News Archives for 2018-11

Sen. Frostman wants details of upcoming Special Lame Duck session

Phil Roeder / CC


By Paul Schmitt


State legislative leaders have announced that a lame-duck session will be held next week with hearings on Monday and vote potentially on Tuesday.  District 1 State Senator Caleb Frostman says he has not seen any bills but would be against any move of the presidential primary to a date between the February and April elections in 2020.  He is also concerned about a potential bill that would limit the new governor’s powers.





According to the Madison Capital Times, Republican State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald stated he believed that Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly would benefit from changing the election date due to turn out for a Democratic primary race.

Gibraltar Area School District preparing for construction after referendum approval

By Tim Kowols


Shovels will not be breaking ground any time soon but there is still plenty of work behind the scenes going on to make improvements at Gibraltar Area Schools. The estimated $4.4 million referendum project was approved by voters earlier this month by a 70 percent-30 percent margin. The project calls for major improvements to the secondary school library and other renovations. Superintendent Tina Van Meer says some decisions could be made in January.





Van Meer credited the supportive community and the district’s staff with the successful passage of its two referendum questions.

Washington Island apiary creating a buzz about Russian honeybees

Jennifer C. / CC


By Tim Kowols


An apiary on Washington Island will begin a research project next year that could have an impact on the local beekeeping industry. Sweet Mountain Farm owner Sue Dumpke began her apiary on Washington Island about 10 years ago. In that time, she has noticed the resiliency of her Russian bees to handle cold temperatures and their infatuation with local lavender fields. Now she has 75-180 colonies producing between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds of honey a year in addition to the 100 colonies she sells to Wisconsin beekeepers. With help from researchers from UW-River Falls, Dumpke hopes to see the health benefits of lavender for her Russian honeybees as it relates to weight gains, honey yields, and winter loss.





Dumpke says interns will help her keep track of the health of Russian honeybees for the research project over the next two years.

Kewaunee County Sheriff thankful for warden presence

By Tim Kowols


Last week marked the first time in several years Kewaunee County had two wardens on duty from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. In addition to local mainstay Dave Allen, warden Jimmy Moore marked his first hunting season in Kewaunee County since being assigned to the area by the DNR. While it is important to self-police yourself during time spent outdoors, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says Allen and Moore are great resources.





This year’s gun deer season was one of the safest on record, but Joski still expressed some disappointment in some of the decisions hunters made that are considered to be illegal such as shooting from the road. You can read the rest of Sheriff Matt Joski’s article online with this story.




The 2018 Gun Deer Season is now in the books and by all accounts, it appears to have been a successful hunt for many of those who participated. Thank you to all the hunters for making this another safe season. I would like to say that the gun deer season was without any issues; however that would not be accurate. While most of our hunters were able to engage in this popular tradition while staying within the guidelines of state regulations, some felt the need to engage in behavior which not only violates the law, but puts themselves as well as other members of our community at risk. While I am not a big hunter and have not harvested a deer since the late eighties, I know without a doubt that no deer regardless of size or rack configuration is worth jeopardizing the safety of others to obtain.


We are very fortunate to have had Warden Dave Allen as our local Warden for many years and even more fortunate that he has been joined by Warden Jimmy Moore who has recently been assigned to Kewaunee County. While these two gentlemen are great resources, they cannot cover an entire county with their presence at all times. It remains up to each of us as citizens to self police our own actions as well as to hold those accountable who would violate our laws and in doing so compromise the safety of our community. If you do observe any violations related to any of our hunting seasons, please feel free to call the DNR tip line at -800-TIP-WDNR.


Over the years the need to adhere to safe hunting practices has always been important, even when our area was limited to the use of shotguns during the deer season. With the addition of rifle use in Kewaunee County these safety precautions become that much more relevant as both the travel distance as well as penetration potential increases greatly.


I would ask that in planning for next year’s hunt, careful consideration is given to past practices and whether or not those practices are in fact prudent and whether or not those practices add to the safety of our community or detract from it. These are questions we should be asking ourselves to prevent a tragedy and not in response to one. We are better than that!


As for the impact on our car deer accidents, I did run a data check as of Tuesday morning at 8:00 AM and we are now tied with 2017 for car deer accidents to date at 412. Please drive carefully, maintain proper distance and stay alert!

Rep. Gallagher prepares for second term after hosting town halls

By Tim Kowols


Workforce concerns, health care, and even foreign policy are some of the issues concerning many residents in Wisconsin’s Eighth Congressional District according to Representative Mike Gallagher. Months before he begins his second term, Rep. Gallagher ruffled feathers in his own chamber in a recent editorial where he attacked the status quo in Congress by offering several reform-related ideas. He says it has opened the door to a broader conversation among liberals and conservatives to find common ground with respectful dialogue, something that was apparent in his recent town halls in Ashwaubenon and Appleton.





The time between Election Day and swearing-in ceremonies is giving Rep. Gallagher a chance to lay the groundwork for some of his other reform plans. Ideas to change the Congressional calendar and allow committee members to choose their own leaders have already been shot down.

Algoma teen opens business

By Paul Schmitt


Two goats and an FFA project later, 17-year-old Kyle Gau is opening a business in downtown Algoma.  Gau, a senior at Algoma High School, is planning a grand opening for his new “Waterfront Creations” this Sunday.  The storefront is located next to the BP convenience store on Fremont Street and Gau started making cheeses and yogurts which led to him to make lotions and other body products.   Gau says with the help of his father to work out the paperwork and instructors at Algoma High School in finding a location, he has realized his dream.  He shares how the idea to start a business came about.





Besides goat-based products, the new store will also feature dreamcatchers and metal art crafted by other youth from Algoma.  Gau is planning to attend UW-Green Bay next fall to pursue a degree in Environmental Science with hopes to work for the Department of Natural Resources in the future.   The pop-up store will be open for the entire month of December with plans to re-open in spring, according to Gau.


(photo submitted:  building owners John and Cathy Pabich giving keys to Kyle Gau)

Sturgeon Bay High School Choir performing "Handel's Messiah" at Weidner Center

By Paul Schmitt


For the first time in six years,  Sturgeon Bay High School Choir members will have the opportunity to sing on stage at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts at U.W. Green Bay.  The choir will be performing Handel’s Messiah along with University Singers, and the Green Bay Choral Artists while being backed by a full orchestra.  Sturgeon Bay High School Choir Director Leslie Hill says her students are looking forward to the challenge of “Hallelujah” and more.





The Handel’s Messiah performance will be Saturday night at 7:30 pm at the Weidner Center.  Tickets will be available at the door or you can order tickets with the below link.

Exercise and socialization important to extending life expectancy

By Connor Harbit


With the Centers for Disease Control announcing that the life expectancy rate in the United States has dropped over the past few years, some experts are advising older residents of Door County to take caution against living a sedentary or lonely lifestyle. A person concerned about his or her lifespan can take several steps to ensure they help swing the number back in the right direction. Christine Webb-Miller, the Active Older Adult Coordinator at the Door County YMCA, says it’s not just about getting vigorous exercise, but simply about getting out and doing some kind of moving around.





Webb-Miller also noted it is relatively easy to slip into a lonely lifestyle after losing regular contact with kids or a spouse, alongside changes in how Americans live and shop. To remedy this, Webb-Miller suggested finding a group of people in the community to keep tabs with and to hold oneself accountable for their day to day actions.

New Wisconsin veterans recruiting program helps local employers fill the skills gap

By Terry Kovarik


Returning veterans can learn about career openings in Wisconsin and help local employers looking for skilled workers. “Mission Wisconsin Talent Pipeline” is part of a nearly $2-million dollar national marketing campaign. Private companies that register with the program submit information about their job opportunities. Resumes from interested veterans or their spouses are returned to those companies. Jim Golembeski, with the Department of Workforce Development, says it’s an opportunity for employers to find employees with the skills the companies need.



“Mission Wisconsin Talent Pipeline” is a joint effort of the Department of Workforce Development, the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Kewaunee County Highway Department finds brine beats salt

Andrew Watson / CC


By Terry Kovarik


The Kewaunee County Highway Department has used brine solution over the past two years during winter storms. The salt-solution has been effective at keeping snow and ice from binding to road pavement. Other Wisconsin counties and Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation have had similar success. Kewaunee County Highway Commissioner Todd Every says while brine cannot be used in all winter conditions, it’s been a benefit to drivers and taxpayers.



Brine now has widespread use by county highway departments. The DOT says 63 of the state’s 72 counties used brine solutions for de-icing.

Giving Tuesday a success for Door County non-profit groups

By Terry Kovarik


Door County non-profit groups were among those that took part in the worldwide #Giving Tuesday fundraising campaign. Cinnamon Rossman of the Door County Land Trust says Giving Tuesday proved to be a great recruiting tool as well as helping to maintain the property in their nature preserves.



The Door County YMCA did better with this year’s Giving Tuesday. Y President and CEO Tom Beernsten says while the campaign provides just a small portion of the million-dollars it needs to operate annually it is a worthwhile effort.



The Tuesday after Thanksgiving event gives holiday shoppers a chance to give a little extra cash to local charities.

Sturgeon Bay's "dark store" fight not over

By Tim Kowols


Sturgeon Bay City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout is preparing for a second round of litigation over the assessment of the Wal-Mart property. The details are still being finalized on a settlement between the city and Wal-Mart to lower the property’s tax bill by employing what is commonly known as the “dark store theory.” Businesses across the state have successfully argued their property taxes be lowered based on the assessment of similar, but shuttered buildings. Van Lieshout says even with this agreement, there is still work to be done.





After Wal-Mart is refunded for overpaying on their taxes, Van Lieshout says the city will have to seek reimbursement from other taxing entities to help pay for its services. In the last statewide election, voters from 17 counties and six municipalities supported closing the “dark store loophole” in advisory referendums.

Community gathers for Algoma Performing Arts Center events

By Tim Kowols


The Algoma Performing Arts Center is proving to be a true asset for the community. Built in 1935 thanks in part to special programs created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Algoma Performing Arts Center went under a major $250,000 renovation in 2008 to preserve the structure used for school performances as well as traveling acts. In 2014, a private-public partnership was formed to ensure Algoma would be able to experience the arts in their own backyard. Algoma Superintendent Nick Cochart says that collaboration is a big reason why the Algoma Performing Arts Center is thriving.





The Algoma Performing Arts Center will next present “A Frank’s Christmas” this Saturday before playing host to pianist Mike Rector and the Algoma band and choir later this month.

Kewaunee pastor prepares for next faith journey in Canada

By Tim Kowols


The beginning of 2019 will be a new year and a new church for Immanuel Lutheran Church Pastor Michael Sullivan. He will say his last services at the Kewaunee church New Year’s Eve weekend before he heads to Divine Word Lutheran Church in Ottawa, Canada with his family. Sullivan says he has celebrated and mourned with church members over the course of his eight years as pastor for Immanuel Lutheran Church. He is confident the church and his family will be fine.





The move marks a return to Canada for Sullivan, who served a mission congregation in Regina, Saskatchewan prior to his arrival in Kewaunee.

Sturgeon Bay teacher receives recognition for agricultural literacy work

By Connor Harbit


Ashley Vanden Bush, a third-grade teacher at St. John Bosco in Sturgeon Bay, has been awarded the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Outstanding Teacher Award as part of their “Ag in the Classroom” program. Vanden Bush, who was unaware that she was going to be receiving the award, repeatedly demonstrated a focus in using agriculture resources in her lesson plans. She had also been active at volunteer and teacher trainings, and had even given a presentation at Ag in the Classroom’s national conference. Ag in the Classroom Coordinator Darlene Arneson said Vanden Bush has continually helped educate children about the importance of agriculture when it was not required of her to do so.





Vanden Bush will next be Wisconsin’s nominee for the National Excellence in Teaching Agriculture Award and will also receive a $500 scholarship toward attending the 2019 Ag in the Classroom conference in Little Rock, Arkansas, next June. Ag in the Classroom is an initiative from the Wisconsin Farm Bureau that seeks to work with existing curricula to further educate students K-12 on the role of agriculture within the economy and society.

Ward named new Liberty Grove supervisor

By Tim Kowols


Cathy Ward can add a new title to her resume after she was appointed to be an interim member of the Liberty Grove Town Board on Tuesday. Ward is one of two Liberty Grove representatives on the Door County Tourism Zone Commission and also a member of ad-hoc committees for the town. Liberty Grove Town Chairperson John Lowry believes she will be a great replacement for the late Gary Farber.





Jim Brandt and Paul Schwengel also interviewed for the appointment, which runs until April 2019. Ward’s first action will come next week when the Liberty Grove Town Board looks over its town smart growth plan recommended for approval by the plan commission on Wednesday.

Final pieces nearly in place for Washington Island electrical cable

By Terry Kovarik


The end is almost in sight for the new Washington Island electrical power connection with the mainland. The new cable replaces an electrical line that failed in spring. Washington Island Electric Cooperative Manager Robert Cornell says the final pieces of the project, two reels of cable, will be shipped to the island this weekend.




Once the barge arrives, Cornell hopes the project will be finished in early December. That timeline, however, is dependent on the weather.

The Sturgeon Bay Finance and Purchasing Committee accepts Bay Loft Apartments proposal

By Paul Schmitt


In a meeting, Wednesday afternoon at Sturgeon Bay City Hall, the Finance and Purchasing Committee approved to amend a development agreement with The Bay Lofts Apartments.  A minimum $5 million assessment was needed for this year to trigger an 85% share back to Bay Lofts to pay back its initial development loan.  After discussion and input from City Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak , Chair David Ward made a motion that was approved unanimously to allow the Tax Incremental District (TID) 4 to pay Bay Lofts a share of $74,804.13.  He states that the City will still get the expected 15 percent share of $16,118.



Ward says he suspects the roughly $4 million assessment done earlier was based on the fact that the west side apartments were not full at the time.  He says the agreement will remain in place and that hopes are the assessed value will increase substantially next year to surpass the $5 million threshold.  The recommendation will now go to the Sturgeon Bay City Council at the December 4th meeting for final approval.


The full interview with David Ward after meeting.



Kuhns shares the background of new Pricing Carbon bill

Renata Avila / CC


By Paul Schmitt


A bipartisan Pricing Carbon bill that was introduced in the House of Representative on Tuesday has been in the works for one Door County environmental advocate and author the past twenty years.  Roger Kuhns, a geologist from Door County, is a member of the grassroots Citizen’s Climate Lobby group that is responsible for getting the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act crafted.  Kuhns says the organization helped to form the bipartisan caucus to get the bill introduced.  He explains the impact of the bill if approved.



The money would be returned to every household in America on an equal basis to cover the cost the transformation from a fossil fuel to a renewable energy economy, according to Kuhns.  He says the bill is unlikely to pass in the current Lame Duck Congress but would be re-introduced when the 116th Congress session starts next year.


For more information go to Citizens’ Climate  Lobby (CCL) website [­?innovation-­?act/]  for information on sponsors, a press release, full Bill text, and other CCL information.   And “Navigating the Energy Maze – The Transition to a Sustainable Future” by Roger J. Kuhns  and George H. Shaw [].

Conviction upheld in Door and Kewaunee salmon tourney cheating

By Terry Kovarik


The 2013 attempted theft conviction of a Sturgeon Bay fishing boat captain will stand. The 3rd District Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of Michael Cefalu. The conviction was the result of a one-pound lead weight being discovered in a salmon Cefalu and Orlynn Helt brought in during the 2013 Door/Kewaunee Salmon Tournament. Cefalu was convicted in 2016 and ordered to pay a $2,500 fine. Cefalu unsuccessfully appealed that conviction. J.J. Malvitz, President of the Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament, supports the court’s decision. He says the actions of a few should not tarnish the image of all who fish and hunt.



Orlynn Helt, who caught the salmon that was weighted down, was convicted of attempted theft and paid a $1,000 fine. He was not part of Cefalu’s appeal.

Sturgeon Bay auto dealer says GM is right to eliminate some models

By Terry Kovarik


Jim Olson, the owner of Jim Olson Motors in Sturgeon Bay, is applauding General Motors decision to eliminate several passenger car models, including the iconic Chevrolet Impala. GM announced this week that the Impala, Volt and Cruise models were being cut from Chevrolet’s model lines. It’s turning it’s focus to SUV’s, pick-up trucks and crossovers. Olson says the company is JUST responding to what shoppers want.



Olson says GM has been offering up to 19 different models and is trimming those lines that just aren’t selling. He adds it doesn’t make sense to install upgraded technologies in vehicles that nobody wants.



Olson adds eliminating unpopular models means big savings in the design and development phases. He says it can cost up to a billion dollars just to bring a vehicle to market.

Sturgeon Bay looking at another step in hiring a finance director

By Terry Kovarik


Sturgeon Bay’s Personnel Committee is looking at another step in finding a permanent full-time Finance Director. The committee will meet in closed session Monday morning for consideration of the post. The Finance Director’s duties have been covered on an as need basis by a municipal auditing firm since Valerie Clarizio stepped down in August. Personnel Committee Vice-Chair Barbara Allmann says finding the right candidate has been a challenge, especially as winter approaches.



The city has also hired a headhunter to find qualified candidates. Allmann says the city with help from existing staff has been able to stay on track in crafting the 2019 budget.

Door County Sheriff-elect taking time to select Chief Deputy

By Terry Kovarik


Door County Sheriff-elect Tammy Sternard is not in a particular hurry to choose a new Chief Deputy. It’s been three-weeks since Sternard, who currently serves as Jail Lieutenant, defeated current Chief Deputy Patrick McCarty in the sheriff’s race. She says her decision will come in December. Sternard says there are other key positions that need to be filled first.



When asked whether McCarty might be asked to stay on as Chief Deputy, Sternard says she wasn’t about to discuss personnel matters.

Community steps up to help Brussels fire survivors

By Terry Kovarik


Carrie McIntyre’s family lost nearly everything when their Brussels home caught fire Thanksgiving weekend. Now their losses are being offset by community support that’s helping them rebuild their lives.



Geneva McIntyre, Carrie’s daughter, is studying to be a certified nursing assistant at NWTC and lost all of her study materials the fire. Her classmates and the school are making sure she stays on track with her studies.



A fund to help the McIntyre family has been set up at the Nicolet Bank office in Brussels.

League of Women Voters holding Election Day post-game conference

League of Women Voters of California LWVC / CC


By Connor Harbit


The League of Women Voters of Door County is partnering with County Clerk Jill Lau to hold a “post-game” discussion of how Election Day went November 6th. The informal event will have no set presentation, but will rather be an open-ended, question-based talk during which Lau will answer any questions or concerns voters may have had about the election. Lau said she believes she was chosen to lead the discussion due to her experience at multiple levels of government.





The event is scheduled for Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Stone Harbor Restaurant.

Kewaunee County reaching out to eliminate invasive species

Michele Dorsey Walfred / CC


By Paul Schmitt


The Bay-Lake Regional Planning Commission (RPC) is looking to gain more permission of landowners to control the spread of invasive species in Kewaunee County.  Through the funding from the EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, the Bay-Lake RPC is treating at least 1,000 acres of invasive Phragmites, Wild parsnip, and Japanese knotweed in Kewaunee County the next two years.  Natural Resources Planner Angela Kowalzek-Adrians says their project goal requires a twofold outreach to the public.





She adds that invasive species like Phragmites devalues property as well as makes it difficult for animal habitat to thrive.  You can find a link to report invasive species and the landowner permission form below.


Click here to download permission form to have invasive species removed from your land:


Click here to report invasive species in Kewaunee County:


Kewaunee County Invasive Species online app

Ray Vandenhouten remembered as soft spoken, well-respected businessman

By Paul Schmitt


The long-time owner of Van’s Lumber in Dyckesville, Ray Vandenhouten Jr., is being remembered for his commitment to community, customers and employees.  Vandenhouten, 81, passed away Sunday evening at a Green Bay hospital.  He worked at Van’s Lumber, a business his father Ray, Sr. started in the early 1950s, before taking ownership from 1977 until 2007.  Mark Porath, who has worked at Van’s Lumber for the past 40 years, says Vandenhouten was a true business leader that believed in building relationships.





Porath adds that even after retirement, Vandenhouten would still stop in at Van’s Lumber daily to visit with employees and customers.   You can find the complete obituary for Ray Vandenhouten, Jr. with this story online.


Raymond “Ray” J. VandenHouten Jr., 81, Dyckesville, died on Sunday evening with his family at his side, November 25, 2018, at St. Vincent Hospital, Green Bay. He was born in Kewaunee County on August 27, 1937 to the late Raymond J. VandenHouten Sr. and Helen T. (De Bauche) VandenHouten. Ray graduated from Luxemburg High School where he was a three-sport athlete, later receiving the Luxemburg-Casco School Alumni Award. He served his country in the United States Army Reserves between the years of 1955 and 1962. On August 30, 1958, he married Patricia “Pat” A. Bertrand at St. Mary Church in Luxemburg. Ray began his career at Van’s Lumber & Custom Builders, taking ownership in 1977 until his retirement in 2007. He was very instrumental in building the business to where it is today. Through his loyalty and generosity, he helped many others achieve business success. Ray was a member of St. Louis Church in Dyckesville. Truly a man who gave back to his community and his parish. He loved spending time with his family and was very proud of raising six sons.


Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Pat, and their sons, Mark (Deborah) VandenHouten, Hobart; Craig (Christine) VandenHouten, Green Bay; Randy (Christine) VandenHouten, Grafton; Chris (Brenda) VandenHouten, Luxemburg; Eric (Michele) VandenHouten, New Franken; Kurt (Marci) VandenHouten, Green Bay; 17 grandchildren, Madeline (Brendan McCoy), Molly, Jason, Kelsey, Alex, Chloe, Erica (Cory Schmidt), Lauren, Chad, Josh, Emily, Lydia, Abby, Ty, Riley, Delaney, Carson; two sisters in law, Jan VandenHouten, Casco; Ann VandenHouten, Luxemburg; sisters in law and brothers in law, nieces and nephews further survive.


Ray was preceded in death by one infant son, Joseph; two brothers, Wayne and Jim VandenHouten.


Friends may call at St. Louis Church, Dyckesville, 3:00 to 7:00 pm on Thursday, November 29, 2018. Closing parish prayer service with Pat Ratajczak, Pastoral Leader at 7:00 pm. Visitation will continue between 9:00 am and 10:45 am on Friday, November 30, 2018, at St. Louis Church, Dyckesville. Funeral 11:00 am on Friday, with Rev. John Van Deuren officiating and Pat Ratajczak assisting. Entombment in the Shrine of The Good Shepherd Mausoleum, Green Bay.


McMahon Funeral Home, Luxemburg is assisting the VandenHouten Family.


We are very grateful for the staff of St. Vincent Hospital and Unity Hospice for their care and compassion during the difficult time.


In Lieu of flowers and other tributes, several memorial funds will be established in the name of Ray VandenHouten.

Tommy Thompson receives WBA Distinguished Service Award

By Paul Schmitt


Former Governor and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson will be presented with the first-ever Wisconsin Broadcasters Association’s Distinguished Service Award.  Nominated by Nicolet Broadcasting President and former WBA Board Chair Roger Utnehmer, Thompson will receive the Distinguished Service Award in January at the WBA Winter Conference.  Utnehmer says Thompson was always fair and accessible to the media.






Utnehmer adds that Thompson reached across the political aisle to get things done in Wisconsin.





Thompson served as Governor of Wisconsin from 1987 to 2001 and as the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services from 2001-2005 under George W. Bush.

Door and Kewaunee County corn and soybean harvests defying a wet Fall

United Soybean Board / CC


By Terry Kovarik


Door and Kewaunee County farmers have defied adverse weather to bring in the majority of their corn and soybean harvests. Even with a rainy and, at times, snowy autumn yield losses remain low. Adam Barta of Rio Creek Feed Mill says overall the quality of the corn and soybean crops are working in favor of farmers.



