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News Archives for 2020-01

Sturgeon Bay death still under investigation

The nature of a suspicious death over two months ago in Sturgeon Bay is still undetermined, according to the Sturgeon Bay Police Department.  Captain Dan Brinkman informed this week that they have not received the report of Cordarrow Hirthe’s autopsy, crime lab or toxicology reports from the state.  Hirthe’s body was found near the Ahnapee Trail off Neenah Avenue in Sturgeon Bay on November 27th by a patrol officer.  The only detail released was that a gun was involved.  Brinkman reiterated that “the community is not in any danger” and department policy is not to comment on death investigations until the final reports are in out of respect for the family.  Social media posts show that a Facebook account called “Cordarrow Hirthe-Seeking Truth” has been established with hopes of getting additional information that eventually will give closure for the family.  


Sturgeon Bay would welcome pop-up stores

Pop-up shops, which open for weeks or months and close down, are not in the future of downtown Sturgeon Bay.  Though they wouldn't be turned away either. Pop-up stores have served as temporary tenants for vacant retail space in some communities.  Pam Seiler, Executive Director of Destination Sturgeon Bay, says such short-term retailers could benefit communities over the long term.



While the owner of the former Younkers store on Third Avenue has allowed for window displays in the building, Seiler says liability concerns won't allow pop-up stores to set up there. Sturgeon Bay Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak, however, says if owners of any vacant stores want to allow temporary tenants, the city would be just fine with that.



Green Bay's Military Avenue Business Improvement District is now looking to market pop-up shops to fill or reutilize vacant or under-used retail space following some successful trials.


Photo Submitted

Snowmobilers in Door County head north

One trail closed and another opened earlier this week for Door County snowmobilers. After closing southeast section trails on Tuesday, the Door County Parks Department announced a partial opening of northern section trails on Thursday. This excludes corridor 1 north of West Meadow Road. As tempting as it may be to ride in closed sections, Door County Trails Coordinator Ben Nelson says that could damage the relationship it has with the private landowners allowing snowmobile use during the winter months.

As of Friday morning, trails in the central, southeast, and southwest sections of Door County and all of Kewaunee County are closed.

Wisconsin senators prepare for historic impeachment vote

Wisconsin's United States senators are split on whether additional evidence should be introduced in its trial of President Donald Trump. In a video posted on social media, Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin says not allowing witnesses would be a first for Senate Impeachment trials, calling for people like former national security adviser John Bolton to take the stand. Speaking ahead of potential Friday votes on witnesses and possible acquital, Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson says he cannot believe it has gotten to this point.

No matter how the Senate trial ends, Johnson believes the way his colleagues in the United States Congress and other Americans can move forward from the past week is to concentrate on areas of agreement. 


UPDATE: The U.S. Senate voted 49-51 to not allow any more witnesses in the impeachment trial.


4-H takes skills cross country

Skills learned in Kewaunee County 4-H club and project meetings are proving their worth beyond even the state's borders. Within the last year, 4-H members have participated in national competitions like the Avian Bowl at the National 4-H Poultry and Egg Conference in Kentucky and the World Dairy Expo in Madison. 4-H Educator Jill Jorgensen says projects born in Kewaunee County can take on new life elsewhere.

Since the start of the new year, project meetings in areas like livestock judging, archery, horses and rabbits have taken place across the county. Project meetings are required in some instances to show at the Kewaunee County Fair.



Photo submitted by Jill Jorgensen

Health officials reassessing coronavirus response plan

Six people in Wisconsin who recently traveled to China have been tested for the coronavirus, although there's currently a little risk of the illness making it's way to Door or Kewaunee counties.  State and local health officials, however, continue developing response plans for a potential outbreak.  The Centers for Disease Control are constantly updating state and local health officials about the latest known cases of the coronavirus.  Door County  Public Health Officer Susan Powers says that's helping local health departments to prepare and revise their action plans as situations change.



Powers says similar consultations with state and federal health officials in 2002 helped local health departments and medical care providers respond to the SARS outbreak. 

Property Tax payment due Friday

Procrastinators and property owners in Door and Kewaunee Counties can avoid any penalties by making sure they pay their taxes on time.  The deadline to pay the first installment of property taxes is this Friday.  Tax payments can be dropped off at the respective treasurer's office at the downtown government center from 8 am until 4:30 pm in Sturgeon Bay and at the Kewaunee County Administration building in Kewaunee. Payments can also be mailed as long as it is postmarked January 31.  Real estate owners who are delinquent can be assessed a 10 percent late payment fee along with additional administrative fees.


Rates revving up auto loans

With the Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee announcing earlier this week that policy rates will keep at the current levels, local car dealerships are definitely noticing a more active time.  The Fed's funds interest rate remained unchanged at 1.5 to 1.75 percent.  Danielle Harju, finance manager at Jorns Chevrolet in Kewaunee, says consumers have been taking advantage of the relatively low rates from lenders, especially this week.


Harju says more and more car buyers are also taking advantage of leasing opportunities where the interest rate is roughly half of a purchased vehicle.  The average car loan length is reportedly a little over 5 years. 


(photo courtesy of Jorns Chevrolet)

New veterans tribute display in Kewaunee

A Veterans Memorial Honor Wall was added to the Kewaunee High School on Thursday.  Through the funding help of local veterans organizations, the Kewaunee School District approved the display that acknowledges Kewaunee alumni who were killed in action while serving in the military.  Director of Buildings and Grounds Jason Karnopp, who helped coordinate the efforts, says the ideas began a few years ago but really gained momentum recently.



The tribute wall features 11 individuals with photos and special messages.  "Freedom is never free" is the theme of the Veterans Honor Roll which is placed between the high school gymnasiums. 


(photo courtesy of Kewaunee School District with Don Kickbush in front of wall)


Egg Harbor prepares for building boom

Driving through Egg Harbor on State Highway 42 could look a lot different in the near future. In addition to weighing in on different ordinance changes, the village's plan commission listened to proposals on three different projects that would bring additional housing to the area. One of the projects, The Residences of Egg Harbor, would also bring extra retail to the village's downtown in the same spot as the former Mueller's Mini-Mart. Village Administrator Ryan Heise says the project has a lot of positives.

Already predicting a heavy amount of feedback, Heise says the village will have a separate public hearing on The Residences of Egg Harbor development on March 11th. 


See the full plans by reading through the Egg Harbor Plan Commission Agenda Packet here

Constitutional Convention proposal raises concern

An Assembly Joint Resolution cosponsored by Senator Andre Jacque could help break the seal on the United States Constitution as a whole for the first time since 1787.  Last week the Assembly Committee on Federalism and Interstate Relations passed Assembly Joint Resolution 77, which calls for an Article V Constitutional Convention to address concerns about the federal government's invasion of states' rights and spending habits. Resolutions passed in other states like West Virginia would also address term limits for members of Congress. Common Cause Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck says what is said and what can occur if a convention is called are two different things.

If passed in the future by the legislature, Wisconsin would become one of 29 states to call for a constitutional convention, which is five states short of what is needed. Heck believes changes to the constitution should be done through amendments, which has been done 27 times before.


State, federal governments give farmers boost

It has the makings of being a very good end of the month for farmers in Door and Kewaunee counties thanks to government officials in Madison and Washington D.C. Last week, Governor Tony Evers laid out the groundwork for a special session addressing concerns in the agriculture industry such as increasing exports and providing incentives to diversify. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed off on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) that will make sure American dairy farmers maintain their access to those two markets for their cheese. Luxemburg farmer Dave Jauquet says both plans are good news for the dairy industry.

The United States Department of Agriculture recently gave dairy farmers even more good news when it updated its 2020 All-Milk price outlook to be $19.25 per hundredweight. That is close to $1 more than last year and over $3 above its 2018 level.


Habitat bowls towards strong start

Door County Habitat for Humanity hopes to get its fundraising efforts off on the right foot as it gets ready to build its first home in northern Door County in several years. Local contractors have donated their services in recent years for some aspects of the home build, but there are other costs fundraisers like next Saturday's Bowl-a-thon help offset as well. Nobody understands that more than Door County Habitat for Humanity Board Secretary Kendra Bilodeau, who has worked for the organization as an advocate and a volunteer since she was selected as a partner family in 2017. She says a lot needs to be covered before walls even go up.

Door County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Lori Allen says their ultimate goal is to raise enough money and recruit enough volunteers to do at least two home builds every year. You can learn more about next Saturday's Bowl-a-thon by clicking here



Photo courtesy of Door County Habitat for Humanity

Take me out to the library?

A Gallup survey says Americans visited the library over 10 ten times in 2019, on average. That is about equal to the movies, sporting events, and the zoo combined. Gallup notes that the library is free so that provides a distinct advantage over other options but it still speaks to the library’s standing as a community hub. Libraries in recent decades have added more than books. You can rent movies and television shows or partake in a range of programs designed for all ages. Gallup says women are twice as likely as men to head to the library. Algoma Public Library Director Cathy Kolbeck says her staff works hard to address the discrepancy.


Kolbeck says the Algoma Library has many repeat patrons which echoes Gallup’s findings.

Birch Creek begins applicant reviews

Mona Christensen knows better than anyone that summer isn’t far away. As the Executive Director of Birch Creek Musical Performance Center, she is already overseeing the review process for this year’s potential student pool. The website has been accepting applications since December 1st and Christensen notes that Birch Creek has a great retention ratio. Many students are repeat visitors and come from across the country. For those interested in being a “Creeker” for the first time, program directors will be evaluating submissions starting Saturday. If a young musician is interested in applying they are encouraged to do so as soon as possible.


Spots for certain instruments, such as saxophone, fill up well in advance of the final deadline.

$10,000 gift aids food pantry

Feed and Clothe My People of Door County will have more money for food and pantry upgrades thanks to a $10,000 gift.  The 100+ Women Who Care of Northern Door County selected the pantry as the cash recipient at its quarterly meeting Tuesday night.  The money comes just after the busy holiday season. Estella Huff, Director of Operations for the pantry, says it will help purchase needed food items and pay for some pantry renovation work.


Huff says the installation of a new bathroom and other projects have long put drywall and insulation work on hold. 

Winter games landlocked in 2020

This weekend, Winter Festival returns to Fish Creek with a full slate of fun activities Saturday at 10 AM. There’s a game booth where you’ll find the Northern Door YMCA set up for the toilet seat toss. Program Coordinator Jen Aldrich says it will be in a different spot than normal.


Proceeds from the toilet seat toss go towards the Y’s youth programs. Live music, a chili cookoff, a stumpfiddle contest, and fireworks are all planned for Saturday as well. On Sunday at 10 AM it’s the Fruit Loop Run. The forecast for Sunday involves clear skies and temps near 40 degrees. That’s certainly different than in years past.


Photo courtesy of Fish Creek Civic Association.

Recharge your batteries in Door County

Money from a settlement with Volkswagen could add more electric vehicle charging stations to Door and Kewaunee counties.  Wisconsin is expected to receive just over $67-million from the VW Diesel Emission Environmental Mitigation Trust.  Now the state is looking for public input on plans to make $10-million of that available for additional electrical charging stations. There are currently 18 charging locations in Door County. Jon Jarosh, with Destination Door County, says such new funds would go for further expansion and serve as one more selling point to visitors.


The VW Diesel Environmental Mitigation Trust settled claims after the automaker admitted violating the Clean Air Act with some diesel models.  Wisconsin's Department of Transportation is looking for public comment on using trust fund money for electric vehicle charging stations.  The VW Diesel Environmental Mitigation Trust settled claims after the automaker admitted violating the Clean Air Act with some diesel models.  Wisconsin's Department of Transportation is looking for public comment on using trust fund money for electric vehicle charging stations.  You can share your thoughts by logging on to

New Treasury bond available in February

The U.S. Treasury Department is reissuing 20-year treasury bonds and that comes with a good news/bad news scenario for some investors in Door and Kewaunee counties.  The Treasury Department announced it would begin offering the bonds as early as May in an effort to help pay the growing $1-trillion budget deficit.  The good news is the new bonds would allow the deficit to be repaid with lower interest rates, saving taxpayers money long-term.  Tim Treml, President and CEO of the Bank of Luxemburg, however, says 20-year bonds are not for all investors.


The U.S. Treasury last issued 20-year bonds in 1986.  More details on the new bonds are expected to be released on February 5th.

Potawatomi campers warned about tree removal

 The removal of diseased ash and beech trees is underway at Potawatomi State Park in Sturgeon Bay. Those trees are infested by the emerald ash borer and beech bark disease. Some tree cutting will take place in Potawatomi Parks campgrounds and Superintendent Erin Brown Stender says winter campers need to be cautious.




The harvest of the diseased ash and beech trees will take place through May 15th  Those trees will be used for pulp and the remainder used for building materials.

Students get jump on college with dual credit program 

Southern Door High School presents a college course opportunity for its high school students through NWTC. Southern Door teachers teach the courses available that range from math to communications and. Taking these courses gives students the chance to earn transferable college credit. 
Courses fitting into a student’s high school schedule and in their familiar classroom settings provide a student with a comfortable first taste of college. Along with class instruction, students have online resources such as textbooks, dashboards, and NWTC class instruction. 
Sarah Paye, Southern Door High School Counselor, remarked that the NWTC Dual Credit Program is an excellent way for students to obtain college credit.



Mrs. Paye informed that quite a few Southern Door graduate students head to NWTC for further education. 
Parents and students of Southern Door interested in these offered school prepaid courses can talk to Mrs. Paye to get the inside scoop. 




Area grocers ready for Super Bowl weekend

Although the Green Bay Packers are not playing in the Super Bowl this year, local supermarkets anticipate a busy week as home parties are being planned.  A survey conducted by the National Retail Federation shows that an average of $88.65 will be spent by those expected to watch the game.  Econofoods Store Manager Jon Calhoun says many of his departments are a lot busier the closer we get to kick-off.



Calhoun says the store plans a two-day meat sale prior to Super Bowl Sunday every year that works well for diehard grillers and party planners.  Of the 17.2 million Americans expected to watch the big game Sunday, 19 percent will be throwing a party while another 27 percent plan on attending a Super Bowl party.

Algoma Police Chief holding monthly conversations

To better connect with the community, Algoma Police Chief Randy Remiker is scheduling a monthly "Coffee with the Chief" to address the public's thoughts and concerns.  The first one is planned for Tuesday, February 18 at Caffe Tlazo in Algoma.  Police Chief Remiker shares the ideas and conversations he hopes to stimulate with the local residents.



Remiker adds that everyone is welcome. "Coffee with the Chief" begins at 9 am on the third Tuesday of each month. 


Climate advocacy group offering training session

In an effort to formulate a Door County Chapter to the Citizens' Climate Lobby, a special training session is being planned at the Kress Pavillion next month.  Organizer John Hermanson says the grassroots advocacy group is looking for people interested in solutions and information on legislation to support efforts to halt climate change.  He explains how the three-hour training session will be conducted on February 29.



Hermanson hopes that the local concerns over water quality in Door and Kewaunee counties will spur additional interest in participating in the Climate Advocate Training and ultimately the new organization.  The free event will be held at the Kress Pavillion in Egg Harbor from 9 am until noon on Saturday, February 29.


Routine traffic stop leads to big meth bust

A simple traffic stop on Monday night led to arrests for Methamphetamine manufacturing and dealing in Sturgeon Bay.  According to a Sturgeon Bay Police social media post Tuesday, a police officer stopped a vehicle on the west side shortly before 8 pm Monday for a minor traffic infraction for having a non-working brake light.  After officers discovered a large number of drugs during a search of the vehicle, the driver, a Sturgeon Bay resident, was arrested for several felonies.  A high quantity of meth, marijuana, scales, cash, and paraphernalia were confiscated.   While that arrest was being made, two other Sturgeon Bay Patrol officers followed up on the east side residence of the vehicle's owner.  The individual was uncooperative and was taken into custody.  After searching the apartment, officers eventually found meth, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and smoking devices.  Both suspects will be facing multiple charges including Delivery/Manufacturing Methamphetamine, Possession of Methamphetamine,  Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Possession of Marijuana.


This story will be updated with more details when made available by the Sturgeon Bay Police Department. 





Sturgeon Bay Math Team rolls again

The dynasty known as the Sturgeon Bay High School math team continued its impressive run with another victory in a Packerland Conference meet on Monday evening at Sevastopol.  The eight-school competition saw the Clippers tally 317 points followed by second-place N.E.W. Lutheran and third-place Oconto.  Sturgeon Bay math teacher and coach Cliff Wind believes his team also benefits from the block schedule format at the high school.



After four conference meets, Sturgeon Bay currently leads the league with 80 points while N.E.W. Lutheran is second with 72 points.  The Clippers have won 17 consecutive conference championships.  You can find the complete individual and team results from Monday's math meet below.






            1.  Michael Laxo, SB, 38

            2.  Nick Herbst, SB, 36

3.  Fletcher Hubbard, SB, 36

4.  Marina Jeanquart, SB, 35

            5.  Simon Kopischke, Gib, 32



            1.  Abram Abeyta, SB, 32

            2.  Jack Hitzeman, Gib, 32

            3.  Henry Pudo, SB, 30

4.  Molly Fei, NEW, 30

5.  Carter Henry, SB, 29



            1.  Grace Holmgren, O, 33

            2   Andrew Konop, SB, 31

3.  Mark Harrell, Sev, 29

            4.  Arry VanLieshout, SB, 28

            5.  Maggie Stephens, SB, 27



            1.  Christy Braun, SB, 32

            2.  Luke Nell, NEW,25

            3.  Laura Zittlow, So Door, 22

            4. Russell Pudlo, SB, 20

            5. Atlee Manson, Sev, 19




1. Sturgeon Bay, 317 points

2. NEW, 246

3. Oconto, 227

4. Kewaunee, 221

5. Southern Door 193

6. Algoma, 183

7. Sevastopol 180

8. Gibraltar, 155


JV results (10 total teams)

1. Sturgeon Bay 2, 243 points

2. Sturgeon Bay 3, 143

3. Algoma 2, 113

4.  Kewaunee 2, 101




Current Standings for varsity teams after 4 meets

1.  Sturgeon Bay, 80 league points

2.  NEW, 72

3.  Oconto 58

4.  Kewaunee, 48

5.  Algoma, 44

Tie 6. Sevastopol, 43 Southern Door, 43 

8.  Gibraltar, 28



Junior Varsity overall results (10 total teams)


1.  SB #2, 120 league points

2.  SB #3, 112

3.  Kew #2 98

Keeping the department organized

Behind every good sheriff's deputy is a good administrative assistant, and that is even truer in Kewaunee County. For over 15 years combined, Mary Berkovitz and Angie Mueller have served the Kewaunee County Sheriff's Department by handling a lot of the paperwork coming across their desk from traffic stops, accident reports, and other incidents. Their duties also provide a vital link between the department and other agencies in the county. They may not have a badge or drive in a cruiser, but Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says they are part of the family.

Joski says the digitalization of records is the biggest change the two have seen in recent years. Patrol deputies kept Berkovitz and Mueller busy in 2019 with over 3500 complaints filed.




While we are still in the early weeks of the New Year I would like to continue with providing information on the various aspects of the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department. This week I will be focusing on our “Sheriff’s Administrative Assistants”

       In every organization there is a system of processes which allows for the smooth and reliable transfer of information from one component of the organization to another. It is the center of all activity and its success relies on constant communication and the ability to adjust to changes on a moment’s notice. For the Kewaunee County Sheriff’s Department these processes involve the handling of all documentation from traffic citations to accident reports, civil process to criminal charge requests, juvenile referrals to open records requests. They involve providing information to agencies throughout Kewaunee County, the State of Wisconsin and in some cases the Federal Government.

        All of this activity falls under the duties of “Sheriff’s Administrative Assistant” and in Kewaunee County we have two of the best; Mary Berkovitz and Angie Mueller. To provide a glimpse into the daily life of these two will be difficult in the space I have available for this article, but I will try to provide a broad overview.

        From the moment a report is generated to the time when it goes to court our Sheriff’s Administrative Assistants are a vital link between the responding officers to the Supervisory staff where reports are filed reviewed proofed, and ultimately submitted to either the District Attorney’s Office, Human Services or the many other agencies with whom we work with on a daily basis. Here at the Sheriff’s Department all reports are dictated by the responding Officers which then require them to be transcribed by the Sheriff’s Administrative Assistants. This accounts for a great deal of the volume of work which is done by these two employees. Beyond just transcribing they also must make sure all of the incidents are coded correctly so that the monthly reports to the Department of Justice are accurate and reflect the actual offenses occurring in Kewaunee County.

          Beyond the world of law enforcement reports they are also involved in the civil process work that is done at the Sheriff’s Department. This involves the service of court orders ranging from sheriff sales to writ of executions, evictions to restraining orders. Even after the reports have left the Sheriff’s Department and the cases have moved forward in the legal process, many times we receive requests for various reports which these two employees facilitate.

          In the world of law enforcement where documentation is everything, the need for accurate and timely reports is vital and we are very fortunate to have two dedicated individuals who make sure the “I’s” have been dotted and the “T’s” crossed. Thank you Mary and Angie! Next week I will be providing an update on our Public Safety Building planning process, as we are nearing the completion of the second phase of our work.

Independent book stores thrive on shared interests

Readers can save a few bucks buying online.  The co-owner of Novel Bay Booksellers in Sturgeon Bay, however, says there's a value that shoppers won't find on the web.  John Maggitti and his wife Liz Welter opened Novel Bay a little over a year ago and have developed a very loyal clientele.  Maggitti says having a personal relationship with customers is priceless.


Independent book stores are also benefitting from a decline in ebook sales.  The Association of American Publishers says between 2014 and 2018 ebook sales fell about 37-percent.


Escarpment museum hits reset

The wait for a museum highlighting the Niagara Escarpment in Door County just got a little longer. The Greater Escarpment Organization of Door County recently decided to demolish a home it was planning on using for its Niagara Escarpment Discovery Center located in Ellison Bay. GEO-DC President Nancy Goss cited the costs related to removing asbestos and mold along with building a new wheelchair ramp and an extra bathroom as reasons to scrap the original plans. Goss says she believes they will be able to build a better discovery center on the same lot as the original structure.

