News Archives for 2020-02

For Korean vet, war memorial is personal

Sunday, February 23rd is the official dedication for the new memorial tribute inside Kewaunee High School. It honors those who lost their lives from the city in conflicts from World War II to Vietnam. Korean War veteran Don Kickbusch spearheaded the effort, and says it is personal to him. He had neighbors who never came home.


The dedication will begin Sunday at 2 PM.


Sister Bay Administrator could gain new responsibility

Sister Bay Administrator Beau Bernhoft may be wearing an additional hat soon when it comes to his job duties. Bernhoft says there are usually two options for smaller municipalities as to which position ends up with the additional responsibility of being Emergency Management Director.


According to Bernhoft, there is no additional liability in assuming the title for himself or his successors. The Town Board meeting begins at 6:00 PM Tuesday.


Public invited to learn about Sturgeon Bay Cadet program

The Sturgeon Bay Police Department’s Cadet program has had some huge successes in recent years. At the 2019 Wisconsin Law Enforcement Education Advocates Conference, the team took first place in the hostage negotiation scenario. Earlier this month at the 2020 conference, Team Leader Triston Beauchamp was named Cadet of the Year. Officer Brandon Shew, cadet supervisor, is looking to keep the momentum going.


The cadet program is the first step towards a career in law enforcement for high school students in the area. 


Optimist Club contests nurture valuable life skills

The Kewaunee Optimist Club has crowned a winner for its 2020 essay contest with the oratorical competition set for next month. James Cullen took home first place for his essay about this year’s theme, “Is optimism the key to achieving the dreams you imagine?” Board Member James Lemack says the winner at the local level receives a $250 scholarship and advances to districts. Lemack notes that writing and public speaking are both necessary skills to build a career.


In addition to holding the two competitions, the Kewaunee Optimist Club’s mission is to advance youth programs in the area. 


Push to open Great Lakes waterways year-round

United States Representative Mike Gallagher visited Sturgeon Bay to tout his new bipartisan legislation, which aims to ensure the Great Lakes are navigable for commerce throughout the winter. Gallagher pointed out that the current system, relying on the US Coast Guard for limited travel, dates back to the 1930s. Gallagher says that it is imperative to increase the number of icebreakers on Lake Michigan.


The full video of Gallagher touting the Great Lakes Winter Commerce Act is below.



The first ship built at Fincantieri in 35 years begins to take shape.




Businesses welcome winter weather

It is starting to feel more like winter for businesses dependent on outdoor recreation to attract customers. The recent snow and cold temperatures have allowed snowmobilers to explore trails around the peninsula and anglers to finally set their tip up on top of good ice conditions. CJ’s Bar and Grill owner John Grosbeier says that is good news for businesses like his that depend on o n the winter traffic.

Businesses and outdoor enthusiasts will have to take what they can get over the next few days as temperatures could hit the 40 degree mark as soon as next weekend.

Miss Door County already representing the area

Gracen Spritka, Miss Door County 2020, received her crown last weekend and she is already traveling across the state representing the area. Spritka is in Milwaukee as the regional pageants wrap up. She was in attendance Saturday at Pius XI Catholic High School for the crowning of Miss Milwaukee Area. Spritka was in the studio earlier this week, talking about how the organization has changed since she became involved at just eight years old.


Spritka’s reign will last through February 2021 and she hopes to champion various kindness initiatives. Expect to see her at local schools and youth organizations as she warns against bullying.


Newport State Park develops its niche

Newport State Park has found its niche among a crowded field of Door County state parks. According to Gene Kenny, a member of the Friends of Newport State Park, the selling point is the area’s simplicity. Newport is a wilderness park, meaning vehicles are prohibited, including RVs. Campers wishing to set up inside Newport must carry in their tent and supplies. That limits the traffic compared to nearby Peninsula State Park which does not have the same restrictions. Kenny says this makes Newport a peaceful place.


Newport also has the distinction of being one of only three dark sky preserves east of the Mississippi River. That designation has helped increase the number of visitors in recent years.


*Photo courtesy of Newport Wilderness Society Facebook page


Searching Lake Michigan for lost World War II aircraft

In addition to the  Sturgeon Bay shipyard's role in  World War II, the waters of Lake Michigan helped train U.S. Navy pilots for missions launched from aircraft carriers.  Now efforts are underway to find aircraft lost on the lake during training runs.  The Underwater Branch of the Naval History and Heritage Command is looking to find over 100 plane wrecks on Lake Michigan.  They were among the aircraft assigned to the carriers USS Wolverine and USS Sable.  Both ships were actually converted side-wheel cruise ships used specifically for training.  While U.S. Coast Guard patrols would rescue pilots of downed planes and use buoys to mark the sites for later recovery, many of those planes could not be recovered and their positions were forgotten.  Rhys Kuzdas, Door County Maritime Museum curator,  says records of the training missions are hard to come by, which makes it hard to know where to start a search.  While most of the training missions were conducted closer to Chicago and southeastern Wisconsin, Kuzdas says records show the USS Wolverine did come close to Door and Kewaunee counties on one outing.


Last summer, the Research Vessel Storm conducted sonar scans at nine potential crash sites on Lake Michigan.  Sonar images turned up two confirmed sunken aircraft.  Future surveys are planned.

Life, death, and taxes: Forestville board meeting preview

It may soon cost more to die in Forestville. The Town Board is set to meet Monday to discuss a range of issues, including the current price for a cemetery plot. Chairman Roy Englebert says nothing has been decided yet regarding a possible rate increase.


Also on the docket are potential broadband and wi-fi options for the town. That subject has been inspected closely by Kewaunee County for the past year. Englebert says that he has had discussions with neighboring Ahnapee Township about what solutions are being proposed. Englebert wants to do what is best for Forestville, whether that means teaming up with Door or Kewaunee County. 


Birch Creek hiring summer interns

Area college students have the chance to get a summer job that doubles as an unforgettable experience. Through the beginning of March, Birch Creek Music Performance Center will be holding interviews and making hiring decisions for interns for the upcoming season. Executive Director Mona Christensen has a specific list of criteria she is looking for regarding her staff.


College students interested in applying can find a link attached to the story online. There are a variety of internship opportunities available, and detailed descriptions for each position are available with the job posting.


Fine tuning ahead of next Saturday's performance

Dave Robertson, Director of the Performing Arts Center in Algoma, is learning how to play a new instrument in under a month. What makes it tougher is that there are only 20 double grand pianos thought to exist in the world, many having been lost in Europe during World War II. There are not  a lot of ways to prepare for such a challenge. Robertson says he is rehearsing feverishly with his duet partner Michael Swedburg and certain quirks of the unique instrument stand out.


There is no cost for the performance Saturday, February 22nd, but donations are accepted. It begins at 7 PM.

Jenkins excited to lead DCEDC

Celebrating 45 years as an economic developer going back to his roots in Knoxville Tennessee, Steve Jenkins is ready to bring his vast experience to Door County.  Jenkins was hired earlier this week to replace Jim Schuessler as the new Door County Economic Development Corporation executive director.  Starting his new position on March 2, Jenkins currently works as a special business consultant with ThriveED, an economic development corporation that serves both Jefferson and Dodge County.  He says he looks forward to continuing the great progress the DCEDC has achieved over the past several years.



Jenkins’ background includes working on the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville as part of the executive design team and for many economic development corporations in rural and urban communities around the country.  He will be moving to Sturgeon Bay along with his wife, Lynn, in the near future.  They have two adult children and four grandchildren that live in North Carolina.  You can listen to the entire interview with new Door County Economic Development Corporation executive director Steve Jenkins below.  




Candidate forum February 24th at Sevastopol

The second in a series of forums hosted by the League of Women Voters of Door County will be Monday, February 24th, and feature candidates for the County Board of Supervisors.  The forum will be held at the Sevastopol Town Hall and begin at 6:30 pm.  Volunteer Dan Powers says attendees can submit questions that are screened by league members to make sure a variety of topics are discussed.



Participants include Helen Bacon and Erin Tauscher for Sturgeon Bay’s District 7, Laura Vlies-Wotachek and Dan Williams in District 9 and District 16’s Elizabeth Gauger and Randy Halstead representing Egg Harbor and Jacksonport.  


Southern Door FFA Alumni gala set for March

The Southern Door Future Farmers of America Alumni Club has kept farming a strong presence in the area with a crowd-pleasing combination.  The biggest source of support for FFA at Southern Door High School comes from the annual Door County Wine and Cheese Gala each year.  Organizer Rich Olson explains how the raised funds impact the program.



The event has raised between $10,000 to $12,000 in past years.  The Door County Wine and Cheese Gala will be held on Friday, March 13 at Mr. G’s Logan Creek Grille in Jacksonport.  You can find advanced ticket information and more details on this event with the link below.  

New library station celebrated in Luxemburg Friday

In an effort to expand access to Kewaunee County residents and minimize the fees for out-of-county services, a second library station has opened in Luxemburg.  The Kewaunee and Algoma public libraries celebrated the grand opening of the new station at Stodola’s IGA Friday afternoon.  Cathy Kolbeck, director at the Algoma Public Library, says the stations give people added convenience.



Kolbeck also says the library stations also help to reduce the bill the county receives yearly from the Brown County Library for items checked out there by Kewaunee County residents.  Last year Kewaunee County paid over $45,000 for books that were borrowed from Brown County libraries in 2018.


Coronavirus could keep Jingdezhen students away

The coronavirus outbreak is expected to peak in the spring, though the impact could still be felt in Door County this summer.  Businesses that depend on foreign students for employees may find few workers from the county's sister city of Jingdezhen, China.  Helen Bacon, Chair of the Door County Sister City Ad Hoc Informal Advisory Group, says 93 cases of coronavirus have been detected in Jingdezhen and that's had an effect on the city's university. 


Bacon also says concerns about the coronavirus have put a planned spring trade show visit to Jingdezhen by county leaders on hold.

County holds off on swamp sale

Kewaunee County officials will go to the negotiating table with a conservancy group before it sells land near its border with Door County. The Glacial Lakes Conservancy offered to purchase several parcels of the Black Ash Swamp, which is one of the few large, diverse lowland forests in the region. The Town of Lincoln signed off on it, but the county has pumped the brakes on the deal. Kewaunee County Chairperson Bob Weidner says it comes down to dollars and cents, which it would lose from the tax rolls if it had gone ahead with the sale.

Weidner hopes a deal to arrange payment instead of taxes will be reached with the conservancy group by the end of the month.

Peninsula Pride Farms reflects on positives

Even after the wettest year on record, it was not enough to dampen the spirits of those in attendance at the Peninsula Pride Farms Annual Meeting in Luxemburg on Thursday. Over 100 farmers and agriculture professionals attended the meeting, which included a presentation by Timm Uhlmann from the National Weather Service in Green Bay and a roundtable discussion with members of the Door-Kewaunee Demonstration Farm Network. Farmers Lee Kinnard, Jacob Brey, Aaron Augustian, and Derek Ducat discussed their field management practices that have led to over 10,000 acres of members’ land being cover cropped in 2019. There is a lot more work to be done, but Peninsula Pride Farms President Don Niles says he is happy with the progress and the response their efforts have made.

