News Archives for 2019-04

High water hitting Lake Michigan shoreline hard

The Great Lakes water levels are the highest in 17 years and are causing some erosion along Lake Michigan shoreline on the peninsula.  According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the lake is seven inches higher than one year ago and is only ten inches from the all-time high recorded in 1986.  In Southern Door County, Clay Banks Town Chair Mike Johnson says the township has been dealing with erosion that was washing out the road on South Lake Michigan Drive the past year.  He says they are monitoring the rip rock that was placed to protect the road periodically. Lake Michigan water levels are predicted to rise another four inches in the next month with the peak coming in July.



Local organization to host suicide prevention training

Over 700 suicides happen in Wisconsin annually and a Sturgeon Bay organization is working hard to change that. Just like CPR saves thousands of lives a, QPR, also known as Question, Persuade, and Refer, is an educational program with hopes of having a similar impact for those hoping to prevent suicide. Cheryl Wilson started Prevent Suicide Door County: Nathan Wilson Coalition after her son killed himself about a decade ago. She says they have seen an increase in attendance for the training as more people have gotten comfortable talking about it.

Prevent Suicide Door County will host the QPR training from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Rock Island Room of Community Foundation Square on May 1st. You can find additional details for the free training online with this story.

End of Lent brings new members

For some Door and Kewaunee County Christians, the end of Lent marks a new beginning. Saturday’s Easter Vigil services at area Catholic churches include the introduction of new members into their parishes, covering baptism and other sacraments of initiation. This comes only after candidates attend months of Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) classes. Father Daniel Schuster says one person at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Luxemburg will be confirmed into the faith during their Easter Vigil mass this year.

The evening Easter Vigil services are among the most important of the year for not just Catholics, but also members of the Lutheran, Methodist, and Anglican faiths. You can hear this year’s True Meaning of Easter from St. Mary’s of Luxemburg/Holy Trinity of Casco and the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help online with this story.





Door County moving ahead in forming a drug court

Door County is not immune to drug abuse and the social and criminal problems related to it.  A grant from the National Drug Court Initiative is helping Door County to establish an Adult Drug Court.  An NDCI team is coming to Sturgeon Bay to help train county and state employees in the operations of a drug court.  Circuit Court Judge David Weber is among those taking part in the drug court planning session. He says it offers a much-needed alternative for drug offenders.


Weber is just one member of the drug court planning team.  It's also made up of representatives from the district attorney's office, the sheriff's department and the department of health and human services.  Staff members from the Wisconsin State Public Defenders office and the Wisconsin Department of Corrections will also be involved in planning for the drug court.

Having a healthier Easter

As we welcome in Easter I would also like to welcome you to adjust some of your holiday traditions to have a happier and healthier Easter. Here are some tips to help.


  1. Start a tradition of going for a walk after dinner. Spring is an exciting time of the year!  Everyone is eager to get outside to enjoy the fresh air after a long and dreadful winter.  Why not enjoy the outdoors as a group? After the meal is eaten and the dishes are done you may feel very sluggish and tired and wanting to sit on the couch for the rest of the afternoon.  Instead, go for a walk to increase your energy level.  Going for a walk as a group can be a great way to socialize while exercising at the same time!
  2. Fill your eggs with things other than candy.  One of the most enjoyed Easter activities is searching for eggs.  Instead of filling all the eggs with candy think of other items that you could use instead.  Some examples would be money, trinkets, stickers, Legos, or bracelets.  Go to your local dollar store and search for small things to put in eggs.  I predict that your “egg searchers” will enjoy the excitement of having different things in their eggs.  Besides, opening your egg to find candy is so predictable!
  3. Find healthy snacks for car rides.  Does most of your holiday weekend involve traveling in the car to get to your Easter Day celebration party? If so, skip the go-to car treats of chips and candy and instead resort to a healthier option.  Why do we always pick chips and candy?  These treats are quick to grab, no preparation time, and we know that all passengers are going to like the choices.  However, sitting in a car and snacking will likely lead to overeating because we have a long time to snack and we forgot how to eat a reasonable portion when distracted by our favorite road trip playlist.  Instead, try snack items such as a healthy trail mix, string cheese, apples, bananas, or granola bars.  All of these items still have the convenience of junk food without all the unhealthy ingredients.
  4. Start with a healthy breakfast.  We often set our mind to think if we are going to be eating a big meal later in the day that we should skip all the other meals prior so we “save room” for the main course.  This is a dangerous theory.  When we go to a holiday gathering hungry we will often resort to the high calorie, high fat, high sugar appetizers that fill the tables.  By the time we get to the lunch or dinner portion of the day we are often already full.  But does that stop us?  Absolutely not!  We can’t resist the amazing dishes that come with Easter.  And I mean we only get to eat them once a year, right?  Might as well over indulge today.  This leads to a slippery slope where our mind will continue to make these excuses to overindulge much past the holiday celebration.  Here’s a way to overcome this potential catastrophe.  Start with a healthy breakfast that will fill you up.  Perhaps an egg with whole grain toast or a yogurt parfait with fruit and granola.  Having this breakfast will allow you to make healthier decisions and limit portions of appetizers and at meal time.  Your stomach will thank you later.
  5. Re-evaluate wellness goals.  Remember that goal that you set on New Years? How are you doing with that goal?  Easter can serve as a great way to revisit those amazing goals that you set to see your progress.  Were the goals you set at the beginning of the year realistic?  Maybe you weren’t able to make it to the gym 5 times a week like you anticipated. Give yourself some grace and set a new, more realistic goal instead.  If you couldn’t make it to the gym 5 times a week, maybe your new goal is to make it 3 times instead.  Set new goals to continue to optimize your health. 

P.S. Wellness goals do not always need to be related to physical health.  Maybe your goal is to take 30 minutes a day for yourself to do things such as reading a book or journaling.  Perhaps you could make a goal to get enough sleep every night.  You may be surprised at how much these other aspects of wellness can directly affect your physical health.


Wishing you a healthier Easter. 

DCEDC welcomes any federal help to expand broadband

Door County's efforts to expand broadband internet would benefit from the renewal of a federal funding plan.  The Federal Communications Commission $20.4-billion subsidy program would help rural communities nationwide.  Door County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Jim Schuessler says that plan, along with others, will help make county broadband service a reality.



Schuessler says broadband use in the health care industry, education and home-based businesses make it a necessity for development in Door County.

Pork prices rise, local farmers look to beef and chicken

A reported virus that is decimating China’s hog industry could help local farmer’s beef and poultry commodities this year.  An outbreak of African swine fever has caused shortages around the world as meat processors try to meet demand and prices push up.  Rich Olson of Olson Family Farms in Southern Door County says this could ultimately benefit the beef and chicken markets here.  



China has lost about 30 percent of its herd, according to Olson.  The African swine fever disease has not yet hit the United States but has reportedly reached Southeast Asia and part of Europe.  

Not all trees created environmentally equal

With tree planting being one of the most effective ways to help the environment, one local horticulture expert is promoting native trees to make an even more positive impact.  Tom Wolfe of Fish Creek, who has lived in Door County for over 30 years, says native trees offer the greatest benefits in this area especially as part of landscaping near streets.  He recommends a variety of native trees that can help replace ash trees that may have been lost due to disease or storms. 



Wolfe says not all trees are environmentally green.  He says many landscape trees like the Norway maple are invasive and are choking off the native trees that provide a food source for the larva of insects that migratory birds use as protein for their long trips.  Wolfe will be giving his “All trees are not green” presentation next Saturday at the Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor as part of the Every Day is Earth Day event.   


School of Rock takes stage at Sturgeon Bay High School

A high-energy musical based on an iconic hit movie will be performed at the Sturgeon Bay High School next week.  Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of School of Rock will be on stage starting on Wednesday by the Sturgeon Bay High School Theater Arts.  Director Leslie Hill says the musical version will feature a live rock band with singing and dancing but does have a story behind it.  She says the production does offer some unique challenges for her 33 student actors. 


The School of Rock show will open next Wednesday with a free performance at 10 am for area senior citizens.  Evening performances will be at 7 pm next Thursday and Friday with a Saturday matinee offered at 2 pm on April 27.  Tickets are available 30 minutes prior to the performance at the Sturgeon Bay High School Auditorium.   


(photo contributed)


Packers schedule release good news for Door County

A top-heavy home schedule for the Green Bay Packers could mean a big fall for tourism in Door County. During the months of September and October, the Packers will host five home games. While the fall is already a busy time for local businesses, Jon Jarosh from the Door County Visitor Bureau still thinks the home schedule works in the area’s favor.

Jarosh did not have specific numbers for Door County, but the Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates the economic impact of Packers home game for that area is around $15 million.

Algoma, Kewaunee get $1.3M for blight removal

Residents in the cities of Kewaunee and Algoma will see less unsightly properties over the next two years thanks to a resolution approved by the Kewaunee County Board Tuesday.  The board approved closing out its revolving loan fund amount of about $1.3 million and allocated approximately $610,000 to Algoma and $750,000 to Kewaunee. The money will be used to buy blighted properties in hopes they can be improved. Kewaunee County Board Chairperson Robert Weidner says it was "use it or lose it" and believes the funds will go a long way in the two communities.

The money comes to the cities as grants from the state. The money needs to be used over the next two years and any funds spent over those amounts become the responsibility of each respective city.

Former resident details new life abroad

Former Door County resident Bruce Joffe has turned his experience of moving to Portugal into a new book. The book entitled Expat: Leaving the USA for Good details his experiences since he and his partner Russ Warren made the decision to move from Door County to his new life as a pastor for the Portuguese chapter of People of Faith. Joffe says the book explains the difference between visiting the country and immigrating to it.

A recent Gallup poll shows 16 percent of Americans would like to move out of the country. Released late last month, Joffe’s book is available for purchase online.

Bipartisan effort to help dairy farmers

Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are urging Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to begin implementing parts of the 2018 Farm Bill that could help dairy farmers in Door and Kewaunee Counties. Improving the Dairy Margin Coverage program, which compensates eligible farmers if milk prices dipped below certain levels, was one of the key goals of the bill. Earlier this month, Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin joined a bipartisan group of senators to request the United States Department of Agriculture "to invest in outreach, training, coordination with partner organizations, and staffing to ensure that every eligible farmer receives personalized information about the new and improved options." Those sentiments were also echoed in the House where Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher says the implementation of the reforms are not moving quick enough, especially since farmers buy into the program.

Wisconsin led the country in farm bankruptcies for a third straight year with 47 according to the Wisconsin State Journal.

Local Hispanic community confused by Trump sanctuary proposal

Hispanic families living in Door and Kewaunee Counties are confused about President Trump's proposal to transport migrant workers at the Mexico-U.S. Border to sanctuary cities.  The President announced last week he was considering such a plan.  Imelda Delchambre, with the Hispanic Center of Door and Kewaunee Counties, says families she has spoken with are not sure what relatives waiting at the border will face under the sanctuary plan.


Delchambre says one local family from Honduras already knows that one relative won't be making his way into a U.S. sanctuary city or anywhere else.


A community or state that declares itself to have “sanctuary” status prohibits officials, such as police officers, from providing information on immigration status to federal officials.

Gibraltar receives High-Achieving schools status

The Gibraltar Elementary School has been recognized for the third time as one of the High-Achieving Schools in the state in educating a high number of students from families who are economically disadvantaged.  The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction announced the recognition this week for schools that receive Title 1 funding.  Brian Annen, principal at Gibraltar Elementary School says the award was a team effort. 




Gibraltar Elementary School will be one of 19 High-Achieving schools that will be honored at a ceremony at the State Capitol on May 20.  

Laurel Hauser reflects on serving on the Sturgeon Bay City Council

After a two-year term as the District 7 representative on the Sturgeon Bay Common Council, Laurel Hauser is optimistic about Sturgeon Bay’s future.  Hauser, who lost a close race to Kirstin McFarlin-Reeths for the council seat, shares one of her favorite accomplishments while in office. 



Even though Hauser was not re-elected, she hopes to continue to work on committees for the City of Sturgeon Bay.  Hauser recommends that anyone interested should experience serving and get involved with city government.  


Newport State Park cleans up for summer

Newport State Park in Ellison Bay is known more for its remote camping, but it still needs some additional tender loving care before the summer. The Newport Wilderness Society is offering lunch in exchange for some helpful hands to clean up trails and campsites as a part of the state park system's Earth Day Work Day campaign. Volunteer coordinator Karen Studebaker says as the state’s only wilderness park, Newport is a special place.

The Earth Day Work Day at Newport State Park runs from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. beginning at its maintenance shop. There is no cost to participate, even for those without a state park sticker. 

Washington Island hosting a visit by state school superintendent

Wisconsin's top teacher will spend the day at the Washington Island School on May 21st. Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor is believed, by school officials, to be the first state superintendent ever to visit the island district.  Michelle Kanipes, the Washington Island School Principal, believes Stanford Taylor will get a new perspective on a unique public school system.



Kanipes says Stanford Taylor, however, is looking forward to being part of the day-to-day routine at the school.



Kanipes says the visit to Washington Island was initiated by Carolyn Stanford Taylor's office.

Welcome service proves value of Coast Guard to Sturgeon Bay

Five families were welcomed to the Sturgeon Bay Area in March and all five were here because of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Nicolet Welcome Service provides new arrivals with a packet containing information about local businesses as well as the community.

All five listed in the March 2019 report are employed by the Coast Guard.


Families moving to Sturgeon Bay came from as far away as Oregon, Oklahoma, Maine and Virginia.  


Coast Guard families have a significant economic impact on the Sturgeon Bay Area schools.  State aid per student exceeds $4,000 each which makes the fiscal impact of the Coast Guard significant to school finances. Sturgeon Bay Schools Business Manager Jacob Holtz talks about the impact of the Coast Guard.



Coast Guard members serving in Door County recently saw an outpouring of public support for their efforts during the government shut-down.  The Door County Adopt a Soldier program initiated care packages, low interest loans and other services for members of the Coast Guard serving locally.

Lawton shares significance of 19th Amendment anniversary

With the 100th anniversary of the state of Wisconsin ratifying the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote coming up in June, former Lieutenant Governor and Door County resident Barbara Lawton reflects on the significance.  Lawton shares the importance of recognizing the historical legislation.



