News Archives for 2018-02

Home sales and prices increasing as inventory remains low

By Paul Schmitt

January home sales in Wisconsin were up considerably and area real estate agents are optimistic that the trend will continue.  According to the Wisconsin Realtors Association, there were 3,971 closings on homes last month.  That reflects a nearly three percent increase over last January.  Michael Bultman of Town & Country Real Estate in Kewaunee says that although interest rates are creeping upward, it's still a seller's market.




The average sale price of a home in January was $168,500 which was over $10,000 more than it was in the same month last year.  Bultman says the real estate market could use more inventory but that the increasing value of homes and properties is good news for sellers.

League of Women Voters sponsoring candidate forum for Sevastopol Town Board

By Paul Schmitt

The League of Women Voters of Door County is sponsoring a candidate forum for the three candidates running for the two Sevastopol Town Board positions next week.  Kimberly Denil, Jim Nellen and John Staveness are the candidates who will be present next Wednesday at the Sevastopol Town Hall.  League of Women Voters of Door County member Helen Bacon explains the format of the forum.




The forum for the Sevastopol Town Board will begin at 7 pm next Wednesday, February 28 at the town hall with a snow date of March 19, according to the news release.  The general spring election will be on Tuesday, April 3.

Amazon's HQ2 search providing communities blueprint for attracting new businesses

By Tim Kowols

Amazon's search for a second world headquarters is giving insight on how smaller communities are working to attract new businesses and other development. The tech giant is looking to whittle down its list of 20 cities vying to host nearly 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investments over the course of the decade. Good transportation options, infrastructure, housing stock and a strong workforce were among the factors Amazon used to consider locations. The area was never in the running for the headquarters, but Door County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Caleb Frostman says they can learn from what outside businesses are looking for when moving into a community.



Frostman says the area's strong work ethic, beautiful scenery, and good schools are among the reasons area businesses have chosen Door County for their operations in the past.

Kewaunee County 4H prepares for annual Project Day in Luxemburg

By Tim Kowols

The Kewaunee County 4-H will get to show off the many activities they get to participate in when they host their annual Project Day in Luxemburg this Saturday. First through sixth graders will get to participate in a day full of sessions with 4-H members and volunteers as they explore a number of different program areas such as animal care, science, and art. Kewaunee County UW-Extension 4-H Educator Jill Jorgensen says the annual event provides the community another opportunity to see what 4-H can offer.



Registration is closed for this year's Project Day at Luxemburg High School, but Jorgensen says interested families should keep a close eye out for details for next year's event.

Sister Bay voters approve 0.5 percent Premier Resort Area Tax

By Tim Kowols

Sister Bay residents voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to add a 0.5 percent sales tax to tourism-related expenditures to help support its infrastructure. The final vote was 168 to 33 to add the Premier Resort Area Tax (PRAT), making it the seventh community to approve it since Lake Delton added it in 1998. Village Finance Director Tasha Rass said earlier this month that the funds raised by the PRAT will go towards critical needs in the community without having to raise property taxes.



The PRAT will be enacted in Sister Bay once the Department of Revenue verifies the result and selects a date. The City of Sturgeon Bay approved $12,000 to be spent on a public relations firm to help educate residents on its own PRAT referendum vote April 3, but would need additional help from the state legislature to approve it before it is enacted.

Kids safe after viral threat leads to Sevastopol Schools lockdown

By Tim Kowols

A viral social media threat aimed at a school with the initials "SHS" is to blame for Sevastopol School District going on lockdown just before 8 a.m. Thursday.  Students shared the threat via the Snapchat app, which led a parent to notify the school at approximately 7:45 a.m. Students and staff inside the building quickly went into lockdown as school officials and the Door County Sheriff's Department inspected classrooms, lockers, and backpacks to make sure there were no credible threats, while others remained on their buses. Sevastopol School District Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says they notified parents after they determined everyone was safe.



Chief Deputy Pat McCarty said this is an example of the type of conversation parents should have when it comes to responsible social media use.



Classes resumed at approximately 9:30 Thursday morning, but under heavy police presence with the option available for parents to pick up their children. Swain County Schools in South Carolina went into lockdown at approximately the same time, while a similar threat led to precautionary measures at schools in the Green Bay area earlier this week.

Hooray for Hollywood raises $40,000-plus for Kewaunee County organizations

By Tim Kowols

Over 1,000 attendees helped the Kewaunee Young People's Theater raise thousands of dollars for area organizations. Final totals have not been calculated from last weekend's Hooray for Hollywood shows, but it is estimated that over $40,000 was raised to support projects in Kewaunee County, ranging from scholarships for high school students to much needed equipment for the Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department and the Algoma Fire and Rescue Department. Kevin Dax says the feedback is great from this year's two-and-a-half hour shows.



Dax says the committee in charge of organizing the weekend slate of shows usually takes about a week off before starting to plan next year's Hooray for Hollywood, which will take place February 15-17, 2019.

Sturgeon Bay Superintendent reflects on staff with guns at school

By Tim Kowols

School administrators are still figuring out the steps needed to protect their students from events similar to what took place in Parkland, Florida last week. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel said Tuesday he would be open to allowing teachers and others to be armed at schools while the Legislature wrestled with other gun-control measures. State Rep. Jesse Kremer of Kewaskum went as far as proposing a bill allowing private schools to have armed teachers and staff. Sturgeon Bay School District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel realized during his 10-plus year career as a principal that there may be a day where he will be able to carry a gun if he wanted to, but does not feel comfortable carrying a weapon even with regular shooting and training. Tjernagel suggested another alternative he would feel comfortable with doing.



Tjernagel says gun control and weapons in schools are complex issues that involve knee-jerk reactions and a failure to examine all aspects of the issues and possible alternatives.

Bicoy reflects on 10 years with Door County Community Foundation

By Tim Kowols

When Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy took over the reins 10 years ago, the organization was still under the umbrella of the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation. Now, the Door County Community Foundation is governed by local people and has collected over $26 million over the last decade since Bicoy was named to the position to help in its transition to independence. Bicoy says a single project does not stand out, but is proud of the spaces it has been able to enter and help.


Door County ice fishing guide welcomes Governor Walker for trip

By Tim Kowols

Ice fishing guide JJ Malvitz found himself once again leading Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to a big haul over the weekend. Good weather brought plenty of anglers to the ice, forcing Malvitz to stake out several spots to help the large group including the governor have success. Malvitz says you have to think outside the box to catch fish at this time of the year, especially whitefish.


Door County residents complete walk across frozen bay in protest of Menominee mine

By Tim Kowols

For Egg Harbor Village Administrator Ryan Heise, Bob Bultman, Chris Olson, and Jeff Lutsey, their trek to Menominee, Michigan Saturday was worth more than the eight hours it took them to cross. The four began their 15-mile hike across the frozen waters of Green Bay from Egg Harbor at 7 a.m. and were greeted after 3 p.m. by close to 40 members of the Menominee Nation and the Save the River Coalition. The journey was a symbol of how close the county is to a planned open-pit

sulfide mine near the Menominee River, something Heise hopes more residents become more aware of and its potential effects.



Winter storm keeps law enforcement busy overnight

By Tim Kowols

Motorists battled the weather and slippery roads Monday night into Tuesday morning thanks to a winter storm that hit the area during the evening commute. In less than a 12 hour span, Door County authorities responded to 11 cars in ditches, including a couple rollovers. Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says there were no major injuries from the incidents, but says staying in your car is the safest thing you can do if you find yourself in a ditch.


Local Primary features two Sturgeon Bay Common Council races; Polls close at 8 p.m. with coverage on WBDK 96.7FM

By Paul Schmitt

The candidates running for Sturgeon Bay District 2 and District 6 will be reduced to two after today's primary election.  District 2 will feature John Lodl, Robert Starr and David Hayes on the ballot for the seat to be vacated by Ron Vandertie who decided not to run for re-election.  District 6 will have incumbent Stewart Fett facing challengers Seth Wiederanders, and Lauri Fish.  The top two finishers will move on to the general election to be held on Tuesday, April 3.

For the Door County Board of Supervisors, District 19 will narrow the field to two with Bob Bultman, Hugh Mulliken, and Kate Lindsley all vying for the seat currently held by Donald Sitte who filed papers of non- candidacy.

The polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. today. and WBDK 96.7FM will announce the primary election results with coverage starting after 8 o'clock.

Winter storm forces cancellations, delays on Tuesday

By Tim Kowols

The winter storm that sent students home early Monday will keep them there all day Tuesday in some cases. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning set to expire at 6 p.m. this evening.  Freezing rain and sleet across the area is expected to make the commute to work and the polls more of an adventure than usual, especially on untreated roads and sidewalks. Below are the local closures.


Algoma: CLOSED. Morning Childcare is still available.
Gibraltar: CLOSED.
Washington Island: CLOSED
Kewaunee: CLOSED. No AM 4K or Early Childhood
Luxemburg-Casco: CLOSED.
Sevastopol: CLOSED. No after school activities
Southern Door: CLOSED. No after school activities
Sturgeon Bay: CLOSED
Sturgeon Bay Headstart: Cancelled
Zion Lutheran School and Early Childhood Center in West Jacksonport: CLOSED
St. Peters Lutheran School: CLOSED
Northern Door Child Care Center in Sister Bay: Open at 9:30 AM.
Adventures Child Care in Brussels: CLOSED
Classes at both Door County YMCA locations: Cancelled until noon. Facilities open.
Barker Child Care Center: Open at 7 AM.
NWTC Sturgeon Bay: Open at 11:30 a.m.
Advanced Disposal: CLOSED. Routes will be delayed one day.
Sunshine House and Sunflower Cottage: CLOSED
ADRC of Door County: All programs and meals canceled.
Door County Master Gardeners: Canceling the program tonight, Wild Orchids of Door County by Charlotte Lukes. The program will be rescheduled at a later date.
Kewaunee County Senior Meal sites and Meals on Wheels: Canceled

Sustainability film looks at agricultural impact and future solutions

By Paul Schmitt

The Door County Environmental Council along with Kewaunee CARES will present a free film this Thursday on sustainability and the practices of past and future farming.   The film called "Searching for Sustainability" focuses on the degradation of water and land resources that has taken place on the agricultural landscape in the past seven decades.  Lynn Utesch, a member of Kewaunee CARES, Citizens Advocating Responsible Environmental Stewardship, says the film hones in on important concerns found in this area.



Ephraim contracts firm for upcoming streetscape project

By Tim Kowols

The Village of Ephraim took another step towards confirming their streetscape plans last week. It contracted with AECOM for just over $300,000 to complete designs for a number of different projects to coincide with the Department of Transportation's plans to reconstruct State Highway 42 from Fish Creek to Sister Bay. Some of projects include replacing manholes and constructing sidewalks, curb and gutter, and storm water drainage.  Just like it was for Sister Bay when they went through a similar project a couple years ago, Village Administrator Brent Bristol says one of the biggest challenges will be to make sure it corresponds with its busy tourist season and the DOT's work beginning in spring 2019.


Comingling finances before conversation can cause major headaches

By Tim Kowols

Moving in with a spouse, friend, or family members can add extra tension to the relationship if you are comingling finances. Issues with signing a lease or cosigning a loan become more complicated the more people involved. Gay Pustaver from Money Management Counselors says as you share bills and finances, someone has to be the voice in the room to start the conversation.


Washington Island School undergoing major curriculum rewrite

By Tim Kowols

For almost an entire year, staff members at Washington Island School District have been rewriting the books to improve the educational experience for their students. From 4K to 11th and 12th grade British Literature, teachers have remapped their existing curriculum to fit the evolving needs of their students Department of Public Instruction standards. The curriculum maps cover a week-by week breakdown of the core standards being covered and the learning targets for students. With such a small staff at Washington Island School District, Superintendent Mati Palm-Leis commended them all for the extra effort the project requires.