Barta says corn drying at Rio Creek Feed mill will likely continue to the end of December.

Sturgeon Bay auto repair shop busy with post-hunt deer collision damage

rubey_kay / CC


By Terry Kovarik


One local business is still profiting from the nine-day firearms deer hunt. Sahs Auto Incorporated of Sturgeon Bay is seeing steady work repairing damage from vehicle-deer collisions. While the shop sees deer damage year round, company President Randy Sahs says the current workload should peak soon.



The cost of deer hits continues to rise. A State Farm survey finds that the average cost to repair deer damage to a vehicle was about $4200 dollars per claim last year compared to just under $4000 in 2015.

A local hunter safety instructor says hands-on training needed for firearms

John Beagle / CC


By Terry Kovarik


A longtime hunting safety instructor from Sturgeon Bay believes hands-on firearms training is a key to ensure fewer hunting accidents. The Department of Natural Resources is calling the 2018 firearms deer season the safest one ever. Only three non-lethal hunting accidents were reported. That follows a trend that started in 1985 when hunting safety education became mandatory. Jay Chaudoir, of Sturgeon Bay Hunter Education, says the current system of teaching hunting safety through a DNR online program just isn’t enough when it comes to handling firearms.



A separate hunter safety program was held at Sturgeon Bay High School prior to the firearms deer hunt. Chaudoir says an instructor who has worked with him in the past and attended that session called it one of the best safety training programs he’s seen.

Athletic Directors having little problems finding referees for high school contests

By Connor Harbit


Despite problems across the United States in retaining and contracting referees, Door County athletic directors have said they haven’t had many problems in making sure their bases are covered for the winter season. In the Packerland Conference and other conferences across the state, all varsity contests are contracted before the season by outside parties. Southern Door Activities Director Korey Mallien said that only games added late to the schedule, particularly junior varsity games, posed any problem for him.





Mallien also noted that most referees in the area seem to be middle-aged, something that Sturgeon Bay Athletic Director Todd Meikle said he remedied by recruiting close to home.





Something both Meikle and Mallien both alluded to was the sometimes difficult task in getting volunteers to help with other game day tasks.

Literacy Partners of Kewaunee County president to step down

By Tim Kowols


Literacy Partners of Kewaunee County President Bob Garfinkel plans to still be a major part of the organization he helped create even after he steps down from the post at the end of the year. Over 300 people have enrolled in tutoring classes provided by Literacy Partners of Kewaunee County in the 12 years Garfinkel guided the organization. Celebrating with students as they became official U.S. citizens is among the many highlights Garfinkel was able to experience.





Garfinkel says he will remain on the organization’s board of directors and continue to chair one of its major committees. Earlier this fall, University of Wisconsin- Green Bay Chief of Staff Ben Joniaux was elected as Literacy Partners of Kewaunee County’s new president.

Ephraim, Baileys Harbor host holiday events

By Tim Kowols


Santa Claus Lane will be on both sides of peninsula this weekend as Ephraim and Baileys Harbor host holiday events. “Harbor Holiday” features a parade leading up to the tree lighting and party at the Baileys Harbor Town Hall. “Christmas in the Village” opens the doors of the Ephraim Village Hall, Door County Library, and Ephraim Moravian Church for a variety of holiday activities all day long. Ephraim Business Council Tourism Administrator Lane Sauve says it is great to see the entire village get involved for its events.





Both events take place this Saturday. You can find schedules for both Harbor Holiday and Christmas in the Village online with this story.



Christmas in the Village is right around the corner!

Posted by Ephraim - Door County, Wisconsin on Friday, November 16, 2018


Getting in the Holiday Spirit! See you Saturday, December 1st! 4:30pm Parade Set Up at Post Office 4:45pm PARADE &...

Posted by Baileys Harbor, Door County on Sunday, November 25, 2018

Historic bell reawakened after a decade of silence

By Connor Harbit


For the first time in nearly a decade, the “Old Bell” Tower rang out once more. Due to the efforts of the Door County Community Foundation, the 118-year old bell rang 12 times at noon before going through a variety of songs including “America the Beautiful” and “On Wisconsin.” Bret Bicoy, President and CEO of the Door County Community Foundation, said that fixing the bell was important as it gives Sturgeon Bay a sense of community moving toward the future.





The bell will ring from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with the bell playing “On Wisconsin” on Wisconsin Badger game days. The historic bell originally hung in the Bank of Sturgeon Bay clock tower which had been erected in 1900 but was removed in 1946 after the structure had weakened. In 1990, the bank reacquired the bell and built the “Old Bell” tower across the street from its original location.

Door County taking a look at kayak access points along the Ahnapee Trail

By Tim Kowols


Kayakers could soon have new points of entry along Door County’s portion of the Ahnapee Trail. Door County’s Parks Department and Soil and Water Department are involved in the preliminary assessment of what can be done in the area between Lake Michigan and the Forestville Dam. The additional access points would be along the Ahnapee Trail and give kayakers new areas to launch. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says it is just another way it can capitalize on the area’s natural beauty.





Since discussions are in their preliminary stage, Pabich says no budget for the project has been set. Residents wanting to provide feedback on the potential project are encouraged to contact the Door County Parks Department with their thoughts.

Farm Technology Days committee announces scholarship program

By Tim Kowols


Three days in Algoma last year continue to have a positive impact in Kewaunee County after the Farm Technology Days committee announced its scholarship program. For at least the next 10 years, the Kewaunee County Farm Technology Days Scholarship Committee will award $6,000 in scholarships annually to students graduated from one of the area’s six area high schools enrolled in post-secondary education. Two months after committees reviewed 44 grant applications for organizational needs, FTD Executive Chairperson Amber Hewett says she is excited to help more community members.



The scholarship program is part of the $250,000 the FTD Committee will award for various causes thanks in part to last year’s successful event. Hewett says it will announce grant recipients at the end of December. You can learn more about the scholarship program and how to apply online with this story.



More exciting news from Farm Technology Days!

Posted by Kewaunee County UW-Extension Ag Program on Monday, November 26, 2018

Update: Missing Forestville man found


By Tim Kowols and Terry Kovarik


Extensive ground searches successfully led to locating a missing Village of Forestville man.  51-year-old Timothy Wessel was found in the village Monday afternoon after an all-night search of the village and the Township of Forestville.   Wessel went out for a walk Sunday afternoon and failed to return home.  Members of the Southern Door Fire Department and 100 volunteers, the Door County Sheriff’s Department K9 Unit, Door County Emergency Services, the Civil Air Patrol and the Department of Natural Resources conducted the search.  Wessel was taken to Door County Medical Center for observation after being exposed to the elements for over 24-hours.  The Door County Sheriff’s Office thanks all who helped in the search.



Posted by Door County Daily on Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Door County schools participate in Challenge Day program

By Paul Schmitt


Three schools in Door County are participating in the international Challenge Day program for the first time this week.  The six-hour workshop is facilitated by emotional learning experts to transform through compassion.  Sturgeon Bay schools chose their junior class to participate on Monday, while Sevastopol is Tuesday and Gibraltar will be Wednesday.  Sturgeon Bay School counselor Jennifer O’Handley shares what the Sturgeon Bay students experienced.





O’Handley says she was impressed with the level of courage and openness the student body participated in the Challenge Day.  She says donations were made around Door County to bring the program to the three schools.

Egg Harbor fire chief shares tips on Christmas tree safety

Amy / CC


By Paul Schmitt


As many families take part in putting up fresh Christmas trees in their homes, local fire department officials remind people to take precautions to prevent a disaster.   According to the National Fire Protection Association, Christmas trees alone result over 14 million dollars annually in property damage.  Egg Harbor Fire Chief Steve Schopf shares some safety tips.



When decorating the tree, Schopf recommends using the new LED lighting which is much cooler than the old incandescent lights.  He says always turn off all lights before going to bed.  You can find more fire safety tips for your home below.

Algoma Community Caroling brings holiday spirit to homebound

Kevin Dooley / CC


By Paul Schmitt


Three local organizations are working together again to help spread the holiday spirit in Algoma.  Kindness Matters, Algoma Area Chamber of Commerce and the Algoma Youth Club will be sponsoring a community caroling.  On December 19, volunteers will sing and give cookie plates to those who are homebound in the area.  Sara Krouse of the Algoma Chamber says bringing the caroling tradition back to Algoma worked great last year.



Nominations of people in the Algoma area that would like to receive caroling should be done by contacting the Algoma Area Chamber of Commerce before December 15.  You can find more information about participating in the Algoma Community Caroling with this story online.


Sturgeon Bay business score on the first holiday shopping weekend

Kasia / CC


By Terry Kovarik


The first holiday shopping weekend is one for the books according to downtown Sturgeon Bay businesses. The Sturgeon Bay Visitors Center says merchants reported customer traffic was far better than expected. Rob Paul, the owner of Shirts N Bay & More on Third Avenue, was marking his second Thanksgiving weekend in business. He says more people were just in the mood to shop last weekend.



Paul says he expects the momentum to continue as Christmas approaches.

Meeting set for Tuesday as Luxemburg Speedway continues search for new promoter

By Connor Harbit


A meeting for Tuesday has been set for a group that has previously expressed interest in taking over the promoter position at Luxemburg Speedway. For the last month, the Kewaunee County Promotions & Recreation department has been searching for any group interested in taking the spot. Depending on Tuesday’s meeting, the department will either make a recommendation toward putting together a contract or send out another request for proposals. Regardless of the result, Promotions & Recreation Director Dave Meyers said the toughest challenge facing the new promoter will be the initial set-up.





The search officially began early October after previous promoters Eric Mahlik and Ron Cochrane announced their intention to step down from the position after three years. The track drew an average attendance of 1,250 over those three years and brought in about 125 cars each event.

A Door County pantry needs a few Santas for local families

By Terry Kovarik


Feed and Clothe My People of Sturgeon Bay is offering you a chance to play Santa for some local families. The Sturgeon Bay pantry is looking for volunteers to buy gifts for families who might otherwise have nothing to put under the tree for their kids. Pantry volunteer Nancy Skadden says the gift buying process is simple.



Feed and Clothe My People is also looking for volunteers who’ll donate turkeys, hams or other foods for holiday meals. For more information on Feed and Clothe My People, click here.

Meat processors get Hunt for Hungry venison ready for pantries

By Terry Kovarik


Local meat processors are busy preparing deer taken during the nine-day gun season including venison donated through the Hunt for the Hungry program. Hunters have the opportunity to give extra deer they’ve bagged to stock local food pantries. Steve Haberli, owner of Haberli Deer Processing in Sturgeon Bay, says he’s received 37 donated deer, so far, and expects a few more.



Once he’s finished, the ground venison is divided between Lakeshore CAP and Feed and Clothe My People pantry in Sturgeon Bay.

Liberty Grove chairperson asks residents to weigh in on town's smart growth plan

By Tim Kowols


Residents in the town of Liberty Grove can weigh in on its future Wednesday night during its smart growth plan hearing. The smart growth plan looks at a variety of factors the town must consider in the future including housing, transportation, economic development, and intergovernmental cooperation. Town chairperson John Lowry hopes residents speak up on the changes going on in the community and what they would like done to address them.





The Liberty Grove Plan Commission will hear comments from the community on its smart growth plan beginning at 7 p.m. at the town hall. On Tuesday night, the town board will interview three candidates for its open supervisor position. Lowry expects a decision will be made immediately after the interviews take place.

Couples and money often cause trouble

By Tim Kowols


Sturgeon Bay’s Money Management Counselors is making sure couples in Door and Kewaunee counties do not become another statistic when it comes to money. According to, money is second only to infidelity for the leading cause of divorce in the country. Different spending habits and financial goals often provide couples a hurdle they do not wish to address together. Gay Pustaver from Money Management Counselors says the holidays provide a great opportunity to sit down with their partner and talk out their issues.




Pustaver recommends people meet with Money Management Counselors to have a judgment-free, third-party help sort out the money issues that may exist. You can listen to the entire Money Management Monday interview with Gay Pustaver online with this story.






Circulating nomination papers easier than you think

By Tim Kowols


Citizens can pick-up and begin circulating nomination papers beginning next Monday for races in Door and Kewaunee counties. Seats on city councils and town and county boards are just some of the positions up for grabs for the spring election in April. City of Kewaunee Clerk Terri Decur says getting enough signatures for the position you want is the only hard part.





Decur recommends candidates get a couple extra signatures just in case any are deemed invalid. Nomination papers are due back to the clerk’s office of your municipality by January 2nd at 5 p.m. If needed, a spring primary would take place on February 19th before the election on April 2nd.

Sturgeon Bay City Council member proposes a vote on marijuana



By Terry Kovarik


Sturgeon Bay City Council member Seth Wiedranders wants city voters to have their say on whether Wisconsin should legalize marijuana. He plans to bring that proposal before the city’s Protection and Services Committee, of which he’s a member. Wiederanders’ proposal would be similar to the one the Door County Board of Supervisors considered and rejected.



Wiederanders hopes to move his proposed non-binding referendum on marijuana legalization from the Protection and Services Committee to the full city council in time to place it on the April 2019 ballot.

Tariffs make Door County recyclables more expensive

Alan Levine / CC


By Terry Kovarik


Tariffs against nations engaged in unfair trading practices are making the handling of Door County’s recyclables more expensive. Recycled paper, plastics and metals used to be money makers for Door County. Steve Estes of Advanced Disposal says now that’s changed.



Door County has no recycling processing center of its own. All of those items have to be shipped to the Fox Cities.

Giving Tuesday a big push for local charities

By Tim Kowols


Charities in Door and Kewaunee counties hope to benefit from the publicity of Giving Tuesday. Following three of the biggest spending days of the year, Giving Tuesday began in 2012 as a way to celebrate the generosity of giving. Door County President and CEO Bret Bicoy says the extra push to support charities has been good for organizations locally.





According to, a total of $2.5 million was raised last year on the special day with the average gift around $120. We have a link to the Door County Community Foundation to learn more about how you can make an impact locally.


Learn how you can donate to local Door County charities by clicking here.

Help wanted in search for missing Forestville man


By Terry Kovarik


The Door County Sheriff’s Office needs your help to find a missing Forestville man. 51-year-old Timothy Wessel has not been seen since 4:00 Sunday afternoon. Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says Wessel was reported missing by his family.





Timothy Wessel is five-feet-eleven inches tall, weighs 185-pounds and was last seen wearing a brown Carhartt jacket, sweatpants and grey Nike shoes with orange stripes. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Door County Sheriff’s Office in Sturgeon Bay.

Healthy and safe walking possible at Crossroads during deer hunting

By Terry Kovarik


Strolling the trails at the Crossroads at Big Creek was relaxing and a little more secure this week as deer hunters took to the woods. People who wanted to get outside and enjoy nature safely took part in Crossroads “Health Hikes”. Sara and John Wagner of Clay Banks say they like to get out and walk daily close to home. They say the Crossroads health hikes offered a beautiful place to walk with some peace of mind.



Crossroads at Big Creek offers seven miles of trails that are open to the public year round.

Support your local snow plow drivers this season by backing off

Michael Pereckas / CC


By Terry Kovarik


Snow plow drivers in Door and Kewaunee Counties hope drivers will continue to make their jobs easier throughout winter. Highway department officials say drivers adjusted well to the changing conditions during the first snowfalls of the season this month. Door County Highway Department Commissioner John Kolodziej says drivers who give plow operators a little space during snowfalls are helping themselves and everyone else.



The State of Wisconsin is promoting safe winter driving November 26th as part of Snow Plow Driver Appreciation Day.

Historic bell ringing set for Tuesday in Sturgeon Bay

By Paul Schmitt


The historic bell tower in downtown Sturgeon Bay will toll again for the first time in nearly ten years.  The bell, which is located at the Community Foundation square on North Third Avenue, is set in the tower that is a replica of the original that was first constructed in 1900.  A special ceremony and bell-ringing will take place this Tuesday morning starting at 11:45 a.m.

Casco builder on preparing and protecting your homes roof for winter

Casey Fleser / CC


By Terry Kovarik


A leak in your roof discovered over the winter will need immediate attention even though roof replacement may have to be put off until spring. Eli Phillips, owner of Alpha through Omega Construction in Casco, says builders can patch the hole as a temporary fix. There are also some do-it-yourself fixes.



Phillps says when the heavy snows do come and you want to remove snow safely invest in a roof rake. While it can be rough on roofs, Phillips says it’s a better alternative to heater coils used to melt snow as it falls.



Phillps says any patching over the winter will be good for two months. He says after that replacement should be considered.

Sturgeon Bay Christmas tree vendor say sales and demand off to a good start

By Terry Kovarik


Christmas trees were also on the list for holiday shoppers over the weekend. Gary DeWolfe is selling Christmas trees on a lot adjacent to his store Mattress by Appointment along Highway 57-42 in Sturgeon Bay. He says sales are starting off strong because more people nationwide are buying natural trees. DeWolfe says his trees are fresh cut from Wausaukee and are a longer lasting species.



DeWolfe says he’s sold to visitors from Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois who like the bargain price of $50. Christmas trees in those areas sell for almost twice as much.

Survivor of Brussels home fire loses career study materials

By Terry Kovarik


A teenager whose family was left homeless by a Saturday morning fire that destroyed their home faces a costly career loss. Geneva McIntyre is studying to become a Certified Nursing Assistant through Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. Her study materials were destroyed along with nearly all of her family’s possessions. McIntyre says while some of those materials are replaceable she may not be able to finish her course and that could be costly.



McIntyre plans to see whether she can get an extension on the timeline to complete her studies because of the circumstances.

Personal service and less stress draw local shoppers to Small Business Saturday

By Terry Kovarik


Sturgeon Bay and Luxemburg businesses found themselves to be shopping destinations for Small Business Saturday. Shoppers who wanted to avoid box stores or an alternative to online shopping made their way to smaller specialty stores. Novel Bay Book Sellers on Third Avenue in Sturgeon marked it’s first Small Business Saturday. Co-owner John Maggitti says his customers like not being in a rush.



Shoppers also found more personalized service on Small Business Saturday. Jerry Simonar, owner of Simonar Shell in Luxemburg, says shoppers like the way they’re treated even when getting fuel or service on their vehicles.



Other store owners say some new customers on Small Business Saturday have also gone on to become long-term clients.

Muzzleloader deer hunt tradition aids Peninsula State Park

Virginia State Parks / CC


By Terry Kovarik


The start of the muzzleloader deer hunt comes the day after the regular firearms hunting season ends. Muzzleloader hunters, however, have been busy at Peninsula State Park where they’ve been allowed to hunt deer during the nine-day firearms season since 1992. The hunt is limited to designated areas of the park away from non-hunting park visitors. Park naturalist Kathleen Harris calls it a tradition that helps protect the park.



In addition to muzzleloaders, bow and arrow hunters are also allowed in other designated park areas during the regular firearms season.

Crossroads at Big Creek shows some exclusive views from a Door County documentary

Phil Roeder / CC


By Terry Kovarik


The documentary “Wisconsin Home Town Stories-Door County” premiered at Cross Roads at Big Creek in 2016. Since then it’s been used by local historians and in local schools as a teaching tool. Crossroads Executive Director Coggin Heeringa says this weekend, however, visitors saw some exclusive footage left out of the original public television program.



Heeringa says the original documentary was beta-tested at Crossroads for a group of local historians to ensure it was accurate before it was broadcast.

Algoma residents set to participate in 3rd annual Freeze the Gain challenge this winter

By Connor Harbit


Algoma residents looking to either lose weight or maintain their current weight are challenged to “Freeze the Gain” this winter. The six-week challenge holds a different theme each week and is designed to help participants keep the pounds off over the busy winter months by providing tips, tools and resources. Jody Anderson, a registered nurse and community nurse activator, outlined some of the ways the program would assist its participants.





Weigh-ins for the challenge will be held November 26th through the 30th. Those who do weigh-in are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item or toiletry to be donated to the Kewaunee County Food Pantry. There will be a prize drawing at the end of the challenge for those who turn their weigh-in cards back in.

Clean Water Action Council to host managed grazing workshop

Michael Coghlan / CC


By Tim Kowols


Family farmers in Door and Kewaunee counties may be standing on the answer to some of their financial woes. Managed grazing can be better economically for family farmers who put a lot of time and resources into harvesting grains for their beef or dairy cattle’s feed. Clean Water Action Council President Dean Hoegger says managed grazing is also better for the environment.





Featuring experts from around the industry including UW Discovery Farms, the workshop will take place at UW-Green Bay on December 6th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration information is available online with this story.

Egg Harbor Lions Club donating $13,000 to local groups

By Tim Kowols


Often one food item or drink at a time, Egg Harbor Lions Club members were able to make a difference in a big way. The volunteer organization is donating $13,000 to several groups such as the Wisconsin Lions Club Camp and Feed My People Door County. The money was raised at local events throughout the year. Egg Harbor Lions Club Treasurer David Van Dyke says the difference they are able to make is worth it.





A full list of beneficiaries from the Egg Harbor Lions Clubs generosity will be available in the near future.

Fire destroys Brussel home and the family escapes

By Terry Kovarik


Investigators are trying to find the cause of an early morning fire that destroyed a historic brick home in Brussels. The house is located on Highway DK just across from the Belgian Historic Center. The Brussels Union Gardner Fire Department was aided by the Southern Door Fire Department in putting out the fire. The top floor collapsed into the ground floor. A man and a girl inside the home escaped without injury while a woman and a teenage girl were away at the time. The fire broke out around 4:00 this morning. Geneva McIntyre lives at the home and spent the night at a friend’s when her mother called.





A family dog and cat also escaped the fire while two other cats did not. Neighbors immediately began helping the family, which is also getting assistance from the Red Cross.

Musician Katie Dahl and friends feature Sit Around Singing next week in Sister Bay

photo courtesy of


By Paul Schmitt


Door County folksinger Katie Dahl is looking to bring generations together to experience the joy of song and fellowship.  Dahl will be hosting a third season of Sit Around Singing, a community-wide sing along gathering, with six dates in the next six months.  Dahl shares what people can expect when attending the musical event.





The first Sit Around Singing will be Thursday, December 6 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Door County in Sister Bay starting at 6 pm.  The singing season will take place every first Thursday of the month through May.

Expenditure restraint payment helps Algoma during budget process

By Paul Schmitt


A formula for state aid is helping cities like Algoma maintain or lower their tax levies while rewarding their fiscal restraint.  The expenditure restraint payment (ERP) provides unrestricted aid to qualifying municipalities that limit growth in spending.  City Administrator Jeff Wiswell says that can make a big difference for smaller communities like Algoma.





Wiswell adds the ERP is equivalent to the salary of a police officer and public works employee.  The City of Algoma will be hiring a new police chief for next year when the current contract with Kewaunee County ends next month.

Protect your pets from cold weather

OakleyOriginals / CC


By Paul Schmitt


With outside temperatures expected to be well below normal and freezing in the next week, veterinarians are reminding pet owners not to leave their four-legged friends outside too long.  Dr. Jordan Kobilca of Door County Veterinary Hospital and the Luxemburg Pet Clinic says when extremely cold temperatures arrive extra caution should be advised.



Dr. Kobilca also suggests checking your pet’s paws and stomach area to remove any ice, salt, and chemicals.  You can find cold weather pet safety tips for your dog with this story online.


Kewaunee County Food Pantry maximizing impact with cash donations

By Paul Schmitt


Helping out about 150 families every month, the Kewaunee County Food Pantry in Algoma is looking to stock their shelves for the busy end of the year.  President Ken Marquardt says the most needed items at the pantry currently are canned foods.  He offers another idea that can make even more of a difference.