First Lady Kathy Evers is chairing a committee to celebrate women’s suffrage and Wisconsin being the first state to ratify the amendment back on June 10, 1919.  


Local builders expect a busy season and more costly materials

Area builders expect to be busy with new home construction in Door and Kewaunee Counties.  Those projects will also be more expensive.  Rising fuel prices and increased demand for building materials are pushing up the costs for new homes.  Eli Phillips, owner of Alpha Through Omega Construction of Luxemburg, says he's had to look beyond local suppliers for some materials.  That's impacted the construction timeline on some projects.



Phillips says despite all of the challenges the demand for new homes is not slowing down.

Unanimous Sturgeon Bay city council nixes joining Wiese Wulf appeal

It only took Sturgeon Bay’s new city council a few minutes in closed session Tuesday to vote unanimously to steer clear of more litigation over the controversial west side waterfront.


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources issued a ruling in January that determined the location of a line dividing what west side waterfront property can be developed and what must be held for public use. That line is called the ordinary high water mark (OHWM). An appeal of that DNR decision was filed in February by John Wiese, Thomas “Cap” Wulf and twenty other individuals. The previous Sturgeon Bay city council voted recently to not join that appeal. 


At Tuesday’s meeting, the council considered a reversal of that position.

New council member Kirsten Reeths asked if the action of the previous council could be rescinded or re-written.


City attorney James Kalny explained the timeline for joining the appeal had expired and it would be unusual to rescind a letter sent to the court by a previous council.


Kalny told council members joining the appeal would be an “uphill climb.”


Council members went into closed session to discuss joining the Wiese Wulf appeal and came out a few minutes later, casting a unanimous vote against taking further action.


Full Audio during council meeting:



Local government reaction to FCC $20-billion rural broadband plan

Kewaunee County Administrator is pleased to hear the Federal Communications Commission will renew a rural broadband subsidy program.  That will provide rural communities $20.4-billion over ten years.  Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt applauds anything to improve broadband access.  Although, he'd like to see more details on how the funding would be distributed.



The FCC spent $34.5 billion on rural-broadband network subsidy programs from 2010 to 2017, according to the Government Accountability Office. 

Financial impact of sexual assault

The consequences of sexual assault can be emotionally difficult and complex to measure, but the economic impact can be very costly to society.  Help of Door County Executive Director Steve Vickman shares some startling statistics associated with rape. 



Vickman says this is the 18th year of April being National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention.  He says this year the focus is on people who have disabilities and that they are more likely to be sexually assaulted by someone they know.  You can find contact information on Help of Door County programs with the link below. 


Habitat, Bright family breaks ground on new home

A dream took its first step towards reality Tuesday afternoon when Door County Habitat for Humanity and the family of Kari and Paul Bright broke ground on a new home. For the Bright family, it’s the beginning of having a place big enough and ADA-accessible for them to call home. Paul says Tuesday's groundbreaking could not come soon enough.



Door County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director David Van Dyke says he is looking forward to working with the Bright family all summer long as they work to contribute hundreds of volunteer hours towards the project.



Tuesdays and Thursday will once again be the build days for Habitat for Humanity volunteers, which will begin work on the organization's 42nd home at 819 North 6th Place in Sturgeon Bay. 




Communities host Easter egg hunts this weekend

The Easter Bunny will sure get around this weekend as several egg hunts are scheduled to take place around the Door Peninsula. From Ellison Bay to Kewaunee, local business associations, churches, and non-profit organizations are hosting the kid-friendly activity with promises of delicious treats, arts and crafts, and even a special visitor. Miluzka McCarthy from the Sister Bay Advancement Association says it is a great way to kick off the holiday weekend with family.

You can find a listing of some of the local Easter egg hunts online with this story.


Ellison Bay: noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at Fitzgerald Park

Jacksonport: 11 a.m. noon Saturday at Lakeside Park

Baileys Harbor: 10 a.m. at Town Hall

Algoma: 1-2:30 p.m. at library



BUG Fire Department welcomes new members

The Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department is growing in its membership. In the last two months, the BUG Fire Department has welcomed Noel Baudhuin, Dave Moyer, and Dan Rankin to its roster of 50 firefighters. Like many volunteer departments, Fire Chief Curt Vandertie is always looking for more people to join. What makes his newest recruits even better is the experience they are already had prior to joining.

Vandertie says he is hopeful two other applicants work out so they can serve the community even better. 

Farmers waiting out the weather

Rio Creek Feed Mill agronomist Adam Barta is stressing patience to farmers in Door and Kewaunee Counties when it comes to their crops. Now is the time of the year when orchard owners begin giving their trees some extra nutrients while farmers are seeing if their overwintering crops survived the winter. The rain this week may prevent farmers from getting out into their fields to spread manure or plant when they want, but Barta says it could also be a good thing as well.

Barta says helping their customers make the right decisions now is crucial as farmers continue to face low commodity prices and increasingly higher costs of production.

Horticulturist to help local gardeners prevent common mistakes

Help is on the way for residents in Door and Kewaunee Counties who see their spring gardening efforts fail by midsummer.  Mark Dwyer, horticulturist at the Rotary Botanical Garden in Janesville, will be coming to The Crossroads at Big Creek.  He'll share what he sees as common mistakes many gardeners make in trying for perfect plants and blooms.  Dwyer says good plant care needs to take place well before planting time.


Dwyer says another common mistake some gardeners make is thinking plants will thrive just about anywhere.


Mark Dwyer will share more about common garden mistakes on April 23rd at 7:00 PM at The Crossroads at Big Creek on Michigan Street in Sturgeon Bay. 

"Every Day is Earth Day" schedule set at Kress Pavilion

With Earth Day officially next Monday, one group in Door County is coordinating an effort to make a weekend’s worth of events memorable and interactive.  “Every Day is Earth Day” will be observed at the Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor next weekend.  Organizer Wayne Kudick shares what will be showcased on Friday, April 26. 



Amber Beard, Architect Virg Temme, and Mariah Goode from the Door County Land Use Services and Planning will make up the panel starting at 6 pm.  On April 27, children activities and displays of solar panels along with five movies on topics of water and composting will be featured.  Sunday will include an artistic medley of inspiring green messages that will incorporate poetry, prose, praise, performance, and photography.  You can find more information on “Every Day is Earth Day” with this story below. 



All events are free and open to the public

Friday, 6PM – The Round Table, moderated by Myles Dannhausen Jr. of the Pulse, will focus on housing issues, including international insights, construction trends, green building, affordable housing in Door County, and related regulations. Our experts include: Virge Temme, Amber Beard and Mariah Goode. 

8 PM - Festival Reception - Stay after the Round Table for snacks, drinks, music and karaoke in the Great Hall. 
The reception is graciously sponsored by: Kick Ash, Door Artisan Cheese, Shipwrecked Brewing, Hatch Distilling

Saturday, 10AM- 4PM – Open House with 17 exhibitors, 8 speakers and workshops, films, food and kid’s activities.

7PM - Concert with Small Forest 

Sunday, 5:30PM – 5XP - An Artistic Reflection on the Earth: poetry, prose, piano, photography and praise.

Masters Tournament a preview for Northbrook Golf Club renovations

Tiger Woods comeback at The Masters served as a preview for the Northbrook Golf Club's new renovations.  The course in Luxemburg opened its doors for golf fans during for the entire tournament.  Fans also got to see the newly renovated first floor.  It's sporting new furniture, carpeting, a renovated pro shop and expand seating to accommodate 100 people.
Work is currently underway on the second floor which will have a more open concept for dining and is expanding seating for 160 people.  Jerry Lintz, who represents the partnership that operates Northbrook, says he was surprised so many people showed up with minimal promotion.  Northbrook expects to open in early May and will have limited food and beverage services while the renovation work is underway.



(Photo courtesy of Northbrook Golf & Grill)

Shrine hosts rare Tenebrae service

While many Christian churches will take time this week to celebrate Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion will continue its special list of Easter season services one day earlier.  The Tenebrae, also known as the Shadows service is a solemn nighttime mass featuring candles that get extinguished one by one as the stories from the Passion of Christ are told. Father John Broussard, the Shrine’s Rector, explains why not many churches celebrate the Tenebrae anymore.

Much like its midnight mass at Christmas, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help is one of the only Catholic churches outside the city of Green Bay in the area celebrating the Tenebrae. The Tenebrae will take place beginning at 7:30 p.m.



Birds having easier go this spring

It is safe to say Door County has been easier on the birds this spring than last year. Door County is a year removed from a crippling snowfall that dumped 30 inches of snow on the area, making it hard for birds and other wildlife reliant on foraging food. Even with last Thursday’s snowfall and the standing water still prevalent in the area, The Ridges Sanctuary Land Manager Matt Peter says birds are very good at adapting to their environment.

Peter says if another snowfall does come like what happened in southern Wisconsin and other Midwestern states over the weekend that they should clear a small area for birds and provide a place where they can take a breather and enjoy a high-energy snack like berries and mealworms.

Supreme Court will hear Kinnard Farms case

An appealed circuit court decision that impacts Kewaunee County and deals with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) authority to regulate water pollution from concentrated animal feeding operations, is going to the state supreme court.  The Midwest Environmental Advocates (MEA), who on behalf of petitioners from Kewaunee County, filed the challenge that Kinnard Farms’ water discharge permit did not do enough to protect water resources and public health.  MEA Staff Attorney Tressie Kamp says a decision by the state supreme court to resolve the matter fairly quickly is likely.



An administrative law judge in 2014 had issued a decision that included orders for groundwater monitoring and capping the number of animals as enforceable permit conditions.   That decision was initially agreed to by the DNR and later denied by Secretary Cathy Stepp.  A Dane County Circuit Court later overturned Stepp’s decision.  A DNR appeal of that decision was then asked to be taken up by the Wisconsin Supreme Court along with a high-capacity well-permitting case.

Storm spotters needed

Along with the clouds, Door County residents can find an opportunity to serve the community in the sky. The Door County Emergency Management and Communications Department will host storm spotter training next month to help the National Weather Service improve their updates regarding meteorological events. Storm spotters help locate incoming storms as well as keep track of wind damage, hail size, and flash flood. Director Dan Kane says it is important to have a lot of volunteers when it comes to spotting storms.

The storm spotting training will take place at Crossroads at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay on May 8th beginning at 6 p.m. Trained storm spotters are recommended to go through the 90-minute session at least once every two to three years. You can find more information for this year’s training online with this story.


Kewaunee County road littering worsens

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski wants you to know it is a lot cheaper to drop off your trash at the waste transfer station in Kewaunee than it is to get caught dumping on the side of the road.  There have been many incidents over the last several months with large items like televisions and couches being discarded in ditches and road shoulders. It peaked on Saturday when a large pile of tires was found near Gasche Road in the town of Montpelier. Joski says even though the former Kewaunee County landfill site changed hands last year to a private operator, not much else has changed to warrant the increase in littering cases.

Joski says the investigation in the tire dumping case is ongoing and the fine for littering large items is several hundred dollars. 

Peninsula State Park clean-up day

You have an opportunity to help Peninsula State Park clean up and get ready for the busy season. Peninsula State Park is joining many other Wisconsin state parks for the Work*Play*Earth Day event on Saturday. From 9 AM to noon, volunteers are needed to help plant trees, clear brush and pick up litter. Steve Strucely, the business manager for the Friends of Peninsula State Park, says you should wear clothes that will be good in wet conditions.


Volunteers will get into the park for free on Saturday, no state park parking pass is needed. Pre-registration is not required. Refreshments and treats will be provided at noon.

Door Can raised over $1 million

For 21 years Door Can has been helping cancer patients and their families by donating money for non-medical bills. Eight members of the Door County community saw how much those families were hurting and wanted to do something to help. Founder and President of Door Can Barb Herdina has helped grow the organization and raise more money than the last, year after year. Door Can has now raised over $1 million during that time. That amount is almost unbelievable to Herdina.



Door Can's annual Spring Fling is on May 17th at Stone Harbor Resort and Conference Center in Sturgeon Bay. It is the largest fundraiser of the year for Door Can. 

Common Council gets organized

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will spend a large portion of its Tuesday evening meeting getting its newest members situated for the upcoming year.  David Ward, Kirstin McFarlin-Reeths, Dan Williams, Gary Nault, and Helen Bacon will take their respective seats after saluting the service of the common council’s outgoing members. Among Ward’s first duties as mayor will be appointing new members to some of the city’s committees before the council weighs in on ordinances involving the code of conduct, ethics, and accessory buildings. The Sturgeon Bay Common Council is also scheduled to meet in closed session to discuss its possible involvement in a lawsuit regarding the Department of Natural Resources’ determination of the Ordinary High Water Mark on the city’s west side. The meeting begins in the council chambers at 7 p.m.

Algoma Wolf Tech providing free oil changes

The Algoma Wolf Tech may now be able to provide more oil changes to people in need thanks to the Jandu Petroleum Pride Pumps. Algoma has an auto upkeep program that provides free oil changes for the Kewaunee County rideshare service. People who use their cars to give rides for Kewaunee County get a voucher for a free oil change at the Algoma Wolf Tech. The students are not only in charge of performing the oil change but scheduling it and getting the right materials. Mark Abel, director of the Algoma Wolf Tech, says it’s a great way for students to give back to the community and learn skills.



Only two customers have received oil changes so far and Abel would like for more demand for the students. Raymond Leslie, Elijah Ritchie, Gaven Jones, Logan Nohr and McKale Krueger are the students leading the program. 

The Jandu Petroleum Pride Pump program is making a donation to the Algoma Wolf Tech Auto Upkeep. Two cents from all gallons of gas purchased at the two Pride Pump locations in Algoma goes towards a program at Algoma Schools. The two Algoma locations are at Lake Street & Jefferson Street as well as on 4th Street between Clark and Fremont. The Jandu Petroleum Pride Pump promotion has meant several thousand dollars have been donated to school districts in Door and Kewaunee Counties.

Construction season means work zone safety is crucial

As the weather gets warmer people are outdoors more and construction season begins in Door and Kewaunee County. Todd Every, the Kewaunee County Highway Commissioner, says you need to be cautious when it comes to work zones. Last week was Work Zone Awareness Week nationwide. Every says getting distracted while driving through a work zone can lead to accidents.



According to there were 710 fatal crashes in work zones in 2017 and eight in Wisconsin.