Sturgeon Bay Common Council discusses granary's future, ordinary high water mark in closed session Tuesday

By Tim Kowols

The Teweles and Brandeis grain elevator may get a lifeline Tuesday when the Sturgeon Bay Common Council meets in closed session. According to the Sturgeon Bay Common Council agenda, members will get their chance to weigh in on the Department of Natural Resources' recent determination of the ordinary high water mark on the west waterfront and also potentially amending their demolition contract with Valders-based Kiesow Enterprises. Sturgeon Bay Historical Society President Christie Weber hopes this provides options for the granary moving forward.


Wisconsin Attorney Brad Schimel to visit Door County on Monday

By Eric Fischer


Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel will be in Door County on Monday, February 19th, as part of his 72-County Tour for roundtables with local law enforcement and elected officials.  The visit will be closed to the public.  At the roundtable events, Schimel discusses public safety concerns specific to the county he visits.  Schimel was in the area last month, visiting Kewaunee County on January 19th.  At the Kewaunee County roundtable, among the main topics discussed were drug addiction and treatment, as well as mental health needs.  Schimel will also be visiting Manitowoc County on Monday, before traveling to Door County.

Farmers look ahead to spring planting with winter planning

By Tim Kowols

Despite snow still covering some fields, farmers are already focused on the planting season ahead. Economics and fertility needs are just some of the factors to be considered when deciding which crops are planted where. Rio Creek Feed Mill General Manager Andy Barta says their business is helping farmers sort through the "what-if" scenarios.


Friend and fellow coach helps memorialize John "Hoot" Utnehmer

By Eric Fischer

Following the passing of local coaching legend John "Hoot" Utnehmer, close friend and coach George Husby wanted to help properly memorialize Hoot.  Following the funeral, George took the trophies and awards from Hoot's coaching and military careers to the Door County Library and was able to set up a display.  Husby says Hoot was always willing to go the extra mile for the kids in the community, and he wanted to go the extra mile for his friend.

Upcoming road construction for Door County

By Eric Fischer

Northern Door will be seeing improved roads in the upcoming months.  Aside from the Spring Road project coming later this year, the Door County Highway Department has several other Northern Door projects on the docket.  Door County Highway Department Commissioner John Kolodziej lays out the upcoming plans.

NWTC traveling to Las Vegas engineering competition

By Connor Sannito

NWTC Civil Engineering Technology Club will be traveling to Las Vegas, Nevada for a national surveying competition.


Organized by the National Society of Professional Surveyors, colleges from across the United States will compete in the Nevada desert without their electronics—or a map. They must accurately calculate and survey the land to later present to a panel of judges. It will test their skill and ability as they will be given unknown and outdated equipment. Moreover, it is a unique way for the NWTC students to showcase the state and local area.


This is what team member, Connor Christopherson, had to say regarding the value of this opportunity.

Algoma economy rebounds after Masonite closing

By Eric Fischer

When Masonite in Algoma closed its doors August 31st, 2017 many were worried about the possible economic impact.  In the months since the closing, multiple residential development proposals have come forward, new police officers have been sworn in, and an un-named manufacturer is planning an expansion.   Mayor Wayne Schmidt says besides the potential new jobs, that many of the people who had lost their jobs in the Masonite closing have found other jobs in the area or retired.


Local artists sculpt ice in 20th Annual Fire and Ice Festival

By Eric Fischer

On Saturday, the city of Sturgeon Bay held the 20th annual Fire and Ice Festival.  Local businesses sponsored local artists to sculpt ice and snow into different creations.  Some of the featured sculptures this year were a guitar, a shark and the Statue of Liberty.  The Statue of Liberty was sculpted by Dave Mailand who is participating in his 12th Fire and Ice Festival.  He says, for him, it started in 2002 the night before the event.


Washington Island Ferry slows down for lack of winter tourism

By Eric Fischer

Winter is the slowest time of year in Washington Island, specifically for the Washington Island Ferry.  From early January to mid-March, the ferry has two scheduled trips a day, with a couple exceptions for busier weekends like this weekend's ice fishing derby and is dependent on ice conditions.  Hoyt Purinton, President of the Washington Island Ferry says that winter tourism in Washington Island relies on both good and bad weather.

Kewaunee County to host severe weather spotter training

By Eric Fischer

The National Weather Service and Kewaunee County Emergency Management are hosting a severe weather spotter training class in Luxemburg on March 27th at 6pm.  The presentation lasts about 90 minutes and identifies storm features, how to stay safe while weather spotting, and how to report that information to the National Weather Service.   Everyone is welcome to take the class but to call the National Weather Service you must take this class and be 15 years old.  Tracy Nollenberg, Kewaunee County Emergency Management director, says that during a storm there are many participants in relaying information to the National Weather Service.

Gems of Sturgeon Bay: Kimz Galley Cafe

By Tom Jordan

About ten years ago I first climbed the front steps of Kimz Galley, that little blue wooden house on Louisiana Street in Sturgeon Bay. It had a sign that said "Farm to Table." I was told by a friend that everything was homemade. I noticed that the photographs of Len Quartetti, a friend and neighbor, graced the walls. The inside is small, with maybe six tables and a few on the porch. In a word the place is ...cozy.  My wife and I sat in the nook surrounded by windows. I ordered an omelet and my wife had the quiche. They were both incredible. And I had to look twice at the bill. It was about half what I would have paid in Milwaukee...and the food was great.


Kim Wishart is the owner and head chef. They are only open for breakfast and lunch. I've been there so often that now they don't even give me a menu. If I sit down for lunch and a new server walks to my table Kim will yell from the kitchen, "He's going to have the cherry chicken salad, fruit, cup of soup and no bread." I do have the toast with breakfast. It's homemade. In fact, everything is homemade.


If you come with a large party without a reservation you might be turned away. It's not that they don't want your business but the kitchen is small and they know, if you've never been here before, you may have to wait longer because everything is made from scratch, get disgruntled, not leave a tip and then go home and complain on Yelp. (That actually happens.)

Aaron LeClair named Door County emergency services director

By Eric Fischer

Aaron LeClair has been named the Door County emergency services director, filling a vacancy created by the retirement of Dan Williams in 2017.  Since then Jeff Roemer had been serving as acting director, with Aaron LeClair serving as Deputy Director, overseeing day to day operations of the county ambulance service.  LeClair has also served as a Door County paramedic for ten years.  Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says that this experience in knowing the need of Door County emergency services makes LeClair the best person for the job.


Door Tran utilizing state grant for vehicle repair and loan/purchase program

By Paul Schmitt

Door Tran is one of ten organizations state-wide that is a recipient of Governor Scott Walker's announced Wisconsin Employment and Transportation Assistance Program (WETAP) grants totaling over $1.7 million.  The ten organizations provide employment transportation services to low income workers in the 53 counties throughout the state, according to a release Friday by the Office of Public Affairs.  Door Tran will receive $25,311 to offset project costs.  Pam Busch, the Mobility Manager at Door Tran, shares how the funds will be utilized.


City of Sturgeon Bay reviewing criteria in awarding coveted liquor licenses

By Paul Schmitt

Liquor licenses are a hot commodity in many communities.  The City of Sturgeon Bay will be looking to establish criteria for releasing existing Class B Combination beer/liquor licenses and possible waiting lists.  Council Member Kelly Catarozoli, who serves on the Community Protection and Services Committee, says a point system is the fairest way to award a license.



Sheriff's Corner: IRS scams prey on the emotions of the season

By Tim Kowols and Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski

With tax preparation on many minds over the coming weeks, law enforcement is reminding people to be aware of calls from Internal Revenue Service as it may be a scam.  Like many similar seasonal scams, the callers perpetrating the crime are playing on the emotion of the people on the other end of the line. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says it is important to remember that government agencies will communicate with you in different ways a number of times before taking formal action.


Popular Olympic athlete therapy treatment offered in Sturgeon Bay

By Tim Kowols

A method of therapy made by popular by Olympians is available in Door County. Swimmer Michael Phelps brought cupping therapy to the forefront in Rio de Janiero when people noticed circular marks from his treatments. Now popular among athletes across the spectrum, cupping is a form of traditional Chinese medicine where silicone and vaccum cups pull up muscle tissues to improve blood flow to help the recovery process or to manage pain.  The practice got the attention of Saguaro Day Spa in Sturgeon Bay, which added the service last year for their customers looking for another therapeutic avenue for healing. Massage therapist Melissa Milewicz says after they talk about where the specific area of pain or tenderness is located, they determine where to place the cups and for how long based on the comfort of the client.


Door Shakespeare names Stebbins as new artistic director

By Tim Kowols

Last week's announcement of Door Shakespeare's new artistic director brings Kenosha native Michael Stebbins back to his home state. Stebbins spent eight years as Rep Stage's Artistic Director in Columbia, Md. after spending time in other states like California and New York. Door County was a place Stebbins would come back to over the years to regroup before heading back east for his artistic endeavors. Now, Stebbins is excited to bring other Wisconsin natives back to work at Door Shakespeare.


Sturgeon Bay to start search for new municipal services director

By Tim Kowols

Sturgeon Bay City Engineer Chad Shefchik will act as the interim municipal services director until a replacement can be found. According to City Clerk Stephanie Reinhardt, Bob Bordeau turned in a voluntary resignation letter last week to create the vacancy. The personnel committee approved increasing Shefchik's pay to match the municipal services director's salary of over $82,000 in the meantime. Committee Chairperson Ron Vandertie commended Shefchik for the work he has done in the interim.


Thawing and freezing weather can damage future crops for area farmers

By Paul Schmitt

Melting snow with warmer temperatures is not a friend to area farmers.  Snow cover in farm fields this time of year is crucial to a successful harvest for farmers down the road especially being more than five weeks away from spring.  Rich Olson from Olson Family Farms in southern Door County explains why a blanket of snow in the fields is important.


Door County men arrested in suburban Milwaukee on gun and drug charges

By Tim Kowols

Two Door County men are in jail on gun and drug charges after being arrested by the Mequon Police Department during a traffic stop last Saturday. According to the Now News Group, Willard Hartman and Benjamin Krohn, both 19 and from Sturgeon Bay, were pulled over for an illegal U-Turn when police officers discovered five guns with loaded magazines, marijuana, and oxycodone in the car. Krohn and Hartman will face a combined 25 criminal charges in Ozaukee County Circuit Court for possessing firearms on school grounds, illegally carrying concealed weapons, and possession of drugs and related paraphernalia when they return to court March 6. They were released on $5,000 cash bonds after they had their first court appearance on Monday.

Sen. Ron Johnson looking to "meaningful" legislation to deal with mass shootings

By Paul Schmitt

The tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday that left 17 people dead has lawmakers looking at possible solutions in reducing mass murders in the United States.  The nineteen-year-old gunman also wounded fourteen other victims in the attack.  He reportedly used an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle to cause the carnage.  U.S. Senator Ron Johnson, who chairs the committee on homeland security, says the horrendous attacks are becoming all too prevalent.



Civil Discourse: An Occasional Attempt to Restore Civility to Our Civic Discourse--"An Open Letter to My NRA Friends"

By Roger Utnehmer

Civil Discourse: An Occasional Attempt to Restore Civility to Our Civic Discourse
By Roger Utnehmer
President and CEO

An Open Letter to My NRA Friends


Gun violence in America is now sadly a regular reality. Our children and grandchildren are expressing fears and apprehensions we never considered.
The most vivid and graphic violence we experienced was watching the assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. That is significantly less emotionally damaging than watching schools drenched in blood with multiple victims repeated over and over and over as gun violence becomes a frequent experience.
I have friends I respect and admire who belong to the National Rifle Association. None have ever shared with me their belief that the second amendment to the U.S. constitution guarantees them a right to own an assault rifle. They tell me sportsmen do not hunt with assault rifles. None are opposed to background checks that would be one small effort to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them.
Yet, the political power of the NRA has kept reasonable steps from being taken that will be part of stopping the tragic, almost perpetual gun violence that permeates our society.
So, today, after another tragedy that could have been prevented, I ask my friends who belong to the NRA to share how they can support positions that keep common-sense gun legislation from being adopted. Please, if you are opposed to background checks and a ban on assault rifles, share your logic.
May we be fortunate to be provided with a respectful discussion about what needs to change...because something must.
What keeps us from banning assault rifles and background checks that could be part of preventing the tragedies we report in our news today?
Has the political muscle of the NRA created such fear and apprehension in our legislators that they keep talking without action when it comes to the toxic topic of gun control?
As for me, I want my grandchildren to grow up in an America without assault rifles in the hands of deranged individuals in much more need of mental health care than the NRA is in need of more political contributions.
That's my opinion. I'd like to hear yours.