Marquardt adds that the pantry will typically get five to six pounds of food for a dollar of cash donations.  The Kewaunee County Pantry is open on Monday and Wednesdays for food pick-up from 11 am until 1 pm.

Craft breweries staking their claim to Black Friday

Bernt Rostad / CC


By Tim Kowols


Thanks to craft breweries, grocery stores like Egg Harbor’s Main Street Market and Sturgeon Bay’s Econo Foods get a taste of the Black Friday shopping frenzy. The Black Friday tradition of breweries across the country selling specially aged beers dates back to Goose Island Brewing Company releasing their first iteration of its popular Bourbon County Stout in 1995. While thousands line up for hundreds of bottles in Chicago, distributors like Sturgeon Bay’s Flanigan Distributing only get a few cases a year for its region. Owner Brian Flanigan says he has never seen anything like it and it is only growing.





Flanigan says many of the places he distributed the popular Black Friday offerings at were already close to being sold out. Sipping through his own vault, Flanigan added he enjoys the complexity and smoothness of the beer varieties as they move through the aging process.

Early morning fire destroys Kewaunee County bar

liz west CC


By Paul Schmitt


A Kewaunee County bar and residence was lost to fire early Friday morning.  The Denmark Fire Department received a call at 3:50 a.m. of a fire at Sheila’s II Bar on the corner of Manitowoc Road and County J in the town of Franklin.   Denmark Fire Chief Dave Bilinski describes what transpired at the scene.



The Denmark Fire Department was able to extinguish the fire completely in about two hours.  The building is considered a total loss, according to Bilinski.  He says no cause of the fire has been determined as it is being investigated by the state fire marshal.

Be careful with money during start of holiday shopping season

By Tim Kowols


Santa is checking his list twice, so Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski is asking shoppers to do the same with their credit card statements. Thanksgiving weekend online spending topped the $20 billion last year according to while the Non-Profit Times says over $274 million was donated on “Giving Tuesday.”  Coupled with shopping at bricks-and-mortar stores, Joski says people should take a time out from their holiday shopping to make sure the numbers add up.



Joski also encourages people to shop and give locally so they make sure their generosity reaches their neighbors and to limit their exposure to fraud and scams. You can read the rest of Sheriff Matt Joski’s piece on holiday shopping online with this story.




As we celebrate Thanksgiving and wind down the Gun Deer Season, our thoughts will soon turn to holiday shopping. For many this has become as much of a tradition as the holidays themselves with coordinated shopping trips in the early morning hours of black Friday in search of those elusive deals. For others it may be the tradition of shopping at their favorite retailer and combining it with other favorite family activities. Regardless of how you decide to shop, be aware of the potential risks to both your property as well as your identity.


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


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


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

Bittorf named first female officer of Egg Harbor Fire Department

By Tim Kowols


Overcoming a challenge is nothing new for Lieutenant Ashley Bittorf. The promotion to lieutenant made Bittorf the first female officer in the history of the Egg Harbor Fire Department. She has been with the Egg Harbor Fire Department since she was a senior in high school and has since joined Door County Emergency Services as a paramedic. Certified in high/low angle technical rope rescue training and fire inspections, Bittorf expects a learning curve to her new role.



Only 7.3 percent of firefighters are women according to the National Fire Protection Association, but Bittorf advises girls to use that as motivation to prove people wrong if they do not believe they can make it in the field.


Picture courtesy of Egg Harbor Fire Department Facebook page



We would like to CONGRATULATE Lieutenant Ashley Bittorf on her recent promotion. Her level of dedication to the...

Posted by Egg Harbor Fire Department on Saturday, November 17, 2018

Sister Bay, Egg Harbor mark start of the Christmas season

By Tim Kowols


Santa Claus makes his Egg Harbor and Sister Bay debuts this weekend as both communities host holiday-themed festivals. Egg Harbor’s Holly Days are already underway after kids were introduced to a number of different activities in the morning while waiting for Santa’s official arrival Friday afternoon. Sister Bay’s Capture the Spirit continues through Saturday after it hosts its own Friday afternoon slate featuring an appearance from Santa himself during the village’s tree lighting. Sister Bay Advancement Coordinator Louise Howson says Capture the Spirit is a great way to unofficially end a busy 2018 of festivals and events in the village.



Door County will still host a number of holiday events this year in Baileys Harbor and Ephraim. You can find full schedules of this weekend’s events online with this story.





Jacksonport Thanksgiving parade brings community together for good cause

By Connor Harbit


Door County residents gathered in force on Thanksgiving to attend the Jacksonport Thanksgiving Day parade and many decided to help a family in need as well. The 22nd edition of the parade was held with all proceeds from donations going to Paula Symons’ family and the purchase of Christmas gifts for area families. Event MC Craig Trost, despite normally living in Madison, has been helping with the event for around 15 years. He said the parade is ultimately a chance to bring everyone in the area together to support something great.





Symons, a school secretary from Sevastopol, has multiple plasma cell leukemia and her treatment requires extended stays in Milwaukee. Some floats and groups that marched in the parade included the state-champion Sevastopol 8-man football team, the local “Rednek Klub,” and the combined Sevastopol/Gibraltar marching band.

Luxemburg-Casco moving forward on Agri-Science program expansion

By Paul Schmitt


The Luxemburg-Casco School District is looking at a new Agriculture Department facility that would be built in the future near the high school.  School Superintendent Glenn Schlender says the plan would call for a separate building to accommodate a greenhouse and live animal lab.  He says they are in the early stages on deciding the best route to go.



Schlender says the school district is counting on contingency monies and funds related to work by Nexus Solutions.   Luxemburg-Casco passed two referendum questions last spring for $27.8 million in improvements including a new gym, new middle school building, and renovated technical and consumer education classrooms.

Holiday revelers begin season with a new tree

By Tim Kowols


Tree farms and lots in Door and Kewaunee counties expect to be kept busy this weekend as the holiday season gets underway. According to the Wisconsin Christmas Tree Producers Association, the industry generates more than $16 million for the state’s economy. Aissen Tree Farm tagged and named hundreds of trees for families to harvest this year. Co-owner Tammy Aissen says there are some things you can do to make sure your Christmas tree lasts until Santa’s visit.



Aissen says if you are not ready to bring your tree into the house to keep it in a cool place off of the concrete so it can remain in a dormant state until it is time to bring it inside.

Northern Sky Theater "Home for the Holidays" with annual show

By Tim Kowols


Much like its last run at the Door Community Auditorium this fall, the curtains are closing for Northern Sky Theater and its performances at Old Gibraltar Town Hall. Artistic Director Jeff Herbst will be joined by Ryan Cappleman and Tom Donoghue for five performances of “Home for the Holidays” December 28th through 31st.  In its 13th year, “Home for the Holidays” is a collection of seasonal songs and humor. Herbst expects its final performances at the Old Gibraltar Town Hall to be bittersweet.



Northern Sky Theater also announced its 2019 slate this week. During its summer run at Peninsula State Park, Northern Sky Theater will feature the premiere of “We Like It Where?” and the return of “Dairy Heirs” and “Windjammers.” The fall musical, “Dad’s Season Tickets,” will be the first to be performed in the new creative campus theater opening in Fish Creek next year. You can learn more about this year’s “Home for the Holidays” show on December 8th at 7:30 a.m. when Northern Sky Theater is featured on WBDK’s Ask the Expert.

A Sister Bay youth who lost her father to cancer gets a needed scholarship

Sister Bay student keeps her dreams of being a teacher on track through UW-Madison's "Bucky's Tuition Promise" program.


By Terry Kovarik


A new tuition program at U-W Madison is keeping Mackenzie Straub’s dreams of becoming a teacher alive. Paying for college seemed to be out of reach when her father died from cancer and the family’s menswear store closed. Now, Straub’s dream is getting a big boost from Bucky’s Tuition Promise a program that provides free tuition to qualifying students.



To qualify, a student’s family income must be $56,000 or less. Straub also qualified for other scholarships and financial aid. Those are also factored in when the “Bucky’s Tuition Promise” aid is determined. Straub thinks that’s a good idea so the program can help other students.



The program will cover four years of tuition for Straub. That only leaves room and board to be paid for and she’s earning that over summer and during semester breaks. Click here for more information on Bucky’s Tuition Promise.

Timing, not staffing challenges local clerks

By Tim Kowols


A bounty of poll workers may be the silver lining for Algoma City Clerk Jamie Jackson if the state decides to add another election in 2020. Municipals clerks across the state are voicing their concerns about the Wisconsin Legislature’s plan to move the presidential primary to March, which would be in between planned election days in February and April. For absentee voting, Jackson says the time frame to send ballots out for the February and April elections is already very tight. She believes if it does happen, she will not have a problem getting people to work the polls one extra day.



The increased cost of hosting a third election in the spring is another reason why clerks are balking at the idea, while Democrats are accusing Republicans of trying to protect a state Supreme Court seat.

Luxemburg Chamber of Commerce honors Jerry Simonar a real long time business owner

By Terry Kovarik


The Luxemburg Chamber of Commerce named Jerry Simonar its 2018 Person of the Year. You could say it’s an honor long in coming because Jerry Simonar is 87-years-old and you cannot talk about business in Luxemburg without mentioning the Simonar family.



Even approaching 90, Jerry Simonar still puts in eleven-hours daily at Simonar’s Shell, which is close to the other businesses he started and watches carefully. He started Simonar Sports, which sells ATV’s and snowmobiles, after a visit north of the border.



Jerry Simonar says he hasn’t really thought about retirement but will likely give it some more serious thought when he turns 100.

Why Door County wants to thin the deer herd

Virginia State Parks / CC


By Terry Kovarik


Door County’s deer herd is too large to sustain at current levels. That’s why the Door County Deer Advisory Council recommended that the county be designated as a hunting area where the herd needs to be reduced. The determination is made by the Department of Natural Resources through census data, such as the ages of deer harvested and the ratio of bucks to does. Council Chairman Dick Baudhuin says reports of deer damage to private property also impacts the decision to thin the herd.



Baudhuin says that’s why each deer hunting license sold also allows for five antlerless deer to be taken. Once that bag limit is reached hunters can purchase additional antlerless permits for $12 each.

Bringing job seekers and employers together

By Tim Kowols


Employers in Door County are still trying to figure out ways to bring more workers to the area. Prior to the recent Manufacturing Day in the Sturgeon Bay Industrial Park, the Door County Economic Development Corporation said more than 400 jobs in the field were available. Connecting manufacturers to an able-bodied workforce was a part of the reason The Joseph Project was created in Milwaukee with help from U.S. Senator Ron Johnson. The Joseph Project puts individuals through a four-day training to help them get the skills and the commitment to succeed. During his visit to the radio stations of last month, Senator Johnson said the program’s graduates in other markets are among the best entering the workforce now.



Green Bay’s St. John’s Evangelist Homeless Shelter is the closest Joseph Project site, but Senator Johnson says it hopes to branch out to other communities in the future.

Consumers warned to be careful when holiday shopping online

Widjaya Ivan / CC


By Paul Schmitt


With more people heading online to do holiday shopping and giving this year, law enforcement officials are warning people to make sure to carefully check over their monthly credit card statements.  According to the State Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, scammers are evolving and honing their crafts to find potential scams and exploits.  Online holiday scams often feature in-demand products like electronics and fashion items to attract your attention.  Scammers use fake websites, classified ads social media messages, and text and email blasts to trick you into downloading harmful malware.  Over 50 percent of consumers reportedly will shop all or a majority of their holiday shopping online.


Keep your online shopping experience safe by following these simple tips:


  • Update your device’s operating system and antivirus software before you start shopping.
  • Make sure a website is legitimate before ordering. Check for the company’s name, physical location, and contact information. Remember that identity thieves can create websites that mimic a legitimate business’s site, so don’t trust a site based solely on its appearance. Lastly, do some quick research see if there are any warnings about the site online and contact Wisconsin’s Consumer Protection Hotline (800-422-7182 or to see complaints have been filed against the business.
  • Avoid social media posts or emails that appear to offer free vouchers or gift cards – they often lead to online surveys designed to steal personal information.
  • When purchasing gift cards online, be leery of auction sites selling discounted or bulk gift cards – you may end up with cards that have been tampered with, have been used or that are expired.
  • Make sure you are on a secure site before you enter your password or any personal or banking information. Secure sites start with “https” rather than “http” (the “s” stands for “secure”).
  • Pay by credit card. If you use a credit card, federal law gives you the right to dispute charges if you report them to the credit card company within 60 days of receiving the statement.
  • Keep a paper trail. Print or save records of online transactions, item descriptions, and copies of emails sent between you and the seller. Carefully review credit card statements after the holidays to look for unauthorized charges.


For additional information or to file a consumer complaint, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau at, send an e-mail to or call the Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.

Gibraltar One Acts ensemble repeats award sweep at state contest

By Tim Kowols


For the second year in a row, the cast and crew of Gibraltar’s One-Act Plays came home with a collection of awards from the state one acts contest. Held last weekend on the campus of LaCrosse’s Viterbo University, Gibraltar earned a critic’s choice award in addition to honors for outstanding ensemble, crew, and directors. Lia Smith also won an outstanding actor award. Director Lizz Thomas was impressed by how well the group did since they performed “Death’s Door,” an original work written by the students.




Gibraltar was one of only eight schools to earn a critic’s choice award at the State Theater Festival. Thomas says their focus will turn to May’s production of “Hello! My Baby,” a musical chosen in honor of Gibraltar’s 100th anniversary.

Door County YMCA offers first-ever Community Heroes program this month

By Paul Schmitt


The Door County YMCA is thanking some hometown leaders during the month of Thanksgiving with a new Community Heroes program.  All local law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMS workers, and teachers can utilize the YMCA in Sturgeon Bay or Fish Creek at no charge for the rest of November.  Fund Development and Communications Director Kelsey Dorner says the YMCA is expressing gratitude to those sometimes overlooked in the community.



Dorner says if they decide to join they don’t have to pay for a joiner fee.  You can find more information on Door County YMCA programs below.

Area store owners say Small Business Saturday gives them a needed holiday sales boost

By Terry Kovarik


The Christmas by the Bay event already has Sturgeon Bay buzzing about the holidays. Downtown store owners want to keep the momentum going through national Small Business Saturday, which reminds people there are neighborhood shops with unique gift options. Door County Traders on Third owner Diane Rockwell says she saw her sales increase after last year’s Small Business Saturday. She says shoppers were attracted by what her store has to offer.



Rockwell says that boost in business was welcome during what would otherwise be a very slow time of the year.

Lions Club collecting Deer Hides for Camp

By Paul Schmitt


The Forestville-Maplewood Lions Club is in the process of collecting deer hides this hunting season.  The program runs until December 7 and helps to provide funds for summer camps for people with special needs.  F-M Lions Club member Tom Mueller says the deer hide program has really expanded the past few years.





Hunters can drop off deer hides off at the Mini-mart station on Green Bay Road in Sturgeon Bay, the Uni-Mart convenience store in Forestville and Door County Custom Meats.

Area retailers refunding romaine lettuce due to E. coli outbreak

By Paul Schmitt


Door and Kewaunee County grocers and restaurants are complying with the recommendation of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to throw away any romaine lettuce purchases.  On Tuesday the CDC warned consumers and retailers that at least 32 people in 11 states, including Wisconsin, have gotten sick since October from a strain of E. coli.  Sturgeon Bay Econofoods Store Manager Jon Calhoun says they are taking the food safety alert seriously and offering customers a full refund on romaine lettuce purchases.



No deaths have been reported yet and no recalls have been issued.  Consumers should avoid all types of romaine lettuce and salad mixes if possibly including romaine, according to the CDC.  Symptoms reported by those eating contaminated lettuce include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Sturgeon Bay granary on life-support

By Roger Utnehmer


Efforts to preserve Sturgeon Bay’s Teweles and Brandeis granary were dealt a serious setback by the city’s common council Tuesday.


By a vote of four to three a resolution that would have approved the granary being moved back to its original location on the west-side waterfront at no cost to the city was defeated.


The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society has received financial commitments of more than $1.25 million to preserve the granary. It was moved to the east-side waterfront after a raze order was issued by Sturgeon Bay Fire Chief Tim Dietman. That location, considered temporary, may not be available for long according to SBHS President Christie Weber.


Council member David Ward questioned the stability of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society. Ward said a check of the Department of Financial Institutions records revealed that the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society is listed as delinquent.



Weber said the delinquent status was caused by the late filing of paperwork.



Council members Kelly Catarozoli, Kelly Avenson and David Hayes voted in favor of returning the granary to the west-side waterfront. Barbara Allmann, Seth Wiederanders, Laurel Hauser and David Ward voted no.


The exchange between Ward and Weber can be heard here



Luxemburg Area Chamber announces 2018 award winners

By Paul Schmitt


For the first time ever the Luxemburg Area Chamber of Commerce revealed their annual award winners before the formal presentation dinner in December.  Jerry Simonar was selected as Person of the year, Kathy Anderson was selected for the Community Service Award, and Cyndi Dart was chosen for the Spartan Spirit Award.  Chamber President Alex Stodola says the three winners are well deserving of the recognition.



Simonar operates Simonar Service and will be recognized for his lifelong business development in Luxemburg.  Anderson is the funeral director at McMahon’s Funeral Home while Dart is the Study Hall Supervisor Office Aide at the Luxemburg-Casco High School.  The three honorees will be celebrated at the Luxemburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas Party on December 1st at Northbrook Country Club.  Tickets for the dinner are $25 and are available at the Bank of Luxemburg.





(photos courtesy of Luxemburg Area Chamber of Commerce)

Small Business Saturday boosts Door and Kewaunee County stores during the holidays and beyond

By Terry Kovarik


The Saturday after Thanksgiving boosts sales for Door and Kewaunee County stores. Small Business Saturday falls between Black Friday sales at box stores and Cyber Monday for those who shop online. The smaller shops use the Saturday event to show holiday shoppers they have what the bigger stores just cannot offer. Tim Treml, President and CEO of the Bank of Luxemburg, says it’s those extras that appeal to shoppers even after the holidays.



Social media has also boosted Small Business Saturday sales by letting current and prospective customers know about sale items available.

Deer registrations for opening weekend up in Kewaunee County, down slightly in Door

Don Owens / CC


By Paul Schmitt


The numbers from the opening weekend of the nine-day gun deer season in the area was a mixed bag, according to the Wisconsin DNR.  Despite ideal hunting conditions, Door County hunters registered 29 fewer deer than last year.  1557 deer were taken this past weekend compared to 1586 in 2017.  The exact number of bucks was taken again this year, 848, in Door County.  Kewaunee County saw an increase of 5.3 percent of deer harvested on opening weekend with increases in both bucks and antlerless deer.  Statewide the deer kill was up 12.8 percent.  The nine-day hunt concludes this Sunday.


Here is a link to the complete state-wide breakdown by the Wisconsin DNR

Democratic state senator frustrated with potential changes to governor's authority

James / CC


By Tim Kowols


His time in the chambers will be brief after losing his re-election campaign earlier this month, but District 1 State Senator Caleb Frostman does not plan to go away quietly. Senator Frostman will have his first opportunities to cast votes as a member of the Legislature when it convenes as soon as next week. According to the Associated Press, limiting some of Governor-elect Tony Evers’ authority on some issues such as potential changes to the voter identification law and the 2020 Wisconsin Supreme Court election could be up for debate. Although he has not seen specific legislation yet, Senator Frostman plans to be vocal in his opposition to such proposals.



Senator Frostman will serve out his term before current state Rep. Andre Jacque is sworn into the seat in January. You can read comments from the Republican point of view online with this story.


Sturgeon Bay Republican Rep. Joel Kitchens says the Wisconsin Legislature is concerned more with protecting some of Governor Scott Walker’s reforms than taking power away from his replacement.  According to the Associated Press, Republican lawmakers discussed last week ways to limit Governor-elect Tony Evers’ authority to carry out passed bills and make changes to the state’s Foxconn deal and voter identification law. Rep. Kitchens says the governor’s powers are laid out in the state’s constitution and believes the topic has been overblown.



Newly elected state senator for District 1 and current Representative Andre Jacque declined to comment until he has more information.

Season of giving takes time for young children to understand

By Tim Kowols


Northern Door Children’s Center’s Karen Corekin-DeLaMer says patience and repetition are key when it comes to teaching young children to give back during the holiday season. The idea of sharing is a difficult concept for kids to truly understand until they are eight years old, so buying a special toy to donate to someone else could be confusing. Corekin-DeLaMer says kids learn through repetition and modeling after their family members.




She adds that storybooks are also a great way to show children the importance of giving in an easy to understand way.

Kewaunee looks for help with economic development plans

By Tim Kowols


With the harbor master plan and its industrial park as a canvas to work with, Kewaunee officials are looking for someone to take over the city’s economic development planning and grant writing duties. The city sought comments from the community earlier this year about its draft integrated plan, which included changes to its comprehensive, outdoor recreation, and waterfront proposals. Mayor Sandi Christman says hiring a community and economic development planner would be an important move for the city.



Christman says the first year of the salary will be covered by a Wisconsin Coastal Management grant.

Algoma School District to decide on revised school safety plans

By Terry Kovarik


The Algoma School District Board of Education will decide Monday whether to approve revised safety plans for the elementary and the middle and high schools. The safety plans are required to be revised yearly by the Wisconsin Department of Justice and are needed so districts can apply for safety grants. Business Manager Jason Melotte says those grants will help the Algoma district obtain and install “Raptor” an instantaneous background check system.



Melotte says among the changes to this year’s safety plans were the submission of each school’s blueprints and to the DOJ.  The board meets at 6:30 Monday evening at the district office on Division Street in Algoma.

Winter is coming and so are local parking bans

By Terry Kovarik


The official start of winter is still just over a month away. Area police departments are recommending that drivers start thinking in winter mode when driving and parking on community streets. Winter parking bans in Sturgeon Bay and Kewaunee go into effect December 1st. That means no overnight parking on Sturgeon Bay streets from 2:00 AM until 6:00 AM and from 1:00 AM until 6:00 AM in Kewaunee. Luxemburg’s parking ban, on the other hand, started November 1st from 2:00 AM until 6:00 AM. Police Chief Chris Gulbrand says with light snows so far he’s giving potential violators a break.



Chief Gulbrand reminds drivers that when heavier snows arrive and plows take to the streets anyone violating the parking ban will be ticketed.

Area students graduate from D.A.R.E program

By Tim Kowols


Students on Washington Island and in southern Door County are celebrating their successful completion of the D.A.R.E program. D.A.R.E, which stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, is a donor-supported program for elementary aged children to learn about the perils of controlled substances, gang activity, and violent behavior. Juvenile Investigator Chris Neuville has taught the D.A.R.E. course at Door County schools for the last 15 years. He says teaching D.A.R.E. has become a passion.



Washington Island School held its D.A.R.E. graduation in October. Southern Door Elementary will host its ceremony on November 26th at 6:30 p.m. St. John Bosco students will celebrate their graduation of the D.A.R.E. program on November 28th at 9:15 a.m. Neuville says students at Gibraltar and Sevastopol Elementary schools will begin their D.A.R.E. coursework in January.

Holiday travel expected to be heavier than normal despite higher gas prices this year

Spanish Coches / CC


By Paul Schmitt


Local law enforcement is urging drivers to use care when traveling the highways during the busy holiday season which begins later this week.  AAA projects that 2.5 million more people nationally will travel 50 miles away or more from home than last year this Thanksgiving Day weekend.  Locally, Door County Sheriff Steve Delarwelle says drivers should plan ahead and take their time as well as remember the basics.



