News Archives for 2019-12

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 spent 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 delivery 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.


Search Our Site



What kind of Christmas tree are you going with this year?
Add a Comment
(Fields are Optional)

Your email address is never published.

Sports Poll

Which local high school sport will you be following this season?
Add a Comment
(Fields are Optional)

Your email address is never published.

Obituaries are provided as a service of the

Schinderle Funeral Home of Algoma


Click Here for more Obituaries

Obituary posting fee is $25


Sign up for our Daily Electronic Newspaper and/or our Shopping Show newsletter!


Get the latest news with our Daily Electronic Newspaper delivered to your inbox.


Get the latest updates for our Shopping Show delivered to your inbox every Friday.