The decision to demolish the building will have a positive impact on the community.  Door County Habitat for Humanity will remove the salvageable materials for its ReStore and the Sister Bay-Liberty Grove Fire Department will be able to use the structure for training.


Photo courtesy of GEO-DC Facebook Page




Ellison Bay, WI – January 27 2020.  You may have noticed quite a bit of recent activity at 11876 Hwy. 42 in Ellison Bay, the Greater Escarpment Organization of Door County (GEO-DC) Discovery Center site.  Most of the cars, trucks and activity revolves around materials salvage being conducted by Habitat for Humanity.


When GEO-DC purchased the property in 2017, we knew the building was more than 50 years old and had a number of “issues”; mold, a leaky roof, winterization needs, and the need for a great deal of cleaning.  However, we also knew the location, with its superlative view of the Escarpment and the waters of Green Bay, would greatly support our educational mission.  With our hearts leaning decidedly towards sustainability and reuse of an existing structure, we went to work.  Our active team donated many hours of sweat-equity, donning respirators and gloves, as well as wielding crowbars, hammers and shovels (oh my!) to deal with the mold.  Jim Creed fixed the portion of the roof that leaked. 


We began to plan in earnest over the past two years for the significant remodeling project required for public, ADA-accessible, use of the structure and our future exhibits.  What we did not know is that further examination of the structure would eventually reveal some devastating news about worse than anticipated not-to-code construction and, worst of all, asbestos.  Amber Beard, our general contractor, conducted a detailed inventory of what would be needed to remediate these issues, as well as estimated costs of same.  The dollar amount rapidly rose to the point where our Board began to compare demolition/new construction with remediation/remodeling, exploring the pros and cons of each option. 


Ultimately, the Board decided in favor of new construction.  Not only would the materials be new and code-compliant, but new construction would allow us to reposition the structure more efficiently on the small lot, allowing for more parking, and even better views of the Escarpment and the waters of Green Bay.  It would also allow us to build in stages, to accommodate needs and growth.  The final “plus” is that we would be designing a building to fit our planned exhibits, instead of shoehorning our exhibits into an existing space. 


Not wanting the building to simply go to waste, we contacted Sister Bay/Liberty Grove Fire Chief Chris Hecht, and asked if the department could use the building for firefighting training.  We were greeted with an enthusiastic “yes!”  (Our sincere thanks to the Firefighters’ Association for a much-appreciated donation towards the asbestos removal required prior to training).  Because we are still committed to being as sustainable as practicable, we also reached out to Habitat for Humanity to see if they could repurpose anything from the building prior to the Fire Department use.  Habitat/Restore has been removing paneling, flooring, doors, windows, lighting fixtures, shelving, toilet, sink…even the EXIT sign…all to be repurposed elsewhere in the community.

Once Habitat is finished, the Fire Department will take over the scene for training purposes.  Chris Hecht notes, “The Sister Bay & Liberty Grove Fire Department has been very fortunate to have received the donation of the Geo-DC building that is to be removed. The Fire Department has had limited accessibility to surplus structures to use for training and this building will provide a unique opportunity for hands-on training.  Members of the Department will be using the building for real world training including live fire training that will provide hands-on experience in flow path control, ventilation, a variety of search and rescue techniques and fire suppression.  The Fire Department hopes to use the building from late this winter through late spring depending on the weather conditions and the overall need for the complete removal of the building.“


GEO-DC will continue its mission of education with scheduled lectures and events for the 2020 season, while planning for our capital campaign building fund.  Watch our website and Facebook for upcoming details.

Kewaunee tourism treading water

The city of Kewaunee will need to act soon if it wants to avoid a repeat of last year's hit to its sport fishing industry. During the City of Kewaunee's Committee of the Whole meeting Monday night, it was decided that more information was needed before it could make the decision to reopen the marina and boat launch for the first time since closing it last summer due to high water levels. A number of things need to happen to get the boat launch and marina ready before its potential opening date. Accurate Marine owner Tom Kleiman admits he is anxious for the decision because his business and others depend on the marina being open to help bring tourism dollars into the city.

The city of Kewaunee will not be able to count on Mother Nature to help in 2020 after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told officials earlier this month that Lake Michigan water levels are expected to set records. Kleiman is encouraged by city leaders knowing the importance of the sport fishery in Kewaunee and wanting to get something figured out.


Volunteer carving a niche at 93

A 93-year-old Sturgeon Bay man is still using his woodworking skills to benefit Feed and Clothe My People of Door County.  Herb Klein retired to Door County from Chicago over 27 years ago and shortly thereafter volunteered his time to the organization.  Making handmade birdhouses out of old donated shoes and carving walking sticks out of deadwood from maple trees, Klein can finish one of his unique creations in about two hours.  Klein, who volunteers a few hours every Monday and Thursday morning, says he enjoys helping in what he calls a perfect recycling operation.



The birdhouses and walking sticks are $20 each and are available in the Thrift Store located within Feed My People of Door County.  Klein recommends people to get involved and help out any way they can.  He has also made shelving and portable carts for the organization in the past.  You can see pictures of the birdhouses and walking sticks with this story below.







Traps of diet gimmicks -- Mental Health Minute

Losing weight can be easy while dieting but keeping it off can be another story, according to a Sturgeon Bay Psychologist.  Reportedly two-thirds of all adults are considered obese in the United States.  Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White says researchers from UCLA examined 31 weight-loss studies and found that long-term dieting does not keep the pounds off.  He says gimmicks are not a good solution since many times the lost weight comes back.  Sustainable changes in your lifestyle are needed.



Dr. White adds that people are often driven to eat.  By changing your approach to foods and eliminating bad eating habits you can improve your physical and mental wellbeing.  You can listen to Dr. Dennis White's entire Mental Health Minute with this story online.





Door County considers Green Tier designation

Self-sustainability will be up for discussion when the Door County Board of Supervisors considers a Green Tier designation.  The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will make a presentation to supervisors on the specifics and benefits of being part of the program.  Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says joining Green Tier can help participating communities take earth-friendly actions that benefit taxpayers.



The DNR's Green Tier presentation will take place during the Door County Board of Supervisors' regular meeting at 10:00 AM on January 28th.

School mental health program making strides

A program facilitated by the United Way of Door County is helping local high school students get the help they need. For the past year, the STRIDE community program has helped arrange mental health services for students at the county's school districts. Sevastopol has partnered with Bellin Health over the last year to provide a weekly visit from a mental health therapist. Director of Pupil Services Melissa Marggraf praises the importance of reaching kids with the services they may not otherwise be able to get or afford.

Marggraf says the program has a waiting list at Sevastopol. Culver's Sturgeon Bay is hosting a Share Night on Tuesday to benefit the program, which Marggraf says will go to the United Way before it is distributed to the area's school districts.

Moving ahead on Washington Island emergency center

Door County will look to move forward on the development of a proposed emergency services facility on Washington Island.  The Board of Supervisors will consider a resolution supporting a preliminary assessment and cost estimate for the project.  Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says that would give the county a clearer view of what form the emergency service center would take.



In addition to housing emergency medical services, the proposed Washington Island facility would also be used for other county services.

Connecting prayers digitally

You do not have to be in Champion to pray along with other Catholics during the next novena at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help.  Saturday kicks off the first of six different novenas the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help organizes every year. In recent years, it has reached to pilgrims digitally by emailing the set of prayers during each of the nine days the novena takes place. Father John Broussard says its mailing list is growing as people want to connect with the Shrine long before and after they visit.

Broussard says pilgrims can still visit the hallowed site for daily prayers at 11 a.m. or request information by mail if they prefer during the novena, which runs February 1st through 9th.


Battle of wastewater treatment plant continues

April 20th is the next time the courts will listen to arguments over a wastewater treatment plant in northern Door County. Since late 2017, the village of Sister Bay and the town of Liberty Grove have battled over who is the rightful owner of the plant and related facilities. The village believes they have sole ownership while the town believes they have a stake in it. The Liberty Grove Town Board voted earlier this month to decline responsibility for invoices received on behalf of the wastewater treatment plant until the issue is settled. Town chairperson John Lowry hopes the two sides can get to a point of equal understanding.

The village of Sister Bay received good news concerning the wastewater treatment plant when it was awarded a $1.6 million grant to make necessary upgrades.


Response crucial to school fire

Without a passerby reporting to the Door County Sheriff's Department and the help from eleven different agencies, Gibraltar Fire and Rescue Chief Andy Bertges says Monday's blaze could have been a lot worse. The fire department received the call about the fire at Gibraltar Elementary School just before 5 a.m. after reports were made about flames coming from the roof. It is suspected snow slid down the roof and hit a propane line connected to the school's rooftop heating and cooling unit, causing it to rupture. The fire was contained to just the unit itself by around 5:30 a.m. and Bertges was happy for all the help to make sure it did not get worse.


Even though the school day was canceled, Gibraltar kept its after school schedule virtually intact. Bertges says since the fire was contained to the heating and cooling unit and did not harm the roof that he expects school could be back in session for Tuesday.
Photo courtesy of Door County Sheriff's Department


L-C sports facility dedication draws big crowd

Hundreds of community members showed up for the opening of the new gymnasium and wrestling facility at the Luxemburg-Casco High School on Sunday afternoon.   The new facility is part of the $26 million referendum project that the school passed two years ago.  Prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Superintendent Glenn Schlender addressed the crowd and shared what the day meant to be a Spartan.



The program included L-C High School choir, and dance team performances along with commentary from various dignitaries associated with the new addition.  You can see video and pictures of Sunday’s new gym and wrestling room dedication with this story below. 




Highway reopens after school fire, classes canceled

State Highway 42 near Gibraltar Area Schools in Fish Creek is reopened Monday morning after a fire broke out on the school grounds.


According to a Door County Sheriff's Department Facebook post at around 5:15 a.m., the temporary road closure was announced due to a fire on the school grounds. The department recommended traffic take a detour around the school involving County Highway F and Gibraltar Road until around 6 a.m. when it was reopened. A separate post announced classes at Gibraltar Area Schools were canceled for Monday.




Could Sturgeon Bay be cruise ship port of call?

Viking Cruises will be adding the Great Lakes in 2022. The price point for the eight-day voyages runs upwards of seven-thousand dollars per person. Many of the routes end, or begin, in Milwaukee. That means a lot of disposable income will be passing by Door County. Municipal Services Director Mike Barker says infrastructure needs to help make Sturgeon Bay a port of call could add up to a hefty price tag.


There’s more to consider. The cruise ship commissioned for Great Lakes operation is 665 feet long. Sturgeon Bay’s pier today is equipped to comfortably fit a ship roughly 450 feet in length. To bridge the difference Sturgeon Bay would need to make additional waterfront property purchases.


Scam using popular delivery company looks legitimate

Texts claiming to be from FedEx about a parcel delivery may be a scam, although no victims have yet been reported in Door or Kewaunee counties.  The phony texts refer to recipients by their names, have a tracking number and a link to set delivery preferences.  The next step asks the recipient to answer a customer satisfaction survey that asks for credit card, banking or other personal data.  Door County Sheriffs Department Chief Deputy Pat McCarty says such scams need to serve as a reminder for people to verify such information through shipper's websites or a direct phone call.   McCarty adds never click on hyperlinks on questionable texts or emails and never give out personal information.


McCarty says if you're not sure whether calls, texts or emails are legitimate report them to local law enforcement or just delete them without responding.

Door County a Girl Scout favorite

It’s Girl Scout cookie season and the public can’t get enough which is a great thing for Door County. The funds raised from Tag-Alongs and Thin Mints are increasingly finding their way to area businesses. The Door County Adventure Center teams with troops from across the Midwest. Sometimes it is day activities such as zip lining locally. On a grander scale, it can be a week’s adventure to the Apostle Islands or the Porcupine Mountains of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Operations Manager Abbey Tierney says the Adventure Center turns camping into an experience.


Tierney says that she begins planning summer activities with various troops the previous fall. It is the culmination of a year’s worth of effort.


Door County addresses pressing issue

A bill designed to ease shortages of affordable worker housing will be discussed by the Door County Board of Supervisors.  They'll take up a resolution Tuesday night concerning support of Assembly Bill 544.  It was written with a great deal of help from Door County leaders, who worked with the Wisconsin Economic Development Association.  Door County Administrator Ken Pabich was at WEDA's recent meeting where he says affordable housing was a major topic of discussion.


If enacted, Assembly Bill 544 would create a $10-million pilot program that would provide grants or tax credits to developers that commit to worker housing projects.  A resolution of support will be on the agenda when the Door County Board of Supervisors meets at 10:00 AM Tuesday, January 28th at the Door County Government Center on Nebraska Street.

Deer hunt schedule up for debate

For the first time since 2000, the deer hunt schedule is up for public debate. Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha says that the last time changes to the hunting season structure were proposed, the response was overwhelming to leave it alone. Kratcha suspects that sentiment may be changing. This spring’s conservation congress is putting out a survey with six questions related to the schedule. Kratcha says that when Thanksgiving goes from early to late in the calendar the drop off in harvest rates is steep.


The hearings occur in April. Shortly, the survey questions will be available on the DNR website with voting possible online. Copies also will be available in physical form at DNR offices. 


Sturgeon Bay Utilities well positioned for future demand

General Manager of Sturgeon Bay Utilities Jim Stawicki says the company is well positioned to handle future demand and foster growth in the area’s industrial sector. Stawicki believes that SBU’s ability to deliver for both the city’s east and west side is as important as the overall generating capacity. By treating both ends of the city as equals it removes potential constraints for future expansion.


Stawicki says that there has been obvious load growth driven by manufacturing in the city related to the strong economy. There are challenges to increasing manufacturing in the area but Stawicki is proud to say that SBU is not one of them.


Algoma Technical Education builds notoriety

Only six middle school teams compete at the Brown County Homebuilders Expo each year. Algoma’s technical education program has had the pleasure of being involved multiple times. As they unveil their entry for this year, instructor Matt Abel hopes to continue the relationship. Each competition has a different theme. This year, the group had to make a design space that could foster creativity in others. They built a sewing/crafting aide after getting input from the community said Abel.


Competition results will be announced in the coming days.



*Photos courtesy of Algoma Wolf Tech Facebook page.


Author kicks off Door County Reads

The author of the 2020 Door County Reads selection Virgil Wander traveled from Duluth, Minnesota to Door County for a talk Saturday afternoon. From the Sturgeon Bay Auditorium, Leif Enger talked about how writing is therapy and reading provides a sense of shelter. To drive his point home, Enger read from his book a passage about how the characters used illegal film screenings of old movies as an ark against their troubles. Earlier this week, Morgan Mann with the Door County Library said that although the characters are quirky, they resemble people you are acquainted with.


There are over two dozen remaining Door County Reads events tied in to this year’s selection.




Flu flipping the script this winter

There are two strains of the flu that hit in winter time. They tend to affect people chronologically, one earlier in the season and one later towards spring. That script has been flipped this year with the B version striking first. Kewaunee County Public Health Director Cindy Kinnard says that has a dramatic effect on who becomes sick.


Younger, typically healthier, people are now finding themselves getting sick related to this year’s A strain due to compromised immune systems from fighting off the early onset of the B strain. Many are getting hit twice in the same season. That is something more normally experienced by the elderly.


Sturgeon Bay debates need for more parking

The Sturgeon Bay Parking and Traffic Committee is set to meet on Monday at 4:30 with a dramatic reconfiguration of downtown parking spaces on the agenda. Committee Vice Chair Kirsten Reeths has been weighing the issue since the Fire and Ice Festival last year. Particularly in the winter months, Reeths is worried that parking and drop off points for wheelchair compatible vans are too far from area businesses. The changes would concern Third Avenue and the city’s west side.


Other items on the agenda are more specific such as how to handle overnight street parking near an AirBnB property on Larch Street.


Environmental group hops to new island

The Friends of Plum and Pilot Island took the ferry from the mainland Saturday, bypassing their normal stomping grounds for an informational meeting on Washington Island. From 1-5 PM the group set up instructive booths inside the Rutledge Room of the Mosling Recreation Center. Additionally, year-round residents were invited to learn more about the history of Death’s Door. Marketing Director Patti Zarling says FOPPI also highlighted previous collaborations between Washington Island and the group.


The organization’s environmental initiatives will begin again in earnest this spring.


*Photo courtesy of Friends of Plum and Pilot Island Facebook page.


Prospective Master Gardeners hit the books

The Master Gardeners 2020 class started on January 8th and will continue each Wednesday through April. Door County is one of 70 counties in the state with a Master Gardener program. Curriculum is split roughly 50/50 between guidelines imposed at the state level by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and subjects unique to local chapters. Only a dozen people are selected for the Master Gardener program in Door County each year with most being transplants. According to Carrie Sherrill they have to relearn how to garden with Door County’s challenges in mind.


Sherrill says only about a third of the group’s students were born and raised in Door County.

Heeringa reflects on growth at Crossroads

Coggin Heeringa was hired for a position with Crossroads at Big Creek on 9/11. That infamous day over 18 years ago now ensures that she will never forget her first shift. It also crystallizes how far the organization has come. The Door County Historical Society occupied only the school house and the fish house. The Collins Learning Center was a frame, not yet plastered. Heeringa says Crossroads truly took off when it was allowed to become a freestanding organization, separate from the Sturgeon Bay School District.


The community support continues to this day. Only a small fraction of funding for programming at Crossroads is obtained through grants from outside organizations.

Building a business has never been easier

Local businesses can benefit from a burgeoning venture capital scene in Wisconsin that has expanded for decades under bipartisan leadership. Wisconsin Technology Council President Tom Still says this year’s Governor’s Business Plan competition relies on 100 judges, of which only one or two come from other states. Still lays out how venture capital has boomed in Wisconsin.


Entries for the Governor’s Business Plan are accepted until 5 PM on January 31st. Still hopes to get a lot of submissions from what he calls Door County’s underappreciated manufacturing base.


Old gym at L-C maintains starring role

The public is invited to a dedication for the new Luxemburg-Casco High School gymnasium Sunday from 3-5 PM. Student-athletes will show off the new facilities including a multipurpose room that is designed to reduce concussions for wrestlers and can be used as batting cages when weather keeps the baseball and softball teams indoors. Superintendent Glenn Schlender is excited to unveil the concession area, basketball court, and colored concrete lobby. One thing that will not happen is a wholesale dismissal of the old gym.


Sunday marks the passing of the torch for a rich athletic tradition that most recently saw Luxemburg-Casco win its first-ever state championship in girls volleyball.

Hansen political dynasty possible

The 30th district may be represented by a familiar name in the Wisconsin State Senate at the end of the year, even if the face is different. A political dynasty is possible as Dave Hansen has decided against reelection only to see his nephew jump into the race. Jonathan Hansen ran his uncle’s campaign in 2016 and is currently an Alderman in De Pere. Senator Hansen says he is behind Jonathan completely.


Hansen is known for being in the middle of some of the state’s most partisan moments. Senator Hansen and 13 other state senators, known as the Wisconsin 14, fled the state in protest over Act 10, which cut collective bargaining rights for state employees.  Hansen says the increasing divide in Madison did not come up when discussing his nephew’s potential candidacy. 

New business development program a hit

Those looking to start a new business in Door County are setting a record for a program that offers A-Z business planning.  The Door County Economic Development Corporation's Entrepreneur Development Program is marking its' 19th year of operations with 22 students.  That's the most it has ever hosted.  Tom Strong, DCEDC Business Development Specialist, says after eight-sessions students can show their business savvy to the right people.



The students are then encouraged to submit their completed business plans to the DCEDC Business Plan contest.  The winner receives a $1,000 grant to aid the creation of their new venture.

Credit score changes coming 

Changes to the information creditors use to determine your credit risk may impact your ability to get a car loan in the future.  Fair Isaac Corporation announced this week that the FICO score used to assess your credit risk is being updated to consider taking debt levels into account while tracking personal loans more closely.   FICO has been the industry standard for scoring creditworthiness.  Danielle Harju, a finance manager at Jorns Chevrolet in Kewaunee, says many factors go into establishing a good credit rating. She adds that leasing a vehicle has actually help increase credit scores in the past.  FICO projects that half of the credit scores will go up while the other half will see scores drop.  Those that have missed payments or carry high credit card debt balances compared to their overall credit could see a significant drop in their FICO score.  


School Choice Week celebrations start Monday

Eight Door and Kewaunee County schools will be participating in the annual National School Choice Week starting on Monday.  Wisconsin will be celebrating a record-breaking 984 events and activities across the state.  Marc Vandenhouten, principal of St. Mary's School in Luxemburg and Holy Trinity School in Casco, says the celebration next week will include a special visit by Bishop David Ricken of the Green Bay Diocese.



Vandenhouten adds that both schools are also participating in service projects.  St. Mary's is raising funds for the Ronald McDonald Homes in Milwaukee and Madison and Holy Trinity students will be creating Valentine's cards for the bishop as well as for local residents in nursing homes and assisted care facilities.   


Local environmental activist shares climate change outlook

As a national survey shows more people than ever want to reduce the effects of global climate change, a Door County environmental activist says the contamination of well water is the biggest local issue.  Wayne Kudick of Fish Creek says more can be done to curb climate change.  He shares the major contributing factor to contaminated water systems in the area.



Kudick says the reduction of the carbon footprint is a better start.  He cites impediments that are holding back progress is the federal government backing away from taking the lead worldwide and that people do not generally believe that climate change is real.  Local efforts for the more efficient disposal of garbage and the decreased use of carbon-based fuels are a step in the right direction, according to Kudick.      


Protecting your home from fires

Keeping your home and your family safe from fires could be as simple as making sure you have a working extinguisher in your home.  Approximately 75 percent of Americans have a fire extinguisher in their home just in case a blaze breaks out at unexpected time. Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department Fire Chief Curt Vanderite reccommends they are placed throughout the house especially near the exits. He reminds residents that just because you have an extinguisher does not mean you should be fighting fires.

Vandertie reccommends taking  a look at your fire extinguishers when you check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. He also advises fire extinguishers be maintained on a regular basis by professional companies experienced with services like inspections and recharges. 