Door County jail inmates pay less for phone calls

Compared to other Wisconsin counties, the Door County jail has newer technology and making calls is less expensive for inmates. Many county jails throughout the state of Wisconsin still rely on collect calling for inmates to make calls to contact family members or their lawyers. Door County jail contracts with a 3rd party phone service provider, keeping the cost of the calls down to just 30 cents per minute for local calls and 25 cents per minute for out of state calls. Lt. Kyle Veeser works for the Sheriff's Office in the Door County jail and he says this system allows outside family members to shoulder part of the cost.


A recent study released by the Prison Policy Initiative showed that some Wisconsin county jails were charging well over the national average for phone calls. A 15-minute call in certain counties can cost up to $22, with the national average at around $5.50.

Private bussing works well for Sturgeon Bay schools

The Sturgeon Bay School District gave up operation of its school buses in July 2013 to meet budget challenges.  Nearly six years later the service provided by Kaukauna-based Kobussen Buses continues to run smoothly.  Sturgeon Bay Superintendent Dan Tjernagel came to the district after Kobussen took over.  He says the decision to contract for bus services has helped the district to focus on its core mission.



When Kobussen Buses came into the district, the company didn't start from scratch.  It purchased the buses owned by the Sturgeon Bay district, leased the transportation garage and hired John Quaderer, the district's mechanic, to help coordinate the new arrangement.  Tjernagel says as far as students and their families were concerned the only real change was a new name on the buses. 



The arrangement has worked so well that the Sturgeon Bay School District and Kobbusen renewed their services contract in 2017.

Neighbor to Neighbor helps over 1,000 in Door County

Over 1,000 people in Door County were helped by Neighbor to Neighbor in 2018. Neighbor to Neighbor is a non-profit organization that loans medical equipment and provides volunteers who spend their time with homebound people. Door County residents saved over $400,000 dollars because of Neighbor to Neighbor. Executive Director Ann Bennett says N2N hopes to help even more people in 2019.



Neighbor to Neighbor will celebrate last year's achievements at their annual meeting on Tuesday, May 28th in the Rock Island Meeting Room at the Door County Community Foundation, beginning at 5:00 PM. Volunteer awards will be handed out and financial updates will be given.

Door County student artwork on display

A new exhibit at the Miller Art Museum will showcase the art of Door County students. The 45th Annual Salon of  Door County High School Art will open to the public on Saturday, April 20th and will include 152 pieces of art from over 100 students. These students attend one of 5 high schools in Door County or are a part of Sturgeon Bay’s Home-Based Private Education Program. Elizabeth Meissner-Gigstead, Executive Director of the Museum, is excited for the community to come out and see the variety of media present in the Salon.



The opening reception will be held Monday, April 22nd from 7 to 8:30 PM and is a free event open to the public. During the reception, art teachers will be presenting Certificates of Participation to all student artists in the Salon and Executive Director Meissner-Gigstead will be presenting 5 Awards of Excellence and 5 Honorable Mentions.

State transportation plan would fund needed repairs locally

Some long needed repair work on roads throughout Door and Kewaunee Counties could become a reality under Governor Evers' proposed transportation budget.  The governor is proposing a $66-million increase in General Transportation Aids which pay for local and county road projects.  Door County Highway Commissioner John Kolodziej says it's not known how much additional funding the county would receive.   He adds any increase would help with projects that have been on hold.



Governor Evers is also proposing an eight-cent a gallon fuel tax increase for transportation repairs, which could be offset by the elimination of a portion of Wisconsin minimum mark up on fuel. 

Adopt a Soldier expanding, needs more volunteers

Adopt a Solider Door County is now sending care packages to over 100 people in the Armed Forces. Nancy Hutchinson founded Adopt A Soldier Door County and she does pretty much everything that needs to get done in the organization. There are other volunteers that help out but more are needed. Hutchinson shares what she would like to have new volunteers do.



Volunteers are also needed to help pack boxes. All money that goes to Adopt a Soldier goes back into the organization.

Keeping computer systems current and within budget in local schools

School districts in Kewaunee and Door counties face a balancing act when it comes to school computer systems.  The technology must meet student and staff needs and stay within budget.  The fact that computer technology keeps changing after a system is purchased and installed adds to that challenge. Nathan Drager, co-owner of Quantum PC in Sturgeon Bay, says many school districts are meeting their needs while also reducing the initial costs.



One-to-one access is important for school systems, teachers and students.  Algoma Schools Superintendent Nick Cochart says his district looks for a computer system with built-in flexibility and adaptability.  He says that's where the students play a role.



To help with one-to-one access, keep up with changing technology and stay cost-effective, many school districts have replaced students laptop computers with Chromebooks.

Chinese students coming from sister city to Door County

Door County's sister city of Jingdezhen, China will be well represented around the peninsula this summer.  More students from Jingdezhen will be coming here under the J-1 cultural visa program.  They'll help Door County businesses through the busy summer tourism season.  Door County Corporation Counsel Grant Thomas, who works with the sister city program, believes the Chinese student workers will share something in common with their American counterparts who are unfamiliar with Door County.



Door County will serve as a classroom for the Jingdezhen students who'll get a crash course in American culture and more.



In addition to students, Door County will host local leaders and dignitaries from Jingdezhen in June.

Merged extension offices working well for local agriculture

Residents in Door, Kewaunee and Manitowoc Counties have likely not noticed many differences since the UW-Extension offices were merged together.  That was done in 2017 as part of a statewide reorganization of services.  Individual extension directors in each county office have now been replaced by an area extension director.  Rob Burke oversees operations in Door, Kewaunee and Manitowoc Counties.  He credits the skilled staff in each office with making for a smooth transition.


There is, however, one more big change ahead for county extension services.  On July 1st UW Extension will go from an independent entity to a division of U-W Madison.  Burke believes that transition and Governor Evers' proposed budget for agriculture services will improve service to counties.



During the initial extension service reorganization, many vacant extension service office positions, state-wide, had been left unfilled.

Beef breeding could be answer to dairy woes

The answer to helping dairy farmers supplement their income could be in their breeding practices. The Kewaunee County UW-Extension will host a workshop April 17th in Slovan on how breeding beef sires with dairy cows could be beneficial to their herd. According to the UW-Extension, commodity prices have led dairy farmers to cross breed beef with their dairy cattle in order to increase the marketability of the animals they may sell down the road. Kewaunee County UW-Extension Agriculture Educator Aerica Bjurstrom explains what people can expect from the session.

You can read more about the session and learn how you can register online with this story. 


Hear from Aerica



Civil Discourse, an occasional attempt to restore civility to our civic discourse - David Ward: Most qualified mayor in Sturgeon Bay history

David Ward: Most qualified mayor in Sturgeon Bay history


Civil Discourse, an occasional attempt to restore civility to our civic discourse, by Roger Utnehmer, President and CEO


David Ward is the most qualified mayor to be elected in the history of Sturgeon Bay. He brings to the challenges he will face a Ph.D. in Finance and significant administrative and economic development experience in both the public and private sectors.


His resume qualifies him for an annual salary in the private sector of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yet, he spent most of his career in public service. Major cities throughout the United States would be proud to have a mayor with David Ward’s resume.


Ward served as the Chief Academic Officer for the 26-campus University of Wisconsin system. He was the interim chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Before that he was a university professor. He operated his own economic development consulting company for nearly twenty years. His experience includes overseeing budgets ranging from $80 million a year to $6 billion. And he’s also been involved in the local community, serving on the Door County Medical Center board, a leader in his church, city council member and more.


This background assures that David Ward brings to the office of mayor the skill, talent and temperament to solve city problems, to govern with the consent of the governed and to unite a community that occasionally appears to be congenitally addicted to conflict.


It’s time to give this exceptionally qualified public servant what he needs to be successful. That includes respect in disagreement, open communications with civility and recognition of his right to privacy without rude intrusions into time with family. 


The family of any public official also deserves the appreciation of the public.

More than one mayor of Sturgeon Bay has had their privacy and that of their families invaded over a Friday night fish fry with family. Let’s show David Ward and his family the respect they deserve.


May those who disagree with David Ward on the issues he will face show that in Sturgeon Bay there is civility in our civic discourse.


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

Energy efficient homes becoming more affordable

With green homes using about 30 to 60 percent less energy, a local architect of LEED-certified homes is optimistic about the future demand.  LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.  Virg Temme, an architect who specializes in energy-efficient homes, says if a house is designed properly the energy savings will offset the utility cost in the home.



Temme will be presenting at an upcoming Every Day is Earth Day event sponsored by the Door County Environmental Council later this month. 


(photo of Sturgeon Bay LEED home courtesy of Virg Temme)

Belgian Heritage Center seeking historical pictures

Historical photos of women working is a new focus of the Belgian Heritage Center in Namur.  The organization is accumulating complementary pictures for their exhibits.  Ann Jinkins of the Belgian Heritage Center gives examples of the type of photographs the center is looking to obtain. 



Jinkins says the Belgian Heritage Center is working on an “oral history” that tells the story of women’s work over the history of the Belgian settlement in Door County.  The Belgian Heritage Center will be again open to the public on weekends starting in May for the season.      

Lakeshore Cap making an impact in changing lives

Lakeshore Cap making an impact in changing lives
A community action program called Lakeshore Cap may be a hidden secret in Door and Kewaunee Counties but the executive director believes the organization is making a big impact in the area.  Colleen Homb of Lakeshore Cap shares a double success story from the education and job skills program.  


Lakeshore Cap also offers housing assistance, family and community services, and food services with the Door County Food Pantry.  You can find more information on services provided by Lakeshore Cap with the link below.

Ward promises to bring civility to new council

Sturgeon Bay mayor-elect David Ward along with four new council members took the oath of office on Friday afternoon.  About thirty people attended the ceremony held at City Hall with Ward addressing everyone after the swearing-in.  He says he promises to bring civility back to the common council.



Ward, along with Kirsten McFarlin-Reeths, Gary Nault, Helen Bacon and Dan Williams will take their respective seats at the next council meeting that will be next Tuesday.  You can see video from Friday’s ceremonial oath of office with the link below. 


Service clubs continue search for members

The Sister Bay Lions Club and other service organizations are still hoping to see an influx in members after one of their own folded earlier this year. After serving the community for almost 50 years, the Kiwanis Club of Northern Door County ceased operations in January because of a lack of members. Sister Bay Lions Club President Butch Schramm thought they would have seen a few new members join their ranks because of it, but none have so far. Schramm hopes with time former Kiwanis Club members and others in the community will join them.

The Sister Bay Lions Club recently wrapped up their annual Packers Night and already looking ahead to warmer weather by planning the annual car show to be held at the Country Walk Shops May 26th.

Keeping young people going to church

Connecting to young Catholics goes beyond the walls of Holy Trinity in Casco and St. Mary’s in Luxemburg for Pastor Dan Schuster. A 2018 Gallup poll shows weekly Catholic church attendance among people ages 21-29 has slipped to just 25 percent, down from 37 percent in the mid-1980s and 73 percent in 1955.  Friday morning bible study with high school students, newly married couples as mentors for those in marriage preparation courses, and even pick-up basketball games are just some of the ways Schuster is helping cultivate its younger base. He says it is important to connect with Catholics at a young age so their faith does not become just a subset of their life.

In addition to its two schools, St. Mary’s and Holy Trinity have approximately 90 kids enrolled in their religious education programs. Schuster hopes to add more worship opportunities in the future while still embracing its traditional weekly liturgy.

Door County sees more opportunities through Wisconsin Humane Society

Twenty-five dogs are calling Door County home for a while and that is a positive for the Wisconsin Humane Society. The humane society campuses in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Door, and Brown Counties joined forces over a year ago to help cut down on administrative costs and increase its care for animals. The collaboration is why stays for cats at the Wisconsin Humane Society Door County campus have dropped from 40 to 27 days and from 16 to 11 days for dogs. Angela Speed from the Wisconsin Humane Society says it also makes it easier to move animals around when quarantines are needed like what happened recently in Sheboygan and Waukesha.

The quarantine was needed after two dogs were discovered in southeastern Wisconsin with the contagious Canine Brucellosis illness. Speed says none of the dogs at the Door County campus have the illness and could really use some new toys and peanut butter while they wait to be adopted.  



Picture of Dan Miller with a pug courtesy of Wisconsin Humane Society

Lakeshore businesses prepared for another big year

You could be seeing a lot of trophy fish coming out of Lake Michigan along the coastline of Door and Kewaunee Counties this summer. The growing number of prey species like alewife, changes in stocking strategies, and higher water levels are helping produce bigger fish for anglers to find in Lake Michigan. Wisconsin Lakeshore Business Association President Tom Kleiman says 2019 could be the year of the trophy fish.

This year marks the end of a three-year stocking program by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources with planning for 2020 and beyond already underway. Kleiman says those discussions could lead to the reintroduction of the coaster brook trout to Lake Michigan. 

Yield to funeral processions or face fines

Failure to pull your vehicle over and yielding to a funeral procession is not only poor etiquette but could get you in trouble with the law.  Several states across the country, including Wisconsin, have laws on the books that require drivers to yield to a funeral procession that is led by a marked vehicle with proper signage.  Laurie Schinderle of Schinderle Funeral Home in Algoma says she has only seen a few instances of other drivers passing or failing to yield to the vehicles in the funeral procession.  



Schinderle says all cars in the procession will have their lights on and magnetic flags attached to the roof of the vehicles.  According to state statute 346.20, the owner of a vehicle involved in a violation for failing to yield the right-of-way to a funeral procession shall be liable for the violation.  The same statue covers for yielding to military convoys as well. 

Rotary Club of Sturgeon Bay president shares experiences

Community projects near and far are one reason Mark Jinkins joined the Rotary Club of Sturgeon Bay thirty years ago.  Jinkins, who is currently the president of the organization, says the Rotary Club has done many great programs throughout the years that have left an impact on the community and beyond.  He says Rotary's slogan of "service above self" is what the organization is all about, especially with the youth exchange program.



 Jinkins says the Rotary Club of Sturgeon Bay provides scholarships, and has worked on numerous projects locally including the  Little Lake restoration.  The upcoming Rotary shipyard tours will be held next month and benefits the YMCA Rotaract program for students. Another Rotary event held recently was the NCAA Basketball Championship Night that was held this past Monday. 