Although gas prices are 31 cents higher on average than last Thanksgiving, travel is expected to be heavier than usual, according to AAA.  Peak travel time is expected from 2 pm until 7 pm Wednesday.  You can find holiday road trip survival tips with this story online.

Town of Forestville holding budget hearing Tuesday

By Paul Schmitt


A special meeting by the Town of Forestville will take place Tuesday evening to finalize the 2019 budget.  The Town of Forestville will be receiving two local road improvement grants from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.  Loans were taken out earlier this summer in order to pay for the work completed, which is required prior to receiving the grants, according to Town Chair Roy Englebert.  He says the highway expenditures this year will not come due until early next year.



Engelbert says the report will show that the Town of Forestville will be getting more intergovernmental money than usual.  The public hearing on the 2019 budget for the Town of Forestville will begin at 7 pm at the Town Hall.  The special meeting of the electors will be held immediately after the public hearing.

Southern Door's musical "Mamma Mia" a huge hit

By Delilah Rose — Student Correspondent


Southern Door’s 2018 musical “Mamma Mia” has the county awed from the students’ performance. With a cast of more than 40 students on stage and another half dozen in the orchestra pit joined by enthusiastic adult musicians, came together and brought the romantic comedy alive through the knock-your-socks-off music of the Swedish pop group ABBA. The performances met the hopes of the students by close to selling out each night in Southern Door’s 600 plus seating auditorium.


Under the musical direction of Mrs. Wedyt, Mrs. Williamson, and Miss. Files, the choir and band collaborated in a production that rivaled a Broadway production. The countless hours of rehearsal invested by each and every cast member that started in August paid off tenfold.


The female leading roles were shared while the male roles were anchored by a core cast of four.


MaCayla Moore and Maggie Grotta shared the leading role of Sophie Sheridan, the 20 year old born and raised on a Greek Island by her American mother, Donna, the role shared by Shaina Skaletski and Mackenzie Finger. Both mother-daughter duo delivered a remarkable plot-pushed story of a wedding with a twist.


Sky, the romantic lead played by Dale Swanson, swooned for his soon-to-be-bride while weaving through scene after scene with Sophie’s three possible fathers played by Mathew VanderMeer, Joseph Feeney and Sean Hartford.


The boys of the show were the comedians that brought the house down when they arrived on stage dancing with feet clad in gigantic flippers for the “Lay All Your Love on Me” number.


The racier moments were hilariously performed by the visiting best friends Rosie, the down to earth played by Anna Alrand and Brittany Dantoin and Tanya, Jadacey Teska and Helen Parks.


The musical ran from Wednesday, November 7th through Sunday, November 11th, from dress rehearsal to the closing matinee performance the show wowed the greater community of Northeast Wisconsin.


(photo by Suzanne Rose)

Door County Land Trust to launch new member campaign

By Terry Kovarik


The Door County Land Trust is looking for some new hands to help with its preservation efforts. The group will soon launch a campaign to recruit 150 new members. The “Protect What You Love” campaign starts November 27th at the Twitter site #Giving Tuesday and runs through January 31st. Door County Land Trust Development Director Cinnamon Rossman says new members can make a big difference in efforts to preserve natural areas.



Rossman says among the new areas the land trust is working to acquire are sites on Washington Island and within the Gibraltar-Ephraim swamp. Membership funds help make those purchases possible.

Donors for Sevastopol School projects don't need to pay up right away

By Terry Kovarik


Those who pledged money for the Sevastopol Area School District’s building project have some time to pay off on those pledges. Therma-Tron-X, Wood Orchards and Sevastopol FFA Alumni offered to donate a total of just over $2-million if voters approved a $27-million referendum. Voters passed that measure and the school district is now working with financial advisors on the bonding process. Sevastopol School Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says the donations won’t be needed until actual construction begins.



Construction work on the Sevastopol School building project is set to begin in 2020 with completion scheduled by fall of 2021.

Local health departments recommend measles and chicken pox immunizations

Fort George G. Meade Public Affairs Office / CC


By Terry Kovarik


The Door County Health Department urges parents to have their children immunized for measles and chicken pox. That follows reports of higher numbers of infections nationally. The number of reported measles cases is up to 142 nationwide, compared to 120 for this time last year. Higher numbers of chicken pox cases have been reported at an Asheville, North Carolina school where vaccinations have been exempt. Door County Health Department Interim Director Susan Powers says immunization should be a parents priority.



Powers says if parents have any questions about measles or chicken pox vaccines they can contact the Door County Health Department on Nebraska Street in Sturgeon Bay or the Kewaunee County Public Health Department on Lincoln Street in Kewaunee.

Sevastopol Middle School tops in the state

By Tim Kowols


Sevastopol School District can boast the best middle school in the state thanks to recently released accountability scores from the Wisconsin Department of Instruction. Accountability scores consider four priority areas: student achievement, growth, closing gaps, and on-track/postsecondary success.  Twenty of the 24 public schools in Door and Kewaunee counties received accountability rankings of “meets expectations” or higher.  Sevastopol Middle School’s score of 97.4 was tops among middle schools and seventh among all levels in the state. Principal Adam Baier says he is most proud of closing gaps for special needs students.



The annual report cards assign scores to more than 2,000 schools and districts in Wisconsin receiving state aid. You can find a link to learn how your school did online here.

Good credit scores know no age

By Tim Kowols


Even when you are living debt-free, Sturgeon Bay-based Money Management Counselors is still telling consumers to keep a close eye on their credit scores. A recent survey showed nearly 30 percent of people had no clue what their credit score was with older adults knowing more than their younger counterparts. Young Americans are looking to develop a credit score for applications for car and home loans. Financial counselor Gay Pustaver says even if everything is paid off there are still reasons to pay attention.



Pustaver advises people to have at least one credit card that you use lightly and pay off quickly to keep your credit score at a higher range. You can listen to the entire Money Management Monday interview with Gay Pustaver online with this story.






Counterfeit money found in Luxemburg

By Tim Kowols


Local business owners are being reminded to check their money as it comes in after a counterfeit $100 bill was caught in Luxemburg Monday morning. The counterfeit bill collected at a Luxemburg fast food restaurant was found thanks to their detection pen and key elements missing from it. Luxemburg Police Chief Chris Gulbrand says it is still early in the investigation, but it is a reminder for business owners to be vigilant heading into the holiday season.



Gulbrand advises business owners to mark any bill above $20 with their detection pens to make sure it is not counterfeit. You can learn more about security elements embedded in paper money online with this story.


This morning, a patron tried to pass a counterfeit $100 bill at a local fast food establishment. It was found to be...

Posted by Luxemburg Police Department on Monday, November 19, 2018

State Republicans look to set limits for Governor-elect's power


edward stojakovic / CC


By Tim Kowols


Sturgeon Bay Republican Rep. Joel Kitchens says the Wisconsin Legislature is concerned more with protecting some of Governor Scott Walker’s reforms than taking power away from his replacement.  According to the Associated Press, Republican lawmakers discussed last week ways to limit Governor-elect Tony Evers’ authority to carry out passed bills and make changes to the state’s Foxconn deal and voter identification law. Rep. Kitchens says the governor’s powers are laid out in the state’s constitution and believes the topic has been overblown.



Newly elected state senator for District 1 and current Representative Andre Jacque declined comment until he has more information. will reach out to area Democrats for their thoughts on the possible legislation.

Jet fighter trainer to be a veterans memorial along Highway 57 in the Town of Union

Ken Simonsen purchased this T-33 jet fighter trainer, which had been in storage and in pieces in Sturgeon Bay. He set it up outside his boat engine repair shop along Highway 57 and plans to restore its appearance as a personal veterans memorial


By Terry Kovarik


Ken Simonsen’s boat engine repair shop is taking on an aviation look. He recently set up a T-33 jet fighter trainer outside of his shop along Highway 57.  He heard it was in storage in pieces in Sturgeon Bay and was for sale.



Simonsen reassembled the T-33 in clear view of drivers on Highway 57. He has no plans to get the aircraft back into flying condition though he will restore it to honor all who’ve served.




Currently, the aircraft is decked out for Christmas with Santa Claus behind the controls in the cockpit. Simonsen says the most difficult job he’s had since he bought the plane is finding enough Christmas lights to cover it.

Community Thanksgiving dinner preparations underway at Sturgeon Bay Church

By Terry Kovarik


Sturgeon Bay United Methodist Church is wasting no time in getting ready for its 39th Community Thanksgiving feast. Church and community volunteers will start roasting the turkeys Tuesday, all 14 of them. Organizer Leslie Youngsteadt says she and volunteers thought they’d be preparing slightly less than that.



Wednesday will see volunteers peeling and cooking 150-pounds of potatoes, bringing in pies and quick breads and setting the tables. Youngsteadt says it’s all done to serve hundreds of people in the church and shut-ins who can’t make it.



The Sturgeon Bay United Methodist Church Community Thanksgiving Dinner is open to anyone and everyone in the area. Reservations are needed and are being accepted via telephone until the close of business on Monday.

Help of Door County assists domestic violence survivors in handling finances

By Terry Kovarik


Lack of money is no longer an obstacle for anyone looking to escape from domestic violence in Door County. Advocacy services offered through Help of Door County guide clients through the feelings of uncertainty when survivors go out on their own. Executive Director Steve Vickman says that includes financial help to get started and assistance with money management.



Help of Door County is located on Green Bay Road in Sturgeon Bay. For more information, click here for Help of Door County.

Renovation work on a historic Kewaunee building tells a lot of stories



By Terry Kovarik


Some stories are coming to light about the three-story, 19th-century building that long served as the home of Selner Plumbing in Kewaunee. Arthur Schiller, the president of an investment firm, and his wife bought the building to house their new offices and some upstairs apartments. They hired Tom Skubal to document the inside for possible historic designation. As Skubal began removing plaster from the wall, the building showed signs of surviving the 1898 Kewaunee fire.




More of the building’s history was revealed as Skubal and the Schillers moved to the second and third floors. They uncovered the original nob switches and wires from the first electric lighting system and the gas light fixtures replaced by electricity. The third floor showed signs of being a community destination.




While the Schiller’s move forward with renovation, a completion date is hard to determine as the historic building keeps unveiling more about its past.


Recipient of Adopt a Soldier Door County gifts will thank kids personally

By Terry Kovarik


An area soldier who’s received more than one holiday care package from Adopt a Solider-Door County now wants to show his gratitude. Matt Bellin, from Southern Door County, did a facetime call to Executive Direct Nancy Hutchinson last week after receiving his Thanksgiving gift box. Hutchinson says Bellin wants to reach out to youngsters who sent letters and say thanks, personally.



Adopt a Soldier-Door County is now getting Christmas care packages ready and is in need of about 25 Christmas stockings. You can drop them off at any local bank or at the radio stations of on Michigan Street in Sturgeon Bay.

Sturgeon Bay shop offers All-American toys for All-American kids

By Terry Kovarik


You can find toys “Made in the U.S.A.” for your all-American child or grandchild right here in Sturgeon Bay. Unlike the box stores that sell toys predominately made overseas, Dancing Bear in downtown Sturgeon Bay is among those smaller shops preferred by some U.S. based manufacturers. Owner Bonnie Statz says some “green toys” are earth friendly and toxin free.



Statz says other U.S. companies she works with also benefit special needs employees.



Statz says there are goods still made in the U.S.A. You just need to know where to find them.

The Crossroads at Big Creek offers healthy, safe hiking during deer hunting season

By Terry Kovarik




Those who like to walk or hike outdoors around Sturgeon Bay can move about safely at The Crossroads at Big Creek during deer hunting season. The 200-acre nature preserve on Michigan Street in Sturgeon Bay will be holding health hikes during the deer hunt. Director Coggin Heeringa is urging people to come out and get active.



The Crossroads at Big Creeks has over eight-miles of safe walking trails, which are open daily.

Discarded electronics from Door County are in demand for recycling at a price

By Terry Kovarik

The outdated computer from Sister Bay or the broken VCR from Sturgeon Bay are valuable to recyclers for their precious metal content. For a fee, Door County residents can drop off broken television sets and screens, computers, cell phones and other electronics for pick-up by recyclers. Advanced Disposal President Steve Estes says that keeps large quantities of discarded electronics out of the waste stream by those who profit from salvaging what they can.



Estes says church groups and Sturgeon Bay Utilities periodically have free one-day electronic drop off sites. Advanced Disposal’s facility on Development Road in Sturgeon Bay is available year round.

Kewaunee's Christkindlmarkt a big draw with holiday shoppers

By Terry Kovarik


Kewaunee’s 12th Annual Christkindlmarkt has grown in popularity with shoppers looking for craft items not found in box stores. The old-fashioned, German-style holiday market at Lakehaven Hall is a highlight of the community’s holiday kickoff. Ben Kornowski, of the Kewaunee Area Chamber of Commerce, says Christkindlmarkt has developed a good reputation beyond the lakeshore communities.



Kornowski says this year’s event, which ran from 9:00 AM-4:00 PM Saturday, drew shoppers from Green Bay and Waupaca who are looking for a different shopping experience.

Sturgeon Bay shows its Christmas Spirit

By Terry Kovarik


Downtown Sturgeon Bay continues showing its holiday spirit this weekend. The annual Christmas by the Bay event was celebrated with a parade through the downtown featuring the Sturgeon Bay High Marching Band, floats and the first appearance of Santa Claus himself. While there was a wintry chill, parade-goers like the Scalzo family say the holiday kickoff had things work waiting for.






The Christmas by the Bay celebration concludes Sunday with breakfast with Santa at Stone Harbor Resort on 1st Av.

Door County Y Angel Tree helps you make a childs Christmas merry

By Terry Kovarik


The Door County YMCA’s Angel Tree will be put up this week to help you give a Merry Christman to children in need. The program links donors with specific children whose names and wish lists appear on the tree. CEO Tom Beernsten says it’s a simple idea that helps donors fill a great need in the community.



The Angel Tree will accept gifts through December 1st.

Meat processors hit their busy season as hunting begins

46137 / CC


By Tim Kowols


As the nine-day gun deer hunting season begins, area meat processors like Konop Meats in Stangelville prepare for their busiest time of the year. Part-owner Mark Konop has not kept track of how many pounds of venison he processes into a variety of different products over the years, but knows it has been picking up steam ever since its popularity started in the 1980s. He says handling 100 customers a week for several months with their venison orders is a balancing act to make sure they keep up with their regular customers as well.



Konop recommends hunters call their butchers to schedule their processing in advance to make sure they get their harvested venison as quickly as possible. For those who want to donate their deer, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources deer donation program has provided more than 3.6 million pounds to food pantries across the state.

Turkey prices lower at area stores this year for Thanksgiving dinner

Kristie Moser / CC


By Paul Schmitt


Local grocery shoppers can look forward to lower prices at the checkout when getting ready for Thanksgiving this year.  According to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s annual Marketbasket survey, the price of a 16-pound turkey in the state is nearly two dollars less this year than 2017.  Econofoods Store Manager Jon Calhoun says he has seen turkey prices continually come down locally as well since avian influenza impacted poultry prices.



The price for a 16-pound turkey this year in Wisconsin is $19.04 compared to the national average of $21.71.  The cost of a complete Thanksgiving dinner for ten people is $48.90, nationally, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.  That is nearly four dollars more than the Wisconsin prices of $45.01.

Peninsula State Park scheduling Thanksgiving programs for next week

Peninsula State Park scheduling Thanksgiving programs for next week
Visitors will have the opportunity to connect with nature as well as learn history at Peninsula State Park next weekend. Kathleen Harris, the park naturalist, says the family-friendly activities will begin on Friday morning.



The new Eagle Tower is scheduled to be completed and open sometime in 2019. Other programs include turkey songs and stories Friday afternoon and a Medicine Walk on Saturday morning. That will feature a twenty-minute family forest walk while learning the history of the Potawatomi tribe who were the first settlers to the area. The programs are free at Peninsula State Park but a park vehicle sticker is required.




Programs free but park vehicle sticker required. Schedule subject to change. 920-868-3258. Programs free. Donations appreciated. Ask about our kid-friendly geocaches! Keep Peninsula Beautiful!
Friday November 16 Nature Center open 10 AM – 2 PM.
Saturday November 17 Nature Center open 10 AM – 4 PM.
Friday November 23 Nature Center OPEN 12 – 3 PM. Eagle Panorama to Eagle Terrace 10 -11 AM. Meet at Eagle Panorama overlook. Tree facts and folklore, park history, and geology featured on a naturalist-led, mile long hike. Tower news, too. Trail may have slippery spots. Let’s Talk Turkey 1 – 1:30 PM Nature Center. Yesterday we gobbled Tom. The least we can do today is learn about him. Geared for the young and young at heart, this lively talk includes turkey songs and stories. Optional art project follows inside the Nature Center, while supplies last.
Saturday November 24 Nature Center OPEN 10 AM – 4 PM. Medicine Walk 10:30 – 11 AM. Stop by the Nature Center any time between 11 AM and 3 PM to try an on-your-own outdoor activity, with help from the park naturalist. Connect to nature through a twenty-minute family forest walk. Follow animal signs, learn Potawatomi words, and discover where Potawatomi Chief Simon Kahquados is buried in Peninsula State Park. Kids can collect art supplies along the 1⁄2-mile trail to create a bear paper bag puppet afterwards, inside the Nature Center. Rain? The walk will be shortened, and we’ll talk inside.
Sunday November 25 Nature Center OPEN 12 – 3 PM.
December Nature Center Hours: Saturdays as staffing permits. Holiday Week Programs: To be announced.

Beef quality assurance certification requirements changing


By Aerica Bjurstrom, Kewaunee County UW-Extension Agriculture Educator


Some large meat packers and processors have announced that effective January 1, 2019, they will only purchase from farms that are Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) or FARM Certified. Most dairy farms are FARM certified through their milk processor. Ask your dairy plant representative for assistance to obtain a copy of your completed FARM evaluation, or a letter from them indicating your farm’s completion of FARM 3.0 or beyond.


The 2019 BQA requirement impacts those selling finished beef breeds and will affect all sale markets and private treaty transactions. Farmers should work with their marketing partners, or buyers if selling direct, to ensure correct documentation of BQA or FARM certification.


At this time, it is believed that beginning in January 2020, additional processors will begin to require BQA or FARM Certification from their suppliers.


Obtain free, online BQA certification at Each interactive course takes about two hours to complete, and requires an 80% score to pass the final test. You will receive your BQA certification via email, which you will provide at the point of sale.


UW-Extension is hosting an in-person BQA certification training on Thursday, December 13 at 6:30 PM at the Kewaunee County Fair Grounds, 625 3rd Street, Luxemburg. The cost of the training is $15. Please register by December 12 by calling 920-388-7141.

Sturgeon Bay teen accepted to pursue Broadway dream

By Paul Schmitt


Aspiring dancer and singer Isabella Dippel of Sturgeon Bay will be heading to Broadway in New York next summer.  Dippel, 15, auditioned for the Broadway collective Gathered NYC last Saturday and was notified that she was accepted to the program.  She shares how the audition worked.



Gathered NYC is an annual five-day master class in New York City.  Students attend two Broadway shows, have dinner with cast members and complete 50 hours of dance, voice, as well as acting and audition training with Broadway directors, choreographers, agents, and Tony Award winners.  Dippel, who also auditioned for America’s Got Talent last year, was one of 40 students selected to participate.  She will be attending Session 3 from August 7th through the 11.


City of Algoma finalizing new housing plans

By Paul Schmitt


A new housing project on Algoma’s south side is getting closer to final approval by the City of Algoma.  The future development would be a 12 unit complex.  City Administrator Jeff Wiswell says the plan is now working its way through the plan commission and finance committee before final approval by the city council in December.  He says the project will offer other benefits to the city besides more housing.



Wiswell says a new TIF (Tax Incremental Financing) district will have to be formed along with a redevelopment zone.  A redevelopment authority was created at the last city council meeting earlier this month, according to Wiswell.

Friends of Door County Libraries offering holiday book sale

Brittany Stevens / CC


By Paul Schmitt


Avid book readers can get ready for the gift-giving season and help out Door County Libraries at the same time on Saturday, December 1st.  The Friends of Door County Libraries’ Annual Holiday Book Sale is scheduled at the Sturgeon Bay Library that day from nine in the morning until two in the afternoon.  Member Adele Douglas says volunteers have been preparing for the big sale for months.



Douglas says hundreds of books range in price from about one to five dollars.  Book selections will include fiction, non-fiction, specialty titles, coffee table books, cookbooks, children’s literature and more.  Friends of Door County Libraries help raise approximately $20,000 annually for programs, materials, and activities at all eight libraries in the Door County system.

Sturgeon Bay City Council could discuss possible granary move on Tuesday

By Paul Schmitt


The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will be bringing up some old granary business Tuesday that could open the door to the granary being moved back to its original location on the west side.  Agenda items for Tuesday’s meeting include consideration of an old request from October 2017 by the Historic Preservation Commission.  Council President Kelly Catarozoli explains what would be next if it is voted on and approved by the council.



Other agenda items listed for Tuesday’s Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting include a closed session to consider the lawsuit the city faces with the Sawyer Hotel Development and Bob Papke along with the settlement agreement with the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront.

Veterans welcome to benefit from Door County Habitat for Humanity projects

By Tim Kowols


Whether it is receiving a home or volunteering to build it, Door County Habitat for Humanity is encouraging veterans to check out the programs. Larger Habitat for Humanity affiliates across the country have started to focus on addressing affordable housing for veterans through specific build projects. It has also branched out to make necessary home repairs for veterans in need of extra assistance. Door County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director David Van Dyke says while they do not have the infrastructure to focus on specific groups of people, he encourages veterans to apply and see how the organization can help.



Door County Habitat for Humanity accepts partner family applications and volunteers year round.

Volunteerism and mental health wellness connected

By Tim Kowols


Count Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski as a believer in the importance of volunteering when it comes to improving mental health. According to Project Helping, volunteering can help curb depressive feelings by 35 percent while also improving your physical wellness and sleep patterns. An avid supporter of several different holiday giving initiatives in Kewaunee County,  Joski says the data provides qualitative proof about the good feelings you get when you volunteer.



In the spirit of the holiday season, Joski encourages people to find an organization that really connects with them and give back. You can read more about the links between volunteerism and mental wellness from Sheriff Matt Joski online with this story.


This week I would like to blend two of my favorite topics, Mental Wellness and Volunteerism. You may not think these two have anything in common and I would say that for most of my life I would have agreed with you, but over the past few years I have had the opportunity to experience so many events and people who made me aware that these two topics; Mental Health and Volunteerism are closer connected than I would have ever guessed.


The first person who opened my eyes to this reality was of course my own Mother. Those who know this woman are amazed by her seemingly unending source of energy and optimism at an age when many would rather remain stationary. For most of my life I just assumed that this was how she was hardwired, until I realized that there was a consistent correlation between her pleasant disposition and whatever effort or individual support she was involved in on that given day. She exemplifies the characteristic of a person who needs to be needed.


The second person is a woman I have known most of my life and was a huge part of the Kewaunee County Toys For Tots program for many years; Kathy Mastalir. Although she has retired from the Children’s gift giving and wrapping side of the Toys For Tots program, she is still very active and never without a cheerful greeting. I recall one rainy day as I was heading toward Algoma on STH 42, I noticed a group of people in the ditches picking up garbage and just as I drove past thinking what a miserable job that must be there was Kathy. She looked up and gave me a big smile and a wave as if she were on a beach somewhere looking for seashells.


I am sure that we can all find those people in our lives that are able to maintain optimism and hope through what appear to be trying times, and like myself are not sure where they draw their energy from. Turns out there is science which supports that our involvement in charitable works for others has a direct link to our own mental wellness.


