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News Archives for 2019-12

Help of Door County focusing on youth mentorship

The new executive director of Help of Door County is excited to take the organization to an even higher level in 2020.  Milly Gonzales, who has been in her new position for six weeks, says the key to a successful program is a preemptive approach to the domestic violence problem in the area.  She hopes to involve younger people as well as adults in future conversations and programs.



Gonzales adds that the mission of Help of Door County is to eliminate domestic abuse through prevention and intervention services and to advocate for social change.  You can find out more information on Help of Door County programs with the link below.


Personal year-end review a good idea -- Mental Health Minute series

A Sturgeon Bay Psychologist says taking an inventory of your 2019 experiences can help you keep a positive outlook for 2020.  Dr. Dennis White recommends that you do a personal year-end review.  He suggests asking some important questions about yourself and reflecting on the last year.



You can listen to the eight questions Dr. White suggests that you ask yourself and the entire Mental Health Minute audio below.





County questioned on spill response

How to get information out more quickly is one question that came from a manure run-off incident last week in southern Door County. Following a report of manure running off of a field in Kolberg, county officials sent a letter out to residents potentially affected by the incident. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says they usually wait until there is a complaint about colored or smelly water before they send out a letter, but did so anyway because the run-off hit a nearby ditch. Some citizens questioned the strategy, citing a possible delay in the mail being received while wells and other sources of water possibly become affected. Pabich says the county could have implemented its Code Red Alert System to warn residents, but even that has its shortcomings.

County officials will follow the lead of Kewaunee County next month when it discusses the manure spreading and storage emergency affecting the region after receiving a record amount of precipitation in 2019.  The first discussion will occur at the Land Conservation Committee meeting on January 9th.

Ephraim to tie Streetscape loose ends

The ribbon was cut in August, but there are still projects on the docket for the village of Ephraim related to its streetscape improvements. Thanks to the work being completed on time and under budget, the village has bond proceeds available to use for three different projects. They include resurfacing the roads used during last summer’s detour, a sidewalk extension from the village’s beach to Brookside Drive, and some additional work on storm sewers for secondary roads. Ephraim Village Administrator Brent Bristol says he is excited to officially tie a bow on the streetscape project.

The Ephraim Village Board will discuss the bids for the three projects at its upcoming meeting on January 14th.

Smart devices offer security concerns

The smart speaker or video surveillance system you got as a holiday gift could lead to security issues down the line according to a Sturgeon Bay business. Security researchers recently uncovered issues with smart speakers where software can be downloaded to allow hackers to eavesdrop on users or ask for passwords. An ABC News report says the makers of the popular Ring video cameras are being sued for having inadequate cybersecurity that has allowed hackers to access an owner’s Wi-Fi system. Quantum PC owner Nathan Drager says there are some technical steps you can take to ward off hackers.

Drager advises users to also have two-factor authentication for your log-in so you are notified when someone is trying to access your device or network.

Fund remembers lost tug captain

The Sarter family is making sure its patriarch’s presence continues to be felt throughout the county. The Don Sarter Marine Safety Memorial Fund was established shortly after his death on the Great Lakes back in September. In the wake of the tragedy, donations made in Sarter’s honor are now being used to fund safety-related projects like new life jackets for kayak and boat companies and a drone for the Door County Sheriff’s Department. His daughter, Tammy Sarter Zeigle, says her father would want to be remembered this way.

Zeigle says the newly established foundation is in the process of writing for more grants to help fund additional safety-related projects. Donors can contribute to the Don Sarter Marine Safety Memorial Fund at any Nicolet Bank branch.

DCEDC hopes for 2020

Jim Schuessler's time as Executive Director of the Door County Economic Development Corporation is in the final month, though he's hoping for some long-term improvements in the county's economic base.  Schuessler believes Door County has taken some key steps in developing affordable housing.  However, he believes more must be done in order for the county to attract employees in skilled trades and education.


Schuessler believes 2020 will be a key year for the development of broadband internet.  He says the approvals of broadband grant applications through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation could expand high-speed internet access by 20-percent.



Door County should know by mid-February whether the broadband development applications are approved.  The next step will be to start bringing local communities online. 

Gustafson running for city council seat

After collecting enough signatures and turning his nomination papers in on Monday, Spencer Gustafson is looking forward to having his name on the April 7th ballot for District 4 in Sturgeon Bay.  The 25-year-old Gustafson works as a Digital Media Specialist for the state of Wisconsin and moved back to Door County from Madison in April.  He says the last Sturgeon Bay Common Council election sparked his interest in running for the aldermanic seat.



Gustafson says the west side waterfront development and the funding for streets are still two key issues facing the city.  Current District 4 councilmember Kelly Avenson has taken out papers for re-election but has not turned them in as of Monday.   


Shorter, personalized funerals more common

The trends in funeral services are changing how families memorialize their loved ones locally.  While more funerals are being personalized, the traditional funeral process is being shortened.  Laurie Schinderle of Schinderle Funeral Home in Algoma says families are opting more for services to be done in one day.



Schinderle says many families have customized caskets inside and out to display interests and affiliations like military emblems and deer hunting themes.  She says more people are choosing cremation in order to schedule memorials later in the year to accommodate family and friends who live farther away.


Knights of Columbus holding Free Throw Championship

Door County boys and girls will have an opportunity to show off their poise at the line at the 2020 Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship in Sturgeon Bay. The competition will be held on Friday, January 10th and has no entry fee, with the only requirement being that the entrant is anywhere between the ages of 9 to 14 as of the New Year. Jeff Bruemmer, a local member of the Knights of Columbus, says participants will shoot three rounds of five shots each.




Registration will start at 4:00 pm at the St. John Bosco/Corpus Christi Gym in Sturgeon Bay. The official start of the contest is set for 4:30 p.m. The winners from each boy’s and girl’s age category will advance to the Diocesan level in February. 


Clear sailing for ferry

You can count the Washington Island Ferry among those happy about the recent warm temperatures. Traffic has been steady with Island residents making sure they can get to and from the mainland while local businesses are also able to get the supplies they need to stay open. Missing from the daily routine as of now is breaking a path in the ice for the ferry. Ferry President Hoyt Purinton is also happy they have not had to deal a lot with ice on the decks this winter, which is caused by warmer lake water spraying onto the vessel in extremely cold air temperatures. He says that causes almost more problems than being limited to one ferry to break the ice.

Purinton  knows tougher days are ahead, but admits he would not mind a challenge to its shortest icebreaking season ever of just five and a half weeks.  The daily schedule for the Washington Island Ferry will shrink after this week when it goes from four round-trips to just two beginning on January 6th.

Salt and sand snow removal stand-bys

The Door County Highway Department has plenty of sand and salt to go around this winter. Snow began in Door and Kewaunee Counties late Monday with the National Weather Service predicting between three to six inches falling before the morning commute wraps up on Tuesday. Door County Highway Commissioner John Kolodziej says cost and temperatures are factors when it comes to their snow removal strategies.

While other snow removal materials like beet juice and cheese brine are being experimented with in other municipalities, Kolodziej says the cost is why they have not been used in Door County.

Crunch time for city signatures

There is plenty of paperwork that still needs to be filed in the cities of Sturgeon Bay and Kewaunee ahead of the January 7th deadline for nomination papers.


In Sturgeon Bay, only Seth Wiederanders has turned in his paperwork to run again for his District 6 seat. District 2 councilmember David Hayes, District 4 and incumbent Kelly Avenson have their nomination papers still circulating as of Monday morning.  Avenson's challenger Spencer Gustafson turned in his papers Monday afternoon.


In Kewaunee, Mayor Sandi Christman and city council member Jamie Jackson have opted not to run for another term. John Blaha and Jason Jelinek have taken out nomination papers to replace Christman as the city’s mayor, but they have not turned them in as of Monday morning. James Brewster, Janita Zimmerman, and Dan Stangel are circulating their nomination papers for separate seats on the Kewaunee City Council. Jeff Vollenweider is the only one to have turned in his signatures to get on the ballot as he looks to replace Jelinek as the District 1 alderperson on the city council.

Patrols stretched thin

With 400 square miles to cover and over 3,500 complaints assigned, Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department patrol deputies were kept quite busy in 2019. The calls include incidents when deputies assist other jurisdictions like city police departments. Otherwise, the assigned duties cover a wide range of activities from arrests and traffic citations to property checks and motorists assists. With an average of two deputies patrolling the area at a given time, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski applauds his staff for the work they do keeping the community safe.

Patrol deputies issued 1,183 traffic citations and 1,505 warnings in Kewaunee County in 2019, a number Joski says he would rather not see so high but hopes motorists learn from the experience. You can read the full breakdown from Joski below:



As I continue with reporting the activity of the Sheriff’s Department thus far in 2019, I would like to share some data from the Patrol Division. Probably the most visible division within the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department is our Patrol Division, and it comprises of the most recognizable duties which we carry out throughout the year. There are twelve deputies assigned to the Patrol Division which is supervised by Lt. Jason Veeser. The minimal staffing for Kewaunee County’s 400 square miles are two patrol deputies. When you consider the distance from Tisch Mills on our southern border and Dyckesville on our northern border you begin to understand the demands which this puts on our staff both from the perspective of continual presence to that of response time.


If we were to look at the overall process from the time that a call or complaint is made to the Sheriff’s Department through its completion, the Patrol Division plays an important role. Aside from those calls which are determined to be civil in nature, and not involving an active crime, the patrol division is dispatched to every one of them ranging from keep the peace to traffic offense to domestics. The category for these calls is “Complaints Assigned” and they account for 3,532 of the total activity. In many cases the complaints may be occurring within one of the local jurisdictions or even involving an adjacent county, but we are requested to provide assistance. These are categorized as “Assist Other Agencies” and account for 1,206 of the total patrol activity.


Of these complaints that we respond to not all result in arrest. Many times the Deputy is able to mediate the situation, or resolve the complaint with a warning to the perpetrator. In some cases the evidence which is provided to the Deputy requires that an arrest be made. In those cases where it is necessary to arrest the total number thus far in 2019 is 246. While this number may seem low these calls tend to be very involved and require a great deal of the Deputy’s time in follow up and documentation.


The most commonly perceived duty of the Patrol Deputy is of course traffic enforcement, although it accounts for very little of the overall time spent in a given shift due to the demands of call response. So far in 2019 there have been 1,183 Citations issued along with 1,505 Warnings. We like to approach traffic enforcement from an educational perspective, and when possible try to achieve the learning experience through warnings. Unfortunately there are times where either the offense is so egregious or the individual has already been given the courtesy of a warning that a citation is unavoidable. It is important for people to realize that Deputies do not enjoy issuing citations any more than the person on the receiving end. Our ultimate goal is always public safety.


Some of the duties which the Patrol Division carries out which may not be as commonly known are those related to civil process. By statute the Sheriff’s Department is tasked with carrying out actions which are a result of our circuit court Judge’s orders. These can range from eviction actions, actions in support of a writ, or even involvement in child custody orders. We are also part of the notification to those involved in these actions through the service of papers or notices. These “Papers Served or Attempted” account for 459 of the calls so far this year.


The two final categories are what I would consider Customer Service. They are “Citizen Assists” and “Property Checks”. The category of citizen assists is for the most part unplanned events which are a result of an unfortunate circumstance on the part of the citizen. These can range from stranded motorists to providing information regarding vehicle registration or licensing. Deputies handled 455 citizen assists so far this year. Property checks are a service we provide when requested from individuals in our community who may be away from their homes for an extended period of time, or an additional amount of attention we may give to a property which has been the victim of a recent criminal act and the owner would like us to monitor activities in their area. So far in 2019 we have conducted 51 such checks.


I hope that the take away from this article is that when you see a Sheriff’s Department squad you have a better understanding of the many different duties that these men and women engage in on a given shift. In all of these numbers, the most important element is the relationship that we have with those whom we serve. All the data and statistics mean nothing if we do not have the support of our community and it is our goal to maintain a high level of professionalism for those we have sworn to protect and serve!


As we close out the year, I always like to take a moment to thank all of those who serve our communities and keep them safe. Throughout the year I receive numerous calls from those who have had direct contact with law enforcement, and who feel the need to express their appreciation for the acts of a given officer or officers. We are truly blessed to have these public servants living among us, those who have put the needs of their community above their own needs. This also holds true for those in our communities who give of themselves in the fire service as well as rescue personnel and first responders.


To see on a daily basis how these professionals come together at a time of crisis and apply their given talent to those in need is truly humbling. Even more amazing is that after a call is complete they re-group and prepare for the next response. This goes on 24 hours a day 7 days a week. While most are sleeping they are responding. While most are at holiday events, they are responding.


Law enforcement has an additional component which is unique to our calling which requires us to stand between those we protect and those who would harm them. This position in society is not an easy one as we must determine friend from foe, and how we will respond to threats to both our communities as well as to ourselves in split seconds. While we rely on an ongoing regiment of training and policy updates which reinforces a consistent and appropriate response to all possible scenarios, the reality is that every situation has its own dynamics.


We realize the faith that our communities have put in us, and confidence which is placed on our abilities to navigate through the myriad of calls and complaints as we go about the duties of preserving the peace. I would hope that all can appreciate the burden that we place on law enforcement officers, and take every opportunity to let them know that they have not only our appreciation, but our support throughout the year. To all who put on the badge and stand guard over our communities; thank you, it is an honor to serve along of you.

Pets no longer an impulse purchase

The Door County Campus of the Wisconsin Humane Society says pet adoptions are now the result of a fair bit of homework. The idea of research, visits, health check-ups, and preparation used to be the norm only for making purchases from a breeder. Marketing Coordinator Shaina Allen says the conventional wisdom regarding a spike in pets being left at a shelter once the holiday euphoria wears off doesn’t play out in reality.


According to Allen, it is more common for someone to have spent six months mulling over the decision to adopt a pet than a week or less.  


Lone fireworks display to ring in 2020

Sister Bay is the only Door County community to ring in the New Year with a fireworks display. The sky lights up on Tuesday night at 8 PM. Leading up to that, the sports complex will be buzzing with activities including a bonfire. Louise Howson of the Sister Bay Advancement Association says one cancellation is necessary because of the warm weather.


Additionally, several stores and restaurants will be open throughout Sister Bay. There is a warming tent available at the complex if you decide to view the fireworks outdoors. Remaining in your vehicle is also an option. 


Emergency Management hosting January seminar

The Door County Emergency Management and Communications department will be holding an informational seminar regarding flooding at the ADRC in Sturgeon Bay on January 16th. The event is open to the public and meant for a diverse audience from lakeshore property owners to local government officials and decision makers. Director Daniel Kane says that questions, broad and specific, are encouraged.


Representatives from several agencies will be on hand including the Door County Land Use Services Department, the Wisconsin DNR, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This is the first time a seminar like this has been held. It could become a regular occurrence if conditions continue to warrant it. 


Groundwater quality better than neighboring states

Kewaunee County groundwater quality has gotten a lot of attention in the last couple years but experts say that dairy cattle are actually quite clean next to livestock raised in other Midwest states. Kevin Erb, Director of the Conservation Professional Training Program with UW-Extension, notes pigs are much worse.


By comparison, swine operations tend to feed their animals processed foods that are bought from elsewhere. Very little of the land is needed for manure applications and it tends to pile up where it ends up leeching into groundwater. 


Washington Island gets to know its neighbors

The Friends of Plum and Pilot Island will be holding their winter board meeting on Washington Island in late January. Pairing with that meeting is an open house event for residents of Washington Island to develop a connection to neighboring Plum Island beyond the view they get from the ferry when traversing to the mainland. Marketing Director Patti Zarling notes that there will be several exhibits and presentations on the Friends’ educational programs. 


The keynote address is by Maritime Archaeologist Tori Kiefer. Zarling says winter is a better time to reach out to Washington Island residents compared to the busy summer tourist season. The event runs from 1:00 to 5:00 PM on January 25th. 


How to take off holiday pounds

Intermittent fasting has become a popular diet plan that also helps with inflammation and, this time of year, it can aid you in shedding some holiday pounds. Fasting allows your gut to reset, producing and identifying good probiotic bacteria. Once your body stops attacking itself, conditions as varied as arthritis to eczema stop flaring up. There are two types of generally accepted intermittent fasting plans. The first is the five-two schedule where each week consists of five normal days and two days which are restricted to around 500 calories. Registered Nurse at Succeed Health Jody Anderson talks about the 16-to-eight method.


For those who wish to fast for longer than 24 hours, that is okay, but Anderson suggests making the most of the calories you are allotted. Proteins found in meat and vitamins from fruits and vegetables are important and you should avoid empty calories in processed foods such as cookies and snacks. 

Many gift cards go unredeemed

Sonny’s Italian Kitchen in Sturgeon Bay expects a significant percentage of the gift cards they sold this holiday season to never be redeemed. That is normal for other retailers as well. Gift cards at Sonny’s are available year-round but they are most popular in the run-up to Christmas. General Manager Nolan Paschke says they made gift cards a center piece of their promotional campaign this month. The effort was so successful Sonny’s had to put in an emergency order for more. Selling them is only part of the equation. Paschke says about one-fifth are never fully redeemed, but it is hard to give a firm answer due to accounting.


The outstanding balances on cards that are not fully used get written off months down the road, once the summer tourism season has ended. 


Hay in short supply

While Door County farmers have escaped this winter in adequate shape regarding corn silage reserves, the same cannot be said for hay. Hay and silage are similar in that they are both used as animal fodder. Silage ferments and is stored in a silo while hay is significantly dryer, made up of cut grass. The shortage of hay is so acute it has been identified just as winter officially sets in according to Door County Farm Bureau President Daniel Vandertie.


Vandertie warns that the shortage could roll into crops normally planted in the fall season such as winter wheat. Winter wheat plantings for 2019 are at 110-year lows across the Midwest. 


Minimum distributions required by the end of the year

If you are over 70-and-a-half years old or have inherited an Individual Retirement Account as a beneficiary you are required to take a minimum distribution by December 31st. Dave Lenius from Lenius Insurance and Financial says that once the IRS is involved, the consequences become expensive quickly. 


Your required minimum distribution is calculated as the account balance at the end of last year divided by your life expectancy given your age at the beginning of this year. Lenius encourages those who have to take a required minimum distribution to do so early in the year to avoid a last-minute rush in December. 


Pond hockey tournament registration filling up

Pond hockey is returning to Kangaroo Lake in Baileys Harbor on February 8th, 2020 but registration is already full in three of the nine divisions. The only men’s division still accepting teams is Men’s Open A which is for pro, college, or junior level players. The two classic divisions (40 years and older) and the two legends divisions (50 years and older) still have spots. Teams can be between four and seven players. Community Coordinator Brynn Swanson is not surprised by how fast spots went this year.


Final rosters for each team are due by February 1st and there is a registration fee of $425 per team. 

Blood flows at Door County Y

The Door County YMCA in Sturgeon Bay held a blood drive Thursday with excellent participation from the community. There are two blood drives per year and volunteer Suzanne Bloch says turnout was above normal for the winter version.


An American requires blood every three seconds and hospitals are always in need. The American Red Cross has a new feature that allows you to follow up on your donation. You can see the hospital or blood bank and the city being helped out by your generous gift. There was initially some trepidation from the Y staff about hosting the drive so close to Christmas but many volunteers, including Bloch, say it probably helped turnout. 


Warm weather hampers Winter Park operations

Winter Park in Kewaunee County held a media event on Monday with the intention of opening to the public the day after Christmas. Those plans have only partially been met. From Thursday to Saturday the park was operating on a limited basis, five or six hours of fun for crowds that touched 200 people. Kewaunee County Information Officer Jennifer Gonzalez says that after the opening weekend, the park will remain closed until Mother Nature cooperates. The snow machines need cold temperatures overnight.


If you are unsure whether the park is open, call the Parks and Recreation hotline to get current conditions. The phone number is (920) 388-7199.


Legislative logjam in State Assembly

Several bills guided by State Senator Andre Jacque through the Wisconsin Senate are waiting for approval in the State Assembly. The legislation runs the gamut from reimbursements for special elections to cyber harassment and human trafficking. According to Jacque, before a bill is ever brought before committee in the State Senate or Assembly, it is paired with at least one sponsor to guide it through the other chamber.


Both houses of the legislature reconvene in mid-January. 


Fresh produce popularity grows

Christmas time is when many people in Door and Kewaunee counties make diet a four-letter word.  Once the holiday parties and meals are over shoppers start thinking about eating healthier to make up for splurging on treats.  That's evident early in the New Year at local grocery stores.  Jon Calhoun, of Tadych's Econofoods in Sturgeon Bay, says that's when he sees increased demand for fresh produce.



Calhoun says that creates a challenge to meet the demand for fresh produce.  Grocers have to find suppliers in the southern United States and Central and South America.

Warnings for winter cyclists in state park

People looking to do some holiday biking at Potowatomi State Park during milder weather need to be aware of some limits.  Snow has disappeared from trails and roads in portions of the park.  Erin Brown-Stender, Potowatomi State Park Superintendent, reminds cyclists some areas normally open to bicycle traffic are off-limits over the winter.


Brown-Stender says some of those roads that are open to both cyclers and snowmobiles.  So both need to be aware of each other for safety's sake. 