No immediate action set to take place following Borchardt meeting

Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation chair Chuck Wagner says they are still gathering information before developing additional plans of action to help address its groundwater issues. In addition to the information presented by microbiologist Dr. Mark Borchardt at Tuesday’s meeting, the committee has also been collecting data concerning local septic waste spreading. Wagner says getting all the information they can will help them form better plans down the road.

Wagner says there are a number of things already being done to help address groundwater concerns such as a countywide winter manure spreading ordinance and farmers planting cover crops. He believes some of the additional information collected by the committee will be discussed at its next meeting.

Mayor refusing to sign agreement with Sturgeon Bay Historical Society

Mayor Thad Birmingham has decided to not sign the agreement between the city and the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society for the Teweles and Brandeis grain elevator.  According to Common Council President Kelly Catarozoli, she talked with City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout and a League of Municipalities attorney on Thursday to confirm that the contract that was approved by the council and upheld by overturning the mayor’s veto is binding.  Christie Weber, president of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society, says according to the city attorney, Birmingham’s signature is not necessarily affecting the agreement between the two parties that gives the city ownership of the granary.  Birmingham’s tenure as mayor ends in the coming days as David Ward will be sworn in with four new council members at City Hall on Friday and take their respective seats on the common council next Tuesday.  Van Lieshout could not be reached for comment on Thursday.  


Two Sturgeon Bay bridges to close for maintenance

You may have to plan your commute through Sturgeon Bay differently next week. The Bayview Bridge will be closed Tuesday and the Maple/Oregon Street Bridge will be blocked Wednesday at 7 a.m. for its annual spring maintenance. Wisconsin Department of Transportation bridge maintenance worker Dale Weber says it is a good time to clean components out after a long winter.



The closures will last until 3 p.m. both days. The Michigan Street Bridge is not being closed for maintenance at this time and will serve as a detour route. 

McFarlin-Reeths captures recount

Over a week after election day, Kirstin McFarlin-Reeths can now claim victory a second time in the race for the Sturgeon Bay District 7 alderperson race. The Sturgeon Bay Board of Canvassers performed the recount over the course of about three hours. The final tally favored the newcomer by an even slimmer margin of 247-245. One ballot was pulled because of a discrepancy in the poll book that incorrectly listed the voter as a resident of the district. Fifteen ballots did not vote for either candidate. Laurel Hauser watched the whole recount unfold and even though the final result did not go her way, she is happy she still went through with it.

 McFarlin-Reeths will be sworn into office on Friday at 3 p.m. along with Mayor-elect David Ward and Alderpersons-elect Dan Williams, Gary Nault, and Helen Bacon.   

Fire destroys Kewaunee County home

A home in the town of Red River is a total loss after a fire Wednesday afternoon. Fire departments were paged at approximately 3:45 p.m. to a report of smoke in the home on Rendezvous Road just northwest of Luxemburg. By the time firefighters arrived, the home was already engulfed. Luxemburg Fire Chief Lew Du Chateau says they did what they could to protect other nearby structures before trying to attack the fire from the inside.

Fire Departments from Casco, Tisch Mills, Algoma, Brussels-Union-Gardner, New Franken, Kewaunee, and Southern Door all responded to the fire. No injuries were reported and Du Chateau says the fire remains under investigation.



Weather related closings and cancelations

Because of the snowstorm dropping about three to six inches in the area, Southern Door Schools are closing early today at 1 PM. All after-school activities are canceled including practices. The Fine Arts Night scheduled for tonight has been postponed to Tuesday at 5 PM. Superintendent Patti Vickman says she expects Southern Door schools to open normally on Friday.


All after-school activities have also been canceled at Sevastopol Schools including athletic practices, DI practice and weight room.


Gibraltar has canceled all after-school activities as well as the late bus.


Kewaunee schools have canceled all after-school activities.


Algoma schools have canceled all after-school activities. The Little Stars & 4K Open House scheduled for tonight will be rescheduled.


Luxemburg-Casco schools have canceled all after-school activities.


In other cancelations, the VFW Post 3088 meeting scheduled for 7 PM has been canceled.


At Door County YMCA's All Program classes and on-site Kid Care are canceled after 3:00pm for Sturgeon Bay & Northern Door Program Centers. Kids Club at Southern Door and Sturgeon Bay are canceled. Sturgeon Bay and Northern Door Program Facilities will be closing at 8 PM. The Barker Center will operate under normally scheduled hours.


PFLAG Door County has canceled their monthly meeting scheduled for 6 PM.


The Wild Ones Lecture scheduled for tonight at Crossroads has been rescheduled for May 16.


The Door County 4H meeting scheduled for tonight at the Government Center is canceled.


The Washington Island Ferry will not make any more trips today. The 4 PM and 5 PM ferries have been canceled.


The Ephraim Public library is closed.



Door County looking at privatizing EMS service

Door County is considering whether to retain the county-operated Emergency Medical Service or enter into a contract with a private operator.  That proposal is being put before local emergency services and local governments to get their input.  Door County Administrator Ken Pabich calls it an effort to see which arrangement might serve taxpayers more efficiently.


Pabich says the county is seeking requests-of-qualifications from potential contractors.  He says such a move is not an indication of dissatisfaction from the county or taxpayers with the current EMS operations.

Winter storm interrupts spring

No matter how much snow falls by the end of the day Thursday, Door County Highway Commissioner John Kolodziej wants you to know that his crews are ready. The peninsula can expect to see two to five inches of snow before it gives way to rain. The Door County Highway Department took off only a couple of its plows. It kept the majority of its fleet equipped when it saw the forecast over a week ago. Kolodziej says they are in good shape for this storm and for any others that may pop up.

The severe weather expected to hit the area forced state and local officials to push back Thursday’s planned tornado drills to Friday.

Midweek service a hit for church

Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church in Ellison Bay is making it easier for you to worship on a weekly basis. Since the middle of January, Shepherd of the Bay has been hosting a Wednesday evening vesper circle featuring dinner and a shorter, more informal service. Pastor Jim Honig says he has been impressed with the number of people attending the vespers circle which has been as high as 60 in recent weeks.

Honig is unsure if the vesper circle will continue during the summer months, but says the response has been too good to not bring it back later this year. You can attend Shepherd of the Bay’s vesper circle on Wednesdays beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Southern Door STEAM program gets boost from Pride Pumps

The STEAM program at Southern Door Schools is getting a donation thanks to the Jandu Petroleum Pride Pumps. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. There are many projects STEAM students are working on that the donation can help. Students are working with LEGO Robotics Wedo Kits. Ten of those kits have been donated to Southern Door and the participants are helping design robots using the kits. Another project being planned involves 3D printers. Southern Door Elementary STEAM Teacher Jessica Meacham says two printers have been donated to the school. Meacham explains some of the things students will be doing with the printers.



You can find the Southern Door Pride Pump at the Jandu Petroleum station in Brussels on County Road DK. Two cents from every gallon bought at the Pride Pump goes towards a program at the school specified on the pump. The Jandu Petroleum Pride Pump promotion has meant several thousand dollars have been donated to school districts in Door and Kewaunee Counties.

Help of Door County providing safe exchange services

Help of Door County offers families going through transitional periods in their life, like separation and divorce, a safe place to exchange children.  Steve Vickman, executive director of Help of Door County, shares the importance of having this special service provided in the area.



Vickman says last Sunday in Hawthorne, California a mother was murdered in a police station parking lot when she was trying to exchange her child when her husband shot her.  You can contact Help of Door County to schedule the free exchange service by calling the offices in Sturgeon Bay.  

Online versus local stores when buying a computer

Whether your computer helps you run your shop in Baileys Harbor or your laptop is used for a lesson from Algoma High School, you will have to replace it sooner or later.  So is it better to shop online hoping to find good prices or to visit a local computer dealer?  Erin Helgeson, co-owner of Quantum PC in Sturgeon Bay says some computers offered online may be less expensive than those available at stores.  So she recommends finding a system online and visiting her store to make sure you're getting exactly what you need.


Helgeson says don't underestimate the tangible advantages to an in-store visit.



Helgeson says the most common problem Quantum PC sees and hears from customers is the machines are running slow.  She adds if the computer is over five-years-old it's probably showing signs of the end of its useful life.

State aid to help Door County ship goods to China

Door County's effort to improve business ties with its sister city Jingdezhen, China is getting help from the State of Wisconsin.  During the Door-Kewaunee Legislative Days in Madison,  Door County Board of Supervisors Chair Dave Lineau learned there are programs that could help local businesses overcome the challenges of doing business in China.



Lineau says efforts are currently underway to recruit four Door County businesses looking to export their goods to Jingdezhen and a former ceramics factory that's now a mall.  Lineau says the WEDC has the connections to make that possible.



The Door County-Jingdezhen sister city arrangement continues to be strong.  Lineau and other Door County officials visited China last Fall. This June a contingent from Jingdezhen will be visiting Wisconsin.

Horticulturist to help local gardeners prevent common mistakes

Help is on the way for residents in Door and Kewaunee Counties who see their spring gardening efforts fail my mid-summer.  Mark Dwyer, horticulturist at the Rotary Botanical Garden in Janesville, will be coming to The Crossroads at Big Creek.  He'll share what he sees as common mistakes many gardeners make in trying for perfect plants and blooms.  Dwyer says good plant care needs to take place well before planting time.


Dwyer says another common mistake some gardeners make is thinking plants will thrive just about anywhere.


Mark Dwyer will share more about common garden mistakes on April 23rd at 7:00 PM at The Crossroads at Big Creek on Michigan Street in Sturgeon Bay.

Survey shows people want access to west side waterfront

Sturgeon Bay residents believe there's room for public access and commercial shipping needs along the west side waterfront.  That follows the survey conducted for the Ad hoc West Waterfront Planning Committee.  The survey, conducted by the consulting firm SEH, covered four areas.  While the majority of the respondents did not want the west waterfront to have a more industrial, grittier look, they did favor a public parkway connecting Sawyer Park with the Door County Maritime Museum, access for sightseeing and fishing and allowing some space for tugs to moor.  Jim Schuessler, Executive Director of the Door County Economic Development Corporation, says the future use of the site is now clearer.



Schuessler adds that concerns over tugs all along the waterfront may be eased. Some of the smaller vessels may be pulled from service because they don't meet EPA regulations.

Shipyard building first new Great Lakes ship since 1983

Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding has received a contract from Interlake Steamship Company of Middleburg Heights, Ohio for the construction of the first new Great Lakes bulk carrier in decades.  The new 639-foot long, self-unloading vessel will have a capacity of 28,000 deadweight tonnage.  It's also designed to be more energy efficient.  Interlake President Mark Barker says Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding was a logical choice to build a new vessel to meet customers demands.


The new vessel is scheduled to be complete at the Sturgeon Bay shipyard and delivered to Interlake Steamship Company in 2022.

Sevastopol Public Access channel wins media awards

The Town of Sevastopol Public Access cable channel will receive three awards at the upcoming Best of the Midwest Media Fest in May.  An Evening with Jens Jensen by Roger Kuhns and Laddie Chapman won the Achievement Award for Documentary/Feature Professional.  Chapman, program director and videographer, credits Kuhns for his work editing behind the scenes as well as in front of the camera in winning the award.  Chapman shares the two other Sevastopol Public Access channel programs he produced that will be recognized next month. 



174 entries from three states were entered in the Best of the Midwest Media Fest which is sponsored by Wisconsin Community Media.  The award ceremony will be held in the Wisconsin Dells on May 9. 


Open Door Pride plans third annual event

An organization dedicated to fostering inclusion of all Door County residents regardless of sexual orientation is holding a third annual event in June.

Cathy Grier, the founding member of Open Door Pride, explains what the purpose of the organization is.



She explained that Open Door Pride hopes to coordinate events throughout the year to build a vibrant and inclusive community.



Open Door Pride is a non-profit corporation.  You can learn more by visiting

Kewaunee County chair not surprised by groundwater study results

Kewaunee County residents received an update on the safety of their groundwater Tuesday morning at the Land and Water Conservation Committee meeting.  Dr. Mark Borchardt, a microbiologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, shared findings of groundwater contamination in the area.  Kewaunee County Chair Bob Weidner says the new sample findings from the well testing is concerning. 



Borchardt’s study showed a relationship between the distance of wells to manure pits and septic system drain fields and how that could possibly infect wells with dangerous pathogens.  Weidner says the extensive study of wells in Kewaunee County showed the majority of contamination came from agricultural run-off along with some significant amounts of human waste in the groundwater. 


Rep. Gallagher calls for three fixes to healthcare

Wisconsin Eighth District Representative Mike Gallagher is helping lead a bipartisan effort to help lower your healthcare bills. According to an op-ed written by the two-term congressmember, he points out that Americans spend approximately 18 percent of the country’s gross domestic product on health care while similar nations spend around 10 percent. Rep. Gallagher says addressing price transparency, surprise billing, and patient data control are good ways to make hospitals and insurance companies more accountable.

A bill addressing price transparency was introduced by Rep. Gallagher in February, but he believes a measure taking aim at surprise billing for emergency procedures might have the most traction on the floor of Congress. You can read Rep. Gallagher’s full op-ed online with this story.




I grew up around healthcare. I’m the grandson, son, godson, nephew, and brother of physicians who together have delivered over 20,000 babies in Wisconsin. As a result, I know firsthand that our state enjoys some of the besthealthcare in the country.


This is why I was not surprised that former President Obama chose to deliver his first healthcare speech in my hometown of Green Bay in 2009. It was there he said: “Here in Green Bay, you get more quality out of fewer healthcare dollars than many other communities across this country. That’s something to be proud of.” I didn’t often agree with him, but I agreed with that and I’m proud of our state’s record on healthcare.


In fact, Wisconsin continues to be a healthcare leader with only 5% of our state uninsured — tied for the fifth lowest rate in the country. While we work to bring that number down to zero, we also need to recognize that those who are covered face significant challenges in terms of cost and choice. For example, middle-income families on employer-sponsored plans are spending as much as 11% of their income on out-of-pocket costs, while those on the private exchange on average have access to fewer than three insurers. Most people in Northeast Wisconsin are limited to just one insurer on the exchange. Limited access to coverage and higher out-of-pocket costs place a growing financial and physical burden on Wisconsin families.