Luxemburg-Casco to host referendum information sessions beginning Tuesday

By Tim Kowols

Luxemburg-Casco School District will begin taking their case to voters next week when it hosts its first of three informational sessions concerning their upcoming referendum. The two referendum questions request for a total not to exceed $27.8 million for building improvements at the primary, intermediate, and high schools and relocation of its middle school students in Casco to a new facility in Luxemburg. Superintendent Glen Schlender says the purpose of the sessions and the new addition to their Web site is to give as much information as they can to voters and to answer any questions.


Teweles Family hopes granary can be preserved

By Tim Kowols

An Evanston, Ill. family is keeping a close eye on the developments concerning the structure bearing its family's name. It was Tracy Teweles and her 91-year-old mother Nicole's relatives that built the Teweles and Brandeis grain elevator over a century ago, after the Teweles Seed Company expanded into the area on their way to becoming the second largest forage seed company at the time. The Brandeis family was also well-known, boasting a department store founder, a movie producer, and even a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Both families first came to America to escape religious persecution. The Teweles Seed Company created the world's first hybrid alfalfa and began other agriculture practices considered innovative for their time. Tracy says not preserving the Teweles and Brandeis Grain Elevator is not just tearing down a historic Sturgeon Bay structure, but a symbol of American and agricultural history.


Experience versus a fresh face is choice in Sturgeon Bay city council race

By Roger Utnehmer

Two candidates with significant experience inside city hall will be on Tuesday's primary election ballot along with a first-time candidate who wants to bring some changes to Sturgeon Bay.  City council district 2 is now represented by Ron Vandertie who is not seeking re-election.

Long-time council member and former mayor Robert Starr and former council member John Lodl both want to get back into city politics.  The two are facing newcomer David Hayes in the primary election.  One of the three will be eliminated Tuesday.  The winner will be selected in the general election April 3rd.

Starr is a supporter of Mayor Thad Birmingham and west-side waterfront development plans that included the Lindgren Hotel project.

He believes city finances are in good shape and represents a continuation of policies determined by the current city council majority. Starr also supports the decisions of the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority and its continuation.

John Lodl does not support the elimination of the WRA, saying that it's important to bounce ideas and proposals off as many committees as possible to obtain consensus.

David Hayes believes the concept of the WRA is good but that the name is wrong.  He suggests a Waterfront Community Board in its place as a clearly advisory body with a focus on the community as well as the waterfront.  Hayes would like to see economic development as a subset of community, infrastructure and social-cultural development.

Lodl and Hayes support moving meetings from noon as they are now scheduled to evenings when more citizens can attend.  Starr stated that he has no strong feelings either way but if evening meetings are scheduled he would prefer an earlier starting time.

The three share different solutions to the piles of dirt located on the west-side waterfront.  Starr feels they can "stay in place and be utilized or removed once a new development plan is put into place for the property."  Lodl suggests using the dirt for fill as part of a dredging project.  Hayes, on the other hand, would want them leveled within four months.

The complete unedited responses to a series of ten questions from each of the three candidates are available with this story at

Sparsity Aid bill amendment gives Southern Door a chance to get extra funding

By Tim Kowols

An amendment to the Assembly's bipartisan sparsity aid bill for schools will give districts like Southern Door a second chance at a referendum.  Assembly Bill 835 would increase the per-student aid in qualifying low spending districts $300 to $9,400 beginning next year. The original bill, however, penalized school districts like Southern Door for having failed referendum votes within the last three years, not allowing them to tap the potential extra money. Rep. Joel Kitchens says the amendment allows those districts a redo since it is possible voters did not know the consequences of a "no" vote at the time.

Revised NR-151 rules could lead to new Kewaunee County ordinance

By Tim Kowols

Some Kewaunee County residents are hopeful the board will pass an ordinance allowing local officials to enforce new manure handling rules once they are signed into law. The practice is already being done in Door County, known as Chapter 23, which gives local law enforcement and the land and water department to enforce the manure handling rules known as NR-151 themselves rather than call in the Department of Natural Resources and Department of Justice when there are violations. Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee Chairperson Chuck Wagner says they have been balking at doing the same thing in the county until new, stricter NR-151 rules passed by the Wisconsin Legislature and signed into law by Governor Scott Walker.

New UW-Green Bay engineering school excites local manufacturers' future hiring

By Tim Kowols

The creation of a new school of engineering on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay could provide relief for area businesses in need of skilled employees.  The Richard J. Resch School of Engineering will be a part of a larger STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Innovation Center on campus and include programs in environmental, electrical, and mechanical engineering according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette. As a Human Resources Director at NEW Industries in Sturgeon Bay, Karen Urban-Dickson says having a new pool of potential candidates for their openings is appealing.


Door County Kayak Fishing Pro Bill Schultz on the Midwest sport shows speaking circuit

By Paul Schmitt

The kayaking season in Door County may be a few months off, but Kayak Fishing Pro and guest correspondent Bill Schultz is busy doing presentations at upcoming sport shows in Madison and throughout the Midwest.  Schultz says although the bass numbers the last couple years have been down a little, Door County is still one of the best fisheries in the Midwest.


Granary still awaits dismantling after being placed on National Historic Registry

By Paul Schmitt

The Tewels and Brandeis granary building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places last week as the contractor chosen by the City of Sturgeon Bay is preparing to dismantle and salvage the 116-year-old structure.  Sturgeon Bay Historical Society President Christie Weber says the Granary Building's history is important to preserve.



Two Sturgeon Bay City Council primary elections will narrow field of candidates Tuesday

By Roger Utnehmer

Voters in two Sturgeon Bay aldermanic districts will eliminate one candidate in next Tuesday's primary election.



In district 6, incumbent Stewart Fett is being challenged by Lauri Fish and Seth Wiederanders.



Fish and Wiederanders are running out of frustration with the current operation of city government.  Fish cites what she calls "blatant disregard by several members of the council for the community."  She says she wants to be part of a council that respects citizens and welcomes input.



Wiederanders says the people of Sturgeon Bay are being misrepresented at every level of government.



Fett cites his seven years experience on the council as a reason he is the best candidate in the race.  Fett has voted with the council majority in support of the controversial west-side waterfront hotel project and recent efforts to remove the Teweles and Brandeis granary.



Fish says it's time to take a look back and re-evaluate development plans.  Wiederanders proposes a satellite college campus already linked to a university and says Sturgeon Bay does not need another hotel.



A more detailed story about the candidates in district 6 is available at along with a district map and complete unedited answers to ten questions submitted to candidates by Tomorrow we will report on the primary election in District 2.



Fett does not support the elimination of the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority.  Fish would eliminate the WRA and says five-year terms are too long.  According to Fish, unelected officials have too much power.  Wiederanders supports a review of the WRA and suggests its powers only be advisory to the council if it is kept in place.


Fett expressed caution about removing dirt piles from the city's west-side waterfront.  He said removing the dirt would be expensive and is concerned spreading could result in clean fill becoming dirty.  Fish said the city has the equipment and should move the dirt off the site.  Wiederanders said the dirt piles are "inexcusable."  He suggested moving the fill to North 14th Avenue for storage until it can be utilized.


Both Fish and Wiederanders feel the city is wasting money on legal fees through unnecessary litigation that could be better spent on street construction and maintenance.  Fett said the government is based on the rule of law and sometimes legal counsel is needed to avoid complications.


Fish proposes a county-wide fire department to cut costs rather than combining fire and police chief positions as a public safety director.  Wiederanders also supports at least looking into a county-wide fire department under one chief.  He also says he supports streamlining in both fire and police departments to save taxpayers money.  Fett opposes adding a level of administration he says a public safety director would create.


Polls will open in Sturgeon Bay from 7am to 8pm on Tuesday, February 20th.






Stewart Fett's response:



  1. Basic background information

I have served as Alderman for the city of Sturgeon Bay for seven years, Sturgeon Bay Utilities President for ten years and a member of the Sturgeon Bay Utilities Commission for thirteen. I am chairperson of the Finance/Purchasing & Building Committee and the Board of Public Works. I serve on the Parks Committee, Recreation Committee, Loan, Review/Revolving Loan Committee and Personnel Committee.

Past Government Experience

Chair, Cable Communication System Advisory Council

Chair, Community Protection & Service Committee

Member, Parking & Traffic Committee

Member, Harbor Commission

Member, Waterfront Redevelopment Authority


Community involvement:

I am a member of the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Door County and on their executive board. I volunteer on The Boys & Girls Club facilities committee. I serve the community as a member of Loaves and Fishes and the Sturgeon Bay Lions Club. I am a member of St. Joseph Parish where I assist as an usher and Eucharistic Minister. I, along with my wife Theresa, conduct communion services at several assisted living facilities in Sturgeon Bay on a monthly basis.


2.  Why do you want to serve in public office?

I believe I am the best candidate to serve District 6 on the City Council for the following reasons. First, I have been a resident of the city of Sturgeon Bay for 33 years.  Second, through my positions as Alderman on the city council and its various committees, my involvement in community organizations and the volunteer positions I hold, I have witnessed many different perspectives of the city.   Third, I have gained significant experience being a member of the city council. During the past 7 years I have worked hard to provide increased economic opportunity to the citizens of Sturgeon Bay by cultivating a climate where existing businesses like Cadence Inc., Therma-Tron-X, Wire Tech, Hatco, and Pro Products Inc. were able to expand their business.  Overall, the value of the Industrial Park grew by 9.2 million dollars from 2014 through 2017, a 28% increase.  Fourth, I served on the Parks Committee which invested in the waterfront parkway that extends from Memorial Drive to Stone Harbor and from Sawyer Park to Obtumba Park for our citizens and tourists to have easy access and enjoy our many city parks. Lastly, I listen to the people who live in this fine city and I will continue to do so. I use their input to form my decisions on what is needed, so we as a community continue to grow, prosper and enhance our quality of life.

3.  Will you support evening meetings of the Sturgeon Bay City Council? Why or why not?


I have served on both the city council and the Sturgeon Bay Utilities Commission. I have attended morning, noon, afternoon, and evening meetings. Sturgeon Bay has a full service hospital, a vibrant manufacturing base and active tourist industry; all work around the clock. Unfortunately, there is no meeting time that will accommodate all of our citizens. However, I understand our citizens want to be able to attend the meetings so they can be more involved in the direction the city is going.  If a change in the meeting time will increase the opportunity to be involved in the way that they want, I would support changing the meeting time.   


5.  Would you support a study to evaluate the combination of city fire and police chief positions into a public safety director position?


Today's police force deals with many types of crimes, including fraud, theft, physical abuse, an opioid epidemic, just to name a few. This requires them to be experts in their field. Our Fire Department deals with fire, water, high angle, confined space rescues and modern firefighting techniques. I believe adding a level of administration is not what the taxpayers expect.

This idea comes around every few years.  Most recently the City examined this concept in 2011.  If there were cause to investigate and explore the concept then I might be amenable to such a study.