UW-Extension hosts Strong Bodies course

Start your New Year’s Resolution off right! Starting on January 6th the Kewaunee County UW Extension will be offering an eight-week strength training exercise class called Strong Bodies.  These free exercise classes will be from 9am to 10am on Mondays and Wednesdays at the Algoma Youth Club.  For more information please contact Kaila Stencil at 920-683-4171.


It is just the latest effort in the county to get people more active in the community. The county's public health department introduced Get Healthy Kewaunee County in 2018, which included weekly walks and information displays.

Liquor matches wine in popularity

As families continue to entertain at home between the holidays, national statistics show that liquor has become as popular as wine to drink.  A recent Gallup survey shows that beer remains the number one preferred alcoholic beverage, but liquor’s popularity rose from 19 percent to 29 percent in the last year.  Alex Stodola from Stodola’s IGA in Luxemburg says the store’s liquor department is trending the same way.



Stodola added that the store’s consumers have shown a greater preference for rum products over tequila lately.   The Gallup study also showed that roughly two-thirds of all Americans drink alcoholic beverages.  That number has held steady for the past 20 years.   


Holiday hunt ends Wednesday

The DNR’s efforts to control the deer herd in Door County include the final gun hunt of 2019 this week.  The holiday hunt allows area hunters to harvest an antlerless deer with a gun from Christmas eve through January 1.  Local Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha says the additional hunt and bonus tags that are given out in the area help in efforts to manage the deer herd.



Door County is one of only seven counties in the state that are participating in the holiday hunt this year.  The overall deer kill in Door County for the traditional nine-day hunt last month was down 30 percent this year.    


Help of Door County gets national assistance

Help of Door County is working with a nationwide organization to provide much-needed items for families impacted by domestic abuse.  Executive Director Milly Gonzales says Clothing Across America actually reached out to Help of Door County.  She says the assistance given fills a specific need.



Gonzales says the amazing support included Clothing Across America donating a few pallets of supplies recently.  That clothing was distributed to Help of Door County clients who gave them out as Christmas gifts to their families.  Clothing Across America is a clothing distribution center that was established in 2009 to help non-profit affiliates with limited financial resources meet their community needs.  

2019 Children Book Drive sets record 

The 21st annual Children’s Book Drive collected the most books ever in Door and Kewaunee counties this year.  Over 2,000 books were donated over the past eight weeks.  The final day of collection on Friday was at Bayside Home Medical in Sturgeon Bay.  Ashley Madsen of Door County Feed My People says the program is really appreciated by the families served by the organization.



Besides Feed My People in Door County, the Kewaunee County Food Pantry and the Marv Bins Pantry in Casco helped with the distribution of books this year.  Denny’s Super Valu in Algoma and Stodola’s IGA in Luxemburg were the drop-off locations in Kewaunee County.  

Flood watch issued for Door and Kewaunee Counties

The combination of frozen ground and heavy rain this weekend has placed Door and Kewaunee County in a flood watch.


Issued by the National Weather Service, the flood watch covers a 15 county area in central and northeast Wisconsin and is expected to last from Saturday at 6 p.m. until 6 p.m. Monday. In addition to the half-inch to three-quarter-inch of rain expected on Saturday, snowmelt is expected to contribute to waterways rising above the flood stage.

Ice anglers play waiting game

Warmer weather this week may be slowing ice formation on area waters, but it is not cooling the enthusiasm for angling this winter. JJ Malvitz of JJ’s Guide Service says calls for reservations continue to be strong as anglers plan for their ice fishing trips to Door County, usually in the third or fourth weekend in January. As anxious as he is to begin his 10th year guiding anglers on the ice, he knows the time will come.

Malvitz says reservations usually pick up as the temperatures drop because anglers finally realize winter is finally here. That being said, he recommends reserving trips sooner rather than later because the demand often exceeds the number of guides available in Door and Kewaunee Counties.

Farmers get early start on planning

Rio Creek Feed Mill agronomist Adam Barta does not blame the customers he sees for wanting 2019 to come to end quickly. Thanks to the wettest year on record, farmers were slow to plant in the spring and the United States Department of Agriculture shows crops are coming off the field at its second slowest rate in 40 years. As a result, Barta says some farmers are locking in prices and placing orders for 2020 at a quicker pace than usual especially with oats, which is triple what it was last year at this time.

He adds this is also the time many farmers start creating their nutrient management plans for next year, which may need to be adjusted later with another wet spring likely on the way.

Juried annual in final days

You have until Monday to enjoy work done by some of the best artists in the region at the Miller Art Museum in Sturgeon Bay. The 44th Juried Annual, which opened at the beginning of November, features contemporary work done by artists in six northeastern Wisconsin counties including Door and Kewaunee Counties. Miller Art Museum Executive Director Elizabeth Meissner-Gigstead says she is always impressed with the talent that exists locally.

Artists inspired to participate in the 45th Juried Annual can reach out to the Miller Art Museum this summer when it releases the prospectus for the exhibition, which is open to artists in Brown, Door, Kewaunee, Oconto, Manitowoc, and Sheboygan counties 18 years or older.



Photo: Jim Leatham, Winter Stream, oil painting. Image courtesy of the artist.

Potential opening on Algoma Council

Algoma residents living in the city’s third aldermanic district could have a job if they choose to accept it. Algoma city clerk Jamie Jackson expects current District 3 alderperson Eugene Cleveland to sign his Notice of Non-Candidacy as soon as Friday. Mayor Wayne Schmidt and First District Alderperson Kevin Schmidt have already turned in their nomination papers while Scott Meverden is still circulating his to keep his seat representing the Second District. If no one ends up turning in the necessary paperwork before the January 7th deadline, Jackson says write-in candidates are eligible.

Jackson adds potential candidates can register at city hall as a write-in so their name can be distributed at the polling place on Election Day. City Clerks for Kewaunee and Sturgeon Bay could not be reached on Friday.

Plastic bag petition takes aim at Target

A petition by shoppers is asking Target Corporation to stop using plastic bags at all their locations including the Sturgeon Bay store.  The Associated Press reported that more than 455,000 signatures were to be delivered to the Minnesota headquarters Thursday which is considered one of the busiest shopping days of the year.  Wayne Kudick of Fish Creek who is a local environmental activist says it’s huge if Target follows through on the petition request.



Kudick says Wisconsin has a law that prevents local municipalities from imposing ordinances that prohibit the use of plastics by businesses.  He says plastics bags can clog up machines used for recycling as well as stay in disposable areas of landfills.  A Target spokesperson says the company, which has over 1800 stores nationwide, has taken several steps to help reduce its use of plastics.    


ECHO exhibit closing out James May Gallery 

The final days of the ECHO exhibit at the James May Gallery in Algoma will end the era of the Steele Street location.  The gallery is moving to the State Street location that was known as the James May North.  Curator Kendra Bulgrin, who opened the gallery in 2015 along with Jimmy Eddings, says the ECHO exhibit is a beautiful display to close out the gallery’s location.



The ECHO display will be open from 10 am until 5 pm through this Saturday.  Bulgrin says the closure of the Steele Street location was necessitated by her family moving to Milwaukee to better deal with her son’s healthcare needs.  You can find background information on the artists of the ECHO exhibit with the audio clip below.  





Building associations working on affordable housing

Local and state building associations are making efforts to keep costs down for consumers.  Door County Home Builders Association Treasurer Jeff Dorner says the organization aims to minimize legislative red tape that adds to the overall cost of building homes.  He says the goal is to keep housing affordable in the area.



Dorner is currently the vice-president of the Wisconsin Builders Association and will become president next spring.  The average home construction cost is about $118 per square foot in Wisconsin as calculated by  


Pantries need restocking

After the Christmas rush earlier this week, food pantries in Door and Kewaunee Counties are looking to refill their shelves for the upcoming New Year.  Estella Huff, director of operations at Feed and Clothe My People of Door County says canned goods and breakfast foods are an always welcomed donation.



She adds that winter accessories like boots are needed, especially for kindergarten through fifth grade-age children.  Feed and Clothe My People of Door County is located on North 14th Avenue in Sturgeon Bay and is open four hours every weekday. 


Fairest year-round commitment

Though the lights shine brightest during fair week, the Fairests in Door and Kewaunee County still work hard the other 51 weeks of the year. The 2018 Door County Fairest of the Fair Claire Olson and the 2019 Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair Paige Bellin are preparing for next month’s state competition after a year of visiting different local events and other public appearances. As for 2019 Door County Fairest of Fair Katie Guilette, she’s already working hard contacting businesses to support the fair and the program in 2020. With her reign ending at the Door County Fair next year, Guilette encourages teens to apply with some simple advice.

To remain eligible for your $1000 leadership scholarship, future Door County Fairests of the Fair need to be 18 by January 1st, 2020, have your primary residence be within the county, and be available to attend a variety of different events. Kewaunee County named Kiley Pagel and Morgan Servaes their Fairest and Junior Fairest of the Fair at a gala event last month.

Supervisor calls for manure emergency action

Kewaunee County Board Supervisor Lee Luft is hopeful the board will address a growing issue regarding manure spreading and storage this winter. At least two Kewaunee County farms have had to do some extra clean-up this month due manure applications running off their fields, including one incident occurring on Christmas Eve near Kolberg in the town of Brussels. Frozen and oversaturated fields are also taxing farmers’ manure storage limits, which for some operations are supposed to hold up to six months. The Kewaunee County Board was originally going to talk about a number of different options at its last meeting, but it was taken off the agenda to make sure there was enough time to discuss it and information was accurate before sending it off to Governor Tony Evers. Luft says either the amount of manure produced needs to drop or storage capacities have to go up.

It is not going to get any easier for some farmers when the county reenacts its Public Health and Ground Water Ordinance, which forbids manure and other waste spreading on land with less than 20 feet of soil from January 1st to April 15th.



Photo submitted by Don Freix

New construction bright light for Gibraltar

Students will get the green light to explore the newly built and renovated spaces inside Gibraltar Secondary School when they return from holiday break on January 2nd. The $4.2 million remodel of its library media center and adjacent classrooms closed off parts of the building and forced some classes to be in mobile trailers in the school’s parking lot this fall. While the students and staff will get to enjoy some of the new amenities inside, principal Gereon Methner says it may soon be easier to identify what is going on at the campus when you drive past.

The project was part of a building referendum passed in November 2018 alongside a separate operational measure worth $2.8 million in 2020.

Kress Pavilion enjoys successful year

Bridge games, painting events, and even a few nuptials made for another great year at Egg Harbor’s Kress Pavilion. In addition to being the home of the community’s branch of the Door County Library, the Kress Pavilion hosted 31 weddings, over 100 non-profit fundraisers, and many neighborhood and condo association meetings in 2019. Village administrator Ryan Heise credits the building’s flexibility and its event director Jessica Reinke for its early success.

Heise says the combination of facility rental fees and paid programs have made it possible to host over 400 free and open to the public events since the Kress Pavilion opened in 2018.

Care packages still in transit

Adopt-A-Soldier Door County sent out care packages for the holidays to troops deployed overseas a month ago, but they have not yet gotten to local soldiers. President Nancy Hutchinson says the delay is taking longer than normal. Sometimes, during parts of the year when mail is light, packages are held over until there is enough to fill a whole pod to send to a unit. That shouldn’t be an issue around the holidays though. Hutchinson says she can’t track packages past Chicago’s O’Hare Airport but she does have an ace up her sleeve.


Beginning in 2020, care packages will go out only four times a year. 


Milk demand helping to raise prices

As the year’s fourth quarter wraps up, area dairy farmers can take solace in the encouraging news that milk production and prices are projected to increase next year. states that the higher yields for dairy products along with lower feed costs is resulting in better on-farm margins.  Rich Olson from Olson Family Farm in southern Door County says the increase demand for milk is helping the situation for local dairy operators.



Hoard’s Dairyman announced last week that milk prices for January Class 1fluid milk was at $19.01 which was $3.89 higher than a year ago.  

Kettle campaign continues past Christmas

The Salvation Army in Door County’s Red Kettle Campaign continues through Saturday. Nationwide, the Salvation Army is at only 68 percent of its goal according to a statement released on Christmas Eve. Locally the organization is better equipped to deal with the trend taking people away from retail stores and online for their shopping. You can find kettles throughout the county including hardware stores, restaurants, gas stations, and grocery stores. The Door County extension is mainly engaged in efforts that reduce homelessness according to volunteer Tom Mulinix. 


The Red Kettle Campaign continues to be the primary way for the Salvation Army to raise awareness of its charitable efforts. 


Algoma examines tourism survey results

The City of Algoma is one of only two municipalities taking part in the Wisconsin Department of Tourism assessment survey program for 2020. The questionnaire itself went out to residents and visitors for completion in early December. The Department of Tourism requires at least 150 responses and Algoma had over 200 submitted by last week. Now the City and Chamber of Commerce collaborate with the state agency to examine the results and work on a plan that helps to address issues raised according to Chamber President Kay Smith.


Smith says that she has seen most of the surveys that were returned and there were not any glaring trends that require immediate fixing. 


Health care a Gallagher focus point

Even in an election year, local Republican U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher believes there is plenty that can be done to fix health care. One of those ideas is a bill addressing price transparency for prescription drugs and other health care practices. He says the bills in the past have stalled in the Republican-held Senate and sometimes ruled out of order in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. Gallagher believes establishing price transparency can solve a lot of issues in the health care debate.

Immigration and combating the influence of China are two other issues Gallagher hopes he will be able to address in the New Year.

Mild weather boon for Door County YMCA

Milder holiday weather is proving to be a gift for YMCA locations throughout Door County.  Temperatures near or around 40-degrees are expected to make outdoor activities less appealing.  Tom Beernsten, CEO of the Door County YMCA, says the Y offers residents and visitors alike a chance to still get out of the house and have some fun.



With exception of Christmas, the Y's Door County facilities will be open to members and guests alike throughout the holidays. 

Producer-led groups growing

Almost as fast as their crops, the number of producer-led watershed groups like Peninsula Pride Farms is growing. The number of producer-led groups receiving grants from the state of Wisconsin has grown from fourteen in 2015  to 27 in 2019. The groups have been able to turn those dollars into ways to reduce or even prevent farm field runoff from affecting area water sources. Peninsula Pride Farms was able to borrow a few pages from the Yahara Pride Farms playbook when they first started and now other groups are doing the same with them. Don Niles says while sharing ideas with groups across the state is important, farmers have to remember the change has to occur on a local level.

Niles says much of the support they give to newer groups relates to how to recruit farmers and keep them engaged with their practices. Peninsula Pride Farms will host their annual meeting on February 13th at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds Exposition Hall.

Higdon, Dahl find harmony in music

Door County musicians Rich Higdon and Katie Dahl are ready to invigorate the community’s holiday spirit long after their three-year-old son opens his Christmas gifts. The married couple will join Eric Lewis for this year’s Home for the Holidays show at Northern Sky Theater’s Gould Theater beginning on Friday. Music is what brought the pair together in 2007 at a performance at the White Gull Inn. Higdon says they have fun on stage together.

Dahl says Higdon is helpful in her songwriting process, though that does not mean she writes tunes with his washboard, bass, and spoon instruments in mind.

Home for the Holidays rotates through a collection of musicians every year, last featuring Higdon and Dahl just a few years ago.


You can hear our full discussion with the duo as well as learn more about the shows online with this story.



Holiday message from the radio stations of

As the new owner of the Door County Daily News and five radio stations I want to wish everyone a Happy Holidays. Thank you for being a part of the reading and listening family. Everyone here works tirelessly to put the best product on the air and in the daily electronic paper, for that I am grateful to have each and every one of them as a part of this team. It is with great joy and dedication that we move into 2020 to continue to provide local news, sports and programming for Door and Kewaunee Counties. 

Town of Egg Harbor moves ahead on broadband funding

The Town of Egg Harbor is moving ahead with its efforts to upgrade broadband internet services.  The town board is working with Door County Broadband to get federal funding made available through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.  Town supervisor Myles Danhaussen says the grant money is needed to give the town a much-needed upgrade.



Wisconsin is one of nine states to share $112-million in FCC grant moneys to improve rural broadband internet service.

Sturgeon Bay gets Door County land for affordable housing

Property acquired by Door County through tax foreclosures is helping Sturgeon Bay develop affordable housing.  The county transferred several parcels to the city, which are located off of Egg Harbor Road.  Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward says some of the properties would provide a mix of affordable single-family homes and multiple residential developments.  He adds such projects would benefit the city and the region.



Sturgeon Bay previously provided property from Wiretech Corporation to Habitat for Humanity to develop a subdivision for low-income residents.  Door County Administrator Ken Pabich agrees that giving up tax-foreclosed properties for such development is a better investment for the community.



Other communities are also looking at giving up tax-foreclosed properties to develop housing.  Duluth, Minnesota is actually holding a “contest” for similar lands.  Any developer that can come up with an achievable and sustainable housing development gets the land free.

Caution advised for ice fishing

Below freezing temperatures in the daytime and overnights last week were aiding ice formation on area waterways around Door and Kewaunee counties.  That may put anglers in an ice fishing state of mind.  Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha says caution is still needed, especially with holiday temperatures turning milder.


Kratcha urges those who do venture out onto ice-covered waterways to let someone know exactly where you're going and when you'll return.  He added a fully charged cell phone is a must in case you need to call for help.

Boys and Girls Club tutors making difference

The Boys and Girls Club of Door County is a regular after school stop for some students in Sturgeon Bay.  It's also where some get a chance to improve their grades.  Tutoring programs help those students who need a little extra help with their studies.  Nicole Champeny, Boys and Girls Club Director of Programs and Operations, says tutors make all of the difference to students and more volunteers are always welcome.


If you'd like to learn more about volunteer opportunities with the Boys and Girls Club of Door County log onto


Kitchens reflects on 2019

Rep. Joel Kitchens of Sturgeon Bay says it was a different year because of the split government, but he is proud of what the Legislature was able to accomplish. Recently, Kitchens helped make it easier for municipalities to get what they are owed from lodging rental companies like Airbnb and Vrbo. His work on the Blue Ribbon Commission on School Funding was able to get more money to area districts while his birth control bill gained traction among his party members in the Assembly. Kitchens says there are things he would like to see happen in 2020 for the benefit of the environment.

Despite some of the battles with Democratic Governor Tony Evers, Kitchens believes some good came out of a year with a split government, saying both sides realized they needed each other to get anything done. The Wisconsin Legislature is back to work in Madison on January 14th.

Coal-tar battle gains traction

More communities across the state including those in Door County are saying no to dangerous coal-tar sealants. Since Crossroads at Big Creek hosted a presentation against the product’s use last January, the city and the town of Sturgeon Bay have banned using the toxic product while other governmental bodies including the Door County Highway and Airport Committee have brought it up during meetings. Chemicals found in coal-tar sealants can potentially make their way into an area’s water supply and have been linked to several kinds of cancer. Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin Executive Director Dean Hoegger says they are pleased with the feedback they have received from area government officials.

Hoegger says their focus is now primarily on communities with large tracts of land dedicated to parking lots that get resurfaced and treated on a regular basis.

Christmas brings new hope for churchgoers

Area churches will conclude its Advent season on Wednesday when its hosts its Christmas Day services. The holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus allows pastors to reach a wider audience than it usually does the rest of the year. Father John Broussard will preside over masses as the rector of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion and hopes people remember the gift of their faith.

Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church Pastor Jim Honig says Christmas is a time for people to come together and be embraced.

Pastor John Moll of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Algoma and Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kewaunee believes people will realize God’s presence in their lives.

Local churches will host holiday services through Christmas morning. You can listen to the True Meaning of Christmas sermonettes from participating churches as well as see their service times below.




Algoma and West Kewaunee United Methodist Churches: Christmas Eve 4 p.m. (Algoma) 7:30 p.m. (West Kewaunee)

Friends Community Church, Sturgeon Bay: Christmas Eve 4 p.m.

Holy Trinity Church, Casco: Christmas Eve: December 24 @ 4:00 pm & 11:00 pm, Christmas Day: December 25 @ 9:00 am; St. Mary's Catholic Church, Luxemburg: Tuesday, December 24 - 4pm, 8:30pm, Wednesday, December 25 - 7:30am, 10:30am

Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church, Ellison Bay: 12/24 Christmas Eve -   3:45pm  Musical Prelude, 4:00pm  Family Service, 7:30pm  Musical Prelude, 8:00pm  Candlelight Service; 12/25 Christmas Day - 10:00am Traditional Christmas Day Service

Immanuel Lutheran Church, Kewaunee: Christmas Eve 6 p.m. Children's Service, 7:30 p.m. candlelight; Christmas Day 9 a.m.


National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, Champion: Christmas Day Midnight and 11 a.m. (Rosary prayers start 30 minutes before)


Fund supports local schools

The Door County Community Foundation has made it as easy to support your high school alma mater as it is to your college. Launched earlier this year, Alumni Door County allows former students and others to donate money to support the efforts of the five county school districts. Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy hopes the new fund helps connect the area’s alums with their schools.

Alumni Door County is one of nine different programs flying under the foundation’s banner, which includes the Door County Community Opportunity Investment Network (COIN), Healthy Water Door County, and the Women’s Fund of Door County. You can learn more about the program online by clicking here.

Busiest travel day on roads still coming

With a record of 104 million automobile travelers expected on the roads nationwide, the heaviest traffic is expected on Thursday.  AAA Travel also forecasts another four million to go by bus and train.  Door County Sheriff Deputy Pat McCarty is reminding drivers to be prepared as they visit family and friends over the holidays.