Show is Herbst's quadriennial challenge

He has performed in front of Northern Sky Theater crowds thousands of times as a part of dozens of shows, but there is one production that makes artistic director Jeff Herbst worried about the unknown. A part of Northern Sky Theater's slate of shows this year is "And If Elected," a show that dates back to 1992 and gets an update with every Presidential election. While the show itself remains to be a satirical look at Presidential elections since 1776, the political climate in the country has changed a lot since Northern Sky Theater first put on the production. As he works on the show for the 2020 election cycle, Herbst says going into the unknown is both exciting and terrifying

"And If Elected" is one of two fall productions playing at Northern Sky Theater's creative campus in Fish Creek this fall. Tickets go on sale March 2nd.

Board, committees aim to get building right

Kewaunee County officials continue to discuss the little details when it comes to a future public safety building. The last two meetings of the Jail Needs Assessment Study Committee have focused on what was learned during their tours of other county facilities last fall and the types of programming and the staffing that will be needed when the building opens. Kewaunee County Board Chairperson Robert Weidner says there are a lot of things to consider when it comes to the future public safety building.

Weidner says the committee is not yet at a point where it can make big decisions or give presentations about a future jail to the Kewaunee County Board.

Advocacy groups applaud redistricting efforts

Common Cause Wisconsin is just one of the groups hoping their push for redistricting reform in the state will finally bear some fruit. Governor Tony Evers announced during his State of the State address earlier this week his intention to set up a non-partisan commission to redraw voting maps in 2021. Democrats believe the commission would help allieviate alleged gerrymandering in 2011 while Republicans say the commission could be unconstitutional. Common Cause Wisconsin Executive Director Jay Heck says the move to establish the commission could lead to better maps whether their efforts are approved or not.

Wisconsin's voting district maps were the subject of a recent U.S. Supreme Court case, but it was thrown out when its justices ruled that claims of partisan gerrymandering were beyond their reach.


Algoma Police shares winter safety concerns

The Algoma Police Department is dealing with three seasonal issues this time of year.  Police Chief Randy Remiker says the recent snowfall and ice buildup on the lakeshore are causing safety concerns.  He reminds residents to be mindful of three aspects of winter in Algoma.



Remiker says to stay off the ice and be safe.  He says it would not take long for anyone who would fall into the water to succumb to hypothermia.    


Wisconsin woman shares farmer conference in San Diego

A Wisconsin sheep farmer attended the National Farmers Union Women's Conference in San Diego this past week.  Kriss Marion, who is from Blanchardville, vacations in Door County.  She is currently a LaFayette County supervisor who ran for the State Senate last year.  She says the conference was attended by about 80 women with six being from Wisconsin.  She says this was her fifth time in attending and it continues to be eye-opening with today's agricultural climate. 



Marion was the keynote speaker on a presentation encouraging more women farmers to run for office.  She will be acting as a policy delegate at the Wisconsin Farmers Union's 89th Annual Convention next weekend.


(Photo contributed) 

Kewaunee County Food Pantry seeing new faces

As 2020 begins, the Kewaunee County Food Pantry is measuring the impact the organization had in the community last year.  Ken Marquardt, president of the pantry, says the level of donations and outflow was relatively level in 2019.  The one interesting aspect was that the food pantry saw 100 new families utilize its services last year.  Although the pantry is relatively well-stocked now, Marquardt says another way of donating can help even more.



Marquardt notes that the Kewaunee County Food Pantry provided for a single monthly record of 166 families this past November.  The Kewaunee County Food Pantry is open Monday and Wednesdays from 11 am until 1 pm every week.  On the third Wednesday of the month, the pantry does open in the evening to provide for those unable to stop during the daytime hours.  

Sturgeon Bay prepared for referendum

Sturgeon Bay School District hopes it has put in the work ahead of time to ensure its referendum request will be approved by voters in April. The $16.84 million referendum will not just address priority maintenance projects and improve security, but also close Sunset Elementary School. Sturgeon Bay District Superintendent Dan Tjernagel feels like they have done a good job communicating their case to potential voters.

A release from Sturgeon Bay School District estimates the tax impact for this plan over the current levy is $147 for a home assessed at $100,000. The referendum question will be on the ballot on April 7th. 


World War II veterans ring returned to daughter

A mistakenly donated World War II veteran's ring was rightfully returned to the proper owner who reclaimed it earlier this week.  Denise Chenevert of Sturgeon Bay first became aware of her father's ring last Friday after seeing a post on Facebook by the Sunshine House.  Jeremy Paszczak, director of sales and marketing, says Denise had a receipt and narrowed the timeframe she was at the Sunshine House ReSale Store dropping off the donations on January 10.  He says Denise did not even know about her father's ring before this occurred.



The ring was discovered by ReSale Store Director Nancy McClellan who was sifting through donated boxes and realized the unique piece of jewelry might have been dropped off by mistake.  Two weeks later the World War II veteran's ring is back to where it belongs.  


(picture of ring by Jeremy Pasczak) 


Checking for your REAL ID

With the REAL ID deadline still months away, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says many residents may already have it. Beginning October 1st, every air traveler 18 years and older must carry with them a REAL ID-compliant driver license or another acceptable form of ID to fly within the United States. The cards are also needed to enter federal buildings and military bases. REAL ID-compliant cards have been issued in Wisconsin since 2005, so Joski says if you have renewed recently, you should be fine.

REAL ID-compliant Wisconsin driver licenses are marked with a star in the upper right hand corner. The Department of Motor Vehicles has two service centers open in Door and Kewaunee Counties with Sturgeon Bay open Tuesdays and Thurdays and Algoma on Mondays and Wednesdays. 



There has been a significant amount of conversation regarding the new “Real ID” and I thought I would take this opportunity to go over some information as well as some common questions. The basis for this new form of identification was established in the Real ID act of 2005 which modified the United States federal law pertaining to security, authentication and issuance procedure standards for driver’s licenses and identity documents.

The first question is” What is the real purpose of the real ID?”

A real ID is a form of identification that meets increased security standards for state-issued driver's licenses and identification cards. Travelers will be required to provide either a real ID or another TSA-approved form of identification in order to fly after October 1, 2020.

Some of the other purposes to the creation and implementation of the Real Id is changing visa limits for temporary workers, nurses and Australian citizens, funding reports and pilot projects related to border security, updating and tightening laws on applications for asylum and deportation of aliens for terrorism.

The good news is many of us already have a Wisconsin Real ID. If you look at your driver’s license and you see a star in the upper right hand corner then you have a Wisconsin Real ID.

Probably the biggest question is how do I apply for a Real ID if I don’t already have one and what documentation do I need?

To get a Real ID, you need to present documents to your motor vehicle department proving your age and identity, Social Security number and address. That generally means bringing a birth certificate or passport, a Social Security card or tax form such as a W-2, and two proofs of address. Be aware that the birth certificate must be a certified birth certificate and that you must also bring in any and all documents related to name changes. This may mean both a birth certificate and a marriage certificate or any court documents related to legal name changes or adoption.

If you do not have a real ID and your license expires after October 1, 2020 you can renew your license up to a year prior to its expiration. Just as a reminder, you do not need a Real ID if you are not intending on traveling as stated earlier in this article. For more information, you can visit the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Website at:


Farms, redistricting top Evers' address topics

Creating taskforces to address rural prosperity, redistricting, and student debt highlighted the annual State of the State Address given Wednesday night by Governor Tony Evers. The approximately 30-minute speech included a call for a special legislative session next week to address the state's farming crisis. State Senator Andre Jacque, who represents Door and Kewaunee counties along with parts of four others says he is pleased with Governor Evers' interest in supporting the agricultural community.

However, Jacque believes the State of the State was marked with missed opportunities, including bills that already have bipartisan support.

Human trafficking, special election reimbursement, and youth vaping were some of the topics Jacque feels the governor did not address or only briefly mentioned during his address.  You can read statements from other local officials about the State of the State Address below.


Senator Andre Jacque

Senator Dave Hansen

Rep. John Nygren




Wisconsin favorites headline Kewaunee County Fair

Some familiar names in the Wisconsin music scene will call Luxemburg home for a night after the Kewaunee County Fair announced its 2020 lineup of mainstage peformers. The Cougars open the fair on Thursday night with Jerry Voelker and the Jolly Gents, Road Trip, & Grand Union playing Friday night. Gil Sans, Oil Can Harry, & Glam Band will rock the stage Saturday night before Ron and Mike closes things down Sunday afternoon. Whether you like country, rock, blues, or anything in between, Kewaunee County Fair Secretary Isabella Haen says there is something for you.

Haen says more information about new and returning events at this year's Kewaunee County Fair, which is July 9th to the 12th, will be announced in the coming months.




Crash closes Baileys Harbor road

Motorists traveling on State Highway 57 this morning (Thursday) will need to find a new route.


According to the Door County Sheriff's Department's Facebook, deputies responded to a garbage truck striking a utility pole between County Highway Q and Ahrens Road in Baileys Harbor. No information was released about potential injuries related to the crash, but the Door County Sheriff's Departments estimates the road will be closed for at least 90 minutes.

Ensuring younger workers follow child labor laws

Door County businesses that rely on teen workers during the school year face a balancing act when complying with child labor laws.  A franchise restaurant operator was recently found in violation of those laws at 40 of its stores in Wisconsin and others throughout the Midwest.  A U.S. Department of Labor investigation found that restaurant workers between 14 and 15 years-old worked over the time allowed on school days. That employer was fined just over $157,000.  Tadych's Econofoods in Sturgeon Bay has a system in place to make sure students are off work in time.  General Manager Jon Calhoun says an employee's work schedule is designed to ensure their studies don't suffer.


Teen restaurant workers can usually depend on other employees to help them keep their studies on track.  Kenny Albert, General Manager of Sonny's Pizzeria of Sturgeon Bay, says adult restaurant staff are already adept at multi-tasking and put that to use when younger workers have to leave.


Albert says business is slower for Sonny's and other Door County restaurants and taverns during the winter months so they're not left too short-staffed when teen workers must quit for the day.

Local health departments react to coronavirus

Door and Kewaunee County health officials are being updated on the spread of the coronavirus.  That virus has caused 17 deaths in Wuhan China, where it was detected, and one case has been diagnosed in Washington State in a  person who recently traveled to China.  There's no sign that the virus has spread to Wisconsin. Local health care providers, however, are receiving regular advisories on what researchers are learning about the virus.  Susan Powers, Door County Public Health Officer, says the latest information reminds doctors, clinics and hospitals to follow protocols for any infectious disease.


Health care providers are also being requested to require patients with possible respiratory ailments to wear masks while in waiting rooms and to take them to separate examination rooms.

State park ski trails open

All cross country ski trails are now open in three state parks in Door County.  Skiers are seeing good conditions on the trails.  Erin Brown Stender, Superintendent of Potawatomi State Park in Sturgeon Bay and Whitefish Dunes State Park near Clark Lake, says the recent snowfall has made all of the difference.


Ski trails at Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek are also open and in generally good condition.  Although Jennifer Birkholz, the park's Assistant Property Superintendent, says skiers need to be cautious in some areas.


With additional wetter snow expected before the weekend, that could make the trails a little more sticky, but state park officials say generally the more snowfall the better for skiers.

BMO Harris Bank closing in Casco

A bank with a history dating back over 116 years in Casco will be closing its doors soon.  The BMO Harris Bank branch confirmed that the financial institution at 123 Main Street will be closing in April.  Caitlyn Maloney from the east side Green Bay location told that the last day the Casco branch bank will be open is April 17.  She says that current customers will be able to continue online services and banking at the other BMO Harris banks in the Green Bay area.  The original Bank of Casco included ownership until the 1970's at its primary historic location at the intersection of Church and Main streets.  Valley Bank then opened operations at the current location before merging with M & I Bank Northeast in 1988 and then subsequently being bought by BMO in 2011.  Casco will still have one financial institution in the village after April 17 with the current Bank of Luxemburg branch location on the west side.     


(photo courtesy of LoopNet)  

Repurposed building materials growing in popularity

Kitchen cabinets, sinks, tubs and other materials removed from homes and other buildings in Door and Kewaunee counties during renovation are being repurposed more on other building projects.  Habitat for Humanity's Restore in Sturgeon Bay is seeing increased demand from contractors and do-it-yourself hobbyists for used materials that are far from being used up.  David Van Dyke, former Executive Director for Habitat for Humanity-Door County, says the interest in repurposing such material is based on economics and homeowners looking for unique styles.




Retro appliances are proving very popular at the Habitat Restore of Door County.  Van Dyke says Habitat employees recently picked up some kitchen appliances from a home being renovated.  He says photos were taken at the building site, sent to Habitat's social media page and were sold to contractors even before the items were unloaded from the truck.

Deer harvest down in Door and Kewaunee counties

Hunters bagged fewer deer during the 2019 hunting season and Door and Kewaunee counties mirrored that trend.  The final tally by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources found that the 2019 hunt was 14-percent lower than 2018.  DNR Wildlife Biologist Josh Martinez says weather and crop conditions were a factor in lower harvests in Door and Kewaunee counties.


The DNR says over the firearms, muzzleloader, archery and special hunting seasons more than 288,000 deer were taken in 2019.  That compares with 355,243  bagged in 2018. 

Wastewater treatment at risk from Lake Michigan's rising waters

Predictions from federal officials of continued rising water levels on Lake Michigan have the City of Kewaunee working to protect municipal utility systems.  The city set up a task force to look into solutions to respond to rising lake levels.  Those efforts include protecting electrical systems near the harbor and the wastewater treatment plant on the Kewaunee River. City Administrator Fred Schnook says the lift stations or pumping systems used to transport sewage are a particular concern.




Schnook says those efforts are at the mercy of changing winds as well as rising lake levels.

Sturgeon Bay cleans up compost site hours

In efforts to keep the Sturgeon Bay compost site operating more cleanly, the Sturgeon Bay common council voted to change of hours and establish a proof of residency to use it.  Going by a recommendation of the Community Protection & Services Committee, the council approved the measure in a 5-1 vote, with councilmember Gary Nault voting against it citing complaints by constituents of the $24 annual fee that will be assessed to taxpayers.  Mike Barker, municipal services director, says the new supervised hours at the compost site will be a good start towards controlling any illegal dumping. He says adjustments to hours in the summer can be done if warranted.



Council President Dan Williams, who was chairing the meeting due to Mayor David Ward's absence, says concerns over illegal dumping that could have led to a closure of the compost site by the DNR required the measures to be taken.  In other business, the common council also approved the second reading of the Coal Tar Sealant Products Ordinance that will prohibit the use of jet-black coatings that contain toxic compounds on city streets. 

Sturgeon Bay Math Team keeps rolling

Winning their third consecutive math meet this year, the Sturgeon Bay High School Math Team scored an impressive win Monday night at N.E.W. Lutheran.  Sturgeon Bay tallied 262 points and now hold a 60 to 54 lead in the Packerland Conference over N.E.W. in league points.  Math teacher and coach Cliff Wind says the underclassmen have really stepped up this year to complement a strong contingent of juniors and seniors.



Sturgeon Bay has won the conference 18 consecutive years.  You can find the complete results from Monday’s math meet below.





            1.  Michael Laxo, SB, 35

            2.  Nick Herbst, SB, 31

             3.  Reece Reynolds, O, 29

             4.  Marina Jeanquart, SB, 27

            5.  Katy Carter, SB, 26



            1.  Henry Pudo, SB, 33

            2.  Abram Abeyta, SB, 32

            3.  Jack Hitzeman, Gib, 29

            4.  Molly Fei, NEW, 28

            5.  Abbie Lenius, SB, 27



            1.  Andrew Konop, SB, 34

            2   Makayla Ash, SB, 22

             3.  Grace Holmgren, O, 22

            4.  Arry VanLieshout, SB, 20

            5.  Lucy Hanson, SB, 20



            1.  Christy Braun, SB, 24

            2.  Luke Nell, NEW, 19

            3.  Espen Walker, SB, 18

            4. Laura Zittlow, So Door, 12

            5. Matthew Zittlow, So Door, 10




1. Sturgeon Bay, 262 points

2. NEW, 196

3. Oconto, 174

4. Kewaunee, 156

Tie 5. Southern Door and Sevastopol, 139

7. Algoma, 113

8. Gibraltar, 109


JV results (10 total teams)

1. Sturgeon Bay 2, 220 points

2. Sturgeon Bay 3, 150

3. Kewaunee 2, 93

4.  Algoma 2, 79


Algoma police chief reflects on first year

One year after becoming Algoma's new police chief, Randy Remiker is not regretting his move back to the area from the warm Southwest United States.  A Manitowoc County native, Remiker, worked for the Albuquerque Police Department for over 21 years before accepting the position in December of 2018.  Remiker says the adjustment to a mucher smaller community has been very positive.



Remiker took office one year ago after Kewaunee County ended their agreement to provide services at the end of 2018.  He adds that  reported crimes and arrests have been trending down over the past few years in Algoma.   


Towns support lodging bill

Muncipalities in Door County are applauding efforts to make it easier to collect room tax dollars from lodging marketplace businesses like Airbnb and Vrbo. Introduced by Rep. Joel Kitchens, Assembly Bill 683 would require those entities to include more than just a zip code when it comes to filing their tax returns. That is important for towns like Liberty Grove, which covers a large amount of area but under the current state law sees much of the tax money collected go solely to the Village of Sister Bay because the two share a zip code. Liberty Grove Chairperson John Lowry says room tax dollars provide important funding for the town. 

The bill would also fine lodging marketplace businesses up to $45,000 a year if they do not submit the required paperwork. Members of the Door County Tourism Zone testified in front of members of the Wisconsin Legislature earlier this month.  


Southern Door students enjoy unique MLK Day experience

Southern Door Elementary students Cambria and Corbin Londo got a unique perspective on the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Monday in Green Bay. Corbin is biracial and, beginning five years ago, his mother felt that church could be a good way for him to gain exposure to a culture that she could not provide. The family began attending The Divine Temple Church of God and Christ which is predominantly black. State Senator Dave Hansen, Green Bay Mayor Eric Genrich and other dignitaries were on hand to see Corbin sing his first-ever solo performance in front of the sunshine choir which including Cambria. Tanya has nothing but good things to say about the Divine Temple’s warm, welcoming embrace.


Londo says the MLK service is truly an event at Divine Temple.


Cookies add to Girl Scouts' full slate

Sightings of Thin Mints and Peanut Butter Patties are in your future as Girl Scouts in Door and Kewaunee Counties continue to work hard on their different badges and projects throughout the winter months. Net proceeds from cookie sales go towards many programming opportunities available to members and troops in the Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes like renting sites at Camp Cuesta located in Baileys Harbor. Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes Communication Coordinator Melissa Loest says local girl scout troops are also busy right now with projects benefiting the community.

In addition to raising important funds for the organization, Loest says girls get hands-on experience running a business during the cookie sales period, which runs through March.


Kewaunee Winter park a hit on a snowy weekend

The snowfall around our area over the weekend brought skiers, sledders and tubers to the Kewaunee Winter Park.  The natural snow added to the artificial base that previously allowed only the sledding hill to be open.  Dave Myers, Kewaunee County Promotion and Recreation Director, says the recent winter weather allowed both hills to open for business.

Myers says prior to the weekend snowfall there was a six-inch base on the ski and sledding hills.  It's now up to about a foot.


Photo courtesy of Kewaunee County

Sixth graders find fun in kindness

Sixth graders at T.J. Walker Middle School in Sturgeon Bay are proving you do not always need something in exchange for doing something good. Dropping off "worry dolls" to the cancer center at Door County Medical Center last week was just the latest act of goodwill done by the Kind Clipper Club, which first formed five years ago for sixth grade students. Though the execution often needs the help of the adults, the ideas and motivation for the projects throughout the school year comes from the students themselves. It is the drive from the students that inspires people like the Kind Clipper Club's advisor Cassee Jandrin.

Jandrin says other projects like sending Christmas cards to anonymous people or making art for local nursing homes often goes unnoticed, but it still thrills the students to do something good in the community.


Photo courtesy of Sturgeon Bay School District




Snowfall raising interest in snowmobiling

The heavy weekend snowfall is putting snowmobilers in the mood to take to trails in Door and Kewaunee counties.  So far, the southeast sections of the Door County trails are the only routes open.  Dean Simonar, co-owner of Simonar Sports in Luxemburg,  believes snowmobilers will have to wait a little bit longer to have full trail access,  though he says many are already making sure their sleds are ready to go. 

Simonar says as of Monday afternoon none of Kewaunee County's trails have been open to snowmobilers.

Online safety program to help parents

An online safety program specifically for parents of teens and elementary school-age children will be offered later this month in Sturgeon Bay.  The Online Safety & Technology Use in Door County presentation on January 30th will discuss what parents and guardians can do to be proactive in their child's use of technology like smartphones and laptops.  Chad Welch, family engagement leader for the Door County Partnership for Children and Families, says the free community event will share important information to parents about keeping their children safe.



Special Agent Carl Waterstreet from the State of Wisconsin Department of Justice and Door County District Attorney Colleen Nordin will discuss what parents should look out for and the legal issues surrounding technology use.  You can find contact information below this story on registering for the Online Safety & Technology Use in Door County presentation that is to be held at the Sturgeon Bay Library on Thursday, January 30 from 6:00 until 8:00 pm.



Chad Welch  920-421-3146 or email by this Friday. 


Journals help deal with stress -- Mental Health Minute series

 Reflecting on your personal experiences every day can help promote a better mental health outlook.  So says Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White.  He says there are many advantages to keeping a daily journal.



Dr. White says journaling can offer a therapeutic release when you are having strong feelings.  It often seems to make it better when you write it down.  He adds that journaling can make it easier to change behaviors in the direction you want by simply being more aware of it.  You can listen to Dr. Dennis White's entire Mental Health Minute below.




Ice carvers needed for Sturgeon Bay event

A newly named  Destination Sturgeon Bay Welcome Center is currently organizing the Fire & Ice Festival that is set for February 15th.  The day starts with blocks of ice and snow sculpted into art by novice, intermediate, and advanced carvers.  Executive Director Pam Seiler says you don't have to be a professional ice sculptor to participate.



The ice sculptures are displayed throughout Sturgeon Bay with local businesses sponsoring different locations.  You can find more information on the Fire & Ice Festival with the link below.