6.  What will you do to get rid of the ugly dirt piles on the Sturgeon Bay west side waterfront?


The dirt piles are a result of litigation preventing the redevelopment of the former Co-op property.  The piles were originally placed there in anticipation of the cap required by the DNR as part of the voluntary party liability exemption, as well as flood plain protection.  While it is easy to say the piles should be moved, it would be at a significant expense and could mean that the materials couldn't later be reused without significant environmental testing.  Likewise, spreading the piles out on the site without knowing precisely where they should be could make the clean fill become mixed with the existing soils, which would result in the clean fill becoming dirty.


7.  What can you do as a city council member to bring factions of the community together?


Our city is made up of diverse people with diverse ideas. One of the greatest challenges in modern city governance is communication with the public. For years, newspaper, television and radio were the principal means of mass communication, all that has changed. For interested people, residents can now watch a council or plan commission meeting from the comfort of their own home, via both the City's cable access channel and live streaming on the City's website. Minutes and recorded meetings are posted on the website as well and current updates are given on the city's social media Facebook page. The city has invested monies in public communications infrastructure. Continued investment in modern communication technology and methods is imperative for engaging the citizenry and delivering the best possible services. Also, civility is an important factor if strong commitments and ideas are going to be communicated and considered. I will make the point that the citizens of Sturgeon Bay agree on 90% of issues; such as the need for street improvements, economic development, community fire and police protection and the need for a nice business district spanning the east and west side.


8.  Do you share the belief expressed by some that city government is wasting money on legal fees incurred through unnecessary litigation that could be better spent on street construction and maintenance?


Civil society and hence governance is based on the rule of law, and sometimes the legal issues can become very complex, very quickly and adequate legal counsel is needed to avoid further complications or worse, violating the law itself.  The City's general annual legal expenses are under $45,000 per year. Legal fees and street maintenance are generally born out of two separate funds, or pots of money, if you will; they are the General Fund and the Capital Fund.

Sometimes, in special circumstances special legal counsel is required, but that is the exception, rather than rule.  With respect to street maintenance and improvements expenses, the City currently spends about $750,000.0 on streets and needs to increase that by $720,000.00 per year to get streets from a 55 year replacement rate down to 25-30 year replacement rate. The underlying need for additional street improvement funding is not only in Sturgeon Bay but across the State of Wisconsin as well.



9.  What are the major issues facing the City of Sturgeon Bay?

Providing economic opportunities to families must be our number one priority.   My service on the Board of Directors of the Boys and Girls Club of Door County has raised my awareness of the alarming number of children who qualify for free or subsidized lunch.  To provide better paying job opportunities we must build an environment that enables our businesses to succeed and grow.  Many of our hard-working citizens are now reaching retirement age.  This will provide opportunities for our youth.  We must do all that we can to ensure that our youth recognize and are prepared to seize these opportunities. Along with the idea of attracting young people to relocate or stay in Sturgeon Bay, the city must continue to address the housing shortage.

10.  What are your views on west-side waterfront development?

It is my opinion that the undeveloped portion of the West Waterfront is a great opportunity for the City of Sturgeon Bay, which is why I voted to purchase the property in 2012. This property presents an opportunity to construct great public space connecting Sawyer Park to the south and the Maritime Museum to the north without increasing the property taxes of the residents and business owners in the City of Sturgeon Bay.  The other pieces of the redeveloped West Waterfront, from Sawyer Harbor to Obtumba Park are a great testament to the City's successful use of tax incremental financing and an asset to the businesses and residents of the west side and all of the Sturgeon Bay and Door County.


  1. Would you support or oppose the elimination of the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority and the assumption of its responsibilities by the council or planning commission?


The Waterfront Redevelopment Authority serves an important role in the City of Sturgeon Bay.  Originally established in 1990, the WRA has been the vehicle to help the City identify, analyze and pursue redevelopment opportunities in the City.  The City's WRA authority is significantly less than what is authorized by statute, making them more of an advisory board than independent authority.  Eliminating the WRA would mean reducing the opportunity for citizens to serve, provide valuable input, and reduce opportunities for participation in decision making in the City of Sturgeon Bay.  I would not support any move to reduce opportunity for citizen participation in local government and oppose the concentration of power in an elective body subject to the political whims of the day.



Lauri Fish's response:


  1. Please begin by sharing some basic background information that qualifies you for the city council.

My entire career in corporate environments has prepared me for the challenges that face city council.  Communication and negotiation are key elements in any successful business.  Also, my years of experience in accounting has prepared me for understanding of the finance requirements of the city budget.

  1. Why do you want to serve in public office?

I've been to several city council meetings and I've seen the blatant disregard by several of the council members for the community.  I want to be part of a council that respects the citizens they work for and welcomes their input, even if they don't always agree with it.


3.  Will you support evening meetings of the Sturgeon Bay City Council?  Why or why not?

Yes.  Many people have voiced their desire for evening meetings, and I would support that. Many people can't attend noon meetings due to work.


4.  Would you support a study to evaluate the combination of city fire and police chief positions into a public safety director position?

I would support a study to evaluate it, however, I would likely not be interested in combining fire and police chief positions because they are very different jobs.

A county wide fire department where the expenses are shared by all communities in the county would be a better fit.  As a year-round town of 9000+ citizens and many more during the summer season, I feel we should maintain our own police department.  


  1. What will you do to get rid of the ugly dirt piles on the Sturgeon Bay west-side waterfront?

We already have the equipment we need...move them and store them off-site.


  1. What can you do as a city council member to bring factions of the community together?

A lot can be done to open lines of communication and restore trust within the community.  Listening sessions, answering communications, respecting others point of view.  People will not always agree, but open dialogue and the input of various points of view are key to a successful community.


  1. Do you share the belief expressed by some that city government is wasting money on legal fees incurred through unnecessary litigation that could be better spent on street construction and maintenance?

Yes.  When I heard "Oh well, we've been sued before" come out of the mayor's mouth at a council meeting a few months ago, that's when I started to consider running for city council.  There has been a lot of such waste of city funds and we need a council that keeps the long-term welfare of the city above their own agenda.


  1. What are the major issues facing the City of Sturgeon Bay?

Aside from the obvious issues such as roads and housing, trust and transparency need to be restored to city government.


  1. What are your views on west-side waterfront development?

I think we all need to take a step back and re-evaluate the best way to move forward with development plans. The city no longer has any real plans for the westside waterfront beyond their determination to destroy the granary. Any improvements should be scaled to fit the community and the businesses that are already there. I would like to look back to the recommendations of the consultants on the original plan and find a proper balance of economic and community development.


  1. Would you support or oppose the elimination of the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority and the assumption of its responsibilities by the council or planning commission?

I would support the elimination of the WRA.  Their terms are too long – 5 years, they are appointed – not elected officials and they have too much power.  





Seth Wiederanders' response:


1. Basic background information.

45, male

Single, never married

Proud uncle

Class of 1991, SBHS

Resident of District 6 since 2001

Certified Peer Specialist and Resource Coordinator at JAKs Place(A program of Lakeshore CAP)

Board member of League of Women Voters of Door County

Comprehensive Community Services Regional Steering Committee

Lakeshore CAP Board and Executive/Finance Committee 2009-2016

Comprehensive Community Services/Coordinate Services Team/Children's Community Options Committee

2. Why do I want to serve in public office?

I am a long time student of politics and policy. I believe that we are currently misrepresented at every level of government. My generation and younger people need to get involved. Social media is a great way to get new ideas out but change will only happen when younger people choose to act. I would like to do my part at the local level by representing District 6 on the City Council.

3. Evening meetings? Why or why not.

I support evening meetings so that more working people can attend, observe, and participate.

4. Would I support a study to evaluate adding a Public Safety Director instead of City Fire and Police Chiefs?

I assume the study would be to evaluate the current Chiefs positions in order to cut costs. I am in favor of streamlining to save money. I would  suggest a study to look at combining of the positions of SB Police Chief and Door County Sheriff and the possible combining of the Fire Departments of Door County under one Chief. Streamlining and reducing administration costs are tactics I would support.

5. What to do with the dirt piles?

It is inexcusable that this issue persists. Clean fill is an asset to the city and I think it could be used elsewhere. Maybe we could move it to the Municipal property on 14th Ave for storage until it can be utilized.

6. What can I do as a city council member to bring factions of the community together?

I would encourage each council member to actively seek out interested constituents in their districts and make the effort to meet with them. I believe that accurate and honest representation is possible and that transparent governing will bring the community together.

7.  Do I agree that city government is wasting money on legal fees incurred through unnecessary litigation that could be better spent on street construction and maintenance?

Yes. I don't think the lawsuits would have been filed if the city government had been more cautious in its decisions concerning the west side waterfront. There were clearly steps in the process that were not taken in the hopes that no one would dig into the legal implications of building on protected land and without waiting for the determination of the Original High Water Mark.

8. What are the major issues facing the City of SB?

We need to fix our roads and find someway to increase funds so that we can maintain our roads in the future. We need more affordable housing and childcare. We need more living wage jobs that will draw younger people with families to our city. We need to make the West Side Waterfront into a destination that draws in tourist dollars and at the same time provides long term, family sustaining jobs.

9. What are my views on the west-side waterfront development?

We don't need another hotel. We need something that draws people in and makes the west-side waterfront a tourist destination that competes with the rest of Door County. I really like the idea of building a satellite college campus linked to an established university already in Wisconsin.

10. Would I support or oppose the elimination of the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority and the assumption of its responsibilities by the council or planning commission?

I think we need to review the rules under which the WRA operates. The WRA should be only an advisory committee to the City Council if it is to be kept in place. I think elected officials would represent the will of the people better than the unelected officials that now comprise the WRA.

Man dies after single-car crash in town of Gardner Tuesday

By Paul Schmitt

A single-car crash in the township of Gardner late Tuesday afternoon has caused the death of the driver.  According to the Door County Sheriff's Department, at about 4:30 p.m. emergency personnel were dispatched to a brushy area off Lime Kiln Road and found the vehicle with severe damage after apparently striking a utility pole after entering the ditch.  The man was transported by ambulance and then flown by helicopter to a Green Bay hospital where he died several hours later.  Speed apparently played a factor in the crash and the investigation continues.  The name of the driver has not been released yet.  You can see the complete press release from the Door County Sheriff's Department with this story online.


Press Release 02-14-18

On Tuesday, February 13, 2018, at 4:28p.m., the Door County Communication Center received a 911 call reporting low hanging wires on Lime Kiln Rd. in the township of Gardner. The Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department and the Door County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to the area. At 4:36p.m., the same caller called back and was now reporting a single vehicle crash at the same location. Ambulances from the Door County Emergency Services were dispatched to the scene.

Responding units found a single vehicle with severe damage in a brushy area off the roadway. The preliminary investigation indicated that the vehicle had been traveling westbound on Lime Kiln Rd. The vehicle left the roadway and entered the south ditch striking a utility pole before coming to rest in an area of brush.

The lone occupant was transported by ambulance to a helicopter-landing zone in Little Sturgeon and was airlifted to a Green Bay hospital by Eagle III. He died several hours later.
The Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department, Gardner EMRs, Door County Emergency Services, Door County Sheriff's Office, Door County Highway Department and Wisconsin Public Services responded to the crash.

Speed appears to have been a factor in the crash and the crash remains under investigation. The name of the driver is not being released pending notification of the family.

Authority: Sheriff Steve Delarwelle

No Valentine's Day exception for Ash Wednesday obligation

By Paul Schmitt

With steak dinners and chocolates the mainstay for celebrating Valentine's Day dinner, Roman Catholics and other Christians who observe Ash Wednesday around the world face a dilemma today.  Church doctrine calls for Ash Wednesday to be a day of fasting and abstaining from eating meat.  Fr. Bob Stegmann, pastor of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Sturgeon Bay, says people can always wait until the weekend to indulge.



