donna says that volunteers receive initial training and ongoing training to ensure that they feel capable to handle the service opportunities afforded them.  Persons interested in becoming a volunteer can get more information about the process by visiting








Sturgeon Bay City Council's special meeting on Granary dismantling bids lacks quorum--rescheduled for Friday


By Paul Schmitt

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council special meeting at noon Wednesday to vote on consideration of awarding the contract to dismantle the Granary building lacked a quorum again.  Council members absent were Laurel Hauser, Kelly Catarozolli and Barbara Allmann.  Mayor Thad Birmingham waited until 12:10 p.m. before saying he would try again to hold a special meeting on Friday.  The regular Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday, December 20.

Prior to the meeting, Council member Stewart Fett told that he will seek re-election as the District 6 representative.  Fett said he turned in nomination papers on Tuesday and thus will face challenger Seth Wiederanders in next April's election.

Door and Kewaunee Counties hit with first major snowstorm of season



By Kent Berkley


After experiencing unseasonably mild temperatures for much of the fall, winter has blown in to make its mark.  Door and Kewaunee Counties were under a winter weather advisory until 9:00 p.m. Wednesday according to The Weather Channel.   Over five inches of snow to fell before ending in the early morning hours.    With winter now in full force, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski reminds drivers to be prudent if getting behind the wheel in such conditions.






Temperatures will reach the mid to upper twenties today which should help further road clearing efforts.



Donations flooding in for Kewaunee County Food Pantry like never before


By Paul Schmitt

Kewaunee County Food Pantry in Algoma is having one of their biggest months ever in donated items for December already.   The holidays usually put a strain on food pantries to meet the increasing demand this time of year, but the generosity of donors have eased the burden for the Kewaunee County Food Pantry.  President Ken Marquardt says it is much more than just food being donated.


Children's Center prevents bullying by instilling pro-social values


By Kent Berkley


The Northern Door Children's Center in Sister Bay is using a new teaching model to stop bullying.   The National Bullying Prevention Center reports that school-based prevention programs are effective in reducing incidents of bullying and that peer intervention stops bullying more than half the time.   The Northern Door Children's Center, a licensed group facility for early childhood education located in Sister Bay, uses both approaches to prevent bullying.   Karen Corekin, Community Relations Director, says that by integrating five pro-social core values into all operations and by providing specialized training to its highly qualified staff and Pyramid Model training to the children, the incidents of bullying are virtually none.


Attendees jingle and mingle at Door County Maritime Museum Tuesday

By Tim Kowols

The monthlong Merry-Time Festival of Trees concluded Tuesday evening with a well-attended "Jingle, Jingle, Mix and Mingle" at the Door County Maritime Museum Tuesday night. The Sturgeon Bay campus' exhibit halls were packed with people alongside the 37 trees donated by local businesses and organizations. Money raised from tree raffle sales and auctions support the museum's year-round operations, mission and educational programming.

Wiederanders running for District 6 City Council in Sturgeon Bay

By Paul Schmitt

Seth Wiederanders of Sturgeon Bay will look to take incumbent Stewart Fett's District 6 seat for the Sturgeon Bay City Council.  Wiederanders took out papers earlier this month and turned in the required signatures last week to be on the ballot in next April's election.  Wiederanders says the current climate of the common council meetings is not good.


Algoma Community Band celebrates holidays before milestone anniversary

By Tim Kowols

An Algoma tradition returns to the city's Performing Arts Center Wednesday evening when the Algoma Community Band and the Lakeshore Singers take the stage for their annual holiday concert. A fixture in the city for the last 39 years, several of its members have been with the Algoma Community Band since it was founded in March 1978. Member Sue Hepp says the group now features several high school members, which she says keeps a steady stream of talent coming from communities across Kewaunee, Brown, and Door Counties.


Search continues for Sister Bay Administrator as Jackson enters final week

By Tim Kowols

After four years at the helm, Village Administrator Zeke Jackson is calling it a career in Sister Bay this week. Jackson took the job in 2013 and since then as overseen the reconstruction of State Highway 42, the redevelopment of its downtown and its waterfront, and a boom in affordable housing projects. He departs for the Village of Waterford, which is expected to get a boost from the nearby Foxconn campus in the coming years. Jackson's comic advice for his successor comes from the pages of former Soviet Union premier Nikita Krushchev.


Meeting called on short notice to once again have City Council vote on bids to take down granary


By Kent Berkley



The Sturgeon Bay Common Council is set to meet at noon on Wednesday to review bids and decide whether to award a contract to take down the historic waterfront granary.  The agenda for the Wednesday meeting is essentially a repeat of the meeting that was scheduled for Monday.   The vote did not occur as scheduled on Monday due to insufficient numbers in attendance.  Mayor Thad Birmingham postponed the proceedings when it was apparent he lacked a quorum.  It is unclear whether a quorum will be present for the meeting tomorrow.  Council members Laurel Hauser and Kelly Catarozoli have indicated that they have conflicts and will not be able to attend.  Both Council members added that they received notice by e-mail today providing them with approximately 24 hours notice to prepare and try to adjust their schedules.

Lawton backing Evers for Governor

By Paul Schmitt

Former Lieutenant Governor and Door County resident Barbara Lawton, who has endorsed Tony Evers for Governor, will be actively supporting him through the campaign process.  Lawton came out two months ago with her endorsement for Evers, the current State Superintendent of Public Schools.  Lawton says she will not be seeking public office in the foreseeable future, but still feels it is important to stay politically active.  She explains why she is supporting Evers for the state's highest political position.


Liberty Grove concerned with tree removal in right-of-ways

By Tim Kowols

Liberty Grove residents will have to wait until spring to find out the effects tree cutting could have on its town's roadways. Some of the trees are located in right-of-ways, but similar to the rock walls that dot the town, they have special meaning to those who live in and enjoy Liberty Grove. Town chairperson John Lowry says he understands the residents' concerns.


Local Jewish community joins in on Hanukkah celebration starting today

By Paul Schmitt

Today millions of Jewish people around the world will be celebrating Hanukkah.  The holiday commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.  Glenn Mandel of Egg Harbor who hosts Jewish services in Door County says Hanukkah is an important celebration for the local Jewish community.



Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days according to the Hebrew calendar and may occur anytime between late November and late December.  The festival includes the lighting of nine candles called the Hanukkah menorah.

School districts focusing on retention in post-Act 10 climate

By Tim Kowols

School districts are being forced to work a little bit harder to attract and retain teachers after Act 10 changed the landscape seven years ago. Small candidate pools are a way of life for some school districts like Sturgeon Bay, but keeping quality teachers once they begin their career is getting more focus after Act 10 allowed teachers to more readily chase opportunities with other districts. Superintendent Dan Tjernagel says they work hard with their new hires to get them adjusted to life in Sturgeon Bay and learn more about their potential to grow with time.


Tjernagel says attracting and retaining quality staff were key considerations when they developed their compensation schedule and are a part of its recently Board endorsed strategic action plan.

Big bill worries leave post-Christmas coal for people in debt

By Tim Kowols

The temporary joy of the Christmas season can turn into long-term stress for those no longer waiting for Santa, but the big bills from shopping for gifts. The stress can even grow more if consumers are dealing with a major life transition such as a divorce, death of a family member, or job loss. Gay Pustaver from Money Management Counselors says taking time to develop a plan for getting out of debt instead of looking for quick fixes is important.



Pustaver suggests opting for a licensed consumer credit counseling service instead of debt settlement companies because they are consumer advocates instead of trying to sell service. You can listen to the entire Money Management Monday interview with Gay Pustaver online with this story.




Missing Sturgeon Bay Common Council members explain their special meeting absence

By Tim Kowols

Two of the three council members not present for Tuesday's special Sturgeon Bay Common Council session say prior engagements and uneasiness towards the process in which the meeting was called were the causes for the absence. Mayor Thad Birmingham was forced to call off the meeting after Stewart Fett, Ron Vandertie, Rick Wiesner, and David Ward were not enough Council members to establish a quorum to hold a vote regarding the contracts to dismantle the granary.


Fifth District Councilmember Barb Allmann told city officials there was a chance she was not going to make the meeting due to a family commitment. She admits her disappointment in how the city has handled the issue since the Common Council voted 4-3 on August 1 to not move to raze the building until after the New Year soured her on attending even if she was available.

Door County discusses future homes for split Airport and Parks Department

By Tim Kowols

The potential split of the Door County Airports and Park Department could make operating its entities more efficient in the long haul. This month's resignation of department director Erik Aleson has created the idea of Door County's Cherryland Airport being under the jurisdiction of the highway department and the county's parks merging with the property department. County Administrator Ken Pabich says the move will not cost or save money for now but will help it work even better.



Pabich says a more detailed discussion on the potential split of the Airport and Parks Department is slated to take place in the New Year.

Granary dismantling bid vote postponed due to lack of quorum

By Tim Kowols

Sturgeon Bay Mayor Thad Birmingham was forced to postpone a vote Tuesday between two bids to dismantle the granary on the city's West side due to a lack of a quorum. Present for the noon meeting was Birmingham and Councilmembers Ron Vandertie, Stewart Fett, Rick Wiesner, and David Ward. Absent from the meeting was Kelly Catarozoli, Barb Allmann, and Laurel Hauser. It was announced Sunday night that Allman and Sturgeon Bay Historic Preservation Commission Chairperson Dennis Statz submitted a petition to appeal the raze order issued by Fire Chief Tim Dietman in October.

Algoma officials being proactive in emergency planning

By Tim Kowols

The City of Algoma has spent parts of 2017 making sure all of its departments are prepared for flooding emergencies by updating its plans. The Algoma Long Term Care Unit recently completed a tabletop exercise with nursing homes in Kewaunee on what to do if flooding occurs and residents need to be moved. City Administrator Jeff Wiswell says flooding is one of the biggest killers and cause of property loss a community can face.



No matter the emergency, Wiswell says communities really have their act together when it comes to planning because of the unpredictable timing of the events.

Tjernagel discusses hiring and retention post-Act 10, Montessori update, good news

By Tim Kowols

Once a month, Sturgeon Bay School District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel joins Tim Kowols for a Good News Breakfast to discuss the good things going on at his schools. On today's show, Tjernagel discusses the challenges of hiring and retaining good quality teachers post-Act 10, an update on Montessori classrooms coming to the district, a recap of last weekend's Shrek Jr. production at T.J. Walker Middle School, and a preview of tonight's Winter Concert. Good News interviews air at 11 a.m. on 103.3.