Among the pieces of data shared at the annual meeting showed that eight member farms were able to reduce their phosphorus loss by over 6,700 pounds due to new cover crop practices.



Tooth fairy prepares for DCMC visit

No need to lose a tooth or hide anything under your pillow before the Tooth Fairy’s visit to Sturgeon Bay next week. Door County Medical Center will welcome the Tooth Fairy as a part of its campaign to support its Dental Clinic. DCMC Dental Clinic Director Tanya Fischer hopes some of the funding not only goes towards helping serve its hundreds of patients but also achieving some of its future goals.

Last year, the Tooth Fairy collected over $1,800 to help support the clinic’s mission one paper tooth at a time. You can donate to the Tooth Fairy campaign on February 17th through the 21st at any of Door County Medical Center’s facilities.

Relaxation techniques to help reduce stress

Relaxation training can lead to a healthier and more productive life says a Sturgeon Bay psychologist.  Dr. Dennis White recommends using your mind to relax and lessen stress.  He says you can reap many other benefits by utilizing the relaxation response.



Dr. White adds that the ability to use your mind to relax is not a new concept but people fail to commit to developing the skill by taking a simple 20-minute break a day to just relax.  You can listen to Dr. White’s entire Mental Health Minute with this story below. 






Teen dating violence addressed in schools

Help of Door County is reaching out to area schools and students to bring awareness to teenagers who may be in an abusive relationship.  February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and Help of Door County Executive Director Milly Gonzales says the proactive approach is important to curbing the problem.



Advocate Karla Romero, who works with students in the FYRE program every Monday, says the challenge to get teens to recognize the difference between being shown attention through texting along with time spent together and actual love.



Romero visited Southern Door Schools on Thursday and will be going to Sturgeon Bay schools later this month to interact with teens and answer questions.  This is the second in a weekly series during February on teen dating violence.


State association elects Todey 1st vice president

Sevastopol School Board member Sue Todey will be the Wisconsin Association of School Board's 1st Vice President for the coming year.  Todey previously served as 2nd Vice President for the association.  She says she hopes to continue her efforts to help board members in all Wisconsin school districts be more effective in their positions.  Todey also hopes to build upon successful efforts to secure more education funding at the state and federal levels.



In addition to her work with the WASB, Todey is a career school teacher, counselor,  administrator and DPI education consultant. She's served on the Sevastopol School Board for 14-years.

Powerful stories show Door County YMCA 's influence

During its community breakfast event, the Door County YMCA showcased its impact locally with powerful stories told by members. Physical rehabilitation, summer camp, and the personal training programs were highlighted.  Board Chairman Ryan Hoernke opened the program followed by CEO Tom Beerntsen. The first of three keynote speakers was Marcia Kritzler-Egeland who talked about how the Door County Y helped her adjust to life after a heart attack.


The community breakfast kicks off the 2020 Annual Campaign. 


High water, workforce shortage among mayor's concerns

Even with the positive momentum going on in the community on a number of different fronts, Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward acknowledges there are some concerns to be addressed in 2020. Like many communities, Sturgeon Bay is dealing with the damage being caused by record high-water levels in the area. Ward says fixes will need to be made.

The community is also dealing with not having enough people to fill the open positions available in the area, especially at manufacturers located in the city’s industrial park. Ward hopes the Live Door County campaign recently unveiled by the Door County Economic Development Corporation helps give employee recruitment efforts a boost.

Increasing retail opportunities and the housing supply are other challenges Ward would like to tackle more in-depth during the coming year.


You can hear the rest of our interview with Mayor David Ward below:


Teaching Native American history in the classroom

School districts like Kewaunee are confident in their ability to tell the stories of their area when it comes to Native American history. Wisconsin requires its K-12 schools to teach Native American history, but a recent USA Today Network-Wisconsin report showed many teachers are not sure how to effectively teach it. Kewaunee High School principal Mike Bennett says some of its teachers took additional steps within the last year to better align their curriculum with the standard, known as Act 31.

Bennett does not believe the school puts an extra emphasis on studying Native American history because of its past use of the "Indians" nickname but says it is important for students to know about the people and the cultures that came before them.

Bipartisan support for Great Lakes icebreakers

Wisconsin Democrats and Republicans in Washington D.C. are reaching across the aisle to bring another icebreaker to the Great Lakes. Late last year, Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin helped secure $4 million in construction and personnel funding for another ice-breaking ship critical to keeping shipping lanes open in the winter. More recently, Rep. Mike Gallagher penned a letter with a bipartisan group of legislators to the United States Coast Guard urging them to acquire a new icebreaker as soon as possible. Gallagher says securing another icebreaker for the region is important.

A study done by the Lake Carriers’ Association found that Great Lakes maritime businesses lost over $1 billion in revenue due to inadequate icebreaking last season.

Familiar faces and tunes highlight Door County Fair

The music line-up will span generations when the 149th Door County Fair opens this summer. Many of the acts from past years will return for encores including Boogie and the Yo-Yo’s opening the festivities on July 29th and The Bittorf Brothers on August 2nd. The midway stage line up also includes Glas Hamr on July 30th, Time Machine and Head East on July 31st, Kitty Korona and Project 313 on August 1st, and Whiskey Ditch closing things down on August 2nd. Tim Ash from the Door County Fair Board says there will be something for everyone.

Stock car races, a demolition derby, and wood carving demonstrations are among the other activities returning to this year’s Door County Fair, held annually at John Miles County Park in Sturgeon Bay.

Farm tax credit plan welcome

A proposal to ease the state tax burden on farmers is being welcomed in Door and Kewaunee counties.  Assembly Republicans have introduced some changes to Democratic Governor Tony Evers $8.5-million plan to aid farmers, which would include boosting agriculture exports as well as tax breaks.  The GOP proposal would give farmers a $7500 property tax break and some reductions in income taxes.  Rich Olson, a co-owner of Olson Family Dairy Farm near Sturgeon Bay, says any tax aid and product marketing efforts are welcome and needed.


Assembly Republicans are not saying how much the farm tax breaks would cost the state or how they would be funded. 

Watching for signs of sickness in schools

Sturgeon Bay schools are watching for signs of sickness spreading among students and staff thanks to a network of resources.  That comes as the Oconto Unified School District canceled classes for two days due to increased illness among students, teachers and staff members.  Sturgeon Bay School Superintendent Dan Tjernagel says there have been increases in illness around the school system.  He says, however, there's no reason to take drastic action based on information from school staff members and nurses the district has contracted through Door County Medical Center.


Sturgeon Bay and all other Door County mainland school districts now contract with DCMC for nursing services.

Downtown Algoma readies for more construction

Algoma residents will have to soldier through another busy construction season once spring arrives. A repaving project for Navarino Street, between First Street and Second Street, was announced at a town hall event last week. Public Works Director Matt Murphy says to expect some déjà vu regarding 2019’s sprawling construction.


Murphy says stay tuned for additional announcements in the coming months.


Snow removal taxes budget

As Door County Highway Department crews focus on this year's snow removal,  the department is requesting money from the general fund for 2019 winter maintenance.  The department exceeded last year's budget by $300,000 to respond to heavier than expected snowfall.  Patrol Superintendent Thad Ash says the department will request money from the county's general fund to cover that gap, while also looking towards  2020 winter projections.


The Door County Highway Department will make the request for general fund money when the board of supervisors meets February 25th.

Potawatomi State Park tower coming down

Time and the elements have left the Observation Tower at Potawatomi State Park in Sturgeon Bay beyond repair or renovation.  The Department of Natural Resources says the 75-foot high tower will be deconstructed.  The wooden structure was built in 1932.  It was closed to the public in 2017 over structural safety concerns.  The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society hired an independent timber consultant to determine whether the tower could be salvaged.  Dr. Dan Tingley, a noted engineer, determined the structure could be repaired for $250,000 within ten days this spring, according to SBHS president Christie Weber.  Mike Bergum, DNR District Supervisor for the East-Central District, says a local engineering firm sealed the tower's fate.



Bergum says the DNR is looking to the future with park friends groups and other supporters to find replacements for the now condemned observation tower,



A demolition time frame and a final decision of what will become of the tower's wood have not yet been decided.




Press Release by Wisconsin DNR is below.


Potawatomi State Park Observation Tower To Be Deconstructed

Significant Rot And Decay Found Throughout Tower


STURGEON BAY, Wis. - Three separate studies reveal significant wood rot and decay throughout the Potawatomi State Park observation tower creating unsafe conditions and requiring the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to remove the tower.

The observation tower at Potawatomi State Park will be dismantled after three separate studies found decay and rot in the sturcuture that was built in 1932. -  - Photo credit: DNR
The observation tower at Potawatomi State Park will be dismantled after three separate studies found decay and rot in the structure that was built in 1932. - Photo credit: DNR

Routine inspections of the Potawatomi tower were conducted in the spring and early winter of 2017. During these inspections, park staff found visual decay and movement of the structural wood tower members. DNR engineering staff were brought in and conducted additional inspections and recommended further review. Constructed in 1932, the 75-foot tower was closed for the season in December 2017.

"The observation tower at Potawatomi State Park is an important way for people to experience this park. It is our responsibility to provide these opportunities as well as protect public safety," said Ben Bergey, director of the Wisconsin State Park System. "Decisions such as this are not easy. The science tells us the tower needs to come down; however, we are working with our partners to explore future opportunities."

In February 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory conducted a visual inspection using non-destructive methods to determine the condition of the wood members and the structural integrity of the tower. Lab officials found significant decay in the structural and non-structural wood members of the tower and recommended that the tower be closed to the public and dismantled. The tower was permanently closed in the spring of 2018.

The Sturgeon Bay Historical Society also commissioned an assessment of the tower that reviewed only the structural members of the tower and determined that the tower could be repaired by replacing compromised structural components with new wood elements.

In the fall of 2019 the DNR, with coordination from Wisconsin Department of Administration, solicited bids for a third-party independent consultant to review the two reports and provide their assessment and conclusions regarding the tower. The department received their report in January 2020. The report outlined the following possible options to address the existing Potawatomi Tower: Repair the tower by taking it down and putting it back together with new wood; repair the tower in place; or replace the tower with a new tower.

The department legal team determined that all three options outlined in the report would require the tower to be physically accessible in accord with the Americans with Disabilities Act. As such, the department has made the decision to deconstruct the existing tower and work with partners, including the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society, and the public, to explore a future, accessible observation opportunity at the park according to the park's existing master plan.

Potawatomi State Park is located on the shore of Sturgeon Bay in southern Door County, has 1,200 acres of gently rolling upland terrain bordered by steep slopes and rugged limestone cliffs. The park is named in honor of the tribe that inhabited Green Bay's shores. The tribe called themselves Bo-De-Wad-Me which means "keeper of the fire." Eventually the spelling and pronunciation were changed to Potawatomi.


(photo courtesy of Wisconsin DNR)


Related story with Dr. Tingley:

Perch at a premium for Lent

Lenten Friday fish fries around Door and Kewaunee counties will serve up some fish species in abundance while others will be limited.  Yellow perch are a popular Friday night fare outside of the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.  Charlie Henriksen, owner of Henriksen Fisheries in Sister Bay, says fish will become more popular during Lent as more people abstain from eating meat.  He says the demand for perch will exceed the supply, though whitefish will be plentiful.