We can do better. As President Reagan said in 1986, “No one in this country should be denied medical care for lack of funds.” Republican or Democrat, this is a statement both sides of the aisle should support. Unfortunately, as anyone who turned on the TV during the last election season surely knows, the healthcare conversation too often devolves into partisan, tribal warfare, with few real solutions being discussed.


The irony is that both sides have made the same mistake of focusing myopically on how we finance health insurance, while failing to focus on the underlying drivers of healthcare costs. After all, rising insurance premiums ultimately reflect the rising costs of healthcare. In America we spend nearly 18% of our GDP on healthcare while many similar industrialized economies spend closer to 10%. Until we find a way to control costs without compromising quality, we will not be able to sustainably finance health insurance.


The problem is our healthcare system is mind-numbingly complex. Complexity disadvantages patients, particularly when they are dealing with time-sensitive and life-threatening healthcare crises. The cure for complexity is transparency. Here’s where we can start:


1) Price Transparency. In the online economy, consumers can compare prices for nearly any product — except for healthcare. The Trump administration acted earlier this year to require hospitals to provide greater price transparency. This was a step in the right direction, but we have early evidence that hospitals are providing incomprehensible pricing data to check the box while scuttling the spirit of the regulation. That is why I introduced bipartisan legislation that would require healthcare providers — including hospitals, physicians, and health insurance companies — to tell you exactly how much their procedures, products, and services cost ahead of time. Here in Wisconsin, we have already taken steps to provide consumers with better access to hospital pricing through Wisconsin Price Point. This program holds hospitals accountable to its patients and is a successful model other states should consider adopting, but more can be done. We also cannot overlook the costs employees bear to sponsor their employer coverage by disclosing how much employers take out of paychecks each month to pay for insurance. Greater transparency on the true cost of insurance will provide employees with a better sense of how healthcare costs can strain wages.


2) No Surprise Billing: Transparency at the point of sale is only one part of the equation. On a bipartisan basis, Congress is waking up to the burden placed on families by surprise medical bills, also known as balanced billing. These backdoor charges arise when patients are unexpectedly left to pay the difference between the cost of a medical service and the agreed in-network amount covered by insurance. If this sounds familiar, it should. Over half of American adults have received a surprise medical bill. In one recent story, a patient received emergency treatment at an in-network hospital but was left with a nearly $8,000 bill because his surgeon was out-of-network. This is unacceptable and we in Congress must demand better from the insurance companies and healthcare providers. We can and should create policies that protect patients from financial burdens that otherwise would not exist if they were provided with transparent and comprehensive information about their healthcare coverage and procedures.


3) Give Patients Data Control: Transparency in healthcare goes beyond prices and billing. Providing doctors with easier access to information such as electronic health records (EHRs) needs to be part of the solution. Test results, medications, and medical histories are just some of the critical information included in EHRs. When doctors have access to EHRs, they can reduce the chances for duplicative tests and provide physicians with a comprehensive picture of a patient’s health history. While the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently proposed a rule that would provide patients with greater control of their EHRs, Congress is overdue to act. That is why I am working with my colleagues to introduce legislation that would improve access to healthcare records for providers. Timely access to a patient’s healthcare data will improve care coordination and can help keep healthcare costs down.

These are three small but meaningful steps Congress can take to get at the root cause of rising healthcare costs. At a time when bipartisan solutions seem hard to find, I am optimistic that transparency in healthcare is a common ground my colleagues on both sides of the aisle can support.


We expect transparency in our everyday lives. Think of the lucky Packers season ticket holders you know (I should join their ranks when I’m about 110). They know exactly how much they are expected to pay for their tickets at the beginning of the season. They can easily access and understand the breakdown of each ticket price. They aren’t subject to surprise fees when they get to the Oneida Gate. They know how much a beer at Lambeau costs.


We should demand the same from our healthcare providers. I’m proud of Wisconsin’s accomplishments in healthcare, but there is always room for improvement. Experimenting with how we provide transparency to patients can ultimately lead to improved outcomes, greater control of their healthcare, and reduced costs. And that’s exactly what Wisconsinites deserve.

4-H members putting in fair work

You are months away from seeing their hard work shine at the Kewaunee County Fair, but 4-H members across the organization’s 13 clubs are already putting in the extra effort now. No matter what you show, project meetings are taking place across the county to help members learn more about the care of their animals, practice for the judging competition, and receive final instructions before the fair itself. Each project has a specified number of meetings participants need to attend in order to show or take part in the auction during the fair. Kewaunee County 4-H Educator Jill Jorgensen says its nine project areas have been putting in a lot of work.


It is too late to show at the Kewaunee County Fair July 11th through 14th as a 4-H member, but you can still enter projects as an open class participant and join the organization at any time during the year.


Click here to learn more about each individual project   


Prepare yourself for tornadoes and severe weather

You will likely not have to worry about a tornado hitting the area when sirens are turned on Thursday, but local communities in Door and Kewaunee Counties hope you still take it seriously. The drills are a part of Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week, a statewide effort to make sure families, businesses and schools are prepared for such emergencies. Tornado sirens are expected to sound at 1:45 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. Thursday so everyone can participate. Door County Emergency Management and Communications Director Dan Kane says you can never have enough practice.

Kane says this week is a good time to make sure you have a stocked emergency kit ready to use in case of a tornado or another severe weather event and make sure you know how everything works.

Cedar Creek Carpet owner claims "fake news" but paper trail proves otherwise

Ken MacDonald, owner of Cedar Creek Carpet in Sturgeon Bay, says reports that he used a corporation to buy ads supporting candidates for city council and mayor are “fake news reported by a left-wing radio station by a reporter too lazy to actually check facts.”

In a Face Book post yesterday, MacDonald denied having his corporation pay for advertising yet the political advertising agreement posted on the WDOR FCC public file clearly lists “Cedar Creek Carpet” as the client. President and CEO Roger Utnehmer responded to MacDonald in a post you can read with this story on our website. Utnehmer called on MacDonald to amend his social media comments and “come clean” on other political advertising he says he purchased in the past.

There is no room for dark money in Door County politics, Utnehmer said.


See political advertising agreement here


Comment from Roger Utnehmer in response to Ken MacDonald from Facebook:

Roger Utnehmer The political advertising agreement posted on the FCC public file for WDOR clearly is titled “Cedar Creek Carpet. Mr MacDonald denies having Cedar Creek Carpet pay for the ads but the public disclosure on WDOR refutes MacDonald’s false claim and indicates the story on is, in fact, accurate. You can simply google “WDOR FCC Public File and it will take you to the agreement between Cedar Creek Carpet and WDOR. Click on the icon for non-candidate expenditures and you will find the order placed by Ken MacDonald under the name of his corporation, Cedar Creek Carpet. So much, Ken, for “fake news” and “lazy reporting.” is proud to inform people about the sources of money for political advertising and the use of a corporation being listed on an FCC political expenditure report for what appears to be the first time in the history of local elections in Sturgeon Bay. The source of campaign expenditures is and will continue to be news in order to inform the public about the influence of money, and now corporate money, in local politics. Mr MacDonald apparently does not know that a paper trail exists for political advertising on radio stations. That paper trail proves him to be less than truthful in his denial of using corporate money to support the candidates of his choice. There is no reason to misrepresent the source of his political advertising expenditure in Ken MacDonald’s earlier Face Book post because both personal and corporate spending are permitted under law. The use of corporate financing as in this case with these ads is simply of news value because it has not been, at least legally, done before. Mr. MacDonald says in his interview (audio at that he’s done it before and nobody ever questioned it. That prompts the question about whether his spending was properly reported as required by the FCC or if Cedar Creek Carpet just bought ads without reporting as required. That’s dark money in local politics. I suggest Ken MacDonald amend his comments and come clean about previous donations from his corporation.

Local Doctor skeptical on early Alzheimer's diagnosis with eye test

The possible early detection of Alzheimer’s disease with a simple eye test is being met with skepticism by one local geriatric doctor.   A study published recently in the journal Ophthalmology Retina says a trip to the eye doctor may someday reveal Alzheimer’s disease before any symptoms even show up.   Dr. Ronald Kodras from Door County Medical Center says it is too early to tell based on the size of the study. 




One in ten adults in the U.S. over the age of 65 reportedly has Alzheimer’s dementia.  Two-thirds of those affected are women, according to the Alzheimer’s Association website.   Dr. Kodras says a new blood test for certain proteins that, if positively found in the brain, would show the building up beta-amyloid plaques and lead to a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.  He is optimistic that effective treatment and a cure for Alzheimer’s that will stop the disease can be found in the future.  

Peninsula State Park Nature Center addition beginning soon

The Friends of the Peninsula State Park is getting closer to starting the expansion of the Nature Center.  The project which has been in the making for the past several years has taken a back seat to the new Eagle Tower which will hopefully be erected later this year, according to Steve Strucely, business manager of the Friends of Peninsula State Park.  He says recent contributions have closed the gap in getting enough funds to start the project. 


The proposed plan for the Nature Center at Peninsula State Park will increase the footprint of the building to add accessible indoor restrooms, a new meeting room for up to 50 people along with program space for preparation and storage.  A second phase would include additional parking and an outdoor observation deck.  


(Rendering of Nature Center courtesy of



Door Kewaunee Legislative Days valuable experience for area grocer

One local business owner participated in the Door Kewaunee Legislative Days in Madison for the first time and came away impressed with the event.  Alex Stodola of Stodola’s IGA in Luxemburg was one of over 60 community and business leaders and 30 students from the peninsula to visit the State Capitol for legislative days last week.  He says the experience was well worth the time and very satisfying. 



Stodola recommends anyone to take the time to experience the annual two-day event in the future.  He says it was interesting to hear about the issues important to all residents including water quality and broadband access in Door and Kewaunee counties. 


Door County Community Musical being revived

Attention all aspiring actors from Sister Bay to Algoma to Brussels.  The Southern Door County Auditorium wants you for the revival of the Door County Community Musical.  A decade-and-a-half after the curtain came down on the last performance, auditions will be held for “The Little Shop of Horrors”.  Southern Door County School Superintendent Patricia Vickman says work will begin soon.



The “Little Shop of Horrors” will run from July 19 through July 21. You can find more information on the Door County Community Musical with the link below.

Kewaunee County churches join Reconciling Ministries Network

You can find inclusivity behind the doors at the Algoma and West Kewaunee United Methodist Churches. The members of both congregations voted unanimously to join the Reconciling Ministries Network, an organization made up primarily of United Methodist churches working for full equality in its lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. Algoma United Methodist Church had been working on this for over a year before last month’s UMC General Conference voted to tighten its ban on LGBT clergy and weddings. Pastor Jen Emert helped Summerfield United Methodist Church in Milwaukee join the RMN before she came to Algoma and West Kewaunee. She is happy they followed suit.

Algoma and West Kewaunee UMC are the first two northeast Wisconsin churches to join the RMN since the organization began in 1982. The pair of churches joined 18 others in the state stating their support for inclusivity in their congregations. 

Week of the Young Child focusing on curriculum

Students at Northern Door Children’s Center in Sister Bay will join others across the country in a week of fun classroom activities. It is part of National Week of the Young Child, which will focus on five themes in their classrooms including music, cooperation, and family. Community Relations Coordinator Karen Corekin-DeLaMer says the activities draw attention to the important issues early childhood educators should focus on every day.

In addition to the daily theme days, the Northern Door Children’s Center is also sponsoring a gently used book swap so families can trade materials no longer needed at home.

Voices for sexual assault awareness getting louder

Kewaunee County residents will have many opportunities over the next several weeks to bring the topic of sexual assault awareness to the forefront.  The third annual “Hands Around” event April 11th, International Denim Day April 24th, and free self-defense classes May 4th are just some of the ways organizations like the Kewaunee County Violence Intervention Project are commemorating Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says the number of reported incidents is climbing nationwide, but hopes that is partly because more people are realizing they do not need to keep it a secret anymore.

Joski adds as the community talks about it, the more it becomes integrated in our daily lives that sexual assault and other forms of abuse are not acceptable. You can read more about Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the upcoming activities in Kewaunee County online with this story. 




The month of April is designated in the State of Wisconsin as Sexual Assault Awareness month. For those who have been impacted by the brutality of these senseless acts the pain and suffering never truly vanishes. Historically the victimization of these crimes did not end with the act itself but unfortunately were further perpetrated by a culture of secrecy and transferred blame on the part of those who were attacked rather than the attacker. For many years these crimes were minimized or even justified based on the condition of the victim or even in some cases the very clothing that they were wearing at the time of the attack.


Fortunately those days are over and we as a society have come to recognize the severity of sexual assault for what it is. We have striven to provide the greatest possible support for the victims while working towards the most severe level of accountability for the perpetrators. We have opened channels of communication to those who have had to live in the shadows of victimization allowing their voices to finally be heard. One of the organizations that have been instrumental in this transformation is our own Kewaunee County Violence Intervention Project. Having personally worked alongside these amazing advocates for change, I can attest to both their courage and their dedication in the area of victim support and community awareness.


During this month of April there will be events held to bring awareness to the issue of sexual assault and to the many that have been and continue to be impacted. On Tuesday April 11th there will be the 3rd annual “Hands Around” event. It will be held at the Algoma Elementary School and will begin at 3:00 pm. This event is intended to bring attention to not only sexual assault victims but those affected by child abuse as well.


On Weds. April 24th we will be recognizing International Denim Day. This event began as a call to action after a court in Italy failed to convict in a sexual assault case due to the fact that the victim was wearing denim pants. It was the opinion at the time that there was consent as no person could have removed the jeans without the assistance of the wearer. That case was later overturned.


On Saturday May 4th at 10:30 am VIP will be offering free self defense classes at the Kewaunee High School. This event is meant to not only teach various techniques in self defense but also to instill a sense of self- confidence. This course is being offered to anyone ages 12 and up.


Please take the time to join in supporting those affected by these senseless acts and bringing a greater awareness to our need as a society to rid our communities of both Sexual Assault and Child Abuse.

Friends Community Church to host Passover meal

During its holiest weekend of the year, a Christian church in Sturgeon Bay is inviting you to a traditional Jewish meal. Passover begins on Saturday, April 20th this year and Friends Community Church will take a break from its Easter activities to host a seder. Friends Community Church Pastor Nancy Bontempo says the idea to host the Jewish ritual dinner and ceremonial service came from its youngest members.