Be a voice for homelessness

By Cynthia Germain


Homelessness is a concern for every community and local residents now have an opportunity to help determine how funding is used in Door and Kewaunee counties. The Lakeshore Community Action Program receives funds from the state and federal government to provide programs to those who are without shelter or exiting a shelter. The HUD Continuum of Care program provides one source of funding which requires the Lakeshore CAP to implement the Lakeshore Continuum of Care, a planning group of local members to help identify the needs of the community. Kate Markwardt, Supportive Housing Supervisor, says that they are wanting individuals in Door and Kewaunee counties to represent their respective areas on the broader scale of how funding will be used in the Lakeshore CAP system which also includes Sheboygan and Manitowoc counties. Markwardt is spearheading the effort and calls out to members from all area organizations and institutions as well as local government representatives to play a role and be part of the conversation.



A meeting that kicks off the formation of the Lakeshore Continuum of Care will be held on Tuesday, December 12th at Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland at 1:30 p.m. Markwardt is excited that Director from the Wisconsin CoC will also in attendance to present on important considerations in implementing this crucial planning group as a local voice on issues of homelessness.

Historic Preservation Commission members file appeal against granary razing

By Tim Kowols

Two members of the Sturgeon Bay Historic Preservation Commission have filed an appeal against the razing of the granary to ensure their October 30 resolution is not ignored by city officials.


On December 4, HPC chairperson  Dennis Statz and Common Council member Barb Allmann filed a petition to appeal the raze order for the granary issued by Sturgeon Bay Fire Chief Tim Dietman nearly two months ago. The petition cites a resolution passed by the HPC in support of saving the granary and working with the Sturgeon  Bay Historical Society to use over $1.25 million for its restoration and redevelopment, along with a letter of support from the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center.


According to a press release from the Centerline Forum, Councilmember Laurel Hauser has contacted Department of Safety and Professional Services Attorney Supervisor Al Rohmeyer about the appeal, who suggested all parties should try to reach a compromise on what he considered to be a local issue.


The city opened bids to dismantle the granary building last week after the Sturgeon Bay Common Council voted to take down the structure and store it for up to one year while local groups develop a plan to rebuild it on the same footprint or somewhere else.




For immediate release

Questions? Contact Barb Allmann at (920)256-1678; or

Dennis Statz at (920)559-0561


Appeal filed on raze order: Alderperson Allmann and Historic Preservation Commission Chair Statz petition for due process


On December 4, Alderperson Barb Allmann and local business owner Dennis Statz filed a petition to appeal the Sturgeon Bay Fire Chief's raze order of the historic granary with the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services. Statz is the chairperson of the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) and Allmann serves as the Council representative.


On October 30, the City's Historic Preservation Commission passed a resolution in support of preserving the granary and working with the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society to utilize private dollars. Minutes of the HPC meeting were not shared with the City Council until after a motion to dismantle the structure was voted on and approved by the Council on November 21.  The HPC resolution has not been discussed by the Council and although members of the Council have asked for the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society proposal to be added to numerous Council agendas, the mayor of Sturgeon Bay has declined to include it.


"The Historic Preservation Commission is made up of citizens who volunteer their time and voted to see the granary preserved," states Allmann. "Our community deserves to at least hear the details of the Society's proposal, know what's being offered, and have a discussion on possibilities."


The Allmann/Statz petition references the HPC resolution, a letter of support from the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center, and the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society's offers to utilize private donations in excess of $1,250,000 to restore the structure. The petition references the City's 2010 Comprehensive Plan that lists five overall goals, one of which is to "seek preservation and maintain the abundant natural and historic resources within and surrounding the City." The petition also includes an exhibit of over 50 letters from community members in support of preservation.


In August, the granary was listed on the State Registry of Historic Places. This requires a review of the structure prior to demolition. On November 3, the Wisconsin Historical Society alerted the City that it would not be able to review the granary and stated it "had not been provided sufficient documentation that the building is structurally deficient."


The Allmann/Statz petition states that the City Fire Chief has no contemporary structural engineering reports or other professional report to substantiate the finding in the raze order and gives no option for remedy or repair.


Alderperson Laurel Hauser spoke with the Department of Safety and Professional Services Attorney Supervisor Al Rohmeyer after the petition was received. Rohmeyer told Hauser that although the Sturgeon Bay Fire Chief acted as a deputy of the state in issuing the raze order, DSPS sees this as a local issue and strongly encourages the Council and the Fire Chief to come to an agreement. Rohmeyer stated that he'd advised the Fire Chief to work with his lawyers to suggest a compromise. As of this press release, no compromise has been received.


The complete petition, with supporting documents, is available on




Proposed Sturgeon Bay Sales Tax Deserves NO Vote

By Roger Utnehmer

Civil Discourse: An Occasional Attempt to Restore Civility to Our Civil Discourse

The proposed one-half percent sales tax to deal with crumbling Sturgeon Bay streets is a short-term solution to a long-term state-wide problem.

The Wisconsin legislature should increase the gas tax. Cities should not increase the tax burden on their most vulnerable citizens by imposing another regressive tax. Sales taxes hurt the poor and vulnerable most by taking a disproportionate share of their disposable income. Government services should be funded fairly.

A gas tax, on the other hand, raises money to maintain streets, roads and highways from the people who use them. Sturgeon Bay senior citizens who drive just a few thousand miles a year should not be penalized when purchasing products totally unrelated to transportation. Fair funding would charge the users of Wisconsin highways for the service government provides to them. A gas tax increase does that. It would also allow the state to capture tax revenue from visiting valuable tourists, the vast majority of whom drive to Wisconsin.

Sturgeon Bay City Council Member David Ward has done a commendable job studying the need to fund local streets. His Ad Hoc Committee has raised issues worthy of debate and discussion. However, picking on local consumers to pay for an unfair share of an unfair sales tax is not the solution voters should support.

A "NO" vote on the April sales tax referendum will send a message to state legislators that it is their responsibility to deal with crumbling streets, roads and highways as a state-wide, not just local, problem. The "No Tax Increase" pledge of our governor and many legislators is not responsible. It just pushes the tax burden on to local government while allowing them to shirk responsibility for political gain of sounding conservative.

And the gas tax should also be pegged to increases in the consumer price index. A slight increase in the gas tax as the economy expands is much better public policy than dealing with the delay and transportation fund deficit we face today.

A "NO" vote on a Sturgeon Bay sales tax will send a message in favor of fairness and legislative responsibility.

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

Door County Food Pantry makes a difference

By Cynthia Germain


The Lakeshore Community Action Program oversees a number of valuable programs but the food pantry is unique as it also depends on the kindness of local residents to combat hunger among area residents. The Door County Food Pantry receives 40 percent of its food from the USDA commodity program which provides items from the federal surplus programs. They also buy food from Feeding America, although these purchases are not funded by program dollars but rather private donations. This allows the food pantry to purchase items at a low per pound rate, ultimately giving more food choices to pantry users. Sandi Soik, manager of the Door County office of the Lakeshore Community Action Program, says that certain items are needed now as winter sets in.



In 2016, the food pantry served an average of 250 households per month. Soik says that private donations make the biggest difference in their offerings, and they are grateful to all the organizations that lend their support each year. The Food Pantry is open Tuesday and Thursday at the Lakeshore CAP office building on 3rd Avenue in Sturgeon Bay.

Washington Island Town Board Member runs again

By Cynthia Germain


Two of the four elected Washington Island town board positions are up in April, and incumbent Elizabeth Holmes says she is ready for another term. Holmes has been a board member for five terms, having worked through some very important concerns including wastewater, refuse management and tourism. She began her service with a desire to be involved to help the town be the best for its residents and believes that she has brought a unique voice to the Board over the last ten years.



Holmes arrived on Washington Island in 1970 and now enjoys her retirement and community service. Holmes says that Washington Island is unique with a strong community, pulling together when needed. She notes that service on the town board is not for everyone but board members have good discourse towards resolving common concerns. Holmes put great value on being able to bring a woman's voice to the community's issues and looks forward another town board term.

Find a little romance in Door County

By Cynthia Germain


Romance is alive and well in Door County. With cozy places to stay and a variety of things to do, couples can make a visit to Door County a memorable time. The county boasts a number of bed and breakfast inns as well as resorts with a wide range of services and events, many offering special romance packages. Jen Rogers, PR and Communications Manager of the Door County Visitors Bureau, says that couples can just be leisurely or get outdoors together to enjoy an array of winter sports.



In January, candlelight skiing is offered at the state parks, allowing ski enthusiasts to enjoy nighttime skiing followed by a relaxing campfire. The county also has eight wineries to visit, giving a sampling of the hybrid grapes grown locally as well as the trademark county cherries. Two breweries are also open all season, offering beer fans a great place to stop. Door County's unique restaurants and shops round out a romantic jaunt for couples young and old.


Interview with Historical Society consultant Pat Drury and questions from Alderperson Catarozoli concerning granary proposals


By Kent Berkley



The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society retained consultant Pat Drury to represent their interests in preserving the historic waterfront granary and to help them develop a presentation to submit to the Common Council.  Drury has been denied the opportunity to appear on the council agenda to make a presentation about the privately funded proposal that would save the building.  He had an opportunity to make his presentation before one Alderperson at the Door County Daily studios.  Included below is Pat Drury's presentation and Kelly Catarozoli's follow up questions and comments.





Catarozoli had some general questions and comments about his proposal.










Council Member Catarozoli questions Drury about costs related to granary proposal


By Kent Berkley


The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society retained consultant Pat Drury to represent their interests in preserving the historic waterfront granary and to help them develop a presentation to submit to the Common Council.  Drury has been denied the opportunity to appear on the council agenda to make a presentation about the privately funded proposal that would save the building.  He had an opportunity to make his presentation before a council member at the Door County Daily studios.


Included below are Council Member Catarozoli's questions and comments about the financial aspects of Drury's  presentation.