Recently I attended a workshop put on by the Wellness Council of Wisconsin. This was an amazing event which involved healthcare providers and subject matter experts from around the country sharing ideas surrounding the topic of Mental, Physical, Financial and Spiritual Wellness. One of the presentations which I found especially interesting was put on by the founder of an organization called “Kyndfulness”


In this presentation the speaker provided the story of his own journey and how regardless of wealth or material possessions he continued to feel a sense of emptiness and depression. It was only after being offered an opportunity to volunteer in which he reluctantly participated did he realize what his life had been missing the entire time; the sense of purpose and meaning. Subsequently he embarked on a mission to substantiate what he suspected and found the following results. Those who engage in acts of charity or even random acts of kindness experience a significant reduction in both stress and anxiety. One of the reasons is that in helping others we increase our own level of gratitude which in turn:


  • Increases our physical wellness (16% fewer physical symptoms- 10% less physical pain)
  • Improves our sleep patterns (8% more sleep- 25% higher sleep quality)
  • Improves Mental wellness (35% less depressive feelings)


While making donations to your favorite cause is a great gesture and should not be discounted, the basis behind this philosophy is the purposeful physical act of getting involved and committing time and effort to a cause which you find meaningful and fulfilling.


What better time than the holidays to consider committing oneself to such endeavors. There are no shortages of opportunities here in our own communities to get involved and make a difference both in the lives of those you are helping and even in your own life. It is truly a win- win proposition! If you would like more information on the Kyndfulness initiative you can go to:

Forestville business takes over Maplewood holiday tradition

By Tim Kowols


The sale of Richard’s Pub and Grill in Maplewood earlier this fall will not affect what makes it under the tree for less fortunate Door County families. Clark’s Bar and Restaurant in Forestville will take over the annual Toys for Tots benefit after being hosted by Richard Bowen at his establishment for 10 years. Owner Donna Clark says when Richard’s Pub and Grill closed, that is when she realized she needed to step up and fill the void for the holiday season.




Unwrapped items and money collected at the November 24th event will go towards this year’s Toys for Tots drive. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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

By Roger Utnehmer


Picking the Right People New Governor’s First Challenge


As Governor-elect Tony Evers populates his administration with appointments he would be wise to follow the practice of former Governor Tommy Thompson.


Thompson’s first major appointment as a Republican governor was a Democratic state senator, Tim Cullen, to head the Department of Health and Social Services. Doing so fulfilled a pledge Thompson made to be a governor of all the people, not just those who voted for him. Thompson crossed the political aisle many times. He compromised. Tommy Thompson worked well with members of the opposition. His appointments occasionally created opportunity for fellow Republicans to replace Democratic legislators but he produced an environment of comity and bipartisan civility in state government that is missing today.


Tony Evers can help return a more civil government to Wisconsin. Appointing respected Republicans to positions of power will demonstrate confidence and strength.


Former state senator Dale Schultz should be considered. He knows his way around the capitol has a reputation for independence and integrity. Schultz would make a great secretary of Health and Family Services, Administration or Revenue.


Former State Rep and Department of Transportation Secretary Mark Gottlieb could step back into his former position and work effectively to restore Wisconsin’s crumbling infrastructure. Gottlieb, like Thompson, recognized the need to raise and index the gas tax.


Few Republicans in Wisconsin know how to navigate both the state and federal governments as well as Dave Anderson from Wausau. Evers would have an instant entree into the offices of Republican legislators, and many Democrats as well, if he hired Dave Anderson to work in his administration.


And if there is one Walker appointment worth keeping in a new administration it is Stephanie Klett at the Department of Tourism. If her enthusiasm could be taxed we would never have to worry about balancing a state budget.


Those without political affiliation could also contribute to a successful Evers administration.


Kewaunee County board member Lee Luft would make an outstanding head of the Department of Natural Resources. Luft is well-informed and passionate about air and water quality. His background in the paper industry makes him a good choice to balance job creation and environmental common-sense.


Few farmers are as articulate as Door County’s Rich Olson. His strong advocacy for family farms would make him one of Wisconsin’s most effective secretaries of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The family farm is vanishing fast. A family farmer heading this important agency would say strongly that Tony Evers stands with them.


Education played a big role in Evers’ victory. Returning former UW Board of Regent member Mark Bradley would be wise. His experience and knowledge of higher education would assure continuity and historical perspective. Evers’ second appointment to the important Board of Regents should be former Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton. Her service to Wisconsin is not over. Her talents need to be tapped to make Wisconsin better.


An important appointment will be Secretary of the Department of Corrections, a problem-plagued agency in need of reform. The DOC now expends more money than the entire UW system. For too long Wisconsin politicians have been “tough” on crime at the expense of being “smart” on crime. The Wisconsin Department of Corrections needs a leader who appreciates restorative justice, recidivism and the sociology of crime. If I were Tony Evers I’d ask former State Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske to either serve long enough to change the direction of the DOC or recommend someone who can. Geske is an internationally-recognized expert on restorative justice whose voice in changing corrections policy would be invaluable.


Picking the right people is the primary challenge for a new administration. Some of these suggestions could make Tony Evers as effective as many Wisconsin governors who have come before him.


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

Gibraltar students give back to community's seniors with holiday dinner

By Tim Kowols


Gibraltar students will take care of the cooking and the entertainment for its area senior citizens for its annual free holiday dinner on December 5th. Members of the high school and middle school student councils serve the food and clean up tables while the band and choirs provide the festive musical accompaniment. Gibraltar Student Council President Gretchen Chomeau says it is an event she has enjoyed volunteering for the last four years.



The Gibraltar Senior Citizen Holiday Dinner begins at 10 a.m. inside the middle gym. You can find reservation information online this story.


The meal will include turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, carrots, cranberries, and dessert.   Seating is limited, so please place a reservation by leaving your name, phone number, and number of guests at 920-868-3284 extension 244. Questions can be directed to Mary Witteborg, Student Council Advisor at the same number.  Drop off guests using the bus lane to the Elementary School entrance.  Parking is available in the main lot by the Secondary Schools entrance. In the event of inclement weather and/or school cancellation, there will be no make-up date.

Testing could be coming for Kewaunee County land with septic waste spreading

By Tim Kowols


Kewaunee County Board supervisor Lee Luft plans on asking state Department of Natural Resources officials to test land affected by septic waste spreading. Three to five million gallons of septic waste is spread on Kewaunee County land each year. Luft says the testing of the land is necessary to learn more about the long-term effects of septic spreading.



Septic waste spreading has been a topic of discussion at the last two Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation meetings, including its latest session earlier this week.

Door County Sheriff-elect Tammy Sternard sees future changes to jail visitations

By Paul Schmitt


The way and frequency people visit those who are jailed in Door County might change in the future.  In-person visitations are still an important weekly occasion for incarcerated people at the Door County Jail, according to Door County Sheriff-elect Tammy Sternard.  Currently, all visitors must be pre-approved prior to the allowed visitations that takes place on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.  Sternard says new technologies may make it possible to save money while enhancing the visitation options.



Sternard believes interaction is important for people who are incarcerated.  She says staffing is always an issue with face-to-face visitation but technology offers alternatives that are worth exploring.

Deer hunters advised to check stands for this weekend

By Paul Schmitt


As area deer hunters head out to their tree stands Saturday morning, local DNR officials are asking them to use common sense and check over their stands before climbing up to hunt.  Door County Warden Chris Kratcha says besides gun safety, hunters need to make sure their tree stand is safe to climb.



According to a 2013 hunter survey done in Wisconsin, 84 percent of hunters used tree stands, 62 percent owned a safety restraint, but only 31 percent always used them.  An estimated 600,000 hunters are expected to head into the woods throughout Wisconsin this opening weekend of the nine-day firearms hunt.

Ephraim Moravian Church offering "Open Door" Lunches

By Paul Schmitt


A northern Door County church is looking to promote fellowship with a free hot lunch offered next week.  The Ephraim Moravian Church will be again hosting an “Open Door” Lunch on the third Wednesday of each month November through April.  Reverend Dawn Volpe says this is the sixth year the church has put on the lunch and it really helps those looking for fellowship and companionship.



The next free lunch is at noon Wednesday, November 21 at the Ephraim Moravian Church.  Volpe says the lunch features hot soups, sandwiches or salads, handmade desserts, and beverages.  You can find more information on the Open Door Lunches with the news release below.



‘OPEN DOOR’ LUNCHES BEGIN IN NOVEMBER Monthly Free Lunch at Ephraim Moravian


EPHRAIM, WI – For the sixth year, Ephraim Moravian Church will be offering a free, hot

Monthly lunch, at noon on the third Wednesday of each month from November through April of 2019.


The lunches will feature hot soups, sandwiches or salads, desserts and beverages.


The dates are November 21, December 19, January 16, February 20, March 20, and April 17.


There is no charge for the meal. Bring a friend for hot food and fellowship this winter! The

church is located at 9970 Moravia Street. For more information, call 920-854-2804.


Sister Bay Moravian Church offers a free lunch on the first Wednesday of each month, at noon,


Why be an art museum curator? Series on Careers

By Paul Schmitt


Visiting art museums at a very young age with her family was the beginning of Elizabeth Shoshany Anderson’s love for the arts.  Anderson, who started as the Miller Art Museum curator last March, found the arts to be a key center for public discussion on what is important.  Graduating in 2015 from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Art History, Anderson received her master’s degree from the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, England.  She says although she took a more traditional route, there are many other ways to get involved in the arts.



Anderson says her duties as the curator of exhibition and collections include what traveling art exhibitions will be featured in the future.  She adds her role also is to determine the display and care of the permanent art collection for the museum.

Algoma's Haack named Wisconsin State Fair Supreme Dairy Exhibitor

By Tim Kowols


Algoma’s Carmen Haack’s junior Wisconsin State Fair career officially came to a close earlier this week when she was named the event’s Supreme Dairy Exhibitor. The status is based on three different elements: showmanship, knowledge masters, and animal placement. It came down to Haack’s win in the knowledge masters contest to capture the title after taking third in showmanship and two of her animals took first place in their classes. Haack says the title of Supreme Dairy Exhibitor is humbling.



Haack, currently studying dairy science and agriculture business management at UW-Madison, says showmanship is her favorite of the three elements because it is based on how well you present your animal, not on the cow itself.


We know this awesome, smiling dairy woman featured on the WI 4-H Foundation page! Congratulations Carmen! As always, you make all of Kewaunee County 4-H so, so proud!

Posted by Kewaunee County 4-H, WI on Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Washington Island School ramping up its science focus

By Tim Kowols


With dinosaurs and robots as recent visitors, Washington Island School is making sure its students’ attention to science does not disappear. The school’s technology and science committee is working with local universities and colleges to continue bringing in additional programming now they have kids more engaged. By partnering with UW-Stevens Point’s Steven Schmidt, Washington Island students recently got to build robot-operated vehicles that are expected to traverse across Rock Island next spring as they learn more about robotics. Principal Michelle Kanipes says it is exciting to see students get more involved in science and engineering.



Kanipes sees more programming occurring at the Trueblood Performing Arts Center in the near future such as presentations on astronomy and water quality.


Picture courtesy of Washington Island School District

Door County Medical Center moves on from Para-Tran

By Tim Kowols


Door County Emergency Services will be the new ambulance provider for Door County Medical Center when patients need to be transported to Green Bay. The change was needed when it was informed by Para Tran owner Wayne Denil that it either needed additional funding from the hospital to maintain its current services or it would go out of business. Officials at Door County Medical Center were forced to contact Door County Administrator Ken Pabich and Door County Emergency Medical Services Director Aaron LeClair to make sure the most urgent cases were able to be taken care of in the short term.   LeClair says their ambulances have only been sent to Green Bay a couple times over the last few weeks because its main duty remains locally.



Other agencies located in Green Bay and Valders will handle less urgent situations until a permanent replacement can be found. Denil has been offered an opportunity for additional comment. You can see statements from Door County Medical Center and Para Tran online with this story.




For over 30 years, Door County Medical Center (DCMC) has enjoyed a partnership with Para Tran to transport critically ill patients to other facilities in the event that transfers were necessary.  On October 22nd, the owner of Para Tran called our ER to let us know that he was suspending services and that we would need to look to other options for transport.


We have been working with providers throughout NE Wisconsin to fill the void and have some good short-term solutions in place.  We hope to have a long-term transport agreement, similar to the one we have had with Para Tran, worked out within the next 6 months.  In the meantime, we will work with local and regional partners to make sure that residents of Door and Kewaunee Counties, and patients of DCMC are able to receive the transport that is needed in a timely manner.  We would like to thank the team at Para Tran for over 30 years of service to our patients and to our community.


With Para Tran going out of business abruptly, we had to arrange for reliable transport for our patients within a very short timeframe.  Our Emergency Department team worked quickly with Aaron LeClair at Door County EMS and Ken Pabich, the County Administrator to make sure that patients who were in emergent or urgent situations could be transported right away.  The County’s first priority is 911 calls, but they did agree to transport emergent patients from our hospital to the hospitals in Green Bay when the situation demanded that kind of response.  Fortunately, those situations have only occurred a couple of times in the past few weeks, but our County EMS has immediately responded.  We are blessed to have such a great team of talented paramedics in Door County when we need them!


For less urgent situations, we have been working with transport providers outside of Door County, such as County Rescue out of Green Bay.  They have also been great to work with to ensure that our patients are transported in a timely manner.  We are actively working on a long-term solution for transport, but in the meantime we can rest assured that our patients are being well cared for by Door County EMS and other regional partners.




Senator Hansen to reintroduce redistricting legislation

By Tim Kowols


Buoyed by a Democratic sweep of Wisconsin’s top offices and support from local officials like the Door County Board of Supervisors, State Senator Dave Hansen will once again aim to end gerrymandering. Senator Hansen renewed his call for redistricting reform by announcing his plans to reintroduced legislation earlier this week. Twelve states including Iowa currently use non-partisan redistricting plans. Iowa’s model has been the plan many Wisconsin redistricting advocates prefer. Senator Hansen admits it was a mistake for the Assembly to wait on a redistricting plan when Democrats controlled both houses prior to the 2010 election. He says now is the time to stop the blame game and start working together on redistricting reform.



Four counties passed referendums supporting nonpartisan redistricting reform last Tuesday while 41 county boards including those in Door, Brown, Oconto, and Manitowoc counties have passed similar resolutions.

Help of Door County initiating Lethality Assessment Program

By Paul Schmitt


A domestic violence program that originated in Maryland will be implemented in Door County in the future to take a pro-active approach against abuse.  Help of Door County along with the Sheriff’s Department and Sturgeon Bay Police are partnering to bring the Lethality Assessment Model to the area.  Steve Vickman, executive director of Help of Door County, says the program allows community professionals to identify victims of domestic violence who are at the highest risk of being seriously injured or killed by their partner.  He says the program allows victims to connect more quickly to supporting agencies.



Vickman says his staff and local law enforcement will go through training provided by End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin.  He believes the lethality program will improve local services and help people feel safer in the community.

Local store makes toy safety an everyday priority

By Terry Kovarik


A Sturgeon Bay store won’t carry any toy that made a consumer watchdog group’s 10 worst list. Dancing Bear on Third Avenue in Sturgeon Bay draws customers at Christmas time and year-round for the quality of the toys they sell. Owner Bonnie Statz says she knows the toys she sells for specific ages are coming from manufacturers she can trust.



Statz says while some of the toys she sells are made offshore, company representatives are on hand to make sure high manufacturing standards are being met.

Town of Gibraltar budget includes a 1.9 percent levy increase

By Terry Kovarik


The Town of Gibraltar’s $3.26-million dollar budget will soon be in the hands of electors. The town board approved the final spending plan this morning. With a number of projects in development, Town of Gibraltar Chairman Dick Skare says tax levy will increase only slightly.



The budget will go before township electors December 6th at the Town of Gibraltar Office on Highway 42 in Fish Creek.

Local district attorney hopes police agencies and the state handle sexual assault kits promptly

By Terry Kovarik


Kewaunee County District Attorney Andrew Naze is pleased to see progress being made as the State of Wisconsin clears up the backlog in processing sexual assault kits. That effort has resulted in 560 DNA links to suspects in dormant assault investigations. While none of those involve cases in Kewaunee County, Naze says such successes give victims and the public hope for justice. He says it should also remind law enforcement agencies of the need for prompt processing of sexual assault evidence.



The processing of the backlog of sexual assault kits has helped local investigators bring charges against suspects including one in a Door County case of child sexual abuse.

Waterfront planning committee will learn about other communities successful restoration projects

By Terry Kovarik


Sturgeon Bay’s Ad-hoc West Waterfront Planning Committee hopes to duplicate other communities redevelopment successes. The committee will hear from two people who’ve successfully helped communities revitalize targeted areas. Consultant Gary Becker, of GWB Consulting, will speak on Tax Incremental Financing. Naletta Farr, Regional Economic Development Director for the Wisconsin EDC will speak on community-initiated development. Committee Chair Laurel Hauser wants to hear more on Farr’s role in redeveloping Green Bay’s Broadway District.



The Sturgeon Bay Ad hoc West Waterfront Planning Committee meets Thursday at 6: 30 PM at City Hall on Michigan Avenue.

Door County will not hold a spring referendum on legalizing pot

By Terry Kovarik              

The Door County Board of Supervisors has rejected a proposal to hold an advisory vote in April on legalizing marijuana in Wisconsin. The Board of Supervisors considered two proposed ballot questions. One asked whether the state should legalize marijuana for medicinal use while the other asked whether it should be allowed for recreational use. District 11 Supervisor Megan Lundahl says the board debated the proposal and acted.




Lundahl will propose to the County Legislative Committee that the county adopt a resolution recommending the state legalize marijuana for medicinal use. That could come at the committee meeting in December.



Friends of Peninsula State Park honored for their efforts

By Terry Kovarik


They call themselves “Friends of Peninsula State Park” and you can call them heroes. The group brought home the 2018 HERO award, which honors individuals and “Friends” groups for donating their time and talents to improving Wisconsin State Parks. The “Friends of Peninsula State Park” were cited for their efforts to raise $750,000 to rebuild the Eagle Tower. The group’s business manager, Steve Strucely says “Friends of Peninsula State Park” could not have raised those funds without the help of some friends of their own.



The “Friends of Peninsula State Park” have also raised money for a new nature center and a gator and grooming equipment for the park’s cross-country ski trails.

Door County in the million dollar home club

By Terry Kovarik              

Door County is among the areas nationwide where homes in the million dollar range are becoming more common. According to the real estate research firm Trulia, the number of homes nationwide in the million-dollar-plus range increased by just over 400,000 last year. Steve Estes, of the Harbour Real Estate Group in Sturgeon Bay, says the multi-listing service shows recent sales in Door County going for seven-figures.



Estes says such prices shouldn't come as a surprise. The median price for a home in Door County last quarter was $247,000.

Door County approves nearly $30-million 2019 budget

By Terry Kovarik


The Door County Board of Supervisors approved the $29.77-million budget for 2019. Property owners will see a slight increase in their tax bills. County Administrator Ken Pabich says, however, the new spending plan helps keep services at their present levels.



Pabich says the budget keeps the county within its levy limits set by the State of Wisconsin.

Hunters play important conservation role at The Ridges

By Tim Kowols       

Trails at The Ridges Sanctuary will be closed beginning on Saturday in observance of the upcoming gun deer hunting season. Approximately 30 hunters every year head to The Ridges' properties in Baileys Harbor and Logan Creek to try their luck finding that buck or doe. Land Manager Matt Peter says controlling the deer population is important when it comes to protecting certain species of plants on their property.

Hunters are encouraged to fill out a registration form before hunting at The Ridges Sanctuary. You can find more information about other hunting regulations online by clicking here.

Getting kids more active at T.J. Walker Middle School

By Tim Kowols       

A new playground in the works at T.J. Walker Middle School in Sturgeon Bay hopes to reverse the trend of kids becoming less active nationwide. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, only one in five teenagers meet the new physical fitness guidelines. The newly released standards suggest kids between the ages of six and seventeen get at least 60 minutes of aerobic activity. Staff at T.J. Walker Middle School took one step to bucking the trend by extending the lunch period 10 minutes to give kids more time at recess. A proposed playground, currently estimated at $500,000, would include new all-abilities equipment and spaces for basketball and volleyball. Teacher Craig Sigl hopes the new playground area is not only safer for students, but also encourages kids to get active by having more options.

Sigl says grant writing and fundraising is already underway with The 5th Quarter Foundation pledging $30,000 and his classroom adding almost another $1,000 to the total. His hope is the new play area will be created by June.

Crash avoidance systems can boost repair costs in car-deer crashes

By Terry Kovarik              

A Sturgeon Bay auto repair shop is bracing for more business with the nine-day gun deer season starting Saturday. It's one of the peak times for car-deer collisions. Local drivers who hit deer will likely pay more to repair the damage. Randy Sahs of Sahs Auto in Sturgeon Bay says part of the reason is it's more costly to fix safety restraints and, ironically, collision avoidance systems.


Wisconsin recorded just over 20,000 car-deer collisions in 2017.  American Family Insurance customers filed just over 30, 000 claims for car-deer damage.  The average claim was just over $3400.

Farmers hope Evers helps restore family operations

By Tim Kowols       

The director representing Door and Kewaunee counties on the Wisconsin Farmers Union board hopes the election of Governor-elect Tony Evers help reverse the trend of family farms disappearing in Wisconsin. According to ABC News, Wisconsin is losing one and a half dairy farms a day and the western half of the state is leading the nation in agricultural bankruptcy claims. Rick Adamski represents 21 counties including Door and Kewaunee on the Wisconsin Farmers Union Board of Directors. He points some of the blame for lagging milk prices on Governor Scott Walker's Grow Wisconsin Dairy 30x20 program, which helped farmers expand production that is exceeding demand. Adamski says he hopes the new administration places more focus on people than capital.

Despite his lack of an agricultural background, Adamski hopes Governor-elect Evers helps address the financial crisis underway in the industry caused by tariffs and other factors.

Private/public partnerships becoming a big factor for local schools

By Tim Kowols       

School districts like Algoma are finding local businesses and the community itself to be helpful allies when it comes to meeting programming goals. Nearly 94 percent of the 82 school referendum questions on state ballots were approved last Tuesday, including all six presented in Door County. For Sevastopol, it netted an additional $2 million-plus thanks to private donations from Therma-Tron-X, Wood Orchard, Sevastopol FFA, and the Jim and Heather Smith family. Algoma School District last went to a building referendum in 2016, but has seen tremendous support from local businesses for other projects like its wellness center, technical education classrooms, and performing arts facility. Superintendent Nick Cochart says public/private partnerships are essential to weathering the storm if funding challenges arise.

Cochart adds working together with businesses have allowed students to work in a collaborative space and practice skills that will make them valuable employees in the future.

Door County comic books seller remembers Stan Lee

By Terry Kovarik              

The owner of a Sturgeon Bay bookstore that sells comic books says artist Stan Lee used his artwork to expose once taboo public issues and show that superheroes have their vulnerabilities. Lee, the creator of Spiderman, The X-Men, Iron Man and others, died Monday afternoon. He was 95. David Magle is co-owner of "Other Worlds Books and More" on Third Avenue. He says Stan Lee was able to connect with readers by portraying his characters with the same vulnerabilities as everyday people.



Magle's wife and business partner, Margaret, attended comic book conventions and Stan Lee was a frequent guest. Margaret met Lee and told her husband Lee just connected as well with fans in person.



Magle says Stan Lee initially thought his work paled in comparison to doctors, architects and other professionals. However, Lee learned from his fans that entertainment, like comics and movies, provides an equally valuable and emotional public service.

All commodity prices staying low for area farmers

By Paul Schmitt    

Milk prices are not the only commodity causing local farmers angst this year.  According to Rich Olson of Olson Family Farm in southern Door County, farmers usually have at least one or two commodities that they can count on being above average.