Sturgeon Bay Math Team wins 17th straight Packerland Conference championship

By Paul Schmitt

The Sturgeon Bay High School Math Team won their 17th consecutive Packerland Conference Championship Monday.  The final math meet was held at Gibraltar with Sturgeon Bay winning with 336 points.  The Clippers finished the season with 78 points edging second-place NEW Lutheran by four points.  Sturgeon Bay Math Teacher-Coach Cliff Wind shares the make of this year's team.



Egg Harbor Administrator draws adventure with purpose in weekend walk across the bay

By Tim Kowols

What started as a crazy idea in the summer, a hike across the bay is now also raising awareness to the potential dangers of the Back 40 Mine this winter. Egg Harbor Village Administrator Ryan Heise can be found throughout the year surfing in the Green Bay waters, but will hike across it this Saturday with seven others the 15 miles to Menominee, MIch., where controversy over the creation of an open pit sulfide mine near its river has spilled over state lines. Bringing rope, handspikes, and other items for safety, Heise says his journey will also carry a little extra purpose.


2018 Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm hosts to commemorate 150 years of operation

By Tim Kowols

The Knorn family will welcome thousands to their farm in Casco once again as the hosts of this year's Kewaunee County Breakfast on the Farm. The Junion Homestead Farm will celebrate 150 years of operation in 2018, 20 years after the Knorn family last welcomed visitors to the annual breakfast event. It was Peggy Knorn's relatives that started the homestead in 1868, and she is excited to show the community how it has grown.


Loss of paper mill jobs draws fear for future

By Tim Kowols

Democratic State Senator Dave Hansen is worried about the domino effect the Kimberly-Clark plant closures in the Fox Valley could have on the rest of the state. According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the paper products manufacturer announced January 31 that it would cut jobs and shed plants around the world, including over 600 positions and two facilities in Neenah and Fox Crossing. Governor Scott Walker has since announced plans to save the jobs by giving Kimberly-Clark millions of dollars in tax incentives, a deal similar to what was given to manufacturer Foxconn. With billions of dollars heading to Foxconn and more companies heading towards automation, Sen. Hansen is worried about the jobs that could be lost.


Sturgeon Bay Director of Municipal Services Resigns after "internal investigation"

By Roger Utnehmer

Bob Bordeau, City of Sturgeon Bay Municipal Services Director has resigned and the city personnel committee has scheduled a meeting to begin the process of replacing him.

Bordeau's resignation comes after what one city source said was "an internal investigation."   He is the second person to resign from the department in recent weeks.

The Personnel Committee has scheduled a meeting for this Friday at 9 a.m. in the second-floor conference room to consider filling the vacancy of the municipal services director and to determine a salary for an interim director.

City Administrator Josh Vanlieshout says he could not comment on the resignation.  Bordeau and Personel Committee Chair Ron Vandertie could not be reached for comment.

Prep work starts today to widen Spring Road for bikes and walking lane

By Paul Schmitt

The Door County Highway Department is doing some initial construction on Spring Road south of Fish Creek that will eventually make it more walker and bike-friendly.  Tuesday, crews are working on extending a concrete box culvert in the Town of Gibraltar on Spring Road in preparation of widening the road later this year.  Door County Highway Department Commissioner John Kolodziej says the town of Gibraltar wants to widen the road by five feet to accommodate bicyclists and provide better safety.



Door County Short Film Fest starts Friday with local productions

By Paul Schmitt

The Door County Short Film Fest starts this Friday and will feature 20 short films produced locally as well as around the world.  The annual event will kick off Friday evening at 6 o'clock at the Sister Bay Village Hall with two short films.  The remaining films will be shown on Saturday from 2 until 8 p.m. Sister Bay Advancement Association Community Coordinator Louise Howson says the filmmakers' productions vary in length and topics.



New Senior Center and Emergency Services building getting high marks from community

By Tim Kowols

Visitors and employees of the new Door County Senior Center and Emergency Management Services building are giving it high marks in its first month. Residents were given a sneak peek last month as employees were moving into their new quarters at the renovated building which formerly housed the highway shop. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich indicates the meals served by the Senior Center were already up in numbers in the opening weeks and says staff members for both the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) and EMS were getting used to the extra space.


Money Management Counselors debuts blog for women

By Tim Kowols

Money Management Counselors is reaching out to women through a new online source thanks to grants from the Women's Fund of Door County and Door County Community Foundation. The site, the Women and Money Blog, was created to help education and empower women through advice and support of an online community, with hopes to reach people from across the financial spectrum. Money Management Counselors' Gay Pustaver says the topics covered on the site give women a safe place to talk about their financial questions.


Kewaunee County patient as planned Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary continues its wait

By Tim Kowols

A proposed national marine sanctuary along the Lake Michigan coastline as far north as Kewaunee County continues to wait out public meetings and federal budget hearings. According to the USA Today Network-Wisconsin, critics of the Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary worry federal designation will affect their shoreline property rights and the existing fishing industry. Supporters, including county and municipal governments along the Lake Michigan coast, say it could help further protect the region's shipwrecks and bring thousands of tourists to the area. Kewaunee County Board member and sanctuary supporter Lee Luft says many concerns have already been addressed.


Door County Community Foundation celebrates water through year-long series

By Tim Kowols

Residing next to the world's biggest source of fresh water, sometimes it takes a whole year to pay tribute to it. The Door County Community Foundation has entered into its second month of its Celebrate Water Door County Celebration, which features a year-long series of events at local businesses, art galleries, and museums highlighting the important natural resource. President and CEO Bret Bicoy says it is easy to forget the importance water has in the community.


Door County celebrates My Y Week

By Eric Fischer

The Door County YMCA will be celebrating My Y Week from February 12-16.  My Y Week is the official kick-off of this year's campaign to raise $500,000 to help keep the promise to serve community members who want to participate in YMCA programs but can't afford it on their own.  Door County YMCA President Tom Beernsten says that this year alone they have already raised over $300,000.

Local student earns internship through Youth Apprenticeship Program


By Connor Sannito


Sturgeon Bay High School student, Caleb Sansom, has earned himself a paid internship at NEW Industries through the Youth Apprenticeship Program.


Sansom already has a third of his associate's degree complete from NWTC while being only a high school senior. The Youth Apprenticeship Program - in coordination with other Door County schools - allows high school students, like Sansom, to find paid internships and pay for dual credit classes at NWTC which count towards a degree. Moreover, Caleb Sansom is pursuing a career as a manufacturing engineer.


Sansom has capitalized on this special opportunity and he now interns at NEW Industries. There, he works closely with actual engineers and toolmakers. As a result, Sansom gains on the job experience and puts him ahead of everyone else.


This is what he had to say regarding his work at NEW Industries as he's advancing.


Sansom uniquely balances the rigors of this job with his academics. Entering the second semester of high school, Sansom works about thirty hours a week and leaves school at around 10:00 am every weekday to commute to NEW. Simply, through hard work, Caleb Samson is taking advantage of this opportunity.


Emotional wellness focus of upcoming Community Conversation in Rankin

By Tim Kowols

While physical health is tracked by daily exercises and good diet, the same cannot be said about mental health. Live Algoma will tackle the issue of "Emotional Wellness" Monday night when it hosts a community conversation on the topic in Rankin. It is a topic Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says is treated with a high degree of misinformation, stereotypes, and social stigma.


Door County District 19 Supervisor candidates tackle issues in League of Women Voters forum


By Eric Fischer

Three candidates vying for the Door County Board Supervisor District 19 seat answered questions about their Northern Door community Saturday in Sturgeon Bay for a candidate forum presented by the League of Women Voters.  The candidates for seat 19 are Bob Bultman, Kate Lindsley, and Hugh Mulliken, as current board member Don Sitte is not running for re-election.  The League of Women Voters of Door County voters services co-chair Barbara Graul says that all candidate forums are only held by request and that people seem to want to be informed.


Graul adds that one of the main issues of Saturday's forum was water quality for Northern Door.  If you were unable to attend the forum yesterday, there is a video link at


Local news is resurging on Washington Island


By Eric Fischer

In what can only be described as a tumultuous time for news across the country, Washington Island Observer Editor Laurel Hauser believes that local news is making a resurgence.  As a whole, print media has been declining over the last few years, due to the accessibility of news online. According to Hauser, over 80 people submitted content to the Washington Island Observer last year.  Hauser says that she believes there has been a new appreciation for local stories.



Hauser adds that another benefit of local news is the ability to have local newspapers serve as a history book for community events.  Laurel also advises people interested in journalism to try it, but make sure to focus on truth, not sensationalism.


Four come forward regarding Kewaunee Co. vandalism


By Eric Fischer


On Friday, four teens have admitted to the vandalism of numerous mailboxes, road signs, and a vehicle in western Kewaunee County from Tuesday night.  The original theory had been that most of the damage was done with a blunt object, however, the investigation has revealed that a firearm may have been involved as well.  While the investigation remains open, Kewaunee County officials believe that all suspects have been apprehended.  Sheriff Matt Joski says that due to the destruction being to US Postal Service property, this is a unique situation, compared to other vandalism cases.  


Joski adds than an official press release earlier in the week had the reported number of mailboxes damaged in connection to this case estimated near 50, however further investigation revealed that previous damage occurred in some of the reports.  Joski also says he wants to thank everyone involved from dispatchers, investigators and the young adults from the community who came forward with information.  


Former Luxemburg Casco student finds success at college


By Eric Fischer

Lexi Kinnard, a senior at UW-Green Bay, has found immense levels of success while in college.  At the end of the Spring 2017 semester, the former Luxemburg-Casco graduate was named UWGB Student Employee of the year for her work as Front Desk Supervisor of the Kress Events Center, and as a member of the Green Bay Phoenix Athletics marketing team.  Not to be outdone by these accomplishments, for the 2017-2018 school year Lexi found a third position, as an intern for Schreiber Foods doing international business and marketing.  Lexi credits her success to the drive instilled in her by coaches and teachers at Luxemburg-Casco.


Kinnard adds that her favorite teacher was Mr. Tom Giachino who also served as her softball coach because he was always around to talk with.  With graduation coming in May, Lexi is still undecided if she wants to stay with Schreiber or stay with sports marketing, but either way is confident that whichever she chooses, will be the right choice.


Sturgeon Bay Math Team looks for 17th straight conference championship


By Eric Fischer

Having won 2 events this season already, the Sturgeon Bay math team is on a mission to win its 17th straight conference championship with a win Monday evening.  Typically, the math team season consists of five meets, however, there will only be four this year.  Sturgeon Bay is led by a group of three seniors, four juniors, and a sophomore.  Math coach Cliff Wind says that the ability for these students to participate in academic, athletic, and musical activities just further proves how fantastic they are.




Wind adds that Sophomore Marina Jeanquart tied for the highest score at the most recent meet to lead the team.  Wind further says he his hopeful his team will bring home the title, as they have won numerous individual medals already as well as the team events but will face intense competition from NEW Lutheran.


Smart Shopping for Fruits and Vegetables


By Kaila Stencil, Food WIse Nutrition Educator Kewaunee County

Let's take an honest look at a part of healthy eating that is a challenge for many of us—eating more fruits and vegetables.  Why don't we eat more of them?  Why is it hard to get our children and other family members to eat them?  

Half of our plate should be filled with fruits and vegetables because they are so important to our health.  Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber that may help protect you from some chronic illnesses.

Here are ideas for getting the most from your budget when shopping for fruits and vegetables.

  • Check the newspaper or go online for sales, specials and coupons.  Look for fresh fruits and vegetables "in season".  Fruits and vegetables have the best flavor and usually are at their lowest price when they are in season. Obviously, the cold Wisconsin winters make for a short list of seasonal fruits and vegetables.  However, some items in season right now may include storage crops such as beets, cabbage, carrots, squash, potatoes and onions.