Henriksen adds that whitefish is popular during the Jewish holidays of Passover, Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah.

Door County Library pays it forward

The Door County Library is asking patrons to help others during its “Random Acts of Kindness Day” campaign, which kicks off on Valentine's Day.  This year part of that effort will include lending a hand to other library patrons.  Morgan Mann, Community Relations Library Assistant, says that involves voluntarily taking care of people with unpaid library fines.




The “Random Acts of Kindness” day starts on Monday, February 17th.  The Door County Library “Pay it Forward” campaign will run through February 29th to give patrons a chance to pick up other's library fines at their convenience. 

Those looking for Valentine's love still in luck

NexGen Door County is bringing back one of its most popular mixers on Thursday to help locals find love before the Valentine’s Day holiday. It’s actually more inclusive than just singles. NexGen encourages people to attend to improve their career network, to find friends, and for couples to have a good time in a group setting. Molly Brauer says the Thursday before Valentine’s Day has developed its own moniker in recent years.


Brauer says that businesses tend to like to have Valentine’s Day mid-week where it provides a bigger economic boost. Hosting an event on Thursday will help provide that spark to Cherry Lanes in Sturgeon Bay. Admission is $15.


Citizens Climate Lobby pushes for carbon fee

The Door County Chapter to the Citizens' Climate Lobby is in the process of recruiting members with hopes to impact the overall carbon footprint locally and globally.  The Citizens’ Climate Lobby has over 400 local chapters in the United States.  Local grassroots efforts are being led by John Hermanson.  He says the advocacy group differs slightly from other environment-conscious organizations in the area.



The water quality issue in Door and Kewaunee counties is another problem facing residents that the organization is focusing on.  A free Climate Advocate Training session will be conducted on Saturday, February 29 at the Kress Pavillion in Egg Harbor from 9 am until noon.  

Liberty Grove battles illegal dumping

The Town of Liberty Grove Parks and Property Committee met Tuesday morning with illegal dumping taking center stage. Administrator Walter Kalms explained that the township has limited options when it comes to a trash receptacle near the Europe Lake Boat Launch. People are quick to take advantage of the situation by leaving garbage at the site that the bin is not meant for. When it fills up, there is no place for those using the nearby park to dispose of their trash. Before pulling the container entirely, Kalms says the township is trying an alternative measure.


Other items discussed at the meeting include the proposal for the new Mariners Park.


Sunshine House names new CEO

Sunshine House has settled on a new Chief Executive Officer, promoting from within the organization to chart a new path into the future. Randy Morrow joined Sunshine House in June 2019 and has established himself as a leader from the Chief Operating Officer position. Morrow is fairly new to Sunshine House but he is a fixture within the Sturgeon Bay community. Chairwoman Julie Gerndt says Morrow’s “resume quickly rose to the top of the pile,” during the interview process. Director of Sales and Marketing Jeremy Paszczak echoes the praise for Morrow.


Paszczak says he doesn’t expect major changes at this time but there are some rebranding efforts that will be rolling out in the coming months.


Southern Door student performs at Carnegie Hall

Ask Southern Door sophomore Dalena Pakalske how you get to Carnegie Hall, her answer is more than just practice. Pakalske recently performed with close to 200 other choir students from around the world at the famed New York City theater as a part of the 2020 High School Honors Performance Series. After singing with the state honors choir, Pakalske was encouraged to apply for the group and learned she would be a part of it last October. She spent four days in New York City ahead of her February 2nd performance, rehearsing with the rest of the choir for 17 hours. Pakalske says performing the last number was when it sank in that she was performing at Carnegie Hall.

Only 600 students out of 18,000 applicants were chosen to perform at the High School Honors Performance Series shows at Carnegie Hall. Pakalske will now turn her attention to a smaller stage, performing at this weekend’s Solo and Ensemble Contest at Southern Door High School Friday and Saturday.

Senator hopes to avoid future shutdowns

A year after the United States went through its longest government shutdown in its history, officials like Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson are hoping to prevent one from ever happening again. After passing the Preventing Government Shutdown Act through his committee on a bipartisan, 12-2 vote, Johnson is now working with the No Labels group and the Problem Solvers Caucus in the U.S. House to develop similar legislation. If signed into law, federal spending would revert to the previous year’s levels if a new budget is not approved. Johnson says it is common sense.

Congress had to approve a temporary spending bill at the end of December to avoid another government shutdown until the end of September. President Donald Trump released his upcoming budget on Monday, which includes funding cuts to some government programs while spending more on the military.

Kewaunee approves marina fixes

The City of Kewaunee will invest thousands of dollars in the name of tourism this year after voting to open the marina in 2020. The city will take preventative measures to reduce the flooding in the marina’s parking lot while also repairing and rewiring the damaged docks.  The projects will be paid for by user fees that have been collected at the Kewaunee Marina. Local business owners like Tom Kleiman appreciate the risk the city is taking to ensure anglers can come to Kewaunee to fish in its waters and visit their city.

Kewaunee’s boat launch will likely not open due to its constant water issues and the lack of money to effectively and efficiently solve the problems plaguing it. 

DCEDC taps new executive director

The Door County Economic Development Corporation has found its new leader, announcing the hiring of Steve Jenkins Tuesday morning. A University of Tennessee alum, Jenkins comes to Door County after serving as a special business consultant with ThriveEd, the economic development corporation that serves Wisconsin’s Jefferson and Dodge Counties. Prior to his time there, Jenkins served for another economic development corporation in Fond du Lac and other communities across the country.


See below for the full release from the Door County Economic Development Corporation:




DOOR COUNTY, WI - February 10th, 2020 -  The Board of Directors of the Door County Economic Development Corporation (DCEDC) has selected Steve Jenkins to be the next Executive Director of the organization, following a search throughout Wisconsin and surrounding states. Jenkins will replace Jim Schuessler, who resigned in December and left on January 24, 2020 to take a position with Yuma Multiversity in Arizona.   Jenkins will begin working for DCEDC on March 2, 2020.


Jenkins received a degree in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where he also fulfilled course work in a graduate program in Planning. Professionally, he has achieved status as a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) through the International Economic Development Council (IEDC). Jenkins also served as a Captain in the Transportation Corps for the U.S. Army Reserve.


Prior to his current position as a special business consultant with ThriveED, a two-county economic development corporation serving Jefferson and Dodge Counties, Steve spent many years in several states fostering economic development. During his tenure at the Economic Development Corporation in Fond du Lac, he led the implementation of an award-winning program that focused on attraction, existing business, entrepreneurial development, community competitiveness, and created such innovations as IGNITE! Business Success, M.O.R.E. Business, and a Manufacturers Innovation and Technology group.


“I’m extremely honored to be selected as the next Executive Director of the DCEDC”, stated Jenkins. “The program has a solid foundation in board leadership, staff team, strategy and support to achieve economic growth and prosperity for Door County and its communities. I look forward to being a part of Door County and serving its citizens.”


DCEDC Board Chairman, Todd Thayse (Vice President & General Manager, Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding) stated, “We had a highly qualified pool of applicants and feel very fortunate to bring a leader of Steve’s caliber to Door County and DCEDC. The strength of Steve’s business and economic development background, and his demonstrated solutions to economic development issues that he has faced in his career, impressed the selection committee. Special thanks go to my fellow Board member and Personnel Committee Chair, Patti Vickman (Superintendent, Southern Door School District) for leading the search, and to Diane Bierstecker from Human Resources Consulting, LLC. The Board also appreciates the leadership of Tom Strong, Kelsey Fox, and Janet Proctor (TEAM DCEDC), as they have kept the organization moving forward on its strategic plan during this leadership transition.”  


Snowmobilers rev engines of anticipation

Sunday’s snowfall may be just enough for snowmobilers to hit the trails throughout the Door Peninsula. The Door County Parks Department announced Monday that three of its four snowmobile zones would open, though trails in the southwest and north are listed as being in poor conditions. Kewaunee County trails are still closed, but the Moonriders Snowmobile Club in Kewaunee hopes the combination of hard work, sunny days, and cold nights could bring better news later in the week. When the trails do open, Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski advises snowmobilers to always be mindful of their surroundings.

Door County Snowmobile Coordinator Ben Nelson says snowmobilers must also stay on the trails at all times and stay off of them if they are closed. Not doing so could alienate private landowners who help make the trails possible.



          With the recent snowfall we received along with what is anticipated in the upcoming days, I think it is safe to say that we are ready to fully enjoy the winter sports here in Kewaunee County. Whether it is Fat Tire biking at Ryan Park, or enjoying the hills at our Winter Park, there is no shortage of opportunities to get outside and enjoy this winter wonderland. There may even be some snowmobile trail riding in our future if conditions continue. For this article I would like to focus on the snowmobile riding aspect just to get everyone thinking about the safety side of things.

        First and Foremost, I would like to thank the area snowmobile clubs for their tireless efforts in making the snowmobile routes a reality. For the past few years the weather did not cooperate and we had very limited trail dates. It will be good to see their hard work pay off this year. Also big thanks to all of the property owners who allow these trails to run across their property. This is purely voluntary on their part and we are grateful for their generosity.

         While the enforcement of snowmobile regulations is typically handled by the Department of Natural Resources, there are some basic safety tips and guidelines that we in law enforcement would like you to observe as well. When operating on public trails, please be aware that a portion of these trails are on the Ahnapee trail system, and that there are many users of that system other than snowmobilers. If you see someone walking or cross- country skiing please slow down and use caution when meeting. There are also good portions of the public trail that utilize private lands. Please be respectful and stay on the trail, as a great deal of damage can be done by a snowmobile to those areas not groomed. Also, leaving the trail poses greater risks to you and your equipment as there are many hazards you may not see until it is too late. When crossing roads, please follow the signage which has been posted, and realize you have the same obligation on a snowmobile as you would in a vehicle.

          It goes without saying that operating while intoxicated is just as dangerous on a snowmobile as it is in a vehicle. Unfortunately we have seen a continued number of serious injury accidents, as well as fatalities throughout the state due to intoxicated operation of a snowmobile. If you would like more information on snowmobile safety, please visit: 

         Also, if traveling across frozen lakes or rivers, be extremely cautious. While inland lakes may be a bit more consistent, those ice covered rivers do maintain a current beneath the ice which can result in varying thickness and even areas of open water that may be not easily visible when on a moving snowmobile. Even if merely walking across a lake or river be aware of the potential danger. We have had numerous incidents within our state of individuals either falling through the ice or getting stranded on shifting ice. No fish is worth that risk!

          If you are curious about the status of our local trails, please call our Kewaunee County Parks and Recreation Hotline at (920)388-7199. This hotline provides information on local trails and is updated when conditions change.

Bus driver shares experience with students

Wisconsin is celebrating School Bus Driver Appreciation Week and a Southern Door School District bus driver says the appreciation runs both ways.  Chuck Schley of Forestville has been driving young students to school for six years and plans on retiring in 90 days.  He says interactions with the students make the job truly enjoyable.  Topics discussed range broadly from students and even venture into politics, believe it or not.



 Schley says although his bus route is the same every morning, the days are always different which makes it fun.  He adds that most riders on his school bus are very respectful of other students regardless of their age.