McCarty adds that local law enforcement agencies are increasing patrols and working longer hours during the statewide Drive Sober Or Get Pulled Over campaign through January 1.  

Winter sports trails work underway in parks

Visitors hoping to take to cross-country and snowmobile trails in Door County over the holidays will likely have to wait until after New Year's Day.  Work is underway, however, to make the trails ready when weather conditions permit.  Trails in Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek received some snow cover about two weeks ago.  Park Superintendent Brian Markowski says work crews have begun initial grooming of the trails.  He says all that's needed now is for the elements to cooperate.



Markowski says mild weather in the forecast will likely cause some snow on trails to melt, though he reminds winter sports enthusiasts there's still a lot of winter to look forward to.

"Giving" can help one's mental health

The greatest gift given this holiday season is one that does not cost anything except your time, according to a Sturgeon Bay psychologist.  Dr. Dennis White says many people already know the secret.  Good mental health can be attributed to doing something for someone else.  He says such a gesture can make both the gift giver and receiver, feel better.



Dr. White suggests joining a service or charitable organization or becoming more active in your church as ways of giving in the New Year.  You can listen to Dr. White’s entire Mental Health Minute below.



LC Food Pantry making a difference

A pantry in Casco has been positively impacting the lives of families in the Luxemburg and Casco area for over 25 years.   The Marv Bins Food Pantry is located in the basement of the Holy Trinity Church and has been supported by the Luxemburg-Casco School District over the years.  Director Jackie Peot explains the mission of the pantry.



The pantry is open the first and third Thursdays of each month from 12:30 until 2:30 pm and the second and fourth Saturdays of each month from 9 until 11 in the morning.  

Ferry sees holiday uptick

Riders of the Washington Island Ferry are making sure they get their traveling in before Santa makes his annual visit. Winter traffic to and from the island is usually reserved to work and appointments, but the holidays cause some extra traffic at the ferry’s Northport dock. Washington Island Ferry President Hoyt Purinton says the only thing that gets in the way of the holiday traffic boost is the weather.

Another reason for the uptick in traveling on either side of Christmas Day is the ferry schedule, which only has one morning roundtrip on December 25th instead of its usual four. Purinton is thankful for its passengers giving his crew a little extra time to spend with their families.



Size not only jail focus

There is more to planning the new Kewaunee County Jail than just the size of it. Statistics released by Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski show over 630 people have been booked at the facility so far in 2019 with stays ranging from one day to 289 days. Thirty-three people are behind bars on average daily at the Kewaunee County Jail. That is 11 people above its recommended maximum capacity. Joski says bigger is not necessarily better if you do not have all the pieces in the right places.


The county’s jail planning committee recently wrapped up its tour of neighboring facilities as it digs deeper into phase two of the process. Joski credits his staff and local partnerships for making the current jail facility usable since it was built in 1968. 


In this week’s article I would like to continue my yearend report by sharing some information and data in regards to our Jail facility. The current Kewaunee County Jail was built in 1968. It has a housing capacity of 22 with three short term holding cells which brings the total to 25. By law a county jail is intended to hold individuals for up to one year. Any sentences beyond one year are remanded to a state correctional facility. While we do hold the title of the oldest and smallest jail in the State of Wisconsin, I am deeply grateful to the County Board and the community in general for the support which has been provided in regards to the planning and ultimate updating of our facility.

          The Jail is staffed by 14 Deputies, who carry out the various duties which are set forth by state statute, federal law, as well as department policy. These men and women are also tasked with the duties of Dispatcher which is very unique in the State of Wisconsin. I believe that there are only a handful of Departments which are still configured in this manner and it speaks volumes as to the professionalism and competence of these men and women.

           Every person arrested in Kewaunee County is processed through our jail and the following are some of the most common criteria for bookings so far in 2016 which stand at 631.

          The first is that we call non- custody bookings. These are bookings that occur when the individual is not physically arrested. This may be in the case where the offense was not immediately reported, and it is through investigations that the probable cause for an arrest summons was completed. It could also be where we are not able to locate the suspect at the time of the event, and we are able to send charges up to the District Attorney’s Office for his consideration. These bookings account for 258 of the total bookings.

           The next most frequent category is pre-sentence bookings at 150. These are bookings which are for those who are currently awaiting the completion of their court process but do not meet bail criteria. These can be some of our lengthiest stays as the legal process itself is complex and lengthy at times.

            In third place we have a tie between warrant pickups and probation holds. These two are actually quite similar as they are the result of a failure to comply with either a court order in the case of warrants or probation rules in the case of Community Corrections. These tend to be our shortest stays. But account for a great deal of the total bookings. If you have found yourself within the courts system it is vital that you understand and comply with the various courts dates as well as requirements so as to avoid being one the unfortunate within this category. The same is true for probation clients. Many of those on probation forget that this is a privilege and an alternative to incarceration which brings with it many rules. It is incumbent on the individual to know and comply with these rules to avoid a return visit to jail or in some cases a state correctional facility.

        So many ask what our daily population is here in Kewaunee County. As I stated earlier our maximum capacity if 22 and to date for 2019 our daily population average stands at 33.04 with males representing 27.51 and females 5.53 throughout the year. The average stay is approx. 9 days with the shortest stay at approx. 1 hour and the longest stay at 289 days.

        To meet the daily overcrowding in our facility we make use of two primary resources; out of county facilities, primarily Door County, and the use of electronic monitoring. For the most part those who we send to Door County are the female inmates which take pressure off of our scheduling requirements to have both male and female staffing when we have females in our facility. Electronic monitoring is utilized for those who have been granted work release by the courts and meet the many requirements we have to guarantee compliance in return for this privilege. I want to acknowledge Lt. Chris VanErem our Jail Administrator for the amazing work that he and his staff do on a daily basis to balance the constant demands of the inmates, the courts, and the many regulations with the limited resources both in budget and facility.

          Along with the duties of Jailer and Dispatcher, these men and women also facilitate all of the transports which are required not only locally but many times across the state to bring inmates to Kewaunee County for court as well as monitoring the Huber Program (Work Release) and Court Security. These men and women give multi tasking a whole new dimension and we are fortunate to have them serving in these roles to keep our community safe. Contrary to some beliefs, these Deputies are Law Enforcement Officers just as their counterparts in Patrol and Investigations and are a vital component of the Criminal Justice System. Next week I will share some information from 2016 as it relates to our Patrol Division. 

Churches prepare for Christmas Eve services

Pastors in Door and Kewaunee Counties are preparing to open their doors this week for Christmas Eve services. A 2010 Lifeway study shows about half of all Americans attend Christmas services compared to just 18 percent making their way to church on a weekly basis. Some churches get an early start with Christmas Eve services. Pastor Jennifer Emert of Algoma and West Kewaunee United Methodist Churches hopes people know that everyone is welcome to pray with them

Friends Community Church Pastor Nancy Bontempo says those who attend their service in Sturgeon Bay will learn about the sacrifices Jesus made during his brief time on Earth.

At Holy Trinity Parish in Casco and St. Mary’s Catholic Parish in Luxemburg, Father Daniel Schuster believes it is sometimes harder to receive than to give.

While some churches will host services on one day or  the other, many have them on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. This is the first part of two in a series with area church leaders about the true meaning of Christmas.



Algoma and West Kewaunee United Methodist Churches: Christmas Eve 4 p.m. (Algoma) 7:30 p.m. (West Kewaunee)

Friends Community Church, Sturgeon Bay: Christmas Eve 4 p.m.

Holy Trinity Church, Casco: Christmas Eve: December 24 @ 4:00 pm & 11:00 pm, Christmas Day: December 25 @ 9:00 am; St. Mary's Catholic Church, Luxemburg: Tuesday, December 24 - 4pm, 8:30pm, Wednesday, December 25 - 7:30am, 10:30am

Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church, Ellison Bay: 12/24 Christmas Eve -   3:45pm  Musical Prelude, 4:00pm  Family Service, 7:30pm  Musical Prelude, 8:00pm  Candlelight Service; 12/25 Christmas Day - 10:00am Traditional Christmas Day Service

Immanuel Lutheran Church, Kewaunee: Christmas Eve 6 p.m. Children's Service, 7:30 p.m. candlelight; Christmas Day 9 a.m.


National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, Champion: Christmas Day Midnight and 11 a.m. (Rosary prayers start 30 minutes before)

Plungers freeze for reason

From Kewaunee to Jacksonport, people going for a New Year’s Day swim in the open water will be doing so for more than just a fun story to tell. A dare is what started the Jacksonport Polar Bear Plunge at Lakeside Park 34 years ago for event founder J.R. Jarosh. The event now brings in hundreds of swimmers every year, with many bringing non-perishable food items to support Feed my People and t-shirt proceeds to the Jacksonport Fire Department. Jarosh is proud of the charitable impact the event has created.

The polar plunge hosted by Waterfront Mary’s in Sturgeon Bay sees dozens take a dip into its nearby waters before retreating to a bonfire and the restaurant. Zach Vogel says the event brings extra attention to the efforts of the Southern Door Fire Department.

The Door County swims take place at noon while the Kewaunee JC’s host their polar plunge at Father Marquette Park at 1 p.m.

Ice rink lacking crucial equipment

This week’s warm weather provides the perfect example of conditions that make operating the Sturgeon Bay outdoor ice rink an expensive proposition. According to Municipal Services Director Mike Barker, the rink lacks an insulating membrane. Without a rink liner, there is nothing that keeps water laid down at the rink from seeping into the ground on warm days when it melts. The rink uses a berm of snow to keep the water on the rink which can cause some problems with maintaining a level, consistent surface if the berm wilts under the sun. The amount of water necessary for the rink is eye popping.


Temperatures are expected to be above freezing until after New Year’s Day.


Door County Land Trust completes three purchases

It was a busy week for the Door County Land Trust as the organization announced three separate land purchases before the holidays. On Wednesday, an addition to the trust’s Chambers Island properties was made public. Chambers Island is unique in that it has no deer which allows for vibrant underbrush that provides a haven to birds traveling across Green Bay.  Development Director Cinnamon Rossman says the Land Trust’s connection to the island goes back over a half-decade.


On Friday, two new parcels were added to the Land Trust. Both are standalone islands near the much larger Washington Island and the Detroit Harbor Nature Preserve. 


Veterans get free Christmas Day meal

Door County veterans will have the opportunity for a Christmas Day meal if they face the prospect of spending the holiday alone. Sally Werkheiser and her family will be dishing out roast pork, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy, as well as dessert at the VFW Clubhouse on Delaware Street in Sturgeon Bay Wednesday from 1:00 to 3:00 PM. Veteran Service Officer Beth Wartella is helping to get the word out. An RSVP is requested by Monday


Transportation is provided if asked for when reservations are made. The Werkheisers are not seeking volunteers or other community support. This is the third year they have done a veterans dinner.


Brussels 4-H seeing declining enrollment

The Shining Stars 4-H Club in Brussels is down to around 30 members says General Leader Marissa Norton. She says that is a marked decline from when she participated in the group as a child. Norton doesn’t believe that it is a lack of enthusiasm to blame.


Norton’s claims are similar to what you hear from coaches and administrators regarding the dip in sports participation. The Brussels 4-H Club has already begun its animal projects for 2020.


Huge kick-off event for Door County Reads

Door County Reads is in full swing. The Door County Libraries have already handed out all 500 free copies of this year’s selection, Virgil Wander. Adult Service Librarian Laura Kayacan expects those copies to pass through a couple of different hands over the next month. Some will be returned to the libraries so they can be redistributed to others. It’s all in anticipation of the big kick-off event January 25th. Kayacan says this year is more ambitious than what has been tried previously.


Author Lief Enger’s talk begins at 2:00 PM. He has sold over one million books in his career. Kayacan says the story’s small-town Minnesota setting translates well to Door County. You will find a lot to relate to in Virgil Wander.


New murals debuted at The Clearing

Five new murals now adorn the Jens Jenson Center at The Clearing Folk School in Ellison Bay. Executive Director Michael Schneider runs down the theme of each.


The other two murals on the sidewalls are forest themes. The Clearing worked with artist Ram Rojas on the murals. The two parties have a long history together. Rojas did a mural for the school in 2010 and he has been an instructor for classes there as well. Schneider says there are no plans for any new works in the near future.


Kewaunee Mayor not running for reelection

The year 2020 is guaranteed to see a new mayor for the City of Kewaunee. Sandi Christman, who currently holds the office, has announced that she will not seek a third term. Rumors are swirling that Christman is eyeing a new political title at the state level but she has not confirmed that. Christman says that her greatest accomplishment as mayor is to increase accountability among the city government.


Christman points to the new Harbor Master Plan and the positive momentum happening in the city as she prepares to wrap up her tenure. She hopes her successor will keep the city on an upward track. Christman refused to endorse any candidate in next spring’s election.


Local cinema embraces the Force

Sturgeon Bay Cinema had a big weekend with the release of the latest Star Wars film from Disney titled Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. General Manager John Behringer says the theater was well-positioned to handle the larger crowds by showing the film on two screens, one of them for 3-D showings. Behringer said there was some money left on the table though. 


Sales firmed up Friday and Saturday but nationwide numbers confirm that the new film didn’t quite live up to the hype. It made $40 million on opening night compared to $45 million for The Last Jedi and $57 million for The Force Awakens. Behringer says the goal is to make the movie as fun as possible. If you want to come in a costume, you’re more than welcome to.


Pros and cons with Wisconsin's minimum mark-up law

Wisconsin's minimum mark-up law has been used since the 1920s to ensure that residents in Door and Kewaunee counties and statewide are not paying bargain prices on one product and paying more for other goods.  The Unfair Sales Act was designed to curb below-cost sales used in hopes of drawing shoppers to more expensive items or as an attempt by some retailers to eliminate competition.  Critics, however, say the law is dated and also prevents other products from being sold at lower prices simultaneously.  Some lawmakers, like State Senator Andre Jacque of De Pere, say it's time to revise or eliminate the minimum mark-up law because of the changing marketplace.


Supporters of the minimum mark-up law argue that eliminating it would put consumers at a disadvantage.  State Senator Dave Hansen of Green Bay said in a statement:  “Attempts to repeal the Unfair Sales Act if successful would only put more money in the pocket of giant out-of-state retailers at the expense of consumers and local small businesses.  It’s a corporate giveaway plain and simple.”

Loaves and Fishes free meals still popular community events

Those with limited means who want a rare meal out or people just looking to meet up with others have made the Loaves and Fishes of Door County meals very popular events.  The free meals are held the first, third and fourth Fridays at the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Sturgeon Bay campus.  Gary Hollman, the coordinator and executive chef, says it's a chance for anyone to get a good meal or two.  He says it's succeeding because of strong community support.


The Loaves and Fishes meals are open to everyone starting at 5:30 PM when the meals are offered.  Hollman says volunteers and additional food donations are always welcomed.

New property holds possibilities for Al Johnson's Restaurant

Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay this week took advantage of a rare opportunity to acquire 2.2 acres of adjacent property that will complement its current location.  The newly acquired land was formerly owned by Casperson Funeral Home.  It had been sold last year when Huehns Funeral Home acquired the Casperson facilities.  While there are no firm plans for the property's future, John Nelson, a Johnson family spokesman, says the former Casperson site is an ideal fit with the Al Johnson's site.




In a news release, the Johnson family says negotiations were complicated and took a  few months to complete.  They added they're grateful to have the opportunity to acquire the property. 

Pantries score big through Hunt for the Hungry

Deer hunters have been very generous to food pantries in Door and Kewaunee counties.  Donations to the annual Hunt for the Hungry program have given local pantries and their clients fresh venison going into the holiday season.  Ashley Madson, food pantry coordinator for Feed and Clothe My People of Door County, says this year's donations were the biggest in years.


The Kewaunee County Food Pantry also saw sizable donations that will aid clients for awhile.  Pantry President Ken Marquardt says this year's donations are down a bit, though unusual circumstances contributed to last year's larger venison supply.


Pantry operators are grateful for donated venison through Hunt for the Hungry because it means they have to purchase less meat and can use that money to buy other foods.

New home construction booming locally

The positive national numbers of the recent new home building were similar locally last month.  The Commerce Department states that new home construction in the U.S. was up over three percent from October and was nearly 14 percent higher than a year ago.  Sales and Art Designer Jeff Dorner of Van’s Lumber & Custom Builders in Dyckesville and Egg Harbor, says as long as the economy stays strong, 2020 should be another great year for builders in the area.



Dorner says the challenge for builders is finding subcontractors who are in high demand.  The U.S. Commerce Department statistics also showed a post-recession high for building permits of 1.46 million in November. 

Land rental survey released

Whether you’re a land renter or owner, determining a fair rent price is a challenging process. For farmers, land rental is important for farm profitability. For landowners, renting land maximizes assets. Unless landowners and renters can agree on a price, the system can’t function.

Land rental rates vary depending on a variety of factors such as location, soil, and lease terms. UW-Madison Division of Extension is often a resource for landowners and renters looking to find average rental rates. Extension is conducting a survey in Kewaunee and Door Counties to determine local average rental rates. Land renters and owners in both counties are being asked to take a five-minute survey to help establish local rent averages and lease agreement terms. The survey is anonymous and the results will be grouped by town/county.


You can find the survey here:


The survey deadline is February 15, 2020. A results summary will be available after the survey closes.


For more information contact Aerica Bjurstrom, Extension Kewaunee County Agriculture Agent, 920-388-7138 or

Sturgeon Bay couple opens doors for Christmas

The Starr family of Sturgeon Bay may have started a new Christmas tradition last year when it invited the community over for dinner. Dozens of people joined them at the Knights of Columbus building last year as they were able to turn their last-minute idea into a reality thanks to the support from their church and the community. With one of these dinners under her belt, Carrie Starr is excited to host again.

The event receives donations of food and other items to serve and any leftovers are given to a homeless shelter. This year’s community Christmas Eve dinner will take place at the PATH Clubhouse on Jaycee Court in Sturgeon Bay from noon to 2 p.m.

L-C Best Buddies connects students

Special education students from Luxemburg-Casco High School got a chance to check out the lights at the Green Bay Botanical Gardens this week with their friends in tow. Started last year at the school, the Luxemburg-Casco Best Buddies program connects special education students with their regular education peers to do fun monthly activities. Special education teacher Wendy Jacobs says some of the students have even gone outside the special organized outings to basketball games and bowling lanes to invite their peer buddies to other activities.

Best Buddies has chapters at high schools across the country including Luxemburg-Casco, which has approximately 45 members.

Sheriff's Department staff recognized for service

Eight individuals from the Door County Sheriff’s Office have recently received 2019 Recognition Awards for their service over the years.  Sheriff Deputy Pat McCarty, who celebrated his 25th anniversary with the department back in April, was one of the staff to be honored.   He appreciates the recognition and says his co-workers, past and present, are more like family than peers.



Administrative Assistant Diane Franklin was also recognized for her 25 years with the Door County Sheriff’s Department.  Others who were honored included Denise Englebert, Bob Lauder, and Chris Neuville for 20 years of service and Brian Barganz and Greg Medlen for 15 years, along with Amanda Ploor for five years. 

Southern Door installs hi-tech video board

Southern Door High School has enhanced its sports games technology within its Eagle Gym. The project of developing a southern door specific scoreboard started in March of 2018. 
Kory Mallien, Southern Door Activities Director, has overseen the process from start to finish. The whole process started with a conversation that Mr. Mallien had with Dextronix, a South Dakota based company. The end of September marked the finalization of partnership agreements and activation of the scoreboard advancement. Full completion was done on Thursday.
This includes a new video board and scoreboard. With the help of various Door County area businesses and Southern Door alumni, this technology has been funded without using school tax dollars. 
Southern Door is now on the cutting edge of sports technology at the High School level, naming SD the first school in the Packerland Conference to have this kind of technology. 



Interview with Korey Mallien:



Boys and Girls Club looks for bigger growth 

The Boys and Girls Club of Door County is seeking to serve more children in the coming year.  Executive director Brian Stezenski-Williams, who joined the organization earlier this year and became the permanent director last month, says the potential for the Boys and Girls Club to serve many more children is very attainable.


Williams was the executive director of the Wausau Boys & Girls Club from 1995 through 2018.  He says the Boys & Girls Club of Door County has been getting over 50 percent daily participation from their 215 registered members.  That compares with the national average of 25 percent.   

Blood donation a priceless gift

The Door County YMCA will be having a blood drive the day after Christmas at its Sturgeon Bay location. Blood banks are always running low on supplies and you can help give the gift of life to a stranger in a manner that truly captures the spirit of the season. Annual Campaign Director Alyssa Dantoin says a friendly smile and helpful service goes a long way to warming people to the idea of blood donations.


Dantoin says there will be some snacks and beverages available to those who give blood. She also suggests having some Christmas leftovers before you come. 