Olson says other farmers he has talked to are getting discouraged about the trend.  According to, corn typically has trouble rallying seasonally in November, and a bearish soybean situation could hold back prices.  A slowdown in the milk production and a stronger demand is needed to see higher prices for milk in 2019, according to Olson.

Residents asked to shovel sidewalks or pay the price

By Paul Schmitt    

The first significant snowfall of the season is a good reminder for property owners to maintain the sidewalks in front of their homes and businesses, according to Algoma City Administrator Jeff Wiswell.  He says not shoveling and clearing the walkways can trigger a hefty penalty.


Wiswell says letters have been sent in the past few years by the city to people who have not complied with removing snow adequately.  He says property owners can be held civilly and criminally liable for anyone slipping and injuring themselves on ice or snow-covered sidewalks.

Door County taking two steps forward on marijuana referendum

By Terry Kovarik              

Door County is moving ahead on a possible spring advisory referendum on legalizing marijuana. That follows voter approval in 16 Wisconsin counties and two cities of referendums in favor of the use of marijuana for medical or recreational use. Door County District 11 Supervisor Megan Lundahl says more detailed ballot language is being prepared for a similar vote in spring 2019.


Lundahl says those two proposed ballot questions are on the agenda for the Door County Board Supervisors meeting on Tuesday.

It's looking like Christmas on Door County Community Foundation Square

By Terry Kovarik              

Downtown Sturgeon Bay is already taking on a Christmas look with a week to go before Thanksgiving. Sturgeon Bay Utility workers have put up the community Christmas tree on Community Foundation Square on Third Avenue. The tree helps kick off the "Christmas by the Bay" celebration. Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy says it's also a chance to give the tree one last good purpose.



Both trees are decorated by the Sturgeon Bay Visitors Center and various community groups.

Sevastopol Elementary School relaunching student newspaper

By Terry Kovarik              

After an absence of several years, "The Pioneer Press" is being relaunched at Sevastopol Elementary School. The paper will feature articles written by students from 2nd grade through 5th grade, with the 5th graders also serving as editors. The rebirth of the Pioneer Press is the idea of 5th-grade teacher Stephanie Ayer and 2nd-grade instructor Brooke Tanck. Both were looking for a way to show students that writing can be fun. Tanck says that goal has been achieved.



Tanck says the goal is to publish three editions this year. The first issue hits Sevastopol Elementary School newsstands this Friday.

Why be a Christmas tree farmer? Series on Careers

By Tim Kowols       

The last eight to ten years of care comes down to the next seven weeks as people begin their search for the perfect Christmas tree. Tammy Aissen and her family have run Aissen Tree Farm in Pilsen since 1998, planting thousands of seedlings annually in the hope they will stand in a home to make Christmas memories seven to eight years later. It is a tradition Aissen's parents have been a part of for 60 years at their own tree farm in Wisconsin Rapids. Picking pinecones, trimming branches, checking the soil, and controlling the weeds are some of the tasks that get handed down during the months leading up to the Christmas season, making tree farming a year-round job. Aissen says overcutting is every tree farmer's biggest concern.

The tree farm will mark the start of its season with its open house on Saturday and Sunday, but Aissen recommends early cutters to keep the tree in a cool place until it gets a little closer to Christmas.


Photo courtesy of the Aissen Family

Gibraltar heads to state for One-Act Plays

By Tim Kowols       

Gibraltar students head to LaCrosse later this week to participate in the statewide one-act play competition. This year's entry is entitled Death's Door, an original piece about opening a portal to the unexplained and unimaginable featuring Door County's ghostly folklore as its backdrop. Director Lizz Thomas says there is an added dose of excitement for the cast and crew when it comes to performing an original piece compared to something people may have seen or performed before.

Gibraltar will perform Death's Door in the main theatre at Viterbo University's fine arts center at 8 a.m. Friday, but community members can see an early performance at the Door Community Auditorium Tuesday evening at 7 p.m.

Sturgeon Bay High School honors veterans and remember WWI

By Terry Kovarik              

Door County military veterans were honored by staff and students at Sturgeon Bay High School. The Veterans Day Celebration recognized all who've served in uniform individually and saluted all who were killed in battle with a volley of 21 guns and the traditional playing of taps. This year's memorial marked the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Keynote speaker John Scocos, former Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, says he's honored that younger people honor those who served in that war.



Following the program, Sturgeon Bay High School held a luncheon for all veterans who attended the celebration.

Minimum payments a slippery slope

By Tim Kowols       

Making the minimum payment on your credit cards might keep the collectors away for now, but it could lead to more pain down the road. According to the U.S. News and World Report, minimum payments are usually set between two and seven percent of the total balance depending on where consumers borrow the money. However, that can cause future payments to balloon to unstable levels and cause your credit score to plummet. Gay Pustaver from Money Management Counselors says there are ways you can take a bigger chunk out of your debt if possible.


If you do have to go back to making minimum payments because you cannot afford to pay more, Pustaver suggests seeking financial counseling and start a debt management plan. You can listen to the entire Money Management Monday show with Gay Pustaver online with this story.






Weather conditions scuttle lens removals from lighthouses

By Terry Kovarik              

The on again, off again plans to remove the Fresnel lenses from two area lighthouses are off again. Kewaunee officials have been notified by the U.S. Coast Guard that they're postponing the lense removals for the Kewaunee Pierhead and Algoma Pierhead lighthouses until spring. The Coast Guard had moved up the timetable after historical documentation on the Algoma lense was completed early than expected. Kewaunee Lighthouse Committee Chair Robin Nelson says weather predictions caused the rescheduling.



Once the Fresnel lenses are removed, the Kewaunee lens will be displayed at the Kewaunee History Center while the Algoma lens will go to the Northpoint Lighthouse Museum in Milwaukee.

Farmer pays it forward after Red River barn fire

By Tim Kowols       

Shaun Hardtke was 15 years old when his family barn caught fire and lost the entire herd, so the decision to help his neighbor in Red River in a time of need was easy. Late Friday evening, firefighters from 12 different departments fought a multiple alarm fire at a barn owned by Mark and Rachel LeCaptain into the early morning hours. The barn is a complete loss and according to the Luxemburg Fire Department, approximately 30 animals perished in the fire. However, crews were able to save other structures on the farm and a barn at Casco's Kinnard Farms is now home to the approximately 100 cows that were able to be saved. Over sixteen years after going through the heartbreak of a barn fire himself, Hardtke says it is an honor to pay it forward.

Hardtke says it takes an extra two to three hours a day to switch cows in and out so they can be milked, but adds it is just what you do in a time of need. Crews required 20 tender trucks, three fill sites, and nine hours to extinguish the blaze.


Photo by Shaun Hardtke

Apprenticeships vital to local communities economies

By Terry Kovarik              

Apprenticeship programs provide thriving economies to Door and Kewaunee County communities. Registered apprenticeships are being celebrated as part of National Apprenticeship Week.  Such programs combine classroom work with on the job experience. The newest program is the Organic Vegetable Farm Manager Registered Apprenticeship program. Owen Smith, with the Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards, says the ag industry and UW Extension sought a system to train new employees in a specialized type of farming.



Apprenticeship programs have grown in Wisconsin and Northeast Wisconsin is leading the state in that effort.

Mating season has deer on the move and drivers at risk

By Terry Kovarik              

You've likely seen more deer crossing area roads and have had to slow down or swerve to avoid hitting a few. That's because deer herds are in the middle of the rut or mating season. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says that has deer on the move. Wildlife Biologist Josh Martinez says bucks will cover a lot of ground and roads this time of year.



The mating season runs through December and the herd will become more active and mobile during the nine-day firearms deer hunt.

Kewaunee County says EDC funding is an investment

By Terry Kovarik              

Kewaunee County's 2019 budget includes restored funding to the county Economic Development Corporation. Among the nearly $23-million in the 2019 spending plan is $40,000 for the EDC, which saw it's budget cut in half last year. County Administrator Scott Feldt calls it an investment in the future.



The Kewaunee County EDC had been under a lot of strain between past funding cuts and the loss of the previous executive director.

Sevastopol would lose under an FCC rule change on public access channels

By Terry Kovarik              

The Town of Sevastopol could lose an eye on the community under an FCC rule now proposed for public, educational and government TV channels. The proposed rule would allow cable operators to set a value on such public access channels and remove that value from the franchise fees paid to communities. Laddie Chapman, program director of Sevastopol TV, says that could make public access channels less attractive when negotiating a franchise agreement. The community could also lose a window on unique events.



The deadline for public and community comment on the proposed public access channel rules is Thursday, November 15.  For more information on this story, click here for

Local architect says home building costs rise quickly

By Terry Kovarik              

A local builder attributes rising home construction costs to recently-imposed tariffs levied in response to other nations unfair trade practices. The increased demand for employees in the skilled trades is another contributing factor. Architect Virge Temme says that combination has her changing cost estimates for her clients.



Temme says from coast to coast people looking to build new homes are opting to go with smaller designs.

Door County Highway Department well supplied and ready for winter

By Terry Kovarik              

The first taste of winter weather did not catch local highway departments by surprise. Door County Highway Department crews kept up with Friday's heavier snowfall and blowing and drifting snow in the northern part of the county. Door County Highway Commissioner John Kolodziej says all went well for the first response and the department is preparing to restock its salt supplies.



Kolodziej says highway crews got very good cooperation from other drivers, who slowed down with the icier conditions.

Crossroads says one snowfall not enough for cross-country skiing

By Terry Kovarik              

The first winter storm that dropped between an inch-and-a-half to four inches of snow around Door and Kewaunee Counties had some people ready for winter sports. Coggin Heeringa, Director of Crossroads at Big Creek says with the snow came calls asking about the preserve's "Ski for Free" events. Heeringa says callers were told not just yet.



Heeringa says at least six inches of snow is needed to groom the eight miles of trails available to those who want to take part in "Ski for Free", which lends cross-country ski gear free on Saturday and Sunday.

Good time to review your estate plan at year end

By Paul Schmitt    

As the calendar approaches a new year, reviewing your current estate plan or will is always a good idea, according to one local estate planner.  Attorney Bob Ross of Ross Estate Planning in Sturgeon Bay says updating one's estate plan is important when changes occur in your family.


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

Local minister and veteran says all vets still serving their country

By Terry Kovarik              

Reverend Michael Morris of Egg Harbor got his calling to serve God by first serving in the United States Marine Corps. Morris was deployed to Vietnam in 1966 and during his tour, he was pressed into service as a spiritual leader.



After returning home, Reverend Morris finished his college courses at a seminary. He now serves as pastor of Calvary United Methodist Church in Egg Harbor and Zion United Methodist Church near Baileys Harbor. Morris is shared his story and insights at a veterans dinner at Corpus Christi Church. He reminds veterans that they still serve even if it's been decades since they wore a uniform.



Reverend Morris served along the DMZ in Vietnam from 1966-1969.

Gas station owner shows community pride with special pumps

By Tim Kowols       

Jandu Petroleum owner Parv Jandu is expanding on his support of the communities he serves one fill up at a time. Stations in Brussels, Algoma, Sturgeon Bay, and Carlsville will feature special "pride pumps" assigned to local schools in those areas. Two cents of every gallon purchased at those designated pumps will be donated to the local schools to help fund their academic and athletic programs. Jandu says he wanted to give back to the community.

Gibraltar, Sevastopol, and Sturgeon Bay pride pumps are currently in operation at locations in Carlsville and Sturgeon Bay, while Southern Door and Algoma's are expected to be installed in the coming weeks. You can find the location of those pride pumps in our free daily electronic newspaper.

City of Algoma budget season longer but good news for taxpayers

By Paul Schmitt    

As area municipalities work through budgets for the upcoming year, the City of Algoma has an early Christmas gift for residents.  City Administrator Jeff Wiswell says even though the budget process is taking longer this fall due to a recent hiring of a new public works director and currently interviewing for a new police chief, taxpayers are getting some good news.

Wiswell says running the city is like running a household requiring new ways to receive funds to pay for the cost of inflation and new programs.  He says Algoma is spending about $3.985 million for the city operating budget.  Approximately $130,000 worth of changes were made to balance the budget.

Veteran shares stories from his Cold War book at Sturgeon Bay Library Wednesday

By Paul Schmitt    

Sturgeon Bay native, Jerry Grassel, will be describing his experiences in Europe during the Cold War era at the Door County Library next Wednesday.  Grassel, who served in the U.S. Army during the 1950's and 60's, was based in Germany and worked in the security agency.  He says the stories in the book do not go into detailed aspects of spying, but rather amusing personal stories about his experiences with the German people and his fellow soldiers.


Grassel's presentation on his book, Cold War Stories Unclassified will be at 2 pm Wednesday upstairs at the Sturgeon Bay Library.

Door County celebrates 100th anniversary of World War I armistice

By Tim Kowols       

Even though it will not live up to the billing as "the war to end all wars," Door County Veterans Day ceremonies will highlight the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. A special tribute will take place on Washington Island where the life of Sergeant Charles E. Gislason will be remembered. The island resident fought in World War I and is one of two namesakes for American Legion Post 402. Even though Gislason is long gone, Door County Veterans Service Officer Scott McFarlane says he and other departed veterans are still important to remember.

The Washington Island ceremony will take place Monday at 10:30 a.m. at the Trueblood Performing Arts Center. Sturgeon Bay High School will be the site of the Veterans Day ceremony on the mainland beginning at 10 a.m. and will feature retired Colonel and former Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs John A. Scocos.

Highway 42 project in Kewaunee finishes next week

By Paul Schmitt    

The rehabilitation of Highway 42 in the city of Kewaunee will be complete by next week.  The project began in early August and upgraded the deteriorated pavement on the highway and bridges that is the entrance to Kewaunee from the north.  Mark Kantola of Wisconsin Department of Transportation describes the finishing touches that were done this week.


Kantola says crews will complete punch list items next week like basic clean up and putting down pavement markings.

Local artist exhibit opens this weekend

By Paul Schmitt


The Miller Art Museum is featuring 38 regional artists as part of the 43rd Juried Annual exhibition in Sturgeon Bay.  Curator of Exhibitions and Collections Elizabeth Shoshany Anderson shares what type of two-dimensional art is most popular locally.

Anderson adds that many local artists have created more contemporary pieces of work as well.  The exhibit will run through December 22.  You can see some images of the artwork that will be on display at the Miller Art Museum with this story online.





Liberty Grove Board approves fire department budget increase

By Tim Kowols       

The Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department was ensured it would have the funding needed to replace aging equipment in the future after the board approved its request to increase their budget this week. The resolution was necessary when the fire department's budget was higher than what the town board expected after the electors approved a levy override at its meeting last month. Liberty Grove Town Chairperson John Lowry says what the state sees will remain the same as it was before after the necessary adjustments are made.

The Liberty Grove Town Board also approved soil samples to begin taking place at its recently purchased properties in Gills Rock. It also gave permission to its counsel to do what it felt was best to do moving forward after the Village of Sister Bay requested a summary judgment regarding the ownership of the area's wastewater treatment plant.

Door County 4-H to host Children's Christmas Store

By Tim Kowols       

Area children can get a jump start on their Christmas shopping next Saturday at John Miles County Park in Sturgeon Bay. Door County 4-H members will act as elves during the annual Children's Christmas Store as they help kids shop from an array of donated items and assist in wrapping their gifts when they are done. 4-H Youth Development Educator Dawn Vandevoort says the event is not just fun and festive, but also educational.

The Children's Christmas Store takes place November 17th from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. inside the Junior Fair Building at John Miles County Park. Proceeds from the event go to benefit future Children's Christmas Store events and Door County 4-H.

Thanksgiving tradition benefits Sevastopol secretary, area families

By Tim Kowols       

About twenty minutes is all it takes to make a difference for Door County area families, including that of Sevastopol elementary and athletic secretary Paula Symons. Symons will be the main beneficiary of this year's Jacksonport Thanksgiving Parade after learning she will have a very long medical stay coming up in Milwaukee to help treat her leukemia. Organized by the student councils at Gibraltar and Sevastopol, the eclectic event draws hundreds to Jacksonport for a relatively short, but meaningful parade. Sevastopol Student Council adviser Lindsay de Young says the students still amaze her with how well they work together to put on the parade.

Volunteers are still needed to donate prizes, enter floats, and be route marshals. You can learn more about this year's Jacksonport Thanksgiving Parade on November 22nd online with this story.

Ethics policy to be discussed at upcoming Sturgeon Bay committee meeting

By Tim Kowols       

The Sturgeon Bay Community Protection and Services Committee is taking a page out of Green Bay's code of conduct when it comes to its ethics policy. Rather than creating a new document from scratch, committee members have looked over the city of Green Bay's current ethics policy and are picking out the most relevant items to what they would like to create. Committee chairperson Barb Allmann says even though they have not had major issues, an ethics policy should be written down.

Two aspects of the new ethics policy to be discussed at the meeting November 15th at 4:30 p.m. include incorporating aspects from the Door County Civility Project and allow citizens to alert alderpersons of the potentially unethical behavior of elected officials they might witness.

Marquette School demolition falling off pace

By Tim Kowols       

Kewaunee officials are worried the pace of the demolition of the former Marquette School might be falling off, possibly forcing its contractors to miss their deadline. Locating the building's second basement and underestimating the amount of hazardous materials on the school's bricks are two reasons for the delay. Demolition contractor Dakota Intertek Corporation has assured the city it will meet its deadline, but Kewaunee mayor Sandi Christman is not so sure.

The agreement between the contractor and the city called for the project to be completed in 120 days so the site could be cleaned up and landscaped by the end of the year.

Door County state parks making transition of seasons

By Paul Schmitt    

With the busy season of camping in Door County coming to a close, area state parks are making the change for the anticipated arrival of winter activities.  Michelle Hefty, park manager for Newport and Rock Island State Parks, says after a recent cleanup weekend of brush removal the parks are getting ready for the next wave of outdoor enthusiasts.


Door County has five state parks throughout the peninsula.  Newport State Park was also designated as one of 18 Dark Sky Parks in the United States last year.    You can find information on trails and activities offered at Newport State Park with the link below.

Veterans Day Concert set for Monday in Sturgeon Bay

By Paul Schmitt    

A collection of patriotic music and more will resound Monday evening at the annual Veterans Day Concert of Music and Song in Sturgeon Bay.  The Peninsula Symphonic Band along with the Community Choir of Door County will collaborate on the free performance at Prince of Peace Church.  New Peninsula Symphonic Band Director Jason Palmer says the one-hour concert will feature more than the usual patriotic music.


The concert will begin at 7 pm at the Prince of Peace Church on Michigan Street in Sturgeon Bay.  A free-will offering to benefit the Door County Veterans Council will be made available.

"Deer Hides for Lions Camp" helping make a difference

By Paul Schmitt    

The Forestville-Maplewood Lions Club is again appealing to deer hunters for help in raising funds to send adults and children with special physical and mental needs to a fun-filled summer camp.  Every year donated deer hides are collected and sold to raise the money for Lion's camp.  The state-wide program has collected over a million dollars worth of hides since beginning in 1991.  F-M Lions Club member Tom Mueller shares how hunters can easily drop off the deer hides in Door County.



The deer hides are taken to a warehouse where they are sold.  Mueller says all proceeds go towards the free summer camp programs that run for 11 weeks with about 130 adults and children attending weekly.  The average weekly cost is $800 per person, according to Mueller.  You can find the deer hide drop-off locations below.

Door County Custom Meats in Valmy, the Mini-Mart station on Green Bay Road in Sturgeon Bay or the gas station in Forestville.

Hides can be dropped off in outside bins anytime before December 7.

Pierce extradited to Door County Circuit Court for 1975 murder

By Paul Schmitt    

The man arrested on October 11 in Michigan for a murder of his wife 43 years ago has been extradited to Door County to stand trial.  Richard Pierce of Cheboygan, Michigan is suspected of killing Carol Jean Pierce in September of 1975 in their Sturgeon Bay residence.  Sturgeon Bay Police Captain Dan Brinkman says the department always thought Pierce was guilty of killing his wife.  He says decades of work have finally paid off.


Although a body has not been found, the cold case was reviewed by the Wisconsin Cold Case Review Team of the Wisconsin Association of Homicide Investigators.  They found Pierce was the last person to see his wife alive and benefited from her death, according to the criminal complaint.  Pierce will be in court on December 3rd.


(photo courtesy of Door County Jail)

Town of Lincoln extends large farm creation and expansion moratorium

By Tim Kowols       

Farmers running confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in the Town of Lincoln will not be able to expand for another six months after the board extended its moratorium earlier this week.  Passed in September 2017, the moratorium forbids CAFOs from constructing new or expanding their operations to add more animals. Town board member Nick Cochart says they needed the additional six months because they have not received any solutions on a number of their findings in order to pass more permanent ordinances.

Cochart says the extension was in part because of the board's conversation with Dairy Dreams owner and Peninsula Pride Farms president Don Niles during the meeting about the potential impact of the moratorium and the positive changes being made in their agricultural practices.

Election results could reap compromise in redistricting battle

By Tim Kowols       

With Republicans holding the Legislature and Democrats grasping all of the state's constitutional officer positions, a compromise on redistricting may be on the way. Common Cause Wisconsin Director Jay Heck says the partisan voting maps drawn in 2011 were partly to blame for only one incumbent losing their election Tuesday night despite Democrats being elected U.S. Senator, Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Treasurer. With census maps being set to be redrawn in 2021, Heck believes now is the time to compromise on redistricting reform since alternatives may not appease either party.

Common Cause Wisconsin has advocated state officials to adopt the "Iowa model" for redistricting, which would allow a non-partisan group to redraw the maps based on certain criteria before submitting them for Legislature approval.

Washington Island School improving its safety

By Tim Kowols       

Thanks to two state grants, Washington Island School is making drastic improvements to student safety. The school received two grants from the Wisconsin Department of Justice, totaling over $46,000 to address security upgrades and training for school safety intervention and mental health. Last month, several law enforcement and emergency responder agencies hosted an active shooter training on campus and invited staff members to observe. Washington Island School Principal Michelle Kanipes says it was an eye-opening experience.

Kanipes says like many schools in the state, some of the security upgrades like new doors and entrance system will be installed as contractors have time to do the work. The DOJ has awarded $100 million in safety grants to more than 600 schools since June 1st.

Motorists reminded to keep distance as snow hits forecast

By Tim Kowols       

Motorists in Door and Kewaunee counties could have their first wintry drive of the season when snow hits the area this weekend. Snow is expected to hit the area as soon as Thursday evening and be intermittent through early Saturday morning. According to the National Weather Service, Sister Bay could get between three and four inches of snow while Sturgeon Bay and Kewaunee could get between two and three inches. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says slippery roads are just another reason to keep some distance between you and other vehicles on the road while driving.

Joski recommends motorists stay between 300 and 500 feet away from others on roadways while driving depending on the weight of the vehicle, weather conditions, and rate of speed. You can read the rest of Sheriff Matt Joski's article on the dangers of tailgating online with this story.



This topic is actually closely related to a previous topic as both of these actions are forms of communication. The use of or failure to properly use your high beams indicates a person's consideration for other drivers, and a person's need to "Tailgate" indicates a high degree of aggressiveness and impatience.


First let's establish the statutory language on this issue. State Statute 346.14(1) Auto Following Too Closely" covers this behavior. It states: The operator of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway. The fine for this offense is over $200.00 and a 4 point assessment on your license.

While the statute does not give a specific following distance for passenger vehicles, it does state state that for trucks with a gross weight of 10,000 lbs or more they must maintain a following distance of 500 feet.