Local food pantry seeks winter food items

By Cynthia Germain


The Care 24/7 Food Pantry in Fish Creek is always open, thanks to the kindness of the Door County community. Steve Schultz, a volunteer for the Care 24/7 Food Pantry, is pleased with the support provided by local residents for this pantry which offers non-perishable items to those in need. Schultz says that it has been a busy year with generous donations but certain items are needed now and essential to have throughout the winter.



The Care 24/7 Food Pantry does not receive food or funding from any other source other than those caring individuals in the community. This year, they have been fortunate to receive large food and personal item donations as well as generous monetary assistance. Stella Maris Catholic Church houses the food pantry and has a donation basket available for drop off of canned goods and other non-perishables at any time.

Gibraltar student collects socks for the homeless


By Kent Berkley


Ava Beaudot does not consider herself to be a hoarder, but anyone entering her home might think otherwise.  Ava Beaudot is a Senior at Gibraltar High School and is doing a sock drive for the homeless as her Senior Project.  The socks will be going to St. John Evangelist Homeless Shelter in Green Bay.  Ava says her hallway is evidence of the success she is having.






Ava has drop-off boxes at three locations for anyone interested in donating warm socks.  Socks can be delivered to Gibraltar High School, the Egg Harbor library or St. Paul Lutheran Church in Juddville.  She will be collecting socks through the first week in January.



"Mayoral Privilege" cited by City Administrator as reason granary discussion banned from council agenda


By Kent Berkley



Sturgeon Bay City Administrator Josh VanLieshout confirmed that Mayor Thad Birmingham is blocking from the council agenda a merit-based discussion of proposals to address the west-side waterfront granary.   VanLieshout stated that previously it was common practice that when two members of the council asked to have an item considered at a council meeting, the request was granted.  That has not happened in the case of council members Kelly Catarozoli and Laurel Hauser.  They have asked for an open discussion to assess the merits of proposals to save the granary.   VanLieshout suggested that it is the mayor's privilege to decide whether or not to add agenda items.






VanLieshout suggested that he thought the mayor had the discretion to grant or deny requests to put items on the agenda in such circumstances, but was quick to add that he is not a parliamentarian.   He stated that he did not know the reasons behind the mayor's stance and suggested those questions be directed to the mayor.


Door County librarian becomes Director of the Nicolet Federated Library System


By Kent Berkley



Tracy Vreeke, Cataloger for the Door County Library System, has accepted a position to direct the Nicolet Federated Library System.  The Nicolet Federated Library System is a state-funded organization that assists 42 member public libraries located in eight Northeast Wisconsin counties, including Door and Kewaunee among them.  As Director, she will be tasked with providing member libraries with cost-effective and efficient access to resources, support, and technical expertise.  Tracy, who has an eclectic work background, says she found libraries to be her passion while working in the Door County system for the last nine years.






Tracy says she is excited that her new position will provide her with an opportunity to share what she has learned about making libraries great.    Tracy says she wants library patrons in all 42 of the public libraries with which she will be involved to love libraries as much as she does.


Sevastopol scores highest in state among K-12 school districts


By Kent Berkley


The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) produces report cards for every publicly funded school and district in Wisconsin.  The report cards provide information to families about student achievement by measuring and reporting key indicators of student success.  Kyle Luedtke, School Administrator for the Sevastopol District, explains the ranking of his District in relation to others across the state.





Luedtke credits the leadership of Principals Hoppe and Baier, the dedication of the faculty, and the broad support of the community for the strong showing.



Sturgeon Bay Council meets Monday to review demolition bids for granary


By Kent Berkley



The Sturgeon Bay Council meets at noon on Monday to review bids and decide whether to award a contract to demolish the historic waterfront granary.  The bid specifications were supposed to include the costs to demolish, salvage and store the granary, but at least two of the three submissions contained major errors or misunderstandings about the nature of the job.  Statewide Razing was the lowest bidder, but they did not interpret the bid document to include anything beyond razing the building and have since withdrawn.  Kiesow Enterprises who bid $66,237.25 to do the job, initially indicated they would complete the work in one day and finish by December 6th.   The city says that Kiesow admitted making an error in their proposal and have since modified their estimated completion date to be Jan. 10, 2018.  The other bid is from Ostrenga Excavating for an amount of $358,196 and with an estimated completion date of June 2018.  Pat Drury, a project consultant to the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society, says he does not understand why the city keeps pressing forward at such a reckless pace, especially with so much bad information being spread and so much good information being suppressed.








City Administrator Josh VanLieshout reported that no prequalifying process was undertaken to ensure that the competencies and business practices of the respondents would meet minimum expectations required by the bid specifications.   He went on to explain that the means for doing the work would be left to the contractor that is awarded the job.


Opioid epidemic a challenge for child welfare workers


By Kent Berkley



A little more than a month ago, the Trump Administration formally declared the opioid epidemic to be a public health emergency.  The declaration allows states to flexibly use federal funds to provide treatment for addicts.   In assessing the harm caused by addiction, it is usually apparent how the life of the addict is damaged, but the secondary harm to children, families and institutions is less obvious.   The increase in opioid addiction has contributed to greater numbers of families being torn apart and more children being placed in foster care.  This creates a challenge for caseworkers charged with placing these children in a permanent home, usually through reunification or adoption, within a relatively short time frame.  Doreen Goddard, Child and Family Services Manager with the Door County Department of Human Services, says the tight timeline for finding a permanent home is generally good practice because children need stability.  She says that the timeline can also make decisions difficult, because treatment for drug addicted parents takes time to access and complete.






Goddard says the addiction and treatment issues are further complicated because relapse is often a natural part of the recovery process.  Each episode of relapse requires a reassessment of the treatment and permanency plan for the children in foster care.



Local reaction to President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capitol

By Paul Schmitt

With President Donald Trump's announcement this week of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's official capital, the move has drawn much debate and comment worldwide.  Locally, Dr. Joe Binard of Brussels, who has worked for the Palestinian Children's Relief Fund says it was a terrible decision.



Nathan Mandel, who grew up in Door County and is an Israeli citizen that served in the Israeli Army, and currently lives in Turin, Italy, is not overly concerned about who recognizes Jerusalem as the capital.



President Trump also ordered the State Department to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Three Kewaunee County Board Supervisors announce non-candidacy

By Tim Kowols

Three supervisors deciding not to run for re-election and two challengers highlight the first week of people showing their interest in running for the Kewaunee County Board. District 2 supervisor Larry Kirchman, District 7 supervisor Dennis Cravillion, and District 11 supervisor Linda Sinkula have all given their notice of non-candidacy.  Challenger Frank Madzarevic took out nomination papers to run against Douglas Doell in District 8, while Richard A. Schleis will look to replace Sinkula in District 11. Ten incumbents have taken out their nomination papers, with Patrick Benes of District 17 the only one to have turned in his to the clerk's office.  December 1 was the first day to circulate nomination papers and the filing deadline is January 2.  You can see the updated nomination papers status for the spring 2018 Kewaunee County Board Supervisors with this story below.

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Area high schools prepare for winter concerts

By Tim Kowols

High school musicians in Door and Kewaunee County are preparing to display their talents at their winter concerts. While some schools are doing musicals or mixing in pieces from the likes of John Phillip Sousa and Aaron Copland, most will feature traditional Christmas tunes. Sturgeon Bay Band Director Heidi Hintz says these winter concerts are a great way for the students to show off the hard work they have been putting in over the last several weeks.



Many of the concerts are free to attend, but others are also attached to a meal or fundraising event. You can see a schedule of the winter programs and when some of them will be rebroadcast on 102.1 and 105.1 MORE FM for "Music to Wrap Presents By" online with this story.




Algoma: Saturday, December 9, 2017,  5:15 p.m. Silent Auction opens.  Auction is open to the public, no ticket required. 6:00 p.m. dinner is served.  Tickets are only available through AHS Band or Choir students. 7:00 p.m.  AHS Instrumental and Choir Concerts in the AHS Gym. The concert is free and open to the public. Rebroadcast on 12/19.


Kewaunee: Sunday, December 10 at 5:30 p.m. Rebroadcast on 12/20.


Luxemburg-Casco: Monday, December 18 at 7:00 p.m. Rebroadcast on 12/22


Sturgeon Bay:  Monday, December 11 at 7:00 p.m. Rebroadcast on 12/21


Sevastopol:  Monday, December 18 at 6:30 p.m.


Southern Door: Monday, December 11 at 7:00 p.m.


Gibraltar: Monday, December 18 at 7:00 p.m.


Washington Island: December 9 at 6 p.m.

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Kewaunee County introduces new electronic emergency notification system


By Tim Kowols and Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski

Kewaunee County residents will be relying on a new system for its electronic emergency notifications. Smart911 will replace the former CodeRed system, which was instituted six years ago as a way to contact residents just in case it needed to alert a mass number of people if something drastic happened at the Kewaunee Power Station. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says the new system will allow them to alert residents via their phone and email depending on the emergency and where they live.



Enrollees in the former CodeRed system will have to sign up again for the free service. You can read more about Smart911 and find a link on how to sign up online with this story.



During times of emergency, there may be the need for local government to notify members of the community. These types of circumstances can range from weather emergencies to missing persons or event critical incidents where public safety is at risk. In recent years we have used a service called "Code Red" to facilitate these notifications. While this service has been effective, the decision was made to transition to a new provider for timely notifications. Just as with the old system, you can choose to be notified in a variety of ways including emails, texts or direct voice messaging. You can even choose to receive the alerts through all three formats.


The good news is that this new service provider gives us a greater amount of user capabilities as well as flexibility in how we are able to use the system. The unfortunate part of this transition is that we are going to need the community to once again provide their contact information in order to guarantee that the greatest number of people are actually in the system and able to receive these alerts.


A link has been created on both the Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department as well as on the Kewaunee County Website-


I just went on and added myself along with my family and it was very user-friendly. Please note that the system does allow for you to add a great deal of information, but for our purposes, we only need your contact information to get messages to you. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Tracy Nollenberg at Kewaunee County Emergency Management (920)845-9701

Door County Habitat for Humanity hopes to impact more families after 40th home milestone

By Tim Kowols

Door County Habitat for Humanity has no plans to slow down after reaching its 40th home build milestone this year. The homes built completely by volunteers have added thousands of dollars to area tax rolls while also giving families a fresh start. Door County Habitat for Humanity Board President Glen Viste says the biggest challenge the organization faces is finding enough families eligible for the "hand-up," which is limiting their eventual goal of building two homes a year.