Bird City Algoma looking for photos

Your photographic prowess can help the Bird City Algoma’s quest for an impressive display during the International Migratory Bird Day celebration planned in April.  Algoma formally became a Bird City USA community six years ago and is hoping to build off the event which showcases the diversity of migratory and native birds in the area.  Sue Hepp, the coordinator for the Algoma Bird City committee, says anyone can submit photos and it’s a great way to connect with nature.



Pictures of birds can be emailed to Hepp with information on when and where the photos were snapped and the type of bird.  The International Migratory Bird Day celebration will be held Saturday, April 18 in the gymnasium at the Algoma Youth Club.  You can find contact information with this story online to submit photos of birds taken in Door and Kewaunee counties.  

Ice conditions fickle for fishing

Fluctuating temperatures around Door and Kewaunee counties and lower than normal snowfall have made conditions for ice fishing less than ideal.  There's a lot of open water on Green Bay and Lake Michigan and the ice that has formed closer to the shoreline has inconsistent thickness. Fritz Peterson, the owner of J-E Fishing Enterprises in Sturgeon Bay, suggests anyone venturing out on the ice be extra cautious under current conditions.



The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources suggests that anglers never treat any ice as safe.  The DNR recommends wearing a floatation device, keep a cellphone in a plastic bag, carry ice claws or pick and, most importantly, never go ice fishing alone.

Street departments deal with snow cleanup

Area communities all faced the challenge of keeping roads and streets clear after over eight inches of snow fell Sunday afternoon in many parts of Door and Kewaunee County.  Sturgeon Bay Municipal Services Director Mike Barker says safety is the number one priority when it comes to deciding when the plows and graders hit the streets.  The strategy is to wait until fewer vehicles are driving around the city.



Barker says that the city crews can cover the streets in five hours of time with 13 people usually deployed in snowplows, graders, and loaders.  He adds that the Sturgeon Bay Street Department has used more salt on the roadways this winter season than all of last year.   

New festival coming to Washington Island

Nine bands will call the Washington Island Campground home for a weekend this June for the town’s newest festival.  The Sol Grass Music Festival will not only feature bluegrass bands from across the country including Door County’s The Cherry Pickers but also opportunities to check out some of the fun adventures offered on Washington Island. Ferry captain and motel owner Joel Gunnlaugsson says it provides island businesses a positive boost a week earlier than usual.

The Sol Grass Music Festival is slated to take place on June 19th and 20th.

Special Olympics to shine in Sturgeon Bay

The bleachers at T.J. Walker Middle School in Sturgeon Bay will be full this Saturday as Door County’s Special Olympics basketball teams host a pair of games. Door County has three teams that travel around the area playing other Special Olympics basketball games for fun, but also with a little extra competition as well. Brent Fonferek plays for the Screaming Eagles and shared with some of his teammates’ specialties during their last game, a close loss to Sheboygan.

Saturday’s games serve as a precursor for the District 5 regional basketball tournament in Sheboygan on March 1st. Games are slated to begin at 9 a.m. and will also feature a team from Kewaunee County.



Photo submitted

Conservancy seeks swamp land purchase

Swampland located near the border of Door and Kewaunee counties could soon have new owners. The Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee and the Kewaunee County Board will discuss a resolution supporting the Glacial Lakes Conservancy's purchase of several parcels of the Black Ash Swamp. According to the Wisconsin Wetlands Association, Black Ash Swamp is one of the few large, diverse lowland forests in the region and includes an undeveloped reach of Silver Creek.  Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee Chairperson Chuck Wagner says the acquisition is similar to others in the region.

If acquired, it would be the seventh property in Kewaunee County the Glacial Lakes Conservancy has been able to acquire.

Jacque confident in water measures

State Senator Andre Jacque has faith in his Senate colleagues when it comes to approving recommendations made by the Speaker’s Task Force on Water Quality. According to last month, Representatives Todd Novak and Katrina Shankland were uncertain about the fate of some of the bills in the Senate. They cited the $10 million price tag for the package of bills as one of the possible concerns. Jacque served on the task force and believes there will be strong support for most, if not all, of the bills over time.

More money for county land and water conservation departments and producer-led watershed groups were among the measures Jacque was proud of to come out of the task force. Jacque is also happy that some of his agricultural bills, like ones concerning manure composting and an animal identification system, are also gaining support.



Picture from Senator Andre Jacque's web site

Snowstorm cancels Southern Door schools, delays Monday activities

Sunday's storm that dumped several inches of snow in the area is causing some delays Monday morning.


After originally calling for a delay, Southern Door School District was forced to close school Monday due to unsafe traveling condition on local roads. Below is a listing of postponements and delays as a result of the storm that dumped eight and a half inches of snow in Kewaunee, eight inches in Sturgeon Bay, and 13 inches in Ellison Bay. 



Southern Door School District



Sevastopol School District: 2 hour delay

Sunshine House: out of town routes on 1 hour delay

Gibraltar Area Schools: 2 hour delay


FEMA Youth Council a worthwhile experience

Teens from Door and Kewaunee counties could learn to lead in an emergency as part of the FEMA Youth Council.  The federal agency is seeking 8th to 11th graders to serve two-year terms as council members.   Haily Dudzinski represents Wisconsin on the Region 5 FEMA Youth Council.  Other council members from Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio meet annually at Preparedness Camps.  Dudzinski says at camp she learned outreach efforts that benefited schools statewide.




Dudzinski says it didn't take long for FEMA Youth Council members to put skills learned at Preparedness Camp to work.




Youths interested in applying to the FEMA Youth Preparedness Council have until March 8th to submit their applications.  Youths interested in applying to the FEMA Youth Preparedness Council have until March 8th to submit their applications.  More information is available by logging onto

Public help wanted for soil and water conservation

The Door County Soil and Water Conservation Department needs your help to make sure its Land and Management proposal is addressing your concerns.  The department is preparing to draw up its next ten-year management plan.  A series of public hearings are scheduled to help draw up the best possible management practices.  Erin Hanson, a department conservationist, says past public input has played a key role in ensuring soil and water issues are being handled effectively.


The public hearings on the Door County Soil and Water Conservation Department's proposed management plan will be held February 17th at the Aging and Disability Resource Center on North 14th Avenue in Sturgeon Bay, on February 19th at the Kress Pavillion on Church Street in Egg Harbor and on February 20th at the Brussels Town Hall on Junction Road in Brussels.  Each meeting runs from 6:00 PM until 7:30 PM.

Community Breakfast marks start of Annual Campaign

The Door County YMCA welcomes everyone to Stone Harbor Thursday morning for a community breakfast which starts the 2020 Annual Campaign. Those who plan on attending are asked to notify the YMCA in advance so that they can ensure there is enough food. The meal is free but 150 people have already committed making it difficult to handle unannounced walk-in traffic. Food is served at 7:30 AM with a program to follow according to Executive Director Tom Beerntsen.


The Door County YMCA boasts record membership with many receiving financial assistance made possible by funds raised through the Annual Campaign.


Dark sky designation pays dividends for Newport State Park

Visitors are streaming in to Newport State Park in recent years thanks to the site’s designation as a haven for stargazers. Gene Kenny, from the Friends of Newport State Park, says it is helping the park gain traction against other Door County forests, namely Peninsula State Park.


The park was a great location to view the year’s first super moon Saturday evening as it coincided with the annual twilight hike event. Due to the warmer weather this year, there was no skiing or snowshoeing on the Fern Trail.


Determining state or federal aid for storm damage

Winter storm damage in Door County and several southeastern counties is treated differently when it comes to getting state or federal aid.  Inspection teams with the Federal Emergency Management Agency have begun assessing storm damage and flooding that took place last month.  The inspectors were brought in at the request of Governor Evers.  Dan Kane, Door County Emergency Management and Communications Coordinator, says similar inspections won't take place in the Town of Gardner, Town of Clay Banks and the Town of Union.  He says the Thanksgiving storms don't meet FEMA guidelines.


Andrew Beckett, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Division of Emergency Management, says FEMA inspectors were called to sections of Milwaukee County, Kenosha County and Racine County at the requests of local officials and Governor Evers.  He says such requests follow specific weather events.


Residents with questions can learn more from the recent Door County Emergency Management and Communications Department flooding seminar.  The videotaped seminar is on the agency's Facebook page.

Working harder against tobacco sales to minors

Store owners licensed to sell tobacco are required to verify the age of a purchaser.  A recent store check in Sturgeon Bay using teen volunteers found that 1 out of 3 sales were still made to minors.  Now the Sturgeon Bay Police Department and re:THINK, the Five County Tobacco Prevention Coalition, are working with stores to step up efforts to further reduce sales to those who are underage.  Coalition coordinator Cath Tease says changes in federal law banning tobacco sales to anyone under 21 have created some confusion among store employees.  She adds tobacco industry marketing still makes some illegal sales possible.


Store owners and operators can get free training for employees on how to eliminate sales to minors. Store owners and operators can get free training for employees on how to eliminate sales to minors by logging on to 

Kewaunee Optimist Club fills food stamp void

Hot chili warmed up Kewaunee residents Saturday and provided the kick start to a new pilot program that is being organized by the Kewaunee Optimist Club and the Rotary. It will last for ten weeks this spring and the aim is for the program to become permanent once school returns in the fall. The program helps to address changes in federal assistance guidelines according to Optimist Board Member Jim Lemack.




The “Feed Our Kids” program will be run in conjunction with local school districts. The Kewaunee Optimist Club is a local chapter of Optimist International and its mission is to provide support to youth programs in the area.

New knee scooters meet demand

People with mobility challenges will now find it easier to scoot around Door County.  That's because Neighbor to Neighbor is beefing up its fleet of knee scooters for loan to those who need them to get around.  The Door County Community Foundation awarded a $6,500 grant to the local non-profit group which provides medical equipment on a short-term basis.  Ann Bennett, Executive Director of Neighbor to Neighbor, says with eight knee scooters in Sturgeon Bay and two each in Northern Door County and Washington Island it was hard to meet demand.


The grant was made possible with help from the Marge and Mike McCoy Family Foundation, the David and Nancy Danis Fund, the Kerley Family Foundation, and the Eleanor R. Dean and John L Gosney Fund.  Neighbor to Neighbor now has 30 knee scooters available for loan.

District fab labs build audiences in different ways

Southern Door School District has seen healthy participation this year at its weekly adult fabrication lab sessions and that is expected to continue until their conclusion in April. Southern Door isn’t the only school district offering a “fab lab” though and the approaches between districts can be significantly different according to Algoma Technical Education Instructor Matt Abel.


In Algoma’s case, the challenge (and some of the fun) is to create programs that resonate with a large segment of the community.


Sturgeon Bay Utilities forecasts future energy prices

Sturgeon Bay Utilities General Manager Jim Stawicki believes that consumers will continue to benefit from lower energy prices in the coming years. Smaller electric bills have been helping add an extra dollar bill or two to wallets in the area for the past year and there is no indication that trend will change. Stawicki says traditional and alternative energy sources are both contributing to the drop in energy costs.


American oil and natural gas production continues at historic levels and has helped the market absorb several geopolitical events in recent months that would have sent prices soaring in the past.