So the question is: What is too close? This depends on the traveling speed of both vehicles, as well as the conditions of both the road and the weather. In a city or village at low speeds the distance may be less than when traveling on rural roads where the speeds are greater. The primary concern is related to those rural roads and highways. For these, it is prudent to keep the distance of approx. 300 feet between your vehicle and the vehicle you are following. What is significant about 300 feet? It is the distance between utility poles along the road and a great way to gauge your distance at any given moment.


The reason following too closely is of a concern is that it shows absolute disregard for your safety as well as those you are following. If you consider the reaction time needed when a deer or other object presents itself in your lane of travel, you can imagine the results when that reaction time is eliminated due to following too closely. While the vehicle you are following may be able to see, process and respond, all you will have time to do is create an accident which could lead to not only your own injury but that of your passengers and other motorists.


Many drivers think that if they hug the vehicle in front of them it will somehow force that vehicle to speed up. I am here to tell you that is not the case. Following too Closely is a form of non verbal communication which does nothing more than create not only a dangerous environment but communicate to that driver in front of you that you are nothing more than a rude inconsiderate person who is only focused on your needs.


You can avoid the need to follow too closely by planning ahead and leaving plenty of time for your intended travels. This is especially important as we transition into the winter season, not only because the road conditions will be less forgiving but also because those road conditions can change at a moment's notice and a change of just a few degrees in the temperature can be the difference between stopping and sliding.


If you are the victim of an inconsiderate driver following too closely, please feel free to call law enforcement. Most times these impatient rude drivers follow up their tailgating with a passing maneuver which will give you a great opportunity to get their license plate and allow us to "Educate" them. If you are able to call law enforcement in a safe manner, please do so and if you are willing to give a statement it will give us the ability to heighten that educational experience for them through a citation. For those keeping track our current to date car deer accidents stand at 327. Last year at this time it was 352. That's down a bit so keep up the careful driving!

Kewaunee County budget gives taxpayers a little relief

By Terry Kovarik              

Kewaunee County taxpayers will get a bit of a break on their property tax bills under the nearly $23-million 2019 budget approved by county supervisors. The tax rate dropped from $7.33 to $7.25 per
$1,000 in home value. That'll save the owner of a $150-thousand home just under $7.00. County Administrator Scott Feldt says the closure of the county landfill is also giving taxpayers a break.



Kewaunee County taxpayers also get some relief by removing $1-million earmarked for broadband internet development. A committee is being formed to further discuss and research internet needs before funding is allocated for development.

State Senator Elect Andre Jacque is ready to reach across party lines

By Terry Kovarik              

Nearly five months after losing a special election for Wisconsin's 1st State Senate seat, State Representative Andre Jacque is now looking forward to joining the upper chamber in January. Jacque, a Republican from De Pere, defeated incumbent Democratic State Senator Caleb Frostman from Sturgeon Bay. Jacque's victory helped the GOP extend its majority in the State Senate. The new term, however, will have Democrat Tony Evers in the Governor's office. Jacque says in the State Assembly he looked beyond party labels and will do the same in the Senate.



Prior to his election to the State Assembly in 2010, Andre Jacque worked as a transit planning coordinator, communications director and a grant-writing consultant.

Civil Discourse: A post-election call to civility

By Roger Utnehmer                          

Thank you to those who cared enough about democracy to vote and to the candidates who cared enough to put their names on ballots and compete for public office.

Congratulations to the winners. May this be an opportunity to recommit to civility in our civic discourse. We need public officials confident enough to compromise when appropriate, to cross aisles when it serves the common good and to reject the rhetoric of division.

People of good will are divided. Many today are frustrated with the inability of elected officials to cooperate. Elections present opportunity to improve as incumbents are affirmed and new leaders are elected.

We owe sincere appreciation to those who serve. Far too few today are willing to sacrifice their privacy and endure the personal attacks leveled at public officials. We need civil disagreement or few will have an interest in public service.

Again, I say to those who ran, thank you. To those who won, please commit to civil discourse, compromise and bipartisanship.

And to those who allow others to manage the affairs of government please give public servants the respect and civility they deserve.

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

Walker concedes to Evers

By Terry Kovarik              

Republican Governor Scott Walker has conceded the governor's race to Democrat Tony Evers.   According to a statement on his campaign website, Walker made the concession in a telephone call to Evers this afternoon.  He pledged his full cooperation and that of his staff in the transition process.

Door County architect part of a meeting of the minds on affordable housing

By Terry Kovarik              

A local architect is joining other experts to find ways of coming up with local homes that are affordable and energy efficient. Virge Temme is among eight experts making presentations at a conference in Green Bay. Temme's presentation will look back at the evolution of family home building and financing. She says it will also offer options for designing affordable and environmentally friendly houses for Northeast Wisconsin.



Temme is finding more people who want smaller homes that are more efficient to heat and cool with the changing seasons.

City pulls out of legislative solution to waterfront development

By Roger Utnehmer                          

The Sturgeon Bay city council voted Tuesday to rescind a request that the Wisconsin state legislature determine the ordinary high water mark on the west side waterfront. The vote was six to one with council member David Ward voting no.

Council member Kelly Catarozoli said that if the request for a legislative solution was not rescinded the city would be in for eight to ten years of litigation.



Catarozoli said the waterfront development controversy is better handled locally.



Ward said rescinding the request for special legislation weakens the city's position in pending litigation.

Film starring Door County native nominated for top documentary awards

By Paul Schmitt    

John Adams, a Door County native, is featured in a documentary film that is garnering national attention.  "Dark Money" is a political thriller that was recently nominated for top documentary awards.  Adams, an investigative reporter and editor of the Montana Free Press, stars in the film which is nominated for four critics' choice awards including best documentary feature, best director and best editing.  The International Documentary Association also nominated "Dark Money" for its IDA awards best feature.  Adams says the film shows viewers the flow of anonymous corporate contributions into the political system.


The award-winning documentary film "Dark Money" premiered at the Sundance Festival back in January and was released in select theaters this past summer.  It is now available to stream exclusively through's Prime Video.  You can watch a trailer video of "Dark Money" with the link below.

Jacque bests Frostman in 1st State Senate race rematch

By Terry Kovarik              

The rematch in the Ist State Senate District race ended with a different outcome Tuesday night. Republican State Representative Andre Jacque came out the winner against incumbent Democratic State Senator Caleb Frostman. Both men competed for the same seat during a special election in June after then-Senator Frank Lasee resigned to take a job with the Walker Administration. Frostman prevailed in that match. Jacque's victory last night returns the Senate seat to the Republican column, where it had been for over 40-years.

Sternard wins close Door County Sheriff Race

By Paul Schmitt    

Door County elected the second-ever woman to the office of Sheriff Tuesday night.  Lieutenant Tammy Sternard defeated Chief Deputy Pat McCarty by 323 votes in a closely contested race.  The final count was 8,609 to 8,286.  Final results came in shortly after 10:30 pm after waiting on Baileys Harbor for with the final precinct report.  Sternard will now replace Sheriff Steve Delarwelle, who chose not to run for re-election. She says she is looking forward to taking over the new leadership position in the Sheriff's Office.


Sternard will take office in 2019.  She becomes the second woman to be elected Door County Sheriff. Gloria Bridenhagen was elected in 1966 and served two years.  Current Sheriff Steve Delarwelle says Bridenhagen succeeded her husband, Hollis "Baldy" Bridenhagen, who had to step down due to term limits.   Gloria was succeeded by Baldy two-years later when he became eligible to run again.

Kitchens re-elected as 1st District representative

By Paul Schmitt    

1st District Representative Republican Joel Kitchens defeated Independent challenger Roberta Thelen in Tuesday's election.  In Door County, Kitchens won by a 65 to 35 percent margin.  Kitchens, a Republican from Sturgeon Bay, will be serving his third term in the Wisconsin Assembly.  The 1st District covers Door, Kewaunee and parts of Brown counties.

Jacque defeats Frostman for State Senate

By Paul Schmitt    

After losing a close race seven months ago, Republican Andre Jacque defeated incumbent Caleb Frostman for the 1st District State Senate seat Tuesday night.  Frostman won the special election over Jacque in June to fill the open seat that was vacated by Frank Lasee.  This time Jacque claimed 54-46 percent of the overall vote to claim the victory.  Frostman did capture the Door County vote with a 55-44 edge.

Gibraltar, Sevastopol and Southern Door referendums pass

By Paul Schmitt and Tim Kowols      

The three Door County Schools were able to pass their referendums Tuesday night.

Southern Door voters approved both questions on the ballot Tuesday evening. The first referendum question is for $6,270,000 to pay for building upgrades.  It passed by a 60-40 percent margin. The second question is a one-year, $450,000 operational referendum that would help maintain its current services.  It passed by a 59-41 percent margin. Superintendent Patti Vickman says Tuesday's results put Southern Door School District's funding on par with others in the state.

Gibraltar School District voters approved both referendum questions for funding its operations and facility upgrades. The building referendum would ask for $4.4 million to remodel the library/media center, classrooms, and other improvements. It passed by a 70-30 percent margin.  The operational referendum passed by a 70-30 percent margin as well.  It overrides current revenue limits by $1.4 million next school year, $2.8 million for 2020-21, and $4.2 million in 2021-22.


Sevastopol approved the $25.1 million building referendum by a 69-31 percent margin.   It will allow the district to replace the structures in the poorest condition with modern facilities that address educational and safety needs. A second question was also approved for a $2 million operational referendum.  The question passed by a 62-38 percent margin. Superintendent Kyle Luedtke thanked the over 3,000 voters for casting their ballots for the referendum and the donors of an additional $2,040,000 towards the project.

Door County Clerk Jill Lau estimates voter turnout was above 80 percent, which was well above the expected national average of around 50 percent.

Rep. Mike Gallagher wins re-election for the 8th District Congressional

By Paul Schmitt    

Incumbent Republican Mike Gallagher retained his seat in the 8th Congressional District with a convincing win over Democratic challenger Beau Liegeois. In Door County, Gallagher won by a 58-42 percent margin.  Gallagher won for the second time after being elected in 2016.

Use of Sturgeon Bay's controversial Waterfront Redevelopment Authority Dumped

By Roger Utnehmer                          

The Sturgeon Bay city council adopted a resolution Tuesday declaring intent to abandon use of the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority.

The WRA became an issue in the last city council elections because of its support for a controversial hotel development on the west side waterfront.   Hotel construction was blocked when challenged by Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront on grounds that the location of the hotel is former lakebed and, consequently, cannot be used for private development.

Council member Kelly Avenson challenged Mayor Thad Birmingham, questioning his right to comment on the WRA.


The resolution to abandon use of the WRA was 6 to 1 with council member David Ward voting no.  The council went into a closed session to discuss a lawsuit with hotel developer Robert Papke and litigation over the lawsuit filed by Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront.

The exchange between council members and Birmingham is posted with this story at

Local agriculture agents applaud new organic farming apprenticeships

By Terry Kovarik              

Local manufacturers and builders have long been connected with apprenticeship programs to train future crafts workers. Now the state has started a new apprenticeship for agriculture. Wisconsin is the first state to establish the Organic Vegetable Farm Manager Registered Apprenticeship program. Kewaunee County U-W Extension Ag Agent Aerica Bjurstrom says Wisconsin is the perfect place for such a program.



Such apprenticeships offer a combination of classroom instruction and on-the-job training developed by area technical colleges.

Door County couple ends 25-years or helping Meals on Wheels

By Terry Kovarik              

Marg Fink wanted to give back to her community when she and her husband, Bob, retired to Sturgeon Bay 25-years
ago. She decided the nearby Senior Center was a good opportunity since it was close to home. Marg started delivering for Meals on Wheels and was joined by Bob when he became a little concerned about Marg driving alone in winter. From that point on, the two remained a Meals on Wheels delivery team. Marg called it a great way to meet people, who were grateful for the food and company.



Bob Fink says Meals on Wheels has been a great way to remain connected to the community and a great source for stories.



Now Bob and Marg Fink are stepping aside from Meals on Wheels after a quarter century. Marg injured her leg, which kept her from making deliveries. So they decided it's time for Marg, who's 86, and Bob, who's 91, to step aside and let someone "younger" take over.

Door County Community Foundation Community Center ready for public use

By Terry Kovarik              

The Door County Community Foundation is showing civic groups and community organizations they have a place to meet for free. The foundation held the official grand opening of the new Community Foundation Square on Third Avenue in Sturgeon Bay. It's been available for public use since November 1st. Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy say the center has also hosted several events.



If you'd like to learn more about the Community Foundation Square, click here.

Museum will display Kewaunee Lighthouse lens quickly after removal

By Terry Kovarik              

Once the U.S. Coast Guard removes the Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse Fresnel lens it won't be long before it will be displayed at the Kewaunee County History Center. The lens had been scheduled for removal in the Spring of 2019. Now it's set for next week since all historical documentation was completed earlier than expected. Robin Nelson, of the City of Kewaunee Lighthouse Committee, says she's still cautious about when the removal will happen and glad that will happen sooner rather than later.



The U.S. Coast Guard also plans to remove the Fresnel lens from the Algoma Pierhead Lighthouse next week as well. That lense will go to a museum in Milwaukee.

Farber to resign from Liberty Grove Town Board

By Tim Kowols       

The Liberty Grove Town Board will consider the resignation of supervisor Gary Farber when it meets on Wednesday evening. Farber submitted his letter of resignation recently due to ongoing health concerns that have forced him to miss several meetings. Town chairperson John Lowry has served on the board with Farber for six to eight years. He says Farber's presence will be missed.

Lowry says it is likely the board will ask for interested people to apply to be appointed to the seat for the remainder of the term which ends in April. The Liberty Grove Town Board will open its meeting at 6 p.m. before heading into closed session to discuss its recent acquisition of property in Gills Rock and its ongoing lawsuit with the Village of Sister Bay regarding the ownership of the area's wastewater treatment plant.

Merry Time Festival of Trees kicks off holiday season in Door County

By Tim Kowols       

The first signs of the Christmas season have already started to line-up along exhibit hall walls at the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay. The Merry-Time Festival of Trees kicks off this Saturday with close to  30 businesses showing off their yuletide decorating skills. Community Engagement Coordinator Carrie Dorski says it is a great time to check out the museum.

A holiday card workshop and the annual visit from Santa on the Tug John Purves highlight this year's Merry-Time Festival of Trees which runs until December 11th. You can visit this story online for specific details on events occurring during this year's festival.


Click here for this year's full schedule

Broadband funding pulled from Kewaunee County budget

By Tim Kowols       

The Kewaunee County budget will not feature a line item for broadband Internet expansion after it was formally approved by a 19-1 vote. The lone dissenting vote was made by Algoma supervisor Linda Teske. An allocation of one million dollars for the expansion project was ultimately nixed by the full board because the lack of a firm plan for the money being budgeted. Kewaunee County Board member Lee Luft says he was in support of the broadband expansion funding staying in the budget. He believes the line item was a strong message to the entire community that Kewaunee County was ready to improve its current broadband infrastructure.

Luft says he was encouraged by Kewaunee County Board Chairperson Robert Weidner's commitment to creating a commission to evaluate different proposals and come up with a solid plan. The board also approved contributing $40,000 to the Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation to fund their efforts.

Washington Island electric cable work faces delays

By Terry Kovarik              

Work on the new electrical power cable between the Door County mainland and Washington Island is proceeding. The completion of the project, however, will take a little while longer. The first reel of the submarine cable arrived Saturday. Washington Island Electric Cooperative Manager Robert Cornell says workers are awaiting another shipment of submarine cable and for weather conditions to cooperate.



Cornell expects the new submarine cable to be operational in early December.


Local schools working hard to showcase careers to students

By Tim Kowols       

Schools in Door and Kewaunee counties are making sure their students see a world of opportunity locally through a number of different events. Last month, Door County students headed to the Sturgeon Bay Industrial Park for Manufacturing Day while Kewaunee County students learned about agriculture careers at Kinnard Farms in Casco. Last week, Kewaunee High School hosted its second annual career day, which brought together over 700 students from the area with 60 different businesses and organizations. Principal Mark Dax believes businesses are seeing the benefit of interacting with youth when it comes to job recruitment.

Dax says the event also helps kids learn which post-secondary path is most beneficial for their career choice.

Algoma reacts to FCC proposal to defund cable public access channels

By Terry Kovarik              

The City of Algoma plans to invest $25,000-$40,000 in new digital TV equipment for its cable public access channel. The Federal Communications Commission, however, is considering a rule that could defund such channels. The proposal would assign a monetary value to the public channels, include them in the franchise fee cable companies pay to communities and cap those payments at five-percent of gross revenue. The FCC says such channels currently are a barrier to a cable company's profitability. Algoma City Administrator Jeff Wiswell says it's hard to put a price on what the current public access cable channel provides to his community.



Currently, such public, education and government access channels are offered free as a condition of a local government granting providers a cable TV franchise.

A Salute to Veterans Dinner this Saturday

By Paul Schmitt    

Area military veterans will be honored this Saturday with a free dinner and program in Sturgeon Bay.  "A Salute to Veterans" will be held at the Corpus Christi parish social hall honoring those who served in the military from the greater Sturgeon Bay area. The evening will include a special program including the presentation of colors, entertainment, and dinner.  Bill Sauve of the parish mission says the evening will also include a speaker with an interesting background.

Complimentary tickets were given to local veterans in advance before being sold to the public for $15 each.  The event is sponsored by the Greater Catholic Community of Sturgeon Bay and the Door County Veterans Office.  All proceeds from Saturday's event will benefit the Door County Veterans Council to provide help to veterans in need.


For more information contact Bill Sauve at 920-746-7656

Polls open from 7 am until 8 pm today for election – Coverage on WBDK 96.7FM after 8 pm

By Paul Schmitt    

Kewaunee and Door County residents will have the opportunity to vote on key races Tuesday in the fall general election.  Besides the statewide races, local voters will have an opportunity to choose a new Door County Sheriff as Chief Deputy Pat McCarty is facing Lieutenant Tammy Sternard.  Incumbent Republican Joel Kitchens looks to keep his seat as the 1st State District Representative against Independent Roberta Thelen. Democratic State Senator Caleb Frostman looks to keep his job for a full-term against special election opponent and Republican state Assembly member Andre Jacque.  The 8th Congressional District will have Democratic challenger Beau Liegeois take on incumbent Republican Mike Gallagher.  Sevastopol School District, Gibraltar Area School District, and Southern Door School District will have referendums on the ballot as well. and WBDK 96.7FM will have complete coverage of election results beginning after 8 pm Tuesday night.

Local gasoline dealer says talk of falling prices means good business

By Terry Kovarik              

Door and Kewaunee County drivers will see cheaper gasoline prices. Falling prices nationwide are due in part to lower demand, steady growth in crude oil inventories and recent drops in crude oil prices. Parv Jandu, owner of Jandu Petroleum, doesn't like to speculate about how long low prices will last. He just says they're good for his business and his customers.



AAA says the lower gasoline prices nationwide come after one of the priciest summers for driving since 2014.

Local architect sees trend for smaller houses

By Terry Kovarik              

When it comes to building a dream home in Door County at least one local architect says her customers are thinking smaller. Virge Temme of Sturgeon Bay specializes in environmentally responsible and energy efficient homes. She's finding more people just want to keep things simpler.



All of this comes as a National Association of Home Builders survey finds that more than half of Americans would consider living in a home that's 600-square feet or less. Temme says she's known some people that own such tiny houses as places to get away from it all. She adds few would consider living in such small houses permanently.

Chambers Island Lighthouse volunteer keeper not ready to step aside yet

By Terry Kovarik              

Joel Blahnik is marking 44-years as volunteer keeper of the Chambers Island Lighthouse Park and he says he's not about to retire just yet. While he needs a wheelchair to get around, his wife, Mary Ann, and some friends help tend to the lighthouse, where the couple lives during the summer. Blahnik is linked to the island having also served as a boat captain for the former Holy Name Retreat House for 30-years. He came to the lighthouse's rescue after an automated light was built and the lighthouse abandoned in 1961.



Blahnik went to the National Archives in Washington D.C. to get historical documents on rescues from the lighthouse between it's opening in 1867 until the 1940's when the Coast Guard took over operations. He convinced town officials to purchase the lighthouse and 40-acres for one-dollar. Blahnik says he wanted to make sure taxpayers and their families had access to a piece of Door County's past.



Blahnik says the welcoming atmosphere at lighthouse park is in contrast to the days when it was under mostly private ownership. He says it wasn't uncommon for property owners to meet boaters approaching the shore with shotguns and a warning to stay away.

All wind turbine towers dismantled in the Town of Lincoln

By Terry Kovarik              

Some of Northeast Wisconsin's first wind power turbine generators have been completely dismantled in Kewaunee County. Wisconsin Public Service Corporation began removing the 14 windmills in the Town of Lincoln just after they were taken offline at the end of September. WPS Senior Communications Specialist Matt Cullen says the actual removal process went quickly.



Cullen says land restoration will be finished by the end of November about a month ahead of schedule. The Town of Lincoln windmills were originally scheduled to remain in operation until 2029. New additions of solar and more advanced wind power generators by WPS made the Kewaunee County facility obsolete.

Avenson, Catarozoli to ask Common Council to rescind waterfront resolution

By Tim Kowols       

Kelly Catarozoli and Kelly Avenson will ask the Sturgeon Bay Common Council Tuesday to rescind a resolution asking for special legislation regarding the west side waterfront property. The resolution, approved on June 6th, 2017, asked the Wisconsin legislature to make a final determination of the ordinary high water mark for Parcel 92 and 100 so possible redevelopment plans could be determined. The issue was not taken up by the state since the resolution and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has both issued and rescinded its official determination of the ordinary high water mark for the two parcels. Catarozoli says she believes such action would set a negative precedent for the rest of the state.

Tuesday's Common Council meeting at 7 p.m. will also include a request for proposals for the site's redevelopment and a resolution to declare the body's intent to discontinue using the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority. The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will also meet in closed session to discuss its ongoing lawsuits with Sawyer Hotel Development and the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront.

Charitable giving expected to be down this year

By Tim Kowols       

Tax code changes might keep more cash in your pocket, but it could also be to blame for less money going to charities. The passing of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act doubled the standard deduction for married couples to $24,000. The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center estimates that with less itemized deductions that charitable giving could drop more than $20 billion, or six percent, in 2018. Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy says they have seen a lower level of donations so far this year, but believes supporting local charities is still important.

With charitable giving entering its highest point of the year, Bicoy says it is important for charities to recognize the things they can do to encourage people to remain generous.

Balancing differing deer herd levels in Door and Kewaunee Counties

By Terry Kovarik              

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources continues efforts to balance the 2018 deer harvest for Door and Kewaunee Counties. That's in line with the decisions of county deer advisory councils in both areas made in 2014. DNR Wildlife Biologist Josh Martinez says in Door County the goals are to reduce the deer herd, and the agriculture damages it causes, by offering five antlerless deer tags and expanded hunting options.



Kewaunee County, on the other hand, wants to maintain herd numbers. Martinez says that's because of different herd management options.



Deer advisory councils are set up in all 72 Wisconsin counties. They're made up of local residents representing hunters, farmers and timber producers who determine whether to increase, reduce or maintain deer herds in their counties.

Brussels Lions Club earns top district honors

By Tim Kowols       

Brussels Lions members were awarded 27B2 Club of the Year honors at the organization's district awards ceremony on Saturday. The club beat out 70 others to earn the distinction thanks to strong membership recruitment numbers and their commitment to a number of different service projects. Brussels Lions Club Secretary Penny Wautier, who also received International President Gudren's "New Voices" award for her work with membership, says it is a recognition of the great things they try to do for the community.

Wautier says Brussels Lions members were among the only ones in the district to complete service projects in five key areas: vision, hunger, environment, youth, and diabetes.