Bontempo says it is interesting that 1500 years before Jesus was born that God commanded the Jewish people to have a meal where all of the elements would point back to Him. The seder meal will be served at 5 p.m. on April 20th, but you have to make reservations with Friends Community Church by April 13th



Help the food pantry and reduce your library late fees

If you owe overdue fines at the Algoma Public Library, you have the chance to reduce your fines and feed some hungry neighbors.  The library is conducting the “Food for Fines” program to help the Kewaunee County Food Pantry.  Adult services librarian Katie Haasch calls it a simple concept that's paid off for the pantry.



“Food for Fines” run April 8th through 12 as part of “National Library Week.

Roads in Forestville are in rough shape after the winter

The rough winter in Door County has led to some tougher road conditions in the spring. Forestville Town Chairman Roy Englebert says the amount of construction needed is not known yet at this time. All the extra moisture from the snow sunk into the roads during this winter more than in the past. Englebert says Forestville may not have enough money in the budget for road repairs this year because of how high the bills will be from the winter.



Road construction could be a talking point at the next Forestville Town Board Meeting on Thursday, April 16th.

Cedar Creek Carpet owner uses corporate money to campaign for candidates

The owner of a Sturgeon Bay business has used his corporation, Cedar Creek Carpet, to pay for advertising in the recent election, criticizing some candidates and endorsing others.

It appears to be the first time a corporate expenditure on behalf of local candidates has been made in local races for Sturgeon Bay city council and the office of mayor.

Ken MacDonald, owner of Cedar Creek Carpet in Sturgeon Bay, has been a frequent critic of Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront and Sturgeon Bay Historical Society. The Friends group is responsible for litigation that stopped the development of a hotel on the west-side waterfront that MacDonald supported.

The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society recently negotiated a development agreement that would move the Teweles and Brandeis granary back to its original location on the west side waterfront.

MacDonald has opposed both positions on social media posts for several years.

MacDonald’s business, Cedar Creek Carpet, Inc., paid for local radio ads that, he says, were as much against two groups as they were for others.

MacDonald said he does not consider ads criticizing some candidates and supporting others as “political advertising.”

Social media posts described MacDonald’s ads as “vicious” and “angry.”

The use of corporate money to purchase political advertising was illegal before 2010 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United case that the free speech clause of the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting independent communications from for-profit corporations.

MacDonald’s use of his corporation, Cedar Creek Carpet, to purchase advertising on behalf of candidates for public office appears to be the first time it has been reported as required by Federal Communications Commission disclosure rules even though MacDonald said he’s done it before.

Good government groups like the League of Women Voters and Common Cause have worked to overturn Citizens United, saying corporate money corrupts the political systems for and should be banned.

Peninsular Research Station thrives through challenges

The Peninsular Agricultural Research Station in Sturgeon Bay is continuing its mission to farms and orchards despite some changes and challenges.  Like other state agencies, the facility has faced budget cuts and that resulted in organizational changes.  The Peninsular Agricultural Research Station, like the state's 11 other stations, is no longer run by an on-site station superintendent. That role is handled by Mike Peters, ARS Director at U-W Madison's College of Agricultural Life Sciences.  Peters says the Peninsular station continues to meet it's mission, with help from other organizations.


The station continues to partner with the USDA for the NRSP-6 Potato Genebank, which is located at the station.  Peters says the work by UW and USDA staffers at that facility is one of national importance.



Peters says with the additional partnership with U-W Extension Service efforts have been successful, so far, in reassuring clients that the Peninsular Agriculture Research Station can more than meet its mission.

A local doctor's thoughts on younger colorectal cancer patients

Colorectal cancer is increasing sharply for people under 50-years old, though Door and Kewaunee Counties have not yet seen that trend locally.  It's still a cause for concern especially since there are preventive steps.  Dr. Shawn Melarvie, General Surgeon at Door County Medical Center, says the largest contributing factor is obesity among those in their 20's and 30's.



Dr. Melarvie says statistics show the incidence of obesity among the young in 1961 was at 14%.  That's now up to 40%.  Dr. Melarvie says the most effective way to detect colorectal cancer is with an optical colonoscopy, which can detect and remove potential precancerous growths.  Though your doctor might also recommend less intrusive and more economical testing methods. 



Dr. Melvarie says the lower incidences of colorectal cancer in Door and Kewaunee Counties is likely due to older populations.  Colonoscopy tests are done more frequently, which leads to earlier detection and treatment.

Bugs can be your buddies in the garden

A new program at Crossroads at Big Creek can show you that having some bugs in your garden is a good thing. The program is called “Bugs are our Buddies” and it will be led by Karen Newbern who is a member of the Wild Ones of the Door Peninsula. Newbern will teach how to attract the right kind of bugs to your garden. According to Newbern ladybugs are important to have in the garden.



“Bugs are our Buddies” will take place on Thursday starting at 7 PM at Crossroads. The program is free and open to the public.

Southern Door School District likes its own bus service

Many Wisconsin school districts, including Sturgeon Bay and Algoma, have opted to contract out for bus service.  Some districts found that it was more cost-effective than operating school their own schools' buses.  The  Southern Door County School District is among the exceptions.  School Superintendent Patricia Vickman says her district prefers to own and operate its own transportation system for quality and economic reasons.



Vickman says the school board made the two requests-for-proposals to ensure the district was offering the best and most cost-effective bus services possible.

New online voting option at Conservation Congress meeting

You now have the option to give your input on what affects Door and Kewaunee County to the Conservation Congress online for the first time. The Wisconsin Conservation Congress has their spring hearing on Monday starting at 7 PM. All 72 counties in Wisconsin participate. This year there is a questionnaire with 88 questions on it. In years past, you were required to show up to the meeting in person in order to give your preferences to the questions. For the first time the questionnaire is available online. 


There are a few questions directly related to Door County on this year’s questionnaire. Kewaunee County Conservation Congress Chairman Don Anderson says there is one question that pertains to the Mink River in Door County.



One of the other major questions that will be discussed is changing the youth hunting age back to 10 years old. In 2017, the state voted to remove the age restriction. Door County’s meeting place will be held at Sturgeon Bay High School while Kewaunee County’s will be at Kewaunee High School. Go to to find the full questionnaire and more information on the Conservation Congress spring meeting.

Missing Milwaukee man found dead in Kewaunee County

The Kewaunee County Sheriff's Office found the body of a missing Milwaukee man on Friday. His car was discovered abandoned on Kadletz Road about a half mile away from Highway 29 on Sunday, March 30th. The Kewaunee County Sheriff's Office searched for the man but nothing was found. The vehicle was towed to a Kewaunee tow lot at the time.


On Friday, the Milwaukee Police Department contacted the Kewaunee County Sheriff's Office regarding the missing man. Officers returned to the scene and found the body beyond where they had previously searched.


The KCSD says an investigation is ongoing but the public is not in any danger. An autopsy will be performed by the Kewaunee County Coroner and the Sheboygan Medical Examiner.


The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation and Wisconsin State Crime Lab Crime Scene Response Unit are helping in the investigation at the request of the KCSD. The name of the man is not being released until his family is notified. The KCSD expects to release more information on Monday. will update this story as soon as more information becomes available. 

Getting help locally for opioid addiction

Door and Kewaunee Counties are not immune from the opioid addiction crisis which claims an estimated 130 lives daily.  So where do those trying to break free from dependence on opioid pain-killers go for help? Barb Johnson-Giese, the Door County Medical Center Behavioral Health Coordinator, says they should first visit their family doctor or local emergency room for an assessment.



Johnson-Giese says the community at large can help through a change of attitudes about addictions and addicts.


The U.S. Health and Human Services Department declared opioid abuse a public health hazard in 2017.  That came over 20 years after pharmaceutical companies declared publicly that patients given opiods could not become addicted to them.  That's also when health care providers began prescribing them more frequently.

Borchardt presents full well study Tuesday

Kewaunee County residents will finally get the complete details concerning the safety of its groundwater Tuesday when the Land and Water Conservation Committee meets on Tuesday. United States Department of Agriculture Microbiologist Dr. Mark Borchardt teased the results at February’s Midwest Manure Summit. There he connected the dots between groundwater contamination and the well’s location to nearby manure pits. Committee member Lee Luft told last month the final findings will help them start developing their next steps.

The Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation committee meets Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the department’s headquarters in Luxemburg. 

Door County high schools will perform with UWM Choir

The Southern Door and Sturgeon Bay High School choirs will get a chance to perform with the UW-Milwaukee Chorale. The performance will be on April 15th at the Southern Door Auditorium. Bonnie Weydt, the Choral Director at Southern Door, helped organize the event. Weydt says the students are very excited to get a chance to sing with a group at the next level.



Each of the three school choruses will sing alone and then will have one big collaboration at the end of the show. The concert starts at 7 PM and admission is $2. And if you’re 62 or older, admission is free.

RIDE4KIDS helps children with disabilities exercising

A new program in Door and Kewaunee County is helping children with disabilities get some physical activity. The program is called RIDE4KIDS and it’s put on by the Door County Medical Center. RIDE stands for Recreation for Individuals with Disabilities through Exercise. It’s designed for children on the autism spectrum or with Down syndrome or any other cognitive, sensory or physical disability. A student gets paired with a high school volunteer and they play games for an hour after school at the YMCA. It started in the fall with just six students from Sturgeon Bay Schools. The program starts up again on Monday and there are 17 students signed up from Sturgeon Bay, Southern Door and Sevastopol schools. Adam Peronto is an exercise physiologist with the Door County Medical Center and he created the program. Peronto says it’s a unique program not just locally but throughout the country.



Another main goal of the program is to introduce special needs children to a new environment that is relaxed and comfortable for them. RIDE4KIDS is looking to expand into the Kewaunee County school districts as well as Gibraltar.

Sevastopol student has big dreams after perfect ACT score

Sevastopol junior Kailee Moe was able to do what less than two-tenths of 1% of students who take the ACT test do. She achieved a perfect 36. The ACT consists of a test in English, math, reading and science. Each is scored on a 1-36 scale and your total score is the average on all four tests. Moe was shocked to open up her score and find a perfect one.



Kailee wasn’t dreaming of applying to schools like MIT but now that is in her mind of something she could achieve. She credits her parents for helping with a strong work ethic.



You can catch Kailee on the track this spring as she’s on the Sevastopol track and field team and she will be on the swim team in the fall. She is also on the math team and forensics club.

Music and civility event

A Door County organization is helping to promote civility through a musical at an upcoming event. The Door County Civility Project and Write On, Door County are hosting Civility Matters 2019: Building An Immune System for Our Country on April 17th at Stone Harbor Conference Center in Sturgeon Bay. Dr. Kay Collier McLaughlin will be the featured guest. She also spoke with the Civility Project last year as well. Dr. McLaughlin has written a new musical called “The Love Umbrella and Rubber Band Me” based on one of the books she wrote. Some songs from the musical will be performed by local Door County singers. Shirley Senarighi from the Civility Project shares why this is an important event to attend.



The event lasts from 5 PM to 7 PM. There is no required entry fee but a donation is suggested.

Midwest crops lost to flooding could profit area farmers

Farms in Door and Kewaunee Counties could benefit from feed crops lost to flooding in Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and other Midwest states.  High waters have caused over $1-billion in grain and livestock losses.  This is the time when farms in those affected areas would begin spring planting.  Flood damage has delayed that.  Kewaunee County UW Extension Agent Aerica Bjurstrom says that could create an opportunity for area farms to make money from surplus corn and soybeans now in storage.



Bjurstrom says surplus crops could be sold for livestock feed or as food for human consumption.  China is a huge market for U.S. soybean producers.

"Bald and the Beautiful" raises thousands for Door Can

People in Door County who have been touched by cancer showed up to Sonny's Pizzeria Friday night to raise money and get their heads shaved. The event was the "Bald and the Beautiful" and it helped raise over $17,000 for Door Can. Sonny's donated $1 from every pizza sold and 50 cents from every Bridge Up Brewing beer sold to Door Can. People who got their heads shaved also helped raise money for Door Can as well. Many people from the community showed up to Sonny's and ditched their locks for the cause including's Nick Freimuth and Green Bay Packer Lucas Patrick. The Packers offensive lineman shared why he decided to drive up to Door County for the event.



Door Can helps out Door County cancer patients and their families by helping pay for non-medical bills.

Permits required for outdoor burning

With a quick melt of the snow and relatively dry conditions this spring, area fire departments are asking residents to make sure to get proper permits when doing any outdoor burning.  Egg Harbor Fire Chief Steve Schopf says his department can be selective in issuing any burning permit based on the conditions. 



The fire danger for Door and Kewaunee County is at a moderate level this weekend, according to the Department of Natural Resources website.  Schopf recommends contacting your local fire department, town chair, or local municipal official to obtain burning regulation information and permits.  

"Day of Unplugging" a success at Gibraltar

The Gibraltar High School Peer Leaders organized an event that proves students can survive a day without their smartphones and technology.  The “Day of unplugging” from technology was this past Tuesday and had over a third of the student body participating in the voluntary event.  Chelsea Roberts, the school counselor, says about 70 of the 199 high schoolers checked their phones in at the door.



Even some faculty participated in the first-ever “unplugging” of technologies.  Nearly all students received 100 percent participation, according to Roberts.  Hopes are to keep the event going on an annual basis at Gibraltar High School. 


Fate of granary in hands of new city council

The future of the Teweles & Brandeis granary building remains in doubt as four new Sturgeon Bay council members and a new mayor will be sworn into office next Friday.  David Ward, who won a convincing mayoral election by claiming two-thirds of the votes last Tuesday, says although he won’t be part of the voting council he believes two answers must be answered before moving forward on the city’s involvement with the granary.



Ward says he does not believe $130,000 for maintenance and operations is enough for a 118-year old building.  District 7 councilmember Laurel Hauser, who just lost a close election that will be recounted, says the development agreement will protect the city. 




Hauser compares the granary to the new senior center.  She says all will be forgotten when the granary is beautifully refurbished in a few years without the need for taxpayer money.     