Viste says Door County Habitat for Humanity is even looking at its own space to see how it can utilize it better for its offices, ReStore, and building preparations before deciding on adding or renting additional room.

Alderperson Hauser frustrated by mayor's use of procedural technicalities to block discussion of granary's fate


By Kent Berkley



Alderperson Laurel Hauser appreciates that governments need policies and procedures in order to function effectively.  She is troubled, however, when technicalities which have historically been ignored, are selectively used to prevent a substantive discussion about the future of the granary.  Hauser inquired about the process for putting an item on the agenda when she was new to the Council.  At that time, she was told by both the City Administrator and Mayor that no written policy could be found.  Mayor Birmingham stated, however, that he would put an item on the agenda whenever two Alderpersons make such a request.   Hauser says that now she can't get a straight answer about the proper policy for setting an agenda item.






One week ago, City Administrator Josh VanLieshout sent Alderperson Hauser a document entitled "policy for the preparation of agendas and meeting packets".   The document indicates that it was adopted by the Council in August of 1997.  When asked, the City Administrator admitted that the pattern of practice for setting agenda items was not controlled by the written policy provided to the Alderperson.



Most Door County Board Supervisors have taken out papers for spring election already

By Paul Schmitt

As of Thursday, all but four of the 21 Door County Board of Supervisors has taken out nomination papers for next spring's election.  Mark Moeller from District 12 and Don Sitte of District 19 turned in non-candidacy papers last month and incumbents Megan Lundahl from District 11 and John Neinas from District 12 have yet to take out papers.  Bob Bultman and Hugh Mulliken have taken out papers for Sitte's seat on the board.  Kathryn Shepard-Utzinger has taken out papers in District 14 where Linda Wait is the Incumbent.  As of Thursday, four incumbents have filed nomination papers already.     December 1 was the first day to circulate nomination papers and the filing deadline is January 2.  You can see the updated nomination papers status for the spring 2018 Door County Board Supervisors with this story online.










Michigan Street Bridge Street opens ahead of schedule

By Paul Schmitt

The Michigan Street Bridge in Sturgeon Bay is back open after repairs started Monday, five days earlier than anticipated.  The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (Wis-DOT) closed the bridge Monday to repair multiple bridge beams struck by over-height vehicles earlier this year.  Regional Communication Manager Mark Kantola says crews finished early due to more manpower being available and favorable weather conditions.  The earlier than anticipated opening of the Michigan Street Bridge is good news for downtown businesses in Sturgeon Bay, according to Kantola.



Area downtown businesses had expressed concern about the closure timing with the busy weekend holiday shopping going on this weekend.  The bridge was damaged back in May and June in two separate incidents.

Christman, Griffith prepare for Kewaunee mayoral run

By Tim Kowols

Kewaunee Mayor Sandi Christman and council member John Griffith have announced their intentions to run for the top office in the city. The two have taken out their papers for the 2018 election after Griffith finished in a distant third to Christman in 2016. (Christman 650 votes, John Blaha 453 votes, Griffith 69 votes. Christman says after getting her feet wet in her first year and getting things in the motion the second year, it is time to start implementing.


Griffith hopes Kewaunee can capture more of the tourist traffic and potential businesses coming to the city.


Other potential mayoral candidates in Kewaunee have until January 2 to file their nomination paperwork complete with 50 signatures.

The Ridges Sanctuary paticipating in nationwide holiday bird count tradition

By Tim Kowols

Just as kids try for a glimpse of a sleigh and eight tiny reindeer this time of year, some residents use Christmas as a time to look to the sky to look for birds. The National Audubon Society has used its Christmas Bird Count to keep track of species for over 100 years, an activity the Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor has participated in over the last 60-plus years. Land Manager Matt Peter says this is the time of year many birders look for the snowy white owl on their southern migratory path.



While The Ridges will host birders for the Christmas Bird Count December 16, you can also keep track from the comfort of your own home and register your findings at the sanctuary's Cook-Albert Fuller Center through the end of the month.

Highway crews ready as first snowflakes fly

By Tim Kowols

The Door County Highway Department will have plenty of salt at their disposal as snow starts to fly this week. Over 2000 lane miles are maintained by the county using 19 trucks, eight graders, and wheel loaders to keep roads passable at reasonable speeds. Highway Commissioner John Kolodziej says the salt sheds are full after last year, which saw an increase in salt usage compared to other years.



Kolodziej reminds motorists to give snow plows and salt crews plenty of space while they are operating and pass with extreme caution if conditions allow. The next five days all include some chance of snow according to the National Weather Service.

Washington Island Ferry prepares for winter travel season

By Tim Kowols

Passengers of the Washington Island Ferry are being reminded to make sure they book space for their car before they ride. Vehicle reservations are required for travel after December 22 for their four daily trips until January 3 when it slips down to two. Ferry President Hoyt Purinton says the reservations provide useful information for its captains, especially as the weather begins to turn.



Reservations for vehicles are required for the Washington Island Ferry until March 22.

Sturgeon Bay Historical Society asks to reject bids to demolish granary and charges city administrator with "abuse of office"

By Tim Kowols

The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society is calling on city officials to reject the three bids gathered for the "demolition of the granary building and site restoration." According to a release from the SBHS, the bid specifications ignore a November 7th resolution giving the SBHS a 60-day window to develop a plan November 21st resolution calling for the granary to be dismantled and salvaged for up to one year to allow private organizations to step up with the necessary funds to rebuild it. It was a topic of conversation during Wednesday's bid opening with city administrator Josh VanLieshout and alderpersons Kelly Catarozoli and Laurel Hauser.



The SBHS calls VanLieshout's "issuance of non-conforming bid specs in disregard of both resolutions" and is abusing his office by going outside the authority of the Sturgeon Bay Common Council. VanLieshout said during the bid opening that time, money, and council member concerns would be considered during the decision-making process, along with what is most advantageous for the city. You can read the entire release by the SBHS and listen to the bid below.

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Sturgeon Bay City Council Member coy about re-election plans

By Roger Utnehmer

Sturgeon Bay City Council Member Stewart Fett is not saying if he will be a candidate for another term representing the sixth aldermanic district.  When asked before the start of Tuesday's council meeting if he would run again Fett simply responded, "possibly."   He responded to a question about whether or not he has taken out nomination papers, Fett replied, "Not yet."


Council Member Rick Wiesner from district four told last week that he was still undecided if he would run again.  Ron Vandertie who represents the second district did not return calls.


Incumbent elected officials who decide not to run again must sign a declaration of non-candidacy before December 27th or the deadline for filing nomination papers will be automatically extended for an additional three days.


Good government advocates encourage elected officials to state their intentions early in the process in order to give interested citizens time to declare their candidacy and circulate nomination papers.  It is especially important when incumbents decide at the last minute to not run and have hand-picked successors ready to announce with little time for opposition to organize.

Costs, timelines in granary dismantling bids leave Sturgeon Bay officials curious

By Tim Kowols

The granary could be gone as soon January 31, 2018 depending on which bid the city of Sturgeon Bay accepts for the building's removal. City officials opened three bids Wednesday afternoon, ranging from $52,115 by  Statewide Razing and $358,196 by Ostrenga Excavating. Green Bay-based Ostrenga Excavating believes it can have the granary dismantled by June 2018. An additional bid was read by city officials from Kiesow Enterprises, but its $66,237.25 bid had an invalid completion date of December 6. Alderpersons Kelly Catarozoli and Laurel Hauser attended the bid reveal, asking city administrator Josh VanLieshout about the contractors' experience dismantling buildings like the granary and the likelihood that it gets restood. VanLieshout says when looking at the bids, time, money, and council member concerns are important factors to consider.



VanLieshout says he and city engineer will contact the contractors and have the bids ready for council review. Hauser and Catarozoli both questioned VanLieshout on why a presentation to be given by the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society was not allowed on the agenda following discussion about next steps after opening bids. VanLieshout said the issue should be taken up with the mayor.

Documentary film about climate change showing at Collins Learning Center


By Kent Berkley


The award winning film Chasing Ice will be shown Friday, December 8th at 2:00 p.m. at the Collins Learning Center located on the grounds at Crossroads at Big Creek.    The National Geographic documentary features the photography of James Balog, a former climate change skeptic.  The showing is made possible by the Climate Change Coalition of Door County which is sponsoring the event.  Dick Smythe, the co-founder of the organization, says the film is a compelling, must-watch event for anyone concerned about the welfare of our planet.





The film features images of the diminishing ice shelf in the Arctic.  The event is free and open to the public.  For more information, visit



Kids get to see law enforcement officers in a different light


By Kent Berkley


The Door County Sheriff's Office, working in in collaboration with the Sturgeon Bay Police Department and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, held the 15th annual Chop and Shop with a Cop event this past Saturday.  The program pairs a child with a member of law enforcement for the day as they cut down a tree and do Christmas shopping for the child's family.  Lieutenant Tammy Sternard of the Door County Sherriff's Department, says she is overwhelmed each year by the community support they receive.  She stated that one of the secondary benefits of the event is that children and families get the opportunity to engage with law enforcement officers in a positive, community-oriented context.




Lieutenant Sternard says it is important for young people to see law enforcement officers as regular people who care about family, community and helping others.

Youth in foster care may get help with postsecondary education


By Kent Berkley


A bipartisan legislative task force has drafted a package of 13 bills designed to improve foster care in Wisconsin.  The proposed legislative changes were announced during a news conference on November 28th.  The bills were drafted after the task force completed a five-stop listening tour around the state in which testimony was gathered from service agencies, private providers, advocates, stakeholders and other concerned citizens.   One of the proposals would provide free tuition for foster children within the University of Wisconsin System and the Wisconsin Technical College System.  Doreen Goddard, Child and Family Services Manager with the Door County Department of Human Services, says that is critically important to provide ongoing support for young people as they transition to adulthood. 






Goddard says that parents in healthy, stable families will tell you that their children need ongoing support and guidance, even after they become legal adults.  She says it would be unfair to expect children in foster care, who have typically experienced more trauma and instability in their lives, to get by with less support as they transition to adulthood. 