  • Consider sales and specials on canned and frozen fruits and vegetables too.  They are often less expensive than fresh, and just as good for you.  They are convenient, too, so they are on hand when you need them. Try store brands.  You will get the same or similar product for a cheaper price.  

  • When they are on sale, buy larger quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables you use often. Some examples – onions, potatoes, and apples.  Fruits and vegetables sold in larger bags are usually cheaper and can be stored for quite a while.


State Tourism Secretary impressed with Door County's creative marketing in February


By Paul Schmitt

The creative ways of marketing Door County as a destination during the winter months has gotten the attention of the State Tourism Secretary Stephanie Klett.  With Valentine's Day coming up next week, Klett says Door County's hospitality businesses have done a great job in capitalizing on a market during February.



Skatepark committee completes final payment to city


By Eric Fischer

The Sturgeon Bay Skatepark Initiative has announced that they have completed the final payment of the nearly $450,000 project.  Over three years of fundraising led to over $400,000 in donations and pledges, however, an additional $42,500 was needed to complete the project.  In 2014, the city of Sturgeon Bay agreed to advance the money for the immediate construction of the park, while pledges would continue to come in over the next few years.  Committee co-chair Laurel Hauser says she is grateful for the support from the city and as well as the donations that came in.


Hauser adds that in the five-year plan for improvements to the park, adding lighting would service the main request from skaters.  The park is open every day of the week, from dawn to dusk, and is free to use.


Egg Harbor Library open house for new facility February 17th


By Eric Fischer

The Egg Harbor Community Center and Library will be having an open house Saturday, February 17th from 10am-1pm, for the opening of their new facility.  Some of the events included in the open house festivities are: a hands-on presentation of how to make corn husk dolls by Coleen Bins of Chief Oshkosh, village history displays, Wii Bowling on the new big screen in the Great Hall and reading to therapy dog Nellie Bly in the children's library.  Event Director for the Donald and Carol Kress Pavilion and Egg Harbor Library, Jessica Reinke, says that they are excited to keep reading to Nellie Bly in the new building.

Reinke adds that the new building opened February 6th with library hours of Tuesdays 1-6pm, Wednesdays and Fridays 10am-2pm, and Saturday 10am-1pm.  Additionally, the Donald and Carol Kress Pavilion is open 8am-5pm Monday through Friday with additional monthly programs scheduled.  For further events dates and details go to


Investors advised to be steady as the Dow Jones takes a roller coaster ride Friday

By Paul Schmitt

Investors are being advised to stay the course after another volatile day on Wall Street.   The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied to finish up $79.4 points on Friday after falling over 600 points during the day.  According to the Associated Press, the Dow Jones had the second-biggest plunge ever in terms of points on Thursday falling over 1,000 points for the second time in four days.  Casey St. Henry from Thrivent Financial says new investors need to be prepared for ups and downs in the market.



Bank of Luxemburg promotes two within lending department

By Paul Schmitt

The Bank of Luxemburg has recently promoted two lending staff members from their loan department.  Garrett Jesko was promoted to vice president of commercial lending and Jake Dittman was named commercial loan sales officer.  Jesko has been with the Bank of Luxemburg for the past nine years while Dittman joined the bank in 2015.  CEO and President Tim Treml says the new Kewaunee Branch location opened up some opportunities.





Voters reminded to make sure they have proper identification for polls

By Tim Kowols

With primaries just a few weeks away and the spring election April 3, election officials and other groups are making sure voters have what they need to head to the polls. Voter ID laws implemented in Wisconsin in 2011 require voters to bring photo identification to the polls with them. However, some forms of photo identification, like most student IDs, are not permissible. Jay Heck from Common Cause Wisconsin says the time is now to secure the proper identification, especially if you live in more rural areas where access is not easy.


Memoir writing highlights final week of Door County Reads

By Tim Kowols

This year's Door County Reads selection has brought the practice of memoir writing to the forefront as the annual event enters its final week. On Thursday, author Kao Kalia Yang spoke to a crowded ballroom at Stone Harbor Resort in Sturgeon Bay about her own memoir and this year's Door County Reads book The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir. Door County Library's Tina Kakuske says memoirs are helpful tools for both the reader and the author.


Luxemburg-Casco shuffles middle school administrators

By Tim Kowols

Two administrators have changed roles in Luxemburg-Casco School District ahead of its April referendum vote. Luxemburg-Casco Middle School Principal Mike Snowberry will transition into a full-time curriculum director for the district, while his associate principal Todd Chandler will take over the role. Snowberry had taken on a part-time role as curriculum director a couple years ago, but saw those duties increase recently into a virtually full-time position. Superintendent Glenn Schlender says staff and students already view Chandler as the principal and his transition will be important, especially if voters approve an $11.9 million referendum question that would build a new middle school at the southern end of the high school and relocating students from its current facility in Casco.


Addition of Kindergartners and future of girls fuels growth in local Boy Scouting

By Tim Kowols

With programming changes allowing Kindergarteners and girls to join their ranks, Bay Lakes Council's Voyageur District future continues to look bright. The district, which includes Boy Scout troops, Cub Scout packs, and Exploring posts in Door and Kewaunee Counties, was the only one in the council to exceed two percent membership growth last year, a number Senior District Executive Christopher O'Brien gives credit to volunteer scouters for creating programs that are successful in retaining scouts. With the early success of the council's Lion Cub Pilot program for Kindergarteners and with area units already bringing girls into the fold before they can officially join the organization in June, O'Brien is excited for what is in store for 2018.


Lawmakers looking at tollways as a way to pay for state roads

By Paul Schmitt

With Wisconsin facing potential issues in the funding of state roads in the future, lawmakers are looking at an open road tollway as a solution.  According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told county leaders the state would be able to get matching money from a federal transportation package being pushed in President Donald Trump infrastructure plan.  First District Representative Joel Kitchens says tollways could be an option but he would have to look into it more carefully.



Scholarship offers educational hopes to women surviving domestic abuse

By Paul Schmitt

HELP of Door County is again working with a scholarship program that was founded by Warren Buffet's sister, Doris Buffet in 2008.  The Women's Independence Scholarship Program(WISP) provides assistance to women who have left an abusive domestic relationship and are looking to further their education. HELP of Door County Executive Director Steve Vickman says the scholarship recipients would also receive assistance for expenses that could be obstacles to furthering one's education.



Adopt-A-Soldier Door County trying to keep up with increase in female military members

By Tim Kowols

The United States Military is experiencing growth in its female recruits, as are the local organizations supporting them.  According to the USA Today, 16 percent of the active military is made up of women, with the United States Marine Corps experiencing its highest percentage of female recruits to Marine basic training or officer training school ever at 10.7 percent. Adopt-a-Soldier Door County Executive Director Nancy Hutchinson says she has seen the number of female soldiers receiving packages from the organization grow to 11, but notes the struggles they have filling their boxes with items they might need.


Kewaunee Young People's Theater supports community through shows

By Tim Kowols

Closing in on $500,000 total dollars raised in the organization's history, the Kewaunee Young People's Theater is in its final preparations for its Hooray for Hollywood show next weekend. Twenty-eight organizations are expected to benefit from the adult variety show this year, funding everything from student scholarships at local high schools to much-needed equipment for the Algoma Fire and Rescue Department and Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department. Kevin Dax has been participating with the Kewaunee Young People's Theater for 25 years and says it is a great feeling to not only perform in front of full rooms over three days but also make such a large impact in the community.


Washington Island School looking to build new gym

By Tim Kowols

Washington Island School District hopes to add a gym to their building in their near future. Currently, students must walk out of the school about 100 yards to the Washington Island Community Center for gym class and athletic events. The project is in its early planning stages, but school leaders are hopeful they will be able to complete the gym with private funds. Superintendent Mati Palm-Leis says it would be a great addition to the school.


Live Algoma aims to train 500 people in suicide prevention strategies

By Tim Kowols

Live Algoma, the Kewaunee County UW-Extension and United Funds of Kewaunee County are joining forces to recruit volunteers to be certified suicide prevention trainers. Trainers would learn the Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) curriculum, which is designed to help identify people who may be suicidal. Volunteers would receive a $500 scholarship to take the course to train others, which only takes one day to complete and certifies participants for three years according to the QPR Institute. With a goal of training 500 people in Kewaunee County in the basics of QPR, Live Algoma's Joan Groessl says it is an important course for people to participate in to help save lives.


Friends group happy DNR affirms Public Trust Doctrine, still questions some of the lines drawn

By Tim Kowols

Other than the extended time frame and some of the lines drawn during the process, the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront are happy the Department of Natural Resources finally weighed in with their Ordinary High Water Mark ruling. The OHWM currently sits, according to the maps released by the DNR, 125 feet waterward from the 1835 meander line, which places the land surrounding the granary and original site for the proposed Lindgren Hotel on public land. Happy that the DNR affirmed the Public Trust Doctrine, Dan Collins from the Friends group says there are still some questions regarding the lines drawn, particularly for Parcel 92.


WRA discusses broad redevelopment strategies for Sturgeon Bay waterfront site post-ruling

By Tim Kowols

With an appeal of the Department of Natural Resources' Ordinary High Water Mark ruling possible, the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority opted to discuss the broad principles they would like to see from any new development on the site during their Wednesday afternoon meeting. City attorney Randy Nesbitt told the WRA that the ruling released by the DNR earlier this week had not yet been legally vetted nor had city officials had a chance to read through it completely to make any recommendations. Nesbitt also stated possible appeals to the ruling by the city, WRA, or others could add a possible two years to the dispute. Members had their own questions about the original compromise line from the lawsuit against the city, with John Asher asking city officials for maps clarifying what the site could be used for in the future.


Gibraltar Elementary nominated for Blue Ribbon honors

By Baxter Colburn

Gibraltar Elementary School was nominated for a Blue Ribbon School designation by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction last month.


The elementary school ranked in the top 15 percent of all schools in Wisconsin on state assessment scores. Principal Brian Annen outlines what the nomination means for Gibraltar.



Annen also went on the say that a school can only be nominated once every five years.


Sevastopol Secondary School received a Blue Ribbon nomination back in 2015.

Door County YMCA needs community help to meet financial goals

By Baxter Colburn

The Door County YMCA enters another year in need of community support and financial donations. While there isn't a bad time to donate to the YMCA, being able to garner support for the over 8,500 members in Door County is never an easy task according to President and CEO Tom Beerntsen. Beernsten outlines the goals for this year's financial campaign.



To date, the Door County YMCA has raised over $218,000 towards their $500,000 goal in 2018. You can find more information on the Door County YMCA's annual campaign by clicking on the link listed below.

Local church communities calling for "compassion" with DREAMers situation

By Paul Schmitt

With the debate over immigration intensifying on Capitol Hill, the program called DACA (Defferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) has many in the Evangelical Christian community voicing their opinion on the possible deportation of undocumented immigrants who came into the U.S. as children.  Pastor Peter Mannoja from Tanum Forest Evangelical Lutheran Church says the solution may be political but it's about treating all people with compassion.



Kewaunee County residences experience vandalism

By Paul Schmitt

About 50 mailboxes were damaged Tuesday night in Kewaunee County.  According to the Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department, a call complaint came in shortly after 8 p.m. from the town of Montpelier.  Subsequently, more calls were reported during the evening throughout the town of Franklin and West Kewaunee as well.  Sheriff Matt Joski says the investigation is still ongoing but he is confident that they will find the perpetrator.



Algoma looking at three new housing developments

By Paul Schmitt

The city of Algoma has three new potential developments on the horizon.  In a recent Plan Commission meeting, Kevin Klienert of Expedite Development is proposing the Bell Harbor Condominium along the Lake Michigan shoreline south of Algoma and a multi-family apartment development just north of Algoma.  Mayor Wayne Schmidt says the city was looking to meet the demand for more upscale housing that was part of the comprehensive plan.