(photo courtesy of Destination Sturgeon Bay)


Flood damage insurance coverage varies

The concerns of flooding in your home can rise faster than water levels this time of year, according to one local insurance agent. Mike Walston :: Wall-stin ::  from Robertson Ryan & Associates in Kewaunee says your homeowner’s policy may only cover some types of flooding.  He explains the three scenarios in which flooding may be covered by your homeowners.



Walston recommends that you check with your insurance agent to find out if that coverage is on your regular homeowner’s policy.  Additional flood insurance policies can be taken out for the replacement cost of any damages, according to Walston. 

Sevastopol Town Board votes down recommendation for RV Park permit

The Sevastopol Town Board voted unanimously Monday night to accept the recommendation of the Plan Commission to not accept the Conditional Use Permit for a controversial Class A Motorhome village at the old stone-quarry on Bay Shore Drive.  Quarry Bluff LLC is looking to build a 117-unit village for recreational vehicles located near George Pinney County Park north of Sturgeon Bay.  The town board will now have their recommendation forwarded to the Door County Resource Planning Committee who will ultimately decide the fate of the development project in February.  Peter Hurth of Baudhuin, Inc. who represented the developers at the meeting argued that the application had met all the requirements for the Conditional Use Permit during a brief presentation.  After one hour of discussion, the town board voted 5-0  to accept the Sevastopol Plan Commission’s recommendation that cited several environmental and traffic-related concerns about the project brought up during last Tuesday’s seven-hour meeting.

Wisconsin senator prepared for impeachment trial

For only the third time in the nation's history, United States Senators like Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin will weigh in on the possible removal of a sitting president. The trial gets underway on Tuesday with the House impeachment managers arguing their case against President Donald Trump. Baldwin hopes testimony and evidence is allowed in the Senate trial so her colleagues can act as impartial jurors.

Senator Ron Johnson told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel last week that he does not believe the Senate should be in this position, calling out the partisan nature of the impeachment process. The U.S. Senate will first debate a resolution to set up the ground rules at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday before turning the floor over to the House impeachment managers for opening arguments.

App part of school safety efforts

Although it has generated only two tips, Door County Sheriff Tammy Sternard hopes the "See It, Say It, Send It" app will go a long way in promoting school safety. A collaboration between the Door County public schools and the sheriff's department, the app was first launched back in November as a way to set up an anonymous tip line for the 21st century. Much like its telephone tip line that has been in service for 20 years, the app funnels information to the Door County Sheriff's Department before being evaluated by local law enforcement. Sternard says the app is meant to serve all Door County residents and to give people options if they do see criminal activity

Sternard says the next phase of the app roll out will allow users to receive alerts from law enforcement agencies about major incidents like school shootings. The app was rolled out by the sheriff's department as a way to standardized similar reporting efforts at Door County's five public school districts.



Wet weather leads meeting discussion

Precipitation is in the air, soaked in the ground, and on the agenda for Peninsula Pride Farms annual meeting next month. More than 100 farmers, agribusiness professionals, and community members have attended the event each of the last few years as the group highlighted its practices and issues they are currently facing. This year's main keynote speaker is National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meteorologist Timm Uhlmann, who will speak on the precipitation history and what farmers can expect moving forward. Peninsula Pride Farms President Don Niles says with the area seeing the wettest years they have ever experienced on record, he believes this is important information for everyone involved in agriculture.

The event will also feature a roundtable discussion with members of the Door-Kewaunee Demonstration Farm Network about the practices they tried in 2019. You can find a link to register for the event, which will take place February 13th beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds, here.

Compost site, park improvements on city agenda

Two consent agenda items for the Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting on Tuesday could see major changes for the city's compost site and to Graham Park. Under new rules to be established by the city, the compost site would establish specific hours and days of operation, add an additional $2 a month to the current solid waste fee, and require proof of residency when dumping. The move could generate over $105,000 for the city with hopes of also stemming illegal dumping at the site. The Sturgeon Bay Common Council could also approve park improvements to Graham Park as a part of a $300,000 donation made through Destination Sturgeon Bay.  The council originally approved the conceptual plans back in November. The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. inside its chambers at city hall.

Quarry Park developers look past Monday's meeting

Last week’s marathon Town of Sevastopol Plan Commission meeting will likely not be repeated Monday night before the town board. Mike Parent of developer Quarry Bluff LLC says the group plans to make a presentation of around 10 minutes. Parent says he feels like he did not receive a fair shake Wednesday due to misconceptions about what information is needed when applying for a use permit.


Parent says there are examples of projects voted down at the township level that were later approved by the county’s Resource Planning Committee such as the Parallel 44 Winery in Sevastopol. The Resource Planning Committee will not take up the proposed Quarry Bluff development until February. Parent’s full perspective can be seen in a press release attached to the article at Door County Daily News dot com.



Quarry Park LLC press release:


Obviously, we were disappointed with the final vote of the of the Town of Sevastopol Planning Committee regarding our conditional use permit application.  However, we were equally disappointed in the way the meeting was conducted.


Specifically, we were concerned how Jim Nellen, the most vocal member of the planning committee, carried on in the meeting in such a heavy-handed and extremely negative manner.  


He showed a fundamental misunderstanding of the conditional use permit process.  We were constantly criticized, and ultimately turned down, for having an incomplete application, because in his mind, we lacked among other things, state-approved sanitary, water, and storm water runoff plans. 


Wisconsin Act 67, and the amended Door County Zoning Ordinance, clearly state that the conditional use permit shall be approved if an applicant meets, or AGREES TO MEET, all requirements and conditions specified in the county ordinance, and those imposed by the county zoning board.  Approved plans DO NOT have to be in hand for the application long the applicant agrees to meet whatever stipulations are included in the final plans approved by the County and other governing bodies. 


We were also not allowed to correct misinformation that was entered into the record after our presentation.  We were under the assumption there would be a rebuttal period to reply to the opposition’s testimony. We had additional information to provide as well as a prepared closing statement.  Once our initial presentation was completed and before the opposition’s presentation took place, we were informed we would not be able speak again.  Obviously, by not allowing a rebuttal, numerous incorrect statements were not addressed. 


And finally, the morning after the meeting, we discovered (per their website) that Mr. Nellen is the Vice-Chair of the Board of  Directors of the Bay Shore Drive Property Owners Association.....the very group that is by far the most vocal and active against this project.  While Mr. Nellen has every right to his position within that organization and his personal bias towards the project, we find it disturbing that he didn't have the integrity to disclose that fact and recuse himself from the Planning Committee discussion.  In hindsight, it’s not a surprise that at the end of night, Mr. Nellen’s motion to deny the application had already been written on a document that he pulled from his folder. 


We're confident going forward that our upcoming presentation to the Resource Planning Committee will be handled in a more objective and professional manner, and that those committee members have a better understanding of their role in interpreting the conditional use process. 


Quarry Bluff, LLC


Affordable housing bill made in Door County

Legislation creating a pilot program for affordable housing was partially written with help from Door County.  Assembly Bill 544 would create a $10-million pilot program that would provide grant money or tax credits to developers.  That bill was crafted with input from officials with the Door County Economic Development Corporation.  DCEDC Business Development Specialist Tom Strong says Assembly Bill 544 would aid entry-level employees in need of housing statewide.




Strong also says that would aid Door County's current and future efforts to attract developers to available building sites.


DCEDC officials and Door County Administrator Ken Pabich took part in the Wisconsin Economic Development Association's Legislative Day.    Affordable housing and Assembly Bill 544 were a major topic of discussion among county leaders and state lawmakers. County leaders provided input on the affordable housing legislation.

Sportfishing business adjusting to higher waters

Sportfishing businesses in Door and Kewaunee Counties will find themselves again adjusting to rising water levels on Lake Michigan.  Last summer, Kewaunee's municipal boat launch was closed because of rising lake levels.  That trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.  Tom Kleiman, an owner at Accurate Marine in Kewaunee and an organizer of the K-D Salmon Tournament, believes lakeshore communities are better prepared for high water levels than last year.




Kleiman believes there is also a bright spot to the current situation based on his experiences with record high water levels on the Great Lakes in the mid-80s.




Kleiman reminds anglers and recreational boaters that lake levels are cyclical and right now Lake Michigan is on an upswing. 

Fire prevention should be top of mind

Door County has seen two high profile fires within the last month that originated from the chimney flue. A quick response was able to protect Sonny’s Italian Kitchen in Sturgeon Bay with minimal damage but a residence in Clay Banks was not as lucky. General Manager Nolan Paschke talks about what Sonny’s is doing to minimize the threat of another fire in the future.


Sonny’s deterrent of choice, powdered chimney cleaner, is easy to find and can be used in homes. The powder does not eliminate the need for chimney inspections and cleaning but it does help to reduce creosote buildup and makes maintenance easier.

Algoma schools offer developmental screenings

The Algoma School District is planning its annual developmental screening sessions for Thursday, February 20 and Friday the 21st. The screenings are for children two to four years old. While not required, having a child undergo the 90-minute supervisory exam is encouraged. Special Education Teacher Rachel Schneider explains how it works.


The screenings are open to all children who live in the district and are often used by private learning centers in the area so parents who do not intend to enroll their children in public schools should consider having their son or daughter participate.


Kewaunee County History Center upgraded

Visitors to the Kewaunee County History Center will notice quite a few upgrades when it reopens next month.   The two-story museum on Ellis Street in Kewaunee has been undergoing renovation late last year into this month for painting, roof repair and making the building more accessible for those with physical challenges.  That includes a new restroom on the first floor and a chairlift to the second-floor exhibit areas.  The most noticeable improvement will be the installation of brighter and more energy-efficient LED lighting.  Richard Dorner, director of the history center, says that will bring displays and documents into clearer focus.




Grant money helped the Kewaunee County History Center pay for the upgraded LED lighting.  People can see the improvements first hand when the center reopens February 1st.


Photo courtesy of the Algoma Chamber of Commerce.

Southern Door ice fishing hosts first tournament

New holes were cut at Idlewild Golf Course Saturday but they weren’t on the greens and were filled with fishing lines instead of pins. The inaugural Southern Door Ice Fishing Tournament included participants from Sturgeon Bay and a partial squad from North Fond du Lac High Schools in addition to the host Eagles. Shanties popped up on the three ponds that dot the links near Cherryland Airport. Southern Door High School principal Steve Bousley talked about the tournament’s set up.


Prizes were awarded in each category. First place received a $150 gift card to Cabela’s and Bass Pro Shop. Second was $100 and third place was $75. Bousley’s enthusiasm for the event was infectious Saturday. Roughly 30 participants braved the elements to take part.




Photo and video courtesy of Steve Bousley.


Adopt-A-Soldier looking for help

Adopt-A-Soldier Door County is asking for support from local organizations to help take over the packing component of sending out supplies to local troops. President Nancy Hutchinson says Adopt-A-Soldier will still handle the logistical aspect of the operation including generating labels, providing the materials, and tracking everything that has been mailed out. Hutchinson says that filling the boxes is an easier set of duties.


Hutchinson says she thought a group was lined up to assume the responsibility but the longer the situation sits in limbo the less confident she is in the arrangement. A church in Maplewood is Plan B but that does not mean she would not like to hear from others.


Hansen seeks funding for blood tests

Marinette, Wisconsin has become one of the nation’s hot spots in the fight against polyflouroalkyl substances, more commonly known as PFAs. Trace amounts of the compounds can lead to far-ranging health effects for human beings and wildlife that come into contact with PFAs. State Senator Dave Hansen says it is time to take stock of the consequences.


Hansen says Wisconsin lags behind states like West Virginia, Michigan, and Minnesota in addressing the problem. He is not sure if there is one test that can give results for all of the potential complications or if residents would have to do a series of examinations. Hansen has long advocated for a tougher stance on PFA contamination by state government.

Area library takes advantage of long weekend

The Kewaunee Public Library is trying an escape room for the first time, debuting just in time for the long holiday weekend. Of course, there is a literary theme. The puzzles are inspired by Harry Potter novels. The escape room is not for young children as the riddles are geared for teenagers up to adults. Director Carol Petrina says Friday’s sessions were sold out but there will be plenty of opportunities on the holiday and through the upcoming week.


The escape room comes with an hour time limit to complete. Contact the library if you have a group that wishes to participate.


Lights, camera, judging! Film fest next month

The Door County Short Film Festival takes over the Sister Bay Village Hall on February 14th and 15th. Local residents have the chance to say, “I love you” to movies from around the world, 29 in all. President Chris Opper says that technology has opened the door to entries from anywhere.


Opper is able to choose which films are part of the festival at his discretion. He then selects what he thinks are the best entries and sends the top five films to a panel to be in the running for the Golden Mug trophy. Films run the gamut from documentaries to dramas and other creative works.

Twilight ski events kick off next week

Area state parks will be holding outdoor twilight events in the coming weeks. Whitefish Dunes hosts the first of these on Saturday the 25th from five to eight pm. The hope is for enough snow to have fallen that trails can be groomed for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Those remain weather-dependent. A hike is expected to happen regardless of what Mother Nature delivers. Adele Douglas from the Friends of Whitefish Dunes State Park says a lot of work goes into creating the right ambiance for the event.


The outdoor fun is free for those who have already purchased a vehicle sticker for park admission.


Ukulele Society a plucky group

Sundays at the Northern Door YMCA have a Hawaiian sound to it thanks to the Ukulele Society of Door County. It started as an offshoot of a class at The Clearing Folk School and has grown to 20 active members, with double that playing at some point during the year at least once. President Bruce Hake says most of the founding core were retirees who sought to learn something new. Hake says ukulele clubs are growing in popularity across the world because it is easier to learn than other strings.


Hake has played with clubs during travels as far away as Ireland. Beginners to experts are welcome for those who have an interest in joining. The club meets the second and fourth Sunday of the month from 1-3 PM. 


Southern Door offers Fab(Lab)ulous opportunity

Southern Door High School's fabrication lab is being turned over to adults for a ten-week workshop starting January 29th. The sessions run each Wednesday night from 6-8 PM and are open to district residents and non-residents alike. Superintendent Patti Vickman says the lab has been used for creative purposes in the past.


Application forms and payment for each participant need to be turned into the high school office while spots are still available. Generally, 12-15 people are allowed into the program. 


Tournament draws hockey Hall of Famer

This year’s Door County Pond Hockey Tournament takes place on February 8th. In the past, legends of the game have made an appearance including a Hall of Famer inducted for a stellar career with the Chicago Blackhawks according to Brynn Swanson.


Swanson says players come to Door County from across the country, cities like Seattle and Salt Lake City, to participate. Colleges send teams as well. Divisions for those over 40 years of age still have registration spots available. Kangaroo Lake will be divided into 10 rinks with games being played from 8 AM to 4 PM.


Area apprenticeship program adds discipline

The apprenticeship program at Luxemburg-Casco High School is adding technical college credit to its repertoire according to Superintendent Glenn Schlender with more in the works.


Schlender says that experts believe a change is underway in the workforce profile and that in the coming years vocational careers will be in demand at a level that exceeds jobs that require a four-year university diploma. The Luxemburg-Casco District has been beefing up its apprenticeship offerings recently to keep students well-positioned for this trend. 


Buyers prefer dealers when purchasing cars

The advent of vehicle purchases online through social media and websites is growing, but local dealerships are finding consumers are still depending on them for advice when it comes time to buy.  Pete Beane, President and owner of Jorns Chevrolet in Kewaunee, says consumers still are looking directly to automobile dealers to find the right vehicle. 


Beane says the automotive industry is a fun business to be involved in and has changed greatly over his 35-year career.   A recent Harris Poll revealed that respondents said they would not want to buy a vehicle without a dealership involved and sales consultants have the expertise to help people navigate the complex vehicle buying process. 


Feed My People looking for meat products

In the next couple of months, area food pantries are looking to restock shelves for those in need.  Estella Huff, executive director of Feed and Clothe My People of Door County, says they typically serve over 300 families on a monthly basis.  She adds that right now the pantry is in need of fresh meats.



Huff adds that paper products are always in demand as well as canned foods.  Feed and Clothe My People is open four weekdays a week and also operates the Thrift Store that raises additional funds for the organization. 


Packers dominate conversations at local establishments

The Green Bay Packers are one win away from going to the Super Bowl and area bartenders are finding that patrons are getting more excited as the kick-off approaches.  Can the Packers win the Super Bowl this year?  Steve Geurts, owner of The Grove Food and Drink in Kewaunee, says optimism at the bar is running higher than his beer taps.



Geurts adds that the mood in the bar all week has been upbeat with everyone venturing an opinion on the outcome of the game.  He says The Grove will open at 11 am on Sunday and will remain open until the conclusion of the Green Bay- San Francisco game which is scheduled to start at 5:40 pm.    


Weekend travelers can expect slippery roads with drifting snow

The US National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for most of Wisconsin including Door and Kewaunee counties until 6 pm Saturday.  Local law enforcement agencies are warning drivers to take extra time and precautions if travel is necessary this weekend.  Between four to seven inches of snow is expected through Saturday night.  Snow is expected to be moderate to heavy with blowing and drifting snow at times.  Stay tuned to for any postponements or cancellations.    


Algoma being spared from damage

Unlike some communities, the city of Algoma is being spared from much of the damage being done to the lakeshore due to high winds and water levels. Mayor Wayne Schmidt says its chamber of commerce building suffered some damage due to waves hitting the shoreline, but that problem has been rectified thanks to hauling in debris to cushion the blow. He feels for communities like Kewaunee where high water levels are causing major issues with no relief in sight.

Schmidt says it could be an interesting spring when the snow melts with experts saying water levels will only continue to rise in the coming year.



Speedway changes lanes on dates

The roar coming from the fairgrounds will come at the end of the weekend instead of the beginning after the Kewaunee County Board approved a new promoter for its track. The Kewaunee County Racing Association and the country agreed to the one-year contract Thursday night. Operating the track under the moniker of “The ‘Burg Speedway”, the organization will pay the county $1,500 in rent for each of its 12 races scheduled which will be raced on Sunday nights as opposed to Fridays like in the past. Retiring Kewaunee County Board Chairperson Robert Weidner says it is good for everyone to have someone using that facility on a regular basis.

During its Thursday meeting, the Kewaunee County Board also approved the purchase of two new vehicles for the highway department at a combined cost of around $85,000.


Picture courtesy of Kewaunee County


Official release:

Racing will return to the dirt track at the Kewaunee County
Fairgrounds this summer, following approval of a one-year lease agreement by the
Kewaunee County Board of Supervisors.

The Kewaunee County Racing Association (K.C.R.A.), which is made up of five
promoters, plans to race on Sunday nights in Luxemburg. This would make “The ‘Burg
Speedway”, as the group rebranded it, the only area track in operation on that day.

“This is big news, we have a group of promoters who have all had different experiences
with racing, and having cars running on Sunday verses Friday is going to bring a new feel
to the track,” says Dave Myers, Director of Kewaunee County Promotions & Recreation.
“We wish the Kewaunee County Racing Association the best of luck on their venture.”
The K.C.R.A. will host 12 races and aims to run five classes consisting of IMCA
Sanctioned Modifieds, Stock Cars, and Sport Modifieds as well as Street Stocks and
4 Cylinders. The scheduled start time of each race is 5PM with the goal of a 9PM curfew.

Included with Kewaunee County’s Request for Proposal, the K.C.R.A. shared this:
“We are a group of individuals dedicated to preserving racing in Luxemburg and consist
of former drivers, track workers, and fans that have also been involved in track
operations at Luxemburg Speedway and other local facilities. It is not our mission to
profit off racing events, but to bring back the fans and drivers to what was once the
premiere dirt track in Wisconsin.”


The ‘Burg Speedway will have a table at the Luxemburg Racing Show at the Kewaunee
County Fairgrounds Exhibition Hall on Saturday, February 8, 2020 from 9AM-3PM and
promoters will be available to answer any questions. There will also be an on-site
informational session held at 11AM for the public, as well as drivers, fans, and sponsors.
A practice night for The ‘Burg Speedway has been scheduled for Sunday, May 4, 2020
from 4PM-8PM.

Final touches for Sevastopol renovation plans

Sevastopol School District Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says they are about 90 percent complete with their final plans for a major overhaul at their facilities. The $25.1 million project was approved by voters in 2018 and includes new classroom space, an industrial lab, and a greenhouse. Luedtke says it is an exciting time for everyone at the district, especially those directly involved with the project.

Sevastopol will have some new faces on their school board by the time the district breaks ground on the project this spring. Gerald Worrick and Richard Weidman are running to replace Jay  Zahn and Karen Brauer on the school board. Zahn and Brauer chose not to run again for their seats for the upcoming term.   

Wisconsin senators happy for USMCA passage

Both of Wisconsin’s United States Senators expressed happiness after the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement was approved 89-10 by the Senate on Thursday. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) replacement is expected to open up trade opportunities for farmers while also tightening rules for auto parts manufacturers and labor enforcement. Senator Tammy Baldwin says the USMCA is a win for Wisconsin farmers, manufacturers, businesses, and workers.

Senator Ron Johnson said in a statement that he hopes the USMCA is the first of many trade agreements that will benefit Wisconsinites. Gears quickly switched for Senators Baldwin and Johnson as they were both sworn in as jurors in the upcoming impeachment trial shortly after the USMCA vote.


Read Senator Baldwin's statement here

Read Senator Johnson's statement here

Luxemburg-Casco addition featuring new wrestling room

The powerhouse Luxemburg-Casco High School wrestling program will have a new home for the New Year.  The newly constructed Luxemburg-Casco Multi-purpose Wrestling Room will be showcased on Sunday, January 26 along with the new gymnasium.  The addition was part of the $27 million referendum projects past in 2018.   Athletic Director Jenny Bandow says the state-of-the-art facility will be utilized for other events in the future.



The L-C wrestling program is bringing in Wisconsin coaches for a camp in the new wrestling center the same day as the new gym dedication on the 26th.   The new gym dedication will be from 3 until 5 pm.  


Help of Door County bringing awareness of stalking

Reportedly one in six women have experienced stalking victimization at some point during their lifetime and a local advocacy group is making a concerted effort to inform people about red flags.  Help of Door County Executive Director Milly Gonzales shares some startling statistics associated with stalking.