Peninsula Symphonic Band's Christmas concert Thursday will be Eggert's finale as director

By Paul Schmitt

This year's Christmas concert Thursday evening by the Peninsula Symphonic Community Band and the Peninsula New Horizons Band will have a special meaning besides the holiday music that will be shared.  Paula Eggert, who has directed the band since 2000, will be conducting her final concert as the director.  She says her responsibilities never felt like a job because she enjoyed the position so much.



Eggert says she is looking forward to staying on and performing as a band member.  The Peninsula Symphonic Community Band and the Peninsula New Horizons Band Christmas concert performance is free to the public and will be held at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Sturgeon Bay starting at 7 p.m. Thursday.


(photo compliments of Peninsula Symphonic Community Band facebook)

Sturgeon Bay City Council gets hot with charges of "good old boys" and "secret" for waterfront development


By Roger Utnehmer

Seven minutes into Tuesday's meeting of the Sturgeon Bay city council the male majority was accused of being "a good old boy" network hiding a secret plan for the development of the west-side waterfront.  Pat Drury, a member of the Heritage Hills board of directors and owner of Drury Designs in De Pere, asked council members what their development plan for the granary site really is.

Drury questioned how a city could turn down the gifts of major donations to repurpose the granary for public use.  Sturgeon Bay Fire Chief Tim Dietman has ordered the granary razed, calling it a health hazard.  One local family has pledged $1.25 million to save it.

The council voted at its last meeting to tear it down and preserve the pieces for one year.

Two other speakers were gaveled down by Mayor Thad Birmingham when they attempted to speak about the granary.

Ame Grail and Kelly Avenson were shut down because their remarks were about a non-agenda item and public comments at the start of the meeting are reserved for items on that meeting's agenda.  Mike Orlock spoke in favor of the Ad Hoc Committee recommendations on street funding.  Orlock wore a shirt saying, "We've Thad enough."

In non-agenda item comments, Don Freix questioned e-mails sent on personal accounts from former Waterfront Redevelopment Authority member Cap Wulf and John Yount that were derogatory about those working to preserve the granary. Freix said comments showed a pattern of disdain to the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront and the three female members of the council.

Hans Christian, head of a group working to build a center for performing arts adjacent to and incorporating the granary, called comments about him from City Administrator Josh VanLieshout "completely unacceptable."  A recent open records request shows several derogatory comments from city officials.  Several of those comments were made from the official's personal email account rather than the account provided by the city.

That email chain was called "pretty gross" by Elliott Goettelman.  President of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society and granary preservationist Christie Weber asked for adoption of an email policy that would also include the female members of the council.

Weber repeatedly told Birmingham, "We do not have a king sitting as mayor."  She criticized Birmingham for refusing to allow consultants from the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society to speak to the council about the development of the granary.

Listen to some of the public comments from Tuesday's Sturgeon Bay City Council Meeting below:

Christie Weber

Pat Drury

Ame Grail

Heidi Hodges

Don Freix

Hans Christian

John Yount

Christie Weber

Pat Drury

Elliott Goettelman

Elaine Carmichael

Sturgeon Bay voters to decide on half percent tax increase for streets and sidewalks in April

By Roger Utnehmer

Showing unity, collaboration and consensus the Sturgeon Bay city council on Tuesday approved an April 3, 2018, referendum on a one-half percent sales tax increase on non-durable items with the money going to improving local streets.

Council member David Ward headed up an ad-hoc Committee on Funding Local Streets and Infrastructure.  His nine-member committee recommended the sales tax hike in order to fix aging streets that have outlived their design life.  The tax, called a Premier Area Resort Tax, is used successfully in several cities similar in size to Sturgeon Bay with apparent success.

Ward also said the committee recommended some short-term borrowing to improve streets.

The report stated that Sturgeon Bay has sixty-seven miles of streets with only 1.2 miles being replaced annually.  That means it would take 56 years to cycle through all sixty-seven miles of city streets.  The recommended replacement cycle is twenty-five years.

Sturgeon Bay will need a total of $720,000 to successfully restore city streets, with $620,000 allocated to resurfacing and $100,000 for preventive maintenance.

Several council members commended Ward and those serving on the Ad Hoc Committee for their hard work and recommendations.

The entire report is available below.

Rotary Youth Exchange starts lifetime of memories with application

By Tim Kowols

Local Rotary Clubs are welcoming international students as well as helping area youth find their own adventures through its exchange program. Through the Rotary Youth Exchange program, students spend a full academic year building lasting relationships around the world and learning a new language and culture while host families can have a positive impact during their stay. Rotary District 6220 Inbound Coordinator Barb Wilson meets with students coming to and leaving Door County through the exchange program and says there is a process for those wanting to participate.



Between Rotary's three clubs in Door County, there are five students studying abroad (otherwise known as outbounds) and four youth participating locally (also known as inbounds). Over the course of the month, we will talk with a pair of international students currently studying in Door County, one local resident who has gone through the process already, and a host family involved with the Rotary Youth Exchange.

Jirtle not running for third term in Kewaunee

By Tim Kowols

A new face will represent Kewaunee 2nd Aldermanic District after Diane Jirtle announced she would not be running again. Jirtle will complete her second term as a council member this spring but cites family and job constraints as her reasons for not running for another two-year stint. The recent harbor restoration project and the public space near its grandfather clock are among the improvements happening in the city leading Jirtle to believe Kewaunee is on the right track.



Jirtle encourages her replacement in the 2nd Aldermanic District to get out into the community and talk to their constituents to get the answers they need. Jirtle is the second Kewaunee City Council member to announce their non-candidacy after Don Kickbusch told he would not be running again after 16 years serving the 4th District.

Sister Bay concrete turns gold for Department of Transportation project

By Tim Kowols

Over a year after its completion, the 2016 reconstruction of Wisconsin State Highway 42 through downtown Sister Bay is getting national recognition. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation received a 1st Place Gold Award from the American Concrete Pavement Association at its November annual meeting in the Municipal Streets and Intersections- under 30,000 square feet category. In addition to the quality of the final product, DOT Project Manager Jeremy Ashauer says it was also judged on its ability to work with all stakeholders as crews had to be efficient while keeping Door County's busy tourist season in mind.



Over the past year, the project also earned awards for its design excellence and urban reconstruction. Ashauer says similar concerns will be needed when resurfacing work begins on the stretch of STH 42 between Fish Creek and Sister Bay beginning in fall 2019.

Route extension welcomes ATV riders to Forestville

By Tim Kowols

All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) now have more room to ride in southern Door County after route signs were posted near Forestville. The route now crosses State Highway 57 south into Forestville, where it will travel on Stone Road, County Road H, and Mill Road. Village President Terry McNulty says it was important for Forestville to link up with the other Southern Door communities via the ATV trails.



It took a few months to get the roadway-based route approved by local and county officials according to McNulty, but it is now connected to over 90 miles of ATV-approved trails in southern Door County.

Hundreds lose power in Door and Kewaunee Counties

By Tim Kowols

High winds could be to blame for several hundred customers waking up without power Tuesday morning. The National Weather Service issued a wind advisory last night for the area, which is slated to continue until 6 p.m. Tuesday. According to the Wisconsin Public Service, five communities are affected by power outages with Sturgeon Bay (2 outages, 411 customers) and Ellison Bay (2 outages, 189 customers) seeing the most issues.

Algoma's Wolf Tech program's work showing up outside the classroom

By Paul Schmitt

The Wolf Tech program at Algoma High School is working close with the Algoma community to get major woodworking projects completed.   Algoma Wolf Tech teacher Matt Abel shares a couple of collaborative efforts done in the past year.



Abel says the Wolf Tech program also did a smaller construction project putting up a changing room on Crescent Beach in the last year.  Future projects include a gazebo to be built and delivered to a homeowner in the spring.  The Algoma Wolf Tech program is currently working on its Community Fab Lab Series of holiday-themed projects.

Door County Silent Sports Alliance mixing fun with holiday spirit for Bridge to Bridge Run/Walk

By Paul Schmitt

Runners and walkers of all ages and abilities are invited for the sixth annual Bridge to Bridge Holiday Lights Fun Run and Walk next Wednesday.  The free three-mile event is sponsored by the Door County Silent Sports Alliance.  Member and Board of Director Bob Richards says the evening entails a winding route throughout the Sturgeon Bay downtown area promotes health and fitness.



The Bridge Holiday Lights Fun Run and Walk begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 13 on the west side of Sturgeon Bay.  You can find more information on the event with this story online.


Bridge Holiday Lights Fun Run and Walk on Wednesday, Dec. 13, starting and finishing at Kitty O"Reilley's Irish Pub, 59 E. Oak St., Sturgeon Bay.  Presented by the not-for-profit Door County Silent Sports Alliance, the free three-mile event begins at 6:30 p.m. The emphasis is on fun for this festive holiday run.  It is not a race.  Costumes of the season are encouraged and participants are urged to arrive ahead of time so they are ready to run or walk at 6:30.  For more information, go to

DCEDC sees potential FoxConn work for area manufacturers in future

By Paul Schmitt

Counties and potential suppliers around the state are eager to benefit from the Foxconn Technology Group before its manufacturing plant in Racine County is even up and running.  According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Foxconn estimates that assembly work that is done in Wisconsin could generate over billions of dollars in sales next year.  Door County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Caleb Frostman says he believes area manufacturers would be a natural option for Foxconn in the future.



Frostman says local manufacturers are being proactive to find potential work in the future through Foxconn, even though many are doing everything they can to keep up with their current one, two and three-year pipelines.   Foxconn believes it will generate around $7 billion in annual revenue when the Racine County plant is built, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Tracking expenses is a good start in starting your savings plan--Money Management Monday

By Paul Schmitt

Tracking expense is a good way to control your spending all year long as well as during the expensive holiday season.  Keeping tabs on your spending is a good resolution to start off 2018 more financially responsible, according to Gay Pustaver from Money Management Counselors.  Pustaver says accounting for day-to-day expenses is important to measure right away.



Pustavers says gas, groceries and eating out are three categories to track so you have a clear idea how much money you are spending monthly on things you can control.  You can find the complete Money Management Monday interview with Gay Pustaver below.