Door County Ice Diving Team ready if needed

The Door County Ice Diving team breaks every stereotype of government agencies not playing nice with each other. The unit is comprised of representatives from local, county, and state departments. With a lot of moving parts, it is important for the team to be operating as a cohesive unit and that means a healthy amount of training. Sessions are conducted once a month, including earlier this week on the Bay of Green Bay. Sturgeon Bay Lieutenant Clint Henry says the team is not involved with rescues. 


This month’s training session involved finding evidence underwater. The team can be used for a variety of purposes beyond human recovery operations.


Kewaunee begins extended bow hunt assessment

Both Door and Kewaunee Counties have dabbled in a new option available to them in an effort to cull the deer herd in recent years. County Deer Advisory Councils in the area are allowed to permit an antlerless holiday hunt near Christmas time or an extended archery season that runs until the end of January. Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha says Door County experimented with the longer bow hunt last year but was not satisfied with the results.


Kewaunee attempted it in 2020 and the council will be getting feedback from hunters and other stakeholders into the spring at two scheduled meetings.


Gibraltar Schools set to show off new building

Beginning at 5:30 PM on Wednesday, the public is invited for the grand opening of the new Gibraltar school facilities. Students have been in the building since the start of the semester but it took a while to put the finishing touches on the library which delayed showcasing the unique group project spaces that connect classrooms and the library. Superintendent Tina Van Meer says the new facilities realize the vision set out nearly a decade ago.


Additionally, from 6-7 PM there will be a presentation by motivational speaker Mike McGowan titled, “Parenting in the Digital Age.”


Double grand piano set for first Algoma performance

Saturday, February 22nd will be the Algoma debut for one of the area’s musical treasures. In February, the Performing Arts Center traditionally holds a baby grand piano show. Director David Robertson tried to include a local musician, Michael Swedberg, in last year’s program but he declined due to being new to the community. Swedberg has agreed to take part in the 2020 edition and Robertson consulted Peter Nehlsen on how to best set up a dueling baby grand program at the center. Robertson says he remains surprised by Nehlsen’s response.


Robertson and Swedberg have both gotten a couple of rehearsal sessions using the infamous double grand piano. They say that it is a treat and a smile never leaves their face while they are playing.


Project adds class to Sunshine House

Leadership Door County will be working to make a classroom at Sunshine House a little classier and functional.  Volunteers including area special needs teachers and other local non-profit groups will help transform a former conference room into an up-to-date multipurpose classroom.   Chad Welch with the Door County Partnership for Families and Children says the renovation project will cover just about everything that's needed.


Prior to shifting various classes to the former Sunshine House conference room, some groups met wherever they could, including the cafeteria.

Guest column: Keeping your resolutions for Valentine's Day

January is a time for making resolutions.  Eating healthy, exercising more.  Great goals to start a new year!  Then comes February and Valentines Day.  Suddenly we are back to being surrounded by candy and treats and our resolutions don’t seem as prominent and important anymore.  It’s time to put a stop to this common progression!  Let’s commit to sticking to New Year’s resolutions by offering non-candy treats for Valentine’s Day this year. Here are some ideas to try!


Non-candy Valentines Day Treats


Nail Polish: This is an excellent idea for young ladies, pre-teens, teachers, and co-workers. Nail polish in a Valentine’s Day color such as pink, purple, or red is perfect for the Valentine’s Day season and gift giving. Plus, it is a gift that will last many uses, not just one like a candy bar would. Pair with a colorful nail file for an extra touch.


Hand lotion/sanitizer: Hand lotion and sanitizer always come in handy! In fact, this is one of those Valentine’s Day gifts that keeps giving long after the holiday.  Gift these items to students, teachers, coworkers, or anyone who could use them. Choose a sweet or floral scent that compliments the holiday well, and add some ribbon for a festive touch.


Playing cards: You can gift your Valentine a deck of playing cards along with a note that reads, “You are my King/Queen of hearts.” This is the perfect gift for a person who loves card games or games in general. Wrap them up with some ribbon and you are all set.  You may even find specialty cards that suit their personality specifically.


Candles: Doesn’t everyone love candles? Gift your Valentine their favorite sent along with a note that they “light up” your life. You can find holiday scents or dress up an everyday scented candle with some colorful ribbon or a gift bag. Chose this gift that any candle lover is sure to get use out of.


Socks: Getting socks as a kid isn’t exciting, but getting socks as an adult always is! Head to Dollar Tree and snag some Valentine’s Day themed socks for your sweetheart. They are sure to appreciate the gesture and enjoy something so practical.  


A Picture Frame: What could be better than a picture frame that showcases you and your sweetheart in it? Give your Valentine a framed picture of the two of you to enjoy for years to come. If you wish, you can even paint and decorate the frame to your liking.  You could even branch out and have a special picture taken just for them to make it extra special.


Fruit Basket: All that sweet taste without the added sugar.  An assortment of fruit makes for a colorful and healthy gift!

Youth attends historic Dyslexia bill signing

Ten-year-old Grady Baumann of Baileys Harbor witnessed the public signing into law by Governor Tony Evers of the first-ever Dyslexia bill in Madison this past Wednesday.  Grady, whose mother Kari is an Advocacy Coordinator for the Decoding Dyslexia Wisconsin organization, has been dealing with reading and writing issues the past few years.  Kari testified previously while the Assembly Bill 110 was going through the State Senate.  She and Grady attended the signing of ACT 86 along with other families impacted by Dyslexia.



Grady returned to fifth-grade classes at Gibraltar this past Monday after going down to Chicago weekly for tutoring in a special program since last September.  Kari adds that more bills are being proposed in Madison to give educators more resources that will help increase reading proficiency across the state for students suffering from dyslexia.


(photo submitted)  


First week of open enrollment begins

Area public and private schools are trying to attract new students as the open enrollment period began this last Monday.   Open enrollment in Wisconsin is available to all students enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade.  Marc Vandenhouten, principal for St. Mary’s Elementary School in Luxemburg and Holy Trinity in Casco, says all the Door and Kewaunee County schools offer great opportunities for students.  He adds that parents can always change their minds up until the next school year begins.



 Open enrollment, which has been available since 1998 in the state, ends on April 30.  Parents can apply for their child's open enrollment online or by visiting the schools directly and filling out the appropriate paperwork.  


Wayfinding coming to Sturgeon Bay

A new program will be coming to Sturgeon Bay that will impact the number of signs that are placed around the city.  Destination Sturgeon Bay, formerly called the Visitors Center,  has been working in collaboration with the city in the past year to develop a wayfinding system that will be displayed starting in spring.  Pam Seiler, executive director of Destination Sturgeon Bay, says the goal is for a cleaner look and less clutter along the streets.



Seiler adds that there will be several phases for vehicular and pedestrian signage.  Visual "blue fins" on light posts will show public access so locals, as well as visitors,  can find their way around the city more efficiently.   


(photo submitted) 


Be cautious viewing Snow Moon

The night skies will be more lit up over Door and Kewaunee counties as the Snow Moon shines this weekend.   That also comes with a warning.  The Snow Moon, which astronomers call a super moon, will be the closest to the earth during its orbit.  Dave Lenius, President of the Door Peninsula Astronomical Society, says there may not be ideal weather even though the Snow Moon is easily visible to the naked eye.  Lenius also says you don't necessarily need a telescope to get a good view, though he recommends caution if you use it.



The Snow Moon received its name from Native American tribes.  Peak viewing is expected to be around 1:30 AM Sunday.  

Hooray for Hollywood a labor of love

For three nights, the biggest Valentine for Kewaunee County is playing at the Agricultural Heritage Center in Kewaunee. The "Hooray for Hollywood" show put on by the Kewaunee Young People's Theater raises thousands of dollars for several causes throughout the county. Community members have been practicing their skits for the shows over the last month, including every night for a week leading up to Friday's performance. Kevin Dax has performed in Hooray for Hollywood for years and says whether you are performing or one of the one thousand-plus people that show up, it is humbling to see the community come together for a great cause.

Playing February 14th through the 16th, tickets only remain for the Friday and Sunday Hooray for Hollywood shows. Last year was the first year the organization eclipsed $50,000 raised during the weekend, which was later distributed as scholarships and grants for over 20 organizations.


Picture courtesy of the Hooray for Hollywood Facebook page, which has more details on this year's show.

Kewaunee students giving back

A few months into the job, the community outreach by his students continues to amaze Kewaunee principal Mike Bennett. Clubs and sports teams at the high school get into the act by hosting different events like the football team's trick-or-treating night in the fall and the FFA's upcoming petting zoo. Earlier this week, James Cullen was recognized as a distinguished finalist in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards for the state of Wisconsin. Cullen helps organize the annual "Weather Warm-Ups Drive" to collect hundreds of jackets, sweaters, and more for needy community members. Bennett says Cullen is just one example of the many students at Kewaunee that balance school, athletics, and volunteer work.

The next example of Kewaunee students giving back will occur on February 11th. That is when the National Honor Society will host a "Dollars for Diapers Drive"  during the girls' basketball game against Oconto to support the efforts of the Kewaunee County Public Health Department.




Representative happy impeachment trial is over

Wisconsin Republican Representative Mike Gallagher says the country needs to move forward after the United States Senate voted to acquit President Donald Trump on both impeachment articles earlier this week. Gallagher voted against the two articles of impeachment that were approved by the U.S. House of Representatives late last year. U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson stuck to their party lines when it came to their vote on Wednesday. Gallagher fears the process lowered the bar for future impeachment proceedings, saying there were no underlying crimes and were almost completely partisan. For him, moving forward starts with addressing trust issues in Washington D.C.

Gallagher says there are some things Congress can cover in the short time they will be on Capitol Hill this year due to the election. Those include lowering prescription drug prices and creating healthcare pricing transparency. 


Lessons learned ahead of Egg Harbor development

Village of Egg Harbor Administrator Ryan Heise says he knows the comments are coming regarding a proposed mixed-use development coming to its downtown. Last month, Creative Business Services proposed "The Residences of Egg Harbor" at the village's plan commission meeting. Replacing a gas station and convenience store, the proposed development includes first-floor retail space and two floors of condominiums. Heise has seen other communities in the county have to address concerns like architecture and oversaturation when other large-scale projects have been proposed. He says the state statutes concerning the conditional use permitting process have changed in recent years.

A public hearing is scheduled for March 11th to discuss the proposed development. In the meanwhile, Egg Harbor is busy with other projects on the horizon including improvements to Church Street, Highway 42, and its beach.


Insurance companies "flooded" with inquiries

With Lake Michigan reportedly expecting to set record-high levels over the next six months, area shoreside property owners are inquiring about flood insurance more than ever.  Mike Walston from Robertson Ryan & Associates in Kewaunee says he has been fielding a lot of calls from residential and commercial owners with land near the harbor and lake.  He says there are two types of flood insurance that policyholders can purchase.



Walston says there is a 30-day waiting period when going through the national flood insurance program.  Private insurance companies, on the other hand, can have policies activated right away but are not guaranteed.   


Local political parties react to State of the Union

The Door County Republican and Democratic Parties are reacting very differently to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address, as one might expect. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tearing up the speech on national television is generating a lot of discussion. David Hayes, the head of the local Democratic Party chapter, says it was justified.