DNR rules on Ordinary High Water Mark in Sturgeon Bay

By Paul Schmitt

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has come down with a ruling on the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM) on the west side waterfront property.  The release of the 33-page document by the DNR declares the OHWM of Lake Michigan on the shore of land parcels 92 and 100 in the city of Sturgeon Bay.  Parcel 92 which is where the current Granary building sits and is scheduled to be dismantled is within the DNR ruling.  Approximately three-fourths of Parcel 100, including where the controversial Lindgren Hotel was to be built also falls within the DNR's established OHWM.  The noted land parcels with the DNR Concurrence Boundary represents the landward boundary or lateral extent of the public lakebed.  This means no private development may be done on the designated properties falling below the Ordinary High Water Mark.  You can find the 33-page document including illustrations handed down by the DNR below.


Rep. Joel Kitchens says he will not bring legislation to the floor that would end the dispute regarding the OHWM on the Sturgeon Bay waterfront due to the end of the session is just a couple weeks away.

Luxemburg looks into future of its police department

By Tim Kowols

The Village of Luxemburg is weighing their options when it comes to staffing their own full-time police department. Police Chief Chris Gulbrand was hired earlier this year on an interim basis while village officials discuss possibly contracting their policing to the Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department. Village President Ken Tebon says the year-long study will most likely come down to money and being accountable to its taxpayers.


Door County Habitat for Humanity to host Furniture Blitz

By Tim Kowols

Thanks to two area resorts, Door County Habitat for Humanity will be able to help provide affordable housing through the sale of low-priced furniture. The Gathering and Glidden Lodge's donation of sofa sleepers, chairs, end tables, and other pieces marks the return of the Door County Habitat for Humanity's Furniture Blitz, which has taken place at different locations the last several years thanks to the generosity of local lodging owners.. ReStore Manager Megan Dietz says it is just another way to support the organization's mission.


Southern Door School District hopes to get included in Low Revenue Ceiling increases

By Tim Kowols

A recent proposal in the Wisconsin Legislature has Southern Door School District on high alert on its implications. Assembly Bill 835 increases sparsity aid by $6.4 million for next school year and raises the Low Revenue Ceiling limit $300 to $9,400 according to a press release from Governor Scott Walker. The problems for Southern Door School District are its student population of over 1,000 is too big to qualify for the sparsity aid and its failed referendum last year makes it ineligible for the Low Revenue Ceiling increase. Superintendent Patti Vickman says overall she has no problem with the bill since it is a transparent process, but believes it should not be placed on school districts retroactively.


Economic report identifies areas of focus for Door County Economic Development Corporation

By Tim Kowols

An aging population and a shrinking housing market were among the items noted in a recent report compiled by economist Jeffrey Sachse. While Sachse notes the population in Door County has grown by 555 people since the 2010 census, Sturgeon Bay has shrunk by nearly the same number. Sachse says Door County's senior population is expected to grow 38 percent between 2010 and 2020 and by 2040 it will reach 64 percent. Higher than average house sales prices for the region and a high number of housing units considered to be second or seasonal homes reflects a housing crunch only expected to grow. Door County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Caleb Frostman says the report reaffirms some of goals the organization is already forming, but it adds an extra sense of urgency.


Eight candidates for three seats on Sturgeon Bay city council participate in League of Women Voters forum Monday

By Roger Utnehmer

Insiders versus outsiders is how eight candidates for three seats on the Sturgeon Bay city council were divided at a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters Monday night.

Incumbent council members Stewart Fett and Richard Wiesner were joined by former mayor and council member Robert Starr and former council member John Lodl as experienced inside participants in local government.

Outside newcomers to local politics included four other candidates who are taking on the current politics-as-usual in city hall.  Criticism of a council majority which voted to raze the west-side waterfront granary and Mayor Thad Birmingham's scheduling of daytime rather than evening meetings were voiced by several candidates during the forum.

Challengers new to city government include David Hayes in District 2.

Hayes faces off in a February 20th primary election against former mayor Robert Starr and former council member John Lodl.  Hayes says "fiscal mismanagement is the biggest issue in Sturgeon Bay."

Kelly Avenson is running against incumbent Richard Wiesner in District 4.  Avenson supports a return to evening council meetings and efforts to preserve the west-side waterfront granary.  Wiesner said at the forum he wants to save the granary.  He was one of the four votes creating a council majority that voted recently to raze the structure.

In District 6, incumbent Stewart Fett faces a primary contest from Lauri Fish and Seth Wiederanders.  Fish said she is running because she's seen "a desperate need for new leadership" and says how the granary issue was handled is a "disregard of the will of the people."  She also said city funds are being misused and the city mismanaged.

Starr defended the current administration saying the city's credit rating is excellent.  According to Starr, money is very well managed in Sturgeon Bay.

Two candidates, David Hayes and John Lodl, spoke out against the proposed half-percent sales tax to fund city street and sidewalk expenses that will be voted on in April.

A primary election on February 20th will narrow the field of candidates in Districts 2 and 6 to just two candidates.  The general election will be held on April 3rd.

The entire LofWV forum is available for viewing on the City of Sturgeon Bay public access television service.

Coast Guard to thank veteran-friendly employers Wednesday in Sturgeon Bay

By Tim Kowols

The United States Coast Guard is thanking individuals from Green Bay and Sturgeon Bay businesses Wednesday for their support with a ride on the USCG Cutter Mobile Bay. Formed in 1972, the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) was established to promote the cooperation between local businesses and their National Guard and Reserve employees. Mark Gill from the United States Coast Guard says especially in a small city like Sturgeon Bay, local support is crucial.


DNR's East Twin River Aquatic Life Survey set to be presented next week in Luxemburg

By Tim Kowols

Nearly a year after the Department of Natural Resources added an aquatic life survey for the East Twin River to its 2017 work list, Kewaunee County officials and residents are about to learn about the study's findings. A presentation by the DNR is on the agenda for Tuesday's Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee meeting, which first requested the study in 2016 after the DNR approved a permit for the Agropur cheese plant in Luxemburg to increase the amount of chloride they are allowed to discharge. Committee member Lee Luft says the aquatic life survey will give valuable insight into the health of the East Twin River and if the numbers from the DNR match up with the statistics gathered by Clean Water Action volunteers over several years.


Credit card debt forcing post-holiday shopping blues

By Tim Kowols

Holiday shoppers are beginning to get their first look at what was spent on their credit cards and now must find a way to pay off their bills. According to MagnifyMoney, the average American added $1,054 in credit card debt last holiday season, up five percent from a year ago. The same study showed 29 percent of Americans will need five months or more to pay off the debt, often because of the credit card's high interest rate. Gay Pustaver from Money Management Counselors says looking at the bill after the holidays is a good lesson to learn.


City of Sturgeon Bay, Door County Habitat for Humanity discuss more homes during Tuesday meeting

By Tim Kowols

The City of Sturgeon Bay and Door County Habitat for Humanity are in talks for more homes being built in the Sunset Hills Subdivision as a part of Tuesday's Common Council meeting. The consideration of the sale of city property in the former Wiretech site is a part of the two-item closed session agenda which will also touch on its offer to buy the Amity Field property. City Administrator Josh VanLieshout says Door County Habitat for Humanity's involvement in building affordable homes complementary to the subdivision is great news.


Kewaunee County puts broadband connection for all on wish list with Public Service Commission grant application

By Tim Kowols

Kewaunee County is looking for help to expand its broadband access for its residents and businesses. Last month, county officials submitted their application to the Public Service Commission for a broadband expansion grant of $335,000 to begin the first phase of their project. The grant would help fund the equipment needed for eight towers to create wireless broadband access countywide. Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt says people moving or building in the area expect to be able to get a connection to the Internet.


Winter Festival was big fun despite the winter weather

By Cynthia Germain


The Winter Festival in Fish Creek brought locals and visitors together for unique food and competitions with typical Wisconsin winter weather as a backdrop. On Saturday, Casey's BBQ came out on top at the Chili Cook-off followed by Cy from Hands On Art Studio and Nat Peterson. Minnow racing and pie throwing were enjoyed inside the event tents while outside, competition was great in the toilet seat toss, bike toss and other games. Denise Stillman, President of the Fish Creek Civic Association, says that the Fest offers a nice break in the otherwise quiet winter in Door County.




The Festival was capped off on Sunday with the Fruit Loop .49 mile run in a loop in costume with an award for best costume as well as the first male, female and child to first cross the finish line, all followed by bowls of Fruit Loops.

Sister Bay is host to the Door County Short Film Fest

By Cynthia Germain

]Sister Bay is host to the Short Film Fest on February 16th and 17th with over 20 short films to enjoy. The Fest which is in its 9th year is held at the Sister Bay Village Hall sponsored by the Sister Bay Advancement Association. The premiere on Friday night includes two local short films followed by a feature short film, Through the Windmill, a documentary on mini-golf. The festival continues on Saturday on a variety of short films throughout the day for a minimal entrance fee. The films are juried with a prize for best film, The Golden Mug, which is being created by a local artist. Louise Howson, Coordinator of the Sister Bay Advancement Association, says that the films cover a number of different topics but the two local short films are unique.



The films chosen for this year's event were submitted via the web from dozens of filmmakers from all over the world. Some of the filmmakers will be in attendance to give presentations and answer questions. A concession of food and drink as well as free popcorn will be provided.

Door County is unique in its collaboration of agencies and service organizations

By Cynthia Germain


Door County is rich with organizations that can bring assistance to residents with any and every need, and more importantly these organizations work well together to assure that all get needed services while avoiding duplicate efforts. From agencies funded by federal, state and local budgets to nonprofits that get the support of a myriad of other private organizations and local fundraising efforts, residents can receive help with health care, food, shelter, employment, education and more. Joe Krebsbach, Director of the Door County Department of Human Services, says that the collaboration among the various service providers is unique.



Other leaders in the nonprofit community agree with Krebsbach, experiencing a special level collaboration among organizations on a daily basis to do good and do right in the community.


The Brighter Day Fund gives needed support to those with mental health struggles

By Cynthia Germain


The Door County Medical Center Foundation helps those experiencing a financial crisis through the Brighter Day Fund. Established in honor of Bob Scieszinski, previous CFO of the organization, at his retirement three years ago, the Brighter Day Fund covers basic living expenses for people dealing with a mental health difficulty and is specifically designed to get them through a financial emergency. Scieszinski was an ardent advocate for mental health services and his efforts led to the formation of behavioral health services at DCMC with a dedicated staff that includes two licensed clinical social workers and a nurse practitioner. Brian Stephens, Chief Administrative Officer of the Door County Medical Center, says that the social workers work with families to determine their needs without any formal application process and that eliminating the bureaucracy to help those in crisis is essential.



Funds for Brighter Day were initially seeded through the efforts of a predetermined team at the annual golf marathon and has been continually supported through the generosity of Door County Medical Center employees.

Local job center helps more than the unemployed with services to launch a new career

By Cynthia Germain


The Door County Job Center helps more than the unemployed, providing services to launch a new career at any age. We Are HOPE, Inc. in Sturgeon Bay is in its 40th year of its mission of Helping Others Prosper and Excel. The organization is home to the Door County American Job Center that assists with online unemployment application, job search, career exploration and skill building. Within its walls, a number of collaborative partners come together to provide individualized services for those who have barriers to employment and help individuals to be successful in the workforce. These partners include the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation who works with individuals with disabilities, Forward Service Corporation which oversees the FoodShare Employment and Training Program and Wisconsin Works Program, and the Great Lakes Training and Development Corporation which operates the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The FoodShare Employment Training Program assists FoodShare members to build their job skills and the Wisconsin Works program offers opportunities to people who are parents with barriers such as the lack of high school diploma or strong work history to build basic life-work skills. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act helps fund education for people who want to continue schooling for an in-demand occupation, guiding them through the process of identifying best career and assist with the obtaining WIOA funding as well as financial aid and scholarship applications. Kim Carley, Employment Services Director at the We Are HOPE Center, says that they help both the employed and unemployed, young and old, to be successful in the workplace.