Over 5,000 cookies donated to Adopt-a-Soldier program by one supporter over the years

By Paul Schmitt

One of the biggest supporters of the Door County Adopt-a-Soldier program is going above and beyond the call of duty.   Dennis Ott, who served as an army sergeant in the military, has baked 420 dozen homemade cookies to treat Adopt-a-Soldier recipients.  Ott shares some of the other items he has donated and that are still needed year around.



Ott credits Door County Adopt-a-Soldier founder and director Nancy Hutchinson for taking the program to the next level.  You can find more information on how to help ensure local men and women serving in the armed forces receive special care packages year through the Adopt-Soldier program by going to the link below.

Sturgeon Bay looks to sales tax for street funding while Historical Society's granary presentation does not make agenda

By Paul Schmitt

The Sturgeon Bay City Council could start moving forward Tuesday on a city half-percent sales tax to fund the cost of maintaining the city's streets.  The Ad Hoc Committee on Funding for Local Street Infrastructure is recommending the tax after considering a wheel tax.  Agenda item number 10 for Tuesday's meeting calls for a review of the final report and recommendations made by the committee.  The sales tax would have to pass a referendum vote to authorize the tax.  The earliest the vote could take place is next April's election.


A request by the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society for an engineer's presentations on a granary building proposal for Tuesday's meeting was ignored, according to a press release by the organization.  Consideration of the proposal was amended for the last meeting's agenda but was removed due to a last-minute administrative error by the City.  The Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting will start at noon on Tuesday in Council Chambers at City Hall.


Link to City's agenda for Tuesday's meeting.



SBHS - Press release

SBHS denied by Mayor to present to Common Council for a 3rd time.
Mayor Thad Birmingham denied the request for a presentation by the SBHS for a third
time. The latest request, from two Alderpersons to have it added to Tuesday's agenda
was ignored. "Although there is apparently no formal policy on requesting agenda
items," Hauser stated, "the mayor has told me that it is his personal policy to respect
requests from the council. He has been true to this in the past. To say I'm disappointed
is an understatement." As one of the council members requesting the SBHS
presentation, Laurel states, "I have city residents asking why the raze order doesn't
include an option for repair and why a structural analysis has not been done. An historic
icon in our community is coming down in a rushed manner with very little information."
Consideration of the proposal had been previously added to an amended Nov. 21
agenda and removed at the last minute because of an administrative error by the City.
The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society had engineers up from Green Bay in attendance,
they were not allowed to present their proposal. A motion by Alderperson David Ward
at the Nov. 21 meeting called for the dismantling and storing of the granary at taxpayer
expense. The motion passed on a 4-3 vote.
The preservation of the Granary has the support of the County Historian, George
Evenson, the Historic Preservation Commission, the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center and
was listed on the State Inventory of Historic Properties in the 90's (helping us become a
Mainstreet Community) and was officially listed on the State Register of Historic Places
in 2017.
SBHS is offering to pay for a current structural analysis of the Granary, provide
insurance coverage and fully restore the historic structure, using private funds not
taxpayer dollars. SBHS has also offered to pay to dismantle and remove the granary if
restoration on the site is not possible. Further, the group is offering to work with the City
to negotiate terms for a lease or purchase of the structure. The private funds were
confirmed by The Door County Community Foundation on October 25th announced that
the SBHS had received a gift of $1.25M to restore the building. The gift includes an
endowment for all future maintenance.
"We've done everything the City has asked of us and more. We are offering a 1.4 million
dollar investment into our community (with no cost to the taxpayers) and denied even
being heard. - SBHS board member Shawn Fairchild

There is still time to RSVP for the Senior Citizen's Holiday Dinner

By Cynthia Germain

Local seniors have an opportunity to enjoy good food and entertainment at the Gibraltar Area Schools on Wednesday, December 6th.  Mary Wittenborg, Gibraltar Student Council Advisor, is pleased that they continue to host this holiday tradition with special performances by Gibraltar students.



The festivities are held at Gibraltar High School and begin at 11:00 a.m. Performances from Gibraltar Area School students include the Gibraltar choir and Gibraltar bands.  Wittenborg says that this annual event is a great time for seniors to gather together and connect with area young people. For more information and to RSVP, call 868-3284, ext. 244.  Seats are limited so those interested can call and leave an RSVP message anytime.


Algoma 4th District residents will see a new face in the council member seat in April

By Cynthia Germain

The current 4th District Alder of Algoma, Jan Dart, has decided not to return to the seat and a relative newcomer has offered his candidacy.  Jake Maring moved to Algoma four years ago from California to be closer to family, although he grew up the Fox River area and considers the area is to be home.  Since becoming an Algoma resident, Maring has been active with the planning commission and other committees with the encouragement of others in the public service community.  As he considers the 4th District position, Maring believes that listening is one of the important skills in the function of a council member.



Maring is wanting to be engaged in the current and coming projects such as the new bridge on 2nd street, improvements to water access from south to north, the expansion of the marina for tourism, housing improvements and developments and other activities that will attract people and jobs.   Maring believes that Algoma is a great place to live and raise a family, offering new opportunities to commuters to Green Bay and Sturgeon Bay as well as to those who want to prosper locally.  

Washington Island food pantry considers itself blessed

By Cynthia Germain

The food pantry on Washington Island is like any other with federal and state food support but gets so much more from their community.  Food items are received from government supported programs that are intended to provide food for 4-5 days to supplement the 17 days that is conceivably covered by food stamps.  Anyone can get food in an emergency and those who meet the qualifications can get food once a month, typically on the 4th Monday, in the food pantry which is set up much like a store in the basement of Trinity Lutheran Church.  The church has supported the effort for many years including covering the expense of special elevator for disability access as well as hosting on-going food and fundraising by the parishioners.  John Davies, volunteer manager, speaks with gratitude to all the organizations and individuals that support their mission.



Davies notes that the food that comes from the governmental programs only provides one-third of the food given out so the community's generosity is critical.  A series at will highlight the current federal and state support, including the efforts of Lakeshore Community Action Program, as well as the good work that food pantries are doing in Door and Kewaunee Counties.

Longtime Kewaunee Alderman Don Kickbusch retires with glad heart

By Cynthia Germain

After eight terms as the 4th District Alderman of Kewaunee, Don Kickbusch will not be returning next year, looking to enjoy an active life in full retirement.  Kickbusch decided to get into politics following 35 years in public works, 27 of which were as Superintendent of Streets of Kewaunee.  Kickbusch says that he loved his Superintendent job and was proud of the contributions that he and his team made during his tenure.  His desire to continue to work on important projects of the community, such as a new sewage disposal plant and most recently a new seawall, has kept him in the alderman seat for the last sixteen years.  For those considering the position, Kickbusch offers some thoughts on the responsibilities of an alderman.



Kickbusch further added that support is bettered gained by political leaders who are transparent, letting the people know how and why money is spent.  He now looks forward to the morning coffee club and other social times discussing current politics, and he intends to stay active in community concerns.   Kickbusch says "you can't be a couch potato" and attributes his longevity to his community service as well as daily activities of walking, swimming and hobby interests.


Washington Island a part of a coalition finding common issues and solutions

By Cynthia Germain

John Rader, Town Chairman of Washington Island, is pleased to be a part of the Great Lakes Island Coalition which allows members to share common issues and solutions.  The Coalition has seventeen members that represent year-round occupied islands in the Great Lakes, two of which are in Wisconsin, Washington Island and Madeline Island.  This effort was spearheaded by the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes and organized by Central Michigan University and Northland College.  Twelve of the islands were represented in the Coalition's first meeting in September,  and all members continue to have conversations about how it will be organized going forward.  As member islands have very different demographics, with Manitoulin Island in Canada boasting 13,000 permanent residents and Washington Island having 700 residents, representation may differ.  Rader notes that all members have many shared concerns.



According to Rader, Washington Island has benefited from Wisconsin's allocations for building and maintaining roads, enjoying more paved roads than other, larger islands.  Other issues are ongoing for all members such as how electricity is maintained with most having a cable from the closest mainland.  Wastewater is a common problem with a variety of current fixes including an island central system, field spreading or trucking off the island to a nearby city with a sewage system.  Rural broadband is also a priority concern as Washington Island wants to attract new people who can work from their home, needing high speed internet.  The Great Lakes Coalition members continue to have conversations to share new solutions and are set to meet again later next year on Manitoulin Island.


Noteworthy sexual assault cases giving survivors confidence to speak out

By Tim Kowols

The rising number of claims of sexual assault and harassment nationwide is giving confidence to those dealing with it locally. ABC News has compiled a list of fifty names spanning politics, entertainment, sports and more that have been accused or charged with sexual harassment and assault.  Laura Giddley from the Violence Intervention Project in Algoma says by getting this topic out in the open, it is helping women gain confidence to speak out against the bad things that have happened to them.



According to Giddley, 70 percent of sexual assaults are committed by someone the survivor knows.







Recently, the media has been reporting case after case of sexual
misconduct allegations against individuals in high status positions, resulting
in investigations and in some cases dismissals from employment. There
seems to be a slow shift happening in the ideology of what is acceptable
and not acceptable behavior in the workplace. Sexual assault service
providers have worked tirelessly to make progress in the movement
working towards ending violence against women. Now, the news coverage
of these high profile sexual misconduct cases has recently created a
different platform for discussion.


Sexual violence is an act of misuse of power over another individual. While
sexual violence has no boundaries, it affects individuals in every
community, regardless of age, economic status, race, religion, ability,
nationality or educational background. The primary act of sexual inequality
is perpetrated by men against women. It's tempting for those who have not
experienced sexual violence to look away or stay silent, but that has been a
major part of the problem. Therefore this is not just a women's issue.
There is a need to get men engaged in the movement towards the
accountability of other men and modeling dignity and respect towards


70 percent of sexual assaults are committed by someone the survivor
knows. We have to acknowledge that while offenders are often our co-
workers, friends and family, and that they can do positive things in public,
they can also engage in abusive behavior in private.


All survivors have a voice and many have found unity in disclosing sexual
abuse because of the recent cases in the media. Women from all walks of
life are speaking out about their own traumatic experiences with sexual
assault, many for the first time. Today is the day to have conversations
that eliminate the misuse of power. Individuals have the right to feel safe
where they live, work, and socialize.