Walter's stores sold

It is an end of an era for Algoma and Rio Creek residents after the owners of Walter’s Do-It Best stores announced Thursday it had been sold. Don and Wendy Walter owned the stores for over 60 years before selling their operations to Door County Cooperative.  Brenda Nimmer has fond memories of getting off the bus in front of the Rio Creek store to help her parents. With nobody else in the family to run the store in the future, Nimmer says the opportunity to sell was too important to pass up.

After “serving you best” for three generations, Nimmer says no jobs will be lost as a result of the sale.

P.A.T.H building on its success

You can thank P.A.T.H of Door County for making sure families dealing with autism do not feel alone.  Approximately one in 59 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, a developmental disease that affects the brain. P.A.T.H recently purchased the former Jaycee Clubhouse to provide a safe space for families to bring their autistic children and interact with parents dealing with the same day-to-day struggles. Co-Executive Director Chas Hartl says they have seen an increase in people coming to them since they opened their doors.

P.A.T.H, which stands for Providing Access to Help, also supports families with children with down syndrome, epilepsy, and cerebral palsy. Hartl says the one disadvantage of opening up their building is not having enough toys for all the kids to play with during their visits.  We have information on how you donate your time and gently used toys online with this story.


Click here for volunteer opportunities with P.A.T.H



Door County departments handling merger well

Your public health and human services questions can now be answered in the same office in Door County. The two departments officially merged their operations earlier this year with Joe Krebsbach serving as its director. Sue Powers is second in command serving as the department’s public health manager and health officer. Krebsbach says the transition has been smooth since the two departments collaborated with each other frequently in the past.  

Merging the public health and human services departments at the county level is nothing new in the state. Twenty-eight counties including Door have merged public health and human services departments.

DCEDC sees broadband and housing support at Legislative Days

Representatives from Door and Kewaunee county governments believe they've found support among lawmakers to meet key needs.  Local leaders took part in Door/Kewaunee Legislative Days talking about local issues with members of the Assembly and Senate.  DCEDC Executive Director Jim Schuessler says such meetings have given legislators an understanding of the need for expanded broadband service.




Schuessler says lawmakers also appeared to be open to trying new innovations to deal with housing shortages in rural areas. Pilot programs are one possibility.




The Door/Kewaunee Legislative Days have been held every two years since 2003.

Door County on cruises' radar

Sturgeon Bay could see a wave of visitors coming in the near future by cruise ship. A recent article in the Chicago Tribune showed Blount Small Ship Adventures potentially docking in Sturgeon Bay for a pair of trips at the end of the summer.  The news comes as travelers take a renewed interest in cruising the Great Lakes after the industry died off in the 1950s. Laura Bradley from the Door County Visitor Bureau says it is a great opportunity for Sturgeon Bay if more cruise lines jump on board, but there are some logistics that need to be worked out.

It would be a return voyage for Blount Small Ship Adventures, which docked in Sturgeon Bay last August. 

"Work*Play*Earth Day" at Peninsula State Park on April 20

Peninsula State Park is looking for volunteers to help in a special clean-up day.  The statewide Work*Play*Earth Day is scheduled for Saturday, April 20.  Steve Strucely, business manager of Friends of Peninsula State Park, describes what the work will entail.



Strucely recommends that volunteers wear work shoes or boots along with long pants and gloves.  He says admission is free that day in the park for volunteers and no pre-registration is needed.  The event is from 9 am until noon on April 20. 


New family medicine physician at Prevea Health in Luxemburg

The Kewaunee County community has a new physician that joined the family medicine team at Prevea Health Center in Luxemburg.  Dr. Hilary Lash moved to the area in February from Iowa where she had practiced 18 years.  Born in Arkansas, Dr. Lash says she and her husband fell in love with the Kewaunee and Door County area on numerous fishing trips the past few years.  She shares the most rewarding aspect of being a family doctor.  



Dr. Lash resides in Clay Banks with her husband, a retired orthopedic surgeon, and two Brittany-spaniel dogs.  They have one adult son who will be a professor of Computer Science at the University of Kansas in the fall. 


Sevastopol School additions taking shape during staff meetings

Sevastopol school staff members are developing some thoughts and ideas of how the $25.1-million renovation and expansion project will work logistically and aid learning.  Soil borings for the project have already been taken. The Sevastopol Schools Core team, made up of teachers and support staff, will meet with heating and ventilation engineers for budget discussions.  Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says the team is also looking at ideas for efficient classroom layouts.



The Sevastopol Core Team will continue meeting twice monthly through November on the new buildings' design.  Groundbreaking is set for April of 2020.

Hauser to seek recount of election

Sturgeon Bay District 7 Councilmember Laurel Hauser announced Thursday that she will request a recount on Tuesday’s election that saw her lose by only three votes to challenger Kirsten McFarlin-Reeths.  The vote tally reflected Hauser coming up short 248 to 245. Hauser’s three-vote loss comes when at least one voter has stated he was given a ballot for the seventh aldermanic district instead of the sixth, where the voter actually lives.  Hauser says she and McFarlin-Reeths both agreed a recount was needed.



Hauser says the recount will happen either next Wednesday or Thursday after the Board of Canvassers conduct a formal “canvass” of the results of the election on Monday.  Hauser was elected on to the Sturgeon Bay Common Council in 2017.   

Local gas prices affected by Green Bay pipeline closing

The closing of the Milwaukee to Green Bay pipeline in 2016 has had a big impact on gas prices in Door and Kewaunee Counties. Parv Jandu, the owner of Jandu Petroleum convenience stores, says it’s the reason why gas is more expensive on the peninsula than it is in Green Bay. Once gasoline has to travel more than 100 miles, the more surcharges and fees there are. Gasoline comes by truck from Milwaukee to Door and Kewaunee Counties. Green Bay is less than 100 miles from Milwaukee while Door and Kewaunee are not. Jandu says many people think the gas stations in Door and Kewaunee are price gouging.



The Milwaukee to Green Bay pipeline was closed in March of 2016 when inspectors found problems with the pipeline that needed further testing. It was closed permanently in June of 2016 after they found extensive repairs were needed.

Door County couple calls Peace Corps a life changer

Ed and Adele Douglass were newly engaged graduate students from UW-Madison looking for an adventure in 1963.  That's when they heard about a new program started by President John F. Kennedy called the Peace Corps.  The concept was intriguing, even though Adele and Ed weren't sure where they'd be going.



Adele and Ed began their two-year tour in Cameroon in 1963.  Adele Douglass taught at a missionary school for teenage girls. Ed Douglass used his background in mass communications to teach principles of electricity at a technical high school.  While both say their students learned from them, the couple says their experience helped them chart courses for their lives.  That was after suffering from a bit of culture shock after returning home.


Ed Douglass made a career working in public health.  The Douglass's say anyone considering the Peace Corps should look into it further.

Ballot error creates doubt about close city council election

The outcome of Sturgeon Bay’s closest city council Tuesday race is being questioned by at least one person who says he was given a ballot to vote in the wrong ward.


Laurel Hauser was defeated by just three votes in District 7 by challenger Kirsten McFarlin Reeths.  A voter who resides in District 6 says he was mistakenly given a ballot to vote in District 7.  John Weitermann questioned the error after voting and now wonders how many others may have been given the incorrect ballot.  


The polling place for both aldermanic districts is the same.  According to City Clerk Stephanie Reinhardt, Weitermann voted in District 6 last November but was given a ballot to vote in District 7 for the April 2nd election.  Reinhardt cited a computer error as the reason for the wrong ballot being given to Weitermann.  She told no other ballots were cast in the wrong district.  She says that the State of  Wisconsin has been informed of the error and it is being investigated.


Hauser posted a letter to the editor you can find with this story at in which she kept open the option for a recount.



Hauser Letter to the Editor


The City of Sturgeon Bay’s new council will do a good job. Coming up three votes short and having been part of a council that created a sea change in some very entrenched city politics, I’m in a unique position to say this. The new council will do a good job. They’ll get a lot right. They’ll make some mistakes, and they’ll, for sure, be misunderstood at times. The job is more difficult and more nuanced than people think.


I am sorry that a lot of misinformation made the rounds in the past couple of months. Complex issues don’t translate well to postcards or ads, and the issues the last council dealt with were very complex. I’m very, very proud of the many things we accomplished.


With little time to digest the election results, I will say that my initial thought is that big and fast pendulum swings are exhausting, and they are the direct result of uncreative leadership.

As we negotiate some of the challenges and the exciting opportunities in our future (and there are a lot of them), I hope we all resist the urge to be flame-fanners. Every society needs a few fanners – so the fire doesn’t go out completely – but it needs far more fire tenders. If you’re a citizen and the only way and time you’re involved is incendiary, you’re not helping. If you’re an elected official and your only answer is “no,” you’re not doing enough.


Going forward, we will need good administration and creative vision. We need both to be outstanding. These virtues rely on good communication. I already see some change happening. When I was elected in 2017, there was little to no discussion between ousted and elected candidates. My opponent in 2019 and I have already exchanged very pleasant notes and are making plans to get together for coffee. That’s a good thing.


Please, no one give up on Sturgeon Bay and, please, don’t dig the trenches deeper. There are more than two sides. We have a community full of talent and passion. I can’t wait to see what Sturgeon Bay looks like ten years from now. I think it’s going to be awesome. (And I don’t use that as a throw-away word.)


Thank you to all who have gotten involved. Please stay involved. As for my own race, we’ll see what evolves in the coming days. I may owe it to the democratic process to have a 3-vote margin recounted. I’ll talk with our city clerk and will try to make a wise decision on that. I’m heartened that I received more votes in yesterday’s election (245) than I received in 2017 (230), and sincerely thank everyone who supported me.


Laurel Hauser



Free film screening of "Where do we go now?" offered at Miller Art Museum

The Miller Art Museum is presenting a free film screening as part of its Second Thursday Educational Program Series on Thursday, April 11 at 5:45 pm. The film, titled “Where Do We Go Now?” is a Lebanese dramatic comedy from 2011.


It is presented in conjunction with the Museum’s current exhibition, Mitli Mitlak (Like You, Like Me), which opened on March 2, 2019.



“Where Do We Go Now?” is set in a remote village in Lebanon, inhabited by both Muslims and Christians, and follows the inhabitants of the village as civil strife begins all around them. The women of the village engage in an elaborate plot to de-escalate the violence and protect their community. Directed by Nadine Labaki, “Where Do We Go Now?” won the Toronto International Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award in 2011.


Additionally, the film premiered during the 2011 Cannes Film Festival as part of Un Certain Regard and was selected to represent Lebanon for the 84th Academy Awards, but it did not make the final shortlist.


Mitli Mitlak (Like You, Like Me) features the work of visual artists from the Middle East, North Africa, and of Arabic descent. The contemporary works include painting, photography, and drawing, all working in a narrative frame to tell stories of refuge, displacement, war, and contemporary visual culture. Many of the artists whose work is featured in the exhibition are residents of occupied areas or refugee camps. 



“Where Do We Go Now?” will be presented in the main gallery of the Miller Art Museum at 5:45 pm on Thursday, April 11, 2019. The film screening is free and open to the public.

Mitli Mitlak (Like You, Like Me) will be on view through Monday, April 15, 2019.

State looks to close CNA gap

A state program could help put more people in classrooms at assisted care centers in Door and Kewaunee Counties by taking away one major hurdle: money. The WisCaregiver Career Program can help cover the costs associated with tuition, background checks, program fees, materials and more. Tonya Moore from the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Luxemburg Regional Center says it is a program many people do not know about when they are choosing education and career paths.

The program requires grant recipients to work at a qualified assisted care facility for at least six months following graduation, which Moore says helps fill the needs at places like the Algoma Long Term Care Unit.

Door County dealing with elder abuse

With Door County having an older demographic that is increasingly aging, local agencies are looking to help curb concerns of elder abuse.   Steve Vickman from Help of Door County says that although older people in Door County are more active and independent the statistics show that Door County is experiencing more elder abuse. 



Vickman says that statistics showed over 110 reported cases of elder abuse and neglect just two years ago.  You can find contact information on services provided by Help of Door County with this story below.


Easter a chance to bring people back to church

Churches like Immanuel Lutheran in Kewaunee are preparing for what is often the most attended service of the year. Easter is more widely attended than Christmas and Mother’s Day according to the Pew Research Center. About half of all Americans are planning to attend an Easter service. Pastor Ken Kratz says the key is connecting with guests when they come to Easter services so they know they are able to come back more than once or twice a year.

Kratz says attending church can help people find the answers to life’s important questions. 

Door County YMCA planning for Summer Camps

Young people throughout Door County have the opportunity to enroll now in one of most popular programs offered by the YMCA locally.  Summer Camps do not begin until early June, but enrollment has began at the Door County YMCA in Fish Creek and Sturgeon Bay.  CEO and President Tom Beerntsen says the YMCA Summer Camp experience is much more structured than it was years ago. 



The Door County YMCA Summer Camp is open to all children from four years old to junior high-age students, according to Beerntsen.  Some older children can also be "counselors in training" to help lead the campers.  You can find more information on enrolling in YMCA Summer Camps with this link below.

Just over $300-thousand coming for area school libraries

School libraries in Door and Kewaunee Counties have more money coming their way from the state.  Wisconsin's Common School Fund, a state school trust fund, will distribute just over $36-million to Wisconsin school districts for library services.  That includes just over $301-thousand for Door and Kewaunee County School Districts.  Algoma School District Superintendent Nick Cochart is pleased to learn about the additional funding for what he calls a community asset.



The Common School Funds distribution for Kewaunee County Schools includes $29,000 for the Algoma School District.   Kewaunee Schools will get just over $40,000.   Luxemburg-Casco Schools will receive nearly $85,000. In Door County, Sturgeon Bay Schools will get nearly $59,000 for library services.   Southern Door Schools will receive nearly $42,000. The Sevastopol Schools Library will get nearly $24,000 and Gibraltar Schools will receive nearly $23,000.

Mayor-elect David Ward ready to get to work

Now that the campaigning and the election are over Sturgeon Bay Mayor-elect David Ward is ready to get to work. Ward was in the middle of the Sturgeon Bay City Council meeting on Tuesday night when the election results were announced. When the meeting was over Ward turned on his phone to read a text from his daughter congratulating him.


Ward said he spoke with his opponent, Shawn Fairchild, and that both were pleased with how the campaign was conducted.