Carley notes that they offer regular skill-building workshops as well as computer skills training which are open to the public along with their computer lab to assist individuals with employment-related activities. We are HOPE is a non-profit and the job center is funded by the Bay Area Workforce Development Corporation as well as public and private sources

Door County Dairy Quiz Bowl Team moves on to national competition

By Cynthia Germain


The Door County Dairy Quiz Bowl Team took second place in the 4-H Dairy Bowl in Madison on Saturday, securing their place in the National Dairy Quiz Bowl in September. The 4-H Dairy Bowl competition encourages members to develop a more complete knowledge of dairy animals and related subjects. Teams of four members compete with each other in giving oral answers to questions posed by a moderator. Rich Olson, the coach of the Door County Dairy Quiz Bowl Team, says that he truly enjoys his role helping the students prepare for this important contest.



The team will travel to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in September to compete in the National Dairy Quiz Bowl contest, as representatives of the Dairy State with hopes of ranking high against other states' teams. Olson says that the students have worked hard studying weekly since October in preparation, and he is very proud of the team and their successful day in Madison.


Beautiful day for Day 2 of Fish Creek Winter Festival


By Eric Fischer

It was a picturesque day, with the snow falling, for Day 2 of Fish Creek Winter Festival.  Hundreds gathered the streets of Fish Creek to take part in the games and events of the day.  Some of the highlights include the Wheel of Meat, the Chili Cook-off, Door County YMCA Toilet Seat Toss, and numerous other events held by local booster clubs to raise money for their groups.  Local shops were also open hoping to capitalize on all the people out and about for the day.  President of the Fish Creek Civic Association Denise Stillman says she wants to thank the groups for the support.


Jackie Smethurst, Events and Marketing Coordinator for Fish Creek, was kind enough to give us a tour of the festival.

Kewaunee High School feeling "lucky" about upcoming drama production

By Baxter Colburn

Kewaunee High School students will run a three-day performance of "Lucky Hudson and the 12th Street Gang" February 9-11 at the R.F. Plantico Theater in Kewaunee. Superintendent Karen Treml says the students are excited to perform and utilize the outstanding features of the school's theater.


Kewaunee School District to focus on mental health of students


By Eric Fischer

The Kewaunee School District staff has been focusing a lot of time and effort into the mental health of their students.  This has included staff raising money for the student zones of regulation at Green Bay Gamblers games in the Dash for Cash, training sessions for the staff, and teaching the students how to understand and work with their emotions.  Superintendent Karen Treml says that the main goal is to understand that students deal with trauma and help them get to a mental state for learning.



Treml adds that getting students to a "green level" is the ideal zone for learning.  Treml is excited for the staff to implement this training to keep Kewaunee School District a place students want to be.

Local artist reflects on moving from California to Door County


By Eric Fischer

Artist and producer Hans Christian was living in San Francisco, and on a performing tour when he decided he no longer wanted to call California home.  This was in 2001, and since then Hans has moved to Door County, set up a recording studio in Sturgeon Bay and continued with his music career.  Christian says that his friend, the late Fred Alley was one of the few reasons he decided to make the move.




Christian adds that the decision was tougher when Fred passed away during the process of moving but that Fred would have wanted him to stay.  After working together, the two had the idea of opening a recording studio for Christian to be the producer at.  That idea became reality when Hans opened Studio 330 which attracts both local and international artists.

Miss Door County 2017 reflects on inspiring year

By Baxter Colburn

Saturday night a new Miss Door County will be crowned at Southern Door High School. Before the current title holder, Susan Fochs passes her crown off she has the opportunity to take one last walk across the stage that made her childhood dreams comes true. Fochs gave her all to the Miss Door County organization and the Door County community for the past year and says it has been an unrivaled experience she will never forget.

Door County Chief Deputy Pat McCarty reminds parents to prevent underage drinking


By Eric Fischer

With the big game this weekend, plenty of people will be having parties to watch the action and the commercials.  Parties like these are just one way kids can be exposed to alcohol.  Legally, adults can face misdemeanor charges for hosting parties and distributing alcohol to underage kids.  Door County Chief Deputy Pat McCarty reminds parents to set a good example for their kids when it comes to drinking.



McCarty reports that in 2017 4,300 deaths nationwide were attributed to underage drinking with 1,500 involving drunk driving.  McCarty adds that his number one priority is for kids to get home safe at the end of the night.

Kewaunee County Highway crew preparing for winter thaw


By Eric Fischer

 Wisconsin is known for having unpredictable winter weather.  Some days the temperature dips well below zero and the next seems to be in the forties.  While warmer temperatures and melting snow might seem like a relief for many, for others it's just as daunting. Kewaunee County Highway Commissioner, Todd Every,  says his crews are already on the look for thawing issues.

Every adds that culverts and frost heaves under roads are generally the areas that lead to floods.  Every continues that drivers should still maintain caution, drive slow, and leave early even as winter comes to an end to prevent accidents.


Nature Conservancy purchase expands Baileys Harbor Boreal Forest

By Tim Kowols

The Baileys Harbor Boreal Forest Area nearly doubled in size Friday with the announcement of an almost 362 acre purchase by the Nature Conservancy. Thanks in part to donors and  grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, the new land will help connect areas that were formerly isolated by other parcels. The Nature Conservancy's Northeast Wisconsin Director of Conservation Nicole Van Helzen says expanding the natural area also helps the animals calling the forest home.


Yang set for keynote presentation during Door County Reads' second week

By Tim Kowols

Author Kao Kalia Yang is set to visit Sturgeon Bay next week as the featured speaker for this year's Door County Reads Celebration. Yang wrote this year's Door County Reads selection The Latehomecomer, which provides an account of her life as a Hmong refugee from her native Laos and adapting to life in the United States. Door County Library Director Tina Kakuske says it was Yang's visit to the Washington Island Literary Festival last year that put this year's Door County Reads in motion.


Pabich looking to lower technology costs with Kewaunee County partnership

By Tim Kowols

To Door County Administrator Ken Pabich, teaming up with Kewaunee County to address tax levies and rising costs does not just mean combining departments. County officials met last month to discuss some of the possibilities, which included joining forces for highway projects and possibly a library system. Pabich says another opportunity for cost savings is in the technology each county contracts for their different services.


Sheriff's Corner: Make sure your home is safe while you travel

By Tim Kowols and Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski

With any trip away from the home, property owners are being reminded to take the proper steps to make sure their house stays safe.  Often, neighbors rely on neighbors to keep an extra eye on their property and to say something if they see anything out of the ordinary. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says if you are planning to head out of town, his department can actually help keep an eye on your house as well.

Fish Creek Winter Festival to start Friday

By Eric Fischer

Friday marks the beginning of the fun-filled Fish Creek Winter Festival.  The three-day community event has activities for people of all ages.  Saturday is highlighted by the chili cookoff, "All Things Chocolate", fireworks on the ice at 5:45, capped off with a rock and roll snow dance.  Denise Stillman, President of the Fish Creek Civic Association, says to keep an eye out for the "notorious" Sunday Fruit Loop Fun Run and other goofy events that take place throughout the weekend.

Stillman adds that she wants to thank the different clubs that are able to aid the Civic Association in showcasing Fish Creek.  The weekend festival is expected to bring in over $10,000 to the community.  Be sure to check out the DoorCountyDailyNews Facebook page as we will have live coverage of the event on Saturday afternoon.

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St. John Bosco Catholic School to host open house


By Eric Fischer

In line with a study to increase enrollment in Catholic schools in the Green Bay area, a local school is hosting an open house to showcase their program.  St. John Bosco Catholic School in Sturgeon Bay, will host their community open house on Friday, February 9th from 8 am until 4 pm.  Pastor Carl Schmitt, who serves on the Board of Trustees and teaches 8th Grade religion class at St. John Bosco, says that goal of the open house is to increase awareness of the wonderful things going on in the classrooms.


Schmitt adds his goal is to get St. John Bosco's enrollment up to the point that they have a waiting list of potential students.  Schmitt also mentions that he is excited to be leading a mission trip to Nicaragua and in 2019 a trip to the Holy Land.  For more information on the school and upcoming events go to


Sturgeon Bay plays waiting game on granary site

By Tim Kowols

The timeline regarding the future of the city of Sturgeon Bay's west waterfront is out of their hands for the time being.  The dismantling of the granary could occur within the next couple weeks, but the city must wait for Kiesow Enterprises, the company awarded the contract, to finish a more weather-dependent project before coming to Sturgeon Bay. The city has also gone over three months without hearing from the Department of Natural Resources on a determination for the Ordinary High Water Mark since their listening session in October. As frustrating as it is, city administrator Josh VanLieshout says he understands why the DNR must take their time.


Kewaunee to host mayoral candidate forum February 7

By Tim Kowols

For the second time in as many elections, the Kewaunee Library Board will sponsor a candidate forum for the city's mayoral race. Current Mayor Sandi Christman, James Kleiman III, and Joe Mills are on the ballot this time around, with 2016's bout between Christman, former mayor John Blaha, and council member John Griffith forcing the library to hold its first candidate forum. Kewaunee Library Board President Jan Tess says it is important for the community to be informed on who they will potentially give their vote.


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

By Roger Utnehmer

When Sturgeon Bay taxpayers put up with piles of dirt for years and wait for the Department of Natural Resources to issue a ruling on the west-side waterfront for months, it is clear that people in government are not doing their jobs.

The dirt piles in downtown Sturgeon Bay are a community disgrace.  They symbolize the dysfunction that pervades city government and its failure to resolve the controversy over west-side waterfront development.  Mayor Thad Birmingham has refused to even discuss efforts to preserve the iconic granary and the more than $1.5 million in pledges to preserve it.  An intransigent city administration has consistently refused to negotiate with those who oppose its development plans.  And now the DNR has delayed the ruling on the ordinary high water mark along the west-side shoreline that will determine where development can occur and where lakebed must be preserved for public use.  The DNR delay is a disgrace.  If private-sector employees put off doing their job as long as the DNR has delayed issuing a high-water mark ruling, heads would roll.

The DNR has had more than sufficient time to research, review testimony, study case law and issue a determination.   It's time to rule.  And it's time to remove the eyesore that plagues Sturgeon Bay by leveling dirt piles now.  If there is any good reason why Mayor Thad Birmingham has not simply ordered city crews to level the dirt piles he should share it now.  It's time for action.

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

Schools proactive in fight against the flu

By Tim Kowols

Local school districts are being proactive in their battle against the flu in its student body. While the schools are not at an outbreak status like others across the country forced to close their doors due to the virus, Southern Door School District and Sturgeon Bay School District sent letters home to their families giving them tips on how to see if your child is infected and when it is safe for them to return. Southern Door School District Director of Pupil Services Brenda Shimon says they are taking other precautions to keep students healthy.


Peninsula Pride Farms celebrates progress on goals, look to future during annual meeting

By Tim Kowols

Peninsula Pride Farms reflected on the positive momentum they started in year two of the organization during their annual meeting held in Luxemburg Tuesday. Over 100 people attended the event that focused on how agriculture and conservation can work hand in hand and provided updates on the organization's two demonstration farm networks. Peninsula Pride Farms President Don Niles was encouraged by the numbers present for the presentations, in particular young farmers and those with no agriculture background.


UW-Extension gets early start on pest management through workshops

By Tim Kowols

The UW-Extension office wants farmers to be proactive with the possible causes for damaged and underperforming crops through a series of workshops beginning February 6. Experts in insects, weeds, soil, and diseases will host the two-hour workshops to help farmers identify the issues and use best practices to take care of them. With crop prices continuing to tumble, Door County UW-Extension agriculture educator Annie Deutsch says the workshops are crucial, especially when it comes sporadic pests like insects.


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