Republican head Stephanie Soucek was satisfied with the speech. She says the surprises made it the most memorable State of the Union she has witnessed. To her, one guest stood out.


Both Hayes and Soucek say they are cautiously optimistic about their party’s performance this fall.


Kewaunee woman arrested for embezzlement

A Kewaunee woman was been taken into custody Thursday morning for allegedly defrauding her employer.  According to a Kiel Police Department press release, a local business owner was suspicious of missing money from the company back in June.  A subsequent audit of financial reports was turned over to Kiel Police.  Results from the audit showed evidence that over $65,000 was stolen from the business by the then-employee in 2018 and 2019.  Investigators from the Manitowoc County District Attorney's office are recommending over 200 felony charges that include Theft, Forgery, Uttering, and Fraudulent Writings.  Kiel Police Chief David Funkhouser says the name of the 51-year old Kewaunee woman is not being released and no other details are available at this time as the investigation remains ongoing.




Deconstruction builds on Habitat mission

Door County Habitat for Humanity has already proven it can put in home fixtures, but now it is showing it can take them out as well. Volunteers assisted in the deconstruction of the former home of the Greater Escarpment Organization of Door County in Ellison Bay last month. The partnership will help keep useful materials out of landfills while GEO-DC plans for a future Escarpment Discovery Center. Door County Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Lori Allen says any businesses or private homes can contact them.

Many of the items removed during the deconstruction get sold at the organization's ReStore in Sturgeon Bay. Money raised through ReStore sales and from events like Saturday's bowl-athon will go towards projects like its 43rd home build this summer.



Blank slate for future jail

The "where?" question for the new Kewaunee County Jail is becoming more clear. As the second phase of the jail planning study continues, it was decided the space surrounding its current facility was too tight to add onto and eliminating it altogether would only offer short-term savings. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski says while a new area is needed to build, a number of factors have to be considered before a spot can be picked.

Joski says it also continues to look at changing staff roles within the department. He admits it could add additional people to the department and increase costs. 




As we continue our work relative to Phase Two of the Public Safety Building Study, I would like to provide an update of the work which has been done, and what remains to be accomplished. Just to provide a review of the three phases and the goal of each of those phases, I will give a quick summary.

        Phase One was a review of our current environment including facilities, staffing and operations. It also resulted in various options to be considered in the next phase. Phase Two focuses primarily on programming along with space needs and requirements which take into consideration the various options created in Phase One. It is also our work in this phase to arrive at the most effective and efficient option from both a capital as well as operational cost perspective. Phase Three gets us to the actual designs and operational implementations. So back to Phase Two which is where we are currently. In December I reported out that we have reviewed the various options which came out of Phase One and that due to the limitations of the current site both from a perspective of efficient operations as well as future growth, the most reasonable option is to look at an open green space as the primary location.

         Even before arriving at this option we also looked at an option which eliminates a local jail all together. While this option may show some short-term cost savings, it falls short from many other perspectives. The primary downfall of this option is that is places our community in a perpetual state of dependency on another county. Regardless of any contract language, it would ultimately be up to the host agency to terminate the agreement either when our inmates become a burden or when the eventual capacity of their facility reaches a point where we would be directed to vacate our inmates. It is also important to note that even if we contracted out our inmate population we would still have staffing costs due to the operation of our Public Safety Communications Center as well as the need for more transport staffing.

         Another serious consideration is the lack of options when it comes to Huber or work release inmates. As I have stated many times, these individuals regardless of the decisions which placed them in our care are still members of our community. The option of housing in a distant facility would have a devastating impact on potential or continued employment and rehabilitation services for those individuals, which in turn place additional strain on their families and support systems. Another important impact specifically to daily law enforcement operations would be the requirement to transport any and all fresh arrests to another county for bookings. This would in turn require additional staff to back fill the shift while that Officer or Deputy is out of the county for these bookings. In summary, while there may be costs savings to be realized by contracting out local government services to another county, our Corrections and Emergency Communications operations are most likely not prime candidates.

         Aside from the initial and ongoing facility costs that we are reviewing and working to refine, we are also reviewing the staffing implications. While we are always looking to maintain the absolute minimum in staffing, our largest hurdle is that due to our historical Jailer/Dispatcher configuration, any recommended staffing level where these duties are separated results in a substantial staffing increase. We will continue to work with our consultant along with our State Jail Inspector to find any and all efficiencies in all areas of this project both from a facility as well as from a staffing perspective. Our next planning meeting is on February 12th at 4:30 PM at the Human Services Training Room. I will try to provide an update following that meeting.

         I would like to thank all of the members of our Public Safety Building Study Committee for all of the time they have invested in this process thus far. If anyone from the community has any questions regarding our work, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I would greatly enjoy the visit! I can always be reached at: (920)388-7177


West side progress excites mayor

After years of fighting, Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward is finally able to smile when it comes to the west side waterfront. Battles over the site's ordinary high water mark took up six of the tax increment financing district's 27-year life without much progress. With work on the Door County Maritime Museum's tower project in the background, the granary is closer to finding a permanent resting place and the city is getting its first look at a proposed promenade. Ward says the positive momentum is showing voters and developers that the city can move forward.

The progress on the west waterfront is just one part of the good news Ward is looking forward to in 2020. It also includes the possible redevelopment of the former West Side School into affordable housing and improvements at Graham Park and Little Lake.


You can listen to the entire "State of the City" interview with Mayor David Ward below.


Algoma teacher earns recognition

In its first year of being included in the annual Golden Apple Awards, Algoma Elementary School already has its first recipient. Jaime Robinson was given the Teacher of Distinction Award last week ahead of its full announcement later this month. Robinson, a second-grade teacher at Algoma Elementary School, was one of over 40 people to earn the recognition in the Greater Green Bay Chamber's first round of announcements. After teaching in the Luxemburg-Casco School District for 17 years and Algoma School District for 11 years, Robinson believes the award is a testament to the hard work of everyone.

Luxemburg-Casco Intermediate School's Leila Balza has also been recognized by the Greater Green Bay Chamber as a Teacher of Distinction. Robinson and Balza will formally receive their awards at a ceremony to be held in April. 


Bay Shipbuilding and union agree on terms

Avoiding a possible work stoppage, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 449 ratified the latest contract proposal by Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding on Wednesday.  Union President Shawn Claflin informed that the agreement is for five years and was the product of many negotiations between Boilermakers Local 449 and Bay Ship.  He noted that there were struggles along the way but committees representing both sides were able to draft a proposal that the over 280 union members passed.  The union membership had been working under the terms of the old agreement since last September.  Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding Vice President and General Manager Todd Thayse could not be reached for comment as of Thursday morning.  


Sevastopol student named Cadet of the Year

Triston Beauchamp, a senior from Sevastopol High School and the leader of this year’s Sturgeon Bay Police Cadet unit, received the top honor at the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Education Advocates Conference. City and department officials, as well as Triston’s parents, were on hand to see him presented with the Cadet of the Year award. Officer Brandon Shew says the Sturgeon Bay team did well in addition to Beauchamp’s recognition.


Beauchamp will attend NWTC in the fall to pursue his goal of a career in law enforcement.


Photo courtesy of the Sturgeon Bay Police Department Facebook page.


More anglers booking spring charters

Winter is barely in its second month and charter fishing operators in Door and Kewaunee counties say they're already fielding calls for spring and summer charters.  Many say it's not unusual to get bookings from long-time customers.  Fritz Peterson, owner of J-E Fishing Enterprises in Sturgeon Bay, says some dates are already filling up and fast.


Peterson says less than ideal ice fishing conditions may have some customers looking to spring.  Though he adds open water on the Fox River is drawing anglers and their boats for the walleye run.

Here she comes...Miss Door County

Miss Door County and Miss Door County Outstanding Teen will be crowned in a pageant full of pomp and elegance this Saturday at Southern Door High School. In total, ten girls and young women will be involved between the two age categories. Co-Director Cora Baudhuin talks about the different components each contestant will be judged on.


Baudhuin was crowned Miss Door County in 2014. She says that when competing at Miss Wisconsin, and beyond, the format stays the same but the caliber of competition ratchets up.


Moving pond hockey tournament is a logistical challenge

Due to thin ice, the Baileys Harbor Pond Hockey Tournament has been moved to the Sister Bay Sports Complex and that provides some interesting logistical challenges. The most obvious one is how to move the tournament from a large lake to two ice rinks without cutting out any of the action according to Louise Howson from the Advancement Association.


Players come from as far away as Salt Lake City so cancelling the tournament entirely would negate months of planning by everyone involved. There is plenty of room for spectators and transportation into town for shopping and dining will be provided.


Demand prompts higher starting wages

Assembly Democrats have introduced a bill to raise the minimum wage to $15-an-hour. However, the demand for workers by some Wisconsin businesses, including those in Door and Kewaunee Counties, is already pushing starting wages above the $7.25 per hour minimum set in 2009. Such demand is expected to help raise entry-level wages further. Jim Golembeski, Executive Director of the Bay Area Workforce Development Board, says employers who are unable to find qualified workers and a key demographic in the workforce will likely require compensation that exceeds the state and federal minimum wage.


American Family  Insurance of Madison increased its' minimum wage to $20-an-hour on January 1st. The Republican-controlled legislature last year defeated a bill that would adopt a $15-an-hour starting wage.  Currently only Georgia and Wyoming pay lower starting wages than Wisconsin.

Constant planning for health emergencies

Local health departments are constantly planning responses to disasters, including outbreaks of diseases such as SARS and the coronavirus well before they happen. The Kewaunee County Public Health and Human Services Department and the Door County Public Health Department undergo several mock disaster scenarios yearly as a condition of an emergency management grant.  Sue Powers, Door County Public Health Manager and Health Officer, says that includes aiding with a regional response.


Among the efforts to control or reduce the threat of outbreaks is medication distribution, such as flu shots, in schools.

Students live World War I from the homefront

Students at Southern Door High School in Brussels started "living" during the World War I era long before the Golden Globe-winning film “1917” was released.  They're assigned document-based questions after looking through articles, posters and other World War I archived materials from the Wisconsin State Historical Museum.  History teacher Ben Rikkola has long had an interest in historical fiction.  So he has students take the information learned from the document-based questions and write a fictional first-hand account of homefront life in Door County during the war.




Rikkola says at the end of the study of World War I students start to see many similarities between cultural clashes from that era and the present time.

Sturgeon Bay moving on west side waterfront

The development of the west side waterfront took center stage Tuesday evening at the Sturgeon Bay Common Council meeting.  Cedar Corporation and SRF Consulting group presented designs for a new promenade that would be constructed between the two downtown bridges along the west side waterfront.  City Administrator Josh VanLieshout says the council was impressed and is looking forward to a public showcasing next Monday at City Hall.



During the business part of the meeting, the Sturgeon Bay Common Council did approve an agreement with Destination Sturgeon Bay, formerly the Sturgeon Bay Visitors Center, for making improvements to Graham Park located along the east side waterfront by the Oregon Street Bridge.  The council went into closed session to discuss the development agreement amendments with the city and Sturgeon Bay Historical Society.  No action was taken after the closed session and the meeting adjourned around 10:30 pm.    