January is National Stalking Awareness Month.  One out of 19 men nationally is reportedly stalked as well.  Gonzales adds that Help of Door County can provide victims with harassment restraining orders and give emotional support and advice while going through the legal system.    

Safety tips for winter road travel

With a snowfall of 4-6 inches of snow expected to impact Door and Kewaunee counties this weekend, area drivers are being advised to take added precautions and use care if they must travel.  Randy Sahs of Sahs Auto Collision in Sturgeon Bay recommends a winter safety kit to keep in your vehicle.



Sahs also suggests, if you must travel, to keep at least a half tank of gas in your vehicle and inform friends and family of your travel plans.  You can find more winter travel tips with this story below from the American Automotive Association (AAA).



AAA recommends the following tips while driving in snowy and icy conditions:

Cold Weather Driving Tips

  • Keep a bundle of cold-weather gear in your car, such as extra food and water, warm clothing, a flashlight, a glass scraper, blankets, medications, and more.
  • Make certain your tires are properly inflated and have plenty of tread.
  • Keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times.
  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface, such as on ice and snow.

Tips for Driving in the Snow

  • Stay home. Only go out if necessary. Even if you can drive well in bad weather, it’s better to avoid taking unnecessary risks by venturing out.
  • Drive slowly. Always adjust your speed down to account for lower traction when driving on snow or ice.
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Apply the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry and take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • Increase your following distance to five to six seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads will just make your wheels spin. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill slowly.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.

Tips for Long-Distance Winter Trips

  • Be Prepared: Have your vehicle checked by a AAA Approved Auto Repair facility before hitting the road.
  • Check the Weather: Check the weather along your route and when possible, delay your trip if bad weather is expected.
  • Stay Connected: Before hitting the road, notify others and let them know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival.
  • If you get stuck in the snow:
    • Stay with your vehicle: Your vehicle provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Do not try to walk in a severe storm. It is easy to lose sight of your vehicle in blowing snow and become lost.
    • Don’t over exert yourself: When digging out your vehicle, listen to your body and stop if you become tired.
    • Be Visible: Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna of your vehicle or place a cloth at the top of a rolled up window to signal distress. At night, keep the dome light on if possible. It only uses a small amount of electricity and will make it easier for rescuers to find you.
    • Clear the Exhaust Pipe: Make sure the exhaust pipe is not clogged with snow, ice or mud. A blocked exhaust pipe can cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment of the vehicle while the engine is running.
    • Stay Warm: Use whatever is available to insulate your body from the cold. This could include floor mats, newspapers or paper maps. Pre-pack blankets and heavy clothing to use in case of an emergency.
    • Conserve Fuel: If possible, only run the engine and heater long enough to remove the chill. This will help to conserve fuel.


Sunshine House looks to return WWII ring

A World War II veteran’s ring was believed to be mistakenly donated to the Sunshine House Resale Store in Sturgeon Bay.  Resale Director Nancy McClellan found the ring last Friday while clearing out items to be thrown away.  Director of sales and marketing at the Sunshine House Jeremy Paszczak says the goal is to get the ring back to the rightful person.  He says the discovery of the ring is a story in itself.



The ring was probably dropped off with other jewelry or clothing last Thursday or Friday.  Paszczak says the sterling silver ring with the World War II veteran logo will remain at the Sunshine House for the time being.  Hopes are still to return it to the rightful owner.  If it goes unclaimed, Paszczak says the ring will probably go to a veteran’s organization in the area.  




Extension of stewardship program sought

Door County Land Trust Executive Director Tom Clay says losing the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program would flip their business model upside down. Rep. Joel Kitchens of Sturgeon Bay and Rep. Amy Loudenbeck of Clinton are proposing a bill to extend the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program out to 2030. The last budget signed into law by Governor Tony Evers only extended it for two years while a bipartisan task force was supposed to study its future. The new legislation calls for $31 million in total authorized yearly spending, a third of which would come from segregated forestry funds to save on future debt. Clay says without the funds, efforts like last year’s acquisition of Pebble Beach in Sister Bay would be nearly impossible.

The Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program has been used to purchase 669,000 acres in Wisconsin since 1989, including 4,833 acres in Door County and 1,025 acres in Kewaunee County.



Picture courtesy of the Door County Land Trust

Second Amendment sanctuary discussions picking up

Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says his oath is to the United States Constitution when it comes to establishing sanctuary communities with issues like immigration and the Second Amendment. Brown County became the latest to attempt to become a Second Amendment sanctuary, a movement occurring across the country to help protect citizens from possible overreach from the government to restrict gun ownership. While Brown County failed in their attempt Wednesday night, Florence County and the city of Merrill have passed measures declaring themselves as sanctuary communities for the Second Amendment. Joski says he would react rather than initiate such discussions about Kewaunee County becoming a Second Amendment sanctuary, but says he has an obligation to uphold the Constitution.

While he supports Second Amendment rights, Joski says there does need to be a conversation in some instances when it may not be safe for some people to have guns in their home.

Shrine champions scripture in series

The National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion is taking a deep look into the Catholic faith as it celebrates the tenth anniversary of being declared an official Marian Apparition site. Father Thomas Reagan will lead the 15-week series called Championing the Word Wednesdays as he focuses on how Catholics approach the sacraments and interpret the Bible. Reagan hopes the series helps people realize there is always room to grow no matter where you may be with your faith.

Championing the Word Wednesdays begin on January 22nd and continue through April 29th. The free events begin at 6 p.m. with a mass followed by discussions until approximately 8:15 p.m.  



Additional information and picture courtesy of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help


Have you ever wanted to understand why the Catholic Church teaches that some actions are good while others are not? Topics covered in session one of Championing the Word Wednesdays include: The Ten Commandments, Tradition, the Bible. There will be an examination of how the Magisterium and the Catechism are deeply connected and how each affects the way in which we determine what is good to do, in prudence and led by the Holy Spirit.
These topics will be covered Jan. 22, Jan 29, Feb. 5, Feb. 12 and Feb. 19 of 2020.

Have you ever wanted to understand the "big picture" view of how, as Catholics, we should read and interpret the Bible? Topics covered in session two of Championing the Word Wednesdays include: Tradition, Mass Liturgy. There will be an examination of the Magisterium, Faith, Reason and how the Old and New Testaments are deeply connected, how each affects the way in which we approach the Sacred Scriptures be it as Mass or at home.
These topics will be covered March 4, March 11, March 18, March 25, April 1, April 15, April 22, April 29

Historic home awaits decision

With moving the building out of the question, a historic home in Sturgeon Bay has a few months to determine its fate. The home located at 442 Michigan Street was purchased by the county in 2008 for archival storage for the nearby museum. When the county purchased the former Younkers building last year, it also began looking for a buyer for the house. The structural integrity of the building would be compromised too much if it was moved to another location, so the house will either stay standing or be demolished. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says they are currently seeing if it is feasible to use the structure for its Human Services Department.

Pabich expects the final report on whether the building can be used and how much possible renovations would cost to come in May. For a  brief time, the house was used as a jail.

Kewaunee County starts diaper bank

The Kewaunee County Public Health Department has started a diaper bank to help offset the rising demand for assistance with baby supplies from moms in need. Federal and state assistance programs such as Badger Care do not allow for diaper purchases even though the expense rivals that for food for a newborn. Director Cindy Kinnard says that community response has been incredibly supportive.


Donations, both supplies and monetary gifts, are accepted during normal business hours. Those who wish to receive diapers can do so once a month for each child in the household up to four years of age. The diaper bank is open to Kewaunee County residents only so proof of address is required.


Photo provided by Kewaunee County


Voter purge drama not affecting local voters

The court challenges over whether 209,000 Wisconsin voter registrations should be purged is not fazing Door County voters.  Ozaukee County Circuit Court Judge Paul Malloy this week found the State Elections Commission in contempt for not complying with his December order to remove the names of voters who may have moved from their listed addresses.  That order was stayed by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals.  County and local elections officials will have to abide by whatever final decision is reached in this case.  Door County Clerk Jill Lau, however, says local voters aren't acting too concerned about this legal standoff.


The challenge over the question of the legality of the 209,000 voter registrations was raised by the conservative-leaning Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty.  It claims that such votes from outdated addresses would be invalid.

Sturgeon Bay Math team continues to roll

Hosting the second Math Meet of the year, Sturgeon Bay High School claimed top honors against the seven other area teams.  Scoring 263 points, Sturgeon Bay outscored the second place NEW Lutheran by 80 points.  Sturgeon Bay math teacher and coach Cliff Wind explains the process of scoring during the Packerland Conference schedule.



Sturgeon Bay has won the conference 18 consecutive years.  You can find the complete results from Monday’s math below.



            1.  Darvin Feng, NEW, 35 points

            2.  Rose Zhu, NEW, 35

            3.  Reece Reynolds, O, 33

            4.  Michael Laxo, SB, 33

            5.  Simon Kopischke, Gib, 30



            1.  Abram Abeyta SB, 30

            2.  Carter Henry, SB, 28

            3.  Molly Fei, NEW, 28

            4.  Henry Pudo, SB, 27

            5.  Serena Laluzerne, SD, 27



            1.  Andrew Konop, SB, 35

            2  Maggie Stephens, SB, 30             

            3.  Makayla Ash, SB, 21

            4.  Grace Holmgren, O, 20

            5.  Arry VanLieshout, SB, 20



            1.  Christy Braun, SB, 20

            2.  Russell Pudlo, SB, 18

            3.  Espen Walker, SB, 18

            4. Laura Zittlow, So Door, 17

            5. Scarlett Serafico, SB, 14




1. Sturgeon Bay, 263 points

2. NEW, 183

3. Oconto, 166

4. Algoma, 157

5. Southern Door, 147

6. Gibraltar, 130

7. Sevastopol, 120

8. Kewaunee, 113


JV results (10 total teams)

1. Sturgeon Bay 2, 236 points

2. Sturgeon Bay 3, 157

3. Kewaunee 2, 104

Egg Harbor joins UW Madison program

The Village of Egg Harbor will take part in an expanded UW-Madison program that brings students, faculty and community leaders together to help local governments address important needs.  The UniverCity Year program works with municipalities on challenges such as flooding mitigation, child care affordability, or highway expansion including bike and pedestrian-focused designs.   Egg Harbor Village Administrator Ryan Hiese says being part of UniverCity will help the community handle some projects in a more timely manner.


The UniverCity Year program is now marking its fifth year of operations. This year marks the first time it's working with multiple communities at once. 

Appearance date set for Minar

Former Franklin College president Thomas Minar will have his day in court after being arrested for charges related to child sex crimes in Sturgeon Bay earlier this month. According to the criminal complaint filed with the Door County Clerk of Courts Tuesday, Minar and an investigator with the Sturgeon Bay Police Department corresponded with each other on the mobile app Grindr seven different times on January 6th before making arrangements at a local restaurant to meet. While under arrest, Minar admitted to wanting to meet the 15-year-old the investigator was posing as, but denied wanting to take things further than that. He also admitted later to sending sexually explicit messages and pictures to the person he thought was a child. Minar was released on a $7,500 cash bond shortly after his arrest, but is due back in Door County Circuit Court on January 27th to face felony charges of child enticement-sexual contact, use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, and exposing a child to harmful material.

Industrial park gets sun power

Tenants at the Business Development Center in Sturgeon Bay will be getting some of their electricity through solar panels this year. Those panels are part of the Door County Economic Development Corporation's 2020 capital budget.  Part of the funding came from a WPPI renewable energy grant.  Jim Schuessler, with the DCEDC, says the conversion to LED lighting at the industrial park was very well received by tenants.  He says adding a solar array was a logical next step.


Schuessler says it's hoped that the success of solar power at the business development center will encourage other Door County businesses to seriously consider adding their own solar array. The Business Development Center system is scheduled to be operational by August 6th.

Tourism marketing bills aimed at B and B's

Legislation would require residences used for Airbnb and vacation rental by owner programs in all Wisconsin counties, including Door and Kewaunee, to fund tourism marketing efforts. Currently, those operations are not required to pay room taxes like motels or hotels. The Lodging Place Marketing bills are currently before the assembly and state senate.  Josh Van Lieshout, Chair of the Door County Tourism Zone Commission, says Door County has a pretty good participation rate with Airbnb and Vrbo.  He believes such fairness is needed statewide.


The Lodging Place Marketing bills have been introduced in Madison without being enacted.  Van Lieshout says he's confident the legislation will become law during this term.

Diseased trees in park targeted

A large number of diseased ash and beech trees in Potawatomi State Park in Sturgeon Bay will be cut down in the coming weeks.  The trees, infested by the emerald ash borer or by beech bark disease, cover about 185-acres or ten-percent of the park's acreage.  Professional foresters are guiding the harvests of the stricken trees.  Potawatomi State Park Superintendent Erin Brown-Stender says the harvest is needed to protect public safety.




The harvest of the diseased ash and beech trees will take place through May 15th of this year.  Trees not removed by that time will have to be cut down between October 15th of this year and May of 2021.   Some of the timber will be used for pulp and the remainder used for building materials.   

Sturgeon Bay Welcome Center gets new name

The official Welcome Center for Sturgeon Bay has a new name and logo for the new decade.  The former Sturgeon Bay Visitor Bureau is now known as “Destination Sturgeon Bay” while taking on a new brand.  Executive Director Pam Seiler says the change reflects all that is happening within Welcome Center walls.



This is the fourth name change to the organization that was originally known as the Sturgeon Bay Community Development Corporation in 1993.  The mission of Destination Sturgeon Bay remains to ensure a first-class visitor experience, helping local businesses grow, and enhancing Sturgeon Bay’s quality of life.   


Big Brother Big Sister event at DCMC

The impact of a local mentoring organization will be front and center this week in Sturgeon Bay.  Big Brothers Big Sisters of Door County and the Door County Medical Center is hosting a Lunch & Learn this Friday.  Deb Whitelaw-Gorski will share her experiences as a Big Sister.  Gorski has formed a strong bond with her little for the past five years.



Big Brothers Big Sisters Executive Director Patty O’Rourke will be on hand Friday providing on more information on becoming involved in the program.   The Lunch & Learn will be held at noon in Conference Room 1 at The Door County Medical Center.  The half-hour free event encourages attendees to bring their own lunch or just come with their questions about becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister.  


Sevastopol Plan Commission denies recommendation for Old Quarry Development permit

After a six-hour plus meeting Tuesday evening, the Sevastopol Plan Commission voted unanimously to deny the recommending approval of the Conditional Use Permit of a controversial Class A Motorhome village at the old stone-quarry on Bay Shore Drive. 


Quarry Bluff LLC filed for a Conditional Use Permit application last month to build a 117-unit village for recreational vehicles located near George Pinney County Park north of Sturgeon Bay.   The 57-acre parcel on the site of an old quarry would be developed by Tom Goelz and Mike Parent in the same style as similar resorts in Michigan.   The developers presented a comprehensive plan covering 17 aspects of the project and answered questions on Tuesday night. 


Supervisor and Plan Commission member Jim Nellen told the developers that they had put the plan commission in a difficult position by not providing enough complete information in the application. 


Over 20 people, many of which were members of the Bayshore Property Owners Association, spoke in opposition of the development citing environmental and safety concerns.  The Sevastopol Plan Commission ultimately voted 6-0 to deny the proposal and will refer concerns over the inconsistencies of the application back to the town board that meets next Monday.  The Sevastopol Plan Commission meeting concluded shortly before midnight Tuesday.

East Shore Industry clients help kindergarteners

A Kewaunee kindergarten class got a special visit from clients of East Shore Industries this past Monday.  Serving as reading buddies to the students of Carol Cisler’s kindergarten class, the volunteers from East Shore Industries connected with the students and shared experiences.  Cisler says she was approached by East Shore Industries a few years ago about the idea.  She notes that the children eagerly look forward to the “reading buddy” day that occurs twice during the school year.



Cisler adds that the adults enjoy participating in the reading as much as her kindergarten students enjoy listening.  East Shore Industries is located in Algoma and assists individuals with disabilities to obtain their personal independence and employment goals. 


(photo courtesy of Kewaunee Schools) 


Town looks to set up improvement fund

You could soon donate money to help fund different projects in the town of Liberty Grove. The town is discussing the possibility of setting up a community improvement 501 (c) 3 foundation, which would allow donors to designate money to either fund entirely or lower the town’s expense for different projects. Town chairperson John Lowry says the idea came from a community near Wausau and believes it might make sense for Liberty Grove.

Lowry says if they approve proceeding with the plans to set up the fund that they would likely request help from the Door County Community Foundation. The Liberty Grove Town Board will meet on Wednesday at  6 p.m.

O'Hern receives BUG's Golden Axe

One of the founding members of the Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department got a little extra recognition for his hard work and dedication on Saturday. At the volunteer department’s annual firefighter appreciation party, Captain Pat O’Hern was awarded the Golden Axe Award, given to the member who has gone above and beyond their duty over the past year. O’Hern is one of four firefighters with at least 30 years of service, but BUG Fire Chief Curt Vandertie says that is not slowing him down.

The BUG Fire Department recognized 14 firefighters with at least 15 years of service including 35-year veterans Mark DeKeyser and Jim Wautier. Vandertie says he was also proud to officially welcome seven new members that have joined the department over the last year.


Picture courtesy of Curt Vandertie, pictured with Wautier (Left) and O'Hern (Center)

Dresses get new life

That dress in your closet from homecoming or prom dances of yesteryear could put money in your pocket and help out 4-H members in Kewaunee County. For the last five years, the Kewaunee County 4-H Teen Association has organized the Prom Dress Sale as a way to raise funds for its different projects throughout the year and to give residents a chance to look even prettier for less. Kewaunee County UW-Extension 4-H Educator Jill Jorgensen says the teen association has made a big contribution to the community over the years one consignment at a time.

The Kewaunee County 4-H Teen Association Prom Dress Sale runs Thursday through Saturday. 



College president arrested in Sturgeon Bay

An alleged sex crime in Sturgeon Bay has cost the job of an Indiana college president.


On Monday afternoon, multiple Indiana news outlets began reporting about the incident that led to the firing of Thomas Minar from Franklin College, located south of Indianapolis.  According to RTV6 Indianapolis, Minar was reportedly arrested by the Sturgeon Bay Police Department earlier this month on a variety of charges including using a computer to facilitate a sex crime, child enticement, and exposing a child to harmful materials.  Franklin College officials have since fired Minar from his role six months before he was expected to step down.


In an email to, District Attorney Colleen Nordin says the anticipated charges include Attempted Child Enticement and Exposing a Child to Harmful Materials.  A criminal complaint has not yet been filed, but Nordin believes it will be filed within the next couple of days. 

Dairies dwindle but milk prices rise

The state of Wisconsin suffered the single biggest decline in dairy farms last year, but milk prices are offering some hope to local farmers.  The latest numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection show that the state lost 818 dairy farms in 2019.  That reflects a ten percent drop from the 8110 licensed dairy farms a year ago.  Rich Olson from Olson Family Farm in southern Door County says the good news for existing farmers is that the price of milk has been trending up.  He believes a better balance of supply and demand will help dairy farmers in the long run.



The state has lost over 5600 farms in the past decade which is a 44 percent drop.  Progressive Diary projects that if realized, 2020 milk production will rise 2.6 percent from 2019.  


Walking can help with feeling better -- Mental Health Minute

Taking a daily stroll can have many positive impacts on your mental health as well as your physical wellbeing.  Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White suggests finding a partner to walk with and just make the commitment to do it every day.  He says walking is the closest thing to perfect exercise.



Dr. White adds that if the challenge of walking is daunting for you because you are out of shape or the weather is too cold, just bundle up and start with a short 10-minute walk.  You can listen to Dr. Dennis White’s entire Mental Health Minute with the audio link below.



Officially no contested races in Sturgeon Bay 

The deadline extension for candidates to submit nomination papers for District 4 in Sturgeon Bay passed last Friday without any new names for the April 7th ballot.  Newcomer Spencer Gustafson will be the only person running for the seat as incumbent Kelly Avenson decided not to run and failed to fill out non-candidacy papers in time for last month’s deadline.  Gustafson says he chose to run for office in order to get city projects completed, especially along the west side waterfront.



Councilmembers David Hayes from District 2 and Seth Wiederanders of District 6 will run unopposed on the ballot except for any write-in candidates. 


Free Throw Championship draws huge turnout

Thirty-seven area youth participated in the annual Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship last Friday in Sturgeon Bay.  The competition held at the St. John Bosco Gymnasium was open to all boys and girls from nine to 14 years old.  Organizer and K of C member Jeff Bruemmer attributed the big turnout to the additional support received.



The 11 winners will now advance to the District Level competition which will be held at St. John Bosco’s gym on Saturday, February 1.  You can find a list of the winners from the Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship below.
Girls (age and name)
9  Sadie Rikkola
11  Yarrow Goettleman
12  Alanah Kaye
13  Ashlyn Delfosse
14   Libby Scheer


Boys (age and name)
9    Quintyn Schwartz
10   Vincent Price
11  Timothy Dean
12  Levi Ullman
13  Kordell Anderson
14 Oliver Matthews


(Photo submitted) 


Fire department lends hand with child seats

The Sturgeon Bay Fire Department is doing its part to help make sure children driving in car seats are doing so safely. According to the Journal of Pediatrics, 95 percent of parents made mistakes when installing their child safety seats and positioning their babies in them. Issues included twisted straps, loose harnesses, and incorrect seat belt and anchor slots. Sturgeon Bay Assistant Fire Chief Kalin Montevideo is a certified child passenger safety technician and helps parents make sure their car seats are installed and used properly. She recommends everyone with a child in a car seat get theirs checked out.

The Sturgeon Bay Fire Department conducts child safety seat installation and checks by appointment only at its East Side Fire Station. Montevideo recommends bringing your child to make sure everything is used and fits appropriately.

Krohn earns industry's life member award

The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association has honored one of Luxemburg’s own with its Life Member Award. Agropur’s Cheese Technical Manager Roger Krohn was recently named the award’s 89th recipient after a long career in the industry which includes dozens of awards for his mozzarella and provolone cheese varieties. After joining the dairy industry when he was 14 years old working alongside his dad, Krohn is proud to join him as a Life Member Award recipient.