Kewaunee County sheriff's deputy cleared in fatal shooting

A Kewaunee County sheriff's deputy will not be charged in the November 19th death of an armed kidnapping suspect.  The victim, Luis Cardona, kidnapped Babette Carabollo from her workplace in Green Bay and was stopped by Kewaunee County Sheriff's Deputies near the county ATV park.  Deputies, with help from a special weapons and tactics team, surrounded the vehicle Cordona and Carabollo had been riding in.  Cardona fired several shots from a 45-caliber pistol at Carabollo, who opened a door and fell outside the vehicle.  SWAT Officer Aaron Schley then fired several rounds from his rifle but did not hit Cardona or Carabollo.  Cardona then turned his gun on himself.  He died at the scene while Carabollo was treated for her wounds and survived.  Kewaunee County District Attorney Andrew Naze's decision not to file charges against Deputy Schley came after reviewing a Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation report on the matter.  Naze says while Deputy Schley did not strike Cardona his actions likely saved lives. 





Business as usual after Sonny's fire

You can still make plans for lunch and dinner at Sonny’s Italian Kitchen in Sturgeon Bay this weekend despite a chimney fire there Friday morning. An aluminum cap above the chimney on its wood-burning stove caught fire and eventually made its way down. Sonny’s Italian Kitchen owner Jason Estes says customers were never in danger, but the 10-foot flames that came out the top of the chimney still made it scary.

The wood-burning stove will get a check-up on Monday, so Friday’s fire is bad news for Sonny's Neapolitan pizza fans. However, the restaurant is still open and the rest of Sonny’s menu is still available.

Mentorship passed down through generations

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Door County works hard to create meaningful connections between its mentor volunteers and the children they help guide. The group uses personality traits and common interests in their matching process to help leave a lasting impact on a child in need. That has paid dividends as one generation's Littles become the next era of Bigs according to Door County Coordinator Patty O'Rourke.


Passing down the tradition of being a Big or a Little from sibling to sibling has helped fuel explosive growth for the organization. Matches in 2019 are far outpacing 2018’s rate.


Midsummer's Music reaches all ages

Next year is the 30th anniversary for Midsummer's Music and it is quickly becoming more than just a summer concert series due to the Griffon String Quartet. The group is a residency that runs from September through May, the offseason so to speak, and represents an idea that has never been done before according to Executive Director Allyson Fleck. The program has three core components.


The Griffon String Quartet is only a year old, started in the fall of 2018, but it has already made a mark. Fleck says the average age of the professional musicians in the group is barely 30 and they are bringing incredible enthusiasm to everything they do. 


Silage could affect milk production

Many farmers in Door and Kewaunee Counties have been unable to get their corn harvested due to the wet fall. Door County Farm Bureau President Daniel Vandertie says it isn't just the cold and rain during the crucial planting and harvest seasons that is the trouble. It's the fact it comes on the heels of a wet 2018 that has compounded the problem. Farmers were able to get the silage they need according to Vandertie but, even there, issues exist.


Milk prices have recovered in the past six months so the market may be factoring in lower production going forward. 


Holiday travel starting earlier

Local travelers can expect increased traffic this holiday season.  AAA forecasts that there will be a record of 115.6 million travelers between this Saturday and New Year’s Day.  That reflects nearly a four percent increase from last year. Locally, the Door County Sheriff’s Department is asking area drivers to plan ahead, take their time and be aware of road conditions before venturing out.  Gas prices at some pumps in Door County are lower than the state average of $2.55, registering at $2.39 a gallon as of Thursday.  That is only three cents more a gallon than it was one year ago, according to 


Children's Book Drive finishing strong

The annual Children’s Book Drive in the area is wrapping up in the next week.  Over 1,200 books have already been collected in the past six weeks from three locations.  The Book Drive has distributed over 14,000 books to underprivileged children in Door and Kewaunee counties in the past 20 years.  Kewaunee County Food Pantry president Ken Marquardt says parents really appreciate the opportunity to get books for their kids every year.



The Book Drive will finish up at Stodola’s IGA in Luxemburg Friday, Denny’s Super Valu in Algoma on Monday and at Bayside Home Medical in Sturgeon Bay next Friday.  The Marv Bins Food Pantry in Casco and Feed My People in Door County are also distributing books this year along with the Kewaunee County Food Pantry.    


Big Mouth featured in Algoma

A popular band with local roots that has been playing together for over 28 years is still going strong.  Big Mouth and the Power Tool Horns are featured at festivals, private parties, and establishments throughout the state. Bass guitarist Paul Sowinski of Fish Creek says the band started out in 1992 as a small Jazz and R & B group of college buddies wanting to play weekly.  He says within three years it evolved into a nine-piece band featuring a horn section that performed five to six nights a week.



Sowinski says most of the musicians in the band are area music teachers.  Big Mouth and the Power Tool Horns will be playing at the Algoma Performing Arts Center this Saturday at 7 pm. 

Shoreline erosion devastating Sturgeon Bay parks

Erosion on city-owned shorefront property has Sturgeon Bay officials concerned on how to pay for repairs.  At Tuesday’s common council meeting councilmembers considered options to address the damage done to the Bayview and Otumba Parks on the west side.  Helen Bacon suggested looking into the cost of contracting with a company that would advise the repairs and restructuring of the park’s shoreline protection.



Gary Nault says a complete repair ultimately makes more sense than a quick cleanup.



Mayor David Ward suggested waiting until April since more damage could result from winter storms.  The council agreed to have city staff seek cost estimates for engineering work to assess the damages incurred. Municipal Services Director Mike Barker added that there is $75,000 left in the small project's budget that could be used to cover some of the cost of shoreline repair.  

E-Learning ready for Gibraltar

Gibraltar Secondary School Principal Gereon Methner believes their plan to provide learning opportunities on snow days has passed its first two tests. The district first hosted an in-school test of their Google Classroom platform in late November so students could get a feel of what would be expected and ask questions if necessary. It was examined again on Monday when all students received an assignment to complete and submit at home before coming back to school on Tuesday. Methner says he still expects some hiccups along the way but believes the idea of e-learning goes beyond the classroom.

E-Learning is becoming increasingly popular in the area after the extreme cold and snow canceled well over a week of classes last year, including a four-day stretch in January. If successfully implemented, snow days and the extension of the school year in some cases could be a thing of the past.



County closing in on speedway promoter

The third promoter in three years at the Luxemburg Speedway could be in the works for 2020. The Kewaunee County Parks, Promotions, and Maintenance Committee voted in favor of sending an amended proposal from the Kewaunee County Racing Association to Administrator Scott Feldt for further talks with the group. The second meeting in two weeks was needed to discuss a potentially shorter 12 race season as well as other details like pricing. Kewaunee County Parks and Promotions Director Dave Myers says they are looking for someone who can put on a good show.

Myers says the board could formally approve a contract between the county and the racing association at its January meeting depending on how the conversations go between Feldt and the group.

Partisanship irks Gallagher

A trade deal, the 2020 budget, and the impeachment proceedings are just the latest events rubbing Wisconsin Republican Representative Mike Gallagher the wrong way as the United States Congress begins to wrap up its calendar year. Last week’s passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement was good news for area manufacturers and farmers as it lifted some trade barriers for the two industries. Gallagher says holding up its approval due to a grudge against President Donald Trump ahead of the 2020 election is a shame.

He also disagreed with how the 2020 budget was presented, saying members of Congress were given less than 24 hours to read through the over 2,300-page document before voting on it. Following Wednesday’s impeachment vote, Gallagher released a statement disagreeing with the process, adding that “a state of perpetual impeachment must not be the new normal.”

Senator prepares for impeachment trial

Wednesday’s vote to impeach President Donald Trump now places his fate in the hands of United States Senators like Tammy Baldwin. The vote fell largely along party lines, with local Rep. Mike Gallagher voting against both articles of impeachment. The United States Senate now must act as jurors as the trial to potentially remove President Trump is expected to take place in the New Year. Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s vote, Senator Baldwin vowed to be an impartial juror in the proceedings, but admits there was some troubling information she took away from the work done during the impeachment inquiry.

Senator Baldwin may have to wait awhile after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters she would hold onto the impeachment articles until Republican Senator Mitch McConnell and Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer agree on trial rules she deems fair.

Shrine hosts Christmas tradition

While some churches in Door and Kewaunee Counties will be locking their doors for the night, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion will be ringing in Christmas Day. A tradition that dates back to the early beginnings of the Catholic church, the Midnight Mass is one of the four different liturgies celebrating Christmas. Over the years, however, many churches have opted for earlier services to better fit the needs of their congregation. The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help added the Midnight Mass to its Christmas slate just a few years ago and its rector, Father John Broussard, says its uniqueness brings people in to pray.

The Midnight Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help is one of about dozen churches in the entire Diocese of Green Bay that hosts the service.

Program defines the spirit of the season

Feed and Clothe My People in Door County and an anonymous donor are giving special gift packages to those that are home-bound or at assisted living facilities.  Ashely Madsen from Feed My People says the woman responsible for the program fills the baskets with many needed supplies for the elderly and those less fortunate.  Madsen shares the many contents of each of the gift baskets.



The recipients of the gift baskets are referred by individuals and facilities.  Madsen says the woman has been purchasing the products and putting the baskets together by herself for over ten years.  The 200-plus baskets are stored at Feed My People during the entire year before being delivered right before the holidays around Door County.  The special gift baskets are being delivered by Friday with any remaining baskets given as Christmas presents to families served by Feed My People this Saturday.  


Colleges and law enforcement annually track campus crimes

The Door County Sheriff's Department works with satellite college facilities to develop response plans to handle crimes and security threats to those campuses.  That's required under the Jeanne Clery Act, which was enacted in 1990.  It's named in memory of Clery who was murdered in her dorm room during a robbery by another student.  The act requires colleges receiving federal aid to inform those on campuses of recently committed crimes or other security risks.  Chief Deputy Patrick McCarty, of the Door County Sheriff's Department, says his department works with the colleges to see whether longer-term security improvements are needed.


McCarty says the Clery reports have turned out to be precautionary measures.  The Door County satellite campuses have not reported any crimes since the Clery Act went into effect

Former funeral home changes hands

The site of Casperson Funeral Home in Sister Bay has a new owner. A release from the owners of Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant and Butik states they closed on the two-acre parcel in the village’s downtown earlier this week after being neighbors with the funeral home since 1946. The Johnson family has no immediate plans for the property while Greg Casperson, a third-generation owner of Casperson Funeral Home, said in the statement they are confident it will serve the Sister Bay community for years to come. The Casperson family operated its funeral home on the property until last year when it sold the business to Huehns Funeral Home in Sturgeon Bay. You can read more about the sale below.


Photo Submitted.



SISTER BAY, DOOR COUNTY, WI, December 17, 2019 — The owners of Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant & Butik in Sister Bay, "the place with the goats on the roof," announced today that they have purchased the Casperson Funeral Home property in downtown Sister Bay. The sale of the two+ acre Casperson property, located immediately to the north of Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant on Highway 42 at 10708 N. Bay Shore Drive, closed today, on Tuesday, December 17.

Lars, Rolf and Annika Johnson announced their purchase of the Casperson property in a joint statement. "Sometimes things happen for a reason," the statement began. "This is an exciting day for our business and for each of us personally. Our family has been a good friend to all three generations that have successfully operated Casperson Funeral Home, and our two businesses have happily co-existed as neighbors since the start of Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant in 1949. We don't currently have any firm post-purchase plans for the use of this beautiful, well-situated property," the statement concluded, "but are simply gratified that we were able to acquire it. We're very thankful to Greg and Debbie Casperson, who were amazing to work with over the past few months."
After today's real estate closing, Greg Casperson issued a statement on behalf of the Casperson family. "My wife Debbie and I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the people of Sister Bay and northern Door County," Greg said. "It has been our privilege to serve this tight-knit community for over 98 years and we know the Johnson family will do many positive things for Sister Bay with our former property in the years to come."


Noting that a commercial real estate acquisition of this type is complicated, Lars Johnson paid tribute to "the large, talented team who supplied their professional expertise to this important transaction. We couldn’t have made this purchase without our customers and employees," said Johnson, "for whom we have much gratitude, and the following local professionals, all of whom played a major role in closing this sale to everyone's satisfaction: Bill Becker (Starr Realty); Craig Bastian (Kellstrom Ray Realty); Jamie Alberts and Mindy Coyhis (Nicolet Bank); Attorneys Jonathan Luljak, Jeffrey Dunn, and Jason Lohn (Michael Best Law Firm); Attorney Richard Hauser (Pinkert Law Firm); Elizabeth Scrivner (Knight Barry Title, Inc.); Brian Frisque (Brian Frisque Surveys, Inc.); and Scott Bortolini (Cornerstone Appraisal). Finally, our family would like to thank both Tom Schuder (Thomas M. Schuder S.C.) and Sue Harvey (ABS Bookkeeping) for their constant, dedicated professionalism in serving our business needs," Johnson concluded.

Alorica workers could find options in Door County

Employees at a Green Bay call center could find new opportunities in Door County.  Alorica announced last week it would be closing its Green Bay operations in March of 2020.  That would leave 143 employees out of work.  While Door County employers have hundreds of jobs available,  Jim Golembeski, Executive Director of the Bay Area Workforce Development Board, says some call center workers might not be able to take advantage of those openings that are at or below what they make currently.


However, there have been a number of new apartment buildings constructed and some are available at affordable prices, according to Jim Schuessler, Executive Director of the Door County Economic Development Corporation.  Schuessler says a new website can put job hunters in touch with Door County employers willing to take on under-skilled workers.


Schuessler says over 800 job openings are now on just one weekend after the website rolled out.

Expect local benefits from Packer playoff run

The Green Bay Packers postseason will be an additional money maker for Northeast Wisconsin, including Door County.  Studies show that each Packers home game generates about $15-million for the region's economy.  Jon Jarosh, Communications Director for the Door County Visitor Bureau, says Door County businesses see the benefits of home regular season and playoff appearances.


The Packers playoff game is tentatively set for the weekend of January 11th. Jarosh says with final playoff matches unknown until after the final regular-season games it's difficult for tourism businesses in Door County to offer any promotions on short notice.  He adds some fans make it a point to take in the game and a visit to Door County. 

Ensuring that your voter registration is current

It's easy for voters in Kewaunee and Door counties to ensure they're registered to vote, even if they've received letters from the Wisconsin Elections Commission saying they need to re-register.  That follows a Wisconsin judge's order that 234,000 names of residents who may have moved be purged from voter registration records.  That decision came after a conservative legal firm sued to have the names removed because they no longer lived at the listed voting addresses.  Kewaunee County Clerk Jamie Annoye says verifying that your voter registration is up to date is easy, so is re-registering.


If you'd like to register online to vote,  Annoye says all you need to do is log onto and send along a scanned identification document, such as a utility bill, state-issued identification card or drivers license.

Sturgeon Bay still working through granary agreement

The final 2019 Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting Tuesday evening was one of the longer sessions of the year that included the future of the historic Tewels and Brandeis Granary.  After two hours of numerous agenda items being addressed, the council met in closed session regarding the development agreement between the city and the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society Foundation.  Only councilmember Kelly Avenson opposed going into closed session.



City Attorney James Kalny explained that the development agreement was at odds with the Ad Hoc West Waterfront Planning Committee’s recommendation of placing the granary on a different site other than the previously agreed upon Lot 92.  Prior to that discussion, Councilmember Kirstin Reeths expressed concerns on the over $143,000 that has been spent to date on attorney fees paid regarding the development agreement.



Kelly Catarozoli from the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society shared an update during public comments stating the lakebed lease is ready for the city’s submission to the DNR to allow for the granary’s permanent placement on the west side waterfront.  The Sturgeon Bay City Council did not do any further business after the closed session ended late Tuesday evening.            


Finishing touches on Algoma bridge set for spring

The new Algoma bridge opened one week ago and travelers need not bypass the second street after construction was completed.  The five-month Second Street Bridge project finished about a month later than anticipated, but Matt Murphy from the Algoma Public Works Department says the new bridge looks great and contractors will add the finishing touches in spring. 



Algoma Street Department completed construction projects this fall as well that covered between First Street and Second Street. 


Christmas not "wonderful" for some-- Mental Health Minute

With the Christmas holiday less than a week away, some people may not view it as “the most wonderful time of the year”.  Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White says the reality is stress, anxiety, loneliness, and depression can increase this time of year.  He says many factors can contribute to those feelings.



Dr. White says be grateful if the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year for you.  If not, know that you are not alone and it will pass.  You can listen to Dr. Dennis White’s entire mental health minute below.





Domestic abuse typically spikes before holidays

The holidays can be a more dangerous time than normal for those at risk of domestic abuse.   Help of Door County Executive Director Milly Gonzales says that violence actually tends to swing upward the week before Christmas.  She says national and local history shows that the pattern follows many holidays.



Gonzales states that holiday stress is not the reason for domestic violence but can be a contributing factor.  Data from the National Domestic Violence hotline in recent years indicates reported calls dropped by about 50 percent on Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as 30 percent on New Year’s Day.  


Schuessler stepping down as DCEDC Executive Director

Jim Schuessler is resigning as the Door County Economic Development Corporation executive director.  The Door County Economic Development Board of Directors accepted Schuessler’s resignation at a special board meeting Tuesday.  In a release sent out by the DCEDC, Schuessler announced that he will be leaving at the end of January to take over the executive director position at Yuma Multiversity in Arizona.  Beginning his work at the DCEDC 18 months ago, Schuessler was the third executive director for the organization that began in 1989.  A search for a replacement for Schuessler will begin immediately, according to DCEDC Board Chair Patti Vickman who will lead the search committee. 



Full Release by DCEDC:



Schuessler to Step Down as DCEDC Executive Director;

Search Underway for Successor



December 17, 2019:  The Door County Economic Development Board of Directors accepted the resignation of Jim Schuessler, Executive Director at a special board meeting today. Schuessler announced that he will depart effective the end of January, 2020, to assume the role as Executive Director for Yuma (Arizona) Multiversity, an urban education hub for existing institutions of higher education and the degrees they offer.


Schuessler stated: “As both a broadcaster and economic development professional, I have been blessed by being a part of amazing organizations, yet the work Team DCEDC is achieving here, and being a part of this team, has been the most rewarding and meaningful in my career. It has been a privilege to develop Team DCEDC, a group that has already achieved great results and is poised for even greater impacts in the future.”


Schuessler continued, “As it is most important that Team DCEDC continue progressing and succeed with the 2020 Strategic Work Plan, I have offered to stay on board through January to ensure that the momentum that has been established continues. Team DCEDC needs a new head coach, but it is blessed with an inspiring group of professionals that are poised for great things going forward.”


Patti Vickman, Chair of the DCEDC Board stated: "We thank Jim for his leadership of DCEDC and his dedication to Door County. During his tenure, Jim quickly integrated into the Door County community and served as a positive and passionate advocate for economic development in Door County. Under his leadership, the DCEDC strengthened its economic development mission as an organization, deployed best economic development practices, and worked collaboratively with other county entities to address the present needs of business and ensure the future economic vitality of Door County.”


Schuessler, serving as only the third DCEDC Executive Director since the organization was created in 1989, began his service in July, 2018. During his tenure, he served as a board member for the Bay Area Workforce Development Board, Destination Sturgeon Bay, Destination Door County, and UnitedOne Credit Union.


?Vickman continued, “Jim’s time with the DCEDC has continued to move us forward as one of the model economic development organizations for the rest of the state. The Board is very appreciative of how Jim has built such a strong team at DCEDC, which will continue the important work and mission of the organization. The Board wishes Jim nothing but the best, as he pursues his future professional endeavors and joins the rest of his family, who are living in Arizona.” 


DCEDC Board Chair, Patti Vickman will chair the search committee for Schuessler’s replacement in collaboration with Human Resources Consulting, LLC.


Egg Harbor comprehensive plan coming together

Village of Egg Harbor Administrator Ryan Heise says the focus is now on the assets they already have rather than what still needs to be created. The village received over 180 surveys regarding the development of its comprehensive plan. The areas that received the largest support included creating a safe environment for outdoor recreation and helping build relationships between developers and businesses. Heise says it was great to get that kind of feedback from its residents and visitors.

The Village of Egg Harbor is already focusing on improving at least three assets including Highway G, its beach, and its wastewater treatment plant.

Scholarships made easier

With college costs rising across the country over the last decade and the increasing debt load students are taking on, the Door County Community Foundation is continuing its quest to make post-secondary education affordable. Not only has the foundation attracted more donors to add to its Door County Scholarship Network, it has simplified the process by developing the common scholarship application. This allows students to fill out one form before applying to dozens of different scholarships. Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy says they have received more applications as a result.

Over 70 scholarships are currently available through the Door County Scholarship Network, but Bicoy tells students to check frequently as more are uploaded on a regular basis. 

Private schools see growth

Three private schools in Kewaunee County are experiencing growth this school year for a variety of different reasons. Enrollment at private schools statewide has increased since the state began offering a voucher program in 2013. Father Dan Schuster says his parishes’ schools at St. Mary’s in Luxemburg and Holy Trinity in Casco have grown in part because of the program, but also because of the quality of their staff.

Pastor John Moll of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church says his school is not eligible for the voucher program, but believes word of mouth about its preschool program has been able to keep families throughout their pre-high school years.

The growth at the three schools comes at a time when a UW Applied Population Lab report shows an overall drop in K-12 enrollment. The report places the blame on declining birth rates, an aging population, and families moving out of state for the decline.