Let's embrace these women's bravery of coming forward to create a shift in
conversations from "Why are these women coming forward now?" to "Why
does an individual choose to misuse power in a sexual nature?" Instead of
blaming the victim, we need to be holding the person who is manipulating
their power and status accountable for their actions.


It is recognized nationally that sexual assault is the most under-reported
crime. Therefore it is hard to gauge the complete impact these disclosures
across the country have had on our immediate community. There are
many barriers that victims face when it comes to reporting. Frequently,
individuals will downplay the importance of their feelings in these situations,
because they are trapped due to economic, educational or relational


We must hold everyone who causes harm accountable, as well as keeping
the needs of survivors central. Hearing and seeing so many accounts of
sexual violence can be overwhelming and may trigger survivors. We want
you to know that you are not alone. The Violence Intervention Project, Inc.
(VIP) is a non-profit organization serving women, men and children
experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, and child and elder abuse
in Kewaunee County. Victim services are available 24/7 by calling our
Helpline at 920-837- 2424. VIP also offers support groups for women, men,
and children experiencing abuse.


With the media highlighting so many stories of sexual assaults, it is
imperative that the time needs to be now to change the culture at work, in
our homes, and in our schools to prevent the abuse before it even
happens. That is why awareness and educational efforts are key to
violence reduction and are also a principal focus of the prevention
education program at VIP. But, we are asking for help from our community
too. You can become involved in the movement that so many others are
participating in nationally. The news is full of stories about people who
make a difference every day. From volunteers in some remote corner of the
world, to people who help out in their own communities, there are many
stories about how people can make a difference in the lives of others. If
such stories have inspired you, you can find out how to make a difference
in your community call the VIP office at 920-487- 2111.


It is all of our responsibility to take action to promote safety and wellness,
not only in the workplace, but to also challenge society to promote victims'
needs and to not become desensitized to what has become the norm of
people in power abusing others. We must also remember our compassion
for others as we boldly envision and work for real change.

Local students and advocates persuade legislators that current school start date is critical to Door County's economic success


By Kent Berkley


Currently, the first day of school in Wisconsin is scheduled to start after Labor Day.  This start date is critical to counties like Door which depend on tourism dollars to sustain the local economy.  Up to and during the holiday, Door County counts on families from across the state and country to visit the area and on local youth to work in their businesses.  For these reasons, the Kewaunee/Door County Legislation Days delegation met with legislators last week in Madison to voice opposition to a bill calling for an earlier school start.  Door County delegate, Caleb Frostmann, says it was a team effort by like-minded areas throughout the state including Minocqua, Eagle River, and the Wisconsin Dells to effectively quash passage of the bill:






Frostmann stated that the issue will likely be debated in future years, but he is confident that the facts and financial data support the current status quo of a post-Labor Day start date.


Chainsaw artist creates art in the park


By Kent Berkley



Some people see a dead tree and dread the backbreaking labor it will take to remove it.  Garrett Wendlandt, on the other hand, sees a chance to brandish his chainsaws and create art.  Wendlandt did just that when he was commissioned by Sturgeon Bay Municipal Services Director Bob Bordeau to create a wood sculpture in Martin Park from a dead ash tree that held a prominent place in the park.  Wendlandt says he had free reign with the subject matter as long as it had a musical theme to go with the bandstand in the park.





Wendlandt says he used a combination of chainsaws to create the piece for everything except the eyes the owl for which he used a special tool.  He says it took him about 25 hours to complete the project.


TJ Walker Allied Arts program set to perform Shrek the Musical Jr.


By Kent Berkley



The TJ Walker Allied Arts program will mark its 28th year with the production of Shrek the Musical Jr.  The Allied Arts program has evolved over the years from one that targeted the musically and dramatically talented student to one that has something to offer for every kind of student.  The students handle all aspects of the project, including making the scenery; building the props; managing the sound and lighting; serving the food and delivering the performance.   Leslie Hill, Choral Director for the Sturgeon Bay Middle and High School, says the students carry the program.





Hill, who has served in her role with the school district for 18 years, says the supervision and direction are provided by a four-teacher collaborative.  Each teacher brings the expertise of their department to the project which optimizes the learning experience for the students.   For more information about the production, or how to purchase tickets for the public performance on December 8th, contact Leslie Hill at



Local "Cold War" veteran publishes new book about his experiences

By Paul Schmitt

A Sturgeon Bay man recently published his own book on his experiences in Europe during the Cold War era.  Jerry Grassel's book is about his time in the military while being stationed in Germany in the late 1950's.  Grassel, 79, says it took over two years to complete the book that is called "Cold War Stories Unclassified:  Revealing, Amusing, and Educational."  Drafted in the Army in 1957, Grassel served in the Army Security Agency that dealt with radio frequency waves and electronic eavesdropping.  He says the 284-page book is broken into 54 chapter stories for an easy and entertaining read.  The spying that was going on between the occupying allied forces and the Eastern Bloc countries is not the main focus of the book, but rather Grassel's relationship with his army buddies and the interesting people he met during his time in Germany.



Grassel says "Cold War Stories Unclassified" has been used in area schools as an educational tool by teachers.  The book is available for sale at Bosse's News Stand in Green Bay for only $18.95 or $16 for any veteran of the armed forces by contacting him directly.   (920) 743-2684



Jerry's full interview is available below on Sound Cloud:

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Sex Trafficking Victim Advocate for Door County shares lessons learned from state conference


By Kent Berkley


Attorney General Brad Schimel, the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Crime Victim Services (OCVS), and Wisconsin U.S. Attorneys' Offices hosted a Human Trafficking Conference in Wisconsin Dells earlier this week.  More than 500 people from a multitude of disciplines including law enforcement, social services, victim advocacy and criminal prosecution attended the conference.  Shelby Mitchell, the Sex Trafficking Victim Advocate serving Door County, says that practitioners and policymakers involved in sex trafficking prevention and victim treatment programming are becoming more effective as additional data is gathered and new information is shared.  Mitchell says enough information is currently available to implement education campaigns and dispel dangerous myths that currently exist on the subject.







Mitchell says it is important for the public to understand that sex trafficking incidents have been reported in all 72 of Wisconsin's counties.  She says some traffickers prefer to work in rural communities because there is less competition.  For more information on the subject, visit Door County Daily for upcoming coverage in January during sex trafficking awareness month.



Council member Kelly Catarozoli vows to monitor oil spill clean up


By Kent Berkley



Alderperson Kelly Catarozoli is closely monitoring clean-up efforts following the hydraulic fluid spill at Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding.  The oil spill encroached upon the street and homes located on North 3rd Avenue.  Council member Catarozoli provided an update with four main points to share.  First, she is satisfied with the responsiveness of Bay Shipbuilding.  She says they have been forthright and have pledged to do what is necessary to clean up the mess they caused.  Second, she will monitor progress on the new containment strategy promised to be implemented by Bay Shipbuilding.  Third, she will revisit the proposed remedial actions once again after the Department of Natural Resources releases their report sometime in the next 45 days.  Fourth, she will continue to communicate with the cleaning crews to monitor their progress in cleaning the affected homes.  The Alderperson says she will stay on top of this situation as it develops.






Catarozoli elaborated by saying that the prevention strategies promised by Bay Shipbuilding are as important as the clean-up.  She stated that the most recent spill was the second such incident she has witnessed in less than two years.  She believes it is critically important that the new containment strategies promised by Bay Shipbuilding be effective in preventing future spills.



Sheriff's Corner: Increased shopping, giving online could lead to chances of scams

By Tim Kowols

With more people heading online to do their holiday shopping and giving, law enforcement officials are renewing their calls to make sure you keep a careful eye on your monthly statements.  According to CNBC, a record $6.59 billion was spent on Cyber Monday while Blackbaud, Inc. says 7,200 non-profit collected a record $60.9 million in donations during Giving Tuesday. In both cases, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski suggests only trusting reputable stores and organization to avoid possible credit card scams.



Joski encourages people to shop and give locally to give businesses and the people benefitting from area non-profit organizations a boost.  You can visit the Sheriff's Corner on this topic online with this story.



Now that we are through the Thanksgiving Holiday as well as the Gun Deer Season, it is the time when our attention shifts to preparation for Christmas and New Years Eve. By all accounts both Black Friday and Cyber Monday have been a huge success for most retailers and will hopefully provide them the revenue they rely upon to end their fiscal year on a positive note.



As always, I am a big supporter of shopping locally, not just because of the boost to the local economy, but also because you are less susceptible to fraud or scams. If you do find yourself shopping the old fashion way by going from store to store, make sure you keep the items you have already purchased out of sight. When purchasing with your credit or debit card keep it in sight as well. One of the common themes that run through the various credit card scams is that the card left the sight of the purchaser at some point during the transaction. Once you get home double check your balances to make sure no additional purchases found their way onto the card.



If you are of the new generation of shopping from the home computer, be aware of the risks this poses as well. Make sure you know the websites, or businesses you are purchasing from. Verify that they have a secured way of processing the transaction online. If you are purchasing from individuals online, do not send money until you confirm the delivery of the item. The use of paypal is also a great tool.



Many non- profit organizations use the holiday season to solicit funding. Again I would advise "Give Locally" this not only guarantees that your generosity will reach your neighbors, but will also limit your exposure to the risk of fraud or scams. If you receive a call for donations, and you are not sure of the source, asking for a call back number or follow up mailing will generate one of two things. If it is legitimate they will more than gladly assist in any questions you may have. If it is not legitimate you will probably be met with an abrupt hang up. Your persistence in demanding more information may make the difference between becoming a victim or not. Thank you to all who give of both their resources as well as their time during this season of giving!

Door County Humane Society becoming part of Wisconsin Humane Society

By Paul Schmitt

The Door County Humane Society along with Bay Area Humane Society in Green Bay was acquired by the Wisconsin Humane Society (WHS) at an official announcement Friday afternoon.  According to Angela Speed, Vice-President of Communications, the board at Door County Humane Society voted unanimously to become part of the WHS.  Speed says the timing was right for the transaction.



Speed says there are no plans for any future merger or layoffs from either facility.  In fact, the WHS is looking to hire more positions across all of their shelters.  Local donations can still be designated specifically for the Door County Humane Society facility, according to speed.