Krohn cites the industry’s technology evolution as being pivotal to allowing him and other Master Cheesemakers to make award-winning products on a larger scale.

Gibraltar alums get Disney treatment

Never in a million years did Gibraltar fifth grade teacher Devin Thomas think he would perform in “High School Musical” again. The first time was in 2007 as a student, but he and some of his classmates got a chance to do it one more time for the Disney+ show “Encore.” The episode takes viewers behind the scenes of putting on the production at a packed Door Community Auditorium this summer with eight of its lead actors. One of those actors was Allison Pfeifer, who had a softball injury that prevented her from playing the lead female in the show and put Kayla Schleicher into the brighter spotlight. Thomas says it was a thrill performing the show again with old friends and doing it in front of his wife and young daughter.

Thomas says the feedback from friends and family has been outstanding since the episode debuted on the streaming service on Friday.


Picture courtesy of Lizz Thomas



Extension nets two more board candidates

Two Kewaunee County Board seats received extra candidates and one other spot could go to a write-in following the extended nomination paper filing deadline last Friday. Prospective candidates in Districts 4, 5, and 7 got extra time to file their paperwork with Kewaunee County Clerk Jamie Annoye after Robert Weidner, Kent Treml, and Charles Schmitt did not declare their non-candidacy for their seats until after the December 27th deadline. That allowed Doak Baker to join the ballot as the District 4 candidate and Timothy Kinnard to run against Lisa Cochart for the District 7 seat. District 5 could now go to a write-in candidate after no one submitted nomination papers to replace Treml before Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline. There will be a total of five contested races when the spring election takes place on April 7th.

Flu sparing Door County so far

Public Health Director Sue Powers says influenza is not affecting Door County in the same manner as it has ravaged other parts of the State of Wisconsin. Locally, the problem is the severity of the flu. There have been real consequences for those suffering, both old and young.


Powers reminds residents that it is not too late to get a flu shot. Vaccines are available from the Department of Public Health in addition to private clinics and are not in short supply. That applies to both the adult and children’s versions.


Kewaunee shores up waterfront

Kewaunee Mayor Sandi Christman is leaving office after her current term wraps up later this year. When asked what issue stands out that she wishes she could have done more to address, the flooding downtown was her first response. The new mayor will inherit a task force set up to review options for the City of Kewaunee to mitigate damage to the marina and surrounding area.


Lake Michigan has seen similar water levels in the past, namely the late 1980’s, that did not see as many complications. Christman says experts believe that easterly winds have driven in the surf to the Kewaunee harbor in an unprecedented manner. She says they believe climate change is a factor.


Egg Harbor library gets cozy

Door County winters can be long and unforgiving so the Egg Harbor library is borrowing a Norse tradition to help residents bear the cold and snow. Adult Service Librarian Laura Kayacan explains the concept of Hygge.


Hygge Fridays will be paired with family events such as Children’s Story Hour and reading to a therapy dog making it the perfect remedy for cabin fever. The Egg Harbor branch of the Door County Library System is located at the Kress Pavilion.


Door County stargazing now easier

Some technical upgrades at the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society observatory in Sturgeon Bay are bringing the heavens into clearer focus with easier access.  Two new telescopes and cameras are now in operation at the observatory along with an 80-inch video monitor.  David Lenius, President of the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society, says the new equipment brings distant celestial objects into clearer view for a few more people at the observatory and on the internet.




Lenius says the new telescopes and cameras are similar to those previously found at colleges or universities. More information on how to access the live web feeds is available with this story on our website.

Gibraltar happy to see school construction end

As construction winds down at Gibraltar High School, several area organizations are breathing a sigh of relief, especially the Door County Auditorium. The building holds roughly 290 events in a year and sharing access with a facility undergoing wholesale changes has been challenging for the Auditorium according to Executive Director Cari Lewis.


Additionally, the auditorium shares a power source and water service with the school. While construction was ongoing, both were prone to outages. It’s not clear sailing yet as Highway 42 is about to be repaved. Come June, though, getting to the theatre should be a breeze.


Local rink pushed back to next year

Kewaunee County officials have been nervous for months about getting the planned ice rink at Dana Farm built for this winter. They are now conceding that it is not going to happen. Kewaunee County Tourism Coordinator Jennifer Gonzalez says it’s Mother Nature’s fault.




Dana Farm is located near the existing Winter Park and it is the goal of the county to promote both venues as a one-stop seasonal destination. Winter Park reopened this weekend on a limited basis as cooler temperatures allowed for snow to be made overnight.

Ellison Bay parade sees time change

This year’s Groundhog’s Day Parade in Ellison Bay is moving to an earlier timeslot. February 2nd is a Sunday and according to Mickey Rasch of Door County North, it shares a spot on the calendar with a very famous championship game in 2020.



The event normally steps off at 4 PM and can draw upwards of seven floats plus other groups and marchers. Afterward, the congregation heads to the Mink River Basin for “groundhog stew.” Name aside, the recipe does not actually call for the inclusion of groundhog in any capacity.


Photo courtesy of Ellison Bay Groundhog Day Facebook page.

YMCA coach plans national meet

On Saturday, Door County YMCA Aquatics Director Mike McHugh was overseeing one of three meets held throughout the year at the Sturgeon Bay location. This summer, he will have his hand in the YMCA’s national meet. McHugh is one of a handful of YMCA swim instructors selected by his peers to be on the planning commission. He wants to add excitement.


The Door County Y has over 130 participants in its program.


Algoma artist featured on PBS

Algoma artist Bren Sibilsky was the feature interview on Thursday’s episode of Wisconsin Life, seen on PBS stations across the state. Sibilsky says she does not know exactly what prompted the show to seek her out and that the interview was taped during a terrible snowstorm last spring. Sibilsky has always loved the arts and knew she wanted it to become a career as a young girl. She has been trained in a variety of mediums but feels closest to sculpting.


Sibilsky also offers instruction out of her studio. You can find the PBS interview online now. Replays of the segment will air in the coming weeks and months.


You can aid local tourism

The Door County Visitors Bureau begins its 2020 Certified Tourism Ambassador program Tuesday at the Door County Maritime Museum. There are 11 classes held throughout the year at various locations. Each class is four hours and is a standalone session meaning that students become certified after one lesson. Membership Manager Yvonne Torres says there is a renewal process in place that must be done annually upon completing the course. 


The Visitor’s Bureau teams up with the Tourism Ambassador Institute to help train those who interact with tourists in the area to make Door County an attractive destination. Much of the curriculum focuses on area history.


Local police department hiring new officer

There has been a shakeup in the upper ranks of the City of Kewaunee Police Department. Frank Salentine retired as Police Chief last October with veteran officer James Kleiman taking over responsibilities on January 3rd. On Monday, Robin Mueller was promoted to Assistant Chief and that leaves a void that should be filled by the beginning of next month. The deadline for applications has passed with interviews for a new officer set to be conducted the last week of January. Kleiman says the requirements to be an officer in the city have changed significantly in the past two decades.


Kleiman says the transition to Police Chief is going smoothly and he expects the hiring process to be a generally pleasant experience as well.


Prey fish feeling squeeze

Tuesday evening at 7:00 PM at Crossroads at Big Creek, Dr. David “Bo” Bunnell will be giving a talk as part of the Fish Tales Lecture Series. He says that his speech will address the squeeze currently happening to prey fish like alewives and smelt. Fish in the middle of the food chain are smaller than they once were due to the effects of quagga mussels removing plankton, a food source for the prey fish. Bunnell thinks there is another aspect that should be researched as well.


Bunnell is worried that the additional stocking set to take place of trophy species like trout, bass, and salmon that feed on prey fish could add further stress to the ecosystem as a whole.


Simple tests help fix radon dangers

Simple testing can help homeowners in Kewaunee and Door Counties reduce the dangers of radon.  The odorless, radioactive gas is generated by the natural decaying of uranium.  At elevated levels that can cause lung cancer even among non-smokers.  The EPA says about five-to-ten percent of Wisconsin homes have elevated levels of radon on their main floors.  Cindy Kinnard, Kewaunee County Public Health Director, says simple, inexpensive radon tests can help determine whether repair work is needed to reduce health risks.




January is National Radon Action Month. Radon test kits are available through local hardware and home improvement stores or can be purchased for $8.00 at the Kewaunee County Health Department on Lincoln Street in Kewaunee.

Bill would clamp down on payday lenders

Payday lenders in Door and Kewaunee counties and statewide would have to limit the maximum interest rates they charge under a bill now before the Wisconsin legislature.  The proposal would mirror limitations adopted at the federal level.  The bill's sponsor, State Senator Andre Jacque of De Pere, says it would expand those interest rate caps that were originally designed to help families of military personnel.




Currently, Wisconsin is among 27 states where payday or short-term loans are legal.  14 other states and the District of Columbia outlaw the practice.

Local businesses encouraged to enter competition

The Wisconsin Technology Council hopes to see more Sturgeon Bay businesses enter this year’s Governor’s Business Plan Competition. President Tom Still says the city’s manufacturing base gets overshadowed at times by the tourism industry but has a lot going for it.


Contest categories include advanced manufacturing, business services, information technology, and life sciences. Still points out that you don’t have to be a pure technology play like that seen in Silicon Valley to qualify. Entries are submitted here.


L-C gym dedication happening soon

There will be a dedication ceremony for the new gym at Luxemburg-Casco High School Sunday, January 26th from 3-5 PM. The event is being carefully planned to highlight how student-athletes will benefit from the new facilities says Superintendent Glenn Schlender. 


The event will begin with speeches from representatives of the school district, the construction firm, and local politicians. The state champion volleyball team will be offering guided tours for those who attend. The event is open to everyone.


Heyn tapped as Algoma administrator

Algoma officials hope its new administrator can use his past experience to help the city grow. The Algoma City Council named Jared Heyn as its new administrator earlier this month after the position was vacated by Jeff Wiswell last March. Heyn has served the village of Bellevue over the last three years as its assistant to the administrator. In that time, Bellevue has not just tacked on new residents to its population but its business base as well. Algoma Mayor Wayne Schmidt hopes Heyn can have similar success in his new role.

Heyn will begin his duties as the Algoma City Administrator on February 3rd.

No nursing shortage at new center 

Although healthcare is projected to have a Registered Nurse shortage that is only expected to intensify as Baby Boomers age, a new local skilled nursing facility is currently well-staffed.  Nancy Bohrman, the nursing home administrator for the Pete and Jelaine Horton Skilled Nursing and Hospice Care Center in Sturgeon Bay, says the commitment shown by employees has helped to provide consistent long term care as well as work longevity.



The 30-room, state-of-the-art facility opened this last August.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that over the next six years, more than 438,000 new RN jobs are projected to be added to the workforce nationally.  


Firefighter honored in Sturgeon Bay

The City of Sturgeon Bay honored long-time firefighter Ken Doell this past week.  Lt. Doell retired on Tuesday from the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department after over 38 years of service.  Mayor David Ward presented a proclamation to Doell prior to the Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting declaring January 7th "Ken Doell Day" in Sturgeon Bay.   An emotional Doell  was humbled by the recognition.



Doell received a wrist watch from the city as well as a placque from the local Sturgeon Bay Firefighter union in appreciation of his service.   

Severe winter weather returns this weekend

With the National Weather Service issuing a severe weather warning for most of Wisconsin including Door and Kewaunee counties this weekend, local law enforcement is warning drivers that driving conditions into Sunday will warrant extra precautions.  Up to six inches of snowfall is projected with a second wave of snow in the area.  The winter storm is expected to start Saturday afternoon and continue overnight.  Heavy snow with gusty winds and blowing snow are expected to make travel difficult until at least Sunday morning.  The National Weather Service says there is still a high amount of uncertainty in the snowfall amounts as forecast models do not agree on exactly how the winter storm system will track.    


Farmers working ahead of future issues

Mother Nature helped farmers out earlier this week with drier weather so they could get out to their fields, but many are not out of trouble yet. A resolution addressing a potential manure spreading and storage emergency was withdrawn last month in Kewaunee County after getting some clarification from the Department of Natural Resources. The issues will likely still be there in the spring as the area recovers from two years of above-average rainfall. Rio Creek Feed Mill agronomist Adam Barta is already working with his farmers to plan for alternative strategies if it is wet for a third straight year.

In the meantime,  Ryan Erisman from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection advises farmers to use its Runoff Risk Advisory Forecast, which takes into account future weather models, before heading out.

Residents have sounded off their concern at recent Land and Water Conservation Committee meetings citing possible groundwater contamination risks due to runoff and spill incidents.

Local feel not disappearing from bass tournament

Despite the Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament going under new management last month, JJ Malvitz says you can expect only improvements in the future. Federation Angler took over the reins of the event last month, bringing in years of experience in organizing tournaments across North America. Malvitz says the partnership will allow the tournament to run more efficiently without losing that local flavor.

Malvitz says favorite auxiliary events like Kids Day will remain. Registration is open for the 30th annual North American Bass Challenge Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament, which takes place on May 15th and 16th.

Water Quality Task Force releases plan

Up to $10 million could be directed to address water quality concerns in Wisconsin after a task force featuring two local legislators released their recommendations Wednesday. Rep. Joel Kitchens of Sturgeon Bay and Senator Andre Jacque of De Pere were on the bipartisan Speaker’s Task Force on Water Quality which produced 13 proposals after hosting a year-long series of hearings across the state.  Kitchens says one of those proposals, the creation of a nitrogen optimization pilot program, could help producer-led watershed groups like Peninsula Pride Farms take their work to the next level.

Forming additional committees, creating grant programs, and banning the sale of coal-tar based sealant products are just some of the other recommendations made by the task force. Kitchens hopes many of the proposals will be taken up by the Wisconsin Legislature in the coming weeks.


Read the full report here

Former Fairests relish opportunity

They may have not finished in the top five overall, but Claire Olson and Paige Bellin are proud of what they were able to accomplish at this year’s Wisconsin Fairest of the Fair competition. Olson, the 2018 Door County Fairest of the Fair, got to see two of her classmates from UW-River Falls place in the top 5 of the competition, including the winner from Fond du Lac County Cayley Vande Berg. Olson says it was great to interact with them and the other contestants.

Meeting people with diverse backgrounds was the favorite part of the competition for Bellin, the 2019 Kewaunee County Fairest of Fair. She says she learned a lot during the experience.

The Wisconsin Association of Fairs Convention was the last act as Fairest for both Olson and Bellin. Olson will continue her agriculture studies at UW-River Falls while Bellin works as a Marketing Assistant at Dental Health Products in New Franken. Both girls do hope to continue to give back to their fairs and the Fairest programs.



Sturgeon Bay sets pace in Math Meet

Eight area schools competed in Oconto for the first Packerland Conference Math Meet of the year this past Monday.  Perennial powerhouse Sturgeon Bay captured first place with 300 points.  Sturgeon Bay coach and math teacher Cliff Wind says the success of his teams over the years has developed a winning culture.



Sturgeon Bay has won the conference for 18 consecutive years and placed well in state competitions.  You can find the complete results from Monday’s first Packerland Conference Math Meet below.



            1.  Marina Jeanquart, SB, 37 points

            Tie 2.  Michael Laxo and DJ Lenius, SB, 37

            4.  Fletcher Hubbard, SB, 35

            5.  Nick Herbst, SB, 35



            1.  Jack Hitzeman, Gib, 37                             

Tie 2.  Abram Abeyta and Henry Pudlo, SB 37

            4.  Carter Henry, SB, 31

            5.  Molly Fei, NEW, 30



            1.  Maggie Stephens, SB, 31

            2.  Cole Pierucki, Oconto, 29

            3.  Arry VanLieshout, SB, 27

            4.  Andrew Konop, SB, 26

            5.  Phillip McKeefry, Oconto, 24



            1.  Christy Braun, SB, 30

            2.  Laura Zittlow, So Door, 18

            3.  Matthew Zittlow, So Door, 17

            4.  Luke Nell, NEW, 16

            5.  Russell Pudlo, SB, 14




1. Sturgeon Bay, 300 points

2. NEW, 209

3. Sevastopol, 188

4. Kewaunee, 181

5. Algoma, 173

6. Oconto, 166

7. Southern Door, 157

8. Gibraltar, 144


JV results (9 total teams)

1. Sturgeon Bay 2, 260 points

2. Sturgeon Bay 3, 153

3. Oconto 2, 113


Area inns getting playoff guests

Motels and inns around Door and Kewaunee counties are seeing more bookings for Sunday's Packers-Seahawks playoff game.     That comes as many lodging options close to Lambeau Field are filling as kickoff time gets closer.  Some Packers fans exercise their options to stay in Door and Kewaunee counties during the regular season.  Bob Davis, the owner of the Scenic Shore Inn, says that's continuing in the post-season.  Half of his rooms are drawing fans looking for a quiet pregame experience with all the amenities at a good price.



Other hotels and motels are working with the Greater Green Bay and the Lakeshore Visitors Bureau to attract budget-conscious fans.  Nancy Bertz, the General Manager and Co-owner of the Stone Harbor Resort in Sturgeon Bay, says that proving popular with Packers fans just looking to make an overnight stay.



According to some travel booking websites, rooms in the Green Bay area are going for between $200 and $400 a night.

High water levels raise village concerns

With water levels likely to remain elevated for the immediate future, the village of Ephraim is already looking ahead to what may need to be done. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation was forced to add about 400 feet of rock erosion barrier near Brookside Drive last month because culverts became clogged with rocks and sediment washed ashore. Village administrator Brent Bristol says they are now looking at other areas of the village possibly in need of extra attention.

Bristol says it is too early to nail down specific areas of focus until elevation data comes back, but highlighted Anderson Dock, the shorefront, and the village hall as sites of possible concern.

Luxemburg storage units at risk

A man arrested for storage unit thefts committed in Grand Chute in mid-December could have hit Kewaunee County communities. He was arrested after investigative units from the city’s police force witnessed him committing similar crimes in other towns. On January 3rd, officers surveilled Patrick Lind as he robbed units in Plover and they helped arrest him in conjunction with the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department on January 6th while he was in the act in Maribel.  Community Resource Officer Travis Waas says that investigators believe that Lind visited Luxemburg recently. Anyone renting a storage unit in town between December 15th and January 6th should check the safety of their property. Vigilance is urged for those outside of Luxemburg as well.


If you think your unit was broken into, please contact local police immediately. 




Work begins for voucher writers

After volunteers in Kewaunee County raised over $20,000 in funds for the Salvation Army, voucher writers like Sheriff Matt Joski can help make sure that money is put to good use. Donation sites in Algoma raised the most money for the organization, raking in over $8.700 in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Joski calls the totals impressive since many of the donations come in as handfuls of change and scrunched up bills. He says now he and fellow voucher writer Brenda Stoller must make sure the money gets distributed to the right people throughout the year to address short term needs like utilities, rent, and clothing.

Beneficiaries of the money raised do not apply but are rather referred to the voucher writers by local organizations like churches. They are then interviewed to determine if they are eligible and how much they can get. 



Although this topic may be a carryover from the holidays, it also has relevance throughout the year. While most holiday charitable giving campaigns are focused on helping those in need during the holidays, the Salvation Army Kettle Campaign is unique in that the funds donated are dispersed throughout the year. Just as in the past, this year’s Kewaunee County Kettle Campaign was a testimony to the generosity of our communities. Over all, we received $20,756.54 in donations between November 23rd and December 24th. Leading the giving once again was the Algoma sites with a total of $8,754.97 followed by Luxemburg at $6,439.31 and Kewaunee at $4,187.26

These are some impressive numbers when you consider that most of these donations are mostly small amounts as people come and go from the Kettle sites. We would like to thank the businesses who allow us to place these kettles along with the bell ringing volunteers in their entrances. We would also like to thank the many volunteers who took time from their lives to ring bells and encourage giving. There is no way we would have been as successful in our fund raising had the bell ringers not been at the sites as often as they were. I am always encouraged by the many new faces that volunteer each year and look forward to more new faces next season.


I would like to thank Jerry Guth for all of his efforts and that of his team for doing an amazing job once again in the Algoma area. I would also like to thank Annette Wust for her coordination at the Luxemburg sites. Looks like I need to pick up my game in the Kewaunee area, although I need to thank my dear Mother Pat Joski for her endless hours camped out at the Kewaunee Piggly Wiggly kettle!


Big thanks also to all of the Nicolet Bank staff who process all of the transactions and patiently sort the contents of the Kettles. Many hours were spent flattening out all of the rolled up, crunched up and otherwise jammed packed currency from the kettles that are brought in.


It is important to note that these funds stay here in Kewaunee County to help those around us who find themselves in short term need. These needs could be due to a sudden loss of employment, or an unexpected medical bill. In these instances, the resources are sent directly to the vendor so that there is no doubt that the money is going towards its intended purpose.


I, along with Brenda Stoller have the unique privilege of being Voucher Writers for the Salvation Army here in Kewaunee County which allows us to meet with and assist our neighbors throughout the year for needs such as Utilities, Rent, Lodging, Food, Clothing, and Fuel. While we may be the persons filling out the voucher for them, we know that we are merely a representative of our community and all of its amazing generosity. We are grateful for this role we play in changing people’s lives for the better, and we would encourage anyone who has an interest to please join our county unit of the Salvation Army. We meet on a quarterly basis and are always looking for fresh insight and perspective on how we can better serve our community. Please give me a call if you are interested.

Highway departments still busy between winter storms

The gaps between winter storms in Door and Kewaunee counties have kept graders, salters and snowplows fairly idle. The same cannot be said, however, for highway department road crews.  Even when there's little to no snow falling on roadways, Door County Highway Commissioner John Kolodziej says there's more than enough work to keep employees very busy.

Kolodziej also says the gaps between winter storms are being used to train staff for some operational changes in his department. A Saturday storm could put an end to the break as six to ten inches of snow is expected to fall. 

State Senator Hansen to retire

Veteran Democratic State Senator Dave Hansen says he's retiring when his current term ends in January 2021.  That will mark the end of his 20th year in the state senate.  Hansen, who turned 72 in December, says after discussing the possibility of retirement with his family the final decision was easier to make.