Kewaunee mayoral field getting crowded; Christman decides not to run

The city of Kewaunee could be heading to a primary for its mayoral seat as nomination papers continue to be circulated throughout the area. Current Kewaunee mayor Sandi Christman, former mayor John Blaha, and District 1 councilmember Jason Jelinek have all taken out nomination papers to hold the top position.  According to Christman's facebook account, she has now decided not to run again.  Jeff Vollenweider hopes to fill Jelinek’s seat on the city council while Janita Zimmerman and Dan Stangel look to keep their positions representing District 3 and District 4 respectively. District 2 councilmember Jamie Jackson has submitted her papers for non-candidacy. In Algoma, Mayor Wayne Schmidt and Alderperson Kevin Schmidt have turned in their nomination papers while Jake Maring is still circulating his. There is no word yet if Algoma City Council members Eugene Cleveland or Scott Meverden are running for another term ahead of the January 7th deadline to collect the necessary signatures and turn in their nomination papers. 

City to deal with shoreline damage Tuesday

Sturgeon Bay will address the shoreline damage incurred recently at all city shorefront property at the final common council meeting of the year Tuesday evening.  The city will assess the damage and prepare cost estimates for repairs.  Other items included in the agenda are the second reading of an ordinance to amend the municipal code of restricted streets and an update on the development agreement with the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society regarding the Teweles & Brandeis Granary.  The Council will also consider the attorney fees paid and staff hours spent on the agreement as requested by councilmember Kirsten Reeths at the last meeting.  The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will meet at 7 pm at City Hall on Tuesday.  


Retiring Waterloo police chief shares Sturgeon Bay days

A long-time Sturgeon Bay Police Chief is retiring as the Chief of Police in Waterloo, Iowa.  Dan Trelka, who was a member of the Sturgeon Bay Police Department from 1992-2010, is retiring this Friday as the Waterloo Police Chief.  Trelka says he still has connections in Sturgeon Bay and misses the people of Door County the most.



Trelka plans to stay involved in law enforcement as he will run for the Blackhawk County Sheriff’s seat in November of 2020.  He currently has been serving on the Board of Supervisors the past year.  Crime has fallen over 30 percent during Trelka’s time as police chief in Waterloo the past ten years.

Archaeologist surprised by findings at Crossroads digs

Artifacts discovered during public archaeological digs at the Crossroads at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay are getting assessments by a professional archaeologist.   Emily Rux, with Midwest Archaeological Consultants, is serving as an archaeologist in residence at Crossroads.  She's surprised at the quantity and condition of stone chips and other relics discovered by kids and adults at the public digs.  Rux says unlike digs she has conducted in the Northeast U.S., where soils can be more acidic, the Crossroads finds paint clear pictures of pre-historic activity and the people who came to what is now Sturgeon Bay.



Rux will conduct another archaeology workshop at the Crossroads at Big Creek on Michigan Street in Sturgeon Bay on December 20th.  The public is welcome to attend and take part in the cleaning and sorting of artifacts found at dig sites.  

Keep your estate plan paperwork close by

Having an organized estate plan with all your important documents readily available is important when the information is needed quickly, according to attorney Bob Ross of Ross Estate Planning in Sturgeon Bay.  Ross shares some of the key paperwork that should be found in your estate plan.



Your estate plan should be in one place and easily accessible, according to Ross.  He says in the event of an emergency, you want it found quickly by family members, so action can be taken right away.  You can find a list of the 12 important documents you should organize now below.  


1. Will

2. Living revocable trust

3. Living will

4. Healthcare power of attorney

5. Financial power of attorney

6. Designated beneficiary accounts

7. Copy of marriage license/divorce decrees

8. Copy of your latest federal tax returns

9. Financial accounts

10. Letter of instruction/intent

11. Funeral plan

12. Business succession plan

Bruemmer Park Zoo project gains ground from Packers grant

The Green Bay Packers Foundation is helping advance the nature-education center project at Bruemmer Park Zoo in Kewaunee.  The Zoological Society of Kewaunee County received a $7,000 grant from the foundation.  That's helping kick off a $1.5-million fundraising drive for the nature-education center.  Dave Myers, Kewaunee County Promotions and Recreation Director, says that will build upon on-going restoration efforts that have helped attract more visitors.



The Bruemmer Park Zoo opened in 1936 with a number of birds and wildlife that are native to Wisconsin, plus some exotic species like monkeys.

Board weighs wireless option

The journey to better Internet in Kewaunee County begins on Tuesday when the board discusses partnering with a Hilbert-based broadband company. In the resolution to be discussed by the board, Kewaunee County would partner with Bug Tussel Wireless to obtain broadband expansion grants offered by the state’s Public Service Commission. The firm was chosen from a group of five companies based on its proposal to meet the needs of the county and the track record of its community partnerships. Kewaunee County Board Chairperson Robert Weidner says they may have to loan a substantial amount of money to be paid back over time to get the ball rolling in the right direction.

Two other items slated for discussion during Tuesday’s 5:30 p.m. meeting have been taken off the agenda for now due to time constraints. Weidner says resolutions regarding Kewaunee County’s inclusion in a proposed National Marine Sanctuary in Lake Michigan and action on the area’s manure storage and spreading emergency will appear in future meetings.

St. Luke's makes pledge for Habitat build

A Sister Bay church is making sure a family in its congregation gets the home of their dreams. St. Luke’s Episcopal Church has pledged to match up to $11,000 in donations for Door County Habitat for Humanity’s 43rd home build. The Marvins, who attend St. Luke’s are the partner family for the build. Megan Dietz from Door County Habitat for Humanity says the pledge is unprecedented.

Dietz says the pledge is not just a sign of support from the Marvin’s home church, but also people supporting the recently formed Door County Housing Trust. You can make sure your donation to Door County Habitat for Humanity is matched by the church by enclosing a note or including the Marvin family on your check’s memo line. This will be the first home build by the organization in northern Door County in several years.



Photo of Emiliano, Doug Marvin, and Richard.  Photo taken by Doug Marvin

Holiday giving campaigns ending soon

It will be Christmas a few days early for families in Door and Kewaunee Counties. Over the weekend, the Sturgeon Bay Jaycees distributed hundreds of toys to families in Door County as a part of its Toys for Tots campaign. Kewaunee County’s Toys for Tots campaign concludes this week ahead of its distribution event on Saturday. Even with the closure of Shopko earlier this year, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski continues to be impressed with the generosity in the community, which has helped filled boxes throughout the area.

If you’re still looking to donate, Joski recommends buying toys for some of the older kids, especially those that sharpen their critical thinking skills.

Trails open at Crossroads

The sounds of families gliding through the snow at Sturgeon Bay’s Crossroads at Big Creek will get a boost this weekend as free equipment will be available to rent. The Ski For Free program is a gift to the community from the Friends of Crossroads and the Door County Silent Sports Alliance. Executive Director Coggin Heeringa says despite it being winter, there are still plenty of great things to see while skiing the trails.

The Ski for Free program takes place from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturdays and on Sundays from 1 to 3:30 p.m. For everybody heading to Crossroads at Big Creek on Saturday, they will also host a campfire event to celebrate the Winter Solstice beginning at 4 p.m.

Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw not needed yet

Fresh off a delivery of Christmas trees to the Chicago area and the replacement of navigational buoys, the crew of the Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw typically enjoys a nice vacation before the ice season begins on the Great Lakes. Lieutenant Junior Grade Carolyn Smith says that in recent years that hasn’t always been the case.


The ship’s responsibilities lie primarily in the Straits of Mackinac, the St. Mary’s River which connects to Lake Superior, and Whitefish Bay. The Soo Locks close in the middle of January for annual maintenance and the Mackinaw can then find itself patrolling Green Bay and nearby waterways before it gets an annual check-up in February. The Mackinaw was built in Marinette and was in Sturgeon Bay over the summer as it dry-docked at Bay Shipbuilding for extensive repairs. 


Silent Sports Alliance volunteers year-round

There's a silent sport for all seasons and that means there is a volunteer opportunity year-round as well if you are a member of the Door County Silent Sports Alliance. President Dave Ferguson says two stand out in particular because without help from the club the events would most likely never take place.


Silent sports are all aerobic exercise and are a vital part of maintaining a fit lifestyle. If you are interested in becoming a member or finding out more information about the Door County Silent Sports Alliance, visit here:


Algoma Tech Ed program doubles in size

In one calendar year, the Algoma High School Technical Education program has doubled in size. Instructor Matt Abel says that enrollment tends to be lumpy but the trend has been going in the right direction for years now.


Abel doesn’t know exactly what has caused the increased interest but he says that the high cost of college could definitely be a factor. Vocational training and traditional apprenticeships are quickly gaining a reputation as a responsible way to begin a career rather than just a Plan B or inferior option to a four-year diploma from a university.


Gibraltar Fire trains for ice rescues

Last week, the members of Gibraltar Fire and Rescue took over the Northern Door YMCA to do their annual ice rescue training. The simulations are done in a temperature-controlled pool because that allows for the person being rescued to be dressed in normal winter clothing. To do it outside, the person being rescued has to be adorned in gear that prevents hypothermia. The equipment is naturally buoyant which makes the training easier than what is encountered in real life. Assistant Chief Jared Anderson says that water alone adds a couple dozen pounds to a person needing to be rescued when it soaks their clothing.


Gibraltar Fire-Rescue maintains a close relationship with other Northern Door County departments. Rescues can happen on rivers, inland lakes, and the bays and harbors of Lake Michigan.



Photos courtesy of Gibraltar Fire-Rescue Facebook page.


Door County Y waiving joining fee

The Door County YMCA is waiving the fee it charges new members who join the organization. The fee is normally $50 and its suspension coincides with the enrollment period for January classes. Sessions early in the year are highly sought after due to people committing to the gym for their New Year's resolution. Membership Specialist Sue Crass says the Door County YMCA offers other, more specialized, assistance at all times to make sure the Y is available to everyone who wants to be a member.


The process is confidential and discreet. 


Happy birthday to Imagination Library

Imagination Library celebrated one year operating in Door County Saturday by throwing a birthday party at the Sturgeon Bay Public Library. Imagination Library is an organization that allows children from underprivileged homes to get a steady stream of new books to read. Books are mailed to the residences of participating families directly which helps them avoid having to carve time out of a busy schedule to get to the library regularly. Library Director Tina Kakuske says the celebration was about the kids in the program as much as the milestone itself.


Kids can be registered for the program by mail, online, or in person. Information is attached here:

Brussels 4-H gives back to community

The Brussels Shining Stars 4-H Club hosted one of its premier community service events of the year Saturday at the Brussels Town Hall. Breakfast with Santa was a success again. All you can eat ham, pancakes, and waffles were enjoyed while kids got their pictures taken with the jolly Saint Nick. There were craft activities for children. The fun also acts as an opportunity for the Brussels club to collect donations for the Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church food pantry in Maplewood. General Leader Marissa Norton says the next community service event comes in the spring.


Norton says that members are hard at work on their animal projects for 2020 already when they aren’t planning community events.


Sister Bay looking to host pickleball clinics

Pickleball has long enjoyed a vibrant indoor scene in Door County thanks to its availability at the YMCA and now it's spending some time in the sun outdoors. The Sister Bay Advancement Association has laid down markings on existing tennis courts at the sports complex that translate to four pickleball courts. The SBA also purchased nets and they're stored near the courts, available free of charge. The next step according to Assistant Coordinator Miluzka McCarthy is teaming with the Door County Pickleball Club for instruction starting in the spring.


The DCPC is looking at running tournaments next summer which could draw participants from across the country. McCarthy says Sister Bay would be excited to play host to some of those matches.


Agreement on new trade pact a boost for Door County economy

Door County farmers and manufacturers would benefit greatly under the U.S Mexico Canada Agreement revision agreed to by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Trump Administration.  That deal was announced this week.  Canada and Mexico are Door County's largest trading partners.  Jim Schuessler, Executive Director of the  Door County Economic Development Corporation, says enacting the trade agreement would benefit area manufacturers immediately while some, like Therma-Tron-X in Sturgeon Bay, would grow over the long-term.


Schuessler says farm and dairy exports from Door County would grow with renewed and expanded trade with Mexico.

Veteran officer taking over as Kewaunee Police Chief

Jim Kleiman, the Kewaunee Police Department's interim chief, will be sporting a new title in the new year.  The word interim will be dropped when the 30-year veteran officially becomes Kewaunee Police Chief.  Kleiman has held numerous positions since joining the force in 1989 as a part-time officer. He's long aspired to become police chief and was named assistant chief in 2014.   Kleiman believes the transition to chief will be a smooth one because of his long ties to Kewaunee and help from his retiring predecessor.


Kleiman has also served with the Kewaunee Fire Department. One of his first duties as police chief will be to name an assistant police chief on January 6th.  The next step will be to recruit a new full-time officer.

Picking out the perfect telescope

The long winter nights and the Christmas season make this time of the year a busy one for people trying to select a great telescope for their personal use, or as a gift. Door County Astronomical Society President Dave Lenius says shoppers need to avoid the Christmas specials. You don't have to break the bank but what you'll find at a box store lacks needed features.


Members of the Astronomical Society are happy to give advice for first-time buyers. The right equipment could help turn an interest into a hobby and all of the rewards that come with it.


Anything cheesy a holiday hit for Luxemburg cheesemaker

The Christmas holiday season is bringing in a lot of green from out-of-state lovers of Wisconsin Cheese.  The Pagel Family Farm, which includes Ron's Wisconsin Cheese,  is seeing increased demand from all over the country for their gift boxes.  Erin O'Toole, the marketing director for the Pagel Family businesses, says customers want the tastes of Wisconsin's best on their tables for holiday entertaining.



In fact, O'Toole says anything with cheese curds is almost a guaranteed best-seller for their company.

What kind of winter is worst for roads?

It is not the severity of the winter that affects roads and infrastructure, it is the type and that is true for Door County as well. Door County Highway Commissioner John Koldziej explains what will cause potholes come spring.


While salt may be bad for the undercarriage of your vehicle, it has a minimal effect on the roads you drive. Because of the hardness of pavement it can't adapt to moisture's expansion and contraction as the temperature wavers around the freezing point. 

Holiday online demand strong for Door County goodies

Demand is strong for the tastes of Door County over the holiday season.  That's fueled by out of state customers looking to toast holiday meals with Door County wines, to have cherry treats for snacking and baking or some special coffee for Christmas breakfast.  Beth Levendusky, Marketing Director with Door Peninsula Winery in Carlsville, says online orders go into hyperdrive the week before Thanksgiving and continue through December.




Levendusky says some of Door Peninsula Winery's promotions for the holidays include free shipping for a full case of wine and gift baskets that include Door County cherry products and other treats along with the wine.

Local businesses need immigration reform

The accord between the White House and U.S. House Democrats to revise the agreement replacing North American Free Trade Agreement would aid farms and manufacturers in Door and Kewaunee Counties. The Executive Director of the Bay Area Workforce Development Board believes immigration reform should also be a priority for President Trump and Congress.  Jim Golembeski says making it easier to attract immigrants is vital to fill jobs that cannot be filled by American citizens.




Golembeski says adding to the challenges facing farms and businesses is an unemployment rate of three percent.  That means employers have to offer higher starting wages and other incentives to compete for workers.

Local bed and breakfasts cater to microcations

Working millennials, those who reached adulthood in the early part of this century, are putting in long hours on the job and vacationing over short periods of time.    So area bed and breakfasts are positioning themselves as ideal destinations for three or four-day getaways or “microcations”.  The Allianz Vacation Confidence Index found that 57% of Americans took trips of four-days or less in 2018.  Kelly Catarozoli, the owner of The Foxglove Inn of Sturgeon Bay, says she has reworked what her B&B has to offer younger travelers and her marketing strategy.


Catarozoli says those changes have paid off attracting younger travelers year-round and not just in the peak summer vacation period

Open enrollment for health insurance extended ---UPDATED

[Federal officials announced Monday that open enrollment for health insurance on has been extended through 2 a.m. CST on Wednesday, December 18. The announcement, which was made Monday morning, comes after some individuals using the federal call center on the final day of open enrollment were asked to leave their names instead of being allowed to enroll. Wisconsinites can call 2-1-1 to get free expert help enrolling or can go to to enroll online.]



The deadline for health insurance coverage in the individual market is ending this Sunday with plans becoming effective January 1.  The Marketplace health insurance enrollment began on November 1.  Mike Walston of Robertson, Ryan & Associates in Kewaunee explains what to do if you currently do not have coverage on an individual basis.



Walston says the coverage has remained about the same but some rates have come down while insurance offerings have increased from one to three this year in Kewaunee County.


Kuhns filming new Carbon Man movie

Door County Geologist, filmmaker, and writer Roger Kuhns is in the process of producing another movie to add to his resume.  Kuhns wrote a play earlier this year called “The Continuing Adventures of Carbon Man”.  The play shares the importance of turning to a renewable energy economy.  He says the performances of Carbon Man a couple of months ago in Door County and Upstate New York went very well and inspired his new venture.



Kuhns has been traveling the country and recently was out west in the Mohave Desert this past week shooting footage of solar and wind farms.  He expects the film to be finished and debut next spring.      


Giving Tree helping underprivileged families

The Kewaunee County Food Pantry is helping to play Santa Claus next week with the collaboration of three New Franken parishes.  Ken Marquardt, executive director of the pantry, says the special program impacts 27 families in the area.  He explains how the Giving Tree is coordinated. 



Marquardt says families submit a “wish list” of items that the children would like and appreciate.  The families have been notified and will receive the Giving Tree packages next Monday and Wednesday at the Kewaunee County Food Pantry during the regular hours of operations.  The packages are bagged up and labeled to be easily claimed by the family in need.  St. Kilian, Grace Bible Church, and St. Thomas the Apostle were the participating churches in this year's Giving Tree.    


Antlerless hunt gives hunters second chance

Area deer hunters have another weekend to harvest a deer with their gun this year.  The four-day statewide antlerless-only hunt is underway through Sunday.  Local DNR Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha reminds hunters that you must register your deer within one day of getting it.



Door and Kewaunee County gun hunters will also have a chance to participate in the Holiday Hunt from December 24 through January 1.  The deer kill in the state was down nearly 25 percent this year during the traditional nine-day hunt in late November.

Manure storage hitting emergency levels

Farmers are looking to the Kewaunee County Board for assistance when it comes to safely storing and spreading their manure this winter. A second straight year of record rainfall and snowmelt is keeping fields too saturated to farm while 30-40 million gallons of manure remains in storage heading into winter. The board is asking Governor Tony Evers through a resolution to allow large farms to temporarily spread manure on land not under nutrient management plans, transfer to smaller, compliant pits, and stop collecting all leachate water. Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee Member and owner of Augustian Farms Aaron Augustian says farmers have been trying everything they can to accomplish what needs to be done while also being mindful of protecting the area’s surface and groundwater.

Since September, there have been 13 times where severe runoff flowed into surface water tributaries and affected Kewaunee County wells following manure spreading events. The Kewaunee County Board meets on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

Medical marijuana getting Republican support

Representative Joel Kitchens is the latest Republican member of the Assembly to show his support for legalizing medical marijuana in Wisconsin. Originally introduced by Representatives Mary Felzkowski of Irma and Kathy Bernier of Chippewa Falls, the bill opens the door for certified medical professionals to cultivate, process, test, and dispense marijuana to people suffering from certain ailments. Kitchens says he believes marijuana does have certain medicinal qualities and the bill still keeps it tightly controlled.

The bill does have heavy opposition in the state Senate among his fellow Republicans, which Kitchens says makes it unlikely it will get to Governor Evers’ desk even if it passes the Assembly. Medicinal marijuana is currently legal in 33 states, including Minnesota, Michigan, and Illinois.

Concerts ring in the winter season

It is show time for area high school bands and choirs as school districts in Door and Kewaunee Counties cap off the calendar year with holiday concerts. While some groups will still play some other kinds of music during their concert, songs of the holiday season will dominate the playlist. Kewaunee band director Kelton Jennings says it is a good barometer for where his kids are at with music they may already know.

While Gibraltar and Sturgeon Bay held their holiday concerts earlier this week, Kewaunee, Luxemburg-Casco, and Algoma will hold theirs this weekend. Southern Door and Sevastopol host their high school concerts on Monday. MORE FM 102.1 will replay selected concerts Christmas week at 7 p.m.

Churches invest in family programming

Area churches are reaching out to young families to help sustain their membership for years to come. A 2016 Pew Research study shows kids raised in religious households often carry on with their faith at a time when more millennials are leaving the church every year. Congregations like Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church in Ellison Bay are increasing their outreach to families to help keep them involved with their faith. With help from the recently hired Director of Youth and Family Ministry Lynda Pietruszka, Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran Church Pastor Jim Honig says its ministry for young families is important.

Like many churches in Door and Kewaunee Counties, Shepherd of the Bay Lutheran is hosting a family-friendly service as a part of its Christmas celebration as well as activities like its children-led worship this Sunday and a “Happy Birthday Jesus Party” for its Little Lambs group on December 18th.

Farmers cheer USMCA vote announcement

The Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi announced earlier this week that a vote would happen on the United States Mexico Canada trade agreement and local farmers are celebrating. Trade negotiations have been wrapped up for months, but it sat neglected by the House with most expecting that the Democrat majority would refuse to give the president a major win during the impeachment process. Rich Olson says he’s all for it and he’s not alone.


Even farmers who are more apprehensive welcome the end to the uncertainty that has characterized trade relations in recent years.