Fresnel lenses will be removed from Kewaunee and Algoma lighthouses next week

By Terry Kovarik              

UPDATE: Robin Nelson, Chair of the City of Kewaunee Lighthouse Committee, received a telephone call this afternoon from the U.S. Coast Guard saying that, weather permitting, the Kewaunee and Algoma lighthouse lenses will be moved between November 12th through November 14th.


The Kewaunee County History Center will not have to wait until next spring to get the historic Fresnel lens from the Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse. The U.S. Coast Guard had delayed the removal of lenses from both Kewaunee and the Algoma Pierhead Lighthouses while historic documentation was being filed on the Algoma lens. Coast Guard Environmental Engineer Wayne Kean says that process is done and the lens removals have been rescheduled.



Once the Kewaunee and Algoma lighthouse lenses are removed only about 10 Great Lakes lighthouse will still have operating Fresnel lenses.

Important to curb emotional spending

By Tim Kowols       

Whether it is for good or bad reasons, emotional spending can cost you lots of money if you do not recognize it. It is part of the reason why Money Management Counselors in Sturgeon Bay sits down with clients to listen to their stories and get to the root cause of their spending habits. Gay Pustaver from Money Management Counselors says deep issues like overcompensating with gift giving despite changes to their financial situations are among the leading causes of emotional spending. encourages consumers to also avoid impulse buys, limit temptations, and find alternative activities to curb emotional spending.

Great Lakes Lighthouse lenses removed to prevent further deterioration

By Terry Kovarik              

The on-going removal of historic Fresnel lenses from all Great Lakes Lighthouses, like those in Kewaunee and Algoma, is an effort to save the lenses from deterioration. Fresnel lens technology originated in the early 19th century and many of the original Great Lakes lighthouse lenses date back to the later part of that century. U.S. Coast Guard Environmental Engineer Wayne Kean says while Fresnel lenses were built solid they can break down and have become harder to maintain.



Kean says with the development of LED technology newer lighthouse beacons can send out brighter light over similar distances to Fresnel lights.

No drivers license is no problem for voting with other legal ID's

By Terry Kovarik              

A drivers license is the ideal photo identification to have on election day. If you don't or can't drive, however, that doesn't mean you can't cast a ballot if you're registered to vote. League of Women Voters of Door County PR Coordinator Shirley Senarighi says other government issued ID's are acceptable.



Unexpired college student photo ID cards, registered tribal ID cards, unexpired receipts for a Wisconsin drivers licenses and a certificate of naturalization with a photo are also acceptable at Wisconsin polling places.

Local workshops will help you write your great American novel

By Terry Kovarik              

You've had the idea for a science fiction fantasy set around the Death's Door straits or a comedy detailing a less than perfect camping trip to Washington Island. Now the Door County Library is offering a series of workshops as part National Novel Writing Month.  Adult Services Librarian Beth Lokken says they take you through the writing process and more.



The first workshop in the National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, starts November 6th at 6:30 at the Door County Library on South 4th Avenue in Sturgeon Bay.

Camera captures weather videos at Chaudoirs Dock

By Terry Kovarik              

Anyone looking to visit Chaudoirs Dock in Brussels can get a clear idea of how weather conditions have been through the day. The Door County Parks Department has set up a video camera and recording system at the dock. Facilities and Parks Director Wayne Spritka says the new set up allows viewers to see the current conditions and see whether they want to visit Chaudoirs Dock.



The camera has been up at Chaudoirs Dock for about three weeks. Spritka will be giving a demonstration and progress report at this Wednesday's Facilities and Parks meeting.  To view images from the Chaudoirs Dock camera click here.

The war story a Door County marine never told his daughter

By Terry Kovarik              

Lisa Krause went with her father, Marvin Taylor of Sturgeon Bay, on the recent Old Glory Honor Flight. Before they left, Krause learned that Taylor, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, was involved in Operation: Kingfisher. Its objective was to hold back North Vietnamese regular armed forces in Quang Tri province. It lasted from mid-July through late October of 1967 and, as Krause found out, was one of the bloodiest battles of the war. She finds it hard to believe that her father is still here five-decades later.





Krause says her father never mentioned his involvement in the battle and his role in making sure fallen comrades made the final journey home. Krause is especially amazed that Marvin Taylor survived even though there wasn't much waiting for him back home.




During the Old Glory Honor Flight visit to Washington D.C., Marvin Taylor paid tribute to those killed in Operation: Kingfisher by visiting the Vietnam Veterans Memorial with help from his daughter.

A forgivable home down payment program available locally

By Terry Kovarik              

Local low-income home shoppers can borrow money for a down payment and have it forgiven. The Wisconsin Downpayment Plus Program provides a grant to qualifying homebuyers. While it does require purchasers to have some money up front, Nicolet Bank Retail Banker Kelly Peterik says borrowers can more than get their money back.



Downpayment Plus can also be used with other grants available through agencies such as Lakeshore CAP. For more information click here.

Local law enforcement and human services team up to aid mental health issues

By Terry Kovarik              

Kewaunee County Sheriff's Deputies have a direct link to help people they meet up with who may be dealing with a mental health crisis. The sheriff's department has contacts with the Kewaunee County Department of Human Services staff who are available around the clock. Sheriff Matt Joski says by having quick access to such experts they can keep mental health situations from becoming criminal matters.



Other communities are also taking steps to help those in crisis, including having professionals with mental health counseling as part of their law enforcement staff.

Cherry Lanes relaunches as a family fun venue

By Terry Kovarik              

Cherry Lanes is beginning a new chapter in its history. It started life as a bowling alley and ballroom. It now offers four lanes for bowling and an arcade offering games from the 1980 and one from the 1940's. Kevin and Erin Bosman have renovated the business so it's reminiscent of its past with some modern attractions. Cherry Lanes and Arcade reopened this week and Kevin Bosman says it got a warm reception on Friday.



The ballroom still exists on the second floor. Kevin Bosman says refurbishing that area will be part of phase two.




Door County Clean Sweep a success

By Terry Kovarik              

Homeowners and farmers kept tons of household and agriculture chemicals out of landfills and groundwater with a quick trip to the Door County Highway Department in Sturgeon Bay. Operation Clean Sweep is held every two years to give people a chance to get rid of solvents, paints, fertilizers and other chemical wastes. The Clean Sweep costs county taxpayers $45-thousand dollars, not including help from grant monies. Highway Commissioner John Kolodziej says participants see it as a worthwhile investment.



Those like Jacksonport resort owner Elizabeth LeClair and Sturgeon Bay homeowner Michael Shaw say it provides a needed option to safely dispose of chemicals.



The Sturgeon Bay event drew just under 250 people. A similar Clean Sweep for residents in and around Sister Bay on Friday drew 124 people, which Kolodziej says is better than anticipated.

Door County business owners had a great summer and fall season

By Terry Kovarik              

A slow start for Door County tourism is ending strong. Some area business owners say they were a bit concerned about visitors delaying trips because of late-season snowstorms. For Wood Orchard Market owner Krista Kochanski and Carroll House Restaraunt owner Eddie Jauregui, those concerns now seem unfounded now after terrific summer and strong fall business.



Both plan to stay open, primarily on weekends, through the end of November.

Lifting the barriers between veterans and their benefits

By Tim Kowols       

County veterans' service officers (CVSOs) are working against several barriers to get residents the benefits they deserve. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, over 363,000 veterans call Wisconsin home with more than half of them above the age of 65. While today's military members have classes about how the VA can help them in the future, older veterans came home under much different circumstances. It can especially hard in more rural areas where clinics are often far away and Internet connections are sub-par. Kewaunee County Veterans Service Officer Jane Babcock says they have outreach in different ways just to find people who might need their help.

Babcock encourages veterans and their spouses to visit their local CVSO and learn more about the benefits they are entitled to because of their service.

Voter purge laws exist, but not as strict in Wisconsin

By Tim Kowols       

Wisconsin voters will not have to worry about temporarily losing the ability to vote if they miss a trip to the polls on Tuesday. States like Georgia and Ohio have been in the middle controversies in recent weeks due to strict "use or lose it" laws that allowed officials to purge people from voter rolls if they had not participated in recent elections and failed to respond to mailed notices from the state. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin can purge people from the list who have not voted in four years and do not respond to mailed notices. Common Cause Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck says while Wisconsin's system is not as severe as other states, there is no reason to believe it could not be in the future.

Those who did not cast an early ballot are reminded to bring proper identification when they head to their proper polling place to vote on Tuesday.

Luxemburg-Casco School District planning new fitness center and gym

By Paul Schmitt    

After getting two referendums passed earlier this year, the Luxemburg-Casco School District is moving forward on the plans to upgrade the high school.  School Superintendent Glenn Schlender says the plan to initially expand the current cafeteria was not needed.  He says because three lunch periods could be done for the middle and high schools, the area originally planned for more cafeteria space could be used for a fitness center.


Schlender adds that adjacent to the fitness area will be a study hall area, a lobby for the new gymnasium and a three-station full court gym.  The change in scope will also include a brand new wrestling practice facility to accommodate all students, according to Schlender.  Hopes are to have the project completed by the 2019-20 school year.

Miller Art Museum concludes year with Juried Art exhibit

By Paul Schmitt    

The Miller Art Museum's 43rd Juried Annual exhibition will open to the public next Saturday.  The exhibit will feature 38 contemporary regional artists living in Northeastern Wisconsin including Door and Kewaunee counties.  Elizabeth Shoshany Anderson from the Miller Art Museum says this year's 48 chosen entries include a wide range of artwork.


The exhibit will run from November 10 through December 22.  You can see some images of the artwork that will be on display at the Miller Art Museum's 43rd Annual Juried exhibition with this story online.

  1. Thomas Jordan, Entering the Ring, digital photograph. Image courtesy of Thomas Jordan.

  2. Mara Manning, Subtle Changes, oil and cold wax painting on birch panel. Image courtesy of Mara Manning.

  3. Sandra Martinez, The Walk Home, acrylic painting. Image Courtesy of Sandra Martinez.

  4. Joan Emmett, Great Uncle Logos, digital collage. Image courtesy of Joan Emmett.

  5.   Susan Reynolds-Smith, Hay Bales II,oil painting. Image courtesy of Susan Reynolds-Smith.

  6. Gail Ann Anderson, Stop, Stop!,oil painting. Image courtesy of Gail Ann Anderson.

Volunteers make the Door County Land Trust thrive

By Paul Schmitt    

Like many other organizations in the area, the Door County Land Trust depends on volunteers to help with many of their many projects and workdays.  Executive Director Tom Clay says the over 100 volunteers are the lifeblood of the Door County Land Trust.


The Door County Land Trust protects more than 8,000 acres of and manages 14 nature preserves.  You can find information on volunteering and land preserves in Door County with this story online.

Farmers prepping for next year with hopes of milk price increase

By Paul Schmitt    

Area farmers are making the transition from harvesting to maintenance.  With the majority of field work completed for the season and crops stored for the fall, local farmers are already thinking towards next year.  Jim Wautier of Church-Site Farms in Brussels and a member of the Ag Advisory Board says now is a good time to check over farm equipment.


Wautier says the next duties on the farm will be getting the cattle and buildings ready for the cold winter.  He says the milking operations on the dairy farm are going well but would be better if milk prices would go up.  According to Wisconsin Agriculturist, the USDA is forecasting a 1.5 percent increase in milk production for 2019.

Annual Childrens Book Drive begins this weekend

By Paul Schmitt    

The 2018 Children's Book Drive for underprivileged kids throughout the area has kicked-off this season.  The annual drive has collected over 13,000 books since it began 20 years ago.  Books can be dropped off at Craig's Piggly Wiggly in Algoma or Bayside Home Medical in Sturgeon Bay.  Kewaunee County Food Pantry Director Ken Marquardt explains the importance of having the campaign every year.


Gently used or new books can be donated for the Children's Book Drive until December 15.  The Kewaunee County Food Pantry in Algoma and Door County Feed my People in Sturgeon Bay will then distribute the books to children throughout the holidays and into next year.

Viste wins State Support Staff Member of the Year award

By Paul Schmitt    

Dan Viste, Southern Door Schools Maintenance and Transportation Director, was honored this week with a state award.  The Wisconsin Rural Schools Association presented Viste with the State Support Staff Member of the Year award in the Wisconsin Dells on Monday.  Viste credits his staff in making the recognition possible.


Viste has been working for the Southern Door School District the last 25 years.  He says winning the award is a reflection of the hard work done by everyone at the school.



(Picture courtesy of Southern Door County School District)  Kim Kaukl (Executive Director of WiRSA); Dan Viste; and Bob Houts (District Administrator from Owen-Withee - presenter of the award)

Egg Harbor to look to residents for comprehensive plan review

By Tim Kowols       

There will be plenty of opportunities for Egg Harbor residents to make their opinion known about the future of the village. Egg Harbor officials will host a number of public hearings and less formal pop-up meetings to discuss the revision of the village's comprehensive plan over the next several months. Establishing an architectural review board, studying the village's parking and wastewater treatment plans, and looking at potential public-private partnerships are just some of the items likely up for discussion according to Egg Harbor Administrator Ryan Heise. He hopes residents show up to listen in and participate.

No dates are set in stone yet, but Heise says they will make sure they host some sessions during the times when seasonal residents are around.

Sturgeon Bay band commissions 50th anniversary musical arrangement

By Tim Kowols       

For the first time in its history, the Sturgeon Bay High School band will have a music piece it can truly call its own.  The band commissioned composer Randall Standridge of Arkansas to arrange a piece to commemorate the school's 50th anniversary.  Sturgeon Bay band director Heidi Hintz talked with Standridge about her group's strengths and preferences earlier this year before letting him get to work. Hintz says having the piece commissioned will give students a chance to see the composition process from creating an idea to getting it published.

Band students fundraised $3,500 to help make the composition happen. Hintz and the Sturgeon Bay band hope to get an initial draft of the piece in January or February before premiering the final arrangement at graduation.

Holiday campaigns a special time for area families

By Tim Kowols       

The spirit of the holidays begins to shine brightly this time of year as some families sign up for various gift giving campaigns over the next several weeks. Toys for Tots and Chop 'n' Shop with a Cop events in Door and Kewaunee counties are just some of the ways community members can help make the Christmas season brighter for their less fortunate neighbors. Kewaunee County Sheriff and Marine veteran Matt Joski organizes the area's Toys for Tots Drive and participates in two other Christmas-related campaigns through the season. Joski says even though they have national notoriety, the programs themselves are all local.

Families interested in participating in Toys for Tots need to bring the necessary paperwork to three sign-up days this month, including Saturday in Kewaunee. Donations can be made at 26 different Kewaunee County businesses through December 21st before they are distributed the following day.


Picture courtesy of Matt Joski

Information for Kewaunee County residents only 

Sign up November 3rd thru November 17th ONLY

Toys for Tots is for children 16 and under.


  1. Picture ID for ALL adults in the household

  2. Proof of current address (rent receipt, utility bill, recently postmarked mail)

  3. Birth certificate or other verification of birth dates for ALL children in the household (birth certificate, shot record, birth announcement)


Saturday, November 3          10 am - noon

Location:   Kewaunee Public Library

822 Juneau St. Kewaunee


 Saturday, November 10                  10 am – noon

Location:   Algoma Public Library

406 Fremont St. Algoma


Saturday, November 17        10 am – noon

Location:   Village of Luxemburg Municipal Building

206 Maple St. Luxemburg


**If you need a translator, please bring one with you**

Please do not arrive any earlier than the times listed above.

Veterans return home from whirlwind Old Glory Honor Flight

By Tim Kowols       

It was the welcoming many of the 70 veterans, including five from Door and Kewaunee counties, never received as they walked through the crowded terminal at Austin Straubel Airport in Green Bay.  Old Glory Honor Flight's 48th mission took veterans from around northeast Wisconsin for a day trip to Washington D.C. to see the sights, rub shoulders with retired Green Bay Packers players, and reconnect with fellow members of the military that served as far back as World War II. Thursday marked the second time Forestville's Bill Wotochek, a United States Army Vietnam veteran, had been to Washington D.C. Wotochek says the trip, including the in-flight mail call and welcome home celebration, was everything and more than he expected.

Old Glory Honor Flight has taken thousands of veterans to Washington D.C. since it became a hub in 2009. The organization will take veterans back to Vietnam on a special mission in late February and is currently taking applications for future flights.

Local advocate wants focus on preventative care as BadgerCare waiver gets approved

By Paul Schmitt    

Better access to health care is the direction needed more so than putting preconditions on BadgerCare, according to one local social advocate.  A Wisconsin waiver requiring some BadgerCare recipients to work has been approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  Wayne Kudick, a retired social worker from Egg Harbor, says putting a precondition on BadgerCare addresses only half of the issue.


Kudick says all people would get their health care on a preventive mode so when a job is ready they are ready.   The new waiver to BadgerCare requires anyone under the age of 50 who are childless would have to work a minimum of 80 hours a month, go through job training or provide some community service to gain health care benefits.  Proponents of the waiver say the link between health coverage and work will help people be more independent.

Movie and local panel geared to reach troubled teens

By Paul Schmitt    

A powerful film about children trying to learn in a school setting while dealing with stress will be the center of a discussion at the Kress Pavilion Center in Egg Harbor next Thursday.  The Door County Partnership for Children and Families and three other organizations are sponsoring the movie Paper Tigers as part of a Mental Health Film Series.  Katie Van Laanen, a public nurse at the Door County Public Health Department, shares how a new trauma-sensitive program featured in the documentary works.


The free community event is intended for adults but teens are welcomed to attend with their parents.  A panel discussion will follow the one-hour movie that begins at 5:30 pm, Thursday, November 8th.  You can watch a video trailer of Paper Tigers with the link below.

Kewaunee County Food Pantry expanding turkey giveaway this year.

By Paul Schmitt    

An organization in Kewaunee County, that is already helping those in need with food and supplies, is making sure Thanksgiving dinner will include a turkey for all families this year.  The Kewaunee County Food Pantry has expanded its program in November this year to give every patron a free turkey.  President Ken Marquardt explains why the number of free turkeys to be given away could double this year.


Marquardt estimates that about 75 turkeys were given away last year and that the pantry helps an average of 140 families monthly but provided for 165 in October.  The Kewaunee County Food Pantry is open Monday and Wednesdays from 11 am until 1 pm and is located on Sunset Avenue in Algoma.

Lincoln residents to get town hall update

By Tim Kowols       

The Town of Lincoln Board will give residents a progress report on its future town hall when it meets on Monday. Discussion of replacing its current town hall, which currently lacks running water and disability accessibility, has been constant since the board announced its plans at its 2017 annual meeting.  The board had to scrap its original plan of directly hiring local contractors for the project because state statute mandates projects like town halls to get bid out. Town chairperson Cory Cochart says it is likely they will look for someone to take on that process.

Cochart hopes they can start construction in spring 2019. The board will also look to extend its moratorium on building new or expanding existing livestock facilities and give an update on its ongoing dispute with Stonehouse Water Technologies during its Monday meeting at the Lincoln Town Hall beginning at 7 p.m.

Tradition rises with Habitat's fruitcakes

By Tim Kowols       

Prep work for a Door County tradition begins next week as Habitat for Humanity volunteers start their fruit cake efforts. Based on a recipe from former Door County Habitat for Humanity board member Sister Mary Louise Shramer, volunteers will mix, pour, and bake approximately 750 fruitcakes over a week-long span in hopes to address affordable housing needs locally. ReStore manager Megan Dietz believes their fruitcake bucks the trend of others that give the holiday treat a bad name.

Interested volunteers can contact Dietz at the Door County Habitat for Humanity offices to schedule a work shift on November 5th, 6th, and 7th.

Ellison Bay restaurant owners purchase Liberty Square

By Tim Kowols       

The owners of Ellison Bay's Fireside Restaurant are moving their operations south after closing on Egg Harbor's Liberty Square Thursday. The property had been owned by Richard and Pam Wegner for over a decade as they operated two restaurants, a bar, and eight interconnected shops on the site. Blake and Lauren Schar have run The Fireside Restaurant since 2015. Owner and General Manager Lauren Schar says the opportunity to take over Liberty Square was too much to pass on for her family's sake.

Schar says they hope to have their new Fireside Restaurant location up and running in December. Future plans for the property in the spring includes private event space in the former Galileo's, a new bagel and burger concept in the previous Bistro spot, and different businesses located in the retail shops.


Picture courtesy of Fireside Restaurant

Kewaunee family looking out for abuse victims

By Tim Kowols       

Three Kewaunee brothers are making sure kids are comforted in one of their darkest hours. James, Cameron, and Christopher Cullen are partnering with the Kewaunee County Violence Intervention Project to create kid comfort packs. The tote bags are filled with coloring books, stuffed animals, crayons, and other items to relieve stress and provide comfort for victimized children. James and Cameron are members of the Kewaunee Storm football team while their brother Christopher is in middle school. Their father James Cullen and mother Judy are extremely proud of the work their kids are doing to help those less fortunate than them.

Giving back to the community is not out of the ordinary for the family, having collected over 500 warm weather items for the Kewaunee County Back to School program. The Cullen brothers will collect the items at Holy Rosary School and Kewaunee School District buildings through the month of November.

Why be a Meals on Wheels Driver? Series on Careers

By Tim Kowols       

The delivery of dozens of meals throughout Door County every week is not just a highlight for local residents, but also for volunteer drivers like Nancy Kurshner of Sturgeon Bay. Kurshner has been delivering hot meals for homebound residents for 15 years, first in Minnesota before moving to Door County over a decade ago. Meals on Wheels drivers do a lot more than deliver food. In Kurshner's case, the nutritious meal she brings is just a part of a social visit where she is often the resident's only outside contact of the day. She believes Meals on Wheels drivers are the eyes and ears for the county's Aging and Disability Resource Center.


Kurshner says she considers her time as a Meals on Wheels driver as her ministry to the community and that she is just as blessed delivering the food as the people receiving it. You can learn more about how you can be a Meals on Wheels driver in Door County online with this story.

Help make a difference in the lives of older adults in our community! Additional volunteer drivers are needed to help deliver meals around the Sturgeon Bay area. Volunteers help deliver meals Monday thru Friday starting around 10:30 a.m. each day and the deliveries usually take an hour to an hour and a half to complete. Volunteer drivers play an essential role in checking on the status of our home delivered meal participants to insure they are well and safe during their brief but friendly visit.

Interested in becoming a volunteer Meals on Wheelsdriver? Please call Wendy Schubert at the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Door County at (920)746-2523 or send an email to

Local Assembly candidates opine on redistricting reform

By Tim Kowols       

You will not see District 1 State Assembly candidates Rep. Joel Kitchens and Roberta Thelen on any petitions regarding redistricting reform. Eighty potential state legislators and two other candidates vying for statewide office have signed a Common Cause Wisconsin petition committing themselves to redistricting reform. Redistricting reform could include the adoption of the "Iowa Model" for redrawing the state's maps, which would put the duty on a non-partisan committee instead of legislators. Rep. Kitchens, a Sturgeon Bay Republican, says he likes the idea of the Iowa model but will not commit to anything until Wisconsin presents its own alternative.


Thelen, an independent candidate from Baileys Harbor, says the current map looks like a jigsaw puzzle and a better model is needed.


Rep. Kitchens and Thelen face off in the general mid-term election on November 6th.

Algoma wants people to share their views on the city budget

By Terry Kovarik              

The City of Algoma wants taxpayers to speak up about their needs for the new city budget. The proposed spending plan is on the agenda of Monday's city council meeting. City Administrator Jeff Wiswell says this is the chance for people to bring up anything and every question about city spending.



The Algoma City Council's regular meeting is set for 6:00 PM at City Hall on Fremont Street.

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