Ward says the first order of business once he takes office is to get organized.



Ward and the other city council members elected will be sworn in at the next City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 16th.

Ephraim working on ordinance for storm water system

The Village of Ephraim is currently upgrading its stormwater collection system and developing a new ordinance to cover operations.  Village Public Works Manager Russel Salfi says the new stormwater system is being constructed ahead of the Highway 42 resurfacing and the village Streetscape improvement projects.



Salfi says Ephraim is also revising the village stormwater ordinance to cover permitted operations and users fees.



Ephraim's new stormwater collection system is expected to be completed within the next several months.

Chinese students coming from sister city to Door County

Door County's sister city of Jingdezhen, China will be well represented around the peninsula this summer.  More students from Jingdezhen will be coming here under the J-1 cultural visa program.  They'll help Door County businesses through the busy summer tourism season.  Door County Corporation Counsel Grant Thomas, who works with the sister city program, believes the Chinese student workers will share something in common with their American counterparts who are unfamiliar with Door County.


Door County will serve as a classroom for the Jingdezhen students who'll get a crash course in American culture and more.


In addition to students, Door County will host local leaders and dignitaries from Jingdezhen in June.

Door and Kewaunee Counties see deer populations rise

If you think you're seeing more deer in Door and Kewaunee County fields and woodlands, it's not just your imagination.  The herd is growing despite increased bag limits during hunting seasons.  Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Biologist Josh Martinez says weather conditions made it easier for deer to survive the winter.  He adds that's also a cause for concern for farms and forests.



To help thin the herd in Door and Kewaunee Counties the state is recommending a “holiday” firearms antlerless deer hunt for 2019.  That would range from Christmas Eve through New Year's Day.  The DNR website is currently taking public comment on that deer hunt proposal through April 11th.

Sturgeon Bay, Washington Island School Districts pass operational referenda

Sturgeon Bay and Washington Island School District voters approved operational referendum questions Tuesday night that will lead to a higher tax bill for property owners in the name of continuing its high quality of education.


On Washington Island, voters approved an operational referendum that will allow the district to exceed its revenue cap by $595,000 next school year and $635,000 the year after by a 69-31 percent margin.


Sturgeon Bay School District’s referendum will cover them for the next three years, exceeding their revenue cap by $2.9 million next school year, $3.2 million in 2020-2021, and $3.6 million in 2021-2022. The measure passed by a 67-33 percent margin. 


Referendums are nothing new for the districts with Sturgeon Bay going to their voters every three years since 2007 and Washington Island doing the same every one to two years since 2000.

Sturgeon Bay city council over-rides Birmingham granary veto

The Sturgeon Bay city council voted to over-ride Mayor Thad Birmingham’s veto of a development agreement that would return the Teweles and Brandeis granary to the west-side waterfront Tuesday.   David Ward, a council member who was elected mayor Tuesday, and Ald. Seth Wiederanders voted to support Birmingham’s veto.  Council members Laurel Hauser, Barbara Allmann, Kelly Avenson, David Hayes and Kelly Catarozoli voted to over-ride.

That does not assure, however, the future of the 119-year old granary.  Four candidates for city council who oppose preservation were elected Tuesday.  Helen Bacon, Dan Williams, Gary Nault, and Kirsten McFarlin-Reeths will replace Kelly Catarozoli, Ward, Barbara Allmann and Laurel Hauser, respectively.  

Catarozoli and Allmann did not seek re-election. Hauser was defeated by a margin of only three votes.

Ward said the development agreement Birmingham vetoed would tie up the property for years, a maintenance fund of $130,000 is inadequate and that the development team presents a high risk of not completing the project.

Egg Harbor, Sturgeon Bay approve marijuana referendum questions

Voters in Egg Harbor and Sturgeon Bay overwhelmingly approved a referendum question supporting medicinal marijuana but were more divided when it came to its recreational use.


In Egg Harbor, 82 percent of voters support marijuana use for medicinal purposes, but that number dropped to 55 percent in favor of adults 21 and older using it for recreational purposes. Sturgeon Bay voters approved marijuana’s medicinal use by a 77-22 percent margin. Its recreational use was also approved by a slim 50-49 percent margin.


These votes do not make marijuana legal in Egg Harbor and Sturgeon Bay, but places it with other municipalities in the state that have passed similar measures for the Wisconsin Legislature to consider.

Kewaunee County election results from contested races

Jordan Nowak will be the new supervisor for the Town of Lincoln as he defeated Nick Cochart in Tuesday night's election.  Nowak won by a 206 to 117 margin.  In the Town of Luxemburg, The chair will be David W. Barrett who won over Robert J. Berger 180-158.   The town clerk position will go to Amanda Nimmer who easily defeated Jennifer Rank 239-86.       


Ward wins big in Sturgeon Bay mayoral race; Hauser defeated

David Ward defeated Shawn Fairchild Tuesday in the Sturgeon Bay mayoral election.  Claiming nearly two-thirds of the votes, Ward will be sworn in as the new mayor later this month.  He had served as the District 3 council member for the past three years.  In the aldermanic races, Helen Bacon won over Dawn Goodban by a 62-37 margin in District 1.  District 3 saw Dan Williams defeat Sean Linnan 55-44 percent.  Gary Nault claimed the District 5 seat by defeating Sarah K. Evenson 63-36 percent and the District 7 seat went right down to the wire with challenger Kirsten McFarlin-Reeths unseating incumbent Laurel Hauser by three votes (248-245).


Algoma taking time in search for new administrator

The City of Algoma is without a city administrator and the city council is not in a rush to fill the post just to get it filled.  Former Administrator Jeff Wiswell retired last month.  At Monday's monthly meeting the Algoma City Council voted to consolidate the administrator's duties among current administrative staff.  Mayor Wayne Schmidt says that arrangement has been working well since Wiswell's retirement,  So the city will wait before posting the job opening.


Mayor Schmidt says the city could post the open position earlier if they find interest from the right candidates.



Wiswell served as Algoma City Administrator for just over eight years before deciding to retire and return to Madison.

Quick season for maple syrup

It took less than a month for Hillside Apples owner Bill Roethle to meet his goal of nearly 40 gallons of maple syrup produced this season. Roethle, like many sap collectors in Door and Kewaunee Counties, could not even get out to his trees in Casco to tap them much before the beginning of March due to cold temperatures and deep snow. The weather certainly cooperated after that according to Roethle.

Weather will still dictate when Roethle will tap his trees for sap in the future, which usually runs from the end of February through the middle of April. His excess sap will now go to wholesalers in northeast Wisconsin to be made into more maple syrup.

Kewaunee research vessel preparing for second year of service

The Kewaunee-based research vessel Standford H. Smith will start gearing up for its second year of operations for the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service.  Those preparations will start as soon as Lake Michigan and Kewaunee Harbor are free of ice.  Some modifications are being made on the 57-foot research ship and Vessel Master Stormi Sutter says crew members will go through a bit of a refresher course in ship operations.


While the Standford H. Smith's home port is Kewaunee, it will see service all over the Great Lakes as needed.

Area Peace Corps volunteer calls his time life changing

In its nearly 60-years of existence, the Peace Corps has been very well represented in Door County.  25 returning Peace Corps volunteers now call Door County home, including Dennis White of Sturgeon Bay.  He first considered volunteering in high school and signed up out of college for a two-year tour in Iran. 



White says he became as much of a student as a teacher during his time in Iran.  He says his experience provided new perspectives that, initially, made for a challenging transition back to American culture. 


White encourages any college student to seriously consider Peace Corps service.  It didn't take much to convince his daughter, who decided on her own to sign up and serve in Uganda.

State parks preparing for busy year

Wisconsin State Parks like Whitefish Dunes could use your help to make sure it is ready for the summer. Friends groups across the Wisconsin State Park system organize clean-up days in coordination with Earth Day activities to tidy up structures, rebuild trails, and remove what winter may have left behind. Friends of Whitefish Dunes State Park Vice President John Swanson says these cleanup days are very important.

Peninsula and Potawatomi State Parks will have their Work Play Earth Day events on April 20th while Newport and Whitefish Dunes will host theirs on April 27th. Volunteers should make sure they are properly prepared to work for either half or full day shifts and enjoy refreshments courtesy of the Friends groups. 

Voting polls open until 8 pm -- Election Coverage on WBDK after 8 pm

Door and Kewaunee County residents will head to the polls Tuesday with several leadership positions on the ballot. The City of Sturgeon Bay will decide on a new mayor Tuesday as well as fill four aldermanic seats.  Door County will have many races for town boards and school boards.  Contested races in Kewaunee County include supervisors in the Town of Lincoln and Pierce, Town of Luxemburg chair and clerk, and Town of West Kewaunee chair.   The polls will remain open from 7 am until 8 pm.  WBDK 96.7FM will provide election coverage on-air starting at 8:15 with updated results on throughout the evening. 


The open school enrollment period enters final month

The open enrollment period in the state will wrap up at the end of April as both private and public schools in the area make their final push to gain new students.  The open enrollment period began on February 4 and is available to all students enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade.  Marc Vandenhouten, principal for St. Mary’s Elementary School in Luxemburg, explains some of the questions asked by parents before deciding where their child will enroll for their education.



Open enrollment first became available in the state back in 1998.  An alternate open enrollment will be offered starting on July 1.  

Area greenhouses ready for busy spring

A cooler than normal spring so far has local greenhouses eagerly awaiting warmer temperatures and “green thumb” customers.  Todd Maas from Maas Floral and Greenhouse in Sturgeon Bay says the demand for geraniums, the most popular plant sold, has fallen nearly in-half as other options have become available.  He says the addition of many hybrid plants have spread the wealth when it comes to choosing particular plants.



Maas says his greenhouse which typically grew 6,000 geraniums in a season now plant about 3,000 of those flowers for resale.   


Donate Life ceremony shares local stories

A Donate Life flag was raised at Door County Medical Center on Monday morning to proclaim the need for organ donors and recognize National Donate Life Month in April.  Christa Krause, a registered nurse and Chief Nursing Officer, shares the critical need for organ donors. 



Bone marrow transplant recipient Chase Hartl, son of Troy Hartl and Shelly Krueger, was on hand to help raise the Donate Life flag.     A moment of silence for one minute and 14 seconds was observed signifying the over 114,000 people waiting for an organ transplant in the United States today.  Deb Eisen, who donated a kidney to her brother, shared her story of hope.


You can watch a video of the participants in the “Donate Life Wisconsin Pause to Give Life” ceremony below and become a donor by clicking on this link.


Municipalities scramble to find building inspector

A help wanted sign can be posted for several municipalities across northeast Wisconsin after a Waukesha-based building inspection company chose to not continue its service in the area. Due to financial reasons, Independent Inspections will no longer be providing the service by the end of the spring. It is bad timing for builders in the area according to Liberty Grove Town Chairperson John Lowry.

The Liberty Grove Board will consider two new building inspection contracts at its meeting on Wednesday in Ellison Bay.

Friends Community Church plays on

The historic piano at Friends Community Church in Sturgeon Bay may be out of commission for a while, but its members will still be able to carry a tune. The 100-year-old Mason and Hamlin piano has called a corner of Friends Community Church home for over 40 years, but over that time has begun to deteriorate. Enter Peter Nehlsen, who over the weekend disassembled the piano to take to his shop on Washington Island where he hopes to restore it in phases to help alleviate the costs for the church. A baby grand piano given by Algoma Community Church will sit in its place for the meantime, which Friends Community Church Pastor Nancy Bontempo says has a unique connection to Sturgeon Bay.

Bontempo says it will hopefully get its old piano back in three to four months and hopes to keep the music going for another church in need with its baby grand.



Door County businesses look to do more with federal agencies

Some businesses in Door County could stand to expand their reach by working with the federal government.  Last week, Door County was designated as a Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) qualified county. This means Door County businesses could get put to the head of the line when it comes federal procurement opportunities. With so many federal agencies and prime contractors not meeting their HUBZone goals, Door County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Jim Schuessler says that spells opportunity for the area.

The DCEDC will host an informational session about the HUBZone designation and how businesses can take advantage of the program on Tuesday at its Business Development Center in Sturgeon Bay. You can learn more about the session online with this story.

Schools offer safe option post-prom

Parent-led organizations across the state like Gibraltar, Sturgeon Bay and Algoma are making sure students stay safe after the last song plays at their high school prom. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 300 teens have died in traffic accidents during their prom weekends over the last several years with many using the event as a bad reason to try alcohol or drugs for the first time. Post-prom activities organized by parents’ groups give an alternative by offering games, food, and prizes with either a small or no admission fee required. Shelly Anderson is helping organize this weekend’s Algoma Post-Prom at the city’s Youth Club building and says it usually draws about 100 students every year.


Anderson says numerous businesses every year step up to help make their post-prom a memorable and safe evening. Luxemburg-Casco, Kewaunee, Sevastopol, and Southern Door will also have their proms this month.

Legislative Days delegate speaks of experience

While many of the delegates heading this week to Madison for Door Kewaunee Legislative Days are new to the process, some like Kewaunee County Board Member Lee Luft are old pros at it. Luft will be attending his third Legislative Days as a part of the 100-plus member delegation, which will be meeting with state officials about topics like state broadband funding and investment in local land and water resources. He says delegates should take advantage of the time they have with some of the state’s decision makers.

Door Kewaunee Legislative Days takes place April 3rd and 4th

DMV services cut at county office

You will no longer be able to get temporary vehicle licenses or transfer titles at the Door County Government building. April 1st marks the first day the Door County Clerk’s office will not be providing the services for motorists who needed it done outside of the normal hours at the Department of Motor Vehicles office in Sturgeon Bay. County Clerk Jill Lau says it phased out the program because people can now do it at home.

Lau says new rules and regulations from the state surrounding what they did provide and a dramatic drop in counter service over the last five years also played a role in the decision.

Read at Algoma Public Library and settle your fines

Read and watch your library fines fade away.  That's the goal of a new program at the Algoma Public Library.  "Read for Fines" takes place in April as part of National Library Month.  Adults Services Librarian Katie Haasch says the program is aimed at children and teens with a two-fold purpose.



"Read for Fines" is patterned after the successful "Food for Fines" program.  That program allows delinquent readers to reduce their fines by bringing in non-perishable food items for donation to the Kewaunee County Food Pantry.

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