Bird count Saturday at Ridges Sanctuary

The National Audubon Society is conducting its Christmas bird count Saturday with the Ridges hosting locally. The count has been a tradition since 1900 and occurs near Christmas because migration is now complete. Land Manager Matt Peter says what is left is known as the area’s resident bird population. That comes with one exception.


In addition to the bird count, A Natural Christmas happens Saturday from three to six PM. The overall event is free but activities like wreath making require a fee to cover the cost of materials. There was also a session to coincide with Harbor Holiday last weekend. Peter says the workshops are more popular than ever.


Bill protecting sports officials pending in senate

State Senator Andre Jacque is a co-sponsor of new bipartisan legislation that would increase the crime of harassing sports officials to a Class A misdemeanor. It currently has the support of the WIAA under the belief that it could improve the retention of officials at a time when there is a severe shortage. Currently, 75 to 80 percent of officials quit within two years. Jacque says it’s the penalties that are changing, not the crimes.


When determining what harassment is, significant discretion is given to judges. The bill is not meant to punish a momentary outburst or something yelled from the stands. It is designed to protect from physical altercations and conduct that could reasonably be perceived as threatening. 


CVSOs getting more help

County veterans service officers across the country would get some much-needed help from the federal government when it comes to processing claims if a bill backed by Wisconsin U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is approved. Introduced on Wednesday, the bipartisan bill would direct $250 million over five years to CVSOs to help provide the services and solutions for their area veterans. The bill takes aim at lowering the suicide rate among veterans by making sure they get enrolled in programs at Veterans Affairs hospitals. Senator Baldwin is hopeful the money is used to help the most in-need veterans.

A related bill Senator Baldwin also helped introduce would designate 9-8-8 as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which would also include veteran-specific mental health support services.

Sacrificing safety for warmth not advised

Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht hopes homeowners use extra caution when it comes to staying warm inside their homes this winter. Over 25,000 chimney fires occur nationally every year while space heaters account for a third of all winter house fires. Hecht says taking the proper steps before using your fireplace or space heater can help prevent a disaster from occurring.

Hecht also advises people to not use equipment intended for outdoor use like grills to warm your home as they could be not just a fire risk, but they can also increase your exposure to carbon monoxide.

Digester project keeps pace

While work in the fields has been slowed due to the wet fall and cold winter, it has not affected the work being done on a new digester project in Kewaunee County. Kinnard Farms in Casco is in the middle of the manure digester project near its new barn in partnership of Kewaunee Renewable Energy. By capturing the methane released in the farm’s manure digesters, it could potentially produce enough natural gas to provide energy for approximately 2,400 homes. Kinnard Farms owner Lee Kinnard says he is thrilled by the progress being made.

With similar projects also located at Dairy Dreams in Casco and Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy in Kewaunee, Kinnard says digesters like his could be something the industry trends towards, especially after the struggles many farmers had this fall spreading manure in a safe manner.



Picture from October courtesy of Kinnard Farms



Older demographics strain Kewaunee veterans resources

More than 15 percent of Kewaunee County veterans are over the age of 65 and those that have fallen through the cracks have done so for a long time. The other concern is that traditional veterans groups like the VFW and the American Foreign Legion have a demographic makeup in the county that doesn't resonate with younger soldiers according to Veteran Service Officer Robert Stearns.


Stearns says discussions regarding a new organization modeled off of NEW Battalion's Bravo Company are still in the early stages. The hope is that Stearns and Door County VSO Beth Wartella can find a way to bridge the generational divide to help foster a strong cadre of veteran organizations in Door and Kewaunee Counties. 


Moll balances ahead of new pastor

Twelve years after he received his calling to return to his home state from California, St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church Pastor John Moll received another one from the congregation just a few miles south. Since August, Moll has led not just his own congregation in Algoma, but also Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kewaunee. Immanuel Lutheran Church has been looking for a permanent pastor since Michael Sullivan left for Ottawa, Canada at the beginning of the year. Moll says there are two sides of every calling and understands the difficult decision of going somewhere new or staying where you are.

Moll’s double duty will end at the beginning of 2020 when Pastor Matthew Sprunger of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sanborn takes over.

Help of Door County finds new advocate

Looking to fill a position left open when Milly Gonzales took the position of executive director, Help of Door County has found a new advocate for the organization.  Citralina Haruo started her new job last week and Gonzales says Help of Door County is excited to add her to the staff.



Haruo, who grew up in Green Bay, says she will use her experience to help those in the community dealing with domestic abuse.



Gonzales and Haruo first met at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. last year.  They maintained a relationship that led to her applying for the advocate position.  


Ice rink needs cold and snow

The polar freeze that has gripped the area in the middle of this week is just one part of the equation as far as constructing Sturgeon Bay’s outdoor ice rink. Also required are sustained cold temperatures and a healthy amount of snow according to Municipal Services Director Mike Barker.



The warm weekend depleted the snowpack in Sturgeon Bay so recent accumulation in addition to another one to three inches expected Thursday is a welcome sight. Temperatures are predicted to rebound towards the freezing point. Recent weather forecasts suggest that could be the norm until Christmas which may delay the opening of the rink until after the holiday.

Salvation Army combats area homelessness

The Salvation Army serves every zip code in the State of Wisconsin with much of the work done by all-volunteer service extensions like the one in Door County. Tom Mulinix says the organization’s reach is not appreciated by most because rural areas do not have easily identified physical structures. Food pantries serve Door County well so efforts to fight homelessness are prioritized. Strong fraud protections are in place.



Between the voucher writers and the all-volunteer staff, the Door County Salvation Army service extension has lower overhead than its peers.

YMCA greets winter with Soup Day

The Sturgeon Bay location of the Door County YMCA will be hosting Soup Day on December 16th. Volunteer Coordinator Nichole Grbavcich says it is the perfect way to warm up on a cold winter day but it can't happen without community support.


Soup Day funds go towards the Door County Y's Annual Campaign. The YMCA membership is up to nearly 9,000 people in Door County alone, close to one-third of the entire population. That isn't possible without programs designed for those in need whose budget cannot handle a full-price membership. Youth sports and other endeavors are also supported.

Holiday party a big success -- VIDEO

Bitterly cold temperatures outside could not quell the warm gathering inside the Southern Door Middle School gymnasium Wednesday afternoon for the 33rd annual Senior Citizen Holiday Party.  Over 150 area senior citizens attended this year which was sponsored by the Southern Door High School students and staff.  The free event featured the high school choir and band performing Christmas tunes followed by lunch served by the school’s food service staff.  Tom and Diane Felhofer from Union, who have attended the past few years, share their thoughts on the holiday party.



Some attendees also won door prizes which included handmade ornaments by the Fab Lab department (See picture below).   You can see a video from Wednesday’s Southern Door Senior Holiday Party below. 








Kewaunee manure spills contained as clean-up continues

Clean-up work continues in the Town of Carlton on a pair of manure run-offs that occurred on property owned by Wakker Farms. The waste material had been spread on the fields prior to the run-offs. The Department of Natural Resources says one spill was discovered over the weekend and the second was detected on Monday.  Both have now been contained. Joe Baeten, DNR Water Tester, says the focus now shifts to impacts from the runoffs.



Baeten says it's not known how much manure ran off of the fields.  The flow made its' way toward Sandy Creek.  The DNR is advising property owners with wells to monitor their water for changes in color, smell or taste.  If such changes occur, it's recommended that you find alternate water sources, such as bottled water, and contact the DNR immediately.

Early outbreak spurring flu shot demand

Door and Kewaunee counties are seeing few cases of influenza although areas in southern Wisconsin are seeing moderate levels of reported flu cases.  That comes as areas of the southern United States are seeing an earlier rash of flu cases.  Susan Powers, with the Door County Public Health Department, says early inoculation is recommended before flu symptoms start showing up.


Powers says simple steps like covering your mouth when you cough and frequent handwashing with soap and water can help curb the spread of the flu.  The public health department is providing flu shots by appointment

Supply chain helps companies thrive in Door County

Door County's economy depends on tourism, however, manufacturing operations are also thriving thanks to a local supply chain.  That network helps industrial firms operate in an efficient and cost-effective manner.   Door County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Jim Schuessler says having such synergistic relationships keeps Door County manufacturers competitive.




Schuessler says many businesses in the industrial park in Sturgeon Bay benefit from having members of the supply chain just up the road from each other.

Snowmobile trails facing challenges beyond snowfall

Although Door and Kewaunee counties received a few inches of snowfall this week, other factors impacting the trails may delay openings later this season.  Dean Simonar, Vice-President and Sales Manager with Simonar Sports in Luxemburg, says many of the trails wind through typically open fields that still currently have standing corn or unharvested soybeans.



Simonar says concerns still remain oversaturated soil conditions where wetland trails are located.  The Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs estimates millions of dollars for local economies are realized annually through snowmobiling.  Algoma was recognized as an AWSC Snowmobile Friendly City in 2019.        


Vaping at schools causing concern

Over 25% of students in high school, more than three million, vape. These numbers have been growing twice the rate of the year before. Wisconsin vape laws have eighteen as the legal age of purchase. However, students of age enrolled in highschool are Seniors. Many vape users are not of purchase age, and even if of age, are using vape products on school property. 
The real question is: What is in this e-liquid? Vape products mainly contain propylene glycol and nicotine along with flavoring of choice. Nicotine intake is hazardous for the human body, let alone a still maturing young adult. If this isn't enough, when taking a deep inhale on a vape, the metal within the vape device itself may lead to the e-liquid. Metal in the lungs is extremely dangerous. 
If you, your child, or loved one is vaping, there are safe ways to manage withdrawal. First and foremost, throw away the vape! The ideal contact to check one's health is to contact a doctor. Home remedies that work if worked into a daily routine are staying hydrated, sleep, and healthy snacks. 
In Southern Door High School, vaping ordinances are hung in bathrooms and around the halls to inform and discourage students from partaking in vape culture. Suhani Patel, Southern Door Junior, shared that she emplores her peers to not take part in vaping to keep their bodies healthy. Suhani believed nicotine to be unnecessary and dangerous. 


Nicotine is an extremely toxic substance. One inhale on a vape can lead to an addiction that is hard to shake. 


UPDATE: Algoma bridge opens at 2:30pm today

The new Second Street Bridge in Algoma will be officially open for traffic Wednesday.  Algoma Public Works Director Matt Murphy told on Tuesday afternoon that the construction crane utilized in the project still needs to be removed but the bridge is set to open Wednesday afternoon.  The Second Street Bridge project began in July and was originally planned for reopening in November but was delayed due to weather and scheduling issues.  The bridge is very similar in looks to the Fourth Street Bridge in Algoma that is located two blocks farther west. 


Clean up underway on Kewaunee County manure spill

Clean-up is currently underway at the scene of a manure spill in Kewaunee County.  The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is currently assessing the impact of the spill on County Highway J near Highway 42 on property owned by the Wakker Farm.  A DNR news release says the spill was reported on Monday and Wakker Farm employees are involved in clean-up efforts. The manure runoff spread to a ditch that leads up to Sandy Creek.  The DNR is advising nearby residents to monitor their well water for changes in taste, smell and color.  Those who notice any changes should switch to an alternate water source and contact the DNR for help.


Quartet brings holidays to Library Live

The Griffon String Quartet is making a return trip to the Miller Art Museum this weekend for a holiday-themed show. The museum hosted the Midsummer’s Music-based group’s debut earlier this year as a part of its Library Live series. The performing arts have always been featured at the Miller Art Museum as they have had musicians play its piano for various events over the years. Miller Art Museum Executive Director Elizabeth Meissner-Gigstead says its has enjoyed having groups like the Griffon String Quartet as a part of its concert series collaboration with the Door County Library.

The second of the Griffon String Quartet’s four holiday shows will be at the Miller Art Museum on Saturday at 1 p.m. The group will also be playing Hope United Church in Sturgeon Bay, First Presbyterian Church in Green Bay, and the Kress Pavilion in Egg Harbor this weekend.



DCEDC strengthens recruiting pitch

The Door County Economic Development Corporation is increasing its efforts to convince some of the millions of people visiting the peninsula every year to stay. In front of local business and government leaders on Monday, the DCEDC officially launched, a one-stop-shop for those looking for a new career, housing, and more in the area. Workforce Development Specialist Kelsey Fox says with the help of local companies, she feels they have developed a tool to help turn “micro-moments,” or times when people reflexively turn to a device to learn something, into leverage.

NEW Industries’ Karen Urban-Dickson is one of the many human resources professionals working to fill some of the more than 800 open positions in Door County. She is appreciative of the extra effort being put towards getting people to apply.

Fox says the area is currently suffering a population and workforce decline due to the county aging four times faster than the national average and young people leaving to pursue opportunities in other parts of the state.

DoorCan answering the call

DoorCancer’s relationship with area businesses this year is helping them raise money while also attracting new people to their programs. Businesses like Sonny’s Italian Kitchen, Brick Lot Pub and Grill, and Kinnard Heating and Cooling have helped contribute thousands of dollars to DoorCancer by simply sharing a piece of their business with the organization for a few weeks. With the extra publicity, DoorCancer has been able to touch the lives of people they may have not otherwise been able to reach. DoorCancer Board Member Jennifer Brandenburg says it has been a successful year thus far for the organization.

In addition to its usual end of the year campaign for funding, DoorCancer has partnered with Quantum PC in Sturgeon Bay to have 10 percent of every December upgrade of Windows 10 go back to the organization.

Filters key to winter furnace health

Your furnace may not deserve all the blame when it comes to having to wear an extra sweatshirt around the house. Door and Kewaunee Counties have already seen its fair share of snow this winter and will get single-digit temperatures for the first time on Tuesday night and Wednesday. Ultimate Air owner Jeff Blemke says the biggest culprit of cooler homes is oftentimes not the furnace itself, but its filter.

Along with making sure your furnace is maintained every year, Blemke recommends homeowners keep a close eye on their outside vents to make sure drifting snow is not blocking them.

Old family chapel living on today

A promise made nearly 150 years ago is being kept up by family members of an ancestor who built a small chapel at the farmstead in the town of Gardner.  The descendants of Joseph Destree maintained and recently renovated the interior of the chapel.    Jared Spude of Brussels shares the story behind the building of the chapel in 1876 by his great-great-grandfather Destree.



Spude says many family members worked the last few years in restoring the chapel.



Plans are to possibly put a new door on it with a stain glass front, according to Spude.  The Destree Chapel is located at 9780 Fox Lane and is open to the public. 




(pictures courtesy of Jared Spude)




Tips on managing holiday stress -- Mental Health Minute Part 2

With Christmas only two weeks away, a Sturgeon Bay psychologist has tips on how to manage the holiday stress. Dr. Dennis White says the expectations surrounding the time and money spent over the holidays can cause a buildup of tensions and worries.  He suggests some tips to make the holiday season more enjoyable.



Dr. White adds that by managing your expectations and keeping the focus on the true meaning of this time of year, the holidays can be even more enjoyable.  You can listen to Dr. Dennis White’s complete Mental Health Minute below.




Closed Algoma Piggly Wiggly holding auction

Bargain hunters will have the opportunity to purchase a little history on Tuesday in Algoma.  The former Craig’s Piggly Wiggly, that closed last month after 20 years in business, is holding a public auction at the Lake Street location.  Craig Peterman, the retired owner of the business, says the store’s fixtures and equipment will be auctioned off.



Peterman says Badger Corporation will begin the public auction at 10:30 am on Tuesday and will offer an online auction simulcast as well at  

Fairest urges participation

Door County Fairest of the Fair Katie Guilette is heading back to school this month to get more art projects recognition. Increasing participation in the junior fair is one of the areas of focus Guilette is concentrating on as her Fairest reign nears the halfway point. Since the Door County Fair allows school projects to be entered, Guilette is encouraging students at all the local districts to make sure they save those paintings and other assignments for the 2020 event. Guilette says it is a great way for kids to get involved even if they do not have animals to show.

You have plenty of time to prepare as kids in Kindergarten through 8th grade can enter their school projects in the Door County Fair beginning at the end of April.

Names released in Sevastopol traffic fatality

The Door County Sheriff’s Department has released the names of the people involved in the vehicle crash that claimed the life of a pedestrian in Sevastopol Friday night.  Sixty-Four-year-old Robin K Laak of Sturgeon Bay was struck by a Chevy Tahoe driven by 33-year-old Daniel M. Tipler of Sturgeon Bay when he was walking across Highway 57 near the area of the intersection of County P. Laak was transported to Door County Medical Center by emergency personnel where he was later pronounced deceased.  The case remains under investigation and the Wisconsin State Patrol is helping in the case with a reconstruction specialist, according to the Door County Sheriff’s Office.    


Bontempo building faith through treatment

Balancing her pastoral duties with her cancer treatments, Nancy Bontempo of Friends Community Church in Sturgeon Bay continues to keep a smile on her face. Bontempo was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer earlier this year and has bounced around the region for treatments. In the meantime, retired Pastor Ken Muck stops to lead the service on his way home from his condo in Sister Bay to the Quad Cities while members of the Friends Community Church have stepped up in other ways. Bontempo says the lessons she has learned over the last six months have been deep and wide.

Bontempo hopes to be at Friends Community Church’s Christmas Eve service, which will be right before her final chemotherapy treatment.

Two take out papers in Sturgeon Bay

One incumbent and one newcomer have taken the first step to getting onto the Sturgeon Bay Common Council next year. Seth Wiederanders has taken out the nomination papers to keep his seat on the council representing District 6.  Joining Wiederanders in the process is J. Spencer Gustafson, who looks to replace current council member Kelly Avenson to represent District 4. As of Monday morning, Avenson has not taken out nomination papers to run again for her seat and no one has done it for District 2, currently represented by David Hayes. Potential candidates have until January 7th to file the necessary paperwork with the city clerk's office.


Updated:   David Hayes informed on Wednesday that he has taken out papers for re-election.  

DOT to control Ephraim erosion

It will take a little bit more time traveling through Ephraim this week as the Wisconsin Department of Transportation works on an erosion control project off of State Highway 42. High water levels are to blame for extra sediment flowing into a culvert south of Brookside Drive, causing it to drain slower than what it was designed to do. Mark Kantola from the DOT says crews have been clearing it on a regular basis to keep up with the water flow, but the work will provide a more permanent solution.

The work will not close lanes of traffic, but Kantola urges motorists to travel through the area slowly as it does get tight in that area with the extra equipment.  He adds similar projects will be occurring in other areas in the region due to the high water levels. The project is expected to be finished on Thursday.

Gibraltar High School construction on schedule

Gibraltar High School construction remains on schedule and is expected to be wrapped up by the end of December. District Superintendent Tina Van Meer says the late 2019 end date was always the intention and there is a specific reason for it.


Van Meer says the students have managed a sneak peek or two, supervised of course, at what the new facilities will look like. Anticipation and excitement are building for the grand tour when the holiday break comes to a close in January.


Local fishing tournament gets new organizers

Next year will see new management for the Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament. The all-volunteer committee that has run it since the beginning has handed over responsibility of the tournament to Federation Angler. The professional organization operates six different circuits with events across the United States and Canada. President Robert Cartlidge says Federated knows the area well and Sturgeon Bay is a perfect fit for the North American Bass Challenge.


The Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament will be the first event on the 2020 calendar for the NABC, taking place in May. Registration will begin in January and the field is capped at 200 boats.


No area Christmas light contest this year

The Great Kewaunee County Holiday Light Contest will not be returning this year due to turnover at the Algoma Chamber of Commerce. That organization has been instrumental in running the competition in the past. No other municipalities are able to fill the void, by design, according to Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center Promotions Director Carly Sarkis.


Sarkis says that if Kewaunee County is unable to bring back the Christmas light contest in the future, Door County and Sturgeon Bay may think about adding something similar to their calendars. Currently, Sturgeon Bay kicks off holiday celebrations in the area with Christmas by the Bay just before Thanksgiving.


Midsummer's Music helps fill educational void

The Griffon String Quartet from Midsummer's Music is addressing a need for classical instruction for Door County youth. The program does private lessons and provides training as part of a partnership with the Northern Door County YMCA in Fish Creek. The group also puts on concerts throughout the school year reaching kids in all grades K through 12. Executive Director Allyson Fleck says most schools in the area have cut strings from their music programs.


String instruments consist of the violin, viola, cello, and bass. The latter is not part of the quartet's ensemble. 


Harbor Holiday lights up Baileys Harbor

Baileys Harbor held its annual Harbor Holiday event on Saturday with local businesses running activities including cookie decorating and wreath making. Several trees along Highway 57 were adorned with lights for the occurrence. The parade started at 5 PM, at night for the second straight year. It stepped off near the post office and ran on the highway north to the Town Hall. Harbor Community Association Coordinator Brynn Swanson says that the change in parade route helped to increase the event’s economic impact for Baileys Harbor.


After the parade wrapped up there was a lighting ceremony of the town Christmas tree. Video of the parade can be seen along with the written story at Door County Daily News dot com.




Lake Superior helping prolong high water levels

The Army Corps of Engineers says water levels will most likely remain high throughout 2020 for a host of factors. Some are easily identified like forecasts for a wetter than average winter but others are less evident. Lakes Huron and Michigan are the only Great Lakes to avoid making a record high this year. Lake Superior did and that has a trickle-down effect elsewhere according to Chief of Watershed Hydrology Keith Kompoltowicz.