Official Press Release

MILWAUKEE — Officials at the Wisconsin Humane Society (WHS), Bay Area Humane Society (BAHS) in Green Bay, and Door County Humane Society (DCHS) in Sturgeon Bay, have announced a new vision for their organizations: BAHS and DCHS have chosen to strengthen their work for animals by becoming a part of the Wisconsin Humane Society.

"Nonprofit animal shelters operate with limited resources, and it is even more difficult because every organization is separate and has to separately fund overhead costs," said John Matter, board chairman of WHS.  "The consolidation of our experience and resources not only strengthens all of us, but is a better return on investment for the community that supports this critical work for animals."

WHS was approached separately by leadership at both organizations about succession plans to ensure the continuation of animal sheltering and other services in their respective communities.  Both BAHS and DCHS were looking for an ongoing framework that would reliably sustain their operations into the future. The three organizations have worked together the past several months to solidify plans for the acquisition.

"This is truly the best thing that could have happened for the Bay Area Humane Society," said Marlene Walsh, executive director at BAHS. "I'm retiring at the end of the year, and I'm thrilled that our succession plan is the Wisconsin Humane Society. In the end, the animals win. The resources that they can bring to the region will strengthen our ability to serve animals in need."

The board at Door County also voted unanimously to become part of WHS. As a small organization, DCHS found that the challenge of bearing overhead costs alone was threatening the future of their work. WHS can bring efficiencies and innovative philosophies to ensure that service to animals continues uninterrupted in that region.

Service to new communities is not foreign to WHS. In 2004, the Milwaukee-based WHS acquired the Ozaukee Humane Society, and in 2013, it acquired the Countryside Humane Society in Racine. The consolidation of staff and resources helped to ensure high-quality animal care and services to animals and families in both counties.

"As Wisconsin's oldest animal welfare organization, WHS has always worked to identify and respond to the most pressing needs of animals," said Anne Reed, President & CEO at WHS. "Today, the fragmentation of animal welfare into so many different organizations has created a new need: the need to support vital work for animals with strong, simple infrastructure.  We believe that local organizations face significant risks to sustainability and relevance if each one is a separate silo that must reinvent every wheel."

All three organizations were already committed to finding a home for every treatable and safe animal, no matter how long it takes. WHS helped pioneer the approaches that make this possible in the 1990s, and BAHS and DCHS have followed them for some time. These approaches will continue.  In addition, the organizations expect that this change will bring more resources for medical and behavioral care for animals at the new locations.

The organizations are working jointly to make the transition as smooth as possible for their dedicated staff and volunteers. In Green Bay, Olivia Webster will serve as the shelter operations manager; she has been with BAHS for 10 years. In Door County, Carol Boudreau, currently the executive director at DCHS, is excited to stay on to manage the Door County location. WHS will also be hiring new positions right away to support the work of their foster/transfer, human resources, volunteer, fundraising, animal care and client service teams. There are no plans to merge the locations, lay off employees or reduce pay.

"We have so much to look forward to – a partner that can offer everything from best practices in shelter medicine to health insurance and benefits for our staff, to innovative approaches to adoption," said Boudreau.

The boards of all three organizations voted unanimously in November to approve the acquisition of BAHS and DCHS by WHS, pending conditions of closing, which include satisfactory environmental assessments of the land, title reports on the real estate, satisfactory agreements with any needed municipalities, and membership approval at DCHS.  WHS hopes to close the transactions as early as the end of 2017.

The George Kress Family Foundation is generously helping to support the acquisition. Other donations are being sought to help with transition costs, which are estimated to be about $175,000 and include expenses for animal care equipment, veterinary supplies, training, travel, facility improvements and advertising.

"We are incredibly grateful for the vital work Bay Area and Door County Humane Societies are doing for 4,000 animals in their regions," said Reed, "and we are excited to bring our resources to sustain lifesaving services for animals and the people who love them."

# # #

About the Wisconsin Humane Society

The Wisconsin Humane Society (WHS) is the oldest and largest shelter in Wisconsin.  It was founded in 1879 and operates shelters in Milwaukee, Ozaukee and Racine Counties, as well as a spay/neuter clinic in West Allis.  The organization annually serves 35,000 domestic and wild animals and offers adoption services, youth programming, low-cost spay/neuter services, retail stores, volunteer programs and dog training classes. The Milwaukee shelter also houses the state's busiest wildlife rehabilitation center.   Ranked 4 stars by Charity Navigator, the nation's largest charity watchdog group, WHS is an independent nonprofit and receives no general government funding, and is not part of any national umbrella group. For more information, please call (414) 264-6257 or visit

About the Bay Area Humane Society

The Bay Area Humane Society is about hope, not heartache.  As the Greater Green Bay area's critical safety net since 1959, we are always here to save and protect every animal that comes through our doors.  We have mastered the art of saving lives within our walls and now we are going even further, helping our community's pets and their people together.  We are going beyond a no-kill community to ensure that each animal has the quality of life they deserve . . . a life worth living.


About the Door County Humane Society

Door County Humane Society has served the needs of county residents and their homeless or unwanted cats and dogs since 1992. We strive to expand our footprint and the outreach programs and services offered to improve and foster the relationship between people and the animals in their lives. We believe that by identifying and understanding the changing needs of Door County, we can find or create solutions that will better serve the community. Current services include adoptions, animal surrender, stray intake, animal reclaim, microchipping, cremation for pets, and quarantine and seizure housing. Some programs offered are low cost spay and neuter clinics, therapy dog classes, educational tours and presentations, Learning in Retirement, barn cat adoption, Girl and Boy Scout Badges, and foster kitten care.  Our core commitment remains our no-kill philosophy and the mandate that all cats and dogs entering our building will receive the very best care and every opportunity that we can provide them.


DOORCANcer celebrates 20th Holiday Home Tour

By Tim Kowols

For the last 20 years, Door County residents have opened their homes during the holidays in the name of fighting cancer. This Saturday, four homes, the Door County Maritime Museum and the White Lace Inn will be put on display for visitors to tour during the DOORCANcer Holiday Home Tour. With all proceeds going to support the organization, DOORCANcer volunteer Barb Herdina says the annual event has been a big reason why it was able to eclipse the $1 million mark in funds raised and help so many people stricken with cancer.



The DOORCANcer Holiday Home Tour runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can find out where the tour stops and where to buy tickets online with this story.

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Forestville American Legion honors Southern Door High veterans with special display

By Tim Kowols

Over 50 years of Southern Door graduates who have served in the country's Armed Forces will be remembered in a special display created by the Forestville American Legion. The Wall of Honor constructed in the front of the high school near the gymnasium will feature every name that has ever walked Southern Door's hallways and went on to serve. Inspired by similar displays, Forestville American Legion member Terry Mc Nulty says the school's veterans deserve to be celebrated.



McNulty hopes to dedicate the Wall of Honor near the end of the year. You can contact the Forestville American Legion if you would like to help put names on the wall and make sure your Southern Door veteran is properly displayed.

Citizens must be vigilant to ensure open governments


By Kent Berkley



Knowledge is power.  This centuries-old axiom provides the foundation for freedom of information laws.  While the federal freedom of information law receives more media attention, it is state law implemented at the local level that most impacts the daily lives of regular people, because it is local government that provides our basic services.  Wisconsin law makes virtually all government records open to inspection as soon as possible and without delay.  Bill Lueders of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, says that good law is important, but sometimes governmental agencies need a nudge from the citizenry and the press.






Leuder's organization generally works to get governments to be as open as possible.  However, he says some situations require fact specific determinations to know exactly what should be shared and when.



Dissing granary proponent and private email communications from city officials gleaned from open records release

By Roger Utnehmer

Sturgeon Bay's City Administrator Josh VanLieshout does not think much of a proponent of saving the city's waterfront granary.

In a series of emails released by the city under an Open Records request, Administrator Josh VanLieshout advises a council member to be reluctant about meeting with Hans Christian, head of a group working to preserve the granary by establishing a Center for the Arts.

VanLieshout, in an email to council member Richard Wiesner, says about Christian, "It is difficult to give this guy the time of day considering the pretty negative positions he has taken to the City in the past and that although not a named plaintiff, is certainly associated with a group that is suing the City."

VanLieshout also says he'd be reluctant to go to a meeting with Christian alone and "I don't know if they have any real money behind them to underwrite the project."

A single family has pledged through the Door Community Foundation to provide $1.25 million to save the granary if the city and proponents of saving the structure agree on a plan.  The validity of that pledge has been confirmed by Door County Community Foundation Executive Director Bret Bicoy.

The release of emails also shows that Sturgeon Bay Mayor Thad Birmingham and Fire Chief Tim Dietman are communicating with members of the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority and City Council on private, rather than city, email accounts.  Messages to Waterfront Redevelopment Authority member John Asher from Birmingham are from Birmingham's Hotmail account rather than the City of Sturgeon Bay email account.

Dietman uses a personal Gmail account to share information with Asher, rather than a city account.  Asher, in a message to Birmingham to his private email account, suggests he could store a couple beams from the granary on his Roen Salvage Company property "to get the Friends Group off your back down the road.  Just offering, frankly, I don't give a s- - - -."

Former City Council and Waterfront Redevelopment Authority member Cap Wulf is also involved in the email communications. He references a "planned development" for the waterfront and charges the "Friends/historical society" wouldn't want to cooperate and refers to them as people who "know what's best for us and will ram it down our throats if we don't agree."

Wulf left the city council after entering an Alford plea to a charge of using his position of public trust for personal gain.  He also resigned from the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority amid questions of conflict-of-interest relating to his ownership of property that was developed into apartment buildings on the waterfront.

Interested citizens can read the entire series of email messages released by the City of Sturgeon Bay by clicking on this story at


Stock markets continue to surge

By Paul Schmitt

The Stock Market continues to set records and landmarks in 2018.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) surged Thursday eclipsing the 24,000 mark for the first time.  Surpassing 20,000 on January 25 earlier this year, the market had an over 300 point boost on Thursday with renewed optimism that the new tax reform bill in Congress will pass, according to   Casey St. Henry of Thrivent Financial in Sturgeon Bay says despite the growing markets, investors should consistently invest regardless of a bull or bear market.



St. Henry recommends meeting with a financial professional and having a well-thought-out plan before investing in the stock market.  The Dow Jones closed at 24,272.35 on Thursday which reflected a 1.39% increase.

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