Hansen was one of the “Wisconsin 14”, a group of senators who fled the state to protest Act 10 which stripped state employees of most collective bargaining rights.  That act was eventually passed into law.  Hansen says he's proud of legislation he sponsored with senate Republicans that became law.  Though he says he laments the trend toward declining bipartisanship.


In addition to winning his five senate races handily in the 30th district, Hansen also overwhelmingly won a 2011 recall election.  Prior to being elected to the state senate in 2000, he served for six years on the Brown County Board of Supervisors. 

Students thank resource officer

A simple gesture Thursday gave Sevastopol School Resource officer Mark Hilsabeck an extra sense of pride in the work he does with students and staff. Sevastopol Elementary School students donned blue apparel as a part of National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. 4K students even made a banner for Hilsabeck featuring their handprints and a thank you. Hilsabeck says it meant a lot to him to see such a sign of support.

Hilsabeck was assigned to Sevastopol as a part of the school resource officer program deployed by the Door County Sheriff’s Department this academic year at three area districts.

Local Methodists ponder proposed denominational split

Leaders of six United Methodist Church congregations in Door and Kewaunee counties are preparing for a possible split into two national denominations come spring.  That proposal would form one denomination that follows traditional UMC teachings, including ordinances against same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay clergy.  The other denomination would embrace  “all are welcome” policies to include members of the LGBTQ community.   The proposed split was drawn up at last year's UMC general conference and could be decided when church leaders meet in Minneapolis in May.  Reverend Jennifer Emert, with the Algoma West Kewaunee United Methodist Church, says members of her congregation want to see a resolution. However, they are also raising financial concerns about the reorganization.


Reverend Emert says the majority of her congregation voted to join the progressive branch of the United Methodist Church if, and when, the split is approved. 

Clinics taking steps to limit exposure to flu

Medical clinics in Door and Kewaunee counties are taking steps to prevent the spread of the flu as more people are coming in for treatment.  The numbers of flu cases are rising earlier than usual this year.  That's prompted hospitals nationwide to restrict visitors to those 14 years and older.  Kelly McBride Moore, Bellin Health Communications Specialist, says there are no visitor restrictions at any of its clinics, though people are being asked to follow some simple steps.


Those precautions are in use at Bellin Health clinics and walk-in facilities in Sturgeon Bay, Algoma, Luxemburg, and Kewaunee. 

Legal pot a moneymaker for local governments

Wisconsin communities, including those in Door and Kewaunee counties, could benefit from legal cannabis sales like those in Illinois.  The first two days that marijuana could be purchased legally in Illinois generated $5.4-million dollars, with many buyers driving south from Wisconsin.  Taxes on legal cannabis mean new revenues for state, county and local governments.  Sturgeon Bay City Alderman Seth Wiederanders says that's something local communities could benefit from if Wisconsin legalized marijuana.


Wiederanders also favors legal marijuana for its health properties for people undergoing chemotherapy treatment for cancer, glaucoma or other diseases. 

Sturgeon Bay police corral car thief

Just after 11 PM on Monday, Sturgeon Bay Police received a call about a stolen vehicle near Egg Harbor Road and 14th Avenue. Initially, officers could not locate the automobile but a tip came in of a man who was hiding in a garage about a mile away. The suspect was on foot. 

The police came across the vehicle on Rhode Island Place, not far from where the forced entry had occurred and they were able to corner the suspect and arrest him after a struggle. The suspect is 27-year old Jacob Miller. Miller threatened to kill one of the officers who apprehended him, spit at several officers on scene, and also attempted to kick them. Miller is subject to a host of charges including vehicle theft, operating while intoxicated, trespassing, and more.




One name on ballot to replace Kewaunee mayor

Last month, City of Kewaunee Mayor Sandi Christman announced that she would not seek re-election in April. The race will be uncontested as only one candidate has been placed on the ballot for the open seat. Jason Jelinik, currently District One Alderman, will run unopposed. Jelinik’s term on the Common Council ends in April.

Vying to replace Jelinek in District One is Jeffrey Vollenweider. James Brewster will run in District Two, Janita Zimmerman in District Three, and Dan Stangel in District Four. There is only one candidate on the ballot for each of the four races. Of those eligible, Zimmerman and Stangel are incumbents.


Algoma races to be uncontested in April

City Clerk Jamie Jackson shared the list of candidates who will appear on the ballot in April’s Algoma municipal elections. The races for mayor and all four districts will be uncontested.

Mayor – Wayne R. Schmidt

1st District – Kevin J. Schmidt

2nd District – Scott J. Meverden

3rd District – Casey Buhr

4th District – Jake Maring

Buhr is the only eligible candidate who is not an incumbent. He will be replacing Alderperson Eugene Cleveland who gave notice last month that he would not be seeking re-election.


Sturgeon Bay Council election looks to have only one name on ballots; Avenson not running

Any competition for the Sturgeon Bay Common Council seats in the April election will likely be by write-in ballots.  After Tuesday’s deadline for nomination papers, District 2 Incumbent David Hayes will seek re-election along with District 6 representative Seth Wiederanders.  In District 4, Kelly Avenson has chosen not to run for re-election while Spencer Gustafson has turned in papers and looks to take over her position.  Since Avenson did not file non-candidacy papers, District 4’s deadline for filing has been extended to 5 pm Friday.  A primary will only be necessary if two additional people file for candidacy in District 4 by Friday.   

Few contested races for Door County Board

The spring election for the 21 Door County Board of Supervisors will have only a few with more than one name on each district’s ballot.  After nomination papers had to be turned in by 5 pm Tuesday, the District 3 seat will have incumbent Roy Engelbert challenged by Patrick Olson and Lora Jorgenson.  Jorgenson ran and lost to Engelbert in the recall election back in November over the Forestville Mill Pond controversy.  District 4 will have current supervisor Jon Koch taking on Kara Counard.  Other races that will have more than one name on the ballot will be District 9 which will have Incumbent Laura Vlies Wotachek facing off with Dan Williams and District 16 featuring Incumbent Randy Halstead being challenged by Elizabeth Gauger.  Supervisors John Neinas and Linda Wait, from Districts 2 and 14 respectively, have chosen not to run for re-election.  Todd Thayse looks to take over for Neinas while Dale Vogel will look to fill Wait’s position.  The spring election is set for April 7. 




(Ballot Order to be determined after 1/7/20) Date Out NON 
1 David R. Englebert (I) 12-16-19 1-6-20 
2 John H Neinas (I) 11-19-19 
Todd Thayse 11-20-19 1-2-20 
3 Roy Englebert (I) 12-2-19 12-19-19 Patrick Olson 12-9-19 12-17-19 Lora Jorgensen 12-19-19 1-6-20 
4 Jon Koch (I) 11-21-19 12-23-19 
Kara Counard 1-7-20 
5 Nancy Robillard (I) 11-13-19 12-27-19 
6 Susan Kohout (I) 12-2-19 12-16-19 
7 Helen Bacon (I) 11-19-19 12-31-19 
Erin Tauscher 12-17-19 1-6-20 
8 Daniel Austad (I) 11-13-19 12-4-19 
Charles E. Olson 11-20-19 
9 Laura Vlies Wotachek (I) 12-17-19 1-3-20 Dan Williams 1-6-20 
10 Kenneth F. Fisher (I) 12-2-19 12-9-19 
11 Megan Lundahl (I) 12-9-19 1-6-20 
12 Nissa Norton (I) 12-2-19 1-6-20 
13 Alexis Heim Peter (I) 12-9-19 12-27-19 
14 Linda D Wait (I) 11-12-19 
Dale Vogel 11-15-19 12-4-19 
15 Richard Biz Virlee (I) 11-27-19 12-16-19 
16 Randy Halstead (I) 11-14-19 1-6-20 Elizabeth Gauger 11-22-19 12-4-19 
17 David M. Enigl (I) 12-3-19 12-26-19 
18 Vinni Chomeau (I) 12-12-19 12-19-19 
19 Bob Bultman (I) 12-2-19 1-6-20 
20 David Lienau (I) 11-18-19 1-7-20 
21 Joel Gunnlaugsson (I) 12-17-19 12-23-19 



Small market grocers thriving despite bigger competition

As larger grocery chains continue to expand and invest in cities throughout the state, independent supermarkets are able to continue to grow and remain relevant.  Kroger Foods, which purchased Pick n’ Save four years ago, has invested $350 million in Wisconsin, according to a USA Today article last week.  Alex Stodola, manager of Stodola’s IGA in Luxemburg, says listening to customers and being community-minded are two big reasons his store can compete with the larger supermarkets.



Smaller independent grocers also find competition from dollar stores and convenience stores where customers can shop.  Stodola’s IGA is planning a new online shopping program that will begin this spring.   


Wills and estate plans serve different purposes

A smooth succession in a local business or the distribution of your family assets requires putting everything in writing and not leaving the decision to the courts.  Two important documents can help make sure your wishes are met after you die.  Attorney Bob Ross of Ross Estate Planning in Sturgeon Bay explains the major differences between a simple will and an estate plan.



Ross adds that an estate plan requires conversations with family members and even your doctor.  He says that way any end-of-life decisions are made in advance and your wealth and values are passed on to your family members.

Windows update deadline approaching

Your computer will not stop working on January 15th when the deadline to update your computer to Windows 10 comes, but you could open yourself to other issues.  January 14th is when support ends for all machines running Windows 7, which means owners could open themselves up to security failures while forfeiting other features improving the user experience after that date. It is even more important to makes sure you update your computers at work, whether you have cyber insurance or not according to Quantum PC owner Nathan Drager.

Drager says Quantum PC has been busy but keeping up with the demand of Windows 10 updates, which includes the new software and data transfer. Quantum PC provided over 50 such upgrades in December with a portion of those sales going to support DoorCancer.

Filing date extended for three Kewaunee County districts

Potential candidates will have until Friday in three Kewaunee County districts to file for the spring elections. Incumbents in District 4, District 5, and District 7 (Bob Weidner, Kent Treml, and Charles Schmitt respectively) filed non-candidacy paperwork after the deadline which means state law extends the filing period for those specific voting sections until this Friday at 5 PM. The wards affected cover all or part of Luxemburg, Casco, and Red River. Kewaunee County Clerk Jamie Annoye says the 72-hour extension is longer than it seems.


Annoye stresses that the other districts in Kewaunee County have seen the window for filing paperwork close. Elections occur the first Tuesday in April.





Notice of 


Campaign Reg. 


Declaration of 


Nomination Papers



Gerald Paape (I)






Cory Cochart (I)






Nicholas Guilette






Chuck Wagner (I)






Robert Weidner (I)






Kent Treml (I)






Daniel Olson (I)






Donna M. Thomas (C)






Charles J. Schmitt (I)






Lisa Cochart (C)






Douglas Doell (I)






Frank Madzarevic (C)






Scott Jahnke (I) 






Thomas Cretney (I)






John Wochos (C)






Aaron G. Augustian (I)






Mary E. Dobbins (I)






Milt Swagel (C)






Kim Kroll (I)






Thomas J. Romdenne (I)






Linda J. Teske (I)






Virginia Haske (I)






Joseph Lukes (I)






Lee Luft (I)






Jeffrey L. Vollenweider (C)






John E. Mastalir (I)






Kaye E. Shillin (I)






Joanne M. Lazansky (C)







Garbage catches fire on truck

A Sturgeon Bay garbage truck driver had quite the surprise Tuesday morning when a fire broke out while he was on route. The garbage truck driver was on Florida Street between 7th and 8th Avenues when he noticed smoke coming out of its haul. The driver quickly dumped the contents onto the streets, allowing the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department to put out the fire. Sturgeon Bay Municipal Services Director Mike Barker says it is not a common occurrence, but was told by fire department officials it has happened a few times before. He has a reminder to those who throw out their fire ashes in the trash.



No one was hurt in the incident and Barker praised the fire department and the garbage truck driver for their quick actions.

Shrine still counts on locals

Being the nation’s only approved Marian apparition site brings thousands of people every year, but the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Champion still counts on its local members for support. Over 160,000 pilgrims visited the site in 2019 where Catholics believe the Virgin Mary appeared to Adele Brise over 150 years ago.  Big events draw hundreds if not thousands of people at a time, but the National Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help also hosts daily and Sunday masses for the families that consider it their home church. Father John Broussard, the Shrine’s rector, says the locals are its heart.

Like other Catholic churches, the Shrine also offers opportunities to participate in other sacraments such as reconciliation and anointing of the sick.

Gibraltar sends five to DECA state

Five students will head to the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva in March after a successful DECA District Marketing Competition this weekend in Suamico. Senior Aubrey Peot took third in the Business Finance Series and seniors Brandon Stillman and Connor Duffy took third in the Sports and Entertainment Marketing Series. There were five other students earning medals from the district competition including sophomores Jose Fernandez, Carter Krause, and Anthony Casanas and seniors Kayla Scharrig and Jack Weitman. The district competition includes two role-play events and an exam based on their category. Stillman credits adviser Mary Witteborg and their local business mentors for helping them prepare for the competition.

It will be the fourth year in a row Stillman competes at the state competition, which is held every year in March at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva. Those that qualify for the national competition will head to Nashville later in the spring.



Local climate change lobby coming to Door County

A national volunteer group called “Citizens Climate Lobby” is looking to form a local chapter in Sturgeon Bay this year.  The organization’s mission is to empower everyday people to work together on climate change solutions.  Member and geologist Roger Kuhns, who is heavily active in environmental issues impacting Door County, says plans are to start forming the group within the next month or so.



The Citizen’s Climate Lobby has over 400 local chapters in the United States.  Kuhns says the group is currently building support in the U.S. Congress for national bipartisan solutions to climate change.


Farm fields need snow cover

With no appreciable snowfall expected in the next week, Door and Kewaunee County farmers are becoming more concerned about enough field protection for future crops.  Rich Olson of Olson Family Farm in southern Door County says the lack of snow cover is one issue.  He says the high amounts of precipitation last year are still impacting the dormant fields right now.



Olson adds that he is really concerned about the alfalfa roots that may be in standing water.



One piece of good news Olson shared was that most farmers were able to get their soybean crops off despite a later-than-normal harvest last fall.   


Keeping New Year's resolutions -- "Mental Health Minute" series

A Sturgeon Bay psychologist says making a new behavior a new habit for your New Year’s resolution requires patience as well as willpower.  Dr. Dennis White suggests that our feelings sometimes get in the way of accomplishing our goals.  He says you need to have a triple-whammy of behavior, combined with consistent thoughts and feelings.



Dr. White encourages you to hang in there with the new behavior for a while and your feelings will eventually catch up.  You can listen to the entire audio of this week’s  Mental Health Minute with Dr. Dennis White with this story below. 





Fireplace probable cause of Saturday's blaze

A fire that destroyed a southern Door County house is suspected to have originated in the fireplace.  The home of Jerry and Mary August on Lower LaSalle Road in the town of Clay Banks was fully engulfed in flames shortly after 9 pm on Saturday.  The Augusts were able to escape the fire by the time the Southern Door Fire Department responded to the lakeshore property.  Firefighter Chuck Cihlar says automated mutual aid was received from Sturgeon Bay, Brussels-Union-Gardner, and Algoma fire departments.   The fire was fully extinguished some three hours later.  The home is a complete loss but a detached garage was not damaged.  Cihlar adds that the fire call serves as a good reminder for homeowners to have their chimneys regularly inspected for cracks and that flues are replaced when needed.  


Allen named new Habitat director

Lori Allen is bringing a lot of experience with her as begins her new role as the executive director of Door County Habitat for Humanity. The organization announced the hiring Monday morning after David Van Dyke announced he would be leaving the post after five years. Allen is no stranger to leading human services organizations, having previously served as the executive director for Pathways to Living, Unity Hospice, and Volunteer Guardian. She hopes that experience will help Door County Habitat for Humanity reach its future goals like expanding its volunteer base and home build schedule.

Allen is excited about the organization extending its reach into northern Door County this spring when it breaks ground on its 43rd home. In 27 years, Door County Habitat for Humanity has built 42 homes and completed 60 home repair projects, positively impacting over 240 people in the area. 

Weidner not running for re-election

Kewaunee County will have a new person running its board meetings after its chairperson Robert Weidner opted not to run for re-election last week. Representing Luxemburg in District 4 for two decades, Weidner was collecting signatures up until he decided to file his non-candidacy papers on January 2nd.  He attributes that to indecision, but it became clear to him during his vacation that his time to step aside had come. Weidner says he was most proud of making sure the county’s tax dollars went towards very worthwhile projects.

He has been reaching out to constituents to gauge their interest in representing District 4, but as of Monday Weidner had not found that person. It is likely whoever does take on the role will have to be a write-in candidate because the deadline to file nomination papers is Tuesday.

No back down on drawdown of dam

Sixty days after the drawdown of the millpond began, members of the Friends of the Forestville Dam say the process is not working. Members of the group like Robert Sijgers believe more water is going over the dam now than when Door County Facilities and Parks Department Director Wayne Spritka told a Green Bay television station the drawdown would last between 30-60 days back in November.  Sijgers is also concerned with the amount of agricultural run-off flowing into the millpond which is then being sent downstream further into the Ahnapee River watershed towards Kewaunee County. He says the source of some of the issues in the millpond should be addressed first.

Sijgers believes many residents would either like to see the millpond dredged or left alone. Door County Parks Department Superintendent Ben Nelson points to the snowmelt, heavy rains, and frozen ground for the lack of progress on the drawdown. He told last week there are no restrictions in the current phase regarding flowage.


Photo submitted by Robert Sijgers

City looks to ratify police, fire contracts

Approving contracts for the city’s police and fire departments are on the Sturgeon Bay Common Council’s to-do list for Tuesday’s meeting. The new contracts for the Sturgeon Bay Professional Police Association/LEER Division Local 449 and the Sturgeon Bay Firefighter Association Local 2682 would both run for three years until December 31st, 2022. As a part of the new agreements, firefighters would get a raise of about $1 an hour and police officers would see their wages increase about $2 an hour by the end of the contract depending on their experience and rank. Those collective bargaining agreements could go into closed session if needed. The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will also discuss if a spring primary is needed and an ordinance banning coal-tar sealant products when it meets immediately following the public works committee meeting, which begins at 6 p.m.

Civil Air Patrol "best kept secret around"

On the first Saturday of the month at Cherryland Airport, the Civil Air Patrol meets for Door County. CAP has been around since World War II and it has a rich history as a civilian air unit who answers the call in tough times. Squadron Commander David Fish says CAP is perhaps best known for its service during Hurricane Katrina doing damage reconnaissance. Studies found CAP did the job at a fraction of what it would have cost the Air Force to conduct a similar mission. Since then, CAP has been elevated from auxiliary to part of the U.S. Air Force’s Total Force. The Civil Air Patrol is broken into senior members, 18-21 years and older, and cadets. Fish says there are tangible benefits for cadets if they pursue regular military service as adults.


Fish says the Door County Composite Squadron is still a secret to most and all members of the community are encouraged to join to further the three main missions which are the Cadet Program, emergency services, as well as STEM and aerospace education.


Progress slow for Forestville Dam drawdown

Snow melt and heavy rains, mixed with frozen ground, has caused flooding across the Door Peninsula in recent weeks. It has also halted progress at the Forestville Dam concerning the county’s plan to drawdown the millpond. Parks Department Superintendent Ben Nelson says there are no restrictions in the current phase regarding flowage.


The drawdown is being monitored by the county but there is no sampling being undertaken. Nelson says that Door County has been in active communication with Kewaunee County as the millpond flows into the Ahnapee River which winds south and east until it dumps into Lake Michigan.


Sturgeon Bay Cinema embraces costumes

Costumes being a potential problem at the movies has been explored on film for decades, ironically enough. Only after the shooting at an Aurora, Colorado theatre during The Dark Knight Rises did it make it onto the radars of cinema owners. In recent months, theatres across the country have banned costumes at screenings of It and Joker. Sturgeon Bay Cinema General Manager John Behringer said that was not an issue locally and costumes are seen by the theatre as a great way to enhance the movie experience.


There are plenty of superhero films slated for 2020. Costumes could work for other scheduled releases as well.


Packers playoff games give rub to local restaurants

While other lines of business are happy that the Packers have locked up at least one home playoff game this season, for restaurants they win with away contests too. General Manager at Sonny’s Italian Kitchen Nolan Paschke says many make an occasion of it and Sonny’s is happy to be a part of that experience.


Paschke adds that the Rose Bowl appearance by the Wisconsin Badgers also helped the bottom line during a typically slow time of the year. The Packers can bridge the gap between the holidays and the sports crazy spring season that tips off with March Madness.


Hydration often overlooked while dieting

National Keto Day is timed for the beginning of the year when diets are in vogue. No matter the plan, staying properly hydrated is often overlooked according to Jody Anderson, a registered nurse at Succeed Health.


Anderson says that it is important to make meals count while on a diet and fruits and vegetables can be great sources of liquids at a small cost in calories.


McHugh elevated to prestigious YMCA national post

Competitive Swimming Director for the Door County YMCA Mike McHugh has been chosen for a prestigious position with the national parent organization. McHugh says he is not aware of how the selection was made but it means a lot.


McHugh is busy between now and the summer planning the YMCA’s national swim meet as well as running the Door County Y’s swim program. There is a local meet, one of three held each year at the Sturgeon Bay location, on Saturday. Attendance is encouraged and spectators are welcome to take part in the Hawaiian theme to make the experience as enjoyable as possible.


Sturgeon Bay Cadets prep for state competition

The Sturgeon Bay Police Cadets were in Ashwaubenon Saturday to do training in preparation for the 2020 Wisconsin Law Enforcement Education Advocates Association competition next month. Last year, the cadets finished in first place out of 33 teams in the hostage negotiation scenario. There are new challenges for 2020 with a strong emphasis on conflict resolution. Officer Brandon Shew, advisor for the Cadets, was in the program himself as a teenager in Appleton. He says it is a first step toward a career in law enforcement.


Six other departments had cadets training Saturday at the public safety facilities at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College’s Green Bay campus. 