The Farmer's Almanac has predicted a very cold winter for the Upper Midwest. If the Great Lakes freeze over like last year that would contribute to lake levels as well.


Birch Creek Music expands community presence

The Birch Music Performance Center has a concert hall on its campus in Egg Harbor but Door County residents are just as likely to run into performances at their favorite restaurant as they are in a more formal setting. Executive Director Mona Christensen says the Ambassador Program extends the center's reach by three-fold.


Students in the Ambassador Program do their performances for just two weeks. They prepare their musical sets on Sunday and by Wednesday they have started their shows, 16 in all during that stretch. Christensen says the program is a major draw to entice returning students. The ambassadors are the cream of the crop, helping Birch Creek put its best foot forward for the community. 


Wisconsin hunting participation holding up well

While the participation rate for hunting in Wisconsin is declining, the drop is gradual compared to surrounding states. License sales for 2019 were consistent with that of the year before. DNR Chief Conservation Warden Todd Schaller says Wisconsin's hunting scene has held up well because it is a homecoming of sorts.


Holding on to the hunting tradition has tangible, economic benefits in addition to the cultural impact of passing down a legacy to the next generation. 


Census still hiring for 2020

On Tuesday, there is a hiring event for the US Census. Most of next year's count will be done online, but for hard-to-reach families canvassing is still necessary. Recruiting Assistant Elaine Brigman will be on hand to help people apply. Library Director Tina Kakuske says that Door County Libraries' involvement goes beyond assisting in hiring. It is an active participant in the county's Complete Count Committee.


Another hiring event occurs on Tuesday, December 17th at the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove branch from 1-4:30 PM. 


Local businesses retain Christmas shoppers

Small businesses find their efforts to attract holiday shoppers pay off in bringing back first-time customers throughout the year.  The so-called destination shops develop a loyal clientele who stop in as new customers and gradual make it a point just to stop in and visit.  Liz Welter, co-owner of Novel Bay Booksellers, says her shop has become a place for the community to gather.


Welter says such meet-ups provided valuable feedback that helps Novel Bay adjust its inventory to fit customer demand.

Door County farmers encourage trade deal

Door County farmers are eagerly anticipating word on the phase one trade deal with China that would reopen the country to American agricultural exports. All farmers have been hit by the trade war between the two countries, from soybeans to dairy. Some have been affected more than others, though, according to Door County Farm Bureau President Daniel Vandertie.


A Chinese trade deal has been said to be imminent for over a month now, but negotiations continue to drag on. Some rumors are that the deal has been pushed back until after the middle of December. Others speculate that a deal may never happen. 


WEDC grant opens China to local products

State aid will help Door County businesses trade with the county's Sister City of Jingdezhen, China.  The county received a $97,000 Collaborative Market Access Grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.  County Supervisor Laura Vlies-Wotachek, who also serves on the Sister City Committee, says that money will go toward setting up a program to enable trade for local companies interested in reaching new markets.


Trade between Door County and Jingdezhen will be on the Sister City Committee agenda when it meets Monday,  December 9th at the Door County Government Center on Nebraska Street at 9:00 AM. 

Pantry not finding enough veggies for holidays

The Kewaunee County Food Pantry is getting plenty of donations for holiday meals except when it comes to certain vegetables.  Produce has been in shorter supply this season because of reduced harvest brought on by poor summer growing conditions.  Ken Marquardt, the pantry president, says even pantry suppliers face challenges in finding select vegetables.




Marquardt says you can help by picking up an extra can of peas or carrots when shopping and dropping them off at the pantry on Sunset Avenue in Algoma.

Pedestrian struck by vehicle in Sevastopol

A 64-year-old man from Sturgeon Bay was killed after being struck by a vehicle Friday night in Sevastopol. The accident occurred on Highway 57, near County Road P, just after 7 PM. Inside the 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe was a man and woman, both from Sturgeon Bay, who were not injured. The man who was hit was taken to Door County Medical Center in Sturgeon Bay where he was pronounced dead from his injuries.

An investigation continues. According to Lieutenant Robert Lauder, Door County Sheriffs were assisted at the scene by the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department, Sevastopol First Responders, and Door County Emergency Services. The Wisconsin State Patrol Reconstruction Unit was also on the scene causing 57 to be closed for over six-and-a-half hours.




Every day is a small business day

The Door County Economic Development Corporation works to make every day a small business day.  That's made possible through a number of different programs tailored to the needs of entrepreneurs at all levels.  DCEDC offers its eight-week Entrepreneur Training Program in the first quarter of each year.  DCEDC Executive Director Jim Schuessler says the program helps those with just an idea for a new business and those looking to take their enterprises a step further.




In addition, DCEDC offers First Steps, an online class to help aspiring business owners check their business readiness and a counselor through the Small Business Development Center in Green Bay.

Lawmaker and economist differ on critical study of Foxconn

A university study of the Foxconn project concluded that the tax breaks and other incentives could be costly in the long-run to counties statewide, including Door and Kewaunee.  The George Mason University survey says the $3.6-billion in incentives could depress economic activity in the state by tens of billions of dollars over the next 15-years.  The study concludes the incentives would be made up for through higher taxes for other companies and individuals and reduce investment in public services. State Senator Dave Hansen of Green Bay believes that type of investment would have been better spent helping Wisconsin counties.




A UW-Madison economics professor, however, believes the George Mason University study did not consider other factors.  Noah Williams says similar tax incentives have been used on other projects and are not uncommon in neighboring states.




State tax incentives for Foxconn were also contingent on the creation of 13,000 jobs over 15 years in addition to the construction of a manufacturing center in Racine County and regional technology centers in communities around the state including Green Bay.

Trying to prevent copycat shootings

With two school violence incidents this week in Waukesha and Oshkosh, plus a school threat made against Sturgeon Bay High School, Door County School Resource Officers are trying to prevent another copycat attack. Lieutenant Bob Lauder says the danger for schools goes up after any incident nationwide. He stresses that it can also be a wake-up call. 


Lauder says it is the job of School Resource Officers to do constant threat assessments. When the possibility of violence ticks up, a SRO can lean on the ties they have built within the school, or district, that they serve. 


Lawmaker seeks answers to tourism council leadership challenges

The election of a new chair for the body that aids tourism in Door County and statewide is raising concerns and questions.  This weeks' selection of Joe Klimczak to head the Wisconsin Tourism Council comes after an earlier election was tabled because a quorum was not present at that meeting.  That's also raised concerns that Klimczak's tenure may be short because of the uncertainty of his reappointment to the council next year.  Many people within the state's tourism industry want answers, including council member and State Senator Andre Jacque of De Pere.



Klimczak was the only person nominated for the chair when the tourism council met this week.  He and council member Kathy Kopp ran for council chair in October, however that vote was canceled because there were fewer than the eleven members needed for any business to be transacted legally. 

Bitter cold dangerous to pets 

With the first arctic cold blast of the season predicted to hit the area early next week, pet owners are being reminded to shield their dogs from the bitter temperatures outside.  Dr. Jordan Kobilca of the Luxemburg Pet Clinic and Door County Veterinary Hospital says dogs should only be let outside for a brief time when temperatures fall below freezing.



 Dr. Jordan also suggests checking your pet’s paws and stomach area to remove any ice, salt, and chemicals.  You can find winter safety tips for your pets below from





Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer. Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws. To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, please heed the following advice from our experts:

  • Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow balls from between his foot pads.
  • Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t neglect the hair between his toes. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
  • Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.
  • Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.
  • Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.
  • Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
  • Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.
  • Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
  • Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.





Dollar General to resubmit proposal in January

After Sister Bay rejected an initial proposal last week by Dollar General, the discount chain will re-present at the next village plan commission meeting in January.  According to Village Administrator Beau Bernhoft, all of the zoning code requirements were not met by Dollar General.



Point of Beginning submitted plans on Dollar General’s behalf and will now have to adjust the necessary changes to gain approval by the plan commission.  The initial plans called for construction to begin next spring for a 7,500-square-foot building with 41 parking spaces located at the corner of Highway 42 and Fieldcrest Road.   


Bay Title moving to old Mandarin Gardens' location

Construction crews began tearing down the old Mandarin Gardens restaurant this week in Sturgeon Bay.  The property was purchased by Jack May of Bay Title and Abstract and Peninsula Title.  He explains the reasoning behind the move from his current business location on Highway 42/57 to the future location next to Marchant Foods on Green Bay Road.



May says the demolition and removal of the old restaurant should be completed by the end of the week and construction of the new building to begin next spring.   


Windows 7 deadline looming

Quantum PC in Sturgeon Bay has been busy making sure people running Windows on their computers are ready for 2020. On January 14th, Microsoft will pull its support for devices running Windows 7. While the equipment will still run, it will be more susceptible to security risks and viruses. Erin Helgeson from Quantum PC says the deadline has kept them busy.

Quantum PC and other computer repair businesses likely will not run out of work soon as estimates more than a quarter of PCs worldwide will still be running Windows 7 two weeks after Microsoft ends its support of the product.

Charitable giving struggling

Donors gave to charities in record numbers during this year’s Giving Tuesday, but local organizations like the Door County Community Foundation are still struggling to get donations. According to a Fox Business report, Giving Tuesday generated nearly $2 billion in donations worldwide, with $511 million raised online. It comes after GivingUSA reported 2018 was a down year for charitable donations, pointing to changes in the tax law and fourth-quarter declines in the stock market as possible causes. Door County Community Foundation President and CEO Bret Bicoy says the economy is strong right now and says setting up a donor-advised fund could offer people extra incentive to give more this year.

Bicoy says even though Door County has not been immune to the drop in charitable giving, he says area donors have still been generous and it is up to the charities to make the case to why they deserve the funding.

DNR to increase fish stocking

Lakeshore businesses in Door and Kewaunee Counties are praising a plan to increase the number of fish the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources places in Lake Michigan. For the next three years, the DNR will stock the lake with 1.2 million fish annually, with most of that coming from coho (500,000) and steelhead (460,000) salmon species. Wisconsin Lakeshore Business Association President and Accurate Marine owner Tom Kleiman praises the short-term and long-term vision of the plan by the DNR.

Kleiman says the introduction of brook trout and habitat preservation projects will only help the fishing industry thrive for years to come. Wisconsin DNR Fisheries Management Deputy Director Todd Kalish will speak on the full stocking plan at the WLBA’s fundraising event on Saturday at Classix in Kewaunee.


Photo submitted from Kewaunee/Door Salmon Tournament

E-learning battles snow days

Area school districts in Door and Kewaunee Counties hope to stay one step ahead of Mother Nature this winter to keep their academic calendars on schedule. Last year, snow and extreme cold claimed well over a week of class time, including a four-day stretch in late January. To limit the amount of instruction time that needs to be made up as a result, school districts are experimenting with different e-learning options. Gibraltar Area Schools recently tested out its e-learning platform with its students in November ahead of an in-home practice run this month. Kewaunee Principal Michael Bennett says its district has the ability to send assignments out to its students if they know school may be canceled for a certain amount of days.

Bennett says students having their own devices to complete the work make the concept of e-learning days easier handle, but acknowledges Internet connections may still be an issue.

Joint Revolving Loan benefits city and county 

Door County’s revolving loan fund had to be returned to the state, but a one-time state Community Development Block Grant-eligible project may happen thanks to the city of Sturgeon Bay.  At Tuesday’s Sturgeon Bay common council meeting, a recommendation for a joint City-County Revolving Loan Fund was unanimously approved.  The inter-governmental agreement between the city and the county would benefit both municipalities, according to Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak.  He says Door County approached the city with the idea.



Olejniczak says the agreement would help in the application process for the proposed affordable housing project by North Pointe Development at the Old West Side School property in Sturgeon Bay.  That project would be eligible for the state revolving loan and have Door County listed as a benefactor.  The goal has been to regionalize the more funds the last several years and avoid using federal monies that have many conditions attached to them, according to Olejniczak.  He says Door County still has to work through some details before the inter-governmental agreement would become a done deal.   




Youth basketball takes over Sturgeon Bay Saturday

The Northeast Wisconsin Boys Basketball League will be in Sturgeon Bay this Saturday to help support organized youth basketball.  The program has 43 schools from Northeastern Wisconsin participating and helps promote sportsmanship through competitive play.  John Lodl, one of the local organizers, says proceeds from the one-day basketball event helps support Sturgeon Bay boys youth basketball.  He says it’s an opportunity for people to watch some good hoops by teams from third-grade through 12th grade.



Teams are guaranteed two games that run from 8 am until about 5 pm with games played simultaneously in the high school and middle school gyms. Lodl adds that the organized basketball event that averages between 12 and 20 teams every year has raised over $3,000 for the Sturgeon Bay basketball programs.


(photo courtesy of NWBBL)


Algoma bridge opening delayed until December 11

The opening to traffic on the new Second Street Bridge in Algoma will be delayed until next Wednesday.  According to Algoma Public Works Director Matt Murphy, the planned opening for Friday was pushed back a few more days due to weather conditions.  Murphy says once the bridge is finally finished, some landscaping work will be done next spring.



The Second Street Bridge project began in July and when completed will mirror the look of the Fourth Street Bridge in Algoma. 


Attractions adjust to busier winter

Though it still trails summer and fall in terms of its popularity, winter is becoming a busier time for businesses and attractions in Door County. According to the Door County Tourism Zone, room tax collections and occupancy rates went up in November and December in 2018 compared to the previous year, which are two indicators of increased tourism activity. Places like The Ridges Sanctuary in Baileys Harbor are taking notice, adding to their program offerings in the winter months. Drew Richmond from The Ridges Sanctuary says they hope to give families something to do when they’re exploring the county.

The Ridges Sanctuary is offering their wreath making workshops and holiday luminary walks over the next few weeks, including during its Natural Christmas celebration on December 14th.

Grant helps farmers dabble in conservation

Peninsula Pride Farms and 26 other similar groups received another endorsement for their work last month when it received a combined $750,000 in producer-led watershed grant funding. The locally-based organization received $10,000 in funding to address soil and water issues in Door and Kewaunee Counties. PPF President Don Niles says the funding goes towards the organization’s cost-sharing program, which gives farmers confidence to try some of the conservation practices others have been testing out on their own operations.

Peninsula Pride Farms, which made up of dozens of farms in Door and Kewaunee Counties has received the producer-led watershed grant each of the last four years.

District looks for more scouts

With the annual popcorn sale in the rearview mirror, Voyageur District officials in the Boy Scouts of America’s Bay-Lakes Council hope to add more members to its ranks. The fall recruitment push brought in 500 new scouts to Voyageur District, which covers Brown, Door, and Kewaunee Counties. Most of that growth comes from Cub Scouting and Voyageur District has been able to start up two new units for girls. Voyageur District Executive Bob Pekol says their programming is fun and involves the whole family.

Voyageur District is hosting a recruitment event on December 11th in Green Bay. Pekol adds their popcorn sale raised over $600,000 for local scouting activities including $8,500 earned by Ethan Moll from Troop 1140 in Brussels.



Food pantry meets island needs

People in every corner of the county need a little bit of help, including those living on Washington Island. Over 20 years ago, John Davies used his experience working at one of the largest food pantries in Chicago to begin making changes at one still growing on the island to better fit the community’s needs. He oversaw the food pantry grow from a classroom at Trinity Lutheran Church to the building’s kitchen. Davies says it has been great to see the impact it has had on Washington Island.

Now organized by Dan Westbrook and Amy Rose, the Washington Island Food Pantry distributes items on the fourth Monday of every month to qualifying individuals and families. Davies says much of the food is shipped to the island, but the pantry also features extra items produced by locals such as eggs, vegetables, and cheese.

Spring election season in swing

The spring election is not until April 2nd, but the work to get on the ballot in Door and Kewaunee Counties officially began earlier this week. Algoma has already seen Mayor Wayne Schmidt and alderpersons Kevin Schmidt and Jake Maring take out their nomination papers to get signatures. City Clerk Jamie Jackson has some suggestions for those looking to run for the city council.

In Kewaunee, Sandi Christman looks for a third term as the city’s mayor while Jeff Vollenweider looks to capture the District 1 seat on the council. Nomination papers are due back to city clerk offices on January 7th.

DPI releases local report cards

Students in the Sevastopol School District are making the grade and then some according to the latest state report card.  The Department of Public Instruction found that when it came to math, reading, science and other subjects Sevastopol students scored just over 81 points out of 100.  The highest score came at the middle school level with nearly 98 points.  Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says that's a credit to teachers and staff at all grade levels.



Other area districts that exceeded expectations were Gibraltar which scored just over 79.6 points out of 100, Sturgeon Bay with an overall score of 79.8 points Southern Door had a score of just over 76 points, Luxemburg-Casco with a score of just over 77 points, the Washington School with 74 points and Kewaunee with just over 73 points.  The Algoma School District met expectations with a score of nearly 66 points out of 100.


(Corrects some previously reported scores)

More support expected for Kewaunee Health Services

North Shore Healthcare has an eye on improving services at it's newly acquired Kewaunee Health Services facility.  The former Atrium Post Acute Care Center is among 22 facilities in Wisconsin and Michigan purchased by North Shore this week.  The Kewaunee operations join co-owned facilities in Green Bay, Little Chute, Manitowoc, and Sturgeon Bay.  Kristin Mueller, North Shore's Director of Communications, says that will allow Kewaunee Health Services to share assets with the co-owned providers.


Mueller says it's also possible that some of North Shore's facilities could be reorganized to better provide specific health care services for clients in neighboring communities

Tips on Christmas tree safety

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



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



Man found dead near trail

The Sturgeon Bay Police Department is still investigating a suspicious death that occurred last week near the Ahnapee Trail. At around 10:15 p.m. on November 27th, the body of the man was found near the trail just off of Lansing Avenue while a police officer was out on a patrol. According to Sturgeon Bay Police Captain Dan Brinkman, a gun was involved and now the department is still looking for answers.

Brinkman says the department is dealing with the case as a suspicious incident and will likely release more information including the name of the deceased in the coming days as the investigation continues.

District takes threat seriously

A 17-year old Sturgeon Bay High School student is in jail after allegedly making a non-specific threat on Wednesday. The incident comes during a week where two shootings occurred at high schools in Waukesha and Oshkosh and threats were made at others across the state. According to Sturgeon Bay Police Captain Dan Brinkman, the high school’s liaison officer alerted the department to the threat and followed up by identifying and arresting the student. Brinkman says any type of threat is taken very seriously, no matter what the climate has been this week at Wisconsin high schools.

Sturgeon Bay School District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel says it is hard to pull positives out of a situation like this, but he was happy with the way students, parents, and local law enforcement responded to the situation.

The 17-year-old high school student, who has not been identified, is currently awaiting charges from the District Attorney’s office at Door County’s jail.



Letter emailed to parents

Wednesday, December 4, 2019 (Approximately 1:25 P.M.)


Sturgeon Bay Parents:


This morning school staff and law enforcement were notified about an alarming social media post made by a current Sturgeon Bay High School student.  The student has been under the direct supervision of the high school office and School Resource Officer throughout much of the day during the investigation.  The Sturgeon Bay Police Department has been on campus and involved in the investigation as well.  The student left campus with officers from the police department shortly after 1:00 P.M.


From what we can tell so far today, the student has been cooperative with the investigation, does not appear to have access to firearms, and appears to realize the major mistake he has made which will have a wide variety of consequences.  The student’s parents have been cooperative with this very difficult situation as well.


A public address announcement was made to the high school student body and staff immediately prior to the lunch period so they could be updated about the situation and knew they were safe since the student was under supervision in the office.  We also thanked the many students who had come forward to say something to school or law enforcement personnel so the situation could be investigated.  This is exactly what we need to do. 


The high school public address announcement also acknowledged that some terrible things have happened in places like Waukesha and Oshkosh this week.  As a result, if they or their parents wanted to have them excused for the afternoon, that would certainly be OK and we asked that they communicate with the office as typically would be the case.


Thanks go not only to students, but also to the many parents who called to make sure we were aware of the situation.  This is definitely one of the positives we can take away from a difficult situation like this. 


We also fully realize that people would like to see communication sooner rather than later.  We understand and are doing the best we can to first take care of the things that need to be taken care of to ensure safety—then communicate as we are able to do so with at least some level of detail.  Nothing is more important than our children and we all understand that. 


Thank you for your cooperation and assistance not only with this situation, but any future situations.  The “If you see something, hear something, or witness something, say something” approach absolutely makes a difference. 

Public meeting looks at private water wells test findings

The results are in from a UW-Oshkosh private water well testing program in Door County.  While most of the 200 property owners involved have the results for their wells, researchers will be holding public meetings to look at the overall findings.  Carmen Thiel, a UW-Oshkosh Water Quality Specialist, says those meetings will also explain plans for future research.




The first public meeting on private water well testing is scheduled for 6:00 PM Monday, December 9th at the Town of Gibraltar Fire Department on County Highway F.  The second meeting will be held at 6:00 PM Tuesday, December 10th at the Aging and Disability Resource Center on 14th Avenue in Sturgeon Bay.