School counselors do more than advise students

With National School Counseling Week being celebrated around the country, a Sturgeon Bay guidance counselor is sharing the importance of the position beyond just her duties.  Morgan Kiedrowski works with sixth grade through ninth-grade students at TJ Walker Middle School and Sturgeon Bay High School. She says she enjoys spending one-on-one time with students inside and outside of her office and the classroom.  Starting in sixth grade is not too early to think about what you want to pursue for a career down the road.



Kiedrowski adds that discussing potential careers with students is her most enjoyable part of the job because the choices are endless.  National School Counseling Week is celebrated annually the first week in February every year.  


(photo courtesy of Sturgeon Bay schools)

Consistent investing recommended as Dow Jones jumps

A Sturgeon Bay financial associate says the bullish stock market is a good reminder to always plan for the long haul when it comes to investments.  The Dow Jones closed over 400 points higher on Tuesday finishing at 28,807.63.  Casey St. Henry from Thrivent Financial says no matter what the stock market is doing, a good rule of thumb is to invest long term.



St. Henry adds that working with a professional financial advisor is important in developing retirement strategies and goals.  

Rabas to reminisce the 60's decade

The Kewaunee County Historical Society will begin a weekly history series this month with one of the most turbulent and memorable decades in the last century.   The “Growing up in the Sixties” program by Jim Rabas this Saturday will kick-off the series.  Rabas shares what he will cover in his hour-long presentation.



The “Growing up in the Sixties” program will be at 1 pm at the Kewaunee County Historical Society on Ellis Street in Kewaunee.  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.

Sturgeon Bay math team wins 19th Packerland Conference

The Sturgeon Bay High School math team had another strong showing Monday night in a Packerland Conference math meet at Southern Door.  The Clippers scored a team-high 301 points in coming away with their 19th consecutive conference championship.  Math teacher, and coach, Cliff Wind says the successful tradition of the Sturgeon Bay program has seen very familiar last names on the team over the years.



NEW Lutheran came in second place with 253 points while the JV competition saw the two Sturgeon Bay teams place first and second respectively.  Sturgeon Bay varsity finished the season undefeated with 100 points followed by NEW Lutheran with 90 points.  You can find the complete individual and team scoring from Monday's Packerland Conference math meet below.  





            1. Nick Herbst, SB, 32

            2. Darvin Fang, NEW, 32

3.  Simon Kopischke, Gib, 31

4.  Ashlyn Anderson, Algoma, 29

            Tie 5. Arissa Kirchman, Algoma, 29

DJ Lenius, SB

Rose Zhu, NEW

Caden Karmarynski, Sev



            1.  Abram Abeyta, SB, 37

            2.  Molly Fei, NEW, 34

            3.  Carter Henry, SB, 31

4.  Jack Hitzeman, Gib, 31

5.  Henry Pudo, SB, 29



            1.  Maggie Stephens, SB, 31

            2   Andrew Konop, SB, 29

3.  Makayla Ash, SB, 27

            4.  Arry VanLieshout, SB, 25

            5.  Cole Pienicki, O, 24



            1.  Christy Braun, SB, 25

            2.  Luke Nell, NEW,20

            3.  Laura Zittlow, So Door, 20

            4. Russell Pudlo, SB, 20

            5. Espen Walker, SB, 19




1. Sturgeon Bay, 301 points

2. NEW, 253

3. Oconto, 221

4. Gibraltar, 194

5. Southern Door 189

6. Kewaunee, 185

7. Sevastopol 174

8. Algoma, 164


JV results (10 total teams)

1. Sturgeon Bay 2, 244 points


2. Sturgeon Bay 3, 154


3. Oconto #2, 127

4.  Kewaunee 3, 124





Final Standings for varsity teams

1.  Sturgeon Bay, 100 league points (undefeated season)

2.  NEW, 90

3.  Oconto 74

4.  Kewaunee, 58

5.  Southern Door, 53 

6. Sevastopol, 51

7. Algoma, 50

8.  Gibraltar, 28



Junior Varsity overall results (10 total teams)


1.  SB #2, 150 league points (undefeated season)

2.  SB #3, 140

3.  Kew #2 110






1. Michael Laxo, SB, 143

2. Nick Herbst, SB, 134

3.  Darvin Fang, NEW, 128

4.  Marina Jeanquart, SB, 126

5. Fletcher Hubbard, SB, 124



1.  Abram Abeyta, SB, 138

Tie 2.  Henry Pudo, SB and Jack Hitzeman, Gib,  129

4.  Molly Fei, NEW, 122

5.  Carter Henry, SB, 119



1.  Andrew Konop, SB, 129

2.   Maggie Stephens, SB, 119

3.  Arry VanLieshout, SB, 100

4.  Grace Holmgren, O, 99

5.  Makayla Ash, SB, 96



1.  Christy Braun, SB, 111

2.  Luke Nell, NEW,80

3.  Laura Zittlow, So Door, 78

TIE 4. Russell Pudlo  and Espen Walker, SB, 72

Door County Library halts book donations

Book donations for the Door County Library in Sturgeon Bay are not being accepted this month. That's because the January donations have exceeded volunteer workers' abilities to process them.  Morgan Mann, community relations library assistant, says she's never seen this many donations in the two-years she been with the library. She says that may result in changes in donation policies.



Book donations are only being stopped at the Sturgeon Bay library. Donated books are processed for sale by Friends of the Door County Library to fund library programs.  Book sales take place daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.  A Saturday book sale is scheduled for February 15th from 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM. 

Washington Island's search for ice

Washington Island residents are still ready to celebrate the season despite the relatively mild winter. The nine-day slate of festivities known as Celebrating Winter begins this Friday with food, entertainment, and other activities waiting for residents and visitors alike. One event that may take a hit is the annual fishing derby organized by the Washington Island Lions Club. Detroit Harbor and two other areas are currently the only spots around the island with safe enough ice to fish. Motel owner and ferry captain Joel Gunnlaugsson says the event, which includes an ice party at Detroit Harbor next Saturday, has grown in recent years.

Celebrating Winter and the Lions Club Fishing Derby runs Friday through February 16th.

Soil, forage concerns on farmer's minds

Issues born in the wake of last year's harvest struggles will highlight a meeting organized by the Kewaunee County UW-Extension office later this month. The late harvest for some crops commonly used to feed animals had a negative impact on its quality. The heavy machinery used on wet fields caused its own issues, compacting soil to a point where it could take years to fix. Agriculture Agent Aerica Bjurstrom says the 2020 Forage and Soil Meeting will hopefully provide

The meeting is set to take place at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds on February 27th beginning at 10 a.m. The meeting is free to attend but registration is required.


Research reserve looks for county support

Learning more about the Bay of Green Bay is the goal of a research reserve looking to gain support at next week's Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation meeting.  The proposed Green Bay Ecosystem National Estuarine Research Reserve is a project being spearheaded by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay to study the area's water quality, habitat, and other features. Reserves established in Superior, Wis. and in Ohio have already had their share of success. Committee chairperson Chuck Wagner believes the establishment of a reserve for the Bay of Green Bay could have a positive impact for Kewaunee County.

The Kewaunee County Land and Water Conservation Committee will discuss and potentially pass a resolution supporting the project when it meets for its scheduled meeting on February 11th in Luxemburg. Door County and the Sturgeon Bay Common Council have already thrown in their support of the project.


Candidate forum Friday at Southern Door

The League of Women Voters of Door County is hosting the first of three scheduled forums for candidates running for the County Board of Supervisors this Friday at the Southern Door High School Library.  The forum will include candidates from District 3 and District 4.  Volunteer Dan Powers says attendees can submit questions that are screened by LWV members.



Participants include Roy Englebert. Lora Jorgenson, and Patrick Olson for District 3 and Kara Counard and John Koch for District 4.  The candidate forum will begin at 7 pm this Friday and attendees should enter Door 4 nearest the auditorium. 

Teens proactively dealing with dating violence

Help of Door County is getting area youth involved with the FYRE program.  FYRE, which stands for Forging Youth Relationships and Education, has teens meet weekly to encourage students to come forward with teen dating violence experiences.  Youth Advocate Karla says the goal is to give young people a voice that is heard.



Sturgeon Bay High School Senior Ava Carmody says she has seen first-hand the impact of the FYRE program.


February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.  This is the first in a weekly series on the programs offered by Help of Door County in dealing with the issue of teen dating violence.




(youth program photo courtesy of Help of Door County)


Social anxiety is treatable

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of social anxiety are the first steps in getting the help needed says Sturgeon Bay Psychologist Dr. Dennis White.  Social anxiety affects over 10 million teens and adults in the country.  Dr. White says fears of being judged or embarrassed can lead the anxiety to become panic attacks.  He shares some of the signs of social anxiety.




Those that suffer from social anxiety are at a higher risk of depression, alcoholism, and even thoughts of suicide.  Dr. White adds that there are many ways to treat social anxiety through a combination of therapy, medications, and support groups.  You can listen to Dr. Dennis White's entire Mental Health Minute below.





Kewaunee County selling land

In efforts to bring development to the area, Kewaunee County is selling off 30 acres of property in the Town of Pierce.  Located near the lakeshore on 9th Road just south of Algoma, the land has sat vacant the past three years and was once a campground.  Kewaunee County Administrator Scott Feldt says there are two pole buildings, an old clubhouse, and a dilapidated trailer home on the property currently.  He adds that the hopes are for a housing or business developer to come forward with a plan.



All proposals for the land are due by 4:30 pm this Friday.  The proposals will be considered by the finance committee in the March meeting where they can accept one or deny all of the offers.

Lakeshore businesses find positives

Tom Kleiman hopes the positives that came from the last string of high water years from the past come back in 2020. Lake Michigan was at just above 581 feet back in 1986 when Kleiman was a child. With the higher waters came a rebound in the Kewaunee fishery, which has tumbled in recent years. Now a Kewaunee business owner and the president of the Wisconsin Lakeshore Business Association, Kleiman says working with the Department of Natural Resources Secretary Preston Cole on improving stocking levels has been great.

Kleiman hopes businesses in lakeshore communities like Kewaunee can rebound from the struggles the higher water levels have brought so far. The city of Kewaunee is weighing its options as it tries to see if it can reopen its marina and boat launch after being forced to close them for the season last summer.

Dental clinic keeps patients smiling

Helping patients with their teeth is just one of the reasons why the staff at the Door County Medical Center Dental Clinic is smiling. Patients in Door and Kewaunee counties visited the clinic over 5,000 times in 2019, which is a small increase over the previous year. Services provided to those on Medicaid or are low income without insurance included everything from regular cleanings to root canals. DCMC Dental Clinic Director Tanya Fischer says the biggest issue they have encountered is infections in the mouth.



The tooth fairy will be at the DCMC Dental Clinic later this month to collect money rather than give it away during their celebration of National Children's Dental Health Month. The tooth fairy will be on the hospital's Sturgeon Bay campus beginning February 17th.