Fire destroys waterfront house

A couple was able to escape a house fire in southern Door County late Saturday night.  According to the Door County Sheriff's Department, a fire fully engulfed a lakefront home at 660 Lower LaSalle Road in Clay Banks shortly after 9 pm, Saturday.  The Southern Door Fire Department responded along with other emergency agencies from Algoma and Sturgeon Bay.  The home is reportedly a complete loss and is owned by Jerry and Mary August.  No cause of the fire has been determined yet.   

Prominent scientist set for area lecture

Dr. Bo Bunnel from the Great Lakes Science Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan will be giving a lecture at Crossroads at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay on January 14th regarding the effects of invasive species such as quagga mussels on the ecosystem of Lake Michigan. The lecture is part of the Fish Tales series started last year by Mark Holey, retired fishery biologist, in conjunction with Crossroads. Mussels coat the lake bed filtering out food sources for fish. The problem is apparent to the naked eye.


There will be a question and answer session after Bunnel’s talk. The event begins at 7:00 PM.


Algoma first to pick up Christmas trees

The City of Algoma was the first municipality in the area to do a Christmas tree pickup. The fire department spearheaded the effort on the first Saturday of the year, which is the traditional date. All of the trees collected are burned due to flocking and other foreign objects which eliminate their value as compost. Algoma Fire Chief Tom Ackerman says the trend is away from real trees in the area.


Sturgeon Bay will not be finished with its Christmas tree pickups for another two weeks with other Door Peninsula communities falling somewhere in between those two extremes.


Possible pickleball tradition begins on a dare

The Door County Pickleball Club put on its first Polarball tournament outdoors on New Year’s Day at Sunset Park in Sturgeon Bay. Over 20 players brought out the snowblowers and salt to clear the courts, dry them out, and partake in three hours of pickleball fun. Club President Jay Renstrom says he expects the tournament to become a tradition likening its humble beginnings to the Polar Plunge in Jacksonport.


Most pickleball action through the winter happens at the Door County YMCA but as soon as spring blooms the fun heads outdoors again. Membership in the Door County Pickleball Club is only $25 per year.


Play It Forward concert strong despite weather

The Door Community Auditorium played host to the 7th annual Play It Forward concert on Monday. Auditorium Executive Director Cari Lewis says that attendance was down a touch but considering the blizzard conditions raging outside, she is happy with the level of support. Over $2,000 was raised for the Go Bo Foundation. The concert started to honor Bo Johnson who lost his fight with leukemia in 2012. According to Lewis, musicians in the area have a strong history of helping those in need.


The Play It Forward concert has been held at various times on the calendar over its existence. It has been found that after Christmas allows for the most musician participation but the period is vulnerable to bad storms.


Vaping revision on hold in Sturgeon Bay

A proposal that would increase the minimum age to buy e-cigarettes and vaping supplies in Sturgeon Bay is on hold for now.  The Community Services and Protection Committee this week considered that plan but opted to table it.  Alderman Seth Wiederanders says the city is waiting on state and federal proposals to raise the legal age to buy tobacco products to 21.




Wiederanders says Sturgeon Bay's proposal was prompted by studies and reports of severe health risks from vaping among teens.

Southern Door sophomore gets $1000 ag grant

Southern Door High School sophomore Chloe LaCrosse's dream of expanding and improving her herd of four registered Holsteins got a big boost from the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin.  LaCrosse received a $1,000 grant from the statewide dairy cooperative.  LaCrosse started raising one Holstein calf when she was younger. The calf was a gift from her grandparents.  She says the Supervised Agriculture Experience grant will help her raise quality Holsteins.


Chloe LaCrosse eventually hopes to attend U-W Madison to major in dairy sciences while growing her own herd with support from her family which has 83* registered Holsteins. 



*(Corrects the previous number cited for the herd size)

Marijuana DUIs increase as states legalize

Wisconsin is now bordered by states that allow marijuana to be sold legally.  And local law enforcement agencies are pulling over more people driving under the influence of pot.  Illinois became the latest Great Lakes state to sell cannabis legally for recreational use.  Buyers don't have to be residents to purchase pot, although non-residents can only buy it in smaller amounts.  Door County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Pat McCarthy says his officers are arresting more people who've gotten behind the wheel after lighting up.  While there's no breathalyzer that can detect pot use, McCarty says officers are now more adept at determining whether someone has been lighting up.

 In addition to Illinois, marijuana has been decriminalized in Michigan for medicinal and recreational use.  Minnesota allows cannabis for medicinal purposes only and has decriminalized recreational pot.  Chief Deputy McCarty reminds people, however, that even if marijuana is legally purchased in other states the possession and use of it in Wisconsin is still illegal.

Weather presents farmers learning opportunity

A manure run-off incident in Southern Door County last month is providing a teaching moment for farmers. Days before a manure application at a farm field in Kolberg took place, Dairy Dreams owner Don Niles and other team members consulted with the Door County Soil and Water Conservation Department on its plan. As a result, the county suggested at least three improvements be made before the application took place. The Casco-based farm was monitoring the site when warmer temperatures caused run-off to occur. As a result, farm workers closed up culverts to prevent water flow, contacted the Department of Natural Resources, and began pumping operations that would last more than a day to clean up. Niles says the incident was unfortunate but provided an important lesson in being proactive on the front and back ends of a job.

County officials alerted nearby neighbors of the run-off incident via the mail on December 23rd, a process some have said to be too slow given the situation. Door County Administrator Ken Pabich says they usually do not send letters until complaints of bad-smelling or discolored water are filed.

Sturgeon Bay Psychologist shares thoughts on Iran 

An American drone attack that killed an Iranian general has increased tensions in the Middle East this week and concerns for the safety of Americans and U.S. soldiers in the region.  Dr. Dennis White, who served in the Peace Corps for two years in Iran in the late 1960s, taught English as a second language in two different villages in Iran.  He says the mistrust and animosity shown towards Americans by the Iranian people and government goes back to 1953.



White says he felt safe his entire time in Iran but that the people there have very long memories that run deep.  The Pentagon had considered General Suleimani a terrorist who apparently approved an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq this week.  The Iranian government has publicly vowed retaliation for the killing.    


L-C Gym dedication scheduled for January 26

The new gymnasium opening at the Luxemburg-Casco High School is getting close.  The expansion, which includes a new wrestling room, was part of a combined $27.8 million referendums passed nearly two years ago.  Athletic Director Jenny Bandow says the dedication of the new gym is planned for Saturday, January 26 with final details being worked out.  The first boys and girls basketball games played in the new facility will probably be the first week in February, according to Bandow.  The flooring and scoreboards were installed in December with finishing touches being completed between now and January 26.  


Help of Door County addressing elder abuse 

With Door County having the oldest population in the state, local agencies are looking to help curb concerns over elder abuse.   Milly Gonzales from Help of Door County says elder abuse is usually the more hidden and underreported type of domestic abuse.  She says it can come in many forms of power, control, and manipulation.



Gonzales adds that elder abuse can be done by someone else in the home outside of the family, like a caretaker.  She notes that red flags can include signs of depression including less social involvement and personal upkeep.  A Wisconsin Incident Tracking System showed that over 86 percent of Door County’s 226 reported elder abuse cases in 2018 were from self-neglect.


New business opens in Algoma

Shoppers will have another retail store option in Algoma.   Trove opened its doors on Friday morning at 318 Steele Street.  Owners Julie Zillmer and Nick Weldon welcomed visitors into the store and provided a free barbeque in the late afternoon celebrating the business opening.  Zillmer, an Algoma native who lived in Las Vegas for fifteen years before moving back to the area, says she wanted to give consumers looking for a good deal a local alternative to big box stores. 


All merchandise is discounted from 40 to 90 percent off retail prices with over 500 new items coming in every week from major retailer’s overstocked inventory.  The Trove is open every day except Thursdays from 10 am until 6 pm and Sundays from 11 am until 4 pm.  


School board members play important role

Even when your district is not looking at over $20 million in referendum work, school board members play an important role in the lives of staff and students. Like many elected offices, school boards often find themselves looking for volunteers to fill the roles with the understanding of everything that goes into the position. Sevastopol School District is looking for at least two new members for its board after Karen Brauer and Jay Zahn filed their notice of non-candidacy late last year. Superintendent Kyle Luedtke says he enjoys working with the school board to help solve issues facing the district.

Districts like Sevastopol will continue to accept nomination papers for their school board seats up for election until the filing deadline on January 7th.

Grenfell keeps smiles at new practice

Dr. Gina Grenfell hopes to keep her patients smiling long before and after they sit in her chairs in Sturgeon Bay. After years of being a partner at Dr. Paul Feit’s Dentistry by Design, Dr. Grenfell officially took over the practice on January 1st under its new name, Smile Designs of Door County. Her goal is simple: keep people smiling. She says that goes a lot further than just making the best recommendations for her patients’ teeth when they are in for appointments.

Along with your usual cleanings, Smile Designs of Door County offers cosmetic and restorative dentistry at their office on 18th Avenue in Sturgeon Bay.


Picture from

Olson, Bellin compete for state Fairest

Kewaunee County’s Paige Bellin and Door County’s Claire Olson hope to extend their time as royalty next week when they compete for the title of Wisconsin Fairest of the Fair. Close to 40 individuals will vie for the crown through a number of different competitions during the Wisconsin Association of Fairs Convention. Similar to their role as the county’s Fairest of the Fair, the winner will travel around the state promoting August’s Wisconsin State Fair at different events. Kewaunee County Fairest of Fair Paige Bellin says picking the brain of her predecessor and former state Fairest of the Fair Isabella Haen has been helpful in her preparation.

Claire Olson will be breaking new ground as the first-ever Door County Fairest of Fair to compete for the title. She is excited about the experience and meeting the other contestants.


Taking place in Wisconsin Dells, Bellin and Olson will find out if they are the next Wisconsin Fairest of the Fair on January 8th.

Throwback season for Northern Sky

Northern Sky Theater is reaching back into its vault to celebrate 50 years of performances in Door County. Split between its stage inside Peninsula State Park and its new Gould Theater at its creative campus in Fish Creek, Northern Sky Theater will feature 10 different shows including “Song of the Inland Seas” and “The Mountains Call My Name.” Those two shows date back to when the performance arts group went by the name of the Heritage Ensemble. Artistic Director Jeff Herbst says he cannot wait to present these old shows to new audiences.

In addition to encores of "Fishing for the Moon," "Belgians in Heaven," "And If Elected," "Dad’s Season Tickets," and "Naked Radio," Northern Sky Theater will present two new shows in 2020. The musical “Love Stings” will make its world premiere at the outdoor stage and a student-written show called “Sky Writing” at the Gould Theater in the summer.



New technologies benefiting law enforcement 

As local law enforcement continues to protect and serve their communities into the New Year, officials from around the country are starting to use new technologies like remote-control robots and drones to patrol in ways never done before.  Door County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Pat McCarty shares the biggest change he has seen in his 25-year career in law enforcement. 


McCarty also credits social media with helping to solve cases and fight crime. 


McCarty adds that communication with the community is the biggest advantage of the social media presence in law enforcement. 


Christian releases 20th music CD

Sturgeon Bay musician Hans Christian has just released a new CD on January 1.  The new album called “After the Fall” has seven tracks including an 18-minute cover song.  Christian says the creative music offers a blend of neo-classical string and cinematic sound design.  He says his 20th personal CD release has added significance.  


Christian, who has been a musician for over 30 years, added that he wanted the music to challenge himself.  You can more information on Christian’s “After the Fall” CD with the link below.


Flooding info seminar coming up January 16

People interested in finding out more about the potential impact of high lake levels, coastal erosion,  and flooding within Door County are invited to a free seminar later this month.  The Door County 2020 Flooding Informational Seminar will be held at the Door County Community Center on January 16 and will include four speakers from national and state agencies.  Speaker and Door County Emergency Management Director Dan Kane says the evening will help people prepare for what could be even a worse year of flooding issues.



Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DNR State National Flood Insurance Program, and a Coastal Engineering Outreach Specialist from the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute will also present during the two-hour seminar.  The Informational program will start at 6 pm on Thursday, January 16 with doors opening at 5 pm.  People are advised to show up early with limited seating available. The session will be recorded and shared online after the event for those unable to attend.


(photo courtesy of Door County Emergency Management)


Southern Door FFA members competing in Quiz Bowl

Four members of the Southern Door High School Future Farmers of America program will compete in Stevens Point at the Wisconsin Junior Holstein Convention Quiz Bowl contest.   Zachary Olson, Anna Olson, Chloe LaCrosse, and Madison Baudhuin are on the team.  Quiz bowl advisor Rich Olson says the team has been preparing for months.


Olson adds that last year’s quiz bowl team finished second in the state.  The contest allows the students to demonstrate their knowledge of dairy nutrition, reproduction, history, and marketing. 


Funding coming to aid people with transit challenges

Organizations helping people with transportation challenges in Door and Kewaunee Counties will get some much-needed funding in 2021.  The Wisconsin Department of Transportation will distribute $3,799,860 to 57 public and non-profit agencies that provide transportation to seniors, those with physical challenges and those who have no other way of getting around.  Door Tran in Sturgeon Bay received nearly $146,833 through the 5310 grant program in 2020.  Executive Director Nikki Voight says that helps those who depend on taxi service and military veterans.

Eastshore Industries, Incorporated of Algoma employs those with disabilities.  It received $56,800 dollars in 2020 to replace a transit van.  CEO Tracy Nelson says this year's funding will add a handicapped-accessible van that will seat more people and help clients to better live on their own.

5310 grant funds also help non-profit transit providers cover day-to-day operational costs.

County paces state on pollution notification

Even if the state passes a bill aiming to get information out about water pollution incidents more quickly, they would still be chasing Kewaunee County in response time. Assembly Bill 700, which has bipartisan support in both chambers including state Representative John Nygren and state Senators Dave Hansen and Andre Jacque, would require the Department of Natural Resources to notify counties within seven days of water quality violations and create a notification system for residents. Supervisor Chuck Wagner says currently in Kewaunee County, members of the Land and Water Conservation Department and Public Health Departments go door-to-door almost immediately after a manure spreading-related incident is reported to them.

Wagner believes the bill is a good step but believes some people may still want the state to act even more quickly in those instances. Introduced before Christmas, Assembly Bill 700 has been referred to the Assembly Committee on Environment chaired by Rep. Joel Kitchens.

No road flooding from rain and snow melt

Door County was spared flooded roadways despite the rain that turned into snow.  Intermittent rain fell throughout the past weekend resulting in some runoff into storm sewers, ditches and creeks and waterways.  Once the rains gave way to snowfall on Monday, Door County Highway Commissioner John Kolodziej says concerns about spot flooding eased.



The extended and intermittent period of rain and snowfall will make for some sloppy driving.  But Kolodziej says it's the type of weather that plow crews can handle and keep roads safe.

New faces possible for five county seats

At least two chairs in the Door County Board will have new faces when the spring election takes place in April. District 2’s John Neinas and District 14’s Linda Wait filed their non-candidacy papers back in November. Todd Thayse took out nomination papers to replace Neinas but has not turned them in while Dale Vogel has filed his paperwork to replace Wait. There only three other possible contested races for the Door County Board, which had 19 of its 21 incumbents circulate nomination papers. Erin Tauscher is challenging Helen Bacon for her District 7 seat, Charles Olson looks to replace Dan Austad in District 8, and Elizabeth Gauger looks to run against Randy Halstead in District 16. As of Thursday morning, 15 of 25 people circulating nomination papers for the Door County Board have turned them in before Tuesday’s deadline. 



Click here to see full listing of Door County Board candidates

Change coming to Kewaunee County Board

Almost half of the districts in Kewaunee County could have new supervisors come this spring. Just a few days before the filing deadline for candidacy, three Kewaunee County Board supervisors have said they will not be running for re-election and five districts could have contested races. Incumbents not running in 2020 include Cory Cochart of District 2, Lee Luft of District 18, and Kaye Shillin of District 20. While no one is running to replace Cochart, Jeffrey Vollenweider and Joanne Lazansky have turned in their nomination papers for the other two seats. Kewaunee County Clerk Jamie Annoye has received paperwork for twelve people as of Thursday morning, including challengers Lisa Cochart, Frank Madzarevic, and Milt Swagel. They are running to replace Charles Schmitt, Douglas Doell, and Marry Dobbins in their respective districts. Potential candidates have until January 7th to file the necessary paperwork to appear on the April ballot.


See the full listing by clicking this link

Banker sees good economy in 2020

A Wisconsin Bankers Association survey shows the state's economy ending strong in 2019. And that trend is expected to continue to the benefit of farms and manufacturers in Door and Kewaunee counties.  The survey found that nearly 80 percent of bank executives rate the current economy as good and 72 percent say it will stay that way throughout 2020.  Tim Treml, President and CEO of the Bank of Luxemburg, sees signs that things are looking up locally for agriculture and manufacturing.


Treml says loan demand and savings rates are also up and reflect the Wisconsin Bankers Association's findings that consumer confidence is also high going into 2020.

Birch Creek sets Valentine's mood

The Birch Creek Music Performance Center welcomes back an alumnus on February 15th for a Valentine's concert. Jonathan Zeng is a "Creeker" who transitioned into singing according to Executive Director Mona Christensen.


The concert begins at 7 PM but activities start earlier with a social mixer, hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar. Tickets are on sale now. 


Automakers drive away from sedans

Ford was first, announcing in early 2019 its plans to move away from traditional four-door sedans to focus almost exclusively on sport utility vehicles and pick-up trucks. Chrysler and General Motors have fallen in line with the trend. According to Jesse Yahnke from Jorns Chevrolet of Kewaunee, consumers were the driving force behind the transition.


Complicating things could be the firming of gas prices. Filling up at the pump is running 30 cents per gallon, or about 15 percent, above the cost at this time last year. According to energy firm Baker Hughes, the number of oil rigs in North America have dropped from 1,153 to just 904 in the past 12 months. Declining supply should support gas prices going forward.


Strong community response to survey

Last month, the Door County Parks and Facilities Department invited the public to fill out a survey that would help shape the future direction of the parks system. According to Superintendent Ben Nelson, over 450 questionnaires were returned. Nelson says the variety of respondents is a plus.


The department will be kept busy over the winter months as they try to get snowmobile trails open to riders. They are also involved with the Door County Emergency Management flooding seminar happening on the 16th at the ADRC in Sturgeon Bay.


Brrr-ringing in the New Year

Over 700 people made their way to Lakeside Park in Jacksonport on Wednesday for the annual Polar Bear Plunge. The crowd was big enough that the local club ran out of t-shirts. The dip is free but the Jacksonport chapter encourages those participating to purchase some apparel to cover expenses with the rest going to the volunteer fire department. Joe Jarosh marvels at how the event has grown over its 34-year existence. 


Participants tend to spend a minute, maybe 90 seconds in the frigid waters. Jon Jarosh jokingly refers to it as the longest minute in Door County. The water temperature this year was 34 degrees.


Smartphone app aids COVID contact tracing

Cellphone users who've tested positive for COVID-19 can now trace the people they've had contact with locally or beyond Door and Kewaunee Counties.  The WI Exposure Network is a new mobile phone app that sends a code to people who've tested positive.  Once that code is entered into the app a phone's Bluetooth technology then anonymously notifies other people contacted during the time of potential exposure.  Susan Powers, with the Door County Department of Public Health, calls the WI Exposure Network app one more asset to combat COVID-19.

The WI Exposure Network app is available for download through the Google Play Store or through an iPhone's settings.  No GPS or other personal information is collected or saved during the app's use. More information can be found at www.           

League of Women Voters to host forums

The promise of spring campaigns has the Door County League of Women Voters offering to host candidate forums in the coming months. The organization is happy to provide the platform for municipal races up to primaries for state and national elections. Coordinator Dan Powers says the number of forums needed will become clearer after the filing deadline passes.


According to Powers, the League hosted five gatherings last election cycle. The forums are not debates and the League is not weighing in with recommendations in each race. Each forum is purely for informational purposes to help voters learn more about the candidates in their respective contests.


Sevastopol tax rate shrinks

Residents of the town of Sevastopol will see a drop in their tax rate this year. The decrease in the millage is a result of two factors according to Plan Commission Chairperson Linda Wait.


Wait did not quantify what "substantial" means but other municipalities in the area have reported assessed values climbing at a pace far exceeding inflation. 


Christmas tree disposal mirrors shopping season

With the arrival of 2020, Sturgeon Bay residents will have about 19 disposal days to get rid of their Christmas trees with help from the city. The Sturgeon Bay Street Department says residents need to put their trees on the corners of the blocks nearest their homes for pick-up and transport to the compost yards. January 20th is the last day and Mike Barker, Municipal Services Director, says Christmas tree disposal mimics the Christmas shopping season.




Barker says residents must also remove tree stands and make sure their trees are free of wires used for decorating or supporting.  That's because the trees are shredded for mulch in the Spring.  So this season's Christmas trees could aid next summer's flower beds and shrubs. 

Annual History Series schedule announced

The Kewaunee County Historical Society has scheduled four special presentations in February.  The weekly history series will include the “Growing up in the Sixties” program by Jim Rabas on Saturday, February 8th.  Rabas shares what he will cover in his 60-minute presentation.



The “Growing up in the Sixties” program will be at 1 pm at the Kewaunee County Historical Society on Ellis Street in Kewaunee.  The other February programs include “History and Culture of the Potawatomi Indian Nation” on February 15, “Rambling through Belgium” on February 22 and “School Teacher Erna Schwantes Teske and the One-Room Schoolhouse” on February 29. 


Polka still strong in Kewaunee County

Despite the possible demise of the Wisconsin Polka Hall of Fame, polka music is alive and well in Kewaunee County.  According to the USA Today, a lack of interest and losing original members to old age has brought on a decline to the polka organization.  A local group called the Happy Hoppers Dance Club features a polka band one Sunday a month at the Rendezvous of Luxemburg.  Kelly Froelich, owner of the Rendezvous, explains why polka music still attracts big turnouts at his upstairs dance hall.



Froehlich says the four-hour event features different polka bands every month.  The next Happy Hoppers Dance Club polka music show at the Rendezvous will be on Sunday, January 19.  


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