Conditional support for milk fund withdrawals

Automatic milk check withdrawals to fund regional and national marketing efforts are supported by one Door County dairy farmer. However, Rich Olson, of Olson Family Farm near Sturgeon Bay, questions why those dues are paying for high executive salaries.  Dairy Management Incorporated promotes dairy products nationwide and is paid for through the withdrawal of 15-cents per hundredweight from each farmer's milk check.  Reviews of the company's 2018 records show that Executive Vice-President Tom Vilsack, the former U.S. Agriculture Secretary, receives nearly $1-million in pay and benefits.  Rich Olson sees some contradictions in Dairy Management's applications.


Dairy Management Incorporated is a non-profit organization that receives five-cents for every 15-cents withdrawn from dairy farmer's milk checks.  The remaining ten-cents goes to organizations that market dairy products regionally.

Lawmaker calls for action after violent events in schools

An area lawmaker says fellow members of the Wisconsin Legislature need to take action to reduce the threats of violence at schools in Door and Kewaunee counties and statewide.  That follows an altercation between a student who stabbed a school resource officer at an Oshkosh high school. The officer shot the student.  Another incident at a Waukesha high school involved a student who pointed a handgun at police officers, who then opened fire. Nobody was killed in either incident. State Senator Dave Hansen of Green Bay hopes these incidents will prompt lawmakers to reduce the risks of violence through the adoption of stronger firearms laws.



Democratic Governor Tony Evers urged the Republican-controlled state assembly and senate to hold special sessions on gun control bills.  Both chambers met and adjourned after several minutes without taking action. 

PRATT not likely in Sturgeon Bay

The city of Sturgeon Bay will apparently need another option when it comes to funding future city street improvements.  City voters approved a one-half percent sales tax increase to address transportation projects in a non-binding referendum last year.  State legislation is needed to allow the collection of additional sales tax to implement a Premier Resort Area Tax. State Rep. Joel Kitchens says he tried to amend the state budget to allow the PRATT in Sturgeon Bay but it failed in the Joint Finance Committee.



Kitchens adds that unfortunately there is not another route to go as far as through the state for a remedy.  He says the PRATT was the best option for Sturgeon Bay to pursue, but his efforts met with too much opposition.   


City council votes for pay raise

The Sturgeon Bay common council approved a recommendation to increase the salary of newly elected alderpersons and the mayor by a 5-1 vote Tuesday evening.  Councilmember Seth Wiederanders was the only no vote.  The increase will bring the pay from $600 to $650 for councilmembers starting next April.  The Mayor's pay will increase from $850 to $900 in the next mayoral election in 2022.  The last increase was back in 2015, according to Mayor David Ward.  


Other business covered in the 90-minute session included approval of the joint City-County Revolving Loan Fund that will open the way for North Pointe Development to receive $1.4 million for the affordable housing project at the Old Westside School location.  The city will still have to enter into an inter-governmental agreement with the Door County Board to work out details for administrating loans with help by the Door County Economic Development Corporation.  


The council also voted to increase the city's seasonal boat slips at Stone Harbor by $100 to cover expenses incurred by the resort.  Slips will now be $2600 for the season from May through October.

Groundbreaking closes Dorr on past

No matter who you ask, Tuesday’s groundbreaking of The Dorr Hotel in Sister Bay was a long time coming. Officials from the Village of Sister Bay, Door County Economic Development Corporation, Sister Bay Advancement Association, and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation were among those present for the first shovels of dirt on the site of future 47-room boutique hotel. Speaking to the crowd during the ceremony, developer Chris Schmeltz talked about his Door County roots that led to three years of work to make The Dorr Hotel a reality.

It has been even longer for Village of Sister Bay President Dave Lienau, who has been waiting for a replacement of 45 hotel rooms in the downtown for 10 years and something to be built on the site itself for close to 15 years.

The dose of winter weather earlier this week will limit what can be done this month, but construction on The Dorr Hotel expect to begin in earnest in the spring.



Local deer gun harvest down big

The numbers for the nine-day gun deer season in the area was considerably down this year, according to the Wisconsin DNR.  Despite favorable hunting conditions the first several days, Door County hunters registered nearly 28 percent fewer deer than last year.  2133 deer were taken compared to 2958 in 2018.  That number includes 400 fewer bucks taken in Door County.  Kewaunee County saw a decrease of 23 percent of deer harvested during the hunt.  1757 deer compared to 2281 last year.  Nearly 300 less antlered deer were taken in Kewaunee County this year.  Statewide, the deer kill was down nearly 25 percent.  The nine-day hunt concluded this past Sunday.   

Giving Tuesday year-round

Giving Tuesday may be one of the biggest charitable days of the year, but also serves as a reminder that there are 364 other days you can support your favorite charities in Door and Kewaunee Counties. According to, the now seven-year tradition collected over $400 million in online donations while impacting over 110 community coalitions worldwide. Giving Tuesday also makes for a good day to commit to volunteering for an organization, something Door County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director David Van Dyke would like to see as it prepares to build its 43rd home in 2020 and its first in northern Door County since 2014.

According to the Door County Community Foundation, there are over 350 charities, associations, service clubs, and other groups serving the area.

Northern Sky home for holiday show

For the first time in the show’s history, Northern Sky Theater’s holiday show will actually be at home. Prior to the opening of Northern Sky Theater’s new creative campus earlier this year, “Home for the Holidays” alternated between Old Gibraltar Town Hall and the Door Community Auditorium. This year, Katie Dahl, Eric Lewis, and Rich Higdon will take its turn playing holiday favorites inside the Gould Theater located on the creative campus. Dahl says she is looking forward to bringing the show to the space for the first time.

“Home for the Holidays” will run for six shows from December 27th through December 31st. You can learn more about this year’s show by clicking here and during a special Ask the Expert with Dahl on December 14th at 7:30 a.m. on 96.7 WBDK.

Hang-ups among leading Kewaunee County calls

Pocket dialing may be the second leading cause of 911 calls to the Kewaunee County Dispatch Center. According to statistics released by Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski, the dispatch center is on pace to handle around 10,300 calls in 2019, which is up from the last time he took a deep dive into the numbers in 2016. The highest frequency of calls is for “rescue calls,” which at just over 1,100 for the year includes people experiencing medical emergencies both at home and at a clinic. Over 800 calls to the dispatch center have been the result of 911 hang-ups, up from 527 in 2016. Joski guesses as smartphone usage has gone up, so has the misdials.


Enhanced 911 has helped the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department address these calls more efficiently according to Joski. 



As we come to the end of 2019, I thought I would use this article as well as the next few as a format to share some yearend statistics on the various components of the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department. While I will still produce an annual report to share with the community, this may provide a more direct source of information to the community that we serve.

         I would like to begin by going over some numbers from the perspective of our Dispatch center. The Kewaunee County Dispatch Center serves as the primary answering point for all 911 and other emergency calls throughout Kewaunee County. We also dispatch and page for all of our local Fire EMS and Law Enforcement agencies. We are unique in Kewaunee County that we dual role our staff as both Dispatchers and Jailers. In most other counties there are two dedicated Jailers and two dedicated Dispatchers. Kewaunee County has financially benefitted from this arrangement for years, and it is a testament to the quality of our staff that they are able maintain a high level of effectiveness and proficiency in both of these areas.

         In 2019 to date we have handled 9,484 calls for service, which projects to over 10,300 calls before the year’s end. I would like to go over some of the most common calls which we receive and some background to the nature of these calls.

        The highest frequency of calls that we receive are categorized as “Rescue Calls” which account for 1,108 so far this year. These calls range from citizens who may be in their homes experiencing medical emergencies to patients at local clinics who are in need of transport due to a medical emergency. In each of these calls our dispatchers lay an important role in obtaining vital information about the patient and then following up with the appropriate response based on location and sense of urgency.

        The next most frequent are 911 hang ups. These are many times accidental mis-dials which require follow up either by our dispatcher or in many cases actually sending an officer to the location where the call came from. Thanks to enhanced 911 we are able to determine the location of these calls in the event that the caller is unable to provide location information. If these calls are determined to be legitimate calls for service their status is then changed to reflect the nature of that incident. So far in 2019 we have handled 820 calls of this nature.

         Following 911 hang ups is the category of “Citizen Assist” which account for 435 calls thus far. These calls range in nature from assisting people who have locked themselves out of their homes to assisting with civil matters where law enforcement is asked to be present during a volatile situation.

         “Traffic Offenses” are next with 396 calls so far this year. These types of calls have been on the increase since the advent of cell phones as members of our community serve as an extra set of eyes out on the roads. These calls are greatly appreciated and send a clear message that we are all holding each other accountable as motorists. We would just ask that if you do call in a traffic offense to do it in a safe manner that does not jeopardize your own safety or cause you to be distracted from your own driving.

          Another category of calls we have seen an increase in are the “Animal Problem” at 354. These are unfortunate situations which typically result from the actual or perceived lack of care that an animal is receiving or the lack of control that an animal owner is maintaining over their pets. These types of calls can be easily reduced by those of us who own pets being a more attentive and responsible pet owner.

         The last two that I will cover came in with very close numbers. “Welfare Checks” at 282 and “Suspicious Activity” at 316. Actual these two are very similar in that the caller is concerned about the activity of either someone they know and would like them checked on or someone they do not know and want us to investigate. In either circumstance these again are very important calls and show that our community is involved in the well being and security of their community.

           If you would like to know more about what we do at the Kewaunee County Dispatch Center, please do not hesitate to contact our department. We can even arrange for a tour. Next week, I will be covering some of our jail data, and share some of the many duties which we serve in maintaining our local facility.



Burdicks to be honored for community service

A Luxemburg couple with a family history of community service will be awarded a special recognition this Saturday.  Todd and Brenda Burdick will be honored at the annual Luxemburg Area Chamber of Commerce Christmas Party.  Recipients of the 2019 Community Service Award given by the chamber, the Burdicks will be featured along with three other business and community leaders.  Brenda Burdick, a 15 veteran of the Luxemburg Rescue Squad and a Lions Club member, says they were very surprised and appreciative of being selected. 



Brenda’s parents, Ron and Kim Vehren, won the community service award in 2012 for their involvement with the Lions Club and 4 H program.  Todd Burdick retired from the Luxemburg Fire Department after 17 years and most recently ran Burdick’s Bar on Main Street for 19 years until selling it in the past year.  The bar, now called the Farmhouse, was remodeled in 2016 and still prominently features area photos and pictures of local American Legion members, according to Burdick.  


(photo courtesy of Luxemburg Area Chamber of Commerce) 


Christmas stress begins --Mental Health Minute series

The pressure of the holiday season begins in earnest and a Sturgeon Bay psychologist says keeping things in perspective is important.  Dr. Dennis White says the unrealistic expectations this time of year usually add to the stress and feelings of not doing enough.  He says many people take on too much to be able to properly manage the holidays.



White says many people become exhausted due to the planning and attending of the endless parties, pageants and celebrations.  He says they tend to lose sight of the reasons for doing them.  You can listen to Dr. Dennis White’s entire Mental Health Minute on holiday stress with this story below.




Door County Land Trust looking forward to more property acquisition

Having protected more than 8,000 acres of land throughout Door County, the Door County Land Trust is continuing their mission to protect open spaces, scenic beauty, and the area’s ecology.   Chambers Island is the largest of all the nature preserves in Door County, according to Executive Director Tom Clay.  He explains some of the work they have done in the past year.



Clay says the Door County Land Trust is always looking for additional protection opportunities.  Southern Door County currently has one conservation easement in Clay Banks called the Legacy Preserve and Washington Island has a few preserves with a potential to grow, according to Clay.   

Kewaunee senior living facility gets new name and owners

The former Atrium Post Acute care facility on Lincoln Street in Kewaunee is now under new ownership and has been renamed Kewaunee Health Services.  That follows North Shore Health Care's purchase of 22 facilities from Atrium Health and Senior Living-Midwest.  The purchase closed on December 1st.  The Kewaunee facility is the second North Shore Health Care operation in the coverage area. Sturgeon Bay Health Services is also owned by the Glendale-based health care provider.

Opening weekend sets small business holiday shopping pace

Small business owners in Door and Kewaunee counties say the holiday shopping opening weekend sets the pace for the rest of the season.  While larger box retailers offer discounts in their stores and online, smaller retailers in areas like Sturgeon Bay's Third Avenue business district counter with more personal service from staff and unique gifts.  Liz Welter, co-owner of Novel Bay Booksellers, says opening weekend helps her business plan for the remainder of the holiday shopping season and helps the community at large.



Welter says she sees many first time customers during the holidays return during the rest of the year to shop or meet up with friends they've made while shopping.  $$

Sturgeon Bay mayor, council members set for raises

Future mayors and council members in Sturgeon Bay will make more money for their service beginning with their next term. In the consent agenda of Tuesday’s meeting, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council could approve a $50 a month raise for members and a $100 a month increase for the mayor. Raises cannot occur during an elected term, so even-numbered aldermanic district representatives will see the increase in 2020.  The mayor and odd-numbered aldermanic district representatives will get their raise in 2021. According to the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, Mayor David Ward makes an annual salary of $10,200 while the Sturgeon Bay Common Council’s members make $7,200 a year. The council meets on Tuesday in its chambers at Sturgeon Bay City Hall at 7 p.m.

Methodist reorganization likely

The United Methodist Church will likely be different in 2020, but the pastor of two Kewaunee County congregations hopes the changes will not be drastic. In February, the UMC General Conference chose to stick to its ban of same-sex marriages and gay clergy, spurring efforts to make changes to the church’s Book of Discipline to allow it to be more inclusive. While some fear a sharp divide or full split of the denomination, Pastor Jennifer Emert of Algoma United Methodist Church and West Kewaunee United Methodist Church hopes the United States becomes its own regional conference. She says that would allow them more autonomy like other conferences in the denomination.

Emert says some UMC congregations in places like Africa that have been blamed for the passage of the “traditional plan” already operate under their own regional conferences and do not have to follow everything in the Book of Discipline.

Pagel, Servaes named Kewaunee County Fairests

Two Kewaunee County teenagers will don the crown for the next year as the Fairests of the Fair. Kewaunee senior Kiley Pagel was named Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair at the organization’s gala event on Saturday. Pagel competed against herself as she went through interviews with judges, did a mock event introduction, and performed a radio ad. She says she looks forward to circling the area promoting agriculture and the Kewaunee County Fair.

Algoma eighth-grader Morgan Servaes earned the Junior Fairest of the Fair title, competing alongside Luxemburg-Casco freshman Mackenzie Deprey. Servaes is honored to have won the distinction in her second attempt to become the Junior Fairest.

Kewaunee County Fairest of the Fair Paige Bellin and Junior Fairest of the Fair Savannah Bailey will complete their term with two more events this year before Bellin competes for the state title at January’s Wisconsin Association of Fairs Convention in Wisconsin Dells.



Fire Department responds in power outage

The Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department is showing it can help the community in a time of need without putting on their suits and hopping into a truck. The department’s Sister Bay station became a warming shelter Sunday night as reports came in from Wisconsin Public Service that some parts of the area may not get their power until Monday night. With elderly residents and others in rent-controlled apartments, Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht says opening its doors to the community was the right thing to do, even if it has only been a handful of people helped.

With help from Door County Emergency Services, Hecht says his department will check on residents that may be in need until the power comes back on.



Power slowly coming back

Over 1300 customers in Door and Kewaunee Counties remain in the dark Monday after Sunday's winter storm knocked out the power for thousands of Wisconsin Public Service customers. It is a drastic improvement from Sunday afternoon when at around 1:30 p.m. nearly 4900 customers were without power. The most affected area remains to be situated in northern Door County where hundreds of residents in Sister Bay, Ephraim, and Baileys Harbor were still without power as of 6:30 a.m. Monday. The extended period of time without heat has forced the Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Department to turn its fire station on Mill Road into a warming shelter until the power returns potentially this afternoon. You can find more details about the warming shelter below.





Door 2 Door usage plateauing

The Door 2 Door taxi service has been in existence for the better part of a decade but its growth has halted for the past two years according to Door County Director of Health and Human Services Joe Krebsbach.


The leveling off comes in spite of favorable conditions for usage. A majority of the county transportation services are for children and the elderly to help with trips to the doctor's office for example. The past two years have been the wettest on record in Door County with cold winters the rule rather than the exception. Mother Nature has all but pushed the customer base to the service but that has not been enough to overcome the cutbacks in hours for staff. 

Egg Harbor beach project underway

The Village of Egg Harbor is pulling out a breakwall to increase the overall shoreline of the beach by roughly 50 percent. Trustee Lisa Van Laanen says improvements are designed to avoid erosion.


The project has seen some delays including this spring due to the spawning season for various fish species. Van Laanen says much of the work can continue at all times throughout the winter and construction in the village is timed to be completed before the summer tourism season. The beach work is expected to be done by March 15th. 

Deer carcasses should be left behind

Chronic Wasting Disease has yet to affect the Door Peninsula but rules put in place to stop its spread may prove a burden to local hunters. If you are hunting in CWD infected counties you can still transport that deer home, although it is not recommended. Many states have restrictions on hauling a deer carcass across borders according to DNR Chief Conservation Warden Todd Schaller.


Meat is allowed to be taken but the carcass should be left where the deer was harvested. There are several disposal options including the DNR's Adopt-A-Dumpster program.


Area Christmas concert sells out

Birch Creek Music Performance Center in Egg Harbor is putting on two Christmas concerts on Saturday. The matinee performance has already sold out and tickets for the evening are going fast. Usually it is the opposite and Executive Director Mona Christensen says the 2018 experience is a big reason for the change.


The concerts will include local choirs. Sturgeon Bay City Show Choir is featured in the evening production. The choirs are a relatively new tradition. Southern Door, the matinee choir, was supposed to perform last year in the evening concert but had to cancel due to the storm.


Cutter Mackinaw spreads Christmas cheer

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw will spend the weekend in Chicago after unloading valuable cargo that was piled high on its deck. Being the largest cutter in the Great Lakes fleet, the Mackinaw has plenty of room for over 1,000 Christmas trees. The trip is timed for the weekend after Thanksgiving and has been going on for 20 years. It's not all games. Serious work is done on the trip down according to Lieutenant Junior Grade Carolyn Smith. Over 70 buoys have their hulls swapped out for the winter version to ensure their safety during colder months.


Switching out the navigational aids lengthens the trip from one day to four.


(Photo courtesy of Coast Guard Compass blog. Taken by Commander John M. Stone.)


New Door County website stresses accessibility

Websites and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance are not usually associated with each other, but the new Door County homepage seeks to unite the two concepts. The coding of the site's Content Management System is certified  as meeting standards in all four categories used to judge the idea. Along with the enhanced access, Technology Services Manager Joanne Kurowski says a focus is ease of use.


You can visit the website at 

Door County Reads 2020 selection made

The Door County Libraries announced the book at the center of Door County Reads: 2020 on Wednesday afternoon. This year's selection is Lief Enger's Virgil Wander. He is an established author with a former bestseller to his name. Library Director Tina Kakuske explains why Virgil Wander has been chosen over the more prolific Peace Like a River. 


The libraries have built a calendar of events around their novel including the kickoff author talk with Enger himself addressing the community on January 25th at the Sturgeon Bay High School. The libraries are handing out free copies of Virgil Wander while supplies last.


Energy assistance program available in winter

Low-income households may qualify for enrollment in the Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program. Wisconsin Public Service Communications Specialist Matt Cullen urges customers to look into the service.


WHEAP provides help in many ways including aid to pay your heating bill, your electric bill, and assistance in replacing a furnace or boiler that breaks down between October 1st and May 15th. Eligibility is determined using a three-month average of household income. A family of four qualifies for assistance if total income is below $13,785 for that time period.


Winter storm cancellations

Both Door County YMCA locations are closed for all of Sunday.


Emanuel Lutheran Church of Kolberg has cancelled Sunday services.


Immanuel Lutheran Church in Baileys Harbor has cancelled Sunday services.


Tanum Forest Evangelical Lutheran Church in Door County has called off Sunday services.


The Southern Door FFA toy show at Southern Door High School has been cancelled.

Door-Tran beginning interview process

Those interested in the open executive position with Door-Tran need to submit applications in the near future. While resumes are still be accepted, the hiring process is already underway according to Door County Transportation Manager Pam Busch.


Busch had been with Door-Tran since its inception, but left the organization to accept a job with the county at the end of October. She is currently assisting Door-Tran on a part-time basis but that will be phased out by the end of the year. Door-Tran provides vouchers that help subsidize travel costs for low-income residents and uses volunteer drivers to transport those who can't make ends meet even with voucher assistance. 

Big Bundle Up captures holiday spirit

Sister Bay kickstarted its portion of the Big Bundle Up initiative during the Capture the Spirit event on Black Friday in Sister Bay. Louise Howson of the Sister Bay Advancement Association says Big Bundle Up has been moved earlier in the calendar for 2019.


Big Bundle Up takes in hats, scarves, mittens, snow pants, and more. In Sister Bay, there are two locations to drop off donations including at Nicolet National Bank. Big Bundle Up is a statewide program and municipalities across the Door Peninsula participate.


Robert Stearns helps veterans beyond Kewaunee County

Kewaunee County Veteran Service Officer Robert Stearns says his door is open to former soldiers from across the country. In addition to helping veterans within the county itself, Stearns says that he and his wife maintain strong ties to the troops they served with.


Stearns points to the suicide epidemic among veterans and says it can only change through one conversation at a time. Stearns has instituted new programs in his short tenure so far as the VSO for Kewaunee County including ride-share programs that help get veterans to the VA in Green Bay.


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