Photo submitted

Council tackles new projects, water levels

Shoreline communities like Sturgeon Bay are being swamped with a host of issues regarding high water levels in the Great Lakes region. The Sturgeon Bay Common Council will consider a nearly $450,000 price tag to make shoreline repairs to Sunset Park. Estimates include the installation of man-made stone barriers called riprap and stepped revetment. Alderperson Kirstin Reeths requested a discussion of the lake level forecast over the next six months which is being projected to rise above the current record highs by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Tuesday's meeting will also discuss two projects that could be completed in the coming year. Cedar Corporation and SRF Consulting group will present its designs for a new promenade on the city's west waterfront between the Michigan and the Oregon Street bridges. Later in the meeting, the Sturgeon Bay Rotary Club is seeking approval to install a new dock and fishing pavilion at Little Lake after getting the OK from the city's Park and Recreation Committee. The meeting will begin in the council chambers at Sturgeon Bay City Hall at 7 p.m.


Photo from West Waterfront Promenade Presentation (Item 5 of 26 of Tuesday's Agenda) Click here to see the full agenda and the presentation.

No worries on possible constitutional convention

Local State Senator Andre Jacque says those worried about a complete overhaul of the U.S. Constitution can breathe a little easier. Jacque is one of the six state senators cosponsoring Assembly Joint Resolution 77 calling for an Article V constitutional convention. Critics of the measure believe without explicit rules, many more items can be changed in the constitution without proper notice. Jacque says that is not accurate.

If Wisconsin and five other states pass a resolution for a constitutional convention, it would be the first time in United States history since 1787. 




Photo from a veterans event courtesy of Senator Jacque's legislative website


Construction town hall in Algoma this week

Algoma officials as well as engineering firm Robert E. Lee and Associates will be presenting at an event Wednesday at City Hall regarding planned spring construction. Public Works Director Matt Murphy says many of the details can’t be divulged until the meeting but the project does have a completion deadline that has been firmed up.


The meeting is open to the public and will be discussing the coming construction on Navarino Street between First and Second Streets.


Pond hockey tournament on thin ice

Kangaroo Lake ice conditions have forced a change of venue for the pond hockey tournament Saturday. Organizer Brian Fitzgerald has announced an agreement with the Sister Bay Sports Complex to host the event at the municipal ice rink so that spectators and skaters are not subjected to any danger from thin ice. Temperatures on Sunday climbed into the 40’s, even in northern Door County. 

A shuttle will carry fans to local shops from the rink and games will go into the night under the lights since the tournament will be operating with fewer rinks to schedule games on. Several divisions of the tournament have seen registration full for months.


James May Gallery opens winter exhibit this Saturday

Tension hangs in the air in Algoma, so thick it can be cut with a knife. The James May Gallery presents Tension in the Ordinary: Winter Invitational beginning this Saturday. The exhibit runs until April 25th featuring four artists whose works deal with some aspect of obsession and abstract sense of angst. Director Kendra Bulgrin says all of the artists will be present for the opening.


Winter hours for the James May Gallery are Thursday through Saturday from 10 AM until 5 PM. You can also arrange to view the gallery by appointment.


Baileys Harbor gets new clothing store this summer

Willow Clothing Company of Suamico will be opening a Baileys Harbor location over Memorial Day weekend. Owner Christine Herman says she will be personally overseeing the store for the first summer at least. Herman is a designer herself and Willow Clothing Company features its own clothing line with exclusive merchandise in addition to other apparel. Herman says the Baileys Harbor location will have its own identity.


Willow Clothing Company will occupy the vacant space at 8085 State Highway 57. It replaces Novel Ideas Books.


Kewaunee veteran shares stories behind the tribute

Korean War veteran Don Kickbusch was instrumental in getting the Kewaunee veterans memorial tribute completed. Today it hangs between the two gyms in the high school. Eleven soldiers who lost their lives between World War II and Vietnam are honored. Kickbusch says he is struck by one story in particular. Lieutenant Clarence Duvall, the mayor’s son, died in a plane crash in Iowa in March 1944.


The official dedication for the tribute is February 23rd at 2 PM.


Wisconsin Supreme Court nominee in Egg Harbor Saturday

The Door County Democratic Party chapter welcomed Jill Karofsky to the Egg Harbor Community Center Saturday. While the primary for the Wisconsin Supreme Court is officially non-partisan, incumbent Daniel Kelly is considered a conservative while the two other candidates are identified as more liberal. Elections Officer Allin Walker says Karofsky’s visit focused on voter enfranchisement issues, gerrymandering and others.


Kelly’s other challenger, Ed Fallone, came to Door County in mid-January. The top two candidates advance to the general election in April.


*Photo courtesy of the Jill Karofsky campaign website.


Roadway obstacles return early to Sturgeon Bay

Municipal Services Director Mike Barker says the City of Sturgeon Bay has already been out patching up streets. The worst kind of winter for roads is one where temperatures straddle both sides of the freezing mark. That has been a consistent occurrence since the middle of December with a healthy amount of precipitation as well. As the moisture expands when it freezes then contracts as it thaws it breaks down the pavement. 


Potholes become most acute in the springtime so motorists have to remain alert for another two months.


Lines out the door at Winterfest tasting

The Gibraltar Historical Society had lines extending from the Old Gibraltar Town Hall out to the street corner Saturday afternoon in Fish Creek. All Things Chocolate and the Chili Cook Off represent the two signature food events on the Winterfest schedule and chocolate might have won out this year. President Laurie Buske says there were 75 different confections and treats made by individuals as well as businesses. Funds will go towards a new scanner and help out with association events this year including the return of civil war reenactors.


Also on display were a turn-of-the-century ice trolley and ice saw in addition to other ice harvesting equipment once used in the area.


Inside the Old Gibraltar Town Hall during All Things Chocolate




Some of the scenes outside including the infamous toilet seat toss:



Door County Y rolls out new technology

The Door County YMCA has introduced new major technological updates so far in 2020. Membership Specialist Josh Lardinois from the Fish Creek location says that one was planned and the other created out of necessity.


Changes to Apple’s iOS third party developers agreements forced the one change. Members can check in, make membership payments, and even register for classes or events like upcoming family fun nights on their computer or smartphone. The new tech applies to both the Sturgeon Bay and Fish Creek locations.


Short Film Festival adds scholarship

Area students don’t have to wait for film school to create movie magic. The Door County Short Film Festival will be accepting submissions until May specifically for youth with scholarships offered to the winners. Organizer Chris Opper says all entries will be used to expand the event in 2021.


The Short Film Challenge will also grant one lucky filmmaker an internship where they can hone their editing and video production skills.


Fire station condition sparks local needs assessment

During Monday's meeting, the Algoma City Council will consider retaining Robert E. Lee and Associates to conduct a needs assessment for all municipal facilities. Treasurer Amber Shallow says the impetus for the evaluation is the aging ladder house.


The assessment applies to facilities needs only. It is not for considering any form of reorganization or to recommend layoffs. The cost must come in below $15-thousand dollars. The city has a close relationship with Robert E. Lee and Associates, using them for much of the recent downtown construction.


Construction project comes in $150,000 below estimate

A construction project that will repave Brookside Lane, Larson Lane, Hoganson Lane and Norway Street in the Village of Ephraim has a bid in place for just over $192-thousand dollars, contingency included, when original estimates were $350-thousand. 

Administrator Brent Bristol explains the reason behind the discrepancy is the ability of the city to avoid the “Door County premium.” The village was able to contract with the Door County Highway Department to complete the paving which involves local contractors. When crews are brought up from Green Bay or the Fox Valley they usually demand additional compensation and insist on the cost of transporting equipment to be defrayed. 

The roads that are being repaved were subjected to extra traffic last year since they were the detour routes for the streetscape project construction.


Door County benefits from abundance of experts

Door County’s unique topography and long winters create challenges when protecting the local environment and in producing a beautiful garden. Carrie Sherrill from the Door County Master Gardeners says that her organization can answer the call on some of those issues, but not all. Sherrill says the local community is lucky to have a raft of experts and environmental groups to lean on.


Sherrill says the Master Gardeners work closely with the Door County Library System, Crossroads at Big Creek, and The Ridges Sanctuary among others.


Registration for mandatory DNR class February 8th

Sign-up for hunter education class in Door County can be completed in two ways starting on February 8th. Enrollment is not restricted to residents of a particular area so locals are given priority from the Department of Natural Resources by allowing them to register in person before accepting applications online. Conservation Warden Chris Kratcha says anyone born after 1973 must take the class before they can get a license and it covers the fundamentals.


There is a bow hunting add-on session also available. Registration is 10 AM – 2 PM at Howie’s Tackle on Green Bay Road in Sturgeon Bay. The four-session class will occur in April.


Crossroads encourages Door County to embrace surroundings

Crossroads at Big Creek in Sturgeon Bay will offer a range of talks and activities that reinforce a specific subject in 2020 according to Director Coggin Heeringa.


The habitat theme can be explored inside or outside. The opening of the 2020 lecture series happens on February 13th at the Collins Learning Center when Heeringa discusses planting native species. Come spring, it moves outdoors and Crossroads will be creating a trail system spread out over the site’s 200 acres with loops dedicated to specific habitats complete with interactive signage that turns a walk outdoors into a learning experience. 


Kewaunee roadshow takes plan to the people

There are no antiques involved but the City of Kewaunee’s Economic Development Planner Autumn Linsmeier is busy with a roadshow. Linsmeier has met with a half dozen groups in the past two weeks to discuss the Harbor Master Plan and the projects coming to the city in the near future. Up next on her tour are different churches in the area. Linsmeier says the idea for the road show came from the city council. It is meant to increase community participation.


Linsmeier says that the Harbor Master Plan will continue to be implemented even with a change at the top. Kewaunee will have a new mayor come April.


Local farmers keeping livestock healthy

With Door and Kewaunee County farmers looking forward to another planting season this spring, dairy operators are focused on keeping their cows and calves on healthy diets.  Rich Olson of Olson Family Farm in southern Door County says the care given during the winter months vary a little bit from other seasons.



Olson adds that calves are fitted with calf jackets that help to maintain their body heat to endure through the cold winter months as well.  He says the recent milder than normal temperatures have area farmers looking towards this spring and planting season.

Prescription mistakes a growing concern

A locally owned pharmacy in Sturgeon Bay has measures in place to help prevent prescription mistakes and overworked staff.  The New York Times reports that pharmacists at retail chains across the country are more worried than ever about making mistakes in filling scripts.  Jake Blazkovec, owner and pharmacist at Bay Hometown Pharmacy in Sturgeon Bay, says that they have a system that helps promote accuracy in dispensing drugs.



Soaring demand for prescription drugs and pressures on pharmacists to fill hundreds of prescriptions during a work shift are contributing factors to mistakes being made according to Pharmacists Planning Services in California.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration receives more than 100,000 reports each year of suspected medication errors.  You can find information on reducing the chances of medication errors in the below link.

Slow go around towing operators

Towing operators are echoing a AAA Wisconsin initiative:  slow down on Door and Kewaunee roadway when wreckers are working.  AAA this week announced the launch of the “Slow Down, Move Over” campaign.  It urges drivers to remain alert, be aware of what's happening well ahead of you and be prepared to reduce speed and move over when you see flashing lights ahead of you.  Randy Sahs, the owner of Sahs Auto in Sturgeon Bay, says such simple precautions are lifesavers.


AAA says that's something all drivers need to know, especially since their towing service members nationally respond to nearly 30-million service calls yearly.


(photo courtesy of Wisconsin DOT)

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